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I've been busy tweeting a list of 51 things you'll never hear a Londoner say. I'm putting them here for posterity.

1. I love walking around Trafalgar Square—so spacious and uncrowded.
2. I just saw a small garage conversion flat going for less than £100,000.
3. I never tire of going to see the Changing of the Guard.
4. Nobody goes to the South Bank any more.
5. I give at least 50 pence to every street beggar.
6. Everyone in this Tube train uses the nicest aftershave and perfume.
7. I see that a person with a crutch just got on this bus; I’ll give him my seat.
8. It'll only take a second for me to find the Oystercard I've buried in my purse.
9. People are so good here—they walk along the pavement with their eyes on their phones but never bump into you.
10. Boris Johnson is prime-ministerial material.
11. Football hooligans have become polite these days.
12. There aren’t enough Americans around here.
13. The tourists go to all the best places—let’s find out where those are and go.
14. The Emirates Air Line is an essential part of my daily commute.
15. Heathrow Airport is so easy to get to.
16. Heathrow needs another runway there so that we can be the largest hub in Europe.
17. Portobello Road Market is so unspoiled.
18. I wish we had another Tesco in the area.
19. I love getting those phone calls from abroad telling me that I’ve recently had an accident.
20. There aren’t enough bankers checking their emails on the Jubilee Line out to Canary Wharf.
21. The busker with the trumpet in Oxford Street Tube Station is so soothing.
22. Everybody likes Millwall supporters.
23. Pubs are a fantastic bargain these days.
24. There are loads of Cockneys about.
25. Cycling at the Elephant and Castle is so carefree.
26. I can’t seem to find a Starbucks lately—where have they all gone?
27. We aren’t building enough new office buildings these days.
28. The Shard, the Cheesegrater, and the Walkie-Talkie are assets to London’s skyline.
29. Not to mention the Strata at the Elephant—such a distinctive look.
30. I attend my parish church regularly—the services are so spiritual.
31. I patronise the stalls at Covent Garden regularly for their useful household items.
32. The crowds around the Covent Garden buskers don’t bother me at all.
33. The cycle superhighways are so convenient to cycle around town.
34. The waiter hasn’t asked us how everything was.
35. American cuisine is so trendy—let’s go to McDonald’s!
36. No McDonald’s near here? You won’t find a Subway either.
37. It’s summer: everyone’s feet are really pretty in flip-flops.
38. Those pale guys walking around shirtless will get nice tans soon.
39. England’s footballers are very good—they just have had bad luck.
40. England’s cricketers are very good—they just have had bad luck.
41. Kale’s a great vegetable—I eat it regularly.
42. Tourists walking 3-abreast and stopping to see the sights don’t bother me at all.
43. I see police officers pounding the beat every day.
44. Cinemas are so inexpensive nowadays.
45. I never notice the air pollution nowadays—that nice Mr Johnson must have cleaned it up.
46. I love it when politicians ring the doorbell wanting to listen to my opinions.
47. The off-key singing from the Pentacostal church next door doesn’t bother us.
48. Not even when they have an all night vigil and sing at 3 am.
49. I’m not fussed about people who stand on the left on Tube escalators—they just don’t know any better.
50. The new Borisbuses are SO cute.
51. Living in London is so economical.
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If you think about it, it all just makes sense.

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I've become slightly involved with a Facebook group called Style Invitational Devotees. It's run alongside the weekly Washington Post Style Invitational competition, and consists of lots of people who are witty, plus me. A primary school friend who now lives in Austin is a member, and I joined because he was there.

The subject of coffee limericks came up tonight, and I thought for a moment and penned a double-dactyl on the subject of coffee:

Juan Valdez, coffeeman
touted the amber brew.
What a fine chap!

Coffee is heavenly
Hi, Mr. Coffee-Nerves!
Sanka is crap.

I thought that was enough for the night, but I managed two limericks. One was in response to a Limerick-Off with a set first-line. I changed it for a homophone. "A fellow who tended to whine" was the set first-line.

A fellow who tended to wine
Was called an “oenologist”: fine!
But when he drank quarts
Of his sherries and ports
Oh the shame! He was forced to resign.

And then, as it was late, I finally wrote this:

On a Friday at 10:22
Double-dactyl is written and phew!
Now a limerick you want?
You will whine. I will taunt!
And one limerick's written. Time flew.

And, of course, I forgot the Tom Swifty:

"Governor Romney is cruel to animals!" cried Tom, doggedly.

I thnk that's quite enough wit for today.

As some of you may know, I am the sole member of the Holy Trinity with St. Matthew's, Southwark Altar Guild. For the last 13 or 14 years I have been Sacristan, and among my duties is laundering and ironing the altar linens. It's been a chore of the first order. I hate using an iron, especially as my hands are getting arthritic. And pressing the linens to my standards is quite time-consuming. I therefore in the past have been leaving washed but unpressed linens in bags at home promising myself I will get to them, and not quite making it.

Today Ethel, one of the witnesses at HWMBO's and my civil partnership and one of the best people I have ever met, gave me a pressing machine. It has a handle attached to a metal plate that is hinged. The metal plate is an iron. You may have seen pictures of such machines in laundries. So in an hour and a half I pressed all the linens that had been hanging around the house. I feel so freaking accomplished!

Small things excite me these days.
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The Annals of Improbable Research has a limerick competition each month, taken from the subject of a scientific paper. Here's this month's competition:

2012-06-06 Defoaming Intestinal Gas Limerick Competition

Defoamed intestinal gas inspires this month's limerick competition. To enter, compose an original limerick that illuminates the nature of this report:

"Experience With the Use of a Defoaming Agent in The Treatment of Gastrointestinal Gas." J. Alfred Rider, Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, vol. 150, February 1968, pp 170–177, The author is at the University of California Medical Center, San Francisco.

PRIZE: The winning poet will receive (if we manage to send it to the correct address) a free, theoretically defoamed, hi-res PDF issue of the Annals of Improbable Research.

I have entered once before, and have not won. However, I was inspired by the thought of waxing poetic over intestinal gas (such a lovely metre, "intestinal gas"…) so came up with:

Intestinal gas in society
When foamed is a gross impropriety.
But science has found
That defoamed gas is bound
To reduce all our gassy anxiety.

And, even more inspired, I thought that a double-dactyl might be appropriate:

Higgledy piggledy
J Alfred Ryder
Was troubled by foaming
Intestinal gas.

And thus he discovered, that
Removing the foam
Gave (my rhyme's not THAT crass!)

I now need to achieve nothing for the rest of the day.
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At the risk of seeming a bit naughty, I give you the tales of two cows.


You have two cows.
Your neighbor has none. 
You feel guilty for being successful. 
You push for higher taxes so the government can provide cows for everyone.


You have two cows. 
Your neighbor has none.


You have two cows. The government takes one and gives it to your neighbor. You form a cooperative to tell him how to manage his cow.


You have two cows. The government seizes both and provides you with milk. You wait in line for hours to get it.
It is expensive and sour.


You have two cows. You sell one, buy a bull, and build a herd of cows.


You have two cows. Under the new farm program, the government pays you to shoot one, milk the other, and then pour the milk down the drain.


You have two cows. You sell one, lease it back to yourself and do an IPO on the 2nd one. 
You force the two cows to produce the milk of four cows. You are surprised when one cow drops dead.
You spin an announcement to the analysts stating you have downsized and are reducing expenses. 
Your stock goes up.


You have two cows. You go on strike because you want three cows. You go to lunch and drink wine.
Life is good


You have two cows. You redesign them so they are one-tenth the size of an ordinary cow and produce twenty times the milk. They learn to travel on unbelievably crowded trains.
Most are at the top of their class at cow school.


You have two cows. You engineer them so they are all blond, drink lots of beer, give excellent quality milk, and run a hundred miles an hour. Unfortunately, they also demand 13 weeks of vacation per year, during which no milk is produced. Your children drink beer instead. Life is good


You have two cows but you don't know where they are. 
You break for lunch. Life is good.


You have two cows. You drink some vodka.
You count them and learn you have five cows. 
You drink some more vodka. You count them again and learn you have 42 cows. The Mafia shows up and takes over however many cows you really have. You drink the rest of the vodka. Life is good.



You have two cows. They go into hiding. 
They send radio tapes of their mooing.


You have one cow. The cow is schizophrenic.
Sometimes the cow thinks he's French, other times he's Flemish. The Flemish cow won't share with the French cow.The French cow wants control of the Flemish cow's milk.. The cow asks permission to be cut in half.
The cow dies happy.


You have a black cow and a brown cow. Everyone votes for the best looking one. Some of the people who actually like the brown one best accidentally vote for the black one. Some people vote for both. Some people vote for neither.. Some people can't figure out how to vote at all. Finally, a bunch of guys from out-of-state tell you which one you thought was the best looking cow.


You have millions of cows. They make real California cheese Only five speak English. Most are illegal.
Arnold likes the ones with the big udders.

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…is brought to you by Dr. Who.

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Most people like a glass of wine occasionally, or even regularly. Many people also like to use their computers to shop online. Well, now you can do both. (Thanks to [ profile] trawnapanda for the tipoff…)

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…comes from Susan via Fr. MadPriest:

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Don't blame me, blame Fr. MadPriest's MadDad:

A girl asks her boyfriend to come over Friday night to meet, and have a dinner with her parents. Since this is such a big event, the girl announces to her boyfriend that after dinner, she would like to go out and make love for the first time.

The boy is ecstatic, but he has never had sex before, so he takes a trip to the pharmacist to get some condoms. He tells the pharmacist it's his first time and the pharmacist helps the boy for about an hour. He tells the boy everything there is to know about condoms and sex.

At the register, the pharmacist asks the boy how many condoms he'd like to buy, a 3-pack, 10-pack, or family pack.

The boy insists on the family pack because he thinks he will be rather busy, it being his first time and all.

That night, the boy shows up at the girl's parents house and meets his girlfriend at the door.

"Oh, I'm so excited for you to meet my parents, come on in!"

The boy goes inside and is taken to the dinner table where the girl's parents are seated. The boy quickly offers to say grace and bows his head. A minute passes, and the boy is still deep in prayer, with his head down.

10 minutes pass, and still no movement from the boy.

Finally, after 20 minutes with his head down, the girlfriend leans over and whispers to the boyfriend, 'I had no idea you were this religious.'

The boy turns, and whispers back, 'I had no idea your father was a pharmacist.'
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There has been a lot of controversy about the Mormon custom of baptising dead relatives in the hope that they will embrace the faith from the depths of hell and end up as gods on their own planets, like all the other dead Mormons.

Well, there is now a website that will allow us to turn the tables on the Mormons. Heaven will be full of very pink Mormons, at this rate.
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Blame Rick's commenter Jaishon for this one, not me.

Placed behond a cut in case you're squeamish... )
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Don't blame me, blame Doug via Grandmère Mimi:

An older, tired-looking dog wandered into my yard. I could tell from his collar and well-fed belly that he had a home and was well taken care of.

He calmly came over to me, I gave him a few pats on his head. He then followed me into my house, slowly walked down the hall, curled up in the corner and fell asleep.

An hour later, he went to the door, and I let him out.

The next day he was back, greeted me in my yard, walked inside and resumed his spot in the hall and again slept for about an hour. This continued off and on for several weeks.

Curious I pinned a note to his collar:

'I would like to find out who the owner of this wonderful sweet dog is and ask if you are aware that almost every afternoon your dog comes to my house for a nap.'

The next day he arrived for his nap, with a different note pinned to his collar:

'He lives in a home with a non-stop chatting wife, 6 children, 2 under the age of 3 - he's trying to catch up on his sleep. Can I come with him tomorrow?'
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Betty Bowers fills in those blanks for you...she's so close to Jesus that he warns her when his mother is about to show up…in her food.

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Was looking at a story about the Singapore MRT when the suggested linked stories at the bottom of the screen came up.

So, are they, or aren't they?
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In the Germanic and Scandinavian worlds, there is nothing funnier to do on New Year's Eve than sit down with a drink and watch a television skit from England called Dinner for One. That is, unless you are Norwegian, in which case you watch it on December 23rd.

The strange thing is this: it's English, but hardly anyone in the United Kingdom knows about it or has seen it. And those who have seen it in the UK think it is profoundly UNfunny. And although it's in English, it has NEVER been shown in North America.

On BBC Radio4 this morning there was a segment exploring why Germans think it's side-splittingly funny and why Englishpeople watch it and wonder exactly why anyone would laugh at it. I thought that my readers (both of you…) might want to watch it to compare. It will be either the funniest or the most boring 11 minutes of your life.

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It's a bit late for Christmas, but good nonetheless.

A couple was shopping at the mall on Christmas Eve and the mall was packed.

Walking through the mall the wife looked up and noticed her husband was nowhere around; she was very upset because they had a lot to do.

She used her mobile phone to call her husband to ask him where he was, because she was so upset.

In a calm voice the husband said, "Honey, remember the jewelry store we went into 5 years ago where you fell in love with that diamond necklace that we could not afford, and I told you that I would get it for you one day?"

His wife said, tearing up, "Yes, I remember that jewelry store."

He said, "Well, I'm in the bar next to it."
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We are all used to hearing Handel's Messiah sung at this time, even though Handel probably meant it as a Lenten piece. Messiah sing-a-longs are ubiquitous during Advent. Let it not be said that this blog does not join in the holiday cheer.

Thus, the following video will be of great interest to all.

Note to non-USans: The Supreme Court ruled a while back that corporations were actual persons and had all the rights of persons, including the right to give loadsa money to political campaigns.

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When your son comes home from college and says that he's "found Jesus", beware.

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Nearly every gay man at some time or other has been christened with a so-called "porn name". This is the name one would take if, by some miracle, one's body was in shape enough to act in porn.

I never took one, as I never had any illusions about porn and my place in it (as an occasional consumer, not as a producer of same), but I have come across the best porn name ever, and I'm taking it.

From now on, my porn name is Salty Cumming. The below advertisement was cribbed from the [ profile] vintage_ads group. I hope they don't mind…much.

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And you think that YOU'RE having computer problems…just watch this bunch of workers try to solve their IT problems.

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