Sunday, May 31, 2009

Please humor me...

...and explain why this concept is in any way appetizing. I'm referring specifically to Dominos' relatively new Pasta Bread Bowls. Would you eat a potato full of mashed potatoes? An omelet stuffed with scrambled eggs? A hollowed-out tomato filled with ketchup?

Okay, scratch that last one. I would actually eat that.

However, I really can't understand why anyone would consciously choose to eat a bread bowl filled with another substance that is pretty much just like bread only tubular and slimy. I've also discovered that the difference in opinion is completely gender-based. Sample conversation:

Me: blah blah blah...pasta-filled bread bowl.
Girl: Sick. I would rather an entire stack of wrapped Kraft Singles.
Me: I know, right? I would rather eat a hollowed-out tomato filled with ketchup. (Proceeds to do just that.)

Compare that reaction with this other common response.

Me: blah blah blah...pasta-filled bread bowl.
Guy: (To busy eating a Pasta Bread Bowl to provide a verbal response.)

This is, of course, an informal survey, but I'm pretty sure I'm on to something. Please feel free to theorize/disagree/dig in.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Love It or Hate It?

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Too Soon? - RoboWriter Update

(Ed Sanchez-Gomez and Alex Moffat play two emotional play-by-play announcers in Throwing Heat. Photo by Jerry Schulman.)

Throwing Heat, the play I directed, closes this weekend. Get you butt there to see it.


The assignment is to write a scene that takes place in a sensitive space, like the cockpit of one of the airliners about to crash into one of the World Trade Center towers. I guess you could call the assignment "Too Soon?"

Time change - instead of 6pm - 8pm this week, we'll be meeting from 6:30pm to 8:30pm. SC booked me to teach a class from 3pm-6pm this term and until they pony up for a teleportation pad, I'm stuck walking.

See you Sunday at the Pig.

- Joe

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The Farmer Doesn't Take A Wife

I love Facebook and I love the way people will simply bare their souls on the internet these days. Consider this true story of Alvin Miller and Jill Redding (not their real names) that is based on an actual Facebook page that I stumbled across, with some slight editing to protect the innocent and keep you from getting too bored. I assure you that 99 percent of this is absolutely taken verbatim from Facebook. Before you begin reading this quite compelling combination of lost love and farming minutia, please note this whole sequence of events occurred in less than three months and that “Alvin Miller” actually posted all of this on the internet, for his close to 300 Facebook friends to read. Also note that Alvin is in his early 30’s, not some 18 year old school boy pining away for his first love. Lastly, please note that you are reading this in reverse chronological order, which I think is the best way to read it. And now we begin TODAY at 2:38 p.m.

Alvin Miller loading out soybeans and loading gooseneck with machinery to head south for a week. once again single..2:38pm

Alvin Miller changed his Relationship Status to Single.

Alvin Miller changed his Looking For.

Alvin Miller Its final i am done with jill. she used me to get what she wanted. Time to move on. I am single once again. - Yesterday at 2:18am

Alvin Miller been home catching up on sleep. thinking about what a ''wise mother hen'' said - Sat 6:19pm

Alvin Miller headed for south dakota. doing some thinking - May 21 at 3:38pm

Alvin Miller just arrived at sale in Mondale, montana. buy some stuff and head to wyoming to unload and load and head home.still missing and confused with jill. - May 21 at 12:17 p.m.

Alvin Miller Missoula Montana bound for sale, then to Cheyenne, wy to deliver tractors, then back to mn. stopped in custer for night. i’m exhausted. still confused - May 21 at 12:11am

Alvin Miller montana bound with load of tractors. missing jill. relationship on hold so she can think. windy as hell - May 20 at 11:11am

Alvin Miller back in mn. missing jill, just friends while she thinks about us. - May 20 at 8:23am

Alvin Miller barely missed a wreck. anhydrous tanker crashed in front of me in Sioux city. back on road. damn crazy drivers. - May 20 at 7:29am

Comment: Wise Mother Hen at 9:08am May 20 - one should not be texting and driving! -- very dangerous!

Alvin Miller about 2 hours from home. missing jill, but our relationship is on hold May 20 at 5:51am ·

Alvin Miller almost to nebraska and home. then to montana. miss jill but to give our relationship a break, but not giving up - May 20 at 5:37am · ·

Alvin Miller Headed back to nebraska. got all stuff taken care of in kansas. thinking about jill - May 19 10:26pm · ·

Alvin Miller Headed to the ranch. thinking about jill and what she just said. i have alot to look forward to. i am glad to here from her.but not outta the woods yet. maybe heading to montana wednesday. thanks to all my friends that care - May 19 7:06pm · ·

Alvin Miller giving jill time to think. headed to Casper with cattle. i will wait for jill and prove myself to jill - May 19 5:06pm · · ·

Comment: Wise Mother Hen at 8:20pm May 18 - geez, Alvin, there are other fish in the sea!

Alvin Miller now planting beans. wondering what is going on in jills head. why the sudden change. im still confused and my heart aches. i just wish she would talk to me. then id understand. im learning u cant run from ur problems. u have to confront them and deal with them as they come. i care about jill and wish she would let wall down long enough to talk things out. im not a quiter. - Mon 11:30am

Comment: Harold Johnson at 11:37am May 18 - stay strong man! your not a quitter

Alvin Miller is headed to field. try not to think about things with jill. i dont understand her and guess when shes ready shell talk. my heart aches and still confused. i know there are hurdles in life but where does this hell end. i care and love jill. i know relationships have bumps, but arent people to talk things out and not hide. thanks everyone - Mon 5:58am

Alvin Miller im totally lost and dont know where to turn or no one to talk too. my girifriend is mad at me. fan belt is coming apart on tractor. my heart aches and im confussed. nothing seems what it is. - May 17 at 8:44pm

Comment: Joan Alice Stevens at 9:29pm May 17 - Little bumps in the road happen. It's how you get around them that counts

Comment: Sharon Peters at 9:37pm May 17 via Facebook Mobile - You seem like a hard-working, caring individual! Just remember tomorrow is a new day!

Comment: Alex Wright at 11:21pm May 17 - Alvin, Tracy and I will be praying for you. If there is anything you need, let us know. Read Rom 8:28 and all of I Peter for encouragement.

Comment: Bobby McNultey at 12:30am - May 18 - Call me tomorrow if you need to. I'm off work.

Alvin Miller is still trying to figure my life out. whats the point of life. i dont know any thing any more. u do ur best and still fail. im at a loss - May 17 at 4:19pm

Comment: Jack Bell at 5:47pm May 17 - Keep your head up Brother!!!!

Comment: Alvin Miller at 8:47pm May 17 via Facebook Mobile - thanks ive always looked up to u

Alvin Miller trying to figure out my life - May 17 at 12:19pm

Comment: Sharon Peters at 12:33pm May 17 via Facebook Mobile - Alvin, you certainly aren't the only one trying to figure life out! Have faith!

Wise Mother Hen at 1:34pm May 17 - Alvin - I need to talk to you later tonight - call me.

Alvin Miller waiting for it to dry a little to work treflon in ground one more time. had light shower this am. hoping to talk to jill again to day - May 17 at 9:02am

Alvin Miller broke down till late tonight. going to dinner with jill - May 16 at 5:45pm

Alvin Miller still working treflon in ground and cleaning the grove. going to start planting beans in morning. cant wait to see jill tonight. its only been 3 days but feels like eternity. she makes me so happy. - May 16 at 1:31pm · ·

Alvin Miller working ground with 9390 case ih stieger with 50 foot field cultivator. trying to work in Treflon, so we can plant beans. its colder than hell. 30 degrees now and windy. cant wait to see jill tomarrow nite. - May 15 at 11:38pm

May 14 at 12:34am · ShareAlvin Miller cruising backroads and spending time with jill - May 13 at 10:13pm

Alvin Miller bought another truck for family truck & praying it wont rain but its windy as hell - May 12 at 9:48pm

Alvin Miller is applying treflon to bean ground & going to buy new truck - May 12 at 9:15am

Alvin Miller shutting down for the nite. sleep - May 12 at 1:07am · ·

Alvin Miller is putting trephlon on bean ground. then its back to the stieger to work ground - May 11 at 7:19pm

Alvin Miller Picking up rocks, planting corn, and wishing jill was here to keep me company - May 11 at 1:48pm

Comment: Wise Mother Hen at 1:55pm May 11 - still have time to text huh??

Comment: Alvin Miller at 7:15pm May 11 via Facebook Mobile - no just waiting for fertilizer

Alvin Miller relaxing. thinking about my girls jill & betsy. watching for wolves tonight. we are ready - May 9 at 11:33pm

Alvin Miller spraying thistles and being bored. too damn muddy to do anything - May 9 at 3:07pm

Alvin Miller is relaxing after dinner and walmart with jill & betsy - May 9 at 1:14am · ·

Alvin Miller headed to field to disc corn stalks , while 32 row planter plants corn - May 8 at 7:35am

Comment: Archie Gathers at 3:05pm May 8 - little early for bean's here....too wet

Comment: Alvin Miller at 1:11am - May 9 via Facebook Mobile - not here. but we got 4500 acres corn planted and 700 acres to go. runnin a 36 & 24 row corn planter. rain today put us behind. neighbor has new johndeere 48 row corn planter . all 30 inch rows

Alvin Miller cleaning out grove. got jill a diamond - May 7 at 6:42pm · ·

Alvin Miller is wanting to see jill - May 6 at 11:27pm · ·

Alvin Miller is missing jill. hauling beans to fill contract. trying to get farm work done in rain - May 6 at 10:12am · ·

Alvin changed his Looking For. · ·

Alvin is in a relationship with Jill Redding. · ·

Alvin Miller missing Jill. will hopefully be in field wed. if no rain tonight. otherwise back to picking up damn rocks - May 5 at 11:15pm

Jill Redding likes this.

Comment: Jill Redding at 12:03am May 6 - I kinda sort of miss you to.

Alvin Miller missing Jill. loading out contract beans and corn. we got 24 & 32 row corn planters ready to go. - May 5 at 9:04pm · ·

Alvin Miller missing jill, and working on equipment. hope it will dry out from rain last nite. ready to get crops all in - May 5 at 8:32am · · ·

Alvin Miller missing my girlfriend, thinking about all time we spent together - May 3 at 11:24pm · ·

Alvin Miller back at farm. getting ready to plant corn tomarrow - May 1 at 7:42pm · ·

Alvin Miller checking the herd atop my horse. with new dodge in barn at base camp. excited to see my girlfriend. shes driving out to see me - April 30 at 12:59am

Comment: Jill Redding at 10:38pm May 3 - Do you have another girlfriend I do not know about? And where is the new dodge I mean I did drive a ford this weekend and it could have been a dodge. And what the heck are you doing checking the herd atop a horse at 12:59 am....

Alvin Miller at 11:20pm May 3 via Facebook Mobile - when were at Cheyenne. i told u i had a ford. no other girlfriend but u

Alvin Miller working at farm and relaxing a little - April 27 at 10:57pm · ·

Alvin Miller Hauiing ass across badlands.loaded. snowing in blackhills. semi is dragging in wind - April 27 at 12:25am · ·

Alvin Miller is enjoying life with my girlfriend and Im on cloud nine. she makes me so happy and complete. - April 22 at 10:38pm · ·

Alvin Miller my new girlfriend is the best thing to come into my life. she makes me so happy. - April 19 at 5:05pm · ·

Alvin Miller i had the most spetacular time last nite. with the most beautiful and caring woman that has ever come into my life. - April 19 at 10:49am · ·

Alvin Miller enjoying my time with new girlfriend. im so happy - April 19 at 10:40am

Comment: Liz Orman Turner at 11:01am April 19 - hey glad to see your happy! everyone deserves to be happy!

Alvin Miller at 5:02pm April 19 via Facebook Mobile

thanksAlvin Miller on April 19 at 12:34am

Alvin Miller at 10:51am April 19

Picture of couple was here

Comment by Alvin Miller: me and my lady

Jill Redding at 6:37pm April 19 - That is one great looking couple if I do say so myself!!

Alvin Miller at 8:30pm April 19 - Yes it is. she is one hot lady. and best thing to happen to me. i wish i could be with her more than what i am

Jill Redding I am super excited for our date tomarrow.. Hope you are having a awesome day!! - April 17 at 7:44pm


Alvin Miller getting ready for spring planting - April 14 at 7:56am · ·

Alvin Miller hauling manure and baby sitting - April 13 at 9:51pm · ·

Alvin Miller relaxing and do nothinh - April 12 at 8:23pm · ·

Alvin Miller hauling combines - April 11 at 8:29am · ·

Alvin Miller got semi in high hole headed to redfield, sd with load of least its sunny and no wind, but cold. - April 7 at 10:19am · ·

Alvin Miller playing on snowmobiles and busting snow drifts with truck trying to get to farm. - April 5 at 1:21pm · ·

Alvin Miller in another blizzard - April 4 at 8:15pm · ·

Alvin Miller feeding and pulling calves in damn cold - April 1 at 7:05pm · ·

Alvin Miller is in another damn blizzard in northcentral dakotas. when does this stop? - March 30 at 7:49pm · ·

Alvin Miller Enjoying life like its my last. hanging out at lake of woods - March 29 at 7:33pm · ·

Alvin Miller taking it easy after sticking cutoff wheel in leg and getting stiches - March 26 at 11:06am · ·

Alvin Miller hating the blizzard in black hills.wishing for sunshine. - March 22 at 6:44pm · ·

Alvin Miller enjoying mountain weather - March 19 at 3:00pm · ·

Alvin Miller enjoying spring weather in dakotas - March 17 at 1:16pm · ·

Alvin Miller enjoying weather in dakotas,girls,& beer - March 15 at 7:13pm · ·

Alvin Miller driving my new baby blue pete and cattle pot, headed for feed yard in montana - March 14 at 12:01pm · ·

Alvin Miller working in montana - March 13 at 12:16pm · ·

Alvin Miller headed to get other farm truck - March 10 at 10:20am · ·

Alvin Miller At ford getting warranty work done, needs new motor. waiting on JUNEBUG to come get me patiently. - March 10 at 8:11am · ·

Alvin Miller Evaluating hail damage to my truck. damn golf ball size hail - March 8 at 12:32pm · ·

Alvin Miller got to pick up D-19 allis chalmers tractor in 7hrs with mark - March 8 at 4:22am · ·

Alvin Miller headed home with big daddy on our back door, with hammer down - March 8 at 4:20am · ·

Alvin Miller should have stopped when max told me too. i broke even, had a great time with my date - March 8 at 4:18am · ·

Alvin Miller partying in wyomingFebruary 28 at 4:39pm

Alvin edited his Hometown, Interests and Looking For.

Alvin is now single.

You and Jill Redding like this. Jill Redding likes this.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day

This is a friendly reminder to any of you who do not have a calendar:

Today is Memorial Day.

Memorial Day is the day of the year where we Americans proudly remember that we have today off from work or school.

So please, do not go to work or school. If you go, there will be nobody there. Unless you work in the food service industry. In which case, you do not count and must therefore go to work.

Also, get a calendar.


The Robo Blog

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Thanks to Our Many Actors

"Run, Palindrome, nuR!" closed its five-week run at Donny's Skybox. We had a huge cast for this show and our success was all due to their extraordinary talent and effort. We would like to acknowledge the over 300 people who performed in the show:

Sugar Babe
Zoe Daniels
Chip Davis
Jules Duffy
Courtney Fontaine
Anthony Greene
Susie Gutowski
Martha Hearn
Claudia Henao
George Hubbard, Jr.
Andrew Kraft
Jim McDoniel
Bethany Remely
Sarah Shockey
Connor Tillman
Mary Cait Walthall
Douglas Werder

However, there were a few rough moments in the run. For those, we blame:

Robert Downey, Jr.
Fran Tarkenton
Mayor Richard M. Daley
Leonard Nimoy
Vera Wang
Heather Mills
Stephen Harper
Justin Timberlake
Terrell Owens
Eli Whitney
Caroline Rhea
Tony the Tiger
Arthur Treacher
Ozzie Guillen
Medeski Martin & Wood
Morey Amsterdam
Rutherford B. Hayes
Evgeni Malkin
Giada De Laurentiis
Pope Leo XII
Carl Yastrzemski
Scooter Libby
Gordon Ramsay
Drew Peterson
The Montreal Alouettes
John Malkovich
Carnie Wilson
Jeff Bezos
Jocelyn Thibault
Terry Gilliam
Cyrus Vance
Ken Follett
Arnold Palmer
Harry Anderson
Gillian Anderson
Louie Anderson
Wes Anderson
Loni Anderson
Burt Reynolds
Reynolds Wrap
Elton John
Duane Eddy
Peter Francis Geraci
Ron Howard
Ted Kennedy
The French
Davy Jones
Robin Williams

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Mixed Nuts

A hodge podge of thoughts for the day:

  • I refuse to use emoticons in email or elsewhere. I prefer to go with “smarmyquotes” to indicate smarminess. Or parenthasides (I do this a lot). I also just really think it’s fun when the receiver of the email doesn’t get my intended tone at all and then it’s like we are in an episode of Three’s Company.
  • I recently read the book “Still Alice” by Lisa Genova. I wasn’t a big fan of the book but the subject material dealt with early onset Alzheimer’s Disease. How Alzheimer’s works is you slowly start to lose your short term memory, and then your long term memory goes. So early on you will often misplace your keys, or your purse, or forget where you parked your car. If you find yourself doing this kind of stuff on a regular basis, don’t worry, the chances are you don’t have Alzheimer’s Disease. You are probably just stupid.
  • My Grandmother had Alzheimer’s, and I spent about a month with her before I moved to Chicago over ten years ago. I did it because I wasn’t going to see her much after I moved, and I knew she wouldn’t be around much longer (she passed away a few years ago.) It was great to spend so much time with her. One of the highlights for me was going to the little diner with her every day, and every day she would look at the menu and wonder aloud what to order. “Hmm, that fish sandwich sounds good. I wonder if I’m going to like that?” She said this every day. After the third day it was very satisfying to be able to tell her “You should get the fish, Grandma, I’m pretty sure you’re gonna love it.”
  • On another note, macaroni and weiners is one of the worst lunches ever. Even if your Granny puts in an extra helping of “love” (which is really just extra weiners, I believe). I suggest going to the diner and ordering the fish sandwich.
  • I always use the word “weiner” when referring to a hot dog. I also always use “underpants” instead of underwear. Someone should make a list of comic word replacements.
  • I’ve been making a big push in my life to replace the word “pants” with the word “trousers.” It just sounds classy.
  • If I had super speed like The Flash I would always do this little joke where I’d say something like, “Oh, hey, I forgot my reading glasses. I’ll be right back.” Then I would just turn around in the room and pull them out of my pocket and put them on and then turn back around and act like I am out of breath like I had just used my super speed when it was blatantly obvious I did no such thing. Then, when no one would laugh I would point out to everyone what I just did in case they were stupid and didn’t realize I didn’t really use my super speed. This joke would kill me every time.
  • Speaking of superheroes, if I was Batman or Green Lantern or any of the other superheroes, every time my toilet got clogged and I had to plunge it I would always say to myself, “This is a job for Superman!” And then I would chuckle quietly and keep plunging the toilet.
  • One of my favorite email jokes is I like to type something like this “aasdraewb u0jp[io asl;jdkf al;k wjr japviodj” and then after that “I typed that last sentence with my penis.”
  • I’ve lately been wondering what the end of the meal would be like if you dined with Brett Favre:

    “Wow what a great meal. No dessert for me. I’m definitely done eating.”

    “Hold on a minute. Do you have cheesecake? I guess I’ll have a slice of cheesecake.”

    “No, wait, I’ve had plenty to eat. Never mind.”

    “Hang on, waiter! Yeah, I was wondering if you had any peach cobbler? I might have a slice of that.”

    “No, no, forget it. That just sounds like too much food. I’m definitely done.”

    “Aw, shoot, can I just look at that dessert menu one more time?”

  • If you are a male over the age of 25, can read, are single and like to have sex, I think you should join a book club. Seriously. I am the only male member of my book club. Generally, once a month it is me in a room full of about 10-12 drunk women, talking about their feelings. And by feelings I mean sex. My wife is also in the book club, so I only get the sex-doing privileges with her, but if I was single I would be in about five book clubs per month, tearing it up like Barney Stinson. It’s to the point where they don’t even realize I’m a guy (insert your own small penis joke here) and they talk about whatever they want like I’m not even in the room. It’s like getting a free look into their playbook once a month.
  • So yeah, foreplay is what women really want.
  • And by foreplay, I mean talking. Lots of talking.
  • My good friend and sitcom spec writing partner Rick Stoeckel had this posted at McSweeney's today. Check it out here.
  • Sunday, May 17, 2009

    Now show me "Synergy."

    This post is going to lose some of its effect because my computer is so old and full of random crap (pictures of hairless cats, Lindsay Lohan's debut album, 25-page papers on Jane Eyre) that I can no longer download photos without having to engage in the long and arduous process of deleting just enough old crap to make way for the new crap. That being said, I think I've stumbled onto comic gold (if handled correctly). But just an FYI, this my topic and you can't have it for at least a month, at which point I'll become fascinated with something new and then it's all yours.

    I can think of no other art form that so vividly captures the physical embodiment of otherwise vague concepts than stock photography. If you work in advertising or marketing or if you are lucky enough to fall victim to our propaganda, you know what I'm talking about. The images of beautiful, unfamiliar-looking people having a meeting on the cover of your company's brochure. You're pretty sure you don't work with these people, and you're right. They're models who haven't found the success of an L.L. Bean catalog yet but have risen above the ranks of the guy who talks to the carpet in those Luna commercials.

    Go to any stock site and search for "Success," and you will find dozens upon dozens of pictures of people wearing suits, high-fiving, shaking hands or even toasting champagne (depending on how successful you want these people to be). Search for "meeting" and you will find pictures of round table discussions where no one is asleep and everyone is passionately participating in an imaginary brainstorm about boosting profits in the third quarter. I could be wrong, but I imagine if you searched for "downsizing," you'd find some somewhat comical depictions of miniaturized businessmen, or a businessman grabbing his collar like Rodney Dangerfield. Of course, these would be nestled among more poignant images of empty desk chairs.

    And almost always, no matter what you're looking for, there will be a smattering of illogical images involving business people lining up at the starting line of a track, their suits wrinkling as they position themselves to race, their empty briefcases sitting patiently beside them. One time I searched for "Congratulations" and found a picture of a businessman giving the camera the middle finger. If this is on the cover of your company's brochure, I want to work where you work.

    Saturday, May 16, 2009

    My Wednesday RoboWriters Post

    Um, hi.

    Here's my Wednesday post. On Saturday. But for all intents and purposes, I will pretend it is Wednesday.

    So. last Sunday, Mother's Day, RoboWriters had our first Field Trip. Everyone got their permission slips signed - or forged, Shawn - and met at the Webster Wine Bar for Second Story. This last evening of Serendipity Theater's story telling festival focused on moms. Their signature style involves personal true stories of revelation punctuated with sound effects and music - in this case, a jazz quartet. The evening gets it name from 1) the performance takes place on the second floor of the Webster Wine Bar and 2) they encourage patrons to chat between stories about their own experiences based on the story they just heard, thus, a second story.


    We noticed the stories worked best when...

    - I felt the story teller was talking to me. Had put their arm around me and was walking with me, relating this wonderful story.
    - I made discoveries with them, even though they already had made the discoveries in reality.
    - They painted vivid pictures and I could imagine what they were talking about as if I was there with them.

    So, the assignment is to write a character telling a story. They can do this solo or as part of a scene, but if it is part of a scene, it should be the heart of the scene.

    It's a style one seldom if ever sees performed in a sketch revue. In a scene, we typically avoid characters telling stories. The stories tend to be so rooted in the past and seldom move things forward in the scene. However, if the story is the scene and the teller includes the audience and their scene partners, well, you might just have something there.

    Join us for RoboWriters Sundays at 6pm. Details to your right.

    Now, it's raining outside and the LOST finale is about to come on. I think they're going to answer everything and not leave any loose threads for next season. Happy hump day.

    - Joe

    P.S. My fellow writers aren't aware of this, but we actually do have people who read this blog! Seriously. We get 30-50 hits a day. Granted, 20 of those are Chris.

    Friday, May 15, 2009

    Wicked: A Theatre Review

    What: "Wicked"
    Where: The Oriental Theatre, Chicago, IL
    When: Ongoing
    Wallet-Impact: $25 - $147.50

    Such attention has been paid to details of this show that from the moment you walk through the doors of the Oriental Theatre, nay, from the very moment you purchase your tickets, you know you are going to see a show called "Wicked."

    Whether you spend $147.50 online (plus Ticketmaster's convenient charge of $12.50 per ticket and the building fee of $2.50 per ticket) or $25 at the drawing that takes place every day before the show, one thing is certain: You're about to see a prequel to "The Wizard of Oz."

    The story is as successfully told as any other story I've heard or read, in that words were put together into full sentences and lines of dialogue that comprised scenes of what appeared to be actual conversation. For the audience's convenience, there is no reading to be done: Instead, the lines of dialogue are said aloud by the actors who have either done a fantastic job memorizing them, or they have found a brilliant way to conceal the ink on the palms of their hands.

    Occasionally, the characters break into song, at which point we can hear the sounds of instruments accompanying the melodies being sung by the actors onstage. It should be noted that unlike the lines of dialogue, the songs often having nothing at all to do with the action you see onstage. For example, one song, sung between two of the characters on it's surface seems to be about how much they like each other, when in reality, the staged events preceding and following this song seem to indicate the contrary. It might not make a lot of sense, but if you enjoy watching two ladies, one of them green, sing songs and dance onstage, then you could care less. And so could I.

    Susan Hilferty has done an amazing job at the costume design. She has not forgotten for one moment that each actor needs to be wearing a costume, and indeed one cannot help but notice that they are all fully costumed. Furthermore, an observant viewer will not pass a 30 second interval without thinking, "Oh my goodness! That's exactly what an actor who needed clothes like that for their character would wear!"

    Ms. Hilferty's work could not be appreciated without the artistic clairvoyance of Kenneth Posner's exquisite light design. The lights serve, at all times, to light both the stage and the actors, allowing us to see their costumes and where they are standing in relation to the other actors. While Posner did a stellar job for the most part, there were several moments when he must have accidentally bumped the light switch, leaving us in total darkness -- from memory this occurred at least 4 times, including just before the show began, right before the intermission, right after the intermission, and again just before the curtain call. Several audience members shrieked, two women went into labor, and at least three others (that I could see) got pregnant.

    If you ask your friends who have seen this show, those who are not familiar with theatre will mention the amazing special effects. Indeed, there are some illusions that make good eye candy for the masses, but I could not be fooled into believing they were actually magic. There's a big wooden dragon that appears to be trained to move its mouth and wings, but it's actually controlled by an actor who is torturing it with a series of ropes and pulleys, and there's also a scene where a floating bubble is clearly suspended from the ceiling with 2 massive pipes dangling from the flyspace (a theatre term for the crotch of my pants).

    In conclusion, you don't have to be a stevedore from Tuscon to enjoy "Wicked," but it certainly couldn't hurt.

    Thursday, May 14, 2009

    Sunny day quickie.

    Two of the very few benefits of being unemployed (assuming you are not independently wealthy) is that on a gorgeous, sunny day you can take your dog for a nice long early day walk and if someone offers you a ticket to a Cubs daytime game you most likely can say "yes". Walk done - on to the game! It's way to nice out to spend time on a long blog post anyway.

    Tuesday, May 12, 2009

    Maybe I Should Just Wear Sandals

    I have recently been having a real issue with keeping black socks together. Seriously. Over the last few weeks, I must have spent a good ten percent of my life looking for a matching black sock that is never found. That is time that could be spent in better pursuits such as getting to work on time or not looking for a matching black sock.

    I have to say that I own probably ten to twelve pairs of black socks, of about ten to twelve different styles, and currently I only have a match for maybe three pairs. It’s very frustrating. If I ran a dating reality show for socks it would have the same success rate for keeping them together as “The Bachelor.”

    Apparently I'm not the only one who is afflicted with this issue.

    I try to have good sock discipline, but somehow the mates do not stay together. I have compiled a list of possible reasons for a black sock to go missing:

    1. Frequent blackouts in which I do not remember removing one black sock and leaving it on the CTA

    2. Neighbor stealing them, rolling them up and using them to enhance bulge in pants

    3. Older version of myself travelling back in time and taking one black sock for reason that will be explained in series finale of "Lost"

    4. Wife getting back at me for something I am unaware of by hiding one black sock as psychological warfare

    That’s as far as I got in the list, but I’m pretty sure it has to be one of those reasons.

    I have considered amputation as an option to put an end to this problem. Wearing only brown or khaki pants would be another.

    Anyway, if you see a lone black sock hanging around, it is probably mine. If it’s navy blue, that will work also because my other problem with black socks is that I can never tell them apart from navy blue socks, even in direct sunlight.

    Monday, May 11, 2009

    Monday Post In Which I Fail to Write Anything Substantial, Opting Instead to Post a Picture of a Panda Holding a Gatling Gun

    Wait, what? It's Monday already?

    Damn it. Monday's my day, isn't it?

    Damn it.

    Ok, no big deal. I'll just write something.


    CNN, help me out.


    Damn it.


    What's this? Hello.

    Panda picture.

    Mission accomplished.

    Sunday, May 10, 2009

    Looking for Employment?

    This isn't my regular posting day, but I just had to share this. Are you looking for a job like I am? Perhaps this is the job for you (found on craigslist):

    Good customer care
    Reply to: [Errors when replying to ads?]
    Date: 2009-05-09, 4:55PM CDT


    * Compensation: JACK RUSSO
    * This is a part-time job.
    * This is a contract job.
    * Principals only. Recruiters, please don't contact this job poster.
    * Please, no phone calls about this job!
    * Please do not contact job poster about other services, products or commercial interests.

    I'm wondering if they'll pay me in Jack Russo up front.

    Saturday, May 9, 2009

    Hey, Oprah Winfrey, give me my chicken!

    Oprah Winfrey helped KFC launch its new grilled chicken on her television show by announcing that a coupon for a free meal was available on her website. Millions of people downloaded the special software needed to access the coupon. The lucky ones for whom it the program worked then printed the coupon and dreamed the dreams that only carnivores dream.
    Those chicken-filled dreams soon turned into nightmares when the coupon holders arrived at their neighborhood KFC restaurants. Some met with long lines, others with surly employees who refused to take the coupon. Many didn't even get in the door, instead being greeted by signs disavowing the two-week promotion (one store in Chicago had a sign declaring the location closed for a two-week vacation).
    Several things may have been at play here:
    • KFC underestimated the demand and short-stocked the stores.
    • Franchisees were not sufficiently informed of the promotion.
    • Overwhelmed staff broke under the pressure.
    • Customers (a word derived from the Latin verb meaning "to act like a dickhead") abused the system.
    Whatever the reason, one thing is very clear: everybody's blaming Oprah. Comments on blogs and new websites ask, "how could Oprah do this to her loyal viewers?" One woman even managed to blame Oprah and President Obama (complaining that the two big O's are only interested in feeding Africans). Blaming Oprah makes as much sense as blaming Edward Gibbon for the fall of the Roman Empire. Thankfully, the Bill of Rights grants Americans freedom from logic.

    Also this week, President Obama and Vice President Biden stopped off at Ray's Hell Burger in Arlington, Virginia. The President ordered a cheeseburger with mustard. Mustard. Mr. President, real Americans eat ketchup! What kind of example are you setting for our children by skipping this tasty, liquid vegetable? For shame! Rush Limbaugh drinks a bottle of ketchup every morning for breakfast.
    To make matters worse, he asked for Dijon mustard. You are the President of the United States, not France. Go back to Russia, you fascist commie racist!

    Friday, May 8, 2009

    Mid-Year's Resolutions

    The title says it all. Maybe sometime I'll think of positive things to add to my life. For now I prefer to cancel things out. Here are some things I'm going to stop doing:
    • Thanking the person who is no more than 3 feet in front of me for holding the door open behind him for a half-second. At that distance, I am really only thanking him for not being rude, and that does not warrant a 'thank you'.
    • Running because I'm late for something. I will reserve running for saving my own life or that of another.
    • Signing emails "Best,". What do I really mean by that?
    • Playing Monopoly on my iPod. I'm tired of exploiting the glitches in the game that guarantee I will always win. I've exhausted the possibilities of gameplay even to the point of playing a benevolent landlord with hotels on every property who replenishes the funds of the other players whenever they get below $10,000. Plus, while callouses are cool for guitar players, it is lame to build them up on your iPod's wheel.
    • High-fiving Chris Othic's wife, Mary, just to make Chris jealous. I haven't even started doing this yet, but I've been considering starting. Assuming she would allow me. I presume nothing. If I don't live up to any of the things on this list, it will be this item.
    • Saying "uh" instinctively when I don't really need to. (Example: A waiter asks me if I want more water. I say "Uh, yeah," when what I really meant was "But of course."
    • Checking daily to see the status of my hold requests. They will send me an email when my item is ready for pick-up.
    • Thinking about how to end this post.

    Thursday, May 7, 2009



    Wednesday, May 6, 2009

    RoboWriters Update!

    Okay, we have two RoboWriter meetings under our belt and things are looking strong for the weekly drop-in session for sketch comedy writers. Here are the two assignments from the last two weeks....

    4/26/09 - Base a character on your opposite sex parent. Either use them directly, such as Anthony did with having his mom do a press conference on behalf of the Center for Disease Control on how to handle swine flu. Or simply infuse a character with your opposite sex parent, regardless of the character's gender. I am considering making my mother the fourth or fifth man on the moon.

    5/3/09 - Write a scene that takes place in a dynamic environment, such as in a house that is on fire, a boat that is sinking or a submarine that is under attack.

    Our regular weekly meetings will be at The Bourgeois Pig Cafe although this Sunday it's a RoboWriters Field Trip! Yeah! We're going to the Webster Wine Bar and staying for an event called Second Story. Details are to your right.

    My Favorite Joke of All-Time

    Okay, I’ve been on vacation, so no time for a big blog entry, but I would like to quickly tell you my favorite joke of all time, from memory:

    So one day there are three little people (I used to say “midgets” but that is no longer PC) sitting on a fence, because, why not? So they are sitting on the fence and the first little guy looks at his hands and as he’s holding them out in front of him says “Wow, I’ve got some pretty small hands. I bet they are the smallest hands in the world.” The other little fellas just nod in agreement and go back to sitting on the fence, deep in thoughts that little people might think.

    After a short bit, the second little dude sticks his feet out and proclaims, “You know, I’ve got some pretty small feet. I bet they are the smallest feet in the world.” The other little men just nod in agreement and go back to sitting on the fence, dreaming their dreams of being such tiny people in an utterly big world.

    After a much longer moment of silence, the third little guy clears his throat and says, a bit embarrassed, “I kind of hate to say it, but my penis is incredibly tiny. I mean, a baby hamster probably has a bigger penis than mine. It’s quite possible that I have the smallest penis in the world.” The other two guys don’t really respond, because honestly, what would you say if someone told you they had the smallest donk on the planet? But eventually, the first little guy, the one with the tiny hands, he says, “You know what? I think we ought to make this official. Let’s go down to the Guinness Book of World Records office and have them check us out and see if we have the world records.” The other two munchkin men agree and they all climb down off the fence and head down to the Guinness Book of World Records office.

    Once they are there, the first Shorty McShorterson goes in. After just a few minutes, he comes out, a smile beaming across his face, triumphantly holding his doll-sized hands out in front of him and exclaims “It’s official! Check it out! Right here are the tiniest hands in the world!” The other two itty-bitty buddies congratulate him and then the little guy with the little feet heads into the Guinness Book of World Records office.

    After just a few minutes he comes back out, smiling proudly, dancing on his diminutive feet and proclaims “It’s official! Check it out! Right here are the tiniest feet in the world!” The other two pint-sized chaps congratulate him and then, after a moment to gather a small amount of courage, the pee wee with the wee pee slowly marches into the Guinness Book of World Records office.

    An hour later and he still has not returned. Then two hours go by, no sight of him. Finally, after five hours, the short-penis fellow comes storming out of the Guinness Book of World Records office, an angry look on his little face, grimacing and gnashing his tiny teeth and generally just being as angry as his puny body can handle until he can no longer take it and blurts out “Who in the hell is Joe Janes?”

    Or maybe he yelled out “Who in the hell is Geoff Crump?”

    Or possibly he yelled out “Who in the hell is Mike Bauman?”

    But most likely he yelled out “Who in the hell is Greg Wendling?”

    He probably did not yell out “Who in the hell is Nat Topping?” because we all know the urban legends about Nat.

    And he most likely didn’t yell out “Who in the hell is Catherine Monahan?” because she has no penis, as far as we know.

    Monday, May 4, 2009

    Monday? Already?

    Crap! I keep getting my days of the week mixed up. I never should've picked Sunday as my blogging day. Anyone who knows me well knows I spend the entire day worshipping and watching golf. Back before I realized it takes a marginal amount of talent to do literally anything except eating, sleeping and embarrassing oneself, I really wanted to sing. More specifically, I wanted to sing the entire Annie soundtrack in front of an audience (which I will still do in exchange for $5 or a few shots of cheap tequila). And while I've since gotten over that dream, I carry a lot of respect for ladies that can make it happen, and be funny in the process.

    Garfunkel and Oates have a lot of little ditties floating around out there, but I came upon this one by way of another blog. A quick disclaimer: I appreciate pregnancy/birth/babies as much as the next person, but you have to admit that this is a) funny and b) true.

    Finally! Some Closure!

    Man, lately I've grown weary of talking about the swine flu and why Arlen Specter is a douche bag. If only there was something else to speak of that is ridiculously trivial. Something over which I have absolutely no control and something that has absolutely no bearing on how I live my daily life.

    Hey wait! What's this article about something that happened five years ago that's showing up on the

    My God! It's the Janet Jackson wardrobe malfunction from the 2004 Superbowl! Apparently the Courts (including the Supreme Court apparently) and the FCC aren't done talking about it.

    Why, I had almost forgot about that. And why had I almost forgot about that? Because it's NOT IMPORTANT.


    Saturday, May 2, 2009

    The Real Justice Souter Resignation Letter

    Justice David Souter announced his retirement from the Supreme Court this week after 18 years on the bench. The White House released this resignation letter on its website:

    Dear Mr. President,

    When the Supreme Court rises for the summer recess this year, I intend to retire from regular active service as a Justice, under the provisions of 28 US.C § 371(b)(1), having attained the age and met the service requirements of subsection(c) of that section. I mean to continue to render substantial judicial service as an Associate Justice.

    Yours respectfully,

    David Souter

    But that is not the entire letter. In a rare instance of covering something up, the White House did not release the entire missive. Here, for the first time, is the complete text of Justice Souter's resignation letter:

    Dear Mr. President,

    When the Supreme Court rises for the summer recess this year, I intend to retire from regular active service as a Justice, under the provisions of 28 US.C § 371(b)(1), having attained the age and met the service requirements of subsection(c) of that section. I mean to continue to render substantial judicial service as an Associate Justice.

    Yours respectfully,

    David Souter

    P.S. I cannot tell you how happy I am to be leaving the armpit of a "city" that is Washington, D.C. This backwater is so bereft of culture, one would assume that the Taliban were in control. I cannot decide which was the better performance during my tenure: John Ashcroft's warbling of his "Let the Eagle Soar" suite; or the Capitol Steps' latest review, for which they rewrote "The Phantom of the Opera" so that every fourth word is "Condoleezza." And forget about fine cuisine - the only decent eatery in the District is the Dunkin' Donuts at 8th and Constitution.

    I am doubly happy to be leaving the Supreme Court of the United States. There hasn't been such a large collection of dicks in one room since the Peter North film festival at the Potomac Palace of Porn in Georgetown. I would not be surprised to find out that Anthony Kennedy last showered during the oral arguments for Kimel v. Florida Board of Regents. Clarence Thomas is so fucking clueless that when I quoted Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., in an opinion, he asked, "is that the fat dude from 'The Steve Harvey Show?'" As for Ruth Bader Ginsburg? Supreme Court Justice? More like Supreme Cunt Justice. And I'm pretty sure Steve Breyer likes little boys.

    Good luck getting anyone with an I.Q. higher than a dead raccoon confirmed to my seat. Suck it. Souter out!

    Friday, May 1, 2009

    TV Time!

    I'm leaving today for a 4-day conference in Sioux Falls, SD. I have no idea what there is to do in Sioux Falls, so I will probably spend my evenings watching TV. In honor of all the video I'm going to be watching, enjoy this short video from Liam Lynch.