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Souther SAT

Posted by John H on 11/18/03 at 18:15 (137886)

Subject: Southern Knowledge

We are a little sick and tired of hearing about how dumb people in the South are when compared with their northern brethren. To prove my point, we would like any of the so-called smart Yankees to take this exam administered by the University of Arkansas Engineering Department.

1. Calculate the smallest limb diameter on a persimmon tree that will support a 10-pound possum when they are hanging by their tail.

2. Which of these cars will rust out the quickest when placed on blocks in your front yard? A. '65 Ford Fairlane, B. '69 Chevrolet Chevelle, or C. '64 Pontiac GTO.

3. If your uncle builds a still which operates at a capacity of producing 20 gallons of shine per hour, how many car radiators are required to condense the product?

4. A woodcutter has a chainsaw which operates at 2700 RPM. The density of the pine trees in the plot to be harvested is 470 per acre. The plot is 2.3 acres in size. The average tree diameter is 14 inches. How many Budweisers will be drunk before all of the trees are cut down?

5. If every old refrigerator in the state vented a charge of R-12 simultaneously, what would be the percentage decrease in the ozone layer?

6. A front porch is constructed of 2x8 pine on 24-inch centers with a field rock foundation. The span is 8 feet and the porch length is 16 feet. The porch floor is 1-inch rough sawn pine. When the porch collapses, how many hound dogs will be killed?

7. A man owns a Tennessee house and 3.7 acres of land in a hollow with an average slope of 15%. The man has five children. Can each of his grown children place a mobile home on the man's land and still have enough property for their electric appliances to sit out front?

8. A 2-ton truck is overloaded and proceeding 900 yards down a steep slope on a secondary road at 45 MPH. The brakes fail. Given average traffic conditions on secondary roads, what is the probability that it will strike a vehicle with a muffler?

9. A coalmine operates a NFPA Class 1, Division 2 Hazardous Area. The mine employs 120 miners per shift. A gas warning is issued at the beginning of the
3rd shift. How many cartons of unfiltered Camels will be smoked during the shift?

10. At a reduction in the gene pool variability rate of 7.5% per generation, how long will it take a town which has been bypassed by the Interstate to breed a country-western singer?

Re: Souther SAT

Suzanne D. on 11/18/03 at 18:25 (137892)

:)) :)) :)) Thanks for the laughs, John!

Suzanne :)

Re: Souther SAT

Suzanne D. on 11/18/03 at 19:28 (137894)

...and it is funny because I have experienced or been around a great deal of what is being spoofed here. They say if you can laugh at yourself, it is healthy!

:) Suzanne

Re: Souther SAT

marie on 11/18/03 at 20:24 (137900)

That's really funny!

Re: Souther SAT

marie on 11/18/03 at 20:25 (137901)

PS: I sent the test to my son...he lives in an engineering dorm. This will give them something to figure out. If he sends me the answers I will post.

Re: Souther SAT

Dorothy on 11/19/03 at 04:25 (137916)

Doesn't sound like the University of Arkansas Engineering Department has much regard for their environs, but they seem to have freely borrowed jokes from other sources.

I don't want to sound sanctimonious because I don't feel that way, but I don't really enjoy jokes that mock poverty and limitations and ignorance. Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi - all the historically poorest states have been 'joked' about like this for generations, while rapacious, robber barons steal every resource and foul every corner for their own advantage and greed. Tell the University of Arkansas Engineering Department - if that's where this really came from - to come up with some funny material about coal companies, about timber companies -well, you can just about pick your exploiter. If the kind of stereotypical images these jokes portray offend the aesthetic of these 'engineers', then they might be looking at the wrong images. They might want to look at the polluted streams and polluted wells and mined-away mountaintops to see if those might possibly offend their aesthetic - or if, in fact, their education is a total failure.

I don't think poor taste is to be romanticized or revered necessarily, but neither do I think that the 'monster mansions' that are taking up every bit of farmland, lakeside, oceanside across this country are classy or attractive either. Poor taste is in the eye of the beholder. This is a not so subtle form of elitism and classism and it says more about the people purveying the attitude than it does about the people it mocks. Furthermore, it says that they really don't know one thing about these same people - only the stupid stereotypes that abound. I lived in Michigan for years - not a southern state, do you agree? - and there was no place that was more backwoods/deep woods than that. Michigan, Maine, upstate New York, every rural state with lots of poverty will exhibit the same characteristics. It is about poverty and ignorance and entrenched limitations, not geography.

#9 is particularly odious. It speaks of the most lethal occupation in the country, probably the world - close to farming - and it speaks of an occupation wherein the managers have been perfectly content to see miners die every which way over the generations.

Ok, a relatively short diatribe about a sore point. No animosity to you, John; just a wish to continue to try to put the kibosh on 'hillbilly' humor. It was only funny, occasionally, in The Beverly Hillbillies - and then only marginally.

Re: Souther SAT

Rick R on 11/19/03 at 06:52 (137918)


Great stuff! I have to disqualify myself since I have a BSME from Purdue, I still have the answer sheet. Indiana is further south than Arkansas don't you know. I can tell you a still that drips out 20 gal per hour is pretty darned impressive. I think the best I have ever done is closer to a shot glass in an hour but it did kick my hiney.


Re: Souther SAT

Suzanne D on 11/19/03 at 08:00 (137922)

Dorothy, your point is well-taken and appreciated by me. And I hope you know that I, of all people, would never approve of ridicule of my state or area. I was extremely tired last night, my feet hurt, and I took the post as 'tongue-in-cheek', and it made me smile. Somehow all those hound dogs under the porch just made me laugh. 8-}

But I know all too well the prejudice and ridiculous assumptions that are often directed our way. My husband's family (from a more northern state) have for years directed every hillbilly joke at me. It used to bother me, but I finally decided if that's all they knew to say to me, that was rather sad on their part. I refuse to let what others think of me be the basis of how I feel about myself. I have 60 hours of graduate credit above my college degree (which does not make me anything special, but I know that I have worked hard and tried to make the most of my opportunities).

I decided at some point to just joke back. They made fun of President Carter's accent in my presence. I just looked at them with big eyes and said, 'Accent? What accent? Why, he's the first President we've had that DOESN'T have an accent' and smiled. I haven't tried to lose my country/southern accent as it is a part of who I am. Anyone who equates another's intelligence or worth based upon his/her speech, wealth, or home area is showing a real lack of understanding of what is important in this world, in my humble opinion.

And you are right, Dorothy, that stereotypes abound everywhere. In my county there is a city school system and a county system, and many in the city school system 'look down' on those of us in the county. And in our county system, the northern end typically thinks they are better than our southern end. There is no end to this type of unfounded prejudice. I have decided that if anyone seriously wants to feel superior and look down on others, they will find a reason. It is what lies within the person.

Abraham Lincoln was born not far from where I live and in the most humble of circumstances. I am always proud to teach my children at school that he worked hard, learned all he could (mostly on his own) and became President of our country. He sets a fine example for the rest of us.

Suzanne :)

Re: Souther SAT

Julie on 11/19/03 at 08:45 (137929)

Your comments were appreciated by me too, Dorothy. It's interesting, isn't it, that some humour of this stereotype-reinforcing kind is still regarded as acceptable, while some (e.g. racist, misogynist) is, thankfully, not.

Good for you, Suzanne, to refuse to be defined by what others think, though it must be a bit hurtful even now when it's your in-laws being so silly. I love your Jimmy Carter story!


Re: Souther SAT

john h on 11/19/03 at 10:44 (137948)

Dorothy (notice I spelled it correctly): I sense my bit of humor may have offended you somewhat. I am sorry. However, having come from an era and area where we very much lived like the Beverly Hillbillys I can look at this an in no way be offended. I grew up in Murphy, N.C. very near the Cherokee Indian Reservation. There were 9 kids in my class. When it was warm no one wore shoes. Probably most of my friends did not have electricty or indoor plumbing. Most kids quit school at age 16 to work on the farm. The law required you to stay in school until that age. In my town there was one paved street. On Saturdays all the farmers came to town in their wagons drawn by horses. Many in the town got their water from wells. This was the late 30's and early 40's. I took my wife and daughter back to Murphy about 30 years ago and the mountain accent was so foreign to them they could hardly understand the people. Having lived the life of the poor and uneducated I feel I can still poke fun at us and the way we lived as I happen to have been one of them and perhaps understand this humor better than someone who may have only read about it. Laugh and the world laughs with you. Cry and you cry alone. With political corretness so peveasive in our current socitey on can hardly say anything anymore without offending someone.

Re: Souther SAT

marie on 11/19/03 at 11:21 (137955)

My mother's family is southern? The poorest of poor and I do remember many treasured times visiting some of the hill folk. Her great aunts had 26 cats, some chickens and a donkey. My great aunt asked if I wanted a treat. I had in mind a hostess cupcake but she took me out to a lump of dirt behind the house. She lifted off a board and reached in and pulled out a rudabegger (msp?). They heated the house with a pot belly stove and they only had three rocking chairs to sit on. I always had a blast when we were there.

They are a humble people who worked hard to make something out of nothing. I'm sure they'd laugh along with you John. Because they always had a great sense of humor especially about themselves.

Re: Souther SAT

Julie on 11/19/03 at 11:51 (137960)

Hi John

Political correctness is having its backlash, and it is certainly very much overdone, as you say - often ludicrously so - but I really think it's not so much a matter of being politically correct as of being simply, sensitively aware that stereotypical humour can hurt those who are the butt of it. Yes, some will laugh genuinely and heartily, others will laugh uneasily, but some will be wounded. I just think it's better not to risk it.

We always used to say that 'Jews are entitled to tell jokes against themselves' but no-one else is. Well, as a Jew, I don't think we are entitled to tell anti-semitic jokes any more than anyone else is entitled to. Because it doesn't really matter who tells them: they are hurtful, and they do reinforce stereotypes.

I felt much the same as Dorothy did about the Engineering department stuff. Yes, some of it was funny, and yes, some people, like yourself and Marie, who come from the background that's being made fun of, would laugh, genuinely. But you have both climbed out of poverty, have got educated, and are by any reckoning successes in life - so you and she aren't really laughing at yourselves. I don't think all the folks who are still mired in it would find the jokes very funny. But perhaps I'm wrong - it's just the way I feel about such jokes. I do know that you posted them to amuse us, and not to offend, and I wasn't offended. I don't think Dorothy was either.

Re: Souther SAT

Dorothy on 11/19/03 at 11:53 (137961)

Perfectly said, Suzanne D. Perfectly said.

Re: Souther SAT

JudyS on 11/19/03 at 12:36 (137964)

Dorothy, I, too, understood John's SAT post's intent to be silly. He was poking fun at his own state, in fact. And I, too, understand just what you're saying. I've found myself to be sensitive when there are generalizing jokes about California! You know - the land of fruits and nuts, loose morals, the left coast, etc. etc.. I get sensitive because it is important to me to not be perceived in that manner and I fight that exact perception every time I visit my home state of Michigan. It's been thirty years now and it gets old!

But what do we do? On one hand we know this to be light-hearted joking, (especially from our own dear John h) on the other we've seen too many groups of people suffer because the perceptions that gave birth to the jokes really do exist.

Re: Souther SAT

Dorothy on 11/19/03 at 16:56 (137989)

Perfectly expressed, Julie. To say, 'I couldn't have said it better myself' is completely accurate! You said it exactly as I wish I had. Thank you.

Re: Souther SAT

Dorothy on 11/19/03 at 17:27 (137994)

Marie, my southern extended family lived mostly in the mountains and mostly in what would be called poverty by any standards, but they are proud and dignified people who revere learning (whether formal or self-taught) and who love the land. Both of those qualities I think you can relate to. They were marvelous musicians and extraordinary storytellers and many of them were among the funniest people I have ever spoken with. They might have smiled or chuckled if someone told one of these ubiquitous 'hillbilly' jokes because they were generally polite, but they were people who knew what was really funny - and also people who know what is really sad, with Celtic genes, what else!

None of us here needs to enter into competitions for who is/is not southern, poor, up-from-nothing, all the rest. Most of us here are not in that category now anyway or we would not be buying Birkenstock sandals and New Balance sneakers and communicating via computers at home or the workplace. I know that when I visited rural backwaters of Mississippi, I thought that such poverty should not exist in America. I still think that. It is worse than third-world because it is in America where people with several homes and multiple cars co-exist with abject poverty. I thought southern poverty and ignorance was unique to the south. Then when I was doing some particularly difficult social work in Michigan and making home visits, I encountered living conditions that were beyond my wildest imagination - and I have a very good imagination - and unbelievable poverty and ignorance. This is not always about choices in life; it is HARD to get out of the kind of poverty and ignorance that some people, many people, live in in America. These are rarely 'stupid' people, but they are often ignorant and the poverty is long-standing and deep. I know it from all angles - and it is not funny. Rich northerners/westerners/midwesterners also exhibit bad taste, use poor grammar, leave junk in their yards, and all the rest. And who was the biggest bootlegger in U.S. history? Probably Joseph Kennedy - and didn't he have him a passle of young-uns, though! Not southern, not poor, not stupid. OK, I'm really beating a dead horse here and I really don't have THIS much emotion invested in this topic; it's just a sore spot.

Julie has expressed my point of view much better than I have, so I will just refer you to her post. I like it. I think that 'out people' laugh at things that really leave a bitter taste behind the laughter. I have a number of close relatives who are Jewish, some by heritage and some by conversion. Julie is quite right about humor and heritage and identity.

So, I just want to say - let's all just love each other, shall we? We all hurt and we all have good days - and we have a new baby to celebrate!
Marie, you have said in such lovely fashion: there is nothing that anyone here can say that would make me stop liking them.

Re: Souther SAT

Dorothy on 11/19/03 at 17:35 (137996)

John H. (me, too on the spelling!) ~ I have both lived the life and have family who have lived/do live the life and have worked with many people in various states who live the life of the poor and uneducated. It is not strange to me, nor something I have 'only' read about, although I do not denigrate that avenue of learning about other people. I'm neither laughing, nor crying, with the world or alone. I am simply suggesting a different point of view. Julie has said what I would like to have said much better than I, so I will refer you to her post. And once again, stepping away from my soapbox, and saying in my best Daffy Duck voice: let's let bygones be bygones.

As for your own background, I thought you once said your father was a doctor....is this my bad memory again??

Re: Souther SAT

marie on 11/19/03 at 18:00 (138003)

Thanks Dorothy. That was nicely said. You see my family never thought of themselves as poor or ignorant. They had a simple life and it was rewarding. We had fun because we had love. We had love because we had fun. And you're right there is nothing anyone here could say or do that would make me stop liking them. We all make silly comments. And sometimes we over react or look for ways to criticize others. I have to say that it is the criticism and over analyzing comments that has caused some harm here. So in the best interest of fun lets all think of ways to try not to continue. Peace to you! :)

Re: Souther SAT

Rick R on 11/20/03 at 07:58 (138041)

Here's one for you. I met the new neighbor in the million dollar++ house accross the street last night. They are never out of the compound so in the year since they moved in we have never met. He came over to ask us not to park our cars on the street tonight because he was having some 80 guests over. A poor man indeed. Now I have 5 full grown people living in a three bedroom ranch sharing one crapper. We have a one lane driveway and all come and go at different times so the rolling stock does get parked on the street. My son does all of the rearranging at night God bless him. My dear wife has informed me that this putz has been giving the 80 year old woman next door to him crap. In the words of my mentor Bugs Bunny 'this means war'. Give me the real people any day.


Re: Souther SAT

Kathy G on 11/20/03 at 08:25 (138045)

John and I share a similar sense of humor. I, in fact, sent him a similar list a few weeks ago. It, too, was geared toward the south. We often get similar email jokes from people with the topic being the people here in 'Cow Hampshire'.

I think we need keep in mind the context in which it was delivered; it was a joke, for heaven's sake! Anyone knowing John would understand that John would be the last person in the world to ridicule someone because of his/her ethnicity or cultural heritage!

It made me laugh, John! Thanks!

Re: Souther SAT

marie on 11/20/03 at 11:24 (138079)


Re: Souther SAT

Carole C in NOLA on 11/20/03 at 20:27 (138166)

Rick, you need a two bathroom house! I'm not rich like your neighbor across the street, but I have two bathrooms... the guest bathroom has a tub, and then the master bath has a separate shower.

It's such a luxury, living alone, to have two and never have to share again. Often I alternate, using the master bath one day and the guest bath the next, as though I were a Queen. Shhh! Don't tell anybody. They'd think I was being silly. :)

Carole C

Re: Carole...

Suzanne D on 11/21/03 at 11:28 (138235)

I love the way you enjoy your new home, Carole!

Suzanne :)

Re: Carole...

Carole C in NOLA on 11/21/03 at 12:07 (138244)

Thanks, Suzanne! I really do. Other people might say it's just an average small house, but to me it is my palace! :)

Carole C

Re: Carole...

Suzanne D on 11/21/03 at 15:02 (138262)

And that attitude, Carole, is what makes you enjoy it so much! If everyone could learn from you and really appreciate what they have, we'd have lots of people feeling like kings and queens!

Suzanne :)