There was a time when a show like “Vicious” might have seemed daring, but today it feels quaint, comfortable, silly. And I don’t think it intends to be much more than that, and that’s OK.
Archive for the 'Funny' Category
As we settle into the on-ramp to middle age, my husband and I find ourselves utterly captivated by the lamest of intellectual parries and thrusts. One of our favorites is the synonym game. “Eat,” one of us will say. “Devour,” the other will say. “Chew,” comes the reply, followed by “masticate,” “digest,” and so on and so forth.
Last night, inspired by a piscine pun a friend of ours wrote as a Facebook status update, Jeff asked me to name species of fish.
“Uh… trout?” I said. “Pike. Flounder. Why?”
He showed me the picture on our friend Marc’s Facebook wall, a folk-art plate with a fish skeleton painted on it, accompanied by the words “Tuna Half Men. Sole Train.”
Ah. I was beginning to understand.
“I’ve already got ‘Carp 54, Where Are You?'” Jeff said. I need another one.
I gave it a long, hard think. Before long I had one. Perfect.
“Who’s the Bass?” I said.
And we were off.
A couple of weeks ago, a friend of mine was recorded for a radio series reading a story he wrote about his exile from southern Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina.
He’s good at telling stories. Some kind of southern thing, I guess. And he’s earned some renown in the local story slam circuit. In fact, he was on the radio because he was one of a sextet of story slam audience favorites.
My friends and I like to support that sort of thing, so a bunch of us joined him at his apartment on the night of the broadcast.
It was delightfully Golden Age, each of us taking a silent seat wherever we could to listen to a radio in real time. Table lamps cast an amber glow on our expectant faces. There was an old, gray dog curled up on the couch, and it was raining outside. All we were missing was a roaring fireplace and the faint haze of smoldering pipe tobacco. We could have been a pack of kids staying up past our bedtime to catch Gunsmoke on the wireless or to hear what happened last to Little Orphan Annie.
Actually, it was nothing at all like that. We all checked in on Foursquare, and I tweeted throughout the evening. And there was plenty of smoking, but it was all done just outside of the front door. But we did listen to the show on an ancient, crackly radio. The antenna was completely broken off. It leaned against a lamp for vertical support, and naught but gravity held it on its base with the most tenuous of connections. Sharp “s” and “f” sounds came through harsh and distorted. If someone stood too near the radio, we’d lose the signal for a moment. If a footfall shook the floor, the antenna would slip off its perch and the radio would go altogether silent.
It was right near the liquor, so we lost the signal a lot.
There’s this joke I love that I heard recently on a public radio podcast, and I love to tell it, but no one ever thinks it’s nearly as funny as I do.
I’m not a great teller of jokes. I tend to improvise too much, I take too long, I mess up the punchline. OK, not funny. But is my new favorite joke itself a stinker, or is it just my lousy telling that clears the room? You decide.
Larry Lobster and Sam Clam are best friends. They do everything together. And they love to dance. So one day they decide to go into business together. They are going to open an underwater disco.
They find the perfect location in a coral reef. They secure their funding, gather their supplies, hire a staff. They begin to advertise. All the fish and mollusks and crustaceans are thrilled that they’ll finally have a place to dance. And Sam Clam and Larry Lobster begin to sense that they’re going to make a killing.
Everything is going perfectly the day of their grand opening. And then Larry Lobster gets caught in a trap and killed.
So Larry Lobster goes to heaven. Saint Peter meets him at the gate.
We’re down two Golden Girls, with two to go. Oh, it pains me to think of losing Rue McClanahan and Betty White. Yet it’s hard to resist the speculation: Who will be the last Girl standing?
Meanwhile, this is hilarious! Betty White calls Ryan Reynolds an “ab-crunching jackass,” and he tells her to suck a hot cock. And Sandra Bullock slaps Reynolds around for picking on poor Betty.
I know I’m totally falling for this viral marketing, but I’ll probably never see the movie its meant to promote. The worst part: I have an irrational dislike of Sandra Bullock, but this clip is actually making me like her.
When Gmail offered me an automatic email response generator, I didn’t think much about it.
A bit weird, I thought, but why not? When Google is constantly testing new and improved ways to make useful the ceaseless stream of information it gathers from us second be ever-lovin’ second, it seems perfectly plausible (though not, I hope, reasonable) that next on the list would be a service that scans your incoming messages and automatically generates a response, matching your style and tone, without a second thought from you.
They called the service “Gmail Autopilot,” powered by something called by CADIE, or “Cognitive Autoheuristic Distributed-Intelligence Entity”
“Email will never be a thing of the past,” it declared, “but actually reading and writing messages is about to be” — as if it’s a terrible burden to think for oneself.
Who would use this? I thought. Who could be so lazy?
I wondered — hoped, really — if the system would only generate the email, leaving the decision to send or not to send up to the user. To find out, I clicked the link to “learn more.” I briefly considered trying it, but thought better of it.
Later, inspired by the dawn of National Poetry Month, I decided to resume reading the daily emails I have been receiving for years from The Writer’s Almanac. Leave it to Garrison Keillor to kill a perfectly good joke. Today’s post included the following entry:
Today is April Fools’ Day, and it’s also on this day in 2004 that Google released Gmail to the public. Many people thought it was a joke: It offered a whole gigabyte of storage, which was exponentially greater than what was offered by other free e-mail services at the time.
Gmail has played a number of memorable pranks on April Fools’ Day. Last year, users signing into their Gmail account on April Fools’ Day saw a banner announcing “New! Gmail Custom Time,” which supposedly allowed users to pre-date some of their outgoing e-mail messages. On April 1, 2006, Google announced a new dating service, called Google Romance. They said, “When you think about it, love is just another search problem.”
Nicely played, Google. I thought the examples on the “Autopilot” FAQ page seemed excessively humorous.
After this, I seemed to find practical jokes everywhere I turned.
YouTube was upside down today, which I thought was brilliant — only if one’s Web browser was capable of displaying the upside-down typeface.
|Click to enlarge.
I found a fake news story on today’s NPR’s Morning Edition broadcast about The Economist opening up a theme park.
I received a tweet about today’s Planet Money podcast having an April Fool’s Day joke in it.
Even the BBC World Service broadcast this morning, I remembered, included a segment during which a series of implausible headlines was read aloud and the listeners were invited to write in and guess which one was actually false. It seemed to me at the time just like a cute listener-response segment like that game they play on Wait, Wait … Don’t Tell Me.
An aside: All this online tomfoolery at least explains why Queerty released a new page design yesterday. They must have been careful to avoid April 1, because the changes they made certainly do seem like a joke. (This is among the worst page design I have seen.)
Three people at work told friends and loved ones via email that they had been laid off in a surprise downsizing. Only one of them succeeded in tricking someone.
I can’t remember a time since I was a kid that I’ve seen so much attention paid to an April Fool’s Day. I began to fear that people would stop believing what I was saying, expecting at any moment to be the subject of a prank. I began to feel obligated to play some kind of mischief myself. If I weren’t so terribly bad at lying, I might have tried it.
Maybe we just need some fun in the news these days. It’ll be back to normal tomorrow.
|[source: Life & Style, 3/30/09, vol. 6, issue 13]|