Beacon of Light

Q: How many musicians does it take to change a lightbulb?
A: A-one, a-two, a-one, two, three, four!

Explanation: There are many, many jokes that start ask, “How many ________ does it take to change a lightbulb?  You can do a search of “lightbulb jokes” and see more.  Most lightbulb jokes make fun of someone.  By the way, when I search, I see both light bulb (two words) and lightbulb (one compound word).  When I looked for which is correct, I found this.

This joke is funny because, well, lightbulb jokes are funny.  This one in particular is funny because many musicians start off their songs with the 1, 2, 3, 4 count.

Here is a song that starts with a 1, 2, 3, 4 count to begin.  If you are patient, you will hear it–

Q.E.P.D./R.I.P. Chris

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Wrecked!

Q: What does a computer do when it is tired?
A: It crashes!

Explanation: Did your computer ever stop working (freeze) or turn itself off when you wanted to use it?  If it did, you can say your computer crashed.  Computer crashes are frustrating because you cannot get your work done, and sometimes you lose the work you finished most recently, unless you saved it.  Thankfully, they do not happen too often.

The word crash has other meanings.  If someone is tired, a person might say, “I’m going to go crash.”  This means that the person will go to bed and sleep.  Or you could say, “I crashed lat night at 8:30 because I was so tired.”

This joke is funny because it plays with two meanings of the word crash: A computer not working, and someone going to bed.

Here are two songs about another meaning of the word crash:

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It’s About Time

Q: Where can you go to practice math on New Year’s Eve?
A: Times Square!

Explanation: Happy New Year!  It’s 2023 which means that Explain the Joke is celebrating 10 years of explaining jokes in English.

To get better at math, people often people often practice addition (+) or subtraction (-) problems; then they work on multiplication (x) and division (÷), and all the way through calculus and beyond.  Practicing multiplication is also known as practicing your times tables.  You can say what is seven times nine (7 x 9), or you can can say what is seven multiplied by nine.  They mean the same thing, times or multiplied by.

Times Square is an area in New York City.  One of the things Times Square is known for is its party on New Year’s Eve.  During that party, many people gather in Times Square and watch on TV to see the ball drop; when the ball gets to the bottom, the new year starts.  (By the way, to drop the ball is an idiom that means to make a mistake.)

This joke is funny because it plays with the ideas of times (multiplication) and Times Square.

If you would like to see the ball drop to mark the beginning of 2023, take a look here:

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Spare Change

Q: When does it rain money?
A: When there is change in the weather!

Explanation: “The rain in Spain falls mainly on the plain,” according to the song from My Fair Lady.   In Peru, they just wish it would rain!  But nowhere does it rain money.  Rain is water that falls from the sky as part of the evaporation/water cycle.  When it is sunny outside, and then the weather changes to cloudy or rainy, we say that there is a change in the weather.

Change is also the word used for money in the form of coins.  In the United States, change includes pennies, nickels, dimes, quarters, and half dollars.  There are also dollar coins.

This joke is funny because it plays with two meanings of the word change: coin money, or when one thing becomes different, like the weather changes. If there were change, coins, in the weather, well, there might be coins falling from the sky, but we all know that doesn’t happen.

John Fogerty sang about change in the weather-

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Leave Hanging

Q: What happens when winter arrives?
A: Autumn leaves!

Explanation: In the northern hemisphere winter officially starts on December 21 (winter solstice, astronomical winter), but for many places in the north, it is already cold.  Did you know that there is more than one way to mark the start of winter?  Meteorologists, people who study the weather, talk about meteorological winter which starts on December 1.  When talking about seasons, winter comes after fall; fall is also known as autumn.

In the autumn, leaves change colors and fall to the ground as the trees get ready for the winter, and the following spring.  Autumn leaves are beautiful!

Leaves, though, has another meaning.  When something leaves, it goes away.  For example, the teacher leaves home to go to work, and the student leaves school to go home.

This joke is funny because it plays with two meanings of the word leaves:  The tree has leaves that change colors in the autumn (autumn leaves), and autumn leaves, or goes away, so that winter can come.

Eric Clapton has a song called Autumn Leaves

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No Thorn, No Rose

Q: Where do roses sleep?
A: In a flower bed!

Explanation: According to many surveys, roses are one of the most popular flowers.  Although they have thorns, some people say that they are not that hard to grow.

When you have a garden with flowers (as opposed to a garden with fruits and vegetables), we can call that area a flower bed.  If you prepare the flower bed well, the flowers will grow well.  I have never heard anyone call a vegetable garden a vegetable bed.

A bed, without flower, is a piece of furniture where people sleep, but you kew that.

This joke is funny because it plays with the word bed and flower bed.  Yes, it makes sense that roses would sleep, if they sleep, in a flower bed.  (Thank you, Trevor for the joke!)

Here is a motivational speech titled, Make Your Bed:

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Turkey Crossing

Q: Why did the turkey cross the road?
A: So people would think he was a chicken!

Explanation: Happy Thanksgiving!

In many countries throughout the world people celebrate a day of thanks.  In the United States, Thanksgiving is celebrated on the 4th Thursday in November; that will be November 24 in 2022.  One of the traditional foods for that celebration is turkey.

This joke is funny because it plays with another, well-known joke: Why did the chicken cross the road?  (There are many cross the road jokes.)  Of course, the turkey does not want to become someone’s dinner. So, if it pretends to be a chicken as it crosses the road, it will have a better chance of staying alive, and not ending up on someone’s plate.

There is a lot of research about the benefits of being thankful, of feeling and showing gratitude.  Here is a TED talk about being grateful:

Thank you for reading this blog!

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Banner’s Begonias

Q: Why was the Incredible Hulk so good at gardening?
A: Because he had a green thumb!

Explanation: Dr. David/Robert Bruce Banner becomes the superhero known as the Hulk, or the Incredible Hulk, when he becomes angry.  In that process of becoming the Hulk, his body transforms, becoming larger with lots of muscles, and his skin turns green.  When his skin turns green, his whole body turns green, including his thumb.

To have a green thumb is an idiom that means to be really good at taking care of plants and gardens. My wife has a green thumb, which you can see when you admire the succulents, bonsai, orchid, and geraniums in the window garden.  OK, you don’t really need a green thumb to grow geraniums, but you get the idea.

This joke is funny because it plays with the literal and the figurative meanings of green thumb.

Watch here to see a transformation of Dr. Banner into the Hulk.  Better yet, watch this video to learn how to grow geraniums:

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A Kiss from the Count

Q: What’s it like being kissed by a vampire?
A: It’s a pain in the neck!

Explanation: Happy Halloween to those of you who celebrate!  Many countries around the world celebrate Halloween, or another somewhat-related holiday around this time of year.  A Mexican student of mine once commented that Halloween is a lot like Day of the Dead, but several others disagreed.  I also disagreed, but can see some connections.

In the United States, Halloween for children is about dressing up in costumes and trick-or treating, asking for candy.  One of the most popular costumes continues to be a vampire.  Vampires are well known for biting the neck of their victims and drinking their blood.  If someone were to bite your neck, it would really hurt; it would cause a pain in your neck.

A pain in the neck is an idiom that means something that is bothersome, difficult, or annoying to deal with.  A neighbor’s dog that won’t stop barking might be a pain in the neck; someone who complains all the time might be a pain in the neck.

This joke is funny because it plays with different meanings of pain in the neck: A literal pain that hurts you, and the idiom that means something that is annoying.

Here is how National Geographic explains the history of Halloween:

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Peanut Butter and Worry

Q: Why was the jelly so stressed out?
A: Because it was spread too thin!

Explanation: Jelly is a food made by boiling fruit juice with sugar until it becomes thick and sort of transparent.  Jelly is similar to jam, marmalade, and preserves.  This link can explain more about the differences between those different spreads.

They are called spreads (noun) because you can use a knife and spread (verb) them on bread (or something else).  Other spreads include hummus and chutney.  If you want a lot of jelly on your bread you can spread it really thick, that is, put a lot of jelly on the bread.  Or you can spread it really thin by just using a little bit.

Spread too thin is an idiom that means that you have too much to do and not enough time to do it all.  If that is you, you might tell someone, “I’m sorry I can’t help you.  I am spread too thin right now.”  Having too much to do can be very stressful.

This joke is funny because it plays with the idea of spread too thin: Literally spread too thin like jelly, or figuratively spread too thin, like when you have too much to do.

If you are spread too thin, you might take a break from it all and learn how to make jelly-

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