Water Bottle, the series

For whatever reason my 4 year old daughter decided that my wife’s water bottle was a TV, and on it was playing a movie.


Okay, fine. She wasn’t chasing our terrified dog around the house; whatever.


I did bend over to look at it from her vantage point; sure enough, it’s a water bottle with one of those reverse labels. So she is in fact looking through the back side of a bottle and looking at a picture of something.


When my wife asked her what she was watching, my daughter replied, “It’s a movie.”


Then she burst out laughing and said, “He dropped a coconut on his head!”


She munched on her cupful of goldfish crackers, and she just thought her little movie was hilarious. About every 15 seconds or so, she burst out laughing and said, “He dropped another coconut on his head!”


This was the extent of her pretend movie.


She’s four, and honestly, that plot is already better than half the sitcoms in reruns this summer.


Hell, I pulled up a chair and watched the water bottle with her, chomping on goldfish crackers, too. The show didn’t have much of a plot or characters, but neither does iCarly. Or anything on MTV, for that matter.


Plus, it was funny hearing her announce that he dropped a coconut on his head. The Three Stooges made a career out of that kind of stuff.


Look for it soon. “Water Bottle, the series. Will he drop a coconut on his head?”




WAIT for the punchline: Strippers Sue San Diego Police

To protect and Serve?

30 strippers are suing San Diego police for violating their rights during “licensing inspections.” Oh, this has gotta be good, right? I bet there’s a line out the police station door on strip club inspection day. Nobody calls in sick.

The strippers were “nearly nude” (strippers? Nearly nude?) when their pictures were taken (uh-oh) while officers made “arrogant and demeaning remarks” and intimidated the strippers to keep them from leaving, the lawsuit alleges.

The term “unreasonable search” takes on new meaning as the strippers’ lawyers asserts their rights were violated by the vice squad officers.

Look forward to the city settling out of court for a few million to the strippers.

All in singles.




white flags on Brooklyn bridge

The Brooklyn Bridge is considered a terrorist target, so New York has 24/7 security, and video surveillance.

Yesterday, somebody climbed up and replaced the huge American flags on top of the bridge with white flags. An insult to America? A political statement? Vandalism? These are 20’x11’ long flags – big!

To do this, someone blocked out the bridge lights using aluminum cooking pans, climb over or around locked gates, maneuver up ¼ mile of steel cable, climb a ladder to get onto the platform 273 feet up, unclip the steel fasteners that hold the flags and replace them, in windy conditions.

What do I think?

Uh, hey New York: your security sucks.

a silly warning that worked

My 4 year old daughter can’t wait to start preschool school. Every morning, she wakes up and asks, “Am I going to school today?” Yesterday she wouldn’t eat her green beans. I picked up my phone and warned her that I was going to call the school and tell them she couldn’t come because she didn’t know how to eat her vegetables. Two minutes later they were gone. I did feel bad about the tactic, though – for about half a minute.


Can you imagine even thinking about trying that a few years from now when she’s actually been in school for a while?


The Dead Man Who Reached Over And Tickled Me

As the father of a four-year-old, I am no stranger to tickling. But it’s fair to say I don’t get tickled very often by anyone other than my daughter or my wife. My dad will be visiting in a week. The opportunity might present itself for him to tickle me, I suppose, but that’s about as long as that list is going to get.

Usually, I have to be somewhat surprised for any comedic gesture, tickling or otherwise, to make me laugh. What a great quality that is, too, to have the ability to make others laugh – and not just from tickling. I have always admired other people’s ability to cause laughter, and tried to be able to do it myself.

Heck, making people laugh at all is hard. How great a comedian must be, or an actor, writer, or author, to be able to make people laugh. Some classic comedians were able to do it more than a hundred years ago, and their films are to still be able to do it now.

Writing lines in a book in such a way as to make people laugh is even harder. At least in person, like a comedian in front of an audience, you can get a feel for the group, and start to understand what they are all about. Especially big gatherings; the bigger the better. My very limited experience in getting groups to laugh was: if just one person in the group laughs, it’s a signal to the others that it’s okay, and soon they all are. Then you have them. You can pace your jokes, wait until they take a breath, and hit them again, waiting for just the right time to add the topper.

Writing funny stuff is much more difficult, like trying hard to get one stodgy old man to crack a smile. You just never know what’s going to do it. So you just have to write what you think is funny, and hope for the best. Hope they laugh at the right places, that is; I have been told some of my work was funny, but sometimes it wasn’t intended to be!

I read an essay last week and it made me laugh out loud. That was one funny guy. That book had sat on a shelf in my office for years, among a pile of other books that I must have thought looked good, but obviously never bothered to crack open. It sat there, just a few feet away from where I spend so much time working at my desk.

One day, I needed to attribute a quote that I thought I came from a certain author, so I searched for it online. It was him, all right, but seeing where it came from, I wondered if I didn’t have that very book in my possession somewhere. Then I realized I had the book on my shelf, right there, just out of arm’s reach.

I went over and pulled the thick, heavy book from its dusty home and stood looking through the table of contents, seeing all the familiar stories, but also one that I had forgotten. And, seeing it, I could not resist reading a few lines.

By god, what an author. What an artist! I had to sit down and continue reading. It was a short enough piece, but I found myself with my feet up on my desk, leaning back in my chair, thoroughly enjoying the master at work.

And I burst out laughing at one spot, then read on, tears in my eyes, finally putting the book back when I finished. It makes my office a better place, knowing those great artists are just a few feet away, so close that they can just reach over and tickle me when they want to – if I let them. That’s what those books are doing there. To remind me of what writing can be. I won’t be such a stranger from now on, I promise.

I hope some of my writing habits and styles – which until now I had thought were original, and some of which I thought were bad – were instead an act of subconscious theft on my part. I will now use them with pride.

What a great legacy Mark Twain has. He knew enough about people to get them to laugh with him, and that is what he is forever known for. He could do it 125 years ago, and he can do it now, given the chance. To the extent immortality is possible, he and few others have achieved it. So his books are his headstones, in ways that a cemetery plot and a cold piece of granite never could be.

Which was an odd way to think about my own passing – hopefully a long time from now.


I hope my books will be my headstones.

And if I think about it, I’ll tell that to my daughter one day. Maybe she will realize that the house where we lived and laughed is a better memorial than a cold stone in a place nobody visits, and that remembering me laughing would be best achieved through pictures and videos and books and stories, not a visit to a cemetery.

Scatter my ashes in the sea, so I can become part of it, and give you a big hug every time you swim at the beach.

Until then, I will tickle her, and allow myself to be tickled by a dead man a few feet away.

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