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In Which He Gives Up

October 29th, 2004 1 comment

[Ed. Note: This is not a real letter from a real person.]

To The Boston Comedy Scene,

This is just to inform you that I will no longer be performing comedy in Boston. I do not take the action lightly. The three months that I have performed comedy have been an education that I don’t wish to continue. I’m frustrated banging my head against a wall trying to get good quality stage time. It seems, somehow, that nobody wants to book me for the good gigs that pay and since I am unemployed, money, I’m sad to say, is important.

I came into comedy with a good attitude and a lot of thoughts and ideas about how to make the scene better. For some reason, nobody wanted to listen to me. I’m also really funny, at least as funny as Tom Hanks in that movie about stand up comedy.

The main problem with the Boston comedy scene is that people aren’t nice. More to the point, they’re just downright mean. As a newcomer, I expected a little bit of razzing and people telling me that I sucked, but I could not have predicted the ferocity that awaited me. Established comics frequently feel threatened by new blood and they have to protect their turf and I understand that. But after three months of trying hard and proving that I was in it for the long haul, comics still wouldn’t give me the respect that I deserved. I don’t know how you expect newcomers to get any better if you don’t support them.

The online community is even worse. My posts, if anyone responded to them at all, frequently met with savage mockery and other comics telling me to “shut the fuck up” and “who are you?”. This is no way to cultivate talent. Talent shrinks from this kind of treatment and as professional creative people you should know that. I really like the idea of an online community where everyone is equal and respected and get help with the questions they have. Itís too bad there doesnít seem to be one.

Anyway, it saddens me to have to make this decision. I fully expected by this point in time to be making money being funny. Hee-hee! I guess that’s not in the cards for me.

And while I will not be performing, I am more than willing to discuss how to make the Boston comedy scene better and friendlier to new comics. You can email me at [email address deleted]

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In Which Halloween Costumes Don’t Have To Cost You A BOO-ndle!

October 29th, 2004 No comments

The Strangler presents ten costumes that will scare the ever-lovin’ bejesus out of just about anyone.

Home Owner: Who are you?
Child: I’m Lyndie England! Get on your knees you fucking scumbag and we’ll mete out some justice courtesy of the red, white and blue!
Home Owner: Take all the candy! Just don’t hurt me!

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In Which I Offer Proof Of The End Of The World – Part 403

October 28th, 2004 No comments

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Yes.

The nuts have peanuts in them.

We are now officially retarded.

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In Which It’s Not Far Fetched

October 28th, 2004 No comments

[Ok. I made this up, but wingnuts are so desperate to shuck the blame for everything, that I wouldn’t be surprised to hear this on Prager, Gallagher or Medved.]

“You need to understand, no…that word is not strong enough – you need to have burned into your thick skulls three inches deep the fact that Harry S. Truman, FDR’s sweat rag carrier, a liberal Democrat of the worst kind, HAD THE OPPORTUNITY to kill Osama bin Laden’s parents and failed to take that action. FAILED! He wouldn’t do it. REFUSED to do it. And you wonder why Democrats love Osama so much? Why that WANT him to invade our country?! It’s genetic! They’re bred that way! It’s in the genes! Why not? They say, erroneously, of course, that homosexuality is genetic…why not liberalism? It’s a disease, folks! ‘Oh, here, Osama, we think you’re great and America IS an evil despot intent on taking over the world, here’s the keys to the White House’. You people…don’t…think…do you? You don’t! TRUMAN COULD HAVE KILLED HIS PARENTS!! I don’t know what else I can say to you people! I don’t.”

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In Which I Find Out With The Republicans Get Off

October 26th, 2004 No comments

God bless America and God bless the World Wide Web! If you’re looking for someone to target your weapon of mass destruction and blast your regime until it’s limp, Li(v)e Girls rigidly stand at attention awaiting orders.

Their banner says it all – “These girls pose a grave and gathering threat – to your pants.”

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In Which Mr. Neck Has A New Song

October 26th, 2004 No comments

A. Red Neck’s new song originally contained fourteen verses five of which contained the word “crusade”. I managed to convince him to cut it down by comparing it to Bob Dylan’s Hurricane, which did the trick.

Killin’ Every Arab I Can See

Well, this oneís name is Ahmed
And that oneís named Abdul
Iím gonna kill both, you see
Because you know I ainít no fool
They could work for Al Qaeda
Or maybe Hezbollah
They ainít gonna work for anyone
Because they wonít get far

[Chorus]
ĎCuz Iím killing every Arab I can see, see, see
Itís the only way to set their country free, free, free
To make them safe and give them a democracy
Killing every Arab I can see, see, see

Saddam was a bastard [Hold for and acknowledge applause]
He brought the towers down
Which is to say he gave support
To all those towel-head clowns
Which is to say he knew Ďem
If he didnít know their plan
Which is to say we kicked his ass
ĎCuz he was a bad man

[Chorus]
(That’s why) Iím killing every Arab I can see, see, see
Itís the only way to set their country free, free, free
To make them safe and give them a democracy
Killing every Arab I can see, see, see

If they won’t let us kill ’em
There’s something else we’ll do
We’ll put ’em in a prison
And we’ll cover ’em with poo
We’ll hook ’em up to wires
And threaten ’em with shocks
We’ll sic the dogs out on ’em
Make ’em suck each other’s…WELLLLLLLLLL

[Chorus]
Iím killing every Arab I can see, see, see
Itís the only way to set their country free, free, free
To make them safe and give them a democracy
Killing every Arab I can see

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In Which I Present A Compelling Reason To Use Google

October 26th, 2004 No comments

It’s not that I don’t appreciate the traffic, but I feel badly for all you folks searching for nude pictures or personal information of/on “Courtney Hansen” who wind up here. Yahoo’s spider must latch onto the referring search page and now we’re in a vicious cycle where that’s driven this blog to the number seven spot. The sad part is – I’ve never mentioned her once. I had to look her up to find out who she was. Yet another reason to hate these porno redirectors.

But it’s not only that. Both Altavista (the Blanche DuBois of internet companies, reduced to whoring spyware) and Yahoo have yours truly in the top ten for “listen to Irish music”. Given the fact that I’ve written exactly one post about Irish music, it seems slightly incongruous to even hit the top one hundred. Thus, I wind up with not one but TWO disgruntled Irish music fans waiting to conk me on the head with a shillelagh.

For the record, I don’t know Teen Kelly, I misspelled “emoticon” and the only “titties” on the site were on a Scarface poster from a post that got trashed when my database died.

Please, please use Google…or MSN. Or at least leave a comment about my need for an anger management course.

Thanks.

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In Which I’m Buying My Pizza Elsewhere

October 25th, 2004 4 comments

My favorite pizza place, Brothers’ Pizza in Belmont, threw me a curveball on Friday. Every Friday (or most Fridays) our family has Movie-Pizza Night and we frequently purchase our pizza from Brothers’. I call it in, drive over, pick up a sparkling water (wife), lemonade (daughter), chocolate milk (other daughter) and a Coke (me), drive home and let the show begin. This Friday, however, the routine got disrupted since the proprietor switched from selling Coke and Pepsi to selling only Pepsi.

“Um,” I hemmed, “Where’s the Coke?”

“We no sell Coke,” the owner said.

“You used to sell Coke.”

“We no sell Coke,” he repeated not quite firmly.

“Yeah, but you did sell Coke before. I like Coke. I drink Coke.”

“No Coke.”

“I hope the paid you an awful lot of money to stop selling something that your customers buy.”

The owner smiled sheepishly and nodded slightly. The guy next to me shook his head sadly at the new soft drink regime installed by fiat.

“Well,” I told the owner, “I guess that’s America. It’s not what the public wants but how much companies are willing to spend.”

I picked up my pizza and left.

And that’s really the crux of it. The political climate of this country dictates that Coke and Pepsi cannot exist in America’s drink cooler even though the majority of Americans want just that. Americans, by and large, are moderate. Ask a random person at a party if they consider themselves radical right or far left and I’ll bet you that they’ll answer “no”. The 50-50 split between Republicans and Democrats somehow gets twisted into a do-or-die struggle between the Godless Gay Left and the Deified Dictatorial Right.

And it’s just not true. It make great newspaper copy, interesting television and infuriating radio, but Americans mostly want to walk a middle path. 100% of Democrats do not advocate, as Rick Santorum suggested, Man-on-Dog sex. If I were to guess, that figure would come in well under 25%. 100% of Republicans do not want to institute the death penalty for not going to church on Sunday.

Most Americans just want to have a decent job, not pay a lot of taxes, not get shot and let them have sex the way they want to. Seems pretty simple. And if our representatives in Washington actually listened to what we wanted we might actually have these things. But instead they listen to Coors, Walmart, Microsoft and Halliburton. The political and social agendas of the heads of the major corporations work their way into Congress and we’re left scratching our heads as to why Congress is voting as to whether our national cooler gets stocked with either Coke OR Pepsi. The choice becomes not a democratic “What would you like on your pizza?” but “Do you want thai chicken on that OR Grape Nuts?”.

I rarely drink Pepsi but I’m not going to tell someone that they can’t. However, if someone succumbs to the monetary pressure to take away my choice to drink Coke, that’s a problem and I’ll buy my pizza elsewhere.

If you don’t like how things are – vote.

[Note: How scary is it that Microsoft Word 2003 contains the word “Halliburton in its spellcheck dictionary?]

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In Which I Bought Stamps

October 22nd, 2004 No comments

So the postmaster says to the guy in front of me –

“Big weekend coming up, huh?”
“Huge.”
“I can’t believe it. It’s gonna be crazy.”
“Real crazy.”
“Friggin’ Head of the Charles!”
“Huh?”
“Head of the Charles this weekend! I’m gonna be there if I can even get into Harvard Sq. I got my folding chair. My bottle o’ wine. Some cheese.”
“Huh? Oh. Yeah. Right.”
“Yeah, there’s somethin’ goin’ on over at Fenway. I’m not sure.”
“Swap meet,” I pipe up.
“AH,” the postmaster nods sagely, “‘Zat what it is?”
“Yeah,” I tell him, “They were talking about it on EEI.”
“Thanks for the tip!”
“No problem. Thousands of vendors, I think they said.”
“I’ll make sure to keep outta Fenway.”
“Good idea.”

On the other hand, some fans willingly whore their wives for tickets.

Thus, the world stays balanced and sane.

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In Which The Meta Maxes Me Out

October 21st, 2004 No comments

Some evenings you have absolutely nothing to read. The library is closed and none of the magazines appeal to you. So you do a shelf comb, searching for something that you hoping that you stumble across a book that you really did mean to read and just forgot about.

That’s how I came across The Professor and the Madman: A Tale of Murder, Insanity, and the Making of The Oxford English Dictionary. The inscription on the first page told me that my father-in-law gave it to me in Christmas of 1997 and I vaguely remember picking it up once before shelving it. It tell of how one of the main contributors to the Oxford English Dictionary was a bi-polar civil war doctor with a hankering for prostitute and a fear that the Irish “molested” him in his sleep.

All of this is well and good and entertaining until you get to the chapter about the history of dictionaries. The first true English-only (monolingual, if you will) dictionaries didn’t come about until 1602. Up until that time, you could pretty much make up any spelling or definition you wanted. For the most part, the first dictionaries concerned themselves with only big, important words that the masses, should they wish to impress, could improve themselves.

About a hundred years later, Samuel Johnson sat down with six interns and 150 years worth of English literature and started reading. They systematically plucked out every unique word, wrote it on a slip of paper and then provided a definition and a set spelling.

This is when the mushrooms I gobbled so freely in my youth kicked in and the concept of “reading” “words” “in” “a” “book” “about” “creating” “a” “book” “that” “defined” “words” achieved that crystal clarity and sense of vertigo that only mushrooms (and Ecstasy, too, I guess) provides.

I somehow managed to finish the chapter and lived to blog about it.

Yay, me!

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