Re: Well now they call him W. Breeze. He keeps blowing down the road.

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Workplace humor? Today I printed this out and tacked it to the wall of my cubicle. That's not just workplace humor, and I suppose the cartoon makes me seem more helpful than I actually am, but despite all that it still seems relevant.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 08-28-09 1:35 PM
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I dunno. Humor in my workplace just isn't very appealing.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 08-28-09 1:41 PM
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Great topic!

Calculus is rife with humourous innuendo. Even the id of Unfogged made flesh could not auto-cock block while wearing this t-shirt. Who said maths ain't sexy?!


Posted by: W. Breeze | Link to this comment | 08-28-09 1:46 PM
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3: I don't get it. For the benefit of the former English majors here, can you explain it?


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 08-28-09 1:48 PM
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"I'd like to be your derivative, so that I could be tangent to your curves, baby."


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-28-09 1:49 PM
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2: Yeah, I've never really heard of lawyer jokes or anything.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-28-09 1:50 PM
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6: They just don't have alot of appeal.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 08-28-09 1:53 PM
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Snark used to have a t-shirt that read "I lack Lacan."


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 08-28-09 1:54 PM
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7: Hey-o!


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 08-28-09 1:54 PM
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4: The answer is 69, if I remember my math right. The integral of 2x dx is x^2, and to solve that over the range of 10 to 13, you subtract 10^2 from 13^2, so 169-100 = 69. Right, math folks?

Then the question mark makes it a proposal, you see.


Posted by: Osgood Yousbad | Link to this comment | 08-28-09 1:55 PM
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9: There's a reason people in my practice area aren't especially popular.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 08-28-09 1:56 PM
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10: You get an A+!


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-28-09 1:57 PM
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"The lawyer who is tired of complaining about his clients is tired of life."


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 08-28-09 1:57 PM
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They just don't have alot of appeal.

You kill me.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 08-28-09 1:58 PM
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14: If you think that one's funny, wait'll you read comment 2.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 08-28-09 2:05 PM
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I could tell some baker jokes, but I doubt I'd get a rise out of anyone.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 08-28-09 2:07 PM
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And no-one digs gardener jokes.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 08-28-09 2:08 PM
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Two bytes meet on the computer lab. The first byte says to the second "Are you ok? You're looking ill." The second byte replies "Oh, I'm alright. I'm just a bit off."


Posted by: W. Breeze | Link to this comment | 08-28-09 2:08 PM
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There's the one people always forward me in emails:

Plaintiff's attorney to the witness, "Now Mrs. Geebie, have we met before."

"Well of course! I've known you since you were four years old and still in diapers. And frankly I've been disappointed to see you stumbling home drunk 5 days a week in the wee hours of the morning with those questionable characters you call friends. Your poor mother must be just mortified."

The attorney, a bit taken aback, stammers, "Do you know defense counsel?"

"Well, I can't say we've ever met officially. And I wouldn't care to either. A man like that, slinking off to motels with strange women -- including your wife -- while the mother of his children is breaking her back raising their children."

The judge calls a sidebar, "Counsel, if either one of you asks this woman if she knows me I'm holding you in contempt!"


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 08-28-09 2:09 PM
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The New Yorker had my profession dead to rights 40 years ago.


Posted by: KR | Link to this comment | 08-28-09 2:09 PM
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15: I didn't say I thought it was funny.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 08-28-09 2:11 PM
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Following on KR, a consultant is someone who borrows your watch to tell you the time, and then charges you for it.


Posted by: W. Breeze | Link to this comment | 08-28-09 2:11 PM
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I gather Josh was on about the "alot" thing. I never noticed Di did that till he pointed it out.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 08-28-09 2:12 PM
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22: ...and keeps the watch.


Posted by: KR | Link to this comment | 08-28-09 2:12 PM
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21: Well, not in so many words. But there were alot of subtle cues that indicated that you thought it was hilarious.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 08-28-09 2:15 PM
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I never noticed Di did that till he pointed it out.

That's suspicious. I'll bet Josh is just trying to frame poor Di.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 08-28-09 2:16 PM
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It's a shame that certain occupations (ones characterized by a lower level of workplace social interaction) never had a chance to accumulate their fair share of jokes: consider, for example, the occupational category of traveling salesmen, or farmer.


Posted by: pain perdu | Link to this comment | 08-28-09 2:21 PM
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You people don't even know how many comments I've edited to remove that word entirely. They don't have much appeal Okay, Josh? Are you happy now that I am painfully self-conscious of my every comment?


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 08-28-09 2:22 PM
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Labor folks are a laff riot.

Q: You know what totally sucks?
A: Corporate greed, that's what.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 08-28-09 2:23 PM
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LEAVE DI ALONE!!


Posted by: OPINIONATED GRANTER OF GRAMMAR WAIVERS | Link to this comment | 08-28-09 2:25 PM
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28: It would be churlish of me to point out your punctuation mistake, wouldn't it?


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 08-28-09 2:25 PM
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Di, I can't count them, but I bet there was alot.


Posted by: W. Breeze | Link to this comment | 08-28-09 2:26 PM
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31: Don't you mean "GRANTOR"?


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 08-28-09 2:26 PM
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27: You know, I've heard references to the joke about the traveling salesman and the farmer's daughter forever, and I know the basic premise: he has sex with her. And of course they made it into a musical:Oklahoma Somehow, I've never heard the actual punch line. Are people familiar with that one as a joke?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-28-09 2:28 PM
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I find that jokes at my work are mostly context-driven.

[Discussing a reproductive-rights potential forced sterilization case]
Lawyer 1: He wants her to get an abortion at 29 weeks? Isn't he a judge? He should know that's not a viable option.
Lawyer 2: Well in a sense, it is viable...

Har har! Abortion jokes. Gotta love our staff meetings.


Posted by: m. leblanc | Link to this comment | 08-28-09 2:29 PM
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Are you happy now that I am painfully self-conscious of my every comment?

Years ago on this blog, that was official policy, you know. Ogged actually kept neb on retainer ready to leap forward, snarling, at the slightest hint of a grammatical or orthographic error.

Lurkers had to overcome nosflowophobia to begin posting. Josh is a pussycat in comparison.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 08-28-09 2:29 PM
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If I may be recognized by the chair, I move that it be resolved that the topic of this post is lame and repetitive.


Posted by: pain perdu | Link to this comment | 08-28-09 2:32 PM
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34: NO


Posted by: OPINIONATED GRANTER OF GRAMMAR WAIVERS | Link to this comment | 08-28-09 2:33 PM
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The reason Josh's critique makes me self-conscious is because I really do like the word "alot." A lot.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 08-28-09 2:35 PM
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Are you happy now that I am painfully self-conscious of my every comment?

I figured everyone here was already painfully self-conscious of every comment they made. Insofar as there's a defining characteristic of the commentariat, I imagined that was it.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 08-28-09 2:35 PM
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40: I find that if you substitute the phrase "a shitload", you are much less likely to inadvertently omit the space between the words. This can, however, create other difficulties in certain professional communications.


Posted by: pain perdu | Link to this comment | 08-28-09 2:37 PM
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Okay, painfully self-conscious is maybe a given. But self-conscious about my writing? My spirit is breaking...


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 08-28-09 2:37 PM
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35

A little googling indicates there are many different farmer's daughter traveling salesman jokes.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 08-28-09 2:39 PM
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Abortion jokes. Gotta love our staff meetings.

Weren't you a math major, m.leblanc? Maybe you could make a hybrid math-abortion joke around a play on the term "dx".


Posted by: pain perdu | Link to this comment | 08-28-09 2:43 PM
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That sounds ZANY, pp!


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 08-28-09 2:44 PM
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No hybrid math-abortion jokes here, although I was proud of this one.

Lawyer 1: Is that the doctor who did the D n' C?
Me: Yeah, the one I'd like to give a D n' R.

ABORTION + DEATH PANELS = Liberals on healthcare


Posted by: m. leblanc | Link to this comment | 08-28-09 2:49 PM
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45: No, YOUR peepee sounds zany!


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 08-28-09 2:50 PM
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I never know, should it be "'n" or "n'"?

Or "'n'"?


Posted by: m. leblanc | Link to this comment | 08-28-09 2:50 PM
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34: "And then the farmer says, 'But I ain't got no daughter!' "


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 08-28-09 2:51 PM
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"And then the farmer says, 'But I ain't got no daughter!' 'That's not a cow, and that's not milk.' "


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 08-28-09 2:54 PM
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48: It should be: 'n'

One apostrophe is for the missing "a" and the other is for the missing "d".


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 08-28-09 2:58 PM
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48: Depends. Are you talking about n or n-prime?


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 08-28-09 2:58 PM
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OT: I just got a telemarketer to hang up on me! Finally, a use for the state budget crisis. Quite gratifying.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 08-28-09 2:58 PM
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I'm not sure we have jokes about our profession as such, but we do revel in god-awful puns and anachronistic diction. Put down our d20s and picked up our pints, did we.


Posted by: Mo MacArbie | Link to this comment | 08-28-09 2:59 PM
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Farmer: "Why's she got a pegleg? Well, a great daughter like that, you don't eat her all at once."


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 08-28-09 3:03 PM
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"What we did? Well, I don't rightly know what you call it, but from now on it's going to be my hobby."


Posted by: pain perdu | Link to this comment | 08-28-09 3:06 PM
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Last year when I was grading Latin AP exams the folks grading the calc exams had made themselves tshirts, modeled on MADD tshirts, that said "Mathematicians Against Drunk Deriving." Fairly nerdrageous I thought.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 08-28-09 3:18 PM
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There were T-shirts sold at MIT (I can't remember if it was the school, or some club) with "And God said: [the four Maxwells' Equations] and there was light!" I always kind of liked those, in a, as you say, nerdrageous sort of way.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-28-09 3:30 PM
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58: Your other alma mater had them too!


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 08-28-09 3:33 PM
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Huh, I don't think I ever saw one at U of C. Not that it wouldn't have been equally in character.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-28-09 3:35 PM
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There were T-shirts sold at MIT (I can't remember if it was the school, or some club) with "And God said: [the four Maxwells' Equations] and there was light!"

Those crop up all over the place. And they always go with some ugly, not very covariant formulation of Maxwell's equations, as if they'd never even heard of relativity.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 08-28-09 3:37 PM
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Most of my workplace humor involves making fun of shitty papers people write. I think we're just mean.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 08-28-09 3:37 PM
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Cal had the full complement of nerd-tastic T-shirts ( "186K miles/sec: Not just a good idea, it's the law", etc.) in the '90s too. Not so much at my alma mater, even though we had a huge engineering department.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 08-28-09 3:39 PM
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62: Sadly most of my current workplace's humor revolves around LOLcats and Photoshop. Plus the occasional rickroll.

Basically, I work at 4chan.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 08-28-09 3:41 PM
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61 may be the finest example of oneupsmanship ever to appear on this blog.


Posted by: pain perdu | Link to this comment | 08-28-09 3:44 PM
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I have a tshirt that says "La Rochefoucauld is NOT a salad dressing" -- nerdrageous in its own way.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 08-28-09 3:46 PM
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my current workplace's humor revolves around LOLcats and Photoshop

You kids these days have it easy. Back in my day we used to send these things around by fax machine! Do you kids even know how to work a fax machine these days? And get the hell offa my lawn.


Posted by: pain perdu | Link to this comment | 08-28-09 3:46 PM
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65: Indeed. The days when I had any techy credibility are so far in the past that I have no idea at all what 'covariant' means in that context.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-28-09 3:46 PM
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66: Actually, I had a beloved t-shirt from your alma mater -- one of the croquet shirts, with a really excellent passage on the moral perils of croquet. Unfortunately, it was a long passage in fine print, blue on black, so I did spend a fair amount of time wondering why people were staring at my chest, and then realizing they were reading the shirt.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-28-09 3:48 PM
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I was fond of a shirt I would occasionally see on grad students at one of my schools:

The Few
The Proud
The Marine Biologists


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 08-28-09 3:50 PM
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I wasn't really going for oneupsmanship, and I'm sure there's been better here. I just think those shirts are dorky, lame, and ugly.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 08-28-09 3:50 PM
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69: Yay! I have one of those too.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 08-28-09 3:52 PM
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61 is, indeed, some rarefied curmudgeonitude.


Posted by: emdash | Link to this comment | 08-28-09 3:52 PM
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69: All I can find by googling is "Who takes the mallet in his hand has grasped naked vice; and who passes through the treacherous wire portal leaves virtue, honor, and charity behind." But I remember the passage as longer.

Come to think of it, maybe the t-shirt with the long passage wasn't about croquet, and that line was from something else. It's hard to remember that far back.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-28-09 3:52 PM
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74: I remember the same thing you do -- and yet, those words were definitely on a croquet tshirt. I dunno!


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 08-28-09 3:54 PM
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If you remember it as a croquet shirt, then it was one -- I thought so too intitially, and then thought I might be mixing it up with something else.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-28-09 3:57 PM
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Oh yes, definitely a croquet tshirt -- and as far as a remember a full paragraph of text as well. Hmm! I will find out.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 08-28-09 4:02 PM
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Posted by: | Link to this comment | 08-28-09 4:03 PM
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48: also, same equations, between "what part of... don't you understand?"

"Well, we'll feed you and fan you, and the thing's only set for a quart."


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 08-28-09 4:06 PM
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One of the oddest entries in the farmer's daughter genre is Dylan's odd song, "Motorpsycho Nitemare" from 1964.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 08-28-09 4:09 PM
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The farmer's daughter joke that I know has him putting a penis-slicing-off device on his daughter in lieu of a chastity belt. The first two travelling salesmen are discovered the next morning to be missing their penises, despite stern warnings not to sleep with the heavenly daughter. The third salesmen is genitally intact, and so the farmer - in a surprise about-face - awards him his slut-daughter's hand in marriage. The third salesman says, "Fank 'oo 'ewy 'uch", because he had performed oral sex on the young lady - or tried to - and inadvertantly amputated his tongue. A good laugh was had by all.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-28-09 4:10 PM
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"Then everyone had a good laugh and found five dollars."

Then the economist explained that it was impossible for them to have found five dollars just laying there. If it had been there, someone would have put it to use already, since markets are efficient.


Posted by: Silversatrapi | Link to this comment | 08-28-09 4:11 PM
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Our math club shirts from last year, on the back, show the integral of e^xy. It's really a hoot.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-28-09 4:12 PM
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We didn't have much humour at Ye Olde Death & Taxes Shoppe, primarily because the office manager saw to it that no one ever HAD FUN. EVER! But there was a needlepoint in one of the partner's offices that read 'If it moves, sue it; if it doesn't move, probate it'.

I used to have a T-shirt that read 'The flogging will continue until morale improves'. Yup, that's where I used to work...


Posted by: DominEditrix | Link to this comment | 08-28-09 4:18 PM
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Oedipal Themes in Latency: Analysis of the "Farmer's Daughter" Joke

A sample of "farmer's daughter" jokes, gathered from archives, personal informants, and published collections, is examined in relation to the developmental progress of the latency-age boys who most often tell them. The joke texts are divided into three categories--oedipal triumph, castration, and feminization--each of which represents a different regressive fantasy. Through these fantasied scenarios, the joke teller can safely work through some of the anxieties he experiences as a result of the recent repression of the oedipal conflict. Common themes of latency fantasies such as separation from the family, confusion of gender identity, and incestuous desires are all present in the texts.
Repetition of the farmer's daughter joke not only motivates the child's individual psychological progress but also reinforces his or her awareness of taboos and socially appropriate behavior. Because the parental injunctions are internalized to help consolidate superego formation at the onset of latency and the child must now displace incestuous urges with manifestations of conscience, the retesting of values through joke telling is important during this developmental period.

Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 08-28-09 4:18 PM
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A man flying in a hot air balloon suddenly realizes he's lost. He reduces height and spots a man down below. He lowers the balloon further and shouts to get directions, "Excuse me, can you tell me where I am?"

The man below says: "Yes, you're in a hot air balloon, hovering 30 feet above this field."

"You must work in Information Technology," says the balloonist.

"I do" replies the man. "How did you know?"

"Well," says the balloonist, "everything you have told me is technically correct, but it's of no use to anyone."

The man below replies, "You must work in management."

"I do" replies the balloonist, "But how did you know?"

"Well", says the man, "you got here just by hot air, you don't know where you are, or where you're going, and yet you expect me to be able to help. You're in the same position you were before we met, but now it's my fault."


Posted by: Silversatrapi | Link to this comment | 08-28-09 4:20 PM
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86: I've always liked that one, but heard it as a businessman in the balloon talking to a lawyer on the ground.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-28-09 4:21 PM
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86: I've heard that joke with the guy on the ground a mathematician.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 08-28-09 4:26 PM
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Management expects mathematicians to be able to help them?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-28-09 4:33 PM
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This just tells you how very deep and fundamental management's problems are.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-28-09 4:34 PM
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Management expects everyone to be able to help them.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 08-28-09 4:45 PM
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86-88: I've heard it with a Republican on one end and a Democrat on the other. Don't remember which was which though. The dialogue was changed a bit.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 08-28-09 4:46 PM
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And the setting was different. There was no hot air balloon, either.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 08-28-09 4:55 PM
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The were at the bottom of the ocean, and it was a good start.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 08-28-09 5:48 PM
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||

It appears that at different points today my roommate and I each, totally independently and unaware of the other, went to the same store and bought a six-pack of the exact same kind of beer. I think we're going to get along just fine.

|>


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 08-28-09 6:03 PM
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95: SWT


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-28-09 6:24 PM
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Somehow, I've never heard the actual punch line. Are people familiar with that one as a joke?

While not precisely a source for traveling salesmen/farmer's daughter jokes, you could enjoy
reading Pissing In The Snow.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 08-28-09 6:25 PM
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The were at the bottom of the ocean, and it was a good start.

My favorite terrible pun:

Q: What sits at the bottom of the ocean and quivers?

A: A nervous wreck.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 08-28-09 6:32 PM
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Sebastian Holsclaw, of all people, posted a fun joke in the ObWi comments. I think ogged would have liked it.

Q: What do you call a black man flying an airplane?

...

A: A pilot, you fucking racist.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 08-28-09 6:48 PM
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58- Surely you remember the "Six Hertz" shirts?


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 08-28-09 6:54 PM
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Since somebody else started the lawyer jokes, I'm going to tell my dad's boss's story.

Once, he was visiting some relatives on a farm. One of them was careless in setting down the full bucket of milk that had just been collected and the bucket was left behind the cow. The cow pissed in the bucket. My dad's boss was horrified to see his cousin grab the bucket and walk to the house. The cousin said "Don't worry. We'll strain the milk before we drink it."

(This story was employed when he didn't think that "instruct the jury to disregard" was a sufficient remedy.)


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-28-09 6:57 PM
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Our work humor is quite context dependent. Often involves starting to sing songs vaguely related to what we're doing (eg, turning up the gas pressure on a system always results in someone singing some Queen.) We had a thread going on facebook today making puns about the name of one our systems that had just broken and ruined someone's day.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 08-28-09 6:58 PM
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I bought a kitschy little ceramic plaque thing at Target the other day that says "I'm just working here until a good fast-food job opens up." It's not that funny and I probably shouldn't ever bring it to work. But it amused me.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 08-28-09 7:27 PM
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Then there's the geek humor for classics majors: Si Hoc Legere Scis Nimium Eruditionis Habes.

And this from Dinosaur Comics.


Posted by: F | Link to this comment | 08-28-09 7:34 PM
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95: I thought the general paradigm for the perfect college roommate was "likes the same type of pizza, but a different brand of beer".


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 08-28-09 10:03 PM
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96: SWT

Huh? Please advise.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 08-28-09 10:05 PM
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I think maybe sweet, M/tch. Or, the Salem Witch Trials.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 08-28-09 10:08 PM
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Perhaps "sw00t!1!"


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-28-09 10:12 PM
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"So white trash"?

"Saturdays with Teo"?

"Same with Tweety"?

"Sausage was tasty"?

Advisement needed.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 08-28-09 10:26 PM
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"Stuff Whitey Too"


Posted by: Unpronounceable Awl | Link to this comment | 08-28-09 11:03 PM
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After the singularity the geek shall inherit the earth, and you would be well advised to fit in. Here are some pointers into the speech habits of the truly nerdcore.

Almost surely: This phrase is used to indicate that something will eventually happen but perhaps not in the lifetime of our universe. Example: "Are you ever going to finish your PhD?" "Almost surely."

Weak form: A less demanding or rigourous version of something. Example: "Well, how's the dissertation coming along?" "I'll have a weak form done by Christmas!"

Normal form: A canonical or otherwise unambiguous version of something. For example, if the lab secretary was to send around a Word document, necessitating starting OpenOffice, or worse, booting in Windows, you might ask "Has anyone put this document in normal form yet?" If you were having a particularly confusing conversation, say with a member of your preferred sex who was discussing emotions and other vexing concepts you might say "Can we put this into normal form: do you want to fsck?" Someone who is particularly straightforward is said to be strongly normalising.

Manifold: You can work this one out for yourself. Once word gets out that you're nerdcore you're gonna need to carry plenty of them.


Posted by: W. Breeze | Link to this comment | 08-29-09 1:55 AM
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106-110: Single White Teofilo


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-29-09 4:35 AM
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A canonical or otherwise unambiguous version of something. For example, if the lab secretary was to send around a Word document, necessitating starting OpenOffice, or worse, booting in Windows

If this lab secretary did that, there would first be a flood of virologists asking me how the heck to open the document and was there something wrong with their computer and if there was could I call IT and have them fix it without actually seeing the computer in question, and then folks would start up with the questions about why the lab order they had emailed me yesterday afternoon had not arrived yet and had I really actually placed and could I call University Stores to inquire and while I was at it where did we keep the printer paper? Then they'd go off and murmur amongst themselves about how lazy I was and how I couldn't keep track of things as meanwhile I desperately tried to finish up the arrangements for the large international symposium that we're hosting in two weeks, complete the monthly billing paperwork and get started on our multi-hundred-page training grant submission.

There is no humor in my workplace, at least none for me.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 08-29-09 6:18 AM
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Lawyers really don't sound like they could be much worse. As bad, of course, but not much worse.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-29-09 6:32 AM
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Lawyers probably pay more! Of course, I'd have to dress better. But that might be fun in itself, up to a point.

I'm trying to think of activist jokes that would be funny to anyone not in the mileu. I myself make a lot of jokes about how activists don't have a sense of humor which make me fall about laughing but which are lost on the young generation. And we have an ongoing series of whiteboard cartoons speculating on what "FTW" means--I had sent an email to the collective using that acronym in jest and none but the computer nerds knew what I meant. So far the favorites are "frosty turnip waffle" and "Feurbach's terrible werewolf" although I'm partial to "friendly to Wittgensteinians".


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 08-29-09 6:51 AM
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I dearly appreciate our building administraitor. Whose workload increased by 1/3 recently, without compensation of course, because we reorganized things recently. I don't necessarily love the joke e-mails about large-breasted women and puns about how they get molested by different men, or about men whose married life is soul-sapping and dreary and lust after large-breasted women who wouldn't give them the time of day, etc, but you take the bitter with the better, so.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-29-09 6:57 AM
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116: Thank goodness for repressed Minnesotans, I guess. I don't know what I'd do if other secretaries were sending me stuff like that. Ignore the actual emails but think less of the sender, probably.

So you have only one secretarial type for a whole building? How many faculty are involved? How many departments? (I'm assuming that by "administrator" you more or less mean secretary? I can never call myself an "administrator" with a straight face; the administrators at the UMN have decision-making power, work in the Dean's office and make at least three times what I do.) I hope nobody gets any fancy ideas from Texas, because if I had to support more than four labs and the accompanying conferences/grants, I would have to jump off the Washington Avenue bridge.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 08-29-09 7:41 AM
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She's the building secretary, but it's not a large building - only hosts faculty offices - and she also does a ton of other stuff. She used to also be the dean's secretary, and there were three deans. Then we combined the school of Nat. Sci. with Liberal Arts, and she became the secretary for the dean of the combined school, and then we did away with the dean structure altogether, and so she effectively became secretary of the university in some ways. Like collecting every syllabus for every course, checking to make sure it contains all the mandatory stuff, and harassing profs to revise it if it doesn't. It sounds monstrous.

I just worry that I'm using a dated phrase if I say "sectretary", like saying "janitor" instead of "custodian".


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-29-09 8:30 AM
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It sounds absolutely appalling. When I think of how unbearably hideous lab ordering has gotten and how dreadful keeping the accounts has become, I cannot imagine reviewing all the syllabi of all the classes here in addition. I think you're at a smaller school, but even so. Actually, I think I'd get a kick out of doing it if it were just one division.....

I prefer "secretary" to "administrator" myself. I may have said this here before--"secretary" has a certain sort of clarity and honesty about it; it's a pink collar title for precisely the kind of pink collar underpaid job that I have. Calling all of the SoD secretaries "administrators" will just devalue the title of administrator by making people think it means "secretary".

Also, title inflation (especially the kind where one changes to a word with more syllables) is vulgar.

Although you're probably wise to call her an administrator unless you know she'd rather be called a secretary....


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 08-29-09 9:06 AM
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(Er, SoD is "School of Dentistry", although my people work with viruses rather than teeth--there wasn't enough lab space anywhere else in the university back in the 1970s, so they put us among the dentists. There's actually a certain charm in working with dentists--dentists do a lot of good and very little harm and are generally pleasant people, plus of course working with dentists doesn't activate my hypochondria the way working in, say, the Cancer Center would.)


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 08-29-09 9:09 AM
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plus of course working with dentists doesn't activate my hypochondria the way working in, say, the Cancer Center would.)

Somehow I read "my hypochondria" as "mitochondria" a few times.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-29-09 9:13 AM
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Is the plural of hypochondria hypochondrion?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-29-09 9:14 AM
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Is the plural of hypochondria hypochondrion?

No.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 08-29-09 9:27 AM
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Are you just saying that to throw me off?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-29-09 9:28 AM
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No.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 08-29-09 9:41 AM
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Are you saying that to throw me off?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 08-29-09 9:42 AM
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I am chastened to say that the wall humor in my workplace tends toward, "Excuse me you've obviously mistaken me for someone who gives a shit" or "You want it when??" superimposed on cartoon figures overcome with mirth. There are also a fair number of Dilberts ( say what you will, it does hit a vein for corptechies from time to time) and TPS reports. A friend of mine there has the following from Paul Neilan's Apathy and Other Small Victories tucked away in an unobtrusive place:

Even something so seemingly right as Bring Your Daughter to Work Day in that environment was horribly, horribly wrong. Marching a sweet, innocent nine year old who likes ponies and dreaming into an 8' x 8' cubicle and telling her that if she's strong and independent she'll get to spend forty years in there slowly wasting away is an exercise in feminist mysogyny. It was like a fucking Scared Straight program, a right-wing Christian conspiracy to create more stay-at-home moms. You grab a little girl by the pigtails and say "Suzy, this is what hell looks like!" and obviously she's going to kick off her shoes and get pregnant at fifteen. And she'll keep on going for as long as the clock runs, anything to stay out of that cubicle.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 08-29-09 9:44 AM
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Most of my workplace humor involves making fun of shitty papers people write. I think we're just mean.

Most of my workplace humor involves making fun of shitty people. Is it mean if they deserve it?


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 08-29-09 10:13 AM
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Then there's the geek humor for classics majors: Si Hoc Legere Scis Nimium Eruditionis Habes.

That one bugs me: does one really say "legere scire" for "know how to read"? A guy in my program has a much longer and more obviously correct latin t-shirt but I can't remember what it says—starts off something like "I know you think you understand what I want to say, but" and then I can't remember.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 08-29-09 10:17 AM
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102: I love the idea of your crew tramping around singing Queen like a modern day seven dwarves (I have no idea what you actually do). May I suggest Toots & the Maytall Pressure Drop for the opposite situation? It is very singable.


Posted by: W. Breeze | Link to this comment | 08-29-09 2:09 PM
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FML eh Frowner? I think our secretaries are treated pretty well, though there is the cultural difference to contend with, and the fact the job leads nowhere means there is high turnover. I would have thought you had tales of spectacular incompetence by people who ought to know better, and that might lead to some humour.

I've noticed some academics are incredibly arrogant; much more so than I haven encountered in other workplaces. For me the constant flood of new publications only serves to highlight how little I know. I find this arrogance perplexing and infuriating.


Posted by: W. Breeze | Link to this comment | 08-29-09 2:27 PM
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There is no humor in my workplace, at least none for me.

Surely there's some grim or black humor to be had in your situation? One shouldn't leave humor only to those with cushy, well-off lives.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 09- 1-09 7:19 AM
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