"Why Did the Chicken Cross the Road? To Get To the Other Side" Has 15 Syllables

Thinking about the construction of jokes and the different ways to break them down.

Why did the chicken cross the road? (8 syllables, 7 words)
To get to the other side. (7 syllables, 6 words)

Why did the chicken cross the?
To get to the other.

Why did the chicken cross?
To get to the.

Why did the chicken?
To get to.

Why did the?
To get.

Why did?


Here I'm looking at the syllabic balance of set-up and punchline. There's an imbalance in favor of the set-up. It doesn't matter for the purposes of analysis that the joke isn't funny. The humor is structural in the sense that a longer set-up (i) demands more attention, which (ii) raises expectations in the audience, resulting in (iii) disappointment at the quick and pointless disposal of our attention in the punchline. The joke functions to put its functionality on display.

[You might think that the joke above is not the ideal example of syllabic imbalance since it's only off by one syllable. Maybe consider Norm MacDonald's Moth Joke instead. On the other hand, listeners register subtle differences even when they are not consciously aware of them. Plus, the music of the punchline "runs faster" than the set-up (to get to, the other).]

I imagine that analysis of this sort would help one think about some otherwise difficult to qualify and quantify concepts like 'delivery'.

Oprah: Atheism [VIDEO]

Here's a Oprah clip from back in the day. Topic: atheism. With miscellaneous coda.


Bust of Edward Snowden in NYC Park, Briefly

Stumbled across this via AP. Photos via Chicago Tribune, Boston Globe, and Animal New York. Looks like Animal has the first, best take.

Here's a short video documenting the installation and background, via Animal New York.

The bust, installed and unmolested.

The bust, discovered and covered.

The bust, removed (or is this a picture of installation?).


Mythos Beer

The most popular beer in Greece: Mythos. Find out the most popular beers around the world here. Remember: popular doesn't necessarily mean good. Bud Light is the most popular beer in America.

Apparently you can find Mythos in the Chicago area.