Monday, November 26, 2012

December 2012 Shows and Sketchfest

Sorry I've been so absent lately, swooping in only long enough to attempt the occasional sports curse and then running off to parts unknown.  I've been too busy preparing for the end of the world the best way I know how: by booking a bunch of shows.

Speaking of, what are you people up to?  Wanna come watch me do some shows?

11/30 Crassus at the Bughouse Theater

10 PM at 2056 W Irving Park (2 blocks west of Irving Park Brown Line)
$10 at the door
Geoff and I are brushing up on some stuff this Friday and, depending on time and stuff, might even try out a couple of new things!  Never worked with these guys before but we hear great things!  Come check it out!

12/6 Crassus at Back Room Comedy
The Atlantic Bar and Grill
8:30 PM at 5062 N Lincoln Ave
Free
Another group we've never worked with, but the Atlantic is well known as a place where comedy shenanigans go down.  Come hang out in Lincoln Square with us while we make fun of the largely German ethnic community!

Zombie Genius
8PM, Saturdays at the Annoyance, December 8th – January 26th
4830 N Broadway, Chicago
$15 at the door or through annoyanceproductions.com
We've been working this show for a good couple of months now.  The first few performances were in August, then we did a short run in October, and now the Annoyance has asked us back again.  I wrote the music and perform in this Zombie love story.

1/4 Creepy Hug at Chicago Sketchfest
Stage 773
8 PM at 1225 W Belmont in the Pro theater
For tickets, call 773-327-5252 or stage773.com
Working on this with a couple of friends of mine.  The show is going to be all music sketches, so I'll be getting in my guitar reps.

1/5 Robot vs Dinosaur at Chicago Sketchfest
Stage 773
7 PM at 1225 W Belmont in the Thrust theater
For tickets, call 773-327-5252 or stage773.com
Reprising our summer hit Wait Wait... Don't Kill Me.  I hope you all like puns!

1/11 Crassus at Chicago Sketchfest
Stage 773
11 PM at 1225 W Belmont in the Thrust theater
For tickets, call 773-327-5252 or stage773.com
Geoff and I go legit so hard for our first Chicago Sketchfest.

Provided I make it through all of this, I plan on collapsing the rest of January.

Friday, October 26, 2012

THE CURSE RETURNS!!! SF GIANTS!!!

Look!  Look how beautiful that park is!  I'll bet whoever plays there sure is good at baseball!


Look at this sweatheart!  I hope he hits just a ton of home runs!  What a cutie patutie!

They call them Giants because of their large stature in the world of baseball!

They should totally win the World Series!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

New Comedy Jobs Within 50 Miles of Chicago


This is the 7th entry I found when searching 'Comedy Jobs' on Google Images.  Exercises in literalism.

Somehow I evidently signed myself up for an email list that is supposed to send me “comedy job” listings.


I don’t know how this happened, since I don’t recall ever even seeing an opportunity to sign up for anything along those lines. I would remember such an opportunity, since I like comedy jobs and would like to have one, but I’m pretty sure that never came up. Yet, lo and behold, every Thursday a new email entitled “Today’s new Comedy jobs within 50 miles of Chicago” descends from the Interweb ether and lands like mana in my inbox.

The first time I saw this little message sitting among the ‘Facebook Notifications,’ the “Somebody Twittered Somethings” and the ‘Your Daily Groupon/Amazon/LivingSocial’ schlock that represents the majority of all incoming electronic correspondence, I didn’t quite know what to think. Being a comedy writer and performer in Chicago, I was pretty sure that this was a ruse; there are no comedy “jobs” within 50 miles of Chicago. Sure there’s ample opportunity to go ply one’s trade for free or for minimal money if you’re willing to do that yourself. Jobs, though?

And yet, I knew that Google Analytics and Internet Market/Spying had come a long way in the past few years. Was it possible that the Interwebs had not only learned to read my passions and desires over my shoulders, but also found a way to locate previously unknown sources of income? And then developed the benevolence to piece together a weekly email just for me highlighting the many possible paths to comedy success and fulfillment?!

“Come with me,” said the Internet, extending a welcoming and helpful hand down to me. “Let me pull you from the abyss and lift you up into the light of your future!”

“Really?” I asked in disbelief, bogged down in the day-to-day existential quagmire of my office job. “You would just do that without any prompting? You, who up until now has only been good for funny cat pictures, irrational political snark and free pornography? Are you now some sort of magnanimous electronic genie machine?”

“Shhhhhhh.” The Internet placed a digit on my lips to quiet me. “No questions now. Come with me.”

And so, with the excitement of a child on Christmas morning crammed into however long it takes to click and open an email, I tore open the electronic envelope and gazed at the wonderment of the very first Comedy job listing:

Pediatric Oncology Registered Nurse

Wait what?

Perhaps a stray posting had accidentally wandered into my All-Comedy Jobs email. I took a look at the next couple of listings.

Neonatal ICU Registered Nurse

Cardiac Cath Lab Registered Nurse

Telemetry Registered Nurse

Am I mistaken?  Is there a massive amount of Comedian Nurses running around hospitals dispensing witticisms, performing pratfalls and reading charts aloud while doing funny impressions, all for the general health of – neonatal so that’s what? – prematurely born children?

Is there anything other than ‘RN?’

Restaurant Server

Ah yes, the ‘RS.’ Well, that’s a little closer to what you would expect for a comedian. Still not a comedy job.

Barback

Steward – Dishwasher

Physician Bread and Butter General Surgery
At last! A physician who performs surgery on inanimate food stuffs! I’ve found my calling!

But alas, it turns out I’m woefully under qualified for “Bread and Butter General Surgery.” Evidently you still need an MD, or at least a background in baking.

Disappointedly I clicked back to my inbox. Then I did what I usually do when I’m disappointed on the Internet: I found a YouTube clip of someone getting hit in the nuts by a dog. And in that moment, I felt just slightly better.

So now, whenever I see my weekly “Today’s new Comedy jobs within 50 miles of Chicago” email, I do what I normally do with the e-phemera that floats through my inbox. Sometimes I’ll open it to remind myself of the cruelness of life and the general stupidity of the Internet, but usually I just toss it.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Bachmann Level: Green!

Green is for 'Go Crazy!'

We haven't had much use for the Bachmann levels around here since she dropped out of the race to represent Republicans in the gong show that is Presidential Election Time.  Actually, we haven't had much use for blogging since the end of June either, but whatever.  You don't come here for consistency.  You come here for poorly MS Painted photos of Michelle Bachmann wearing green Groucho glasses.  Speaking of:

Madame Bachmann is convinced that the Muslim Brotherhood has infiltrated the American Government.  Her proof?  One of the people who works there is Egyptian-American.

CASE.  CLOSED.

One might take the time to refute said claims, however the power of a blogger to do so pales in comparison to that of John McCain, who increasingly looks to be the only same person left in all of Congress.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Stop Threatening to Move to Canada

I feel bad for Canada.

Less Loon, More Lunatic (source)
Not too bad, mind you. I mean, poutine is delicious and they do have a sensible drinking age there. But bad in the sense that every time a political group in this country doesn’t get their way they threaten to move to Canada.

I don’t know where this threat originated. I know Canada took draft dodgers during Vietnam, and before that accepted escaped slaves during the age of underground railroading. Maybe the threat comes from there. Regardless of origin, though, it’s a common refrain for spoiled, pig headed political brats on both sides of the political spectrum. Pig head Democrats threatened to move during the (admittedly disastrous) Dubya years. Republicans threatened it during the (admittedly embarrassing) Clinton years. Hell, I remember being what? Must have been six to ten years old sitting in a crappy Mexican restaurant with a friend and his incredibly Liberal mother – I knew she was notoriously Liberal before I even had a working comprehension of political differences at all – listening to her threaten to move to the Great White during Bush Sr.’s term. Can’t even remember why. Doesn’t matter. Her team was losing on something or other.

Of course, the latest incarnation, spawned by the Supreme Court’s ruling that Obama’s Health Care Plan is not unconstitutional, has a special level of irony. This considering Canada’s penchant for socialized medical care. But whatever. Spoiled, pig headed people aren’t going to let things like facts get in the way of a good threat. That in turn won’t stop people from pointing out the hypocrisy of it all.

Hey, if you’re the kind of person who throws a fit every time something happens that you don’t like, please by all means leave the country. The ability to compromise and to deal with shit when people with opposing viewpoints get something they want and to somehow coexist is kind of important for a proper Democratic Republic. One might argue that you, hypothetical expatriate, are why things are so jacked up around here – cynical assholes appeal to your assholeness, which causes you to vote for them, perpetrating continued assholism.

I would prefer the country be made up of people who want to stay and work to make things better for everyone, rather than people who want to complain because Red Team of the Blue Team didn’t win. This isn’t a team sport, people. We’re not soccer hooligans. We’re supposed to be an enlightened citizenry that stays informed and chooses the best available leadership, not chooses people based on who we want to lose the most. And if something doesn’t go our way then we’re supposed to compromise, not take to the internet and register our supreme discontent with… okay well, I’m kind of doing that right now.

But poor Canada, should they agree to let these whiny people move in. Because they will pack up all of their belongings, along with all their bullshit and irrational anger and intractability and penchant for complaining, and they will bring all of it with them. And it will be the same thing over again, only slightly colder. If I were Canada, I’d start putting up the wall right now.

Maybe if you’re lucky, Canada, those people will threaten to move to Greenland.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Meditations on My Thirtieth Birthday

I have been told various things by various different people: that the 30th birthday is a tough one; that the 31st is actually worse; that the 30’s are better than the 20’s; or that it’s the other way around; or that the 40’s are better then all of them; or far worse; or whatever.


No matter what I make of it, the fact of the matter is it’s here. I’m 30 years old. There’s no getting around it.

I think I’m supposed to have a nervous breakdown or a ‘my God what have I done with my life’ moment, but I think I may have already done that November of last year and that I came out the other end of it not really giving a damn, so I think I’m good there.

So, the imminent collapse of my self-worth temporarily postponed as it is, I thought I would share with you, my blog viewership of three, the wisdom of my three decades of existence. We’ll see how that compares with what wisdom is left after my fourth decade – provided blogs still exist and that we’re all still inclined to pontificate.

The most important life skill you can have is not the ability to get what you wants, nor is it the ability to make a plan and stick to it, nor is it the ability to talk your way out of anything, convince people of anything or to win arguments at all cost, nor is it the ability to think constructively or empathetically. Nor is it the ability to drive a stick shift. Some of those are generally useful. Some are even necessary. However, in my humble opinion, the supreme life skill that everyone needs to develop is the ability to deal with shit.

This might sound depressing, but it’s not.

You know what? Sometimes you get stuck in an elevator. Sometimes you work your ass off for a promotion or a new job or a part in a show that goes to someone else. Sometimes you date someone and things don’t go so well. Sometimes you do a show that nobody comes to. Sometimes your bus is running late and is crowded. Sometimes you forget to take the trash out and your apartment smells like trash when you come home. Sometimes you’re sick and there’s nobody to take care of you. Sometimes you have to sleep on a friend’s couch. Sometimes you forget your umbrella and rain coat and then it pours rain and then you’re soaked for the rest of the day. Sometimes your significant other’s family hates your guts. Sometimes the merchandise you ordered wasn’t shipped, or is damaged. Sometimes your burger has mayo on it when you specified no mayo. Sometimes you piss off your best friends, or they piss you off. Sometimes you let your family down. Sometimes your phone is out of battery. Sometimes your car won’t start. Sometimes you are broke. Sometimes you lose your job. Sometimes you have a job that you hate. Sometimes people disappoint you. Sometimes you are a disappointment to someone else. Sometimes your apartment building goes Condo and you have to find somewhere else to live. Sometimes your plane is stuck on the tarmac for hours and nobody will tell you why and then you miss your connecting flight and are stranded in St. Louis with a bag full of wine soaked clothes because a bottle of Chianti broke somewhere in Newark.

You could get pissed and go shout at someone, you could break down and cry or you could ask why, or why me? For the most part, though, I’ve found such things to be useless. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not above such reactions. In fact, I love to get pissed about certain things. But now, instead of getting wrapped up in the injustice of it all, I think to myself, ‘You know what? Shit.’ And then I deal with it, or I forget about it and I focus on trying to do the things I love to do (like eating bacon).

It seems like I know so many people who let the littlest things ruin their day, or who match their lives up to the expectations they had for themselves and let that paralyze them. Don’t worry if you don’t have that house yet or that retirement fund set up. If the last few years have taught us anything, it’s that not even those mainstays of respectability and stability are guaranteed to be around for you. It’s the ability to handle adversity with grace that will see you through, and the ability to manage disappointment and to adapt.

Live your life and try to enjoy it. I’ll make that the focus of my thirties. We’ll see what forty brings when I get there.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Fake Amazon Review: Leadership Lessons of the U.S. Navy SEALS

Disclaimer: this is fake.  I wrote it for fun.  Love, Nat.


"WICKED AWESOME BOOK FOR BUSINESS March 23 2004

"By BizNazFrank
"Format: Hardcover

“I just bought this book about management and it’s great. It’s called ‘Leadership Lessons of the U.S. Navy SEALS: Battle-Tested Strategies for Creating Successful Organizations and Inspiring Extraordinary Results.’ You know it’s a good book because the title is so freaking long. The title is practically a book by itself, so you’re reading a book before you even read the book – that’s two books in one and that, my friend, is what we call in the Business world ‘value-added value.’ I think.


“Anyway, I’m going to give a quick review of it for everyone. I should probably start by saying I haven’t read the actual book – I’m a busy business man who does a lot of business – but I have read the title, and here are some of the lessons I learned just from reading the title:

“1. Navy SEALS are sweet and they get shit done in a proactive, value-added ass-kicking way.
“2. To succeed as a manager, I need a highly-motivated crack core of employees who are insanely well-trained, preferably somewhere in San Diego by a bunch of military types.
“3. All employees should carry assault rifles to increase productivity and preparedness, as well as to facilitate conflict resolution and team building.
“4. Employees are most effective when they are able to work at all hours of the day; therefore they should all have night vision goggles.
“5. Helicopters.
“6. We should have trust falls maybe from time to time.

“And that’s just the stuff I gleaned from the cover and title and stuff. I’ll let you all know if anything new pops up once I’ve read the book, which I probably won’t have time to do because I’m a busy business person. But, uh, 5 stars. Go Amazon!

“Frank Jefferson, CEO
“F. Jefferson Financial Consulting and Business Applications Business, LLC”

Monday, June 4, 2012

Farewell to Tro-Lo-Lo Guy

Very important news as far as Internet issues are concerned: Eduard Khil has passed away. Those of you who, like me, have spent an inordinate amount of time trapped in the big silky webs of online existence may recognize him as the Tro-lo-lo Guy. Behold, for posterity:


The title of this piece, despite containing no actual words whatsoever, is “I Am So Happy to Finally Be Back Home.” Strangely, and based only on a series of nonsense words and Khil’s whack-a-doo delivery, I can kind of see that.

I first became aware of Tro-lo-lo guy a little over two years ago and it made me very very happy. Strangely happy. I’m not even completely certain why it made me so happy, but it did. The animated .gif and various other incarnations went on to circle the virtual globe, riddling chat rooms and message boards. In fact, there was a time where every Troll had a Tro-lo-lo reply. Just think: twenty years ago that last sentence would make absolutely no sense whatsoever.

For me, Tro-lo-lo will always stand as a testament to the power of the Internet to take something completely obscure (say, Soviet entertainment from 50 years ago) and turn it into an enduring and hilarious piece of modern society. Plus, man, the song just gets stuck in my head sometimes.

So pour some out for Eduard Khil today and may he rest in peace.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Ow My Balls

Guys.  This is this.  This:


is This:


This is this.

One of these is 'fiction' meant to satirize entertainment in a world that is increasingly dumbed down.  The other is basically the same thing except for the 'fiction meant to satirize' part.

They're the same thing and it's frightening.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

CRASSUS SHOW OPENING!!

Well, Geoff and I have spent the last couple of years scurrying around from place to place doing 15-20 minute versions of our thang, and now it’s time we set down roots, had some people over, and did a full 45 minutes of comedy. To wit, tonight we open:




CRASSUS
The Pub Theater, above Fizz Bar
3220 N Lincoln Ave, Chicago

Weds 5/9 – 5/30, 6/13 – 6/20

10 PM

Tickets: $10, available at the door or online.



As Professional Comedians, we’ve worked up a pretty decent sized collection of sketches over the course of the last couple of years. So as a result the running order of the show will change from week to week. That means we’ll constantly be swapping in and out different sketches, adding new stuff we’ve just written and never tried before, and just generally running a fluid and crazy show. Every performance will be different, culminating in the final show where I actually won’t even be present. Geoff will do the last show by himself.

It’s going to be an extravaganza of comedy goodness. AND, we’ll have friends opening for us. Here’s the schedule for that:

5/9 Pat Raynor
5/15 Jack & the Wolf
5/23 Lindsay Williams
5/30 Jack & the Wolf
6/13 Claudia Martinez
6/20 Stuart Scotten

So come early, come often, and come have some fun with us.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Musings on Parenthetical Pronouns

I know, you read that title and you thought 'WHAT IS THIS WILD SHIT ABOUT?!"

Sometimes when I’m reading a news article, I run across a quote where the writer or editor has put in parentheses around a pronoun. Supposedly, this is just a way for them to alter a quote so that it makes sense in the context of their article. However, sometimes I wonder what the hell the original quote was and why it had to change. For instance, today I see this:


"We know (he) can score," Prince said. "We know what (he is) capable of with the ball in (his) hands.”

Like… what did he actually say? I don’t know what the speaker could have said other than ‘he,’ ‘he is,’ and ‘his.’ It could have been the person’s full name, but that’s not likely given that he would have to use it three times in two sentences.

Is the speaker unable to speak? Like, is he unintelligible? You see that sometimes, usually when interviewing old-timey gold prospectors and the like. Here, though, the rest of the sentence is perfectly legitimate English so he must not be mealy mouthed.

Is the speaker getting his pronouns mixed up? “We know it can score. We know what she is capable of with the ball in they hands?”

Is he using some weird alien pronoun that nobody on Earth understands? “We know Blorgon can score. We know what Blorgon is capable of…?”

Is he just shouting at the top of his lungs? “We know AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHH can score?”

Or, is he throwing in a bunch of profanities? “We know cock-faced assmunch can score. We know what fuckface is capable of with the ball in asshole douchtard’s hands.”

I suppose we’ll never know.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The Miami Marlins: Colorful

Lately, there has been a lot of hubbub and hullabaloo over the comments of one Oswaldo Guillen, formerly of Chicago White Sox infamy, over his comments basically saying he respects Fidel Castro for being a zombie cyborg cockroach. Naturally, the Cuban ex-patriot community of Miami is up-in-arms, given that Ozzie now manages the Miami Marlins and given that many of them either escaped from or are descended from people who escaped from Castro’s repressive Communist regime.


Ozzie was known around Chicago as being that 'lovable scamp' who 'always had something to say' and was often 'verbally abusive' and 'hated homosexuals.'
Far be it from me, the man with the strange obsession with Vladimir Putin, to cast stones here. After watching the sports television apparatus and having discussed this issue thoroughly with a coworker of mine over $2 burgers this afternoon, I have come to the conclusion that the Miami Marlins and Ozzie kind of deserve each other.

This logo screams "AAAAAAAARRGGHH!!"

You may not immediately recall the Miami Marlins. Up until this year, they were known simply as the Florida Marlins. And while they have in fact won two World Series titles over the course of their twenty-two year existence, are roundly ignored by the majority of baseball fans. They have a reputation for stinking worse than microwaved salmon. I make this joke for three reasons: (1) as I write this, there is an eau du cooked fish wafting about the office, (2) their mascot is a damned fish, and (3) ten games into the season, they are not so good at the baseball.

This widespread indifference, combined with the stench of suckage and the presence of the eternally Evyl Miami Heat distracting people from all other sports, lead the Brass Marlins – er, Marlin brass – to make some “marketing corrections,” which involved changing their uniforms from bad to abominable, moving into a new stadium the design for which is based off of the owner’s napkin doodling, and installing this monstrosity in centerfield.

I wonder if there were any conscientious objectors among the work crew.

This is called, rather creatively, the “Home run feature.” Supposedly, whenever the home team hits a home run, this… thing lights up and then murders taste, tact and tradition.

And so, as you can see, the Marlins scream colorful. Their uniforms are colorful; their stadium is colorful; the Home Run feature, oh God the Home Run feature; and so now they have a ‘colorful manager.’

Good luck Ozzie, and happy hunting.  Or fishing.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

An Email Style Guide for A$$holes


Vonnegut drew a portrait of you!

So you’re an asshole and you’re struggling with the limitations of email. In person, others know you’re an asshole because they can see you being an asshole, hear your asshole voice, watch you roll your asshole eyes and smell your asshole breath. But email is such a limiting medium: how do you convey unwarranted sarcasm when there’s no sarcasm font? How will they know how unwarrantedly angry you are if they can’t see the contortions of your dumb asshole face when you talk? What if people read your email and come away with the misconception that you’re just being a normal human being or, even worse, that you’re actually nice?


Calm down, asshole. I hear you, and I’m here to help you.

A little bit about me: I work a job that is a hybrid of customer service and tech support. As such, I deal with incredibly anti-social people at their worst, and I do it over email. As such, I’m uniquely qualified to assist you in broadcasting to the world how much of an asshole you are. And I can guarantee you, if you follow these tips to asshole emailing then you will be well on your way to showing the world your true asshole colors.

1. The One Word Forward: Did you receive an email from someone that you don’t understand because you’re lazy or an idiot, and you want your intended audience to feel like they’re not doing enough? While you could write a lengthy dissertation on how inadequate your victim is, the more efficient and assholean way to do it is to click forward and write their name with a question mark after it. This conveys the notion that you are too important to explain the problem, which would require you first understanding the problem and then figuring out what you do and do not know. To hell with that! Make someone else do it, and make them feel like garbage while they do it!

2. Don’t Read: If you really want someone to hate you, don’t bother reading the email they sent you in the first place. This gives your rambling an irrationality that conveys to your victim, “This person doesn’t give a damn, they’re going to be angry no matter what you tell them.” Nothing makes people loathe to work with you than being intractably angry despite already having what you need.

3. CAPSLOCK!!: This is how people know you’re yelling. You use the biggest letters imaginable. Loud equals big. Bonus points if you pick random words that would never be yelled in normal conversation. Bonus bonus points if you just capslock the whole thing and let God sort it out.

4. Bold/Italics/Underline: use only on things that are already obvious, so as to make them even more obvious. If it’s something that is important that you’re worried someone else might miss, don’t bother because you’re worrying about someone else. Only use these when trying to make someone else think that you think they’re an idiot.

5. Ellipses: You know that thing that’s like three periods together and means an open ended sentence? It’s called an ellipsis and it’s a great way to be unwarrantedly patronizing. The thing you are asking for is so obvious that your idiot victim should be able to guess. Bonus points here if you use more than three periods. The longer the ellipsis, the more patronizing and the more intelligent you look!

6. Excessive Punctuation: particularly when it pertains to exclamation points and question marks. Double punctuation amounts to punctuating the punctuation – it’s not important what you’re yelling so much as the fact that you’re yelling. Conversely, you could…

7. Use No Punctuation: make them guess what you mean! Nothing makes people angrier than being yelled at by some unintelligible douchebag who is incapable of separating ideas – if you want to call them that – with periods, commas or semicolons.

8. Include “Have a blessed day” in Your Email Signature: this only works if it’s abundantly clear that you want your audience to go back in time and die in the Great Chicago Fire. The dissonance between your ranting and your cheery signature acts as a double word score tile, but for asshole points. Having your signature writ in hot pink amounts to a triple word score.


"Have a blessed day!"

Remember, the important thing while being an email asshole is that you convey your own anger and insecurity through the degradation of others. If what you’re writing is coherent, earnest and meant for the betterment of humankind, consider cutting that sentence out altogether.

You know, it used to be I would write posts to dissuade people from such behavior, as evidenced here and here. Perhaps it’s a sign of my ever growing cynicism, or perhaps even my own increased assholishnes, that I’ve given up hope. But then again, maybe I just want you to be the assiest asshole you can be.

Good luck, asshole, and happy hunting.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Second Annual Saint Drunken's Day

Sweet holy hefeweizen! St. Drunken’s Day is less than two weeks away!



For those of you who are uninitiated, St. Drunken’s Day is a religious drinking holiday that was completely made up by we inebriates of Robot vs Dinosaur. The kernel of the idea came from a post I wrote in 2009 to kind of lampoon what St. Patrick’s Day has become – essentially, an excuse to put on some green t-shirts and go make asses of ourselves in public – and invented some fake old timey sounding quotes, such as:

He reportedly is the first person to urinate on a building. Quoth Saint Drunken, "I hath Christyned meself with all the holy spriryts I maye, and anon I Christyn thee, ye Bush that doth sit tidily beneath the Pryor's window, with what remaynes."*

Well now we at RvD use it as a fundraiser and, more importantly, as an excuse to drink beer with friends and play plinko drinking games.

This is our second year holding festivities. Last year was a hell of a lot of fun, and I see no reason why this year’s celebration, which is essentially the exact same format, wouldn’t be just as fun. There’s a pageant, some games, a silent auction for drunken artwork, a raffle and general tomfoolery. Here are the details:

What: St. Drunken’s Day!
When: Saturday, April 21, 2012 from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Where: 3036 North Lincoln Avenue, #2
Tickets: $20 in advance, $25 at the door


** Doors open at 7. The St. Drunken's pageant with sketches and songs starts at 8 p.m.**

You can buy tickets from me, either in person or you can email me and I’ll work out reserving you some tickets. Or leave a comment here to get my attention.

Friday, March 23, 2012

"Where Have You Been..."

"...and can you work it into some sort of show plug?!"

Why yes.  Yes I can.  Take a gander at this picture:


Halsted, obvs.

In the above, I represent 'my free time,' and the man in the bear costume represents 'Robot vs Dinosaur Presents: Pretty From a Distance.'

'What's that?' you say.  Let me drop the plug on you.




Robot vs. Dinosaur Presents:
PRETTY FROM A DISTANCE

Opening: March 23rd

Closing: April 7th

Days and Times: Fridays and Saturdays, 7:30pm

Location: Luna Central
3914 N Clark St
Chicago, IL

Ticket Price: $15

Contact the Luna Central box office at 773-819-5862 or at teatroluna.org

We've poured a lot of work into this one - I personally hosted three large panels of christmas lights and felt in my tiny studio apartment for about two weeks - and we'd love for people to come and actually, like, see the show.  So please, if you have a spare moment around 7:30 on a Friday or Saturday night in the next few weeks, come say 'Hi.'

Thursday, March 8, 2012

To My Fellow Lunatics, Upon Assuming Control of the Asylum


Ours.  It's all ours.  Ours.  Ours. (Source)  Ours.

My dear fellow lunatics,


I hope this address finds you well, or at least as well as your illness allows given that we are all mentally insane and confined in perpetuity to this asylum.

As those of you still with some modicum of cognitive abilities are probably aware, the powers that be have left. They are nowhere to be found. There are no sane people in charge here. We do not know why. Our fellow inmates have suggested that they may have disappeared into nothingness; that they may have been transformed into fairies and are still flitting about among us; that they may have been swallowed by the great Satan dog who barks orders to Mr. Jenson from the third toilet stall in ward C; that the State may have closed the asylum and neglected to tell any of us, leaving us to fend for ourselves in a glorious orgy of violence and mayhem.

Unfortunately, we have no way of knowing for sure. Or if we do, I am unaware of the means for discovering the answer. Regardless, an answer either way would not change the matter at hand: namely that we are leaderless and as such destined for bedlam and anarchy.

In the interest of preventing such miserable circumstance and of promoting our continued existence, I hereby offer my services to you as de facto leader of this asylum.

Fellow lunatics, let me be your King.

Perhaps a handful of you would prefer Mr. Wilkenson as your dictator-for-life, he who appeared closest to recuperating completely and leading a normal and successful life. While I most certainly understand your preference, I offer the following two pieces of information about Mr. Wilkenson: first, that I saw him clucking like a chicken and smearing his own feces on his chest not three days ago, and second, that me may or may not have choked to death this morning in the shower stalls on a bar of soap. As leader, it is not my place to speculate on how such a bar of soap would end up in a man’s throat, nor to suggest that some foul play was involved. I know only that we must move forward together.

Having disposed of potential rivals to the ‘throne’ as it were – and no, now that I think of it, this has nothing to do with Wilkenson though I can certainly understand your confusion given the awkward placement of this sentence next to the previous details. Here, let me start over.

These are the times that try men’s souls – those of you who believe you still have them – and as such we must pull together or we will most assuredly pull separately, for the only fear we have to fear is actual fear. I want only the best for you as my presumed children. And I hope to do better by you, my adopted lunatic children, than I did by my own biological children, who may or may not have choked on bars of soap.

So look to me for guidance, my gentle subjects. Rest assured, I will establish a culinary staff to keep the mess hall running. I will hopefully find a former pharmacist among you who can sort out who gets what medication when. I will also draft a crack military force to deal with any dragons, Catholics or various other mythical beasts who might try to invade our home. I will tend to all of these issues and more, except for Thursday nights which is the night of the week when I am possessed by the spirit of Ethel Merman, the undisputed First Lady of the musical comedy stage.

You are all welcome to attend my shows, free of charge, in the rec room on such occasions.

I wish to keep this address brief, and so I say unto you: be well, fellow lunatics, and treat each other the way I would want you to treat each other. My benevolence is great. My iron fist of wrath is very fisty.

Sincerely yours,

Your new leader and King,

-Eric Welder aka Ethel Merman on Thursdays Only

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Performance Schedule: March / April

Let's keep the pluggery rolling.  I can't tell you people how nice it is to be busy doing things you actually like to do.  This seems obvious, but whatever.  Come say hi:


TUESDAY, MARCH 6th and 13th at 7:30 PM
Crassus @ SketchTest
Pub Theater at Fizz Bar, 3220 N Lincoln in Chicago
Tickets: FREE. Just show up.
A lot of brand new stuff that we’re really excited about. I really like this showcase just because you really get to watch performers trying out new stuff. Basically, you’re seeing the process. If you’re a comedy nerd, that’s kind of a cool thing to see.


Robot vs Dinosaur presents:
PRETTY FROM A DISTANCE
Fridays and Saturdays, March 23rd – April 7th
Luna Central, 3914 N Clark St
More info to come on this one, but I’m really excited for this show so expect more blathering soon.


MONDAY, APRIL 9th, 10 PM
Me opening for Williams and Martinez
The Playground, 3209 N Halsted in Chicago
Tickets: $5
I’ve gotten away from Reality Fairy stuff since I’ve been so busy with other shows. So it’ll be nice to get back to that character and try a couple of new things.  Particularly when in the company of two very good improvisers.


WEDNESDAY, April 25th, 8:00(ish)
CRASSUS opening for Old West Family Photo
Underground Lounge, 952 W Newport in Chicago
Tickets: FREE, but the stairs are steep
Why? Because it’s fun. There’s an open mic after that we usually stick around to watch afterwards.  And as always, Old West Family Photo is just great.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

On The Value of Actually Reading the Book You're Reading

Once upon a time, I was an English major. My homework was to read a ton of novels and write papers on them. At the same time as being an English major, I was doing extracurricular activities that involved theatre and drinking. Not necessarily at the same time, but also not unheard of behavior either.


As such, I became very good at ‘reading’ novels without reading them. I would get the gist of the story; I would skim for details; I would look for connections with other pieces of literature or anything else that I could potentially use for papers, tests and the like.

But did I read the novels? Not in the same way that I used to read, or the way that I read now, where I feel like I’m really ingesting the book. I’m just now, nearly eight years out of college, realizing the difference.

Here’s an example. We have a guy at work who really likes to read. Really smart guy, a writer himself, trying to get published, and he was talking books with my next-door cube neighbor when he mentioned a title he was reading – Pop. 1280. Something about that seemed vaguely familiar, so I ran to my Internets to look it up. Lo and behold, I had read it – rather, I’d ‘read’ it – for a class my Junior year. So I chimed in.

‘What did you think?' he asked.  'I’m only about half way in. Didn’t you love it?’

Frankly, I had no recollection of it one way or the other. Just that I had read it once, that I was required to read it, and that it was still sitting on my bookshelf.

That sensation unnerved me. So, about a month ago, I picked the book back up and started reading it again. It’s excellent. It’s hilarious and psychotic and entertaining and chilling at the same time. It’s the kind of book that I would have loved to read my Junior year had I not been so caught up ‘reading’ for my Junior year. It’s by Jim Thompson and was published in 1964. It’s like crime fiction meets farce. If you’re looking for something to read, I can recommend it with full knowledge that it is indeed a perfectly enjoyable read.

Anyway, I’m not sure what lesson to take from that, other than maybe just to enjoy what you’re doing while you’re doing it.

Monday, February 20, 2012

‘Twas The Morn’ of St. President’s Day, or A Visit from Robot Lincoln’

Once again, President's Day is here and nobody bothered to tell me because practically nobody cares.  This is a shame.  President's Day is a holiday, and should be treated as such.  With that in mind, I took quil and ink to parchment and penned the following poem to commemorate this most vital ritual of February.  I hope you all gather round some children (yours or otherwise) tonight and read them this little piece of verse:



‘Twas The Morn’ of St. President’s Day, or A Visit from Robot Lincoln’

By Nat Topping


‘Twas the morn’ of St. President’s Day at my place,
I awoke in a flurry and washed off my face,
My clothing I picked off a pile on the floor,
I brushed off my teeth and I booked out the door.
I ran to the bus stop and just missed my bus
So I pondered the point of my morning-time fuss.
But twelve minutes on the next bus came around.
In a matter of moments I was office bound.

Well as I softly napped to the bus’ gentle rock,
I was snatched from my slumber in horrible shock,
When, what to my terrified eyes should appear
Than a giant Abe Lincoln in robotic gear!
I escaped to the sidewalk and watched with eyes wide
As he picked up our bus and he threw it aside.
Abe Lincoln, the leader who freed all the slaves,
For some unknown reason was back from the grave!

He pulled up a light post and with a great swat,
He turned a poor biker into nothing but snot.
And then with a tip of a huge stovepipe hat,
He declared with a growl he was looking for Nat.
While wondering why in the world it would be
That Abe Lincoln would hold so much hatred towards me
I must have done something to catch Lincoln’s sight.
He charged and I fled in a terrible fright.

I dodged in and out, through the morning-time frey,
Abe Lincoln demolished what stood in his way.
I ‘scaped round the corner and ran ‘neath the El.
But Abe Lincoln sent the whole Brown Line to hell.
I ducked down Lower Wacker and thought I could hide.
I hoped I had lost him. I let out a sigh,
When I heard a great groan and I turned ‘round to see
George Washington zombies were coming for me!

There was a whole army, a mob of undead,
With wooden made teeth and with wigs on their heads
They groaned and they shuddered and cried out for flesh,
So I set off, with gusto, arunning afresh.
I came up to the surface. Abe Lincoln was there,
With his long robot limbs and his murderous stare,
Behind me the zombies in colonial gear,
I was pretty sure untimely death must be near.

But the strangest thing ever I saw then took place
When the zombie George Washingtons saw Lincoln’s face,
They charged at the robot and with a great clatter,
They took down the monster who with a great splatter,
Crushed legions of zombies beneath all his weight.
I might have watched longer but you see I was late,
So this tragic debacle I managed to shirk,
And within fifteen minutes I made it to work.

You readers may wonder if this could be true,
Well, I swear: every word as I’m writing to you
Is exactly the way I described it to be.
But ‘They’ covered up all this, naturally.
As sure as you’re born and that prattlers prattle,
The Presidents fought a horrific battle.
So heed you this warning: prepare for dismay,
When your work doesn’t take off St. President’s Day!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Performing Schedule - February / March

Performing schedule for the foreseeable future. I’ll update if I add anything further.  Smooches and happy February!  It's a crappy month, but it's short!




WEDNESDAYS FEBRUARY 1 - 22, 9:30 PM
I'm helping out for Patrick Raynor’s Come On! We’re All Adults!
Annoyance Theatre, 4830 N Broadway in Chicago
Tickets: $10
This is my good buddy Pat’s one man show, but I’ll be helping out with music and even singing an old Reality Fairy song for that too! I’ve seen Pat’s stuff and it’s very funny, so I plug this in good conscious. OPENS TONIGHT!!

Don't have a photo for these guys...

THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 23rd, 8:30
CRASSUS at Jerry's Comedy Night
Courtesy of Gulp! Productions
Jerry's Sandwiches, 1938 W Division in Chicago
Tickets: FREE
20 Minutes of Comedy Bliss from your friends in Crassus (Me and Geoff).


WEDNESDAY, February 29th, 8:00(ish)
CRASSUS opening for Old West Family Photo
Underground Lounge, 952 W Newport in Chicago
Tickets: FREE, but the stairs are steep
We’re crushing on these guys so hard that Geoff and I are doing a third month in a row. Come hang out. Show’s free, preshow music is good, and the beer is beer.


TUESDAY, March 6th and 13th at 7:30 PM
Crassus @ SketchTest
Pub Theater at Fizz Bar, 3220 N Lincoln in Chicago
Tickets: FREE. Just show up.
We'll be trying out some new stuff.  It could be great, or it could be really great.  Whether that's intentional or unintentional remains to be seen.  Either way, we're gonna have fun.

Things in the hopper: an RvD run and a Crassus run sometime mid to late Spring.  Check back!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Friday: Still Bitching...

...about SOPA and now the weather.  This is what we do here.

Chicago, I know it’s cold out now and that people are more likely to stay indoors, cuddle up next to a fire with their loved ones and sing songs about love and warmth.  That said, we’re a big city and he have certain obligations.  So naturally, when I see articles like this claiming that we went an entire 24-hours without a reported shooting or murder?  We’re not holding up our end of the bargain.  In Rio de Janeiro, someone is being brutally murdered in a favela right now as you’re reading this.  Why do you think they’re getting the Olympics?

I’m not saying, I’m just saying.

Anyway, what’s going on with the Internet?

I’m glad you asked.  Are we doing a Friday Jaunt?

Yes, bold type.  We’re doing our first Friday Jaunt Around the Internet of the New Year.  Little known fact: one of my resolutions this year was to suck at blogging.

This is different from last year?

Silence.  This week’s is entitled: Death, Devotion and Desert

SOPA PIPA.  Isn’t that a Mexican desert?  That’s Sopapilla and it’s delicious.

I already harangued people (Isn’t that also a desert?  You’re thinking meringue) on Wednesday about this, so just another word: I’m just continually shocked at how politicians are a bunch of asshats.  Republicans are supposed to be against regulations, and Democrats are supposed to be progressive about this sort of thing.  So it only makes sense that, the one time they try to do something in a bipartisan manner, it completely conflicts with both their ideological interests.

And of course by “continually shocked” what I mean is “not surprised remotely.”

Only in America.  Latin America.  On Fox Latin America, no less.

I find when I’m confronted with mouth breathing bigoted assholes, the answer to most weighted questions they might ask is “the Jews.”  Let’s see if it applies to this specific case

“Christmas Special is coming to Nat Geo… Who do you think responsible (sic) for the death of Jesus?”

Yup.  Mouth-breathe away.

The choices the people of Latin America were given were “Pontius Pilate; the High Priests; the Jewish People.”  If I were writing these questions, I would add “Nails and a cross” or “a bunch of people that died a long time ago” or “God” since this ‘fulfillment of a prophecy’ thing was God’s idea in the first place.  But whatever.  I’m just some guy in Chicago.  What do I know?

Speaking of Religion: The iDoll.  Now available in gold.  Check that, bold type.  No lifelike doll of Steve Jobs for you.  The Chinese toy company slated to start manufacturing them has decided against.  

You’ll have to confine your Apple worship to standing in line for the newest iPhone and then ranting and raving about it ad nauseum, or taking a pilgrimage to Budapest, Hungary where apparently there’s a bronze statue of Steve Jobs.  It is absolutely terrifying:
FOUR!  FOUR DEAD CHILDREN!  AH AH AH!
Steve Jobs was always known for his creepy alien fingers and lack of thumbs.

And Finally, Etta James Rest In Peace.  On a more somber note, one of the great voices in soul has passed away.  Here’s a nice article from CNN detailing her life.  Here’s the obligatory Youtube club (most likely pirated) for your enjoyment:

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Letter to my Reps Re: SOPA and PIPA

I blog, so I figure I would weigh in with my Senators and Representative.  If you don't know anything about these web censorship acts working their way through Congress, here's a good article from the Washington Post that sums up everything, as well as wikipedia articles about SOPA and PIPA.


By the way, Internet, don't shoot me for linking other sources.


Ahem...



Dear Representative/Senator/Elected Official,

I am a blogger and a sketch comedian living in Chicago.  I link to other webpages and occasionally use images from other sources (with attribution), but what I write is my own.  I’m not concerned for my legal safety.  If worst comes to worst, I can always not link anything, not use any images or just not blog in general.  Obviously, enhanced piracy laws would inhibit my ability to express myself freely, but I’ll find other ways to do that if I have to.  People always do.

Besides, I hope that someday someone will actually pay me to write things and, once that happens, copyright will become my friend.  I’m not against copyrighting or making money off of products that cost money.

I am, however, concerned that the Stop Online Piracy Act and the Protect IP Acts would negatively impact many web services that provide people with an outlet for expressing themselves.  I’m worried for the people who, like me, generate their own material and share it through sources like Youtube, Flickr, Vimeo and the various blogging platforms (Blogger, Tumblr, etc.) and web hosting sites used by countless creative people to express themselves.  Removing the safeguards allowed these sites to deal with abuses and giving the DOJ to simply remove these sites from the DNS registries could be tantamount to a death sentence for all of us that use these services to share our own work.  For instance, if Youtube were completely taken down because someone shared a movie trailer illegally, my own video that I wrote and made myself should not be punished at the same time.  That’s punishing me for someone else’s crime, as well as depriving other people the chance to see me do something stupid on the internet.

And requiring these companies to actively police everything people link to?  Really?  I can’t begin to imagine the burden, financially and physically, this kind of requirement would be for these companies.

I understand the challenges of an expanding Internet and that there need to be protections allowed to businesses that make their money through content generation.  I would only ask that Congress act in such a manner that does not negatively impact those of us that generate our content for no monetary gain, and that they act in the best interest of everyone involved.

I appreciate your time and consideration.

Sincerely,

-Nat Topping

Friday, January 13, 2012

Mitt Romney Speaks French?! Quel Dommage!

More political news from the "We're betting you're so dumb that this actually matters to you" camp that causes me such agony (as previously evidenced here and, I'm sure, elsewhere).

It turns out Mitt Romney speaks French.

!!!!!!

I know, you're freaking out because heaven forbid a Presidential candidate speak anything other than AM'RKIN, but it's true.  We know this because a certain Republican Presidential candidate, seen here posing next to his Lego doppelganger...

Also the Lego incarnation of Andy Warhol.
... put together an attack add.  Embedded below but, be warned, you'll have to sit through pretty much the whole ad to get there.  Oh God, the humanity!



"Bonjour!  Je m'appelle Mitt Romney?!"  Who is this man?!  Next thing you know, he'll be telling us his name isn't Mitt Romney!

Having a French speaking President would (I'm sure) be an insult to our fore fathers who (I'm sure) would never stoop so low (I'm sure) as to speak the language of those filthy, cigarette-smoking, capitalism-hating, freedom-destroying muckety-muck Frogpeople!  I'm sure of this!

Oh wait, did you have something to say, Thomas Jefferson?
For fun, compare this picture of Thomas Jefferson with the above picture of Newt Gingrich!

Why sir, that stern and disapproving glare leads me to believe that you disagree with something that I may have just typed.  And lo, after a quick review of the American History that I only half learned because I was too busy thinking about boobs in class to pay attention, it seems like we owe a lot to the French.  Including a lot of the enlightenment ideals that permeate our Constitution, or the military assistance that the French lent us during the Revolutionary War, or the Statue of Liberty, or the design for Washington DC's city plan, or any number of other things the French directly or indirectly gave to us.

In fact, if Benjamin Franklin weren't so busy sleeping with the ghosts of French prostitutes he'd probably be here as well, casting disapproving glared in our general direction.

And so, America, to sum up: don't be as stupid as Newt Gingrich wants you to be.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

REVISED Performing Schedule - January/February

Ok, change of plans.  I feel like ass today, so the wonderful SketchTest lady, Sherra, is letting me move back a week.  Also, added a show for Crassus in February!  Hooray!


TUESDAY, JANUARY 17th and 24th, 7:30 PM
Me (just me) @ SketchTest
Pub Theater at Fizz Bar, 3220 N Lincoln in Chicago
Tickets: FREE. Just show up.
I’ll be doing some Reality Fairy songs that I’ve been working on and refining. I get 12 minutes in the lineup, which is kind of a work shop environment, but if you’ve ever wanted to see what sketch looks like before it’s a completed piece, this is the place to see it. Plus, you’ll get to watch a grown man in a tutu sing children’s songs about real life!

MONDAY, JANUARY 23rd, 10 PM
Me (again) opening for Williams and Martinez
The Playground, 3209 N Halsted in Chicago
Tickets: $5
Doing aforementioned Reality Fairy songs while opening for two fine, funny ladies. There will also be another act or two thrown in for good measure.

WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 25th, 7:30(ish)
CRASSUS opening for Old West Family Photo
Underground Lounge, 952 W Newport in Chicago
Tickets: FREE
Geoff and I return to the site of last month’s show, which was a blast, to do some more stuff. Much fun was had last time, and so shall it be again.

WEDNESDAYS in FEBRUARY, 9:30 PM
Me (one last time) helping out for Patrick Raynor’s Come On! We’re All Adults!
Annoyance Theatre, 4830 N Broadway in Chicago
Tickets: $10
This is my good buddy Pat’s one man show, but I’ll be helping out with music and even singing a Reality Fairy song for that too! I’ve seen Pat’s stuff and it’s very funny, so I plug this in good conscious.


ADDED
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 23rd, 8:30CRASSUS at Jerry's Comedy Night
Courtesy of Gulp! Productions

Jerry's Sandwiches, 1938 W Division in Chicago
Tickets: FREE
20 Minutes of Comedy Bliss from your friends in Crassus (Me and Geoff).

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Performing Schedule – January

For those of you interested, below is a list of shows that I’m doing. It’s nice to actually have stuff to do, after something of a drought last year. Anyway, the below is for the foreseeable future (read: January and February).


SATURDAY, JANUARY 7th, 7:00 PM
Robot vs Dinosaur @ Chicago Sketch Comedy Festival
Stage 773, 1225 W Belmont in Chicago, in the Thrust theatre
Tickets: $15 (or FREE if you’re a SketchFest participant)
All new stuff, for a show we’re working on for the Spring. Really excited to see how the material plays.  Plus, I mean, there's nothing better than Sketchfest.

TUESDAY, JANUARY 10th and 17th, 7:30 PM
Me (just me) @ SketchTest
Pub Theater at Fizz Bar, 3220 N Lincoln in Chicago
Tickets: FREE. Just show up.
I’ll be doing some Reality Fairy songs that I’ve been working on and refining. I get 12 minutes in the lineup, which is kind of a work shop environment, but if you’ve ever wanted to see what sketch looks like before it’s a completed piece, this is the place to see it. Plus, you’ll get to watch a grown man in a tutu sing children’s songs about real life!

MONDAY, JANUARY 23rd, 10 PM
Me (again) opening for Williams and Martinez
The Playground, 3209 N Halsted in Chicago
Tickets: $5
Doing aforementioned Reality Fairy songs while opening for two fine, funny ladies. There will also be another act or two thrown in for good measure.

WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 25th, 7:30(ish)
CRASSUS opening for Old West Family Photo
Underground Lounge, 952 W Newport in Chicago
Tickets: FREE
Geoff and I return to the site of last month’s show, which was a blast, to do some more stuff. Much fun was had last time, and so shall it be again.

WEDNESDAYS in FEBRUARY, 9:30 PM
Me (one last time) helping out for Patrick Raynor’s Come On! We’re All Adults!
Annoyance Theatre, 4830 N Broadway in Chicago
Tickets: $10
This is my good buddy Pat’s one man show, but I’ll be helping out with music and even singing a Reality Fairy song for that too! I’ve seen Pat’s stuff and it’s very funny, so I plug this in good conscious.

So there you have it.  Hopefully I can keep up some semblance of that pace, and will post updates accordingly.  Smooches.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Upcoming Events for 2012

The new year offers us all a fresh start: another chance to make the same mistakes we made last year, and the tantalizing possibility of adding some new ones! This year (2012, genius) particularly has special significance. For starters, it’s the first year to have two ‘2’s in the number since, like, 1922. (I feel like I’m missing one in there…) Attach to that fact what significance you will.

As a means of helping you plan for this seminal moment in history, I humbly offer the following list of major events for the upcoming year accompanied by a brief explanation for why you should care. These are just some of the pivotal events you all have to look forward to:

2012 Summer Olympics, London UK – It seems like only two years ago we were making fun of the Canadians for their bizarre opening ceremonies. Imagine those same ceremonies with twice the silly clothing, three times the pomp and half the hemp! The Olympic games celebrate the spirit of peace and fellowship among nations with spirited and sometimes violent competition over precious metals. The country with the most medals wins crude oil! Expect Queen Elizabeth to compete in women’s shot put.

2012 World Expo, Yeosu South Korea – Yes, they still have World Expositions. Unlike the expositions of the late 1800s to mid 1900s, nobody really cares anymore. But that shouldn’t stop you from having a good time! This year’s topic is ‘The Living Ocean and Coast,’ which, whoah. Sure, it’s no Devil in the White City, but the living ocean? Excitement, am I right? AND, Yeosu is located on the coast of South Korea that is farthest from North Korea, so if shit goes down you should be able to swim to Japan!

Turing Centenary Conference, University of Cambridge UK – this… centenary conference… honors… Turing, who… was… a ah hell who gives a damn?

Presidential Election, United States of America – didn't we just do this?  With the nonstop corporate sponsored election cycle, it certainly feels like it.  Nevertheless, the ceaseless march of primaries, debates, gaffes, panderings and speachifying rolls on, and it won't stop until everybody hates everyone.  Personally?  I plan on finding a third party candidate and expounding on the virtues of throwing your vote away to anyone who will listen.  So, you know, look for that.

End of the World – For this year’s end of the world, the computer programs will all reset to the year 1900 because computer programmers never thought that… wait a minute…

End of the World v2 – at least, according to the ancient Mayans. At least, according to the people who speak for the ancient Mayans. You know, the people who sell books! Does the Mayan Calendar really predict the end of the world? Or did the calendar carver just get tired of carving? Or is it like a regular calendar that just starts over once you get past December 31st? The answers to these questions? Who cares? This is more fun anyway. With the end of the world looming over our heads (again) we get to live life like there’s no 2013. Until, of course, we make it to 2013, at which point we’ll realize we miscalculated and that the end of the world is really in 2015.