Saturday, April 30, 2011
Friday, April 29, 2011
I regret if not hearing from me immediately creates any anxiety. Goodness knows there's enough to be anxious about in this world already. Speaking for myself, I nearly had to be hospitalized fretting over the President's place of birth, whether Kate Middleton's dress might disappoint with tragic consequences for the fashion world, and what would happen if the local liquor store ran out of Bourbon for Kentucky Derby Day juleps next Saturday.
http://www.pinstripedbible.com/2011/04/29/nothing-to-do-with-baseball-on-writing/. By the way, I didn't have an illustration of base ball, which explains why this story is accompanied by an illustration of basket ball. And I believe I speak for all of us when I say we are pulling for the American League to win the Super Bowl this fall.
Thursday, April 28, 2011
We trust this POLICY will alleviate any concerns about SECOND-HAND SMOKE at RBS events.
One of these days I have got to go and see a doctor about my cigarette smoking. I am slowly but surely losing the knack. --Robert Benchley, from "Experience Meeting" (My Ten Years in a Quandary and How They Grew, 1936)
Mark Russell's topical and political humor and music parodies have pleased us all for more than three decades in personal performances, television shows, and radio broadcasts.
The deadline to enter the 2011 Robert Benchley Society Annual Award for Humor Writing Competition is May 1, 2011. For more details visit our website http://www.robertbenchley.org/2011_competition/announcement.htm.
Wednesday, April 27, 2011
My uncle was a Scot who went to America in the 1920s and became Dean of the Chapel at Duke. He regularly sent my parents [American books] and I grew up in the '50s with Chips off the Old Benchley. Since then I've added to my Benchley collection but am most frustrated that the DVDs of his shorts are only available in Region 1 format whereas Europe uses 2. I actually have the book The "Reel" Benchley but wondered if you wondered if you or any of your members knew if the DVD was otherwise available or indeed if pace its format it can play here (as some 1s can). If you could answer this I'd be most grateful. Many thanks, [Name withheld]
Thanks to Gordon Ernst, Eileen Forster Keck, and Eileen Mitchell, who all responded remarkably quickly (and clearly have too much time on their hands), we have the answer.
Thirty Benchley short subjects are available on DVDs that work in all regions at Amazon at this link http://www.amazon.com/Robert-Benchley-Shorts-30-1935/dp/B003552QWW/ref=sr_1_1?s=dvd&ie=UTF8&qid=1303914266&sr=1-1. Also, his film "I Married A Witch" is available for Region 2.
Tuesday, April 26, 2011
Saturday, April 23, 2011
Friday, April 22, 2011
2006 Robert Benchley Humor Writing Award and author of the 2010 blockbuster A Dog’s Purpose, which is being made into a film by Dreamworks.
I was delighted to be notified by the NSNC that I have been nominated for Membership Chair. Elections will take place at the Conference: Announcement.
I am honored and looking forward to serving on the Board of Directors.
The Robert Benchley Society Ann Arbor Chapter “A Moderate State of Preservation,” is organizing a gathering during the NSNC Conference. Tom Saunders will provide details to the attendees.
Please join us in Detroit for an exciting weekend! --Rose Valenta
Thursday, April 21, 2011
Tuesday, April 19, 2011
Rose Valenta, authoress of Rosie's Renegade Humor Blog, met Mary at that Benchley event last summer and over a leisurely luncheon got to know her. Rose describes that pleasant afternoon with Mary in "Off the Beaten Path - Boston’s Touch of Class: Poet Mary Millis" a blog posting you may read by clicking on http://rosevalenta.blogspot.com/2010/07/off-beaten-path-bostons-touch-of-class.html.
Requiem aeternam dona ei, Domine, et lux perpetua luceat ei. Requiescat in pace. Amen.
Today, April 19, we are exactly one year away from the kick-off of the 2012 Erma Bombeck Writers' Workshop, which means we in Dayton have more work ahead of us than William and Kate. (They have an army of servants and subjects, right?) The fun part is that we get to laugh all of the way through it. Putting together this issue of the Erma Bombeck Writers' Workshop newsletter, for example, I got to:
You can have the same fun here, plus read advice from fellow authors and the latest publishing news: http://www.humorwriters.org.
Monday, April 18, 2011
To which Gordon Ernst responded:
The first name that comes to mind is James Pepper Rare Books. He handles a good number of signed Benchley books and manuscripts.
You might also contact Boston University which has a collection of Benchley material.
Thurber House is Pleased to Announce a One-Day Master Class with Columbus Dispatch Columnist Joe Blundo!
Time: 1:00pm - 3:00pm
Location: Thurber Center, 91 Jefferson Ave. Columbus, OH 43215
Price: Non-refundable $75 (a $1.50 processing fee will be added if paying by credit card or PayPal)
Enrollment is on a first-come, first served basis, and is limited to 25 students. You must be 18 to participate. Deadline for registration is Tuesday, May 17, 2011.
For more information click on http://cts.vresp.com/c/?ThurberHouse/256d8db9ac/a51fb3d903/08745d8d87.
Sunday, April 17, 2011
Story Time with the Children. At this ceremony we'll also honor the winner of the 2011 competion (which is ongoing with a submission deadline of May 1) Our 2011 celebrity judge of the competition Mark Russell is a member of the University Club where we'll hold the ceremony.
For more information and to register go to http://www.robertbenchley.org/AG2011/registration.htm.
Saturday, April 16, 2011
Thursday, April 14, 2011
For this year’s Thurber Treat, writers are asked to pick one from a predetermined group of Thurber cartoons, create a caption for that cartoon, and then elaborate on the caption with a funny story, limited to 1000 words. The three winning authors will be guests of Thurber House for dinner at the Wednesday, June 8 Summer Literary Picnic, and will read their sage or silly entries.
Submissions are due no later than Friday, May 27, by 5:00 p.m.
More information at http://www.thurberhouse.org/the-thurber-treat-writing-contest.html.
Sunday, April 10, 2011
The traveller, Kaye Fallick, author and publisher of a website for mature travellers, was asked various questions,
Stand out bar experience?
The Round Table Room bar at the Algonquin Hotel, on West 44th Street, New York for the the best whisky sour.
I'll put it on my bucket list.
REMINDER. If you have not already paid your membership dues in the Robert Benchley Society please do so now. Our membership year runs from April 1st through March 31. You may pay online at
http://www.robertbenchley.org/rbs/index.htm. Dues are a low $10 per year and one payment covers up to two persons at the same address.
ALSO, REMEMBER to sign up for the free RBS news blog at http://www.benchley.blogspot.com/ and on our Facebook page. Plans for the next We've come for the Davenport Chapter will be announced at those two locations.
DISCLAIMER. The Robert Benchley Society assumes no responsibility for any loss, trauma, or mental stress arising from attendance at Society events. This declaimer of responsibilty includes, but is not limited to, bodily injury, memory loss, loss of consortium, or hangover.
Saturday, April 9, 2011
Members of the vicious circle were immortalized in Aviva Slesin’s Academy Award-winning documentary, The Ten Year Lunch; lunches that spanned from 1919 to 1929. The New Yorker Magazine was born at the Algonquin, Orson Wells honeymooned there, William Faulkner wrote the first draft of his Nobel Prize acceptance speech there, composers Frederick Loewe and Alan Jay Lerner created songs there for “Brigadoon” and “My Fair Lady;” and yet, taking the bull by the horns to hail a cab was still a matter of concern.
In other words, “We call ourselves a free nation, and yet we let ourselves be told what cabs we can and can't take by a man at a hotel door, simply because he has a drum major's uniform on.” ~ Robert Benchley
Thursday, April 7, 2011
If you are interested in attending contact David Trumbull at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Robert Benchley Society was founded in Boston in 2003. Robert Benchley (1889-1945) was an American humorist in print, in the movies, and on radio. He is best know as one of the founders of the 1920s "Algonquin Round Table" wits in New York. Benchley, who was born in Worcester, attended Harvard College before making his name in New York and Hollywood. The Society has grown to have local chapters in Boston, New York, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., Ann Arbor, Mich., and Longview, Washington, as well as members in several other states, Canada, Mexico, France, and Australia.
The Boston Chapter took its name "We've Come for the Davenport" from a college prank played by Mr. Benchley on Beacon Hill about one hundred years ago. According to Mr. Benchley's son, Nathaniel, Robert Benchley and a fellow Harvard student knocked on the door of a randomly chosen house on Louisburg Square and told the maid who answered, "We've come for the davenport." When the maid said she knew nothing about the matter, Benchley pointed to a davenport in the hall, said that must be the one, and with that the two college men carried out the davenport, knocked on another randomly chosen door and announced, "We've brought the davenport," leaving the sofa with an equally confused maid at the second house and leaving the families at both houses to try to sort out it out later.
Among the activities of the Society is the Annual Robert Benchley Society Award for Humor Writing. The deadline for submissions for this year's competition is May 1st. Our celebrity judge this year is Mark Russell, whose topical and political humor and music parodies, have pleased us all for more than three decades in personal performances, television shows, and radio broadcasts. For more information about the competition or to enter, go to the Society website www.robertbenchley.org.
Wednesday, April 6, 2011
I take you back to Robert Benchley's 1923 short story "Ask That Man" via an article in the Chicago Tribune, which describes how Mr. Benchley successfully broke his wife of the habit:
Do What You Think is Best
Sunday, April 3, 2011
Friday, April 1, 2011
Published March, 2011 by Roseheart Publishing, USA.
Author: Ed Tasca is an award-winning humor writer and novelist, and a student of da Vinci’s extraordinary life. This little book of fables is a homage to that writing genre, offering readers of every age a taste of the simplicity and clarity of one of man’s oldest and most revered forms of fiction writing. Author’s email: email@example.com.
About Leonardo da Vinci: Leonardo had mastered virtually all the known arts, sciences and engineering principles of his time (the High Renaissance – a period roughly between 1450 and 1550), without having had a formal education. If one could find one individual who represented the beginning of the modern intellectual world, it would be Leonardo da Vinci.
ISBN number: 978 0 9845470 8 9
Price: $12.95. Available on all online booksellers and from Roseheart Publishing.Order information: Direct Orders: firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information see this promotional flier.
The 2011 Benchley humor competition is open for entry now through April 30th. Our judge this year is Mark Russell whose topical and political humor and music parodies, have pleased us all for more than three decades in personal performances, television shows, and radio broadcasts. Mark Russell's own website is at www.markrussell.net. For more information or to enter CLICK HERE.
Yes, the newspaper headline in the cartoon reads "Limbaugh Elected." That's when I fell in. But that isn't the announcement.
Tonight, I have a BlogTalkRadio interview scheduled with Giovanni Gelati at 7:00 PM EDST. Giovanni publishes the popular Gelati’s Scoop and my book is among the “Top 25 Self-Published Books for 2010” on his website. We will be discussing humor, writing, and my book - Sitting on Cold Porcelain. Click here for details - Gelati's Scoop on BlogTalkRadio
Please curl up with a dry martini and tune in.
And his portrayal of an embarrassed ignoramus, commenting on classical music in inane non sequiturs, harks back to Robert Benchley.
by Paul Shlichta in The American Thinker.
Res Publica - Water Everywhere and Not a Drop to Drink
by David Trumbull - April 1, 2011
Some Boston residents are resisting the city’s latest drinking water conservation measures, especially the proposed tap-by-tap monitoring of individual water consumption, claiming this is an unwarranted and possibly unconstitutional invasion of privacy.
The new water restrictions can be traced back to the May 2010 water main rupture that left Boston with no drinking water for a few days. The Massachusetts Water Resources Authority (“MWRA”) fixed the problem and conducted a thorough inspection of the system. What they found was alarming, especially for City of Boston residents. While last year’s leak was in Weston, it was actually here in Boston that the inspection revealed the most weakness and potential faults. The situation was so bad that the MWRA was forced to undertake substantial unscheduled maintenance and repair work in Boston and now those cost are being passed on to Boston municipal government—at a time when City Hall does not have the money to cover these additional fees and must pass them on to the residents.
As we found during last year’s “boil water” emergency, there was no shortage of clean water for purposes other than drinking or food preparation—the problem was in getting enough water that had undergone the additional steps to make it safe for drinking. The same thing applies now. It is specifically drinking water than the city will be paying more for, and that cost must be recovered from the citizens.
Here’s how the new system will work, according to a press release from the mayor’s Office of Citizen Outreach and Public Service:
o In restaurants, in addition to the 6.25 percent meals tax, a three cent per fluid ounce “Safe Drinking Water Special Assessment” will be charged, so that an 8-ounce glass of water will have a 24 cent water tax. For a family of four that’s an additional buck on your bill. The tax will apply to bottled water as well even though that does not come from the MWRA and costs the city nothing. “Those the bottles themselves are a strain on our recycling system, therefore they will be taxed the same as tap water so that people will not switch to bottled water to avoid the tax,” said city spokesperson, Bill Wetmore.
o Particularly hard hit will be Starbucks and shops where coffee or tea is the primary beverage sold. “Those coffee shops use a lot of drinking water,” said Wetmore, “and coffee, being a natural diuretic, rather than replenishing bodily fluids, actually dries you out so you need even more water,” he continued, explaining why, in the case of coffee and tea the tax will be doubled to six cents per ounce. That means that on a Starbucks “Venti” (20 ounces of java) the additional tax will be $1.20.
o In schools, hospitals, and offices in Boston one half of the total number of drinking fountains or bubblers in the building will be disconnected or drained of water. The idea is “out of sight, out of mind” – if there are fewer drinking fountains available perhaps people won’t think so often about getting a drink of water.
o As mentioned earlier, the most controversial step is the individual tap monitoring of water usage by Boston households. Water usage is currently metered and residents get quarterly bills from the city for water, but that measures all water consumption in a household, not just drinking water. Under the new measures, workers from the Department of Hydration Regulation and city’s Healthy Housing Initiative will enter every residence in the city and attach meters to every drinking water tap. Some residents are opposed and have said they do not want to let the city workers in, but the administration is insisting that all homes, apartments, and condos must get the new meters and that workers will enter by force if necessary. The city’s chief legal council says that this is constitutional and warrants are not required as the workers have been strictly instructed to ignore and not report any illegal or questionable activities they may happen to see while installing the meters. “There’s no issue of illegal search or seizure,” said city attorney William (“Bill”) Drinkwater, “nothing will be search or seized, just the installing of some necessary plumbing.”
Some citizens are highly critical, even outraged, at the mayor’s proposal to use the household water tap metering data to shame the city’s “guzzlers.” Billboards in each neighborhood will identify, on a per capita basis the household that drink the most water. Not all residents oppose. For example the Reverend Phil M. Upton of Sts. Judy and Liza Episcopal Church jokingly said, I just follow the advice of the Bible at 1 Timothy 5:23 – “Drink no longer water, but use a little wine for thy stomach’s sake.” But it is fair to say that opponents outnumber the supporters of the new drinking water conservation measures.
The backlash has even generated a new grass-roots political organization, the Beer and Wine Party, which is similar to the TEA Party only with a vow to avoid water and all beverages, such as tea, brewed with water, until the mayor backs down from his plans. Now if you think that is ridiculous, check the date of this newspaper.