Frankly My Dear...

Like plantation masters of yore, The Honorable Brett Kavanaugh is a self-made man, one whose maleness and whiteness and family money didn’t figure at all in his success. He worked himself up from nothing, just as any owner of a plantation coaxed cotton out of Georgia’s red clay by sheer determination and hard work.

And then came The Troubles.

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When Teachers Do Standup...

When Teachers Do Stand Up

Right over your heads, that one. Whew! I’m glad no one was decapitated. I know every standup thinks their material is hilarious, but the fact is that I am not just your garden-variety struggling comic at age 61, I am also a retired teacher. That’s cred, as you kids call it. I’m trying to teach you people, by telling clever, ironic, well-crafted jokes with a story arc that leads to a punch line. I don’t want you to just laugh, I want you to think.  It’s ultimately about finding the truth. 

No, my material is just fine, thank you. The problem is your lack of cultural knowledge and/or intellectual curiosity. No one got my allusion to Beowulf in that last bit? My comparison of Grendel, a beast so terrifying that every person on earth was afraid of him, to top members of the Trump administration? It’s rooted in a literary reference to an epic poem known as “Beowulf” that is far more bizarre and violent than any modern tale of terrorism or despotism.

So no one reads Beowulf anymore, because you’re so busy texting your genitals to each other. But okay—and you all could learn something from this—when I saw that my lesson plan was not connecting, I was prepared with a back-up. I shifted seamlessly to a more modern cultural reference, Ma Barker. A mother of four who coordinated vicious crimes for her children to commit? In this case I made an adroit parallel between the parenting styles of  Donald Trump and Ma Barker. And I completed the arc by equating the coal miners who supported Trump to the Barkers’ murder victims. And because I knew there was no point in pursuing Beowulf further, I didn’t make a connection between Ma Barker and Grendel’s mother, who was an even more vicious beast than Grendel. It would have been very, very clever, though.

But I guess following that thread to the point of laughter is impossible for you because a historical allusion can’t be older than ten seconds with your generation, huh?  Haven’t we heard enough lame Trump jokes here tonight? Yes, he’s orange and fat. But you wouldn’t even know him if he hadn’t been a reality TV star first. That’s all you know: Who indeed are The Real Housewives of East Trenton going to gang slap this weekend?

No, I’m not sitting down. I never let my classes go early. I paid my five dollars. You can waste your own money by not paying attention but there are some people who are actually here to learn. I’ve had to use my time on review instead of exploring  new material, but—Don’t use that tone with me. You can laugh or not laugh, but you may NOT interrupt me. If you’re bored, then there’s the door. What? Well, F you too. I don’t allow language like that in my classroom, but F yourself right back, and get a thesaurus in the meantime. That’s another thing about you kids, you think you’ve invented profanity. You think it’s subversive to say the C-word fifteen times about your girlfriends and mothers.

Oh, ha ha, yes, there is going to be a quiz after. Talk about original. But I’ll bet that not one of you could write a short, clear, concise passage about the themes I’ve covered. You wouldn’t get so much as a D because, even though I led you through the steps of the jokes and then decisively executed the punch lines, you still couldn’t meet the stated objectives.   

Yeah, I know I’m getting the light. Interrupted by the bell. Seems like the management is suddenly concerned with punctuality. They weren’t in any hurry to put out the sign-up sheet after taking our money, were they?

Oh, bald, very good. Keen powers of observation, you. Your brain is bald. Try putting in two hours of homework for every five minutes of stage time. Good night. You’ve been a very weak audience. Yeah? Well, don’t quit your day job either. And don’t come looking to me for a recommendation, ‘cause if you think you’re not going to need work someday when this doesn’t work out…

Facebook Activism: Changing the World—No Effort Required

Share if…  you never want New Orleans to flood again.

Share if…  your pets drive you crazy but you love them anyway.

 Share if…  you think mornings are too long.

 Share if…  you don’t think the school cafeteria aide should force children to eat everything on their trays.

Share if… …  you think Madison should be able to take her pit bull to the prom.

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Peter Marino, Therapist

Peter Marino, Therapist

Everyone knows that in a crisis, a pamphlet can help.

My most recent therapy practice (Trickle Down Counseling) is temporarily not accepting new clients or serving established clients. Having lost the lease on my office space in addition to suffering foreclosure on my storage unit, I find myself with an abundance of the following short publications that I have authored based on important topics my clients have brought to our sessions over the years. Gender-neutral pronouns are used in titles for inclusion.

For a small fee of $5 each (which includes postage and handling), I can arrange for them to be mailed directly to you. Please indicate by number which pamphlet(s) you would like. Do not request downloads as they will not reduce the paper burden I am experiencing.

I have arranged the pamphlets by most popular category:

Death and Dying

001  When Someone You Never Liked Dies…

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Christmas Newsletter 2015

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year one and all! I hate to resort to the infamous "newsletter," but seeing as I have been so busy lately (despite my continued unemployment and crippling bouts of depression that render me almost totally inactive), and seeing as there are so many of you for me to write to, I thought this the most efficient choice.

     2015 was memorable for us because in January National Grid shut off our power for non-payment of bills. It was a strained time, but as a family we tried to make the best of it. It was actually rather fun deciding what furniture to burn for heat and cooking purposes, and we grew closer as a family while bundled up together by the dining room fire...

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Gender Reveal Party

Please join Lilly, Ryan, and Baby _______????  for our


Friday, September 12 at our home at

27 Southwick Meadows East

1 p.m.

What We Will Eat: We will celebrate the revealing of our yet-to-be-born-baby’s gender with —yes—“birthday” cake!

Creative snacks are welcome. Emma, how about your gingerbread “men” with pink or blue trim? (We’ll eat them even if you’re wrong!) And it would be great if someone could make a round loaf of rainbow bread to look like Lilly’s belly, but only a pink and blue rainbow!

Because of its proximity to the Holy Days, Lilly suggested a matzo search, even though no one in our circle is Jewish. One of the matzos will have a slip of paper inside that says, “It’s a ______!”

What Games We Will Play: We will totally play Might It Be…? in which guests have to suggest androgynous names (i.e. “Might it be Lee?”)

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Things I Worry About When I Should be Sleeping

Twenty-Nine Things that were Suddenly Important When I was Trying to get to Sleep Last Night

September 1, 2015

1. What if my neighbor has a pet python, and it gets loose?

2. There has got to be some way to collect all the man-made space debris orbiting the earth.

3. Mold is the biggest problem with owning a house.

4. How many people do I know that wear glasses all the time? Just for reading?

5. How many people in my department have PhDs? Facial hair?

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Saratoga Apple

Alistair Cooke once said, It would be a crime against nature for any generation to take the world crisis so solemnly that it put off enjoying those things for which we were designed in the first place: the opportunity to do good work, to enjoy friends, to fall in love, to hit a ball, and to bounce a baby. To stuff at least two cider donuts from Saratoga Apple into your mouth while they’re hot, even if you’re driving...

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I always want to encourage young writers, and what I’m trying to do in this class is establish a community of writers. I hate for any negativity to go down. But I need to say, how to put this? Surprised, I guess, was what I was. That they were so short. Really, really short...

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Heaven Is...Really?

I want to believe in your heaven, I really do. It sounds very high concept, very accommodating, and stress free; and also free, as in no admission fee. However...

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