Musings and Amusings

Posts tagged ‘Humor’

Dear John

Clear Creek Trail

Restroom on Clear Creek Trail

Dear John ,

You are ‘privy’ to wearing one of my favorite doors. I don’t give you nearly enough accolades for the times I’ve been delighted to see your door.

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Hub Says the Darndest Things

This was our conversation last weekend on Hub’s birthday:

Me: “Honey, We are so fortunate we’ve been able to share so many birthdays together.”

Hub: “We are.”

Me: “I hope we both stay healthy enough that we can enjoy many more together.”

Hub: “Me, too.”

Me: “But I know how lonely you would be if anything happened to me. If I die first, I want you to find a companion who can share golf with you because we have such fun when we play.”

Hub: “OK”

Me: “In fact, you should let her use my clubs.”

Hub: “No, I would never do that.”

Me: “Why not? They are really good clubs, and I don’t mind.”

Hub: “No, I can’t.”

Me: “Why not?”

Hub: “Because she’s left-handed.”

April Fools

Ha ha ha – April Fool’s Joke!

THAT conversation never happened.

But the following conversation actually occurred a few years ago …

If we don’t spend Thanksgiving Day with friends or family, we like to go for a long walk after dinner. One of our traditional walks meanders through a local cemetery where our talk often turns to our own lives, our remaining years, and whether we want to be buried, cremated, have a tombstone – more in a reflective than maudlin way.

That particular year, I was feeling thankful for all the spectacular vacations we’d taken, especially to some quaint locales before development changed their character and made them over-populated tourist meccas.

Honey,” I said, “when I die, I want you to cremate me and take my ashes back to all the places we’ve traveled together and have such fond memories. Sprinkle a little of me each place you go, and enjoy being there again yourself.”

Like where?” he asked.

Oh, you know, like Turks and Caicos, the Cayman Islands, Young Island, Maui, Mackinac Island, the Lake Superior shore, San Francisco, Paris, Carmel, Telluride, Santorini  the Maine coast. What do you think? Would you like to do that?

Hub … thinking … pausing … grinning … “Would I have to go alone?”

Flying into Turks & Caicos 1987

Flying into Turks & Caicos 1987

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!

CBurnett1

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.

CBurnett

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.

RBuzzi

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!

JLDreyfus

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.

einstein

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:

division1

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?

subtraction1

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

For instance this kind of problem:

 addition2

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.

Suddenly!

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.

Everywhere.

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?

 

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