I can only guess about the funny characters that they are what happens when you try to copy the open/close kind of quotes (“ and ”), rather than the flat quotes ("). I think some types of open/close quotes don't copy/paste well.
My recollection is that these type problems started showing up, at least more severely, after the most recent server change. Both for pre-existing messages and for new messages.
Re: Problems posting general reply to the humor topic
After some problems I got the message to post.
I think I may have some problems within my computer. I've been having problems getting some sites to load enough to see the page, and many other times the page displays but never completes loading (or at least the browser thinks it's not complete).
Running McAfee right now - Shall see if something shows up.
Added by edit: This message posted without any problems.