Showing posts with label joke. Show all posts
Showing posts with label joke. Show all posts

Friday, February 19, 2016

Antipodean penguin-counters probably screwed up

You might have found my title a little hard to understand. Well, an Antipodean penguin-counter is simply an Australian or New Zealand technician whose job consists (among other activities) of counting penguins. Now, this job has intrigued me since I came upon news of the disappearance in Antarctica of no less than 150,000 Adélie penguins, which were probably annihilated by the arrival of a gigantic iceberg.

The thing that puzzled me most was that this sad news — which appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald on 12 February 2016 — did not say whether observers in Antarctica had in fact found traces of countless dead penguins. I imagined therefore that their crushed bodies were hidden beneath piles of ice and snow.

Information on the alleged catastrophe had been supplied by researchers on climate change from the University of New South Wales and New Zealand’s West Coast Penguin Trust, who had published an article on 2 February in the review Antarctic Science, edited by Cambridge Journals Online. In fact, I don't subscribe to those publications. So, I failed to double-check the story.

I now learn that a New Zealand academic named Kerry-Jayne Wilson has stated: "I don't know who started to spread that information, but we never said that 150,000 penguins had died. The birds probably migrated to some other place, to await better weather." As you can see, the plot does not thicken. It actually thins... like melting blocks of ice.

Now, while we're looking forward to more precise information concerning the alleged catastrophe in Antarctica, let me tell you a great penguin story, which took place in Sydney back at the time I used to live there. My mate Jimmy (who told me this true story) was contacted by his friend Bob, who did delivery jobs for Taronga Park Zoo.

Bob: "Tomorrow afternoon, Jimmy, I'm supposed to drive down to the wharves to meet a ship from Antarctica, pick up a rare species of penguin and take it to the zoo. But I've got to get my van repaired, so I can't carry out this task. It's a well-paid job. Here, I'll give you all this money if you're prepared to replace me. All you've got to do is pick up the penguin at the wharves, and then take it to the zoo."

Everything worked out well. Jimmy picked up the rare penguin, as requested by his mate Bob. But, towards the end of the afternoon, they all met up unexpectedly in the middle of the city. And Bob was surprised to see the penguin walking down the street alongside Jimmy. Bob was furious.

Bob: "Jimmy, what the hell are you doing here with that penguin? I gave you cash, and told you to take the penguin to the zoo."

Jimmy: "Calm down, Bob. I took the penguin to the zoo, exactly as you asked me. We had a great time there, all afternoon. The penguin loves the zoo. He was thrilled above all by the monkeys and elephants. But we've still got a lot of money left over. So we decided to come back here to the city to see a movie."

BREAKING NEWS: Click here to access yet another article, published today in French, concerning the alleged plight of the Adélie penguins.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Odd words: those that most people don't know

I've often felt that certain ordinary words (either in English or in French) have a curious tendency to remain unknown by people who are not native speakers of the language in question. I shall refer to them simply as odd words. For example, the trivial English adjective "sole" (meaning "only", as in "the sole candidate") appears to be an odd word for many French people who've learnt English at school. I don't necessarily understand why such odd words come into existence.

In everyday French it's easy for me to discover odd words. In most cases, they're French words that I myself have taken ages to know and use. As in English, it's often hard to understand why such and such a word might fall into this category. Here (in my opinion, which might be misguided) is an example:

In the title, I would suspect that "mouise" is an odd word for most English-speaking readers who've learnt French at school. We see that Sarko is in such stuff. But what in fact is it? Well, basically, the journalist is using polite language (?) to say that Sarko, for the moment, is waddling in shit.

This "mouise" term means "gruel" or "porridge", and it probably comes from a Dutch noun akin to "muesli". In our English culture, we all recall that Oliver Twist dared to ask for a second serving of such muck.

I suddenly recall one of my favorite jokes. A slave driver informs his hungry men that he has some good news and some bad news: "The good news is that the chief allows you to survive by eating shit. The bad news is that there won't be enough shit for everybody."

Monday, June 27, 2011

So embarrassed

Back at the time I took my daughter and son out to my birthplace for the first time, they were greatly amused by a conversation they had overheard between giggling Australian schoolgirls. After relating a trivial anecdote that terminated in an innocuous remark from her boyfriend (I forget the details of what they might have been talking about), the story-teller exclaimed to her impassioned listeners, in a peculiar drawn-out Aussie accent: "I was so embarrassed!" For years afterwards, whenever my daughter alluded to amusing personal relationships in Australia, she would punctuate her stories with that exclamation, pronounced appropriately: "I was so embarrassed!"

Well, that's what I felt like saying when I saw this demonstration of an Aussie TV talk-show host, Karl Stevanovic, who made a failed attempt to tell an insipid joke to the Dalai Lama. Somebody found a delightful adjective to describe this TV guy: goofy. I know nothing about Karl's culture and credentials, but his behavior in front of the Dalai Lama was stupid, indeed vulgar. It's tactless to tell a silly joke in the presence of, and about, a distinguished visitor from a different social community, particularly when that joke uses Down Under vernacular.

The supposedly hilarious theme of the joke (which to me, a native speaker of Australian English, isn't the least bit funny) is the idea of the Dalai Lama saying to a pizza man: "Make me one with everything." Already, in a genuine pizza context (with which the Dalai Lama may or may not be familiar), this vague "with everything" request would be stupid. Pizzas come in countless varieties. In Australia, you can even find so-called gourmet pizzas with kangaroo and crocodile meat. The uninspired creator of the silly joke was thinking rather of a takeout (takeaway) hamburger or meat pie situation in which the purchaser can request extra sauces or vegetables such as fried onions or mashed potatoes. In that narrow context, the "with everything" request might be meaningful, indicating that all the extras are to be included. Years ago, I got into the habit of making that kind of request in the Rue des Rosiers in Paris, where I used to buy Israeli-style falafels.

From a religious viewpoint, it's not at all certain that the Dalai Lama would ever imagine the idea of praying to a divinity and including a naive request: "Make me one with everything." To my mind, that doesn't sound like Dalai Lama talk, more like Aussie media talk.

If I'd been in the position of the goofy TV guy, and felt an urgent need to tell the Dalai Lama an Aussie joke, I would have chosen my pie story.

Back in the 1950s and 1960s, when Australia had a huge intake of immigrant laborers for massive civil-engineering projects, many of these so-called "New Australians" spoke little English. In the case of Luigi, from Sicily, his English was so poor that he was ill-at-ease about entering a shop to buy something to eat. Fortunately, his compatriot Aldo was able to help Luigi by teaching him how to say "apple pie".

[Part of the funniness of this joke, when told aloud in an Aussie pub setting, stems from Luigi's awkward pronunciation of this expression: "ah-pull pah-ee".]

In the beginning, Luigi was thrilled to be able to step into shops and ask for an "ah-pull pah-ee". But soon he was fed up with dining exclusively, for days on end, on apple pies. So, he asked Aldo to teach him another expression. Aldo told him how to say "meat pie"… which Luigi pronounced quaintly as "mit pah-ee". So, Luigi stepped confidently into a shop in the hope of obtaining a meat pie. But the reactions of the shop lady were unexpected…

[This is the part of my joke that links up with the incident concerning the goofy guy's joke. In the case of my joke, I would have to explain to the Dalai Lama a trivial Aussie habit. Some people eat their meat pies daubed with tomato ketchup, whereas others prefer their pies without this sauce. So the person selling a meat pie would ask the client to indicate his/her preference. Now, this was such a familiar aspect of the Australian meat pie situation that the sales person would often simply ask: "With or without?"]

SHOP LADY: "With or without, love?"

LUIGI (not understanding the lady's question): "Mit pah-ee."

SHOP LADY: "Yeah, I understood you, love. But with or without?"

LUIGI (totally baffled, repeats his request): "Mit pah-ee."

SHOP LADY (annoyed): "Jeez, would you mind telling me, with or without?"

LUIGI: "Ah-pull pah-ee".

I authorize Karl Stevanovic, if he so desires, to try out my pie joke on the pope, when he next visits Australia.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Virginity for sale

This charming US specimen of the female sex claims she's a virgin. Based upon that hypothesis, she's offering her body to the highest male bidder/screwer at a starting price of a million bucks. To me, that sounds like an absurdly expensive deal. And it also sounds a bit like what we old-timers used to call prostitution. But I'm sure there'll be takers. The bottom line [no pun intended] is that the young lady, whose code name is Natalie Dylan [Google with this name to obtain the whole "truth" concerning this affair], intends to use her ill-gotten gains to pay her way through university, where she would like to major in family and conjugal psychology.

It's a fact that males often insist upon the virginity of their future spouses. I've heard that, in certain societies, deftly-fingered gentlemen make a living out of patching up ruptured hymens so that maidens are as good as new for their wedding nights.

OK, some of you have guessed it already: I've been waiting for ages to have a pretext for telling one of my favorite dirty jokes. If you happen to be an under-age reader of Antipodes, please go to bed, so that we grown-ups can be left alone to enjoy our childish humor.


Veronica knew that saintly Stanislas would be out of his mind if ever he discovered, on their wedding night, that she wasn't a virgin. So, she paid a specialist to install a high-tech AH [artificial hymen] system composed of a flexible nylon frame with an ultra-thin plastic film held in place by elastic supports: a masterpiece of AH engineering.

On their wedding night, everything appeared to be coming along fine. Gentle movements. Sighs. Thrusts. Soft groans of pleasure. Then a loud crack. Stanislas cried out in terror: "What the bloody hell was that?"

Veronica: "Stanislas darling, it was just my virginity that went pop."

Stanislas: "Un-pop it immediately, for Christ's sake. My John Thomas and balls seem to be entangled in a painful mesh of rubber bands!"

Friday, September 12, 2008

Mysterious mate

One of my favorite jokes concerns a mate of the pope. And today is just the right time to tell this joke, coinciding with the arrival of Benny Sixteen in France.

Six months ago, when a renowned rabbi from Jerusalem was visiting France, he was received at the president's palace. He asked Carla Bruni: "Would it be possible for me to meet up with my French mate Albert Dupont? " Carla and the presidential staff were embarrassed, because they had never heard of Albert Dupont. The next day, after a lot of frantic investigations, they succeeded in tracking down this Albert Dupont: an obscure employee in a factory on the outskirts of Paris. They asked the factory manager for permission to take Dupont back to the Elysées Palace to meet up with the distinguished rabbi from Jerusalem. Dupont was still dressed in his blue workman's overalls when he got together with the rabbi. It was a friendly back-slapping encounter, as if the two men had known each other for ages.

Later on, the same kind of situation arose when the Dalai-Lama was visiting France. He said to Carla Bruni: "I would dearly like to see my mate Albert Dupont." As before, a presidential automobile dashed out to the suburban factory where Albert was working, and brought him back to a get-together with the Dalai-Lama. And, as before, onlookers had the impression that the two men were old friends.

Carla Bruni was intrigued. She asked Albert: "Monsieur Dupont, how come you're on such friendly terms with these two great spiritual leaders: the Jerusalem rabbi and the Dalai-Lama? " Albert was nonchalant: "Oh, they're just a couple of good mates I've known for ages. It's the same as the pope." Carla was surprised: "You don't mean to tell me you're a friend of Benedict XVI ? " Albert assured her that this was the case: "Just drop in at Lourdes during the pope's forthcoming visit, Madame Sarkozy, and you'll see for yourself."

More intrigued than ever, Carla Bruni drove down to Lourdes, disguised as a pilgrim. She found herself in the midst of an immense crowd of enthusiastic hymn-singing pilgrims. Suddenly Benedict XVI appeared on a balcony in front of the crowd. And, sure enough, his old mate Albert Dupont was standing alongside him, dressed as usual in his blue workman's overalls, and waving to the crowd, who were now in a state of religious fervor. An old lady in black, clutching her rosary beads, nudged Carla and asked: "Excuse me, Madame. Who's the old fellow in white standing alongside Albert Dupont? "