Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Who Needs Marriage?

The definition of coupledom: being named in the “special thanks” of your friend’s play because your girlfriend helped her run lines.

But I was happy to be mentioned, even if I didn’t actually deserve it. So, here, let me earn my credit.

Everybody should go and see Kathy’s play tonight. It’s called “Twisted Shorts.” A series of one-acts. Kathy is in two of them (the best two by the way, and I'm not just saying that). You can catch the show tonight at 7:30 at The Historic Lankershim Arts Center at 5108 Lankershim Blvd. That’s in North Hollywood. North Hollywood is a great place because you can walk around calling it NoHo like the locals do. It gives you a hollow air of arty importance. Like the town.

I’m going to start calling this blog tAnMa. I’m working on some banners that I’m going to hang from every streetlight so that all the peoples of LA will come to the historic art community of tAnMa.

Imagine their disappointment.

Anyway, I don’t want to bag on NoHo. It’s a fine place. Real arty and junk.

Thanks, Kathy, for the…thanks. I’m glad I could be of such service. And I was happy that I could flesh out your bio with my (our) upcoming short feature film (in theatres soon, don’t miss it).

Fun Fact: “Artistic community” is code for “lots of space and cheap rent.”

Tuesday, August 30, 2005


Huddle together for comfort. There is no new TAM Cartoon for today. Sorry. I was actually busy yesterday and didn’t get a chance to draw it.

I’m busy today too. I have some music to write. So this is about all you get.

Feel free to check out some of the great sites that I have linked to on the right (feel free to check out the bad ones too). Listen to some music. Or maybe, just maybe, visit the TAM Cartoon archives?

Fun Fact: Evidently there was some kind of storm or something that happened down in the New Orleans/Biloxi area?

I don’t know. I think I heard a little blurb about it on the news.

Oh, and understatement is the lowest form of humor.

Friday, August 26, 2005

I’m a Hottie

Not the good kind of hottie. The hot kind of hottie. The temperature kind. No, I don’t have a temperature…oh this is getting convoluted.

It’s hot outside. And because of my inside’s proximity to the outside and my person's proximity to my inside, I’m also hot. And since I can go no place that’s neither inside or outside…I’m screwed.

And did I mention hot?

I’m talking African continent if it moved to the surface of the sun and turned into Melissa Joan Hart hot.

Did I mention my baffling celebrity crush on Melissa Joan Hart?

The worst thing about this heat is that it was completely unexpected. Nobody predicted it. Or, if they did, they didn’t let me in on it. The weathermen in town all try to be cool about it. They try to talk about the heat, taking the focus squarely off of the fact that they seem to have slept through all those meteorology computer correspondence courses.

What happened to the old forecast? What happened to the 76º days that were promised me?!

Why do we even have a forecast? It’s never right. Locally, ignoring the fact that they can’t even predict the next five days, our LA ABC affiliate has instituted the 7 day forecast.

Wow! Seven days! Well, that’s more then isn’t it? This one goes to seven!

My love for seeing random numbers plastered across the screen accompanied by attractive graphics of clouds and suns aside, it’s just really two more days of useless crap. It just gets my hopes up.

And when I get my hopes up, there’s only one thing that I’ll let dash them and it’s not the weather. It’s emotional rejection. I’ve learned to live with that. It’s blasé to me now.

No, I’m kidding. I’m not afraid of emotional rejection. Don’t think I’m sad or weird. And whatever you do, don’t emotionally reject me.

Or do. Whatever.

My point is that I hate weatherman. I know that they act like idiots to escape reputability and therefore responsibility but I hate them anyway. Go and get your crap together, weathermen! Go back to school! That’s why your station managers give you email accounts, dummies!

The heat is messing with my little brain and making me cranky.

Did I mention that I’m hot?

And not the good kind?

Fun Fact: The latest TAM Cartoon is up! That’s a fact. And oh so fun! Hottastic!

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Truth is Faker than Fiction

The film industry has put out a lot of crap in recent years. As a “screenwriter” I’m very sensitive to it. When I see something bad I often think to myself, “could I do better than that?”

Could I write something better than Ocean’s Twelve?

If you’d ever read one of my screenplays, you would know that the answer to that question is “probably not.”

The problem is that there are very few ideas out there that are fresh and new. In fact, I’d be willing to bet that if you ever went to see a movie that didn’t have a plot similar to any other movie you’ve ever seen then you would be thoroughly bored out of your mind.

That’s not to excuse the endless strings of remakes. I remember a time when The Dukes of Hazzard were cool and Bewitched had a hot leading lady. And hey, don’t miss I Dream of Jeannie, in theaters soon starring Jessica Alba and Jimmy Fallon.

I gagged a little when as I typed that last sentence.

But with such a dearth of intelligent fiction in Hollywood it’s no wonder that the film industry has started to embrace the documentary with such fervor. Now we can see penguins waddling like precious little prom kings, paraplegics play rugby and a delusional idiot get himself and his girlfriend eaten by a bear. That’s entertainment!

But other wonderful genres that have received the star treatment these days are the bio-pic and the non-fiction (films based on actual events).

Thank god for the non-fiction. I’m sick of seeing unlikely plots and characters. Finally, movies that have that necessary apparatus…truth. No more crazy, far out characters in plots that twist so much that they even confused the writer. Nothing but simple reality. Real things that happened to real people. Because we all know that everyday life can be more complex than even an M. Night Shyamalan script (well, not mine, but maybe yours).

That’s why I can’t wait to see the Exorcism of Emily Rose.

It’ll be nice to see something that actually happened up there on the screen.

Fun Fact: I wasted a lot of effort just to bash a stupid movie. But all is not lost. I have a present for you.

A couple years ago my cigarette habit used to pay off periodically. The nice people at Marlboro used to send me presents. Recipe books (for the BBQ, none of the recipes contain cigarettes), lighters (a necessity), playing cards (I’ll need something to help me pass the time when I’m in that iron lung), dice (same), coupons etc…

But, by far the best thing they sent was a CD. A compilation of unknown bands from across the country (incidentally, H is Orange, linked to on the right, almost made the cut). And I was introduced to one of my favorite songs. It’s by a band called Alva Star from Minneapolis.

The song is “Unhappily Yours.”

Go here to download it free from The version on their album is a bit different from the version that I have on the Marlboro CD (Marlboro had them all re-record the songs especially for the Marlboro release) but it’s still the same great song.


Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Happy Birthday Asher!

I know that my cute little nephew Asher can’t read this, but I thought that I would post it anyway.


Here’s a picture of him.

Now, if you’ve ever said to yourself “I’m dying to know, what the heck did TAM look like at that age?”

Well, you’re pretty much looking at it. He looks a lot like yours truly, which is weird if you ask me.

Poor kid.

So, Asher, here’s some advice for your birthday: If a woman introduces herself with a dollar amount, chances are she’s not going to be your soul mate.

What? Too adult? I tried to keep it clean. He’s a toddler! I told you that he can’t read this.

Just don’t read it to him and my sister won't hurt me.

What the Hell is Wrong with You People?!

As you probably have already guessed, I’m a virgin.

No, I’m not really. Really, I’m not. But there are people out there who are. Many people in fact.

Sure, most of them are under the age of 15, but there are some adults. Adult virgins. A phenomenon that has been brought to the fore by the release of the new Steve Carell flick The 40-Year-Old Virgin.

But it’s no laughing matter. It’s a lifestyle choice, don’t you know. Like being gay. Or being a woman. But without the unpleasant side-effects.

Even the mainstream media is jumping on the virgins. Good Morning America (I think it was them) ran a story just this morning on this very topic. They were determined to discover why some adults have chosen to live their lives like priests (good priests).

They brought in an expert. A psychiatrist, not a virgin. And she went into her schpeil about how certain people claim to have convictions about their virginity. They say that they don’t want to have sex until their married etc...

Good for you Dr. Lady. It’s society’s problem. There’s noting wrong with being a virgin, right? I mean some people just don’t want to have sex, right? Finally, an expert who’s willing to blow the lid off the “virginity = lame-ass loser” myth.

Virgins of the world can rejoice. And people like me (who is not a virgin) can get some much-needed insight into the mind of an adult virgin. Thank god, finally.

The Dr. pointed out that adult virgins (and non-virgins who have steered down the road of abstinence) aren’t lame-ass losers.

But they might have some serious issues to confront.

Yup, it turns out that in this doctor’s professional opinion, adult virgins have behavioral shortcomings that keep them from giving in to their animal lust.

What a nice story, ABC. I’m sure that your sexually active viewers will be happy to know that they’re perfectly healthy.

And way cooler than those virgins. Let’s laugh at them. What a bunch of mental defectives. Get laid already!

Fun Fact: This has very little to do with being a virgin, but it’s a fact:

Private George Jorgenson was the first person to receive a sex change. He felt that he was a man trapped in a woman’s body (incidentally, I felt the same way when I was a fetus).

George-Jorge went under the knife in 1952. A Danish doctor performed the sex change operation…

Dr. Christian Hamburger.

Which pretty much ruled out any chance of having the surgical procedure named after him. Sure, men who want a sex change aren’t too thrilled about their genitals, but I’d wager that there isn’t a man alive who’s willing to subject his penis to a procedure called “the Hamburger.”

Oh, and the latest TAM Cartoon is up! Sesameseedbun-a-licious!

Monday, August 22, 2005

The ABCs of Journalism

There are very few worthwhile news items on the morning shows these days. I should rephrase that. There are few news stories on the morning shows that are presented in a worthwhile manner.

This morning was the usual tripe. Natalee Holloway. It seems that her potential college dorm room is waiting for her. Reporters even got a couple of Natalee’s parallel-dimension college classmates to say how sad they were to not be able to make friends with her. Oh poor bizarro-world classmates, it must be very hard to lose a maybe-perhaps BFF like that.

There was a story on the continually inflating housing bubble. Will it last forever? Yes, of course it will. Just look around at all of the other things in this world that have lasted forever! Morons.

There were some other stories too, but I start not to listen when they can report on ovarian cancer with the same zeal and conviction that they report on the lives of the actresses from Desperate Housewives.

Oh, ABC, what has happened to you?

I was losing what little faith I had left. Was I finally going to have to bite the bullet and suffer through the idiocy of Matt Lauer and Katie Couric? Or, worse…Jillian Barberie? (It’s an LA local news thing)

But then I saw my salvation. Finally a story I could get behind.

Are MRIs Safe?

See, MRI machines have powerful magnets in them which have actually drawn things into them. Things like freaking chairs and oxygen tanks!

(Tragically, a boy was killed by that oxygen tank flying into his head at 40mph.)

But the story got better. To illustrate the dangers of the magnets in an MRI they did a remote feed to a doctor at a major hospital. He was standing in front of an MRI machine that was destined to be decommissioned. So anything went with this thing.

He talked about the “safe zone” and blah, blah, blah. And then he got down to business.

He nearly got pulled off his feet by a bunch of keys on a strap around his neck as they flew into the machine…

He tethered a wrench to the wall and made it float in midair in front of the MRI’s opening…

Charlie Gibson babbled on about patient safety and whatnot. But nobody cared, I’m sure. They were probably all like me. Transfixed on the action taking place in the other part of the split-screen.

The doctor was pulling out an 18 inch metal pizza pan.

Oh, this was going to be great. We were all going to get to see a pizza pan fly into an MRI machine with the deadly velocity of Oddjob’s bowler hat.

Poised for MRI magnet fun, the doctor stood in the background, pizza pan clutched in his fist as we all waited in excited anticipation.

But then, inexplicably, Charlie Gibson casually said, “thank you, that was very informative.”

And tossed to a commercial!

No pizza pan/magnet thrills for me this morning. What a freaking tease.

So, if anybody out there has an old MRI machine sitting around that they don’t care about…I’ve got a pizza pan.

Fun Fact: I called it. Yes, that’s right, you heard it here first, folks. The “Piano Man” is a fraud. And I, The Anthropomorphic Male, knew it!

But even I wasn’t ready for the full extent of his charade.

Turns out the dude doesn’t even play the piano. He just drew a picture of one.

You know something, this is the goddamned 21st century. Is it really that difficult to find out if the guy actually plays the piano?!

See, the doctors mentioned that the mysterious stranger sat at the piano. But he never actually played anything moderately resembling the songs he was so famous for playing. The Beatles and Tchaikovsky.

He just kept playing the same notes over and over and over again. Not nearly as impressive.

I mean, anyone can play an Usher song.

What kind of journalism is this? I expect the media to get speculative when they don’t have the actual facts, but this is ridiculous. They turned a nobody with no talent into a genius concert pianist. What a bunch of idiots.

He’s no pianist. Everyone knows that since the guy is German, he’s obviously the reincarnation of Hitler.


Friday, August 19, 2005

Nuts to You!

Yesterday, after finishing the latest TAM Cartoon, I was left with a couple options for what to do with the rest of my day. See, contrary to popular belief, I actually do get some things done here during the day. Being unemployed doesn’t mean that I’m not working on stuff.

I could either polish the short film script that I’m planning on directing soon or I could finish the feature-length screenplay that I’ve been fussing over for the last few months. But see, I’m still waiting for some notes on the short and the feature is already 103 pages long and I still have to finish the second half of the third act.

Since that was way too much work for me yesterday, I decided to sit down with the remnants of a can of Planters mixed nuts (with less than 50% peanuts) and watch our brand-spanking-new Simpsons Season Six DVDs.

There was a problem.

Not with the Simpsons DVD set, it’s fantastic (even with its conspicuous lack of subtitles). No, my problem was with my nuts.

Oh, grow up.

I purchased an ample can of Planters Mixed Nuts (with less than 50% peanuts) a few weeks ago. They were to make my birthday party all the more festive. People like mixed nuts. Mixed nuts and M&Ms.

We put them out and our fantastic guests munched on them absently, like good guests do with mixed nuts. We poured them into little cups for the party and when the party was over, poured the remaining nuts back into the can to be enjoyed later (unsanitary?).

There weren’t many back in the can after the evening was through. So I could easily polish them off yesterday in a single Simpsons episode.

But I learned something about my friends yesterday as I spilled the remaining nuts onto a paper towel so that I could separate them into types and eat them in a very specific order (OCD? No! I just like uniformity of taste damnit! Do I have OCD just because I like to separate my mixed nuts by type…and M&Ms by color?! No! I’m not compelled to do it, I just like to. And I don’t have to recite the Pledge of Allegiance every time I open a kitchen cupboard either. I just find it comforting).

But enough about me. Back to my friends. I learned something about them. Something horrifying.

They’re selective bastards. Nut-pickers. They weren’t absently munching on the nuts after all! They were far more sinister about it.

Yesterday I was left with about 4 cashews, 1 pecan, 5 almonds, no Brazil nuts, 2 hazelnuts (fine by me) and about 2 million peanuts!

Unacceptable! Way more than 50% peanuts! The entire mix was off! My friends made complete liars out of Mr. Peanut. Not cool.

A complete lack of mixed nut eating etiquette!

See, here’s how things are supposed to work; a protocol lesson for all of you:

Nobody likes their mixed nuts to contain too many peanuts. The good people at Planters know this. That’s why they print “with less than 50% peanuts” conspicuously on the label.

So, don’t be selfish. Cashews are expensive. That’s why cheap jerk-asses like myself buy the mixed nuts. I want to provide cashews, but don’t want to look like I can’t afford an entire can of them. So, in the interest of seeming like I’m giving some kind of variety, I buy the mixed nuts…and save a couple bucks.

But here’s where you come in.

You can’t just fish around for the expensive nuts, leaving everyone else to suffer with peanuts. When there’s a bowl of mixed nut, you have to work for the good ones.

Think of it like paying a toll. For every pecan or cashew you eat, take at least 5 peanuts. It evens out the mix. It keeps it consistent. And it spares the next guy hours of picking through peanuts just to find one lousy pecan.

So, the next time you find yourself at a party, take pity on the mixed-nut-puter-outter. He or she is poor. If he or she were made of pecans you would have a bowl of pecans sitting in front of you. But you don’t. You’ve got mixed nuts. So smile like you mean it and choke down some peanuts.

Don’t cheat either. Your host will eventually find out.

And don’t forget to say the Pledge of Allegiance the next time you reach for a can of soup.

Fun Fact: Speaking of friends at my birthday party (which was a lot of fun by the way as at the time I was blissfully unaware of the nut situation), I have a new blog to link to. The Essence of Z. Check it out. She’s a great chick. And may have an affinity for cashews.

Oh, yeah, and I’ve mentioned already, the latest TAM Cartoon is up! Eventsrelatingtoreal-lifesituatoinsarepurelycoincidentaltastic!

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Advice for Cindy

*Politics Alert: Get your funny elsewhere*

Cindy Sheehan, grieving mother, anti-war activist, political lightning rod, humanitarian, crackpot.

Yes, Cindy is a little bit of all those things. Including crackpot. But let me explain myself. See, I think that the war in Iraq has been misguided. It’s been ineptly and naïvely waged. And I think that George Bush is to blame.

Why is Cindy Sheehan a crackpot? Because she is spending her time trying to get an answer from our president to the question; “what is the noble cause that my son died for?”

See, she already knows the answer. In fact she’ll accept no other answer than “because I’m a dickhead.” It’s a rhetorical question. And yet she actually expects that she is going to get another meeting with George Bush.

Yeah sure, Cindy. We all know the lengths that George has gone to in order to legitimize the war in Iraq. And he’s going to undo all that just for you?

I understand that she’s just trying to point out the absurdity of the war. And she was doing a good job. That is until she decided that she was going to take on the entire world.

She started in on Israel. That’s a no-no. Since World War II, the Jews have been granted an exclusive “do not judge” clause from the world. And until that clause expires, you have to be very careful about leveling criticism at them, or their relationship to the United States and the Palestinians.

Sure, Israel’s a mess. The Gaza Strip and all that. But let’s not be too hard on Israel. After all, it takes two to tango and the Palestinians have been acting like a bunch of colicky babies too.

Personally, I’m about two seconds from demanding that we go in there, bomb the hell out of the place and hand the entire “holy land” over to the Buddhists. Maybe they can govern it like adults?

When I was a kid, if I couldn’t share, my mom would take the toys away and nobody got to play with them.

It’s just some crappy land people! I don’t care what your Holy Books tell you. I don’t care what happened there. From the looks of things now, I’d say that the Holy Land is cursed. Tainted anyway. But that’s not the way people see things, I’m afraid. The more people that died for it, the more sacred it becomes. “We can’t give this up now! Too many great people have lost their lives trying to defend it!”

Fighting the fight because of the fight. Makes perfect sense to me.

But back to Cindy. She’s being blasted for being an anti-Semite. Not a hard thing to be accused of actually. But she’s going around now blaming the war in Iraq partially on America’s ties with Israel.

Oh, Cindy. Just shut up for a second. Stay on point here. That’s where your strength lies. You had a good thing going. People are supporting you. They’re starting to listen to you. Please try to make sense. Don’t bite off too much. Your son died tragically, focus on that.

Unfortunately, Cindy, you have to be the “straight man” here, so to speak. Just be there. Let everyone else add the crazy. That’s what we do best. We all know that the president is a moron. It becomes more obvious every day.

The more you open your mouth to add another sound bite, the more the focus is changed from your deceased son and the stupid war in Iraq to you. This isn’t about you, is it? If it is, get some counseling and let us all focus on ending this conflict in the Middle East.

If it’s not about you then stand up, stay on point, and keep fighting the good fight.

No more crazy, huh?

Fun Fact: In the 10th grade I swallowed a Bic pen cap during a test. It made me fail the test because I was terrified that it would somehow kill me from the inside out.

To this day, I still sometimes wonder if that pen cap is floating around inside me, waiting to puncture my spleen.

So, if you don’t like the post today…blame it on the cap.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Buh-Dum Bum

While I was drawing the cartoon yesterday, I was struck with the feeling that a joke as lame as the one in the cartoon deserves a rimshot (*buh-dum bum*).

Which reminded me of a story that I had almost forgotten.

I was a senior in high school when the first Iraq war was going on. And being from the conservative side of Washington State, we took the war very seriously. Well, at least some of us did. Being surrounded by farmers and good old boys, us more liberal kids basically kept our cynicism in check (and a good thing we did too, huh? What with the worth-whileness of that conflict and all…).

And since the principal of my high school was a retired Army general, we tried to keep a somber and serious mood around campus about the war and the brave men and women who were fighting in it. I personally remember lugging my saxophone out to center court before basketball games to play a “jazzy” version of the national anthem while wearing a hopelessly stylish tee-shirt that said “Support our Troops.” And on my 230 pound frame, I was practically a billboard of jingoism.

My band director made me wear it. But it turned out to be a good thing. It deflected a lot of angry criticism about the blasphemously upbeat rendition of our nation’s most sacred tune. In wartime, the national anthem must be played like a dirge apparently. Nothing rallies the nation like a good funeral after all.

Ratty old, stupid tee-shirt…patriotism. Jazz and the national anthem…sacrilege.

But that was eastern Washington State for you.

But soon (very soon), the war was over. We had won and all was right with the world. We could relax knowing that the situation in the Middle East had been handled promptly and permanently.

The mood was lifting. So much so, that we had an assembly later. I don’t remember exactly what it was for, but out principal was going to give a little speech to open it.

And he wanted to be funny.

He was going to tell jokes. Now our principal was a nice guy, but he wasn’t what I would call…funny. And I think that deep down, he knew it too. The choir and the band were playing at this particular assembly (a crowd favorite, I’m sure) so my principal decided to recruit my good friend Dave to give him a helping hand with the whimsy.

Dave was a drummer. But he looked a little lost when the Principal asked him for rimshots. See, the principal was going to tell some jokes, after which Dave would give a light *buh-dum bum* for emphasis (and to let the audience know where the punchline was, which, if you had heard the jokes, was a real necessity).

The problem was that Dave was having a heard time finding the funny also. It didn’t help that our principal practically refused to let Dave in on the secret. It didn’t help that Dave was asked to perform this duty five minutes before the assembly had begun.

And it definitely didn’t help that Dave wasn’t the most self-assured guy on the planet and was now being stared at by the entire assembled audience.

So, it started out rocky enough. The principal made a couple lame jokes, Dave was a little late with the *buh-dum bums*.

But as the jokes got more predictable, Dave got more comfortable.

The principal made some brainless joke about the lunch menu.

*buh-dum bum*

A stupid joke about the teachers.

*buh-dum bum*

A feeble attempt to make the parking situation on campus comical.

*buh-dum bum*

The jokes were actually getting laughs! Dave was a freaking rock star! He was single handedly creating a comedian out of an old Army general.

But, it was then that the smile melted from the general’s face. We can only joke enough for one evening after all. The war had brought with it a tragic loss of life. And no one could appreciate that more than my principal.

“But seriously,” said the general, his eyes taking on a sense of stoicism usually reserved for the most serious of occasions “there are a lot of people who couldn’t be here tonight because they have given their lives to protect the freedoms of every one of us at this assembly.”

And a momentary hush fell across the crowd of students as we let the weight of the statement sink in. Kids stopped fidgeting. No one gossipped to their neighbors. A long pregnant pause and…

*buh-dum bum*

Oh, Dave.

Oh, poor Dave.

The Principal gave Dave a puzzled look, with just the right amount of betrayal.

And Dave…I’ve never seen such a goofy grin replaced with such a visage of terror.

Dave had turned death into a vaudeville routine.

Some people were actually confused. A few polite giggles rose here and there. They didn’t know whether this was a joke or not.

But, to be sure, backstage with my saxophone in my hand as I waited to jazz up yet another stupid assembly…I was rolling.

Dave, wherever you are, you can play my funeral any day.

Fun Fact: I’m about to commit a horrible crime against nature. There are some baby birds outside my window that aren’t long for this world. At least if they don’t learn how to shut the hell up!

They sound like tiny puppies are being beaten to death in the top of the tree outside my apartment.

Okay, so I won’t actually do anything to them. But mark my words, If I were evil, they would be toast.

Oh, and the latest TAM Cartoon is up! Buh-dum bum!

Monday, August 15, 2005

I Went to Church Last Night

Okay, I didn’t really go to church last night. But I did watch about 20 minutes worth of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. Which is uncannily like going to church.

Seriously, I used to like that show. When it used to be an hour long. And was about remodeling a house. And when it had a lot less Jesus in it.

Sure, nobody comes right out and says the word “Jesus.” After all, they want to have at least the illusion of secularism, right? But I’m convinced that the only reason they went and made the show two hours long is so that they could make sure that every one of the designers, builders, home-dwellers, crew-members, passersby and family pets got to mention what a “blessing” everything is.

“We’re adding a new room over here…it’s truly a blessing that we’re able to do something like this for them.”

“We are painting the bathroom pink…what a blessing that we get to do this.”

“We are talking about what a blessing everything is…it’s a blessing to get to talk about what a blessing it is…which, incidentally, is a blessing.”

We get it! It’s a goddamned blessing. We are all in awe of the benevolence of god…and Sears.

Look, I understand that the story of the lucky family getting the makeover is important. I understand that it’s touching. I even understand that, demographically, it plays well in the heartland.

But it’s making me gag. I’m gagging on the glory of god here. And you may well say that it’s because I’m an atheist. And you’d probably be right. But I find it hard to believe that there aren’t Christians out there who are getting sick of it.

Never having to go to the Laundromat again…a miracle. A mega-capacity washer and dryer combo with programmable settings and a sweater-drying cabinet…not a miracle. A new house for a deserving family…a miracle. An unsightly behemoth so big that it’s an affront to god and the rest of the neighborhood…not a miracle.

When did this show get out of hand? Remember when they used to actually renovate the existing houses? If I were the “lucky” families to be picked in those early episodes, I’d want my blessings back.

This approach to the show gets on my last nerve. But I do think that there is merit…if they used the format for other shows. I think that they could actually breath new life into the show’s older cousin Extreme Makeover if they would use this approach.

Host: Welcome back to Extreme Makeover! It’s time for the big reveal! The Smith family hasn’t seen their matriarch and apple of their eyes, Granny, in over two months. She’s been in Los Angeles getting the makeover of her life! And now her family awaits her big moment, packed into the Regal Hotel in her hometown of Backwater, Alabama.

Intercut: Various interviews with family members.

Son, John: (holding screaming baby) I can’t wait to see my mother! I’ll bet she looks beautiful! And I have to admit, it’ll be nice to have my babysitter back.

Granddaughter, Jane: Granny always told me to be happy with myself. I’m glad that she’s finally come to her senses! I can’t wait to see her!

Host: And now, it’s time for the moment of truth. Meet…your new…Granny Smith!

A curtain slides open to reveal an extremely hot 24-year-old bikini model.

John: (through tears of joy) Oh, my god! Granny looks great! No, I mean it…really…uh…hot? Is this a blessing? Is this my…mom?!

Jane: Granny, is that you?

Host: Actually, your granny was in such bad shape that we had to kill her. But we’ve replaced her with this Hawaiian Tropics swimsuit model! What do you think?!

John: I think I’m going to hell.

Host: Truly a blessing!

My god, I hate Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. Churchy, self-righteous, blessing-pointer-outers. Hey, here’s a suggestion, why not renovate a Jewish house every once in a while, huh? Buddhists got to live somewhere too. Or a Muslim’s?

Or…an atheists?

Fun Fact: The house next door to ours, the one where the dicks used to live, the house that I love…is being torn to the ground.

It’s being replaced with a block of 5, two-bedroom condos! Yeah! Bigger, better, bolder! They’ll take up all the parking and have unfettered views into our windows! Plus, we’ll have the unequalled opportunity to have five, separate sets of jerk-ass neighbors!

I can’t wait for them to begin construction. I hope they do it while I’m trying to record the Christmas Album!

Truly, a blessing. Thank you god.

P.S. It’s because I don’t believe in you, isn’t it, god?

Friday, August 12, 2005

What’s Science Got to Do with It?

The Museum of Earth History has opened in Eureka Springs, Arkansas and has caused quite a stir. If you don’t know what it is, it’s a natural history (dinosaurs and junk) museum designed to explain the origins of the earth through a mix of science and religion.

The exhibits are broken down in order of the book of Genesis with different species and events correlating to the six days that it took for God to create everything.

How nice, huh? Finally, someone’s come along and made an intelligent argument for creationism as it pertains to evolutionary science.

Or at least they sure have made it look like it. They’ve got really cool dinosaur replicas and plaques and everything! Oh, and the bible. The absolute truth after all. The everything. Which sort of begs the question “so why the dinosaur replicas and the plaques and junk?”

Well, because it’s cool and kids like dinosaurs. It only makes sense that Christian kids should like Christian dinosaurs.

And now that there is a scientific and completely unbiased and reasonable marriage of creationism and…uh…creation…we can finally start teaching the argument for creationism in our schools.

Don’t scoff; I could really use a job. Man would it be sweet to teach the creationism class at the local high school. The poor sucker that has to teach evolution is screwed.

Science Teacher: Where did dinosaurs come from? Well, billions of years ago on a mass of matter hurtling through space (a rock we now call Earth), in the lifeless muck and mire there began to appear tiny one-celled organisms. Over a great deal of time, through mutation, adaptation and need they evolved into two-celled organisms. And, long story short, then we got dinosaurs!

Student: But wait! What happened between two-celled organisms and dinosaurs?!

Science Teacher: A lot of stuff, okay Billy? Look, this is 7th grade science class. We haven’t got forever on this stuff. I’ve got to cover billions of years of history in just ten weeks! It’s all very complicated and scientific. If we don’t get to dinosaurs today, there’s no hope of ever getting to the evolution of mankind. And wouldn’t you like to know where Britney Spears came from?

Student: Oh boy, would I!

But that creationism job would be a plum. Not religion. Not spiritualism. Matter of fact, like the Arkansas museum. Just the God’s truth.

Creationism Teacher: Okay, class. God created the world in six days. I’ve got ten weeks to cover it all. We could start with some questions, or we could stare into space and reflect on the awesome engineering skills of God, or we could just play some basketball or something.

Student: Hey, Teach! Where did dinosaurs come from?

Creationism Teacher: God.

Student: And humans?

Creationism Teacher: God.

Student: And the earth and everything?

Creationism Teacher: God.

Student: And Britney Spears?

Creationism Teacher: Go--. Ha, ha. Oh, nice try Billy, you almost got me there! Just for that, I’m giving a pop quiz. Now before you get all excited, I must warn you that I’ve thrown in a few trick questions. I won’t say which, but I will say that some of the answers could be…Jesus.

I want to be that teacher.

But seriously, why is there a museum that combines natural history and the bible? Because people want it, that’s why. It’s the first “science museum” that I’ve ever heard of that was created solely for giving the attendees the answers they were looking for. Wagging the fossilized dog.

How can that be science? Well, it’s not science. It’s religion in the guise of science. And everyone knows it…except for the poor kids that go there to learn something about the origins of life in a scientific way.

Faith is not science. It’s faith. By definition, it’s the complete lack of science.

And science isn’t religion.

Why can’t people find an intelligent way to have faith and science? They are not the death of each other. Because both are confounding. And people don’t like to have questions. They like to have answers.

I don’t want to waste anymore time of this museum. It’s aggravating. But this story has opened my eyes to a shocking (to me anyway) statistic.

45% of the population believes that God created the Earth. And that he did it around 10,000 years ago.

Really? So cartoons had it right after all, putting humans and dinosaurs together in often comical situations?

Okay, look, I can dig the fact that Christians believe that God created the Earth and everything on it. But 10,000 years ago?! Come on. Let’s not get ridiculous.

Oh, and that whole “to God, a day is as a thousand years” argument is stupid. Let’s not start trying to rationalize “God Time.” Does God Time figure into the 10,000 years (meaning that he finished around 4,000 years ago)? Or is the earth actually 16,000 years old?

And what about that 7th day? When he was resting. Did time stand still? Help me out here!

I suppose I need to get my butt to Arkansas and get some answers quick!

Fun Fact: I’ve had that Rubber band Man song from the OfficeMax commercials in my head all morning. So, in honor of the song, here are the lyrics. Incidentally, the song was recorded by The Spinners in the 70s. It can also be heard on the “That 70s Show” soundtrack.

Warning: There are a crap-load of lyrics in this song!

Hand me down my walkin' cane
Hand me down my hat
Hurry now and don't be late
'Cause we ain't got time to chat
You and me we're goin' out
To catch the latest sound
Guranteed to blow your mind
So high you won't come down

Hey, y'all prepare yourself
For the Rubberband man
You never heard a sound
Like the rubberband man
You're bound to lose control
When the Rubberband starts to jam

Oh, Lord, this dude is outta sight
Everything he does
Seems to come out right

Once I went to hear them play
At a club outside of town
I was so surprised, I was hypnotized
By the sound these cats put down

When I saw this short fat guy
Stretch a band between his toes
Hey, I laughed so hard
Cause the band got down
When he finally reached his nose

Hey, y'all prepare yourself
For the Rubberband man
You never heard a sound
Like the rubberband man
You're bound to lose control
When the Rubberband starts to jam

Got that rubberband
Up on his toes
And then he wriggled it up
All around his nose

(Doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo)
Guaranteed to blow your mind
(Doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo)
Playin' all that music, yet keepin' time
(Doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo)
Where in the world did he learn that, oh, Lord, huh
(Doo doo doo doo doo)
Lord, help him get away

Hey, y'all prepare yourself
For the Rubberband man
You never heard a sound
Like the rubberband man
You're bound to lose control
When the Rubberband starts to jam
Doo doo doo doo doo
Doo doo doo doo doo doo doo
Doo doo doo doo doo
Rubberband man, Rubberband man
How much of this stuff do he think we can stand
So much rhythm, grace and debonair from one man, Lord
And then he had nerve to wiggle his left toe
To his knee, got the feelin' in his head, y'all
Ah, come on, baby

Hey, y'all prepare yourself
For the Rubberband man
You never heard a sound
Like the rubberband man
(He's a Rubberband Man and he likes to Jam)
You're bound to lose control
When the Rubberband starts to jam

Rubberband man starts to jam
Movin' up and down across the land
Got people all in his ways
Everything about him seems out of place

Just a movin', just a movin'
Just a move-move-movin'
Just a Rubberband, Rubberband man
Just a movin', just a movin'
Just a move-move-movin'
Just a Rubberband
Rubberband man
Get down
Oh, get down lover

Oh, I forgot to mention, there will be no TAM Carton for today. Sorry. I had some stuff to get done...

Who am I kidding, I was lazy.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Where the Reviled Things Are

Last night Tanya and I were about to take a walk when we ran into our older downstairs neighbor coming from the house next door. We saw him a little earlier as he went over there. But we didn’t know how to ask him what he was up to.

In case you don’t know, the house next door is the lair of the jerk-asses which inspired “The Neighbor Song” (link to the right). So when our downstairs neighbor started talking to us about our phallus-smoking neighbors (they’ve been conspicuously missing for the last two weeks or so, but you’ll get no complaints from me), we seized the opportunity to ask him why he was poking around their house.

Turns out, he was just curious about the house. See, while Tanya and I were at play performances, the dicks next door fled into the night (afternoon). They actually moved out! It’s like some kind of victory!

We did, however, find out that our downstairs neighbors didn’t mind the asshats next door. Probably because my downstairs neighbor is bit hard of hearing.

But we were having a nice conversation with our downstairs neighbor (who I’m guessing is in his late 60s) when I finally asked him what he was really doing over at the house. He told us that someone left one of the doors unlocked and he was sneaking around inside. To which I said, “I would like to see what the inside of that house looks like.”

That’s all he needed. Instantly, he led us over to the house and we went in.

I felt a little strange. There was no furniture, of course. But the dumbshits that lived there never had furniture anyway. There was however a very nice house (that was built in the 20s) with hardwood floors (complete with inlaid trimming bordering the rooms) three bedrooms and one and a half bath. Tons of built-ins and closets accompanied the modest molding and simple layout with a dining area conspicuously placed at the center of the house. There is a huge front patio/porch (where the jerks would hold impromptu “concerts”) with separate side windows/doors that lead to the dining room and living room. Plus a two-car garage.

This house is absolutely great. The kitchen is too small, of course and so are the bathrooms. But, as we learned from our neighbor, the lady who lived there before the jerk-asses (the former owner) moved in right after it was built. The house has only had one owner and she hasn’t changed a thing.

This place is a treasure in LA. Untouched. Built at the height of the studio system. Original everything (except for the bathroom tiles, their horrible pinkness belies a 1950s renovation job). And it was going to crap at the hands of a group of idiotic, unappreciative fucktards.

The place was a pit. Dirt everywhere. Empty except for what looked to be bong residue, an internet downloaded chord chart for guitar, a broken fan (the place was hot), a microwave and a collection of – and I’m not kidding – prominently placed beer bottles, all of different brands and types.

The insight was amazing. Tanya and I have fought with these people (passively) for months now. They were loud. They were always drunk. They were stupid. And they were constantly barbequing. I mean all the time. Day, night, afternoon, morning…

Now we know why.

The retards didn’t have a stove. Just a microwave sitting on the floor where a stove should be.

And now I’m even more pleased with myself. One night when they were being particularly annoying, I waltzed over to their front yard and kicked over their precious BBQ, spilling ash all over their front lawn.

Man, were they pissed.

Man, am I glad that they’re gone.

Thank you old downstairs neighbor for allowing us to break and enter with you.

Fun Fact: You Can’t Do That on Television was one of the best shows on TV when I was kid. There have been no DVD releases of it and they don’t re-run it on TV anymore. So I was pleased as hell to find a site where I could recapture a little of my youth.

Go here to get all the dope on the show that turned my generation into a bunch of hoodlums. And while your there, check out an entire episode!

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

O, the Horror!

I am a moderately dedicated fan of Mystery Science Theatre 3000. But my geekiness aside, I’ve watched a few episodes of MST3K and thought to myself “you know, if remade properly, that movie could actually be good!”

Well, maybe not good so much as palatable.

Of course, with my intense writers work ethic, so far there’s been no danger of a rewrite of “Manos: The Hands of Fate” from me. Although, I do believe that Torgo is one of America’s great literary figures…

But I did get a little more than excited to see that one of the films I thought could be made into a “real-life” living, breathing movie actually made it to the big screen.

From the first trailer for the latest Ewan McGregor picture, “The Island,” I knew it was an updated version of “Parts: The Clonus Horror.”

Excitedly, I sat with baited anticipation, waiting for the interview with the director that would clench it. I waited for Ewan to smirk excitedly as he told the world that his movie was a rehashing of a really dumb b-flick where a can of Old Milwaukee beer prompts a poor clone to realize that he wasn’t going to “America” after all.

We could all have a really good laugh together and the "mysties" of the world would finally feel like they could come out of their mother’s closets.

But no.

It never happened.

Why? Where is the fun? Just because “Parts: The Clonus Horror” is truly a horror, doesn’t mean that “The Island” will suffer as its bastard son. What could have gone wrong?

Well, it turns out…a lot of things.

First, “The Island” didn’t need to be the bastard son of “Parts:” just to flop at the box office. It did just fine on its own. Granted, I’ve havent seen it, but I’d be willing to bet that it’s because they left out the Old “Mil…Wau…Kee.”

And why didn’t the producers and the actors let us in on the joke of the films origins?

Because they didn’t have permission to use the premise, that’s why? And I have to admit, I was a little suspicious that this might be the case. From the trailers you can tell that these two films are almost identical. The new one has better technology, better looking leads and no Peter Graves, but they’re essentially the same film.

And now the producers of “The Island” are being sued. This is from Eonline:

CLONE THIS: According to Variety, the producers of 1979's indie flick, Parts: The Clonus Horror suing Warner Bros. and DreamWorks over their box office flop, The Island, claiming it ripped off their movie. They seek unspecified damages and are asking a court to order the film be pulled from theaters and bar its further release.

See, that’s why I haven’t remade “Manos.” I don’t want to get sued.

Well, it sure as hell ain’t because I don’t want to see a bunch of hot possessed chicks wrestle in see-through robes…

Fun Fact: I will totally geek out here on MST3K and admit that I actually really dig the music from “I Accuse My Parents.” Honestly. I secretly dream of re-recording those songs someday.

I should find out who owns the rights though first.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Lists are Overrated

The September issue of Premiere magazine includes a curious list. The list of the 20 most overrated films of all time.

According to them anyway.

But people like a good list. And opinion lists are good for a few things. They’re provocative, they give us something to talk about and debate other than politics and human rights issues. And they can end in fisticuffs, which is always entertaining.

But they are also a way for the general population to gauge their “normality factor.”

I’m not saying that most people gain their self esteem from “best-of” lists. But it’s comforting to know that you’re not the only person on the planet that thought 2001: A Space Odyssey was an incredibly boring movie.

But still. Why do things like this make the national news (which is where I saw it)?

Lists can generate cliques. Oh, sure, cliques are bad. Nobody like cliques. They’re exclusive. We should all just get along, right? “Clubs” good… “Cliques” bad. Look, we thrive on cliques. Humanity demands them. Humans will form cliques over the size of their genitals for crying out loud.

We need our cliques. We don’t need to kill each other over them. But I’m a proud member of the “Clerks was a great film” clique.

And my clique could kick your “Clerks was juvenile, obscene and pointless” clique’s sorry ass any day!

Let’s all form some cliques right now! Here’s the list.

2001: A Space Odyssey
A Beautiful Mind
An American in Paris
American Beauty
Chariots of Fire
Easy Rider
Field of Dreams
Forrest Gump
Gone With the Wind
Good Will Hunting
Jules and Jim
Monster's Ball
Mystic River
The Red Shoes
The Wizard of Oz

I am happy to see that none of my most beloved films were on the list. Not that I would really care if they were. But I get tired of backlash groupies. They have a tendency to say incredibly inane things to me like “Citizen Kane was sooo boring. I fell asleep! What’s the big deal about it anyway?!”

Not too harsh, but inane nonetheless. And how do you convince them that the movie really has merit and deserves its place in history when they never even saw the entire thing in the first place?

You don’t. You sneer at them (while they smile back smugly) and then go about your life, forever feeling superior to them in every way.

But this list didn’t give ammunition to anyone against my favorite pictures. In fact, I agree with most of them. I never saw Monster’s Ball, but any film where Hale Berry gave “a brilliant, Oscar-caliber acting performance” is obviously overrated.

I will only take issue with three of the movies on the list. Clerks (obviously), Forrest Gump and The Wizard of Oz.

“Clerks” is near impossible to defend. I’ll just tell you that it changed my life. Seriously. Not the content of the film. The fact that the film existed changed my life. The best film that Kevin Smith ever made. One of my all-time favorites. The only reason I ever gave a try at making my own movies. So even though the film is crude and dumb at times and spawned three horrible films from me and countless horrible films from Kevin Smith, it still deserves to be considered wonderful.

“Forrest Gump.” I will never forget the way that movie made me feel the first time I saw it. I wish everybody would stop bagging on it. Get over it! It beat “Pulp Fiction” for the Oscar that year! It’s done! Get on with your sad lives! Yes, poor Quentin Tarantino! How will he ever survive?! Sour grapes.

And “The Wizard of Oz?!” What kind of sad world do we live in when even beloved classics can’t escape the scrutiny of the disenfranchised malcontents from the forgotten generation X?

Now you know how I feel. But is any of it even important? Or is it just an ironic way to make the film industry seem like a worthwhile, cerebral endeavor so that we’ll all feel better wasting so much of our time on it?

Who cares? Like the films on this list, my opinion is highly overrated.

But only by me.

Oh, and Moonstruck sucked.

Fun Fact: The most underrated film of all time is “Newsies.” Laugh if you will, but it rocks and you know it does!

What other movies are woefully left out in the cannon of great films? Why not post a comment and let us all know what we should put in our Netflix queues.

No, really, post a comment! What does a dude have to do around here to get comments?! Threaten suicide?!

Sorry. You don’t have to comment if you don’t want to.

I will keep myself busy by blowing out the pilot lights on my stove…

Oh, and the latest TAM Cartoon is up! Suicideisnotfunnysational!

Monday, August 08, 2005

Daylight or Someone’s Sorry Ass?

What exactly are we saving here? Bush is poised to sign his new energy bill. A grand plan that will free the United States from the death grip of the world’s oil companies. The president has been working tirelessly to find a way to quench the nation’s thirst for oil with alternative and renewable fuel sources.

He used to work tirelessly to find a way to quench the nation’s thirst for oil with…well…oil.

His oil.

But reality seems to have finally sunk in with the old prezzie. Either that or he’s begun to invest his oil fortune in nuclear plants.

My vote is on the nuclear plants.

But thank god the government is there to lend its unbiased, unaffected help in this matter. It’s nice that the benevolent people in Washington DC have finally come in to clean up this country’s energy mess.

But they’ve tried it before. They gave car companies tax breaks in order that there would be no shortage of gas-guzzling SUVs on the roads. They’ve given oil companies tax breaks so that there would be no shortage of gasoline for those SUVs. They’ve aligned themselves with dubiously friendly countries to get a price break on barrels of oil. They’ve sought to open up the wildlife preserves in order to get more oil. They’ve started wars…

Oddly, none of those tactics seemed to work. None of those things ever put oil back into the ground.

And now there’s a problem. Unless the US can become comfortable licking the butt of every jerk-ass who happens to own land with Texas tea under it, then we’ll have to find a better way for the nation’s morons to keep their gigantic, road-clogging, maddening SUVs on the jammed freeways.

But us Americans won’t stand for that kind of behavior. If it ever came to that, I suppose that we could just go and kill everyone who owned oil and take it. That we can do.

But even if we did, eventually we’d run out of people to kill and oil. And then where would we be? Stuck in carpools with the other geriatrics that were too old to die in the great “oil wars” that’s where.

So now we have the energy bill, which of course includes a lot of tax breaks. I won’t begrudge the tax breaks. There’s no better way to get people onboard a cause.

“This new bill will save the lives of my family for generations to come?! It will spread peace and end all wars?! It will bring Jesus Christ back to earth with Buddha, Muhammad and all those other cats, heal the sick, cure diseases, end poverty, stop suffering, pain, misery and get up every morning and make me a balanced breakfast?! Sounds fantastic…!”

“…But what kind of tax breaks do I get?”

So we need the tax breaks. But the one thing I can’t stand about the new bill is that they’re going to lengthen daylight saving time!

Leave daylight saving time alone! What has it done to you?! Some of us like to have an evening every once in a while! We like it when it gets dark. Hell, if it didn’t get dark around 5:00 here in southern California during November we wouldn’t even be able to tell that it was winter!

We need the long nights of winter here. It’s not just a time of day to us…it’s an entire freaking season!

But no. In 2007 we’ll be screwed. Not as bad as I had anticipated. But summer will essentially begin three weeks early and end one week late. After Halloween.

What’s Halloween without the darkness?! I ask you?! What about the trick-or-treaters?! Will they be forever cursed to walk around town dressed like idiots in the daytime?!


I hate George Bush.

Fun Fact: Don't forget; whenever George Bush signs an absurd bill, be sure to check the batteries in your smoke detector.

We could cut the rate of smoke detector failures in half!

Unfortunately, I predict that the constant checking would cause a sharp increase in “falling-off-rickety chair” injuries.

Friday, August 05, 2005

I’m Too Old for This Sh@

Posting, that is. Yup, far, far too old today. So there will be no post of substance today. I’m sure you’re used to it by now.

I want to thank everyone for their cards, thoughts and gifts on my birthday. You’re all quite swell. I’m enjoying them greatly…the cards, comments, thoughts and gifts. Mostly the gifts. Sure, I enjoy the cards, comments and thoughts as well. They’re super-duper. But it’s hard to keep food warm at parties with greeting cards, blog comments and happy thoughts.

Whereas my brand new chafing dish kicks ass in that capacity!

Seriously, I can’t tell you how long I’ve wanted a chafing dish. I’m not kidding. I’ve really wanted a chafing dish for years now. I just think they’re cool. The stupid thing is that I don’t entertain all that much.

Possibly because I’ve never had a chafing dish before? Who knows? I suppose we’ll see.

For those of you who don’t know what a chafing dish is (and have never watched the immortal film “Hot Shots” starring Charlie Sheen and Cary Elwes…rent it and watch for the thrilling chafing dish scene), it’s a dish used to keep food warm at parties or buffets. Those silver things on stilts with little fires burning underneath them. You fill the under-tray with a layer of water, then put in the food tray above it, fill it with food and cover with a lid. The fire heats the water which in turn heats the food – oh, I’m getting all excited just thinking about it!

I am the proud owner of my very own chafing dish! Maybe I’ll post some pictures of it here later. Maybe I’ll create a special website exclusively for the chafing dish. I could call it “” Tagline it with “This site is supposed to chafe!”

Oooohhh! I’m so there!

And Kathy and David, there’s a special heaven for chafing-dish-givers like you!

Fun Fact: The latest TAM Cartoon is up! ItConfusedTanyatastic!

Thursday, August 04, 2005

I Feel Like I’ve Aged an Entire Year in Just One Day

Birthdays. Huh. Not as much fun as they used to be. It’s hard to believe that about 25 years ago I was practically begging to be older. Kids are stupid.

Now I’m just trying to find a way to have the numbers in my age become legally reversed. Oh, to be 23 again. I’d be back in college. I’d have no worries, no responsibilities, no job…I could sit around all day just thinking about all the great things that I was going to do in the future.

Sure, that’s pretty much my life now, but 9 years ago I had an excuse.

So, yes, it’s my birthday today. Happy birthday to me. I’m really not all that bummed about it. Can’t say that I’ excited either. After 21 there are really no great birthdays to look forward to. Unless you’ve constantly dreamt of a career in politics. Or always thought that the term “octogenarian” sounded cool. (For the last couple years I’ve been a “Tricenarian.” Yes, it’s a real term)

Actually, it bothers me very little, my birthday. A lot of people freak out on every birthday after 30. Not me, pal. No way. Nuh-uh. I’m cool as a cucumber. An old, wrinkly cucumber.

But seriously, I’m breezy. They say that 32 is the new 23. Now if I could only get that statement authenticated and notarized, I’d have some legal leverage on my pending “age-number-reversal” case.

But birthdays are a time to reflect. I assume that’s why we celebrate them in the first place. That’s why we have to watch the numbers in our age flip over like the odometer on my old Ford Escort.

But this year, through some kind of subliminal trickery on my part, the numbers aren’t flipping. See, I’ve been 32 in my mind now for (I’m assuming) like the last 7 months. I’m serious. I completely forgot how old I was. Somewhere my brain got mixed up and ahead of itself. Probably because people would ask how old I was and it didn’t take long for “I’ll soon be turning 32” to become “I’m 32.”

It was an unbelievable relief to learn from Tanya the other day that I was only turning 32 this year instead of 33. In fact, just now, right before I wrote the last few paragraphs I checked for sure. I still didn’t believe her. But I got out my trusty calculator and did the math. As usual, Tanya was right. Although, this time I’m happy to admit it.

So now I must reflect, right? What is like to be 32? Well, I’ll tell you. The last 7 months have been alright, so I can say with almost certainty that it’s fine. What have I accomplished in my lifetime? Well, not much. Wrote some music, acted in some plays, met a wonderful girl, hung out a lot, wrote some stuff, had more than a few crappy jobs, had one or two really great jobs, bought a bunch of IKEA furniture…you know, the usual.

But really, what else is there? Money? I already have a crap-load of IKEA furniture. Fame? Got that. I’m like mad famous and crap. Power? Got that too. While Tanya’s at work, I’m totally that master of all my IKEA furniture.

Bow down to me birch veneered CD tower! You too, natural wood provincial style dining table with almost-matching, lightly-finished pine chairs!

So what more can I want out of life? Nothing. My life is pretty much complete. All I’ve ever wanted was to be happy…

To be happy and finish a screenplay…

To be happy, finish a screenplay and own a chafing dish…

And as of today, all I need to do is finish a screenplay.

Fun Fact: I once had a birthday in an actual train caboose. It was at a McDonalds in Tallahassee, Florida.

I was da’ pimp, baby.

Louis Armstrong’s birthday is today too. I wonder if he ever had his birthday in an actual train caboose at a McDonalds in Tallahassee, Florida? Probably not. But I don’t want to hold it over his head. He might feel bad. Besides, he accomplished a couple things in his lifetime.

But I still had my birthday in an actual train caboose at a McDonalds in Tallahassee, Florida. I’m not bragging. It's just that sometimes, in this game we call life, there has to be winners is all.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Ruined By Hollywood

Things are rarely as they are in the movies. You’d think that was obvious, right? Not always. I think we have an unreasonable assumption of human behavior. Especially when there’s a crisis. We expect people to panic. But we expect them to panic in a certain way.

“Movie Panic” involves a lot of screaming, a lot of flailing, a lot of slapping people back to reality. Most of all, a lot of trampling.

And yes, the heroic acts of an authority figure. Say…a pilot.

But as the old saying goes, truth is stupider than fiction. If you’ve ever needed proof that people act differently in reality than they do in action movies when there’s a crisis of epic proportions, then the Air France plane crash in Toronto is just that.

First let me say that I’m extremely happy that everyone got out alive. You have to give it up to the flight crew on this one. They somehow managed to keep everyone on task, it seems. And sure, flight attendants are trained for these things, but in reality, if you’re ever in a plane crash, chances are that it’s the first one for your flight attendants as well. They could just as easily panic as you can.

But the Air France crew didn’t panic. At least not too bad. And everyone escaped with their lives.

But here’s the thing that made me scratch my head a little this morning. I know that people get a little loopy after a traumatic event. But some of these people did something I would never have though anybody would do in this type of situation.

I’m sure you’re familiar with the plane crash that I’m referring to. The plane, trying to land in rough weather, skidded off the end of a Toronto runway and into a group of trees. It finally rested near a major roadway and started to burn. People jumped to safety etc…

But a few of the passengers, a pilot included, decided that their best hope for assistance was to run to the side of the major roadway and flag down passing cars for help.

You know, I’d be willing to bet that the unbelievably trained, professional Airport Rescue Crew might have noticed that a huge silver tube with gigantic wings sticking out of the sides, flashing red, white and blue lights just skidded off the end of the runway and is now shooting flames and smoke 50 feet into the air.

But one can’t assume too much I suppose. And who knows, one of the drivers of one of those cars could have been legendary Canadian Superhero Captain Canuck.

And then they would have felt stupid for not flagging down commuters.

Fun Fact: Kevin has added a “fun stuff” section to his web site. It includes the immortal theme song for his website, aptly entitled “” A song written and performed by me.

Go check it out!

While you’re there, you can also hear Kevin’s incredibly cool answering machine message (just click “next”).

You won’t be disappointed. Unless you’re a malcontent. Or have unreasonably high expectations. In which case you’re probably reading this and thinking “yeah, right, like I don’t have anything better to do…”

I hate to break it to you, but if you’re reading this and thinking that then no, you don’t have anything better to do. So go and enjoy yourself for once. No one will think you’re a geek if you allow yourself to feel. Just let us in. It’s all we’re asking. Permission to love you. And we give you permission to love yourself. It’s okay…let it all out…that’s good…it’s okay to cry.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Nagging Questions

As an internet cartoonist and general man-about-cyberspace, I’m inundated with tons of questions. People are constantly stopping me on the street and asking “where do you get the fantastic and always hilarious ideas for the TAM Cartoon?!”

I then must explain to them that I pull most of my brilliant ideas for the cartoon from my real life. Sure, I don’t have friends that I hate and it’s true that I’m not really the proprietor of a street-side “Irony Booth.” It can also be said that I didn’t get fined a thousand dollars for polluting the ocean and that I don’t pee in the bushes outside of my house. What’s more, I don’t get “time out” from the girlfriend and I don’t hang out with a bottle of bleach that I believe is a gnome.

But I do have a girlfriend. I am a bit slow in the brain. And when I was a baby, my mother was afraid that I would drink a bottle of bleach.

But sometimes people say to me “TAM,” they say to me, “what happens if you run out of ideas? What if your life is so completely devoid of any discernable activity that you have no new material?! What do you do then…huh?!”

The answer to your question is now sitting at the top of this page. I call it TAM 132.

Fun Fact: Yes indeedie, the latest TAM Cartoon is up! Weirdsational!

All joking aside, believe it or not, I actually drug my lazy ass out of bed one night to write the idea down for this one.

My god, I’m lame.

Monday, August 01, 2005

You Can Get There from Here

I’m talking about Ten West.

Not the I10 west, mind you. That’s trickier. You can get to the I10 west from my place, but it’s a hell of a lot easier to get to the I10 heading eastbound.

None of this is making any sense. Let me start over.

As you already know, I was just recently in a play here in LA (I still am in a play here in LA, but now it’s a different one). But what you may not know is that I was in that play with a guy named Jon. And what’s more, you may not have a clue that Jon is also in a sketch comedy troupe called “Ten West.”

I was lucky enough to catch Ten West’s latest show at the Comedy Central Stage at the Hudson Theatre in Hollywood last Friday. And I’ve got to tell you, it was fantastic. Really. I’m not just saying that because Jon is my friend. If I had hated it I would say something like…well, I wouldn’t say anything.

But I did like it so I’m saying something.

If you have a chance to catch the show, I strongly suggest that you go. I know, you’re thinking “but how the heck am I supposed to know when they have a show coming up?” The answer is simple, I’ve linked to their web site (and blog, which is brand new; look for the permanent links on the right of the page). So now you can keep yourselves up to speed with the doin’s of Ten West.

You may also be grumbling because you don’t live here in LA. Not to fear, if you live near Portland or Seattle, you’ll have your chance to see them very soon. Go.

The show is different. It’s not your average “Saturday Night Live”/”Mad TV”/penises and vaginas type sketch show. Two things separate them from those types of sketch comedy groups. They’re actually clever…and funny.

The show is a combination of sketches, clowning and “dumbshow.” It’s moody, quirky and more importantly…human. And it has something for the entire family, fake ventriloquism, Tom Waits music, lip-synching to the Perry Como and Betty Hutton version of “Bushel and a Peck,” pathos, fishing, the first “vatos” on the moon and more.

If you like sketch comedy but don’t trust my opinion, know that Bob Odenkirk was also there on Friday, and he seemed to enjoy it.

Hey, Jon’s birthday is tomorrow, so go and visit his site.

Fun Fact: I make a mean Cosmopolitan (if I do say so myself). Here is my recipe.

1 - 1 1/2oz Vodka
1oz Cranberry juice
1/2oz Triple Sec
Splash of grenadine (about a quarter ounce)

Shake well with ice
Garnish with a maraschino cherry

It’s a small cosmo, sure. And not too strong. But I’ve deduced that people who drink martinis these days (myself included) don’t drink to get drunk. If they did, they wouldn’t drink out of such an impractical and femmie glass. Besides, have you ever tried to drink out of a martini glass while drunk? Martini glasses weren’t made for drunken people.

Drunk people get drinks that come in regular glasses. Glasses without architectural embellishments. Glasses that don’t require acrobatics and almost circus-like dexterity to operate without spilling.

Drunk people get drinks with straws.

People who drink martinis just like to be seen drinking martinis. They like to have martinis made for them. They enjoy the rattle of the shaker.

And that goes triple for people who drink Cosmopolitans.