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

(D. 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  Below are a couple of my somewhat original offerings; but first a contest for a prize!
     The person who submits the funniest caption for the picture to the right (click on photo for better view) will win a corundum specimen from some unusual locality, to be selected with the assistance of the winner.  Judging of the entries will be done by the donor of the prize, who will keep the prize himself unless the cleverest submission is better than his own.  
    The winning entry was submitted anonymously:  "George, contemplating malpractice suit after Dr. Varajindaravaniswanthy's unfortunate error:  instead of a tummy tuck, he got a nose job!"  Prize was a small gem Mogok, Burma ruby in a nepheline calcite cleavage.
          These "rockhound" one-liners are some of my favorite jokes.  A few are original.
You know you are a rockhound, if ...
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.
     The person who submits the funniest caption to the picture to the right (click on photo for better view) will win a nice but not particularly expensive purple sapphire corundum crystal in calcite matrix from the Hunza Valley, Pakistan.  Judging of the entries will be done by the donor of the prize, who will keep the prize himself unless the cleverest submission is better than his own.  Deadline for submissions, which should be sent by e-mail to, is February 28, 2003.

The large crystal weighs 18 pounds, and is from Karnataka Province, India.  I purchased it from K.C. Pandey (Superb Minerals India) in Tucson, 2000.  I could not resist emailing him, after seeing how well the picture came out.  Here is the text of the note:
     "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 posted on my website, Thank you in advance for your compassion and generosity!
     Amos Knapstad, Yogo Sapphire miner and bean counter nonpareil, came up with the clever idea for this photo.  He is also an AGTA (American Gate Trolls' Association) Member (see thumbnail to right). 

     Thanks, Amos!  Email me and claim a special prize for your creative suggestion!  (He doesn't have a computer!)
     This contest ended in a dead heat.  Two individuals submitted entries at least worth the puny prize being offered, so I broke it in half and am awarding one piece to each.  Lots will be drawn to see who gets the corundum end and who gets the calcite end.  The winning entrants and entries: 
    1:  Jo Schaper (Jo Schaper's Missouri World):  "O.K., which one of you jokers is Sisyphus?"
    2:   Martin Bastable, United Kingdom, had several - here are a trio:
"The Giant Octocorundum grabbed the tiny crystals around it with its tentacles, sucking the very life out of them, feeding its insatiable greed; for today, it would become head of the herd!"
 "As they dragged their catch onto the beach, they realised just how big it was!"
"The local rock theatrical society realised the latest production of 'James and the Giant Corundum' wasn't going so well!"
Here are some runners up:
 "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!"

Thanks, everybody - a great set of entries!!

      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!"


     The individual who submits the funniest caption to the photo to the right (click on photo for better view) will win a small, euhedral doubly terminated sapphire from Brazil (a rarity).  Judging of the entries will be done by the donor of the prize, who will keep it himself unless the best entry is better than his own.  Deadline for submissions, which should be sent by e-mail to, is March 31, 2003.

     The rubies in this photo are all from Karnataka Province, India.  The largest is a nearly perfect barrel-shaped, doubly terminated crystal weighing about 16 pounds.  When not posing for photos, it doubles as a doorstop. 
     This was a tough one to judge, but I have made a decision.  The winner (again, preferring to remain anonymous), submitted:  "O.K., which one of you guys is taking these steroids I found in the locker room?".  It was hard not to give it to "It has been found that regular addition of humans to the diet tends to increase the strength and vitality of minerals.", but not impossible.
     The individual who submits the funniest caption to the photo to the right (click on photo for full resolution view) will receive a decent but not particularly valuable corundum specimen to be chosen later.  Judging of the entries will be done by the donor of the prize, who will keep it himself if none of the entries are better than his own.  Deadline for submissions, which should be sent by e-mail to, is  May 31, 2003.
     The specimen in this photo is from Mogok, Burma.  I understand complete ones (with both antennae) are quite rare.

     The winning entry, after much rumination, was determined to be:  "The infamous 'piltdown caterpillar', which was once thought to provide the missing link between the sea cucumber and homo erectus."  The winner, for reasons known only to herself, has requested anonymity.  Her prize was a small doubly terminated sapphire crystal from Yogo Gulch, Montana.
     Several individuals submitted variants of the runner-up:   "I told her that if she didn't use sunscreeen, she would never make it to butterfly!"
      In the face of this competition, my entry, "Corundum after centipede on piece of 100,000,000 year old bread", never had a chance.
    Although the rules and the prize are essentially the same as for the previous contests, this time I am going to show you what you have to beat to win a rock, up front.  Deadline for receipt of contest entries is September 30, 2003.  
     "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."
     Yes, that is Yours Truly; and those really are ruby crystals (from Karnataka and Tamil Nadu Provinces, India - weighing up to twenty pounds).
     Here's a good one from Andrea Tan in Kuala Lumpur:  "Run, Sir William, run!  The Redcoats are coming!  Run!"   I might add as a continuation:  "What?"
     Gloria Thayer of High Point, North Carolina and a couple of other contestants came up with variations of:  "Honey, I know you told me not ever to bring another rock into the house, but I didn't know you were THAT serious!"
     This was a close one to call, but I had to give it to the marvelously intricate and bureaucratic entry which appears first above.  Being a college Math teacher, I also felt the connection (it was contrived during whimsical conversations about the photo with colleagues).
     These captions already have pictures, which I will publish soon; but in the meantime see if you can come up with some better ones.  If you have a good corundum picture with humorous caption, it might appear here.  Please send  submissions (photos preferred as 640x480 JPG's) to me at
  My friends can eat whatever they like and they stay elongated ... all I eat is salad, and look at me!
                                      "Honey, the doctor says I have twins!!"  
  "Cluster's Last Stand"  (patterned after the famous pen and ink of the epic battle).
     By now you know the rules.  Here is the picture.  The sapphire is from Steinkopf, Namaqualand, and I guess it is one of the World's oldest crystals.  This contest will end on or about some time near the end of October, 2003, give or take.
     Not many submissions here.  Winner by default is "When carbon dating fails, trust whatever less reliable forms of evidence are present!"
     Here is another.  The ruby is from Subramaniam, Karnataka Province, India; the sapphire is from Sri lanka; and the TV camera is from Matsushita.  Entry deadline will be November 30.  
     First prize (a small but attractive Pakistani ruby in calcite) went to a friend for "Relax, Sapphire!  What makes you think anybody knows we are meeting here?"  Running close second were variations of  "Yeah, I want to be a Reality TV star; but I like my privacy, too!"
You can thank my wife for this one.  She bought the garden ornament.  The sapphire is in fact from Kashmir.  Winner gets a small sapphire from the same locality.  Let's end this one may 31, 2004.  My caption, which winner has to beat, is "O.K., O.K.!!  You can have THREE grasshoppers and TWO mosquitoes, but NO mayflies!"   Runner up is : "You say it's Kashmir, but it shore looks like one o' them Cheat-'em synthetics to me!"  

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