The intellectual equivalent of a ham sandwich.

One Year Later!

Ladies and gentlemen, the kiddo has made it to one year of life! And, mom and dad have too! Phew.

Let’s take a look back (read: lazy post) … here are my posts around the kiddo’s arrival, and all of the daily haiku I’ve been doing.

(Note: I recently looked back on these, and it made me appreciate that I have been doing the daily haiku.)

 

The Big Arrival

The Kiddo – Part I – Watership Down

The Kiddo – Part II – Game Day

The Kiddo – Part III – Chez NICU

 

Monthly Posts

Is the Fog Beginning to Lift? (3 Months)

4 Months and Counting

The Carousel of New Parenthood (5 months)

Month 6, Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Embrace the Short Nap

Month 7, Or Oh the Places You’ll Go (Developmentally)

Month 8, Or Get Up, Come On Get Down With the Sickness

Month 9 or Crawlington Station

Month 10, or Stand Up And Make Your Voice Heard!

Month 11, or OHHH! MY EYE!!!!

 

Haiku

January 2017 Haiku

February 2017 Haiku

March 2017 Haiku

April 2017 Haiku

May 2017 Haiku

June 2017 Haiku

July 2017 Haiku

August 2017 Haiku

September 2017 Haiku

October 2017 Haiku

November 2017 Haiku

December 2017 Haiku

January 2018 Haiku

February 2018 Haiku

March 2018 Haiku

April 2018 Haiku

May 2018 Haiku

June 2018 Haiku

July 2018 Haiku

 

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Attn: Ellen (8/29/18)

Front

Ellen363a

 

Back (apologies for my handwriting!)

Ellen363b

 

The text of the postcard is

Dear Ellen,

My son is now a big one year old! That’s exciting! And the dog, I think as a self-preservation technique, has started to go deaf. Good thinking, pooch!

Sincerely,
DumbFunnery.com

P.S. Headed to listen to a train toy sing about the alphabet … for the 17th time this morning.

Why am I doing this?

 

Chum Week

Dear TV,

Have I got an idea for YOU!

Shark Week.

We all know it, we all love it, or at least pretend to love it to take part in mentioning it over and over. It’s a week of TV, and it’s all about sharks. Where do they shop? What do they eat? What’s their biggest fear (water spiders? do those exist?)? Etc, etc.

Sharks, sharks, sharks.

But what about the little guys who help bring us that grand affair, huh? What about the chum?

IMG_20180818_094838851

Recently I saw my brother and I was wearing this shirt. He asked if I was making a statement about shark week … you know, think of the little guy. Thus – THIS POST!

For example, maybe there are some recipes for chum that even people would like. Mmmm, smells tasty mom! Is that various fish parts and blood?! Yum! Wait, now with seasoning!? Aw mom, you’re the best!!

What was the chum up to before it was caught, thrown into some factory-sized blender, and cranked out in buckets to attract our pals at SHARK WEEK?

And hey, speaking of chums, maybe we profile some famous buddies in addition to the fish guts. Didn’t Abraham Lincoln hang out with Nikola Tesla, or did I just make up that entirely false bit of trivia just this moment?

I don’t know, you’ll have to tune into Chum Week to find out.

(P.S. Naturally, chum week will have to occur right before shark week. It is only fitting.)

We’ve got a real dilemma on our hands here, don’t we porn industry?

I am going to be bold and predict that in 10 years all of the major pizza chains, your Papa Johns, your Pizza Huts, your Dominoes, your … other ones? … will no longer be hiring delivery boys or girls. Nope. It’ll be self-driving cars. Your pizza will ACTUALLY show up still hot because the car will be a self-driving, 200 degree pizza toting pal.

Sure, sure, that’s all well and good for the average pizza consuming person but … what about the porn industry?

Are we to expect that extraordinarily desperate and lascivious women are waiting, scandily clad, by their door for the pizza … vehicle?

IMG_20180818_072724578

The pizza of choice for Racist Robots.

I don’t think so.

Car: ‘Pizza for customer … Wanda Bang.’
Women who just dropped her towel: ‘Oh … hi. Self-driving Ford Fiesta. I’ll just take the pizza. Thanks.’

Yes, people are weird. SUPER WEIRD. But how big is the market for girl on truck action? Like, not literally girl ON truck … clearly there is a market for that based on how many rednecks you see with bumper stickers of women on their trucks. No I mean girl on truck as in like … you know … that thing …

I don’t know what to do. Slow down technological progress? Stop it altogether? Pretend delivery boys still exist? New porn ‘plots’?

I’m afraid I don’t have any solutions, but I just wanted to point out the problem and hope the internet hive mind can come up with a brilliant solution.

Attn: Ellen (8/22/18)

Front

 

Ellen362a

Back (apologies for my handwriting!)

 

Ellen362b

The text of the postcard is

Dear Ellen,

Let’s say you are a rap artist. And you have all your music ideas and lyrics on one computer. Do you call it your laptop? And if yes, does that mean all your songs stink?

Sincerely,
DumbFunnery.com OR
@DumbFunnery

Why am I doing this?

 

I’m working on the Entertaining Speaker series for Toastmasters and I recently completed speech number three: Make Them Laugh. I ended up going a fairly different direction than what I wrote here … but I’m too lazy to re-write this for the sake of the blog. Just know that a large part of the speech was the terrible joke at the end, which I have NOT written out because: 1, I already knew it, and 2, if I ever meet someone in person and they make the mistake of asking me to tell this joke to them I will relish the opportunity. It is truly a terrible joke, and I love telling a very long version of it.

Enjoy the speech?

 

Make Them Laugh?

This speech is for ‘make them laugh’ from the entertaining speaker series, and frankly, I find that ridiculous. Make them laugh!? Make them LAUGH? As though that is not perpetually my objective.

As someone who strives to be funny more often than not, I can tell you that it warms my heart when I get a good laugh, it makes me happy in the moment and later. But, I’ll add, as someone who strives to be funny, I have been not funny … A LOT.

A lot a lot.

Part of that is sense of humor – it’s a subjective thing, and I have something of an odd one.

I can’t tell you any secrets behind humor, or how to make a speech funny, but I can tell you two things: first, times I have thought, ‘this’ll be good’ … and it wasn’t, and having experienced that particularly cruel silence after a failed joke MANY TIMES, I can also tell you how to handle it like a champ.

I

I had managed, somehow, to successfully interview for something called the Engineering Leadership Development Program at my last company. It was competitive, and a fair amount of work. The program lasted three years, and during that time you worked your regular job, and then took night classes, and got a master’s, and had a big work project that was all on your own time. One week every year we had a conference where all these type A high-strung, highly competitive people would get together, take classes, and size each other up.

And also, I was there too.

The program was oriented towards young engineers, I think you had to have less than five years of experience to join. In one of the conference classes the instructor was telling us how we really had more experience than we thought … I found the lesson corny.

He had everyone say how much experience we had and then he wrote the number on a flip chart. ‘Four years, 1 year, 2 years, etc.’ Up went the numbers. Then he asked, with the skills of a very unmotivational motivational speaker, ‘and how much experience does that add up to?!’

I immediately answered, ‘three?’ Because that was SO CLEARLY the wrong answer … and that’s the joke. Right? (big sigh)

Welp. Instead he replied, with the tone of voice you’d expect someone to use on the slow kid in class, ‘oh, it’s higher than that, keep counting, buddy!’

There’s a bright note, though. Which is that I find it very funny, now, that I told a joke that failed so miserably in such an annoyingly competitive environment.

II

And my failures at humor continue to this day. Toastmasters speeches have provided me plenty of opportunities to reflect, after I leave the stage, and think, ‘huh, no one laughed at that.’

My favorite example of that was my Tall Tales competition speech. I know that is a unique environment because everyone is competing and it’s a tense situation … but I really wanted people to, most of all, find my speech quirky and amusing. In my speech I talked about my grandpa and I spotting a bunch of aliens coming to Earth, us going to investigate, and then, what do you know, I’m involved in an intergalactic dance off. And part of that I ACTUALLY DANCED.

I thought, ‘this is so weird! And strange! And fun! The audience will really enjoy this change of pace!’

In the back of the room were Liz, Melanie, Jodi, and my wife, smiling and offering encouraging vibes. But eeeeeeeveryone in front of them? Not so much. I found myself dancing, doing the ‘string knees’ as I stared out into pair of eyes after pair of eyes staring blankly at me.

It was very strange, and I am happy I got to experience that.

III

Generally my failed jokes aren’t in classrooms, or during speeches. The vast majority are conversational. When I told my wife about this speech idea I said, ‘I’m trying to think of times I told a joke and no one laughed’ and she said, ‘oh yeah! There was a terrible one you told the other day!’ She said that excitedly. Love, eh?

The good news is – there are ways to handle these situations.

You could take a sort of … aggressive, quickly fading to a small, simmering self-pep talk approach … ‘That was funny!! That was funny. Right? That was funny.’

You can try to join in with everyone else in not enjoying the joke … even though you just told it. (Step to the side.) ‘Dude … lame joke.’

How about a diversion? (Point like you’re following a bird flying by) ‘Is that a change of subject?’

And of course any combination of weird noises … (Clear throat weirdly for a bit) ‘Hairball.’

IV

My point! If I even have one … Is that humor is ridiculous. ‘Make them laugh’ is ridiculous. There are tried and true ways to go for safe humor, any sitcom can show you that. A lot of those jokes rely on stereotypes and tropes that you’re already so familiar with that you can predict how a joke will end.

That’s not a bad thing, either. Sometimes it’s fun to go for a ride to the punch line even when you know it’s coming.

BUT! You also have to be true to yourself. If you don’t find your speech funny, how will others? Make them laugh is a gamble, make yourself laugh is much more fun. With that in mind, I’m going to close with a joke.

Let me warn you, I have told this joke a few times, and it has NEVER gotten a laugh. It’s gotten a few amused hmph’s … but no outright laughter. But I love this joke, and you all are stuck sitting there listening to me.

<high school prom joke>

Die Hand

Germany … you’re an odd place. And here’s why I say that.

The German word for neck is hals. The word for back is zurück. And ear is ohr. Eye is auge.

Distinct, unique. Clearly words the Germans had thought, ‘we should make words for these things.’

But here’s where they lose me.

The German word for hand … is hand.

The German word for arm … is arm.

The German word for finger … is finger.

It’s like they just completely forgot about those body parts until one day some Germans were hanging out with some English and the Germans realized, ‘oh crap … we don’t have names for any of the stuff connect to our brust (which means chest) … we should come up with names.’

Englishman: ‘and what do you guys call hands?’

German: ‘die hand.’

Englishman: ‘…no, like, in your language.’

German: ‘yah, hand … is hand.’

I would’ve been a pretty skeptical Englishman if I had heard, in sequence, that the German’s words for arm, hand and finger were … arm, hand and finger. And it’s not like the Germans forgot about appendages altogether. Leg is bein, foot is Fuß, and toe is zehe.

Germans, eh, they’re an odd bunch.

Flag of Germany.svg
Public Domain, Link

 

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