Posts Tagged humor

Jokes and Memory

Friday, November 26, 2010
What’s the worst joke you ever heard?

This is an odd prompt – why would I remember a bad joke?  But then I realized that you could take “worst” in a number of ways, “most bad quality” being only one of them, and maybe this meant “most offensive/terrible.”  Of course, about the same time I started thinking about memory and its implications, so this blog post will cover both!

I spent a long while one day in college reviewing, which I sometimes call “Texts from Last Night before Texting.”  Bash was a repository for hilarious things said on IRC (in public chat online).  My favorite was the following, which could definitely be considered “most offensive/terrible”:

Joker: You know Hitler killed six million Jews and one clown.
Fish: Why the clown?
Joker: See, nobody cares about the Jews!

I apologize to everyone I have now offended with this hilariously offensive bit of humor from

Memory is odd – I am kind of terrified of ever losing pieces of my memory, because I consider Myself to be somewhat firmly attached to the sum of my experiences.  The awful thing, of course, is if you start forgetting things, how would you know?  There’s the possibility you would know something is missing, either through some internal sense or by comparison with the world around you, but it’s still frightening.  I spoke almost a year ago on Identity and how I feel memory is tied up with it, and perhaps the trick is to fully accept that every moment the “I” is being reinvented in small irreversible ways, and it is this set of Daves that forms my identity.  It’s just so weird to think about sometimes!

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Review: Penny Arcade

The PA guys (Jerry and Mike, or more widely known as Tycho and Gabe) are doing another “reader poll” to see which side-project they should spend effort on, and I was reminded again why I think Penny Arcade is so sweet.  If you haven’t read them, you can find them at – they have two interesting one-page treatments of two possible side projects (Sand and The New Kid) up, and of course huge archives of their primary gaming webcomic.  I recall starting to read PA in college, and I know Todd and Garrett and I attended the first (and subsequent) PAX expos after I was in grad school.  I own all of their books, and read them fairly religiously.  So, maybe I am biased, but I think I can still render some opinions in reviewing their material.

One: Penny Arcade is a comic by gamers for gamers, and they aren’t assholes (to their audience).  They also happen to fit the profile of your “growing up gamer” and so they happened to be perfect for me as I passed through college and into working life.  (Not so much now that they are family men, but their in-comic avatars are still basically bachelors.)  This is kind of a drawback if you haven’t previously read their stuff, because reading through archives is not quite the same as associating life experiences of the time with reading, but it’s still an interesting aspect to my “relationship” with PA.  Penny Arcade is really much more of a blog in comic form than most other webcomics I have read, and it gives it a much more authentic feel.  Because of that, they have a lot of currency/capital to spend when they do go off a little and do weird things (Cardboard Tube Samurai, Twisp and Catsby, these reader-directed projects, etc.)

Two: Penny Arcade doesn’t make any apologies.  It doesn’t skirt around issues in the gaming world that Jerry and Mike believe are relevant and important to tackle, and it doesn’t censor itself for the sake of protecting reader’s… eyes? Ear-analogues.  They are able to infuse their opinions with humor, and to me that’s a big win.  They can tend to ramble, or focus too much on topics that seem small on a global scale but are quite relevant to them personally, but I don’t fault them much for this – it is their comic/blog after all!

They also were the genesis of the Child’s Play charity, which I think is really amazing at directing gamers (generally generous people, in my opinion) toward spending for greater good.  So brownie points to the people for that!

Overall: A-
Humor: B+ (rises if you know the specific games involved at any one time)
Variety: A+ (no other webcomic I know treats so many different topics/games within the sphere)

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Slight break from the theme of review for a bit, while I catch my breath (also, I ran out of easy stuff to review for a bit!) – and talk a bit about Awktopus!  On Monday this week, on the way back from lunch, I “created” Awktopus, which I find totally hilarious.  It’s clearly just an octopus who has an uncanny tendency to be really awkward.  Nick, Bill and I talked about him starring in a webcomic that essentially chronicles the hilarity of an awkward octopus.  Nick, being something of an artist, created a sweet rendition of Awktopus for me, which I will try to snap a photo of tomorrow (I left it at work).

The best part of Awktopus is now when I would normally say “awkward…” I say “awktopus…” instead.

This brings back to the foreground this perennial urge of mine to start crazy projects and never actually follow through with them.  (In this case, a webcomic website devoted to Awktopus and friends.)  I feel like I have a ton of good ideas careening around in my head, but not enough time and/or will to implement them.  I often wish I could take a bunch of time off from a regular job and work on stuff from my head (and in fact, considered doing just that with my fat bonus check a year and a half ago), but haven’t yet.  Still, the ideas yearn to become reality!  Perhaps if I find a way to “become better organized” (a goal my past self keeps reminding me of, via 43Things), I could get to work on that!

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