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Posts from ‘August, 2010’

Watch Out!


picture of an warning sign

Does it seem to you as if we are constantly assailed with warnings? The news is filled with reports of the latest scam, severe weather alerts, travel advisories, and so forth. One week we're warned about eating a certain food, and then the next week the "experts" tell us how dangerous it is to eliminate that very same food from our diet, pronouncing it essential to our good health.

Today's iv is two short stories where the central character would have been well served if he had received a timely warning.
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Funny French Signs


I love funny signs, and I know that many of my readers enjoy them also. At the beginning of my 38th year (!) of teaching French, I decided to share some French humor. I'll try to do it in a way that all can enjoy, even if they've never studied French.

In a post called Unhelpful Road Signs I poked fun at the following combination of signs:

picture of French sign

I still miss the logic of one sign's saying Toutes Directions, indicating all directions, right next to another sign saying other directions. If all means all, how can there be other?! And yet you see that pairing of signs all over France!

This next pairing is even more illogical.
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Pachydermic Prediction of Professions


Are you good at guessing a person's work just by his or her appearance or manner? Some of you might be old enough to remember the old TV show What's My Line? where a panel of four people asked yes and no questions to try to determine the line (occupation) of contestants. My young mind always wondered what "the line" was of several of the panelists, namely Arlene Francis and Dorothy Kilgallen. All I knew about them was their participation on that game show.

picture of irrelephant

In real life, it's an interesting challenge to try to figure out the line of work of people we see. Clothing is sometimes helpful, but not always. Remember when people wore surgical scrubs, not because of their work, but because scrubs were the rage in casual fashion? Our dentist dresses in a T-shirt and jeans in the office, and has done so for years. Frequently dress and other externals are totally irrelevant.

With hunting season just around the corner in some parts of the country, I'm posting a humor classic on determining a person's profession by how he or she hunts an elephant.

How to Tell a Person's Profession by the Method Used to Hunt an Elephant

Mathematicians hunt elephants by going to Africa, throwing out everything that is not an elephant and catching one of whatever is left. Experienced mathematicians will attempt to prove the existence of at least one unique elephant before proceeding to step one as a subordinate exercise.

Professors of mathematics 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.

Theoretical mathematicians catch elephants in a cage by building a cage, going inside, closing the door and — defining the outside as inside.
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What Do You Get When You Cross a…?


picture of DNA

I don't usually think much about genetics, but lately it's been brought back into focus in our lives. Our appearance and myriad other physical traits come from our ancestors through our parents. Among those traits are tendencies toward certain ailments, allergies, etc. It's all written into our DNA. For instance, diabetes does not run in my family — it gallops! I knew that it was not a matter of if, but rather when, I would become diabetic. On my mom's side of the family, at least three generations before mine have all developed type 2 diabetes. I am now dealing with being officially pre-diabetic, doing my best through lifestyle changes to delay the development of diabetes as long as possible.

My wife Becka learned some years ago that she is allergic to aspirin (more accurately salicylates), just as her mother was. Through our daughter Nora's recent experiences, it appears that she has inherited the same allergy. Our son Mark has had the same reaction I had to the cleaning agent now used on blood donors. Fortunately our kids have inherited Becka's good eyesight and not my poor vision. Unfortunately Mark has inherited my flat, narrow feet. And if what we're told about diabetes and genetics is true, my children will probably all develop diabetes at some point in the future, as will my grandchildren, and so on. Sorry, kids.

Some time ago, I found a fun picture that illustrates how genetics works.

picture of genetics

Twins, especially identical twins, hold a special fascination for many of us. I loved both of the following geeky explanations for twinning.
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Potpourri


picture of potpourri

Do you like potpourri? To me, some varities are nice, but many are overpowering to the point of irritation. My French students always seem shocked to learn that the pourri part of the word comes from the French verb pourrir, which means "to rot." Since pourri is the past participle, potpourri is literally a "rotten pot." Unfortunately, some potpourri smells like it.

Today's iv is a collection of oddments that individually aren't enough for a whole blog post. What it amounts to is five different things I've come across that could have each been part of previous blog posts.

I had meant to include this in my most recent blog post on geek humor, but it wasn't in the right folder and was, hence, forgotten. I wonder if it's from the same source that two cartoons were from in my last post. It was sent to me without attribution. (see comments for attribution)

picture of geek cartoon

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