Friday humour - April 28, 2000

     From Tony at Bluehaze:

    First up this week is an apparently factual piece off our westerly list.
    I found it highly amusing (although this could merely be my warped sense
    of humour - see what you think).  There's even a reference to a web site:

                          LIGHTING CHARCOAL GRILLS

Our subject today is lighting charcoal grills.  One of our favourite charcoal
grill lighters is a guy named George Goble (really!!), a computer person in
the Purdue University engineering department.

Each year, Goble and a bunch of other engineers hold a picnic in West Lafayette,
Indiana, at which they cook hamburgers on a big grill.  Being engineers, they
began looking for practical ways to speed up the charcoal-lighting process.
"We started by blowing the charcoal with a hair dryer," Goble told me in a
telephone interview.  "Then we figured out that it would light faster if we
used a vacuum cleaner."  If you know anything about (1) engineers and (2) guys
in general, you know what happened: The purpose of the charcoal-lighting
shifted from cooking 'burgers to seeing how fast they could light the charcoal.

From the vacuum cleaner, they escalated to using a propane torch, then an
acetylene torch.  Then Goble started using compressed pure oxygen, which caused
the charcoal to burn much faster, because as you recall from chemistry class,
fire is essentially the rapid combination of oxygen with a reducing agent (the
charcoal).   We discovered that a long time ago, somewhere in the valley
between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers (or something along those lines).

By this point, Goble was getting pretty good times.  But in the world of
competitive charcoal-lighting, "pretty good" does not cut the mustard.  Thus,
Goble hit upon the idea of using - get ready - liquid oxygen.  This is the form
of oxygen used in rocket engines; it's 295 degrees below zero and 600 times as
dense as regular oxygen.  In terms of releasing energy, pouring liquid oxygen
on charcoal is the equivalent of throwing a live squirrel into a room
containing 50 million Labrador retrievers.

On Gobel's Web page at Click here you can see actual

photographs and a video of Goble using a bucket attached to a 10-foot-long
wooden handle to dump 3 gallons of liquid oxygen (not sold in stores) onto a
grill containing 60 pounds of charcoal and a lit cigarette for ignition.  What
follows is the most impressive charcoal-lighting I have ever seen, featuring a
large fireball that according to Goble, reached 10,000 degrees Fahrenheit.  The
charcoal was ready for cooking in - this has to be a world record * 3 seconds.

There's also a photo of what happened when Goble used the same technique on a
flimsy $2.88 discount-store grill.  All that's left is a circle of charcoal
with a few shreds of metal in it.  "Basically, the grill vaporised," said
Goble.  "We were thinking of returning it to the store for a refund."

Looking at Goble's video and photos, I became, as an American, all choked up
with gratitude at the fact that I do not live anywhere near the engineers'
picnic site.  But also, I was proud of my country for producing guys who can
be ready to barbecue in less time than it takes for guys in less-advanced
nations, to spit.

Will the 3-second barrier ever be broken?  Will engineers come up with a new,
more powerful charcoal-lighting technology?  It's something for all of us to
ponder this summer as we sit outside, chewing our hamburgers, every now and
then glancing in the direction of West Lafayette, Indiana, looking for a
mushroom cloud.

   ( Engineers are like that )

   [ Perhaps Bernie can try this for the next BBQ ... although it may put a
     blip in Angelica's OH&S results for the year? ]

     Now for another dose of comedian Steven Wright (my contribution):

The other night I came home late, and tried to unlock my house with my car
keys.  I started the house up.  So, I drove it around for a while.  I was
speeding, and a cop pulled me over.  He asked where I lived.  I said, "Right
here, officer".  Later, I parked it on the freeway, got out, and yelled at all
the cars, "Get out of my driveway!"

My house is on the median strip of a highway.  You don't really notice, except
I have to leave the driveway doing 60 MPH.

For a while I didn't have a car ... I had a helicopter ... no place to park
it, so I just tied it to a lamp post and left it running ... [slow glance

I hooked up the accelerator pedal in my car to my brake lights.  I hit the gas,
people behind me stop, and I'm gone.

I replaced the headlights in my car with strobe lights, so it looks like I'm
the only one moving.

I play the harmonica.  The only way I can play is if I get my car going really
fast, and stick it out the window.  I put a new engine in my car, but forgot
to take the old one out.  Now my car goes 500 miles per hour.  The harmonica
sounds *amazing*.

I watched the Indy 500, and I was thinking that if they left earlier they
wouldn't have to go so fast.

I had to stop driving my car for a while ... the tires got dizzy.

My neighbour has a circular driveway ... he can't get out.

I saw a sign: "Rest Area 25 Miles".  That's pretty big.  Some people must be
really tired.

A cop stopped me for speeding.  He said, "Why were you going so fast?" I said,
"See this thing my foot is on?  It's called an accelerator.  When you push
down on it, it sends more gas to the engine.  The whole car just takes right
off.  And see this thing?  This steers it."

I got my driver's license photo taken out of focus on purpose.  Now when I get
pulled over the cop looks at it (moving it nearer and farther, trying to see
it clearly) ... and says, "Here, you can go."

The judge asked, "What do you plead?" I said, "Insanity, your honour, who in
their right mind would park in the passing lane?"

Yesterday I parked my car in a tow-away zone ... when I came back the entire
area was missing.

I can remember the first time I had to go to sleep.  Mum said, "Steven, time
to go to sleep." I said, "But I don't know how."  She said, "It's real easy.
Just go down to the end of tired and hang a left."  So I went down to the end
of tired, and just out of curiosity I hung a right.  My mother was there, and
she said "I thought I told you to go to sleep."

I hate it when my foot falls asleep during the day because that means it's
going to be up all night.

I was trying to daydream, but my mind kept wandering.

One night I walked home very late and fell asleep in somebody's satellite dish.
My dreams were showing up on TV's all over the world.

       Another one from the westerly list - a supposedly true story:

                    This could only happen in California ...

                               CAR JACKING FOILED

An elderly lady did her shopping and upon returning to her car found 4 males
sitting in the car.  She dropped her shopping bags and drew her handgun,
proceeding to scream at them at the top of her voice that she knows how to use
it and that she will if required ... so get out of the car!

The 4 men didn't wait around for a second invitation but got out and ran like
mad, where upon the lady proceeded to load her shopping bags into the back of
the car and got into the driver's seat.

Small problem: her key wouldn't fit the ignition.  Her car was identical and
parked four or five spaces further down.  She reloaded her bags into her car
and drove to the police station.

The sergeant to whom she told the story almost collapsed with laughter, finally
pointing to the other end of the counter where 4 very pale males were reporting
a car-jacking by a mad elderly woman.  No charges were pressed.

      Some visual humour now; first up, more from Maura McDermott in the UK:

     The Week: Click here
     Football: Click here
     Argghh:   Click here

       And one from Matthew Greene over at CUB:

     Hansie:  Click here

       And a bit of a silly game as forwarded on by Paul Fazey (this is large
       (over 300k), so Steve Harding has put it up on his server for us):

     Splat Pam:  Click here

       Finally (and - sorry - I've lost track of who passed this one on):

     Smile:   Click here

           Back to ASCII now, and a short one from Dave McCallum ...

A middle aged woman has a heart attack and is taken to the hospital.  While on
the operating table, she has a near death experience.  During that experience
she sees God and asks if this is it.  God says no and explains that she has
another 30 years to live.

Upon her recovery, she decides to just stay in the hospital and have a face
lift, liposuction, breast augmentation, tummy tuck ,etc., figuring if she has
another 30 years, she's sure going to make the best of it!  She even has
someone come in and change her hair color.

She walks out of the hospital after the last operation and is killed by an
ambulance speeding up to the hospital.  She arrives in front of God and
complains: "I thought you said I had another 30 years?"

God replies, "I didn't recognise you."

        This next piece was forwarded on by John at the Museum of Vic, and
        also by Dave (Sooty) Moors:

    The following are all replies that have been included on Child Support
    Agency forms in the section for listing father's details:

Regarding the identity of the father of my twins child A was fathered by [name
removed].  I am unsure as to the identity of the father of child B, but I
believe that he was conceived on the same night.

I do not know the name of the father of my little girl.  She was conceived at a
party [address and date given] where I had unprotected sex with a man I met
that night.  I do remember that the sex was so good that I fainted.  If you do
manage to track down the father can you send me his phone number?  Thanks

I don't know the identity of the father of my daughter.  He drives a BMW that
now has a hole made by my stiletto in one of the door panels.  Perhaps you can
contact BMW service stations in this area and see if he's had it replaced.

I have never had sex with a man.  I am awaiting a letter from Pope confirming
that my son's conception was immaculate and that he is Christ risen again.

I cannot tell you the name of child A's Dad as he informs me that to do so
would blow his cover and that would have cataclysmic implications for the
British economy.  I am torn between doing right by you and right by my country
please advise.

I do not know who the father of my child was since all squadies look the same
to me.  I can confirm that he was a Royal Green Jacket.

[name given] is the father of child A.  If you do catch up with him can you ask
him what he did with my AC/DC CDs ?

From the dates, it seems that my daughter was conceived at Euro Disney.  Maybe
it really is the Magic Kingdom?

So much about that night is a blur.  The only thing that I remember for sure is
Delia Smith did a programme about eggs earlier in the evening.  If I'd have
stayed in and watched more TV rather than going to the party at [address
given], perhaps mine may have remained unfertilised.

      This next one, coincidentally, was also forwarded on by Dave Moors (who
      in turn received it from John over at CUB, who in turn got it from ...
      that's right - Dot Dot Dot):

An old lady in a nursing home is wheeling up and down the halls in her
wheelchair making sounds like she's driving a car.

As she's going down the hall an old man jumps out of a room and says, "Excuse
me, ma'am, but you were speeding.  Can I see your driver's license?"

She digs around in her purse a little, pulls out a candy wrapper, and hands it
to him.  He looks it over, gives her a warning and sends her on her way.

Up and down the halls she goes again.  Again, the same old man jumps out of a
room and says, "Excuse me, ma'am, but I saw you cross over the centre line
back there.  Can I see your registration please?"

She digs around in her purse, and finally pulls out a supermarket receipt and
hands it to him.  He looks it over, frowns, gives her another warning and
sends her on her way.

She zooms off again up and down the halls weaving all over place.  As she
comes to the old man's room, again he jumps out.

This time, he's stark naked and has an erection!  The old lady in the wheel
chair looks up and groans "Oh, no - not the breathalyser again."

      Finally for this week - a piece which I purloined from Terry Lane's
      web site a few months ago.  His address seems to have changed slightly -
      it's now Click here (but it remains as ever an oasis in the Internet

      desert ...)


For readers who are not familiar with the characters of 'Star Trek, the Next
Generation' Lt. Worf is the Security Officer, Captain Picard is the Commanding
Officer, Commander Riker is the Second in Command, Lt. LaForge is the
Engineering Officer, Ensign Wesley Crusher is an Officer under training and
Lt. Data is an android that has ambitions of becoming a human but is run by
computer chips.

Worf: Captain, there are three Romulan warships uncloaking dead ahead.

Picard: On screen.

(The main viewing screen changes to a pattern of horizontal lines, each only a
single pixel wide.)

Picard: Data, what's wrong here?

Data:   Captain. the main viewscreen does not have sufficient video memory to
display an image of this size.  May I suggest you select a lower resolution?

Picard: Make it so.

(The screen blanks, and then an image appears, with big, blocky square pixels.
Three objects appear in the centre, which could be Romulan warbirds, but which
actually look more like the aliens in Space Invaders.)

Picard: Data, open a hailing channel to the Romulans.

Data:  Aye, sir.

(Data picks up an hourglass from the floor beside him, turns it over, and
places it on the console in front of him.  He punches some buttons on the
console and sits motionless for several seconds.  A flash of light blossoms
from one of the Romulan ships on the viewscreen.)

Worf: Incoming plasma torpedo, Captain!

Picard: Shields up!

Data:  I'm sorry, Captain, but I am still attempting to complete your last
instruction.  I must ask you to wait until I have finished before you issue
your next command.

Picard: What on earth do you mean?  Data, this is IMPORTANT!  I want those
shields up THIS INSTANT.

Data:  I'm sorry, Captain, but I am still attempting to complete your last
instruction.  I must ask you to wait until I have finished before you issue
your next command.

LaForge: Allow me, Captain. (to Data) Control-Alt-Delete, Data.

(Data removes the hourglass from the console, and returns it to the floor.)

Data:  The Romulans are not responding to my hails.  Press my nose to cancel
and return to Windows.  Pull my left ear to close this communication channel
which is not responding.  You will lose any information sent by the Romulans

(LaForge pulls Data's left ear.)

Picard: Shields ...

(There is a tremendous explosion. ' The bridge shakes violently, and all the
crew members are thrown to the floor.  A shower of sparks erupts from Wesley
Crusher's station at the helm, throwing Wesley back from the console.)

Picard: ... up, Data!

Data:  Aye, sir.

Riker:  All decks, damage report!

Worf- Captain, Ensign Crusher is injured.  He appears to be unconscious.

(Data picks up the hourglass again.  Places it on the console and punches some
buttons.  He waits a few seconds, then puts the hourglass back on the floor.)

Data:  Shield now up, Captain.

Picard: Not a moment too soon.  Worf, lock all phasers on to the lead Romulan

Aye, sir. (He punches some buttons on the console.)

Picard: Mr Data, take the helm and prepare for evasive action.

Data:  I am sorry sir, but I do not have the correct device driver for that

Picard: Well.  Damn it.  Install the right one.

Data:  Please insert Set-up Implant *1 in my right nostril.

Picard: Number one, where do we keep Data's Set-up implant

Riker:  I left them with Geordi.

LaForge: (in a surprised voice) What!!?  I thought you still had them!

Picard: Data, don't you have device drivers stored in you internal memory?

Data:  Not found sir.  Please insert Set-up Implant *1 in my right nostril.

Picard: I DON'T HAVE Set-up Implant *1.

Data:  Not reading right nostril.  Abort!  Retry!  Fail!

Picard: Abort!

Data:  Not reading right nostril.  Abort!  Retry!  Fail!

Picard: Well, fail, then!

Data:  Current nose is no longer valid.

(Data walks over to the helm, presses several buttons.  The ship lurches, the
images of the Romulan warships suddenly shift to one side of the viewscreen
and a high pitched voice is heard from somewhere else in the ship.)

LaForge: Data, what the hell are you doing?

Picard: Number one, do we have a customer number for Data?

Riker:  Yes sir, but the last time I tried to call them I got put on hold for
two hours before I was able to talk to anyone.  And that person wasn't
knowledgeable about androids of Data's model.  She specialised in industrial

(Suddenly, the lights all go out, the viewscreen goes blank, and all the usual
noise of fans, motors, and so on whine to a halt.  After a few seconds, the
emergency lights come on.  Data is standing motionless by the console.)

Picard: What is going on?

LaForge: (checking the helm console) Lieutenant Data has caused a General
Protection Violation in the warp engine core.

Picard: These Androids look really sharp, but you can't really do any thing
with them.

(The shimmer of the transporter effect appears, and six Romulans in full
battle dress materialise on the bridge.  A seventh figure, a Ferengi, appears
moments later.)

Ferengi: (With a mercenary grin)  Captain, can I interest you in a Linux CD?
[ End Fri humour ]

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