All posts tagged Academia

Entries about the university or most any sort of learning.

The Thesis

This exposition of academic realities was posted on the groaners listserv. I sent out a considerably shorter version ten years ago.


It’s a fine sunny day in the forest; and a rabbit is sitting outside his burrow, tippy-tapping on his lap top. Along comes a fox, out for a walk.

Fox: “What are you working on?”
Rabbit: “My thesis.”
Fox: “Hmmmmm. What is it about?”
Rabbit: “Oh, I’m writing about how rabbits eat foxes.”

(incredulous pause)

Fox: “That’s ridiculous!

Read the rest...

Positions (An Ancient, Classic, Adult Shaggy Puppy)

This is another of those tales I long remember, from high school at the latest. This version was posted on the shaggydog listserv. The author is not known.

Neil Smythe, Professor of Sexual Physiology at Oxford, was lecturing his class. “And so, gentlemen, as you can see through a consideration of the anatomical possibilities, there are precisely seventy-six distinct positions possible in the sex act. If we classify these positions – -”

At this point, however, a deferential French student … Read the rest...

Texas Dig

An original by rosecatt with additions by the usual suspects.

Professor Thornwankle was excited. He and his archaeology students had been working for months, tediously sifting sand and excavating a small site deep within a rock outcropping in Eastern Texas. It was a Clovis-period site and many interesting artifacts had been discovered.

The most fascinating discovery was what appeared to be a long extinct primative colony of large marsupials. Curiously, such marsupials had never before been documented in Texas but … Read the rest...

Horse and Buggy

This is by Himie Koshevoy who has many other excellent puns in this collection.

The automobile has banned the horse from the highways of the continent, and no more so than from the mighty bridges across the great rivers, for the slow steed would create intolerable tie-ups if he were allowed into those slim bottlenecks.

None of this, of course, prevented a university fraternity deciding to force one of its pledges to drive a horse and buggy across a busy … Read the rest...

Spent a Month in School Last Week

This was sent to us by Jamie Daly of Arlington, VA. Thank you.

When James Brown was in high school, he was not a very good student, his mind being occupied by his music most of the time. In fact, rather than write actual essays on his essay tests, he would write song lyrics, instead. When his teacher asked him to explain what he wrote, he replied with a shrug, “Brown verses, bored of education.”

Lowrie Beacham almost immediately replied:… Read the rest...

Oh Lordy

Old friend Bill Pardue, retired from these wars, sent this ancient story.

One day in heaven, the Lord decided He would visit the earth and take a stroll. Walking down the road, He encountered a man who was crying. The Lord asked the man, “Why are you crying, my son?”

The man said that he was blind and had never seen a sunset. The Lord touched the man who could then see and was happy.

As the Lord walked further, … Read the rest...

Our New Advocate

By Alan B. Combs with an addition by Howell Gwinn

For a long time, a certain public university has had people hired to the position of Student Advocate. This person is hired to represent students in their grievances and disputes with professors and the university.

In its wisdom, this University has recently decided that faculty members may also avail themselves of such an Advocate in their dealings with the university. This has occurred only because of the tireless efforts of … Read the rest...

Analogies & Metaphors in High School Essays

Bob Levi sent this collection to us.

1. Her face was a perfect oval, like a circle that had its two sides gently compressed by a Thigh Master.

2. His thoughts tumbled in his head, making and breaking alliances like underpants in a dryer without Cling Free.

3. He spoke with the wisdom that can only come from experience, like a guy who went blind because he looked at a solar eclipse without one of those boxes with a pinhole … Read the rest...

The Night Before Christmas Parodies XXXI (Graduate Student Version; Night Before Defense)

We continue this collection of seasonal variations and parodies.

(or A Visit From Dr. Ascorbate)

Twas the night before defense, when all through the lab
Not a gel box was shaking, with stain or with MAb.
The columns were hung in the cold room with care,
In hopes that my protein, I soon could prepare.

The post-docs were nestled all smug in their beds,
While extracts of barley muddled their heads.
With the tech in the

Read the rest...

The Audition

By Bob Dvorak

Sharon was shaking. It was the morning of her audition. Hanging in the balance was the possibility of four years studying performance piano at a premier music institution.

No matter how hard she’d practiced, however, nothing in her experience had prepared her for the critique that she expected.

What to do? She decided to play extremely quietly — if the committee couldn’t hear very well, there was less to criticize, right?

“OK, Sharon,” she told herself. “Let’s … Read the rest...

Evolution of a Full Professor

The original author of this highly circulated and probably relevant document is unknown. Younger colleague Walter Fast sent it to me.


Success in academia is hypothesized to require specific phenotypes. In order to understand how such unusual traits arise, we use human clones to identify the molecular events that occur during the transition from a graduate student to a professor. A pool of graduate student clones was subjected to several rounds of random mutagenesis followed by selection on minimal … Read the rest...

Aggie Inventiveness

I have Ms. Scarlett who has T.J. to thank for this tale. Don’t blame me, “Some of my best friends are Aggies.”

A scientist from Texas A&M University recently invented a bra that keeps women’s breasts from jiggling and prevents the nipples from pushing through the fabric when cold weather sets in. At the news conference in College Station announcing the invention, the scientist was taken outside by a group of cowboys who proceeded to kick the living shit out … Read the rest...

The Renwick Flyers

This long, shaggy, and interesting variant on an old theme was posted to the groaners listserv. The author is not known.

A couple of nights ago, I actually took the time to watch some television. This is something I don’t do much of, and hence, I have absolutely no clue of what programs might be of interest, and when they might air. So, with my usual spate of luck, I picked the night when there was nothing of interest. Only … Read the rest...


This is an original style shaggy dog with highly educational aspects of physics and history. You have been warned. The author is not known. It was posted by Stan Kegel on the groaners listserv.

As a child I came to America with my family in the darkest days of the Great Depression. It was only through the hard struggles of my dear mother and father that I was able to receive a fine education in American schools. I was awarded … Read the rest...

Georgia Tech Engineering Exam

This was sent by Brother Tom Vickery. I was considering making it an Aggie Exam, but did not do it. Wisdom, kindness, or fear, I’ll let you decide.

Premise: I think engineering college exam questions that include practical applications are far more meaningful than the usual fare.

1. Calculate the smallest limb diameter on a persimmon tree that will support a 10-pound possum.

2. Which of the following cars will rust out the quickest when placed on blocks in your … Read the rest...

Evolution of Teaching Math

Bill Pardue sent this to me. He is a veteran of these teaching wars.

Teaching Math in 1950:
A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost of production is 4/5 of the price. What is his profit?

Teaching Math in 1960:
A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost of production is 4/5 of the price, or $80. What is his profit?

Teaching Math in 1970:
A logger exchanges a set “L” of lumber … Read the rest...

A Dee-Cent Short Story

This is by Jim MacCaulay who sent it to us. Thank you.

This year at our high school, there are two senior girls that are best of friends. One’s name is Dolores Penn, and the other’s name is Dolores Seward. As you might expect, both girls are called “Dee” by their friends and families. Since the two girls are always together, the students at the high school cannot resist a few wordplays on the girls’ names. For example, whenever one … Read the rest...


This is from Lowrie Becham, a valued contributor to the list and web site. Lowrie says, “I have heard a longer (shaggier) version of this, but the punch line was the same. This is from a commencement address to Boston College, May 2000, by Education Secretary Richard W. Riley.”

Riley, a veteran Southern politician who served as governor of South Carolina from 1979-1987, warmed the BC crowd to his theme by offering a down-home anecdote — conveyed in a folksy … Read the rest...

Iraqi News Update

TJ sent this timely tale to Ms. Scarlett who sent it to us. There are many current variants. The author is not known.

News update — CNN/Reuters:

News reports have filtered out early this morning that US forces have swooped on an Iraqi Primary School and detained teacher Mohammed Al-Hazar. Sources indicate that, when arrested, Al-Hazar was in possession of a ruler. a protractor, a set square and a calculator.

US President George W. Bush argued that this was clear … Read the rest...

Camp Lecturers

This is by Phil Hudson.

When the summer holidays came, the lecturers at the Open University had the chance to go on a camping and sightseeing trip across the UK. However, this meant that the participants would not get paid during the duration of the holiday, and only a couple of lecturers ended up going on the trip.

The trip itself was very extensive – from Lands End to John O’ Groates, with plans to see many famous sites, including … Read the rest...

The Moral?

Lowrie Beacham forwarded this tale to me. Thank you.

The teacher gave her fifth grade class an assignment:

Get their parents to tell them a story with a moral at the end of it. The next day the kids came back and one by one began to tell their stories.

“Johnny, do you have a story to share?”

“Yes, ma’am, my daddy told a story about my Aunt Karen. Aunt Karen was a pilot in Desert Storm and her plane … Read the rest...

The Volcanologist

This tale is from the “Puns, Puns and More Puns” website. The author is not known.

A recent Honors Graduate of Harvard University’s Geology Department had the good fortune to be posted to the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory just as a new eruption started. As the noise intensified, his only comment was

“Magma come louder!”… Read the rest...

The Well-Lived Life

This tale has bounced all around the internet the last year. Lowrie Beacham tells us, “This is an old one, but so inspiring I thought it deserved another round…”

A philosophy professor stood before his class and had some items in front of him. When the class began, wordlessly he picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with rocks, rocks about 2″ in diameter. He then asked the students if the jar was … Read the rest...

The English Prof

From the web site “Puns, Puns and More Puns.” The author is not known.

A college freshman fell asleep in his 8:00 English class. The professor, not too pleased, threw a book at him.

“What was that” asked the startled student.

“That,” replied the professor, “was a flying Chaucer.”

Chuck and Valerie Nelson responded with the line, “Or perhaps an “unidentified flying author””… Read the rest...

More on End O’ Crow Knolegy

This was sent by Marsha Coleman to the groaners list serve. She tells us it is by Ann Onimus. A useful term originated by Bob Dvorak for these rapid-fire stories is Gatling Puns.

And I bet the professor made them read the text on end o crow knowledgy written by the brilliant Italian, Dr. ALDO STERONE. That is, unless the tome had been SECRETED away by order of the school administration, as the number one item on an INTERNAL LIST. … Read the rest...