A wry view of life for the world-weary

Category Archives: Humour

Irony Of The Week (6)

Whatever your view on climate change, soaring temperatures in the Arctic leading to ice melting and heavy rain have had some amusing consequences.

In 2008 the Norwegian government built the Global Seed Vault deep into the side of a mountain on Spitsbergen to lodge a million varieties of seeds with the aim of preserving our food supply, come what may. Of course, the unthinkable has happened – meltwater has inundated the entrance tunnel, giving the precious seeds a dousing. “It was not in our plans to think that the permafrost would not be there and that it would experience extreme weather like that,” said a spokesperson. With planning like that, I bet they forgot a packet of lettuce seeds.

And then I read this week that a team of 40 scientists from five Canadian universities have had to abandon an expedition into the Hudson Bay to research the impact of climate warning. The reason for putting the four-year project on ice – warming temperatures created perilous ice conditions off the coast of Newfoundland, making it dangerous for their ships to go any further. So these climate change warriors became victims of climate change but at least they got their hands on some empirical evidence.

Toilet Of The Week (11)

Are children really so reluctant to use school toilets because of the noises that accompany the relieving of their bowels and bladders? Apparently so, if Cecilia Cato, a councillor in the Swedish town of Tingsryd, is to be believed.

Her solution is to pipe music into the bogs and the Council are to vote on her motion, I learned this week. This innovative ploy has already been introduced at the newly built music school in the town and some claim that the mellifluous atmosphere provided by the sound of music will be environmentally friendly, reducing the temptation to run taps and use excessive toilet paper to drown out the sounds.

If the motion is passed, what to play? Handel’s Water Music is an obvious as is Tchaikovsky’s 1812 overture. What about Beethoven’s Battle Symphony, scored for 200 cannons, or Abba’s Waterloo? Suggestions will be gratefully received.

Brief Notes

Recently I had to have a medical procedure, the preparation for which required me to sit on a toilet for several hours. The ominous gurglings emanating from my bowels brought to mind Benjamin Franklin’s famous quote, “what comfort can the Vortices of Descartes give to a man who has whirlwinds in his bowels”.

Rather than seeking solace in Descartes’ vortices, I found myself scrutinising the label of the inside of my briefs. I have already pondered the meaning of the warning “keep away from fire” – yes, it was there again – but this pair had another somewhat mystifying notice, “part of a three piece set”.  Without anything else to do and fearful of the consequences of moving from the porcelain throne, I mulled this over in my mind.

When I buy underpants, there are a number of criteria that that the garments have to satisfy. They have to be capacious enough to accommodate my nether regions comfortably, they have to be of a fabric that won’t irritate, there has to be the correct number of pants in the packet and they have to be of a colour that wouldn’t cause me to die of shame if I was carted off to hospital unexpectedly and they were revealed to the medical staff. I can understand that the reference to my briefs being part of a three piece set being marginally useful at the point of sale, but is there a deeper meaning, I wondered?

Slightly horror-struck, I began to wonder whether I had been wearing underpants incorrectly throughout the years. Perhaps they had to be worn in layers, three being designed to provide maximum comfort. And rather like a matryoshka doll, was each imperceptibly bigger than the other to ensure that perfect fit? And how do you know the order in which to put them on? When I was able to liberate myself I saw that the other two pairs of briefs had the same label. No help there, then.

Perhaps I had inadvertently bought a packet of briefs designed for the exclusive use of triplets. You can imagine the scene. A person is found wandering the streets. The helpful sign in their underpants alerts the authorities that they are one of three. This sort of knowledge may help enormously in returning the lost soul to the bosom of his family.

Perhaps on a more mundane level, the label is designed to engender some order into the drawer containing your briefs. Helpfully, the label will allow you to store two other pairs of briefs bearing the same label with this one. But the system breaks down if you are wearing a pair – clearly there will only be two in the drawer – or if you were foolish enough to buy several packs of briefs bearing the label. Think of the chaos.

The only sane conclusion was that it was of no interest to the wearer but at least pondering the question gave me something to while away the time. Fortunately, the results of the procedure were rather like my bowels – all clear.

Lessons Of The Week (2)

Never make an important decision whilst walking in Snowdonia.

Teaching Aid Of The Week

For children of a certain age, there is an irresistible fascination with the word poo. Parents and relatives react with shock when their little darlings use the word inappropriately whereas the kids find doing so highly amusing. But instead of feigning shock and surprise, wouldn’t it be a good idea to harness the young’s interest in matters scatological into something positive?

Well, this was the reasoning of publisher, Shuji Yamamoto, who, I learned this week, has developed a series of books around a character called Professor Poo  – a spectacle wearing, moustachioed turd. The books have been flying off the shelves like shit off a shovel – some 1.83m copies have been sold since March.

The books feature various exercises called Unko Kanji Doriru (poo kanji drill) and are designed to put some fun into the balls-aching work of memorising over two thousand kanji characters. Each sentence the children learn includes the word poo and this novel approach appears to be a hit with students and parents alike.

School wasn’t that much fun in my day!

Sangfroid Of The Week

Here’s a question to mull over. If you were in the fortunate position of having a little bit of warning before disaster struck, what would you do? For some it would be to check that they had clean underwear on and, perhaps, a freshly laundered shirt. For others it might be to eat your favourite food or a glass of hooch. But, I must confess, it has never crossed my mind to go out and give the lawn that final cut.

This astonishing picture shows Theunis Wessels cutting his lawn in Three Hills, Alberta in Canada whilst in the background there is a fully formed tornado only a couple of kilometres away. The twister headed away from the house and five minutes later was gone.

Hardly worth putting the mower away for.

Drugs Of The Week

If you want to get high, use your loaf, I learned this week. TV presenter, Angela Rippon, failed a routine drugs test after eating a loaf of poppy seed bread and a poppy seed bagel over a three-day period. The test picked up the presence of morphine in her system, enough to have got her fired, if it hadn’t have been a controlled experiment. You’ve been warned.

Aside from bread, according to this year’s Global Drugs Survey,  magic mushrooms are the safest recreational drug of choice. Of the 12,000 who fessed up to ingesting the psilocybin hallucinogenic ‘rooms in 2016, only 0.2% needed emergency medical treatment, a rate five times lower than those who had taken Colombian marching powder or LSD. The bigger risk, it would seem, is eating the wrong sort of fungi.

Mushrooms on poppy seeded toast for lunch, I think!

Pipeline Of The Week

Heavy metal festivals are not my thing – a line up including Megadeth, Alice Cooper and Trivium would have me running for the hills– but details of The Wacken Open Air festival to be held in early August in Germany caught my attention this week.

Festival goers consume on average 9 pints of beer each over the three day event and ensuring there is enough hooch to drown out the racket coming from the stage is of paramount concern to the organisers. To meet demand and ensure that the only hiccups are from drinking the beer too quickly, this year they are installing a four mile long pipe network to bring in the beer. 35 centimetres in diameter, it will deliver beer at a rate of six glasses every six seconds and as an added bonus will mean that beer trucks will not need to clog the roads and churn up the field.

Pipelines are also being laid down to bring in water and to remove effluent. Let’s hope they don’t mix them up, although lager drinkers may not notice the difference.

Horticultural News Of The Week

I always think that the wedding of Pippa Middleton marks the beginning of the English society season. Hang on, I’ve got that wrong – I meant the RHS Chelsea Flower Show. But, alas, not everything in the undergrowth is flourishing.

This year’s event only featured eight show gardens, down from fourteen last year, as sponsors wilted under the pressures of economic uncertainty and the ever-spiralling costs of supporting the prima-donna gardeners’ extravagant attempts at what is essentially a simple operation – putting a few plants together to make a pleasing arrangement. Even the show’s main sponsor, M&G, have announced that they upping sticks and seeking pastures new in 2018.

Mind you, if the box-tree moth gets settled in here, there won’t be much in the way of hedging to provide shape to the exhibits. I have only just got over the attack of box blight that devastated Monty Don’s box hedges last year and now, I learned this week, there is another pest anxious to rid us of our buxus sempervirens. The moth lays its eggs on the underside of box leaves and the hatchlings, hairy, black caterpillars, munch their way through the host tree’s foliage at a prodigious rate. The moths are spreading through south east England faster than any previous pest. If you see one, you know what to do.

I go to Halesowen quite often but have never made it to nearby Uffmoor Wood which boasts a fine collection of bluebells. A missed opportunity it would seem as our old friends, the Woodland Trust, have taken the unprecedented step of closing it to the public, after a spate of problems including excessive dog fouling, attacks on pets and farm animals, drug dealing and dogging. The dog poo wars continue.



Lessons Of The Week

I learned this week that

  • Strong and stable leadership means making a U-turn every time one of your policies is challenged
  • Coalition of chaos means presenting costed coherent policies