New Year’s Morning

We climb from the solstice
Into clean cold light,
Shedding tarnished tinsel ashes,
Wearing hueless haze,
Awaiting the staining colors
Of the next march of days.

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Carols of Bad Behavior

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, featuring the omnipresent background soundtrack of holiday carols that, from sheer repetition, leads me willy-nilly to generate parodic mockeries.

Here are three:

🎵“Good King Wenceslas got high
On coke and pot and acid,
Then he awoke on Christmas morn
Absolutely blasted.
He tried to smoke the Christmas tree,
But he couldn’t light it.
Tried to kick the habit but
He just couldn’t fi-ight it!!”🎶

🎵“I polished off a 6-pack of beer,
The chips, dips, and a cheese tray.
And now I’m sprawled face down on the couch,
So I can’t see the walls sway.
My bladder’s full but I can’t get up,
The bathroom seems miles away.
Good will to all who have self-restraint,
But that sure ain’t me today!”🎶

🎵“O! come to our meeting
When we’ll exchange our stories
Of binges and benders
That we can’t quite recall.
Sadly, our families
Remember every detail
Of their humiliation
At our self-degradation
And vows of reparation
That we broke one and all!”🎶

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Alternative Captions and the Holidays

Many years ago, when I first visited my future in-laws over the holidays, I saw that they had set up a small crèche as one of their holiday decorations. I may (or may not) have scandalized them by remarking, “It looks like they’re all saying to each other, ‘I’m not going to change Him; are you?’’’

In any case, flash forward some three decades and I thought that I might attempt a Nativity scene for my sometimes-annual, always-badly-drawn (for I know no other way to draw) holiday card. For its caption I came up with a related baby Jesus poopoo joke, “Gold, frankincense, myrrh…but nobody brought Pampers?” After a few hours work, it was completed.

And then I thought of an edgier caption. Poopoo jokes are always comedy gold, but given our divisive times, this is the caption with which I finally went:

Holiday card 2021 captioned "He doesn't LOOK Jewish!"However (and it seems there’s always a “however” in comedy) my pointing out the baby Jesus’ religion made me realize that at the Nativity He was just a few short days from His bris, and that led me to this:

alternative Holiday card captioned "I'm just here for the circumcision."

And, if you think that is a far-fetched reason for one of the Three Kings to “traverse afar” to attend the Nativity, you ain’t never heard of the Holy Prepuce!

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Standard Time

Time, as we clock it,
Falls back this week:
And the hour hand
As it retreats
Pulls the dawn with it.
Yes, day will come sooner—but its early light
Portends the coming of an earlier night.

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L.A. Autumn

The L.A. autumn dances in,
Santa Ana in one hand, fogbank in the other,
Bewildering immigrant trees whose forebears
Had grown in climes more orderly,
Where seasons stepped in stately grace
And not in helter-skelter leaps, pliés, and pirouettes,
Where summer, fall, spring, and all
Fell into line, and winter had a place.

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A Sketchy Card for a Sketchy Year

On those occasions when I draw a new cartoon, I spend a lot of time coloring, shading, and cleaning up the lines. For my 2020 holiday card, I liked the rough sketch enough (or was lazy enough) to share it as it was, fresh from my Apple Pencil.

The Knight Before Christmas: a knight on horseback contemplates his holiday shopping list

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Boxing Day 2020

Boxing Day decorations are among the most unattractive of the holiday decorations…

A tower of boxes and packing materials

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The Kugel Joke

[I have heard this joke told a number of times. It is in essence a “shaggy dog” story, a long meandering narrative that is more fun in the telling, in how long one can spin it out and in which absurd directions, than in delivering its punchline, which is not much of a punchline at all. The following is the bare scaffolding of the Kugel Joke; your job is to embellish it as best you can in your own telling.]

Just as the Melish family was sitting down to Hanukkah dinner, the doorbell rang. It was their neighbor Mr. Levitz.

Not wishing to be inhospitable, Mrs. Melish set a place for him at the table beside their youngest son, and invited their visitor to sit down. Levitz sat, saying, “Thank you but I just ate.”

Dishes began to be handed around. When young Fielding Melish passed Levitz the soup, Levitz said, “Oh no, I couldn’t possibly…well, maybe just a little,” and filled his bowl.

Next came the bean salad, and Levitz said, “Really, I’m full…well, maybe just a spoonful or two,” and covered half his plate.

Then came the latkes, and Levitz said, “I really shouldn’t, but maybe one…,” and took three.

And the apple-sauce: “Just a dab,” as he ladled on a large heap.

Next came the brisket: “Oh, maybe a slice…at most!” And he took three thick slices, including the coveted end piece.

And then, finally, Fielding handed him the kugel casserole, and Levitz’s eyes lit up: “KUGEL! Now kugel I could eat!!!”

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Turning and turning

And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Apple Park to be born?
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Amusements for Insomniacs

I happened to be awake just before 2AM this morning, so I put on my Apple Watch and watched to see what happened when 2AM rolled around and Daylight Saving Time ended. At exactly 2, as the second hand passed 12 on the watch face, nothing. Then, at 4 seconds past 2, the hour hand jumped back one hour.

How exciting!

(As for why California did the Daylight Saving Time Tango this year, blame politics.)

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