Three Sheets to the Wind

Q: Why did the composer only compose while lying in bed?
A: Because he was composing sheet music!

Explanation: A composer is someone who writes music.  Two of the most famous composers are Mozart and Beethoven.

Years ago, when composers wrote music, they would write the music on sheets of paper that the musicians could read and perform.  This music written on sheets of paper is called sheet music.  Lots of music is written now using computers programs such as Notion or Sibelius.  (I do not write music and do not know anything about these programs.)  For musicians to perform, the music is most often printed out in sheets, sheet music.  There are probably musicians who use a computer or tablet to read their music.

Sheets, though, has another meaning.  When you make your bed, you put sheets on your bed, along with pillows and blankets.

This joke is funny because of the different meanings of sheets–sheets for your bed and sheet music.  I wouldn’t recommend, however, using bed sheets for writing music; it might be difficult for the performer to read the music!

If you would like to learn to read sheet music, you could start here:

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Prove Your Chops

Q: What did the angry lumberjack say to the tree?
A: I have an axe to grind with you!

Explanation: Lumberjacks are people who work cutting down trees so that people can use wood to make things.  Many years ago, lumberjacks would use a saw and/or an axe to cut down trees.  (Hopefully they planted two new trees for each one cut down!)  Before working with an axe, it is important to sharpen the axe. One way to sharpen the axe is to use a grinder.

Have an axe to grind” with someone is an idiom.  It means that you have a personal, maybe selfish reason for saying something, or that you have a complaint that you have to talk to someone about.  Here are some examples from  (Linguee is one of my favorite sites for translating, by the way.)

This joke is funny because it plays with the idea of grinding an axe, both the literal idea of using an axe sharpened on a grinder to cut down a tree, and the figurative idea of the idiom have an axe to grind.

Here is one of the most famous fictional lumberjacks, Paul Bunyan, from 1958:

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A Bone to Pick with You

Q: What do you call a fossil that never does any work?
A: A lazy bones!

Explanation: Fossils are parts of a living thing that has been preserved, or left an impression from a very long time ago, perhaps 10,000 years ago or more.  The human skull that was recently found in Minnesota was not called a fossil, maybe because it was only 8,000 years old.  Bones are a very common type of fossil because they last longer than the soft parts of living things. Because fossils come from living things that have been dead for a very long time, they do not do any work.

A lazy bones is a person who is lazy, who doesn’t help, who doesn’t do much of anything.  Imagine someone doing the work alone and saying to the other person, “Don’t be such a lazy bones.  Help me get this done!”

This joke is funny because it plays with the idea of bones and fossils, along with ancient bones being lazy.

Watch here to find out how dinosaur fossils are formed:

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A Fair-weather Flower

Q: What kind of flowers are great friends?
A: Rose buds!

Explanation: Roses are one of the best known flowers.  As a rose grows, in the spring you will notice buds.  Rose buds are little bumps on the stem of a rose from which the flowers will appear.  Yes, roses are beautiful! (Be careful of the thorns, though.)

Friends are, well, you know what friends are.  There are many synonyms for the word friend.  One of those synonyms is bud, short for buddy.  Your bud is your pal, is your friend, is your bestie, is your bff.  You get the idea.

This joke is funny because it plays with the word bud: a baby flower and a friend.

If you would like to see a rose bloom from a bud to a flower, watch this:

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Maybe a Snack Later On

Q: Why did the two 4s decide to skip dinner?
A: Because they already 8.

Explanation: Told to me by a 6th grader, this one made me laugh!  It is rather absurd and it really makes no sense…so let me try to explain it.

If someone invites you to eat, you might say, “No, thank you,” if you have just eaten.  Or you might say, “I’ll go with you, but I am not hungry.  I already ate.”  I already ate sounds just like I already eight.

Of course if there are two 4s together, you can add them up and they total eight (4 + 4 = 8).

This joke is funny because it plays with the words ate and eight, which sound the same…and because it really doesn’t make sense.

Here are some folks who did not skip dinner.  They just had to use their imaginations!  And some of them are probably eight (years old).

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Bounce Back

Q: What’s the best season for jumping on a trampoline?
A: Spring time!

Explanation: The northern hemisphere is about a third of the way through the season of spring.  Of course summer will come after spring, and then fall and winter.  Spring is a beautiful time of year as the trees bud and bloom, the flowers are reborn, and the days get longer. (Actually, days do not really get longer than 24 hours, but the amount of sunlight during the day increases.)

A trampoline is a piece of equipment that has a strong fabric attached to a frame with springs; the springs make you bounce up and down.  Springs are coils of wire that can get longer when stretched, and then pull back into its original form.  You might find a spring used to close a screen door, to make the tip of a pen come out or go in, or to make a mattress more  comfortable.

This joke is funny because it plays with the word spring: A season of the year and a coiled piece of metal.  Springtime is different from spring time, too.  If you play on a trampoline, you will enjoy your time bouncing because of the springs.

Here are some amazing trampoline athletes (thanks to the springs):

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Live and Let Live

Q: Why are cats good at video games?
A: Because they have nine lives!

Explanation: Many video games let you have another chance to keep going if you make a really bad mistake, maybe even getting your character killed.  (Other games do not give you another life in the same game, and you have to start over.)  I am reminded of the classic video game Pac-Man where you would get three lives.  It also reminds me of the pre-video game era when people played pinball, and you had to score the maximum number of points with a limited number of balls.

Cats are known as curious explorers who get themselves into difficult situations.  Because of their instincts, including the ability to land on their feet (usually), cats survive (usually).  Therefore, in English speaking countries cats are said to have nine lives.  (Here is an interesting article about the nine lives of cats.)

This joke is funny because it combines the the lives you get while playing video games with the saying, “cats have nine lives.”

Here is a cat who survived-

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Let the Light In

Q: Did you hear about the cross-eyed teacher?
A: He couldn’t control his pupils!

Explanation: Someone whose eyes do not line up with each other, whose eyes do not look in the same direction, suffers from a medical condition called strabismus.  In that situation, people cannot make their eyes look in the same direction.  In non-medical terms, people whose eyes look in different directions may be called cross-eyed.  The term cross-eyed can be used disrespectfully or can be used as a description.  If you look down your nose, you are crossing your eyes.  In your eyes, pupils are the center part of the eye, the black circle in the middle of the eyes that lets the light in.

Pupil is also another word for student.  You might say, “After the pupils sat down at their desks, the teacher began the class.”  Pupils is not a common term in the United States; I do not know if other English speaking countries us it.

This joke is funny because the word pupil has more than one meaning: the center part of the eye, and a student in a class.

There is a band from the Philippines called Pupil and they have a song titled 20/20-

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Copy That

Q: What is the difference between a cat that got xeroxed and a cat that imitates its owner?
A: One is a cat copy and the other is a copycat!

Explanation: Sometimes in English, brand names become verbs or nouns.  For most people, all facial tissue is Kleenex, all internet searches are Googling, and all bandages are Band-Aids.  (The term for this is anthimeria.)  So, when you xerox something, you make a copy, a photocopy, because Xerox is a brand name of copiers.

A copycat is a person who copies what you do. The word is used most frequently by children.  You may also hear the phrase copycat crime for a criminal who imitates another criminal.

This joke is funny because it plays with the words copy and cat.  I love cats but I don’t think I want a copy of one.  It would be fun, though, if a cat copied what I did!

Here are some cats acting like humans-

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Do you see what I see?

Q: Why did the computer get new glasses?
A: To improve his web sight!

Explanation: Every few years, it seems, I need to get new reading glasses that are just a bit stronger. The 20-20 vision of my youth has become more like the impressionist works of Monet.  When people want to improver their vision, their eyesight, they often get new glasses.

Computers, of course, do not use glasses.  They do, however show us websites through the internet.

This joke is funny because website (lowercase, one word) sounds the same as web sight.  I wonder if Spiderman has good web sight?

Watch and listen here to find out how lenses for glasses are made—

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