Friday, 30 March 2007
Thursday, 29 March 2007
The Queen replies, "I'm sorry, Mr. Bush, but to be a kingdom, you have to have a king in charge, and you're not a king."
George Bush thinks for a moment and then asks, "How about a principality, then?"
The Queen replies, "Again, to be a principality, you have to be a prince, and you're not a prince, Mr. Bush."
Bush thinks long and hard and comes up with another option. "How about an empire?"
Getting a little annoyed, the Queen replies, "Sorry again, Mr. Bush, but to be an empire you must have an emperor in charge, and you are not an emperor."
Before Bush could utter another word, the Queen offers solace:
"Don't worry, Mr. Bush, under your leadership the USA is perfect as a country."
A linguistics professor was lecturing the class.
"In English," he explained, "a double negative forms a positive. In some languages, such as Russian, a double negative is still a negative."
"However," the professor continued, "there is no language wherein a double positive can form a negative."
Immediately, a voice from the back of the room piped up: "Yeah..... right...."
Nelson Mandela is sitting at home watching TV and drinking a beer when he hears a knock at the door. When he opens it, he is confronted by a little Chinese man, clutching a clip board and yelling,
"You Sign! You sign!"
Behind him is an enormous truck full of car exhausts.
Nelson is standing there in complete amazement, when the Chinese man starts to yell louder,
"You Sign! You sign!"
Nelson says to him, "Look, you've obviously got the wrong man", and shuts the door in his face.
The next day he hears a knock at the door again. When he opens it, the little Chinese man is back with a huge truck of brake pads. He thrusts his clipboard under Nelson's nose, yelling,
"You sign! You sign!"
Mr Mandela is getting a bit hacked off by now, so he pushes the little Chinese man back, shouting:
"Look, go away! You've got the wrong man. I don't want them!" Then he slams the door in his face again.
The following day, Nelson is resting, and late in the afternoon, he hears a knock on the door again. On opening the door, there is the same little Chinese man thrusting a clipboard under his nose, shouting,
"You sign! You sign!"
Behind him are TWO very large trucks full of car parts.
This time Nelson loses his temper completely, he picks up the little Man by his shirt front and yells at him:
"Look, I don't want these! Do you understand? You must have the wrong name! Who do you want to give these to?"
The little Chinese man looks very puzzled, consults his clipboard, and says:
"You not Nissan Main Deala?
This reminded anticant of a WW2 story about Dr Wellington Koo, who was Chiang Kai Shek's ambassador in London, and a highly cultivated man. At a dinner where he was guest of honour, his neighbour - not realising who he was - asked condescendingly: "Likee soupee?" Dr Koo just smiled and said nothing. At the end of the dinner he gave a brilliant speech in faultless English, turned to his neighbour, and said:"Likee speechee?"
Wednesday, 28 March 2007
Tuesday, 27 March 2007
Monday, 26 March 2007
Saturday, 24 March 2007
Thank goodness there's still a good stock of logs in the burrow woodshed and the Snug is warm and cosy. Welcome, everyone. Enjoy the weekend.
Wednesday, 21 March 2007
Tuesday, 20 March 2007
A vacationing penguin is driving through Arizona when he notices that the oil-pressure light is on. He gets out to look and sees oil dripping out of the motor. He drives to the nearest town and stops at the first gas station. After dropping the car off, the penguin goes for a walk around town.
He sees an ice-cream shop and, being a penguin in Arizona, decides that something cold would really hit the spot. He gets a big bowl of vanilla ice cream and sits down to eat. Having no hands, he makes real mess trying to eat with his little flippers. It's all over his face.
After finishing his ice cream, he goes back to the gas station and asks the mechanic if he's found the problem. The mechanic looks up and says, "It looks like you´ve blown a seal."
"No, no," the penguin replies, "it's just ice cream."
Three little frogs went to heaven. At the Pearly Gates St. Peter asked them to account for their time on Earth.
The first little frog said: "Oh, I'm a very ordinary little frog. I haven't done anything special - just the usual things little frogs do, like jumping in and out of puddles". "OK" said St. Peter, nodding him through.
The second little frog said: "I've nothing much to declare, but I've jumped in and out of puddles a few times". He was waved inside.
The third little frog was a bit of a dandy, with long curled eyelashes and a simpering smile. "And how about you?" asked St. Peter. The third little frog replied: "I'm Puddles".
Antimacassar, er, Anticant!
"CHRIST, Hell, dirty sonofabitch -- the rotten bastard actually went right in there! I'll be God-damned!" as my 87-years-old farm-neighbour, Judson Andersen, said to me tonight, after we got that "whore's dream" of a takeout-augur (which he re-welded for me to-day) remounted in my silo. And, ditto-that -- I finally figured out /how/ to weasel my way back in /here/ with various irreplaceable sagacities & dire insights; and, for now, will piss off and leave you lot in peace anyway, as our host is sound asleep -- and I've got a few lambs coming yet. And, sure as Hell, them Cheviot ewes'll be at it at two in the ack-emma! (Actually, they're jolly sheep and damn good Ma's, plus they usually don't NEED any help -- but, I like to get up and ooze around the barn a few times in the night, just in case. Nice thing is the little shits are doing alright in this 40-degree weather. Ain't like the first round back in February....)
SORRY, Anticant, I perceive that in the foregoing I lapsed rather into American, eh? 'Oh, well, maybe next time', as the Mouse said after he failed to make love to the Elephant, 'after all, morality is mainly a matter of LUCK!'
20 March 2007 01:19:00 GMT
Monday, 19 March 2007
Do infants enjoy infancy as much as adults enjoy adultery?
If a pig loses its voice, is it disgruntled?
Why is the man who invests all your money called a broker?
When cheese gets its picture taken, what does it say?
Why is a person who plays the piano called a pianist but a person who drives a race car not called a racist?
Why are a wise man and a wise guy opposites?
Why do overlook and oversee mean opposite things?
"I am" is reportedly the shortest sentence in the English language. Could it be that "I do" is the longest sentence?
If lawyers are disbarred and clergymen defrocked, doesn't it follow that electricians can be delighted, musicians denoted, cowboys deranged, models deposed, tree surgeons debarked, and dry cleaners depressed?
Ever wonder about people who spend £2 on those little bottles of Evian water? Try spelling Evian backwards.
Isn't making a smoking section in a restaurant like making a peeing section in a swimming pool?
If 4 out of 5 people SUFFER from diarrhoea. Does that mean that one enjoys it?
WARNING: the beadle has orders to deflate candidates whose entries are too clever by half.
ANTICANT, Lavender Blue & all the rest of the Intelligent Bad Element, Gudday! Another grey & raw sort of late-March afternoon, 'ere, I must say. As to chappies misbehaving in the parlour, I've found that an offer of seven or a dozen, w/the ratwhisk, usually sharpens people up, eh?
Here's /my/ latest whinge, about selling 'on-line', which I do -- books, mainly:
I Shall sort out that /suomilainen/ M Zola shortly but, now, have to bugger off & tend to them icelandic ponies, Huldy & Ragna, plus the punch horse, Mr Gamgee -- they are just now wagging their heads at me over the paddock-fence and wanting the hay and oats what I promised earlier on, when we was skidding a fall of ash-trunks in my farm-grove.
ALL The best,
B Wook in the Mire
Saturday, 17 March 2007
The burrow is open as usual for weekend visitors, and as it's a bit chilly this morning the beadle has kindled the log fire in the Snug.
We look forward to welcoming you all.
Thursday, 15 March 2007
Sunday, 11 March 2007
I came home yesterday after a couple of nights’ stay in the Royal Free, Hampstead, under observation for what turned out to be three small kidney stones – fortunately too small to require surgery. Even so, they were big enough to cause me several hours of excruciating agony until my GP gave me a pain-killing injection.
I was kept in overnight for further scans and tests, and was fascinated to find myself in the “George Qvist Ward”. This brought back vivid memories of the ‘near miss’ I had over thirty years ago, when my appendix burst just before Christmas and I was only saved by emergency major surgery performed by the very same George Qvist. George Qvist [pronounced “Kwist”], 1910-81, was a senior surgeon at the Royal Free Hospital, and my operation in fact took place at the old hospital in Grays Inn Road because the new one in Hampstead was still under construction and Mr Qvist preferred to use his familiar theatre at the old site. So I was one of the last patients there, being in for six weeks because the operation had to be repeated when an abscess formed.
I have always counted Mr Qvist as the bestower of the remainder of my life since then, and it was curious to renew the link with him this week. As he has been dead for over quarter of a century, the young ward staff regarded me as somewhat of an antique when I told them about my personal contact with him.
How the wheel of life spins!
That’s enough about me. Has anyone any news of Zola?
Thursday, 8 March 2007
Meanwhile, ben has come up with the following:
'Winter draws on, as the curate said when he handed the vicar's daughter a cup of tea. To which she replied: "Not yet - but why do you ask?" '
When Lord Curzon was Foreign Secretary, a young clerk in the office disagreed so strongly with one of his lordship's memoranda that he pencilled in the margin "Round objects", to which Lord Curzon responded "Who is Mr Round, and why does he object?"
Wednesday, 7 March 2007
Zola writes a thoughtful post about one of the “greats” of humanistic therapy - and then tells himself to shut up because he’s effed up the day. Why? One of the most endearing characteristics of our inimitable Zola is his propensity to duck and weave between being engagingly serious and delightfully whimsical. He has no need to worry that he bores us by being too solemn, which he never is: all his more ruminative, toughly argued posts are as pleasing as his wonderful flights of fancy and his lovely excursions into poetry and poetic prose.
The beauty of Zola’s always delicately artistic site is that one never knows what one will find there next. His offerings vary, of course, with his daily mood, as everyone’s do. But – at least so far as the burrow is concerned - he is mistaken if he ever feels he has struck a false note. Everything he writes is redolent of a unique personality who bestows refreshing gifts of wisdom and imagination on us all whenever he touches his keyboard.
anticant, ben and the beadle have unanimously elected Zola as an honorary member of the burrow, and presented him with his own silver tankard which is permanently sitting on the Snug bar ready to be topped up with his favourite tipple on the house whenever he drops in.
Long live Zola!
Monday, 5 March 2007
My paternal grandfather had a bachelor uncle, Tom, who was his godfather and after whom he was named. Uncle Tom [born in 1839] was the younger brother of my great-grandfather, and as a young man went out to
In the first, written from
“That old canting hypocrite B. did you down certainly. I always suspected him of being a “Humbug” - by the bye, this word “humbug” is well known and used by the Asiatics & it is no uncommon thing to hear men who only know say two or three words of English, calling each other in measured strain “Humbugs”!
“I note what you say about the “Fenians” - they are certainly a rum lot, but the movement seems to have been rather wider spread than was at first supposed - the escape of Stephens was a sad blunder and now that the extradition treaty with
[To spare readers a long disquisition on Anglo-Irish history, suffice it to say that the Fenians were the mid-Victorian equivalent of the Provisional IRA, and perpetrated several bomb outrages around this time.]
Uncle Tom continues: “In reply to your query I have to state that I am a full blown Freemason Irish Constitution & expect soon to receive my certificate. Masons in Ceylon are as a rule very quiet fellows; in fact in this hot country men dare not indulge too freely in liquors altho’ some I will allow take a “fair whack”.
“The coffee planters are the most noisy and obstrepolous [sic] - at the last banquet held at
“To recur again to Masonry, it is widespread over
“As you say, the time since I left home has passed away very quickly, and my 3 years will soon be up - whether or not I shall stay I don’t know - it all depends upon [R.B.C] and [J.B] who will no doubt come to some arrangement & it will be for me to say whether or not I am agreeable to further risk my liver &c for a further term of years - If they do the handsome I may and most likely will, but if there is no proper inducement, what’s the good - Life is a great drag out here I can assure you, compared with Home, & the only balm for it is to know you are making money. If you know you are not making money and the future is dark, then you are miserable in spite of yourself - time is passing year by year, and I must look well about me - so far I consider I have not done much. I must however wait and see.
Uncle Tom had, as will be seen, a vivid gift of description and a lively sense of humour. He continues:
“So mother has looked out two wives for me, has she? Bless her dear old soul, is she not aware that to do so is acting against the divine Commands or does she think I have turned Mormon and is sufficiently liberal enough to think there is no harm in letting me have “as many wives as I want”….
“Didn’t go to Church last Sunday, but my Companion B. did - he told me he felt very sleepy under the Native parson & was only fairly aroused when the said Native parson spasmodically ejaculated a prayer that we might be preserved in this “Wicked World of Wailing Weeping Woe”. The Bishop seldom preaches and Europeans are often absent, and it[s] very dreary work going to listen to some of the Black ministers, although they are good men I have no doubt. The above expression of the parson’s was however a Crasher.
“I am glad to say that I continue in very good health, and take plenty of Horse Exercise - it is expensive £45 a year with the risk of your horse dying, but it is far better to spend your money than spoil your liver - it is very disgusting, but people out here are perpetually thinking about their livers.
“Trade keeps exceedingly quiet in “Rags” i.e. cotton goods and unless a change takes place soon we shall have to pocket a loss instead of a profit .”
“PS. In the “Times” I send you will most likely come across a piece headed “A Spicy Breeze from
[No doubt this still lurks in some old newspaper archive.]
The next, undated, letter is mostly concerned with trade matters, including the possible market in
“Figures 1 & 2 represent the class of men to whom the shipment of nails would be sent. Do not despise the Old Buffer no 2 - when I came out first an honest old fellow in similar “get up” was worth £50,000 ! Very few like him left.
My great-grandfather had recently heard from a hitherto unknown cousin in the
“Our American Cousin - Will you please send me the photo of this individual just to let me see what an American Cousin is like - I will send it back by return mail also will you please inform me if I have an American Cousin of ye weaker sex - if I have and you have got a carte [a Victorian photograph and carte de visite] of her too please send it me on loan - It might be perhaps as well as any if she has got a lot of ‘tin’ in her own right as in that case when I return home perhaps I might induce her to lodge it with me if she would but consent to make me her own. Also am I the second, third or fifty third cousin?
“I was very sorry to hear of the deaths of Mr T & Mrs W - In my reveries of home I think now & again of those little trips we used to take when lads with Father to the T’s at Wilmslow & away through the breezes to Alderley Edge - Happy days those were!
Another illustration of Sinnapittia Coffee Estate, near Gampolla [From a Photograph by Herbert].
“My new Carte - You ask me where it is and you also inform me that the Miss W’s are twitting me with my want of gallantry in not sending them one for those they sent to me. I plead guilty - do you know I have a perfect horror of photographic galleries in Ceylon. The last time I was taken I was almost roasted to death under the glass roof - the tears were forced into my eyes by the “sun’s direct rays” and I know the result was not flattering - it’s perfect torture believe me - but if it’s to please the ladies why - I’ll go through fire & water - Tell the Misses W that my shadow in some shape or other will soon be before their pretty eyes.
“I take up your supplement 13th March 9.45 a.m. (really you are a very exact man) - You tell me that a whole posse of you had been to a swell party and that you stayed out till 1.30 a.m. - Now I can beat that for the other night I was dining with the Manager of the Chartered Mercantile Bank & did not leave till 2 a.m. but if you think I am in the habit of keeping such hours you are mistaken. “Early to bed & early to rise, makes &c” was never more true than in the East where late hours eat so much into your enjoyment of life physically speaking - for very often Brandies & Sodas go hand in hand with late hours.”
The next letter from Uncle Tom is some thirty years later, after my great-grandfather’s death, and is addressed to my grandfather on the eve of his marriage:
Smedley’s Hydropathic Establishment
Telegraphic Address, “SMEDLEYS” Matlock Bank. Railway Station,
MATLOCK, 17th April 1896
My dear Nephew Tom,
This will I hope find you safely returned to Gransmoor after your, probably, stormy journey to and from
Hebe has very kindly informed me fully with respect to matters that so nearly concern yourself, and which are now on the eve of accomplishment - I refer, of course, to your approaching marriage.
Altho’ I shall not be able to witness the ceremony at St. Peter’s, Ashton, next Monday, I shall be there in spirit you may be sure.
I am pleased to learn that it is to be a very quietly arranged function - Emblematic, in that respect, I trust of the tranquil life before you both when you get fairly settled in your own little nest at Heaton Chapel. I have seen the house and it has a pleasant outlook.
It is customary, I know, on occasions like this for Uncles to accompany their letters of congratulation & felicitation with something substantial in the form of a suitable presentation, and your being, moreover, my Godson naturally makes it all the more incumbent on me to conform to the ‘good old rule’. How gladly I would do this, were I able, it is needless for me to tell you. The opportunity can now only arise and be embraced and availed of “when my ship comes in”, and when that will be is known only to the Gods!
I now send you both my sincerest wishes for your present and future happiness, health, prosperity and long life,
Your affectionate Uncle
It is clear from the above that Uncle Tom’s ship had not yet come in. And this is where the mystery begins. He had evidently returned to
My grandfather had a cousin who, as was fashionable in some circles in those days, was a convinced believer in Spiritualism. He naturally sought the help of various mediums to see whether he could make contact with Uncle Tom in the spirit world. He was given some vague messages about rushing water. Whether this indicated drowning, either in a Derbyshire cave or at sea, who knows? However Uncle Tom died, I prefer to think of him and my great-grandfather enjoying their boyhood jaunts to Alderley Edge with their father, or indulging in boisterous evenings with his fellow-masons to ward off the tedium of colonial life.
May he rest in peace.
Sunday, 4 March 2007
A young woman in
She went down to the docks and was about to leap into the freezing water when a handsome young sailor saw her tottering on the edge of the pier, crying. He took pity on her and said, "Look, you have so much to live for. I'm off to
The girl nodded yes. After all, what did she have to lose?
Perhaps a fresh start in
That night, the sailor brought her aboard and hid her in a lifeboat. From then on, every night he brought her three sandwiches and a piece of fruit, and they made passionate love until dawn.
Two weeks later however, during a routine inspection, she was discovered by the Captain. "What are you doing here?" the Captain asked.
"I have an arrangement with one of the sailors," she explained. "I get food and a trip to
"He certainly is," the Captain replied. "This is the Woolwich Ferry."
Thursday, 1 March 2007
Her fiancé’s last shipboard job ended in
He wired his bride-to-be telling her he couldn't make it, and that they'd have to postpone the wedding. Her response was to say that they would not postpone anything – instead, she wangled a place on a troopship going back to
The husband got a job as a junior naval architect in the Halifax shipyard, but when the port was destroyed by the explosion of a munitions ship in December 1917 that job ceased to exist; their home was destroyed, and pretty much everyone they knew in Halifax died. Fortunately, they themselves were in
This story was told me by their grandson, who is a leading
I haven’t read any of these yet, but the tale of his grandmother’s transatlantic pursuit and the
Never try to keep up with the Joneses - drag them down to your level. It's cheaper.
It's no good running a pig farm badly for thirty years while saying, "Really I was meant to be a ballet dancer". By that time, pigs will be your style.
[Thanks to QUENTIN CRISP for the above]