Tag Archives: Humor

Strange News Items

In a world where we are surprised daily by news we never thought we’d hear, it’s getting harder and harder to find news that qualifies as being “strange.”  But, thanks to the NPR website, here are a few news items that are worthy of celebration.  You may have seen some, but they’re worth re-visiting.

            Hunter Knocked Unconscious By Shot Goose Falling Out Of The Sky.  The phrase “turnabout is fair play” could hardly be more apt.

            Florida Child Gets Stuck In Toy Claw Machine.  Okay, it had to be hard for the kid to get in there, but how many hundreds of quarters will it take to get him back out?

            Farmer Calls Police Over Tiger In Cow Shed.  After a lengthy stand-off, it was determined that the tiger in the Scottish farmer’s barn was stuffed – not as in full from eating too much, but from being a toy.

            Swiss University To Offer Degree In Yodeling.  I think this is funny because it has the word “yodeling” in it.  Personally, I think a few courses in yodeling would be sufficient, but I guess there is demand for an actual degree. 

            The Great Baboon Escape.  Fifty baboons escaped from their enclosure at the Paris Zoo a few weeks ago.  No faces were removed, however, as the baboons wandered back into their assigned spot.

            New Orleans Finds 93,000 Pounds Of Mardi Gras Beads In Storm Drains.  This is remarkable to me, since any given set of beads weighs almost nothing.  Can you imagine how many shirts were lifted to generate that number of beads?

            You’ve Waited, Now It’s Here: The Smartphone-Powered Nose Hair Trimmer.  It’s not very often that I’m at a loss for words.

            Keeping Animals Away With Deer Snorts And Dog Barks.  Japanese trains will be blaring out sounds of animals’ warning sounds to keep said animals off the tracks.  We in Wisconsin hit enough deer that maybe we should put speakers on our cars.

            There are surely “legitimate” news stories that are weirder and harder to believe, but it’s nice to reflect on some items that are not as serious.  After some internal debate I decided not to include the story of the man with the five and a half foot-long tapeworm.  You’re welcome.

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Filed under 2018

I Perendinate

The folks at www.historyhustle.com have released a list of words from the past which might well have some value in our present day.  I cannot vouch for the words being legitimate, but real or made-up, they are fun.

To perendinate is defined as “putting off until the day after tomorrow.”  That’s for people who feel pressured by the idea of putting things off until the very next day.

Cacothes is “the irresistible urge to do something inadvisable.”  The one extra shot of brandy, the wink at the pretty girl, or the early morning Tweet are all examples.

Frobly-mobly means “neither well, nor unwell.”  How are you?  “Meh.”

Callipygian is, sadly, the only one of these words I had heard before.  It means, “having beautiful, well-shaped buttocks.”  So, I am certainly callipygian.  Or not.

Ultracrepidarian is most needed in our modern parlance.  It means, “someone who gives opinions on subjects they know nothing about.” 

A snollygoster is “a shrewd, unprincipled person – especially a politician.”  So, there really is nothing new under the sun.

Someone who is philogrobilized is “someone who has a hangover without admitting to actual drinking.”

I may not be callipygian, but I am certainly a slugabed, meaning someone who “stays in bed past the usual or proper time to get up.”  But, it’s so warm and comfortable!  Interestingly, there’s another word that applies: dysania means “extreme difficulty getting out of bed in the morning.”

Uhtceare means “lying awake and worrying about the day ahead.”  I think I’d worry more about how to pronounce it.

Kakistocracy is “government by the least qualified or worst people.”  At any given time over my life there are large numbers of people who believe that that is the situation.

Shivviness denotes the “uncomfortable feeling of wearing new underwear.” 

Every dog I’ve ever known is a grote: “Someone who stares at you while you eat.”

Over my career I’ve known a number of fudgels, in other words, “people who pretend to work while actually doing nothing.”  That’s what Facebook is for, right?

There are more words, and probably hundreds beyond the list HistoryHustle shared.  Someday people will look back on our current vocabulary with the same sort of wonder we have about these words. 

My first candidate for a word that will be looked at with confusion: “Nothing burger.” 

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There’s No Proof

(From January, 2018)

Over the years I’ve archived in this space various missteps I’ve taken.  Especially memorable was the time I ran over my wallet with a mulching lawn mower (by accident).  But, there are many other incidents that prove my marked imperfection.

I must say, though, that I actually find the stupid things I’ve done to be more amusing than the “fails” that crowd the internet and programs like “America’s Funniest Videos.”  Yes, some of the videos are very funny, but I don’t take any joy in watching someone be humiliated, or in the case of some of the internet videos, humiliated and badly injured.  Adding insult to injury, or the other way around.

So, I’ll tell you this story with the understanding that it may or may not have happened to me or someone like me.  Fortunately, there is no photographic evidence.

Let’s just say there was this guy, about my age, height, and weight, who decided to try out some exercise machines and such at a gym.  Let’s say he went during the middle of the day when there were very few people around.

Now, just for fun, imagine this guy looking at an inversion table.  You’ve seen the fellow on TV selling them.  They tip, allowing you to stretch your back and gain all sorts of health benefits – or so he says.  I know an 80 year-old man who uses one regularly so, how hard can it be?

Knowing that many people use these devices, I… I mean this hypothetical guy we’re talking about, decides to try it.  He leans against it, puts his feet in the foot holders, and tips back.

Immediately he realizes that he has made a big mistake.  Clearly there are adjustments to be made before using this machine that he has not made.  Attempting to right himself, unsuccessfully, he quickly reviews his options.  1. Stay there until someone rescues him.  2. Try to escape.

At that point I, that is I mean, the guy we’re talking about, manages to free his feet and clumsily roll off the machine, nearly tipping it over.

Now, if I had seen that happen on a television show, I probably would have chuckled.  It wasn’t funny while it was happening, but like so many things in life, I see the humor in it now.

As I said, that may, or may not have happened to me.  Fortunately, there is no proof.

              

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Headlines of Note

Do you ever find yourself reading the paper or looking at the internet when you see a headline that both makes you wonder, and makes you not want to know what it’s about?

I did some checking around for some recent headlines that qualify.  They come from various web sites, though most articles were originated from the Associated Press.

I have provided some commentary, for better or worse.

1.      “Man Does Yoga in Nude on Street.”  (Namaste)  

2.      “Thieves Using Blow-torch End Up Igniting Cash Inside ATM.” ( )

3.      “White People-free Day on Campus.”  (So, did the white people get a free day, or was the campus free of white people?  Either way, why?”

4.      “Morgue Worker Arrested for Stealing Drugs from Corpse’s Stomach.”  (Urp)

5.      “Japan Bathhouse Offers ‘Naked School” to Lure Bathers.”  (They should move out to the street and do yoga first.)

6.      “Robot ‘Beams Light’ from Hands – Gives Blessing.”  (And it’s not creepy at all!)

7.      “Hunter Crushed by Collapsing Elephant After Shot.”  (Definition of irony)

8.      “Funeral Expo Digs Up Hottest Death Trends.”  (Not #4 above)

9.      “Homing Pigeon Caught Smuggling 170 Ecstasy Pills.”  (That bird needs serious help.)

10.   “Woman Arrested for Pork Fried Rice Attack on Ex.”  (It’s only considered a deadly weapon if there’s too much MSG.)

11.   “Scientists: Parasitic Worm Spit Holds Key to Healing.”  (How do you get them to spit?”

12.   “Disgruntled Man Releases Bedbugs in City Office in Augusta, Maine.”  (They immediately became ‘desk bugs.’)

13.   “Pennsylvania Man Arrested After Calling 911 for Conversation.”  (So, being friendly is a crime now?)

14.   “Subway Performer Attacked by Subway Dancers Using Hula-Hoop.”  (Well, Hula-Hoops are made by the ‘Whamo’ company…)

15.   “Oklahoma School Apologizes for Hitler Yearbook Quotation.”  (Fortunately it was printed in German, so only a few students know what it says.)

16.   “Sting Operation Results in the Recovery of Stolen Bees.”  (A headline writer’s dream!)

There you have them.  If any of the headlines made you queasy or gave you a headache, may I recommend that you start to heal with some parasite spit?

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Filed under 2017

If I Were King…

The character named Sheldon on the “Big Bang Theory” television show is socially very unaware.  He is only interested in having things his way, and doesn’t understand why that can’t always be the case.  A person like that sounds horrible, but the people around him understand that he is that way because of how his genius brain is wired.  So, they abide by his many rules, like his ban on whistling.

I was thinking that Sheldon imagines himself to be the center of the world.  Kind of like a king, I guess.  WGN radio host John Williams used to do a feature called, “If I were King,” in which he told listeners what he would chance in the world if he could. 

So, I’d like to share some things I’d do, or undo, if I were king.

First, the duck-billed platypus would be called just a platypus.  It’s the only type, why get so specific?  Second, I would get a pet donkey and name him “Hotay” in homage to “Don Quixote.”  I’d get a zebra and call her “Spot.”  I’d breed a Chihuahua and a border collie, and call their pups south-of-the-border collies.

I would make airlines board planes in this order: 1. Window seats.  2. Middle seats. 3. Aisle seats.  And, since they allow a roller bag and a “personal item,” I’d make sure the personal item isn’t the size of a tuba.

Anyone who used the word “free” before the word “gift” would be forced to wash their mouth out with soap.  By definition, a gift is free.  No need to say it.

I’d open a store that has a door that looks like a Mason jar.  I’d call the store “The Door Is A Jar.”  In it I’d sell jars that look like doors.

If I were king, I’d make sure all shoes were available in widths, and that shirts were available in the rare XLT size.

I would require all 18 year-olds thinking about college to take and pass a course on the wonders of debt before putting themselves in a deep hole before they even attend their first class.  I might also ask universities to explain in detail why an education that used to cost $10,000 now costs $100,000. 

Then I’d rule that every subject – and me, the king – would live by the following code: Personal Responsibility.

Then, on the second day, I’d retire.

           

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Muses

Creative sorts are often said to be inspired by their muse.  Sometimes it’s a real person, and sometimes that muse might be an ethereal, mysterious entity of some sort.  The original muses were said to be daughters of the god Zeus.  There were nine of them (imagine the wedding expenses!) and they inspired creativity in all the arts.

Another meaning is in the verb form.  To muse means to ponder something.  Interestingly, to amuse is to divert someone from serious things.  In other words, if I told you that a horse walked into a bar and the bartender said, “Why the long face?” you would have forgotten all about muses.

I probably spend too much time musing over things.  That doesn’t mean I come up with any answers, God forbid, but I enjoy posing the questions.  Here are some.

·        Did Johnny Appleseed have a sister named Joanie Tulipbulb?

·        If our country is deeply in debt, and if in a government shutdown only essential services are provided, why are we providing non-essential services in the first place?

·        If you took the same amount of probiotics and antibiotics, would your number of biotics remain the same?

·        Isn’t the term “settled science” contrary to the spirit of the scientific method?   

·        Exactly what problem are driverless cars solving?

·        If flying cars are good, and driverless cars are good (you see where I’m going, right?) then flying driverless cars will be great!  What could possibly go wrong?

·        Are bird cardinals named after the Catholic cardinals, or the other way around?

·        If Stephen Hawking and other smart people say that artificial intelligence in robots will doom the human race, why do we keep developing them?

·        How come nobody ever graduates from the Electoral College?  Is there an electoral high school?

·        If phones can turn text into voice, and voice into text, why do we need them?

So, those are my musings.  I wasn’t inspired by a muse, but rather by the little part of my brain that

asks these sorts of questions.  I hope you were amused.

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Real Life

There’s an old phrase: “Life imitates art.”  It can be interpreted various ways, but it is odd how sometimes things happen that seem unreal and fictional – or even fanciful.

I remember a Memorial Day weekend when we lived in Duluth.  We were planting our little garden when I noticed it was snowing.  I realized I was planting snow peas at the time.  Not an earthshaking coincidence, but still…

More recently, and far less happily, it was reported that an angry camel bit off a man’s head.  So for all those times when somebody who was being criticized said, “Don’t bite my head off,” we now know if can happen.

Back when we used to cut and bale our own hay, the expression “make hay while the sun shines” took on a literal meaning as storm clouds rolled in when we had another load to finish.  Making hay has other meetings, as does hitting the hay, or a roll in the hay.  None are enhanced by rain, though.

The expression “nothing is sure except for death and taxes” took on new meaning at the VFW fish fry in Stoughton last weekend when we noticed that the placemat had a mortuary and a tax preparation service listed.  For some reason that reminds me of the Archie’s Monuments location that used to be on Highway 26 north of Watertown which also featured miniature golf.  A very interesting combination business.  Watch out for the last hole!

Another tragic example of late: the man who attempted suicide by stripping naked and breaking in to the lions’ area at a zoo.  Throwing someone to the lions is supposed to be a metaphor.  It’s hard to imagine even the most jaded movie script including suicide by lion.

Life has imitated science fiction for many years, from rocket travel to artificial intelligence.  In fact George Orwell’s “1984” and Ray Bradbury’s “Fahrenheit 451” were, I guess, social-science fiction books that speak to thought control (Facebook?) and constant monitoring by the government (cameras everywhere in cities, cell phones being monitored…) 

Life imitates art in good ways too, of course.  It doesn’t often make the news, however. 

I don’t want to make too big a deal out of all this.  Rumor has it that there is a mole hill somewhere that might be made into a mountain, if we’re not careful.

               

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