Blog: Humor

Most of these posts were originally posted somewhere else and link to the originals. While this blog is not set up for comments, the original locations generally are, and I welcome comments there. Sorry for the inconvenience.

Light takes

From a friend: just because something has a name doesn't mean it deserves a name. Exhibit A: consecotaleophobia. Exhibit B: Zymarikaphobia.

Seen on the net; source unknown:

Image without description

Transcript:

Lost Roomba!!!

(Photo)
His name is "Higgins". 35cm /9cm high / 2.8kg
DOES NOT BITE!!!

Roomba app info:
Battery: 3%
Dust bin: 190%

My husband left our bungalow door open and our Roomba escaped!!! We followed his cleaning track for 4 Km down to the beach where we lost his trail. Higgins can not swim!!! Please help us bring Higgins back!

(Tear-off strips with contact information)

On the ritual foods of the Purim seder

Shameless self-promotion:

As we know,[1] the evening meal for Purim starts with Wacky Mac, a dish that features four pasta shapes: wheels, shells, spirals, and tubes. What is less widely known is how we are to eat this ritual item. Like the Pesach seder a month later, the meal has specific requirements and specific meanings! And like at the Pesach seder, your child should ask you to explain why this night is different from all other nights and what the laws and customs are and what they mean. It is only because of the other celebratory aspects of this holiday that in most families the child is too inebriated to ask (and the parents too inebriated to answer). So prepare yourself now, so you can both fulfill the commandment and explain it to your child.

First, we must examine the symbolism. [...]

See the full article at Judaism Codidact.

Pass the wine! :-)

P.S. For the programmers, we have this question on type systems and the use of void -- more answers welcome!

Signal boost: Am I liable if my murder commits murder?

This was shared with me in the form of screen shots (so, hard to read), but then I found the link to where it happened on Reddit (in a "legal advice" channel). I thought my readers might enjoy this.

Original post, two months ago, which has a note from moderators saying they've verified the story:

[oregon] I accidentally created an army of crow body guards. Am I liable if my murder attempts murder? (Personal Injury)

To make a long story short, im a late 20 something living in portland oregon. I had a pretty intense emo/goth phase as a tween that i thought i had grown out of.

A couple months ago, i was watching a nature program on our local station about crows. The program mentioned that if you feed and befriend them, crows will bring you small gifts. My emo phase came back full force and i figured that i was furloughed and had lots of time- so why not make some crow friends. Read more…

The season of Purim Torah

Purim Torah uses the style of traditional torah but is, err, different. Some years ago Mi Yodeya began a tradition of accepting Purim Torah questions, which of course have to be answered in the same style, for a couple weeks a year. Last summer, active (or formerly-active) community members from there founded Judaism Codidact, which we hope will keep growing. It's off to a good start.

We've just opened a place for Purim Torah on the Codidact community. Because Codidact has the concept of categories, we can segregate it so it's hard to confuse with the serious Q&A. And because Codidact supports other types of posts besides questions and answers, we've set it up to support articles too, so that Purim-flavored d'var torah or talmudic analysis has a place.

The category is new so there are only a couple posts so far. I asked a question that arose out of yesterday's torah portion, which has gotten a good answer (that prompts more questions), and I just adapted my best-received past Purim Torah answer into an article on the ritual Purim meal and its symbolism. I'm looking forward to seeing what else shows up.

Perhaps some of you have questions or essays in this spirit to share?


These links will only work during the few weeks surrounding Purim each year, but I included the post in this blog for the explanation.

Rabbinic teaching

Forwarded to me without attribution:

Rabbi Moshe Karelman, a brilliant Talmudist, and his star pupil Yeshaya are traveling to Vilna when they have to stop for the night, and pitch their tent in an empty field.

After the evening prayers Rabbi Karelman and Yeshaya retire for the evening. Some hours later, Rabbi Karelman wakes up and nudges his student. "Yeshaya, look up at the sky and tell me what you see."

"I see millions and millions of stars, Rabbi Karelman."

"And from this, what do you deduce?"

Yeshaya ponders for a minute. "Well, astronomically, this view conveys the vastness of the heavens. Chronometrically, I deduce that the time is approximately a quarter past three. Meteorologically, I suspect that we will have a beautiful day tomorrow. Theologically, I can see that God is all powerful, and that we are a small and insignificant part of His universe. What does it tell you, Rabbi Karelman?"

"It tells me that someone has stolen our tent."

I've seen variations on this before, but this is the most thorough answer from the student I've seen in any of those tellings.


A comment notes that this is often attributed to Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson.

Fluff break

In the midst of all the stuff in the world, I hope that some customer-support person's day was a little brighter for a moment or two:


Hi Chewy! This is Monica's cat, Orlando. Read more…

Taking data at face value

This is surreal. A year ago, somebody entering data on Open Street Map recorded a suburban building as being 212 stories. A backyard shed, apparently. It seems to have been an honest typo, later corrected. It happens. No big deal, right?

The error was later corrected by another @openstreetmap user, BUT, in the interim, Microsoft took an export of the data and used it to build Flight Simulator 2020. The result... this incredible monolith (2/2)

screenshot from game

The original thread where people tracked it down is hilarious.

Topical Purim Torah

I was pointed to this piece of Purim torah from Mi Yodeya. The question asks, based on a text, "why is Mi Yodeya so angry?". Isaac Moses, site founder, posted this answer, which I'm copying here for personal posterity.


And it was in the days of Ahashuar. Who? Ahashuar, who reigned over the royal treasury, from a throne in a palace, high above Shushan, the capital. And Mi Yodeya was at that time a province of the kingdom. There came to be promoted one hundred and twenty-seven governors of Personnel and Media higher than any of their fellow officials in the palace.

There was a Jewish woman in Shushan, the capital, by the name of Mordeca. And she was foster to many of the provinces of the kingdom, including Shushan, the capital. And she was highly regarded by the Jews and popular with the multitude of her colleagues, bearers of the royal signet. And she found favor in the eyes of the ministers of the court.

Now the one hundred and twenty-seven governors said to themselves, "there is a certain individual who is spread out among many of the provinces of the realm, whose language is different from the language of the palace, and who does not follow the laws of the kingdom, and it is not in our interest to tolerate her." And they were filled with rage, so they hurried messengers posthaste to remove the royal signet from Mordeca's hand, and they impaled her upon the book of records. And the governors sat down each week to celebrate, but the city of Shushan was confused.

In every province that the governors' command and decree reached, there was great mourning, wailing and weeping. And many of the people of the capital cast off their signets, for the fear of the governors had befallen them.

Some time afterward, a royal edict was issued, including in the laws of the kingdom that "the people in all the provinces of the kingdom shall speak the language of the palace, omitting nothing of what we have decreed."

And many of the residents of Shushan came before the court, and said, "if we have won your favor and the proposal seems right to you, let dispatches be written countermanding those which were written, and let the royal signet be returned to the hand of Mordeca." And they spoke to them day after day, and they would not listen to them. Then the governors dispatched their ministers to say, "if Mordeca will kneel and bow low before the palace, then there will be a poor ... that is, a chance, that she can be returned to her place in the palace gate." But they said to their ministers inside the inner court, "Now that this decree has been written in the name of the palace, it may not be revoked. The royal signet will not be placed upon her hand." And Mordeca would not kneel and would not bow low.

Some time afterward, when the anger of Shushan had subsided, the one hundred and twenty-seven governors thought about what they had done and what they had decreed against Mordeca. And they asked themselves "What should be done to a person whom we desire to honor? And whom should we desire to honor more than ministers who are beloved of Shushan and who intercede for the welfare of the people of the realm?" But the opposite happened, and they impaled Shaashgaz and Carshena upon stakes, for they were ministers who were beloved of Shushan and who had interceded for the welfare of the people of the realm. And Harbona, another of the guardians of the signet-bearers, who is also remembered as good, went out from the palace. And the city of Shushan was again confused.


Yes, "Shaashgaz" and "Harbona" have seen it. (I'm not in contact with "Carshena".)

Choral part-balancing

Overheard at last night's choir party:

Director: ...And I told (another choir's director) that we have five tenors now and quite a few basses too, and she was blown away. [Context: for whatever reason, SCA choirs and maybe amateur choirs in general have a lot of trouble getting enough tenors. Our choir has about 25 members and five tenors is considered very good.]

Transgender tenor: Some of our tenors used to be sopranos.1 She could suggest...

Other choir member: In the Debatable Choir we make tenors!

1 Two, in fact. There is also a woman in the bass section (who hasn't undergone physical changes thus far).

Young coworkers

Last week the director of engineering sent email announcing prizes for an "improve our tests" hackathon. He labelled one prize (about finding and fixing the most bugs) as "write yourself a minivan".

Later, in response to questions, he sent a copy of the 24-year-old Dilbert strip.

Over the weekend our CTO, in response to questions, sent email explaining what a minivan was.

I'll be over here, weeping into my prune juice and yelling at kids to get off my lawn.