Give That President A Cigar …er… A Great Big Cuban One!

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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Cuban American flags

Strangely, when President Barack Obama was elected with ease in 2008 and had a comfortable Congressional majority he didn’t really capitalize on his advantage. He may have gotten elected promising ‘change’ but he didn’t make many when he made it into the big seat.

Now, perhaps sensing the end of his term as President, and in spite of the Democrats’ recent crushing defeat, he is becoming ‘Obama the bold’, maker of decisions, changer of things.

Hence his recent decisions to re-establish diplomatic relations with Cuba and an amnesty for five million illegal immigrants in the US.

JFK imposed the embargo on Cuba way back in 1962, in the midst of the Cuban Missile Crisis. In JFK’s day the embargo was America’s way of thumbing its nose at the Soviet Empire. Cuba was less than 100 miles from the continental US and its defiance of the mighty Uncle Sam was an embarrassment, particularly after the Bay of Pigs fiasco.

Cuban missile crisis

Curious therefore that Obama cannot see the similarities with Putin’s stance in the Ukraine, but that’s another story.

However, getting back to the Cuban embargo, it was a decision that has been condemned by almost every nation in the world ever since. I think it smacked too much of the big rich kid in the schoolyard picking on the little poor kid.

But, like a lot of things that are half a century old and more, the Cuban embargo was well past its sell-by date. Not least because it didn’t work!

Neither of course did the Cuban system, which failed mainly due to the disintegration of the Soviet Empire that had kept Cuba financially afloat long after Castro’s communism would have bitten the dust if left to its own devices.

In Cuba today there is a realism and a recognition of that very fact. Fidel Castro himself admitted that their model “….no longer works even for us,” when he was speaking in support of his brother Raúl’s “liberal” reforms announced a few years ago.

For the moment, that ‘liberalization’ in Cuba means allowing employees, most of them former civil servants, to become the owners of the small businesses that employ them.

I call that capitalism. What do you think?

Lots of US corporations are queueing up to develop their business interests in Cuba. Big names, like American Airlines, Hilton Hotels and PepsiCo are already in the starting blocks.

It will be interesting to see what happens when the new US regime sweeps into power.

In the meantime I think I’ll buy a nice big box of cigars.

A-Box-Of-Cigars

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==================================

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It’s International Litarasy Day 2day

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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Final Pun Day.

For this January that is. I hope I didn’t get your hopes up .  🙂

Here we go.

Enjoy or endure!

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rofl

.

The Inventor of the jug died today.

Tributes have been pouring in.

jug

.

.

I asked my friend if he is a compulsive shouter.

The answer was a resounding yes.

compulsive-shouter

.

.

Caught a bloke in the changing room earlier,

holding my jacket saying he thought it was his!

I think he was trying it on.

hip-hop-man-holding-jacket-12834831

.

.

I don’t like my wife going out drinking

with the girls from the nail bar.

They always end up getting hammered.

nail bar

.

.

This girl, Rene Wals, is obsessed with me.

She keeps sending me emails.

She works at GoDaddy, but I think she’s a moron

— she spells her name “Renewals.”

GoDaddy-Email-Login

.

.

The first rule of Palindrome Club is

si bulC emordnilaP fo elur tsrif ehT.

Palindrome Club

.

.

Is a woman who can’t have a baby,

unbearable, impregnable or inconceivable?

woman who can't have a baby

.

.

My girlfriend was complaining

that I never buy her flowers.

I didn’t even know she sold them.

woman selling flowers

.

.

My wife asked me how much I like

the new GPS she bought for me

I replied, “Well, I’d be lost without it.”

new GPS

.

.

I think I first realized that my drinking

had got out of control when my doctor

referred me to a Bacardiologist.

Bacardi

.

.

I call my weed “The Quran”

Because burning that shit will get you stoned.

burning weed

.

.

My wife found out that I’d been moving her

bookmark forward a few pages every night.

She really lost the plot.

bookmark in book

.

.

I was checking out this blonde girl,

when the librarian said,

“Sir, we only lend out books in here.”

librarian

.

.

Girlfriend: You have to make a choice,

it’s either me or your career as a news reporter.

Me: Well, I’ve got some news for you then.

news reporter

.

.

A teacher asks her class

“Can anyone tell me the name of Robin Hood’s girlfriend?”

Little Paddy raises his hand and says

“Yes Miss, it’s Trudy Glen.”

“No Paddy, the answer is Maid Marion.”

“But Miss, what about the song?

Robin Hood, Robin Hood, riding Trudy Glen.”

.

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= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

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I Spy With Your Little ‘i’ – A Free And Open Internet?

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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internet surveillance

When the internet was born it was a tool of the military establishment.

Then it broke out of that stranglehold and escaped into a world of freedom of expression and communication for everyone.

Never before had a system like this been available to the general public. Never before had it been so easy to find information, search for friends, communicate with groups with similar interests, etc. Its popularity was assured.

The world wide web developed at break neck speed, much too quick for the people who hate and detest freedom. They were confounded.

It was a free and open internet.

world wide web

So how could it ever go wrong?

Well, as with the financial crisis, when you dig down a bit you find the Clinton administration again as the culprit.

During the 1990s, when the World Wide Web was first being woven into social and cultural life, internet companies and corporate advertisers lobbied the Clinton administration to minimize privacy restrictions, so that they could re-engineer the Web to enable commercial surveillance of internet users.

The warnings of public interest groups were ignored as social networks, search engines, service providers and advertisers lobbied hard against even the smallest of efforts at data protection. Motivated by greed, they ensured that commercial surveillance would be pervasively integrated online. They are still at it today, that’s really what cloud computing services are all about.

A few thousand giant corporations, like Google, have become able to capture information every minute, of every hour, of every day, from everyone who uses the internet. And they can’t stop because their profit strategies totally rely on accumulating user data.

google for profit surveillance

Thus began the surveillance society. The government saw how easy this could now be done and began to catch up fast. If there was snooping to be done, they were not to be left out in the cold.

Until Edward Snowden, who had been a computer consultant working for a subcontractor to the US National Security Agency (NSA), copied several hundred thousand classified documents relating to surveillance programs being conducted by the US and its allies in the name of the war on terror, and sent them to journalists, nobody really understood the level of snooping that was going on.

Most of it was unnecessary, intrusive, unproductive and immoral, and after Snowden’s revelations nobody believed the United States government was totally innocent of any wrongdoing.

ennesssseh

Further revelations published since have helped to reveal a surveillance system that intrudes into almost every facet of our private lives. Privacy in fact is a thing of the past, unless you have the time, resources and knowledge to try to circumvent it.

If the government was only spying on the communications of foreign countries such as China, Russia, North Korea and Iran, and if it was confined to what could be termed ‘unfriendly’ nations and their agents throughout the world, then I don’t think anyone would mind so much. It’s a necessary evil in today’s world.

But unfortunately it doesn’t stop there. Friendly nations and heads of state, European institutions, the UN headquarters, the International Atomic Energy Agency, to name but a few, have all also come under the snooper’s gaze.

This has not only shown up the irresponsibility and arrogance of those in charge of the snoopers, and their lack of common sense and ethics, but it has also created even more ill will against the United States.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, an ally of the United States, was a victim of the snoopers. As a result of that revelation, the German government protested publicly its outrage. It also terminated its longstanding telecommunications service contract with Verizon, directing its business to Deutsche Telekom instead. Two weeks after that it expelled the head of US intelligence in Germany.

The President of Brazil, Dilma Rousseff, also took public stands against US privacy invasions. He, like Merkel, had also personally been a victim of the US snoopers.

Then the UN General Assembly voted unanimously to affirm online privacy as a human right, and in June 2014, responding to the EU, the US Justice Department had to promise to send legislation to Congress that would grant European citizens many of the (inadequate) privacy protections accorded to US citizens.

Bad enough not trusting your supposed ‘allies’, but US intelligence agencies have gone even further. Now they don’t even trust the decent, honest, hard-working citizens of America who have never broken any laws, nor have any intention of doing so.

prism

The Prism program, for example, allows the NSA to collect data from your emails, telephone conversations, contacts, videos, etc., from major US digital companies including Facebook, Apple, Google, Microsoft and Yahoo.

The XKeyscore program uses several hundred servers distributed across the world to store information on the activities of every Internet user, including your emails, internet searches, the websites you visit, what you post on social networks, and blogs like this. (Whoops!)

The list goes on and on.

After Snowden’s revelations, commercial firms like Google, Facebook and others scrambled to distance themselves by professing outrage. Their protestations had little to do with political principle but a lot to do with ensuring they continued to make fortunes by collecting data on us.

The US Internet companies went on a public relations offensive, and also raced to reorganize their overseas operations, to reassure worried foreign customers that they were complying with local data protection measures.

IBM, for example, committed over a billion dollars to building additional data centers overseas, hoping to ease customer fears that their data was not safe from the US government’s surveillance. But then the US authorities demanded that Microsoft, which deploys more than a million computers in over 40 countries, hand over emails stored on its servers in Ireland. Data is not safe and private anywhere it seems.

Last week I wrote a post about the Facebook/US Army experiment in trying (successfully) influence how people thought. (Click here if you want to read it.)

And so it continues.

Personally I think it is a pity that the powers that be are able to devote time, energy and money against people who have done nothing wrong, yet seem unwilling to remove child pornography and other evils from the world wide web. But the latter would require a decree of decency and morals that is sadly lacking in those who direct such matters for the government.

The US has lost the moral authority to talk about a free and open Internet, because that free and open internet has already been destroyed.

No doubt there is worse to come.

.

==============================

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Sweaty Palms And Underarms – I Smell Fact Day!

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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Yes, today’s selection of facts includes sweaty palms and underarms.

You may be surprised by these and some of the other offerings below.

Enjoy.

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did you know5

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A person can only remember

four things at a time.

remember four things at a time

.

.

And speaking of four,

of the four smokestacks on the Titanic,

only three were real working chimneys,

the fourth was totally for decoration only.

four smokestacks on the Titanic

.

.

Palm sweat can be triggered by two separate things,

your body trying to control its temperature

or trying to cope with emotional stress,

both of which are closely linked.

Palm sweat

.

.

In July of 1518 a woman began to

dance in the street in Stasbourg.

She was eventually joined by about 400 dancers.

It’s not clear exactly how many people died

due to this ‘dancing plague’, but some

definitely died from heart attack,

stroke or exhaustion.

Dancing-Plague-1518

.

.

The Great Pyramid of Giza is the oldest of

the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World

and the last one still in existence.

Great Pyramid of Giza

.

.

In his entire career (so far) James Bond

has been shot at 4,662 times.

james_bond

.

.

The blue whale has the largest heart

weighing over 1,500 pounds.

blue whale has the largest heart

.

.

Although polar bears are usually born on land,

they spend most of their time at sea.

Their scientific name Ursus Maritimus

means ‘maritime bear’.

polar-bear-ursus-maritimus-underwater--19238

.

.

When a person gets right to the precise point

or says something that is verified as correct it is

often said that they have ‘hit the nail on the head’.

The exact origin of the phrase is not known,

but it appeared for the first time in print in

1438 in The Book of Margery Kempe.

hit the nail on the head

.

.

7,000 deaths occur each year because

of doctors’ sloppy handwriting.

doctors' sloppy handwriting

.

.

According to the Australian census,

Melbourne has the largest Greek population

outside Greece with over 150,000 people

being of Greek origin, which technically

makes Melbourne the sixth biggest city

in terms of Greek population.

Melbourne largest Greek population

.

.

The sweat from a man’s underarm

can help women relax,

boost their mood and

help regulate their menstrual cycle,

if applied to her lips.

There you are ladies, now you know.

sweat from a man's underarm

.

.

Mongol fleets tried to conquer Japan

twice in 7 years, but both times

they were stopped by a typhoon.

These events were described as

Kamikaze or ‘Divine Wind’.

Kamikaze or ‘Divine Wind’

.

.

Thomas Jefferson and John Adams

both died on July 4th

on the 50th Anniversary of

the Declaration of Independence.

Thomas Jefferson and John Adams

.

.

Psy’s “Gangnam Style” is

the most watched YouTube video ever

with nearly 2.2 billion views and counting.

.

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Another Monday Quiz!

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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It’s another Monday quiz, but you are quite at liberty to try it any day of the week that you want.

Some quite easy questions in this selection, but also some that will make you stop and think.

If you get stuck the answers are, as always, waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay down below, but please NO cheating!

Enjoy and good luck.

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Quiz 07

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Q.  1:  What animal sleeps standing up?

.

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Q.  2:  By what common name is solid carbon dioxide known?

.

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Q.  3:  The name of what flower means ‘fleshlike’?

.

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Q.  4:  In golf, what term is given to completing a hole in two under par?

.

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Q.  5:  This word is the name of a chain of hills or mountains, a Spanish mackerel, and a word used in communications to represent the letter ‘S’, what is it?

.

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Q.  6:  Which element has the atomic Number 1?

.

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Q.  7:  What is the distance between the two rails on a railway track called?

.

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Q.  8:  Mauritius is found in which ocean?

.

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Q.  9:  Who was the first, and who is the current, President of the Russian Federation? (A point for each correct answer and a bonus point if you name both correctly.)

.

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Q. 10:  The ‘sackbut’ was a precursor to which musical instrument?

.

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Q. 11:  Which 1851 novel was first published in Britain under the title ‘The Whale’? (A bonus point is available if you can also correctly name the author.)

.

.

Q. 12:  What is the traditional date for the founding of Rome?

            a)  735BC                b)  753BC               c)  573BC

.

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Q. 13:  Who painted ‘The Laughing Cavalier’? (You can have a bonus point if you know why he was laughing.)

.

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Q. 14:  The ‘Spanish Steps’ are found in which city?

.

.

Q. 15:  What type of tree is often found in churchyards?

.

.

Q. 16:  Relating to flat-screen televisions and monitors, what does ‘LCD’ stand for?

.

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Q. 17:  What is the highest digit that can appear in an ‘Octal’ number system?

.

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Q. 18:  Which gladiator led a two-year slave revolt against the Romans?

.

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Q. 19:  In weather, regions of high pressure are also known as what?

.

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Q. 20:  Who was ‘Dreaming’ about ‘California’ in 1965?

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ANSWERS

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Q.  1:  What animal sleeps standing up?

A.  1:  A horse.

.

.

Q.  2:  By what common name is solid carbon dioxide known?

A.  2:  It is known as ‘Dry Ice’.

.

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Q.  3:  The name of what flower means ‘fleshlike’?

A.  3:  The carnation.

.

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Q.  4:  In golf, what term is given to completing a hole in two under par?

A.  4:  It is called an ‘Eagle’.

.

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Q.  5:  This word is the name of a chain of hills or mountains, a Spanish mackerel, and a word used in communications to represent the letter ‘S’, what is it?

A.  5:  Sierra.

.

.

Q.  6:  Which element has the atomic Number 1?

A.  6:  Hydrogen.

.

.

Q.  7:  What is the distance between the two rails on a railway track called?

A.  7:  It is known as the ‘Gauge’.

.

.

Q.  8:  Mauritius is found in which ocean?

A.  8:  In the Indian Ocean.

.

.

Q.  9:  Who was the first, and who is the current, President of the Russian Federation? (A point for each correct answer and a bonus point if you name both correctly.)

A.  9:  The first President of the Russian Federation was Boris Yeltsin (1991–1999) and the current President is, of course, Vladimir Putin (2nd tenure 2012–present).

.

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Q. 10:  The ‘sackbut’ was a precursor to which musical instrument?

A. 10:  The trombone.

.

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Q. 11:  Which 1851 novel was first published in Britain under the title ‘The Whale’? (A bonus point is available if you can also correctly name the author.)

A. 11:  Moby Dick written by Herman Melville.

.

.

Q. 12:  What is the traditional date for the founding of Rome?

            a)  735BC                b)  753BC               c)  573BC

A. 12:  The correct answer is b) 753BC.

.

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Q. 13:  Who painted ‘The Laughing Cavalier’? (You can have a bonus point if you know why he was laughing.)

A. 13:  The artist was Frans Hals (and I have no idea why the Cavalier was laughing, a well earned bonus point if you do.)

.

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Q. 14:  The ‘Spanish Steps’ are found in which city?

A. 14:  Rome.

.

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Q. 15:  What type of tree is often found in churchyards?

A. 15:  The Yew tree.

.

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Q. 16:  Relating to flat-screen televisions and monitors, what does ‘LCD’ stand for?

A. 16:  Liquid Crystal Display.

.

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Q. 17:  What is the highest digit that can appear in an ‘Octal’ number system?

A. 17:  7.

.

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Q. 18:  Which gladiator led a two-year slave revolt against the Romans?

A. 18:  Spartacus.

.

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Q. 19:  In weather, regions of high pressure are also known as what?

A. 19:  Anticyclones.

.

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Q. 20:  Who was ‘Dreaming’ about ‘California’ in 1965?

A. 20:  The Mamas & the Papas.

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A Few Friday Funnies.

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

.

Last week we had a few political jokes.

This week we are having a look at some of the things political jokes have said when they were trying (in vain) to sound smart.

Try to forget that these are the idiots who are running the country and instead….

Enjoy .

.

President Richard Nixon

“This is a great day for France!”

President Richard Nixon at

French President Charles de Gaulle’s funeral.

.

.

Senator John McCain

Senator John McCain in his presidential run:

“I was in Germany over the weekend and

President Putin of Germany gave

one of the old Cold War speeches as

he addressed the conference there.”

Walter-Hickel

Alaska Gov. Walter Hickel once justified a

plan to kill hundreds of wolves by saying,

“You just can’t let nature run wild.”

Vice-President-Dan-Quayle

“Desert Storm was a stirring victory for

the forces of aggression and lawlessness.”

Vice President Dan Quayle

Les Aspin, secretary of defense

“We will not close any bases that are not needed.”

Les Aspin, secretary of defense

President Clinton

“I would never approach a small-breasted woman.”

President Clinton, denying that he

had sexually harassed Kathleen Willey.

.

Frances Sissy Farenthold

“I am working for the time when unqualified

blacks, browns and women join the unqualified

men in running the government.”

Frances “Sissy” Farenthold, Texas state representative

.

.

Tom Daschle

“This isn’t rocket science here.”

Tom Daschle, U.S. senator from South Dakota,

denouncing spending on space-based missile defense

.

.

michael steele

”We need to uptick our image with everyone,

including one-armed midgets.”

Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele

.

.

Jerry Falwell

“Grown men should not be having sex with

prostitutes unless they are married to them.”

Jerry Falwell

.

.

Ronald Reagan

“Trees cause more pollution than automobiles.”

Ronald Reagan

.

.

Rick Perry

“You can always follow me on Tweeter.”

Rick Perry

.

.

Michele Bachmann

“Carbon dioxide is portrayed as harmful.

But there isn’t even one study

that can be produced that shows

that carbon dioxide is a harmful gas.”

Rep. Michele Bachmann

.

.

Sarah Palin

“But obviously, we’ve got to stand

with our North Korean allies.”

Sarah Palin

.

.

al-gore-2

“It isn’t pollution that’s harming the environment.

It’s the impurities in our air and water that are doing it.”

Al Gore, Vice President

.

==============================

 

Starting: What Jamaican Astronomers Look At.

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

.

Starting with a star ting must mean it’s Pun Day.

Another selection of word plays for you to ….

Enjoy or endure!

.

rofl

.

Sadly, the man who invented

the raffle has passed away.

R.I.P Tom Bola.

Tom Bola

.

.

I’ve been merciless with my French class.

I get no thanks.

merci

.

.

I was standing on soft ground

but I didn’t realize at first

because it took a while to sink in.

soft ground

.

.

If you give a physicist to a cannibal,

he’ll eat Faraday.

cartoon-cannibal-fork-13783193

.

.

I’ve read ‘Plumbing For Dummies’ twice and

I still haven’t got a clue what I’m doing.

I guess it’s going to take another

few reads before this sinks in.

Plumbing For Dummies

.

.

If your dad had a sex change,

would he be your transparent.

sex-change_clinic_you_again_234695

.

.

Chinese censors are trying to

ban the use of puns in the media.

This is the wong move, and I hope

Western governments don’t panda to it.

panda

.

.

I’m beginning to see loads of second

hand shops opening up in my area.

Surely selling the complete clock

would be more profitable???

second hand shops

.

.

I just built a huge tower of books.

It had to be like 50 stories.

huge tower of books

.

.

When David Rockefeller was asked to make

a contribution to the American conservation movement,

he planted two Bushes in the White House.

two Bushes in the White House

.

.

Have you seen the new

’30 minutes or it’s free’

cocaine home delivery service?

They call it Instagram.

cocaine home delivery service

.

.

My boyfriend took me out in his new Ferrari last night,

and spent the whole time going on about acceleration,

power-to-weight ratios, handling and braking efficiency,

before dropping me at home and zooming off into the night. 

Frankly, I was hoping for less torque and more action.

new Ferrari 2015

.

.

I went to the doctor because

of my morbid fear of breasts.

He said I’m suffering from

aracknophobia.

Got-Rack-Girls_r7_c1

.

.

I met this dwarf called Peter the other day,

he’s a baker and he was telling

me all about baking flatbreads,

it was fascinating.

I love to hear the

Pita patter of tiny Pete.

flatbread

.

.

Music puns,

Not everyone can Handel them…

.

.

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

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