Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Map Jokes

The blogs for the next week or so may be a bit sporadic as I have been on vacation the last week and am heading off tomorrow for the Miami Map Fair. This has become the most important (and fun) map fair in the world and it will be held in Miami this weekend. Not only are many of the preeminent map dealers in the country putting up displays (including The Philadelphia Print Shop), but a large audience of other map dealers, collectors and scholars descend on Miami for this terrific event put on by the Historical Museum of Southern Florida. If you can make it, either this year or in the future, it is well worth a visit to the Miami Map Fair.

As I have not had a lot of time to write up blogs over the last week nor will I in the next week, I am going to have to fall back on something I worked up over ten years ago! I had been asked to present a talk on collecting maps. This didn't worry me, as I often talked on this topic, but I thought that it would be great to start the talk with a map joke. However, I couldn't think of one. There are chicken jokes, elephant jokes, light bulb jokes, and so forth, so why weren't there map jokes? Were maps not funny (not to spoil the blog, but the answer to that appears to be no!).

So I decided that I would launch a contest to find the World's Greatest Map Joke. I advertised and sent out notices everywhere, sure that I would be inundated with map jokes. Ah... that really wasn't the case, but I did receive a number of entries. How about these...

What is smarter, longitude or latitude?
Longitude, because it has 360 degrees

Why do paper maps never win at poker?
Because they always fold....

In desperation, I wrote to my favorite wit (who one time hailed from Philadelphia, but now is in Miami), Dave Barry. I asked if he knew a good map joke. His reply was:

Why did the chicken cross the road depicted on the map?
To get to the other side of the road depicted on the map.

Obviously David Barry is not inspired by maps. I did receive about 100 replies, of which (sadly) the following are the best. The winner of the contest appears at the end (don't blink or you'll miss it..)

What kind of projection do three out of four ear, nose, and throat specialists prefer?
A sinus-oidal map projection.

Why didn't true north date magnetic north?
She didn't like his bearing.

What do you call a man with a 1970s Russian map in his hand?

What do you call a globe-shaped bottle in which you grow plants?
Orbis Terrarium

What do a row of Bacardi bottles and loxodrome have in common?
Both have rum (rhumb) lines. [And you thought map lovers didn't have a sense of humor!]

Why did the dot go to college
Because it wanted to be a graduated symbol.

Why weren't there any parallels on the map?
Because the cartographer didn't have any latitude in his map design.

Finally the winner!

What do you call a map guide in Alcatraz?
A con tour map.

So.....please help and come up with a better map joke that I can use for my next map talk! Anyone who can really make me smile (and the last joke won because it was the only one that actually made me crack a smile) will receive a free copy of our Guide to Collecting Antique Maps.....

I'll try to post some comments on the map fair this weekend and hope to resume more regular posts next week...

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