Humor Selections for Jan 23rd, 2009


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Recent Quips from Late Night

"Couple of days ago in New Jersey, there were UFO sightings. Believe me, it's not an invasion. The aliens are actually here because they want some of that Federal bailout money." --David Letterman

"Do you have your tickets for the inauguration down in Washington? I sent in early. I sent the money in. I got my tickets back, lousy seats. You know where they put me? I'm right between Govs. Spitzer and Blagojevich." --David Letterman

"You know for each inauguration, the President adds his own little touches, his own signature note to the proceedings. For example, maybe you don't remember this but for the first Clinton inauguration, ladies drank free." --David Letterman

"Vice President-elect Joe Biden is already getting acquainted with his new responsibility as Vice President. And he's starting every afternoon at 3:00. He picks up Sasha and Malia from school." --David Letterman

"There was a historic meeting in Washington this week. Yesterday, Barack Obama and all the presidents met at the Oval Office. Did you see it? All the living ex-presidents were there. Jimmy Carter, George Bush Sr., Bill Clinton, Dick Cheney. All of them were there." --Jay Leno

"And, of course, you know, being president-elect is kind of awkward, because Barack Obama didn't have any experiences or accomplishments to talk about as president. So, at least he and President Bush had something in common." --Jay Leno

Activists are now pressuring President-elect Obama to make good on his pledge to end the 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' policy in the military to allow gays to openly serve in the military. You know, I think it's about time. Don't you? Let me tell you something, if someone is willing to risk their life for our country, they should be able to watch 'Dancing with the Stars' openly." --Jay Leno

"I tell ya, the economy is bad. The economy is so bad, Iraqis can only afford to throw one shoe." --Jay Leno

"In a speech about the economy, Barack Obama said that Americans will soon be able to go online and see where the bailout money is being spent. In response, Americans said, 'Thanks, but we'll stick to downloading porn.'" --Conan O'Brien

"Now, during his speech, it's interesting, Barack Obama said, 'It will soon be too late to change course if we don't take dramatic action as soon as possible.' It's a quote, yeah. And Obama said the same thing about NBC's prime-time lineup." --Conan O'Brien

"On Inauguration Day, Barack Obama will be riding in a brand new presidential limousine made by General Motors. Yeah, the parade route is five miles long, so GM says Obama should only have to stop for gas twice." --Conan O'Brien

"The Bushes, by the way, aren't the only presidents to have their own china. Truman, Reagan and Clinton all had it, too. Though the Clinton service is missing some plates and I think a soup bowl because of Hillary throwing them at Bill. One time she really nailed him with a gravy boat. So that's missing too. But I'll tell you something, nothing, to me, says recession like spending half a million dollars on dinnerware." --Jimmy Kimmel
 

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In 1969, Neil Armstrong appeared to have omitted an indefinite article...

... as he stepped onto the moon and left earthlings puzzled over the difference between "man" and "mankind." In 1980, Jimmy Carter, accepting his partyís nomination, paid homage to a former vice president he called Hubert Horatio Hornblower. A year later, Diana Spencer reversed the first two names of her betrothed in her wedding vows, and thus, as Prince Charles Philip supposedly later joked, actually married his father. On Tuesday, Chief Justice John Roberts joined the Flubber Hall of Fame when he administered the presidential oath of office apparently without notes. Instead of having Barack Obama "solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the office of president of the United States," Chief Justice Roberts had him "solemnly swear that I will execute the office of president to the United States faithfully." When Mr. Obama paused after "execute," the chief justice prompted him to continue with "faithfully the office of president of the United States." (To ensure that the president was properly sworn in, the chief justice re-administered the oath Wednesday evening.)

How could a famous stickler for grammar have bungled that 35-word passage, among the best-known words in the Constitution? Conspiracy theorists and connoisseurs of Freudian slips have surmised that it was unconscious retaliation for Senator Obamaís vote against the chief justiceís confirmation in 2005. But a simpler explanation is that the wayward adverb in the passage is blowback from Chief Justice Robertsís habit of grammatical niggling.

Language pedants hew to an oral tradition of shibboleths that have no basis in logic or style, that have been defied by great writers for centuries, and that have been disavowed by every thoughtful usage manual. Nonetheless, they refuse to go away, perpetuated by the Gotcha! Gang and meekly obeyed by insecure writers.

Among these fetishes is the prohibition against "split verbs," in which an adverb comes between an infinitive marker like "to," or an auxiliary like "will," and the main verb of the sentence. According to this superstition, Captain Kirk made a grammatical error when he declared that the five-year mission of the starship Enterprise was "to boldly go where no man has gone before"; it should have been "to go boldly." Likewise, Dolly Parton should not have declared that "I will always love you" but "I always will love you" or "I will love you always."

Any speaker who has not been brainwashed by the split-verb myth can sense that these corrections go against the rhythm and logic of English phrasing. The myth originated centuries ago in a thick-witted analogy to Latin, in which it is impossible to split an infinitive because it consists of a single word, like dicere, "to say." But in English, infinitives like "to go" and future-tense forms like "will go" are two words, not one, and there is not the slightest reason to interdict adverbs from the position between them.

Though the ungrammaticality of split verbs is an urban legend, it found its way into The Texas Law Review Manual on Style, which is the arbiter of usage for many law review journals. James Lindgren, a critic of the manual, has found that many lawyers have "internalized the bogus rule so that they actually believe that a split verb should be avoided," adding, "The Invasion of the Body Snatchers has succeeded so well that many can no longer distinguish alien speech from native speech."

In his legal opinions, Chief Justice Roberts has altered quotations to conform to his notions of grammaticality, as when he excised the "ainít" from Bob Dylanís line "When you ainít got nothing, you got nothing to lose." On Tuesday his inner copy editor overrode any instincts toward strict constructionism and unilaterally amended the Constitution by moving the adverb "faithfully" away from the verb.

President Obama, whose attention to language is obvious in his speeches and writings, smiled at the chief justiceís hypercorrection, then gamely repeated it. Letís hope that during the next four years he will always challenge dogma and boldly lead the nation in new directions.

Steven Pinker

Steven Pinker is a psychology professor at Harvard and the chairman of the usage panel of The American Heritage Dictionary.

Submitted by Vicki, Kennett Square, PA.
 

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A man walks into a bar and orders a beer.

While chatting with the bartender the man says: "I have a method that will enable you to double the amount of beer you sell every day."

"Really?!" says the bartender, "How?"

"Very simple. Just pour full glasses."


Jones applied to a finance agency for a job, but he had no experience. He was so intense that the manager gave him a tough account with the promise that if he collected it, he'd get the job.

Two hours later, Jones came back with the entire amount. "Amazing!" the manager said. "How did you do it?"

"Easy," Jones replied. "I told him if he didn't pay up, I'd tell all his other creditors he paid us."

Submitted by Kenneth, Shropshire, England
 

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A man and a woman were asleep like two innocent babies.

Suddenly, at 3 o'clock in the morning, a loud noise came from outside. The woman, bewildered, jumped up from the bed and yelled at the man "Damn. That must be my husband!"

So the man jumped out of the bed; and jumped out the window. He smashed himself on the ground, ran through a thorn bush and to his car as fast as he could go.  A few minutes later he returned and went up to the bedroom and screamed at the woman, 'I AM your husband!'

The woman yelled back, 'Yeah, then why were you running?'

And then the fight started.....

Submitted by Bill, Ardmore, PA.
 

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The Art of Negotiation... Download Video

Submitted by Dick, Williamsport, Md.
 

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Check your child's homework ...

cid:X.MA1.1226768479@aol.com

(Here's the reply the teacher received the following day)

Dear Mrs. Jones,

I wish to clarify that I am not now, nor have I ever been, an exotic dancer.

I work at Wal-Mart and I told my daughter how hectic it was last week before the blizzard hit. I told her we sold out every single shovel we had, and then I found one more in the back room, and that several people were fighting over who would get it. Her picture doesn't show me dancing around a pole. It's supposed to depict me selling the last snow shovel we had at Wal-mart.

From now on I will remember to check her homework more thoroughly before she turns it in.

Sincerely,
Mrs. Sheffield

Submitted by Paul, Oklahoma City, OK.
 

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Jan 21st Humor Page