Don't be fooled by the grim-faced picture. It was the only unblinking one. For me, words are worth a thousand pictures. I'm looking forward to saying hi to all of you.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

You can't make this stuff up!

I went into a hardware store today and noticed that on a display of toilet plungers was a sign "No Returns!"

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

My Big Sister's Advice

My older sister is constantly emailing me warnings and advice such as what diseases are contained in pigeon poop, etc. This email I pass onto you because it's actually useful.

For all CELL PHONE users:

1. The Emergency Number worldwide for Mobile is 112. If you find yourself out of the coverage area of your mobile network and there is an Emergency, dial 112 and the mobile will search any existing network to Establish the emergency number for you, and interestingly, this number 112 can be dialed even if the keypad is locked.

2. Have you ever locked your keys in the car? On Friday I managed to lock my keys in the trunik.

3. Hidden Battery Power
Imagine your cell battery is very low. To activate, press the keys *3370#. Your cell phone will restart with this reserve and the instrument will show a 50% increase in battery. This reserve will get charged when you charge your cell phone next time.

4 How to disable a STOLEN mobile phone?
Check your Mobile phone's serial number, key in the following Digits on your phone: *#06#..
A 15-digit code will appear on the screen. This number is unique to your handset. Write it down and keep it somewhere safe.If your phone gets stolen, you can phone your service provider and give them this code. They will then be able to block your handset so even if the thief changes the SIM card, your phone will be totally useless. You probably won't get your phone back, but at least you know that whoever stole it can't use/sell it either. If everybody does this, there would be no point in people stealing mobile phones.

5. Free Directory Service for Cells.
Cell phone companies are charging us $1.00 to $1.75 or more for 411 information calls when they don't have to. Most of us do not carry a telephone directory in our vehicle, which makes this situation even more of a problem. When you need to use the 411 information option, simply dial: (800) FREE 411, or (800) 373-3411 without incurring any charge at all. Program this into your cell phone now.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Emotional Wildfire

I went to the beauty parlor for my monthly haircut. A woman walked in, shrieking because she was going to be expected to wait 15 minutes.

"I have two children," she bellowed, "and I have no milk in the house. I have a million errands. I could have gone to the cleanders first if only you had called me. What's wrong with you people? blah, blah, blah."

Well, listening, I began thinking, This crackpot is going to end up getting my appointment. Then I go up to the desk and say to the receptionist in a tone far more assertive than I'd ever use, "I hope my appointment won't be delayed."

A guy waiting for his haircut (unisex,) then dashed up to the desk, too. "Listen, I have to get back to work," he announced. "You better not bump me."

Next thing I knew, four customers were bellowing at the poor receptionist. At that point, I stepped back. This incident had become material. How do people who don't write survive?

Monday, September 14, 2009

Some good places to publish

Deadline: 10/01/09.Submit to: A Cup of Comfort. Submit via online form: http://www.cupofcomfort.com/memberlogin.Theme: For Couples.Type: Personal essays (2,000 words MAX).URL: http://www.cupofcomfort.com/CallForSubmissions

Deadline: 02/01/10.Submit to: Rattle. E-mail (via pasted-in text) to: submissions@rattle.com.Theme: Humor. Type: Poetry and essays (5,000 words MAX).URL: http://www.rattle.com/callsforsubs.htm

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Just back from Atlantic City

I go as a buffet-eater, not a gambler. Driving home there were warnings of a tempest. The wind rattled our car and the ocean lashed against the highway's railing. The sky was Gothic. A white car had somehow skidded off the road and ended up in the marsh. With the passenger door open, the half-drowned car looked like a bird with a broken wing, trying to take off.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The Illustrated Childhood Nightmare

Stitches: a memoir is out in bookstores now. So many of you are both visual artists as well as writers that this graphic novel will inspire you. Here's my review of it for California Literary Review:


Thursday, September 3, 2009

I hope you' and your family and friends are safe from the wild fires.

One of my former students has been evacuated from her home. Another is on a mountaintop with smoke all around her while down below her mountain, her favorite quaint town and apple orchards are ablaze. How are all of you faring?

Tuesday, September 1, 2009


This anthology is funny, touching, and wise, and contains an essay by me: "To All Grandparents in Waiting." It's a perfect gift for Grandparent's Day on September 13th and available at Barnes&Noble.com
and at Amazon.com