Archive for the ‘Humor’ Category

h1

Morally Hazardous Technology

September 3, 2016

1897 Van Cleve Ad

Voices were raised in protest. Bicycles were proclaimed morally hazardous. Until now, children and youth were unable to stray very far from home on foot. Now, one magazine warned, fifteen minutes could put them miles away. Because of bicycles, it was said, young people were not spending the time they should with books, and—more seriously—that suburban and country tours on bicycles were “not infrequently accompanied by seductions.”

The Wright Brothers, David McCullough

xkcd_1601_isolation

Humans don’t change, do they?

h1

When You Marry a Lawyer’s Daughter …

July 17, 2016

THE REAL WORLD:

“Darling, you look radiant, today!”

(Woman beams appreciatively.)

WHEN YOU MARRY A LAWYER’S DAUGHTER:

“Darling, you look radiant, today!

(Woman waits. The Speaker continues.)

“The use of the word ‘today,’ should not by any means be interpreted as meaning that I (‘The Speaker’) do not believe you (‘The Addressee’) do not look radiant at every moment. Nor should you feel that subjective beauty is an expectation or requirement of gaining or maintaining the affection of The Speaker. The Speaker acknowledges the numerous beneficial and desirous qualities The Addressee possesses, which include, but are in no way limited to: supreme intelligence, unquestionable moral character, delightful humor, unparalleled business acumen, unassailable logic, perfect sexuality, and infallible parenting. The Addressee is the Speaker’s constant delight, his dearest companion, his partner in all ways. The Addressee is due The Speaker’s complete emotional involvement, financial remuneration, and temporal dedication. In the unlikely event of a disagreement, The Speaker preemptively cedes all possibility of correctness to The Addressee. The Speaker further acknowledges The Addressee is the solitary possessor of his undying affection and his eternal soul, world without end. Amen.”

(Woman nods in nonbinding acceptance.)

h1

Android v. iPhone

May 5, 2015

Spock, from Star Trek, looking incedulous, with a caption that reads, 'When an iPhone user sees you drop a fresh battery into your ’droid.'

h1

Sympathetic Lines of a Father to a Daughter in Bed with Mumps

April 2, 2012

Periodically, I do a search for this poem we memorized in high school. Today, at last, I found a slightly flawed version of it online, and was able to use that to get a corrected version via Google Books. The poem was published in Baxter’s Explore the Book, in a lesson on Ecclesiastes, although there is no author attribution, it is, indeed, delightfully sarcastically entitled …

Sympathetic Lines of a Father to a Daughter in Bed with Mumps

Thus generations come and go,
From youth to age they wiser grow;
Yet as they pass they all relate
They learn their lessons just too late.
Our junior wisecracks dodge the truth
That dense old parents once were youth,
That present youth must older grow,
Oft haunted by, “I told you so,”
And all their youthful bombast rue
When they as parents suffer too!

When they as parents suffer too,
As with strange certainty they do,
They marvel at the self-sure ways
The next relay of youth displays.
They hear the same old arguments
Arrayed in fresh accoutrements—
The times are different, so are we,
Just let us have our way, and see.
For artful Nature oft repays
Her rebels in ironic ways.

Thus generations, as they go,
Perpetuate the tale of woe.
They will not learn from yesterday,
But choose to learn the harder way—
Experience shall be teacher, please;
And well he teaches—but what fees!
What fees he charges those he schools
Before he makes wise men of fools!
How oft his scholars have confessed,
“Ah yes, poor Dad and Mum knew best!”

Each generation soon is past,
So sure at first, so sad at last.
As ranks of youth successive rise,
Each thinks, “We are supremely wise.”
They each a lot more knowledge know,
And yet a bit less wisdom show.
O sanguine youth, God’s word revere—
Honor your parents while they’re here;
And you will find in later days
What handsome dividends it pays!

h1

Santa’s Dirty Secret: An Analysis of How Santa Really Supports His Operation

December 24, 2010

Santa.

Theories abound about how he finances and operates his North Pole operation.

A number of people believe Santa is a Communist. Others believe that Santa’s elves are slave laborers being exploited by the big red taskmaster.

Neither of these theories stands up to examination. The suggestion of Communism is just silly. We know from certain documentaries that Santa’s operation runs all year; that the elves who manufacture the toys are unionized and follow an apprenticeship-to-mastery program. It seems that the elves are humanoid enough to expect reasonable compensation for their work. Further, even if the elves were enslaved, vast quantities of materials and significant manufacturing infrastructure would need to be paid for. It is estimated that the retail value of Santa’s products is over $23 billion in the U.S. alone.

So how does Santa finance this massive operation?

Let’s take a look at two things we know about Santa’s abilities: (1) He can travel virtually instantaneously (650 miles per second) anywhere in the world; (2) he can enter any building, no matter how secure, with complete impunity.

Given these abilities, isn’t it more reasonable to conclude that Santa is, indeed, using them all year? He needs a vast quantity of cash to pay the elves, purchase raw materials, cover utilities, finance his public relations and legal departments, and upgrade manufacturing capabilities each year. Bearer bonds, gold bullion, gems, and good old Greenbacks and Euros are easily gathered by one with his abilities.

In a vicious cycle, our dear Santa “Sticky Fingers” Claus spends the year financing his operation via ill-gotten gains. Psychologically, this has to take its toll—Santa is certainly not a psychopathic personality, but he each December 25 he can assuage his guilt by delivering free toys and materialistic joy the world over.

Tangential factors further support this theory. We note that these toy deliveries appear to be unequally distributed throughout the planet, with the children of First World countries receiving far more than their fair share. Would it not be reasonable for Santa to compensate the children in wealthier countries more than elsewhere in regard to the unequal drain he would have had on their particular, more wealthy, economies?

And think about the infamous “naughty list.” Is there any evidence for anyone, no matter how naughty, ever being denied a gift from Santa? Bill Clinton, Martha Stewart, Kenneth Lay, Michael Jackson, Kim Jong Il, or the children for whom the “Parents, there is no candy in this aisle,” supermarket program was developed … Santa never delivers the threatened coal.

Like most people given super powers, Santa could not resist the temptation to use them for doing wrong. In time, the need to compensate for that wrongdoing led to the gift distribution system we enjoy today. And, the day after Christmas, the cycle begins again.

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus … and he’s a thief.

h1

Dharma Inititive Alarm Clock

April 1, 2010

From ThinkGeek.

h1

How Our Government Works

March 17, 2010

Once upon a time the government had a scrap yard in the middle of a desert. Congress said, “Someone may steal it at night.” So they created a night watchman position and hired a person at $18,000 a year for the job.

Then Congress said, “How does the watchman do his job without instruction?” So they created a planning department and hired two people—one person to write the instructions for $22,000 and one person to do time studies for an additional $22,000 per year.

Then congress said, “How will we know the night watchman is doing the tasks correctly?” So they created a quality control department and hired two people. One to do the studies for $31,000 and one to write the reports for an additional $31,000 per year.

Then Congress said, “How are these people going to get paid?” So they created the following positions: a timekeeper for a $35,000 annual salary and a payroll officer for an additional $35,000. Then they created an administrative section and hired three more people—an Administrative Officer at $155,000 per year, an Assistant Administrative Officer at $125,000 and a Legal Secretary at $100,000 per year.

Then Congress said, “We have had this operating for one year with a budget cost of $574,000 and we are $18,000 over budget. We must cut back costs.”

So they laid off the night watchman.


(Contributed by Paul Anderson, via e-mail.)

h1

How Adam-12 Ruined My Squeaky-Clean Reputation

March 9, 2010

Courtesy of Netflix streaming over our Xbox 360, my son David (primarily) and I have been enjoying watching Adam-12, the police television series that started the year I was born, and ran for seven years thereafter, and much longer in syndication. Adam-12 was one of my favorite televisions programs when I was a kid, and I remain impressed by its lasting quality, straightforward, honest characters, and clear moral implications. (Director Jack Webb, of Dragnet fame, was clearly not an “everybody’s-doing-it” kind of guy, even in the ’60s.)

Officers Pete Malloy (Martin Milner) and Jim Reed (Kent McCord) from the Adam-12 television series.

Officers Pete Malloy (Martin Milner) and Jim Reed (Kent McCord) from the Adam-12 television series.

In 1978, I was in Mrs. Lovell’s third grade class at Parkview Elementary School, in Easton, Massachusetts.

One day we were reviewing vocabulary with a small reading group after a multiple-choice exercise. The vocabulary word in discussion was heroine, and, among the possible definitions was a medicine.

When the correct answer was given by another student, I suggested, a medicine, getting me quite a troubled look from Mrs. Lovell, who then asked, “Do any of you know what he is referring to?” “Drugs,” answered Dennis, with an implication of disgust.

I’d never heard the female version of hero, but Adam-12 had provided me with an excellent education in the dangers of illegal drug use. In my eight-year-old mind, heroin was a drug, and one obtained medicines at the drugstore, so a drug such as heroin perhaps could be classified as a medicine.

I was too embarrassed by the reactions of my teacher and peers to explain this logic, and the incident eventually became eclipsed by even worse incidents of faux pas that we shall consign to the horrible depths of “the junior high years.”

Adam-12 photograph courtesy of http://www.kentmccord.com.

h1

Merrimack High School’s Award-Winning Star Wars Parody

February 5, 2010

We were at Merrimack High School this morning for a meeting regarding some testing Isaac had done over the past couple of weeks. It was just after morning announcements, and as we went to our meeting, the music from Star Wars could be heard coming from every room.

I caught enough of the description playing with an apparent news report to later learn that Merrimack High School had worked with New Hampshire-based filmmaker Jeff Capone to produce a Star Wars parody entitled Star Sports, that won for the Best Parody in the Fan Movie Challenge presented by Lucasfilm and Atom at this year’s San Diego Comic-Con International.

Star Sports – Theatrical Trailer

Atom.com: Funny Videos | Spoofs | Star Wars Fan Movie Champions
h1

Non-Predictions for 2010:

January 12, 2010

Here are my non-predictions for 2010 (things that are guaranteed not to occur this year):

(1) Popular musicians will realize that Auto-Tune is a waste of time, and rather than sounding “cool,” they sound depressingly similar to every other Reggae-imitating popular musician on the planet. Complex harmonies and skill will mark a new breed of popular musicians.

(2) Political and religious debate, regardless of the slant or extremes of one’s viewpoints, will be thoughtfully and factually engaged in. Conspiracy theorists will look at the hard facts and science, and admit that they were completely wrong about everything from Obama’s birth location to the moon landings to 100,000-mile motor oil.

(3) Everyone filing taxes will check the box on his or her IRS return that reads, “Check here to donate $1 to the Presidential campaign fund.”

(4) Hillary Clinton will apologize for being unjustifiably rude to the student at whom she lashed out in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Rush Limbaugh will admit he is disgustingly pompous and makes conservatives look terrible. Jessie Jackson will promise he will never run for political office or try to get a peace treaty signed in the Middle East.

(5) Congress and the Senate will refuse to allocate pork into any legislation, and will account for every line of every regulation passed, determining to do what is right for the country as a whole.

(6) Peter Ruckman will unequivocally recommend the ESV for adults, and the NLT for younger children.

(7) Hollywood will create films, rather than remake them.

(8) The American legal system will espouse justice; the guilty will be appropriately punished, and the innocent freed. Nuisance and other patently ridiculous lawsuits or compensation claims will be declined by every lawyer who is presented with one, regardless of the fee offered or potential winnings.

(9) NASA will be given more money than the combined budgets of the film industry.

(10) Palestine will be given an independent state; in return, the Palestinian Authority will effectively police its own charges, and terrorist attacks on Israel will cease.

(11) Apple will slash prices on all its products, and open its operating system to run on virtually any computer. Steve Jobs will announce, “Yes, our products are good, but you people are stupid to pay so much for them.”

(12) Massachusetts drivers will become polite and demure.

(13) Soccer will replace American football as the most popular American sport, as millions of American football fans realize that watching an hour of commercials and another hour of people walking around doing nothing is not nearly as exciting as a real game in which the clock never stops.

(14) Sports fans will no longer claim participation in, nor credit for, their favorite teams’ victories. (“We” will not win or lose.)

(15) Americans will stop whining, and realize just how fabulous a country we have. Further, they will universally take an active part in its politics, and realize that political and community participation and individual responsibility should occur far before and in far greater degree than complaining.

(16) StarCraft II will be released. (Just kidding … I think.)