Archive for ‘Humor’

March 13, 2017

Absurdism

myth of sisyphus

Absurdism is a type of philosophy centered on the conflict between the human tendency to seek inherent value and meaning in life and the human inability to find any. The conflict itself is called ‘the absurd,’ by absurdist philosophers.

Absurdists, most notably French philosopher Albert Camus, believe that when human beings realize this fundamental absurdity the most sensible response was to  accept the absurd, and also to keep trying to overcome it. He believed that a human being could become happy by finding meaning in their relationship with the absurdity of their existence. In acknowledging the absurdity of seeking any inherent meaning, but continuing this search regardless, one can be happy, gradually developing meaning from the search alone.

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January 23, 2017

Filthy Frank

filthy frank

George Miller, commonly known by his internet pseudonym ‘Filthy Frank,’ is a musician and YouTube personality. He was born to Australian and Japanese parents, and attended Canadian Academy, where he graduated from in 2012. Aside from the comedic and often rap based music he creates under his ‘Pink Guy’ alias, Miller also creates more serious and traditional music under the stage name ‘Joji.’ He first became known for his absurdist YouTube channel, ‘TVFilthyFrank,’ which features music, rants and a bizarre ‘show’ featured in an alternate universe, with all of the main characters played by him.

Miller’s video titled ‘Do the Harlem Shake (Original)’ has been viewed 57.2 million times and spawned the ‘Harlem Shake’ meme. The earliest known video of Miller is a YouTube video titled ‘2cool4u92,’ uploaded to a channel sharing the same name in 2006 and features a young Miller performing a break dance move in front of the camera. Miller created the ‘Filthy Frank’ character during his time on his ‘Dizasta Music’ channel, where he created other content but started gaining popularity once he conceptualized Frank, who is described as the anti-vlogger of YouTube. The first known video on this particular channel was uploaded in 2011, and was titled ‘Filthy Shit.’

January 16, 2017

Steeplechase Park

george tilyou

Between 1880 and WWII, Coney Island (a peninsular neighborhood in southern Brooklyn) was the largest amusement area in the U.S., attracting several million visitors per year. At its height, it contained three competing major amusement parks, Luna Park, Dreamland, and Steeplechase Park, as well as many independent amusements. The area was also the center of new technological events, with electric lights, roller coasters, and baby incubators among the innovations showcased there in the 1900s.

Steeplechase Park was created by George C. Tilyou (1862–1914) and operated from 1897 to 1964. It was the first of the three original iconic Coney Island parks (Luna Park opened in 1903 and Dreamland opened the following year). Steeplechase was also Coney Island’s longest lasting park. Unlike Dreamland, which burned in a fire in 1911, and Luna Park which, despite early success, saw its profitability disappear during the Great Depression, Steeplechase had kept itself financially profitable. The Tilyou family had been able to adapt the park to the changing times, bringing in new rides and new amusements such as the Parachute Jump.

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January 11, 2017

Dab

Cam Newton by Jan Diehm

The dab is a dance move in which the dancer simultaneously drops the head while raising an arm and the elbow in a gesture that has been noted to resemble sneezing.The dab has its origins in the Atlanta hip-hop scene, particularly among artists on the Quality Control record label.

When dabbing first caught popular attention several Quality Control artists were mentioned as possible originators including Migos (‘Look at My Dab’), Peewee Longway, Jose Guapo, and Rich The Kid. OG Maco eventually called out labelmate Migos for taking credit when the move was actually the brainchild of Skippa da Flippa. Though Migos later confirmed da Flippa as the originator of the dance, they expressed displeasure with the way Maco handled the situation.

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January 10, 2017

Animal Trial

lavegny sow

In legal history, an animal trial was the criminal trial of a non-human animal. Such trials are recorded as having taken place in Europe from the thirteenth century until the eighteenth. In modern times, it is considered in most criminal justice systems that non-human creatures lack moral agency and so cannot be held culpable for an act.

Animals, including insects, faced the possibility of criminal charges for several centuries across many parts of Europe. According to a 1624 treatise by Johannis Gross, in 1474 a rooster was put on trial for ‘the heinous and unnatural crime of laying an egg,’ which the townspeople were concerned was spawned by Satan and contained a cockatrice (a mythical beast).

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November 16, 2016

May You Live In Interesting Times

interesting times

crisis

‘May you live in interesting times’ is an English expression purported to be a translation of a traditional Chinese curse. While seemingly a blessing, the expression is always used ironically, with the clear implication that ‘uninteresting times,’ of peace and tranquillity, are more life-enhancing than interesting ones, which from historical perspective usually include disorder and conflict.

Despite being so common in English as to be known as ‘the Chinese curse,’ the saying is apocryphal, and no actual Chinese source has ever been produced. The nearest related Chinese expression is usually translated as ‘Better to be a dog in a peaceful time, than to be a human in a chaotic (warring) period.’ The expression originates from a 1627 short story collection, ‘Stories to Awaken the World.’

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November 1, 2016

Death From Laughter

chrysippus

Death from laughter is a rare form of death, usually resulting from cardiac arrest or asphyxiation, caused by a fit of laughter. Instances of death by laughter have been recorded from the times of ancient Greece to the modern day. Certain brain injuries can cause pathological, uncontrollable laughter such as infarction of the pons and medulla oblongata.

Laughter can cause atonia and collapse (‘gelastic syncope,’ a short episode of low blood pressure caused by laughter), which in turn can cause trauma. Gelastic seizures, a rare type of seizure that involves a sudden burst of energy, usually in the form of laughing or crying, can be due to focal lesions to the hypothalamus. Depending upon the size of the lesion, the emotional lability (mood swings) may be a sign of an acute condition, and not itself the cause of the fatality. Gelastic syncope has also been associated with the cerebellum.

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September 13, 2016

Three Wishes Joke

genie

the monkeys paw

The three wishes joke is a form of joke in which the protagonist is given three wishes by a supernatural being, and fails to make the best use of them. Common scenarios include releasing a genie from confinement – perhaps finding an old oil lamp and rubbing it; catching and agreeing to release a mermaid or magical fish; or crossing paths with the devil.

The protagonist of the joke makes their first two wishes and finds that all is well. Often, the third wish is either misinterpreted, or intentionally granted in an awkwardly literal fashion, and cannot be reversed because it is the final wish, resulting in the punchline of the joke. Alternatively, the wishes are split between three people, with the last person inadvertently or intentionally messing up or undoing the wishes of the others with their wish to form the punchline.

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August 17, 2016

Mom Jeans

barb by christian cimoroni

Mom jeans is a humorously pejorative term for a type of women’s jeans worn in the 80’s considered to be unfashionable and unflattering to the wearer’s figure. This style usually consists of a high waist (rising above the belly button), making the buttocks appear disproportionately longer, larger, and flatter than they otherwise might. It also tends to have excess space in the zipper/crotch and leg areas. The jeans are usually in a solid, light-blue color, with no form of stone washing or fading.

Other attributes of the style often seen are pleats, tapered legs, and elastic waistbands. The style is often accompanied by a blouse or shirt that is tucked into the jeans. This style of jeans was popular with women in the United States until the mid-1990s, when lower rise jeans started to become fashionable. High-waisted jeans became popular with young fashionable women once again in the early 2010s.

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June 23, 2016

Lenin Was A Mushroom

Kuryokhin

Lenin was a mushroom‘ was a highly influential televised hoax by Soviet musician Sergey Kuryokhin and reporter Sergey Sholokhov. It was first broadcast in May 1991 on Leningrad Television. The hoax took the form of an interview on the television program ‘Pyatoe Koleso’ (‘The Fifth Wheel’). In the interview, Kuryokhin, impersonating a historian, narrated his findings that Vladimir Lenin consumed large quantities of psychedelic mushrooms and eventually became a mushroom himself.

Kuryokhin arrived at his conclusion through a long series of logical fallacies and appeals to the authority of various ‘sources’ (such as shamanic author Carlos Castaneda, MIT, and Soviet rocket scientist Konstantin Tsiolkovsky), creating the illusion of a reasoned and plausible logical chain. The incident has served as a watershed moment in Soviet (and Russian) culture and has often been used as proof of the gullibility of the masses.

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June 20, 2016

Turboencabulator

ge handbook

The turboencabulator (and its later incarnation, the ‘retroencabulator’) is a fictional machine whose alleged existence became an in-joke and subject of professional humor among engineers. The explanation of the supposed product makes extensive use of ‘technobabble’ (jargon that uses buzzwords, esoteric language, specialized technical terms).

‘Time’ magazine reported on the joke in 1946: ‘The original machine had a base-plate of prefabulated amulite, surmounted by a malleable logarithmic casing in such a way that the two spurving bearings were in a direct line with the pentametric fan. The main winding was of the normal lotus-o-delta type placed in panendermic semi-boloid slots in the stator, every seventh conductor being connected by a nonreversible tremie pipe to the differential girdlespring on the ‘up’ end of the grammeters.’

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June 13, 2016

Where’s the Beef?

Clara Peller

Where’s the beef?” is a catchphrase in the United States and Canada. The phrase originated as a slogan for the fast food chain Wendy’s. Since then it has become an all-purpose phrase questioning the substance of an idea, event or product.

The phrase first came to public attention in a television commercial for the Wendy’s in 1984. In reality, the strategy behind the campaign was to distinguish competitors (McDonald’s and Burger King) big name sandwiches (Big Mac and Whopper respectively) from Wendy’s ‘modest’ Single by focusing on the large bun used by the competitors and the larger beef patty in Wendy’s sandwich. In the ad, titled ‘Fluffy Bun,’ actress Clara Peller receives a burger with a massive bun from a fictional competitor, which uses the slogan ‘Home of the Big Bun.’ The small patty prompts Peller to angrily exclaim, ‘Where’s the beef?’

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