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Wednesday 12th February 2014

4098/17017

It's very rare that I come up with a one-liner so I am delighted when they pop into my head. As I walked up the stairs to my office my brain spewed out the following, "Go take a long walk off a short pier.... that lost some of its impact when you said it to Jesus."

I liked it as a line as it requires a small amount of work from the audience, like my other similar joke "Act your age, not your shoe-size... that means something different on the continent."

But I suspect that I am not the only one to have made this connection with Jesus' walking on water abilities. So you can have it for nothing and I'll have to wait to see if I come up with another one-liner in 2014 that is more original.

Out for my run today and I passed two a couple walking a few pug dogs. A couple had lagged behind their owners and the male one had used the opportunity to mount his female friend and was attempting to create more pug dogs to add to the throng. I guess a pug is attractive to another pug, but from my non-pug viewpoint this was a fairly unappealing sight. Most of us probably grimace a bit during sex, but when your face is already like that then the sex face becomes a mask of parody revealing te ridiculousness of coitus. If sex was a holy thing then why would it be made to look so hideous and ridiculous. The male dog was slipping off his near-conquest as well, making him look even more foolish. If a god had been involved in inventing sex then surely he would have made it more dignified.

Even though I was appalled by this public display of affection and possible rape (the lady pug did not look happy, but then she was a pug so it was hard to tell) something primal inside me was still impressed with the dog's attempt to fulfill his genetic imperative and I made a point of verbally congratulating him on trying to get his end away. He didn't acknowledge my encouragment, but then he was busy failing in his endeavour.

I am delighted that I am keeping up with the running and that the nearly seven mile run I am doing is getting easier and faster each time (I took another minute off my 2014 best today). A tree had fallen across the Thames path between Christmas and New Year on the Barnes side of the river and I am impressed to recount that it is still there. I was surprised when it was still there a week after I'd first spotted it, but now it's six weeks and no one has moved it. It must be a major annoyance for any of the many cyclists and pram pushers who use this thoroughfare, but either nobody has complained or the council can't be arsed to do anything about it. I like it. I can imagine that I am a horsey taking part in a very long event with just one minor jump. I will miss it if it goes.

Tonight I went to a Darwin Day lecture put on by the British Humanist Association in which Professor Alice Roberts discussed the development of the embryo. It was properly fascinating and entertaining stuff. The evidence for evolution is all there in our embryos and genetic sequencing. It's astonishing that so many people can still deny it. Our journey from egg and sperm, to flat disc to fully formed human being is mind-blowing and as usual more magical than any of the made up magic. I was sitting right behind Richard Dawkins and could have flicked him in his ear, but I decided not to. He was lucky this time. I only have to be lucky once.

Afterwards I got to chat with the writer David Nobbs, who was very entertaining. He wrote around 70 episodes of the Les Dawson show and told me that Dawson was a very giving comic and happy to laugh when someone else was funny, without feeling the need to top them (which is the curse of many successful comedians). He also recounted that Billy Wilder had such an understanding of what would get a laugh and for how long that he was able to leave the correct pause time in his films. Nobbs had watched "Some Like It Hot" in a packed cinema of laughing people (when it came out) and not a single line was lost. We agreed that we usually knew which bits of our own stuff would be funny, though occasionally were proven wrong. But neither of us had the art refined to quite that degree.

Jenny Eclair will be my second guest on the first RHLSTP next Monday. Adam Buxton is the other guest. The show is sold out, but contact the theatre for returns. I will let you know the other guests in the series as soon as I have booked them. Still a few tickets left for Meaning of Life on Sunday.



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