The Bodyguard

This extract from The Venomous Bead’s blog caught my eye:


So it was that I found myself shadowed by a tiny man of over seventy years of age – the Costa Rican version of Cohen the Barbarian (which one?) – as I entered the Art Deco edifice of the Banco Nacional. Drawing my money I was about to sort out my bag at the table provided, watched over by security guards.

No, no, no!

I must put my card and money away at the cash point…who knew who might be watching!

But there are guards…

Guards! Where will they be if you are mugged on the doorstep…?

Queen Salote of Tonga

Prisoner and escort – we must have looked like the Queen of Tonga and her lunch – headed back to the central market.


via Virtue Rewarded, the Bodyguard’s Tale | The Venomous Bead

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Yikes, I’m not sure I’d dare venture out! Hmm, what’s the going price for a bodyguard nowadays?…

Paul Simon and Chevy Chase could tell you. I leave it to you to decide which one’s the Queen of Tonga!


How is British Humour Different?

Do you want the short answer, or have you got all day? The short answer is that the British laugh at the same things everyone else does. It’s only when you start to look at lists like Top 50 British Jokes that you begin to see that, while we laugh at anything and everything, we do have some preferences.

Pretty much top of the list is our love of language and the pleasure to be had from puns and plays on words.  The British love to say something that has a double meaning.Shakespeare is full of it...and puns, too!

But the British are far from being the only ones who love language. The trouble is that puns do not translate very well. The most subtle form of this type of humour depends on the listener understanding an obscure reference. However, it mustn’t be too obscure, or the humour is lost.

My favourite example comes Mandarin Chinese. A Chinese friend was teaching me to get the tones right, and I had just learned to say, ” I don’t understand” – ‘bu dung’ in Mandarin.

I then tried to get my tongue round the classic Chinese tongue twister, ‘four is four, ten is ten.’ For this to have any meaning at all, you have to get the tones right.

My teacher listened to my efforts and shook her head, making a sad face. In English, she said, “The frog jumps into the well.” I had no idea what she meant, so I trotted out my newly learnt phrase  – “Bu dung”.

She laughed in delight. “Exactly! That is the sound a frog makes when it jumps into the well – bu dung!”

There are thousands of examples of puns in English. Here are 10. How many do you know?

  1. My psychoanalyst says I have a preoccupation with vengeance. We’ll see about that.
  2. “What do you call a man with a plank on his head?” “Edward.”
  3. “What do you call a man with 3 planks on his head?” “Edward Woodward”.
  4. “What do you call a man with 4 planks on his head?” “I don’t know, but Edward Woodward would.”
  5. A boy asks his teacher, “Miss Thompson, can I have a cigarette?”  “Certainly not! Do you want to get me into trouble?” “If you like,” says the boy, ” but can I have a cigarette first?”
  6. We were talking about funerals and my mother-in-law said she wanted to be cremated. I said, “No problem! Get your coat.”
  7. “Waiter, what’s this?” ” It’s bean soup.” “I don’t care what its been. What is it now?”
  8. “What kind of pizza did Good King Wenceslas like?” “A deep pan, crisp and even.”
  9. “I bought a box of those animal biscuits.” “Were they nice?” “I don’t know. It said on the box ‘Don’t eat if the seal is broken.’ I opened the box,and would you believe it..!”
  10. And finally; Reports are coming in that an elephant has done the ton on the M1. Motorists are advised to use great caution and treat it as a roundabout.

Wine and Beer

Wine and beer we’ll drink without fear,

We’ll drink a success to The Innocent Hare. (Trad. song)


Our good friends Q and A meet about once a month to go for a meal. Today, we find them in Herman’s Hermitage, just next door to Hernando’s Hideaway in Norton Throssle.

(Should be somewhere like Horton Heath in Hampshire to keep the alliteration going. Ed.

Yes, but they never went there.

Well, they never went to Norton Throssle, either. You made it up!

Sound of keyboard being trashed. Other noises off)


A is checking out the snacks menu, while Q rhapsodises philosophically over the a la carte.


Q: A fine meal without wine is like a day without sunshine.

A. Yeah, but meat pie without beer is just bloody queer.


Freud:       An die andere Seite zu kommen. (Much laughter)

Hamlet: That is not the question.

Thomas de Torquemada: Give me ten minutes with the chicken and I’ll find out.

Jack Nicholson: ‘Cause it (censored) wanted to. That’s the (censored) reason.

Very practical answers, but for deeper meaning we must turn to:

Plato:    For the greater good.

Kafka:     Hardly the most urgent enquiry to make of a low-grade insurance clerk who woke up that morning as a hen.

Karl Marx: It was a historical inevitability.

Machiavelli: So that its subjects will view it with admiration, as a chicken which has the daring and courage to boldly cross the road, but also with fear, for whom among them has the strength to contend with such a paragon of avian virtue? In such a manner is the princely chicken’s dominion maintained.

Hippocrates: Because of an excess of light pink gooey stuff in its pancreas.

Jacques Derrida: Any number of contending discourses may be discovered within the act of the chicken crossing the road, and each interpretation is equally valid as the authorial intent can never be discerned, because structuralism is DEAD, DAMMIT, DEAD!

Nietzsche: Because if you gaze too long across the Road, the Road gazes also across you.

Timothy Leary: Because that’s the only kind of trip the Establishment would let it take.

Douglas Adams: Forty-two.

B.F. Skinner:         Because the external influences which had pervaded its sensorium from birth had caused it to develop in such a fashion that it would tend to cross roads, even while Jean-Paul Sarttebelieving these actions to be of its own free will.

Carl Jung:            The confluence of events in the cultural gestalt necessitated that individual chickens cross roads at this historical juncture, and therefore synchronicitously brought such occurrences into being.

Jean-Paul Sartre:     In order to act in good faith and be true to itself, the chicken found it necessary to cross the road.

Ludwig Wittgenstein:  The possibility of “crossing” was encoded into the objects “chicken” and “road”, and circumstances came  into being which caused the actualization of this potential occurrence.

Albert Einstein:      Whether the chicken crossed the road or the road crossed the chicken depends upon your frame of reference.

Aristotle:            To actualize its potential.

Buddha:               If you ask this question, you deny your own chicken-nature.

Howard Cosell:        It may very well have been one of the most astonishing events to grace the annals of history.  An historic unprecedented avian biped with the temerity to attempt such an herculean achievement formerly relegated to homo sapiens pedestrians is truly a remarkable occurence.

Salvador Dali:        The Fish.

Darwin:               It was the logical next step after coming down from the trees.

Emily Dickinson:      Because it could not stop for death.

Epicurus:             For fun.

Ralph Waldo Emerson:  It didn’t cross the road; it transcended it.

Johann von Goethe:    The eternal hen-principle made it do it.

Werner Heisenberg:    We are not sure which side of the road the chicken was on, but it was moving very fast.

David Hume:           Out of custom and habit.

Henry David Thoreau:  To live deliberately … and suck all the marrow out of life.

Ernest Hemingway:     To die. In the rain.

Pyrrho the Skeptic:   What road?

Mark Twain:           The news of its crossing has been greatly exaggerated.

Oliver North:         National Security was at stake.

Ronald Reagan:        I forget.

John Sununu:          The Air Force was only too happy to provide the transportation, so quite understandably the chicken availed himself of the opportunity.

The Sphinx:           You tell me.

Mr. T:                If you saw me coming you’d cross the road too!

Molly Yard:           It was a hen!

Zeno of Elea:         To prove it could never reach the other side.

Chaucer:              So priketh hem nature in hir corages.

Wordsworth:           To wander lonely as a cloud.

The Godfather:        I didn’t want its mother to see it like that.

Keats:                Philosophy will clip a chicken’s wings.

Blake:                To see heaven in a wild fowl.

Othello:              Jealousy.

Macbeth:              To have turned back were as tedious as to go o’er.

Dr Johnson:           Sir, had you known the Chicken for as long as I have, you would not so readily enquire, but feel rather the Need to resist such a public Display of your own lamentable and incorrigible Ignorance.

Mrs Thatcher:         This chicken’s not for turning.

Supreme Soviet:       There has never been a chicken in this photograph.

Oscar Wilde:          Why, indeed? One’s social engagements whilst in  town ought never expose one to such barbarous inconvenience – although, perhaps, if one must cross  road, one may do far worse than to cross it as the chicken in question.

Swift:                It is, of course, inevitable that such a loathsome, filth-ridden and degraded creature as Man should assume  to question the actions of one in all respects his superior.

Whitehead:            Clearly, having fallen victim to the fallacy of misplaced concreteness.

Donne:                It crosseth for thee.

Pope:                 It was mimicking my Lord Hervey.

Constable:            To get a better view.


Q and A

Q and A are a couple of friends of long standing. Their sense of reality becomes a little warped after The Second Pint (there should be a link to a song here, but I haven’t written it yet), and they have to keep warning each other,’Don’t Go Beyond The Handrail‘.  (Yeah, it’s another link. I’ve written the song but it’s not been published.[smiley face indicating wry acceptance of the vagaries of fate, with just a tinge of irony and a dash of sarcasm bitters for a full-bodied flavour  and no sunglasses- couldn’t find that one on my iPad] A truly hilarious incident,but you had to have been there to appreciate it. Helps if you had had more than 2 pints.)

NB. TEFL teachers -do not try sentences like this in class!

Q said,” What’s he  about?”
A said,” Who? ”
Q said, ” Him.”
A said, “Him?'”
Q said, ‘Yes!’
A said ‘So?’

Q said ,”Must be your round!”
A said ‘Who?’
Q said ‘You!’
A said ‘Me?’
Q said ‘Yes!’
A said ‘No!’

(With apologies to Robb WiltonBackanswers)

1947 And All That

According to Wikipedia, the Tanganyika Groundnut Scheme was a plan to cultivate tracts of what is now Tanzania with peanuts. It was a project of the British government.groundnuts It was abandoned in 1951 at considerable cost to the taxpayers when it did not become profitable. Ground nuts require at least 500 mm (20 inches) of rainfall per year; the area chosen was subject to drought.

This might give the impression that the British Government did not know what it was doing (perish the thought), but they knew what they were talking about, as this extract from the 1947 Order shows;

In the Nuts (underground)(other than ground-nuts) Order, the expression nuts shall have reference to such nuts, other than ground-nuts, as would but for this amending Order not qualify as nuts (underground)(other than ground-nuts) by reason of their being nuts (unground).

Are we all clear on that?

Kuebiko Drafts Scarecrow Charter

Kubiko in his Elvis avatar
Kubiko in his Elvis avatar
Scarecrows (Photo credit: MrGiles)

It is widely rumoured that Kuebiko, the Scarecrow God, is going to present a Scarecrow’s Charter at the Wilmslow Scarecrow Festival this Saturday. The charter is intended to protect the rights of scarecrows.

A first draft of the charter has been leaked, although apparently not by Edward Snowden,  and we are pleased to be able to produce it here;

Scarecrow’s Charter

Before starting work, employers must give scarecrows a Scare Order.

This sets out many of the terms and conditions of employment. However, scarecrows must still be given anti-bird protective equipment by their employer.

Trainees have different rights, eg they don’t get rattles or clappers.

A Scarecrow is someone who works in:

farming ,

growing produce including non-edible crops like bulbs, plants and flowers

forestry, market gardens and nurseries

maintaining meadow or pasture land, woodlands and reed beds

providing that they scare birds away.

This list doesn’t include everything. If you’re not sure if a job counts as work in scarecrow culture, call the Pay and Work Rights Helpline


A scarecrow’s grade is based on their skills and responsibilities

Grade 1 – initial grade

A grade 1scarecrowis usually known as a Mommet  and works on simple tasks like standing still in a field.

They have the right to be trained to become a grade 2 scarecrow, or Hodmedod, once they’ve stood in the same field continuously for 30 weeks.

Grade 2 – Lead Scarecrow or Hodmedod

Someone is a grade 2 scarecrow if they have at least 1 of the following:

  • a leg
  • their       own stick

Someone is also a grade 2 worker if they:

  • work mainly unsupervised
  • work with birds
  • use noise-making equipment
  • can recognise  a tractor

Grade 3 – Team Leader or Tattie Bogle

If someone has worked in the same field for at least 2 of the past 5 years, they’re a grade 3 worker if they have either:

  • got their original head
  • not been reconstructed more than 4      times due to loss of straw, decaying material, bird attack etc.

Someone is also a grade 3 worker if

  • they can spell ‘ team’ by using a      ouija board.
  • their employer thinks they are a      grade 3 team leader and has been certified as sane.

Grade 4 – crafty grade

Someone is a grade 4 worker if they are Worzel Gummidge.

Flexible workers

Flexible workers must be able to sway in the wind.

A full-time flexible worker works:

  • a 39 basic hour week – the hours can vary over different days, some      hours being longer than others.

For more information, go to

Funny men attractive to women but only those looking for a one night stand

Allegheny College's Ford Memorial Chapel - ‘ed...
Allegheny College’s Ford Memorial Chapel – ‘educational seminar’ (21 February 2013) …item 4.. Upcoming Sexuality Workshop — Friday, March 1, 2013 at Harvard University, School of Graduate Arts & Sciences. … (Photo credit: marsmet521)

This example of in-depth research is the key to finding the kind of men women want. Makes you think, doesn’t it? Do you suppose 40 Liberal Arts students would be more or less inclined to find funny things to do with chocolate and hairspray than 40 Psychology students?