Funny? You should ask.

Flying solo this weekend…

My wife’s in New York for a few days seeing family, so I’m batching it and making simple supper dishes that really don’t merit much attention in this post — Medallions of giant clam hinges au Frere Jacques, Chateaubriand for One, slow-roasted moose thigh with pumpkin-and-marshmallow chutney – same ol’, same ol’. Invariably, cooking for one person (me) means cutting corners and using what you have on hand and doing your best while not sweating the details.

Oh, I also finished off the leftover whelk fritters and savory pumpkin soup – both still delicious – and wondered what to write about this weekend that might be mildly entertaining and not overly weird while miraculously avoiding the phrase “Marco Rubio.” I’m convinced it can be done. Especially if I don’t talk about things but talk about what’s funny about those things.

Are we being funny yet?

“Funny” works best with visual aids, so I’ve welcomed our good friend Pat and her face to help me out. She was our neighbor in Decatur (now living in Florida), I did a short studio shoot with her, and I don’t think she’d mind appearing here as a one-woman focus group.



Since starting this blog almost two years ago, I have 44 posts I’ve labeled “Funny-ish.” Not among them are my posts on the Powassan virus, my science stuff, and the spooky story of Carol M, all fairly somber or serious, and when Pat read these she gave me her locally famous irritated librarian pucker:


But on the flip side of the dire and dispiriting, I’m hoping our discovery of an ultra-pretentious menu continues to yield up a chuckle now and then. I’m still not sure, so you (and Pat) be the judge:

Chez Trez Pretentieux(1) copy





Thanks, Pat, maybe getting a little warmer.

“Bison Loin Puffs” induces a bit of a smile from me, not because it seems absurd that bison loins can be prepared as “puffs,” but that the words have a funny sound together. I think. Or maybe it’s because “loin puffs” from any animal is utterly ridiculous – not far from “Hand-washed Elk hocks.”


Yet another broken promise

I promised some time back I wouldn’t write about crossword puzzles here, and that will become a lie as of right now. When I make up puzzles these days, more and more I want them to have funny stuff in them.  Back in July, I had a puzzle in The New York Times that changed an initial “S” sound into “Th.” Sort of like a “lisping” theme, and one of my funny clues was –

Turkey servings for the famished?

– and the answer:


— plus four other “th” phrases like THICK PUPPY (“Slow learner in the litter?”), and the like. Well, some of the crossword blogs pilloried the theme, sensing it poked fun at lisping and lisping people, and of course that was the last thing from my mind, but I wondered if I should start knitting hairshirts instead. What do you say, Pat?

*Sigh* DSC_5221


Comedy is cruel, punishing work.




“That should slide right out” and other random kitchen comments

When either my wife or I is cooking, we’re likely to offer up sort bursts of “play by play” that, taken out of context, seem funny to me. Things like:

  • “Should the lid rattle that much?”
  • “Last time I did that, it exploded.”
  • “No way that’s going to fit in there.”
  • “That should slide right out.”
  • “I will prevail!”
  • “Grate.”
  • “Right now it looks like something out of Alien.




I think she’s just being kind.




Can ketchup be funny?

Not when it’s the main ingredient in a pasta bolognese sauce as served up in a tony Portuguese hotel restaurant, no. This is when comedy crosses the line into tragedy. We enjoyed Portuguese food (and wine) tremendously, and it’s a pleasure to say this small but egregious culinary disaster was a one-time exception. I also once wrote that a certain Maine politician was “the political equivalent of rude noises from a ketchup bottle,” so in that sense, yes, ketchup (and its noises) can be funny, but I’m henceforth going to stay away from Maine politics because so many other bloggers cover it so well, from both the left and the right, leaving me more time and space to feature Henry and Margaret and travel memories and fun food and maybe some national politics as well, so long as I don’t mention a Republican candidate whose name anagrams very nicely into “Rambo Curio.”

How’d we do, Pat?


Maybe she’s just happy it’s over…

There it is – blogpost-lite.


Ned White

About Ned White

Ned White is a writer, novelist, crossword puzzle constructor, traveler through 49 states, and at times a danger in the kitchen. He lives with his wife in South Thomaston.