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A Sociological Experiment

by Frank Schnittger Tue Aug 20th, 2013 at 07:38:09 AM EST

Peoples sense of humour can vary enormously. What is funny to me may not appeal to you at all. I give you, below, the top ten one-liner jokes at this years Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Apparently the Chinese Wispa joke got almost 25% of the total votes for first place, but I find it only mildly funny. Please vote for one of the top ten below and let's see how the distribution of ET humour works out...

Have you heard the one about the funniest joke in Edinburgh?

Last year's funniest joke was from Stewart Francis, who said: "You know who really gives kids a bad name? Posh and Becks."

In 2011, the best joke went to Nick Helm for his joke: "I needed a password eight characters long so I picked Snow White and the Seven Dwarves."

The top ten jokes of the festival are:

1. Rob Auton - "I heard a rumour that Cadbury is bringing out an oriental chocolate bar. Could be a Chinese Wispa."

2. Alex Horne - "I used to work in a shoe-recycling shop. It was sole-destroying."

3. Alfie Moore - "I'm in a same-sex marriage... the sex is always the same."

4. Tim Vine - "My friend told me he was going to a fancy dress party as an Italian island. I said to him 'Don't be Sicily'."

5. Gary Delaney - "I can give you the cause of anaphylactic shock in a nutshell."

6. Phil Wang - "The Pope is a lot like Doctor Who. He never dies, just keeps being replaced by white men."

7. Marcus Brigstocke - "You know you are fat when you hug a child and it gets lost."

8. Liam Williams - "The universe implodes. No matter."

9. Bobby Mair - "I was adopted at birth and have never met my mum. That makes it very difficult to enjoy any lapdance."

10. Chris Coltrane - "The good thing about lending someone your time machine is that you basically get it back immediately."

Alternatively, you can post, in the comments, a joke which really does appeal to you... The first prize is a free subscription to my new blog. The second prize is two free subscriptions...ok, ok, you heard that one before.


Poll
The funniest/wittiest joke is...
. 1 0%
. 2 12%
. 3 25%
. 4 0%
. 5 0%
. 6 25%
. 7 12%
. 8 6%
. 9 6%
. 10 12%

Votes: 16
Results | Other Polls
Display:
They're all a bit crap, but one of them made me smile.

I suppose it's all in the delivery. Or something. Or perhaps British humour has mathematically exhausted all the incongruous juxtapositions that used to make it funny?

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Tue Aug 20th, 2013 at 08:35:17 AM EST
I agree that most "stand-up" comedian humour is situational and context specific, but these are supposed to be the stand-out lines.

I spoke recently to a very experienced jazz musician who is also a mathematics and electronic engineering lecturer lamenting the decline of rock/pop music and positing my theory that the number of mathematical combinations of notes that the human ear finds tuneful may be in the process of being exhausted to the point where most recent rock/pop music seems derivative or not really very tuneful. He agreed it was a distinct possibility, but he hadn't done the math...

On the other hand it could be just old fogies lamenting the decline of "modern" music.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Aug 20th, 2013 at 08:52:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
1, 7 and 9 are not funny at all.

Finance is the brain [tumour] of the economy
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Aug 20th, 2013 at 08:59:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
2 and 4 are "a bit crap".

Finance is the brain [tumour] of the economy
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Aug 20th, 2013 at 09:09:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
These are the best joke lines from the world's biggest arts festival as voted for by the general public. Is it that they don't transfer well into print or do we have a very atypical sense of humour at ET?

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Aug 20th, 2013 at 09:24:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think 3, 6, 8 and 10 are good, but 2 and 5 are contrived, 4 is far-fetched and 1, 7 and 9 are seriously in bad taste.

8 and 10 probably scored low because they're about physics... and 6 (and 10) are facile Dr. Who)... Which probably means 3 is the best though I voted for 6 in the poll because it's a Pope joke...

But that's just me.

Finance is the brain [tumour] of the economy

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Aug 20th, 2013 at 09:39:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
#1 is in seriously bad taste? (It plays on the fact that another phrase for "rumour" is a "Chinese whisper" as when meaning gets distorted when a story is repeated orally from one person to the next... I don't think it is ever meant in a derogatory racist way although afew would be aware of it's origins...
Chinese whispers - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Today, the name "Chinese whispers" is said by some to be considered offensive.[3][4][5] Historians trace Westerners' use of the word Chinese to denote "confusion" and "incomprehensibility" to the earliest contacts between Europeans and Chinese people in the 1600s, and attribute it to Europeans' inability to understand and appreciate China's radically different culture and worldview.[6] Using the phrase "Chinese whispers" suggested a belief that the Chinese language itself is not understandable.[7]


Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Aug 20th, 2013 at 10:16:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think it's analogous to "It's Double-Dutch" or "It's all Greek to me". Which might imply humble admission of ignorance, but generally doesn't.

However, "Chinese" has a broader history:

Chinese fire drill - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Historians trace Westerners' use of the word Chinese to denote "confusion" and "incomprehensibility" to the earliest contacts between Europeans and Chinese people in the 1600s, and attribute it to Europeans' inability to understand and appreciate China's radically different culture and worldview.[11] In his 1989 Dictionary of Invective, British editor Hugh Rawson lists 16 phrases that use the word Chinese to denote "incompetence, fraud and disorganization".[12]

So the game might better be called "Broken Telephone"?

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Aug 20th, 2013 at 11:35:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Language incomprehensability, from strange maps.

by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Tue Aug 20th, 2013 at 12:05:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Why does (almost) everybody pick on the Greeks and Chinese? Is it fear of not being able to understand a major civilization's language?

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Aug 20th, 2013 at 12:21:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There's quite a bit re "Dutch".

Online Etymology Dictionary

Since c.1600, Dutch (adj.) has been a "pejorative label pinned by English speakers on almost anything they regard as inferior, irregular, or contrary to 'normal' (i.e., their own) practice" [Rawson]. E.g. Dutch treat (1887), Dutch uncle (1838), etc. -- probably exceeded in such usage only by Indian and Irish -- reflecting first British commercial and military rivalry and later heavy German immigration to U.S.
The Dutch themselves spoke English well enough to understand the unsavory connotations of the label and in 1934 Dutch officials were ordered by their government to stop using the term Dutch. Instead, they were to rewrite their sentences so as to employ the official The Netherlands. [Rawson]

Double Dutch :    "gibberish," 1864 (High Dutch for "incomprehensible language" is recorded from 1789); from double (adj.) + Dutch.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Aug 20th, 2013 at 12:28:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The phrase Netherlander Courage doesn't have quite the same ring to it...

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Aug 20th, 2013 at 12:35:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's anti-intellectualism.

Finance is the brain [tumour] of the economy
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Aug 20th, 2013 at 12:36:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And perhaps also anti-snobbery as ancient Greek was (is?) taught in posh Public and Grammar Schools

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Aug 20th, 2013 at 12:43:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Personally I think it's all a bit Irish...

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Aug 20th, 2013 at 12:44:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But so was Latin.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Aug 20th, 2013 at 12:51:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The European languages that picks on Greek are two Latin and three Germanic, so it could be simply that Greek is harder for the natives of these languages then Latin.

Btw, I would have included an arrow from Swedish to Chinese too.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Tue Aug 20th, 2013 at 03:39:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But Latin first (as Life of Brian brilliantly satirizes), and Latin is the origin of the alphabet used in English, as well as sharing a number of cognates due to English being a Germanic language with a largely Romance vocabulary ... whether encountering Greek in a posh secondary school or at University, there's surely a number for whom it was a bridge too far.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Wed Aug 21st, 2013 at 10:43:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Probably; in Finnish it's Hebrew we don't understand.
by mustakissa on Wed Aug 21st, 2013 at 02:36:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The Chinese at least are above this sort of thing.

A footnote to the article claims that in Esperanto you claim that it sounds like Volapük.....

by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Tue Aug 20th, 2013 at 12:47:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
couple of corrections: I would say "double Dutch" rather than "Greek" in English. "Javanais" is not the French term for an incomprehensible language, but an invented slang dialect :

Javanais - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Javanais is an element of French slang where the extra syllable "av" is placed inside a word (an infix), between every consonant followed by a vowel, rendering it more incomprehensible. Some common words that are "javanised" are gros, meaning fat, which becomes gravos, bonjour, meaning hello, which becomes bavonjavour and penible, meaning annoying, which becomes pavenaviblave. Paris becomes "Pavaravis"


It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Tue Aug 20th, 2013 at 12:23:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Online Etymology Dictionary
Greek : Meaning "the Greek language" is from late 14c.; meaning "unintelligible speech, gibberish" is from c.1600.

Why Javanais and not some other language name is interesting, though - it may be because Javanese slang does play around in a somewhat similar way:

Indonesian slang - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Jogjakarta[edit source | editbeta]

Jogjakarta slang is also known as Basa Walikan, literally means 'Reverse Language' [1].

It is a transformation from Javanese, in which Javanese traditional character sequences are being switched with one another, using the formula below:

  • ha na ca ra ka → pa dha ja ya nya
  • da ta sa wa la → ma ga ba tha nga
  • pa dha ja ya nya → ha na ca ra ka
  • ma ga ba tha nga → da ta sa wa la

Using the above manner, the expletive expression Matamu! (which literally means: 'Your Eyes!') is transformed into Dagadu!. You can also using easier method to translate the slang using Walikan Translator

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Aug 20th, 2013 at 12:49:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]


"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
by Melanchthon on Wed Aug 21st, 2013 at 08:14:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So if there was a Cadbury chocolate bar with a name that was close enough to "Broken" or "Telephone", we'd be in business.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Wed Aug 21st, 2013 at 07:13:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
1, 7 and 9 are seriously in bad taste

Heh, yet 7 was the only one giving me a faint smile... For me basically all others were either too obscure (1, 5) or too flat (too obvious), including the physics ones. In the Pope joke, the 'never dies' is too forced (some papal successions brought substantial change, and there are the rumours about the murder of John Paul I).

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Wed Aug 21st, 2013 at 11:38:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think an important part of one-liners when presented like this is the surprise. Which is very individual, depending how your associations run from the first part.

I found 3 somewhat funny and 9 got a smirk. In both cases it was twists I did not forsee, I thought the same-sex would be something about a) gay marriage or b) Russia, while 9 had a (to me) surprising change of relations.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Wed Aug 21st, 2013 at 04:19:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, the first time I heard the "same sex" joke, I found it funny. I think that would have been around 2008, the time of the California pro-marriage-discrimination initiative.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Wed Aug 21st, 2013 at 07:14:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I suspect delivery counts for a lot.

With some of these, though, delivery would have to count for a lot.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Aug 20th, 2013 at 09:43:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Also context.

Is there a candy bar or chocolate bar named "Wispa"?

Perhaps my delivery when I read them to myself is better tuned to make me laugh, since I found several amusing and one made me laugh out loud.

OTOH I found the Pope/Dr. Who joke entirely true while as a joke it fell completely flat. Its kind of, "You know how you take a bus ride? You wait until the bus shows up, put your money into the farebox and then sit down until the bus gets to your stop." Well, yeah, true, but where's the punchline?

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Wed Aug 21st, 2013 at 04:40:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Aug 21st, 2013 at 05:26:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
California has a reputation for being in the vanguard of most social change to the point where what happens in California is said to presage what will happen in the rest of the USA and then Europe by some years. Apparently some of the leading university laboratories there have started using bloggers instead of rats in laboratory experiments as this offers several distinct operational advantages.

The first is that in means they don't get any hassle from the Society for the prevention of cruelty to animals or attacks from animal rights activists. The second advantage is simply that there is simply such an abundant supply of bloggers which is some areas makes them more readily available than rats. But the kicker is that apparently there are some things even rats won't do...

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Aug 20th, 2013 at 08:59:46 AM EST
Did you hear that researchers are beginning to use lawyers for their experiments in lieu of lab rats?  
  1. lawyers are more plentiful;
  2. the lab attendants don't get so attached; and
  3. there are some things that a rat just won't do.


paul spencer
by paul spencer (spencerinthegorge AT yahoo DOT com) on Wed Aug 21st, 2013 at 12:32:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What's a tour bus full of lawyer's from a lawyer's convention falling over a cliff?
A good start.

That makes me nostalgic for when I worked in a multi-disciplinary School of Business and one of the instructors was a lawyer who had dozens on tap.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Wed Aug 21st, 2013 at 04:45:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
an accident in which 5 lawyers go over a cliff in a Lincoln Continental?
A tragedy, since a Continental will hold 6.

paul spencer
by paul spencer (spencerinthegorge AT yahoo DOT com) on Wed Aug 21st, 2013 at 07:44:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes - mine is basically a recycled version of that joke. I had forgotten 2.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Aug 21st, 2013 at 05:30:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
... while bloggers will work for free if you promise to link to their blog about the experiment.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Wed Aug 21st, 2013 at 07:26:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Best indigenous joke of this blog so far!

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Aug 21st, 2013 at 08:09:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
calling out the gender bias of the list. My No.1 is the following:
A female-free best gag list? What a joke | Culture | The Guardian
She's got a one-liner that wouldn't have disgraced Dave's list, and would make a pertinent point about its gender bias, too. "Women were invented ages ago," Christie explains sardonically at the top of her show, "when God realised Adam needed an audience for his jokes."

by Katrin on Tue Aug 20th, 2013 at 11:08:49 AM EST
What do you mean female-free?
3. Alfie Moore - "I'm in a same-sex marriage... the sex is always the same."

...

9. Bobby Mair - "I was adopted at birth and have never met my mum. That makes it very difficult to enjoy any lapdance."

<ducks>

Finance is the brain [tumour] of the economy
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Aug 20th, 2013 at 11:11:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think that the combination of jury selection and popular vote has a political-correctness effect that eliminates all the "edgy", i.e. funny, jokes.

It's interesting that #9 made the list at all, as it's the only "sex" joke (#3 doesn't count, too abstract)

Most people are bristling with prejudices and hatreds, and this is generally reflected in the jokes they enjoy with their friends. In an "official" selection, people will eliminate "difficult" subjects, however funny they find the joke, for fear they may offend someone. Therefore : no sex (we're British, after all). This is a shame.

A couple of jokes I find funny, with the usual YMMV warning (it's second hand, quite likely someone's fiddled the speedometer) :

I didn't know what to wear to the Premature Ejaculation Society meeting, so in the end I came in my pants.

I just got back from a Blindfold Masturbation competition. I've no idea where I came.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Thu Aug 22nd, 2013 at 03:54:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I like that one.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Aug 20th, 2013 at 11:18:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Ah so God intended women to be passive and appreciative recipients of male humour and to service their egotistic and emotional needs? <exit stage left rather rapidly...>

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Aug 20th, 2013 at 12:13:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
When God created the man she was only practising.
by Katrin on Tue Aug 20th, 2013 at 02:05:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
They should've used that one for #10.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Wed Aug 21st, 2013 at 11:48:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I have no doubt the origins of the phrase is in an imperial or chauvinistic contempt for or incomprehension of other cultures/civilizations. However in current usage it refers to peoples general inability to remember and pass on oral messages absolutely accurately and doesn't have any racist connotations as far as I am aware.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Aug 20th, 2013 at 12:05:04 PM EST
Is it interesting or instructive that a diary on ET inviting readers to submit their favourite jokes in the comments ends up being an intellectual dissection of the origins of certain dubious linguistic usages?

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Aug 20th, 2013 at 12:55:40 PM EST
Well, that is a bit funny.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se
by A swedish kind of death on Tue Aug 20th, 2013 at 03:42:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Nothing but wit-deprived PNers here.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue Aug 20th, 2013 at 04:04:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What is the derivation of PNer?

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Aug 20th, 2013 at 07:34:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Introduced here by an ET member from Finland.

Pikkunissija (PN) is the Finnish equivalent of English nitpicking or hairsplitting, or French fly-buggering.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Aug 21st, 2013 at 01:51:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Urban Dictionary: PNer
A PNer is a lentil munching communist with risible music taste, often found populating the web site 'www.punknews.org.uk', pretending to be a tramp, or drinking warm fizzy beer at some hovel of a venue.

Heroes include Michael Moore, John Pilger or anyone from the band Propagandhi.

Hobbies include attemping to get every forum thread off-topic as quickly as is humanly possible, name checking the latest 'cool' bands and deriding George W Bush or America.


Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Aug 21st, 2013 at 07:12:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Pinailler.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Wed Aug 21st, 2013 at 08:26:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In other words, something like this?

by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Fri Aug 23rd, 2013 at 09:54:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Number 8 was the only one I really enjoyed.

'tis strange I should be old and neither wise nor valiant. From "The Maid's Tragedy" by Beaumont & Fletcher
by Wife of Bath (kareninaustin at g mail dot com) on Wed Aug 21st, 2013 at 11:02:06 AM EST
Aha! The metaphysical type!

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Aug 21st, 2013 at 11:27:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
1. Rob Auton - "I heard a rumour that Cadbury is bringing out an oriental chocolate bar. Could be a Chinese Wispa."

Yawn.

2. Alex Horne - "I used to work in a shoe-recycling shop. It was sole-destroying."

(groans, throws rotten fruit)

3. Alfie Moore - "I'm in a same-sex marriage... the sex is always the same."

This one was funny ten years ago when Bill Maher used it to make fun of same-sex marriage opponents.

4. Tim Vine - "My friend told me he was going to a fancy dress party as an Italian island. I said to him 'Don't be Sicily'."

Do all people in Ireland get their jokes from '60s sitcoms or something?

5. Gary Delaney - "I can give you the cause of anaphylactic shock in a nutshell."

Meh.

6. Phil Wang - "The Pope is a lot like Doctor Who. He never dies, just keeps being replaced by white men."

Pope + Doctor Who = Lame^2

7. Marcus Brigstocke - "You know you are fat when you hug a child and it gets lost."

Wasn't this a "Yo Mama" joke back in the early-'90s or something?

8. Liam Williams - "The universe implodes. No matter."

This one was cute.

9. Bobby Mair - "I was adopted at birth and have never met my mum. That makes it very difficult to enjoy any lapdance."

Alright, I know I have a strange sense of humor, but I snorted at this one.

10. Chris Coltrane - "The good thing about lending someone your time machine is that you basically get it back immediately."

...okay?

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Wed Aug 21st, 2013 at 11:46:51 AM EST
I looked up the "best jokes" from previous years. They are all pretty lame.  Maybe British humor is no longer any good?
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Wed Aug 21st, 2013 at 12:37:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"There's three kinds of people: those that can count, and those that cannot."
by mustakissa on Wed Aug 21st, 2013 at 02:46:41 PM EST
Joe was always the smart kid in his class. he ended up going to Uni and becoming a college professor. One day he was cycling to work and up pulls this big Limo beside him. "Hi" says Dave rolling down the window. "We must meet up for a drink sometime". Dave was always the the slow one in class and Joe hadn't met him since school. Intrigued at hoe Dave could have ended up being chauffeured around in a Limo, Joe agreed to the drink after work. They chatted for a while and finally Joe's curiosity got the better of him: He asked  Dave how he could be making so much money.

"Well" said Dave, "I have this one product which I make in my factory. I can make it for a dollar and sell it for three dollars, and you'd be amazed at how much money you can make with a 3% mark-up."

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Aug 21st, 2013 at 05:40:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
... those who can read binary correctly and those who can't.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Wed Aug 21st, 2013 at 07:18:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Facebook friends may have read this one:

So two economists, a Keynesian and a Real Business Cycle theorist, walk into a bar.  They have a few drinks.  As they get drunk, the Keynesian slams his glass down and says, "You RBC people have set the field back 50 years!"

The RBC theorist shoots back, "Ah, so you do believe in technological regress!"

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Wed Aug 21st, 2013 at 05:57:04 PM EST
Oh, wait, if we assume that fiction is a form of technology ...

... ah! Yes, mildly amusing.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Wed Aug 21st, 2013 at 07:20:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A lawyer, a mathematician, and an economist arrive at Melbourne airport for the first time. On the taxi ride to town they spot one black sheep.

The economist remarks, "this shows that in Australia, sheep are black."

The mathematician counterjects, "no, it only means that in Australia, there is at least one black sheep."

Whereupon the lawyer, "no, this only proves that, of one Australian sheep, the side that is turned towards us is black."

by mustakissa on Thu Aug 22nd, 2013 at 01:07:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The way I heard it, it goes like this:

An astronomer, a physicist and a mathematician find themselves on a train from London to Scarborough. Never having been in Scotland before, they look out the window with interest, observing a lonely black sheep on a field.

"Aha!" exclaims the astronomer. "All sheep in Scotland are black!"

"Not really," objects the physicist. "With a sample of only one, all we can really say is that there exist sheep in Scotland which are black."

To which the mathematician responds "on at least one side."

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Aug 22nd, 2013 at 02:15:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson were going camping. They pitched their tent under the stars and went to sleep. Sometime in the middle of the night Holmes woke Watson up and said: Watson, look up, and tell me what you see?

Watson replied: I see millions and millions of stars.

Holmes said: and what do you deduce from that?

Watson replied: Well, if there are millions of stars, and if even a few of those have planets, quite likely there are some planets like earth out there. And if there are a few planets like earth out there, there might also be life.

And Holmes said: Watson, you idiot, it means that somebody stole our tent!!

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Thu Aug 22nd, 2013 at 02:41:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If this joke was about Norwegian sheep, the prime minister would be driving the cab.
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Thu Aug 22nd, 2013 at 03:05:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Dealing with other economists in antitrust cases, this one is good:

A mathematician, an accountant and an economist apply for the same job.
The interviewer calls in the mathematician and asks "What do two plus two equal?" The mathematician replies "Four." The interviewer asks "Four, exactly?" The mathematician looks at the interviewer incredulously and says "Yes, four, exactly."

Then the interviewer calls in the accountant and asks the same question "What do two plus two equal?" The accountant says "On average, four - give or take ten percent, but on average, four."

Then the interviewer calls in the economist and poses the same question "What do two plus two equal?" The economist gets up, locks the door, closes the shade, sits down next to the interviewer and says "What do you want it to equal?"

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Thu Aug 22nd, 2013 at 04:45:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This is a really long one, but I have heard it a number of times from engineers. I translate it from Hungarian, but I wonder if anyone heard it in other languages.

A man gets lost in a hot air balloon. He descends and asks the first man he sees: "Sorry, can you help me? I promised to meet a friend an hour ago but I got lost. Where am I?"

The man on the ground replies: "You are in a hot air balloon, 10 metres above ground, around 45 degrees north latitude and 15 degrees east longitude."

"You must be an engineer," the man in the balloon replies.

"Huh, you are right! How did you know?"

The man in the balloon explained: "Everything you told me was technically correct but I have no idea how to use that information and still don't know where I am. To tell you the truth, you weren't really helpful, you only held me up."

"So you must be a manager," replied the man on the ground.

"Huh, you are right! How did you know?"

The man on the ground explained: "You don't know where you are and where you are going. You got where you are thanks to following prevailing winds. You made a promise you had no idea how to keep and expect people below you to solve your problems. To tell you the truth, you are still in the exact same situation as before you met me, but now you blame me for it!"



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Aug 22nd, 2013 at 05:18:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I have already heard that one (in German).
by Katrin on Thu Aug 22nd, 2013 at 05:31:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I had a feeling that it must be among the top three jokes of engineers worldwide. I wonder which language it originated in.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Aug 22nd, 2013 at 05:41:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yea, heard it before, but not the (very good) bit about the manager at the end

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Aug 22nd, 2013 at 07:10:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You must have heard it from a manager :-)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Aug 23rd, 2013 at 03:18:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Given that both London and Scarborough are in England, it is unlikely they could have  deduced anything about sheep in Scotland at all...

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Aug 22nd, 2013 at 07:05:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Scarborough, Edinburgh, same-same. Doesn't Scotland start around Newcastle anyway?

(ducks)

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Fri Aug 23rd, 2013 at 05:39:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
French train joke.

Three accountants and three lawyers from the same company are summoned to a meeting in Paris. The accountants arrive at the railway station well in advance, buy their tickets, and wait on the quay. The three lawyers arrive at the last minute, and only one of them buys a ticket.

  • Hey why only one ticket? ask the accountants.
  • You'll see, say the lawyers.

Just before the ticket collector shows up, the three lawyers cram into the TGV's tiny toilet. The collector knocks, the door opens a crack, and a hand comes out with a ticket.

The accountants are pretty impressed by this. For the return trip that evening, they buy only one ticket. They are a bit confused when the lawyers arrive, at the last minute, and don't buy any ticket at all.

  • How's it going to work this time?
  • You'll see, you'll see.

So when the ticket collector comes around this time, the three lawyers cram into the toilet, and the three accountants cram into the other toilet across the corridor.

Then one of the ad men comes out, and knocks on the door of the other toilet.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Fri Aug 23rd, 2013 at 05:52:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I heard that one with mathematician and physicist students in place of accountants and lawyers :-)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Aug 23rd, 2013 at 06:10:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
They didn't even raise a smile. I thought maybe I was just in an unresponsive mood, and, being generous, like someone else here, that maybe a lot depended on actual delivery. But then I checked some of Woody Allen's best one-liners, and three out of the first four got a smile and one a bit of a laugh:

"I'm very proud of my gold pocket watch. My grandfather, on his deathbed, sold me this watch."

"Sex without love is a meaningless experience, but as far as meaningless experiences go, it's pretty damn good."

"What if everything is an illusion and nothing exists? In that case, I definitely overpaid for my carpet."

"My one regret in life is that I am not someone else."

Oh, and this one too:

"I was thrown out of NYU for cheating on my Metaphysics final. I looked within the soul of the boy sitting next to me."  :-)  

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/culturepicturegalleries/10196567/Woody-Allens-30-best-one-liners. html

You may not agree, as Frank said: "What is funny to me may not appeal to you at all - but he's been pretty popular.

Maybe it's because I'm a Londoner - that I moved to Nice.

by Ted Welch (tedwelch-at-mac-dot-com) on Wed Aug 21st, 2013 at 06:14:09 PM EST
I think the best jokes are often told at ones own expense, or at the expense of our own cultural identity. So I like the Gold pocket watch one.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Aug 21st, 2013 at 07:07:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]

I got a lot more laughs from this  - and learned a few things too:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=INgRH9vQS4s

Maybe it's because I'm a Londoner - that I moved to Nice.

by Ted Welch (tedwelch-at-mac-dot-com) on Wed Aug 21st, 2013 at 07:41:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Recent things that made me laugh out loud
(more than half of these strips...)

Am I laughing at Finns?

No, I think I am empathising with Finns enough to laugh with them.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Thu Aug 22nd, 2013 at 03:39:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
... Saint Peter. Saint Peter says, "Funny, we don't normally get any Unitarians here, they are all at the coffee club group about going to heaven." The Unitarian says, "Oh, I hadn't realized there was a coffee club, I must be going."

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Wed Aug 21st, 2013 at 07:29:36 PM EST
... St. Peter. "Wait, I think there's been some mistake, I'm an atheist," says, the atheist.

"Oh, no mistake. Its a bit complicated, but its more about what you might call karma than about what you believe. Anyway, you want the tour?"

The atheist takes the tour. He passes by the lush hanging gardens with the Muslims in it, the Zen Buddhists meditating and floating slowly toward the shining light, and a number of other areas, until he is warned by the tour guide to be quiet.

"We are coming near to the Baptist part of Heaven. Be very quiet, and be sure to keep your head below the top of the brush at the top of the hill. It wouldn't be Heaven for them if they thought anyone else was here."

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Wed Aug 21st, 2013 at 10:28:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]

But you reminded me what a serious business laughter is - must get more of it:

Unfortunately, however, many people don't get enough laugher in their lives. In fact, one study suggests that healthy children may laugh as much as 400 times per day, but adults tend to laugh only 15 times per day. Other studies find us laughing a little more than that, but if you ask me, virtually all of us could use a little more laughter in our lives, considering how beneficial a good laugh can actually be for our stress levels and overall wellness.

http://stress.about.com/od/stresshealth/a/laughter.htm



Maybe it's because I'm a Londoner - that I moved to Nice.
by Ted Welch (tedwelch-at-mac-dot-com) on Wed Aug 21st, 2013 at 08:23:52 PM EST
One of my all-time favourite jokes was told in Hungarian during 'communism'. It cannot be translated, but I try my best to "transpose" it into English.

A Scot arrives at the ticket counter in his hometown. "A ticket to Tokyo please," he says.

"Sorry, but we can only sell tickets to Glasgow," answers the ticket clerk.

The man buys his ticket to Glasgow. In Glasgow, he again asks at the ticket counter: "A ticket to Tokyo please!"

"Sorry, but we can only sell tickets to London," answers the ticket clerk.

The man buys his ticket to London. In London, he again asks at the ticket counter: "A ticket to Tokyo please!"

"Sorry, but we can only sell tickets as far as Paris," answers the ticket clerk.

The same procedure repeats in Paris, Moscow and the ferry at Vladivostok. Our man finally arrives in Tokyo and has a good time. He then enters a station. At the ticket counter, he asks: "A ticket to Tyndrum please!"

The ticket clerk replies: "Upper Tyndrum or Tyndrum Rower?"

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Thu Aug 22nd, 2013 at 03:02:47 PM EST
This is how traveling by train in Europe feels.

DeutcheBahn can interface with everyone else's ticket and payment systems. Nobody else can interface with anybody else (even DB).

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Aug 22nd, 2013 at 03:19:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
My railway has at least one ticket office interfacing with everyone else ((even I do need it for reservations, night trains and services for which my free ticket isn't valid). This doesn't invalidate what you say because most of the time they do it via DB servers. Though in spite of that, it happened once at this ticket office that their computer didn't offer any of the available rebates for a trip within Germany.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Aug 22nd, 2013 at 03:37:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Policemen are the butt of jokes that stereotype them as being stupid. Here are two favourites, this time framed:

A policeman arrives at the ward with a long face. His colleague asks him what's the reason. He answers: "My son is so stupid. Yesterday when I arrived home, I told him: 'Hey son, check whether I'm standing at the corner of the street below us!' Then what did he do? He truly ran down the stairs to the first floor and out on the street to check if I'm really there!"

His colleague then commented: "Yeah that's really stupid. He could just have looked out of the window!"

Two policemen are walking along a railway. One of them says: "Let's walk until the point where the rails meet!"

The other agrees, and they walk for a long long time. While pausing for a minute, the second policeman looks back, then says: "Gosh, we walked past it long ago!"



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Aug 22nd, 2013 at 03:30:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
One policeman shines up his torch to the Moon, and challenges the other, "why don't you try to climb up the beam to the Moon?"
The other objects, "yeah sure -- and when I'm half way, you switch off the light."

A military company finds itself lost in the field. The assigned map reader, not one of the sharpest pencils in the box, studies the map for a long time, finally exclaiming: "according to this map... we are now... on that hilltop over there."
by mustakissa on Wed Aug 28th, 2013 at 10:47:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Is the first one a joke about light-sail technology?

Finance is the brain [tumour] of the economy
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Aug 28th, 2013 at 10:59:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Does this mean the Japanese can reverse engineer everything Europeans can do and then sell it back to them as a more complete package?

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Aug 22nd, 2013 at 07:16:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The original connotations were differences in management, customer friendliness and government attitude towards citizens' travels. (This joke is decades old.)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Aug 23rd, 2013 at 03:23:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
they are all really lame except no 8.

good comedy bites. marc maron is my favourite comic right now, check out wtf? podcast if you want some really hilarious, occasionally nasty and very neurotic, but ultimately good-hearted comedy. not cringey, but sometimes a bit juvenile, other times surprisingly psycho-insightful. i find myself smiling a lot listening to him and his many fascinating guests.

here's a joke i found funny, over at the orangerie.

Daily Kos: Liz Cheney posts bond in Wyoming's ongoing Fishgate scandal

Liz Cheney runs into a childhood friend...

"Hey Liz!"

"Who are you?"

"Don't you remember? I sat next to you in third grade. I'm Mark Smith. What have you been up to?"

"I'm running for Senate. What about you?"

"I'm a Fish and Game Warden."

"Hey, I just got my Wyoming fishing license and I'm heading out to a great fishing spot. Wanna join me?"

So they take the boat out and Liz finds the spot and lights a stick of dynamite. Tosses it in the water. It explodes. Dozens of dead fish float to the surface.

Mark is appalled. "I'm shocked and awed. That's totally illegal! I'm gonna have to arrest you."

Liz lights a second stick of dynamite and hands it to Mark. "So... are you gonna talk or are you gonna fish?"

 

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Thu Aug 22nd, 2013 at 04:15:53 PM EST
An infinite number of mathematicians walk into a bar.  The first orders a pint of beer.  The second orders half a pint.  The third, a quarter of a pint.  The fourth, an eighth.

The bartender says, "You're all idiots," and pours two pints.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Thu Aug 22nd, 2013 at 04:53:37 PM EST
When Albert Einstein died, he met three New Zealanders in the queue outside the Pearly Gates. To pass the time, he asked what were their IQs. The first replied 190. "Wonderful," exclaimed Einstein. "We can discuss the contribution made by Ernest Rutherford to atomic physics and my theory of general relativity". The second answered 150. "Good," said Einstein. "I look forward to discussing the role of New Zealand's nuclear-free legislation in the quest for world peace". The third New Zealander mumbled 50. Einstein paused, and then asked, "So what is your forecast for the budget deficit next year?"

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Thu Aug 22nd, 2013 at 05:40:01 PM EST
Many thanks for all your joke contributions all of which made me laugh more than the Edinburgh top ten even though I had heard variants of most of them before. I will feed them all into my computer and see what it says about the minds of the ET community. At a first approximation my model implies that we all need to get out more...

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Aug 22nd, 2013 at 07:27:37 PM EST
Well, here's a contribution that may be an outlier -- but it's the joke told to me over the last few years that made me laugh most (h/t In Wales). The intelligent jokes make me smile, but the wacky ones tickle my funnybone more.

An octopus goes into a pub in Scotland, gets a pint at the bar, and sits down to drink it.

At that moment a Scotsman in a kilt walks in, puts his bagpipes down on the seat next to the octopus, and goes up to the bar.

When he comes back with his pint, the octopus has his tentacles swarming all over the bagpipes.

"Och, noo, laddie!" says the Scotsman. "That's nae the way tae play it!"

"Play it? If I can get its pyjamas off, I'm going to fuck it!"

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri Aug 23rd, 2013 at 02:02:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Heisenberg is stopped by a police officer.
"Sir, do you have any idea how fast you were going back there?"
"No, constable, but I know precisely where I am."
____

Another one about cops and traffic violations:
_
___

A man is pulled over for erratic driving.
Cop: "I'm going to have to ask you to blow this alcometer."
Driver: "No can do, guv. You see, I'm taking this medicine that will make your meter give a false positive."
Cop: "OK, then I'll just take a blood sample."
Driver: "No can do, guv. You see, I'm a bleeder."
Cop: sigh "OK, then just walk fifty meter down the rumble strip."
Driver: "No can do, guv. You see, I'm completely shitfaced."

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Fri Aug 23rd, 2013 at 05:00:29 AM EST
Reminded me of this old one:

In the countryside, an old man is returning home in the evening on a bicycle without lights. A police car pulls over, the cop tells the old man: "Uncle, in case the lights don't shine on your bike, you have to get off the bike and push it!"

The old man replies: "I already tried that, it still didn't shine!"



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Aug 23rd, 2013 at 05:44:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
One from a Nigerian comedian from South London. He says that when he goes into a bank, he feels like a Jew in a church - guilty for something he didn't do.
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Fri Aug 23rd, 2013 at 05:46:48 AM EST
Here is a joke from 'communist' times:

A cosmonaut returns from the longest mission into space. During the celebrations, the General Secretary of the Soviet Union meets him for a private audience. The General Secretary asks him: "Just between me and you: have you seen God?"

The cosmonaut replies: "Yes, I have."

The General Secretary says: "Dang, I always suspected. But please don't tell anyone!"

The cosmonaut was then sent on a world tour. When in Rome, the Pope met him for a private audience. The Pope asks him: "Just between me and you: have you seen God?"

The cosmonaut replies: "No, I haven't, there wasn't anyone out there."

The Pope  says: "Dang, I always suspected. But please don't tell anyone!"

Later during his world tour, the President of the USA met him for a private audience. The President asks him: "Just between me and you: have you seen God?"

The cosmonaut replied: "Yes, I have."

The President says: "Nice, that reassured me."

The cosmonaut replied: "It shouldn't: he was black."



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Aug 23rd, 2013 at 06:29:31 AM EST
and possibly a lesbian.

Finance is the brain [tumour] of the economy
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Aug 23rd, 2013 at 06:50:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The original connotation doesn't really work in English: it uses the blackness of space, which is an "it".

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Aug 23rd, 2013 at 07:07:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Nice.

Finance is the brain [tumour] of the economy
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Aug 23rd, 2013 at 07:10:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Of presidential jokes, I remember this one:

At the beginning of his presidency, George W. Bush slept restlessly in the Whitehouse under the burden of his responsibilities. One night, he suddenly woke up to see the spirit of Thomas Jefferson standing at the foot end of his bed.
"Tom," he asked, "please tell me: what is the best way for me to serve the American people?"
Jefferson answered, "remember to respect the Constitution and the Republican form of government, and you'll do fine."
Same sequence of events next night, with the spirit of George Washington appearing. Same question, answer: "remember to further business and prosperity for all Americans, and you'll do just fine."
Finally on the third night, the spirit of old Abe Lincoln appeared. Bush asked again, "what is the best way for me to serve the American people?"
Lincoln's spirit smiled facetiously, saying: "George, you should be getting out more. Take an interest in the performing arts. Go to theatre, watch a play!"

by mustakissa on Wed Aug 28th, 2013 at 11:17:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]


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