^Humou?r (AKA Recreation for Nerds Who Enjoy Levity!) Put it all here!

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Not my real name.
Sep 18, 2020
Nova Scotia, Canada
Q - What weighs more a pound of gold or a pound of feathers?
A - A pound of feathers.

Why - Gold is measured in Troy ounces, 12 Troy oz. = 1 Troy pound. 12 Troy oz. = 13.16 regular oz.

(big groan)
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Well-known member
Sep 30, 2020
It's probably similar to other words with identical meanings and different spellings, such as humor = humour

The Oxford English Dictionary, the ultimate source for all English words, says: "Math. is used as an abbreviation in written English in the U.K. but not in speech, the normal form being Maths".

More musings on nerd recreation and personal train-of-thought:

I'm American, but I often place punctuation marks outside the quotation marks because I got into that habit at a very young age when programming. If I put punctuation inside the quotation marks while coding, it's treated as a textual string rather than as an operator (as you all know, I'm sure). (In this case it was merely copypasta (copied and pasted) from another site and to pay respect to the OED, which, as a product of England, probably does it that way by default.)

That's probably also why I don't really have a problem with nested parenthesis (rather than the more frequently used in-print method, alternating parenthesis and square brackets [..(..[..]..)..], or whatever your preferred style guide indicates). I've noticed a lot of punctuation reduction in printed texts over the past 20 years. That might be another change resulting from this online world in which we now live.

The largest change seemed to begin around 1997-'98 when the "average human population" began to invade the internet, adding to positive and negative diversity of all kinds. It had formerly been a place where you could go and be pretty certain you were talking to other "smart people," among nearly all of whom there was a mutual respect of sorts. I'm sure most people reading this—who are not too young—will remember that with more alacrity than I can. That mutual respect-of-sorts has long since been tossed aside and allowed (or forced) to decay where it was discarded, a place on the Information Superhighway where the smoothness of the road gave way to potholes and bumpy rides, later shifting to exponentially increasing speeds and capacity with its underlying, variably pock-marked highway haunted by malware-marauders (malauders? malhawkers?*) and overlaid with advertisements, phishing bait of all types (each containing a nasty hook tied to a line with nearly infinite tensile strength), traffic diversions, and dead-ends that redirect the oblivious innumerable masses of packets/vehicklets down undesired pathways where they gain additional unwanted passengers (barnacles, leeches, etc.) and have less control over their packet-vehicles than they think, while still achieving transfer speeds high enough and ping times low enough that they don't notice the holes and gaps, misdirected pathways, and malware tunnels (or troll-guarded bridges) through or over which they've traveled before arriving at their destinations.

*I derive malhawkers from malware + jayhawkers, the latter a term used during the US Civil War, described here:
The jayhawkers are thieves. They plunder indiscriminately from all parties. In the same band are both rebel and Union men. [Henry M. Painter, "Brief Narrative of Incidents in the War in Missouri," Boston, 1863.] (source)
Most of the '90s and until 2008-or-so were, for me, a more-confused SMEAR than Windows 10 will ever be. Come to think of it, every time in my life which has consisted of more than a few days or weeks that were similar to each other is like that. 2020, while different for most people (from what I've read), has not really been different for me from any year preceding it (after the first quarter of 1990) except for certain elements, such as how I didn't ride my bicycle as much during the summer as I usually do; it's my primary mode of transportation, so I've been overweight and relatively out-of-shape.

In chatrooms and on message boards like this, we tend to type things as we say them, making these places more a physical representation of spoken dialog(ue) than a collection of more-formal written messages, like BBSs or USENet, places that served a relatively tiny portion of all humans and were thus easier to moderate by Sysops and users (and whatever they used for moderation on CompuServe, GEnie, and the like).

Typing things as we say them can lead to problems (as I see it, though many probably don't) if we fail to use punctuation in the manner that so many "youngsters" do nowadays, since that leads to strings of run-on sentences and/or sentences with ambiguous meanings. You'd think they would have learned those basic elements of sentence construction as children, but I guess the digital elements of the world made a larger (or deeper and longer-lasting) impression on their brains than did the scholastic elements.

Another hypothesis: Maybe this is how the language is changing. The English language is always changing and evolving, making it an example of something for which the only constant is change. The speed at which this latest evolution of the language is occurring is yet another reason why the OED will probably be under constant revision for the foreseeable future.

There are certain words for which I typically prefer to use the UK spelling, something I think is a result of childhood reading and re-reading of many books and stories by Herbert George "H.G." Wells, Clive Staples "C.S." Lewis, and Jonathan Ronald Reuel "J.R.R." Tolkien, among others.

I even read some (I can't remember which!) of W. Shakespeare's plays (textbooks my mom had saved from University), something I'm glad I did then rather than later, because there was a LOT of sexual innuendo that went over my young head, with its childhood naiveté. I did not read those multiple times as I did the more modern English writings of the authors I listed previously. However, there are a lot of Shakespearean references and quotes in all of Star Trek, including many of the main actors, who were Shakespearean actors before acting in television (and motion picture) Sci-Fi collectively known as Star Trek.

:ROFLMAO: You'll recall that one has not really experienced Shakespeare until one has heard it in the original Klingon. :ROFLMAO:
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Well-known member
Sep 30, 2020
Relaxing as I go with Frankie to Hollywood, way back in the '80s when I was smart.

Last edited:
Sep 17, 2020
London UK
I'm curious: The initial post in this thread received no in-line responses expressing either revulsion or laughter. I even inserted a humorous intro to increase its potential "humor-rating." Was it neither immediately funny nor immediately revolting, or did it take too much time to sink in before the following message was absorbed and laughed at?
I think you are trying a bit too hard. As frankie said Relax!


Well-known member
Sep 30, 2020
One of the three from 2017 contained some ideas which might seem relevant here, especially for lovers of ASCII. If there are any ways to exploit these, they will be found sooner or later, if they are not already being exploited.

Text source (including the misspelled "menagerie," which is part of the RFC, excluding the italicized text near the end which I added to reference RFC 8174): RFC 8140

(Possibly also now or in the future, in this universe, an alternate universe, another reality, or anywhere, this [RFC8774] might be relevant to this informative disclosure or any other networking or computational function or exploit: RFC 8774 )​

and now for the majority of and principal reason for the message, the quotes from the source:

7.  Security Considerations

   Stone walls do not a prison make, nor iron bars a cage: but they do
   help.  And with this in mind, our elders encourage us always to be
   mindful of the security and privacy of our eternal souls.

7.1.  A Private Key

   Keys that are shared are keys that other people have.  If someone
   else has a key, they will use it.  If you have a key, you will
   probably leave it in the lock or drop it in the street.  Hence we
   conclude that keys are a security vulnerability.

           / _ \
          | / \ |
         / /   \ \
        | |     | -------------------------------------------------
        | |     | ------------------------------------             )
         \ \   / /                                    |           |
          | \_/ |                                     |    _      |
           \   /                                      |  _| |  _  |
            ---                                       | |   | | | |
                                                      |_|   |_| |_|

                         Figure 10: A Security Key

7.2.  A Security Mechanism

   Locks, on the other hand, are good.  They can become rusted solid,
   meaning that no one can open them.  What could be more secure?

   And remember, a smile is the key that fits the lock to everybody's
   heart.  So don't trust people who smile.

                                  /     \
                                 /  ___  \
                                /  /   \  \
                               |  /     \  |
                               | |       | |
                               | |       | |
                               | |       | |
                               | |       | |
                               | |       | |
                               | |       | |
                               | |       | |
                           |                   |
                           |                   |
                           |                   |
                           |         _         |
                           |        / \        |
                           |       /   \       |
                           |       \   /       |
                           |        | |        |
                           |        | |        |
                           |        | |        |
                           |        | |        |
                           |        | |        |
                           |         -         |
                           |                   |

              Figure 11: A General Purpose Security Mechanism

7.3.  Backdoors

   If you have a door, you are admitting (sic) a weakness.  A closed
   door invites opening, and an open door invites ingress.  Security
   lies in bricks and mortar.

                               /            \
                              /  __________  \
                             /  /        _/\  \
                            |  /       _/   \  |
                            | |      _/      | |
                            | |     |        | |
                            | |     |        | |
                            | |     |        | |
                            | |     |        | |
                            | |     | O      | |
                            | |     | .      | |
                            | |     |        | |
                            | |     |        | |
                            | |     |        | |
                            | |     |        | |
                            | |     |        | |
                            | |     |___     | |
                            | |         \____| |

               Figure 12: A Backdoor Left Conveniently Open

8.  Manageability Considerations

   Some of the wild beasts depicted in this tome are best confined to a

9. Morality Considerations

   In accordance with advice offered in [RFC4041], this section
   considers the impact of this document on the public morals.

   It is still the view of popular opinion and can be verified by
   reliable metrics that moral values are declining and that degeneracy
   is on the rise.  One has only to look at the apostasy surrounding the
   True Use of Language as set forth in RFC 2119 [RFC2119] [and its
   essential update, 8174 [RFC8174] ], to know that the populace
   has become truly debauched.
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Well-known member
Sep 30, 2020
Browsing the server where Steve found his old magazine article, linked in the SN-801-Notes file (I used too much time when considering the results I thought were worthy of being saved locally), I discovered some old text the type of which you would find on BBSs and USENet in the old days. Some of it is mildly humorous, some is filled with pseudoscience, and some is just plain weird. Here's an example of Unix parser fun:

Article 7392 of rec.humor:
>From: hirayama@suvax1.UUCP (Pat Hirayama)
Subject: Fun With Unix -- Summary -- LONG!
Keywords: all those unix jokes (?)
Message-ID: <1204@suvax1.UUCP>
Date: 25 Aug 88 23:17:19 GMT
Organization: Seattle University, Seattle, WA.

OK folks.  Here is a summary of (nearly) all of the 'Fun With Unix'
jokes (?) that were posted over the past few weeks.  There are a
few that I couldn't figure out, so those are at the end.

Disclaimer:  Just because it is under the cshell section doesn't mean
that it won't work under bourne shell, and the converse is also true.

Also, if you are sick and tired of these things...HIT 'n' NOW!!!!!!

>From the csh (cshell):

 % make love
Make:  Don't know how to make love.  Stop.

 % got a light?
No match.

 % sleep with me
bad character

 % man: Why did you get a divorce?
man:: Too many arguments.

 % rm God
rm: God nonexistent

 % man woman
No manual entry for woman.

 % man ' automatic insertion'
No manual entry for  automatic insertion.

 % make 'heads or tails of all this'
Make:  Don't know how to make heads or tails of all this.  Stop.

 % make sense
Make:  Don't know how to make sense.  Stop.

 % make mistake
Make:  Don't know how to make mistake.  Stop.

 % make bottle.open
Make:  Don't know how to make bottle.open.  Stop.

 % \(-
(-: Command not found.

 % rm -i God
rm: remove God? y
 % ls God
God not found
 % make God
Make:  Don't know how to make God.  Stop.
 % make light
Make:  Don't know how to make light.  Stop.

 % date me
You are not superuser: date not set
Thu Aug 25 15:52:30 PDT 1988

 % who is smart
suvax1!hirayama tty12   Aug 25 15:04

 % man rear
No manual entry for rear.

 % If I had a ) for every dollar Reagan spent, what would I have?
Too many )'s.

 % * How would you describe George Bush
*: Ambiguous.

 % %Vice-President
%Vice-President: No such job.

 % ls Meese-Ethics
Meese-Ethics not found

 % "How would you rate Reagan's senility?
Unmatched ".

 % [Where is Jimmy Hoffa?
Missing ].

 % ^How did the^sex change operation go?
Modifier failed.

 % cp /dev/null sex;chmod 000 sex
 % more sex
sex: Permission denied
 % mv sex show
 % strip show
strip: show: Permission denied

 % who is my match?
No match.

 % set i="Democratic_Platform";mkdir $i;chmod 000 $i;ls $i
Democratic_Platform unreadable

 % awk "Polly, the ship is sinking"
awk: syntax error near line 1
awk: bailing out near line

 % %blow
%blow: No such job.

% 'thou shalt not commit adultery'
thou shalt not commit adultery: Command not found.

And from the bourne shell (sh):

$ drink < bottle;opener
bottle: cannot open
opener: not found

$ test my argument
test: too many arguments

$ "Amelia Earhart"
Amelia Earhart: not found

$ PATH=pretending! /usr/ucb/which sense
no sense in pretending!

$ man -kisses dog
dog: nothing appropriate

$ mkdir "Yellow Pages";fiYellow Pages
$ mkdir matter;cat > matter
matter: cannot create

$ lost
lost: not found

$ found
found: not found

$ i=Hoffa ;>$i ;$i ;rm $i ;rm $i
Hoffa: cannot execute
rm: Hoffa nonexistent

The following are ones that I can't get to work on my BSD 4.3, so I suppose
that they are stuff from ATT SysV or some other such:

% strip bra
bra:  Cannot open

% sccs what bottle
can't open bottle (26)

$ cat "door: paws too slippery"
can't open door: paws too slippery

$ cat food_in_tin_cans
cat: can't open food_in_tin_cans

% analyze R/etc/analyze

These are ones that I couldn't get to work at all (at least so that
they would make [humorous] sense):

 % test without warning
test: too many arguments
 % test without arguments
test: too many arguments
 % test I bet five bucks you will say argument expected
test: too many arguments

Obviously, there must be something different about other people's tests :)

 Pat Hirayama, Computer & Information Services, Seattle U, Seattle, WA 98122

     UUCP:  ..!uw-entropy!{dataio,thebes}!suvax1!hirayama
       or:  suvax1!hirayama@entropy.ms.washington.edu

 Bove's Theorem:  The remaining work to finish in order to reach your goal
    increases as the deadline approaches.
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Well-known member
Sep 30, 2020
OK, one more for now... for all new PC owners! NEVER MOVE YOUR PC WITHOUT GOOD REASON! and "DON'T worry much about viruses. They're dying down now." hehe. This guy knows his stuff! "seen it all and done it all" :rolleyes:
(Some DOS stuff removed to reduce message length.)

º                                                                            º
º                      GET THE MOST OUT OF YOUR NEW PC                       º
º                                                                            º

    I have been programming for twenty years on all sorts of computers,
but the PC is my favorite.  I've seen it all (almost), and done it all
(almost) and I'd like to take this opportunity to help those of you who have
just purchased your first PC.  I am going to give you a few do's and don'ts
- feel free to disagree, but at least I'll give you some interesting ideas
to think about.  First of all, if you have not yet purchased a PC, please
follow the following RULES OF PC PURCHASE:

           1. If you can, buy at least a 286 or 386.
              (Why? Because the older 8086 PC's are
               just TOO SLOW!)
           2. Get the biggest hard disk you can afford.
              (Why? Because they fill up with good
              software much faster than you would expect.)
           3. Get a color monitor, preferably VGA.
              (Why? Because I like color, of course,
              and have three monochrome monitors
              sitting unused in my closet!)
           4. Make sure one of your floppies is 5 1/4 inch
              size (that's the standard size).

    Now that you have your PC up and running, here are the things
    to do:
1. FOCUS YOUR INTERESTS.  Try to figure out why you got a PC and what you
   want to do with it.  Are you interested in writing, music, art, programming
   or what.  Come on, you must be interested in something! A PC can be used
   for virtually anything.  It is even good for teaching your child to read
   (Reader Rabbit, Amy's Primer). Focus, focus, focus.

2. USE A SURGE SUPPRESSOR. Go ahead, I know you are almost broke after
   buying that 220 Megabyte hard disk, but GET A SURGE SUPPRESSOR BEFORE
   YOU TURN IT ON!  The very first night I put together my first PC,
   there was a huge thunder and lightning storm.  My house wiring took
   a direct hit while my $3500 investment was on for the very first time!
   A surge suppressor saved my bacon by turning off automatically. After
   30 minutes it mysteriously went back on by itself, and my PC was undamaged.

3. TRY DESKTOP PUBLISHING & A WORD PROCESSOR. Remember using a typewriter?
   One tiny mistake and you had to retype the whole page! Now, with any
   simple word processor, you can correct your errors before you print the
   first copy. And if you write a lot of letters, it's great to have an
   automatic file of all the letters you wrote on your hard disk, complete
   with addresses.  Desktop publishing is also a terrific advance, and
   with inexpensive products like Publish It! or First Publisher, it is
   also easy to get started.  Perhaps you have an idea for your own

  popular because of Lotus (and Word Processing).  Though I personally am
  bored to tears by spreadsheets, fifty million users can't be wrong,
  so give it a try.

  you probably got free with your clone, is an easy and surprisingly powerful
  language (GW stands for Gee Whiz!).  Even if you plan to buy most
  of your software, you will understand your PC much better if you write a
  few simple BASIC programs of your own.  If you find you like BASIC, you
  may eventually want to move up to QuickBasic or Turbo Basic, which
  run about $69.95 and allow you to compile your Basic Programs to true
  EXE files, just like the professional programs you buy.

6.LEARN SOMETHING ABOUT DOS.  The Disk Operating System you got with your
  machine is also a powerful language, and you should run, not walk, to
  your nearest bookstore and buy the slimmest book you can find about DOS.

7.GET A HARD DISK & LEARN TO ORGANIZE IT.  If you already have a PC without
  a Hard Disk, you have already experienced the incredible frustration
  of computing from only one or two floppies. Get a Hard Disk, 40 Megabyte
  minimum.  It shouldn't cost much more than $300. Right now, there is
  a mail-order bargain on the Seagate 65 Meg RLL Drive.  You will need
  an RLL Controller, but the disk is only $260 and built like a tank.
  (See Computer Shopper).

8. GET THE NORTON UTILITIES. This bag of tricks and techniques will more
  than pay for itself with Quick Unerase, which will allow you to easily
  recover those files you deleted by mistake.

   great American Novel, copy your work once a week to a floppy and stash
   it in a safe place.  It only takes a second, and imagine how you
   would feel if the only copy on your hard disk somehow became
   unreadable.  I leave the question of full hard disk backups completely
   up to you.  If you have a lot of important files on your hard disk
   it may be advisable, even if it takes 60 or more floppies. Fastback Plus
   or DSBackup can ease the task. I don't personally backup, but I have
   three machines (one 386, one 286 and one old 8086) and each has copies
   of my most important files.  They are all surge protected, and the
   chance of three simultaneuos hard disk disasters is only 1 in 47,000,000.

   Shareware is an interesting and inexpensive way to experience a broad
   range of software. It is a unique marketing concept - try before you
   buy. You will help keep it alive, and more good shareware coming, if
   you register the shareware you like and continue to use. You will
   absolutely need a simple ASCII Editor to use your PC properly.
   Without a simple editor, even changing your AUTOEXEC.BAT file
   is a real chore. QEDIT is nice. Put PROMPT $P $G in your
   AUTOEXEC.BAT file RIGHT NOW if it isn't already there. It
   identifies directory names when you change directories.

    OF COMPUTING.  You have probably heard about Expert Systems, that
    follow rules-of-thumb to give advice like a human expert, but
    through Shareware you can also try one yourself. Other areas are
    Natural Language Programs, that respond to your english language
    sentences, and Neural Networks that mimic the thought process of the
    human brain.  Many can be experienced at low cost through shareware,
    or though the miracle of Modems and Bulletin Boards. Or you could
    select one of the three very special packages we'll introduce you
    to at the end of this Tutorial. Each package is usually $99.95,
    but is offered here for only $59.95.

    Windows 3.0 is a GUI or Graphical User Interface.  It requires
    the use of a Mouse, because you operate Windows by pointing and
    clicking with the Mouse.  It also requires a serious 286 or 386
    computer with VGA and plenty of hard disk space.  Windows alone
    wants about 5 Meg of your hard drive geography.
    Although most of what you want to do on a computer does not
    require Windows, you should eventually try it, because it
    probably represents the future of PC Computing.

     Move your PC without very good reason. It can destroy the
     programs on your hard disk.
     Get any weird programs that mess with your hard disk if you
     havn't had a problem!
     Make millions of directories within directories.
     Keep your hard disk almost full.
     Worry about OS/2 - it is a dead issue for home users.
     Leave your machine on all the time.
     Worry if you can't learn to program in C, Lisp or Prolog.
     Write COBOL on a PC.
     Worry much about Viruses. They are dying down now.
     Load your machine so full of TSR's at start-up that it gets confused.
     Open your computer unless you absolutely have to.
     Upgrade to a 386 if you have a fast 286.
     Upgrade at all - buy another machine. Two is nice.
     Try to to turn your PC into a MAC - buy a MAC.
     Don't overload your AUTOEXEC.BAT file.
     Don't type FORMAT C: unless you really mean it!

     if you get hopelessly confused, just BOOT!
     (turn your computer OFF and back ON, or
     press CTRL-ALT-DEL simultaneously).

     LIST.COM, included on this disk, should be installed
     in the Root Directory of your PC.  It is better than
     the type command.  To use it, just type LIST followed
     by the text file name you want to read.  When you
     EXIT the Main Menu from AITUTOR, try typing
     LIST CATALOG.TXT to read a selection from our AI Catalog.

     Serious DOS mistakes:
     typing FORMAT C: (erases your whole C: Drive)
     not backing up critical files to floppy disks
     typing DEL *.* in your ROOT (deletes all root files)
     pouring coffee in your keyboard. (keyboards prefer water).

(C) 1991 Thinking Software, Inc.
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Sep 30, 2020

A truck driver, hauling a tractor-trailer filled to capacity with computers, stops for a beer near a freeway exit somewhere in northern California. As he approaches the bar, he sees a big sign on the door that reads, “COMPUTER NERDS NOT ALLOWED! ENTER AT YOUR OWN RISK!” He walks in and sits at the bar.

The bartender walks over, sniffs, and remarks, "You smell kind of nerdy." Inhaling again through her nostrils as she wipes some debris off the bar in front of him, she asks, "What do you do for a living?"

The truck driver explains that he drives a truck, and the smell is from the computers he is hauling. The bartender serves him a beer and says, “Welcome! You're not the kind of computer nerd I'm wary of.”

As the trucker sips his beer, a skinny guy walks in wearing a pair of glasses with tape around the middle, a pocket protector with 12 varieties of pens and pencils, and a belt that is at least a foot too long. Without warning, the bartender whips out a shotgun from behind the bar and blows the guy away. The truck driver asks why she did that.

The bartender replies, “Don’t worry! Computer nerds are in season because they are overpopulating Silicon Valley. You don’t even need a license.”

So the truck driver finishes his beer, climbs back into his rig, and returns to the freeway. Suddenly, he veers to avoid an accident and his load shifts. The back door bursts open and computers spill out all over the road. He jumps out and sees a crowd of looters already forming, snatching up computers as fast as they can. The scavengers are all computer geeks who look younger and less-experienced than than security-savvy, wise geeks (not that the truck driver necessarily knows the difference after the single glance he just got). They stand out because they're all wearing the nerdiest-looking clothing he has ever seen.

He thinks, I can’t let them steal my whole load! So, remembering what happened in the bar, he pulls out his gun and starts blasting away at the crowd.

A highway patrol trooper zooms up, jumps out of the car, and yells, "Stop shooting!"

The truck driver complies. He asks, “What’s wrong, officer? I thought computer nerds were in season.”

“Well, sure,” says the trooper, “but you can’t bait ’em!”

(Even if it were legal, we wouldn't take the bait!)
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