All posts tagged Alan B. Combs

Creator of “Tarzan’s Tripes Forever, and Other Feghoots” and 2003 Punster of the Year. In his spare time, Alan B. Combs is a toxicologist with the Pharmacy School of the University of Texas at Austin.

Texas Critters

By Alan B. Combs

By now, some of you have heard me carry on about Texas varmints and critters — the mosquitos at Matagorda Island that will haul your butt away, the exceedingly large water roaches that can fly at you when molested or not, and the wretched, body-big-as-your-thumb centipedes with the orange heads (URL provided upon request). However, not all of our bugs are so remarkable. In fact, there are certain beetles that come out in the Spring that … Read the rest...

Under the Dentist’s Drill

By Alan B. Combs

Last week I had one of those bittersweet visits to the dentist — bitter because there is more than a little trauma and cost involved, and sweet because the need that drove me to the office in the first place would finally go away. As is their custom, the dentist and support person carried on a running patter for the purpose of entertainment and distraction for the patient.

Right before I could talk again, they got … Read the rest...


By Alan B. Combs

I am reminded so many bad things start with the phrase, “I am reminded…” Nevertheless, I am reminded of the unfortunate Japanese lad in Yokohoma who was working on a roof. He dropped a tile on his hand, leaving a significant portion of epidermis behind. Then in his excitement, he kicked the ladder down and had to descend very carefully, hand over hand, clinging on to a gutter downpipe. Local wags created a song about this … Read the rest...

The Palmer Method

By Alan B. Combs

Most of you are too young to remember the elegant Palmer Method of Handwriting with its countless repetitions and exercises. I do remember it, but all my students, assuming they would even know what the method is about, would assure you that I must have flunked.

I have a dear aunt who passed her lessons. Flowery, ornate, and highly readable, her handwriting is a source of pride. Recently, she entered a handwriting contest. She returned from … Read the rest...


By Alan B. Combs

I note that the Jerry Seinfeld Show has been off the air for a while, but it was there long enough for several of its sayings and mannerisms to enter into the common culture. “Yada, yada, yada” is just one of the more irritating examples.

It is hard to give up show business and I see that Seinfeld is moving back into his original nightclub comedy routine circuit. Not only that, but he has also included … Read the rest...

My Political Platform

By Alan B. Combs

These final weeks of the political campaign are getting me down. What everyone seems to miss is the point that with freedom comes an equally weighty obligation toward responsibility. I have decided that we have too many freedoms. When I am elected, I will work to do away with the following (as a minimal list):

— Telling lies in commercials, political or otherwise
— Movies where self-mutilation because of stupidity seems to be the point
— … Read the rest...

Mathematical Celebration

By Alan B. Combs with an addendum by Bob Dvorak

In Northern Germany there is an ancient village populated mainly by mathematicians. Now, these are not your ordinary run-of-the-mill quantum mechanical explorers or such, but rather they are trigonometric specialists. In fact, there are village holidays celebrating some of the more common trig functions. I could tell you about the one dealing with the side opposite over the side closest, but it would be going off on a tangent.

The … Read the rest...


By Alan B. Combs

My wife has been making noises about putting a pool table in one of our spare rooms, perhaps in what might be known as the parlor area. It is open to the hall and has room enough for the table. We priced tables and they ranged from a few hundreds of dollars (altogether too little) to several thousands of dollars (altogether too much).

I spent some of my high school childhood learning about this magnificent game. … Read the rest...

The Master of Bernoulli’s Principle

By Alan B. Combs

That wonderful airfoil, the sail in a wind-powered boat is a combination of art and science. Long before the Wright Brothers flew their airplane, kite makers and ship sail makers had fashioned very effective airfoils. The wind blowing across the curved surface provided lift — raising the kite in the air and moving the sailboat through the water. The art reached its zenith in the multi-masted tall ships of previous centuries.

Modern development of such airfoils … Read the rest...


By Alan B. Combs

The recent high school reunion has shaken a lot of cobwebs loose. I thank Don Drinnon for reminding me of this tale. I will not vouch for its authenticity, however.

Every small town has one, and although I never grew up in a large town, I imagine they are no different. I am talking about a house of evening entertainments, a house where there are more red lights than usual. Whether or not such a house … Read the rest...

Hyperbaric Chambers

By Alan B. Combs

Hyperbaric chambers have been in the news lately because they were made available to treat decompression injury in the recently-rescued coal miners. More traditionally, we see them used for the prevention of the “bends” in deep sea divers who have to return to the surface too quickly.

Recenly certain companies have found that hyperbaric chambers are useful in determining the professional qualifications of potential CEOs. The process is to put them in the chamber with the … Read the rest...

Circus Ups and Downs

By Alan B. Combs

A young man from an ancient and honorable Circus Acrobatic Family married and wanted his children to follow in the family tradition. As it happened he had three daughters. These girls were athletic enough, but he wanted them to have an act that was modern and unique, yet containing elements of the old school.

After some thought, they worked out an act where the girls jumped off a sixteen-meter platform over a swimming pool while performing … Read the rest...

Willie Nelson

By Alan B. Combs (and Ofelia Tabora)

English is a second language for my wife. I am proud of her in many respects but I am especially pleased with her increasing command of English. She is starting to recognize those verbal ambiguities that I love. I refer to puns, of course.

Next, you should understand that she loves Willie Nelson. Her intensive English instructors at Tulane assigned listening to Willie Nelson audiotapes because his diction is so good.

We are … Read the rest...

The Cordage Shop

By Alan B. Combs with comments by Chris Cole and Bob Levi.

A young man applied for a job in a cordage shop and to his delight had been accepted. The store manager took it upon himself to train the new employee in the types of merchandise available. This was no small task.

First came the manila section, old classic hawsers originally from the days of tall ships and more flexible material used in horse training. Other sections of the … Read the rest...

A Clear Moment for Thanks…

By Alan B. Combs upon the resignation of a certain individual as Senate Majority Leader. This was posted to the limericks_n_haiku listserv.

The kettle talks black to the pot.
The bastards give all that they’ve got.
Old Thomas Daschle?
Humongous hassle,
But, for step-down, I say, “Thanks a Lott.”… Read the rest...

The Abacus

By Alan B. Combs

One of my students wanted to take an abacus to an accounting exam. He was unpracticed, but he did know that the Japanese do extraordinarily well with such instruments.

I told him that I thought it didn’t add up.… Read the rest...

A Certain Steppenwolf Song

By Alan B. Combs

I’m aging, but not all that gracefully, it seems. My wife plays a Jammin’ Oldies station on her car radio. You should know that my type of music is nearly 100% Folk and Country, so that stuff is really foreign to my nature.

However, I may have missed out on some good, inspirational material. The other day on her station, for example, I heard an old song that somehow I had missed before. I regret missing … Read the rest...

Occupational Hazard

By Alan B. Combs

Wire Services Late Night Edition, San Francisco, California — Police were called to the scene where Mr. Frank, an irrigation canal repairman was found beaten to death in a back alley. Sam had been dispatched to repair a leaking barrier which was supposed to be keeping water out of a lower-than-sea-level apartment complex near 3-Com Candlestick park. Eyewitnesses described how he had unknowingly entered a women’s gay bar and asked the patrons where he might find … Read the rest...

Bad Haircut

By Alan B. Combs

Billy Ray Cyrus — why are they always picking on my man, Billy Ray. He just don’t get no respect — not when his only song “Achy Breaky Heart” was on the charts, nor ever about his haircut. Nowadays, that style of haircut has become something of ridicule. It stinks so bad, they call it a smellet.… Read the rest...

Attitudinal Adjustment

By Alan B. Combs

During my many semesters at the College, I have had ample opportunity to listen to student problems and to give sound advice. One of the best examples occurred recently when a student asked me what is the best physical position in which to study. I told her that it doesn’t matter much, but she should make every effort not to study lying face down. In that position she would be prone to make mistakes.… Read the rest...

Adult Limerick Exchange

Ms Scarlett Said:

My limericks are lacking oration.
My poetry lacks inspiration,
But, bearing in mind
A donkey’s behind,
Remember my old dissertation.

I replied:

Your tale of a donkey’s behind
Brings indelible image to mind.
This can’t be repaired —
It’s clearly ass^2
In our poesy mucho maligned.

Then the talented Ms Scarlett wrote:

There once was a Combs named Alan B.
Who wished to go down in infamy,
For the silliest pun.
(Ain’t we got fun?)
He hoped … Read the rest...

Deer Me!

By Alan B. Combs

You are all familiar with the story of the tortoise and the hare. Through sloth and laziness, and sheer disrespect, the hare was shaved at the finish. The forest creatures generally considered this to be a fluke (a particularly despicable form of creature, remember), but they made a promise to themselves never to be caught this way again.

One day it came to pass that the tortoise once more found himself in a challenge match, but … Read the rest...

Wells Fargo

By Alan B. Combs

Some very bright folks in the history of our country realized that rapid communications would be part of the key to success. The Pony Express, short-lived as it was, showed that horses and organization could move material across the country. Another example was Wells Fargo, an outfit that used the horse-drawn coach to move cargo. A remnant of this fabled history exists in the banking system that still bears the name.

The newly elected architect of … Read the rest...

How Things Do Change

by Alan B. Combs

Very recently I was reminded of some of the better times during high school. At that time, altogether too many years ago, one of the favorite beers was a rot-gut concoction that came across the border from Mexico. It had the logo “XX” and we always speculated that it kept many horse farmers in business. Nevertheless, it had the decided advantage of being really cheap.

Nowadays, you can see this beer being advertised on TV and … Read the rest...

How About a Cold One?

The following was a recent pun cascade posted on PUNY.

Well, since my “Mulligan Man” pun didn’t hook any fish, here’s another go:

What do you call an Eskimo prostitute?

Nanookie of the north!



I’d call it “The World’s Coldest Profession” :)



Does that make her a Frostitute?



Or a lady of the six-month night?



When she’s hot she’s hot, and when she’s cold……she’s still hot.

I heard that the Eskimo prostitute … Read the rest...