Elevators don't have a floor thirteen; opening an umbrella inside brings bad luck, as does walking under a ladder and breaking a mirror. In some Asian cultures, the number four is equated with death. Where exactly do superstitions come from, and why do we still acknowledge them?
Take Friday the 13th as an example. Apparently the U.S. Navy will not even launch a ship on Friday the 13th, and the Stress Management and Phobia Institute report that fear of this date affects as many as 20 million people in the United States alone. Has anything bad ever happened to you on Friday the 13th? To me, the power of Friday trumps 13 anyway.
Some superstitions are more cute than sinister. A lot of sports superstars have superstitions, such as Michael Jordan wearing his University of North Carolina shorts under his Chicago Bulls game shorts. Such a superstition is nostalgic, but by no means harmful, whereas some superstitions can be down right debilitating.
I love the Match Game show from the 1970s; the object of the game was for contestants to match the fill in the blank response to the answers the "all-star" celebrity panel provided. Most of the time, there was an obvious answer to select, but you just never knew if the panelists would pick the obvious, or if they'd go out on their own and try to be funny.
Perhaps the real charm of the show was Gene Rayburn as host. Who will ever forget the time he complimented a contestant on how lovely her "nipples" were when he meant to say "dimples"? What makes the slip so funny is that it was a genuine slip. These days, a host might make such "slips" on purpose.
Also charming is the fact that the panelists never used sexual innuendo as the least common denominator when selecting a response. Sure, some of the responses might have been sexual, but it was always done in a playful, and dare I say tactful, sort of way.
A very popular book right now is called The Secret. The title alone compels you to read it (I have not), but the packaging of the book is even more brilliant. This book looks like no ordinary book. The book designer has purposely aged the look of the pages, and even the "S" in the title on the cover is embossed with a faux-wax seal.
Whereas there are things that everyone should know, there are also things that people keep you from knowing. Now, Ann Sexton's dead in "The Truth the Dead Know" might be thought to have secrets, but actually that's not the case. If you want to know the truth of the dead, all you need do is die. Then you too shall know, but the initiation fee for such knowledge may or may not be worth the cost of admission.
Other truths or secrets are even harder to come by. What is the secret to happiness, to contentment, to success, to life itself? Does anyone really know? Is there a dragon out there somewhere hording all the secrets …
Surely the living know a few things, too. Or should. Think of all the books and websites out there that tell us the things we should know. About history, about the Bible, about cars. Hell, about septic systems. Yes, apparently everyone should know at least a few things about everything.
That certainly sounds like a lot of work to me. That's what I know.
So, pick a topic of your choice. What do you know about that topic, and what should you know? Are there things that "everyone" should know -- either about that topic, or life in general?
"There is much pleasure to be gained from useless knowledge." -- Bertrand Russell
As a college dean, one of the complaints I often hear from faculty and staff is: "No one recognized me for my efforts." But when I ask, "Did you let people know what you accomplished?" I am often surprised how many times the idea has never occurred to them. For some reason, and perhaps it's just human nature, people think that everyone knows what great things they are doing without needing to be told (or reminded).
Of course, we do live in a culture where shining the spotlight on yourself is somewhat frowned upon. And yet, we all need praise, and we all need that spotlight from time-to-time. Therefore, I think it is artificial to go around avoiding the spotlight, only to wonder why no one is looking at you. If congratulations is what you seek, go ahead and take a bow. When others ask you what you're bowing for, let them know. You're sure to get more applause that way.
And hey, people take too much pride in humility anyway, and pride is a sin!
This is something I think I'll need to send out to all of my faculty. :)UNIVERSAL GRADE CHANGE FORM University: ______________________ To: Professor ____________________ From: ____________________________ I think my grade in your course,___________________, should be changed from ______ to _______ for the following reasons: __ 1. The persons who copied my paper made a higher grade than I did. __ 2. The person whose paper I copied made a higher grade than I did. __ 3. This course will lower my Grade Point Average and I won't get into: ______ Medical School ______ Graduate School ______ Dental School ______ My Fraternity/Sorority ______ The Mickey Mouse Club ______ Tri County Tech __ 4. I have to get an A in this course to balance the F in _____________. __ 5. I'll lose my scholarship. __ 6. I'm on a varsity sports team and my tutor couldn't find a copy of your exam. __ 7. I didn't come to class and the person whose notes I used did not cover the material asked for on the exam. __…
They lived in a typical suburban neighborhood with picket fences that resembled Nancy Kerrigan's teeth.
He spoke with the wisdom that can only come from experience, like a guy who went blind because he looked at a solar eclipse without one of those boxes with a pinhole in it and now goes around the country speaking at high schools about the dangers of looking at a solar eclipse without one of those boxes with a pinhole in it.
She caught your eye like one of those pointy hook latches that used to dangle from screen doors and would fly up whenever you banged the door open again.
The little boat gently drifted across the pond exactly the way a bowling ball wouldn't.
McBride fell 12 stories, hitting the pavement like a Hefty Bag filled with vegetable soup.
From the attic came an unearthly howl. The whole scene had an eerie, surreal quality, like when you're on vacation in another city and "Jeopardy" comes on at 7 p.m. instead …
I lived through the 1990s; in fact, you might even say I "came of age" during the 1990s. In this decade, I graduated three times -- once from high school, twice from college. At the beginning of the decade, I watched the Grunge movement kill Heavy Metal, and by decade's end, I relished Heavy Metal's triumphant rebirth.
In the early 1990s, I would watch with some curiousity as email stations popped up around my college campus; it was a closed system, with people only sending emails to other people on campus, and I wondered: why would you send an email to someone on campus when you could just call them or stop by their office or dorm room?
In the mid 1990s, the Internet appeared seemingly from nowhere, and it took me literally months to figure out how to connect my computer to the Internet. Yes, some of us had dialed in to electronic bulletin-boards to post text messages to Special Interest Groups (SIGs), but none of us had any idea what the "information…
No one over the age of three would probably find the original answer to the riddle the least bit amusing, and yet "Why Did the Chicken Cross the Road" has been a part of American culture for at least 160 years. What is its staying power?
Something about the image of a chicken crossing a road must speak to us at a deeper level. Taken as a riddle, the answer is obvious, but sometimes the obvious answers are the most difficult to see, and even harder to comprehend.
Taken as a joke, literally dozens if not hundreds of variations and punchlines have been offered, replacing the obvious answer in the original with a witty parody that imagines how famous politicians, movie characters, and other celebrities might answer the question.
Still, what is it about a chicken crossing a road that has kept our cultural attention for the past 160 years?
Speculate on the real cultural significance to the riddle "Why Did the Chicken Cross the Road?" Are there other jokes or ridd…
The three posts below this one will probably give you all the reasons you ever wanted and more, but you may also find this uncyclopedia article funny and useful to your chicken-crossing research (note: does contain foul -- no pun intended -- language):
There are a million reasons, but here's a sampling.
Barack Obama The chicken crossed the road because it was time for a change. The chicken wanted change!
John McCain My friends, that chicken crossed the road because he recognized the need to engage in cooperation and dialogue with all the chickens on the other side of the road.
Hillary Clinton When I was first lady, I personally helped that little chicken to cross the road. This experience makes me uniquely qualified to ensure -- right from Day One -- that every chicken in this country gets the chance it deserves to cross the road. But then, this really isn't about me...
Al Gore I fight for the chickens and I am fighting for the chickens right now. I will not give up on the chickens crossing the road! I will fight for the chickens and I will not disappoint them.
Albert Einstein Whether the chicken crossed the road or the road crossed the chicken depends upon your frame of reference.
Moses may lay claim to the most famous Ten Commandments list, but a quick Internet search shows that many other people have used the format for their own purposes.
Did you know that the Mafia has its own Ten Commandments list? It's true. My favorite is Commandment #2: "Never look at the wives of friends." This begs the question: are only men in the mafia? Can female mafia not look at their male friends' wives?
In 1949, Major League Baseball Commissioner Ford Frick developed the Ten Commandments of Umpiring. Most of us, umpires or not, can probably work on Commandment #3: "Avoid sarcasm. Don't insist on the last word." Yeah, right.