What does the world cost? Oh well, then we'll just take a small coke.


Thursday, May 31, 2007

Life Tip #32

Be careful at the McDonald's drive through for moving vehicles.

Be very careful at the McDonald's drive through for customers who fall asleep in between the order and pick-up windows.

Be very, very careful at the McDonald's drive through for customers who fall asleep in between the order and pick-up windows, especially for the ones who have drunk twice the legal limit of alcohol.

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SWM seeks VGL DTE SWF ISO LTR. WLTM. Not looking for a LDS. DWF need not apply. If interested, please email FunnyClassNotes@gmail.com. SWALK. XOXO.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Life Tip #31

Don't fly with tuberculosis.

This is particularly true if you have an especially dangerous, highly contagious and untreatable strain of TB.

If you must fly with an especially dangerous, highly contagious and untreatable strain of TB, don't be headed for a wedding.

If you must fly to a wedding with an especially dangerous, highly contagious and untreatable strain of TB, make sure it's not yours.

If you must catch TB, fly, and get married, don't be under the first quarantine order since 1963.

Cindy Sheehan is a Filthy Quitter

Caution: This post is not very nice to Cindy...

Almost two years ago, a Heroine of audacious tenacity, the Matron Saint of Peace Advocacy reacted to the violent loss of Her son to protest our country’s invasion of Iraq. This advocate raised the white flag and waived it militantly. She protested what She saw as a travesty of justice by purchasing a small tract of land adjacent to our President’s ranch plot and setting up a camp on that property which She named after Her late son.

She then joined on the talk show, TV and late night circuses, collecting support for Her cause and rallying Her anti-war troops. She called out the Commander-in-Chief to explain Her son’s demise and threatened both major political parties with exposure. More than just threaten, She actually exposed, digging up some dirt and lobbying in favor the changes She felt were necessary.

Then, with little warning and no named successor, Cindy Sheehan quit. On Memorial Day of all days, Sheehan said She had “failed” her late son and would now be packing up her fliers, bumper stickers, hats, pins and triangular flags and leaving Texas and maybe the USA altogether.

Sheehan says Her departure is due to slanderous and hurtful comments from the political left. She could take flak from the right but not from the left. She said She felt She’d been double crossed. Some in Her entourage claim the promise of an especially warm Al Gore summer was the last straw. Other’s felt it had something to do with a tempting offer from PETA. But regardless of her rationale, the Human Dove (Bar) is leaving tens of hundreds of faithful protesters without a leader.

It’s like the disappointment of Lindsey Lohan collapsing during a drunken cocaine binge or Rachel Smith falling on stage during the evening gown portion of the Miss World competition – we are sorry not to see the glamorous conclusion of Your efforts.

The army of peace has lost its Head; the battalion is without a Commanding Officer.

C’mon Cindy! Leading an underground political movement isn’t like smoking; You don’t have to quit. Just because You’ve been betrayed by the left doesn’t mean You are justified in betraying them back.

Where will the dried up hippies who’ve found new life and moisture under Your leadership flock now? What will become of the Leave Iraq activists who used Your movement as a way to release long suppressed tensions? Will the social miscreants who found purpose under Your banner have to return to bum-dom or will another leader rise from the ashes to call out our president? Who will this Phoenix be and how do You know his motives will be as pure as Yours?

Here at FCN, we think You’re a filthy quitter. Your son gave the ultimate sacrifice in a cause he thought was right and just – he’s a hero, no question – and You tried to make his life into something new after his demise. You tried, but You quit.

Go now. Leave. Fee to Canada, France or the Caribbean or wherever it is defeated leftists reside when the smoke clears.

Have a good life. And please don’t come back in a few months on an Anniversary tour to release a few birds and deliver some tired Bush jokes. You’re yesterday’s news. You’re a filthy quitter. And we don’t like You anymore.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Seventh and Eighth Reader!

Two days ago was an historical day in FCN history: we logged our seventh and eighth readers. At first we thought Uncle Wally hadn't checked his counter in a while or his calibration was out of whack; nothing else seemed to explain the readerplosion. On further, CSI type inspection, we discovered that not only was the information accurate, but our two additional readers were from the same general location.

At first, we thought we were receiving a super powerful signal from one computer, but a piece of bailing wire, a toothpick and a watch battery revealed that we were actually the recipient of two distinct signals from the same household or general area.

In the past our readership had increased one reader at a time. A visitor from outerspace joined us and was followed some two and a half months later by one from Zimbabwe. Maybe we're seeing evidence of FCN missionaries carrying FCN tales around like so many honey bees. Or, perhaps, the attractive lifestyle of the derelict is finally seeing its heyday.

We were going to write something really snazzy for our seventh reader, about how seven was the number of perfection and reason and how the number looks like a coiled cobra or a “one” turned backward. We were going to mention that seven is the fourth prime number, second safe prime, second lucky prime, first Woodall prime, third Lucas prime, first Newman -Shanks- Williams prime and fourth factorial prime. We were going to say how ironic it is that seven is both a Carol and Kynea number. We were going to remark that seven both a happy number and self number.

Maybe it's just best we skipped all that; it might have gotten too deep and mathematical.

We couldn't think of anything cool for eight; it's just another even multiple of two that can be divided by four and one. It is, however, one greater than seven, so we are glad to have it instead of its predecessor.

We don't know the names of our two new readers – the Internet is funny like that – but we do know their location – the Internet is, well, funny like that. The map below was generated by our specialized software and is therefore grainy and so zoomed out that the red location glob covers three states. It does, however, tell us that our two new readers are from the heart of the American Midwest and it's always great to see hometown proud Americans on a humor blog run by a passel of left coasters.

But I digress; here's the map:

The occurrence of two singles living so close together that they emit the same signal is so slim that we can practically assume that our two new readers are married.

Since we don't know our reader's names, we are forced to guess. A typical American female name is Jane. A typical American male name is Dick. Dick is, of course, short for Richard and Jane is short for Janeesha.

Since the signal comes from the mid-west (the Nebraska, Kansas, Colorado, Missouri area), we can infer that our new readers are moral people who regularly model proper citizenship virtues. They rise at 0500 (or at least they checked FCN at 0500) and milk their cows promptly thereafter. They have few vices, but FCN is proud to be one of them.

In short, they are live reenactments of Grant Wood's Gothic American:

At our current rate of growth, our old calculation of 79 million years until we take DailyKos by storm may have been a couple million off. It's looking more like 76,590,928...and counting!

As always, thanks for reading and commenting. With such awesome and active readers, it's almost as if our blog had many more faithful few than it actually does. Almost.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Desperate Student, Episode 10: Dog Catcher

This continues the epic, sweeping saga of the Desperate Student. Get caught up here.

I awoke bright and early. The birds were chirping, the neighbor's sprinklers were quietly tap-tapping, and my new roomie Ivan was shaking me roughly by the shoulders.

"Get out of the bathtub, punk. I need a shower."

This was a fact with which I could not agree more. Still a bit bleary-eyed, I pulled my bedding out of the bathtub and tossed it into the hall closet. After a short, waterless morning toilette, I snatched a bagel off the counter and headed out the door. Burke was getting ready to drive in to work (he's a bouncer for a bad guy who smokes cigars and discusses dastardly plans while loose women lounge around his chair). I bummed a ride off him to the city capitol, which is just a block to the east and a hundred feet above Burke's place of employment.

A few minutes later, I knocked at the door to the Mayor's office. He ushered me in and gave me a seat.

"So, you're the Desperate Student," He said, sizing me up. I brushed absently at my hair and noticed it was slightly singed. I couldn't remember how that had happened. Wierd.

"Uh ... yes, that's me."

"Well, the people love you, anyway." He sniffed, reached into his desk, and pulled out a long brown trenchcoat, a plain brown baseball cap, a badge, and a strange device that looked something like what national park service people use to pick up litter. "You're the City Animal Control Officer," Said the mayor, draping the coat around my shoulders.

"I thought I was a dog catcher."

"Will you shut up and let me do this?"

"Sorry."

"Right. Where was I ... oh yes. You're the City Animal Control Officer. The people of this community look to you to protect them from the ravenous creatures that patrol the shadows in search of unsuspecting prey. You are the only defense against the malicious. You are a bastion of safety and assurance. It is in you, and you alone, that we place our trust as ACO." He leaned in close. His breath smelled like Skittles. "I trust that you will not abuse that trust."

"Anything you ..."

"Shut up and let me finish!"

"Sorry."

"Ahem. So ... it is in you, and you alone ... blablabla ... oh yes. You will not abuse that trust. Okay. So." He turned and looked out the window, hands behind his back. The blinds were closed. "It is not just the citizens who must be protected from the animals. It is the animals who must be protected from the citizens. You must ensure that the dogs and cats of this county never meet a fate crueler than they deserve. We have facilities for this sort of thing - animal shelters. Pounds. Hospices. Death camps." He whirled and fixed an eagle eye on me. "You control the fate of our irrational mammalian friends. To them, you are God."

Then he grabbed the litter-picker. It was a yard-long metal pole with a rubberized clamp on one end and a noose on the other. "It's very easy to use," Said the mayor, holding it by the clamp end. I noticed a small button beneath his thumb. "Simply guide the noose over the neck of the dog." He demonstrated by guiding the noose over my head. "Then squeeze the clamps to tighten." A band of pain exploded around my neck. Blood started swelling in my head. My eyes bugged out. I fell to my knees, gasping for breath. The room spun. I heard the mayor saying: "That's strange, this button was supposed to release."

Then I blacked out.

Sometime later - only the mayor knows for sure how long - I was standing at the capitol steps in the City Animal Control Officer garb (now soaked) and clutching the dog-noose like a lifeline. The apologetic Mayor stood beside me, patting me on the back. "I'm sure you'll figure it out. The main thing is to take the job seriously. Goodness knows we don't get taken seriously enough around here. Anyway, you've got a radio and flashlight on your belt, and uh ... here's the key to the car." I perked up. The mayor pressed a tiny key into my hand and pointed at a dull brown van at the edge of the parking lot. It had siren lights and a small satellite dish on the top.

"Obviously, gas and maintenance will come at the cost of the city," Said the mayor.

"Cooooool," I whispered.

"If you have any questions, call my office. It's sixtuforvineeteven." He placed both hands on my shoulder and shook me gently. The back of my neck hurt. "I know the weight of responsibility weighs heavy on you now, but take courage. I know you can handle it." He bit his lip, nodded, gave me one last pat, and fled, snickering, into the building.

I loaded into the van, which felt like a converted ambulance from around 1965 or so. After a few tries, I got the engine started. It was only then that I realized that I had no idea where to go. I turned the engine off, cranked up the volume on my two-way radio, and waited.

Ten minutes later, I revved up 101.9 FM and leaned my chair back.

Twenty minutes later, I gave up on the air conditioning.

Thirty minutes later, I dozed off.

Three hours later, the two-way started going crazy. "This is Whiskey-Hotel-Oscar-Echo-Victor-Echo-Romeo, does anyone read? Come in."

I mashed the talk button. "Uh, hey, this is ... uh ... Denmark-Edison-Santiago-Paris-Edison-Roma-Amsterdam-Tripoli ... uh ..."

"What on earth are you talking about? Over."

"Just ... giving my call signs."

"Who are you? Over."

"Um ... the City Animal Control Officer?"

"You're the new Dog? Over."

"Dog catcher, actually."

"No, that's your callsign: Dog. Over."

"Oh - roger that, sir."

"That's Whiskey-Hotel-Oscar-Echo-Victor-Echo-Romeo to you, smartypants. Now listen up. We've got a dog bite situation on Maple and Main. How soon can you get there? Over."

"Give me five minutes."

"Do you have backup? Ammunition? Over."

"I've got a dog noose."

"Good enough. Get over here. Over."

"Roger that."

"Whiskey-Hotel-Oscar-Echo-Victor-Echo-Romeo out."

"Uh ... Dog out."

I tromped on the pedal and sped out of the parking lot and through the city. The corner of Maple and Main was an old suburban area with tall oak trees and narrow, cracked sidewalks. I found Whiskey-Hotel-Oscar-Echo-Victor-Echo-Romeo standing behind the door of his police car watching through binoculars as two fat white male neighbors yelled themselves hoarse.

I pulled up behind the police car and got out.

"Finally, you're here," said Whiskey-Hotel-Oscar-Echo-Victor-Echo-Romeo.

"What do I do?" I asked.

"You're the man. Get in there and resolve this."

I went up onto the lawn and pushed the two men apart. "All right, all right," I said. "I'm the City Animal Control Officer. Now give me your names and tell me what happened, starting with you, sir."

"I'm Blake Finley," Growled the first man. "I've been keeping my grandma's dog since she passed away six years ago. Little Poochie wouldn't hurt a fly. And now this scumbag wants me to think that a dinky toy poodle went and ..."

"What do you mean, wants you to think?" The second man demanded. He reached down and hiked up his jeans, revealing a massive, festering bite wound. I was amazed he was still standing. "Drink that in!" He shouted. "You think I did that myself?"

"I think that's exactly what you did," Said Blake, taking a threatening step forward. "And if you don't get back on your own lawn in the next ten seconds my dog will be the least of your worries!"

The second man looked down at the street, where a mailbox stood as a marker, apparently differentiating who's lawn was who's. The man took a half-step back onto his own territory.

"Now," Said Blake. "As I was saying ..."

"You've said your piece!" Shouted the second man. "It's my turn!"

"All right," I said. "Let's hear your story."

"Adam Finley," said the second man. "I was in the backyard minding my own business when that mongrel busted over my fence and tore a chunk out of my leg before I even knew what was happening! Now imagine if I had been an old person, or a little girl ..."

"I wish you had been," Shouted Blake. "Then maybe I wouldn't have to deal with all this ..."

"Enough!" I shouted. "I'm taking the dog in to be checked - make sure it doesn't have any issues."

Blake's voice softened. "Look," He said. "Poochie's the only thing I have left from my darling grandma. Surely you wouldn't ..."

"He's lying!" Said Adam. "He's got that gator-skin purse she gave him last Christmas!"

"It's not a purse!"

Blake stepped onto Adam's lawn and they started another toe-to-toe shoutout. I gripped the dog noose tightly and walked to the wooden gate leading to Blake's backyard. A low growl sounded behind me. I took a deep breath, steeled my courage, and reached for the latch. Then I drew my hand away and pulled out my cell phone.

I left a message on Suzy's machine: "Suzy, it's me ... I just want you to know that ... well ... whatever happens ... I love you. I always have. Anyway. I'll ... yeah." Then I hung up and reached for the latch before I lost my nerve. The cutest toy poodle I've ever seen was waiting on the other side of the door. It was about nine inches tall, all white, with perfectly groomed soft white curls. It's tiny pink tongue was hanging from its mouth, and tiny, needle-sharp teeth were exposed. I couldn't tell from the haircut, but I think its hackles were up.

It leapt for my face. I stepped left and swung the noose like a bat. It was foul ball. Poochie sailed thirty feet over my head in a loose arc and landed in the street. Then it charged Whiskey-Hotel-Oscar-Echo-Victor-Echo-Romeo. I saw Poochie disappear behind the car. Then came a quick grunt followed by twelve shots. Adam and Blake let go of each other's necks and turned to look. Poochie came around the corner with an evil grin. Whiskey-Hotel-Oscar-Echo-Victor-Echo-Romeo was nowhere to be seen.

Poochie tamely sat there while I put the noose around the neck and tightened. I hastily stuffed the dog in the back of the van and got into my car.

"Hey!" Shouted Blake. "How do I contact the shelter to get my poochie back?"

"Call sixtuforvineeteven," I said, then tromped on the gas and headed out.

I dropped off Poochie at the death camp without event (at least, without event for me ... I suspect the workers there may have had an adventure or two, but this is not their blog). Satisfied, I turned my car toward the capitol to await the next call. The Mayor was waiting in the parking lot as I pulled in. I rolled down the window. He put his hands on the door and leaned in, obviously very nervous.

"You have to run," He hissed. "When the people find out what happened, you'll be implicated. You have to separate yourself from me."

"How?"

The mayor reached into his pocket and pulled out a checkbook. "Here's ... let's say ... five grand. That should get you on your way." He tore the check off and handed it to me hastily. "Now promise me you'll run from here and never come back." Without hesitation, I agreed. Then I turned the van around and drove west.

I write this post on the lobby computer of the It'll Have To Do Hotel. I intend to put as much space as possible between me and my dark, desperate past.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Our Blog? Boring? Pshaww....

Here's a response to everyone who doesn't like our blog...



























...things could be worse.

For more Pearls Before Swine, visit Comics.com

Presidential Candidate Changes Religious Affiliation

BOSTON (FCN) – 2008 Presidential hopeful Mitt Romney announced this morning that he has changed his religious affiliation from his native Mormonism and joined the Catholic Church.

“After careful analysis of polling data from several key states and some interviews with likely voters, our campaign has decided it’s best for Mitt to make the switch,” said Vanessa Creano, a spokeswoman for the former Governor of Massachusetts. “If you look at the religions of past candidates, Mormons have traditionally fared poorly; we don’t want that for Mitt.”

The campaign made the announcement on the steps of Saint Joseph Roman Catholic Church on William Cardinal Street in downtown Boston. Inside the cathedral, Romney was taking his first communion.

“It’s a big change for us; we are pitching the Book of Mormon and picking up the Magisterium,” explained Ann Romney, Mitt’s wife. “Sometimes, on the campaign trail and for the sake of the nation, you have to make sacrifices. If this switch means that a Republican is parading come inauguration day, it’ll be worth it.”

Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) hail the move with disappointment.

“It is, of course, sad to see him and his family leave, but the departure is bittersweet,” said P. Jackson Randolf a social sciences professor at Brigham Young University, a Mormon institution of higher education. “If he gains control of the Oval Office, I fully expect him to switch back. Who knows? This may even be a harbinger for the return of legalized polygamy.”

P. Jackson Randolf's wife had no comment.

Gordon B. Hinckley, President of LDS and considered by many Mormon faithful to be a seer of God’s will on earth, phoned FCN soon after the announcement to express his feelings about the high profile switch. “Mitt knows what he is doing. It’s politics and no one is better and politics than the Romneys.”

When asked if he felt betrayed by the candidate’s denunciation, Hinckley replied that the end justified the change. “Of course I’d rather it didn’t work out this way, but I understand politics,” he said.

Political pundits, meanwhile, are questioning the merits of the decision. To present voters with such a radical religious shift so close to the primaries could prove damaging. At least, that’s what conventional wisdom tells us.

Conventional wisdom is wrong in this case according to Mary Matalin, a GOP strategist who emailed FCN soon after Romney’s announcement. “Voters don’t care who the candidate is until the last three weeks of the campaign. Now is a time for positioning and issues placement. In that regard, this may be the best switch since his abortion shift.”

Asked whether the flip-flop reputation would hurt him in the long run, Matalin was again positive. “Come November, nobody will even remember he was once a Mormon,” she said confidently.

At least, that’s what the GOP is hoping. For the Romney family, it’s back to the campaign trail.

“We’ll have to cut the Mormon religious references from his stump material, but it’ll pretty much be the same old same old,” Creano said.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Yipeeeeee!

I am out of breath and sweating like a ten-year old during recess. My heart is thundering like the pistons of a sports car and I have a few residual shakes from some caffeine induced late night studying. But I can still shout and sing and type and do everything to tell the world how happy I am that my last final of my last class of my last semester at community college is COMPLETE!

Nary a few minutes ago, I waltzed (1-2-3, 1-2-3) out of class, the warmth of my professor’s handshake still impressed on my palm. It isn’t that far behind me, but I’ve already scrubbed my memory clean of everything I learned this semester. Descartes, Hume and Guano (or was it Guanillo?) can go back to being their dead, aspirated selves. Nutrition class’ subtle condemnation of my eating habits is free to return to obscurity. My soils book will return to, well, the dirt from whence it came.

A half opened packaged of dehydrated Ramen noodles reminds me of my hunger – I read once that fasting can help retain facts, and was in the 15th hour of self deprivation – but only briefly. My emotional state will not let me dwell on my empty stomach for long. My feelings can only be described as giddy; summer vacation is upon us; if you listen closely you can almost hear it hailing – or is that the ceiling fan?

I won’t know my grades for another few days, but right now I really don’t care. I’d go on a date with Phil Spector, that’s how reckless I am. I’d open my eyes in chlorinated water and wait for my contacts to float out. I’d snort Tabasco sauce and put ground pepper on the little thing that hangs down in the back of my mouth. And that’s just the first week of summer.

I promised a friend that I would run around the house three times in my underwear if I get an “A” in my difficult philosophy class. Well, it looks like that seemingly far fetched prediction may come to fruition and I’m a man of my word. If you plan on coming near my place in the next week, also plan on averting your eyes.

Whatever else happens this summer, school classes are not in the cards. I am taking a not-so-well deserved but heavily anticipated three month break from homework, study groups and tests. But that doesn’t mean FCN content will be stopped, or even siphoned. If anything, some time outside the classroom may provide even more fodder for humor and satire. I (and all of FCN, for that matter) will be taking a brief vacation within the next month – nothing too long, just some time away to recharge – but more about that later.

Right now I am going to enjoy the depth of life without responsibility. It’s great to know that I may get up tomorrow morning at a godly hour or I may – with the same consequences – sleep in. My pillow will become my new best friend, sorry Jeremy.

The emotional high is beginning to rub off and the old stressful concern about my grades is seeping in again. That means it's time to go eat and satisfy the hunger that is now threatening to make me look European. I’ll see you guys after the gorge.

Oh, I’m so happy!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Life Tip #30

Don't rob a bank.

If you do rob a bank, don't return to the scene of the crime the same day while the police are investigating.

If you do rob a bank and return to the scene of the crime the same day while the police are investigating, don't turn yourself in and ask for the reward money. You won't get it.

FCN Class #1- Famous People









Are you a hard working student tired of writing assignment after writing assignment? Or are you a not-so-hard working student tired of paying high prices for fake history reports online? Fear not, for it matters not which answer you give - the FCN Lab has a solutions both!

If you fit into the first category of students (the hard working), the FCN Lab has some distressing results. Unfortunately, easy and honest happen to be mutually exclusive. If you want to get your work done on your own, we suggest you log off our website and get back to work.

As for the rest of you, we have an easy answer to all your school and money problems. After extensive research in the FCN Lab, we've written a few summaries of the lives of a nine (we couldn't think of a tenth) famous people your history teacher will probably require you to know about. We have also annotated each listing with a brief synopsis of his life and times.

1. Julius Caesar - Unpopular guy, best friend kills him.
2. John F. Kennedy - Popular guy, enemy kills him.
3. Napoleon Bonaparte - Popular guy, nobody kills him.
4. George Washington - Popular guy cuts down cherry tree, existence disproved by FCN.
5. Abrahan Lincoln - The first and last popular lawyer.
6. Leonardo Da Vinci - Guy draws painting. Guy dies. Unpopular guy writes story on painting. Popular guy rips unpopular guy's story off. Unpopular guy loses lawsuit. Dead guy doesn't care. (Don't understand? Neither do we.)
7. Van Gogh - Guy draws realistic paintings, dies poor.
8. Picasso - Guy draws unrealistic paintings, art sells for millions.
9. Darwin - Guy says we come from monkeys, gets credited as a genius.

Stop wasting your time writing history report after history report! Simply print our easy "cut n' paste" FCN lab made history summaries and turn it into your teachers. We have a 100% guarantee you will get [word deleted per advice of our lawyer] results! Now back to wasting your time on the net!

Join us next time, when we tackle American History, doodle style!

Monday, May 21, 2007

FCN’s Wager

The following post was inspired by Ellen, an FCN reader with a penitent heart who sent us the following email:

I need to confess that I have been a unfaithful reader. When I was young [I] read FCN every day, now *sigh* I don't even glance. My mid-year resolution it to read FCN every day. -In unbearable pain
FCN either has new content or it doesn’t. In the morning when you check Funny Class Notes (indeed, whether you check or not), we have either posted something new or we haven’t; there is no third option.

Based on the testimony if this site and the regular post habits of its contributors, it is safe to assume that there will be new content on FCN, but that assumption cannot be guaranteed. Illness, a poor internet connection, an idea deficit or girl problems may have robbed us of creativity and left the site more barren than an Old Maid. Despite these barriers to new content, it is abundantly fair to conceive that there is at least a 50% chance that FCN does have new content.

If FCN does have new content, and the reader believes in that reality enough to actually load the page, he or she will be rewarded with infinite humor. There is no limit to how funny a blog post can be and the only way to enjoy that comedy is by loading FCN and checking.

If you don’t load the page you deprive yourself of these potentially infinite benefits.

By the same token, there is a certain amount of embarrassment that accompanies an unproductive page load. Maybe you have to leave a comfortable social situation to sit at your terminal; perhaps your friends will criticize you if you load an old page. Whatever the hazzards, they are finite. They are pre-defined and limited. Your friends can only criticize so much. There is a limit to how much you can suffer while surfing the internet.

The reader has four basic options:

  • You live as though FCN has been updated
    • If FCN has been updated, you get to laugh: your gain is infinite.
    • If FCN has not been updated, your loss is nothing.
  • You do not live as though FCN has been updated.
    • If FCN has been updated, you lose the chance to laugh: your loss is infinite.
    • If has not been updated, you gain nothing & lose nothing.

Or, for the more visual reader, here is the wager broken down in a diagram:

Therefore, since the reader stands to gain infinite humor, and thus longevity, laugh lines and all the other fun things that come from poorly conceived farce, the wise and safe choice is to live as though FCN has been updated and load the page.

If you are right, you gain everything, and lose nothing. If you are wrong, you lose nothing and gain nothing. Therefore, based on simple mathematics, only the fool would choose not to load FCN. That is FCN’s wager.

I expect all of you to come back tomorrow. Including you, Ellen.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Homies, Day 6: The Lame Escape

After a night of drunken carousing, we hit the sack and slept in. In fact, we slept past the wakeup alarm. We slept past lunch. Some time that afternoon, we awoke to the sound of a car door slamming outside.

In a flash, we were wide awake, desperately stuffing our belongings into our bags. Our benefactors were home!

"Where'd the potted plant by the door go?" Someone wondered as we tumbled down the stairs and headed for the back door.

We bowled through the screen into the backyard and looked around frantically for an escape. Applejacks looked up playfully, chewing a mouthful of pink roses. The side alley to the front was blocked by the PKB, who was crouched on the gutter, snarling. In that instant, he reminded me of every single villain from Watership Down, not that I have read that book.

There was no time to lose. We dropped our shoulders and charged the wooden fence toward the neighbors. The boards shattered and we stumbled into the next yard impaled by hundreds of splinters. We rose, sputtering, and reached for our bags.

Too late.

"Boys?" Our benefactors were standing in a small semi-circle by the hole in the fence with quizzical expressions. "We're home!" We stood, heads bowed in shame.

Before going further, it's time to reveal an important fact that I probably should have mentioned in the first post in this series: we were housesitting for Mommy G. She had trusted us with our (her) home and we'd blown it. We'd caused all kinds of damage and defiled every corner of the house. We'd even besmirched her computer by making FCN posts from it before it was sold for two hammers and a toilet seat.

"What are you two up to?"

My homie gestured lamely at the house. "See for yourself."

Mommy G turned and walked slowly through the former screen door into the kitchen area, the patrolled the house, eyes wide, occasionally making high-pitched sqeaking noises. "Oh! ... oh! ... oh! ..." When the entire thing had been reviewed, she turned to face us.

"It's still standing," She said. "I'm so proud of you two."

This was not exactly what we had been expecting. "Sure," I said. "But ... aren't you upset about ..."

"How can I be upset? You've already given me so much more than I expected."

"But we sold everything for four hundred and fifty bucks."

"A shrewd business move."

"We ate the bunny and wumped the dog. Now you've got a Shetland that eats flowers."

"Snickers was getting fat and Coco sometimes chased his tail. Good riddance. Besides, Applejacks is adorable."

"There front door is surrounded by holes!"

"It'll improve ventilation on hot summer days."

We entered Mommy and Mr. G's bedroom and inhaled sharply. The mess in front of us stretched the imagination of even the most experienced college student. My homie continued pointing out problems, saying "Your bed has been replaced by a wicker couch!"

"I was getting tired of that mattress anyway. Well, hello, Jake!" Mommy G knelt and extended a hand at Osiris, who had been drawing attack plans on the wall when we entered the room. Osiris hissed and chomped down hard on Mommy G's hand, then jumped out the second-story window, fur flying, shouting: "Viva la revolution!"

"Haha! Good old Jake." She turned to face us again. "You two went above and beyond the call. Good work."

On the drive home, we decided that Mommy G had been bitten by some sort of rare and venomous insect during her time in Zimbabwe. A few hours after arriving home, we recieved a batch of freshly-baked cookies that Mommy G had FedExed over. They were as good or better than the ones she made back when her kitchen worked.

Well, no matter what she tells us, we still feel bad for trashing her house. Oh well. Thanks for the vacation, Mommy G.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Homies, Day 5: Cleanup.

For the last full day of our housesitting, we decided to do the responsible thing: to cover up as many of our errors as possible. This is not as easy as it sounds. The house had been practically emptied of anything sellable and had sustained significant structural damage around the front door (from careless moving of large furniture), the plants we were supposed to water were dead, and all but one of the animals were missing, eaten, or wumped. The house had seen better days. We knew that our friendship with the family was pretty much terminated, but we wanted at least to keep them from hiring a hitman. So we set about patching the place up as best we could off of a very tight budget.

We started with the obvious stuff. First came a thorough mopping of the floors and walls. Then we bought three full sets of wicker furniture and spread them around the house, then blew fifty bucks at a garage sale for broken kitchen appliances and plugged them into various outlets. We pasted duct tape over the cracks in the bathroom mirror and put used gum over the holes in the pipes. We glued cardboard across the holes in the front wall, dug up the neighbor's lawn and spread it in ours (by which I mean Theirs), and "borrowed" produce from a road-side stand to stuff the "fridge." Then came the really tricky business: replacing the animals.

I had spoken via phone with one of the members of the household. She had told me what made Jake (the cat) distinctive and irreplaceable:

- 15 pounds
- Parentheses markings on side
- Responds to "Jake"
- Bites people on ankle when they don't feed him

This seemed doable. Off we went to the animal shelter to find Jake's body double. After several hours of shopping, we found the dream cat. He was eighteen pounds - a little on the heavy side - but he had those distinctive parentheses markings and bit people on the ankle all the time, including when they didn't feed him. He also bit them other places. And he scratched. And he hissed. And he hated people. And he drew plans for his doomsday machine when he thought no one was looking. His name was Osiris. We told him to answer to Jake or we'd take away his paper and crayons. He said he'd behave, then issued an evil buahahahahaha and bit my homie on the ankle.

Next came replacing Coco (the mangy mutt). We shopped for a long time, but couldn't find a dog that would really suit our needs. We decided to revisit that problem and moved on to find Snickers II. Once again, we had no luck.

In anticipation of the day's dinner, we bought a black guinea pig named Mortimer who's fur seemed a bit like Charlie's. If our benefactors didn't get within forty feet or so, they wouldn't be able to tell the difference.

We eventually gave up on replacing Coco and Snickers. Instead, we took a mottled brown-and-white Shetland pony named Applejacks. He looked a little scrunched when we hobbled him in the suburban backyard, but we were sure our benefactors would appreciate the gesture, so we rolled with it.

After a long day's work, we were ready for something tasty. Charlie Pot Pie seemed like just the thing. Lacking pots, utensils, and a working stovee, my homie got a fire started on the kitchen counter. I went over to Charlie's cage, opened it, and reached in to wring his neck. Something black and sharp attached itself to my beautiful face and started biting and scratching. My homie came by with a hatchet and "helped out." I have an appointment with the plastic surgeon next Wednesday.

Anyway, we gave up on the pot pie and settled for sitting on the wicket couch sucking our thumbs. We don't call him Charlie anymore. Now, we call him PKB - the Purple Killer Bunny.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Homies, Day 4: "You can crash at their place."

Sometimes it's the little things about house sitting that get you. Eating the refrigerator empty. Breaking the foosball table. Clogging the shower. Running out of bunny food because you were fattening them up. Bursting the bean bag. Trying to get the smell of marinated bunny out of the kitchen.

Then, sometimes it's the big things.

I had just sat down in my first class of the day when one of my fellow classmates leaned over and started telling me all his problems. He said his wife had left him, he'd been evicted, and he was penniless and would probably freeze to death that evening.

"You think that's bad?" I asked. "We broke the foosball table earlier today."

Well, what could I do? We had been given specific instructions not to let anyone into the house besides immediate family members. I had only one option. I reinterpreted this rule in the broadest and most metaphorical of senses, and then rejected it because it was too nebulous. Then I inviting the homeless guy to crash at our place. Note that when I say our place, I mean their place.

I gave him the key and the address and said I'd be back later that afternoon. When my homie and I showed up, we found not only the homeless guy, but about a dozen of his buddies. They had pitched camp all over the downstairs and were now pillaging the pantry for vittles.

"Hey guys," I said. "I'm not comfortable with this."

"Coming through," Said a homeless guy, brushing past me with a chandelier under one arm and a glass rooster in the other.

"Hey, where's all this stuff going?"

"Garage sale," Said the homeless guy. I couldn't think of an easy way to get these guys out, so I wandered upstairs and watched a movie. When the credits rolled, I muted the sound and listened to the ruckus downstairs: rushing water, breaking glass, shouts.

Before proceeding, it's important to note that FCN is not against homeless people. We don't think they're any less honest than the rest of us and we generally feel charitable and generous toward those without four walls, a roof and a central heating and air. Anyway if our life trajectories reach their logical conclusion, we'll probably be homeless someday, so we wouldn't dream of knocking bums. It's just that, apparently, we got a bad batch.

The steam bath had gotten out of hand, and the downstairs living room, eating area, and laundry room, and bedroom were flooded. The homeless guys were plopped in front of the downstairs TV watching a pay-per-view. Everything besides the TV and couches that could be moved (and a few things that couldn't) had been hauled forcefully out into the front lawn, and signs had been erected all over the neighborhood advertising a garage sale the next morning.

I rolled my eyes and went back upstairs, where I was confronted with bad news and good news.

Bad: I would be sleeping on the floor because the bed was being peddled away.
Good: The Pooh-bears were also being peddled.

Sleep came slowly thanks to the partying downstairs. This morning at six, I came down and negotiated a 5% commission on the day's sales, because after all, it had been our stuff in an obscure, incoherent metaphysical sense for about four days.

The selling was brisk and lively. Goods flew off the lot: tables, chairs, pillows, china, shampoo, beds, pens, kitchen appliances, mousepads, a litterbox, you name it. An hour later, we were standing in a nearly empty front lawn. There was only one box left. It was full of Pooh-bears. I could have cried.

"So we sold away a five-person family's possessions, minus one entertainment set," I said. "What'd we make?"

The head homeless guy tallied it up. "Looks like almost four hundred and fifty dollars," He said, grinning toothlessly.

"What! Only four fifty for all that?"

There was an awkward silence. Somewhere in the distance, the long-last cat screeched. Then, as one, the homeless guys scattered in all directions, laughing like hyenas.

"Hey!" I shouted. "Come back! I want my twenty-two dollars and fifty cents!"

It was too late. They were gone. I wish I could say I was outraged by the systematic robbery, but I can only say I was mildly embarrassed. After all, it wasn't my stuff.

I went into the backyard, pulled up several handfuls of grass, and stuffed them through the wire into the cage of the last bunny, a slightly-neurotic but very cute black critter named Charlie. "There's no more food in the house," I told him. "I think you know what's coming."

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Homies, Day 3: Wump.


There's a dog. He's about waist-high, long haired, super-friendly, and very motivated. When this dog gets going, it takes wild horses to stop him. His name is Coco, but we call him Bulldog behind his back (that's the way he charges).

Coco was getting friskier and friskier every time we moved him, so my homie made a fateful error: he decided to take the dog for a stroll. He strapped on a pair of poorly-fitting white roller blades with pink trim and skated on down the street with Coco several feet ahead, pulling him along. They made excellent progress for several blocks until my homie saw a cute girl by the side of the road.

Using what he believed to be his excellent knot-tying skills, my homie tied Coco's leash to a nearby fire hydrant and advanced to unleash his equally excellent woman-handling skills. "Hey, baby. I seem to have lost my number. Can I have yours?" She told him to get lost. He skated around the block once and came up to her again.

"Well, here I am. What were your other two wishes?"

"Why do you keep talking to me?"

"Because you obviously don't believe in love at first sight." We'll never know if this line was any good, because it was at this moment that my homie realized something profoundly dire: Coco was missing. The dog had somehow slipped the knot and was now charging like a bull in the ring toward an oncoming train a quarter-mile away.

My homie set off in mad pursuit, closing the distance with agonizing slowness. With only a hundred feet before collision, he grabbed the leash and pulled. Coco just hauled them both along without even slowling down. My homie dug his brakes into the ground, hollering for the dog to stop, but it was to no avail. All his efforts did was create two evenly spaced rubber marks on the sidewalk. At the last possible moment, my homie flung himself out of the way and covered his head.

Wump.

Coco was run over by a freight train. For the sake of those who knew him personally, I won't get into all the graphic and disturbing details. Suffice it to say that a trip to the vet wasn't necessary this time. My homie returned home, dejected, and hung up his skates.

"Not good," He told me. "It's day three and we're already lost half the animals."

"More than that, actually," I said mournfully. "You see, I didn't know about Coco, and I was hungry ... so ..."

I motioned toward a simmering pot on the stove. The soft brown face and paws of Snickers, the fattest and most submissive of the two bunnies, peeked over the edge of the pot as if sniffing the air. I took a wooden spatula and pushed him back down into the broth.

A half-hour later, we shared a delicious marinated bunny stew with garlic bread and white wine. It was just the thing to get our minds off our animal troubles.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Life Tip #29

Don't speed.

If you plan to speed, don't do so without a valid license.

If you do plan to speed without a valid license, don't give the officer who pulls you over three fake ones.

Homies, Day 2: "I Thought He was with You."


You know it's a bad sign when, by Tuesday, you're wandering around yawning and scratching and bumping into things. We stayed up way too late and woke up much too early, and the time in between can hardly be classified as sleeping. We held a vote and decided to wait until evening to deal with the animals. When we got home about thirteen hours later, we fed the silently beleagured bunnies and the hyper-active dog, then trudged upstairs to absorb another flick.

Halfway through, during a lull in the action, we heard a scratching sound coming from downstairs. Naturally, we finished the movie, and then went downstairs with a significant measure of trepidation to see what was going on.

We stopped short at the door to the laundry room.

"Say, wasn't there something about a cat?" I wondered.

"Sounds familiar."

"He hasn't been fed in ... what ... almost three days?"

"Don't worry. Cats are fairly docile creatures."

My homie had obviously forgotten the one part about cats being the kings of the serengetti. When we opened the door, there was a flash of orange fur and a freakishly expressive: "Reeeeer!"

The cat bounded up onto a couch and out an open window into the street. We watched for a few seconds, dumbfounded.

"Are you sure it's the same cat?" Asked my homie. "He's a lot thinner than I remember."

Then we frantically pulled on our shoes and followed.

We spent the evening and the early morning hours wandering around the neighborhood shouting: "Here kitty! Kitty! Come on out, we want to talk! Look, we're sorry about the litterbox. It won't happen again, we swear! Listen, I know you're angry, but if you just come out and hear us out ..."

The neighbors complained, punctuating their polite suggestions with assorted fruits and vegetables hurled in our general direction.

At sunup, we wandered wearily back home and took care of the bunnies and dog. We're still not sure what we're going to tell the cat's owner, but it'll take some serious creativity to get through this one.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Homies, Day 1: Night of the Living Dead Pooh-Bears


I don't pretend to understand why a household of women* asked two derelict college students to house-sit for them while they were vacationing in Zimbabwe. But I do understand perfectly why the derelict college students agreed in a heartbeat. Big house, minimal schedule, two big TVs, and, perhaps best of all, a pink-walled room loaded for bear (literally) with stuffed animals. We were asked to spend a week looking after various flora and fauna around the house. We agreed.

We arrived around eight yesterday evening and moved in. It took about seven trips from the car to the living room to cart in all our essential junk, but we managed. Then, after a short and very masculine celebration that everyone is glad wasn't filmed, we got down to the serious business: movie watching.

We took a quick break to deal with the animals (two succulent bunnies and an over-friendly dog), then plopped our lazy selves back in front of the ol' tube and soaked up some more cinematic goodness. We could tell this was going to be a good week.

Around two in the morning, we stumbled off to bed. I was lucky enough to sleep in the pink-walled, bear-loaded room. The lights went down and I pulled the blankies up to my chin, fiercely hugging an adorable head-sized panda named Panda.

A half-hour later, I was still wide awake, and sweating like a dog. Actually, that's not a good analogy. Dogs don't sweat. In any case, I was upset. There were about a dozen different pooh-bears scattered around the room, and they were all watching me. It was freaky. I couldn't sleep.

At four in the morning it was beyond freaky. I was standing in the middle of the bed, turning in sudden jumps to make sure one of the other pooh-bears wasn't sneaking up on me, waving poor Panda like a weapon. The pooh-bears all just leered back at me in quiet contempt, waiting for me to drop off to sleep.

That's when I heard it; a quiet thump-thump like something out of Poe's Tell Tale Heart. I could hear the bears' hearts beating!

One of the stuffed creatures had a most hideous eye. It had the eye of a vulture --a pale blue eye, with a film over it and whenever it fell upon me, my blood ran cold.

I couldn't take it any longer. Screaming at the top of my lungs, I flung myself down the hall to my homie and fellow FCN contributor's room. I found him sitting cross-legged in the middle of his bed. There was mosquito netting pulled tightly all around him. The scene was strange enough to make me stop short. When I opened my mouth to ask what was going on, he slowly raised his finger to his lips, eyes still closed.

"Shhhhh ..."

Two minutes later, we both poured, screaming incoherently, into the dinky yellow car we use to get around, and spent the rest of the night reclining in the front seats, eyes wide open. The pooh-bears watched us sorrowfully from the second story windows until we drove away to school. Freaks.

* There's a guy in the household, too.

Monday, May 14, 2007

The FCN Shirts are finally here!

Some of you may have already begun to suspect something. The assorted FCN contributors and LLFCN members wandering around in clever T-shirts was probably a subtle hint. A not-so-recent post announcing that we were going to be releasing shirts may have also let the cat out of the bag. So maybe we aren't the best at keeping secrets. There's no shame in that. Okay, actually there is, but let's skip that and dig into the interesting part.



Duuuuuuuuuuuuude. Are we schnazzy now or what?

We released these shirts to the fan club two weeks ago, and they met rave reviews: "I hate you! Aaaaaah!" Fun stuff like that. We are now releasing them for general public consumption so you don't have to be the only non-FCNer at the next social function.

Just click on that gorgeous panel up above, or, if you're not the type to click on things, go to:

zazzle.com/funnyclassnotes*

Note the star at the end of the link. This is absolutely critical, because it tells our sales department that you came from here, and they'll give us an extra two cents profit. That's right, instead of making six cents a shirt, we'll make SEVEN.

Note that we'll be adding to this list periodically, so keep checking back. If there's a favorite FCN tagline you can't find on there, drop us a line. Being the shameless panderers that we are, we probably won't be able to resist making a new shirt just for you.

So, what are you waiting for? We're starving over here! Go buy something!

Sunday, May 13, 2007

FCN Favorites








Have a favorite FCN post that you don't see here? Email us at FunnyClassNotes@gmail.com and we might add it!

Happy Mother's Day Mommy G


Happy Mother's Day Mommy G!

I remember when we ___________________________.

I miss you.

Wish you were here.

Cordially, the FCN Team

Friday, May 11, 2007

HotWire

SAN JOSE, CA (FCN) -- A new technological innovation, the first major advance in recent memory not discovered in the FCN Lab, promises to raise new channels for global product delivery and make car buying a lot easier.

Samuel Cooke, a computer programmer with Lucent Technologies and freelance software developer, just released the beta version of a Physical Deanimation Cyber Copier called HotWire that he says can send copies of physical objects like cars and trucks over the internet.

“The vehicles are scanned into a computer and then broken down digitally into super small fragments, even smaller than an atom,” Cooke told a collection of technology enthusiasts and journalists at Google headquarters in Mountain View. “Computers act as storage hubs, holding bits of many different cars at a time. Whenever you download a vehicle, you facilitate other’s transfers.”

HotWire is not exclusively for those in the know. “Anyone can have access,” says Sergey Wagoner, head developer on Cooke’s research team. “These tiny CarBits are made available online to any user with the right software and a fast internet connection. It can take a few days of downloading, but end users are able to download complete copies of current model vehicles for free.”

And the vehicles are fully functional.

Todd Weston, a test driver for Ford, recently took a copied Land Rover LR3 on the highway. Weston, who has driven several thousand cars during his testing career, reported no difference between the cyber car and the real one. “It handled beautifully, cornered like a dream and accelerated about as poorly as the normal Rover,” Weston said with a smile in a post drive interview. “Next time I want to get the fully equipped version with a built in DVD player and TomTom.

Unlike Star Trek’s “beaming,” a HotWired car remains on the lot and can be purchased by a user. But paying money for cars may not be necessary in the near future as software developers create user-friendly programs that can search for and download cars.

“The market is already saturated with free programs car download programs,” explained ScuttleMonkey on Slashdot. “Besides Cooke’s HotWire, you’ve got CarDonkey, OverCar, Careaza, CarMX, CarTorrent, CarPheus, eCar, CarNucleus, CarShare and Karzaa. Some of these programs have model specific filters and you can copy from a specific lot if you know of a car you really want.”

Car manufacturers, already struggling from declining revenues and increasing labor costs, are feeling threatened by the new technology. Detroit native and General Motors CFO Fritz Henderson issued a press statement last week, expressing some of his company’s concerns. “Real people work real hours in real plants to bring home real food to their real families. With HotWire, consumers will have access to our products and we won’t see any of the advantages of our work. If this continues for very long, there won’t be any cars to copy and thousands of hard working Americans will be out of a job.”

Asked if he sees HotWire as facilitating theft, Cooke answered that he is just trying to make information more available to the world. “I’ve heard the ‘piracy’ allegations and quite frankly I think they’re a load of blue collar crock. A car is nothing more than a organized collection of quarks and leptons – albeit a couple novemdecillion quarks and a few centillion leptons,” he said. “We’re not robbing any pensions here; just facilitating communication.”

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Running Up A Tab (Room)

There are two kinds of FCN readers, those who have never been in a Tab room and those who don’t know what the heck a Tab room even is. If you are in the first group, take heart, the next few paragraphs may provide some of that forensics enlightenment that has thus far eluded your consciousness; if you find yourself in the second group, you’re probably going to find more humor in Larry King (although Larry King apparently had enough humor to marry six times) and should reconsider accordingly.

Tab (or Tabulation) is the nerve center of a debate tournament. It’s where all the results are recorded, pairings are determined and winners noted. It’s a completely objectified, rational bastion of patriarchal narcissism - yes, narcissism, but we’ll get into that more later.

There was one woman in Tab – a mother figure who more than once saved the tournament by saying “no” – and the tournament director (also a female) made our room of relaxation a regular respite so she could rebuke us rudely, so we couldn’t quite claim to be completely patriarchal; but that didn’t keep us males from acting like a bunch of bachelors.

As head of Tab at a small national qualifier, I had a barrel load of responsibilities. The tournament had to be run on time, the Tab staff needed their caffeine fixes, ballots had to be double checked, the donut supply had to be maintained and, well, you get the idea. We started early and worked late, which is a lot to ask of a bunch of derelicts, especially on a weekend.

Folks get this picture of Tab workers wearily sitting in front of a computer in a dark room endlessly crunching numbers and reworking statistics like so many silicon-based life forms. While I’d like this sympathetic stereotype to live on unedited, the truth is that we sit in a well-lit room surrounded by refreshments and chew the fat. Then, whenever a ballot is returned, we get all excited and two staff members (designated “Affirmative” and “Negative”) Ro-Sham-Bo to determine the victor. These results are then quickly entered into a computer and we resume our arduous task of shooting the breeze (which consists of chatting it up, ingratiating with one another, schmoozing, bragging, and, perhaps, a little gossip).

After every round we would print the tournament’s to-date results and post them on the wall for all the initiated to see. There, with results in 2-D, we would make bets on the next rounds. One of us would be Bill Bennett and the other Pete Rose and we’d lay down our pocket change and await the results of the next Ro-Sham-Bo match.

Perhaps the most exciting part of Tab work is figuring out who “breaks.” The term “break” is a semantic oxymoron because, while it sounds bad, it actually means someone can advance to the next round. At any other tournament, any team with a winning record would advance; but not in my Tab room.

To determine “breaks” we brought out a dart board, eight darts and some sticky notes. We pasted the names of all the competitors to the board and started chucking the darts from across the room. When all the sharp objects were cleaving to the wall, both undefeated (ballot-wise, not Ro-Sham-Bo) teams were off our break list.

Fortunately for the tournament participants, the female tab member intervened and created her own list of breaks, one that all of us guys regarded as a cheap fake imitation that wasn't even real.

One of the most fun parts of running Tab was reading all of the contestant’s ballots. Yes, I did just admit to an extremely freaky and somewhat perverted espionage, but that’s in the job description. Actually it was pretty fun because, after years of reading one-line disappointments on my Reasons for Decisions (RFDs) over the years, I got to see the newcomers flail in the quicksand.

Without revealing any confidence (the Judge – Tab Room – Tournament Director – Competitor chain of confidence is to be broken only by parents, coaches, siblings, friends, pastors, counselors, pen pals, hair stylists and perfume consultants), I can tell you some of the real headline grabbers from the tournament:

RFD: The Affirmative team had a better tie.

DECISION: Affirmative.

RFD: Nice Shoes.

DECISION: Double Loss.

RFD: What are you doing tonight after the tournament?

DECISION: Negative.

Doesn’t that tickle you in places you just don’t talk about at parties? It’s enough to give every debate parent a chill from nape to cape. What good, substantive, groundbreaking discussion our youth are sharing in the competitive environment of academic forensics, eh Squanto?

And the salvos just kept coming. But whenever we felt our Ro-Sham-Bo tabulation would have been more accurate and were about to break out the Liquid Paper to “fix” the judges’ mistakes, a really fine bit of judicial writing would enter the room and our feelings of superiority would be assuaged.

I don’t think I’ll ever be invited to run a Tab room again. But if I am, no women will be allowed to help out. None.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

One Bar of Soap Later...

Apparently drug content isn't the only thing we're out of line on.

The loving FCN readership has brought to our attention another urgent matter of public decency: Use of the word #3(<, also known as -&{X, which is another word for :-:[-<{, as in: "What the }{=-©ɮ!" This word is a very innappropo. It's not the sort of word polite people use in polite conversation with polite company. The fact is, )-((-(( is a place for people who don't believe in 60$]-[, also known as C-()5/~/, which is another word for (_+[]z(-). We at FCN have gotten much too cavalier and familiar with this very serious word, deploying it casually in a few recent posts. That kind of language ends today.

We, the FCN team, solemnly $\/\/342 never to use the word }~{£¢K again, as long as this blog endures, so help us, and we offer heartfelt apologies to all who had to suffer through the degrading language of previous posts. It won't happen again. FCN has turned a corner. \_:_/00+ vv()()--!

Life Tip #28

Don't hold up a bar.

If you must hold up a bar, don't hold up one owned by your parents and managed by an old family friend - even if you only intended to commit an act of burglary and not armed robbery.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Khong hieu! (I don't understand!)

Last Friday, my world turned upside down.

My hair grows very slowly. When I decided to start growing it out last June, I knew I would need to take it seriously if I was to have any hope of getting it long enough to tie behind the neck. So I used fertilizers, implants, potions, and a healthy dose of Rogaine on a daily basis. I washed eggs through my hair. I cut the nibs during full moons. I sat in class meditating, mentally pushing the hair out of my head. I did therapies. I even used shampoo. For all my efforts, my hair grew at the rate of about two-and-a-half eighths of a centimeter per month.

Last Friday, I was mere weeks from a turning point in my do.

My hair growth was arduously slow, but nonetheless steady. I had two major styles. The most common was to pop a beanie onto my head while climbing out of the shower, then peel it off and wring it out when I clambered into bed that night. That strategy worked great, though of course it was always embarrassing when some smartypants yanked my covering off to reveal an epic mound of beanie hair. My second method - for when I was really going all out - was to stand on my head and lower my hair into a vat of gel. I would then shake my head once or twice, wipe my face with the back of my sleeve, and go on with my daily business.

Both these methods were about to be rendered obsolete, giving way to a dashing tied-back style reminiscent of, well, Richelieu. I was ready for a bit of a trim on the sides and back just to make sure everything was staying neat. So I wended my way to the salon of a very friendly but poorly incorporated Vietnamese family that cut hair for college student rates.

"I'm growing it out," I said, making emphatic gestures. "I want it layered. I want you to trim the sides and back a bit so the top can hang straight down rather than poofing out sideways." My stylist nodded and smiled, and began her work.

Apparently "I want it layered," sounds just like the Vietnamese for "I want it to look just like Sam H." My stylist moved with confidence and skill. She buzzed. She snipped. She measured. She trimmed. But mostly, she just buzzed.

"Dis goo?" She asked with a beaming smile.

"No," I said. "You're cutting it too short."

Her eyes got really big and she nodded enthusiastically. "Oooooh, too sho! Okay!"

The next thing I knew, my gorgeous head of hair - my pride and joy - had been knocked back to an unhealthy inch-and-a-half curly mess on the top of my head.

Still wearing that enthusiastic smile, she asked if that was what I wanted (or maybe she asked me to please pass the noodles and soy sauce).

"You can stop now," I said, biting back tears. "We're done." I paid her the two bits and wandered, distraught, into the parking lot. Then I leaned over and shook my head violently. My hair remained completely motionless. An hour ago it would have been streaming about in all directions in a fashion reminiscent of the entrance of the much-maligned Prince Charming from Shrek 2, who has very cool hair.

I was devastated. An hour later, I appeared at what amounted to a minor social function, and about forty people who had always pretended to be my friends stabbed me in the soft spot between my shoulder blades with insulting comments against my taste like: "It actually looks pretty good." It actually looked good when my hair was accidentally ruined!? How did my hair look when I was happy with it? Like Donald Trump, I suppose? Maybe these "friends" would prefer a crew cut! A buzz! Heck, why not shave it all off and get a dragon tattoo? Some consolation they turned out to be. Only one person really seemed to sympathize. I believe "Wow, your hair looks really bad," were her exact words.

My girlfriend dumped me the next day. She said it wasn't working. She said the chemistry was gone. She said she was in love with someone else. There were tears shed. She was pretty bummed about it, too.

Last Saturday, Mrs H came up to me and started talking to me about things I'd never heard of. After a few minutes of awkwardness, I interrupted: "Um ... I'm not Sam. That's your son way over there." It was at the moment that I resolved not to hold back. I would never go back for a haircut - never. I would grow my hair as long as it would get and let it fall out when it was done. I wouldn't comb it, clean it, or style it. This was to be a return to nature in a fashion that my next door neighbor, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, would be proud of.

I'm now on day 3, and there are no women in sight.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Cruel Irony...

The winner of FCN's straw poll and clear favorite among the Faithful FCN Few to win the Democratic Nomination for President is the one candidate who isn't running. Who thinks we should draft Nancy Pelosi for President?

All Hail The Entrée!

The following is a transcript of a speech given before supper at my family’s dinner table. Hoots, hollers, cheers and other assorted audience reactions are recorded in brackets.

Brothers! We stand at an Archimedean point in human history. Behind us lie months of difficult preparation, years of physical conditioning and hours of careful planning. We’ve been through the valleys, over the mountains and through every of conceivable trial. It’s been a road full of potholes – the best food is rarely processed – but the path has been worth the reward. Our weapons are sharp, our minds are ready and fate is poised to decide the next few minutes.

As I look around this room, I see brothers who are eager to perform the required task. I don’t see students, laborers and white collar workers; I see hungry men with one objective and the means to satisfy that objective together.

I see a whole army of my countrymen, here in defiance of hunger! You have come to eat as free men. And free man you are!

[Applause]

Eat and you may die. Run and you will live at least awhile. And starving in your bed many years from now, would you be willing to trade all the days from this day to that for one chance, just one chance, to come back here as young men and tell our enemies that they may take our lives but they will never take our hunger?!

[Cheers, scattered applause]

Remember: I don't want to get any messages saying that we are holding our position. We're not holding anything; we are advancing constantly and we're not interested in holding onto anything except our forks and knives.

[Applause]

Give them nothing! But take from them everything!

[Applause]

It has been an honor to live, breath and eat at your side; it will be an honor to die at your side.

Three weeks from now, I will be harvesting my crops and preparing for another meal. Imagine where you will be, and it will be so. Hold the line! Stay with me! If you find yourself alone, riding in the green fields with the sun on your face, do not be troubled. For you are in Elysium, and you're already dead!

[Laughter]

Brothers, what we do in life echoes in eternity.

[Muttered agreement]

Take hold of your silverware, spread out your napkins and prepare to approach the meal table like hungry men. May there be no one who leaves this room ashamed or hungry.

You are men; eat like it!

[Guttural roar accompanied by a flurry of mastication related activities]

All Hail The Entrée!

Friday, May 04, 2007

This Post Wis Wratten By Chance

In order to write today’s entry, we took Steve to the FCN Lab and inputted several hundred random characters. Some of the letters were capitalized, others were numerals or punctuation marks; the space bar was pressed as well. Using a computer program designed just for this purpose (a macro for Excel, in case you just have to know), we guaranteed that all the characters were truly random.

The result was a painful amalgamation of symbols, letters and, believe it or not, one legible word. Line 26 of our experiment had the following:

*SNdi sln 9eoOn*(`~ ;lHneO LOVE d9J8%,=ksnz+52*ne
Romantic, isn’t it?

Unless you are reading a lot into the page and a half of disorganized text Steve produced, it meant nothing; at least not in its first stages.

We decided that including numeric characters made generating a random post without any numbers very unlikely, so we cut all but four numerals out and reduced the chances of a punctuation mark or capital letter appearing to more accurately represent real prose.

To add meaning to the text, we “bred” different lines together, giving sentences a chance to become more refined. For instance we took the first generation line:

T tstWaPiih Bosr ntnChyW esace
and bred it with itself. Over successive generations, we were able to decipher some meaning to these seemingly random letters.

Generation 2:
Th tsch ssn nyarW etoWC aP tBiie

Generation 3:

T scenW tsiaorha hyWi Bn ttPCse

Generation 20:

Thos Pist Wis Wratten By Chance

Generation 21:

This Post Wis Wratten By Chance

It took until the twenty-first generation to achieve our goal phrase, and even then the dang computer substituted the “i” and “a” in “written” and “was.” No matter what we did, we couldn’t fix that.

On the way to achieving our goal phrase, we discarded twenty lines by the cyber-wayside. These wasted letters, if you will, mean nothing to anyone and were therefore be short-lived and quickly killed. The hard drive space they occupy will soon be filled with something more provocative.

The meaningful letters, however, survived to make this post. They assembled, without knowing us or one another, and formed words; those words formed sentences and those sentences paragraphs. And this crazy collection of symbols makes sense - at least as much as any other FCN post. With only a couple grammatical and style mistakes – all of which are normal for FCN’s writers, derelicts that we are – this post manages to find order out of randomness. At 2,935 characters (including spaces and punctuation and the four numerals in "2,935"), it’s a real feat of chance.

We’d keep going and explain the how amazing this is, but the more ambitious we get with this post the longer we’ll have to sit in the FCN lab.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Life Tip #27

Don't say a $10 bill is a $20 bill.

If you are the kind of person who likes to say that a $10 bill is a $20 bill, don't carry a knife.

The Day I Dropped a Water Balloon from the Fourth Story of Cunningham when I should have been Drawing Zebras in Econ Class

Don't get me wrong: I'm not saying that Microeconomics is boring. I'm just saying ... well, okay. It is boring. Sitting in the back of class drawing zebras and playing Midnight Pool on my cell phone gets really, really old. Eventually the zebras submitted a petition asking me to leave them alone.

Yesterday morning at 11 sharp, I placed my hand on the door of Cunningham 411, bracing myself for another fifty minutes of bone-jarring boredom. Then I stopped short and asked myself: What am I doing? It's not like I was about to learn anything. I have a perfect attendance record. I can afford to have a little Me Time.

I turned around and walked away. A delightful sense of purpose filled me. I left campus and crossed the street to the extensive shopping complex, and there, I purchased a pack of water balloons. Then I returned to Cunningham and filled one.

Before going any further, I ought to explain the layout of the Cunningham building. It was built in the seventies. That should fill in most of the blanks, but here are a few extra details: It's four stories tall, and it wraps around a central courtyard. The primary way to get into the building is by walking into the courtyard and up some sweeping stairs to the second story, all the while walking directly under three levels of balconies.

Every hour, the entrance to the Cunningham courtyard is clogged with student traffic. No one goes up to the fourth story, though, except for people who are foolish enough to take classes like Econ 1B.

In a moment of rebellious passion, I went to the balcony and looked down at the ant-like students passing below. Then I dropped a fully-loaded water balloon into the swirling masses. It dropped for several seconds and then splattered on the ground. A few students looked at it and then kept going about their business.

If there's one thing mischiefs can't stand, it's not getting in trouble when they've been bad. I should have been relieved that I didn't get busted. Instead, I was aggravated. I hastily loaded up another balloon and hefted it away. This one hit a student's backpack squarely and exploded, soaking him in water.

The student looked over his shoulder and shouted: "Cut it out you guys!" And then he went on.

This was too much. I was seriously put out. I loaded five water balloons and tossed them over the edge in quick succession, then peeked over to inspect the damage. I found myself looking into the eyes of my thoroughly soaked Ethics instructor. A sample from one of his lectures can be found here.

My prof smiled slowly. His eyes glinted in recognition. Then he leapt, catlike, up onto the second story balcony and started crawling up the side of the building toward me. Animal fear washed over me and I turned to hide. I found a classroom door to my left and ducked into it hastily, then sat in a desk just as the roll sheet was passed to me.

I inscribed my initials next to my name and sighed. It was going to be another long Econ class.