Posted tagged ‘funny’

This Norton antivirus ad really cracked me up

August 3, 2011

I was immediately drawn to the sad guy eating a ketchup sandwich. Yuck, I thought. Why is he eating a ketchup sandwich? So I read the copy on the left.

Isn’t that hilarious, creative and effective? The message that a virus could ruin you financially is really communicated. If there hadn’t been a funny pic, I wouldn’t have read the copy in the first place. So go Norton for creating this great ad! By the way, it was in Wired magazine.

Today I saw this funny sign at the Oneida, New York rest stop

January 20, 2011

Everything’s normal until you get to the bottom.

Simon Winchester gives a good talk

November 15, 2010

Winchester talked about his latest book, "Atlantic"

I love seeing authors speak about their works, or scholars lecturing about their areas of expertise. But for some reason, I haven’t attended many of these talks over the last couple of years. I ended a long drought on Thursday when I saw Simon Winchester discuss his new book about the Atlantic Ocean at Porter Square Books in Cambridge (check out Winchester’s website to see what he looks like).

I haven’t yet read the book. I knew nothing about Simon Winchester. But I sort of became enchanted by him over the course of his one-hour appearance. This guy knows how to tell stories. The words just flow. I wish I had written down some exact quotes of his. Instead, I just took notes on some of the interesting ideas he discussed.

Here are some things I learned:

  • The Atlantic Ocean formed about 200 million years ago when Pangea broke apart (I knew the Pangea part, but not when the separation happened).
  • Scientists project the Atlantic Ocean will cease to exist in about 175 million years once the continents have shifted and water from the ocean has been squeezed out.
  • Winchester organized his book using Shakespeare’s “seven ages of man” model. Let me expand a little bit upon this:

Apparently Shakespeare’s play “As You Like It” catalogs the seven stages of man’s life as infant, schoolboy, lover, soldier, justice, pantaloon (an aging buffoon), and second childhood. So Winchester organized his book into these categories. The “lover” section, for instance, discusses humans’ love for the Atlantic over time. The “soldier” section describes wars that have taken place on the Atlantic Ocean. I thought this was a very interesting way to organize the book.

  • He told an amusing story about the Faroe Islands, an island group about halfway between Great Britain and Iceland belonging to Denmark.

He told us that the inhabitants of these islands are descendants of the Vikings. Because the men aren’t at war anymore, they have lots of energy to “purge themselves of.” They accomplish this through placing sheep high up on the sides of cliffs. They leave the sheep in these dangerous spots for months as the sheep eat the lush grass and fatten up.

When the men finally return to the cliffs, they knock the sheep into the water. The sheep die, come up to the water’s surface, and are collected to be turned into food. This means that if you’re ever on a boat around these islands, you should watch out for falling sheep!

The British needed a smokeless gunpowder called cordite, which was made from acetone. Weizmann developed a way to produce acetone through bacterial fermentation. British officials learned about Weizmann’s procedure from Manchester Guardian editor C.P. Scott,  and had him share his knowledge. The British set up a cordite factory in an old whiskey factory, and the rest is history.

To thank Weizmann, British officials wanted to knight him. But he didn’t want that– he wanted a Jewish state in Palestine instead. It’s largely because of his wish that this eventually happened.

  • Tristan da Cunha is the most remote inhabited archipelago in the world. According to Winchester, who has been there before, only about 250 people live there and it’s not that interesting. It’s a lot of people growing potatoes.

Anyway, Winchester told a really funny (and true) story about how he’s banned from the island.

  • The “Skeleton Coast” in Namibia is known for its shipwrecks. Winchester actually went there to see where a ship attempting to rescue another ship crashed into the shore. He visited the graves of the two brave souls who died during this incident, and mentioned them in his book. It’s a way to keep their memory alive as many seem to have forgotten about them and their heroic efforts.

I love how Winchester took us to different parts of the Atlantic we’ve never heard of and filled us with rich imagery, poignant stories and humorous anecdotes. I really want to read this book now! For a glimpse of how Winchester talks, check out this short YouTube clip about “Atlantic”:

My favorite knock-knock jokes

November 5, 2010

My absolute favorite:

Person 1: Knock-knock

Person 2: Who’s there?

Person 1: Dishwasher

Person 2: Dishwasher who?

Person 1: Dishwashern’t the way I shpoke before I got falsh teef

Another good one:

Person 1: Knock-knock

Person 2: Who’s there?

Person 1: Dwayne

Person 2: Dwayne who?

Person 1: Dwayne the tub I’m gonna dwown!

Kind of a dumb one, but I like it anyway:

Person 1: Knock-knock

Person 2: Who’s there?

Person 1: Scott

Person 2: Scott who?

Person 1: Scott something up your nose

Yeah, I love knock-knock jokes. Call me a simpleton (I also like state humor). I need to find a few more good ones to add to my repertoire!

Some funny French expressions

September 21, 2010

Because I don’t currently have much of an opportunity to use my French, I instead subject my boyfriend and various friends to the English versions of my French expressions. They sounds quite ridiculous, but that doesn’t bother me.

Here’s the first expression:

  • “I have the ants.”

When the French have a body party that’s asleep, they say “J’ai les fourmis,” or “I have the ants” in English. It sounds hilarious, but I can see why they’d say this. A body part that’s fallen asleep kind of also feels like it’s been invaded by ants. It’s like there’s a bunch of ants scurrying around inside of your body.

Here’s the next expression I anglicize:

  • “I am a poor pilgrim.”

When a French person is feeling like a loser, either after doing something stupid or befalling a negative circumstance, he or she says “Je suis un pauvre pélérin,” or “I am a poor pilgrim” in English. One time a Frenchman called me a poor pilgrim immediately after I had gotten caught in the pouring rain, broken my umbrella, and dropped my book into a muddy puddle.

I suppose this expression also makes sense. Pilgrims likely faced many obstacles on their way to the holy land, some of which probably made them feel pretty uncomfortable, frustrated, or hopeless. They were poor pilgrims!

The next expression is:

  • “He gave me a rabbit.”

When a man stands a girl up, the girl says “Il m’a posé un lapin,” or “He gave me a rabbit.” This one really doesn’t make sense to us English speakers, and I would reckon most French speakers don’t know the origin of the expression. I found several explanations, but this one made the most sense to me. It says that “rabbit” used to signify “the refusal to pay.” It was, for example, used to explain the act of traveling (say, by train) without paying. The expression was “voyager en lapin,” or “travel like a rabbit.”

I’m not sure why a rabbit reference was used for someone who didn’t pay, and not a reference to a bird, turtle or squirrel. Maybe because rabbits are especially sneaky.  But anyway, I guess the French then started saying “Il l’a posé un lapin,” or “He gave her a rabbit,” when a man didn’t end up paying a prostitute. Basically the man “gave her a refusal of payment.” The expression evolved over time, and now means someone didn’t respect a planned rendezvous.

Photo credit: www.flickr.com/photos/cplapied/1278788003

Remove the “ugh” from your Uggs

July 12, 2010

I like this sign for a service at Concept Cleaners in Cambridge: