This week’s auction sees Robbi veer away from the cute and the beautiful toward the land of the clever. When she first showed me this illustration, she was sheepish and apologetic, explaining that, “Nobody is going to want this one. I hope you don’t mind.” The way she was hedging, I was expecting to look over her shoulder and see a drawing of an oozing scab or a recent roadkill. Instead, I found this wonderfully inventive, and ultimately hopeful, image of the soul of milk flying off to heaven as its earthly host expires.


As a special bonus for those of you who are tempted to bid on this auction, note that the reverse side features Robbi’s initial sketch, in which the souls of various items of rotten food are escaping to their heavenly home. She ultimately decided that the illustration worked better as a simplified idea, and I think she’s right. But I enjoy seeing her thought process. Perhaps you would enjoy owning it.


Good Reads

One of my favorite pieces of writing of all time is in David Sedaris’s “Me Talk Pretty One Day”.


I was first given this book in audio cassette form (can you believe it? I was alive in those days!) the first year that I was dating Matthew, when he lived in northern Massachusetts and I lived in Philadelphia – it was meant to help pass the time during my semimonthly weekend drive to see him. I drove a sad little Chevy Nova whose defroster was so crippled it required me to roll down the window in order to see because the inside of the windshield would get frost on it. But it did have a working tape deck. And so I listened to those tapes again and again and again. And loud, because the windows were down.

One of the stories in the collection gives an account of Sedaris taking French lessons after moving to Paris. His classmates hail from many different countries, and one exercise has them trying to explain the Easter holiday in French:

“It is,” said one, “a party for the little boy of god who call his self Jesus and… oh shit.” She faltered and her fellow countryman came to her aid.
“He call his self Jesus and then he die one day on two… morsels of… lumber.” The rest of the class jumped in, offering bits of information that would have given the pope an aneurysm.
“He die one day and then he go above of my head to live with your father.”
“He weared of himself the long hair and after he die. The first day he come back here for to say hello to the peoples.”
“He nice the Jesus.”

Oh how I love to think of Jesus on his two morsels of lumber!

Well, anyway, it was Matthew’s good friend David who gave me those tapes (David is the most thoughtful gift-giver I know). And it is Matthew’s good friend David who is now embarking on a similar French adventure – he will be taking a total immersion class in France in May. In preparation for this, he is writing a blog all in French.

Picture 1

And, here’s the part that you must know: click the “Translate to your language” Go button at the top of his site. Whether his French is bad or whether the translating software is bad, it certainly makes for a hilarious read.

Plus, he challenged us to a war with the call

Aux armes, citoyens,
Formez vos battalions,
Marchons, marchons!
Qu’un sang impur
Abreuve nos sillons!

Which apparently translates to

To arms, citizens,
Form your battalions,
Walk, walk!
Impure blood
Water our furrows!

When he says “impure blood” I’m pretty sure he’s talking about me.

Express Architecture

Another little ditty that I found (via here) that makes me want to be a different kind of artist. It just looks like so much fun, though I’m sure the patience it requires would make me crazy. I’m a vomit-it-all-out-in-one-go-without-much-thought kind of artist.

Make sure to watch it with the sound on, because somehow the sound effects make it extremely gratifying.

Stone on Stone [CLIP] from Rob Carter on Vimeo.

It reminds me of those Monty Python animations, except if Terry Gilliam were a fastidious architect instead of a loco gonzo. Check out Rob Carter’s other work here.

Learn From the Master

It’s been a long time since poor Iggy has gotten any mention on the blog. She used to be such a headliner (shown here in her breakthrough role in “The Wrestler”) -


- but as with all starlets, middle age has set in and she’s not getting as many calls from the studio execs anymore. Though she puts on a good face at red carpet events, there are times she can’t hide her crippling envy for the new ingenue.


Recently, Iggy decided to take back the spotlight. She chose her moment carefully, when the unsuspecting new girl was triumphantly wielding her latest in a long string of prizes.


There’s really nothing more demoralizing than seeing someone with less talent be awarded the prize. In that sense, Iggy’s next move was totally justified.


Beyoncé and Kanye could learn a thing or two from The Iggs.

Alden took it all in stride, picking up another prize for, let’s face it, another lackluster performance.


She approached Iggy with yet more “proof” of her talent, taunting her mercilessly.


A mighty struggle ensued.



Unfortunately for Iggy, the leading man suddenly arrived on the scene and intervened. Kanye could learn a thing or two from Matthew.


Though the prize was quickly won, it was just as quickly forgotten.
And somehow, it looks like the girl managed to get exactly what she wanted.


I suppose with age comes wiles. There is just so much to learn. The first lesson, which Alden has clearly embraced, is to take full advantage and learn from the Master (while keeping her on a short leash).


Robbi on Top

Why is Robbi smiling? Why is Alden so glum?


In addition to being a generally cheerful person, Robbi is glad to be atop the standings in the Idiots’Books NCAA tournament challenge with 130 points, besting both President Obama, who stands in second place with 120 points, and her husband, who sits in sixth with 110.

Alden, who picked only upsets, is learning hard lessons about how nice guys seldom finish first. She stands in 28th place, hovering barely above the basement where her uncle (who forgot to make his picks and therefore has zero points) lurks in ignominy.

Kato, who picked all the favored teams, sits at 19th, and is feeling the sting of overlooking the underdog. But as a mewling baby, he doesn’t seem to care in the slightest. He’s still lying where we left him the other day, content with his clown pants, demanding nothing further of the world.


It was a remarkable first day of the tournament, with many exciting upsets (if not enough for Alden’s liking). Sixteen more games tip off today. We’ll see if Robbi’s still smirking at midnight.

Game On

I would like to officially thank the 28 of you who have elected to participate in the first-ever Idiots’Books bracket challenge. I will periodically post updates on the standings throughout the tournament.

As for the games, they are underway. Kato is dialed in and rooting for the overdog.


Apparently, he picked his bracket according to the “chalk,” selecting only higher seeds to advance in every game, and crowning the Kansas Jayhawks his national champion.

Alden, however, did some figuring and determined that this was the year in which no higher-seeded team would win any of the games.


Therefore, her bracket contains only upsets and forecasts that the University of Vermont will win it all.

Let the games begin.

Make Picks by Noon!

Hello my fellow college basketball enthusiasts. If you have been meaning to join our Idiots’Books March Madness bracket (already 25 strong!) but haven’t yet done so, the window of opportunity is fading fast. Tipoff for the first games happens just after noon today (Thursday) east coast time, so head on over to ESPN pronto and follow the simple instructions below to make your picks, compete with Alden and Kato, and potentially win a free year of Idiots’Books or a copy of Nasty Chipmunk.

The Simple Instructions

1. Go to:
2. Log in. Create your entry. Follow the directions. Do not be frustrated.
3. Join group “Idiots’Bracket,” and enter the password “thebarn”

Remember, this is your competition.


Be very afraid.

Alden and the Amazing Technicolor Clown Pants

Alden is an independent sort of person who likes to think of herself as a true individual. As such, she likes to dress like one.

Our friend Beth recently returned from Guatemala, bringing with her a pair of extraordinary overalls for Alden. Alden made it clear that she wanted to wear them this morning, being of the general opinion that there are no other overalls like them in the world.


Dressed in a completely original way, Alden was ready to take on the world. She started by communing with Lily.


And then proceeded to behold the world outside her window, contemplating all the remarkable things that she might do today.


Then, with no warning, something horrible happened. Someone showed up wearing an uncomfortably similar pair of amazing technicolor clown pants.


Needless to say, this did not go over well with Alden, who felt her all-important individuality was being violated.


The situation quickly deteriorated. Kato, who wants nothing more than to be like Alden and to be well thought of by her, crumbled beneath the weight of rejection.


Alden had to gently rub his temples while saying affirming things about his haircut.

It seemed to help.


Once he had found his happy place again, Kato returned to the plush leather recliner for his daily contemplation.


Things were going very well when suddenly Kato made a tragic error.


The act of lifting his right arm precipitated a series of unexpected happenings.


I watched with horror, wondering what I could to to stop the inevitable.


But there was nothing to be done.


Once he came to rest, Kato decided that he rather liked preferred to lie on his side, and settled in for some contemplation of the horizontal variety.


For all I know, he’s there still, lying sideways on the recliner. Alden and I and her technicolor pants decided to take advantage of the beautiful, 65 degree weather and drove to Kennedyville to take a hike at Turner’s Creek.


We walked through fields.


Past a creepy deserted barn (Alden’s comment was, “Nobody home.”)


And down a steep path by a thicket of bamboo.


Eventually we came to the water.


Alden decided to take a closer look.


Apparently, Kato was not the only child of mine to have compromised balance issues today. Alden did a butt-first tumble into the Chesapeake, and the amazing (but sodden) technicolor clown pants had to be removed for the march back.

If she minded, she kept it to herself.


As far as she could tell, she was the only girl in red tights and green frog boots in the vicinity, and that was all that mattered.


There’s been some talk around here about the NCAA tournament. I filled out my Idiots’Books bracket in hopes of winning a free subscription for myself (Matthew is so stingy). I actually tried to pick teams that would win in that one. I also filled out another bracket in my friend Christian’s group. I was less motivated in that one to pick teams that might win (Christian is, it turns out, even stingier than Matthew. All he’s offering up for winning his pool is “pride”. Sheesh. Like you can’t buy that on every street corner). So I made my picks based entirely on mascots. (Quick aside: if you can believe it, there was actually one match-up of Aggies against Aggies, one of Grizzlies against Bears, and another of Bears against Bearkats – what to do? There are also THREE Aggies in the tournament. What’s that all about??). There were some mysteries like the St. Mary’s Gaels (losers), the Cornell Big Red (winners!) and the North Texas Mean Green (winners!). But ultimately I have the Minnesota Golden Gophers duking it out with the Wake Forest Demon Deacons in the finals. I have the Deacons winning, because they also have the added perk of having a cool school name to boot. Looks like I’m also a fan of alliteration.

Go Deacons! (If this matchup actually happens, this illustration will be worth millions.)

To fill out your Idiot’Bracket for a chance to win a free subscription or a free copy of Nasty Chipmunk, GO HERE and scroll down. Remember, you have to make your picks by noon on Thursday when the madness begins!

More genius...

Okay, I can’t help myself. For those of you (like me) who are totally in the dark about social media, there’s this new thing out there called “Chat Roulette“. I first heard about it on The Daily Show. Basically, it’s like a video chat room where you get one random “partner” and either of you can end the chat at any time and get a new random partner. It seems pretty obvious that you’re either going to get stuck chatting with a 14-year-old or a dirty old man.

Anyway, I just saw this, via swissmiss, and it is just too perfect not to share: