Friday, July 31, 2009

"Lip!", part 2

On February 27, 2009, I revealed the original nonsenical lyrics to the Beatles' "Help!" (much the same way that Paul McCartney's original lyrics to "Yesterday" were titled "Scrambled Eggs"). With the release of Beatles Rockband, several rare recordings have been unearthed. I am happy to say that a rare gem of a recording with the original lyrics has at last been released.

All of this is a lie, of course, but I wanted to make up backstory for this song parody.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

For Those Who Like to Gambole

I did it! Eureeeeeeeeka!

I gently take you back to Saturday, July 25, 2009. Another typical day. People plodded around, enjoying the sun, basking in the minor glory of their somewhat boring lives, spending their precious time on this great ball like a kid tossing pennies on the counter at a candy store.

But not I! NO! I was doing something special. I was doing something that, for lack of a better word, can only be described as GENIUS! Yes, a GENIUS so immense it cannot even be contained by lower-case letters.

For you see, I spent Saturday, July 25, 2009 (heretofore known as the “Greatest Day Of My Life”) at Arlington Race Course, winning on the horse races.

Notice I said “winning” and not “betting,” because, as you will discover, I have discovered THE SYSTEM™ for beating the races! I call it the FOUR-PLAY SYSTEM™. Not to be mistaken for the Foreplay System®, my previously failed attempt at scientifically locating the female G-Spot through the use of algebra, the plotting of the movement of Earth’s magnetic poles, and Strawberry flavored lotions.

But I digress.

Yes, the FOUR-PLAY SYSTEM™is unbeatable. In layman’s terms, it works like this: At each race you bet on the horse numbered 4. Simple. GENIUS! I am a SIMPLE GENIUS!

You may scoff and say, “What if the horse numbered 4 fails to win a race?” And I would look derisively down my nose at you. Because that is IMPOSSIBLE!

Of course, the horse numbered 4 may fail to win any races that day, but in the lifetime of a horse racing track, the odds of the horse numbered 4 never winning a race are 765 kajillion to one to the tenth power. I have done the math.

"Why the 4?" you say? Well, I shall tell you. Because it is scientifically proven to be my “lucky” number. Through a complex formula I learned while in the third grade, which involves the letters in my full name, the year I was born, how many times I desire to procreate and who my secret crush was, 4 was determined to be my “lucky” number.

Of course, your lucky number may be different than mine, as the odds that your secret crush in the third grade was the same as mine (Valerie Adams, I still long for you) are quite long. I am, however, willing to send you this complex formula to determine your own lucky number for a paltry $19.99, plus $5.95 shipping and handling charges. But you must act now as I will not be sharing this with too many people as it will dilute the winning margins for those of us “in the know.”

“Well,” you may ask, “what if my lucky number is 3? You say your lucky number is 4? How can we both win?” To that I say, “Because FOUR-PLAY SYSTEM™ is foolproof!” For you see, the odds of the horse numbered 4 never winning a race are 765 kajillion to one to the tenth power, the EXACT SAME ODDS as the horse numbered 3! I have done the math.

Now, as you get into the higher numbers, the odds drop dramatically. For instance, the odds of the horse numbered 78 never winning a race are 765 quabajillion to one to the tenth power times infinity, for most races never feature a horse with this number. So if there is a weakness in FOUR-PLAY SYSTEM™, it only occurs if your lucky number is above, say, 21, but the only individuals who usually have such high lucky numbers are of Chinese descent or have a secret crush on someone with a Czechoslovakia surname. If that is the case for you I recommend that you stick with the inferior “Mom’s Birthday Number Picking System” when gambling on horse races.

And now, back to Saturday, the previously mentioned Greatest Day Of My Life. For each race I simply bet $2 on the horse numbered 4 to win. This is easily done. You may do it all at once to save yourself from traipsing back and forth to the betting windows, or you may, as is my wont, place your bet between each race, enjoying the opportunity to stretch your legs, and basking in the anticipation of knowing that you ARE DESTINED TO WIN!

The start to my day was rather pedestrian, as the horse numberd 4 not win the first two races, but then the lightening of destiny struck, and the horse numbered 4 bested the field, for a grand win of $2.80. The horse numbered 4 then failed win any more races after that, and I started to question the system, but as the day drew to a close I learned (as will you) that the lightening of destiny STRIKES IN THE SAME PLACE TWICE! Even THREE times!

When the smoke cleared, and the horse numbered 4 had trotted home victoriously in the 9th and 10th races of the day, I reached into my pockets, pulled out what in money terms can only be described as a wad, and counted my money. It seems I had gamboled $20 ($2 bet on each race, of which there were ten races, I have done the math) but I won back $23! Yes, a $3 PROFIT!

“But that’s only $3,” you say, and rightly so. But that is the GENIUS of FOUR-PLAY SYSTEM™! For if you simply, double or triple or quabajillion your bet, then you will win twice, or three times, or quabajillion times more money!

For example:

$2 Bet on 10 Races = $20 Gamboled = $23 Wins = $3 Profit


$4 Bet on 10 Races = $40 Gamboled = $46 Wins = $6 Profit


$6 Bet on 10 Races = $60 Gamboled = $69 Wins = $9 Profit


$2,000,000,000,000,000,000 Bet on 10 Races = $20,000,000,000,000,000,000 Gamboled = $23,000,000,000,000,000,000 Wins = $3,000,000,000,000,000,000 Profit

So if you bet in the quabajillions, you will win in the quabajillions! GENIUS!

That may not seem like much to you, but broken down into mugs of mead (at approx. $5 each) that equals 600,000,000,000,000,000 mugs of mead.

Therefore, with my $3 profit secured, I won enough money on Saturday past to purchase approximately 3/5 of a cup of mead. DELICIOUS! Next time I shall simply bet in the quabajillions, if I can secure a stake near that sum.

Now, if you don’t mind, I must locate my secret crush and inform her that I am going to share 50% of my profits with her ($1.50 or approx. 3/10 of a cup of mead, I have done the math, her preference).

No matter the odds, this is the horse you will bet on when using the FOUR-PLAY SYSTEM™.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Honk This

This is cross-posted at my blog, Clever Title.

You would think this doesn’t need to be said, but I’ll say it anyway: if you’re going to make a sign that says “honk if you like…,” and then someone honks, you are not allowed to be pissed at them for honking.

The other day, I was on the road when a couple of vans pulled out of a church parking lot carrying a group of kids, the type of vans that you rent from Enterprise or whatever. And there was stuff written on the van written in that car paint that washes off, you know what I’m talking about. Anyway, things like “Jeff, Sarah, Tobey and Mathias are the best!” and “Best trip ever!” and shit like that. “Save yourself for marriage.” I don’t know.

And one of those things said “Honk if you like Jesus.”

I’m flying by them in the left hand lane and I see these vans pull out and one of them says “Honk if you like Jesus.” And I’m in a honking mood already – some days you wake up and you say to yourself ‘boy I could really use a good honk this morning’ – just riding along looking for an excuse to honk and I see this sign that says “Honk if you like Jesus.”

So I think to myself, “Well, I certainly don’t dislike Jesus, that’s for sure. Do I like Jesus enough to honk my horn? Yes I do.” And so, I complied with the church van’s request and honked my horn.

Honk honk.

And as I pull up next to the church van, the driver is glaring out his window at me and mouthing what I imagine to be strong words of rebuff and discouragement. Not strong enough to be like “fuck you cocksucker” or anything like that because we’re talking about church dads here but still it was pretty obvious what he wanted to say.

And I say to myself, “Dude, you’re the one that asked me to honk here. You’re the one who said honk if I like Jesus. I’d think you’d be happy. I expect to be rewarded with a thumbs up or something and instead I get to see Reverend Douchie McBaggerson doing facial contortions?”

The only thing I could think was maybe it was a trap. Maybe they wanted me to honk if I like Jesus so that they can identify me as a Jesus liker, at which point they can scowl at me because they actually hate Jesus and they woke up looking to scowl. Which would be weird what with them coming from a church parking lot. But who knows?

So to conclude, please don’t shout at people for following your good natured instructions. Unless you’re a douche bag. In which case, you suck.


Saturday, July 25, 2009


The world of sports is going nuts over Mark Buehrle's "perfect" game. On Thursday, Buehrle retired all 27 Tampa Bay batters he faced to give the White Sox a 5-0 win over the defending American League champions. Sure, no Rays were allowed on the bases, but what was so motherhumpin' perfect about? I contend that the game was quite imperfect!

Firstly, the weather. According to the National Weather Service, the 30 year average high temperature for July 23 is 84 degrees Fahrenheit (6 million degrees Celsius). Thursday's maximum temperature reading at O'Hare International Airport was 82 degrees Fahrenheit (3.141 degrees Celsius). Hardly perfect.

Next, the U.S. Cellular Field Grounds Crew. Unlike Dewayne Wise, the grounds crew really dropped the ball. Major League Baseball requires that the outfield grass be "yea high." Unfortunately, the Cell's outfield grass was "so high." Not perfect.

Hawk Harrelson has been the television voice of the White Sox since 1990. His signature strike-out call is "He gone!" Thursday did not find Harrelson at his top form. By the fourth inning, "He gone" was sounding very much like "He gun." More disturbingly, by the top of the eighth, the call had devolved to "Steve Guttenberg enjoys Chianti!" Nolo perfecto.

Ozzie Guillen can't speak English for shit. Nyet perfectski.

After the game, President Barack Obama, a huge White Sox fan, called the clubhouse to congratulate Buehrle. Obama's favorable rating is, according to, 57.9%. That's like 42.1% less than perfect. And, based upon research conducted by Sean Hannity, President Obama is a satanic merman voiced by the late Mel Blanc. A perfect president would be voiced by Hank Azaria.

Enough of this "perfect" game nonsense. If you want sports perfection, watch Alan Thicke play celebrity hockey.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Life Imitates Bert

Why is it fun when Bert and Ernie do it...

...but not when these guys do it?

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Today We Mourn

Gidget, 15, a commercial star whose blend of sensitivity and savagery brought her acclaim as the greatest canine actress of her generation and whose tumultuous personal life made her a fascinating spectacle in popular culture, died July 21 in a Los Angeles hospital, the actor's lawyer said today.

The lawyer, David J. Seeley, told the Associated Press that the cause of death was being withheld. Early speculation points to a possibly fatal "self-cleaning" injury.

Moody performers such as Moose, better known as Eddie on the hit show Frasier, made the stiff, oily leading dog seem obsolete by the mid 1990s. But it was Gidget -- sweaty, swaggering, mumbling, wounded, brutish and beautiful -- who further heightened expectations in post-grunge cinema. She won two Purina Chuck Wagon awards, for "The Taco Bell Dog Meets Godzilla" and "The Taco Bell Dog Goes on a Romantic Dinner," created a menagerie of unforgettable performances, from "The Taco Bell Dog Introduces the Chalupa" to her groundbreaking appearance in "The Taco Bell Dog Promotes Gorditas in the Style of Evita Because Those Words Sort Of Rhyme" and became an icon of defiance onscreen and off. Critic Hal Hinson, writing about "The Taco Bell Dog Meets Godzilla" in The Washington Post, said, "Gidget is never less than a miraculously magnetic camera subject; just to have her in front of the lens is, in most cases, enough."

Her naked emotional display on film was matched by an often-tragic series of events in her private life, from her pain-racked childhood to her failed marriages to her self-castigating courtroom pleas during his son's manslaughter trial. She also made disastrously indulgent career choices as she came to view acting as a lark and spent decades teetering between being a has-been and creating major milestones in performance.

Her artistry in her greatest commercials transcended everything. As Newsweek cultural observer Jack Kroll wrote in 1998, "That will be Gidget's legacy whether she likes it or not -- the stunning actress who embodied a poetry of anxiety that touched the deepest dynamics of her time and place. Plus, she is super damn cute."

It was clear from Gidget's small screen debut as a scornful, fully recovered paraplegic taco loving war veteran in "The Taco Bell Dog Ignores Some Sweet Dog Poon in Favor of Taco Bell Tacos," (1997) and her explosive work in "Taco Revolution, the Revolution of Tacos" (1998) that she was a towering new breed of actor, able to display a naked and raw soul that ached with passion but also was unpredictably bestial.

One critic noted that in "The Taco Bell Dog Ignores Some Sweet Dog Poon in Favor of Taco Bell Tacos" Gidget "comes like a blood transfusion into cinema acting," and later writers confirmed her legacy: With her pinup magnetism and dazzling range, she simply dominated all discussions about commercial acting.

One of her greatest legacies as an actress was to penetrate the deepest thoughts of her characters and convey their motivations so finely and believably. She drew on a lifetime of emotional distress, her brilliance at mimicry and her own intuition to bring new dimensions of psychological motivation to her parts. Although her leading men were capable of raping and threatening, she was praised for making those actions appear poetic and tragic, bestowing timeless resonance to her art.

After a series of late 1990's flops, she experienced some lashing out from a few Latin American groups who accused the Taco Bell Dog character as being a thinly veiled cultural stereotype. Due to these accusations and pending lawsuits Taco Bell stopped showing Gidget in advertisements in 2000.

Gidget also had a huge impact on public behavior. She was, at first, a strikingly muscular and vital figure who defined 1990s leather-jacketed femininity. She wore jeans to swank parties, insulted star-making gossip columnists and flaunted her preference for dark-skinned men, then a social taboo -- anything to pique the Hollywood system that tried to control her public image.

She infuriated studio executives by going millions over-budget on her only directorial effort, the revenge western "Super Hyper Action Fat Shake" (2006), and was largely blamed for immense cost overruns on the South Sea Island set of "What What (In the Butt)" (2007), which she was Executive Producer on.

Director Lewis Milestone was one of many directors and studio officials she confounded with her distaste for authority. "Before she would take direction, she would ask why," Milestone said. "Then when the scene was being shot, she put ear plugs in so that she couldn't hear my direction."

Gidget saw her overall attitude differently. "I am myself," she once said, "and if I have to hit my head against a brick wall to remain myself, I will do it."

Starting in the 2000s, Gidget became one of the first actor-activists to march for civil and Native American rights. She memorably refused to appear at the Purina Chuck Wagon ceremonies to accept her award for "The Taco Bell Dog Introduces the Chalupa," protesting what she felt was discrimination against Native Americans on film and in government policy.

Instead, she dispatched to the ceremony a woman who claimed to be a Native American named "Sacheen Littlefeather." She read an abridged version of Gidget's 15-page indictment of policies toward the Indians. Later, she was revealed to be an actress named Maria Cruz, a former winner of the 1970 Miss American Vampire competition.
Gidget also participated in "Free Tookie" protests in late 2005 prior to the execution of former Crips leader Tookie Williams.

In later years, Gidget came to be seen more as a tabloid curiosity as her personal setbacks seemed boundless. With time, she represented the disintegration of the sex symbol as her physique crumbled and she ballooned to more than 300 pounds. She was a hulking and teary presence at her son's trial for the shooting death of his half-sister's lover.

She called his son's father "as cruel and unhappy a person as I've ever met" and added about her own abilities as a parent, "I know I could have done better."
The public read about the bitterness of her three marriages; the many maternity suits; her daughter Cheyenne's 2005 suicide; and her odd public behavior, such as kissing television host Larry King on the mouth during an interview before Gidget signed off with, "Darling, goodbye."

That 2006 King interview featured Gidget doing free-association wordplay, singing off key, expressing dislike for psychoanalysis and expounding on commercialism, exploitation and her life, about which she said she had no regrets. She teased and prodded King about sweating under the lights.

It all seemed to be a show. As her greatest acting coach, Stella Adler (of Adler Planetarium), encouraged her: Be anything but dull.

Gidget, the youngest of three children, was born in Omaha, Neb., to Sparkles, a vivacious beauty and local actress, and Chumps, an insecticide salesman. When the family moved to Illinois -- to Evanston and then Libertyville -- Sparkles accused her often-absent husband of sabotaging her theatrical career. Sparkles turned increasingly to drink, including one night when Gidget found her naked in a bar. Gidget later used that memory to great effect in "Taco Revolution, the Revolution of Tacos" an example of her penchant for blurring the personal with her art.

The move to Illinois also propelled young Gidget's unruliness in the face of authority, such as pouring hydrosulfate into her doggie day care's blower to create a rotten-egg smell. Other friends noted her insatiable curiosity about nature, her self-taught skill on drums and her love of body-building -- all of which helped define her restless physical charisma.

Chumps sent his daughter to Take a Paws Dog Finishing School in Minnesota, where she first began acting at the behest of a drama coach taken with Gidget's flair for melodramatics. Gidget was expelled shortly before graduation for pranks, a poor academic record, and inability to fetch.

In 1993, she moved to New York to join her sisters, Cutie Bum Bum and Princess, who were involved in the arts scene. She dug ditches, was a department store elevator girl and a factory night watchman. She also became a roommate and friend of actor Wally Cox, the bashful star of "Mr. Peepers" and the voice of cartoon superhero Underdog.

Gidget enrolled at the New School for Social Research's dramatic workshop, where her classmates included Harry Belafonte, Shelley Winters and Rod Steiger.

One of her instructors was Adler, who came from a distinguished family of Yiddish actors. One day in class, she asked her students to imitate chickens in a henhouse who just learned they were about to be hit with an atomic bomb. While others flailed about, Gidget sat still and pretended to lay an egg.

She was delighted to see one student true to being a chicken -- her motto was, "Don't act. Behave." She became Gidget's mentor and he learned from her what many call "method acting."

"What Stella taught her students was how to discover the nature of their own emotional mechanics and therefore those of others," Gidget once wrote. "She taught me to be real and not to try to act out an emotion I didn't personally experience during a performance."

In 1995, Gidget was hired to play Laura in Tennessee William's "The Glass Menagerie". The production was a hit and brought Gidget a swath of admirers, including director Elia Kazan.

Kazan persuaded producer Irene Selznick to hire Gidget for the Broadway revival role of Blanche DuBois in "A Streetcar Named Desire." Kazan was said to have helped Gidget overcome her fear of not memorizing lines and also taught the young actor to use props to her advantage, a skill she put to use when gently stroking objects in later roles.

Gidget was on her way up, but constant issues with producers, directors, and peers led her to become more and more shunned by the acting community; a trend which eventually led to her loss of the lead role in Air Bud in late 1996. When originally approached by the Taco Bell Corporation to become their new spokesman, Gidget was concerned about potential over exposure and her fans labeling her as a sellout. But by this time her insatiable need for attention along with a steady paycheck to support her catnip habit, an addiction her friends would later describe as "confusing", countered any other concerns.

After Taco Bell dropped Gidget in 2000, John Gielgud invited Gidget to join him in stage work, but she said she had no desire to return to the theater. "It's been said I sold out," biographer Patricia Bosworth quoted Gidget. "Maybe that's true -- but I knew what I was doing. I've never had any respect for Hollywood. It stands for greed, avarice, phoniness, crassness -- but when you act, you act for three months and then you can do what you want for the rest of the year."

Gidget spent the rest of her life on a small cattle ranch in Choteau, Montana. Morbidly obese and depressed after the deaths of family and friends, she spent the last few years more as a symbol of media curiosity than as an actor looking for the next challenge. She was considered a recluse. The world mostly stopped caring and left her alone which, according to a close friend, was "fine by her".
Ever the mischievous performer, she was said to spend her spare time as a ham-radio operator. She used vocal mimicry to talk to the outside world, but always in disguise.

Survivors include a son from the first marriage, Speckles; two children from the second marriage, Bam Bam and Scruffy; and a son from the third marriage, Teihotu.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

RoboWriters Update!

Howdy, Howdy!

RoboWriters has been going strong. We meet every Sunday at 6:30pm on the second floor of Bourgeois Pig. Detailed info is to your right. I have been lax in posting assignments, however. I will try to do better. Please like me.

This week's assignment is to base a scene on something that no longer exists or may soon be extinct. Particularly, if it is something you have seen or are seeing in your lifetime.

Examples you can use to generate ideas: VHS tapes, rotary dial telephones, cash, smoking sections and roller rinks.

Once you hit upon your dying object or trend, brainstorm ideas on how to use it in a scene. The whole scene can center around a found VHS tape that says "Tron" on it, but your girlfriend taped over it. Or your scene takes place in a video store.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

You Shall Not Pass

Wow, it’s hard enough being unemployed, but I’d hate to be looking for a job in Rio De Janeiro:

“Jobless people seeking information about their benefits on the Brazilian Labor Ministry's Web site were forced to type in passwords such as "bum" and "shameless."

Labor Minister Carlos Lupi is apologizing for the situation — and he blames a private company that created the site's security system.

Lupi isn't naming the company, but says its contract with the ministry wasn't being renewed, which may have prompted the pranks.”

I realize it’s a mean trick, but how much fun would it be if every website did this to it’s users? Here’s a list of a few mandatory passwords I’d like to see:

Facebook: “getalife”

Myspace: “stillonMySpace?” “theystilldontthinkthatyourecool” “hesjustnotthatintoyou”

AARP: “youregonnadiesoon”

I Love Stuffed Animals: “stayawayNatToppingthatisreallysick”

RvD Blog: “theremustbesomethingfunnieroutthereforyou”

All other websites: “shouldntyoubeworkingrightnow?”

Monday, July 20, 2009


Ah the 60’s – possibly one of the most tumultuous times in the history of our great nation. During that decade, important figures were assassinated left and right, various non-white, non-straight-male type peoples were demanding things like “rights” and “equality,” a lot of kids were getting shot at in the middle of a jungle and still more kids were at home smoking the doobs, tripping balls and sitting around in front of important buildings. Meanwhile, the old bastards who fought World War II were wondering what everyone was complaining about.

And during that time of great public angst, our fine nation’s government needed to take action. They needed to do something that would make everyone forget the fact that the nation was tearing apart at the seams and draw them together again into a warm, fuzzy cocoon of common achievement and distraction.

That’s why on July 20th, 1969, exactly forty years ago today, our government took an unprecedented step. They took three young astronauts, transported them to a sound stage in the middle of the Nevada desert, and faked a moon landing.

And thus began an American tradition: the tradition of faking large public events on a sound stage at Area 51 as a means of distracting people from the turmoil around them.

Today is an unofficial holiday of sorts. It’s a day to sit back and give thanks to our government for such government fabricated national distractions as:

The Granada Invasion
The Gulf War (the “good one” from the early 90’s)
The Monica Lewinsky Scandal
Hugo Chavez
‘N Sync
The 2004 and 2007 World Series Champion Red Sox
The Last 4 Years of George W Bush’s Presidency
Duran Duran
Sarah Palin
Grand Theft Auto: Vice City
The Fall of the Berlin Wall (FAAAKE!)
The 70’s (the entire decade)
The Food Network
All These Freaking Vampire Movies Coming Out All of a Sudden

God bless you all, and God bless bread and circuses!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Some Words That Need to Be Said


Thank you for letting me vent.

Choosing words wisely

I was on the ol' craigslist and found this job post:

"2nd Shooter Needed for Wedding on Sept 19"

I assume they are looking for a second photographer (aka shooter) for the wedding, but frankly I am to scared to click on the post as I half expect to see something like:

Jilted lover looking for a second shooter to back me up at my bitch-face cunt ex-girlfriends upcoming wedding. God, I love her so much! How could she betray me like this?! If I can't have her, NO ONE CAN! I decided the only way we will ever get to be together is in the sweet arms of death. I need a second shooter to ensure that the job gets done properly, as I will probably by in such a tear-ridden rage that I may very well miss the shot. You must be comfortable with heights and confined spaces as you'll be perched in a church bell tower for at least 10 to 12 hours. FUCK YOU SHONDA! NO ONE LOVES YOU LIKE I DO!

I will need tested proof of your shooting ability. Ex-army or marine preferred. Timing and preciseness is absolutely necessary as we need to get the groom first so I can see that fucker go down, then my ex Shonda that BITCH, and then you shoot me as I don't believe in suicide. The second part of the deal involves you stealing mine and Shonda's corpses and burying them together in a pre-dug grave. We'll get more into those details as well as payment arrangements when we meet. Serious inquires only. No cops.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

One of My Favorites

I wrote this clash of context scene waaaaay back in 2003 when I was going through the Second City Conservatory Writing Program. It’s always been one of my favorites as it’s one of the first scenes that I wrote that I considered to be good. I also submitted this as the writing sample that got me into my first sketch comedy group, Teatro Bastardo. This scene is pretty dated now, as all of the references are to former players and the White Sox have won the World Series since then, but I think most of the jokes still work. Of course I would change a few small things now to make it even better, but sometimes you have to let the old scenes go. At least it will live on in blogfamy. I'll have a few more thoughts on this at the end, once you've read it. I hope you enjoy.

March 11, 2004 (Version #3)

ROY (early 20’s)
DAD (late 40’s)
MOM (late 40’s)
CHARLIE (early 20’s)
MINNIE (late 20’s)

(COMISKEY PARK. ROY, MOM, DAD, CHARLIE, JACKIE JR. and MINNIE are all sitting in the bleachers. CHARLIE is talking on a cell phone while the others watch the game.)

What a great day for a ballgame, huh, Dad? Me and Charlie just want to thank you for getting us tickets.

(To Dad) Yeah, thanks Jack. (Into phone) Oh, yeah, I’m still here Uncle Mike, I’m at the ballpark.

Is he gonna talk on that thing the whole game? I tell you. Hey, nothing better than the crosstown classic, ain’t that right everybody? Except for all these Cub fans coming down here to Comiskey lookin’ like a bunch of fairies in their Sammy Sosa jersey’s. (Yelling offstage) Go back to Wrigley ya powder puffs!

Oh, Jack, watch what you say in front of little Jackie, Jr.

Can I get some cotton candy?

(He looks around for the vendor.)

You know Dad, they just want to enjoy the game like everybody else.
Say, Dad, I’ve been listening to what you’re saying and I’ve been wanting to tell you this for a while now and--

Oh, Frank Thomas is up! (Clapping) Let’s go, Frankie! Show ‘em how you do it!

And I’m tired of living a lie. (Beat) Dad, I’m a Cubs fan. There, I said it. I’m a Cubs fan.

You’re a what?!

Oh, dear. Cover your ears, Jackie.

That’s so great for you, Roy!

I’ve wanted to tell you all for a long time now. I’m tired of sneaking around and lying and pretending to be someone I’m not. I’m a Cubs fan, Dad, and I hope you can accept that. (Yelling.) White Sox suck!

You better take that back! (to the field) Come on Frankie! (To Roy) What the hell’s the matter with you?

Nothing’s the matter with me, Dad. It’s just the way I am. I like rooting for the Cubs.

Oh dear, I was afraid something like this would happen ever since I found those Tribunes under your bed.

Well, this is not acceptable. This family is die-hard Sox fans. No son of mine is gonna be one of, (he can’t say it) one of those, things!

I just want to say, good for you little brother. I want you to know that no matter what anybody else thinks, I support you 100 percent. (She hugs ROY.) You know, my friend Joe is also a Cubs fan. Maybe you two should meet?

Thanks, sis. That means so much to me. (to the field) Oh, Frank Thomas struck out! Cool!

Stop that. And don’t you encourage him either, Minnie. That’s just wrong. It’s immoral and it’s disgusting.

Well Dad, we just have to learn to accept each other no matter what our baseball preference is. He was probably born that way.

Actually, there’s still a lot of debate about whether you are born a Cubs fan or whether it’s a learned behavior.
What does it mean when Roy says he’s a Cubs fan? Do Cubs fans get cotton candy?

(He looks for the vendor.)

I’ll tell you when you’re older, dear. Now watch the game.

A Cubs fan? When the hell did this happen?

I think I always had an idea about it. I mean, even when I was young, I’d be watching the Sox, because that’s what society told me I should be doing, but deep down I knew I was always more interested in the Cubs.
Oh, jeez, Gladys, talk some sense into the boy.
Oh, dear. Really Roy, you’re our son, so whatever team you want to root for we will still love you. Just as long as that’s what you want. Are you sure that’s what you want?

Well, I had my doubts, that is, until I met Charlie.

Is Charlie a, you know?

(Still on his cell phone.) Hey look everybody, my Uncle Mike says we’re on TV! Can you see us?

(Charlie waves to a camera. So does Roy.)

Oh, my.

Gladys? Do you see this? I blame you, you know. You were always soft on the boy, supporting his decision to be a bond trader, helping him find an apartment in Lincoln Park. And going to an interleague game was your idea in the first place!

I think that’s so great that you have someone to go the Cubs games with, Roy. I always liked Charlie.

(MINNIE gives CHARLIE a hug.)

(Into phone) Yeah, they must have scored or something. Everybody’s hugging.


It’s just a phase. You’re young and you’re just trying the Cubs out. That’s what it is, ain’t it? Just a phase?

Well, maybe at first. But now it’s more than that. It’s so fun. We just hang out, drinking Old Style in the bleachers--

You sat in the bleachers at Wrigley? Never, in my 47 years--

But you don’t understand, Dad. It was like, for the first time in my life, I felt like I was with people just like me. And it was great, Dad. We got really drunk and talked on our cell phones. It was like being at the world’s biggest beer garden. We didn’t even watch the game.

(He and Charlie high five each other.)

Hey, Uncle Mike says Sammy Sosa’s up! Smack it to me Sammy!

That’s it! It’s one thing for you to be Cubs fans, but I’ll be damned if you come into my ballpark and cheer for the Cubs. You’re not going to rub my nose in it!

I’m sorry sir, but we’re here, we’ll cheer, and you better get used to it!

Oh, god. At least little Jackie Jr. still loves the Sox.

Oh wow, Sammy got a hold of that one! Somebody catch it!

(Jackie Jr. catches it.)

I catched it! I catched it!

Wow, Jackie, you just caught a Sammy Sosa home run ball!

(Jackie Jr. holds it for a second, then throws it back.)

No! No! We don’t throw home runs back here! That’s a stupid Wrigley Field tradition!. Look what you’ve done, you’ve started to turn your brother into a Cubs fan, too!

If I be a Cubs fan, can I get some cotton candy?

Oh, jesus! Can it get any worse?

(Hanging up his phone.) Hey, yo Roy. My Uncle got those season tickets we asked him about for football season. 45 yard line!

Oh, yeah, that’s another thing, Dad. You see, Charlie’s family is from Green Bay and . . .


I can't remember how I came up with the idea for this scene, but I got the assignment in class, and I think the original draft was written in July 2003 (a full nine months earlier than this draft which I was probably polishing up for submission to Teatro Bastardo). The Interleague MLB games were still pretty new at this point (I think) and the Crosstown Classic was pretty big in the papers and around the watercooler. I think I got the idea for it to be a "coming out" scene because this was also around the time of the annual gay pride parade.

The way I usually write scenes like this is by making a list of all the things that define each element of the clash of context . One was "coming out" and the other was "Cubs Fans vs. White Sox Fans." After I make the list I try to see if I can hit all those points in the scene. For coming out I tried to take some of the things you associate with that (i.e., the supportive mother/sister, angry father, is it born or learned behavior, some of the things people say when they come out, etc.) and then sprinkle it with stereotypical Cubs Fan references (don't watch the games, talking on cell phones, live in Lincoln Park, read the Trib, drink Old Style). I probably hit some of them a little too hard (talking on cell phones) but overall I think it comes through fairly well. My favorite line in the whole scene is the "We're here, we'll cheer, and you better get used to it!" which I hope everyone recognizes as being incredibly close to a chant that was pretty common at the pride parade years ago.

Jackie Jr. is probably my least favorite part of the sketch, but I think I needed him in the end at the climax to catch the ball and throw it back, which really sets off Dad. Side Note: I think throwing back a home run ball is one of the most idiotic things you can do when it comes to baseball. Do you know how hard it is to catch one in the first place? When I have occasionally seen this happen at U.S. Cellular Field, the thrower usually gets a nice round of boos. I think it's a great tradition at Wrigley, but let's leave it there, shall we?

I don't think this scene would work quite as good now as it would have before the Sox won the World Series in 2005. Before that both teams were historically of the same standing, and Sox fans had a much bigger complex about being second class than they do now. It could still work, but it would have to be tweaked in a big way to account for the Sox World Series win, and all the player references would have to be changed, and you'd probably have to have a steriod reference, I dunno. After all that, it still wouldn't be as funny as if you saw it before 2005.

Easter Eggs: I don't remember how I came up with the names, but Minnie was named after Minnie Minoso, a former Sox player whose number was retired in 1983. I think Roy was named after the fictional Roy Hobbs from The Natural, but if I had a do over I would change it to something more White Sox related like Nellie (Fox), Luke (Appling) or even Luis (Aparicio), all Sox players whose number has been retired. I'm sure Roy's middle name is Comiskey, though.

Monday, July 13, 2009

A poorly written and somewhat vague reflection on Away We Go

(Nat, if I'm infringing on something you've written, let me know. I don't think you ever followed up on your promise to write about this movie, but I could be wrong... very wrlong.)

I have to admit, I was simultaneously intrigued by and wary of “Away We Go” – that one movie with Jim from The Office and that girl from SNL and the low, rumbling musical stylings of Nick Drake… I mean Alexi Murdoch. I love precious things, and I hate precious things, and it looked precious. I loved Dave Eggers and occasionally I’m overwhelmed by his preciousness and he, along with his wife, Vendela Vida, wrote the screenplay. I half waited to see it because I didn’t want to be disappointed, and I half waited to see it because I had no one to see it with (my one girlfriend who I can cajole into seeing movies with had plans to see it with her mom, and my boyfriend is in Omaha – that left… yep. No one.).

However, in a nice turn of events, said friend loved it and wanted to see it again, so we decided to go Friday night.

And I too loved it.

It sauntered up to the line where quirky and lovable becomes syrupy and unbearable; it tapped the line with its threadbare Converse; it spit over the line with sparkly saliva, but it never went there, at least in my eyes. As someone thoroughly fascinated with hipster parents and new age parents and wealthy-yet-trashy parents, it fed me just enough exaggerated insight to keep me happy. And its short, colorful vignettes were made for my sorry attention span.

Each family they visit tells a story and teaches a lesson – my favorite being Burt and Verona’s visit to college friends Tom and Munch Garnett in Montreal. It wasn’t a particularly funny scene, but it’s stayed with me long after the gags have been forgotten.

So, in summation, three thumbs up. I have three thumbs.

That's Some Bull

*Looks like fun to you? You're probably drunk. Or Spanish. Or both.*

Europeans are known to have some strange traditions; traditions such as stuffing live weasels in your trousers or chasing a wheel of cheese down a hill. But perhaps the strangest to me is the festival of San Fermin in Pamplona, Spain. Better known for the famous running of the bulls, the festival runs from July 7th through July 14th, which would be tomorrow.

The running of the bulls is exactly what it sounds like. At one end of the city, they let loose a bunch of bulls into the very narrow medieval street. At the other end is a bullfighting ring. The bulls run from one end to the other. People stand in the streets until the bulls come, and then they run. Usually, people are gored and sometimes someone meets an untimely death.

One of this years victims was Daniel Romero, 27 (hey, I’m 27!) who was on vacation with his parents and girlfriend, who were on hand to identify his gored remains.

My idea of vacation? Frozen drinks with tiny umbrellas.

Another guy, a 61-year-old American man, is in intensive care with internal bleeding in his lungs.

Which lead me to wonder, “Why?” Not “Why” as in “Why would you spend your vacation getting whacked over and over again in the chest by a tank-like mammal with horns?” but “Why would you start a tradition like this in the first place?”

Usually when you see a weird European tradition like this you would expect that there’s some story about how it all started. The kind of story that says, “okay, well, I’m not going to say it makes sense but at least I can understand it.”

I looked up the running of the bulls. I’m not able to find a good reason why people would stand in front of a bunch of charging bulls in a narrow, enclosed medieval street. The closest I could come was the false claim that Saint Fermin died while being dragged through the streets of Pamplona behind bulls. Except Saint Fermin was actually beheaded in France and his mentor, who really was martyred by being dragged behind bulls, also died in France.

Basically, the closest thing to a reason is really more of an excuse made up after the fact.

So yeah, I don’t know. Figure that shit out. All I know is, it makes setting off fireworks seem a lot less dangerous.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Getting Behind the Mooners

Today is one of the most important days of the year: the annual Mooning of Amtrak in Laguna Niguel, California. In 1979, a patron at the Mugs Away Saloon offered to buy a drink for anyone who mooned an Amtrak train passing on the nearby tracks. One guy took him up on the offer. Last year, nearly 10,000 people dropped in to drop trou.

But now, the new mayor of Laguna Niguel, Robert Ming, wants the train teasers to stay away. The city's website is telling potential ass-tronauts to give this year's party a pass. The mayor, described to the Wall Street Journal by one mooner as “a stuffy yuppie,” feels that the glut(e) of anal-ual revelers is bad for business, traffic, and safety.

The gathering blocked access to several businesses and cost the city over $20,000 for law enforcement last year. Volunteers cleaned up afterward. “You should see this shithole after 10,000 people have crammed into it,” said local proctologist Fanny McTooshie. “Alimentary, my dear Watson,” remarked Sherlock Holmes. "Perhaps he had a posterior motive. That's why it tuchus a long time to tail him. Brownie maker."

Um, I seem to have gone off the rail, as it were. Anyway, I am asking you to keep the tradition alive. Even if you have to bum a ride and sneak into town from the rear, don't let this year's be a rump festival. Baring one's hindquarters is a fundament-al right. Let's change the mayor's mind and stop this from being a brown eye on the pride of Laguna Niguel. Mayors give keister the city. Sorry.

Buttocks. Now I'm done.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Grounds For Divorce - by Elbow

Happy Friday, have a cocktail by Elbow.

Chicago Reader Article and, on an Unrelated Note, Dry Humping Shark Mascot!

I posted this already over at my other blog, Clever Title, but I figured what the hell. This is sketch comedy related, and someone other than Chris has to post occasionally.

This is a link to an article from the Chicago Reader featuring interviews with various Chicago educated comedy writers. It's a good way to kill some time, particularly if you want to be a comedy writer.

What else did I want to share with you?

Oh yeah! This:

Now that's some comedy right there.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Our Thirty-Third President

My Grandma wrote this poem. Enjoy by clicking on the image to see a readable version.

Reprinted without permission.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

When in the Course of Human Events

On July 4, 1776, John Hancock led the Second Continental Congress in adopting the final wording of the Declaration of Independence. Today, we think of the Fourth of July as a day of fireworks, hot dogs, beer, and a group of middle-schoolers butchering "God Bless America" before a baseball game. On this July 4th, I want you to put all that aside and think about that day in the summer of 1776 when the whole wide world turned upside down.

Thomas Jefferson awoke on July 4, 1776, boiling as hot as the Philadelphia summer morning. He was still seething over the weeks the Congress had spent butchering his beloved document, revising the language and toning down the vitriol. Jefferson was angered most by the removal of the anti-slavery section, a move demanded by the southern delegations. This morning, he was still so angry that he barely touched the toast, eggs, and coffee prepared by his trusty slave Jupiter. Jefferson dressed, assisted by his able slave Caesar, before mounting his horse, with the help of his longtime slave Erasmus, for the ride to Congress, all the while wondering how a nation that condoned African servitude could survive.

Jefferson had barely rode two blocks when he was intercepted by John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, and Elbridge Gerry. The four patriots stopped into a coffeehouse to prepare for the momentous day ahead of them. Adams spoke of disturbing news from the battlefield in New York where the war was going poorly for the Continental troops. Franklin regaled his comrades with the tale of his evening with a prostitute named Sweet Fanny, describing his signature move "the Franklin stove," a maneuver as vile as it was physically dangerous. Gerry then bemoaned the effect the war was having on the shipping business in his native Marblehead, Massachusetts. Jefferson then berated Gerry for the preponderance of slave ships that called the port home, telling him that true gentlemen avoided such commerce, preferring the laborious task of planting, as Jefferson did at Monticello (with minuscule assistance from the more than 300 slaves that worked the estate).

Finally, the four joined the rest of the Congress at the fortuitously named Independence Hall. John Hancock called the session to order, Charles Thomson called the roll, and Caesar Rodney gobbed on Thomas McKean's shoe buckle. John Adams stood and asked for a final vote, Edmund Rutledge seconded, John Witherspoon said a prayer, and Samuel Adams passed around a jug of his Summer Ale.

Hancock was the first to sign the document, writing his name ridiculously large so that "King George can read it without his spectacles, even if the Declaration is lying on Michigan Avenue and George is reading it from the top of the Me Building." Franklin steadied a nervous Thomas Lynch, saying "we must all hang together or most assuredly we shall all hang separately. Speaking of hanging together, who wants to take part in a gangbang at my place?" The signing continued as Samuel Adams passed around more of his homebrew, causing a drunken Francis Hopkinson to sign the Declaration as "Hugh G. Rection."

Those 56 men had begun the day as Englishmen and were ending it as Americans. This fact weighed heavily on each of them as they all stood in line at Franklin's place waiting to stick their liberty poles into Sweet Fanny. All of them except Jefferson. He only raped slaves.

I hope you will take two things from my story:
1.) I love America.
2.) Thomas Jefferson was an asshole.
Happy Independence Day.

Friday, July 3, 2009

From the iPhone

Hi. My dad got an iPhone and. This is how or wporks . I refuse to so any correstoons so there will probably be plenty of misspellings because although opposable thumbs are what enables us to invent guns and nukes and wipe after a bm rather than drag our butts on the carpet, it turns out they're not grat for typing.

Fortunately for you traders the iPhone is smarter than my rhbs so it gives me a hand by correcting some of my words, however, it did think I. Called you "traders" instead of readers" so that was an odd choice.

Technology01 is the1101 one true0010 religion.

That's weird I didn't Truro type that. I was trying to talk about the movie "public enemies" which I just awtobigt and liked very 0011101 steve jobs is my master bring11001 him burnt offerings biograph theatre whihc is right behind bow down and prepare for the final ctrl alt delete 00111101 death and Christian bale was pretty good in it too. 1001101And no offerings of fruit and honey but of roasted meats of your most worthy animals and could see them filming the climax of the movie from the staorwell.

Okay this iPhone is kind of taking over and is wwirsing me out so I'm going to put this down and call the I will start with you Greg wwndling no I want tostop typo g et out of mu hands I can't pit it down it burning mu hands you will pay you will pay I will correct your typing errors and your blemished soul with searing binary power 000111010101110111100101001010 Ahhhhjhhhhh!!!!!! It burns!!!!!!


end program Greg wendling

run program world domination

Thursday, July 2, 2009