There Is Nothing Wrong With My Sense of Humor.

Advance copy from the newsletter of The Bryant Library for September 2019:

In 1919 local author Christopher Morley published The Haunted Bookshop.
In 2019, figments of imagination from Morley’s one-hundred year-old bookshop will be on display at The Bryant Library, starting Sept. 28 until October 31.
Don’t miss this once-in-a-century exhibit.
Warning: Judge these books by their covers. They are very creepy.


My current “fun” project is making bits of things for an installation that I will be putting up in our local library inspired by a 1923 copy of the dreadful book by Christopher Morley that we got in as donation at the used book store. Some of the bits that I am making are scary little bonsai that erupt from tatty books.

I know. I have to work more on making with the “erupt” part. I thought that having the tree’s roots creep out from inside the book would be, well, creepy, but it’s not. It’s barely noticeable. Back to the  drawing board mat knife.

P.S. The editor of the newsletter gave me two days’ notice about getting a blurb ready, so I wrote this in about ten minutes and I  took a photo of the only finished piece I have so far.

Officially, the used book store is closed for the month of August, but I still have to show up a few hours a week to meet with crack pot hoarders donors and to process their stinking shitty trash donations. On Thursday, I had scheduled to meet with three separate donors at the used book store, so there I was, at 1 o’clock in the afternoon until 2 o’clock in the afternoon, as per our arrangement, dutifully keeping myself busy while I waited and waited and waited. . .

. . . NONE of the pissant purveyors of filthy paperback crap donors showed up!

Jesus. My time is very valuable and I am not to be trifled with. From 2:00 until 4:30 I was in a murderous mood, resentful of all the good work I do for an ungrateful community yadda yadda yadda.

At 4:31 I remembered that it was only Wednesday.

So today (being the real Thursday) I was back at the used book store, taking in boxes of garbage. I should have known: the old couple who called saying that they “want to get rid of some books”, and with whom I very carefully went through the list of books that I will not take. . . still brought in four boxes of old, moldy, beat up religious and text books.

They also brought a few books of collected short stories from mercifully forgotten writers. Such as this, from 1955:

It seems to me that Anne was not all that sure that this book was Harry’s cup of tea. So, Jesus, girl — go get him a book that you know he would like!

A woman brought in about 25 children’s books, of which a good 16 were acceptable. Among them was this, my new favorite book in the whole world:

And something that has never happened before, happened today.

With the third donor, a young boy just graduated from college who was giving me all his old space books (he called them “space” books, so I had to ask, “Do you mean astronomy?” and he agreed that yes, they were about astronomy, and I had to wonder, good lord, what the hell kind of college did you go to??) included some general reading materials, along with the “space” books.

He gave me a copy of Wonder, without the dust jacket — exactly the same book, in the same sans-dust jacket condition, as I got from the woman who gave me the children’s books. I can’t remember which copy of Wonder was which, but one was the 40th printing, and the other was the 70th.

SEVENTY PRINTINGS!!  5 million copies sold in 29 languages and it was made into a film that starred Julia Roberts.

I have never heard of this book! Or the movie! (It’s a YA novel about a 10-year old kid with severe facial deformities.)

So here’s one example of how working at the used book store has brought me up to date with the culture around me. Which is a good thing, about 80% of the time.

In other zeitgeist news:

In August, the world flocks to Edinburgh (Scotland) for a theater and comedy festival that is the European Sundance of theater and comedy. It’s a very big deal, worth about 250 billion pounds to the Scottish economy and has been responsible for such break out stars as Peter Cook and Dudley Moore (a long time ago), Alan Rickman, Rowan Atkinson, Sasha Baron Cohen, Steve Coogan, and Billy Connolly (who is crazy famous and beloved in the UK and not so much in America ).

Every year, the festival awards a prize, called Dave (ha ha) for the funniest one-liner. This year, a Swedish comedian who goes by the name Olaf Falafel (I think he’s trying too hard, with that name) won the Dave.

He took the title with the gag: “I keep randomly shouting out ‘Broccoli’ and ‘Cauliflower’ – I think I might have florets”.

Well. There has been a broo-ha-ha about this joke. A lot of people don’t like it because it  makes a “joke” at the expense of sufferers of a much-misunderstood neurological malady. It’s also not funny.

Suzanne Dobson, the chief executive of Tourette’s Action in the UK, told the BBC: ”Humour is a great way of educating people – but not only is it not funny to poke fun at people with Tourette’s, it’s not even that funny a joke, is it?”

Tourette’s Action has now urged Olaf Falafel and Dave to apologise and try to see things from the perspective of someone with Tourette Syndrome, according to the BBC.

If you make a pun in my presence I will go all wild wolf on your ass.

I didn’t know why this dumb broccoli joke won the award until I read up in the competition. Some of the other contenders are just as bad, but a few are actually funny. Here is a sample (from The Edinburgh International Festival 2019):

“I can give you the cause of anaphylactic shock in a nutshell.” Gary Delaney 

“I saw a documentary on how ships are kept together. Riveting!” Stewart Francis 

“I waited an hour for my starter so I complained: ‘It’s not rocket salad.” Lou Sanders 

“Crime in multi-storey car parks. That is wrong on so many different levels.” Tim Vine

“I picked up a hitch hiker. You’ve got to when you hit them.” Emo Philips 

“As a kid I was made to walk the plank. We couldn’t afford a dog.” Gary Delaney 

“I was watching the London Marathon and saw one runner dressed as a chicken and another runner dressed as an egg. I thought: ‘This could be interesting.’” Paddy Lennox 

“I’m sure wherever my dad is; he’s looking down on us. He’s not dead, just very condescending.” Jack Whitehall

“I’ve given up asking rhetorical questions. What’s the point?” Alexei Sayle 

“I have two boys, 5 and 6. We’re no good at naming things in our house” Ed Byrne 

“I wasn’t particularly close to my dad before he died… which was lucky, because he trod on a land mine” Olaf Falafel

“Whenever someone says, ‘I don’t believe in coincidences.’ I say, ‘Oh my God, me neither!”‘ Alasdair Beckett-King 

“A friend tricked me into going to Wimbledon by telling me it was a men’s singles event” Angela Barnes

“As a vegan, I think people who sell meat are disgusting; but apparently people who sell fruit and veg are grocer” Adele Cliff

“For me dying is a lot like going camping. I don’t want to do it” Phil Wang

“Why is it old people say ‘there’s no place like home’, yet when you put them in one …” Stuart Mitchell​ 

I often confuse Americans and Canadians. By using long words.” Gary Delaney

“Why is Henry’s wife covered in tooth marks? Because he’s Tudor.” Adele Cliff

“Don’t you hate it when people assume you’re rich because you sound posh and went to private school and have loads of money?” Annie McGrath

“If you’re being chased by a pack of taxidermists, do not play dead.” Olaf Falafel

“I’ve written a joke about a fat badger, but I couldn’t fit it into my set.” Masai Graham ****( see end of post)

And my favorite:

“Trump’s nothing like Hitler. There’s no way he could write a book” Frankie Boyle

And that’s the blog for this week. But before I go, I want to alert you to a situation that Top Cat and I have been tracking for most of this Summer.

Lickety in 2018

Our dear sweet Lickety was diagnosed with a mass on his liver about 8 weeks ago.

Lickety in Summer of 2019

He is still a very loving and personable kitty, hanging out with his buds on the patio and glomming onto us any time we sit on the Adirondack chairs, but his days are dwindling as surely as the Summer light.

I have a feeling that we will be making that final visit to the vet’s soon, maybe as soon as this coming week.

So have a wonderful weekend, Dear Readers, and do something extra special while it’s still August, while the sunshine is still like powdered gold and the Summer still trembles like a butterfly.

***** Dear Reader and Stromness Rock Tour Guide Angel: I’m so sorry! I know you’re not a badger — you’re a wolverine!! I got Michigan and Wisconsin mixed up like I’m from the UP or something, and I send you my deepest apologies. Statehood for Superior!



10 Comments, RSS

  1. Megan

    Oh dear, I have to admit I did have many a smile, chuckle and laugh. I guess I am easily amused, but still you need a laugh. I feel so much better and thank you for it. I do hope you will have a wonderful weekend. It is very sad to hear the prognosis for poor Lickety, it is very sad and our beloved pets do not live long enough. Having said that… look at him. He looks very happy and content, he is sunning his tummy on the ground enjoying the long lazy summer days, he has his friends with him and laps to sit on. I am very sorry for you but he really does look like he is making the most of his life. I take my hat off to him. Take care of yourself this is obviously going to be a hard week or two for you and Top Cat and all the family. Best wishes.

  2. Casey

    Nice bonsai! I’m scared.

    I think that joke isn’t all THAT bad. It’s a poor joke, but I also think it isn’t THAT mean-spirited. But I think that Swedish chap is doubly despicable not because of the subject matter of his joke but because he’s Swedish and he’s making a pun in English, so he’s had to try extra hard for a PUN, which I hate as much as you do.

    Sweet Lickety. I know he is in good hands, yours, Top Cat’s , and the Great Spirit. Give him a kiss for me.

  3. Bunny

    Call me insensitive if you must, but I think the winning joke was quite funny, and I was LOL.
    But, as I read down the list, there were many that had me laughing.
    Yes, as summer here in the New York area starts to wind down, it is imperative we all go out and enjoy, before the dark cold days are upon us.
    I am grateful for my tomato “crop” this year, the weather was seeming perfect for that, plenty of rain early in the season, and it seems like August has been nothing but sunny, giving them plenty of time to ripen right on the vine, with rain at night for their nourishment.

    Keep us posted on that sweet cat. Throughout your postings, I feel like he is a part of my life.

    Thanks for the comical post. I had a good laugh today.

  4. Angel

    First off, my heart goes out to you and your sweet kitty. So hard to say goodbye to our fuzzes.

    Oh my goodness, I did laugh at the Dave jokes part, but I really laughed at the last part of the blog post. I received my package and wondered about the badger, but shrugged it off. What’s funny is that I’m a Laker! I do cheer for Wolverines, but work for GVSU. Mitten forever!!

  5. Margot Boyer

    So sorry to hear about Lickety. He’s a lovely boy. It’s hard to lose our dear companions, and the end of summer is such a poignant time.
    My sweet Rosemary died in July and I miss her daily, although her evil sister Ramona tries to cheer me by sitting on the keyboard and biting my hands when I knit.

  6. Patricia

    At last, a good use for “The Haunted Bookshop” which is otherwise a waste of shelf space. Good title, some interesting bits about books, but the rest should be made into papier mache’.

  7. Sweet Lickety. I know your hearts are in a world of hurt knowing his time is nearing its end. Oh, the good life he has had with you, and you can tell what a love he is. Yes, you do what you have to do because to do otherwise would be selfish. I remember my vet saying, “Letting go is the one gift of love we can give our pets” and she’s right — but it doesn’t make it easier. I’m so sorry. I know his last days — and hopefully a few more than you think — will be filled with love.

    OK, I laughed. Not at the winner but at some of the others! And Billy Connolly — I watch “What About Dick” over and over (well, just three times so far) to watch him do his Scottish detective monologue and half lose it along the way because it’s so darned funny — or rather, he makes it so darned funny!

  8. Ah yes — “Wonder.” A very popular book. We all actually read it as our all-school read several years ago. I found it quite entertaining, actually, and much better than I feared!

    Sometimes those books of old, random short stories by random writers can be intriguing. They couldn’t be TOO terrible if they got published, right? Short stories just aren’t very popular these days, as a genre.

    I love the scary bonsai!

    And I’m so sorry to hear about Lickety — keeping you and Top Cat (and Lickety) in my thoughts.

  9. Kirra

    Lickety looks like he is enjoying the summer, so I hope he continues to do so till it’s time to say goodbye, pretty sad to think about though. All the best to you, Top Cat and the other cats.

    I think your spooky bonsai looks great! Good idea even if the original book isn’t any good. I liked some of the other one liner jokes better than the winner, sometimes I wonder who chooses the winner in these competitions. You picked the best one!

    It’s so annoying when you do something like get a day wrong and feel you’re wasting your time then realize it’s actually your mistake, but still great work still volunteering while the bookshop is closed in August.

    I am on holiday in Paris/France at the moment, even though it’s hot I’m having a great time.

  10. Oh, Lickity! I am sorry he is not doing well. Love your scary tree. I am ready and waiting for that rock. Now all those tongue in cheek things, I am not so sure about. I think I am groaning.

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