Category Archives: humor

Multitasking during childbirth: Gittin’ ‘er done

ChildbirthLegendary football coach, announcer, and videogame programmer John Madden famously claimed that a person can’t feel sharp pain in two places at once. Since this is true, what can it tell us about childbirth?

Expectant mothers can take advantage of this neurological limitation and turn delivery into a twofer. Childbirth could mask other excruciating procedures, as long as those other operations don’t interfere with the natural, supine position of delivery. So why not schedule another painful procedure for the same time? Continue reading


Wedding vows: ‘In sickness’ isn’t clear enough

Does anyone know what they’re in for when they get married? I blame the vague wedding vows. Instead of promising to remain true when our spouse is “in sickness” – which lets us imagine that occasionally we’ll be called on to coo sympathetically and serve up some canned chicken soup – why not speak the truth? “While you cry out in pain, I will squeeze the giant, suppurating cyst on your back until the pus stops oozing out.”

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Is Sarah Palin white? Nerd Nite video

On March 23, 2010, I gave a presentation at Nerd Nite in Washington, DC. The promo read: “No matter how funky Justin Timberlake is, races are not genetic categories. As the great sociologists Rodgers and Hammerstein averred, ‘You’ve got to be carefully taught.’ Hurray for education in the USA! Racial stereotypes seem to be one of the few things that almost every American learns, making race socially but not genetically ‘real.’ We’ll consider all that, including who can jump.” Continue reading

Toilet paper: Proper positioning and alignment

Far be it from me to opine on the proper use and disposal of toilet paper – neither of which is my strong suit. A lifetime of experience suggests, however, that positioning the roll and dispensing bathroom tissue from it are issues to which I might and perhaps should contribute my expertise. To wit:

The situation depicted to the left is horrible.  The roll is backwards. Under what conditions would it be preferable for defecators to reach across the roll, potentially straining their backs or slipping from the toilet seat, to obtain the lead tissue?

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Santa versus the reptilians

In the summer of 1991, I briefly knew a radical mall-Santa who believed that reptilians from the Pleiades were taking over Earth.

This was in Tucson. I was killing time, waiting for graduate school to begin, so I auditioned for and got a part in a community-access TV production. An homage to the Marx Brothers, its title was Soup to Nuts. The director, Vern, had written a pun-laden script and, so he said, provoked interest from a relative of one of the Marx Brothers. (Yes, this person must have been a relative of all of the brothers, but this is how Vern expressed it.) So this production would constitute his and perhaps our ticket to the Big Time. I can’t remember what my role was, but it entailed yelling full-force for about a minute. Continue reading

Hermé in Quebec

Less than two minutes! Years ago, it bizarrely won the Loft’s First Friday Shorts contest.

The comb-over: theory and praxis. Chapter 1 – definition and identification.

The identification of a comb-over by its practitioner is one of the thorniest issues in coiffure studies. This chapter will address the two main components of this procedure: understanding the definition of a comb-over and applying this definition to one’s praxis.


The word “comb-over” suggests the most basic aspect of this cranial adornment: a strand or, usually, multiple strands of hair must be arranged so that they lie over otherwise bare scalp. Combing is generally not necessary or even advisable to achieve this effect. (See Chapter 2: Effectuation.) Continue reading