Saturday, April 26, 2008

Life Lessons. Sarah Style.

Today Sarah and I were driving home and passed by the Lancaster prison. It's actually a really cool looks like an old castle...except with barbed wire on top of all the walls. Outside of the prison was a stenciled sign that said:


I cracked, "Baby, look. Let's go get jobs."

Without missing a beat Sarah said, "Oooooh, yea! I can go in and tell them my ideas for torturing people!"

Please believe me when I say Sarah isn't nearly as twisted as that statement would lead you to believe. You just have to understand Sarah's idea of linear thinking. I'll try to explain:

The other day Sarah was watching brain surgery on YouTube (if you can think of a more ridiculous way to start a story, then kudos to you). Since then she's mentioned on occasion or two how she has been inspired to be a brain surgeon.

Can I be honest? After some questioning I figured out Sarah doesn't want to be a brain surgeon. Sarah wants to be a what-happens-if-I-open-up-your-head-and-poke-here person. It's not that she wants to be a doctor, it's just that she's realllllly curious.

Today when she told me about torturing prisoners, I asked her what kind of torture she had in mind.

"You know," she explained, "Suturing and stuff."

"So you're not really looking to torture them, you just want to cut them and then sew them up and then cut them somewhere else and sew them up again." And I honestly believe she would because she believes that she can. Actually, she knows she can.

People in general won't let you cut them up just to see if you can do it and that's why Sarah wants to do it to prisoners. You rob an old lady, you're gonna have to pay by letting Sarah cut you open and looking around.

That's one of the things I admire about Sarah, though. Not that she wants to hack up prisoners but the fact that, if they called her up tomorrow and said, "Sarah, how would you like to cut someone's head open and look around inside?" she would be there in an instant (she'd probably do a little research on YouTube first, but I guarantee she'd be there).

I've told Sarah this before: There is nothing that Sarah doesn't think she can do. As far as she's concerned, if she can dream it up, she can do it. I wish I had a little more of that. We probably all do.

Is there something you haven't done or aren't doing simply because you don't think you can do it? I'm not talking about kidnapping people and performing exploratory surgery on them, but a dream of some kind you're killing by convincing yourself you can't do it. Maybe there's a job you want to apply for or an instrument you've been putting off learning. Maybe there's someone you've wanted to say hello to or a story you've thought about putting on paper.

Whatever it is, we can all take a lesson from Sarah. Don't think about it. Like the over-used shoe slogan says, just do it. As soon as the words "I can't because..." leave your mouth, you've done your part in killing your dream forever. And years down the road when you look back, "I can't because" will have morphed into "I wish I tried."

Do it. You can. I know you can. Sarah does, too.

Friday, April 25, 2008

The Shadow Man

As many of know, I always carry a small notebook in my back pocket. One never knows when something funny will pop into your head and it's always best to be armed to write it down, especially if you have hopes of doing comedy.

Because I carry these notebooks with me all of the time, they have a tendency to fall apart. Last night I came across three of the past notebooks I used to carry with me everywhere. They aren't even notebooks anymore...they're more like a piles of loose pages and it took me a bit of time to figure out what order they went in so I could make sense of them. I decided to transcribe them into a looseleaf notebook so they're all together and in some sort of order.

As I was re-reading, I found a few gems I had forgotten about. And when I say gems, I'm not trying to be arrogant about my funny; they just made me laugh. And I figure if they made me laugh after incubating in a drawer for so long, there might be something to them.

One of the ideas I had scribbled down wasn't a stand-up comedy bit but an idea for a short film. I don't recall exactly when I wrote it but I'm pretty sure it was in 2006-2007 while I was in Indiana. It was only 4 or 5 lines and I decided I wanted to film it.

So I ran around the apartment last night and got Sarah to be the star. A few hours later I had a finished product I was uploading onto YouTube. I wouldn't consider the premise one of the "gems" I mentioned earlier, but it was fun to film again and have something new to share.

You can watch it here. Enjoy. Leave a comment and let me know if you liked it. Or if you didn't.

On second thought, if you didn't like it, you don't need to comment.

Just kidding.

Sort of.

But not really.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Beauty: In the Eye of the Magazine Cover

Today I was stopped dead in my tracks by a magazine cover. My theory is, if you're going to name your magazine "Beautiful One" then you'd better make darn well sure the picture of Judy Jacobs on the cover is indeed beautiful.

Otherwise, change the name of your publication to "Crazy Hair Weekly."

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Costco: What are You Looking For?

OK, I'll be the first to admit, I'm not the sharpest pencil in the lead pile. But I cannot for the life of me figure out just what in the world the Costco receipt-checker lady is looking for.

As you may or may not know, when you shop at Costco as you leave they have an employee who takes your receipt, inspects your cart, scribbles on the receipt with a highlighting marker, and then lets you leave.

The first time I experienced this a few years ago I thought, "What a fun idea! They're cutting down on theft by making sure you paid for everything you have in your cart."

But then I realized this may or may not be the case. They don't really look all that hard. Lately all they seem to do is glance in the cart and scribble on the receipt. Are they really being that effective? They look at my cart, not even looking in the boxes to see if I have a multi-pack of Granola Bars smuggled in somewhere underneath my pile of 2-pound bags of frozen blueberries.

Yesterday my wife and I went shopping and I bought a hard drive for our computer. I wanted to use my personal account to pay for it and not our joint account so I paid separately and, as a result, got a separate receipt. I decided to do a test and pocketed my receipt for the hard drive and just gave the lady the receipt for the other items in our cart full of bulky goodness. The hard drive was, by far, the most expensive thing in the cart so if she was looking to make sure it was on the receipt, I would be busted.

But nothing. She looked at the receipt, looked at the cart for a second or two, and then smiled and let us pass.

What's going on here? I used to think they were counting how many items were on the receipt to see if I had that same number in my cart. But there was no counting going on. No double-checking. None of it. If they're not there to do any real work, then why not fire them and pass the savings on to me?

What are they looking for?

Something is afoot, I just don't know what it is. I told Sarah what I was doing and after we left I turned to her and said, "I should have put an extra hard drive in the cart." She just smiled at me because she knew I was going to go home and blog about it.

If someone who works at Costco reads this, please comment and fill me in. I know the official position of Costco is they are making sure they haven't overcharged us for anything but I'm not buying that. Call me skeptical, but I find it hard to believe these 90-year-old people they have guarding the exit have the price of every item in the store memorized.

Help me, Costco. The suspense is killing me.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Stalked by Felt? OK!

There are things that society has accepted as normal that are, in fact, not normal at all.

Let's say, for example, I am at HersheyPark, a local amusement park. I'm walking along the midway enjoying the atmosphere and suddenly I sense I'm being followed. And not only am I being followed but it's like someone is right behind me, I mean right on me. I turn around and it turns out I am in fact being followed by some strange dude and his head is really close to the back of my head.

Society has taught me that this is weird. This guy should not be following me this closely, he shouldn't have his nose mere inches from my head, and he should leave me alone.


...if the same guy is wearing a huge costume and dressed as a chocolate bar with a bite taken out of him and a huge scary smile on its fuzzy head, THAT is perfectly OK and acceptable. In that case I would turn around and see this costumed character and laugh and smile and just say, "Oh you silly huge chocolate bar."

And so this is where we are as a people: Where it's actually creepier to be followed by a fellow human than it is to be stalked by a giant Twix bar.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Let's (Not) Sleep On It

I've approached some of my buddies from the National Comedy Theatre about an idea currently bouncing around in my head. Last night as I was falling asleep I had three great ideas for my idea. I was going to get up, grab my "comedy notebook", and scribble the notions down but I couldn't get motivated to do more than just think about doing it.

I wasn't too stressed about it, though, as they were such good ideas I knew I would remember them this morning.

But I didn't.

I hate  being an idiot.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

What is Improv?

What is comedy? What makes something funny? What the heck is the "rule of three?" These are just some of the topics scholars have discussed - and debated - since the dawn of time.

And when improv was discovered (right around the dusk of time) it spurred on deeper queries. My pals up in Manhattan at the National Comedy Theatre shed some light on the topic. Enjoy.

And discuss.


Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Come on, guys!

Yesterday while watching the news I saw a report in which they said the average husband creates 7 hours of housework per week.

Guys, may  have a word, please, in private?

(insert pause here while we wait for the ladies to leave)

Ok dudes, seriously. You disappoint me.

We can totally bump that up to at least 10.

Monday, April 07, 2008

The Johnny Appleseed Prayer Song

Sarah and I went camping with a big group of new friends this past weekend. Right before lunch, our friend Alyssa asked if we'd ever heard of Johnny Appleseed. I thought she meant the dude and was about to say "Of course I have, I'm from Indiana."

And then I realized she DIDN'T mean the dude when they all started to hum. I grabbed my camera and captured THIS.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

MY Gayest Look

Poor Jay Leno.

I used to like him before he became the host of "The Tonight Show." I actually still like him, just not as a host. Suffice it to say I think he's a better stand-up comedian than he is talk show host. I guess I'll always be a Letterman fan. And a Conan fan. And a Craig Ferguson fan.

But now poor Jay finds himself apologizing for a joke he made on the show the other night while interviewing Ryan Phillippe. They were talking about one of Phillippe's earliest roles where he played a gay teenager on a soap opera. Leno then said, "Pretend the camera is your gay lover. Give us your gayest look."

This, apparently, was UNACCEPTABLE! People are in fits because Jay asked him to give us his "gayest look." They threw a hissy fit of...well... I guess standard proportions and Leno has since apologized.

I guess this is why I don't have my own talk show. Why does he have to apologize for this? Should he stop by the press room every night and go down the list of every person he made a joke about in his opening monologue and apologize to them as well? Sorry George Bush. Sorry Hillary and Barack. Sorry Paris Hilton. Sorry people with no sense of humor.

What's the big deal? If a statement like that sends you reeling then I say put on a helmet, Goldie, because life gets a little tougher than that.

One of the loudest of "the offended" is Jeff Whitty, the guy who wrote the Broadway hit Avenue Q. Don't get me wrong...I love Avenue Q. I think it's hilarious. Mostly because it pokes fun at everyone and everything. The fact that he gets upset about Jay Leno saying "Give me your gayest look" but has his name on a play that includes lyrics like "Mexican busboys should learn g** d*** English" and jokes about black people not being able to get a taxi.... doesn't make much sense to me. I say if you're allowed to poke fun at people (and get a Tony Award for it) then you should be able to let others joke, too.

A new website was started because of the hubbub called "My Gayest Look for Jay Leno" where people submit pictures of themselves flipping off the camera. Yea. That'll show him!!

I was going to submit my gayest look, but I couldn't find a picture of a bunch of people putting so much energy into getting so upset over so little.