Kangaroo walks into a bar

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‘We got a million of ’em’

Last week’s silly family sayings (see ‘What’s not to lichen?’ for some nifty examples) seemed to strike a chord, so I thought I’d regale you this week with some equally silly family jokes.

(I was going to write about late March snowstorms and sprinkle the story with some extremely cute photos of kids hiding in snow forts and whatnot, but I can’t get my darned scanner to work. Oh well, maybe it’s for the best. Snow — even funny stories about it — seems so over now that’s it’s finally Spring, don’t you think?)

Speaking of regaling, the photo at the top of this post shows The Child wowing the crowd at my Dad’s retirement party (that’s Dad,  making the introductions). She had two guaranteed-to-crack-’em-up jokes at that age, and she told them both. Here’s the first one:

Kangaroo walks into a bar, orders a martini. “That’ll be fifty bucks,” says the bartender. The kangaroo looks shocked, but reaches into his pouch, pulls out fifty bucks and hands it over. Whereupon the bartender hands him his martini. The kangaroo’s sipping away when the bartender remarks “You know, we don’t get many kangaroos in here.” Kangaroo: “Well, I should say not. Not at these prices!”

Middle Younger Brother Roger gets a turn at the mic. Not sure what joke he told, but I bet it was a dandy

Now, before you smarties remark in the comments that male kangaroos don’t have pouches, let me say in The Child’s (and my) defense that it’s just funnier that way, with the pouch and all. Oh, here’s the other joke. It had to do with a lady and a duck:

A lady was walking along a country road, carrying a duck. Why, I’m not sure. But this farmer passes her and calls out “What are you doing with that pig?” So the lady says “This isn’t a pig, you silly man. This is a duck.” And the farmer goes “I was talking to the duck.”

I know I know. But I bet your family has jokes like that. You know, jokes that get told over and over, and never fail — at least among your own family members or maybe a long-suffering family friend or two.

Even The Dude’s family had family jokes. I don’t remember his mom telling any jokes, but his dad did. Dude’s Dad was a doctor, so he specialized in medical humor. Here’s one I remember him telling (and telling more than once).

There was this man who was diagnosed with a horrible contagious disease requiring complete isolation — and a special diet. His doctor tells the guy that the only thing he’ll be able to eat is flounder. “Flounder?” asks the sick guy. “Will eating flounder help?” “Who knows?” says the doctor. “But it’s the only thing we can slip under the door.”

The Dude’s Dad, quite possibly teaching the Dude and his Brother Bill the flounder joke

Okay. Brace yourselves. Because The Dude’s Dad wasn’t just a doctor, he was a urologist. So he had urology jokes. I kid you not. Here’s his favorite:

A guy goes to his urologist and says “Doctor doctor, I’ve got a problem!” “Well, what seems to be the trouble?” asks the urologist. “I have five penises.” “Five penises?!? My goodness! How does your underwear fit?” “Like a glove.”

Baddaboom. He told this joke a lot. Usually at the dinner table. Cracked up those Whitmores every time. The Whitmores, though, were usually more into sight gags. Though, perhaps not surprisingly, even the sight gags often involved underwear humor.

Oh, before I forget, there was a joke that was told by both Henrys and Whitmores. I made this discovery when I told the joke this snowy weekend at our friends’ place up in the Catskills. You’ll be happy to hear that our friends remained our friends even after they heard this one:

There were these three old prospectors camping out, looking for gold. None of them liked to cook; in fact, they all hated it. So they drew straws to see who had to cook. And they decided that if anyone complained about the food, he would have to take over the cooking duties. So this one guy draws the short straw, and has to cook. Every night he makes the food (usually a stew) more and more disgusting — he puts in too much pepper, he throws in a rotten tomato, he even uses dog food instead of hamburger. Nothing works. The other guys grit their teeth and eat whatever he makes. Then one night he gets an idea. He heats up the dishwater and serves that. First guy takes a spoonful, makes a face, and says “My stars! This takes just like dishwater.” The cook starts to grin, thinking he won’t have to make dinner anymore — when the guy adds “…but good, mind you!”

Okay. I can hear you all crying “uncle”, so I guess that’s enough of that. But before I leave you to take a nice relaxing swim up at Asphalt Green, let me return to Dad’s retirement party, and something else somebody said that was pretty funny, even if it didn’t involve kangaroos or even ducks.

My Dad was a man of many hobbies, pursued with great passion, but usually one at a time. He would become enthralled with something, like golf or even oil painting, and do that one thing with great intensity. Then a new interest would pop up, and, well, let me just say that we had a lot of fly-fishing gear down in the basement.

So. At the time of his retirement, Dad was into growing roses. Really into it. He had dozens of rose bushes and dozens of prizes for the roses he grew on them. One of his favorites? The Dolly Parton.

Not sure if this is a Dolly Parton, but it’s a darned pretty rose

Anyway. As a retirement gift, Dad’s colleagues went in together and got him a computer. When they presented it to him, my Oldest Younger Brother Scott remarked to those assembled “Well. There go the roses!”

See you next week. If my scanner’s working, I’ll show you some cute snow photos. Or not.

New York City. March 2017

What’s not to lichen?

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‘When it comes to family humor, everything is relative’

If that title up there involving a “composite organism that arises from algae or cyanobacteria living among filaments of multiple fungi in a symbiotic relationship” tickled your funny bone, then maybe you are a long-lost Whitmore cousin. Puns featuring obscure scientific terms tend to run in The Dude’s family.

In addition to the lichen pun, which is recited every single time a patch of it is crunched underfoot on a hiking trail, there’s the one featuring euonymus. You’ll be out riding in the car some fine fall day when The Dude, spotting this fiery red bush alongside the road, intones in a sing-song voice “I wanna miss, they wanna miss…you wanna miss”. His Dad did the same thing. Cracked him up every time.

The Dude’s family, cracking each other up. ‘Smile and say euonymus, everybody!’

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“Drive,” she said.

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‘On the glories of the Open Road’

Last week’s tribute to my Male Parent and his napping powers included a memory of Dad piloting us on those long drives up to Gramma’s house. (Oldest Younger Brother Scott remarked that Dad was the only person he knew who could ‘simultaneously nap and smoke a cigarette while driving.’)

So true, Scott, so true. But I failed to mention why Dad would get so sleepy on those drives. It was because it was at least six hours to Gramma’s — on charming-but-small-town-clogged two-lane highways — and we wouldn’t start the drive till he got home from work. Sometimes, I remember, we would pull over to the side of the road so everybody, not just Dad, could sort-of-safely sleep. I remember that when we lived in Memphis, and the trip to Gramma’s was more like twelve hours, we had a mattress in the back of the Ford station wagon for the kids to crash on. Very Joad-like, but that’s the way it was. Continue reading

Panamaman Memories

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‘Don’t sit under the Tourist Tree with anyone else but me’

Apologies for my tardiness in getting this post out, O Faithful Fans. But The Dude and I just flew in from Panama, and boy are our arms tired. (Not to mention our bottoms, after six hours of getting to the airport while bouncing in a van on quaintly winding Panamanian roads.)

Speaking of flying, we saw gazillions of new bird species. (Well, around 250, give or take a specie.) Plus lots of other animals like monkeys, and sloths (the non-human kind), and adorable just-hatched baby turtles. Here is The Dude bonding with one of the babies (turtles, not sloths — though we did see some baby sloths too):

Don’t worry Little Guy; Wayne likes turtles. And I don’t mean in soup

And here they are, hightailing it down to the water. The Child saw one bobbing next to her surfboard soon after its release. Maybe it wanted a ride. Continue reading

Walking on air

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‘Spending New Year’s Eve in a jungle. (No, not the one in Times Square.)’

When I was a kid I used to watch the Ball drop in Times Square on TV, and dream of being there on New Year’s Eve to see it in person. But now that I actually live in New York, somehow the idea of standing cheek by jowl with a bunch of inebriated strangers in the freezing cold doesn’t sound nearly so enticing.

I think that’s the case with a lot of things that you dream about being old enough to do: driving, wearing pajamas all day, eating dessert first. I’m sure you can think of your own examples.

But even if I’m not out there partying in Times Square (or partying anywhere, for that matter) I still insist on staying up till midnight to See The New Year In. Even if no one stays up with me, which happens more and more frequently with each passing Eve. Continue reading

Libertarian Blonde

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‘Don’t worry. This isn’t going to get (too) political.’

I swore up and down that I wouldn’t veer into political territory. Not in LutheranLiarLand. But there is a funny story that came to mind when I was messing around wasting precious time on Facebook and came across yet another post about Gary Johnson.

In case you’ve been in a cave these last few months (is it only months? feels like years), Gary Johnson is the Libertarian candidate for President of these United States.

Here's Gary. Thinking about his favorite European leaders, no doubt

Here’s Gary. Thinking about his favorite European leaders, no doubt

Now Honest Injun I am not going to get into the fact that I think that voting for Gary — or for Jill, for that matter — is kind of like voting for Santa or the Easter Bunny. (Nope, not going there!) Continue reading

The Perfect House meets The Perfect Storm(s)

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‘The Little House that could. For a while, anyway’

A few weeks ago I told you about sharing a very small beach house with a couple of necessarily very small people.

This week’s story is about an even smaller beach house. At 450 square feet (this included the deck), it made the share-with-the-short-people boat house seem like the Taj Mahal. But at least it was ours-all-ours. It was the first house we bought, and we didn’t have to share it with anyone. Well, at least not till The Child came along.

This house was so small (around 20×20; think about it) that the whole thing could fit into the kitchen of the house we have now. And, trust me, this kitchen is pretty much a normal-sized kitchen. But darn it, that Gerard Drive house was cute. And located right on the water. Gosh, it had water on two sides.

Our teensy little house was the second one from the top (right after the squinched-in bit) on that skinny little road running down that itty-bitty piece of land that looks like an appendix. Or a Junior Florida. Or something

How could we afford this waterfront-front-and-back property? Well. The wiring was spaghetti, the insulation was nonexistent, and the plumbing? Well, when you turned on the shower, the water came on just fine — but in the closet. So we basically had to rip it down to the studs and start over. (The studs, incidentally, turned out to be recycled burned timber. Sigh.)

Looking from our bedroom into our kitchen. The good news -- and bad news? That's Gardiner's Bay outside

Looking from our bedroom into our kitchen during our ‘remodeling’. The good news — and bad news? That’s Gardiner’s Bay right outside

Well, every renovation has a silver lining. Or, um, a price that would equal, like, tons of silver ingots. But we ended up with the snuggest little shipshape house you ever did see. Everything was designed like we lived on a boat: no wasted space at all. No room for a closet in the (one) bedroom? Fine. We had a bed built with drawers in it. No room for a second story? Fine. We put a boat ladder up to a ‘loft’ (ten square feet with a futon). Add some skylights and sliders to the afore-mentioned deck, and we had ourselves all the sun-drenched room we needed. And boy, was that house easy to clean (!) Ten minutes, tops, and that included scrubbing the (one minuscule) bathroom. Continue reading