Category Archives: Humour

Quotation of the day

Yesterday I happened to come across a travel web site (Family Travel) that contained a report on “alternative” holidays — cycling, walking, boating, yoga, life coaching, retreats. It contained the following useful observation:

Those who are seeking to expand their consciousness are not always the best equipped to organise anything practical.

Where’s the remote control?

My wife and I are awaiting the imminent arrival of our first child, and in an attempt to be well prepared we’ve purchased a car seat. It was delivered unexpectedly today and immediately bemused both of us.


The Maxi-Cosi Cabrio car seat as shown on its CD-Rom

It’s more complicated than any VCR I’ve ever come across. In fact, the instruction manual is a multimedia affair supplied on a CR-Rom! Luckily there’s a traditional, multi-lingual, paper-based version as well, but it’s still so complicated that I can’t help feeling there must be a course somewhere we can take to learn how to use the thing properly.

I only hope the maternity hospital takes a leaf out of the manufacturer’s book and sends us home with an instruction manual and CD-Rom for the next little bundle that arrives at short notice.

Frasier has left the building

Seattle skyline with pulsating red light on top of  the Space Needle.…for the last time unfortunately.

It’s truly the end of an era. The last episodes of Frasier will be broadcast in the UK this evening. Of course, the good news is that repeats have already started. Channel 4 is showing old episodes every weekday morning this week, and long may it continue.

Watching this show throughout the last decade has been an awful lot of fun, and the idea of writing for it was once one of my dream jobs. Why has it been so good? I’ll let the writers speak for themselves:

Frasier to Eddie (the dog), who won’t stop staring at him:

“What is so fascinating about me? What is it? In your eyes, does my head look like a large piece of kibble? Am I some kind of doggy enigma? What is it?”

Eddie continues to stare.

“Think about it. Get back to me.”

Television led astray

In April 1960 Alistair Cooke told the Chattanooga Times:

Television is a gorgeous girl led astray early in life by a travelling salesman. She is taken round the country as a come-on for his detergent.

Terrorists or Texans

Last week the US Congress scared the living daylights out of Americans by denouncing Canada as a welcoming haven for terrorists (see Terror groups flourish in Canada: U.S. report).

Now there’s equally scary news for Canukistanis as it appears Texans have been caught taking all their bad habits into God’s Country accidentally. According to the BBC (Grenade closes US-Canada border):

There are two Vancouvers – one is a small American town, the other is the large Canadian city. On Monday, a woman from Texas trying to find the small town ended up at the Canadian border.

When officials there searched her vehicle, they found a hand grenade in the glove compartment. Within minutes, the border was evacuated and the bomb squad was on the scene.

Once the woman explained her story though, things quickly calmed down. A Canadian police spokesman says they are satisfied that the woman was simply lost and had never meant to go to Canada. They soon released her and reopened the border.

As for the hand grenade, police say, the woman had no idea it was in her vehicle.

I think that makes both countries even. I mean, terrorists or crazy Texans … which would you prefer?

Public toilet explodes

This just in from the BBC:

A so-called ‘superloo’ exploded in a town centre when an electrical fault caused water to surge back into the toilet, blowing off its roof and lifting the pavement.

Luckily, however, we can all relax. A spokesman for the utility company said “We would like to reassure domestic customers this isn’t something that is likely to happen in their own homes.” Phew.

The ultimate in recycling

From Radio Canada International’s Cyberjournal:


One of the largest private donations in Canadian history is going to McMaster University in Hamilton, Ont. Michael DeGroote is donating $105 million for health research, a new learning centre and for a fund to attract outstanding new faculty. As a result of his gift, McMaster is renaming its School of Medicine after him. Mr. DeGroote is a long-time philanthropist who owned Canada’s largest school-bus fleet and North America’s third-largest waste-management company.

Supersonic biscuit man

Well, the really big news here this week is not the Prime Minister’s heart palpitations, not the leadership revolt in the Conservative party, not even the sensational conviction of a British woman for running Europe’s biggest prostitution ring, but the end of the era of supersonic flight.

British Airways announced in the spring that it would retire Concorde this year, and the last flight is tomorrow.

Consequently, this week has seen a lot of emotional coverage of this story in the press, online and on television. Apparently, many ordinary people think of Concorde as Britain’s last great feat of superlative engineering. One elderly man even went so far as to suggest on TV that it would be Britain’s last such achievement ever (what a presumptuous pessimist he must be)!

No one remembers, or perhaps more accurately cares, that Concorde was developed in co-operation with France. Nor does anyone appear to care that France was the sole beneficiary of all the cutting-edge technology that Concorde produced. France has a vibrant aeronautical industry based in Toulouse, while Britain’s commercial aircraft manufacturing ceased completely years ago.

Of course, if you asked today’s taxpayers if they’d like to pay exorbitant sums of money in order to transport the rich and famous at speeds faster than that of sound, you’d be ridiculed beyond belief. I suspect even Concorde’s biggest fans would balk at paying for it now.

Justin Cornell in Concorde's cockpit

The best Concorde-related story by far came from the BBC: "My supersonic seat cost