Buy-back Program Giddiness

image004Raymond Lesser would like a leaf-blower buy-back program in the tradition of gun buy-back programs. Mr. Lesser is the co-founder and regular columnist for Funny Times, an American humor newspaper he started with his wife Susan Wolpert in 1985 and that is the source of many of my blog post ideas. As one might expect, Mr. Lesser is generally funny, but this column has the distinct flavor of a serious curmudgeon. Continue reading Buy-back Program Giddiness

Re-Writing Walking Trail Blues

image002A chalk hopscotch outline appeared recently on my favorite walking trail that encircles a lake near my home. I wasn’t tempted to roll my pebble and play a whole game, but I did hop through it once and back again. As I continued walking, other chalk images appeared here and there to amuse me – a family of stick figures, and something resembling a bunny, or perhaps a kitty with long ears, some squiggles. But then up popped a religious verse of dire warnings, obviously written by an adult lacking a child’s whimsy.  Continue reading Re-Writing Walking Trail Blues

Does It Need To Be Alive?

22075604[1]A cartoon by John McPherson – who excels at drawing unattractive people – shows a man sitting up in his hospital bed. Three vultures – one on the headboard and two at the foot of the bed – are eyeing him carefully. The man says to his wife sitting at his bedside, “This isn’t what I had in mind when I signed up for the Pet Therapy Program.” Continue reading Does It Need To Be Alive?

Make Your Own Rules (book: Official Rules and Explanations)

One of my favorite mood-lighteners when I think the universe is out to get me is Paul Dickson’s book, The Official Rules and Explanations, which perversely, affirms that premise. We all know Murphy’s Law: “If anything can go wrong, it will.” But Paul Dickson collected a great many more. For example: Continue reading Make Your Own Rules (book: Official Rules and Explanations)

The Ghosts of Ice Cream Past

Sweet Potato Pie

One of my all-time favorite resources for odd bits of information is Mental Floss ( an “almost monthly” magazine co-founded about a dozen years ago by William E. Pearson and Mangesh Hattikudur. Their goal of being both educational and entertaining is now met in the magazine, the website (with its many quizzes), and a series of books, games, T-shirts and mugs available in their online store. (Sample T-shirt: “Never trust an atom. They make up everything.”) Continue reading The Ghosts of Ice Cream Past

Create a Friendly Foreign Land

FulghumRobert Fulghum (most famous as author of All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten) wrote hilariously about his introduction more than 25 years ago to the Greek island of Crete.

He had arrived in the remote village the night before, and arose early for his morning run. Because the day was already hot, he dressed only in his black running shorts and his shoes. Even in those days his hair and beard were white. As he ran past the coffehouse in the village, the men seemed surly and hostile. Continue reading Create a Friendly Foreign Land

Chicken Accountability

image002I subscribe to Funny Times, a monthly newspaper filled with cartoons, funny stories and “News of the Weird.” (  The June 2013 issue included a cartoon by Martha Gradisher ( that showed a pleasingly plump chicken sitting in the witness box while the judge leaned over and said, “Witness is instructed to answer the road question.” Continue reading Chicken Accountability

Whistling Down the River

One of the happiest tunes I have ever heard is the opening theme of “The Fishing Hole” on “The Andy Griffith Show.” (Hear a version of it here: Co-writer Earle Hagen  whistled it himself for the show, and said that he tossed it off in about 15 minutes. The song has words, too, but it’s the whistling that has impact for me. Continue reading Whistling Down the River

The Awesomeness Of John Green

John GreenJohn Green is an amazing individual who embodies the three purposes of this blog, that is, he is an example of what’s good, joyous, and funny in this world. He IS a cheering word – lots of words, really. He has been on my mind of late because he is on the cover of the current Mental Floss Magazine – my favorite print publication – and, as I’ve now learned, is more awesome than I realized. Continue reading The Awesomeness Of John Green