Archive for ‘Humor’

January 12, 2021

Cosmic Latte

Glazebrook

Cosmic latte is the average color of the universe, found by a team of astronomers from Johns Hopkins University. In 2001, Karl Glazebrook and Ivan Baldry determined that the average color of the universe was a greenish white, but they soon corrected their analysis in a 2002 paper in which they reported that their survey of the light from over 200,000 galaxies averaged to a slightly beigeish white. The hex triplet value for cosmic latte is #FFF8E7.

As light from distant galaxies reaches the Earth, the average ‘color of the universe’ (as seen from Earth) tends towards pure white, due to the light coming from the stars when they were much younger and bluer.

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January 1, 2021

Chia Pet

Bob Ross

Chia Pets are American styled terracotta figurines used to sprout chia, where the chia sprouts grow within a couple of weeks to resemble the animal’s fur or hair.

A range of generic animals has been produced, including a turtle, pig, puppy, kitten, frog, and hippopotamus. Cartoon characters have also been licensed, including Garfield, Scooby-Doo, Looney Tunes, Shrek, The Simpsons, and SpongeBob. Additionally, there are Chia Pets depicting real people, including Barack Obama and Bob Ross.

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December 21, 2020

Dogecoin

Doge

Dogecoin [dowzh-coin] (Ð) is a cryptocurrency featuring a likeness of the Shiba Inu dog from the ‘Doge’ Internet meme as its logo. Introduced as a ‘joke currency’ in 2013, Dogecoin quickly developed its own online community and reached a capitalization of $60 million within months.

It’s market capitalization peaked in 2018 at $2b; today it is pegged at $600m. In July 2020 the price of Dogecoin spiked following a TikTok trend aiming to get the coin’s price to $1.

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November 19, 2020

Russian Political Jokes

Hammer & Tickle

Russian political jokes can be grouped into the major time periods: Imperial Russia, Soviet Union, post-Soviet Russia. Quite a few political themes can be found among other standard categories of Russian joke, most notably Rabinovich jokes (short fictional Russian stories or dialogs with a punch line) and Radio Yerevan, also known as the Armenian Radio jokes, which mocked the ‘Question & Answer’ series of the Armenian Radio.

A typical format of a joke was: ‘Radio Yerevan was asked,’ and ‘Radio Yerevan answered.’ For example: Radio Yerevan was asked: ‘Comrades, will there be war?’ Radio Yerevan answered: ‘No, but there will be such a struggle for peace that everything will be razed to the ground.’

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October 14, 2020

Fool’s Errand

Blinker fluid

fool’s errand is a type of practical joke or prank where a newcomer to a group, typically in a professional context, is given an impossible or nonsensical task by older or more experienced members of the group.

Many such errands require the victim to travel some distance and request an impossible object by name; the prank will be widely known within the peer group as an in-joke, and the person they ask for the object will play along, often by sending the victim on to make the same request elsewhere. The errand is an example of a hazing ritual, through which a newcomer gains acceptance into a group.

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October 13, 2020

Citation Needed

xkcd

Citation needed is a tag added by Wikipedia editors to unsourced statements in articles requesting citations to be added. The phrase is reflective of the policies of verifiability and no original research in Wikipedia and has become a general Internet meme.

By Wikipedia policy, editors should add citations for content, to ensure accuracy and neutrality, and to avoid original research. In June 2005, Chris Sherlock, a Wikipedia editor with the username Ta bu shi da yu, created the ‘citation needed’ template, to be added to statements without a citation that needed verification. 413,038 articles in the English Wikipedia are currently marked with the template.

August 24, 2020

Your Show of Shows

 Sid Caesar and Imogene Coca

Your Show of Shows was a live 90-minute variety show that was broadcast weekly in the United States on NBC from the winter of 1950 through the summer of 1954, featuring Sid Caesar and Imogene Coca. Other featured performers included comedian Carl Reiner, actor Howard Morris, singer and actor Bill Hayes, baritone singer Jack Russell, pop singer Judy Johnson, jazz band The Hamilton Trio, and the soprano Marguerite Piazza. Actor José Ferrer made several guest appearances on the series.

Writers for the series included Mel Brooks, Neil Simon, Danny Simon, Mel Tolkin, Lucille Kallen, Selma Diamond, Joseph Stein, Michael Stewart, Tony Webster (the only Gentile among the show’s writers), and Carl Reiner who, though a cast member, also worked with the writers. (Larry Gelbart and Woody Allen joined the writing staff for later Caesar ventures.) The series is historically significant for the evolution of the variety genre by incorporating situation comedies (sitcoms) such as the running sketch ‘The Hickenloopers’; this added a narrative element to the traditional multi-act structure.

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August 6, 2020

Gamehendge

The Man Who Stepped into Yesterday

Gamehendge is the fictional setting for a number of songs by the rock band Phish. Most of the songs can be traced back to ‘The Man Who Stepped Into Yesterday’ (or TMWSIY), the senior project of guitarist and primary vocalist Trey Anastasio, written while he attended Goddard College in 1987.

The recording of TMWSIY has been heavily circulated among fans and is considered by some to be an unreleased Phish album. Outside of the songs from TMWSIY, there are numerous other songs set in the fictional universe of Gamehendge.

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June 17, 2020

Al Jaffee

Mad Fold-in

Al Jaffee (b. 1921) is an American cartoonist. He is notable for his work in the satirical magazine ‘Mad,’ including his trademark feature, the ‘Mad Fold-in.’ Jaffee was a regular contributor to the magazine for 65 years and is its longest-running contributor.

Between 1964 and 2013, only one issue of ‘Mad’ was published without containing new material by Jaffee. In a 2010 interview, he said, ‘Serious people my age are dead.’ With a career running from 1942 until 2020, Jaffee holds the Guinness World Record for having the longest-ever career as a comic artist. In 2013, Columbia University announced that he had donated most of his archives to the college.

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April 9, 2020

Lies, Damned lies, and Statistics

How to Lie with Statistics

Lies, damned lies, and statistics‘ is a phrase describing the persuasive power of numbers, particularly the use of statistics to bolster weak arguments. It is also used colloquially to doubt statistics cited to prove an opponent’s point.

The phrase derives from the full sentence, ‘There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.’ It was popularized by Mark Twain and others, who mistakenly attributed it to the British prime minister Benjamin Disraeli. The true originator is uncertain, but it has, at times, been attributed to an anonymous writer in mid-1891 and later that year to English politician Sir Charles Dilke.

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March 16, 2020

Weird Al Yankovic

UHF

Weird Al Yankovic (b.1959) is an American musical comedian whose humorous songs make light of popular culture and often parody specific songs by contemporary musical acts; original songs that are style pastiches of the work of other acts; and polka medleys of several popular songs, featuring his favored instrument, the accordion.

Since his first-aired comedy song in 1976, he has sold more than 12 million albums (as of 2007), recorded more than 150 parody and original songs, and performed more than 1,000 live shows. His works have earned him five Grammy Awards and a further eleven nominations, four gold records, and six platinum records in the United States. Yankovic’s first top ten Billboard album (‘Straight Outta Lynwood’) and single (‘White & Nerdy’) were both released in 2006, nearly three decades into his career.

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March 4, 2020

Pigasus

Yippies

Pigasus was a 145-pound (66 kg) domestic pig who was nominated for President of the United States as a theatrical gesture by the Youth International Party in 1968, just before the opening of the Democratic National Convention in Chicago. The youth-oriented party (whose members were commonly called ‘Yippies’) was an anti-establishment and countercultural revolutionary group whose views were inspired by the free speech and anti-war movements of the 1960s, mainly the opposition to United States involvement in the Vietnam War.

Yippies were known for using dramatic theatrics in their demonstrations, and they used Pigasus as a way to mock the social status quo. At a rally announcing his candidacy, Pigasus was confiscated by Chicago policemen and several of his Yippie backers were arrested for disorderly conduct.

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