BACK TO PAGE TWENTY-TWO
COFFEEHOUSE CULTURE -- Issue 2
PAGE TWENTY-ONE; FEATURETTES, BOXES & SHORTS
PUN-ISHMENTS No 1
Two Eskimos sitting in a kayak were chilly; but when they lit a fire in the craft, it sank, proving once and for all that you can't have your kayak and heat it too.
PUN-ISHMENTS No 2
Two boll weevils grew up in Cornwall. One went to Hollywood and became a famous actor. The other stayed behind drove a tractor and never amounted to much. The second one, naturally, became known as the lesser of two weevils.
PUN-ISHMENTS No 3
There were three legionnaires walking through the desert under a baking sun. They were fully equipped with enough water for days, and had food aplenty. On the shimmering horizon mirages came and went and came again, visions of swimming pools attended by dusky maidens, stalls full of ice-cream, sorbets, freshly-whipped smoothies of every conceivable flavour. But all to no avail, as the legionnaires did not crack, but kept marching solidly on.
...Suddenly one of them froze, "Psssst" said he.
...His companions halted, and strained their eyes to where the first legionnaire was pointing.
..."Le voila", said he, "Regardez, mes amis, isn't zat a bacon tree on ze 'orizon?"
...And sure enough, there it stood, proud and defiant in the middle of the desert, a true bacon tree. Slowly they crept forward towards the mystery object far off, inch by inch, centimetre by centimetre, until they were within a stone's throw of the bacon tree. Even nearer they crept, and suddenly, a shot rang out, dropping one of the legionnaires in his tracks. The other legionnaires hit the ground as bullets thudded into the sand around them. The other two returned fire, and gave first aid to their wounded companion. Even as they bandaged him, and poured water over his face, they could hear his faint voice:
..."Zat was no bacon tree," he gasped, "Zat was an 'am bush."
GRIEVIOUS BODILY KARMA
Not all misfortunes end in death. Some merely end in pain and injury. So it could be worse. Karma is something you just cant beat.
...With his wife busy in the kitchen a Californian man was working on his motorcycle on his patio. He was racing the engine of the bike when it accidentally slipped into gear. Making an instinctive grab for the bike, the man was dragged through the glass patio doors and ended up a crumpled and bloody heap in the middle of the parquet flooring.
...Hearing the crash, his wife ran into the dining room to find her husband lying on the floor with the leaking the motorcycle lying next to him. Cut and bleeding he was surrounded by the shattered patio doors. The wife ran to the phone and summoned the ambulance.
...As they lived on a large hill, the house was approached up several flights of steps and getting the stretcher and injured man down to the ambulance was not easy. Having seen her husband -- who was clearly not badly hurt -- on his way to the hospital the wife returned to the flat where she righted the motorcycle and wheeled it outside. Noticing that the bike had leaked gasoline onto the floor, she got some paper towels to blot up the gas. When she had done, she threw the towels down the toilet.
...The man was treated for minor cuts and bruises and released from the hospital. Arriving home, he looked at the shattered patio doors and the damage done to his motorcycle and he became despondent and depressed. Retiring to the bathroom he sat down on the toilet and smoked a cigarette. After finishing the cigarette, he flipped it between his legs into the toilet bowl.
...Again in the ktichen, his wife heard the loud explosion and her husband screaming and came running. Entering the bathroom she found her husband lying on the floor. His trousers had been blown away and he was suffering burns on the buttocks, the back of his legs, and his groin.
...Again she ran to the phone to call the ambulance. The very same paramedic crew that had collected her husband after the first accident turned up again. The paramedics loaded the husband onto the stretcher and began carrying him to the street with his wife by his side. On the way down the steps to the street, one of the paramedics asked the wife how her husband had burned himself. When she told them,the paramedics started laughing so hard, one of them slipped and tipped the stretcher, dumping the husband out. He fell down the remaining stairs and broke his arm.
...It is those small domestic mistakes that cost us so much. Consider the tale of the woman who came home to find her husband in the kitchen, shaking frantically with what looked like a wire running from his waist towards the electric kettle. Intending to jolt him away from the deadly current she whacked him with a handy plank of wood, breaking his arm in two places. Until that moment he had been happily listening to his Walkman
...Finally, a cautionary tale for all women. A psychology student in New York rented out her spare room to a carpenter in order to nag him constantly so that she could study his reactions. After weeks of needling, he snapped and beat her with an axe leaving her mentally retarded.
INTRODUCING A REVOLUTIONARY BREAKTHOUGH
IN NEW TECHNOLOGY
The Bio-Optic Organized Knowledge device -- or 'BOOK'® -- is a revolutionary breakthrough in technology: no wires, no electric circuits, no batteries, nothing to be connected or switched on. It's so easy to use, even a child can operate it! Compact and portable, it can be used anywhere - even sitting in an armchair by the fire - yet it is powerful enough to hold as much information as a CD-ROM disc.
Here's how it works: BOOK® is constructed of sequentially numbered sheets of paper (recyclable), each capable of holding thousands of bits of information. The pages are locked together with a custom-fit device called a binder which keeps the sheets in their correct sequence. Opaque Paper Technology (OPT) ® allows manufacturers to use both sides of the sheet, doubling the information density and cutting costs. Experts are divided on the prospects for further increases in information density; for now, BOOKS with more information simply use more pages. Each sheet is scanned optically, registering information directly into your brain. A flick of the finger takes you to the next sheet. BOOK® may be taken up at any time and used merely by opening it. BOOK® never crashes or requires rebooting, though, like other devices, it can become damaged if coffee is spilled on it and it may become unusable if dropped into water or banged too many times on a hard surface. The "browse" feature allows you to move instantly to any sheet, and move forwards or backwards as you wish. Many BOOKS come with an "index" feature, which pinpoints the exact location of any selected information for instant retrieval.
An optional 'BOOKmark' ®accessory allows you to open BOOK® to the exact place you left it in a previous session - even if BOOK® has been closed. BOOKmarks fit universal design standards; thus, a single BOOKmark® can be used in BOOKs by various manufacturers. Conversely, numerous BOOKmarks can be used in a single BOOK® if the user wants to store numerous views at once. The number is limited only by the number of pages in the BOOK®.
You can also make personal notes next to BOOK® text entries with the optional programming tool, the Portable Eraseable Nib Cryptic Intercommunication Language Styli® (PENCILS®).
Portable, durable, and affordable, BOOK® is being hailed as a precursor of a new entertainment wave. BOOK®'s appeal seems so certain that thousands of content creators have committed to the platform and investors are reportedly flocking to invest. Look for a flood of new titles soon.
THEIR FATE WAS SEALED
It is not just people who suffer from Mother Natures merciless sense of humour. The average cost of rehabilitating a seal after the Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska was $80,000. At a special ceremony, two of the most expensively saved animals were released back into the wild amid cheers and applause from onlookers. A minute later, in full view of the crowd, a killer whale ate them both.
TIPPING THE SCALES
the best Bush/Gore joke
At a press conference today, Tipper Gore announced that she's going back on the campaign trail with her husband, former Vice President Al Gore.
"To prepare myself," she said, "I have shaved off all of my pubic hair. From now until the election, I shall sit on the stage with the former Vice President and may occasionally flash the audience. This will send a very strong message to America."
"And, what is that message?" asked aston-ished reporters at this rather startling announcement.
To which Tipper replied: "Read my lips -- no more Bush."
POISE AND PEN No. 1
The letter below is said to be a real one, written to a screwball in Charleston, Carolina, called Scott Williams. Mr Williams is an amateur archaeologist who digs things up in his backyard, labels them with scientific names and then sends them to the Smithonian Institute as archaeological finds.
207 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, DC 20078
Dear Mr. Williams,
..............................Thank you for your latest sub-mission to the Institute, labeled "3211-D, layer seven, next to the clothesline post...Hominid skull." We have given this specimen a careful and detailed examination, and regret to inform you that we disagree with your theory that it represents conclusive proof of the presence of Early Man in Charleston County two million years ago. Rather, it appears that what you have found is the head of a Barbie doll, of the variety that one of our staff, who has small children, believes to be "Malibu Barbie." It is evident that you have given a great deal of thought to the analysis of this specimen, and you may be quite certain that those of us who are familiar with your prior work in the field were loathe to come to contradiction with your findings. However, we do feel that there are a number of physical attributes of the specimen which might have tipped you off to its modern origin:
...1. The material is molded plastic. Ancient hominid remains are typically fossilized bone.
...2. The cranial capacity of the specimen is approximately 9 cubic centimeters, well below the threshold of even the earliest identified proto-homonids.
..3. The dentition pattern evident on the skull is more consistent with the common domesticated dog than it is with the ravenous man-eating Pliocene clams you speculate roamed the wetlands during that time.
...This latter finding is certainly one of the most intriguing hypotheses you have submitted in your history with this institution, but the evidence seems to weigh rather heavily against it. Without going into too much detail, let us say that:
...A. The specimen looks like the head of a Barbie doll that a dog has chewed on.
...B. Clams don't have teeth.
...It is with feelings tinged with melancholy that we must deny your request to have the specimen carbon-dated. This is partially due to the heavy load our lab must bear in its normal operation, and partly due to carbon-dating's notorious inaccuracy in fossils of recent geologic record. To the best of our knowledge, no Barbie dolls were produced prior to 1956 AD, therefore carbon-dating is likely to produce wildly inaccurate results.
...Sadly, we must also deny your request that we approach the National Science Foundation Phylogeny department with the concept of assigning your specimen the scientific name Australopithecus Spiff-Arino. Speaking personally, I for one, fought tenaciously for the acceptance of your proposed taxonomy, but was ultimately voted down because the species name you selected was hyphenated, and didn't really sound like it might be Latin. However, we gladly accept your generous donation of this fascinating specimen to the museum. While it is undoubtedly not a Hominid fossil, it is, nonetheless, yet another riveting example of the great body of work you seem to accumulate here so effortlessly. You should know that our Director has reserved a special shelf in his own office for the display of the specimens you have previously submitted to the Institution, and the entire staff speculates daily on what you will happen upon next in your digs at the site you have discovered in your Newport back yard.
...We eagerly anticipate your trip to our nation's capital that you proposed in your last letter, and several of us are pressing the Director to pay for it. We are particularly interested in hearing you expand on your theories surrounding the "trans-positating fillifitation of ferrous ions in a structural matrix" that makes the excellent juvenile Tyrannosaurus rex femur you recently discovered take on the deceptive appearance of a rusty 9-mm Sears Craftsman automotive crescent wrench.
Yours in Science,
POISE AND PEN No. 2
This is a genuine letter which appeared in the the UKs Bristol Evening News in early July, 2000. It follows and comments on a demonstration protesting about global economics that degenerated into a riot.The demo took place around the Houses of Parliament in June 2000.
...............It has long been my belief that you should only be allowed to protest in public if you pay income tax. And you should only be allowed to vote at the ballot box if you own property. Sensible policies, both. And tested in time, too. If only Mr. Blair had thought to bring about these simple changes in the law, he would have avoided last week's double embarrassment of Red Ken's election and the rioting soap-dodgers. Perhaps it's me, but could someone explain why people who campaign for animal rights would throw bottles at police horses? Or why Friends of the Earth supporters would want to dig up the grass in a perfectly adequate London square? Or why anti-capitalists thought nicking the till out of a burger bar was a political statement? Or why campaigners for freedom would desecrate a shrine to the very people who fought and died for that freedom? What a bunch of immature, selfish, hypocritical idiots.
...Bring down the State? Better not, Tarquin. The State provides your giro and your housing benefit, you work-shy moron. What would you do without that little green cheque every other Thursday? Somebody has to pay for the extra-strong cider and multiple nose piercings. It makes me sick. If a bunch of football fans had pulled a stunt like that, they'd have been banged up before you could say CS gas. But this gang of middle-class warriors was allowed to deface national monuments while the police looked on. Mind you, Winston Churchill with a green Mohican haircut would have scared the wotsername out of Adolph Hitler.
...My comments on the moral values of travelers (in an earlier letter to the newspaper) seem to have ruffled a few feathers amongst the bleeding-heart Lefties who live like leeches on the publicly-funded fat of our society. One enraged correspondent (it must have been his turn to have the crayons this week) accuses me of using "intemperate and exaggerated language", says people like me should be exterminated and then likens me to Adolf Hitler. Pot, kettle, black, old pal. Another wailing Willy, who was obviously off sick the day they did irony at school, challenges me to produce hard evidence to support my claim that gypsies steal babies. Evidence? Of course there's no evidence. It's all covered up by a conspiracy of Masonic magist-rates, policemen and politicians, aided and abetted by a secret sect of corrupt district nurses. Somewhere in Essex there's a warehouse full of stolen babies. They're brought up by retired lap dancers and then they go off to be prison officers. Stick that in your meat-free pipe and smoke it, you monument of mediocrity. My final correspondent (green ink, pressed down VERY HARD so that it comes through the back of the white weave Basildon Bond) argues that travelers are people too and have the right to live just as they want.Half right, mate. Travelers have the right to live as they want as long as they abide by the rules that bind the rest of us. That means paying road tax, paying council tax and buying a television license. It means paying for a plot of land on which to live, and paying income tax on the proceeds of patching up all those dodgy driveways. It means obeying the law, rather than laughing at it. And the sooner the hand-wringing apologists on most councils realise this, the better.
...My doctor has forbidden me to read The Guardian on the grounds that it does terrible things to my blood pressure, but I sneaked a look last week to see the following: "Burglars are people. For the most part, young people, even teenagers. From their point of view burglary must be fun as well as a way of making a few quid." Fun? Fun? What are they on? What a bunch of lily-livered, social-working, leather-elbowed windbags. Fun? Just ask an old lady who's been terrorised, had her last few possessions stolen and who now lives in permanent fear. Fun? Just ask anyone who has to pay sky-high insurance premiums because the cops would rather catch drivers eating Kit Kats than tattooed scrotes running off with your video recorder. I'll give them fun, these poor lambs. Any sticky-fingered yobbo coming within a hundred yards of Beelzebub Mansions will get to play a game currently popular amongst country dwellers. It's called Reasonable Force and involves a teenage thief, a baseball bat and a number five iron.
Mr Beelzebubs fine letter is followed by a revealing comment from the editor. It reads:
The views of Mr. Beelzebub are purely personal and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Editor or staff of this newspaper, or anyone who thinks our new cabinet-style council will result in more openness, or anyone who thinks Jez Quigley is hard, or of the snotty-nosed schoolboy in the back of the Volvo estate who stuck two fingers up at me this morning. Your dad's phone number was painted on the side, sonny. And I'm ringing him tonight.
...Guesses as to the real identity of Mr Beelzebub and/or the Editor of the Bristol Evening News on a postcard, please, to: The Bristol Evening News, Bristol, UK.