Tuesday, April 19, 2011

You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet!

I made coffee with that phrase in my head after checking my inbox and reading the Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop (EBWW) monthly newsletter http://www.humorwriters.org this morning. Depending on which age group you are in, you can equate that phrase with either Bachman Turner Overdrive’s 1983 hit album, or “The Jazz Singer,” starring Al Jolson. I fall somewhere in between the two, as I grew up watching classic movies and hung around with old people. I like to think of it as a positive, “Honey, if you think that was terrific, you ain’t seen nothing yet!” Okay, it is not good grammar, I should be ashamed. Coffee will fix that.

Are you confused?

I will help you.

Last year at this time, I was out in Dayton, Ohio, attending EBWW 2010 with about 350 other writer humorists at the University of Dayton. We left there with a mascot (E.B. Heron, named after E.B. White); many new friends; and Facebook/Twitter accounts to look up, join, or send friend requests. We also left there with a feeling of kick-ass enthusiasm, we were among the “We can do this!” success group. My tape recorder, business card slots, and notebook were all full. I was armed and dangerous with perceived leverage and a little chutzpah. I miss my friends there now, and can’t wait for EBWW 2012.

During the last year, most of us have joined everything including the NetWits, Southern Humorists, and humor writers newsgroup on Yahoo, the National Society of Newspaper Columnists (NSNC) and the Robert Benchley Society. The criteria to become a member of those groups, of course, is that you write humor in a forum, newspaper column, blog, or book; or just drink and aspire to do so. We are competitive, keeping everyone in the loop for things like interviews, new book releases, awards, contests, and book launches. You could also say it is a training ground for learning great communication skills. We also post failed attempts, but we downplay those. I believe we’ve finally made it into the A Zone.

Many of us have come a long way in just the last 12 months. Baltimore comedian, Michele Wojciechowski, has syndicated her column Wojo’s World , as did Joy Steele (bunny slippers), and Tracy Baron Beckerman with Lost in Suburbia. Of course we all knew Tracy would excel, since she had Mo Rocca following her around at the Workshop all weekend with a camera crew for a CBS Sunday Morning interview. This year, she won The Balancing Act Top Blogger award and has been on Lifetime television.

New book releases include Y-Mee's A-B-C Book of Emotions by Wanda Argersinger, who is now authoring another one; Leave it to Boomer by faculty member Jerry Zezima, who also writes for The Huffington Post; Sitting on Cold Porcelain by yours truly, with syndicated columns at Senior Wire and Associated Content from Yahoo; A Dog’s Purpose by 2008 keynote speaker and award winner, W. Bruce Cameron, Crossbow by 2008 faculty member and award winner, Gordon Kirkland; and Got MILF? By Sarah Winer Maizes.

New blogs include, Lighten Up! By Dawn Weber, The Medicare Mom by Jody Worsham, Barb's Blast by EBWW award winner Barb Best, Health and Humor by faculty member and comedian Dave Glardon, and The Energy Writer by Sharon Dillon. You can find links to those at the bottom of this page.

If I missed anyone, I apologize, feel free to pat yourself on the back in the "comments" section.

Like I was thinking this morning, there are another 12 months to go and we all got the mojo - you ain’t seen nothing yet!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Federal Conclave – Black or White Smoke?

Amid the cherry blossoms, House Speaker John Boehner has called a conclave similar to electing a new Pope to approve the Spending Bill. Will the emitting smoke be black or white?

Scheduled to be closed are National Parks, museums, monuments, and passport services; so. If you want to see the cherry blossoms or get a passport, get a move on.

About 800,000 government workers will be furloughed, which should make clogged traffic arteries a living nightmare, if you see black smoke. The Woodrow Wilson Bridge will be bumper-to-bumper, making you want to jump into the Potomac; and prison inmates will be called in to pick up the slack, so watch your wallets.

Our deployed troops might not get paid on time, adding incoming fighter jets and bazookas into the mix, and a Million Man March of senior citizens want their checks.

Bo, the Portuguese Water Dog, is worried that Obama will cut his favorite Nylabone treats, Michelle is on a “No Bonpoint” ration, and Boehner has suggested that the Obama’s sign up for a Sam’s Club membership, which is also agreeable with his campaign manager.

Cerritos’ stepped in and suggested that the President’s VIP Lincoln be replaced with something more frugal…

NPR begged Congress not to cut funding:

The President was sent into rehab after giving a college student a new car:

Then, FINALLY, Senator "Motor Mouth" Sanders showed up in his Batmobile to lambaste Bernanke:

Pray People!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Watch Bald Eagles Hatch (Live VIDEO)

From the Raptor Resource Project in Decorah, Iowa, you can watch these pips hatch:

The Ustream link has all the videos taken since March 31, 2011 and a "live" broadcast:


These videos have been going viral today. Check back often.


Sunday, April 3, 2011

Peter Nero & Philly Pops vs. South Philly Steak Wars

Yesterday, I went to see the Peter Nero and the Philly Pops’ performance of “Music and Comedy” at the Kimmel Center in Philadelphia; it was flawless. My daughter went with me. She got the seats up on Tier 3 and we were getting rather air sick. A docent from the Avenue of the Arts was handing out samples of Dramamine and hawking tickets to see "Mary Poppins." The next time we attend, my daughter promised orchestra seats. You should put this one on your “to do” list, while visiting Philadelphia. The best seats are in Tier 1.

Comedian, Robert Klein, was featured during the second half and gave a dynamite performance. His humor appeals to the over 50 crowd and he nailed it every time. This YouTube video is representative of one of the classics he did at the Kimmel Center:

After the show, we were laughing so hard, we decided to go to South Philadelphia and catch the steak wars on South 9th Street at Geno’s and Pat’s.

If you are a native Philadelphian, you are aware of the famous steak wars. If not, it’s a blast. They are the Tommy and Dickey Smothers of South Philly “Mom Always Liked You Best.” They are rivals on opposite corners at 9th and Passyunk Avenue, in the Italian Market area, but not actually related. I think Geno is a "come here" from Palermo.

Flip a coin and go to either Geno’s or Pat’s to order a scrumptious steak sandwich. You know you are at the right corner, when you see two lines of about 100 people wrapped around two buildings flipping the bird at each other. You can also split your group in half and go to both establishments, share the sandwiches, and decide for yourselves, which one has the best Philly steak. I like them both, but lean towards Pat’s.

At Pat’s there is a sign that tells you “How to Order a Steak.” It would make even Robert Benchley proud. If you don’t get it right, you must go to the back of the line and start over. I took a picture of it, so you can memorize the routine.

Geno’s? Well, you can tell by the flashy colors, he had to work at getting attention; Mom didn’t always like him best. At night, the bright neon signs have actually lured several Boeing 747 Jumbo Jets away from International Airport that were trying to land in Philadelphia.

"Hello, this is your Captain speaking. Upon our approach, our left engine just sucked up twenty wit from Geno's. Nothing to be alarmed about."

As you can see, we had a fun time at both events in Philadelphia.

© 2011, Valenta, All rights reserved.

To read my column Skinny Dipping click here

To buy my book “Sitting on Cold Porcelain” click here

Friday, April 1, 2011

What Are You Doing Tonight?

Tonight, I have a BlogTalkRadio interview scheduled with Giovanni Gelati at 7:00 PM EDST. I'd like you to be there. Giovanni publishes the popular Gelati’s Scoop and my book is among the “Top 25 Self-Published Books for 2010” on his website. We will be discussing humor, writing, and my book - Sitting on Cold Porcelain. Click here for details - Gelati's Scoop on BlogTalkRadio

If you miss it, here is the link to the MP3 Click here

If you enjoy a funny read, Sitting on Cold Porcelain is available at Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble, Better World Books, the order desk of your local bookstore, and some public libraries. If your local library does not carry it yet, ask them to order a copy from the publisher, Xlibris. I made autographed copies available here on my website (see the left panel). There has been a large number of Kindle and Nook users requesting the book, so it is available in electronic format, as well. Click here to order it from The Kindle Store, or at Barnes and Noble’s Nook Store.

Relax and tune in to BlogTalkRadio this Friday night in the comfort of your own home. Spread the word to your social networking friends. We will all have a great time!