ANSR Wit & Wisdom from the Internet (and Elsewhere)

The following quotations have been collected from various places, mostly on the Internet, and are attributed where the source is known. The most common source in the earlier years was my Internet provider's server-- formerly "Roadrunner," now called "Cybermesa," in Santa Fe, NM, but you had to be a subscriber to see them. More recently, email from all over and the WWW itself have become significant contributors. In fact, as time progresses, I've felt less and less need to help Internet humor spread-- it seems to be doing well enough without my assistance! Still, here are a few gems I consider worth memorializing... Enjoy! -wcm (revised 3/2001)


All we ever need to know, we can learn from the story of Noah's Ark...

1. Don't miss the boat.

2. Remember that we are all on the same boat.

3. Plan ahead. It wasn't raining when Noah built the Ark.

4. Don't listen to critics; just get on with the job that needs to be done.

5. Build your future on high ground.

6. We were meant to travel in pairs.

7. Speed isn't everything. The snails were on board with the cheetahs.

8. When you're stressed, float awhile.

9. Remember, the Ark was built by amateurs; the Titanic was built by professionals.

10. No matter what the storm, there's always a rainbow waiting somewhere.

- Anonymous (This one was actually received ON PAPER, from my mother-- and I haven't yet run across it on the Internet!)


Dr. Seuss-style "Computer User's Manual" for the New Millenium

If a packet hits a pocket on a socket on a port,
and the bus is interrupted as a very last resort,
And the address of the mem'ry makes your floppy disk abort,
then the socket packet pocket has an error to report.

If your cursor finds a menu item followed by a dash,
and the double-clicking icon puts your window in the trash
and your data is corrupted 'cause the index doesn't hash,
then your situation's hopeless and the system's gonna crash!

If the label on the cable on the table at your house,
says the network is connected to the button on your mouse,
but your packets want to tunnel on another protocol,
that's repeatedly rejected by the printer down the hall,

and your screen is all distorted by the side effects of gauss,
so your icons in the window are as wavy as a souse,
then you may as well reboot and send it off without a bang,
'cause as sure as I'm a poet, I know the beatie's gonna hang.

When your copy of your floppy's getting sloppy on the disk,
and the microcode instructions cause unnecesary risk,
then you have to flash your mem'ry and you want to RAM your ROM,
turn off the computer quickly and be sure to tell your mom!

- Anonymous (slightly edited by wcm)


Computer Error Messages For (From?) Dummies

(Adapted from and ComputerWorld; original article written by Steve Ulfelder, quoting "Ben Ezzell". Reprinted with apologies to those computer programmers and companies that usually get things right! -wcm)

Printer on fire.

The procedure failed with the following error:
The command completed succesfully.

Not enough memory to display this dialog.

Error: Keyboard not found. Press F1 to acknowledge.

Windows has found an unknown device and is installing a driver for it.

Your system shell has changed. The Compaq software will work with your new shell, but the new shell will not work with your Compaq software. Do you wish to keep your Compaq software working? Click yes if you are unsure.

Error 0000: No errors found, restarting computer.


Cartoon Physics - Lots of us have grown up learning some of our "physics" by watching the ubiquitous cartoon; here's a chance to "solidify" your knowledge.


From: Bret Taylor <bret@IAG.NET>
Subject: Teaching Across the Curriculum
Date: Tue, 3 Dec 1996 18:47:00 EST

In an effort to show where math can be used in various other subjects, the
following is offered:

Premises -

Knowledge is Power (K=P)
Time is Money (T=M)
Power equals Work divided by Time (P=W/T)

Using simple algebraic substitutions gives the following equations:

K = W/T
(and, since T=M)
K = W/M

Therefore, knowledge equals work divided by money.

Using some simple ratios and propotions we get some logical conclusions:

1. If Knowledge is held constant, then the more you work the more money you make.

2. Similarly, the less you work, the less money you make.

However, consider the fact that
W = K*M
and hold Work constant. Then we can conclude,

1. The smarter you are, the less money you make. Or, if you prefer, the more money you make, the less you know.

Now, hold Money constant, and conclude

1. The more you know, the harder you have to work (for the same amount of money).

2. As knowledge approaches zero, so does work (regardless of the amount of money you have).

Clearly, we have just demonstrated that stupid, rich people do little or no work.

Editor's comment: Is there a flaw in this proof? I've never known any stupid, rich people that do little or no work. Or is the flaw in my lifestyle?! -wcm

From: Elizabeth Bergman <ebergman@MAIL.COIN.MISSOURI.EDU>
Date: Tuesday, 29 Oct 1996 14:46:22 -0600
Subject: Teaching Math


In 1950: A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost
of production is four-fifths of the price. What is his profit?

In 1960: A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost
of production is four-fifths of the price, or $80. What is his

In 1970 (new math): A logger exchanges a set L of lumber for a
set H of money. The cardinality of the set H is 100, and each
element is worth $1.00. Make 100 dots representing the elements
of H. The set C of the costs of production contains 20 fewer
points than set H. Represent C as a subset of H, and
answer the following question: What is the cardinality of the
set P of profits?

In 1980: A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100.
His cost of production is $80, and his profit is $20. Your
assignment: underline the number 20.

In 1990 (outcome based education): By cutting down beautiful
forest trees, a logger makes $20. What do you think of this
way of making a living? (Topic for class participation:
How did the forest birds and squirrels feel?)

In 1996: By laying off 40% of its loggers, a company improves
its stock price from $80 to $100. How much capital gain per
share does the CEO make by exercising his stock options at $80?
Assume capital gains are no longer taxed, because this encourages

Everything you've learned in school as "obvious" becomes less and less obvious as you begin to study the universe. For example, there are no solids in the universe. There's not even a suggestion of a solid. There are no absolute continuums. There are no surfaces. There are no straight lines. -- R. Buckminster Fuller

Whenever you find that you are on the side of the majority, it is time to reform. -- Mark Twain

Rule 46, Oxford Union Society, London: Any member introducing a dog into the Society's premises shall be liable to a fine of one pound. Any animal leading a blind person shall be deemed to be a cat.

"Wouldn't the sentence 'I want to put a hyphen between the words Fish and And and And and Chips in my Fish-And-Chips sign' have been clearer if quotation marks had been placed before Fish, and between Fish and and, and and and And, and And and and, and and and And, and And and and, and and and Chips, as well as after Chips?"


The sooner you make your first 5000 mistakes, the sooner you will be able to correct them. -- Nicolaides

I'm definitely on my second 5000! -wcm

"Heisenberg may have slept here."

"Ninety percent of the time things turn out worse than you thought they would. The other ten percent of the time you had no right to expect that much." -- Augustine

Q: How many existentialists does it take to screw in a lightbulb?
A: Two. One to screw it in and one to observe how the lightbulb itself symbolizes a single incandescent beacon of subjective reality in a netherworld of endless absurdity reaching out toward a maudlin cosmos of nothingness.

Furbling, v.: Having to wander through a maze of ropes at an airport or bank even when you are the only person in line. -- Rich Hall, "Sniglets"

There are three ways to get something done: do it yourself, hire someone, or forbid your kids to do it.

"I'd love to go out with you, but I'm converting my calendar watch from Julian to Gregorian."

If God had intended Men to Smoke, He would have put Chimneys in their Heads.

Furious activity is no substitute for understanding, but it's the American way! -- H. H. Williams; amended by W. C. Mead

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