What is the value of a laugh?


I never met anyone who didn’t enjoy a good laugh. Even the snarkiest curmudgeon can get behind a deep-in-the belly chortle. Of course the snipe or insult has to be just right and at the perfect time…but the point is people enjoy a laugh. I know I like to laugh and if somebody can make me laugh consistently, then I’m pretty much theirs forever.

So when people ask me what my blog is about or what its theme is or what value I bring. I basically go into that deer in the headlights pose and stutter, then mumble something unintelligible. Because mostly I write this blog to make people laugh. I can’t help myself; I just love to make people laugh. And I always have, even when I was a kid. From witty repartee to telling my version of family history my goal is to make you chuckle, giggle, pound-on-the-table howl and hopefully pee your pants a little.

Is this valuable? Is it worth your time?

I can’t speak for others although I’ve seen stories of people who claim to have cured chronic illnesses by ensuring they laughed a lot and watched funny movies and did things that made them well…laugh. This article from the Mayo Clinic agrees there are health benefits to laughing including:

  • Stimulating your heart, lungs and muscles, and increasing the release of endorphins
  • Increasing your heart rate and blood pressure which can relax you
  • Stimulating your circulation and aid in muscle relaxation
  • Improving your immune system by releasing neuropeptides that help fight stress
  • Relieving pain
  • Increasing personal satisfaction
  • Improving your ability to cope
  • Helping you to connect with other human beings
  • Improving your mood
  • Lessening depression and anxiety

I mean, seriously, there must be a reason why silly videos of monkeys scrambling eggs go viral, right?

Is everything laughable?

Yeah, yeah, I know life is serious. I mean there is some pretty serious stuff going on in the world and we need to be concerned about it. But I believe that on some level pretty much everything is laughable. It may not be today or tomorrow, but even the worst thing that happened to you may be laughable years from now. I remember a friend asking me about a broken love affair that had really just ruined me. But as I told her the Reader’s Digest version of my journey we both started laughing and ended up, yes, peeing our pants a little. Because it the retelling it was just really stupidly, pathetically funny. I mean, come on, you just have to laugh at what a big doof you are sometimes, right? So I say, when in doubt laugh – it can’t hurt and it might help. You never know.

Life is a mess – make fun of it  file000792737528

What makes you laugh? Got any good jokes?

Writer Chick
Copyright 2015

Gardening is Not for Sissies

For years I have been trying to get my BFF Zelda to take a dive into the gardening universe. And this year it finally happened – she put up her green house, went on a shopping spree at the local nursery, and bought all the amendment, soil, chemicals, and plants I told her to (and then some).

Since the part of her property where she was planning to put her garden is very slope-ish there was some prep that would have to be done first. So we spent a day and mixed up soil, mulch, worming castings, lime, bone meal, and or stuff, potted all her nursery buys and planned to put the garden in within a few weeks.

Well then there was the tree that unexpectedly fell down on her back lot and required a chain saw to cut. It was a very big tree and her helper ‘forgot’ the day of the sawing and then there were the chain saws that kept dying. Somehow she managed to muddle through and put her focus back on the garden. Her helper was digging out an area for the strawberries when one of the walls collapsed because it was apparently built without rebar and other essential items. So then she had to go to the rock store and buy a lot of expensive rocks to build another.

Then there was the business trip that took her out of town for a week and the giant gopher snake that got trapped in her fencing and required the Fire Department to extract.

Anyway…today was planting day. I planted my garden two months ago and my plants are planning to take over the world judging by their size and are doing fine. So I volunteered to help Zelda plant.

Okay, so we met for breakfast to carbo load, then there was a trip to the dollar store, thrift store, and Home Depot for necessary items. And then we went out back. You have to picture the scene to fully appreciate the challenges we faced. The greenhouse frame was erected and given the weather there was no need to do any netting or walls so that was good. Until we had to do our magic mix of dirt, potting soil, chemicals, and amendment. You see Zelda’s property is pretty sandy and rocky so we knew that amending the soil was going to be needed.

Our first obstacle was getting the wheel barrel up the hill and through the greenhouse frame and then incidentally freeing Zelda who managed to get trapped under the wheel barrel. No, I have no explanation for how that happened but…then we realized we could not get the wheel barrel through the frame and had to back it up (while teetering on a cliff and trying not to slip in the five foot mound of dirt and again getting trapped under the wheel barrel. At one point masks and an electric drill were needed but we did manage to get the wheel barrel in position and then we had to lift the trashcan full of the magic soil mixture into the wheel barrel – did you know that trash cans with wheels on them are hard to get a grip on?
Then we had to put much of the five foot mound of dirt back into the greenhouse because after all what else was she going to do with it and we didn’t want a sunken green house floor. I tried to help but kept slipping and sliding in the shifting pile of quick sand.. Er…ah..dirt and so my job was to sift out rocks, while Zelda pulled in the dirt with a hoe.

Finally it was time to take the magic mixture for the top layer and again while teetering on the edge of the hill we made several attempts at tipping the now full wheel barrel into the floor of the greenhouse. Luckily no one was trapped this time and the Fire Department did not have to be called. We managed to get the top layer in, put on our painting masks because quite frankly it smelled like a cat box on crack and smoothed it out.

While the temperature was mild today, after tossing around 30 pound bags of amendment, worm castings and top soil our arms were dangling from the ends of our shoulders, we were lathered like race horses and choking on garden dust.

Zelda found ties and stakes and finally got the tomato plants in the ground. After fighting with the hose for a little while we got the plants watered and finished up the day five pounds heavier for all the dust and soil on our bodies, in our clothes and shoes and hair. Ah the great outdoors, you gotta love it.

As I was leaving Zelda said enthusiastically, “Okay we got the tomatoes in, now we just have to do the peppers, squash, strawberries, and eggplant. I muttered something about my glove likely being buried beneath the tomatoes and hobbled to my car.

It took about a half hour to wash off the grime and another hour for my hands to unclench (thanks to a half bottle of Advil). However, I’m still blowing ‘amendment’ out of my nose and my hair does look a couple of shades darker than usual.

So hopefully by August or September Zelda will have the rest of her garden in, her wall rebuilt and even some fresh veggies to eat. Though at this point I’m just hoping I’ll be able to feel my feet again by the end of the week. Oh and standing up straight would be nice too.

Copyright 2012

Idious Maximus

We’ve all encountered idiots during our daily lives, like the fellow who makes a left hand turn from the right lane – the bicyclist who runs a stop sign then expects cars to follow behind him as he travails the center of the lane going 12 m.p.h., the woman who wants to know if Micky D’s uses all organic products in their foods, etc. But sometimes, we encounter the special idiot. The one whose actions are so beyond the pale our jaws hit the floor and keep on going. A friend me a list of just that thing:

IDIOT SIGHTING #1 : Hubby and I had to have the garage door repaired. The Sears repairman told us that one of our problems was that we did not have a “large” enough motor on the opener. I thought for a minute, and said that we had the largest one Sears made at that time, a 1/2 horsepower. He shook his head and said, “Lady, you need a 1/4 horsepower.” I responded that 1/2 was larger than 1/4. He said, “NO, it’s not. Four is larger than two.”
We haven’t used Sears repair since.
IDIOT SIGHTING #2 : I live in a semi rural area. We recently had a new neighbor call the local township administrative office to request the removal of the Deer Crossing sign on our road. The reason: “Too many
deer are being hit by cars out here! I don’t think this is a good place for them to be crossing anymore.”
From Kingman , KS
IDIOTS IN FOOD SERVICE #3 : My daughter went to a local Taco Bell and ordered a taco. She asked the person behind the counter for “minimal lettuce.” He said he was sorry, but they only had iceberg. He was a Chef?
Yep… From Kansas City!
IDIOT SIGHTING! #4 : I was at the airport, checking in at the gate when an airport employee asked, “Has anyone put anything in your baggage without your knowledge?” To which I replied, “If it was without my knowledge, how would I know?” He smiled knowingly and nodded, “That’s why we ask.”
Happened in Birmingham, Alabama
IDIOT SIGHTING #5 : The stoplight on the corner buzzes when its safe to cross the street. I was crossing with an intellectually challenged coworker of mine. She asked if I knew what the buzzer was for. I explained that it signals blind people when the light is red. Appalled, she responded, “What on earth are blind people doing driving?!”
She was a probation officer in Wichita , KS
IDIOT SIGHTING #6 : At a good-bye luncheon for an old and dear coworker:
She was leaving the company due to “downsizing.” Our manager commented cheerfully, “This is fun. We should do this more often.” Not another word was spoken. We all just looked at each other with that deer-in-the-headlights stare.

This was a group at Texas Instruments.
IDIOT SIGHTING #7 : I work with an individual who plugged her power strip back into itself, and for the sake of her own life, couldn’t understand why her system would not turn on. A deputy with the Dallas County Sheriffs office no less.
IDIOT SIGHTING #8 : When my husband and I arrived at an automobile dealership to pick up our car, we were told the keys had been locked in it. We went to the service department and found a mechanic working feverishly to unlock the driver’s side door. As I watched from the passenger side, I instinctively tried the door handle and discovered that it was unlocked. “Hey,” I announced to the technician, “Its open!” His reply, “I know – I already got that side.”
This was at the Ford dealership in Canton, Mississippi !

How’s about you? What is the most idiotic thing you’ve seen lately?


Fun With Idioms

I have always loved language – words, definitions, concepts, inferences – could be why I like to write. I think that the history of words and how words have evolved is fascinating. But there is nothing more fascinating than idioms – at least to me.

As a child, I imagined actual cats and dogs raining down from the sky. Worried that if I got sick a frog would hop into my throat and talk for me. Thought a giant cherry pie in the sky would be the most delicious of weather patterns. And worried about the shit hitting the fan and how many baths I’d need to take after the debacle.

Some other favorites:

1. Laughing my ass off. (I love this because the image of a person laughing so hard that their ass actually falls off is hilarious. Imagine the work involved in getting that puppy back on.)

2. Chip on your shoulder. (My mom used to use this one and I always envisioned a giant chocolate chip – Hershey’s semi-sweet to be exact – living on my shoulder that I could nibble on throughout the day. And I thought this would be divine, especially if it didn’t melt.)

3. Cute as a bug’s ear. (Correct me if I’m wrong but do bugs actually have ears. And if they do, I can’t imagine they’d be cute at all. They’d probably be creepy crawler and have poisonous venom in them which would make you go blind or something.)

4. Dead ringer. (Is this a doorbell that doesn’t work? A silent phone? That twirly thing in the washing machine that just won’t work?)

5. Balls to the wall. (I always believed it was a reference to illicit sex while standing up. However, I learned that it’s a pilot’s slang term. Hmmm, is that about the Mile High Club?)

6. Play by ear. (Now wouldn’t it be hard to bang your ear against the instrument? How in the heck would you read the music?)

7. Straight from the horse’s mouth. (Can you say Mr. Ed?)

8. Cold turkey. (Yuck, nothing worse than eating cold turkey – so greasy and slimey.)

9. Nose for news. (Imagine a giant nose interviewing dignitaries and celebrities. Now that is something I’d pay money to see.)

10. You don’t say. (Well yes, as a matter of fact, I do say!)

Those are some of my favorites, what are yours?


This Stuff Gives Me Gas…

Well, I don’t know about you, but I’m sick of paying over $3 a gallon for gas. Yet, captive audience that we are, there is little we can do but complain about it. Or start driving mopeds, or those butt-ugly hybrid cars. Puleeze, I’d rather duct tape castors on the bottom of a piece of wood and roll down the hill than that awful fate.

So, since we can’t beat em, let’s join em. Funnies for you:

HT to Gerry for the funnies. Have a good weekend folks.


Posts I Never Did


When I first started blogging, I had so many ideas for posts floating around in my head that I started keeping notepads everywhere. My bag was packed with little scraps of paper that held true brilliance for the blogosphere. Now, not so much.

I don’t know, maybe it’s that I’ve been doing it for a while and I’ve said all I have to say – or life gets in the way – or the pressure is just too much. Hard to say. Though I usually come up with something to write about.

Sometimes though, you come up with ideas that just go nowhere – or refuse to let you write them – or are just too damn stupid to actually publish them on the Internet.

Here are a few that never made it to the post buffer and never will. And I’ll leave it to you and your imagination to figure out what the content of these posts could have been: 😆

  1. Generally Freaked Out and Homicidal
  2. Dead Cat Casseroles
  3. Pimples – The New White Meat
  4. Smut Among the Daffodils
  5. Telemarketers I Have Loved
  6. I Hear That – And It’s Pissing Me Off
  7. Born to be a Prison Bitch
  8. My Night With Mel Gibson
  9. Zelda’s Academy Award Party
  10. Daughtry – Bald, Bag of Angst or….Rock Star?
  11. The Loser Gene
  12. Bubbles in my Pants
  13. Ten Things to do With a Dead Spouse
  14. My Favorite Diseases

Now, I know that many of you out there have a few titles of your own. So…give. 😉



Not long ago, I was chatting with a friend about the importance of titles for pieces. In my mind, there is nothing like a good title. It entices the reader, clues them into what the piece is about, tantalizes the  imagination. It’s all good.

But what about the poor writer who just isn’t good with titles? The piece may be fascinating, jam-packed with action, adventure and compelling characters, make an outstanding argument, reveal amazing facts – but the title just doesn’t encourage people to read.

I’m not the best at coming up with titles, but I like to think that I sometimes come up with some good ones. To be honest, sometimes, the title just doesn’t jump out at you. Sometimes you have to dig. In fact, I’ve been known to spend more time coming up with a title than I did in writing the piece. Yep, I’m that anal about it. I’ll dig through quotation books, books of cliches, g**gle lists, dictionaries, thesaruses, whatever I can get my hands on. Sometimes I fall flat, but I really do give it the ol’ college try.

However, there are some folks who don’t seem to share my enthusiasm for finding just the right combination of words to enshrine their work. Following, are a few examples. Whaddaya think?

Country songs:

  1. How Can I Get Over You if You Won’t Get out From Under Me? (My question is, how did he manage to write the song under these conditions?)
  2. I Don’t Know Whether To Kill Myself or Go Bowling.(Sports vs suicide, always a tough choice)
  3. I Spent my Last 2 Dollars on Birth Control and Beer. (Where can you get birth control and beer at those prices? Walmart?)
  4. If the Devil Danced in Empty Pockets, He’d Have a Ball in Mine. (I think I’ll let Evyl comment on this one.)
  5. One Day, When you Swing That Skillet (My face ain’t gonna be there.) (Someone should tell him that plastic surgery is much easier)
  6. You Ain’t Much Fun Since I Quit Drinking. (Isn’t it funny how people change based on our alcohol consumption?)

Movie Titles:

  1. Feeling Minnesota (But what part of Minnesota are you feeling?)
  2. Snakes on a Plane (Is this racial profiling?)
  3. Bounce (A movie about drier sheets?)
  4. Waterworld (Good for an amusement park, not so much a movie)
  5. Crash (Boom?)
  6. Death to Smoochy (I think they should kill the parent who named their child smoochy)
  7. Perfume: The Story of a Murderer (Talk about a lingering scent)

Album Titles:

  1. The Earth, a Small Man, His Dog and a Chicken (WTF?)
  2. The Serpent is Rising (Don’t tell me, tell your wife!)
  3. Fungus Among Us (Bad puns aren’t punny)
  4. Mellon Collie & The Infinite Sadness (The life of a sad Lassie and a zen poodle?)
  5. Meat is Murder (I’m pretty sure it isn’t)

Book Titles:

  1. Bleak House (There’s a place I want to read about)
  2. Smilla’s Sense of Snow (Why is Smilla sensing snow?)
  3. The Horse Whisperer (Mr. Ed with strep throat?)
  4. Woman Are From Venus, Men Are From Mars (Where’s your official study on this?)
  5. Don’t Pee on my Leg and Tell me it’s Raining (A little too straight from the hips if you ask me)
  6. All My Friends Are Dead (Did you kill them?)

TV Shows:

  1. My Mother the Car (At least she’s not a sheep)
  2. The Biggest Loser (WTF?)
  3. Cop Rock (Throwing rocks, blowing rocks, rocking rocks???)
  4. Manimal (Forerunner to cloning?)
  5. Baa Baa Black Sheep (A real man’s show)
  6. Different Strokes (Again, over to you, Evyl)
  7. Leave it to Beaver (Many do)

 So there you have it, lots of bad titles. Anybody want to add, feel free.


Gracie Does Pomp & Circumstance by Jess Em

I was a clumsy kid.  As a matter of fact, I’m a clumsy adult.  The person who falls down in the middle of an empty sidewalk wearing flip flops and carrying nothing more interesting than a small bag I purchased specifically for it’s easy-to-carry-while-carting-around-two-toddlers style.  And then attempts to pretend that I didn’t just fall down while all alone, surrounded by nothing more than air, while strolling leisurely on the most innocuous sidewalk in the world.  It’s a sad testament to my capability as a grown adult, but at least I’ve managed to never harm another human being in my inability to do anything gracefully.

 I grew up in Jersey.  We had big hair, wore leggings under everything, and had high tops to coordinate with every sweatshirt-dress we owned.  I had at least ten pairs of dangly star earrings in a variety of colors, and wore them proudly with my crimped hair and teased bangs.  I was cool.  Until I walked into an open locker while staring at Eric Cochrane over my right shoulder.  Or fell in PE while jogging as I tried to impress him with my fleet-footed sprinting capability.  My parents called me “Gracie”, a supposedly affectionate nickname that served only to remind everyone that I was bound to trip over something. 

 My school was K-8, the eighth grade graduation being the culmination of all things.  It was the pinnacle of the early school years: an event each of us yearned for as we entered into the middle-school wing.  We had the pomp, the ceremony.  The eighth graders missed class for graduation practice.  They got to leave school early…they got pizza for lunch TWICE a week.  They were the ultimate.  We all wanted to be in eighth grade, so when I reached that pinnacle, I knew great things would come.  My eighth grade graduation would be the day, the one where I shined.  I was smart-I knew I’d get awards.  I’d be stylish, because mom took me shopping for shoes with heels on them.  By God, I’d have good hair.  No frizz. 

 The day of The Graduation dawned bright and beautiful, as it can only be on the Jersey shore in June.  My parents had made reservations at a rather jazzy little place in Manasquan, and I couldn’t wait to walk down the aisle to the graduation song.  I had my new shoes ready, heels and all, and took my time getting my bangs to just the right height to sit perfectly under the square of my graduation cap.  I loved the jaunty swing of my tassel; the click of my little heels on the floor.    I was wearing makeup.  Mascara, and a little lip gloss.  I was the shit. 

 We got to the school, my family took their seats, camera at the ready.  They had already put in their order for the VHS of the ceremony.  I joined my classmates in the band room, all of us happily chattering in our royal blue graduation robes.  My bangs were the perfect height, I noted, looking at the bangs of my classmates. 

 The chairs for the graduates were set up on the stage of the elementary school gym stage.  The kind with the heavy red curtains used for everything from dances to PE class to PTA meetings.  My last name starting with an “M”, I was right in the middle of the procession.  To get to our seats, we had to walk down the center aisle, turn right at the stage, walking around the band to go up the stairs at the right side.  Simple.  And interesting to watch, I’m sure, as 90 eighth graders step-tap-step-tapped all the way down the aisle to the beat of “Pomp and Circumstance”. 

 My turn, finally, and I step-tap-step-tapped my way down the center aisle, smiling for the cameras, my little heels clicking on the floor, my bangs maintaining their perfect height.  My tassel swinging perfectly.  It was beautiful.  My shining moment.  I walk down the aisle, around the band, up the steps.

 Until, well.  The Moment.  The moment of all things ridiculous, mortifying, humiliating.  I tripped.  Up the top step.  Shouldn’t have been a big deal, a little stumble that was easily recoverable. 

 Except.  I was wearing heels, for the first time ever.    So here’s how it went: I trip up the step, try to recover, step on my robe, slip on my heels, teeter left, over the stage.  Off the stage.  Onto a band member, slamming my forehead against the edge of the stage on my way down, before landing on the back of my head on the lovely, well-polished, hardwood floor. 

 I spent my graduation in the ER, being treated for a concussion.  Getting stitches over my left ear where I slammed into the trumpet of the terrified fifth grade band member as I fell onto the floor. 

 Needless to say, my parents have kept their VCR in good repair solely for the purpose of being able to show that particular video.  To everyone in the world.  If they knew about YouTube, it’d probably be on there too.

Jess Em