Tag Archives: humor

Roz Chast (and my “Humor” file)

Roz Chast is a writer/cartoonist. I first discovered her over 20 years ago. These were the comics, “Bartlett’s Unfamiliar Quotations”, that I saw. I about lost it. Chast is a cartoonist for The New Yorker but I don’t read that publication; I think I saw these particular ones reprinted in a City paper. I clipped them out and still have the yellowing newspaper in my “Humor” file, a thick collection of various odds & ends I’ve found funny. It serves no purpose other than to amuse me. I don’t know if this is unusual but my humor has been fairly consistent; the things I found funny in decades past are still likely to make me laugh.

Roz Chast recently published Going Into Town: A Love Letter To New York, described as a “graphic memoir.” As soon as I heard about it I reserved it at the library. It’s a great, quick-read book. I’ll grant you my reading material as of late hasn’t been all that funny but I laughed more resding this book than any I can recall in a long time.

I don’t think you’d need any particular familiarity with New York to enjoy this book. I spent a little time in New York long ago but that is the extent of my firsthand knowledge. To be honest, I never truly understood the layout of the burroughs exactly or Manhattan’s streets before seeing Chast’s illustratios. Her New York is quirky and fun – this isn’t a book about subway murders or gang violence. She’s a middle class – probably upper middle – white lady; she’s writing about what she knows, not Harlem. I think that I need to make that clear but for me it takes nothing from the book or its point.

After reading the book in one sitting (about an hour) I went looking in my Humor file for that old comic. I would have posted it here instead of just adding a link but I expect that would be a copyright violation. While looking through the file I found a “one panel” comic I drew. The weird thing is, that while I KNOW I drew this – and feel it wasn’t that terribly long ago – I don’t definitively know why I drew it. This isn’t like me; I can remember things I drew in grade school so this memory blank is odd. I can certainly imagine what I must have been thinking/feeling, that’s not too hard! It made me laugh now so I thought I’d share it with you.

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Why would a jalapeño wear high tops?

I bought a jar of sliced jalapeño peppers a little while ago and just opened them. That was when I noticed the lid.

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Is he going somewhere? Running somewhere? I actually kind of like his retro quality even when I think he looks more like a pickle. I mean if you didn’t know, wouldn’t you think it was a happy pickle? I further don’t understand the slogan “Uncommon Quality From People Who Care” in this context. Shouldn’t the jalapeño be the one saying something here like “Bite Me and I Bite Back”? I feel there is a disconnect between the jalapeño and the words. At the least they could reference why he seems so euphoric (“Our Vegetables Get Only the Best Dirt!”) or why he needs footwear (“Vegetables Rushed From the Farm to You”). I’m just puzzled is all.

Things Men Have Said To Me (#28)

The recent term “alternative facts” regarding how many people attended the inauguration reminded me of something said to me long ago.

He was a new friend. I knew he got high but that’s not my thing. He was visiting one afternoon and we were having a discussion – I forget about what – and he said something questionable that I then challenged. He became somewhat indignant and offered a swift rejoinder.

HIM: “It’s a factual fact.

That’s when I realized he was stoned.

We didn’t stay friends but to this day I trot out his words when I think my words need that little extra emphasis.

Readers, could you use a laugh?

Before I ever started blogging one of the random things I did online was write funny captions in a regular “contest”. The site put up a picture, maybe a cartoon or even an old movie still, and entrants wrote captions which appeared below the picture with their name. You could write as many as you wanted for each one. It wasn’t exactly a contest which is why I wrote the word in quotes. It seemed like the pet project of a congenial young fellow, one which never took off the way I expect he’d have liked.

I didn’t tell anybody I was doing it. It’s the kind of writing I love to do (and wish somebody would pay me for – sigh) and I was happy to have the outlet. After awhile though, I felt like it wasn’t a very good use of my time (ahem, which isn’t to suggest my time gets used brilliantly on whole, ahem – yes that deserved two ahems).

I went looking now and found the site abandoned in 2015 BUT I found all my entries still online. I invite you to check them out. There’s a lot there. They are fresh to me because it’s been so long that I don’t remember most of them. I’d caution that the pictures are quite small and would be best viewed on a full size screen but if you click on any picture that will enlarge it.  Here’s my entries. Go on! They’re funny!

 

People Who Aren’t Quite Like Everybody Else (A Handy Scale)

INTERESTING

UNUSUAL

INDIVIDUALISTIC

COLORFUL

A CHARACTER

QUIRKY

ECCENTRIC

DIFFERENT

WHACKY

ODD

PECULIAR

NOT QUITE RIGHT

MARCH TO THEIR OWN DRUMMER

TOUCHED

BENT

A FEW FRIES SHORT

OUT THERE

CRAZY

DISTURBED

MARCH TO THE MUSIC IN THEIR OWN HEAD

UNBALANCED

PRESIDENTIAL MATERIAL

FROM MARS

DEMENTED

OFF THE DEEP END

MARCH FOR NO REASON AT ALL. IN TRAFFIC.

DERANGED

CLEAN OUT OF THEIR COTTON MEDICAL MARIJUANA-PICKIN’ MIND

POSSESSED

INSIST PLUTO IS A PLANET. THEIR HOME PLANET.

 

 

 

 

I should probably stop reading random stuff. It hurts my brains.

A few things caught my attention recently so I’m cobbling them into one post (with a tilt of my thrift-store hat to my WordPress buddy Tim who also sometimes writes posts along these lines).

I recently treated myself to a 2 pound bag of shrimp. Seafood is generally not in my price range moreover I’ve noticed that icky chemicals are often added now “to retain moisture and color” and other nonsense, which critics say can be used to disguise festering, old fish products. Nice! Dear lord, I’ve even seen carbon monoxide as an additive – seriously, Sea Best Tilapia has it. You can pay MORE to buy their “natural” version which doesn’t. Nice! Anyway, I happened upon this lone package of frozen, raw shrimp at the small, local grocery store at an appealing $5 a pound. It didn’t say anything about weird preservatives but it did say this:

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Born, raised, harvested, US. This reads like the shrimp’s autobiography.  Born, raised, attended Shellfish Academy, interned at  Pollock, Lobster & Calamari Ltd, met a fine catch, reared 600 shrimplets, worked at Avoiding the Net United….

What Christmas would be complete without a heartwarming discussion of toilet paper packaging? I can’t help myself – I read everything. For some time I’ve noticed the increasingly bizarre improved toilet paper claims. (Give me the company which says only “Be glad we’re not newspaper”  and I would buy that stuff up.) So here’s what this one reads:

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You know what I said aloud to myself on reading this? What the hell does that mean?? Flexible and strong for a comfortable clean you can count on?? Who writes this stuff? Count on your toilet paper?? Because it so often lets you down? I don’t think I even want to know what this means.  Cleanstretch®?!? The brand is PROUD enough of their ridiculous new word that they trademarked it. Good thinking!

Speaking of thrift store hats (and yes, yes I actually was, back in the first paragraph), I just got this fine little hat for a $1. I wash everything I buy secondhand and this was not exempted. Afterward, when it was air-drying, I took a look at the label.

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Very standard looking label right? Nothing odd or atypical. I draw your attention to the words at the very top, “SEE REVERSE FOR CARE.” Totally standard. Let’s look at the “reverse” then.

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Now there’s a gut-buster! DO NOT WASH?!? Whaddayamean do not wash?? This is like a sign that reads “Please use other door” but there IS no other door! Why couldn’t they have simply written “unwashable” on the front side?? Even a “dry clean only” for kicks?! Or how ’bout “Throw out when dirty”? As it stands it reads like a weird koan to ponder forevermore. Which I plan to do while wearing my cute hat!

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Don’t even think about it

About two, three, years ago, I found this little sign inside something I’d bought at a rummage sale. It struck me funny so I kept it.

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I’ve just had it sitting on top of my coat rack for want of a better spot. The right place for it occurred to me today so I removed the paper covering the adhesive and applied it to its new home permanently.

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