Friday humour - October 29, 1999

     From Tony at Bluehaze:

    This is another one of those collections that have been selected at
    random (from November 1998 to June 1999).  There's stuff from our
    "sister list" out west, Andrew Urban, David McCallum, Eric Frazer,
    Russell MacKinnon, and "Anonymous from CSIRO".

    First up - another of those offerings that were posted to the ol'
    list out west.  Fairly short and concise - some more of those great
    helpful hints for better daily living:

Save money on expensive personalised car number plates by simply changing
your name to match your existing plate (eg: Mr KVL 74IY, Lincoln)
  - Mr A. Fowler, Cape Town, South Africa

Putting just the right amount of gin in your goldfish bowl makes the fishes'
eyes bulge and cause them to swim in a really interesting manner.
  - B. Batten, Dublin

Save time when crossing a one-way street by only looking in the direction of
oncoming traffic.
  - D. Rogers, Hemel Hempstead

When crossing a one-way street always look in BOTH directions in case a
large, blue furniture removal van is reversing the wrong way up the road.
  - D. Rogers, Hemel Hempstead General Infirmary

Anorexics.  When your knees become fatter than your legs, start eating cakes
  - P. Witney, London

Hijackers - avoid a long stressful siege and the risk of arrest, imprisonment
or death by simply making sure you book a flight to your intended destination
in the first place.
  - Fanny Cyclops, South Norwood

Next time you go drink driving, ask a friend or relative to follow you on a
motorbike carrying a camera.  Then, if you crash, they can take the blame.
  - Bastien Phelp, Bath

You can deter goldfish from having sex by throwing a small bucket of air
over any that you catch in the act.
  - W.T. Conqueror, Hastings

Always fart into the rings on top of your gas cooker.  This will turn back
the gas meter, and save you money over a period of time.
  - C. Custer, Little Bighorn

Olympic athletes.  Disguise the fact that you've taken anabolic steroids
by running a bit slower.
  - B. Johnson, Canada

An empty aluminium cigar tube filled with angry wasps makes an inexpensive
  - Sister S. Berwick, Blackrod

     Now it's over to that Division of much energy - this one forwarded
     on by one Andrew Urban:

One day a twelve year old walks into a house of ill-repute dragging a dead
frog on a string behind him.  He slaps a fifty dollar bill on the counter and
says, "I want one of your Women."

The Madam looks at him and says "Don't you think you're a bit young for

He slaps another fifty on the counter and says "I want one of your Women".

The Madam says "Okay, have a seat, she'll be down in about thirty minutes".

He then slaps another fifty on the counter and says "She has to have active

The Madam starts to sputter and ask why, but he slaps another fifty on the
counter and says "Active herpes".

She responds, "Okay, have a seat - it'll be about five minutes".  Two minutes
later, a woman comes out, and they go upstairs (dragging the dead frog)
and do their deal.

As he is leaving, the Madam asks him "Okay, why did you want someone with
active herpes?".

The twelve year old replies, "Well, when I get home, I'm going to sleep with
the babysitter.  When Mum and Dad get home, Dad will take the baby-sitter
home and sleep with her on the way.  Then, when he gets back, he and Mum are
going to go upstairs and do it.  And tomorrow morning after Dad goes to work,
the milkman will come in and Mum will sleep with him.  And he's the bastard
who ran over my frog."

     Now for another contribution from Dr Eric J. Frazer Esq:

                           WHY WORRY ABOUT Y2K ...

In March 1992 a man living in Newtown near Boston Massachusetts received
a bill for his as yet unused credit card stating that he owed $0.00.  He
ignored it and threw it away.

In April he received another and threw that one away too.  The following
month the credit card company sent him a very nasty note stating they were
going to cancel his card if he didn't send them $0.00 by return of post.  He
called them, talked to them, they said it was a computer error and told
him they'd take care of it.

The following month he decided that it was about time that he tried out the
troublesome credit card figuring that if there were purchases on his account
it would put an end to his ridiculous predicament.  However, in the first store
that he produced his credit card in payment for his purchases he found that
his card had been cancelled.  He called the credit card company who apologised
for the computer error once again and said that they would take care of it.

The next day he got a bill for $0.00 stating that payment was now overdue.
Assuming that having spoken to the credit card company only the previous
day the latest bill was yet another mistake he ignored it, trusting that
the company would be as good as their word and sort the problem out.

The next month he got a bill for $0.00 stating that he had 10 days to pay
his account or the company would have to take steps to recover the debt.

Finally giving in, he thought he would play the company at their own game
and mailed them a cheque for $0.00.  The computer duly processed his account
and returned a statement to the effect that he now owed the credit card
company nothing at all.

A week later, the man's bank called him asking him what he was doing writing a
cheque for $0.00.  After a lengthy explanation the bank replied that the $0.00
cheque had caused their cheque processing software to fail.  The bank could
not now process ANY cheque from ANY of their customers that day because
the cheque for $0.00 was causing the computer to crash.

The following month the man received a letter from the credit card company
claiming that his cheque had bounced and that he now owed them $0.00 and
unless he sent a cheque by return of post they would be taking steps to
recover the debt.

The man, who had been considering buying his wife a computer for her birthday,
bought her a typewriter instead.

            Next - a little something from David McCallum:

A crusty old man walks into a bank and says to the teller at the window,
"I want to open a fucking cheque account."

The astonished woman replies, "I beg your pardon, sir.  I must have
misunderstood you.  What did you say?"

"Listen up, dammit.  I said I want to open a fucking checking account... now!"

"I'm very sorry sir, but that kind of language is not tolerated in this bank."

The teller leaves the window and goes over to the bank manager to inform
him of her situation.  The manager agrees that the teller does not have
to listen to foul language.  They both return to the window and the manager
asks the old geezer, "Sir, what seems to be the problem here?"

"There is no fucking problem," the man says. "I just won 50 million bucks
in the fucking lottery and I want to open a fucking checking account in
this fucking bank, okay?"

"I see," says the manager, "and this bitch is giving you a hard time?"

             This next one came in from Russell MacKinnon:


A woman called the Canon help desk with a problem with her printer.  The tech
asked her if she was "... running it under Windows."  The woman responded,
"No - my desk is next to the door.  But that's a good point.  The man sitting
in the cubicle next to me is under a window, and his is working fine."
                             #  #  #  #  #  #

Tech Support: "Okay Bob, let's press the control and escape keys at the same
time.  That brings up a task list in the middle of the screen.  Now type the
letter 'P' to bring up the Program Manager."

Customer: "I don't have a 'P'."

Tech Support: "On your keyboard, Bob."

Customer: "What do you mean?"

Tech Support: "'P' on your keyboard, Bob."

Customer: "I'm not going to do that!"
                             #  #  #  #  #  #

Customer in computer shop: "Can you copy the Internet onto this disk for me?"
                             #  #  #  #  #  #

I work for a local ISP.  Frequently we receive phone calls that start
something like this:   Customer: "Hi.  Is this the Internet?"
                             #  #  #  #  #  #

Customer: "So that'll get me connected to the Internet, right?"

Tech Support: "Yeah."

Customer: "And that's the latest version of the Internet, right?"

Tech Support: "Uh ... yeah."
                             #  #  #  #  #  #

Customer: "Hello?  I'm trying to dial in.  I installed the software okay,
and it dialed fine.  I could hear that.  Then I could hear the two computers
connecting.  But then the sound all stopped, so I picked up the phone to
see if they were still connected, and I got the message, 'No carrier,'
on my screen.  What's wrong?"
                             #  #  #  #  #  #

An unfailingly polite lady called to ask for help with a Windows installation
that had gone terribly wrong.

Customer: "I brought my Windows disks from work to install them on my
home computer."

Training stresses that we are "not the Software Police," so I let the little
act of piracy slide.

Tech Support: "Umm-hmm.  What happened?"

Customer: "As I put each disk in it turns out they weren't initialised."

Tech Support: "Do you remember the message exactly, ma'am?"

Customer: (proudly) "I wrote it down. 'This is not a Macintosh disk.  Would
you like to initialise it?'"

Tech Support: "Er, what happened next?"

Customer: "After they were initialised, all the disks appeared to be blank.
And now I brought them back to work, and I can't read them in the A drive -
the PC wants to format them.  And this is our only set of Windows disks for
the whole office.  Did I do something wrong?"
                             #  #  #  #  #  #

For a computer programming class, I sat directly across from someone,
and our computers were facing away from each other.  A few minutes into the
class, she got up to leave the room.  I reached between our computers and
swapped the plugs from our keyboards.  She came back and started typing
and immediately got a distressed look on her face.  She called the tutor
over and explained that no matter what she typed, nothing would happen.

The tutor tried everything.  By this time I was hiding behind my monitor and
quaking red-faced.  I typed, "Leave me alone!"  They both jumped back as this
appeared on their screen. "What the..." the tutor said.

I typed, "I said leave me alone!"

The kid got real upset. "I didn't do anything to it, I swear!"

It was all I could do to keep from laughing out loud.  The conversation
between them and HAL 2000 went on for an amazing five minutes.

Me: "Don't touch me!"

Her: "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to hit your keys that hard."

Me: "Who do you think you are anyway?!"  Etc.

Finally, I couldn't contain myself any longer, and fell out of my chair
laughing.  After they had realised what I had done, they both turned beet red.

(Funny, I never got more than a C- in that class.)
                             #  #  #  #  #  #

Email from a friend:  "CanYouFixTheSpaceBarOnMyKeyboard?"

     Okay - onto the final (rather lengthy) contribution.  This originated
     from an Internet Newsgroup.  It was forwarded on by "Anonymous in CSIRO"
     back in March this year:

  People who read soc.culture.australian often have to answer a number of
  questions about our country.  These vary from the practical (Will an
  American video recorder work with an Australian TV?  What voltage is
  used in Australia?  What side of the road to Australians drive on?)
  through to the curious (Does water really go down the plughole in the
  opposite direction?  What does Vegemite taste like?), to the ... well,
  fairly clueless.  Recently we had the following thread:

I am coming to Australia for a 3 year stay.  Should I bring my CD's to play on
Aussie equipment?
                             *  *  *  *  *

Various helpful answers which were subsequently posted:

>From Adrian Rose:

You will need an American to Australian converter device.  This is usually
hard wired into the CD player by a reputable Australian tech.  They are all
familiar with the device.  Just pop into any CD store and request the phone #
of the nearest CD converter tech.  It's usually only around $30 and you will
not even know it had been done.  You will be able to play not only US CDs,
and Australian, but as a bonus, European ones too.

Caution - do NOT try to play bootleg CDs after the conversion - you will
ruin the CD player.

>From Adrian Rose:

Sorry about that last post - to play your US CDs in Australia, they merely
need to be passed thru a strong magnetic or X-Ray field, such as you get
at Customs.  Be sure to pass each one thru separately, as bulk passage may
leave the ones in the middle unplayable in Oz.
                             #  #  #  #  #  #

>From Mark A. Gray:

Well ... this may have worked for you, but I found that the only way the get
'em playing was to smear the shiny side with a very thin layer of Vegemite.
(Of course this makes the inside of your CD player rather sticky, so make
sure you have lots of tissues (or some bread and cheese) ready.)
                             #  #  #  #  #  #

>From Hans Andersen:

Don't listen to them.  To play American CDs in Australian CD players, you
will need to re-groove them.  This is because Australian CDs have a different
track-width (i.e. 10 ums instead of 5 ums).  To do this you will need to buy
some fine-grade sandpaper.

Try to find some with a grain size of between 8 and 12 ums (micrometers
for non-technical people).  Put a piece of the sandpaper on a table with
the rough side up.  Now put your CD on the sandpaper and turn it slowly in
a clockwise direction, pushing down hard.  Oiua la (spit) - now you have
Australian standard CDs.

Good luck, and I hope you enjoy Australia.
                             #  #  #  #  #  #

>From Michael Jennings:

No.  That is completely wrong. Australian CDs are exactly the same as
American ones except for the fact that the 'groove' goes in the opposite
direction.  That is - whereas an American groove goes inwards as you go
clockwise, an Australian groove goes inwards as you go anti-clockwise.

This is because Australian cars drive on the left and American cars drive on
the right.  If the groove direction was not reversed there would be parity
problems with car CD players.  (Unfortunately, this means that you cannot
play an American CD on Australian equipment.)
                           #  #  #  #  #  #

>From Stephen P. Guthrie:

You smart-arse.  Obviously this is nothing to do with the side of the road
cars drive on.  Do you seriously expect anyone to swallow that?  Anyone with a
brain knows that it's related to which direction water goes down the plughole
in the Southern hemisphere.  In other words in the US the CD rotates in a
clockwise direction.  In Australia it rotates anticlockwise.

Of course this is also true if you play your CDs in South America for example.
This is actually quite neat because if you play your beatles CDs in the
Southern hemisphere you hear all this neat 'backwards masking' stuff
about Paul being dead and taking marijuana.  Also I heard that you hear
all sorts of satanic stuff in other rock albums, but I'm not a fan myself.

My question: has anyone done any experiments playing CDs at the equator
or at the notrh pole?  At the equator, do your CDs stop playing altogether.
What about in a reduced gravity environment, like in a free-falling lift?
                           #  #  #  #  #  #

>From Tye Leslie Sanders:

You're all a bunch of liars!  In Australia the initials CD stand for
Completely Dislexic, which means that the bits are scattered at random all
over the disc.  All Australian CD players are programmed to randomly search
over the disc to find the right bit to play next.  It is very unlikely that
it could cope with a disc where all the bits were in order.

I would advise you to record your discs onto Hi-Fi video tape and connect
an Australian VCR to a stereo system.  Australian and American VCRs are
definitely compatible.
                           #  #  #  #  #  #

>From Mark A. Gray:

I can't speak for a reduced gravity environment, but I can speak for the
equator.  It is interesting that you should bring it up, since many CD's
simply do not spin at the equator (or near it actually).  In Singapore
(for instance) they had to ban a whole bunch of CDs or have them altered
so that they would play correctly ('course, if they had a bit of Vegemite,
their problems would be solved).  Video tapes and books(!) seem to suffer
the same fate there.

Why DON'T books work properly at the equator?

And I have another question: Short of smearing every page with Vegemite,
how do you get a northern hemisphere book to work properly in the southern
hemisphere? (I'll be bringing some books home with me when I leave here,
so I need to know).

Thanks in advance.
                             #  #  #  #  #  #

>From Tye Leslie Sanders:

Re your query on playing CDs in reduced gravity, it is not widely known
that on the last Space Shuttle mission it was decided to test the effects
of playing a compact disc in zero gravity with disastrous results.

When the disc was played, instead of the disc spinning, the entire vehicle
began to spin while the disc remained motionless, turning the entire
spacecraft into a giant centrifuge, nearly crushing the astronauts to
death before the commander was able to crawl to the machine and press the
stop button.

It has been suggested by some at NASA (who have now been dismissed for
discussing government secrets) that a compact disc was the cause of the
destruction of the Space Shuttle Challenger in 1985.  As you may recall,
this was the first mission to take a civilian into space.  To ease her mind
during take-off it was decided to simulate an environment of Earth similar
to that of take-off pressure so they decided to play a CD of elevator music
to give her the feeling that she was riding up in the lift at her local
shopping centre.  The craft could not cope with the enormous centrifugal
force generated by the spinning disc and broke apart approximately 1 minute
after take-off.  It was decided to cover up their gross negligence by saying
that the O-Ring seals in the booster rockets were faulty.

All this is absolutely true or my name is not Ronald Reagan.
                             #  #  #  #  #  #

>From Bob Hiltner:

This is a complete load of crap, and probably a troll.  The 'Borealis Effect'
(or 'Australis' in the southern hemisphere) could in no way overcome
the power of the motor in a CD player.  Besides, the 'groove' went out in
the 60's (70's?).  I'm no electrical engineer, but I'm guessing that any
backward playing effect is due to the 220V power conversion (which would
show up on euro equipment as well) or the reverse polarity down under.

As for the gravity-free environment, who gives a shi*t?  I think the
astronauts have their hands full anyway, and probably can get good FM
reception from any station on earth if they need music to dance by...

Some people are so clueless!
                             #  #  #  #  #  #

>From Joe Chew:

Since the Earth rotates in the opposite direction in the Southern Hemisphere,
the AC power there is supplied 180 degrees out of phase with ours.  Thus your
CD should work just fine, although some audio purists insist on a motor-gen
set to supply American electricity and then determine the phasing themselves.
                           #  #  #  #  #  #

>From Orion Auld:

At the equator, the CD's stop rotating, so the CD players there must rotate
the laser about the stationary CD.  These units are VERY expensive.

By contrast, at the north pole, CD players are very cheap.  This is because
neither the laser or the CD require a motor to provide rotational energy;
the CD is placed precisely on the north pole, tied to the firmament so that
it doesn't spin, while the laser is fixed to the earth, slightly off-centre,
and the earth provides the rotation.

> What about in a reduced gravity environment, like in a free falling elevator?

The CD's are virtually weightless, so they can be very massive and yet
consumers will have little difficulty operating them.  I hope that answers
your question.
                             #  #  #  #  #  #

>From Jim Gunson:

I'm glad you brought this up.  The variation of the Coriolis force with
latitude (zero at equator, max at north pole, min at south pole), gives
rise to the so-called beta effect.  Basically what happens is that when a
clockwise-spinning object, in the northern hemisphere, moves north it speeds
up, when it moves south it slows down.  I've conducted experiments whilst
driving my car here in Boston: if I head north on route 93 at 75 mph with
Kylie's Locomotion on the CD player, the pitch of her voice goes higher,
but you have to be going pretty fast to notice this.  Heading west or east
this doesn't happen.

To the original poster, if you do find you're having trouble with the
Coriolis force adversely affecting your US CD's in Australia, try turning
the CD player upside-down.
                             #  #  #  #  #  #

>From Adrian Rose:

No, no, NO ... please - don't confuse the Coriols effect with the Doppler
effect - the two are quite unrelated, and the Doppler effect is ALMOST
unnoticeable, when playing out-of-area CDs, or even records.

The effect was most noticeable on 78's, but that's now academic.

BTW, I am able to offer the conversion at only 75c (US), if done in bulk.
E-mail for quotes.
                             #  #  #  #  #  #

>From PHolman1:

No if re-grooved in the N Hemisphere they must be spun counterclockwise.
Remember - Aussie turntables etc spin the opposite way.

PS: Marmite works as well as Vegemite.
                             #  #  #  #  #  #

>From Armadillo:

No - American compact discs will only work if you drive on the right-hand
side of the road.  But I wouldn't expect an user to know these things.
[ End Fri humour ]

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