Comedy Club One-liners

Now and again we enjoy a bit of humor. And the best humor, quite often, is self-deprecating. Here are some one-liners from well-known comedians.

Carol Burnett
“I liked myself better when I wasn’t me.”
“I don’t have false teeth. Do you think I’d buy teeth like these?”

George Carlin
“Have you ever noticed that anybody driving slower than you is an idiot, and anyone going faster than you is a maniac?”
“Just when I discovered the meaning of life, they changed it.”
“People who say they don’t care what people think are usually desperate to have people think they don’t care what people think.”

Billy Crystal
“Women need a reason to have sex. Men just need a place.”
“I sleep like a baby—I’m up every two hours.”

Ellen DeGeneres
“Can’t we just love everybody and judge them by the car they drive?”
“I like my coffee like I like my men…. I don’t drink coffee.”

Will Ferrell
“I’m actually pretty athletic. I have to work out just to look fat.”

Tina Fey
“An interim government was set up in Afghanistan. It included two women, one of whom was Minister of Women’s Affairs. Man, who’d she have to show her ankles to to get that job?”
“Amy Poehler and I have been friends for so long, we’re like Oprah and Gale. Only we’re not denying anything.”
“To say I’m an overrated troll, when you have never even seen me guard a bridge, is patently unfair.”

Whoopi Goldberg
“I don’t look like Halle Berry. But chances are she’s going to end up looking like me.”
“I don’t have pet peeves; I have whole kennels of irritation.”

Jay Leno
“Britney Spears told an interviewer if she weren’t famous, she would be a teacher. So, thank God she’s famous.”
“According to a recent survey, men say the first thing they notice about women is their eyes. And women say the first thing they notice about men is they’re a bunch of liars.”

David Letterman
“Do you know what I love most about baseball? The pine tar, the resin, the grass, the dirt. And that’s just in the hot dogs.”
“USA Today has come out with a new survey. Apparently three out of four people make up 75 percent of the population.”
“Robbers broke into The Gap this weekend. The suspects are being described as armed and casual.”

Steve Martin
“First the doctor told me the good news: I was going to have a disease named after me.”
“Before you criticize a man, walk a mile in his shoes. That way, when you do criticize him, you’ll be a mile away and have his shoes.”

Lorne Michaels
“I don’t tweet for a very simple reason, which is that I drink.”

Eddie Murphy
“Anything you have to acquire a taste for was not meant to be eaten.”
“I tell ya, I’m ’bout as crazy as a dog in a hubcap factory.”

Bill Murray
“I don’t have to take this abuse from you. I’ve got hundreds of people dying to abuse me.”

Bob Newhart
“I don’t like country music, but I don’t mean to denigrate those who do. And for the people who like country music, ‘denigrate’ means ‘put down.'”

Richard Pryor
“I had to stop drinking, ’cause I got tired of waking up in my car driving 90.”
“I’m not addicted to cocaine. I just like the way it smells.”

Carl Reiner
“A lot of people like snow. I find it an unnecessary freezing of water.”

Neil Simon
“Gee, what a terrific party… Later on we’ll get some fluid and embalm each other.”

Lily Tomlin
“If love is the answer, could you rephrase the question?”
“For fast-acting relief, try slowing down.”
“No matter how cynical you get, it’s impossible to keep up.”
“Why is it that when we talk to God we’re said to be praying, but when God talks to us we’re schizophrenic?”

Jonathan Winters
“I’m from the Delbert Home for the Unusual.”
“I have a photographic memory; I just haven’t developed it yet.”

Some Urban Legends Are True

Urban legends may shoot chills up your spine. But there’s an enjoyment that comes from tall tales that are confirmed to be true. Some of the most notable legends can be verifiably tied to actual events, from tales of bogeymen and subterranean cities to the story of the word the dictionary got wrong.

Read on to be surprised by some urban legends confirmed to be rooted in truth.

Gators in the Sewers. The truth depends on the century. In the early 1900s, it wasn’t unheard of for wealthy New Yorkers to bring baby Floridia alligators back to the Big Apple as pets. When they found their pets weren’t quite as cute as they’d hoped, they supposedly flushed them down the toilet. In 1932, the New York Times reported that a group of teen-agers had witnessed a gator easing itself out of the Bronx River. But don’t fret, the chances that there’s a band of toothy reptiles currently swimming through the sewage of your city these days is nil.

The Story of Charlie No-Face. The tale of Charlie No-Face is one of those true stories that gets wildly twisted in each retelling. Here are the facts: in the early 1900s, a Hillsville, Pa., boy was electrocuted by a trolley wire, resulting in lifelong disfigurement. Most of his facial features melted away, which is tragically a bit legendary in and of itself. As Charlie grew into an adult, rumors about his strange nighttime activities began to crop up, growing more and more preposterous as the rumor mill spun. Today, the people of Pennsylvania insist that Charlie No-Face has become a radioactive, glowing Green Man-type figure who haunts an abandoned freight tunnel with the ability to stall any cars daring to trespass in his tunnel – but the truth is that he was just a guy who experienced an unfortunate childhood accident.

Neil Armstrong’s Bungled Moon Landing Speech. That pivotal moment for all of humanity, when man first set foot on the moon, was, of course, scripted. But the quotation that we all know is not verbatim what astronaut Neil Armstrong was supposed to radio back to Earth. We all know the phrase as, “One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” The crucial part that Armstrong left out was just the word, “a.” He was meant to say, “One small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.” After listening to the recording of himself, Armstrong admitted to misspeaking the line.

The Government Stole Dead Children. In the flurry of testing after World War II, after the U.S. had dropped the world’s first atomic bomb, scientists wanted to determine the effect of nuclear radiation on human flesh. In a series of tests known as “Project Sunshine,” the test subjects were deceased children – specifically, stillborn babies, whose parents were probably not notified about how their children’s bodies were being experimented on. Gruesome and sad, but true.

A Corpse in the Water Tank. Sometimes the water at your hotel just tastes downright disgusting. Well, it’s not entirely outside of the realm of reason that there might be a dead body floating in the water supply, contributing to the less-than-desirable taste. At least, that’s what happened at a Los Angeles hotel in 2013. For several days guests complained about a terrible smell that emanated anytime they turned on the shower and a terrible taste when they tried to brush their teeth. Management checked the water tank on the hotel roof and found the body of 21-year-old Elisa Lam floating inside. Her body was estimated to have been in the tank for two weeks.

Murderers in the Medicine Cabinets. The 1992 horror film Candyman includes a scene where the main characters learn that a murderer might be entering apartments via the medicine cabinets. Apparently this was once a legitimate structural flaw in some apartment complexes. The medicine cabinets in adjoining apartments in Chicago were connected by a flimsy partition, and an actual murder was committed by criminals entering through this weak structure.

The House Watcher. Right after a family purchased their dream home in New Jersey, a stalker calling himself “The Watcher” barraged them with a series of letters, claiming, among other things, that his own family had “watched” the house for generations. The letters also inquired about when the family would be filling the house with “young blood.” It’s unclear if there’s any truth to what was substantiated in the letters, but it was enough to scare the parents and their three young children out of moving into the house.

The Bogeyman. Parents often reassure their children that the Bogeyman doesn’t exist, but on Staten Island in the 1980s, he was all too real. Stories about “Cropsey” abounded claiming he would drag children from their beds and he carried a bloody ax in the crook of his arm. In reality, the legends surrounding Cropsey can likely all be traced back to a man by the name of Andre Rand. Rand worked as a janitor at Willowbrook State School, which specialized in providing services for children with disabilities. He was later suspected of kidnaping multiple children from the school, and officially found guilty for kidnapping two.

The Underground City. Conspiracy theories about the subterranean city beneath Denver International Airport have been thoroughly debunked, but another city, Las Vegas, does have its own underground city. It’s less of a conspiracy and more of an effort on the part of the tourist industry to maintain the city’s appeal. With stringent police limitations preventing homeless people from setting up camp on the Vegas strip, that population was struggling to find anywhere to go, and they ended up in the city’s flood channels.

The House at the Bottom of the Lake. Resting in the murky depths of Salem’s Gardner Lake is a fully intact house. That much is confirmed by the Hartford Courant. Supposedly, the house sank beneath the surface when a family attempted to move it across the frozen lake in the midst of a 19th-century winter. The really eerie part is that, to this day, fishermen report hearing strained musical notes gurgling up to the surface of the lake, supposedly issuing from the parlor room piano. That part of the story has not been confirmed.

The Entire Town at the Bottom of the Lake. It’s no Atlantis, but it’s probably as close as America is going to get to the underwater city of myth. In the 1940s, an entire evacuated town in Georgia was purposely flooded in order to build what is now known as Lake Lanier. The entire community, including a racetrack, was submerged by the lake-building project.

The Man Who Became a Pair of Shoes. Big Nose George was hanged in the 1880s for being a raucous outlaw with a penchant for horse thievery. Supposedly, a physician examining George’s brain trying to root out the cause of his criminal activity decided to use George’s skin for a number of bizarre purposes. That included making himself a new pair of shoes. After a whiskey barrel containing the remainder of the outlaw’s bones was discovered in 1950, speculation continued to mount: Maybe the legends revolving around who Big Nose George actually was are true after all.

Rats in the Toilet. Maybe you have always harbored a bit of a secret fear of what could possibly be lurking in the toilet. Well, if you haven’t been before, you might start looking before you sit yourself down. As told on a This American Life podcast, an Oregon man returned from a fun night out and wanted to make a quick trip to the bathroom before crawling into bed. His plan was foiled by the furry, live rodent he found in the toilet when he lifted up the lid!

Halloween Treat Tricksters. It’s recommended that parents exercise some caution and only visit neighborhoods they trust when carting their costumed children around for an evening of trick-or-treating. Unfortunately there have been multiple reports of unsuspecting children returning home with small baggies of crystal methamphetamine in their treat bags.

Murderous Medicine. Ever wondered if the medicine you’re dutifully taking as prescribed includes any extra ingredients? Thanks to the modern-day tamper-resistant seal, you can rest assured that your medicine is mixed just like the doctor ordered. Unfortunately, this packaging was developed for a reason. In 1982, someone got it into their head to inject potassium cyanide, a deadly poison, into multiple bottles of Tylenol. After several people died in what came to be known as the Tylenol Murders, the Federal Drug Administration stepped up to the plate and came out with regulations requiring all medicinal manufacturers to produce tamper-proof seals.

Webster’s Dictionary Made an Error. From 1934 through 1947, Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary included an entry for a fabricated word: “dord,” defined as “density.” The error eventually was corrected by a flustered editor, who termed it a “ghost word.” It’s nice to know that one of the most authoritative sources on the English language makes mistakes, too.

The Jet-Black Squirrels of the Midwest. These squirrels’ possible possession of arcane powers, akin to black cats on Halloween, remain a source of contention, but the existence of these rare, jet-black woodland creatures is irrefutable. Of note is the fact that these black squirrels are confined to the Midwest, concentrated in particularly large clusters in Michigan. The story goes that Kellogg’s cereal guru W.K. Kellogg imported the black squirrels in an effort to eradicate red squirrels, a species that he detested.


Living Women Inventors

Here are some living women inventors whose ideas produced products used by NASA, home owners, computer companies and in many other fields.

Sally Fox
• Year of birth: 1955
• Birthplace: Menlo Park, California
• Occupation: Inventor/businesswoman/entomologist
• Invention: Inventor of commercially viable fiber-colored cotton.
Colored cotton had been grown for thousands of years but was not suitable for modern textile machines and had to be spun by hand. While working as a pollinator for a farmer seeking more pest-resistant cotton, Fox began breeding brown and green cotton. It took her eight years to develop plants that were uniform in color and size as well as commercially viable. Because it doesn’t need to be dyed, colored cotton needs minimal processing and is more environmentally friendly.

Temple Grandin
• Year of birth: 1947
• Birthplace: Boston, Massachusetts
• Occupation: Inventor/teacher
• Invention: Animal-handling devices
She has designed animal restraint systems that rely on behavioral principles rather than the use of force. Grandin studied how cattle react to ranchers and various stimuli, and designed stockyards and chutes that reduce stress and injury. Today, almost half the cattle in North America are handled or slaughtered using equipment designed by her.

Joy Mangano
• Year of birth: 1956
• Birthplace: East Meadow, New York
• Occupation: Businesswoman
• Invention: Self-wringing Miracle Mop
Joy Mangano invented the self-wringing Miracle Mop and made it a best seller on shopping channel QVC in 1992. She went on to develop numerous consumer products and sold her business, Ingenious Designs, to the Home Shopping Network (HSN) in 1999. She holds more than 100 patents and trademarks and has been successful as a businesswoman and engrepreneur.

Valerie Thomas
• Year of birth: 1942
• Birthplace: Maryland
• Occupation: Scientist
• Invention: Illusion transmitter
Valerie Thomas invented the illusion transmitter, which uses concave mirrors to create optical illusion images. After majoring in physics at Morgan State University, Thomas began her career at NASA. When she worked on Landsat, the first satellite to transmit images from outer space, saw the need for a technology that would deliver three-dimensional images. The illusion transmitter was patented in 1980 and is still used by NASA today. Scientists are seeking to incorporate it into technology that will give surgeons three-dimensional views of the human body.

Olga D. González-Sanabria
• Year of birth: N/A
• Birthplace: Patillas, Puerto Rico
• Occupation: Scientist/inventor
• Invention: Long-life nickel hydrogen batteries
Olga González-Sanabria played a key role in the development of the long-life nickel hydrogen battery, used to power the International Space Station. A native of Puerto Rico, she joined NASA’s Glenn Research Center in Cleveland in 1979 and has held a number of senior positions there.

Janet Emerson Bashen
• Year of birth: 1957
• Birthplace: Mansfield, Ohio
• Occupation: Businesswoman
• Invention: Software to secure documents
Janet Emerson Bashen, founder, chief executive officer, and president of human resources company Bashen Corp., in 2006 became the first African American woman in the U.S. to receive a software patent. She and a cousin developed LinkLine, a web-based application that stores and retrieves information pertaining to Equal Employment Opportunity cases.

Jeanne Lee Crews
• Year of birth: 1939
• Birthplace: United States
• Occupation: Inventor/scientist
• Invention: Bumper to shield satellites from space debris
Jeanne Crews joined NASA in 1964 — one of the first women engineers to do so — and began working on the problem of protecting satellites and manned craft from space debris. She developed the “space bumper,” a multi-layered shield that is as light but stronger than aluminum and is still in use on the International Space Station.

Margaret Hamilton
• Year of birth: 1936
• Birthplace: Paoli, Indiana
• Occupation: Computer scientist
• Invention: Software development
Margaret Hamilton led the Software Engineering Division at the MIT Instrumentation Laboratory that developed guidance and navigation software for the Apollo space program. The software was critical to the success of the Apollo missions and was adapted for use in Skylab, the Space Shuttle and the first digital fly-by-wire systems in aircraft. Hamilton coined the very term “software engineering.”

Patricia Billings
• Year of birth: 1926
• Birthplace: Clinton City, Missouri
• Occupation: Sculptor/inventor/businesswoman
• Invention: Geobond-replacement for asbestos
Sculptor Patricia Billings invented Geobond to prevent her works from shattering. She knew that sculptors during the Renaissance used a cement additive to make their plaster more durable and wanted to create a modern version. After years of experimentation, Billings developed Geobond, which creates an indestructible plaster when mixed with gypsum and concrete. What’s more, it is fireproof and non-toxic and thus a practical alternative to asbestos.

Lynn Conway
• Year of birth: 1938
• Birthplace: Mount Vernon, New York
• Occupation: Computer scientist
• Invention: Pioneer of microelectronics chip design
Lynn Conway is more than an inventor — she’s a revolutionary. Along with Carver Mead, Conway is credited with the Mead & Conway revolution, a design process for the integrated circuits that make microchips. She also invented generalized dynamic instruction handling, which is used to improve computer processor performance.

Erna Schneider Hoover
• Year of birth: 1926
• Birthplace: Irvington, New Jersey
• Occupation: Mathematician
• Invention: Invented computerized telephone switching method
While working at Bell Labs in New Jersey, mathematician Erna Hoover invented a way to monitor the frequency of incoming calls and prioritize tasks so as to avoid overloading phone switches. In 1971, she received a patent for a Feedback Control Monitor for Stored Program Data Processing System — one of the first software patents ever issued — and the principles of her invention are still applied in telecommunications equipment today. Hoover also worked on radar control programs for the interception of intercontinental ballistic missile warheads.

Nancy Perkins
• Year of birth: N/A
• Birthplace: N/A
• Occupation: Inventor
• Invention: Invented and improved various household appliances
Nancy Perkins has made a career out of either inventing or improving household appliances. Perkins holds patents for various household items such as a rotary grater for cheese, an upright vacuum cleaner, a buffet server, and a slow cooker, to name just a few.

Edith Marie Flanigen
• Year of birth: 1929
• Birthplace: Buffalo, New York
• Occupation: Chemist
• Invention: Invented or developed over 200 different synthetic substances
Edith Flanigen has been described as one of the most inventive chemists of all time. Over her 42-year career with Union Carbide, she invented more than 200 synthetic substances and was awarded more than 100 patents. Flanigen is known for her work on molecular sieves, which can filter or separate complex substances, and in particular zeolite Y, which is used to refine petroleum. She also co-invented a synthetic emerald that was used in masers, predecessors of lasers, and jewelry.

Halloween and Pumpkins, a Long History

To most of us the pumpkin is a traditional symbol of Halloween. Even before we are old enough to carve our own jack-o’-lanterns, we depict them in our Halloween pictures with black cats, witches and ghosts and even tape replicas cut out of orange paper to the windows.

We can look back more than 2,000 years to the origins of Halloween. The Celtic people, who then lived in what is now Great Britain, Ireland and Northern France, looked at Oct. 31 as the last day of the year. It marked the end of summer and the beginning of winter, when even the sun seemed to be dying, leaving the world cold, dark and decaying.

It was on this night that people honored their god of death, Samhain. They extinguished their hearth fires, leaving their homes cold and dark, symbolically imitating nature’s pattern, and gathered at the sacred bonfires built by the Druids, their priests and leaders. At the celebration’s end, each family carried home a torch from the bonfire to relight its own fire, symbolizing the new year and the renewal of life, and perhaps to scare away evil spirits and light the way for ghosts, the souls of the dead, who they believed Samhain permitted to return to Earth for just this one night.

Following the conquest of the Celts by the Romans in 43 A.D., the Romans own festival to honor the dead and Pomona, their goddess of fruit trees, were combined with the Celtic ceremonies. It is likely that apples became associated with the holiday at this time. The Anglo-Saxons replaced the Romans as rulers of England in the fifth to seventh centuries. During this time Christianity spread throughout the land and some of its rites were combined with existing customs.

In the ninth century, the Christians established Nov. 1 as All Saints’ Day. The traditions of Oct. 31 were incorporated as part of this holy day, being celebrated as the Eve of All Hallows. (Hallow is the old English word for a holy person or saint.) The name for the Oct. 31 celebration eventually was contracted to Halloween. Soul cakes were eaten to mark the occasion. Poor people went “souling,” asking for soul cakes in return for saying prayers for the dead. People carved lanterns out of large beets and turnips and left candles burning in them to guide the souls of the dead to their former homes. Over time all of these observances became secularized and celebrated on Halloween.

These traditions were adapted by people from the Celtic lands when they settled in North America. “Souling” became “trick or treat,” with children wearing costumes representing supernatural spirits, such as ghosts and witches. The pumpkin replaced beets and turnips as a more suitable lantern to guide the spirits. The eerie orange light from the pumpkins led to its being called “jack-o’-lantern,” the colloquial English name for the mysterious flame-like phosphorescence that flits over marshy ground when the gases of decaying vegetation spontaneously ignite.

Inventions of Amazing Women

Women have made great strides in many fields that previously – and to some degree still – were considered the domain of men. Culture, gender bias and stereotyping play into this lack of recognition. Not all of the women on the list were trained scientists when they made their mark.

Here are living women inventors whose ideas produced simple, low-cost products used in disasters and rural areas across the world.

Ann Moore
• Year of birth: 1934
• Birthplace: Ohio
• Occupation: Inventor/nurse
• Invention: Snugli and Weego child carriers
Ann Moore invented the Snugli and Weego baby carriers after working as a pediatric nurse with the Peace Corps in Togo, where she saw mothers carrying their babies in fabric slings. Her creations allow parents to carry babies safely and securely while keeping their hands free to do different things. These baby carriers promote intimacy and bonding as well. Moore also invented the AirLift oxygen carrier, a soft mesh backpack that allows people on oxygen more mobility.

Deepika Kurup
• Year of birth: 1998
• Birthplace: Nashua, New Hampshire
• Occupation: Inventor/scientist/social entrepreneur
• Invention: Water purification system
Deepika Kurup is the youngest entrant on our list — she is currently a student at Harvard University. While still a teenager, after seeing children drinking dirty water in India, she invented a purification system that uses solar energy to remove contaminants from water.

Anna Stork and Andrea Sreshta
• Year of birth: Stork: 1987; Sreshta: N/A
• Birthplace: Stork: Chicago, Illinois; Sreshta: Houston, Texas
• Occupation: Inventor/entrepreneur Inventors/entrepreneurs
• Invention: Solar-powered inflatable light
Anna Stork and Andrea Sreshta were graduate students at Columbia University when they invented the LuminAID, an inflatable, waterproof, solar-powered light as part of a disaster relief project after the 2010 Haiti earthquake. Their product provides light for 16 hours and requires six hours of daylight to charge. Stork and Sreshta used a crowdfunding campaign to begin making the LuminAID and started a Give Light Project to donate a light for every one purchased

Jessica Matthews
• Year of birth: 1988
• Birthplace: Poughkeepsie, New York
• Occupation: Inventor
• Invention: Invented soccer ball that generates electricity for an attachable reading lamp.
While studying at Harvard University, Nigerian-American Jessica Matthews invented the Soccket, a soccer ball that generates electricity for an attachable reading lamp. She went on to found Uncharted Power, which specializes in harnessing kinetic energy to power microgrids for communities around the world.

Amy Smith
• Year of birth: 1962
• Birthplace: Lexington, Massachusetts
• Occupation: Engineer
• Invention: Developed a way to turn sugar-cane fibers into clean-burning charcoal
Amy Smith is the director of MIT’s D-Lab, which focuses on producing appropriate technologies for the developing world. Described as “a practitioner of humanitarian engineering,” Smith has come up with a series of inventions to help rural families. These include a way to turn sugar-cane fibers, found in countries such as Haiti, into clean-burning charcoal by carbonizing it. Other inventions include a hammer mill for grinding grain into flour and a portable kit to test water for contamination.

Emily Jane Cummins
• Year of birth: 1987
• Birthplace: Keighley, United Kingdom
• Occupation: Inventor
• Invention: Invented pullable water carrier for manual workers
Emily Cummins is another woman dedicated to improving lives in the developing world. She invented a water carrier made largely of tree branches that can take up to five containers held in place by surplus inner tubes. The water carrier can be adapted to carry firewood or other loads and can be recycled at the end of its life. Cummins also designed a sustainable refrigerator consisting of two metal cylinders with sand or another material in between. This material is then soaked in water and evaporation cools the inner cylinder and its contents. The refrigerator is not complicated to make, doesn’t need electricity, and can use dirty water.

Nobelungu Mashinini
• Year of birth: 1948
• Birthplace: Embalenhle Township in Secunda, South Africa
• Occupation: Inventor
• Invention: Invented cleaner method to burn coal domestically
Nobelungu Mashinini, known affectionately as “Granny Mashinini,” introduced a way to build coal fires that emit far less smoke than the traditional method. The smoke from coal fires, which are used for heating in many South African communities, has been linked to increased respiratory disease, especially among children. Instead of layering coal over a base of paper, Mashinini began her fires with coal, and then added a layer of paper and a few pieces of wood. Mashinini’s system of “making fire like the granny” has been taught to households across the country and has had a huge impact on the winter air quality.

Ann Makosinski
• Year of birth: 1997
• Birthplace: Victoria, Canada
• Occupation: Inventor/public speaker
• Invention: Invented Hollow Flashlight
Canadian Ann Makosinski won the 2013 Google Science Fair for inventing the Hollow Flashlight, a light powered by the heat of the human hand. She also invented eDrink, a mug that uses human-powered energy to charge a phone.