Category Archives: Humor

What’s in a blog name? Plenty

"Lady Writing a Letter with her Maid" by Johannes Vermeer (c. 1670-1671), National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin

By Laura Grimes

The Pantsless Brother has been lobbying for a name change. I’m not sure why. It fits so well (in a pantsless way).

I’m a little reluctant to cave in so easily to the whim of one whiny* reader. I still hold tight to my journalistic ethics. I insist on maintaining a little distance so I can keep my objectivity and my questioning edge. Should I cave? I mean, “I see London, I see France …” just wouldn’t have the same ring if I couldn’t poke fun at his boxers.

But … think Beatles beat now … today is his birthday! So as a little present I’m giving him a name-change story. I can’t put a ribbon on it. I can’t stuff candles in it. It’s not as involved or as painful as, say, a sex-change operation. But just the same, this is a very serious undertaking. This involves a lot of thoughtful consideration and deep soul-searching.

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You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll darn near die

What's holding things up? Jamey Hampton in "BloodyVox." Photo: Michael Shay, Polara Studios

By Bob Hicks

Actors have a parlor trick they like to pull out to amaze and amuse their non-thespian friends. I’m not sure if it has an accepted given name, but I sometimes call it the “laugh-cry game.” It’s simple, really: They cover their faces, start making an odd guttural sound, and challenge you to tell whether they’re laughing or crying. In terms of technique, both actions come out of the same place.

It’s fitting that the art of acting is so often depicted with drawings of the tragic and comic masks, because the comic and tragic are so often barely a whisker’s width separated from each other. Tragedy gets the respect. Comedy gets the love, if often reluctantly. But really, the balance is a lot closer. Remember, Chekhov insisted his mournful plays were comedies.

Robyn Nevin and William Hurt in "Long Day's Journey Into Night." Photo: Brett BoardmanI think of this because the big deal in Puddletown this weekend is Saturday night’s opening of Long Day’s Journey Into Night, Eugene O’Neill‘s imperial American classic, at Artists Repertory Theatre. This production has Serious written all over it. A co-production with Australia’s Sydney Theatre Company, it stars occasional Oregonian William Hurt as the destructive Tyrone family patriarch, and it drew sparkling reviews in its recently closed Sydney run. I look forward to it not just because it arrives with stellar recommendations but also because O’Neill was in a very real sense the father of American theater, our first true genius. That he was such a morose son of a bitch was the luck of the draw. France got Moliere, the satiric comedian. England got Shakespeare, the astonishing Everyman. We got Old Bleak House, and few writers have ever done bleak better: O’Neill paints loss in despairingly seductive strokes of love.

Good laughs are nothing to sniff at.

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Free to good home: One pubescent boy

Project Gutenberg's Harper's Young People, March 9, 1880

By Laura Grimes

That headline was a perfectly innocent post on Facebook. How could I not? In the middle of the hot summer, after traveling long distances for two days, after having me all to himself for eons and then having to share me, after heat and humidity made sleeping tough, The Small Large Smelly Boy was, quite simply, in none too delicate terms, cranky. He wouldn’t quit pestering his brother. He wouldn’t quit pestering me. He refused to do a few simple chores. So I was happily ready to ship him to a new address, postage paid. Seemed easy enough.

I was completely unsupervised and I could barter with my children at will. Oops. Sorry. Typo. Try again. I could barter my children at will.

Mr. Scatter was out of town and mostly out of internet range. When he got back maybe he wouldn’t notice the house was a tad quieter.

The Small LSB didn’t have access to his computer anymore, thanks to a well-played Mommy Trump Card.

The Large Large Smelly Boy, in true teen fashion, refused to be seen on the same computer screen with me. He long ago stopped reading this blog. He long ago, in a little tizzy, defriended me on Facebook. Actually, he friended me, defriended me, friended me, defriended me, depending on his mood of the moment. He figured he had the upper hand. I figured I had carte blanche. Unchecked, imagine what I could write about him.

When I posted my innocent comment, at first I got a little friendly pushback from two friends telling me I couldn’t do that. Ethics, you think? It turned out they just didn’t want to be tempted to try the same thing. One was worried she would also throw in one cute 7-year-old sweetie pie who knows it all.

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