ONE FOR THE BIRDS
What’s so funny about this? If you’re a recent college graduate in the United States, you’re probably not laughing at this joke, because it’s describing the reality of your life. It’s a sad fact that most arts degrees grads can’t find jobs that pay much more than fast food restaurants. What is an arts degree? Well it’s usually subjects like music, painting dance, though maybe we should expand the definition to include liberal arts such as philosophy, English, and sociology. Yep, not much of a market for any of these areas, these days. The arts are particularly tough because they require talent, something you need to be born with and can’t really learn in school, or certainly not a typical college or university. Oh you can learn all ABOUT the arts to talk and write about them but not to actually do them well enough to succeed at them. With liberal arts, you can learn a lot of facts, but the chances of a philosophy major getting a high paying job are about as good as a ballerina’s. On the other hand if you have a science, engineering or accounting degree, the joke implies that you’ll be focused on the needs and requirements of your profession which you may perform at a more than decent salary while the poor schnook who majored in 13th century choral works is working at McDonald’s and asking if you want french fries with your order. And THAT’s what’s so funny!
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What’s so funny about this? This entire news story was completely changed just because the reporter left out a comma. The writer’s original intention was to focus the reader’s attention on a 31 year old man who’s very busy being a father, husband, performer and someone who holds down two jobs. Obviously, this guy does not have a lot of free time. The comma should have been placed after “3-year old.” Then everything would have been hunky dorey, or A-OK. However by omitting the comma our attention is now on the 3 year old kid who apparently is a freelance writer, a sheet music salesman, and a performer of some sort. That’s quite an accomplishment for a 3-year old. Most three year olds that I know can barely hold a pencil, let alone write articles for magazines. The three year olds I know might grab a bunch of sheet music and toss them in the air to watch them flutter down. But not this genius; somehow he is able to sell sheet music as a sideline. I wonder what his commission is. And to top it all off, the kid is a performer too, perhaps playing songs from his sheet music. Without the comma the entire clause beginning with “who works…” modifies the kid. With the comma, the clause would modify the talented Pasadena native. Wish my kid was that smart - I wouldn’t have to work at all. And THAT’s what’s so funny!
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What’s so funny about this? As you can probably tell from the photo, a trampoline is not a skinny vagrant. It’s a device with a strong fabric sheet connected by springs to a frame, used as a springboard and landing area in doing acrobatic or gymnastic exercises, or just for plain bouncing around. You can tell by the look on the guy’s face that he’s having a great time. Sadly I have spent little to no time on trampolines myself and I regret it. I love the idea of just bouncing as high as you can go, flopping back and then being bounced up again. Of course I did a lot of that on my parent’s bed when I was a little kid. I just never had a real chance to do it as an adult. I do realize, trampolines can be dangerous and you can probably break every bone in your body if you land the wrong way, but what the hell, I want to do it anyway! And here in the joke we have someone who actually designs trampolines for a living. What could be cooler? Of course, he doesn’t think so. The man thinks it’s more fun to pretend to be someone else and be around gorgeous woman and make love to them, or fight 20 guys at once or break people’s hearts with tragic stories. But none of it is real, not the loving, not the fighting, not the heart-breaking or mountain conquering. It’s just Hollywood fakery, and it’s very seductive. Almost anyone who has ever been to the movies fantasizes about being in the movies. It’s virtually impossible and almost no one succeeds. At least our guy realizes this and has a realistic “fall-back plan”. This means an alternative occupation he can do if he doesn’t make it as an actor. Of course in this case his fall-back plan is to fall back and forth again and again, and have fun doing it. And THAT’s what’s so funny!
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What’s so funny about this? We’re very lucky to have this photo from the great 50’s movie, The Incredible Shrinking Man, based on the novel and screenplay by Richard Matheson. It’s a science fiction movie about a guy whose boat encounters some kind of radioactive cloud and whose body cells are affected so that he starts to shrink. The great thing is that he never stops! It’s a slow process and in each stage of his shrinking he has to face a bunch of problems, like his clothes won’t fit,; then he becomes small enough that his pet cat wants to chase and eat him; then he has to fight off killer spiders and eventually he becomes so small he can’t be seen by the human eye. At the end of the movie we only hear his voice as he enters the world of sub-atomic particles and who knows what beyond that. Amazing stuff! But in our joke he’s still visible and at the size of a very small boy, yet he’s a complete adult, mentally. He’s panicked of course that he’s shrinking so much, but the doctor is calm and tells him he’ll have to be a little patient, meaning that he’ll have to exercise patience or just a little bit of patience This is the perfect set up for our pun on the noun ‘patience.’ The adjectival form is patient, which happens to be a homonym of patient meaning a doctor’s customer. As I said, the doctor wants him to exercise patience. BTW, ‘patience’ is also the plural form of the doctor’s customer. Anyway it sounds like he’s telling the guy to get used to being a shrimp! And THAT’s what’s so funny!
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Idiom of the Weekend: Caught Red Handed
Meaning: To be caught in the act of committing a crime or misdeed, with the evidence there for all to see
Origin: The expression “caught red handed” has its origins in Scotland around the 15th century. Given how it was used in the earliest references,…
BENNET THIS TOO LONG
Tony Lobster and Sam Clam were best friends. They did everything together. The only difference between them is that Tony was the nicest lobster ever and Sam, was not such a great clam. Nevertheless, Tony and Sam did so much together that they even died together. Tony went to Heaven and Sam went to Hell. Tony was doing well in heaven and one day St. Peter came up to him and said “Tony, you’re the nicest lobster we’ve ever had up here, but you seem to be depressed. What’s bothering you? Maybe I can help.” Tony said, “Well, Pete, I like it up here and everything, but I really miss my good friend Sam Clam. We used to do everything together.” St. Peter looked at Tony with pity and said to him, “I’ll tell you what, I can fix it so you can go down to Hell tomorrow and visit Sam all day. How does that sound?” This made Tony very happy and he got up bright and early the next morning and grabbed his wings, his harp, and his halo and got in the elevator to Hell. When the doors opened he was met by Sam. The hugged each other and they were off. Tony found out that in Hell Sam owned a disco. They spent the day there together and had a great time. At the end of the day Tony and Sam went back to the elevator together, and said their goodbyes. Tony got back in the elevator and went up to heaven. He stepped off the elevator and was greeted by St. Peter who blocked the doorway to Heaven. He looked at Tony and said, “Tony Lobster, didn’t you forget something?” Tony looked around and said “No, I don’t think so, I have my halo and my wings.” St. Peter looked at him and said, “Yes, but what about your harp?” Tony gasped and said, “OMG, I Left My Harp in Sam Clam’s Disco.”
What’s so funny about this? This joke is really too long to explain other than to say it’s a shaggy dog pun on the famous Tony Bennett song, “I Left My Heart in San Francisco.” And THAT’s what’s so funny!
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UNNATURAL WISE GUY
What’s so funny about this? If you look at the title of this joke, “Unnatural Wise Guy” you will either instantly get it or you’ll be totally confused. This is another one of those jokes where it’s all about understanding American culture and slang. In this case in particular, it’s gangster or mob slang. If you want the technical term for the joke it’s an “antimetabole”, a word that is derived from Greek meaning “turning about”. Let’s look at the words in the title. The first one is “unnatural”. This term can have several meaning but here, I’m referring to something that is not normally found in or created by nature. Rocks are natural, water is natural, trees are natural. But scientists can create rocks and minerals that are not found in nature; these are not natural; they are unnatural. Another term for this is “man-made”. Please forgive the sexist nature of the term. If I use the more politically correct “person made” there would be no joke. If we turn the two words around, make them an antimetabole, we get “made man”. This is a slang expression used by the mafia, to refer to someone who has become a full-fledged member of their organization. Another slang term for a “made man” is a “wise guy.” That’s how the title of this joke came to be. A made man was not made by nature, he was man made. So what would happen if the Frankenstein monster joined the mob? And THAT’s what’s so funny!
This joke came from the NY Times Crossword Puzzle of July 22, 2014, by Joel Fagliano
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