## Posts tagged ‘puns’

### Getting Back to My Roots

For years, this blog represented the finest mathematical humor that the internet had to offer. That hasn’t been the case so much recently, so it’s time I got back to my roots — of course, for me, those would be cube roots…

I was inspired to craft this post of horrendously bad puns when my sister’s friend shared this photo with me:

And I figured if I have to suffer, you should, too.

How many math grad students does it take to change a light bulb? Just one, but it takes nine years.

What’s the best tool for math class? Multi-pliers!

Think outside the regular quadrilateral.

When asked how good she was at algebra, the student replied, “Very able.”

What’s the difference between the radius and the diameter? The radius.

Are you depressed when you think about how dumb the average person is? Well, I’ve got bad news for you… nearly half the population is even dumber.

How do you make one disappear? Add a

g, then it’sgone.

Writing haiku is

tough, because you have to count.

Writers don’t like math.

Light travels faster than sound. This is why some people appear bright until you hear them speak.

The grad student had trouble getting the pizza box into the recycling can. It was like trying to put a square peg in a round hole.

How is the moon like a dollar? Both have four quarters.

Don’t look now, but there’s a suspicious man over there with graph paper. I think he’s plotting something.

### If Jack Handey Were a Math Guy

In our old neighborhood, we had the Heidelberg Bakery, which we loved for cupcakes, Bavarian pretzels, and challah. But I really wish it were named the Heisenberg Bakery instead, so that one of the employees could have said to me:

Sorry, I can tell you the status of your order, or I can tell you the location of your order — but not both!

I went to a geometry lecture last night on circles that was fascinating. But it lasted two hours longer than expected, because the speaker kept going off on a tangent.

Math is everywhere, even English class, where there are add‑verbs, add‑jectives, and conjunctions.

But math really is in English class; you can use proportions to find the past tense of *flew*:

Sure, they say that the moon is made of cheese, but I prefer to think that it’s made of crust and filling. Then it’d be π in the sky!

To get from point A to point B, a mathematician takes a rhom‑bus.

Math for the Office:

1/2 hour of productivity + 7 1/2 hours on the internet = 1 good day at work!

The Math of Diets:

2 cheeseburgers + 46 fries + 1 diet soda = 1 totally healthy meal!

Square box. Round pizza. Triangular slices. WTF?

Today’s Special: Buy one cheeseburger for the price of two, and receive a second cheeseburger absolutely free!

I’m worried about that man over there drawing on graph paper. I think he’s plotting something.

Why is 6 afraid of 7?

Because math is terrifying.

If I had a dozen strips of bacon, and you took four of them, what would you have?

That’s right. You’d have a black eye.

### Humor at #NCTMNOLA

Last Wednesday evening, Steven Strogatz delivered the opening session at the 2014 NCTM Annual Meeting in New Orleans.

His talk shared a title with his bestselling book, **The Joy of x**. During the talk, he described five keys in bringing math to the masses, including what worked — and what didn’t — when he wrote a 15-part series for the

*New York Times*Opinionator blog. He identified the five elements as follows:

- Humor
- Empathy
- Relevance
- A-ha!
- Listen to Your Wife (Husband, Partner, etc.)

I was ecstatic to see **humor** at the top of his list. As an example of humorous mathematics, he played the now infamous Verizon .002 phone call.

As it turns out, the week was full of humor. (Who’da thunk, at a math conference?) Bill Amend, author of the comic strip Foxtrot, delivered the closing session at the conference. Earlier the same day, yours truly gave my soon-to-be-famous **Punz and Puzzles** talk to a standing-room-only crowd.

Following the conference, Jennifer Silverman tweeted the following:

The joke I actually told was:

Why is 6 afraid of 7?

Because 7 8 9.Why don’t jokes work in base 8?

Because 7 10 11.

But who cares? If her son is laughing, I’m smiling!

After my session, I was accosted by an overly gregarious gentleman who had written a collection of math jokes on a yellow sheet of paper in red ink. While a queue of people who wanted me to sign their copies of **Math Jokes 4 Mathy Folks** formed behind him, he proceeded to tell me ALL of the jokes that he had written. He shared one joke that I found funny:

Though *funny* may not be the right word. Perhaps *interesting* is a better choice, because **Pythagorean serum** was the name we used for the concoction that was served at my book release party.

And while at the conference, I was told a joke that I think works better visually than verbally…

Last but not least, I was sent the following image of Newton’s Cradle by Zachary Kanin with the suggestion that maybe I use it the next time I present:

### Stranger than (Science) Fiction at Balticon

I have been to many conferences and conventions. However, the one I attended today is the first that had (or needed to have) the following disclaimer on its website:

Costume weapons must be inspected and peace bonded. Taking costume weapons outside the hotel will create conflict.

The conference was Balticon 46, the annual convention of the Baltimore Science Fiction Society.

Attendees included science fiction writers, engineers, physicists, and other scientists. To my great surprise, I was envious. No, I did not have any interest in dressing like Mr. Spock, a troll, or Supergirl. But just as Susan Orlean observed true passion through the eyes of John Laroche while writing *The Orchid Thief*, I felt the fervor of the Balticon attendees. They are deeply passionate about science, they embrace their inner geek, and they devote themselves to learning so they can write science fiction that feels real.

In a word, it was awesome.

I found myself hoping to someday be as passionate about something — *anything* — as these folks.

I was invited to Balticon to give a humorous math presentation that I call Punz and Puzzles. Outside the room where I was presenting, there was a sign listing the day’s events and times. It read as follows:

0810– Sunday Cooperative Shavuot Service

1000– Sucking and Swallowing

…

1500– Punz and Puzzles

…

1700– Improved Long-Term Therapy to Prevent Recurrent Herpes Outbreaks

That sign alone made my attendance worthwhile. It would appear that the conference is attended by lascivious, orally fixated, math-loving Jews. That’s an interesting demographic.

At the end of my presentation, I asked if anyone had a math joke to share. One gentleman stood up eagerly and said, “Yes, I have *some*.” Uh-oh. Here’s a guy who wants to occupy the stage for a while. His first joke (below) was reasonable. His next *five* were not… but I’ll spare you the pain.

What is this?

Hilton + Wilding + Todd + Fisher + Burton + Warner + Fortensky

A Taylor series (specifically, the Elizabeth Taylor series; those are the last names of her husbands)

When it was all over, it occurred to me… perhaps math jokes *are* my passion? (Shudder.)

### All About Cannibals

Last weekend, I presented my Puns and Puzzles workshop at Reiter’s Books in Washington, DC. During the talk, I told the audience my favorite non-math joke, which I’ve posted on this blog before. But it’s worth repeating…

Two cannibals are eating a clown. One says to the other, “Does this taste funny to you?”

While at Reiter’s, Umar Khan, the organizer of the Washington, DC, math meet-up group, offered the following modification:

Two cannibals are eating a video programmer. One says to the other, “Does this taste gamey to you?”

Inspired by Umar’s modification, I posted the joke to Facebook and asked if anyone else had a modification. To my surprise, it started a firestorm! Here are some of the best replies:

Two cannibals are eating a mathematician. One says to the other, “Does this taste odd to you?” (Beth Dare)

Two cannibals are eating Jennifer Aniston (double entendre intended): “Does this taste bitter to you?” (June Bretz Jebram)

Two cannibals are eating a deep sea fisherman. “Does this taste salty to you?” (Amy Bucci)

Two cannibals are eating a coward. One says, “Does this taste like chicken to you?” (Dave Sundin)

And my friend Ayal Cohen couldn’t resist the opportunity to make fun of me directly:

Two cannibals are eating a math joke book author. One says to the other, “Why was 10 afraid of 7? Because 7 8 9!” No, wait, that’s not right. One says to the other, “Man, that was a tasteless joke.” Wait wait, hold on… the punch line is coming. Two cannibals are eating Patrick Vennebush. One says to the other, “Did you know he published a math joke book?”

“Huh?” says the other. “Who is Patrick Vennebush?”

Finally, Beth Dare offered a cannibal joke that doesn’t fit the format… but since it makes fun of several math professions, it’s worth sharing, too.

Five cannibals are hired as engineers at a defense company. The boss welcomes them, tells them they have complete access to the cafeteria, but asks them not to bother the other employees. Four weeks later, the boss congratulates them for their hard work, but he also says that the janitor is missing. “Do any of you know what happened to him?” the boss asks. None of them says anything, and the boss leaves.

When the boss is out of earshot, one of the cannibals says, “Okay, which of you idiots ate the janitor?” Meekly, one of them raises his hand. “You idiot!” shouts the first. “For a month, we’ve been eating accountants, statisticians, mathematicians, engineers, project managers and supervisors, and no one noticed! But you had to go and eat the janitor!”

### Presentation and Booksigning: Reiter’s Bookstore (DC)

I’ll be presenting (an abridged version of) my workshop Puns and Puzzles at Reiter’s Books in Washington, DC, on Saturday, September 11.

Reiter’s Books

1900 G Street NW

Washington, DC 20006

**2:00 pm**

The presentation will combine jokes from * Math Jokes 4 Mathy Folks*, some new jokes and even a comedy sketch, as well as some of my favorite mathematical puzzles. If you happen to find yourself in the nation’s capital with nothing better to do on a Saturday afternoon, please stop by to say hello.

*Math Jokes 4 Mathy Folks*will be available for sale, and after the presentation, I’ll be happy to sign a copy for you — or for the special geek in your life!

I look forward to seeing you!