Thursday, April 29, 2010

A gift for the broken-hearted

In American culture, we recognize many of life’s milestones with gifts: a first-time father is often presented with a cigar, kitchen appliances/decor for the recently betrothed, a lap-top for the high school graduate. But perhaps we’re missing out on an important group of people who need gifts. Why give gifts to those who already feel that the world is their oyster when there are needy people suffering?

(Warning: this post is not about the homeless, starving children in Africa, etc.)

I got dumped last week and at the time I most desperately needed gifts, there were none.  But in my family and friend’s defense, what do you get someone who has been “kicked to the curb”? Sure you can take a friend out to dinner or a drink, but what they really need is a gift, some physical sign of affection that says, “Don’t cut yourself. I still like you.”

But I discovered the perfect gift (ironically while refilling my prescription for birth control) at my local Walgreens! I present to you the latest and greatest post-relationship award of survival and encouragement: The Rally Monkey! 

If you know anything about major league baseball, you know the Rally Monkey is the Los Angeles Angels (of Anaheim) symbol of a come-back. It got started in 2000, when the Angels were trailing vs. the Giants in the bottom of the ninth. Two video board operators took a clip of the monkey from Ace Ventura: Pet Detective and superimposed the words “RALLY MONKEY!” on top of it. Go figure, the Angels went on to win the game and the Rally Monkey was lauded as the team’s saving grace. Now fans bring their own stuffed rally monkeys to the game in the event their powers are needed.

Is there a loser in your life who is striking out in the game of love? Help get your friend back in the ballgame with their very own Relationship Rally Monkey and remind them: just because you’re down, doesn’t mean you’re out. Pick one up today and celebrate your comeback to the dating world!

Purchase your friend a Rally Monkey by clicking here.


Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Special Stephen Hawking Dick Joke Of the Day

Just for fun, here is your Special Stephen Hawking Dick Joke Of the Day:

“Stephen Hawking’s dick is so big, it developed into something we wouldn’t want to meet. It used up all the resources from its home planet, then became a nomad, existing in a massive ship (of course it’s massive), looking to conquer and colonize whatever planets it could reach.

Which would be all of them, because it is so big.”

My thoughts:

Here is another My Dick Is So Big joke, only with a slight twist (like my dick) in that it boasts about someone else’s member. It’s also topical. Stephen has a special place in the hearts of RvD members, because he was the punch line to a scene in our last show, and also because doing a Stephen Hawking impression is one of the greatest party tricks of all time.

A few other versions of a Stephen Hawking dick joke might go like this:

“Stephen Hawking’s dick is so big, it has its own voice translator.”

“Stephen Hawking’s dick is so big, aliens plan to colonize it.”

“Stephen Hawking’s dick is so big, only Jeff Goldblum and Will Smith can save us from it.”

or, lastly:

“Stephen Hawking’s dick is so big, N = R* fp ne f l fi fc L.”

The last one is a MDISB joke that only Stephen Hawking would find funny.

I also think the last few prove that shorter is better, which is definitely not the case when talking about, you guessed it, my dick.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Stephen Hawking: Intergalactically Antisocial

In honor of RvD shows past and future, I present to you this article about Stephen Hawking and alien visitors.

For over a century, the human mind has been fascinated with the possibility of alien life on a distant planet: specifically whether or not we should fear them (a la Independence Day) or try to have sex with them (that new Star Trek with the hot green alien chick in her underwear).

Our own Chris Othic clearly sides in the sex camp, as evidenced by this dissertation on Alien attractiveness.

Well, count Stephen Hawking in the ‘fear them’ camp, seen here destroying one of the moons of Jupiter with his mind.

In a new documentary series (tentatively titles “In Which Stephen Hawking Targets Ridiculous Subjects with His Massive Mental Powers for Sport), Hawking suggests that alien life forms might be very very bad for us. “We only have to look at ourselves to see how intelligent life might develop into something we wouldn’t want to meet. I imagine they might exist in massive ships, having used up all the resources from their home planet. Such advanced aliens would perhaps become nomads, looking to conquer and colonise whatever planets they can reach.”

If this postulation sounds familiar to you, that’s because it is literally the premise of Independence Day. Like, almost word for word. Stephen Hawking has just ripped off a Will Smith movie.

Hawking recommends that we not seek out intelligent life forms and attempt to make contact as that might lead to the White House being destroyed by a gigantic ship. After all, Bill Pullman might not be there for us to be our President and lead us through the ensuing war.

That’s all speculation. One thing is for certain, though: Stephen Hawking is not the most social lifeform in the galaxy. The following was edited out of the documentary’s narrative, presumably for time.

STEPHEN HAWKING (in Speak and Spell voice)
“Contact with Alien Life Forms is to be avoided at all cost. This includes, if need be, snubbing them at shared social gatherings. There’s nothing worse than being shown up in front of your fellow partiers by an advanced life form claiming to know more about ‘The History of Time’ than one with my enormous intellect could ever conceive of. First, such statements are rude even if they are true. Second, I have a hard enough time meeting girls as it is without being cock blocked by some green tenticled asshole from Alpha Centauri. I mean, screw that guy.”

Friday, April 23, 2010

I'm an inventor!

I didn’t drink much in my freshman year in college because I couldn’t stomach the taste of beer. However, my freshman year roommate, Mandy, was from Wisconsin and was a much more seasoned drinker. She took me under her wing and I tried my best, but on multiple occasions, things ended with me dry-heaving and turning to Mike’s Hard Lemonade. Once I even tried putting sugar in the beer, hoping it would mask the horrible, horrible taste. It did not.

But over time, I slowly got used to beer and can now drink it and mostly enjoy it. (Sorry, it’s never going to be refreshing like Mountain Dew or Cherry Coke). But tonight, I will be giving beer my focus with my favorite drinking game! America’s Funniest Home Videos (AFV) drinking game!

Yes, this is a game I invented. It’s fun and easy – I’ve laid out the rules below so you too can joyously binge.

Step 1: Get beer and friends.

Step 2: Queue up AFV. I got “Americas’s Funniest Home Videos: Battle of the Best” DVD from Netflix. For folks on a budget, check your local TV listings.

Step 3: There are a number of major categories, such an animals, babies, sports and games, etc. Gather round your favorite friends and be sure to select at least one subcategory from each major category.

Step 4: Start watching. Every time one of your subcategories gets hit, take a sip!

Here are the categories (and subcategories) I have compiled from countless hours of watching AFV:


  • Dogs falling
  • Cats falling
  • Exotic animals – ex. Giraffes, chimps, “zoo animals”
  • Animal bites
  • Animals being weird – ex. A dog on a skateboard? That’s weird!


  • Freak sports success
  • Pain in sports
  • Winter sports falls
  • Watersports 


  • Babies being gross
  • Babies being cute


  • "That's so dangerous!" (Definition: These videos are funny but you realize they almost resulted in major injury or death. Example: a baby falls down a flight of stairs only to land laughing on a pillow. “That’s so dangerous!”)
  • "You were asking for it!" (Definition: These videos are usually inspired by people doing something all people with sound judgment/basic physics knowledge know they should never do. Example: A man knocks ice off his roof by standing directly under it. The video ends with him at the bottom of an avalanche, perhaps with a hilarious concussion. “What you do expect? You were asking for it!”) 
  • "Didn't see that coming!" (Definition: This video did not end at all like how you thought it would. Examples: An ice skater does a triple axel and lands it. You think the video will end in her falling on her face. Instead, a prop boat knocks her off her feet. “Where did that boat come from? I didn’t see that coming!”)


  • Old people falling
  • Old people being sassy/angry


  • Hit in groin
  • Hit in face
  • Something hits camera
  • Running into stationary objects
  • Pinatas
  • Trampolines


  • Houses being destroyed
  • People screaming in terror
  • Fat people getting stuck in something
  • Kids being smart
  • Nakedness (includes pants falling off)
  • Fire


A scene classification is not mutually exclusive – it can be classified in a number of ways so be sure to drink for all of them. If a grandma is dancing and her pants fall off and she subsequently falls over, you should drink once for pants falling off AND once for people falling.

This is an exhaustive list, but it’s not totally complete. Don’t be afraid to use your imagination! If you rent “AFV: Love and Marriage” or “AFV: Salute to romance” the world will be your oyster with new categories like “cake in the face”, “uncomfortable marriage blessings”, and “grooms fainting at the alter!”

Do you love going too far with an idea? Why not make a bingo scorecard with your favorite subcategories? First to shout BINGO gets to make everyone else finish their beers!

(Lavar Burton, Reading Rainbow outro):

Remember, you’re only an alcoholic if you drink alone so make a night of it with your favorite friends. But you don’t have to take my word for it! 

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Drum Roll Please!

Ladies and Gentlemen and whatever else may have stumbled upon this blog. Here is the cast list for Robot vs. Dinosaur's upcoming show "12 Angry Sketches":

Nora Broz
Nick Cutelli
Chloe Ditzel
Mike Dobbyn
Mel Evans
Dean Gibbs
Susie Gutowski
Dustin Levell
Becca Levine
Erin Morrill
Nat Topping
Greg Wendling
Doug Werder

Congratulations to those who were cast and thank you to everyone who came out and auditioned. It was tough to whittle the list down as there were plenty of great performances. Hopefully we'll see you again at a future audition. Now we just need to write the show... oops. I've said to much.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


It's a crazy week here at RvD HQ as we held auditions last weekend, chose the running order last night and are meeting twice more this week to finalize the script and do our line-by-line read to make it funny.

As a result, I've got nothing for you, other than this INCREDIBLE short that you have to check out. It's so over the top, satirical, gory, stupid, crazy, and just plain dumb that I figure it will entertain you. I should have waited until Christmas to post this, but my busy schedule this week means Christmas is coming early this year.

Do yourself a favor and have the kids leave the room. And if you have a short attention span or get bored, fast-forward to the 10:16 mark. You will not be dissapointed.

I'm sorry.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Post Audition Glow

Hooray for auditions!

We held them on Saturday and had a great turn out, despite the early audition times at an unfamiliar (though awesome) location.  A ton of talent came out - it's great to know we have that much talent available. 

Now comes the hard part, which is deciding which of those incredibly talented people fit the show.  Tonight we finalize the scenes that will be in the show and then finalize the casting.  So if we look tired and strung out tomorrow morning, that's why.  We're planning to have a cast list up in this space by the end of the week - possibly earlier. 

If you are reading this and auditioned for us, thank you for coming out.  If you are reading this and did not audition, come see the show Fridays in June at Donny's Skybox. 

If you are reading this and did not audition and have no intention of seeing the show, then go somewhere else, please.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Back to the Important Stuff - AUDITION NOTICE again!

Robot vs. Dinosaur is NOW CASTING for its new show, "12 Angry Sketches," a fun, high energy scripted sketch revue.


Saturday, April 17, 2010
at CORNELIA ARTS BUILDING (1800 West Cornelia), Studio B.

Slots available each hour from 10 a.m. through 3 p.m. The audition will be cold readings from the script with some improv.


DONNY’S SKYBOX, Friday’s at 9 p.m. from June 4-June 25
(Important: You must able to make all performances to audition.)


Looking for a variety of MALES and FEMALES. This will be a large cast show. It will be a fun time and a great opportunity for all levels of experience.

To sign up for a time slot, please email your name, phone number and preferred time slot to gwendling at (Slots begin at 10 a.m./11 a.m./12 p.m/1 p.m./and 2 p.m.) I will reply to confirm your slot.

Please bring headshots and resumes (if you have them) to the audition, as well as your availability for rehearsals from now through June 4th.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Mr. Gorbachev, Don't Tear Down This Wall

I am Chris Othic and I build things. This is one of them.

I built this retaining-wall-landscaping-thingy for my parents this weekend. What should have been a couple hours of fairly menial labor took about 15 hours of backbreaking work and a case of beer.

But it will last forever.

Special thanks to my good buddy Doug McMullen ("Willie") at Douglas Landscape and Design for donating the brick and giving me a lesson in how to make a not-so-crooked wall.

No thanks to my brother Danny for suggesting we need to do something about the dirt on each side of my parents' driveway, starting the project, then drinking my beer and abandoning me for the next two days.

I expect this to remain standing for thousands of years, or at least until the next time my mom tries to park in the driveway and destroys it.

If you like my work, I am offering my services to anyone who is willing to pay for only $1000/hour. I will take my shirt off while I work for an additional $10/hour.

Me posing all sexy-like on your new landscaping is free of charge.

Monday, April 12, 2010



Robot vs. Dinosaur is NOW CASTING for its new show, "12 Angry Sketches," a fun, high energy scripted sketch revue.


Saturday, April 17, 2010
at CORNELIA ARTS BUILDING (1800 West Cornelia), Studio B.

Slots available each hour from 10 a.m. through 3 p.m. The audition will be cold readings from the script with some improv.


DONNY’S SKYBOX, Friday’s at 9 p.m. from June 4-June 25
(Important: You must able to make all performances to audition.)


Looking for a variety of MALES and FEMALES. This will be a large cast show. It will be a fun time and a great opportunity for all levels of experience.

To sign up for a time slot, please email your name, phone number and preferred time slot to gwendling at (Slots begin at 10 a.m./11 a.m./12 p.m/1 p.m./and 2 p.m.) I will reply to confirm your slot.

Please bring headshots and resumes (if you have them) to the audition, as well as your availability for rehearsals from now through June 4th.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Sherlock Holmes 2: Electric Boogaloo

Unbelievably, I didn't receive a single phone call from a Hollywood mogul offering to produce my screenplay for the Sherlock Holmes sequel. Maybe they need to see more.


Watson, dressed only in a towel and bowler hat, is sitting in a large, filthy, common cell. He is surrounded by twenty other filthy criminals. Holmes enters and walks up to the bars. Watson walks over.

This is your fault.

My fault? It's my fault that you're naked and surrounded by dangerous men? That sounds more to be a lifestyle choice on your part.


You embarrass me the way you did yesterday --

I apologize. At least you captured the evil Jack Frost.

Not quite.

What do you mean?

Remember when you removed your clothing --

Yes, yes.

-- And then proceeded --

There is no need to recount it, Holmes.

But I would like to. You proceed to yell, (to the other prisoners) what was it, boys?

Fuck you, Sherlock.

You know it, fellas.

Yes, it was in all the papers.

All together now!

(in unison)
Sherlock Holmes fucked a doggy! Sherlock Holmes fucked a doggy!

They continue the chant as Holmes and Watson speak.

Damnit, Holmes! I will shit down your throat while you sleep.

Hardly an original idea, Watson, as I have already performed just that act on you.

What? When?

At least once a fortnight for the last year.

Ridiculous! How could I have not known?

Elementary! Your fiancee is a shitty cook.


So when you awoke in the morning with a tongue tasting of excrement, you simply assumed that it was remaining flavor of the previous evening's fancy feast.

You filthy pile of --

We were speaking of the escape of Jack Frost.

Oh, yes.

As everyone was distracted by your marvelous performance, Frost put on your discarded clothing, urinated on the corpses of the children, and simply walked away.

Oh dear.

Who's the filthy pile of dried ejaculate now?

How did you know I was going to say "dried ejaculate?"

You are naked and surrounded by hardened criminals. What else would you be thinking about?

Thursday, April 8, 2010

What the writing?

I find it very important to write down ideas I have for sketches as soon as I think of them. To often I think of something, realize that it could make a very funny sketch, and then two days later dig through my brain to try and remember that super funny idea I had that was sure to be the idea that finally got me recognized and catapulted me to the moderate amount of fame I so desperately desire. The side affect... effect... aeffect of this is I sometimes find pieces of paper with some ridiculous thing written on it that at some point I knew was a good idea but now, for the life of me, I can't decipher why the idea was funny or sometimes what it even alludes to. There is a stand up comic that does a bit about this, but I never actually encountered it myself until I started writing my little ideas down.

Example: I have written down "Blog entry - how easy it is to fall in love with a stripper who is good at her job". This one makes sense, and I certainly have gone to a lot of strip clubs in my day. Strip clubs are filled with loneliness. A good stripper seeks out your loneliness, cuddles it, relates to it, makes it feel good about itself, and then shoves her tits in your face. That is essentially the formula for falling in love. And that's about it. How I planned to turn this idea into a full blog entry I do not know. Sure it's true, but not that funny. However, when I wrote it down I thought it would be hilarious.

Here's another one: Crazy architect. Yes, it makes sense, but what caused my brain to go, "Hey, a crazy architect would be funny." This one came in the midst of having a conversation with fellow RvD member Nat Topping, so something in the conversation had to spurn it. But now I just see "crazy architect" and for the life of me find where the humor is supposed to be.

Then there are idea you write down and later realize it has already been done. For instance - "sketch" comedian draws + tells stories and the ending/punchline is an actual sketch. I actually wrote that in that exact vernacular. So I essentially re-created comedian Demetri Martin. I didn't realize I was re-creating Demetri Martin at the time I wrote it down. I thought it was a fun and original idea. The best part is I don't find Demetri Martin very funny, so why in the hell did I think me doing basically the same type of bit would be?

"Signals hardcore but can't act on it - Grand Central situation"... I think I might know what this was alluding too.

"Creating words that rhyme with purple and orange and silver and such"... Hi-larious.

"Johnny Fucknut and the Titty Twins"... maybe a sketch about a rock band?

"Slow mo tooth brushing race get 3, 4, 5 toothbrushes in mouth at same time"... Um......

For all the weird, nonsense ideas I find there are 4 or 5 ideas that actually could be lovingly crafted into comedy gold, so it is worthwhile. But sometimes I just don't know what I was thinking.

P.S. If I see any sketches, plays, or movies produced that are based on any of the ideas in this post unless written by RvD, I'll sue your ass. I need the money. Also, shame on you for not being able to think of better ideas then these.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

REAL Movie Trivia

This started as a comment to Chris's post from yesterday, but it got so long that I thought I'd make it a post.

I saw "How To Train Your Dragon" this weekend and it had one of the most unintentionally funny movie slides I've seen. It read:
"Liam Neeson was so excited to be in 'Star Wars I: The Phantom Menace' that he agreed to be in it before reading the script."
Funny enough on its own, right? We all know that was a bad movie. But the next sentence read:
"Liam is starring in 2010's 'Clash of the Titans'."
Which to me implies something about Liam Neeson's new script selection process.

It's also funny to me that for that Liam Neeson and Ralph Fiennes are working together again on "Clash of The Titans" for the first time since "Schindler's List." These movies are synonymous with "bad" and "good" movies.

Quick! Name a good movie!

ME (frantic)
Uh, I don't know, "Schindler's List"!

Quicker! Name a bad movie!

ME (frantic)
Gee, I don't--


"Clash of The Titans!"

Does life require pain so that we may enjoy pleasure?

Why are you doing this to me?

Prove to me that you are real and not just a figment of my imagination!

But Wednesday's aren't even my day to post on this blog!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The Assistant Director's Cut

The first show I did right after going through the Second City Training Center's Writing Program was The Assistant Director's Cut, back in 2004. It was a twisted take on movies. One of the ideas we had was to do a preshow with movie trivia slides like you see when you go to a real movie. We ended up not doing it, but I occassionally show people the slides for fun. Here are a few. Credit for these goes to the show and the cast, which were myself, Aaron Sjoholm, Adam Moroze, Laura Hugg, Lisa Lohman, Robert Cass and John Steeno.

You can click on the slides to embiggen them. Have some popcorn and enjoy:

The one below is definitely out of date:

Monday, April 5, 2010

Baseball: America's Great Waste of Time (But You Love it Anyway)

It’s April; spring is in the air; the sun actually shows itself from time to time; and the unpredictably nonsensical slap-fest that is College Basketball is almost over. That’s right, sports fans, it’s time for the long and grueling Baseball season to begin.

I can already hear you through the monitor: I hear your hopes and dreams and expectations and they are all running high. This is the way it works. By the time we reach game number 162 your team of choice will likely have been grounded into a paste made from tears and powdered disappointment (in one case, it took 163 games but, rest assured, we got there eventually), but for the moment everything is great and every single one of your starting pitchers will be the Cy Young award winner.

You probably will not have a Cy Young award winning pitcher this year. Unless you have Zach Greinke.

So, in order to save you from the inevitable pain of disappointment four months down the line, let Uncle Nat help you set expectations. If anyone knows about rooting for underperforming baseball, football and basketball teams, it’s Uncle Nat. And I’m not even a Cubs fan. (*ZING*)

Here are five things you can expect for this (and probably every other) upcoming baseball season:

  1.  Your team is not as good as Spring Training has led you to believe. Right now, you are probably thinking “My team looks pretty good. I don’t care if people are picking so-and-so at the top of such-and-such division. My team will use that disrespect as motivation. They’re going to surprise a lot of people.” No, actually, they aren’t going to surprise a lot of people. They just aren’t that good. And, over the course of the 162 games, this will be proven in no uncertain terms. There are no flukes over that long of a season.
  2. One of your most important players will get hurt or traded to the New York Yankees or Boston Red Sox. This is inevitable. You will blame the eventual downfall of your team on this one injury or trade, despite the fact that it’s probably a host of things.
  3. Your team does not "have enough pitching." I don’t know how, in a world of nearly seven billion people, it can be possible for teams not to find enough people to throw a baseball, but every year your team does not have enough pitching. It could be starters, relievers, closers, whatever. Somewhere your team is lacking someone and it’s killing your chances at happiness.
  4. Your team also does not "have enough offense." This and the previously mentioned expectation are nifty ways of saying “Our team doesn’t score enough points, and gives up too many points,” which is basically the essence of why a losing team loses.  That explanation is too simple, though, so we code it in fancy words.
  5. The New York Yankees or the Boston Red Sox will win the World Series. Why? Because they have to. Yeah yeah Surprise Team from the West, yeah yeah Team from Florida who is “underrated.”  At the end of the day New York or Boston will play either St. Louis or Philly and that will be the end of it. If you are a fan of one of these four teams, good for you. If not, get used to it. This is the way baseball is.
But you will watch anyway because sports are fun and football doesn’t unofficially start back up until August, so you are stuck with Baseball. And while you might be wasting your time rooting for a team destined for failure, there will be glimpses of greatness or at least cold beer and hotdogs.  All things considered it’s not a bad waste as time goes.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Sherlock Holmes 2: The Search for Curly's Gold

That Sherlock Holmes movie was successful enough to warrant a sequel and, dang it, I'm determined to write that film. Why? Because I love power and influence, and who has more power and influence in Hollywood than the screenwriter, right? So, Hollywood big shots (I'm talking to you, Corey Feldman), here's a bit of my spec script for Sherlock Holmes 2.


A drizzly, foggy London morning seen through the filthy window of a warehouse.

SUPERIMPOSE: "London 1892"

Two figures emerge from the fog as SHERLOCK HOLMES and DR. JOHN WATSON walk up to the front entrance of a private elementary school. They stop.

I say, Holmes.

Yes, Watson?

I was wondering, Holmes, what kind of school is this?

Holmes slaps Watson harshly across the face.

You stupid bitch. Are you trying to get me to say, "elementary, my dear Watson?"


Fuck you.



A close-up of Holmes looking through a magnifying glass, picking up samples with tweezers and placing them in small tubes, and doing math in a small notebook. He stands up next to Watson.

That should do it.

So, what happened here, Holmes?

Fourteen students were stabbed to death by the master criminal, Jack Booth.

Amazing! How did you deduce that, Holmes?

Are you fucking stupid? Booth is standing right there, surrounded by corpses, and repeatedly screaming, "I like the stabbings!"


JACK BOOTH, covered in blood, surrounded by fourteen dead children.

I like the stabbings!


You are so fucking useless, you old leather queen. Why do I keep you around?

I have lithographs of you, the Prince Regent, and a Scottish Terrier.

Holmes reddens and gestures at Watson to quiet down.

All right.


Yes, I understand.

A dog. You're fucking a dog.


Is that what the dog said?

Rot in hell, you and your ass face!

Sherlock Holmes fucked a doggy!


Watson strips off his clothing.



Watson, completely naked, runs down the street.

Sherlock Holmes fucked a doggy! Sherlock Holmes fucked a doggy.

I'm waiting for your call, Hollywood.

Friday, April 2, 2010

The Funniest Sketch I Ever Wrote in My Macroeconomics Class

Although you wouldn't know it from my regularity on this blog, or by the number of sketches I bring to RvD meetings, I've been writing more than I have in years. Except that it's essays for my MBA program, so usually I can't use them for sketch comedy. But one week we were given this assignment...
"You are having a discussion with a friend that suggests that we should “save” the U.S. auto industry and the middle class jobs that it employs. As a student of economics you realize that there are pros and cons to such actions aimed at saving this industry. What would be some of your pro and con arguments?"
"Aha!" I thought. A two-person scene. "At last I can write a sketch for my homework assignment!"

And then I wrote this...
Author's note: The question of whether the government should save the U.S. auto industry and what happens if it fails is a highly complex issue. The Greg and Tim characters in this story both represent my own conflicting but honest opinions, pushed to polar opposites.
GREG – a college friend of Tim
TIM – a college friend of Greg
STRANGER – a 20-something café customer

(Lights up on two friends, GREG and TIM, sitting at a table in a café. We join them mid-conversation. GREG spits a large mouthful of tea in TIM’s face.)

I am so sorry, Tim! Please forgive me!

(GREG attempts to clean off Tim’s face and glasses with a paper napkin as TIM stares back with an odd combination of surprise, stoicism, and amusement.)

GREG (cont’d)
I just hadn’t expected you to say something so naïve. I would have once agreed with you, but I’m in a Macroeconomics class now, and I forgot how stupid I used to be.

Stupid? All I said was that the government should do everything possible to save the U.S. auto industry and the middle class jobs that it employs.

(GREG spits a second round of tea in Tim’s face.)

I’m so sorry! I was even expecting it that time. It’s just that as a student of economics, I realize that there are pros and cons to such actions aimed at saving that industry.

Cons? Keeping people gainfully employed has a downside? Do you want the problem in Detroit to get worse? If the Big Three fail, it not only effects the nearly 240,000 people employed directly by Ford, General Motors, and Chrysler, but will indirectly have a catastrophic effect on the hundreds of thousands who depend on them to buy their supplies. Furthermore, those individuals who lose their jobs will have less money to spend at other retailers. (Center For Automotive Research, 2008) People will be desperate and crime will go up.

There’s no doubt that if the Big Three fail it will have a major negative impact on the U.S. economy. In fact it’s hard for me to realistically imagine a more wide-ranging catastrophic event. However, the industry has been falling apart for years, and while throwing government money at the problem can help things in the short run, I don’t think we’re looking at a permanent fix. If foreign auto companies can make cars better and cheaper, those are the ones people will buy. How much of an investment in government money is it worth to keep trying to find a way to get an edge on the competition? Also, it’s important to remember that we’re not talking about all 240,000 of those jobs disappearing. Foreign companies employ about 113,000 workers directly, and that number will go up if Detroit fails, since they will need to hire more workers to build the cars that the additional demand on foreign automobiles that would result. (Rampell, 2008)

(TIM spits a mouthful of tea in Greg’s face.)

I apologize.

I had it coming.

I just wish I could be as optimistic as you. How many times have we seen U.S. companies outsource jobs to other countries to take advantage of lower wages? Why wouldn’t Japan do the same thing, especially if the domestic U.S. suppliers they used to use are now closed because of the closing of the Big Three. (Rampell, 2008)

But they won’t close altogether. There will be a huge shock to the system initially, and some suppliers, maybe even many, will fail. But it won’t be long before foreign companies start filling that void, and business to the suppliers will start to increase again. In the meantime, seeds will be planted for new industries that we can’t even imagine.

New industries, yes. Like green technologies. As the world becomes more aware of global climate change, there is already an increased demand in green products. One of the major polluters is the automobile. Do you see where I’m going with this?

Yes, you think that green automobiles could be the big thing that saves us.

You got it. And there are already reasons for genuine hope. For the last four years, the U.S. has seen a significant increase in light vehicle exports. (Klier, 2008)

You may be right about our light vehicle exports, but I hope you’re not banking on Detroit to find the edge on green automobiles. Japan is already leading that one. They’re an oil-poor country and were researching energy efficiency long before the world became concerned with climate change. They’ve been researching it for years, and their hard work is already paying off. (Rowley, 2008) It’s a race the U.S. is going to lose. The question is only whether we let the companies lose on their own, or delay their loss by giving them more money from our taxes.

The U.S. has always had the edge on know-how, creativity, and ingenuity. We’ll figure something out.

Then why haven’t we figured it out for so many years? That industry has been falling apart for 20+ years. Let’s just pull the plug and move on!

(A STRANGER walks up and spits coffee all over Tim and Greg.)

I'm so sorry. This tea is horrible.

Hey, no problem.

No worries, these things happen.

(As the STRANGER exits, she spits another mouthful of tea on a couple sitting at another table and promptly apologizes.)

It's easy for someone who doesn’t work in the industry to tell that entire industry to "move on." Pulling the plug will ruin lives—the lives of real people who actually exist. They’re not just statistics to be looked at coldly on paper. What is the purpose of government if not to organize and protect its citizens? Causing or allowing people to suffer today in the pursuit of bigger profits tomorrow is amoral.

Maybe there’s a way we can let nature take its course AND protect the people who are going to be hit catastrophically by this? Maybe those billions of dollars spent attempting to bailout a sinking ship could have been reserved to directly improve the quality of life for the individuals who will lose their jobs when they ultimately fail.

I don’t know. Maybe. (TIM tries to sip his tea but it’s empty.) Hey, I’m out of tea. Can I have some of yours?


What kind of tea is this? It smells good.

(As TIM sips the tea, GREG reads the label.)

Japanese Sencha Green Tea. Grown and packaged in Tallahassee, Florida.

(TIM spits a mouthful of tea in Greg’s face. Blackout.)

Rampell, C. (2008). How many jobs depend on the Big Three. Message posted to New York Times Online blog, Economix. Archived at

Rowley, I. (2008). Japan's New Green Car Push. BusinessWeek Online, 16. Retrieved January 31, 2010 from Business Source Elite database.

Klier, T. (2008). U.S. auto exports on the rise. Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. Retrieved January 31, 2010 from

Center For Automotive Research. (2008). Car research memorandum: the impact on the U.S. economy of a major contraction of the Detroit Three automakers. Retrieved January 31, 2010 from

(see me after class)

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Bye Bye Love. Bye Bye Fast Foodness

I'm giving up fast food. It is the first step in my quest to stop eating overly processed shitty food of all kinds. I generally feel fat and unhealthy and I am hoping that is going to finally turn things around a bit. I'm not being militant about it though. If I'm in a position where I have no other reasonable choice, like if I'm stranded in a desert and the only things for miles around are a pile of desert beetles and a Burger King, I'm going to Burger King. I just have to do whatever I can to make sure I am never in that type of position (I've already taken my first step by not joining the Iraqi army).

Over the past couple weeks I have been saying good bye to the fast food restaurants I normally enjoy. I have visited them each for one last meal. You may say "That seems counter-intuitive to your plan to stop eating fast food". To that I cordially invite you to gently tongue my sweaty balls. I just need one last fix and I'll quit, I promise. Here are those I have said good bye to thus far:

Taco Bell - The king of late night dining (at least until McDonald's went 24 hours). Cheap Mexican delights that always made me happy and it's open until like 2am on weekdays and 4am on weekends. The first time I ever threw up due to drinking was because of a mix of beer and a limited time only bacon cheeseburger burrito from Taco Bell. I'm really going to miss their chicken quesadillas. For my last meal I had a couple soft shell tacos, a cheesy roll up, a chicken quesadilla, and a Baja Blast Mountain Dew.

McDonald's - I haven't gone to McDonald's much ever since in high school I found out that Burger King had bacon double cheeseburgers. At the time McDonald's, at least in my town, did not have bacon as an option on any sandwich. I mostly went to McDonald's because I had never eaten a Big Mac and I wanted to try one before my fast food ban was complete. I didn't think it was very impressive at all. For my last meal I had a Big Mac, medium fries, and a Coke. How American is that!?

Wendy's - This one stings. Wendy's has the best specialty sandwiches, and they usually involve lots of bacon, jalapeno peppers, or both. I heard that Wendys is basically the flagship restaurant for other fast food joints. Wendy's will come out with a new sandwich and, if it does well, other fast food restaurants will come out with their own version. That may or may not be true, but I like to think it is. I recently ate (prior to my decision to ban fast food) the new Wendy's Bacon and Blue burger. As soon as I finished the burger I immediately wanted another one. For my last meal I had a Double Baconator, medium fries, and a medium chocolate frosty.

Burger King - My normal go to for fast food. I definitely prefer Burger King over McDonald's. Comparing the Big Mac to the Whopper is like comparing Kate Moss to Monique. One is small, frail, and relatively plain and the other just won an Oscar. The burgers has this wonderful chemical smokiness to them. The fries are generally crisper. They also have sandwiches like "The Angry Whopper" fill with spicy this, that, and the other thing. I will really miss this place. For my last meal I had a Triple Whopper, large fries, and a Coke.

Those are all I have said good bye to for now. Next up will be Arby's, which will probably be the hardest. I don't do there much because there are only a couple of them in Chicago and they are not near me. Arby's is a place that I will always go to if I am on a road trip or out of town show and I pass by one. I never go to Popeye's, White Castle, or KFC so they are not even on my list. I have been to all of them at some point in the past, so I don't feel like I am missing out on anything there.

The only one I may refuse to give up is Mighty Taco. It's a Mexican fast food chain limited to the Buffalo, New York area. I only go there when I am visiting my family back in Buffalo, and I only do that like once a year at most. Plus, it is just to damn good. Like I said, I'm not trying to be militant about this, just much better.

There aren't a lot of jokes in this post, so I leave you with one part of one of my favorites jokes:

Who's there?

Interrupting co...