Gone with the Wind

Q: Why did the kids fire their squirt guns into the air on that windy day?
A: They were just shooting the breeze!

Explanation: A squirt gun shoots a stream of water, much like a spray bottle, but in the form of a gun.  Many people like to play by squirting water at their friends on a warm day outside.  Some people train their pets by squirting water at them (others say that squirting animals does not work or is mean).

A breeze is wind that blows just a little bit.  To shoot the breeze is an idiom that means to talk with your friends about nothing really important.

This joke is funny because it plays with the phrase shoot the breeze, both the literal meaning (shooting a gun into the air) and the idiom (talking with your friends).  Please don’t shoot guns into the air; what comes up must come down.

Watch here for a detailed explanation of how spray bottle work:

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Edgy Endurance

Q: What lies on the bottom of the ocean and twitches?
A: A nervous wreck!

Explanation: Did you hear that Shakleton’s ship, Endurance, was found back in March? It sank to the bottom of the Antarctic ocean in 1915, and has been lying there since then.  Don’t worry, it was not twitching.  To twitch means to make small, jerking movements.  You may have experienced an eye twitch, or felt a leg twitch when you are falling asleep.

A nervous wreck is a person who is very nervous about something.  It is an informal phrase that is quite common.  A student might be a nervous wreck before a big test; a patient might be a nervous wreck while waiting for the results of a medical test, expecting the worst.  Occasionally, people who are nervous may experience a muscle twitch.

This joke is funny because it plays with the word wreck, and the ideas of a shipwreck and a nervous wreck. If you are interested in shipwrecks, here is one list to check out.  If you are interested in the discovery of Endurance, watch this video:

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Come out, come out wherever you are!

Q: Why are false teeth like stars?
A: Because they come out at night!

Explanation: When I was a kid, my dad had this neat trick that would always make us laugh: While driving, he would loosen his lower front teeth (dentures) and wiggle them in front of his lips, below his nose.  We of course would giggle.  These teeth were false teeth that replaced his original teeth.  Every night he removed those false teeth to clean them.  Yes, his teeth had to come out at night so he could clean them.

Stars also come out at night.  In reality, they do not come out, they are always there, but we cannot see them because our star, the sun, makes it too bright for us to see the starlight that comes from very far away.  To us it seems that the stars come out of their daytime hiding place.

This joke is funny because it plays with different meanings of come out: remove, like the teeth, and appear, like the stars.

Thinking about stars had me thinking about space and space travel and the moon…

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Above and Beyond

Q: Why did the farmer win the Nobel Prize?
A: Because he was outstanding in his field!

Explanation: The Nobel Prize is awarded to people who “have conferred the greatest benefit to mankind.”  That is, they have done something really, really important because it is something that is good for a lot of people.  Outstanding means exceptionally good.  People who win the Nobel Prize are outstanding in their field.  In this case, field means the special area that they know a lot about such as literature, science, math, …

Field also means an area of open land where farmers plant their crops.  After they plant their crops they have a soybean field, or a corn field, or a wheat field…  When farmers inspect their crops, they might walk out into their field and stand there.  That is, they are out in their field, standing.  I could also say that they are out standing in their field.

This joke is funny because it plays with the words outstanding and out standing, which sound the same.  And I am sure there are outstanding farmers who are out standing in their field of corn right now.

Speaking of corn and other crops, check out the seed art from the Minnesota State Fair:

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Level Up

Q: Why are elevator jokes the best?
A: Because they work on so many levels!

Explanation: What goes up, must come down, says the old adage.  (Blood, Sweat and Tears sang about that, too.)  The same is true for elevators: Elevators (called a lift in England) go up and down to bring people to different floors in a building.  The floors in a building are sometimes called levels.  Just like in a video game where you move to the next level, elevators can take you up or down one or more levels.

“Works on many levels” is an idiom that means something works in many different ways.  For example, the story of Alice in Wonderland could be read, on one level, as a silly adventure.  On a different level, it could be about children trying to understand the adult world.  Others say it is about drugs, or eating disorders.  If you do a search for different interpretations, you will find many.  Many Disney movies that are made for children, have themes or dialogue that adults will better understand–They work on different levels.  Has that ever happened to you?  Have you seen a movie as an adult and you understand it differently than when you were a child?

This joke is funny because it plays with the phrase “it works on many levels.”  By the way, things can be wrong on may levels too.

Take a look at the world’s tallest elevators–

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Airport Food

Q: What kind of candy can you get an an airport?
A: Plane M&Ms!

Explanation: Even though there are lots of studies that talk about sugar being bad for you, well, a little bit still tastes good.  Every place in the world has candy, and candy can even make for  a good joke too!

You know what candy is, so I won’t explain that.  And you know all about airports, especially that airports have airplanes, also called planes.  There are many different types of planes.  Did you know that you can get a license to be a pilot at age 14 in some places?  I have always wanted to get a pilot’s license but never did, at least not yet.

Plane, though, is not the same as plain.  Plane refers to airplanes, while plain means ordinary, not decorated, not special.  (Plane can also be a tool, and plain can also be a type of land, depending on the context.).   M&Ms come in many flavors such as peanut M&Ms, and almond M&Ms.  Plain M&Ms are the ones that only have chocolate in the middle, nothing else.

This joke is funny because it plays with the words plane and plain, which sound the same.  Take a look at this video to see how M&Ms are made.  (You could even try adding narration to make the video better.)

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After the All-Star Break

Q: How is a good baseball game like good pancakes?
A: They both need a good batter!

Explanation: And…we’re back with a rerun!

The baseball season in the United States and Canada is half done, so a baseball joke seemed appropriate.  In baseball, the person who has the bat and is ready to hit the baseball is called the batter (in the sport of cricket, too).  A good batter is able to hit the ball that is pitched, usually at 80 miles per hour or more.  That’s fast, and hard to hit! And remember, if a player is able to get a hit 3 out of every 10 pitches, that is considered good.

As for pancakes, well, a good pancake starts with good batter.  Batter is the liquid mix that you put on the griddle or in the frying pan to make pancakes.  There are lots of recipes for pancakes, like this one.

This joke is funny because it plays with two meanings of the word batter: Someone who hits the ball in baseball, and the thick liquid that you mix together to make pancakes.

Pancakes and crepes are not the same, but they are similar.  Here is and old video of Julia Child making crepes:

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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.com.  (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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