« Stretching an analogy | Main | Bubblegum flavored Augmentin (and other drug-related adventures) »

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Getting hit with the 'clue-by-four'

One of the more popular treppenwitz posts in terms of reader participation (which still gets comments and contributions to this day) was the one about 'The Most Depressing Lyrics Ever'.  It seems many of you felt (and continue to feel) compelled to share your own 'most depressing song lyrics ever'.

No problem there.  When you're down there's always room to keep digging.  :-)

But today I'd like to take things in the opposite direction.

I recently got a serious case of the giggles while reading through the comments on a friend's blog.  It seems one of her commenters used the expression in today's title... and it completely slayed me.  It cracked me up so badly that for a couple of hours every time I thought about it the giggles started all over again!  I even snorted a few times in a meeting, which drew some curious stares.

Obviously 'clue-by-four' is just a simple play on the term 'two-by-four' (a 2" X 4" board of lumber used for construction), but for some reason the mental image of someone being set straight by a metaphorical blow to the head just struck me as 'horse-laugh' funny.

I guess there's a reason all those anvils, sledge-hammers and yes... two-by-fours in Bugs Bunny and Road Runner cartoons cracked us up as kids.  I also have a pet theory that we grew up secretly regretting that the real world doesn't offer us the possibility of such swift and often justifiable retribution.

I have a feeling that a lot of these funny expressions like 'clue-by-four' emanate from the neon-lit realm of Information Technology since terms like LART (Luser Attitude Adjustment Tool) and Clueiseville Slugger are mythical weapons used by the IT/help-desk set to bludgeon (or impart wisdom to) LUSERS.

What can I say, those pocket-protector-wearing IT guys and girls may not get out much... but they sure can slay the inner 7-year-old in most of us with their unique take on theoretical violence... especially when it is metaphorically visited upon vexing individuals (something we can all get behind).

Anyhoo... I know I wandered a bit (big surprise), but have any of you stumbled across an expression on the net lately that just completely hit you with the funny stick? 

Feel free to share.


Posted by David Bogner on September 27, 2006 | Permalink


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Getting hit with the 'clue-by-four':


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

I can't think of a specific example right now but Mark Steyn usually has at least one great zinger in his articles.

Posted by: westbankmama | Sep 27, 2006 11:59:57 AM

This is something I said once, not that I read. I was working on a gov't project, and we would periodically release new versions of the software. Along with every version release we would include a Software Release Bulletin, commonly referred to as the SRB. The SRB contained all known bugs and issues in the current release, along with work-arounds or current plans to resolve the issue. I was the point guy for sending out the software and SRB, and also the point guy for collecting all trouble reports.

I was whining one day to my boss that I kept receiving trouble reports for issues that were already reported in the SRB. I then asked him if we could rename the SRB to the RTFM(*). A co-worker two cubicles down started cracking up while my boss just looked really confused. He's normally pretty tech savvy, but I guess this was one acronym he hadn't come across.

(*) Read The Friggin (or another F word of your choice) Manual

Posted by: Nighthawk700 | Sep 27, 2006 12:42:06 PM

"I’ll Kung Foo your root to a panic!" – for the techies (If they know what it means). :-)

"If I test his cheeks maybe then he’ll respect me" – Kick on the butt… (street slang)

Posted by: pk | Sep 27, 2006 2:52:38 PM

You mean funnier than "popifada"?

Posted by: Doctor Bean | Sep 27, 2006 4:12:02 PM

I saw this one in July: "Cry bias, and let slip the blogs of war."

And I was always partial to the expression "content-free."


Posted by: Yehuda Berlinger | Sep 27, 2006 4:21:50 PM

This is not from the internet. Nonetheless I love it so. One of my mother's friends always talks about a friend of hers who "smokes like a fish." Sable? Salmon?

Posted by: Jersey Boy | Sep 27, 2006 5:33:13 PM

Westbankmama... link please. :-)

Nighthawk700... RTFM is an old favorite of mine. Thanks for reminding me as I have to go tell someone that right this very second! :-)

pk... I'll admit both are new to me. I guess I'm not street or techie enough. :-)

Doctor Bean... Um, hard as that may be to believe... yes.

Yehuda Berlinger... Content Free. That's s good one. I may have a new tag line there. :-)

Jersey Boy... Classic. Love it! Thanks.

Posted by: treppenwitz | Sep 27, 2006 6:11:04 PM

Hey! I'll have you know that techies don't wear pocket protectors any more. Pens leak so rarely that it's generally not a problem.

You have to pick them out (in the US, at least) by the slightly-work khakis, the wrinkled blue shirt, and the somewhat far-off look as they're thinking about some problem they need to solve.

That being said... uh... amusing expressions. I've always like old ones such as PEBKAC (Problem Exists Between Keyboard and Chair). But to be honest, I've never been a big fan of most jargon.

... with the exception of mathematical stuff. I've always love phrases like 'for sufficiently [large/small/nice/whatever] values of [insert variable]'. While seemingly a simple mathematical statement, its vagueness and ability to be used tongue-in-cheek (famously, 'two plus two equals five, for sufficiently large values of two') can keep me cracked up for hours. Also, mathematicians are quite arrogant - they call proofs 'elegant', they argue about the 'rigor' of an argument, they dismiss stuff as 'generalized abstract nonsense', and make poor undergraduates feel stupid by finishing the last page of a proof with 'clearly,' or 'it is trivial to show that X'. *grins* (Incidentally, in some applied math classes I have been known to occasionally use the 'clearly' line to connect a partially-completed proof with its solution...)

To be honest, I like any sort of highly technical jargon that invests simple works/phrases with enormous meaning that is opaque to most people.


Posted by: matlabfreak | Sep 27, 2006 6:33:01 PM

My favorite: "Make me a sandwich." "Make it yourself!" "SUDO Make me a sandwich." "Okay."
It's from the nerd comics at http://xkcd.com/ and my husband now tries it on me on a regular basis. (for non-techies - it's a way to force the system to recognize a command).

And we've been known to call each other "biotech" which is what a spell-checker suggested for "beeotch" (sorry).
No really, we do love each other...

Posted by: Kayla | Sep 27, 2006 6:33:42 PM

Oh! And I forgot. One of the best computer jokes I've seen in a long time:


...trust me, it's funny if you know about command-line programs in Linux/Unix.

Posted by: matlabfreak | Sep 27, 2006 6:39:21 PM

Damn! I can't possibly believe that Kayla put up the same thing while I was hunting down the link. Your husband has excellent taste in comics. *grins*

(My favorite is this one: http://xkcd.com/c54.html )

Posted by: matlabfreak | Sep 27, 2006 6:48:25 PM

I have CDO. It's like Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, only in alphabetical order like it should be...from chana 'jewess with horns'...made me stop and laugh

Posted by: marallyn | Sep 27, 2006 6:51:47 PM

SWAG: Scientific Wild Ass Guess.

Posted by: beth | Sep 27, 2006 7:52:10 PM

If you like RTFM, you'll love the mug!


(Bonus, the site actually uses RTFM and clue by four in a statement together (although 2 different sentances).

Posted by: Nighthawk700 | Sep 27, 2006 8:17:29 PM

Any phrase or sentence starting with "thereby", "henceforth", or "inasmuch as"
, makes me giggle evilly. Law school will warp your sense of humor...

Posted by: Irina | Sep 27, 2006 8:32:04 PM

The Mistress of Sarcasm is fond of "the Butt-Crack of Dawn," but I suspect that's not from the Internet. Neither is "Same Sh*t, Different Diaper."

Most of the good Internetty stuff is, alas, not appropriate for a Family Blog such as this one...

Posted by: Elisson | Sep 27, 2006 9:58:36 PM

okay, well, this really isn't an expression, but it's the funniest "pick-up" line I've ever heard: (man says to woman in bar or some other classy establishment)"Are you tired?" "Cause you've been running through my mind all night".

Posted by: cruisin-mom | Sep 27, 2006 10:49:40 PM

Rhetorgasm (I made it up, though others might have as well) - when there's a point so well articulated, you feel like you just...you know. :-)

Posted by: Raeefa | Sep 28, 2006 3:16:28 AM

Good question! It's hard to pick just one off the top of my head but this comic from a few days ago made me giggle. It's really not PC, but then again, the best jokes almost never are.

Oh btw - could someone please explain the SUDO joke? I know NOTHING about computer programming, unless you count HTML... ^^;;;

Posted by: Chantyshira | Sep 28, 2006 3:43:25 AM

SUDO stands for 'SuperUser DO', and is a command in a bunch of Unix and Unix-type operating systems that allows a user who normally doesn't have advanced privileges/access (normally associated with a superuser) to carry out a command that it couldn't do with its normal privileges.

Hence, using it on a person might be somewhat like elevating your command of 'make me a sandwich' to that coming from a 'superuser'... say, your aged grandmother... or god.

Trust me, it's funnier without the explanation. ;)


Posted by: matlabfreak | Sep 28, 2006 4:32:55 AM

ahh ... jersey boy... would she be the same woman who wonders if the pope sh*ts in the woods?

Posted by: half decaf | Sep 28, 2006 4:45:18 AM

A few of my favorites:

Multislacking - When an employee has two browser windows open, a nonwork-related site on top of a productive one, and quickly clicks on the legitimate site whenever the boss is nearby.

Nyetscape -Nickname for AOL's less-than-full-featured Web browser.

Webbelganger - When the name of someone you are googling comes up in a search, but it is not the person you are looking for.

Spendorphins - Pleasure hormones released when going on a shopping spree.

Repetative Brain Injury - The psychological damage that can be done to telephone operators, tech-support personnel, and others who have to answer the same dumb questions over and over again.

Ass Mosis - Advancing your career through sucking up to the boss.

Glambassador - A diplomat selected for their celebrity rather than their qualifications. e.g. Angelina Jolie as Goodwill Glambassador for the UN.

Umfriend - Term used for someone who is more than a friend but not-yet a significant other. "she's my um...friend."

Posted by: mcaryeh | Sep 28, 2006 7:52:54 AM

Matlabfreak... Hey, you just described exactly what I wore yesterday!!! I'm not techie! :-)

Kayla... I have a feeling that the SUDO command won't have much effect in my house. :-)

Matlabfreak... You snooze you luz. :-)

Marallyn... 'SDO'... genius!

Beth... I remember that was the gem that set me off on my last bout of snarky word searches. It still elicited a giggle. Thanks.

Nighthawk700... Tanya (of Redsugarmuse fame) clued me into that site. I have wasted more time there than I care to admit. It is a tad addictive.

Irina... You legal types are just too wacky for words. :->

Elisson... I hadn't heard either of those. Both keepers, by the way.

Cruisin' Mom... Any woman who would fall for that deserves what she wakes up with.

Raeefa... Great word. I get that feeling pretty much every time I read Caroline Glick's column (and that new 'hottie' picture of her doesn't hurt). :-)

Chantyshira... I have no idea when the whole 'grammar nazi', 'femi-nazi' etc. thing became acceptable, but once Seinfeld did his 'soup nazi' sketch, anything else was fair game.

half decaf... My favorite one in that direction is (meaning rhetorical question meant to confirm an emphatic 'yes': "Would a cow lick Lot's wife?"

Mcaryeh... all goodies. Slow down, I'm writing... :-)

Posted by: treppenwitz | Sep 28, 2006 1:19:52 PM

Post a comment

If you have a TypeKey or TypePad account, please Sign In