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Off the Record.

Byline: BY PAT ROLLER

SO that's it, then. One of the great sporting epics is now under way. No, not the Olympics. In case it escaped your notice, the grouse shooting season started this week, which means the landed gentry can once again hone their innate hunting skills by blattering away at fearsome prey that occasionally gets more than four feet off the ground.

It's mostly passed off with the usual results so far - the grouse rarely manage even as much as a score draw - except for the incident involving two friends, Alec and Dougal.

Alec and Dougal were out on the moor blasting away, when Dougal fell to the ground. He didn't seem to be breathing and Alec wasn't sure he could feel a pulse. In a panic, he dialled 999.

Whenhe got through, he gabbled to the operator: 'Ma friend is deid!What can I do?' The operator, in a calm, soothing voice said: 'Just take it easy, take it easy. I can help. First, let's make sure he's dead.'

There was a silence from Alec for a minute, then the operator heard a shot.

Then Alec said: 'OK, now what?'

THE scene is Edinburgh Zoo, early afternoon. A large crowd is gathered outside the penguin enclosure, waiting for the daily Penguin Parade. And waiting. Eventually, there's an announcement over the Tannoy: 'Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, we're sorry but the penguins don't seem to want to come out today' - which is met with a hail of boos, hissing and stamping of feet. Our informant joined in, until he realised it was probably pretty pointless heckling a bunch of penguins. He left, wishing a heatwave upon the blasted birds.

COMING soon - the robot surgeon.It was revealed this week that scientists have perfected a machine which will soon be used to perform keyhole surgery.It will be operated by a surgeon sitting afew feet away from the operating table,controlling everything from a computer console.Trials didn't go too well,though.Atone crucial point in the operation,the computer screen froze.The surgeon did what anyone else would - he called the IT support team.

The IT people did what they always do.Switched it off then switched it on again...

TALKING about the Olympics, as wewere earlier, there are the usual gloomy predictions about Team GB coming home without a single athletics gold. This is because, at the moment, they're not actually giving out medals for the events we're really good at.

Imagine the medal haul if we could send a team in synchronised queueing, pothole vaulting, or the 10,000 parking-meters steeplechase. And we'd be guaranteed gold in pint-lifting and hurling.

AFTER yet another triumphal rally, George Bush thanks his speechwriter.

RANGERS' midweek result was a tad disappointing, but the Glasgow Evening Times' reaction is probably a bit extreme.

E-mail: offtherecord@dailyrecord.co.uk
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Aug 14, 2004
Words:478
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