"If you cannot act crazy every now and then, you cannot stay sane!"

(Dememtrius Pohl, pers. conv., in a pizzeria in New York City, c. 1987)

           This page is devoted to humor related to minerals.  Contributions from you are welcome; just email to Joker in Chief at  wheierman@corunduminium.com or williamh@wcjc.edu.  


  Here are some of the old winners.  Pictures are thumbnails, so click on them to see full resolution images.  
1:  The carving is a Hindu "Ganesha".  It was made from a block of ruby with seams of zoisite found in Karnataks Province, India by local artisans.  Cutting and polishing took about one man-year of labor.
  "George, contemplating malpractice suit after Dr. Varajindaravaniswanthy's unfortunate error:  instead of a tummy tuck, he got a nose job!"
 My favorite is the ransom note that accompanied the photo:  
  "This is terrible!  Gulliver Ruby has been captured, and the Little Crystals are holding him for ransom!!  They want even more than I paid you for him the first time!  Can you help him?  The ransom note said that if we don't pay, they'll cut him up into a thousand little cabochons!  Contributions are desperately needed if I am to save my friend Gulliver.
     As proof of his capture, see the photo.  Thank you in advance for your compassion and generosity!
I am indebted to my friend, Amos Knapstad, Yogo Sapphire miner and bean counter nonpareil, who came up with the clever idea for this photo.  He is also an AGTA (American Gate Trolls' Association) Member - see his picture to the right.


Many good captions were submitted to this one.  Here are some more.

  "O.K., which one of you jokers is Sisyphus?"
  "If we don't get the queen back into the mound quickly, she may get squished by those approaching pedestrians!"
  "No, you can't be in Macy's Parade!  That will never float!"
3: I had two favorites here.  The first was popular, but the second caught me by surprise.  The largest of these Karnataka Province, India crystals weighs about 18 pounds!
  "O.K., which one of you guys is taking these steroids I found in the locker room?"
  "It has been found that regular addition of humans to the diet tends to increase the strength and vitality of minerals."
4: The specimen is from Mogok, Burma.  The antennae and legs are from a my collection of fake insect parts.
  "The infamous 'piltdown caterpillar', which was once thought to provide the missing link between the sea cucumber and homo erectus." 
  "I told her that if she didn't use sunscreeen, she would never make it to butterfly!"
For pseudomorph collectors:  "Corundum after centipede on piece of 100,000,000 year old bread."
5:       We made this one up in the office:   "Although Professor Heierman's clever masquerade as a rich, mineral buying tourist located the legendary giant rubies, he did run into some unexpected hostility.  The question now is whether or not the Geology Department should characterize his expedition as a success."
       "Honey, I know you told me not ever to bring another rock into the house, but I didn't know you were THAT serious!" 
       "Run, Sir William, run!  The Redcoats are coming!  Run!"  My response:  "Would you repeat that, please?"
6: This Steinkopf, Namaqualand crystal is one of the World's oldest corundums.

"When carbon dating fails, trust whatever less reliable forms of evidence are present!"

7: The ruby is from Karnataka Province, India.  The sapphire is Sri Lankan. 
  "Relax, Sapphire!  What makes you think anybody knows we are meeting here?"  "
  "Yeah, I want to be a Reality TV star; but I like my privacy, too!"
8:  You can thank my wife for this one.  She bought the garden ornament.  The sapphire is in fact from Kashmir. 
  "O.K., O.K.!!  You can have THREE grasshoppers and TWO mosquitoes, but NO mayflies!"
  "You say it's Kashmir, but it shore looks like one o' them Cheat-'em synthetics to me!"
9:   Another Karnataka, Province, India ruby...
  "Honey, the doctor says I have twins!!"
10: Taken during the 2007 trip to the Wyoming ruby locality  That' Amos Knapstad again, with another colleague.  We were actually doing some geological reconnaisance on both ridges...
  "Sorry, Amos!  It's that one over there!"
11: This Burmese pseudomorph of corundum after spinel conjures up some funny impressions.

The discovery of the first known oo-aa bird egg suggests that the name is onomatopoetic...

12: Here is a caption in search of a funny picture...
  "My friends can eat whatever they like and they stay elongated ... all I eat is salad, and look at me!




1:    ... you look on the map of New Jersey for Rocky Balboa, Dwight Stones, and Jerry Quarry; thinking they are zeolite collection sites.
2:    ...  you make a backpack for your dog.
3:    ... when you arrive at your home airport, the baggage handlers know you by name but refuse to carry your suitcases.
4:    ... your fear of mice is second only to your aggressiveness toward rattlesnakes lurking in gemstone pockets.
5:    ... you will carry two sixty pound buckets a mile, but will use a shopping cart to carry one lousy gallon of milk 100 feet.
6:    ... you postpone your wedding, because your fiance won't get married on a field trip.
7:    ... none of the rocks in your yard bear any resemblance to local mineralizations.
8:    ... after the riots and broken store windows last night, you ask the cops if you can examine the evidence.
9:    ... when you play "Hangman", your first word is "hypabyssal"  (second is "xenocryst" ). 
10:  ... you take the spare tire out of your trunk to make room for the hammer and shovel, but the jack remains.
11:  ... plutonic injections get you excited.      
12:  ... you frequent garage and yard sales, because of a continuing need for marbles.




  1:  When you get home, the package contains more specimens than when you left the show.  
  More to come...  


            My first mining partner, "Ol' Jake", disappeared without a trace, and it was not until years later that I found out what happened to him.  He died because he was an atheist.  Here is the story.
           One afternoon, he was walking from the plant site upstream to the beer holding pond above the holding pond when he heard a rustling in the bushes behind him.  He turned around to see a large, obviously quite hungry grizzly bear, who began to chase him up the trail at a pace much faster than he could attain, even in mortal flight.
           As the bear was about to catch him, Jake tripped and fell.  He rolled onto his back to see the bear about to strike a fatal blow, and involuntarily screamed out "Oh, my God!"
           At that instant, the stream ceased flowing, the wind stopped in the trees, the birds froze in the azure sky, and the bear did not strike!  ...  "YES?  CAN I HELP YOU?"
           Now, Ol' Jake may have been an atheist, but he was not a slow thinker.  "Well, I don't imagine I could become a Christian after a lifetime of not believing, but perhaps you could make the BEAR a Christian!"
           "IT SHALL BE DONE!"   Momentarily, the stream resumed its downward course, the wind began to stir again, and the birds resumed their flight; but the bear did not strike!
           Instead, he stood with his head bowed reverently and his massive paws pressed together:  "Dear Lord, please bless this food which I am about to receive ..." 
           So, how do I know this is what happened?  Well, later that summer, the bear joined my church; and every Christmas he and I go into the hills together to deliver baskets of food to the poor.  I had to ask him why he felt compelled to do this when most ordinary bears were hibernating; and that is when he told me this remarkable story. 

Somehow, I felt I should have suspected this; because this fine, Christian bear clearly had so much of Jake's goodness in him.



     They tell the story of the young lad who murdered his parents and pled for mercy from the Court because he was an orphan.
     However; the judge, a collector of gemstone crystals, was not swayed by this argument.  Since these crimes were capital offenses, he borrowed a term from mineralogy to impose the maximum penalty for each, declaring from the bench:  "You shall be doubly terminated!"