Joe Stead – The Ramblings of an old Codger – Volume 69 – June 2006

The subject of illegal immigrants has been in the news a lot lately especially since our (now ex) errant Home Secretary admitted to having dropped a clanger or three. Shortly after ‘going to press’ with the May edition of ‘The Ramblings’ I received the following article written to an Australian newspaper. It came about apparently because the writer was infuriated that Sydney had not wanted to offend other cultures by putting up Xmas lights and doubtless also upon hearing that the State of South Australia changed its opinion and let a Muslim woman have her picture on her driver's license with her face covered.

I have to say I agree with everything he wrote …….. So here it comes!

IMMIGRANTS, NOT AUSTRALIANS, MUST ADAPT. Take It or Leave It. I am tired of this nation worrying about whether we are offending some individual or their culture. Since the terrorist attacks on Bali, we have experienced a surge in patriotism by the majority of Australians.

The dust from the attacks had barely settled when the "politically correct" crowd began complaining about the possibility that our patriotism was offending others. I am not against immigration, nor do I hold a grudge against anyone who is seeking a better life by coming to Australia. However, there are a few things that those who have recently come to our country, and apparently some born here, need to understand.

This idea of Australia being a multicultural community has served only to dilute our sovereignty and our national identity. As Australians, we have our own culture, our own society, our own language and our own lifestyle. This culture has been developed over two centuries of struggles, trials and victories by millions of men and women who have sought freedom.

We speak ENGLISH, not Spanish, Lebanese, Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Russian, or any other language. Therefore, if you wish to become part of our society learn the language! "In God We Trust" is our National Motto. This is not some Christian, right wing, political slogan. We adopted this motto because Christian men and women, on Christian principles, founded this nation, and this is clearly documented. It is certainly appropriate to display it on the walls of our schools. If God offends you, then I suggest you consider another part of the world as your new home, because God is part of our culture.

If the Southern Cross offends you, or you don't like "A Fair Go", then you should seriously consider a move to another part of this planet. We are happy with our culture and have no desire to change, and we really don't care how you did things where you came from.

This is OUR COUNTRY, OUR LAND, and OUR LIFESTYLE, and we will allow you every opportunity to enjoy all this. So stop complaining, whining, and griping about Our Flag, Our Pledge, Our National Motto, or Our Way of Life,

However if you are not happy I highly encourage you take advantage of one other great Australian freedom, "THE RIGHT TO LEAVE". If you aren't happy here then #@* off! We didn't force you to come here. You asked to be here. So accept the country YOU accepted. Pretty easy really, when you think about it.

Now, whilst I’m sure the wretched BNP would endorse every word of this, it is not right wing rhetoric. It is plain common sense. Immigrants, be they legal or illegal, came here to Britain of their own accord (unless of course they were smuggled in as sex slaves) because life was considerably better for them here than it was in their own country. Illegal immigrants should be shown the door whatever their reception might be when they arrive back in their home country. Our countryside is disappearing under a welter of bricks. Houses are springing up everywhere because our population figures are soaring. Human rights? Well what about our human rights? What about the human rights of the women who have been raped by illegal immigrants? What about the rights of British people be they black, white, green or red, who’s homes have been burgled by illegal immigrants? And we all know about the murdered policewoman. Do British people, whatever the colour of their skin, not also have human rights? As an Englishman I can’t just move away and live in Australia. Not any more I can’t. They don’t want me there; well not unless I have a trade they really seek more of. It’s not a caser of colour or creed. Before I moved to Yorkshire and lost touch I had many friends who had origins in the West Indies and we often drank, partied and sang together. My attitude to people from other nations has not changed and I have absolutely no problem with first, second, third generation Asians of whom there are a great quantity living within a few miles of my home. Indeed I love their food! But I can’t walk down the street in America with an open bottle of wine unwrapped because I’m likely to get arrested. I know that – so I comply with the rules of the home Nation. I might consider them stupid; but that’s not the point. ‘When in Rome you do as Rome does’.

Kimber’s Men have just returned from the Sweeps Festival in Rochester where a few years ago BBC Television took a whole crew (sound engineers, lighting engineers, cameramen, producers, directors, best boys etc – and there are a lot more I can assure you) to film the dancing for a children’s programme. They were horrified when they saw that most of the dancers (and especially the dancers they wanted to film) were blacked up. They actually asked the dancers to remove the blacking from their faces, because to see white people blacked up would be offensive to black viewers. It was not politically correct. But it’s a ‘Sweeps Festival’ they were told. This festival has gone on for 100 years or more when chimney sweeps would try to gain a few funds for the summer when there was considerably less work. The BBC could not accept this so the whole crew packed up and went back to London. I was at the Sweeps Festival in Rochester a few weeks ago with Kimber’s Men and I’m delighted to report that dancers are still blacked up and nobody complains. Common sense rules. Hooray!

Do you know it would be nice if we could do something about the huge number of wild song birds being kept in small cages in Spain. I recently visited Nerja on the Costa del Sol and was appalled at the number of goldfinches, gold crests, linnets and even quail that are kept, sometimes stacked from floor to ceiling simply because the owners enjoy their song. The caretaker of my apartment had 7 cages, each with one wild song bird (although two were quails with their tails removed – or something similar) that he hung up outside on sunny days. I suppose he thought it was kindness to give them a little fresh air. In Britain songbirds are disappearing foot over claw. Did you know that the wren is now our most common song bird? Thrushes and sparrows are in particular in decline with all the others. So I suppose it is comforting in a way to know that our our garden here in Sowerby Bridge, we have doves, magpies, robins, linnets, wrens, blackbirds and all manner of finches and tits all nesting. Easter was later this year too which meant the children who destroyed over 20 adult frogs and emptied our pond of spawn last year were unable to attack the garden this year and we have an abundance of tadpoles.

I’ve received some nice letters and a couple of flattering reviews for the new Kimber’s Men album which follow. During May I was able to do two radio interviews; one of about 1`5 minutes with Radio Maldwyn and another shorter interview with BBC Radio Cornwall. Both stations played the title track of the new CD.

Joint Fixture List for Kimber’s Men and Joe Stead.

Jun 7th (Joe) Baptist Church, Oakes, Huddersfield 1.30pm - Valparaiso
Jun 7th (Joe) The Cross Keys Folk Club, Uppermill.
Jun 8th (Joe) Luddendenfoot Women’s Institute 8pm Life/times of Paul Robeson
Jun 22nd (KM) Prince William Tall Ship, Portsmouth
Jun 23rd (KM) Prince William Tall Ship at Sea
Jun 24th (KM) Prince William Tall Ship at Sea
Jun 25th (KM) Prince William Tall Ship at Sea
Jun 26th (KM) Prince William Tall Ship at Sea
Jun 27th (KM) Prince William Tall Ship at Sea
Jun 28th (KM) Prince William Tall Ship at Sea
Jun 29th (KM) Prince William Tall Ship, Brixham Harbour
July 1st (KM) Crawley Folk Festival
July 2nd (KM) Crawley Folk Festival
July 3rd (Joe) Bacup Folk Club at The Conservative Club, middle of town
July 5th (Joe) Sowerby Bridge Probus Club 10am – Valparaiso round the Horn
July 22nd (KM) Scarborough Sea Fest
July 23rd (KM) Scarborough Sea Fest
July 30th (KM) The Puzzle Hall Inn, Sowerby Bridge. 4pm
Aug 25th (KM) Shrewsbury Folk Festival
Aug 26th (KM) Shrewsbury Folk Festival
Aug 27th (KM) Shrewsbury Folk Festival
Sep 26th (Joe) Bilton Men’s Forum. 2pm – Valparaiso round the Horn
Sep 27th (KM) The Cross Keys Folk Club, Uppermill.
Sep 28th (Joe) Cleckheaton Probus Club – Valparaiso round the Horn
Sep 30th (KM) Halifax Traditions Festival
Oct 3rd (Joe) Hove Edge 65 Club. 2pm – Valparaiso round the Horn
Oct 4th (Joe) Garforth Probus Club 10am – Valparaiso round the Horn
Oct 6th (KM) Tenterden Folk Festival
Oct 7th (KM) Tenterden Folk Festival
Oct 8th (KM) Tenterden Folk Festival
Oct 13th (KM) Minstead Village Hall, New Forest, Hampshire.
Oct 14th (KM) Harwich Shanty Festival
Oct 15th (KM) Harwich Shanty Festival
Dec 2nd (KM) The Square Chapel Theatre, Halifax.
Dec 14th (Joe) St Paul’s Church, Harrogate Men’s Forum. - Valparaiso
May 5th (Joe) Sweeps Festival, Rochester. - Provisional
May 6th (Joe) Sweeps Festival, Rochester. - Provisional
May 7th (Joe) Sweeps Festival, Rochester. – Provisional
May 11th (KM) Clennell Hall, Alwinton, Northumberland National Park
May 12th (KM) Clennell Hall, Alwinton, Northumberland National Park
Aug 12th (KM) Broadstairs Folk Festival – Provisional
Aug 13th (KM) Broadstairs Folk Festival – Provisional


Kimber’s Men – Don’t take the Heroes (A Private Label APL11)

Well, shiver me Kimbers the lads have released another fine recording and along with it one of that rare breed of songs one that will inevitably be re-christened in time with the immortal phrase ‘Trad Arr:’ But make no mistake, the title track “Don’t Take The Heroes” is written by the bosun Neil Kimber with his wife Roz and a fitting tribute to the RNLI who also support this album. The title could also refer to Roger The Cabinboy Hepworth who sadly passed away before the CD was completed. Roger was blessed with a beautiful rich tenor vocal that astounded all of us who can count ourselves lucky to have known him and he was great ‘craic’ at gigs. Each of the crew including Joe Stead (minus his infamous tutu) and John Bromley provide glorious harmonies or lead vocals when required and their interpretations of songs such as Stan Rogers “Northwest Passage” and Bill Meek’s “Harry Eddom” nestle comfortably alongside more standard shanties such as “South Australia” and “General Taylor”. Now, I must admit that I don’t enjoy the bellowing and blustering of many shanty singers who seem to take it upon themselves to bawl unrelentingly at their audience as if each person is in need of a hearing aid but I can heartily recommend Kimber’s Men to all of you who enjoy your sea-songs with a certain amount of refinement. In my personal view, this four-piece are without doubt the finest exponents of sea songs and shanties that Britain has to offer - it’s also rare to come across a product that is real value for money. In addition to the enjoyment of listening to some great singing (over 70 minutes of aural pleasure!) plus all of the words to the songs and copious sleeve notes you can also feel proud that you have donated a bit to the RNLI – what more could you ask for? More details can be found on Joe’s website at
Pete Fyfe - Freelance

Note: 27th April 2006 - some news hot off the press is that David Buckley has been recruited by Kimber’s Men to once again make a full compliment! In the immortal words of Joe Stead, “…We found David playing the part of Captain Smith in ‘Titanic the Musical’. He went down with the ship but we managed to grab him by his shirt tails before he disappeared completely beneath the waves”.

DON’T TAKE THE HEROES – Kimber’s Men (A Private Label APL. 11)
This new (second) CD from the outfit whom many now consider Britain’s premier shanty-crew (though they’re much more than that!) is a winner on every count. It’s a fabulous selection of maritime-related music, en-compassing (pun almost intended!) amongst its menu of 25 shanties and sea-related songs, the well-worn, the less familiar and the brand new. It should thus have something to offer every potential listener – the general or casual, the maritime-inclined and the diehard enthusiast. And it scores points above its competitors in each category: the spirit of the performances, the standard of the singing, the comprehensive annotation (including provision of all the lyrics) within the admirably thick and fact-filled booklet 24-page accompanying booklet (they’ve done their research properly too, and it’s a model of both erudition and informativeness, never once talking down to the reader). The disc is also fantastic value, with close on an hour and a quarter’s playing-time. And the clincher is that for each copy sold, a percentage of proceeds goes straight to the RNLI (who also distribute the CD in their sales outlets). Enough said? No, I don’t think so…! For this CD is even more extraordinary an achievement bearing in mind the unsettling circumstances under which it has been completed. Sessions began two years ago, when Kimber’s Men was still a four-piece, but were abruptly curtailed when Roger Hepworth, the group’s fine tenor, was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer. He subsequently died in April last year, and only at the beginning of this year were the sessions finally completed by the three remaining crew members (Joe Stead, John Bromley and Neil Kimber). Roger sings on seven of the CD’s tracks (also playing guitar on two of these), and you can gauge from these (now memorial) performances just what a tragic loss the crew has suffered with his passing. As for the repertoire, the shanties range from lusty (and authentic) versions of staple fare like General Taylor, South Australia and Blow The Man Down to equally lusty and authentic renditions of more unusual or more obscure worksongs like Johnson Girls and Get Along Down Buddy. Note that none are drawn out beyond their usefulness or outstay their welcome; at the same time, none are overly briskily dispatched. The full-bodied KM sound is gutsy in the approved manner, but it’s guts with empathy for, and true appreciation of, the material and its purpose; theirs is not empty bully-boy bluster bawled out for mere effect. Some traditionalists may even balk at the crew’s creative and invigorating use of harmonies and occasional multitracking, but this never becomes a mere gimmick and always serves to make the music refreshingly different while retaining the edge it needs to maintain interest. All these positive qualities are also strongly in evidence in the songs – from trad (Adieu Sweet Lovely Nancy) to Stan Rogers (Northwest Passage), James Gordon (Frobisher Bay), Bill Meek (Harry Eddom), and Richard Grainger’s great arrangement of Death Of Nelson. Good solid choices all, and without exception performed with maximum credibility and a high degree of understanding, and a musicality, that’s something you don’t always get with even the front-liners among specialist shanty-crews. The individual voices are superb whether leading or harmonising (yes that’s perfectly acceptable practice if the voices are as fine as these!), with John Bromley possessing one of the richest and most resonant basses on the scene. For many, though, the highlight of the CD will be its title track, an original composition by Neil and Roz Kimber that pays an extremely poignant tribute to the brave men and women who risk their lives to save others, especially those within the ranks of the RNLI. If I must be picky at all, well perhaps there’s a slight sense of overstressing the valedictory final section of the CD, with Rolling Home leading off a whole quartet of “farewell” pieces, and a slight staginess in the introit-and-walkawayfadeout aspect of the programme perhaps, but that’s such a minor carp in the overall scheme of things and doesn’t spoil one’s enjoyment of the CD as a whole (though I’d have liked to have heard a bit more than 17 seconds of Haul Away Joe!). But taken as a whole the CD is a masterly, and (importantly) very enjoyable product, and no finer tribute either to Roger or to the work of the RNLI could be imagined.
David Kidman NetRhythms and Folk Roundabout.


‘Don’t take the heroes’ is a wonderful song- thank you so much for coming on the programme and good luck.
Emma Lloyd - Presenter, The Afternoon Show, BBC Radio Cornwall, Phoenix Wharf, Truro Cornwall TR1 1UA

Hello Joe,
I just wanted to say that it was great to see you and hear you as well in Rochester. I really wish there was more time for us all to just hang out and talk. It was too little time and of course too many folks and commitments to spend time on to do that. You are always welcome up here Alaska ways so keep that in mind.
I also thought I would send your way a link of something we are looking forward to coming out in the next few months.
I already have the WalMart movie from the same folks. God how I hate WalMart but the funny thing is they may finally have to give in to paying a livable wage, in a Communist country nonetheless that just may make them give in everywhere else. I might add, I saw a WalMart in Bristol and I almost got sick as we drove by. I could not believe it but then again I do know better.
Chris Berg – Alaska.

Thank you very much for the CD recording of your fine group. I listened to the CD with my fellow chantey singers (Tom Goux and Jacek Sulanowski of Folkways fame circa 1980; collectively, we're "The Rum-Soaked Crooks") and we enjoyed it a great deal. You all sing very well individually and together, with a strong, well-tuned, and very pleasant effect -- and the recording quality seems to do you justice. Thanks also for including the note about Mulraine. I want to purchase some additional copies at some point, so that I can share these with some of his family members and the Barrouallie Whalers. Please let me know who will distribute this recording. (In this regard, you might consider Gustav "Gus" Pedersen's "Wooden Ships Music:" in the U.S.)
Congratulations on an excellent recording!
Yours Truly,
Dan Lanier

The new Kimber’s Men CD has just arrived! And I've just listened to it, too. You know, these CDs (the same as 'Valparaiso') are great resource material for shanties (not to mention extremely entertaining and enjoyable CDs!).
I have just a few comments on some specific tracks:
Don't Take the Heroes - when we first heard this song, we loved it. Thankfully, you haven't spoilt it with the studio recording (I say that because, so often, a decent live track is massacred by over-production). But it's just as good as it is 'live'.
Harry Eddom - You old rascal, you! I had your very first vinyl album 'all those years ago' and remember this one. Do you remember how I used to shout out for you to do it? Gosh, it takes me back to wooden barrels of Old Peculier on the top of the bar at the Tramshed and old socks put over microphones to stop the popping. Those were the days...
Maryport - Nice track. Tell me something, though. Did you change it into a positive ending song or did Mr Twentyman actually conclude the song that way? I think it actually works well with a note of optimism at the end. I know that the livelihood of the sea has gone (as the income from Steel and Coal disappeared here in Sheffield) but to look back is death for these communities (I know that's very easy for me to say) - not that there's *too much* to look forward to but, without hope, we all perish.
So, anyway, hope to catch up with the group 'sooner than later' - I have one of my plays being put on at the Sheffield Library Theatre here on September 8 and 9 (it was supposed to be June 2 and 3 but there were 'personnel problems' which meant one of the actors couldn't find the time to learn the parts) and I'll be in touch nearer the time to invite you along (try to leave the country for those two dates <bg>).
It's called 'Silent' and is about the Silent Movie era and how creativity was crushed towards the end to make way for a formula that would guarantee a sound financial return.
Hope you've had a good rest in Spain.
Lee Smith

For the record there is no such vessel as a two masted Brig, a Brig always has two masts and is square rigged on both, unless that is she is a brigantine when she is rigged square on only the fore mast. there were four and five mast brigantines.
Similarly you do not get a three masted ship since a ship always is square rigged on each of its three masts unless it has more than three masts then it is a four masted ship, or more. A bark is square rigged on each of two masts and fore and aft rigged on the third, on the other hand a fourmast bark is square rigged on three of her masts only.
Looking forward to your new CD cash in the post.
Chris Roche

Hello Joe,
I am informed that there is soon to be a grand meeting of the human sub species known as Neanderthal Man. This meeting will be held in Germany, and will attract Neanderthals from all over the world. I understand that the main purpose of this gathering, is so that members of this sub species can stand around together and present a unified chorus of grunts and groans, the meanings of which remain a complete mystery to the vastly more numerous, more intelligent, and largely indifferent Homo Sapiens human species.
Simultaneously to these collective discordant choral chants of grunts and groans. The custom appears to be that other Neanderthals take it in turns to attempt to gain control over a little round object with their feet. This object itself is formed from strips of animal leather which are stitched together and then inflated into a circular shape.
The event itself does appear to be very pointless. After expending an enormous amount of energy and effort in getting close to this leather clad object, the purpose of the supposed ritual seems to be to use a foot to expel the round object as far away as possible again.
To the casual observer it would also seem that these Neanderthals have even begun to form a skeletal assembly of a basic language. Some grunts and groans actually appear to have an organised structure. The most commonly used words appear to be ball, foot, head, post, line, net, goal, off, ref, and kill. There also appears to be several adjectives beginning with the letter f that are commonly found preceding the word off. These in turn are often used prior to using the word ref. However these adjectives do not always seem to be listed in current versions of the English Dictionary. It can be immediately observed of course that the language consists exclusively of four letter words. This is in itself is quite understandable considering the obvious fundamental, rudimental, elemental, and completely mental participants.
For some reason these participants remain under the false impression that the rituals that they perform at these grunt meetings are somehow important, and are linked to the representation of the lands from where they came. Coloured pieces of cloth are often seen being held, or being worn, and are even paraded on their means of transport, presumably in order that these Neanderthals can recognise others of the same sub species.
It is however wrongly presumed by these participants and others that engage in this trivial and inconsequential custom, that the rest of the world is interested in these tiny minded activities too. The rest of the world is not interested.
I have a great idea Joe. Why don't you send out TWO news letters out every month instead of one. On the first you could include all of your usual yawn inspired, worn out, tired, dull, irrelevant, and boring views on Iraq as you usually do.
On the same newsletter you can also include the rest of your usual yawn inspired, worn out, tired, dull, irrelevant, and boring views on football as you usually do.
This can be your Neanderthal newsletter. Bearing in mind that there is rarely very little that is new to write about regarding the Iraq issue, and also bearing in mind that football fans would not be able to read the letter anyway, it wouldn't take you too long to do.
The rest of us normal functioning people could then read the newsletter that really matters, that is the one containing the music information and the jokes.
Best wishes,
Keith Burge.

I normally don’t encourage you in your rants, but I have just been deeply shocked. I fell asleep in front of TV. Woke up to catch a few scenes from “Iraq the Hidden Story”, either channel 4 or 5. We were allowed to see an elderly, unarmed, Iraqi citizen being shot by US troops. The commentary went something along the lines of “He aint dead” The sound of two rifle shots, followed by “Well he is now” and hilarious laughter. Aren’t us westerners civilised.
What made it worse for me was that I mentioned this in a chat room which I frequently visit and two people thought there was nothing wrong in shooting an unarmed civilian. Obviously they would have never heard of Joan Baez, Pete Seeger, Bob Dylan, John Prine and Johnny Cash etc. Probably the brainless morons miss the demise of Watneys Red Barrell.
You are probably right, get angry and express your concerns for where our society is going to!
I logged on to Guardian Jobs web site this morning, London borough of Merton are advertising for “Newly Qualified Social Workers”, what happened to experience. So your family/social life/disability/life is falling to pieces and you want a “Newly Qualified Social Worker” Fuck off I want some one who has been around the block a few times.
Sorry for the late night rave, but you are probably the only person I could rave at.
Tim Justice

Hi Joe
I really am enjoying your Ramblings; keep 'em coming.
Re the above subject, I have been drawn into the semi finals of the Dorset Unsigned Music Awards funded by the Arts Council of England. they're not exactly trad songs but I have 3 songs on the web from my 12 track CD "hobosolero" ballads blues & jazz recorded last year.
Now here's the rub!
I play 3 venues, and only make the finals based on web votes.
The final 3 performers/bands then appear at a final gig in the main Marquee in the Lower Gardens in Bournemouth before Judges.
So here goes - The web site if you're interested in exercising your vote, or anyone else you know that likes the 3 songs that are on the site is:-
The winner gets 45 min main stage slot at Larmer Festival
It's all exposure without getting arrested!
Bob & Mike L have voted but it is a secret ballot!!
Otherwise hope you are well, and look forward to your next ramblings
before I start to as well. - Buy you a pint when I see you in New Forest
Take care
Dave Mansell


First: these are worth a quick look!,0,5531570.flash?track=most


I am ready Mr Prescott,
You can take me in your arms
All these years I've waited,
To experience your charms,
So fling aside those trousers,
I hope they're quick release,
For all that hanky panky's
Made you clinically obese.

I like a man of substance,
I like a man of size,
Especially when I'm measuring
The bags beneath their eyes,
If anyone insulted me
I have no doubt at all
You'd leap to my defence
And punch the blighter through the wall.

I like you Mr Prescott,
A constant watch I keep
To see you on TV
Sat next to Tony, fast asleep.
So I'm waiting Mr Prescott
My toothbrush in my bag,
To see your chiselled jaw
Behind the wheel of either Jag.

A man like you is dangerous
A man like you is trouble
Just like a row of houses
You demolish me to rubble
With one hand on the tiller
As steady as a rock
And the other disappearing
Up the secretary's frock.

Pam Ayres



6,000 Troops to Prevent Supporters From Leaving Country

In a nationally televised address last night, President George W. Bush announced that he would order 6,000 National Guard troops to protect his sagging approval rating.
The use of the National Guard to safeguard the president's political fortunes struck many Beltway observers as highly unorthodox, and Mr. Bush's decision to do so seemed likely to draw fire from congressional Democrats.
But with his approval rating hovering at 29%, the president said he had "no choice" but to use the National Guard to prevent that number from sinking any lower.
Speaking from the White House with his now-familiar tone of steely resolve, Mr. Bush said that he would send 6,000 troops to the Mexican border to prevent any of his supporters from leaving the country.
"Many of my supporters have amazing second homes south of the border," Mr. Bush said. "By taking this action, I am sending the clear message that they are not to leave the country until the midterm elections are over."
The president stopped short of saying that any supporters caught leaving the country would be shot on sight, but he warned, "Their tax cuts will be history."
Even as Mr. Bush was tightening security at the Mexican border, he said that he had "no plans" to keep people from fleeing to Canada: "Everyone who wanted to move to Canada did so after I was reelected in 2004."
Elsewhere, surgeons who successfully separated conjoined twins over the weekend said they failed to separate Sen. John McCain's lips from Jerry Falwell's ass.


Subject: A True Story, or perhaps a false one. Whatever; turn away if you don't like spiders!

Believe what you will.

This is apparently a true story and its source is supposed to be the Australian Quarantine Inspection Service in Adelaide.
If it’s not true, it’s still a good story!

A bloke and his family were on holidays in the United States and went to Mexico for a week. An avid cactus fan, the man bought a one-metre high, rare and expensive cactus there. On arrival back home Australian Customs said it must be quarantined for 3 months.
He finally got his cactus home. Planted it in his backyard, and over time it grew to about 2 metres. One evening while watering his garden after a warm spring day, he gave the cactus a light spray. He was amazed to see the plant shiver all over, he gave it another spray and it shivered again.
He was puzzled so he rang the council who put him on to the state gardens people. After a few transfers he got the state's foremost cactus expert who asked him many questions. How tall is it? Has it flowered? Etc.
Finally he asked the most disturbing question. "Is your family in the house?" The bloke answered yes. The cactus expert said get out of the house NOW, get on to the front nature strip and wait for me; I will be there in 20 minutes.
Fifteen minutes later, 2 fire trucks, 2 police cars and an ambulance came screaming around the corner. A fireman got out and asked "Are you the bloke with the cactus?" I am, he said. A guy jumped out of the fire truck wearing what looked like a space suit, a breathing cylinder and mask attached to what looked like a scuba backpack with a large hose attached. He headed for the backyard and turned a flame-thrower on the cactus spraying it up and down.
After a few minutes the flame-thrower man stopped, the cactus stood smoking and spitting, half the fence was burnt and parts of the gardens were well and truly scorched. Just then the cactus expert appeared and laid a calming hand on the bloke's shoulder. "What the hell's going on?" he says. "Let me show you" says the cactus man. He went over to the cactus and picked away a crusty bit, the cactus was almost entirely hollow and filled with tiger striped bird-eating tarantula spiders, each about the size of two hand spans.
The story was that this type of spider lays eggs in this type of cactus and they hatch and live in it as they grow to full size. When full size they release themselves. The cactus just explodes and about 150 dinner plate sized hairy spiders are flung from it, dispersing everywhere. They had been ready to pop. The aftermath was that the house and the adjoining houses had to be vacated and fumigated: police tape was put up outside the whole area and no one was allowed in for two weeks.


"Describe how to determine the height of a skyscraper with a barometer."

The following concerns a question in a physics degree exam at the University of Copenhagen:
"Describe how to determine the height of a skyscraper with a barometer."

One student replied:

"You tie a long piece of string to the neck of the barometer, then lower the barometer from the roof of the skyscraper to the ground. The length of the string plus the length of the barometer will equal the height of the building."

This highly original answer so incensed the examiner that the student was failed immediately. He appealed on the grounds that his answer was indisputably correct, and the university appointed an independent arbiter to decide the case. The arbiter judged that the answer was indeed correct, but did not display any noticeable knowledge of physics. To resolve the problem it was decided to call the student in and allow him six minutes in which to provide a verbal answer which showed at least a minimal familiarity with the basic principles of physics. For five minutes the student sat in silence, forehead creased in thought. The arbiter reminded him that time was running out, to which the student replied that he had several extremely relevant answers, but couldn't make up his mind which to use. On being advised to hurry up the student replied as follows:

"Firstly, you could take the barometer up to the roof of the skyscraper, drop it over the edge, and measure the time it takes to reach the ground. The height of the building can then be worked out from the formula H = 0.5g x t squared. But bad luck on the barometer.

"Or if the sun is shining you could measure the height of the barometer, then set it on end and measure the length of its shadow. Then you measure the length of the skyscraper's shadow, and thereafter it is a simple matter of proportional arithmetic to work out the height of the skyscraper.

”But if you wanted to be highly scientific about it, you could tie a short piece of string to the barometer and swing it like a pendulum, first at ground level and then on the roof of the skyscraper. The height is worked out by the difference in the gravitational restoring force T = 2 pi sqrroot (l/g).

”Or if the skyscraper has an outside emergency staircase, it would be easier to walk up it and mark off the height of the skyscraper in barometer lengths, then add them up.

”If you merely wanted to be boring and orthodox about it, of course, you could use the barometer to measure the air pressure on the roof of the skyscraper and on the ground, and convert the difference in millibars into feet to give the height of the building.

But since we are constantly being exhorted to exercise independence of mind and apply scientific methods, undoubtedly the best way would be to knock on the janitor’s door and say to him ‘If you would like a nice new barometer, I will give you this one if you tell me the height of this skyscraper’.”


Q: Why do men whistle when they are sitting on the toilet?
A: It helps them remember which end they need to wipe.



Friendship Between Women:
A woman didn't come home one night. The next day she told her husband that she had slept over at a friend's house. The man called his wife's 10 best friends. None of them knew about it.

Friendship Between Men:
A man didn't come home one night. The next day he told his wife that he had slept over at a friend's house. The woman called her husband's 10 best friends. Eight of them confirmed that he had slept over, and two claimed that he was still there.


A Football Joke (Specially for Keith Burge)
Sven-Goran Eriksson is on 'Who wants to be a Millionaire’ and has reached the £1 million question.
Chris Tarrant says, "Right Sven, this is for £1 million, and remember, you still have two lifelines left, so please take your time.
"Here’s your question: What type of animal lives in a Set? "Is it (a) a badger (b) a ferret (c) a mole or (d) a cuckoo?"
Sven ponders for a while and says, "No, I'm sorry Chris, I'm not too sure. I’ll have to go 50-50."
"Right, Sven, let’s take away two wrong answers and see what you're left with.
‘Badger’ and 'Cuckoo' are the two remaining answers."
Sven has a long think, then scratches his head and says, "No, Chris, I'm still not sure, I'm going to have to phone a friend."
So who are you going to call, Sven?" says Chris. "Hmmm, I think I'll call David Beckham."
So Tarrant phones David Beckham. "David, this is Chris Tarrant from 'Who wants to be a Millionaire’. I’ve got Sven-Goran Eriksson here, and with your help he could win £1
million. The next voice you hear will be Sven’s."
"Hello David" says Sven. "It's the boss here. What type of animal lives in a set? Is it a badger or a cuckoo?"
"It’s a badger, boss." Says Becks without hesitation.
"You sure, son?" says Sven.
"Definitely, boss. One hundred percent. It's a badger. Definitely."
"Right, Chris," says Sven, "I'll go with David. The answer's a badger."
"Final answer, Sven?"
"Final answer, Chris."
"That's the correct answer. You've won £1 million!"
Cue wild celebrations.
Next morning at training, Sven calls Beckham across. "Son, that was brilliant last night. I thought I might be taking a gamble giving you a call, but you played a blinder! But how the heck did you know that a badger lives in a set?"
"Oh I didn't, boss...” replies Beckham,........... But everybody knows a cuckoo lives in a clock!"

Keep smiling, keep singing.

Joe Stead