Best Joke Ever 

Friday, September 5th, 2014

Over at McSweeney’s, Mark Peters is doing a deft job of analyzing comedians, and their best jokes ever, in a recurring column called “Best Joke Ever”. Far from killing the humor, Peters has managed to isolate and preserve it, while improving our understanding of it as well

In reference to Mitch Hedberg’s classic escalator joke1, Peters had this to say:

The beauty of this joke is that it sticks with you forever, objectively making your life better. Once you’ve heard the joke, I defy you to see a broken escalator and not think of it. This is an accomplishment: to write and tell a joke that can get in people’s heads and cheer them up during one of life’s annoying little moments.

In my case at least, he’s nailed it:

Mitch Hedberg was wrong?!


  1. It seems ridiculous to even quote the joke, as if a reader of this site could somehow have missed it. Nevertheless, here is Hedberg’s gem: “I like escalators, because an escalator can never break: it can only become stairs. There would never be an “Escalator temporarily out of order” sign, only an “Escalator temporarily stairs. Sorry for the convenience.”

Happy Belated Birthday, Whitey!

Thursday, September 4th, 2014

Despite that fact that I was born in January, every year on September 3rd, I get a lovely birthday email from OKCupid.

Happy Birthday

And so it is that every year, I’m reminded of this post, and of Whitey Bulger’s birthday. Truthfully, I don’t know how happy his relationship is now that he’s locked away from his partner, but it’s probably best to let sleeping dogs lie alone in prison.

The 14-Inch Linebacker 

Wednesday, September 3rd, 2014

A glitch in the latest Madden football game has rookie linebacker Christian Kirksey measuring in at just one foot two inches tall. It’s every bit as ridiculous as you’d expect.

Christian Kirksey
Christian Kirksey recovers the fumble! [Image credit: @FreshCarbon]

The Kings Dominion Law 

Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014

The “Kings Dominion Law”, named after a theme park in Virginia, dictates that most Virginia schools can’t begin until after Labor Day. Yes, theme parks are dictating school calendars.

Probably Doesn’t Taste Any Worse Than Red Bull 

Monday, September 1st, 2014

Instead of finishing their race in Norway, six cyclists wound up in the hospital after mistaking a soap detergent sample for a sports drink.

How Paintball Started 

Friday, August 29th, 2014

If you ever wondered how paintball started, the New York Times has the answer. Worth noting, the winner of the first paintball match ever never fired his gun.

Muslim, Moor, Baby, Whatever 

Thursday, August 28th, 2014

Apparently, the creature on the badge of an Alfa Romeo is actually not Trogdor the Burninator. It is a dragon, but it’s not breathing fire.

Alfas are generally really lovely cars, and they invite close, lurid inspection. Which means that many of us have likely taken a good long look at an Alfa’s badge and thought to ourselves, with the introspection of a philosopher, “What the fuck?”

Alfa Romeo Badge
Alfa Romeo’s current badge

Check out the whole story on the only car logo featuring a human being eaten.

There Are a Few Moments of Joy, but You’re Not Allowed to See Them 

Wednesday, August 27th, 2014

Apparently looking to suck any tiny modicum of fun out of soccer, the Premier League has warned fans not to post goal videos online.

Why We Didn’t Vaccinate Our Child 

Tuesday, August 26th, 2014

A father shares an explanation for why he has chosen not to vaccinate his child.

Cropping Out the Joke

Monday, August 25th, 2014

The longest marathon in the history of television is going on right now over on the FXX channel. They’re airing all 552 episodes of “The Simpsons” (as well as “The Simpsons Movie”), and it’s pretty amazing. An episode of the Simpsons ends, and you think “I wonder if anything good is on now”. And then? There’s another episode of “The Simpsons”! And they’re all good, at least for now, while they’re in the lower numbered seasons.

However, there is a problem. Up until season 20, the show aired in a 4:3 ratio. Unfortunately, FXX has cropped, zoomed in and stretched the older episodes into a 16:9 format. At best, this is undesirable, and looks slightly off. However, at times it has a far more negative effect on the comedy. Take a look at this shot from Homer’s tour of the Duff brewery (Season 4, Episode 16: “Duffless”):

A Cut Off Joke
“Here we have, Duff, Duff Light, and our newest flavor, Duff Dry.”

The episode lingers on this shot for several seconds. Looking at the above picture, it would be difficult to understand why. Fans may remember what it should have looked like, in its proper aspect ratio:

The proper joke
Much Better

One hates to look a gift horse in the mouth, but it really is a shame that the episodes are being mangled in this fashion. Fortunately, when the episodes come online via the Simpsons World app, they’ll be in their proper aspect ratio.