The worst timed call in history? (The Funny Side)

A phone smuggler was caught when his lower intestine started ringing. The Sri Lankan man, in Colombo’s Welikada jail, tried to feign innocence but it’s very hard to keep a straight face when a ring-tone is trilling loudly from one’s private parts, into which he had inserted a phone.

This should go into the record books as the worst timed call in history. The news report from AFP didn’t say what the phone’s ring tone was, but regular contributors to this column had some suggestions: 1) Call Me, by Blondie; 2) The Bottom Line, by Depeche Mode; 3) Hello My Baby, by Michigan J Frog; 4) Bell Bottom Blues, by Derek and the Dominoes; or 5) I Just Called to Say I Love You, by Stevie Wonder. I can just imagine the poor dude sitting with his head between his knees whispering to his nether regions: ‘Can’t talk now, I’ll get back to you.’

Of course, from the cops’ point of view, the call was perfectly timed. Calls always seem to be one or the other. From personal experience, I’ll bet that every Sunday, somewhere in the world, a preacher asks his congregation: ‘Is God calling you?’ and a phone starts ringing.

*-*

The citizens of China are talking about moving the entire capital city of Beijing elsewhere, because the pollution is so bad. Just thought I would tell you so that if you see 10 million people and a load of pointy buildings arriving in your town. Beijingers make great new neighbours. Just ask the Tibetans.

*-*

So, the thing that everyone feared has come to pass. A war-mongering, nuclear-armed nation which repeatedly disregards United Nations’ resolutions and international law is becoming increasingly assertive. Yes, people around the world are worrying about the behaviour of the United States. And then of course there’s North Korea.

*-*

When young pop singer Minami Minegishi, 20, broke her no-dating promise, she apologised by shaving off all her hair and weeping in public. One of her fans of her pop group, which is called AKB48, told me this has triggered an interest in traditional penances, which are much more powerful than the feeble modern ways of saying sorry, such as sending SMS texts saying: ‘My bad’. Four ways people in Asia expressed sorrow in the past: 1) Lying on a bed of nails (Hindus). 2) Sacrificing a goat (animists). 3) Wearing sackcloth and putting ashes on the head (Hebrews). 4) Weeping and gnashing teeth (early Christians).

But I reminded the reader that physical penances still occur in Asia. On a sleeper train in India in December, a member of parliament whose bed was badly made demanded a physical expression of apology. He made his attendant do ’50 sit-ups holding his ears’, newspapers said. I think the attendant held his own ears, but it may have been the parliamentarian’s ears.

There’s no denying the power of old-fashioned apologies. Husbands: Next time you screw something up (ie, later today), try this: ‘Sorry I forgot our anniversary, darling, but look, I got you this dead goat.’

*-*

Reader Andrew Bond from Thailand was sending a ‘to my darling wife’ e-card to his missus from the Valentine’s Day selection on 123greetings .com when a question popped up: ‘Do you want to send this card to multiple people?’

*-*

Chinese movie censors have given themselves a new title: literary editors. After hacking a massive 40 minutes of Cloud Atlas, the movie’s mainland China distributor explained that they cut sections which ‘weakened the theme or confused the plot’. This is curious, since none of the censors has even five minutes experience in screenwriting, movie-making or being a half-intelligent, walking, talking human being, come to that. On the other hand, if they think people will actually believe their statement, they certainly have powerful imaginations.

*-*

Japanese scientists discovered a type of sea slug which discards its penis after use and grows a new one, Biology Letters reported. Clearly this is one of those genes that scientists will eventually transplant to human beings, after which we guys better be careful with the timing of conjugal activities. ‘Let’s have an early night, darling.’ ‘Er, give me a couple of days, sweetheart.’

*-*

The only New Year’s resolution you will actually keep: I pledge to eat sensibly, go to the gym, and do lots of exercise for the first few weeks of the year, then turn into a fat, lazy slob for the rest of it.

*-*

A woman has been banned from the Internet. Melissa D Brandon, 26, used photos of a beauty queen to make a fake Facebook page in which she asked for money, causing a judge in Saskatoon, US, to sentence her to the unusual punishment. I had no idea you could ban people from the Internet and wish this punishment was used WAY more often.

People who SHOULD be banned from the internet: 1) Anyone who tags a photo on Facebook with the name of someone not in the photo. 2) Anyone who ends any communication with: ‘Forward this to 10 people or your crush will ignore you for a week’. 3) Anyone who posts a list in which each item is on a separate screen. 4) Everyone under 11. Go run around in the park, it’s good for you. 5) Come to think of it, everyone over 11. Go run around in the park, it’s good for you.

*-*

The citizens of the UK are in an uproar because some of their supermarket packages of minced dead animal contained minced dead animal, but not the precise one named on the package. From an Asian point of view this is dumb. In many countries in this region, things are just labeled ‘Veg’ and ‘Non-Veg’. As long as the ‘non-veg’ doesn’t consist of the guy down the hall, what’s to complain about?

*-*

Wasn’t it cool that the Pope announced his resignation in Latin, so that all reporters missed the tale except one who spoke the dead language? From now on, I am going to make all my announcements in Latin. Here are some useful phrases so you can do the same. 1) At the bar: ‘Di! Ecce hora! Uxor mea me necabit!’ (‘Dear God, look at the time! My wife will kill me!’) 2) On the street: ‘Recedite, plebes! Gero rem imperialem!’ (‘Stand aside plebians! I am on imperial business.’) 3) At home: ‘Mellita, domi adsum.’ (‘Honey, I’m home.’)

Incidentally, if Latin-speakers want to insult each other really nastily, they don’t shout crude expletives. The most horrible curse in Latin is this: ‘Utinam logica falsa tuam philosophiam totam suffodiant.’ (‘May faulty logic undermine your entire philosophy.’)

*-*

Youthful despot Kim Jong-Un has bought a smartphone recently, a press photo shows. So now we know where he got the idea for his country’s hobby of firing missiles in all directions: Angry Birds.

(Nury Vittachi is an Asia-based frequent traveler. Send ideas and comments via www.mrjam.org)

IANS