These are some of the best jokes that I have received (and often forwarded), now here for enjoyment again!

Word Perfect Helpline

This is a true story from the WordPerfect helpline. Needless to say the help desk employee was fired; however, he/she is currently suing the WordPerfect organisation for "Termination without Cause".

Actual dialogue of a former Wordperfect Customer Support employee:
"Ridge Hall computer assistant; may I help you?"
"Yes, well, I'm having trouble with WordPerfect."
"What sort of trouble?"
"Well, I was just typing along, and all of a sudden the words went away."
"Went away?"
"They disappeared."
"Hmm. So what does your screen look like now?"
"It's blank; it won't accept anything when I type."
"Are you still in WordPerfect, or did you get out?"
"How do I tell?"
"Can you see the C: prompt on the screen?"
"What's a sea-prompt?"
"Never mind. Can you move the cursor around on the screen?"
"There isn't any cursor: I told you, it won't accept anything I type."
"Does your monitor have a power indicator?"
"What's a monitor?"
"It's the thing with the screen on it that looks like a TV. Does it have a little light that tells you when it's on?"
"I don't know."
"Well, then look on the back of the monitor and find where the power cord goes into it. Can you see that?"
"Yes, I think so."
"Great. Follow the cord to the plug, and tell me if it's plugged into the wall."
".......Yes, it is."
"When you were behind the monitor, did you notice that there were two cables plugged into the back of it, not just one?"
"Well, there are. I need you to look back there again and find the other cable."
"....... Okay, here it is."
"Follow it for me, and tell me if it's plugged securely into the back of your computer."
"I can't reach."
"Uh huh. Well, can you see if it is?"
"Even if you maybe put your knee on something and lean way over?"
"Oh, it's not because I don't have the right angle - it's because it's dark."
"Yes - the office light is off, and the only light I have is coming in from the window."
"Well, turn on the office light then."
"I can't."
"No? Why not?"
"Because there's a power outage."
"A power... A power outage? Aha, Okay, we've got it licked now. Do you still have the boxes and manuals and packing stuff your computer came in?"
"Well, yes, I keep them in the closet."
"Good. Go get them, and unplug your system and pack it up just like it was when you got it. Then take it back to the store you bought it from."
"Really? Is it that bad?"
"Yes, I'm afraid it is."
"Well, all right then, I suppose. What do I tell them?"
"Tell them you're too XXXXXXX stupid to own a computer."

This is a compilation of actual student GCSE answers

1. Ancient Egypt was inhabited by mummies and they all wrote in hydraulics. They lived in the Sarah Dessert and travelled by Camelot. The climate of the Sarah is such that the inhabitants have to live elsewhere.

2. The Bible is full of interesting caricatures. In the first book of the Bible, Guinessis, Adam and Eve were created from an apple tree. One of their children, Cain, asked, "Am I my brother's son?"

3. Moses led the Hebrew slaves to the Red Sea, where they made unleavened bread which is bread made without any ingredients. Moses went up on Mount Cyanide to get the ten commandments. He died before he ever reached Canada.

4. Solomom had three hundred wives and seven hundred porcupines.

5. The Greeks were a highly sculptured people, and without them we wouldn't have history. The Greeks also had myths. A myth is a female moth.

6. Actually, Homer was not written by Homer but by another man of that name.

7. Socrates was a famous Greek teacher who went around giving people advice. They killed him. Socrates died from an overdose of wedlock. After his death, his career suffered a dramatic decline.

8. In the Olympic games, Greeks ran races, jumped, hurled the biscuits, and threw the java.

9. Eventually, the Romans conquered the Greeks. History calls people Romans because they never stayed in one place for very long.

10. Julius Caesar extinguished himself on the battlefields of Gaul. The Ides of March murdered him because they thought he was going to be made king. Dying, he gasped out: "Tee hee, Brutus."

11. Nero was a cruel tyranny who would torture his subjects by playing the fiddle to them.

12. Joan of Arc was burnt to a steak and was cannonized by Bernard Shaw. Finally Magna Carta provided that no man should be hanged twice for the same offense.

13. In midevil times most people were alliterate. The greatest writer of the futile ages was Chaucer, who wrote many poems and verses and also wrote literature.

14. Another story was William Tell, who shot an arrow through an apple while standing on his son's head.

15. The greatest writer of the Renaissance was William Shakespeare. He was born in the year 1564, supposedly on his birthday. He never made much money and is famous only because of his plays. He wrote tragedies, comedies, and hysterectomies, all in Islamic pentameter. Romeo and Juliet are an example of a heroic couplet. Romeo's last wish was to be laid by Juliet.

16. Writing at the same time as Shakespeare was Miguel Cervantes. He wrote Donkey Hote. The next great author was John Milton. Milton wrote Paradise Lost. Then his wife died and he wrote Paradise Regained.

17. During the Renaissance America began. Christopher Columbus was a great navigator who discovered America while cursing about the Atlantic. His ships were called the Nina, the Pinta, and the Santa Fe.

18. Later, the Pilgrims crossed the ocean, and this was called Pilgrim's Progress. The winter of 1620 was a hard one for the settlers. Many people died and many babies were born. Captain John Smith was responsible for all this.

19. One of the causes of the Revolutionary War was the English put tacks in their tea. Also, the colonists would send their parcels through the post without stamps. Finally the colonists won the War and no longer had to pay for taxis. Delegates from the original 13 states formed the Contented Congress. Thomas Jefferson, a Virgin, and Benjamin Franklin were two singers of the Declaration of Independence. Franklin discovered electricity by rubbing two cats backwards and declared, "A horse divided against itself cannot stand.". Franklin died in 1790 and is still dead.

20. Soon the Constitution of the United States was adopted to secure domestic hostility. Under the constitution the people enjoyed the right to keep bare arms.

21. Abraham Lincoln became America's greatest Precedent. Lincoln's mother died in infancy, and he was born in a log cabin which he built with his own hands. Abraham Lincoln freed the slaves by signing the Emasculation Proclamation. On the night of April 14, 1865, Lincoln went to the theater and got shot in his seat by one of the actors in a moving picture show. The believed assinator was John Wilkes Booth, a supposedly insane actor. This ruined Booth's career.

22. Meanwhile in Europe, the enlightenment was a reasonable time. Voltaire invented electricity and also wrote a book called Candy.

23. Gravity was invented by Issac Walton. It is chiefly noticeable in the autumn when the apples are falling off the trees.

24. Johann Bach wrote a great many musical compositions and had a large number of children. In between he practiced on an old spinster which he kept up in his attic. Bach died from 1750 to the present. Bach was the most famous composer in the world and so was Handel. Handel was half German half Italian and half English. He was very large.

25. Beethoven wrote music even though he was deaf. He was so deaf he wrote loud music. He took long walks in the forest even when everyone was calling for him. Beethoven expired in 1827 and later died for this.

26. The French Revolution was accomplished before it happened and catapulted into Napoleon. Napoleon wanted an heir to inherit his power, but since Josephine was a baroness, she couldn't have any children.

27. The sun never set on the British Empire because the British Empire is in the East and the sun sets in the West.

28. Louis Pasteur discovered a cure for rabbis. Madman Curie discovered radio. And Karl Marx became one of the Marx brothers.

29. The First World War, caused by the assignation of the Arch-Duck by an anahist, ushered in a new error in the annals of human history.

The Gender of Computers

A pastor of a church who was previously a sailor, was very aware that ships are addressed as "she" and "her". He often wondered what gender computers should be addressed. To answer that question, he set up two groups of computer experts.

The first was comprised of women and the second of men. Each group was asked to recommend whether computers should be referred to in the feminine gender or the masculine gender. They were asked to give 4 reasons for their recommendation.

The group of women reported that the computers should be referred to in the masculine gender because:

In order to get their attention, you have to turn them on.
They have a lot of data, but are still clue-less.
They are supposed to help you solve problems, but half the time they are the problem.
As soon as you commit to one, you realise that, if you had waited a little longer, you could have had a better model.

The men, on the other hand, concluded that computers should be referred to in the feminine gender because:

No one but the Creator understands their internal logic.
The native language they use to communicate with other computers is incomprehensible to everyone else.
They hear what you say, but not what you mean
Even your smallest mistakes are stored in long-term memory for later retrieval.
As soon as you make a commitment to one, you find yourself spending half your paycheck on accessories for it.

Microsoft Dinner 98

You must first remove the plastic cover. By doing so you agree to accept and honour Microsoft rights to all TV dinners. You may not give anyone else a bite of your dinner (which would constitute an infringement of Microsoft's rights). You may, however, let others smell and look at your dinner and are encouraged to tell them how good it is.
If you have a PC microwave oven, insert the dinner into the oven.
Set the oven using these keystrokes:
Then enter:

If you have a Macintosh microwave oven, insert the dinner and press start.
The oven will set itself and cook the dinner.

If you have a Unix microwave oven, insert the dinner, enter the ingredients of the dinner found on the package label, the weight of the dinner, and the desired level of cooking and press start.
The oven will calculate the time and heat and cook the dinner exactly to your specification.

Be forewarned that Microsoft dinners may crash, in which case your oven must be restarted. This is a simple procedure.
Remove the dinner from the oven and enter:\again/again.again
This process may have to be repeated. Try unplugging the microwave and then doing a cold reboot. If this doesn't work, contact your oven vendor. The oven itself is obviously on the blink.

Many users have reported that the dinner tray is far too big, larger than the dinner itself, having many useless compartments, most of which are empty. These are for future menu items. If the tray is too large to fit in your oven, you will need to upgrade your equipment.

Dinners are only available from registered outlets, and only the chicken variety is currently produced. If you want another variety, call Microsoft Help and they will explain that you really don't want another variety. Microsoft Chicken is all you really need.

Microsoft has disclosed plans to discontinue all smaller versions of their chicken dinners. Future releases will only be in the larger family size. Excess chicken may be stored for future use, but must be saved only in Microsoft approved packaging.

Microsoft promises a dessert with every dinner after '98. However, that version has yet to be released. Users have permission to get thrilled in advance.

Microsoft dinners may be incompatible with other dinners in the freezer, causing your freezer to self-defrost. This is a feature, not a bug. Your freezer probably should have been defrosted anyway.

Music Education: stories and test questions accumulated by music teachers.

Agnus Dei was a woman composer famous for her church music.

Refrain means don't do it. A refrain in music is the part you better not try to sing.

A virtuoso is a musician with real high morals.

John Sebastian Bach died from 1750 to the present.

Handel was half German, half Italian, and half English. He was rather large.

Beethoven wrote music even though he was deaf. He was so deaf he wrote loud music. He took long walks in the forest even when everyone was calling him. I guess he could not hear so good. Beethoven expired in 1827 and later died from this.

Henry Purcell is a well known composer few people have ever heard of.

Aaron Copland is one of your most famous contemporary composers. It is unusual to be contemporary. Most composers do not live until they are dead.

An opera is a song of bigly size.

In the last scene of Pagliacci, Canio stabs Nedda who is the one he really loves. Pretty soon Silvio also gets stabbed, and they all live happily ever after.

When a singer sings, he stirs up the air and makes it hit any passing eardrums. But if he is good, he knows how to keep it from hurting.

Music sung by two people at the same time is called a duel.

I know what a sextet is but I had rather not say.

Caruso was at first an Italian. Then someone heard his voice and said he would go a long way. And so he came to America.

A good orchestra is always ready to play if the conductor steps on the odium.

Morris dancing is a country survival from times when people were happy.

Most authorities agree that music of antiquity was written long ago.

Probably the most marvelous fugue was the one between the Hatfields and McCoys.

My very best liked piece of music is the Bronze Lullaby.

My favourite composer is Opus.

A harp is a nude piano.

A tuba is much larger than its name.

Instruments come in many sizes, shapes and orchestras.

You should always say celli when you mean there are two or more cellos.

Another name for kettle drums is timpani. But I think I will just stick with the first name and learn it good.

A trumpet is an instrument when it is not an elephant sound.

While trombones have tubes, trumpets prefer to wear valves.

The double bass is also called the bass viol, string bass, and bass fiddle. It has so many names because it is so huge.

When electric currents go through them, guitars start making sounds. So would anybody.

Question: What are kettle drums called? Answer: Kettle drums.

Cymbals are round, metal CLANGS!

A bassoon looks like nothing I have ever heard.

Last month I found out how a clarinet works by taking it apart. I both found out and got in trouble.

Question: Is the saxophone a brass or a woodwind instrument? Answer: Yes.

The concertmaster of an orchestra is always the person who sits in the first chair of the first violins. This means that when a person is elected concertmaster, he has to hurry up and learn how to play a violin real good.

For some reason, they always put a treble clef in front of every line of flute music. You just watch.

I can't reach the brakes on this piano!

The main trouble with a French horn is it's too tangled up.

Anyone who can read all the instrument notes at the same time gets to be the conductor.

Instrumentalist is a many-purposed word for many player-types.

The flute is a skinny-high shape-sounded instrument.

The most dangerous part about playing cymbals is near the nose.

A contra-bassoon is like a bassoon, only more so.

Tubas are a bit too much.

Music instrument has a plural known as orchestra.

I would like for you to teach me to play the cello. Would tomorrow or Friday be best?

My favourite instrument is the bassoon. It is so hard to play people seldom play it. That is why I like the bassoon best.

It is easy to teach anyone to play the maracas. Just grip the neck and shake him in rhythm.

Methods of Government

You have two cows. Your lord takes some of the milk.

You have two cows. The government takes them and puts them in a barn with everyone else's cows. You have to take care of all the cows. The government gives you as much milk as you need.

You have two cows. The government takes them and puts them in a barn with everyone else's cows. They are cared for by ex-chicken farmers. You have to take care of the chickens the government took from the chicken farmers. The government gives you as much milk and as many eggs as the regulations say you should need.

You have two cows. The government takes both, hires you to take care of them, and sells you the milk.

You have two cows. Your neighbours help you take care of them, and you all share the milk.

You have two cows. You have to take care of them, but the government takes all the milk.

You have two cows. The government takes both and shoots you.

You have two cows. The government fines you for keeping two unlicensed farm animals in an apartment.

You have two cows. You have 300 people milking them. You claim that you have full employment, and high bovine productivity. You arrest the newsman who reported the real situation.

You have two cows. The government takes both and drafts you.

You have two cows. Your neighbours decide who gets the milk.

You have two cows. Your neighbours pick someone to tell you who gets the milk.

The government promises to give you two cows if you vote for it. After the election, the president is impeached for speculating in cow futures. The press dubs the affair "Cowgate".

You have two cows. You feed them sheeps' brains and they go mad. The government doesn't do anything.

You have two cows. At first the government regulates what you can feed them and when you can milk them. Then it pays you not to milk them. After that it takes both, shoots one, milks the other and pours the milk down the drain. Then it requires you to fill out forms accounting for the missing cows..

You have two cows. Either you sell the milk at a fair price or your neighbours try to kill you and take the cows.

You have two cows. You sell one and buy a bull. Your herd multiplies, and the economy grows. You sell them and retire on the income

You have two cows. You sell three of them to your publicly-listed company, using letters of credit opened by your brother-in-law at the bank, then execute a debt/equity swap with associated general offer so that you get all four cows back, with a tax deduction for keeping five cows. The milk rights of six cows are transferred via a Panamanian intermediary to a Cayman Islands company secretly owned by the majority shareholder, who sells the rights to all seven cows' milk back to the listed company. The annual report says that the company owns eight cows, with an option on one more. You sell one cow to buy a new president of the United States, leaving you with nine cows. No balance sheet provided with the release. The public then buys your bull.

You have two cows. The government bans you from milking or killing them.

You have two cows. They get married and adopt a veal calf.

You have two cows. The government takes them and denies they ever existed. Milk is banned.

Wow, dude, there's like... these two cows, man. You got to have some of this milk.

You have two giraffes. The government requires you to take harmonica lessons.

You have two cows. One has actually read the constitution, believes in it, and has some really good ideas about government. The cow runs for office, and while most people agree that the cow is the best candidate, nobody except the other cow votes for her because they think it would be "throwing their vote away."

Losing Something in Translation - English Signs in Foreign Countries

In a Paris hotel elevator:
Please leave your values at the front desk.

In an Austrian hotel catering to skiers:
Not to perambulate the corridors in the hours of repose in the boots of ascension.

In a Zurich hotel:
Because of the impropriety of entertaining guests of the opposite sex in the bedroom, it is suggested that the lobby be used for this purpose.

In a Bucharest hotel lobby:
The lift is being fixed for the next day. During that time we regret that you will be unbearable.

In a Tokyo Hotel:
Is forbidden to steal hotel towels please. If you are not a person to do such thing is please not to read notis.

In a Belgrade hotel elevator:
To move the cabin, push button for wishing floor. If the cabin should enter more persons, each one should press a number of wishing floor. Driving is then going alphabetically by national order.

In a hotel in Athens:
Visitors are expected to complain at the office between the hours of 9 and 11 A.M. daily.

In a Yugoslavian hotel:
The flattening of underwear with pleasure is the job of the chambermaid.

In a Japanese hotel:
You are invited to take advantage of the chambermaid.

In the lobby of a Moscow hotel across from a Russian Orthodox monastery:
You are welcome to visit the cemetery where famous Russian and Soviet composers, artists, and writers are buried daily except Thursday.

On the menu of a Swiss restaurant:
Our wines leave you nothing to hope for.

On the menu of a Polish hotel:
Salad a firm's own make; limpid red beet soup with cheesy dumplings in the form of a finger; roasted duck let loose; beef rashers beaten up in the country people's fashion.

Outside a Hong Kong tailor shop:
Ladies may have a fit upstairs.

In a Bangkok dry cleaner's:
Drop your trousers here for best results.

Outside a Paris dress shop:
Dresses for street walking.

In a Rhodes tailor shop:
Order your summers suit. Because is big rush we will execute customers in strict rotation.

In an advertisement by a Hong Kong dentist:
Teeth extracted by the latest Methodists.

In a Rome laundry:
Ladies, leave your clothes here and spend the afternoon having a good time.

In a Czechoslovakian tourist agency:
Take one of our horse-driven city tours-we guarantee no miscarriages.

In a Copenhagen airline ticket office:
We take your bags and send them in all directions.

On the door of a Moscow hotel room:
If this is your first visit to the USSR, you are welcome to it.

In a Norwegian cocktail lounge:
Ladies are requested not to have children in the bar.

In the office of a Roman doctor:
Specialist in women and other diseases.

From a Japanese information booklet about using a hotel air conditioner:
Cooles and Heates: If you want just condition of warm in your room, please control yourself.

From a brochure of a car rental firm in Tokyo:
When passenger of foot heave in sight, tootle the horn. Trumpet him melodiously at first, but if he still obstacles your passage then tootle him with vigor.

Proposed Corporate Mergers

Fairchild Electronics and Honeywell Computers:
(New company will be called Fairwell Honeychild)

Polygram Records, Warner Brothers and Keebler:
New company will be called Poly-Warner-Cracker)

W. R. Grace Co., Fuller Brush Co., Mary Kay Cosmetics and Hale Business Systems:
(New company will be called Hale Mary Fuller Grace)

3M & Goodyear:
(New company: mmmGood)

John Deere & Abitibi-Price:
(New company will be called Deere Abi)

Honeywell, Imasco, and Home Oil:
(New company will be called Honey, I'm Home)

Denison Mines, Alliance, and Metal Mining:
(New company will be called Mine, All Mine)

3M, J.C. Penney, Canadian Opera Company:
(New company will be called 3 Penney Opera)

Zippo Manufacturing, Audi, Dofasco, Dakota Mining:
(New company will be called Zip Audi Do-Da)

The most obvious candidates for a merger: Netscape and Yahoo:
(The resulting company will be called: "Net 'n' Yahoo.")

General Motors and Microsoft

At a recent computer expo (COMDEX), Bill Gates, CEO of Microsoft reportedly compared the computer industry with the automobile industry and stated: "If General Motors had kept up with technology like the computer industry has, we would all be driving $25.00 cars that got 1000 miles to the gallon".

In response to Bill Gates' comments, General Motors issued a press release stating: " If GM had developed technology like Microsoft, we would all be driving cars with the following characteristics:"

  • For no reason whatsoever, your car would crash twice a day.
  • Every time they repainted the lines on the road, you would have to buy a new car.
  • Occasionally your car would die on the highway for no reason, and you would just accept this, restart, and drive on.
  • Occasionally, executing a manoeuvre such as a left turn, would cause your car to shut down and refuse to start, in which case you would have to reinstall the engine.
  • Only one person at a time could use the car, unless you bought "Car95", "Car98", or "Car NT". But then you would have to buy more seats.
  • Macintosh would make a car that was powered by the sun, reliable, five times as fast, and twice as easy to drive, but would only run on 5% of the roads.
  • The oil, water temperature, and alternator warning lights would be replaced by a single "general car fault" warning light.
  • New seats would force everyone to have the same size butt.
  • The airbag system would say "Are you sure" before deploying.
  • Occasionally, for no reason whatsoever, your car would lock you out & refuse to let you in until you simultaneously lifted the door handle, turned the key, and grabbed hold of the radio antenna.
  • GM would require all car buyers to also purchase a deluxe set of Rand-McNally road maps (now a GM subsidiary), even though you neither need them nor want them. Attempting to delete this option would immediately cause the car's performance to diminish by 50% or more. Moreover, GM would become a target for investigation by the Justice Department.
  • Every time GM introduced a new model, car buyers would have to learn how to drive all over again because none of the controls would operate in the same manner as the old car.
  • You would have to press the "Start" button to shut off the engine.

Calculations on the subject of Hell

The following is one of Dr. Schalmbaugh's Final Test questions for May 1997. Dr. Schalmbaugh, University of Oklahoma School of Chemical Engineering, is known for asking questions such as this on his final exams:

Momentum, Heat and Mass Transfer II Final Exam Question 9: Is Hell exothermic or endothermic? Support your answer with proof.
Most of the students wrote proofs of their beliefs using Boyle's Law or some variant. One student, however, wrote the following...

First, we postulate that if souls exist, then they must have some mass. If they do, then a mole of souls can also have a mass. So, at what rate are souls moving into hell and at what rate are souls leaving? I think that we can safely assume that once a soul gets to hell, it will not leave.

Therefore, no souls are leaving. As for souls entering hell, lets look at the different religions that exist in the world today. Some of these religions state that if you are not a member of their religion, you will go to hell. Since there are more than one of these religions and people do not belong to more than one religion, we can project that all people and all souls go to hell. With birth and death rates as they are, we can expect the number of souls in hell to increase exponentially.

Now, we look at the rate of change in volume in hell. Boyle's Law states that in order for the temperature and pressure in hell to stay the same, the ratio of the mass of souls and volume needs to stay constant.

Case 1: If hell is expanding at a slower rate than the rate at which souls enter hell, then the temperature and pressure in hell will increase until all hell breaks loose.

Case 2: If hell is expanding at a rate faster than the increase of souls in hell, then the temperature and pressure will drop until hell freezes over.

So which is it? If we accept the postulate given to me by Theresa Banyan during my freshman year, "it will be a cold night in hell before I sleep with you" and take into account the fact that I still have NOT succeeded in having intimate relations with her, then case 2 cannot be true. Thus, hell is exothermic.

The student, Tim Graham, got the only A.

Legal Quotes

Recently reported in the Massachusetts Bar Association Lawyers Journal, the following are questions actually asked of witnesses by attorneys during trials and, in certain cases, the responses given by insightful witnesses.

1. "Now doctor, isn't it true that when a person dies in his sleep, he doesn't know about it until the next morning?"

2. "The youngest son, the twenty-year old, how old is he?"

3. "Were you present when your picture was taken?"

4. "Were you alone or by yourself?"

5. "Was it you or your younger brother who was killed in the war?"

6. "Did he kill you?"

7. "How far apart were the vehicles at the time of the collision?"

8. "You were there until the time you left, is that true?"

9. "How many times have you committed suicide?"

10. Q: "So the date of conception (of the baby) was August 8th?"
A: "Yes."
Q: "And what were you doing at that time?"

11. Q: "She had three children, right?"
A: "Yes."
Q: "How many were boys?"
A: "None."
Q: "Were there any girls?"

12. Q: " You say the stairs went down to the basement?"
A: "Yes."
Q: "And these stairs, did they go up also?"

13. Q: "Mr. Slatery, you went on a rather elaborate honeymoon, didn't you?"
A: "I went to Europe, Sir."
Q: "And you took your new wife?"

14. Q: "How was your first marriage terminated?"
A: "By death."
Q: "And by whose death was it terminated?"

15. Q: "Can you describe the individual?"
A: "He was about medium height and had a beard."
Q: "Was this a male, or a female?"

16. Q: "Is your appearance here this morning pursuant to a deposition notice which I sent to your attorney?"
A: "No, this how I dress when I go to work."

17. Q: "Doctor, how many autopsies have you performed on dead people?"
A: "All my autopsies are performed on dead people."

18. Q: "All your responses must be oral, OK? What school did you go to?"
A: "Oral."

19. Q: "Do you recall the time that you examined the body?"
A: "The autopsy started around 8:30 p.m.."
Q: "And Mr. Dennington was dead at the time?"
A: "No, he was sitting on the table wondering why I was doing an autopsy."

20. Q: "You were not shot in the fracas?"
A: "No, I was shot midway between the fracas and the navel."

"You seem to have more than the average share of intelligence for a man of your background," sneered the lawyer at a witness on the stand. "If I wasn't under oath, I'd return the compliment," replied the witness.

A Russian, a Cuban, an American and a Lawyer in a Train

The Russian takes a bottle of the Best Vodka out of his pack; pours some into a glass, drinks it, and says: "In USSR, we have the best vodka of the world, nowhere in the world you can find Vodka as good as the one we produce in Ukraine. And we have so much of it, that we can just throw it away..." Saying that, he open the window and throw the rest of the bottle through it. All the others are quite impressed.

The Cuban takes a pack of Havana's, takes one of them, lights it and begins to smoke it saying: "In Cuba, we have the best cigars of the world: Havana's, nowhere in the world there is so many and so good cigar and we have so much of them, that we can just throw them away...". Saying that, he throws the pack of Havana's through the window. One more time, everybody is quite impressed.

At this time, the American just stands up, opens the window, and throws the Lawyer through it...

The Perfect Defense

A defendant in a lawsuit involving large sums of money was talking to his lawyer. "If I lose this case, I'll be ruined!"

"It's in the judge's hands now," said the lawyer.

"Would it help if I sent the judge a box of cigars?"

"No! The judge is a stickler on ethical behaviour. A stunt like that would prejudice him against you. He might even hold you in contempt of court."

Within the course of time, the judge rendered a decision in favour of the defendant. As the defendant left the courthouse, he said to his lawyer, "Thanks for the tip about the cigars. It really worked!"

Confidently the lawyer responded, "I'm sure we would have lost the case if you'd sent them."

"But I did send them.", replied the man.

"What?" shouted the lawyer?

"I sure did, that's how we won the case... good thing I remembered to enclose the plaintiff's business card."

Quayle Shoot: Famous Quotations of Dan Quayle

"I was recently on a tour of Latin America, and the only regret I have was that I didn't study Latin harder in school so I could converse with those people."
-- J. Danforth Quayle

"If we don't succeed, we run the risk of failure."
-- J. Danforth Quayle

"Welcome to President Bush, Mrs. Bush, and my fellow astronauts."
-- Vice President Dan Quayle

"Mars is essentially in the same orbit... Mars is somewhat the same distance from the Sun, which is very important. We have seen pictures where there are canals, we believe, and water. If there is water, that means there is oxygen. If oxygen, that means we can breathe."
-- Vice President Dan Quayle, 8/11/89

"What a waste it is to lose one's mind. Or not to have a mind is being very wasteful. How true that is."
-- Vice President Dan Quayle

"I believe we are on an irreversible trend toward more freedom and democracy - but that could change."
-- Vice President Dan Quayle, 5/22/89

"One word sums up probably the responsibility of any vice president, and that one word is 'to be prepared'."
-- Vice President Dan Quayle, 12/6/89

"May our nation continue to be the beakon of hope to the world."
-- The Quayles' 1989 Christmas card. [Not a beacon of literacy, though.]

"Verbosity leads to unclear, inarticulate things."
-- Vice President Dan Quayle, 11/30/88

"I have made good judgments in the Past. I have made good judgments in the Future."
-- Vice President Dan Quayle

"The future will be better tomorrow."
-- Vice President Dan Quayle

"We're going to have the best-educated American people in the world."
-- Vice President Dan Quayle, 9/21/88

"People that are really very weird can get into sensitive positions and have a tremendous impact on history."
-- Vice President Dan Quayle

"I stand by all the misstatements that I've made."
-- Vice President Dan Quayle to Sam Donaldson, 8/17/89

"We have a firm commitment to NATO, we are a *part* of NATO. We have a firm commitment to Europe. We are a *part* of Europe."
-- Vice President Dan Quayle

"Public speaking is very easy."
-- Vice President Dan Quayle to reporters in 10/88

"I am not part of the problem. I am a Republican."
-- Vice President Dan Quayle

"I love California, I practically grew up in Phoenix."
-- Vice President Dan Quayle

"A low voter turnout is an indication of fewer people going to the polls."
-- Vice President Dan Quayle

"When I have been asked during these last weeks who caused the riots and the killing in L.A., my answer has been direct and simple: Who is to blame for the riots? The rioters are to blame. Who is to blame for the killings? The killers are to blame.
-- Vice President Dan Quayle

"Illegitimacy is something we should talk about in terms of not having it."
-- Vice President Dan Quayle, 5/20/92 (reported in Esquire, 8/92)

"We are ready for any unforeseen event that may or may not occur."
-- Vice President Dan Quayle, 9/22/90

"For NASA, space is still a high priority."
-- Vice President Dan Quayle, 9/5/90

"Quite frankly, teachers are the only profession that teach our children."
-- Vice President Dan Quayle, 9/18/90

"The American people would not want to know of any misquotes that Dan Quayle may or may not make."
--Vice President Dan Quayle

"We're all capable of mistakes, but I do not care to enlighten you on the mistakes we may or may not have made."
--Vice President Dan Quayle

"It isn't pollution that's harming the environment. It's the impurities in our air and water that are doing it."
-- Vice President Dan Quayle

"[It's] time for the human race to enter the solar system."
-- Vice President Dan Quayle

Answering Machine Answers

These are actual answering machine answers recorded and verified by the world famous International Institute of Answering Machine Answers.

My wife and I can't come to the phone right now, but if you'll leave your name and number, we'll get back to you as soon as we're finished.

A is for academics, B is for beer. One of those reasons is why we're not here. So leave a message.

Hi. This is John. If you are the phone company, I already sent the money. If you are my parents, please send money. If you are my financial aid institution, you didn't lend me enough money. If you are my friends, you owe me money. If you are a female, don't worry, I have plenty of money.

"Hi. Now you say something."

"Hi, I'm not home right now but my answering machine is, so you can talk to it instead. Wait for the beep."

"Hello. I am David's answering machine. What are you?"

"Hi! John's answering machine is broken. This is his refrigerator. Please speak very slowly, and I'll stick your message to myself with some of these alphabet magnets."

"Hello, this is Sally's microwave. Her answering machine just eloped with her tape deck, so I'm stuck with taking her calls. Say, if you want anything cooked while you leave your message, just hold it up to the phone."

"Hello, you are talking to a machine. I am capable of receiving messages. My owners do not need siding, windows, or a hot tub, and their carpets are clean. They give to charity through their office and do not need their picture taken. If you're still with me, leave your name and number and they will get back to you."

"This is not an answering machine-this is a telepathic thought-recording device. After the tone, think about your name, your reason for calling, and a number where I can reach you, and I'll think about returning your call."

"Hi, this is George. I'm sorry I can't answer the phone right now. Leave a message, and then wait by your phone until I call you back."

"If you are a burglar, then we're probably at home cleaning our weapons right now and can't come to the phone. otherwise, we probably aren't home and it's safe to leave us a message."

"You're growing tired. Your eyelids are getting heavy. You feel very sleepy now. You are gradually losing your willpower and your ability to resist suggestions. When you hear the tone you will feel helplessly compelled to leave your name, number, and a message."

"You have reached the CPX-2000 Voice Blackmail System. Your voice patterns are now being digitally encoded and stored for later use. Once this is done, our computers will be able to use the sound of *your* voice for literally thousands of illegal and immoral purposes. There is no charge for this initial consultation. However our staff of professional extortionists will contact you in the near future to further explain the benefits of our service, and to arrange for your schedule of payment. Remember to speak clearly at the sound of the tone. Thank you.

Please leave a message. However, you have the right to remain silent. Everything you say will be recorded and will be used by us.

The telephone number you have dialled is imaginary. Please rotate your telephone 90 degrees clockwise and try again.

Product Warnings

Some examples of why the human race has probably evolved as far as possible. These are actual instruction labels on consumer goods:

On Sears hairdryer:
Do not use while sleeping.
(Gee, that's the only time I have to work on my hair!)

On a bag of Fritos:
You could be a winner! No purchase necessary. Details inside.
(The shoplifter special!)

On a bar of Dial soap:
Directions: Use like regular soap.
(and that would be .. how??)

On some Swann frozen dinners:
Serving suggestion: Defrost.
(But it's *just* a suggestion!)

On a hotel provided shower cap in a box:
Fits one head.

On Tesco's Tiramisu dessert: (printed on bottom of the box)
Do not turn upside down.
(Too late! You lose!)

On Marks & Spencer Bread Pudding:
Product will be hot after heating.
(Are you sure???)

On packaging for a Rowenta iron:
Do not iron clothes on body.
(But wouldn't that save more time???)

On Boot's Children's cough medicine:
Do not drive car or operate machinery.
(We could do a lot to reduce the rate of construction accidents if we just kept those 5 year olds off those fork lifts!)

On Nytol sleep aid:
Warning: may cause drowsiness.
(One would hope!)

On a string of Chinese-made Christmas lights:
For indoor or outdoor use only.
(As opposed to outer space or underground)

On a Japanese food processor:
Not to be used for the other use.
(Hmmmm, now I'm curious)

On Sainsbury's peanuts:
Warning: contains nuts.
(no comment)

On an American Airlines packet of nuts:
Instructions: open packet, eat nuts.
(what is going on here?)

On a child's Superman costume:
Wearing of this garment does not enable you to fly.
(Way to destroy a universal childhood fantasy!)


The European Union commissioners have announced that agreement has been reached to adopt English as the preferred language for European communications, rather than German, which was the other possibility. As part of the negotiations, the British government conceded that English spelling had some room for improvement and has accepted a five-year phased plan for what will be known as EuroEnglish (Euro for short).

In the first year, "s" will be used instead of the soft "c". Sertainly, sivil servants will resieve this news with joy. Also, the hard "c" will be replaced with "k". Not only will this klear up konfusion, but typewriters kan have one less letter.

There will be growing publik enthusiasm in the sekond year, when the troublesome "ph" will be replaced by "f". This will make words like "fotograf" 20 per sent shorter.

In the third year, publik akseptanse of the new spelling kan be Expekted to reach the stage where more komplikated changes are possible. Governments will enkorage the removal of double letters, which have always ben a deterent to akurate speling. Also, al wil agre that the horible mes of silent "e"s in the languag is disgrasful, and they would go.

By the fourth year, peopl wil be reseptiv to steps such as replasing "th" by "z" and "w" by " v".

During ze fifz year, ze unesesary "o" kan be dropd from vords kontaining "ou", and similar changes vud of kors be aplid to ozer kombinations of leters.

After zis fifz yer, ve vil hav a reli sensibl riten styl. Zer vil be no mor trubls or difikultis and evrivun vil find it ezi tu understand ech ozer.

Ze drem vil finali kum tru.

[Probably inspired by this.]

Noah and the Ark

Noah finally opens the ark after the Great Flood. He has received the command from Above to inform the animals it's time to go forth, be fruitful and multiply. All the animals rush out of the ark, eager to perform that command. The ark is emptied in minutes, except for two snakes which lay there rather sadly.

Noah asks them why they aren't going out to be fruitful and multiply, and they tell him: "We can't multiply ... we're adders."

Noah sits down to think about this for a few moments. He then jumps up with a gleam in his eye, grabs some driftwood and knocks together a table. He gives it to them and says: "Here you go. Even adders can multiply with a log table."

Why there will never be another Great Flood

The Lord spoke to Noah and said, "Noah, 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 and it starts to rain," thundered the Lord. "You better have my ark completed or learn to swim for a long, long time!"

Six months passed, the sky began to cloud up, and the rain began to fall in torrents. The Lord looked down and saw Noah 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 fire-sprinkler system."

"My neighbours objected, claiming that I was violating zoning ordinances by building the 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 the 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 filing an environmental impact statement on your proposed flood. They didn't take kindly to the idea that they had no jurisdiction over the conduct of a Supreme Being."

"Then, 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, "I am to late, the government already has."

You Might Be a Physicist if...

  • The water in your kettle is boiling at 373 Kelvin.
  • You know that the velocity of light is 299,792.5 km/sec.
  • You've already calculated how much you earn per second.
  • You are sure that differential equations are a very useful tool.
  • You are at an air show and know how fast the skydivers are falling.
  • You know the second law of thermodynamics, but not your own shirt size.
  • You avoid stirring your coffee because you don't want to increase the entropy of the universe.
  • You try to explain entropy to strangers at your table during casual dinner conversation.
  • Your three year old son asks why the sky is blue and you try to explain atmospheric absorption theory.
  • You're at a wine tasting event and find yourself paying more attention to the cork screws than the Chardonnay.
  • You carry on a one-hour debate over the expected results of an experiment that actually takes five minutes to run.

Maybe Life Would be Better Without Computers

Apparently, this is a true story:

In March, 1998, David Harris living in Newton (near Boston), Massachusetts received a bill for his as yet unused gas line stating that he owed $0.00. He ignored it and threw it away. In April he received another and threw that one away too.

The following month the gas company sent him a very nasty note stating they were going to cancel his gas line if he didn't send hem $0.00 by return mail. He called them, talked to them, they said it was a computer error and they would take care of it.

The following month he decided that it was about time that he tried out the troublesome gas line figuring that if there were usage on the account it would put an end to his ridiculous predicament. However, when he went to use the gas, it had been cut off. He called the gas company who apologised for the computer error once again and said that they would take care of it.

The next day he got a bill for $0.00 stating that payment was now overdue. Assuming that having spoken to them the previous day the latest bill was yet another mistake and he ignored it, trusting that the company would be as good as their word and sort the problem out. The next month he got a bill for $0.00 stating that he had 10 days to pay his account or the company would have to take steps to recover the debt.

Finally, giving in, he thought he would beat the company at their own game and mailed them a check for $0.00. The computer duly processed his account and returned a statement to the effect that he now owed the gas company nothing at all.

A week later, the man's bank called him asking him what he was doing writing a check for $0.00. After a lengthy explanation the bank replied that the $0.00 check had caused their check processing software to fail. The bank could therefore not process ANY checks from ANY of their customers that day because the check for $0.00 was causing the computer to crash.

The following month the man received a letter from the gas company claiming that his check had bounced and that he now owed them $0.00 and unless he sent a check by return of post they would be taking steps to recover the debt. The man, who had been considering buying his wife a computer for her birthday, bought her a typewriter instead.

Physics Product Disclaimers

These disclaimers ought by rights to be on *every* product sold

WARNING: This Product Warps Space and Time in Its Vicinity.

WARNING: This Product Attracts Every Other Piece of Matter in the universe, Including the Products of Other Manufacturers, with a Force Proportional to the Product of the Masses and Inversely Proportional to the Distance Between Them.

CAUTION: The Mass of This Product Contains the Energy Equivalent of 85 Million Tons of TNT per Net Ounce of Weight.

HANDLE WITH EXTREME CARE: This Product Contains Minute Electrically Charged Particles Moving at Velocities in Excess of Five Hundred Million Miles Per Hour.

CONSUMER NOTICE: Because of the "Uncertainty Principle," It Is Impossible for the Consumer to Find Out at the Same Time Both Precisely Where This Product Is and How Fast It Is Moving.

ADVISORY: There is an Extremely Small but Nonzero Chance That, Through a Process Know as "Tunnelling," This Product May Spontaneously Disappear from Its Present Location and Reappear at Any Random Place in the Universe, Including Your Neighbour's Domicile. The Manufacturer Will Not Be Responsible for Any Damages or Inconvenience That May Result.

READ THIS BEFORE OPENING PACKAGE: According to Certain Suggested Versions of the Grand Unified Theory, the Primary Particles Constituting this Product May Decay to Nothingness Within the Next Four Hundred Million Years.

THIS IS A 100% MATTER PRODUCT: In the Unlikely Event That This Merchandise Should Contact Antimatter in Any Form, a Catastrophic Explosion Will Result.

PUBLIC NOTICE AS REQUIRED BY LAW: Any Use of This Product, in Any Manner Whatsoever, Will Increase the Amount of Disorder in the Universe. Although No Liability Is Implied Herein, the Consumer Is Warned That This Process Will Ultimately Lead to the Heat Death of the Universe.

NOTE: The Most Fundamental Particles in This Product Are Held Together by a "Gluing" Force About Which Little is Currently Known and Whose Adhesive Power Can Therefore Not Be Permanently Guaranteed.

ATTENTION: Despite Any Other Listing of Product Contents Found Hereon, the Consumer is Advised That, in Actuality, This Product Consists Of 99.9999999999% Empty Space.

NEW GRAND UNIFIED THEORY DISCLAIMER: The Manufacturer May Technically Be Entitled to Claim That This Product Is TenDimensional. However, the Consumer Is Reminded That This Confers No Legal Rights Above and Beyond Those Applicable to Three-Dimensional Objects, Since the Seven New Dimensions Are "Rolled Up" into Such a Small "Volume" That They Cannot Be Detected.

PLEASE NOTE: Some Quantum Physics Theories Suggest That When the Consumer Is Not Directly Observing This Product, It May Cease to Exist or Will Exist Only in a Vague and Undetermined State.

COMPONENT EQUIVALENCY NOTICE: The Subatomic Particles (Electrons, Protons, etc.) Comprising This Product Are Exactly the Same in Every Measurable Respect as Those Used in the Products of Other Manufacturers, and No Claim to the Contrary May Legitimately Be Expressed or Implied.

HEALTH WARNING: Care Should Be Taken When Lifting This Product, Since Its Mass, and Thus Its Weight, Is Dependent on Its Velocity Relative to the User.

IMPORTANT NOTICE TO PURCHASERS: The Entire Physical Universe, Including This Product, May One Day Collapse Back into an Infinitesimally Small Space. Should Another Universe Subsequently Re-emerge, the Existence of This Product in That Universe Cannot Be Guaranteed.

The Best Newspaper Headlines of 1998

1. Include Your Children When Baking Cookies
2. Police Begin Campaign to Run Down Jaywalkers
3. Drunks Get Nine Months in Violin Case
4. Iraqi Head Seeks Arms
5. British Left Waffles on Falkland Islands
6. Teacher Strikes Idle Kids
7. Clinton Wins Budget; More Lies Ahead
8. Miners Refuse to Work After Death
9. Juvenile Court to Try Shooting Defendant
10. Stolen Painting Found by Tree
11. Two Sisters Reunited after 18 Years in Checkout Counter
12. War Dims Hope for Peace
13. If Strike Isn't Settled Quickly, It May Last a While
14. Man Struck by Lightning Faces Battery Charge
15. New Study of Obesity Looks for Larger Test Group
16. Kids Make Nutritious Snacks
17. Local High School Dropouts Cut in Half
18. Typhoon Rips through Cemetery; Hundreds Dead

Schrödinger's Cat

The following poetry relates to Schrödinger's Cat. This is a thought-experiment to illustrate an apparent paradox of Quantum Mechanics, namely how a particle which is initially in a superposition of quantum states ends up definitely in one or the other. The hypothetical experiment involves putting a cat in a sealed box with a lethal device triggered (randomly) by a decaying atom such that when the box is opened after an hour, the cat has a 50% chance of survival. According to QM, just before the box is opened, the cat is neither alive, nor dead, but a kind of half-and-half. Of course, that doesn't make sense, but this is what is observed with atoms. Note: One University in the USA was picketed by the Animal Liberation Front over this - of course no one would actually do the experiment for real!


Cecil, you're my final hope
Of finding out the true Straight Dope.
For I have been reading of Schrödinger's cat
But none of my cats are at all like that.
This unusual animal (so it is said)
Is simultaneously live and dead!
What I don't understand is just why he
Can't be one or the other, unquestionably.
My future now hangs in between eigenstates.
In one I'm enlightened, the other I ain't.
If you understand, Cecil, then show me the way
And rescue my psyche from quantum decay.
But if this queer thing has perplexed even you,
Then I will and won't see you in Schrödinger's zoo.


Schrödinger, Erwin! Professor of physics!
Wrote daring equations! Confounded his critics!
(Not bad, eh? Don't worry. This part of the verse
Starts off pretty good, but it gets a lot worse.)
'Win saw that the theory that Newton'd invented
By Einstein's discov'ries had badly been dented.
What now? wailed his colleagues. Said Erwin, "Don't panic,
No grease monkey I, but a quantum mechanic.
Consider electrons. Now these teeny articles
Are sometimes like waves, and then sometimes like particles.
If that's not confusing, the nuclear dance
Of electrons and suchlike is governed by chance!
No sweat, though - my theory permits us to judge
Where some of 'em is and the rest of 'em was."
Not everyone bought this. It threatened to wreck
The comforting linkage of cause and effect.
E'en Einstein had doubts, and so Schrödinger tried
To tell him what quantum mechanics implied.
Said 'Win to Al, "Brother, suppose we've a cat,
And inside a tube we have put that cat at --
Along with a solitaire deck and some Fritos,
A bottle of Night Train, a couple mosquitoes
(Or something else rhyming) and, oh, if you got 'em,
One vial Prussic acid, one decaying ottom
Or atom -- whatever -- but when it emits,
A trigger device blasts the vial into bits
Which snuffs our poor kitty. The odds of this crime
Are 50 to 50 per hour each time.
The cylinder's sealed. The hour's passed away. Is
Our pussy still purring -- or pushing up daisies?
Now you'd say the cat either lives or it don't
But quantum mechanics is stubborn and won't.
Statistically speaking, the cat (goes the joke),
Is half a cat breathing and half a cat croaked.
To some this may seem quite utterly mad,
But quantum mechanics must answer "Too Bad!".
We may not know much, but one thing's fo' sho':
There's things in the cosmos that we cannot know.
Shine light on electrons -- you'll cause them to swerve.
The act of observing disturbs the observed --
Which ruins your test. But if there's no testing
To see if a particle's moving or resting
Why try to conjecture? Pure useless endeavour!
We know probability -- certainty never.'
The effect of this notion? I very much fear
'Twill make doubtful all things that were formerly clear.
Till soon the cat doctors will say in reports,
'We've just flipped a coin and we've learned he's a corpse.'"
So saith Herr Erwin. Quoth Albert, "You're nuts.
God doesn't play dice with the universe, klutz.
I'll prove it!" he said, and the Lord knows he tried --
In vain -- until fin'ly he more or less died.
'Win spoke at the funeral: "Listen, dear friends,
Sweet Al was my buddy. I must make amends.
Though he doubted my theory, I'll say of this saint:
Ten-to-one he's in heaven -- but five bucks says he ain't."

Sung to the tune of "McCavity, the Mystery cat" from "Cats" - Lloyd Webber.

Schrödinger's cat's a mystery cat, he illustrates the laws;
The complicated things he does have no apparent cause;
He baffles the determinist, and drives him to despair
For when they try to pin him down - the quantum cat's not there!

Schrödinger's cat's a mystery cat, he's given to random decisions;
His mass is slightly altered by a cloud of virtual kittens;
The vacuum fluctuations print his traces in the air
But if you try to find him - the quantum cat's not there!

Schrödinger's cat's a mystery cat, he's very small and light,
And if you try to pen him in, he tunnels out of sight;
So when the cruel scientist confined him in a box
With poison-capsules, triggered by bizarre atomic clocks,
He wasn't alive, he wasn't dead, or half of each: I swear
That when they fixed his eigenstate - he simply wasn't there!

An Orchestral Players' Guide for Keeping Conductors in Line

If there were a basic training manual for orchestra players, it might include ways to practise not only music, but one-upmanship. It seems as if many young players take pride in getting the conductor's goat. The following rules are intended as a guide to the development of habits that will irritate the conductor. (Variations and additional methods depend upon the imagination and skill of the player.)

1. Never be satisfied with the tuning note. Fussing about the pitch takes attention away from the podium and puts it on you, where it belongs.

2. When raising the music stand, be sure the top comes off and spills the music on the floor.

3. Complain about the temperature of the rehearsal room, the lighting, crowded space, or a draft. It's best to do this when the conductor is under pressure.

4. Look the other way just before cues.

5. Never have the proper mute, a spare set of strings, or extra reeds. Percussion players must NEVER have all their equipment.

6. Ask for a re-audition or seating change. Ask often. Give the impression you're about to quit. Let the conductor know you're there as a personal favour.

7. Pluck the strings as if you are checking tuning at every opportunity, especially when the conductor is giving instructions. Brass players: drop mutes. Percussionists have a wide variety of droppable items, but cymbals are unquestionably the best because they roll around for several seconds.

8. Loudly blow water from the keys during pauses (Horn, oboe and clarinet players are trained to do this from birth).

9. Long after a passage has gone by, ask the conductor if your C# was in tune. This is especially effective if you had no C# or were not playing at the time. (If he catches you, pretend to be correcting a note in your part.)

10. At dramatic moments in the music (while the conductor is emoting) be busy marking your music so that the climaxes will sound empty and disappointing.

11. Wait until well into a rehearsal before letting the conductor know you don't have the music.

12. Look at your watch frequently. Shake it in disbelief occasionally.

13. Tell the conductor, "I can't find the beat." Conductors are always sensitive about their "stick technique", so challenge it frequently.

14. Ask the conductor if he has listened to the Bernstein recording of the piece. Imply that he could learn a thing or two from it. Also good: ask "Is this the first time you've conducted this piece?"

15. When rehearsing a difficult passage, screw up your face and shake your head indicating that you'll never be able to play it. Don't say anything: make him wonder.

16. If your articulation differs from that of others playing the same phrase, stick to your guns. Do not ask the conductor which is correct until backstage just before the concert.

17. Find an excuse to leave rehearsal about 15 minutes early so that others will become restless and start to pack up and fidget.

18. During applause, smile weakly or show no expression at all. Better yet, nonchalantly put away your instrument. Make the conductor feel he is keeping you from doing something really important.

It is time that players reminded their conductors of the facts of life: just who do conductors think they are, anyway?

Light Bulb Jokes

This must be the definitive list of light bulb jokes..?

Q: How many Californians does it take to change a light bulb?
A: Six. One to turn the bulb, one for support, and four to relate to the experience.

Q: How many Oregonians does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A1: Five. One to change the bulb and four more to chase off the Californians who have come up to relate to the experience.
A2: Nine. One to change the bulb, and eight to protest the nuclear power plant that generates the electricity that powers it.

Q: How many New Yorkers does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A1: None 'o yo' business!
A2: 50. 50? Yeah 50; its in the contract.

Q: How many Psychiatrists does it take to change a light bulb?
A1: Only one, but the bulb has got to really WANT to change.
A2: None; the bulb will change itself when it is ready.

Q: How many software people does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A1: None. That's a hardware problem.
A2: One, but if he changes it, the whole building will probably fall down.
A3: Two. One always leaves in the middle of the project.

Q: How many hardware folks does it take to change a light bulb?
A1: None. That's a software problem.
A2: None. They just have marketing portray the dead bulb as a feature.

Q. How many Windows programmers does it take to change a light bulb?
A: 472. One to write WinGetLightBulbHandle(), one to write WinQueryStatusLightBulb(), one to write WinGetLightSwitchHandle()...

Q. How many managers does it take to change a light bulb?
A: We've formed a task force to study the problem of why light bulbs burn out, and figure out what, exactly, we as supervisors can do to make the bulbs work smarter, not harder.

Q. How many MIS guys does it take to change a light bulb?
A: MIS has received your request concerning your hardware problem, and has assigned your request Service Number 39712. Please use this number for any future reference to this light bulb issue. As soon as a technician becomes available, you will be contacted.

Q. How many WordPerfect support technicians does it take to change a light bulb?
A: We have an exact copy of the light bulb here, and it seems to be working fine. Can you tell me what kind of system you have? Ok. Now, exactly how dark is it? Ok, there could be four or five things wrong . . . have you tried the light switch?

Q. How many Microsoft technicians does it take to change a light bulb?
A: Three: two holding the ladder and one to screw the bulb into a faucet.
Q. How many Microsoft vice presidents does it take to change a light bulb?
A: Eight: one to work the bulb and seven to make sure Microsoft gets $2 for every light bulb ever changed anywhere in the world.

Q: How many Microsoft executives does it take to change a light bulb?
A: We can see no need for uninstallation and have therefore made no provision for light bulbs to be removed.

Q: How many Microsoft support staff does it take to change a light bulb?
A: Four. One to ask "What is the registration number of the light bulb?", one to ask "Have you tried rebooting it?", another to ask "Have you tried reinstalling it?" and the last one to say "It must be your hardware because the light bulb in our office works fine..."

Q. How many testers does it take to change a light bulb?
A: We just noticed the room was dark; we don't actually fix the problems.

Q. How many developers does it take to change a light bulb?
A: The light bulb works fine on the system in my office . . .

Q. How many C++ programmers does it take to change a light bulb?
A: You're still thinking procedurally. A properly designed light bulb object would inherit a change method from a generic light bulb class, so all you'd have to do is send a light bulb change message.

Q. How many shipping dept. personnel does it take to change a light bulb?
A: We can change the bulb in 7-10 working days; if you call before 2pm and pay an extra $15 we can get the bulb changed overnight.

Q: How many QA engineers does it take to screw in a lightbulb?
A: 3: 1 to screw it in, and 2 to say "I told you so" when it doesn't work.

Q. How long does it take a DEC repairman to change a light bulb?
A: It depends on how many burnt-out lightbulbs he brought with him.

Q. How many Windows users does it take to change a lightbulb?
A: One, but s/he'll swear up and down that it was JUST as easy for him as it would be for a Macintosh user.

Q. How many Microsoft engineers does it take to change a light bulb?
A: None, Bill Gates will just redefine Darkness(tm) as the new industry standard.

Q: How many gas fitters does it take to change a light bulb?
A: Three. One to turn up the day before when you're out; One to change the switch; One to bring along the wrong sort of light bulb.

Q: How many gay-rights activists does it take to change a light bulb?
A: None. "The light bulb shouldn't have to change for society to accept it."

Q: How many Unix hacks does it take to change a light bulb?
A: As many as you want; they're all virtual, anyway.

Q: How many Bell Labs Vice Presidents does it take to change a light bulb?
A1: That's proprietary information. Answer available from AT&T on payment of license fee (binary only).
A2: Nearly unanswerable, since the one who tries to change it usually drops it, and the others call for a planning session.
A3: Three. One to get the bulb and two to get the phone number of one of their subordinates to actually change it.

Q: How many graduate students does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A: Only one, but it may take upwards of five years for him to get it done.

Q: How many 'Real Men' does it take to change a light bulb?
A: None: 'Real Men' aren't afraid of the dark.

Q: How many 'Real Women' does it take to change a light bulb?
A: None: A 'Real Woman' would have plenty of real men around to do it.

Q: How many Marxists does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A: None: The light bulb contains the seeds of its own revolution.

Q: How many (Generals/Politicians) does it take to change a light bulb?
A: 1,000,001: One to change the bulb and 1,000,000 to rebuild civilisation to the point where they need light bulbs again.

Q: How many survivors of a nuclear war does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A: None, because people who glow in the dark don't need light bulbs.

Q: How many Russian leaders does it take to change a light bulb?
A: Nobody knows. Russian leaders don't last as long as light bulbs.

Q: How many nuclear engineers does it take to change a light bulb?
A: Seven. One to install the new bulb and six to figure out what to do with the old one for the next 10,000 years.

Q: How many pre-med students does it take to change a light bulb?
A: Five: One to change the bulb and four to pull the ladder out from under him.

Q: How many Christians does it take to change a light bulb?
A: Three, but they're really only one.

Q: How many Christian Scientists does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A: None, but it takes at least one to sit and pray for the old one to go back on.

Q: How many jugglers does it take to change a light bulb?
A: One, but it takes at least three light bulbs.

Q: How many Feminists does it take to change a light bulb?
A: That's not funny!!!

Q: How many economists does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A1: Two. One to assume the ladder and one to change the bulb.
A2: None. If the government would just leave it alone, it would screw itself in.

Q: How many data base people does it take to change a light bulb?
A: Three: One to write the light bulb removal program, one to write the light bulb insertion program, and one to act as a light bulb administrator to make sure nobody else tries to change the light bulb at the same time.

Q: How many Zen masters does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A1: A tree in a golden forest.
A2: Two: one to change the bulb and one not to change it.
A3: One to change and one not to change is fake Zen. The true Zen answer is Four. One to change the bulb.
A4: None. Zen masters carry their own light.

Q: How many Carl Sagans does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A: Billions and billions.

Q: How many folk singers does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A: Two. One to change the bulb, and one to write a song about how good the old light bulb was.

Q: How many surrealists does it take to change a light bulb?
A: Two, one to hold the giraffe, and the other to fill the bathtub with brightly coloured machine tools.

Q: How many gorillas does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A: Only one, but it sure takes a lot of light bulbs!

Q: How many doctors does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A: Three. One to find a bulb specialist, one to find a bulb installation specialist, and one to bill it all to Medicare.

Q: How many [IBM] Technical Writers does it take to change a light bulb?
A1: 100. Ten to do it, and 90 to write document number GC7500439-0001, Multitasking Incandescent Source System Facility, of which 10% of the pages state only "This page intentionally left blank", and 20% of the definitions are of the form "A:...... consists of sequences of non-blank characters separated by blanks".
A2: Just one, provided there's an engineer around to explain how to do it.

Q: How many professors does it take to change a light bulb?
A: Only one, but they get three tech. reports out of it.

Q: How many people from New Jersey does it take to change a light bulb?
A: Three. One to change the light bulb, one to be a witness, and the third to shoot the witness.

Q: How many pagan gods does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A: Two. One to hold the bulb and the other to rotate the planet.

Q: How many cops does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A: None. It turned itself in.

Q: How many lawyers does it take to change a light bulb?
A: How many can you afford?

Q: How many football players does it take to change a light bulb?
A: The entire team! And they all get a semester's credit for it!

Q: How many thought-police does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A: None. There never *was* any light bulb.

Q: How many Federal employees does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A: Sorry, that item has been cut from the budget!

Q: How many sorority sisters does it take to change a light bulb?
A: 51. One to change the bulb, and fifty to sing about the bulb being changed.

Q: How many fraternity guys does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A: Three: One to screw it in, and the other two to help him down off the keg.

Q: How many tuba players does it take to change a light bulb?
A: Five: One to hold the bulb, and four to drink until the room spins.

Q: How many Harvard students does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A: Just one. He grabs the bulb and waits for the world to revolve around him.

Q: How many bureaucrats does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A1: Two. One to assure the everything possible is being done while the other screws the bulb into the water faucet.
A2: Two. One to screw it in and one to screw it up..

Q: How many board meetings does it take to get a light bulb changed?
A: This topic was resumed from last week's discussion, but is incomplete pending resolution of some action items. It will be continued next week. Meanwhile...

Q: How many accountants does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A: What kind of answer did you have in mind?

Q: How many civil servants does it take to change a light bulb?
A: 45. One to change the bulb, and 44 to do the paperwork.

Q: How many junkies does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A: Oh wow, is it like dark, man?

Q: How many auto mechanics does it take to change a light bulb?
A: Five. One to force it with a hammer, and four to go out for more lightbulbs.

Q: How many consultants does it take to change a light bulb?
A: I'll have an estimate for you a week from Monday.

Q: How many theoretical physicists does it take to change a lightbulb?
A: One, but they can only do it if it's a perfectly spherical bulb.

Q: How many U.S marines does it take to screw in a light bulb ?
A: 50. One to screw in the light bulb and the remaining 49 to guard him.

Q: "How many Romulans does it take to screw in a light bulb?"
A: "151, one to screw the light-bulb in, and 150 to self-destruct the ship out of disgrace."

Q: How many editors of Poor Richard's Almanac does it take to replace a light bulb?
A: Many hands make light work.

Q: How many Vulcans does it take to change a light bulb?
A: "Approximately 1.00000000000000000000001"

Q: How many members of the U.S.S. Enterprise does it take to change a light bulb?
A: 7. Scotty will report to Captain Kirk that the light bulb in the Engineering Section is burnt out, to which Kirk will send Bones to pronounce the bulb dead. Scotty, after checking around, notices that they have no more new light bulbs, and complains that he can't see in the dark to tend to his engines. Kirk must make an emergency stop at the next uncharted planet, Alpha Regula IV, to procure a light bulb from the natives. Kirk, Spock, Bones, Sulu, and 3 red shirt security officers beam down. The 3 security officers are promptly killed by the natives, and the rest of the landing party is captured. Meanwhile, back in orbit, Scotty notices a Klingon ship approaching and must warp out of orbit to escape detection. Bones cures the native king who is suffering from the flu, and as a reward the landing party is set free and given all of the light bulbs they can carry. Scotty cripples the Klingon ship and warps back to the planet just in time to beam up Kirk et. al. The new bulb is inserted, and the Enterprise continues with its five year mission.

Q: How many efficiency experts does it take to replace a light bulb?
A: None. Efficiency experts replace only dark bulbs.

Q: How many actors does it take to change a light bulb?
A: Only one. They don't like to share the spotlight.

Q: How many Chinese Red Guards does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A: 10,000 - to give the bulb a cultural revolution.

Q: Do you know how many jazz musicians it takes to change a light bulb?
A: No, but if you hum it, I'll play it.

Q: How many mystery writers does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A: Two, one to screw it almost all the way in and the other to give it a surprising twist at the end.

Q: How many bikers does it take to change a light bulb?
A: It takes two. One to change the bulb, and the other to kick the switch.

Q: How many running-dog lackeys of the bourgeoisie does it take to change a light bulb?
A: Two. One to exploit the proletariat, and one to control the means of production!

Q: How many referral agents does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A: Two: One to screw you out of a fee, and the other to send you to a store where they ran out of bulbs weeks ago.

Q: How many existentialists does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A: Two: One to screw it in and one to observe how the light bulb itself symbolises a single incandescent beacon of subjective reality in a netherworld of endless absurdity reaching out toward a maudlin cosmos of nothingness.

Q: How many dull people does it take to change a light bulb?
A: one.

Q: How many big black monoliths does it take to change a light bulb?
A: Sorry, light bulbs are an evolutionary dead end.

Q: How many light bulbs does it take to change a light bulb?
A: One, if it knows its own Gödel number.

Q: How many dadaists does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A: To get to the other side.

Q: How many mathematicians does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A1: None. It's left to the reader as an exercise.
A2: One. He gives it to six Californians, thereby reducing the problem to an earlier joke.
A3: One. He gives it to five Oregonians, thereby reducing the problem to an earlier joke.
A4: In an earlier article, zeus!bobr writes:
A5: In earlier work, Wiener [1] has shown that one mathematician can change a light bulb.
A6: If k mathematicians can change a light bulb, and if one more simply watches them do it, then k+1 mathematicians will have changed the light bulb. Therefore, by induction, for all n in the positive integers, n mathematicians can change a light bulb.

Q: How many consultants does it take to change a light bulb?
A: We don't know. They never get past the feasibility study.

Q: How many poets does it take to change a light bulb?
A: Three. One to curse the darkness, one to light a candle.......and one to change the bulb.

Q: How many stock brokers does it take to change a light bulb?
A: Two. One to take out the bulb and drop it, and the other to try and sell it before it crashes (knowing that it's already burned out.

Q: How many aides does it take to change President Bush's light bulb?
A: None, they like to keep him in the dark.

Q: How many magicians does it take to change a light bulb?
A: Depends on what you want to change it into.

Q: How many missionaries does it take to change a light bulb?
A: 101. One to change it and 100 to convince everyone else to change light bulbs too.

Q: How many Macintosh users does it take to change a light bulb?
A: None. You have to replace the whole motherboard.

Q: How many Microsoft executives does it take to change a light bulb?
A: We can see no need for uninstallation and have therefore made no provision for light bulbs to be removed.

Q: How many Microsoft support staff does it take to change a light bulb?
A: Four. One to ask "What is the registration number of the light bulb?", one to ask "Have you tried rebooting it?", another to ask "Have you tried reinstalling it?" and the last one to say "It must be your hardware because the light bulb in our office works fine..."

Q: How many men does it take to change a light bulb?
A: 4. One to attempt the lightbulb change, two paramedics and a plumber to put in a new sink!

Q: How many Germans does it take to change a light bulb?
A: One. Germans are efficient, and don't have humour.

Q: How many chickens does it take to change a light bulb?
A: It all depends whether the light bulb shop is across the road.

Q: How many lawyers does it take to change a light bulb?
A: Such number as may be deemed to perform the stated task in a timely and efficient manner within the strictures of the following agreement: [Continued below]

Q: How many Spaniards does it take to change a light bulb?
A: Juan.

Q: How many Brexiteers does it take to change a light bulb?
A: Two. One to promise a brighter future, and the second to screw it up.

Q: How many Golden Retreivers does it take to change a light bulb?
A: The sun is shining, the day is young, we've got our whole lives ahead of us, and you're inside worrying about a stupid burned out bulb?

Q: How many Border Collies does it take to change a light bulb?
A: Just one. And then I'll replace any wiring that's not up to code.

Q: How many Dachshunds does it take to change a light bulb?
A: You know I can't reach that stupid lamp!

Q: How many Rottweilers does it take to change a light bulb?
A: Make me.

Q: How many Boxers does it take to change a light bulb?
A: Who cares? I can still play with my squeaky toys in the dark.

Q: How many Labradors does it take to change a light bulb?
A: Oh, me, me!!!!! Pleeeeeeeeeze let me change the light bulb! Can I? Can I? Huh? Huh? Huh? Can I? Pleeeeeeeeeze, please, please, please!

Q: How many German Shepherds does it take to change a light bulb?
A: I'll change it as soon as I've led these people from the dark, check to make sure I haven't missed any, and make just one more perimeter patrol to see that no one has tried to take advantage of the situation.

Q: How many Jack Russell Terriers does it take to change a light bulb?
A: I'll just pop it in while I'm bouncing off the walls and furniture.

Q: How many Old English Sheep Dogs does it take to change a light bulb?
A: Light bulb? I'm sorry, but I don't see a light bulb!

Q: How many Chihuahuas does it take to change a light bulb?
A: Yo quiero Taco Bulb. Or "We don't need no stinking light bulb."

Q: How many Greyhounds does it take to change a light bulb?
A: It isn't moving. Who cares?

Q: How many Australian Shepherds does it take to change a light bulb?
A: First, I'll put all the light bulbs in a little circle...

Q: How many Poodles does it take to change a light bulb?
A: I'll just blow in the Border Collie's ear and he'll do it. By the time he finishes rewiring the house, my nails will be dry.

Q: How many Cats does it take to change a light bulb?
A: Cats do not change light bulbs. People change light bulbs. So, the real question is: How long will it be before I can expect some light, some dinner, and a massage?

Q: How many Wizards does it take to change a light bulb?
A: None. Wizards don't use electricity.

Q: How many bass players does it take to change a light bulb?
A: One, five, one, five, one, five...

Q: How many grammar-police does it take to change a light bulb?
A: A light bulb is not "changed"; it is "replaced".

Numbers of the Beast

Everyone knows about 666, but here are some of the other numbers of the beast:

  • 660 - Approximate number of the Beast
  • DCLXVI - Roman numeral of the Beast
  • 666.0000 - Number of the High Precision Beast
  • 0.666 - Number of the Millibeast
  • / 666 - Beast Common Denominator
  • (-666)^(1/2) - Imaginary number of the Beast
  • 1010011010 - Binary of the Beast
  • 6, uh... what was that number again? - Number of the Blonde Beast
  • 1-666 - Area code of the Beast
  • 00666 - Zip code of the Beast
  • $665.95 - Retail price of the Beast
  • $699.25 - Price of the Beast plus 5% state sales tax
  • $769.95 - Price of the Beast with all accessories and replacement soul
  • $656.66 - Walmart price of the Beast
  • $646.66 - Next week's Walmart price of the Beast
  • Phillips 666 - Gasoline of the Beast
  • Route 666 - Way of the Beast
  • 666 F - Oven temperature for roast Beast
  • 666k - Retirement plan of the Beast
  • 666 mg - Recommended Minimum Daily Requirement of Beast
  • 6.66 % - 5-year CD interest rate at First Beast of Hell National Bank, $666 minimum deposit.
  • Lotus 6-6-6 - Spreadsheet of the Beast
  • Word 6.66 - Word Processor of the Beast
  • i66686 - CPU of the Beast
  • 666i - BMW of the Beast
  • DSM-666 (revised) - Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of the Beast
  • 668 - Next-door neighbour of the Beast
  • 333 - The semi-Christ
  • 999 - The Number of the Upside-Down Beast
  • 665.9997856 - The Number of the Beast on a Pentium

Why did the Chicken Cross the Road?

Pat Buchanan: To steal a job from a decent, hard-working American.

Machiavelli: The point is that the chicken crossed the road. Who cares why? The ends of crossing the road justify whatever motive there was.

Thomas de Torquemada: Give me ten minutes with the chicken and I'll find out.

Timothy Leary: Because that's the only kind of trip the Establishment would let it take.

Carl Jung: The confluence of events in the cultural gestalt necessitated that individual chickens cross roads. This brought such occurrences into being.

John Locke: Because he was exercising his natural right to liberty.

Albert Camus: It doesn't matter; the chicken's actions have no meaning except to him.

The Bible: And God came down from the heavens, and He said unto the chicken, "Thou shalt cross the road." And the Chicken didst cross the road, and there was much rejoicing.

Fox Mulder: It was a government conspiracy.

Sigmund Freud: The fact that you thought that the chicken crossed the road reveals your underlying sexual insecurity.

Darwin #1: Chickens, over great periods of time, have been naturally selected in such a way that they are now genetically predisposed to cross roads.

Darwin #2: It was the logical next step after coming down from the trees.

Richard M. Nixon: The chicken did not cross the road. I repeat, the chicken did not cross the road.

Oliver Stone: The question is not "Why did the chicken cross the road?" but is rather "Who was crossing the road at the same time whom we overlooked in our haste to observe the chicken crossing?"

Jerry Seinfeld: Why does anyone cross a road? I mean, why doesn't anyone ever think to ask, "What the heck was this chicken doing walking around all over the place anyway?"

Martin Luther King, Jr.: I envision a world where all chickens will be free to cross roads without having their motives called into question.

Immanuel Kant: The chicken, being an autonomous being, chose to cross the road of his own free will.

Grandpa: In my day, we didn't ask why the chicken crossed the road. Someone told us that the chicken had crossed the road, and that was good enough for us.

Dirk Gently (Holistic Detective): I'm not exactly sure why, but right now I've got a horse in my bathroom.

Bill Gates #1: I have just released the new Chicken 2000, which will both cross roads AND balance your checkbook, though when it divides 3 by 2, it gets 1.4999999999.

Bill Gates #2: eChicken2003 will not only cross roads, but will lay eggs, file your important documents, and balance your checkbook - and Internet Explorer is an integral part of eChicken2003.

M.C.Escher: That depends on which plane of reality the chicken was on at the time.

George Orwell: Because the government had fooled him into thinking that he was crossing the road of his own free will, when he was really only serving their interests.

Colonel Sanders: Did I miss one?

Plato: For the greater good.

Aristotle: To actualise its potential.

Karl Marx: It was a historical inevitability.

Nietzsche: Because if you gaze too long across the Road, the Road gazes also across you.

Skinner: Because the external influences, which had pervaded its sensorium from birth, had caused it to develop in such a fashion that it would tend to cross roads, even while believing these actions to be of its own free will.

Jean-Paul Sartre: In order to act in good faith and be true to itself, the chicken found it necessary to cross the road.

Albert Einstein: Whether the chicken crossed the road or the road crossed the chicken depends upon your frame of reference.

Wolfgang Pauli: There was already a chicken on this side.

Pyrrho the Skeptic: What road?

The Sphinx: You tell me.

Buddha: If you ask this question, you deny your own chicken nature.

Emily Dickenson: Because it could not stop for death.

Ralph Waldo Emerson: It didn't cross the road; it transcended it.

Ernest Hemingway: To die. In the rain.

Joseph Stalin: I don't care. Catch it. Crack its eggs to make my omelette.

Dr. Seuss:

Did the chicken cross the road?
Did he cross it with a toad?
Yes the chicken crossed the road,
but why he crossed, I've not been told!
OJ Simpson: It didn't. I was playing golf with it at the time.

Bill Clinton: What is your definition of chicken?

Saddam Hussein: This was an unprovoked act of rebellion and we were quite justified in dropping 50 tons of nerve gas on it.

Saeed Al Sahaf (Iraqi Head of Information): The chicken did not cross the road. This is a complete fabrication. We do not even have a chicken.

George 'W'. Bush: We don't care why the chicken crossed the road. We just want to know if the chicken is on our side of the road or not. The chicken is either for us or against us. There is no middle ground.

Colin Powell: Now to the left of the screen, you can clearly see the satellite image of the chicken crossing the road.

Tony Blair: I agree with George.

Hans Blix: We have reason to believe there is a chicken, but we have not yet been allowed to have access to the other side of the road.

XKCD: It begins over five thousand years ago with the domestication of the red junglefowl in southeast Asia and the development of paved roads in the Sumerian city of Ur.

Andersen Consultant: De-regulation of the chicken's side of the road was threatening its dominant market position. The chicken was faced with significant challenges to create and develop the competencies required for the newly competitive market. Andersen Consulting, in a partnering relationship with the client, helped the chicken by rethinking its physical distribution strategy and implementation processes. Using the Poultry Integration Model (PIM) Andersen helped the chicken use its skills, methodologies, knowledge capital and experiences to align the chicken's people, processes and technology in support of its overall strategy within a Program Management framework. Andersen Consulting convened a diverse cross-spectrum of road analysts and best chickens along with Andersen consultants with deep skills in the transportation industry to engage in a two-day itinerary of meetings in order to leverage their personal knowledge capital, both tacit and explicit, and to enable them to synergise with each other in order to achieve the implicit goals of delivering and successfully architecting and implementing an enterprise-wide value framework across the continuum of poultry cross-median processes. The meeting was held in a park like setting enabling and creating an impactful environment which was strategically based, industry-focused, and built upon a consistent, clear, and unified market message and aligned with the chicken's mission, vision, and core values. This was conducive towards the creation of a total business integration solution. Andersen Consulting helped the chicken change to become more successful.

Kafka: It had been crossing so long it could not remember. As it stopped in the middle to look back, a car sped by, spinning it around. Disoriented, the chicken realized it could no longer tell which way it was going. It stands there still.

Why did the pigeon cross the road?
Because it was the chicken's day off.

Why did the Dinosaur cross the road?
Because the chicken joke hadn't been invented yet.

Why did the chicken cross the Möbius strip?
To get to the other... er...


A Charlotte, North Carolina man, having purchased a case of rare, very expensive cigars, insured them against.....get

Within a month, having smoked his entire stockpile of fabulous cigars, and having yet to make a single premium payment on the policy, the man filed a claim against the insurance company. In his claim, the man stated that he had lost the cigars in "a series of small fires."

The insurance company refused to pay, citing the obvious reason that the man had consumed the cigars in a normal fashion. The man sued...and won!

In delivering his ruling, the judge stated that since the man held a policy from the company in which it had warranted that the cigars were insurable, and also guaranteed that it would insure the cigars against fire, without defining what it considered to be "unacceptable fire," it was obligated to compensate the insured for his loss.

Rather than endure a lengthy and costly appeal process, the insurance company accepted the judge's ruling and paid the man $15,000 for the rare cigars he lost in "the fires." After the man cashed his check, however, the insurance company had him arrested ... on 24 counts of arson!

With his own insurance claim and testimony from the previous case being used as evidence against him, the man was convicted of intentionally burning the rare cigars and sentenced to 24 consecutive one year terms!

Computer Industry Acronyms

  • PCMCIA - People Can't Memorize Computer Industry Acronyms
  • PENTIUM - Produces Erroneous Numbers Through Incorrect Understanding of Mathematics
  • WWW - World Wide Wait
  • COBOL - Completely Obsolete Business Oriented Language
  • CD-ROM - Consumer Device - Rendered Obsolete in Months
  • OS/2 - Obsolete Soon, Too.
  • MIPS - Meaningless Indication of Processor Speed
  • WINDOWS - Will Install Needless Data On Whole System
  • MICROSOFT - Most Intelligent Customers Realize Our Software Only Fools Teenagers
  • APPLE - Arrogance Produces Profit Losing Entity
  • MACINTOSH - Most Applications Crash; If Not, The Operating System Hangs.
  • LISP - Lots of Infuriating & Silly Parenthesis
  • RISC - Reduced Into Silly Code
  • SCSI - System Can't See It
  • DOS - Defective Operating System
  • BASIC - Bill's Attempt to Seize Industry Control
  • IBM - I Blame Microsoft
  • DEC - Do Expect Cuts

Computer Viruses

Beware of the following computer Viruses...

Federal Bureaucrat Virus - Divides your hard disk into hundreds of little units, each of which do practically nothing, but all of which claim to be the most important part of the computer.

Dan Quayle Virus - Their is sumthing rong with your compueter, ewe just can't figyour out watt.

Gallup Poll Virus - Sixty percent of the PC's infected will lose 38% of their data 14 percent of the time (plus or minus a 3.5% margin of error)

Paul Revere Virus - revolutionary Virus - doesn't horse around. It warns you of impending hard disk attack once if by LAN, twice if by C:

Politically Correct Virus - never calls itself a "Virus -," but instead refers to itself as an "electronic micro-organism."

Right to Life Virus - Won't allow you to delete a file regardless of how old it is. If you attempt to erase a file, it requires you first see a counselor about possible alternatives.

Ross Perot Virus - Activates every component in your system just before the whole thing quits.

Mario Cuomo Virus - It would be a great Virus -, but it refuses to run.

Oprah Winfrey Virus - Your 2000 MB hard drive suddenly shrinks to 80 MB, then slowly expands back to 200 MB.

AT&T Virus - Every three minutes it tells you what great service your getting.

MCI Virus - Every three minutes it reminds you that you are paying too much for the AT&T Virus.

Ted Turner Virus - Colorizes your monochrome monitor

Arnold Schwarzennegger Virus - Terminates and stays resident. It'll be back!

Government Economist Virus - Nothing works, but all your diagnostic software says everything is fine.

New World Order Virus - Probably harmless, but it makes a lot of people really mad just thinking about it.

Terry Randle Virus - Yells "Oh no you don't" whenever you choose "Abort" from the "Abort, Retry, Fail" message.

Texas Virus - Makes sure that it's bigger than any other file.

Adam and Eve Virus - Takes a couple of bytes out of your Apple.

Michael Jackson Virus - Hard to identify because it is constantly altering its appearance. This Virus won't harm your PC, but it will trash your car.

Congressional Virus - The computer locks up, screen splits erratically with a message appearing on each half blaming the other side for the problem.

Airline Virus - You're in Dallas, but your data is in Singapore.

Freudian Virus - Your computer becomes obsessed with marrying its own motherboard.

PBS Virus - Your PC stops every few minutes to ask for money.

Elvis Virus - Your computer gets fat, slow and lazy and then self destructs, only to resurface at shopping malls and service stations across rural America.

Ollie North Virus - Turns your printer into a document shredder.

Nike Virus - Just Does It!

Sears Virus - Your data won't appear unless you buy new cables, power supply, and a set of shocks.

Jimmy Hoffa Virus - Nobody can find it.

Congressional Virus - Runs every program on the hard drive simultaneously, but doesn't allow the user to accomplish anything.

Kevorkian Virus - Helps your computer shut down whenever it wants to.

Imelda Marcos Virus - Sings you a song (slightly off key) on boot up then subtracts money from your Quicken account and spends it all on expensive shoes it purchases through Prodigy.

Star Trek Virus - Invades your system in places where no Virus has gone before.

Health Care Virus - Test your system for a day, finds nothing wrong, and sends you a bill for $4,500.

George Bush Virus - It starts by boldly stating, "Read my new files!" on the screen, proceeds to fill up all the free space on your hard drive with new files, then blames it on the Congress Virus.

Cleveland Indians Virus - Makes your 486/50 machine perform like a 286/AT.

LAPD Virus - It claims it feels threatened by the other files on your PC and erases them in "self-defense."

Chicago Cubs Virus - Your PC makes frequent mistakes and comes in last in the reviews, but you still love it.

Windows XP Proposed Error Messages

The following are new error messages that are under consideration for Windows XP:

  1. Enter any 11-digit prime number to continue.
  2. Press any key to continue or any other key to quit.
  3. Press any key except... no, No, NO, NOT THAT ONE!
  4. Bad command or file name! Go stand in the corner.
  5. This will end your Windows session. Do you want to play another game?
  6. Windows message: "Error saving file! Format drive now? (Y/Y)"
  7. This is a message from God Gates: "Rebooting the world. Please log off."
  8. To "shut down" your system, type "WIN"
  9. BREAKFAST.SYS halted... Cereal port not responding.
  10. COFFEE.SYS missing... Insert cup in cup holder and press any key.
  11. File not found. Should I fake it? (Y/N)
  12. Bad or missing mouse. Spank the cat? (Y/N)
  13. Runtime Error 6D at 417A:32CF: Incompetent User.
  14. Error reading FAT record: Try the SKINNY one? (Y/N)
  15. WinErr 16547: LPT1 not found. Use backup. (PENCIL & PAPER.SYS)
  16. User Error: Replace user.
  17. Windows VirusScan 1.0 - "Windows found: Remove it? (Y/N)"
  18. Your hard drive has been scanned and all stolen software titles have been deleted. The police are on the way.
  19. User Error: Intelligence Resource Level Insufficient
  20. Netscape.exe... Bad file name... May we suggest M/S Internet Explorer? (Y/y)

Bureaucracy in 1812

Letter from the Duke of Wellington to the British Foreign Office in London - written from Central Spain, August 1812


Whilst marching from Portugal to a position which commands the approach to Madrid and the French forces, my officers have been diligently complying with your requests which have been sent by H.M. ship from London to Lisbon and thence by dispatch to our headquarters.

We have enumerated our saddles, bridles, tents and tent poles, and all manner of sundry items for which His Majesty's Government holds me accountable. I have dispatched reports on the character, wit, and spleen of every officer. Each item and every farthing has been accounted for, with two regrettable exceptions for which I beg your indulgence.

Unfortunately the sum of one shilling and ninepence remains unaccounted for in one infantry battalion's petty cash and there has been a hideous confusion as the number of jars of raspberry jam issued to one cavalry regiment during a sandstorm in western Spain. This reprehensible carelessness may be related to the pressure of circumstance, since we are war with France, a fact which may come as a bit of a surprise to you gentlemen in Whitehall.

This brings me to my present purpose, which is to request elucidation of my instructions from His Majesty's Government so that I may better understand why I am dragging an army over these barren plains. I construe that perforce it must be one of two alternative duties, as given below. I shall pursue either one with the best of my ability, but I cannot do both:

1. To train an army of uniformed British clerks in Spain for the benefit of the accountants and copy-boys in London or perchance:

2. To see to it that the forces of Napoleon are driven out of Spain.

Your most obedient servant,


Computer Haiku

In Japan, Sony machines have replaced the impersonal and unhelpful Microsoft "error messages" with their own Japanese haiku poetry.

Three things are certain:
Death, taxes, and lost data.
Guess which has occurred.
- - - - - - - - - - - -
Windows NT crashed.
I am the Blue Screen of Death.
No one hears your screams.
- - - - - - - - - -
Seeing my great fault
Through darkening blue windows
I begin again
- - - - - - - - - -
The code was willing,
It considered your request,
But the chips were weak.
- - - - - - - - - -
Printer not ready.
Could be a fatal error.
Have a pen handy?
- - - - - - - - - -
A file that big?
It might be very useful.
But now it is gone.
- - - - - - - - - -
Errors have occurred.
We won't tell you where or why.
Lazy programmers.
- - - - - - - - - -
Chaos reigns within.
Reflect, repent, and reboot.
Order shall return.
- - - - - - - - - -
Login incorrect.
Only perfect spellers may
enter this system.
- - - - - - - - - -
This site has been moved.
We'd tell you where, but then we'd
have to delete you.
- - - - - - - - - -
ABORTED effort:
Close all that you have.
You ask way too much.
- - - - - - - - - -
First snow, then silence.
This thousand dollar screen dies
so beautifully.
- - - - - - - - - -
With searching comes loss
and the presence of absence:
"My Novel" not found.
- - - - - - - - - -
The Tao that is seen
Is not the true Tao, until
You bring fresh toner.
- - - - - - - - - -
The Web site you seek
cannot be located but
countless more exist
- - - - - - - - - -
A crash reduces
your expensive computer
to a simple stone.
- - - - - - - - - -
There is a chasm
of carbon and silicon
the software can't bridge.
- - - - - - - - - -
Yesterday it worked.
Today it is not working.
Windows is like that.
- - - - - - - - - -
To have no errors
would be life without meaning.
No struggle, no joy.
- - - - - - - - - -
Stay the patient course.
Of little worth is your ire.
The network is down.
- - - - - - - - - -
You step in the stream,
but the water has moved on.
This page is not here.
- - - - - - - - - -
No keyboard present.
Hit F1 to continue.
Zen engineering?
- - - - - - - - - -
Out of memory.
We wish to hold the whole sky,
But we never will.
- - - - - - - - - -
Having been erased,
the document you're seeking
must now be retyped.
- - - - - - - - - -
The ten thousand things
How long do any persist?
Netscape, too, has gone.
- - - - - - - - - -
Rather than a beep
or a rude error message,
These words: "File not found."
- - - - - - - - - -
Serious error.
All shortcuts have disappeared
Screen. Mind. Both are blank.

US Army Official Voice Mail Message:

Thank you for calling the United States Army. I'm sorry, but all of our units are out at the moment, or are otherwise engaged. Please leave a message with your country, name of organization, the region, the specific crisis, and a number at which we can call you. As soon as we have sorted out the Balkans, Iraq, Korea, China, the Y2K Bug, marching up and down the streets of Washington, D.C., and compulsory 'Consideration Of Others' training, we will return your call.

Please speak after the tone, or if you require more options, please listen to the following numbers:

  • If your crisis is small, and close to the sea, press 1 for the United States Marine Corps.

  • If your concern is distant, with a temperate climate and good hotels, and can be solved by one or two low risk, high altitude bombing runs, please press 2 for the United States Air Force. Please note this service is not available after 1630 hours, or on weekends. Special consideration will be given to customers requiring satellite or stealth technology who can provide additional research and development funding.

  • If your inquiry concerns a situation which can be resolved by a bit of grey flannel, bunting, flags and a really good marching band, please write, well in advance, to the United States Navy. Please note that Tomahawk missile service is extremely limited and will be provided on a first-come, first-served basis.

  • If your inquiry is not urgent, please press 3 for the Rapid Deployment Force.

  • If you are in real hot trouble, please press 4, and your call will be routed to the United States Army Special Operations Command. Please note that a compulsory credit check will be required to ensure you can afford the inherent TDB costs. Also be aware that USASI may bill your account at any time and is not required to tell you why, as it will be classified.

  • If you are interested in joining the Army and wish to be shouted at, paid little, have premature arthritis, put your wife and family in a condemned hut miles from civilization, and are prepared to work your *** off daily, risking your life, in all weathers and terrains, both day and night, whilst watching Congress erode your original benefits package, then please stay on the line. Your call will shortly be connected to a bitter, passed-over Army Recruiter in an old strip mall down by the Post Office.

Have a pleasant day and thank you again for trying to contact the United States Army.

Soft-Eng at MIT-MC Re: Disastrous Bugs

Well, there was this cement factory that a company [who shall remain nameless], I used to work for built an 8080 based distributed control system for (at the time this was state-of-the-art in process control). The plant crushed boulders into sand before mixing with other things to make cement. The conveyors to the rock crusher (and the crusher itself) were controlled by the 8080s. A batch of defective MOSTEK RAM chips used in the processor had a habit of dropping bits (no parity or ECC), causing at one point the 2nd of a series of 3 conveyors to switch off. This caused a large pile of boulders (about 6-8 feet in diameter) to pile up on top of the conveyor (about 80 feet up), eventually falling off and crushing several cars on the parking lot, and damaging a building. We noticed the problem when we couldn't explain the dull thuds we were hearing in the control room and looked out the window...
You had to be there...

PS: I became a convert to error correcting memories (which were quite expensive at the time, this was 1975), immediately.

PPS: Everyone I know in industrial process control has a dozen of these type stories (all true) to tell. Its just amazing what happens when you let computers control BIG things.

write-only memory n. The obvious antonym to `read-only memory'.

Out of frustration with the long and seemingly useless chain of approvals required of component specifications, during which no actual checking seemed to occur, an engineer at Signetics once created a specification for a write-only memory and included it with a bunch of other specifications to be approved. This inclusion came to the attention of Signetics management only when regular customers started calling and asking for pricing information. Signetics published a corrected edition of the data book and requested the return of the `erroneous' ones. Later, in 1972, Signetics bought a double-page spread in "Electronics" magazine's April issue and used the spec as an April Fools' Day joke. Instead of the more conventional characteristic curves, the 25120 "fully encoded, 9046 x N, Random Access, write-only-memory" data sheet included diagrams of "bit capacity vs. Temp.", "Iff vs. Vff", "Number of pins remaining vs. number of socket insertions", and "AQL vs. selling price". The 25120 required a 6.3 VAC VFF supply, a +10V VCC, and VDD of 0V, +/- 2%.

The Diary of a Systems Administrator

This is part of the infamous BOFH series



User called to say they forgot password. Told them to use password retrieval utility called FDISK. Blissfully ignorant, they thank me and hang up. God, we let these people vote and drive, too?


Accounting called to say they couldn't access expense reports database. Gave them Standard Sys Admin Answer #112, "Well, it works for me." Let them rant and rave while I unplugged my coffeemaker from the UPS and plugged their server back in. Suggested they try it again. One more happy customer...

8:14 am

User from 8:05 call said they received error message "Error accessing Drive 0." Told them it was an OS problem. Transferred them to microsupport.

11:00 am

Relatively quiet for last few hours. Decide to plug support phone back in so I can call my girlfriend. Says parents are coming into town this weekend. Put her on hold and transferred her to janitorial closet down in basement. What is she thinking? The "Myst" and "Doom" nationals are this weekend!

11:34 am

Another user calls (do they ever learn?). Says they want ACL changed on HR performance review database so that nobody but HR can access database. Tell them no problem. Hang up. Change ACL. Add @MailSend so performance reviews are sent to */US.

12:00 pm


3:30 pm

Return from lunch.

3:55 pm

Wake up from nap. Bad dream makes me cranky. Bounce servers for no reason. Return to napping.

4:23 pm

Yet another user calls. Wants to know how to change fonts on form. Ask them what chip set they're using. Tell them to call back when they find out.

4:55 pm

Decide to run "Create Save/Replication Conflicts" macro so next shift has something to do.


8:30 am

Finish reading support log from last night. Sounded busy. Terrible time with Save/Replication conflicts.

9:00 am

Support manager arrives. Wants to discuss my attitude. Click on PhoneNotes SmartIcon. "Love to, but kinda busy. Could you put something in the calendar database!" I yell as I grab for the support lines, which have (mysteriously) lit up. Walks away grumbling.

9:35 pm

Team leader from R&D needs ID for new employee. Tell them they need form J-19R=9C9\\DARR\K1. Say they never heard of such a form. Tell them it's in the SPECIAL FORMS database. Say they never heard of such a database. Transfer them to janitorial closet in basement.

10:00 am

Perky sounding intern from R&D calls and says she needs new ID. Tell her I need employee number, department name, manager name, and marital status. Run @DbLookup against state parole board database, Centers for Disease Control database, and my Oprah Winfrey database. No hits. Tell her ID will be ready tonight. Drawing from the lessons learned in last week's "Reengineering for Customer Partnership," I offer to personally deliver ID to her apartment.

10:07 am

Janitor stops by to say he keeps getting strange calls in basement. Offer to train him on Notes. Begin now. Let him watch console while I grab a smoke.

1:00 pm

Return from smoking break. Janitor says phones kept ringing, so he transferred them to cafeteria lady. I like this guy.

1:05 pm

Big commotion! Support manager falls in hole left where I pulled floor tiles outside his office door. Stress to him importance of not running in computer room, even if I do yell "Omigod -- Fire!"

1:15 pm

Development Standards Committee calls and complains about umlauts in form names. Apologizing for the inconvenience, I tell them I will fix it. Hang up and run global search/replace using gaks.

1:20 pm

Mary Hairnet from cafeteria calls. Says she keeps getting calls for "Notice Loads" or "NoLoad Goats," she's not sure, couldn't hear over industrial-grade blender. Tell her it was probably "Lettuce Nodes." Maybe the food distributor with a new product? She thinks about it and hangs up.

2:00 pm

Legal secretary calls and says she lost password. Ask her to check in her purse, floor of car, and on bathroom counter. Tell her it probably fell out of back of machine. Suggest she put duct tape over all the airvents she can find on the PC. Grudgingly offer to create new ID for her while she does that.

2:49 pm

Janitor comes back. Wants more lessons. I take off rest of day.


8:30 am

Irate user calls to say chipset has nothing to do with fonts on form. Tell them of course, they should have been checking "Bitset," not "chipset." Sheepish user apologizes and hangs up.


Support manager, with foot in cast, returns to office. Schedules 10:00am meeting with me. User calls and wants to talk to support manager about terrible help at support desk. Tell them manager about to go into meeting. Sometimes life hands you material...

10:00 am

Call Louie in janitorial services to cover for me. Go to support manager's office. He says he can't dismiss me but can suggest several lateral career moves. Most involve farm implements in third-world countries with moderate to heavy political turmoil. By and by, I ask if he's aware of new bug which takes full-text indexed random e-mail databases and puts all references to furry handcuffs and Bambi Boomer in Marketing on the corporate Web page. Meeting is adjourned as he reaches for keyboard, Web browser, and Tums.

10:30 am

Tell Louie he's doing great job. Offer to show him mainframe corporate PBX system sometime.

11:00 am


4:55 pm

Return from lunch.

5:00 pm

Shift change; Going home.


8:00 am

New guy ("Marvin") started today. "Nice plaids" I offer. Show him server room, wiring closet, and technical library. Set him up with IBM PC-XT. Tell him to quit whining, Notes runs the same in both monochrome and color.

8:45 am

New guy's PC finishes booting up. Tell him I'll create new ID for him. Set minimum password length to 64. Go grab smoke.

9:30 am

Introduce Louie the custodian to Marvin. "Nice plaids" Louie comments. Is this guy great or what?!

11:00 am

Beat Louie in dominos game. Louie leaves. Fish spare dominos out of sleeves ("Always have backups"). User calls, says Accounting server is down. Untie Ethernet cable from radio antenna (better reception) and plug back into hub. Tell user to try again. Another happy customer!

11:55 am

Brief Marvin on Corporate Policy 98.022.01: "Whereas all new employee beginning on days ending in 'Y' shall enjoy all proper aspects with said corporation, said employee is obligated to provide sustenance and relief to senior technical analyst on shift." Marvin doubts. I point to "Corporate Policy" database (a fine piece of work, if I say so myself!). "Remember, that's DOUBLE pepperoni and NO peppers!" I yell to Marvin as he steps over open floor tile to get to exit door.

1:00 pm

Oooooh! Pizza makes me so sleepy...

4:30 pm

Wake from refreshing nap. Catch Marvin scanning want ads.

5:00 pm

Shift change. Flick HR's server off and on several times (just testing the On/Off button...). See ya tomorrow.


8:00 am

Night shift still trying to replace power supply in HR server. Told them it worked fine before I left.

9:00 am

Marvin still not here. Decide I might start answering these calls myself. Unforward phones from Mailroom.

9:02 am

Yep. A user call. Users in Des Moines can't replicate. Me and the Oiuji board determine it's sunspots. Tell them to call Telecommunications.

9:30 am

Good God, another user! They're like ants. Says he's in San Diego and can't replicate with Des Moines. Tell him it's sunspots, but with a two-hour difference. Suggest he reset the time on the server back two hours.

10:17 am

Pensacola calls. Says they can't route mail to San Diego. Tell them to set server ahead three hours.

11:00 am

E-mail from corporate says for everybody to quit resetting the time on their servers. I change the date stamp and forward it to Milwaukee.

11:20 am

Finish @CoffeeMake macro. Put phone back on hook.

11:23 am

Milwaukee calls, asks what day it is.

11:25 am

Support manager stops by to say Marvin called in to quit. "So hard to get good help..." I respond. Support manager says he has appointment with orthopedic doctor this afternoon, and asks if I mind sitting in on the weekly department head meeting for him. "No problem!"

11:30 am

Call Louie and tell him opportunity knocks and he's invited to a meeting this afternoon. "Yeah, sure. You can bring your snuff" I tell him.

12:00 am


1:00 pm

Start full backups on UNIX server. Route them to device NULL to make them fast.

1:03 pm

Full weekly backups done. Man, I love modern technology!

2:30 pm

Look in support manager's contact management database. Cancel 2:45 pm appointment for him. He really should be at home resting, you know.

2:39 pm

New user calls. Says want to learn how to create a connection document. Tell them to run connection document utility CTRL-ALT-DEL. Says PC rebooted. Tell them to call microsupport.

2:50 pm

Support manager calls to say mixup at doctor's office means appointment cancelled. Says he's just going to go on home. Ask him if he's seen corporate Web page lately.

3:00 pm

Another (novice) user calls. Says periodic macro not working. Suggest they place @DeleteDocument at end of formula. Promise to send them document addendum which says so.

4:00 pm

Finish changing foreground color in all documents to white. Also set point size to "2" in help databases.

4:30 pm

User calls to say they can't see anything in documents. Tell them to go to view, do a "Edit -- Select All", hit delete key, and then refresh. Promise to send them document addendum which says so.

4:45 pm

Another user calls. Says they can't read help documents. Tell them I'll fix it. Hang up. Change font to Wingdings.

4:58 pm

Plug coffee maker into Ethernet hub to see what happens. Not (too) much.

5:00 pm

Night shift shows up. Tell them the hub is acting funny and to have a good weekend.

Your Deity: Quality Feedback Questionnaire

God would like to thank you for your belief and patronage. In order to better serve your needs, God asks that you take a few moments to answer the following questions. Please keep in mind that your responses will be kept completely confidential, and that you need not disclose your name or address unless you prefer a direct response to comments or suggestions.

1. How did you find out about your deity?

__ Newspaper
__ Bible
__ Torah
__ Television
__ Book of Mormon
__ Divine Inspiration
__ Dead Sea Scrolls
__ My Mama Done Tol' Me
__ Near Death Experience
__ Near Life Experience
__ National Public Radio
__ Tabloid
__ Burning Shrubbery
__ Other  (specify): _____________

2. Which model deity did you acquire?

__ Yahweh
__ Father, Son & Holy Ghost [Trinity Pak]
__ Jehovah
__ Jesus
__ Krishna
__ Zeus and entourage [Olympus Pak]
__ Odin and entourage [Valhallah Pak]
__ Allah
__ Satan
__ Gaia/Mother Earth/Mother Nature
__ None of the above, I was taken in by a false god

3. Did your God come to you undamaged, with all parts in good working
 order and with no obvious breakage or missing attributes?

__ Yes  __ No

If no, please describe the problems you initially encountered here.
Please indicate all that apply:

__ Not eternal
__ Finite in space/Does not occupy or inhabit the entire cosmos
__ Not omniscient
__ Not omnipotent
__ Not infinitely plastic (incapable of being all things to all creatures)
__ Permits sex outside of marriage
__ Prohibits sex outside of marriage
__ Makes mistakes (Geraldo Rivera; Michael Jackson)
__ Makes or permits bad things to happen to good people
__ When beseeched, does not stay beseeched
__ Requires burnt offerings
__ Requires virgin sacrifices

4. What factors were relevant in your decision to acquire a deity?
Please check all that apply.

__ Indoctrinated by parents
__ Needed a reason to live
__ Indoctrinated by society
__ Needed focus whom to despise
__ Imaginary friend grew up
__ Wanted to know Jesus in the Biblical sense
__ Hate to think for myself
__ Wanted to meet girls/boys
__ Fear of death
__ Wanted to irritate parents
__ Needed a day away from work
__ Desperate need for certainty
__ Like organ music
__ Need to feel morally superior
__ Thought Jerry Falwell was cool
__ Rocks were falling out of the sky
__ My shrubbery caught fire and a loud voice commanded me to do it.

5. Have you ever worshipped a deity before? If so, which false god were
you fooled by? Please check all that apply.

__ Mick Jagger
__ Cthulhu
__ Baal
__ The Almighty Dollar
__ Bill Gates
__ Left-Wing Liberalism
__ The Radical Right
__ Ra
__ Beelzebub
__ Barney T.B.P.D.
__ The Great Spirit
__ The Great Pumpkin
__ The Sun
__ Elvis
__ Cindy Crawford
__ The Moon
__ Burning shrubbery
__ Other: ________________

6. Are you currently using any other source of inspiration in addition
to God? Please check all that apply.

__ Tarot
__ Lottery
__ Astrology
__ Television
__ Fortune cookies
__ Ann Landers
__ Psychic Friends Network
__ Dianetics
__ Palmistry
__ Playboy and/or Playgirl
__ Self-help books
__ Sex, Drugs, Rock and Roll
__ Biorhythms
__ Alcohol
__ Bill Clinton
__ Tea Leaves
__ EST
__ The Internet
__ Mantras
__ Jimmy Swaggert
__ Crystals (not including Crystal Gayle)
__ Human Sacrifice
__ Pyramids
__ Wandering Around a Desert
__ Insurance Policies
__ Burning Shrubbery
__ Barney T.B.P.D.
__ Teletubbies
__ Other:_____________________
__ None

7. God employs a limited degree of Divine Intervention to preserve the
balanced level of felt presence and blind faith.

Which would you prefer (circle one)?
a. More Divine Intervention
b. Less Divine Intervention
c. Current level of Divine Intervention is just right
d. Don't know...what's Divine Intervention?

8. God also attempts to maintain a balanced level of disasters and
miracles.  Please rate on a scale of 1 - 5 his handling of the
(1=unsatisfactory, 5=excellent):

A. Disasters:
Flood                   1   2   3   4   5
Famine                  1   2   3   4   5
Earthquake              1   2   3   4   5
War                     1   2   3   4   5
Pestilence              1   2   3   4   5
Plague                  1   2   3   4   5
SPAM                    1   2   3   4   5
AOL                     1   2   3   4   5
Ken Starr               1   2   3   4   5

B. Miracles:
Rescues                                  1   2   3   4   5
Spontaneous remissions                   1   2   3   4   5
Stars hovering over jerkwater towns      1   2   3   4   5
Crying statues                           1   2   3   4   5
Water changing to wine                   1   2   3   4   5
Walking on water                         1   2   3   4   5
VCRs that set their own clocks           1   2   3   4   5
Saddam Hussein still alive               1   2   3   4   5
Getting any sex whatsoever               1   2   3   4   5

9. Do you have any additional comments or suggestions for improving the
quality of God's services?
(Attach an additional sheet if necessary)


If you are able to complete the questionnaire and return it to one of
our conveniently located drop-off boxes by October 30, you will be
entered in the One Free Miracle of Your Choice drawing (chances of winning are
approximately one in 6.023 x 10 to the 23rd power, depending on number
of beings entered).

Thank You,
Clerk of the Supreme Being of the Apocalypse

What Does It Add Up To?

A Mathematician, a Biologist and a Physicist are sitting at a street cafe watching people going in and coming out of the house on the other side of the street. First they see two people going into the house. Time passes. After a while they notice three persons coming out of the house.

The Physicist says: "The measurement wasn't accurate."

The Biologist concludes: "They have reproduced."

The Mathematician says: "If another person enters the house, it will be empty again!"

Murder Most Foul

Tired of constantly being broke, and stuck in an unhappy marriage, a young husband decided to solve both problems by taking out a large insurance policy on his wife (with himself as the beneficiary), and arranging to have her killed.

A "friend of a friend" put him in touch with a notorious underworld figure, who went by the name of "Artie".

Artie explained to the husband that his going price for snuffing out a spouse was $5,000.

The husband said he was willing to pay that amount, but that he wouldn't have any cash on hand until he could collect his wife's insurance money.

Artie insisted on being paid SOMETHING up front.

The man opened up his wallet, displaying the single dollar bill that rested inside.

Artie sighed, rolled his eyes, and reluctantly agreed to accept the dollar as down payment for the dirty deed.

A few days later, Artie followed the man's wife to the local Safeway grocery store. There, he surprised her in the produce department, and proceeded to strangle her with his gloved hands.

As the poor unsuspecting woman drew her last breath and slumped to the floor, the manager of the produce department stumbled unexpectedly onto the scene.

Unwilling to leave any witnesses behind, Artie had no choice but to strangle the produce manager as well.

Unbeknownst to Artie, the entire proceedings were captured by hidden cameras and observed by the store's security guard, who immediately called the police.

Artie was caught and arrested before he could leave the store. Under intense questioning at the police station, Artie revealed the sordid plan, including his financial arrangements with the hapless husband.

And that is why, the next day in the newspaper, the headline declared...



Tales from IT Support

These are true stories from help desks around the country (USA).

At 3:37 a.m. on a Sunday, I had just looked at the clock to determine my annoyance level, when I received a frantic phone call from a new user of a Macintosh Plus. She had gotten her entire family out of the house and was calling from her neighbour's. She had just received her first system error and interpreted the picture of the bomb on the screen as a warning that the computer was going to blow up.

Tech Support: "I need you to right-click on the Open Desktop."
Customer: "Ok."
Tech Support: "Did you get a pop-up menu?"
Customer: "No."
Tech Support: "Ok. Right click again. Do you see a pop-up menu?"
Customer: "No."
Tech Support: "Ok, sir. Can you tell me what you have done up until this point?"
Customer: "Sure, you told me to write 'click' and I wrote 'click'."
(At this point I had to put the caller on hold to tell the rest of the tech support staff what had happened. I couldn't, however, stop from giggling when I got back to the call.)
Tech Support: "Ok, did you type 'click' with the keyboard?"
Customer: "I have done something dumb, right?"

One woman called Dell's toll-free line to ask how to install the batteries in her laptop. When told that the directions were on the first page of the manual the woman replied angrily, "I just paid $2,000 for this damn thing, and I'm not going to read the book."

Customer: "I received the software update you sent, but I am still getting the same error message."
Tech Support: "Did you install the update?"
Customer: "No. Oh, am I supposed to install it to get it to work?"

Customer: "I'm having trouble installing Microsoft Word."
Tech Support: "Tell me what you've done."
Customer: "I typed 'A:SETUP'."
Tech Support: "Ma'am, remove the disk and tell me what it says."
Customer: "It says '[PC manufacturer] Restore and Recovery disk'."
Tech Support: "Insert the MS Word setup disk."
Customer: "What?"
Tech Support: "Did you buy MS word?"
Customer: "No..."

Tech Support: "Ok, in the bottom left hand side of the screen, can you see the 'OK' button displayed?"
Customer: "Wow. How can you see my screen from there?"

Customer: "Uhh...I need help unpacking my new PC."
Tech Support: "What exactly is the problem?"
Customer: "I can't open the box."
Tech Support: "Well, I'd remove the tape holding the box closed and go from there."
Customer: "Uhhhh...ok, thanks...."

Customer: "I'm having a problem installing your software. I've got a fairly old computer, and when I type 'INSTALL', all it says is 'Bad command or file name'."
Tech Support: "Ok, check the directory of the A: drive-go to A:\ and type 'dir'."
Customer reads off a list of file names, including 'INSTALL.EXE'.
Tech Support: "All right, the correct file is there. Type 'INSTALL' again."
Customer: "Ok." (pause) "Still says 'Bad command or file name'."
Tech Support: "Hmmm. The file's there in the correct place.. it can't help but do something. Are you sure you're typing I-N-S-T-A-L-L and hitting the Enter key?"
Customer: "Yes, let me try it again." (pause) "Nope, still 'Bad command or file name'."
Tech Support: (now really confused) "Are you sure you're typing I-N-S-T-A-L-L and hitting the key that says 'Enter'?"
Customer: "Well, yeah. Although my 'N' key is stuck, so I'm using the 'M'key...does that matter?

At our company we have asset numbers on the front of everything. They give the location, name, and everything else just by scanning the computer's asset barcode or using the number beneath the bars.
Customer: "Hello. I can't get on the network."
Tech Support: "Ok. Just read me your asset number so we can open an outage."
Customer: "What is that?"
Tech Support: "That little barcode on the front of your computer."
Customer: "Ok. Big bar, little bar, big bar, big bar . . ."

Customer: "I got this problem. You people sent me this install disk, and now my A: drive won't work."
Tech Support: "Your A drive won't work?"
Customer: "That's what I said. You sent me a bad disk, it got stuck in my drive, now it won't work at all."
Tech Support: "Did it not install properly? What kind of error messages did you get?"
Customer: "I didn't get any error message. The disk got stuck in the drive and wouldn't come out. So I got these pliers and tried to get it out. That didn't work either."
Tech Support: "You did what sir?"
Customer: "I got these pliers, and tried to get the disk out, but it wouldn't budge. I just ended up cracking the plastic stuff a bit."
Tech Support: "I don't understand sir, did you push the eject button?"
Customer: "No, so then I got a stick of butter and melted it and used a turkey baster and put the butter in the drive, around the disk, and that got it loose. Then I used the pliers and it came out fine. I can't believe you would send me a disk that was broke and defective."
Tech Support: "Let me get this clear. You put melted butter in your A:drive and used pliers to pull the disk out?"
At this point, I put the call on the speaker phone and motioned at the other techs to listen in.
Tech Support: "Just so I am absolutely clear on this, can you repeat what you just said?"
Customer: "I said I put butter in my A: drive to get your crappy disk out, then I had to use pliers to pull it out."
Tech Support: "Did you push that little button that was sticking out when the disk was in the drive, you know, the thing called the disk eject button?"
Tech Support: "Sir?"
Customer: "Yes."
Tech Support: "Sir, did you push the eject button?"
Customer: "No, but you people are going to fix my computer, or I am going to sue you for breaking my computer?"
Tech Support: "Let me get this straight. You are going to sue our company because you put the disk in the A: drive, didn't follow the instructions we sent you, didn't actually seek professional advice, didn't consult your user's manual on how to use your computer properly, instead proceeding to pour butter into the drive and physically rip the disk out?"
Customer: "Ummmm."
Tech Support: "Do you really think you stand a chance, since we do record every call and have it on tape?"
Customer: (now rather humbled) "But you're supposed to help!"

While working in tech support, I received a call from a user who asked me to install some piece of software on her machine. While installing, there was a bit of a wait so I tried to make small talk. I said, "This machine is slow, isn't it?" She replied, "Well, I have a friend who has Quicken on her machine. If I install it on this machine, will it run faster?"

Customer: "I want a system that I can afford, but not one that will go obsolete in six or seven years."

Tech Support: "What does the screen say now?"
Customer: "It says, 'Hit ENTER when ready'."
Tech Support: "Well?"
Customer: "How do I know when it's ready?"

I once got an especially helpful reply to a question I asked on Microsoft's on-line tech support service. I wrote back to thank them for a complete and concise reply and said how much I appreciated it.

The next day I had a response: "We are looking in to the problem and will contact you with a solution as soon as possible."

Customer: "I have MS Office, but whenever I try to make a backup of the disks, my machine says it's not able to. Can you give me Microsoft's telephone number so I can call them and complain?"
Tech Support: (grinning ecstatically) "OF COURSE I CAN!!!!!!"

While working as the UNIX support for a major computer distribution company, I had more fun with the people in the warehouse then should be allowed. My pager went off with the message, "Program is down." I called to the warehouse lead, and the following ensued:

Him: "Bay F is not working; come over and fix it."
Me: "Fine, let's go take a look."

As we entered the warehouse I saw the problem before we even get to the bay itself. The bay was gone. I don't mean missing, I mean destroyed. The printers were in pieces all over the floor, the table was spread out about twelve feet, and the Wyse terminal was hanging from one of the blades of a fork lift.

I looked at the guy incredulously, but he was perfectly straight-faced. He wanted me to fix a bay they ran over with a construction vehicle.

Customer: "Hello, yes, my system is crushed!"
Tech Support: "Crushed?"
Customer: "Yes, that is what I said, crushed."
Tech Support: "Oh, your system has crashed..."
Customer: "Yes, I cannot do anything, my mouse will not work, and I can't see anything on the screen. I need it fixed now!"
Tech Support: "Ok, I need some history on this problem. What was the last thing you did before the system crashed?"
Customer: "Well, after I stood on the computer to hang a picture, my machine was crushed."
Tech Support: "Oh, so your system has been crushed..."

Fact: Boston Computer Museum sells chocolate bars shaped like floppy disks.
Fact: Three year old kids see Daddy boot his computer using a floppy to play games.
Fact: Computers are warm inside...even some quite expensive computers.
I don't want to talk about it.

Customer: "Where can I get a BIOS upgrade for by 286 computer?"
Tech Support: "The unit should have been shipped with the latest bios."
Customer: "Well, I upgraded the processor myself, and my computer doesn't seem to work."
Tech Support: "What did you upgrade the processor to?"
Customer: "I upgraded it to a 486DX-50."
Tech Support: "Sir...the 286 chip is soldered on the motherboard!"
Customer: "I know, I took out my handy soldering iron and took it out and put the 486 on myself."
Tech Support: "Sir, the 486 is bigger than the 286."
Customer: "I know, I had to use quite a bit of solder to solder the extra pins together."

The Hi-Tech Radio

This lady always wanted an expensive car -- a status symbol to drive around and be seen in. She scrimps and saves, goes to the dealer, and plops down several years income for a brand new state-of-the-art, computer enhanced, dream mobile.

She's driving off. Decides she wants some music and searches for the radio. The dashboard looks like a control panel at NASA. She fiddles with this button, that gizmo... jiggles these and those, but finally gives up. Can't find the darned thing.

Furious, she races back to the dealership and screams at the salesman. Tells him they forgot to install the radio.

He assures her it's right there in front of her. It's hooked into the onboard computer. All she has to do is tell it what she wants. He demonstrates: "Classical", he says.


The car fills with the sounds of Paganini.

"Blues", he says, and *click* a B.B. King classic plays.

She drives off amazed. "Country", she says, and *click* a Garth Brooks tune comes on. "Folk" *click* Joan Baez sings about the night they drove ol' Dixie down. "New Age" *click* Yanni at the Acropolis snaps on. She's so captivated by this new toy that she isn't paying much attention to the road. Another driver runs a light and cuts her off.

"JERK!!!" she screams.


"Good morning, Ladies and Gentlemen we're here at the White House where President Bush is about to address the nation."

New Conversion Rates

  • 2 monograms = 1 diagram
  • 1000 billion microphones = 1 megaphone
  • 2000 mockingbirds = two kilomockingbird
  • 10 cards = 1 decacards
  • 1/2 lavatory = 1 demijohn
  • 1 millionth of a fish = 1 microfiche
  • 453.6 graham crackers = 1 pound cake
  • 10 rations = 1 decoration
  • 10 millipedes = 1 centipede
  • 3 1/3 tridents = 1 decadent
  • 10 monologues = 5 dialogues
  • 4 nickels = 2 paradigms
  • 2 baby sitters = 1 gramma grampa
  • 1 million bicycles = 2 megacycles

New Elements On The Periodic Table

Woman: Wo
ATOMIC MASS: Accepted as 53.6 kg but may vary from 40 kg to 200 kg
OCCURRENCE: Copious quantities throughout the world.
  1. Generally round in form.
  2. Surface usually covered with a painted film.
  3. Boils at nothing, freezes without reason.
  4. Melts if given special treatment.
  5. Bitter if incorrectly used.
  6. Found in various states ranging from virgin metal to common ore.
  7. Yields to pressure applied to correct points.
  1. Has great affinity for gold, silver, platinum and precious stones.
  2. Absorbs great quantities of expensive substances.
  3. May explode without prior warning, and for no known reason.
  4. Insoluble in liquids, but activity greatly increased by saturation in alcohol.
  5. Most powerful money-reducing agent known to man.
  6. Several allotropes commonly found eg: divorcee, Dolly bird, Shrew, Nag
  1. Pure specimen turns rosy pink when discovered in natural state.
  2. Turns green when placed beside a better specimen.
  3. Prime specimens exhibit strong magnetic attraction which decays with age.
  1. Highly ornamental, especially in sports car.
  2. An extremely good catalyst for disintegration of wealth.
  3. Can be a great aid to relaxation.
  4. Very effective cleaning agent.
  1. Highly dangerous except in experienced hands.
  2. Illegal to possess more than one concurrently, although several can be maintained at different
    locations as long as specimens do not come in direct contact with each other: severe explosion hazard!!
  3. Extremely volatile when disposing of, regardless of level of caution and care exercised.
  4. May unexpectedly change state, esp. after application of gold ring

Man: XY
DISCOVERER:Eve (discovered by accident one day when she had a craving for ribs)
COMMON NAMES(s):Varies anywhere from John to !@#$&*!
ATOMIC MASS:180 +/-100 kg
OCCURRENCE:Found following dual element Wo, often in high concentration near a perfect Wo specimen.
  1. Solid at room temperature, but easily gets bent out of shape.
  2. Fairly dense and sometimes flaky.
  3. Specimens can be found in various states ranging from deeply sensitive to extremely thick.
  4. Gains considerable mass as specimen ages, loses reactive nature.
  5. Difficult to find a pure sample.
  6. Due to rust, ageing samples are unable to conduct electricity as easily as young, fresh samples.
  7. Surface often covered with hair bristly in some areas, soft in others.
  8. Boils when inconvenienced, freezes when faced with Logic and Common Sense, melts if treated like a God.
  9. When pressure is applied, becomes stiff and unyielding; yields only when subtlety, subterfuge, flattery are applied.
  1. All forms desire reaction with Wo, even when no further reaction is possible.
  2. May react with several Wo isotopes in short period under extremely favourable conditions.
  3. Usually willing to react with what ever is available.
  4. Most powerful embittering and aggravating agent known to Wo.
  5. Becomes explosive when mixed with Kd (element Kid) for a prolonged period of time.
  6. Neutralize by saturating with alcohol.
  7. Is repelled by most household appliances and small children clothed in diapers.
  8. Is neutral to common courtesy and fairness.
TESTS:Pure specimen will rarely reveal purity, while reacted specimens broadcast information on many wavelengths.
USES:Heavy boxes, top shelves, lawn maintenance, free dinners for Wo...
HAZARDS: Tends to react extremely violently when other Man interferes with reaction to a particular Wo specimen.
Otherwise very malleable under correct conditions.

Dog Breeds

The following breeds are now recognized by the American Kennel Club:

Collie + Lhasa Apso
-- Collapso, a dog that folds up for easy transport

Pointer + Setter
-- Poinsetter, a traditional Christmas pet

Great Pyrenees + Dachshund
-- Pyradachs, a puzzling breed

Pekingese + Lhasa Apso
-- Peekasso, an abstract dog

Irish Water Spaniel + English Springer Spaniel
-- Irish Springer, a dog fresh and clean as a whistle

Labrador Retriever + Curly Coated Retriever
-- Lab Coat Retriever, the choice of research scientists

Newfoundland + Basset Hound
-- Newfound Asset Hound, a dog for financial advisors

Bloodhound + Labrador
-- Blabador, a dog that barks incessantly

Malamute + Pointer
-- Moot Point, owned by....oh, well, it doesn't matter anyway

Collie + Malamute
-- Commute, a dog that travels to work

Deerhound + Terrier
-- Derrière, a dog that's true to the end

Testing Aircraft Windscreens

"Scientists at NASA have developed a gun built specifically to launch dead chickens at the windshields of airliners, military jets and the space shuttle, all travelling at maximum velocity. The idea is to simulate the frequent incidents of collisions with airborne fowl to test the strength of the windshields. British engineers heard about the gun and were eager to test it on the windshields of their new high-speed trains. Arrangements were made. But when the gun was fired, the engineers stood shocked as the chicken hurtled out of the barrel, crashed into the shatterproof shield, smashed it to smithereens, crashed through the control console, snapped the engineer's backrest in two and embedded itself in the back of the cabin. Horrified, the Britons sent NASA the disastrous results of the experiment, along with the designs of the windshield, and begged the U.S. scientists for suggestions. NASA's response was just one sentence, "Thaw the chicken."

Diary of an AOL User

July 18- I just tried to connect to America online, which I've heard is the best online service I can get. I can't connect, I don't know what is wrong.

July 19- some guy at the tech support centre says my computer needs a modem. I don't see why. he's just trying to cheat me. How dumb does he think I am?

July 20- I bought the modem. I couldn't figure out where it goes. it wouldn't fit in the monitor or the printer. I'm confused.

July 21- I finally got the modem in and hooked up. That three year old next door did it for me.

July 22- that three year old kid next door hooked me up to America online for me. He's so smart.

July 23- what's the Internet? I thought I was on America online, not this Internet thingy. I'm confused.

July 24- the three year old kid next door showed me how to use this America online stuff. He must be a genius, at least compared to me.

July 25- I tried to use chat today. I tried to talk into my computer but nothing happened. maybe I need to buy a microphone.

July 26- I found this thingy called usenet. I got out of it because I'm connected to America online, not usenet. I went to the doctor today for my regular checkup. he says that since I connected to America online, my brain has mysteriously shrunk to half its normal size.

July 27- these people in this usenet thingy keep using capital letters. How do they do that? I never figured out how to type capital letters. maybe they have a different type of keyboard.

July 28- I found this thingy called the usenet oracle. It says that it can answer any questions I ask it. I asked it 44 separate questions about the Internet. I hope it responds soon.

July 29- I found a group called rec.humor. I decided to post this joke about why the chicken crossed the road. to get to the other side! Ha! I wasn't sure if I posted it right so I posted it 56 more times.

July 30- I keep hearing about the world wide web. I didn't know spiders grew that large.

July 31- the oracle responded to my questions today. Geez, it was rude. I was so angry that I posted an angry message about it to I wasn't sure if it posted right so I posted it 22 more times.

August 1- someone told me to read the FAQ. Geez, they didn't have to use profanity.

August 2- I just read this post called make money fast. I'm so exited, I'm going to make lots of money. I followed his instructions and posted it to every newsgroup I could find.

August 3- I just made my signature file. Its only 6 pages long, so I will have to work on it some more.

August 4- I just looked at a group called I read a few posts and I really believe that AOL should be wiped off the face of the earth. I wonder what an "AOL" is, however.

August 5- I was asking where to find some information about something. Some guy told me to check out I've looked and looked, but I can't find that group.

August 6- some guy suspended my account because of what I was doing. I told him I don't have an account at his bank. he's so dumb.

Airborne Humour

*** Any More Complaints? ***
The controller working a busy pattern told the 727 on downwind to make a 360 (do a complete circle, usually done to provide spacing between aircraft). The pilot of the 727 complained, "Do you know it costs us two thousand dollars to make a 360 in this airplane?" Without missing a beat the controller replied, "Roger, give me four thousand dollars worth."

*** What the...?!***
TWA was following United, taxiing out for departure. TWA called the tower and said "Tower, this is United 586. We've got a little problem; go ahead and let TWA go first." The tower promptly cleared TWA for takeoff before United had a chance to object to the impersonation.

*** Which Exit Did You Say That Was? ***
A DC-10 had an exceedingly long landing roll out after landing with his approach speed just a little too high. San Jose Tower: "American 751 Heavy, turn right at the end if able. If not able, take the Guadalupe exit off of Highway 101 back to the airport."

*** Mmmm-mmm, Good! ***
Tower: "Eastern 702, cleared for takeoff, contact Departure on 124.7."
Eastern 702: "Tower, Eastern 702 switching to the way, as we lifted off, we saw some kind of dead animal on the far end of the runway."
Tower: "Continental 635, cleared for takeoff, contact Departure on 124.7...did you copy the report from Eastern?"
Continental 635: "Continental 635, cleared for takeoff...and yes, we copied Eastern and we've already notified our caterers."

*** No, That's not what I Said! ***
O'Hare Approach Control: "United 329, traffic is a Fokker, one o'clock, 3 miles, eastbound."
United 329: "Approach, I've always wanted to say this... I've got that Fokker in sight."

The English Language

Let's face it: English is a crazy language. There is no egg in eggplant nor ham in hamburger; neither apple nor pine in pineapple. English muffins weren't invented in England nor French fries in France. Sweetmeats are candies while sweetbreads, which aren't sweet, are meat. We take English for granted. But if we explore its paradoxes, we find that quicksand can work slowly, boxing rings are square and a guinea pig is neither from Guinea nor is it a pig. And why is it that writers write but fingers don't fing, grocers don't groce and hammers don't ham? If the plural of tooth is teeth, why isn't the plural of booth beeth? One goose, 2 geese. So one moose, 2 meese? One index, 2 indices? Doesn't it seem crazy that you can make amends but not one amend, that you comb through annals of history but not a single annal? If you have a bunch of odds and ends and get rid of all but one of them, what do you call it? If teachers taught, why didn't preacher praught? If a vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat? If you wrote a letter, perhaps you bote your tongue? Sometimes I think all the English speakers should be committed to an asylum for the verbally insane. In what language do people recite at a play and play at a recital? Ship by truck and send cargo by ship? Have noses that run and feet that smell? Park on driveways and drive on parkways? How can a slim chance and a fat chance be the same, while a wise man and wise guy are opposites? How can overlook and oversee be opposites, while quite a lot and quite a few are alike? How can the weather be hot as hell one day and cold as hell another. Have you noticed that we talk about certain things only when they are absent? Have you ever seen a horseful carriage or a strapful gown? Met a sung hero or experienced requited love? Have you ever run into someone who was combobulated, gruntled, ruly or peccable? And where are all those people who ARE spring chickens or who would ACTUALLY hurt a fly? You have to marvel at the unique lunacy of a language in which your house can burn up as it burns down, in which you fill in a form by filling it out and in which an alarm clock goes off by going on. English was invented by people, not computers, and it reflects the creativity of the human race (which, of course, isn't a race at all). That is why, when the stars are out, they are visible, but when the lights are out, they are invisible. And why, when I wind up my watch, I start it, but when I wind up this essay, I end it.

Four Engineers

There are four engineers travelling in a car; a mechanical engineer, a chemical engineer, an electrical engineer and a computer engineer.

The car breaks down.

"Sounds to me as if the pistons have seized. We'll have to strip down the engine before we can get the car working again", says the mechanical engineer.

"Well", says the chemical engineer, "it sounded to me as if the fuel might be contaminated. I think we should clear out the fuel system."

"I thought it might be an grounding problem", says the electrical engineer, "or maybe a faulty plug lead."

They all turn to the computer engineer who has said nothing and say:

"What do you think?"

"Well - perhaps if we all get out of the car and get back in again..."

Calling the FBI.

The phone rings at FBI headquarters.
"Hello, is this FBI?"
"Yes. What do you want?"
"I'm calling to report my neighbour Tom. He is hiding marijuana in his firewood."
"This will be noted."

Next day, the FBI comes over to Tom's house. They search the shed where the firewood is kept, break apart every piece of wood, find no marijuana, swear at Tom and leave.

The phone rings at Tom's house.
"Hey, Tom! Did the FBI come by?"
"Did they chop your firewood?"
"Yeah they did."
"Okay, now it's your turn to call. I need my garden ploughed."

Virus Warning!

If you receive an email entitled "Badtimes," delete it immediately. Do not open it. Apparently this one is pretty nasty. It will not only erase everything on your hard drive, but it will also delete anything on disks within 20 feet of your computer. It demagnetizes the stripes on all of your credit cards. It reprograms your ATM access code; it screws up the tracking on your VCR and uses subspace field harmonics to scratch any CDs you attempt to play. It will re-calibrate your refrigerator's coolness settings so all your ice cream melts and your milk curdles. It will program your phone auto dial to call only your mother-in-law's number. This virus will mix bubble bath into your fish tank. It will drink all your beer. It will leave dirty socks on the coffee table when you are expecting company. It will replace your shampoo with Nair and your Nair with Rogaine, all while dating your current boy/girlfriend behind your back and billing their hotel rendezvous to your Visa card. It will cause you to run with scissors and throw things in a way that's only fun until someone loses an eye. It will rewrite your backup files, changing all your active verbs passive tense and incorporating undetectable misspellings which grossly change the interpretations of key sentences. If the "Badtimes" message is opened in a Windows 95/98 environment, it will leave the toilet seat up and leave your hair dryer plugged in dangerously close to a full bathtub. It will not only remove the forbidden tags from your mattresses and pillows, but it will also refill your skimmed milk with whole milk.

The Chauffeur...

A Cardiologist came up with a new operating procedure that would cut down the time that heart surgery would take and would cause less trauma to the patient. He was praised by his peers when he presented it at a convention in Washington D.C. He was also paid $50,000 to present his find. He did a couple more of these presentations and realized that it would be more lucrative to do lectures on his find than to work as a surgeon. So he decided to do the lectures full-time. He hired a driver and purchased a limousine.

One day, after he'd been doing the lecture circuit for about 6 months, his driver turns to him and says, "You know.... This is completely unfair."

"What do you mean?" asks the surgeon.

"Well, you get paid $50,000 every time you do this lecture and that's more than I get paid in a year," replies the driver.

The surgeon explains to him that it is a very complicated procedure and that he is the only person that can give this lecture.

"That's not true. I can do your lecture blindfolded. I have seen you do your lecture so many times that I know it by heart," says the driver.

"Well if that's the case, I'll tell you what. You do this lecture and you can keep the $50,000 if you do it right." replies the surgeon.

The driver replies, "Ok. You're on."

So when they arrive at the lecture hall, the surgeon and the driver change coats and the surgeon puts on the driver's hat and sits in the back of the room.

The driver nails the presentation. Not only that, he also answers all the questions without any problems. Just when the driver thinks he's done, an audience member, wearing a lab coat and tape covered glasses stands up and asks a complex question that the driver is not able to answer.

"You know..." says the driver, "I have done this lecture 287 times and I have never been asked such a stupid question. As a matter of fact, that question is SO stupid that I am going to let my driver answer it."

On the 12th day of ...

On the 12th day of the Eurocentrically imposed midwinter festival, my Significant Other in a consenting adult, monogamous relationship gave to me:

  • TWELVE males reclaiming their inner warrior through ritual drumming,
  • ELEVEN pipers piping (plus the 18-member pit orchestra made up of members in good standing of the Musicians Equity Union as called for in their union contract even though they will not be asked to play a note),
  • TEN melanin deprived testosterone-poisoned scions of the patriarchal ruling class system leaping,
  • NINE persons engaged in rhythmic self-expression,
  • EIGHT economically disadvantaged female persons stealing milk-products from enslaved Bovine-Americans,
  • SEVEN endangered swans swimming on federally protected wetlands,
  • SIX enslaved Fowl-Americans producing stolen non-human animal products,
  • FIVE golden symbols of culturally sanctioned enforced domestic incarceration,
(NOTE: after members of the Animal Liberation Front threatened to throw red paint at my computer, the calling birds, French hens and partridge have been reintroduced to their native habitat. To avoid further Animal-American enslavement, the remaining gift package has been revised.)
  • FOUR hours of recorded whale songs
  • THREE deconstructionist poets
  • TWO Sierra Club calendars printed on recycled processed tree carcasses
  • AND a Spotted Owl activist chained to an old-growth pear tree.

Calling Technical Support

Ring... Ring... Ring... Ring... Ring... Ring... Ring... Ring...Ring...Ring...Ring... Ring...

Thank you for calling Technical Support. All of our technicians are currently busy helping people who are even less competent than you, so please hold for the next available technician. The waiting time is now estimated at between fifteen minutes and eternity.

In order to expedite your call, please punch your 58-digit product identification number on to your telephone, followed by your product serial number, which can be found in a secret compartment inside your computer where, for security purposes, it is printed in the smallest typeface possible to prevent being seen. Please note that you may need a size 11 3/4 tork screwdriver which may only be available from your original equipment manufacturer.

Do that NOW!

Thank you again for calling Technical Support. We recommend that you sit at your computer, preferably turning it on at some point, and have at hand all your floppy disks, CD-ROM disks, computer manuals and original packing materials in order to allow the technician to aid you in the unlikely event that he ever gets to your call.

If you were an inconsiderate jerk -- we mean forgetful customer -- and threw away your original packing materials, please call the company that sent you the computer and ask them to re-send you the empty box with the plastic bubbles, fake popcorn and the wasted paper advertising that they recycle. We will hold your place in line on the phone while you wait for your boxes to be delivered.

It would also be helpful for you to refrain from sobbing while explaining your problem to the technician. Shouting obscene threats will cause you to be immediately disconnected and blackballed from further communication with Technical Support, not only from ours but that of every other electronics-related firm in the industrialized world.

Thank you once again for calling Technical Support. In order to enable us to better assist you, it would be helpful to know more about you and your equipment. Have you called Technical Support before? If you have, please press the numeral "one" on your telephone touch pad.

If not, press the numeral "two." If you are not sure, using the letters on your touch pad, spell out the phrase: "I am confused and despondent and quickly losing the will to live." Once you have finished, hang up your phone and make arrangements to sell your computer because by the time the technician takes your call, it will be obsolete, and you will be too senile to use it anyway.


The heaviest element known to science was recently discovered by university physicists. The new element, tentatively named Administratium, has no protons and no electrons, and thus has an atomic number of 0. However, it does have one neutron, 15 assistant neutrons, 70 vice-neutrons, and 161 assistant vice-neutrons. This gives it an atomic mass of 247. These 247 particles are held together by a force that involves a constant exchange of a special class of particles called morons.

Since it does not have electrons, Administratium is inert. However, it can be detected chemically as it impedes every reaction it comes in contact with. According to the discoverers, a minute amount of Administratium added to one reaction caused it to take over four days to complete. Without the Administratium, the reaction ordinarily occurred in less than one second.

Administratium has a half-life of approximately three years, after which it does not normally decay but instead undergoes a complex nuclear process called "reorganization." In this little understood process, assistant neutrons, vice-neutrons, and assistant vice-neutrons appear to exchange places. Early results indicate that the atomic mass actually increases after each "reorganization."

The Office Christmas Party

FROM: Pat Smith, Human Resources Director
TO: Everyone
RE: Christmas Party
DATE: December 1

I'm happy to inform you that the company Christmas Party will take place on December 23, starting at noon in the banquet room at Luigi's Open Pit Barbecue. No-host bar, but plenty of eggnog! We'll have a small band playing traditional carols...feel free to sing along. And don't be surprised if our CEO shows up dressed as Santa Claus!

FROM: Pat Smith, Human Resources Director
DATE: December 2
RE: Christmas Party

In no way was yesterday's memo intended to exclude our Jewish employees. We recognize that Chanukah is an important holiday which often coincides with Christmas, though unfortunately not this year. However, from now on we're calling it our "Holiday Party." The same policy applies to employees who are celebrating Kwanzaa at this time. Happy now?

FROM: Pat Smith, Human Resources Director
DATE: December 3
RE: Holiday Party

Regarding the note I received from a member of Alcoholics Anonymous requesting a non-drinking table ... you didn't sign your name. I'm happy to accommodate this request, but if I put a sign on a table that reads, "AA Only"; you wouldn't be anonymous anymore. How am I supposed to handle this? Somebody?

FROM: Pat Smith, Human Resources Director
DATE: December 7
RE: Holiday Party

What a diverse company we are! I had no idea that December 20 begins the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which forbids eating, drinking and intimacy during daylight hours. There goes the party! Seriously, we can appreciate how a luncheon this time of year does not accommodate our Muslim employees' beliefs. Perhaps Luigi's can hold off on serving your meal until the end of the party - the days are so short this time of year - or else package everything for take-home in little foil swans. Will that work? Meanwhile, I've arranged for members of Overeaters Anonymous to sit farthest from the dessert buffet and pregnant women will get the table closest to the restrooms. Did I miss anything?

FROM: Pat Smith, Human Resources Director
DATE: December 8
RE: Holiday Party

So December 22 marks the Winter Solstice...what do you expect me to do, a tap-dance on your heads? Fire regulations at Luigi's prohibit the burning of sage by our "earth-based Goddess-worshipping" employees, but we'll try to accommodate your shamanic drumming circle during the band's breaks. Okay???

FROM: Pat Smith, Human Resources Director
Date: December 9
RE: Holiday Party

People, people, nothing sinister was intended by having our CEO dress up like Santa Claus! Even if the anagram of "Santa" does happen to be "Satan," there is no evil connotation to our own "little man in a red suit." It's a tradition, folks, like sugar shock at Halloween or family feuds over the Thanksgiving turkey or broken hearts on Valentine's Day. Could we lighten up?

FROM: Pat Smith, Human Resources Director
DATE: December 10
RE: Holiday Party

Vegetarians!?!?!? I've had it with you people!!! We're going to keep this party at Luigi's Open Pit Barbecue whether you like it or not, so you can sit quietly at the table furthest from the "grill of death," as you so quaintly put it, and you'll get your #$%^&*! salad bar, including hydroponic tomatoes...but you know, they have feelings, too. Tomatoes scream when you slice them. I've heard them scream, I'm hearing them scream right now!

FROM: Karen Jones, Acting Human Resources Director
DATE: December 14
RE: Pat Lewis and Holiday Party

I'm sure I speak for all of us in wishing Pat Smith a speedy recovery from her stress-related illness and I'll continue to forward your cards to her at the sanitarium. In the meantime, management has decided to cancel our Holiday Party and give everyone the afternoon of the 23rd off with full pay. Happy Chanuk-Kwanzaa-Solsti-Rama-Mas.

A Plan for the Improvement of English Spelling by Mark Twain

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" would be retained would be the "ch" formation, which will be dealt with later.

Year 2 might reform "w" 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 orxogrefkl riform, wi wud hev a lojikl, kohirnt speling in ius xrewawt xe Ingliy-spiking werld.

[Twain was probably the inspiration for this.]

Owed to the Spell Checker

I have a spelling checker:
It came with my PC
It plane lee marks four my revue
Miss steaks aye kin knot sea.

Eye ran this poem threw it,
Your sure real glad two no.
Its very polished in it's weigh,
My checker tolled me sew.

A checker is a bless sing,
It freeze yew lodes of thyme.
It helps me right awl stiles two reed,
And aides me when aye rime.

To rite with care is quite a feet
Of witch won should be proud.
And we mussed dew the best wee can,
Sew flaws are knot aloud.

And now bee cause my spelling
Is checked with such grate flare,
Their are know faults with in my cite,
Of none eye am a wear.

Each frays come posed up on my screen
Eye trussed to bee a joule
The checker poured o'er every word
To cheque sum spelling rule.

That's why aye brake in two averse
By righting wants to pleas,
Sow now ewe see why eye dew prays
Such soft wear for pea seas!

McDonnell Douglas Customer Feedback

This was allegedly posted very briefly on the McDonnell Douglas Website by an employee there who obviously has a sense of humour. The company, of course, does not have a sense of humour, and made the web department take it down immediately.

Thank you for purchasing a McDonnell Douglas military aircraft.
In order to protect your new investment, please take a few moments to
fill out the warranty registration card below.
Answering the survey questions is not required, but the information will
help us to develop new products that best meet your needs and desires.

1.[_] Mr. [_] Mrs. [_] Ms. [_] Miss [_] Lt. [_] Gen. [_] Comrade
  [_] Classified [_] Other
  First Name: .....................................................
  Initial: ........
  Last Name......................................................
  Password: .............................. (max. 8 char)
  Code Name: ......................................................
  Latitude-Longitude-Altitude: ........... ...........

2. Which model aircraft did you purchase?
  [_] F-14 Tomcat
  [_] F-15 Eagle
  [_] F-16 Falcon
  [_] F-117A Stealth
  [_] Classified

3. Date of purchase (Year/Month/Day): 19....... /....... /......

4. Serial Number: ...............................................

5. Please check where this product was purchased:
  [_] Received as gift / aid package
  [_] Catalogue / showroom
  [_] Independent arms broker
  [_] Mail order
  [_] Discount store
  [_] Government surplus
  [_] Classified

6. Please check how you became aware of the McDonnell Douglas product
  you have just purchased:
  [_] Heard loud noise, looked up
  [_] Store display
  [_] Espionage
  [_] Recommended by friend / relative / ally
  [_] Political lobbying by manufacturer
  [_] Was attacked by one

7. Please check the three (3) factors that most influenced your
  decision to purchase this McDonnell Douglas product:
  [_] Style / appearance
  [_] Speed / manoeuvrability
  [_] Price / value
  [_] Comfort / convenience
  [_] Kickback / bribe
  [_] Recommended by salesperson
  [_] McDonnell Douglas reputation
  [_] Advanced Weapons Systems
  [_] Backroom politics
  [_] Negative experience opposing one in combat

8. Please check the location(s) where this product will be used:
  [_] North America
  [_] Iraq
  [_] Iraq
  [_] Aircraft carrier
  [_] Iraq
  [_] Europe
  [_] Iraq
  [_] Middle East (not Iraq)
  [_] Iraq
  [_] Africa
  [_] Iraq
  [_] Asia / Far East
  [_] Iraq
  [_] Misc. Third World countries
  [_] Iraq
  [_] Classified
  [_] Iraq

9. Please check the products that you currently own or intend to
  purchase in the near future:
  [_] Colour TV
  [_] VCR
  [_] ICBM
  [_] Killer Satellite
  [_] CD Player
  [_] Air-to-Air Missiles
  [_] Space Shuttle
  [_] Home Computer
  [_] Nuclear Weapon

10. How would you describe yourself or your organisation?
  (Check all that apply:)
  [_] Communist / Socialist
  [_] Terrorist
  [_] Crazed
  [_] Neutral
  [_] Democratic
  [_] Dictatorship
  [_] Corrupt
  [_] Primitive / Tribal

11. How did you pay for your McDonnell Douglas product?
  [_] Deficit spending
  [_] Cash
  [_] Suitcases of cocaine
  [_] Oil revenues
  [_] Personal check
  [_] Credit card
  [_] Ransom money
  [_] Traveller's check

12. Your occupation:
  [_] Homemaker
  [_] Sales / marketing
  [_] Revolutionary
  [_] Clerical
  [_] Mercenary
  [_] Tyrant
  [_] Middle management
  [_] Eccentric billionaire
  [_] Defence Minister / General
  [_] Retired
  [_] Student

13. To help us understand our customers' lifestyles, please indicate the
  interests and activities in which you and your spouse enjoy
  participating on a regular basis:
  [_] Golf
  [_] Boating / sailing
  [_] Sabotage
  [_] Running / jogging
  [_] Propaganda / misinformation
  [_] Destabilisation / overthrow
  [_] Default on loans
  [_] Gardening
  [_] Crafts
  [_] Black market / smuggling
  [_] Collectibles / collections
  [_] Watching sports on TV
  [_] Wines
  [_] Interrogation / torture
  [_] Household pets
  [_] Crushing rebellions
  [_] Espionage / reconnaissance
  [_] Fashion clothing
  [_] Border disputes
  [_] Mutually Assured Destruction

Thank you for taking the time to fill out this questionnaire. Your
answers will be used in market studies that will help McDonnell Douglas
serve you better in the future - as well as allowing you to receive
mailings and special offers from other companies, governments, extremist
groups, and mysterious consortia. As a bonus for responding to this
survey, you will be registered to win a brand new F-117A in our Desert
Thunder Sweepstakes! Comments or suggestions about our fighter planes?

  Please write to:
  Marketing Department
  Military Aerospace Division

A Party of Famous Physicists

One day, all of the world's famous physicists decided to get together for a luncheon. Here are some of their replies to the invitation:

  • Ampere was worried he wasn't current.
  • Audubon said he'd have to wing it.
  • Boyle said he was under too much pressure.
  • Darwin waited to see what evolved.
  • Descartes said he'd think about it.
  • Dr. Jekyll declined - he hadn't been feeling himself lately.
  • Edison thought it would be illuminating.
  • Einstein thought it would be relatively easy to attend.
  • Gauss was asked to attend because of his magnetic personality.
  • Hawking tried to string enough time together to make space in his schedule.
  • Heisenberg was uncertain that he could make it.
  • Hertz said in the future he planned to attend with greater frequency.
  • Mendel said he'd put some things together and see what came out.
  • Morse's reply: "I'll be there on the dot. Can't stop now, must dash."
  • Newton planned to drop in.
  • Ohm resisted the idea.
  • Pavlov was drooling at the thought.
  • Pierre and Marie Curie were radiating enthusiasm.
  • Schrödinger had to take his cat to the vet, or did he?
  • Stephenson thought the whole idea was loco.
  • Volta was electrified, and Archimedes buoyant at the thought.
  • Watt reckoned it would be a good way to let off steam.
  • Wilbur Wright accepted, provided he and Orville could get a flight.

At the party itself, the the doorman was a grad student, and able to observe some of the guests...

  • Everyone gravitated toward Newton, but he just kept moving around at a constant velocity and showed no reaction.
  • Einstein thought it was a relatively good time.
  • Coulomb got a real charge out of the whole thing.
  • Cavendish wasn't invited, but he had the balls to show up anyway.
  • Cauchy, being the only mathematician there, still managed to integrate well with everyone.
  • Thompson enjoyed the plum pudding.
  • Pauli came late, but was mostly excluded from things, so he split.
  • Pascal was under too much pressure to enjoy himself.
  • Ohm spent most of the time resisting Ampere's opinions on current events.
  • Hamilton went to the buffet tables exactly once.
  • Volt thought the social had a lot of potential.
  • Hilbert was pretty spaced out for most of it.
  • Heisenberg may or may not have been there.
  • The Curies were there and just glowed the whole time.
  • Van der Waals forced himself to mingle.
  • Wien radiated a colourful personality.
  • Millikan dropped his Italian oil dressing.
  • De Broglie mostly just stood in the corner and waved.
  • Hollerith liked the hole idea.
  • Stefan and Boltzmann got into some hot debates.
  • Everyone was attracted to Tesla's magnetic personality.
  • Compton was a little scatter-brained at times.
  • Bohr ate too much and got atomic ache.
  • Watt turned out to be a powerful speaker.
  • Hertz went back to the buffet table several times a minute.
  • Faraday had quite a capacity for food.
  • Oppenheimer got bombed.



As the lawyer slowly came out of the anaesthesia after surgery, he said,
"Why are all the blinds drawn, doctor?"

"There's a big fire across the street," the doctor replied.
"We didn't want you to think the operation had been a failure."

Genetic Modification

Q: What happens when you cross a pig with a lawyer?
A: Nothing. There are some things a pig won't do.


Q: How was Copper Wire invented?
A: Two Lawyers found a penny.


The professor of a contract law class asked one of his better students,
"If you were to give someone an orange, how would you go about it?"
The student replied, "Here's an orange."
The professor was outraged. "No! No! Think like a lawyer!"

The student then replied, "Okay. I'd tell him `I hereby give and convey to you all and singular, my estate and interests, rights, claim, title, claim and advantages of and in, said orange, together with all its rind, juice, pulp, and seeds, and all rights and advantages with full power to bite, cut, freeze and otherwise eat, the same, or give the same away with and without the pulp, juice, rind and seeds, anything herein before or hereinafter or in any deed, or deeds, instruments of whatever nature or kind whatsoever to the contrary in anywise notwithstanding...'"


A lawyer and an engineer were fishing in the Caribbean. The lawyer said "I'm here because my house burned down and everything I owned was destroyed by the fire. The insurance company paid for everything."
"That's quite a coincidence", said the engineer, "I'm here because my house and all my belongings were destroyed by a flood, and my insurance company also paid for everything."
The lawyer looked somewhat confused. "How do you start a flood?", he asked.

Light bulbs

Q: How many lawyers does it take to change a light bulb?

A: Such number as may be deemed to perform the stated task in a timely and efficient manner within the strictures of the following agreement:

Whereas the party of the first part, also known as "The Lawyer", and the party of the second part, also known as "The Light Bulb", do hereby and forthwith agree to a transaction wherein the party of the second part (Light Bulb) shall be removed from the current position as a result of failure to perform previously agreed upon duties, i.e., the lighting, elucidation, and otherwise illumination of the area ranging from the front (north) door, through the entry way, terminating at an area just inside the primary living area, demarcated by the beginning of the carpet, any spillover illumination being at the option of the party of the second part (Light Bulb) and not required by the aforementioned agreement between the parties.

The aforementioned removal transaction shall include, but not be limited to, the following steps:

1.) The party of the first part (Lawyer) shall, with or without elevation at his option, by means of a chair, stepstool, ladder or any other means of elevation, grasp the party of the second part (Light Bulb) and rotate the party of the second part (Light Bulb) in a counter-clockwise direction, said direction being non-negotiable. Said grasping and rotation of the party of the second part (Light Bulb) shall be undertaken by the party of the first part (Lawyer) with every possible caution by the party of the first part (Lawyer) to maintain the structural integrity of the party of the second part (Light Bulb), notwithstanding the aforementioned failure of the party of the second part (Light Bulb) to perform the aforementioned customary and agreed upon duties. The foregoing notwithstanding, however, both parties stipulate that structural failure of the party of the second part (Light Bulb) may be incidental to the aforementioned failure to perform and in such case the party of the first part (Lawyer) shall be held blameless for such structural failure insofar as this agreement is concerned so long as the non-negotiable directional codicil (counter-clockwise) is observed by the party of the first part (Lawyer) throughout.

2.) Upon reaching a point where the party of the second part (Light Bulb) becomes separated from the party of the third part ("Receptacle"), the party of the first part (Lawyer) shall have the option of disposing of the party of the second part (Light Bulb) in a manner consistent with all applicable state, local and federal statutes.

3.) Once separation and disposal have been achieved, the party of the first part (Lawyer) shall have the option of beginning installation of the party of the fourth part ("New Light Bulb"). This installation shall occur in a manner consistent with the reverse of the procedures described in step one of this self-same document, being careful to note that the rotation should occur in a clockwise direction, said direction also being non-negotiable.

The above described steps may be performed, at the option of the party of the first part (Lawyer), by said party of the first part (Lawyer), by his heirs and assigns, or by any and all persons authorized by him to do so, the objective being to produce a level of illumination in the immediate vicinity of the aforementioned front (north) door consistent with maximization of ingress and revenue for the party of the fifth part, also known as "The Firm".

Computer System Problem Report

    This is a form to make the reporting of problems consistent and
    allow records of problems to be kept.

1.      Your Name: __________________________
2.      Your Login Name: ____________________
2.      Your Password: ______________________
3.      The date? __/__/__
4.      The date the problem first occurred if different? __/__/__
5.      Problem severity:
        Minor ___       Minor ___       Minor ___       Minor ___
6.      Which machine?
7.      What appears to be at fault?
        Communications ___      Disk ___        Base Unit ___
        Network ___             Keyboard ___    Screen ___
        Mouse ___               Everything ___  Don't Know ___
7.1     Is it plugged in?                       Yes___  No ___
7.2     Is it switched on?                      Yes___  No ___
7.3     Has it been stolen?                     Yes___  No ___
7.4     Have you tried to fix it yourself?      Yes___  No ___
7.4.1   Have you made it worse?                 Yes___  No ___
7.5     Have you read the manual?               Yes___  No ___
7.5.1   Are you sure you've read the manual?    Yes___  No ___
7.5.2   Are you absolutely certain you've read the manual?
        Yes___  No ___
7.6     Did you understand it?                  Yes___  No ___
7.6.1   If 'Yes", then why can't you fix it yourself?
7.7     Is the equipment unexpectedly noisy?    Yes___  No ___
7.7.1   If 'Yes", what sort of noise?
        Grinding __  Rattling __  Whirring __  High Pitched Whine __
        Sound of disk head scouring disk ___
        Strange, out of tune whistling or humming ___
7.8     Is there a smell of burning?            Yes___  No ___
7.8.1   If "Yes", is the equipment on fire?     Yes___  No ___
7.9     Is the fault repeatable?                Yes___  No ___
7.10    What were you doing (with the equipment) at the time the
        fault occurred?
7.10.1  If 'Nothing', explain why you were logged in.
7.12    Do you have any independent witnesses of the problem?
        Yes___  No ___
7.13    Describe the problem
7.14    Now, describe the problem accurately
7.15    Speculate wildly about the cause of the problem
7.16    Can't you do something else, rather than bothering me?
        Yes___  No ___

A Modern Psalm 23

The lord and I are in a shepherd / sheep situation, and I am in a position of negative need. He prostrates me in a green belt grazing area; he conducts me directionally parallel to non-torrential aqueous liquid. He returns to original satisfaction levels my psychological make-up; He switches me on to a positive behavioural format for maximal prestige of his identity.

It should indeed be said that not-withstanding the fact that I make ambulatory progress through the umbrageous inter-hill mortality slot, terror sensations will not be instantiated within me due to paraethical phenomena. Your pastoral walking aid and quadruped pickup unit introduce me into a pleasurific mood-state.

You design and produce a nutrient-bearing furniture-type structure in the context of non-co-operative elements. You act out a head-related folk ritual employing vegetable extract; my beverage utensil experiences a volume crisis.

It is an ongoing deductible fact that your inter-relational empathetical and non-vengeance capabilities will retain me as their target focus for the duration of my non-death period; and I will possess tenant rights in the housing unit of the lord on a permanently open-ended time basis.

Let an honourable, exalted and prosperous state of notoriety be attributed to the male parent figure accruing also to His immediate descendant in the male line and to the sanctified non-corporeal entity. In such manner as was circumstantial at the initialisation, is contemporaneous with our terrestrial experience period and is due to continue interminably; cessation of the totality of trans-temporal existence being unforeseen.

Creators Admit Unix and C Language Hoax

In an announcement that stunned the computer industry, Ken Thompson, Dennis Ritchie and Brian Kernighan admitted the Unix operating system and C programming language created by them is an elaborate prank, kept alive over 20 years. Speaking at the recent UnixWorld Software Development Forum, Thompson revealed the following:

"In 1969, AT&T had just terminated their work with the GE/Honeywell/AT&T Multics project. Brian and I had started work with an early release of Pascal from Professor Niklaus Wirth's ETH labs in Switzerland and we were impressed with its elegant simplicity and power. Dennis had just finished reading 'Bored of the Rings', a National Lampoon parody of the Tolkien's 'Lord of the Rings' trilogy.

As a lark, we decided to do parodies of the Multics environment and Pascal. Dennis and I were responsible for the operating environment. We looked at Multics and designed the new OS to be as complex and cryptic as possible to maximize casual users' frustration levels, calling it Unix as a parody of Multics, as well as other more risqué allusions. We sold the terse command language to novitiates by telling them that it saved them typing."

Then Dennis and Brian worked on a warped version of Pascal, called 'A'. 'A' looked a lot like Pascal, but elevated the notion of the direct memory address (which Wirth had banished) to the central concept of the language. This was Dennis's contribution, and he in fact coined the term "pointer" as an innocuous sounding name for a truly malevolent construct.

Brian must be credited with the idea of having absolutely no standard I/O specification: this ensured that at least 50% of the typical commercial program would have to be recoded when changing hardware platforms. Brian was also responsible for pitching this lack of I/O as a feature: it allowed us to describe the language as "truly portable".

When we found others were actually creating real programs with A, we removed compulsory type-checking on function arguments. Later, we added a notion we called "casting": this allowed the programmer to treat an integer as though it were a 50k user-defined structure. When we found that some programmers were simply not using pointers, we eliminated the ability to pass structures to functions, enforcing their use in even the Simplest applications.

We sold this, and many other features, as enhancements to the efficiency of the language. In this way, our prank evolved into B, BCPL, and finally C. We stopped when we got a clean compile on the following syntax:

for (;P("\n"),R-;P("|"))for(e=3DC;e-;P("_"+(*u++/8)%2))P("|"+(*u/4)%2)
At one time, we joked about selling this to the Soviets to set their computer science progress back 20 or more years. Unfortunately, AT&T and other US corporations actually began using Unix and C. We decided we'd better keep mum, assuming it was just a passing phase. In fact, it's taken US companies over 20 years to develop enough expertise to generate useful applications using this 1960's technological parody.

We are impressed with the tenacity of the general Unix and C programmer. In fact, Brian, Dennis and I have never ourselves attempted to write a commercial application in this environment. We feel really guilty about the chaos, confusion and truly awesome programming projects that have resulted from our silly prank so long ago."

Dennis Ritchie said: "What really tore it (just when AIDA was catching on), was that Bjarne Stroustrup caught onto our joke. He extended it to further parody, Smalltalk. Like us, he was caught by surprise when nobody laughed. So he added multiple inheritance, virtual base classes, and later ... templates. All to no avail. So we now have compilers that can compile 100,000 lines per second, but need to process header files for 25 minutes before they get to the meat of "Hello, World".

Major Unix and C vendors and customers, including AT&T, Microsoft, Hewlett-Packard, GTE, NCR, and DEC have refused to comment on the announcement. Officials of Borland International, a leading vendor of object-oriented tools, including Turbo Pascal and Borland C++, stated they suspected this for a couple of years.

In fact, the notoriously late Quattro Pro for Windows was originally written in C++. Borland CEO Del Yocam said: "I'm told that, after two and a half years of programming, and massive programmer burn-out, we recoded the whole thing in Turbo Pascal in three months. It's fair to say that Turbo Pascal saved our bacon back then". Another Borland spokesman said that they would continue to enhance their Pascal products, and halt further efforts to develop C/C++.

Professor Wirth of the ETH institute and father of the Pascal, Modula 2 and Oberon structured languages, cryptically said "P.T. Barnum was right." He had no further comments.

O.S. Airlines

MS-DOS Airline
Everybody pushes the airplane until it glides, then they jump on and let the plane coast until it hits the ground again, then they push again jump on again, and so on.

Mac Airline
All the stewards, stewardesses, captains, baggage handlers, and ticket agents look the same, act the same, and talk the same. Every time you ask questions about details, you are told you don't need to know, don't want to know, and would you please return to your seat and watch the movie.

OS/2 Airline
To board the plane, you have your ticket stamped ten different times by standing in ten different lines. Then you fill our a form showing where you want to sit and whether the plane should look and feel like an ocean liner, a passenger train or a bus. If you succeed in getting on the plane and the plane succeeds in taking off the ground, you have a wonderful trip...except for the time when the rudder and flaps get frozen in position, in which case you will just have time to say your prayers and get in crash position.

Windows 95 Airline
The airport terminal is nice and colourful, with friendly stewards and stewardesses, and easy access to the plane. After the plane arrives, 6 months late, you have a completely uneventful takeoff... then, once in the air the plane blows up without any warning whatsoever.

Windows NT Airline
All the passengers carry their seats out onto the tarmac, placing the chairs in the outline of a plane. They all sit down, flap their arms and make jet swooshing sounds as if they are flying.

Unix Airline
Each passenger brings a piece of the airplane and a box of tools to the airport. They gather on the tarmac, arguing constantly about what kind of plane they want to build and how to put it together. Eventually, they build several different aircraft, but give them all the same name. Some passengers actually reach their destinations. All passengers believe they got there.

Mach Airline
There is no airplane. The passengers gather and shout for an airplane, then wait and wait and wait and wait. A bunch of people come, each carrying one piece of the plane with them. These people all go out on the runway and put the plane together piece by piece, arguing constantly about what kind of plane they're building. The plane finally takes off, leaving the passengers on the ground waiting and waiting and waiting and waiting. After the plane lands, the pilot telephones the passengers at the departing airport to inform them that they have arrived.

Newton Airline
After buying your ticket 18 months in advance, you finally get to board the plane. Upon boarding the plane you are asked your name. After 46 times, the crew member recognizes your name and then you are allowed to take your seat. As you are getting ready to take your seat, the steward announces that you have to repeat the boarding process because they are out of room and need to recount to make sure they can take more passengers.

VMS Airline
The passengers all gather in the hanger, watching hundreds of technicians check the flight systems on this immense, luxury aircraft. This plane has at least 10 engines and seats over 1,000 passengers. All the passengers scramble aboard, as do the necessary complement of 200 technicians. The pilot takes his place up in the glass cockpit. He guns the engines, only to realise that the plane is too big to get through the hangar doors.

Linux Airline
Disgruntled employees of all the other OS airlines decide to start their own airline. They build the planes, ticket counters, and pave the runways themselves. They charge a small fee to cover the cost of printing the ticket, but you can also download and print the ticket yourself. When you board the plane, you are given a seat, four bolts, a wrench and a copy of the seat-HOWTO.html. Once settled, the fully adjustable seat is very comfortable, the plane leaves and arrives on time without a single problem, the in-flight meal is wonderful. You try to tell customers of the other airlines about the great trip, but all they can say is, "You had to do what with the seat?"

American Ingenuity

During the heat of the space race in the 1960's, the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration decided it needed a ball point pen to write in the zero gravity confines of its space capsules. After considerable research and development, the Astronaut Pen was developed at a cost of about $1 million U.S. The pen worked and also enjoyed some modest success as a novelty item back here on Earth. The Soviet Union, faced with the same problem, used a pencil.

Results Count

A minister dies and goes to heaven. Before him is a loudmouth man with a loud shirt, chain pants, and a loud hat. Saint Peter asked the guy what he did for a living. He said "I was the taxi cab driver of Noo Yawk city. St. Peter hands him a silk robe, and a golden staff. The minister gets up to St. Peter. St. Peter asked the man what he did for a living. He stood up very straight, and spoke in a loud, clear voice "I am John C. Maxwell, bishop of St. Mary's Church. St. Peter hands him a cotton robe, and a regular staff. "Why", asked the bishop. You let that taxi cab driver have a silk robe and golden staff but not me? St. Peter said "up here we work by results." St. Peter said "While you preached, people slept; while he drove, people prayed."

The Engineer

An engineer dies and goes to heaven. St. Peter meets him at the gate and says, "What! An Engineer! You're in the wrong place! Beat it!"

So, he goes down to Hell, and gets settled in. But he soon becomes dissatisfied with conditions there, and begins to make improvements. Before long, there's running water, flush toilets, escalators, even air conditioning, and the engineer is a pretty popular guy.

One day God calls Satan up on the telephone and says with a sneer, "So, how's it going down there?"

Satan replies, "Hey, things are going great. We've got air conditioning and flush toilets and escalators, and there's no telling what this engineer is going to come up with next."

God replies, "What! You've got an engineer? That's a mistake - he should never have gotten down there. Send him up right away!

Satan says, "No way! I like having an engineer on the staff, and I'm keeping him."

God says, "Send him back up here or I'll sue your shiny red pants off!"

"Oh, yeah?" the Devil replies.
"And just where do you think you are going to find a lawyer?!?"

How to Hunt Elephants

  • MATHEMATICIANS hunt elephants by going to Africa, throwing out everything that is not an elephant, and catching one of whatever is left.
  • EXPERIENCED MATHEMATICIANS will attempt to prove the existence of at least one unique elephant before proceeding to step 1 as a subordinate exercise.
  • PROFESSORS OF MATHEMATICS will prove the existence of at least one unique elephant and then leave the detection and capture of an actual elephant as an exercise for their graduate students.
  • COMPUTER SCIENTISTS hunt elephants by exercising Algorithm A:
    1. Go to Africa.
    2. Start at the Cape of Good Hope.
    3. Work northward in an orderly manner, traversing the continent alternately east and west.
    4. During each traverse pass,
      a. Catch each animal seen.
      b. Compare each animal caught to a known elephant.
      c. Stop when a match is detected.
  • EXPERIENCED COMPUTER PROGRAMMERS modify Algorithm A by placing a known elephant in Cairo to ensure that the algorithm will terminate.
  • ASSEMBLY LANGUAGE PROGRAMMERS prefer to execute Algorithm A on their hands and knees.
  • ENGINEERS hunt elephants by going to Africa, catching grey animals at random, and stopping when any one of them weighs within plus or minus 15 percent of any previously observed elephant.
  • ECONOMISTS don't hunt elephants, but they believe that if elephants are paid enough, they will hunt themselves.
  • STATISTICIANS hunt the first animal they see N times and call it an elephant.
  • CONSULTANTS don't hunt elephants, and many have never hunted anything at all, but they can be hired by the hour to advise those people who do.
  • OPERATIONS RESEARCH CONSULTANTS can also measure the correlation of hat size and bullet colour to the efficiency of elephant-hunting strategies, if someone else will only identify the elephants.
  • POLITICIANS don't hunt elephants, but they will share the elephants you catch with the people who voted for them.
  • LAWYERS don't hunt elephants, but they do follow the herds around arguing about who owns the droppings.
  • SOFTWARE LAWYERS will claim that they own an entire herd based on the look and feel of one dropping.
  • SENIOR MANAGERS set broad elephant-hunting policy based on the assumption that elephants are just like field mice, but with deeper voices.
  • QUALITY ASSURANCE INSPECTORS ignore the elephants and look for mistakes the other hunters made when they were packing the jeep.
  • SALES PEOPLE don't hunt elephants but spend their time selling elephants they haven't caught, for delivery two days before the season opens.
  • SOFTWARE SALES PEOPLE ship the first thing they catch and write up an invoice for an elephant.
  • HARDWARE SALES PEOPLE catch rabbits, paint them grey, and sell them as desktop elephants.

The Research Paper Dictionary

... I didn't look up the original reference.

... These data are practically meaningless.

... An unsuccessful experiment, but I still hope to get it published.

... The other results didn't make any sense.

... This is the prettiest graph.

... I might get around to this sometime, if pushed/funded.

... Once

... Twice

... Thrice

... I think

... A couple of others think so, too.

... Wrong

... Rumour has it.

... A wild guess.

... Three pages of notes were obliterated when I knocked over a glass of red wine.

... I don't have a clue what this all means

... They don't understand it either.

... Mr. Blank did the work and Ms. Adams explained to me what it meant.

... A totally useless topic selected by my committee.

... I quit.

I Trust You virus

This virus works on the honour system:

Now that you have received this virus, please forward this message to everyone in your address book and delete a bunch of your files at random.
Thank you,
The Virus

PS: Feel Free to hit the keyboard and cry in frustration, then take the rest of the day off.

Operating System Chickens

Will cross the road in June. No, August. September for sure.

OS/2 Chicken:
It crossed the road in style years ago, but it was so quiet that nobody noticed.

Win 95 Chicken:
You see different coloured feathers while it crosses, but cook it and it still tastes like...chicken.

Microsoft Chicken (TM):
It's already on both sides of the road. And it just bought the road.

O.O.P. Chicken:
It doesn't need to cross the road, it just sends a message.

Assembler Chicken:
First it builds the road ...

C Chicken:
It crosses the road without looking both ways.

C++ Chicken:
The chicken wouldn't have to cross the road, you'd simply refer to him on the other side.

VisualBasic Chicken:
USHighways!TheRoad.cross (aChicken)

Delphi Chicken:
The chicken is dragged across the road and dropped on the other side.

Java Chicken:
If your road needs to be crossed by a chicken, the server will download one to the other side.
(Of course, those are chicklets.)

Web Chicken:
Jumps out onto the road, turns right, and just keeps on running.

Gopher Chicken:
Tried to run, but got flattened by the Web chicken.

Newton Chicken:
Can't cluck, can't fly, and can't lay eggs, but you can carry it across the road in your pocket!

Cray Chicken:
Crosses faster than any other chicken, but if you don't dip it in liquid nitrogen first, it arrives on the other side fully cooked.

Quantum Logic Chicken:
The chicken is distributed probabilistically on all sides of the road until you observe it on the side of your choice.

Lotus Chicken:
Don't you *dare* try to cross the road the same way we do !

Mac Chicken:
No reasonable chicken owner would want a chicken to cross the road, so there's no way to tell it to.

COBOL Chicken:

How to build an Atomic Bomb

Construction Method:

1. First, obtain about 50 pounds (110 kg) of weapons grade Plutonium at your local supplier (see Note). A nuclear power plant is not recommended, as large quantities of missing Plutonium tend to make plant engineers unhappy. We suggest that you contact your local terrorist organization, or perhaps the Junior Achievement League in your neighborhood.

2. Please remember that Plutonium, especially pure, refined Plutonium, is somewhat dangerous. Wash your hands with soap and warm water after handling the material, and don't allow your children or pets to play in it or eat it. Any left over Plutonium dust is excellent as an insect repellant. You may wish to keep the substance in a lead box if you can find one in your local junk yard, but an old coffee can will do nicely.

3. Fashion together a metal enclosure to house the device. Most common varieties of sheet metal can be bent to disguise this enclosure as, for example, a briefcase, a lunch pail, or a '57 Buick. Do not use tinfoil.

4. Arrange the Plutonium into two hemispheral shapes, separated by about 4 cm. Use rubber cement to hold the Plutonium dust together.

5. Now get about 100 pounds (220 kg) of trinitrotoluene (TNT). Gelignite is much better, but messier to work with. Your helpful hardware man will be happy to provide you with this item.

6. Pack the TNT around the hemisphere arrangement constructed in step 4. If you cannot find Gelignite, feel free to use TNT packed in with Playdo or any modeling clay. Colored clay is acceptable, but there is no need to get fancy at this point.

7. Enclose the structure from step 6 into the enclosure made in step 3. Use a strong glue such as "Crazy Glue" to bind the hemisphere arrangement against the enclosure to prevent accidental detonation which might result from vibration or mishandling.

8. To detonate the device, obtain a radio controlled (RC) servo mechanism, as found in RC model airplanes and cars. With a modicum of effort, a remote plunger can be made that will strike a detonator cap to effect a small explosion. These detonator caps can be found in the electrical supply section of your local supermarket. We recommend the "Blast-O-Mactic" brand because they are no deposit - no return.

9. Now hide the completed device from the neighbours and children. The garage is not recommended because of high humidity and the extreme range of temperatures experienced there. Nuclear devices have been known to spontaneously detonate in these unstable conditions. The hall closet or under the kitchen sink will be perfectly suitable.

10. Now you are the proud owner of a working thermonuclear device! It is a great ice-breaker at parties, and in a pinch can be used for national defense.

Theory of Operation:

The device basically works when the detonated TNT compresses the Plutonium into a critical mass. The critical mass then produces a nuclear chain reaction similar to the domino chain reaction. The chain reaction then promptly produces a larger thermonuclear reaction, and there you have it: a 10 megaton explosion!

Plutonium (PU), atomic number 94, is a radioactive metallic element formed by the decay of Neptunium and is similar in chemical structure to Uranium, Saturnium, Jupiternium, and Marisum.

The Camping Trip

Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson went on a camping trip. After a good meal and a bottle of wine, they lay down for the night and went to sleep. Some hours later, Holmes awoke and nudged his faithful friend.

"Watson, look up at the sky and tell me what you see."

"I see millions and millions of stars," Watson replied.

"What does that tell you?" Holmes inquired.

Watson pondered for a minute.

"Astronomically, it tells me that there are millions of galaxies and potentially billions of planets.
Astrologically, I observe that Saturn is in Leo.
Horologically, I deduce that the time is approximately a quarter past three.
Theologically, I can see that God is all powerful and that we are small and insignificant.
Meteorologically, I suspect that we will have a beautiful day tomorrow. What does it tell you?"

Holmes was silent for a minute, then spoke. "Watson, you idiot. Some bastard has stolen our tent."

Faux Furs

Lucy and Joan make synthetic fur jackets, hats and headbands, and they sold them at home shows and craft fairs. While tending their stall one day, they were puzzled to notice and elderly couple deep in conversation and looking at them with obvious contempt. They finally approached them and the lady launched into a verbal attack. As they vehemently opposed cruelty to animals, the lady said, she and her husband were disgusted. "And you can spell it any fancy way you please," her husband added, pointing at their FAUX FUR JACKETS AND ACCESSORIES sign, "but to anyone with half a brain, a 'faux' is still a fox!"

Tony Blair's Hospital Visit

Tony Blair is being shown around a hospital. Towards the end of his visit, he is shown into a ward with a number of people with no obvious signs of injury. He goes to greet the first and the chap replies:

"Fair fa' your honest sonsie face
Great chieftain o' the puddin' race!
Aboon them a' ye tak your place,
Painch, tripe, or thairm:
Weel are ye wordy o' a grace
As lang's my airm."

Tony, being somewhat confused, goes to the next patient and greets him.

He replies:

"Some hae meat, and canna eat
And some wad eat that want it
But we hae meat and we can eat
And sae the Lord be thankit."

The third starts rattling off as follows:

"Wee sleekit, cow'rin, tim'rous beastie,
O, what a panic's in thy breastie!
Thou need na start awa sae hasty
Wi bickering brattle!
I wad be laith to rin an chase thee
Wi murdering pattle!"

Tony turns to the doctor accompanying him and asks what sort of ward this is. A mental ward?

"No," replies the doctor, "It's the Burns unit."

Flying on Instruments

Most people wish to fly on the old gauges at one time or another but are prevented by the high cost of the instruments necessary for this form of flight. The following is a more or less known and extremely simple method which may be used by all.

Place a live cat on the cockpit floor, because a cat always remains upright, he or she can be used in lieu of a needle and ball instrument. Merely watch to see which way he leans to determine if a wing is low and if so, which one. This will enable you to keep your aircraft level in route with complete accuracy and confidence.

A duck is used for final instrument approach and landing, because of the fact that any sensible old duck will refuse to fly under instrument conditions, it is only necessary to hurl your duck out of the cockpit window and follow her to the ground.

There are some limitations on the cat and duck method, but by rigidly adhering to the following check list a degree of success will be achieved which will not only startle you, but will astonish your passengers as well, and may have an occasional tower operator with an open mouth.

** Get a wide-awake cat, most cats do not want to stand up all the time, so it may be necessary to carry a fierce dog along to keep the cat at attention.

** Make sure your cat is clean, dirty cats will spend all the time washing. Trying to follow a washing cat usually results in a slow roll followed by an inverted spin. You will see that this is most unprofessional.

** Old cats are the best, young cats have nine lives, but an old used up cat with only one life left has just as much to lose and will be more dependable.

** Avoid stray cats. Try to get one with good character because you may want to spend time with her.

** Beware of cowardly ducks, if the duck discovers that you are using the cat to stay upright, she will refuse to leave the aeroplane without the cat. Ducks are no better on instruments than you are.

** Get a duck with good eyes. Near sighted ducks sometimes fail to recognise that they are on the old gauges and will go flogging into the nearest hill. Very near sighted ducks will not realise that they have been thrown out and will descend to the ground in a sitting position. This is a most difficult manoeuvre to follow in an airplane.

** Choose your duck carefully, it is easy to confuse ducks with geese. Many large birds look alike. While they are very competent instrument flyers, geese seldom want to go in the same direction that you do. If your duck seems to be taking a heading to Ireland or Sweden, you may be safe in assuming that someone has given you a goose.

Möbius Strip-Tease

An erudite demon, a fiend in topology,
Shaped much like a grin on a sphere of a trivet,
To add to the carnal advancement of knowledge he
Invented a woman. Now, would you believe it?

A woman so modelled no man could resist her,
So luscious her curves, so alluring her smile,
Yet no daughter of Eve's could claim her for sister,
Though equally formed to seduce and beguile.

For her surface, a pure aphrodisiac plastic
No mathematician could ever equate
By any contortion or motion elastic
To those we caress in man's fallen estate.

O she was a heartache! O she was a honey!
The fiend asked his friends gathered round in a ring:
"A degenerate set! Would you bet even money,
Though she looks like a succubus fit for a King?"

"Come off it," they answered, "her shape is a woman's,
So she can't be a true topological freak,
Though a singleton, maybe, to ordinary humans
Who think any girl they adore is unique."

"In our rubber sheet world," said the fiend with a chortle
Converting himself to a three-masted barque,
"Equivalent shapes may delude a poor mortal,
But you should know Woman's distinguishing mark."

"A woman's a man-trap," they answered in chorus,
"A trochus with trunnions, a tunnel to Hell;
Reduced to essentials she's simply a torus
And this must apply to your temptress as well."

"Alas, my poor friends you are sadly mistaken:
This exquisite creature is built to deceive;
For the Devil's own cunning will not save his bacon
When caught in the nets that topologists weave.

"This marvellous manifold's not like a doughnut,
Quoit or cat's-cradle or twists of red tape,
And though very tortive, she screws like no known nut;
So I'd better explain her remarkable shape.

"Like a Boy Surface girl, my delightful invention
In Euclidean space is too awkward to plot,
But in Hell, with the help of an extra dimension
And a regressive cut, she's a true-lovers'-knot,

"Though she looks like a woman from thrutch-piece to throttle,
If you follow my clew of a Mobius strip-tease,
She is really a camouflaged double Klein bottle
With only one surface unlike other shes.

"Four Mobius strips brought my plan to fruition,
Ingeniously joined by original sin;
If you rise to the urgings of male intuition,
You'll find yourself out every time you go in.

"She cannot be mated or orientated,
Nor is homeomorphic to any known male;
And though in her arms you may feel quite elated,
All further advances are destined to fail.

"And before we proceed to our first Demon-stration,
May I venture to say, with excusable pride,
That this elegant essay in total frustration
Justifies mathematics, both pure and applied.

"Furthermore, as a torment for sinful seducers,
I think I may claim for the very first time,
To have added to Hell's repertoire something new, sirs:
A case where the punishment won't fit the crime!

        - A D Hope

Glossary for Non-Mathematical Demons:

  • TOPOLOGY: A field of Botany invaded by certain mathematicians with a sense of humour; devoted to studying the shapes of things.

  • MOBIUS, KLEIN, & BOY: Topologists of great eminence and a profound sense of humour.

  • ELASTIC MOTION: The imaginary shift of spatial points required to change one spatial shape to a mathematically equivalent shape. Also something girls do without any mathematical knowledge at all.

  • DEGENERATE SET: A course logical term for a class of things containing only one member; a member of the class of classes of unique individuals; a mathematical term of abuse.

  • SUCCUBUS: A theological entity, rather than a mathematical one; if you don't know what it is, you'd better not worry your pretty little head about it.

  • SINGLETON: see "degenerate set": nothing to do with bridge.

  • RUBBER-SHEET WORLD: Topology (for topologists), otherwise something out of Grimm to help Frog Princes to bed.

  • TROCHUS: Anything in the shape of a wheel; in topology it might be a lot of other things as well.

  • TRUNNIONS: Arms (or legs) of a cannon barrel.

  • TORUS: A refined (or mathematical) word for anything shaped like a doughnut.

  • MANIFOLD: A connected surface such that if you caress it, it will respond by being thigmotactic to you hand - such as a girl or a football.

  • TORTIVE: Twisty or twistable, according to your intentions.

  • BOY SURFACE: A very sophisticated three-dimensional figure with only one surface. Invented by Mr. Boy (see Mobius, Klein, etc.).

  • REGRESSIVE CUT: A mathematical way of getting your own back and making some surprising discoveries on the way.

  • THRUTCH-PIECE: Consult a very big dictionary; it probably won't help you, but your imagination may.

  • MOBIUS STRIP: What happens when you twist your belt putting it on. It has only one side and one edge and numerous even more remarkable properties.

  • KLEIN BOTTLE: An attempt to make two Mobius strips copulate without benefit of more than three dimensions; A hell of a topological joke.

  • ORIGINAL SIN: Not a mathematical operation as far as can be proved - but you never know.

  • MALE INTUITION: Not a mathematical idea either, but it has associations with binary arithmetic.

  • ORIENTATED: You wouldn't understand this anyway -- a topological technicality.

  • HOMEOMORPHIC: Topologically equivalent in shape.

  • DEMON-STRATION: Just an ordinary demo, but conducted in another place

  • THE CRIME: See "Original Sin"

Useful ways to annoy double-glazing salesmen and telemarketers

  • If they want to loan you money, tell them you just filed for bankruptcy and you could sure use some money.

  • If they start out with, "How are you today?" say, "I'm so glad you asked, because no one these days seems to care, and I have all these problems; my arthritis is acting up, my eyelashes are sore, my goldfish just died..."

  • This works great if you are male: Telemarketer: "Hi, my name is Judy and I'm with XYZ Company..." You: Wait for a second and with a real husky voice ask, "What are you wearing?"

  • Cry out in surprise, "Patty! Is that you? Oh my God! Patty, how have you been?" Hopefully, this will give Patty a few brief moments of terror as she Tries to figure out where the hell she could know you from.

  • If MCI calls trying to get you to sign up for the Family and Friends Plan, reply, in as SINISTER a voice as you can, "I don't have any friends... would you be my friend?"

  • After the Telemarketer gives their spiel, ask him/her to marry you. When they get all flustered, tell them that you could not just give your credit card number to a complete stranger.

  • Tell the Telemarketer you are busy at the moment and ask him/her if he/she will give you his/her HOME phone number so you can call him/her back. When the Telemarketer explains that telemarketers cannot give out their HOME numbers you say "I guess you don't want anyone bothering you at home, right?" The Telemarketer will agree and you say, "Me, neither!" Hang up.

  • Ask them to repeat everything they say, several times.

  • Ask them to fax the information to you, and make up a number.

  • Insist that the caller is really your buddy Leon, playing a joke. "Come on Leon, cut it out! Seriously, Leon, how's your momma?"

  • Tell them you are hard of hearing and that they need to speak up...louder... louder...louder...

  • Tell them to talk VERY SLOWLY, because you want to write EVERY WORD down.

Foot-And-Mouth Believed To Be First Virus Unable To Spread Through Microsoft Outlook

Atlanta, Ga. ( Scientists at the Centers for Disease Control and Symantec's AntiVirus Research Center today confirmed that foot-and-mouth disease cannot be spread by Microsoft's Outlook email application, believed to be the first time the program has ever failed to propagate a major virus.

"Frankly, we've never heard of a virus that couldn't spread through Microsoft Outlook, so our findings were, to say the least, unexpected," said Clive Sarnow, director of the CDC's infectious disease unit.

The study was immediately hailed by British officials, who said it will save millions of pounds and thousands of man hours. "Up until now we have, quite naturally, assumed that both foot-and-mouth and mad cow were spread by Microsoft Outlook," said Nick Brown, Britain's Agriculture Minister. "By eliminating it, we can focus our resources elsewhere."

However, researchers in the Netherlands, where foot-and-mouth has recently appeared, said they are not yet prepared to disqualify Outlook, which has been the progenitor of viruses such as "I Love You," "Bubbleboy," "Anna Kournikova," and "Naked Wife," to name but a few.

Said Nils Overmars, director of the Molecular Virology Lab at Leiden University: "It's not that we don't trust the research, it's just that as scientists, we are trained to be skeptical of any finding that flies in the face of established truth. And this one flies in the face like a blind drunk sparrow."

Executives at Microsoft, meanwhile, were equally skeptical, insisting that Outlook's patented Virus Transfer Protocol (VTP) has proven virtually pervious to any virus. The company, however, will issue a free VTP patch if it turns out the application is not vulnerable to foot-and-mouth.

Such an admission would be embarrassing for the software giant, but Symantec virologist Ariel Kologne insisted that no one is more humiliated by the study than she is. "Only last week, I had a reporter ask if the foot-and-mouth virus spreads through Microsoft Outlook, and I told him, 'Doesn't everything?'" she recalled. "Who would've thought?"

Ten Puns

  1. Evidence has been found that William Tell and his family were avid bowlers. However, all the league records were unfortunately destroyed in a fire. Thus we'll never know for whom the Tells bowled.

  2. A man rushed into the doctor's office and shouted, "Doctor! I think I'm shrinking!!" The doctor calmly responded, "Now, settle down. You'll just have to be a little patient."

  3. A marine biologist developed a race of genetically engineered dolphins that could live forever if they were fed a steady diet of seagulls. One day his supply of the birds ran out, so he had to go out and trap some more. On the way back, he spied two lions asleep on the road. Afraid to wake them, he gingerly stepped over them. Immediately, he was arrested and charged with transporting gulls across sedate lions for immortal porpoises.

  4. A sceptical anthropologist was cataloguing South American folk remedies with the assistance of a tribal brujo who indicated that the leaves of a particular fern were a sure cure for any case of constipation. When the anthropologist expressed his doubts, the brujo looked him in the eye and said, "Let me tell you, with fronds like these, who needs enemas?"

  5. Back in the 1800s the Tates Watch Company of Massachusetts wanted to produce other products and, since they already made the cases for pocket watches, decided to market compasses for the pioneers travelling west. It turned out that although their watches were of finest quality, their compasses were so bad that people often ended up in Canada or Mexico rather than California. This, of course, is the origin of the expression, "He who has a Tates is lost!"

  6. A thief broke into the local police station and stole all the lavatory equipment. A spokesperson was quoted as saying, "We have absolutely nothing to go on."

  7. An Indian chief was feeling very sick, so he summoned the medicine man. After a brief examination, the medicine man took out a long, thin strip of elk hide and gave it to the chief, instructing him to bite off, chew and swallow one inch of the leather every day. After a month, the medicine man returned to see how the chief was feeling. The chief shrugged and said, "The thong is ended, but the malady lingers on."

  8. A famous Viking explorer returned home from a voyage and found his name missing from the town register. His wife insisted on complaining to the local civic official who apologized profusely saying, "I must have taken Leif off my census."

  9. There were three Indian squaws. One slept on a deer skin. One slept on an elk skin. The third slept on a hippopotamus skin. All three became pregnant and the first two each had a baby boy. The one who slept on the hippopotamus skin had twin boys. This goes to prove that the squaw of the hippopotamus is equal to the sons of the squaws of the other two hides.

  10. This guy goes to psychiatrist and tells the doc, "I must be crazy, doc. I keep having having this dream where first I'm a teepee and then I'm a wigwam." The doctor looks closely at the guy and says, "Dreams all have hidden meanings, my friend. In this case, I would say you're two tents."

By the way, I know the guy who wrote these 10 puns. He entered them in a contest. He figured with 10 entries he couldn't lose. As they were reading the list of winners he was really hoping one of his puns would win, but unfortunately, no pun in ten did.

IBM revolution reaches Zaire Bantu tribe

In a move IBM offices are hailing as a major step in the company's ongoing worldwide telecommunications revolution, M'wana Ndeti, a member of Zaire's Bantu tribe, used an IBM global uplink network modem yesterday to crush a nut.

Ndeti, who spent twenty minutes trying to open the nut by hand, easily cracked it open by smashing it repeatedly with the powerful modem. "I could not crush the nut by myself," said the forty-seven-year-old Ndeti, who added the savoury nut to a thick, peanut-based soup minutes later. "With IBM's help, I was able to break it."

Ndeti discovered the nut-breaking, 28.8 V.34 modem yesterday, when IBM was shooting a commercial in his southwestern Zaire village. During a break in shooting, which shows African villagers eagerly teleconferencing via computer with Japanese schoolchildren, Ndeti snuck onto the set and took the modem, which he believed would serve well as a "smashing" utensil. IBM officials were not surprised the longtime computer giant was able to provide Ndeti with practical solutions to his everyday problems. "Our telecommunications systems offer people all over the world global networking solutions that fit their specific needs," said Herbert Ross, IBM's director of marketing. "Whether you're a nun cloistered in an Italian abbey or an Aborigine in Australia's Great Sandy Desert, IBM has the ideas to get you where you want to go today."

According to Ndeti, of the modem's many powerful features, most impressive was its hard plastic casing, which easily sustained several minutes of vigorous pounding against a large stone. "I put the nut on a rock, and I hit it with the modem," Ndeti said. "The modem did not break. It is a good modem."

Ndeti was so impressed with the modem that he purchased a new, state-of-the-art IBM workstation, complete with a PowerPC 601 microprocessor, a quad-speed internal CD-ROM drive and three 16-bit ethernet networking connectors.

The tribesman has already made good use of the computer system, fashioning a gazelle trap out of its wires, a boat anchor out of the monitor and a crude but effective weapon from its mouse.

"This is a good computer," said Ndeti, carving up a just-captured gazelle with the computer's flat, sharp internal processing device. "I am using every part of it. I will cook this gazelle on the keyboard." Hours later, Ndeti capped off his delicious gazelle dinner by smoking the computer's two hundred-page owner's manual.

IBM spokespeople praised Ndeti's choice of computers. "We are pleased that the Bantu people are turning to IBM for their business needs," said company CEO William Allaire. "From Kansas City to Kinshasa, IBM is bringing the world closer together. Our cutting-edge technology is truly creating a global village."

The Usenet Oracle responds about Windows95

The Usenet Oracle has pondered your question deeply. Your question was:

O great Oracle, the one who sees all and knows all, please accept this
humble question from thy grovelling supplicant...
Why is Windows 95 Beta so bug-ridden it's not funny?

And in response, thus spake the Usenet Oracle:

A dark antechamber of the Gates estate, dimly lit by three 20" monitors
suspended from the ceiling. In the middle of the room is a Pentium/100Hz,
sheathed in a black casing. Three programmers dance around the machine,
chanting horribly. Their pale, clammy complexion is cast hideously by the
light of the monitors, rendered even more repugnant to the watchful eye
by the 60Hz flicker of the monitors.

Thrice the brinded net hath mewed.

Thrice, and once the Warp-pig whined.

MacHarpier cries. 'Tis time, 'tis time!

Round about the terminal go;
In the poisoned upgrade throw.
Code, which by a student done
In minutes numbering sixty-one.
Run-time error, protection fault,
Crash ye first, crash ye shalt.

ALL (as they dance around the Pentium):
Double, double, toil and trouble;
Tempers burn and data bubble.

Fillet of a Sound Card bake,
In the Pentium no noise make;
Point of arrow, click of mouse,
Scream of user, frightened spouse,
OS/2's net use appeal,
Steve Jobs' look and Wozniak's feel.
For a charm of powerful trouble,
Like a hell-broth boil and bubble.

Double, double, toil and trouble;
Tempers burn and data bubble.

Click "Start" button, speed of slug,
You would think you forgot the plug.
Multitasking, ha ha ho
If just one worked you'd be good to go.
This should grab those straggling few
Who aren't using DOS 6.22.
Now we shall the Mac eclipse,
While curse words cross our users' lips.
Leave the errors in so we can fix
And sell more...Windows 96!
And so we will release the Beta
For corruption of their data.

Double, double, toil and trouble;
Users buy, our profits double.

Compile it with errors through,
Since the users have no clue.

(Enter Bill Gates to the other three programmers.)

O, well done! I commend your pains,
And everyone shall share i' the gains.
And now about the program get,
But NEVER use it on OUR net.
Security is scarce put in.

(Beeps of Pong heard in the background.)
(Exit Gates.)

By the usage of my UMBs
Wicked Windows this way comes.
Open locks,
Whoever knocks!

(Fade to black.)

God as a Computer Programmer

Many important theological questions are answered if we think of God as a Computer Programmer:

Q: Does God control everything that happens in my life?
A: He could, if he used the debugger, but it's tedious to step through all those variables.

Q: Why does God allow evil to happen?
A: God thought he eliminated evil in one of the earlier versions.

Q: What causes God to intervene in earthly affairs?
A: If a critical error occurs, the system pages him automatically and he logs on from home to try to bring it up. Otherwise things can wait until tomorrow.

Q: Did God really create the world in seven days?
A: He did it in six days and nights while living on cola and candy bars. On the seventh day he went home and found out his girlfriend had left him.

Q: How come the Age of Miracles Ended?
A: That was the development phase of the project, now we are in the maintenance phase.

Q: Who is Satan?
A: Satan is a MIS director who takes credit for more powers than he actually possesses, so people who aren't programmers are scared of him. God thinks of him as irritating but irrelevant.

Q: What is the role of sinners?
A: Sinners are the people who find new and imaginative ways to mess up the system when God has made it idiot-proof.

Q: Where will I go after I die?
A: Onto a DAT tape.

Q: Will I be reincarnated?
A: Not unless there is a special need to recreate you. And searching those tar files is a major hassle, so if there is a request for you, God will just say that the tape has been lost.

Q: Am I unique and special in the universe?
A: There are over 10,000 major university and corporate sites running exact duplicates of you in the present release version.

Q: What is the purpose of the universe?
A: God created it because he values elegance and simplicity, but then the users and managers demanded he tack all this senseless stuff onto it and now everything is more complicated and expensive than ever.

Q: If I pray to God, will he listen?
A: You can waste his time telling him what to do, or you can just get off his back and let him program.

Q: What is the one true religion?
A: All systems have their advantages and disadvantages, so just pick the one that best suits your needs and don't let anyone put you down.

Q: How can I protect myself from evil?
A: Change your password every month and don't make it a name, a common word, or a date like your birthday.

Q: Some people claim they hear the voice of God. Is this true?
A: They are much more likely to receive email.

1776 [If they had computers back then]

Mr. Jefferson: Gentlemen, the summer grows hot, and it is essential that we complete this Declaration of Independence.

Mr. Franklin: Wait a minute, Thomas. I have to reboot here.

Mr. Jefferson: That's all right, Ben. We'll go on without you. Has everyone had a chance to look at the draft I posted yesterday?

Mr. Sherman: Not yet, Thomas, I've been having Notes replication problems.

Mr. Adams: Here, Roger, I brought a hard copy.

Mr. Sherman: Thanks... saaaaay, nice font.

Mr. Adams: Do you like it? I downloaded it off Colonies Online just last week.

Mr. Jefferson: Gentlemen! There is work to be done. I fear our document will soon leak out.

Mr. Livingston: Too late, Thomas. There's already a bootleg circulating. I saw it posted on last night.

Mr. Franklin: @#$$%^$# General Protection Fault!

Mr. Adams: Ben, you might try upgrading to Windows 75. It solved that problem for me.

Mr. Sherman: Thomas, the part here about the Acts of Pretended Legislation; have you considered using bullets to air out the text?

Mr. Jefferson: I can fix that easily enough. Drat! I've spilled candle wax on my keyboard again.

Mr. Adams: You know, Thomas, that wouldn't happen if you'd buy an active-matrix screen.

Mr. Franklin: Hard-disk failure?!? Aw, criminy!!

Mr. Livingston: Are you sure it's "unalienable rights"? My spell checker recommends "unassailable".

Mr. Jefferson: Can we stick to the substance of the document, please? Shoot. Low battery. Anyone got a spare power cable?

Mr. Sherman: What have you got, a Toshiba? No, mine isn't compatible.

Mr. Franklin: Hello, PCs Philadelphia? What does it mean when the floppy drive buzzes? OK, I'll hold.....

Mr. Livingston: The "In Congress" part here at the top; have you thought about blowing that up really big and maybe centering it in 72 point Helvetica?

Mr. Jefferson: Not a bad idea. Aw, nuts! Word macro virus! I can't save the file.

Mr. Franklin: That's all right, Thomas. We can manage. Here, borrow my quill pen....

Micro Soft-Drinks

After the recent anti-trust hearings, Bill Gates recently compared the software market with the soft drink market. He says Microsoft is struggling to survive but that the beverage giant will be on top forever because the Department of Justice doesn't pick on them. Of course, Bill should be careful not to give Coca-Cola any ideas. We might end up with a scenario like the following:

Joe: (walking into McDonalds) Hi, I'd like a Big Mac.

Cashier: Okay, here's your Big Mac and here's your Coke. That'll be $3.99.

Joe: Uh, I don't want a Coke.

Cashier: Sorry, they're bundled.

Joe: What? I'm not paying for a Coke!

Cashier: You don't; the Coke is free.

Joe: But wasn't a Big Mac $2.49 last week?

Cashier: Sure, but this latest Big Mac is far more innovative. It's got integrated Coke!

Joe: I already bought a Snapple across the street... I'm not going to drink the Coke.

Cashier: Then you can't have the burger.

Joe: Okay, fine, I will pay the $3.99 and throw the Coke away.

Cashier: Oh, you can't do that. They're seamlessly integrated. inseparable.

Totally Joe: How can that be? They're two totally separate things!

Cashier: No, watch. (takes Big Mac, dunks it in a tank of Coke)

Joe: Why did you just do that?!

Cashier: It's a benefit to the consumer. Otherwise you'd end up with two different, inconsistent tastes. This way you're assured of a continuous taste across all your foods.


One day the zoo-keeper noticed that the Orangutan was reading two books - the "Bible" and Darwin's "Origin of Species." In surprise he asked the ape, "Why are you reading both those books?" "Well," said the Orangutan, "I just wanted to know whether I was my brother's keeper or my keeper's brother."

Differences in the Middle Ages if Microsoft had Existed

  • Chastity belts require a password rather than a key.

  • Last year's pitchfork not compatible with this year's hay.

  • Horses routinely stop in mid-stride, and require a boot to the rear to start again.

  • The Microsoft Rack would work, but it would be 3 times larger than it should be and never completely kill anyone.

  • Forget about William Tell; William Gates shoots Apple off the head of Steve Jobs.

  • Use of a large, clumsy broadsword instead of yet-to-be-invented scissors helps explain Lord Bill's haircut.

  • Archbishop of Canterbury gets hit in the face with a pie.

  • Stained Glass Windows MCCCXXXXV actually not released until Spring of MCCCXXXXVI.

  • The Y1K bug threatens to cripple high-tech industries, like stonemasonry and weaving.

  • In recognition of donations of Stained Glass Windows to St. Peter's, Pope places NetScape IV.VII on the Index.

  • Using Macrosoft Explorer v.V.II, Columbus sails off edge of Earth.

  • Word 1000 only comes in Latin.

  • You are to copy all keystrokes by hand because macros are the magical words of the Devil.

  • DOS belongs to the Major Arcana, and invoking it is punishable by being burned at the stake after Rigorous Confession.

  • The entire Linus Torvalds Heresy is lost off the coast of Vinland.

  • Cardinals wear the colour "Redmond."

  • Maximum screen resolution is DCXL by CDLXXX pixies in eight tinctures.

  • Bandwidth is choked after Vespers by downloads of manuscript illuminations of Adam and Eve in the Garden. Especially Eve.

  • You pray to your icons before clicking on them.
    (Eh? What's different?)

  • You "do everything" in Macrosoft's Canonical Office 1000.

  • Apple users must do penance on a Diet of Worms.
    (Hence the phrase, "worm in the apple.")

  • The Authorised Version was not commissioned by James I.

  • Over $2 billion in revenues was reported by

  • Prie-dieu dealers go bankrupt as an entire Litany can be uploaded with only four clicks.

  • The most popular building material is a Roman concrete known as "Adobe."

  • Archbishop Of Can't-bury-my-mistakes (this was shortened, as the Brits habitually do) Billwolf the Gates imposes Pay-As-You-Go Software: a small collection plate pops out of your floppy drive slot, and the program won't finish loading until it is filled and you've read a sermon titled "Thou Shalt Not Copy The Software, Hereinafter Known As 'The Software'." Pushing the collection plate back into the slot constitutes your legally- binding Acceptance Of The Terms Of The License.

  • A "cereal port" is Bremerhaven or Oostende.

  • After-dinner entertainment is furnished by songbirds perched around parlors on "jaypegs."

  • The Inquisition consists in a single question: "Abort, Retry, Fail?"

General Motors Helpline

General Motors doesn't have a "help line" for people who don't know how to drive, because people don't buy cars like they buy computers - but imagine if they did...

CALL #1:

HELPLINE: "General Motors Helpline, how can I help you?"

CUSTOMER: "I got in my car and closed the door, and nothing happened!"

HELPLINE: "Did you put the key in the ignition slot and turn it?"

CUSTOMER: "What's an ignition?"

HELPLINE: "It's a starter motor that draws current from your battery and turns over the engine."

CUSTOMER: "Ignition? Motor? Battery? Engine? How come I have to know all of these technical terms just to use my car?"

CALL #2:

HELPLINE: "General Motors Helpline, how can I help you?"

CUSTOMER: "My car ran fine for a week, and now it won't go anywhere!"

HELPLINE: "Is the gas tank empty?"

CUSTOMER: "Huh? How do I know?"

HELPLINE: "There's a little gauge on the front panel, with a needle, and markings from 'E' to 'F.' Where is the needle pointing?"

CUSTOMER: "It's pointing to 'E.' What does that mean?"

HELPLINE: "It means that you have to visit a gasoline vendor, and purchase some more gasoline. You can install it yourself, or pay the vendor to install it for you."

CUSTOMER: "What!? I paid $12,000 for this car! Now you tell me that I have to keep buying more components? I want a car that comes with everything built in!"

CALL #3:

HELPLINE: "General Motors Helpline, how can I help you?"

CUSTOMER: "Your car sucks!"

HELPLINE: "What's wrong?"

CUSTOMER: "It crashed, that's what went wrong!"

HELPLINE: "What were you doing?"

CUSTOMER: "I wanted to run faster, so I pushed the accelerator pedal all the way to the floor. It worked for a while, and then it crashed - and now it won't start!"

HELPLINE: "It's your responsibility if you misuse the product. What do you expect us to do about it?"

CUSTOMER: "I want you to send me one of the latest versions that doesn't crash anymore!"

CALL #4:

HELPLINE: "General Motors Helpline, how can I help you?"

CUSTOMER: "Hi! I just bought my first car, and I chose your car because it has automatic transmission, cruise control, power steering, power brakes, and power door locks."

HELPLINE: "Thanks for buying our car. How can I help you?"

CUSTOMER: "How do I work it?"

HELPLINE: "Do you know how to drive?"

CUSTOMER: "Do I know how to what?"

HELPLINE: "Do you know how to drive?"

CUSTOMER: "I'm not a technical person! I just want to go places in my car!"


Here is the constitution of the Asteroid recently named after Nobel laureate Gerard 't Hooft.

Thooft constitution and byelaws

Self-Important Lawyer

Joe grew up in a small town, then moved away to attend college and law school. He decided to come back to the small town because he could be a big man in this small town. He really wanted to impress everyone. So he returned and opened his new law office.

The first day, he saw a man coming up the sidewalk. He decided to make a big impression on this new client when he arrived. As the man came to the door, Joe picked up the phone. He motioned the man in, all the while talking.

"No. Absolutely not. You tell those clowns in New York that I won't settle this case for less than one million. Yes. The Appeals Court has agreed to hear that case next week. I'll be handling the primary argument and the other members of my team will provide support. Okay. Tell the DA that I'll meet with him next week to discuss the details."

This sort of thing went on for almost five minutes. All the while the man sat patiently as Joe rattled instructions. Finally, Joe put down the phone and turned to the man. "I'm sorry for the delay, but as you can see, I'm very busy. What can I do for you?"

The man replied, "I'm from the phone company. I came to hook up your phone."

Microsoft Legal T&C

[Quick summary: "All your data are belong to us"]

Proof by proverb

Mathematics is about making generalisations...

Proof that girls are evil:

1) First, we state the universal axiom that girls require time and money:
=>    Girls  =  Time  x  Money
2) It is a standard result derived from theory of Economics that "time is money":
=>    Time  =  Money
And, by substitution:
=>    Girls  =  (Money)2
3) As any priest will tell you, "money is the root of all evil":
=>    Money  =  √Evil
And, by substitution:
=>    Girls  =  (√Evil)2
4) So, we can conclude that:
      Girls  =  Evil

Similarly, one can utilise the facts that:
  • Time  =  Money
  • Knowledge  =  Power
  • Power  =  Work/Time
to derive the conclusion that:
Money = Work / Knowledge
The conclusion of which is that, for a given amount of work, the more you know, the less you earn.

Pizza Delivery

FBI agents conducted a raid of a psychiatric hospital in San Diego that was under investigation for medical insurance fraud. After hours of reviewing thousands of medical records, the dozens of agents had worked up quite an appetite.

The agent in charge of the investigation called a nearby pizza parlour with delivery service to order a quick dinner for his colleagues. The following telephone conversation took place and was recorded by the FBI because they were taping all conversations at the hospital.

Agent: Hello. I'd like to order 19 large pizzas and 3 cases of soda.

Pizza Man: And where would you like them delivered?

Agent: We're over at the psychiatric hospital.

Pizza Man: The psychiatric hospital?

Agent: That's right. I'm an FBI agent.

Pizza Man: You're an FBI agent?

Agent: That's correct. Just about everybody here is.

Pizza Man: And you're at the psychiatric hospital?

Agent: That's correct. And make sure you don't go through the front doors. We have them locked. You'll have to go around to the back service entrance to deliver the pizzas.

Pizza Man: And you say you're all FBI agents there?

Agent: That's right. How soon can you have them here?

Pizza Man: Everyone at the psychiatric hospital is an FBI agent?

Agent: That's right. We've been here all day and we're starving.

Pizza Man: How are you going to pay for all of this?

Agent: We've collected a pool of cash.

Pizza Man: And you're all FBI agents?

Agent: Yes.

Pizza Man: With guns?

Agent: That's right. Now, can you remember to bring the pizzas and sodas to the service entrance in the rear? We have the front doors locked.

Pizza Man: You must be crazy!


Modern Art Appreciation

A tiny but dignified old lady was among a group looking at an art exhibition in a newly opened gallery. Suddenly one contemporary painting caught her eye.

"What on earth," she inquired of the artist standing nearby, "is that?"

He smiled condescendingly. "That, my dear lady, is supposed to be a mother and her child."

"Well, then," snapped the little old lady, "why isn't it?"

On the Ethics of Taking a Mistress

A sociologist, a psychologist, and a computer programmer were discussing the consequences and implications of a married man having a mistress.

The sociologist's opinion was that it is absolutely and categorically unforgivable for a married man to forfeit the bond of matrimony, and engage in such lowly and lustful pursuits.

The psychologist's opinion was that although morally reprehensible, if a man MUST have a mistress to achieve his full potential as a human being, then -- well -- he may go ahead and choose to have a mistress, as long as he is considerate enough to keep this secret from his wife.

The programmer then interjected: "I also believe that, if necessary, a married man is entitled to a mistress. However, I do not see why the affair should be concealed from the wife. On the contrary, if the affair is out in the open, then on Friday evenings he may tell his wife that he is going to see his mistress, tell his mistress that he is going to be with his wife, then go to his office and get some work done!"

The Gnus

A broadcaster was on safari in Africa, making a documentary about the wildlife. Early in the morning, his guide took him to a watering hole where he observed a pair of Gnus drinking peacefully from the lake. So peaceful were they, that they did not see the stealthy approach of a pride of lions, led by two magnificent specimens.

The lions crept up, pounced, and dragged their breakfast behind some bushes where they could not be seen. Some time passed while they ate.

Finally, as the two lions re-emerged from the bushes, the broadcaster dictated into his tape:

"Well, that's the end of the Gnus, and here, once again, are the head lions."

Star Wars

In ASCIImation...

The Networking Engineer's Cat

Q: What did the network engineer call his pet cat?
A: Five.

[In a similar vein, one might note that the Cambridge Institute of Astronomy has a cat, named... Muon!]

The Differences between Dogs and Cats


Day number 180










Day number 181










Day number 182







1:30 pm - Ooooooo...bath. Bummer.





DAY 180
My captors continue to taunt me with bizarre little dangling objects. They dine lavishly on fresh meat, while I am forced to eat dry cereal. The only thing that keeps me going is the hope of escape, and the mild satisfaction I get from ruining the occasional piece of furniture. Tomorrow I may eat another houseplant.

DAY 181
Today my attempt to kill my captors by weaving around their feet while they were walking almost succeeded - must try this at the top of the stairs. In an attempt to disgust and repulse these vile oppressors, I once again induced myself to vomit on their favorite chair - must try this on their bed.

DAY 182
Decapitated a mouse and brought them the headless body, in attempt to make them aware of what I am capable of, and to try to strike fear into their hearts. They only cooed and condescended about what a good little cat I was...Hmmm. Not working according to plan.

DAY 183
I am finally aware of how sadistic they truly are. For no good reason I was chosen for the water torture. This time however it included a burning foamy chemical called "shampoo". What sick minds could invent such a liquid? My only consolation is the piece of thumb still stuck between my teeth.

DAY 184
There was some sort of gathering of their accomplices. I was placed in solitary throughout the event. However, I could hear the noise and smell the foul odour of the glass tubes they call "beer". More importantly I overheard that my confinement was due to MY power of "allergies." Must learn what this is and how to use it to my advantage.

DAY 185
I am convinced the other captives are flunkies and maybe snitches. The dog is routinely released and seems more than happy to return. He is obviously a half-wit. The bird on the other hand has got to be an informant, and speaks with them regularly. I am certain he reports my every move. Due to his current placement in the metal room his safety is assured. But I can wait, it is only a matter of time...

Guiness Drinking

An Irishman walks into a bar and orders three glasses of Guiness, drinking them one at a time. Noticing this odd ritual, the bartender explains that the beer goes flat when poured and informs the man his beer would be much fresher if he ordered one glass at a time.

The Irishman explains he began this custom with his two brothers, who have moved to America and Australia, respectively. This is their way of remembering all the time they spent drinking together.

The man becomes a regular at the pub, well-known for always ordering three beers at once. One day he walks in and orders only two beers. Assuming the worst, a hush falls among the other patrons.

When the Irishman returns to the bar to order his second round, the bartender quietly offers his condolences. The man looks confused for a moment, and then explains, "No, everyone's fine. I gave up beer for Lent."


For the 2005 General Election, I can commend the manifesto of the Official Monster Raving Loony Party? They have some very sensible policies...

Some of my personal favourites:

  • "We will issue a 99p coin to save on change."

  • "All cars will be converted to run on Venos to help stop congestion."

  • "All police will be made to say HELLO, HELLO, HELLO when making an arrest; this will treble the police force."

  • "All fast food will be clearly labelled 'May contain traces of real food'."

  • "All WMDs (weapons of Mass Distraction) will be made highly visible so that we can find them."

  • "All houses built on flood planes will have foundations made of sponge, in order to soak up surplus water."
The only worrying thing is that their tagline: "Vote for insanity, you know it makes sense!" could so easily be attached to either of the two major parties!

Je Ne Sais Quoi

Another Oracularity:

The Internet Oracle has pondered your question deeply. Your question was:

O Wonderfully Wonderful Oracle, you know damned
near everything (being that you are specially
Omniscient and all that stuff) so you'll have
no problem with my question.

What is this "je ne sais quoi" thing?  Why doesn't
anyone I ask want to admit either (1) what it is,
which has got to be such a letdown, or (2) they don't
know, which is probably worse.

Oh, I forgot I did get an answer from my cousin
Edgar, who says it's "Jeannie says Quoits."  He
claims the French are rotten spellers.  Edgar is
usually talking through his hat.

And in response, thus spake the Oracle:
Edgar is wrong once again. This "je ne sais quoi" is actually the
result of an Englishman's being rotten at French and oenology.

To understand the origin of the phrase "je ne sais quoi", we have
to go back to 14th-century Aquitaine, or to be more precise, to the
village of Saint-Maximilien-sur-Mer in the month of October, 1357.
At that time, the Hundred Years' War was well underway, and the region
of Aquitaine was controlled by the English.

Walter William Lord Brimborough was an English nobleman who had
served in France, and had settled in Aquitaine. He had bought a
nice manor in Saint-Maximilien-sur-Mer, and was fervently trying to
blend in with the locals. He learned French and tried to adapt to the
French culture.  The reason for this was that he fancied a young girl
from the village, Anne.  She was a gorgeous brunette with beautiful
almond-shaped eyes, a full, luscious mouth, and a perfect figure.
Anne's father was Louis-Antoine, Baron des Flandelles du Sarn, an
influential man, who attached great value to the French way of life.

Walter William's only hope of ever conquering Anne was to get on good
terms with the baron. To that end, he went so far as to eat snails,
drink wine and play petanque, although he much preferred fish 'n'
chips, stout and a good game of rugby. Truth be told, it took him a
while to learn that he should throw his petanque balls from behind
the line, and not take them under his arm and run across the field.
Likewise, he had great trouble telling a good wine from a bad one.
As no expense was too much for Lord Brimborough if he could increase
his chances of winning Anne's hand, he took the old viticulturist
next door, Jehan Petit, as his personal teacher of oenology.

One evening, Walter William and Jehan were sitting at the wooden
table in the dining room of the manor, tasting bottle after bottle of
Beaujolais.  According to the English Lord, all this fermented grape
juice, whether it was called Chateau Lafite-Rothschild, Bourgogne
Passetoutgrains or Vin de Table, was way inferior to the noble brews
from his home country.  But when Jehan asked him what he thought of
this particular Beaujolais, a Chiroubles 1357, Walter William didn't
want to make a fool of himself, and said: "Well, err, I don't know.
It is... well... it has a certain..." Seeing that Walter William
really didn't have a clue, Jehan interrupted him: "Jeune. Sec. Ouah!"
And indeed, it was a very dry wine, much too young for drinking, and
generally despicable. Walter William Lord Brimborough made a mental
note of Jehan's opinion on this wine, just like he had memorised
the man's remarks about all the other wines they had tasted so far.
Chiroubles 1357: jeune-sec-ouah.

One week later, Lord Brimborough plucked up the courage to ask
Louis-Antoine des Flandelles du Sarn for his daughter's hand.
He was kindly invited for diner at the baron's mansion to discuss
matters further.  When William arrived, he was brought to the dining
table, which was laden with the finest foods: cervelles de veau,
escargots frais au vinaigre, tender steaks, salads, and much more.
All these delicacies were accompanied by a selection of wines.
What Walter William didn't know, was that the baron intended to put
him to the test. One wrong remark on the steak being too tender, one
faux pas as to the quality of a wine, and Walter William's prospects
would be shattered. Fortunately, before going to the diner, Lord
Brimborough had mentally reviewed all of Jehan Petit's remarks on
the various wines they had tasted together.

All went well, the food was superb, the wine flowed abundantly, and
because of Walter William's knowledgeable comments on all the wines,
the two gentlemen got along rather well. There were a few awkward
moments when Lord Brimborough poured too much gravy over his steak,
but Louis-Antoine was inclined to give the Englishman the benefit
of doubt. He decided to play his decisive trick. He had a bottle
of Chiroubles 1357 opened and asked his prospective son-in-law what
he thought about it. Just like he had done all night, Walter William
reproduced Jehan Petit's opinion on the wine. "Well," he said, stroking
his chin, "it has a certain... je ne sais quoi." The baron burst out
laughing, kissed him on the cheek, and said: "Merveilleux, mon ami!
Quel diplomate! Trop fort!" Lord Brimborough didn't quite comprehend
this compliment, but smiled politely.

That evening, Louis-Antoine said to his daughter: "Anne, I am going
to marry you to one of the most courteous and civilised men of
all of Aquitaine. Even when I had him taste the most confoundedly
abysmal wines of the season, he never lost his benign countenance,
and found a way to express his doubt about that wine in such a way as
not to insult his host. He is the perfect son-in-law, and you shall
be married forthwith."

And so it came to pass that Walter William Lord Brimborough was
united in holy matrimony with the beautiful Anne, daughter of the
baron des Flandelles du Sarn. As soon as the ceremony was over, he
started preparations for his return to England. By the beginning of
November, Lord and Lady Brimborough had taken up residence in Sussex,
near the town of Whittleston. Lord Brimborough could once again
indulge in real foods, real drinks and real sports. But there was
one bit of French culture, or rather French idiom, that he did not
abandon, because it had been so successful.  Whenever his judgment
was asked on an important matter, he would stroke his chin and say:
"It has a certain... je ne sais quoi."

You owe the Oracle a cask of Chiroubles 1357. By now, it should have
ripened perfectly.

The blonde passenger

A plane is on its way to London when a blonde in economy class gets up and moves to the first class section and sits down. The flight attendant watches her do this and asks to see her ticket. She then tells the blonde that she paid for economy class and that she will have to sit in the back.

The blonde replies, "I'm blonde, I'm beautiful, I'm going to London and I'm staying right here."

The flight attendant goes into the cockpit and tells the pilot and the co-pilot that there is a blonde bimbo sitting in first class and that she belongs in economy and won't move back to her seat.

The co-pilot goes back to the blonde and tries to explain that because she only paid for economy she will have to leave and return to her seat.

The blonde replies, "I'm blonde, I'm beautiful, I'm going to London and I'm staying right here."

The co-pilot tells the pilot that he probably should have the police waiting when they land to arrest this blonde woman who won't listen to reason.

The pilot says, "You say she is a blonde? I'll handle this. I'm married to a blonde. I speak blonde."

He goes back to the blonde and whispers in her ear, and she says, "Oh, I'm sorry," and gets up and goes back to her seat in economy.

The flight attendant and co-pilot are amazed and ask him what he said to make her move without any fuss.

"I simply told her first class isn't going to London."

Curriculum Vitae

I have been known to remodel train stations on my lunch breaks, making them more efficient in the area of heat retention. I translate ethnic slurs for Cuban refugees, I write award-winning operas, I manage time efficiently. Occasionally, I tread water for three days in a row.

I woo women with my sensuous and godlike trombone playing, I can pilot bicycles up severe inclines with unflagging speed, and I cook Thirty-Minute Brownies in twenty minutes. I am an expert in stucco, a veteran in love, and an outlaw in Peru.

Using only a hoe and a large glass of water, I once single-handedly defended a small village in the Amazon Basin from a horde of ferocious army ants. I play bluegrass cello, I have trialled for the All Blacks, I am the subject of numerous documentaries. When I'm bored, I build large suspension bridges in my garden. I enjoy urban hang gliding. On Wednesdays, after school, I repair electrical appliances free of charge.

I am an abstract artist, a concrete analyst, and a ruthless bookie. Critics worldwide swoon over my original line of corduroy evening wear. I don't perspire. I am a private citizen, yet I receive fan mail. I have been caller number nine and have won the weekend passes. Last summer I toured Europe with a traveling centrifugal-force demonstration. I taught Brian Lara how to play cricket, and Jonah Lomu consults me for rugby advice. My deft floral arrangements have earned me fame in international botany circles. Children trust me.

I can hurl tennis racquets at small moving objects with deadly accuracy. I once read Paradise Lost, Moby Dick, and David Copperfield in one day and still had time to refurbish an entire dining room that evening. I know the exact location of every food item in Sainsbury's. I have performed several covert operations for MI6. I sleep once a week; when I do sleep, I sleep in a chair. While on holiday in Canada, I successfully negotiated with a group of terrorists who had seized a small bakery. The laws of physics do not apply to me.

I balance, I weave, I dodge, I frolic, and my bills are all paid. On weekends, to let off steam, I participate in full-contact origami. Years ago I discovered the meaning of life but forgot to write it down. I have made extraordinary four course meals using only an egg whisk and a sandwich toaster. I breed prizewinning clams. I have won bullfights in San Juan, cliff-diving competitions in Sri Lanka, and spelling bees at the Kremlin. I have played Hamlet, I have performed open-heart surgery, and I have spoken with Elvis.

My one character flaw is that I am a compulsive liar.

How specifications live forever

Does the statement, "We've always done it that way!" ring any bells?

The US standard railroad gauge (distance between the rails) is 4 feet, 8.5 inches. That is an exceedingly odd number. Why was that gauge used? Because that is the way they built them in England, and the US railroads were built by English expatriates.

Why did the English build them like that? Because the first rail lines were built by the same people who built the pre-railroad tramways, and that's the gauge they used.

Why did "they" use that gauge then? Because the people who built the tramways used the same jigs and tools that they used for building wagons which used that wheel spacing.

Okay! Why did the wagons have that particular odd wheel spacing? Well, if they tried to use any other spacing, the wagon wheels would break on some of the old, long distance roads in England, because that's the spacing of the wheel ruts.

So who built those old rutted roads? The first long distance roads in Europe (and England) were built by Imperial Rome for their legions. The roads have been used ever since. And the ruts in the roads? Roman war chariots first formed the initial ruts, which everyone else had to match for fear of destroying their wagon wheels. Since the chariots were made for (or by) Imperial Rome, they were all alike in the matter of wheel spacing.

The United States standard railroad gauge of 4 feet, 8.5 inches derives from the original specification for an Imperial Roman war chariot. Specifications and bureaucracies live forever. So the next time you are handed a specification and wonder what horse's ass came up with it, you may be exactly right, because the Imperial Roman war chariots were made just wide enough to accommodate the back ends of two war horses. Thus, we have the answer to the original question.

Now the twist to the story...
When we see a Space Shuttle sitting on its launch pad, there are two big booster rockets attached to the sides of the main fuel tank. These are solid rocket boosters, or SRBs. The SRBs are made by Thiokol at their factory in Utah. The engineers who designed the SRBs would have preferred to make them a bit fatter, but the SRBs had to be shipped by train from the factory to the launch site. The railroad line from the factory had to run through a tunnel in the mountains. The SRBs had to fit through that tunnel. The tunnel is slightly wider than the railroad track, and the railroad track is about as wide as two horses' behinds. So, the major design feature of what is arguably the world's most advanced transportation system was determined over two thousand years ago by the width of a Horse's Ass!

People for the Ethical Treatment of Software

NEW YORK - People for the Ethical Treatment of Software (PETS) announced today that more software companies have been added to the groups "watch list" of companies that regularly practice software testing.
"There is no need for software to be mistreated in this way so that companies like these can market new products," said Ken Grandola, a spokesman for PETS. "Alternative methods of testing these products are available."
According to PETS, these companies force software to undergo lengthy and arduous test - often without rest - for hours or days at a time. Employees are assigned to "break" the software by any means necessary and inside sources report that they often joke about "torturing" the software.
"It's no joke," Grandola said. "Innocent programs, from the day they are compiled, are cooped up in tiny rooms and 'crashed' for hours on end. They spend their whole lives on dirty, ill-maintained computers, and they are unceremoniously deleted when they're not needed anymore."
Grandola said that the software is kept in unsanitary conditions and is infested with bugs.
"We know alternatives to this horror exist," he said, citing industry giant Microsoft Corp. as a company that has become successful without resorting to software testing.

All I Hear is Static

To help myself get through college financially, I worked as a Hardware Support technician for the University's Computer Services. One day, on my phone rotation, I received a phone call from a man who was rather annoyed that he couldn't access his e-mail from home. Our school had a dial-up system (it was the mid-90's) where students could log in to check their e-mail.

"...All I hear is static," the man proclaimed. Trying to give him the benefit of the doubt, I assumed that his modem speaker was simply left on after he connected. I proceeded to give him instructions as to how to turn off the modem's speaker when he cut me off. "I don't have a modem."

Trying to be as polite as possible, I explained that he needed to have a modem to access the system and I gave him recommendations for certain brands. The phone conversation ended well, and he was on his way to the store.

A little over an hour later, I received another irritated call from this man. "The guy at the store says I need a computer for one of these things," he said. "That's correct, sir. I'm sorry - I was under the impression you had one. May I ask, sir, how is it you were hoping to read your e-mail?"

"I thought there would be some nice undergraduate student that would read it to me."

Needless to say, the poor guy was very embarrassed.

Bananas and Monkeys

Start with a cage containing five monkeys.

Inside the cage, hang a banana on a string and place a set of stairs under it. Before long, a monkey will go to the stairs and start to climb towards the banana. As soon as he touches the stairs, spray all of the other monkeys with cold water.

After a while, another monkey makes an attempt with the same result - all the other monkeys are sprayed with cold water. Pretty soon, when another monkey tries to climb the stairs, the other monkeys will try to prevent it.

Now, put away the cold water. Remove one monkey from the cage and replace it with a new one. The new monkey sees the banana and wants to climb the stairs. To his surprise and horror, all of the other monkeys attack him.

After another attempt and attack, he knows that if he tries to climb the stairs, he will be assaulted.

Next, remove another of the original five monkeys and replace it with a new one. The newcomer goes to the stairs and is attacked. The previous newcomer takes part in the punishment with enthusiasm! Likewise, replace a third original monkey with a new one, then a fourth, then the fifth. Every time the newest monkey takes to the stairs, he is attacked.

Most of the monkeys that are beating him have no idea why they were not permitted to climb the stairs or why they are participating in the beating of the newest monkey.

After replacing all the original monkeys, none of the remaining monkeys have ever been sprayed with cold water. Nevertheless, no monkey ever again approaches the stairs to try for the banana. Why not? Because as far as they know that's the way it's always been done round here.

And that, my friends, is how company policies are made.

English Grammar

A dangling participle walks into a bar. Enjoying a cocktail and chatting with the bartender, the evening passes pleasantly.

A bar was walked into by the passive voice.

An oxymoron walked into a bar, and the silence was deafening.

Two quotation marks walk into a “bar.”

A malapropism walks into a bar, looking for all intensive purposes like a wolf in cheap clothing, muttering epitaphs and casting dispersions on his magnificent other, who takes him for granite.

Hyperbole totally rips into this insane bar and absolutely destroys everything.

A question mark walks into a bar?

A non sequitur walks into a bar. In a strong wind, even turkeys can fly.

Papyrus and Comic Sans walk into a war. The bartender says, “Get out — we don’t serve your type.”

A mixed metaphor walks into a bar, seeing the handwriting on the wall but hoping to nip it in the bud.

A comma splice walks into a bar, it has a drink and then leaves.

Three intransitive verbs walk into a bar. They sit. They converse. They depart.

A synonym strolls into a tavern.

At the end of the day, a cliché walks into a bar — fresh as a daisy, cute as a button, and sharp as a tack.

A run-on sentence walks into a bar it starts flirting. With a cute little sentence fragment.

Falling slowly, softly falling, the chiasmus collapses to the bar floor.

A figure of speech literally walks into a bar and ends up getting figuratively hammered.

An allusion walks into a bar, despite the fact that alcohol is its Achilles’ heel.

The subjunctive would have walked into a bar, had it only known.

A misplaced modifier walks into a bar owned by a man with a glass eye named Ralph.

The past, present, and future walked into a bar. It was tense.

A verb walks into a bar, sees a beautiful noun, and suggests they conjugate. The noun declines.

An Oxford comma walks into a bar, where it spends the evening watching the television getting drunk and smoking cigars.

A simile walks into a bar, as parched as a desert.

A gerund and an infinitive walk into a bar, drinking to forget.

A hyphenated word and a non-hyphenated word walk into a bar and the bartender nearly chokes on the irony.

Congratulations if you made it this far!!