When former president George W. Bush asked the question, “Is our children learning?” (Florence, South Carolina, January 11, 2000), somehow I suspected that the status of education in the United States was unlikely to improve over the next few years, and that ignorance in America would continue to flourish. A few days ago I encountered some particularly humorous examples of such ignorance while reading through the Friday Funnies section of the Casey Daily Dispatch (the remainder of the linked article makes for an interesting read as well, although the other subjects addressed are much more serious). Supposedly these questions and answers were from previous student responses to the GED examinations dating back to 2000, although I was unable to track down the primary source for them.
Have you ever heard someone say that laughter is the best medicine? It may sound like something your grandmother would come out with, but grandmothers are often very wise. Laughter really is excellent for your physical and mental well being. Laughing is also very good for your social life.
Unless you’re still stuck with dialup, you’re probably familiar with LOLCats: pictures of animals (usually cats) with funny captions. Most of these pictures are humorous – if, that is, you can translate the LOLCat shorthand that most caption writers use. This article by Sarah Borroum describes the different types of pictures and captions that comprise this curious Internet phenomenon.
Turning LOLCat language into understandable English is not difficult if you understand the shorthand. Here’s what you really need to know to laugh yourself silly over some of the most popular pictures on the Internet.
Bukkit (bucket). This is an inside joke. Basically, walruses are on eternal quests for buckets (probably because they contain fish). “Were is mah bukkit?” has been the caption for more than one LOLCat – whether it’s a walrus, feline, or some other animal.
After noticing that my two previous quote compilation posts have been doing well in drawing traffic from casual searchers, I did some keyword research earlier today to find out what other kinds of quotes people are trying to find. One topic that came up fairly high on the list was quotes about money and finance. This seemed like a pretty good idea, especially since this blog is supposed to be about Internet marketing and economic freedom. So I pulled together 101 of my favorite “funny money” quotes from my text files, forum signatures, and various other websites to compile this list that I hope the rest of you will enjoy.
- Money can’t buy you happiness but it does bring you a more pleasant form of misery. — Spike Milligan
- The hardest thing in the world to understand is income tax. — Albert Einstein
- I’ve been rich and I’ve been poor: Rich is better. — Sophie Tucker
- When you’ve got them by their wallets, their hearts and minds will follow. — Fern Naito
- The only reason I made a commercial for American Express was to pay for my American Express bill. — Peter Ustinov
- What’s the use of happiness? It can’t buy you money. — Henny Youngman
- Money can’t buy friends, but you can get a better class of enemy. — Spike Milligan
- We didn’t actually overspend our budget. The allocation simply fell short of our expenditure. — Keith Davis
- To make a million, start with $900,000. — Morton Shulman
- A bargain is something you can’t use at a price you can’t resist. — Franklin Jones
This morning I received an email containing a list of short but funny sayings that seemed to have a central theme. Most of them were humorous, often cynical modifications of old axioms, clichés, or common phrases that are already familiar to most of us. After doing some further research, I found several websites that had a list of these same sayings, along with some others that were different but still fit the same general theme. Neither the email sender nor the other sites displayed any sort of attribution for these statements, so I am not sure who gets the credit for their original creation. Nevertheless, I have compiled most of them here for your reading pleasure. If you know about any others that would fit this category but are not included here, you can post these in the comment section and I will include them in the list.
Meanwhile, I also managed to discover this book called Quote Junkie Funny Edition, which contains some surprisingly funny quotes from people that are not usually associated with being humorous.
- It was recently discovered that research causes cancer in rats.
- Everyone has a photographic memory. Some don’t have film.
- Flashlight: A case for holding dead batteries.
- She’s always late. Her ancestors arrived on the Juneflower.
- Honk if you love peace and quiet.
- A day without sunshine is like, well, night.
- On the other hand, you have different fingers.
- I almost had a psychic girlfriend but she left me before we met.
- Change is inevitable, except from a vending machine.
- Madness takes its toll. Please have exact change.
- Back up my hard drive? How do I put it in reverse?
- War doesn’t determine who’s right, just who’s left.
- I just got lost in thought. It was unfamiliar territory.
- Always remember that you are unique, just like everyone else.
- When the chips are down, the buffalo is empty.
- Seen it all, done it all, can’t remember most of it.
- 98.23 percent of all statistics are made up on the spot.
- He who laughs last, thinks slowest.
- 99 percent of lawyers give the rest a bad name.
- Half the people you know are below average.
Although I usually think of myself as being reasonably Internet savvy, the concept of rick rolling was one of those things that I never really understood until I read this article by Sarah Borrum in the Constant Content listings. Apparently the “rick roll” is a type of relatively harmless practical joke where visitors are tricked into clicking on a link that points to a Rick Astley music video. Personally, this does not seem very funny to me, although it does seem to have the effect of building more popularity for this Rick Astley fellow. If the risk of annoying visitors could be mitigated somehow, perhaps this could be used as a marketing ploy to promote another person or product of our choice.
“You got Rick Rolled!” is a common statement on the Internet. Forums, chat rooms and Web sites of all kinds are filled with Rick Rolls and posts about them.
What, you ask, is a Rick Roll?
Put simply: a Rick Roll is a seemingly innocent link, usually to a YouTube video. The person who posts the URL will claim that the link goes to something interesting. He might, for example, claim that you will see leaked video game or movie footage. That is just one of many creative stories, as many Rick Rollers are in on this little Web game.
So you click the link, thinking that you will see something cool.
Instead, you’re taken to a video of singer Rick Astley performing one of his soft-pop hits. Typically, the song is “Never Gonna Give You Up.”
If you click the link, then you’ve just been Rick Rolled. Some Internet users think that this is funny. Others are merely annoyed by the deception. Either way, Rick Rolling is currently a common Internet prank. You might as well accept the fact that the more time you spend online, the more likely you are to be a victim.
When you’re Rick Rolled, the finest revenge is to concoct a decent cover story to legitimize your own link to another Rick Roll. Avenging yourself is an upstanding tradition among Rick Rollers, so don’t be afraid to reciprocate with another Astley video.
Another thing to remember when you’re Rick Rolled is that it is considered proper to allow the link to continue tricking other users. Though many Internet users will comment in that thread or section that they’ve just been Rolled, there are also quite a few users who will maintain the link’s cover story even after they’ve become victims.
Example: If you’ve been told that the link takes you to a video of a new horror movie trailer, you can go back to the forum where it was posted and type, “Wow, that’s going to be great!” or something similar.
You can visit YouGotRickRolled.com for quick and easy links to Rick Astley videos to get you started on Rick Rolling. There are also plenty of Rick Astley videos on YouTube, many of which are commonly used for this type of practical joke.
Photo credit: Epixx at Flickr.com
A school teacher known as “Missjenn-Malawi” set off a torrent of anger recently when she posted a blog entry at travelpod.com referring to the Malawian staple food nsima as “the most disgusting and pointless food in the history of the world”. The visiting English tutor from Irvine, UK then proceeded to describe how she managed to avoid eating the dreaded nsima by stuffing it in her bra while also expressing her disgust with other Malawian foods such as pumpkin leaves and goat meat.
Although the backlash prompted Missjenn to delete the original article from the travelpod.com site, there is still an archived copy of it at storiesonmalawi.blogspot.com. I had more than a few laughs while reading through the 48 comments at the Blogspot page. Most Malawians were outraged that this “mzungu” could not only criticize such an important staple of their diet but also do it in such a mocking way. References to possibly contracting bilharzia from the local lakes also struck a raw nerve with many people. One angry anonymous commenter remarked:
miss jenn is a disgrace to our nation. the police have been informed about the issue and we should expect her not to be on our soil malawi. come on, miss jenn is stupid. what are doing in a country where they is bilhazia or the food is disgusting? l have a strong opinion that you suffer from syphillis or you have once fallen in a toilet tank. please leave our country and never return. we will deal with u idiot.
Another commenter noted that insulting the culture of a host nation is not exactly a wise diplomatic gesture:
The content of this article just shows how shallow some mzungu are. They don’t know that disrespecting a people’s culture is the worst insult. I don’t know if this mzungu even went to college but if she did, it was just for nothing. How brainless!! And the chicks she wants to buy, may be she had just better give them her real name because she thinks like a chicken herself.
Others even mixed statements from the local language in with the English ones. I’m not sure what this first sentence means, but if the rest of the paragraph is any indication, my guess is that it’s not pleasant:
Mwanakazi uyu mabvi yakhe. This sucks to the core. Behead the wicked one. Those who insult our nsima and its delicacies do not deserve to live. I have never been so offended in my life.
Meanwhile, there were a minority of commenters who actually defended the “mzungu” to some extent, encouraging fellow Malawians to add more flavor to the nsima and diversify the overall diet:
Am a Malawian who totally agree that Nsima is one of the most tasteless and least nutritious food in the world. Preference for Nsima has contributed enormously to malnutrition of children in this country. For those of you who think its traditional, know that maize is a fairy recent crop in Malawi brought in by the Portuguese. The modern way of making & farming nsima is partly a contribution of colonialism. Instead of venting your frustrations on this brave young lady who is brave enough to come here and live among us I suggest you engross yourself in finding ways on how to make Nsima more tasty and nutritious and how to encourage sustainable diet diversification among ordinary Malawians.
Overall, this incident has to be one of the worst diplomatic faux pas I have ever seen during my years of reading international news stories. Even more interesting is the fact that this “missjenn” is apparently visiting Malawi as a primary school English teacher according to some type of prior arrangement. Now that the content of her article has become known among the locals, she may find life in Malawi somewhat more difficult if she does not return to the UK soon.
Meanwhile, as I was browsing through some other reactions to the original story, I wound up getting quite an education about nsima and its importance in the cultures of several African nations. It is essentially a kind of paste made from corn meal and water, which is then served with side dishes composed of various meats and vegetables. A very comprehensive article on the history, significance, ingredients, and preparation of nsima (or nshima in Zambia) can be found here at Bridgewater.edu. When I have the time, I might try to make some of this stuff and find out whether or not it is really a “pointless” food.
This humorous piece by Dave Hughes is a good example of how the psychology of junk mail marketing can keep us hanging on to the idea of striking it rich through the mail even though deep down we know that it’s extremely unlikely. Although the author does not actually specify, I could imagine that the two million dollar piece of mail in question was for one of those Publishers Clearinghouse sweepstakes that we can never seem to win.
As I sit in front of my computer, sitting perched atop the classy cheap particleboard computer desk that simply screams “Spent all your money on the computer, didn’t you?”, I find myself staring down at two million dollars. I’ve come to realize that two million dollars is enough money to change your life forever, to allow you to reclaim past dreams, reorganize your priorities, and possibly get that snazzy Formica computer desk you’ve had your eye on. However, I don’t want you pitiful poor saps to think that this money will change me.
I’ll still be the same, lovable Dave. So much richer than you that you won’t be worth my spit if you spontaneously combust, but basically the same guy.
Let me tell you the story of how I came by this sum of cash. I’ll type slowly, since I know how you poor people read by moving your lips.
I was sitting in the computer chair that I got for Christmas, amazed by the fact that the screen looks so much bigger when your butt is more than two inches from the floor, when the impulse came over me that would lead to enough riches to ensure that I can get a decent interest rate on the loan I’ll have to take out when my kids go to college.
I decided to check the mail.
Unfortunately, my wife had beaten me to it. I walked into the kitchen, where she sat with a look of stunned disbelief on her face. Scanning the mail scattered on the table in front of her, I quickly noticed what had her so shocked.
“Is that money figure right?” I asked.
“Yes. Can you believe it?”
“That can’t be right; this must be some kind of mistake,” I said.
“I know. Kirkland’s never has a half-off sale!”
It’s amazing how quickly a silent count to ten can go by. When I got there, I said “Not the sales flier; the overnight envelope with the money in it.”
While reading through an ebook on search engine optimization, I ran across a reference to the famous “link bomb” campaign that managed to get George W. Bush’s White House biography page listed at #1 in Google for the keyword “miserable failure”. In January 2007, Google made changes to its algorithm that caused this ranking to be dropped, and since then has generally filtered out or delayed the effect of large numbers of incoming links to a site, particularly in cases where such links are created within a relatively short period of time.
However, as the ebook author pointed out, Bush still ranks #1 for “miserable failure” at Yahoo. After running through some search queries earlier this morning, I confirmed that this is true as of this writing (screenshot images provided below the fold). Other miserable failures of note according to Yahoo:
- #4 Jimmy Carter
- #9 Michael Moore
- #11 Hillary Clinton
- #27 Abstinence Education (truthout.org article)
- #33 Alcohol Prohibition (cato.org article)
- #37 Democratic Party
- #46 Democratic Leadership Council
- #55 Chuck Schumer (New York Senator)
- #59 Al Franken
- #62 Republican National Committee (GOP.com)
- #82 Matt Blunt, Office of the Missouri Governor
- #86 Tom DeLay
- #89 John Kerry
- #91 John Kerry again (About page)
- #92 Al Gore
- #126 Sean Hannity
- #149 NFL Players
- #174 Conservative Party of Canada, Stephen Harper Biography
- #216 Chicago Cubs
I searched as far down the 400th result, but did not find anything else that appeared to originate from intentional linking campaigns. Meanwhile, Bush is also #1 for “miserable failure” at Ask.com and #3 at MSN, listed just below the Wikipedia entry regarding political Google bombs. Here are some screenshots of the search results pages (for future comparison purposes, all of these were taken on the same day as this post, January 23, 2008).
This article by Jonathan Busch is a humorous story about the author’s encounter with one of his more difficult customers that he had to deal with while working as a cashier at Wendy’s, a well-known fast food restaurant. Many of you who have worked in the food service industry (or at other jobs that involve frequent contact with the general public) will likely be able to relate to this one.
Most of us have, at some point in our lives, worked at a job that could be successfully accomplished by a machine, chimpanzee, or kindergartener. Sometimes you just have to swallow your pride, tie your hair back, and service the drive-through window. Because most of us have shared an experience like this, you probably know just as well as I do that it is not the simplicity of the job that makes you loathe it, but rather the people you are forced to work with or around at such jobs that drives you to homicidal thoughts.
For a time, I worked at a Wendy’s. Although it is not exactly the most distinguished place of employment, it brought in paychecks…more than my fall-back plan of becoming a hobo could boast. As a new employee, I was lucky enough to be given a choice: work the fries, or work the front register. I decided to go with the job that posed me less of a threat in the form of third degree burns. In retrospect, fries might have been less painful.
After looking through my search query stats earlier today, I noticed that some of you are finally managing to find my post from July titled “Are Americans Stupid?“. It included some funny videos that highlighted the stunning ignorance of many Americans about subjects such as basic geography and current events. While looking through some of the search results pages from related keywords, I ran across some other humorous videos featuring various displays of stupidity or ignorance. After having a few hours of good laughs while auditioning several clips, I have selected a few of the better ones to share with you here.
This first video is somewhat of a continuation of the ones in my previous post, and was actually produced by the same “CNNNN” parody network. In this episode, an Australian reporter manages to convince some Americans that several well-known landmarks from around the world are actually located in Australia, and even has them making vacation plans to visit all of the “real” landmarks that are secretly in Australia as opposed to the “replicas” located elsewhere.
Next we have a collage of short clips compiled from other websites that feature people engaged in apparent acts of stupidity. Not all of these are things that I would necessarily put into the “stupidity” category - a few of them look more like unfortunate accidents or cases of people getting a little feisty during sporting events. However, most of them would probably still qualify because many of these stunts are unnecessarily dangerous and often involve poor judgement on the part of the actors.