National Humor Month Suggestion

April is National Humor Month and I only recently discovered that Sirius XM had added a comedy channel that I really have enjoyed. The Comedy Classics channel can be found for a limited time on Channel 104. Here is what Radio Insight quoted from the press release:

This is not a prank: SiriusXM announced today a new channel, Comedy Classics, that will honor timeless stand-up from the 1950s-1970s. The line-up includes iconic moments from legends who shaped the landscape and defined comedy for generations. The limited run channel is available now on SiriusXM channel 104.

Building on SiriusXM’s enormous classic stand-up library, the channel will add material from legendary comedians like Bob Hope, Jonathan Winters, and the infamous Friars Club Roasts that paved the way for the comedy that we love today. SiriusXM’s Comedy Classics now pays tribute to these icons showcasing their immense talent and funniest moments. In addition to the aforementioned legends, each week the channel will spotlight both never-before-heard and rare stand-up highlights that haven’t been heard in decades, featuring comedy from Jackie Gleason, Buddy Hackett, The Smothers Brothers, Flip Wilson, and more.

Also not to be missed are Bob Hope’s Thanks for The Memories special, stand-up from The Garry Moore Show, and the Colgate Comedy Special featuring Nipsey Russel, Rowan & Martin, Carl Reiner, Mel Brooks, and more.

“Whether you’re feeling nostalgic, looking to discover the roots of modern-day comedy, or just hankering for a great laugh, Comedy Classics will appeal to a wide range of listeners,” said Jack Vaughn, SiriusXM’s Senior Vice President of Comedy Programming. “The era provided such a wealth of amazing talent, material, and inspiration that we had to properly honor it with its very own channel.”

Comedy Classics is available now on channel 104, and will subsequently be available exclusively on the SiriusXM app and desktop player.

What I have really enjoyed is hearing some of the early stand up stuff from guys like Jon Byner, Buddy Hackett, Johnny Carson, Richard Pryor and more. Some of these cuts are taken from the Ed Sullivan Show and other TV appearances. Others are cuts from classic comedy albums. What I enjoyed listening to the most are the cuts from the Friar’s Roasts and the Dean Martin Roasts.

Some of the material is dated and some of it might be considered “politically incorrect” today, but I found myself enjoying much of it!

Want a laugh? Check it out!

I Wanna Be Like Bandit!

I realize that the title of this blog (and the picture above) may be misleading, because it is not about Burt Reynolds. In my defense, they say that having a good blog title will make people want to read it – and here you are! So just what is this blog about? A cartoon role model.

Never Heard of It

The age difference between my oldest boy and my daughter is 18 years. The difference between my youngest son and my daughter is 13 years. Kids shows are constantly changing. Sure, some of the same shows my oldest watched were still on when my youngest was born. However, it seems that outside of Sesame Street, there are always new shows on. PBS is barely recognizable now outside of Sesame Street and Curious George (to me anyway).

Let me say before I go on that the TV is usually background noise. I do not plant my daughter in front of it and use it as a babysitter. In fact, the things she likes most are the theme songs. Once they are over, she’s off playing with her toys or bringing me books to read. The only show that she really watches is Bubble Guppies. I think she likes it because of the bright colors and the fact that there is a lot of music in the show.

Bubble Guppies

When Ella gets up in the morning, I usually give her a sippy cup of milk and turn on the TV. Most mornings I turn on Disney Channel. There is a show on there about a family of Australian dogs. It’s called Bluey. I had never heard of this show until recently. If I had to compare it to another show, I would say it is kind of like Peppa Pig, but better. So why I am writing about this silly little cartoon? And who could possibly be a role model on the show??

The Show

The show revolves around the Heeler Family – Dad (Bandit), Mum (Chilli) and the kids (Bingo and Bluey). The show was created by Joe Blumm, who based much of the show on raising his two daughters. He said that many of the story ideas were directly based on watching his daughters play. The program’s scripts show how children can use gameplay to learn lessons and integrate the world of adults into their own; Brumm noticed how his children would recreate interactions such as visits to the doctor, through roleplay. On the show, he wanted to portray the importance of imaginative play. His creative aims were to make children laugh, and show parents what children can learn while engaged in play.

The Role Model

Bluey’s Dad, Bandit, is a true role model for fathers. He is “all-in” as a dad. The reason I chose to write about him was that I noticed just what a fantastic dad he is! He doesn’t have his head in the newspaper, or his phone in his face while his kids are playing – he gets right in there with them. When the kids tell him what character he is – he becomes that character. Maybe he is a baby in the supermarket, or getting a shot at the doctor. Maybe he is a crazy robot or a garden gnome, whatever the role, he embraces it and plays the part like he is working toward an Academy Award!

Through it all, there are lessons to be learned as well. In one episode, Bluey finds a bird that is injured. She tells her dad who, rather than blowing it off or telling her to go talk with mommy, takes the bird to the vet. They wait for news at the vet, and find out that the bird died. He is there for her as she processes the new concept of death. There’s nothing funny about this, and there is no punch line (as you might see in a sitcom with your stereotypical sitcom dad). Bandit is a truly wonderful dad.

One thing parents tend to forget is that your time becomes your kid’s time. What do I mean by that? Simply this – if I want to sit down and watch a Detroit Tigers game on TV and Ella wants to play “Tea Party,” then I need to play with Ella! That’s that! Bandit is that way! If he is in the middle of mowing the grass and Bluey wants to play, the grass can wait! The kids are the priority! They get his full attention!

Looking back, I feel bad. I know there were many times that my boys asked me to do something and I was in the middle of something else. I found myself putting them on “hold.” The problem with that is – they keep growing and growing fast! By putting them on hold, you miss out on bonding and moments you will never get again. That being said, I turn to Bandit as my role model!! Maybe I need to ask myself in those instances “What Would Bandit Do?”

Do yourself a favor, especially if you are a parent – watch the episode of Bluey called “Take Away”. After watching it, you will see how wonderfully this cartoon shows the joys of parenthood and the occasional chaos that goes with it. If you don’t learn something from how Bandit handles the frustrations of the situation from this short cartoon, you missed something!

Almost every TV show today shows the dad as a goofball. Oh sure, they have their “moments” where they have the heart to heart talk with their kids and the lesson is taught, but most of the time TV dad’s are comic relief. Bandit is the dad that most of us dad’s should strive to be like.

Never Miss A Chance … To Keep Your Mouth Shut!

I have never read The First Law series, which is a series of graphic novels by Joe Ambercrombie. However, I came across a quote from Jezal dan Luthar (a character from that trilogy) that sets the stage for this blog:

“Just keep your mouth shut and smile. That’s always good advice”

A book that I have read also has lots to say about when to be quiet – the Bible.

Proverbs 21:23 says: Whoso keepeth his mouth and his tongue keepeth his soul from troubles.

It’s not always easy to “hold your tongue,” especially when others are not. You sometimes feel that when they are ranting or complaining, it is an open door for you to do the same. I know, it happens often to me – probably too often.

The Bible actually has many verses about ‘keeping quiet” in certain situations. I found this hit home and thought I’d share.

Believe me, there are plenty of times where I just need to keep things to myself. We all need to vent, though. Sometimes when you vent, you don’t need advice or someone’s opinion. You just want to tell somebody, and you just want someone to listen. And when you listen, don’t go sharing with everyone and everyone. I learned this lesson from Goodfellas!

“Never rat on your friends and always keep your mouth shut.” -Jimmy Conway, Good Fellas. 

This really is fantastic advice.  If you don’t agree with your friend, take it up with them, but your job as a friend is to keep your mouth shut and be there for them.  You don’t backstab them by running your mouth to others about their business.  If I have learned anything about what a friend’s role is, it is to be supportive and to provide a safe haven.  There are other plenty of other people to fill the judgmental roles…..

I guess what it all boils down to is what Mark Twain said ….

Just call me a fool …. from now on anyway …..

Weekend Anxiety

The above sign can be seen almost everywhere these days. A similar sign was on the door of the restaurant my boys and I had breakfast at on Sunday. It obviously doesn’t mean anything …. In the past year, I have only eaten out twice. Once was for my anniversary (and they had everything set up perfectly for social distancing) and the other time was Sunday.

My boys wanted to go to Leo’s Coney Island for breakfast, and we met at 10am. When we walked in, there were only two table available (social distanced). There was a table across from us that had a sign on it similar to the one below:

About 10:30a, the restaurant starts to get a bit busier. People are beginning to wait for tables. One group of guys come in and none of them are wearing a mask. I made a comment under my breath to my boys about it and finished my breakfast. My sons were not quite done eating and a waitress comes over and removes the sign on the table across from us and seats the maskless morons at that table.

I could feel my anxiety levels jump out of control. I told the boys to put their masks on and we were leaving. I’m not even sure if they were finished eating. I was done.

Why bother with the signs on door or on the tables if they mean nothing?

I’d hate to think that we may eventually do what they are doing in the UK. Did you see this? They want to put in social distancing “lamp shades” over tables for people to eat at!

I mean, look at that thing! How can anyone enjoy a meal under that thing?? It’s like the friggin’ Cone of Silence from Get Smart!

I don’t think I’ll be ready to eat out again for some time ….

One (of many) Traffic Pet Peeves

There are some who might say I am not the best driver. I would tend to agree. I’ve had my share of accidents – some my fault and most not my fault. Every day I drive to work there is one intersection where I am waiting to get creamed because people don’t understand the above sign!!

Here is a picture I found online of the intersection in question (Square Lake Rd & Woodward Ave):

(Square Lake Rd and Woodward Ave – Bloomfield Township, MI)

When I get off the expressway I need to make a right turn onto Woodward. The lane immediately to my left is supposed to ONLY go straight. You can see the sign clearly in the middle of the picture. When I make my right turn, I need to get all the way to the left to make the infamous Michigan left turn. I cannot even begin to tell you how many times some jerk in the left lane starts to turn in front of me almost causing an accident!

Sometimes the jerk will be a courteous jerk and put their turn signal on, so at least I know that he is going to make the illegal turn. However, in most cases, the jerk just turns. I have many pet peeves, but this one just makes my blood boil! I am surprised there are not more accidents at this intersection.

I guess I wonder why they haven’t come out and painted huge arrows on the pavement. This seems to be the thing to do now. At the I-75/US 23 split in Flint, they have I-75 signs painted in the lanes that you need to be in to stay on 75 and US 23 signs painted in the lanes that you need to be in to stay on US 23. I don’t think it would be a waste of paint! You’d kind of know what each lane does if you saw this:

Wouldn’t you?! One can only hope.

My rant is over…

I Otter Write a Book…..

I love to read to Ella. She has so many great books. The book above is one that I bought for her and it is full of animal puns. I know that I bought it because I love otters, and hope she loves them, too.


One thing I have often thought about is writing a children’s book. As I read book after book and rhyme after rhyme, I often wonder if I missed my calling. I was always the one that the boys came to when they needed a poem for school. Every year for his birthday, I used to write a long poem for my former brother-in-law. Just recently, when DMX died, I let my radio pal, Johnny know with the following:

“Listen up, Homey! Don’t look back. Rapper DMX is dead of a heart attack. His words were nasty, and his clothes were nifty. He is now no more – he was only fifty. Word!”

Stupid? Yes. It took me all of 3 minutes to jot that down. I have used rhyming and poetry often and with a little thought, I’m sure I could come up with an idea for a children’s book. I can rhyme just like those authors. I am sure I could come up with something. I mean, some of the books don’t even need to rhyme. The books I really don’t like reading to Ella are the ones that are just one word on a page or picture books (though I understand how those can be good to teach kids things).

Just for the hell of it I looked up “kids books about otters” in Google. There were about 50 of them that came up at once.

Would kids be interested in the Adventures of Otto the Otter? Maybe. Would they sing along with the songs of Ollie the Otter? I don’t know. Could they learn colors and shapes with Oscar the Otter? Perhaps.

I don’t know the first thing about writing a book, let alone having someone illustrate it! That seems to be the way it works – someone writes it and someone else draws all the pictures. Even if I did that, I wouldn’t have a clue about how to publish it and do it in such a way that it actually made a little money! Just another pipe dream…..

Maybe one day……

Some Laughs From Soupy

April is National Humor Month. In an effort to spread laughter and a few smiles, I wanted to share a few of my favorite jokes from Soupy Sales. In the late 80’s he had a syndicated show called “The Soupy Sales Moldie Oldies Show” and each week featured a “Joke of the Day.” The following jokes were featured on that show:

Size 16

A stockbroker is suffering from a recurring ringing in his ears and he goes to the doctor who recommends that he have his tonsils removed. He has them removed, but it doesn’t help. He goes to a second doctor who advises him to have his teeth pulled. This too fails and the ringing continues.

He goes to a third doctor, a specialist, who says, “I’m sorry to tell you this, but you are suffering from a rare disease and at best, you have six months to live.”

Since the guy has no relatives to whom to leave his money, he decides to spend every cent he has. He books passage for a trip around the world. He goes to the best tailor in town and orders twenty handmaid suits. He finds a shirt maker and has twenty shirts made to order.

The shirt maker starts taking all the measurements and says, “Thirty-four sleeve. Sixteen Collar.” The stock broker says, “Excuse me, that should be fifteen.” The shirt maker responds and says, “Sixteen collar, look here at the tape measure.” The broker says, “That can’t be. I’ve always worn a fifteen collar and THAT’S what I want!”

The shirt maker replies, “Ok, but you’ll get a ringing in your ears!”

A Newlywed Joke

A young husband just married a couple of weeks comes home from a really hard day at the office. And as soon as he comes in, he falls down on the couch and he is just exhausted.

His bride comes in and looks at him very sympathetically and says, “My darling, you look so tired and so hungry. How would you like a nice steak smothered in onions, vegetables, baked potato, and some delicious pie a la mode?”

The weary new bridegroom looks up at his wife and says, “Not tonight, honey, I’m too tired to go out!”

It’s All About the Money

A guy is at a bar after office hours and he says to his friend, “Boy, I just have to have another drink before I go home. My wife is on my back from the moment I get home till I leave the next day about money. She’s always nagging me about money. Last week she wanted two hundred dollars. The day before yesterday, she wanted a hundred dollars. This morning, she asked for another hundred and fifty dollars!”

And his friend says, “Wow! That’s awful. What could she possibly do with all that money?”

And the guy says, “I don’t know, I never give her any!”

A Heavenly Funny

(Note: To my church and Bible friends, I know how doctrinally wrong this is. Keep in mind, it’s just a joke.)

There’s a bus loaded with women and they’re returning from a church worker’s convention. There is an accident, the bus overturns and all the women are killed. Now they all go to heaven and St. Peter greets them at the pearly gates and explains that heaven is full and that he’s going to have to put them up in hell until the new subdivision is completed.

Three weeks later, the devil frantically calls up St. Peter and begs him, “PLEASE! Take these women off my hands!!”

St. Peter says, “I can’t I’m still waiting for them to finish this subdivision. I’m still having housing troubles!”

And the devils says, “Troubles?! You don’t know what trouble is!! With all of their cake bakes, bingo games, rummage sales and bazaars, these women are only forty dollars short of air conditioning this place!”

Artist Greg Joens’ rendition of Soupy Sales! It’s pretty awesome!

Happy National Humor Month!

Keep Smiling! Keep laughing!

A “Story” from Mr. Balos

As April is National Humor Month, I began to think about blogging some of my favorite jokes. One came to mind immediately, but I have to give a little backstory before I tell it.

Manny Balos was one of the coolest teachers at my high school. He was originally the band director, and he eventually taught history and some other classes. He taught a class which was an “elective” for seniors called “Life in America.” Today, one might call this a “blow off class.” Throughout the class there were units on Old Radio Shows, Classic TV shows, Country Music, Pop Music, Rock Music and more. It was a blast.

Manny Balos

Mr. Balos always wrapped up class about 5 minutes before the bell rang, and told the class a joke (or jokes). However, he never called them jokes. He told us “stories.” One of my favorite “stories,” I later found out was a joke that had been around for some time and actually appeared on a song recorded by the Gaylords. They were two Italian brothers who were singers and comedians.

When Mr. Balos told this “story” he told it with a heavy and exaggerated Italian accent. I realize that by posting it here in written form, it will never do the “story” justice. Manny had a wonderful way of telling them. I’ll do my best to remember it …. here goes:

A little Italian man is flying to America. He is flying on a two engine plane over the ocean. A few minutes into the flight, the captain comes over the intercom:

“Welcome to Alitalia Airlines. This isa you Captain speaking. We gotta beautiful day for flying. We gonna be a cruising at about 45,000 feets and it looka like we gotta smooth sailing. Sitta back and enjoy you flight.”

A few minutes later, the captain is once again on the intercom:

“Ladies and gentleman, this isa you Captain speaking. It looks like we’re having some-a trouble with the right engine. But it’s a nothing to worry about. We gonna be fine. Justa relax, and enjoy the rest of you flight.”

The passenger relaxes into his seat. About 30 minutes later, a voice comes back over the intercom:

“Hello?! This isa you Captain speaking, again. We have lost the right engine, but don’t you worry, we gotta nother one on the left side that will get us where we going. It’s a no problem. But as a precaution, we wanna ask every body who knows how to swim to move to the right side of the plane, and those who no can swim, go to the left side of the plane. It’s a no big deal, it’s just a precaution. Have a some wine and enjoy the rest of you flight.”

Shortly after that there was a loud noise and again the voice came over the intercom:

“April Day! April Day!” I guess he meant to say May Day, but he got it wrong. “This isa you Captain speaking again. We lost the other engine and it looks like we are gonna have to make a splash landing in da water! Those of you on the right side of the plane who know how to swim, don’t you worry. When we hit the water, make a you way to the exit signs and jump in the water, and swim straight ahead. We are only about a mile or so from land. Those of you who are onna da left side of the plane ……. Thank you for flying Alitalia Airlines.”

(Rim Shot)

No one told this story better than Manny …..

UPDATE:

After posting this blog, I was asked to find the video we made of Manny telling his favorite stories. I found the DVD that my buddy Steve made from the original VHS tape and converted it for YouTube. Here is the “Best of Manny” recorded in 1988….

The one, the only – Manny Balos!!!

Under Pressure …

I’ve been through this three times in my life already, but it is ultimately one of the most difficult things I’ve ever had to do? What is it? Picking a name for our baby on the way. Why is this so difficult?

First, I think it is so stressful because we do not know the gender of the baby yet. We will be going to find out in about 2 weeks. We did this with Ella, and it is even more important to do this with the baby on the way. Sam is a planner. If the baby is a girl, we are pretty much set. We have all of Ella’s clothes (despite the fact that “seasonally” they will be a bit different), and that is a good start. If it is a boy, however, we will probably have to go and buy a lot of new clothes. We have some “gender neutral” clothes, but “Daddy’s Little Princess” outfits are more for little girls.

Like every other set of expecting parents, before Ella was born (and before we knew she was a girl) we made lists. We had a list of possible girl names and a list of possible boy names. The list of boy names was shorter than the list of girl names. Whether it was just easier to come up with girls names, I don’t remember.

I think it also helped that both Sam and I thought we were having a girl, even before we had the ultrasound. We had plenty of girls names that we liked. Boy’s names, however, they were more difficult to come up with.

Sam is always tossing names my way. I will be sitting at work and she will text. I can be sitting on the couch and she say, “What about ___?” My issue has always been that I connect other people to names. “No. I knew a _____ and he annoyed me.” “No. That was the name of the mean doctor on (name a TV show).” “No. I don’t think that flows with our last name.” “Absolutely not! The boys had a friend with that name and he/she was a little brat!”

Am I the only who does this?

We went through a Baby Name book before Ella was born. We highlighted names we liked. It’s weird how you can go back through the book and see those names and go, “Eh…..I’m not sure I like that one anymore.” How do you do that? It happens! Let me tell you, we had two or three names that we were dead set on for a boy….now, Sam isn’t sold on them. Back to the drawing board. Back to Square #1.

Then factor in that Sam likes to be able to have a nickname, and that ads a bit more to the formula (Ella’s name is Pamela, but we call her Ella). It is a process that will hopefully become a bit easier when we find out the gender in a couple weeks. Do we have any gut feelings on what the baby is? Kinda. Sam is leaning blue and I am leaning pink. Reactions from family and friends is very mixed. I feel like most were thinking we were having a girl last time, but this time it is a pretty divided.

We’ll know soon…. in the meantime, I’m feeling the pressure to narrow down some names that we both can agree on!

Easter Weekend Wrap-Up

I hope this blog finds that you and yours had a wonderful weekend! We certainly did.

Saturday

Saturday was kind of an “errand running” day, so we were busy with that. Funny highlight of our trip to Sam’s Club: Ella was sitting in the shopping cart and we had been through about half the store. She was fussing a bit and Sam went to take her out of the cart. One of her shoes popped off and fell to the floor. We then noticed that both shoes were missing! We only saw one fall, so somewhere early on in the shopping trip, she either pulled it off, or it fell off. Sam looked at me and said, “I’m not backtracking to look for it! This place is crazy!” So somewhere in Sam’s Club is a little pink shoe without a match. I probably should have left the other one on a box of crackers in case someone found the other one so they could make a pair.

Easter Sunday

We were all in bed by 9pm Saturday, as we were exhausted. Sam has been having insomnia really bad this pregnancy, so she slept off and on, but nothing solid. Ella woke up early, as she usually does, and we all went to the front room to show her the Easter basket. We got her some of those Mega Blocks, which are like big Legos. (For the record, they still hurt when you step on them, but not as bad as a Lego!) I made her breakfast and Sam went back to lay down.

When I laid her down for her nap, I took one, too! When we all woke up, we got dressed to go to my in-laws house for dinner. Once I was dressed and Ella was dressed, it was my job to take her outside to get pictures. Lately, it’s been hard to get her to sit still or smile for pictures. She is so curious and so busy. My brother bought her some dresses from the Disney store and one was just perfect for Easter. So I brought her outside on the porch and attempted to get a good picture. (I feel like for every good one I get, there are 16 bad ones….LOL)

Happy Easter – 2021

I was surprised I actually got this picture! I kid you not, about 1 minute after this picture, she fell off of the porch and bonked her head! Urgh! I felt so bad!

Easter was a bit bittersweet for me, as it fell on my mom’s birthday. She would have been 73. Sam suggested we go to the cemetery before we went to her mom and dad’s for dinner. I really miss my mom, even more so with all the wonderful things that are going on in my life. She would be so proud of my sons, and she would just spoil the heck out of Ella! We named Ella after her (and Sam’s mom, who were both named Pamela). I know my mom would be over the moon happy to know Sam is expecting again.

Anyway, I tend to get really emotional when I go there. Having Ella there running around lightened the mood a bit. She’s like a tornado at our house, leaving a path of toys, books, and other things where ever she has been. Sam joked and said that with our luck, Ella would knock over 4 or 5 headstones while we were out there. I snapped a picture that really moved me, and my dad even said that it brought him to tears when he saw it.

Ella at grandma’s grave

I’m not sure why, but this just touched my heart.

This year Ella got to take part in the Easter Egg hunt. She was too young last year, and now that she is walking/running every where, she had fun. We had to steer her to the eggs, and she had her cousins out there to compete with, but she did really good. She didn’t really understand that you couldn’t eat the plastic eggs, though.

Nana had to laugh. It was about 75 degrees and sunny on Easter. She had loaded many of the eggs up with chocolates. The insides of more than a few eggs were a bit … mushy.

After the egg hunt, the kids just played in the yard. They were all running around on the trampoline. Ella wanted to go up there, and I won’t lie, I was freaking out a bit. Her cousins were jumping and bouncing and I thought for sure someone was gonna knock heads in there. Ella was thrilled! She was running and laughing, falling and laughing, and having a blast. As they all ran around on the trampoline, the static from it was really making their hair stand up. In another stroke of luck, I captured a perfect picture that really needs a frame!

Dig that crazy hair!!!

I still laugh out loud when I see that one! She is so happy and that hair is just insane!!

Our family spent an amazing weekend celebrating the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. I certainly hope you and yours had a wonderful and blessed weekend, as well!