Your Working Humor Discussion List
I-Laugh - Your 'Working' Humor Discussion List
Moderated by : Eva Rosenberg mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org
Assisted By : Gunjan Saraf mailto:email@example.com
25th June 2003 # Issue 117
This warning is adapted from the post by Tsu Dho Nimh on
There is a new virus, code name is "work".
If you receive "work" from your colleagues, your boss,
via e-mail or any other means, do not touch "work" under
any circumstances! This virus wipes out your private life
Forward this warning immediately to at least 5 friends.
Should you realize that you do not have 5 friends, this means
that you are already infected by this virus and "work" already
controls your whole life.
To remove virus ... Put on a jacket and take two good friends
and go straight to the nearest pub. Order three beers and after
repeating 14 times, you will find that "work" has been
deleted from your brain.
IN THIS DIGEST :
Moderator's Comment -
The Other Moderator's Comment
~ Mari Bontrager
~ Eva Rosenberg
Informal vs. Formal Learning
~ From The Doc
~ from Tom Antion
~ Bernie DeKoven
HELPFUL HUMOR TIP
Do you use your built-in
Noise Reduction Filter !!
THIS WEEK'S HUMOR
THIS WEEK'S STRESS RELIEVER
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The Other Moderator's Comment
So, tell me, why do people get offended when you ask them,
politely, to stop sending you things with attachments?
(Heck, why do people keep sending them, without asking?)
This week, as I was moving the HelpDesk to its new home
and new list server, I got an unsubscribe note from someone.
(We all get those. No big deal. Right?)
Well, it was from someone I didn't even realize was subscribed.
She was a friend. I hadn't heard from her in about 3 years.
Naturally, I simply HAD to send her a note and try to catch up
on all the lost time. And do you know what SHE did?
Yeah, you guessed it.
She got all excited, too and we had a long exchange of notes.
(What, you thought this would have a bad ending? Shame.)
And speaking of years. My card boxes in the garage are a
veritable treasure chest. (I have every personal card and letter
I've received since I was 9.) Getting together with a friend I
haven't seen in longer than you've been alive, I really wanted
to find the last birthday card I'd sent him. The one that had been
returned, the summer after he'd graduated from college. What
a kick it would be to able to deliver the letter xx years later.
Digging for envelopes, I found a letter from my cousin right after
she got married and got her first job getting trained as a bookkeeper.
She was so excited. I am sure she doesn't even remember writing
the letter. So, we copied it and sent it off to her. (Today, she runs
the office of a professional you see regularly on television and
in the news.) She's come a loooong way, baby.
There were lots of letters from lots of people who don't remember
having written them 10, 20, 30 years ago. Oh am I going to have
a ball putting them all in order and creating books for each of
these people. With their own histories. They're going to make
terrific gifts someday.
(And then there are those letters, very deeply personal, from people
who are now dead. Do you think I should gather them together and
give them to their children? Or would that be too personal? Probably.
They'd hate to see how unhappy their mother was with their father.)
What do you have in your storage that could really brighten someone's day?
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===== CONTINUING DISCUSSIONS ========
=== > Sarcasm
Statistically, approximately 8.333333333 percent of the population*
utilizes sarcasm as their natural method of communication. This
minority, while being of naturally superior intelligence, is subject
to the abuse and intolerance of the less mentally acrobatic portion
of the population.
Any one member of that more verbally favored minority will, in the
course of a career entailing human interaction, discover that most
poor suckers can't take an effin' joke.
I submit as corroborating testimony the writing of this learned gentleman:
Take it from one who knows,
(* I made this up but it seems about right.)
May the gold in your pocket be the least of your treasures!
==> More on Sarcasm
I think in California (though we may be in the South), the percentage
is somewhat higher.
I used sarcasm quite effectively all through high school to tell people
what I really thought of them. They always thought I was kidding.
And humor...goodness, where is it?!
I went in for my annual physical this week. (About two years after
the last one. But, don't worry. My doctor didn't miss me. She's in
HMO now and didn't even notice when I never had my blood tested
two years ago.)
Anyway, I answered her questions with usual cheerful, wisecracks.
This must have really annoyed her. (Perhaps that, and this time, I
brought a LIST so I wouldn't forget to ask her about things as she
breezes through our 3.25 minute examination. ) My mother keeps
reminding me that my ankles are swollen and I should talk to the
doctor about that. (Uh, they've been that way for years...)
Dr. Hopkins admonished, "You're always making jokes aren't you?
Well, start taking this seriously or you're going to die."
Gee that made me feel all better.
She's right, though. I will.
In about 20-40 years I will. Right now, I just don't have the time.
(The other Moderator quips in ... You should have pulled out
your monocle (what ... you don't carry one even for a doctor's
visit ?? You MUST !!!) given him your coldest look and in a
your best Lord Palmerston voice said -
"Die, my dear doctor! That's the last thing I shall do!" )
==> A wee bit More on Sarcasm
After the little exchanges with Mari, Eva and The Doc
(who sent me an example of sarcasm instead of it's
etymology) I did some searching around.
Here are a few interesting things I found ...
Dictionary.com gives the root of sarcasm as...
F. sarcasme, L. sarcasmus, Gr. sarkasmo`s, from sarka`zein to
tear flesh like dogs, to bite the lips in rage, to speak bitterly,
to sneer, fr. sa`rx, sa`rkos, flesh.
This comes, via Late Latin sarcasmus, from Greek
sarkasmos, the noun form of sarkasein, "to tear flesh",
"to gnash teeth". The Greeks took it as a figurative word
to refer to "bitter speech", as such speech could be as
painful as having one's flesh torn, or it could cause the
recipient to gnash his teeth.
It first makes an appearance in the English written record
as sarcasmus, in the 16th century: "Tom piper, an ironicall
Sarcasmus, spoken in derision of these rude wits." The more
familiar appears in the late 17th century: "No lye, but an irony...
a witty way of speaking...such sarcasms Elijah used."
This form of biting wit (ouch!) has a surprising relative in
sarcophagus, an old word for a stone tomb. Sarcophagus
is the Latin form of the Greek sarkophagos which means
No wonder saying 'just kidding' after being sarcastic isn't of
much help. Rather weak after biting someone's head wouldn't
you say ? ;-)
Here's a guide from H.W. Fowler ("Modern English Usage," 1926)
to some of the types of humor...
Device | Motive/aim | Province |
Method/means | Audience
Humor | discovery | human nature |
observation | the sympathetic
Wit | throwing light |
words & ideas | surprise | the intelligent
Satire | amendment | morals & manners | accentuation | the
Sarcasm | inflicting pain | faults & foibles | inversion | victim
Invective | discredit |
misconduct | direct statement | the public
Irony | exclusiveness | statement of facts | mystification | an inner
Cynicism| self-justification | morals | exposure of nakedness | the
Sardonic | self-relief
| adversity | pessimism |
Hope you found that interesting. Also hope that you don't,
like Oliver Twist ask for more ! ;-)
===> Formal vs.Informal Learning
The Doc ( seven times Teacher-of-The Year, nine times
Favorite Teacher chosen by students ) is all for informal
learning not only in companies but right from school.
He had once prepared an informal test paper for a select
category of students. Unfortunately the school never used
it. I have it for you here below. Can you imagine a school
which had a test like that? I'd have loved a place like that.
(And if I'd learnt my elementary sciences in a place like that
I shouldn't have had any difficulty answering the evolutionary
probability questions last week ... right ? ;)
FINAL EXAMINATION (This examination is to be given to
students who have, in some manner, opted out of the traditional
testing procedures requisite to public education, though not
necessarily requisite to learning.)
Instructions: The exam has 16 questions. Read each question
carefully. Answer all questions. The extra credit problem is
worth 12 points. Begin immediately.
Time Limit: 2 hours.
Grading Rubric: Top credit given for logical (and preferably linear)
progression of arguments, directly supported statements which cite
accepted authority and text, generally applied theory of roughage
Questions are delineated by specific topic to maintain focus and to
deal with the vexation of the student opting out of the standardized
program for determining year-end eligibility thereby making
accountability a personal and inappropriate choice.
1) H I S T O R Y
Describe the history of the papacy from its origins to the present day,
concentrating especially, but not exclusively, on its social, political,
economic, religious, and philosophical impact on Europe, Asia, America,
and Africa. Be brief, concise, and specific.
2) M E D I C I N E
You have been provided with a razor blade, a piece of gauze, and a
bottle of Scotch. Remove your appendix. Do not suture until your work
has been inspected.
You have 15 minutes.
3) P U B L I C S P E A K I N G
Twenty-five hundred riot-crazed aborigines are storming the
classroom. Calm them. You may use any ancient language
except Latin or Greek.
4) B I O L O G Y
Create life. Estimate the differences in subsequent human culture
if this form of life had developed 500 million years earlier, with
special attention to its probable effect on the current US
Congressional system. Prove your thesis.
5) M U S I C
Write a piano concerto. Orchestrate and perform it with flute
and drum. You will find a piano under your seat.
6) P S Y C H O L O G Y
Based on your degree of knowledge of their works, evaluate
the emotional stability, degree of adjustment, and repressed
frustrations of each of the following: Alexander of Aphrodisia,
Rameses II, Gregory of Nicea, Hammurabi. Support your evaluations
with quotations from each man's work, making appropriate references.
It is not necessary to translate.
7) S O C I O L O G Y
Estimate the sociological problems which might accompany the end of
the world. Construct an experiment to test your theory.
8) M A N A G E M E N T S C I E N C E
Define management. Define science. How do they relate? Why?
Create a generalized algorithm to optimize all managerial decisions.
Assuming an 1130 CPU supporting 50 terminals, each terminal to
activate your algorithm; design the communications interface and
all necessary control programs.
9) E N G I N E E R I N G
The disassembled parts of a high-powered rifle have been placed in a
box on your desk. You will also find an instruction manual, printed in
Swahili. In ten minutes a hungry Bengal tiger will be admitted to the
room. Take whatever action you feel is appropriate. Be prepared to
justify your decision.
10) E C O N O M I C S
Develop a realistic plan for refinancing the national debt. Trace the
possible effects of your plan in the following areas: Cubism, the Donatist
controversy, the wave theory of light. Outline a method for preventing
these effects. Criticize this method from all possible points of view.
Point out the deficiencies in your point of view, as demonstrated in
your answer to the last question.
11) P O L I T I C A L S C I E N C E
There is a red telephone on the desk beside you. Start, then stop,
World War III. Report at length on its socio-political effects, if any.
12) E P I S T E M O L O G Y
Take a position for or against truth. Prove the validity of your position.
13) P H Y S I C S
Explain the nature of matter. Include in your answer an evaluation of
the impact of the development of mathematics on science.
14) P H I L O S O P H Y
Sketch the development of human thought; estimate its significance.
Compare with the development of any other kind of thought.
15) N E W - A G E W I S D O M
Compare and contrast three personal realities described in late
20th century American Indian flute solos. Be sure and relate your
answer clearly to holistic medicine and its impact on the future of
16) G E N E R A L K N O W L E D G E
Describe in detail. Be objective and specific.
* * E X T R A C R E D I T * *
17) Define the universe; give three examples.
===> Speaking Tip
The Eyes Have It
by Tom Antion
Try this in your next five speeches. Hold eye contact with
each audience member you look at for a full four seconds.
When I am critiquing videos of even very experienced speakers
sometimes I feel like the speaker is watching a tennis match or
worse yet a ping pong match. They oscillate back and forth never
really connecting with anyone. If you hold that eye contact just
shy of the point where you would be considered staring, I will
bet you find that more people want to talk to you after your
From Tom Antion's newsletter 'Great Speaking'
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Comments or if have you a tip to share -
=========== NEW DISCUSSIONS ===========
===> All things short and ephemeral !
(Issue #58 June 19, 2003)
There's something about the art of building sand castles that
conveys, with graphic clarity, the true nature of "fun." Sand
castles aren't made to last. And neither is fun. Sand castles
have no purpose. And neither does fun.
Building sand castles is an art, and can take a life time to
perfect, and doesn't really matter to any one other than the
artist. Just like fun. And just like anything we do for fun,
it can be taken seriously.
~ From Bernie DeKoven's Fun Day Times.
To Subscribe visit...
=========== Helpful Humor Tip ==============
These days with audio cd's coming in I don't hear the words
so often but while audio cassettes ruled there was a lot of talk
of Noise Reduction Filters. Do you use the one you have built-in ?
Recently I went to a party. The liquor was great (the bar-man
is a friend, so I got to drink what he and the host were drinking :-)
The music was amazing. Watching Carlos Santana on DVD singing
Black Magic Woman always enhances your spirits (Don't pardon
the pun ... it was very deliberate). I was having a whale of a time.
But then it had to happen ! (As already explained so graphically
by Bernie). One of the dumb characters pulled out his cell
phone. Reading the jokes from it one letter at a time like an eager
first grader he thought he was the very incarnation of Johnny Carson.
By the third joke, I was wondering whether jumping out of the
window would make me feel better (This bar was on the 3rd floor)
and then something he said reminded me of my noise reduction filter.
Although the music had now been turned down to a background
and our bright celled superhero held centrestage, with some effort
I turned my focus back onto the music. Gradually I was humming
to it and not hearing a word this guy was rattling. Soon a couple of
others caught on.
Can you guess the rest ?
Yup we did have a great party !
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interest me. . . .
I like to write deposit slips, not programs.
I do know where to "click" to make money and this E-book
was designed to make it easy for you to click in the right place.
Adds Gunjan "Start by Clicking here" :-)
=========== This week's Humor ==============
Why work causes stress...
A housewife with three small children was getting dinner ready,
when the telephone rang. The six-year-old picked it up, and said,
"Hi, Daddy!", and began telling him about her day.
She then passed the phone to her brother and sister, as was the
custom whenever Daddy called from work.
When it was finally the wife's turn to talk, she took the receiver,
and said, "Hi, Hon."
"Thank goodness, Lady," the voice on the other end replied.
called to tell you that the wallpaper you ordered has arrived!"
=========== This week's Stress Reliever ==============
This one had me really rolling on the floor.
Open two windows of your browser. In one
In the other open
Choose a dialect ( I found cockney and moron exceptionally
hilarious) now in url cut and paste www.workinghumor.com
Or try it with your own site. Do let me know if you had fun !
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