Archive for the ‘Humor’ Category

Ruthie in the sky with O’Ryan

April 29, 2017

Just a few days ago I was wondering how Calvin Trillin was doing — he’s in my age cohort, five years older than me, so I have a certain fellow feeling — and then Andy Sleeper pointed me to a Shouts and Murmurs piece of his in the most recent (May 1st) New Yorker: “The Irish Constellation: Until about five years ago, I was under the impression that Orion was spelled O’Ryan”. Andy was reminded of Ruthie from One Big Happy, who does her best to turn the unfamiliar into something she recognizes.

But good to see Trillin doing what he does so well.


The maiden, the monster, and the hero

April 15, 2017

In the LGBT precinct of Facebook recently, this Jim Benton cartoon (eventually this posting will be about Benton, but first the folktale scenarios):


The basic scenario is Beauty and the Beast: a beautiful maiden (that is, a virgin), often a princess; and a monster, a grotesque creature, either literally an animal (a gigantic ape, a dinosaur, a mutant lizard, a dragon, whatever — but male) or a man animalistic in form, sometimes in nature as well. The monster desires the maiden: to devour her (literally), to despoil her (sexually), or merely to love her (romantically).

A third character, the Knight, figures in an extended scenario: a hero, a handsome and virile young man, often in armor, often a prince, whose role is to challenge the monster in battle and overcome him, thereby rescuing the maiden — for himself; she is his prize. In the extended scenario, two males are rivals for the maiden.

In Benton’s version, the hero challenges the monster, demanding that the monster deal with him rather than the maiden. And so the monster does. Sometimes in a love triangle, the rivals become lovers. (Combat between men is sometimes a route to mutual respect, male bonding, and friendship; in this case, the relationship goes one step further.)


The Yule log

December 18, 2016

It starts with another feature of cultural, as opposed to religious, Christmas, the Yule log. Moves to the cover of the current New Yorker (12/19&26), Ana Juan’s “Yule Dog”. And then, briefly, to sexy word play on the log of Yule log (with a digression on a vintage postcard with a gay Yule log joke). And culminates in an orgy of cake: Bûches de Noël, edible simulacra of the Yule log.


Poet in Search of His Moose

November 30, 2016

The title of one of the eleven comic collages by Barry Kite that I have hanging on my walls:


Poets and artists notoriously have muses, and poets and their muses are sometimes subjects of an artist’s work: “The Poet and His Muse” by Giorgio de Chirico, “The Poet and His Muse” by Henri Rousseau (both with female muses), and in a very different vein, “The Poet Decorates his Muse with Verse”, a playful photo montage by Duane Michals, with a male muse. Kite’s collage has a central figure that I at first took to be the artist Pablo Picasso, whose many (female) muses were his sexual partners and the subjects of a great many of his works, but that now seems likely to be the poet Pablo Neruda (see below). Women appear in the collage as stylized erotic body parts serving as the landscape the central figure is walking through. Meanwhile, his dogs are in search of the poet’s moose.

The collages are parodic or surreal, and quite funny, combinations of elements from art history and from popular culture, with wry titles. Like Bill Griffiths on art in Zippy the Pinhead, Kite shows great affection for the culture that he ransacks to create absurdist, countercultural works.


Collage days

October 10, 2016

The cover page for two showings of my work, in 2003 at red ink studios in Palo Alto and in 2005 at the Stanford Humanities Center:


The big point here is that I consider these works (and two other sets of collages) to be art — eccentric art, perhaps, but nevertheless art. For many people, this is a problematic claim, so I’m somewhat defensive.


The Mystery Man of Crotch Beach

September 11, 2016

(Some crude sexual talk, but some humor, too, and plants, several plants. Use your judgment.)

(Notice: Prunella vulgaris and Orchis mascula are real plants, and what I say about them and their names is, to the best of my knowledge, accurate. As for the rest, caveat lector.)


Hunky Herb hides his
Puffy purple penis, his
Funky fleshy fruits, but fuck, his
Buddy Larry says, lewdly, a
Feast to eat, and pretty too.

The back story, in a recent press release:


Briefly: vice-presidential anagrams

August 24, 2016

In the August 2016 issue of Funny Times, a reprinting of a Dave Barry column (from the 7/26 Miami Herald), “Is this what really goes on inside the Democratic dance and beer hall?” (about the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia), ending:

I will conclude today’s report with the following:

UPDATE ON TIM KAINE: At this point, all we know for certain about him is that the letters in “Tim Kaine” can be rearranged to spell “I eat mink.”

Even better: “Ain’t Mike”.

As for his Repblican counterpart: “Mike Pence” anagrams to “Keep mince”, or better: “Pink emcee”. I love the idea of anti-gay Pence flouncing on stage in pink.

That concludes today’s political commentary.

Briefly: a humorous postcard

August 8, 2016

From Ryan Tamares (attending a conference in Chicago) a couple of weeks ago, this humorous postcard:


Much of its time (1953, apparently; note that the man wears a hat), mildly racy (because it has a naked guy in it), silly (because he’s using a public fountain for bathing), and seriously phallic (fountains in general are, but this one has a figure spouting a spray onto the bather).


Offer #11: funny stuff

June 27, 2016

More things you can get free in the mail (well, you pay for shipping): this time, about 40 CD albums of comedy and humor, from Shelley Berman, Beyond the Fringe, Bob and Ray, the Bobs, and the Bonzo Dog Band to Allan Sherman, the Smothers Brothers, the best of This American Life, and the best of Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me (both from public radio in the U.S.).


Programmer paintings

May 21, 2016

From Elizabeth Daingerfield Zwicky, a link to the Tumblr site “Classic Programmer Paintings”, in which paintings (some famous, some genre paintings chosen for their pictorial content) are captioned with jokes about the life of programming. Two examples (both from painters new to me):


Ivan Bilibin, “Koschei the Deathless” from Marya Morevna (1900): “Senior security engineer on his way to deliver comments to developers”


Osman Hamdi Bey, “The Tortoise Trainer” (1906): “The Shell Scripter”

(a play involving shell program ‘a program that provides an interface between the user and the operating system’ (NOAD2))