Life Is Wonderful, Day 144: The Happiness Bookshelf

February 20th, 2011

Whoops!  I accidentally left this one out of yesterday’s list of topics.
I only have so much personal wisdom to share, especially since all this is so new to me, so I thought I’d suggest some books that can serve as today’s “life coaches,” helping us to “cross”  the “finish line” in the best possible way.

Bite Your Own Tongue! A Vegan’s Guide to the Delicatessen, by Doris K. Rasmussen, makes a memorable point based on a clever homonym: the fact that the plural of “chew” would be “chews,” if “chew” were a noun and had a plural, and that “chews” is pronounced identically, except in Massachusetts, as “choose.”  So, as Ms. Rasmussen puts it, “Choose your chews. Every mouthful of meat shortens your life by 13.4 minutes and pays the salaries of people who are, literally, butchers.  Have a full belly and a clear conscience.”

Internal Exploration: Up the Alimentary Canal with Notebook and Camera, by Frederick W. Thrum, reminds us that the entire universe can be divided into you on one hand, and, on the other, everything else.  And yet the world is full of people who know how to get to Idaho but couldn’t locate their spleen or their conscience with both hands and a doctor’s assistance.  “Look within,” Thrum urges.  “You are a mirror of all creation™. ”  This slender volume is a great introduction to Thrum’s seminar series, Unexpected Meetings: Discovering Yourself In the Last Place You’d Look.

Where’s the Rest of Me? Donald Rumsfeld’s Search for His Heart, by Marianne Higginson-Falsworthy-Brown-Wheelock, is an inspiring saga that reminds us that personal growth can, too, come without visits by three spirits.  Whatever you think of him before you read this book, you’re going to meet a new and surprising “Rummy.”

Sole Food: 100 Quik ‘n Easy Recipes for Used Footware: Slow-cooking is the secret to whipping up low-cal snacks at virtually no cost, an especially important consideration for seniors, who are likely to be see a drop in income when Social Security is eliminated, and who also tend to own many shoes.  A personal favorite is “shoelace spaghetti.”

Yeth, Thir, Thergeant Thmith!, by Sergeant John L. “Jack” Smith: There’s no such thing as “no” to some people, and wouldn’t we all like to be one of them?  Meet Sergeant John L. “Jack” Smith.  At the outset of World War Two, Sergeant Smith was given a platoon of recruits who lisped had speech impediments practiced alternative pronunciations.  He was instructed to turn them into Comm Offs, the all-important communications officers responsible for maintaining telephone contact with headquarters.  A movie, starring Sean Penn in wet mode, is already in production.

Put Your Left Foot In: The Hokey Pokey as a Path Through Life, by Amanda Robertson-Davies.  A simple childhood dance?  The key to negotiating life’s twists and turns?  I only wish this software had better graphic capabilities because I’d love to show you the step patterns for divorce and buying a used car.  Life-changing stuff.

Life’s Bookshelf stretches on forever.  More recommendations to come.  Do you have books to share with us?

15 Responses to “Life Is Wonderful, Day 144: The Happiness Bookshelf”

  1. Robb Royer Says:

    I just returned from a couple of days at my webless Siberia – farm- and… kids… kids! To misquote Vince Lombardi ‘what the hell is goin’ on in here? Somehow- facesh facitish… irony has gone into eclipse? Luckily it rose again like a one day wonder of a Phoenix from the ashes of bickering -with your hilarious book titles.
    For my part I’d like to add a few historical figures who fit right in with this new spirit of PC. I’m thinking book here.

    Fredrick the Pretty Good

    Ivan the needs improvement.

    Vlad the occasionally doesn’t play well with others but scores high in creativity.

    Ethelwimp the not-so-good-as Fredrick but a shitload better than Vlad.

    I bounced these off a publisher and got a response that must have been the prototype for Serene Branson’s Grammy report. A man that age should try to pace himself.

    On a lighter note I’ve gone over some or the recent blogs on this site and didn’t see anything critical of teachers in general, just the position some of the union leaders and lobbyists take. 10,000 teachers union lobbyists in Washington alone is like 10,000 lawyers at the bottom of the sea. A good start? Too many! No mas!


  2. Dana King Says:

    “Every mouthful of meat shortens your life by 13.4 minutes ”

    I have to wonder: do Vegans really live longer, or does it just seem longer?

  3. EverettK Says:

    Tim, your wisdom seems infinite, undeniable, chartreuse. Perhaps you can seed my comfort by suggesting what I should do respondingly to this urgent most email I just received:

    I am seeking your consent to hand you as a recipient to my late punter who passed away some few years back, which by accident matches his last name matches yours. This is permissible and without harm, the amount left behind is $16.7M. If interested forward to me your name, address, cell, phone\fax, for more clarifications

    I know your time is valueless, but any directional pointers you can swing away from me would be thankful!

  4. Beth Says:

    I said I wouldn’t do this again, but I have to ask – how do the people in Massachusetts pronounce “choose” if now like “chews”?

  5. Elizabeth Rose Says:

    I prefer Ms. Rasmussen’s great-grandmother’s book; Mrs. Rasmussen’s Book of One-Arm Cookery (1946). It was written by Mary Lasswell, who wrote very funny books, starting with Suds In Your Eye in 1942. All are now out of print, and the political correctness is almost 70 years old so “Japs” are bad, Chinese are good and victory bonds rule.
    They make me laugh.

  6. Phil Hanson Says:

    “Every mouthful of meat shortens your life by 13.4 minutes…”

    If that’s true, I died eleven weeks ago.

    “Bite Your Own Tongue! A Vegan’s Guide to the Delicatessen…”

    Thanks to TMJD, I chewed mine off. Very tasty, providing you like raw meat and fresh blood.

    “Internal Exploration: Up the Alimentary Canal with Notebook and Camera…”

    This immediately reminded me of an episode of “Two-and-a-half Men”, in which Alan gets a colonoscopy.

    “Where’s the Rest of Me? Donald Rumsfeld’s Search for His Heart”

    But…but…but doesn’t he need a brain for that?

    Put Your Left Foot In: The Hokey Pokey as a Path Through Life”

    That’s what Alice did, and down the rabbit-hole she went.

  7. Suzanna Says:

    Once again, you dwell in the outer reaches of creative genius and today, well, my complete lack of creative genius in addition to yet another night of disturbed sleep prevent me from replying in kind, but I just want you to know that you are all cracking me up and I appreciate the effort. Particularly, Ms. Rose’s suggested title, MRS RASMUSSEN’S BOOK OF ONE-ARM COOKERY, and Robb’s complete collection.

  8. Lil Gluckstern Says:

    I don’t know, the sun is shining, and I’m laughing again-something’s working, I’m just not sure what it is. You posters are very good at this. Me, not so much. Thank you for your response to adverbs. I love Tom Swifties; I just can’t stand the blank looks I get from most people when I use them.

  9. EverettK Says:

    By the way, Tim, you passed the 3/8ths mark on your year of blogging, unhearalded, on day 137. In two more days (day 146) you will have passed the 2/5ths (4/10ths, 0.4, for the math impaired) point.

    Just sayin’, ’cause time goes more slowly when you watch the day counter.

  10. micael hallinan Says:

    Beth, I promised I wouldn’t do this again too. But then again I am not a man of my word. People from Mass.(spelling impossible) say choose like ewes. Under the Patriot Act we are now required to say choose like whose. El Butinsky Grande, Mike

  11. Beth Says:

    Mike, no we don’t.


  12. Timothy Hallinan Says:

    Robb, irony has been banished, and I’m thinking movie. A vast herstorical cornucopia of tidied up personages from the past – all the ones you named plus the Six Totally Appropriate Female Partners of Henry VIII.

    And the change in the tone of the blog is a craven retreat on my part. Let no person say I will not go to my knees to curry favor.

    Dana, I actually tried a Vegan diet and gave it up (this is completely true, as opposed to some of the things on this blog that are only approximately true) when I found myself dreaming of roast beef. I figure if my dream-self wants it, who am I to argue?

    Everett, while my time is indeed valueless and even priceless — wait a minute, now, that’s confusing — I’ll tell you directly: take that money, even if they want all of yours first. Just compare the possible loss with the possible gain: $121.46 versus — what was it? — $16.7 mil? How can you lose? And you can tell by the tone that the person who wrote it is just totally on the level.

    You caught me, Beth. Despite what my brother says, that Massachusetts crack was linguistically faulty and aimed at a specific friend of mine who lives in a city called “Baasten” and speaks a language that can only by an act of kindness be called English. In fact, “choose” and “chews” are the only words in the language Baasteners pronounce the same way as the rest of us.

    Although Mike is right about the new rules of pronunciation under the Patriot Act, which, by the way, also requires us to pronounce our nation’s names as “Amurrica” and “The Hew Hess Ay”

    Elizabeth Rose, thanks for the reminder of Mary Lasswell. She was, among other things, a precursor of Peg Bracken, who picked up the gauntlet with books like The I Hate to Cook Book and The View From the Kitchen Sink. All politically incorrect by now, but funny as hell. Re: political correctness, I like a recent line by Christopher Hitchens (may he live and prosper) about the period of “Mad Men” being “the last time it was actually fun to be an American, at least of a certain class.”

    Lil, if you’re laughing, everything is fine. I’m glad someone is.

    Phil you look great for a guy who’s been dead for weeks. But the Hokey Pokey book is nothing to joke about. It’s already improved my life, and I don’t even have a sense of rhythm.

    Everett — two in one day?!?! Wow — I’m four tenths of the way through? That’s the most despairing statistic of the year. Only four tenths? How much longer can I abase myself? How much lower can I go?

    Micael, thank you for coming to my rescue, as isolated as the impulse was. Nice pronunciation distinction, though. Long, long ago, when The Great Salt Lake was still connected to the Pacific, I had a director humiliate me in front of the entire cast and crew by yelling at me that “news” was not pronounced “nooz” but, rather, “nyews.” She had a short fuse, and she’d been listening to me say it wrong for weeks, although, to be fair to me, without ever saying anything about it out loud. But she probably felt like she’d been saying it out loud, since she turned the complaint into a ten-minute tirade about how my generation didn’t even know how to speak their own language. And now here I am, two geological eras later, saying the same thing.

    Life sure is funny, ins’t it?

  13. Debbi Says:

    Every mouthful of meat shortens your life by 13.4 minutes

    Reminds me of what Redd Foxx once said, “Health nuts are going to feel stupid someday, lying in hospitals dying of nothing.” 🙂

  14. Larissa Says:

    I’ve been laughing so hard that I can’t think straight. I was reading these on a break at work and I was afraid I’d be carted off for having supposed seizures I was giggling so much.


    I can’t even begin to try and play along. But I’ll happily join the masses by sitting back and watching the clever darts fly!


  15. Jaden Says:

    I want that Hokey Pokey book. I feel it could seriously change my life.

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