Make hay while the sun shines in Albania

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Today I am bringing you more jewels from that great ongoing work, The Book of Albanian Proverbs. Albanian proverbs are different from ordinary proverbs. Ordinary proverbs sound at first sight as if they are full of wisdom and insight, but generally turn out to be humdrum and banal, whereas Albanian proverbs, which sound a bit scatter-brained at first encounter, turn out on closer inspection to be profoundly meaningless. I, personally, much prefer them. Anyway, here is another selection of Albanian wit and wisdom.

We grow hair on many different parts of our body, but we only complain of baldness on top of our head.

Breathing is not addictive, but it would be fatal to give it up.

A weather forecast paints a wider canvas than any novel but it is bad art on two counts. First, it tells posterity nothing. Second, it is untrue even on the day when it is made.

"I do not write for posterity," said the author, before making his will.

In the old days, a "mobile" was an art object hanging from the ceiling and going round in circles. Nowadays it is used to refer to a mobile telephone. So what is a mobile now called - or is it no longer possible to make them because they no longer have a name? Would a telephone hung from the ceiling of an art gallery be a mobile? And if you hung a telephone from the ceiling of an art gallery and labelled it a "mobile", and it then rang, would it be artistic to answer it, or would it be a mistake for which you would be laughed at by your fellow artists?

Real flowers do not last as long as artificial flowers made out of paper or cloth, but at least you never have to dust real flowers.

Lucky the patient who is looked after by a hypochondriac doctor.

Ice-lollipops are always fruit-flavoured. Nobody is ever brave enough to make a tomato ice-lolly.

Even the worst painter can sketch his own likeness, but it is impossible for even the greatest composer to do a self-portrait.

The opposite of a thank-you letter is not a begging letter.

A bicycle mudguard could never be invented by a bicycle, as it makes the bike far muddier than it need be, and only guards the rider.

The letter that comes first in a sentence is rewarded by being made a capital, but the equally important letter that comes last in a sentence is only kicked up the backside by a full stop.

When cows cross a busy and dangerous main road for milking, it is the farm hands who wear safety orange jackets, not the cows.

If you like the wrapping paper, but not the present which it contains, at least write a thank-you letter for the paper.

Many a man who thinks he is talking about education is merely discussing his country's school system.

Many a man who thinks he is talking about religion is merely talking about his church.

Many a man who think he is talking about politics is only talking about the next election.

Many blacks in America prefer to be called Afro-Americans, but not many whites demand to be called Euro-Americans.

You are what you eat. This can be proved by the fact that, when the waiter comes to your table and says, "OK, who's the lamb chop?", you say, "I am".

In the city, the top shelf in a newsagent's has sexy magazines. In the country it has motor bike and gun magazines.

When people try to baffle you by asking whether Chinese crosswords go from left to right or right to left, answer firmly: "Neither! All Chinese words are one character long! Therefore it is impossible to have a Chinese crossword!" This explains why Chinese commuters on the train are always staring into space. They have no crossword to do and only speeches to read.

If the United States had a patron saint, he would have been assassinated by now.

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