>I have just noticed that this is the 199th blog entry I have made. I mention that not because I deserve a medal (my readers deserve that if they have read all 199) but because I am astonished at how much drivel I have managed to pour out into the blogisphere since I started. Nearly 200?! Hopefully that means that my head is empty of 199 random thoughts and ideas that otherwise would still be floating around unconsidered and unmanifested.
In honour of this almost-milestone and in anticipation that because I have a busy day tomorrow I may not get around to posting something tomorrow, I will celebrate today.
Consider that an understated celebration of a constant stream of internet-based communication.
This reminds me of something that Kofi Manful said in the Bible Studies he was leading at the conference I was at last week. He said that God is always broadcasting to us, but it is up to us to tune in to his frequency and we decide how often we tune in. God is not silent, but we can drown him out or tune in to other sources of input and guidance in our busy lives. I found that a very helpful thought and am trying to keep myself tuned in and listening more often by pausing at regular times, by reading my Bible more prayerfully and by asking God intentional questions such as, “what are you saying to me?” and “is there anyone you want me to visit or speak to?”
Sometimes all I hear is spiritual static. Not because God is not broadcasting but because I have changed the channel without realising it. Sometimes I do hear him, though, through phone calls from other people, through apparently chance encounters, through circumstances that all fit together so neatly it is as if someone had it planned…
I think the celebrations deserve the funniest joke in the world to accompany them…
The funniest joke in the world (a Monty Python sketch, as described on Wikipedia) visit youtube and see it for yourself if Monty Python does not offend you.
During World War II, Ernest Scribbler, a British “manufacturer of jokes” (Michael Palin), creates “the funniest joke in the world” and promptly dies laughing. His mother (Eric Idle) reads the joke, at first believing it to be a suicide note, and also dies laughing. A Scotland Yard inspector (Graham Chapman) retrieves the joke, but despite the playing of somber music on gramophone records and the chanting of laments by fellow policemen to create a depressing mood, also dies laughing.
The British Army test the joke on Salisbury Plain, then translate it into German. Each translator only translates one word of the joke, so as not to be killed by reading the whole joke. One of them saw two words of the joke and had to spend a few weeks in hospital. This German version is said to be “over 60,000 times as powerful as Britain’s great pre-war joke”, a reference to Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain and the Munich Agreement. The nonsensical German translation is used for the first time on 8 July 1944 in the Ardennes, causing German soldiers to fall down dead from laughter:
Venn ist das nurnstuck git und Slotermeyer? Ya! Beigerhund das oder die Flipperwaldt gersput!
To a German speaker, the joke contains a number of nonsense words, and does not translate into anything meaningful.
In the version of the sketch featured in And Now For Something Completely Different, another scene of the joke being used in open warfare is shown, with Tommies running through an open field amid artillery fire shouting the joke at the Germans, who die laughing in response. Afterward, a German field hospital is shown with Germans in blood-stained bandages, laughing incessantly.
In a following scene, a British officer from the Joke Brigade (Michael Palin) has been taken prisoner and is being interrogated and tortured by Nazi Gestapo officers. The torturing is completely benign, the interrogator fake-slapping him, and another officer clapping his hands to make the slap noise, but the prisoner is eventually persuaded to recite the joke after being tickled. One of the Nazi officers (Graham Chapman) erupts in laughter and dies. The second (John Cleese) retorts “Zat’s not funny!” but then he too starts to giggle hysterically before falling down dead. Another captor (Terry Gilliam) notices the two deceased officers and points his gun at Palin, who recites the joke to the captor, who is also killed by the joke.
The Germans attempt counter-jokes. Eventually their best joke is used in action (“There were zwei peanuts, walking down the straße, und one was a salted… peanut”), but proves in English to be hopelessly bad. The British joke is laid to rest when “peace broke out” at the end of the war as countries agree to a Joke Warfare ban at the Geneva convention. In 1950, the last paper copy of the joke is under a monument bearing the inscription “To the Unknown Joke”.