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, 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,  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.


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.


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:


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.