Tuesday, December 21, 2010

SONG: I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus (Home Wrecker)

First, a Christmas gift, then an explanation.  Have a listen:

I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus (Home Wrecker)
Arranged and Deformed by Nat Topping
12.21.2010



So, I've been taking voice over classes here in Chicago.  I just finished up my second class and I'm looking into making a demo but, in the meantime, I decided I'd get a decent microphone so that I could practice reading stuff, tweaking my voice, etc.  I wanted to put something together to kind of test the microphone and to fiddle around with free editing software and so on and this is what came out. 

The voice is a character singing voice that I use when singing inappropriate songs for gravely male voices - like Dolly Parton's Jolene except I only know about eighteen words of the song.  I need a name for that character voice, so let me know if you have any brilliant ideas in the comment section.

Monday, December 20, 2010

A Toast to the Persistent!

A Toast!

To the persistent!

To those of us who refuse to give up!

To those who keep their eye on the prize!

To those who will bulldoze everything in their way to get what they want!

To those who will not jump through hoops or over hurdles, but who bulldoze through hurdles!

To those who are so fixated on the prize that they will ruin the competition, willfully disregard rules to comic effect, stumble gracelessly, impede the progress of others, and generally act the ass so that they can finish this race we call life not in first, nor in second, but certainly not last!



Cheers to you, second hurdler from the left!

Tip of the hat to my buddy Pat.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The Softer Side of Putin

And no, I'm not talking about this:


I'm talking about a strange rash of pleasant Putin pictures and movies making their rounds about the interwebs.  And sure, maybe by "rash" I mean "two," but still have a look at this:



Question: What the... wahuh?  I... wha?  Anyone?  I mean... huh?

Who looks more unnatural in that setting?  I would argue Putin, despite the fact that the other two people in the photo are (1) some sort of deranged snowman, and (2) a... hipster rabbit?

But even more disturbing perhaps (definitely) is this video of Putin singing 'Blueberry Hill' for charity:

In my best Russian accent: "Is terrible."

A couple of stray thoughts:
  • I love that everyone is forced to pretend that he's actually singing.  And also, that the person who actually is singing sounds comically Russian.
  • Why are they playing a synthesized version of Blueberry Hill when there is obviously a full band of musicians behind him just sitting around.
  • Kevin Costner might be even more awkward than deranged snowman and hipster rabit.
This is what Karaoke with the boss is like, except in this instance the 'boss' is an internationally feared iron man who fights whales with crossbows and strikes fear into the heart of fear itself.

Is it possible that Putin is growing soft in his old age?  That a new glimmer of warmth penetrates his cold icy gaze?  Let's have a look:

Nope.  Cold as ever.

Monday, December 13, 2010

The Seven Stages of Snow-cceptance

Dear Chicago: you’re still Chicago. I know that you had a lovely summer and a nice fall and that the weather has been mostly tolerable if not pleasant but at the end of the day you are known for a few things: incredibly unhealthy local fast foods, constructive yet nonetheless corrupt political corruption (corrupt), and cold weather.

It should come to no surprise then that this weekend was ass cold and ass snowy. But it does; it does surprise every year. This morning, I woke up and it was ten degrees and when I stepped outside I thought to myself “OOOH!! OOOH GOD!!! AHH! OOH GOD NO!! AAAAH!”

Yes, Bill Belichick brought this upon us.

So yes time to get out those hats and scarves and snow shoes and bear pelts and dog sled teams and whiskey sweet whiskey because guess what Chicago? It’s going to be cold; it’s going to be unpleasant; it’s going to be a long time before everything is okay again.

But I think as long as you keep everything in perspective and remember the Seven Stages of Sno-cceptance (SNOWMANTEAU!  Five bonus points for self-referrential linkage to me!) then at least you can rationalize the fact that you’re going through the exact same torturous process as every other poor bastard waiting on Halsted for a bus that might never come.

The steps are:
  1. Shock: “What the hell is that? Is that snow? Already? What month is it? Sonofabitch.”
  2. Denial: “There’s no way it’ll stick, though. Right? The ground is probably still too warm, so it will all melt and everything will go back to the way it was, right? Right?”
  3. Pain: “Holy hell, it’s cold. Oh God, why is it so cold?” 
  4. Guilt: “I could have lived anywhere in the whole damned country. Why did I pick this godforsaken tundra? What’s the weather like in Miami right now?” 
  5. Anger: “ARRGGHHH! ARRGGHHH! WIND!! AAARRGGHHH!!!” 
  6. Bargaining: “If the snow can just hold off until I get home, I promise I’ll volunteer time at a shelter for homeless meth-addict puppies” 
  7. Capitulation: “I give up. I’m ordering Lou Malnati’s delivery and spending the next two months watching garbage network television.”
Remember, it could always be worse. You could be Minnesota. Commence gratuitous video of Minnesota’s football stadium collapsing in five… four… three… two… and…

Stay strong, my Chicagoan brethren. Stay strong and stay warm.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The Devious Patch

I have a patch of hair on my beard that I am convinced grows faster than the rest of my beard. It’s on the right side of my face (your left if you’re looking at me) right where the beard meets my neckline, half way between my chin and my ear. If you ever need a map to that patch of unruly beard hair – in the event that my obsessive description wasn’t enough – let me know and I’ll draw you one.


I used to think that I wasn’t trimming the beard right. Somehow, I was trimming everything else on my face to the same length but was missing a patch. I’ve tried a new trimmer. I’ve tried trimming against the grain. I’ve tried trimming with the grain. I’ve tried trimming both with and then against the grain. I’ve tried trimming diagonally across the grain. I’ve trimmed until it looked like the devious patch had been trimmed into submission.

Ah, but appearances are deceiving. And within a few weeks, there are sprouts of uncooperative hair jetting out from my neckline, defying me and my desire to control my own beard.

So what is it with this tuft? Is it the manifestation of a defiant streak in my personality that has long been dormant? Is it proof positive that, no matter what I do I will always look like a disheveled lumberjack? Is it possible I’m just really bad at beard maintenance?

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Slow Down! There's Thanksgiving First!

Around this time of year, I am easily mistaken for a Grinch.


I can’t help it. I see the slow, methodical march of the Christmas decorations earlier and earlier into the year and I feel honor bound to say something. Usually, something whiny and crotchety and I probably just come off as some jerk who doesn’t like fun.

This may be true. I have a valid reason, though.

I know that people love Christmas and that Christmas is such a shiny, happy commercial success that the opportunity to begin festivities earlier and earlier can be extremely enticing. But there are holidays that come before Christmas, and I don’t want them glossed over just because some jag wants to sell you more wreaths, red bunting and plastic lawn reindeer.

I’m most concerned about one holiday in particular: Thanksgiving.

People, Thanksgiving is great. It is, perhaps, the purest holiday of all holidays. You need only do two things: eat food, and watch football. That’s it. Actually, someone also has to make the food. Three things. And for this, we are rewarded with a four day weekend every year.

There’s no buying of gifts, or running from house to house trying to see everybody you’ve ever known, or singing or going to church/mass/whatever floats your boat.

No. You go home to your family or you go find some people you like, you watch some football, and then you eat. You then have three more days off to contemplate Christmas or do whatever you like.

So dagnabbit, let’s not rush this, okay?

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Robo-Putin!

Some breaking news regarding Russia and their spy capabilities.  It now appears that they are able to see through time, as evidenced by this picture of Vladimir Putin:

Putin is now capable of seeing into both the future and the past, which allows him the ability to glare at anyone who has ever lived.  And, he looks incredibly stylish (in an early 90's sort of way) while doing it.

If your ancestors have ever had a dream where they saw the icy cold blue of a madman's eyes, it is because of this.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Get You're Education Hear, H'yaw

Linky link to some general spelling and grammar guidelines.  I know: the first thing you think of when you think 'grammar' is "ENTERTAINMENT!!" but I promise it's funny.  Check it out, h'yaw.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

freeze-taint

freeze-taint
[freez-teynt]
-noun
The sensation of cold on one's grundle or gooch, often caused by the application of said grundle to a cold object, e.g. a bicycle seat or a bag of frozen peas.

Origin: Nat Topping

Use it in a sentence: "After riding back from work last night, I noticed I have a wicked case of freeze-taint.

Monday, November 1, 2010

An Excellent Use of Time

If you like evidence of creativity among the unwashed masses (I have not showered today, nor do I intend to) I suggest taking a gander at the 55 Funniest Signs From the Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear.

My personal favorite is the first one up there:



I'm not sure which is worse, the Arabic or actual McDonalds.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

A Fanciful Poem Concerning the Wind

(I don my beret and my fanciful pants, procure a quill pen and a pot of ink and begin to write:)

Oh windy windy windy wind,
Whither, Windy, have you been?
I see that Autumn’s marching in
And winter’s on its way.

Oh windy windy windy wed,
You knocked the hat off of my head!
You make me wish I’d stayed in bed
And slept away the day.

Oh windy windy windy wike (?),
You make it really hard to bike!
A wall of wind, tornado like,
You cause me much dismay.

Oh windy windy windy wick,
Get lost, oh wind, you make me sick!
For wind, you’re like a tiny prick,
That shan’t be kept at bay.

Oh windy windy windy whoah,
How long, oh Wind, until you go?
Against my will you do me blow,
An awkward thing to say.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Age of the Cripple Fight

Last night, I witnesses a cripple fight on the corner of Ohio and St. Clair.

This is not a politically correct description, but this is what happened.  A panhandler in a motorized wheelchair had swiped a cane from another panhandler out in front of the 7-Eleven and an elderly police officer was trying to break it up.

It was about as grotesque a scene as you'd ever want to see; something that in the right lense could be funny but instead was just sad and depressing.

Another person on the scene happened to have a video camera and managed to capture this video of the incident:



Oh, wait, I'm sorry.  That was something entirely different.  That was outside of a political debate in Kentucky.  The lady you see in the wig is from Moveon.org, which is a "public policy advocacy group" devoted to irritating everyone but the most politically minded nerds.  The people stomping on her head are a bunch of assholes.

Colossal assholes, that is.

My friends, allow me to step up onto the blogging soapbox for a moment.  For with voting time creeping up, I feel compelled to stomp you all in the head with my opinion.

Ladies and gentlemen, we are living in the Age of the Cripple Fight.

Gone are the days of civility, distinction and grace in our political system.  Those peculiar qualities disappeared along with wigs.  Instead, there are only two cripples fighting over the same cane on the street corner.  They swat at one another with attack ads, barbs, and now it has seeped down to their fanatical followers, scuffling in the streets like a bunch of children on the playground.

There is no place for headstomping in American politics.  This is not the French Revolution.  This is not Tiananmen Square.  We are not fighting for our rights.  We already have them.

All we're doing here is just picking between two jagoffs (and in many places only two jagoffs) who will do essentially the exact same thing, which is to be jagoffs inside of a gigantic marble building.  They'll spend their jagoff time trying not to piss off too many people while simultanously campaigning (by acting like a jagoff towards newer, less experienced jagoffs) for their job two years or four years or six years down the line.  The process repeats itself with two more jagoffs (sometimes one or both are the same jagoffs from last time) and so on and so on.

The above is not worth a headstomping. 

And of course, the easy thing would be to say "Oh yeah, well, it's the Tea Party whose responsible for all of this and I HATE THE TEA PARTY SO MUCH!!!"  But you know what?  It's not, Moveon.org.  It's not, all of you agitators behind the Bush = Chimp thing and all of the various other sundry barbs and jabs.

The fact of the matter is, if people voted for grownups who didn't spend their time shouting down people of the "opposite" party, then the people in power would be grownups who don't spend their time shouting down people of the "opposite" party.

So this upcoming election, I would urge everyone to grow up and vote for grownups.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Ship is Sailing...

Two more shows left in the saga of The Saga.  Come check it out before it's gone forever.

(Please note: there are no cows in our show, The Saga of the Viking Women and their Voyage to the Waters of the Great Sea Serpent, as Performed by the Inmates of the Assylum of Charenton, Under the Direction of the Great Sea Serpent.  I just picked this picture because I find the idea of Viking cows to be funny, particularly since cows aren't known for being aquatically inclined animals.  But, all that being said, this show is about a bunch of lunatics putting on a play, so the possibility of a cow showing up in the show is not altogether impossible.)

(Also note: when I went to write 'impossible' my brain kept trying to make me type 'inpossible.'  Which isn't even a word.  What is the deal with that?)

(Also also note: please come see the show.)

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Split Pea Soup

A list of reasons why Split Pea Soup is great:
  1. It is delicious
  2. It is made with Peas, a vegetable, so you’re getting your vitamins
  3. It is also made with Ham
  4. Ham is delicious
  5. It is warm and comforting
  6. It is thick and hearty
  7. Did I mention that it’s made of Ham?
Given the above, Split Pea Soup is great. FACT.

END POST!!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Letter Regarding Oyster Crackers

Dear Food Service Establishment,

I am of the belief that if one is willing to commit the resources to purchasing a large container of soup to go, then at the very least the soup selling establishment should commit to providing no less than two small packages of oyster crackers free of charge.

Imagine my disdain, then, when recently I opened my white sandwich baggie to find a large container of soup and only one paltry package of oyster crackers.

This is poor form, Food Service Establishment.  I find your single solitary small package to be woefully inadequate.

Pathetic.

Sincerely yours,

Irritated Customer

P.S. My jeans are too tight.  I realize this is none of your concern, but I felt it necessary to share nonetheless.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Ball Cap

I don’t want to get too specific because of the sports curse, so I won’t mention the team. Suffice it to say I was wearing a certain ball cap around town the other day. This is a dangerous proposition whenever you wear sports apparel from a foreign land. Particularly when every team you like is a division rival of the city in which you live.


An observation: when your team is winning – when your team is 5-0 – nobody wants to talk about sports. But the moment your team loses one game, suddenly ever random jackass sports fan from off the street wants to come around and talk.

“I got one thing to say to you,” said the random guy on the street to me, “Are you guys ready for the Hawkeyes this weekend? That’s all I’m going to say.” Like me and ‘the guys’ have been in the weight room all week getting ready for the big game.

To this kind of taunting question, I typically say something like, “Boy howdy,” or “Oh yeah, I’m really looking forward to taking in this game of football on Saturday and hope for an honorable display of sportsmanship.”  I could also say something like, "Oh!  I thought that 'M' stood for 'Mark!'"

But, of course, what I would like to say is, “Do I know you?”

I could refrain from wearing this ball cap. It certainly would make things easier from an ‘avoiding random jackass sports fan on the street’ perspective. I would make less of an obvious target, for sure.

But I don’t. Because I like my team. Even when they lose.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Monologues for Awful People #1: Histry

And now a monologue based on the real story of an awful person.

"You gonna call me a monster then that’s fine. Sure, you seen me taunting a little girl who got cancer and you say I’m a bad person.


"Is it wrong to tell a little child I hope she dies a painful death? Yeah, maybe. Do I know I shouldn’t be using the MS Paint to put the no-smoking-circle or the skull-and-bones on top of a picture of her fifth birthday and putting it up on the interweb for the world to see? Sure. If them things make me awful, then I guess I’m awful.

"But you don’t know the histry.

"Yea that girl never done nothing to me, but her Gramma is Sadie Evans, and Sadie Evans never had nothing good to say about our family – never once. We always been getting weird looks around town ever since I was a little girl, and I’ll tell you why: it’s cause of that Sadie Evans and her whole family trash talking us - I know it - about how we’re low class, how we hold grudges, how we never let nothing go and how awful we are.

"I bet she called my grandmother a whore.  No, I never seen Sadie Evans talking about us. That’s why it’s called ‘back talking.’  It wouldn't shock me, though.  She’s dead anyway. Died of bone cancer. Served her right, too.

"But you gotta realize, Sadie’s brand of venom comes in the blood. It’s passed on from grandparents, to parents, to kids. It’s only a matter of time before that little girl grows up and starts badmouthing us too. Death to the whole lot of them.

"So go ahead and talk. I know what’s what. And I’m going to speak my mind. If you don’t like it, move to Canada."

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Getting In Shape

They say (the proverbial They) that the brain is a muscle that needs to be exercised or else, as with all muscles, you risk atrophy.


If this is true then from a writer’s perspective my brain has become the four hundred pound man that you sometimes see riding his mobile wheelchair along the side of the road on his way to Five Guys for a couple of burgers and a full bucket of fries.

There’s evidence of this wonton neglect everywhere – most notably, my use of the word “wonton,” which is what eggrolls are made out of, instead of “wanton,” which would be the correct Queen’s English*. Either way, the lack of substantive posting around these parts should clue you in on this.

I am now at the point where I’m struggling to write anything remotely creative. Business emails I can write without issue. They’ve become so routine after several years at the same place that even right now there’s some subconscious portion of my brain composing one by rote for no other reason than this is what it does now.

Well, I need to get back in the swing of more creative endeavors. There are shows to make, songs to write, and of course snarkery and general nonsense to spread across these interwebs.

And so, I call upon the original statement of purpose: “This venture is more an attempt to keep myself writing as much as possible. After all, if you want to be a writer then the best thing you can do for yourself is write. And that's what I want to be. So, if anything I write on this blog turns out to be amusing, bonus. If not, well at least I'm writing something.”

So, three more things to come this week. At some point. They will be of varying quality, although more likely than not they will be subpar, until such time as the writing side of my brain has caught up. We’re starting with the smaller, lighter weights – the ones that are purple or lime green – and then we’ll work our way up to barbells and Volvos. And thank God I looked up the proper spelling of Volvo because the way I thought it should be spelled is something completely different.

Talk to you tomorrow.

*As opposed to the incorrect Queen and her incredibly poor English.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

"Bright Spots"

Here’s a bizarre circle of psychological torment if I’ve ever seen it:


Bastard child of theatre complains how they never get any reviewers out to see his show; they keep begging the big boy reviewers that normally only do grown up theatre to see one of their bastard shows; finally, one of the big boy reviewers, who does not generally like bastard children, comes out and tells them that they are indeed a bastard child; bastard child then has to deal with the fact that they have been told by they are a bastard child by someone who dislikes bastards.

The result of this cycle of torment is something like this:

“Comedy troupe Robot vs. Dinosaur crosses Roger Corman's 1957 drive-in potboiler, The Saga of the Viking Women and Their Voyage to the Waters of the Great Sea Serpent, with Marat/Sade, Peter Weiss's 1963 play about a group of lunatics--led by the Marquis de Sade--who put on their own show about the French Revolution. Despite occasional bright spots, the production doesn't follow through on its premise: The characters of the inmate-actors are never developed, so we're left with a limp send-up of a cheesy old movie whose main attraction was its cast of scantily clad, soaking wet babes. --Albert Williams $15”

That would be the Chicago Reader.

Our fearless leader Joe takes some umbrage at the characterization of our show on his own blog. I will link to it because Joe charitable refers to me as ‘multi-talented’ and I’m a sucker for anything that might remotely stroke my ego.

Since I have a blog (albeit a scarcely used one) I now feel compelled to share my thoughts about aforementioned review:

Meh.

It actually doesn’t bother me at all; I think it’s a fair review.

I think it’s a fair review when you consider that the reviewer was Albert Williams, who “won the George Jean Nathan Award for Dramatic Criticism for his theater reviews in the Reader and is a two-time winner of the Peter Lisagor Award for outstanding arts criticism. He has written for the Reader since 1985, and his work is also published in the New York Times Book Review, the Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun-Times, American Theatre, Entertainment Weekly, and The Advocate. He is also a Senior Lecturer in the Theater Department of the School of Fine and Performing Arts at Columbia College Chicago. A 2003 inductee into the City of Chicago's Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame, he is listed in Who's Who in America 2010. He is also co-editor of the book Nothing Personal: Chronicles of Chicago's LGBTQ Community, 1977-1997, a collection of essays by Jon-Henri Damski, published in 2009 by Firetrap Press."

I took a quick look at what he reviews, and they are generally shows done at such no-name places as ‘Goodman Theatre’ and ‘Theater Wit’ and ‘Chicago Dramatist’ and ‘Victory Gardens.’

In short, this is a guy who sees the best, brightest, most theatrical Theatre with a capital ‘T’ in the entire city. I don’t believe he is accustomed to going out at 10:30 at night to see a quirky part-movie, part-play, part-sketch comedy, part-musical Frankenstein monster like our humble little show. I won’t pretend to know anything about his tastes in theatre, but if I had to guess I would guess that we’re not it.

And so if you value such things as character development, then yeah. This maybe isn’t the show for you. I will admit that.

I have a pet theory about our little group, Robot vs Dinosaur, and reviewers. I don’t know that theatre publications know who to send. We’re not an improv group and we’re not quite a traditional sketch group, so they don't send their comedy people, but we don’t do Eugene O’Neill either. Our shows tend to hover in a weird gray area that’s different from your typical sketch show but isn’t a full cohesive traditional play.

Yeah, I don’t know dudes. I’m just glad we made him admit there were bright spots.

About the only word in the review with which I disagree is the characterization as a “limp” show.

Ain’t nothing limp about this show.

Monday, September 27, 2010

One Man's Tragedy...

...is the rest of the world's delicious irony.

In an excercise in shadenfreud, the owner of Segway Company died in a freak Segway accident.

The Segway, for those of you content with independent means of forward motion not involving an unnecessary machine, is basically a vehicle that walks for you.  Here's a picture:

"A trick is something a whore does for money... (pause to look at the children) or candy."

The freak accident naturally involved riding off of a cliff.

Tragic.  Tragic and hilarious in a horribly German sort of way.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Saga of the Viking Women RETURNS!!

For those who visit this blog but have never given me your email, count yourselves as blessed.  Because whenever I have a show that I really want to plug (meaning, of course, that I'm on the hook if we can't make rent), I send obnoxious emails to people begging them to see the show.  In the interest of continued obnoxiousness, I'm going to reprint the email here.  Because I would really like people to come to the show.

NEW SHOW!! The Saga of the Viking Women, etc.
From: Nat Topping
To: Poor Fools

Hello Friends, Associates, People Whose Email I Obtained By Paying a Shady Underground Service, etc:


Since you are getting an email from me, I’m sure you have already surmised that I’m about to plug something. You would be right, because guess what? Daddy has a show!

I apologize if you’ve already received all of this information through having the misfortune of being my Facebook friend. As my Facebook friend, you should have realized this was coming, though.

Robot vs Dinosaur presents: The Saga of the Viking Women and Their Voyage to the Waters of the Great Sea Serpent (as Peformed by the Inmates of the Asylum of Charenton under the Direction of the Great Sea Serpent)

The title itself is worth the price of admission!

Anyway, it’s a great show. We did a version of it at the Neo-Futurarium as part of their summer Film Fest and it went over so well we decided to remount it. I play the Great Sea Serpent, I wear a poncho, I sweat a lot, and I also sing.

I’ve got the press release below and a picture of me looking like a moron, attached! I’d love to see you all come out (early and often)(wait, was that some sort of innuendo?)(well, this got awkward quick).

Love,

Your slithery friend/associate/random haranguer,

-Nat Topping

--

(Check out my blog: nattopping.com)


Viking Vixens Search for Missing Warriors

Robot vs. Dinosaur’s mash-up of deliciously terrible B-movie and “Marat/Sade” takes audiences on hilarious voyage

CHICAGO, IL (September 14, 2010) ... You could call it a metatheatrical feast of love, lust, betrayal, loyalty, and the struggle of all human beings to overcome the suffering of being alive, or like the poster says, “A hilarious play based on a bad movie, with songs and scantily clad ladies, performed by lunatics.” It’s Robot vs. Dinosaur’s The Saga of the Viking Women and Their Voyage to the Waters of the Great Sea Serpent (as Performed by the Inmates of the Asylum of Charenton under the Direction of the Great Sea Serpent). The show runs Fridays and Saturdays, September 24 - October 23 at 10:30 pm at Stage 773.

This comedic play reanimates Roger Corman’s 1957 babesploitation fantasy about Viking women in search of their men and mashes it together with the famous 1963 Peter Weiss play best known as Marat/Sade.

The production first appeared as part of this summer’s Neo-Futurists Film Festival, which typically features staged readings of deliciously bad movies. But this go-round at Stage 773 features even more madness than before. Joe Janes, director of the show and head honcho of Robot vs. Dinosaur added, “The great part of the new show is that we’re no longer beholden to the original film script, which is quite horrible and filled with long stretches of just people walking. We also added original music and material because the Great Sea Serpent demanded we beef up his part. He’s quite a diva.”

The Saga of the Viking Women… will challenge all of your preconceived notions of both asylum inmates and buxom berserkers. Catch it Fridays and Saturdays, September 24 - October 23 at 10:30 pm. Stage 773 is at 1225 W. Belmont (the former Theatre Building Chicago).Tickets $15. Call 773-327-5252 or http://www.stage773.org/.

More about Robot vs. Dinosaur: Robot vs. Dinosaur is a writer-centric group with a great deal of experience in the Chicago sketch comedy and improv scene. Their goal is to write and perform original comic material that is eclectic, dynamically staged and fun for audiences. Assembled by Joe Janes, the comic mind behind the 365 Sketches Project, Robot vs. Dinosaur consists of fellow writers Geoff Crump, Susie Gutowski, Rebecca Levine, Chris Othic, Nat Topping and Greg Wendling. More information can be found at http://www.rvdchicago.blogspot.com/.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Monologue on the Similarities Between a New Orchestra Conductor and a Rockstar

That new conductor is a Rockstar.


You heard me. The new Symphony Orchestra conductor is like a mother-effin’ rockstar.

Holy eff.

Did you see the way he handled that baton? He was wailing on that thing like it was a Flying V and he was lighting shiz on fire in front of a million people screaming their effin’ lungs out.

And all that business he pulled out with the viola section? Coaxing that sweet racket out of some mother-effin woodwinds? Eff me, brotha, I ain’t seen a conductor handle woodwinds like that since Metallic pre-suck.

That was rock and roll.

I haven't seen someone rock the classics since LZ was making the classics.  LZ=Led Zepplin.  I'll bet Maestro has that tatood on his effin' chest.

And did you see the way that effer was waving his arms and shiz around? Just getting his rocks on with the music? I haven’t seen an emeffer lose their mind like that since Ozzy in ’81. Except this dude bit the head off of Tchaikovsky and not, you know, a dove. But damned if it wasn’t the same feel; I nearly lost my shiz right there.

Seriously, I was that close to starting up the mosh pit.

And then, when he finished up with that Respighi? Holy eff, it melted my face off. Like literally my face was in a puddle on the floor the Symphony Hall and my mind was too blown for me to pick it up.

What a effin rock star.  E-F-N-P-I-M-P.

Effin A.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Pastor Terry Jones: You Suck

Coming out of blog hibernation (sorry y'all) for the express purpose of saying that Pastor Terry Jones is a moron.

Who is pastor Terry Jones?  He's the dipshit behind a Florida church's plans to burn a bunch of copies of the Quran (Islam's bible) to get publicity stroke his own ego "protest the September 11th, 2001 attacks."

Ironically, that Church is called "Dove World Outreach Center."  I believe after September 11th happened, that Irony was officially dead.  This creates a whole new level of Irony that frankly I'm not capable of completely comprehending right now.

So, basically the guy is planning on performing an act reminiscent of good old 1930's style fascism (good one, churchie!) and insulting a large segment of the world population (as well as a good chunk of our own), the vast majority of which are basically peaceful people just trying to get by in life, also by the way putting our troops in harms way overseas who are actually combating violent extremists, so that they can what?  What good is coming out of this again?

I argue that burning the holy book of a largely peaceful religion to piss off a small subsection of their membership (extremist terrorist types) is stupid and pointless and potentially dangerous.

Hypothetical jerkwad counters that Muslim extremists burn American flags and stuff all the time.

I counter that with THAT MAKES YOU NO BETTER THAN THE DIPSHIT CRAZIES THAT YOU'RE TRYING TO PISS OFF.  And also?  What you're doing is almost the exact opposite of the Christian forgiveness and tolerance that you purport to teach.  Also?  Fuck you.

THIS IS AMERICA, PEOPLE.  We're supposed to be better than this.  We're supposed to be better than telling a peaceful religious organization that it's in poor taste for them to open what amounts to a youth center too close to the World Trade Center.  We're supposed to be better than Nazi rally style book burnings.  We're supposed to be able to tell the difference between lunatics and normal people.

So Terry Jones: you suck.  You guys can go fuck yourselves for your attention grabbing whorish anti-American, anti-Christian hypocritical ways.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Not Even Sea Mammals Are Safe

Do whales have nightmares?

If they do, those nightmares certainly look something like this:

That would be Russian President evil puppetmaster dictator for life Prime Minister Vladimir Putin holding a crossbow.  Those of you who frequent this blog (no doubt thirsting for it's increasingly infrequent updated posts of ever decreasing quality and substance) know that Putin's exploits are of particular interest around here.

Today's piece of Putinical joy comes courtesy of the Today Show.  The long and the short of it is this: Vladimir Putin hunts whales now.  With a crossbow.*

Of course, it makes it much easier to hunt them when your gaze freezes the ocean into a giant hunk of ice.

When questioned by reporters about the risk, Putin replied "Living in general is dangerous."

Asked if he had just threatened the reporter's life, Putin replied with this:

Enough to chill a late August afternoon.

*And by hunt, of course, I mean participate in wildlife saving activities.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Words of Wisdom from Internet Spam Emails

"Oh Internet," I begin with a note of trepidation in my voice, "I have a crush on this girl, but I don't know how to get her to love me.  I know this sounds stupid, but...."

I lost my words and could not continue.  I searched for some sort of answer, or at least some support, in the Internet's eyes.

The Internet sipped it's cafe au lait, then rubbed it's chin.  Finally, it said to me in it's most thoughtful tone:

"Love your pecker, and make
your pecker love more and she
will love you."

Thank you, Internet.  Thank you so very much.

Friday, August 20, 2010

FRIDAAAAAAARRGGHH!!!

It's one of these days:

Hooray for this!  No, wait, that was sarcasm.

Hooray for t-4 hours to go until the above can end.

In the meantime, I would like to share this article from an Insane Clown Posse show.

These are the same geniuses behind Miracle.  Which is this piece of awesome:

Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Favre

Oh great! It looks like Brett Favre is coming back!


Hooray! Joy, felicitations, and hooray! Hooray! Hooray!

The drama is over! The Gods have smiled on Minnesota! Like an angel sent from heaven, Favre’s plane touched down in the North Star State yesterday, bringing with him all of the skill and moxie and divine intervention the Vikings need to…

HHHHHWWUUAAAGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!! Oh God, I didn’t mean to… Oh it’s everywhere. Let me clean th…HHHHHHHWWWUUAAAAAAGGGGGGHHHHHHH!!!!!

*cough cough*

*spit*

Ugh. I’m so sorry. Let me mop that…no? You got it? Thank you. I’m really sorry.

So… anyway, uh, Favre is returning to finally… do you have, like, a paper towel? Just so I can wipe the, yeah, out of my beard. Thanks. So, Brett Favre is finally returning, after exile to his native Mississippi, at the bequeathing of three Viking players, to finally lead oh God here it comes again, let me just.

*heavy breath*

*heavy breath*

Okay, I think I’m good. Favre HHHHHHWWWWWUUUUAAAAGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH Oh it’s everywhere; I think I ruined your shirt; I’m so HHHHHWWWWWUUUUUAAAAAAGGGGGGGHHHHHHHH

*cough spit cough*

Maybe I better lay down. Do you have any water? Just like tap water? I’m feeling a little dehydrated. Thank you so much. I’m so embarrassed.

Ugh.

Anyway, looks like Favre’s coming back. Who would have seen that coming.

*gag*

Friday, August 13, 2010

Friday: Fears for the Red Beards

Somebody Save My Red Bearded Brethren!

A new species of titi monkey was discovered in the Amazon and then immediately declared endangered.  It figures that they finally uncover someone who can sympathize about having freakishly colored facial hair and now the little bastard is facing extinction.

The monkey's reaction, upon being told of his endangered status:

That's exactly the face I made, minky friend.

I Feel Like I'm Missing Something...

What's wrong with this picture?


Oh you place of employment.

North Korea Continues to Live Up to Comical Stereotype that is North Korea

This is about half a month old and about the World Cup.  So who cares?  But still, who didn't see this coming from a mile away?  North Korea held a six hour long public inquiry into the failure of their soccer team.  What caused these poor 'footballers' to fail in their 'ideological struggle' to put balls into nets more often than foreigners?  Some blame ideological differences, or moral weakness.  I blame malnutrition and a lack of basic freedoms.  But hey, what do I know?

The Man, The Myth, The Legend

Joe Janes has a book signing tonight at the DeMaat theatre tonight, which is accompanied by a selection of his 365 Sketches and a good old fashioned talkin' portion.  If you have the night free, you should come on out.  Here's some more information, and I might call ahead for tickets if I were you.  I'll be there tonight, singing one of the songs.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Trip Log: Wisconsin

Four days after the fact, but here it is anyway!


Ah Wisconsin! It’s hardly surprising that the Packer’s colors are green and yellow; with the plentiful amounts of trees and cheese covering Illinois’ kindly northern neighbor, it’s hard to imagine two more fitting colors.

As we’ve done before, Katie and I took a long weekend and spent it frolicking about in the great northern wilderness. The only difference is that this time, through the assistance of Wunderfone, we were able to record some of that ol’ Wisconsin charm. Behold, my trip log!

THE TRIP THERE

We left last Thursday afternoon – I drove out to Katie’s place in the suburbs after work, we packed up the car and headed north. Since it was already kind of late, we stopped for dinner on our way up. What’s more Wisconsiny than Culvers?

I’ll tell you what. THE WORLD’S LARGEST CULVERS


Located in Milton, WI, THE WORLD’S LARGEST CULVERS (and yes, apparently someone is keeping track) features a gigantic dining room, a conference room, an ATM, artwork that is for sale, and of course milkshakes (which, I mean, you can get at any Culvers, but they’re good, so, yeah).  No idea how this stacks up with, say, THE WORLD'S LARGEST KFC, but it was impressive nonetheless.

A picture of my lovely girlfriend enjoying a refreshing Culver’s fountain drink:


And a picture of me posing with an inanimate object:


We rolled into Eagle River, WI very late and ran to the grocery store to pick up some supplies (breakfast foods, mostly, and a toothbrush) and finally made it to Katie’s family’s cabin at… 3 AM. YIKES.

FRIDAY

What happened on Friday? I’ll tell you what: sleeping. Something about that north woods air, man. It’s like carbon dioxide poisoning. But in a good way!

I then proceeded to take a picture of this:


And this:


That last one will haunt your acid trip nightmares for the remainder of your days. No idea why I felt the need to take those pictures. Maybe I was trying to prove that Wisconsin is a gnome’s paradise. Whatever the case may be, they’re on the blog now. So deal.

FISHING


That’s Katie, pointing to where the fish live.

If there’s one thing Katie loves to do in Wisconsin, it’s fish. She fishes like a madwoman. She was brought up fishing. She dominates in the pan-fish catching department. I, on the other hand, have never been a fisherman. Regardless, the competition was on! Who would catch the most fish?!

Fish #1 of the weekend:


Fish #2 of the weekend:


Fish #3 through#6 went undocumented. They were all Katie fish. How many fish did Nat catch? In answer to that question, here’s a picture of our feet!


That should answer your question.

PICTURES WITH INANIMATE OBJECTS

As usual, I compensated for my inability to perform life-saving, essential tasks such as catching aquatic pieces of protein by taking pictures of myself with inanimate objects. If there’s one thing they love in Wisconsin (aside from cheese, football, fishing, snowmobiling, brewing beer, cussing out people from Minnesota, etc.) it’s bizarre statues.

Here’s me at the delicious White Stag restaurant, where we had dinner with Katie's parents (I highly recommend this place, it's great):


Here’s a picture of me with this thing:


Here’s a picture of Katie commiserating:


Here’s a picture of us getting out heads cut off by a couple of lumberjacks in a parking lot:


And a picture of Katie’s mom (photographer on that last picture) meeting the same fate:


FOREIGN TOOTHBRUSHES

A seemingly normal toothbrush, right?


Not so fast, my friends. Turn it around and read the instructions.


It's a little hard to make our, but those instructions would be in poorly written English and Arabic.

Apparently Wisconsin imports their toothbrushes from the Middle East?

AND THEN WE CAME HOME

On Sunday night. We didn’t want to leave the picturesque confines of the north woods but, alas, money must be made and Monday is as good a day as any to do it (and yes I’ve just admitted to counterfeiting money on my own blog.)*

Good times were had, though. As evidenced by the fact that I had to drag Katie away from the lake.


‘There will always be more fish. Also, it’s about to rain.’

*Dear US Government: I don’t actually counterfeit my own money. I can barely count. Please don’t arrest me.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Gone Fishin'

Be back Monday for your regularly scheduled lack-of-regularly-scheduled updates.

Love,

Slacking Blogger

Friday, July 30, 2010

Friday: Ends All Posts With "Home Boy"

Letter from Camp:

Dear Blog,

This week was fun.  I had two shows, a rehearsal, a class, and today someone bought lunch for me!!  I've been real busy.  Last night's show went real good too.  I got to spray blood (fake!) all over some people and that was real good.  I'm happy tonight I don't have anything to do.  I want to watch TV, eat pizza, and hang out!  That sounds real good.

I miss you, blog.  Hope you're doing real good and I hope we can hang out more next week.  You're great.  I'll talk to you soon.

Bye,

-Nat

Simultanously Destroying and Restoring Your Faith in Humanity: What's not funny?  Attempted rape in the projects of Hunstville, AL.  What is funny?  Watching the guy at the one minute mark in the following video.



Antoine Dodson, you are great.  And you deserve your own television show.

"We Got Your T-shirt..."

I envision this show consisting of Antoine Dodson telling people why they are "so dumb."  I imagine this running during the early to mid-afternoons and becoming wildly successful.

Book it, Home Boy.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

SHOW TONIGHT!! VIKINGS VS SERPENT!!

It's the last show in a string of shows for me over the past two weeks.  It's a fitting culmination entitled:

"The Saga of the Viking Women and Their Voyage to the Waters of the Great Sea Serpent" as Performed by the Inmates of the Assylum of Charenton Under the Direction of the Great Sea Serpent!

And I play the Sea Serpent.  Here's me, in an incredibly not-at-all-sweaty poncho:

The show is tonight at the NeoFuturarium, on the corner of Ashland and Foster in Chicago.  8:00 PM, tickets are $10 ($8 students with an ID) and can be bought by calling (773) 275-5255

Friday, July 23, 2010

Friday: Registering to Vote in TN

Today's collection of nonsense will be cut short today.  Why?  Because I'm going to go play softball and then drink.  This is America.

You know what's great about America?  Theoretically, anybody can run for political office.

The downside of that?  Practically speaking, anybody can run for office.

Consider, for instance, the candidacy of Basil Marceaux for Governor of Tennessee:



I love just about everything about this video: I love that he calls himself BasilMarceaux.com; I love that he wants to get rid of "traffic stops"; I love that he wants us to say the pledge of allegiance to the Republic every morning when we come out and pray to God and say amen; I love that he instructs us to have a nice day twice.

He has a website too.  I swear it works; I've been there and it is gloriously incoherent and curiously entertaining.  You can try clicking here, but when last I attempted it wouldn't load.  Why?  Because the site is hosted by something called 'freesitenow.com,' which is probably not set up to handle the high traffic that this guy so justly deserves.

You might try visiting again later tonight, perchance before you drift off into slumber land.

Speaking of Softball, Chris from RvD wrote something funny on the blog about that and the Cubs.  Thank God somebody still writes on that thing; lord knows I haven't published anything there in a while.

Note to self, write something for next week.

Okay jackasses.  I'm going to go now.  If you need me, I'll be the one drunkenly passed out on the Lincoln Park softball fields.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Not To Get All "Good Ol' Days" On You, But...

I recently received the book ‘Make ‘Em Laugh’ from my wonderful girlfriend – given to me likely in the hopes that I actually learn how to be funny – and I’ve been working my way through ever since. It’s basically about the lives of influential American comedians. It’s a big damned coffee table sized book. I’m working my way through the physical comedians of the Silent Movie era – Chaplin, Keaton, etc. – when I came across some quotes from Harold Lloyd.


Harold Lloyd is evidently not influential enough to warrant his own section of the book, but I had heard the name before a long time ago. I made my way to the YouTubes, typed in his name, and found this:



That's Harold Lloyd's "Safety Last."

This is amazing. Particularly given that it was made in 1923, before computers and before anyone really knew what the hell they were doing. Just the sheer amount of precision and physical ability and likely rehearsal necessary to pull something like that sequence off is staggering. When’s the last time you saw a comedy that required that kind of ability?

Anyway, felt like I needed to share.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Wunderphone

It used to be you knew I was about to make a phone call from the creaking of my cell phone flipping open. A couple of buttons pushed, a cloud of dust and I was off. I lived in the Iron Age of crappy camera phones – after the Stone Ages of the Zack Morris phone and the Bronze Ages of phones you could actually carry around – I was obsolete and obstinate about it.


“Look at these kids,” I would say sternly, “with their photo cameras and their video camcorders and their interwebs and ‘apps’ and music all on the one phone! If I want a camera, I’ll buy a camera! If I want interwebs, I’ll steal it with my laptop! If I want apps I’ll have to figure out what the hell they are first! Music?! I’ll show you music; where’s my gramophone?” and on and on.

I may as well have been typing those words out on an old-fashioned black Remington typewriter from a cabin somewhere.

Well things have since changed.

For the last couple of months, I’ve grown tired of lugging my laptop to coffee shops and restaurants every time I wanted to hop on the interwebs. I’ve refused to get the whole cable/internet thing that everyone seems to have because I am (a) lazy, (b) prone to wasting huge amounts of time watching cable cooking shows, and (c) cheap with regards to my own personal living situation. So off I would run to Caribou to check email and do various other things one can’t do without an internet connection.

Meanwhile, my girlfriend had an upgrade available to her cellphone and she wanted to go check out what phones were available to her. She had been begging me for years to trade in my hopelessly obsolete phone for something less ancient. Despite this peer pressure I tagged along anyway, planning to scoff at the ridiculousness of these all-in-one pieces of technological tomfoolery.

As the sales guy was taking us through the different phones and various features, I heard a couple of words that shattered my fa├žade of indignantly backwards resistance: “Free mobile hotspot.”

Free mobile hotspot?! My ears perked up. Like Caribou? But on a phone? You mean there’s a magical device out there that you can hold in your hand that makes phone calls AND it allows your laptop to jump on the internet anytime you want to without lugging everything to a coffee house and they aren’t going to charge me extra for it?!

Friends, it’s true. Such a device exists. I did not cave right there on the spot and demand that the sales guy sell me one immediately. My pride would not let me. I had fought so hard to stay in that world where phones make phone calls and that’s all there is to it.

But over the next few days those words – Free Mobile Hotspot – kept popping up more and more in my consciousness. I began researching the phone. Then fantasizing about the phone. Then obsessing about the phone. Until finally, over a month later, I caved in.

E voila, Wunderphone was born.

I’ve only had the thing for a little over a week, but already I’m addicted. I can check sports scores any time I want! I can take pictures and they aren’t incredibly crappy! What’s the weather going to be like tomorrow? I don’t know. Phone, what do you think? I can read email as they come in and subsequently ignore it right away.  Next time someone passes along a “fact” that may or may not be true, I can check it right there. Immediately.

In short, I am becoming irritating. And quickly too.  The same woman who urged me to replace my old phone must contend with Wunderphone for time and attention.  I am not proud of this.  It is simply the way things are now.

I have not yet joined twitter. Old reticent xenophobic type-writer-using me is holding on to that very last shred of dignity. He’s trying to hold out for as long as he can. How long, though, before the siren call of sharing every banal moment of my life takes hold?

Wunderphone is calling me.  I have to go now.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Sea Serpent Preview

So, RvD's The Saga of the Viking Women etc. opens/closes (I guess "happens" would be a good verb) a week from Thursday.  Joe took a video from last night's rehearsal with his MAGICPHONE, which can be found here.

I'm quite proud of the bit in the video because (a) I wrote the song, but (b) everyone else in the cast does such a good job of making the thing look and sound great.  As you can tell from the video, I spend the whole song looking out at the audience, so I miss all of the awesome stuff going on behind me.

Check out the link, and if you're free come check out the show next Thursday at the NeoFuturarium.

OH!  And CRASSUS happens tonight again!

"Come on, Geoff.  This is comedy.  You're not supposed to be sad!"

Friday, July 16, 2010

Friday Will Pass on the Heart Attack Sandwich, Thank You

The weekend, baby; we’re almost there. I even had a short week, but with the heat and the resulting lack of quality sleep, I’m about ready for some no-prior-plans weekendy goodness.



There’s still time left on the clock, though, so let’s knock a couple of items out, shall we?


We can call today’s episode the ‘Faith in Humanity is Momentarily Restored’ episode.

A Bunless Sandwich? What, Are You Trying to Kill Us? Ladies and Gentlemen, KFC’s apocalypse of calories and fat known as the ‘Double Down’ has failed to sweep the nation by storm.

For those of you curious as to what the hell a double down is, you can find a picture on it from my original post about it here.

Thankfully, the general populace innately sensed that a sandwich without bread is not a sandwich. Yes, we may love our sausages wrapped in bacon and then covered in a delicious glaze of sugar, spice and fat, but even we have to draw the line somewhere. America, you’re not as fat and prone to poor decision making as the rest of the world believes.

A Quick Detour Into History!

The Earl of Sandwich and Baron Montagu sit at a table playing cards. The Earl of Sandwich rings a tiny bell. Enter Poncenby

EARL OF SANDWICH
Poncenby!

PONCENBY
Yes, my lord Earl of Sandwich

EARL OF SANDWICH
I fear I grow peckish, and yet I wish not to leave this rousing game of Go Fish I am ensconced in with my good friend, Baron Montagu.

PONCENBY
If you wish, I can have the chef prepare something for you. Mayhaps a crock of deepfried goose testicles would satiate your appetite?

EARL OF SANDWICH
No no no, you dumb plebe. That’s far too heavy. Instead, take a half pound of fried bacon, three types of cheese and some of that disgusting sauce we use to mask rancid meat and stick that betwixt two chicken breasts.  And deep fry those chicken breasts in batter and lard, for good measure!  Bring that to me post haste. And also, I wish to name this creation after myself.

PONCENBY
The ‘Sandwich’ sir?

EARL OF SANDWICH
No, you pile of dung! Call it the ‘Double Down.’ After my sexual habits.

BARON MONTAGU
I say, Early, that sounds rather delicious. Put be down for a Double Down.

EARL OF SANDWICH
Make that two, Poncenby.

PONCENBY
Of course.

Poncenby exits.

EARL OF SANDWICH
I daresay I’m licking my chops already.

BARON MONTAGU
Would you like a cigar whilst we wait for our tasty treats?

EARL OF SANDWICH
Why yes, that would be excellent.

Baron Montagu present the Earl of Sandwich with a cigar box. The Earl of Sandwich opens the box, revealing a clear bottle filled with an alcoholic beverage.

EARL OF SANDWICH
Zounds! A Smirnoff Ice! You have bested me, Baron Montagu!

BARON MONTAGUE
You have no choice but to fall to one knee and immediately consume this beverage in its entirety!

EARL OF SANDWICH
Alas!



And we’re back.

The Gulf of Mexico – Now With Less Oil! According to BP, that oil well that has been gushing since April has finally stopped. Of course, BP cautioned that this is the first step and that it’s possible depending on the pressure at that cap that there could be additional SHUT UP BP JUST LET US HAVE OUR GOOD NEWS ALREADY!

Of course some people, like RvD’s very own Chris Othic, refuse to accept any other explanation than the well ran out of oil.

And Finally, what better way to celebrate the end of the work week than with a visit to The Playground tonight. CRASSUS will be there! Songs will be sung, comedy sketches performed, and either laughter or tears will ensue.  Tonight at 10 for $10!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Late on the LeBron Thing, But Here Goes Anyway

Did anyone watch the ESPYs last night? I didn’t think so. Me neither.


It can be very easy to be tricked into believing something is incredibly important when, in fact, it is not at all important. Sports fall into this category. Entertainment does as well. I would include sketch comedy in this, but who am I kidding? Nobody thinks sketch comedy is important.

Where LeBron James decided (Miami) to go (Miami, I told you already) certainly qualified as something ultimately unimportant that was treated as gravely important (South Beach, Miami, to join two superstars already on the roster).

He ended up picking the Miami Heat, by the way. Don’t know if you all saw that coming.

I like sports; I like to watch them and I follow them. Sometimes I can be irritating about it. My poor girlfriend will attest to this.

But even I, who thinks it is incredibly important to play dress up and act like an ass in front of groups of people, will admit that some shit just isn’t that important.

Yes, whole industries have sprouted up covering Sports and Entertainment and Music, employing millions and millions of people devoted to dissecting every possible conversation and club appearance and court date etc etc, and where would those jobs go and what would those workers do if they weren’t following around LeBron James/Lindsay Lohan/Tiger Woods?

And yes, sometimes things can be construed to be good lessons for all of us about how to live our lives and be more like Drew Brees or forgiving like a certain pitcher from a certain baseball team that will not be mentioned here.

Fine.

But if you have convinced yourselves that the entire well being of your city hinges around the decision making process of a 25 year old with millions and millions of dollars who just so happens to be great at bouncing an orange rubber thing up and down a parquet wooden flat surface and then putting said rubber thing into a meshy thing that’s hanging above aforementioned flat surface then this is what happens. Meltdown.  In ridiculous fonts.

And if you happen to be a 25 year old who has been fawned over and paid handsomely for your ball bouncing abilities since high school, then of course you’re going to hold an hour long egomaniacal circle-jerk love fest to announce your intention to dominate the entire world by getting together with a bunch of other really talented rich people and putting said ball into aforementioned net more times than everyone else who gets paid millions of dollars to do the same thing and BEHOLD THE MERCHANDISE!

It's all about the shoes, bitches.

LeBron has not invented a cure for cancer and is only sharing it with one American city and for the love of GOD COME SAVE US FROM CANCER, LEBRON! This is just basketball.

Dear children: LeBron is not a hero. Sports stars and movie stars are not heroes. Heroes are people who are revered for figuring out how to do something good for large amounts of people at the cost of their own well being, not for doing something trivial for their own benefit.  There's nothing wrong with making a buck off of dunking over some fools, but don't pretend like it's an act of heroism.

Dear Cleveland: you don’t need a superstar to win your champion. I remember a certain team from 2004 who were pieced together with a bunch of castoffs and given no chance to get past the first round or two of the playoffs but managed to topple both Kobe and Shaq.

Dear ESPN: shut up already.

Dear people: it’s okay to get a little carried away. Sports are fun, and a good escape from actual important things. Just keep it in proportion, huh?

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Point of order: Pluggery

Because what is a blog good for if not to plug one’s wares?


I have a busy couple of weeks coming up here, and I would like you readers (all five of you) to be a part of it. In chronological order:

Friday 7/16 @ 10:00 PM – Grafitti at the Playground. Geoff and I are trying out some CRASSUS sketches. 20 minutes of funny voices and songs.

Tuesday 7/20 @ 7:30 PM – SketchTest at Fizz Bar. More CRASSUS stuff.

Tuesday 7/27 @ 7:30 PM – SketchTest at Fizz Bar. Even more CRASSUS stuff. A goodly amount of CRASSUS stuff this month. You can find out more specific information at the CRASSUS blog.

Thursday 7/29 @ 8:00 PM – The Saga of the Viking Women, etc. at the NeoFuturarium. This is the crazy show I’ve been working on with Joe and RvD for the NeoFuturist’s film fest. Joe already has a little write up and a picture of yours truly in a super-comfortable and not-at-all sweat inducing poncho over at the RvD blog.

Add rehearsals, voice over classes and various other things and I’ve got myself a lack of free time which, truth be told, is fine with me. Hooray for doing things and being busy!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Okay That Was Fun

Begin boring diary-type post now:

Sorry it's been absolute radio silence around these parts the past couple of days (although pickings have been slim for a good couple of months now, but I'll apologize for that another time when I can concentrate more on the necessary self-flaggelation) but I have been on a mini vacation.

A good buddy Ben - my college roommate and then housemate for the entire time I was in college - got hitched on Friday, and I felt it was my responsibility to show up, wish them well, and then proceed to slather myself in manhattans and food while jerking around the dance floor like a lunatic getting a dose of electroshock therapy.

The real victim in all of that was my poor girlfriend, who had to suffer the constant embarrasment of me "having a good time."

Anyway, Saturday was our 'Day in the D' - we took the family down to Comerica Park and watched a certain baseball team which shall not be named for fear of the dread Sports Curse.  Suffice it to say that the correct team won, and then we celebrated with Greek food.

I took this picture from my new Wunderphone (which has replaced my old phone that was made of slate and transmitted voice via pigeon) of the lovely Detroit skyline:

You'll notice that nothing is aflame.

Sunday the lady and I wandered around Clarkston and the area doing some shopping.  Monday we stopped through Ann Arbor on our way home.  And then last night I had rehearsal for the Saga of the Viking Women, etc.  Which went great.

So, what I'm trying to say is that I'm due for something horrible and depressing to come my way some time later this week.  I guess that's what work is for.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

LeBron LeShmon! Come see our show!

I was going to fill this space today with some good old fashioned snarkery about LeBron James (for those of you interested, "LeBron" is French for "The Bron," and I hear he's looking for championships/money/fame/attention attention OH GOD GIVE ME  YOUR ATTENTION) but instead of that, I will share just a nice simple little mention from Time Out Chicago:

In an article about Dinosaurs in Chicago:

After a day of searching for reptilian rebels, slow it down with some good old-fashioned dino-themed entertainment. Opt either for Jurassic-sized rock when chameleon cover band Tributosaurus plays dinosaur-inspired songs August 4 at Martyrs’ (3855 N Lincoln Ave, 773-404-9494, martyrslive.com; 7pm, 10pm; $15) or for laughs when sketch group Robot vs. Dinosaur presents a live interpretation of the 1957 film The Saga of the Viking Women and Their Voyage to the Waters of the Great Sea Serpent July 29 at the Neofuturarium (5153 N Ashland Ave; 773-275-5255, neofuturists.org; 8pm; $10, students and seniors $8).

BOOM.  PLUG'D!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Grammar for Spammars

It's the first day back to work after a long weekend which naturally means that I am swimming in it - and in this instance 'it' would not be 'chocolate' or 'gold coins' but instead a substance not at all pleasant.  So that kind of sucks.

Hooray for America.

Anyway, I thought I would share this little piece of junk email that graced my filter this morning:

I always thought, if the whole 'job that shackles me to a desk but is of a confusing Byzantine nature that it is impossible for me to explain in detail anything related to it whatsoever to any potentially sympathetic listeners' thing didn't work out, I could become a proof reader for this type of junk mail:

From: Williams Simom [williamssimon0090@ozu.es]
To: (me)
Subject: have been diagnosed with cancer

Dear friend,I have been diagnosed with Esophageal cancer .It has defiled all forms of medical treatment and I have only few weeks to live so I want you to assist me Distribute my USD$7million to charities. I have set aside 20% for your help, if you can to handle this project please get back to me



Williams Simon


In these instances, I like to practice what feedback I might give.  For example:

"Hi Williams Simon,

First, I want to say it was a pleasure reading your spam email.  It was short and, though oddly intimate for an email coming out of the blue from a completely unknown person, to the point.  I do have a couple of suggestions to make it a little more legible to your intended audience.

First, before we get started, you realize that your first name is a recognizable last name and that your last name is a recognizable first name, correct?  Don't know if your parents decided to play a life trick on you by naming you 'Williams Simon' or if that's a typo for 'Simon Williams' but whatever the case may be I thought I would make sure you were aware that your name sounds fake.

Also, it doesn't help that your email calls you "Williams Simom."  Might want to get that straightened out with your email provider.  I hope you speak Spanish better than English.

Anyway, kudos on picking a disease that actually exists, although you should be more consistent with your capitalization - 'Esophageal cancer' - I would recommend both are caps or both are lower case.

I don't think you mean 'defiled all forms of medical treatment' as that sounds vaguely sexual.  Defied maybe?  Deflowered?  Depends on which way you want to go with the sexual/nonsexual intent of the email.  I'm going to assume you meant 'defied' since 'sexual' and 'esophageal cancer' don't normally go together.

There are a couple of issues in the next sentence, so I'm just going to correct it and you can copy/paste it into your email: "I have only a few weeks to live so I want you to assist me in distributing my $7 million to charities"

Don't use infinitive verbs if you can avoid it: 'if you can to handle this' would read better as 'if you can handle this.'  This way, you sound less like a caveman and more like an actual person.  Also, if you are using an 'if/then' form in your sentence then you should either include the word 'then' or place a comma where 'then' should be.

Also, I'd recommend changing the subject of your email to something that actually does include capital letters, does not start in the middle of the sentence and doesn't include the word 'cancer.'

Here is your corrected email:

From: Simon Williams
To: Sucker
Subject: Spamming Opportunity

Dear friend,

I have been diagnosed with esophageal cancer.  It has defied all forms of medical treatment and I have only a few weeks to live.  I want you to assist me in distributing my $7 million to charities.  I have set aside 20% for your help.  If you can handle this project, please get back to me.

Simon Williams

I wish you much luck in your future scamming (provided of course anyone gets over the incredibly personal nature of an email coming from someone of whom your intended audience probably has no prior knowledge) and look forward to receiving your check.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Friday: YAY AMERICA Please Let Us Go Home Early Work Please

Quick, give us some e-phemera before the long weekend begins!

THE OATMEAL, funny internet cartoons.  This one is about owning an Apple product.

ALSO, 'Tea Party Jesus' puts the words of conservative talk show hosts into the mouth of our Lord and Savior.  Yeah, people of the extreme conservative bent might not find this funny, but you comedy nerds out there should appreciate a good clash of context.

Come on.  Even you have to admit, that's kind of funny.

ALSO ALSO, a commercial about soccer and rugby.



YAY AMERICA!