I Suppose You Think That’s Clever…

In which The Author enjoys some highbrow jokes

I bought i on Saturday, largely because I couldn’t get the Guardian crossword to print out and I was getting withdrawal symptoms by early evening. It’s a cooked-down version of the Independent, and my late friend Jon W. used to buy it regularly. Gaz buys it too, and I’ve picked it up a few times when the crossword cravings have become too powerful to resist. Spar in Trecynon had mostly sold out of papers, so I bought their last copy.
I haven’t bought a weekend paper for ages, partly because of the price (the qualities are about two quid a throw now) but also because of their sheer volume. Dad and I used to get the Observer between us, but even after finishing the main section, the Review, the Magazine, and the TV/radio schedules, we were still left with several square metres of unread newsprint: Money, Business, Sport, and the inevitable mail order catalogues from Scotts of Stow and their ilk which come stuffed into the Sunday papers. We got fed up of filling our recycling bags with junk which we’d paid for but hadn’t looked at, and when I moved out in 1998 Dad stopped buying papers entirely.
[A digression: I was browsing through the John Murray catalogue in work one day when I came across a fantastic book called London as it Might Have Been, by Felix Barker and Ralph Hyde. There was no way it would have been ordered for stock, so I ordered a copy for myself. Dad spent hours looking at it in the kitchen over his late-night cups of tea and cigarettes. Sadly, I think he must have left it amongst the pile of newspapers destined for the recycling bag one week, as it suddenly vanished without trace. It wasn’t the first time one of my books had been out on loan and the borrower had mislaid it. However, it was the first time said item had gone missing without ever leaving the building! I bought a replacement copy, which now lives in the Cosmic Tigger Reference Library, and now I’m extremely glad I did. I’ve just looked on Amazon, and new copies are going for between £113 and £478!]
Before very long, the Saturday papers had gone the same way as the Sundays. I used to buy the Telegraph on the way to work, mainly for its excellent crosswords. Before long, it had become far too unwieldy to lug to Cardiff and back, complete with its Motoring, Business, Money and Travel sections (which went straight into the recycling bag), Gardening section (which I dropped into Phil’s house on the way to town) and Sport section (which I donated to the pub.) Now, it’s cheaper and easier to look at it online, or in the Library. The Guardian has gone down the same path, and is chock-full of content which I’d skim at best and ignore for the most part.
Alone amongst the quality papers, i comes in one easy-to-handle compact unit, and costs a mere 30p (20p on weekdays, comparable to the trashy tabloids.) Gaz and I once suggested an advertising slogan, aimed at the middlebrow readers who might fancy something a bit more challenging than the celebloids: Open the i, and it’ll open your eyes. So, on Saturday evening I had a choice between i, the Guardian, or the Sun, and I’ll leave the last one to the Übermenschen, thanks all the same. Unlike the crossword, it was a no-brainer.
On page 25 I found an interesting article based on an Internet meme about intellectual jokes. I’m a recent convert to The Big Bang Theory, arguably the best US comedy show since Frasier, so these jokes, mainly based around the sciences and philosophy, appealed to me on a deep level. I thought I’d reproduce the i‘s pick of the crop here, for your entertainment, edification and reading pleasure…
A Photon checks into a hotel and the bellhop asks him if he has any heavy luggage. The Photon replies: “No, I’m travelling light.”
“Is it solipsistic in here, or is it just me?”
A TCP packet walks into a bar, and says to the barman: “Hello, I’d like a beer.”
The barman replies: “Hello, you’d like a beer.”
“Yes,” replies the TCP packet, “I’d like a beer.”
An electron is driving down a motorway, and a policeman pulls him over. The policeman says: “Sir, do you realise you were travelling at 130km per hour?”
The electron goes: “Oh great, now I’m lost.”
Pavlov is enjoying a pint in the pub. The phone rings. He jumps up and shouts: “Hell, I forgot to feed the dog!”
How many surrealists does it take to screw in a lightbulb?
A fish.
There are 10 types of people in this world. Those who understand binary, and those who don’t.
When I heard oxygen and magnesium hooked up I was like OMg.
The barman says, “We don’t serve faster-than-light particles here.”
A tachyon enters a bar.
A Buddhist monk approaches a hotdog stand and says “Make me one with everything.”
What do you call two crows on a branch?
Attempted murder.
An Englishman, Frenchman, Spaniard and a German are walking down the street. They see a juggler performing but there are so many people that the four men can’t see the juggler. So the juggler goes on top of a platform and asks, “can you see me now?”
The four men answer, “Yes.” “Oui.” “Si.” “Ja.”
Never trust an atom. They make up everything.
How many programmers does it take to change a light bulb?
None, it’s a hardware problem.
Did you hear about the jurisprudence fetishist? He got off on technicality.
A Roman walks into a bar, holds up two fingers, and says, “Five beers, please.”
Did you hear about the man who got cooled to absolute zero? He’s 0K now.
What does the “B” in Benoit B Mandelbrot stand for?
Benoit B Mandelbrot.
A classics professor goes to a tailor to get his trousers mended.
The tailor asks, “Euripides?”
The professor replies, “Yes. Eumenides?”
A programmer’s wife tells him, “Run to the the store and pick up a loaf of bread. If they have eggs, get a dozen.”
The programmer comes home with 12 loaves of bread.

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