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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: humor, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 26 - 50 of 1,206
26. Another tasty morsal of "Neighbors"

Another snippet from "Neighbors."

Following yet another verbal confrontation, Portman has invited Taylor for a friendly drink at the neighborhood bar. Enter Joseph Martini, a customer, who after listening to the pair discuss their views on life and the garden, makes them an offer they decide to accept.

The place is Patty's Place, the bar co-owned by Patty and Portman.



MARTINI

I think I got the big picture. Don't know how'd you feel about this, but would you consider using the services of a mediator?

 
PORTMAN

Ain't that a person who makes street dividers – what's that gonna do for us?
 

TAYLOR

You'll have to forgive my good friend here, since his vocabulary is somewhat limited. A mediator, dear neighbor, is a person who's not familiar with the parties involved, who listens to two sides of a story and then presents an unbiased opinion. Do you happen to know anyone who could do that for us? I’ve already contacted somebody who knows somebody at City Hall but if you you’ve got someone you could recommend… Of course she or he would have to have some experience with property disputes…
 

MARTINI

Believe it or not, it so happens that I'm a semi-retired land surveyor by trade, and I've listened to hundreds, maybe thousands, of stories involving issues like yours. I'd be willing to investigate in the way of thanks for your warm welcome here

 
PORTMAN

Go on! Now you tell me that this ain't fate, Taylor! Here we are in the middle of tryin' to find an answer to our problem and Martini here just happens to drop by for a drink. I mean – what are the odds of that happening, huh?

 
TAYLOR

Indeed. A little too convenient if you ask me

 
PORTMAN

Chalk it up to fate, is all
 

TAYLOR

I dunno - a supposed stranger shows up out of the blue and…

 
MARTINI

I can assure you, sir, that this is the first time I've visited this bar. If you'd rather pass on this opportunity…

 
PORTMAN

Of course he wants to get your legal opinion. Listen Taylor, if Martini here says he made a living settling arguments like ours, then he's the man for the job

 
MARTINI

I'll need to examine the house plans first…


TAYLOR

It's just too convenient for my liking. Do you have anything that says you’re a surveyor?

 

PORTMAN

Do you ask your trash collector for identification or the local delivery guy? Why should our new friend here, have to prove to you that he is who he says he is? Don't pay no attention to him. The man’s got no manners whatsoever


MARTINI

I understand your suspicions and need to know more about me professionally but I have to tell you that I'm very busy doing contract work. So if you're not interested…


PORTMAN

Hang on a minute – I'm willing to let Martini here study the situation - and I'll even go along with his findings. How's that for blind faith, huh?

 
TAYLOR

The only thing I'll agree to is that he can listen to both sides and offer an opinion, period. Let’s see what he comes up with

 

PORTMAN

You were the one who threatened to call a land surveyor just this very morning. Well – here he is! Any land surveyor you call in is gonna be a stranger. D'ya want this man to medicate our dispute, or not?  We're here to fix fences, not build new ones


TAYLOR

You mean mediateour dispute…

 
PORTMAN

See what I mean? There he goes again. Medicate…mediate…what's a 'c' between friends?


TAYLOR

I didn't mean to insult your professional integrity, Mr. Martini

 
PORTMAN

Well, Ihappen to believe that friends take each other at their word, so I say - let's get on with it! Why don't we drink to…Mr. Martini's -

 
MARTINI

- Joey -

 
PORTMAN

- Joey's findings. Line 'em up Miss Patty and lemonade again for you Joey boy? And whatever my neighbor wants here

 
MARTINI

That's it for me or I'm gonna have to swim outta here. So, how we gonna do this?

 
PORTMAN

Listen – here's a plan. Why don't we wait 'til early evening, once the sun goes down, when it'll be cooler for you to measure our land.  We could hang 'round here for a while and catch the bodacious babes playing volleyball on TV
 

TAYLOR

I haven't agreed to Mr. Martini becoming involved yet

 
PORTMAN

Of course you have! You wanted a meditator and now you got one! What more could a person ask for?
 

MARTINI

Sounds good to me. It'll certainly make my job easier waiting until things cool down a bit


PATTY

In more ways than one

 
PORTMAN

So, it's agreed? We might as well stay here. Patty here will take good care of us

 
TAYLOR

I suppose it can't hurt. As much as I would love to hang here with you guys, my green peppers need staking and my tomato patch needs de-weeding. How 'bout we meet later, say about…seven?


PORTMAN

We won't have to worry about workin' in the dark since my neighbor installed flood lights near his garden, to scare away veggie thieves


TAYLOR

It's to discourage a family of groundhogs that steal at night. I don't spend all those hours to have all my stuff eaten by animal

 
PORTMAN

You do know that you're insultin' me again, Taylor. We're supposed to be getting' to know each other and I'm being ditched for some peppers and tomatoes? 


TAYLOR

It's not that I don't appreciate your invitation, but I've got a lot to do around the house. Like I said, we'll meet in my back yard if that's okay with you, Mr. Martini?

 
MARTINI

Sounds like a plan to me

PORTMAN

Perfect-o-mundo!. Me and Joey...I mean, Mr. Martini will get to know each other better, right guy?


PORTMAN

Then it's settled. We meet at seven on your territory. By the way, I'm out of salad. If 'ya happen to have an extra head or two lyin' around…

 
TAYLOR

Nice meeting you Mr. Martini

 
PORTMAN

You into beach volleyball, Joey boy? Wait 'til you get a look at those players. Mama mia!


MARTINI

Do they carry volleyball on basic cable?

 

After switching on the television, PATTY brings over two drinks. TAYLOR lingers for an instant and then leaves

0 Comments on Another tasty morsal of "Neighbors" as of 3/14/2014 10:19:00 PM
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27. I’m a Frog! By Mo Willems

I am a FrogI’m just going to put it right out here – I LOVE the Elephant and Piggie books!

Gerald, the elephant, and Piggie, the pig, are best friends. Piggie tends to be frivolous, while Gerald tends to be serious. They have a wonderful friendship.

Piggie pretends to be a frog, which just totally confuses Elephant. Piggie hops around like a frog, she ribbits like a frog and she announces out loud that she is a frog. Gerald, who is a very literal elephant, says, “I was sure you were a pig. You look like a pig. And your name is Piggie.” Then he begins to worry that he, too, will turn into a frog. Oh my, he might have to eat flies!

The problem is that Gerald doesn’t understand what it means to pretend. Piggie patiently explains about pretending and then she invites Gerald to be a frog with her.

Oh, would you like to know if Gerald joins Piggie in pretending to be a frog? You should know that I NEVER give away endings!  RIBBIT! RIBBIT!

Posted by: Wendy


0 Comments on I’m a Frog! By Mo Willems as of 3/13/2014 12:05:00 PM
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28. Tom Selleck Owes Me an Apology

Tom Selleck owes me an apology. Anyone my age knows the unobtainable standard he set for a teenage boy just coming into maturity. Why, do you ask, am I seeking contrition from him?

Good looks? No.

Suave disposition? No.

All the ladies? No…well maybe.

I’m talking about the hair…his stinking perfect hair.

Tom_Selleck_Kahala_Hilton

When all of the girls had a picture of the Magnum PI in mind, how could any of us real boys measure up? Curly coiffure, bushy mustache, chest hair, leg hair… There it is! Leg hair. Recently, smooth has become stylish and I would have been perfect for this new generation. But that isn’t my generation. When I was in high school and college, the girls wanted hair and lots of it. Hair I didn’t have.  Well, that’s not absolutely true. Science should study my leg hair because it is translucent like that of a polar bear. It’s there, just not to the naked eye. It only shows up if I have a deep tan, which is near impossible for someone of Swedish/Germanic descent. Undaunted, I went to the pool, laid out, and held my legs just right so that passing females might possibly get the proper angle to spot a few strands.

As a freshman in college, I went so far as to purchase a tanning package. I donned little glasses and laid on top of the plastic surface to bake. And bake I did. Remember the shorts Magnum used to wear? Not long like they are today, 80′s shorts came way up on the thigh. Hoping my tan would expose leg hair from the top of my leg to my toes, I even pulled them up higher. Oh yeah, I got burned in very sensitive areas. It hurt for weeks and didn’t help my hair stand out whatsoever.

We all have physical characteristics we would rather minimize or hide completely. Just the other day, I was talking with a friend who told me her 10 year-old daughter E had been called fat by another girl. My heart sank. Her sweet little girl is now self-conscious about something as irrelevant as my smooth legs. She is active and isn’t overweight in the least, but also isn’t waif-thin like so many women our society seems to put on a pedestal. Such a tragedy.

I want so much for her and other little girls to see what truly matters about themselves instead of what is fleeting.

Your beauty should not consist of outward things … Instead, it should consist of what is inside the heart with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very valuable in God’s eyes.

1 Peter 3:3-4

That’s what is important. I hope my daughters know that. I pray little E learns that too. We have to tell them they are beautiful and keep on telling them until they understand. That’s how God sees them.

So Tom, whenever you are ready, it has taken 25 years, but I am finally over your provocation and prepared to accept your apology. It’s been a long time coming.

Photo credit to Alan Light

8 Comments on Tom Selleck Owes Me an Apology, last added: 3/15/2014
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29. Book Review – The Opposite of Everything by David Kalish

I remember my topsy-turvy life after my husband broke the news he didn’t love me anymore. I couldn’t remember exactly when things started going wrong and I was plagued with questions and an overwhelming sense of confusion and frustration. I started retracing my steps in hope of finding myself again. I felt like a fragile figurine from the gift shop and I kept thinking “why didn’t you just leave me where you found me since you didn’t want me anyway?” I took myself back to a time and place of safety…I went back to the friends I had ten years prior in hopes of doing it all again and getting it right. Until I read The Opposite of Everything by David Kalish I didn’t realize just how funny that type of re-creation could be! I was immediately drawn to The Opposite of Everything and felt kindred with main character Brooklyn Journalist, Daniel Plotnik and his humorous approach to a difficult situation.

Of course, I don’t claim a divorce is as traumatic or life-altering as a health crisis, and yet an emotional crisis certainly feels just as real. I love the laughter in the face of tragedy approach Kalish’s character takes to aid in his resurrection after disease, divorce, and a tumultuous relationship with his father. The thought of new beginnings, choosing a different path, and a better ending appeals to many of us, and Kalish does a fabulous job of making this journey entertaining and downright hysterical!

Believe it or not, Plotnick’s own father pushes him off the George Washington Bridge and instead of sulking, Plotnick devises a plan to turn life around by doing the opposite of everything he had done before. This first novel by David Kalish is humorous, real, and a story you’ll want to share with friends. The Opposite of Everything was named a finalist in the Somerset Fiction Awards and will quickly climb the best seller lists. Get your copy today and enjoy every twist, turn, and laugh! Congratulations to Kalish on a fabulous book – definitely 5 stars from this reader whose only regret is not meeting character Daniel Plotnik in the real world – he is a character I’d love to have coffee with!



Book Details:
Amazon Link
Length: 191 pages
Publisher: WiDo Publishing (February 17, 2014)
ASIN: B00IIUUSKG



Author Details:
David’s website: www.davidkalishwriting.com
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7171274.David_Kalish
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/dekalish


David Kalish will be touring with WOW! beginning April 21st to help promote The Opposite of Everything, find upcoming dates on our Events Calendar. Keep up with blog stops and giveaways in real time by following us on Twitter @WOWBlogTour.

Get Involved! If you have a website or blog and would like to host David Kalish or one of our other touring authors or schedule a tour of your own, please email us at blogtour@wow-womenonwriting.com.



Crystal is a church musician, business owner, active journaler, writer and blogger as well as a dairy farmer. She lives in Reedsville, Wisconsin with her husband, three young children (Carmen 7, Andre 5, Breccan nearly 6 months), three dogs, two rabbits, four little piggies, and over 200 Holsteins. You can find Crystal blogging and reviewing books and all sorts of other stuff at: http://bringonlemons.blogspot.com/

0 Comments on Book Review – The Opposite of Everything by David Kalish as of 3/12/2014 5:06:00 AM
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30. Innocence, Libido & the evil gods of Radio

When our children were younger, I used to love taking them in the truck with me to run errands. With so many kids, the trips were a necessity and provided rare one-on-one time with whichever child agreed to go. I loved it right up until one unfortunate ride with my youngest. Here is text from that fateful trip.

Dad, drivers have all kinds of signs don’t they?

Yes, there are road signs to tell us when to stop and how fast to go.

No, that’s not what I mean. I mean drivers have signs they give…with their hands.

Sure, they wave to each other after one lets the other in front of them. That’s a kind thing to do.

Yes, but what does this mean? (giving me the perfect one finger salute)

Where did you see that? (Spoken calmly so she wouldn’t adopt this as a favorite gesture) 

That man over there did it. Did you let him in front of you?

No, that means I must have done something wrong and he was telling me about it.

What did you do?

I don’t know, maybe I cut him off or he thought I drove too close to him.

Do you use that sign?

No, honey, I don’t use that sign.

Does Mommy?

No, Mommy doesn’t use that sign.

What if Mommy does something wrong, would you do that to show her? (Once again, saluting me in the mirror)

No, we would never use that sign to Mommy. It isn’t a nice sign.

Oh. So we shouldn’t use that sign?

No, we shouldn’t use that sign. (she examines her finger wonderingly)

How about we listen to the radio?

Okay! I like the radio.

Radiomatic_DSC9599WP

(I fumble through the dial and settle on a station where the song quickly yields to a woman’s voice)

Women, do you suffer from low libido… (frantic push of the search button)

Daddy, what’s a libido?

Um, I think it’s an animal found in darkest Peru.

Like Paddington?

Exactly.

I’ve never heard of it in his books.

Maybe we haven’t gotten to that one yet.

Why is it low?

I don’t know, Sweety (how is this kid hearing every stinking thing? New station)

Men, listen to me. erectile disfunction is a serious problem… (FRANTIC PUSH as I fall victim to a conspiracy of the evil gods of radio)

Daddy…

…Er…How would you like to go to McDonalds for a chocolate milkshake?

YAY!!!!  McDonalds!!!! 

But it’s almost lunchtime. Will it be okay with Mommy?

Baby, if all Mommy hears about from this trip is the milkshake, I’m in great shape.

Photo Credit: By JPRoche (Own work) CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)

10 Comments on Innocence, Libido & the evil gods of Radio, last added: 3/11/2014
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31. Innocence, Libido & the evil gods of Radio

When our children were younger, I used to love taking them in the truck with me to run errands. With so many kids, the trips were a necessity and provided rare one-on-one time with whichever child agreed to go. I loved it right up until one unfortunate ride with my youngest. Here is text from that fateful trip.

Dad, drivers have all kinds of signs don’t they?

Yes, there are road signs to tell us when to stop and how fast to go.

No, that’s not what I mean. I mean drivers have signs they give…with their hands.

Sure, they wave to each other after one lets the other in front of them. That’s a kind thing to do.

Yes, but what does this mean? (giving me the perfect one finger salute)

Where did you see that? (Spoken calmly so she wouldn’t adopt this as a favorite gesture) 

That man over there did it. Did you let him in front of you?

No, that means I must have done something wrong and he was telling me about it.

What did you do?

I don’t know, maybe I cut him off or he thought I drove too close to him.

Do you use that sign?

No, honey, I don’t use that sign.

Does Mommy?

No, Mommy doesn’t use that sign.

What if Mommy does something wrong, would you do that to show her? (Once again, saluting me in the mirror)

No, we would never use that sign to Mommy. It isn’t a nice sign.

Oh. So we shouldn’t use that sign?

No, we shouldn’t use that sign. (she examines her finger wonderingly)

How about we listen to the radio?

Okay! I like the radio.

Radiomatic_DSC9599WP

(I fumble through the dial and settle on a station where the song quickly yields to a woman’s voice)

Women, do you suffer from low libido… (frantic push of the search button)

Daddy, what’s a libido?

Um, I think it’s an animal found in darkest Peru.

Like Paddington?

Exactly.

I’ve never heard of it in his books.

Maybe we haven’t gotten to that one yet.

Why is it low?

I don’t know, Sweety (how is this kid hearing every stinking thing? New station)

Men, listen to me. erectile disfunction is a serious problem… (FRANTIC PUSH as I fall victim to a conspiracy of the evil gods of radio)

Daddy…

…Er…How would you like to go to McDonalds for a chocolate milkshake?

YAY!!!!  McDonalds!!!! 

But it’s almost lunchtime. Will it be okay with Mommy?

Baby, if all Mommy hears about from this trip is the milkshake, I’m in great shape.

Photo Credit: By JPRoche (Own work) CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)

0 Comments on Innocence, Libido & the evil gods of Radio as of 3/12/2014 1:22:00 AM
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32. Unicorn Think’s He’s Pretty Great by Bob Shea | Book Review

A beautifully illustrated, sarcastic tale of interspecies rivalry and friendship.

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33. A Possum in My Bed (link)

I was excited to be asked to do a little guest blogging – check it out here:

http://ellebee.me/a-possum-in-my-bed/

image

Tying together a Possum, a Pickup truck, and God’s plan isn’t easy.

Photo credit: anddoesitexplode via photopin cc


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34. A Possum in My Bed (link)

I was excited to be asked to do a little guest blogging – check it out here:

http://ellebee.me/a-possum-in-my-bed/

image

Tying together a Possum, a Pickup truck, and God’s plan isn’t easy.

Photo credit: anddoesitexplode via photopin cc


2 Comments on A Possum in My Bed (link), last added: 3/11/2014
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35. LeeAnne Joseph, Third Place Winner, Summer 2013 Flash Fiction Contest

LeeAnne Joseph grew up a stone’s throw from Seaside Heights and was deeply influenced by the brash and nihilistic fairyland of her childhood haunt. She is heartbroken by the destruction caused by Hurricane Sandy, and recent fire, and wishes the Jersey Shore a full recovery so that it may continue to capture the public imagination and serve as a home, livelihood, and playground for all those in the Garden State, and beyond.

LeeAnne wants her readers to know that she is thrilled that “Geepus” has made the WOW! Top Ten and that this flash fiction is a preview of her dystopian dark comedy to be completed by Summer 2014. (Muffin readers, you can read LeeAnne's award winning story by clicking right here.) If any agents out there would like to learn more about Beck Carter and her evil GPS, LeeAnne would be glad to oblige.

When the author isn’t secretly writing stories and poetry, she serves as an Energy Policy wonk who writes respectable things like conference presentations, public relations copy, and super-cheesy environmental ads with baby ducks and terrible puns.

Again, she thanks the wonderful WOW! readers and judges whose lit-love keeps her motivated even on the dreariest autumn days in the Pacific Northwest!

WOW: Congratulations, LeeAnne, in winning third place in the WOW! Flash Fiction contest. What made you want to enter your story, "Geepus," in the contest?

LeeAnne: Hmmm. I suppose I was inspired by the neurotic potpourri that intoxicates many writers, a heady blend of boredom, validation-seeking, guerrilla test marketing, masochism, and a touch of schmaltzy greeting-card-esque hope. I had a good feeling about "Geepus" and wanted to see if others felt the same way. It makes me truly happy to see that it was well-received.

WOW: Your story is wonderfully funny (great last line!), and in your bio, it states, "This flash fiction is a preview of her dystopian dark comedy to be completed by Summer 2014." Can you tell us a little more about the novel-length work?

LeeAnne: Thanks for the kind words—truly! I’m so glad you liked the last line. My husband and I actually debated whether adding “smart ass machine” at the end was overkill. Glad I kept it there!

My novel Geepus is a dystopian parody, the bastard child of Ghost World and Brave New World with a snarky dose of 1984 added in to lighten the mood. It follows Beck, a teenage journalism drop-out who would have been the height of alt-rock, badass coolness in the 90s. In the 2045 Surveillance State, she’s considered dangerous and out of line. Beck skulks around her family’s vacant farm and tries to “rage against the machine.” She soon finds herself sucked head first into a world of skeevy reality stars, crooked cops, perky anarchists, scary psych exams, and a post-apocalyptic Seaside run by a woman who suspiciously resembles Snookie. Oh, right—

Beck’s also pretty sure her State mandated GPS is trying to kill her…

WOW: Sounds very intriguing! What made you want to write dystopian and/or comedy?

LeeAnne: It’s only now occurring to me that I wrote a comedy. I mean, yeah, I use the label, but honestly the book just came to m,e and I wrote from my heart—which is troubling if you think about it. It means deep down, I am a dark, cynical lady.

As for the dystopia—a colleague and I were driving to a conference, and the GPS kept giving us bad directions. Finally it told us to “pull to the side of the highway and proceed to our destination.” It sounded ominous. Shortly after that, my Geepus struck again and drove me in circle through this tiny town nestled in the Cascade Mountains. It was about 11pm, and no one was on the streets. It was creepy as hell, and I am not kidding, I turned on the radio and the old song “Flying Dutchman” came on the air. So that inspired the evil GPS. From there, it was just a matter of deciding what genre worked best. Dystopia seemed like a good fit, especially if you pay too much attention to the news…

WOW: Maybe it is time for you to get a new GPS! (smiles) How do you manage the balance between your full-time job writing "respectable things" and your love for writing poetry and fiction?

LeeAnne: I have no choice, really. Words are my oxygen. I write for business because I can use my words to affect change and convince others to enact good policy that helps the environment. I write at home, curled up in bed with my laptop to detangle all the hopes, frustrations, and snarky thoughts lurking around my brain. That way, I can be the calm, seemingly perky and optimistic go-getter I look like to the untrained eye.

WOW: Writing is saving your personality, then! (laughs) Your bio sounds like you are possibly on the search for an agent? What's this process been like?

LeeAnne: Truth be told, I haven’t sought one out yet. I want to get my novel looking its Sunday best. That means, I’ll add in a little more glue and duct tape before I send it out to prospective agents. In the meantime, I’ve had a lot of peer-review on several critique sites (more test marketing) and have had an editor work with me on the first two chapters to weed out any particularly annoying habits I might have. I had an ellipsis exorcism performed that makes the piece a great deal more enjoyable. That said, by Summer/Fall, I will likely start pursuing agents in earnest. Of course, if someone approached me sooner, I would gladly speed up the process. I’m in this to win this, man.

WOW: Those ellipsis can often be hard to get rid of! Any words of encouragement for writers reading this interview?

LeeAnne: Finding your voice as a writer is one of the most magical feelings in the world. It takes time; but if you listen very carefully, you’ll hear the little throb inside your gut that whispers to you as you drift off to sleep. That’s the voice that you have to harness. Once you do, the words come so much easier. So as they say in Finding Nemo, “Just keep swimming, just keep swimming.” (It helps if you picture that in a sing-song voice). Seriously though, treat your words as an extension of yourself, keep building, keep growing. If you do, you’ll have something beautiful to show for it.

WOW: Thanks, LeeAnne, for the fun interview.  Best of luck to you in your agent search and with your future works! 

0 Comments on LeeAnne Joseph, Third Place Winner, Summer 2013 Flash Fiction Contest as of 3/10/2014 6:16:00 AM
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36. Curse this Dreaded Black Thumb

Spring seems to have found us here in Georgia this weekend. While it is a simple fact that God smiles on The South sooner than the northern regions, I hold no illusions that spring is here for good. But yesterday found me in shorts cleaning up the yard. We live on a couple of wooded acres and green is beginning to peek through the gloomy brown – in my neighbor’s yard. I however was cursed with a dreaded black thumb. I follow some photography blogs displaying the most beautiful flowers from tropical locations, so I thought I would give you my best effort.

imageThese are my gardenias. Are implies a current state of being, so I suppose I should say these were my gardenias. I don’t know what happened to them, they just shriveled up and turned brown like everything else I put in the ground. Our once vibrant hydrangeas look more like flaking twigs than actual plants. My grass – brown in every season unless you include moss and weeds. Every time I go to the orange store, I tell my friend Lou the dilemma and he recommends a plant that can’t be killed. I used to take them back with their return policy, but I’ve become embarrassed to do so anymore.

You know how God builds a perfect union from two dissimilar parts? One member of the marriage might be outgoing and the other shy, or one might be cognitive while the other is emotional. Then they join together like pieces of a puzzle and complete each other perfectly (sorry for the cheesy Jerry Maguire reference, but while I’m at it, enjoy…)

In a cruel twist of fate for botanists everywhere, my lovely bride has a matching black thumb. Potted plants seem to be a popular thank you gift here and she’s received a number of them over the years. All we have left is a bunch of pots filled with what I call soil of death. She kills indoor plants while I slay the jungle outside. Nothing is safe in our homestead. Thank you, God that we have a supermarket and don’t rely on subsistence farming. We’d all starve for sure.

So while my friends up north are mired in snow, we are seeing the sun in our little slice of heaven. Maybe it likes us because we don’t need it for photosynthesis. I don’t know, I just like wearing shorts again.


5 Comments on Curse this Dreaded Black Thumb, last added: 3/9/2014
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37. Call for Submissions: Crooked/Shift

Crooked/Shift, a brand new journal, is “officially” launching March 7, 2014.

Submissions link.

Crooked/Shift is an online literary publisher dedicated to horror, humor, the absurd, and the strange. We are currently looking for flash fiction, short stories, prose poetry, and essays for inclusion in our first issue slated for July 1, 2014. We invite new and seasoned writers alike.

This is a great opportunity for first time publication!

Submissions are free, though we are not paying writers at this time. Hopefully that changes soon with your support.

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38. Thou Shalt Not Curse at Missionaries

After coming home from a service trip to Swaziland a few years ago, I felt renewed, energetic and ready to go again. It wasn’t your average mission trip, we worked hard to prepare a home for abandoned infants, which is a big problem there. I loved every minute of it and started dreaming about another place to go.

You see, I like to build stuff. I’ve been doing it for years and have built almost all of the wood furniture in our house. I’ve finished rooms, our basement, and done some pretty big construction tasks over the years. I even got to build this table that now sits at the missionary house in Heart for Africa. I like to think it will be useful for a good purpose long after I am.image

I’m not the guy who is going to go door-to-door or perform street theater – but I’ll pour concrete, remove debris, or swing a hammer. It is wonderful when God marries a talent with a need and grants the ability to go somewhere to serve. When Sudan and South Sudan were splitting apart, I got burdened for the people of South Sudan and wanted to go. That got me started trolling for an opportunity and I found a cool mission group who work with an orphanage there.

I contacted a very nice lady name Rose. Several emails and a few calls later, I learned of a trip with building men like me that was perfect and I began praying about it. I emailed one last question to Rose from my iPad – “Is South Sudan a yellow fever area? Swaziland isn’t and I don’t have that sh-t.”

Whatever I typed, the glorious auto-correct feature from Apple naturally assumed I needed to discuss feces and not an inoculation. I didn’t notice until I got her response and read what I had sent. My mind went into overdrive:

Did I really send that??? To a missionary?? Why yes, yes I did!

Is there a commandment about that? Something about a special place in hell for people who cuss at missionaries?

I thought I should probably let it go, but didn’t want to be ostracized from the trip. So I sent an apology saying, “Obviously, I meant shot.”

I loved her response, “HaHa. I know, I got a snarky giggle out of it.”

Haha, indeed.

Unfortunately, the trip was cancelled due to instability in the country.  I’d still love to go there and other places to lend a hand. In the meantime, I’ll watch my words more closely and try to handle surprises that come my way with Rose’s grace and understanding.

Has God married a talent of yours with a need? I’d love to hear about it.


10 Comments on Thou Shalt Not Curse at Missionaries, last added: 3/6/2014
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39. Voice

singing lady_line new 450 2

The Illustration Friday word of the week is “voice.” So I decided to redraw yet another oldie. I better get off my duff and come up with some new ideas I suppose, eh?


6 Comments on Voice, last added: 3/7/2014
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40. The Sadistic Overlord of Technology

Although outwardly it may appear that I am in full possession of my life’s reigns, I’ve come to realize that I control very few things besides my attitude. Most events occur around me while I jab at the air to try to influence their outcome. Like a giant game of cornhole, I throw the bean bag in the air, lean left, hold my tongue just right, and hope it goes in the hole. To give my analogy an Olympic flair, I’m swishing a broom violently in the hopes of pushing the stone to the left. I think we are all very reactionary in how we approach life because the demands of family, creditors, employers, government (and the list goes on) dictate most of our schedule.

I enjoyed my college philosophy classes, but remember nothing except my professor who had spindly legs supporting a massive belly. His poor knees creaked and cracked as he paced around the room. I’m sure he would say my theory is some type of classic Plato “–ism” where we are sitting back watching our lives on screens, only able to choose between limited outcomes.

Don’t overestimate my depth. I’m not philosophical at all. I only know that I have no choice in many things – even in my house. But at home, at least I am the Sadistic Overlord of Technology! Don’t you love the title? I gave it to myself. I should probably put it in bold. The Sadistic Overlord of Technology. If anything remotely technological doesn’t work the way one of my family hoped it would, I am to blame. I get blame, ergo, I get the title.

Take, for instance, our printer. It was one of the first wireless printers and worked perfectly for a long time. It still works fine…for some of us. Three of us have Windows 8 and it seems to like that OS. But it gave up trying for Windows 7. My wife and oldest daughter have Windows 7. I have updated the drivers and tried everything I know to do. But when they push print, it will print no more than one page before it dies. Usually it prints about half a page, violently spits the paper onto the floor, and goes into some form of cleaning mode that makes them scream in frustration. Since both are night owls, this nearly always occurs after the Overlord has gone to bed.

My attitude when awoken to fix the printer is where the word Sadistic got added to my title. I’m not much help after I’ve gone to sleep – part by mental capacity and part by groggy choice, I admit. The help desk is closed! I come out of the bedroom like Jack Nicholson poking his head through the door in The Shining – “Here’s Johnny!”

image

We’ve been dealing with this for a while and I’ve been dragging my heels on getting a new printer. I guess in some way, my sub-conscious sees this as one thing I can control. As you can imagine, there are ripple effects – mainly in attitude towards the overlord.

Come to think of it, control can be a dangerous thing…

Anyone have a recommendation for a wireless printer?

Photo credit: Jack & some cool app on my iPad

10 Comments on The Sadistic Overlord of Technology, last added: 3/4/2014
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41. The Unrelenting Butt-Itch

The List goes on.

Unending…Daunting…Disheartening

Until I reach a breaking point…

My dismal attempt at poetry? No, just my mind reeling after I read an email this morning. It is build weekend for our high school thespians and once again, I didn’t see everyone else take a step backwards when they asked for a volunteer to lead the charge. Actually, I love being around the kids (who call me PartyMark) and having a small part in the production. This is my fifth build and we’ve done some incredible shows.

image

Legally Blonde

Moon Over Buffalo

Moon Over Buffalo

Little Women

Little Women

The problem is that when I’m meeting with the director about the task at hand, she shows me the large pieces and that’s where my mind stops. She keeps telling me about the other things they will need and I hear Charlie Brown’s teacher, “wapwapwa-wa!” So after finishing the three big pieces yesterday and feeling quite smug in the accomplishment, I got an email with a 20 item list of things to do today. TWENTY! I nearly lost it and decided to do what I always do when I get stressed, go for a run.

When my toasty skin hit the cool air outside, I got a mild skin irritation in an unfortunate location. I figured it would go away, but it didn’t. At the top of my street, I was so distracted with it that I turned right toward the hilly 6-mile course instead of left to the flat 4. The sun rose above the tree line in front of me as I scratched. At first I tried to be discreet and wait for times when there were no cars around. But after a couple of miles, I quit caring. The unrelenting butt-itch won – for the moment.

At about mile four, something funny happened. I guess I didn’t hit my usual run playlist and some songs from the shows the girls have done streamed through my earbuds. They weren’t the best running songs, but they took my mind off the butt-itch and made me focus more on why I’m doing the building than the list. For me, it’s about the kids, specifically my daughters.

We all have lists. Sometimes they are unrelenting butt-itches that won’t seem to go away. I have to remember why I have the list and be grateful that I have the wherewithal to accomplish it. I keep up with Caringbridge posts from a friend who is watching her husband struggle with a brain tumor. He would love to have my list. I take my health for granted too often.

Today, I’m going to go to church, worship well, then hammer out 20 things – one at a time.

How are you going to attack your list?


6 Comments on The Unrelenting Butt-Itch, last added: 3/2/2014
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42. The Unrelenting Butt-Itch

The List goes on.

Unending…Daunting…Disheartening

Until I reach a breaking point…

My dismal attempt at poetry? No, just my mind reeling after I read an email this morning. It is build weekend for our high school thespians and once again, I didn’t see everyone else take a step backwards when they asked for a volunteer to lead the charge. Actually, I love being around the kids (who call me PartyMark) and having a small part in the production. This is my fifth build and we’ve done some incredible shows.

image

Legally Blonde

Moon Over Buffalo

Moon Over Buffalo

Little Women

Little Women

The problem is that when I’m meeting with the director about the task at hand, she shows me the large pieces and that’s where my mind stops. She keeps telling me about the other things they will need and I hear Charlie Brown’s teacher, “wapwapwa-wa!” So after finishing the three big pieces yesterday and feeling quite smug in the accomplishment, I got an email with a 20 item list of things to do today. TWENTY! I nearly lost it and decided to do what I always do when I get stressed, go for a run.

When my toasty skin hit the cool air outside, I got a mild skin irritation in an unfortunate location. I figured it would go away, but it didn’t. At the top of my street, I was so distracted with it that I turned right toward the hilly 6-mile course instead of left to the flat 4. The sun rose above the tree line in front of me as I scratched. At first I tried to be discreet and wait for times when there were no cars around. But after a couple of miles, I quit caring. The unrelenting butt-itch won – for the moment.

At about mile four, something funny happened. I guess I didn’t hit my usual run playlist and some songs from the shows the girls have done streamed through my earbuds. They weren’t the best running songs, but they took my mind off the butt-itch and made me focus more on why I’m doing the building than the list. For me, it’s about the kids, specifically my daughters.

We all have lists. Sometimes they are unrelenting butt-itches that won’t seem to go away. I have to remember why I have the list and be grateful that I have the wherewithal to accomplish it. I keep up with Caringbridge posts from a friend who is watching her husband struggle with a brain tumor. He would love to have my list. I take my health for granted too often.

Today, I’m going to go to church, worship well, then hammer out 20 things – one at a time.

How are you going to attack your list?


0 Comments on The Unrelenting Butt-Itch as of 3/3/2014 12:10:00 AM
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43. I Know That Face!

Have you ever seen someone completely out of context, recognized their face, but it took some time to come up with the venue where you typically interact with them?

Maybe you know a policeman who you typically see in uniform. Then you run into him at your son’s baseball game. The face looks so familiar. “How do I know this person?” you ask yourself until it finally clicks.

Or possibly you are at your favorite Portuguese restaurant and a familiar-looking woman you positively should know is seated three tables away, only you can’t recall her name. Maybe she is an old girlfriend (you’ve had so many), maybe you worked together, or went to the same high school. Also escaping you is whether you knew her well enough that you are compelled to say hello. Through the appetizer, salad, and main course you glance so many times she is wondering if she should call the police or if you are going to buy her dinner. Finally during desert, it comes to you that she’s the teller at the bank, leaving you nothing to worry about except her surly husband whose eyes are riveted on you.

confused

All of that leads me to something that happened recently. For many years, I was an early morning gymrat.  I love going to the gym, but hate much of the meat-market style interaction that goes on there. I hate waiting for the lat press while Joey finishes texting. I loathe the flirting, that guy doing curls in the mirror hoping someone is watching, the girl who is wearing less fabric than my sock, and the people who sweat like they are being interrogated but don’t feel the need to wipe down a seat. So I started going to the gym at 5 am. At 5 am, the gym is full of people who are serious about working out. I made many friends over the years and joined a group of people who ran a few days a week as well.

One evening while at the store with my lovely wife, I saw a lady I knew I should know. While her husband didn’t look the least bit familiar, her face did. Across several aisles, I stared her down. I wracked my brain to come up with my association with this woman, but could not. Finally our paths met, she smiled when and said, “Hello Mark.” Upon hearing her voice, I knew immediately she was part of the running group from the gym.

I replied just like anyone would in the situation, “Hello Patty, I was having trouble placing you for a minute. I didn’t recognize you with clothes on.”

Those words hung there for a second while everyone besides me tried to make sense of them. Me? Oh, I didn’t really know what I’d said, I was just relieved to have the mystery solved. I stood there with a contented smile on my face until I noticed the shock on their faces. I did a mental recount of my statement and went directly to panic mode.

I’ll have that back, please!

Nope, no taking it back. I could only explain that I meant I was used to seeing her in very appropriate work-out clothes.

Yes, I’m still married and no, her husband and I did not tussle! (I could have taken him, though – with all of my bicep curls into the mirror.)


10 Comments on I Know That Face!, last added: 2/28/2014
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44. Disguise

chameleon new 450

COMPUTATIVE CHAMELEON

For some reason I felt compelled to redraw this little guy from a few years ago when the Illustration Friday word was “adapt” Perhaps more appropriate? You decide.

Well, it  must be karma… get it… karma karma karma karma karma chameleon. No? Oh come on! How can you see the word chameleon without that song going through your head?

Unless you’re under 30.

Nevermind.


5 Comments on Disguise, last added: 2/13/2014
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45. The Templeton Twins Make a Scene by Ellis Weiner

The Templeton Twins Make a SceneComparisons to Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events are unavoidable with The Templeton Twins titles, a new series by Ellis Weiner, but there are not many children who will complain about the similarities. Like Snicket’s books, these titles feature an intrusive narrator who adds levity, humor and the occasional educational lesson for the readers. As well as providing important background information and hilarious definitions of vocabulary words featured in the books, the narrator poses nonsensical “Questions for Review” at the end of each chapter that are one of best reasons to read these books.

In addition to the intrusive narrator, the Templeton Twins also contend with a delightfully evil villain like the Baudelaire children do in the Series of Unfortunate Events. The Templeton Twins face Dean D. Dean, a scorned former student of their father’s and master of disguise, who attempts to steal credit for their father’s many fabulous inventions. In book 2, Professor Templeton is working at the Thespian Academy of the Performing Arts and Science (TAPAS) to develop new spotlight technology. The invention is nearly complete when Dean D. Dean swoops in to take credit by wooing the school’s Dean and former stage actress, Gwendolyn Splendide. It is up to the twins (and their ridiculous dog) to prove the spotlight is 100 percent their father’s invention.

The story is enhanced by illustrations that are similar in style to an architect’s blue prints, cryptic puzzles, and many hilarious footnotes by the narrator. While not an entirely new concept, this book will have many fans among elementary-school aged readers and it deserves every one of those fans.

Posted by: Kelly


0 Comments on The Templeton Twins Make a Scene by Ellis Weiner as of 1/30/2014 9:57:00 AM
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46. Just thinking

I would like to think that I could come up with some Geo-Terra-forming-hyper-thoughts but can only come up with the belief that I am correct to feel immortal and know that even after I go to the next eternity, that itself will end, and “I” become some horrific to these “Now ” eyes, some specimen of thing unknowable to this consciousness, yet another “thing” that feels correct to it’s nature and has no thought of being not correct, that after an eternity of these formations and resurrections and deaths I will sink into the opposite sludge of nonexistence but after a time, that is not time, will again float to the surface *POP* out and start all over again.

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47. Happy Valentine’s Day y’all!

valentine bunny cupid450

Little known fact: The Easter Bunny moonlights, filling in for Cupid, to get some extra scratch.

He says, “They don’t call me Dead-Eye Cottontail for nothing!
(Actually, they don’t really call him that, shhhhhh.)


5 Comments on Happy Valentine’s Day y’all!, last added: 2/16/2014
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48. Space

BUNNY ROCKET2– redo 450

COTTONTAILS IN SPACE

After successfully landing on the moon, Neil “Cottontail” Armstrong was famously quoted as saying, “One small step for a bunny, one giant hop for rabbitkind.

Space is the “Illustration Friday” word of the week. So I dusted this old chestnut off and redrew it.


7 Comments on Space, last added: 2/28/2014
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49. Sleep Tight, Anna Banana! by Dominique Roques

sleep

If you’re looking for a typical bedtime story, this isn’t it. Sleep Tight, Anna Banana! is, however, a sweet and zany bedtime story that youngsters will love. Anna Banana’s stuffed animals are ready to go to bed after a long day of playing, but Anna Banana isn’t ready yet. Each time one of them tries to convince her to turn out the lights, she’s having none of it. But when the shoe is on the other foot, things aren’t so peachy.

I loved this book. It’s whimsical, it’s funny, it’s adorable, and the stuffed animals are alive and talking! With all this and the delightful, often silly, illustrations by Alexis Dormal, kids will eat this one up. This is the first in a series. I can’t wait to see what this mother and son team come up with next.

Highly recommended!

Rating: :) :) :) :) :)

Age Range: 3 – 7 years
Grade Level: Preschool – 2
Hardcover: 28 pages
Publisher: First Second (June 17, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1626720193
ISBN-13: 978-1626720190

I received an advanced review copy of this book from the publisher. This review contains my honest opinions, which I have not been compensated for in any way.


0 Comments on Sleep Tight, Anna Banana! by Dominique Roques as of 2/28/2014 2:01:00 AM
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50. I Know That Face!

Have you ever seen someone completely out of context, recognized their face, but it took some time to come up with the venue where you typically interact with them?

Maybe you know a policeman who you typically see in uniform. Then you run into him at your son’s baseball game. The face looks so familiar. “How do I know this person?” you ask yourself until it finally clicks.

Or possibly you are at your favorite Portuguese restaurant and a familiar-looking woman you positively should know is seated three tables away, only you can’t recall her name. Maybe she is an old girlfriend (you’ve had so many), maybe you worked together, or went to the same high school. Also escaping you is whether you knew her well enough that you are compelled to say hello. Through the appetizer, salad, and main course you glance so many times she is wondering if she should call the police or if you are going to buy her dinner. Finally during desert, it comes to you that she’s the teller at the bank, leaving you nothing to worry about except her surly husband whose eyes are riveted on you.

confused

All of that leads me to something that happened recently. For many years, I was an early morning gymrat.  I love going to the gym, but hate much of the meat-market style interaction that goes on there. I hate waiting for the lat press while Joey finishes texting. I loathe the flirting, that guy doing curls in the mirror hoping someone is watching, the girl who is wearing less fabric than my sock, and the people who sweat like they are being interrogated but don’t feel the need to wipe down a seat. So I started going to the gym at 5 am. At 5 am, the gym is full of people who are serious about working out. I made many friends over the years and joined a group of people who ran a few days a week as well.

One evening while at the store with my lovely wife, I saw a lady I knew I should know. While her husband didn’t look the least bit familiar, her face did. Across several aisles, I stared her down. I wracked my brain to come up with my association with this woman, but could not. Finally our paths met, she smiled and said, “Hello Mark.” Upon hearing her voice, I knew immediately she was part of the running group from the gym.

I replied just like anyone would in the situation, “Hello Patty, I was having trouble placing you for a minute. I didn’t recognize you with clothes on.”

Those words hung there for a second while everyone besides me tried to make sense of them. Me? Oh, I didn’t really know what I’d said, I was just relieved to have the mystery solved. I stood there with a contented smile on my face until I noticed the shock on their faces. I did a mental recount of my statement and went directly to panic mode.

I’ll have that back, please!

Nope, no taking it back. I could only explain that I meant I was used to seeing her in very appropriate work-out clothes.

Yes, I’m still married and no, her husband and I did not tussle! (I could have taken him, though – with all of my bicep curls into the mirror.)


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