Tuesday, December 11, 2012


by Ed Tasca

None wiser than Socrates. The Oracle said so. He’s in danger. I need your help.

I’m heading to my mother’s for lunch.

Our great teacher could be facing a death sentence. For accusations of impiety.

Tell him to shave his beard and dress conservatively.

True wisdom belongs to the gods, he says. Human wisdom has little value. This is an attempt to show humility and virtue. Is that impiety?

I might come if I catch up on my txting.

I’m at the agora. I’m stuck behind another Dionysian parade.

U go to Glucosamine’s party last nite?

Meletus, you were the one who brought the charges against our great teacher. And all you care about is Glucosamine’s party?

Plato, my inbox is on overload! Give it a rest!

Meletus, Glucosamine had a zoo there. I don’t mean his theatre friends. He had a real zoo. Snakes, wild boar, monkeys. The bomb!

Meletus, please reconsider your “corruption of youth” charge. You asked Socrates if there was a Zeus.

He said there’s no scientific evidence there’s a Zeus. I said then who crtd the universe? As usual, he answered with a ?: Who the hell knows?

That’s not corruption of youth! And he didn’t say, “Who the hell knows?”

Maybe I was just pissed at him answering questions with another gd question!!!

Where’s Chaerephon on this?

His server’s out.

Socrates is an atheist. I testified as much. Did my duty 4 the good of the state.

Meletus, you admitted Socrates taught you to believe in spiritual guidance. How could he be an atheist?

We worshipped Dionysus together!! Got totally pissed. That was my spiritual guidance!

Your accusations about Socrates are contradictory.

It’s not a contradiction. An atheist can still mouth things spiritual. Look at every politician!

Socrates is not afraid of death. He will die to make his point to the court.

What’s wrong with just an “objection?” *s*

Who saw Phidias’s new nude? Hot! He says it’s Aphrodite. Come on, it’s the spittin’ image of Analgesia, the waitress at Sons of Helen bistro.

Meletus, we’re talking about a man’s life here. A life devoted to searching for the truth.

That hairy old bastard.

Prostatitis, have a little respect. The man’s in the throes of despair.

I was talking about Phidias.

Tell him plea bargain. So he goes to Sicily. Yeah, there’s Etna and racketeering. But it’s better than the alternative.#sicilycenteroftheworld

Twalking: Dionysian parade getng bigger, crazier. I’m stopng 4 eggs. Scrambled with chopped olives! I love it. Meet me. Whoever.

Socrates has said we who fear death show our ignorance. Death may be a great blessing. It’s time to demonstrate that personal courage isn’t fu

What’s “fu?” What the hll r u talkng about?

You know what? Personal courage is a humongous f.u. when you wind up with a hemlock cocktail.

Futile. Futile! I was saying Futile in the face of sophism.

If death’s so great, y does everybody pay any quack any amount of $ to cure them of every phlegm and heartburn?

@olympusrules_Meletus, you’re the impious one, you and Aristophanes. You’re the ones corrupting Athenian youth with your slander and your sarc

Sarc? For Olympus’s sake, Plato, learn how to tweet. All ur tweets are 2 long and don’t make sense.

I’m sorry for my intrusive literacy. But a stark 142 character communiqué is a fey child’s game, inadequate to persuade foolish youths to do

To do what??

I made it to the Sons of Helen bistro. Analgesia, that waitress, isn’t here. Phidias must’ve paid her big time. I want to be a sculptor.

I’m back.

Chaerephon, Will you join me in defense of Socrates?

U still at it? This disrespecting the Gods thing-don’t want 2 b involved. Who they gonna charge next? I like all the gods, goddesses, demigods

Who’s ur favorite?

I’m not done. I like the Fates, the Muses, the Graces, those centaur things, all the nymphs: the Dryades, the Nereides, the Oreiades, who else

Cherrie, calm down!

The Maliades, the Alseides, the Lampades. I’m not corrupted!!! I want that on record. Who’d I leave out?

The Meliai, nymphs of the ash trees.

We have nymphs in our ash trees?

We have nymphs everywhere! Except in my bedroom!

For me it’s btwn Artemis when she’s not PO’d, and Zeus, especially when he morphs into animals and screws babes all over the archipelago.

Socrates has no favorites. He says we learn moral goodness and truth from ALL the immortals.

I’m signing off. I’m getting lunch. And then I have to walk my dog. Tip: follow Glucosamine #FF. He’s funny and he knows when to twitter off

Epicurus Don’t sign off. Tell Glucosamine I want an invite 2 next bash. TMB

Lysistrata Dress Rehearsal. Comp tickets 4 2N!

Fab! I’m going!

Aristophanes, join me at the courthouse, please. Many follow you.

I’m at the theatre. Lysistrata looks like a hit.

Let me tell you what Socrates is saying about acquiring virtue.

Screw Socrates. Who gives a s__t what he’s saying about acquiring virtue. My inbox is on overload with this Socrates crap!!!!

That’s how MY server went down!

Aristophanes, come to the court before the show. They will come if you do.

I have to do a costume change. Lysistrata is wearing something that looks like it was torn off a Roman whore.

OMG! I just found a great place selling figs. 2 drachmae and u fill a basket. Agora_n.w.corner.com

I’ve arrived at the court. Socrates says he’s a misunderstood benefactor to Athens, not an enemy! As such he should be given free meals, if we

If we what???

My server went out again. What’s going on? I’m at my mother’s. She made my fav, Spanakopita. YUM! Recipe@Cherrieblog.com

I’m back! Is Plato done? I’m not following him anymore. Glucosamine’s, next full moon.

STOP. Socrates has an idea. He suggests he just pay a fine of 100 drachmae. As he has little funds of his own, I say we all chip in, let’s say


This week’s guest columnist, Ed Tasca, Lives in Ajijic, Mexico. He is originally from Philadelphia, PA, and has authored six works of fiction. Ed writes a humor column for Ojo del Lago, Mexico’s largest English language magazine.

Ed is the grand prize winner in the 2011 Screenplay Search Competition. Winner of the prestigious Robert Benchley Society Humor Award for 2009. Also winner of humorpress.com awards, M. Culbertson’s Life and Humor Award, Ojo del Lago Award for Humor. Humor essays have appeared in publications in the U.S., Canada, England, Italy and Mexico. Anthologized in: American’s Funniest Humor, 2006, Laugh Your Shorts Off, 2009. Provides an explanation of the vast influence of Robert Benchley in a new edition of Robert Benchley’s humor essays.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Sitting on Cold Porcelain

by Rose A. Valenta

It’s been a difficult day at the office and you're exhausted. Your eyes hurt from working on a computer all day, not to mention the crimp in your neck and back, and sore Maxine (escape key) finger.

You turn on the evening news to find out that all sorts of crazy things are happening in our world. Terrorists are trying to kill us, our Vice President made another gaffe at an important event, our political pundits are calling for impeachment, a famous designer has introduced a line of bullet-proof clothing, another politician has gotten himself involved in a sex scandal, PETA is making yet another smoker ad, a scientist wants to give Galileo a posthumous eye test on a stimulus grant, and the term “Brangelina” now refers to a gay variety show at the Boston Roxy; you know that because your 10-year-old grandson told you.

You try to find out if your v-chip works for news programming, as the kids are doing homework in front of the TV. They are not asking about protractors and math manipulatives.

You could describe the way you feel as “punch drunk,” only there are no Marquess of Queensberry rules here.

You get into bed feeling warm and cozy; your significant other is snoring loudly at your side. Icicles are forming outside. You fluff your pillows, turn on the heating blanket, set the alarm, and insert the ear-plugs - all is right with your world.

Then, at around 3:00 am, at the very beginning of your crucial Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep (the three-hour sound sleep window that keeps people from going crazy), you begin dreaming about soaking in a hot tub, you wake up suddenly before you pee yourself, make a mad dash into the bathroom, quickly squat, and find yourself - sitting on cold porcelain.

Realizing that the culprit is still sleeping soundly in the next room, totally unaware of your predicament, and probably dreaming about lunch with the guys at Hooters, you scream loudly, as if to wake up the dead or at least that slug stuck in a salt ring.

He comes running into the bathroom, completely naked and wild-eyed with a Colt 45, ready to protect his damsel in distress. He looks around quickly like a buck protecting his turf. He almost pees on the wall to mark it; then, he looks down and spots a puddle of water and his damsel, who is stuck in the commode.

You, his damsel, begin to spew a Dennis Miller monologue, worse than anything he has ever heard on the O'Reilly Factor, he aims, and you karate chop him. The weapon falls into the commode. It can't rust, so he stays up for an hour cleaning it out and oiling it. You are still beating his ear an hour into REM sleep. Both of you are red-eyed, resembling vampires. You go back to bed. There is still an hour left.

No, this is not a sneak preview of the next Super Bowl prize-winning GEICO caveman commercial. Some people call it Murphy's Law every time things go wrong. I feel justified calling it "Sitting on Cold Porcelain."

Click here to order it for $2.99 (less than a gallon of gas) at SMASHWORDS, in all digital formats: Kindle, Nook, eBook, Sony, PDF, etc.

You really don't want to miss reading this book.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Will There Ever be a SLPGA Tour?

by Rose A. Valenta

Augusta National Golf Club - Wiki

While my colleague, Alan Zweibel, is getting stumped about his status as a "funny old jew" in “I'm a what?”, which was requested by someone, who was probably influenced by Willie Wonka’s Black Mozart Sparkler recipe, I’ve been reading more from my friend Gina Barreca (@theginabarreca) about women feeling like fish out of water and wondering why we are still not allowed to join Augusta National Golf Club. God knows that we women golfers have the kahones to sign up, right?

Also, in my quest to figure out why clocks run clockwise, I was wondering why is there no such thing as a Senior Ladies Professional Golf Association (SLPGA) tour? After all, there are SPGA championships for men like Fuzzy Zoeller, who can still find the green and the hole. What will great golfers like Annika Sorenstam and Se Ri Pak be able to do when they reach Nancy Lopez’ age and get a little fuzzy?

I want to join Augusta when I retire and have the time to play golf. I want the sheer pleasure of putting a flowering peach divot in the middle of the hole #3 fairway because I can; play, rather than paint the 13th hole; say a little prayer for Martha Burk in Amen Corner; climb the Eisenhower Tree; Jump into Record Fountain (with my clothes on) for getting a hole-in-one; eat a hamburger in the same room as Warren Buffett; and discuss my first difficult billion dollars with T. Boone Pickens, Jr.

No more of these age discrimination requests, double standards for golfers, and totally uncool vanilla flavored whey protein drinks. I like blueberry, cherry, orange, lemon, and mango.

To order my book “Sitting on Cold Porcelain” for $2.99 (less than a gallon of gas) click here SMASHWORDS, it is in all digital formats: Kindle, Nook, eBook, Sony, PDF, etc.

Also follow me on Twitter: @rosevalenta
and Facebook: Rose A. Valenta

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Bust of Politician Crafted From Cow Dung

by Rose A. Valenta

Both of the upcoming Democratic and Republican National Conventions cause me to reflect on an artist in New Zealand, who figured out the answer to this question - How does one create a sculpture of a politician, who is full of crap?

Most politicians are. You can tell by their suspicious reactions, evasive behavior, and all the negative campaign ads that we taxpayers have had to tolerate over the last year. Add a lot of media fuel to the fire and it is down-right disgusting fodder.

That is the problem artist, Sam Mahon, solved by himself when he created the artwork for an upcoming auction. We need more people like him in America.

Mahon was upset with the former New Zealand Environmental Minister, Nick Smith, for being too lenient with local dairy farmers regarding pollution. So, he gathered cow dung from the farmer’s land, ground it, added resin and created a mold in which he pressed the combined mixture into a bust of Minister Smith. He polished it off with an outer coating of beeswax, so it wouldn’t smell.

"The sculpture has a hollow head, which is very fitting. It is highly polished and sits on the stand slightly to the right of center," the artist told reporters. "Excuse the pun, but I would describe it as crap art," he added.

The sculpture generated 112 bids on a local auction website and raised $2,220.00 ($3,080NZ).

Mahon said that he will use the proceeds to clean up waterways that have been polluted with sludge from the dairy farms near his home.

In America, we would use only bullshit.

To order my book “Sitting on Cold Porcelain” for $2.99 (less than a gallon of gas) click here SMASHWORDS, it is in all digital formats: Kindle, Nook, eBook, Sony, PDF, etc.

Also follow me on Twitter: @rosevalenta
and Facebook: Rose A. Valenta

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

This Week at Stupid Ass Questions

Image Copyright: Stupidassquestions.com, all rights reserved

This week I am the guest comedienne at Stupid Ass Questions

If you have any stupid ass questions, you can submit them on the website. I will be answering one each day, Monday to Friday. I know you have a few brilliant questions up your sleeve, so go for it!

Also follow me on Twitter: @rosevalenta
and Facebook: Rose A. Valenta

Have fun!

Friday, July 6, 2012

July Fourth Weekend: Freedom From Stress

by Rose A. Valenta

Why would anyone want to get into this mess on their day off?

News stories are cropping up all over the Internet about the fluxuation in the price of gasoline and how people are scaling back on trips and vacations for economic reasons. This weekend thousands of folks will be hitting the shore thinking that they have economized by not going to some exotic place like Hawaii or Aruba.

Why go anywhere?

Maybe it was my upbringing or being married to a Philadelphia Policeman for 20 years, who usually had to work on holidays, but I have gotten rather used to avoiding mob scenes and traffic as much as possible. Finances have very little to do with that. I even go to the supermarket during off-peak hours, who needs the lines and the stress? I can buy hot dog and hamburger buns more efficiently at 10:00 PM and there will only be one person ahead of me at check out.

Every day, I travel to the office for an hour in bumper-to-bumper traffic. I have a whole audio book collection to relieve the stress. Public radio doesn’t broadcast the good shows like Garrison Keillor, Car Talk, and You Bet Your Garden during rush hour, shame on them. So, I pop in an audio book and listen to great American history novels like Having Our Say: The Delany Sisters’ First 100 Years, or the entire Earth’s Children Series in 21 Days and enjoy myself.

One day, I was laughing so hard at a remark Bessie Delany said about some smelly drunken white guy (my sentiments exactly), that tears were rolling down my face as I paid the toll on the Turnpike.

“You Okay today?” the guy asked.

“Yeah, I’m glad I’m not riding Bessie's train,” I answered.

He laughed and looked at me over the top of his trifocales (cash, cars, and 18-wheelers) checking my pupils and the back seat for drugs.

Another day, I was listening to motivational speaker, Loretta LaRoche’s “Lighten Up,” where she tells people to chill and feel juicy.

“How are you today?” the same toll taker asked.

“I feel juicy!” I responded.

A few minutes later, not being quite sure if my remark could be misconstrued as sexual harassment, I glanced in my rear-view mirror checking for troopers.

When my husband was on active duty, we usually celebrated holidays on his days off. Our schedule was far from normal. Sometimes, we celebrated July 4th on the 9th, Labor Day the weekend after, but every four years, we managed to celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas when everyone else did. People wondered why I would cook a turkey on the Saturday following the holiday.

“Are you Jehovah’s Witness?”

“Didn’t you get enough last week?” they would ask.

Long story short, I rather liked missing all the holiday traffic and crowds; my husband’s dangerous job had its perks after all.

Many people don't understand this because most women don't send their husband off to work with a brief case full of directives, handcuffs, and a .38 caliber handgun; hoping he doesn't end up in the ER before dinner is ready and the smoke detector sets off the fire alarm.

This week, even though my husband is no longer on active duty, we decided to stay home, rest, and watch TV. He always likes to put the traffic report on and say a prayer of thanks that we are not in the middle of the mess trying to remain calm with St. Joseph's Wort, Snapple, and an audio edition of Dave Barry. It is sort of our way of celebrating the Declaration of Independence away from tourism and insanity. They broadcast fireworks on cable and I have a CD with Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overature. I can mute the TV and combine the two. Plus, I'm thankful to have him home safe.

This year, we bought sparklers to take to the Grandchildren on July 8th and we are having a family cookout without the stress of holiday traffic.

God Bless America and happy July 4th weekend everyone!

© 2012, Valenta, All rights reserved.
To buy my book “Sitting on Cold Porcelain” click here

Monday, July 2, 2012

Martin McGuinness Reports Ireland's ‘Scarlet Pimpernel’

by Rose A. Valenta

Former IRA Commander, Martin McGuinness, has confirmed he discussed Prawo Jazdy during his meeting with the Queen of England. Apparently, Her Majesty was pleased that Ireland’s most famous scofflaw, Prawo Jazdy, has been uncovered thanks to top-notch detective work and McGuinness' assistance.

Thousands of traffic tickets and warrants have been issued to Prawo Jazdy all over Ireland from County Donegal to County Cork. A leprechaun with psychic powers was called in from Tipperary to assist police (Garda Síochána) in finding this mobile criminal, who thumbed his nose at the law.

Was it a Prawo Jazdy gang, much like the Scarlet Pimpernel of olden times?

Jazdy blew traffic lights in County Kilhenny, ran over a farm animal in neighboring Waterford, kicked up a puddle of mud on an elderly woman in Dublin, and threw glass bottles out the window near Carlow Castle.

All points’ bulletins were issued and the Garda was ready to kiss the blarney stone if it wasn’t more than one man.

The Garda’s database was filling up fast and the Garda Commissioner was suffering from stress and stomach disorder. He even made rookies watch Speedy Gonzales cartoons, in the hopes of finding a clue.

“Who can drive like that and live?” asked Patty McGuire, a local pub owner in Dublin.

Then one night Garda Michael O’Brian happened to read an article in the Irish Independent newspaper that gave statistics on the number of Polish immigrants coming to Ireland. One guy, Stanislas Podlawski, a recent immigrant was interviewed. He told of how difficult it was to get his prawo jazdy changed in Ireland.

Well, when Michael saw that, he called the newspaper reporter right away for some answers!

He learned that “prawo jazdy” means “driving license” in Polish. The words are usually positioned on the driving document where first and last names normally appear on Irish licenses.

Rookie, William Mulligan, was relieved of his Speedy Gonzales duty; and the Garda Commissioner was informed.

A Garda directive was issued throughout Ireland that instructed Garda not to put “Prawo” and “Jazdy” as the first and last name on traffic tickets when pulling over a Polish driver.

This is the Alpha and Omega of buffoons and database cleanup took several weeks.

"Well done!" Her Majesty said.

Martin McGuinness and the Queen shook hands.

© 2012, Valenta, All rights reserved.
To buy my book “Sitting on Cold Porcelain” click here

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Prepare for 'Take Your Dog to Work Day'

by Rose A. Valenta

"A goalie must have one overriding quality - he must want to be a goalie." - Teddy Carey

Even with the economic crunch, Take Your Dog to Work Day (June 22nd) is making a strong comeback since fizzling out a few years ago. It is so popular that it has its own acronym, TYDTWD. It is more popular among small businesses, as Fortune 500 companies have enough trouble keeping employee animal lovers off the Pissy Puppy Show on Canine Talk Radio during normal business hours.

Personally, I can’t see the value in showing off your dog in the office, unless you are a school teacher and you want your students to really see how Spot runs and does his business. Show and tell has its merits, I suppose, but it depends on the breed and its range of low-level flying drool. I'll be wearing galoshes.

“Not everyone loves dogs,” experts advise. “A visiting client might not think a snout in his well-tailored crotch is an appropriate hello, and there are allergies and phobias to consider. They may gobble up your coworker’s tuna sandwich. Also, don’t let your pet use office hallways as an unleashed dog run, it can lead to dogfights."

Pet Sitters International offers the following seven tips for participants:

  1. Make sure the boss and your coworkers are comfortable with the idea (otherwise you are seeking a pink slip).
  2. Bring only socialized, quiet, friendly and well-house-trained dogs to work. Leave aggressive, nervous or sick dogs at home.
  3. Use a leash or baby gates to keep your dog inside your cube or other open workplace.
  4. Make sure the dog is well-groomed and flea-free.
  5. Puppy-proof your office. Make sure wires, poisonous plants, pens, rubber bands, and any choking or chewing hazards are all out of reach.
  6. Create a space for your dog with his own pad, toys and bowls.
  7. Ask someone to watch and walk your dog if you’re away from your desk.
I add, "The water cooler is not a fire hydrant, Fido."

I always believed that a well trained orangutan would be nice for the office. Wearing DEPENDS®, it could learn how to make a good pot of coffee, clean your cubicle area, attend unimportant meetings, do some light typing, and schmooze with the boss.

Like my good friend, Maxine, at her desk “I keep hitting the escape key, but I’m still here.”

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

A Surprise at ‘Macon Whoopee’

By Rose A. Valenta

Last month, I attended the National Society of Newspaper Columnists (NSNC) Conference in Macon, Georgia. The theme of the event was “Macon Whoopee.” Every year, the NSNC holds its three-day Conference at a different city in the United States. A local Conference Chair is elected, and attendees get to see the most interesting places in the vicinity. It is a gathering of members: bloggers, book authors, magazine writers, newspaper columnists and contributors, poets, and newbies. The format is usually the same. We have workshops, panel discussions, keynote speakers, visits from local politicians, contest awards, and scholarship awards.

To raise scholarship funds, there is a silent auction on the last night of the annual event. Everyone contributes something to the cause and can bid on items of interest. We received books, jewelry, framed prints, and autographed memorabilia.

This year, we got a surprise donation. Macon native, Nancy Grace, of HLN spoke at our event. When she heard about our fund raiser, she upped the ante. It was to be a live auction after dinner. She donated a few minutes of airtime on the Nancy Grace Show for the winner to plug a book, column, blog, or whatever the writer is crafting; plus a studio tour and one-on-one lunch with her. Additionally, the winner gets a link on Nancy’s website. You would have thought someone hit the Mega Millions.

And then the fight started…

The bidding war began in the Johnston-Felton-Hay House, where we were having a light dinner, amongst the Monets and Van Goghs. It was between our senior Southern humorist, Cappy Hall Rearick, and our creative hypnotherapist and NSNC Past President, Suzette Martinez Standring.

"Do I hear $1,100?"

I quickly called my bank to see if I had that much in my debit card account. No such luck. After buying gas in eight states and staying at two five-star hotels for the Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop 2012 in Ohio, and the NSNC Conference in Georgia, I was down to $845. I had also been binging on cheese grits and shrimp in the hotel dining room. It was a new food group introduced to me, at my own risk, by the chef at the Macon Marriott City Center. There were no allergic reactions, but wow! It is habit forming.

"Argghhh!" I muttered into my Galaxy Tab. Then I called my bookie to bet $200 on I'll Have Another (15-1) in the Kentucky Derby.

"Can I use my credit card?" I asked.

"No! Bring the check book."

"I have $1,150; do I hear $1,200?"

I wrestled with incontinence. This was no time to make a bee-line to the bathroom. Besides, I was drinking wine and might hurt myself on one of the trompe-l’oeils at Hay House. It figures, I thought. Nancy Grace would donate airtime towards the auction and NSNC Scholarship Program when I'm on a down-slide. I can see it all now, high-profile murderer in the first segment on HLN ends up sitting on cold porcelain at the end. Although, I think Nancy was relieved that she didn't have to show the cartoon cover of my humor book (Sitting on Cold Porcelain) with the Limbaugh headline and me being deep-sixed in the commode - imagine my book being discussed on the same show as the Spray Tan Defense, or worse - Whitey Bulger.

"I have $1,250; do I hear $1,300?"

Maybe if Suzette wins, she can hypnotize Nancy to lighten up, I thought. She was an emotional train wreck all morning.

“$1,300 going once…going twice…the winner is Cappy Hall Rearick!”

I can't wait to see her on HLN.

Cappy has written five books, most of them humor. Her most recent novel, however, is The Road to Hell is Seldom Seen, a story about love, hate, murder, and redemption. It is her first foray into mystery writing. I’m sure it will be a success and appropriate for the show. Her blog is Simply Cappy .

Just last week, the NSNC ( www.columnists.com) announced that it will be honoring humorist, Dave Barry, with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2013 Conference in Hartford, CT. I plan to attend and most of our humor writers will be champing at the bit to meet him. If Nancy Grace has set a precedent with her generous donation to the NSNC Scholarship Program, can you see my mischievous grin?

Photos of Nancy Grace and Cappy Hall Rearick © NSNC taken by NSNC Conference photographer, Larry Largion Najera of www.najeradesign.com. Used with permission (Except that I screwed them up trying to resize for the blog, sorry Larry).

© 2012, Valenta, All rights reserved.
To buy my book “Sitting on Cold Porcelain” click here

Monday, June 18, 2012

Long Live the Humor of Erma Bombeck

by Rose A. Valenta

“My kids always perceived the bathroom as a place where you wait it out until all the groceries are unloaded from the car.” ~ Erma Bombeck

In April, I attended the Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop 2012 at the University of Dayton, Erma’s alma mater. It is a bi-annual event that I have registered for since 2004, because I love humor writing. There are always more than 350 people in attendance and seats are sold out quickly, so I have learned to sign up on the first day of registration and make hotel reservations early in December.

I first read Erma Bombeck in the late 1960s. She hooked me with At Wit’s End; Just Wait Until You Have Children of Your Own; Aunt Erma’s Cope Book; If Life is a Bowl of Cherries, What Am I Doing in the Pits? and many other hilarious books. I have been an avid fan ever since. This year, they dedicated a Hoopsi Blue Spruce in her memory outside St. Mary’s Hall at UD, to commemorate the 16th anniversary of her death on April 22, 1996; from complications due to kidney transplant surgery. “They planted trees and crabgrass came up” the inscription read on the stone in front of the small evergreen, “The Grass is Always Greener Over the Septic Tank, 1976 - Erma Bombeck ’49.” Erma’s husband, Bill Bombeck, spoke at the dedication ceremony and WDTN-TV Channel 2 News covered the story. Later, I managed to get a photo with him.

I noticed a new trend evolving at the Workshop - many seniors had registered to start new careers in writing. I networked with as many people as possible at each of the Workshop sessions, and at lunch and dinner during the three-day event. I met retired business owners, government workers, IT professionals, law enforcement officials, and school teachers. Their stories were similar to mine, “I read Erma Bombeck while raising my kids,” or “I always admired her writing,” and “I’d like to learn how to make money at this, so I can supplement my Social Security income.” They were not all humor writers, some were there to learn how to interject humor into more serious topics and presentations. I met folks, who wrote health columns, blogs, Christian books, children’s books, greeting cards, and newbies just learning the craft of writing.

Among the sponsors, the National Society of Newspaper Columnists (NSNC) boasted that they have the oldest columnist in America as a member, Harriette B. Leidich of North Bennington, VT, who turned 100 years old on April 19th – opening day of the Workshop. Harriette is still writing columns for the daily Bennington Banner.

The concurrent educational sessions at the Workshop were excellent, covering everything from basic humor writing to social networking and blogging. I was able to order a CD with the sound track from all of them because I had to miss a few sessions that conflicted with my schedule.

Keynote speakers during meals included feminist humor maven, Gina Barreca; Ilene Beckerman, who started her writing career at age 60; Pulitzer Prize-winner, Connie Shultz; television writer and book author, Adriana Trigiani; and Thurber Prize-winner and original Saturday Night Live writer, Alan Zweibel.

Gina Barreca brought the house down when she entertained us with standup comedy for over an hour after dinner on Saturday. After that, about 27 of the attendees, including yours truly, were given 5 minutes each to perform standup comedy for folks energetic enough to stay awake until midnight.

Mascot, E.B. Heron, a blue heron, who was adopted by a small group of “Ermies” at the 2010 Workshop, was in attendance this year. His fan club sported yellow t-shirts and tiaras. His handmade tuxedos (he owns two) got more attention at the event than Kate Middleton would wearing maternity clothes. Previously, they had a “Name the Bird” contest at the 2010 Workshop and the winner chose “E.B.” after E.B. White. Seven ladies contributed to a Kindle biography about him titled EB and the Ladies of the Bird Table Take Flight. You can find it here at the Amazon Kindle Store.

This was a wonderful experience. I learned about the benefits of social networking, made many new friends, and plan to attend the 2014 Workshop.

Actually, I can’t wait to see E.B.’s new tuxedo.

For more information about the Workshop, you can log on to the Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop website at www.humorwriters.org. The NSNC can be found at www.columnists.com.

© 2012, Valenta, All rights reserved.
To buy my book “Sitting on Cold Porcelain” click here

Monday, June 11, 2012

How to Get Into Mischief at Work with a Kindle

Just the other day, my friend Betsy called me. She works for the government and is restricted to certain Internet websites while she is at work.

A while back, she tried to access my blog and a huge red stop sign popped up on her screen with an "Access Denied" message. She became upset and had to make several trips to the ladies room because she was afraid that the LAN administrator would report her to her manager, the Information Assurance Officer (IAO).

She told me about it and I went to Amazon to find out if I could make my blog available to kindle users. Betsy has owned a Kindle since last Christmas.

They accepted my content, which I knew wasn't red stop sign literature anyway, but what can you do? It was government red tape.

When my blog was made available, I noticed that it was lost among 5,000 other blogs that Amazon offered.

Another huddle with Betsy.

"Can you get interviewed by Clayton Morris at Fox and Friends," she asked.

"Would I be able to stay focused?" I asked.

"Knock it off, can you?"

"No, but I can probably get interviewed by Jerry Blavat," I said. "Me and the Geeter go back a long way."

We came up with a solution. Create a media release and circulate it only to publications and newsgroups that report on the Kindle:

For Immediate Release

Philadelphia, PA, (June 11, 2012) - Amazon.com has added Rosie's Renegade Humor Blog by Rose A. Valenta to their growing selection of Kindle offerings: Rosie's.

The Kindle, Amazon’s hugely successful e-book reader, not only offers users the opportunity to download books, but also the ability to access major newspapers, such as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, and USA TODAY. Rosie’s Renegade Humor Blog is a perfect fit for the Kindle because the essays satire current events, and offer an entertaining respite from heavy news stories in a unique and hilarious way.

In a recent Internet survey of Kindle users, 47% of the respondents indicate that they access online newspapers at least once per day. Over 41% access blogs. These are people who prefer digital media over print newspapers and turn to the internet for much of their information. Rosie’s Renegade Humor Blog is ideally positioned to reach these people through the Kindle because of its large internet presence and intelligent themes.

“This is the blog for people who would be knowledgeable about current events and politics if only politicians and news anchors didn't stretch the truth, so what else is there to do, but share an honest laugh?" said Rose Valenta.

Columns include "Joe Biden's Gaffe Could Qualify for a Political Darwin Award," "Rush Limbaugh: The Don Rickles of Radio," "How Congress Failed Homeland Security Duties," and "The Mona Lisa Had High Cholesterol?"

Rose A. Valenta is a nationally syndicated humor columnist. Her columns have been published by the Yahoo Contributor Network and have appeared in USA TODAY, Newsday, NPR, Courier Post, the WSJ online and many other local news and radio websites. She is syndicated via Senior Wire to print newspapers.

For additional information, visit http://www.rosevalenta.com.


If you know anyone, who owns a Kindle and has a similar problem as Betsy, feel free to e-mail this article.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

The Aye of the Needle

by Rose A. Valenta

While everyone is anticipating the coming election, both sides agree on one thing - America is spending too much money. Our incumbent has been on a spree like 100 drunken sailors hitting the Big Apple, and Romney’s mattress is actually made from remnants of faded US currency and chinchilla. So, what can we expect, right?

Just as an example, the US State Department Rewards for Justice Program this week offered $7 million for information leading to the capture of Ahmed Abdi Aw-Mohamed or Mukhtar Abu Zubeir, founder and commander of the terrorist group al-Shabaab; $5 million for Fuad Mohamed Khalaf, an al Qaeda fund raiser; and similar bounties totaling $33 million US dollars in Somalia.

The terrorists retaliated by placing a bounty of 10 camels for information of the whereabouts of President Barack Obama and two camels for information on Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. I’m not sure what their offer was for Rush Limbaugh.

A camel only costs $700 in Somalia. Go figure!

I was going to write a letter to Heloise because my Congressman is not even worth two cents, but I decided to figure this out myself.

Just then, Uncle Harry came leaping into my kitchen wearing a safari hat and a sheet. He was wild-eyed and had a wad of cash. He was also carrying an African travel brochure and immunization schedule.

“You ready?” he asked.

“For what?”

“I just sent a letter off to Patriot Voices; they are trying to recruit 1 million members. I offered to go to Africa and raise camels for the US State Department, so we can speak their language in terms of bounties. I figure 15 camels for Ahmed Abdi Aw-Mohamed’s butt could actually work.”

“What did they say?”

“They thanked me for joining.”

“You know, Betty White is recruiting for her show Off Their Rockers you might try auditioning.”

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Transit of Venus - What Does it Mean?

The Internet has gone berserk since the announcement that NASA will podcast the Transit of Venus.

My Uncle Harry swears they will find out that the alleged planet eclipse is really ghostbuster, Harry Houdini, returning to Queens, NY, after traveling the universe trying to find his way back. He is convinced that the red dot NASA saw in its telescope flickered Morse Code that spelled “Rosabelle.”

Of course, you can’t believe everything Harry says, especially after he drank a whole bottle of champagne anticipating getting Houdini’s first postmortem autograph.

“Imagine what it will sell for on eBay!” Harry bellowed.

“Harry, I don’t think champagne mixes well with your Viagra. The blood rush has gone to your head.” I said.

“Oh, shut up!” He responded, as he frantically Googled all the latest news on NASA.

“Look at this,” he said, “Some fool thinks that NASA will also make some announcement about one of Saturn’s moons. I got a moon right here.” He patted his butt with a smirk on his face.

“You’re both fools, if you ask me,” I said. “No way it’s Houdini either! It’s probably a hoax by NASA hoping that it gets more funding to find creatures like E.T.”

“Everybody knows E.T. isn’t real,” Harry said.

“Yes, and everybody also knows that Houdini has really been dead for 86 years and hasn’t phoned home. Not even once!”

“I can’t wait for tomorrow,” he said, while humming the subtitles from Houdini’s ‘The Man From Beyond.’

“Maybe Steven Spielberg should start funding NASA,” I said.

“I found it!” Harry jubilantly exclaimed.

“Found what?” I asked.

“NASA’s mysterious red dot.”

© 2010, Valenta, All rights reserved.

To read my column Skinny Dipping click here

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

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

There Will be no More Chrusciki for President Obama

By Rose A. Valenta

The flag was flying at half-mast at The Kielbasa Factory in Rockville. Everyone was in mourning for the incompetence that has finally settled in the White House.

“There will be no more chrusciki for President Obama,” a spokesperson said.

Gone are the days, when someone like Henry Kissinger was hired to proofread Presidential speeches to avoid public embarrassment. That funding was cut as soon as G Dubya was permitted to say words such as "misunderestimate," "hispanically" and "subliminable;" using the excuse that he was just being himself, like Mark Twain presented the unedited version of himself. They called it the Twain Budget Cut.

Listen to the speech: Click here

The Action News crew members were standing outside the Pierniczki Shoppe asking what they thought about Polish Prime Minister, Donald Tusk's, reaction to Obama’s unedited speech.

“Obama’s been drinking too much Zywiec,” one of the customers said.

“What has he been smoking?” another asked.

"Maybe there was something in the Krupnik!"

Afterward, at a press conference, Obama was trying to explain the gaffe, when a member of the Polish press asked him if he resented his country for not wanting him reelected in 2012:

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Occupy Nightmare

By Rose A. Valenta

Gauging the increasing vertical wind shear with his famous Cockatoo comb over, Donald J. Trump looked me straight in the eye and asked, “If you are elected President of the United States, what measures would you take to wipe out our national debt?”

He had decided to hold presidential debates at Zuccotti Park, following the swimsuit competition in Iowa, because the rest of the country was beseiged with political sex scandals, embarrassing gaffes, and unimpressed voters. Protest signs in the Park displayed pictures of the Grand Old Party (GOP) candidates and a single word that reflected the general consensus of the crowd, given the choices - “Meh!”

The political yammer was now between me and an ex-hooker from the Bronx; the wind shear developing perpendicular to The Donald.

Photo: Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, Wikipedia

“Two strategies come to mind that I believe will reduce the pork fat while simultaneously wiping out our national debt:

First, while outsourcing has become a popular way for large companies to save money, poor states like Delaware have been overlooked. A man working at a factory job in New York earns twice as much as a man doing the same job in Dover, Delaware, where the pay is equivalent to salaries paid in Beijing, China. I suggest that more companies be given a stimulus to outsource work to other companies in underdeveloped cities across America. The product could then be labeled properly ‘Made in America,’ and everyone would be happy, including the poor fellow bent over in Dover, who will be appreciative and vote for me in November.”

The crowd cheered loudly. Ten fellows, who were holding dollar bills for my opponent, gave them to my campaign manager instead. He put them under his Hello Kitty belt buckle.

“Second, I would advise the slugs in Congress to consolidate. States like Rhode Island with only four electoral votes can be easily merged into States like Massachusetts, which has 13; Vermont can go to New York; New Hampshire to Maine; and so forth, until we evolve into an economic Godzilla. Then, we can go overseas and stomp on China for pirating, bootlegging, and violating US copyright and trademark laws. We should then be able to raise about $17 trillion just on the booty that we find in Shanghai.”

More cheers and shouting came from the crowd. Even my opponent was shaking her booty.
Someone started to shake me.

“Wake up, wake up!” my paramour shouted. “Were you having a nightmare?”

Utterly disappointed that the whole experience was based on an underdone potato, I asked the typical morning after question, “What did I say?”

“You were screaming something about not getting 10,000 signatures for the Dover ballot.”
“Was that before or after I invented the GOP drinking game ‘Webster Says “Newt” Means Salamander’?”

© 2012, Valenta, All rights reserved.
To buy my book “Sitting on Cold Porcelain” click here

Monday, May 14, 2012

Politicians – The Mutants in Darwin’s Theory

By Rose A. Valenta

Uncle Harry came over for breakfast this morning. I was making corn fritters with maple syrup and the aroma travelled across our water-logged backyard into his bathroom, while he was getting a load off his mind.

He is not supposed to eat corn. The doctor told him that he has diverticulitis; he can’t digest American politics either, but Harry never listens to anyone.

This morning, he made divots in my yard with his flip-flops and walked into my kitchen looking like the cat that ate the canary.

“Got any left?” He asked.

“You know that you are not supposed to eat them.” I responded.

“Everything in moderation.” He said.

He had The Washington Post folded under one arm.

“That’s why you have diverticulitis.” I said. “You’re obsessed with politics.”

“I like to hit the newspaper with a bingo highlighter.” He said. “The ones with the orange dots should have gone to school to learn how to track manta rays, instead of majoring in political science.”

“Look, I know its gearing up for another down-pour, but can’t you call Dick to come over and play cards or something, instead of reading the Post? You guys like Uno and I’m not up to your political rants today.”

“I think you might be interested in what the Jane Goodall Research Center had to say about Romney’s high school bullying this morning.” He said.

“What, he’s being charged? The statute of limitations has run out on that one.”

“No, he’s in a modern hunter-gatherer group,” he said.

“Well, we all know that politicians are primates.”

“Seriously, lookey here:”

Read News Article

“Nice.” I said. There’s a mutant in Darwin’s theory.”

“Did you notice, ever since the Republicans voted against Santorum and the Democrats advocated gay marriage, people are into bipartisanship?” he asked. “And look, Biden thinks he’s working for President Clinton.”

“Harry, don’t get caught up in crazy. Do something bipartisan and let the cat out, before he pees on your dry flip-flop.”

Friday, May 11, 2012

Did The New York Times Inadvertently Find a Solution to Childhood Obesity?

by Rose A. Valenta

I was on YouTube yesterday, when I happened to see this terrific holiday video uploaded by The New York Times in 2006:

This morning, my friend, Erik Deckers, posted a rant on his blog Erik Deckers Laughing Stock about schools canceling bake sales because of childhood obesity. As a parent, he was angry that the school overstepped its bounds. I tend to agree with him.

Then, I began thinking about all the jump rope songs of my youth and how we used to play double dutch in the school yard during recess and after class:

I asked my mother for fifty cents
To see the elephant jump the fence
He jumped so high
He reached the sky
and didn't come back 'till the 4th of July

Cinderella dressed in yellow
Went upstairs
To kiss her fellow.
By mistake
She kissed a snake
How many doctors
Did it take?
Pepper: 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10

Okay, so the lyrics are antiquated circa 1950s; but think about it. Why make food tasteless by removing all the “unhealthy” ingredients because some parents don’t encourage their kids to get outdoor exercise? I don’t know about you, but I’m rather fed up with food that tastes like cardboard. Real whipped cream has become an endangered species. I can still remember watching my grandmother make whipped cream – it was delicious and none of us were fat.

First, she would make jello; then she got out a mixer bowl and poured in the heavy cream. She added a teaspoon of vanilla extract and turned on the mixer. As soon as light peaks formed she began adding the sugar. Just before the whole thing turned into butter, she stopped the mixer and let us lick the beaters. After she put all the whipped cream in a refrigerator container, we got to fight over the mixer bowl. It took all of 10 minutes to make whipped cream and you just can’t beat the flavor.

We would then, run outside with visions of that night’s dessert running through our heads and put on the roller skates, or play jump rope, or ride our bikes, or play basketball. There were no calories left to put on weight.

At dinner, we ate healthy food and had dessert. If the sun was still out, we rounded up neighborhood friends and got more outdoor exercise; if not, we played interactive board games or cards. Then, we put on some Rock ‘n’ Roll and danced. We squeezed in the homework.

The Obama administration is going about wiping out childhood obesity all wrong. They should take a lesson from The New York Times and enlist the support of the entertainment industry. Someone like Cee Lo Green to cut a hit Jump Rope Song of the millennium:

I had a contraband turtle.
His name was Tiny Tim.
I put him in the bathtub
to see if he could swim.
He drank up all the water.
He ate the bar of soap.
He woke up in the morning
with a bubble in his throat.


Yo Mama teeth so yellow
She can’t even get no fellow
How many tubes of toothpaste
Would it take?
Pepper: 10-20-30-40-50-60

Please, Mr. President, bring back the real whipped cream!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

If You Are Not the Lead Dog, the View Never Changes

"If you are not the lead dog, the view never changes" ~ Robert Benchley

This famous quote first uttered by Robert Benchley, and later immortalized by Lewis Grizzard, is the inspiration for the newly formed Philadelphia Chapter of the Robert Benchley Society - "The Lead Dog."

If you live in the Philadelphia area (virtual proximity is accepted) and would like to join, please submit your membership dues (only $10) and inform the President of the Robert Benchley Society that you are a Lead Dog. Meetings are held informally at no special time for cocktails at a destination of choice (majority vote rules). Dress is 1920s-40s attire, or not.

It has been documented that before graduating from Harvard in 1913, Mr. Benchley took a position at a civil service office in Philadelphia. After graduating, he went to work for the Curtis Publishing Company.

Join here

The Robert Benchley Society discussion group is on YahooGroups at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Benchley/

Please join us!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Limbaugh Responds to Contraceptive Controversy

"So, there I was on a blind date with a guy from Budapest at Le Bec Fin. There was no window in the ladies room to climb out, so I had to sit there and watch him perform a Fred Flintstone on the cuisse de poulet..." ~ Sitting on Cold Porcelain.

Are you sick of politics and the onslaught of primary fiascos, like the GOP drinking game "Let's Not Tell Rick Perry Where We Are Going Next"? Does it scare you that the only Republican candidate that seems experienced enough for the job is Newt? I still can't bring myself to vote for someone, who is named after a salamander. Somehow, the connotation scares me. Then you have to wonder - how many First Ladies will we have if Romney wins?

Plus, you have to consider that Ron Paul still thinks an Afghan is something made of granny squares that you throw over the back of a sofa.

Then, there are the birthers, who want to see Romney's birth certificate because they are convinced he is an illegal alien, born in a Mormon colony in Mexico, near the Sierra Madre.

Last, but not least, is Rush Limbaugh's radio response to the contraceptive controversy:

Here is an alternative, you can buy my book for $2.99 at Smashwords.com, stay home with a nice beverage, and enjoy yourself. Yes, it is in Kindle, Nook, Sony, eBook formats, as well as PDF and others.

Reading my book is equivalent to watching about 162 standup comedy routines. I have a parrot named Peg Leg Pete, yes he is disabled. He makes an appearance in one essay because he only knows two words "Who Dat?" It came in handy while we were champing at the bit for Super Bowl 44 two years ago, before my husband got all upset during the power outage just before kick-off. Yep, he was so upset that his testicles receded and he was rolling around in front of the powerless entertainment system in pain. Is there a cure for that? Nullo modo!

You will also enjoy the "No, Virginia..." letter that was sent out around Christmas time because Frosty The Inappropriate Snowman was bragging about having a porn collection, rather than remaining in character with a cute button nose and corncob pipe.

Then, we all enjoyed watching Obama bitch-slap Congress during his State of the Union Address and Joe Biden told the press where Cheney's "secret undisclosed location" was because a reporter got him drunk. You know how that goes, "candy is dandy, but liquor is quicker."

Did I sell you yet?

Okay, you've already seen the Numa Numa Guy, right? ("Nu ma, nu ma iei, nu ma, nu ma, nu ma iei"). My friend, Annette Giordano, gets ticked off when she watches The O'Reilly Factor and Bill won't let his guests get a word in, so she gets frustrated and does an Italian Numa Numa Guy in front of the TV, right in his face. She is only one of the weird friends I have.

Then, there is my grandson, who began to learn about life during the Clinton Administration. You remember that media fiasco 24x7. He was doing homework in front of the TV and comes into the kitchen asking us all about protractors, sexual harassment, and oral sex. Yeah, well, he recently managed to CLEP a sex test and found John Edwards on YouTube.

The close
Are you wondering what event made our economy go to the dogs?
It didn't happen overnight. It has taken decades to sink our economic ship.

What was the first leak in the bilge?

Actually, it all started in 1944, when our Democratic President, FDR, sent a Navy destroyer to the Aleutian Islands to pick up his dog, Fala, who promptly peed in the bilge with excitement at a taxpayer cost of $20 million.

Click here to order it for $2.99 (less than a gallon of gas) at SMASHWORDS, in all digital formats: Kindle, Nook, eBook, Sony, PDF, etc.

You really don't want to miss reading this book.

As if that isn't enough, I teamed up with Giovanni "G-MAN" Gelati and produced a digital short story for you. It is a face-off in a Philadelphia comedy club titled "Dueling Microphones."

Click here to buy it at The Kindle Store at Amazon for only 99 cents! You will love it!
We are trying to get it into the top 10, so help us out and buy a copy.