Friday, August 29, 2008

Aren't We Supposed To Relax on Labor Day?

I have intentionally not scheduled myself for much this weekend. My plan is to clean and throw crap out and put more stuff up for sale. PURGE! I might also be selling that diamond ring to a guy getting ready to pop the question to his girlfriend. Nice guy. Enjoyed meeting him. Hope it works out. The sale and the marriage.


Yesterday, I asked...

"Los Angeles blogger Kevin Cogill was arrested Wednesday for posting what?"

42% said "death threats to Barack Obama"
- Yes, but he didn't pose a real threat.

33% said "drawings of Mickey Mouse as a terrorist"
- Mousama Bin Laden? Hard to get those ears wrapped inside a turban.

No one said "nude pictures of Miley Cyrus"

25% got it right with "pirated songs from Guns 'n' Roses"

According to The Smoking Gun, a Los Angeles man who allegedly posted nine pirated tracks from "Chinese Democracy," the long-overdue album from Guns N' Roses, was arrested today by FBI agents and charged with violating federal copyright laws. According to investigators, Kevin Cogill, 27, first posted the songs to his web site in June. If convicted of the felony count, Cogill faces up to five years in prison.

Guns 'n' Roses apparently wasn't upset about any copyright infringement, but the emotional duress caused by being embarrassed because the music leaked sucked moose balls. Welcome to the jungle, Axl.

Check Back Later

Thanks for stopping by. Busy day today. Check back later for an update. - Joe

Thursday, August 28, 2008


My senior year in high school was one of the best years of my life. I was editor-in-chief of the yearbook and president of student council. I somehow managed to achieve the positions without ever having worked on the yearbook or ever having been a member of student council. For the yearbook, the faculty adviser asked me to do it because she liked the doodles I made on my papers and felt I was creative enough for the job. Apparently, she was right. Our yearbook that year won a state award for creativity. I don't remember who else ran for student council, but I remember thinking the woman who sat behind me in Government, Annie Pope, would be ideal. She said she'd rather be vice-president and that I should run. Okay, sure, why not? Student council was fun, except I had to learn Robert's Rules of Order for conducting meetings. I had to find ways of being creative within the system. It didn't help that the student council faculty adviser that I was geeked about working with had to leave early in the year for health reasons and was replaced by a jag off Phys Ed teacher. No slam against Phys Ed, but he was much like the stereotypical former jock with a big gut and a fat head.

But I digress. I'm avoiding what I wanted to bring up. Like I said, that year was one of the best years of my life. Full of fun, friends, my first improv workshop, working part-time at a local radio station, a driver's license, the family's Mustang II, lots of good times. The year ended with me performing in the school talent show sharing singer duties with Mark Henn in a fictional band called Punk Jazz. The talent show ended with the student council president candidates giving speeches. The guy I had my money on and supported, Bruce Corn, won.

Yep. A great year. Followed the next year by one of the worst years of my life. My parents got divorced. My mom and younger brother moved from a big house to a tiny apartment. We had to give my dog away. My closest friends all went off to college. I broke down in tears one night backstage at the local community theater during a show. I did so, again, at a bar with friends who were home for Christmas.

By summer, I began to pull myself out of it. I resolved to go to college and study to become an actor. It was my heart's desire. My mother was upset about me leaving. My girlfriend, the sweet, pretty and funny Melinda, that I was "engaged to be engaged to" at the time was supportive and very mature about it. We didn't think a long distance thing would work, so we parted ways, but remained friends. (I started seeing someone else a few months later and we did try to make a long distance thing work, and it didn't.)

College was a blast. I made the Dean's List the first quarter. Then I discovered a social life and what an amazing creative playground college could be. My grades plummeted and my education soared.

In my second year of college, I received some bad news. Bruce Corn, my student council predecessor, shot himself in the drive way of his family's house while home from college. I couldn't get my mind around it. Bruce was a great guy. A big lug who was smart and handsome and everyone liked him. To this day, I don't know what happened to get Bruce to the point of "this is the only way out."

Last night, I received a call from a friend. Another friend we knew drove off in his van on Sunday and was found yesterday. He had killed himself via carbon monoxide poisoning. He leaves behind his wife and their toddler. He also has a daughter from a previous marriage. We were stunned. We both had received an e-mail from this guy on Sunday morning. Along with a few other guys, we check in with each other on what we're up to in life and how our goals are going. I looked up that e-mail to see if I missed anything. There was nothing in there that indicated even a glimpse of what was to come. This is shocking news and sad news. I really liked this guy. Always had a friendly smile. Genuinely interested in how I was doing. Great laugh. My schedule recently shifted to where I was going to see him about twice a month. I ran into him downtown last week and was excited to get to introduce him to my brother. WTF!

In my darkest moments, I have thought about it. I think everyone has at one time or another. As an artist, of course, I think about the how and the logistics of it all. In the end, what usually deters me is - I don't want to inconvenience anyone else with cleaning up the mess and I worry about my cats' welfare. But I also kind of think, I'm not done. There's more to do. There's more to write. There's more people to meet and places to see. What does it all mean in the big scheme of things? Probably nothing. But I'm here. May as well enjoy myself.

Adios, Phil.


Yesterday, I asked...

"Joe Eszterhaus, the writer of the films 'Basic Instinct' and 'Show Girls,' has penned a new book that deals with what?"

46% said "lesbian stripper/serial killers"
- That's so 90's Eszterhaus. Clearly, he has grown as an artist.

30% said "his penis"
- Yep. 700 pages (shhhh, it's actually only 300 pages).

No one said "Hollywood corruption"
- "What corruption?" Eszterhaus said while counting his money.

24% got it right with "spiritual conversion"

According to The Toledo Blade, Joe Eszterhas' latest book is a shocker, but not the kind that made him rich and famous.

The upcoming release from the man who penned dark thrillers such as Basic Instinct and Jagged Edge tells the story of his spiritual conversion and his newfound devotion to God and family.

In Crossbearer: A Memoir of Faith, to be published Sept. 2 by St. Martin's Press, Mr. Eszterhas describes how his life got turned around during the summer of 2001.

I hope they make a movie of it and it has a lot of boobies.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

I Believe...

(The Divorce Edition, topic courtesy of Mr. Hall)

...There is no such thing as "The One" when it comes to relationships. There are people you are compatible with and people you are not. "The One" is the one you choose to commit to.

...Women are more freaked out about marriage than men are. In spite of what sitcoms and lame Matthew McConaughey comedies tell you, men are more amenable when it comes to building a partnership with a woman. Women fear losing their identity, becoming a housewife, being held back. Most men want the woman they fell in love with, don't want a housewife and want to see their partner succeed.

...I remember in my late 20's-early 30's noticing that I knew a lot of people who had already been married and divorced. Many with kids. Now, I know a lot of people who have been married and divorced twice with a few more kids thrown into the mix. I find dating expensive. You guys must all be fucking broke!

- Anybody want to buy a ring? Seriously. Make me an offer. No takers and I hit the diamond district on Thursday.


Yesterday, I asked...

"Students in Harrold, Texas will be the first in the nation to have teachers legally doing what this year?"

27% said "monitoring their e-mails and text messages"
- No child's privacy left behind.

9% said "sending troublemakers to school jail"
- That's called detention.

9% said "dating seniors"
- Some teachers can't wait that long.

54% got it right with "carrying guns"

According to The Associated Press, along with normal first-day jitters and excitement, students in this tiny district (Harrold, Texas) started school Monday wondering which teachers might be toting firearms. Several parents said they had no idea that employees of the K-12 school were allowed to carry concealed guns on campus until recent publicity about the school board's policy, approved quietly last fall.

Match class should be fun...

I know what you're thinking. "Did he take away six apples or only five?" Well, to tell you the truth, in all this excitement I kind of lost track myself. You've got to ask yourself one question: Do I feel lucky? Well, do ya, Bueller?

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

McCain's Latest Attack Ad

There are a lot of people not getting any rest at the McCain camp. They are ready to pounce on any non-issue to go after Obama and keep the general public from thinking about important stuff, like economy, health care and war. Did you see how quickly they rolled out the "Hillary Snubbed" ad after Obama announced Biden as VP? Staggering. If only they put that much effort into making McCain a viable candidate.

Michelle Obama and her daughters looked absolutely adorable together. Expect the McCain camp to start rolling out a lot of photos of the McCain family to show just how strong his first and second marriages have been.

Here he is sharing a laugh with Satchel, his youngest son from his from his first marriage.


Yesterday, I asked...

"Police in Clifton, New Jersey arrested two men trying to stop drug dealers in their neighborhood. The men were what?"

34% said "driving a homemade batmobile"
- Sticking fins on your Honda does not a batmobile make.

25% said "carrying chain saws"
- The drawback to this plan is that it makes the drug dealers seem safer.

16% said "stoned out of their minds"
- They weren't trying to stop the drug dealers, just get better service.

25% got it right with "dressed like ninjas"

According to The Associated Press, police arrested two men dressed like ninjas and armed with Asian martial arts weapons who said they were delivering warning letters to drug dealers and users. Calling themselves "Shinobi warriors," the men carried knives, throwing stars, swords, nunchucks and a bow and arrows. The letters warned drug users and drug dealers that the "Shinobi will stop your cruel and sadistic intentions with justified yet, merciful force."

Merciful force? Throwing stars and swords know no mercy, my friend.

In the letter, the two men accused drug dealers and users of having "committed sin of passing impurity" to others and that the "wind guides us to those of impure heart and intent."

They're in New Jersey. That wind is guiding them to a landfill.

Monday, August 25, 2008

The Secret to A Successful Relationship

With the onslaught of people in my life breaking up or getting divorced (the legal term for breaking up), I started thinking about my long track record of relationships.

Last Monday, the two Dons (my brother and Mr. Hall) and I had lunch and the conversation shifted to the necessity of marriage. It ain't. We don't need marriage to make the world turn. In fact, like organized religion, one could argue it causes more harm than good. Especially when kids are involved.

So, if it's not necessary, what's the point of marriage, or any significant relationship, for that matter?

I remembered what a friend told me in college during a rather difficult break up. I didn't get it then. I get it now.

The point of a relationship is recreation.

Nothing fancy going on with the word "recreation." This isn't any personal growth mumbo-jumbo about re-creating each other. I mean recreation.


1. an activity that diverts or amuses or stimulates; "scuba diving is provided as a diversion for tourists"; "for recreation he wrote poetry and solved crossword puzzles" [syn: diversion]
2. activity that refreshes and recreates; activity that renews your health and spirits by enjoyment and relaxation; "time for rest and refreshment by the pool"; "days of joyous recreation with his friends" [syn: refreshment]

WordNet® 3.0, © 2006 by Princeton University.
Relationships are playtime. When I think about some of my more important adult relationships, they worked well when we played well together. They didn't work well whenever I was trying to get the other person to do something I thought was fun and they did not.

There's the day-to-day stuff of relationships that need to work well, but isn't that playing, too? Like playing house. Bad stuff happens to people and that's not fun. That's when you take care of one another so that you can get back to playing.

Dreamy physical movie romance attraction isn't enough. I am no longer searching for a soul mate. I'm searching for a play mate.

(I hate Blogger, sometimes. I am now writing in italics and can't make it stop!)



This is a bench I bought at Cost Plus World Market. I love that place. I could live there. It's a sturdy thang. It's four feet wide, two-and-a-half feet high, sixteen-and-a-half inches deep. I think it's made out of pine. Like I said, sturdy. I have had it eight years and never had a problem with it. It's not comfortable, but functional. I bought it initially to keep in a foyer to make it easier to take off shoes and boots.

It has a storage bench that you can use to store shoes, extra blankets, whatever. There's a lot of room in there. When I emptied it out, it was full of framed pictures that we never got around to hanging.

I paid $150 for it. I'm asking for $75. Interested? Shoot me an e-mail.


On Friday, I asked...

"Maxim magazine recently named the worst professional comedians of all time. Coming in at number one was who?"

47% said "Carrot Top"
- Carrot Top? Not funny? Oh, you saw Chairman of the Board, too.

47% also said "Pauly Shore"
-Hey, now. The Weasel has had his moments. Just not many of them.

6% said "John McCain"
-I'd think he was funnier of the polls weren't so close.

No one got the right answer, "Sinbad"

According to Maxim, the number one Worst Professional Comedian of All Time is Sinbad.

We're not sure what we hate most about Sinbad. Is it the neon pants, the annoying dangly earring, the oversized Reeboks, or the fact that he doesn't drink? Oh, wait, now we know. It's the shitty jokes that he always tells. That's what we hate most about Sinbad.

Lists like this are, of course, bullshit. For crying out loud, their list included Paula Poundstone who is one of the most brilliant comedic minds out there. Their list did also include Kathy Griffin and Sandra Bernhard, both of whom make my scrotum squinch up when they speak. And their list did NOT include Pauly Shore or Carrot Top!

I agree with them on Sinbad, though. In stand-up, there are guys who carefully craft their material (Shandling, Gaffigan, Carlin) and then there are guys who are just the life of the party. Their whole gig is just working the crowd, making sure everyone's having a good time. It's a skill, but it's more like a host than a comedian. I can quote those other guys. I can't quote Sinbad.

I wonder if they took his film career in to account?

Friday, August 22, 2008

Ladies and Gentleman, Mr. Don Janes...

Don is seen here learning to cope with taking care his mentally challenged brother, Corky Janes. Merrie Greenfield disavows knowledge of taking this picture.

Because my brother has been hogging his computer, you are more current with his blog than I am. So, please forgive any any repetitive redundancies.

Despite the five hour train delay at the onset of my adventure, and even though I failed to receive a check that had been specifically budgeted for my vacation because some wing-ding mailed it to a city in which I have never lived, it's been a most excellent trip.

The weather has been ideal. Joe has been an exemplary host. (Of course, I've been a near perfect guest.) Houdini, Joe's 4am alarm cat, well, I think I'll let him slide, only because he does stop meowing every 30 minutes.

Gotta admit, I'm still in awe of a place like Chicago. So many people, so much culture. And them there buildings is purty dang big! Ok, I must officially express my disgust with learning that Donald Trump is building a structure destined to exceed the height of the Sears Tower.

Even though I dubbed this my 3M vacation (Museums, Movies, Meals), the fun began with getting to watch Joe in the sterling WNEP production of Metaluna. Absolutely brilliant stuff. Great performances by everyone in the cast. I definitely give it two "hairmps" up. But, just to reveal my true rural side, here's what I'll probably tell my posse back home first - I MET ONE OF THE JOKER'S HENCHMEN. (I can only hope for forgiveness from the rest of the truly talented members of the production, especially since I helped strike the set after closing.) See, the thing was, I met David on Saturday and then saw him the Dark Knight movie on Monday - IN IMAX! Well, there you go.

The Dark Knight may not even have been the best movie I watched, but the worst was definitely Baghead. After Joe vicariously recommended it, I barely managed to stay awake through it. Do not waste your money. Don Hall will back me up on this.

The museums, and I include The Shedd in this category, have been worth every penny Joe or I or no one (thanks Gabe) have paid. Joe refers to this type of culture indulgence as "touristy" but nothing could be further from the truth. If you live here, enjoy what you have. Mind you, once every other year is likely sufficient, but there are invaluable displays of art and history at your doorstep. Do not take these for granted. The closest thing to culture we have in Ottawa County, Ohio is the Walleye Drop on New Year's Eve.

Other Chicago observations:
I still get a puerile kick out of seeing a sign that says "Speed Hump."
I'm still easily confused by the Brown, Red, Blue, Orange, Pink, and Purple lines.
Part of the solution to the homeless problem here is to ban benches.
Riding a bicycle on the streets of this town is ballsy. Doing it while talking on a cell phone is just plain nuts.
The El (is that the proper spelling?) really needs the same overhead straps used by the buses.
The RedEye needs to toughen up its crossword puzzle.

Well, I enter my last couple days here with only $30 cash in my pocket, but a rejuvenated debit card, so I plan on closing strong. Having to stretch my money has kept me out of the bars, but that's about the only thing I may have done differently. Next time, and I certainly hope there will be a next time, I plan on doing some extremely touristy things. Stay tuned.

- Don


Yesterday, I asked...

"A 37-year-old woman from a Milwaukee suburb celebrated her birthday by helping her 17-year-old son do what?"

15% said "have a baby"
- Not even sure how the logic works out on this one. She's pregnant? He's pregnant? Leave me alone. I'm tired. Too many touristy museums in one week.

9% said "finish high school"
- She'd be more on board for this if it was "finish high school OFF!"

Everyone wisely avoided "eat their weight in pie"

76% got it right with "rob a gas station"

According to The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, a 17-year-old in town from Chicago for his mother's birthday is suspected of robbing two gas stations in Greenfield and Milwaukee at gunpoint before he and his mother - suspected of being the getaway driver - were captured by Greenfield police Tuesday night. Others along for the ride? The woman's three other children, a 13-month-old girl and two boys, ages 10 and 14, were in the woman's car, according to Greenfield police. Police said the younger boys were aware that their older brother was robbing businesses after planning the holdups with their 37-year-old mother.

You know, at my age, I find this horrible. Absolutely reprehensible. Everything that's wring with this country. Why was this woman allowed to spawn? However, if I were 17, I would think I had the coolest mom in the world.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Shedding the Aquarium

No pics from Shedd. They do this really lame thing for souvenir photos. They have a green screen you can stand in front of and they can insert various parts of the museum in the background. No props, no costumes, either. So, you can't even pretend to be feeding or riding a whale.

The food was much better than The Museum of Science and Industry, however. But the place is also smaller. We were out of there by 1pm. Not complaining, though. They have a lot of mouths to feed. The dollar-to-minute ratio is going to be skewed compared to the MSI.

I thought everything was cool, here. Especially the lizard exhibit and Wild Reef.

Today, The Field Museum during the day and then I go teach a class while my brother hits The Art Institute.

No promises, but I'll see if he wants to do a guest post for tomorrow.


Yesterday, I asked...

"Recently deceased Angel Pantoja of Puerto Rico received his last wish when the funeral home arranged for him to be what at his wake?"

27% said "dressed in a chicken costume"
- A Furry Funeral?

18% said "made into a lamp"
- Someone took shop class in high school a little too seriously.

No one said "covered in Post-It notes from loved ones"
- If nobody takes this idea, I'm all over it. Did I mention I would also be naked?

55% got it right with "standing up and wearing his Yankees hat"

According to The Associated Press, a funeral home used a special embalming treatment to keep the corpse of 24-year-old Angel Pantoja Medina standing upright for his three-day wake.

Dressed in a Yankees baseball cap and sunglasses, Pantoja was mourned by relatives while propped upright in his mother's living room.

His brother Carlos told the El Nuevo Dia newspaper the victim had long said he wanted to be upright for his own wake: "He wanted to be happy, standing."

Not sure why they stood him in a corner, except to scare the crap out of anyone coming around that doorway. And behind a plant? It does make me wonder what they did with his hands. Hmm, add that to my Post-It note request.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The Museum of Science and Brainwashing

Yesterday, my brother Don and I spent the day at The Museum of Science and Industry. Some really cool stuff and some not really cool stuff. The cool stuff involved the Mold-O-Ramas! I'm holding my Mold-O-Rama submarine in the picture above.

Here's a close-up from a website devoted to the art that is Mold-O-Rama!

Here's a picture of a Mold-O-Rama Machine...

The machine says 25 cents, as they were back in the day. The machine at MSI looks just the same. The only advance in design and technology is in its ability to accept dollar bills and charge $1.50.

The Cool Stuff: The Coal Mine Tour, The Poop Happens Show, that thing with the big globe in the center of the room, The Smart Home Tour, The U-Boat Tour.

The Not-So-Cool Stuff: A section devoted to the farm industry that promoted factory farming - trying to make it seem quaint - and GMO's to children, overpriced and lame museum food, the crappy dinosaur movie at the Omnimax (I dozed off a few times) - come on folks, if you can't do CGI well, then why throw it up on a giant five-story screen.

Still, we had a great time. Gabe Garza is a good friend of mine who works there and, if you get the chance, seek him out for the U-Boat Tour. The man really throws himself into it and makes you feel like none of you may come out the boat alive - in a good way, not a psycho wielding a knife way.

We topped off the day by heading to Argyle Street and hitting Tank Noodles. My poor sheltered brother had never experienced such a place and is dying to go back. Tank rocks.

Today - The Shedd Aquarium!


Got an e-mail from Steve Delahoyde, the co-director and main man behind the project. The Breeders have put it up on their website in its fully intended glory. You have the ability to toggle between four different perspectives of the video. Pretty cool.


Yesterday, I asked...

"In order to raise awareness of HIV prevention in India, the charity organization BBC Word Service Trust recently introduced what?"

44% said "celebrity condom endorsements"
- Its effectiveness would depend on the celebrity. Angelina Jolie wants me to buy a condom? Be right back. Ann Coulter wants me to buy a condom? Let me grab a kitchen knife.

12% said "people dressed as condoms passing out condoms"
- Walking down an overcrowded, dirty street in India, that's the only way I'd dress.

No one bought "free condoms with Happy Meals"
- Seemed like a good idea to me. A gentle reminder to the parents what could have been.

44% got it right with "condom ringtones"

According to the AFP, a cellphone ringtone that chants "condom, condom!" has been launched in India to promote safe sex and tackle the growing HIV/AIDS epidemic.

The "condom a cappella" has been designed to break down Indians' reluctance to discuss condom use and to make wearing a condom more acceptable.

Probably not something you want to have go off on a first date. Or have your girlfriend find out that you have her sister's number assigned to it.

The ringtone itself is pretty funny, as it is intended to be. You can hear it HERE.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Today - The Museum Part

So far, my brother and I have eaten out in a lot of restaurants and have seen a few movies. Today, we hit the Museum of Science and Industry. The last time I was there, they had these souvenir machines where you put in a quarter and these two metal blocks under a clear plastic bubble would press together, the machine would be a-humming, and when the blocks separated, a plastic toy would be there. Then another piece of metal would push it into a basket from which you retrieved it. The toy would still be warm from the process. Just a piece of cheap, molded plastic, but the kind of thing I remember from my childhood. The Toledo Zoo used to have them. (Yes, Toledo, Ohio has a zoo. It features a muskrat, a opossum, a stray one-eyed dog and the petting zoo is some hairy fat guy with his pants leg rolled up. No snakes. Just a belt hanging off a stick.)

Yesterday, we saw The Dark Knight in iMax. Way cool. Then we ate at Karyn's Raw Cafe restaurant which is very good and, gulp, very expensive. I think we'll go cheaper today. Maybe Tank Noodle or Soul Vegetarian, since we'll already be on the south side.


Yesterday, I asked...

"In order to address the gender imbalance in his town, the mayor of Mount Isa in Australia has generated some controversy by encouraging what?"

22% said "Vows of celibacy"
- It's a mining town. Their jobs are metaphors for not abstaining.

12% said "Men start dating other men"
- Or at least work out a weekly rotation of who gets to wear the pretty pink dress and blond wig.

No one said "Cuddling with koalas"
- They're too mean for that. Not the miners, the koalas.

66% got it right with "Ugly women move to his town"

According to the AFP, the mayor of an Australian outback mining town has come under fire for urging unattractive women to move in, assuring them they will find a man because there is a shortage of women.

John Moloney, mayor of Mount Isa in northwestern Queensland, told a newspaper his town was a place for "ugly ducklings to flourish into beautiful swans" and called on the "beauty-disadvantaged" to flock there.

Mount Isa city councillor Gary Asmus said that while there was a shortage of women, Moloney's comments were an insult to the town's menfolk.

Apparently, he thinks the men can do better. He even passed legislation to have the city erect this sign at the town's border...

Monday, August 18, 2008

Movies, Museums and Meals

Don Janes and Joe Janes. I'm the one on the left. I mean right. Photo by Merrie Greenfield.

My brother is in town. Here we are at the closing night party of Metaluna. I'm excited that he's able to stay in town for a week and that he got to see Metaluna and hang out with folks that are very dear to me. The game plan this week is to cram in as many movies, museums and meals as we can. Don still lives in Port Clinton, Ohio where there is a bit of a void in all three of those areas, especially the culinary options. He's also become a healthier eater over the last year meaning he's actually encouraging me to take him to places like Karyn's Raw Foods. "Uncooked" at restaurants in Ohio means "frozen and not in the fryer, yet."

Metaluna (Sigh)

It's over. Mr. Hall wrote a lovely summation of it all over at AWG. It was a privilege to be in it with Don reprising his role as Mayor Armitage Shanks. Having Jen Ellison masterfully direct such a high class group of actors and crew was more than many playwrights ever get to see done with their work. I made new friends, deepened relationships with old ones and introduced some folks to Dada and vaudeville.


On Friday, I asked...

"Fort Hays State University debate team coach William Shanahan got into an argument at a competition with Shanara Reid-Brinkley, the coach from University of Pittsburgh. When Shanahan was at a loss for words, he did what?"

6% said "Punched her"
- This is what they refer to as extemporaneous.

13% said "Threw the lectern out the window"
- When words fail, destroy property. It's the American way.

20% said "Stuck his tongue out at her"
- And then he went and told his mommy.

60% got it right with "Dropped his drawers"

According to The Associated Press, an argument between two debate coaches that was caught on video was not the sharp-witted dialogue typically associated with college debate teams. Instead, the two traded profanity-laced barbs and one of them pulled down his shorts, exposing his underwear.

In the video, Fort Hays State University debate coach William Shanahan is shown arguing with Shanara Reid-Brinkley, debate coach at the University of Pittsburgh, during the competition's quarterfinals.

The argument, which appears to be at least in part about race, is punctuated with frequent cursing and name-calling. Shanahan, who is white, and Reid-Brinkley, who is black, scream criticisms about one another's body language during students' debates.

Hmmm, did they say video?

God bless YouTube. It's safe to play this at work, FYI. It's from a newscast that bleeped everything out. The original unedited tape can be found HERE.

Friday, August 15, 2008


Bob Fisher is working on a fun project over at The Mammals. He wrote a cool Rod Serling-esque boxing play called Meatlocker last year. Instead of jumping into a production, he's working the story out by turning it into a graphic novel first.

Here's me as Benny the Booker!

Here's Dave Goss as the boxer known only as Meatlocker.

I'll keep you posted on updates.


My brother is coming in town to vacation here for a week. Vacation means sleeping on an air mattress in my apartment, doing lots of touristy stuff, seeing the closing weekend of Metaluna, and drinking a lot. Oh, and seeing The Dark Knight in iMax! I'm meeting him at Union Station this morning and then treating him to breakfast at Lou Mitchell's.


No sale on the ring yesterday, so it's now up on Craig's List. I'll be selling more stuff, too. I'm moving in a month and a half and I feel the need to purge and start over. I would be fine if my move consisted of one suitcase, my laptop and one cat under each arm.


Yesterday, I asked...

"According to The Office of National Statistics in England last year, one of the most popular baby girl's names is what?"

20% said "Edna"
- You have to be born an aunt to get the name Edna.

20% said "Gertrude"
- The problem with this name is that you are stuck being called "Gert" or "Trudy." You're either going to be the elder stateswoman on a lesbian bowling team or a bobby soxer.

No one said "Irene"

60% got it right with "Ruby"

According to the BBC News, some traditional names such as Edna and Norman are in danger of dying out in England and Wales, research suggests. In 1907, 1,048 babies were named Gertrude but none were in 2005. The Office for National Statistics says the most popular baby names last year were Jack, Thomas and Oliver for boys and Grace, Ruby and Olivia for girls.

I had no idea the name "Ruby" was so popular. I have met a Grace and Olivia before. Hell, I have even met an Edna, Irene and a Gertrude, but I have never met a Ruby. The article doesn't explain why that name has picked up so much steam over there. The only famous Ruby I know is Ruby Dee, the American actress. This is clearly a ploy on England's part to widen the cultural wedge between our two countries!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Lord of Ring Seeks Mordor - SOLD!

So, my ex-fiancee is off "finding herself." I hope, someday, to find myself, if only to have someone to split the rent and bills with.

Having an ex-fiancee means having to unload an engagement ring.

What better place to do that than here?

I like this ring. It's simple. It's classic-looking. She loved it. It was just what she wanted. In a ring, any way. I picked it out and paid for it all by myself. I shopped for it on a Wednesday, bought it on a Thursday, proposed on a Friday and showed it off at my Dad's 75th birthday party on a Saturday.

It's certified by the International Gemological Institute.

The diamond is rectangular, .50 cts, 4.48 x 4.10 x 3.05 mm, clarity is rated I-1, which means it's imperfect but not to the naked eye, color is E, which means colorless or "exceptional white." It is set in a platinum ring, size 7.5.

I think it's the single, biggest purchase I have ever made in one payment. I was simultaneously giddy and proud. I paid $1,874.00 for it. That includes a lifetime warranty. Now, there is no way I'll be able to get all that back. Diamond rings, apparently, are like new cars. Their market value plummets once you leave the lot. There's quite a mark-up. Taking it to a pawn shop or a jeweler in the diamond district would likely get me one third or one fourth of what I paid as well as make me feel like the biggest chump on the planet.

So, I'm just asking for half. $900. And I'll throw in the original receipt so you can keep working the lifetime warranty. If you are interested, shoot me an e-mail.

I'm putting this out here first. Tomorrow, it goes on Craig's List.


So, I ran in to an acquaintance earlier this week and she said "Oh, my God! I have to ask. Are you playwright Joe Janes?"

"Um. Sure."

"You're in a magazine I subscribe to called The Week!"

"Is that, like, in the Sunday Tribune or something?"

"No, here. I'll show you. You can't keep it. It's mine."

And she had it on her. The Week's motto is "All You Need To Know About Everything That Matters." It's described as a compilation of "The Best of the U.S. and International Media." And sure enough, on page 26, under "Arts," is a plug for Metaluna with snippets from Tribune critic Nina Metz's review. On this page, there are only five theatrical productions from across the country highlighted and, dammit, we're one of them!

Why, yes. I am playwright Joe Janes.

It's the last weekend for Metaluna! And your last chance to see Jen Ellison as "Rupert" and me trying not to crack up on stage because of it is Friday!


Yesterday, I asked...

"Chinese officials had a little girl lip synch the song 'Ode to the Motherland' at the opening ceremony of the Olympics because the original singer was what?"

No one said "Sick with Asian Flu," "Actually a woman," or "Was working late at the sweat shop" (She only puts in 15 hours a day, like everyone else)

100% got it right with "Not pretty enough"

According to The Associated Press, one little girl had the looks. The other had the voice.

So in a last-minute move demanded by one of China's highest officials, the two were put together for the Olympic opening ceremony, with one lip-synching "Ode to the Motherland" over the other's singing.

The real singer, 7-year-old Yang Peiyi, with her chubby face and crooked baby teeth, wasn't good looking enough for the ceremony, its chief music director told state-owned Beijing Radio.

So the pigtailed Lin Miaoke, a veteran of television ads, mouthed the words with a pixie smile for a stadium of 91,000 and a worldwide TV audience.

Yah, yah, yah. Before you go off on how image-obsessed China is and how cruel this was to the little girl who sang the song, consider this. Here's what 7-year-old Yang Peiyi looks like...

Too much lead in her toys, I guess.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

I Believe...

...that not everyone needs to have a blog. If you are beating yourself up because you think you should have a blog, but don't know what to write about, then you shouldn't have a blog. If you have a blog and haven't updated it in over a month, you shouldn't have a blog. If you have a blog and have ever told to someone face-to-face "read my blog" in response to a question they asked about you, you shouldn't have a blog. lines are quickly becoming a thing of the past in our homes. The next thing to go will be cable television as we know it. Soon we will all be exclusively watching our favorite programs on or through our computers.

...we go to war over oil. But we hide it in territorial disputes, religious conflicts and "making the world safer." But it's not as simple as just switching to wind and solar energy. It's going to be tough to get us off the junk. The drug suppliers (the oil companies) and drug dealers (the politicians) are making way too much money. They are more than happy to kill our earthy goose to get the golden eggs. If only we could harness their hot air.

...all our public transportation systems in this country are fubar. None of them are reliable. All of them treat people like tightly packed cattle. I want teleportation and I want it NOW! Want to get technology rolling on this? Get the sex industry on it. I envision teleportation glory holes where you can have your weenie yanked by a hooker in Amsterdam without leaving your apartment in Joliet. Yes. I am a man of vision.


Yesterday, I asked...

"Secretary James Peake, a Bush appointee, has made it more difficult for some voters to register by banning voter registration where?"

18% said "picnics"
- I don't think the administration is afraid of the ambrosia Jell-O-with-marshmallows crowd. Yet.

19% said "US Embassies"
- These people probably got their cushy foreign jobs through Bush and company.

9% said "prisons"
- Yeah. You tell no-neck Bubba with the toothless grin and hammer fists that he's not allowed to vote.

54% got it right with "veterans facilities"

According to Think Progress, this past May, the Veterans Affairs Department, led by Secretary James Peake, issued a directive prohibiting nonpartisan voter registration drives “at federally financed nursing homes, rehabilitation centers and shelters for homeless veterans.”

In Sunday’s New York Times, Connecticut Secretary of State Susan Bysiewicz writes, “What is the secretary of Veterans Affairs thinking?“: The federal government should be doing everything it can to support our nation’s veterans who have served us so courageously. There can be no justification for any barrier that impedes the ability of veterans to participate in democracy’s most fundamental act, the vote.

Clearly, he's not thinking. Somebody else is and he's being their Gonzales-esque patsy. The administragtion is taking the slimy back roads to try to ensure a republican victory. But why stop with finding a new way to screw over veterans? There must be some way to keep all democrats from voting. Maybe somehow convince us that voting causes carbon emissions. Maybe there's such a thing as secondhand voting. Being elected certainly seems to retroactively cause birth defects in our politicians.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

From Russia With Loathe


As you know by now, Russia has used a jack hammer when they could have used a stapler in its conflict with Georgia. Georgia seceded (thanks for catching the typo, Nat!) from Russia and became an independent nation in 1991. This has been a thorn in Russia's side ever since. Russia went through a near transformative period in the late 80's and early 90's until Putin was placed in charge. He and his supporters have effectively rolled back every reform Gorbachev started and are bringing back the good ol' Russia we know and love from our bomb shelter days in the 1950s. Ya see, the thing is, the reforms were a good thing for the people. It gave them a lot of freedom and liberty. That's a bad thing for other people who make a living keeping "the people" in check with fear. Sound familiar?


Russia claims to be protecting their people in South Ossentia from Georgia. That's sort of like France protecting their people in Quebec. And it's quite likely Russia has been looking for any old excuse to invade Georgia and that this one will do. Russia has taken control of the whole country and are calling for Georgia's president to step down. Don't worry, though, I'm sure Russia has someone they think is qualified to replace him. They're good at dismantling other governments and putting in people they trust. Sound familiar?


Duh. Oil, of course.

This from The New York Sun...

BP operates the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline, which transports 1% of the world's oil needs, or one million barrels a day from Azerbaijan to the Mediterranean....Georgia is a crucial link in a three-country energy corridor, vital to western Europe's oil and gas supply. The $3.8 billion pipeline is the only major conduit for Central Asian resources not under Russian control...."They need control of energy routes," President Saakashvili of Georgia said. "They need sea ports. They need transportation infrastructure. And primarily, they want to get rid of us."

Sound familiar? You can read the whole article HERE.

You want to stop wars? Hard to imagine one country invading another because they have all the wind.


Yesterday, I asked...

"RAM-FM, a West Bank radio station has gone off the air due to a lack of funding. Its goal was to bring Israelis and Palestinians together by doing what?"

44% said "Featuring both cultures' musicians"
- Country and western?

22% said "Highlighting peace-oriented programs"
- Like Car Talk?

11% said "Boasting balanced talk and news shows"
- Just like how Fox News has inspired peace?

23% got it right with "Playing Michael Bolton and Air Supply"

According to The Associated Press, a West Bank radio station that sought to bring Israelis and Palestinians together to the tune of pop music has gone of the air because of a lack of funding.

RAM-FM had been broadcasting English-language talk shows and artists like Michael Bolton and Air Supply from a studio in the town of Ramallah since last year.

Yeah. Michael Bolton. Doesn't exactly inspire me to put down my gun. Unless they were trying to create peace through increased suicides. You want music that will inspire peace, put on Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon and start passing out the joints.