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January 1, 0001

HumourList Package #85

Life is SO much better when you’ve got a week off work to spend with your new little puppy.

Oh yeah, I didn’t go to France. But I’m not bitter… ‘Cause I’ve got Lance to cheer me up.

Oh yeah … picked him up earlier. Got some GREAT photos back. As soon as I have access to a scanner, I’ll get photos up. Wish I had a video camera though. Heheh.

This Package is yet another ‘misc jokes’ Package. The last one (Diary of a Toaster Designer) is a little bit longer, but WELL worth the read, expecially if you’re a hardware / software designer.

Enjoy. Says to say hello, so … “Slurp.”

Opening header is Copyright 1998 by Ian W. Douglas; all rights are reserved, and no portion should be copied in any way or modified in any way without permission of the author. The remainder of this Package is absolutely free for distribution provided all of the subscription instructions remain intact at the end

A driver was pulled over by a police officer for speeding. As the officer was writing the ticket, she noticed several machetes in the car. “What are those for?” she asked suspiciously.

“I’m a juggler,” the man replied. “I use those in my act.” “Well, show me,” the officer requested.

So he got out the machetes and started juggling them, first three, then more, finally seven at one time, overhand, underhand, behind the back, putting on a dazzling show and amazing the officer.

Another car passed by.

The driver did a double take, and said, “My God. I’ve got to give up drinking! Look at the test they’re giving now.”


Canadian College / University Light Bulbs

How many Ryerson students does it take to change a lightbulb? -Trick question. Ryerson isn’t a real university.

How many Lakehead students does it take to change a lightbulb? -None. Thunder Bay doesn’t have electricity.

How many U of T students does it take to change a lightbulb? -Two. One to change the lightbulb and one to crack under the pressure.

How many Algonquin students does it take to change a lightbulb? -Only one, but he gets six credits for it.

How many Laurentian students does it take to change a lightbulb? -None. Sudbury looks better in the dark.

How many Queen’s students does it take to change a lightbulb? -One. He holds the bulb and the world revolves around him.

How many Waterloo students does it take to change a lightbulb? -Five. One to design a nuclear-powered one that never needs changing, one to figure out how to power the rest of Waterloo using that nuked lightbulb, two to install it, and one to write the computer program that controls the wall switch.

How many Western students does it take to change a lightbulb? -Five. One to change the lightbulb and four to find the perfect J.Crew outfit to wear for the occasion.

How many McMaster students does it take to change a lightbulb? -Two. One to change the bulb and the other to say loudly how he did it as well as any Queen’s student.

How many St. Lawrence College students does it take to change a lightbulb? -One. He calls a Gael (a Queen’s athlete) to do it.

[Mod. note: I’m an SLC grad…]

How many Carleton students does it take to change a lightbulb? -Two. One to change the bulb and one to complain about how if they were at a better school the lightbulb wouldn’t go out.

How many McGill students does it take to change a lightbulb? -One, but he can’t do it on Friday night.

How many Brock students does it take to change a lightbulb? -Seven. One to change the light bulb and six to throw a party because he didn’t screw it in upside down this time.

How many Guelph students does it take to screw in a lightbulb? -Seven. One to screw it in and six to figure out how to power it on manure.

How many Mt. Allison students does it take to screw in lightbulb? -Five. One to do it and four to be in the Macleans photo of it.

How many UVic students does it take to change a lightbulb? -None. Lava lamps don’t burn out man!

How many UBC students does it take to change a lightbulb? -Four. One to do it and three to translate the instructions.

How many Laurier students does it take to change a lightbulb? -Five. They make it a campus affair.

How many University of Manitoba students does it take to screw in a lightbulb? -There’s a university in Manitoba?

[HumourList Trivia: I have no subscribers from Manitoba]

How many York University students does it take to screw in a lightbulb? -Three. One to take directions from the “science” student, the science student and one to philosophize about life as a light bulb.

How many Laval students does it take to screw in a light bulb? -One, but she would insist that the way she did it was distinct from the way that the other universities did it.


15 November 1996 – What the…?!

PSA was following United, taxiing out for departure. PSA called the tower and said “Tower, this is United 586. We’ve got a little problem, so go ahead and let PSA go first”. The tower promptly cleared PSA for takeoff before United had a chance to object to the impersonation!

13 September 1996 – Mama Didn’t Raise No Fools!

Unknown Aircraft: “I’m f—ing bored!”

Air Traffic Control: “Last aircraft transmitting, identify yourself immediately!!”

Unknown Aircraft: “I said I was f—ing bored, not f—ing stupid!”

Tower: “Eastern 702, cleared for takeoff, contact Departure on 124.7.”

Eastern 702: “Tower, Eastern 702 switching to Departure … by the way, as we lifted off, we saw some kind of dead animal on the far end of the runway.”

Tower: “Continental 635, cleared for takeoff, contact Departure on 124.7 …did you copy the report from Eastern?”

Continental 635: “Continental 635, cleared for takeoff … and, yes, we copied Eastern and we’ve already notified our caterers.”


For the engineers among us:

Diary of a Toaster Designer

Day 1: My boss, an engineer from the pre-CAD days, has successfully brought a generation of products from Acme Toaster Corp’s engineering labs to market. Bob is a wonder of mechanical ingenuity. All of us in the design department have the utmost respect for him, so I was honored when he appointed me the lead designer on the new Acme 2000 Toaster.

Day 6: We met with the president, head of sales, and the marketing vice president today to hammer out the project’s requirements and specifications. Here at Acme, our market share is eroding to low-cost imports. We agreed to meet a cost of goods of $9.50 (100,000). I’ve identified the critical issue in the new design: a replacement for the timing spring we’ve used since the original 1922 model. Research with the focus groups shows that consumers set high expectations for their breakfast foods. Cafe latte from Starbucks goes best with a precise level of toastal browning. The Acme 2000 will give our customers the breakfast experience they desire. I estimated a design budget of $21,590 for this project and final delivery in seven weeks. I’ll need one assistant designer to help with the drawing packages. This is my first chance to supervise!

Day 23: We’ve found the ideal spring material. Best of all, it’s a well-proven technology. Our projected cost of goods is almost $1.50 lower than our goal. Our rough prototype, which was completed just 12 days after we started, has been servicing the employee cafeteria for a week without a single hiccup. Toastal quality exceeds projections.

Day 24: A major aerospace company that had run out of defense contractors to acquire has just snapped up that block of Acme stock sold to the Mackenzie family in the ‘50s. At a companywide meeting, corporate assured us that this sale was only an investment and that nothing will change.

Day 30: I showed the Acme 2000’s exquisitely crafted toastal-timing mechanism to Ms. Primrose, the new engineering auditor. The single spring and four interlocking lever arms are things of beauty to me.

Day 36: The design is complete. We’re starting a prototype run of 500 toasters tomorrow. I’m starting to wrap up the engineering effort. My new assistant did a wonderful job.

Day 38: Suddenly, a major snag happened. Bob called me into his office. He seemed very uneasy as he informed me that those on high feel that the Acme 2000 is obsolete–something about using springs in the silicon age. I reminded Bob that the consultants had looked at using a microprocessor but figured that an electronic design would exceed our cost target by almost 50% with no real benefit in terms of toastal quality. “With a computer, our customers can load the bread the night before, program a finish time, and get a perfect slice of toast when they awaken,” Bob intoned, as if reading from a script.

Day 48: Bill Compguy, the new microprocessor whiz, scrapped my idea of using a dedicated 4-bit CPU. “We need some horsepower if we’re gonna program this puppy in C,” he said, while I stared fascinated at the old crumbs stuck in his wild beard. “Time-to-market, you know. Delivery is due in three months. We’ll just pop this cool new 8-bitter I found into it, whip up some code, and ship to the end user.”

Day 120: The good news is that I’m getting to stretch my mechanical-design abilities. Bill convinced management that the old spring-loaded, press-down lever control is obsolete. I’ve designed a “motorized insertion port,” stealing ideas from a CD-ROM drive. Three cross-coupled, safety-interlock microswitches ensure that the heaters won’t come on unless users properly insert the toast. We’re seeing some reliability problems due to the temperature extremes, but I’m sure we can work those out.

Day 132: New schedule: We now expect delivery in three months. We’ve replaced the 8-bitter with a Harvard-architecture, 16-bit, 3-MIPS CPU.

Day 172: New schedule: We now expect delivery in three months.

Day 194: The auditors convinced management we really need a graphical user interface with a full-screen LCD. “You’re gonna need some horsepower to drive that,” Bill warned us. “I recommend a 386 with a half-meg of RAM.” He went back to design Revision J of the PC board.

Day 268: New schedule: We now expect delivery in three months. We’ve cured most of the electronics’ temperature problems with a pair of fans, though management is complaining about the noise. Bob sits in his office all day, door locked, drinking Jack Daniels. Like clockwork, his wife calls every night around midnight, sobbing. I’m worried about him and mentioned my concern to Chuck. “Wife?” he asked. “Wife? Yeah, I think I’ve got one of those and two or three kids, too. Now, let’s just stick another meg of RAM in here, OK?”

Day 290: We gave up on the custom GUI and are now installing Windows CE. The auditors applauded Bill’s plan to upgrade to a Pentium with 32 Mbytes of RAM. There’s still no functioning code, but the toaster is genuinely impressive. Four circuit boards, bundles of cables, and a gigabit of hard-disk space. “This sucker has more computer power than the entire world did 20 years ago,” Bill boasted proudly.

Day 384: Toastal quality is sub-par. The addition of two more cooling fans keeps the electronics to a reasonable temperature but removes too much heat from the toast. I’m struggling with baffles to vector the air, but the thrust of all these fans spins the toaster around.

Day 410: New schedule: We now expect delivery in three months. We switched from C++ to Java. “That’ll get them pesky memory-allocation bugs, for sure,” Bill told his team of 15 programmers. This approach seems like a good idea to me, because Java is platform-independent, and there are rumors circulating that we’re porting to a SPARCstation.

Day 530: New schedule: We now expect delivery in three months. I mastered the temperature problems by removing all of the fans and the heating elements. The Pentium is now thermally bonded to the toast. We found a thermal grease that isn’t too poisonous. Our marketing people feel that the slight degradation in taste from the grease will be more than compensated for by the “toasting experience that can only come from a CISC-based, 32-bit multitasking machine running the latest multiplatform software.”

Day 610: The product shipped. It weighs 72 lb and costs $325. Bill was promoted to CEO.

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