Archive for the ‘Humor’ Category


I got 24 out of 25. The playing on a mountain top happened to someone else I know.

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I don’t know how to break this to you if you haven’t already heard.  (Takes a moment to pull herself together…) No. More. Twinkies.

I don’t know about you, but I am seriously concerned about what Americans are going to have for breakfast in the coming days.

My point is, Twinkies are in danger.  Just imagine if people in this country had to give up those 37 magical ingredients and go back to the dark days of eating bacon and eggs?  (During which we had significantly lower rates of heart disease, diabetes, cancer, obesity…)

And what is the Twinkies Diet man going to eat?!?

We are all going to have to work to together through this crisis. Surely someone, or perhaps the government, will step up and save the Twinkie.  Shall we nationalize Hostess? With the appointment of a Monsanto VP as the FDA “food safety czar”, we might as well.

The beloved Twinkie, in history…



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I used to think QE2 was an ocean liner. (Sigh) Those were the good old days.  But we may be “taken for a ride” just the same.

QE3 (same as QE2 but with higher fares) is a scheme in which “the Fed” is going to print up lots and lots of dollars to “stimulate the economy!”

“The Fed” is, of course, The Federal Reserve, a privately owned institution with a government-protected monopoly over printing money. (A bunch of bankers, in other words, led by Mr. Ben Bernanke, who was never elected to this or any other position of power over the fate of our nation.)

This is the sort of brilliant policy they used to use in Zimbabwe, before their economy totally collapsed.  And how very stimulating it was! Milk for $24 billion, bread not cheap either. (That second link describes a theft during which a man who was pushing a wheelbarrow full of paper money was attacked. The thieves left the paper and took the wheelbarrow.)

Going grocery shopping in Zimbabwe, 2008.  


I swear I am not making this up. It’s called hyperinflation, and it tends to happen in countries that decide to use pretend — uh, I mean paper money to solve their problems, like Brazil in the 1980s.

What is wrong in this picture?  Duh! The shameless waste of paper!  How many forests must die in our quest to ruin the US economy?  I have a much better idea…

Introducing Gravel, Pebbles, Rocks, my new economic plan for a great future. GPR for short.  (Later versions can be called GPR2 and GPR3!)

Under GPR, people who need money will go outside and get it off the ground, or “mine” it if the ground where they live has been picked clean.  No more chopping down trees for dollars.

The monetary denominations will be simple: gravel for buying small items, then pebbles (2-5 gravels=1 pebble, negotiable), and rocks will be used for your bigger purchases. Need more? Go get it! Hard work has always been the cornerstone (no pun intended) of wealth.

And it is very egalitarian. Everyone can get some economic stimulus! Think about it… water is hard to exchange (pesky spills and evaporation), and sticks and twigs are not available in all parts of the world, but GPR can benefit everyone!

Furthermore, it totally cuts out the “middle man.”  We won’t have to Occupy Wall Street anymore. We can just break it up with pick axes.

I ask you, why should flooding our society with paper money be any better than using rocks?


Come to think of it, money was once made of rocks. I think they called it “gold.”


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Back in my student days, I made a small but embarrassing mistake in a performance. At my next lesson my teacher, Lynne Palmer, listened patiently while I wept over my unworthiness to live, let alone play the harp.

“Do you know,” Palmer said very softly, leaning towards me, “how many really perfect performances I had?”  I blinked, speechless. “I can count them on one hand.” She held her hand in front of me.

ImageMy surprise at her modesty was increased by the thought of how many performances – brilliant performances – that hand must have played.  This incredible musician had studied with Carlos Salzedo; had played under the batons of Toscanini, Ormandy, and Stokowski; had won the very first Curtis Award in 1949 (against such competition as the young Leonard Bernstein).  I will never forget that moment, her humility, and the sense of acceptance and forgiveness.

Some people are really good at shaking off a bad moment. Others are good at holding on to the memory of imperfection and even cultivating it in their minds like an expert gardener until the thing is positively monumental.  I guess I am somewhere in the middle.

If you have ever planned, produced, or served in a large social event, you understand the unpredictability of human endeavors.  We do great things and we do our best, but stuff happens. A sense of humor is crucial.  To that end, I present Five Funny Things I Have Seen At Weddings and Events (in no particular order).

1. A bride had purchased beautiful artificial flowers, made of some kind of fabric, that her bridesmaids could take home and keep forever. The flowers were arranged on long bouquets, like a beauty pageant winner would carry.  One bridesmaid was standing too close in front of the lit candelabra that the church provided, and – poof! – her flowers burst into flames.  No bridesmaids were injured in the making of this scenario. A groomsman stomped out the fire and they all lived happily ever after, as far as I know.


2. Many years ago I was booked to play for an evening cruise on Lake Union. I knew the location of the dock, but had not expected such a small ship. Before me lay a somewhat narrow wooden plank that connected the ship to the dock, suspended some 10 feet over the water. The stuff of nightmares. I parked my harp’s dolly and went to tell the hostess that I could not wheel it over. I just couldn’t risk it.  The guy she enlisted to carry the harp onto the ship was a workman from the neighboring ship who cursed, in French, under his breath the entire time. I apologized and thanked him, in my own rusty French.

3. I was hired to play for a Renaissance themed wedding in which everyone was dressed in 16th century garb. Including the dog, who came down the aisle just ahead of the bride. Dog of Honor?  I was just so glad that the dog didn’t do what dogs do (emphasis on that last word) when they get nervous.

4. This one didn’t actually happen to me personally. I just find it so funny.  An acquaintance was hired to play at the Convention Center for an event.  She was positioned at the top of an escalator and given a mermaid suit to wear. Keep in mind, in order to play a pedal harp, one needs both hands and feet, but this harpist’s feet were to be enclosed in her mermaid tail.  “Not a problem!” The only thing they wanted her to play was glissandi – that’s where you just run your finger up and down the strings, up and down, up and down…    For 45 minutes.

5. I was playing with a fiddler for a Scottish wedding and we launched into the processional requested by the bride, “Mairi’s Wedding.”  It’s a peppy tune for a processional – usually a more stately piece is chosen – but the bride was certain of her choice.  Or so we thought.  After playing through the short tune twice, the whole wedding party was out, except for the bride. We kept playing, and playing…  After what seemed like 5 minutes, my fiddle player actually walked out of the room and into the hall – while still playing! – to find the bride standing there looking confused. The poor lady thought we were going to play something else and was waiting for the music to change.

I have seen many mishaps over the years: dresses ripping, bee stings, outdoor decorations spoiled by wind, people so consumed by emotion that they could only sob and not say their vows.  “The best laid plans of mice and men…” And yet, the imperfect events are sometimes the most impressive.

When you listen to a music CD, the imperfections have been scrubbed out through multiple “takes” and countless technical tricks. But in a live performance, what you play is what you get. And yet, errors are rarely noticed by an audience. That is because the live experience is worth so much more than the sum of its parts.  The humanity and the art speak louder than the technical details. And so it is in life.  And so shall it be for you.



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Can someone please explain this to me?

Here we have a normal pedestrian crossing button that I often pass on my morning runs. A normal button at a normal level.  And a second button, for… trolls? People who ride those really tall unicycles? Bears? I actually did see a bear crossing this road once, but she wasn’t in the crosswalk.

I just know this is going to turn out to be something so obvious. Common knowledge. And I’m going to feel like a total ding-dong for even asking.  That’s ok. Tell me anyway. I will just be so glad to not feel that creepy being-watched-by-something-large-and-sinister-in-the-woods feeling every time I’m waiting for that walk sign.

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