“Man shoots himself in an effort to dislodge squirrel from his pants…”

Yeah, not much I can add to this story…



May The Schmaltz be with You!

The season of sap and nostaliga is upon us, and I am in my element.  It’s a Wonderful Life, One Magic Christmas, Miracle on 34th Street, The Christmas Carol – more, more! I’m still not satisfied! Make me weep, make me sniffle, put a lump in my throat, give me shameless, unapologetic schmaltz. I want hard-fought happy endings. I want to be reminded of the power of love and the value of hope. I want to see that look on Jimmy Stewart’s face when he realizes that his life has made a difference; I want to be with Mary Steenburgen when she watches the husband she thought she’d lost come around the corner and back into her life – reminding her of what’s really important; I want to, once again,  discover a grin on my face as the judge pushes that mountain of letters to Kris Kringle off his judge’s bench;  and I want to hear little Tiny Tim ‘s voice saying, “God bless us, everyone!”

The best schmaltzy Christmas movies aren’t about the material trappings of Christmas, but help us see what really matters – community, friendship, love, forgiveness, redemption, generosity, good will to all men.  These movies all have a message that stays with us long after the Christmas gifts have been unwrapped, and the New Year toasted.

Call me an incorrigible Schmaltz-monger. I ain’t apologizing.

May The Schmaltz be with you!


The Humoristian Reality Show

My dear Humoristian hooligans,

For six months I saw their faces on the cover of every magazine as I went through the checkout line at the local supermarket. For six months I wondered who the heck this couple was and why everyone was so interested in them.  It was perplexing to me. She looked nice enough – had a nice smile and kind of pretty eyes, and her husband looked like he wasn’t a bad fellow, but… well, nothing about this pair really seemed to stand out to me.  It took me six months to care enough to finally ask the supermarket clerk, “Who is this Kate person, and who is Jon, and why are they so famous?”

The clerk started laughing. “That,” she told me, pointing to the blonde on the cover of the magazine, “is Kate Gosselin, and her husband is Jon Gosselin. They are famous because they have eight children and a reality show.”

“Oh,” I said, pretending that I understood.

And then came the Kardashians.  Now their faces replaced Kate’s and Jon’s on every cover. They were pretty, I guess – but what, I wondered, did they actually DO?  “Oh,” the cashier said, “They’re rich, and they have their own reality show.”

“Uh,” I kind of grunted, non-committally, nodding my head like I knew what she was talking about.

The truth is, I was still pretty clueless about the whole “reality show” deal at that time.  But that has now changed, and I’ve come to see the possibilities for a boatload of financial gain from having one’s own reality show.  The way I see it, one doesn’t need to have any actual talent or anything to succeed in the reality show business.  One simply has to have a good agent and the willingness to put her worst foot forward in public.

Which brings me to my purpose in writing this letter to you.

I propose, me hail, hardy Hooligans, that we start our own reality show.  Ohmygosh. Can you not picture it?

I, of course, would be the star of the whole vehicle.  I am the obvious choice: First of all because, like the Kardashian sisters and Kate, my first name (Karen) starts with a “K”; and secondly, because my obvious physical charms will, I’m sure, attract tens, maybe even a couple of tens, of viewers – I mean, throwing away all false modesty here – I know my luxuriant eyebrows and noble schnoz would make even Groucho proud. And okay, so maybe the  luxuriant eyebrows and noble schnoz are but plastic and faux fur – but look at the Kardashian beauties  and Kate and tell me they, too, aren’t artificially enhanced. True, they maybe chose to take a little different route to cosmetic enhancement – but still…

Our reality show would follow the day-to-day drama of our lives – the passion and the power-struggles, the heartbreak and victories, and stuff.  It’d be Emmy-winning material, for sure.  I’ll let you each figure out what you’d bring to the proverbial table, or add to the proverbial stone soup – but for my part, I think I’d focus on the difficult choices I am constantly forced to make in my day-to-day life: Do I step on the scales so soon after Thanksgiving or do I give it a few days? Should we have turkey enchiladas, turkey lasagna, turkey sandwiches, or turkey chowder for dinner? Should I don the Groucho glasses WITH the mustache, or the Groucho glasses WITHOUT the mustache? Important stuff like that.

I hope you will join me, my Humoristian comrades, as we rake in the big bucks just for being ourselves. Well. With maybe just a little artificial enhancement.

Most sincerely,

Groucho Karen Wingoov the First. (And, I’m pretty sure, the Only.)

One Magic Christmas Eve

Silent night, holy night, All is calm, all is bright… “ – Joseph Mohr

It was magical.

We’d spent the day of Christmas Eve with my mom and dad – opening gifts and eating a Christmas feast.  Now we were driving back to our own home, two and a half hours, and five counties away – wanting our two young sons to wake up in their own beds on Christmas morning.

We were in our own little bubble, traveling through Tacoma, Seattle, Everett. The young sons – four and one and a half – were strapped into the back seat, sleeping the deep, trusting sleep of young children, while Scott and I listened to classical Christmas music on the radio, and took in the sight of the Christmas lights that seemed to shine out from every home and apartment – light uniting with light in a spirit of good will and joy.

As we rose over the last hill and descended into the valley of our home county, we were suddenly surrounded by a sparkling snow-covered landscape. We hadn’t been expecting snow, and the pristine beauty of it, glittering in the moonshine, took my breath away.

We left the freeway and drove through snow-covered fields, down the country roads that would bring us to our home. It was very late by now, and there were no other cars on the roads. We had the beauty of the night to ourselves – a gift just for us.  The very air seemed filled with an expectancy of good, a quiet, waiting anticipation, and complete peace.

We pulled into our driveway and carried the sons upstairs to their beds, then hurried back downstairs. There were still things we had to do before the dawn of Christmas morning.

I lit candles and put them on the windowsill, so that our light could join in with the other lights “shining in darkness,” and put on a Christmas CD.  Scott pulled out his tools and the box full of bike parts that would, by the next morning, turn into our four year-old’s first bike.  I pulled out the bouncy horse with springs that would become our youngest son’s faithful steed, and wrapped gifts, and hummed Christmas songs, and let myself fill up with gratitude for the night and the peace and the snow; for my precious sons asleep in their beds; for my husband busily assembling the bike; and for the starlight and moonglow and light shining from homes, filling the darkness and cold with hope and joy.

 “‘Let there be light,’ is the perpetual demand of Truth and Love, changing chaos into order and discord into the music of the spheres.” – Mary Baker Eddy