She’s so mad…

A student passed this onto me last semester:

> She’s so mad she’s about to shove a milk bone down your throat and a hungry dog up your ass.

He heard it on a local radio show. It’s not clear if the host is especially good at making some of these sayings up or if he simply has an extremely good ear for picking up on colorful sayings he hears around town.

Speaking of Legend Corpora

Working with these texts for my paper at this year’s meeting of [ISCLR]( (International Society for Contemporary Legend Research), I remembered that I have an entire inbox dedicated to emails sent to me by friends and family that struck me as “net lore” (which is the name of the mailbox, by the way). I just checked and the archive reaches back to 2003. (And I think I have an older archive somewhere on disk.) My goal in the months to come is to find a way to slice the 56MB text file into individual text files that are appropriately named, perhaps by subject line and date. My guess, and it’s only a guess right now, is that making these files available in plain text, with something like the following filename as a primitive form of `metadata` is going to be the most efficient form of sharing:


I think I can figure out how to write a Python script to do that. While I know that a better set of metadata might include who the texts were from and the trace route for them, I am unwilling to imperil the privacy of my correspondents. Plus, I think most folklorists are going to be chiefly interested in the texts. (We’re still playing catch-up to the notion of social graphs. *Sigh*.)

Once I’ve got the collection put together, my best guess is that I will make it available through something like GitHub or BitBucket. Neither is really designed to support this kind of thing, but they are oriented towards public repositories and they do make forking projects very simple, and it would be interesting if researchers interested in this material, folklorists among them, could find some way to have projects remain connected in some fashion. Both GitHub and BitBucket make it possible to follow the chain of forked projects and also for users to “follow” those projects and make comments or even, fold those advances back into their own projects. (How cool would that be?)

In case you are wondering about the actual texts involved: they are an admixture of jokes and legendry. Some of the materials are quite topical (and racist):

> It seems that once again,
> all us white folks have missed
> a great opportunity.
> While all the black people attended
> Obama’s inauguration and parades,
> we should have broken into their homes
> and gotten all our shit back.

And some of the materials, like the joke referenced in the file name above, have been around for quite some time on the internet and probably in oral circulation before that:

> A man was riding his Harley along a California beach when suddenly the sky clouded above his head. In a booming voice, the Lord said, “Because you have tried to be faithful to me in all ways, I will grant you one wish.” The biker pulled over and said, “Build a bridge to Hawaii so I can ride over anytime I want.” The Lord said, “Your request is materialistic. Think of the enormous challenges for that kind of undertaking; the supports required to reach the bottom of the Pacific and the concrete and steel it would take! I can do it, but it is hard for me to justify your desire for worldly things. Take a little more time and think of something that could possibly help mankind The biker thought about it for a long time.
> Finally, he said, “Lord, I wish that I, and all men, could understand our wives. I want to know how she feels inside, what she’s thinking, why she cries, what she means when she says nothing’s wrong, and how I can make a woman truly happy.”
> The Lord replied, “You want 2 lanes or 4 on that bridge

(Please note that the period and the closing quotation mark are missing in the original.)

Any feedback on how to proceed is quite welcome.

Nuts in a Cemetary [sic]

On the outskirts of a small town, there was a big, old pecan tree just inside the cemetery fence. One day, two boys filled up a bucketful of nuts and sat down by the tree, out of sight, and began dividing the nuts.

‘One for you, one for me, one for you, one for me,’ said one boy. Several dropped and rolled down toward the fence.

Another boy came riding along the road on his bicycle. As he passed, he thought he heard voices from inside the cemetery. He slowed down to investigate. Sure enough, he heard, ‘One for you, one for me, one for you, One for me…’

He just knew what it was. He jumped back on his bike and rode off. Just around the bend he met an old man with a cane, hobbling along.

‘Come here quick,’ said the boy, ‘you won’t believe what I heard! Satan and the Lord are down at the cemetery dividing up the souls!’

The man said, ‘Beat it kid, can’t you see it’s hard for me to walk.’ When the boy insisted though, the man hobbled slowly to the cemetery.

Standing by the fence they heard, ‘One for you, one for me. One for you, One for me.’

The old man whispered, ‘Boy, you’ve been tellin’ me the truth. Let’s see if we can see the Lord.

Shaking with fear, they peered through the fence, yet were still unable to see anything. The old man and the boy gripped the wrought iron bars of the fence tighter and tighter as they tried to get a glimpse of the Lord.

At last they heard, ‘One for you, one for me. That’s all.. Now let’s go get those nuts by the fence and we’ll be done….

They say the old man had the lead for a good half-mile before the kid on the bike passed him.

Today’s Short Bible Reading

Today’s Short Reading from Genesis:

“And God promised men that good and obedient wives would be found in all corners of the earth”.

Then He made the earth round… and He laughed and laughed and laughed!

**Note**: All folklore items are reproduced, to the best of my ability, verbatim.

FW: Dead Penguins – – I never knew!

Did you ever wonder why there are no dead penguins on the ice in Antarctica ?Where do they go?

Wonder no more!
It is a known fact that the penguin is a very ritualistic bird which lives an extremely ordered and complex life. The penguin is very committed to its family and will mate for life, as well as maintain a form of compassionate contact with its offspring throughout its life.

If a penguin is found dead on the ice surface, other members of the family and social circle have been known to dig holes in the ice, using their vestigial wings and beaks, until the hole is deep enough for the dead bird to be rolled into, and buried.

The male penguins then gather in a circle around the fresh grave and sing:

“Freeze a jolly good fellow.”
“Freeze a jolly good fellow.”

You really didn’t believe that I know anything about penguins, did you?

It’s so easy to fool OLD people.

I am sorry, an urge came over me that made me do it!

Fw: Too busy to be a friend?

One day a teacher asked her students to list the names of the other students in the room on two sheets of paper, leaving a space between each name.

Then she told them to think of the nicest thing they could say about each of their classmates and write it down.

It took the remainder of the class period to finish their assignment, and as the students left the room, each one handed in the papers.

That Saturday, the teacher wrote down the name of each student on a separate sheet of paper, and listed what everyone else had said about that individual.

On Monday she gave each student his or her list. Before long, the entire class was smiling. ‘Really?’ she heard whispered. ‘I never knew that I meant anything to anyone!’ and, ‘I didn’t know others liked me so much,’ were most of the comments.

No one ever mentioned those papers in class again. She never knew if they discussed them after class or with their parents, but it didn’t matter. The exercise had accomplished its purpose. The students were happy with themselves and one another. That group of students moved on.

Several years later, one of the students was killed in Vietnam and his teacher attended the funeral of that special student.
She had never seen a serviceman in a military coffin before. He looked so handsome, so mature.

The church was packed with his friends. One by one those who loved him took a last walk by the coffin. The teacher was the last one to bless the coffin.

As she stood there, one of the soldiers who acted as pallbearer came up to her. ‘Were you Mark’s math teacher?’ he asked. She nodded: ‘yes.’ Then he said: ‘Mark talked about you a lot.’

After the funeral, most of Mark’s former classmates went together to a luncheon.
Mark’s mother and father were there, obviously waiting to speak with his teacher.

‘We want to show you something,’ his father said, taking a wallet out of his pocket ‘They found this on Mark when he was killed. We thought you might recognize it.’

Opening the billfold, he carefully removed two worn pieces of notebook paper that had obviously been taped, folded and refolded many times. The teacher knew without looking that the papers were the ones on which she had listed all the good things each of Mark’s classmates had said about him.

‘Thank you so much for doing that,’ Mark’s mother said. ‘As you can see, Mark treasured it.’

All of Mark’s former classmates started to gather around. Charlie smiled rather sheepishly and said, ‘I still have my list. It’s in the top drawer of my desk at home.’

Chuck’s wife said, ‘Chuck asked me to put his in our wedding album.’

‘I have mine too,’ Marilyn said. ‘It’s in my diary’

Then Vicki, another classmate, reached into her pocketbook, took out her wallet and showed her worn and frazzled list to the group. ‘I carry this with me at all times,’ Vicki said and without batting an eyelash, she continued: ‘I think we all saved our lists’

That’s when the teacher finally sat down and cried. She cried for Mark and for all his friends who would never see him again.

The density of people in society is so thick that we forget that life will end one day. And we don’t know when that one day will be.

So please, tell the people you love and care for, that they are special and important. Tell them, before it is too late.

And One Way To Accomplish This Is: Forward this message on. If you do not send it, you will have, once again passed up the wonderful opportunity to do something nice and beautiful.

If you’ve received this, it is because someone cares for you and it means there is probably at least someone for whom you care.

Remember, you reap what you sow. What you put into the lives of others comes back into your own.

Five Surgeons

It would appear that politicians are emerging as the butt of jokes. Because this joke comes from what is normally the conservative sphere of my life, I am curious to see how this shapes up.

> Five surgeons from big cities are discussing who makes the Best
> patients to operate on.
> The first surgeon, from New York, says, ‘I like to see accountants
> on my operating table because when you open them up, everything
> inside is numbered.’
> The second, from Chicago, responds, ‘Yeah, but you should try
> electricians! Everything inside them is color coded.’
> The third surgeon, from Dallas, says, ‘No, I really think librarians
> are the best, everything inside them is in alphabetical order.’
> The fourth surgeon, from Los Angeles chimes in: ‘You know, I like
> construction workers…Those guys always understand when you have
> a few parts left over.’
> But the fifth surgeon, from Washington , DC shut them all up when
> he observed: ‘You’re all wrong. Politicians are the easiest to operate on.
> There’s no guts, no heart, no balls, no brains, and no spine..
> Plus, the head and the ass are interchangeable.’

As always, the quotation is fairly close to verbatim, line breaks and all.

In the past, liberals or liberal politicians have been the butt of jokes, not politicians in general. I’m okay with politicians in general, mind, because I think a good percentage of individuals from both parties have long forgotten what it was they were supposed to be doing, but I can’t help but wonder if this kind of attack on politicians in general, coming as it does from the conservative side of things, doesn’t represent a real unrest among that population. (I can only hope that the unhappiness is focused on the ideologues and not on the pragmatic politicians.)

Getting to Heaven

A woman arrived at the Gates of Heaven. While she was waiting for Saint Peter to greet her, she peeked through the gates. She saw a beautiful banquet table. Sitting all around were her parents and all the other people she had loved and who had died before her.

They saw her and began calling greetings to her.

“Hello – How are you! We’ve been waiting for you! Good to see you.”

When Saint Peter came by, the woman said to him, “This is such a wonderful place! How do I get in?”

“You have to spell a word,” Saint Peter told her.

“Which word?” the woman asked.


The woman correctly spelled ‘Love’, and Saint Peter welcomed her into Heaven.

About a year later, Saint Peter came to the woman and asked her to watch the Gates of Heaven for him that day.

While the woman was guarding the Gates of Heaven, her husband arrived.

I’m surprised to see you,” the woman said. “How have you been?”

“Oh, I’ve been doing pretty well since you died,” her husband told her. I married the beautiful young nurse who took care of you while you were ill. And then I won the multi-state lottery. I sold the little house you and I lived in and bought a huge mansion. And my wife and I traveled all around the world. We were on vacation in Cancun and I went water skiing today. I fell and hit my head, and here I am. What a bummer! How do I get in?”

“You have to spell a word,” the woman told him.

“Which word?” her husband asked.



> I was sitting at a long stoplight yesterday, minding my own business, patiently waiting for it to turn green even though there was no on-coming traffic.
A carload of bearded, young, loud Muslims, shouting anti-American slogans, with a half-burned American Flag duct-taped on the trunk of their car
and a “Remember 9-11″ slogan spray painted on the side, was stopped next to me. Suddenly they yelled, ” Praise Allah!” and took off before the light changed.
> Out of nowhere an 18-wheeler came speeding through the intersection and ran directly over their car, crushing it completely and killing everyone in it.
> For several minutes I sat in my car thinking to myself, “Man… that could have been me!”
> So today, bright and early, I went out and got a job as a truck driver.

Here’s a good example of how most of these look:

Screen Shot 2012 10 04 at 08 43 16

See how the subject line is in two places?

Take note!!!!!



> 25% of the women in the UK are on some kind of medication for mental problems.

> That’s scary.

> It means 75% are running around untreated.

At some point it will be worth considering what role capitalization plays in folklore genres on the internet. Also curious, in this instance, is that the subject line and the apparent “title” of this item are at variance.

Folklore: Ralph and Edna

Just because someone doesn’t love you the way you want them to, doesn’t mean they don’t love you with all they have. Ralph and Edna were both patients in a mental hospital. One day while they were walking past the hospital swimming pool , Ralph suddenly
jumped into the deep end.

He sank to the bottom of the pool and stayed there.

Edna promptly jumped in to save him. She swam to the bottom and pulled him out. When the Head Nurse Director became aware of Edna’s heroic act she immediately ordered her to be discharged from the hospital, as she now considered her to be mentally stable.

When she went to tell Edna the news she said,
‘Edna, I have good news and bad news. The good news is you’re being discharged, since you were able to rationally respond to a crisis by jumping in and saving the life of the person you love… I have concluded that your act displays sound mindedness.

The bad news is, Ralph hung himself in the bathroom with his bathrobe belt right after you saved him. I am so sorry, but he’s dead.’

Edna replied, ‘He didn’t hang himself, I put him there to dry..

How soon can I go home?’

Happy Mental Health Day!

What is the main ingredient of WD-40?

*I did some clean-up work just to get this to format reasonably well for readability but I left the wacky spacing on the periods at the end of sentences and other places where I could.*

Before you read to the end, does anybody know what the main ingredient of WD-40 is? Don’t lie and don’t cheat. WD-40. Who knew? I had a neighbor who bought a new pickup . I got up very early one Sunday morning and saw that someone had spray painted red all around the sides of this beige truck (for some unknown reason) . I went over, woke him up, and told him the bad news . He was very upset and was trying to figure out what to do . . . . probably nothing until Monday morning, since nothing was open . Another neighbor came out and told him to get his WD-40 and clean it off . It removed the unwanted paint beautifully and did not harm his paint job that was on the truck . I’m impressed! WD-40 who knew? ‘Water Displacement #40’ . The product began from a search for a rust preventative solvent and degreaser to protect missile parts . WD-40 was created in 1953 by three technicians at the San Diego Rocket Chemical Company . Its name comes from the project that was to find a ‘water displacement’ compound . . They were successful with the fortieth formulation, thus WD-40 . The Convair Company bought it in bulk to protect their atlas missile parts . Ken East (one of the original founders) says there is nothing in WD-40 that would hurt you . . . When you read the ‘shower door’ part, try it . It’s the first thing that has ever cleaned that spotty shower door . If yours is plastic, it works just as well as glass . It’s a miracle! Then try it on your stove top . . . Viola! It’s now shinier than it’s ever been . You’ll be amazed .

WD-40 uses:

1. Protects silver from tarnishing .
2. Removes road tar and grime from cars .
3. Cleans and lubricates guitar strings .
4. Gives floors that ‘just-waxed’ sheen without making them slippery …
5. Keeps flies off cows .
6. Restores and cleans chalkboards .
7. Removes lipstick stains .
8. Loosens stubborn zippers ..
9. Untangles jewelry chains .
10. Removes stains from stainless steel sinks .
11. Removes dirt and grime from the barbecue grill .
12. Keeps ceramic/terra cotta garden pots from oxidizing ..
13. Removes tomato stains from clothing .
14. Keeps glass shower doors free of water spots .
15. Camouflages scratches in ceramic and marble floors .
16. Keeps scissors working smoothly . .
17. Lubricates noisy door hinges on vehicles and doors in homes .
18. It removes black scuff marks from the kitchen floor! Use WD-40 for those nasty tar and scuff marks on flooring . It doesn’t seem to harm the finish and you won’t have to scrub nearly as hard to get them off .. Just remember to open some windows if you have a lot of marks .
19. Bug guts will eat away the finish on your car if not removed quickly! Use WD-40!
20. Gives a children’s playground gym slide a shine for a super fast slide .
21. Lubricates gear shift and mower deck lever for ease of handling on riding mowers . . ..
22. Rids kids rocking chairs and swings of squeaky noises ..
23. Lubricates tracks in sticking home windows and makes them easier to open . .
24. Spraying an umbrella stem makes it easier to open and close ..
25. Restores and cleans padded leather dashboards in vehicles, as well as vinyl bumpers .
26. Restores and cleans roof racks on vehicles ..
27. Lubricates and stops squeaks in electric fans
28. Lubricates wheel sprockets on tricycles, wagons, and bicycles for easy handling .
29. Lubricates fan belts on washers and dryers and keeps them running smoothly .
30. Keeps rust from forming on saws and saw blades, and other tools .
31. Removes splattered grease on stove .
32. Keeps bathroom mirror from fogging .
33. Lubricates prosthetic limbs ..
34. Keeps pigeons off the balcony (they hate the smell) .
35. Removes all traces of duct tape .
36. Folks even spray it on their arms, hands, and knees to relieve arthritis pa in ..
37. Florida ’s favorite use is: ‘cleans and removes love bugs from grills and bumpers . ‘
38. The favorite use in the state of New York , WD-40 protects the Statue of Liberty from the elements .
39. WD-40 attracts fish . Spray a little on live bait or lures and you will be catching the big one in no time . Also, it’s a lot cheaper than the chemical attractants that are made for just that purpose . Keep in mind though, using some chemical laced baits or lures for fishing are not allowed in some states .
40. Use it for fire ant bites . . It takes the sting away immediately and stops the itch .
41. WD-40 is great for removing crayon from walls . Spray on the mark and wipe with a clean rag .
42. Also, if you’ve discovered that your teenage daughter has washed and dried a tube of lipstick with a load of laundry, satur ate the lipstick spots with WD-40 and rewash . Presto! The lipstick is gone!
43. If you sprayed WD-40 on the distributor cap, it would displace the moisture and allow the car to start

P . S . The basic ingredient is FISH OIL ….

Ice Cream for Dessert

This is for all the grandfathers out there.

My six-year-old grand-son asked if he could say grace.

As we bowed our heads he said, “God is good, God is great. Thank you for the
food, and I would even thank you more if Grandpa gets us ice cream for dessert. And liberty and justice for all! Amen!”

Along with the laughter from the other customers nearby, I heard a woman remark,
“That’s what’s wrong with this country. Kids today don’t even know how to pray.
Asking God for ice cream! Why, I never!”

Hearing this, my grand-son burst into tears and asked me, “Did I do it wrong? Is
God mad at me?”

As I held him and assured him that he had done a terrific job, and God was
certainly not mad at him, an elderly gentleman approached the table. He winked at my grand-son and said, “I happen to know that God thought that was
a great prayer.”

“Really?” my grand-son asked.

“Cross my heart,” the man replied.

Then, in a theatrical whisper, he added (indicating the woman whose remark had
started this whole thing),

“Too bad she never asks God for ice cream. A little ice cream is good for the soul sometimes.”

Naturally, I bought my grand-children ice cream at the end of the meal. My grand-son stared at his for a moment, and then did something I will remember the rest of my life.

He picked up his sundae and, without a word, walked over and placed it in front of the woman.

With a big smile he told her: “Here, this is for you. Shove it up your ass you grouchy old bitch! ”

The End

Fortier’s Louisiana Folktales

I spent the morning reading at a nearby coffee shop with my daughter. We sat outside and enjoyed the constant breeze that blew enough to keep us cool, and I indexed the contents of Alcee Fortier’s _Louisiana Folktales_ that seemed interesting for an investigation of the relationship between land and water in the Louisiana folk imaginary.

Quick notes: sixteen items, some of which seem to suggest a connection between land/water relations and eggs. And butter, too. I feel very Levi-Straussian in this moment.