4 Brilliant Ways to Find the Perfect Senior Quote

Funny Yearbook Senior QuoteYearbooks are terrific. In them, you can find embarrassing pictures of friends, embarrassing pictures of enemies, embarrassing pictures of people you’ve never met, and embarrassing pictures of people trying to avoid being embarrassed by yearbook pictures.

(Hot tip: common tactics to avoid being photographed include hiding behind a textbook, hiding behind a friend, or—perhaps coolest of all—tucking your head into your shirt. If you’re lucky, and the yearbook staff is lazy, this can often lead to hilarious captions, like, “Daniel and A History of the Modern World, Third Edition show off their costumes on Hawaiian day.”)

Unfortunately, you can also find embarrassing pictures of yourself. So it’s only fair that your final high school yearbook offers you a chance to avoid total embarrassment. Sure, you’ll still wonder why the photo of you tripping over your own feet while sneezing made the final cut, but at least you can redeem yourself when people read your senior quote and marvel at your brilliant choice.

But how do you find the right senior quote? Everybody is going to search things like “Creative Senior Quotes,” with the assumption that Google should know by now that when you say “creative,” you really mean, “show me a result you didn’t show anyone else on the ENTIRE PLANET, Google.”

Asking your parents would also be a terrible idea. They’d either give you a quote so dated and full of slang that it’s unusable—like “Hip far out, but gag me with a spoon”—or a quote so dated that it’s overused—like “There is nothing to fear but gagging on a spoon.”

With senior quote deadlines rapidly approaching, I’m here to help. As a highly qualified senior-quote specialist (don’t believe me? Look me up online. I’ve a blog post about senior quotes), I’ve got some tips, tricks, and insights for you.

Look To Cutting-Edge Pop Culture

Songs are often used as senior quotes. But the more popular the song, the more times it’s been used (especially “Happy Birthday to You / Happy Birthday to You”). Hence, if you want a creative senior quote taken from a song, you’re going to need to find a song few people have heard—a newly-released song.

The only problem this might present is that many of today’s popular teen songs are little more than profanity set to what is, in the language of music, a profane melody. On top of that, the group’s name is probably also inappropriate, meaning your senior quote could end up looking like: “—— a ——– —— —— —– ——– the —— ——“ – The ——- ——–.

Thankfully, I’ve got a solution: look to songs without any hint of profanity, negative influence, or harmful habits. Yes, that’s right. I’m talking about dubstep.

Think about it. You’ll have the most creative senior quote of the year. My personal favorite would be “WubwubwubWUBWUB-drrrrrrrrr-da-da-da-da-VRRRRRRR-wubWUBwubWUB-bip-bip-bip-bip-bip-WUB,” but if you didn’t like that, I think “bub-bub-bub-woouw-wooouw-bub-bub-bub-d-d-d-d-d” is also a good, albeit slightly less witty, choice. And, of course, you can always pick your own favorite dubstep song.

Combine Famous Quotes

Maybe you want to show people that you’re a cultured person. You want a quote that illustrates your grasp of history, your sense of self-awareness, and, above all, your ability to find a better senior quote than everyone else could find. Once again, though, you risk that someone else also chooses the same quote.

The solution? Combine your two favorite quotes. Not only does this allow you to sneak in two quotes, but it can also allow you to turn two serious quotes into a more amusing statement. For example: “We hold these truths to be one giant leap for mankind,” or “Ask not what paths diverge in yellow wood, but what woods diverge in yellow paths.”

Use a Famous Source

If you truly have a favorite book, speech, song, or movie, then don’t avoid it simply because it might be popular. Rather, take a less-popular line from the work, and then just cite it correctly. I’d recommend something like “A Miramax Film” – Good Will Hunting or “Then you” – Hey Jude.

Take a Common Phrase

If you’re looking to be ultra-creative, then you should try to find the metaphors in your everyday life. In other words, take something everyone’s seen before and give it a weightier significance. For example: “A Penguin Classic” – Penguin Books or “Yield to Peds” – The Sign on the Corner.

Senior quotes are important. Your quote is your one chance to prove to the world that, just because all of the non-portrait photos of you in the yearbook happen to make it look like your nose is permanently crinkled, you are still a pretty cool person. But let’s face it: even if you have the most creative, funniest, most brilliant, most meaningful senior quote, well—MAN! Did you see the expression on your face on page 143? Hahahahahaha.

If you’ve already got your senior quote, or are so far from being a senior in high school that you don’t much care, you may be more interested in “4 Ways to Eat Your Halloween Candy,” published at this time last year. It’s even got a terrific possible senior quote in the first paragraph.

3 iOS/iPhone Features We Need

Funny iphoneThe launches of iOS 7, the iPhone 5S (S meaning, “This should have been the iPhone Six”), and the iPhone 5C (C meaning, “Could we call this one the iPhone 6?”) have dominated the tech news for the last week. In fact, they are quite literally the only stories in the tech news; headlines range from “iOS 7 cures all Internet Explorer viruses” to “iOS 7: This story is actually about the Xbox One but we knew you’d never click the headline unless it began with iOS 7.”

As you probably know, the iPhone 5C/S/I: Miami and iOS 7 do have a number a new features. For example, you can now unlock your phone with your fingerprint. Rumor has it that the upcoming iOS 7C will allow you to unlock your phone using your DNA-verified snot.

But what the new Apple products don’t do is perhaps more telling than what they can do. Sure, you can now take higher-resolution photos, but nobody cares if you Instagram a picture of a 6 megapixel pair of shoes or an 8 megapixel pair of shoes. No, what we really need are some teen-specific features that would vastly improve the experience of all iPhone users:

Autocorrecting Autocorrect

Of all demographics, teens seem to have the biggest problem with autocorrect. Perhaps it’s because we text the most. Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that most of our abbreviations resemble DNA sequences, like “gtg,” more closely than words. Or perhaps it’s simply that teenagers send off texts without re-reading them to catch any errors, and often even send off texts without reading them a first time.

The point is, autocorrect plagues teen society like no other technological invention, save maybe whatever technology creates dubstep noises. As such, I think Apple should consider adding the following feature:

Whenever autocorrect acts up, you would immediately have the option of sending a follow-up text message via a pop-up selection list. Depending on the magnitude of the autocorrect error, you could choose from messages ranging from “Sorry, Autocorrected” to “OH MY FREAKIN’ GOSH that was Autocorrect WHAT THE TARTAR SAUCE I’M GOING TO HAVE A COW I’M SO MAD I COULD EAT A HORSE OLD MCDONALD HAD A FARM EURO. I MEANT EUROPE. I MEANT E I E I O. Go die, autocorrect.”

An Effective Wake-Up Alarm

By now, if you don’t assume that all teenagers are sleep deprived you are either: a) not a teenager or b) a teenager who is so sleep deprived that you forgot what a teenager is. So, if we are to get to school on time, we obviously need a very powerful alarm clock, a parent strong enough to drop us down the stairs, or an arrangement with the local air force base to create a sonic boom at 6:20 AM every morning.

A lot of people, however, simply use their iPhone’s alarm. Generally, people set between two and eight alarms, because they know that the first one will not be enough to wake them up.

But since we know that is the case, why not create a default alarm app that is actually effective enough to wake a sleeping teenager? Sure, it might take a few (read: thirty-seven) years to develop, and a few more years (read: never) to get FDA-approval, but it would save you the hassle of having to set six alarms every morning.

Basically, it would sound your classic iPhone “bum bum bum, bum bum bum-bum-bum-bum” but it would steadily get louder and louder until it set of all nearby iPhones, which would steadily get louder and louder until they set off all nearby iPhones, until every iPhone on the planet and the six or seven that an angry Bill Gates has hurled into orbit are going off. If the combined vibration and sound of six million iPhones are not enough to wake you up, you might as well stay asleep; the planet can only withstand thirty seconds of mass-iPhone bombardment until the crust shakes apart and the atmosphere crumbles.

Unbreakable Glass

Sure, a shattered screen is a lot less common today than it used to be, probably because either Apple has built tougher iPhones or consumers realized that, unlike the cellphones of the ‘90s, when you had to throw them into a wall to make them work, there’s nothing you can do to make a modern phone not drop calls, so you might as well save your strength.

But, nonetheless, teenagers still commonly break their iPhone screens. Undoubtedly, this is our fault; perhaps we chose to keep it in our shallow athletic shorts pocket as we played basketball on a cement court or accidentally (or intentionally) mistook our neon-phone case for a tennis ball. Regardless of why our iPhones still break, though, Apple could save us all a lot shattered glass if they built an indestructible screen.

The question is, why haven’t they done this already? I would assume it has something to do with the fact that to make true shatterproof glass would involve increasing the thickness of the glass, ruining the design aesthetic. But do you care how pretty your iPhone is if the screen is unusable? Of course not; we’re teenagers (when do we ever sacrifice function for looks, right? Certainly not when it comes to how we wear our backpacks).

Thus, Apple should create a version of the iPhone with 5-inch bullet-proof, shatterproof, drop-proof, hammer-proof, dog-bite-proof, karate-chop-proof, trash-compactor-proof glass. As an added bonus, if anyone ever tries to shoot you in your mid-thigh for some reason, your iPhone can now deflect the bullet.

Sure, we can keep talking about how stunningly wonderful the new iPhones and operating system are (“Breaking: iOS7 wins 5 Emmys”), but let’s not forget about what technology should always strive to be: intelligent enough to take over the human race an improvement over the previous model. I, for one, eagerly await my exponentially louder alarm.

September seems to be a month for us to propose improvements; last year at this time we brought you “Designing a Better Inside Cover for Textbook.”

5 Hilariously Ridiculous Standardized Test Questions

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Full disclosure: None of these questions are from actual standardized tests (SATs, ACTs, PSATs, PACTs, SPACTs, etc.) as sharing test questions from administered and unreleased tests is punishable by a fine of $250,000 and a six-month minimum sentence in Guantanamo Bay. Thus, all the questions that appear below are instead from published test-prep books sold by various test-prep companies, modified slightly (changed names, etc).

Standardized testing is a charged topic. People as high-ranking as the Department of Education’s (DoE) assistant undersecretary to the undersecretary’s assistant (AUUA) regularly examine topics such as: do standardized tests cost too much? Are they truly standardized? Do they cover proper material? Do they make me look fat? Is their sodium content too high? Are the Russians using them to corrupt our youth? Are our youth already corrupted beyond hope? If so, are the standardized tests corrupt enough for our youth?

As you probably know, I wake up every day thinking about things not even closely related to the important questions I just mentioned. Thus, I am quite qualified to weigh in on these contentious concepts, as illustrated by the fact that I just used some spiffy and awesome alliteration. (Frankly, if you can alliterate or, better yet, are an alliteration, you are instantly seen as a leader. For example: Ronald Reagan, Woodrow Wilson, Peter Piper (the pickled peppers picker), Winston Wchurchill, Steve Sjobs, John Jf Jkennedy, etc.).

But since the standardized test debate encompasses a plethora (hey, SAT word) of topics, and we could analyze each topic for many blog posts worth of time, let’s take just one of these ideas: Do they cover proper material? More specifically, do standardized test questions actually cover stuff (another SAT word) that might come up in the real world?

Maybe some questions do. I’m sure a strong argument can be made for knowing things like the x-y formula for a circle. (The strong counter argument is, of course, Google). But sometimes test question writers get a little carried away, because they know you have to take the test regardless of whether the passage’s main character’s name is Mary Ann or Djickovanitchstrewloquesky. And when they get ahead of themselves, you end up with questions like these.

George, the Media Intern

The question is:

14. George works as a media intern and receives a monthly paycheck. He spends 25% of his paycheck on rent and deposits the remainder into a savings account. If his deposit is $3,750, how much does he receive as his monthly pay?

a) $4,000
b) $5,000
c) $5,500
d) $5,750
e) $6,000

Let’s take this step-by-step. First of all, George is a media intern. Interns don’t get paid, according to “that’s how real life works.” Interns are just below the water cooler on the office totem pole. If one of them failed to show up for the day, the cooler would be missed much more. In other words, until the water cooler gets an employer-provided health insurance package and monthly stipend, the intern isn’t getting paid either.

But let’s assume, for a second, that interns do get paid. Perhaps they do, in some places; maybe Luxembourg, the richest country (per capita, which means not as rich overall as the US of A!) pays the five media interns that essentially run the single national news organization for the 500,000-person company. They probably don’t even have a news station, just a stock ticker, but, if they did, they could afford to pay the interns (the national motto is: Luxembourg: even the name sounds luxurious). Would an intern really spend 25% of their paycheck on rent, and then put the rest into a savings account?

In case you have any doubts as to where that rhetorical question is going, the answer is NO. No, because most media interns are not yet old enough to realize the benefits of saving 75% of their paycheck. No, because interns have other expenses than rent—they probably need food, transportation, and, depending on how they’re treated at the office, therapy. No, because interns will invariably have trillions (per capita) in student debt to pay off.

Now, I connect to the writer of this question. I know what he meant to ask: 75% of what number is $3,750?

But did they really need to make up a whole story about a fictional place with a fictional intern who gets a fictional paycheck to pay his fictional rent? All that does is distract me from the math and cause me to ponder just how removed from reality test-question-writers are. This is a ridiculous question.

Andrea, the Graphing Freak

Here’s a math question more off-the-charts than Anthony Wiener:

38. Andrea decides to graph her office and the nearest coffee shop in the standard (x,y) plane. If her office is at point (-1,-5) and the coffee shop is at point (3,3), what are the coordinates of the point exactly halfway between those of her office and the shop? (You may assume Andrea is able to walk a straight line between.)

A) (1,-1)
B) (1,5)
C) (2,-1)
D) (3,4)
E) (2,0)

Andrea—I don’t even know where to begin. This question has major believability issues.

To start with, “Andrea decides to graph her office and the nearest coffee shop in the standard (x,y) plane.” What kind of job does Andrea have that graphing her office and nearby café sounds appealing? The only job I can come up with is that of media intern, in which case, Andrea doesn’t have any money for coffee, since she either doesn’t get paid or saved all of her paycheck (she doesn’t even need to pay rent, she just rooms with George). Actually, ignore the job; what kind of person—a coffee-deprived one, no less—gets directions by using coordinate graphs? That’s so 16th century!

And where is Andrea’s boss? I mean, wouldn’t he/she notice if Andrea suddenly stopped answering the customer service phones and pulled out a ruler and graph paper? Am I supposed to believe the boss encourages this sort of thing as stress relief or a team-building activity?

Getting past the fact that Andrea is graphing her office and the nearest coffee shop, why doesn’t Andrea make her life easier by putting either the coffee shop or her office at (0,0)? I mean, I’m not the type of person to plot the location of my house and my school, but if I was, I like to think that I’d make it as easy as possible to do by putting one of the points at the origin. What is up with Andrea? The only thing I can think of is that her office address is literally the corner of -1 Street and -5 Avenue.

Finally (ignoring the fact that Andrea, for some inexplicable reason, wants to know how far the halfway point is), I “may assume Andrea is able to walk a straight line between”? I don’t think so; no, I don’t think I can assume that. So, Andrea can just walk through walls. What kind of “skill” am I really learning by taking this test—the fact that I shouldn’t bother to cross streets at the cross walk, but just walk a straight line between?

Please, test writers, I beg of you: don’t do this. Just ask “what is the midpoint of the segment from (-1,-5) to (3,3)?” Sure, your added explanation may be hilarious in retrospect, but during the test we’re just going to be stressed and annoyed. This question is ludicrous.

The Unethical Senator

Speaking of Anthony Wiener:

3. Although the senator has been involved in unethical behavior, her constituents continue to show strong support for her.

A) has been involved
B) involved
C) being as involved
D) has yet to be involved
E) is involving

Hopefully, you’ve figured out what’s wrong with this one: the “unethical” senator is a woman. According to the Wikipedia list of political scandals in the US (which is, by no means, the most reliable source, but—let’s face it—the only source any of us would take the time to quickly scan for the sake of a humor blog post) the last “sort-of” political scandal that befell a female was Representative Helen Chenoweth-Hage, back in 1998. Putting that in perspective, that’s about 1 female scandal for every 5,000 male scandals (I didn’t even need to go to Wikipedia to make that up, I just pulled that number from George’s salary). And—it gets better—it wasn’t even really a scandal: she just admitted that she’d had an affair before running for Congress.

Therefore, while the correct answer might be “A,” the best answer is “D.” Sure, technically the “although” wouldn’t make any sense, but what’s more important: getting the facts right or lying with proper grammar?

Winning the Race

The question:

26. Regardless of which person wins the race, they will have earned the victory. No Error

I think we’ve just discovered why doping is so prevalent in sports. Most college-recruited athletes have to take the SAT or ACT. So, is it really their fault that they don’t know any better than to fill their muscles full of unnaturally occurring chemicals*?

*That probably come with warning labels such as: “WARNING: Do not swallow. This compound is illegal in 49 states and unlawful to possess in the remaining 1. If you were to use this, it might allow you to beat all the competition, but you shouldn’t use this for some reason. Okay, the FDA has stopped reading by now—go ahead, take twice a day with food.”

According to this question, as long as they win, they will have earned that win, gosh darn it. No wonder Lance Armstrong was so indignant when his scandal broke—he should have just entered this as evidence in his hearing and he would have gone from intentionally doping to the much less evil charge of easy to influence.

If we’re going to make kids take these tests, let’s at least make the error the part about “earning” the victory. We should scrap most the second part of the sentence and make it, “Regardless of which person wins the race, he will have won.” I think that’s obvious enough for your stereotypical jock. Sure, they’ll still use steroids, but at least they won’t be so indignant about the consequences, since they’ll know they didn’t earn those titles.

Laura and Ben

We’ll end it with an easy one:

15. Laura wanted to go out to the movies that night, and so her friend Ben wanted to stay home and study. No Error

I’m sure that by now you’ve already figured out the numerous errors. First of all, when a girl asks you to go to the movies, you don’t say, “Nahh, I’d rather stay home and study.”

If you do that, you will probably never get asked to the movies for the rest of your high school life. And, if she tweets about it, you can prepare to remain a bachelor for at least ten years past the date of your death. The only time you’re allowed to reply this way is if the girl has been involved in unethical behavior, uses steroids, or wants to plot the coordinates of the location of your seats in regards to the movie screen.

Secondly, nobody wants to just “study.” Yes, the pursuit of knowledge is noble, but the writer doesn’t elaborate. Ben isn’t studying something he’s incredibly interested in or motivated to teach himself, nor does Ben have a big test tomorrow. Thus, although there are exceptions when one should study rather than go to the movies, this doesn’t appear to be one of them.

The third issue here is the sentence is in past tense. Somehow, in some fictitious world, even after Ben turned down Laura so he could study, they are still friends. To correct this, the writer should have written “ex-friend,” “used-to-be friend,” or “…her friend Ben, who’s now at the bottom of the lake (weighed down by the biology textbook tied to his feet), wanted…”

The Message

Standardized tests are an unavoidable part of high school, but that doesn’t mean the questions need to be based in worlds more fictitious than Miley Cyrus’ good judgment. For some reason, I just don’t think most people go into the testing rooms relaxed and ready to be entertained. Besides, if you do laugh while the test is being administered, that’s punishable by a $5,000 fine, a felony charge, and being forced to eat your #2 pencils.

But if you’re more worried about buying #2 pencils than eating them, you may want to check out, “3 Reasons Back to School Shopping is Not Your Friend,”published this time last year. Even if you don’t care about shopping, the image on that post is worth checking out.

Wisdom Teeth are Not Your Friend

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Thankfully, I am. Which is why I bring you a rant that’s certain to cheer up any post-surgery teen.

(Warning: Laughing soon after wisdom teeth surgery is painful, and could lead to dry sockets. As I understand them, dry sockets are pretty much worse than the surgery.

Luckily I avoided them—using one easy tip discovered by a local stay-at-home mom that doctors HATE—but they supposedly feel like a throbbing pain, similar to the recovery of being shot in the mouth. Of course, I’ve never been shot in the mouth—I avoid that using one crazy trick discovered by a local stay-at-home dad that surgeons HATE—but since you’re probably too zonked out on pain meds to come up with any similes for your pain, I did it for you. You’re welcome).

Now, wisdom teeth surgery is not a fun surgery to have. Things that should not mix include: power tools and mouths, blades and mouths, pliers and mouths, others people’s fingers and mouths, power blades and mouths, other people’s pliers and mouths, and power tools and other people’s fingers. Depending on your surgeon’s expertise, you may experience them all.

As I mentioned in my last post, I’ve been writing a column for the local paper, and that is where most of this piece appears. I will, however, leave you with a teaser:

“Some things are just badly named. Airplane schedules, for example, implies that your flight is following a timetable and might possibly leave on time. WikiLeaks sounds more like a crowd-sourced, friendly volunteer plumbing organization than a classified information publisher….”

Finally, I’d love to offer you that one weird old trick (discovered by a local stay-at-home house that doctors HATE) to avoid getting this surgery, but there isn’t one. Sorry. Now, what are you waiting for? Read the rest of this column.