(Roughly) Daily

The Department of Numeracy, Humor Division…

Two different jokes, both from Dad’s Off the Couch, both apposite to our times…

1) With an incredulous nod to Henry Paulson and the team at TARP…

An infinite number of mathematicians walk into a bar. The first one orders a beer. The second orders half a beer. The third, a quarter of a beer. The bartender says “You’re all idiots”, and pours two beers.

2) With a hopeful bow to Tim Geithner…

A sheep rancher invites an engineer, a mathematician, and a physicist to a competitive bidding for building his corral.

The engineer is the first to present his solution: he looks at the white board with a picture of sheep scattered around a field, and draws a square that encompasses them all, saying that the fence walls would be of a uniform length and that making orthogonal cuts is the most natural thing with power tools.

The mathematician presents his solution next: he goes up to the white board and draws a circle around all the sheep, saying that the circle gives the most interior area for the least circumferential length.

The physicist then goes up to the white board to present his solution. He draws a little circle off to the side that doesn’t encompass a single sheep. The rancher, the engineer, and the mathematician are all puzzled, and look at him wondering what he’s up to, demanding that he explain himself.

“That,” said the physicist, pointing to the interior of the little circle, “is the outside.”

As we struggle to contain our laughter, we might bow our heads and observe a silent moment in honor of  Marcus Tullius Cicero, the great Roman orator and prose stylist, who was executed on this date in 43 BCE for his “Philippics,” a series of speeches attacking Mark Antony and calling for a restoration of the Republic.  The emperor was terminally unamused.


Readers may further recall that tomorrow’s date last year (Saturday, December 8, 2007) was Pretend To Be A Time Traveler Day.

You must spend the entire day in costume and character. The only rule is that you cannot actually tell anyone that you are a time traveler. Other than that, anything’s game.

There has been no call for a reprise…  but then…

Written by LW

December 7, 2008 at 1:01 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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