Category: Humor

how many ways are there to catch an elephant

hunt elephants by going to Africa, throwing out everything that is not an elephant, and catching one of whatever is left.

will attempt to prove the existence of at least one unique elephant before proceeding to step 1 as a subordinate exercise.

will prove the existence of at least one unique elephant and then leave the detection and capture of an actual elephant as an exercise for their graduate students.

hunt elephants by exercising Algorithm A:

1) Go to Africa.
2) Start at the Cape of Good Hope.
3) Work northward in an orderly manner, traversing the continent alternately east and west.
4) During each traverse pass,
a) Catch each animal seen.
b) Compare each animal caught to a known elephant.
c) Stop when a match is detected.

modify Algorithm A by placing a known elephant in Cairo to ensure that the algorithm will terminate.

prefer to execute Algorithm A on their hands and knees.

hunt elephants by going to Africa, catching gray animals at random, and stopping when any one of them weighs within plus or minus 15 percent of any previously observed elephant.

don’t hunt elephants, but they believe that if elephants are paid enough, they will hunt themselves.

hunt the first animal they see N times and call it an elephant.

don’t hunt elephants, and many have never hunted anything at all, but they can be hired by the hour to advise those people who do.

can also measure the correlation of hat size and bullet color to the efficiency of elephant-hunting strategies, if someone else will only identify the elephants.

don’t hunt elephants, but they will share the elephants you catch with the people who voted for them.

don’t hunt elephants, but they do follow the herds around arguing about who owns the droppings.

will claim that they own an entire herd based on the look and feel of one dropping.

try hard to hunt elephants, but their staffs are designed to prevent it. When the vice president does get to hunt elephants, the staff will try to ensure that all possible elephants are completely prehunted before the vice president sees them. If the vice president does happen to see a elephant, the staff will:

  • compliment the vice president’s keen eyesight and
  • enlarge itself to prevent any recurrence.

set broad elephant-hunting policy based on the assumption that elephants are just like field mice, but with deeper voices.

ignore the elephants and look for mistakes the other hunters made when they were packing the jeep.

don’t hunt elephants but spend their time selling elephants they haven’t caught, for delivery two days before the season opens.

ship the first thing they catch and write up an invoice for an elephant.

catch rabbits, paint them gray, and sell them as desktop elephants

smartHouse – vision from back in 1991

November 28, 1995
Moved in at last. Finally, we live in the smartest house in the neighborhood. Everything’s networked. The cable TV is connected to our phone, which is connected to my PC, which is connected to the power lines, all the appliances and the security system. Everything runs off a universal remote with the friendliest interface I’ve ever used. Programming is a snap. I’m, like, totally wired.

November 30
Hot stuff! Programmed my VCR from the office, turned up the thermostat and switched on the lights with the car phone, remotely tweaked the oven a few degrees for my pizza. Everything nice and cozy when I arrived. Maybe I should have the universal remote surgically attached.

December 3
Yesterday, the kitchen crashed. Freak event. As I opened the refrigerator door, the light bulb blew. Immediately, everything else electrical shut down – lights, microwave, coffee maker – everything! Carefully, I unplugged and replugged all the appliances. Nothing. Called the cable company (but not from the kitchen phone). They refer me to the utility. The utility insists the problem was in the software. So the software company runs some remote telediagnostics via my house processor.

Their expert system claims it has to be the utility’s fault. I don’t care, I just want my kitchen back. More phone calls. More remote diagnostics. Turns out the problem was „unanticipated failure mode“ – the network had never seen a refrigerator bulb failure while the door was open. So the fuzzy logic interpreted the burnout as a power surge and shut down the entire kitchen. But because sensor memory confirmed that there hadn’t actually been a power surge, the kitchen’s logic sequence was confused so it couldn’t do a standard restart.

The utility guy swears this was the first time this has ever happened. Rebooting the kitchen took over an hour.

December 7
The police are not happy. Our house keeps calling them for help. We discover that whenever we play the TV or stereo above 25 decibels, it creates patterns of micro-vibrations that get amplified when they hit the window. When these vibrations mix with a gust of wind, the security sensors are actuated and the police computer concludes that someone is trying to break in. Go figure….

Another glitch: whenever the basement is in self-diagnostic mode, the universal remote won’t let me change the channels on my TV. That means I actually have to get up off the couch and change the channels by hand. The software and the utility people say this flaw will be fixed in the next upgrade – SmartHouse 2.1, but it’s not ready yet.

December 12
This is a nightmare. There’s a virus in the house. My personal computer caught it while browsing on the public access network. I come home and the living room is a sauna, the bedroom windows are covered with ice, the refrigerator has defrosted, the washing machine has flooded the basement, the garage door is cycling up and down and the TV is stuck on the Home Shopping channel. Throughout the house, lights flicker like stroboscopes until they explode from the strain. Broken glass is everywhere. Of course, the security sensors detect nothing.

I look at a message slowly throbbing on my PC screen: „Welcome to HomeWrecker!!! Now the FUN begins….(be it ever so humble, there’s no virus like HomeWrecker….)“. I get out of the house. Fast.

December 18
They think I’ve digitally disinfected the house but the place is a shambles. Pipes have burst and we’re not completely sure we’ve got the part of the virus that attacks toilets. Nevertheless, The Exorcists (as the anti-virus SWAT members like to call themselves) are confident the worst is over. „HomeWrecker is pretty bad,“ one tells me, „but consider yourself lucky you didn’t get Poltergeist. That one is really evil“.

December 19
Apparently, our house isn’t insured for viruses. „Fires and mudslides yes,“ says the claims adjuster, „viruses, no.“

My agreement with the SmartHouse people explicitly states that all claims and warranties are null and void if any appliance or computer in my house networks in any way, shape or form with an uncertified on-line service. Everybody’s very, very sorry but they can’t be expected to anticipate every virus that may be created.
We call our lawyer. He laughs. He’s excited.

December 21
I get a call from a SmartHouse sales rep. As a special holiday offer, we get the free opportunity to become a beta site for the company’s new SmartHouse 2.1 upgrade.
He says I’ll be able to meet the programmers personally. „Sure,“ I tell him….

songs you might know – with new lyrcis

It’s Broken (to the tune of „She Loves You“
(with apologies to John Lennon and Paul McCartney)

You think you know the code, and you know just what to say-ay
you tried another load, then you called me yesterday-ay
you said It’s Broken-  and I think it’s pretty bad
the APAR’s open, and my boss is getting mad

You didn’t read the docs or put your tapes in sequence
it’s quite a paradox and it’s getting pretty frequent
you said It’s Broken – and I think it’s pretty bad
the APAR’s open, and my boss is getting mad

It’s Broken, yeah, yeah, yeah
It’s Broken, yeah, yeah, yeah
and we don’t care how – we want it fixed today

You signed onto the node and you started to install
you watched VM explode, then you tried another call
you said It’s Broken, and I think it’s pretty bad
the APAR’s open – and my boss is getting mad

It’s Broken, yeah, yeah, yeah
It’s Broken, yeah, yeah, yeah
and it’s not our fault – we want it fixed today


   don’t Wanna Hold Your Hand
(with apologies to John Lennon and Paul McCartney)

You should know how to do this
you say you understand
then why, now, are you calling?
Don’t wanna hold your hand]

When I hear that phone ring
And hear you make demands
then I try to keep cool
Don’t wanna hold your hand]

Don’t wanna hold your hand] Don’t wanna hold your hand]

And when you call I feel a growing
We just went over that this morning
were you there?
are you there?
do I care?

Don’t wanna hold your hand] Don’t wanna hold your hand]


With special thanks to Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel
(to the tune of „50 ways to leave your lover“)


I heard them talking round the terminal one night,
They were working on a problem and they couldn’t get it right.
Then someone said, „hey guys, although it may sound trite,
there must be
50 ways to close an APAR.“

They turned and asked him, „what exactly do you mean ?“
He said, „first you really have to understand the service scene,
but, if you’ll let me, I’ll be glad to intervene
and show you
50 ways to close an APAR
50 ways to close an APAR.“

Call it a DOC, Jock.
User made a mistake, Jake.
Say it’s RACF’s fault, Walt,
and get yourself free.
Make it a SUG, Doug,
it ain’t really a JES bug.
Then take a month’s leave, Steve.
and get yourself free.

(repeat-Call it a…)

He said, „now listen very carefully to me
It’s a waste of time to fix ‚em; they only go PE,
so why not just apply this simple remedy,
and use those
50 ways to close an APAR?“

They all returned to work with cries of childish glee,
and they quickly brought the backlog from 200 down to three,
which only goes to show how simple life can be
when you know
50 ways to close an APAR
50 ways to close an APAR.

Make it a WAD, Rod.
Call it a DUP, Rupe.
Tell a little white lie, Cy,
listen to me.
Say it won’t be reproduce, Bruce,
you JES gotta hang loose, Bruce,
then resign from the firm, Herm
and get yourself free.

(repeat- Make it a…)

product development (the other way)

How big firms develop products nowadays


2.PRODUCT SPECIFICATION: multifunctional, integrated, user-friendly and
non-expensive „solution“ compatible with future system
architecture concepts aimed at avoiding the effect of
extensive humidity and other environmental
influences to human heads and other body parts.

3.MARKETING SPECIFICATION: Get hold of it ! Now !

Pre-Version:      Type: Hazelnut-stick
(because of strict confidentiality, the shape of the
product can only be guessed at).

Beta-Version:     Plastic tarp sized 5 square meters including 320 pages
of technical documentation.

Golden Version:   5-color pamphlet, sunny weather report and about
4-15 months postponement of GA (general availability).

Release 1.0:      Frame without covering; the mechanism is working
reasonably, it unfolds effortlessly, but there are
problems with folding it again.
The handle is offered as a separate feature with its own
order number.

Release 1.1:      Frame without covering, fully integrated handle, mechanism
is working problem-free. Development is praising
the well thought-out design, marketing stresses
the products‘ universial usability.
The weight of 18.9kg is to be addressed in one of the
next releases. The opening mechanism takes about
12.5 minutes at the moment, but is caused by the
hypermodern microscalar hydraulics being used for
the first time in a worldwide product of this type.
They announce plans for further performance improvements.

Release 2.0:      Milestone in development: the product is delivered
with full (!) covering.
The customers criticize only one item: They should
use watertight materials for the covering.

Release 2.1:      The covering is now watertight, but the opening mechanism
doesn’t work anymore.
Marketing tries to place the product as a sun-shade;
development thinks about functional extensions such as
a suitable leather bag.
As a second variant, the firm considers the involvement of a
new Business Partner.
The Business Partner cannot deliver a product, but he
promises a rain-dance to avoid tropical rains.

Release 2.2:      Suitable leather bag is being developed.
Marketing praises the architectural concept of a
non-opening umbrella with a suitable bag (an open
umbrella wouldn’t fit into the bag anyway, right ?).

Release 3.0:      Upgrade to a fully functional model with watertight
covering – free of charge !
For this, the firm unfortunately had to change the dimension
of the leather bag, so the customers have to buy
a new version which is twice as expensive as before.

Release X.X:      Development defends itself against repeated attacks
by stating that the product passed various test cycles
and that no involved tester could find any functional

Final:            Product development is transfered from a lab
in Saudi Arabia to a lab near London.

simplifing the english language

English in the future?
„How difficult is english?? A Vision For The Future“

Having chosen English as the preferred language in the EEC, the European Parliament has commissioned a feasibility study in ways of improving efficiency in communications between Government departments.

European officials have often pointed out that English spelling is unnecessarily difficult; for example: cough, plough, rough, through, and thorough. What is clearly needed is a phased programme of changes to iron out these anomalies. The programme would, of course, be administered by a committee staffed at top level by participating nations.

In the first year, for example, the committee would suggest using ’s‘ instead of the soft ‚c‘. Sertainly, sivil servants in all sities would resieve this news with joy. Then the hard ‚c‘ could be replased by ‚k‘ sinse both letters are pronounced alike. Not only would this klear up konfusion in the minds of klerikal workers, but typewriters kould be made with one less letter.

There would be growing enthusiasm when in the sekond year, it was announsed that the troublesome ‚ph‘ would henseforth be written ‚f‘. This would make words like ‚fotograf‘ twenty per sent shorter in print.

In the third year, publik akseptanse of the new spelling kan be expekted to reash the stage where more komplikated shanges are possible. Governments would enkourage the removal of double letters which have always been a deterent to akurate speling.

We would al agre that the horible mes of silent ‚e’s in the languag is disgrasful. Therefor we kould drop thes and kontinu to read and writ as though nothing had hapened. By this tim it would be four years sins the skem began and peopl would be reseptiv to steps such as replasing the ‚th‘ by ‚z‘. Perhaps zen ze funktion of ‚w‘ kould be taken on by ‚v‘, vitsh is, after al, half a ‚w‘. Shortly after zis, ze unesesary ‚o‘ kould be droped from words kontaining ‚ou‘. Similar arguments vud of kors be aplid to ozer kombinations of leters.

Kontinuing zis proses yer after yer, ve vud eventuli hav reli sensibl riten styl. After tventi yers zer vud be no mor trubls or difikultis and evrivun vud find it ezi tu understand ech ozer. Ze drems of the Guvenmnt vud finali hav kum tru.

top 5 reasons computers must be female

  1.     No one but their creator understands their internal logic.
  2.     Even your smallest mistakes are immediately committed to memory for future references.
  3.     The native language used to communicate with other computers is incomprehensible to everyone else.
  4.     The message, „Bad command or filename,“ is about as informative as „If you don’t know why I’m mad at you, then I’m certainly not going to tell you.“
  5.     As soon as you make a commitment to one, you find yourself spending half your paycheck on accessories for it.

please also read „top 5 reasons computers must be male“

top 5 reasons computers must be male

  1.     They’re heavily dependent on external tools and equipment.
  2.     They periodically cut you off right when you think you’ve established a network connection.
  3.     They’ll usually do what you ask them to do, but they won’t do more than they have to and they won’t think of it on their own.
  4.     They’re typically obsolete within five years and need to be traded in for a new model. Some users, however, feel they’ve already invested so much in the damn machine that they’re compelled to remain with an underpowered system.
  5.     They get hot when you turn them on and that’s the only time you have their attention.

please also read „top 5 reasons computers must be female“

how many mail list subscribers does it take to ….

Q: How many Internet mail list subscribers does it take to change a light bulb?
A: 1,342:

1 to change the light bulb and to post to the mail list that the light bulb has been changed
14 to share similar experiences of changing light bulbs and how the light bulb could have been changed differently.
7 to caution about the dangers of changing light bulbs.
27 to point out spelling/grammar errors in posts about changing light bulbs.
53 to flame the spell checkers
156 to write to the list administrator complaining about the light bulb discussion and its inappropriateness to this mail list.
41 to correct spelling in the spelling/grammar flames.
109 to post that this list is not about light bulbs and to please take this email exchange to alt.lite.bulb
203 to demand that cross posting to alt.grammar, alt.spelling and alt.punctuation about changing light bulbs be stopped.
111 to defend the posting to this list saying that we are all use light bulbs and therefore the posts **are** relevant to this mail list.
306 to debate which method of changing light bulbs is superior, where to buy the best light bulbs, what brand of light bulbs work best for this technique, and what brands are faulty.
27 to post URLs where one can see examples of different light bulbs
14 to post that the URLs were posted incorrectly, and to post corrected URLs.
3 to post about links they found from the URLs that are relevant to this list which makes light bulbs relevant to this list.
33 to concatenate all posts to date, then quote them including all headers and footers, and then add „Me Too.“
11 to tell us that we should be happy to have lightbulbs at all and that they are not supportet in their country
12 to post to the list that they are unsubscribing because they cannot handle the light bulb controversy.
19 to quote the „Me Too’s“ to say, „Me Three.“
4 to suggest that posters request the light bulb FAQ.
1 to propose new alt.change.lite.bulb newsgroup.
47 to say this is just what alt.physic.cold_fusion was meant for, leave it here.
143 votes for alt.lite.bulb.

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