MARK Twain once said "the human race has one really effective weapon, and that is laughter."

America has a head start with Donald Trump, but the current war talk with North Korea's Kim is no laughing matter.

The Chicago Sun Tribune has labelled their taunts as a dangerous game - what Bertrand Russell called "nuclear chicken."

Who will crack first?

Meanwhile here at home, Brexit is baffling us all and now there are calls for another referendum this time on a 'safe or hard' exit.

So time to embrace some light relief.

Today is 'International Tell a Joke' day.

We are urged to go out and share a joke with each other or, at least, set aside a moment to text or email a gag.

I fully go along with this uplifting 'awareness day' caper.

It's not like April Fool's Day where practical jokes tend to irritate rather than titillate.

Tell a Joke Day should be encouraged in the workplace says arch-gagster Stan Boardman.

He told the Inferno: "A joke is one of the few free things in life.

"I think telling a gag to each other would help cut out stress in banks and offices.

"Here on Merseyside we have a great legacy from the dockers who used it as a tool to get through their daily routines.

"Sadly, as a country, we seem to be losing our sense of humour." 

He urges all walks of life to embrace it.

Even politics.

Imagine in the House of Commons the leader of the Opposition asking during question time: "What do you get when you cross Rod Stewart with two prime ministers?" 

Pause for answer from the opposition...

"Maggie May."

It's the way they tell 'em.

Here at the Globe we would be justified this week by using the headline Council talk rubbish again – official, which would be of course our report on the current recycling debate.

Tell a Joke Day – I'm gagging for it.


IT'S no joke – we will see the amount of automatic checkouts in supermarkets double in the next five years.

It's been 25 years since the introduction of these self-service contraptions in the UK.

And many of us still regard these imposing machines as a novelty.

Personally, I still prefer the personal touch.

A human being, that is.

I have developed a techno-phobia about any machines that talk back to me and I don't mean politicians.

The unmanned checkouts were meant to cut down on queues, but I have seen people of all ages stand next to their un-bagged items on the verge of tears, as the barcode scanner fails and the 'assistance required’ voice comes up with all the charm of a Dalek.


ANOHER anniversary ... it's 40 years today that Elvis not only left the building but left this mortal coil.

Since then he still inspires generations.

I too was once inspired to be Elvis for just one day back in 1993.

I was sent to report on the Stars in their Eyes Elvis Special at Granada's studios in Manchester.

My assignment was to chat to Elvis impersonators from all over the country taking part in a tribute to the King in various stages of his career.

To have a bit of fun, I hired a white jump-suit and wig.

I duly changed into my Las Vegas stage gear.

When the 'Elvises' saw me they had a summit and collectively refused to be interviewed by me.

I was all shook up because they thought I was poking fun.

I duly reviewed the show in the audience instead but with a hound dog expression.

The show's host, Russ Abbott, loved my tribute and said I could join his Madhouse team.

Now, every time I hear Suspicious minds I think of those touchy Presley rebels.

What a pity they didn't play ball for a group photo - after all Elvis had a great self-effacing sense of humour.

He once said of himself: "I don't know anything about music.

"In my line you don't have to."


STARTER for ten.. What quiz has been testing the nation for more than five decades?

No's University Challenge.

But I feel Channel Four's Child Genius has overtaken it in making us mere mortals feel more inadequate.

University Challenge is kids' stuff compared to this programme being aired every day this week I was left speechless by their spelling ability but ultimately (is that how you spell ultimately?) saddened.

The phrase 'get a life' came to mind as pushy parents seemingly want success more than their offspring.

One child said she preferred 'maths to chocolate.' 

Now that's NOT clever.


AND finally ... speaking of obscure words – did you know some of them are only sleeping?

It's not that social media has assigned them to the literary bench they are waiting for a comeback.

And according to my favourite, aptly-titled reference book Lost Words by Philip Howard, here's three that could soon be coming pack onto the pitch ...

Gove: "To stare stupidly or idly.

Trumpery: "Something of less value than it seems - worthless trash." 

And let's bring on Mumpsimus: “An old fogey - one who constantly adheres to old ways in spite of clear evidence that they are wrong.

"An ignorant and bigoted opponent of reform." 

Now, who on earth, could that apply to?

Peter Grant