Abet and Aid Punsters Day

On November 8, we celebrate puns. As most know, A pun is a joke that relies on wordplay – words that sound the same but are spelled differently (homonyms), words that have more than one meaning, or idioms (phrases that are not literal). Most puns are short, and there is a selection of them below. But the best, in my opinion, are the ones that make you wait for the punch line that will make you groan. The one below I found on the Democratic Underground Site.  There are more where this came from. It is slightly edited for length.

 A research group was engaged in a study of longevity and had recently focused their attention on a particular species of porpoise. They came to believe that, if fed just the right combination of nutrients, this particular porpoise could, in theory, live forever.

 To put this to the test, they studied the world’s flora and fauna and chose an unusual species of mynah bird. It turns out that the mynah bird in question was quite rare, living only in a single tree in Kenya. The research team finally arrived at the tree only to find it surrounded by a pride of very hungry lions.

 To get past the lions, they offered two Cape buffalo. The lions devoured the hapless beasts and lay down upon the grass to sleep and to digest their meal.

 One of the researchers then gingerly tiptoed past the lions and captured one of the mynah birds. No sooner had he rejoined the group walked past the lions to rejoin the group than a game warden appeared and arrested him for (what else)…

 “Transporting mynahs across sedate lions for immortal porpoises.”

 Feel free to groan. If these are your cup of tea, do go to the site. Some are very funny.


Mostly shorter puns.

 The first is a bit longer, but it’s an old favorite of mine.

A couple is walking in St. Petersburg Square on Christmas Eve

They feel a slight precipitation.

“I think it’s raining,” says the man.

“No, it’s snowing,” replies the woman.

“How about we ask this Communist officer here? He is always right!” exclaims the man. “Officer Rudolph, is it raining or snowing?”

“Definitely raining,” Officer Rudolph replies before walking off.

The man turns to his wife with a smile. “See? Rudolph the Red knows rain, dear.”

And the shorter ones.
Whiteboards are remarkable.

 Would a cardboard belt be a waist of paper?

 I’m very good friends with 25 letters of the alphabet. I don’t know why.

 I stayed up all night wondering where the sun went when it got dark. Then it dawned on me.

 I heard a funny joke about a boomerang earlier. I’m sure it’ll come back to me eventually.

 Pencils could be made with erasers at both ends, but what would be the point?

 I’ve just been on a once-in-a-lifetime holiday. I’ll tell you what, never again.

 My friend made a joke about a TV controller. It wasn’t remotely funny.

 I saw an advert that read: “Television for sale, $1, volume stuck on full” I thought to myself, I can’t turn that down.

 Broken puppets for sale. No strings attached.

 I just walked past a shop that was giving out dead batteries free of charge.

 If you don’t pay your exorcist, will you get repossessed?

 Jokes about German sausage are the wurst.

 The other day a clown held the door open for me. I thought it was a nice jester.

 There was a recent study that tried to pinpoint the effect that alcohol had on walking. The result was staggering.

 To the guy who invented Zero: Thanks for nothing!

 I couldn’t work out how to fasten my seatbelt. Then it clicked.

 A small boy swallowed some coins and was taken to hospital. When his grandmother telephoned to ask how he was, the nurse said: “No change yet”.

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Saxophone Day

Adolphe Sax, born on November 6, 1814, was a Belgian instrument maker, flautist, and clarinetist. But most importantly for this day, he was the inventor of the saxophone. The saxophone is part of the family of woodwind instruments. Saxophones are usually made of brass and played with a single-reed mouthpiece similar to that of the clarinet. Sax’s goal was to create the most powerful and adaptable brass woodwind instrument to fill the perceived gap between their respective sections, brass and woodwinds. Saxes come in nine varieties, Sopranissimo, the highest, Sopranino, Soprano, Alto, Tenor, Baritone, Bass, Contrabass, and Subcontrabass, the lowest. However, most saxophonists use one of the four most popular types – tenor, baritone, alto, and soprano.

Sax didn’t do as well as he could from his invention. His patent was only for fifteen years, and once that ran out, he had to fight lawsuits from competitors. He died in 1894, a poor man, and is buried in the Montmartre Cemetery in Paris.

The saxophone, patented in 1846, was originally intended for the military. However, it soon expanded to other types of ensembles, from classical to rock. Once the sax made its way to America, it was adopted by jazz players and is today most often thought of as a jazz instrument. It seems particularly suited for that improvisational style. If you look at a listing of great sax players, most are jazz musicians.

The sax has a lovely warm sound. Days of the Year, puts it like this: “That sultry wail on a mist-ridden street, the seductive tones of Kenny G, and the rich warm sound of a jazzy riff. These sounds truly capture the heart and imagination of their listeners…” If you want to celebrate this day by listening to some saxophone music (and you should) you will find many lovely pieces on YouTube.

Quotes about saxophones

Don’t play the saxophone. Let it play you.–Charlie Parker

The saxophone is so human. Its tendency is to be rowdy, edgy, talk too loud, bump into people, say the wrong words at the wrong time, but then, you take a breath all the way from the center of the earth and blow. All that heartache is forgiven. All that love we humans carry makes a sweet, deep sound and we fly a little.–Joy Harjo

If you like an instrument that sings, play the saxophone. At its best it’s like the human voice.–Stan Getz

That’s the beautiful thing about the saxophone. It can peacefully coexist with just about anything – whether it’s hip-hop, rap, rock music, pop, R&B or jazz, there’s a place for the saxophone in all of those styles.–Dave Koz

I’d loved the clarinet, but there’s something about the saxophone that just grabs you.–Matana Roberts

The potential for the saxophone is unlimited.–Steve Lacy

As a horn player, the greatest compliment one can get is when a person comes to you and says, ‘I heard this saxophone on the radio the other day and I knew it was you. I don’t know the song, but I know it was you on sax.’–Clarence Clemons

I like what Oliver Lakes does on the saxophone. The saxophone comes pretty close to the sound of the human voice and when Oliver plays with other sax players, it’s like a dialogue.–Yusef Komunyakaa

And I saw the sax line-up that he had behind him and I thought, I’m going to learn the saxophone. When I grow up, I’m going to play in his band. So I sort of persuaded my dad to get me a kind of a plastic saxophone on the hire purchase plan.–David Bowie

I practice my saxophone three hours a day. I’m not saying I’m particularly special, but if you do something three hours a day for forty years, you get pretty good at it.–Kenny G

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King Tut Day

November 4 is the day we remember the boy king Tutankhamun because, on this date in 1922, Howard Carter discovered his tomb.

Tutankhamun was born circa 1341 B.C.E.. His father was likely Akhenaten, who had forbidden the worship of many gods in favor of worshiping one, Aten, the sun disk. This had led to much social unrest in Egypt of that time. Following a 17-year reign, he was gone, probably forced to abdicate, and died soon after. His nine-year-old son, Tutankhaten, took over around 1332 B.C.E. He married his half-sister Ankhesenpaaten, who was the same age as he was. The couple had two children, one a miscarriage, and the second stillborn.

Advised by his regent Ay, Tut undid the reforms of his father and reinstated the Egyptian pantheon. The action settled things down, and he seems to have ruled peacefully for about ten years until he suddenly died. The current thinking is that it was from infection from a broken bone, but no one really knows what happened. Tut was buried in a smaller tomb, likely because his own was not ready. However, shortly after his death, General Horemheb seized power and immediately set about wiping Tutankhamun’s name from the official records, He virtually disappeared from history until his tomb was discovered all those years later.

Because of the unexpected death of the young ruler, the tomb was apparently assembled hastily. The antechamber was piled high, in disarray, with gold-covered furniture and dismantled chariots. The annex was full of more gold covered furniture, jars of precious oils and ointments and also food and wine. The burial chamber contained the gold covered shrines and coffins of Tutankhamun.

And finally, for an irreverent look at King Tut, check out this video by Steve Martin from Saturday Night Live.

Quotes about King Tut, Egypt, and Pyramids

When I die, now don’t think that I’m a nut, don’t want no fancy funeral, just one like old King Tut.–Steve Martin

You know, the ancient Egyptians had a beautiful belief about death. When their souls got to the entrance to heaven, the guards asked two questions. Their answers determined whether they were able to enter or not. ‘Have you found joy in your life?’ ‘Has your life brought joy to others?’–Morgan Freeman

From the heights of these pyramids, forty centuries look down on us.–Napoleon Bonaparte

They say the Pharaohs built the pyramids Do you think one Pharaoh dropped one bead of sweat? We built the pyramids for the Pharaohs and we’re building for them yet.–Anna Louise Strong

The pyramid shape is said to hold many secrets and amazing properties. One of them is a sense of wonder.–Vera Nazarian

The pyramids, attached with age, have forgotten the names of their founders.–R. Buckminster Fuller

Today the traveller on the Nile enters a wonderland at whose gates rise the colossal pyramids of which he has had visions perhaps from earliest childhood.–James Henry Breasted

History fades into fable; fact becomes clouded with doubt and controversy; the inscription molders from the tablet: the statue falls from the pedestal. Columns, arches, pyramids, what are they but heaps of sand; and their epitaphs, but characters written in the dust?–Washington Irving

Pyramids, cathedrals, and rockets exist not because of geometry, theories of structures, or thermodynamics, but because they were first a picture- literally a vision-in the minds of those who built them.–Eugene S. Ferguson

Ancient astronauts didn’t build the pyramids. Human beings built the pyramids, because they’re clever and they work hard.–Gene Roddenberry

Build your own pyramids, write your own hieroglyphs.–Kendrick Lamar

A country, after all, is not something you build as the pharaohs built the pyramids, and then leave standing there to defy eternity. A country is something that is built every day out of certain basic shared values.–Pierre Trudeau

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Look for Circles Day

Every November 2, we celebrate circles. Think of all the circles we see each day, from buttons to wheels on vehicles to coins to the dot over the letter “I”. Circles are everywhere.

Circles have great meaning in many cases. A ring is given in marriage to represent the unbroken promise of love. We use wreaths at Christmas to help celebrate the circle of life. These go back to northern Europe, where candles were lit around wagon wheels laid on their side. Celtic crosses are often carved with a circle around the cross, signifying the world. National Whatever Day, puts it like this: “The circle has been associated with; centering, completion, cycles, focus, infinity, mobility, moon, sun, and wholeness. To the Native Americans, the circle is the sun, the moon and her children. The Chinese use the circle to represent the union between heaven and earth.”

A circle can represent protection. We speak of “circling the wagons,” when there is trouble. Of course, this can be a bad thing too, as sometimes people circle their wagons to keep new ideas out. In medieval times, cities were surrounded by thick walls.

Sometimes we go around in circles, meaning we aren’t getting anywhere. Or someone talented might run rings around someone else. We might go around the block when taking a walk. Or someone experienced may be said to have been around the block.

Solid circles, or spheres are used in sports – baseball, basketball, soccer (or football, depending on where you are from). Hockey uses a round puck.

Foods can be round, like tomatoes, melons, oranges, apples, or blueberries. Of course, planets are round, more or less.

So today is the day to become aware of all the circles in your life and your day. See how many you can find – you might be surprised!

Quotes about circles

A circle is the reflection of eternity. It has no beginning and it has no end – and if you put several circles over each other, then you get a spiral.–Maynard James Keenan

A circle is a round straight line with a hole in the middle.–Mark Twain

I live my life in widening circles that reach out across the world.–Rainer Maria Rilke

A circle may be small, yet it may be as mathematically beautiful and perfect as a large one.–Isaac D’Israeli

Gardeners instinctively know that flowers and plants are a continuum and that the wheel of garden history will always be coming full circle.–Francis Cabot Lowell

The whole universe is based on rhythms. Everything happens in circles, in spirals.–John Hartford

Do not bind the children within the narrow circles of your own lives.–Charles Hamilton Houston

Circle are praised, not that abound, In largeness, but the exactly round.–Edmund Waller

Life comes full circle.–Tracey Gold

Circles create soothing space…–Margaret J. Wheatley

The life of man is a self-evolving circle.–Ralph Waldo Emerson

Before you can be eccentric, you must know where the circle is…–Ellen Terry

Circles in water as they wider flow
The less conspicuous in their progress grow,
And when at last they trench upon the shore,
Distinction ceases and they’re view’d no more.
George Crabbe

Everything an Indian does is in a circle, and that is because the power of the world always works in circles, and everything tries to be round. In the old days when we were a strong and happy people, all our power came to us from the sacred hoop of the nation, and so long as the hoop was unbroken the people flourished.–Black Elk

The mind petrifies if a circle be drawn around it, and it can hardly be denied that dogma draws a circle round the mind.–George Moore

If people stand in a circle long enough, they’ll eventually begin to dance.–George Carlin

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