Musings and Amusings

Posts tagged ‘Humor’

The Beauty of Female Comedians

“I’ve always loved independent women, outspoken women, eccentric women, funny women, flawed women.”

So begins Diane Keaton in her book of essays Let’s Just Say It Wasn’t Pretty

Diane fits effortlessly into the eccentric and outspoken categories, and I place myself dead center as a flawed woman. Hub says he married me for my quirky sense of funny and my independent spirit.

Diane and I – we’ve got it covered.

Diane writes of her admiration for women in the entertainment arts who thrive without becoming slaves to our beauty and youth-obsessed culture. She celebrates groundbreaking female comedians Totie Fields, Phyllis Diller and Joan Rivers. Each made her mark using satire to deride her own physical flaws or multiple cosmetic surgeries.

I thought about which female comedians influenced me as they had Diane – women not deemed beautiful by societal norms who exaggerated their own physical features, using their comedic timing to create caricatures we could simultaneously laugh at and love.

In the late ‘60s, Carol Burnett and Ruth Buzzy set the gold standard for Caricature Comedic Beauty.

Carol Burnett’s comedy-variety show ran from 1967-1978. She and sidekicks Tim Conway, Harvey Korman, Lyle Waggoner and Vickie Lawrence entertained us with side-splitting skits of sass, silliness and unexpected improvisation. I don’t know who laughed harder – them or us!


Carol & sidekick Harvey Korman; Source: Google Images

Carol’s face was born to comedy – her wide, round, slightly protruding eyes; her too-large mouth with horsey teeth and generous lips, and her booming voice with her signature Tarzan yell. She used those assets, along with her wit and unabashed showmanship to create characters who became real in the eyes of her adoring audience.


Charwoman character; Source: Google Images

Ruth Buzzy is best known for her 1968-1973 stint on Rowen & Martin’s Laugh-In. Like Carol, Ruth was a master at manipulating her facial features – doleful brown eyes, prominent nose and overly wide grin with big, white teeth – literally twisting herself into the physical embodiment of her character’s personality.

Gladys Ormsby character; Google Images

Gladys Ormsby character; Source: Google Images

Who can forget Gladys Ormsby – the downtrodden park benchwarmer with the perpetually sour expression? Dressed in a dull brown sweater; sleek hair swept into a bun and covered with a black hairnet knotted in the middle of her forehead like a scary spider’s web. Her thick nylon stockings were rolled up to her kneecaps above her clunky, black tightly tied shoes.

Harmless and docile until a passing pervert incurred her wrath by daring to sit or speak, she’d grasp her purse in both fists, bringing the full force of her lethal weapon down upon that lecherous sap.


Source: Google Images

Two other female comedians made lasting impressions on me.

Goldie Hawn, another Laugh-In regular, represented Intellectual Parody Comedic Beauty. Sure she garnered attention for giggling and gyrating to funky music in her striking bikini cameos revealing her full body, psychedelic tattoos (risqué for ‘60’s tv). But beyond that titillation, what struck me was Goldie’s willingness to be the quintessential airhead blonde.

Courtesy Google Images

Source: Google Images

The late 60’s were dead-serious years for women when feminism and the sexual revolution gave rise to female voices clamoring not only to be heard, but to be accorded the same rights, opportunities and rewards as males. Goldie’s ditzy act taught 18-year-old me that even in the midst of taking ourselves seriously, humor is a healthy human counterbalance.

g hawn 1

Source: Google Images

Lastly, two decades later, Julia Louis-Dreyfus – Elaine Benes in Seinfeld – taught me Obnoxious Comedic Beauty.

Growing up, and even into my adult professional life, I got the message that women could be a lot of things, but obnoxious wasn’t one of them. Females put the reins on ourselves. Whether it was my workplace where men outnumbered and outranked women – often jockeying with each other for badass boasting rights – or in a group of women where there was subtle pressure to fit in, I often came home thinking, “God, I hope I didn’t come across as an asshole when I …”.

Elaine, my Asshole Female Hero, behaved just as obnoxiously as Jerry, George and Kramer. And best of all, she didn’t give a shit.

Google Images

Source: Google Images

I can’t say I ever intentionally behave as badly as Elaine, but I’d like to. Just once in awhile let that Asshole Comedic Beauty rip loose. Without consequences other than a laughing audience!


Source: Google Images


This Doesn’t Add Up!

Hub and I sat down last night to help Sparks (5th grade) with his homework.

You know where I’m going with this, right?

Sparks gave us an hour lesson in New Math, during which my thinking cap was knocked so askew I had to lie down for an hour. In New Math, that adds up to 1½ hours of no one learning any New Math.

We recovered by having some pie.


Apparently 98% of our population in any given year doesn’t grasp how to add, subtract or multiply numbers by columns. Neither do we know how to divide numbers using this cool Boomer doodle pattern:


That’s the only reason I like long division – that rockin’ doodle pattern!

Don’t worry, there are doodle patterns in New Math; just not that obsolete Boomer pattern.

In New Math, the doodle pattern is 100% addition.

That’s right. Subtraction, multiplication and division are each distilled down to addition. Specifically addition of tens. See how this problem starts out as subtraction but quickly morphs into addition?


In addition, Plus Also, horizontal processing has replaced vertical calculations.

For instance this kind of problem:


Now looks like …

new math

The gist is 72 and 39 are broken down into tens and reconfigured into completely new numbers spread out across that doodle-y horizontal line. The new numbers are then … … ok, I have no idea how to proceed, but I’m 97% certain there’s a subsequent calculation requiring an additional doodle.

new math doodle

Is anyone seeing a pattern here?

Call me doodle-brained, but New Math looks like it’s taking us down a slippery slope to a nation of … well … doodlers, not mathematicians!

Nevertheless, I’m encouraging Sparks to stick with New Math. I’m counting on him to calculate answers to some mathematical problems that have long plagued my musing mind:

  1. How is it that my nieces and nephews are approaching age 40 when I’m barely one face-wrinkle past 39 myself?
  2. How is it that my youngest brother, who I invariably describe as age 22, is actually – when I doodle it out – 57?
  3. Why can audiologists fine tune Hub’s hearing aids with eight different programs so he can HEAR, but not a single calibration will entice him to LISTEN?
  4. How can we successfully land a space explorer on a comet after traveling a cumulative four billion miles, but my cable provider cannot accurately sync my ‘automatic recording option’ with the actual start time of my shows?
  5. How can we bask in 70 degree sunshine at 10am; shiver in 29 degree snow flurries at 10:30am; and shovel two feet of snow in single digit temperatures 24 hours later? What is a Polar Vortex anyway? It sounds like something out of the Hunger Games (which I pray is not New World repercussions from the New Math Doodling curriculum).

When I was an auditor, I had a client who developed his own catch-all math response to my intrusive audit inquisition – probing for the truth about sales, inventory, expenses and profit.

Me: “Hey Sam, I’m looking at your inventory records stating the number of new and used cars you have on the lot, but my actual count is … well, it’s just not adding up.”

Sam (grabbing inventory sheet and his eraser): “What number would you like it to be?”

Sam didn’t need New Math OR a doodle to calculate that!


Source of graphics and photos: Google Images


Why I’m Banned from Watching Election Night Results

election 2014

Google Images


I have the opposite of the Midas touch when it comes to choosing political winners.

Do you want to guarantee your candidate will win?

Just convince me to back the other guy.

Independent, Democrat, Republican – it doesn’t matter. I back candidates of all persuasions and, with inexplicable regularity, they lose.

In our house there is a 100% chance of an UPSET on election night:

  • 99.9% of the time I’M UPSET because my guy loses
  • a measly .1% of the time there’s an election upset and my candidate wins

Two years ago, the latter – an election upset – caused a chain reaction. An upset of such epic destruction that I am now banned from watching tv on election night.

It all began innocently enough. After an hour of watching early returns – all races going as expected (the other guys winning) – my stomach signaled time to eat.

“What do you want for dinner, pasta or salad?”

“Let’s have pasta.”

“Do you want spaghetti sauce or pesto?”

“The marinara sauce, please. With meatballs.”

“Want some wine? We have a bottle of that cab you like.”

“Not tonight, thanks.”

“Well I’m going to have some. It’ll make my candidates’ defeats easier to swallow.”

Twenty minutes later, butts back in our arm chair recliners; tv trays placed squarely in front of us; warm marinara sauce smothering the thick strands of red onion pasta in bowls atop our trays, we dug in. My second glass of wine – full to the brim – beckoned within easy reach on the tray next to my pasta bowl.

A steady stream of election results scrolled across the bottom of the tv screen as the talking heads preened in their illusory self-importance.


A breaking news alert!


election results

Google Images


One of the state elections was unexpectedly trending for the underdog – my guy. The guy who had no chance was on the verge of being crowned the projected winner!

I jerked my head up from my spaghetti bowl, turned to Hub with a startled, “Did you hear …” and never finished my utterance.

Apparently when I last left my chair, I hadn’t given the foot rest the solid kick needed to lock it in place. My head jerk and body turn were enough momentum to set my chair in motion.

Slow-w-w-w-w-w Motion

The kind of perceived slow motion occurring when you realize something terrible is about to happen and you are powerless to stop it.

As the foot rest snapped abruptly upwards, catching the legs of the tray and launching it towards the tv, my body was thrown back in sync with the now-reclining chair.

I thrust my arms forward in a futile attempt to grab the rapidly receding tray. Alas, we were catapulted in opposite directions.

I yelled; Hub yelled; the tv tray crumpled; the bowl flew; the glass shattered; red wine splotched; spaghetti splattered.


The beige carpet, the freshly painted white cupboards, the books and paper piles and yoga mat – all covered with the gory aftermath of a blood and guts murder.

Politics is messy business …

Does anyone want to catch a movie Tuesday night?


Secrets of a Boomer Fashionista – Finale

This series has been a real eye-opener.

What’s become alarmingly clear to me – should I ever be searching for one of you bosom buddies in person – is the most likely place to find you is in the Men’s Clothing Department buying everything from Levi’s to jockey shorts.


Even Dan could just as easily be selecting Valentine’s Day work boots for his wife as adding to his own closet.

So much for Sammy’s deep dark sartorial secrets.

It certainly makes me hesitant to post my musing on whether anyone REALLY goes to those nudist camps for summer vacation!

Lest you think I’m a complete buzz-kill in black tanks and tan shorts, I’ll leave you with images … of … my … sox.





Can you believe it? The clinically proven explanation for this cluster chaos in my otherwise utilitarian wardrobe?

I retreat to Sox Sanctuary, confidently buying “Size 9-11” when the trauma of facing another claustrophobic dressing room with one pair of pants in each size: 10, 12, 14 and 16 becomes more than I can handle.

The sock department is not without its tiny torture. Sure, I can buy 3-paks and 6-paks, but sox in those paks match only one other sock which means I’m left with strays every time my washing machine eats a sock.

Defiantly, I wear the lonely singles – one on my left foot and one on my right.




Walking down the aisle at Whole Foods wearing the above two sox, I approached an oncoming Whole Foods employee. You know who I’m talking about: the 20-something farm-fresh, freckle-faced vegan who’s never met a calorie she can’t burn.

“I like your sox,” she chirped as we passed.

Holy Tank Top, Sammy! That little whippersnapper likes your sox! I got so giddy I gave myself a Fashionista Fistbump.

I told Maggie we already covered shoes with Dan’s earlier “when I like ’em I buy two pair” comment. However, I’m compelled to point out during this series the only shoes we’ve mentioned are:

  • Birkenstocks
  • Keens
  • Crocs
  • Sauconys
  • Dr. Scholls
  • Work boots
  • Comfy FLAT ankle boots

Need I point out these are the foot fashion equivalent of black tank tops and shorts?

Not a Manolo Blahnik or Christian Louboutin among you? (Kirsten?)

Google Images: Louboutin

Google Images: Louboutin

My 7-year love affair with high heels ended when my burgeoning bunions required surgery – both feet – four surgeries.

Couldn’t former Mayor Bloomburg have widened his Nanny State Health Net to support this sadly neglected women’s rights issue? The right to wear orthopedically correct shoes on the red carpet?

Thus ends my series on Boomer Fashionista Secrets.

That cacophony of applause is suspect ….


Seriously, dear blogging buddies, I’ve reached a few blogging stats milestones this month. The stats we all claim we don’t pay attention to, but check daily as newbies.

The stat that matters to me is YOU.

Thank you, every one of you, for giving me support, encouragement and soft landings while I try unfamiliar writing voices, share personal experiences, and muse on curiosities possibly too mundane to garner an audience.

I never thought of myself as a writer. And I never thought of writers as artists. Now I know we are.

I count my blessings and you are many.

Secrets of a Boomer Fashionista – Part 3

When Hub and I started dating, ski trainwe occasionally rode the weekend ski train to Winter Park, which was such a luxury because after a chilly day on the slopes, we could all party relax on the train on the ride home.

One Saturday, a fellow passenger  – who obviously partied relaxed too hearty – stared cross-eyed at Hub and me cuddling in our seat then slurred, “Zou look like brudder and zizter.”


We weren’t dressed alike that day but since then, when we see a couple dressed alike, we look at each other, “Promise me. Never!”

I’m not talking about those bad-dude, leather-decked, heavily tattoed bikers with their wind-whipped babes on the back of their hawgs. They’re wearing BLACK and you know how much I *heart* black.

I’m talking about those harmless little white-haired, stoop-shouldered elders Blue Jacket 1in their MATCHING pale blue jackets. What is it about the elderly and pastels – especially blue? Is there some rule like the “No white shoes until Memorial Day” that decrees once you reach 85, your jacket has to be pastel blue? And if you’re married and 85, your jackets have to match?

No siree! Not only will you never catch me in a pastel blue jacket, you’ll never catch Hub and me in matching apparel anything.

        * cricket  cricket  cricket * (sound of uneasy silence)

Fine. That’s not quite true.

I have another Sammy Secret.

If I tell you, I’m going to have to kill you. Some secrets are just that embarrassing sacred.

I’ve never had a waist to speak of. I’m best described as a tree trunk. Fairly straight up and down as in: thick waist + smallish hips = straight up and down.

Consequently I’ve always had trouble finding pants that fit. Women’s lower-half clothing is designed for pears and apples, not tree trunks.

If I get pants wide enough for my waist, they are too big for my hips. If I size down for my hips, they squeeze my waist. In addition my legs are short enough that I have to shop in the “petite” section. Did you know petite means “very sparse selection”?

Worst of all, whether petite or regular size, clothing is invariably too short/tight in the crotch resulting in a wedgie-like condition to the extent that I find it utterly painful to sit and barely tolerable to stand.

Two summers ago when I pulled my skorts and shorts from the closet, I realized a sadistic prankster had snuck in and shrunk everything. Nothing fit.

Cruelly, I was faced with that dreaded trip to the clothing store. The thought made me a little crazy.

I cannot justify or live down what I did next, but for some inexplicable reason instead of heading to the store, I opened Hub’s dresser drawer; removed a pair of his white briefs; and put them on.

What’s even more shocking than trying them on is discovering they fit! (Why do men’s butts get skinnier and women’s get wider as we age?) Sure there was a little excess room in the frontal area, but crotch-wise, hip-wise and waist-wise, the briefs fit. Comfortably!

I swear I’m not a cross-dresser and I wasn’t seeking a new line of underwear (like I said, inexplicable impulse).

But I desperately needed summer apparel for my bottom half. Why not shop in Hub’s closet?

Lo and behold, his black shorts fit me perfectly! Not only were they tree-trunk straight, but they had oh-so-comfy crotch space for my delicate self.

I raced to the store; bee-lined for the Men’s-Is-the-New-Women’s Department; and returned with 3 black, 1 tan and 1 gray pair of shorts.



I pulled out my Perma marker and tattoed my labels so we could tell them apart in the wash.




Mission accomplished, I poured myself a gin & tonic and toasted my Fashionista Coup. Two summers hence I’m still loving my men’s shorts.

When I was 10, I remember vowing, “When I get married, I’m ALWAYS going to dress up for my husband.”

Instead, I dress just like him!

Secrets of a Boomer Fashionista – Part 2

Raqi is eight years old. For the last year and a half, whenever we have put on our swimsuits; taken a bath; changed into pajamas, there’ll be a moment when – her top off – Raqi will hunch her shoulders together to make (non-existent) cleavage; gesture towards her chest with her hand; and look up at me with hope and wonder in her eyes, asking, “Mima, don’t you think I’m almost ready for a training bra?”

At first, I’d say, “Almost,” thinking she’d lose interest.

She hasn’t.

Now I want to ask, “Train them to do what, Honey?”

I settle for, “Raqi, you’ve got 90 years to wear a bra, and they aren’t all that comfortable.”

She’s not listening.

Of course, this gets me musing about my own ambivalent history with bras. I can sum it up as:

The Five P’s of the Bra-pocalypse:

  1. Puberty
  2. Protest
  3. Perky
  4. Professional
  5. Past Their Prime


I was so traumatized by the Puberty P – PERIODS! – that I have completely forgotten details of my first bra or my teen years wearing one. Perhaps you blogging bosom buddies can ‘fill me in’ on your memories of crossing that threshold.

I’m begging you; no stories about PERIODS.


I was a child of the ’60s; now I’m in my 60’s.

Has placement of one apostrophe ever altered meaning more drastically?

When I arrived at college in September 1969, the Forbidden Fashions of Free Love flourished on every corner of campus.

I promptly ditched my bra, modest knee-length skirts, and suffocating nylons (girdles! garter belts!), happily donning the peasant blouses, bell bottoms and fringe belts that proclaimed to the outside world I was ‘down with the protestors’ even though my inside voice kept crying, “Where are the adults?”


In my early 20’s as a married-too-young, college dropout housewife, I played tennis with my small town fellow housewives who were in their late 30’s. I was lucky – my boobs were tiny and perky. I never considered caging them, not even for tennis.

One judgmental competitor with a bleached blonde beehive hairdo and securely harnessed buxom bosom jealously lectured me: if I didn’t ‘support’ my breasts in my 20’s, they’d be sagging by the time I was 30.

She was as off the mark with that prediction as she was with her backhand.


Post-divorce, returning to college to complete my degree and securing my first career position, I dutifully wore a bra every day to work. Those were the days when a professional female ‘costume’ consisted of pantyhose, white blouse, navy suit (skirt, not pants) and one of those silky patterned rectangular strips of cloth that we wrangled into a clownish neck-choking bow

Aha! That must be the reason for my aversion to wearing patterns!

After two miserable years, I fell into my dream team position at a small firm where I could dress in a more boutique-y style, ditching “the costume” altogether. But I still dutifully wore my bra for work.

Past Their Prime

OK, they’ve finally lost their perk and – Victoria’s Secret be damned – there is no suitable bra for 60+ year-old national treasures.

There’s also no credible reason my past-perkies chose this stage to expand 3X the size they’ve always been.

I see three choices:

  • Free Range Roaming No Bra
  • Pushed Up and Painful Underwire Wonder Bra
  • Flat, Flatter, Flattest UniBoob Athletic Bra

Well hell. I’m a Colorado Cowgirl; ain’t nothing better’n Free Range Roaming for my buckaroos.

I cling to my Sammy Secret that my all-black ensemble covers a multitude of sins. Except of course for the rare opportunity to meet a blogger buddy in person, in which case I’ll ‘saddle up.’



Secrets of a Boomer Fashionista – Part 1

The seasons, they’re a-changin’.

With that, I begin the arduous task facing any *ahem* fashionista who spends as much time and effort on her wardrobe as I do – switching my eclectic array of breezy summer fluffs for warmer winter fuzzies.

Prepare yourself, Sammy. This is not a task for the faint of heart.

Here’s my summer wardrobe:



Here’s my winter wardrobe:


Can you IMAGINE the physical exhaustion and mental exertion it takes me to pack, unpack, inventory and move that extensive fashion collection?

When I hosted monthly bridge, after some fiercely contested hands, we snacked. I promptly, and predictably, dribbled food down the front of my sleeveless, scoop-neck, black-knit top.

“Rats, I’ve got to change my shirt; I’ll be right back.”

When I walked back into the room, Alice looked up at me and choked on her mouthful of iced coffee. I was wearing an exact (clean) replica of the top I’d just gone to change.

“How many of those tops do you have?”

“Five.” I replied, which made the other two women burst into laughter.


Doesn’t everyone shop that way? Find a top that fits – in black – and buy a bunch?

Hate is such an ugly word, but I hate clothes shopping. Let me count the ways:

  • Lack of (my) body cooperation
  •  Lack of manufacturer sizing cooperation
  • Lack of “that’s-exactly-what-I’m-looking-for” in my size
  • Lack of finding an exact replacement two weeks later when I’ve stained mine beyond recovery
  • Lack of helpful store clerks
  • Way-too-perky checkout clerk
  • Overload of “push” marketing by the perky checkout clerk
  • LOUD store music

There have been WAY too many times when I can’t find what I’m looking for, and I talk myself into a substitute that doesn’t fit; is a fabric I later discover itches or makes me sweat; or – worse – is a colored pattern.

Sammy quote: “Sammy tangles patterns; she doesn’t wear them.”

Purchased in June:



Hanging in closet – untouched – in September:



Hence my shopping dogma: When I find it in black and like the fabric and it fits, Buy Five.

Correction – buy five in one size for my “skinny” days and five in a “more inclusive” size for my “other” days. (Guess which size gets worn more often!)

Occasionally – as you saw in my summer and winter wardrobes – I’ll go a little wild and throw in a pink or purple. But mostly, you’ll see me in black.

Why black? Stay tuned for my next secret, which I’m sure I’ll regret posting.


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