April 13, 2024
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April 13, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Every year, I write an article about the Ig Nobel Prizes—a real, live ceremony wherein mostly scientists receive awards for studies that sound silly but actually have awesome applications for real life (if the scientists will someday figure out what those are).

For instance, the Ig Nobel prize for Acoustics this year went to scientists in Austria for asking the question no one else was asking: What would it sound like if we gave an alligator helium?

I tried reading the reasons they did this, and as far as I can tell, it has a lot to do with alligator shidduchim. Alligators, when they’re looking for a shidduch, listen for each other’s voices to determine how big the other one is. I don’t know how much of a difference size makes in alligators, because we’re talking about length. It’s not like height, where one spouse is always going to have to crouch down for pictures.

Personally, I think they had an alligator and they had helium, and they said, “Why not? This will get people back into zoos! Forget feedings, at 3:00 we give the gorillas helium.”

I mean, we know that helium changes human voices, and we haven’t done anything with this application in 6,000 years. Shidduchim or otherwise.

Meanwhile, the prize for Entomology this year went to Richard Vetter for collecting evidence that many entomologists are afraid of spiders.

According to the article I read, Vetter first noticed the aversion during his career as a researcher at the University of California: “When I pulled out a live brown recluse spider sealed in a bag at lunch one day,” he says, “I looked up to find that an entomologist colleague had disappeared down the hall.”

He just had it in a bag at lunch? Maybe he was the problem.

It’s just weird that these guys are not averse to any bugs except spiders. What is it that they’re afraid of?

According to Vetter’s research, it might be about their “fast, unpredictable movements and their many legs.” As opposed to other insects, with their slow, predictable movements and their few legs. “For these people, two more legs make a big difference,” Vetter writes.

Two legs do make a difference. I mean, aren’t you scared of things with four legs? Bears have 4 legs and you’re scared of them. It’s the legs.

Meanwhile, the Management Prize this year went to five hitmen in China.

As the story goes, there was a businessman named Mr. Tan who wanted to kill his competitor, Mr. Wei. So he hired a hitman named Xi Guang-An to kill Mr. Wei for 2 million yuan, or $282,000.

Xi accepted the money, and then went home and said, “Wait a minute. I’m not going to kill him! That’s illegal!”

So Xi subcontracted the job to a second hitman—Mo Tian-Xiang—and of course pocketed some of the money, as a finder’s fee. And Mo went home and said, “Wait a minute. I’m not going to kill him! That’s illegal!”

So Mo hired a third guy—Yang Kang-Sheng. And of course Mo kept some of the money.

Yang then hired a 4th hitman, named Yang Guang-Sheng (not related?), who hired a 5th hitman—Ling Xian Si.

By the time this got down to Ling, he was getting paid 100,000 yuan to do the job, which comes out to roughly $14,000.

He thought about it and decided that he wasn’t going to kill someone for less than it would cost to buy a low-end car. This is literally the most Jewish hitman story I’ve ever heard.

So Ling decided to take Mr. Wei out for coffee. And he said, “Listen, I was hired to take you out,” and Mr. Wei said, “We are out.”

“…but I’m not going to do it.”

“Why not?”

“Because I’m getting paid like $14,000.”

So then Ling said, “Listen, if you want, I could just not kill you, but make everyone think I did.” So Wei agreed to meet up later and pose, gagged and bound, for a photo that Ling could then take back to Yang #2, who would take it to Yang #1, and so on, so everyone could get paid.

And then Wei went home and said, “Wait a minute…” and he reported the whole thing to the police.

Anyway, the five hitmen won the Ig Nobel Prize for Business Management. Also, they’re all in jail. So none of these men could actually come in to accept the award. So the committee just sent the award to the first guy, who sent it to the second guy, and so on, with the last guy just throwing it out

And finally, the Peace Prize this year went to the governments of India and Pakistan, “for having their diplomats ring each other’s doorbells in the middle of the night and then run away before anyone had a chance to answer the door.”

I often do this on Purim. Especially Friday Purim.

For generations now, these two countries have been at war. In the past, this war has involved “high-stakes negotiation and the ever-present threat of nuclear war.” And now it has escalated to: pranks.

Personally, I think all wars should be fought this way. Think of what it can do for the Middle East. Maybe send some meshulachim over to the Arabs if that’s all it takes. Also, if you don’t like something the president said… Though that would be tough, because there are cameras and guards and I think lawn sprinklers. You’d have to say, “No, I’m not coming to hurt anyone; I was just going to ring his doorbell.” And the dogs would say, “Oh, okay.” Or they’d say, “You think if you rang the doorbell the president would answer the door? He has people for that!” And you’d say, “Okay, so I’ll say, “Can you please get the president? It’s urgent.” And then when they go get him, you’ll run away.

Next up, stay tuned to the news there for reports involving thumbtacks on seats, salt/sugar mix-ups, and an air horn behind the doorknob. And maybe pumping each other’s houses full of helium. And alligators.

Mordechai Schmutter is a freelance writer and a humor columnist for Hamodia and other magazines. He has also published eight books and does stand-up comedy. You can contact him at [email protected].

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