What’s so funny about this? I have a theory that human awareness is based only on our perceptions; our world has many things in it, animate and inanimate. When we describe them we can differentiate the ones who move and the ones who don’t; or at least who don’t APPEAR to move. But of course EVERYTHING moves and changes. NOTHING is static and permanent. We all move through time, only at different rates. The stars in the constellations always appear to be in the same place in relation to each other. The mountains, the valleys, the earth we walk on, never appear to move. Then there are living things. We know that trees and plants move because we can measure their growth, but we can’t actually see this growth. Just like we can’t see the hands of a clock move but they do, of course. There are many living things that move through time much faster than we do. Insects only live for a couple of days, dogs only live for 10-15 years. To them we must appear much slower than they do to us. They don’t realize that we outlive them. All this being said, for this joke I needed to find a moving tree that could use a computer to get online. I thought of the imaginary Ents, from Tolkein’s books, those trees that can walk and talk. They’d work if they were computer literate, but of course, they’re not. So I just had to settle for any old tree with some branches sticking out which could function as arms and fingers to use a computer. Kinda makes sense. Anyway, we have a pun here based on the word “log”. As a noun, it’s a very old 15th century word meaning a section of a tree that has been cut. Logs have many uses, such as in building cabins and rafts. A log can also be a journal used to record some information such as the speed of a ship. This usage is much later, going back to the 19th century on ships which used a wooden floating device to measure speed. That why the journal was named a log. As a verb, “log” can mean to cut wood in a forest or to enter information into a journal. In computing logging in meant letting an administrator know you were spending time on the computer. The records are no longer kept but the term is still in use. That’s why a tree can use a branch or small log to log onto a computer. And THAT’s what’s so funny!
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CHESS NUTS BOASTING IN AN OPEN FOYER
An international chess tournament is being held in a swank hotel in New York. However, due to a conflicting convention the tables have been set up in the lobby. Everyone who is anyone in the world of chess is there. After a grueling 4 hours of chess, there is still no winner. In the lobby, the players get into a big argument about who is the brightest, the fastest, and the best chess player. The argument gets loud, each player claiming that he or she is the greatest chess player of all time. Someone comments, “If there’s one thing I can’t stand, it’s chess nuts boasting in an open foyer.”
What’s so funny about this? In a way, chess is the ultimate metaphor for at least one philosophy about human nature. It’s all intellect and no luck. It pits one person against another. It’s a zero sum game, in that you either win or lose. True you can tie, or have a draw, but that satisfies no one and only flames the fires of competition. Everyone wants to be the best at something, even if it is at the expense of another. It’s ultimate capitalism and in no way socialist or Buddhist. There can be no win-win in chess. If you beat me then I suck. If I beat you, then you suck. It’s as simple as that. The feeling of supremacy and excitement goes away as another challenger inescapably emerges, and you’re all uptight again. It’s really not a fun way to live your life. At the higher levels of chess you get huge egotists with many personality quirks. Just look at Bobby Fisher. But this joke is really a shaggy dog story with a pun on the old Christmas time song, “Chestnuts roasting on an open fire.” This was a very popular activity and a tune by Nat King Cole in the 50’s. Chestnuts ripen in the late fall and the best and maybe the only way to eat then is to roast them. This can be done in an oven, a grill, or in a fireplace over an open fire. So in the joke we have a bunch of chess players, some playing, others watching and commenting. But each one imagines themselves playing in the tournament. And most will think that their playing is superior to the others’. The polite ones keep such thoughts to themselves, while others can’t help but boast and brag about their abilities. It’s the latter group that is the object of the pun. Since they are crazy about the game we can call them chess nuts. The place they are boasting in is a large, open hallway or foyer, of a fancy hotel. That’s how we get “chess nuts boasting in an open foyer. “ And THAT’s what’s so funny.
What’s so funny about this? Astronauts, Cosmonauts and space programs have been around quite a while, going back to Sputnik in the 50’s and in the imaginations of science fiction writers and perhaps ever since humans on the earth were aware of the moon and fantasized what it would be like to go there. That became a reality in 1969. I remember it very well. This joke all rests on the literal and metaphoric meaning of the word “gravity”. We’ve all heard the story of Sir Isaac Newton and the apples falling from the tree and landing on his head. Gravity is supposed to be one of if not the most important force of nature. It’s what possibly keeps the whole universe together. You can’t see, smell, taste, or hear it. You can kind of feel it because it’s what gives you weight. We’ve all seen movies and videos of astronauts floating around in their space ships as well as in space. They are weightless because gravity is too weak to hold them down. We know that the bigger an object, or the greater its mass, the more powerful is its force of gravity. That’s why Jupiter, the largest planet, has so many moons. The sun is bigger still and keeps all the planets revolving around it. Our moon has very little gravity compared to the earth and other planets. That’s why people weigh less on the moon and why they can jump so much higher than on earth. But gravity has a metaphoric meaning too. It means seriousness. If a situation is not serious we say it’s light, or light weight; When a situation is serious then it takes on some metaphoric weight, or gravity. The heavier or more serious a situation, the greater it’s weight or gravity. In the joke, one astronaut is having much too good a time jumping up and down, going way high into the air. The other astronaut is annoyed, and accuses his partner of being frivolous or not understanding the heaviness or gravity of their situation. Actually it looks like she understands it pretty well. And THAT’s what’s so funny!
This joke came from Andhareall on reddit.com
DON’T LOOK A GIFT HORSE IN THE MOUTH
Origin: 16th Century, British English - This old expression now has the status of “proverb”. The sentiment and concept is even older, probably going back to Latin writings in the 4th century B.C./C.E. Apparently You can tell a horse’s age by looking at its teeth and how far forward they are. The age of a horse often determines its value. Personally I also think of the Trojan Horse story when hearing this proverb. It was certainly a gift horse. The Trojans, of course, did not look that particular gift horse in the mouth. Had they done so they might have avoided their sacking, or destruction, because they might have seen the Greeks hiding inside the horse. On the other hand, then we wouldn’t have Homer’s epic poems, The Iliad and The Odyssey, not to mention Ulysses by Joyce.
Usage: Formal and Informal, spoken and written, general, British and American English
Idiomatic Meaning: Don’t be critical or ungrateful when you receive a gift; accept a gift for what it is, without analyzing the motives of the giver, or saying you wanted something better, because the gift is not worth enough.
Literal Meaning: When you receive a horse as a present, keep your gaze away from the horse’s mouth. BTW, This is a good way to avoid getting bitten as well as not having to smell a horse’s breath.
Why is this funny? In the photo we see a young woman dressed in battle fatigues, offering a horse as a birthday present to several guys, presumably also soldiers. She is holding the horse by the mouth, and the guys are all staring into the mouth of the horse. So they are not following the advice of the expression. Perhaps they don’t think it’s such a great present because only one of them can ride the horse at a time and they’re not good about sharing. They are literally and figuratively looking a gift horse in the mouth. They should be more grateful.
Sample sentence: Darling, I know the diamond is small but I gave it to you because I love you, so don’t look a gift horse in the mouth.