Monthly Archives: September 2021

If I Can Make It There

In New York for the UN General Assembly, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro had to eat pizza on the sidewalk because he hasn’t been vaccinated….


Jair Bolsonaro was in a good mood.

As he had expected, his speech to the UN had been a huge success. World leaders had been stunned into admiring silence, too awestruck even to applaud as he explained to them that Covid was a hoax, that global warming was just a spell of good weather and that cutting down the rainforests was ridding the world of orcs.

He felt that he had earned himself a night out and, waving away the offer of accompaniment from his bodyguards, the strongman of Brazil headed out to the cool night and the constant hum of the city that never sleeps, possibly because of the constant hum.

At first he was not impressed. Broadway was not all that broad, there was nothing especially big about the apples in the delis, and he was disappointed to learn that the New York Knicks is not a sex shop.

He passed a pizza parlor. The window display was not inviting- under a garish yellow strip light was what looked like a beige toilet-seat cover smothered in melted zit – but the smell was wonderful. He opened the door and strode toward a table.

“Whoa there, buddy,” said a voice. “You can’t just walk in here and sit down.”

Bolsonaro looked around. Behind the counter was a young man whose name badge said he was Luca and whose tight white t-shirt said he worked out. Bolsonaro glared contemptuously at him.

“I can sit where I like,” he said arrogantly. “I am Jair Bolsonaro.”

Luca raised one eyebrow.

“President of Brazil?” said Bolsonaro, a little less arrogantly.

“Sure you are,” said Luca, “and I’m the Pope’s watchmaker.”

Bolsonaro frowned. “That’s not an actual job,” he said.

“Which is why I’m working in this dump,” said Luca. “Anyway, I ain’t interested in what you do, I just need to know your status.” He pointed to a small sign that read ‘No Dose, No Dish’.

“That’s not very pithy,” said Bolsonaro, despite himself. “It should say ‘No Prick, No Pizza’.”

“You’d think,” said Luca, “but there are some things you can’t say even in New York. Anyhow, show me your proof of vaccine.”

Bolsonaro sneered. “I’m not vaccinated,” he said. “The vaccine is made of magnetized snail ooze, and the CIA use it to -”

“Yadda, yadda, yadda,” said Luca. “Out.”

Bolsonaro was stunned. “You can’t treat me like this,” he snapped. “I am the most powerful man in South America.”

Luca folded his arms, and Bolsonaro noticed how this made his biceps bulge.

“That may be so,” said Luca quietly, “but you ain’t the most powerful man in this room. Trust me on this.”

Bolsonaro turned to storm out, flaring his nostrils furiously, but that flare involved taking in a lungful of pizza aroma. He turned back.

“Can I get one to go?” he asked, sheepishly.

Luca sighed. “Sure,” he said, “but you’ll have to wait outside. What do you want?”

Bolsonaro looked up at the lurid pictures on the menu over Luca’s head. “I’ll have the Hawaiian,” he said, adding, because he felt it was a New York thing to do, “and hold the pineapple.”

Luca sighed again. “One ham pizza, then,” he said. “Now, out.”

Bolsonaro gave him a twenty and stepped outside, where it had begun to rain. He turned up the jacket collar of his expensive suit and stood gloomily for twenty minutes until Luca pushed a cardboard box through a small window. Bolsonaro took it and began to trudge along the street.

The rain got heavier.

Bolsonaro hurried in under an overhang that ran the length of an office building. He took the pizza from its box and put the box on the sidewalk. He sat on it with his back to the wall, resting the pizza on his knees. It’s going to cost a fortune to clean this suit, he thought. He pulled one slice from the wheel and took a bite.

“How you doin’?” said a voice in the darkness.

Bolsonaro looked around in shock. A figure in a hoodie was sitting a few feet away, drinking wine from a bottle in a paper bag. It waved the bottle at him and pointed at the pizza. “Wanna share?”

Bolsonaro found he could only nod. The man scooched over beside him and handed him the paper bag. Bolsonaro tore off half of the pizza and gave it over in return. The man patted him on the knee in thanks.

I’m just going to throw the suit away, thought Bolsonaro.

He sniffed cautiously at the wine. It had a bouquet redolent of cabbage, tear gas and Guinness fart. He took a gulp, and gasped as his mouth filled with the taste of liquid banshee.

He stared morosely into the light reflecting in a street puddle.

“I’m the President of Brazil,” he muttered.

“Whatever,” said his new friend.



First Footprint in the Snow

A bioscience company aims to genetically resurrect the woolly mammoth, and to place thousands of them back on the Siberian tundra ….


Doctor Mira Daniellova looked at the huge beast lying on the floor of the disused aircraft hangar and took a long, anxious breath.

The hangar housed the lab in which, for the past ten years, she had pursued her dream. She had chosen this site, far out in the wastes of the Siberian tundra, partly to be near where the work would culminate, and partly because it was far from any village likely to be populated by people with pitchforks, flaming torches and a narrow-minded approach to experimental resurrection.

For her dream was to revive the woolly mammoth. She hoped that they would restore the ecosystem here, that they would re-fertilize the grasslands that once flourished, and that they would produce enough wool to rid the world forever of the nylon jumper, since she was especially susceptible to attack by static electricity.

Now she turned to her assistant, whose name was Igor – not because of stereotype, but because this is Russia, where the name is common.

“It’s time,” she said.

She felt that Igor should have pulled a huge lever, that there should have been a crack of thunder, that a jagged finger of lightning should have leapt from her equipment to the prone body, that several of the jars around her should have spontaneously exploded. Instead Igor simply nodded and pressed a key on his computer.

At least it was the return key, she told herself.

They both held their breath. The computer screen showed “Please Wait” for a few seconds, then ran updates, shut down, restarted, and showed a photo of an Amsterdam canal. That’s Windows 10 for you.

Igor sighed, logged in again, and re-ran the program.

Nothing happened.

Mira’s shoulders slumped. She stared despondently at the giant inert face of the creature before her, fighting back tears.

Suddenly one huge eye opened.

“It’s alive!” she breathed, and found she had to fight an urge to add “mwa-ha-ha” to the sentence.

The mammoth climbed to its four feet, and Mira for the first time felt a sense of just how truly huge it was. It stared wildly around, dazzled by the garish artificial light, and lumbered its way across the hangar towards the huge door at the far end.

“The doors are locked,” said Igor.

“Pitchforks?” asked Mira.

Igor looked embarrassed. “Well, you never know,” he said. “Anyway, it’s trapped.”

The mammoth ripped the door off its hinges with its trunk.

“Or not,” said Mira.

The hut filled with icy Siberian air. Mira and Igor struggled into coats as the mammoth stepped out into a shrieking gale. It lifted their Ski-doo between its great curved tusks and hurled it aside, where it exploded. It then did a mammoth dump, in both senses of that phrase, before heading off across the wastes in search of somewhere colder.

Mira and Igor stood at the doorway, watching as it slowly faded away into the darkness.

“There it goes,” said Mira, “first of its kind.”

“And last,” said Igor. “We’ll never catch him without the Ski-doo.”

“Her,” said Mira. “And we don’t have to worry about catching her. She’s pregnant.”

“What? How?”

“You really don’t want to know,” said Mira.

“So you haven’t just created one?” said Igor. “You’ve created a whole species?”

Mira smiled. “They say if your dreams don’t scare you,” she said, “then they aren’t big enough.”

“Or you’ve never seen Jurassic Park,” muttered Igor.






Baby Brain

Britain’s NHS has apologised for issuing guidelines urging expectant mothers to prepare a “special meal” for their partners to avoid them feeling “left out”. The guidance has now been withdrawn, but this is what it said…


  • For breakfast add curry powder and sprouts to a bowl of Sugar Puffs. This should induce morning sickness.
  • Lemons, tomatoes, chocolate, cheese and peppermint are all causes of heartburn. Mix them all into his daily smoothie.
  • Replace his tea with Gaviscon. Give him twelve mugs a day, so he always feels he needs to pee.
  • Feed him so much and so often that he can no longer see his shoes. If this doesn’t work, hide his shoes.
  • Like you, he may get cravings. His will probably be for steak and chips. Ignore this and give him macaroni and custard.
  • Tell him he has to give up drink for nine months. That should put an end to this nonsense.

Yes Sir, We Can Boogie

The Irish Government has announced that the ban on dancing at weddings is to be lifted, provided the public “exercise reasonable precautions”. This is a brief summary of what that means…


As the Bride and Groom are by definition now part of the same household, the First Dance is allowed.

When the Best Man and Chief Bridesmaid join the dance they should wear masks. This is to put an obstacle in the way of Best Men, who seem to believe that it is one of their official duties to “shift the bridesmaids”.

The Macarena is highly recommended. You can move your arms without coming into contact with anybody else, and at every jump and turn you find yourself facing the back of someone’s head.

Guests should clear the floor when the Bride’s aunt and uncle decide to show off their jive. This is for health and safety reasons, though not to do with Covid.

Protective gloves must be worn during conga lines.

Do not dance to The Birdie Song, it makes you look like a gobshite.

Dad dancing is allowed, as no-one will go within two metres of him while he’s doing it anyway.



Horse Sense

Ireland will conduct a horse census for the first time later this year…


Q1. Is your name:
a. Traditional (Dobbin, Blue)
b. Grandiose (Sovereign Princess, Thundercloud)
c. Sponsored (Kellogg’s Frosties III, Toilet Duck)

Q2. Are you:
a. Chestnut
b. Piebald
c. A horse of a different colour

Q3. Sex:
a. Stallion
b. Mare
c. Gelding, and pissed off about it

Q4. Is your occupation:
a. Racehorse
b. Carriage or cart puller
c. Little girl’s pony (hobby horse)

Q5. State your highest level of qualification:
a. I’ve won the Derby
b. I’ve won a rosette at a gymkhana
c. My farts can be heard two fields away

Q6. If you were led to water, would you;
a. Drink it
b. Bathe in it
c. Stop suddenly and propel your rider into the water

Q7. Do you like Dressage:
a. No



Getting Elephants

Sri Lanka has passed a new law banning the drunk driving of elephants (Irish Times)…


It is a story that is replicated every Friday in pubs across the world. Rihaan went in for one drink after work, but one drink became several as he fell into company, fell into conversation, fell into the fireplace on his way to the toilet.

It was after that that Rihaan reckoned it was time to go home. Friends suggested that he get a taxi, but Rihaan would not hear of it.

This was because his elephant was parked outside the pub. Not all of the story is replicated across the world.

Waving goodbye to the group he went outside to where the elephant, Vimtu, was patiently waiting. Rihaan tapped Vimtu’s side, the elephant sank onto its four knees, and Rihaan pulled himself aboard. He settled into the howdah, pressed his heels gently into Vimtu’s sides, and set off into Friday evening Colombo traffic.

This was not as foolhardy as it sounds. There is a great deal of difference between the drunk driving of a car and an elephant. There are many skills, needing a clear mind, involved in driving a car. The sole skill to driving an elephant is the ability to duck under lines of washing.

But driving one while drunk was now banned in Sri Lanka, so Rihaan’s heart sank when he saw the police checkpoint ahead. He took a deep breath and fixed his face with what he hoped was a cheery smile.

Constable Sharvil walked slowly towards him. His tie was slightly askew and his hi-viz jacket was crumpled, an effect he achieved by stuffing it each night into a small wastepaper basket. This was because Sharvil secretly modelled himself on Lieutenant Columbo from the TV. A lot of policemen in Sri Lanka’s capital do.

He looked at Rihaan’s wide-eyed rictus, which looked as if he were trying to hold in a fart.

“Good evening, sir,” he said. “Been drinking, have we?”

“I don’t know if you have,” replied Rihaan, “but I’ve only had a couple.”

This attempt at humour did not go down well. Sharvil sighed and took a breathalyzer from his pocket. “I’ll have to ask you to blow into this,” he said.

He held it up. Rihaan, leaning over perilously, reached down. Their hands were two feet apart.

Sharvil sighed again, and went and fetched a small ladder from behind the checkpoint sign. He propped it against Vimtu’s hide and began to climb.

Rihaan panicked. He pressed his heels again into Vimtu’s sides, and the elephant walked slowly forward. Sharvil and his ladder stood horizontally against nothing for a second, Wile E Coyote-like, then toppled face first to the ground.

Sharvil got angrily to his feet, ran to a passing auto-rickshaw, and climbed in beside the startled driver.

“Follow that elephant,” he snarled.

The chase took some time, as the three-wheeled rickshaw took corners like a supermarket trolley, while Vimtu took them by taking them out. Sharvil’s driver weaved through the trail of debris left by Vimtu’s progress, not gaining at all, but as Sharvil looked around at where they were, he smiled.

They were approaching the Kelani River.

Up ahead Rihaan looked around at where they were, and smiled.

They were approaching the Kelani River.

Rihaan reckoned they could wade across the river and escape. He dug his heels in, hard.

“Go, Vimtu!” he shouted.

Vimtu looked ahead at the river, its waters swollen by monsoon rains. He dug his heels in, hard.

Hurled from his howdah, Rihaan landed five feet in front of the elephant. He came down hard on his buns, as the bag in which he carried Vimtu’s food had accompanied him through the air. One bun rolled from the bag, spun on its edge like a hub-cap after a car crash, then settled. Vimtu calmly picked it up and put it into his mouth.

The rickshaw came to a stop behind them. Sharvil had a brief row with the driver about the possibility of a fare, then walked slowly over to the groaning Rihaan, carefully loosening his tie as he did so.

“just one more thing,” he said. “You’re nicked.”




Call Me, Call Me Any, Anytime

The iPhone 13, due for release next month, is expected to use satellite communications to allow its use in coverage “dead zones”…


…. Lassie woke instantly, and began to race towards the house. then she heard a voice from behind her.

“Mom? Hi, it’s Timmy … yeah, look, I’ve fallen down the well.”

Lassie smiled to herself, and went back to dozing happily…


… shivering as the shrieking wind battered the tent. Captain Oates climbed slowly to his feet.

“I’m going outside,” he said. “I may be some time.”

Scott’s eyes widened with surprise and with the crackling sound of tiny icicles breaking. Oates took his phone from his pocket.

“It’s my Gran’s birthday,” he explained. “I always give her a call.”


… at last the celebrating Trojans slept, leaving just a small group of sentries around the horse – not for fear of attack, but simply to stop it being graffitied.

The night was passing without incident, and one of the sentries was just taking a deep breath to yell “four o’clock, and all’s well” when from deep in the belly of the giant horse came the tinny sound of the ringtone version of the theme tune to Zorba the Greek…


… “Heuston, we have a problem,” said Lovell, a lot more calmly than he felt.

“Say again?” came the reply.

“We have a -” he looked over at Swigert, who gave him a thumbs-up. “Actually, it’s ok, Heuston,” said Lovell, “Jack Googled it.”


As he stumbled across the foot-burning sands he suddenly saw the glint of water, blinding as it was hit by the midday sun, and the obligatory single palm tree.

He was sure it was a mirage, but headed towards it anyway. He cried – or would have, had his body contained enough moisture to make tears – as he discovered that it was real, an oasis far out here in the desert.

He fell face first into the small pool, and drank and drank.

Then he logged onto TripAdvisor. “The water was warm, and there was no sparkling option,” he wrote. “Two stars.”


Deep in the forest, something stirred.

It was the witch, gloomily stirring her cauldron.

She had built a cottage of gingerbread so that she could attract children, and eat them. Why she didn’t simply eat the gingerbread is not clear.

And her plan had worked, almost. Hansel and Gretel had arrived, but, before she could begin her Bond-villainly complicated plan of fattening them up (with food, which again she could have eaten herself) they had taken a selfie outside her cottage, with her glowering at the door, and posted it on Instagram.

She’d had to let them go.