Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Year in Review (2009)


It’s time again for my look back at the goings-on of the past year. Feel free to read, skim for your name, or just find the bold links and click on them in the hopes you’ll find a video featuring  a midget dressed up as Michael Jackson and dancing in the NYC subway system…you might just find what you’re looking for.


  • January 4 - I auditioned for The Foreigner at the Fulton Opera House. I didn't get it or anything, but call me weird, I like auditioning. It's just another excuse for me to get strangers to laugh. On purpose.

  • January 11 - My pal John Allen was in town for a conference. I know John from my days working at Gotee Records in Nashville when I was in the Radio Promotions department and he was in Sales. Sarah and I met up with John in Hershey, PA. It was really nice to re-connect and introduce him to my better/crazier half.

  • January 17 - I went hiking with my friend John Blowers in the Pennsylvania mountains. Somewhere. I actually don't have any idea where we were, only about a half hour or so from Lancaster, so if he wanted to kill me and hide my body he very well could have. But he didn't. I guess that means John's my friend. :)


  • February 3 - Sarah and I watched the touring production of Avenue Q at the Hershey Theater. There's nothing quite as fun as introducing your wife to the world of foul-mouthed puppets. And Gary Coleman.

  • February 22

  • February 27


  • March 17-24


  • April 19 - My pal Mitch McVicker came to town and performed a concert at our church. Even better than watching him perform again was getting to catch up with a good friend.

  • April 24 - Sarah and I went to a Capital Lights concert with our travel buddies Alyssa and Ashlea. Weeks later, the band announced they are breaking up. Coincidence?


  • May 15 - Sarah and I traveled to New York City for the weekend. I rejoined my friends at the National Comedy Theater and jumped in the Friday night shows for a great night of improv. I am happy to report that JT, Chris, Paul, Dan, Cohen, Kevin, and Jason have not lost the funny.

  • May 16 - Sarah and I hit some NYC tourist spots and that night we were in the live studio audience for the season finale of Saturday Night Live. It was everything we dreamed and more.


  • June 23 - I broke a molar eating an ice cream sandwich.


  • July 8 - After two weeks of temporary crowns, my molar was finally completely repaired.

  • July 17 - Sarah and I attended a barbecue at Dustin and Janelle's house. It was a great evening of friends and hangin' out, capped off by an amazing Roman candle fight between Jeremy and Dustin.

  • July 24-26 - Sarah and I returned to New York City and this time we brought our friends Ryan, Alyssa, and Ashlea with us. I performed at the National Comedy Theatre Friday and Saturday night and the rest of the time was spent giving them a whirlwind tour of the city.


  • August 8 - Sarah and I went to Nissley Vineyard (the place I proposed to her two years earlier) with friends to enjoy a nice evening in the countryside.

  • August 28 - Posted my 200th doodle.


  • September 12 - Sarah and I saw Bill Cosby perform live at the American Music Theatre. Despite the fact that he looks older, he's still the same old Cos.

  • September 18 - I had a voiceover audition at Max Films. Nothing has come of it (at least not yet) but again, it was something fun to do on a weekday afternoon.


  • October 1 - I hung my doodles at a local coffee shop, Square One, as part of their monthly rotation of local artists. The theme for the month was Halloween, so I displayed my collection of doodles of movie villains

  • October 3 - Sarah and I went to the New Holland Fair and were shocked to find they imported everyone who attends the county fair back home in Indiana to attend this one, too. Either that, or everyone who goes to fairs looks the same.

  • October 7 - After months of hunting, Sarah and I picked up our new car, a Ford Focus from Keller Brothers. If you're in the area, we highly recommend them!

  • October 26 - Married to Sarah for two years and she's still my bestest friend.

  • October 31 - At our Murder Mystery Party, everyone got dressed up in fancy clothes and we pretended we're a lot more civilized than we actually are.


  • December 4 - We attended a surprise birthday party for our friend Alyssa. It was a successful covert surprise operation.

  • December 5 - My dear friend Nik (another Gotee Records survivor) is in town and Sarah and I get together with her for coffee. I probably sound like a broken record, but it's so nice to re-unite with old friends and catch up!

  • December 12 - My pal John had a poker night (guys' night out). We tried to keep it as manly as possible, considering the snacks consisted of deli meats, apple cider, and hummus.

  • December 24

  • December 26 - For the second year in a row, Sarah's sister and her family (The Tatmans) visited us for a week . We played games, watched movies, and hung around the house. Basically everything you WISH you did on vacation.

There's one highlight I didn't post because it happens every week: Sarah and I have some good friends over on Tuesday nights to watch Lost. Our usual gang of misfits includes some of our closest friends in Pennsylvania (Alyssa, Ashlea, Dustin, Janelle, Monica, Tammy, and Tyler). Sure, we're all fans of the show and enjoy the twists and turns, but most of all we love having an excuse to get together with good friends. In a time of virtual social networking, nothing compares with actually hanging out with others.

Thanks, everyone, for a great 2009. Preparing to enter 2010 is weird. 2010. It looks really super futuristic. If I don't have a flying car by 2015, I'm going to be mad.

Ed on iTunes

So, the post I wrote a little bit ago about being on the new album by children's artist Phredd...the one where I have a couple of songs on the project? Well, Phreddtastic is now available on iTunes and you can download us and put us in your iPod and listen on repeat for days on end.

Ya weirdo.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

What Happened to Aaron's Paperjack?

A few years ago a dear friend of mine named Aaron Marrs passed away. He was working on a crab-fishing boat in the Alaskan waters when their boat was lost at sea. Aaron was working to save money to finish a documentary he and the rest of the crew of Paperjack Films were trying to finish (Aaron was the only one from Paperjack Films on the boat that went down).

After Aaron passed away, a benefit concert was held in Nashville featuring artists like Bleach and Relient K. The money raised was given to Paperjack Films so they could afford to finish the film. Does anyone out there know whatever happened to the film and this company? The Paperjack Films website disappeared a couple of years ago with no sign of the finished film and no word on where they were in the process. Their last update to the site was when they asked people to come to the benefit concert and, after that...nada.

I'm not trying to ruffle any feathers, but would really like to rest easy knowing all of the money raised by this benefit concert was actually used for what it was advertised it would be used for. Obviously I don't know the details, but to someone on this side of things, it looks like they took the money and ran. I just want to know that isn't the case.

If anyone has any info that would shed any light, please comment.


Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Top 10 Comedy Albums of 2009

(*You can find my Comedy Reviews blog here.)

Top 10 Album lists are pretty popular but I'll be honest: I didn't listen to enough full albums this year to feel like I really knew what I was talking about. Being a radio guy, I guess I mostly listen to singles. If you want someone who is a real music head, then check out Brad's year-end best-of list. On the other hand, I did listen to my fair share of comedy albums. I didn't listen to everything that came out (as of this writing I still haven't heard the new George Lopez album and I avoid any CD by a member of the Blue Comedy Collar Tour like a Blue Collar Comedy Tour audience member avoids evolution) but I think I caught most everything else that came by. I'll include clips from the album when I can find them, so just in case you have kids...or office mates...nearby, you may wanna keep an eye on the volume. Most of them contain words that will get your mouth washed out with soap.

10. Stephen Lynch, 3 Balloons
Not my favorite Lynch album, but still worth a mention. I especially enjoyed "Fishin Hole" (Where everyone is a butthole) and "Dear Diary," a collection of "he didn't just say that, did he?" tributes to dead celebrities.

9. Greg Giraldo, Midlife Vices
Like most people, I became acquainted with Giraldo through his work on Comedy Central's Roasts. He's always teased as "the comic no one has heard of." Although this is funny because it's true, it shouldn't be the case.

8. Jon Lajoie, You Want Some of This
One of four comedians on this list that are comedic songwriters. I used to abhor musical comedians (besides Weird Al) but when they're funny, they're funny. LaJoie's CD not only celebrates the joy of just being a regular guy, but does it to a beat that would get spins on any Top 40 station.

7. Nick Swardson, Seriously, Who Farted?
Swardson, the guy who appears in every Comedy Central show ever, returns to what (I think) he does best. Goofy voices and uncomfortable situations.

6. Christopher Titus, Love is Evol
Released three days after Valentine's Day, the album is one long rant about someone facing the D-Word: Divorce. As someone who's been in each phase of this journey, it's as if someone took everything I didn't know how to say and said it better. And funnier. I don't know. Maybe I can just relate because I too once spent some time splitting up with a psycho.

5. Dane Cook, Isolated Incident
Dane Cook got so big so fast, it wasn't long before the backlash set in. At first he was the cool underground sensation and suddenly he became cool to hate. I don't get it. If someone's good, then they're good. I mean come on, how does he keep coming up with great material...and so much of it! Another double disc. This new collection shows he isn't just a jokey jokester, but he's an amazing storyteller.

4. "Weird Al" Yankovic, Internet Leaks
Someone who's been doing this as long as Al has shouldn't be on this list. Compared to everyone else on the list, Al's an old-timer. But his song "CNR" done in the style of the White Stripes and heralding the most surprising of heroes shows he's still got it.

3. The Lonely Island, Incredibad
My favorite songs on this CD are the ones I hadn't already seen on SNL. And this CD boasts the best line-up of guest vocalists on any album this year: T-Pain, Jack Black, Norah Jones, Justin Timberlake, Natalie Portman, and Julian Casablancas.

2. Patton Oswalt, My Weakness is Strong
There are some people that are just funny when they're angry, and Oswalt is one of them. His album starts off with this "I Hate" bit and only gets better.

1. Jim Gaffigan, King Baby
Just when you thought he'd never be able to top his own catch phrase ("Hot Pocket!") he does it with just one word: bacon.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Nope. I'm Not Hanging THAT In My House

There's not really a polite way to say this, so I'll just say it. If your Christmas card features photos of your children on the front, I'm just gonna throw it away.

Don't get me wrong, I'm all for family photos and I don't mind a Christmas greeting with a shot of the whole gang. I will gladly hang that along with the other Christmas cards we've received. That's not what I'm talking about. I'm talking about the Christmas cards that only have kids on the front; two scamps in sweaters in front of yet another fireplace and I have no idea who they are.

Those are the cards I'm talking about. I won't hang them up for the same reason I don't cut out pictures of kids from magazines and hang them up in my house. I don't know those kids.

Last year we received like 10 cards that were basically photos of kids and every time we were asked, "Oh, who's that?" Sarah and I would just kinda look at each other and shrug our shoulders. We don't know these kids.

And this year, they're not taking up our wall space.

I'm not mad, I'm just saying.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Those Evil, Evil Christmas Carols

Yesterday an angry lady called the station with a complaint Or, in her words, her "annual complaint". Which means she complains about this annually. It seems we played "Walking in a Winter Wonderland," a song that clearly is not about Jesus.

Jesus chose to hang out with hookers and thieves instead of those who considered themselves "holy" and now I'm starting to see why. "Holy" people are a downer.

Are we as Christians no longer allowed to enjoy winter, snow, or songs about winter and snow because they don't have the word "Jesus" in them? Yikes. Forgive me for enjoying, you know, what God created (in this case, a winter wonderland).

Maybe it's just me, but it seems there are issues in the world that need our attention a lot more urgently than the fact that a Christian radio station played "Winter Wonderland" a few weeks before Christmas. You should definitely reconsider how you're expending your energy. In fact, I would hope to think that if you're going to accept the role as Super Christian and change the world and make it a better place, Christmas Carols would be at the bottom of your list. Or at least beneath things like starving children, struggling single parents, or disabled Vets who need a hand.

Or maybe I have it wrong. Maybe you've already single-handedly managed to solve all of those troubles that society faces and you have reached the bottom of your list and it's time to give the radio station what-for.

Oh, and did I mention the fact that when this Grinch (forgive my non-Biblical Christmas reference) called with her complaint, she started off the call by saying she doesn't celebrate Christmas? So we're horrible people for spreading Christmas cheer and in the meantime she's sitting pretty because she refuses to celebrate the birth of her Savior.

That makes sense.

I don't know. Am I off on this one? I just can't fathom a mindset where this [a Christmas carol] is an actual issue that needs so desperately to be addressed. I don't know who that lady is or if she'll ever read this but on the off-chance she does, I have a message for her:

I don't want to say it's people like you who give Christians a bad name, but it's people like you who give Christians a bad name.  It's time to unclench.

Say "Cheese!"

The gang at WJTL recently posed for our annual Christmas postcard. The pictures were taken by Brooke Courtney, a really talented photographer here in PA. Here are four of Brooke's favorite shots from the day.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

25 Years in 2-1/2 Minutes

Congratulations WJTL on 25 years! Here's a little video I put together encapsulating just a fraction of what's been going down.

Monday, December 07, 2009

The "How to Write A Hit Song" Jingo Jango

As I mentioned in a post last week, tomorrow is the release day of the new Phredd album, Phreddtastic. To help celebrate that fact, I thought I'd offer up a little insight as to how one of the songs, "Jingo Jango" came about. Instead of telling you how Phredd and I wrote the lyrics, I thought I'd show you by copying the emails we sent back and forth that birthed the song. And yes kids, this is how ALL professional songwriters write their songs.


Are you up for writing a jingle for WJTL's listen live feature, a la those annoying freecreditreport.com commercials? Kinda like the poor sap lost his radio or something and didn't have a way to listen but now he does. I am actually going to lip synch the song since, just like in the commercials, the guy "singing" the songs isn't the actual singer. Did you know that? He's a French actor. True story, dude.
No rush on this at all. At all.


I love it.  Let's do this...
Come up with a title and then let's write (email) lines back and forth to write the song.
So you send me the title, and then...
Let the fun begin.


"The No-Radio-Needed Jingo Jango"

Jingo Jango Who need 'da radio?


I thought I did til my boombox broke

Cruel old joke, when my boombox broke


(Now) My boombox won't tune in any mo'


OK, I went a little crazy.  Start the second verse. :>)

Hey Radio Man now there's a void

Yeah you succeeded

My life's destroyed

No Radio Needed


No Radio Needed (Jingo Jango)

Yeah, you succedded (Jingo Jango)

Casey Kasem pleaded

Rick Dees conceded

All your fears are now exceeded

Jingo Jango No Radio Needed


Dude you are SOO much better at this, lol. I'm still trying to get my last contribution to fit in the structure...
Jingo jango, don' need da radio


Now I don't have a life soundtrack


I need music back, no tunes is pretty wack


Wackitta wacka whacky no sound


But Internet Man do what you can
Your technology
Can musically span
This dilemma probably

Bridge/Middle eight

So I'm singing Papa papa papa papa

momma momma momma momma

Papa papa papa papa

Hm, Daddy Momma turn the radio on!

(OK Eddie - Big 3rd verse.  this is where we hit the point of the song.  The big finish so to speak.  You start)


Jingo Jango what's dis by da radio?


Why, its my portal to the internets


Now I gets no worries or frets


Cause I can tune in 24/7  (or - Cause I can tune in all the time)  if you like that better


Listen online man if you're out of range


Hey, we be streamin'


You ain't dreamin'

Hey, You ain't dreamin'

We be streamin'


Eddie, I think its done. The only other addition might be to talk over the ending, like listen online at wjtl.com or "get better speakers" or "nice profile pic dude."


Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha sweet!! You are sooo much better at this than me. I gladly stand in your shadow!


already got the tune in my head

A few days later, Fred sent me an actual song based on what we'd written. As someone with no songwriting talent, I was crazy impressed that Fred was able to take our random lines and work them into a musical structure. He tweaked some words here and there, cut and moved and re-worded and the rest...well, I'll say it. The rest is musical history.

Here's the music video, set to Fred's original rough mix:

Phreddtastic is available online at the WJTL music store and will also be available on iTunes in the near future. A free download of the first single, "Text the Cell" will be available online at the WJTL website from Tuesday Dec 8-Monday Dec 15.

Friday, December 04, 2009

Humor Makes Charity Way More Appealing

Sure, you can be a singer/songwriter and whine and moan about saving dogs from the dog pound and the SPCA  and make everyone sick of what used to be a kinda cool song (the truth hurts, Maclachlan)...or you can find a cause you believe in and make people actually want to hear more by being clever about it.

I salute you, Ben Stiller, on a job well done. After you've watched the videos, check out the site.

Play It Again, Sam

I wrote a blog back in September about a fan letter I wrote to Sam Viviano. You're gonna wanna read that one before jumping into this one in order to grasp the awesomeness of this blog. It's right here. Don't worry, I'll wait.

OK...so here we go...

A couple weeks ago I got an email from WordPress letting me know I had a comment on that blog that needed approval. Of all the people who might comment on a blog about a fan letter I wrote to my favorite artist (and his reply back to me), I did not expect the comment to be from Sam Viviano himself. For real. The comment is there. Check it out. Not only did he stumble across my blog (I still wonder how he found it), but he also offered to replace the drawing he sent to me years ago that I eventually lost.

I emailed him back, thanking him for his comment and again thanking him for personally responding to his fan mail, unlike that robot Ricky Schroeder. (Yes, I also sent a fan letter to Ricky Schroeder, the then-star of NBC's Silver Spoons, back in the 80s. When I get an automated response in return and a black-and-white 5x7 picture with his autograph obviously stamped "Love, Ricky" I was a little less than enthused. And confused. I hadn't asked for a photo, much less one signed "Love.")

About a week after responding to Sam's blog comment, I received a manila envelope in the mail with a MAD Magazine address label on the front. It was two days before my birthday and a great way to kick off the weekend. Not only had Sam responded with yet another full-page handwritten letter but he also included another print of the very drawing he had sent to me nearly 20 years ago.

But wait, there's more! He also included two recent issues of MAD Magazine!

I mean seriously, how cool is this guy? He's someone with a lot more on his plate than me and still he goes out of his way to go above and beyond the call of duty for a complete stranger. I could learn something from this guy.

But first, I'm going to take a picture of myself with all the cool stuff he sent me. Pictures first, life lessons later.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

I Can't Laugh At This Guy

I've been in this situation many times myself.

Grammy Nominated TO THE GROUND

So the nominations for the Grammy Awards have been announced. I don't usually follow the rap category too closely but this year, one of them really sticks out. Guess who I'm rooting for?

Best Rap/Sung Collaboration
(For a Rap/Sung collaborative performance by artists who do not normally perform together. Singles or Tracks only.)

  • Ego| BeyoncĂ© & Kanye West

  • Knock You Down|Keri Hilson, Kanye West & Ne-Yo

  • Run This Town|Jay-Z, Rihanna & Kanye West

  • I'm On A Boat|The Lonely Island & T-Pain

  • Dead And Gone|T.I. & Justin Timberlake

Something New for the Resume

Tuesday Dec 8 2009 marks the day I will officially get to add a new section to my resume. That's right, suckas, I'm almost an actual singer/songwriter/recording artist. Almost.

Perhaps you've heard of Phredd, the crazy guy who writes goofy songs for kids like Awooga, Baby Bottle BoomerangIf Coffee Smells So Good Why Does It Taste So Bad, and My Mom is a Pirate. Well, not only is Phredd the mind behind those catchy tunes, but he also happens to be my boss. And I'll be honest: My boss is way cooler than your boss. Not only does he let me make crazy videos for work like this one

and this one,

but he also lets me appear on his forthcoming album, Phreddtastic.

That's right. Phreddtastic drops next week and I've got two songs on there and a co-writing credit on a third! I know, I know. That's just messed up. I'll explain:

Almost a year ago, I wanted to make a video for the station promoting the fact that you can listen online. I asked Fred if he would write a song, something light and catchy, in the same vein as those Free Credit Report ads. But of course, just like in the TV ads, the song would be lip-synched by a guy who didn't actually sing the song (in this case, me).

Fred came back to me with the idea that we co-write the song via email. I gave him the name of the song and he emailed back with the first line. And then I added the second line. And so on and so on. After we were finished, Fred tweaked it to make it fit the musical phrasing and then wrote the tune and melody. And then when Fred started working on his new album he decided to re-record the tune, Jingo Jango.

To tell you the truth, giving me a co-writing credit is really generous seeing how all I did was make up sentences that sort of rhymed with what Fred wrote. But it's a co-writing credit nonetheless and I'll take it. (By the way, you can see the original version of the song in the finished video here. I even let Fred appear as the guy singing backup vocals despite the fact he's actually singing everything and I appear nowhere in the audio track. Wasn't that nice of me?)

And then there're my other two songs on Phredd's new album. The first one actually shouldn't count. It's like 10 seconds long. I was working on a radio ad in Garage Band and heard a ukulele riff and of course, thought of Fred. So I started humming along and 30 seconds later Another Fred Song was born. I realize I'm not a singer, though, so instead of singing I just kind of talk to the rhythm in a sing-songy way like I'm Colin Mochrie in the hoedown game.

The other song I did...well...I'm gonna play that one down, too, because I didn't actually write the song. Fred did. I just Weird Al'd it. Fred had a song out a few years ago called Floating Zoo, where he went through the alphabet and named animals that were on Noah's Ark (armadillo, baboon, cougar, dingo, etc.).

Back in the year 2000, I was working on the air at the station and played Floating Zoo and I started singing "Scooby Doo" instead of the title phrase. What can I say? I've been listening to Weird Al since I was in Junior High School, 20 years of listening to parodies will have an effect on you. I started trying to come up with a word for each letter of the alphabet that correlated to the classic cartoon and after my shift I went into the production studio and recorded a really rough version of the song. Fast-forward nine years later to Fred asking me if I'd record an updated version for Phreddtastic.

I mean come on, if that's not flattering, then I don't know what is. You parody the guy's song and he turns around and asks you to record the parody for his album? That was cool.

Realizing I still can't sing, I decided to morph the song from a fun ukulele ditty to a mash-up of styles over which I do this weird pseudo-rap. It's hard to explain. You'll just have to hear it.

But don't pick up the album because of my little contribution. Pick it up because it's a fun listen and Phredd once again brings the fun for the whole family with a batch of tunes you'll be humming for hours. In a good way. I just wish you could hear the whole thing. And, whaddya know, starting Dec 8, 2009, you can. :)