Steven Wright—My Idol

A number of years ago, I created about 100 ATCs, also known as artist trading cards. Each one is the size of a playing card and mine were little collages that illustrated funny quotes.

One of my favorite sources for these usually absurd observations was the comedian Steven Wright. Woody Allen was another. Woody’s style was the nebbishy guy who angsted about sex and death a lot. Steven was just plain off the wall. That’s why I love him.

Today I came across an interview with him about his joke writing style on New York Magazine’s website.  The interviewer asked him if he had a favorite joke.

This is what he said:

I do have a favorite, but it’s not the general public’s favorite. It’s kind of long. It had to do with: I’m going to my grandfather’s wake. I kneeled down at the casket, and I’m looking at him in the casket, and I started thinking about the batteries in my flashlight. Then I said to my aunt, “Maybe he’s not dead, maybe he’s just in the wrong way.”

That’s my actual favorite one, but usually, when people ask me if I have a favorite one, I just say no. I don’t know why, it’s almost like a private thing.

I wish I had heard that one when I was creating my ATCs. That would have been a fun one to do.  *Dang*

Here’s a ten minute video of Steven’s comedy routine. I was pleased to recognize several of the jokes that I incorporated in my ATCs.

And below that are some of my Steven Wright inspired ATCs.  Enjoy!







From the G.O.P. Prayer Book

Saw this by Yoni Brenner on The New Yorker website and just had to pass it along:

Peace Prayer

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace;

Where there is hatred, let me  sow love;

Where there is doubt, faith;

Where there is faith, the right  kind of faith;

Thou knowest, something with Christmas and Easter,

And a  normative/non-ethnic Jesus.

Where there are taxes, let me lower them,

Where there are regulations, let me lift them,

Where there are capital gains,  let me leave them as is,

For capital gains are awesome,

And what is this,  France?

Where there are immigrants, let me deport them;

Where there are  gays, let me un-gay them;

And where there are women’s issues, let me sidestep  them,

Because, frankly, we’ve really been getting burned on that lately.

Speak, O Divine Master!

Whether directly to my soul or indirectly through  Roger Ailes;

Tell me Thy will, and I shall obey it!

Show me Thy path, and  I shall follow it!

Unless Thy will involves some form of gun control;

Which, as Thou knowest, is a nonstarter.


Read more: http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/shouts/2013/03/shouts-murmurs-republican-prayers-humor.html#ixzz2OfuGDVnc



Farewell to My Muse

A little over ten days ago, my beautiful Himalayan cat, Neferkitty, suddenly became ill in the evening and died by the early morning hours of the following day.

She had shown no signs of an impending illness.  Always a quirky cat, she would pick a different spot to sleep every few days; sometimes behind my computer screen, or under the bed, or wherever suited her fancy of the moment.

So when she started sleeping on the tile floor behind my bathroom door, I didn’t think much of it.

But when I saw her wobbling, unable to keep her hind legs underneath her, I knew she was in trouble.  Of course, the vet’s office had been closed for hours, so I could only pray she would hold on until morning.  But as the night wore on, I knew that wouldn’t happen.

I spent the hours from 11:00 until 2:15 lying next to her on my bed, petting her and telling her how beautiful she was and how much I loved her.  Then, she took her last breath.  I listened to her chest as her heart slowed down, became erratic and finally was stilled.

I had never known a more affectionate cat.  Some would say demanding.  You could pet her all day until her hide became raw and that wouldn’t be enough attention.

Neferkitty epitomized feline beauty too, which, I’m convinced, was her undoing.  Himalayan and Persian cats have been bred and inbred to create their particular characteristics, such as the flat face and shortened nose.

But they also have a tendency for genetic conditions like cardiomyopathy, which can lead to heart failure.  My guess?  That’s what finally caught up with her at the age of approximately ten years.  I don’t know for sure.  All I know is, I felt bereft.

We still had Culvey, our other inside cat whom we had rescued from a culvert in the road at the age of six months.  Our old Toy Fox Terrier, Spunky, had shuffled up them Golden Stairs back in January at the age of sixteen.

Culvey is a great cat, but not uber-affectionate and I really missed that.  After about a week of living with the huge void left by Neferkitty’s passing, I decided maybe I should go to our local SPCA (a no-kill shelter) and check out their cats.

I went back a couple of times and, although I spent time with some very deserving kitties, none of them struck the chord in my heart Neferkitty did.

After Spunky died, my husband and I both said “No more dogs!” because we’d certainly had our share over 36 years of marriage.  Almost all of them either came from shelters or had been dumped off on our property, taken in by us, and given a loving home.  We always said there must be an invisible sign outside our place saying:  “Suckers for Dogs Live Here.”

But, cats are much easier to take care of, what with their independent nature (not to mention their litter box skills.)

Culvey had been visibly depressed with both of his housemates now gone, and I think he secretly enjoyed having Spunky around to watch and stalk.  So, I thought “Hmm, maybe another Chihuahua…”   I never imagined I’d own one of those bug-eyed critters, but we’ve had three of them.  They’re just personality kids, with a capital “P.”

Enter Kelso.

When I saw him at the shelter, all the other little dogs showed off by leaping and barking, but Kelso, a blonde long-haired Chihuahua,  just rolled over in his doggie bed and offered up his belly for a rub.

He had me at “Herroh.”

I still get teary-eyed when I think about all the love Neferkitty gave me and how much I miss her beautiful self, but I know Kelso needs me as much as I need him.

And the void has become a little less deep.

One of many artist trading cards Neferkitty inspired.

Kelso on his first day home.


Feel Anything Yet?

Harold Camping is at it again.  Remember him from last May 21 when he said the end of the world was at hand?  Well, he made a teensy miscalculation at that time, so he upped the date of the Rapture to today, Oct. 21.

“Thus we can be sure that the whole world, with the exception of those who are presently saved (the elect), are under the judgment of God, and will be annihilated together with the whole physical world on Oct. 21,” he says on the website.

I like this little poem (courtesy of Christopher Hitchens) that explains it all for us:

We are the pure and chosen few
And all the rest are damned
There’s room enough in hell for you
We don’t want heaven crammed.


Hold the Phone

A lot has been written about cellphone etiquette lately, but that’s not going to stop me from adding my two cents’ worth to the discussion.  It has become a pet peeve of mine, coming in a close second to people who like to rant about their pet peeves.

I’m not the only one who’s exasperated with the increase in “techno-rudeness” encountered every day by folks all across the social strata.

My daughter and her family were at a restaurant with their kids, aged 10 and almost 9.  When they go out as a family, they expect the occasion to be just that—a family one, where everyone is engaged with the other members of the group.  At the very least, eye contact is expected to occur at some point during the meal.  Conversation doesn’t have to be witty and sparkling, but actual utterances beyond the monosyllabic shouldn’t be the exception.

However, as my daughter told me later, they were taken aback by the family seated next to them; one that was quite similar in composition to theirs, with pre-teen kids and two parents.

The difference, though, was that everyone, including the kids, was on an iPhone busily texting or otherwise absorbed in their own electronic world.  No one looked up at the other family members gathered around the table.

No warm smiles, no shared laughter.  Nada.  Zip.  Bupkus.

This is what we have come to.

No man is an island, but you can certainly tune out any intimate contact with people and go there on your iPhone when it’s convenient.

The other thing about cellphones that makes me “peevish” is the sheer obliviousness by chronic users of this technology to their own rudeness.

I was at WalMart the other day (they’re going to set up a cot for me in the back since I’m there so often) because I had to return a toy I’d bought for my grandson.

It was a Ben 10 Ultimate Alien “Ultimatrix,” and unless you are up on the stuff 10-year-old boys covet, I won’t go into the details beyond saying that he’s desperately wanted one since last August when all the Christmas toys first made their appearance at WalMart.

At that time it cost twenty dollars, which is a lot of money for some plastic, but the toy manufacturers know what they’re doing and have us all by the habichuelas, so what’re you gonna do?

Last week they marked down the toy to just seven dollars.  What a deal!  My grandson had four dollars saved and I told him he could do some chores around the house and easily earn the other three dollars.  The fly in the ointment here is that Mom and Dad have been trying to discourage rampant consumerism in their kids and have been keeping the lid down on toy consumption lately.

But, Memaw saw a way around that.  I went back to WalMart the next day and bought the toy before it disappeared from the sale rack with the idea that I would hold it in safe keeping until my grandson could earn the dough to pay for it.

It turns out, the next day my grandson phoned me and in an excited voice told me he’d done a lot of yard work for his folks and earned the money for his prize, which he had purchased himself.  I was happy for him and didn’t tell him or his parents that I’d done an end run around them and had bought one too.

Everybody wins!

So, I found myself at the returns desk at WalMart behind the most obnoxious woman who was loudly talking on her cellphone while she was trying to conduct a transaction with the patient woman behind the counter.

I mean, she was jabbering into the phone while she was looking straight at the WalMart lady, Rosa, an Hispanic woman in her fifties.

But it was like Rosa was invisible!

To her credit, Rosa just kept a neutral expression on her face and carried out what she had to do for the bitch, occasionally trying to get a word in edgewise to complete the deal.  Unbelievable.

When it was my turn, I thought Rosa deserved to be treated like a human being, so when she asked for the reason for the return I briefly told her the story of my grandson earning the money himself without any help from me.

Rosa smiled a warm smile and told me that when her son was five, her sister had a house cleaning company and had offered him a job of picking up fruit off the ground at one of the houses.  She paid him $20 for his work and he was very proud of the money he made.

Then, he did something extraordinary for a five-year-old.  He told his mother he was going to take her out to dinner with the money.  And he did, proudly squiring his mother at the restaurant.

Rosa went on to say that now he’s 28, a Marine, college educated and on his way to obtaining a doctorate degree.  Eventually he wants to work for the CIA.  She is so proud of him and I told her she has every right to be.

It was a wonderful story and the woman who had been standing behind us said she couldn’t help overhear it and it had given her goosebumps.

I left feeling really good for my grandson, for Rosa and her terrific grown son, and for the human connection I’d unexpectedly made that day.

And all because I chose to treat someone with the respect they deserve.

As the old phone ads used to say:  “Reach out and touch someone.”


Hold On, Medicare…I’m a Comin’!

In honor of my birthday yesterday, here’s Paul McCartney’s “When I’m 64.”  Which I am.

When I get older losing my hair,
Many years from now,
Will you still be sending me a valentine
Birthday greetings bottle of wine?

If I’d been out till quarter to three
Would you lock the door,
Will you still need me,
Will you still feed me,
When I’m sixty-four?

oo oo oo oo oo oo oo
You’ll be older too, (ah ah ah ah ah)
And if you say the word,
I could stay with you.

I could be handy mending a fuse
When your lights have gone.
You can knit a sweater by the fireside
Sunday mornings go for a ride.

Doing the garden, digging the weeds,
Who could ask for more?
Will you still need me, will you still feed me,
When I’m sixty-four?

Every summer we can rent a cottage
In the Isle of Wight,
If it’s not too dear
We shall scrimp and save
Grandchildren on your knee
Vera, Chuck, and Dave

Send me a postcard, drop me a line,
Stating point of view.
Indicate precisely what you mean to say
Yours sincerely, Wasting Away.

Give me your answer, fill in a form
Mine for evermore
Will you still need me, will you still feed me,
When I’m sixty-four?



I’m Hip, Man…

Researchers have found that the width of the pelvis, the distance between the hip bones and the diameter of the hip bones all increased as people got older, even after people maxed out height-wise.

“I think it’s a fairly common human experience that people find themselves to be wider at the age of 40 or 60 then they were at 20,” study researcher Dr. Laurence E. Dahners, a professor in the orthopedics department at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine, said in a statement.

For years, people thought the widening was because of an increase in body fat, but the new findings show that pelvic growth may lead to an increase in waist size as people get older — and not just because they put on more weight, Dahners said.

The pelvic width of the oldest people in the study (ages 70 to 79) was, on average, about an inch larger than the youngest people (ages 20 to 29), according to the study. That translates to about a three-inch increase in waist size between someone age 20 and someone age 79.
 The new study was published May 25 in the Journal of Orthopaedic Research.


Drenched in Tears and Rolling in Dough

This email was in my inbox this morning.  I thought it was too good not to pass along, if only for its audacity and tragic, literary overtones.

I’ve highlighted one word that leaped out at me in particular because of its jarring juxtaposition with the overall humanitarian tone of the plea.

The sender doesn’t disclose the country of origin so where, in your opinion, do you think it came from? 


I am drenched with tears while writing this short message to you. It was
heartbreaking news to me few  days ago when my doctor notified me on
complications on my health condition which he officially made known to me. He
further stressed that the complication I had in my human mechanism as a result
of a secondary liver cancer which have destroyed all the organs in my body
system.  According to him, he said that this complication will lead to my
imminent death since no medication can alleviate the high system of deformation
I am encountering at this time in my system.

In the view of the above, I am in quest to find a trustworthy and upright
individual whom I will entrust the sum of $4.8 million USD and this  has led me
to you. The said fund was acquired by me as  an inheritance from my adopted
father who died as a result of political crisis which erupted among his most
political associate and business clique.

I will make available to you all information and officially authorize document
which will endorse your claim as the beneficiary to the fund in question in the
finance house where the fund was lodged by my adopted father.  I have mapped out the modalities on how the fund will be apportioned. 35% of the principal amount of the money will be dished out to you while 65% will be allotted to any charitable or orphanage home of your preference.

My motive to dispense the funds to a charity and orphanage home is that I grew
up as an orphan and do not have any heirs hitherto.

Upon your acceptance to this proposal kindly get back to me.

Best Regards
Cecilia Frazier