A collection of stuff, mostly on the funny side,
accumulated from the Internet over the years.
Last updated April 2, 2001.
(5/25/2004) WARNING: Although the attributions of these items are accurate (as far as I know), the literal content of many of the items on this page is satirical and not meant to be taken literally. If you aren't confident of your ability to identify the satirical content, please double-check with the author before doing anything that depends on it, including (but not limited to) citing it on your site as if it were serious.
Jorge Luis Borges, "Other Inquisitions"
... an antique Chinese encyclopedia entitled "The Heavenly Work on Useful Knowledge" in which all the animals in the realm are catalogued as follows:
(a) those that belong to the Emperor,
(b) embalmed ones,
(c) those that are trained,
(d) suckling pigs,
(f) fabulous ones,
(g) stray dogs,
(h) those that are included in this classification,
(i) those that tremble as if they were mad,
(j) innumerable ones,
(k) those drawn with a very fine camel's-hair brush,
(m) those that have just broken a flower vase,
(n) those that resemble flies from a distance.
Lots of techies give really lousy progress reports, and are basically hell on their managers for no good reason. This is particularly bad for sysadmin types, systems programmers, and other people who love math too much. I spent several hours with a coworker last week discussing "how not to be an employee of doom," and these are my notes from that conversation. (more)
As told by Drea Brandford
One day a hungry fox spotted a crow in a tree. He resolved to try to coax the bird down to the ground, and proceeded to sing the praises of having one's feet touch the earth.
"I am quite happy here in the branches," the crow said. "It is very comfortable, and I have no desire to be eaten."
"Foolish bird!" said the fox. "Birds and beasts have no reason to fear one another. The Messiah is coming. I am a Talmudic scholar, and I know about these things."
As the fox spoke, he heard the baying of a hound, and fled in fear. The crow flew along with him, jeering.
"Foolish fox!" the crow called. "You shouldn't be afraid, since all beasts will live in peace. You should know about these things!"
"I know that I am a Talmudic scholar," the fox replied, "but I don't know about the hound."
Abbott: I see you're here for your Hebrew lesson.
Costello: I'm ready to learn.
A: Now, the first thing you must understand. Is that Hebrew and English have many words which sound alike, but they do not mean the same thing.
C: Sure, I understand.
Welcome to the second presidential debate between Vice President Al Gore and Gov. George W. Bush.
The candidates have agreed on these rules: I will ask a question. The candidate will ignore the question and deliver rehearsed remarks designed to appeal to undecided women voters. The opponent will then have one minute to respond by trying to frighten senior citizens into voting for him. When a speaker's time has expired, I will whimper softly while he continues to spew incomprehensible statistics for three more minutes.
Contributed by Dick Grady
Building #19, a retailer in the Boston, Massachusetts, area, has always offered their shoppers free coffee. Recently, they switched from styrofoam to paper cups. On the cups is this explanation:
Please Join Building #19 in our fight to save the endangered styrofoam.
Herds of these peaceful creatures once roamed the plains of America, but now their numbers have dwindled to a precious few due to Mankind's shortsighted harvesting of them for their white insulated pelts.
So remember, as your fingers burn while holding this paper cup, that you're helping, in a small way to make the world a safer place for the friendly styrofoams.
Incompetent People Really Have No Clue, Studies Find
Problem: To Catch a Lion in the Sahara Desert.
We place a locked cage onto a given point in the desert.
After that we introduce the following logical system:
Axiom 1: The set of lions in the Sahara is not empty.
Axiom 2: If there exists a lion in the Sahara, then there exists a lion in the cage.
Procedure: If P is a theorem, and if "P implies Q" holds, then Q is a theorem.
Theorem 1: There exists a lion in the cage.
A New Orleans lawyer sought an FHA loan for a client. He was told the loan would be granted if he could prove satisfactory title to a parcel of property being offered as collateral. The title to the property dated back to 1803, which took the lawyer 3 months to track down. After sending the information to the FHA, he received the following reply...
Arthur: Old Woman!
Arthur: Man, sorry.... What night lives in that castle over there?
Man: I'm thirty-seven!
Man: I'm thirty-seven! I'm not old--
Arthur: Well I can't just call you "man"...
Man: Well you could say "Dennis"--
Arthur:I didn't know you were called Dennis!
Man: Well, you didn't bother to find out, did you?!
I wish to be the latest of the engineers you're hiring now.
The self-esteem, the income too, I want to show my worth somehow.
Recession gives you many choices, all need aught to pay their bills.
The best do work to help your firm avoid its worst financial ills.
We join our operetta already in progress. The infamous Pirates of Pergamum have just seized a bevy of beautiful Mytilenean maidens, and are attempting to carry them off for matrimonial purposes. Gabrielle intervenes, with a recitative (well, it's better than a pan flute solo): (more)
Why did the chicken cross the road?
My great-uncle Al, a lifelong bachelor and eccentric guy, died in the late 1970s and left quite a lot of cruft behind in his brownstone. He was a world traveller and collector of stuff, much of it valuable, some of it just weird. To wit: his sisters found a can containing many little bits of strings. The can was labelled "pieces of string too small to save."
Ayup, Uncle Al was a complex man. :)
In Classical Logic, a Theorem consists of a True Statement for which there exists a Classical Proof. In Generalized Logic, we relax both of these restrictions: a Generalized Theorem consists of a Statement for which there exists a Generalized Proof. (more)
The Cat in the Hat is a hard-hitting novel of prose and poetry in which the author re-examines the dynamic rhyming schemes and bold imagery of some of his earlier works, most notably Green Eggs and Ham, If I Ran the Zoo, and Why Can't I Shower With Mommy?. In this novel, Theodore Geisel, writing under the pseudonym Dr. Seuss, pays homage to the great Dr. Sigmund Freud in a nightmarish fantasy of a renegade feline helping two young children understand their own frustrated sexuality. (more)
Although the De Anza Health Office long been an advocate of stress management, stress, tension, and burnout are still common complaints of students, faculty, and staff alike. On account of this, we have come to the following conclusion: YOU ALL WANT TO STAY STRESSED! The following provides you with a few reasons why.
Victor Cartez has written a Portuguese-English phrasebook the likes of which I have never seen. Somehow, this brave soul not only managed to have the book published, but has, as of last week, attained the rank of "best-seller". This remarkable feat is made all the more remarkable by the fact that Cartez has little or no command over the english language. His phrasebook, entitled "Right English As She Is Spoke", is the best selling phrasebook in the history of print and the reasons, as we shall see, are far from obvious. (more)
Is there any evidence that a thermonuclear device exploded over Hiroshima in 1945?
No, absolutely none. According to leading historians and physicists, the thermonuclear bomb was not invented until years after the supposed detonation over Japanese territory. (more)
(From Not the Nine O'Clock News)
We care about people. Deeply. Vaguely.
Many parts of the world are not very nice. We want to help. Help us find out which parts they are. Or whatever. You know.
PO Box either 207, or 702, or 027,
That Big Town With The Exhibition Centre And all The Tunnels,
Can't Remember the New Name of the County But It Used To Be Called Rutland Or Something.
Anyway, You Can't Miss It. BM9 3TX.
The reason why only 30% of human DNA performs any useful function is that the rest of it is comments.
A federal bankruptcy judge with a sense of humor has cited a NationsBank Corp. computer in contempt of court and fined it 60MB of memory for sending erroneous bills. more...
I was furling my wieldy umbrella for the coat check when I saw her standing alone in a corner. She was a descript person, a woman in a state of total array. Her hair was kempt, her clothing shevelled, and she moved in a gainly way. more...
Sometimes, just to heighten the confusion, the same word ends up with contradictory meanings. This kind of word is called a contronym. Sanction, for example, can either signify permission to do something or a measure forbidding it to be done. Cleave can mean cut in half or stick together. A sanguine person is either hotheaded and bloodthirsty or calm and cheerful. Something that is fast is either stuck firmly or moving quickly. A door that is bolted is secure, but a horse that has bolted has taken off. If you wind up a meeting you finish it; if you wind up a watch you start it. To ravish means to rape -- or to enrapture. Quinquennial describes something that lasts for five years or happens only once in five years. Trying one's best is a good thing, but trying one's patience is a bad thing. A blunt instrument is dull, but a blunt remark is pointed.
For example, in Year 1 that useless letter "c" would be dropped to be replased either by "k" or "s", and likewise "x" would no longer be part of the alphabet. The only kase in which "c" aould be retained would be the "ch" formation, which will be dealt with later. Year 2 might reform "v" spelling, so that "which" and "one" would take the same konsonant, wile Year 3 might well abolish "y" replasing it with "i" and Iear 4 might fiks the "g/j" anomali wonse and for all.
Jenerally, then, the improvement would kontinue iear bai iear with Iear 5 doing awai with useless double konsonants, and Iears 6-12 or so modifaiing vowlz and the rimeining voist and unvoist konsonants. Bai Iear 15 or sou, it wud fainali bi posibl tu meik ius ov thi ridandant letez "c". "y" and "x" -- bai now jast a memori in the maindz ov ould doderez -- tu riplais "ch", "sh", and "th" rispektivli.
Fainali, xen, aafte sam 20 iers ov orxagrefkl riform, wi wud hev a lojikl, kohirnt speling in ius xrewawt xe Ingliy-spiking werld.
SAN FRANCISCO--Spokespersons for the National Gay & Lesbian Recruitment Task Force announced Monday that more than 288,000 straights have been converted to homosexuality since Jan. 1, 1998, putting the group well on pace to reach its goal of 350,000 conversions by the end of the year. more...
Dearest creature in creation,
Study English pronunciation.
The chief evidence against Robert P. Russell, 33, accused of killing his estranged wife, was a computer disk of his. Under the heading "murder," it asked, "How do I kill her? . . . What do I do with the body?" and listed 26 steps.
We trained hard...but it seemed that every time we were beginning to form up into teams, we would be reorganized. I was to learn later in life that we tend to meet any new situation by reorganizing; and a wonderful method it can be for creating the illusion of progress while producing confusion, inefficiency, and demoralization.
-- Petronius Arbiter, 210 B.C.
If we could at this time shrink the earth's population to a village of precisely 100 with all existing human ratios remaining the same, it would look like this:
There would be 57 Asians, 21 Europeans, 14 from the Western Hemisphere (North & South America), and 8 Africans. Seventy would be non-white, 30 white. Seventy would be non-Christian, 30 Christian. Fifty percent of the entire world wealth would be in the hands of only 6 people, and all 6 would be citizens of the United States. Seventy would be unable to read, 50 would suffer from malnutrition, and 80 would live in sub-standard housing.
Only 1 would have a college education.
There once was one who said, "Though,
It seems that I know that I know,
What I would like to see,
Is the 'I' that knows 'me',
When I know that I know that I know!
This song is called "Alice's NNTP Server" and it's about Alice, and the NNTP server, but "Alice's NNTP Server" is not the name of the NNTP server, it's the name of the song, and that's why I called this song "Alice's NNTP Server"...
Ok, it's the fourth quarter of this great game. The philophers are receiving the kickoff, now tied with the biblical figures after a fine touchdown credited to Jesus more ...
A man, a plan, a caret, a ban, a myriad, a sum, a lac, a liar, a hoop, a pint, a catalpa, a gas, an oil, a bird, a yell, a vat, a caw, a pax, a wag, a tax, a nay, a ram, a cap, a yam, a gay, a tsar, a wall, a car, a luger, a ward, a bin, a woman, a vassal, a wolf, a tuna, a nit, a pall, a fret, a watt, a bay, a daub, a tan, a cab, a datum, a gall, a hat, a fag, a zap, a say, a jaw, a lay, a wet, a gallop, a tug, a trot, a trap, a tram, a torr, a caper, a top, a tonk, a toll, a ball, a fair, a sax, a minim, a tenor, a bass, a passer, a capital, a rut, an amen, a ted, a cabal, a tang, a sun, an ass, a maw, a sag, a jam, a dam, a sub, a salt, an axon, a sail, an ad, a wadi, a radian, a room, a rood, a rip, a tad, a pariah, a revel, a reel, a reed, a pool, a plug, a pin, a peek, a parabola, a dog, a pat, a cud, a nu, a fan, a pal, a rum, a nod, an eta, a lag, an eel, a batik, a mug, a mot, a nap, a maxim, a mood, a leek, a grub, a gob, a gel, a drab, a citadel, a total, a cedar, a tap, a gag, a rat, a manor, a bar, a gal, a cola, a pap, a yaw, a tab, a raj, a gab, a nag, a pagan, a bag, a jar, a bat, a way, a papa, a local, a gar, a baron, a mat, a rag, a gap, a tar, a decal, a tot, a led, a tic, a bard, a leg, a bog, a burg, a keel, a doom, a mix, a map, an atom, a gum, a kit, a baleen, a gala, a ten, a don, a mural, a pan, a faun, a ducat, a pagoda, a lob, a rap, a keep, a nip, a gulp, a loop, a deer, a leer, a lever, a hair, a pad, a tapir, a door, a moor, an aid, a raid, a wad, an alias, an ox, an atlas, a bus, a madam, a jag, a saw, a mass, an anus, a gnat, a lab, a cadet, an em, a natural, a tip, a caress, a pass, a baronet, a minimax, a sari, a fall, a ballot, a knot, a pot, a rep, a carrot, a mart, a part, a tort, a gut, a poll, a gateway, a law, a jay, a sap, a zag, a fat, a hall, a gamut, a dab, a can, a tabu, a day, a batt, a waterfall, a patina, a nut, a flow, a lass, a van, a mow, a nib, a draw, a regular, a call, a war, a stay, a gam, a yap, a cam, a ray, an ax, a tag, a wax, a paw, a cat, a valley, a drib, a lion, a saga, a plat, a catnip, a pooh, a rail, a calamus, a dairyman, a bater, a canal--Panama.
--Dan Hoey, 'discovered' in 1984
Don't LOOK at anything in a physics lab.
Don't TASTE anything in a chemistry lab.
Don't SMELL anything in a biology lab.
Don't TOUCH anything in a medical lab.
and, most importantly,
Don't LISTEN to anything in a philosophy department.
I'm writing in response to your request for additional information for block number 3 of the accident reporting form. I put 'poor planning' as the cause for my accident. You said in your letter I should explain more fully, and I trust the following details will be sufficient.
I'm an amateur radio operator. On the day of the accident I was working alone on the top section of my new 80 foot tower. After completing my work, I discovered that I had, over the course of several trips up the tower, brought up about 300 pounds of tools and hardware. Rather than carry the now unneeded tools and materials down by hand, I decided to lower the items down in a small barrel by using a pulley, which fortunately was attached to the gin pole at the top of the tower.
Securing the rope at ground level, I went to the top of the tower and loaded the tools and materials into the barrel. I sent back to the ground and untied the rope, holding it tightly to insure a slow decent of the 300 pounds of tools. You will note in block number 11 of the accident reporting form, I weigh only 155 pounds.
Due to my surprise at being jerked off the ground so suddenly, I lost my presence of mind and forgot to let go of the rope. Needless to say, I proceeded at a rather rapid rate of speed up the side of the tower. In the vicinity of the 40 foot level, I met the barrel coming down; this explains my fractured skull and broken collarbone. Slowed only slightly, I continued my rapid ascent, not stopping until the fingers of my right hand were two knuckles deep into the pulley.
Fortunately, by this time, I had regained my presence of mind and was able to hold onto the rope in spite of the pain. At approximately the same time, however, the barrel of tools hit the ground and the bottom fell out of the barrel. Devoid of the weight of the tools, the barrel now weighed approximately 20 pounds. I refer again to my weight in block number 11. As you might imagine, I started a rapid descent down the side of the tower. In the vicinity of the 40 foot level, I met the barrel coming up; this accounts for my two fractured ankles and the lacerations on my legs and lower body.
The encounter with the barrel slowed me enough to lessen my injuries when I fell onto the pile of tools, and fortunately only 3 vertebrae were cracked. I'm sorry to report, however, that as I lay there on the tools, in pain, unable to stand, and watching the empty barrel 80 feet above me, I again lost my presence of mind....I let go of the rope.
...Currently, the internet is fairly small. It contains no more than 25 active networks, and no more than a few hundred hosts. This makes it possible to install tables which exhaustively list all of these elements. However, any implementation undertaken now should be based on an assumption of a much larger internet. The guidelines currently recommended are an upper limit of about 1,000 networks. If we imagine an average number of 25 hosts per net, this would suggest a maximum number of 25,000 hosts. It is quite unclear whether this host estimate is high or low, but even if it is off by several factors of two, the resulting number is still large enough to suggest that current table management strategies are unacceptable. Some fresh techniques will be required to deal with the internet of the future.
David D. Clark
MIT Laboratory for Computer Science
Computer Systems and Communications Group