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Category Archives: Brilliant Puns!

The sequel to “The Sequel” and “The Sequel – Revisited”

Oh dear, this is getting confusing!

Let me explain.

Back in May 2010 in the very early days of this Blog (although at the time it seemed like I’d been doing it FOREVER) a brilliant pun occurred to me and I worked backwards from the punchline to the story as originally published. If you wish to read it in all it’s original glory, just go to the “Archives” heading in the right-hand column near the top of this page, select “May 2010” and scroll down to the post dated 4th May and headed “The Sequel”.

The event that inspired it then was the setting up of the Committee of Inquiry into the causes of the Iraq War of 2003 – commonly known as “the Chilcott Inquiry” after its Chairman, Sir John Chilcott.

After a masterly display of delay and prevarication by the politicians then in power the results of that inquiry were finally published in the summer of 2016 and I thought the time was ripe for resurrecting the piece. I added some additional information about how the original had been received (“mixed messages” is probably the nicest way to put it) and hoped that a few more people would finally “get” my twisting of the Iraq War justifications into dazzling wordplay. This time I would categorise the response as “underwhelming”! That version can be found in the July 2016 Archive if you’re interested.

So why, you are probably thinking (knowing, with a sinking feeling, that it is about to be reprinted yet again), is the article not being allowed to rest in peace for all time?

Well that’s not my fault!

Peterborough Central Library recently reorganised its shelving and the Science Fiction section, which used to be in an out of the way corner, has been re-positioned to right outside the door to the back office where I go to sign in before my volunteering sessions- which means it is far easier for me to scan through while I wait for someone to answer my knock and let me in.

And one of the things that caught my eye this morning was a paperback book showing on its cover a picture of the traditional image of a Martian Fighting Machine from “The War of the Worlds”. It was not, I was surprised to see, the original tale but a sequel (apparently authorised by the H.G.Wells Estate) entitled “The Massacre of Mankind” by well known British Sci-fi author Stephen Baxter.

I have not read it yet (although I suppose that it is incumbent upon me to do so in the circumstances) but just thumbed through it while waiting at the office door. In that short time one short sentence imprinted itself on my memory! It was this: “The cannon was never fired”.

Now if you have taken note of my earlier hints and read my original post for yourself you will understand why I am now wondering whether the worthy Mr Baxter has actually been exposed to my 2010 musings. It would be interesting to know whether he experienced the “bright blue vortex” and a printed copy of “The Sequel” falling through into HIS study.

So here it is again in case you couldn’t be bothered to go to the Archives but mainly because I am so proud of it that I want to keep showing it to you!

The sequel!

Something REALLY exciting happened today!

I was working on another article in my study this morning when, without any warning at all, a swirling bright blue vortex of energy a bit like a tiny horizontal tornado appeared over near the bookshelves! It was no more than six inches in diameter and as I could see another older-looking room through it I immediately deduced that it was a hyperspacial gateway to an alternate reality probably with some displacement on the time axis!

Before I could observe any other pertinent facts it began to emit a strange electrical crackling sound.

Suddenly an envelope shot through and fluttered to the floor causing me to take my eyes off the vortex which promptly disappeared!

The envelope (which was unsealed) was addressed to “W. Heinemann” in a VERY old fashioned hand and as it plainly wasn’t going to reach its intended recipient now I naturally opened it. Well, wouldn’t you?

There were two sheets of paper inside; the first was a letter, the second I’ll come to later.

As soon as I saw that it was signed “Herbert George Wells” I knew at once that here was something to arouse my Science Fiction enthusiasm because it was plainly a letter to his publisher William Heinemann. Here is what the letter said:

“My dear Heinemann,

I am extraordinarily gratified at the way “The War of the Worlds” has been received by the readers of Great Britain and, indeed, the world. So much so that I now wish to offer to you a synopsis of my ideas for a further book to continue the story. I hope that you will indulge me in this and will look with favour upon it.

My tale begins some two years after the fortuitous defeat of the Martians by our earthly diseases. Mankind has pulled itself together into a collective of nations held together largely by fear and the knowledge that the greater part of the Martian race still exists and continues to look covetously towards our world.

Our magnificent scientists, working in the knowledge that only one of our races can survive, have created a new explosive sufficiently powerful to propel a massive artillery shell towards Mars at the almost unbelievable speed of SIXTY MILLION miles per hour. The momentum of such a shell when aimed correctly would blast our neighbouring world to dust and, obviously, would need an enormous cannon to send it on its way.

Such a cannon has been built into a mountain on the eastern borders of Canada and its southern neighbour; a mountain that has first to be leased at great expense from one of the great native tribes to whom it is sacred.

I will, my friend, say no more of the story at this stage, save that if the artillery is to be fired it must be while Mars is at its closest distance of under fifty million miles and that this will occur during the present year of our lord 1900.

I hope that I have engaged your interest sufficiently that you will wish to publish and that you will also give consideration to the sheet that I enclose herewith. This contains a suggested mock newspaper headline that I believe we might use to publicise the eventual printing of the book.

I look forward to hearing your impressions on this and remain,

Yours most sincerely

Herbert George Wells”

 

I have since looked into some of the points that this remarkable letter raises and while Victorian science takes a large amount of “science” to extremes that our Physics does not allow, the astronomical facts are correct – in 1900 Mars WAS at a very close forty five million miles from us.

The high speed cannon would certainly NOT have worked! It would probably have vaporised the holy mountain and the friendly tribe that owned it!

In our world no such sequel to “The War of the Worlds” by H.G. Wells was ever published by William Heinemann or any other publisher but of course we cannot know whether it found popularity in the alternate reality from which the letter came.

What we DO know is that we were mercifully spared Mr Wells’ early effort at advertising “hype”.

I mean to say, WHO, whether in their right mind or not, would give any credence WHATSOEVER to a newspaper headline that stated:

“Iroquois supergun! Delivers Weapons of Mars Destruction in 45 minutes!”

Alfie

 

 

 

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Posted by on March 23, 2018 in Brilliant Puns!

 

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Star Trek – afterthoughts!

If I were to say to you right now “I know how you love a good groan”, regular readers would get a strange, sinking feeling that they can guess what’s coming! I am, however, going to do it anyway!

While pondering my last piece on the 50 years of Star Trek’s existence I thought of the various “spin-offs” of what is now known merely as “TOS” (The Original series).

There were (in what I think is the right order of on-screen appearance) “The Next Generation”, “Deep Space 9”, “Voyager” and “Enterprise” – but that’s just TV Series with real actors – I am excluding odds and sods such as animated versions.

It occurred to me that the influence of the show spread into popular music as well – notably the 1980s band “T’Pau” whose hit “China in your hand” was a huge singalong favourite of my daughter Hannah when she was about 4 ½ years old.

The band was named after a Vulcan character T’Pau (the Matriarch of Spock’s family) in an episode where Spock returns to his home planet when the mating urge comes upon him. I won’t give away the plot but it also concerns his childhood betrothal to a Vulcan girl named T’Pring.

The other principal Vulcan female character in the series is T’Pol, the rather attractive First Officer in “Enterprise”. As this is a prequel set some time before The Original Series it also features at some point a much younger version of T’Pau.

Is that all clear? Good.

By the way I don’t know why so many female Vulcans have the “T” and the apostrophe at the start of their names – perhaps the creators thought of them as originating in Yorkshire!

If you are not from around here and didn’t get that last reference, get a northern Brit to explain it for you.

Anyway, while I was doing the above mentioned pondering I was also (who says Men can’t multitask?) doing the washing up, specifically the new Frying Pan that my dear wife purchased recently.

After looking at its packaging prior to giving it the suggested initial cleaning with soapy water, I left the kitchen and sought out Faith,

“Did you know that this new non-stick pan is of extra-terrestrial manufacture?” I asked.

“What are you talking about?” she replied with a certain suspicion creeping into her voice.

“It was made on Vulcan, probably by a couple of Spock’s Aunties”.

“Oh go on then” she said resignedly and knowing that something incredibly bad was about to happen, “Finish it and tell me who!”

“T’Fal and T’Flon”

That’s all!

Alfie

 
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Posted by on July 21, 2016 in Brilliant Puns!

 

“The Sequel” – revisited!

Over six years ago (4th May 2010 to be precise) I published what I modestly considered to be the most wonderful, contrived pun of my life.

As I recall, I thought of it during an interminable “your feet are killing me” shopping session with Faith in the Ladies Footwear Department of the John Lewis store in Peterborough, and I believe it was inspired by then current news stories concerning who would be called to give evidence to Sir John Chilcott in his enquiry into the causes of the Iraq War that began in 2003.

When I published this piece reactions varied.

My old school chum in Thailand raved about it, said it was the best thing I had ever written and urged me to get it published professionally.

My dear wife got wrapped up in the summary of the book contained therein and urged me to write THAT story.

A Mensa friend for whose blog I also wrote stuff around that time “got it” while actually in the middle of a comment advising that he “didn’t get it”!

And then there was my elder Daughter who missed the point completely on account of having spent the years of the Iraq invasion at University studying to hate Michael Gove (i.e. becoming a Teacher) and partaking of lots of fizzy Italian wine! How times change – in my day the students would have been out fighting the riot police over something like that rather than getting pissed on Lambrini!

Everyone else who read it kept their thoughts about it decently hidden.

Just this week, however, Good Sir John has published his 2.6 million word “report on the bleedin’ obvious” (goodness, his typing fingers must be sore!) and the whole thing about why Tony Blair felt we had to go to war has come to the fore again.

So, in the hope that some of the readers who wondered what I was on about the first time (and any who haven’t seen it before) can now appreciate fully my brilliant wordplay, I present once more for your amusement and with no more shame that I had the first time:

The sequel!

Something REALLY exciting happened today!

I was working on another article in my study this morning when, without any warning at all, a swirling bright blue vortex of energy a bit like a tiny horizontal tornado appeared over near the bookshelves! It was no more than six inches in diameter and as I could see another older-looking room through it I immediately deduced that it was a hyperspacial gateway to an alternate reality probably with some displacement on the time axis!

Before I could observe any other pertinent facts it began to emit a strange electrical crackling sound.

Suddenly an envelope shot through and fluttered to the floor causing me to take my eyes off the vortex which promptly disappeared!

The envelope (which was unsealed) was addressed to “W. Heinemann” in a VERY old fashioned hand and as it plainly wasn’t going to reach its intended recipient now I naturally opened it. Well, wouldn’t you?

There were two sheets of paper inside; the first was a letter, the second I’ll come to later.

As soon as I saw that it was signed “Herbert George Wells” I knew at once that here was something to arouse my Science Fiction enthusiasm because it was plainly a letter to his publisher William Heinemann. Here is what the letter said:

“My dear Heinemann,

I am extraordinarily gratified at the way “The War of the Worlds” has been received by the readers of Great Britain and, indeed, the world. So much so that I now wish to offer to you a synopsis of my ideas for a further book to continue the story. I hope that you will indulge me in this and will look with favour upon it.

My tale begins some two years after the fortuitous defeat of the Martians by our earthly diseases. Mankind has pulled itself together into a collective of nations held together largely by fear and the knowledge that the greater part of the Martian race still exists and continues to look covetously towards our world.

Our magnificent scientists, working in the knowledge that only one of our races can survive, have created a new explosive sufficiently powerful to propel a massive artillery shell towards Mars at the almost unbelievable speed of SIXTY MILLION miles per hour. The momentum of such a shell when aimed correctly would blast our neighbouring world to dust and, obviously, would need an enormous cannon to send it on its way.

Such a cannon has been built into a mountain on the eastern borders of Canada and its southern neighbour; a mountain that has first to be leased at great expense from one of the great native tribes to whom it is sacred.

I will, my friend, say no more of the story at this stage, save that if the artillery is to be fired it must be while Mars is at its closest distance of under fifty million miles and that this will occur during the present year of our lord 1900.

I hope that I have engaged your interest sufficiently that you will wish to publish and that you will also give consideration to the sheet that I enclose herewith. This contains a suggested mock newspaper headline that I believe we might use to publicise the eventual printing of the book.

I look forward to hearing your impressions on this and remain,

Yours most sincerely

Herbert George Wells”

 

I have since looked into some of the points that this remarkable letter raises and while Victorian science takes a large amount of “science” to extremes that our Physics does not allow, the astronomical facts are correct – in 1900 Mars WAS at a very close forty five million miles from us.

The high speed cannon would certainly NOT have worked! It would probably have vaporised the holy mountain and the friendly tribe that owned it!

In our world no such sequel to “The War of the Worlds” by H.G. Wells was ever published by William Heinemann or any other publisher but of course we cannot know whether it found popularity in the alternate reality from which the letter came.

What we DO know is that we were mercifully spared Mr Wells’ early effort at advertising “hype”.

I mean to say, WHO, whether in their right mind or not, would give any credence WHATSOEVER to a newspaper headline that stated:

“Iroquois supergun! Delivers Weapons of Mars Destruction in 45 minutes!”

 

Alfie

 
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Posted by on July 8, 2016 in Brilliant Puns!

 

Silence will fall……….!

Hello Reader

I am adding this post, not just to ensure that SOMETHING goes on this site in September but also to advise you that despite your entertainment expectations there will possibly be little new stuff for you to feast upon until later in October.

Why so?

Well, it isn’t because I haven’t got anything more to say here – far from it! I have many items that just need only a tiny little bit of finishing off before publishing them here.

No. The problem is much more serious than that!

Just over 18 months ago my younger daughter Carla got married and I had to do a “Father of the Bride” speech – which, to a very great extent, wrote itself and was finished a good 2 months before the actual event. It was, of course, utterly brilliant!

But now, my elder daughter Hannah is getting married in three and a half weeks time and I haven’t yet finished HER FotB speech! Indeed I only started writing down my ideas last weekend!

The great big thing that bothers me is the need to be ORIGINAL and that means that I feel that I cannot “borrow” any bits from the speech I did for Carla. And that’s despite the fact that, like her sister, Hannah is also marrying a Dave – so a lot of the old speech would still apply!

So, this is to announce that I am going “off line” from today so as not to distract myself with anything other than wedding speeches.

Before I go, however, I feel you have earned a nice, contrived pun from me. This occurred to me a couple of days ago, is unconnected with weddings and is bilingual (thus deserving extra praise):

“I have been searching very hard for a computer program that will enable me to investigate whether I have any Welsh ancestry in my Family Tree.

No luck!

Not an “Ap” to be found!”

Back in three weeks.

Alfie

 
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Posted by on September 30, 2015 in Brilliant Puns!

 

Let them eat cake!

If you follow these small works of mine regularly you will have picked up various snippets of family life in the Alfie household.

The most recent of these that I divulged to you was, of course, the Great Wedding almost 3 months ago. At that event on Saint David’s Day my younger daughter, Carla, carefully selected the correct Dave from a church full of other males of that name and they now live in wedded bliss in Essex, pursuing their shared interests of working long hours to pay the mortgage and baking cakes.

Everybody, however, needs a holiday (I must try it myself sometime) and for this latest long weekend they decided to revisit one of Carla’s old haunts – the city of Manchester where she did her Master’s degree. They were staying with one of Carla’s bridesmaids – who has a flat in the city – for a couple of nights.

For a journey from Witham to Manchester, our home in Peterborough makes a handy stopping-off place and I thought of the idea for this piece when we saw the pair of them on their way “up north”.

However, to make it a true contrived story, rather than a fictional one, I had to wait for the return visit today to ask Carla a question.

“Before you left this morning” I asked, “did you make any of your little cakes for your friends?”

As anticipated she replied “No. Why would I?”

At that point I gave the answer that made most of my own dear family chase me out of the house with threats of physical violence – which tells you, my loyal readers that a terrific pun is about to happen!

Readers of a nervous disposition should look away now.

“Well” I informed her, “what else would you do on a MANC HOLIDAY BUNDAY?”

And you should know me well enough by now to realise that under no circumstances will any apology be forthcoming for THAT!

Alfie

 
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Posted by on May 26, 2014 in Brilliant Puns!

 

Nature raw in tooth and claw!

Every now and then, when the inspiration strikes, I do small items like this straight into WordPress without the benefit of drafting every little thing I want to say first and then pasting it in. Such pieces usually occur when someone does something that discomforts our so called Lords and Masters and I simply have to gloat!

This time however I feel obliged to comment on the current Big Internet News Story concerning the 4 hour battle in Australia between the Crocodile and the Python, eventually won by the latter which promptly unhinged its jaws and swallowed its opponent!

The story led me down two distinct thought paths.

The first of these expressed my surprise upon learning that the location “Down Under” where this encounter took place was Lake Moondarra!

Well it may not mean much to you but to any readers who took part in the pub quizzes at the Windmill Tavern, Orton Longueville until a few years ago, Moondarra was the brand name of the bottle of wine handed out to each of the first three teams each week. Which meant that until I started giving it away at parties or other gatherings, I had quite a supply of it!  And now, knowing something of the wildlife of its place of origin, I can understand exactly why it tasted like Crocodile pee strained through a Python!

The second thought that occurred is one of those that will, I am proud to say, get groans from the readership.

My thought turned to the fact that killing and swallowing the large Amphibian was not the Python’s biggest problem! It has, at some time in the near future, to PASS the bones, massive teeth and armour-plated skin of its victim through an orifice that, unlike it’s jaw, cannot be massively extended.

Think of the pain!

Life for that Python, it could be said, is about to become a Sh*t of Croc!

Alfie

 
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Posted by on March 6, 2014 in Brilliant Puns!

 

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Nature’s fury? You should have heard the audience!

Tonight, Tuesday 29th May 2012, I am sitting at home watching a somewhat over-dramatised ITV programme entitled “Nature’s Fury – Monsoon!” and it occurred to me that the time had come to rehash the following piece which I first perpetrated on an unsuspecting world about two years ago under the title “Oh My Goddess!”

It was not the best title in the world but after the sheer awfulness of the piece itself the title was the least of my worries! Hiding from the wrath of my audience and probably the entire population of the Indian sub-continent was my prime concern.

Don’t get me wrong, I have no intention of apologising for it – I think it is brilliant, the second best blog post I have ever written, and I’m extremely proud of it, so there!

And now that you have been fully forewarned here it is again – enjoy:

 

I would like to tell you all a story.

It is not a true story; various facts have been distorted, ignored or, indeed, have been completely made up!

But you know me – I won’t let something like that stop me!

So, if you please, let’s have no comments about things that are wildly inaccurate or which could not possibly have happened as stated! Just do what you do every time you see a live broadcast from the House of Commons and suspend your disbelief for as long as it takes! OK?

For this story does have a point – one which I will come to in my own time and in my own way. And it is getting to that point that is the most important thing although it MAY be lost on (hypothetical) American readers who call things by different names.

So! Are you sitting comfortably? Good, then I’ll begin.

The Provincial Government of West Bengal was meeting four or five years ago in the great seaport formerly known as Calcutta (and I shall continue to call it that because my readers will all know it by that name) on the North East coast of India.

For those who did not have the benefit of the irritable Mr Burch to teach them Geography I should just explain that WEST Bengal is on the Indian EAST coast because East Bengal is up and around the coast a bit. It is not in fact now in India at all but is the country called Bangladesh.

While I am digressing I would like, once and for all, to scotch the rumours that I once fell asleep in an Economic Geography class, woke up in Colonial History and, as a result, now believe that the major export of that area is Black Coal of Calcutta! It simply isn’t true!

Anyway, let’s get back to the Provincial Government – who were worried by a disturbing report concerning the lifestyle of a growing number of teenagers in the suburbs of the city and the outlying villages.

The cause of their behaviour was quite apparent (which annoyed the career bureaucrats among them who wanted to form a committee to investigate this!) – it was a western-made movie set in 1935 in an unnamed area of India.

At the time of its first release it had not been well received on the sub-continent for two reasons. Firstly it did not present a very favourable view of some elements of Indian society and, secondly, it did NOT feature thousands of good looking and brilliantly clad dancers!

The film was, as I’m sure you’ve guessed by now “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom”, starring Harrison Ford, the only man in Hollywood to be named after a Peterborough Car Dealership!

For reasons that remain unknown, when this movie was released cheaply on DVD it struck a chord with disaffected youth in the slums of the city causing them to revive not only the despicable practices of the ancient Thuggee bands but also the corrupted and evil versions of the rites associated with the worship of the Hindu Goddess, Kali. Both of these activities were featured in the movie.

For information, the Thuggee were one stage worse than their teenage UK equivalent, the Hoodee! The latter would happily mug you for your cash and mobile phone while the former would do all that and then strangle you too! Sensible really – no witnesses to provide identikit pictures.

It was however, the twisted and perverted version of the worship of Kali involving as it did HUMAN SACRIFICE that had prompted the reaction from the Government.

They decided, not TOO surprisingly that this had to be stamped out without hesitation and enlisted the support of Hindu leaders to forbid ANY worship of the Goddess of Death until the emergency had passed.

When this order met with only limited success (that is to say the youngsters ignored it completely) a new strategy was quickly drawn up with the assistance of Religious and Business leaders – public demonstrations!

The idea was that hundreds of thousands or even millions of ordinary people would be encouraged to attend mass rallies and demonstrations a few weeks apart. At these day-long rallies the people would, it was hoped, show their complete disgust, vocally and with placards, for these sickening religious practices and demand the end of ALL worship of Kali, The Black Mother.

A third weekend would be set aside for 3 months hence as either a third demonstration, if needed, or hopefully to celebrate the success of the first two.

Preparations were made and the first rally was set for early May. HOWEVER, they overlooked ONE thing! A thing that no third year Geography student would have forgotten! THE MONSOON!

As the weekend opened so did the heavens and rain so heavy that even we in the UK couldn’t imagine it fell continuously for the next three days. The people who had turned up scattered for their homes and stayed there!

After that the weather improved slightly (it WAS after all a bit early for the full Monsoon) and everyone’s hopes were pinned on “Demo 2” four weekends later.

It was not to be!

Saturday dawned and “Kaaboom!” The Monsoon began in earnest – another total washout!

With the distinct feeling that the rest of the Hindu pantheon were against them for attempting to ban the worship of one of their number, the Provincial leaders met again and tried to think what to do next.

Fortunately matters were taken out of their hands by the release of a brand new computer game “Strangle and Sacrifice” which offered all of the thrills to be had from Thuggee AND Kali worship without the need for talking to other teenagers or all of that strenuous knife sharpening!

Overnight the muggings and sacrifices stopped COMPLETELY.

The long, hot, wet tropical summer proceeded peacefully – even the Monsoon rain seemed much less than normal.

It was, however, noted by the Government’s scientific advisers that the worst downpour of the summer coincided with the weekend in August earmarked for the now unnecessary third rally and demonstration.

A full enquiry was ordered into why this should have been the case but no conclusion was ever reached and the matter was quietly dropped.

With the benefit of hindsight, however, WE know what they should have done!

They should, of course, have phoned one of their many Call Centres in the UK and explained the circumstances.

All would then have become clear!

Why?

Because (and I really hope you are still sitting comfortably for this) everyone in the UK knows……..

IT ALWAYS RAINS ON A BAN KALI DAY!

Alfie (in hiding somewhere in the UK!)

 
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Posted by on May 29, 2012 in Brilliant Puns!