Going cheap: Mona Lisa's sister
"Is that the copy taker for free under-$100 advertisements in the unAustralian newspaper?" I asked when a woman came on the phone line.
"Yes it is, sir," the woman said in a calm sing-songy voice. "How can I help you?"
"I want to put in an advertisement for a painting," I said. MORE...
Living next door to Rembrandt
If only Dutch artist Willie van Dork had listened to reason, he could have been just as famous as Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn. He had a lot in common with Rembrandt and some learned observers early in his career thought he was technically a better painter. MORE...
Letter to Noah: we want our Tasmanian Tigers back
You do remember the Tasmanian Tiger, don't you, Noah? A shy, marsupial dog-like animal about three feet tall and five feet long, with light brown fur and dark stripes across its lower back? Tail like a kangaroo, powerful jaws?
It hunted and ate mainly small marsupials such as bandicoots and small kangaroos.
I expect that habit caused you a few sleepless nights on your ark for those 40 days and 40 nights, eh? MORE...
Resignation letter from Santa
Dear boys and girls,
I know this is very short notice, but I wish to tender my resignation.
This is not a decision I have taken lightly.
But I feel you have given me no alternative. MORE...
Santa Claus contemplates his navel
"Now tell me," said the psychiatrist after settling his patient down on the couch, "How long have you thought you were really Santa Claus?"
"Santa Claus? My name is George!" snapped the man. "What makes you think I think I am Santa Claus?" MORE...
Poles apart: Santa goes somewhere different after all his work is done
Santa Claus could hardly believe his eyes.
He had been looking forward to his vacation in the tropics for so long, it was like a dream.
He stood on the tarmac in his colourful board shorts, T-shirt and floppy hat and surveyed his new surroundings. MORE...
Memo to the boss from one of the dickheads
Dear new boss,
Thank you for your latest memo.
It is hard to believe that you have only worked here for a week or so and we have already arrived at work to find memos on our desks four times. MORE...
A message from the sharp end
"Hello, this is your pilot speaking and I'd like to welcome aboard this No Frills Airlines flight today.
"We will soon be reaching our cruising altitude of, oh, very high up in the air. I can't tell you exactly how high because that particular gauge is still under the impression we haven't even left the ground and everyone up here in the cockpit has agreed that that can't be right. MORE...
Letter from a misinformed reader
I am writing to complain about your horoscope last weekend. At no point did it warn me I am likely to witness a big war soon.
How could your astrologer miss something that big? Was she too busy working out which planets were aligning to notice that countries here on earth are falling in behind each other too? MORE...
Letter to the taxi company from a disgruntled passenger
I am writing to ask you to look out for a hat which I left in one of your taxi cars on Tuesday.
I would also like to complain about your employee who drove that car.
I don't get out very often - in fact, last Tuesday night was the first time in eight years - but for some time I have been highly impressed by your advertisements on television. MORE...
Finding memo: when the boss gets a sore head
From: Manager Director, Roger Bignoise
To: Workplace Health and Safety Officer, Fred Dork
Fred, I have a headache. I just asked my secretary to get me a couple of headache tablets from the office first-aid kit and she says we have a company policy not to provide them any more. Is that right? Is so, when and why did this happen? - RB MORE...
How to gainfully employ your night security guard
The security guard straightened his tie and buttoned his uniform jacket before knocking on the managing director's half-open door.
"You wanted to see me, Mr Bignoise?" he said, peering inside. "I'm Jim Jones."
"Oh yes, Jim, thank you," the boss said, gesturing from his chair. "Come in. Come in. Sit down."
Bignoise reached into a desk drawer and extracted a file as Jones sat down on the chair at the other side of the MD's majestic blackwood desk. MORE...
A letter to Santa
I hope you remember me, Santa?
I used to live in Ronneby Road, Newnham, in Tasmania but I want you to know that I had very little to do with putting that bucket of porridge in a big pot at the bottom of the chimney.
I guess you have dried out now. MORE...
To hell and back in a leaky boat and a bucket
"I'm innocent," I cried as the burly soldiers dragged me up the gangplank on to the convict ship.
"I didn't do it - you have to believe me. I don't want to go to the Australian colonies! Please!" MORE...
Come on Aussie, let me light your fire
Dear Mr John Howard,
I am writing to you from Ward 4D of Puddleduck Hospital for the Criminally Insane (Pyromaniacs Rehabilitation Division) with a special plea. I dearly want to light the cauldron at the Olympic Games opening ceremony on Friday, September 15 and they won't let me. MORE...
Wanted to sell: Lawnmower
All I wanted to do was advertise my lawnmower for sale. You'd think that would be quite straightforward. But noooo, not with The Daily Soothwayer newspaper.
"Can I take your ad?" a cheerful typist answered when I called the hotline.
"Ah ... yes, I want to sell my lawnmower," I said. MORE...
Boat-people's arrival shocks Canberra
Mystery surrounds the arrival of a boatload of 51 strange people in the inland Australian capital Canberra yesterday.
They came ashore at Yarramundi Reach on Lake Burley Griffin about 5.30am.
At first, they were thought to be refugees from the Middle-East.
Later, interpreters determined they were in fact from the Australian island state of Tasmania. MORE...
Someone always pays in this user-pays world
"Come in, George," said the managing director, ushering the ambulance driver into his office. "Sit down. We need to talk."
George knew something was up.
Why else would have he been called to the big office again?
Mr Bigknob, the managing director, took a bundle of papers out of his top left-hand drawer and plonked them on the desk in front of George. MORE...
The loneliness of the long-distance bushy eyebrows
Horace, the truck-driver, squinted at his new passenger as he scrambled into his cab. He looked vaguely familiar.
Horace's wife was always telling him not to pick up hitch-hikers, especially scruffy ones.
But this bloke was well-dressed. In fact, he was carrying a brief case rather than a knapsack and looked like he had been standing on the roadside for a long, long time. MORE ...
Letter of resignation to the P.M.
It is with great regret that I feel I must tender my resignation as a Minister and announce my departure from the party I have served faithfully for the past 26 years.
I considered very seriously your request yesterday that I shave off my beard because party polling indicates that voters think I look like a dork. MORE ...
If you like these short columns perhaps you'll like my new comic fiction novel, which has nearly 250 pages of laughs. Check out the first chapter here free