Friday, April 30, 2010

Friday: Pile of Discarded Video

I guess we can call this the ‘Video Dump’ edition. Here are a couple of things I’ve been meaning to share with you:

First, the Worst Baseball Hype Video Ever, courtesy of the Florida Marlins and their horrendous decision to entrust this season to the likes of Scott Stapp. You might remember Scott Stapp from such travesties as anything that Creed ever did.

As you can tell from the lyrics, Scott compensated for his lack of writing ability by listing every baseball word he could think of.

But oh man, if that didn’t get you pumped up, how about a Hype Video for Notre Dame Athletics?

Not that anyone needs another reason to dislike Notre Dame, but I am honor bound to share anything that might reflect poorly on an otherwise excellent academic institution with an unfortunately irritating athletic department.

Dear Notre Dame: this is not cool.  I'm sorry.  It just isn't.

And finally, I touched vaguely on this with the Tro lo lo guy versus the Jimmy Kimmel ‘spoof,’ but here is further proof. Sometimes the original is just funnier than the spoof.

Exhibit A, a video playing on the Insane Clown Posse’s most recent music video from the Saturday Night Live people:

Yeah, okay. Funny. I know what games they are playing. Fine.

Exhibit B, the original:

Favorite parts: "Hot lava," "You can't even hold it... it's just there in the air," "Fuckin' magnets, how do they work?" "Magic everywhere in this bitch."  Come on. 

Keep in mind, with the original they are being as serious as a bunch of white guys dressed in clown makeup can be.

Which is funnier? Exhibit B every time.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

A Fatwa on South Park? Seriously?

A general rule: if you really want people to take you seriously, don’t go after South Park.

I mean, come on. It’s a cartoon. It’s basically just a foul mouthed equal opportunity offender. If South Park offends you, it’s because you’re supposed to be offended. Laugh it off just like everyone else. Don’t be a jackass.

But no, says Revolution Muslim (a website that will not get a link here - I may not have page hits, but I have principles), this aggression must not be tolerated and so we will put up a video that does but doesn’t threaten the life of South Park’s creators who probably could care less. Because if there’s one thing in the world that’s going to bring down one of the most widespread religions on Earth, it’s a late night cartoon on a cable network.


But that’s what happened. Video here. Articles here, here and here.

What did South Park do? Basically, they poked fun at the fact that you’re not supposed to graphically represent Muhammad, Islam’s founding prophet. Which is, you know, factual. South Park didn’t have him performing sex acts with animals or any of the numerous other awful things that South Park normally does. Just a couple of ‘censored’ blocks, a bear costumer, that’s it.

Normally, this is where the stipulation that so-and-so needs to be more sensative would go.  But to hell with that.  This is America, and we're talking about South Park.


And now people are freaking out because that’s all anyone ever does anymore is freak out.

The people we should really feel sorry for is the vast majority of Muslims who are not actually insane and are not trying to bring about the destruction of comedy. Islam is actually supposed to be a peaceful religion (just like every other religion is supposed to be a peaceful religion), but now the reactionary asshats around the country will scream about how Islam is trying to kill us because of a couple of fringe lunatic douchebags with a website.

Get off my internets! I’m trying to watch porn!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Come to the City: We Won't Kill You

I won’t say where, but lately I’ve been seeing a lot of ‘anti-city’ sentiments from certain areas of my internet social sphere. For fear of igniting an electronic flame war, I won’t say who or what specifically but if they are reading this they know who they are.

The crux of the argument is that certain cities – my own adopted Chicago included – are filled with deranged criminals bent on the destruction of all life and property, and that anyone who would want to move into a city is taking their life into their own hands, and can only be saved by the intervention of the National Guard. It is far better to live in the suburbs, where crime never ever ever ever ever ever happens.

Unfortunately, not all of us want to live out where the leprechauns and unicorns frolic, where Applebees are plentiful and where no baby ever cries.

And so, ever year, young suburban lads or lasses announce their intention to move where the population density is high – to be closer to a job or to be where they don’t absolutely have to drive everywhere they go – and without fail at least one person begins the wringing of hands and wailing and gnashing of teeth. ‘Doom!’ they predict, ‘Doom and unmitigated disaster! You haven’t signed a lease yet, have you? It’s not too late!’

Even in moving to Chicago, despite the general positive reaction I received by the vast majority of people, I was still met with the occasional confounded “Why?”

Why?!  Look at this place!

You can argue culture and convenience and excitement and renewal until your throat dries up and you run out or words. You live in the problem that suburbs were created to solve. Nothing you can say or do will convince them otherwise.

As for the city? Yeah, it’s more dangerous. I’m not going to argue the statistics. That said, even a city like Detroit – a city that I’ve joked always has at least one building on fire – is livable and, at times, even pleasant.

This is where museums, theatres, riverfronts, lakefronts, parks, and many other wonderful things tend to congregate.  The city is worth a visit or, dare I say, worth calling home.  Like anything else, though, you just need to know how to live in your environment.

So, I’ve put together a couple of tips for those of you venturing into the city. These should help decrease your chances of having a prejudice affirming nightmare visit your next time you come down town.

  1. Know Where You Are Going: as in, like, know the directions you need to take to get where you’re going, and have a working knowledge of how the city is laid out. This will help prevent you from ending up somewhere you have no intention of being.
  2. Know Your Neighborhood. Some places are better than others, but just because those places exist doesn’t make the entire city a lawless wasteland. 
  3. Pay Attention to What’s Going On Around You: this is a good thing to do in general – like when you are driving around on your gigantic suburban roads and you need to know where the traffic is so that other cars don’t run into you. It’s like that, but with people. 
  4. Don’t Walk Around With Your Wallet in Your Hand: I’ve seen this happen before. It’s like going to Europe and then leaving your incredibly expensive camera out on the table. You are asking someone to steal that. Don’t do that.  Put your wallet in your front pocket.
  5. If You Don’t Know The Neighborhood, Don’t Park Your Expensive Car on the Street: you can use the parking lots or the garages. 
  6. Don’t Stare At People: Not everyone is out to get you. Chances are, most people actually want nothing to do with you. Know where they are, but don't ogle them.  Staring at people or treating them like they are dangerous or crazy will only piss them off.
  7. Try to Enjoy Yourself: There's plenty for the city to offer.  Just don't do anything asinine and you will most likely be fine.

You city dwellers with any additional tips, please leave them in the comment section.


Monday, April 26, 2010

Rvd Monday: In Which Stephen Hawking is Cock Blocked by an Alien


H/T to my buddy Patrick for this article.  Click on the RvD Blog for the requisite blog post sharing some thoughts and observations about Stephen Hawking's relationship with alien lifeforms.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

It's Earth Day? Oh. Okay Then.

Today is Earth Day, and I will celebrate Earth Day the way I always celebrate Earth Day: by continuing to live on Earth.

If I told you I've been waiting for Earth Day; that I've been looking forward to it the way that I look forward to Thanksgiving or Memorial Day or Christmas; that I've had this day circled on my wall calendar and have the whole day planned out with Earth loving events; If I told you any of that I would be lying.

If, however, I told you that I completely forgot about Earth Day and only know that today is Earth Day because a bunch of people said something about Earth Day on the internets, then that would be true.

My plans for today?  Working, then driving my car to a writer's meeting, then finishing off the script for our new show, then returning home just in time to go to sleep.

Maybe I'll work in a good tree humping for good measure in there somewhere.

What about you?  Got plans?  Care to Eiffel Tower a tree with me?

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

We Make Sketch. We Make Sketch Hard.

Casting a sketch show in one night is hard enough as it is.  Last night, we at RvD chose the shows that will be in our upcoming revue, ‘Twelve Angry Sketches,’ picked a running order, split up directing duties.  And THEN we cast the show.

Needless to say, last night was a long night.  By the end of the night, I felt like my brain had split up into pieces and they were cowering in the corners of my head.  But, in a good way.

There was a point last night where we were all standing around a table staring at a bunch of note cards with scene names on them.  They were in a long line running the length of the table. We had too many scenes.

Usually, there’s a scene or two that’s similar, or a scene that’s a similar energy to other scenes, or a scene that’s just not as good as the rest of the scenes.  In this instance, we all just stood around and stared and wracked our brains, looking for something that didn’t fit.  It was tough.  We ended up having to cut a couple of really strong scenes.

So, it was a lot of work and a lot of tough decisions, but I think the tougher it is now, the better the show is going to be.  It’s going to be a fun couple of months.

The cast list should be up at the RvD Blog by the end of the week.  Hooah.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Friday: We Wow You With Weather and Plato Jokes. BOOM.

After an admittedly grumpy week, I feel that it’s my obligation to lighten the mood around this old weblog of mine.

Oh yeah? Good news. What do you have for us?

I, like your grandparents, will attempt to bridge our conversational gap by talking about the weather.


Seriously, Chicago never ceases to amaze me. Yesterday, it was like mid June. I went for a run/jog/coughing session last night at ten at night and it was seventy something. This morning? Forties and sprinkling rain. This afternoon? Low sixties and garbage wind, which is when the spring breezes lightly massage your face with pieces of garbage and dust from the streets. And yet, I love it here.

Wow, that was great. ‘Garbage wind.’ Can I go hang out on IMDB while you do this? I’ll come back in time for the comment section.

Fine, if the weather talk is so boring, what do you have?

I’ll tell you what I have: “Police report attempt to revive flattened opossum.” BOOM.

I’ve had some drinks in my day, but never have I ever tried to resuscitate roadkill. I love this line from the article: “Troopers responding to the scene in Oliver Township on Thursday determined that Donald J. Wolfe, 55, of Brookville, was drunk, according to the police report.” Yes, I believe that could be safely assumed from the headline, but thank you.

You have to wonder, was it a drunken dare? A conservationist blitzed out of his mind? Or maybe, just maybe, a legitimate love moment between a man and the pile of fur and entrails he loves.


That was good, Bold Font. But how about this? I read this somewhere:

Plato was discoursing on his theory of ideas and, pointing to the cups on the table before him, said while there are many cups in the world, there is only one ‘idea’ of a cup, and this cupness precedes the existence of all particular cups.

“I can see the cup on the table,” interrupted Diogenes, “But I can’t see the ‘cupness.’”


No, come on. Just listen:

“That’s because you have the eyes to see the cup,” said Plato, “but,” tapping his head with his forefinger, “you don’t have the intellect with which to comprehend ‘cupness.’”

Diogenes walked up to the table, examined a cup and, looking inside, asked, “Is it empty?”

Plato nodded.

“Where is the ‘emptiness’ which precedes this empty cup?” asked Diogenes.

Plato allowed himself a few moments to collect his thoughts, but Diogenes reached over and, tapping Plato’s forehead with his finger, said, “I think you will find here is the ‘emptiness.’”

Neat, huh?

That’s it?

What? Didn’t you think that was funny?

No, you nerd.

Come on. The guy totally dissed Plato by telling him that his head was empty.

You want funny? I’ll give you funny. How about Christopher Walken reading Lady Gaga. BOOM.

Ah yes, Lady Gaga. All of the pop and flamboyancy of a Madonna but without all that spiritual kabala nonsense. Combine that with the inherently funny weirdness of one Christopher Walken and you got yourself a winner. Commence imbedding of video… now.

Good times.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Tax Day Lessons: Americans Like to Be Angry

Few days magnify the pure insanity of this country quite like Tax Day. The exception would be election day in the year of a Presidential election, and possibly the summer leading up to that day. But for your off-years, nothing does it quite like Tax Day.

Consider the ‘Tea Party’ phenomenon.

As has been stated around these parts, I find this group of people interesting for a couple of reasons: (a) their slide from a loose organization of people outraged by over-taxation for the sake of bailing out corporations to a mob of puppets shouting “socialism!” because Republicans have basically co-opted their “grass roots” “buzzword” etc. for eventual votes, and (b) the fact that ‘tea bagging’ is also an unfortunate double entendre revolving around euphemisms for various sexual acts.

Their original impulse, the outrage spurned by Bush’s bailing out of the banks etc. etc. (people forget it was Bush that started that), has almost been completely forgotten and now you read articles like this from the, which begin with things like “Tea Party activists are uniting to voice the message they've been honing for more than a year: It's time to reduce the size of government, honor the Constitution and return to fiscal responsibility in Washington,” which is a sentiment that I can at least respect and then they end with insane things like, “We need to purge the Democrats of the Marxists.”

Of course, if Marx heard you calling Democrats ‘Marxists,’ he would laugh and laugh and then wonder why Americans are completely incapable of checking a dictionary before using words. Even straight up American socialists – socialist light – don’t think our President is even remotely socialist.

“He’s the president whose main goal is to protect the wealth of the richest 5 percent of Americans…. It makes no rational sense. It clearly means that people don’t understand what socialism is.”

And it turns out income taxes may already actually be pretty low. In fact, according to this article, a projected 142 million Americans who file a tax return will pay no taxes – so this figure doesn’t even include the millions of people who don’t earn enough to file a tax return and the millions of people who are, like, children.

Anecdotally, I know that the check I’m writing to the government this year is about half of what I wrote last year. Still not happy about saying goodbye to that money.

Thus it at least appears to my admittedly untrained economic eye that the middle class Americans who are tired of paying so much to a government that turns around and gives away the money to the derned car companies – namely, the people the Tea Party is all about – are in fact not paying so much this year.

If anything, people should be worried that the government is promising to provide X amounts of services without collecting X amount of money to pay for them. Which means money comes from where again?

So why the shouting and the protests and the indignation at the term ‘tea bagger’ and so on?

I believe more and more that people just like to be angry.

This is why Glenn Beck makes truckloads of money. Angry people like to hear other “Angry” people (the second angry is in quotation marks because Glenn Beck is an entertainer who told Forbes “I could give a flying crap about the political process…. We’re an entertainment company”) condescending to imaginary idiots while drawing on a chalkboard and then weeping uncontrollably.

Hey everyone: never trust the opinions of someone weeping uncontrollably about politics. Nobody cries because of politics. If they do, it’s because they want something from you.

But I think it’s true for the flipside of the ideological spectrum as well. Do you remember back when we were stuck in Iraq and Afghanistan and all anyone would talk about was how wrong those wars were and how we needed to get out immediately? Hey guess what? We’re still stuck there, still in both countries, and nobody says a damned word about it. Why is that?

Because the more liberal politician is now in charge, and so the liberal side of the world moves into defends mode even when the liberal politician’s policy (continuing the war in Afghanistan) is not at all liberal.  Liberals hate teabaggers now, not war.  Sure, they still don't like war.  But not enough to be angry about it every day of their lives.

And when the conservative politician is in charge, conservatives do the same thing regardless of whether or not a particular policy is conservative.

This is the way of politics, my friends. Cynical observation?  Maybe.  But I pay taxes now, so my parents told me I can say whatever I want now.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Detroit: Not Completely Smoldering

As an ex-patriot Detroiter (Metro Detroiter) I feel a certain obligation to pass along any information that might show the world that my erstwhile home city is not, in fact, a completely desolate wasteland devoid of any living thing.

As such, I would like to draw your attention to this blog post from a site called The Urbanophile.  The site also has some stuff on Chicago, for you Chicago minded readers.

Side note: I would like to propose that we officially declare Tuesday a worse workday than Monday.  All those in favor?

Monday, April 12, 2010

RvD Auditions! Huzzah!

Audition time is here again!  For our next RvD show:


Robot vs. Dinosaur is NOW CASTING for its new show, "12 Angry Sketches," a fun, high energy scripted sketch revue.


Saturday, April 17, 2010
at CORNELIA ARTS BUILDING (1800 West Cornelia), Studio B.

Slots available each hour from 10 a.m. through 3 p.m. The audition will be cold readings from the script with some improv.


DONNY’S SKYBOX, Friday’s at 9 p.m. from June 4-June 25
(Important: You must able to make all performances to audition.)


Looking for a variety of MALES and FEMALES. This will be a large cast show. It will be a fun time and a great opportunity for all levels of experience.

To sign up for a time slot, please email your name, phone number and preferred time slot to (Slots begin at 10 a.m./11 a.m./12 p.m/1 p.m./and 2 p.m.) I will reply to confirm your slot.

Please bring headshots and resumes (if you have them) to the audition, as well as your availability for rehearsals from now through June 4th.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Friday: The End og ttthe Workweakk. Ugh...

Man, you okay dude?

Yeah, just a little tired.

The last thing you wrote on here was a weird anguishy poem.  I don't know, man.

I'm fine.  Let's do this.

All of these links are from a couple of weeks ago.  Are you sure you...


Ok.  Here we go.  FURTHER PROOF that Bill Gates is an evil genius.  Everyone wants to talk about Russia helping Iran get a nuke.  Nobody wants to talk about Bill Gates ARMING JAPAN.  In the interest of muckraking, I will ignore the fact that Japan already has nuclear power as has since the 70's or something, and leap straight to the accusations that Bill Gates is trying to dominate the world.  Why?  Because I already have the Label handy, so why not?

You look really pale.

Goddamn it, I told you I'm just tired.  What's next?

Uh, this:

What the hell is that?  And why is that on my computer?

I can't even remember why... oh man.  It's been a long week.

Maybe you thought that was hilariously funny at some point, and decided to post it?

By that standard, this should be a blog full of fart humor.  Maybe that's not such a bad idea.

Do you want to lay down and take a nap?

No.  Let's finish this.

Okay, well, the next thing is from Jimmy Kimmel's late night show.

Christ, has it come to that?

Behold, Tro lo lo guy is famous enough to be lampooned by an Oscar winning actor:

I still like the original better.  I mean, I know what they're trying to do.  It's just that the original makes such little sense.  This one, the joke is kind of obvious.  Soviet Era Entertainment: 1, Jimmy Kimmel 0.

Look, between Jimmy Kimmel and the Bag Headed Dog, I think we just need to stop this excercise right now.

You're a better friend than I give you credit for, Bold Type.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

ARGH 04.07.2010

A poem:

    READ meat RED

-N. Topping

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Endgame - The Play, Not the Face-Melting Album

This past Saturday, the young woman who agrees to see me regularly and I saw the matinee performance of Endgame at Steppenwolf.

I went expecting a staged interpretation of Megadeath’s 2009 album ‘Endgame.’  What I saw was classic mid 20th century absurdist theatre written by Samuel Beckett, featuring a guy from CSI, which is a show that I don’t watch.

So that took a little getting used to.

Once I adjusted to a lack of face-melting heavy metal music, I found myself generally enjoying the show.

I’ll say this about Steppenwolf: their shows are consistently watchable. With a reputation, talent, facility and budget like that of Steppenwolf, you could only hope. Still, it bears mentioning. I have yet to see a show there that I haven’t at least kind of liked. Sets, sound, lighting, general acting competency? All top notch.

As for the show itself: It’s the story of a blind man (Ham) who can’t stand up and his dependence on a servant (Clov) who can’t sit in a world of grayness that defies the passage of time. It had moments of laughter, although not nearly as many as I would expect for a show that bills itself as a ‘comic masterpiece.’ And if there’s one thing you probably get from that synopsis, it’s ‘comic masterpiece.’

I kind of wish I hadn’t read the show notes in the program. It outlines the meaning that the production was going for – essentially that we all lead lives despite the fact that we are destined to die, and that while that life is tragic to us, it’s entertainment for other people – but to be honest, I don’t know what I would have come away with.

I will also confess that, by about minute 60 in the 80 minute (no intermission) show, I was beginning to get a little bored. I think this was caused by the deliberate lack of plot in the script – this tend to happen to me when I’m watching absurdist plays – but they got my attention back in time for an ending that was chilling and puzzling and exactly the sort of thing you would expect out of a show like this.

So, bottom line: worth seeing. We did the 20 for $20 deal and I think that’s the way to go. Don’t know that this would have been worth full price, but $20 for a few laughs, a good production and some thinkin’ material is a decent deal. Show information can be found here.

Monday, April 5, 2010

What Happened?!

Yes, I fell off the face of the earth.  I'm sorry.  Here's a link to my Monday RvD post about baseball.  Please forgive me.