The great majority of Americans think "Seinfeld" and "Frasier" are hilarious sitcoms. Hey, just look at the ratings. And since neither of these shows amuses me, I've been worried. Where has my funny bone gone? And then the press release arrived about "MASH," the television series that celebrates its 25th anniversary this month. I'm laughing. My funny bone is intact.
Remember Igor, the 4077 Army mess cook? He's written a book "Secrets of the MASH Mess: The Lost Recipes of Private Igor" which, of course, includes some weird recipes, anecdotes and never-before-seen photographs of the cast at work and play. Actor/comedian Jeff Maxwell (Private Igor) will bring back memories and sign copies at 8 p.m. Friday at Barnes & Noble, 160 S. Westlake Blvd., Thousand Oaks.
David Saltzman, a promising young author/artist, created "The Jester Has Lost His Jingle," which was published after his death at age 22 of Hodgkin's disease. A tale for children about the healing power of laughter, the book is being promoted by the author's mother, Barbara Saltzman, who will sign at 2:30 p.m. Friday at Barnes & Noble, 4360 E. Main St., Ventura.
Other events there: Aubrey Franklin, author of "Tea and Scones," will demonstrate how the English observe their venerable afternoon break at 8 p.m. Friday. And authors James Sniechowski and Judith Sherven will conduct a seminar and sign "The New Intimacy: Discovering the Magic at the Heart of Your Differences" at 7:30 p.m. Saturday.
Aubrey Franklin also signs at Barnes & Noble in Thousand Oaks, 160 S. Westlake Blvd. at 2:30 p.m. Sunday.
Lee Wardlaw of Santa Barbara is the award-winning author of 20 books for children, including "101 Ways to Bug Your Parents" and "Seventh-Grade Weirdo." She will sign her new book, "Bubblemania: The Chewy History of Bubble Gum," and preside over a bubble-blowing contest at 11 a.m. Saturday at Adventures for Kids, 3457 Telegraph Road, Ventura.
Audrey Moore, owner of Mysteries to Die For, where mystery fans and the authors they love gather frequently, will host a Christmas party at noon Sunday at 2940 Thousand Oaks Blvd., Thousand Oaks. Richard Barre and Terrill Lee Langford will sign their books and present holiday stories written especially for the occasion. And 50 hardcover titles will be given away during the festivities.
In Santa Barbara
SPAWN member Dallas Glenn is facilitating a writers' group for literary toilers who seek a safe place to share their work. Contact her at (805) 899-1174 or via e-mail at dallassilcom.com.
* Frances Halpern and Jon O'Brien are co-hosts of "Beyond Words" at 10 a.m. Sundays on KCLU-FM (88.3), Ventura County's National Public Radio station.