Friday, August 29, 2008

Social Networked Humor: Serious Threat To Productivity!

Humanity evolved in an environment of physical and oral humor. No printed humor (except perhaps a few cave drawings), no video humor and above all, no internet humor.

As a result, we have built into us the capacity to remain productive with the occasional bon mot from co-workers, looking forward to an outrageously funny slip-and-fall or other bit of physical humor as needed. The humor supply was limited because it could be distributed only face-to-face. While the total supply of humor worldwide was probably pretty big, you had access only to that in your immediate vicinity and thus could still get some work done.

The internet vastly increases the accessible supply of humor. Someone makes a funny in Austria and they can enjoy it in Australia. With the collapse of barriers to its distribution, the humor accessible to the typical office worker expands more rapidly than anyone can consume it.

Dropping those barriers also increases the absolute supply of humor (to be distinguished from the accessible supply.) When humor distribution was physically limited, the ROI on humor was low because the humorist could be rewarded with a smile or a laugh from a small number of people. However, the internet means millions of persons can enjoy your humor, vastly increasing your ROI and therefore incentive to produce humor. There may be some humorists who can be funny only with a physically present audience, but on the evidence, social networks reward humorists well enough to keep them being funny.

A further accelerant is the ease with which humor can be ranked and searched by quality; this both increases the ROI to the humorist and the virulence of the most easily accessible humor. Half of everything is below average (...let's not quibble between "average' and "media" please...) and pre-internet, the best and most time-wasting humor was presented amid a helpful buffer of dregs. Enough jokes falling flat will send anyone back to work.

However, internet humor is frequently presented with rating tools to separate the good from the garbage. While the quantity of worthless, uninteresting humor available has doubtless increased, rating systems make it easier to find great, attention-grabbing, really interesting humor that chews up your day entirely ... and because it has been purified of the buffering dreck, it's harder to avoid or to stop consuming.

Finally, the social aspect of sharing humor can hardly be overstated. In your immediate physical surroundings, there may be no-one who appreciates your SOH but you can get appreciation and validation (...or rejection and abuse, if you prefer...) easily on the internet.

Humor is like carbohydrates: necessary to life, but harmful in excess. We evolved with a limited supply of each in our environment; they were a lot of work to gather; we need them buffered by husks and stuff. But today we get an unlimited supply of humor and carbos, laced with weird variant like high-fructose corn syrup that persuade us we're having fun while they're killing us, or at least killing our productive day.

I hope that I have killed the joy in internet humor so you can get back to work. But if you insist on consuming this plentiful, purified time killing substance, try these ... and be warned:
  • The canonical lolCats site:
  • FailBlog: a variation on lolCats, with photos & videos of failures
  • lolCats Bible: wikiHumor takes lolCats in a whole new direction
  • Webcomics: in case you don't waste enough time reading the comics in your newspaper. Note the "latest updated" feature - so you can focus on the 11,000 most recently updated strips. (Since there are over 86,000 seconds in a day, you have plenty of time to stay current!)
  • Clientcopia: Work anecdotes. Contribute your own and ruin the productivity of others!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Body Wash ?!?

So I'm trying out this fancy new exercise facility (what once was called a "gym") and when it's time to take a shower, I am delighted to see that it features a variety of presumably shower-appropriate substances in large plastic pump bottles.

The one on the right is labeled "Shampoo", a word that has amused me since I was aged five ("sham" + "poo" get it? ... you might if you're aged five.) Then there's "Conditioner" which seems redundant for have I not spent the last hour conditioning myself? But I slap some on the muscles ... why not?

Finally we get to "Body Wash". WTF? No soap? Instead of soap, there's this stuff that I guess I "wash" my "body" with. Leaping over the probably pointless distinction between "body" and "head", I fly directly to the question of whether to trust ANY substance labeled with a verb. Stuff labeled "Tasty Eat" should be avoided.
"Wash"?The name of the thing is also its instruction manual? Is this like "soap" only for people too stupid to know what you do with "soap"?

"Hey, this says soap? What's it for? Gee I wish I had something to wash my body with."

I figure the urinal could be labeled "pee catch" and that the toilet paper ... well there are so many things you can do with TP, you'd need several squares just to print the name: "Biowaste absorb and prank decorate" just for starters.

Well, I'm going to make some "Caffeine drink" now.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

One More For The Good Guys! and it was easy!

How easy do you want it?

I'm having coffee with my sister and my one of my smart-and-lovely nieces (they're all smart; they're all lovely. I can't take credit.) The teenager is annoyed; she was born just a little too late to vote in November. What can she do?

"Here you go," I said, "Do you know anyone who COULD vote but isn't registered?"

"Yes, there's (name omitted). She said she's not registered and she's pretty busy."

"Give her this form and have her fill it out."


"Suggest she check the "absentee" box so her ballot will go right to her. Then make sure she mails in the registration ASAP. And when she gets her ballot, make sure she mails that in too. Bingo! it's almost as good as if you'd voted! And take this spare form in your purse, for when you meet someone else who needs to register."

"Oh yeah!"

That was easy! I may have just gotten another voter to sign up, with very little effort.

The only problem: Now I need more forms!

P.S. Want to register to vote in your state? See:

Monday, August 25, 2008

5 Worst McCain House Jokes

John McCain walks into a bar and the bartender says, "Drinks are on the house!"

McCain said: "Which house?"

McCain and his wife are playing poker.

Cindy McCain says "Honey, I have a full house."

John McCain says: "Well, let's buy a few more then."

Did you hear McCain is getting a TV shows?

They're going to call it: "These Old Houses"

Q: What's McCain's favorite restaurant?

A: "Houses of Pancakes"
(He likes it because it has counter help.)

The McCains were looking for a couple of new mansions. Their real estate agent asked: "I can show you one with a green house."

"Well," said John, "I think we already have some green ones. How about something blue?"

digg this story

Daily Show's 8 Best '08 Olympic Moments

Have you had too much of the Olympics yet? Here's some help from Jon Stewart and The Daily Show.

read more | digg story