Friday, May 30, 2008

Harvey Korman

For those of you who were unaware, Harvey Korman passed away yesterday at the age of 81.

Most probably remember him for his role in Blazing Saddles as Hedley Lamarr. While that was no doubt fantastic in that, I will always have a sentimental spot for his role in History of the World, Part I, where he played a foppish nobleman during the French Revolution. Not the largest role ever, but played pitch-perfect and very funny.

Here's a picture:

"Don't get saucy with me, Bearnaise."

That was one of my favorite movies growing up. I used to watch it over and over again on sick days from school and quote lines from it to my friends and family until I was no longer cool.

I have yet to recover said cool.

Thursday, May 29, 2008


Well, looks like it's going to be an abnormally busy day for me today. I apologize in advance for ignoring you.



Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Indiana Jones and the Search for Acceptance

I've read a couple of blog reviews of the new Indiana Jones movie, and feel the need to chime in.
That's right, I saw Indiana Jones. And I saw it within the first week of it being out in the theatres. And not only that, but I also liked it.

Was it the greatest movie of the year? No, probably not. Was the plot a little bit flimsy? Sure.

I guess I could sit here and talk about how it might not measure up to what we all think we remember the old movies were like back when we saw them for the first time twenty-some years ago.

I could also talk about how unbelievable some of the action pieces were - like when Indiana Jones survives a nuclear bomb blast - as though the first three movies were masterpieces of Russian realism.

I could even make the claim that the movie is unfair to the memory of Russian Communists (apparently, there are still Russian Communists and they are actually angry) and that the movie wasn't hard enough on America, the red scare and McCarthyism. Of course, this would ignore the fact that Indiana Jones loses his professorship in the beginning of the movie for ties to Communists or that one of the chase scenes breaks up a "Better Dead Than Red" rally.

I could sit here and pick the movie apart but I'm not going to. Why? Because it was fun.

It was a good, fun time and an enjoyable two hours out of my day.

Sometimes I like to sit back and not think about whether or not the movie is worthy of being the newest sequel, or if the movie is realistic enough or if it might damage the reputation of Russian Communists. Sometimes I like to sit back and watch explosions and wild car chases and elaborate stunts and crazy stories about ancient Peruvians and Aliens. Who knows, I might even be willing to suspend my disbelief for an entire two hours for that. I mean it's an Indiana Jones movie, for chrissake.

Sometimes I like to just enjoy the damned movie for what it is: eye candy. Does that make me a weak minded individual of no discerning taste? I don't think so, but if it does then whatever. I can live with that.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

New Office

Happy Tuesday to you from the new Nat Topping Ltd. World Headquarters in Chicago's fashionable West Loop. The new digs are spacious, airy and smell of some type of wood, probably from all of the frantic construction work over the weekend to get the new office ready for my impending arrival.

My personal corner of the office is a small cubicle pretty much right in the middle of "the floor." I could have had the main corner office looking out over downtown Chicago but, no, I decided that I would much rather work among the rabble, the so-called little people.

This morning I decided not to drive my expensive Aston Martin to the new office, leaving it parked on the street out in front of my chic "studio apartment," next to the rotting Toyota Camrys of my neighbors (why one would own such scrap-traps when one could purchase a shiny new silver Aston Martin will forever be beyond my comprehension). No, today I opted to walk among the unwashed masses to the Halsted street bus and, wedging myself in between the bus window and what I can only describe as a 'cat lady,' relished the 40 minute ride to work.

From the bus stop, it is a seven minute walk to the new offices. I might have hailed one of those cabbies I see driving around everywhere to ferry me along the rest of my journey. Certainly under normal circumstances I might have my on-call driver take me in my expensive limo. But standing there on the corner, soaking in the atmosphere of the 40 degree weather, the wind and an overcast reminiscent of November, I decided that it would be the perfect day for a quick stroll.

And so I relished my brief little jaunt outside, passing beneath the elevated train (which I hear is quite popular amongst the masses), past meat markets and wholesale produce warehouses and over puddles of stagnant filthy water until finally, I reached my destination: my new office!

Let me share a management technique with you that I have picked up over the years: every once in a while, as evidenced by today's journey, I like to pretend as though I am not the affluent head of a company. Instead, I like to pretend that I am a young twenty-something man who is forced to work a day job - one that borders on tediousness- as a means of getting to know those people who I would hope to rule. In doing so, I feel that I remain grounded and gain an appreciation for why the average work-a-day Joe complains so much.

At any rate, after arriving and getting a tour of the new facilities from "my boss" - this is a little game I like to play with one of the ranked employees here where I pretend that he is my boss for the day and that these are the offices of another company which I call Network Innovations - I settled down to my cubicle desk, unpacked my crate of belongings (the new pool table has yet to arrive) and now here I sit, typing this communique to you, my faithful readership.

I wonder what the rabble will do for lunch today?

Friday, May 23, 2008

Friday Thoughts

Ladies and gentlemen, we're coming up on Memorial Day weekend, which means that people are actively avoiding work around the office. We are also packing up today since we will be moving into a new office effective next Tuesday. What was once a ten minute walk from my house will become a 45 minute bus-slog away. Suck.

So it's busy busy busy around here and, I'm not going to lie, I am about ready to leave already. Something about the stress of moving intensifies the annoying qualities of certain employees. Or maybe my tolerance is just lower.

At anyrate, have a good holiday weekend everyone. I'll try to post something but, if I don't get around to it (internet access in my apartment is shotty at best), I will talk to you on Tuesday.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

A Lack of Inspiration

I don't know what my deal is but lately I'm having trouble building up enough concentration to sit down and write something. This should be evident considering it's nearly 5:00 Central Time and I still haven't written anything of value yet today. I know I wrote a blog post at some point about overcoming writer's block but, really, anyone who takes my advice on anything is either desperate or a fool (except for you, gentle reader).

What about you? What do you people do for motivation? Leave a comment and let me know.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008


I realize, ladies and gentlemen, that I am a nerd. I like to read history books and obscure Italian Renaissance plays every once in a while and, sure, I know what a "worm-hole" is and, all right, maybe I do have a homemade "Count Down to Crystal Skull" calendar hanging in my apartment (the new Indiana Jones comes out tomorrow and I'm SUPER-PSYCHED). Fine. I readily admit to my nerdery.

I like to think that I balance that out by being a sports enthusiast. Of course there is such a thing as being sports nerdy but I will leave that to the side for a moment.

So, I thought today I would share my enthusiasm for the Detroit Pistons. They are playing for the Eastern Conference championship and open the series tonight against the Boston Celtics.

You may ask, "But Nat, don't you live in Chicago now? Shouldn't you be a Bulls fan now?"


And it's not just because the Bulls sucked it up this year.

You see, I was a young lad when the Pistons won two NBA titles during the infamous Bad Boy years at the end of the 80's. I remember watching the games with my parents in the TV room. I grew up a few exits up the freeway from the Palace of Auburn Hills, their arena. I endured the days when the team colors changed from Red, White and Blue to a disgusting sea-weed green, and then back again. I was in the arena when the only redeeming part of the game was Grant Hill. And in 2004, my senior year at U of M, all of my housemates had assigned good luck seats for the finals when the Pistons won their most recent championship.

It's hard to give up a team when you have that kind of fan history.

That last championship in 2004 was the triumph of the team over the individual, we told ourselves. That was the year when a team of relatively unknown players - good players but not 'name players' - went up against a team which had won three of the last four championships and featured the likes of such legends as Kobe "The Next Jordan" Bryant and Shaquille "Kazaam!" O'Neal. And the Pistons spanked them by playing good team basketball.

There's nothing better than waxing rhapsodic about your home town sports team winning a championship.

So here we are a couple of years later and it's fundamentally the same core of Piston players - by now 'name players' but still not legends - playing a Boston team that features three high-profile star players with Boston holding on to home court advantage, and of course I couldn't be more excited for the series to start.

How excited am I? Nerd excited. Indiana Jones excited.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

The Universal Church Goes Universal

Ladies and gentlemen, it's the moment you've all been waiting for. The Roman Catholic church has finally come around:

"The Rev. Jose Gabriel Funes, the Jesuit director of the Vatican Observatory, says that the vastness of the universe means it is possible there could be other forms of life outside Earth, even intelligent ones.... Funes says that such a notion "doesn't contradict our faith" because aliens would still be God's creatures."

It's about time someone at the Vatican took my feverish letters seriously.

Actually, I didn't even know that the Vatican had an observatory. I'm guessing that wasn't around when they forced Galileo to admit that the Earth is the center of the universe and not that pesky yellow thing flying around the sky all the time.

Now, some of you may dismiss this as an act of blasphemy or at the very least a trivial piece of non-news that has absolutely no bearing on how people live their real lives. But I ask you to take a moment and digest the importance of this statement. This is a huge step forward for major religious organizations recognizing the potential existence of what have up until this point been nothing more than fictional characters in Hollywood movies (not counting Scientology of course, which is a business).

Of course, this begs the theological question: "If God is all good, how could God create beings who routinely kidnap and probe rednecks, who forced Carrie Fisher against her will to wear a smoking hot metal bikini, and who blew up the White House two days before Independence Day?"

Ah, a question worthy of St. Augustine himself!

But, while this is definitely a step forward, we must continue to push until mother church recognizes the possible existence of other creatures of fancy, including (but not limited to):

(1) Gnomes
(2) Trolls
(3) Fairies
(4) Yetis
(5) Dragons
(6) Mormons
(7) The Kraken

And as a staunch supporter of this cause, I promise you that I will not rest until I get distracted by something else, which I expect will happen shortly after I finish publishing this post.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008


It looks like the City of Chicago is trying to make small amounts of joy and fun illegal.

Apparently, this Wednesday (as in tomorrow) City Council votes on whether or not to add a whole load of restrictions for "event promoters," making it prohibitively expensive for people like myself and the vast majority of small theatre/comedy companies (as well as bands, stand up comedians, etc.) from putting on shows.

This will basically kill the performance art career I had planned. For my first solo performance I was going to pack a large amount of people into a very small, dark room and then spray pepper spray in their faces. I call it "The Lamenting Cayennes." Looks like that's not going to happen.

Kidding. But of course the whole point of coming to this city for me (apart from being closer to my beautiful girl friend) was that there's a large community of small independent theatres and comedy companies where people like myself have a chance to get involved and learn the ropes.

So, for those of you who live in Chicago or come spend money on shows in Chicago, here is a website that's taking online signatures which they will present to the city council tomorrow. Please take the time to sign by leaving a comment in their comment section.

Monday, May 12, 2008

A Tree-Humping Good Time

The Greatest Stories Never Told... Told! closed this Sunday. I promise that soon I will stop talking about this show.

For now, though, I wanted to say thank you to all of you people who were kind enough to make it out to the show. This weekend we had really good crowds. Saturday was nearly packed and yesterday I'd say we had more than half the house sold, which was not bad considering it was Mother's Day. My aunt and uncle drove up from St. Louis, Mo. to see the show with my family, who drove from Detroit, Mi. That's a lot of miles. Thanks, Family!

The cool thing is, with the good turn-out over the weekend, at the end of the day we did not have to sell our shirts to the theatre. In fact, we even made a very, very tiny amount of money off of the deal. As a result, I can spend my "economic stimulus" check on something worth while(pornographic materials).

So, all in all I think a good time was had by most. I certainly had a blast, and I'm glad that our group now has it's first full show under its collective belt. Saturday we go back to the drawing board and figure out what we want to do next. I'm sure you'll hear me blathering about that in the near future.

Friday, May 9, 2008


Ok, people, this is your last chance:

Robot vs. Dinosaur Presents: The Greatest Stories Never Told . . . TOLD!

Saturdays and Sundays (April 26th-May 11th, 2008) at 4:00 PM
$10 General Admission
Gorilla Tango Theatre,1919 N. Milwaukee Ave in Chicago, IL

Two shows this weekend, both awesome. Come on down and bring everyone you know!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

An Appeal For Calm

Dear everyone,

I know it may look like finally, after months and months of slogging through the morass that is political campaigning, that the country has it's two choices for the Presidency wrapped up. I realize after last night's vote that it finally looks like Senator Clinton will pack it up. I know many of you are already moving on to deciding which of two remaining people are least likely to completely destroy the country over the next four years.

I know you're tempted to take a quick sigh of relief and then get on with it.

But please remember, so long as there are ratings to be had and even the tiniest glimmer of perverse hope that through complete and total destruction Clinton can still pull this thing out, that we are unlikely to see this whole thing wrap up any time soon.

So, instead of going overboard organizing that ticker-tape parade, I say take a quick breath, grab a bucket of popcorn and hang out for the next month or so.

Hey, Pistons are in the playoffs! That should last us for a little while!



Monday, May 5, 2008

FW: Hilarious Blog Posting!!!!!!! (anal romp daddy)

I just found out about this, but apparently the internet can be used for more than just blogging and viewing amateur Swedish pornography.

I know, shocking right?

For the longest time, I had been using the internet almost exclusively for porn. Last year I discovered blogging. Since then, I have been using the internet for posting my half-baked jokes and xenophobic ramblings for all the world (three people) to see. And viewing porn.

Recently, I've discovered the "Forward."

Actually, I guess the proper term is "rediscovered" since I've known about the infamous Forward for a good long time.

A "forward" is an email that someone you know received from someone else that has been deemed funny enough or important enough that they are sending it along to you (or "forwarding it") unsolicited under the assumption - false or otherwise - that you will enjoy or learn from it.

Usually, that assumption is dead wrong. And, as a result, I almost always delete forwards without even opening them - unless of course they are sent from someone that I know and trust, in which case I think about opening it and then delete it anyway.

Forwards are also a great way to sneak computer viruses onto your computer. If I'm getting a computer virus, I would just as soon get it from Swedish porn than a stupid Forward.

But last night I was thinking about the Forward and realized that, like the ingredients section on the packaging of your favorite Little Debbie Snack Cake, someone actually took the time to write that. Once the thing has been forwarded hundreds of times from one enthusiastic forwarder to another, it's easy to lose track of the fact that somewhere, someone decided to sit down and actually write that damned thing where you scroll down the email and read a bunch of questions and by the time you get to the end, the email claims that it can read your mind or whatever.

Somewhere, someone in a darkened basement conjured up his inner Somalianness to write that damned email that claims to have a fortune locked in a bank account and that they need your help to unlock it and that you will be handsomely rewarded for your help.

Someone actually writes those hysterical emails - the READ THIS NOW ITS TWO (sic) IMPORTANT TO DELETE emails, claiming that Obama, Hillary and McCain are just three heads on the Seven Headed beast of the Apocalypse.

Yes, someone writes all that shit, and then they send it out to people who they know will forward it on to other people, who then in turn either delete it or send it one to other people, and the cycle continues ad nauseum.

Don't you wonder who those people are? The people that spend actual time and energy putting that shit together? I do. And I wonder how I can get started writing them!

I'm looking for samples to help me get started. If anyone has an interesting forward, post it in the comment section.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Friday Drivel

A couple of little drivelettes for you on this lovely Friday:

(1) I know I live in Chicago, which is a city rich in its own sports traditions, but I can't help being a fan of the D. Especially when they have a sports night like they had last night.

The Basketball team (Pistons) finished off their playoff series against the 76ers with a 23-point win in Philadelphia.

The Hockey team (Red Wings) finished a playoff sweep of their series against an old rival, the Avalanche.

The Baseball team (Tigers) swept the Yankees at Yankee stadium for the first time in forty-some years. This after a horrendous 0-7 start to the season. They are now one game away from getting back to a .500 record.

The Football team (Lions)... will continue to be the Lions until proven innocent.

(2) I found this link yesterday about an embattled Australian politician who is being asked to resign from office because he sniffed the freshly sat-in chair of a female staffer.

What they don't tell you is whether or not she was still in the room when he sniffed the chair.

I just want to know what kind of a world do we live in where an Australian politician can't even sniff the chair of a female staffer without being accused of creepiness? What if he just likes the smell of chairs? And even if he is pervy, so what? I mean come on, he's Australian! AND a politician! They're lucky he wasn't belligerent and drunk at the time, unless he was, in which case never mind.

(3) It is catastrophically raining right now.

(4) This wikipedia factoid was in a random draft email that I wrote but never sent:

The question "The tomato: is it a fruit, or is it a vegetable?" found its way into the United States Supreme Court in 1893. The court ruled unanimously in Nix v. Hedden, 1893, that a tomato is correctly identified as, and thus taxed as, a vegetable, for the purposes of the 1883 Tariff Act on imported produce. However, the court did acknowledge that botanically speaking, a tomato is a fruit.

What a useless little piece of information.

(5) What else was I going to post today...? Oh yeah! COME SEE MY SHOW!

Robot vs. Dinosaur Presents:
The Greatest Stories Never Told . . . TOLD!
Saturdays and Sundays (April 26th-May 11th, 2008) at 4:00 PM$10 General Admission
Gorilla Tango Theatre,1919 N. Milwaukee Ave in Chicago, IL

Two shows this weekend, both awesome. Come on down and bring everyone you know!

Ok ladies and gents, that's enough from me. Happy Friday!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

May 1st - Gorgeous

Good lord, what have I fallen off the face of the earth?

No. Just lazy lately.

But hey, while I'm suffering from a momentary lack of inspiration (momentary... who am I kidding) take a look outside, Chicago! It's gorgeous! It's sunny, mid 70's, slight breeze. Take a walk during your lunch break, play catch, enjoy it before the weekend rain hits and then it drops into the 50's on Sunday.

Oh, and as long as you're not doing anything Saturday or Sunday afternoon, come check out the show.