Wednesday, June 06, 2007

My Relative?

I'm trying to figure out whether I'm related to Diana Estill. I started to subscribe to her newsletter about a year ago. In her latest issue of "Totally Skewed" which I got today, she lists some great upcoming books--so I thought I'd share it with you!


The Totally Skewed Newsletter, June 2007

Written by: Diana Estill, Syndicated Columnist

Our Mission: This newsletter attempts to entertain those who are lost,
confused, bored or satisfactorily unemployed. But all
others are welcome.


A message from Diana:

If the books I discovered at BookExpo America in New York City

are any indication, 2007 may be one of the best years ever for readers!

I’ve just returned from two days of camaraderie with others in

the book industry, where I made some new friends—one of

whom was Bill Dyszel, a funny short filmmaker. (He’s not short, but

his films are.) You can view some of Bill’s hilarious works by visiting

his website, What makes this guy so

amazing is that he produces, acts and sings in, and writes the music for all

of his videos. A former singer with The New York City Opera, he

has incredible talent AND he’s just written a book titled

YouTube Moviemaking, available at

You may recognize Bill’s name. He’s also the author of several Microsoft

Outlook for Dummies books.

Here’s a quick peek at some forthcoming humor books:

I Am America, by Stephen Cobert (of The Cobert Report fame)

The Sweet Potato Queens’ First Big Ass Novel, by Jill Conner-


Things I Overheard While Talking to Myself, by Alan Alda

The Pulpwood Queens’ Tiara-Wearing, Book-Sharing Guide to

Life, by Kathy L. Patrick (She’s from Jefferson, Texas!)

Fat, Forty, & Fired, by Nigel Marsh

Crazy Aunt Purl’s Drunk, Divorced, & Covered in Cat Hair, by

Laurie Perry

Also, my friend and fellow humor columnist Susan Reinhardt’s new

book, Don’t Sleep with a Bubba is in bookstores now. Susan

is a riot. (Be advised that her humor is sometimes racy.)

The newsletter story for this month is titled “Toto, We Ain’t in Texas Anymore.”

You might say that it was inspired by several New York taxi rides.

Enjoy your first month of summer—and don’t forget to honor dads

on June 17!

Until next time . . .

Your Totally Skewed Columnist,
Diana Estill


In This Issue:

- Column--“Toto, We Ain’t in Texas Anymore”

- Wacky Days This Month – Humorous and odd days to celebrate in June

- Other fun links


Toto, We Ain’t in Texas Anymore

Copyright © 2007 Diana M. Estill

(Feel free to share this story with family and friends, as long as you include my copyright notice.)

“I was worried when I heard about the terrorist plot at JFK,” my mother said. However,

I’d flown into the New York area through LaGuardia Airport instead of JFK International. Now home,

I thought it best not to tell Mom that the greatest risk I’d experienced had nothing to do with

air travel. The worst threat to my safety had been waiting for me at the taxi stand.

I had arrived in Manhattan psyched to attend BookExpo America, the largest publishing trade

event in the U.S. During the next few days, I would have the chance to rub elbows, bellies, boobs

and behinds with 30,000 sweaty strangers sandwiched inside a cavernous funhouse full of publishers,

authors, book buyers and librarians—or people who at least pretended to know one.

Jacob Javits Convention Center, in New York City, is a monstrous glass structure that could

have been designed by a drunken architect. The second level is wedged, here and there, in sections

(ones keenly disguised as food courts) between the sprawling first and third floors. Thus, you can never

be certain where you are when you’re inside this facility. To distract visitors from navigational challenges,

the interior is kept at a perfect temperature for rising yeast breads. Further aggravating these conditions

is the number of ladies’ restroom stalls, which falls somewhere between insufficient and scarce enough

to ignite a women’s war.

In other words, the place was pretty much ideal if you happen to be a prairie dog.

Anyway, I was so lost inside this behemoth building full of booksellers that I didn’t even know

about the terrorist plot at JFK until a day after it had been reported. Primarily I’d been focused on

surviving the convention center and the streets of New York.

During one of several cab rides, my driver, Ahmed (the first of three taxi operators I encountered

who all either shared the same name or, possibly, license), flew through a tunnel as if the paparazzi

might have been following us. Since I’m not famous, I was pretty sure they weren’t.

Do you know how many lanes exist within a typical, one-way, New York City street? As many as

users feel like making.

Times Square roadways are clotted with busses, cars, bicycle rickshaws, horse carriages and foot

traffic (often including a naked singing musician)—all competing for the same lane!

Apparently, the New York Taxi Driving and Tourist Intimidation School teaches a methodology

for saving time and maximizing trip turns. Taxis generally keep to the far left on one-way streets, where

they travel at car-chase speeds, ignoring nuisances such as crosswalks, stoplights and unarmed pedestrians.

At the last possible moment—like maybe an inch or two before taking out an unsuspecting vacationer—they

whip to the right, often crossing three lanes to make an abrupt directional change.

I suspect turn indicators are an optional feature on New York taxis because cabbies never use them.

Flipping on a signal would only tip off their opponents.

“It’s like a game,” explained my driver, his mouth twisting into a fiendish grin. “Whoever gets there

first, goes.” He shrugged. “You just honk and keep moving.”

“Yes,” I said, nodding to indicate I understood. “We have those games in Texas, where I’m from, too.

Drivers who cut off other drivers get killed. Somebody just pulls out a pistol and shoots them.”

Read more stories like this one at



June 7 – VCR Day (Just give up and let it film whatever it wants.)

June 15 – Recess at Work Day (When was it “Work at Work Day?”)

June 18 – National Splurge Day (Got Chocolate?)

June 21 – Pee on Earth Day (No thanks. I’d rather flush.)

June 22 – Stupid Guy Thing Day (Shouldn’t “thing” be plural?)

June 23 – Let it Go Day (Notice this follows Stupid Guy Thing Day?)

June 25 – Please Take My Children to Work Day (Better still, hire them.)


Fun Links – homepage for Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop – jokes and one-liners about love – a funny news spoof site – news satire site – silly stories and video movies – a directory of purportedly “clean” humor – a funny news spoof site – humorists writing about all things Southern – good site for parenting humor – amusing stories about parenting and other daily life experiences



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Totally Skewed is a free humor newsletter published monthly.

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