Thursday, March 29, 2012


It's interesting what tickles peoples' funny bones and what doesn't. I have tried to watch 30 Rock a few times and never laughed out loud once. These British comedies, on the other hand, make me cackle and howl!

I watched The Young Ones on MTV as a teenager and loved how different Vyvyan (Adrian Edmondson), Rick (Rik Mayall), Mike (Christopher Ryan), and Neil (Nigel Planer) are. The four students of Scumbag College live in a skanky house, complete with live band performances and talking food. Enjoy the hilarious random twists in my favorite episode, called "Interesting."

I saw Withnail and I as a teenager also, and it is still one of my favorite movies. Marwood (Paul McGann) and Withnail (Richard E. Grant in his first movie) are unemployed actors waiting for their big break. Withnail is explosive and erratic while Marwood's narration is anxious and neurotic. They escape their foul flat in London for a weekend in the country at Withnail's uncle's cottage, but life is still dreary, problematic, and chaotic. I love both the funny and sad sides of the movie and wish there had been a sequel. See the lighter of its two trailers here:

Black Books is about a small bookshop run by Bernard Black (Dylan Moran, also creator of the show) who smokes and drinks constantly while being hostile to his customers and most everyone. His newly hired accountant, Manny (Bill Bailey), is pleasant and positive, which irritates Bernard but pleases Fran (Tamsin Greig), Bernard's only friend. Fran runs a gift shop next door and often comes over to help Bernard with his problems and to help him drink his wine. The first few episodes are my favorites when Bernard is most drunk, caustic, and absurd.
Here's a very silly, very wee clip:

Friday, March 16, 2012

Children's books

If I had to pick a favorite children's book illustrator, I'd have to say Ellen Raskin. Her detailed linework is amazing--I especially love her plants and trees--and her characters are always funny. She illustrated many picture books, wrote a dozen of her own, and won the Newbery Medal twice for her young adult mystery novels, The Westing Game and Figgs and Phantoms. She also worked as a graphic designer and designed over 1,000 book jackets! The four pages above are from her clever book, Spectacles, about a funny, imaginative girl who really needs glasses. Selections below are from Franklin Stein, Who, Said Sue, Said Whoo?, Nothing Ever Happens on My Block, and Moe Q. McGlutch, He Smoked Too Much.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Fridge Magnets

Fridge magnets are fun gifts to give and get,
and with hot glue or spray mount, it's
easy to make your own as seen below.

I arranged the numbers and letters on the freezer,
my brother Chris tinkered with a few,
and my best friend Ralph spotted the
enigma within the enigma, can you?

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Krazy Kat Kracks Me Up!

I love the comic strip characters Krazy Kat and Ignatz Mouse created by George Herriman. The cat and mouse first appeared occasionally in Herriman's comic strip The Dingbat Family in 1910 (btw, he coined the term dingbat), and by the end of that year, in a small strip under the main one that he renamed The Family Upstairs. By 1913, Krazy and Ignatz had their own comic strip called Krazy Kat and Ignatz, which later became just Krazy Kat, and it ran until Herriman's death in 1944.

Krazy Kat takes place in the desert landscape of Coconino County and centers mostly on a love triangle including Offissa Pupp: Krazy is in love with Ignatz, whose only love is to throw bricks at Krazy's head, while Offissa Pupp loves Krazy and wants to protect him (or her as Krazy is also referred to). Krazy interprets the bricks as Ignatz's reciprocation of love and longs to be beaned in the head. What I love most is Herriman's hilarious argot as seen below in a tangent from the recurring brick-tossing gag.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Button, Button, Who's Got the Button?

a few of the best from my button collection