10 Jokes from Around the World

by Laura Turner Garrison

1. Kenya

The Joke: Your family is so stupid, you give your chickens hot water so they can lay boiled eggs.

Why It's Funny: Mchongoano is a type of joke found in Sheng, a language that originated in Nairobi. Mchongoano is used in dissing battles, comparable to “your mom” slams in the United States.

2. Egypt

The Joke: Q: How do you entertain a bored pharaoh?

A: You sail a boatload of young women dressed only in fishing nets down the Nile and urge the pharaoh to go catch a fish.

Why It's Funny: Well, it’s not, really, but some sources identify it as one of the oldest jokes in the world.

3. Uruguay 

The Joke: A girl asks an Argentine man for a light. He pats his trousers, chest, and back pockets.

“Sorry,” he says. “I don’t have one, but wow, do I have a great body or what?

Why It's Funny: Argentine men have a reputation for excessive vanity among their fellow South Americans. No one enjoys poking fun at them quite like the neighboring Uruguayans.

4. Bulgaria 

The Joke: A Gabrovonian has to mend his door, so he sends his son to the neighbor’s to borrow a hatchet. The child returns empty-handed; the neighbor had lied about not having a hatchet.

“Don’t bother about that miser,” says the father indignantly. “Bring our hatchet up from the cellar.”

Why It's Funny: The city of Gabrovo is a self-declared international comedy capital where the residents are notoriously thrifty.

5. Germany

The Joke: Q: How do you turn a Trabant into a sports car?

A: Put sneakers in the glove compartment!

Why It's Funny: The Trabant was the best-selling car in the former East Germany. The ride is a punchline for its cheapness, due in no small part to its grossly underpowered engine and plastic body.

6. Lebanon 

The Joke: Rural Minister: My son, arak is a person’s worst enemy.

The Drunk: Father, you have always preached that we should love our enemy.

Rural Minister: This is very true, my son, but I have never said you should swallow your enemy.

Why It's Funny: Arak is the Lebanese national liquor, a 100-proof spirit distilled from grapes and green aniseeds. Drink enough of it and this joke’s hilarious.

7. China

The Joke: A chess player who thought highly of his own skill once lost three games in a row. The next day, a friend asked him how the games had turned out.

“I didn’t win the first game,” the chess player replied, “and my opponent didn’t lose the second. As to the third game, I asked him to agree to a draw, but he wouldn’t.”

Why It's Funny: As you might guess, Chinese jokes are fairly straightforward, avoid political topics, and steer clear of depressing subject matter.

8. Burma

The Joke: A Burmese man visits a dentist in India.

The dentist asks him: “Don’t you have dentists in Burma?”

“Yes, we do,” the man replies, “but we’re not allowed to open our mouths.”

Why It's Funny: Until its dissolution in 2011, the military junta that ruled Burma effectively outlawed free speech. Burmese comedian Zarganar spent three years in jail for telling jokes like this one.

9. Sri Lanka

The Joke: A teacher has told her students to write an essay on a cricket match. All are busy writing except Udurawana.

He wrote: “DUE TO RAIN, NO MATCH!!!”

Why It's Funny: Sri Lankan jokes often feature a dim-witted fellow named Udurawana (no relation to the village of the same name).

10. Australia

The Joke: Q: Why do Australians pee in the bushes at parties?

A: Because there’s always someone chundering in the toilet.

Why It's Funny: Australians so proudly joke about their drinking habits that an entire genre of humor has developed around “chunder”—Aussie slang for vomit.

All photos courtesy of iStock.

Start Your Morning Right With the Alarm Clock That Makes You Coffee

For those who can't function in the morning, a cup of coffee is key. For those who can't even function enough to make that cup of coffee, there's the Barisieur. This innovative alarm clock (now available at Urban Outfitters) awakens the sleeper with the smell of coffee and the gentle rattle of stainless steel ball bearings as the water boils.

Take sugar or milk? There's a special compartment for milk so the liquid stays fresh and cool until you're ready to use it in the morning. On the front, there's a drawer for sugar. The whole tray can even be removed for easy cleaning.

Not a coffee fan? The Barisieur also brews loose-leaf tea.

The milk vessel of the coffee alarm clock
Barisieur, Urban Outfitters

The gadget also has an actual alarm that can be set to sound before or during the coffee making process. 

This invention was thought up by product designer Joshua Renouf as part of his studies at Nottingham Trent University in the UK. Though the idea started as just a prototype for class back in 2015, Renouf managed to make it a reality, and you can now buy one of your very own.

At $445, the alarm clock is quite an investment, but for coffee lovers who have trouble forcing themselves out of bed, it might be more than worth it. Go ahead, picture waking up slowly to the smell of roasted coffee beans and only having to sit up in bed and enjoy.

Buy it at one of the retailers below:

[h/t: Design-Milk.com]

A version of this article first ran in 2015. It has been updated to reflect the product's current availability.

Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a small percentage of any sale. But we choose all products independently and only get commission on items you buy and don’t return, so we’re only happy if you’re happy. Thanks for helping us pay the bills!

If March 15 Is the Ides of March, What Does That Make March 16?

iStock.com/bycostello
iStock.com/bycostello

Everyone knows that the soothsayer in William Shakespeare's Julius Caesar was talking about March 15 when he warned the Roman emperor to "beware the Ides of March." We also all know Caesar's response: "Nah, I gotta head into the office that day." But if March 15 is the Ides of March, what does that make March 16?

At the time of Caesar's assassination, Romans were using the Julian calendar (introduced by Julius Caesar himself). This was a modified version of the original Roman calendar, and it is very similar to the one we use today (which is called the Gregorian calendar). A major difference, however, was how Romans talked about the days.

Each month had three important dates: the Kalends (first day of the month), the Ides (the middle of the month), and the Nones (ninth day before the Ides, which corresponded with the first phase of the Moon). Instead of counting up (i.e., March 10, March 11, March 12), Romans kept track by counting backwards and inclusively from the Kalends, Ides, or Nones. March 10 was the sixth day before the Ides of March, March 11 was the fifth day before the Ides of March, and so on.

Because it came after the Ides, March 16 would’ve been referred to in the context of April: "The 17th day before the Kalends of April." The abbreviated form of this was a.d. XVII Kal. Apr., with "a.d." standing for ante diem, meaning roughly "the day before."

So, had Julius Caesar been murdered on March 16, the soothsayer's ominous warning would have been, "Beware the 17th day before the Kalends of April." Doesn't have quite the same ring to it.

This story first ran in 2016.

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