"The Magician"

A magician worked on a cruise ship. The audience was different each week, so the magician did the same tricks over and over again. One problem: The captain's parrot saw the shows each week and began to understand how the magician did every trick. Once he understood, he started shouting in the middle of the show: "Look, it's not the same hat!", "Look, he's hiding the flowers under the table." "Hey, why are all the cards the ace of spades?"

The magician was furious but couldn't do anything. It was, after all, the captain's parrot. Then the ship sank. The magician found himself on a piece of wood in the middle of the sea with, as fate would have it, the parrot.

They stared at each other with hatred but did not utter a word. This went on for a day and then another and then another. Finally on the fourth day, the parrot could not hold back: "OK, I give up. Where's the ship?"


There were two Catholic boys, Timothy Murphy and Antonio Secola whose lives paralleled each other in amazing ways. In the same year Timothy was born in Ireland, Antonio was born in Italy. Faithfully, they attended parochial school from kindergarten through their senior year in High School. They took their vows to enter the priesthood early in college, and upon graduation both became priests.

Their careers had come to amaze the world, but it was generally acknowledged that Antonio was just a cut above Timothy in all respects.

Their rise through the ranks of Bishop, Archbishop and finally Cardinal was meteoric to say the least, and the Catholic world knew that when the present Pope died, it would be either Timothy or Antonio who would become the next Pope.

In time the Pope did pass on to his just reward, and the College of Cardinals went to work. In less time than anyone expected, smoke rose from the chimney and the world awaited to see whom they had chosen.

The world, Catholic, Protestant, and secular was surprised to learn that Timothy Murphy had been elected Pope. Antonio was beyond surprise, he was devastated because, even with all Timothy's giftedness, Antonio knew he was the better qualified.

With gall that shocked the Cardinals, Antonio asked for a private session with them in which he candidly asked, "Why Timothy?"

After a long silence the Cardinals took pity on the bewildered Antonio and rose to reply, "We knew you were the better of the two, but we just could not bear the thought of the leader of the Roman Catholic Church being called - 'Pope Secola'"


About a century or two ago, the Pope decided that all the Jews had to leave Rome.
Naturally there was a big uproar from the Jewish community.
So the Pope made a deal.
He would have a religious debate with a member of the Jewish community.
If the Jew won, the Jews could stay.
If the Pope won, the Jews would leave.
The Jews realized that they had no choice.

So they picked a middle aged man named Moishe to represent them.
Moishe asked for one addition to the debate.
To make it more interesting, neither side would be allowed to talk.
The Pope agreed.

The day of the great debate came.
Moishe and the Pope sat opposite each other
a full minute passed before the Pope raised his hand and showed three fingers.

Moishe looked back at him and raised one finger

Then the Pope waved his fingers in a circle around his head.

Moishe then pointed to the ground where he sat.

The Pope then pulled out a wafer and a glass of wine.

Moishe thought awhile and then pulled out an apple.

The Pope sat back and after a while stood up and said, "I give up.
This man is too good. The Jews can stay."

About an hour later, the Cardinals were all around the Pope asking him what had happened.

The Pope said. "First I held up three fingers to represent the Trinity.
He then responded by holding up one finger
to remind me that there was one God common to both our religions.
Then I waved my finger around me to show him that God was all around us.
He responded by pointing to the ground and showing that God was also right her with us.
I pulled out the wine and wafer to show that God absolves us from our sins.
Then he pulled out an apple to remind me of original sin.
He had an answer for everything. "What could I do?"

Meanwhile, the Jewish community had crowded around Moishe.
"What happened?" they asked.

"Well," said Moishe, "First he said to me that the Jews had three days to get out of Rome.
I told him that not one of us was leaving.
Then he told me that this whole city would be cleared of Jews.
I let him know that we were staying right here.

Yes, yes,...and then???" asked the crowd.

"I don't know," said Moishe,
"He took out his lunch, and I took out mine." After a while he told me we could stay!


The Lord spoked to Noah and said,

"In six months I am going to make it rain until the whole world is covered with water and all the evil things are destroyed. But, I want to save a few good people and two of every living thing on the planet. I am ordering you to build an ark." And, in a flash of lightning, he delivered the specifications for the ark.

"Ok," Noah said, trembling with fear and fumbling with the blueprints, "I'm your man."

Six months passed, the sky began to cloud up, and the rain began to fall in torrents. The Lord looked down and saw Naoh sitting in his yard, weeping, and there was no ark.

"Noah!" shouted the Lord, "Where is My Ark?" A lightning bolt crashed into the ground right beside Noah.

"Lord, please forgive me" begged Noah. "I did my best, but there were some big problems. First, I had to get a building permit for the ark's construction, but Your plans did not meet their code. So, I had to hire an Engineer to redo the plans, only to get into a long argument with him about whether to include a sprinkler system, "My neighbors objected, claiming that I was violating zoning ordinances by building an ark in my front yard, so I had to get a variance from the city planning board. Then, I had a big problem getting enough wood for the ark, because there was a ban on cutting trees to save the spotted owl. I tried to convince the environmentalists and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that I needed the wood to save owls, but they wouldn't let me catch them, so no owls." "Next, I started gathering up the animals but got sued by an animal rights group that objected to me taking along only two of each kind." "Just when the suit got dismissed, the EPA notified me that I couldn't complete the ark without filling out an environmental impact statement on Your proposed flood. They didn't take kindly to the idea that they had no jurisdiction over the Supreme Being. Then, when the Corps of Engineers wanted a map of the proposed flood plan. I sent them a globe! Right now I'm still trying to resolve a complaint with the Equal Opportunities Commission over how many minorities I'm supposed to hire. The IRS has seized all my assets claiming that I am trying to leave the country, and I just got a notice from the state that I owe some kind of use tax. Really, I don't think I can finish the ark in less than five years."

With that, the sky cleared, the sun began to shine, and a rainbow arched across the sky. Noah looked up and smiled. "You mean you are not going to destroy the world?" He asked hopefully.

"No," said the Lord. "The Government already has."


Saddam Hussein was sitting in his office wondering whom to invade next when his telephone rang. "Hallo! Mr. Hussein," a heavily accented voice said.

"This is Paddy up in County Kerry, Ireland. I am ringing to inform you that we are officially declaring war on you!"

"Well, Paddy," Saddam replied, "this is indeed important news! Tell me, how big is your army?"

"At this moment in time," said Paddy after a moment's calculation, "there is myself, my cousin Sean, my next door neighbor Gerry, and the entire dominoes team from the pub -- that makes eight!"

Saddam sighed. "I must tell you Paddy that I have one million men in my army waiting to move on my command."

"Begorra!" said Paddy, "I'll have to ring you back!"

Sure enough, the next day Paddy rang back. "Right Mr. Hussein, the war is still on! We have managed to acquire some equipment!"

"And what equipment would that be, Paddy?" Saddam asked.

"Well, we have two International Harvester combines, a bulldozer, and Murphy's tractor from the farm."

Once more Saddam sighed. "I must tell you, Paddy, that I have 16 thousand tanks, 14 thousand armored personnel carriers, and my army has increased to one and a half million since we last spoke."

"Really?" said Paddy "I'll have to ring you back!"

Sure enough, Paddy rang again the next day. "Right Mr. Hussein, the war is still on! We have managed to get ourselves airborne! We've modified Ted's ultralight with a couple of rifles in the cockpit and the bridge team has joined us as well!"

Saddam was silent for a minute, then sighed. "I must tell you Paddy that I have a thousand bombers, 500 MIG 19 attack planes, my military complex is surrounded by laser-guided surface-to-air missile sites, and since we last spoke, my army has increased to two million."

"Faith and begorra!" said Paddy, "I'll have to ring you back."

Sure enough, Paddy called again the next day. "Right Mr. Hussein, I am sorry to tell you that we have had to call off the war."

"I'm sorry to hear that," said Saddam. "Why the sudden change of heart?"

"Well," said Paddy, "we've all had a chat, and there's no way we can feed two million prisoners!"