Diana Ussery has built a solid reputation for her dragons and other sci-fi oddities. Her creations are often quirky and comical — octopuses that wear top hats and carry luggage and other travel essentials in all their twirly-swirly tentacles — while also managing to appear regal and luxurious. (She frequently garbs her characters in rich fabrics and high-end textiles. An opulent octopus, anyone?)
It is difficult to start a familial tradition — an event or an activity that will entertain and define your family through the years, across the decades, and even from “the Great Beyond.” Yes, it’s hard to dream up a pastime or a meal, a custom or even just a cookie, that becomes immersed in your family’s life for years and years to come. Imagine, then, what it must be like to conjure up a custom for the rest of the word. We’re not talking about suggesting a game to be played at a neighborhood block party, or drumming up some funny knickknacks for a school white-elephant sale. We’re stressing a tradition that your family and others the GLOBE over will be partaking in and looking forward to doing. Who could tackle such an endeavor? Who could put up with that stress? Who? Adam Reed, that’s who.
Movie stills courtesy of Dreamworks Pictures/Spyglass Entertainment
The other day while watching “America’s Got Talent” with my children—one of the few shows on TV that a parent doesn’t have to worry about grabbing for the remote control when topics get too “hot and heavy”—I heard the audience guffaw at a joke that I found mildly amusing. The contestant—an aspiring comic who had the deadpan delivery of Emo Philips and the eyeliner/dark look of an emo teenager—mentioned how he still sleeps with stuffed animals. Then he paused, and delivered the punch line: “I love taxidermy.”