LennyMud: The New Jersey Ceramics and Pottery Maker Who Shares My Sense of Humor

My friend Lisa’s birthday is today. Lisa is a delightful 2017 addition to what Marovich calls my “collection” of people. Together, we’re the mash-up, “D’Nisa.” While Lisa has many stellar qualities, I especially treasure her word play skills–par excellence. Her comment about the Christopher Walken Closet the other day had me dying. Lisa is one of the few friends who loves the Bob’s Burger intros and Burger of the Day titles as much as I do. Some make me hyperventilate in giggles. Just as with my bff since kindergarten, Darlene, or my bff since 7th grade, Marovich, Lisa is a joy to shop for–I just buy what I love, and I know they’ll love it, too (the exception being that with Marovich, lipstick shopping is officially OFF the table. Don’t ask.) So I was browsing online for Lisa’s birthday gifts and discovered this hilarious ceramics and pottery maker called Lennymud in New Jersey. If I made ceramics, this is exactly the stuff I would create. And then I read the owner’s bio. Now I want to be president of her fan club. (Weird coincidence — I may have called Jack “The Spawn” before.)

ABOUT LENNYMUD

Lenny is the name of my studio cat. I make the pots and Lenny breaks them: this way I never run out of shelf space.

Lenny is not for sale. Probably not.

I know my shop name makes me sound like a 50 year old man who smokes cigars, but I am a female who is sometimes told that she looks ten years younger than her real age. (My husband says the nicest things in the dark. When he’s drunk.) I am the mother to two, adorable children that I like to call The Spawn.

I like to make stuff. Sometimes I like to work with clay and other days I like to draw or paint. I work a busy day job– my Etsy shop lennymud.etsy.com is a hobby or perhaps a midlife crisis. You are invited to stalk me on my facebook fan page here http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lennymud/179831098733257
or follow me at Twitter: LennyMud.

And yes, it’s ok if you call me Lenny.

Based solely on @LennyMud’s artisan output, she is just the sort of person D’Nisa would hang with, if she only lived closer. Here’s what I mean:

The Lionel Cheese Platter! Perfect for your next AA meeting!

For me, tea is just a beverage masquerading as lame coffee, but this mug could make me like it…

I mean, seriously. Who DOESN’T need this teapot?

 

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How Little League Could Improve the “User Experience”: 12 Tips

Someday when my son is lying on his shrink’s couch recounting the many ways I’ve screwed up his parenting, I will point to this blog as proof positive that I actually attended some of his Little League games. How else would I have snapped this photo? Attending these games is typically Dave’s duty, but since he’s out of town, I’m stepping up to the plate (see what I did there?). I pray this Little League season ends before his San Antonio trip next weekend!

75, partly sunny, and a mild breeze– the only perfect weather Little League game of this season.

All of you User Experience (UX) experts out there, please apply your mad skills to improving Little League for the parents. The Sister Wives crack up at my total lack of interest in children’s sporting and performance events (but if Jack were playing indoor tennis or volleyball, this would be different) but as of today, my sports ennui is bordering on sheer hatred.

This morning’s Chicagoland shit show–a Little League game in 48-degree weather with pouring rain–was the final nail in my sports attendee coffin. There is no good reason, in my mind, to make parents and their children suffer like that. For those of us with hypothyroidism, that is, the majority of us living in the “goiter belt,” recovering from being over-chilled takes forever.

As I sat there fuming–for the 10 minutes I lasted on the cold, aluminum bleacher bench before retreating to the car and watching the game through binoculars–ach, who am I kidding? I don’t own binoculars. Anyhow, as I sat there fuming and attempting to text my displeasure to the Sister Wives and my friend Lisa with my 1 bar of AT&T signal, I began compiling a list of ways we could all improve the UX, from my perspective. Your results may vary. Soccer and lacrosse parents, feel free to borrow.

  1. Games should only occur on days when it is partially sunny and 75 with a slight breeze, and never on Mother’s Day or other holidays. And they should be scheduled for after 10 a.m., within 5 minutes of home.
  2. The concession stand should have indoor seating–aesthetically pleasing–and be sponsored by Starbucks, Peet’s Coffee, or some hot beverage company of that ilk.
  3. The bleachers should have a clear, protective roof that doesn’t attract heat (this would also protect against the liability of being hit in the head by a foul ball, while I’m busily reading my phone and not watching the game)
  4. Cushioned seating with a back rest would be even better than aluminum bleachers.
  5. Even better? A cabana I could share with friends, like the ones in Las Vegas surrounding the pool, that would perhaps have a fire pit in the middle for making s’mores as we “watch” the game.
  6. There should be an app developed to vibrate and nudge me when my child is actually doing something interesting on the field.
  7. A wait staff taking orders from the parents would be a nice improvement – sort of like the local iPic movie theater in South Barrington I so adore with the gourmet sliders.
  8. Cocktails. Bloody Marys for the morning games, Leinenkugel Grapefruit Shandies for the evening games.
  9. A covered pathway back to my vehicle would be great–my clothing from this a.m.’s total drenching is still in the dryer.
  10. A televised game I could watch from the comfort of my warm bed and never leave the house would also be a nice option.
  11. Joining a league with Matthew McConaughey or Peter Dinklage’s children, so I could steal more surreptitious glances than Jack steals home plate…that could make me not mind it all so much.
  12. To add insult to this morning’s injury, Jack’s dirt-caked uniform from his slide into 3rd base–right as the game was being called due to rain–stained the powder-gray cloth upholstery in the car. So…this got me thinking an on-site car detailing service might not be a bad idea. Also, a baseball uniform cleaning service, delivered to my front door, would be much appreciated (the domestic goddess that I am not placed a panicked call to Sister Wife Maura for advice on getting the dirt stains out of Jack’s uniform).

P.S. After the game, we drove through that same McDonald’s I mentioned in yesterday’s blog. The Arby’s subterfuge agent was no longer working the drive’ thru’ window.

If you have any ideas to add to this groundbreaking list, feel free to add your comments!

 

My Restaurant Alias

If you attend C2E2 this weekend, be sure to visit Dave Dorman at E-1 in Artists Alley. “E,” as in “Easy-to-Remember” and 1 as in, also easy to remember. (I’ll be there Sunday!)

Ever been waiting to be seated at a crowded restaurant when you heard the hostess yell out a ridiculous name? Yeah, that was probably me. In honor of Mystery Science Theater 3000s new comeback on Netflix, I’ll probably start leaving the name “Tom Servo” with the hostess, but my old standard is Nipsey Russell. This makes me giggle like a 12-year-old schoolboy every time I hear it uttered–loudly–in a busy restaurant foyer. I can’t explain it, but it tickles my ribs. Juuuuust riiiiight.

The Man. The Legend. Also, My Restaurant Alias.

One of my many favorite things about The Simpsons is Bart Simpson’s frequent prank-phone-call-to-Moe’s routine. For your reading pleasure, here they are. (I may have to borrow Ivana Tinkle one of these days…and hopefully, the hostess doesn’t threaten to carve her name into my back with an ice pick…)

Some Enchanted Evening

Bart: Is Al there?
Moe: Al?
Bart: Yeah, Al. Last name Caholic?
Moe: Hold on, I’ll check. Phone call for Al… Al Caholic. Is there an Al Caholic here?
(The guys in the pub cheer.)
Moe: Wait a minute… Listen, you little yellow-bellied rat jackass, if I ever find out who you are, I’m gonna kill you!

Some Enchanted Evening

Bart: Is Oliver there?
Moe: Who?
Bart: Oliver Clothesoff.
Moe: Hold on, I’ll check. (calls) Oliver Clothesoff! Call for Oliver Clothesoff!
(Marge picks up the extension)
Listen, you lousy bum, if I ever get a hold of you, I swear I’ll cut your belly open!

Homer’s Odyssey

Bart: (with Lisa) Is Mister Freely there?
Moe: Who?
Bart: Freely, first initials I. P.
Moe: Hold on, I’ll check. Uh, is I. P. Freely here? Hey everybody, I.P. Freely!
(the customers laugh) Wait a minute… Listen to me you lousy bum. When I get a hold of you, you’re dead. I swear I’m gonna slice your heart in half.

Moaning Lisa

Bart: (with Lisa)
Moe: Yeah, Moe’s Tavern, Moe speaking.
Bart: Is Jaques there?
Moe: Who?
Bart: Jaques, last name Strap.
Moe: Uh, hold on. Uh, Jock… Strap… Hey guys I’m looking for a Jock Strap.
(laughs from all) Oh… wait a minute… Jock Strap… It’s you isn’t it ya cowardly little runt? When I get a hold of you, I’m gonna gut you like a fish and drink your blood.

One Fish, Two Fish, Blowfish, Blue Fish

Bart: (with Lisa)
Moe: Hello, Moe’s Tavern. Birthplace of the Rob Roy.
Bart: Is Seymour there? Last name Butz.
Moe: Just a sec. Hey, is there a Butz here? A Seymour Butz? Hey, everybody, I wanna Seymour Butz!
(realizes) Wait a minute… Listen, you little scum-sucking pus-bucket! When I get my hands on you, I’m gonna pull out your eyeballs with a corkscrew!

Principal Charming

Bart: (in Principal Skinner’s office) Hello, is Homer there?
Moe: Homer who?
Bart: Homer… Sexual.
Moe: Wait one second, let me check. (calls) Uh, Homer Sexual? Hey, come on, come on, one of you guys has got to be Homer Sexual!
Homer: Don’t look at me!
Moe: You rotten liver pot! If I ever get a hold of you, I’ll sink my teeth into your cheek and rip your face off!
Skinner: You’ll do what, young man?

Blood Feud

Moe(answers the phone) Moe’s Tavern, where the elite meet to drink.
Bart: Uh, hello. Is Mike there? Last name, Rotch.
Moe: Hold on, I’ll check. (calls) Mike Rotch! Mike Rotch! Hey, has anybody seen Mike Rotch lately?
(barflies laugh) Listen, you little puke. One of these days, I’m going to catch you, and I’m going to carve my name on your back with an ice pick.

Treehouse of Horror II

Bart: with Mrs. Krabappel and one of the Sherri/Terri twins
Moe(answers the phone) Moe’s Tavern. … Hold on, I’ll check. Uh, hey, everybody! I’m a stupid moron with an ugly face and big butt and my butt smells and I like to kiss my own butt.
All(laugh)
Barney: Ho ho, that’s a good one.
Moe: Wait a minute…
Bart(hangs up and laughs)

Flaming Moe’s

Moe: (answering the phone) Flaming Moe’s.
Bart: Uh, yes, I’m looking for a friend of mine. Last name Jass. First name Hugh.
Moe: Uh, hold on, I’ll check. (calling) Hugh Jass! Somebody check the men’s room for a Hugh Jass!
Man: Uh, I’m Hugh Jass.
Moe: Telephone. (hands over the receiver)
Hugh: Hello, this is Hugh Jass.
Bart(surprised) Uh, hi.
Hugh: Who’s this?
Bart: Bart Simpson.
Hugh: Well, what can I do for you, Bart?
Bart: Uh, look, I’ll level with you, Mister. This is a crank call that sort of backfired, and I’d like to bail out right now.
Hugh: All right. Better luck next time. (hangs up) What a nice young man.

Burns Verkaufen der Kraftwerk

Moe: Moe’s Tavern, Moe speaking.
Bart: Uh, yes, I’m looking for a Mrs. O’Problem? First name, Bea.
Moe: Uh, yeah, just a minute, I’ll check. (calls) Uh, Bea O’Problem? Bea O’Problem! Come on guys, do I have a Bea O’Problem here?
Barney: You sure do! (everyone laughs)
Moe: Oh… (to phone) It’s you, isn’t it! Listen, you. When I get a hold of you, I’m going to use your head for a bucket and paint my house with your brains!

New Kid on the Block

Moe(answers the phone) Yeah, just a sec; I’ll check. (calls) Amanda Hugginkiss? Hey, I’m lookin’ fer Amanda Hugginkiss. Why can’t I find Amanda Hugginkiss?
Barney: Maybe your standards are too high!
Moe: [to phone] You little S.O.B. Why, when I find out who you are, I’m going to shove a sausage down your throat and stick starving dogs in your butt!
Bart: My name is Jimbo Jones, and I live at 1094 Evergreen Terrace.
Moe: I knew he’s slip up sooner or later! He unsheathes a rusty knife and heads out of the tavern.

New Kid on the Block

(Laura Powers with Bart)
Laura: Hello, I’d like to speak to Ms. Tinkle? First name… Ivana?
Moe: Ivana Tinkle, just a sec. (calls) Ivana Tinkle! Ivana Tinkle! Hey, everybody, put down your glasses. Ivana Tinkle!The PTA DisbandsThis isn’t at Moe’s; Moe is taking over as the substitute teacher for Mrs. Krabappel’s class during the strike
Moe: OK, when I call your name, uh, you say “present” or “here”. Er, no, say “present”. Ahem, Anita Bath?
(laughter from kids)
Moe: All right, settle down. Anita Bath here?
(laughter)
Moe: All right, fine, fine. Maya Buttreeks!
(more laughter)
Moe: Hey, what are you laughing at? What? Oh, oh, I get it, I get it. It’s my big ears, isn’t it, kids? Isn’t it? Well, children, I can’t help that!
Moe runs out of the classroom crying.

Homer the Smithers

Burns: I’m looking for a Mr. Smithers, first name Wayland
Moe: Oh, so, you’re looking for a Mr. Smithers, eh? First name Wayland, is it? Listen to me, you; when I catch you, I’m gonna pull out your eyes and stick ’em down your pants, so you can watch me kick the crap outta you, okay? Then I’m gonna use your tongue to paint my boat!

Bart on the Road

Homer: Hello, I’d like to speak with a Mr. Snotball, first name Eura
Moe: Eura Snotball?
Homer: What? How dare you! If I find out who this is, I’ll staple a flag to your butt and mail you to Iran!

Homer The Moe

(Homer is looking after Moe’s.)
Bart: I’d like to speak to a Mr. Tabooger, first name Ollie.
Homer: (excited) Ooh! My first prank call! What do I do?
Bart: Just ask if anyone knows Ollie Tabooger.
Homer: I don’t get it.
Bart: Yell out “I’ll eat a booger”
Homer: What’s the gag?
Bart: Oh, forget it…

24 Minutes

Ahmed Adoodie

 

Top 8 Things From 2016 I Won’t Be Missing in 2017

If you have kids at home, then you are more keenly aware of the nails-on-a-chalkboard trends riding the wave through 2016, thanks in no small part to YouTubers (and the Viners, before they were disemboweled). I’ve been thinking about all of the ear-itating stuff Jack has said and done ad nauseum in 2016, and I came up with this list, and in the 11th hour, added a new one of my own.

#1. Dabbing. That weird gesture where they put their head down in the crook of their bent arm. Or, as I call it incorrectly-on-purpose, just to agitate Jack, “Dabbling.”

#2. “Getting triggered.” According to Jack, all of the authority figures in his life “get triggered” at him. This is Generation Z’s nicer way of saying “pissed off.”

#3. Bottle flipping. Enough already with the fucking bottle flipping! Oy! That sound!

Bottle flipping, country style, with the cousins.

Bottle flipping, country style, with the cousins. I almost felt sorry for the birds for a nano-second. Almost. #SorryNotSorry

#4. “Deez nuts.” A viral YouTube video kicked off this phrase, which ended up on one of Jack’s favorite t-shirts, as in “Deez Nuts for President.”

The Quirky Video Where It All Began...

The Quirky Video Where It All Began…

#5. “In my butt.” Jack binge-watched “The Office” and got hooked on the character Stanley’s droll go-to comment for the location of pretty much anything.

Me: “Where’s my pen?”

Jack: “In my butt.”

Me: “Where’s my car keys?”

Jack: “In my butt.”

Me: “Where did I leave my coffee?”

Jack: “In my butt.”

Yeah, I hear this one several times a day.

#6. “I forgot.” I can’t blame this one on YouTube or The Office. This is Jack’s most consistent response to these queries:

  • “Did you brush your teeth?”
  • “Did you do your homework?”
  • “Did you practice your guitar?”
  • Did you bring home your Friday folder?

Oddly enough, I never have to ask “Did you play video games today?” “Did you watch YouTube?” “Did you eat?” “Where’s your phone?” (To which he’d reply, “In my butt.”)

#7. “Dank.” Remember a while back when “sick” suddenly meant cool? As in “Dude, that skateboard is sick.” Well, now the term I usually apply to damp, cold, musty basements has been flipped to mean “cool.” In an ironic sense. This new, stupid term is oft referenced as in “dank memes.” Fyi, parents, here’s the stoner source DNA on this adorable little catch phrase:

Those kooky stoners, always cutting edge on the catch phrases.

Those kooky stoners, always cutting edge on the catch phrases.

#8. Gwyneth Paltrow’s GOOP Holiday Gift GuideMy bff since kindergarten sent me this treasure beyond measure — surely Gwynnie is just doubled over somewhere laughing that anyone takes her seriously. Then again, if those rumors about steam-cleaning her vagina have an ounce of freaky truth to them…Time for me to put some perfumed vegetable oil in a sexy bottle with an eye dropper, start selling it on Etsy and call it a day. There’s a sucker born every minute…apparently with a split ends condition that I’d rather not know about.

screenshot-2016-12-08-19-32-45

My Pre-Mother’s Day Celebration: Adding to “The Collection”

Since Dave was in Nashville doing a signing for Free Comic Book Day Saturday, two of the Sister Wives and I decided on Cooper’s Hawk for a wine-soaked pre-Mother’s Day celebration. Little did I know, I would get the greatest Mother’s Day gift of all–the first-hand retelling of one of my all-time favorite dysfunctional family stories. I collect these funny stories in my mental Rolodex like some folks collect comic books.

Spontaneity is “Sister Wife” Ophelia’s middle name. It’s what I treasure about her. She rolled in late from an all-day cooking class in Chicago, texting that she was bringing two surprise guests. They were all feeling no pain when they arrived, and hilarious conversation flowed. (It seems the chef they spent the day with at cooking school now wants to cook for all of us at a suite in Las Vegas…Ophelia is that rare person who attracts these bizarre situations as much as I do.)

As I was getting acquainted with my two new friends (as my BFF Marovich puts it, “Denise adding yet a few more to ‘The Collection'”) it suddenly dawned on me that one of them, Jocelyn, must be the neighbor Ophelia once mentioned with the World’s BEST Dysfunctional Family Thanksgiving story. It was as if someone had scripted the Thanksgiving version of Christmas Vacation. Truth stranger than fiction. And Saturday night, I was lucky enough to hear it all from the source DNA. It was just as epic the second time. I’ll try recapturing it for you here, but minus the facial expressions and physical gestures, well, forgive me if I don’t do it justice.

Christmas Vacation, meet Your Spin-Off: Thanksgiving Vacation!

Christmas Vacation, meet Your Spin-Off: Thanksgiving Vacation!

Jocelyn is kind by nature. Kind enough, in fact, to invite her brother-in-law Sparky to their Thanksgiving celebration. Sparky was single, but dating a former stripper with five kids from differing baby daddies. Jocelyn’s husband warned her not to invite Sparky, but Jocelyn prevailed. She was feeling sentimental. Thanksgiving was family time, after all, and they should all be together. Sparky called and informed her that he was not only bringing his stripper girlfriend Astrid, but also three of her kids, and Astrid’s sister. Now Jocelyn had to double the amount of food she was making, but she did so without complaint. She was determined to make it work.

Thanksgiving Day came. Sparky, Astrid, and their crew arrived. Astrid presented Jocelyn with her contribution: a small, square Michelina-sized box of mac & cheese as their (we are Midwestern, so I hope you understand) dish to pass for the meal. Jocelyn graciously accepted the meager offering. For the most part, the meal went fine, and everyone was well behaved. Jocelyn’s aunt wanted to hit a Black Friday sale, so she and Jocelyn left and shopped for two hours. When they returned, that was the start. Thanksgiving Vacation. 

As Jocelyn opened the front door, the entire house was reverberating with the percussive thump-thump-thump of dance club music emanating from the basement. Jocelyn’s elderly mom, aunt and uncle sat upstairs, trauma written all over their faces.

Hands over her ears, Jocelyn braved her way to the basement with a mission to turn down the music. She couldn’t have possibly prepared herself for what she was about to see: Sparky’s stripper girlfriend Astrid, riding the pole in Jocelyn’s basement, while Astrid’s sister was grinding away on a pool stick between her legs. As Jocelyn was stepping into the room, the two sisters merged together, grinding on each other. Jocelyn reports her 9-year-old son’s eyes were bugging out of his head. Jocelyn’s husband was just sitting there in stunned amazement, drink in his hand, slowly raising his other hand to shield their son’s bewildered eyes.

In a flash, Astrid’s daughter got in between the grinding sister twosome, twerking with a familiarity no 10-year-old child should have.

Jocelyn had been married to her husband for nearly 20 years at this point, and never had an issue with Sparky. But this Thanksgiving Day, Sparky was drunk. Caught up in the spirit of things, he tried grinding on Jocelyn. Tried being the key word. Chaos accelerated from totally out of control to insanity in a nanosecond. Jocelyn’s husband flashed her the “I told you so” look as Jocelyn screamed at Sparky to “keep his fucking hands off of (her).” Their nine-year-old’s eyes protruded further, as if that were even possible.

Jocelyn raced upstairs to see what Astrid’s other two kids were doing. She found Astrid’s 13-year-old son standing with his back to her, his iPhone extended at arm’s length, taking panoramic footage of Jocelyn’s upstairs bedroom, casing the joint. As he slowly turned around to complete his panoramic shot of her bedroom, he discovered her in frame, hands on her hips, a fully formed “WTF?” glare on her face. He stopped in mid filming. Jocelyn screamed at him, demanding he erase the footage. He insisted he never took any. It seems gaslighting was his super power. Jocelyn raced back downstairs to the basement. She had to get Sparky to convince this defiant teen to erase the footage. Sparky exclaimed, “You can’t yell at him! He has RAGE issues!” Uncle Sparky never thought of protecting his niece and nephew from Astrid’s volatile, rage issue kid.

Two years later, sadly, Sparky and Astrid are no more. Their true love couldn’t conquer Astrid’s need to have sex with many people. Sparky stopped paying her bills and moved out.

To date, Sparky is still single.

God, how I loves me some dysfunctional family stories. I have a library full of them–from my own family.

My Top 10 List of 2016 Un-Resolutions

While on January 1st many of you were listing the multitude of ways in which you would become A BETTER YOU in 2016, I remained a committed contrarian (why am I not surprised?, you say to yourself…). Here’s a 2016 List of my Top 10 Outstanding, Remaining Imperfections. I resolve that all of these will remain unchanged in the coming year:

  1. Saying David Byrne every time I mean David Lynch (I’m watching Twin Peaks right now for the first time, so this is a constant source of aggravation for Dave Dorman).
Byrne...Lynch...what's the diff?

  Byrne…Lynch…what’s the diff?

2. Ironing. The ban remains in place. There’s no upside to making things look worse than they did when I started out. Those dry cleaners need to make a living, too, you know. When I read Washington Post publisher Kay Graham’s autobiography, she lamented that she never learned to iron properly. Contrarily, I have no regrets.

I completely understand why so many 1950s wives drank Manhattans...

I completely understand why so many 1950s wives drank Manhattans into oblivion…

3. Loading the dishwasher to Dave’s satisfaction…because I AM right about my method.

World peace will never occur until we all agree on how to load a dishwasher.

World peace will never occur until we all agree on how to load a dishwasher.

4. Confusing Ricky Martin music with Marc Anthony music. Thank God for my music brain, Christine Davis. I just hum a few bars and she corrects me.

My smart, beautiful music brain.

    Christine Davis: My smart, beautiful music brain.

5. Being a toilet paper Nazi. I will continue to change other households’ toilet paper rolls so they are in the correct waterfall position.

An unintended consequence of bad toilet paper management.

An unintended consequence of bad toilet paper management.

6. The sophomoric poop humor in our household will not only maintain its current level of stupidity, it will likely escalate in 2016. During my 11-year-old’s recent bout of pneumonia, he coined the new household phrase, “I carted,” which means, “I coughed and farted at the same time.” It’s similar to a “shart,” but not quite. He often shows these hopeful signs of having a preponderance of my genes…

7. My piss-poor math skills. I’m no mathlete, and I have no plans to change that. I can never remember the sum of 8+6 nor 8+5. I can remember 8+4 and 8+7. Ridiculous, right? That synapse in my brain just doesn’t fire, and I end up counting on my fingers. And yes, one of my best friends does own a Mathnasium chain, but she loves me regardless.

God Bless Rohita for steadfastly continuing to be my friend.

   God bless Rohita for steadfastly being my friend.

8. My techno-tardedness. There’s a black cloud hovering over me when it comes to technology. From the GPS on my SUV to the ROKU I got for Christmas (and why does there need to be an HDMI1 and HDMI2 — why not just have a button on the remote that says “Cable TV” and a button that says “Jack’s dumb X-Box”? When I am Queen, things will be different!) to my inability to figure out my iTunes library and download a shared book on my iPad, I am doomed. I’ve even managed to stump the FitBit tech support folks!

A snippet of our lengthy correspondence....

A snippet of my lengthy correspondence with the folks at FitBit….

9. My ADD. Since my unexplained, weirdly allergic reaction in the hospital caused a brief episode of V-Tach (and I’m told it could have killed me), I’ve been banned from taking my beloved ADD meds. I’m working on amending this ban, as it was clearly an anomalous confluence of events, but I admit I rather enjoy the random, creative daydreams I have several minutes of every hour. On the ADD meds, they just came quicker. However, I’ve noted that Dave doesn’t enjoy me daydreaming while he’s trying to tell me something.

I miss you, old friend. The three pots of coffee I drink daily just can't take the place of you...

I miss you, old friend. The three pots of coffee I drink daily just can’t take the place of you…

10. Performing micro surgery every time I eat a chicken breast. Those random, ugly red veins, remaining snippets of chicken skin, and God forbid, bones!, may be invisible to the rest of the world, but to those of us with bird phobias, they are nauseating. And if you try to slip ground turkey or turkey bacon into my diet, I will unfriend you. Fried turkey bacon smells like wet dog hair to me. Want to test my love for you? See if I will make you anything with foul, or stuff your turkey. I’d have to really love you to perform that miracle.

See that red speck on the left? Yeah...I won't eat that. I would surgically remove it.

See that red speck on the left? Yeah…I won’t eat that. I would surgically remove it first.

So how about you? What are your Top Un-Resolutions in 2016?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yelp: The New Form of American Literary Expression

Any gathering with my crazy, comedic family spurs me into creative thinking mode. Yesterday’s Thanksgiving feast was no exception. Here, courtesy of my Facebook post, is one of the props I loaded into Jack’s pockets:

This Facebook post will give you some idea of our family shenanigans.

This Facebook post gives you some idea of my family culture…

My cousin Greg, who blew in from Ohio to join us yesterday, has made Yelp.com reviews his own loving form of literary expression. Within our family circle, his reviews are a constant source of entertainment. Adding to the hilarity, his daughter told me a recent South Park episode was dedicated to Yelp reviews, which means, you know, Yelp reviews are now officially “a thing.” A pop culture snapshot of 2015. And here’s a link to that episode of South Park that you MUST see: http://southpark.cc.com/full-episodes/s19e04-youre-not-yelping

Cartman, the Yelp Reviewer - South Park Episode "You're Not Yelping"

Cartman, the Yelp Reviewer – South Park Episode “You’re Not Yelping”

My favorite South Park scene? This 50-page review by Gerald…for Applebee’s:

Gerald, the genius behind the epic Applebee's review on South Park.

Gerald, the genius behind the EPIC Applebee’s review on South Park.

“And yet, there is more…in this crisp time as Autumn begins to fade, the chef brines chicken in habanero and even adds habanero powder to the crust…but the heat is restrained. You experience the fruity, delicious flavor of this without any spicy pain. I don’t need any more pain. Hell, does anyone?”

God, these guys are comedy geniuses. Writing scripts for South Park would be the dream job for me, right up there with writing for Mystery Science Theater 3000 #MST3K or Bob’s Burgers.

So for Christmas this year, I’ll be self-publishing this hardcover parody gift book:

“YELP–An Exploration in Modern American Literary Expression: The Greg McDonald Edition.”

If you are interested in having your very own copy of this exclusive, limited edition, Modern American Literature Masterpiece, just shoot me an email and I’ll add you to the list. I’m guessing it will be around $30 + shipping, given my previous experiences with Blurb.com. For an extra $100, I may even score you a signature and stick figure pencil sketch from the original author…the unintentional literary sensation, Greg McDonald!

You  know, I always thought I would be the first in our family to publish a literary masterpiece. Who knew Greg would usurp me?!?

 

The Pranks and Hijinks I Am Sorely Missing

One of this century's greatest inventions. And you thought it was the Internet?!?

One of last century’s greatest inventions. And you thought it was the Internet?!?

I should have left my mani/pedi on Tuesday in ignominy, after my boisterous outburst of laughter. After all, this was one of Chicagoland’s most prestigious spas–one of those where you feel like you should be speaking in a hushed tone at all times while sipping your cucumber water. Instead, the whole room of women soaking their feet, who had no idea what I was laughing about, joined me. Even the lady with resting bitch face joined in, much to my surprise. I was sharing one of my crazy prank phone call stories with my fellow partner in crime that day–Rose–and I literally cried my makeup off laughing so hard. Naturally, this prank phone call story involves my other partner in crime, BFF Marovich and her brother Johnny Rockstar, but I can’t tell that one here. However…I will share here some of the fun we used to have when Marovich was a CEO. God, I miss those days.

When Marovich was CEO of her former company, the hijinks never stopped. I loved being there in the midst of it, as her dedicated outside marketing agency. It was worth the hour’s drive and parking in a terrible Chicago neighborhood. She would challenge her employees to take on all manner of ridiculous dares, all day long. One girl was forced to snake dance down the sidewalk in front of the building on a busy street, enduring the cat calls from every perv driving past. For our amusement, our friend and Marovich’s right-hand person Mary would chug down Diet Cokes and we’d time her epic, signature depths-of-hell belches. I think she reached 10 seconds during her peak performance. Here are just a few of the crazy antics:

Marovich had this phone system at her old company where she could patch together two calls and then listen in. Her mad genius mind patched together White Hen calling 7-11, Bosa Donuts calling Dunkin’ Donuts, and other industry competitors. As each side answered the phone, arguments always ensued over who called whom. Marovich would just kick back and listen for her own amusement (and mine).

Then there was the sweet and long-suffering little old Italian man she inherited from her father’s regime. Antonio became her janitor and errands runner. It’s a miracle we didn’t give him a heart attack. The first time I met and shook Antonio’s hand, it was with the fake rubber hand Marovich suggested I stuff inside of my sleeve. As it fell out on the floor, Antonio jumped. Very high, for such an old man.

Above Marovich’s desk was the antlered head of a giant moose her father, the business owner, had hunted. It was disgusting. Marovich accidentally broke one of the giant antlers. Fearing the wrath of her bombastic, short-fused father, she engineered an ingenious plan to get it quickly repaired. She gingerly balanced the broken antler piece back together and called Antonio to come in and dust her office…including the moose head. (I think this was the time Marovich and I hid inside of the louvered-door closet in her office with Mary, crossing our legs not to wet our pants, suppressing our giggles.) Naturally, Antonio dusted the antler, which flew to the ground and he jumped, mortified. It was like watching sped up, time-lapsed film as Antonio hustled to repair that antler in record time with a wood screw and carpenter’s glue.

Then Marovich’s banker would come in for meetings. At the time, her daughter was young and had lots of stickers at home. Glittery stickers. As her banker was on his way off to his next meeting, Marovich would gently pat him on the back as she ushered him out the door, affixing her daughter’s most glittery My Little Pony stickers to his expensive suit jackets. We always wondered what the people in his next meeting thought. And this was pre-Brony era. (Ever since then, when anyone touches my back, I’m always double-checking for the “Kick Me” sign.)

These are merely a few examples of the innocent fun we used to have. I can’t wait for the day when Marovich is at the helm of another company and we can “get the band back together, man.” I have a perfectly good remote control fart machine that’s gathering dust…

Adventures in the Hospital: Context is…EVERYTHING.

My non-Mormon Sister Wife Ophelia always mentioned “Anime” in our conversations. One day, I could no longer take it, because the context was so odd, it prompted me to finally ask, “What does Japanese animation have to do with your father, anyway?” It was then that I learned her mother’s name was “Anna Mae.” A cacophony of Sister Wife howls of laughter erupted around the breakfast table as the realization slowly sank in. For the last 5 years, I’d been in a perpetual state of confusion whenever she mentioned her mother’s name.

So this story, which happened to me last Friday in the hospital, post-surgery, should come as no surprise to you. (Yes, I am totally fine. Thanks for wondering. The three separate celebratory parties by the Sister Wives were well worth the pain of the surgery!)

As you read this, you must take into context, I am ensconced in the world of comics, illustration, and autograph signings. I can’t even blame the pain killers, because I wasn’t on any.

So…this medical technician was in my hospital room performing an ultrasound on me Friday afternoon. In walked a man dressed like a 1950s Culligan Man with what looked like a Coleman Cooler chest:

The Sharpie Container!

The Sharpie Container!

“Here to get the Sharpies,” he announced, abruptly breaking the silence. He walked over to the area where my dry erase board was, removed something, and briskly exited my room. (This dry erase board is any hospital’s “communication” system, telling you the name & phone # of your nurse, technician, and “hospitalist” on any given shift. I never once glanced at that board, as it was placed well behind my hospital bed’s sight line where I never could see it.)

The typical Sharpie I see on a daily basis.

The typical Sharpie I see everywhere in my house, daily.

So I let this information soak in for a moment, and naturally, my journalist’s curiosity overtook me.

Me to Ultrasound Technician: “So…you have a guy whose job it is to remove the Sharpies? How often does he do that?”

Ultrasound Tech, sounding bored: “Every couple of days.”

Me: “And he has to put them in a special cooler?”

Ultrasound Tech: “Yep.”

Me: “So what kind of qualifications do you need to be a Sharpie removal technician? Perhaps I should apply for one of these easy jobs. Does it pay well? Is there a pension?”

Ultrasound Tech: “Uh, I’m not really sure.”

Me: “So there’s a truck full of Sharpies parked outside of this hospital right now?”

What I imagine a Sharpie delivery truck looks like--a blank canvas, begging to be drawn upon.

What I imagine a Sharpie delivery truck looks like–a blank canvas, begging to be drawn upon by a Sharpie illustrator.

Ultrasound Tech: “Yep.”

Me: “And they change out the Sharpies every couple of days? That seems rather wasteful.”

Ultrasound Tech: “Yep.”

Me: “So where do they take the Sharpies from here?”

Ultrasound Tech: “Well, they’re bio-hazardous material, so they dispose of them in some special way.”

Me: “Hmmm…well, I guess the Sharpies could get coated in the germs floating in the air of a hospital room, but isn’t the ‘bio-hazardous’ characterization a bit overly dramatic? And isn’t it better to use Dry Erase Markers on a Dry Erase board? Do the Sharpies even wipe off as easily?”

Ultrasound Tech: “Wait a minute…you thought I meant…markers…!?? (Starts laughing.) I’m talking about needles and razors. We call them ‘Sharpies.’ ”

Me: “It hurts to laugh. Make it stop!”

Ultrasound Tech: (Laughing uncontrollably).

Dave Dorman in the background: (Shaking his head slowly in disgust, non-plussed by my ridiculousness.)

My world has expanded.