Hubby Mark savors films that are sappy,
And what’s crappy to ME makes him happy.
He’ll be glued to the screen
At the mushiest scene,
While I mentally keen, “Make it snappy!”
Archive for the ‘Personal’ Category
Hubby Mark savors films that are sappy,
Happy “meeting anniversary” to my wonderful husband Mark. (April 20, 1977, aboard the LIRR)
Dear Long Island Rail Road, my debt
To your system, I’ll never forget.
Back in Seventy-Seven
Your train car was heaven:
‘Twas the place where my spouse and I met.
(More epistolary poems here.)
UPDATE: Someone on Facebook asked for more details about our meeting on the train. Here’s what I wrote:
Re your questions, for some odd reason (possibly love at first sight, which I don’t even believe in) I did something very uncharacteristic of me when I saw Mark come bopping up the train’s aisle: I smiled and gave him “the eye.” He just looked so handsome and cute, and I liked his eyes and willed him to sit across from me. (It was the end of a long, tiring day — a full day of law school, followed by a trip into Manhattan for a symphony orchestra rehearsal. And I was feeling both exhausted and hyper.)
Anyway, Mark smiled back and then, much to my chagrin, he kept on bopping past me and past lots of empty seats and went into the next train car.
I figured I’d never see him again and then, suddenly, Mark returned to my car, walked past the empty seats again, and sat across from me. His first words to me were: “Boy, you look tired!” Which provoked a monologue by me about everything I’d done that day, followed by a monologue by him detailing his rather full day.
Seven weeks later, we were engaged.
My come-hither look
was all that it took.
Mark at first tried to book,
but returned … on the hook.
As Mark likes to say, true story:
Mark spots me, already seated, while he’s walking through a half-empty Long Island Rail Road car. I smile at him. He smiles at me. And then, instead of sitting across from me, Mark keeps walking and goes into another half-empty train car.
A couple of minutes later he rethinks this, turns around, comes back, and sits across from me.
Seven weeks later Mark proposes, and I say yes, wondering what took him so long.
(All this happened way back in 1977.)
A wonderful poet, Daniel Ari, honored me with his invitation to participate in the Virtual Blog Tour. And if you’re not familiar with Daniel’s poetry, you owe it to yourself to pay his blog and his blog tour post a visit. Actually … many visits.
Wait. Where are you going? I didn’t mean for you to visit him right this very minute. You have to at least pretend to read my post first.
Okay, now that I’ve recaptured your attention, I should probably explain the concept behind the Virtual Blog Tour. As best as I can figure out, it’s a method of introducing our readers to other bloggers we admire. Every participant answers the same quartet of questions about his/her writing process. And, in theory at least, we all gain some new readers.
So, on to Question 1: What am I working on?
In theory, I’m pulling together three different humor books: a limerick collection, a humor column collection, and a third book that’s so hard to describe, it’s unlikely to ever happen.
Aside from my books-in-progress, I write tons of limericks every week. Okay, maybe not tons, but A LOT! I also write light verse in other forms, even sneaking humor into haiku. (Of course when I write funny haiku, I get yelled at for not calling them senryu.)
Additionally, I spend a good chunk of time running a weekly limerick contest: Mad Kane’s Limerick-Offs. You can always find the current contest here and the most recent winners here. (Everyone’s welcome to participate both here on my blog and on my Facebook page.)
Question 2: How does my work differ from others of its genre?
Well, for one thing, it’s written by an oboist turned lawyer turned humor writer. And for another, I stretch the boundaries of limericks by writing them about every topic imaginable: marriage, politics, taxes, death, petty aggravations, serious problems, etc., in a tone which varies from bawdy to satirical to serious, to silly — frequently writing multi-verse limericks. And if I want to be extra hard on myself, I sometimes even attempt acrostic limericks.
By the way, although I post most of my limericks on this blog, I have a second blog reserved for political limericks. Why a separate Political Madness Blog? Because many readers who enjoy this blog, hate my politics. Separate blogs help limit the bloodshed.
Question 3: Why do I write what I do?
Like most writers, I write what I write because I have to. There was a period when I had to write humor columns. Next there was a period when I had to write a satirical George W. Bush diary and political song parodies. And right now I seem to be in my have-to-write-limericks period.
(There was also a 14 year period when I had to write legal briefs. But trust me, you don’t want to hear about that.)
Question 4: How does my writing process work?
I’m always writing limericks — often at inconvenient times, like while showering … or sleeping. Unfortunately I have an awful memory, and can’t trust myself to remember anything. So jotting down ideas immediately is key. Deciphering those notes? Another matter altogether.
While much of my limerick inspiration seems to arrive out of the blue, I’m always actively on the hunt for limerick ideas. I make a point of doing lots of daily news reading, headline scanning, and visiting “what’s trending now” on Twitter, Facebook, and sundry search engines.
I read several political sites a day in my quest for politicians to mock and political issues to have fun with. I also check out several sites specializing in oddball news items, as well as Salon, Slate, Huffington Post, and other possible sources of quirky news items that might inspire me. (Dave Barry’s blog is an unusually good source of such items.)
Limerick inspiration often comes from stories about silly lawsuits, oddball inventions, strange holidays, and weird trends.
Family members, especially my husband Mark, can be a constant source of humor inspiration. (Fortunately Mark enjoys being the subject of limericks and humor columns.)
If I’m really lucky, a limerick just comes to me whole cloth. When that happens, it’s just a matter of writing it down and doing a quick edit. But other limericks present more of a challenge, especially when it comes to news-oriented and political limericks, where I have to pack a lot of info into the limerick and still follow the rules and make readers laugh. (Speaking of rules, you can find my article on how to write limericks here.)
I often start with a single line — either the first line or the last. And in framing that line I usually try to end it with a word that has lots of rhymes. After all, the more rhyme word choices I have, the better the odds of my managing to polish off an amusing limerick.
What happens when I can’t make a limerick work? I add it to an ever-growing digital document jam-packed with hundreds of limericks (and partial limericks) I can’t bear to give up on. And often, months later, I manage to rescue some of them. On the other hand, many have been languishing in that file for years, taunting me to fix or delete the damn things.
I should probably mention some tools I find handy: Rhymezone, while far from perfect, can be very useful. The Syllable Dictionary is helpful as well. And then there’s the wonderful Memidex Dictionary which, among other things, has an excellent audio component. I can’t imagine how I ever survived without it.
So that’s it for my answers to the Virtual Blog Tour questions. At this point, I’m supposed to recommend three other poet bloggers who promise to answer the same four questions. But alas, everyone I invited (1) had already participated in this tour; (2) didn’t feel they had the time to commit to the tour; or (3) didn’t feel they could persuade three other poet bloggers to participate.
However, if you’re still hungering to be introduced to other limerick writers, please do check out my weekly Limerick of the Week Posts. While, most of the weekly winners don’t blog, they’re a funny group of limerick writers you’re sure to enjoy.
A birthday limerick for my wonderful husband Mark, who turns an undisclosed age today:
Happy birthday, dear hubby — you’re old,
Although younger than I, truth be told.
No need for debate —
There is NO better mate.
So how do I know this? I polled.
One month ago, The Washington Post Style Invitational challenged us to create “fictoids — totally bogus trivia — about music and the music world.” Having worked as an oboist for many years, I couldn’t possibly resist such a contest. So I’m posting all my entries, one of which earned an Honorable Mention.
I’m curious as to which of mine is your favorite. And of course feel free to make up your own musical trivia in my comment section, and to guess which of my musical fictoids won that Honorable Mention. (I reveal my winning fictoid at the end of this post — upside down to make it harder to cheat. :)
Here are my entries:
- Greedy J.S. Bach descendants tried to patent his Two and Three-Part Inventions.
- Antonio Vivaldi once sued himself for plagiarism … and won.
- Ludwig van Beethoven’s “Ode To Joy” (from his Symphony No. 9) was originally entitled “Oy, Oy, Oy.”
- The world premiere of Verdi’s “Aida” ended in tragedy when the lead soprano accidentally crushed an elephant to death.
- Female harp players are so loathsome, that shrewish women are now referred to as harpies.
- For several years during George W. Bush’s presidency, the Dallas Symphony’s concert programs id’ed its brass section as trumpets, trombones, tubas, and Texas shorthorns.
- Composers George Frideric Handel, Georg Philipp Telemann, Antonio Vivaldi and Johann Sebastian Bach were all so impoverished, they died of starvation. Hence, the name “Baroque composers.”
- Famed French flautist Jean-Pierre Rampal never appeared on stage without a chilled glass of champagne. That’s why flautists are now known as flutists.
- Ludwig van Beethoven didn’t actually go deaf; he just pretended to be deaf because his wife and mother-in-law were so annoying.
- In a 1980 New York Philharmonic April Fools’ Day performance of Mozart’s Concerto for Flute and Harp, flutist Julius Baker and harpist Ursula Holliger played each other’s instruments. The New York Times proclaimed theirs the best ever performance of the work.
- The Eastman School of Music was known as the Polaroid School of Music, until Kodak’s George Eastman won it in poker game.
And my Honorable Mention-winning entry is:
˙ɥʇɐǝp oʇ ʇuɐɥdǝןǝ uɐ pǝɥsnɹɔ ʎןןɐʇuǝpıɔɔɐ ouɐɹdos pɐǝן ǝɥʇ uǝɥʍ ʎpǝƃɐɹʇ uı pǝpuǝ ”ɐpıɐ“ s’ıpɹǝʌ ɟo ǝɹǝıɯǝɹd pןɹoʍ ǝɥʇ
I’m celebrating in a rather unexpected way: In the course of St. Patrick’s Day bar-hopping in my hometown Bayside, Queens, I met a fellow associated with Chocolate Alley Chocolatieres. And the next thing I knew, I was named CAC’s Limerick Laureate. So go check out my Q & A and chocolate limericks at this fun chocolate magazine and chocolate shop.
A few minutes ago, I announced the 104th Limerick of the Week. And that means it’s anniversary time at Mad Kane’s Limerick-Offs.
The Limerick of the Week Awards started as an experiment nearly two years ago in March 2011. Of course, I had been informally posting limerick prompts for years before that. But it was on March 13, 2011 that I decided to get organized and start picking weekly winners. Here’s what I wrote.
But I’m trying something a bit different this time: One of your limericks will be anointed Limerick Of The Week.
As you can see, my experiment took, and next week I’ll be awarding the first Limerick of the Week for Year 3. So congratulations to all of you and thanks so much for helping to make this limerick competition such a success.
Oh … and in case you’re wondering who our first Limerick of the Week Winner was, it was our very own Phyllis Sterling Smith a/k/a Granny Smith. You can read her clever winning limerick here, along with delightful Honorable Mention limericks from David Lefkovits a/k/a Dr. Goose, Versebender, and co-writers (not to mention married couple) Catherine Palmer and Ron Mardix.
In light of our 2nd Limerick of the Week Anniversary, I’m offering you an alternative: In addition to your regular challenge, you may write a limerick related to any kind of anniversary, using any first line. Next week I’ll present an extra award — one for the best anniversary-related limerick.
And now, getting back to the business at hand, it’s Limerick-Off time, once again. And that means I write a limerick, and you write your own, using the same first line. Then you post your limerick here and, if you’re a Facebook user, on Facebook too.
The best submission will be crowned Limerick Of The Week. (Here’s last week’s Limerick Of The Week Winner.)
How will your poems be judged? By meter, rhyme, cleverness, and humor. (If you’re feeling a bit fuzzy about limerick writing rules, here’s my How To Write A Limerick article.)
I’ll announce the Limerick of the Week Winner next Sunday, right before I post next week’s Limerick-Off. So that gives you a full week to submit your clever, polished verse. Your submission deadline is Saturday at 11:59 p.m. (Eastern Time.)
I hope you’ll join me in writing a limerick with this first line:
A fellow who wanted a raise…*
A woman who wanted a raise…*
A fellow was catching some rays…*
A woman was catching some rays…*
(Please note that minor variations to my first lines are acceptable. However, rhyme words may not be altered, except by using homonyms or homophones.)
Here’s my limerick:
By Madeleine Begun Kane
A man had been catching some rays,
Lazing lakeside — he’d done it for days,
While his wife hid inside:
“Sun is bad for your hide,
And besides, wasted time never pays.”
Please feel free to write your own limerick using the same first line and post it in my comments. And if you’re on Facebook, I hope you’ll join my friends in that same activity on my Facebook Limerick-Off post.
To receive an email alert whenever I post a new Limerick-Off, please email Madkane@MadKane.com Subject: MadKane’s Newsletter. Thanks!
I was honored to be interviewed as part of Poets United “Life of a Poet” series. It’s fairly comprehensive and includes some fun photos and limericks. So if you’d like to know some of my deep, dark secrets, here it is. :)
Whether it’s an Irish pub, a packed rock & roll bar, or a ballroom dance floor filled with Big Band Era seniors, hubby Mark and I will probably dance. Not well, mind you, but with great energy and enthusiasm.
We often attract attention and even compliments, accompanied undoubtedly by such thought balloons as “How do people that old dance so fast?” Or “I’m pretty sure my grandma can’t do that.” Or “What the hell is that woman doing on the men’s side of my synagogue?”
In case you’re wondering, yes we know we’re probably making a spectacle of ourselves. But we’re having fun and we simply don’t care.
Tomorrow, April 29th, is International Dance Day. So Happy International Dance Day, everyone! Here’s my latest limerick:
A Couple On The Move
By Madeleine Begun Kane
When my husband and I try to dance,
Some enjoy us and some look askance.
We’re inept, but enthused,
And don’t have to be boozed
To have rumba-like fun — that’s our stance.
You might also enjoy my We Don’t Think We Can Dance, But We Do It Anyway.
Though I’m never safe,
his arms always comfort me,
and that must suffice.
Ballroom dancing class—
learning creative ways to
defeat the rumba.
Morning legs dangle
off the bed, as antique joints
brace for their touch down.
great, yet dampened by knowing
what’s soon to follow.
Poised atop mirage
of a career, gazing down
at life left behind.
(I wrote the 1st haiku for We Write Poems’ safe prompt; the 4th haiku for Sensational Haiku Wednesday’s elation prompt; and the 5th haiku for One Single Impression’s top prompt and Haiku Heights’ mirage prompt.)
Poetry prompts can serve up everything from fun inspiration to unsettling memories. For instance, the shadows prompt courtesy of Poets United Thursday Think Tank brought back a wistful early childhood memory of my late father Ernest Begun and Robert Louis Stevenson’s A Child’s Garden of Verses. More specifically, the two of us reciting my favorite childhood poem, My Shadow.
I’m certain that the many hours we spent poring over that Stevenson volume had lots to do with my own versifying. And so, this haiku:
I have a little shadow…
My dad’s knee at three.
My husband Mark and I had a wonderful time celebrating our 32nd wedding anniversary on Friday, June 4th in Manhattan. We saw a Broadway play — Ken Ludwig’s hilarious Lend Me A Tenor, which was directed by Stanley Tucci. (There’s more about the play in my two-verse limerick.) We also dined at Nocello and enjoyed attempting to dance the rumba at the Marriott Marquis’ Broadway Lounge.
And now, my limerick:
The Tenor Of Our Anniversary
By Madeleine Begun Kane
Hubby Mark and I partied last night.
(It’s been thirty-two years of delight.)
Saw a great Broadway play.
What a heavenly way
To celebrate marriage just right!
Shaloub and LaPaglia star.
(Both are Tony’s — you know who they are.)
Justin Bartha stars too.
We kept laughing on cue
At Lend Me A Tenor. Har, har!
Friday, September 11th was my birthday — one of those traumatizing, ends-with-zero birthdays. So I told my husband Mark that, unless he wanted me to be a basket case on nine-eleven, he’d better plan something good.
So, did Mark rise to the occasion? He sure did, as I describe in this three-verse limerick:
Happy Birthday To Me
By Madeleine Begun Kane
My nine-one-one birthday was great!
Hubby Mark planned a fabulous date:
God of Carnage — fine play —
Four fab stars on Broadway.
Yes, I married a wonderful mate.
(Cross-posted on my political humor blog.)
Thanks to all of you for your kind emails, comments, and Twitter tweets about my mother’s death. I really appreciate it!
In my mother’s honor, I’m posting a 1996 humor column she inspired during happier (and funnier) times:
By Madeleine Begun Kane
“I’m not going in there. No way. Forget it.”
My seventy-something mother’s stance was as rigid as her words; arms folded across her chest, unyielding legs pointed away from the shop I’d just suggested.
She and I had spent the entire afternoon combing through three department stores for the definitive pair of panties. Or at least my mom’s idea of same. This illusive undergarment had to be loose, comfortable, 100% cotton, and totally devoid of lace. And that was just for starters. It also had to completely cover my mother’s hips and come in a large size, the exact number of which she resolutely refused to disclose. … (Secret Shopper is continued here.)
2008 was a very difficult year for me and for my family. My father died in January, and my mother died on December 30th and is being buried tomorrow.
Rest in peace, mom. I hope you and dad are together again.
I love you both and miss the two of you more than my words can express.
Beatrice Begun (1925-2008)
I just got word that my father has died. He was a wonderful man, and I’ll really miss him. I love you Dad!
Ernest Begun (1915-2008)
Update: Thanks so much to everyone who posted and emailed such kind comments on my father’s passing. I really appreciate your thoughtfulness.
Here’s the somewhat unorthodox eulogy I read at my father’s funeral:
My father, who was very into politics, always enjoyed my political limericks. I’d like to think he’d also enjoy this limerick about him:
My dad, known as Ernest Begun
Will be missed by his wife and his son,
And his daughter, of course,
Cause our dad was the source
Of much joy and support and, yes, fun.