A beautiful, full-figured sex worker puts her head in the driver's window and says to him, "I can do anything you want honey." He says "any chance of a hair cut?"
Six weeks ago, no one would have understood the joke. Shortly before he died, the great Bob Monkhouse delivered the greatest one-liner ever told. He said (with a stern expression), "They laughed when I said I wanted to be a comedian . . . well they're not laughing now." Nobody is laughing now, except Jeff Bezos. The rest of us are going to have to buckle up and bare it.
The Germans, who haven't put a foot wrong since the Second World War, had to grit their teeth on Monday and cancel their beloved Oktoberfest. The Bavarian government concluded "there is no realistic possibility that we will have a vaccine in time and without a vaccine, allowing large crowds to gather together is impossible." The Germans have been ahead of this throughout, and have a death-rate which is more than 50 per cent less than Ireland (north and south) and almost five times lower than the UK.
There is one ray of hope.
Donald Trump - who makes the kids on Children Say The Funniest Things sound like Stephen Hawking - announced last week that he had two "tremendous ideas" for coronavirus cures. The first was injecting sufferers with disinfectant, which resulted in medical experts lining up afterwards to say this would probably result in death and warning people not to try it at home. "I really cannot emphasise enough how dangerous this would be," said CNN's resident physician, Dr Sanjay Gupta. The second was shining ultraviolet light into their lungs. The president did not explain how this might be done or what the effect would be, save to say it was "a very interesting possibility" and that his scientists would look into it.
Unless shining ultraviolet light into the lungs or directly injecting Dettol into a vein turns out to be a cure, Mayo will not lose an All-Ireland this year and Derry will remain unbeaten for the first time since 1993. Thank heaven for small mercies.
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Meanwhile, the pain in Spain continued on Wednesday when the government announced that the Pamplona Bull Run, scheduled for mid-July and the most-watched live TV event in the Spanish calendar, is off. Every year, one million people descend on Pamplona for this wild series of bull runs. On average, 100 participants are injured. Sometimes a runner is gored to death. It is an event that is second only in danger levels to a disco in Navan after the Meath county final.
In the town of Bunol, near Valencia, the mayor and his council meet tomorrow to decide the fate of the annual Tomatina. It was due to take place on August 26 but it is now certain to be cancelled. Held each year in August, it is another thoroughly wacky Spanish tradition, where 20,000 participants gather in the walled town and pelt each other from dawn to dark with hundreds of thousands of ripe tomatoes (it was estimated that 145,000 kilos were thrown at the 2015 event).
The tomato fight dates back to 1945, when during a parade through the town, one of the participants had his giant papier-mâché head knocked off, went berserk, chased the culprit and fell into a market stall of tomatoes, knocking them all to the ground. A fight started, then spread through the crowd, and soon they were pelting each other with tomatoes. Now, it has become so big that the 20,000 competitors have to pay to take part and are issued with bar coded tickets. The rules are as follows:
1. No bottles or hard objects can be thrown.
2. Do not tear or throw clothes.
3. Do not punch, kick or wrestle.
4. Follow the directions of security personnel.
All of which could apply to any GAA match up until the late 1980s.
These decisions are inevitable. With this plague, there are only unknowns. There is no vaccine yet (this will take a minimum of 12-18 months). It is not known if a vaccine will be possible at all. On Wednesday, China's top team of infectious disease experts, led by world-renowned Professor Li Lanjuan, released shocking new research that shows the virus is mutating at a rate that no one could have anticipated. Using a technique called ultra deep sequencing, they identified 33 mutations of coronavirus. They concluded that "the true nature and diversity of the virus is still largely under-appreciated". How do you find a cure for a plague you don't understand?
Spain's famous Haro Wine Battle has also been pulled. Haro is a village in the heart of the Rioja wine region, where the coronavirus outbreak has been particularly lethal. Every summer, thousands of competitors gather and run amok through the town, drenching each other in over 70,000 litres of red wine. And we thought we were mad? In a spirit of European solidarity and friendship, I think I speak for all of us when I say we are prepared to take that unused 70,000 litres off their hands.
Last Tuesday, a Wicklow man called Tom McGrath wrote a letter to The Irish Times which read as follows, "Sir. For God's sake, open the pubs again before we all become alcoholics. Yours etc."
Sunday Indo Sport
There’s a video clip doing the rounds. You may have seen it. It’s set in a classroom in the year 2085, and the teacher is talking. “And that is going to finish up our chapter about 2019. Alright class I’m going to need you to flip to page 270, we’re going to talk about the year 2021.”