Abbott and Costello Do Computers (“Who’s on first” –updated”)

Abbott and Costello Do Computers (with thanks to my fraternity brother, Howard (then “Howie”) Russell)

You have to be old enough to remember Abbott and Costello, and too old to REALLY understand computers, to fully appreciate this. For those of us who sometimes get flustered by our computers, please read on….

If Bud Abbott and Lou Costello were alive today, their infamous sketch, ‘Who’s on First?’ might have turned out something like this:


ABBOTT: Super Duper computer store. Can I help you?

COSTELLO: Thanks I’m setting up an office in my den and I’m thinking about buying a computer.


COSTELLO: No, the name’s Lou.

ABBOTT: Your computer?

COSTELLO: I don’t own a computer. I want to buy one.


COSTELLO: I told you, my name’s Lou.

ABBOTT: What about Windows?

COSTELLO: Why? Will it get stuffy in here?

ABBOTT: Do you want a computer with Windows?

COSTELLO: I don’t know. What will I see when I look at the windows?

ABBOTT: Wallpaper.

COSTELLO: Never mind the windows. I need a computer and software.

ABBOTT: Software for Windows?

COSTELLO: No.. On the computer! I need something I can use to write proposals, track expenses and run my business. What do you have?

ABBOTT: Office.

COSTELLO: Yeah, for my office. Can you recommend anything?

ABBOTT: I just did.

COSTELLO: You just did what?

ABBOTT: Recommend something.

COSTELLO: You recommended something?


COSTELLO: For my office?


COSTELLO: OK, what did you recommend for my office?

ABBOTT: Office.

COSTELLO: Yes, for my office!

ABBOTT: I recommend Office with Windows.

COSTELLO: I already have an office with windows! OK, let’s just say I’m sitting at my computer and I want to type a proposal. What do I need?


COSTELLO: What word?

ABBOTT: Word in Office.

COSTELLO: The only word in office is office.

ABBOTT: The Word in Office for Windows.

COSTELLO: Which word in office for windows?

ABBOTT: The Word you get when you click the blue ‘W’.

COSTELLO: I’m going to click your blue ‘w’ if you don’t start with some straight answers. What about financial bookkeeping? You have anything I can track my money with?

ABBOTT: Money.

COSTELLO: That’s right. What do you have?

ABBOTT: Money.

COSTELLO: I need money to track my money?

ABBOTT: It comes bundled with your computer.

COSTELLO: What’s bundled with my computer?

ABBOTT: Money.

COSTELLO: Money comes with my computer?

ABBOTT: Yes. No extra charge.

COSTELLO: I get a bundle of money with my computer? How much?

ABBOTT: One copy.

COSTELLO: Isn’t it illegal to copy money?

ABBOTT: Microsoft gave us a license to copy Money.

COSTELLO: They can give you a license to copy money?


(A few days later)

ABBOTT: Super Duper computer store. Can I help you?

COSTELLO: How do I turn my computer off?

ABBOTT: Click on ‘START’…………..

Power…How it changes people

  • The Wall Street Journal

The Power Trip

Contrary to the Machiavellian cliché, nice people are more likely to rise to power. Then something strange happens: Authority atrophies the very talents that got them there.

This survey of observations and research on power is fascinating and consistent with much of my experience with powerful people.  I commend it to you. Timothy Egan: The Mirthless Senate

The New York Times E-mail This
Message from sender:
I’m not sure they don’t need comity and comedy but I’ll settle for professional comedy as against their usual amateurish behavior.

OPINION | August 11, 2010

Timothy Egan: The Mirthless Senate
If ever there was a place in need of more comedy, and less comity, it’s the U.S. Senate.

Copyright 2010 The New York Times Company | Privacy Policy

Dull and pointless…how much better can it get? From the Wall Street Journal’s Best of the Web

Dispatch From Dullsville
Michael Kinsley, the former editor of The New Republic who now writes for The Atlantic and is not insane, had an amusing post the other day announcing a “Boring Article Contest.” His nominee is a piece from the New York Times, of which Kinsley’s description is considerably funnier than the article itself:

The story that grabbed my inattention was in the New York Times on Monday, July 26. It was about a man who used to take long walks around the Silver Lake neighborhood of Los Angeles, until he died last week. That’s it. That’s the story. In Silver Lake, he was wittily known as “the Walking Man.” (You see, it’s because he walked all the time). . . .

So what inner demons possessed him and caused him to take long walks nearly every day? The Times reporter asked neighbors. “He walked, he told them, to keep fit.” Of all things.

We think we can top this. Here is an article from yesterday’s Leaf Chronicle of Clarksville, Tenn., which we shall quote in full:

Elise Shelton, Chief Communications Officer for the Clarksville-Montgomery County School System, confirmed this afternoon an investigation is under way at Clarksville High regarding an incident that was reported to school officials when the football team attended camp last week.

Shelton said administrators at Clarksville High were undertaking the investigation, and were taking statements about any issue “that did or did not occur.”

Shelton said school administrators were hoping to conclude the investigation this week.

If there is any student involvement in the incident, the names of those students would be withheld, along with any punishment, Shelton said.

“We can’t say anything until they have had time to finish the investigation, and we don’t want to interrupt that,” Shelton said.

You’ve heard of the five W’s and one H? This article takes five paragraphs to tell us where and when, but leaves out who, what, why, how–and, for extra measure, whether. If it’s not the most boring article ever, we need a new category for least informative.