Ken Castleman's Internet Humor Page

Wiley, perplexed

A collection of wit and wonder from out yonder in cyberspace.


WEIRD SCIENCE (Inventive answers from young scholors)

These answers come from test papers and essays submitted to science and health teachers by junior high, high school, and college students around the world. This is the science created by young scholars under pressure of time and grades.


Church Bulletins

The following announcements have appeared in various church bulletins.


Traffic Accidents (It wasn't really my fault...)

These statements were filed on insurance forms as drivers attempted to summarize the details of their accidents in the fewest possible words.


Lawyer Joke

Two well-dressed New York attorneys stopped in a bar in rural Mississippi. While they were drinking, a beeping sound permiated the quiet surroundings. One lawyer took a pen out of his pocket and looked at it. Then he explained to the curious patrons that his pen had a built in pager. Shortly a ringing sound broke the silence. The other laywer pressed a button on the brim of his hat and started talking. After the conversation he explained that he had a cell phone built into his hat. After a while, Billy Joe Poteet, sitting down the bar a ways, cut a loud, rusty fart. "Somebody get me some paper," he said, "I've got a fax coming in."


Guy Joke

Q: How many guys does it take to install a roll of toilet paper?

A: Nobody knows. It's never been observed.


Translations

These are from the New Yorker magazine competition where they asked competitors to change one letter in a familiar non-English phrase and redefine it.


Definitions

Cyberspace jargon, from WIRED magazine


Nevermore

Edgar Allen Poe confronts a flaky disk drive.

Once upon a midnight dreary, fingers cramped and vision bleary,
System manuals roughly piled, and wasted paper on the floor,
Longing for the warmth of bedsheets, still I sat there, doing spreadsheets.
Having reached the bottom line, I sought to save it one last time.
Typing with a steady hand, I then invoked the SAVE command,
And waited for the file to store - only this and nothing more.

Then at that flat panel peering, Long I sat there wond'ring, fearing,
Doubting, while the disk kept turning, churning yet to churn some more.
"Save!" I said, "You cursed mother. Save my data, and no other!"
Just one thing the screen did render, message bold, but not so tender,
Only this and nothing more - just "Abort, Retry, Ignore?"

Was this some occult illusion? Some maniacal intrusion?
These were choices undesired, and ones I'd never faced before.
Carefully, I weighed the choices, as the disk made scratching noises.
The cursor flashed, insistent, waiting ... baiting me to type some more.
Clearly I must press a key, to make the choice of one from three,
Selecting from, "Abort, Retry, Ignore"?

With my fingers pale and trembling, slowly toward the keyboard bending,
Longing for a happy ending, hoping all would be restored,
Praying for some guarantee, so lightly did I press a key.
But on the screen there still persisted - words appearing as before.
Ghastly grim they blinked and taunted, haunted, as my patience wore,
Saying to me one time more, "Abort, Retry, Ignore?"

I tried to catch the chips off guard; I pressed again, now twice as hard.
I pleaded with that cursed demon, begged and cried, and then I swore.
Flailing now in desperation, trying random combinations,
Still there came the incantation, just as senseless as before.
Cursor blinking, without thinking, winking nonsense I abhore,
Words that at my senses tore, "Abort, Retry, Ignore?"

There I sat, distraught, exhausted, by mine own machine accosted.
Getting up, I turned away and paced across the office floor.
Whereupon, a dreadful sight: a lightning bolt cut through the night.
A gasp of horror overtook me, and it shook me to the core.
Lightning zapped my precious data, lost and gone forevermore.
Now in darkness - nothing more. Not even, "Abort, Retry, Ignore?"

To this day I do not know the place to which lost data go.
What demonic nether world is wrought where data will be stored,
Beyond the reach of mortal souls, beyond the ether, in black holes?
But sure as there's a C and Basic, Microsoft, and many more,
You'll be someday left to wander, lost upon some dismal shore,
Beseeching fickle Gods of yore, "Abort, Retry, Ignore?"


THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS (Legally Speaking)

This sworn declaration was filed by a lawyer as an eyewitness account of the senseless vandalism that took place on 24 December, last.

Whereas, on or about one night prior to the Christmas legal holiday, there did occur, at a certain piece of improved real property (hereinafter "the House") a general lack of movement by all creatures situated therein, including, but not limited to one or more rodents, herein cited as unnamed co-conspiritors.

A variety of footwear, e.g. stocking, socks, etc., had been affixed by and around the fireplace in said House in response to knowledge and belief that a mysterious party known as St. Nick, a/k/a Santa Claus (hereinafter "Claus") was known to be operating a questionable business activity in the neighborhood.

The minor residents of the House were located in their individual beds and were engaged upon nocturnal somnambulistic hallucinations wherein visions of various confectionery treats, including, but not limited to, candies, nuts and/or sugar plums, did appear, cavort, dance, and otherwise participate in said dreaming.

Whereupon this Witness, being the joint-owner in fee simple of the House with his legally married spouse, along with said spouse, had retired for purposes of a sustained period of sleep, clad, as they were, in various forms of headgear, including, but not limited to, kerchief and cap.

Suddenly, and without prior notice or warning, there did occur upon the unimproved real property adjacent and appurtenant to said House, (the lawn) a disruption of unknown nature, cause and circumstance. The Witness did immediately rush to a window of the House to investigate the cause of said disturbance.

At that time, the Witness did observe, with some degree of wonder and/or disbelief, a miniature sleigh ("the Vehicle"), bearing no liscense plates or aircraft identification numbering, being drawn rapidly through the air by an assembly of approximately eight (8) reindeer (hereinafter "the Deer"). The driver of the Vehicle was a white male caucasian, 5 ft. 7 in., 220 pounds, with white hair and beard, wearing a red suit with white trim. He was later identified by reliable witnesses as the suspect, Claus.

Said Claus was providing specific direction, instruction and guidance to the Deer, and he specifically identified the animal co-conspirators by name, to wit: Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, and Blitzen. Upon information and belief, it is further asserted that a ninth animal suspect named "Rudolph" may have been involved in these actions.

The Witness observed Claus, the Vehicle, and the Deer intentionally and willfully trespassing upon the roofs of several residences located adjacent to and in the vicinity of the House, and noted that the Vehicle was heavily laden with packages, toys and other items of unknown origin or nature. Suddenly, without prior invitation or permission, express or implied, the Vehicle arrived at the House, and Claus gained illegal entry into the House via the chimney.

Said Claus appeared clad in a red fur suit, which was partially covered with residue from the chimney, and he carried a large sack containing a portion of the previously observed packages, toys, and other items of unknown origin and purpose.

The suspect was smoking a combustible leaf that appeared to be tobacco in a small pipe in blatant disregard of posted warnings and in violation of local ordinances and health regulations.

Claus did not speak, but immediately began to fill the posted stockings of the minor children, which hung adjacent to the chimney, with toys and other small gift items. The transfer of these items did not, however, constitute "gifts" to said minors pursuant to the applicable provisions of the U.S. Tax Code.

Upon completion of this act, Claus made an obscene gesture by touching the side of his nose with his finger. Following that, he flew, rose or otherwise ascended the chimney of the House, making good his escape to the roof where the Vehicle waited and the Deer were serving as "lookouts". Claus immediately and hastily departed for an unknown destination.

However, prior to the departure of the Vehicle, Deer and Claus from the vicinity of said House, the witness did hear Claus state, represent and/or declare as follows: "Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!" or words to that effect.

Respectfully Submitted,
s./ The Grinch, Esq.


Physics Consumer Product Warnings

The combination of modern physics and consumer protection laws leads to a new wave of product labeling.

Caution: Due To Its Mass, This Product Warps Space and Time in Its Vicinity.

WARNING: This Product Attracts Every Other Object in the universe, Including the Products of Other Manufacturers, with a Force Proportional to the Product of the Masses Divided by the Square of 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. The Maunfacturer warrents that this product is to be used only as matter and will not be responsible for injury or damage if it is converted into energy.

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

CONSUMER NOTICE: Due to the "Uncertainty Principle," it is impossible for the User to know precisely and simultaneously where this product is located and how fast it is moving.

ADVISORY: There is an Extremely Remote Chance That, Through a Process Know as "Tunneling," This Product May Spontaneously Disappear from Its Present Location and Reappear at Any Other Place in the Universe, Including Your Neighbor's Domicile. The Manufacturer Will Not Be Responsible for Any Damage 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 PRODUCT IS 100% MATTER: In the Unlikely Event That This Merchandise Should Contact Antimatter in Any Form, a Catastrophic Explosion Will Result. The Manufacturer cannot be held responsible for resulting injury or damages.

PUBLIC NOTICE AS REQUIRED BY LAW: Any Use of This Product, in Any Manner Whatsoever, Will Increase the Aggregate Amount of Disorder in the Universe. Although No Liability Is Assumed Herein, the Consumer Is Warned That This Process Will Ultimately Lead to a state of "Warm 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, Therefore, Can Not Be Guaranteed Indefinitely. No resopnsibility is therefore assumed for the structural integrity of this product.

ATTENTION: Notwithstanding Any Listing of Product Contents Found Hereupon, the Consumer is Advised That This Product Actually Consists of 99.9999999999% Empty Space.

NEW GRAND UNIFIED THEORY DISCLAIMER: While the Manufacturer is Technically Entitled to Claim That This Product Is Ten-Dimensional, 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 "Area" That They Cannot Be Detected.

PLEASE NOTE: Some Quantum Physics Theories Suggest That, When Unobserved, This Product May Cease to Exist or May Exist Only in a Vague and Undetermined State. Therefore all warrenties are in effect only while ths product is under the direct observation of a human being.

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 Competitors' Claims to the Contrary are neither Justified nor Accurate.

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. The manufacturer cannot be held liable for injury or damage resulting from relativistic mass increase.

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, and its performance and suitability for any purpose, Cannot Be Guaranteed.


A Guide to Effective Scientific Communication

What those speaker's comments at the end of the talk really mean

Phrase - Translation
It has long been known - I haven't bothered to look up the reference.
It is believed - I think so.
It is generally believed - A couple of other guys think so too.
It is not unreasonable to assume - If you believe this, you'll believe anything.
Of great theoretical importance - I find it kind of interesting.
Of great practical importance - I can get some mileage out of it.
Typical results are shown - These are the best results I ever got.
Three samples were chosen for further study - The others didn't make sense, so we ignored them.
The 4 hour sample was not studied - I dropped it on the floor.
The 4 hour determination may not be significant - I dropped it on the floor, but scooped most of it up.
The significance of these results is as yet unclear - Look at the pretty artifact.
It has not been possible to provide definitive answers - The experiment was negative, but at least I can publish the data somewhere.
Correct within an order of magnitude - Totally Wrong.
It might be argued that - I have such a good answer for this objection that I shall now raise it.
Much additional work will be required - This paper is not very good, but neither are the others in this field.
These investigations proved highly rewarding - My grant is going to be renewed.
I thank X for assistance with the experiments and Y for useful discussions on the interperetation of the data - X did the experiment and Y explained it to me.


Proof That The Gene Pool Needs More Chlorine

  • Police in Wichita, Kansas, arrested a 22-year-old man at an airport hotel after he tried to pass two (counterfeit) $16 bills.

  • A man in Johannesburg, South Africa, shot his 49-year-old friend in the face, seriously wounding him, while the two practiced shooting beer cans off each other's heads.

  • A company trying to continue its five-year perfect safety record showed its workers a film aimed at encouraging the use of safety goggles on the job. According to Industrial Machinery News, the film's depiction of gory industrial accidents was so graphic that 25 workers suffered minor injuries in their rush to leave the screening room. Thirteen others fainted, and one man required seven stitches after he cut his head falling off a chair while watching the film.

  • The Chico, California City Council enacted a ban on nuclear weapons, setting a $500 fine for anyone detonating one within the city limits.

  • A bus carrying five passengers was hit by a car in St. Louis, but by the time police arrived on the scene, fourteen pedestrians had boarded the bus and had begun to complain of whiplash injuries and back pain.

  • Swedish business consultant Ulf af Trolle labored 13 years on a book about Swedish economic solutions. He took the 250-page manuscript to be copied, only to have it reduced to 50,000 strips of paper in seconds by a worker who confused the copier with the shredder.

  • A convict broke out of jail in Washington D.C., then a few days later accompanied his girlfriend to her trial for robbery. At lunch, he went out for a sandwich. She needed to see him, and so had him paged. Police officers recognized his name and arrested him as he returned to the courthouse in a car he had stolen over the lunch hour.

  • Police in Radnor, Pennsylvania, interrogated a suspect by placing a metal colander on his head and connecting it with wires to a photocopy machine. The message "He's lying" was placed in the copier, and police pressed the copy button each time they thought the suspect wasn't telling the truth. Believing the "lie detector" was working, the suspect eventually confessed.

  • When two service station attendants in Ionia, Michigan, refused to hand over the cash to an intoxicated robber, the man threatened to call the police. They still refused, so the robber called the police and was quickly arrested.

  • A Los Angeles man who later said he "just got tired of walking," stole a steamroller and led police on a hot 5 mph chase until an officer stepped aboard and brought the vehicle to a stop.

  • The "Darwin Award" is an annual honor given to the person who did the human gene pool the biggest service by killing themselves in the most extraordinarily stupid way. Last year's winner was the fellow who was killed by a Coke machine when it toppled over on him as he was attempting to tip a free soda out of it.

  • The Arizona Highway Patrol came upon a pile of smoldering metal embedded into the side of a cliff rising above the road at the apex of a curve. The wreckage resembled the site of an airplane crash, but it was a car, unidentifiable at the scene. The boys at the lab finally figured out what had happened.

    It seems that a guy had somehow gotten hold of a JATO (Jet Assisted Take Off) unit, actually a solid fuel rocket, that is used to give heavy military transport planes an extra "push" for takeoff from short airfields. He had driven his 1967 Chevy Impala out into the desert to a long, straight stretch of road. He attached the JATO unit to his car, jumped in, got up some speed and fired off the JATO.

    The operator of the Impala hit JATO ignition at a distance of approximately 3.0 miles from the crash site. This was established by the prominent scorched and melted asphalt at that location. The JATO, if operating properly, would have reached maximum thrust within 5 seconds and continued at full power for an additional 20-25 seconds, taking the Chevy to speeds well in excess of 350 mph. The driver (soon to be pilot) most likely experienced G-forces usually reserved for dog-fighting F-14 jocks using full afterburners, basically rendering him insignificant for the remainder of the brief but eventful flight.

    The automobile remained on the straight highway for about 2.5 miles (15-20) seconds before the driver applied (and melted) the brakes, blowing the tires and leaving thick rubber marks on the road surface. It then went airborne for an additional 1.4 miles impacting the cliff face at a height of 125 feet and leaving a blackened crater three feet deep in the rock. Most of the driver's remains were not recoverable, but fingernail and bone shards were removed from a piece of debris believed to be part of the steering wheel.

  • Letter to the Insurance Company:

    On the insurance claim form I listed 'Poor Planning' as the cause of my accident at home. I am writing in response to your request for additional information. I trust the following detail will be sufficient.

    I am an amateur radio operator, and on the day of the accident, I was working alone on the top section of my new 80 foot antenna tower. By the time I had completed my work, I had, over the course of several trips, brought about 300 pounds of tools and spare hardware up the tower. Rather than carry these tools and material down by hand, I decided to lower the items to the ground in a small barrel, using a rope and pulley attached to the top of the tower.

    Securing the rope at ground level, I went to the top of the tower and loaded the tools and material into the barrel. Then I went back to the ground and untied the rope, holding it tightly to ensure a slow descent of the 300 pounds of tools. You will note in block 11 of the accident report form that I weigh 155 pounds.

    Due to my surprise of being jerked off the ground so suddenly, I lost my presence of mind and forgot to let go of the rope. Needless to say, I proceeded up the side of the tower at a rapid rate of speed. At about the 40 foot level, I met the barrel, which was coming down. This explains the fractured skull and broken collarbone. Slowed only slightly by the impact, I continued my rapid ascent, not stopping until the fingers of my right hand were two knuckles deep into the pulley.

    Fortunately, by this time, I had regained my presence of mind and was able to hold onto the rope in spite of the pain. At approximately the same time, however, the barrel hit the ground and broke open, spilling the tools. Now without the tools, the barrel weighed approximately 20 pounds. I refer again to my weight listed in block 11.

    As you might imagine, I began a rapid descent down the side of the tower. In the vicinity of the 40 foot level I again met the barrel, which was coming up. This accounts for the fractured ankles and the lacerations of the legs and lower body. Fortunately, the encounter with the barrel slowed me enough to lessen my injuries when I fell onto the pile of tools. Only three vertebra were cracked. I am sorry to report, however, that, laying there on the tools, in pain and unable to move, watching the empty barrel 80 feet above me, I again lost my presence of mind and let go of the rope.