Archive for the ‘humour’ Category


Given all the fuss over Jetgate, Wetgate, Gardengate or whatever Gate is in vogue this week, I think our politicians need some help. Maybe they should start their own 12-step programme, although being the self-important, self-serving, egotists that most of them are, I imagine it would probably go something like this …

  1. We admitted we were powerless over the media – that our lives had become unmanageable.
  2. Came to believe that no power greater than Ourselves could restore us to sanity.
  3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Ourselves.
  4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of other people.
  5. Admitted to the Party, to the media, to the voters, and to any other dumb human being who will listen, the exact nature of our rights.
  6. Were entirely ready to have Spin Doctors remove any apparent defects of character.
  7. Humbly asked them to cover up our shortcomings.
  8. Made a list of all persons who had slighted us, and became willing to settle scores with them all.
  9. Made direct verbal attacks on such people wherever possible, except when there was no chance of media coverage.
  10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly lied about it.
  11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Ourselves, praying only for the knowledge needed to win the next election and the power to carry that out.
  12. Having achieved spiritual and moral bankruptcy and a complete loss of trust and credibility as the result of these steps, we still insisted on carrying this message to the voters and to impose these principles in all their affairs.

(With apologies to 12-step recovery programmes everywhere. You can find the real powerful stuff here.)

‘Tis the night before Christmas …

Posted: December 24, 2012 in humour
Tags: ,

Tonight will almost certainly be the last time I have to drink a glass of milk, eat a cookie (being careful to carelessly scatter a few crumbs around) and take a reindeer-size bite out of a carrot before going to bed on Christmas Eve. Not to mention faking the traditional ‘thank you’ letter from Santa and Rudolph, and leaving some telltale boot prints around the fireplace.

The last of our kids is now 10 and while he desperately still wants to believe, rational thought and peer pressure are taking their toll. It’s that awkward stage where kids want to know so they aren’t made fun of by the Santa-savvy spoilsports at school, but at the same time don’t want to know, fearful perhaps that all the magic of Christmas will suddenly disappear along with the gifts from Santa. And they must be from him because they are always mysteriously wrapped in different paper from the presents from Mummy and Daddy and the gift tags are in different writing (almost as if Dad wrote them left-handed, in fact …).

Every year the questions about how Santa manages to deliver all the world’s presents in one night get trickier to answer. Once the sheer wonder of flying reindeer has passed, it’s not long before you’re being peppered with time and motion studies, logistical questions and the dubious practice of space travel in a red furry suit with no oxygen helmet. By age 7, they realise the whole concept of flying reindeer is definitely a little suspect.

The pressure of keeping up this charade year after year is now so great, it was almost a relief when my son folded his arms and looked me firmly in the eye and said: “Dad, honestly. Is Santa real or not? Yes or no.” I, of course, looked firmly back, father-to-son and … didn’t have the heart to give a straight answer. I waffled something about it being like God; that just because you can’t see him  doesn’t mean you can’t believe.

We both know the game’s up, really.  My son isn’t stupid and so for now he’s willing to play along with the whole ‘Santa won’t bring you the new JumboFXPlayStationNerfo system if you don’t eat your veggies/do your music practice/homework’ nonsense if it prolongs the magic of Christmas stories and movies a bit longer.

Maybe we both just want to hang on to that last shred of childhood innocence as long as possible. After all, it may be a while before grandchildren come around.

But for now the magic still remains. ‘Tis the night before Christmas and all through our house waft the wonderful smells of Christmas baking and the tree is sparkling with lights. The stockings are hung and you can feel a child’s anticipation and excitement. Why wouldn’t you want to still believe?

Good night to all and to all a good night! Merry Christmas everyone!

A whiff of nostalgia

Posted: January 17, 2011 in humour, miscellany
Tags: , ,

As an expat, one of the things I miss about England is the pubs. Even as a recovering alcoholic of some years’ standing (as opposed to being horizontally comatose somewhere) I love the craic and the bonhomie of a good local which you rarely find outside Blighty. But then I could just be being nostalgic about that peculiarly English trait of nostalgia, as the food critic AA Gill (also a born-again non-drinker) evokes so perfectly in a piece about an Oxfordshire pub in this week’s Sunday Times:

Pubs are my personal past imperfect, but they’re also redolent of the national nostalgia. Pubs are the votive archive of Englishness, with their feudal names of landed aristocracy and plodding occupations, their bosky and mawkish decoration — the fading pictures; the horse brasses; the engraved glass; the tack of defunct crafts suicidally hung from rafters; those greening photos of cricket teams and charabancs; darts trophies; the autistically blinking jukebox, with We Are the Champions and My Way; the witty mottoes; the damp beer mats and the smell of sour lees and urinal disinfectant. Pub is such a strong brand: so plainly and coarsely us. The boxed, yeasty essence of Blighty. They are the living rooms of the poor, the snugs for the lonely, the dispossessed, the nagged and cheated, and confessionals for the great, whingeing, halitosised British boor.

I spent a great deal of the first half of my life in the mud of pubs, watching the motes fall through mullioned sunlight at 11 o’clock in the morning. The silent scream of boredom and despair, the fantasies fending off the fanfare of failure. The first sour mouth of beer, redolent of armpit and vomit, the warm tabloids neatly folded to crosswords and racing at Lingfield. The shuddering regulars, laying out their spots at the bar, like an office desk, two packets of Senior Service, lighter, ashtray, cloudy spectacles, Telegraph, pen, and the haltering, dumb non sequitur conversation delivered at the optics; a web of mutual delusion and self-pity, pathetic expectations and excuses. Now, when I walk into a pub, I can still hear the phlegmy snigger, the creaking whisper: “So you’re back, are you? We’ve kept a seat for you.”