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Why Waste It?

I put up a post over on, in which I had complained about the ancient joke about the Poles sending an expedition to the sun, in which they'd go at night to avoid being burned up.

I pointed out that jokes about ethnic groups that just point out how stupid they are are pointless, since the groups themselves are interchangeable, and have nothing to do with any actual characteristics or history of that ethnic group. In that vein, I provided an example of an appropriate (and I think funny) ethnic joke. I figured that, since I spent the time typing it over on Usenet, I might as well post it here as well:

A guy is walking down the street in Gdansk, and he sees a lamp. He picks it up, brushes the dust off it, and of course, out pops a genie.

"In reward for releasing me from my bondage, I will grant you three wishes. What would you like?"

The guy thinks about it for a while, then he says, "I'd like the Chinese to pillage Warsaw."

The genie scratches his head at the strange request, then shrugs and says, "OK, here you go."

The Chinese march in and pillage the Polish capital.

The genie says, "OK, now what's your second wish? Make it a good one this time."

The guy thinks about it for a while again, and then he says, "I'd like the Chinese to pillage Warsaw."

The genie is wondering if he hears him right.

"What do you mean? That was your first wish. They've been there, done that. Don't you want something else?"

The guys says, "No, I want the Chinese to pillage Warsaw."

The genie throws up his hands, and has the Chinese pillage Warsaw again. This time no woman is left unraped, no one is left alive, many of the buildings have been leveled.

"OK. You get one more wish. Don't waste it, like you did the others."

The guy thinks for a long time, and finally, he says, "You know, what I'd really like, is for the Chinese to pillage Warsaw."

Now the genie is about to have a fit.

"What are you talking about?! There's nothing left to pillage!"

"I don't care. I want the Chinese to pillage it anyway."

Well, the genie has to honor the wish, and this time, when all the festivities are over, the former Polish capital is nothing but a smoldering crater.

The genie says, "You know, we aren't supposed to ask these things, but I've just got to know. Why? Why, three times, you have the Chinese pillage your own country's capital?"

The guy says, "Look, they did it three times, right?"

The genie says, "Right."

"So, every time they do that, they cross Russia twice.

Posted by Rand Simberg at October 16, 2006 05:16 PM
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Tracked: October 18, 2006 10:49 PM

That's great!

And I'm half Polish so I can say that.

Posted by Rick C at October 16, 2006 06:33 PM

So when the genie nods his head and grants the wish does that make the leader of China instantly mobilize the billion man army out of nowhere and tear ass accross Russia? Or would the genie's supernatural powers just cause souless minions that somehow look like chinese soldiers to instantly teleport into Warsaw? Or, perhaps the genie instantly realizing the fruitlessness of the wish yet would still need to upkeep his duties to grant 3 wishes would just conjure a hallucination in the wishee's mind making him believe that Warsaw was being sacked.

*Chinese premier instanly leaps out of bed and runs to the phone in the middle of the night*

Minister of Defense: "Uuhhh, OOOkkkaaayyy?"

Posted by Josh Reiter at October 16, 2006 08:15 PM

Overthinking it a little, Josh.

Posted by Rick C at October 16, 2006 08:27 PM

They joked about Copernicus. "Did you hear about the Polish astronomer? He thought that Earth goes around the Sun!"

Posted by L Riofrio at October 16, 2006 10:01 PM

I see you've been talking to Greg Maryniak; I first heard that joke from him at least 25 years ago.

Posted by Lee Valentine at October 17, 2006 01:28 AM

Actually, while I do occasionally talk to Gregg, my dim recollection is that I heard it from Scott Pace.

Posted by Rand Simberg at October 17, 2006 03:43 AM

That is funny. Heh heh.

Posted by Independent at October 17, 2006 05:12 AM

Actually I don't think Josh is overanalyzing it because the joke changes completely depending upon which interpretation you have.

Posted by rjschwarz at October 17, 2006 09:22 AM

The "they had to cross Russia twice" joke is old and in many forms, yes, though I think in its post-WW2 form it involved the Chinese or Mongols sacking Berlin rather than Warsaw.

Posted by Sigivald at October 17, 2006 09:51 AM

I have friends who are Balts, and each has told me (at different times) that same joke, substituting their respective nations for Warsaw.

Here's another, supposedly from Leningrad, when it was still Leningrad:

It's 2049, and all is quiet on the Sino-Finnish border.

Posted by Lurking Observer at October 17, 2006 01:21 PM

Yeah, uncle Jacob (yahkub) told me that, as the Mongols invading Kiev. "Why" asks the genie. "Because they have to come allllll the way thru Russia and allllll the way back," he would finish with a sweeping gesture and an evil gleam in his eye.

Posted by Aleta at October 17, 2006 03:22 PM

Yea I know I have a way of sucking the fun out of a joke.

Speaking of which I have a joke:

What's the best way to hide an elephant in the jungle?

Paint his balls red and stick him up in a apple tree.

Whats the loudest sound in the jungle?

Monkeys eating apples.

Posted by Josh Reiter at October 17, 2006 05:54 PM

Funniest ethnic joke ever, punchline only for Boondocks Saints fans:
"I'll have a Coke"

It's a guilty pleasure.

Posted by TBinSTL at October 18, 2006 02:51 AM

The best Polock jokes come from a Pole, to whit this was one of many told to a hispanic relative of mine by a coworker.

A Polish guy goes to his doctor to have his IQ of 80 lowered because he can't relate to his relatives and friends. The doctor says I have just the thing and hooks him up to a shiny new machine in his office.


Then the doctor get's a call from his wife and begins to argue over some purchases...


Realizing he's left him his patient on the machine to long he hangs up the phone and rushes back to his office...


Unhooking the machine he shakes his glassy eyed patient calling out, 'Are you OK? Are you OK?"

Si, Si, Senor!

Ok, I'm 1/4 swede, 1/4 english and half wop! Your turn...

Posted by ken anthony at October 18, 2006 09:49 AM

From the "obscure reference" category, overheard on Radio Yerevan:
- And now for the questions and answers section. Our listeners ask: 'What is the most beautiful city in the world?'
- Our answer is simple as it is obvious: The most beautiful city in the world is our beloved capital of Armenia, Yerevan.
- And now a followup question from our listeners: 'What would happen to the most beautiful city in the world, if one were to drop a nuclear bomb on it?'
- We answer: The most beautiful city in the world is Baku!

(exp: Baku is the capital of Azerbaidzhan, the mortal enemy of Armenia)

Posted by Ben Reytblat at October 18, 2006 03:22 PM

I'm very sorry, but I still don't get this joke. Is it supposed to be bad for the Chinese for the Chinese to cross Russia, and the guy hates the Chinese? Or bad for the Russians for the Chinese to cross Russia, and the guy hates the Russians? Or GOOD for the Chinese to cross Russia, and the guy LIKES the Chinese? Or what? To me this joke doesn't seem to have even the amount of joke-logic needed for ignition.

Posted by Mark at October 18, 2006 04:56 PM

forget all foregoing "ethnic jokes", here's the best Genie joke of all tim
A guy, who just went thru the worst divorce in history, is walking on the beach when he finds an ancient oil lantern buried in the sand.
Picking it up he accidently rubs it.
The lamps genie appears and informs him he has just one wish.
The downside to the wish is, the evil ex-wife will get double what he wishes for.
After a few moments of the thought, he wishes for the Genie to beat him half to death.

Posted by MikeD at October 18, 2006 08:21 PM

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