We are moving a little slowly around here this morning, soon to be afternoon. We are definitely not out shopping.
The power was off in the middle of the night, all over the whole valley, and Steve and Jeff were awake. They stood outside in moonlight with everything else dark. The entire hillside was black except for the light of the moon. Usually one circuit or another goes around here, but it is a real treat to have the entire area dark.
Jon Carroll is great again today. Enjoy!
Friday, November 23, 2007
Recently on the Well ( www.well.com), the online discussion group where I have spent far too much of my time over the past two decades (almost), I became aware of a new category of humor: economist jokes. Obviously, the category is not new, it's just that I hadn't heard of it before. Or I'd heard of it and then forgotten it. I only know one economist, and she's not much for joke telling.
So, today, when many people are not reading me at all and the rest are doing so only to avoid work, I thought I might collect some economist jokes from various sources and copy them down, thereby bringing greater mirth to Northern California and a tiny part of Nevada.
A man was walking down a country road. He came across a shepherd with a huge flock of sheep. He told the shepherd, "I will bet you $100 against one of your sheep that I can tell you the exact number in this flock." The shepherd thought it over; it was a big flock, so he took the bet.
"It's 973," said the man. The shepherd was astonished. "That's exactly right," he said. "OK, I'm a man of my word, take an animal." The man picked one up and began to walk away.
"Wait," cried the shepherd, "Let me have a chance to get even. Double or nothing that I can guess your exact occupation." The man agreed. "You are an economist for a government think tank," said the shepherd.
"Amazing!" responded the man, "You are exactly right! But tell me, how did you deduce that?"
"Well," said the shepherd, "put down my dog and I'll tell you."
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 him the same question. The accountant says, "On average, four - give or take 10 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 number did you have in mind?"
The interesting thing about these two jokes, and they are easily the most frequently mentioned on sundry Web sites, is that they present opposite stereotypes of economists. In the first joke, the economist is extremely competent at his job, but lacks a grasp of facts known to everyone else.
In the second joke, the economist understands precisely how the world works, and is willing to compromise his professional principles to please a prospective employer. I find these differing characterizations of economists interesting, but I have no theories as to why it should be so.
Three econometricians went out hunting and came across a large deer. The first econometrician fired, but missed, by a meter to the left. The second econometrician fired, but also missed, by a meter to the right. The third econometrician didn't fire, but shouted in triumph, "We got it! We got it!"
Econometricians are apparently economists who use statistical analysis to solve real-world problems. Whether or not this joke would be just as funny if it involved economists is a fact known only to economists. Note: In this joke, the econometricians are neither smart nor worldly, but merely self-deluding.
How many conservative economists does it take to change a lightbulb? None. The darkness will force the lightbulb to change by itself.
A man was sent to hell for his sins. As he was being processed, he passed a room where an economist he knew was having an intimate conversation with a beautiful woman.
"What a crummy deal," the man complained. "I have to burn for all eternity and that economist spends it with that gorgeous woman."
An escorting demon jabs the man with his pitchfork and shouts, "Who are you to question that woman's punishment?"
They say that Christopher Columbus was the first economist. When he left to discover America, he didn't know where he was going. When he got there he didn't know where he was. And it was all done on a government grant.
An economist returns to visit her old school. She's interested in the current exam questions and asks her old professor to show her some. To her surprise, they are exactly the same questions that she answered 10 years ago. When she asks the professor about this, he says: "The questions are always the same. Only the answers change!"
I'm not sure what all this means - are there as many jokes about, say, historians? - but it does indicate a deep undercurrent of some damn thing afflicting the American psyche. I take cash or credit cards; please, no personal checks.
A potpourri of risibility, a smattering of guffaws, a teacup of titters - a veritable Laughter Curve
Happy Day After Thanksgiving, and beginning of the celebratory season until the first of January, and even then, beyond.