Welcome to the Irish Culture & Customs newsletter which is published every fortnight or so and sent out to over 4500 readers all over the world. You are receiving this newsletter because you signed up for it - God Bless you! If you'd like to read past issues, they are archived at:
If, for any reason, you wish to unsubscribe, instructions are at the very end - but we do hope you'll stay with us. And if you need to update your info' or change your email address, you can do that at the end, too.
Greetings and Blessings to all,
A very belated Pinch punch, first day of the month, white rabbit! And a happy first day of summer. Did you roll naked in the May morning dew last Thursday? Deliver surprise May baskets to the neighbours? Place primroses across your threshold to protect the house from the antics of "the good people?" You didn't? God willing, you survived all of the mayhem!
Meanwhile, we hope our first newsletter in this merry month finds you and yours fit as a fiddle and on the pigs back; and if this is your first issue, many thanks for joining us. We hope you will enjoy our musings and meanderings and please feel free share them with your family and friends.
As for ourselves we continue to enjoy our first spring in Tadpole Cottage. We're taking our time with changing any of the landscaping; waiting to see what comes up - and what doesn't! A gangly looking bush to the right of the house turns out to be a Vibernum which just rewarded us with a parade of sweet-scented white blossoms. And small shrubs that appeared dead are now leafing out nicely - much to our surprise. We're still wrestling with whether or not to put in a vegetable patch. A lovely doe walked right by our office window this morning and commenced breakfasting on the honeysuckle bushes along the backyard fence. We then watched her jump the fence from a standing position without any effort whatsoever. Perhaps containers of tomatoes and peppers set on the patio close to the back door might be a smarter way to go?
Onwards. We have begun receiving commissions on orders placed through Irish Culture and Customs during the first quarter of the year. Go raibh maith agat to all of you who bought something through the ads in the newsletter or the site. Your purchases really do make a difference! We'd also like to mention that we've finally expanded on our little Cafe Press shop and we hope you will take a look at what's on offer. Because we're using the Celtic Knot from our web site banner, we think our products are truly unique. Please let us know if you agree:
Enough of the blather' ...on with the update:
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IN THIS ISSUE:
From the mailbag
Quips, Quotes, Proverbs & Toasts
A Bit of the Wit
Joke of The Week
Did You Know
Know Your Writers
The week That Is
Leave 'em Laughing
What follows are news clips from around the counties and the world. Links for more news stories can be found on our web site here
And more county news can be found here:
Population could reach pre-Famine 6.5m peak in 25 years
That's the prediction of the Central Statistics Office which says Ireland's population will return to its pre-Famine peak of 6.5 million within 25 years if recent trends of high net immigration and relatively high fertility rates are maintained.
Seen but Not Heard
A travelling exhibition "Seen & Not Heard" & Aspects of Childhood, 1800 & 2000, is currently being curated by a number of County Museums. Commissioned by The Local Authority Museums Network and funded by The Heritage Council of Ireland, the exhibition will tour the country during 2008 / 2009. The tour begins in May at the the county museum in Cavan.
Author looking for stories about the Irish who built Britain
Ultan Cowley wrote the successful book, 'The Men Who Built Britain' in 2001. Now he's working on a sequel and wants to hear from Irish people involved in the British construction industry. For more details, please click
FROM AROUND THE COUNTIES
Antrim: First visit by relative of air crash victims
For the first time a relative of one of the US airmen who died when their plane crashed on Cave Hill sixty-five years ago has visited the scene. And playing host for the visit was Alfie Montgomery from north Belfast, the man who found the ring which inspired the recent film "Closing the Ring". US Army veteran Frank Flordalisi visited the memorial stone at Belfast Zoo to see the name of his uncle, Joseph Nobillions, who was the navigator on the flight.
Carlow: Kathryn Thomas launches Garden Trail
RTE travel presenter and Carlow native Kathryn Thomas reccently performed the official launch of the Carlow Garden Trail at Altamont Gardens. The trail, a joint venture between the county council and Carlow Tourism, links sixteen different garden attractions throughout the county including Duckett's Grove, Huntingdon Castle Gardens, Oak Park, Forest Park and Rathvilly Garden Centre.
Donegal: Celebration at Methodist Church
Recently. the President of the Methodist Church in Ireland, Rev. Roy Cooper, was the guest speaker at a celebration in the Methodist Church in Waterloo Place, Donegal Town. The church is celebrating its one hundred and fiftieth anniversary.
Donegal: Two for the price of one in Ballybofey
One lucky purchaser of a house in a new development in Ballybofey will be in line for a second house in the same development later in the year, a promotion that is a response to the slowdown in the property market. Twelve semi-detached houses are being sold at The Beeches, Navenney, an estate developed by Thomas Doherty of Stranorlar. The houses are being sold at 195,000 each by Henry Kee & Son, and according to the developers the draw will be made when all the houses in the latest phase of the development are sold. And at odds of twelve to one it could be a great incentive to purchase.
Down: Cattle during the week, a Viking boat at the weekend
The McMullan family who live on the outskirts of Downpatrick use the barn on their land for cattle and for storing farm equipment during the week. However at the weekend it takes on a very different life when members of the Magnus Viking Association take it over to build their third replica Viking vessel. The ten-metre boat is being prepared for a festival in September when it will ferry re-enactors across Strangford Lough.
Galway: Football feast for Terryland
At the end of next month a number of footballing legends will be turning out at Terryland Park in a match promoted by Grow Sport; funds raised will go towards the development of young players in Galway. Among those taking part will be John Aldridge, David May, Ronnie Whelan, Denis Irwin and Clayton Blackmore. The match is something of a coup for Galway United, who are hosting the event, since such matches usually take place on the international circuit.
Kerry: Biodiversity survey for eight graveyards
Eight ancient graveyards in the county are to be the subject of a biodiversity survey to ensure the good management and protection of plants and wildlife. Carried out with the support of the Heritage Council, the survey will include Castlegregory, Castlemaine, Glenbeigh, and Ballyduff. The sites have been chosen to represent different ecosystems including coastal dunes, woodland, and farmland and the survey will record rare plants and animals.
Kerry: Peck's daughter to attend Dingle Film Festival
Cecilia Peck, the daughter of film star Gregory Peck, is to speak at this year's Dingle Film Festival which takes place in September. Gregory Peck's grandmother, Catherine Ashe, came from Dingle and he paid a visit to the town just three years before he died.
ED. NOTE: If you're intereested, we have an article entitled Gregory Peck's irish Connection here:
Leitrim: Celebration of schools amalgamation
A special Mass will be celebrated on Saturday May 24 in St Patrick's Church in Mohill to celebrate the almost sixty years' presence of the Marian College in the town; it first opened its doors to pupils in 1949. It is hoped that large numbers of past pupils and members of staff will attend the Mass, which will be followed by refreshments in the college. In the autumn Marian College is to be amalgamated with Mohill Vocational School to become Mohill Community College and the Mass is therefore effectively marking the closure of the Marian College.
Limerick: Blind musician to help reclaim Limerick estate
Accordion player Paddy Mason, who lives on his own in St Mary's Park in Limerick, is spearheading a Day of Regeneration for the area on Saturday, where he will provide the music for old time waltzing. Paddy is chairman of the committee at the local parish centre and he is being supported in the organisation of the day by Barnardos, St Mary's Action Centre and the Community Development Project. A marquee is to be erected for indoor events and a play area is to be set up for children. For twenty years Paddy played music every night in Durty Nelly's pub beside Bunratty Castle.
Louth: Scouts plant a tree for every year
All levels of scouting at St Patrick's Scout Troop in Dundalk, beavers, cubs, scouts and venturers, took part in an event to celebrate the one hundredth anniversary of the scouting movement in Ireland. The members wanted to do something that would incorporate the number one hundred and came up with the idea of planting one hundred trees. And so last Sunday they gathered at Deerpark on Carrick Road to plant a variety of trees, although they also had a number of other activities planned including the burial of a time capsule.
Mayo: Ballina hotel makes top international list
The Conde Nast list of top international places to stay has this year included a Ballina hotel, the historic Ice House Hotel. Opened last December, the boutique hotel is ranked among the top sixty-five best new hotels; this year's Hot List was unveiled at a ceremony in London .
Meath: Napers to leave Loughcrew after half a millennium
The Naper family have owned Loughcrew House near Oldcastle since the sixteenth century and for the last number of years the house and grounds have been the setting for the annual Loughcrew Garden Opera. Now, however, Charlie and Emly Naper have decided to sell the house and grounds as a going concern, anxious that the opera should continue under the new ownership. This year's event has already been confirmed, and Donizetti's "Don Pasquale" will be performed at the end of June.
Offaly: Mock birds deter real thing in Tullamore
A mock hawk, accompanied by three mock pigeons, is helping to keep real birds out of the Tesco store in Tullamore, where they had been causing a nuisance to shoppers. Apparently birds had been flying into the store and helping themselves to food from shoppers' trolleys. The store management first put up the three mock pigeons and an environmental group then asked if they could add their giant mock hawk. The "birds" are accompanied by bird sounds broadcast over the public address system and have so far proved an effective deterrent to local marauding birdlife.
Roscommon: Memory Lane weekend for Boyle
At the beginning of August the people of Boyle past and present will be invited to take part in the Back to Boyle weekend, a trip down memory lane to coincide with the Arts Festival. A reception will be held to welcome visitors, both new and former residents, to Boyle and they will be treated to a picnic in Forest Park, boat races on the river and tours of King House and the Abbey. However the main draw in reviving old memories will be the buffet dance held in St Joseph's Hall which will recreate the "ballroom of romance" dances of the 1960s.
Sligo: Two milestones at Ploughing Championships
The recent County Sligo Ploughing Championships returned to its original venue at Lissadell, where the first ever county event was held. This was to mark the championships' sixtieth anniversary and for fifty of those years a Kilmacowen man has been taking part. Now eighty-four years of age, Paddy Devaney used horses when he first entered the competitions and this year he finished second in his class. This qualifies him for a place in the All-Ireland Ploughing Championships in Kilkenny later in the year, his fortieth time of reaching the national finals.
Westmeath: St Mel's residents say farewell
With the houses in St Mel's Terrace in Athlone due to be demolished in the near future, the residents gathered at St Kieran's Community Centre in Tormey Villas recently for a presentation ceremony with the theme "Moving On". Organised by local community workers, the event included a presentation to each family from the area of a framed photograph of the estate taken some years ago when the Bower National School was still in place.
Tipperary: County Council gives permission for castle renovation
Two local men, Patrick Ryan and Tom O'Neill, have received permission from the county council for the renovation of Killahara Castle at Dovea near Thurles. The two men intend to use the property as a private residence . The Victorian interior of the castle is to be refurbished while conservation work will be carried out on the structure and fabric of the building.
Wexford: Taxi challenge raises money for Share a Dream
When Mandy Glendon of Mandy's Cabs in Wexford was challenged by David Cleary of Clonard Cabs to drive to every county in Ireland within twenty-four hours, she took up the gauntlet. Both David and Mandy had to take photographs as proof that they had visited each county, and Mandy set off from the Quality Hotel with her colleague Lucinda Kelly. Both sets of drivers made it back within the twenty-four hours despite Mandy and Lucinda getting lost in the Wicklow Mountains. They were treated to a champagne reception at the Whitford House Hotel, having raised 7,000 for the children's charity.
Wicklow: Goats delivered to the farm with no animals
The twelve-acre farm at Shelton Abbey open prison had no animals and the authorities decided to contact Bothar, the charity that organises the exporting of animals to Africa to help support families. And Last week the Abbey took delivery of twenty-eight goats which will be fattened up over the next few months before being sent to Africa. Donated by farmers in Munster, the goats will be looked after by the prisoners until they are ready for shipping in the autumn.
FROM AROUND THE WORLD
USA: Washington DC -Taoiseach Ahern's speech to the US Congress
Please click on the link to listen to the speech.
USA: NYC - A Priest and His Flock
Irish priests and the Bronx were once synonymous, but in recent times they have become more rare. However, one priest is bucking the trend. An export from, Killarney, Co. Kerry, Father Brendan Fitzgerald, 34, took time out from his ministry to speak to the Irish Voice about his time as a priest and what he feels he was put on this earth to do. http://www.irishabroad.com/news/irish-voice/news/Articles/A-Priest-and-His-Flock190408.aspx
FROM THE MAILBAG
We include the following just for laughs (and with the sender's okay!)
Jennifer writes: My sister has left today to visit Ireland for the first time. We were talking last night about kissing the blimey stone. She said that someone holds you by your ankles upside down to do it and I said that they must have some device to hold them from now. Could you tell me how or if it is still done?
ED. NOTE: After nearly falling off our chairs laughing when we read blimey instead of Blarney, we wrote to Jennifer with the info she requested. She said she didn't mind us sharing her hilarious malaprop with you if it would make you laugh as well. Thanks, Jennifer!
Jane Graybull writes: I am making another trip to Ireland in September of this year and I will be bringing 4 friends that have never been before. This will be my 7th trip and I am really looking forward to it. We are going to spend a week driving from Dublin down to Waterford, Cork, Killarney and Dingle and then up to Galway and will be staying in a cottage at Lettermore for a week. We are all wondering if any of your readers might have Bed and Breakfasts or know of ones that are along our route. Also, we would love to meet anyone that wants to meet us and share a pint or meal. I know this is probably pretty strange to write you like this but every trip I have made I have loved but never really gotten to meet the local folks. Anyone that can share ideas of what to do, where to go etc are welcome to contact me. I want this trip for my friends to be as wonderful as all of mine have been. Thank you.
If you would like to contact Jane, her email address is:
Allene writes: Father Crowe's Golden Jubilee will be celebrated on Sunday, June 1 at his parish, St. Anne's, 2302 Riverdale Ave., near Dodger Stadium. Mass will be at 5:30, followed by an international supper in the hall prepared by the parish, then entertainment. There is no cost to anyone attending. Please let me know if you would like to receive an invitation. The new pastor, Fr. Ted, would like an Irish band for 1/2 hour, maybe a tenor and a couple step dancers. The singer and dancers would only be asked to perform about 2 pieces. If you have suggestions, please let me know. Thank you!
Update on Shamrock Radio's Tommy Murphy
Lee Patterson writes: I want to thank you for putting in your newsletter emails to Tommy's Shamrock Show. He was back on air last week-end after not being well for a couple of weeks. The emails he got were fantastic and I know I heard a lot of new names and I am sure they came from your newsletter. He had so many that he has some left over for next week's show. So once again, a big thank you and we look forward to your next newsletter. I hope you will thank all those who wrote in through your newsletter.
ED. NOTE: The show is on Shamrock Radio out of Co. Mayo. Here is the URL:
If you would like to make a request, here is Tommy's email address:
Identity of quotation
In our last Bit of the Wit we had the quote: From the moment I picked up your book until I laid it down, I was convulsed with laughter. Some day I intend reading it. We didn't know who wrote it.
Two readers - Karin Joyce and Danny Alexander - were kind enough to write and tell us the author was Grouch Marx! Many thanks to you both!!
A lovely Irish blessing
This one was sent in by Mike Horan. If you're feeling stressed out, this is really soothing and the music is beautiful. Thanks, Mike!
The Irish Page
This time around, Jack and Vivian's article has to do with Pope Benedict's recent visit to the USA. It is a reading at the ecumenical prayer service in New York where he met with leaders of the Protestant and Orthodox churches. The text is given in both Irish and English. The background music is the Prayer of St. Francis for peace.
Rambles around the head of an Irish Senior Citizen
Grant me the senility to forget the people I never liked anyway, the good fortune to run into the ones I do, and the eyesight to tell the difference.
We stumbled on his blog and asked "Grandad" if it was okay that we share the URL with our readers. Says he, "You are more than welcome to post a link, if you think your readers can stomach it!" We say that as long as folks can stomach honesty presented with more than a bit of the wit as well as the occasional f word, our readers will thoroughly enjoy reading Rambles.
Many thanks to Kathleen O'Brien-Blair who sent us this intriguing link. There are 70 million people in the world who have Irish heritage. Seventy Million is a project to find, map and connect them and they need your help!
The People's Choice
Karin Joyce is one of our subscribers and in a recent message she mentioned her husband Joe Joyce who was a popular irish singer and musician in the Boston area; in fact, he was "The People's Choice." Very sadly, Joe suffered a fatal heart attack while attending Irish Arts Week in New York last summer. Karin says she can take great comfort from still being able to hear him sing and also from listening to her daughter Catherine who has inherited her dad's gift for music.
Listen to Joe & Catherine here:
And listen to Catherine here:
Irish songs on Youtube
In looking up a Niamh Parsons video, we came a cross dozens of wonderful traditional songs compiled by "Sporty Mike" - 97 to be exact! Here's just a sample - there are 96 others. Enjoy!
Cold Play free download
If you like this group, here's your chance to download the song Violet Hill from their latest album for free. But hurry, the offer runs out as soon as they release the CD
Around Ireland is a mobile documentary project completed as part of the MSc in Multmedia Systems at Trinity College Dublin. Four students travelled the 32 counties of Ireland, gathering video and images on mobile phones over the course of the Summer of 2006.
Kenai River Run
Our good friend Hartson sent us this VERY addictive fishing game. Try to imagine you're attempting to bag 'em in Ireland!
Many women can't afford the test, but here's how you can help: Go to the Breast Cancer site and click on their free mammogram link; if the site gets enough clicks , they'll be able to donate at least one free mammogram a day to underprivileged women. It takes just a minute and there's no cost involved:
Free Pet Food!
Last but certainly not least - our ongoing gift to AG in California and all friends to animals, please click this link today and everyday. It only takes a second to feed an animal. Thanks!
Free People Food!
It only takes a second to feed hungry people, too:
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QUIPS, QUOTES, PROVERBS & TOASTS
A BIT OF THE WIT
Have you heard about the Irish boomerang?
It doesn't come back, it just sings sad songs about how much it wants to.
JOKE OF THE WEEK
Two pals from Kerry are fishing, but they haven't caught anything all day. Then another fisherman walks by with a massive load of fish. They ask him, "Excuse me, but where did you get all those fish?"
The other fisherman replies, "If you just go down the stream until the water isn't salty, you'll find so many fish, they'll be jumping into your bucket."
They thank him and go on their way. Fifteen minutes later, one fisherman says to the other, "Fill the bucket up with water and see if the water is salty."
He dips the bucket in the stream and tastes it " Still salty." Thirty minutes later, he asks him to check again.
"Still salty." One hour later they check again. " Still salty."
"This won't do at all," one fisherman finally says. "We have been walking for almost two hours and the water is still salty!"
"I know," says the other. "And the bucket is almost empty!"
DID YOU KNOW
1. The pub visited by Leopold Bloom in Ulysses still exists? It's Davy Byrne's on Duke Street.
2. James Hoban, a native of Kilkenny, designed the White House in Washington D.C ? This year marks the 250th anniversary of his birth.
3. If you're bashful or shy, Irish folklore says you should take a dip in the River Shannon?
KNOW YOUR IRISH WRITERS
To begin with, the answers to our last quiz:
1. South of the Border by James Ryan
2. Good Times & Bad From the Coombe to the Kremlin: A Memoir by Seamus Martin
3. Ella Young. Irish Mystic & Rebel by Rose Murphy
A pat on the back and a tip of the hat to the following Irish bibliophiles:
Why dopeople find Ireland such an attractive destination? The answer might be on the site - How to arrive and thrive in ireland:
If you'd like to read some good old fashioned Bible stories done in Series form, I invite you to visit my web site:
I love the pictures in this site
Want to see your name and favorite web site in our next newsletter?
1. Recipes for a Perfect Marriage
2. Scenes from a Peceding Past
3. Over My Shoulder
First off, the answer to our most recent mind-messer:
He starts and ends two common English words. One painful in love, One painful in everyday matter.
Q. What words might they be?
A: Heartache and Headache.
As always, our Our Riddle People didn't disappoint. We had a slew of correct solutions but first in was Renee Shields who just happens to be Russ' sister. Honest, there was no nepotism involved - she really was first!
And now for our next skull scratcher:
I am the ruler of shovels
I have a double
I am as thin as a knife
I have a wife
What am I?
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THE WEEK THAT WAS
1. Article: May - the Month of Mirth & Merriment
2. How to Prevent Mayhem
3. Article: The May Dew - Should you roll naked in it?
4. Article: Beltane Bonefires & Nettle Soup
5. Article: Bright Flames of May
6. Article: Marry in May & Rue the Day
7. Article: Who was Behind the Doors of Dublin?
l8. Article: Bantry Bay in May
9. Basic irish: Spring Cleaning
10. Kids' Ireland: The Story of The little Bird
11. May Trivia Contest. The new contest is posted. All entries must be in by midnight , May 31 whatever time zone you're in:
April Winner: Congratulations to Fernando Frias, Califronia USA who chose the Bewley's Teapot from our generous sponsor Lollysmith as his prize. Well done, Fernando!
12. Circle of Prayer The sixth Novena in this cycle began on April 29 and continues through May 8. Whatever your spiritual leanings, please keep the following in your prayers or meditations: Annie's mother Geri and her brother Richard who are recovering from a car accident; Kim, a young wife and mother who is severely brain damaged after a fall; Johanna Robarge; Mary Layman; Laurie Martin; Jane F; Baby Brenna; Liam Nolan's friend Kim Parker; Hartson Dowd, and little Isabella. Also Randy & Donna and their children; Ergin & his wife Joan; Josie and her family; Kathy, Pauline Dewberry, and so many others especially our men and women in the military serving their country all over the world. Please God, they will all be home safe and sound soon.
SPONSOR: Please help us keep our newsletter coming - visit our friends at the Celtic Attic:
Happy Mother'd Day, First Communion Blessings! Graduation congratulations! Whatever occasion or the milestone, Celtic Attic has the perfect gift! Plus, we are running a special promotion - Spend $50 and receive a $5 Gift Certificate. Spend $100 and receive a $10 Gift Certificate. Certificates are valid for your next order and will be mailed to you with your order. Also, receive free shipping on all orders over $100 and a FREE copy of the Celtic Attic Cookbook PDF with all orders. Order on line or by phone - and tell them Bridget & Russ said hello!
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So there you have it until next time. If you're celebrating a birthday, anniversary or other important event between now and then, we hope it's an occasion filled with joy and happiness.
Meanwhile, we hope and pray all of our readers in ireland and the UK are enjoying a safe and happy bank holiday weekend. We also wish all of the mothers in the United States Lá an Mháthair faoi shona dhuit - Happy Mother's Day this coming Sunday. We'll take our leave with this lovely old verse:
There is but one and only one
On earth there is no other
In Heaven a noble work was done
when God gave man a Mother.
We say Amen to that!
May the Good Shepherd of us all keep you and yours from all harm and as they say in Ireland, mind yourself.
Slan agus beannacht!
Bridget & Russ
Get down on your knees and thank God you're still on your feet!
Celtic Blessing - sung by the St. Coca's Choir, from Kilcock, Co. Kildare
ANNOUNCEMENTS & EVENTS
Please check with the Wild Geese - they have a huge listing of events and we don't want to duplicate their efforts:
If we receive a unique event not mentioned there, we will be happy to list it here.
Los Alamitos, California -May 6
Friends of Ireland of Southern California Monthly Breakfast. Events are held on the 1st Tuesday of the month. Please call in RSVP to one of the contacts below, one day in advance so we can accommodate you.
Barbara Walsh (714) 739-4195 Kathy Wisdom (714) 572-8277
Tom Kennedy (562) 425-2636 Jim O'Dea (626) 965-0307
Hollywood, Florida - May 17
Irish-American Ceili Club presents the Black Diamond Band Saturday, May 17, 2008, 7pm-11pm. American Legion Hall 211 North 21 Avenue, Hollywood-FL Complimentary Tea, Coffee, Cake Admission: $12 [members] & $14 [guests] More info :
Call 954-522-4948 /754-281-7202
Ceili of the Valley Society - First Friday of the month Céilís and on-going Tuesday night Céilí and Sean Nós dance classes. Our season runs from October through June and next season we may be moving the dances to Saturday rather than Friday nights. For more details, please click
Eastern Caribbean Irish Genealogy Seminar Cruise - January 09
The Irish Ancestral Research Association is organizing an Irish genealogy cruise in January 2009 on Royal Caribbean's Independence of the Seas. Speakers include our friends Eileen & Sean O'Duill from Dublin. For complete details, please click
LEAVE 'EM LAUGHING
This one was sent in by Bill Ashes - hope you find it as amusing as we did. Thanks, Bill!
How to Tell the Sex of a Fly:
A woman walked into the kitchen to find her husband stalking around with a fly swatter What are you doing?" the wife asks.
"Hunting Flies" says he.
"Oh! Killing any?" she asks.
Three males, two females," he replies.
Intrigued, the wife asks "How can you tell them apart?"
Says he "Three were on a beer can, two were on the phone."