Monday, July 28, 2008

Is There Life Before Death?

(The B & S World Headquarters employee break room. Photo by Roger O'Leary-Archer.)

Taking a break for a week.
See you here next Monday. Don't be late.

- Joe

Friday, July 25, 2008

Stacked High


Stacked: An Evening of Two One-Person Shows
Tuesday 7/29, 8 PM
Apollo Theater - studio
2540 N. Lincoln

These two one-person shows are being performed together one more time on this upcoming Tuesday evening in preparation for both shows to perform separately at The New York Fringe Festival.

The Sound of One Hanna Clapping
Written and Performed by Hanna
Directed by Ana

The Jazz Gallery
290 Hudson St.
New York, NY

Monday 8/18 @ 7:45
Tuesday 8/19 @ 5:30
Wednesday 8/20 @ 4:00
Friday 8/22 @ 8:30
Saturday 8/23 @ 1:30


Written and Performed by Nancy Friedrich
Directed by James Whittington

The Players Loft
115 MacDougal Street, 3rd Floor
(West side of MacDougal, just south of West 3rd Street)
SUBWAY: A, B, C, D, E, F, V to West 4th Street

WED 8/20 @ 7:00pm
THUR 8/21 @ 9:00pm
FRI 8/22 @ 5:15pm
SAT 8/23 @ 9:15pm
SUN 8/24 @ 12:15pm


is a solid evening of entertainment and worth several times the ten bucks you'll spend on a ticket here in Chicago. Tickets for the New York shows are $15 for each show, so, there you go shoppers. The best price for great shows is here in Chicago.

I saw the show last Tuesday. I don't know if the ladies switch off the order or not. Hanna did the opening slot with The Sound of One Hanna Clapping. In the interest of full disclosure, I have known Hanna for four or five years, now. She went through the writing program at Second City and was an active member of Teatro Bastardo. I'm already a huge fan of her abundant mad skills. Her show did what you expect a one-person show to do - it showcased her talent. She plays several of her songs, does monologues and even takes us on a hilarious silent journey through the possible relationship with her dream man, Michael Showalter (from Stella). They do not live - or die - happily ever after. Hanna has trouble making relationships work even in her fantasy life. She even puts to good use short video pieces that integrate well into the piece, as opposed to being "...and now here's a video I did that has nothing to do with the rest of the show."

The only beef I have with Hanna's show is that it explores her beliefs that her showbiz career has not turned out and that she is perpetually single. SHE'S ONLY 26! Hanna, your showbiz career is just getting started and, my God, woman, don't think about marriage until you're in your 30's. You're going to be too busy working that showbiz career. You're hot, your talented and ANA GASTEYER DIRECTED YOUR SHOW, FOR PETE'S SAKE!!!

My point is, I think you'll be fine. Things are working out for you. As a through line for the show, it was hard to buy into. That discrepancy, however, certainly didn't keep me from being entertained.

There are two kinds of one-person shows. The kind that do what Hanna's does, putting her life out on the stage for everyone to see. Then there's the other kind of show that Nancy Friedrich does. It's called Dingbat and showcases her skills as a character-based comedienne and it tells a story. And the story is remarkably and wonderfully weird. It's about a librarian in New York who marries a punk rock drummer and they move to a small town in South Dakota where the drummer is summarily eaten by bears. The story focuses on her grieving process, the intrusion of wacky, well-meaning neighbors and the return of her imaginary friend from childhood - Dingbat, a rope with bells on it and googly eyes. Nancy is outright a very funny person. Her characters have a soft spoken edge to them and underneath that surface seems to be some sort of surreal circus where the performers don't use nets or safety harnesses. Her nightmare Sex in the City/The Facts of Life dream sequence is a hard rock symphony of turn-on-a-dime character reactions. The only beef I have with Nancy's show is that is relies heavily on a narrator. No problem with that, except the voice-over artist is never credited and he's such an integral part of the story telling. (It's Noah Gregoropolous, by the way, who's got a nice Tom Bodet thing going on here.)

If you are in New York, see them. If you live in Chicago, you'd be foolish not to plop down the $10 to see both of these shows.


Yesterday, I asked...

"Dr. Edgar Mitchell claims aliens exist. He is uniquely qualified in this opinion because he what?"

60% said "Is an alien"
- The PhD is from his own planet and he really shouldn't be using the moniker here.

20% said "Has a guest house where they stay"
- Sure. Why not. OJ Simpson did that, too. What earth parent would name their kid Kato?

10% said "Has been probed - you know where"
- He has. He was drunk at the time. The alien totally took advantage of him.

10% got it right with "Has walked on the moon"

According to News.Com.Au, former NASA astronaut and moon-walker Dr Edgar Mitchell - a veteran of the Apollo 14 mission - has stunningly claimed aliens exist. And he says extra-terrestrials have visited Earth on several occasions - but the alien contact has been repeatedly covered up by governments for six decades.

Officials from NASA, however, were quick to play the comments down.

In a statement, a spokesman said: "NASA does not track UFOs. NASA is not involved in any sort of cover up about alien life on this planet or anywhere in the universe.

Here's a picture of the NASA official speaking at a press conference on the subject.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Strange and Satisfying

The Reader recommends you come see Metaluna. The review isn't on-line at the time of this posting, but it is in print. They plug us on their website's homepage with a picture of Regan in religious attire and whiteface. Oddly, they have linked us to info on Late Nite Catechism!

The Tribune has also reviewed us, but I couldn't find it on-line. Don has it posted at AWG.

Our second weekend starts tonight at 8pm at A Red Orchid! Come and get your Dada!


Yesterday, I asked...

"Police were called to Dick's Market in Centerville, Utah because of a reported bomb that turned out to be what?"

30% said "Canned Ham"
- I think that's a description of Robert Downey, Jr's performance in Iron Man.

40% said "Package of Foot-Long Hot Dogs"
- That bomb goes off about 45 minutes after you eat them.

10% said "Rolled Oats"
- Quakers don't make bombs.

20% got it right with "String Cheese"

According to UPI, an employee of Dick's Market reported seeing a cylindrical device wrapped in duct tape near a dry ice cooler after police received a phone tip of a bomb in the store, the Ogden (Utah) Standard-Examiner reported Wednesday.

Centerville police Lt. Paul Child said the store was closed for about two hours while bomb sniffing dogs and a bomb technician ensured there was no real threat to the store. The device wrapped in duct tape turned out to be a piece of string cheese.

No arrests have been made. They believe it was an employee playing a prank. Me? I think it was a promotional stunt for these guys.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

I Believe...

- I believe that the amount of money spent on presidential campaigns is obscene and should be a source of shame for our country. Millions of dollars that could be spent on feeding the hungry, sheltering the homeless, easing healthcare costs, etc, is pissed out the window on pablum and spin. Candidates should be restricted to formal debates, press conferences, interviews on real news shows, text-based websites and cheap leaflets printed on recyclable paper. It is our duty to find out about them and where they stand, not theirs to sell us an image like they were New Coke.

- Do what you love and the money will follow. Apparently, I need to stop doing what I love, so the money can catch up.

- I believe Ricky Gervais is a comic genius, but if you need cheering up, Extras and the original The Office have an opposite effect. It's like laughing while falling down a well. Where's Benny Hill when you need him?

- I believe the main reason relationships fail is the inability for people in this day and age to shift from a "me" mentality to a "we" mentality and to be for and in service of each other's hopes and dreams. Just saying. No reason. Anyone want to buy a diamond ring?


Yesterday, I asked...

"Matthew Pillars and Jack Keiffer of San Luis Obispo, California have been sentenced for doing what to a passed-out drinking buddy?"

63% said "Posting pictures on the Internet with their genitalia on his face"
- I hope that didn't give anyone any ideas, Don Hall.

18% said "Writing 'I'm Very Gay' on his forehead"
- It's the "very" that made it slanderous. That's like ultra gay.

9% said "Dropping him off at a homeless shelter, naked"
- He had plenty of offers for bunkmates.

10% got it right with "Setting his crotch on fire"

According to the San Luis Obispo County News, two men accused of setting their friend’s groin on fire were sentenced to jail and prison this week.

Matthew Craig Pillers, 22, and Jack Brent Nicholas Keiffer, 19, pleaded no contest to felony causing a fire that leads to great bodily injury, according to court officials.

The men routinely drank together and played practical jokes on each other. That night one of them poured cologne on Tuleja's groin area while he was passed out and allegedly lit his pants on fire, according to prosecutors. Tuleja suffered second-and third-degree burns on his testicles and third-degree burns on his inner thighs.

Second and third degree burns on his nads? Toasting someone's testicles is their idea of a practical joke? I want to party with these guys! Maybe they'll hog tie me and drag me through a cactus field. Won't that be good times!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Welcome to Dada!

(photo by Michael Brownlee)

Time Out - Chicago has posted a review...


Yesterday, I asked...

"In an attempt to cut down on casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan, the British Army is doing what?"

44% said "Dressing up mannequins as soldiers"
- That's what America does when it wants to inflate its numbers from coalition countries, like Albania.

22% said "Using remote controlled toy cars"
- That only works in movies, which means we should try it. George seems to have watched a lot of John Wayne and Clint Eastwood flicks.

22% said "Sending less troops"
- The most effective way to reduce casualties in my book. Time tested, mother approved.

11% got it right with "Training dogs to parachute"

According to The Sun, fearless German Shepherds are being trained to jump from aircraft at 25,000ft wearing their own oxygen masks and strapped to special forces assault teams.

Once down in hostile terrain in Iraq or Afghanistan, the dogs will be sent in first to seek out insurgents’ hideouts with tiny cameras fixed to their heads.

The cameras will beam live TV pictures back to the troops, warning of ambushes or showing enemy leaders’ locations.

The cameras will also beam extreme close-ups of balls being licked and crotches being sniffed.

Monday, July 21, 2008

One Amazing Weekend

We just wrapped up the opening weekend of Metaluna and I feel pretty damn good about it. We had three reviewers come check us out, so I'll let you know what the "pros" think when they publish their thoughts about our little play. I was really wiped out by the end of the show on Saturday and went home and plopped right into bed. I spent most of Sunday pursuing one of my favorite activities - sleeping. I was well rested for the show on Sunday which I think helped that show be one of our best. Everyone seemed very relaxed and confident and the mad chaos backstage seemed neither mad or chaotic. The only snafu of the evening that I caught, literally, was being stabbed in the top of the head by the one of the metal spokes of an umbrella. But, hey, it's not theater without a little blood.

Here are some pictures taken by Jerry Schulman...






On Friday, I asked...

"A Daytona Beach police officer has been fired for threatening Starbucks employees with what if they didn't give him free coffee?"

42% said
"A flurry of speeding and parking tickets"
- Not hard to do. Just hang out near a Starbucks and see that abundance of double-parking and speeding off to get to work on time.

28% said
"Drug arrests"
- I think you could make a case for Starbucks just being a socially acceptable form of a meth lab.

7% said
"Strip searches"
- Not sure I want to see what that barrista has hiding under his green apron.

2% got it right with
"Slow emergency response"

According to The Associated Press, an internal affairs report says Lt. Major Garvin, a 15-year veteran of the Daytona Beach police force, demanded free coffee and tea from a Starbucks and threatened employees with slower emergency response times if they refused. Besides demanding free drinks, workers complained that Garvin also cut in front of paying customers.

First off, I think cops in general need to go easy on the coffee. Last thing we need is someone jittery who's packing heat. Secondly, I think his threat was misunderstood. He meant that if he did not get any coffee, his response time would be slower. He'd be a little sluggish and dealing with migraine headaches. I can totally relate.

Friday, July 18, 2008

The Amazing Dr. Horrible


Why are you reading this blog when you could be watching THIS?

(Brownlee - I downloaded this onto iTunes and will bring it tonight.)


We open tonight and there is not a seat available! The audience will have to stand. However, we do still have seats available for Saturday night (8pm) and Sunday (7pm). To buy tickets on-line, go HERE.


We're going on hiatus for the summer. Turns out, people aren't as geeky as we are to give-up their Saturday afternoons on bright, sunny days to sit inside and talk sketch comedy writing. Stop by, if you can. 1pm, Gorilla Tango, 1919 North Milwaukee. Only $5.


Yesterday, I asked...

"Calvin Morett of Saratoga Springs, NY, was ordered by a judge to write a letter of apology for attending a high school graduation dressed as what?"

45% said "The Joker"
- There's a commencement speech I'd like to hear. "Remember grads, what doesn't kill you, only makes you stranger."

9% said "George W. Bush"
- Ah, Joker without the make-up. Or the smarts. Just the destruction.

9% said "Paris Hilton"
- Not a problem, except it was his version of Paris Hilton eating a hamburger. He sucked the sesame seeds off the bun.

37% got it right with "A 6-foot penis"

According to The Associated Press, a judge has ordered a 19-year-old man to write an apology to a the city of Saratoga Springs in New York for dressing in an offensive costume at a high school graduation. Calvin Morett had pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct for dressing in a 6-foot penis costume at the graduation at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center.

They guy's got balls. Careful, they might trample you.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Walk It Off


Walk It Off

Description: From Mountain Battles, now out on 4AD.

Directors: Bryan Bedell & Steve Delahoyde
D.P.: Ryan Taylor
PAs: Aimee Dinschel & Ray McWherter

Businessman: Joe Janes
Messenger: Paul Thomas
2nd Messenger: Denae Friedheim
Genie: Justin Kaufmann

The Breeders have put this up on their MySpace page and will post the "official" version on their website soon. The other version is one large screen with four small screens and allows you to toggle between them. Sort of like editing your own video.


Yesterday, I asked...

"Charged as a sexual predator, Daniel Allen Everett of Clarkston, Michigan was arrested while wearing a t-shirt that said what?"

25% said "Plays Well With Others"
- Apparently just a subjective opinion. His own.

No one picked "Good Girls Are Bad Girls That Never Get Caught" or "Here I Am - Now What Are Your Other Two Wishes?"

75% got it right with "World's Greatest Dad"

According to WXYZ, Channel 7 in Detroit, Attorney General Mike Cox announced today the arrest of Daniel Allen Everett, of Clarkston, Michigan - a man whose shirt proclaims him as the "World's Greatest Dad" - for using the Internet to arrange a meeting for sex with a minor.

In Mr. Everett's defense, that "W" is clearly the logo for the World Wrestling Entertainment. He's the world's greatest wrestling dad, which means he wasn't going to hurt her, just make it look like he was.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

I Believe...


- That cartoons are not to be taken seriously. The New Yorker cover of Barack and Michelle Obama could easily have graced the front of MAD Magazine. Except MAD's would have been funnier.

- I don't put one medium over another for an enjoyable experience. I love radio and film as much as I love theater and television. But as an artist, there's nothing that beats watching and hearing a live audience laughing and responding in the moment to a work you helped create.

- Forget about smoking bans. Is their some way we can make people take showers and brush their teeth? C'mon people. It's summer. Things are getting a little ripe around here.


We did our second preview last night. This cast is amazing. Hard working, creative and putting everything they have into this production. That includes Jen, our fearless and tireless director, and Diana, our stage manager. John Wilson and Sarah Gorsky designed our set and lights, respectively, and have truly transformed that tiny theater space into some kind of traveling medicine show. As the playwright, its very humbling to see so many people forge their creativity for something you wrote. The massive investment of hard work and money also makes you pray really hard that it doesn't suck.

Don has some great pics up on his blog.

Here I am as Dada Baden Baden about to thwack Sigmund Freud (Dennis Newport) on the noggin' with a brilliant "cake" as he chats with Dr. Cartlon Twist (Michael Brownlee).

Tonight is our last preview. Your last chance to see the show for only $5. 8pm. A Red Orchid. 1531 North Wells.


Yesterday, I asked...

"Because of his use of a fake mustache for a disguise, a Chicago bank robber has been dubbed what?"

36% said "Frito Bandito"
- Aye-yi-yi, no!

18% said "Hitler Bandit"
- Man, that dude has just totally ruined that look for everyone.

9% said "Snidely Whiplash"
-That's only when he robs banks in Canada.

37% got it right with "Groucho Bandit"

According to the Chicago Sun-Times, he dons a fake rectangular mustache for bank robberies -- dubbed the "Groucho Bandit" after the 20th century comedian -- and is believed to be responsible for at least nine holdups at North Side banks in the last six weeks. He not only announces he's robbing the place, but also claims to be armed and threatens to hurt employees if his demands aren't met.

There are "oral demands for money, but no imitations of the great comedian," said Ross Rice, spokesman for the FBI office in Chicago.

Clearly this guy needs to work on his schtick. Seems like he's starting to bring in some cash, so I think he should hire a writer.

GB: Pardon me, but this is a stick-up.
TELLER: I don't-a see-a no stick.
GB: You've got a good point there, you do. The only thing keeping that hair in place. How about this then... this is a hold-up?
TELLER: It is a hold-up.
GB: Glad to see we're on the same page here.
TELLER: Yes, you-a hold-a-up-a this line.

Needs work. We'll polish it on the road.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Sleep is for Pussies

It's been a glorious and exhausting slog to get Metaluna to the point of performing in front of an audience. We had our first preview last night. An hour before the show, there were still so many little details to get handled just to even feel comfortable allowing people into the theater. In retrospect, we could have let them in as soon as they got there and claimed that helping us move power tools and sweep up sawdust was all a part of an interactive experience.

Regardless, things went very well and our guests enjoyed themselves immensely.

Tonight's preview is an opportunity for the understudies to come in. We don't all have understudies, so its really only a shift in three of the major characters. In previous productions, I usually warn people not to come on nights with an understudy, but such is not the case here. The fill-in people are really great and bring their own unique spin to the roles while still effectively carrying on with the tenor of the play.

8pm. A Red Orchid. 1531 North Wells. $5 at the door. Better than sex and less expensive.


Yesterday, I asked...

"Hanson's Auctioneers in England are set to auction off a pair of bloomers that belonged to whom?"

25% said "Margaret Thatcher"
- I can see someone bidding pretty high if should they need the scrap metal.

25% said "Winston Churchill"
- Not for the faint-hearted. You saw what Germany did to London in WWII. You can imagine what Churchill did to his bloomers during that time.

12% said "Madonna"
- Um, yeah. You can go to the auction or head over to Home Depot for a pair of her undies.

38% got it right with "Queen Victoria"

According to BBC News, a pair of bloomers that apparently belonged to Queen Victoria are to be auctioned off in Derby.

The knickers have a 50in (127cm) waist and date from the 1890s, which indicates the monarch had a large girth as she approached her 70s.

Hanson's Auctioneers are selling the bloomers on 30 July and expect them to fetch at least £500.

Auctioneer Charles Hanson said: "These pants, considering their provenance and pedigree, are very exciting."

Here are the bloomers. They will be a bargain at any price, because, as you can see, they fit two.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Meta Giddy

I spent fourteen hours at the theater yesterday in rehearsal and then detailing our oddly
elaborate set. This morning, I have to build a big, rubber cartoon mallet, cut
out a bounty of rubber meat, and find "the right" lamp shade and a string of
white Christmas lights all before 1pm for our first preview tonight.

Our set is incredible. It's a work of art in the truest sense of the word. If WNEP were
smart, they'd scrap the play and just charge people to come in and look at the set.

Tonight is our first time doing the show in front of an audience. Always an exciting time
for a show, but especially so given that Metaluna is a comedy and chock full of dada. I honestly
don't know what to expect, even though the show has been produced twice before to critical
acclaim. It could be a train wreck. If it is, it will be the most beautiful train wreck you
ever saw.

Previews - Tonight, Tuesday and Wednesday at A Red Orchid Theater, 1531 North Wells Street
in Chicago. Half a block down from North Avenue. $5 at the door.


On Friday, I asked...

"Dallas County commissioner Kenneth Mayfield has been accused of being racially insensitive for publicly using which term?"

50% said "Gypped"
- Come on, now. Not all gypsies are gypsies.

30% said "Indian Giver"
- This never made sense as a derogatory term against "Indians." It makes more sense if you are leveling it at someone, who like the government, gave land to the native Americans, broke treaties and took it away. I hear by propose we all start using "Treaty Breaker" when dealing with someone who gives something and then takes it back. Or just use "asshole."

10% said "Brown Out"
- Obvious mistake. Someone mistook his comments about energy to be a plea for genocide.

10% got it right with "Black Hole"

According to The Dallas Morning News,
county commissioners were discussing problems with the central collections office that is used to process traffic ticket payments.

Commissioner Kenneth Mayfield, who is white, said it seemed that central collections "has become a black hole" because paperwork reportedly has become lost in the office.

Commissioner John Wiley Price, who is black, interrupted him with a loud "Excuse me!" He then corrected his colleague, saying the office has become a "white hole." That prompted Judge Thomas Jones, who is black, to demand an apology from Mayfield for his racially insensitive analogy.

All right, folks. Have we learned the lesson of fellow Texan George W. Bush, yet? "Someone you'd have a beer with" is not a criteria for leadership and governing. Stop electing idiots to government. I want to start seeing report cards and grade point averages on elected officials.

For the record, Commissioner John Wiley Price is also offended by the movie title The Dark Knight, director David Lynch, and prefers bartenders not measure his drinks with a jigger.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Spear My Life, Please

Found this in my e-mail this morning. I new tactic for the 419 scammers. The color you see is the color in which it was written.


Attention and listen carefully.

I felt very sorry and bad for you, that your life is going to end like this if you don't comply, i was paid to eliminate you and I have to do it within 10 days.

Someone you call your friend wants you dead by all means, and the person have spent a lot of money on this, the person came to us and told us that he wants you dead and he provided us your names, photograph and other necessary information we needed about you. If you are in doubt with this I will send you your name and where you are residing in my next mail.

Meanwhile, I have sent my boys to track you down and they have carried out the necessary investigation needed for the operation, but I ordered them to stop for a while and not to strike immediately because I just felt something good and sympathetic about you. I decided to contact you first and know why somebody will want you dead by all means. Right now my men are monitoring you, their eyes are on you, and even the place you think is safer for you to hide might not be.

Now do you want to LIVE OR DIE? It is up to you. Get back to me now if you are ready to enter deal with me, I mean life trade, who knows, and I might just spear your life, $8,000 is all you need to spend. You will first of all pay $3,000 then I will send the tape of the person that want you dead to you and when the tape gets to you, you will pay the remaining $5,000. If you are not ready for my help, then I will have no choice but to carry on the assignment after all I have already being paid before now.

Warning: do not think of contacting the police or even tell anyone because I will extend it to any member of your family since you are aware that somebody want you dead, and the person knows some members of your family as well.

For your own good I will advise you not to go out once is 7pm until I make out time to see you and give you the tape of my discussion with the person who want you dead then you can use it to take any legal action. Good luck as I await your reply to this e-mail contact: or

William yahman.

Hmm... Paying $8,000 so he'll "spear my life" sounds counterproductive. He knows my name and address, which is very hard to get, unless you look it up, so it must be legit. I'm a little insulted by the asking price. If he's asking only $8k, then the person who put the hit on me only paid that much or less. I'd like to think I'm in the 20 grand and above category. Still, it's tempting. I'd just love to have a tape of the person who "want" me dead. Of course, I would have nothing to play it on. It doesn't say the person would be explaining why they want me dead, just that it's a tape of that person. I could end up with Men At Work's Greatest Hits. Colin Hayes could be my secret nemesis! But wait... He said it would be someone I called friend. Damn! It's Kenny Loggins! That would give me something worth living for, or dying for. Thanks William yahman! The check's in the snail mail. Can't wait to get my cassette tape.


Yesterday, I asked...

"According to Moscow-based 'Business Analytica,' Russians will drink more than three liters of what this year?"

42% said "Red Bolshevik"
- It gives you wings so you can reach for the Tsars.

28% said "Koke"
- Have a Koke and a sickle.

No one said "Comrade Pibb"
- Which is just a knock off of Dr. Zchivepper.

28% got it right with "Kvas"

According to The Associated Press, poet Alexander Pushkin wrote that Russians need the drink like they need the air. No, it's not vodka. It's called kvas. And despite its humble folk origins, the fermented-bread drink brewed by Russians for more than a thousand years has become a booming multimillion-dollar industry. The mildly alcoholic drink, which tastes a bit like a weak beer or wheaty cider, is riding a nationalist resurgence under leader Vladimir Putin, who has boasted of a new era of Russian pride and power.

Bottled kvas sales have tripled in the past three years, according to Moscow-based Business Analytica, and Russians will drink more than three liters (0.79 gallons) per person this year. In Moscow, cola's share of the soft drink market dropped to 32 percent in 2007 from 37 percent in 2005, while kvas' market share more than doubled over the same period to 16 percent in 2007.

Kvas isn't a brand name, though. It's the product. My favorite brand name is Nikola, which, translated from Russian simply means, "Not Cola."

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Coffee, Tea or Leave


Yesterday, I asked...

"A first-class passenger on a Delta Airlines flight from New York to Guyana got so angry when he saw economy passengers deplaning before him he did what?"

20% said "Punched a flight attendant"
- There are lesser reasons to punch a flight attendant.

No one said "Threatened to blow up the plane" or "Locked himself in the bathroom"
- Both so passe.

80% got it right with "Yanked open an emergency hatch"

According to The Associated Press, Guyanese authorities say a first-class airline passenger was so angry at seeing economy passengers leave a jetliner before him that he yanked open an emergency hatch and slid down the chute.

Police spokesman Sealall Persaud says the Guyanese man identified as Satyanand Christopher appeared to be intoxicated after the Delta Air Lines flight from New York.

Pretty soon all these drunk jerks in the sky are going to ruin it for everyone else. They'll take away our booze privileges. We already can't carry on liquids. It will get to the point where we'll have to arrive at the airport drunk, which is just going to slow down going through security.
I said "Frisk me, dammit!"

Give me that wand, I'll show you how to look for weapons.

Yeah, I'm BOMBED. So, what, officer! ...Ow, not the face.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

I Believe...

A staple of Locked in a Room with Don Hall and Joe Janes is the two of us periodically pontificating about whatever bird poo we scrape off our frontal lobes and wish to fling out onto the unsuspecting audience. Some of statements are silly, some of them are biting, some of them are thoughtful. Don has devoted Wednesdays to generating more "I Believes" and today, I jump on the bandwagon.

- I believe the NRA is a little too gun happy and should leave those of us who prefer to be gun free alone. They are currently attacking Disney World for not allowing their employees to keep guns in their cars. Come on Disney! This is America. Let your underpaid and underbenefitted employees pack heat. Why stop there? Let's just flat out arm all the Disney cast members. Let Snow White and Cinderella become the next Thelma and Louise. I want to see Goofy up on the castle taking pot shots at tourists. Turn the whole park into Frontierland. Let's make the "happiest place on earth" the "jumpiest place on earth."

- Who the hell listens to wacky radio morning show hosts and why? Their forced anti-clever dribble (for which they are quick to provide their own laughter) punctuated by many fast food commercials and quick hits of the "news" makes me want to rip out my eyes and shove them in my ears. I can see why it would be effective if you are using it to wake up in the morning, but I'd rather pay a homeless guy to scream in my face and kick me in the groin.

- I believe sidewalk dining in the summer in Chicago is for pretentious idiots. I hate how all the restaurants take up precious sidewalk space to offer outside dining. One - it's a pain in the ass for pedestrians. Two - who the hell wants to sit outside in a swirl of exhaust fumes, noisy traffic and beggars? Food tastes better this way? Whenever I am forced to eat outside, I end up hovering over my plate like a prisoner to protect it from falling twigs and bird poop.


Yesterday, I asked...

"The Presidential Memorial Commission of San Francisco wants to rename what after George W. Bush?"

No one picked "The Golden Gate Bridge," "Alcatraz Island," or "War Memorial Opera House," even though that opera house seems to be begging for a catchier name.

100% got it right with "The Oceanside Water Pollution Control Plant"

According to The Associated Press, the Presidential Memorial Commission of San Francisco wants to switch the name of the Oceanside Water Pollution Control Plant to the George W. Bush Sewage Plant.

Supporters hoping to put the issue on the November ballot turned in more than 10,000 signatures to San Francisco election officials, organizer Brian McConnell said. The measure needs just over 7,000 valid names to qualify and McConnell expects to find out later this month whether they made it.

Proponents of the renaming plan see it as fitting tribute to a president they contend has plumbed the depths of incompetence.

"We think that it's important to remember our leaders in the right historical context," said McConnell, a member of the group that was formed after friends came up with the renaming idea.

"In President Bush's case, we think that we will be cleaning up a substantial mess for the next 10 or 20 years," he said. "The sewage treatment facility's job is to clean up a mess, so we think it's a fitting tribute."

I couldn't agree with these folks more. And I can see it opening the way for The Bill Clinton Memorial STD Clinic, The Ronald Reagan Senior Center and the George H. W. Bush Sanctuary for Delinquent Offspring.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Big Hearts, Slightly Used


On Thursday, August 7, there's going to be a party going on in Rogers Park.

Fig Media, Inc, started by James and Michelle Gustin fifteen years ago, is celebrating its fifteenth anniversary.

They started out as just a scrappy, little deejay company. Now, their skill set and creativity is so expansive, it's hard to pin down exactly what they do or don't do.

I have known James and Michelle for quite some time, but only started working with them professionally since last fall. They asked me to help them out on writing and directing a live presentation for a big corporate event. It turned out to be a huge project that kept getting bigger as we worked on it. I've come to discover that this is the norm at Fig Media. Projects just seem to expand like one of those tiny toy dinosaurs you put in water overnight.

What I like most about James and Michelle and the culture at Fig is the fearlessness. Nobody says "We can't do that. We don't know how." It's more like "We don't know how to do that, so let's do it." Every project is an opportunity for growth as an artist and as a human being.

Culturally, it's a hip, little company full of big hearted people. That's PD in the picture above. You'll see her hanging out at Fig a lot, and, as you can see, she is one of their top models.

If you are in the neighborhood of 1120 West Granville (near Broadway - RIGHT UNDER THE L TRACKS - a fun feature when you are on a conference call or recording a voiceover!) after 7pm, stop on by. There'll be music, and video and photography on display and you'll meet the fine folks of Fig.


Yesterday, I asked...

"A 52-year-old Milwaukee area man has been accused of trying to get out of cab fares and restaurant bills by doing what?"

12% said "Pretending to be a health inspector."
- Do cabs have health inspectors? Because I think I had some tainted meat with my last cab ride.

13% said "Pretending to be John McCain's son."
- Very convincing, too. He had another guy pretending to be Joe Lieberman's son whispering in his ear and correcting things that he said. "Take me downtown...I mean, uptown. Of course."

No one bought "Pretending to be a newspaper critic."

75% got it right with "Faking a heart attack."

According to The Associated Press, a 52-year-old Milwaukee-area man has been accused of faking heart attacks to avoid paying restaurant bills and cab fares.

Police say the man took a cab to a mall Monday and pretended to have a heart attack. The cab driver left unpaid.

Authorities say the man then ran up a $23 bill when he had a steak dinner at Applebee's. He again pretended to have a heart attack.

This time the fire department took him to a hospital. A doctor there recognized the man as having pulled the same stunt in the past few weeks.

He was charged Thursday with defrauding a restaurant as a habitual criminal. He could get up to nine months in prison and a $10,000 fine.

Hmmm... I'd look for this in the future...

Judge: How do you plead?

Man: I plead...oh...oh,my...

Judge: What's the matter?

Man: My left arm. It's numb.

Judge: Really,now...

Man: Seriously. Someone's like a sledgehammer...

Judge: I am about to throw you in jail for contempt of court, sir!

(The man collapses on to the floor.)

Judge: I'm just not buying this, counselor.

Counselor: Yeah. He did the same thing when we discussed my bill. (Counselor taps man with his foot.) He's good though.

Monday, July 7, 2008


((Editor's note: Things have been a little nutty lately, but I will do my best to at least update the daily quiz and get you all up to speed on my doings and dones soon - Joe.))

We're coming down to the wire on putting
Metaluna and the Amazing Science of the Mind Revue up in front of people. Wheeeeeee! It's like Christmas seeing all the props and costumes and the set all come together. The good kind of Christmas - not the "get me another beer" and "why aren't you playing with the cigarettes I got you" kind.

For a very eloquent description of the play by Mike Johnson, go HERE. You'll also get treated to a fun Bare Naked Ladies music video.

Previews for Metaluna begin next week. Get in on the action. They are only five bucks at the door at 8pm on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday - the 14th, 15th and 16th - we open on Friday the 18th.

The show is at A Red Orchid Theatre.


On Thursday of last week, I asked...

"Angel Eversole of Kentucky is facing prostitution charges for allegedly trading sex for what?"

34% said "Groceries"
- I can relate to this. I've wanted to get down on my knees more than a few times for a bag of Oreos and a few staples.

No one went for "Mortgage" or "Love"

66% got it right with "Gasoline"

According to The Smoking Gun, a Kentucky woman is facing prostitution charges for allegedly trading sex for gasoline. Angela Eversole, 34, was nabbed last weekend during a police stakeout at a Days Inn, where she allegedly trysted with customer Kenneth Nowak. According to court records, Nowak admitted paying for Eversole's services, in part, with a $100 Speedway gas card.

America complains about getting screwed at the pumps. May as well get paid for it.