Monday, November 29, 2010

Guest Blogger: Dusty Showers

Today's guest blogger submission comes from one of the most unique individuals I know, my pal Dusty Showers. Dusty is the owner and operator of Creepy Creatures Pest And Wildlife Busters, a pest control company that specializes in removing all manner of scaly, furry, multi-legged, toothy monsters from your abode...but lovingly (Dusty is a big fan of opossums). He is also a tireless warrior in the ongoing battle against cancer, specifically breast cancer, and is the brains behind The 2nd Basemen. He's a frequent participant in Komen 3-Day "Race For The Cure" events, with plans to have walked 120 miles during 2010 and . He usually does so wearing a pink cowboy hat and a bra. He was even featured on Oprah where Tim Gunn gave him a makeover, but it didn't take. I admire him a great deal. So much so, that I'm going to co-opt his name when I start doing gay porn, assuming that someone hasn't already done so. Here's Dusty's contribution to the big, dumb purple blog...

Rambling of The Pink Bra’ed Boy

Wow, so I guess this would be considered my first time as “guest writer.” Really a bit more pressure than first anticipated. Ok, here it goes…by the way, Clark, I want to wish you luck in hem, I mean at the “Resort.” That last bender with Charlie Sheen and the chandelier was one we will talk about for some time. Until you are “released on your own recognizance” (I believe that is another way of saying “complete the program”) we will be sure to keep your blog full of stuff that is sure to ensure others that their life is not as bad as they thought.

This writing style is a treat for me though I’m not really sure that “style” is accurate as much as “Literary train wreck filled with quotes and pregnant pauses…” I prefer to write as I think…so please read slow, check Facebook, pee and eat some eggs or something as you read so that you may keep the proper tone.

I am an advocate for the fight against breast cancer, in fact I am the most recognizable man in the breast cancer world. Perhaps it is because I am bald. Maybe because I wear a pink cowboy hat…but most likely it is because about 5 or so years ago some women thought it would be funny for me to wear a pink bra during a Susan G. Komen 3 Day 60 Mile Walk. Then they did it again…and again. Before I knew it, custom made bras were being sent to me from all over the country. One thing led to another and before I knew it I was watching myself on Oprah with in a pink bra and chaps along with Tim Gunn. Maybe I should clarify, I was on “Oprah” the show…while I hugged and kissed Oprah…I was not actually ON her…and I had the chaps on, not Tim.

Much if not all of what I write is either inspirational or in some way advocating the fight against breast cancer. While never clinical, it is not necessarily funny or witty. I certainly am not bold enough to claim that anything I write here in this piece is either funny, witty or entertaining and while I occasionally I use sarcasm….I would NEVER imply that the writing is too deep for you…I would hate to find out that it is actually too shallow for you and while I sit here doing my best Andy Rooney as I write…only to find that I’m just some poser with a pen and a pc.

So I still haven’t actually written anything and I have taken 4 paragraphs to not do so. During the day thoughts run through my head of what I will write here. Exciting things, things you would totally enjoy reading…most likely Pulitzer Prize winning material only to find that after a long day of fighting breast cancer, catching snakes and chasing opossums…I am seized by writer’s block. I believe the best way to do this is just a bit of stream of conscious…see, I have many, many short, short stories. Really too short to do anything with; I have been saving them, not quite knowing what to do with them…until now. Thank you Clark for the opportunity to share my shortest of short, often pointless stories. Normally, I write while listening to music that makes me feel emotional…cathartic…but currently, it’s Public Enemy on Pandora.

As a kid, Maurice Sendek, author of “Where the Wild Things Are” lived up the road. When I was 8 years old I had to call him because I thought one of his dogs found his way to my house….it turned out to not be his dog.

Around the same age, my family always gave my t-ball teammate Suzy a ride to t-ball because her parents were always busy as writers for the soap opera, The Young and the Restless. Shortly after I moved away, the show introduced a character about my same age named “Dusty.” For years we rumored that the character may be been named after me. Recently, through the advent of Facebook, I was re-introduced to Suzy. I asked her about this super awesome story. After talking with her parents, she reported back that it was very unlikely. Sometimes it’s best to not know the truth.

Professionally, I am a humane wildlife trapper. As a greenhorn learning the trade in the Chicago area I trapped raccoons from Walter Payton’s attic. I will never forget being 23 years old and hearing the secretary say “Dusty, Walter is on the phone for you.”

I have worked for some pretty cool cats. Pitcher Scott Sanderson, some other Chicago Bears(forgot their names), William Wrigley Jr. The Wrigley house was amazing. Cement chimneys throughout the attic, filled with raccoons…iron “I beams” holding up the roof. Then there was the time I worked for Trent Dilfer. Trent was the quarterback for the Buccaneers at the time. Trent had a great family, especially a young son named Trevin. My youngest daughter Tegan was the same age. Trent would call Trevin “T-Bone.” So one day I went home and started calling Tegan “T-bone.” I have two daughters, no sons. Having boys has never been important to me but I have joked to my girls about it. Calling Tegan “T-Bone” was one of those ways…the name has since morphed into “Boney”…or “Boney Butt.” In 2003 Trevin died of a hear t condition. Nearly every time I call Tegan “Boney”, I think about little Trevin running around and what a loss it was for such a good family.

Then there was the time I crawled into someone’s attic to look at a pest situation. I saw luggage all over that said “Blue Jays” and “Red Sox.” Living in the Tampa area we have one or two baseball players that take up residence here. After seeing the bags, I asked the older gentleman if he was a ball player…”Yes, I’m the manager for the Red Sox.” “Oh, THAT Jimmy Williams” I thought about saying…but I didn’t. I felt like a dork; I apparently don’t follow baseball that closely. Regardless, Jimmy was great.

When I was 17 I travelled to South America to play soccer for 3 weeks with a Puma national team. We had guys from all over the country. The highlight of the trip was spending the afternoon at Pele’s house in Santo’s Brazil. This was actually my second time meeting the King of Soccer. On a side note, Joe Max-Moore was my teammate. Joe went on to be a star on the World Cup Team and a leading scorer for Everton in England. This was my first time seeing the poverty of the world…it was also my first time seeing what a head of blonde curly hair on a 17 year old American boy will do a dark haired 18 year old Brazilian girl…wow…

There are some lessons you learn the hard way…one of my most memorable lessons was…when chasing a skunk, be sure to close your eyes and your mouth. Check that…probably best to just not chase skunks. I’ve learned that you can love hard and you can love easy but it is difficult to do both…I’ve learned that one may have a passion, albeit it may be something you never would have guessed it would have ever been. I’ve learned that sometimes you can write in such a way that you can say so much, in such a way…that by using the words “in which”and “in such”, twisting and turning your sentences in such a way that you can…in one fell swoop of a run-on sentence…in which you actually say nothing in such a way that it almost sounds intelligent. I’ve learned that the irony of purposefully misspelling a word in order to be humorous is risky if the reader is neither witty nor literate. I’ve also learned that “irony” is one of those words that people use to sound intelligent…though they often don’t know what irony really is…which is ironic…I think.

Masterpiece Theatre is coming on now so I’ll wrap this up….crap, it’s a re-run…Family Guy it is then. Clark, you are a loved, gentle man…and seeing that you have invited not only me…but Lynne Austin to commandeer your blog…you are clearly also a man of questionable decisions; regardless…thank you.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Beware, Black Friday shopperssssss!

If shopping is America's favorite participatory sport, and it so is, then today is the World Series, Super Bowl and Stanley Cup, all-in-one and on sale for $12 while supplies last. Many of you are already either in line waiting to get into some of the country's biggest and best (those two words mean exactly the same thing today) retailers or have already gotten inside and begun your shopping, meaning it's entirely possible that you are reading this on a handheld electronic device that may very well be on sale for a fraction of what you paid for it inside the store you are currently visiting.
How fun!
Regardless, my role as The Voice of Reason is to remind you to be careful out there today. Some of these stores engage in bait-and-switch tactics ("yes, we did have a limited quantity of the 96" plasma flat screen tv's on sale for a nickel each but they're all sold out...yes, I'm aware that I just unlocked the door and the keys are still in my hand and that the door isn't even completely open all the way and that you and several other shoppers are currently trampling me to death...ow, that was my groin...but unfortunately, they, like myself soon, are long gone") while others are even more nefarious. For instance, check out the holiday decorations at this well known store...

Hmm, where have we seen those ornaments before...?
Don't let the cartoon terrorists win!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

An issue that threatens to tear this country apart!

We're at a crossroads, people. Worse, we're in a standoff at that crossroads. Which way do we go? Who goes first? Who's right? Who's wrong? Who's that behind me and why are they honking their horn?
We are a nation divided and it hurts me. Inside, where I am squishy and from whence I wax poetic (What? You don't believe I wax poetic? I wax! I wax all the time!). That's where it hurts me, all deep down in my emotions and stuff.
I'm not talking about anything that the Democranks or Republican'ts or Tea Partitions are doing. This issue isn't prog or con, neo or otherwise. It's bigger than that.
I'm talking, of course, about the Target holiday ads on tv and the fact that in spite of many people, myself included, enjoying them, some people don't. As in really, really don't. For example, my friend Michael Noble chimes in with a critique here at
The ads, in case you haven't seen them, feature my favorite comedian, Maria Bamford portraying a neurotic, obsessive-compulsive, passive-aggressive character who seems to view holiday shopping (and the holidays themselves) as some sort of competition. Obviously, she's holding up a mirror to society. But instead of recognizing the image in the mirror as a reflection of ourselves, some see an enemy and attack. Like dogs or exceptionally stupid toddlers.
Here's one of the ads. Check it out for yourself...

Now, to be fair, I can see the commercials being annoying to some. Simply because all commercials are annoying on some level or another. But when it comes to Maria Bamford, who graciously gave this very blog an interview, I consider myself not only a fan but a friend. That's right, I said it! 
Look! We had our picture taken together. Clearly she's a good person
So I would just ask that you check out some of her work outside of the Target commercials before passing judgment on a performer I consider a genius. Such as this clip, which just happens to be particularly relevant to the holiday season...

Look, don't get me wrong. I'm not saying everybody has to like what I like, I'm just saying I will think less of you if you don't. That's all.
Happy holidays!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Happy (Early) Thanksgiving

I find myself sitting here on Thanksgiving eve with something tangible and timely for which to be thankful: the fantastic roster of talented people who helped me out as guest bloggers this month.
If I had a tv show, it would probably be a lot like this blog, with goofy comedy, observations on politics and pop culture, interviews and exposure to offbeat entertainment. In other words, a late night talk show. So when I decided to particpate in National Novel Writing Month, an activity I knew would dominate my focus, I stole the idea of having guest hosts from the late, great Johnny Carson. I figured it would be a lot more fun to share some new and different writers and artists with people than to just shut it down for a month (and hope that readers would still be there or at least come back when I started it back up). If it was good enough for Johnny, it was good enough for me. As it turns out, it's been more successful than I had hoped. As in too successful. Johnny Carson never had to worry that Joan Rivers would be so great that his audience would be disappointed when he returned. So now I find myself with 50,000 words (almost, still got another week to go) in a big pile that somewhat resembles a novel and a significantly raised bar here at the ol' purple blog. Great. Thanks. Thanks a lot.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Guest Blogger: Roxanne Wilder

Today's guest blogger is Roxanne Wilder, Entertainment Reporter & Movie Critic for And what is that exactly? Why, it's just your #1 spot for movie reviews, entertainment news and celebrity interviews, tailored to those making social plans. Not sure if the new flick about zombies taking over a nuclear submarine is a good choice to see on a first date with someone? Roxanne will tell you (hint: it is, if the date is with me). It's where you can get the inside scoop so you can make informed entertainment choices and ensure that your date nights are successful (well, I think you will probably have to put forth a little effort to make sure that happens, but you get the idea).
Here's Roxanne's review of "Due Date", the comedy smash starring Robert Downey Jr. and Zach Galifianakis that's in theaters right now.

Director Todd Phillips hit it out of the park with his blockbuster comedy, “Hangover”. It's the kind of film you watch and when you hear a funny line, you think, "I've got to remember that and make it part of my repertoire of funny things to say," but before you can commit the joke to memory, an even funnier line is delivered. That being said, Phillips recent project, “Due Date”, includes moments that are as funny as “Hangover's” gut-splitting scenes, but it fails to keep that tempo throughout the film. It's your garden variety buddy love movie pairing Robert Downey Jr.'s character, Peter Highman, and Zach Galifianakis', Ethan Tremblay, on an unplanned road trip from Atlanta to L.A. (so Peter can get there on time to witness the birth of his first child) after Ethan unwittingly entices Peter into using the words 'bomb' and 'terrorist' on the plane, and the duo are abruptly taken off of the flight.

I never doubted that Downey Jr.'s and Galifianakis' performances would be anything less than stellar. Downey plays a neurotic, straight-laced dad-to-be, and I bought every second of it, except when Peter said, "I've never done a drug in my life." Riiiiiight. (That line snapped me back to reality, and I had a flashback to a Downey Jr. mug shot.) For Galifianakis, the pressure must have been on after playing the memorable comedic character, Alan, in “Hangover.” But Ethan is every bit as simultaneously annoying and affable.

Comedy scriptwriters, as of late, are inclined to infuse a story that the viewer is anticipating will be a laugh-a-thon with moments that are sad/heartwarming/endear-you-to-the-characters. It works well in romantic comedies (think “Life As We Know It”) and dysfunctional family comedies (“Little Miss Sunshine”), but I didn’t buy some of the contrived sappiness that “Due Date” served me. About two thirds of the way into the film and after one two many “woe is me I had a tough childhood” or “I miss my deceased parent” lines, I started doing the math on how many more miles they had to cover: “Okay, if they’re at the Grand Canyon now, they’ve got about eight hours left to get to L.A. in real time… how about in movie time?” In other words, get to the hospital already and wrap this baby up.

The big question that Disaster Date Night loves to answer for you --- Do you want to take a date to see this movie? In most cases, yes. Guys, I wouldn't qualify it as a first date movie if your date seems to error on the prissy side. The gratuitous masturbation scene (something Hollywood can't seem to live without in comedies --- a trend that caught on after Ben Stiller's, Ted, made the most of his byproduct by using it as hair gel in “Something About Mary”) is something I could have lived without. There are certain things I don't want to picture many people doing, including Zach Galifianakis, and now, thanks to “Due Date”, I have that image in my head. One of the most humorous scenarios in the film pertained to Jamie Fox's character's close “friendship” with Peter's wife. The set-up kept you wondering until the end of the film “who the baby daddy?” Ladies, if you've got any of those issues with your man (in other words, if your child's paternity is in question), this film might open up some old wounds. Skip it. Overall, “Due Date” satisfied me the way a comedy should but didn't leave me with a post-viewing gratifying stomachache from laughing like “Hangover” did.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Guest Blogger: Jordi Scrubbings

Who's the cat with the 'fro? If you've seen him out and about around various events in the Tampa Bay area and pondered that question, the answer is Jordi Scrubbings, who regularly holds court at You may have also seen him doing stand-up comedy at the Improv under the name Mike Lortz. And if you're seeing him right now on this blog, it's because he's today's guest blogger. Check it out...

Thanks for the introduction, Clark.

I’ve noticed so far this has been a smorgasbord of mindless philosophizing and meandering postulation.

I should fit in well.

Today I want to talk about something that affects us all. A plague upon our society. A scar on our collective wellbeing.

I want to talk about labels.

No, not the labels that make the jacket you want cost five times more in a store in the mall than it would at a bookleg corner market. And not the labels we attach to other people through stereotyping, innuendo, or other sociological shortcuts.

I’m talking about the hundreds of mailing labels that arrive in your mailbox from charities every holiday season. Along with sticky notes, notepads, calendars, and other sorts of “freetionary” (free + stationary = “freetionary”), these labels are supposed to be an incentive for you to give.

Apparently, some ivory tower economist somewhere told these charities that if people get something, they are more likely to give something.

The problem, however, is that while I can use the notepads and sticky notes and even the calendars, I have only have use for a limited amount of labels. After that, they have a value that decreases in utility and increases in annoyance.

Considering I only send out approximately six pieces of mail a month, I have enough labels for 150 months of outgoing mail.

Or 12.5 years.

And that’s if I don’t move from my apartment before 2023.

For those counting at home, that’s 900 stickers with my name and address. And I have only lived in my apartment for two years. Imagine how much larger my collection would be if I lived here longer.

So before this year’s flock of freetionary arrives, I’ve been trying to devise a plan to rid myself of all but a handful of labels. Maybe I could send them back to where they came from. I’d send the USO 113, the March of Dimes 89, MADD 40, Feeding America 36, AMVETS 24, the American Diabetes Association 95, the USA Olympic team 170, and the Disabled American Veterans 330. Maybe I could start a movement like those folks who sent AOL all those damn Free Hours CDs that had a kudzu-like stranglehold on our culture in the 1990s.

Maybe I could actually use the labels. I could put one in every public bathroom I use. Restaurants, truck stops, sports stadiums – it could be my way of marking my territory. Kinda like a graffiti artist, except without the spray paint or artistic ability.

Or maybe I’ll label on everything I own. That would be great for insurance purposes, right?

I’ll put one on the TV, one on the recliner, and even one on each of my 683 Star Wars figures.

This way if I ever lose Yoda, how to mail him back to me whoever finds him will know.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Guest Blogger: John Fontana

Today's special guest blogger is the mysterious John Fontana (or Johnny Fonts as I like to call him). I said mysterious because I've never met or even spoken to the guy, yet we've "known" each other for years now. John is the mastermind behind Raw Charge, the bay area's best blog covering the Tampa Bay Lightning (and a part of the SB Nation Tampa Bay family) and I've met some of his people (I like to imagine him as the kind of guy who "has people" and that he orchestrates their actions from the deep recesses of a shadowy lair) but have never crossed paths with the guy himself. Or have I? I don't know. Maybe I met him when he was in disguise or something and he didn't reveal his true identity. I have no way of knowing. In a way, that's good. I kind of like the idea of somebody taking Batman's approach to fighting crime and adapting it to blogging about hockey.
At any rate, Johnny Fonts is as annoyed by the endless stream of remakes & reboots rolling out of Hollywood as I am. Here is his take on the situation...

Remaking Cinema in the 2000’s

By now, you have noticed Hollywood is out of original ideas – well, unless your name happens to be Christopher Nolan and a selective few others. It’s mostly rehash left and right and in between now at your local Cineplex: Retold stories and continuations of franchises that should have ended by now.

Alas, the reboots are a way of life now in film.

Sunday night, at my older brother’s urging, I watched the 2009 film “The Karate Kid”, which didn’t exactly fit the reboot genre at all because… well, the kid wasn’t learning karate, he was learning kung fu. Details though, right? Who cares! It’s a kid martial artist!

And yet, this was a needless remake of a grand scale. “The Karate Kid” remains a classic to this day. And while Ralph Macchio had his moments of obnoxiousness in the original film, they don’t make you brush off his troubles because he’s an asshole like the current movie.

Sympathy and charaisma, who needs it when you have kun-fu fighting!

The point of this post is that Hollywood filmed a movie, loosely based on an 80’s blockbuster, using the blockbuster’s name in hopes to hit paydirt.

Why do they have to do this with classics? You’d think that an executive would look at some of the duds of the past 50 years and commission a screenwriter to draft a reboot for one of countless steaming piles of crap that Tinseltown has put out in that time.

I mean, seriously, Ishtar is not exactly sacred In it’s current version, it can do with some changes and updating and they may actually make a watchable film. Van Helsing is primed to be remade, because it really wasn’t made in the first place. It was marketed and put onto celluloid in hopes of selling toys and other monster goodies. Not much else.

They can remake the sci-fi classic Planet of the Apes but they won’t touch Waterworld, as if it was such a sacred film that it can’t be re-imagined improved upon…

I’m not entirely against reboots, mind you. Tim Burton and Sam Raimi painted themselves into corners when they did their respective superhero films (Batman and Spider-man, respectively) by killing off the villains. Christopher Nolan’s Batman films stand apart and stand above the Burton features, and Sony is in the process of rebooting Spider-man (ok, a little premature, but…).

They’re remaking Red Dawn – the hit from 1984 – but won’t touch Runaway, the Michael Crichton techno-thriller of low-tech special effects sci-fi from the same year… What is more of a threat in the modern world – technology, or the Commies? What piques the imagination more?

Let’s move away from the movies that made any money (and were considered bombs) and move to one that didn’t make any: A little flick released in 1989 called Catch Me If You Can (not the Spielberg directed movie with Leo DiCaprio). Just reading over the concept on IMDB (economic hard times! Street racing! Gambling! Teens!), it looks like it’d be in the Hollywood crosshairs. Add to it the fact the original film was only released for one week in the US and made less than $4000, and you a true candidate of a bomb that could be re-done for much higher returns.

But, no... Because half the marketing is in brand name recognition. The Day The Earth Stood Still, RETOLD! A Nightmare On Elm Street, begun anew!

No wonder people are staying home, watching reality TV, or spending more time with YouTube video clips. If we wanted the same stuff, over and over again, we’d still be watching Gilligan’s Island reruns.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Guest Blogger: Catherine Durkin Robinson

You read that right: my self-declared nemesis (in regard to winning awards from local independent, alternative, weekly news magazines for whom she is employed) is today's guest blogger. Aside from being a blogger, columnist and author of a published novel (I'm right behind you, lady!), I don't even know what I can say about Catherine that I haven't already slandered libellously all over the blogosphere (are we still using that term? I haven't been attending meetings. Somebody help me) so I will steal this paragraph from her web site's bio:
Not easily defined, I’m a feminist who’s had cosmetic surgery, a wife who has never been domestically inclined, and a mommy who doesn’t particularly like kids. In my spare time, I investigate missing socks.
Here's her contribution...

Double the fun

The man I am bound to for eternity and beyond listens to sports/talk radio. Recent topic: “Gifts for the Wife.” A caller suggested taking the lovely lady to a department store for an accurate bust measurement and then showering her with properly-fitting bras. The host agreed and said most women don’t wear undergarments that fit well and, as a result, damage their backs and shoulders. When did Oprah infiltrate the locker room? Anyway, my husband relayed this information while presenting me with a gift certificate I’d have preferred to blow on shoes and organic refreshments.

I decided to humor him. I thought maybe a few seconds with a tape measure would lead to a bra sale and I’d head back toward Kenneth Cole in less than twenty seconds.

Instead, Delilah looked at me for a full minute and yelled to her assistant, “Hold my calls. This is gonna take awhile.”

Delilah’s badge read: Certified Fitting Specialist.

I’m not sure what college or technical institution awards such certificates, but this woman knew boobs like I know rap lyrics. Delilah marched me into the dressing room and shut the door. Surprised at first, I quickly got over this invasion of my personal space when she gruffly commanded, “Take off your blouse.”

I almost asked her to put on Massive Attack and compliment my eyes.

Instead, Delilah groped like a high school boyfriend and asked my bra size. I said “34 C” and she choked back a chuckle.

“Stay here,” she said and walked out the door.

I waited and tried to avoid the not-quite-ready-for-prime-time player staring back at me in the mirror. Delilah returned with several selections.

“Turn around and take off your bra,” she said.

While looping the girls into a contraption resembling a straight-jacket, Delilah asked me to bend over and “allow gravity to do its job” before snapping me into place and adjusting the straps. I don’t like that position in the dark much less under fluorescent lighting. At the very least, she should have offered me a drink.

I stood up and smiled. Wearing a magnificent brassiere that fit like a seamless and very expensive glove, I thought, “This must be how Giselle Bundchen feels!”

Skies opened and the love of the Lord was upon me. A fantastic moment that included singing angels until I screamed and blood shot from my eyeballs because I noticed the tag said, “32 DD”.

“There must be some mistake.”

The woman shook her head and looked as if she were handing down a death sentence.

“No, sweetheart, that’s what you get for nursing twins.”

She made what women in her line of work refer to as an educated guess.

“Ignore the cup and just be happy you’ve gone down a number size,” she said, delicately. “Most men could fit their hands around your rib cage and most women would love this kind of figure!”

Yeah, I thought, women who walk the streets at night. I stared at Delilah and swallowed a bit of vomit.

“The bad news is your boobs are now, officially, larger than life,” she continued because awkward silences are no way to close a sale, “so good luck finding bras anywhere other than the Internet. I had to search through five cartons in the back because most double-anythings are built for women built like Roseanne. Try some of the more popular porn sites for your size and stay away from silver-studded bustiers. Those can crack a tooth – trust me; I learned that the hard way.”

I walked out of the store feeling better than I had in ages. Can’t wait to see what Husband comes up with next year.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Guest Blogger: Ellen Mueller

Today's guest blogger is Ellen Mueller and I am thrilled as she is hands down my absolute favorite artist. She's a genius. In case you don't know, I've been fortunate to have the opportunity to work with Ellen previously:
Both experiences were rewarding and I hope I get the chance to work with her again. In the meantime, in her ongoing effort to help us all accept change and maintain control of our lives, she has contributed a short film with practical advice that we may not ever need but will be happy to have if we do.


Also, check out her web site for more examples of her work.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Guest Blogger: Marissa Rapier

Today's special guest blogger is Marissa Rapier, the pride of Kankakee, Illinois. I've enjoyed reading her blog "Marissology" (formerly known as "Wild Hair") for years now, even though the content often makes me blush and sometimes Google what she's talking about and then blushing an even deeper shade of red, because I'm all shy and demure and stuff.
Anyway, Miss Riss has graciously taken time out of her very busy schedule to make a contribution to my blog, and here it is...

When I dislike something I dislike it with passion. Take, for instance, the band Bon Jovi. Gag! When Jon sings it sounds like he's taking a dump while razor blades are extruded from his anus. If one of their songs plays on the radio I lurch with a vengeance to change the station. Making matters worse is when my co-worker, whom I don't like to begin with, plays their "greatest hits." Yes, I put that in quotations because nothing is greatest about that band in my less than humble opinion. Talk about setting me up for a horrible workday. Then, I want to punch her in the face because she knows darn well that I hate their music. However, legal restraints keep me from doing so. It would be so cool, for dramatic effect, if I could rip the disc from the player and smash it with a hammer or some how manage the sound of a needle dragging across a record. Instead, I play nice and try to find a happy place. With any luck, the hot UPS guy will drop his package and bend over right in front of my window at the mall.

For many years I've compiled lists of movies and musical artists that I'd like to punch in the face. Not long ago it hit me that the vitriol inspired by these things branched out to other subjects, like pajamas in public or style being sported by pregnant women wearing regular pants but leaving them unzipped and unbuttoned to make room for their baby bump. The list is endless. Because of that never ending list, I needed a place to vent my ire. Wouldn't you know it! Someone else had already created such a blog and fan page on Facebook. Had this person heard about my lists or stumbled across my blog when I posted about the movies I'd like to give a knuckle sandwich or could it be possible that great minds DO think alike? Needless to say, I was slow on the draw. The creator, Jennifer Worick, claims she made the expression wildly popular. Uh, not exactly, but I like her style. I solemnly swear on Clark's blog that I had never heard of it until the phrase was uttered from my lips. She's the one with the published books. So, that pretty much gives her greater credibility, I guess. And for that I want to punch her in the face. Then, have coffee and point out all the things we want to punch in the face in our surrounding area.

Monday, November 08, 2010

Guest Blogger: Jeff Hickmott

"Oh, yes and I guess you need a pic.
It's me smooching with Kylie."

Today's guest blogger is Jeff Hickmott (in case you thought the headline might have been some kind of trick). Jeff is a world traveler, currently residing in the UK. He also...well, I'll let him give you his own short bio: "Short bio, you say? My name is Jeff, I write the blogs The World Of Jeff! and The Food Of Jeff! I'm almost 45, quite handsome and dashing, er, what else do you folks need to know? Hair - brown with flecks of grey. Height 6 foot 12. Legs like a gazelle. Bionic blood. Thighs like tugboats." I don't know that I can add anything to that word portrait so I won't even try. Here is Jeff's contribution...

Up For It
I was in a rut. A writing rut. I had a full-blown case of the blogger's blues. It had been a good few days since I'd had anything I really wanted to write about.

When I really enjoy writing (well, typing really, if ya wanna get technical) is when I have something really interesting to write about - something I saw on the news, some hot topic that's in the public eye or something that just gets my goat and makes me want to have a good rant. Sometimes, though, it can be something simple, like writing about writing. Or writer's block. Or Rubik's Cubes. Or food.

Well, it was obvious what I needed. A challenge. This is where fortune, and Clark, stepped in.

Clark sent out a message that he was taking a month off from The Trickle (as we in the inner circle refer to this hallowed institution) to take part in NaNoWriMo, as confusing and hard to say a monicker as you'll ever find. He's challenged himself to write a novel in a month. Well, good luck with that, buddy. I've been trying to write a novel for 15 years, and I'm still struggling with that difficult third chapter. When it all goes tits-up, don't say I didn't warn ya. Oh, and go for a nice snappy title. Something along the lines of "My Buddy Jeff", "King Jeff", or even "The World Of Jeff!". Say, that last one has a nice ring to it.
Anyway, where was I? That's right, he sent out a desperate plea for assistance.
"My friends," quoth Mr. Brooks (for it was he), "I'm taking a month off to write The Great American Novel, and all that jazz (I'm paraphrasing here) and I need a bunch of mugs, I mean volunteers to write it for me, and all that. Word."

So there it was. The Golden Opportunity. The Shining Moment. Destiny was calling. I had a chance, a real chance, to become a "guest blogger" on a popular, well-known, stupendously awesome blog by a writer of high esteem and sagacity (No need to thank me, Mr. Brooks, no need!) I would do it. I would write a piece for Da Trickle (to give it its street name) and become an instant success! An overnight sensation! A-number-One! Cream of the crop! Staaart spreadin' the newwws...
What would my family and friends think about this newfound stardom? What would me mum say?

I know exactly what she'd say, actually. "You're getting too big for your boots, Jeffrey!"

And then there's the problem of fans, isn't there? Adoring masses outside my house at all hours of the day and night. Paparazzi. Stalkers. I'd go into hiding, like J.D. Salinger and never write again. Or like Sean Connery in 'Finding Forrester'. I can actually do a passable Connery impression. Absholutely, Mish Moneypenny. I found the cure for the plague of the 20th Shentury and now I've losht it! I am a man of a thousand voices.

Anything is possible. I might spiral into a dizzying, er, spiral of booze, women and Geritol. And more booze. It'd be all over the tabloids. "I HAD JEFF'S ALIEN DINGO HAMSTER BABY, SAYS LOHAN", "JEFF ATE MY LASAGNA", "WHY ARE YOU READING THIS NONSENSE", "JEFF WORKING ON REWRITE OF EIGHT IS ENOUGH", the headlines would scream.
So here I am on The Conch (to give it its Waikikian name). It is indeed an honour and a privilege.

But what to write about? What? Hmmm. I have much thinkage about this tricky one.

I'll figure it out at some point.

Friday, November 05, 2010

Guest Blogger: Jessie Stehlik

Jessie Stehlik is an artist specializing in photography (she did my headshots!) and graphic design. We almost went into business together behind the most brilliant restaurant concept ever devised. That didn't work out (probably for the best). But luckily for me, it turns out that, in addition to all of her other talents, although casually oblivious to reality (her description, not mine), she is a writer. With jokes. Who knew?

Conversations with Comics.

While Clark is away doing his (insert whatever boring project yadda yadda book thing here), he’s graciously asked me if I would like to participate as a guest blogger. And BOY would I.
I’ve decided to make it my mission to really class this place up by bringing in some comedic star power, with the ultimate intention of rocketing this place up to the very top of the blogosphere, being given all the credit for it, and taking over by pure brute force and the support of my new fans.
So, with that, here are interviews with, not one, but SIX comedians. I’m not going to go so far as to say that these interviews are…*slightly*…fictional, but I’ll just go ahead and replace their “answers” with the sound that Charlie Brown’s teacher makes, so as not to be sued by their respective agencies.

First up: JON STEWART!

Me: Your recent Rally To Restore Sanity And/Or Fear has received quite a bit of press lately, with your speech in particular receiving critical praise. My question for you about that is: are you happily married?

Jon: …wah, wah. Wah wah wah.

Me: I know you’re saying yes, but it’s obvious that you mean “no.” I understand you have kids. How easy will it be for you to abandon them when we move to Paris together?

Jon: …

Okay, that interview didn’t end well, so let’s just get to the next person on my list, Hugh Laurie:

Me: I often have chest pain and arrhythmia. Do you think it could be Lupus?

Hugh: Wah wah wahwahwah wah wahwah.

Me: HA! Come on now, of course you’re a real doctor! Don’t be so hard on yourself!

Hugh: Wah wah wah.

Me: I’m sorry, your fake British accent is very distracting, what now?

Hugh: Wah wah wah.

Me: Of course it’s fake, it’s terrible.

Hugh: Wah @$%&; wah, wah @#$%.

Me: ...can I still book you for a physical?

I never said I was a journalist. In fact, the mere fact that I’m blogging is proof that I don’t have a bone of journalistic integrity in my body. Right? Am I right? Oh, come on. You know I’m right.
Nevermind, let’s just move on. Robin Williams!

Me: Hi, Ro…

Robin: WAAHAHAHAHAHHAH wah wah WAH wah WAHAAAHHAH!!!!!!!! Wahwahwahwahwah@%&$wah@#$&;wah WAH WAH!!!!!!! @#$%&;%#@$!!!!!! WAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

Me: Oh, I, uh, yeah, heh, that’s....

Robin: WAH wah wah WAH WAH wah @#%$wah @&;$#@ wah wah wah!!! Wah??!?!?!?!?! WAH!

Me: Well that’s certainly interes…

Robin: Wah WAH wah!

Me: No, I didn’t know your rectum could do that. You know, I’m really sorry, but I just realized I have another interview and have to run, but it was a great pleasure to mee…

Robin: @^&;#$ WAAAH!

Next: Dane Cook

Me: Why? And please stop. You’re an insult to comics everywhere.

That’s actually the end of the interview because I stormed out upset. I’m pretty sure I caught the reflection of him humping a bar stool as I walked out.

Finally, Steve Carrell:

Me: You are, obviously, a most beloved and respected comedian who has stolen many hearts with your representation of the endearing yet obviously flawed Michael Scott. So who cashed in your soul to make you leave the show? Are you moving on to do His work – like gathering up the innocent to bring them to a fiery hell?

Steve: Wah. Wah wah wah wah wah wah.

Me: Can you at least tell me who is going to fill the gaping void of tearful nothingness that you will leave behind?

Steve: Wah Wah.

Me: oh….OH. That’s GOOD. Like, REALLY good. The show is probably going to be even BETTER now. Wow. Too bad I don’t have a public forum by which I can relay this staggering news!

(turns, looks at the camera and winks)

That’s all, folks! Tune in next week as we discuss the incredible world of broccoli!!!

Clark: *wah wah wah wah WAH wah.*

Jessie: what do you mean I’m not invited back...?

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Guest Blogger: Ruprecht

For all I know, this is an actual photo
I was first introduced to the mysterious Ruprecht (he only has one name like Prince and Madonna!) through association with mutual friends, fellow writer-y types. He has two blogs, both very funny "Rupe's Value Added Services" and "F (STOP)". We've never met in person (I know he operates out of California and is a Dodgers fan), which is probably good, because I can totally see us getting involved in wacky misadventures that would end with us in a convertible hurtling over the edge of a cliff, a la Thelma and Louise (he would be the one wearing the scarf). Here is his guest contribution, an election day adventure you're sure to enjoy...

Voter #000023

It can be a wonderful thing.
Especially if you’re in control of it … if you have the upper hand on how it’s distributed when you didn't start it.

When I went in to vote early yesterday morning, I recognized an acquaintance among the handful of volunteers at the polling place. An acquaintance who, in the distant past, has gotten under my skin more times than I can count.
You know the sort: Snide remarks. It's a major undertaking for them to say anything civil, let alone nice. The kind who not only enjoys sticking the knife in, but twists it as well.

Well, the modus operandi of this particular acquaintance was such that it’s in her nature to do just that. It so happened she was working the polling place as a volunteer.

“Hello, Sally!” I said as I approached her. I stuck out my hand to shake hers in a show of good will salutation. Surrounded by others who were watching, she had no choice other than to reciprocate. She offered her hand gingerly, as if my touch would somehow taint her.
Her comment back to me was “Why, hello! Wow! You look nice! I’m not used to seeing you so dressed up!”
The way she said it was as if she’d only ever seen me in torn jeans and a raggedy T-shirt. I swear there was a drop or two of acidic vitriol dripping from her words.
My reply? “Well … that’s because you’re used to only seeing me naked.”
Yes. There were wide eyes and muffled laughter all around the room. Sally turned several shades of red and didn't know exactly what to say.

Drama. It can be a wonderful thing.

Monday, November 01, 2010

Guest Blogger: Gail Worley

Gail Worley, Rock Critic At Large is the author of The Worley Gig. She loves Alice Cooper (the band, not the guy), rock drummers, bacon and all things pink. She lives in New York and has promised that she will take me sightseeing if I ever get up there again (specifically to go see the site of the original CBGB's, which will make me sad because now it's a Foot Locker or a Starbucks or Baby Gap or something and now I'm already sad). Also, she has agreed to share content here to help fill the gaping void while I am away, which is slightly different than the gaping void that exists when I am here. This is her review of stand-up comedian Daniel Tosh who is on a national tour right now...

Must See Comedy: Daniel Tosh Tour 2010 

2010 has been a great year for seeing some of my favorite stand up comedians: Ricky Gervais, Demitri Martin, and just last night I was lucky to catch Daniel Tosh – certainly one of the most wildly popular comedians on the circuit right now – at the first of two shows he played at New York City’s Beacon Theater. I’ve been an avid fan of Tosh’s Comedy Central show, Tosh.0, since I discovered it accidentally about a year ago. As soon as I heard tickets were going on sale for his Tosh 2010 tour, I made sure I grabbed a pair. For fans of Tosh.0, Daniel’s stand up is slightly different, in that there are no screens, no videos and no props onstage with him at all. It’s all 100% pure Tosh, just riffing seamlessly and brilliantly spot-on about everything and everyone – from the citizens of New Orleans, to Brett Favre to rap artists, whom he sarcastically thanks for “keeping women in their place” – in his signature un-PC style. He is not afraid to say offensive things about every group of people – from religious zealots to political conservatives and liberals as well, not to mention poor and fat people. I love how he simplifies how ridiculous we all are with our “I’m a victim” mentality. No quarter is given, and that’s why Tosh just slays every time. But if you are humorless, overly PC, or offended by anything at all you should probably stay home.

It was a sold-out crowd for the Beacon’s 7:30 show (Tosh performed again at 10 PM) and obviously everyone in attendance was a huge fan of the Comedy Central show. One of my favorite bits was Daniel’s recollection of having been delayed on a flight that sat on the tarmac for three hours while the airline waited for another flight to arrive, so that they could get more seat belt extenders, which are needed when heavy passengers cannot fit within the confines of a standard safety belt. “Not only were they out of seat belt extenders on the plane, they were out of seat belt extenders in the entire airport,” he exclaimed hilariously. This, of course led to his riffs on fat Americans, which are always hilarious, because they are so true. I also enjoyed his bit about what Johnny Depp, at age 48, goes through in his nightly routine to get ready to leave the house, as he decides he needs to accessorize with eight bracelets instead of just seven (this is probably a lot funnier in person than it sounds written down).

One of the more complicated bits Tosh did tied together a horrifying incident at an Atlanta amusement park, where a young man was accidentally decapitated, and how annoying it is when you have a cast on your leg and all anybody wants to ask you is “how did you break your leg?” I didn’t really see where he was going with this one but, trust me, he pulled it off beautifully. The amusement park decapitation/broken leg bit was a perfect example of how you’ll think Tosh is going in one direction with the joke, and then he zigs and zags so much that he gets four or five different punch lines in before he then manages to bring it all back to where he started. I don’t know anyone else who is really able to do that live. It’s also worth noting that one hundred percent of his material was completely new to me, so even if you watch Tosh.0 faithfully, you will probably be surprised by most of what goes down in the live show. While Daniel’s set was only slightly over one hour long, (not including two warm up acts, one very funny and the other not so much) every second was absolutely, ridiculously funny. I would definitely see him again on any future tour and recommend you check out the Tosh Tour 2010 when it comes to your city. Daniel Tosh!