The Perfect Husband

Several men are in the locker room of a golf club. A cell phone on bench rings and a man engages the hands free speaker function and begins to talk.

Everyone else in the room stops to listen. 



MAN: “Hello”

WOMAN: “Honey, it’s me. Are you at the club?” 

MAN: “Yes” 

WOMAN: “I am at the mall now and found this beautiful leather coat. It’s only $1,000. Is it OK if I buy it? 

MAN: “Sure, go ahead if you like it that much.” 

WOMAN: “I also stopped by the Mercedes dealership and saw the new 2012 models. I saw one I really liked.” 

MAN: “How much?” 

WOMAN: “$150,000″ 

MAN: “OK, but for that price I want it with all the options.” 

WOMAN: “Great! Oh, and one more thing…the house I wanted last year is back on the market. They’re asking $950,000″ 

MAN: “Well, then go ahead and give them an offer of $900,000. They will probably take it. If not, we can go the extra 50 thousand if it’s really a pretty good price.” 

WOMAN: “OK. I’ll see you later! I love you so much!” 

MAN: “Bye! I love you, too.” 

The man hangs up. The other men in the locker room are staring at him in astonishment, mouths agape. 

He turns and asks: “Anyone know who this phone belongs to?”


Hearse bearing Whitney Houston arrives at church

(CBS/AP) NEWARK, N.J. – Guests have begun to arrive Saturday morning for the private, invitation-only funeral of Whitney Houston at the New Hope Baptist Church, where Houston wowed the congregation with her powerful voice even as a young girl.

A hearse carrying the singer’s body arrived there a short time ago.

To the world, Whitney Houston was the pop queen with the perfect voice, the dazzling diva with regal beauty, a troubled superstar suffering from addiction and, finally, another victim of the dark side of fame.

To her family and friends, she was just “Nippy.” A nickname given to Houston when she was a child, it stuck with her through adulthood and, later, would become the name of one of her companies. To them, she was a sister, a friend, a daughter, and a mother.

While the world remembers Houston from afar, those closest to her are gathering Saturday for a private funeral service to say goodbye.

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Middle Britain’s amoral drift

An invitation to appear as a Question Time panellist always sees your columnist dusting off her tin helmet, not to say donning full body armour and making her last will and testament.

Its audiences have been known to be less than universally friendly, and never more so than when Israel crops up. Indeed, the words “baying” and “mob” come to mind.

My most recent appearance was three weeks ago in Plymouth. The audience was notably less aggressive than others I have encountered: more benign and “Middle Britain”-ish.

Yet the last question was a bouncer. A woman asked whether, “since Israel has many more nuclear weapons than Iran”, we should agree with President Obama’s statement that no option (in other words, war with Iran) should be ruled out.

The question was based on an astonishing premise. In presenting such symmetry between Israel and Iran, it equated aggressor and victim.

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To defend the Church’s role is to defend faith as a whole

William Blake famously asked “And did those feet, in ancient time, / Walk upon England’s mountains green?” The short, factual answer is, almost certainly, “No.” There is no evidence that Jesus ever made it to these shores.

If you have the cast of mind of Richard Dawkins, that’s it, end of subject. Jesus didn’t come here, and it is pernicious to have silly fantasies about it. Anyway, you say, Jesus is not the Son – or, as Blake’s next lines state, the Lamb – of God. It’s all a delusion, and the Professor Richard Dawkins Foundation for Enlightening People Stupider Than Professor Richard Dawkins has just proved by statistics that people calling themselves Christians know little about their faith and don’t believe most of what it teaches.

But of course this sort of approach does not satisfy most people. England, Britain, Jesus, God, poetry, identity, truth, faith – they are all mixed up somehow, and we care about them, even if it is hard to express why.

There is a great deal of talk around about faith, and why it matters for our society. In the past week, it has come not only from the Queen, in an interestingly strong intervention, but also from the Tory chairman, Baroness Warsi, who is a Muslim. Taking coals to Newcastle, Lady Warsi went to Rome to tell the Pope that Europe should become “more confident” in its Christianity. The former home secretary, Charles Clarke, is an agnostic, but he is chairing a series of debates with the excellent think tank Theos to promote the importance of faith in our public affairs. Before Christmas, David Cameron, asserting that Britain remained a Christian country, defended faith on the grounds that “we can’t fight something with nothing”.

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Iran risks nuclear Cold War

Dealing with the Iranian nuclear programme is a “crisis coming down the tracks” which could lead to military conflict in the Middle East, the Foreign Secretary warns.

In an interview with The Daily Telegraph, the Foreign Secretary says that Iran is threatening to spark a nuclear arms race in the Middle East which could be more dangerous than the original East-West Cold War as there are not the same “safety mechanisms” in place.

“It is a crisis coming down the tracks,” he said. “Because they are clearly continuing their nuclear weapons programme … If they obtain nuclear weapons capability, then I think other nations across the Middle East will want to develop nuclear weapons.

“And so, the most serious round of nuclear proliferation since nuclear weapons were invented would have begun with all the destabilising effects in the Middle East. And the threat of a new cold war in the Middle East without necessarily all the safety mechanisms … That would be a disaster in world affairs.”

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Nicolas Sarkozy admits David Cameron was right to veto European treaty

Drawing a line under months of bitter clashes over the future of Europe, Mr Sarkozy said he might have done the same if his country was threatened in a similar way.

“We have had divergences of views but perhaps had I been in David Cameron’s position I would have defended British interests in exactly the same manner as he has,” Mr Sarkozy said. “There has never been a personal opposition between us.”

The two leaders acknowledged they recently had a strained relationship, after Mr Cameron refused to let Britain bind its finances closer to other European countries in the treaty. It was reported that Mr Sarkozy had called the Prime Minister an “obstinate kid” over Britain’s refusal to share taxation and spending policy with the rest of Europe. However both leaders were yesterday anxious to underline they are “friends” as well as colleagues and have got to know each other better since their disputes.

Mr Sarkozy said he now understood where Britain’s “red lines” lie when it comes to being part of Europe. He even said he “admired” Britain’s staunch defence of the City.

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Curious tale of how Commons Speaker John Bercow grew a few inches

Parliamentary documents have disclosed that when the Commons Speaker was sitting for a controversial official portrait, his aides asked the artist to make sure he was painted the same size as his taller predecessors.

Mr Speaker, who is almost 5ft 6in (166cm) tall, has been the subject of repeated jibes about his stature.

He was also criticised last year when it was revealed that the portrait by the artist Brendan Kelly — along with matching coat of arms — cost the taxpayer more than £37,000. House of Commons emails seen by The Daily Telegraph show Mr Bercow’s staff were less concerned at the size of the bill than the size of the picture and the man it depicts.

In November 2010, Mr Kelly informed the Speaker’s office that he planned a canvas 84in x 46in (213cm x 117cm). In response, one of Mr Bercow’s staff emailed an official to say this was “slightly narrower” than the 50in-wide portrait of Baroness Boothroyd, who was Speaker from 1992 to 2000. It is also smaller than the picture of Lord Martin of Springburn, Mr Bercow’s direct predecessor.

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Newark prepares for Whitney Houston’s funeral

Once prosperous with a strong middle class and lively entertainment scene, the Newark of today has fallen on hard times, scarred by violence and gripped by the twin scourges of drugs and poverty.

It is an apt reflection of the life of the pop golden girl who had it all, only to throw it all away on a physically abusive marriage, substance abuse and ultimately death in a Los Angeles hotel room at the age of only 48.

But for Houston’s family, there was nowhere the self-proclaimed “Jersey girl” could be laid to rest other than the place where she began her love affair with music.

The private, invitation-only ceremony will be held at the New Hope Baptist Church in downtown Newark, close to the public housing projects where Houston lived for the first four years of her life.

Even after the family moved away from the area following the devastating Newark riots of 1967, Houston’s mother Cissy, a well-known blues and gospel singer, continued to lead the choir at the church, and it was here that Houston first began to sing seriously, joining the junior gospel choir at the age of 11.

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