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11 Bad Jokes and Other Deleted Nonsense: Best of Wikipedia

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Wikimedia Commons

Wikipedia maintains a catalog of Bad Jokes and Other Deleted Nonsense (BJAODN) -- it's the best of the worst stuff added to Wikipedia. Here, I present 11 excellent pieces of dumb humor that was deleted from Wikipedia...but then retained on a best-of page, because it's just that bad good.

1. Water on Mars

On April 1, 2004 a Wikipedia user discovered shocking proof -- photographic proof -- of water on Mars. The photograph was posted to the heart-laden article "♥Water on Mars♥" and the image is still retained (Creative Commons license and all) on Wikipedia, though it carries this bold warning: "This is a very bad joke. We believe it to be one of the most humorous examples of the Wikipedia community's work."
 
A Wikipedia editor commented: "Evidently, there is also glass and a plastic wrapper and now MY JAWS!"

2. The Cross-Eyed Teacher

Wikipedia's Pupil page had this section inserted:

Q. Why was the teacher cross-eyed?
A. Because she couldn't control her pupils.

Wikipedia editors followed up with:

[edit: This is incredibly not funny.]
[edit edit: That's why it's funny.]

3. CPGM

A little Physics humor:

The Coalition to Prevent Gratuitous Misuse (CPGM) was organized in 1901 to protest the (then) common misuse of the word weight to mean mass. The movement gained momentum (defined as the vector product of its velocity and mass) when SI was officially adopted in place of metric system, which no longer carried its weight. This movement captured the imagination of the mass of scientists througout the world, although the general public remained unmoved, since a body at rest tends to remain at rest (see Newton's Laws).

Editors added:

this should never have been deleted, it is a work of genious (edit: I think you mean "genius," genius.)

4. Y0-Y0 Ma

Y0-Y0 Ma is not to confused with Yo-Yo Ma, the famous cellist. Apparently Y0-Y0 is a nonhuman actor. Okay, just read this glimpse into some Wikipedian's madness (and/or sense of humor):

Y0-Y0 Ma plays Yo-Yo Ma, who lives in the human universe. Y0-Y0 Ma was born on Availy 32, 123456789, so he is 40 years, 13 months, 5 weeks, and 8 days old as of Verely 0, 987654321. He was born in Culombos of District, Wishongtan, Amerigan Union of Soviet Capitalist Tribes.

About the actor

Y0-Y0 Ma is an actor who enjoys playing nonexistant creatures. Of all the beings he had played, his favorite are the humans. He enjoys playing them, because they aren't that sophisticated, so he doesn't have to be. Of course, no one understands what he's saying when he is acting, because all the actors speak in Humanish language for "authenticity". His favorite character, Yo-Yo Ma, is a parody on his name.

Y0-Y0 Ma currently resides in Los Diablos, Jaba Nacilofria, A.U.S.C.T.

5. A Tip on Cow Tipping

This briefly appeared on the Cow Tipping page (emphasis added):

Tip #2

If you succeed in tipping a cow only partway, such that only one of its feet is still on the ground, you have created lean beef. Such a feat is well done. Naturally, being outside, the cow is unstable. When it falls over, it becomes ground beef.

An editor then inserted: "Such quality of humor is rare."

6. The Drummer Joke

"Someone who hangs out with musicians." (Briefly appeared as a definition on the Drummer page.)

7. Th'u~nks

Presented without comment:

Th'u~nks as a religion, was born when two prophets — known as the Two Great Piephits by practitioners of the religion — discussed the greatness, and spiritual meaning that can be found in the humble pie, particularly the pukka (pronounced "puck-ah") variety. Currently it has believers in countries around the globe.

Origins

In the year 2006 CE the Piephits were discussing the benefits of the pie over other pastry based savoury foods, when they were struck by a joint moment of revelation. This moment, known as The Pievation, was believed to be the moment when the Master Baker showed the true meaning of pastry, and consequently life to the Two Great Piephits. From this they jointly established the main underlying tenet of the religion, that of B'heegery and thus Th'u~nks was born.

This continues for quite a while.

8. Alternative Rock/Missing the Point

The page for Alternative rock featured this alternate definition, including an apparently sincere attempt by an editor to make sure it was properly sourced:

Alternative rock is the name given to one stone when you're looking at another stone. The term was coined by photographer Edwin Blastocyst when looking at one stone and speaking about another, oddly enough.

     The quote from Edwin Blastocyst needs to be verified.

          (Note: I'm not sure Blastocyst was a real person, considering that "blastocyst" is a stage of embryonic growth.)

9. Voltaic Democratic Union

The Voltaic Democratic Union, which is actually a thing, started out as a "stub page" (starting point) featuring the text: "Shocking, just shocking!"

10. Baby Catapult

From the now-deleted "Baby Catapult" page:

The Baby Catapult is an invention of insane genius Maxwell Q. Infantlauncher of Indianapolis, Indiana. It is not meant to launch actual infants; it is meant to launch Cabbage Patch Kids and the sort. The goal is for them to go 100 feet in the air, and 500 feet along the ground. The catapult should be finished by mid-2004.

An editor noted: "I, for one, am disappointed."

11. C is for Cookie

This mini-essay on the rhetorical form of Cookie Monster's discourse was added to the page C is for Cookie and then, sadly, removed.

C is for Cookie can be regarded as a case study in persuasive oratory, emphasizing the emotional aspect of public speaking. Cookie Monster builds excitement by answering his opening rhetorical question, "Now what starts with the letter C?" with the obvious reply, "Cookie starts with C!" He then challenges the audience, "Let's think of other things that starts with C," before quickly replying, "Oh, who cares about the other things?" casually dismissing a whole range of other possibilities as irrelevant. Thus, having ostensibly come for the purpose of covering the letter C in its entirety, Cookie Monster has already focused his agenda exclusively on cookies, employing the classic bait and switch tactic. Several times in his presentation, Cookie Monster emphasizes what appears to be the central thesis of his remarks: "C is for cookie, that's good enough for me!" The appealing rhythm of this slogan appears designed to entrance listeners, swaying their emotions and making them instinctively want to chant along with him. After rousing the crowd, Cookie Monster systematically lays out the logical underpinnings of his pro-cookie ideology, comparing cookies to round donuts with one bite out of them and to the moon during its crescent phase, in essence using a straw man argument that implies his opponents would advocate the superiority of these competitors over cookies. In this sense, Cookie Monster may be proposing a false dichotomy representing cookies as the only viable choice to a group of obviously inferior alternatives. But before the audience has a chance to catch on, Cookie Monster launches into another round of repetitive chanting, "C is for cookie, that's good enough for me, yeah!" as young children sing along. Here, Cookie Monster uses a propaganda technique strikingly similar to that employed in George Orwell's Animal Farm by the pig Napoleon, who trained the farm's sheep to bleat, "Four legs good, two legs bad" on his cue. Cookie Monster then adds visual stimulation to his discourse by chomping into a large cookie, concluding his remarks with "Umm-umm-umm-umm-umm" and other chewing sounds.

Another addition was an entire section titled Other Things Starting with the Letter C, including Carrot, Crabcakes, and Cucumber.

Way, Way More

There's a whole page of this, and it includes links to several more "best of BJAODN" lists. One of my favorites in those extra lists is a spoiler-filled plot summary of The Very Hungry Caterpillar (with philosophical commentary).

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10 Regional Twists on Trick-or-Treating
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iStock

Walk around any given American neighborhood on the night of October 31, and you’ll likely hear choruses of "trick-or-treat" chiming through the area. The sing-songy phrase is synonymous with Halloween in some parts of the world, but it's not the only way kids get sweets from their neighbors this time of year. From the Philippines to the American Midwest, here are some regional door-to-door traditions you may not have heard of.

1. PANGANGALULUWA // THE PHILIPPINES

Rice cakes wrapped in leaves.
Suman

The earliest form of trick-or-treating on Halloween can be traced back to Europe in the Middle Ages. Kids would don costumes and go door-to-door offering prayers for dead relatives in exchange for snacks called "soul cakes." When the cake was eaten, tradition held that a soul was ferried from purgatory into heaven. Souling has disappeared from Ireland and the UK, but a version of it lives on halfway across the world in the Philippines. During All Saints Day on November 1, Filipino children taking part in Pangangaluluwa will visit local houses and sing hymns for alms. The songs often relate to souls in purgatory, and carolers will play the part of the souls by asking for prayers. Kids are sometimes given rice cakes called suman, a callback to the soul cakes from centuries past.

2. PÃO-POR-DEUS // PORTUGAL

Raw dough.
iStock

Instead of trick-or-treating, kids in Portugal go door-to-door saying pão-por-deus ("bread for god") in exchange for goodies on All Saints Day. Some homeowners give out money or candy, while others offer actual baked goods.

3. HALLOWEEN APPLES // WESTERN CANADA

Kids trick-or-treating.
iStock

If they're not calling out "trick-or-treat" on their neighbors’ doorsteps on Halloween night, you may hear children in western Canada saying "Halloween apples!" The phrase is left over from a time when apples were a common Halloween treat and giving out loose items on the holiday wasn't considered taboo.

4. ST. MARTIN'S DAY // THE NETHERLANDS

The Dutch wait several days after Halloween to do their own take on trick-or-treating. On the night of November 11, St. Martin's Day, children in the Netherlands take to the streets with their homemade lanterns in hand. These lanterns were traditionally carved from beets or turnips, but today they’re most commonly made from paper. And the kids who partake don’t get away with shouting a few words at each home they visit—they’re expected to sing songs to receive their sugary rewards.

5. A PENNY FOR THE GUY // THE UK

Guy Fawkes Night celebration.

Peter Trimming, Wikimedia Commons // CC BY-SA 2.0

Guy Fawkes Night is seen by some as the English Protestants’ answer to the Catholic holidays associated with Halloween, so it makes sense that it has its own spin on trick-or-treating. November 5 marks the day of Guy Fawkes’s failed assassination attempt on King James as part of the Gunpowder Plot. To celebrate the occasion, children will tour the neighborhood asking for "a penny for the guy." Sometimes they’ll carry pictures of the would-be-assassin which are burned in the bonfires lit later at night.

6. TRICKS FOR TREATS // ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI

Kids knocking on a door in costume.
iStock

If kids in the St. Louis area hope to go home with a full bag of candy on Halloween, they must be willing to tickle some funny bones. Saying "tricks-for-treats" followed by a joke replaces the classic trick-or-treat mantra in this Midwestern city. There’s no criteria for the quality or the subject of the joke, but spooky material (What’s a skeleton’s favorite instrument? The trombone!) earns brownie points.

7. ME DA PARA MI CALAVERITA // MEXICO

Sugar skulls with decoration.
iStock

While Dia de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, is completely separate from Halloween, the two holidays share a few things in common. Mexicans celebrate the day by dressing up, eating sweet treats, and in some parts of the country, going house-to-house. Children knocking on doors will say "me da para mi calaverita" or "give me money for my little skull," a reference to the decorated sugar skulls sold in markets at this time of year.

8. HALLOWEEN! // QUEBEC, CANADA

Kids dressed up for Halloween.
iStock

Trick-or-treaters like to keep things simple in the Canadian province of Quebec. In place of the alliterative exclamation, they shout “Halloween!” at each home they visit. Adults local to the area might remember saying "la charité s’il-vous-plaît "(French for “charity, please”) when going door-to-door on Halloween, but this saying has largely fallen out of fashion.

9. SWEET OR SOUR // GERMANY

Little girl trick-or-treating.
iStock

Halloween is only just beginning to gain popularity in Germany. Where it is celebrated, the holiday looks a lot like it does in America, but Germans have managed to inject some local character into their version of trick-or-treat. In exchange for candy, kids sometimes sing out "süß oder saures"—or "sweet and sour" in English.

10. TRIQUI, TRIQUI HALLOWEEN // COLOMBIA

Kids dressed up for Halloween.
Rubí Flórez, Flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Kids in Colombia anticipate dressing up and prowling the streets on Halloween just as much as kids do in the States. There are a few significant variations on the annual tradition: Instead of visiting private residencies, they're more likely to ask for candy from store owners and the security guards of apartment buildings. And instead of saying trick-or-treat, they recite this Spanish rhyme:

Triqui triqui Halloween
Quiero dulces para mí
Si no hay dulces para mí
Se le crece la naríz

In short, it means that if the grownups don't give the kids the candy they're asking for, their noses will grow. Tricky, tricky indeed

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Hey, Vern: It's the Ernest P. Worrell Story
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Mill Creek Entertainment

In her review of the 1991 children’s comedy Ernest Scared Stupid, The Washington Post film critic Rita Kempley described the titular character, the dim-witted but well-meaning Ernest P. Worrell, as “the global village idiot.” As portrayed by Kentucky native Jim Varney, Ernest was in the middle of a 10-film franchise that would see him mistakenly incarcerated (Ernest Goes to Jail), enlisting in the military (Ernest in the Army), substituting for an injured Santa (Ernest Saves Christmas), and returning to formal education in order to receive his high school diploma (Ernest Goes to School).

Unlike slapstick contemporaries Yahoo Serious and Pauly Shore, Varney took a far more unusual route to film stardom. With advertising executive John Cherry III, Varney originated the Ernest character in a series of regional television commercials. By one estimate, Ernest appeared in over 6000 spots, hawking everything from ice cream to used cars. They grew so popular that the pitchman had a 20,000-member fan club before his first movie, 1987’s Ernest Goes to Camp, was even released.

Varney and Ernest became synonymous, so much so that the actor would dread going on dates for fear Ernest fans would approach him; he sometimes wore disguises to discourage recognition. Though he could recite Shakespeare on a whim, Varney was rarely afforded the opportunity to expand his resume beyond the denim-jacketed character. It was for this reason that Varney, though grateful for Ernest’s popularity, would sometimes describe his notoriety as a “mixed blessing,” one that would come to a poignant end foreshadowed by one of his earliest commercials.

Born in Lexington, Kentucky in 1949, Varney spent his youth being reprimanded by teachers who thought his interest in theater shouldn’t replace attention paid to math or science. Varney disagreed, leaving high school just two weeks shy of graduation (he returned in the fall for his diploma) to head for New York with $65 in cash and a plan to perform.

The off-Broadway plays Varney appeared in were not lucrative, and he began to bounce back and forth between Kentucky and California, driving a truck when times were lean and appearing in TV shows like Petticoat Junction when his luck improved. During one of his sabbaticals from Hollywood, he met Cherry, who cast him as an aggressive military instructor named Sergeant Glory in an ad for a car dealer in Nashville, Tennessee.

In 1981, Varney was asked back to film a new spot for Cherry, this one for a dilapidated amusement park in Bowling Green, Kentucky, that Cherry considered so unimpressive he didn’t want to show it on camera. Instead, he created the character of Ernest P. Worrell, a fast-talking, often imbecilic local who is constantly harassing his neighbor Vern. (“Know what I mean, Vern?” became Ernest’s catchphrase.)

The spot was a hit, and soon Varney and Cherry were being asked to film spots for Purity Dairies, pizza parlors, convenience stores, and other local businesses. In the spots, Ernest would usually look into the camera—the audience shared Vern’s point of view—and endorse whatever business had enlisted his services, usually stopping only when Vern devised a way to get him out of sight.

Although the Purity commercials initially drew complaints—the wide-angle lens created a looming Ernest that scared some children—his fame grew, and Varney became a rarity in the ad business: a mascot without a permanent corporate home. He and Cherry would film up to 26 spots in a day, all targeted for a specific region of the country. In some areas, people would call television stations asking when the next Ernest spot was due to air. A Fairfax, Virginia Toyota dealership saw a 50 percent spike in sales after Varney began appearing in ads.

Logging thousands of spots in hundreds of markets, Varney once said that if they had all been national, he and Cherry would have been wealthy beyond belief. But local spots had local budgets, and the occasions where Ernest was recruited for a major campaign were sometimes prohibited by exclusivity contracts: He and Cherry had to turn down Chevrolet due to agreements with local, competing car dealers.

Still, Varney made enough to buy a 10-acre home in Kentucky, expressing satisfaction with the reception of the Ernest character and happily agreeing to a four-picture deal with Disney’s Touchstone Pictures for a series of Ernest features. Released on a near-constant basis between 1987 and 1998, the films were modest hits (Ernest Goes to Camp made $28 million) before Cherry—who directed several of them—and Varney decided to strike out on their own, settling into a direct-to-video distribution model.

“It's like Oz, and the Wizard ain't home," Varney told the Sun Sentinel in 1985, anticipating his desire for autonomy. “Hollywood is a place where everything begins but nothing originates. It's this big bunch of egos slamming into each other.”

Varney was sometimes reticent to admit he had ambitions beyond Ernest, believing his love of Shakespeare and desire to perform Hamlet would be perceived as the cliched story of a clown longing to be serious. He appeared in 1994’s The Beverly Hillbillies and as the voice of Slinky Dog in 1995’s Toy Story. But Ernest would continue to be his trademark.

The movies continued through 1998, at which point Varney noticed a nagging cough. It turned out to be lung cancer. As Ernest, Varney had filmed an anti-smoking public service announcement in the 1980s. In his private life, he was a chain smoker. He succumbed to cancer in 2000 at the age of 50, halting a series of planned Ernest projects that included Ernest Goes to Space and Ernest and the Voodoo Curse.

Varney may never have gotten an opportunity to perform in a wider variety of roles, but he did receive some acknowledgment for the one he had mastered. In 1989, Varney took home an Emmy for Outstanding Performer in a children’s series, a CBS Saturday morning show titled Hey, Vern: It’s Ernest!

“It’s a blessing and a curse,” he told the Orlando Sentinel in 1991, “because it's as hard to escape from it as it is to get into it.''

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