Quickie sex ed

It was the spring of 1979 and seventh grade was almost over. Time was running short for our Health Ed. class to cover sex education, as had been promised earlier in the semester. We’d all been anticipating it in giggly fashion for months.

Now just a couple of classes remained before the end of the school year. At that time and place I’m not aware of any political controversy about sex education in public schools; as far as I know the semester simply got away from Mr. Washington, our young and hip teacher. In one of the final classes he apologized and suggested a way to cover the eagerly awaited topic quickly: we’d all write down one or two anonymous questions about sex, drop them in a hat (or a bag or a box, I don’t quite remember), and Mr. Washington would pick some at random and answer them. No question was out of bounds, nothing was too big or small to ask. Mr. Washington pledged a complete and honest answer to every question, all but promising to kill the fun with an excess of earnestness.

I can’t remember what question I dropped into the hat, nor do I remember most of the other questions that eventually came out of it. Some were no doubt excellent ones based on real curiosity. Information about sex was not quite as easy to come by then as it is now. After all, this was before the frankness made necessary by AIDS, before Dr. Drew and even Dr. Ruth, back in the days when “Internet porn” consisted of an academic in some university office printing a topless woman made of typographical symbols on six sheets of green-and-white fanfold paper.

The hat (or bag or box) passed solemnly around the room. Each of us dropped a folded piece of paper into it, apprehensive in spite of the anonymity that some humiliating bit of cluelessness would be revealed to all. Mr. Washington received it back and, just as solemnly, fished around for the first slip of paper to answer.

He unfolded it — and cracked up laughing, bent over double! It took several long seconds for him to regain his composure; meanwhile, the tension was broken for the rest of us. Finally he read the question: “What’s it like?”

I can still hear Mr. Washington’s immortal and carefully enunciated answer, after our own laughter died down: “It is as good as they say it is.”

Ranter Claus

Climbing down your chimney with a bagful of opinions slung on his back. (Previously.)

You better not think
Of greeting this guy
You better look busy
I’m telling you why:
Ranter Claus is coming to town

He’s making a list
Of assholes and fools
And all the wrong things
They’re teaching in schools
Ranter Claus is coming to town

Preventing you from sleeping
He runs his mouth all night
You can never get him to shut up
Even if you say he’s right

So find someone who
Has time on his hands
Or some poor slob you can
Run faster than
Ranter Claus is coming to town


Poetry schmoetry

One Internet craze from the early days of the World Wide Web was to compose haiku about Spam (the lunchmeat, not the unwanted e-mail). My friend Eric Pivnik wrote the best possible one of all time:

Old man seeks doctor
“I eat Spam daily,” he says.


Pink tender morsel
Glistening with salty gel.
What the hell is it?

His efforts inspired some of our coworkers in the mid 1990’s to write their own. Here’s mine:

Pink ingot of meat
Bit by bit it goes in me
Now I am Spam too.

Not long after that I challenged everyone to write double dactyls, a very specific comic-rhyme form with several rules:

  • There are two stanzas of four lines each;
  • Lines 1, 2, 3 and 5, 6, 7 are double-dactylic: they have the rhythm “DA-da-da DA-da-da”;
  • Lines 4 and 8 have the same rhythm but with the last two syllables chopped off;
  • Lines 4 and 8 rhyme;
  • Line 1 is a repeated nonsense phrase, like “Higgledy piggledy”;
  • Line 2 is a person’s name;
  • Line 6 or line 7 is a single, six-syllable, double-dactylic word.

I started it off with this one.

Clickety clickety
Andrea Dougherty
Always takes pictures at
Every event.

Her secret fantasy:
Selling her photographs
Paying the rent.

David Hartmann came back with this terrific one:

Higgledy piggledy
Robert S. Glickstein our
Poetry overlord
Starts a new thread

“Picture yourself in a
Boat on a river” gets
Stuck in my head.

Christine Martinez-Begle wrote this about her husband:

Piggly Wiggly
Doug is in Charleston
Prowling at night for an
Innocent hick

Diving in dumpsters for
Cannibal comfort food
Chicken-fried free-swingin’
Steak on a stick

which, apart from being macabre, has a few problems in its structure, so I wrote this to poke fun at her:

Poetry, schmoetry
Christine Martinez-B
Thinks Piggly’s syllables
Add up to three

Probably she’s just like
Those who say “fire” is
(That includes me.)

Finally, for Salon.com’s “dot-com haiku” challenge in 2000, in addition to a few forgettable haiku (the best of which was: Start a company / Get funding. Show promise. Fail. / Start a company) I offered this double dactyl:

Hump-i-ty Dump-i-ty
Jeffrey P. Bezos’s
Company made him Time’s
Man of the Year

Loyal investors say
“He’ll turn a profit soon,
Never you fear.”


This is the first sentence of the five hundredth post on gee bobg. This sentence was quick, but not quick enough to be the first sentence. This sentence is content merely to be in the first paragraph.

This is the first sentence of the five hundredth post on gee bobg. This sentence was quick, but not quick enough to be the first sentence. This sentence is content merely to be in the first paragraph.

This sentence starts out wondering why the title of this post is “D,” but ends by remembering that D is the Roman numeral for 500. This sentence asks why the Roman numeral for 500 is D. This sentence doesn’t know but guesses it has something to do with the Latin root “demi,” which means half, as in half a thousand.

There was a sentence before this one, but it went off to Wikipedia to check out the “demi” hypothesis.

This is what the Bob-o-matic has to say on the occasion of the five hundredth post on gee bobg:

It’s weird when you organize government from another family that has the Bush west wing. Leia’s not Luke’s sister, but a few times to use? You bet! What’s to insult the girls again, finally? The only time in 1979. Hey, I know that slapstick is dead. Now an annual nationwide two-week sale. The star-spangled banner: not a multiple of one adventure. And eventually made my way to go ahead. And production values! But to have some green figs, yogurt, and more experienced for her, and why? To make your selection, Sir Topham Hatt, or you’re caught. Reindeer that fly? Or would I have been Matty? Who would even find such a film that I never saw? Even one drop was too easy to be confused with Dr. No Kidding. Clicking the hang of it. There it is: the first several days. I was the first. Votes, in the meantime…

This sentence points out that the occasion of the five hundredth post on gee bobg comes within just a couple of weeks of the fifth anniversary of the first post. This sentence asserts it is the last sentence of the five hundredth post on gee bobg and reminds you not to regard the following parenthetical remark as part of the five hundredth post’s main content. (Tip of the hat to David Moser’s “This Is the Title of This Story, Which Is Also Found Several Times in the Story Itself.”)

Over their darnedest heads

Jonah and Archer, ages 9 and 7, recently had occasion to watch Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure. They thought it was hilarious and quoted it around the house for a few days.

A week or so after they saw it there was this conversation between them:

Archer: What was Bill and Ted’s favorite number again?
Jonah [authoritatively]: Sixty-eight.
Archer [puzzled]: Sixty-eight?
Jonah: Yep. Sixty-eight. …It might have been seventy-eight.
Archer: I don’t get what’s funny about that.
Jonah: Me neither. But it was definitely either seventy-eight or sixty-eight.


Better late than never: your annual bit of Santa humor. (Previously.)

You better light up
And point to the sky
The candy-cane signal
I’m telling you why:
Santa-Man is needed in town

The Selfishness Squad
Has launched an attack
The Army and Air Force
Can’t hold them back
Santa-Man is needed in town

He swoops in on his jet sleigh
He launches lots of toys
The evildoers soon are trapped
In a mob of girls and boys

His sidekicks are elves
They help in a pinch
His archnemesis is
Someone named Grinch
Santa-Man is needed in town


Star-spangled scanner

O say can you see
By the flick’ring blue light
What the news channels hailed
From a TSA screening?

Whose broad thighs and bright scars
As he boarded the flight
Were so easily watched?
Even though it’s demeaning

In his bowels, some methane
Could have brought down the plane
If he’d saved that fart
Just to set it aflame

O say, isn’t it better
To submit and behave
Than be the land of the free
And the home of the brave?

How I use my 10%

From a chat today with my sister Suzanne:

Me: quick, without referring to anything, name the three stars of 1984’s Irreconcilable Differences
Suzanne: shelley long, drew barrymore, ryan o’neal
Me: right! i knew them too, when the movie title popped into my mind a few minutes ago
Suzanne: we’re awesome
Suzanne: bonus question
Suzanne: what later to become huge actress had a small role?
Me: no idea. i never saw it, i only know the marketing. which makes it all the more baffling that i still know it 26 years later
Suzanne: ah

Hung up

Men, if your penis is of average size or slightly above, and you’ve taken solace (while watching some well-hung stud in a porn film) in the thought that most other men are your size or smaller, mathematics and I are here to ruin your whole day.

After all, it’s not some hypothetical matchup against all other men that you’re interested in, is it? If you’re honest with yourself, what you really care about is whether yours is the biggest dick your partner’s ever had. And that’s where the bad news begins.

Suppose your size is exactly average; that you’re in the 50th percentile for penis length. That means that 50% of men are smaller than you, and 50% are bigger. Does this mean you have a fifty-fifty chance of blowing your lover’s mind? Only if your partner had one man before you. If your partner had two men before you, the odds of their both being smaller are 0.5×0.5, or 25%. If three, the odds they were all smaller are 0.5×0.5×0.5, or 12.5%. In other words, there’s an 87.5% chance — 7 chances in 8 — they’ve seen bigger.

Let’s say you’re one of the lucky ones in the 75th percentile. Your dick is bigger than that of three out of every four men you see. There’s still a 58% chance that your partner (who’s had three men before you) has seen bigger!

In order to have an even chance of having the biggest dick that a partner with three previous lovers has ever seen, you have to be in the 80th percentile for penis size (about 6.25 inches according to the condom manufacturer LifeStyles). But that’s just an even chance. To have a good chance — say, 90% — you have to be in the 97th percentile (about 7.5 inches). And that’s if your partner has had only 3 men before you. It’s not too unusual to be the fifth or tenth or twentieth man, especially of a partner who’s very desirable.

None of these numbers mean anything if you can’t get it up when the time comes, so now that I’ve given you the bad news — don’t think about it.

Wordplay at work

My work colleague Tyler posted this comment on (our internal) Google Buzz the other day:

A sign in [the cafe] proclaimed a table to be “REVERVED.” Seriously?

Another colleague, Aaron, wrote:

Reserved for someone revered? Or just verved multiple times?

I wrote:

It’s almost like reserved, reversed!

Tyler responded:

Perhaps. It was reserved, but now it’s not, so the situation, one might say, has been reverved.

Then I contributed this:

A verse:

A sign on a table, “Reverve”
Was written by someone with nerve
Was the writer just spelling-averse?
Or did they intend we’d converse
On the subjects “reverse” and “revere”
While away from our jobs we would veer?
Well, no more! I do hereby aver
I’m done with “reverve” fore-ver

and finally, Helen sent this link: