Roy Exum: The Saturday Funnies

Saturday, May 18, 2019 - by Roy Exum
Roy Exum
Roy Exum

Before we get into this week’s Saturday Funnies, I am going to get inside your head. I just found out about a clever trick where you can do percentages without the use of a calculator and every one of you with any wits at all can impress your kids, win bar bets, and move up on the “Joy of Living.” Further, once you get the hang of this, your IQ will rise by four points.

There is a great instructional video on YouTube by “The Math Dude” but today we pay tribute to Tim Conway, the all-time king – this year after year – as the most gloriously funny man of our era.

As you know, the jokes we share each week are not written by me. These are sent to me in my email each week by dozens of people and, while some are a bit too frisky, the humor is simply delicious. Don’t lose sight that Tim Conway, or his true-to-life best friend Harvey Korman, never did a skit they wouldn’t want their children – or yours – to enjoy.

In ‘The Math Dude’s classroom, here’s what he teaches. Let’s say you are tasked with finding out what is 36 percent of 25. Few can do that in their heads … unless you are among the ones who knows that if you simply switch the “x” and the “y,” it becomes so easy. The ‘x’ is 36 and the ‘y’ is 25 so let’s reverse them and suddenly 25 percent (one quarter) of 36 (easily divided into four quarters) is 9. There is your answer.

You simply change numbers to units. Why? 25 percent means 25 units in a total of 100. It is no more than basic math What are percentages? Perhaps the most illuminating thing to know is that the word “percent” is really just the phrase “per cent” squashed together. And since “cent” here means 100 (as in “century”), we see that the word “percent” just means “per 100.” In other words, 10% means “10 per 100,” which is the same as the fraction 10/100, or even better, 1/10.

OK … what about 250% of 20? According to our rule, 250% of 20 must be the same as 20% of 250. Since 20% is just 2 x 10%, and since we know that it’s easy to find 10% of any number by dividing it by 10, we see that 10% of 250 is 250/10 = 25, and therefore that 20% of 250 must be equal to 2 x 25 = 50. According to the handy dandy rule we’ve just proven to ourselves, the fact that 20% of 250 is equal to 50 means that 250% of 20 must be equal to 50 as well.

But wait a minute. What exactly does it mean that 250% of 20 is equal to 50? And, more broadly, what do percentages greater than 100 signify in the first place? Well, just as something like 36% is equivalent to the fraction 36/100, it’s also true that something like 250% is equivalent to the fraction 250/100. In other words, the meaning of “per-cent” hasn’t changed, so 250% still means 250 per 100. So, just as we found earlier, 250% of 20 is equal to 250/100 x 20 = 2.5 x 20 which is 50.

Works for me!

* * *


Fewer than 70 people live in Castell, Texas, which is in the Hill about the same 100 miles from San Antonio or Austin, depending on the easiest route, but tomorrow is the day when folks by the hundreds arrive. They’ll hold the Testicle Festival and you have to be one tough cowboy to enter, but people come from miles. Every spring men and women on horses will rope the young bulls and, with a sharp knife instantly turn a bull into a steer. (This is sometimes called “into a heifer” but that’s wrong -- a heifer is a female cow before she has her first calf.)

Centuries ago a brave cowboy discovered that if you batter a bunch of the gathered bovine glands, or “calf ball,” as they are known, season each well and then deep-fry to a golden brown, it is a delicacy. They do the same thing to baby pigs, resulting in “mountain oysters.” The Saturday Funnies recommends you watching the whole thing in laughter, but when time comes to eat, get in the brisket line.

* * *


Born in the 1930s and early 40s, the sons and daughters of what later became known as the Greatest Generation, we exist as a very special age group. We are the Silent Generation.

We were the smallest number of children born since the early 1900s.  We are the "last ones."

We are the last generation, climbing out of the depression, who can remember the winds of war and the impact of a world at war which rattled the structure of our daily lives for much of our early years.

We are the last to remember ration books for everything from gas to sugar to shoes to stoves.

We saved tin foil and poured fat into tin cans.  We helped tear up old sheets to serve as field bandages in the war.

We saw cars up on blocks because tires weren't available.

We can remember milk being delivered to our house early in the morning and placed in the milk box on the porch.

We are the last to see the gold stars in the front windows of our grieving neighbors whose sons died in the War.

We saw the 'boys', home from the war, build their little houses.

We are the last generation who spent childhood without television.  Instead, we imagined what we heard on the radio.

As we all like to brag, with no TV, we spent our childhood "playing outside".

We did play outside, and we did play on our own.

There was no little league and not many other organized sports.

There were few city playgrounds for kids.

The lack of television in our early years meant, for most of us, that we had little real understanding of what the world was like.

On Saturday afternoons, the movies gave us newsreels of the war sandwiched in between westerns and cartoons.

Telephones were one to a house, often shared party lines and often hung on the wall.

Computers were called calculators, they only added and were hand cranked.  Typewriters were driven by pounding fingers, throwing the carriage, and changing the ribbon.

The internet and GOOGLE were words that did not exist.

Newspapers and magazines were written for adults and the news was broadcast on our table radio in the evening by Gabriel Heatter.

We are the last group who had to find out for ourselves.

As we grew up, the country was exploding with growth.

The G.I. Bill gave returning veterans the means to get an education and spurred colleges to grow.

VA loans fanned a housing boom.

Pent up demand coupled with new installment payment plans put factories to work.

New highways would bring jobs and mobility.

The veterans joined civic clubs and became active in politics.

The radio network expanded from 3 stations to thousands.

Our parents were suddenly free from the confines of the depression and the war, and they threw themselves into exploring opportunities they had never imagined.

We weren't neglected, but we weren't a part of today's all-consuming family focus, where Moms and Dads plan much of their children’s lives.

They were glad we played by ourselves until the street lights came on.

They were busy discovering the post war world.  We were busy discovering who we were and how much we were capable of.

We entered a world of overflowing plenty and opportunity; a world where we were welcomed.

We enjoyed a luxury; we felt secure in our future.

We are the last generation to experience an interlude when there were no threats to our homeland.

 However, Depression poverty was deep rooted;  Polio was still a crippler; and the Korean War was a dark presage in the early 50s.

By mid-decade school children were ducking under desks for regular Air-Raid training.

Russia built the Iron Curtain and China became Red China.

Eisenhower sent the first 'advisers' to Vietnam.

Castro set up camp in Cuba and Khrushchev came to power.

We came of age in the 40s and 50s. The war was over and the cold war, terrorism, global warming, and perpetual economic insecurity had yet to haunt life.

Only our generation can remember both a time of great war, and a time when our world was secure and full of bright promise and plenty.  We lived through both.

We grew up at the best possible time, a time when the world was getting better and not worse.

We are the Silent Generation - The "Last Ones"

(More than 90% of us are either retired or deceased, and those of us left should feel privileged to have lived in the “best of times"!)

* * *


Senator Bernie Sanders was invited to address a gathering of the Indian First Nations chiefs in Denver, CO.

He spoke for almost an hour about his plans for increasing the standard of living for all of their citizens by totally free government grants for free college educations, free Medicare for all, etc. He mentioned how he always supported these issues that came forward to him.  Although Sanders was vague about the details for the funding of his plans, he spoke eloquently about his ideas if he wins the White House in 2020.

At the conclusion of his speech, the chiefs presented him with a beautiful plaque inscribed with his new Indian name, "Walking Eagle."

The proud Sanders accepted the plaque and then returned to Washington.

A news reporter asked the chiefs how they came to select the new name they had given to Sanders.

They explained that "Walking Eagle" is the name given to a bird so full of poop it it can no longer fly.

* * *

THE VIDEO OF THE WEEK .. and, perhaps, of all time. I adored anything with Tim Conway and Harvey Korman. They were the very best of friends, taking their wives and others to dinner every Saturday night for years. Because of this, they could sense what was coming next – or so Korman thought – in the greatest run in live comedy ever. They were far and away the audience favorites on the Carol Burnett Show, which aired live from 1967 until 1978.

In 1969, Harvey Korman and Tim Conway starred in a nine-minute segment about a rookie dentist (played by Tim Conway) and his first patient (played by Harvey Korman). Although the original skit took about nine minutes, the last three minutes would have you rolling on the floor.

Because the skit was “live,” you couldn’t stop for any “Take Two” but what you also must know is while they would rehearse, Conway would take off into the “wild blue yonder” with no script, no plan, and leave Korman gasping for breath as Harvey tried to keep the skit alive

I heard the two of them interviewed about the famous “The Dentist” skit and when Conway first picked up the Novocain shot, Korman had never seen it, nor what was to come – ever. The greatest compliment to Tim Conway’s genius was that Harvey Korman literally wets his pants!

In another interview, Conway said his most memorable thrill was watching Korman’s face throughout the skit and this Wednesday, when Tim finally succumbed to dementia, both actors had admitted this was their personal finest moment. Remember, watch Harvey’s face. CLICK HERE.

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