Stand-Up Mathematics
A few good laughs about the mathematical enterprise...

"The Nobel Prize in mathematics has been awarded to a California professor who has discovered a new number.  The number is 'bleen'--which he claims belongs between six and seven"--George Carlin.

"Teachers now are all upset because the first thing the new Talking Barbie doll says is 'Math class is tough.'  See, now that sends little girls the wrong message.  I think they should have her say something that shows she doesn't have math anxiety; something like 'The applicative-order y-combinator function is cool!'."--Wayne Cotter.

"I do this job because there's no math involved.  Math was my worst subject.  I had to take statistics in college.  This'll show you how stupid I was: I didn't even know statistics was math.  I had no clue--I thought it was stuff like 'Did you know no two snowflakes are alike?'"--Jeff Cesario.

"A couple of months ago, I read about this guy in the paper who plunged to his death bungee-jumping because his cord was seventy feet too long.  70 feet too long!  This is why we take math.  It would actually make for a very good word problem, wouldn't it?  'Jim is about to bungee-jump.  The ground is 100 feet below Jim.  What can the maximum length of Jim's bungee cord be when stretched?  a) More than 100 feet...'"--Jeff Stilson.

"It's real easy to write your girlfriend poetry if you just get out a trigonometry book, and you find some theorems and put them into poetic form.  Every time you see the word 'angle', you change it to 'angel'.  It works really well:

I complement you, angel, and define you infinitely;
I am your adjacent angel, you are my cosine, and I denote you factorially.
I am the curve generated by the motion of your point; you are my ordinate function.
Oh--acute angel."
--Rich Hall.

"I hope I never find myself in a bad marriage, because deciding whether or not to get a divorce would be extremely difficult.  I mean, you would have to determine if you wanted to suffer a whole bunch all at once, or if you wanted to spread the misery out over your entire life.  I guess that's when calculus comes in handy, you know--you figure out the area under the two curves."--Jeff Stilson.

"Roman numerals, we learned in school.  What is the application of this?  What are they going to teach us next, chariot repair?  I remember, I was all upset--I got a C on a test.  Then I realized: it was 100!!"--Wayne Cotter

Last revision: 9 March 02002.