Posts Tagged ‘humour’

syria photo


At the Wellthisiswhatithink desk, deep in darkest Melbourne, people occasionally pass us vital documents they think should be broadcast to a wider audience.

This is how we stumbled across this revelatory but top secret intelligence briefing on the situation in Syria and Iraq.

With luck, this highly restricted document will clear up any confusion you have on the situation over there. We publish so that the truth may be known. Eat your heart out, Wikileaks.

So … (deep breath) …


Let’s kick off with Syria. President Assad (who is bad) is a nasty guy with a bad moustache who only got the job because his Dad had it before, but then he got so nasty that his people rebelled and the Rebels (who are good) started winning. (Hurrah!) This is despite the dorky Assad having a rather dishy British wife who was universally believed to be good, until she spent too much on shoes and stuff and became generally considered to be bad.

Things were sort of going OK for the good rebels but then some of them turned more than a bit nasty and are now called IS or ISIL or Islamic State or Daesh (doesn’t matter what they’re called, they are definitely bad) and some rebels continued to support democracy (who are still good) and some we are just not all that sure about (who may be bad, or good, but time will tell).

IS are so bad even Al Qaeda (really bad too) don’t like them and start fighting them.

The Americans (who are good) start bombing Islamic State (who are bad) and giving arms to the Syrian Rebels (who are good) so they could fight Assad (who is still bad), which was good. But this ironically puts America on the same side as Al Qaeda in Syria, which is just plain odd.

Now. There is a breakaway state in the north run by the Kurds who want to fight IS (which is a good thing) but the Turkish authorities think they are bad, so we have to say they are bad whilst secretly thinking they’re good and giving them guns to fight IS (which is good) but that is another matter altogether and we’ll get more confused so we’ll let it go. Meanwhile the Turks have shot down a Russian plane which they say was flying in their airspace (which is definitely bad).

Anyway, getting back to Syria and Iraq.

So President Putin (who is bad, because he invaded Crimea and thejoker Ukraine and killed lots of folks including that nice Russian man in London with polonium-poisoned sushi) has decided to back Assad (who is still bad) by attacking ISIS (who are also bad) which is sort of a good thing?

But Putin (still bad) thinks the Syrian Rebels (who are good) are also bad, and so he bombs them too, much to the annoyance of the Americans (who are good) who are busy backing and arming the rebels (who are also good).

Now Iran (who used to be bad, but now they have agreed not to build any nuclear weapons and bomb Israel with them are now sort-of good) are going to provide ground troops to support Assad (still bad) as are the Russians (bad) who now have both ground troops and aircraft in Syria.

So a new Coalition of Assad (still bad) Putin (extra bad) and the Iranians (good, but in a bad sort of way) are going to attack IS (who are very bad) which is a good thing, but also the Syrian Rebels (who are good), which is bad.

Annoyingly, now the British (obviously good, except that funny and rather confused Mr Corbyn, who is probably bad in an ineffective sort of way) and the Americans (also good) and the Australians (who are generally considered good because they’re mainly about cold beer and beaches) cannot attack Assad (still bad) for fear of upsetting Putin (bad) and Iran (good/bad) so now they have to accept that Assad might not be that bad after all compared to IS (who are super bad).

So Assad (bad) is now probably good, being better than IS (but let’s face it, drinking your own wee is better than IS, so no real choice there) and since Putin and Iran are also fighting IS that may now make them good.

America (still good) will find it hard to arm a group of rebels being attacked by the Russians for fear of upsetting Mr Putin (now good) and that nice mad Ayatollah in Iran (sort of good) and so they may be forced to say that the Rebels are now bad, or at the very least abandon them to their fate. This will lead most of them to flee to Turkey and then on to Europe (which is bad) or join IS (still the only constantly bad group, and that would be really bad).

For all the Sunni Muslims in the area, an attack by Shia Muslims and Alawites (Iran and Assad) backed by Russians (infidels) will be seen as something of a Holy War, and the ranks of Daesh will now be seen by the Sunnis as the only Jihadis fighting in the Holy War. Hence many Muslims will now see IS as good even though they are the baddest of the bad. (Doh!)

Sunni Muslims will also see the lack of action by Britain and America in support of their (good) Sunni rebel brothers as something of a betrayal (not to mention we didn’t do anything about a corrupt Shia government being imposed on Sunnis when we took over Iraq: hmmm, might have a point there) and hence we will be seen as more Bad. Again.

A few million refugees are now out of harm’s way (good) but nobody really wants them (bad) and now winter’s coming (bad). Lots of people think the refugees are how IS will sneak bad guys into Europe (which would be bad, but there’s no evidence of it happening, which is good, but that doesn’t stop people being frightened of them even though they have no reason to be, which is bad). Meanwhile the French have decided to bomb Iraq to pay back IS for the attacks (bad) in Paris and other countries like Lebanon and Jordan also look like getting dragged further and further into the conflict (bad).

So now we have America (now bad) and Britain (also bad) and Australia (bad, but with good beer), providing limited support to Sunni Rebels (bad) many of whom are looking to IS (good/bad depending on your point of view, even though they’re still really bad) for support against Assad (now good) who, along with Iran (also good) and Putin (also, now, unbelievably, good) are attempting to retake the country Assad used to run before all this started?

There. I hope that this clears it all up for you.

And if in doubt, fuck it, let’s all just bomb someone else. ‘Cause that will help.


You know nothing, John Snow? Officially, at least.


Is this the confirmation worried Jon Snow fans have been craving?

Winterfell will play host to a meeting between some big characters in Game of Thrones season six.

Fansite Watchers on the Wall reports a scene with Ramsay Bolton, his reluctant wife Sansa Stark and the endlessly conniving Littlefinger is being filmed in Northern Ireland this week.

Jon Snow is also in the scene, according to the fansite, and is also the subject of a new teaser poster from HBO, (see above), despite apparently dying (or at very least, becoming very over-tired indeed) from multiple stab wounds from his Wall-watching mates at the end of season five, adding further fuel to the rumour (aka desperate female fan hope) that he didn’t die or will somehow be resurrected.

The encounter takes place in the courtyard of Winterfell, the childhood home of Jon and Sansa that is now under Bolton (boooo!) control.

Adding to the tense scene, a giant then turns up at the gate and people have to fight it off. But it’s unclear whether the giant is Wun Wun or if another giant has made it south of the Wall.

Sophie TurnerPrevious spoilers have revealed that actor Alfie Allen, who plays Theon Greyjoy, has been in Northern Ireland to film Iron Island scenes. This latest news means Sansa and Theon did survive the jump from Winterfell they made at the end of last season. Which is encouraging for the growing legion of male fans of actress Sophie Turner, who has turned into a grown up at least as hot as her tumbling red tresses.

All of which is good news, but we are still reeling, Dear Reader, from the demise of Clara Oswald (aka Jenna Coleman, who is coincidentally Rob Stark’s girlfriend in real life) in the most recent episode of Doctor Who.

claraYes, we all know that the Who writers regularly kill characters off, and Clara’s behaviour had become overly-reckless recently, but it was nevertheless suprisingly emotionally distressing to see a character we have come to know and love killed off instead of having her leave the series for some other reason and in some other way (Billie Piper getting trapped in an alternate Universe from David Tennant’s Doctor, for example.)

Dakota JohnsonIt is really odd how we come to identify so closely with characters in either movies or TV shows. It must have something to do with the way our brains “suspend disbelief” to allow us to enjoy the drama. We watched an interesting discussion with Dakota Johnson, famously the daughter of Melanie Griffith and Don Johnson, who plays Anastasia Steele in the schlock-BDSM pot boiler “Fifty Shades of Grey, and who is currently filming the sequel “Fifty Shades Darker”. She said she had difficulty finding a boyfriend because suddenly men seemed frightened of her, although apparently and happily she has recently rekindled her romance with her British rock musician boyfriend.

Apparently the men she was meeting thought she was “weird” because of the role she played, which was certainly “out there”. But why people would think the actress’s attitudes or behaviours would mimic those of a fictional character is curious.

Game of Thrones CycleAnyway, it looks like GOT fans might be grieving a little less next year.

And in late-breaking news, apparently Aslan in the Narnia Chronicles is not real.

I mean, really. Who knew?

Well done, Mr McClure, whoever and wherever you are. Well done, that man.


Well done, Mr McClure, whoever you are. Well done, that man.

Freudian slip? Star wars,

Freudian slip?


Interesting front page typo on Yahoo today (unless they are being incredibly tricksy, which I doubt) in a headline breathlessly wondering if the posters for the new Star Wars movie have quietly un-eviled a new Death Star to expectant fans.

Hmmm. We think they mean unveiled, especially as as that’s the way the story carries on past the splash page. But somehow, you know, we prefer un-eviled.

What would am un-eviled Death Star look like?

Line dancing stormtroopers?

Anger management classes for key personnel?

A new diplomatic corps replacing the Tie Fighters?

Cooking with SuperLaser classes?

We think the people should be told.

Jabba_the_HuttMeanwhile,  STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS now has a confirmed release date of December 18, 2015.

Somehow I suspect the Wellthisiswhatithink clan will be there for the 00:01 am screening, probably in fancy dress.

Your indefatigable correspondent will be going as Jabba The Hutt as this will require minimal preparation and thus less time out of the pub.



Very excited to let all followers of the blog know that I have just started a new Kickstarter project to bring a whole new Variety show to the stage in Melbourne. Poetry! Music! Clowns! Improv! Circus! Theatre! Comedy! Dance! Stuff! Yes, all of that.

The show will focus on unearthing new talent, or giving a boost to established talent that need an outlet.

It’s a bit scary, but you know what? If you don’t do, you … er … don’t do.

This has been my dream for as long as I can recall, and I’ll be frank, a recent health scare (all is well, never fear) has made me realise time is passing.

I will post more news of the project in a few days when Kickstarter hopefully approve it. Watch this space!

PS! Performers in the Melbourne area, don’t delay, signal your interest to me by emailing me on now.


We told you we’re obsessed. And now, thank goodness, we have remembered this. And found it. Productive afternoon.

How jolly, jolly good Python were at their peak. They manage to skewer medical pomposity and the incompetence of most health systems in one wince-inducing spot. Enjoy!

What’s your favourite Python sketch and why?

Welcome to Hell.

Welcome to Hell.

Beware a man seeking some peace and time to think.

We have recently completed some renovations at home, Dear Reader, and we now have yet more electrical devices that helpfully go Ding when they want to let us know they’ve done their bit, don’t know how to do their bit, or maybe they’re just feeling lonely because we haven’t sworn at them recently.

We have a toaster. It goes ding. Because two pieces of toast soaring into the air and landing in the dog’s bowl isn’t enough of a clue that it’s done its job successfully.

We have a cooktop. Electric. Swanky looking. It goes peep whenever you press a button. Take a ring all the way up from one to nine and that’s nine peeps. Leave a tea towel within a hundred yards of it’s blinking red diode controls and it peeps. It probably peeps on the hour just to share the existential horror of its owners at the passing of the day, but we haven’t caught it doing that yet.

We have a new oven. It peeps when it gets cold. It peeps when it gets hot. It peeps all the bloody time. It probably peeps hello as you come through the front door. It also has a bell as well as a peep, for when one has inadvertently turned a timer on because one cannot master the buttons. Given time, we will write a multi-instrument symphony for the oven alone.

We have a dishwasher. Leave the door open. Peep. Finish a wash cycle. Peep peep. A celebratory extra peep for shiny, dry dishes.

fridge_angryIt lives in the kitchen with the fridge. That doesn’t peep, beep or ding. It bongs. When left open. Weird noise. Booo-ONG. Still, it’s Korean.

It has a little door on the front of it to let you get to the milk faster because it’s just too damn exhausting and time consuming to open, like, the whole fridge door. The little door has to be closed with the precision used to manufacture nuclear centrifuges because leave that open and a sepulchral bong sounds not once, but twice.

If you forget to switch your immaculate new iPhone to airplane mode on retiring you can pretty much guarantee that’s the night, as you lie there desperate for sleep, collapsed with sheer exhaustion, that you are awoken by a new Facebook friend you haven’t spoken to in real life in thirty years messaging you to tell you that he’s getting divorced over that little dalliance with a waitress and could he come stay for a bit. PING!

Do you think he’s ruined his life or is it a fresh start? PING!

Will the kids get over it? PING!

Should he be worried that he’s on his fourth scotch for the night? PING, PING, PING!

Ping-is-an-app-that-keeps-you-notified-about-the-things-youre-interested-in.(Frighteningly, there’s even a popular iPhone app called, appropriately, Ping!, to send you random “humorous” or “useful” messages during the day. You’d have to really be Johnny No Friends to want that. Sad but true.)

A text message comes in. Buzz, Ding! (Yes, both.) Don’t forget the breakfast meeting at 6.30 am with the client. Except it’s now 4.30 am and you’ve been awake all night after being woken up by the suicidal Facebook friend.

We have a habit of getting in the car and starting the engine and then putting the seatbelt on. This upsets the car, which sings out a warning signal of not one, not two, but FIVE beeps.

Any messages the engine wants to send us – Windscreen washer bottle is empty – really? – we wouldn’t have noticed when we pressed the windscreen washer button and no water came out? – are accompanied by a beep.

As the sensors in the engine are so precise that they measure the coolant fluid dropping by as much as one one thousandth of a millimetre from full-to-overflowing – the only state it will accept for all oils and fluids – there are at least three beeps every time we start the engine, to go with the five reminding us to put our belt on.

While driving, the engine will sometimes send other messages – BEEP! – so randomly as to nearly cause us to drive off the road in shock, Mozart’s Requiem rudely interrupted to let us know that the boot isn’t so much open as just bored.

They’re building a home behind us. They start on site at 7am. The man on the little digger machine thingy who is digging drainage ditches has a device that makes his thing go beep beep beep (at a horribly screechy, high pitch designed to terrify dogs and cause them pain) when he’s reversing. Which we can just about see the common sense of, except he’s on the site on his own. So the only people he’s warning of his sudden backwards lurch are hundreds of yards away.

And they’re trying to get a lie in, after cancelling the breakfast meeting.

You know what cracks us up? The things that go ping in hospitals, on big imposing pingy machines next to very sick people. Ping, every time your heart beats. Ping if your blood pressure goes up. Or down. Or you wink, or move. You know how they reckon people in comas can hear you talking to them? Can you imagine days, weeks, months or worse lying immobile next to a machine that goes ping? Oh, the humanity of it.

Ding, beep, ping, pong, dong, bongy devices: you’re right. That is a shotgun in our backpack.

We are not even pretending to be rational. You have been warned.

All together now ...

All together now …

I am very grateful to Mrs Wellthisiswhatithink for finding this little gem.

It really works, too.

I know so many people who need this, I thought I’d share. A few of the commenters on this blog need this. You know who you are. Now close your eyes …

It will never quite match The Dalek Relation Tape, but then we all know that stands in a class of its own, right?

Which reminds us, the Season 9 trailer for Dr Who has just broken out. Oh. My. Lord. Excited much?

Starts September 19. We don’t want to wish our life away, but we can’t wait.

Tommy CooperFor no particular reason, Dear Reader, we felt inclined to share some of these brilliant gags with you today.

Maybe because it’s Friday.

Maybe because the world needs cheering up today.

Maybe because yesterday was our birthday and the love flowed all day and we had the day off, including discovering a fine New Zealand beer which is perfectly flavoured with coffee. Two of our favourite things in one.

#winner #whoknew?


Coffee Beer. We know, it sounds mad, right? It wasn't.

Coffee Beer. We know, it sounds mad, right? It wasn’t.


You can find this astonishing tipple here, or head to SlowBeer in Richmond, Melbourne, and go for it.

Anyhow, Cooper was a master of paraprosdokians – where the second half of a sentence or phrase is completely unexpected – and silly one liners. Here are some of his best:

I went to a fortune teller and she looked at my hands. She said, ‘Your future looks pretty black.’ I said, ‘Are you kidding? I’ve still got my gloves on!

I said to the doctor, ‘It hurts when I do this’ [raises arm]. He said, ‘Well, don’t do it, then.’

I said to the chef, ‘Why have you got your hand in the alphabet soup?’ He said, ‘I’m grasping for words!’

My doctor told me to drink a bottle of wine after a hot bath, but I couldn’t even finishbullshit drinking the hot bath!

A drunk was driving his car down a one-way street when a policeman stopped him. The cop said, ‘Didn’t you see the arrows?’ He said, ‘Arrows? I didn’t even see the Indians.’

Gambling has brought our family together. We had to move to a smaller house.

I took saxophone lessons for six months until I dislocated my jaw. How did I know I was supposed to blow in the small end?

You know what a racehorse is . . . it’s an animal that can take several thousand people for a ride at the same time

My wife said ‘Take me in your arms and whisper something soft and sweet’. I said, ‘Chocolate fudge’.

I bought some pork chops and told the butcher to make them lean. He said, ‘Which way?’

weekI said to the doctor, ‘Can you give me something for my liver?’ He gave me a pound of onions.

I sleep like a baby . . I wake up screaming every morning around 3am.

I went to see my doctor and he said ‘I want you to lie down on the couch.’ I said, ‘What for?’ He said, ‘I want to sweep up.’

And perhaps our personal favourite:

I told the waiter, bring me a chicken. So he brought me a chicken. ‘Just a minute,’ I said, ‘It’s only got one leg. ‘It’s been in a fight.’ I said, ‘Well, bring me the winner.’

Happy Friday everyone!

PS Stick Paraprosdokian in the search box top left for lots more fun examples!

And then, sometimes, there is this. Just sometimes, no one checks the words. No one bothers. No one cares. No one takes responsibility. No one is empowered. 

And then, this happens.
Thank you, Northampton General Hospital. Your advice is noted.

Please line up in an orderly queue for all your comments about young ladies in Northampton walking funny. They will be moderated.

sub editorWe have been laid up with flu for a while, Dear Reader, hence our output has been somewhat slowed, but we couldn’t resist whipping out the trusty laptop for this one.

So Boston is where all those posh Universities are, right?

Clearly they are not sending many of their alumni to work in newspapers as sub editors – that interesting crew whose main job is to fact check, slash verbilicious copy (yes, we made that word up) and – crucially – add headlines to news stories.

We are delighted to see that this ambidextrous Oakland Athletic relief pitcher can pitch left handed, right handed, and, apparently, underwater, too. Quite some skill, that.




You might also enjoy these: – best Sub Editing F*** Up so far this year boosts scout membership. Maybe. – the girl’s school everyone apparently enjoys.

For other F*** Ups of all sorts from the world of media and advertising, just put F*** Up in the search box top left of this page, and enjoy.

More news as it comes to hand. And when we stop sneezing. Nurse, we’ll take that little pink pill now, please. And a drop of chicken soup, if you can hold the spoon to our trembling lips.



HorsehillsurreyApparently Obama has just ordered the Sixth Fleet to the English Channel to remove the dictatorial government of the UK with solid proof they have weapons of mass destruction.

The Australian Government are holding their hands up excitedly and jumping up and down at their desks wanting to commit resources to the Coalition attack force.

All joking apart, this is great news for the UK. Read the whole story here:

Wandering Facebook today brought us across this lovely snippet from our friend and reader Mimi in California.

“Today’s irony, brought to you by Hailey’s school:

“Let’s have a moment of silence for the deaf” at the end of the afternoon prayer.”

How thoughtful of them. Next week, poking our eyes out for the blind, no doubt.

marceauxAnyhow, it did remind us of the only joke we have ever consciously written. It ran thusly:

“So when Marcel Marceau died, did they hold a minute’s noise?”

Hardly enough to establish us as one of the world’s great humourists, but we are proud of it. Years later – and we never published the joke apart from gleefully sharing it with friends and acquaintances in the pub and over dinner – it was fed back to us from a comic in the UK. Amazing how the world works.

Marceau was a French actor and mime most famous for his stage persona as “Bip the Clown.” He referred to mime as the “art of silence,” and he performed professionally worldwide for over 60 years. As a youth, he lived in hiding and worked with the French Resistance during most of World War II, giving his first major performance to 3000 troops after the liberation of Paris in August 1944. Following the war, he studied dramatic art and mime in Paris.

In 1959 he established his own pantomime school in Paris, and subsequently set up the Marceau Foundation to promote the art in the U.S. Among his various awards and honours, he was made “Grand Officier de la Légion d’Honneur” (1998) and was awarded the National Order of Merit (1998) in France. He won the Emmy Award for his work on television, was elected member of the Academy of Fine Arts in Berlin, and was declared a “National Treasure” in Japan. He was friends with pop artist Michael Jackson for nearly 20 years, and Jackson said he would use some of Marceau’s techniques in his own dance steps.

Marceau’s work was frequently whimsical and humorous, but also often exquisitely beautiful and sad. Given that existentialism is basically a French invention, it is hardly surprising that he addressed it in his work.

His famous performance of “A Life” in three minutes was happily captured on film and is on YouTube with a number of his other history-making performances, and although the quality is very poor – it almost obscures the fact that he starts and ends in a foetal position – it is well worth viewing. What is fascinating is how he can create tension through repetition, can create suspense through inaction, and can provide shock through the tiniest changes in facial expression or bodily position. In a word: exquisite.

Tony-Abbott-WinkOK, it’s Friday, we have a headache, we have to go stand around in 90+ degree sunshine, and we simply can’t be arsed to rattle on about how wrong it is to execute Australians in Indonesia (or anywhere for that matter), how horrid IS are (and more interestingly, why), or how stooooopid Australia’s Prime minister is. (Answer: staggeringly.)

So we just thought we’d have a larf with these inspired alterations to public signs. Have a great weekend, Dear Reader.


I really wish we were as funny as this. Really. We strive to be. We just ain't. You could call that a chip on our shoulder. Ha! See what we did there? Maybe we are funny.

I really wish we were as funny as this. Really. We strive to be. We just ain’t. You could call that a chip on our shoulder. Ha! See what we did there? Maybe we are funny after all.


Leveraging America's obsession with Bacon, which we completely get.

Leveraging America’s obsession with Bacon, which we completely get.


Gorgeous. Even like the drawing.

Gorgeous. Even like the drawing.


They do, too. Always knew it.

They do, too. Always knew it.


This would make us laugh no matter how many times we walked past it. Whoever drew this has done the world a kindness.

This would make us laugh no matter how many times we walked past it. Whoever drew this has done the world a kindness.


Oh, the humanity of it.

Oh, the humanity.


We have highlighted this one before as a reminder not to put advertising material where it can be reached, but it's very funny.

We have highlighted this one before as a reminder not to put advertising material where it can be reached, but it’s very funny.





Funny and a comment on society all in one. Clever people around.

Funny and a comment on society all in one. Clever people around, huh?


The effort people will go to is amazing - we hope the killjoy idiots in the local Council will leave this one up. Brilliant.

The effort people will go to is amazing – we hope the killjoy idiots in the local Council will leave this one up. Brilliant.


Yet more social comment. Reminds us of when billboards for cigarettes all over Australia were spontaneously inscribed with "Cough! Cough!" before they were banned.

Yet more social comment. Reminds us of when billboards for cigarettes all over Australia were spontaneously inscribed with “Cough! Cough!” before they were banned.


But this is our total favourite. We swear we are going to carry a pen with us from now on in hope of seeing a "Bill Stickers" sign. Bravo.

But this is our total favourite. We swear we are going to carry a pen with us from now on in hope of seeing a “Bill Stickers” sign to add this to. Bravo. Encore!


Any more great examples muchly appreciated. Email them to

OK. This is enough reason to have Pay TV. But only just.

Over the years, those so-obliging and ever-so-clever clever cable people have gradually got me to add more and more channels to my box, until now I have a vast incoming feed of every possible type of TV programme imaginable.

I have been talked into every money-saving pack on offer. My monthly Foxtel subscription now rivals the Greek debt.

I can now watch re-runs of Iron Chef America on three different channels. (Bobby Flay, if you make that chipotle sauce one more time I have you taken out, I swear. And what the fuck is chipotle anyway?)

I have seen every episode of “Extreme Fishing”  at least three times. (Admittedly Robson Green does make me laugh a lot.)

And watching early episodes of Midsomer Murders before John Nettles’ face became so rigidly, brilliantly expressive that he could convey the guts of an entire scene with just the tweak of one facial muscle and an exhalation of a long-held breath does give one an interesting insight into the growth of an actor’s craft.

But in general, what is served up is total crap. Last night, at 10.03 pm, I had to concede that there wasn’t a single programme on I wanted to watch, on any channel. Furtively, my eyes even travelled across the room to the bookshelf. I couldn’t, could I?

This is the bread and circuses of today. Mindless, brain numbing, threatening to drag one down into a morass, a pit, an abyss, filled with mental confetti and candy floss, drizzled with sticky engine oil, in which we become stuck, never to escape. Cloying, suffocating, deadly.

You can almost hear the executives and politicians chanting their mantra quietly as they watch us sitting in traffic jams on the freeway, gazing affectionately at us from their gleaming glass and steel eyries. Work hard, spend up big, go home, switch your brain off. Work hard, spend up big, go home, switch your brain off.

You know why they don’t need troops on the barricades to keep us quiet any more. They have pay TV.

Emilia Clarke as the Khaleesi in Game of Thrones

Turn it off. Go outside. You know it makes sense.

And its not even good crap. For every Game of Thrones (“Oh! Khaleesi! Be still my beating heart!”) we have to endure a “Restoration Nightmare”, “Vanished”, “Jersey Shore”, “Teen Mom”, “16 and Pregnant”, even some unbelievable pap called “Entertainment Tonight” – surely that show should be done under the Trades Descriptions Act?

And, of course, those fucking Kardashians – a cipher for our modern age if ever there was one – in any one of 17 universally brain numbing, over-made-up but subtly different incarnations. ” Where are we doing this series, Hun? I know, let’s do Paris!”

Anyway. (Deep breath.) So when I saw the artwork below, I am afraid I could not resist reproducing it.

Feel free to do the same, on WordPress, Facebook, wherever. And well done to whoever is behind, who dreamed it up, I guess. One image can make all the difference.

Who knows, we could start a small revolution. Or a big one. I am even going to positively discriminate against advertisers who allow their ads to be run – ad nauseam, as if that helps – in the middle of TV shows with no redeeeming social, artistic, news or dramatic content, merely because the shows “deliver” an audience. The fact that the audience is half-sitting, half-lying, in a catatonic near-brain-dead state incapable of taking in information because their alpha and beta waves have been driven inexorably downwards to a negligible level is all the more reason to boycott those who support such nonsense.

Yes, I know it’s all a matter of opinion. But you know what? I’ve spent a lifetime honing my opinions, and they count.

A scientific survey will not be required. I will make my own mind up. If millions of us switched brands because we resent advertisers wasting their margin (which is passed onto us as consumers as increased prices, of course) by advertising in the middle of shows that merely pollute our lives then sooner or later they’d actually look at the schedules provided by their media buying agencies and express an opinion. Starved of funds, the worst shows would struggle. And eventually close.

Every act of resistance has meaning. This is mine. Join me?

You know it.

There are no human beings in this world other than the taut and trim. Yeah. right.

There are no human beings in this world other than the taut and trim. Yeah. right.


The international phenomenon which is No Pants Day continues to grow exponentially in popularity.

Knobbly knees, pale-as-sunrise calves, cheeky buttocks and bizarre underwear. There was no shame for the thousands of commuters around the world who travelled sans trousers for the 14th No Pants Subway Ride and all its variants on Sunday.

What began as a small stunt by seven New York subway riders in 2002 has turned into a global event. The original pranksters, who formed the group Improv Everywhere, said pants were dropped and legs bared in 60 cities, including Sydney, Melbourne, London, Hong Kong and Johannesburg. On the Gold Coast, the privately-owned tram operator G:link shut it down just seconds before it was about to begin, but then that’s Queensland, where as all Aussies know the clocks are stopped at eight minutes to eight in the evening, or as we like to call it, 1952.

“It’s a celebration of silliness,” said Larry Piche, the organiser of Calgary’s No Pants Skytrain Ride. “There’s no real reason, just come out and play.”

And fair enough too. The world needs more silliness.

The premise is simple: don’t wear pants, ride the set route, and keep a straight face. But there are rules, such as being “tasteful and hygienic”, wearing “everyday” clothes from the waist up, and carrying a valid ticket.

“If questioned, you do not know any of the other pants-less riders. Tell folks that you ‘forgot to wear pants’,” organisers said on Facebook ahead of the Sydney event.

We have just one major concern.

Have all those discarding their skirts and trousers actually looked at a subway seat recently?

You know, the vomit-and-urine-soaked, chewing-gum-infested, coffee-and-coca-cola-stained subway seats we are all so used to?

As you can see from this charming video from TimeOut via YouTube, clean they ain’t.

If you can bear to watch it, the video shows clouds of dust billowing up from seats on London Underground lines as they are bashed with a rubber hammer. Testers looked at the Piccadilly, Victoria, Northern, Bakerloo, Jubilee, Central, District, Circle, Hammersmith and City, and Metropolitan lines.

Even brand new ‘S’ stock trains on the District line, rolled out over the last year, contained significant quantities of the brown dust, which is thought to be a charming concoction of dead human skin and dirt from people’s shoes. Presumably even more skin particles, now.



We really don’t think you have to have a hygiene phobia to want that extra comfort of another layer of clothing between one’s fundament and the seat. Do you?


Gotta love those.

Gotta love those. Classy.


Can anyone see anything wrong with this picture?

Can anyone see anything wrong with this picture?

Anyhow, honestly, we have other concerns.

To look at the press coverage, one would think that everyone who cheerfully dropped their daks were buffed and shaped into swoon-worthy well-muscled buttness and thighness that was crying out to be freed for world view.

Whereas we are reasonably sure that a goodly proportion of the delightfully silly people that took part are boasting hidden bits that should, at the very least, stay hidden in public.

We assure you, Dear Reader, we will not be going bare-legged (or bare anythinged)  on the train anytime soon.

Mind you. What other opportunities are there for bare-leggedness that might offer an opportunity for a good laugh without the concomitant possibilities for rampant yeast infections?

#nopantshopping. We’d like to see that.

We’re not absolutely sure if this photo is genuine.

It might be a clever photoshopped viral meme designed to make a point ahead of the Scottish independence poll. Or it might just be the perfect example of Rule #1 of outdoor advertising – see your medium before you stick the ad to the train, and don’t put any of it over (a) doors that move (b) big sticky-outey things that make it impossible to read your ad.


Either way, very funny.

For more glorious F*** Ups in advertising, packaging, social media et al just put “F*** Up” in the search box top left of this page and hit enter …

flagsMeanwhile, based on the polls, if you are remotely interested in the politics of the thing, it is still looking likely that Scotland won’t vote to become an independent country, with the “yes” side of the poll declining recently, although fervent yes campaigners point to the still large number of undecideds and the fact that a larger percentage of women seem undecided in particular.

Our guess – and we’re usually right – is that the referendum will fail, but more narrowly than the current polls indicate. Still, with a month to go, there is still time for momentum to build either way as people focus more and more on the actual event.

A wrap of the movements of the polls can be found here. In reading polls, psephologists agree that what really matters is the overall look of the trends, and the averaging of them. On that basis, it should be noted that since this poll tracker began, the “yes” side of the argument has only been in the majority, very temporarily, twice.

(With thanks to Dickie Ember for forwarding us the Alex Salmond train photo.)


Ed Byrne

Ed Byrne

So. The Wellthisiswhatithink clan was driving through the rain yesterday evening to a very swanky dinner, (on behalf of departing Monash Uni Vice-Chancellor Ed Byrne and his wife Melissa – a wonderful event which we were thrilled to be asked to, although we are sad to be losing this wonderful couple to London – our loss is their very profound gain), when we came across this hilarious  sign on a building in swanky Malvern, one of Melbourne’s “better” suburbs.


We immediately cracked up.

Patient – “Well, I feel better now, can I stop coming?”

Manipulative physiotherapist – “Oh yes, I’m sure you feel better. Yeah, now worries, stop coming. I’ll find another patient to fill the gap. You go off and enjoy yourself. Knock yourself out. Don’t worry about me. I’ll be fine.”

Yes, yes, we know it doesn’t say emotionally manipulative physiotherapist, but stuck in traffic at 6pm in the rain and dark we just laughed and laughed.

Guess you had to be there.

(Feel free to contribute your personal conversation snippets between patients and the manipulative physio. Let’s see if there are any more people out there with our weird sense of humour.)

Incidentally, some of the musical entertainment provided at the dinner was from the ineffably brilliant jazz musician Paul Grabowsky. It was a true privilege to hear him and a bunch of other leading musicians at close quarters. Blessings in life arrive unexpectedly, don’t they?

We happened across this little article by Michael Gebicki from Fairfax and it reminded us that we have been meaning for a YEAR to whinge about the temperature on planes.

Keeping temperatures at the lower end of the range on a plane can be a better option than having passengers fainting.Keeping temperatures at the lower end of the range on a plane can be a better option than having passengers fainting. Photo: Getty Images

The pilot has overall control within a range of about 20-28 degrees, but within those parameters the actual temperature control is left up to the flight crew, who will generally set is at 22 or 23 degrees.

If the temperature drops to 20 degrees passengers start to shiver and complain, but anecdotal advice from flight crew suggests that more passengers faint when the temperature rises above 24 degrees.

This is supported by a study conducted by a study published by the American Society for Testing and Materials, which concluded “There is evidence that cabin pressure and temperature may contribute to the occurrence of syncope”, the medical term for fainting.

This results from a deficient blood flow to the brain, which might happen when a passenger rises after a prolonged period of inactivity.

Fainting is more likely to occur following a sedentary spell in an aircraft than at home, sitting in front of the TV for example, because air pressure in the cabin at typical cruising altitude is equivalent to the outside air pressure at 1800–2400m above sea level.

At that altitude, less oxygen is available to be transported in the blood stream, which increases the incidence of fainting.

Flight crew also suggest that passengers sitting in the rear of an aircraft are more susceptible, along with overweight males, elderly passengers and those with cardiovascular conditions.

Hmmm. Well we had one experience recently with drove us nuts. We flew from Tokyo to Paris with Japan Airlines, specifically because we wanted to end our brief sojourn in the Land of the Rising Sun with the experience of munching sushi on the way over to France, even though by the time we got there we were actually a bit sushi-d out as we had eaten little else for four days. Well, we had one plate of German ham hock in a first floor Bavarian “BierKeller”, but that’s a long story.

May we suggest an extra serve of green tea ice-cream?

May we suggest an extra serve of green tea ice-cream?

Anyhow the cabin temperature was set to roasting overnight. It was completely impossible to sleep comfortably – or even just endure it watching TV comfortably.

Now admittedly we were sitting towards the rear of the plane (on the basis that very few planes ever reverse into mountains) and your compellingly honest correspondent will admit to being somewhat, er … well let’s just say an Indian tailor once smiled sweetly and said he thought he had something in portly short that would fit us … but it was really ridiculously hot. Even Mrs Wellthisiswhatithink agreed, and she would complain of feeling chilly sitting next to an open blast-furnace.

We pleaded with the cabin staff to turn the heating down, but they simply refused, albeit with lots of bowing and smiling. “No” still means “no”, even when accompanied by traditional Japanese deference. Eventually, one remarked that Asian passengers prefer the cabin kept warmer, or they all complain. As we were amongst very few Europeans on the flight we grumblingly acquiesced to that logic and eventually went to sleep with a tea-towel stuffed with ice behind our neck.

The sushi was pretty crap, too. And the seats were too small. Although to be fair it should be noted that in 2013 JAL was given an award for being the most punctual international carrier, so presumably you arrive at your destination drenched in sweat but on time more often.

In general, we find cabin temperatures are set too high way too often, especially on long-haul overnight flights. One such flight across the Atlantic (Chicago-London) with BA would have been more comfortable if we’d all been in bathing costumes. Admittedly it was seriously cold leaving Chicago, but it’s hard to dismiss the feeling that the cabin was set to uber-warm by the staff to greet the frozen travellers and then just left that way because no one thought to check it. Or maybe they were just having too much fun chatting to yours truly as he drank vodka after vodka in the food prep area, having given up entirely on any hope of getting any sleep.

The point is surely, if they are set at the lower end of the scale, then people who feel chilly can put on another layer, or snuggle under a blanket. Or two. Those who are overheated are limited in their ability to respond. No one wants to see a somewhat corpulent middle aged fellow in his undies fanning himself with a dog-eared in-flight magazine.

So we politely urge pursers and captains to start low and hand out lots of blankies, or at least start low and edge the temp up half a degree at a time, rather than start high and wait for people to start fainting or panting.

Unless your passenger list is mainly Asian, we guess. In which case, Caveat Emptor would seem to apply for fliers. Interestingly, though, we have also flown with South China, Cathay Pacific, Singapore, Vietnam and Malaysian, and not noticed the problem to anything like the same degree as we experienced with JAL.

The other hottest planes we have known have been Qantas inside Australia, which are frequently stifling. What is with that?

Apparently taking "selfies" of their beautiful selves is the latest thing with air hostesses, as this recent shot of an Emirates crew shows. Well you try Googling "too hot stewardesses" and see what you come up with.

Apparently taking “selfies” of their beautiful selves is the latest thing with air hostesses, as this recent shot of an Emirates crew shows. Well you try Googling “too hot stewardesses” and see what you come up with.

And just to throw a bunch of flowers as well as a brickbat, we flew back from Dubai to Australia with Emirates and the experience was about as magnificent as flying anywhere cattle-class could be.

Seats were comfortable, food was brilliant, staff were charming and spoke (to our count) 17 different languages – they announce them at the start of the flight – entertainment system was excellent – and above all, blessed be, the cabin was pleasantly temperate.

Still, we guess people from Dubai know a bit about air-conditioning.

The exceptionally comfortable Dubai International airport is enormous – cavernous – yet impeccably cool: quite remarkable, really, although clearing customs was ludicrously slow. That aside, we would recommend Emirates to anyone.

What’s your most recent flying experience – good, bad, indifferent? And what do you think about cabin temperatures? Let us know!

Many moons ago, we submitted an article to the New Yorker. They rejected it. This is not an uncommon experience for writers submitting to the august magazine, which sets an stratospheric standard for its contributors, which is why it’s such a good read, of course. Indeed, on the remaindered shelf at a bookstore many moons ago we bought a “best of” collection of the famous New Yorker cartoons which is still one of the funniest books we have ever read.

We may submit another article to them one day if we can ever think of anything worth saying. Anyhooo … Fruit of One’s Loins was sent this article which is apparently doing the rounds on the Internet from November 2013 and it’s easy to see why it’s so popular. It’s a hilarious mental ramble based on a very old joke, and it’s simultaneously both witty and a clever commentary on the modern world. It’s by Simon Rich*, who is clearly much funnier and talented than me. And younger. And better looking.


Guy Walks Into a Bar

So a guy walks into a bar one day and he can’t believe his eyes. There, in the corner, there’s this one-foot-tall man, in a little tuxedo, playing a tiny grand piano.

So the guy asks the bartender, “Where’d he come from?”

12 inch pianistAnd the bartender’s, like, “There’s a genie in the Mens’ room who grants wishes.”

So the guy runs into the Mens’ room and, sure enough, there’s this genie. And the genie’s, like, “Your wish is my command.”

So the guy’s, like, “O.K., I wish for world peace.” And there’s this big cloud of smoke—and then the room fills up with geese.

So the guy walks out of the Mens’ room and he’s, like, “Hey, bartender, I think your genie might be hard of hearing.”

And the bartender’s, like, “No kidding. You think I wished for a twelve-inch pianist?”

So the guy processes this. And he’s, like, “Does that mean you wished for a twelve-inch penis?”

And the bartender’s, like, “Yeah. Why, what did you wish for?”

And the guy’s, like, “World peace.”

So the bartender is understandably ashamed.

And the guy orders a beer, like everything is normal, but it’s obvious that something has changed between him and the bartender.

And the bartender’s, like, “I feel like I should explain myself further.”

And the guy’s, like, “You don’t have to.”

But the bartender continues, in a hushed tone. And he’s, like, “I have what’s known as penile dysmorphic disorder. Basically, what that means is I fixate on my size. It’s not that I’m small down there. I’m actually within the normal range. Whenever I see it, though, I feel inadequate.”

And the guy feels sorry for him. So he’s, like, “Where do you think that comes from?”

And the bartender’s, like, “I don’t know. My dad and I had a tense relationship. He used to cheat on my mom, and I knew it was going on, but I didn’t tell her. I think it’s wrapped up in that somehow.”

And the guy’s, like, “Have you ever seen anyone about this?”

And the bartender’s, like, “Oh, yeah, I started seeing a therapist four years ago. But she says we’ve barely scratched the surface.”

So, at around this point, the twelve-inch pianist finishes up his sonata. And he walks over to the bar and climbs onto one of the stools. And he’s, like, “Listen, I couldn’t help but overhear the end of your conversation. I never told anyone this before, but my dad and I didn’t speak the last ten years of his life.”

And the bartender’s, like, “Tell me more about that.” And he pours the pianist a tiny glass of whiskey.

And the twelve-inch pianist is, like, “He was a total monster. Beat us all. Told me once I was an accident.”

And the bartender’s, like, “That’s horrible.”

And the twelve-inch pianist shrugs. And he’s, like, “You know what? I’m over it. He always said I wouldn’t amount to anything, because of my height? Well, now look at me. I’m a professional musician!”

And the pianist starts to laugh, but it’s a forced kind of laughter, and you can see the pain behind it. And then he’s, like, “When he was in the hospital, he had one of the nurses call me. I was going to go see him. Bought a plane ticket and everything. But before I could make it back to Tampa . . .”

And then he starts to cry. And he’s, like, “I just wish I’d had a chance to say goodbye to my old man.”

1974 Plymouth VoyagerAnd all of a sudden there’s this big cloud of smoke — and a beat-up Plymouth Voyager appears!

And the pianist is, like, “I said ‘old man,’ not ‘old van’!”

And everybody laughs. And the pianist is, like, “Your genie’s hard of hearing.”

And the bartender says, “No kidding. You think I wished for a twelve-inch pianist?”

And as soon as the words leave his lips he regrets them. Because the pianist is, like, “Oh, my God. You didn’t really want me.”

And the bartender’s, like, “No, it’s not like that.” You know, trying to backpedal.

And the pianist smiles ruefully and says, “Once an accident, always an accident.” And he drinks all of his whiskey.

And the bartender’s, like, “Brian, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean that.”

And the pianist smashes his whiskey glass against the wall and says, “Well, I didn’t mean that.”

And the bartender’s, like, “Whoa, calm down.”

And the pianist is, like, “Fuck you!” And he’s really drunk, because he’s only one foot tall and so his tolerance for alcohol is extremely low. And he’s, like, “Fuck you, asshole! Fuck you!”

And he starts throwing punches, but he’s too small to do any real damage, and eventually he just collapses in the bartender’s arms.

And suddenly he has this revelation. And he’s, like, “My God, I’m just like him. I’m just like him.” And he starts weeping.

And the bartender’s, like, “No, you’re not. You’re better than he was.”

And the pianist is, like, “That’s not true. I’m worthless!”

And the bartender grabs the pianist by the shoulders and says, “Damn it, Brian, listen to me! My life was hell before you entered it. Now I look forward to every day. You’re so talented and kind and you light up this whole bar. Hell, you light up my whole life. If I had a second wish, you know what it would be? It would be for you to realize how beautiful you are.”

And the bartender kisses the pianist on the lips.

So the guy, who’s been watching all this, is surprised, because he didn’t know the bartender was gay. It doesn’t bother him; it just catches him off guard, you know? So he goes to the bathroom, to give them a little privacy. And there’s the genie.

So the guy’s, like, “Hey, genie, you need to get your ears fixed.”

And the genie’s, like, “Who says they’re broken?” And he opens the door, revealing the happy couple, who are kissing and gaining strength from each other.

And the guy’s, like, “Well done.”

And then the genie says, “That bartender’s tiny penis is going to seem huge from the perspective of his one-foot-tall boyfriend.”

And the graphic nature of the comment kind of kills the moment.

And the genie’s, like, “I’m sorry. I should’ve left that part unsaid. I always do that. I take things too far.”

And the guy’s, like, “Don’t worry about it. Let’s just grab a beer. It’s on me.”


Simon Rich*Rich was born and raised in New York City. He attended The Dalton School and then enrolled at Harvard University where he became president of the Harvard Lampoon. His older brother is novelist and essayist Nathaniel Rich, and his parents are Gail Winston and New York Times author Frank Rich. His step-mother is New York Times reporter Alex Witchel. After graduating Harvard, Rich wrote for Saturday Night Live for four years where Rich and the staff of Saturday Night Live were nominated for the Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing in a Variety, Music or Comedy Series three times in 2008, 2009, and 2010 and twice won the Writers Guild of America Award for Comedy/Variety Series in 2009 and 2010. Rich then departed to work as a staff writer for Pixar. In 2013 and 2014, Rich was named to Forbes’ 30 Under 30 List. We hate him. In a good way.



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