An Admission: I Have Become Too Serious; Reliance Upon Mike Sacks of The New Yorker to Bring Laughter; Tickle Your Funny Bone; Tickle Your Fancy and Tickle Your Brain Compared; Two or Three Stolen Jokes; Self Publishing Extolled: Agoraphobia Strikes Alexis; Photograph of Bed Companions

It is true, I have become too serious. Taking on the Supreme Court, taking on Qatar, extolling another Middle East Monarchy, Dubai. Where has our fun loving Alexis gone?, you say. Well she is back, albeit briefly but back. Albeit, such a strange word – it means although. I always jumps to The New Yorker when needing a joke and it never fails. A story by Mike Sacks discusses a comic writer renowned for his work on The Simpsons. “One of the biggest compliments a “Simpsons” writer (or any comedy writer) can receive is to have a joke referred to as “Swartzweldian.” Meaning: A joke that comes out of nowhere. A joke that no one else could have written. A joke that sounds almost as if it were never written, as if it’s always existed.” That does say it all – a great joke seems to come out of nowhere. Sacks continues: “Swartzwelder has been deemed “one of the greatest comedy minds of all time.” He is famously private and never grants interviews.” The ‘interview’ took place via emails – here is one question and answer: “Do you still consider comedy writing to be the easiest job on the planet?” “ No, sir. I do not.”

When asked of his comedic influences he answered: “Steve Allen was my first comedy hero. He was effortlessly funny. And while the adults around me were dragging themselves home from work every night, looking like it was the end of the world, Allen could apparently just sleep all week, roll out of bed on Sunday afternoon, wander over to the studio, and kid around with his friends and the audience and maybe Elvis Presley for an hour. Then it was “Good night, everybody,” and back to bed. This made quite an impression on me.”

There were many questions and answers – I did pick and choose so you get the funniest ones, ones that tickled my funny bone. That is an idiom: To amuse; to make someone laugh, to be humorous to someone. This is something slightly different than tickle your fancy which means : to interest or attract someone For example: Do you see anything on the menu that tickles your fancy?”. And then there is tickle your brain. The meaning of this? “One who has a tickle or unsteady brain, as one intoxicated.” I am constantly grateful that English is my first (and only) language, it is am impossible language to learn with all of its idioms, proverbs and words that sound alike and have different meanings. Reading my blog would be helpful for those in other countries. Well, I guess it is! Just look at my mind boggling statistics. I have readers in places I have never heard of – to say nothing of all of those who reside in Unknown.

But back to Sacks Questions and Answers – not sure of the question, in this instance, but this answer tickled my funny bone.
“I had a great many jokes in Army Man, including, “They can kill the Kennedys, why can’t they make a cup of coffee that tastes good?” I also did a cartoon that had some nicely drawn chickens in it—one dead in the middle of the road, with the other two wailing, “Why? Why!?” Classic stuff. And the beaks were perfect.”

He speaks of one of his favorite all time jokes, which is absolutely hilarious, as far as I am concerned. “One of my all-time favorite jokes is from “The Time Machine Did It”: “I was sleeping like a baby—waking up every three hours screaming and crapping my pants.”
Years after “The Time Machine Did It” was published, I saw John McCain use a similar joke on a late-night talk show after his failed 2008 Presidential bid. I planned on using this intellectual-property theft to my advantage if he ever ran again. Anyway, I was glad he liked the joke.”

Swartzwelder has also written books, the interview explores this aspect of his career.
Sachs: I love the beginnings of your books. You waste no time launching into the plot and the comedy. From “Dead Men Scare Me Stupid”: “Well, they found Amelia Earhart. That’s the good news. Unfortunately, they found her in the trunk of my car.”

The author points out that it is necessary to get the reader’s attention immediately, that reading a book requires time and effort so it is necessary to engage their attention early on. Swartzwelder is a self published and he explains why. “It’s easier, faster, and there are no arguments, because all the decisions are yours. If you want to write your book with multiple misspellings, badly misplaced commas, and juvenile bodily-function jokes, your publisher (that’s you!) is with you a hundred per cent on that. He’ll back you up all the way. It’s the kind of control writers dream of having. Of course, a traditional publisher can arrange book tours for you, which I don’t want to go on anyway, and get your book displayed prominently in bookstores, which don’t exist anymore, and, theoretically, at least, make you more money, which I hate, but those, I think, are sacrifices worth making to have that control.” He does admit, later on, that he submitted his works to several publishers and received rejections, but is most happy with his status as a self publisher.

Sacks: What advise would you give to budding comic writers.
He: Write what makes you laugh. At least you’ll get a laugh out of it.

Definitely nearing the end of Ramadan with only two before sunrise breakfasts and three sundown meals. With that, the necessary thirty days will have been completed. Will save my thoughts about the effect it has been on my life until the fast’s conclusion. So far, I note with some degree of humor, that what I am experiencing at the moment is agoraphobia. It is a noun meaning extreme or irrational fear of entering open or crowded places, of leaving one’s own home. Yes, Ms. Sociability cannot seem to force herself out of her apartment and has no desire to see anyone. Wikipedia tells all: “In severe cases people may become completely unable to leave their homes.” “Agoraphobia affects about 1.7% of adults.[ Women are affected about twice as often as men. The condition often begins in early adulthood and becomes less common in old age. It is rare in children.”

Despite the humor found in this blog I am not joking about the agoraphobia. The photograph is, in a strange way, provides proof. It is two of my stuffed animals. They share my bed, my animals and the two hot water bottles. Perhaps, at the conclusion of Ramadan I will get out and about. There is incentive as I have a blow dry appointment with Kim on Tuesday and my left knee is feeling better today.

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