Applications I need to remember exist

Software and cathedrals are much the same -- first we build them, then we pray.

Sam Redwine

Alfred E. Neuman quotes up to 2005

Fa, fa, fa.

Alfred E. Neuman

  • Show me a trunk murderer, and I'll show you a sloppy packer. (Issue 038)
  • Bars are something which if you go into too many of, you're apt to come out singing a few of, and maybe land behind some! (Issue 039)
  • It takes 12,000 workers to put a bottle of milk on your doorstep, and at 4 A.M. in the morning, it sounds like it. (Issue 040)
  • There are more important things in life than money... but they won't go out with you if you haven't got any! (Issue 041)
  • Conscience is what hurts when everything else feels so good! (Issue 042)
  • Kissing a girl because she lets you is like scratching a place that doesn't itch! (Issue 044)
  • It is no longer a question of where civilization began, but if it ever did! (Issue 045)
  • The big guns in business are the guys who haven't as yet been fired! (Issue 047)
  • America was once "The Melting Pot"... now it's "The Pressure Cooker!" (Issue 048)
  • One sure way parents can keep their teenage daughters out of hot water is to put some dishes in it! (Issue 049)
  • Astronomers point out that star clusters, galaxies, in fact the whole universe is racing away from Earth at 15,000 miles per second. Can you blame it? (Issue 050)
  • A fellow will go out with a girl if she's really different from other girls... the difference being she'll go out with him. (Issue 051)
  • Even a Castanet doesn't click every time! (Issue 052)
  • Adolescence is that period in a child's life when his parents become most difficult! (Issue 053)
  • It's a good idea to keep your words soft and sweet because you never know when you'll have to eat them! (Issue 054)
  • In the old days on radio, you used to wonder what the studio audience was laughing at. Nowadays on TV, you wonder why! (Issue 055)
  • Invariably, the contents of a will are a dead giveaway! (Issue 056)
  • Behind almost every successful man is a woman who doesn't have a thing to wear! (Issue 057)
  • That little voice inside us, which used to be our conscience, is now a pocket radio! (Issue 058)
  • When adults act like children, they're called 'immature' -- When children act like adults, they're called 'juvenile delinquents'! (Issue 059)
  • A loaf of bread, a jug of wine, and thou beside me... and pretty soon I'll be fat, drunk, and in trouble! (Issue 060)
  • Taking your wife to a convention is like taking the game warden hunting. (Issue 061)
  • The nicest thing about success is you don't have to listen to good advice any more. (Issue 062)
  • People get into financial difficulty when they don't act their wage! (Issue 063)
  • People with bad coughs should go to Doctors instead of Theaters! (Issue 064)
  • Some people are like blisters, they show up right after the work is done! (Issue 065)
  • Only a light bulb can go out every night and still be bright the next day! (Issue 066)
  • Petting is one game where the players prefer to stay on the bench! (Issue 067)
  • The main thing wrong with the younger generation is a lot of us don't belong to it anymore! (Issue 068)
  • Alarm clocks invariably scare the daylights into people! (Issue 069)
  • You'll never get rid of a bad temper by losing it! (Issue 071)
  • The trouble with trying to 'get away from it all' these days is that most of it is portable! (Issue 072)
  • People go on vacation to forget things... and when they open their bags, they remember what they forgot! (Issue 073)
  • If your wife wants to drive, don't stand in her way! (Issue 074)
  • Learn from the mistakes of others, 'cause you'll never live long enough to make 'em all yourself. (Issue 075)
  • Housework is what a woman does that nobody ever notices -- until she doesn't do it. (Issue 076)
  • If Communism is such a big success, why don't they put up a 'picture window' instead of an 'iron curtain'? (Issue 078)
  • It's a good thing the Earth turned out to be round, because putting a satellite into a square orbit would've been costly! (Issue 079)
  • Girls who try to be 'talking encyclopedias' should remember that reference books are never taken out! (Issue 080)
  • You never know bow many friends you have until you rent a Summer place! (Issue 081)
  • Some minds are like concrete... all mixed up and permanently set! (Issue 082)
  • If we're going to insure better education for our children, we better start pulling some wires -- mainly the ones on the TV, Radio and Hi-Fi! (Issue 083)
  • Working on a job may not be as hard as it used to be, but it certainly is a lot more taxing. (Issue 084)
  • The good thing about Rock 'n' Roll records is when they wear out, you can't tell the difference. (Issue 085)
  • Somehow I always get the same seat at a ball game -- between the hot dog vendor and his best customer. (Issue 086)
  • Sometimes, the best scheme for doubling your money is to fold it in half and stuff it back in your wallet! (Issue 087)
  • Everybody's looking for less to do, more time to do it in, and more pay for not doing it. (Issue 088)
  • A sense of humor is what makes you laugh at something which would make you sore if it happened to you! (Issue 090)
  • A tree is something that stands in one place for fifty years, and then all of a sudden jumps out in front of a woman driver. (Issue 091)
  • If you want to know what it's going to be like being married to your girl, just watch how she treats her little brother! (Issue 092)
  • You can't do anything about the family you were born into, but you can do something about the family your children will be born into! (Issue 093)
  • Many a girl in love with a cleft chin makes the mistake of marrying the whole man! (Issue 094)
  • Occasionally a bachelor will find a girl who has everything -- looks, charm, grace, wit, personality, common sense, and a husband with three children! (Issue 095)
  • One of the biggest improvements we could make in the American Home is to take the scale out of the bathroom and put it in front of the refrigerator! (Issue 096)
  • Today's 'Non-Conformists' are getting harder and harder to tell apart! (Issue 097)
  • Stop complaining about the Summer heat! Just be grateful you don't have to shovel it! (Issue 098)
  • When it comes to absorbing information, some people are like blotters: they soak it all in, but they get it all backwards! (Issue 099)
  • Usually, when people give up smoking, they substitute something else for it... mainly bragging! (Issue 100)
  • 'Thinking' is what happens when you finally close your mouth and your head starts talking sense to itself! (Issue 101)
  • Some sons of brilliant fathers are such disappointments that it would seem enlightening doesn't strike in the same place twice. (Issue 102)
  • This summer, buy your girl a Bikini. It's the least you can do for her! (Issue 103)
  • There's one thing we know for sure about the speed of light: It gets here too early in the morning! (Issue 104)
  • When money talks, nobody criticizes its accent! (Issue 105)
  • Whether a man winds up with a nest egg or a goose egg often depends upon the chick he marries! (Issue 106)
  • Usually, when 'money grows on trees,' there's a lot of grafting going on! (Issue 107)
  • A Class Reunion is when Alumni get together to find out who's too successful to show up! (Issue 108)
  • Efficiency Experts are smart enough to tell you how to run your business, and too smart to start one of their own! (Issue 109)
  • Most of us don't know exactly what we want, but we're pretty sure we don't have it. (Issue 110)
  • A clock-watcher is liable to wind up as just another one of the hands! (Issue 111)
  • A wedding ring is like a tourniquet--it cuts off your circulation! (Issue 112)
  • An electronic computer and a bikini swim suit are very much alike... they both eliminate a great deal of guesswork! (Issue 113)
  • Mothers-in-Law are like seeds -- you don't need them, but they come with the tomato! (Issue 114)
  • Good manners are what one man shows to another man's wife! (Issue 115)
  • Parents who have a lot of kids deserve plenty of credit! In fact, they can't very well get along without it. (Issue 116)
  • Everyone knows the difference between 'right' and 'wrong'... it's just that some people can't make a decision! (Issue 117)
  • Live within your income and you'll live without worry --and other things. (Issue 118)
  • Making out your Income Tax form is like making out a laundry list -- either way, you lose your shirt! (Issue 119)
  • The longer you nurse a grudge, the longer it takes to get better! (Issue 120)
  • Familiarity breeds attempt! (Issue 121)
  • A kiss is valid proof that two heads are better than one. (Issue 122)
  • Raising children is like taking pictures: You never know how they'll come out! (Issue 123)
  • When it comes to hindsight, everybody's got 20-20 vision! (Issue 124)
  • For every man whose career begins to flower, there's another with poison envy! (Issue 125)
  • The grass is always greener at the Golf Club that has a restricted membership! (Issue 126)
  • The trouble with most neighborhoods is that there are too many hoods in them, and not enough neighbors! (Issue 127)
  • Mini-skirts are getting so short these days, there's probably more cotton in the top of a bottle of aspirin! (Issue 128)
  • Bachelors, like detergents, work fast and leave no rings! (Issue 129)
  • Golf and Success are very similar: you strive to get to the green... and then you're in the hole! (Issue 130)
  • As grown-ups get older, work seems a lot less fun, and fun seems a lot more work! (Issue 131)
  • A Diplomat is someone who can keep his shirt on while getting something off his chest! (Issue 132)
  • By the time a guy is in shape to buy his wife beautiful clothes, she isn't! (Issue 133)
  • Many a TV Pilot is a Kamikaze! (Issue 134)
  • Blessed are the Censors, for they shall inhibit the Earth! (Issue 135)
  • Marriage is like drugs to some people; they keep taking one dope after another! (Issue 136)
  • The only reason more American families don't own an elephant is they've never been offered one for a dollar down and a dollar a week! (Issue 137)
  • When you give back all of your ill-gotten gains, you're a Reformed Crook. When you keep most of the loot and only give back a small part of it, you're a Philanthropist! (Issue 138)
  • Most people are too lazy to open the door when opportunity knocks! (Issue 139)
  • A political candidate is someone who rises on whatever the people will fall for! (Issue 140)
  • Man cannot live on bread alone... but plenty get by just on crust! (Issue 141)
  • You want to see 85, don't look for it on the speedometer! (Issue 142)
  • Nowadays, most bank accounts need month-to-month resuscitation! (Issue 143)
  • Nowadays, most bank accounts need month-to-month resuscitation! (Issue 144)
  • Sometimes it pays to resist a temptation. A better one may be coming along! (Issue 145)
  • Today, the game isn't 'Following The Leader'... it's 'Swallowing The Leader'! (Issue 146)
  • It's what you learn after you know it all that really counts! (Issue 147)
  • Many a self-made man was constructed by forced labor. (Issue 148)
  • Alimony is the high cost of leaving! (Issue 149)
  • Marriage is like a bath; once you're into it and you've gotten used to it, it's not so hot. (Issue 150)
  • It's hard to believe that a man will propose to a girl under a light he wouldn't even pick out a suit by! (Issue 151)
  • The trouble with modern apartments is: the walls are too thin when you try to sleep, and too thick when you try to listen! (Issue 152)
  • If you were old before your time, you probably got that way having a time before you were old! (Issue 153)
  • Living on a budget is the same as living beyond your means, except that now you have a record of it. (Issue 154)
  • Many of our politicians who were swept into office should have been brushed aside! (Issue 155)
  • Men don't marry women on $75.00 a week any more! A girl's gotta be earning at least twice that much! (Issue 156)
  • Flattery is the art of telling someone exactly what he thinks of himself! (Issue 157)
  • More diets begin in clothing stores than in doctors offices! (Issue 158)
  • Life begins at 40 -- except for those who went like 60 when they were 20! (Issue 159)
  • Tears are the hydraulic force through which masculine will-power is defeated by feminine water-power! (Issue 160)
  • You know the Honeymoon is over when your dog brings your slippers, and your wife harks at you! (Issue 161)
  • The great advantage of compact cars is that you can get twice as many of them into traffic jams! (Issue 162)
  • Today, there is a marked increase in communication and exchange between students... mainly, mononucleosis! (Issue 163)
  • Before arguing with your boss, it may be well to look at both sides: His side... and the Outside! (Issue 164)
  • A Supermarket is where you spend half an hour hunting for instant coffee! (Issue 165)
  • Man does not live by bread alone! Once in a while, he needs buttering up! (Issue 166)
  • Don't worry about forgetting your girl-friend's birthday: you'll catch it later! (Issue 167)
  • Don't worry about forgetting your girl-friend's birthday: you'll catch it later! (Issue 168)
  • Summer is the time of year when the Highway Department closes the regular roads and opens the detours! (Issue 169)
  • Your money and your vacation never seem to run out at the same time! (Issue 170)
  • Driving while drunk often leads to mourning after! (Issue 171)
  • The average man is a guy who spends his whole life trying to prove to everybody that he isn't! (Issue 172)
  • Some people will do anything to hang on to a job... except work! (Issue 173)
  • The women who go around wearing padded bras, false eyelashes and phony wigs are usually the ones who complain, 'There aren't any real men left!' (Issue 174)
  • Today, it takes more brains and effort to make out the Income Tax Form than it does to make the income! (Issue 175)
  • Eliminating unemployment should be our major concern... and we can start by getting rid of the thousands of 'non-workers' on Government payrolls! (Issue 176)
  • People who borrow will take anything--but a hint! (Issue 177)
  • The President's 'Economic Theories' means putting your money where his mouth is! (Issue 178)
  • The early bird gets the worm... but look what happens to the early worm! (Issue 179)
  • A rolling stone gathers no moss... but it always ends up at the bottom of the hill! (Issue 180)
  • The pen is mightier than the sword... except when it runs out of ink! (Issue 181)
  • Still waters run deep... but they're usually stagnant! (Issue 182)
  • A watched pot never boils... but, then, neither do the contents burn! (Issue 183)
  • Better late than never... unless you're going to the Dentist! (Issue 184)
  • What goes up must come down... except, it seems these days, the cost of living! (Issue 185)
  • Neither a borrower, nor a lender be ... and the whole country would be out of business! (Issue 186)
  • Absence makes the heart grow fonder... of someone else who's around! (Issue 187)
  • A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush -- but it can also make for a pretty messy hand! (Issue 188)
  • Nature tends to fill a vacuum... but so does the act of cleaning the house. (Issue 189)
  • Stone walls do not a prison make, nor iron bars a cage... but they do a pretty good job of keeping you confined! (Issue 190)
  • Out of the mouths of babies oft come gems... not to mention germs... and undigested food! (Issue 191)
  • Cast your bread upon the waters, and it will return ... as soggy bread! (Issue 192)
  • Summer is the time of year when there's not much on TV ... or on the girls at the beach! (Issue 193)
  • Modern technology has developed a 15 cent soda can which, when discarded, will last forever... and a $5000 automobile which, when taken care of, will rust out in two or three years! (Issue 194)
  • Credit cards are what people use after they discover that money can't buy everything! (Issue 195)
  • If you were to kick the person responsible for most of your problems, you wouldn't be able to sit down for a week! (Issue 196)
  • Enjoy yourself! It's later on you'll think! (Issue 197)
  • A successful man is a clod just like you who worked harder! (Issue 199)
  • Living it up is like taking out insurance... the older you get, the more it costs you! (Issue 200)
  • Falling in love is like eating mushrooms: You're never sure it's the real thing until it's too late! (Issue 201)
  • Eat, drink and be merry... for tomorrow, it'll cost you a lot more... thanks to inflation! (Issue 202)
  • Experience is something you never have until just after you need it! (Issue 204)
  • A miser is tough to live with, but he makes a terrific ancestor! (Issue 205)
  • In the old days, most men who finished a day's work needed rest! Today, they need exercise! (Issue 206)
  • The trouble with some people who don't have very much to say is that you have to listen so long to find out! (Issue 207)
  • For some people, counting calories is a weigh of life! (Issue 208)
  • Most of the books published these days go into total obscurity... especially the ones your friends borrow! (Issue 209)
  • The trouble with most vacation resorts is they never have the same shapely girls you saw in their ads! (Issue 210)
  • They really shouldn't ban praying in public schools! After all, that was the only way most of us got through! (Issue 211)
  • Beware of the guy who comes up and slaps you on the back. He's bound to expect you to cough up something! (Issue 212)
  • A racetrack is where the windows clean the people! (Issue 213)
  • "Some people never do anything on time ... except buy! (Issue 214)
  • Heartburn is a Justice of the Pizza! (Issue 215)
  • Vision is what some people claim they have when they find that they've guessed correctly! (Issue 216)
  • One thing modern science can't seem to get the bugs out of is fresh paint! (Issue 217)
  • After listening to all the campaign speeches, it's easy to see why they call Politics 'the most promising of careers'! (Issue 219)
  • If you're watching a movie on TV, and the girl says 'No!' -- you know it's an old movie! (Issue 220)
  • When you're in deep water, it's a good idea to keep your mouth shut! (Issue 221)
  • Ever notice that "doing their thing" seems to be an obsession with people who don't seem to have a thing to do? (Issue 222)
  • Some modern housewives are the kind who put off today what their husbands can do over the weekend! (Issue 223)
  • 'Economics' is the study that tells you that the best time to buy anything was six months ago' (Issue 224)
  • Live every day as if it were your last, because one of these days, you'll be right! (Issue 225)
  • Nuclear energy may be the one thing that will finally prove to us that all men are cremated equal! (Issue 226)
  • Silence isn't always golden! Sometimes it's just plain yellow! (Issue 227)
  • If at first you don't succeed... you re about normal! (Issue 228)
  • Today, if a movie is rated 'G', the hero gets the girl; if it's rated 'R', the villain gets the girl; and if it's rated 'X', everybody gets the girl! (Issue 229)
  • There must be a lot of good in people because so little of it ever comes out! (Issue 230)
  • Life is what happens to you while you re busy making future plans! (Issue 231)
  • Ever notice that to entertain some people, all you have to do is listen? (Issue 232)
  • Money still talks these days! Trouble is, you have to increase the volume a lot! (Issue 233)
  • It's really amazing how unimportant your job is when you're asking for a raise... and how important it can be when you want a day off! (Issue 234)
  • One reason it's so expensive to support the government these days is because so many people are holding it up! (Issue 235)
  • A born executive is a guy whose father owns the business! (Issue 236)
  • After all is said and done, there's always a lot more said than done! (Issue 239)
  • It's better to sleep on something you plan to do than be kept awake by something you've done! (Issue 240)
  • Most people can't stand a poor loser... or a rich winner! (Issue 241)
  • The trouble with doing nothing is you can't quit and rest! (Issue 242)
  • Adam was lucky! He never had to listen to Eve talk about the other men she could have married! (Issue 243)
  • We all know how to shut our mouths ... but few of us know when! (Issue 244)
  • Man is the only animal that blushes... or has reason to! (Issue 245)
  • The successful politician knows how to remain in the public eye without irritating it! (Issue 247)
  • The first thing a guy notices about a girl... depends on which way she's going! (Issue 248)
  • Some girls get so love sick, they take the first pill that comes along! (Issue 249)
  • Anatomy is something that everybody has... but it looks better on girls! (Issue 250)
  • The chief difference between ignorance and innocence is: you don't need an expensive lawyer to be found ignorant! (Issue 252)
  • People who make the same mistake the second time are the lucky ones who didn't kill themselves making it the first time! (Issue 253)
  • Practice makes perfect... except with Russian Roulette, where practice just makes a mess! (Issue 254)
  • Even the man who has everything is envious of the man who has two of everything! (Issue 255)
  • Notice how girls who claim that all men are alike seldom have trouble spotting the difference between you and Tom Selleck? (Issue 257)
  • 'Computer errors' are most often caused by computers picking the wrong job applicant to run the computer! (Issue 258)
  • The biggest flaw in the 'Star Wars' system is that it will drive the Soviets to develop an 'Empire Strikes Back' system! (Issue 259)
  • The best things in life are free -- the expensive part is paying for the dinner and movie that comes first! (Issue 260)
  • One of the most strenuous exercises is putting the thought of food to the back of your mind! (Issue 261)
  • Have you noticed that political promises are usually in one year and out the other? (Issue 262)
  • In the past we blamed bad people on the environment, now we blame the environment on bad people! (Issue 263)
  • A masochist is one who paints himself into a corner and then applies a second coat! (Issue 264)
  • Only in America could a letter that offers a prize of two million dollars be regarded as junk mail! (Issue 265)
  • It's no wonder politicians don't listen to their conscience. They don't want to take advice from a total stranger. (Issue 266)
  • People on ego trips should buy one-way tickets. (Issue 267)
  • The only man entitled to be asleep at the switch is the owner of an electric blanket. (Issue 268)
  • An argument is two people trying to get in the last word first. (Issue 269)
  • Why is it that things always look greener in the other guy's wallet? (Issue 270)
  • Modesty is the art of drawing attention to whatever it is you're being humble about! (Issue 271)
  • It's astonishing how politicians never say anything, yet always insist they're being misquoted! (Issue 272)
  • The ups and downs of the economy are the result of having elected too many yo-yos. (Issue 273)
  • The reason politicians are so busy is that they spend half their time passing laws, and the other half helping their friends get around them! (Issue 274)
  • A lot of people who complain they don't get what they deserve don't know how lucky they are! (Issue 275)
  • Nothing like a little exercise to change a person's life -- especially if it's a walk down the aisle! (Issue 276)
  • Nowadays, government employees are people who aren't ashamed of their convictions. (Issue 278)
  • When most people put in their two cents worth, they aren't over-charging! (Issue 279)
  • A lawyer is someone who writes a 30-page document and calls it a brief! (Issue 280)
  • There was a time when a preacher's Little Black Book was the Bible! (Issue 281)
  • The reason money doesn't grow on trees is because the banks own all the branches! (Issue 282)
  • In the past, stocks split. Today, they just fall apart! (Issue 283)
  • You know the world's in trouble when it takes 2,000 laws to enforce the Ten Commandments! (Issue 284)
  • Nowadays, the only time a politician is telling the truth is when he calls another politician a liar. (Issue 285)
  • These days the meaning of "a faithful husband" is one whose alimony checks arrive on time! (Issue 286)
  • If most people said what's on their minds, they'd be speechless! (Issue 287)
  • As Sen. John Tower learned, dignity is something that can't be preserved with alcohol! (Issue 288)
  • Good hospitality is making your guests feel at home, even when you wish they were! (Issue 289)
  • The trouble with learning from experience is that you get the test before the lesson! (Issue 290)
  • You know illiteracy is a problem when the only thing most people can read are George Bush's lips! (Issue 291)
  • It's called take-home pay because there's nowhere else you can afford to go with it! (Issue 292)
  • It's not just the ups and downs that make life difficult. It's the jerks. (Issue 293)
  • Ever notice how people who say, 'That's the way the ball bounces' are usually the ones who dropped it? (Issue 294)
  • A gossip columnist is someone who uses dirt to make a mountain out of a molehill! (Issue 295)
  • T.V. would be a lot more worthwhile if they shot fewer shows and more producers. (Issue 298)
  • Life is like a shower. One wrong turn and you're in hot water! (Issue 299)
  • What, me worry? (Issue 300)
  • Remember the good old days, when the government lived within its income and without most of yours? (Issue 302)
  • Germs attack people where they're weakest -- which is why there are so many head colds. (Issue 303)
  • An employer is someone who's late when you're early and early when you're late! (Issue 304)
  • Elections are when people find out what politicians stand for, and politicians find out what people will fall for. (Issue 305)
  • America is a land which fought for freedom and then began passing laws to get rid of it! (Issue 306)
  • The dollar will never fall as low as what some people will do to get it! (Issue 308)
  • Nowadays, men of so-called Presidential timber are mostly bark! (Issue 309)
  • We're living in an age when lemonade is made with artificial ingredients and furniture polish is made with real lemons! (Issue 310)
  • Today, too many workers spend their time trying to make their weekends meet! (Issue 311)
  • Politicians are people who get sworn in and then cursed out! (Issue 312)
  • The same parent who tells you it's time to find yourself will also tell you to get lost! (Issue 313)
  • The distance between many people's ears is a block! (Issue 314)
  • The problem with the ladder of success is that by the time you've climbed it, you're considered over the hill. (Issue 316)
  • The suburbs are where they cut down all the trees and then name the streets after them! (Issue 317)
  • If banks are so good with numbers, why are there always eight windows and three tellers? (Issue 318)
  • April 15th is a day that tests a person's power of deductions! (Issue 319)
  • It's a good idea to save your money. One day it might be worth something again! (Issue 320)
  • How is it that people looking for a helping hand tend to overlook the one at the end of their own arm? (Issue 321)
  • The reason most doctors don't believe in acupuncture is because they'd rather stick us with the bill! (Issue 323)
  • Most people don't act stupid; it's the real thing! (Issue 324)
  • These days, the problem with many neighborhoods is that there are more hoods than neighbors! (Issue 325)
  • Most wives are like ventriloquists -- they stand there nodding while the dummy does all the talking! (Issue 398)


The city's central computer told you?! R2D2, you know better than to trust a strange computer!


When I teach math to students who want to use calculators or argue with people who like voting by touchscreen, I always find myself trying to explain why you should be careful trusting machines too much. Even though they make very few mistakes of their own, human error/corruption is always present. I just remembered the best, simple demonstration of this principle:


Dove Promises

This morning I ate a piece of Dove Promises candy that I''d received as a gift. I noticed that there was a message printed in the foil wrapper. Was the message "You will find happiness with a new love" or "Your lucky numbers are 5 9 17 18 24 46"? No, it said

Get your feet massaged.

Do I really need to spoil myself some more? I'm already eating a bar of chocolate.

Miscellaneous stuff

Harde Knox University

Caveat Lector

I have gleaned these rules through decades of trial and error. Since it is considered “impolite” to ask about directly, I can only guess at these rules.

Most rules may only apply to white American males between twenty and forty years old -- since this is the only experience I have.

These rules should be taken very seriously if you want to be respected in middle-class American society. Outside the United States and/or the middle-class, there are entirely different rules.

Many of these rules are arbitrary, wasteful, or downright dangerous. If you find a rule truly disagreeable, find a way to hide what you really do and pretend to obey the rule.

A more professional attempt at the same thing


  • You must brush your teeth after you eat breakfast and after you eat dinner, but claim to brush your teeth after every meal you eat.
  • You must floss at least once a day, but claim to floss every time you brush your teeth.
  • You must claim to gargle with mouth-wash every time you brush. If you perceive that people are unhappy with your breath you should actually use mouth-wash up to three times daily. If nobody appears to notice your breath, you can avoid mouth-wash altogether. Be wary, however, that people will often criticize your breath to others, but not alert you to any problems. If you are at all sensitive to this type of treatment, you should use mouth-wash before interaction with the general public.
  • Bathe (preferably shower) at least once per 24 hours. If you, due to extreme emergency, go 24 hours or more without bathing, you must apologize to everyone you meet for having performed manual labor which has caused you to perspire. Do not admit to not having bathed. Nobody will tell you that your appearance or smell is offensive, so you must immediately apologize at your first interaction of the day with everyone.
  • You must claim to wash your hair every time you bathe. How often you wash your hair in reality will depend on many factors such as race, gender, and hair-style.
  • You must wash your hands, with soap, after any interaction with a toilet. This is one of the few rules that has basis in actual hygiene. You can make other people ill if you fail to do this.
  • Feet are considered dirty even when freshly washed. You cannot touch anything with them whether bare, in socks, or in shoes.
  • Walking in bare feet is considered "unhygienic".
  • You must claim to get your hair cut or trimmed at least monthly. You may, in reality, never cut it if you are female. If you are male, you must keep your hair shorter than neck-line, unless you are considered to be extremely attractive.
  • You must claim to comb your hair several times a day, though in reality, you must only do this once a day, after you bathe.
  • (Update) How to comb your hair is a moving target. Some years parting in the middle is the norm. Some years choosing a side is, other years, it's unacceptable. In recent years, the safest bet has been to towel dry male hair and leave it messy. Female hair can be parted in the middle, but, as is always the case for females, the fashion rules are really quite complicated. The rules are completely incomprehensible to me if your hair is kinky.
  • You must apply under-arm deoderant immediately after you bathe.
  • You must clip your finger-nails extremely low so they cannot collect dirt. Cleaning them with the knife included in your nail-clipper is unacceptable.
  • You must claim to immediately wash any article of clothing, other than shoes, after one use. In reality, you may wear any article of clothing repeatedly until it is obvious to others that you have worn it more than once. Because you cannot detect the scent of your own body accumulating on your clothing, you cannot smell your clothing to tell whether or not it is acceptable. You must develop a sense for how often different articles may be worn without accumulating too much of your natural body-odors. A general rule of thumb is
  • Shirts: wear only once if you sweat at all during the day, twice if not. Note that you may sweat without noticing while performing manual labor, and then forget when you remove your shirt later.
  • Socks and underwear: wear only once. If stained by anything such as bodily waste, coffee, tea, or ink, you must dispose of underwear immediately. Though, if worn, your underwear is not usually exposed to the public, it may be suddenly exposed if you change in a locker-room or get into an automobile accident. You may retain socks for as long as you like, regardless of the number of stains and holes they may accrue. If they are ever exposed to anyone, however, you must claim that they are the only pair of socks you have that have these problems.
  • Pants: can be worn up to five times if jeans and three times if slacks. You must examine closely to note how dusty the cuffs get. At the first indication of dust on the cuffs, you must wash, even if you've only worn them once.
  • Also, note that if you wear an article of clothing more than once, you must refrain from wearing said article on consecutive days, as this will give you away. If you accidentally wear the same article two days in a row, claim to have just done the laundry the previous evening and add, "I really love this (shirt/pair of socks/pair of pants)."
  • You must never stick your finger in your ear or nose, even surreptitiously. You must blow your nose to remove anything, no matter how small. Likewise, you must a use a q-tip to remove anything from your ears.
  • You must claim to wear underwear unless sleeping or bathing. You do not actually have to wear them, though.


  • If you wear anything that reveals your socks, for instance a pair of shorts, you must crumple your socks down sloppily. You cannot roll them down carefully; it is important to get a haphazard effect. Under no circumstances, can you wear your socks stretched up over your calves as their design seems to imply.
  • Clothes must not "clash" in color and style, but also must not match too precisely in color.
  • You are either a "hat person" or not. In the former case you must never be seen without a hat, in the latter, you must never wear one.
  • You must claim to wear clothes while sleeping. You do not actually have to wear them, though.


  • When people say "How are you?" you must not tell them how you are. You must respond with one of the following
  • "Fine."
  • "Good."
  • "So-so."
  • "How are you?" (strangely enough, this works)
  • If you are a passenger in a car, you must claim to enjoy any music, or lack of music, coming from the driver's radio.
  • If you ride in any public transit vehicle, you must avoid eye contact with any other passengers. Usually, you should stare fixedly at one spot if not pretending to read a book or look at your wrist-watch.
  • You must wear a wrist-watch at all times if you are male.
  • You must claim to be apolitical and areligious.
  • You must never contradict any part of an anecdote that somebody is telling.
  • You must never express doubt in another person's personal beliefs.
  • You must never criticize another person's appearance positively or negatively unless asked. If asked, you must invariably respond positively.
  • Strong memorization of details is considered equivalent to respect for an object or person. The more you can memorize about a person, the more you appear to care about them. Conversely, the more you forget about a person or object, the less esteem you appear to hold him or it in. Upon meeting somebody, you should memorize facts 1 and 2. To appear to care more, memorize more facts on the list.
  • His first name.
  • His last name.
  • His birthday.
  • His favorite sport(s) and food(s).
  • His birthplace.
  • His middle name(s).

You cannot ever state that you have the facts memorized, they must come up naturally in conversation. Though, in reality, you could be deeply in love with someone and not remember fact 1, you must not reveal this. When you have forgotten anything, it is taboo to ask, you must glean the information secretly. - Use of him/he/his when the gender of a person is unknown is considered an assertion of the superiority of men, non-existence of women, or something else equally untenable and offensive. You must instead use any of a number of awkward circumlocutions. Your sensitivity to the plight of women is measured by the awkwardness of the circumlocution. So, for example, replacing him/he/his with them/they/their is considered polite. But, replacing him/he/his with "her or him"/"she or he"/"her or his" ranks a person among the most ardent feminists. You must change which circumlocution you use to match the criteria of your listener. It is virtually impossible to tell what will offend and what will please, so the safest thing to do is to wait for your listener to use an ambiguous pronoun.

The S. H. Philosophy

Remember last week when that lady tried to shoot herself in her car on the freeway? The freeway was blocked while the police tried to convince her not to do it. That's the way it always works. That lady's got some problems. Those good 15 policemen have to try to help her. But who's really being affected? The thousands of normal people like you and me who are sitting on the freeway. They just want to go to work. They want to earn money to make their children's lives good and help their communities. And look what happens to them!

Yes, with reservations, of course, I agree.


I was reading the webpage of my hero, Donald Knuth inventor of TEX , when I read his argument for "email" replacing "e-mail". I hyphenate e-mail. Not because I think of e-mail as weird mail, but because I can't accept the idea of a letter being pronounced by its name instead of its sound, unless there's a hyphen, or it's an actual abbreviation like IRS. I don't want to change

  • x-ray to xray
  • q-bert to qbert
  • P-Diddy to Pdiddy
  • g-men to gmen
  • X-men to Xmen

etc. My wise friend Alex Boisvert noted that "ufology," the "study of ufos" works this way, but that's why I think "ufology" sounds like a made up word. I'm all for common usage ruling — Johnson complained about using 'fun' as a noun — but this is just a personal choice. Everybody in the world and all my descendents can go around "emailing" each other, but I'll always accidentally read that as "emmail". As for words like asymmetric, amorphous, and amoral, the "a" isn't an abbreviation, so I'm magically okay with this. ...equal, itinerary, oblique, usurp... Oh forget about it. (But I'll still hyphenate e-mail.)

The OED's non-committal opinion.


Why is it illegal to go naked in public? Although I probably wouldn't have the nerve to do it on a really hot day, I'd probably get closer than I do now if it were legal, freeing the more exhibitionistic among us to go all out. And eventually it would become less taboo, freeing 80-year old John to strut his stuff unembarassedly. But seriously, it seems insane to me that the National Guard can be called out to protect a Ku-Klux-Klansman while he's at the podium telling me that black people shouldn't be allowed to own property and should be deported "back" to Africa, but if he took his pants off, they'd take him to jail and possibly fine him.

What's so wrong with the way God made us? I don't understand why fundamentalist Christians would be against it. In Gen 3:6 the forbidden fruit opens their eyes and upon realizing that they're naked, they make aprons out of fig leaves. This is before God "becomes aware" of the fact and punishes them with tough childbirth, hard ploughing, thorns in plants, etc. So it's not a punishment. Besides which, there are still a few places on Earth where people don't feel any shame about nudity and these people presumably don't have special exemption from original sin. Anyway, there are lots of choices people make in the Old Testament that I don't think I agree with, and covering up is one of the least of them.

Remember how funny it sounds when you hear about how women wearing pants were considered obscene less than 100 years ago? It seems so unmotivated. Maybe it's a scam set up by my fellow uglies to prevent any peer-pressuring into taking our shirts off. If we can't be proud of our bodies, then nobody else should be!

I've talked to a lot of people about this and there seem to be some major arguments against it:

  1. It is unsanitary to, for instance, sit on a public park bench.
  2. What about pockets? Women never ask this question.
  3. Ugly people are claimed to be so unpleasant, that to see them naked would put people off their lunch (this is invariably phrased, "No way! I don't want to see X naked!").
  4. "What about when it's cold outside?"
  5. Children would see naked people.
  6. Sex crimes would increase in frequency and/or severity.
  7. It would be harder for people to look fancy.

  1. The first is my only real concern, but I would carry a towel around with me, and there are lots of people who don't put public telephones to their ears and put paper on toilet seats, etc. without advocating keeping their pants on in the bathroom (impossible!) or wearing ear-muffs at all times (stupid!). Some people would risk it (not me!), but this is not a reason for it to be illegal.
  2. I think the reason women don't immediately say "What about pockets?" is because they've always silently suffered this problem. Fashionable women have to wear dresses, skirts, and comically tight and/or awkward pants whose pockets are practically useless. This is why they always have purses, wear irritating little backpacks, or make somebody else (ME!) carry their stuff. I don't know why there isn't more complaint about this, if I were a woman, I'd wear baggy men's jeans with gaping pockets all the time, but I'd get labelled all kinds of ways and probably eventually relent and carry a purse. If I were Captain Naked, however, I might wear a belt with pockets (it could also have a loop for my towel!), or whatever else presented itself as more sensible; I'm no inventor. As for where to hide your money...I'd carry only credit and small change, more creative/brave people could do otherwise.
  3. I hate it when people say, for instance, Al Roker must be clothed to protect us from his "horrific body." For one thing Al Roker has, honestly, lost a lot of weight recently. But mainly, that's a disgusting attitude. People who really want protection from unaesthetic people should bow to the majority and just stay home themselves.
  4. A lot of people say "What about when it's cold?" This is a classic example of changing the subject. I didn't say make it illegal to wear clothes! I said make it legal to wear none if you want to!
  5. What's so wrong with children seeing people naked? Will it "warp" them? Will it make them sexually active earlier or something? Apparently, until we started clothing ourselves, we were all "warped." What is this warping? I don't really think seeing adults naked makes little kids think of sex, it makes them think of adults naked. When they see cable TV, they learn about sex. I can't make an airtight argument against keeping kids away from sex until their older, 'cause it seems like a good idea to me. But how do naked people equal sex and not showering? Children have experience with showering...
  6. As for sex crimes, it seems a little childish to say that a person could be so damned sexy that they turn a good citizen into a rapist. If someone's going to rape anybody, they might pick the one naked person in a crowd or something, but they might do the same to the sexiest dressed in a crowd, too. "She asked for it -- the way she was dressed" shouldn't become "She asked for it -- the way she was undressed."
  7. Those people who want to dress up, can do so, nobody's locking them down. Fashions could still control those people who enjoy that sort of thing, but at least there'd be a neutral fashion that anybody could have for free.

Quick Links