In deep contemplation


One of Monty Python’s best:

To give it a New Zealand political twist – he’s not sleeping, he’s in deep contemplation.

Dead parrot no joke for Defence


UK Ministry of Defence have paid out more than a million pounds in the last three years for damage from low-flying aircraft:

One of the 200 claims was from a parrot owner who got £2,200 in compensation because his pet fell off its perch and died after being startled by an RAF Hercules.

Nearly £300 was paid to two therapy groups disturbed by the roar of fighter planes while £900 was claimed for damage to a child’s trampoline in Lancashire. . .

The parrot death follows a similar incident in which a low-flying plane caused another bird to fall off its perch and break both legs.

Its owner received compensation to cover vet bills including the cost of two splints. . .

Come back Monty Python, reality is overtaking your comedy.


Dead right euphemisms wrong


A discussion on a journalists’ Facebook page bemoaned the use by reporters of euphemisms for death.

The instance which prompted the discussion was the a sentence in which a reporter wrote that someone had passed.

Passed where? one could be excused for asking – passed away, passed on, passed over or was news of the death exaggerated and had the subject of the story just passed by?

Most who commented agreed that, in news stories at least, dead is right and euphemisms are wrong.

Should you  prefer a less direct way of stating a life has ended there are scores of possibilities here.

But no-one does it better than Monty Python:

Ancient Greeks did dead parrot first


The first time I saw the dead parrot skit was during an Otago University capping show in 1975. 

I discovered later it was taken from Monty Python but now it seems the idea behind the skit  was much older than that.

For those who believe the ancient Greeks thought of everything first, proof has been found in a 4th century AD joke book featuring an ancestor of Monty Python’s “Dead Parrot” sketch where a man returns a parrot to a shop, complaining it is dead.

The 1,600-year-old work entitled Philogelos: The Laugh Addict, one of the world’s oldest joke books, features a joke in which a man complains that a slave he has just bought has died, its publisher said on Friday.
“By the gods”, answers the slave’s seller, “when he was with me, he never did any such thing!”
In a British comedy act Monty Python’s Flying Circus sketch, first aired in 1969 and regularly voted one of the funniest ever, the pet-shop owner says the parrot, a “Norwegian Blue”, is not dead, just “resting” or “pining for the fjords”.
The English-language book will appeal to those who swear that the old jokes are the best ones. Many of its 265 gags will seem strikingly familiar, suggesting that sex, dimwits, nagging wives and flatulence have raised laughs for centuries.
In many of the jokes, a slow-witted figure known as the “student dunce” is the butt of the jokes. In one, the student dunce goes to the city and a friend asks him to buy two 15-year-old slaves: “No problem,” responds the dunce. “If I don’t find two 15-year-olds, I’ll get one 30-year-old.”
In another, someone asks to borrow the student’s cloak to go down to the country. “I have a cloak to go down to your ankle, but I don’t have one that reaches to the country,” he replies.
The manuscript is attributed to a pair of ancient comedians called Hierocles and Philagrius. Little is known about them except that they were most likely the compilers of the jokes, not the original writers.
The multi-media e-book, which can be purchased online (, features veteran British comedian Jim Bowen, 71, reviving the lines before a 21-century audience.
I can’t bring you the ancient Greeks, but here’s Monty Python:

Happy Birthday


It’s the anniversary of the launch of Monty Python’s Flying Circus according to Paul Henry on Breakfast. He must have meant in NZ becasue various websites inclduing Wikipedia say the first episode was recorded on September 7, 1969 and broadcast on October 5. Favourite skits? The dead parrot and argument clinic.

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