It all went to shit when Paul the Octopus died, scientists confirm

PAUL the psychic octopus was the only thing standing between humanity and catastrophic disaster, scientists have confirmed. 

Scientists have pinpointed the death in 2010 of the World Cup match-predicting octopus as the precise moment when everything started going tits up for the human race.

Professor Henry Brubaker of the Institute for Studies said: “I’ll be honest, we hadn’t done any real science since 2003, because we were just asking Paul yes or no questions the entire time. 

Will Spain win the 2010 World Cup final? Yes. Will I need an umbrella tomorrow? No. Sadly we didn’t think to ask ‘Will a deadly pandemic plunge us into a global recession?’.

“Moments before he passed into cephalopod heaven, Paul drew an image of the Earth on fire and surrounded by noxious gas, but we just assumed he’d shat loads of ink everywhere.”

Unsuccessful attempts have been made to replace Paul the Octopus with other clairvoyant animals, including Gavin the Penguin, who was only able to tell if couples were not right for each other.

Brubaker added: “We discovered a tortoise oracle called Francesca who seemed promising, but then she told us to inject bleach if you’re ill, and that didn’t sound right.”

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I haven't had a drink all morning and I feel great!

By Martin Bishop

I FEEL good, I feel clean. I have been a long 12 hours without alcohol, including being asleep. 

I’m not saying it was easy. The toughest hour to get through is between 10 and 11am. The fridge is just yards away. That can of lager is beckoning you like a temptress. You can almost hear the ring pull whispering “Pull me, pull me!” 

But I summoned my last reserves of spiritual power and self-denial. I did deep-breathing exercises. I drank four pints of slimline tonic. I stared at the hour hand on the clock, willing it on like the train in The Little Engine That Could.

I know I can make it till 12 o’clock. And if I can do it, you can. You just have to believe in yourself. Believe that you can subsist on cereal and non-alcoholic liquids for four hours. 

Know in your heart that this will all soon pass, that however slowly the time seems to drag, it will be 12 o’clock quite soon.

Keep your eyes on the prize. First, the sense of achievement. Second the ‘pssscchhh’ as you finally open that much-deserved can of Kronenbourg, or the pleasing ‘crack’ as you unscrew the first bottle of wine. 

There is no greater pleasure than an earned pleasure. The next 12 hours will fly by but try to savour them, for the battle to not get wasted until lunchtime begins anew tomorrow.