28/08/2020

The New Baby Name List Is Out - Big Whoop

The list of popular baby names has been released again. Oliver and Olivia have remained at the top, which shows how uncreative we are. I am more impressed that we have the list at all.

At the start of the lockdown many people predicted another baby boom. If we were all stuck at home, unable to leave and only so many episodes of Tiger King available, the assumption was we’d get up to all kinds of naughty fun. An increase in the birthrate was expected to be nine months down the line.

It looks like we were wrong. There hasn’t been a noticeable increase in pregnancies but I saw one news story saying the number of couples applying for a divorce was double what you’d expect.

Having more time together doesn’t lead to more romance, it makes us notice what we can’t stand about someone.

People thought it would be like the baby boom of the mid-twentieth century but that was fuelled by men coming home from a war. Their wives hadn’t seen them in ages and couldn’t keep their hands off them. If they had seen their hubbies sitting around the house all day, with their unshaven faces sticking out of their food stained t-shirts, history may have been different.

It's also worth remembering that the post-war baby boom was in a time before the pill was invented. Even if couples passed their lockdown getting friendly it wouldn't always make babies.

Congratulations to you if you are having a post-lockdown baby. I hope you'll have a very happy family life, but when you get to the school gates in a few years time listen out to how many parents call their children things like, “Miracle,” “Longshot” or “Jesus,” because it must have been an immaculate conception.



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20/08/2020

[Columns] Eat Out To Help Out

Each week I write newspaper columns for a variety of titles across the UK. You can find then in London, Essex, Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Lincolnshire and Wiltshire and Hertfordshire.

With the UK struggling to get to grips with the corona crisis, I have been using more of the columns to find the uplifting angles to the main news.

In this one, from a newspaper in London, I take a look at the scheme to get us to eat out more to save the UK.

Click to have a read.






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From Comics Solving Problems

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14/08/2020

Hmm, Schools or Pubs? Hmm.

Many parents will be thinking, “Oh, what I wouldn’t give to get these children back to school.” Now we are faced with actually answering that question.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said that reopening schools is a “national priority”, which means other things may have to close.

The first time we heard of this ultimatum was when Prof Graham Medley from the London School of Hygiene and Topical Medicine spoke about it as an option. I always thought the name of that academic establishment really takes a leap half way through. “School of Hygiene,” sounds like wiping work surfaces down. “And Tropical Medicine,” is that Parrot fever?

Many people think that school children should be back to learning for the good of society but don’t make us pick between that and having a pint.

At first, I wasn’t sure why we’d have to shut pubs to let schools open. Is there a shortage of bouncers that are needed for both? The UK brought in a restrictions on opening hours for pubs during the First World War to stop workers in munitions factories drinking too much. Is that the problem with Year 7s now?

While open schools would help parents cope, some of them may need the pub too. Don’t make us choose.

Surely there are other types of shops that we close up again to open the schools. Tattoo parlours are open. If we shut those could we still have pubs open. In fact there’s an argument to be made that you shouldn’t have pubs and tattoos open at the same time anyway. It’ll stop people having the name of the person they’ve been dating for a week put on their back.

Shutting shops to open pubs would be a better solution. A lot of shops are shutting on their own. If we tally up WH Smiths, Debenhams, Pizza Express and Victoria’s Secret does it buy us a few classrooms?

I’d also nominate candle shops. Do we need so many? I haven’t had a power cut in years. I dated someone a while back who bought many candles but never lit them. She sad she bought them for the fragrance. If you can relate to that, try air fresheners. They’ll blow your mind.

Card shops could go too. In age of email we don’t need to send cards and during a pandemic we shouldn’t sell anything you lick and put in the post.

I think we could close some shops before the pubs, but knowing my luck the Government will agree with me and then they’ll pick the off licenses.
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