Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Tim Vine? Are you having a laugh?

Tim Vine
Tim Vine is not, perhaps, the most well known talent. His brother Jeremy Vine is much more of a household name. Tim is a stand-up comedian with an extraordinary ability for one liners. In fact he holds the record for the most jokes told in an hour (499). I heard of him first just the other day when some of his creations were read out on the Radio 4 programme “Quote - Unquote”. There are lots dotted around the internet.

I suppose it’s all a matter of taste, but they are instantly funny, quick quips which appeal to children as much as adults and are charmingly old fashioned and innocent. Many people compare the humour with that of Tommy Cooper. I think they are wonderful!

So, here are some I’ve collected (an entirely cut and paste job!)

Beware of Alphabet Grenades… if you throw them, it could spell disaster!

My mate said to me: “Can you tell me what you call someone who comes from Corsica?” I said: “Cors-i-can”!

When it comes to cosmetic surgery… a lot of people turn their noses up.

So I saw this Scotsman and I asked him if he had spots when he was younger. He replied “Achh-neeee”.

One arm butlers – they can take it but they can’t dish it out…

I used go out with an anaesthetist – she was a local girl…

I had a dream last night that I was cutting carrotts with the Grim Reaper… dicing with death!

I was walking down the road the other day and I saw this advert in the window that said “Television for Sale – £1- Volume Stuck On Full”. I thought: “I can’t turn that down”.

A friend of mine always wanted to be run over by a steam train. When it happened, he was chuffed to bits!

So I went to the record shop and I said “What have you got by The Doors?” He said: “A bucket of sand and a fire blanket!”

What do you call a lady with big teeth that sleeps in the afternoon? Siesta Rantzen.

Albinos – you can’t say fairer than that!

(Holding up a notice which says “Future Events”) Tim Vine: “Well, there’s a sign of things to come!”

My mate bet with me that I’d never eat at a barbecque with Matthew Corbett – I said, that’s a Sweep-Stake!

I wanted to be a milkman, right - but I didn't have the bottle!!

I've played football on a plane you know....there I was, running up the wing!!!

Black beauty, now there's a dark horse!!!

So I went into this video shop, and the man asked if I'd like to rent Batman Forever - I said 'No...just for 2 hours!!!!!!'

This man pushed me into a bag of peanuts, so I told the police - they asked me if I was assaulted - I said 'No - dry roasted!!!'

I went to the butchers the other day and the butcher said 'I bet you £5 you can't guess the weight of that meat on the top shelf'. ' I'm not gambing!' I said, 'The steaks are too high!!!!!!'

I was in a Chinese restaurant when a duck came up to me with a rose and
said: 'Your eyes sparkle like the stars'. So I said to the waiter: 'Excuse me, I ordered aromatic duck!!!!!!'

I threw some snow at my girlfriend. She didn't catch my drift.

Did you hear Handel has teamed up with Hinge and Bracket? They've formed The Doors!!!!!

I was taking the motorway out of London. A policeman pulled me over and said: 'Put it back'

I've got a friend who's fallen in love with two schoolbags - he's bisatchel!!!!

A man came up to me and cut the bottom of my trouser leg off and send it to the library. So that was a turn-up for the books.

You know how most barbers' chairs go up and down? Well this one went from side to side. The barber turned to me and said: 'Mr. Vine, get out of the filing cabinet.'

I've got a sponge door....don't knock it.

I've got an auntie, Auntie Aircraft Gun. That woman don't half give me a load of flak.

So I took my dog for a walk and it was really angry - well it would be it's a cross breed!!

I tell you what is close to my heart at the moment. My left lung."

I had a cat called Minton who swallowed a shuttlecock. I said 'Bad Minton!'

I saw a bargain the other day, a TV set for £1. Only problem was the volume
control which was stuck on full. Come on, how can you turn that down?

I used to go shoplifting on the shoulders of a load of vampires. Then I got caught and charged with burglary on three counts!

So I went to Buckingham Palace to cut Prince William's hair. I said to the policeman, 'Can you let me in to the car park, I'm here to cut Prince William's hair?' The policeman said 'Have you got a permit?' - I said, 'No, just a bit off the back!!!!'

I was driving down the motorway and someone rang me up on my mobile to say that I'd been promoted to a director. I was in such a shock that I skidded to the left. Later, they rang back and said that I was now the managing director, so I veered the car to the right. Finally, they rang up and said that I was the chairman, and I drove right into the hard shoulder. Yes, I'd careered off the road!!!

I’ve got a friend who has got a butler whose left arm is missing – serves him right.

I was in the army once and the Sergeant said to me: “What does surrender mean?” I said: “I give up!”

One of my squaddies in my army came up to my bunk bed the other day and had a hairdryer against my duvet, I said: “Don’t blow my cover”

I was looking for the directions for Radio 1 in London, and a guy pointed me in the direction of the building. I said: “That’s not a building, thats a cloud!” He said: “Down a bit…”

I have spent the afternoon re-arranging the furniture in Draculas house… I was doing a bit of Fang-Shui

I want to tell you a bit about myself.. I’m a very quiet and secretive person, and that’s it really.

So I took my dog for a walk and it was really angry -
well it would be it's a cross breed!!

So I said to my Mum 'I'm going to the funfair' -
she said 'Oooooh will you go on the Ghost train?' - I said 'No, I'll walk'

So I went to Buckingham Palace to cut Prince William's hair. I said to the policeman,
'Can you let me in to the car park, I'm here to cut Prince William's hair?'
The policeman said 'Have you got a permit?' - I said, 'No, just a bit off the back!!!!'

Three cheers for rap music!
Hip Hop!

A guy walks into the psychiatrist wearing only cling-film for shorts. The shrink says, 'Well, I can clearly see you're nuts'.

The other day someone left a piece of plasticine in my dressing room. I didn't know what to make of it.

Two blokes walk into a building..........you'd think at least one of them would have seen it.

My friend drowned in a bowl of muesli. A strong currant pulled him in.

A man came round in hospital after a serious accident.
He shouted,'Doctor, doctor, I can't feel my legs!
The doctor replied, 'I know you can't, I've cut your arms off'.

Police arrested two kids yesterday.
One was drinking battery acid and the other was eating fireworks.
They charged one and let the other one off.

A man walked into the doctors, he said, 'I've hurt my arm in
several places'
The doctor said, 'Well don't go there anymore'.

Velcro. What a rip-off!

I don't make jokes about the spanish.. No way Jose!

I went to Millets and said 'I want to buy a tent.' He said 'To camp?', I said [butchly] 'Sorry, I want to buy a tent.' I said 'I also want to buy a caravan.' He said 'Camper?' I said [campily] 'Make your mind up.'

Now you know those trick candles that you blow out and a couple of seconds
later they come alight again, well the other day there was a fire at the
factory that makes them. The fire brigade have tried everything.

So I met this gangster who pulls up the back of people's pants, it was Weggie Kray.

But I'm in great mood tonight because the other day I entered a competition
and I won a years supply of Marmite......... one jar.

When I was at school people used to throw gold bars at me. I was the victim of bullion.

So I went to the doctor and he said, 'You've got hypochondria.' I said, 'Not that as well!'

I used to live in a teapot. I know what you're thinking 'Pour You'

Advent Calendars? Their days are numbered.

I was playing the piano in a bar and this elephant walked in and started crying his heart out. I said 'Do you recognise the tune?' He said 'No, I recognise the ivory'.

I met this bloke with a didgeridoo and he was playing Dancing Queen on it. I thought, 'That's Aboriginal.'

This lorry full of tortoises collided with a van full of terrapins. It was a turtle disaster.

I told my girlfriend I had a job in a bowling alley. She said 'Tenpin?' I said, 'No, permanent.'

I went in to a pet shop. I said, 'Can I buy a goldfish?' The guy said, 'Do you want an aquarium?' I said, 'I don't care what star sign it is.'

I went to buy a watch, and the man in the shop said 'Analogue.' I said 'No, just a watch.'

I met the bloke who invented crosswords today. I can't remember his name, its P something T something R.

I was reading this book today, The History of Glue. I couldn't put it down.

I phoned the local ramblers club today, but the bloke who answered just went on and on.

The recruitment consultant asked me 'What do you think of voluntary work? I said 'I wouldn't do it if you paid me.'

I was in the jungle and there was this monkey with a tin opener. I said, 'You don't need a tin opener to peel a banana.' He said, 'No, this is for the custard.'

This policeman came up to me with a pencil and a piece of very thin paper. He said, 'I want you to trace someone for me.’

I told my mum that I'd opened a theatre. She said, 'Are you having me on?' I said, 'Well I'll give you an audition, but I'm not promising you anything.'

I phoned the local builders today; I said to them 'Can I have a skip outside my house?' He said, 'I'm not stopping you!'

This cowboy walks in to a German car showroom and he says 'Audi!'

I fancied a game of darts with my mate. He said, 'Nearest the bull goes first' He went 'Baah' and I went 'Moo' He said 'You're closest'

I was driving up the motorway and my boss phoned me and he told me I'd been promoted. I was so shocked I swerved the car. He phoned me again to say I'd been promoted even higher and I swerved again. He then made me managing director and I went right off into a tree. The police came and asked me what had happened. I said 'I careered off the road'

I visited the offices of the RSPCA today. It's tiny: you couldn't swing a cat in there.

I was stealing things in the supermarket today while balanced on the shoulders of a couple of vampires. I was charged with shoplifting on two counts.

I bought a train ticket to France and the ticket seller said 'Eurostar' I said 'Well I've been on telly but I'm no Dean Martin.

I phoned the local gym and I asked if they could teach me how to do the splits. He said, 'How flexible are you?' I said, 'I can't make Tuesdays or Thursdays.'

I went to the local video shop and I said, 'Can I borrow Batman Forever?' He said, 'No, you'll have to bring it back tomorrow'

A waiter asks a man, 'May I take your order, sir?' 'Yes,' the man replies. 'I'm just wondering, exactly how do you prepare your chickens?' 'Nothing special, sir. We just tell them straight out that they're going to die.'

I slept like a log last night. I woke up in the fireplace!

I phoned the Football League and said I was interested in running a Sheffield based football team. They said, 'How flexible are you?' I said, 'I can't manage Wednesday.'

Friday, July 09, 2010

A letter to the Tablet, 23rd July 1870

Here follows the text of a letter written by the first Parish Priest of Hanley, Fr William Molloy to the Tablet, almost exactly one hundred and forty years ago. Fr Molloy was Parish Priest from the creation of the Parish in 1860, until his death in 1890. His great Gothic Church (mentioned below) was opened in 1891, a year after his death.

Hanley, Staffordshire
I have appealed now and again during the last ten years for help to carry on the work of this new and struggling Mission. Some have replied generously, some stingily and some not at aIl. 
By the timely aid of the former we were enabled to build a serviceable chapel and good large school. The daily attendance of the children is over three hundred. The boys' and girls' schools are separate, and taught by certificated teachers. Both the chapel and the schools are daily growing too small for us; or perhaps I should say, the population is growing too large for them. And I am sure what will shock you a great deal is that, up to the present time, the priests of Hanley have had no house to live in. 
We have now, I am happy to say, purchased about an acre of land not more than five minutes' walk from the centre of the town. The purchase money was £900. This we have paid to the last farthing. All this you hare enabled me to do by your generosity. 
I make this public statement; first, because people like to see what is done with their money; and, secondly, because I am going to ask you to advance me a little more in the same good cause, if you think I have administered your former trust fairly and honourably. 
And now allow me to tell you to what purposes this piece of ground is to be applied, with the approbation of our venerable Bishop. I intend building first a large, well proportioned presbytery; in fact, the work is already begun from drawings by E. W. Pugin, Esq., and is to cost £980; secondly, a large school chapel, to be used hereafter entirely as a school, when sufficient means are found to build our intended Gothic Church: thirdly, a convent of teaching and edifying nuns. 
Behold, my dear, generous friends, my scheme of good intentions! 
But how are they to be realised? I have the ground, and that is all. I may safely say I have not £50 towards the buildings already alluded to. What then is to be done? 
Why just this: put all the old, brassy beggars who are always before the world, aside for a few months and adopt me. Send me a few pounds or shillings, or even a few substantial prizes for my coming bazaar and drawing, to be held in November in this town. No one will be the worse or the poorer. 
And Hanley will bid fair to be in religion, as she is in trade and population, the capital of the Potteries. 
Yours, etc, 

William Molloy

Lies, damned lies ... and evidence

The following is the original of a short article published in the Staffordshire Sentinel on Wednesday 7th July 2010. You can read the published version here.  

There are lies, damned lies, and ... evidence.

No, that’s not the real quote from Oscar Wilde, but it might as well be.

Some recent research looked into people’s opinions and how they were affected by hard, solid evidence.

Two groups with strongly opposing views - the chosen topic was the death penalty - were presented with articles which claimed to show solid evidence that refuted their point of view.

Now, you might have thought that those surveyed would have reconsidered their ideas.

Actually, the researchers discovered the opposite. Far from being shaken in their views, the test groups were more likely to disbelieve the evidence. They hunted for flaws in the articles, weaknesses in the argumentation.

We shouldn’t be surprised. We know very well in our own conversations that strong evidence always has a hard time when up against a strongly held view.

Sometimes we call this prejudice - judging before we have the facts - though this is too simple. People hold to the same views even after they have the facts.

And if we come across this in our daily lives, we see it in public life too.

The last government made a big fuss about ‘evidence based policy’. No longer, it was argued, would gut feeling or traditional attitudes define public policy, but the evidence would be followed. Wherever it led.

But like so many great ideas, so grand and impressive, it only went so far.

When the evidence about drugs policy became uncomfortable, the advisers were sacked. Foreign policy decisions were still based on the old fashioned considerations of alliances and self-interest.

Suddenly “evidence” became less compelling.

But there was a reason behind all this concern about “evidence”. The drive for “evidence based policy” was all about the use of science, especially in those very sensitive areas of life, living things, and death. It was about stem cells, cloning, fertility and infertility, abortion, care of the dying, genetically modified crops - areas where science touches Life itself very intimately. All of these were issues gripped in a morass of opinion which sometimes used the evidence and sometimes didn’t - which sometimes talked about the danger and damage of such procedures and sometimes just talked about “playing God”. If only we could cut through all this - they thought - draw out all the opinion and just follow the evidence ... surely that will be much better. At a stroke the loud and opionated will have the branch taken from under them ... won’t they?

Well, yes ... and no. So long, it seems, and only so long as the evidence goes the right way.

Here’s a recent example. Anti-abortion campaigners have long claimed that the child feels pain in the womb, and unborn babies have even been give anaesthetic ... though recently others have produced evidence that the foetus cannot feel any pain until very late in its development. So, is abortion right or wrong?

The trouble with just following the evidence is that it leaves out right and wrong. Without this evidence is just ... evidence. It is our moral sense which enables us to make the decisions.

Sometimes things are still wrong, because they are wrong, whatever the evidence may be.

This doesn’t mean we can ignore evidence, facts and figures, of course not. But questions about the death penalty, stem cell research, abortion and euthanasia, drugs policy, war and peace, must be always be matters of morality, not statistics.

And oh yes - those people who questioned the evidence they didn’t like? They got it right after all: the ‘evidence’ had been concocted for the purposes of research.