Friday, September 18, 2015

Celebrate Little Victories - Erma Bombeck's WHEN YOU LOOK LIKE YOUR PASSPORT PHOTO, IT'S TIME TO GO HOME

It's been three weeks since I left my oldest son in Tampa for his freshman year in college; bought a house; and moved across town.   Since then, we have continually unpacked boxes ... and I found three Erma Bombeck paperbacks which I purchased from a yard sale.

From her bio on Amazon,

Beloved for her wry yet warm look at family life, Erma Bombeck was America's favorite humorist at the time of her death in 1996. Ten of her 13 books, including Forever, Erma, appeared on the New York Times best-seller list. She claimed her first fiction writing was the weather forecast in the Dayton Herald. Her favorite food was pasta, and her hobby was dust.

Given my love of travel, I jumped right into WHEN YOU LOOK LIKE YOUR PASSPORT PHOTO, IT'S TIME TO GO HOME:

The popular humorist offers tips and truisms on travel, discussing oddly named food, Asian bus drivers in Germany, plumbing around the world, and more.

Published in 1991, the book opened with Erma and her husband trapped in their hotel room during a riot outside in Papua New Guinea.  This harrowing scenario gave Erma the opportunity to flashback to family vacations before her publishing success funded international travel. She shared "I Love Lucy" moments which justify the axiom one needs a vacation after the vacation.  Although the technology may be dated, the teenagers are exactly the same from 1991 to the present.

Erma also wrote about her trip to Russia as part of a "women to women" symposium during Glasnost.  As a humorist, she opened her speech with a joke about putting two socks into the washer and only one coming out.  Erma admitted the joke bombed, presumably because Russian women don't have washing machines.  She then joked about being a sports widow, to which the Russian women laughed.  Erma found common ground with women who were deemed the enemy following WWII.  She interjected poignant moments into her trademark humor to deliver an entertaining read.  

Erma ended the book by returning to the volatile night in Papua New Guinea and their departure the following morning.  Once she landed in New York, the passport officer commented, "Nice likeness."

Erma delivered exactly what I needed to survive the events of the past month. 

Erma referenced Kauai ... above is
the Sprouting Horn Blowhole on Kauai's South Shore 

I am giving away a book choice from my convention stash to one randomly selected commenter.  To enter the giveaway,

1.  Do you have a favorite humorist and/or comedian?  I enjoy the old school physical comedy of Lucille Ball in I LOVE LUCY.

2.  Comments are open through Saturday, September 26, 10 pm in Baltimore.  

3.  I'll post the winner on Sunday, September 27.


Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City



  1. What a great post as always! I am a fan of Mary Tyler Moore Show and all that craziness. Still makes me laugh.

  2. My favorites include Chris Rock and David Letterman.

  3. Lucy Ball still very funny every time I watch her shows or movies. Bob Hope is another one

  4. I really loved watching The Vicar of Dibley with Dawn French.

  5. I loved, loved, loved! Erma... but I'll admit I was thrilled to see Carol Burnett on late night tv and the announcement of the release of her early episodes of The Carol Burnett Show. I miss this type of entertainment!

  6. I LOVE LUCY still makes me laugh. Lucille Ball was amazing. LOVED her in Mame.

  7. I have a few favorite comedy actors but I don't really watch comedians.

  8. All of the ladies from the Golden Girls~

  9. I haven't read any Erma Bombeck in ages! I read and reread my mother's copy of The Grass Is Always Greener Over the Septic Tank ages ago. I don't necessarily have any favorite humorist I can think of off the top of my head but I appreciate humor whenever I can find it.

  10. Lucille Ball and Carol Burnett are two of my favorites!

  11. Joan Rivers always made me laugh. Lucille Ball still cracks me up when I watch her old T.V. shows.

  12. Sorry, no favorites, although I have always enjoyed Erma Bombeck.

  13. I loved her she was so funny. Now a days my favorite comedien is Gabriel Iglesias aka Fluffy. This guy i hilarious.

  14. loved reading Erma's column in my mom's GH magazine.

  15. Oh yes, Erma is a favorite read here.

  16. I loved Erma Bombeck.

  17. This is my third attempt to post. Everytime I hit publish, my comments vanish.
    Favorite comedienne: Carol Burnett. Her show was wonderful.
    I read Erma Bombeck in the 1970's. The ensemble cast for her TV show was excellent and they worked with together.
    I was a young bride and and mother when I first read Erma Bombeck. I need to reread her now that I have had more life experience. I saw her on TV and haw was so funny..

  18. Erma always made me laugh - so does Dave Barry - Jimmy Fallon is also a lot of fun