May 2008

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« The Wonderful Time | Main | Good Judgment »



After fifteen years of marriage I have resorted to flatly refusing to answer.

Wife: "How do I look?"

Me: "I'm not telling you. Go look in a mirror."

The only safe answer is no answer at all.


it hurts that your fictional characters address others YOU
just kidding
so i was trying to socialize on other internet forums and those people are cruel
they called me inane, inarticulate, annoying, trying to be enigmatically cute, not adding value, silly teenager
and i thought you are so patient and kind to bear my inane comments for so long
thank you, you are a great Sensei
and i'll try to not silly irritate you without need :)


i've tried it at work. my colleagues have me a o.O look before they left me alone. hrm ... did i do it wrong somewhere?

D. Mented

A pet shop near where I used to live had a small green parrot that had developed the perfect mumble. It sounded vaguely like whatever you tried to get it to say.
I tried to get it to say "scratch my neck" because that was always what it wanted (it was moulting, which is apparently a very itchy process)it would come over and arch its neck by the bars when I said that, but- of course- would only say "mumble" itself.
If I hadn't had two aggressive hunting cats at home, I would have bought the bird and named it Senator Bedfellow.
D. Mented


How do wives (women) maintain such control/power over husbands (men) ... actually, better not answer that
GIVE ME A MOMENT a lifestyle


It doesn't work when I do it!


I've developed a similar system, but with a word that everyone can say:


It would be fair to say she finds it in equal measure annoying and endearing, but it's apparently hard to get cross with someone who quacks at you.

Mark Thorson

You didn't invent anything.
You re-remembered baby talk.
Now, you need to re-remember
the rest of the language, so
you can write your next book
in it. (Or so your wife can
have you declared mentally
incompetent and take away all
your money.)

Bob Johnson

Being of Scandanavian descent I should pass along our cultural equivalent method of expressing an opinion that is neither positive or negative. To be said with a Minnesota accent.

Umm.. that's kinda different.


"Now your wife knows. Not good."

Do you think his wife reads his blog? He's safe, only his 13 readers know that now. ;-)


Please a sound file, ogg i recommend.


I was barbequing one evening when a police car zoomed up to the curb. I asked the cop that jumped out with gun drawn what was up. What was up was a guy on the next lawn sporting a bunny suit and brandishing a pellet gun (hadn't taken his meds). No one was killed so that was as funny as it got.

Jacob Germain

I just say something like: "can you repeat that?" while i think of an answer.


I have a similar word for when someone is excited about a stupid idea, and they expect you to be equally excited. If someone comes up and says an astrologer told them they're going to be rich in a few months, and they obviously believe it, I develop a look of wonderment and say "Amazing". Of course, they think I'm buying into it, whereas in my mind I'm thinking "It's amazing you think that's true and still have enough grey matter to breath!". My wife has decoded this little gem, so I have to be careful using it when she's around.


I just say "mu" an awful lot. Wiki it for yourself, in theory it is the perfect answer to almost anything.. Truth be told it doesn't really work that well in practice


Bit old, isnt it?
There was a candy ad (was it snickers)on TV some time back. The girl asks her guy if the dress she is trying out makes her butt look fat. He munches on the candy and mumbles something in response and she is satisfied with the answer.

Rex Little

Slightly off-topic, but I've got to relate my own most inappropriate response to a tragedy. First some background:

Dave Barry (the only writer funnier than Scott) wrote a novel called Big Trouble, which was made into a movie. The movie was originally scheduled for release on Sept. 21, 2001, and I was looking forward to it as if it was Christmas.

On the morning of Sept. 11, I turned the TV news on to live coverage of the World Trade Center collision. One tower had gone down, and the reporter was explaining how hijackers had taken over the plane and crashed it. Then another plane hit the second tower and I watched it crumble on live TV.

My very first thought at that moment was, "Oh sh*t, they're going to have to pull Big Trouble." A key plot element in the book and the movie was that a couple of small-time crooks get onto an airline flight carrying a gun and a suitcase nuke.


Great, I've just been accused of being an "ambiguous asshole." Thanks a lot, Scott.

Jurgen Schaub

In one of Douglas Adams's "Dirk Gently" books, one of his characters used a response quite similar to yours. It was "Oh, ah". One can say it whenever, and it means nothing: no agreement, no disagreement, no positive or negative. The perfect response. Use it when crazy people talk to you on public transport (or, in Scott's case, at Dilbert events).


Anyone remember 'splunge' from Monty Python?

Larry Saltzberg: Did he say splunge?
First and Third Writers: Yes.
Larry: What does splunge mean?
Second Writer: It's a great-idea-but-possibly-not-and-I'm-not-being-indecisive!

Adrian Rodriguez

I remember Homer saying something similar like: "washer-mem-gag" as a nonsense anwer to Marge, obviusly she got upset, Ay Caramba!



The response that has always worked for me combined verbal and non-verbal signals. It is done by humming a a short "mmm" while giving a slight nod and a small shrug of the shoulders. Make sure your nod breaks eye contact. It's like the mirror of responses and most people interpret it as agreement.

Loosely translated it means "I hadn't even thought about it, But I'm sure that you are probably right in whatever assumptions you have made"


Another good response to dangerous questions:
"Why do you ask?"

It's a mix of curiosity and suspicion, which are really the same thing.

Curiosity works because people like to feel understood.

Suspicion works because the other person will hasten to assure you of their good intentions.

Either way, you've now got an explanation.


Scott, how the hell have you avoided being awarded a Nobel Peace Prize for so long?

jerry w.

Hey, that sounds like a bastardization of a historical musical piece!

I think it's taken from part of a song that goes something like this:

Oooh eee oooh aaah aaah, ting tang walla walla bing bang.

I guess you had to be there.

The comparison could be clearer, but I can't carry a tune outside of iTunes.

I think it's supposed to calm down a witch doctor, but I hope you have insurance.

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