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The 100 Jokes that shaped modern comedy

Posted February 3, 2016 into Funny by John Birmingham

For anyone interested in the artform, this is kind of amazing, even if the authors admit the limits. (One joke per comedian, and only American gags).

I don't get some of the early ones, which just goes to show how much of our humour is contextual. Worth a long read on the weekend. I can't help but feel that Professor will study this closely.

Example:

1937 ‘Take My Wife … Please.’ Henny Youngman

It’s hard to say with authority exactly who invented the one-liner, but Borscht Belt comedian Henny Youngman (the man Walter Winchell called “the King of the One-Liners”) is arguably responsible for the most famous one ever. Just like how Groucho's moustache, eyebrows, nose, and glasses became synonymous with “comedian,” “Take my wife … please” is the Platonic ideal of a joke. The format is one that is still mimicked to this day: using a familiar phrase to draw people in, then taking a sharp left turn. And though the joke is seen as shticky and hacky at this point, structurally it is deceptively elegant, as the setup is hiding inside what seems like a transition. Despite writing tens, if not hundreds of thousands, of jokes in his life, legend has it that Youngman’s most famous one was the result of an accident. When he first started working on the The Kate Smith Show, Youngman's beloved wife, Sadie, brought a bunch of her friends backstage with her. Annoyed, Youngman brought his wife to the stagehand and said, “Take my wife, please.” The rest is history.

22 Responses to ‘The 100 Jokes that shaped modern comedy’

BigWillieStyle asserts...

Posted February 3, 2016
I couldn't see "Coal is good for humanity" on the list anywhere.

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NBlob mutters...

Posted February 3, 2016
Are you familiar with the term 'facilitator' as it relates to addiction? What did poor Mrs Professor Boylan, their charming son ever do to you? Why would you cause them such pain? You may not have lit the fire, but you've handed a known pyromaniac the accelerant and a bic lighter.
For shame sir.

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan asserts...

Posted February 4, 2016
And I am itching to burn down the argument that those jokes shaped "modern comedy" - if there is such a thing. Funny, yes (Robin Williams' joke about cocaine is fucking hilarious). But influential?

w from brisbane is gonna tell you...

Posted February 4, 2016
PNB, I don't know if you are joking, but most professional comedians are very knowledgeable about the history of funny. They love listening to other comedians. They study them. What is the funny idea, what is the rhythm used, the word selection, the number of syllables etc. Is someone doing something new? Why is that gag funny, why is that gag not so funny. Pro comedians will say how Woody Allen's gag telling style is taken from Bob Hope and explain why. I think the history of joke telling is very influential, not always for thinking up the idea behind the gag, but for the toolkit of how to get the laugh.

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan puts forth...

Posted February 4, 2016
I was serious because it is funny to be deadly serious and analytical when discussing humour. When I was younger I instigated violent arguments over what is and isn't funny. My mantra was "comedy is serious business."

There is an incredibly funny group of very well thought out and reasoned scholarly papers that came out of a psychology conference on humour back in the early 1980's. Very dry. Very bland. Discussing things like "glee factors" without any glee at all.

What could possibly be funnier than that?

BigWillieStyle puts forth...

Posted February 4, 2016
I can't think of a comedian who wasn't influenced by those that came before. Jerry Seinfeld grew up studying Bill Cosby and Robert Klein. Eddie Murphy and Chris Rock were heavily influenced by Richard Pryor, who in turn was influenced by Cosby and Lenny Bruce. Jim Carrey was influenced by Jerry Lewis. Michael Richards' slapstick turn on "Seinfeld" was a nod to Lewis and Laurel & Hardy. WC Fields used a cigar as a prop, and Groucho Marx, George Burns and Milton Berle did likewise.

Adam Sandler and Rob Schneider, to their credit, have steadfastly refused to be influenced by anybody, and their commitment to being relentlessly unfunny for their entire careers is to be applauded.

dweeze is gonna tell you...

Posted February 4, 2016
"Adam Sandler and Rob Schneider, to their credit, have steadfastly
refused to be influenced by anybody, and their commitment to being
relentlessly unfunny for their entire careers is to be applauded."

Now, that is piss funny.

Lulu is gonna tell you...

Posted February 4, 2016
"most professional comedians are very knowledgeable about the history of funny. They love listening to other comedians."

w, I'm assuming you know about the English comedian Ross Noble who lived here for a while. He spent years collecting an entire tradition of English comedians (on tapes, vinyl etc etc), and built up a huge library, some of the material apparently quite rare.

Then, AFIAK, lost the lot in the 2009 Black Saturday fires.

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan mutters...

Posted February 4, 2016
Adam Sandler is a comic genius. Little Nicky is one of the best films of all time. I have to agree with you about Rob Schneider. He is mixed race, and that is never funny.

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Lulu mutters...

Posted February 3, 2016
I want to spend the rest of the day reading this. It's reminded me of my teenage love of Mae West & the Marx Brothers.

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insomniac mutters...

Posted February 3, 2016
Man, that 'Nobody' joke is a cracker.

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KreepyKrawly ducks in to say...

Posted February 3, 2016
As a young'un, I grew up on the Goon show and British comedy... Reading those 100 "Jokes" is like going to the pub, ordering a beer and getting metho...

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DarrenBloomfield swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 4, 2016
I got ready to read it, already primed to be pissed off that it was Seppo-only.
But then as I read it, I realised that this kind of list really needs to be country/cultural-specific. I'd love to see a similar one for the UK (or British Isles) : Goons, Python, Morceambe and Wise, Sellers, Moore and Cook, etc etc.
And Australia? pretty much covered on the ABC recently in "stop laughing, this is serious" but Roy Rene through to Barry Humphries to Kennedy to ...


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GhostSwirv mutters...

Posted February 4, 2016

Springtime for Hitler is my favourite - Brooks is a anarchic genius from Bialystok & Bloom, KAOS v CONTROL, Froderick and Egor to ... "how did he do such fantastic stunts with such little feet?"

PS - PNB ... someone should rip off Big Bang Theory by creating a sitcom of academics arguing over the science of what constitutes the essential funny elements necessary to generate comedy - their mortal enemies could be a phalanx of twitter followers hell bent of ridding the world of academics who ruthlessly appropriate humour and break it down into its unfunny sub-atomic parts.

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JG has opinions thus...

Posted February 4, 2016
Terrific stuff. Thanks for the link, JB. There's a lot to read and view, so I'll savour this a few gags at a time. True that comedy is a serious business, PNB. Punch lines are often born of tragedy, cutting against normality, the unexpected, and shock value. I love absurdity and comedy gold. Laugh and the world laughs with you... laughter is the best medicine. I think comedy has an important place in changing and recontextualising thoughts about oneself and issues in tha world both big and small. Funny that many comedians come from a place of truth that touch on fear and suppressed desires or urges. Neh. Too serious about the funny stuff. Just laugh. Release. It's instinctual. I think all animals laugh.

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BigWillieStyle reckons...

Posted February 4, 2016
Two of the most successful TV comedies in recent years are "Two and a Half Men" and "The Big Bang Theory". If this constitutes "modern comedy", then we're already in the seventh circle of Hell.

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Paul_Nicholas_Boylan is gonna tell you...

Posted February 4, 2016
If you are alluding to Dante, I think the Fourth Circle is more appropriate. Not judging. Just sayin.

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Barnesm has opinions thus...

Posted February 5, 2016
and may I present the world's funniest joke. One of my favorites they had in their "Gentelmen you can't fight in here this is the war room". from Dr Stranglelove.

DarrenBloomfield ducks in to say...

Posted February 5, 2016
A man goes to the zooIt only had one exhibit, a dog.It was a Shih tzu

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Bondiboy66 mutters...

Posted February 5, 2016
Aspiring comedians should also study Dave Allen - in fact go look up the plethora of his stuff on youtube yourself!

DarrenBloomfield swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 5, 2016
"Goodnight, and may your God go with you"
The man was a genius. I used to watch - mesmerised - his (short-a-fingertip) hand, trapping a cigarette and fondling his whiskey glass, while spinning a yarn...

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GhostSwirv reckons...

Posted February 5, 2016

Can anyone imagine any of our home-grown comedians being hard core enough to cut off a fingertip to emulate #TheFunnyDave?

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Murph? We have to talk

Posted November 26, 2015 into Funny by John Birmingham

11 Responses to ‘Murph? We have to talk’

Murphy_of_Missouri swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted November 26, 2015
Lolz. I learned my lesson back in 1991 during the Great Generator Fire of Operation Desert Storm. Nothing like fighting a fire with a chest full of 40 mm HE rounds for the 203.

Nocturnalist has opinions thus...

Posted November 27, 2015
So this was a "Come back with your generator room, or laminated evenly around the walls of your generator room" sort of deal?

Murphy_of_Missouri mumbles...

Posted November 27, 2015
Well, it was two five kw gas generators on a trailer pulled by our RATT rig hummer, not a room. It was loaded with 90 gallons of gasoline, wooden crates of fifty cal ammo we didn't really need, and had a nice bed of oil, dirty, and crap from running it for the past month or so.

In my sleep deprived state I didn't argue with Cpl. Qualiana who said, "Murph, you are the lowest ranking guy, open the tarp."

The tarp burned off instantly while my face was shielded by a kevlar helmet that never fit right. When I got it back up they shoved one fire extinguisher into my hand after another until we were out.

At that point we unhitched the trailer, drove off, and threatened to shoot an officer who wanted us to come back and try again.

It was a fun day. And the reason I never became a firefighter.

w from brisbane swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted November 27, 2015
Very good anecdote, Murph.

Murphy_of_Missouri reckons...

Posted November 27, 2015
Thanks! That is the short version. :)

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she_jedi asserts...

Posted November 26, 2015
Does that count as an entry in the Darwin Awards?

Murphy_of_Missouri puts forth...

Posted November 27, 2015
Those stories you hear, you are wondering if they are true.
They are. All of them.

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted November 27, 2015
But it only works if the guy's stupidity took him out of the gene pool.

Murphy_of_Missouri mumbles...

Posted November 27, 2015
He must have, "Pulled a Holden."

Maybe there is a pair of writers up there keeping his stupid ass alive for some strange reason. Not that writers would ever do that.

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andreP mumbles...

Posted December 4, 2015
Why does that pic seem to me a perfect metaphor for American gun culture?

Murphy_of_Missouri mutters...

Posted December 5, 2015
Because no Australian ever said, "Hold my beer and watch this shit, mate."

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Outstanding achievement in the field of laziness

Posted January 13, 2015 into Funny by John Birmingham

From my twitter feed this morning. I am in awe.

12 Responses to ‘Outstanding achievement in the field of laziness’

Barnesm is gonna tell you...

Posted January 13, 2015

"Outstanding excellence in the field of excellence". Best I can offer in my own experience is whenever I use the microwave and it needs to be heated for 2minutes I hit 2:22, if its 2mins 3:33 etc just so I don't have tomove my finger.


Dave W has opinions thus...

Posted January 13, 2015

Pshaw. That's nothing. You do have to move your finger. 2:22 then start.


I'm all over that sh!t. Instant cook times two if it's a one minute IC machine. ICx4 for a 30 sec machine.


Pwned, I believe, is the expression that the kids use.

insomniac would have you know...

Posted January 13, 2015
I agree Dave W. I'm not sure I could operate any other function of our microwave, other than "cancel". Our instant cook button goes 15, 30, 60 & 120, so for 90 seconds I need to cancel which is more efficient than a 60s cook + a 30s cook.

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pi has opinions thus...

Posted January 13, 2015
That's gold.

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Chaz mutters...

Posted January 13, 2015
it would be really, really cool if the vessel in question was a CVN

schlepstar puts forth...

Posted January 13, 2015
Especially if this maneuver redirected the whole carrier group

damian puts forth...

Posted January 13, 2015
Or (obviously not on a CVN) a large Atlantic convoy circa 1917-18 or 1939-45.

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WA n'ker reckons...

Posted January 13, 2015
Reminds me of loyd bridges turning the carrier around to retrieve his hat in Hot Shots. (Or was it part deux?)

Nocturnalist would have you know...

Posted January 13, 2015
Apparently during the shooting of Top Gun Don Simpson asked the skipper of the ship they were on if he could quickly just turn the boat around because the shot would be better with the shadows falling the other way. It was explained to him that this would cost tens of thousands of dollars and take a day.

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Sparty reckons...

Posted January 13, 2015

During the filming, Tony Scott and his crew spent some days onboard
USS Enterprise to shoot aircraft as they landed and took off from the
aircraft carrier. Since the U.S. Navy’s flattop was on an operational
cruise, the crew had to film normal flight ops. However, Tony Scott
wanted to shoot flight deck activitiey with planes backlit from the sun.
So, when the ship changed course with a consequent change of the light,
Scott asked it the commanding officer could keep on the previous course
and speed for a little longer.

However, he was answered by the
commander that it would cost 25,000 USD to turn the ship, so he wrote
the aircraft carrier captain a check so that the ship could be turned on
the previous route for five more minutes thus giving him the
possibility to shoot under the desired lighting conditions for another
five minutes.

The footage was used during the movie’s stunning opening scene.

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Sparty reckons...

Posted January 13, 2015
Arse, Nocturnalist beat me to it!

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Eamon Hamilton asserts...

Posted January 13, 2015
i once read a story about an RAF Navigator on a transport flight in South East Asia in the 1960s. He redirected the aircraft off its heading, the brought he aircraft back on it's original path. When the Captain asked what was going on, the Navigator said he was flying them around his coffee mug on the map.

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Cartoons paused at just the wrong moment

Posted December 17, 2014 into Funny by John Birmingham

Because sometimes you just need a duck boner.

Or a child protection officer.

Or a cigarette and a beer.

More here.

15 Responses to ‘Cartoons paused at just the wrong moment’

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan has opinions thus...

Posted December 17, 2014
Fucking hilarious.

But it ruins my impression of Donald Duck.

Shifty Tourist reckons...

Posted December 17, 2014
Its the look he is giving to the "camera" which sells it. looks like suggestive, raised eyebrow smirk.

insomniac would have you know...

Posted December 17, 2014
What sort of impression do you have of DD that could be swayed in a negative direction given he struts around in public without pants?

Spanner would have you know...

Posted December 17, 2014
A duck does it and nobody cares. I do it at work and HR gets involved. Blah blah inappropriate blah harassment blah offending the customers. There is no justice.

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan ducks in to say...

Posted December 17, 2014
Hahahahahahahaha!!! HA!

[the curmudgeon version of LOL]

Defender90 asserts...

Posted December 18, 2014
Not only is he sans pants but he's a sailor and we all know they're filthy buggers, they go from port to port.

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Barnesm would have you know...

Posted December 17, 2014
The ought to be a tumbler for these

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HAVOCK21 ducks in to say...

Posted December 17, 2014
aLWAYS L;OVEd pok e mONS. ...just sayin!

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Paul_Nicholas_Boylan puts forth...

Posted December 17, 2014
My wife, Lori, said:

"Is this John's work? Tell him I am sorely disappointed."

Wimmin....

Abe Frellman is gonna tell you...

Posted December 17, 2014
Did she not SEE the size of that thing's tongue??????

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pi reckons...

Posted December 18, 2014
OT :

I'm moving house. That means, of course, packing all of the earthly belongings to sit in boxes for a few months, to be unpacked at some time in the future when I've had a skin-full, and I need a bit of therapy.

But I want to take issue with something, JB, and I'm hoping you can help out. What the FUCK is up with different book sizes? We have standard alain keys, standard bed sizes, standard door sizes, hell, we even have standard fuckin condom sizes. So how the fuck, after a thousand years of producing the things, have we not come up with standard book sizes?

And it's some authors worst than most. Larry Niven? Boss. Roger Zelazny? Boss. Hey I understand it's not good to speak ill of the dead, but Iain Banks? Non-standard, every one.

But he pales in comparison to Neal Stephenson and William Gibson. What's up with these fuckin guys? It seems that every fuckin book they produce is a different size?!!?!?!

Do you guys consciously do this? Maybe Stephen Baxter said "can't be havin people getting confused in the book isle with that noob. Better mix it up a little."

So it means that, when I get to my destination, because they can't be placed in the boxes in alphabetical order, because they can't be packed in any order, they spend two months in a box until I finally get the nerve to sink a skin-full, and to crack open the box, and yet again, place the books all back in the book shelf. And then re-order them again.

Way to get people to use amazon JB.

John Birmingham mumbles...

Posted December 18, 2014
As far as I know there are only three standard sizes. Hardback. Trade paperback and paperback. They address different markets. If you can't figure out which marketing pigeonhole you're supposed to be in I cannot help you.

Shifty Tourist mutters...

Posted December 18, 2014

Pi, its a conspiracy I say.

The publishers are in bed with the brown cardboard box people. Authors, I take from JBs denial is clearly in on it. You see there is always extra, but unusable space, so an additional box is required. Leading to more box sales, which the box makers kick back to the publishers, which they use to pay they dues to the Illuminati (who use this money for their Pizza and six pack.... and world domination fund.

I say, wake up sheeple!!

John Birmingham asserts...

Posted December 18, 2014
And now you must die.

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Anthony is gonna tell you...

Posted December 18, 2014

As someone who once wasted a year of their life working for a publisher there is (sort of) a rationale for some sizes. Manuals for example are usually standardised at US Letter size because they are frequently referred to.


Essentially though you are probably irritated with what's known as "trade size" - the larger paperbacks that won't fit on shelves. These are essentially the paperback version of the hardcover - same pagination and layout. That's what generally goes out for review purposes and thee days usually comes out at the same time as the hardcover.

It's also significantly more profitable than the normal paperback and if a book looks to be selling well in "trade" then the standard size may be "delayed" a while to take advantage of those buyers who purchase as soon as it comes out.

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Tony Abbott and the Holy Grail

Posted November 27, 2014 into Funny by John Birmingham

Got this via Dee Madigan. It's pretty funny.

And yes, I haz interwebz again.

4 Responses to ‘Tony Abbott and the Holy Grail’

Spanner mutters...

Posted November 27, 2014
I gigglesnorted at "It's and efficiency dividend"

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Bangar mutters...

Posted November 27, 2014
I believe Mr Rabbit is trying to be a bigger prick than Howard, the sad thing is he's succeeding.

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John has opinions thus...

Posted November 27, 2014
Howard was in the business of winning elections. Abbott doesn't seem to care.

It's all about his team, which at this point is pretty much down to the coal industry and Andrew Bolt.

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GhostSwirv reckons...

Posted November 27, 2014
So when Arfur finally cuts off all of Tone's limbs I truly wonder whether the F35 will be able deliver the coconuts on target, or whether a European Tornado aircraft is best suited to our military needs?

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Ice Bucket Challenge Fails

Posted August 20, 2014 into Funny by John Birmingham

I find this whole ice bucket meme incredibly stupid and can't wait for the episode of Silicon Valley which puts a bullet right through the heart of it.

Until then, I'll enjoy these diabolically funny ice bucket fuck ups.

23 Responses to ‘Ice Bucket Challenge Fails’

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted August 20, 2014
It's funny because I don't know them.

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Murphy would have you know...

Posted August 20, 2014
#Iraiseyouricebucketchallengetoaduelwithpistolsatdawnonthefieldofhonor

#Murphyhasreallyannoyinghashtagsandmightbemissingthefuckingpoint

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Helena ducks in to say...

Posted August 20, 2014
hilarious!

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Wolfcat has opinions thus...

Posted August 20, 2014
I think the planet needs an ice bucket challange from say Haley's Comet... that would fix a lot of issues.

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Dylwah puts forth...

Posted August 20, 2014
Don't drink and ice bucket kids.

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Bondiboy66 reckons...

Posted August 20, 2014
My lack of faith in the human race has been reinforced.

As for ice bucket over the head? I say MEH. Especially as I swim each Sunday through winter, ocean pool and ocean, sans wetsuit. Last week, a toasty 14.5C in the water!

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Peter Bradley asserts...

Posted August 20, 2014

Yes it is annoying but given it was originally designed to raise awareness for ALS it began well intentioned.

As with many well intentioned things the numpties got hold of it and ....well there you go!

Barnesm ducks in to say...

Posted August 20, 2014
Your are correct Mr Bradley. I think is still is about that . Almost everywhere I have seen someone post about the ice bucket has included the link to the fund raising efforts to research diseases such as ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis). I am sorry if for some people are finding more intrusive than the unrequested posts that show up on twitter, facebook or other social media. It has raised quite a bit of cash for charity and I have found it more amusing than some of the other ways awareness can be raised.

At least a lot more people know about ALS now.

Some people can be so grouchy long before they are old enough to be screaming at those kids to get off their damn lawn.

Bunyip swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted August 20, 2014
@Barnesm Some people can be so grouchy long before they are old enough to be screaming at those kids to get off their damn lawn.

It would appear that my attempt at irony was a bit too cryptic.

Barnesm asserts...

Posted August 20, 2014
I thought you WERE old enough ;)

Barnesm would have you know...

Posted August 20, 2014
I was more directing it at Brimo and Murph.

John Birmingham reckons...

Posted August 20, 2014
My lawn. Remove yourself.

Bunyip asserts...

Posted August 20, 2014
@Barnesm I was more directing it at Brimo and Murph..

LOL. Our host is almost exactly (baring one week), one year younger than me. Murph is possibly beyond time and space, well at least as far as I know it.

Murphy mutters...

Posted August 21, 2014
I have dog poop in my yard.

Watch yer step.

And yes, the poop is timeless.

Respects,
Murph
On the Outer Marches

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Bunyip would have you know...

Posted August 20, 2014
Add me to the WTF crowd.

Darn kids, spilling their ice water all over my lawn...

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damian ducks in to say...

Posted August 20, 2014
I dunno, I thought Bill Gates' one was pretty good. There's something about a 60ish billionaire staring into the camera as he tips the ice water over his head that gives a lot of confidence in the strength of his convictions.

damian mumbles...

Posted August 20, 2014
Maybe strength of purpose is a better way to end that sentence... distracted and hurried :)

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w from brisbane mutters...

Posted August 20, 2014
I wonder if anybody just went and tipped a bucket of ice water over themselves without filming it.
Unlikely, but I salute that person.

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan has opinions thus...

Posted August 21, 2014
I've done that on more than one occasion, but for reasons independent of any ALS awareness event.

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Therbs has opinions thus...

Posted August 22, 2014
I saw one on a football show last weekend which proved to me the whole thing is a bucket of arse. Doing stupid shit for charity? I forget which Brit comedian said it but he reckoned you can do anything and get away with it if its in the name of charity. Doesn't make it any less dumb.

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