Category Archives: humor

Find the best authors at THE MIAMI BOOK FAIR

Crowds. 

Noise. 

Everything that many book lovers usually run from will be swirling around and crackling through the air at the Miami Book Fair in the coming weeks. 

The first time I took my kids there, I was slapped with screeching children, tents with more screeching children, loud music, and sometimes happy, mostly angry parents.

Don’t worry, though, if your kids are still young enough to participate in these activities, the events scheduled are really incredibly engaging and worthwhile.

Click on the menu on the upper left corner of the screen once you arrive at the main page. From there, explore all the various categories available.

 The Miami Book Fair Events

Now that I’m the oh-so lucky parent of teenagers, that is a memory I plan to keep a memory, not to be repeated. On that same link, you’ll find some events specifically for teenagers if you can lure them from their bedroom lairs. 

This year, I plan to avoid all child-related activities by attending only the author sessions with the rest of the grumpy, sometimes content, mostly reclusive adults–just the way I like it.

The beauty of the book fair  is really that there’s something for everyone, even kids. My problem, at least that first time around, was that I didn’t even look at the schedule. Go to the guide below for more information.

The authors who will be reading and discussing books at the Miami Book Fair consists of a vibrant array of talent and wisdom matched with intensity and humor. 

One of my favorite authors will be reading there, so I’m going to attend for that brief moment of bliss. 

Leonard Pitts Jr.

When I first read an article by Leonard Pitts, Jr., I felt more a little more alive. His ability to play words like a master pianist left me reading his thoughts as if I were dancing across a pond without touching the water.

A Pulitzer Prize winning author and a columnist, Pitts has offered insights into current events that challenge even the most liberal thinker to think again.

Sample Columns

At the Fair, he’ll be reading from his new novel The Last Thing You Surrender, which is linked to his website. There you can find some of his written pieces so you can read some of his work.

 

 

The Last Thing You Surrender: A Novel of World War II

You can find out more about the Fair in the MIA Fair produced through ISSUU.

 

 

Friday the 13th Good Luck Laughter

 

Amaxon

There’s something about the number 13 that frightens people.

When we lived in a high-rise in Miami Beach, it was on the 14th floor, except for one problem. There was no 13th floor.

The elevator jumped from 12 to 14.

I thought it was so strange that buildings everywhere excommunicated the number 13. Ironically, life seemed to open a portal into happiness for us when we lived there.

My sister and I would grab a ride on a jitney and take it to the hotels like the Fontainebleau, which we had access to because we lived in the condominium. We lay on the beach, swam in the pools, and enjoyed the people who visited.

I could’ve seen the number 13 as some sort of omen. Instead, 13 seemed a saving grace, a hidden message, a sign.

So, when Jilly sent me a message, I saw it as a sign.

I hope you do too. If you have Amazon, watch it for free with your Prime membership.

Here’s a clip.

 

Born to Laugh

She stared at me with her wet curls matted to her head. I put my hand through the circle in the clear plastic tent that encased her. The rubber glove made me feel like a robot reaching out to her. Tears dropped, dribbling down my cheeks as I gulped on a feeling of loss in my throat.

She was still so little and had not been with me long, which made me want to grab her and run away with her. But, the doctors were trying to save her. They were trying to cool the fever and keep her from having more convulsions.

When my sister was born, I thought she was my baby. I didn’t need a baby doll. I just carried her around everywhere. I held her on my right hip so much so that I attribute the severity of my scoliosis to this strange pleasure.

Her arrival left me more satisfied than I’d ever felt before.

So when death threatened to take her from me, I could hardly stand it. I slept in the lobby area of the floor where they kept her for over a week.

Burnt Orange 1970’s

The burnt orange and dark blue couches were comfy because they were nice and hard, direct from the 1970’s. I lived on hospital food and vending machine snacks because I refused to leave her, which was fine with my mom because she couldn’t bear to leave her either.

After a week of staring at her through plastic with electrodes often stuck to her body, the doctors sent us back home to Miami. But, it wasn’t until much later that any of us stopped keeping a close eye on her.

Maybe she knew how worried we were or maybe she just got tired of our sad, scared eyes because it wasn’t long before she started to make us laugh. And, once we started, it seemed that she was on a mission to continue the laughing spree.

If I was upset, she would fart.

If I was sad, she would do a crazy dance and fall down. Running in circles, she’d then spin with her arms out and collapse, shaking her head when she would stand up like a speedy yet strange little cartoon.

Sometimes, my sister Jill Michele Melean would give my dolls Ziggy Stardust haircuts just to change what was happening in the room, especially if it was unpleasant. Then, she’d tease me and say she was cutting my hair next until I was so distracted that we both forgot whatever had upset us in the first place.

As we grew older of course, her antics changed to quick quips and strange observations that sent everyone to bizarre places in time and space, always laughing, sometimes wondering and laughing, but laughing just the same.

We laughed guttural laughs that would break the patterns of sorrow and worry.

I realized, with certainty that felt like I was living in a sitcom, that I shared a room with my best friend who wasn’t just a funny friend but a talented funny friend.

Never again would I sit alone with no one to talk to except my imaginary friend.

Never again would I feel the dense space of quiet for endless hours.

Never again would laughter elude me.

And, these truths remain to this day. Although we live on opposite sides of the country, we are each other’s support system. A laugh away from a sad moment keeps us in contact with each other.

I’m sharing her latest comedy with all of you so that you enjoy the same luxuries as I do, the kind of laughter that only the funniest girl in the world can deliver, the kind of laughter that will take your mind off your troubles and lift the weight from your shoulders.

 

 

 

LA Femme International Film Festival

LA Femme International Film Festival showcases films by women producers, writers, and directors. This year my sister Jill Michele will be hosting the ceremonies. The only depressing part about it is that I won’t see her do what she does best:  Rally the crowd around a topic with the humor and grace of a writer, producer, actress, and comedian, all of which I’ve had the pleasure to enjoy.

Take a look at what women are creating. You’ll find enlightenment.

http://www.lafemme.org/

Screen Shot 2018-10-13 at 10.41.09 AM

Hiding You

Our secret desires often stay hidden away until death or until we just can’t take it anymore and go crazy, delivering spurts of truths until death–the luxury of finding solace in an insane asylum wavering somewhere between picking up the kids and drinking the next Starbucks coffee.

So much of our lives are full of secrets because we’re afraid to tell the world who we really are and in many circumstances we’re right to stay quiet, but I love stories about people who find a way to express themselves anyway.

Karamo Brown from Netflix’s Queer Eye recently spoke about not hiding from who you are.

We all love to announce who we are when we’re little, before maybe age seven, maybe eight. Then, we notice the disapproval, the stares, the outright punishments if we push it too far.

Then we become teenagers and, well, we all know that changes everything, even if it’s momentary.

My husband donned a mohawk that rivaled that of a horse’s black mane. I drove across country and back again by myself just to prove I could do it. Both of us could dance at the hottest clubs in Miami almost every night and still show up to class or work the next day.

Did we change? A lot.

The vast majority of us begin to hide our real feelings in order to acclimate to the social norms that make us the good, upstanding citizens who are allowed to participate in going to a good college, finding a good job, renting an apartment, and maybe, just maybe, buying a home and keeping it.

But, it’s the remarkably brave ones like Karamo Brown who remind us that sometimes we don’t have to hide and it turns out a whole lot better than being like everyone else.

Who are our heroes?

When the days bleed together and feel like a blood clot pulsing in your leg, you know you need to take a moment to do something, anything to relax. Nowadays, people often turn to YouTube, Netflix, or television in general.
I turn to Conan, Team Coco, anything Conan O’brien.
I recommend his show for adults who are stressed out of their minds, who are having a crappy day, who just need to laugh, a genuine, guttural laugh that leaves them wondering what the hell they were upset about anyway.
Right now, I’m watching The Invincible Conan San Diego 2018, where he conducts his show in the midst of the yearly Comic Con held there.
My children sometimes sit and watch it with me, sometimes roll their eyes and retire to their phone zone, but I bellow the kind of laughter that usually sends me scurrying from a room with someone of similar noise level.
He is my hero. He has saved my sanity ever since I spent my days breastfeeding my newborn daughter at 11, then 1 a.m. I would sit and watch him to keep me awake but mostly to make me cry tears of such therapeutic laughter that I was not only able to continue the bootcamp conditions of motherhood but do it happily and sometimes even with grace.
I’m not only writing about this at the moment because of his current special at Comic Con but because I want to highlight heroes in our lives who help us stay brave, smart, and bold.
After reading Philately. Lately. on Discover, I began to realize that I’ve missed the mark when writing here at WordPress. I created this blog/website to explore the ideas of being brave, smart, and bold, and yet, I ended up writing about those moments without focusing on any one element except for writing itself.
Philately. Lately. zeroes in on one topic and sticks to it.
That’s what I hope to accomplish here, more often, mostly, all the time, I hope.
If you have suggestions, if you’d like to be interviewed as one of those heroes, if you just want to chat about what a hero really is, please take the time to comment and continue this dialogue.

Who are You? New York or LA?

Plunging into LA has been a summer indulgence that I’ve learned how not to live without. I crave the perfect weather, and when I mean perfect weather, I mean perfect weather. The consistently bright sky free of dark clouds, which translates to little if any rain, which translates to no mosquitos, no racing inside and yelling “Go, go, go!” to anyone in front of or following you, no mildew smells, none of it.

This summer wasn’t any different when it came to the weather, but other things dug under my fingernails. Really, just one thing got stuck in there. It was the degree to which the people in LA can fake it. In fact, they fake it so much that you can feel their nerves splitting as they speak.

They talk a lot about energy and crystals and energy and, really, I agree, energy is there, everywhere. So, when we went to a restaurant, a party, or even just for a walk, I felt it, even saw it.

“HHHHiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy,” she would say in such a high-pitched voice that I could feel her frayed nerves followed by the shrill lies muted by her hand shake that she tried to cover with the steadiness of an extra hand on the outside. Ouch! It stung a little.

And, it went on and on, daily, hourly sometimes.

I still enjoyed it. I still chilled with my sister, my family, but it felt strangely different. Even the Elvis impersonator who I loved catching on his way to work had left us. Not surprisingly, he had moved away, maybe to Vegas, a whole other story.

I doubt it if he would head on over to New York, but it’s still a place for impersonators. I mean, New York, in particular, New York City has its share of the inconceivable and the outright bizarre, but the fake? Absolutely, emphatically NO.

Do I want to live there? Not really, but I don’t necessarily want to live in LA either, no matter how much I love to visit.

I think an actress who was interviewed on Conan O’Brien said it best.

Although, I don’t want to live in New York either, I have always preferred the rough-edged realism of New York to the giant teeth shining behind often-oversized lips in LA.

Who are YOU? New York or LA?

Transforming Joy

There she is, a child laughing, sugar her best friend. There she is, dreaming, wanting more than this. Her transformation moved quickly then slowed then sped up again.

She found her voice in comedy as she explored the world of acting, becoming herself on MADtv, Reno 911, and too many other projects to name. Most recently, she wrote, produced, and starred in This is Meg, based on her wild ride called life. Soon she’ll be releasing her one-woman show.

In between, the laughter came tears and growth. She left the sugar behind, finding the thrill of exercise instead, finding herself on a spiritual journey as well.

As her older sister, I see her as a child at the same time that I see the transformation. When she came to us, she brought so much joy and happiness and now she shares it with the world.

Transformation

Go ahead, pick the dragon’s nose kid.

Caper
Please stop making faces!
Beautiful hair, shiny, long, short, doesn’t matter–I mean the kind of hair that girls envy and say so out loud, right to his face.
But, I’ll be damned if he gives me one good smile for a picture. There’s always a face, a different one for each shot. The creepy guy face. The cool guy face. The demon face. The goofball face. The sad face. The smiling but really crossing my eyes face. Or, just smiling with crazy eyes.
He’s been like this since he pulled the Houdini act of climbing right out of his crib before he could walk.

IMG_6803When we go out, I need a few cups of coffee to keep me alert. There are days when I wish the coffee was something else, that’s how fast I need to be. I’m ready to jump, spin, grab, block, catch, you name it.
Somewhere inside every maniacal act of bouncing to his own beat, I laugh amidst the frustration of taking one good picture.
When we visited San Francisco, there were so many moments when the pictures were more than perfect, especially if he didn’t know I was taking them. Often, the theatrics made the pictures so much better, the exaggerated extension of his legs when climbing the uphill battle of getting back to the hotel made it oh so much more than just a good picture.
Walking through Chinatown and finding a brilliantly colorful dragon drawn on the side of a building, we stopped for a picture.
But, ten shots later, my perfect picture almost didn’t happen.

 

 

He insisted not only on theatrics but also on making sure he picked the dragon’s nose by sticking his hand in its giant nostril. With a smirk and a flick of the eyes, his sister pulled his hand down and we got something.
The dragon seemed fine with it.
In hindsight, I think the dragon was in on the whole joke.
Ironically, he hardly ever says I’m just joking.
He used to pontificate about pranks, which happen to be one of his favorite YouTube pastimes. Recently, it’s just weird drawings on the teacher’s whiteboards. Thank God they also have a sense of humor.
I could regress to his obsession with moles that appeared everywhere, so much so that I had to threaten that the moles had better not appear on photographs or human skin without permission.
However, I think you get the idea.
It seems that to him life is just way too serious.
And, if I weren’t such an adult, I’d be picking that dragon’s nose with him.