Tag: humor

Existential Dread and Bologna

So I laughed harder today than I have in many years. Yes, years. The kind of laughing where you can hardly breathe and your side aches.

What made me laugh?  Well, lately the website buzzfeed.com has been doing a bunch of surveys to determine all kinds of things like ‘Which Jane Austen Heroine are you Like?’ or ‘What superhero are you?’ etc.  They’ve become popular with my friends so I mozied on over to take a few as a lark.

The first one I got was quite the ominous survey ‘How will I die’.  I mean who doesn’t want to know that?  Would certainly help when purchasing life insurance.  So I filled out the survey and the results pop up. I am not altering this in any way.  This is what it told me:

“You will be suffocated by existential dread. An unbearable sense of the sheer pointlessness of it all, once tamped down by booze, drugs, and the occasional, ultimately meaningless sexual release, eventually becomes too much for you”

That’s rough…Who knew I was both so thoughtful and such a rebel. So existential dread is defined by our friends over at wikipedia as “It is used in English to describe an intense feeling of apprehension, anxiety, or inner turmoil. In other languages…. it is used regularly to express fear.

Also existential philosophy is the brainchild of Soren Kierkegaard. The idea is you use your brain to perfect yourself and separate from the empty, meaningless world. (Catcher in the Rye with all the ‘phonies’ is an example).  Anyway, who knew that it had such a hold on me enough so that it would suffocate me and lead to my death’.  No more deep thinking for me! 😉

‘After sitting alone thinking about the earth and all the shallowness and emptiness I thought ‘why not take another survey? I mean it won’t mean anything but I might as well’…

So I found one that seemed pretty innocuous ‘What sandwich are you?’  Perhaps I was eating lunch and needed some guidance but you won’t believe what I got as my sandwich.  Again, I am not making this up.  It said:

‘You got the Sad bologna sandwich. Look at your life. Look at your choices” Now I’m really experiencing some existential dread.  Look at my choices?  Look at my life?  I never knew I was so off track.  And it’s not just a bologna sandwich but a sad bologna sandwich.  Even my bologna is sad. Now that is existential…

What’s a girl to do?  Existential dread, a sad sandwich.  Look at my life choices…I’m a mess.  A bit of an academic mess that likes cheap mystery meat but a mess!

But then I found some comfort in an article in the Huffington Post and again I am not making this up.  It said:

“New research shows Tylenol may have the unseen psychological side-effect of easing existential dread….We think that Tylenol is blocking existential unease in the same way it prevents pain because a similar neurological process is responsible for both types of distress,”

Phew!  What a relief.  I’ve got to stock up on tylenol.

But what do I do about my sad sandwich?  And my life choices? When I see bologna in the stores it’s going to have a  whole new tragic appeal to me.  How can a sandwich be sad?  Evidently if it is my sandwich it brings on all kinds of anxiety, distress and sadness.  Perhaps the poor life choices have something to do with the tylenol too!  Maybe that will help me get a happy sandwich?

Anyway, I thought it was hilarious, but I implore all of you to watch out for any existential dread posts or if you see bologna in my fridge give me a hug and ask me how those life choices are going.  You may be my only hope!

existential dread

Romney’s Funny

So I’ve been sick the last few days and been working more than I should.  I still struggle to sleep at night even when sick so after my 20 minutes of trying to go to sleep I turned on the TV and stumbled up on Mitt Romney’s remarks at the Alfred E. Smith dinner.   It made me laugh a lot.  In fact, I thought it was much funnier than anything SNL has done this season.

Favorite lines:

“…tomorrow’s headlines would read, “Obama Embraced by Catholics; Romney Dines With Rich People.”

“Usually when I get invited to gatherings like this it’s just to be designated driver”

“In the spirit of big bird this dinner is brought to you by the letter “O” and the number 16 trillion”

After looking at recent job #s President will boast “you’re better off than you were four weeks ago”

On the bias of the press, headlines will say “polls show Obama leading from behind.”

Nice to have a good laugh! Hopefully it will make a few people see Romney in a new light. Not as stiff an unapproachable as the primaries made him look.

I laughed so Hard…

So, I was listening to good old Car Talk today on NPR and they had an encore episode.  In it they read a letter from MIT and then the response.  They are MIT grads, and I don’t know if it was made up by a caller or if it is a legitimate letter.  Regardless, it made me laugh so hard I just about died. There are so many pompous, showy things in today’s society and the response points this out in all its glaring details! Here goes!  Have a good laugh on me!

Mr. John T. Mongan
123 Main Street
Smalltown, California 94123-4567

Dear John:

You’ve got the grades. You’ve certainly got the PSAT scores. And now you’ve got a letter from MIT. Maybe you’re surprised. Most students would be.

But you’re not most students. And that’s exactly why I urge you to consider carefully one of the most selective universities in America.

The level of potential reflected in your performance is a powerful indicator that you might well be an excellent candidate for MIT. It certainly got my attention!

Engineering’s not for you? No problem. It may surprise you to learn we offer more than 40 major fields of study, from architecture to brain and cognitive sciences, from economics (perhaps the best program in the country) to writing.

What? Of course, you don’t want to be bored. Who does? Life here *is* tough *and* demanding, but it’s also *fun*. MIT students are imaginative and creative – inside and outside the classroom.

You’re interested in athletics? Great! MIT has more varsity teams – 39 – than almost any other university, and a tremendous intramural program so everybody can participate.

You think we’re too expensive? Don’t be too sure. We’ve got surprises for you there, too.

Why not send the enclosed Information Request to find out more about this unique institution? Why not do it right now?

Sincerely,

Michael C. Benhke
Director of Admissions

P.S. If you’d like a copy of a fun-filled, fact-filled brochure, “Insight,” just check the appropriate box on the form.

May 5, 1994

Michael C. Behnke
MIT Director of Admissions
Office of Admissions, Room 3-108
Cambridge MA 02139-4307

Dear Michael:

You’ve got the reputation. You’ve certainly got the pomposity. And now you’ve got a letter from John Mongan. Maybe you’re surprised. Most universities would be.

But you’re not most universities. And that’s exactly why I urge you to carefully consider one of the most selective students in America, so selective that he will choose only *one* of the thousands of accredited universities in the country.

The level of pomposity and lack of tact reflected in your letter is a powerful indicator that your august institution might well be a possibility for John Mongan’s future education. It certainly got my attention!

Don’t want Bio-Chem students? No problem. It may surprise you to learn that my interests cover over 400 fields of study, from semantics to limnology, from object-oriented programming (perhaps one of the youngest professionals in the country) to classical piano.

What? Of course you don’t want egotistical jerks. Who does? I *am* self-indulgent *and* over confident, but I’m also amusing. John Mongan is funny and amusing – whether you’re laughing with him or at him.

You’re interested in athletes? Great! John Mongan has played more sports – 47 – than almost any other student, including oddball favorites such as Orienteering.

You think I can pay for your school? Don’t be too sure. I’ve got surprises for you there, too.

Why not send a guaranteed admission and full scholarship to increase your chance of being selected by John Mongan? Why not do it right now?

Sincerely,
John Mongan

P.S. If you’d like a copy of a fun-filled, fact-filled brochure, “John Mongan: What a Guy!” just ask.

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Things I Think are Funny

Imagination was given to man to compensate him for what he is not; a sense of humor to console him for what he is.  ~Francis Bacon

I decided to do a lighter post this time.  My posts of late have been a bit serious.  I have had a great deal on my mind, and so many issues  I feel passionate about. I want to get my voice out and try to make a difference. I am very gratified for the responses to these entries. My blog posting on Glen Beck alone has already had over 400 visits.  My Affluenza posting 250. The stimulus package over 300.  Visits to my blog have increased from 1900 to 3100 in the month of March alone.  I know it is still small in the world of blogs, but it makes me feel good.  Thanks for reading and making comments!

For this post I am writing about the things that make me laugh.  It is such a hard thing to quantify.  I have had so many times when I think something is hilarious but when I show it to friends I get nothing but a courtesy laugh.  I’ve also been in the reverse situation where I am the only one in the room not laughing.  For instance, I do not think Weird Al is funny.  One time in college everyone was watching him, cracking up and I didn’t laugh once.

Given the subjectivity of humor I will try to describe what makes me laugh.

Let’s start with stand up…

My favorite routines are from Jerry Seinfeld, Bill Cosby and Ray Romano.  All 3 of them take ordinary situations and bring out the insanity.  I love to make mix CDs of these routines and play them on long car trips.  On one such trip my cousin Ellen was in the car.  She was 8 or 9 and we laughed and laughed.  My aunt Cindy told me when they got home that she asked for more comedy CDs and said “I am addicted to comedy!”.  My thoughts exactly!

My favorite routine of all time is probably the Dentist by Bill Cosby.  I hate going to the dentist, and he captures the experience perfectly.  I particularly love the way he mimics the sound of a dentist working on your teeth. I’ve heard this probably a hundred times and it still leaves me in stitches:

Next we have animated humor…

For some odd reason there is a group of mothers in Utah that think the Simpsons is some evil show.  I grew up with it.  It has been on the air since I was 8 years old, and from about 1994-2000 it made me laugh every week. I will always have a soft spot in my heart for the Simpsons because it was one of the only things I remember doing with my brother every week where we laughed.  Picking a favorite Simpsons episode is tough- I have all 11 seasons currently available on DVD.  There are so many good ones.  Some of my favorites are the Frank Grimes episode (Homer’s Enemy), King Size Homer (Homer gains weight to get on workman’s comp), Bart the Mother (Bart becomes the mother of a nest of birds that leads to complicated problems), Homer the Great (Homer is made head of the “Stonecutters” a mason like group), and the Monorail episode (where the town is conned by a Harold Hill-like monorail salesman voiced by Phil Hartman). There are plenty of Simpson’s haters out there but let me just say in its defense- it is about a family that always makes up, they pray together, they go to church and they make fun of everyone equally.  It has been making me laugh for 20 years and will continue to do so until 2012! Hurray!

Here is a clip from the monorail episode:

Moving on to sitcom television…

Since television is weekly its humor can be based more on the chemistry of the stars than on the material itself.  There may be jokes that fans of the show love but those unfamiliar with the characters don’t understand.  For example, on the Office many of the jokes made by Michael Scott are funny because we know the character and understand his wacky perspective.   Arrested Development is another show that those unfamiliar with the characters will probably not grasp most of the humor.  The sitcoms that make me laugh the hardest are probably the Office, Cosby Show, Mary Tyler Moore, Arrested Development, How I Met Your Mother, Big Bang Theory, and the Nanny.  Seinfeld can be very funny but it is more hit and miss to me.  Also, My Name is Earl was great in the first two seasons but has gone down hill since then.

I want to have a clip but a lot of my favorite episodes are not available online.  For instance, one of the funniest moments on television is from The Mary Tyler Moore episode Chuckles Bites the Dust.  The plot is about the TV station’s clown Chuckles who dies from being stomped on by an elephant after wearing a peanut outfit in a parade.  Because of the odd death of the clown everyone at the newsroom laughs and cracks jokes except Mary.  She stays serious until the funeral.  While listening to the eulogy Mary gets the giggles and everyone can’t believe her rudeness.  The more she tries to hold it in the worse it is.  Here is the eulogy that gets her going:

“Chuckles the Clown brought pleasure to millions. The characters he created will be remembered by children and adults alike: Peter Peanut, Mr. Fee-Fi-Fo, Billy Banana, and my particular favorite, Aunt Yoo Hoo. And not just for the laughter they provided—there was always some deeper meaning to whatever Chuckles did. Remember Mr. Fee-Fi-Fo’s little catch phrase? Remember how, when his arch rival Señor Caboom hit him with a giant cucumber and knocked him down, Mr. Fee-Fi-Fo would always pick himself up, dust himself off, and say, ‘I hurt my foo-foo’? Life’s a lot like that. From time to time we all fall down and hurt our foo-foos. If only we could deal with it as simply and bravely and honestly as Mr. Fee-Fi-Fo. And what did Chuckles ask in return? Not much. In his own words, ‘A little song, a little dance, a little seltzer down your pants.'”

I have had many times when I get the giggles and am about to pee my pants with laughing.  One time on my mission this lady started playing the piano super loud, in a rather vitriolic fashion- so much so that it made our cute little Chinese investigator jump about a foot in the air.  For some reason it made me start to laugh and finally I had to grab my companion and leave to the restroom.  Doesn’t everyone have those moments?  That’s what makes the episode so relatable.

Another show that makes me laugh is How I Met Your Mother.  It is probably my favorite comedy on TV right now (the Office has become more hit and miss lately).  One of my favorite episodes is called Spoiler Alert.  It is all about how friends have annoying habits that we ignore because they are our friends; however, once these habits are pointed out to us they drive us crazy!  Have you ever experienced this?   Here is one example from the episode:

One last category- the sketch comedy show…

The sketch comedy show has a style all its own.  Unlike the sitcom, the jokes are not based on long-term character development, nor are they as deadpan as stand up.  They are based on short-term character development and scenarios built to prove one singular point.  Of all of the categories the sketch comedy skit is perhaps the most subjective.  For example, my sister and brother in-law do not find Will Farrell funny.  I think he is hilarious most of the time.  I have met people that hate Chris Farley- others that love him.  Again, most of the ones I find funny are because I relate to them in some small way.  I’ve never found Chris Rock to be very funny but others disagree.  Adam Sandler is more hit and miss.  Monty Python kind of invented the genre and to me this routine is just about perfect:

Anyone who has had an uncle or aunt wailing about “kids today…” can relate to that!

So, that is some of the things that make me laugh.  I would go into movies but that becomes even more subjective.  I will have to do a separate entry just on funny movies.  There are certain movies like Clueless, You’ve Got Mail, When Harry Met Sally, Stranger that Fiction,  and Office Space that I could  write entire posts on- one of them I have.  They are hilarious!

I hope this post made you laugh!  There are so many problems right now it feels good to have a good laugh!