Friday, October 31, 2008


If You Think My Preaching's Bad, Try My Jokes, David Pytches, Monarch Books, 2008.

I remember visiting both Churches-of-England in Chorleywood, an outer London suburb. One was pastored by a Bishop (Peru, Chile, Bolivia) whose theology was 'Charismatic'. The other church was Evangelical.

This collection of quips, jokes, and funny stories has been collected by David Pytches (how does one get a surname like that?) - the charismatic pastor. I don't remember anything funny happening the couple of times I spoke at the other church, except that some of my own jokes possibly fell flat among those serious people. (I take comfort in these situations from the old quatrain: Sometimes I wish I were Adam./ Whatever problems he may have had in days of yore,/When he cracked a joke no one could say,/ "I've heard that one before".)

Anyway, these are serious jokes, which don't, writes David in the Introduction, seriously offend. But within the first couple of dozen he's offended politicians, Australians, the French, the Irish - and even the English. (That's the one about two Englishmen on a desert island who don't talk to one another because they've not been introduced).

Possibly the easiest way for an Englishman to offend Australians is to re-hash the one attributed to the NZ PM David Lange (the Kiwis love it: I've heard it every time I've been there): 'When a reporter asked a former Prime Minister of New Zealand, David Lange, if he was concerned about the exodus of so many New Zealanders to Australia, the ex-PM responded, "Not at all. I think it's bound to raise the IQ of both countries".' And of course, there's also the one about the 'high standards of Australians [being] due to the fact that their ancestors were all hand-picked by the best English judges.'

The attempt to offend U.S. President George Bush (he doesn't say which one - presumably Dubya) - was with this wisecrack attributed to him: 'My opponent has a problem. He won't get elected unless things get worse - and things won't get worse unless he's elected.' (Aren't presidents lucky having cleverer speech-writers?).

Here's an oft-quoted one about committees: 'A committee is a group of people who individually can do nothing, but together decide that nothing can be done.'

I'm constantly amazed at the quick-wittedness of politicians like Winston Churchill (and our own R G Menzies). Here are two of the best from Churchill: 'He occasionally stumbles over the truth but he always hastily picks himself up and hurries on as if nothing had happened'; and '[Charles de Gaulle] looked like a female llama surprised in her bath'. And if you don't like a certain Irishman, you'll like this: 'If the word "No" was removed from the English language, Ian Paisley would be speechless'. (These days, fortunately, he makes speeches without using the word-comprising-the-middle-two-letters-of-the-alphabet).

There are some jokes - and a few clever allusions - to sex, which is apparently sometimes funny, even for the British. Like: 'The English have sex on the brain - which is a frightfully uncomfortable place to have it' (Malcolm Muggeridge).

I've collected - as of today - 4592 funny jokes and stories (see here and/or here), but many of David's I've never heard before. Buy this book for someone you're close to so that you can borrow it to read on holidays, then bore people with a few of them forever after.

Rowland Croucher

October 2008.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Obama Roasts McCain at Al Smith Dinner


The plan was to erect a decommisioned Tornado on a plinth as a memorial

Thursday, October 9, 2008


Once upon a time in a village, a man appeared and announced to the villagers that he would buy monkeys for $10 each. The villagers seeing that there were many monkeys around, went out to the forest, and started catching them. The man bought thousands at $10 and as supply started to diminish, the villagers stopped their effort. He further announced that he would now buy at $20. This renewed the efforts of the villagers and they started catching monkeys again.

Soon the supply diminished even further and people started going back to their farms. The offer increased to $25 each and the supply of monkeys became so little that it was an effort to even see a monkey, let alone catch it! The man now announced that he would buy monkeys at $50! However, since he had to go to the city on some business, his assistant would now buy on behalf of him. In the absence of the man, the assistant told the villagers.

"Look at all these monkeys in the big cage that the man has collected. I will sell them to you at $35 and when the man returns from the city, you can sell them to him for $50 each."

The villagers rounded up with all their savings and bought all the monkeys. Then they never saw the man, nor his assistant again, only monkeys everywhere!

Now you have a better understanding of how the stock market works. (Tony Scott, on