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Archive for the ‘Comedy’ Category

“The Dome” By Steven Millhauser

In Comedy on June 28, 2009 at 9:06 PM

I desperately felt the need to share Alec Baldwin‘s reading of The Dome by Stephen Millhauser instead of keeping it to myself (as I have for a few months now).

I heard only a portion of it once while driving to work and could not stop thinking about it that entire day until I got home and found it. I downloaded the podcast it was a part of and finally heard the story in its entirety and have since listened to it another handful of times, picking up on something new every time.

It was read as part of a selection of short stories on an NPR podcast and I present it to you here:

(Sooo, I had trouble uploading the audio file so I just threw up a graphic and made it a video because I knew that would work. If you want to directly download the file, you can access it here: )


‘Jimmies’ Isn’t Racist. You’re Wrong.

In Comedy on June 8, 2009 at 1:43 AM

I grew up in the Northeast. So for years I’ve had people call me out when I ordered ‘jimmies’ as a topping for my ice cream. (For those unfamiliar, I’m referring to what others may call chocolate sprinkles.)

‘It’s a derogatory term from the Jim Crow law era,’ they tell me.

Listen: Where I’m from, we call them ‘jimmies.’ I’ve never met anyone in my entire life who was offended by the phrase and I refuse to give up on a part of my culture just because of a group of pushy, ignorant fools who want to feel superior.

And now, I am here to declare that I am proud of myself for sticking to my guns. After rigorous research, it is official: Jimmies is not a racist term. It is a trademarked name coined by the company that invented them (Just Born Inc.) and was named after the man who produced them. And his name was… wait for it… JIIMMY!

What should have given it away is the fact that no one can actually tell you where the racist theory stems from. Everyone just seems to hear it from someone else and then cling to it. It is a nasty myth that somehow still has legs and I am asking you to take a stand with me! If someone criticizes you when you order jimmies, ask the person how they know that. Call them out and bring their ignorance to light!

Forward this article to everyone you know so we can quash this despicable rumor once and for all. Then enjoy a nice twist with jimmies (guilt free) this summer!

Below are links to my supporting evidence with the apporiate section excerpted in italics for your reading pleasure.

Exhibit Article

There are some who believe jimmies to be a racial slur – a play on the Jim Crow segregation laws – but McCarthy (linguistics professor at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst) says it originated as a trademark name from a local company that made the chocolate topping, a contention that is supported by the Dictionary of American Regional English.

Exhibit B: Fun Facts

In 1930 James Bartholomew was lucky enough to acquire a job at Just Born, Inc. Bartholomew operated a machine that produced Born’s latest invention, tiny hot-dog shaped chocolate sprinkly things. But what to call them? Born briefly pondered that question before deciding to accredit the name to the producer, Jimmy Bartholomew. The new product was named JIMMIES.

Exhibit C: Philadelphia Inquirer Columnist Michael Vitez’s article: “The beloved jimmy could be lost: A sprinkling of history for a name that’s melting away.”

The Boston Globe investigated the origin of jimmies last winter after a reader inquired about a rumor that the term originally was racist – the idea being that some people refer only to chocolate ones as jimmies, and rainbow ones as sprinkles. Perhaps, the reader surmised, the word descended from Jim Crow.

The Globe found no evidence of this, but did cite a commentary in 1986 on National Public Radio by the late Boston poet John Ciardi, who claimed: “From the time I was able to run to the local ice cream store clutching my first nickel, which must have been around 1922, no ice cream cone was worth having unless it was liberally sprinkled with jimmies.”

Duel Of The Fates

In Comedy on May 30, 2009 at 11:55 AM

Let me tell you about my cat. My cat’s name is Aiden. He is all black, slender, has bright yellow eyes, and has rather sharp claws. He is an outside cat that loves to prowl about the Wilbraham suburbs stalking the various rodent-culture which include but are not limited to: Rabbits, moles, chipmunks, birds, mice, and so on and so forth.

Many times I come home to find a mangled corpse sprawled across our steps like some sort of primal offering upon the edifice of a blood-god. Once I came home to find a headless mouse, which isn’t so out of the blue, but this time the intact head was lying next to the body as if it had been recently cleaved. So then I start to wonder, did my cat take the mouse’s head off with a claymore? Did it kill the mouse somewhere else then carry the little mouse head in its maw separately? Odd things to ponder.

One day, however, I was standing in my kitchen which has a big window in which to view the majority of my back yard. There are a lot of trees and assorted fauna in the backyard for our cat to hunt in so sometimes I’ll just watch him as he stalks though the garden or eyes an oblivious rabbit from afar, gliding in closer and closer with menace in his eyes. So this particular day I witnessed something extraordinary. I watched Aiden as he stalked up on a chipmunk, given how skittish those things are I wonder how he possibly catches as many as he does. (It would be interesting to see his “caught” and “gotten away” ratio for chipmunk hunting.)

So any who, Aiden comes upon the chipmunk with the utmost stealth and feline grace, slowly advancing as the unaware chipmunk licks his little paws to clean behind his ears. As Aiden is just a foot away, the chipmunk cocks his head ever so slightly, as to tune into a sound that has caught his attention but it is too late. Aiden has sprung and has the cuddly rodent pinned beneath his claws.

Now I expected for him to just rip the chipmunk’s throat out or perhaps claw it out but as he just sat there with a chipmunk squirming under his needle-like claws I remembered that cats like to play with their captive. And so began the torture of one of what could possibly be chip and dale’s distant cousin.

The cat started by batting him around a bit, then let him go briefly before he would recapture him and then batter him around some more. Then, to exacerbate things, he would let the chipmunk go yet again, letting it run long enough to taste the sweetness of freedom on the fringes of his taste buds. Aiden would then delight as he recaptured the chipmunk, reveling in the hopelessness emanating from the creatures furry pores. He did this long enough for me to get a glass of milk and then he pounced for the last time.

It was at this point that Aiden was finished playing, he let the chipmunk free only to give him a violent slash with his claws, sending the chipmunk’s tail flying. He then had the chipmunk cornered, slowly approaching as the chipmunk looked on helpless and tail-less. But then a turn of the tides, the chipmunk sprang forward directly at Aiden’s face, rebounding off his nose and in the following cat-confusion sped towards the nearest tree and rocketed up its side.

“Wow,” I thought, “what a ballsy chipmunk.” I sat there silently praising the chipmunk for his ingenuity in escaping my cat. Surely it was over now that the chipmunk escaped to the network of trees in our backyard. Aiden sat staring fixedly at the boughs of the tree. I caught a glimpse of something moving from the edges of the leaves, and then, without warning, a brownish blur streaked like cute lightning from the tree.  He was a shining furry beacon raging toward the cat. From the depths of my imagination I could almost hear the chipmunk screaming like a castrated Leonidas in a teeny voice, “You may take my tail… but you’ll never take… my dignity!”

From then on it was impossible to tell what exactly happened. It was quick, there was a flash of movement for a few moments and then, when my eyes were able to fix upon that silent face-off outside my kitchen window, I was able to see Aiden walking triumphantly away with a broken and beaten chipmunk hanging limp from his jaws. I felt like my cat was walking away with the rodent equivalent of John Connor. The only one with the wherewithal to lead the “resistance” against my cat had just had his spine snapped.

After that I began to evaluate the personality of the cat, which tells me I probably didn’t have too much going on in my head that day to be analyzing the moral ambiguity of my feline pet. Essentially he’s a ruthless tyrant preying on those weaker than him for nothing more than pure enjoyment, but he also purrs so lovingly when pet behind his ears… so I was left conflicted. He still leaves tattered carcasses about the yard and I still pet him behind the ears, so all in all nothing will change.

My Genius Idea

In Comedy, Technology on May 12, 2009 at 11:59 PM

So the other night I was struck with what could possibly be a fantastic, albeit ridiculous, idea. It all started when I had knocked back a few with some friends in what can only be described as a colloquial situation. We were sitting around playing the mini-games found within Pokemon Stadium 2 for Nintendo 64 when I felt my proverbial “seal” start to break. So, after the round was over, I made my way to our fetid bathroom.

What happened from then on is what you might expect to happen, I prepped, aimed and let loose my swollen bladder. But as I coated the inside of the bowl with my lemon stream I was stricken with said genius idea.

Now picture a product, a product that is thin, adhesive on one side, battery powered (maybe solar though, gotta go green after all), waterproof, touch sensitive, and that contours to one half of the inside of your toilet bowl. Now the device is segmented into 8-10 touch sensitive columns, all programmed with a different musical note to play whenever the touch-sensitive pad is “interacted” with. Basically what I’m getting at is a touch sensitive abomination of a keyboard that you stick in your toilet bowl and piss on for entertainment. Wouldn’t that be great?

At first thought I was amazed that my mind had percolated such an idea and wondered why I hadn’t seen anything like it. Surely this is something that would be seen on the shelves of your local Spencers.

However, upon further thought, I started to see the flaws inherent in the idea. It is possible that such a device would promote excessive splattering, be seen as ridiculous, and/or would leave customers dissatisfied when they had to change the batteries (not if it was solar powered though!)?

No product is without its flaws, however, and knowing that I can say that I would feel confident in my purchase of a “Pee-Board” (patent pending) for use in my bathroom. Now would you readers (women urinators excluded sadly) feel a sense of glee if whenever you peed you made sweet, beautiful melodies? Or would you shake your head in maturity?

Red Bull: A Way Of Life

In Comedy on April 17, 2009 at 11:50 PM

Right there on my desk is the quite familiar can.  I’m staring it down as I try and figure out… “Why do I buy this so-called energy drink?”  I think I have probably drank 1,000 or more of these cans.  I highly doubt I am exaggerating either.  I’m looking at this 8.4 fluid ounce can that costs me about $2.26 each.  That’s right… $2.26 for only 8.4 fluid ounces.  You could get two 2 liter bottles of soda for that price.  It’s not like it really gives me “wiiiiings” like this advertisement states: Red Bull Gives You Wings.  Could it be the slim physique that is the perfect shade of blue and silver with the dueling bulls as its logo?  Honestly, I have no idea.

Red Bull has become a way of life for me.  Anyone and everyone who knows me understands that Red Bull and I have a relationship.  My wallpaper on my iMac contains four Red Bull aircraft painted in the same scheme as the can.  The wallpaper on my iPhone… a Red Bull can.  What is that on my dresser in my bedroom you ask?  Three different types of Red Bull products from Austria (where the product originated).  Some say I am pretty obsessed… wait… they shake their head and say, “you’re addicted.”

Could someone like myself really be “addicted” to Red Bull?  I know it has caffeine and all but… seriously.  Couldn’t I just be like that person who is obsessed with a BMW 5-series car?  No wait.  How about that person over there that is just obsessed with some singer like Jimmy Buffett and his Margaritaville type of music?  Is it bad that I love Red Bull as much as they love their car or their music?

Actually, forget it.  I thought I’d come up with an answer to why myself and so many other people drink Red Bull… I was wrong.  The product is amazing.  The company is amazing.  They hold over 80% of the market share.  I’m not the only one here.  I know I’m not what everyone says… “addicted.”  So, I am not too worried about why I get sucked into buying a can for $2.26 and drinking as if it was my last one.  I’m just going to go ahead and drink this can and enjoy it.  Ahhh… like I said.  It is a way of life… for me at least.

Pirates Vs. Pirates

In Comedy, Film, News, Politics on April 17, 2009 at 11:11 AM

Lately there seems to be an abundance of news regarding pirates. Mostly of the Somali variety, but also the web kind. And this got me thinking: What would be worse? Being captured by Somali pirates on the high seas? Or being forced to sit through all three Pirates of the Caribbean movies again?

My seething hatred of the Pirates movies has been well documented but any chance I have to reiterate it, I take. They are a worthless heap of cinema with Saturday Morning Cartoon level writing, aggravating performances and frustrating plot developments throughout. (Which is understandable given that the basis for the trilogy is an animatronic water ride in Florida.) Yet, inexplicably, they were some of the most popular films of the last decade.

Meanwhile, pirates keep boarding ships off the coast of Somalia and endangering the lives of those onboard, at times leading to hostage situations and standoffs. That is, of course, when they are not busy getting pwned by Navy Seals. (I love America.)

So what’s worse: being captured by pirates? Or watching Pirates?

Well, right off the bat, being captured by pirates dramatically increases my chances of being murdered. But watching Pirates dramatically increases my chances of committing suicide. So that’s a wash.

You may think the movies should get a point for having Keira Knightley, but you’d be wrong. She’s not the sweet Knightley from all those Red Carpet specials. She’s the bitchy, complaining, phony Knightley who gives the worst inspirational speech in the history of film during At World’s End. Meanwhile, if my ship is captured, perhaps I’ll be locked up with a Knightley-esque fellow hostage. Those types of life endangering experiences often bring people close together and we’ll be in contact for years to come. Point for the Somalis.

At the end of the movies I will have accomplished nothing besides successfully wasting 463 minutes of my life (7.7 hours for those wondering). At the end of the standoff with the pirates, while I may end up dead, I may also end up alive with a fantastic story to tell. Not only to everyone I know for the rest of my life, but more importantly to a ghost writer. The book and movie deal would make me boatloads of cash (pun intended).

Which I guess leaves one last question: who would I want to direct the movie based on my story? …I wonder if Gore Verbinski is available…

Sound off in the comments: which would YOU prefer?