Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Busted Brackets and Pulitzer Prizes - I Will Tie These Together

My NCAA Bracket is busted. I have no teams left. I’ve never, ever had a bracket where I picked zero teams in the Final Four. ZERO. I don’t know what happened. It’s like I was picking teams from the women’s tournament. I might have possibly chosen teams from soccer. Or Australian rules football. I just don’t know.

This is the worst March Madness showing in Chris Othic history. It’s like the end of an era or something. It stinks. As a matter of fact, it ranks right down there with the time I was on Spring Break at Daytona Beach in ’93 and somehow picked five lesbians in a row to hit on. It was a horrible job of picking potential sex partners on my part. Simply awful.

Sadly, that was a true story.

So anyway, the odds of me winning my NCAA pool are the same as the odds of me winning a Pulitzer Prize for this blog entry.

Let’s just take a moment to think of me and my crumpled piece of paper that ten days ago I thought was worth over $400. Next year, I’ll do better. I’ll pick based on which mascot could beat up the other team’s mascot. But I’ll pick teams from the women’s tourney. Which probably has some lesbians in it. Which ties into my earlier paragraph where I mentioned lesbians, which ties into my point about me making horrible choices, like I did in my NCAA Pool.

Did you see that Pulitzer Prize Committee? How I made my writing fold back in on itself like that? Impressive, isn't it?

You can just send my prize to my home address.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Why Must Hollywood Ruin Everything?

I posted this link on my other blog, Clever Title, last Friday.

Basically, MGM is planning on making a new Three Stooges movie. Not a biopic of the Three Stooges. A Three Stooges movie.

The question that comes immediately to mind is: "How the hell do you make a new Three Stooges movie when all of the Stooges are dead? And have been dead for a long time? Has MGM figured out how to raise people from the dead? In which case, who would want to see a zombie Three Stooges movie? Wait, they're making a zombie Three Stooges movie? Where can I find a trailor?"

Slow your roll, hypothetical questioneer. MGM is not resurrecting so much as the remains of a single Howard brother. Instead, they are simply going to cast Benicio Del Toro, Jim Carey and Sean Penn.

I don't know about you, but when I think "hilarious" I immediately think Benicio Del Toro and Sean Penn.


Why, Hollywood? Why?

Why can't you people just write new movies? Why do you have to keep remaking movies that were perfectly fine?

Case in point: The Pink Panther. Classic movies. Iconic, even. Why did you have to go ahead and remake them? I mean, I love Steve Martin. Don't get me wrong. But you're not going to do better than Peter Sellers. You're just not. Peter Sellers = Jacque Clouseau. End of discussion, goddamn it!!

Of course, there are the James Bonds and the Batmans of the movie world. But those characters are more like institutions. Many actors have played those parts, and I'm sure many more will. But the Three Stooges? It's like casting someone else to be a Marx brother. The Marx Brothers are the Marx Brothers. The people and the performances are so intertwined that to have someone else seriously try to replicate them is just sacrelidge.

It's the modern equivalent of casting someone other than Jim Carey to play Ace Ventura. Jim Carey = Ace Ventura.

I think there aught to be a law. Hollywood should only be allowed to remake shitty movies. The idea would be to remake them until they finally get them right. That way, instead of making good movies into pieces of garbage, they will be forced to make pieces of garbage into good movies. I would think this would be a win-win for everyone involved.

So it's petition time. We're sending this one right up to the President himself. Take some time away from hacking GM to pieces and give Hollywood a good solid kick to the shlock-producing testicles!

Say No to New Stooges!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Are you surprised by this? Really?

Because I'm not. I saw this coming from a mile away. If anything, it's long overdue. With that wonky eye and those speedy magician's hands, this guy was born to pick up hookers in South Beach. I imagine the exchange went something like this:

Hooker: One night. $2000.

ShamWow Guy: I have $1000, an embroidered polo and three ShamWows soaked with gin and bodily fluids.

Hooker: Deal.

SG: I'll meet you at the La Quinta. Room 342.

H: Bring your tongue. I'm hungry.

SG: Pardon?

H: I mean, bring your ShamWow. I plan on spilling a lot of wine/coffee/cola/pet stains on the carpet.

(20 minutes later)

H: Let's kiss.

SG: Ow my tongue. (Punch)

And scene.

The Germans may make great towels, but only Miami produces tongue-hungry hookers. Sorry, ShamWow guy, but you've officially fulfilled your destiny. It's all meth binges and SlapChop royalties from here on out.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Earth Hour

It is 9:11pm - 41 minutes into Earth Hour.

I am on my laptop, posting this and watching an illegal stream of Hockey Night in Canada.

I am watching The Brothers Solomon on the TV and DVR.

The floor lamp is on, as is the ceiling fan light.

The slow-cooker is slow-cooking some chicken.

My phone charger is plugged in, yet no phone is attached.

Fuck you, Earth!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Supernatural = Best

I feel like endorsing something today, and that something is the CW show Supernatural. It stars Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles as two brothers who hunt ghosts, demons, and the like while at the same time being a couple of sexy man-bitches. Their mom was killed by a demon when they were kids, which made their dad start hunting demons and that was passed down to his sons and now the sons are trying to save the world all by themselves (oh how quickly they grow up).

Pretty simple concept, not a terribly original idea as a whole, but the relationship between Padalecki and Ackles is solid and the stories/episodes are consistently fantastic. Last night's show featured some of the best death scenes I have seen anywhere in quite some time. The deaths were far more fun and gruesome then the latest Friday the 13th film that was released last month (also starring Jared Padalecki), and Friday the 13th movies are supposed really be about horrific deaths and huge body counts. Supernatural does horror, comedy, and corny equally well. Just like with any other fantasy based type show, the writers can pretty much do whatever they want with the story, no matter how ridiculous it seems, and then explain it all away with a "Well this demon has these powers and made that happen for this reason" that makes you go "I buy that!" It's one of the shows I refuse to miss.

Fans of Buffy, Angel, Charmed, and the like will probably really get into this show. Supernatural airs Thursdays at 9:00/8:00 Central on the CW network. Because the future is now you can also go to your local Netflix or world wide interweb to check out past episodes.


P.S. If you are a fan of Heroes, you should be ashamed. That show has developed into a non-stop raging pile of shit. Now go watch Supernatural!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009


We should all aspire to be as good as "Bob and Ray." These guys were experts at taking simple premises and working magic with them without belaboring them. On SNL, this scene would be four minutes long and the slow talker would become a recurring character - hey, let's make him a 911 operator next week! If I saw this script on paper, I would be very worried - unrealistic premise, why is this guy even being interviewed, would actors be able to handle this without killing all that could be funny in it? But it's Bob and Ray and it works for them. Check them out. Their characters names rival Dickens for originality and revealing personality. They are also not vulgar (Chris) and never use shock tactics to get laughs.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Dora Explored

A bit of a hubbub was caused recently when the new Dora the Explorer doll was revealed via a silhouette that had a lot of moms in an uproar. Here it is:

The new Dora doll is being marketed to "tweens," girls and the Moms feel that Dora may be becoming too sexy.

Fortunately for you faithful readers of the RvD blog, we have obtained a few more marketing silhouettes for the next few versions of Dora the Explorer, and would like to know what you think of these.

Dora has always been a healthy thin girl, and the good folks at Mattel do not one to leave the little fatties out. This one is marketed toward chubby tweens:

This next one is marketed toward younger boys who are into action figures:

This one is a little odd, but Nickelodion is apparently launching a new series aimed at pregnant women who love Dora the Explorer. It looks like they are keeping a similar hair style:

I'm not sure who this last one is marketed toward. I think it's most likely aimed at hip, urban, music-loving college females who are "discovering" themselves for the first time. This doll is simply called "Dora Exploring."

I'm under the impression that there is a "Swiper! No Swiping!" joke in here as well, but that may be a bit too much. No release date on any of these dolls is currently available.

Monday, March 23, 2009

News Flash: Cab Drivers Drive Like A$$holes

In driving my girlfriend to the airport early this morning (she's taking a beautiful four day vacation in beautiful Arizona with her beautiful parents at their beautiful home near the beautiful mountains surrounding beautiful Phoenix while I sit here in my cubicle) I came to a realization.

Not the realization that my life kind of sucks and that I'd rather be vacationing in Phoenix. Although now that you mention it, oh God....

No, the realization had to do with Cabs.

Until this morning, I had always assumed that the purpose of Cabs and Cab Drivers was for persons without cars to get from place to place as though they did indeed have a car. Thus instead of relying on Mass Transit they could hire a person to drive them to places like the airport, therefore saving them the inconvenience of having to drag their luggage to a crowded El station, wait for ten to fifteen minutes, and then stand next to someone's armpit for the remainder of the trip.

This explanation always made the most sense to me until this morning, when my life and my car's wellbeing was threatened over and over again by insane cab drivers dodging in and out of moving cars, concrete barriers and pedestrians.

It was then that I realized Cabs are meant to allow people to get places as though you were driving like an asshole.

Here's a scenario: I'm late to the airport and need to get to my terminal immediately in order to make my plane. I know that if I were to drive myself, I would have to obey traffic laws, respect the direction of traffic, pay attention to which lane ends where and stay semi-close to the speed limit. I know that if there is any hope, I would need to either drive like a huge asshole or know someone who would be willing to drive like a huge asshole.

And thus the Cab Driver was born.

Still gathering information to prove this to be a fact. I'll have a full 30 page report on your desk my Friday.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Hay is for burning.

Today I had one of those guilt-ridden Sunday Fundays that starts with a harmless lunch and ends with a crippled checking account and a substantial amount of dread for the coming workweek. I ate a burrito, I saw Sunshine Cleaning, and I ended up at Duke of Perth, where my friend Lauren regaled me with tales (tails!) of the horses she grew up with. I'm fascinated by people who harbor any sort of affection for horses because (and I didn't tell Lauren this, although she will probably learn it if and when she reads this blog post)... because I don't like horses. Never have. Never will. Maybe it's because I've had more contact with horse poop than the actual animal. Or maybe it's because I've always associated horse lovers with calendars and indecipherable horse jargon having to do with bridals and mares and hurdles and who knows what. Whatever the cause may be, my dislike is deep-seated, and until a stray horse follows me home and offers me intelligent conversation or even just the warm affection of a dog or cat (all of this in exchange for apples), it is also permanent. The rats behind my apartment are large enough to put saddles on, and they don't need to be brushed.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

A Writing Exercise

This morning, while listening to a talk radio station, I had the delight of hearing a "comedian" with "twenty years of experience" tell two-liner jokes based on the week's news. This was his closer:
The family of a woman who was mauled by a large chimpanzee is suing the monkey's owner for $250 million. That's bananas!
"That's bananas." That, my friends, is the kind of punchline that only comes from twenty years of experience. My brain has blocked out the rest of this unnamed (to protect the dignity of his relatives) comedian's routine, but I shall attempt my version of it. I apologize for the poor quality, but I have only been a professional comedian for ten years.
Congressman Barney Frank thinks that banks that accepted TARP funds should be banned from giving out bonuses. His ideas are so gay!

Hungary's premier is resigning. He must be full!

On The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, President Obama joked that his bowling skills would land him in the Special Olympics. That's neurofibro-hilarious!

China fired eight senior regulators for "slack supervision" during a tainted milked scandal that killed several children. They should have fired two more because with ten you get eggroll!

Actress Natasha Richardson has died of injuries sustained in a fall. Uh-oh, Spaghetti-O's!

Bindi Irwin is making her feature-length film debut in Free Willy 4. I should like to show her my willy!
Your assignment: Imagine that you are an untalented douchebag. Write some two-liners based on the week's news. Befriend a radio talk host and share your gift with the dozens of people who listen to AM radio.

Friday, March 20, 2009

The Phenomenon and History of the Prolonged Goodbye

Did you know that the average American spends 3 years, 4 months, 15 days, 2 hours, 31 minutes and 18 seconds of his life giving prolonged goodbyes? Here is the end of a typical phone conversation between two well-acquainted friends.

“Alright, well I should go.”

“It was nice talking to you.”

“Yeah, you too.”

“Let’s do this again.”


“Alright, I’ll let you get back to it.”

“Sounds good.”

“Have a good night.”

“Will do.”

“Alright then.”




It doesn’t sound like much, but throughout the course of one’s life, these extra words add up.

In an age where constant phone communication is taken for granted, we as a people may have lost track of the phenomenon of the Prolonged Goodbye course through history. But, in fact, this has been happening for centuries. Here are some famous prolonged goodbyes from history that have since been edited to save paper in high school history books.

Napoleon Bonaparte, Emperor of France (Farewell to the Old Guard, 1814)
I have sacrificed all of my interests to those of the country. I go, but you, my friends, will continue to serve France. … Do not regret my fate; if I have consented to survive, it is to serve your glory. Alright then, see you later.

Edward VIII, King of England - Abdication speech, 1936
I have found it impossible to carry the heavy burden of responsibility . . . without the help and support of the woman I love. Oh, that reminds me, the Queen sends her love. I’d be in trouble if I forgot.

Robert E. Lee, General of the Army of Northern Virginia -Farewell Address to his Soldiers, 1865
You will take with you the satisfaction that proceeds from a consciousness of duty faithfully performed; and I earnestly pray that a Merciful God will extend to you His blessings and protection. Oh hey, I forgot to tell you, I finally read that Petroleum V. Nasby book you were telling me about. Remind me to tell you about it later.

Douglas MacArthur, General - Farewell address to the U.S. Congress, 1951
And, like the old soldier of that ballad, I now close my military career and just fade away, an old soldier who tried to do his duty as God gave him the light to see that duty. Goodbye. … Huh? Oh, sorry, I thought you said something. Okay, bye.

And here are a couple of scenes from Hollywood that dared to show the Prolonged Goodbye on the big screen. Naturally squeamish censors made sure these ended up on the cutting room floor.

Casablanca, 1942

RICK: Isla, I'm no good at being noble, but it doesn't take much to see that the problems of three little people don't amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world. Some day you'll understand that. Now, now. Here's looking at you kid.

ISLA: Here’s lookin’ at you, too.

RICK: Alright, well better get on that plane before it leaves.

ISLA: Yeah, probably should.

RICK: Enjoy the flight.

ISLA: Will do.

RICK: Try to get an aisle seat.

ISLA: Huh?

RICK: I said, get an aisle seat. More leg room.

ISLA: But I like the view.

RICK: Okay, a window seat is good, too.

ISLA: I’ll play it by ear.

RICK: Sounds good. Have a good one.

ISLA: Bye.

RICK: Bye.

E.T., 1982

E.T.: (after touching Elliot's forehead with his fingertip) I'll be right here.

ELLIOT: Me too.

E.T.: E.T. go home now.

ELLIOT: Alright, try to get an aisle seat?

E.T.: Huh?

ELLIOT: I said get an aisle seat. More neck room.

E.T.: OK. I’ll call you when we land.

ELLIOT: Sounds good. You might have to dial 011 before you dial my number.

E.T. pushes some buttons on the Speak ‘n’ Spell.

SPEAK ‘N’ SPELL: Zero. One. One. Don’t worry, I’ll make sure the call goes through.

(The table saw blade whirs in agreement.)

E.T.: Okay, I really gotta go now.

ELLIOT: Yep, take ‘er easy.

E.T.: You too.

ELLIOT: Okay. Bye now.

E.T.: Bye.

Alright, well that pretty much does it for this blog entry. Take care. We still on for me to blog to you next Friday? Yeah? Sound good? Okay, I’ll think of something to say between now and then. So… yeah… I guess that pretty much does it for this week. Have a good one. Oh, almost forgot! Lora says hi. She wasn’t able to be here to blog to you, but she really wanted to. She’s just busy with school and everything. So, anyway, have a good one. Enjoy the weather. It’s supposed to be nice this weekend. I think I heard it’ll be in the 50’s. Get out there and do something with your day! Alright, I really have to get back to work now. See you. Bye.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

I Would Make a Terrible President

I have been going through some pretty stressful things recently (I can't go into detail now on the off chance that certain people somehow happen upon this blog) and all of the sudden I was hit with the realization that I would make an absolutely terrible president. I might be able to pull off maniacal dictator, but not president. I think about the amount off stress I have been dealing with and how I just want to crawl off into a desolate forest somewhere never to hear from or see human kind again.

Then I try to think of how much pressure there is on the President of the United States and my brain simply melts. I'm not talking about just Obama, I'm talking about every president ever. The tasks they face each and every day are just mind cripplingly unfathomable. No matter what you do with your life you can't really even come close to that level of responsibility and the inherent stress that goes with it. And all the while everyone expects you to remain calm and poised at all times, as opposed to the maniacal dictator who, although I'm sure has his/her own stress to deal with, really just has to figure out how many people they will need to kill before everyone else falls in line. If I was in Obama's shoes right now, I'd probably run full speed into a nuclear reactor core.

I guess what I'm trying to say is "Hey stand up and late night comedians. Lay the fuck off a bit will ya'"

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The Greatest Scene Ever Written

Greg and Mike have been NATtering about having written the greatest comedy sketch ever. Clearly, they suffer from delusions of glandular.

Here is the greatest scene ever written, as documented by Guinness, Nobel and Pulitzer.*

"Waiter Scene No. 6, Op. 68, F Major, “Pastoral”
also known as
"Recollections of a Country Life"
Written By Joe Janes

(Lights up on a mustachioed fellow sipping soup at an outdoor cafe. He notices something in his next spoonful and dumps the contents back into the bowl with malcontent flourish. He beckons the waiter.)


(Phillipe, 50s, a career waiter who is tall, thin and generously nosed, approaches the table. He wears a tuxedo and has a red cloth draped over his extended forearm.)


What is this fly doing in my soup?

Fuck you.

(A bird tweets. A lonely dog barks in the distance. A gunshot is heard. A man, unseen, coughs while commuting to work on a train, also unseen. Lights s-l-o-w-l-y fade.)

* Craig Guinness, Phil Nobel and Potsie Pulitzer

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Controversy Strikes the RvD Blog!

Yesterday Nat addressed Evil Blogging and asked what kinds of evils could be committed here at rvdchicago.blogspot.com.

His question came one post too late. In the previous post, Michael Charles Nathaniel Whittaker Bauman, a fellow member of Robot vs. Dinosaur Chicago, committed evil against one of its members. Me.

It's a shame that we have to now air our dirty laundry on our blog in front of all our fans. Our fans want to believe that we're all best friends who laugh together and tell each other our deepest thoughts over weekly tea parties and sleepovers. And for the most part that's who we really are. But at the risk of shattering that image for our legion, I must protect my work and reveal that sometimes one of us does something malicious against another member of the group.

You may remember Mike's post. He purported to have written the greatest seen the world has ever scene. (Note to self, spellcheck this before posting.) And granted he posted what was surely ALMOST the greatest thing I've ever read.

HOWEVER. All he did was take one of my short plays, change a couple words, and sign his name to it. My original play is posted below. (Notice that I copyrighted this in 1982. When I was 5 years old!) You be the judge. Did Michael Bauman steal from me?

"Mr. Kindness and Mr. Peace Buy a Bottle of Camel Moonbeams", v1, 4/22/82
by Greg Wendling

(MR. KINDNESS and MR. PEACE are walking down the street.)

Mr. Peace?

Yes, Mr. Kindness?

I should like to buy a bottle of camel moonbeams.

Why should you like to buy a bottle of camel moonbeams?

Because, my dear Peace, I am making a pie.

Then let's enter this fine establishment.

(MR. PEACE points at a window that reads "Roberto Joyfulness's House of Camel Moonbeams." They enter the store. ROBERTO stands behind a counter.)

Greetings! Welcome to The House of Camel Moonbeams. I am Roberto Joyfulness.

Greetings to you. I am Kindness. This is my associate, Peace.

How may I help you?

I require a bottle of camel moonbeams.

What size, sir?

I did not know that there were different sizes. What do you recommend?

That depends upon your purpose.

I am making a pie.

For how many persons?

Just my mother and I.

Then I recommend the small bottle of camel moonbeams.

Then one small bottle of camel moonbeams I shall buy.

That will be 25 cents, please.

Here you are, my good man. One shiny quarter.

And here is your small bottle of camel moonbeams.

Thank you. Have a good day.

And a good day to you, sir.

(MR. KINDNESS exits. A minute passes.)

(to MR. PEACE) May I help you?

I should like to show you my willy.

Thank you, sir.

The End.

Comparing the scenes side-by-side, you can see that all Bauman did was contemporize some of the language to make it more appealing to 21st century readers. And for some reason he changed my "Roberto" character to "Cornelius." An improvement?! I think not.

This play was based on an actual incident in my life. Now Bauman is claiming my story as his own.

In summary, Mike Bauman is pure red evil.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Blogging for Evil

Whilst snooping about the Interwebs (desperately looking for something to write about so as to fill my weekly obligation here at the Roboblog) I found this article about how malicious blogging is threatening the future of Salisbury, MD.

Apparently the outgoing Mayor believes that people are shirking their civic duties and refusing to run for local office because they fear bringing down the unbearable scorn of some jackasses with Internet access and axes to grind.

Woe to you, Salisbury, if your general populace is actually so threatened by peer pressure on the Internet that they refuse to act in their own interests.

While my first reaction to this story was, "Seriously? These people must be morons if they're actually afraid of malicious blogger," it did get me to thinking. Is it possible that the blogosphere has become so powerful that it's actually able to seriously damage the livelihood of small towns?

And could blogs be used for evil?

And if so, what sort of evil could be wraught upon the earth by our very own Roboblog?

So I'd like to open the comment section on this post to you, faithful Dinoreaders. If we were to go evil with the blog,what sort of targets would you like to see us bring down?

Saturday, March 14, 2009

The Greatest Sketch Ever Written

I've done it! I have written the finest sketch any writer ever wroted! Ladies and Gentleman, I present "Mr. Fuck and Mr. Shit Buy a Bottle of Camel Cum."

(MR. FUCK and MR. SHIT are walking down the street.)

Mr. Shit?

Yes, Mr. Fuck?

I should like to buy a bottle of camel cum.

Why should you like to buy a bottle of camel cum?

Because, my dear Shit, I am making a pie.

Then let's enter this fine establishment.

(MR. SHIT points at a window that reads "Cornelius Assexplosion's House of Camel Cum." They enter the store. CORNELIUS stands behind a counter.)

Greetings! Welcome to The House of Camel Cum. I am Cornelius Assexplosion.

Greetings to you. I am Fuck. This is my associate, Shit.

How may I help you?

I require a bottle of camel cum.

What size, sir?

I did not know that there were different sizes. What do you recommend?

That depends upon your purpose.

I am making a pie.

For how many persons?

Just my mother and I.

Then I recommend the small bottle of camel cum.

Then one small bottle of camel cum I shall buy.

That will be 25 cents, please.

Here you are, my good man. One shiny quarter.

And here is your small bottle of camel cum.

Thank you. Have a good day.

And a good day to you, sir.

(MR. FUCK exits. A minute passes.)

(to MR. SHIT) May I help you?

I should like to show you my willy.

Thank you, sir.

The End.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Rape Awareness

Since a couple of our writers have been busy, I wanted to post this very important information I received in an email. It seems there might be a rapist in Virginia, and he is raping people for $5 a raping. Just read the email below and you will see. It must be true because it uses ALL CAPS alot, it mentions a police department, and it has been forwarded quite a few times before it got to me, which means a lot of people had a chance to decide this was false info, but they didn't. So please, please, please, take heed and tell everyone you know, or at the very least the people that you would not like to see get raped.

Remember, rape is not a joke, people. It’s not even a tasteless and offensive joke. And be careful when coming out of any Exxon/Blimpie Pie Station because even if they have cheap gas you will likely get raped. And is that really worth the savings? No, not even in this economy.

The important email:

Rapist's New Trick -- Please take 3 minutes and read this ... then pass it on.


Know what money you are carrying.. You will see why as you read.

Be sure every woman is aware of this method of operating. Share it with those you love. Know what money you are carrying.. This was the first I have heard of a scheme like this. Be safe! Something very serious to pay attention to.

Criminals are coming up with craftier, less threatening methods of attack, so we have to be extra cautious.

Read on about the author who lives in Alexandria, VA.

I live in Alexandria , VA , but I often work in Lafayette , LA , staying with friends when I'm there. As you know from America 's Most Wanted TV program, as well as the news media, there is a serial killer in the Lafayette area. I just wa nt to let you know about an "incident" that happened to me a few weeks ago, and could have been deadly.

At first I didn't go to the police or anyone with it because I didn't 0D> realize how serious this encounter was. But since I work in a jail and I told a few people about it, it wasn't long before I was paraded into Internal Affairs to tell them my story. It was approximately 5:15 a.m. In Appaloosas , La. I had stayed with a friend there and was on my way to work.

I stopped at the Exxon/Blimpie Pie station to get gas. I got $10 gas and a Diet Coke. I took into the store two $5 bills and one $1 bill (just enough to get my stuff).. As I pulled away from the store, a man approached my truck from the back side of the store (an unlit area).

He was an "approachable-looking" man (clean cut, clean shaven, dressed well, etc.). He walked up to my window and knocked. Since I'm very paranoid and 'always looking for the rapist or killer,' I didn't open the window.

I just asked what he wanted. He raised a $5 bill to my window and said, "You dropped this." Since I knew I had gone into the store with a certain amount of money, I knew I didn't drop it.

When I told him it wasn't mine, he began hitting the window and door, screaming at me to open my door, and insisting that I had dropped the money! At that point, I just drove away as fast as I could.

After talking to the Internal Affairs Department and describing the man I saw, and the way he escalated from calm and polite to angry and volatile .... it was determined that I could have possibly encountered the serial killer myself..

Up to this point, it had been unclear as to how he had gained access to his victims, since there has been no evidence of forced entry into victim's homes, cars, etc. And the fact that he has been attacking in the daytime, when women are less likely to have their guard up, means he is pretty BOLD.

So think about it...what gesture is nicer than returning money to someone that dropped it?????

How many times would you have opened your window (or door) to get your money and say thank you ...

Because if the person is kind enough to return something to you, then he can't really be a threat .... can he????

Please be cautious! This might not have been the serial killer... But anyone that gets that angry over someone not accepting money from them can't have honorable intentions. The most important thing to note is that his reaction was NOT WHAT I EXPECTED! A total surprise! But what might have happened if I had opened my door? I shudder to think!

Forward this to everyone you know .... maybe they can be as fortunate as I was!

P.S.. Ladies, really DO forward this to EVERYONE you know. Even if this man wasn't a serial killer, he looked nice, he seemed polite, he was apparently doing an act of kindness, but HE WAS NOT A NICE PERSON!

Men , send it to all the women in> your life. What you do today is important because you are exchanging a day of your life for it. Make it a good one!

Please forward to anyone you think might benefit from this story.

Post script: Okay, by now you realize I am making fun of this email that is pretty effed up and really will likely just scare more people than it will help. I supposed if it does prevent one person from being raped at an Exxon/Blimpie Pie Station, that is a good thing.

But before you dismiss the warning here entirely, I just wanted to add that one time I was coming out of 7-11 and a guy came up to me with a baby and he was like "Sir, you dropped your baby." And then he raped me. And then I took a paternity test and found out that the baby I supposedly dropped was actually Geoff Crump’s baby.

So now I never go to 7-11, only White Hen Pantry.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

365 Sketches

So... I am writing 365 sketches this year. Yesterday, I posted sketch number 51. Today is 52 and, at this point in time, I have no idea what I'll be posting tonight.

Writing 51 sketches in one year is quite an accomplishment. On top of that, I have liked them all. Some more than others, but I don't think I have posted anything that would bring shame to me or my family or mankind if it were staged. I could stop now and not worry about showing up to a Robot vs Dinosaur meeting empty handed for the rest of 2009 and well in to 2010. But, that's not the game I set up for myself. I said 365 and I'll do it.

I've made up lots of reasons justifying this project - creative challenge, experiment in writing, breaking the myth of writer's block, etc. Truth is, I'm having a creative mid-life crisis. In any group I find myself in - classes, RvD, even hanging out socially - I'm usually the oldest guy in the room. It's been over ten years since I wrote for Jellyvision and WNEP's Metaluna debuted. That Emmy Award in my bio was almost 20 years ago. I'm out to make a big noise with my writing. Look at me! The kid's still got it! Well, hello, ladies, why, yes, I'm single...

What I didn't fully expect was to learn something about myself and writing.

Here's what I am learning...

- You don't have to know what you are going to write before you start writing.
Yesterday, I had no idea what I was going to write. I was on my lunch break at Columbia College when I realized I had nothing. I grabbed a RedEye and started sifting through it. Nothing. Two other teachers were nearby and they were having a conversation about Scientology. That had me thinking about aliens. I also have discovered a love for comic monologues through this project. I knew I wanted to write a monologue. How could I meld the two ideas? That led me to thinking about The Day The Earth Stood Still (the original) when Klaatu and Gort emerge from the spaceship and address the humans. So, I just started writing without any idea what my comic premise was going to be. As I wrote, I realized that we have been looking to the skies for decades and that this might actually be annoying. Stalker-ish, even.

- Trust yourself. Anything you write can be shaped into something worth having written.

- The actual act of writing can be tedious and is the main source of procrastination for me.

- What I have learned as an improviser I can apply to writing. Often, my writing is just transcribing the improv that's going on in my head.

- The fear of sucking makes me work harder.
By making this such a public endeavor, I'm more aware of needing to mix things up and keep things fresh. I'm trying new things, more aware of conversations around me, always trying to find new names to use for characters.

- By having such an output, my work is less precious to me and that's a good thing.
As a writer, it's easy to become enamored with the last thing you wrote and fearful of moving on to the next thing, which might stink.

- Writing every day sharpens your skills as a writer.
I'm learning to write faster and am able, I believe, to deliver first drafts that don't need major overhauls. As I write, I am able to anticipate and guide my writing. This is distinct from editing as I write a first draft. That usually comes from my internal editor freaking out and telling me something's not funny. This is more like a guided exploration.

- I'm not done yet.
While I am proud of my accomplishment, so far, I am far from done. I still have 314 more scenes to write. It's scary to think of it that way. Like a recovering alcoholic, I'm taking this project just one day at a time.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Chris Watches The Watchmen? Oh nooooooooo!

I saw Watchmen this weekend at the IMAX at Navy Pier. I liked it. That’s my review. I’m not going to break down the story or tell you the history of the graphic novel, or tell you what a weirdo Alan Moore is, because you can get all that info just by Googling if you're not too lazy. But I do want to address a couple of things that everyone else is talking about in their reviews, as well as something that no one is mentioning.

First off, stop comparing this movie to The Dark Knight. Other than people in tights, DC comics, and the fact that both of these movies were better than 27 Dresses, they’re two totally different movies. ‘Nuf said.

Also, stop picking on Malin Ackerman. No, she is not Meryl Streep. No, we do not want Meryl Streep playing this role. No, Kate Winslet would not have done it, even though she would’ve had the chance to get naked. Again. But check this out:

Imagine that! Malin Ackerman looks great in spandex! She’s not a great actress, but you know what? For this movie, I would say, not a lot of acting required. It’s a comic book film, lots of melodrama. This role really just required a lot of cool posing, and Malin Ackerman is a cool poser.

Of course that last sentence came out poorly, but you get my meaning.

Speaking of Kate Winslet and nudity, I think she has met her match in the Blue Dong Man, don’t you? Of course I’m referring to the incredibly blue, incredibly powerful and incredibly naked Dr. Manhattan, but from now on he shall be known as Blue Dong Man. Look he's flashing everyone in the lunch room at work!

Let it be known right now that I think I have found this year’s Halloween costume! I'm going to eBay right now to see how much for a fake blue weenie.
While I'm gone try not to think about blue dong's. You can't do it, can you?
Okay, I'm back, and it looks like the Doc Johnson Mr. Softee 8 Inch Dildo, Baby Blue is available for $7.71, not including shipping. Score!

By far and away, Blue Dong Man was my favorite character in the movie. The most enjoyable part of the whole thing for me was imagining what the CGI guy that was in charge of animating the blue dong was going through. Do you not doubt that he shouted “Let’s put some pants on him, for chrissakes!” about twenty times a day? Do not worry, Blue Dong CGI Handler Guy, I think there is definitely an MTV Movie Award in your future, and rightfully so. That was the most realistic blue dong in the history of cinema. If they ever make an all CGI version of The Crying Game, you will be the first person they call.

I did have a few problems with the film. The sucky music I could live with, but I couldn’t get over the fact that Kelly Leak from the Bad News Bears grew up to be a child molester AND a psychopathic hero. He must have had a rough childhood to get from this:

To this:


Also, every time Ozymandias appeared on screen I was distracted because Siegfried and Roy never showed up. I kept waiting for them to at least be seen lazing around in the background of his lair.

They have to be at least cousins, right?

But my biggest problem was with Blue Dong Man. He kept taking me out of the film, not because of the hanging blue wonder, but because something about him kept nagging at me. It was like I had seen him before.

Then it dawned on me. Briar Street Theater in 2004. Boston in 2001. Vegas in 2007.

He definitely exists outside of time and space.

Monday, March 9, 2009

A Rant About Laziness Destroying the English Language

I took eight years of French class during my grade school years. These French classes were forced upon me and due to my disdain for French class during those eight years I can only remember a few spare words and phrases. The one nice thing though is that while I never learned to really speak the language I did learn to sound French, meaning that I am able to speak a convincing French gibberish.

At some point during those years, I learned about something called the L'Académie Française, which is a French institution devoted to maintaining the purity of the French language.

'Well, that's stupid,' I thought to myself. 'Only the French would care about something as stupid as language purity. Idiots.'

(Young me, for whatever reason, was not a big fan of the French.)

The Academie was tasked with trying to prevent the usage of English words (such as 'hamburger') and other foreign born words in everyday French life.

English is sort of a bastard's language. I think this comes from the fact that modern English has stolen or incorporated so many words from other languages that there isn't really a single clear ancestor. This is due to the fact that so many different people controlled England at one point or another. The language has Germanic roots from the Angles and Saxons; it has Latin roots from when the Romans controlled England; it has Nordic roots from when the Viking's ransacked the island; and finally it has French roots from when William the Conqueror took over.

And then American English is the bastard's bastard language because we've stolen words and phrases from the immigrants of various countries as they moved here.

So basically the language I'm using right now is already a mixture of all sorts of different languages and influences.

So who cares, right?

Except this morning I was sitting on the bus heading in to work (so, already cranky) when I overheard someone say the following:

"Sarah, bee-tee-dub, was em-eye-ay the entire night."

Bee-tee-dub? What the hell is "Bee-tee-dub?!"

I turned that over and over in my mind, until I hit upon this possible explanation: the speaker in question had just said out loud the abbreviation "BTW" which, in text abbreviation land, stands for By The Way.

This person had opted to say aloud the abbreviation of a word that actually has the exact same number of syllables as the abbreviation. It takes no more time to just say "by the way" than it does to say "bee-tee-dub."

And suddenly outrage welled up inside the English degree holder in me. My language was under attack! Not by a foreign language - I can deal with that given the slutty history of the language - but by laziness and technology!

Here's a list of abbreviations used in texting. These abbreviations are meant to save you time while you're trying to type out a text message using a number pad. If you scroll through the list, you'll see that the vast majority of these are not used in everyday conversation. However, I'm slowly starting to see some of these creep in. How many of you have heard "Oh-em-gee" in place of "oh my God," or "tee-tee-why-ell" instead of "talk to you later" or "good bye?"

"This is ridiculous," I thought to myself while sitting there surrounded by bus full of people, "What kind of world do we live in when people can't just say the phrase 'what the fuck' they have to use the abbreviation? It's that damned technology and those stupid iPhone thingamawhosits and goddamn kids these days don't respect a damn thing, this whole country is going to hell in a hand basket cornflabbit, what's this foam coming out of my mouth? Ah! Ah!" and then I blacked out and when I woke up I was an eighty-year-old man.

And on my walk from the bus stop to work I thought to myself, "Is it possible that the French were on to something?"

I know. Terrifying thought.

So, faithful readers, I urge you as fellow English speakers (I assume if you've made it this far you're an English speaker) to shun and mock those who would speak aloud those abbreviations meant only for texting. We must say "no more" to the "el-oh-ellers" out there and the "el-em-ay-ohs." It is the only way, short of starting an Académie Anglais, to beat back the tide of laziness in our beloved bastard tongue.

Okay, ttyl.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Correct change.

I realize I missed my day to blog last week. Seriously, I know, so stop giving me the internet's version of the stink eye. I feel bad enough about it as it is. And while I can't promise to make this one twice as good, I will make each post a little better each week until I've atoned for my Sunday blogger sins.

Whenever anyone breaks out a board game or mentions the idea of breaking out a board game, I smile on the outside and give a passive response, a shoulder shrug. But on the inside, my stomach flips and my brain throbs and I'm hoping to God their game closet will catch on fire or the dog will escape or something will happen to prevent a game from starting. I'm just naturally predisposed to hating procedure and organized competition, and board games represent a melding of the two. However, last night I walked right into the old board game trap and found myself playing a game similar to Apples to Apples, only less logical (if that is possible). My coping mechanism was to eschew accumulating points and give ridiculous answers instead - answers that would amuse the other players but keep me out of the running as far as winning went.

In said game, a card was drawn with a really general topic. Everyone wrote an answer down, and then you had to guess who'd written it. A really novel idea. But one question in particular struck my fancy: If you could design a vending machine, what would it dispense? I love vending machines of all kinds more than virtually anything else in existence. The quirkier the better. If a vending machine seems pointless, I will give it my life savings one quarter at a time.

Anyway, my answer was smaller vending machines. Because that would be amazing. In keeping with the theme of posing questions, what would your answer be? Mannequin fingers? 100-calorie packs of scrambled eggs? The coin-operated world is your oyster.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Friday, March 6, 2009

Uh Oh

I forgot my Thursday post....


"The Last Gasp(s) Before the Death of Talk Radio"

For the uninitiated, Bob and Ray were a great radio comedy duo whose career spanned from 1946 - 1987. Listening to their material now, a lot of it is still "ahead of its time", although they're primarily spoofing shows that have been long forgotten.

Below is one of my very favorite Bob and Ray spoofs, a fake episode of a fake show called "Just Fancy Dan: The Plain Barber of Hartsdale." (Sorry for the crappy quality and the Microsoft signature "ding" towards the end. I couldn't figure out how to simply upload an mp3 except through this means.)

Bob and Ray - Just Fancy Dan

Radio feels to me like a once-great medium that is falling by the wayside. For many the use of a radio seems to be to hear a few songs sandwiched into 20-minute commercial breaks, or to listen to someone of your political leaning spew their opinions at you. By and large, very little happening in the way of innovation. However, with podcasting, it is easier now to find those shows that are doing interesting comedy.

A couple recommendations:

"Seven Second Delay" on WFMU, a freeform radio station out of Jersey City, calls itself "Stunt radio which subjects the radio audience to concepts and topics which mature adults should not have to endure." Each week they pick a new goal or theme or gimmick, and then spend an hour with that topic. Some classics are:
  • The Electroshock Show -- The hosts, Ken and Andy, recreate the famous Milgram experiment which tests the willingness of participants to obey authority. Ken and Andy take turns calling non-listeners and try to convince them to press a key on their phone which will automatically administer an electric shock to the other. Hilarity ensues.
  • The Toll Booth Show -- In which they ask callers on the New Jersey Turnpike to go to one specific toll booth and remark to the toll operator that they saw a UFO about a mile back. Hilarity ensues.
  • The Make You Say No Game -- In which Andy spends the entire hour challenging people on the street to talk to him for two minutes and try to avoid using the words "no" or "know". Sound boring? Think again, because hilarity ensues.
  • Reuniting The Beatles -- Which is too recent to be a classic, but I put it out there as a point of pride, because I know the guy who provided the original idea.
While I haven't listened much to "The New Phil Hendrie Show", his former show, which had a much different format, is nothing short of genius. Phil did a daily 3-hour show and spent much of that time interviewing dozens of characters (male, female, all different ages and ethnicities) that he also created and voiced--characters who were convincing enough to fool thousands of talk-radio listeners into calling up and getting into long, ridiculous debates with them. You have to pay $6.99 to register to access the site, but I don't think you'll feel let down. Go to the Character Clips section and listen to anything by Bobbie Dooley, Steve Bosell, Jim Sadler, or Don Parsley to get your money's worth. There's always a free clip posted on the site, although it's not always the best material. Just scroll down until you see it in the left-hand column. (The title for this post is stolen from the tagline of Phil Hendrie's show.)

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Make Someone Else's World Your Own

ROBOWRITER'S ASSIGNMENT - This is a genre exercise. Sort of a sideways parody. Take an existing franchise in any medium – Pirates of the Caribbean, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Star Trek, Lost, The Dark Tower, etc – and write a scene that takes place in that world, but does not involve any of their main characters. The characters used should be either peripheral or completely created by you. For example, write a scene featuring janitors on the USS Enterprise or some of those nameless faces of Lost. The challenge is to use that world without calling it out specifically or depending on the audience’s familiarity with said world. The key is to tend to the scenework and not make it into a nudge-nudge-wink-wink reference-palooza.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Your Team Sucks

How do you know your professional sports team is awful? As a Kansas City Chiefs fan, let me tell you.

You know your team is awful when they sign somebody else’s backup quarterback to be their new starter and everyone is excited. When everyone heard that New England had traded us Matt Cassel and Mike Vrabel for only a second round pick we thought “What a deal! Is New England crazy?” Maybe New England was doing us a favor because our new coach and general manager are buddies with Mr. Hoodie-wearing grumpy pants, Bill Belichick. Or maybe that was the best offer they could find. Either way, we were thrilled. Our lowly team that only won two games last year was trying to get better, and we just might have fleeced the football dynasty of this decade.

So consider me as one of those who was pretty enthused when I heard about the Matt Cassel deal--until I saw his picture. He is just so darn . . . cute. But not Tom Brady cute, more like Zac Efron cute. Not really the look you want to strike fear into the hearts of the opposing defense.

This tough guy?

Or this tough guy?

So now I’m dubious, at best. But it could be worse. At least my team isn’t getting ready to waste another in a long line of horrible draft picks on this guy from Georgia.

That’s Matthew Stafford, who will likely be drafted by the even-lowlier-than-the Chiefs-record-holders-for-suckiness-oh-and-16 Detroit Lions, also known as Nat’s Team.

Look, Nat, your new Quarterback isn’t even strong enough to hoist a keg of Busch Light on his own!

That’s right, I said Busch Light!

So, going back to my opening question, I guess the real answer is: You know your team is awful when your team is the Detroit Lions.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Celebrity Apprentice - When Did I Become That Guy?

Since moving to Chicago I have lived something resembling a caveman-like existence. In this age of flat screen televisions and cellular telephones that can stalk your friends and this new fangled "On Demand" hooliganism and that "Interwebs" hootenanny, I've managed to get by for the most part on a television attached to a Playstation 2 that can play most (but not all) DVDs.

People would ask me "What's your favorite show?" and I would say "Arrested Development" and they would say "Didn't they cancel that?" and I would say "Yeah, it's a shame" and then they would say "That show hasn't been on in forever" and I would say "I just watch the DVDs over and over and over again."

Ask Othic. He'll tell you.

This changed just slightly when I moved into my newest hole-in-the-wall studio apartment last October, when I discovered that I could get network television by plugging my television into a left-over cable that was left stranded in the middle of the room.

All right, Topping! Now you're only half a century behind everyone else!

The primary benefit of this new setup is that I am now able to watch the larger sporting events without having to meander my way to a bar.

However, the dreaded TV has slowly begun to creep more and more into my daily life.

First it was the evening news, so that I could keep up on my current events. Then it was late-night, something to help calm me down at the end of the night. Then I started falling asleep with the TV on and I started to watch the morning show as well. And then I'd leave the TV on while I was trying to do other productive stuff, like writing.

Sunday, though, I reached a new low. I spent the evening presumably "learning a new monologue" which rapidly deteriorated into watching the season premier of Celebrity Apprentice.

Celebrity Apprentice is just an excuse for Donald Trump to yell at a bunch of has-beens and 'famous people' who had up until the show been unknown to me. That's all it is. It's mind popcorn.

Yet there I was, glued to the TV, somehow surprised that Andrew Dice Clay is kind of a douche-bag and that Dennis Rodman is still kind of a freak.

And then, after watching Trump fire Andrew Dice Clay, I thought to myself "Good, that's the decision I would have HOLY SHIT, WHAT AM I DOING?!"

I had half a mind to unplug everything from the wall and just sit there and recuperate from the psychic shock of the realization that I just watched a full two hours of Joan Rivers' shiny plastic face.

But as I was about to pull the plug, I saw the soft pixilated light of the TV dancing temptingly before my very eyes. The TV seemed to sing to me. "Late night news is next! Pistons highlights!" So I sat back down.

Somebody please help me.