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About the Funny Times Staff

Sue Wolpert

I live in Cleveland Heights, Ohio. My front yard is a big garden. I grow vegetables, and flowers and have five dwarf fruit trees (no fruit yet). I moved the garden from the back yard when all of the sun back there was lost to the shade of growing trees. For several years I imagined moving the garden to the front, and then one fall I got it going. Most of what I do in the world arises from visions of the future that call me forward.

I enjoy working in the garden early in the morning or late in the day when the sun is at an angle. In the fall I layer my garden bed with wood chips, shredded Funny Times order forms, leaves and then cover it all with straw. Even as I am putting it to bed for the fall I am preparing for next spring. My idea of fun is to gaze into the garden (and the world) and discover what wants to happen next.

Ray is my best friend. I met him in High School. He was playing guitar with his friends. I invited them all home after a coffeehouse and they came. Inviting people to come together seems to be a life-time mission. I like to gather people together for expansive conversations. When people exchange ideas about what they care about most, the world opens up. When we get in the present with each other the way forward emerges. I am constantly inquiring into the nature of people and the world. I am like a buzzing bee carrying messages and ideas from here to there.

The people at Funny Times make a great team. I love our staff meetings when each person contributes what they know and think. We have a fun work place where everyone can be authentic. I have a great family as well. Everyone is a character.

Life is a party and a lot of work. Work is a party and a lot of fun. I am a ruthless optimist when I am not depressed. What a mystery.

Sandee

It was a gray and rainy day, and I was feeling blue. My friend looked deep into my eyes and said, "I know just the thing for you." She led me through backyards and back alleys, twisting her way through the city. Rounding one last corner, she pulled open a smeared glass door and led me up a flight of narrow stairs. That day, my life took on a whole new dimension. That's how I came to the Funny Times over a decade ago. I came to get out of the rain.

Outside of the FT space, I'm just as driven to laughter as within it. I get a genuine kick out of life's littlest ironies, and can't help but seeing the glass as at least half full. I really enjoy sliding down muddy hillsides on my rear and chasing weasels through the living room, both of which I often do with an oddly funny kid I'm halfway through raising (a lifetime of exposure to FT has ensured she doesn't take herself, or anything else, too seriously).

Now what's YOUR story?

Karyn

Hi Folks ... this is Karyn and I have talked with so many of you that it seems like we already know each other. It is great to have you as part of the Funny Times family. That is what it is like around here, almost family - or at least the part of the family you like! And if you were to stop by and visit, you would find me barefoot, probably eating - hopefully dark chocolate. And I would be listening to Bob Marley, Buckshot Le Funque, Billie Holliday, Leon Russell, or maybe the Kinks.

We all seem to wear a few different hats around here and I am usually mistress of the morning for our earlier callers and I will be helping busy season workers learn the ropes around here to get your orders right. I have also been upgraded to gardener, tripping around our 'matoes, beans, basil and whatever else chooses to ripen for us!

I probably would not adapt well in a huge corporate setting with cubicles and voicemail, but I do enjoy getting to chat with you, making sure that you are getting your laughs regularly. Yep, I'm happy to give "good phone!"

Orin

Enjoys walks in the woods without the spider web interference, mud or stray rabid dogs. Listens occasionally to Tuvan throat-singing angels. Tries to overstand the Supreme Mathematics. Past accomplishments include ollieing out picnic tables, sock folding and birdhouse manufacture. Hopes to one day learn how to tie ties and sharpen knives properly. Relaxes by studying urban exploration, drinking limeade or a diet Dr. Thunder.

Sasha

Hi! My name is Sasha. I like to think of myself as a social institution. Jaded yet optimistic (and only 25 years old), I am the youngest member of the Funny Times family. Having grown up in a conservative bubble, living away from home and working at an embracing environment such as Funny Times has allowed me to broaden my horizons and question the reality that was constructed for me. (Yes, I'm quite liberal now!) I attended Case Western Reserve University here in Cleveland, OH, where I discovered that social progress is achieved only through hard work, persistence, and a loud voice. Now working in the Circulation Department at FT by day and masquerading as the Dark Mistress by night (haha), I love to question social norms and disrupt the "natural order" of things. Just ask anybody who knows me! Or, perhaps, you have already spoken (or will speak) with me personally on the phone or through email as I take your orders, correct your subscription problems, change your address, or generally attempt to brighten your day. Thanks for being a part of our family. I have truly seen The Light. Have you?

Blayne

Hi! I'm Blayne, and I deliver everything the Funny Times needs delivered, from papers, to babies, to outstanding customer service. As Funny Times first employee circa 1985, I delivered big stacks of papers to local businesses from the back of my beat up 1978 Toyota Celica. I then became a midwife and assisted Sue and Ray with the births of two of their children. I recently retired after 20 years as a midwife, and I am working in Funny Times subscription department, opening mail, answering phones, and cheerfully doing whatever else needs to be done.

I love working for Funny Times. My coworkers are all tons of fun and a wee bit nutty, and the office is always supplied with good strong coffee and plenty of chocolate to keep us motivated, if a little jittery. We laugh a lot and only swear a little. Okay, I lied. We swear a lot. But it's all in good fun, especially when we have "swear bear" fights, or do naked jello wrestling in the back room. Okay, I lied. We don't really do naked jello wrestling. At least not in the back room. But we do have fun, and we have the world's greatest customers. So join us aboard the Good Ship Funny Times, where rocking the boat is half the fun.

Annie

The road to Funny Times, for me, has been paved with many interesting twists and turns. Graduating from Ohio University, I produced television commercials in Columbus and Cincinnati for 12 years. Returning to my roots - beloved Cleveland - with husband and baby in tow, I became a stay-at-home mom and parent caretaker. This led to work in Lakewood City Schools, and then the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo where, among other things, I became a snake handler and worked with volunteers. I live in Lakewood, OH, with my very funny husband Sean, my musician son Mick, and my volleyball-playing daughter, Tess.

As a graduate of Second City School of Comedy Writing, the Funny Times is a great opportunity for me to combine joy and work!

Lou

I was born exactly nine months after Pearl Harbor - September 7, 1942. It was Labor Day, which my mother found amusing. My dad liked to joke that the Pearl Harbor attack prompted my conception because he wanted to leave an heir in case he had to go to war and didn't come back. (He was deferred from military service because of very bad varicose veins in his legs.)

I was born in Painesville, OH, graduated from Miami University, was drafted in '66 and spent a year in Vietnam as a reporter and then editor for the First Infantry Division newspaper. In recent years I have been active in Veterans for Peace and enjoy wearing my army dress uniform in parades while carrying a peace flag. I also enjoy playing competitive volleyball and writing annoying letters to the editor. A widower, I have three terrific children: son Lou is a doorman at the Four Seasons Hotel in Philadelphia; Bridget is a PhD candidate in French literature at the University of California, Davis; DeeDee (Dorothy) is assistant manager of a Whole Foods store in Dedham, MA. Son, Lou and his wife, Melissa, blessed me with two wonderful grandchildren: Owen, 4, and Bridget, 2.

Amy

After marrying a Jenkins many, many, many years ago, I find my identity continuously confused with the dozens of other Amy Jenkins' in the area. My claim to fame, however, is that I am the only Amy Jenkins working at the Funny Times. I am the graphic designer, and have been for close to 15 years.

P.S. Please don't tell Ray about the "others."

Ari

Although Funny Times outdates me by a year, I am the firstborn human child of Ray and Sue. Growing up, Funny Times was always like an older sibling to me, stealing the love and attention of my parents away from me, and forcing me to share a room with my little sister. Funny Times headquarters was my home for much of my childhood and I have worked for the paper on and off since I was born. I've done almost every kind of random office work at some point or another, opening mail, answering phones, counting checks, running credit cards, and folding t-shirts in the gift shop. Recently I have been doing more work editing, and the April 2010 was the first issue that I picked out on my own. By some huge coincidence it was also the first time the Funny Times chose to print one of my stories.

When I am not at Funny Times I spend most of my time writing, rhyming, rapping, and singing songs on a very wide range of topics. Humor, Satire, Politics, Spirituality, Dinosaurs, Psalms, The Torah, Star Wars, Hippies, Peace, Love, Life, Poop, etc ...

If you are interested in checking out my music, you can listen to some of it at http://www.myspace.com/hiphoprevolution. Or you could try and find me at a music festival in the summer, and ask me to sing you a song. Anyways, thanks for subscribing to Funny Times, it was really you who put me through college.

Lois

I am a Clevelander, born and bred, and I have always lived here, never moved away. This should actually tell you a lot about me, such as, I have a sense of humor and I am basically a good, down-to-earth person. But, being a Clevelander means you are waiting for the other shoe to drop, pretty much always... after all, our sports teams for my whole life have either done one of two things... 1) lost the game / series / playoff in a clutch situation, or 2) just plain sucked.

Generally Cleveland people such as myself are easygoing and not pretentious, we value home and family and work and play, and basically don't have super-high expectations, which means we can have a pretty enjoyable life (unless that other shoe drops!)

In terms of the Funny Times, it is the most playful workplace I have ever known. We do work, of course that's important, but we also play, and that's great!

Betty

I was born on October 23rd, 1959 in an army hospital in Fort Bragg, North Carolina. This may seem like a really conventional way to start a biography, but actually it explains everything about me, and how I ended up doing the job I do (which no one will ever, and I mean ever understand), meeting the person I'm married to, which led to working for Funny Times and all kinds of unconventional adventures.

Suffice it to say that being born into a military family is basically the same as being a modern day Bedouin and whether you embrace or resist it, the inner nomad is always there. I chose to embrace the peripatetic life, so after college and working as a paralegal for three years, I looked at my bedside table piled high with law and business school applications and did the only sensible thing: I bought a one-way ticket to Europe and after six months traveling around "settled" in Madrid to teach English and learn Spanish. As luck would have it, I met (on Oct 23rd no less) my future husband, a cartoonist and originally from Cleveland, Ohio. He persuaded me to move to NYC, where I embarked on my publishing career (starting off as a Fulfillment Assistant, the only funny title I've ever had until my recent promotion to Circulation Czarina), and we took a 9 month sabbatical trip to Africa and Southeast Asia.

When Ray and Sue were hiring in 1993, it turned out they knew my husband from high school and for Sue, as far back as third grade and my life took yet another turn, as I opened the New York satellite "office' of Funny Times. Through them, I've been able to indulge my other passion, politics, giving out Dope Seed packages at conventions and anti-war protests. Most recently, the inner nomad took my husband, 9 year old daughter and me to live in Oaxaca, Mexico for two years, where I opened yet another far flung branch office and experienced political unrest, military invasion and the vagaries of the Mexican post office.

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