Wednesday, December 23, 2009


(Yeah I know it's lame but you know what? I'm getting ready to go out of town tomorrow and will be gone until the new year so it's been a little busy around here, but don't worry I still love you, so have a happy holiday and I'll see you when I get back)


-Nat Topping

Monday, December 21, 2009

Friday, December 18, 2009

The War on “The War on Christmas”

No Christmas season would be complete without politicians bitching at each other about whether or not it’s politically correct to talk about Christmas in public.

In a perfect world, we wouldn’t have this discussion because all religious holidays from this time of year would be recognized as federal holidays and we’d all have the day off for Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, etc. In a just-slightly-less-than-perfect-world-but-much-less-ridiculous-than-our-current-world world, people wouldn’t talk about that kind of thing because it’s an incredibly stupid “issue” that doesn’t warrant anyone wasting their precious time or mental energy.

But alas, the world is not perfect. And so we get to deal with this shit every year.

That's right, people. Prepare for Christmas Rant.

Take, for example, this CNN article entitled “Heated debate again over ‘War on Christmas’ claims." Joy!

House Representative Henry Brown, a Republican from South Carolina (I know, a Republican in South Carolina; you’re shocked and surprised; breathe into a bag or something) feels we need legislation protecting Christmas from ourselves: "What I'm afraid of,” he admits with palpable fear, “if we don't bring some kind of closure to this continuous change, then in 20 years it will almost be completely different from what we see today ... and so we would lose the whole emphasis of what the very early beginnings of Christmas was all about."

Where's your beard, Santa?

By ‘very early beginnings of Christmas’ I can only assume that Rep. Brown means the arbitrary selection of 12/25 for Jesus’ birthday, despite a complete lack of solid evidence for when His birth might have taken place, for the purpose of co-opting the various pagan festivals from which we get such wonderful Christmas traditions as “Yule logs,” “Christmas trees,” and “fun.”

Maybe I’m just cynical.

I don’t understand how anyone can think Christmas is in jeopardy. Every year, the Christmas starts earlier and earlier; the decordations show up earlier and earlier on the store shelves; radios switch to the Christmas music before October 31st is even completely over.

The fact that we even have to talk about this makes me want to rant in ugly fashion about politics and society and all sorts of things that are decidedly not in the spirit of the season.

Look, I love Christmas as much as the next sporadically practicing Christian. I think it's a wonderful time of the year where people exhibit the best qualities of humanity and (hopefully) family. But Jesus Christ, can we please stop trying to legislate every goddamn thing in this country? Liberal, Conservative, I don’t give a damn. Just stop it and leave me alone. I want to enjoy my egg nog in some fucking PEACE.

Nobody wants to kill Christmas. Nobody is going to kill you if you won't celebrate Christmas. Just let it be what it is: a chance to be with your family, or celebrate with your friends, or go to church, or even just a day off of work. That's it. Let it be.

AND, as a side note, I would like to propose legislation that officially bans the use of the following terms unless uttered in a sarcastic manner:

  • (The) War on ________, where the blank is filled with some abstract or generally harmless concept.
  • ________-gate, where the blank is filled with anything other than the word “Water”
  • ________ Nation, where the blank is filled with any sports team, college, or entity other than an actual nation.

These terms make me want to use my mind lasers to explode the Media. And you wouldn’t want that, Media.

Hallelujah… holy shit.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Born With A Stolen Spoon

Here is a holiday exercise in emotional distance and it's relationship to comedy.

Consider this scenario: a drunken 4-year old child is found in the middle of a road, wearing a girls dress and carrying an open can of beer, at 1:45 in the morning. He just finished breaking into a family's unlocked house and stealing Christmas gifts.

That's at least kind of funny, right? I think it's a hilarious image.

Now, consider this scenario: a child emulates his father's destructive behavior in the hopes of being thrown into the same prison so that he can be with the father he loves.

That's tragedy, right?

They're both from the same article about a child from Chattanooga, TN.

I don't really have a larger point here. I just think it's interesting.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

I See What You Did There With Those Signs

I'm beginning to rethink my "Crappiest Day of the Week" rankings.

Traditionally, it has been Monday/Tuesday/Thursday/Wednesday/Sunday/Friday/Saturday where Monday is crappiest and Saturday is least crappy. I'm thinking of moving Tuesday ahead of Monday. For whatever reason, they have just plain sucked lately.

So, with that in mind, here are two enjoyable links. Enjoy:

This would be from a site called Epic Win FTW, which I suppose is a response to Fail Blog. Be warned: it's mostly pictures of things that dorks would find really cool, so keep that in mind.

And for those of you who have ever wanted to watch Viking kittens perform The Electric Six while floating midair, here's your chance.

Hump day is just around the corner, babies.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Richard Kind is Famous

Double posted to the robo-blog here.

This last weekend was the 50th anniversary celebration for the Second City. The theatre company held all sorts of special reunion shows, round table discussions, lectures, get-togethers, love-ins and other assorted events. In my typical Nat Topping obliviousness - I can barely remember my own birthday much less some theatre company's fiftieth - I nearly missed out on everything.

Luckily, my girlfriend (who is admittedly smarter than me) managed to get tickets to the mainstage show last night. While not strictly a special 50th anniversary function, there were alumni present so we had a combination sketch show and celebrity whale watching expedition.

Before the show started, this guy wandered by our section of the theatre:
I know I'd seen this guy before in a bunch of stuff. I couldn't place where. Neither could my girlfriend. The guy from Arkansas sitting at our table also couldn't place him, and neither could his disinterested girlfriend from Colorado.

Even the four students who snuck in at intermission and took the seats behind us couldn't think of the guys name. We all knew he was famous; we just didn't know why or who he was.

And nobody had enough bars on their e-phones to hop on the interwebs and figure it out!

When the show was over, alumni were invited to take part in the improv set (which was very cool) and it was only then, when he was introduced, that we found out the guys name. As you've probably gathered from the title of today's post, it was Richard Kind. You likely recognize him too; he's had a long and prolific career as a character actor and has been in a ton of stuff that you know of have seen.

I don't really have a point here other than it's a strange phenomenon: quasi-fame. I would also like it noted that he was probably the best improviser on the stage for that set.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Friday: Your New Currency

Your brief Friday post!!

Lonely? Looking for a relatively uncomplicated relationship with a small and furry animal? Have access gold laying around?

Why not exchange your gold for cats?

(Yes, I know this is a really weird picture. It's one of the first things that popped up when i searched for "Kitten Made of Gold" though so there you go. Thanks, Interwebs!) offers you an easy three step process for turning your excess gold (and who doesn't have gold laying around?) into cuddly, hairball producing lumps of adorable! Follow the link for more deTAILS!

It's a good thing it's not the other way around and they pay gold for cats. Because then I might become...

...wait for it...


Oh man, I can hear your groans through the monitor.

Le sigh.

Thursday, December 10, 2009


Yesterday, Clever Title posted what in hindsight can be termed a “crack-pot theory” written by Clever Title’s founding (and only) blogger. The theory suggested that the relatively warm weather that Chicago temporarily experienced yesterday morning was the result of the aforementioned blogger wearing his boots and that the warm weather would continue if a new pair of boots was not purchased immediately, thus ruining the prospects for a conventional snowy winter.

Obviously, yesterday
afternoon’s snow storm and today’s nine-degree weather have cast some doubt on the validity of those assertions put forth in the previous blog post.

In addition, though, it has come to this blog’s attention that certain emails have been leaked to the public (courtesy of the notorious Internet neerdowell known only as Hacker Johnny) detailing the nature of our founding blogger’s research. In the interest of transparency, Clever Title is posting the series of emails below:


From: Nat Topping
To: Clever Title
Subject: RE: Research for Boot Related Temperature Changes
Date: Wed Dec 9 10:18:54 2009

Dear All
Here's the latest draft of BD1. As you can see from the attached, the data from last year doesn’t really support our working assumptions – apparently last year it did in fact snow on a couple of occasions where I was wearing my boots. I have a fix for this; we should leave that part out in the post as that might cast the research from the last two days in a negative light. Besides, I’d really like new boots and I want someone else to pay for them.

From: Clever Title
To: Nat Topping
Subject: RE: Research for Boot Related Temperature Changes
Date: Wed Dec 9 10:34:12 2009

First of all, why are you emailing this? Clever Title is administered by you. You are just emailing yourself incriminating evidence. You think this kind of shit is safe on the internet? It’s not. You’re almost as bad as Tiger Woods. Except that Tiger Woods is a billionaire who plays golf and gets laid all the time – so really in a sense you are worse than Tiger Woods. Regardless, stop emailing yourself.
And second, where is this “Cheers” signoff coming from? It’s pretentious and you’re not English. Stop it.

**Visit Clever Title at “We won’t disappoint you too much” **

From: Nat Topping
To: Clever Title
Cc: Hacker Johnny
Subject: RE: Research for Boot Related Temperature Changes
Date: Wed Dec 9 10:35:00 2009

Jesus, what the hell is your problem today? I’d think you’d be happy not having to post a stupid picture today. Apparently I was wrong.
Cheers (aka Kiss My Ass)

From: Clever Title
To: Nat Topping
Cc: Hacker Johnny
Subject: RE: Research for Boot Related Temperature Changes
Date: Wed Dec 9 10:42:57 2009

Who did you just cc?

**Visit Clever Title at “We won’t disappoint you too much” **


We here at Clever Title would like to disassociate ourselves with Nat Topping. We take our social contract with the public seriously. Unfortunately he’s the only one who ever posts here, so we can’t really do that. And while we would like to say this kind of shenanigan will never happen again, let’s be honest, it probably will. Just know that we’re sorry.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

This Weather Is All My Fault

Yesterday morning when I left for work I discovered a thin layer of snow on the ground. This was to be expected, as it is December in Chicago after all and December tends to be when this whole winter thing gets going around these parts. Unfortunately, I neglected to wear my boots – a somewhat ragged but nonetheless trusty pair of boots – and so I was stuck with my tennis shoes for the day. Which was inconvenient.

This morning when I left for work I discovered that there was no snow on the ground, that it had in fact melted and that the only form of precipitation was a slightly irritating light sleet. The weather pattern had clearly been altered as this morning is now obviously warmer than yesterday morning. I wore the exact same coat, hat and scarf. The only difference? I was wearing my ragged yet trusty pair of boots instead of the tennis shoes I wore yesterday.

Since the weather was so drastically warmer this morning as compared to yesterday morning, I am left to conclude that the reason for this warming is the fact that I am wearing my snow boots.

How is this possible? I would assume this phenomenon operates under the same principles as the fact that it is less likely to rain if I’m carrying my umbrella or that it is more likely to rain if I’ve had my car washed recently.

I am therefore convinced that these boots – the ones I am currently wearing – can only be dangerous for the likelihood of a nice snowy winter and that for the sake of everyone I must explore alternate methods of covering my feet for the next couple of months. For anyone interested in having a quintessentially picturesque winter replete with snowy evenings gathered around the hearth sipping hot chocolate, I would be happy to take suggestions / donations.

Please leave your information in the comment section and I will contact you.

Together, we can save winter.

####Editor’s Note 1:30 PM *: Since the original writing of the above piece, it has since come to this publication’s attention that the aforementioned ‘light sleet’ has since turned to legitimate snow. The author of the above has since released a follow up statement, which has been published below.####


I realize that this afternoon would appear to be closer to the weather one might typically expect for this time of year – namely, temperatures in the 20’s to 30’s and snow. I would like to assure you that we are still in danger of an ugly, slushy, imperfect winter due to my defectively ragged and evidently unlucky boots. If anything, the fact that it is now snowing in Chicago illustrates the kind of imbalanced weather normally associated with the drastic changes caused by my boots. Rest assured that the trend established by my findings over the past two days will resume soon if someone doesn’t buy me a new pair of boots. Please leave your contact information in the comment section if you wish to save winter.


-Nat Topping, Expert

* Yes, Clever Title now has a made up Editor.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

I Would Cry Too, Little Girl

Ah Christmas! This time of year is full of time honored traditions - holiday staples like figgy pudding and mistletoe and drinking too much at your family get together and then telling your family members what you really think of them and then apologizing profusely to them until New Years rolls around and you vow never to let those demons back out, only to repeat it all again next year.

That's what Christmas is all about: forgiveness! Or is that Easter? I get that confused.

One of the great time honored traditions is the Mall Santa. These soldiers of holiday spirit brave long lines, grumpy parents, hopped-up children and poor working conditions to provide the youth of our fair culture with the most traditional of Christmas delusions - the belief that by being good we will be rewarded with material goods.

As a result of this scherade - either caused by the job conditions or because the job conditions appeal only to those who can't find something better to do - Mall Santas often end up, well, like this:

It's the angriest Santa you'll ever see! Maybe it's the constant screaming, the flashing bulbs of the cameras, or the fact that he's now a swine flue ridden flea bag. I don't know. All I know is he looks like he's this close to snapping.

For those of you interested in creepy pictures of children crying on the laps of very sketchy looking Santas, there's a site for you! It's called Sketchy Santas.

Ho ho ho, kiddies.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Sketch Comedy Post Over at Robo-Blog

Long, long post about The Kids in the Hall and the general health of sketch comedy can be found here. Too lazy to repost. Damn you, Mondays!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Friday: Copenwhore... I mean, Whorepenhagen. Wait, Don't Help Me, I Can Get This

There's nothing quite so enjoyable as the day after a company holiday party. People scrape themselves off their living room floor, splash water on their faces and then show up a few hours late to the office, their vacant bloodshot eyes held open by the grace of caffeine, just looking for a way to get through the work day as quickly as possible.

It's a welcome change from the last couple of days, which have quite frankly sucked donkey balls. Hence yesterday's post, and the lack of posting for most of the week.

Let's see, what have I missed this past week.

NEWS FLASH: Tiger Woods Gets In Car Crash and Now Has Sex With Many Women. Oh no! Will you ludicrously wealthy professional athletes ever learn? People with money are supposed to be better than us poor people.

Oh Tiger. If I actually cared about any of this, I would be so disappointed. But I don't. So I'm not.

NEWS FLASH: Sarah Palin, Maybe Not a Genius? Dude writes a book entitled Going Rogue. Considering that "rogue" is defined as "a dishonest or worthless person" or "an individual exhibiting a chance and usually inferior biological variation" by Merriam-Webster, might not be the best use of words. Or, might be perfectly apropos depending on your political leanings.

One thing is certain, though: I won't waste any of my time reading the book. My buddy Mike Bauman already did it for me and pulled any interesting quotes for the general public's perusal. Linky link here.

NEWS FLASH: COPIN' WITH THE GROPIN' IN COPEN...HAGEN... Man, writing headlines must be the most enjoyable job in the world. Consider, for instance, "Gropenhagen Conference."

Basically the Mayor of Copenhagen is sending out postcards asking people not to sleep with prostitutes while they are in town for the COP15 conference, which presumably will be about finding newer and more exciting ways to silence those lunatics who think maybe climate change might not be something that people can really actually control (but I digress).

So prostitutes are now offering a freebie to anyone with one of these postcards. From spokesprostitute Susanne Moller: “This is sheer discrimination. Ritt Bjerregaard is abusing her position as Lord Mayor in using her power to prevent us carrying out our perfectly legal job.”

And now, we will have a brief moment of silence to ruminate on the vast differences between our own little puritanical neck of the woods and the rest of the world.




Ahhhhh. Time to write some new tags.

Thursday, December 3, 2009