Tooper and friends have been wondering what it would be like to share a prison cell.
After all, isn’t enforced incarceration in unnaturally cramped living conditions bad enough without being forced to co-habitate, they mused? And then when you factor in the communal (and no doubt, limited) toilet facilities, it really doesn’t bear thinking about, does it?
Added to that would be the full and certain knowledge that prison authorities are highly unlikely to be making too much of an effort at matchmaking you with a kindred spirit. Even if you were lucky enough to avoid sharing with the block ‘neanderthal’, chances are you’d still be spending every waking (and sleeping) moment, with someone whose personality (and personal hygiene) failings would normally send you running for the hills.
Tooper lists a few of his other nightmare cell-mate scenarios:-
- anyone relentlessly cheery who greets every interminable afternoon with, ‘I spy, with my little …’
- anyone with sinus problems, who power snorts every thirty seconds!
- anyone who told the same joke over and over; even before becoming your cell-mate!
- anyone who eats what little food you have managed to secretly stash away, loudly and with their mouths open
- anyone who casually drops into the conversation, ‘Have I told you I’m thinking of devoting my life to Jesus?’
- anyone who insists it helps them concentrate by reading aloud … very slowly!
- anyone who when you finally crack and point out how deeply annoying they are, replies, ‘You’re obviously stressed so I won’t take that personally.’
- anyone who, on a bad day, suggests, ‘Would it help if I held you?’
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Commy and friends were recently transfixed by a fascinating insight (given by one of his more studious female counterparts) into the history of contraception.
It appears that in more recent times, the origins of the female oestrogen pill can be traced back to sheep! Apparently it was developed when scientists noticed that sheep grazing in fields of clover conceived less. Having said that, Commy felt obliged to point out that other experiments had produced exactly opposite results. Although admittedly they were conducted with women/nightclubs and Bacardi Breezers!
Whilst commending the ingenuity of women who had come up with some remarkable (and frankly ingenious) experiments in the pessary department (involving, would you believe, scooped out half lemons and pomegranates!), Commy knew it was only a matter of time before MAN’S contributions was questioned.
Forced to come up with some examples of how men have actively taken their share of responsibility, the best he could manage at short notice is as follows, together with some of the comments his suggestions provoked:-
- Didn’t renaissance man use sausage skins as condoms? Thus creating the ultimate banger?
- Then there was Coitus Interruptus - For men with an iron will…if you’ll pardon the expression!
- That old favourite and beloved choice of the Catholic Church, the Rhythm Method - but, judging by the birth rate of Catholic countries, not seen as particularly effective. Q: ‘What do you call people who practice the rhythm method? A: Parents.
- And in more recent times, The Vasectomy – Surely modern man’s ultimate sacrifice? Only to be undertaken after a major discussion with the family! Although admittedly the man is usually out-voted fifteen to one!
Counting down to the launch of The Trouble with Relationships. Watch this space!
Tooper and friends have been musing on the money to be made from street art and graffiti.
After all, they argued, if someone like Banksy can make a fortune by creating such a hype around a ‘they seek him here, they seek him there‘ elusive persona and spray-paining stencils on walls, surely we should all be getting in on the act?
Tooper wonders if they aren’t being a little over ambitious. Whilst conceding that in principle, it did indeed appear to be easy money there were two very important factors they had failed to take into account: talent and the local constabulary. Even if his friends did remotely possess a modicum of the first, did they really think the authorities would take kindly to an army of aerosol waving chancers defacing public property in the dead of night?
Having said that, he did come up with a few graffiti messages he would definitely love to post before being carted off to the local nick :-
- USE REAR ENTRANCE – at the local family planning clinic
- SIT! STAY! - inside the waiting room at the Vets
- I SOUPORT PUBLIK EDEKASHUN - outside the local university
- IF THE MEEK SHALL INHERIT THE EARTH, WHY AREN’T WE CONTESTING THE WILL? – outside the local church
- push! Push! PUSH! – above the door at the local maternity unit
- GREAT PLACE TO TAKE A LEAK - outside your local plumbers
- IS THE WRITING ON THE WALL FOR GRAFFITI ARTISTS -just about anywhere!
Yes, we know we’ve said it before but it really is coming soon!
Commy and friends have been sympathising with one of their young male acquaintances who has been told by his partner that they need to have the ‘relationship talk’.
Is there anything more designed to provoke feelings of mortal dread amongst male seasoned veterans than hearing those words, they wondered? After all, how many men have wandered naively into what they thought would be just a cosy conversation ‘a deux’ only to find they were undergoing an interrogation of such white-heat emotional intensity that a brush with the CIA (involving Homeland Security, rendition and water-boarding) would have seemed like a walk in the park by comparison?
Commy remembers holding up pretty well initially during his own experience of ‘the talk’ until he was tricked into admitting they had indeed reached a ‘sexual comfort zone’. Thereafter, as the inquisition dragged on into the wee small hours he distinctly remembers losing the will to live.
So, to any of his young counterparts, who at the three hour point may find themselves wilting (or god forbid, actually dropping off) he offers the following tried and tested excuses:-
- ‘OK, I admit my eyes were closed momentarily but that is actually how I concentrate!’
- ‘Someone must have given me decaf by mistake!’
- ‘I’m not asleep, I’m just imagining a rather special moment from our honeymoon…’
- ‘When I volunteered to give blood they warned me this might happen!’
and if you are actually prodded awake (with your head on the table, drooling…)
- ‘I was actually practicing picking up one of my contact lenses … hands free…’
The Great British Bake Off meets Only Fools and Horses!
… it’s charting on Kindle humour and makes a great summer read!
Tooper has been listening to friends boasting about some of the bargains they have managed to pick up on eBay.
While most reported the usual ‘been there, done that’ (got rid of most of my unwanted tat before replacing it with similar) scenario, others seemed quite content to continue buying what appeared to be (from the prices quoted) either stolen or counterfeit products.
Having listened to some of them spouting incessantly during the economic crisis about blatant profiteering by multi-nationals, Tooper wondered whether in fact they weren’t guilty of a little hypocrisy. After all, he argued, by supporting this bastion of the capitalist ethos where, ‘everything has a price’, (including apparently, someone’s virginity!), were they not becoming Power-Sellers of their own high-minded principles, he wondered?
Having no such qualms himself, Tooper has put together a list of items (and sellers) he looks forward to bidding for on Ebay:-
- Shoes – varying sizes and not necessarily pairs – George Bush
- Cream leather couch with slight damage/scuff marks – Tom Cruise
- Box of Havana cigars (one missing) – Bill Clinton
- Vial of blood with necklace (unwanted gift) - Angelina Jolie
- Set of golf clubs (some slightly damaged) – Tiger Woods
- One wedding ring (as new) - Russell Brand
- One pig and one lipstick (will sell separately) - Sarah Palin
- Various off-white wedding dresses (only worn once) – Jennifer Lopez
- Bottle of jet-black hair dye with matching chest wig PLUS various items of ladies lingerie – Tom Jones
Commy has been listening to friends discussing some of the more dangerous sporting pastimes they have considered participating in. What is about our humdrum human existences, they wondered, that makes us want to risk life and limb, by throwing ourselves off tall buildings, out of planes or down near vertical icy slopes?
Yet while Commy is willing to extend grudging respect to all those who are fool enough to participate, he reserves even more kudos for the real trail blazers for these sports; those who came up with these crazy ideas in the first place. In other words, extreme sports ‘pimps’ who managed to convince gullible dolts to try things so outlandishly dangerous that it would, under any other circumstances, have been considered nothing short of a botched suicide attempt.
By way of an example, he asks whether anyone overhearing the following conversations at the time these ‘sports’ were devised, would have agreed to particpate:-
FIRST EVER PARACHUTE JUMP (two men at thirteen thousand feet)
- UNSUSPECTING DOLT – I’m not so sure about this…
- EXTREME SPORTS PIMP - Now I admit it does seem a long way down and I agree to the untrained eye this may well seem like rather flimsy material with a few strings attached but trust me, you’ll be fine… (PUSHES DOLT FROM PLANE)… Oh and I’d give it a minute or two before pulling that cord…
FIRST EVER TIGHT-ROPE WALK OVER GRAND CANYON (two men on the edge of a precipice)
- UNSUSPECTING DOLT – I’m not so sure about this…
- EXTREME SPORTS PIMP – Yes, I agree it is a tad windy but this admittedly slightly unwieldy balancing pole will probably make all the difference…
FIRST EVER ATTEMPT AT BUNGEE JUMPING (two men dangling off Clifton Suspension Bridge)
- UNSUSPECTING DOLT – I’m not so sure about this…
- EXTREME SPORTS PIMP – While it’s true there is no actual parachute, there is a really strong elastic band attached to your ankle that I feel sure will stop your skull just short of smashing into the rocks below…
FIRST EVER LUGE RUN (two shivering men, one is prostrate on a flimsy narrow sled)
- UNSUSPECTING DOLT – I’m not so sure about this…
- EXTREME SPORTS PIMP – Yes, I know it’s slippery and there’s no actual steering wheel but it really is more fun if you go down feet-first… (SENDS DOLT CAREERING DOWN THE SLOPE) …Oh, and you steer it with your calves…
Don’t forget! Our comedy The Great British Date Off would make a great beach read!
Tooper has been listening to friends complaining about ‘fake’ people. What’s to be gained from pretending to be something you’re not, they wondered? After all, won’t the truth come out eventually?
Tooper wonders if they are being a little harsh. Who amongst us hasn’t at some time or other faked a persona to suit the given situation, he argued? Aren’t we all a little guilty of gilding the lily when it suits us? Like when we first meet our partners for example, or at a job interview and especially when we’re staying with the in-laws! And anyway, how many of us can say we haven’t spent many an hour daydreaming about the sexier, more dynamic people we might have become, if only our parents hadn’t weighed us down with such uninteresting monikers as Deirdre or Derek!
In fact, he wonders whether we’d view any of the following in quite the same way had they not ditched their birth names before emerging as their rather more exciting alter-egos :-
- Tiger (sulky golfer, Woods) striding onto the 18th green as … Eldrick! Yes, I kid you not, Eldrick!
- Judy Garland headlining on The Wizard Of Oz billboards as … Ethel Gumm
- Marilyn Monroe serenading the US President as plain old … Norma Mortenson
- Tina Turner getting down and dirty and strutting her stuff as … Anna Mae Bullock
- John Wayne staggering up the beach in The Sands Of Iwo Jima as … Marion Morrison
- Shania Twain sweeping the boards at The Country Music Awards as … Eilleen Edwards
- Sting launching his world tour as … Gordon
- Jamie Foxx winning a best actor academy award as … Eric Bishop
- Sir Elton John being knighted by the Queen and her saying, ‘Arise Sir Reg.’
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Commy has been listening with surprise to female friends bemoaning a dirth of male ‘strong silent types’.
Given that they had previously always informed him that the key to any good relationship was keeping the lines of communication open, he felt compelled to enquire whether what they were now referring to as strong, silent types, might on any other day be described as Neanderthals.
Even so, Commy felt obliged to point out that important as it is to know when to communicate, equally important is knowing when not to! In fact, he maintains that every couple needs to acquire the ability to identify and acknowledge each other’s communication dead-zones.
When pressed, he suggested not initiating make-or-break relationship discussions during any of the following:-
- while she’s searching for bargains online
- while she’s choosing a new colour scheme or re-arranging her mountain of bed cushions
- while she’s watching some ‘throw-back’ on daytime TV get the results of a DNA paternity test
- while he’s having difficulty lighting the BBQ
- while he’s getting to grips with his new iPhone settings
- while he’s watching a televised penalty shoot-out
Tooper has been listening to friends discussing his tendency to ‘stereotype’ people.
While Tooper takes issue with the use of this highly sensitive word, he considers that what most other people define as stereotyping, he would consider to be merely … categorising. In fact, he believes that since the dawn of time, we have been pre-programmed to do so and that it has formed a major role in honing both our survival and reproductive instincts.
Moreover, he contends that making snap judgements about strangers is one of the few pleasures a trip to the High Street affords these days and offers the following examples from some of his more recent meanderings :-
- a tall bespectacled women, with a severe hairstyle, dressed in a tweed suit and sensible shoes – chair of the local magistrates or senior librarian?
- a bearded middle-aged male in a battered corduroy suit (with leather elbow-patches) – Liberal Democrat councillor or geography teacher?
- a stout bustling female with an alice-band, denim skirt (with elasticated waist) and with two large labradors in tow – Farmer’s wife or Secretary of the Pony Club?
- a middle-aged bearded male (with latest iPhone) in a black turtle-neck sweater and jeans – gadget man or aspiring technology entrepreneur?
- a tattooed, brooding neanderthal dressed in black, with a mohican and multiple body-piercings - inner city vicar?
and the one always guaranteed to cause Tooper to break into a cold sweat, if seen advancing towards him with a steadfast gait …
- a recently dismounted motor-cyclist in full leathers but still fully helmeted – obviously a mafia hitman!
Commy’s friends have been discussing Celebrities and the naming of their offspring.
Can there be any better manifestation of their egos, they wondered, than the saddling of their poor, unsuspecting progeny with such self-indulgent epithets as Apple (Gwyneth Paltrow), Jermajesty (Jermaine Jackson) and Pilot Inspektor (Jason Lee – an American actor/comedian, apparently!). Don’t they realise this is the equivalent of pushing their child through the school gates with a target on its back, they asked? Have they learnt nothing from previous recipients of so-called ‘hip’ names, like Zowie Bowie; who emerged, years later, older and wiser as Duncan Jones?
Then there are the celebrities whose PA’s have managed to confuse their potential-baby-name-lists with their bosses’ travel itineraries. Even if these children manage to avoid the ‘off the wall’ name-feste above, they run the risk of being christened as a country and/or city: India, Paris or even Moroccan (obviously geography is not a strong point, Mariah!).
However, they reserved their severest ire for those followers of a more recent trend. Those who guarantee their children a life-time of humiliation by naming them after the town or city in which they were conceived!
Now, whilst sympathising somewhat, Commy argued that, in fact, it could be argued that these Celebrity parents were doing their children a favour; rather in the manner of that Johnny Cash classic, ‘A Boy Named, Sue‘. Just consider how tough these kids would have to be, if, during some natural disaster (tornado, hurricane etc), their Celebrity parents were forced to take shelter (bored, without power and with nothing better to do) in any one of the following locations ..?
- Hooker – Oklahoma
- Disappointment – Kentucky
- Cockup – Cumbria
- Dildo – Newfoundland
- Intercourse – Pennsylvania
- Boring – Oregan
- Accident – Maryland
- Embarrass – Minnesota
- Bald Knob – Arkansas
and a great one for all the Brits …
- Twatt – Orkney, Shetland Islands, Scotland