A STONE’S THROW AWAY
DID YOU HEAR ABOUT THE PACIFIC ISLAND CHIEF WHO WAS SOMEWHAT SURPRISED AND UPSET WHEN HIS THRONE, WHICH HE HAD STORED UPSTAIRS, CAME CRASHING DOWN?
What’s so funny about this? I just heard that this was Spoonerism Day. I don’t know who declared it as such, nor do I know if it’s only in New York or if it’s a national holiday. Personally, I think it should be the latter and everyone should take off from work and walk around speaking in spoonerisms. Anyway, let’s look at today’s joke which is based on an old Proverb originated by Chaucer in the 17th century: ‘People who live in glass houses, shouldn’t throw stones.’ It means that you shouldn’t criticize other people for the same weakness that you have. A similar expression and possibly racist is ‘the pot calling the kettle black.’ (they’re both assumed to be black). The ‘glass house’ proverb is so well known that it’s easy to make jokes referring to it without actually saying it in the joke. Turns out that the last two words in the proverb are easy to spoonerize, so all that was left is for someone to create a context for the spoonerism to make sense. Instead of a glass house, we have the pun ‘grass house’. This immediately brings to mind a native village, perhaps in Africa or on a Pacific Island where people do actually live in glass houses. The last two words of the proverb are ‘throw stones’ which become ‘stow thrones’. You probably know that a throne is a royal chair, i.e. what a queen or king sits on. ‘Stow’ means to ‘store’ or ‘hide away’ somewhere out of the way, to use if the need arises. Apparently this is what our island king did. He stored his throne upstairs in his grass house. Of course, this means that his house actually had a second floor, a not too common condition in most grass houses. These houses are not made of super strong material and might have difficulty in supporting something as heavy as a royal throne. I guess the king should not really have been surprised. Now he’ll just have to rent a storage locker. - if he can find one. And THAT’s what’s so funny!
Listen to my audioboo: https://audioboo.fm/boos/2346613-a-stone-s-throw-away
The semantics and pragmatics of parent-child communication
(to be continued)
CAN YOU GUESS THIS IDIOMATIC EXPRESSION?
What’s so funny about this? OK, this little joke might possible by considered dirty or at least slightly tarnished because it contains a couple of small sexual innuendos. An innuendo is a remark or statement that is about one topic but there is a hint that it could also be about a different topic. That other topic is often sexual, but not necessarily so. It can be about any knowledge or information that the listeners or readers share. Sexual topics and language is just one of those things that are frequently used in innuendos. Ostensibly, or on the surface, this is a joke about a crustacean, or shellfish called a shrimp. These are very tasty creatures and of course they’re not fish at all but they do live in the sea. You can see from the photo how good they look all cooked up. But this joke is about one particular shrimp who had a special dream, desire, or aspiration to be a big prawn star on the net. Why a big one? Well, for starters shrimp is also slang for someone who’s quite small. Larger people, usually older big boys, will taunt smaller, young ones by called them “shrimp”. The sexual innuendo is that it can also refer to a small penis. The implication is that a small guy or shrimp will also have a small penis. In British English they don’t say shrimp at all. The same animal is known as a prawn, with no additional connotation of size. However “prawn” could be a pun for “porn”, short for pornography which means writing or images of a sexual nature, designed to arouse the viewer or reader. A “porn” star is the main actor in a pornographic movie. So the joke could be about a little guy who wants to star in porno movies on the net, meaning internet, or it could also be the mesh nets used to catch shrimp or prawns. Take your pick. And THAT’s what’s so funny!
This pun was created by Owen McMahon, aka Irish Limbo
Listen to my audioboo - https://audioboo.fm/boos/2337884-selfish-shellfish
Origin: Mid-18th Century, British English ‒ Theatrical productions have always needed devices that produce the sound of thunder, such as shaking sheets of tin. In the 17th century, playwright John Dennis invented a new method of creating the sound of thunder for his play, Appius and Virginia. However, we don’t know what his new device was. Alas, the play was a flop. Sometime later, Dennis attended a performance of Macbeth, a noticed that they were using his new thunder creation method. He was angry and is supposed to have said, “Damn them! They will not let my play run, but they steal my thunder
Usage: Informal, spoken and, general, British and American English.
Idiomatic Meaning: Taking someone’s thoughts or ideas and using them to your own advantage. Ruin a surprise.
Literal Meaning: There are many myths of lightning and thunder being used by gods as weapons to torment humans. To steal thunder is to take it away from the being or person it belongs to.
Why is this funny? The caption to the photo is “It was supposed to by my light show, but you swiped my sound.” It’s not clear who is talking. It could be Thor, the German god of thunder and lightning, for all we know. It’s obvious that the speaker is not happy, because now the show consists only of lightning without sound. The thief ruined the whole effect. Thus, he “Stole his thunder” when he stole his thunder”!
Sample sentence: When you told my wife about the surprise birthday party for her, you completely “stole my thunder.”