Friday humour - November 12, 1999

     From Tony at Bluehaze:

  Well, almost time for Friday Humour to go into recess for another year.
  This week, we'll start off with another offering from that mad scientist
  from ANL, Mr Zaluzec (whom we hope has made repairs to the closet by now):


[Is that the same as orthogonal thinking? -ed]

  Try these to loosen up the old brain cells.

1. There is a man who lives on the top floor of a very tall building.
Everyday he gets the elevator down to the ground floor to leave the building
to go to work.  Upon returning from work though, he can only travel half way
up in the lift and has to walk the rest of the way unless it's raining!  Why?
(This is probably the best known and most celebrated of all lateral thinking
puzzles.  Although there are many possible solutions which fit the initial
conditions, only the canonical answer is truly satisfying.)

2. A man is wearing black.  Black shoes, socks, trousers, jumper, gloves and
balaclava.  He is walking down a black street with all the street lamps off.
A black car is coming towards him with its light off but somehow manages to
stop in time.  How did the driver see the man?

3. One day Kerry celebrated her birthday.  Two days later her older twin
brother, Terry, celebrated his birthday.  How?

4. Why is it better to have round manhole covers than square ones?  This is
logical rather than lateral, but it is a good puzzle that can be solved by
lateral thinking techniques.  It is supposedly used by every well-known
software company as an interview question for prospective employees.

5. A man went to a party and drank some of the punch.  He then left early.
Everyone else at the party who drank the punch subsequently died of
poisoning.  The man was an innocent guest and did not himself poison the
punch.  Why did the he not die?

6. A man died and went to Heaven.  There were thousands of other people there.
They were all naked and all looked as they did at the age of 21.  He looked
around to see if there was anyone he recognised.  He saw a couple and he knew
immediately that they were Adam and Eve.  How did he know?

7. A woman had two sons who were born on the same hour of the same day of the
same year.  But they were not twins.  How could this be so?

8. A man walks into a bar and asks the barman for a glass of water.  The
barman pulls out a gun and points it at the man.  The man says 'Thank you',
and walks out.  Why?
                             #   #   #   #   #


1. The man is very, very short and can only reach half way up the elevator
buttons.  However, if it is raining then he will have his umbrella with him
and can press the higher buttons with it.

2. It was daytime.

3. The celebrations in question take place in a leap year.  At birth they were
travelling by boat.  The older twin, Terry, was born first early on March 1st.
The boat then crossed the date line and Kerry, the younger twin, was born on
February the 28th.  Therefore, in leap years the younger twin celebrates her
birthday two days before her older brother.

4. A square manhole cover can be turned and dropped down the diagonal of the
manhole.  A round manhole cannot be dropped down the manhole.  So for safety
and practicality, all manhole covers should be round.
[Gee - I just thought it'd be easier to roll round ones out of the way.
 Ah well - never make a programmer :-]  -Ed.

5. The poison in the punch came from the ice cubes.  When the man drank the
punch, the ice was fully frozen.  Gradually it melted, poisoning the punch.

6. He recognised Adam and Eve as the only people without navels.  Because they
were not born of women, they had never had umbilical cords and therefore they
never had navels.  This one seems perfectly logical but it can sometimes spark
fierce theological arguments.

7. They were two of a set of triplets (or quadruplets, etc.).  This puzzle
stumps many people.  They try outlandish solutions involving test-tube babies
or surrogate mothers.  Why does the brain search for complex solutions when
there is a much simpler one available?

8. The man had hiccups.  The barman recognised this from his speech and drew
the gun in order to give him a shock.  It worked and cured the hiccups--so the
man no longer needed the water.  The is a simple puzzle to state but a
difficult one to solve.  It is a perfect example of a seemingly irrational and
incongruous situation having a simple and complete explanation.  Amazingly,
this classic puzzle seems to work in different cultures and languages.

      Martha Ruth H has sent in a few more contributions of late - here's a
      recent one on science answers from American fifth and sixth-graders:

The spinal column is a long bunch of bones.  The head sits on the top, and
you sit on the bottom.

It is so hot in some places that people there have to live in other places.

Momentum is something you give a person when they go away.

Mushrooms always grow in damp places, which is why they look like umbrellas.

The four seasons are salt, pepper, mustard and vinegar.

The alimentary canal is located in the northern part of Indiana.

Thunder is a rich source of loudness.

The main cause of dust is dirt.

To keep milk from turning sour, keep it in the cow.
                             #   #   #   #   #

     Actually, that was a bit short - let's have another Martha one:


The Pope had become very ill and was taken to many doctors, all of whom could
not figure out how to cure him.  Finally he was brought to an old physician,
who stated that he could figure it out.

After about an hour's examination he came out and told the cardinals that e
knew what was wrong.  He said that the bad news was that it as a rare disorder
of the testicles.  He said that the goods news was that all the Pope had to do
to be cured was to have sex.

Well, this was not good news to the Cardinals, who argued about it at length.
Finally they went to the Pope with the doctor and explained the situation.

After some thought, the Pope stated, "I agree, but under da four conditions."

The Cardinals were amazed and there arose quite an uproar.  Over the noise,
there arose a single voice asking, "But what ... what four conditions?"

The room stilled.  There was a long pause ...

The Pope replied, "First, da girl musta be blind, so that she cannot see with
whom she is having da sex."

"Second, she musta be deaf, so that she cannot hear with whom she is having
da sex."

"And a third, she musta be dumb, so that if somehow she figures out with who
she is having da sex, she can tell a no-one."

After another long pause, a voice arose asking, "And da fourth condition?"

The Pope replied;  "She gotta have a BIG tits."

      The original source of this next one is "The Cameron Column" - Click here

      The Cameron Column, A Free Internet Newsletter

      Copyright W. Bruce Cameron 1998

      To subscribe, send a message to with the words "subscribe
      cameron" in lower case as the first line in
      your message.

      Nicki A-O forwarded it on - enjoy.

I had to take my son's hamster to the vet.  Here's what happened:

Just after dinner one night, my son came up to tell me there was "something
wrong" with one of the two hamsters he holds prisoner in his room.  "He's
just lying there looking sick," he told me.

"Oldest trick in the book," I informed him. "You go in to see what's wrong
with the sick one and the other one sneaks up behind you and bonks you on the
head.  Then they change into your clothes and escape."

"I'm serious, Dad.  Can you help?"

I put a hamster-healer expression on my face and followed him into his
bedroom.  One of the little rodents was indeed lying on his back, looking
distressed.  I immediately knew what to do.

"Honey," I called, "come look at the hamster!"

"Oh, my gosh," my wife diagnosed after a minute.  "She's having babies."

"What?" my son demanded.  "But their names are Bert and Ernie!"

I was equally outraged. "Hey, how can that be?  I thought we said we didn't
want them to reproduce,"  I accused my wife.

"Well, what did you want me to do, post a sign in their cage?" she inquired

"No, but you were supposed to get two boys!"  I reminded her.

"Yeah - Bert and Ernie!" my son agreed.

"Well, it was a little hard to tell," she informed me.

By now the rest of the family had gathered to see what was going on.  I
shrugged, deciding to make the best of it.

"Kids, this is going to be a wondrous experience," I announced. "We're about
to witness the miracle of birth."

"Gross!" they shrieked.

"Great; what are we going to do with a litter of tiny little hamster babies?"
my wife wanted to know.

"Well, when my parents' dog had puppies, I took them up to the grocery store
in a cardboard box and gave them away," I recalled.

"So what are you going to do, go up with a pair of tweezers so people can
pick out their hamster?" she asked.

We peered at the patient.  After much struggling, what looked like a tiny foot
would appear briefly, vanishing a scant second later.

"We don't appear to be making much progress," I noted.

"A breech birth," my wife whispered, horrified.

"Do something, Dad!" my son urged.  "Okay, okay."

Squeamishly, I reached in and grabbed the foot when it next appeared, giving
it a gingerly tug.  It disappeared.  I tried again, with the same results.

"Should I dial 911?" my daughter wanted to know.  "Maybe they could talk us
through it."

"Let's get Ernie to the vet," I said grimly.  We drove to the vet with my son
holding the cage in his lap.

"Breathe, Ernie, breathe," he urged.  "I don't think hamsters do Lamaze,"
I told him.

The vet took Ernie back to the examining room and peered at the little animal
through a magnifying glass.

"What do you think, Doc, an epidural?" I suggested scientifically.

"Oh, very interesting," he murmured.  "Mr. and Mrs. Cameron, may I speak to
you privately for a moment?" I gulped, nodding for my son to step outside.

"Is Ernie going to be okay?" my wife asked.  "Oh, perfectly," the vet assured
us.  "This hamster is not in labor.  In fact, that isn't EVER going to
happen ... Ernie is a boy."

"What?" "You see, Ernie is a young male.  And occasionally, as they come into
maturity, male hamsters will, ah ..."

He blushed, glancing at my wife.  "Well, you know what I'm saying, Mr.

We were silent, absorbing this.

I mused aloud "... so Ernie's just ... just ... "

"Excited ...?" my wife offered.

"Exactly," the vet replied, relieved that we understood.  More silence.
Then, my wife started to giggle.

"What's so funny?" I demanded.  Tears were now running down her face.

"Just that ... I'm picturing you pulling on its ... its ..." she gasped.

"That's quite enough," I warned.

We thanked the veterinarian and hurriedly bundled the hamsters and our son
back into the car.  He was glad everything was going to be okay.  "I know
Ernie's really thankful for what you've done, Dad," he told me.

"Oh, you have no idea," my wife agreed, collapsing into laughter as I gave
her an exceptionally dirty look.

       Now, I've lost the "header" off this next one, so I can't even
     attribute it to anyone.  (Probably came from Nestor :-)

A couple preparing for a religious conversion meets with the orthodox rabbi
for their final session.

The rabbi asks if they have any final questions.

The man asks, "Is it true that men and women don't dance together?"

"Yes," says the rabbi, "For modesty reasons, men and women dance separately."

"So I can't dance with my own wife?"


"Well, okay," says the man, "but what about sex?"

"Fine," says the rabbi. "A mitzvah within the marriage!"

"What about different positions?" the man asks.

"No problem," says the rabbi.

"Woman on top?" the man asks.

"Why not?" replies the rabbi.

"How about doggie-style?"

"Of course!"

"Well, what about standing up?"

"NO!" says the rabbi....

"Why Not???" asks the man.

"Could lead to dancing."

     It's a few years now since we published an E-Mail "smiley" dictionary.
     This lot just arrived from the westerly list, so for those of you who
     like to punctuate your E-Mail with the odd wry expression, THE list:

:-)  Your basic smiley.  This smiley is used to inflect a sarcastic or joking
     statement since we can't hear voice inflection over e-mail.

;-)  Winky smiley.  User just made a flirtatious and/or sarcastic remark.
     More of a "don't hit me for what I just said" smiley.

:-(  Frowning smiley.  User did not like that last statement or is upset or
     depressed about something.

:-I  Indifferent smiley.  Better than a :-( but not quite as good as a :-).

:->  User just made a really biting sarcastic remark.  Worse than a ;-).

>:->  User just made a really devilish remark.

>;->  Winky and devil combined.  A very lewd remark was just made.

(-:  User is left handed.

%-)  User has been staring at a green screen for 15 hours straight.

:*)  User is drunk.

8-)  User is wearing shades.

B:-)  Shades (or spectacles) are on head.

::-)  User wears normal spectacles.

B-)   User wears horn-rimmed spectacles.

8:-)  User is a little girl.

:-)-8  User is a Big girl.

{:-)  User wears a toupee.

}:-(  Toupee in an updraft.

:-[  User is a vampire.

:-E  Bucktoothed vampire.

:-F  Bucktoothed vampire with one tooth missing.

:-7  User juust made a wry statement.

:-*  User just ate something sour.

:-)~  User drools when smiling.

:-~)  User has a cold.

:'-(  User is crying.

:'-)  User is so happy, s/he is crying.

:-@   User is screaming.

:-#   User wears teeth braces.

:-{)  User has a moustache (so probably male).

:^)  User has a broken nose.

:v)  User has a broken nose, but it's the other way, and severely swollen.

:_)  User's nose is now sliding off face.

:-&  User is tongue tied.

=:-)  User is a hosehead.

-:-)  User is a punk rocker.

-:-(  Real punk rockers never smile.

:=)   User has two noses.

+-:-)  User is the Pope or holds some other religious office.

`:-)   User accidentally shaved off one eyebrow this morning.

|-I  User sent this email whilst asleep.

|-O  User now yawning/snoring.

:-Q  User is a smoker.

:-?  User smokes a pipe.

O :-)  User is an angel (at heart, at least).

:-`  User spitting out phlegm (possibly to clean screen)

:-S  User just made an incoherent statement.

:-D  User is laughing (at you!)

:-X  User's lips are sealed.

:-C  User is really bummed.

<|-)  User is Chinese.

<|-(  User is Chinese and doesn't like these kind of jokes.

:-/  User is skeptical.

C=:-)  User is a chef.

@=  User is pro-nuclear war.

:-o  Uh oh!

*:o)  Hi - I'm really Bozo the Clown!

3:]  Cat smiley.

3:[  Mean cat smiley.

%-6  User is braindead.

[:-)  User is wearing a walkman.

(:I  User is bald.

.-)  User only has one eye.

,-)  Ditto...but he's winking.

X-(  Unfortunately, this user just died.

<|- :-)  User is a wizard.

C=}>;*{))  A drunk, devilish chef with a toupee in an updraft, a mustache,
and a double chin.

      From Dave Moors, the first Christmas joke ...

Riding the favourite at Cheltenham, a jockey was well ahead of the field.

Suddenly he was hit on the head by a turkey and a string of sausages.  He
managed to keep control of his mount and pulled back into the lead, only to
be struck by a box of Christmas crackers and a dozen mince pies as he went
over the last fence.

With great skill he managed to steer the horse to the front of the field once
more when, on the run in, he was struck on the head by a bottle of sherry and
a Christmas pudding.

Thus distracted, he succeeded in coming only second.

He immediately went to the stewards to complain that he had been seriously

    And finally for this week - one more from the westerly list:

A vampire bat came flapping in from the night covered in fresh blood and
parked himself on the roof of the cave to get some sleep.  Pretty soon all
the other bats smelt the blood and began hassling him about where he got it.

He told them to go away and let him get some sleep, but they persisted until
he finally gave in.

"Oh, okay, follow me then," he groaned, and flew out of the cave with
hundreds of bats behind him.  Down through a valley they went, across a river,
and into a forest of trees.  At last he slowed down, and all the other bats
excitedly milled around him.

"Now - do you see that tree over there?" he asked.

"YES, YES!, YES!!" the bats all screamed in a frenzy.

"Good" said the first bat, "because I fucking didn't."
[ End Friday Humour ]

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