The jokes page has become so huge that it takes a long time to load. So I have split it into 'Latest' and 'Archive'. What you see here are the 'Latest Jokes'. For the earlier ones, please click here.
Translations, lies and statistics
1. Harold Pinter's obsession with cricket ... could be particularly baffling to foreigners. In one German production of The Birthday Party his line: "Who watered the wicket at Melbourne?" was translated rather literally as: "Who pissed against the city gates at Melbourne?"
2. Enver Hoxha, Albania's late dictator: "Do not forget, together with the Chinese, Albanians make up one quarter of the world's population."
3. Once a British and a Russian diplomat had a "friendly" sporting contest. The Brit won. Back in Moscow this was reported as Russia coming second and Britain coming "next to last".
From the Financial Times
A Brussels sprout fetched 750 times its retail value when it was auctioned for charity. The sprout acquired cult status in Stockport when Tesco sent it to an online shopper - Howard Cooper - who inadvertently typed in a request for 0.01kg of Brussels instead of 0.1kg. Cooper duly received one tiny sprout, neatly bagged and priced at 1p, reports Charity News Alert (11 March). News of Tesco's ultra-efficiency sprouted far and wide, prompting Cooper to sell the vegetable on eBay, where it fetched £7.50 for Wellspring, a Stockport homelessness charity.
From The Times
Private Eye ...
... has a wonderful series called 'Dumb Britain'. It tells of the stupid answers given by contestants in TV and radio quiz shows. Here is a recent one:
Billy Butler: What was Hitler's first name?
TV's subtitles are produced by a computer using a phonetic algorithm. This sometimes makes for bizarre results. A neighbour tells me that when someone was "killed by meningitis" the subtitle read "killed by men in nighties". Scary!
From the FT
Jokes for July 2007
From the FT
Law of averages
"We bought a pair of trainers for our son ... On the box it states: 'Average contents 2'."
From a reader's letter in the FT.
The finest correction notice ever
From the FT on 10 March 2007:
The White House described the Democratic Iraq withdrawal proposals as being "aimed at bringing comity to their internal politics", not comedy as stated in an article on March 9. The word comedy was taken from the original White House transcript which was corrected after we had gone to press.
I've just remembered ...
... a joke I first heard when I was living in Paris 50 years ago. It goes:
Three French cats, named Un, Deux and Trois, went swimming.
Unfortunately Un, Deux, Trois cats sank.
Puzzle: find the joke
A serious piece in the FT the other day began: "Denial is not just a river in Egypt." It took me a moment to see that this was a joke.
... there's a new joke about dim rock group drummers.
Question: How does a drummer's braincell die?
Maybe I'm wrong, but I seem to remember the same joke decades ago about goalkeepers.
'A friend of mine's relative shot his father while grouse shooting. His family nickname from then on was Baghdad.'
[From a letter to the FT]
Evershot, centre of the UK
In one of the travel guides on the internet, the entry for Evershot includes a note headed "Popular Cities near Evershot". The cities are London, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Oxford, York, Nottingham, Belfast, Bristol and Liverpool.
A husband and wife were having a fine dining experience at their exclusive country club when this stunning young woman comes over to their table, gives the husband a big kiss, says she'll see him later and walks away.
His wife glares at him and says, "Who was that?!"
"Oh," replies the husband, "she's my mistress."
"Well that's the last straw," says the wife. "I've had enough, I want a divorce. I am going to hire the most aggressive, meanest divorce lawyer I can find and make your life miserable."
"I can understand that," replies her husband, "but remember, if we get a divorce it will mean no more wintering in Florida, or the Caribbean, no more summers in Tuscany, no more Bentleys in the garage, and no more country club, and we'll have to sell the 26-room house and move to two smaller homes, but the decision is yours."
Just then, a mutual friend enters the restaurant with a gorgeous young woman on his arm.
"Who's that with Jim?" asks the wife.
"That's his mistress," says her husband.
She replies, "Ours is prettier."
[From an Evershot website reader]
This could happen to a bank near you ...
(Bank call centres are under scrutiny after a newspaper inquiry revealed staff at an outsourced call centre in India were selling people's bank details.)
Thank you for calling BarcWestTSB bank. If you have a touch-tone phone please choose from one of the following options:
To make a withdrawal from your bank account, press 1.
To make a withdrawal from someone else's bank account, press 2.
If you have the details of someone else's bank account, but have forgotten their mother's maiden name, press 3.
If you need help with details of someone else's bank account, please hold and an operator will be with you shortly.
[From the FT]
Another adventure with Bill the aerial rigger
It's been a lovely summer's day. I went to investigate poor reception on a customer's 19E dish. The dish was in the garden on a short pole, surrounded by flowers and bushes. Just behind the dish was a loganberry plant. Now I really love loganberrys, so I kept popping one into my mouth. The poor reception was caused by a big plant with yellow flowers that had grown in front of the dish, so I unceremoniously hacked it down. I thought I'd better check the dish alignment as well, so I disconnected the LNB cable and connected the analyser. The 'f' plug was a bit corroded, so I decided to replace it. Then my phone rung. So that I could speak clearly I hastily swallowed the 'loganberry' I was holding in my lips -- but it was actually an 'f' plug! I realised just too late.
It didn't hurt going down, but will it hurt coming out? Down worry, I'll keep you informed.
Later I unthinkingly had a bowl of onion soup. Now onion soup has a disasterous effect on me. It makes me fart in a dramatic way. The sheer volume (in both senses) is astonishing. I'm wondering if the 'f' plug might be discharged with some velocity. I could end up on a manslaughter rap -- the first person to kill by shooting from the arse.
Dyer's Court in Beechwood Avenue, Woodley, is to be known as The Chestnuts - after town councillors decided it was not a very appropriate name for an old people's home.
[From the Reading Chronicle as reported in Private Eye.]
The latest joke in Europe: three locksmiths, a Pole, a Frenchman and a German, die and arrive at the Pearly Gates, where the lock needs fixing. The Pole says it will cost 600 euros. The Frenchman quotes 1000 euros. The German estimates 2600 euros. "2600 euros!" exclaims God. "How do you work that out?" "Simple," replies the German. "1000 euros for me, 1000 euros to keep France quiet, and 600 euros to pay the Pole to do the work."
[From the FT]
Bill the aerial rigger's diary
The message on the answerphone said that the picture on the kitchen TV set was black, but that the sound was OK. It was a neighbour, so I called on my way out to see what was up. I found that the TV set was unplugged from the mains, but the adjacent radio was plugged in and turned on.
[Bill has appeared in these pages before with hilarious stories of his encounters with members of the public in the north of England while trying to do his job as aerial rigger. He occasionally relates his adventures on a newsgroup on the internet.]
The Japanese are marketing a device that translates a dog's barks into English for the benefit of their owners, the FT reports. "It consists of a wireless microphone that fits on a dog collar and a device about the size of a walkie-talkie that analyses a bark and translates it into one of approximately 200 phrases." 250,000 have been sold in Japan, and the English-language version is apparently selling well in the US. It is called the Bow-Lingual and retails for $120. A European launch is planned for this year, so dog-owners here who have been wondering what their dogs really think of them can at last find out. Cat-owners (if one can actually own a cat) must wait for the Meow-Lingual currently under development.
Optician heal thyself!
The optician's department of Asda in Liverpool has a notice up:
"Contact lens patients should remember to bring their lenses with them or we will unable to see them."
[From The New Scientist]
Rowdy scenes outside Dublin Castle as protesters demanded that the new Irish EU presidency should fight to make Irish an official EU working language - even though you'd be hard pressed to find anyone actually speaking it.
In an attempt to appease the crowd, the rubicund Irish minister for Europe, Dick Roche, went out to speak to them in the Celtic tongue.
"They didn't understand what I was saying," says a bemused Roche. "But I understand their point - it's an emotional thing."
[From the FT]
The airplane ride
A man boarded an airplane and took his seat. As he settled in, he glanced up and saw an unusually beautiful woman boarding the plane. He soon realized she was heading straight toward his seating area.
Lo and behold, she took the seat right beside his. Eager to strike up a conversation, he blurted out, "Business trip or vacation?"
She turned, smiled and said, "Business, The Annual Sexual Education Convention in Chicago." He swallowed hard. Here was the most gorgeous woman he had ever seen, sitting next to him, and she was going to a meeting for sex education! Struggling to maintain his composure, he calmly asked, "What's your business role at this convention?"
"Lecturer," she responded. "I use my experience to debunk some of the popular myths about sexuality."
"Really," he said. "What myths are those?"
"Well," she explained. "One popular myth is that African-American men are the best endowed, when in fact, it's the Native American Indian who is most likely to possess that trait. Another popular myth is that French men are the best lovers, when actually it is the men of Jewish descent. We have, however, found that the best potential lover in all categories is the Southern Redneck." Suddenly, the woman became a little uncomfortable and blushed. "I'm sorry." she said. "I shouldn't really be discussing this with you. I don't even know your name."
"Tonto," the man said. "Tonto Goldstein. But all my friends call me 'Bubba'."
More trickery needed ...
From the FT
In the US, like everywhere else, you can buy artificial Christmas trees. But only in the US does one brand of tree give added realism: with each tree you get a packet of plastic pineneedles to scatter underneath.
Private Eye first with the news
According to Private Eye ...
Dept of Feckless Advice
A Reader's Digest reader sent in this tip: 'To stop your eyes from watering when chopping onions, put them in the freezer for 10 minutes beforehand."
From the New Scientist.
World Cup: fan reaction
From the FT the
day after the semifinals
problem at NHS bathtime
From The Guardian:
Sick or disabled men have suffered
bruising, and eye-watering, encounters with health or social services
that have sometimes needed firefighters to sort them out.
Patients have become so entangled with bath or shower seating equipment that their genitalia have become trapped in the drainholes. Now hospitals, social services directors and care homes in England have been sent official advice to check the quality of seats, following four incidents in the last three months.