Simanaitis Says

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WHAT WITH one thing and another there days, I still laugh out loud now and then. This is more than just a chortle with schadenfreude, albeit internally, over some foible displayed by the current resident of the White House and his sycophants. Sometimes it’s good old-fashioned outright laughter.

Vintage Bob & Ray Volume 1 The CBS Years: Part One,, The Radio Foundation, 2004.

For instance, the classic radio team of Bob & Ray still leaves me in stitches with their repeated cast-of-thousands on-camera flubs of an actor trying to say, “Colonel Frisbee, that’s a filthy flagrant falsehood.”

I’m chortling as I write this.

I’ve also laughed out loud in enjoying the writing of The New York Times Op-Ed columnist Frank Bruni. Several references are here at SimanaitisSays, including ”The Best of Lines.” As an example, Bruni likened Steve Bannon and Jared Kushner to “the guy who looks like a flea market made flesh” and “the one who seems poised to pose for G.Q.

Frank Bruni, Op-Ed columnist. Image from The New York Times.

Burni’s recent column “Jesus’ Parents and Roy Moore’s Gall,” in The New York Times, November 12, 2017, is to me at least a Trifecta of laugh-out-louds. Here are examples.

On Alabama State Auditor Jim Zeigler’s defense of Roy Moore’s apparent taste for jail bait, Bruni writes, “ ‘Take Joseph and Mary,’ he explained. ‘Mary was a teenager and Joseph was an adult carpenter. They became parents of Jesus. There’s just nothing immoral or illegal here. Maybe just a little bit unusual.’ He made it sound as if Moore were some religiously inclined analogue to those military-history enthusiasts who dress up in the uniforms of yesteryear to travel back to the Revolutionary War. Moore was merely re-enacting the New Testament in the name of lust.”

Illustration by Ben Wiseman from The New York Times, November 12, 2017.

Commenting on Moore’s frequent attacks on gays, among whom Bruni includes himself: “In 2002 he called sexual relations between two people of the same gender ‘an act so heinous that it defies one’s ability to describe it.’ Trust me on this: It’s not so terribly difficult to describe. I’ll walk him through it over a chicken salad sandwich in the Times cafeteria. My treat.”

The third of my Bruni laugh-out-loud Trifecta is on the hypocrisy of certain Christian conservatives: “They also read the Bible selectively, as Zeigler demonstrated to the point of parody. Joseph and Mary as evangelists of transgenerational love? If you buy that, then allow me an invention of my own about the three wise men.”

My last example of laugh-out-louds is the Picador Productions TV ensemble sitcom Modern Family. It’s now in its ninth season with a tenth on the way. The program’s superb writing and acting always delight me, often to the point of outright laughter. What’s more, I believe the program’s absence of laugh track (or phony-sounding “studio audience”) helps.

That is, I don’t need to be told when to laugh. I know when. ds

© Dennis Simanaitis,, 2017

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