Recently in Comedic Stylings Category

For the past few months (and every third Friday this summer), I have been producing comedy shows built around a very marginal "Sean" pun. First it was "The Seanukkah Show" back in December, and most recently, it was "The Seanshank Redemption". In a few weeks, on my 30th birthday, you can see "Sean Keane Going on 30", where I channel my inner Jennifer Garner.

The first really solid realization of this concept came in March, when I did "Sean In 60 Seconds". The opening of the show featured me as Nicolas Cage, decoding coded messages about hair plugs, Lisa Marie Presley, and the perils of naming your son after Superman. Eventually, "Nicolas" showed his own self-produced blockbuster action movie, entitled "Gone In 60 Seconds 2: Book of Secrets", which I now present to you, gentle Zembla reader.

Gone In 60 Seconds 2: Book of Secrets from Sean Keane on Vimeo.

Here are the first three episodes of my new web series, "Elevator to Space". It's about astronauts, and it is extremely dramatic and exciting.


When do new episodes come out?

New episodes will generally come out on Mondays, on a semi-weekly basis.

Where else can I find these hilarious videos?

Visit, and on the Vimeo channel.

What, was taken?


Who are your collaborators?

Chris Garcia, Louis Katz, and Alex Koll. Music by DJ Real.

Is this a scientifically-accurate depiction of what a space elevator would really be like?


What can I look forward to in the future from this series?

We have 20+ episodes in the can so far, and I think we all agree that they get progressively stronger/funnier, as the acting and concepts both improve significantly. However, the funniest moment so far is me getting hurt accidentally.

Sean, will future episodes also feature you getting hurt on purpose?

Yes. Enjoy!

Episode 1:

Episode 2:

Episode 3:

Scenes From Classic 80's Films, If Their Budgets Had Been Drastically Cut
Part One: Ferris Bueller's Day Off

* * *

Cameron: You don't understand. My dad loves this pedometer more than life itself. Ferris, he never even walks with it strapped to his hip! He just goes to the gym and rubs it with a diaper.
Ferris: I just want to count our steps today.
Cameron: Ferris, he keeps very close track of the total.
Ferris: Look, whatever mileage we put on we'll take off.
Cameron: How?
Ferris: We'll walk home backwards.

* * *

Maitre'd: Can I help you?
Ferris: You can sure as hell try. I'm Abe Froman.
Maitre'd: You're Abe Froman? The Sausage King of Chicago?
Ferris: Yes, that's me.
Maitre'd: Your Jamba Juice is ready. Razzmatazz with a protein boost, right?

* * *

Ferris: Pardon my French, but Cameron is so tight that if you stuck a lump of coal up his ass, in two weeks you'd have a synthetic cubic zirconia.

* * *

Sloane: Hey, it's Von Steuben Day. Want to go to the parade?
Ferris: Nope.
Cameron: Me neither.
Ferris: Let's sit quietly and enjoy an unlicensed Muzak recording of "Twist and Shout" instead.

* * *

Ferris: Cameron, I'm sorry. Walking backwards with the pedometer on a treadmill isn't taking any of the mileage off.
Cameron: No, forget it. I've got to take a stand. My dad pushes me around. I NEVER SAY ANYTHING. Who do you love? You love a pedometer!

(Cameron drops the pedometer onto the treadmill. It flies back into the wall, and shatters.)

Cameron: What did I do?
Ferris: You killed the pedometer.

Despair Is The Aftertaste Of Workplace Pride from Sean Keane on Vimeo.

For the debut Frown Land performance, all three group members created a video of our "happiest memory". Most ended up kind of somber. Mine was called, "Despair is the Aftertaste of Workplace Pride", and it was based on this Zembla post. This will hopefully be the first of many blog-to-video projects. Currently, I am storyboarding Henry David Thoreau: Newlywed, and finishing the script for Flame War, in which a group of people insult each other for no reason. I'm going to try to land Reese Witherspoon for a guest role.

Joey Devine shot and edited the video, and Chris Garcia came through with a valuable musical tip in the editing process. You can see all Frown Land videos at the Frown Land Channel on Vimeo, or follow the Frown Land Tumblr.

I still work at the same job.

Foxworthy teriyaki

If you think Japan is the thing you cook ja-grits might be a Jeff Foxworthy teriyaki beef jerky buyer.

If you once ate week-old, semi-rancid potato salad because you thought it was endorsed by Ron might be a Jeff Foxworthy teriyaki beef jerky buyer.

If you can no longer fasten your blue collar because you've got too much neck might be a Jeff Foxworthy teriyaki beef jerky buyer.

If you signed up for a Safeway Club might be in line for a 50-cent discount on your purchase of Jeff Foxworthy teriyaki beef jerky.

The Halftime Speech

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If you missed Frown Land's debut performance, "The Happiness Show", fear not. Not only will we be producing another show in December, but we taped the first one. Please enjoy one of our sketches, "The Halftime Speech":

The Halftime Speech from Sean Keane on Vimeo.


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Below is a wonderful short film called, "Manoj", made by Hari Kondabalu, about an up-and-coming Indian standup comic named Manoj. I posted this at my other site, but it's so good, I want as many people to see it as possible.

(Naked self-hype: I will be performing with Hari on October 18th, at an event called Laugh Out the Vote.)

MANOJ from Zia Mohajerjasbi on Vimeo.

there will be little lady

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I watched the Danson-Guttenberg-Selleck classic Three Men and a Little Lady last week, which I discussed extensively over at Sean Keane Comedy Dot Com. The most striking thing about the film is probably Tom Selleck's wardrobe, which includes a pullover sweater that says "Wild Child" on it and three-piece suits. Next is Selleck's impeccably-groomed mustache, facial hair that looks like it's from a different era. In fact, it most reminds me of Daniel Plainview, Daniel Day-Lewis's character from There Will Be Blood.



They both love orphans, too! What if Daniel Plainview had been one of the Three Men instead of Selleck?

There Will Be Little Lady

Scene One

(The THREE MEN assemble to sing the Little Lady a lullaby.)

Jack & Michael: (singing) Good night sweetheart, well, it's time to go. Good night sweetheart, well, it's time to go.

Daniel Plainview: I'm not going to sing.

Jack: Come on, Daniel!

Michael: She'll never go to bed otherwise.

Daniel Plainview: (grimacing) Fine. Just give me the harmony part. Give me the harmony part!

Jack: Fine.

Jack & Michael: (singing) Well, it's three o'clock in the morning.

Daniel Plainview: It's three o'clock. Yes.

Mary: Sing louder, Daniel!

Daniel Plainview: It's three o'clock in the morning! Three o'clock! I've abandoned my bachelor lifestyle! I'VE ABANDONED MY BACHELOR LIFESTYLE!

Scene Two

(Daniel Plainview slaps Michael in the face, over and over again, knocking him into the dirt, for four-and-a-half minutes straight)

Daniel Plainview: Don't ever be late to pick her up from day care again.

Scene Three

(Mary and Daniel Plainview sit together on a plane bound for England.)

Mary: But I don't want to go to England, Daniel! I'm going to miss everyone.

Daniel Plainview: Your mother is getting married, you have to go. Besides, all you have to do is imagine, and we'll be there. Close your eyes. Can you see us?

Mary: No.

Daniel Plainview: Look closer. Can you see us now?

Mary: Yeah.

Daniel Plainview: What are we doing?

Mary: Michael is drawing, Jack is looking in the mirror, and you are buying up land at cheap prices for oil speculation...

(As she speaks, Daniel Plainview gets up and walks out of the plane. His associate sits down in his seat.)

Mary: ...and you're calling Jack a charlatan and a false prophet. Hey, where did Daniel go? And what happened to my milkshake?

Scene Four

Daniel Plainview: Mary, let me tell you something. You were a bastard from a basket.

Mary: I know that. My mom left me on your doorstep.

Daniel Plainview: I just needed a sweet face to buy land. You were a BASTARD from a BASKET. There's none of me in you.

Mary: Daniel, Jack is my biological father. You know that.

Daniel Plainview: Bastard from a basket, bastard from a basket! You're a bastard from a basket!

(Daniel Plainview walks away muttering, chugging whiskey and throwing bowling pins haphazardly.)

Mary: Does this mean no rapping lullaby tonight?

In a tradition that dates back to last year, Zembla brings you Uncomfortable Conversation Hearts (with an assist from the ACME Heart Maker). Because Valentine's Day isn't always about love and romance. Sometimes it's about misery, passive-aggressiveness, and undiagnosed pancreatic ailments.






tedford, throughout history

After a season marked by poor play and disastrous fourth-quarter passing, Cal coach Jeff Tedford finally replaced incumbent quarterback Nate Longshore with backup Kevin Riley, down 21-0 to Air Force in the Armed Forces Bowl. The result was a 42-36 comeback victory, but fans wondered why the change happened so late in the year, after Cal had already lost six of seven games. What would Jeff Tedford have been like in other historical situations?

Fire Inspector Tedford
October 12th, 1871
Chicago, IL

"Now that the fire has finally been put out, Mrs. O'Leary, I'm going to have to shoot your cow."

Admiral Tedford
December 8th, 1941
Pearl Harbor

"You know what? Let's get a lookout up there, to let us know if any planes are coming. That is, after we rebuild that tower that the Japanese planes blew up."

National Guard Captain Tedford
Kent State University
May 6, 1970

"Let's give the Guardsmen rubber bullets before the next protest."

Zookeeper Tedford
December 27th, 2007
San Francisco, CA

"Tomorrow, we build a taller wall outside the tiger enclosure."

My Father Tedford
September 21st, 1978

"Sharon, I've been doing some reading, and it turns out that the Rhythm Method is not nearly as reliable as we thought. I'm buying you a diaphragm."

too soon?

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Today is the sixth anniversary of the September 11th terror attacks. On a day like this, my thoughts inevitably turn to comedy, because that's what my September 11th was really all about. Some comics are taking advantage of the anniversary to put on a show at The Punchline entitled Too Soon? I'm not performing, but Jow Klocek, Ali Mafi, Tapan Trivedi, and Boxcar are.

"Too soon?" is a question I often ask, but usually sarcastically, after I've said something wildly inappropriate. The most effective use of "Too soon?" that I've heard comes from up-and-coming comedian Kevin Munroe, who uses it as a tag after a joke about Jesus: "Too soon? 2,000 years later is too soon?"

How soon is too soon to begin joking about horrific events? Due to the Daily Show's ascension and the ubiquity of blogging, the time window has shrunk quite a bit. There's much more of an established blanketing of stories by news organizations. It's the ESPN model, where every big story is covered by multiple reporters and absolutely beaten into the ground, whether it's Michael Vick's dogfighting, Terrell Owens's overdose, or the Virginia Tech shootings themselves. No matter that the VA Tech shootings didn't have anything to do with sports; the story led every show for the first days following the massacre. When a news story is inescapable, the backlash against forced mourning and exaggerated sadness happens quickly.

One comic told me that the rule of thumb for touchy material used to be The Tonight Show. If Johnny Carson did a joke on something, that topic was immediately fair game for comics anywhere. I don't know if that rule still stands for any joke done on Letterman. I hope so, because I have a killer bit I'd like to do called, "The World Trade Center North Tower: Will It Float?"

I'm a bad person to ask about timeliness, since I hosted a comedy show roughly 15 hours after the planes hit the World Trade Center, during which I made a joke about how the Empire State Building should be the prime suspect. In addition, I had material on the Virginia Tech shootings three days after it happened. It wasn't exactly sensitive, but at the same time, I don't think anyone would have felt better if I'd worn a VT hat on stage, or changed my Facebook icon to a VT logo with a black ribbon behind it. That'd be kind of Hokie, anyway.

I didn't expect people to fully embrace the material, so I prepared a backup joke. When the audience didn't laugh, I'd say, "I'll take that as a moment of silence for the victims." However, I never got to use it for the first two weeks I told the jokes, because the crowds always laughed. So I might be an insensitive asshole, but so were all those audience members. You think you're better than me? Huh?

RooftopComedyRooftopComedy (VT material about halfway through the clip.)

(Too Soon? takes place at 8 PM at the world-famous Punchline Comedy Club, 444 Battery Street in SF. 18+, $14.)

Through my Hollywood connections and my membership in a certain grocery-based "club", I managed to get my hands on an official, commemorative Shrek 3 Cheez-It box. If the picture of Shrek and Donkey together on the front weren't enough to make this a collector's item, the box is full of jokes. I haven't seen any of the Shrek films so far, but I may have to re-think my stance after reading some of these zingers.

(Most people would agree that these are funnier if you read them out loud in a Shrek voice.)

Q: What makes Dragon such a hot catch?
A: Her fiery breath!

Q: Where was Shrek born?
A: Ogre there!

G: What's "fiesty" Princess Fiona often called?
A: Belle of the Brawl!

Who's there?
Police, Who?
Police Pass Me Another Weed-Rat!

Q: What's the one party Puss in Boots would skip?
A: The Fur Ball!

Who's There?
Olive Who?
Olive in the Swamp, how 'bout You?

Who's There?
Cattle Who?
Cattle take care of you, Shrek!

And finally, a quote from the ogre himself, though sadly without exclamation points:

"Ogres are like onions...They have layers."

(Read Part 1)

HoBaggins: merry, u remember that time i stole the mushrooms from farmer maggot?

BrandybuckWild: The time he chased you off his land with his dogs?

HoBaggins: yeah, wasn't the mushrooms he wuz so mad about.

BrandybuckWild: What do you mean, Frodo?

HoBaggins: remember his daughter clare? well...

HoBaggins: dammit, sam just signed on. i dont wanna talk 2 him.

BrandybuckWild: Just go into Invisible mode, Frodo. Then he can't see you're online.

HoBaggins: ok, thx.





HoBaggins: merry, invisible mode isnt working at all!

BrandybuckWild: Did you click on the eye?

HoBaggins: u can see me 2! what eye?

BrandybuckWild: You have to click on the eye icon to go into invisible mode. You didn't know that?

HoBaggins: ummm....

BrandybuckWild: Frodo, are you just typing while wearing the Ring?

HoBaggins: yes.

BrandybuckWild: That doesn't work on the internet! You know, Gandalf warned you that putting on the Ring is a bad idea. Dangerous people can sense it.

HoBaggins: uh oh.

WitchKing09: Hey HoBaggins, a/s/l?

WithchKing09: Do u cyber?

WitchKing09: ;-)

GreyWizard69: Frodo, you were asleep for weeks
HoBaggins: Gandalf? WTF?

(The Fellowship of the Ring has entered the chat room)

HoBaggins: Pippin! :)
HoBaggins: Merry! :) :)
HoBaggins: Gimli! ;)
HoBaggins: Legolas! :/)
HoBaggins: Aragorn!!! ------|)

  • All your crackers are gone.
  • As is your licorice.
  • Her bedroom door is nearly always closed, with a folded towel poking through the two-inch gap under the door.
  • When she sees you eating a Double Whopper, she blushes, looks embarrassed, and walks out of the room.
  • Her conversation is peppered with meaningless words like "looptid".
  • Occasionally, there is a mysterious clapping sound coming from her bedroom.
  • Your bottle of Hennessey is nearly empty.
  • When she dances, she looks like MC Hammer on crack.

After losing at Tennessee, the University of California's football team rebounded with a victory over the Minnesota Golden Gophers last Saturday. The team looks to be well on their way to another 9-3 season, culminating in a blowout loss to Nebraska in the Holiday Bowl. I can't wait.

I was at the Minnesota game, enjoying the offensive dominance and festive atmosphere. What I did not enjoy was the Mic Man. For those of you unfamiliar with Cal football, the Mic Man is a designated dork from the Rally Committee. He stands in front of the student section in a shirt and tie, leading cheers, making bad jokes, and receiving the loathing of the entire stadium. I hate the Mic Man and so does everyone else.

In honor of Cal's big game this weekend against perennial (women's soccer volleyball) powerhouse Portland State, here is a selection of history's greatest speeches, as delivered by the Mic Man:

Patrick Henry

All right, the Virginia Militia needs us. Let's make some noise, First Continental Congress! Hey Alumni! Liberty!
Gooooooo Sons of Virginia!

John F. Kennedy

Let the Russians hear it in East Berlin. Ich bin ein Berlinner. You know it, you tell the story, you tell the whole damn world this is NATO territory!

Martin Luther King

First down Bears! First down Bears! Thank God almighty, it's a First Down, Bears!

Franklin D. Roosevelt

Gimme an F!
Gimme an E!
Gimme an A!
Gimme an R!
What's that spell?
What do we have to fear?
What's the only thing we have to fear?
Who's gonna win?
Gooooooo Fear!

Henry V

Make some noise, Agincourt! Ohhhhhh! Ohhhhhh! Ohhhhhh! St. Crispin's Day! Ohhhhhh! We few! We happy few! Ohhhhhh! Ohhhhhh! Come on! Ohhhhhh!

Jonathan Edwards

The wrath of God burns against them, their damnation does not slumber. The pit is prepared, the fire is made ready, the furnace is now hot, ready to receive them. The flames do now rage and glow - oh, sinner, take off that red shirt!

"Cats in the Cradle" tells the story of a neglectful workaholic father and his son, who eventually turns into the same kind of workaholic man as his dad. But what if your father is attentive and loving, but you still turn into him? Here's how "Cats in the Cradle" would have gone had my father written it, instead of Harry Chapin.

Cats in the Cradle

By Sean's Dad

My child arrived just the other day
Came into the world in the usual way
But there was football to watch
And chess to play
He learned to talk, I was home that day
Though he was talkin' with a lisp, I still understood
He said, "I'm gonna be like you, Dennis"
"You know I'm gonna be like you."


Cats in the cradle
And an ugly couch
Gargamel, Gandalf,
And Oscar the Grouch
When you coming home, Dad?
At 6:42
Tell Mom to pick me up at BART
Remind your mom to pick me up

My son turned ten just the other day
He said, "Thanks for the crosswords. What a great birthday!"
"Do you know a French word for 'sword'?",
I said, "It's épée".
He filled in 19 Down and put the book away
And he walked away with a pen behind his ear and said,
"I'm gonna be like you, Dad."
"You know I'm gonna be like you."


Well, he came home from college just the other day
So much like a man I just had to say
"Son, I'm proud of you, can you sit for a while?"
He nodded his head and said with a smile
"What I'm feeling like, Dad,
Is watching soccer on TV
Can you hand me some of that salami and cheese?"


My son got a job, seven blocks away
I called him up just the other day
"I'd like to see you if you don't mind"
He said, "I'd like to, Dad. I've got plenty of time."
"You see, my new job's laid-back
And my car's out of the shop
So I'll drive by and pick you up
I'll drive by and pick you up."

And as he locked the driver's door before pumping gas (even though I was sitting in the car) chewed blue gum, wrote a to-do list on the back of his receipt, and whistled a Grateful Dead song off-key, it occurred to me
He'd grown up just like me
My boy was just like me!


inside the attore's studio


JAMES LIPTON: We're back at the Actor's Studio with Italian striker Fabiano De Gunto. Take us through the next stage of your career. You finished summer school at Juilliard, and you wanted to sign with Palermo.

FABIANO DE GUNTO: Yes I did. But the manager didn't think I was ready. He said I had some work to do before I could fall into a place on the squad. So I joined an improv group.

LIPTON: Dadi Assalitti. (Audience applauds)

DE GUNTO: We had a very popular game where audience members would shout out a part of the leg, and the actors had to improvise a scene based on an injury to that part of the leg.

LIPTON: But you did more than that to prepare. You visited with war veterans. Amputees. Survivors of horrific automobile accidents.

DE GUNTO: From my time at Juilliard, I was familiar with the Stanislavsky Method. I shadowed these people for weeks, asking myself, "How does a man wince when his knee is dislocated?" "If I were truly hurt, what would my cries of pain sound like?" Eventually, even I began to believe my act. (Pause) I also grew a greasy ponytail.

LIPTON: And at the next transfer period, you were playing for Palermo. (Sustained applause.) Did your preparation pay off in Serie A?

DE GUNTO: Serie A has some of the most talented actors in the world. To play with thespians like that, you almost can't help but raise your game. Also, we all have to act like the games aren't fixed.

LIPTON: Tell me about the on-field medical treatment.

DE GUNTO: I like the stretcher because it's so theatrical. Even the most cynical fan has trouble doubting one's wounds when one is being carted off the field on a canvas litter from the 1920's.

LIPTON: And the so-called "magic spray" that trainers use?

DE GUNTO: That's just water. (Applause.)

LIPTON: You made an immediate impact on Palermo, drawing penalty kicks on runs to the box three times in your first five games. On one play, despite not being touched by a defender, you lay on the ground covering your face for over five minutes until the referee gave your opponent a red card. (Applause.) How soon did you leave the sidelines?

DE GUNTO: 45 seconds later. (Sustained applause.)

LIPTON: We have reached the lightning round. Who are your greatest influences?

DE GUNTO: All the legends. Baggio. De Niro. Reggie Miller. Vlade Divac.

LIPTON: What is your favorite part of a game of Texas Hold 'Em?

DE GUNTO: The flop.

LIPTON: What is your favorite Olympic event?

DE GUNTO: Diving.

LIPTON: What is your favorite four-letter word?

DE GUNTO: "Ouch". (Applause)

LIPTON: Now let's take questions from some of our students?

STUDENT #1: Yes, Mr. De Gunto. I was wondering if you feel that your team's style of constant flopping, pleading with referees, and faking injuries goes against the spirit of soccer? Aren't you a ashamed of yourself?

(DE GUNTO falls with an anguished cry, covering his face, rolling from side to side, and clutching his ankle. Lipton sends off the questioner, who will by rule be required to miss the next Inside the Actor's Studio episode.)

the road to the finals

On Wednesday, I advanced to the finals of the San Francisco Comedy Club's third annual competition (scroll down). This marks the first time I have reached the final round of a competition since the great Heuristic Squelch Leg Wrestling Championship of 2002. Before that, it was the eighth grade spelling bee, when my hopes and dreams of county spelling bees and free t-shirts were dashed by the word "loggia".

You can watch a clip of Wednesday night's show right here, courtesy of Rooftop Comedy. Listen for the sounds of Sean's Dad and Sean's Mom, conveniently seated just below Rooftop's camera. If you like what you see, why not give that clip a nice rating? If you don't like what you see? I think the expression is, "If you don't have a nice star-based rating to give, don't give any rating at all".

The finals are on Wednesday, July 19th, at the San Francisco Comedy Club at 50 Mason. Show starts at 8 PM. Until I hear differently, I will assume that admission is still going to be $10. Since the awkward comedy chaff has been separated from the hilarious comedy wheat, the final round should be the tastiest, funniest night of the whole competition. Each comic gets a full ten minutes to show his or her stuff, with the audience the ultimate arbiter of who will win, and who will be sent to the Masondrome to battle for his life against some of the Tenderloin's fiercest hoboes.

Until then, my fellow finalists and I will pose for photos with the SFCC Competition trophy*, train with fanatical Eastern European jokesmiths in their secret comedy facilities, and talk smack about one another in the media. I plan to focus on how I have been disrespected the whole competition. "Nobody gave me a chance," I'll say. "I remember all the haters. 'Sean Keane is too short'. 'His skin is too pasty and white'. 'He'll never get a suntan or win a stand-up competition'. 'Iron Comic was a fluke'. That's why I say, how you like me now, voice in my head?"

Seriously, come to the show. July 19th. Comedy. Beer. And maybe, finally, I'll get a little bit of self-respect.

*trophy may not exist

When I was nine, I fell off the monkey bars at school and hit my head. I went home, and my dad took care of me, though he didn't exactly understand what he was supposed to do.

Dad: Here we go. Home again, safe and sound.
Sean: Thanks, Dad.
Dad: I'll go get your pajamas.
Sean: I don't know if I should be in pajamas. Mom said I'm supposed to stay awake.
Dad: You sure?
Sean: Pretty sure.
Dad: Tell you what. Lie down on the couch and think about it for a few minutes while I get those PJs.

Dad: Knock knock. Hey buddy, how you doing?
Sean: My head kind of hurts still.
Dad: Want me to turn off that overhead light for you?
Sean: No thanks.
Dad: You know what helps me when I have mild brain trauma? This "Sounds of the Ocean" CD. The first eight tracks are just wave noises. I'll let you enjoy them. (Leaves room, turns off light.)

Dad: Son, I brought you some dinner.
Sean: Wow, turkey. A really big plate of turkey.
Dad: You know what they say - "Starve a cold, feed a head injury". You really should have that turkey with a chardonnay, though.

Sean: A Room with a View. Are you sure you want to watch this movie, Dad?
Dad: Yes. I hear it's great, but your mother and I have never made it through that one. I think I was just tired when we rented it.
Sean: OK, put it on.
(Opening credits roll. Dad falls asleep on top of the remote.)

Ten Years Later

Doctor: Sean, your father has a severe case of pneumonia.
Sean: Get that chicken soup away from him! (Slaps tray out of orderly's hands.)
Mom: I'm sorry, Doctor. He's been irritable since he came out of the coma.

safe sex advice for pirates

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Wearing a condom be not an effective deterrent to scurvy. Anyone who tells you different is no kind of pirate health expert, and ought to be keelhauled.

Thar not be enough plunder in the world to compare to the benefits of disease-free genitalia.

Polly the Parrot says, "Awk! Learn how to use a dental dam! Awk!"

Keep your swagger, sheathe your dagger.

Eyepatches should not be shared. Pink eye be a curse that be attached to no treasure.

Beware of splinters! The only safe sex with a wooden appendage be no sex at all. But if ye be determined, make sure to have sandpaper and whale fat on deck.

Do not put anything, anything into the mouth of a crocodile. Thar be too many buccaneers that have learned this the hard way.

"Hey Shandon. This is Karl. Just calling to congratulate you on, you know, winning an NBA title. Glad you finally got a ring, dude."

"Shandon, it's John. Way to go, man. You deserve to win a title, after all those great years with the Jazz, ten All-Star games, and retiring as the all-time leader in assists. Oh, wait, I was thinking of someone else. Anyway, great job, buddy."

"'Sup Shandon. It's Doleac. Man, can you believe we're actually the NBA Champions? Michael Doleac, Shandon Anderson, and Jason Williams all have more championship rings than Charles Barkley, Karl Malone, and Kevin Garnett combined. Kind of boggles the mind. So, I was just calling to see if I could get that U2 CD back sometime soon. Thanks."

"Hey, Shandon. It's Karl again. Once again, congratulations. I was wondering if I could come over sometime this week. You know, catch up on old times, maybe show you the slides from my hunting trip, see your championship ring. I should very much like to hold it in my hand, one time. Call me back."

"This is a collect call from Howard Eisley. To accept the charges, please press 1. To refuse, dial 0, or hang up."

"Shandon, it's Isiah. I know we've had our differences in the past, but after watching your performance in the Finals, the New York Knicks would like to offer you a four-year, $24 million-dollar contract. Give me a call."

"Shandon, it's Malone. Let me cut to the chase. I have your son. Right now, he's fine, but if you ever want to see him alive again, you're gonna give me that ring, you understand? Say hi to your daddy, Kori. Stop crying! Stop it! Shandon, I need you to be at the left-most phone booth outside the Delta Center at 9 PM tonight. Come alone. I need that ring! I'm sorry, man. But this is how it has to be."

flashback 2002: un chiste

(Flashbacks are a new feature on Zembla where we revisit old friends, old jokes, and old dreams. If you've read Flashbacks before, this is old news.)

Flashback #1

Flashback #2

Q: Why do Mexican rappers hang out at the beach?

A: To avoid the playa-haters.

(Part 1)

Karen: You're not Harrison Ford at all! You've been lying to me for months!

Harrison: Calm down, honey. I never actually said I was Harrison Ford.

Karen: You said you played The Fugitive!

Harrison: I said I played a fugitive. And by "played", I mean, "am". I need forty dollars and your car keys.

* * *

Betsy: So what was it like making Blade Runner?

Harrison: Exhausting. And painful. So many blades. So much running.

Betsy: I've seen the regular version and the director's cut, and I have to know. Were you a replicant?

Harrison: No! I was Harrison Ford! I'm still Harrison Ford!

Betsy: Calm down, Harrison. I'm just talking about your character.

Harrison: My character is impeccable!

Betsy: Relax, Harrison. I was just asking about the movie.

Harrison: How many photos of me and Mark Hamill do I have to show you, woman?

* * *

Raquel: How could I have been so naive? You're nothing like Harrison Ford! Harrison Ford is a gentleman!

Harrison: Look, I don't deserve you. I know that. But I need you, and I don't need anything.

Raquel: Oh, please. Your movie lines won't work on me again. The wedding's off. I want you out of my apartment by tomorrow.

Harrison: You'll get the engagement ring back when I get my family!

Raquel: That doesn't make any sense.

Harrison: Are you going to finish those fries?

(Part 2)

Jessica: You're the Harrison Ford?

Harrison: I am.

Jessica: If you're really Harrison Ford, then what was your last movie?

Harrison: It's called Firewall. I play a bank's security agent who has to break into his own computer system in order to save his kidnapped family.

Jessica: That movie sounds a lot like The Net.

Harrison: Well, before that I made Hollywood Homicide, a murder mystery about a veteran cop and his young partner - who thinks he's the next Brando! Wait, where are you going?

* * *

Harrison: Pack of Parliament Lights, please.

7-11 Clerk: Can I see some ID?

Harrison: Sure. (Hands over license)

7-11 Clerk: I'm sorry, but Harrison Ford would never smoke those.

* * *

Nicolette: (Sobbing) Was any of it true, Harrison? The sweet words?

Harrison: Of course!

Nicolette: The promises?

Harrison: I meant every one of them!

Nicolette: The autographed letter from Chewbacca?

Harrison: Yes?

travel tips for the wu

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The Wu is skipping town for a few days to present a paper at a conference in Western Michigan. Since The Wu has never been to the Midwest, I thought I'd give her some travel tips to aid in her enjoyment of Chicago and Kalamazoo. Sure, I've never actually been to Illinois or Michigan, but I am fairly sure that I was conceived in Wisconsin. I know what I'm talking about here.


Check Out

Jack in the Box:

For as many Sourdough Jacks as you can stomach. Chicago has amazing bacon, since they're the hog butcher of the West, and the Sourdough Jack reflects this culinary tradition.

Deep-dish pizza:

Chicago-style pizza is very famous and delicious, though it's not quite as authentic as what you can get at Zachary's.

Chez Quis:

This is a pretty fancy restaurant, so it might be a little difficult to get a table. If the maitre d' gives you any trouble, simply tell him that you are the sausage queen of Chicago. I can call you at the restaurant if you need someone to back up your alibi.

Steppenwolf Theatre:

Their production of "Magic Carpet Ride" won four regional Tony Awards back in 1968, and they're currently showcasing a revival of "The Pusher". Powerful stuff.

Any place that sells expensive hooded sweatshirts:

This goes without saying.


One-armed men:

As hot as they might be, with their devil-may-care attitudes and missing limbs, you simply cannot trust them.

Elevator rides with Al Capone's bookkeeper:

Again, just not a good idea.

The not-so-Great Lakes:

Lake Illinois, Lake Iroquois, and Lake Saskatchewan are really not very impressive. Do not be tricked, Cassie!

Attending graduate school:

Because what are you going to do after you finish grad school in Chicago? Answer: Keep taking classes and applying to grad programs, for years, but in the Bay Area this time.

Gummy worms:

Even if they're warm and soft from being in someone's pocket all day.



Saying the name "Kalamazoo" as much as possible:

Because it is much more melodious than saying "Richmond Annex". Capitalize on these opportunities.

The Kalamazoo Zoo:

If you get excited about zoos, but hate animals, this is the place for you, Cassie. I repeat, there are absolutely no cats and/or horses at this zoo. The Wu and the zoo in the 'Zoo. How can that possibly miss?

Lyle Lovett:

My sister Molly took a picture with him when he was staying at the same hotel as her soccer team, back in 1996. Don't touch his hat, if he's wearing one.

Cinco de Mayo celebrations:

Downtown Kalamazoo turns into a street fiesta on the 5th of may every year. When you think "authentic Mexican food", you think, Western Michigan. However, don't talk about the Battle of the Puebla in the wrong company. Battle Creek has a lot of Emperor Maximillian sympathizers.

Jokes about Viagra:

You're right by the Pfizer headquarters, and jokes about Viagra never, ever get old.


Carbonated sugary beverages:

Whether you're talking about disappointing U2 albums, or a Diet Coke in Kalamazoo, I am always wary of pop. People have gone to Michigan and had the linguistic changes linger for years. You might never say "soda" again - once you "pop", you can't stop.

South by Southwestern Michigan University:

This school has gotten totally commercial over the past couple of years. Plus, it's overrun with hipsters.


Lipitor is not just a heart disease medication anymore. While the drug itself lowers cholesterol in the body, Pfizer's thugs stalk the streets, slapping fried foods out of people's hands, and scrawling, "Fuck high-density lipoproteins" and "The only good cholesterol is dead cholesterol" on abandoned buildings. It's really quite terrifying.

Bathrooms that lock from the outside:

Seriously, what the hell is wrong with Michigan?

Heads Up 7 Up

Teacher: Heads up, seven up! You can go first, Corinne. Who touched your thumb?

Corinne: I think it was Samuel L. Jackson.

Samuel L. Jackson: Nope.

Corinne: Samuel, I saw your shoes.

Samuel L. Jackson: Bitch, I didn't touch your motherfucking thumb!

Teacher: Class, let's silently at our desks for a while.


Brad: Samuel L. Jackson, you're a doo-doo head.

Samuel L. Jackson: Oh yeah? Well I'm rubber, you're glue. Anything you say bounces off this motherfucker and sticks to you.

Brad: Doo-doo head! Doo-doo head!

Samuel L. Jackson: I know you are, but what the fuck am I? Tell me that, bitch!

Brad: Um...not a doo-doo head.

Knock Knock Jokes

Richard: Samuel L. Jackson, knock knock?

Samuel L. Jackson: Who's there?

Richard: Banana.

Samuel L. Jackson: Banana who?

Richard: Knock knock?

Samuel L. Jackson: I said, who the fuck is it?

Richard: Banana.

Samuel L. Jackson: Banana who?

Richard: Knock knock?

Samuel L. Jackson: Say 'banana' again, motherfucker! I dare you! I double dare you! Say 'banana' one more goddamn time!

Richard: O-o-o-orange you glad I d-d-d-didn't say b-b-b-banana?

Samuel L. Jackson: You're goddamn right I am.

pontius pilates

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How Easter Would Have Been Different If His Name Was Pontius Pilates

As a Roman governor, Pilates believed in more precise movements, not as many repetitions, dreaming about Galateans, and emphasizing mat work.

Rome might have never succumbed to the invasions of various tribes had his superiors allowed its gladiators access to training facilities 24 hours a day.

One question he posed to the crowd was, "Shouldn't the King of the Jews have better abs?"

The newly-discovered Gospel of Judas reveals that the crucial moment in Christ's trial came when Pilates asked the asembled mob decide who had the best core strength - Barrabbas, or Jesus?

A less-famous execution that Pilates presided over was that of Billius Blancus, a Roman peasant whose small following of tae bo enthusiasts threatened the established fitness aristocracy of Judea. Cardio boxing was considered heresy two thousand years ago. Opponents also felt that the forty-shekel price of the Blancus training program would have been better-served to go to the poor and out-of-shape, rather than toward razor blades and choreographer salaries.

unsexy descriptions of sex

Reprinted from New Wye

(Inspired by this Laurell K. Hamilton comment)

"Wait," he whispered, caressing her bound hands with a light touch. Pierre sensually lifted the remote control and with a dextrous yet gentle finger, unpaused the DVD of "The Lion King".

He returned to Desiree, his warm breath on her trembling neck making her loins vibrate.

Pierre hesitated before commencing with his ravishment of her. "I just have a question," he said, as Desiree strained against her bonds. "Can you feel the love tonight?"

* * *

Antonio looked across the table. Graciela stared back at him, big blue eyes brimming over with liquid eye lust.

"Did you enjoy the expensive and elegant meal?" asked Antonio.

"Yes," answered Gabriela, in a totally hot way.

"We have dessert," began Antonio, but Gabriela shushed him with just a look and a shushing gesture. What she said next totally gave Antonio a boner.

"I want your thingy," she said. "I want to touch that thingy, and look at that thingy. All of that thingy. That's what my girl-thingy wants."

Antonio swept the styrofoam cartons aside. He kissed Gabriela with his lips and tongue. "Baby, I want to, you know," he said.

"Yes," she whispered. "I do know."

Then they were totally doing sex.

* * *

Karen broke away from her passionate embrace with Stephen. "I have to ask you something," she said. "What is lembas?"

"Lembas?" he asked. "Why, it's an Elvish waybread invented by Melian, the queen of Doriath. Elves often used it for sustenance during an extended journey."

"So, why do all the girls call you that?"

Stephen blushed. "I didn't know you had heard that nickname. They call me that because I'm very satisfying, and if wrapped in magical leaves, I last a long, long time."

Karen smiled and beckoned to Stephen. He attacked her lips like Beren, son of Barahir, assaulted Angband in his attempt to snatch a Silmaril from the Iron Crown of Morgoth, which was later stolen by dwarves after they sacked the fair land of Doriath.

"O Elbereth! Gilthoniel!" he cried, as he entered her. She felt as soft as the banks of the Brandywine, as rare as mithril.

"Steven," Karen gasped. "Talk Elvish to me."

He smiled. "High-Elven, or Grey-Elven?"

sean keane scoops the onion



Compare and contrast the last section of my piece, The Mailman Doesn't Deliver On Sunday, with this recent story from The Onion, Todd Helton Disappointed To Be On Area Man's Fantasy-Baseball Team. Not only does The Onion use the same joke as in my feature - a real baseball player demands a trade from his fantasy baseball team - they even use the same player. This might mean I have some fans in Madison, but most likely, it's a big coincidence. Maybe, Todd Helton secretly has a keen interest in fantasy sports, and both The Onion and I have picked up on it, independently and subconsciously.

When I worked for The Heuristic Squelch, it seemed like The Onion was constantly scooping us for jokes. We once had to pull a piece about video game villainy at the last minute, after The Onion put Mario on the cover that same week with a similar premise. It was worse when we couldn't do anything about the simultaneous comedy. Because of the long turnaround time for printing, we'd often send in an issue, then groan to see The Onion hitting the same topic, four days before our magazine was going to come out. We were ripping them off enough with our newsflashes, so it was terrible when we'd also inadvertantly run identical features about the recall election.

But this time, I am 18 months ahead of those smug cheese-eaters. That's right, The Onion! You ain't all that!

Ironically, Todd Helton's terrible start nearly doomed my own fantasy baseball team last year. By making fun of Helton and the "Colofraudo Suckies" in print, then subsequently drafting Helton in the first round of my draft, I was tempting fate. When Helton hit .250 in May, with very little power, I blamed the article. I even tried to trade Helton for over a month, but got no offers. It was a good thing I didn't. In the second half, the first baseman carried my team, Operation Shutdown, to the fantasy baseball nerd title. Mr. Todd Helton, you and your altitude-inflated statistics are welcome on my imaginary baseball team anytime.


A 1984 Volkswagen Vanagon sits parked across the key. My dad is seated at midcourt, eating a salami-and-cheese sandwich and doing a crossword puzzle. When the buzzer sounds, participants must convnce my dad to get up and move the car out of the way so they can shoot at the basket. The first two players to sink five shots - without the ball hitting the car - advance to the finals, where they'll have to help Dad push a broken-down 1976 Toyota Corolla out of the key before continuing.

Dunk Contest

Competitors begin by lowering the hoop to seven feet, using a broomstick or a sturdy rake to trigger the basket's release switch. Then, they must find a deflated mini-basketball in a cardboard box full of old sports equipment. Dunkers will be scored based on style and speed, with bonus points awarded if the cute girl from the other end of Stevenson Drive walks by and sees them dunk.

Making a Simple, Unguarded Left-Handed Lay-Up

Dribbling and shooting with only the left hand, players must make a single lay-up. As I repeatedly insisted to my fourth-grade basketball coach, this is far more difficult than it appears.

Skills Challenge

Challengers dribble through an obstacle course made up of orange soccer cones and overturned garbage cans. Then they must throw a series of bounce passes and chest passes at targets on the side of the house - without my mom coming out and yelling at them. Lowest time/least lecturing wins.

Letting the Kid Win

In an event pioneered by my dad, participants will attempt to build the confidence of an young, unskilled, hesitant teammate with a fragile ego by letting them win a game of one-on-one. The veteran must lose the game convincingly, so that his teammate does not suspect the ruse, fight back tears, and then run inside to organize his baseball cards and re-read The Fellowship of the Ring.

a history of vice presidential violence

Dick Cheney accidentally shot a 78-year-old man on Saturday, while hunting quail in Texas. The man, Harry Whittington, is in stable condition, after being sprayed in the face and neck with birdshot. However, while this was the first time a sitting vice president has shot someone with a shotgun, it is not the first time a sitting vice president has severely injured an associate. Below is a partial history of such incidents:

1794: During a heated argument about trade restrictions with France, John Adams throws a cup of tea in the face of the British ambassador, partially blinding him. The British continue to seize trade ships bound for France for the next decade.

1829: Daniel Webster is hospitalized after eating a stack of poisoned johnnycakes during a dinner with Vice President John C. Calhoun. Calhoun denies knowledge of the tainted cakes, and nullifies his personal chef the next day.

1869: Schuyler Colfax inadvertently drives a silver spike through the foot of a poor Irish laborer, at a promotional event for the Union Pacific Railroad. The Irishman is placated with double wages and a week’s supply of laudanum, while Colfax quietly purchases some below-market shares in the railroad’s holding company. An unidentified Chinaman fills in on the railroad crew.

1901: On a hunting trip to the Philippines, Teddy Roosevelt shoots chief civil administrator William Howard Taft in the leg, with a bow and arrow. Roosevelt reportedly mistook Taft for a Calamian Hog Deer.

1938: John Nance Garner discharges a blunderbuss next to Senator Burton K. Wheeler, temporarily deafening him, in an ill-advised demonstration about the perils of isolationism.

1979: Walter Mondale beats a personal aide to death with his bare hands during a highly-charged game of Monopoly.

jerome bettis: miked up!

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ABC fitted Jerome Bettis with a body mike for Super Bowl XL. They played some clips during the game, but obviously censored quite a bit. Zembla is proud to present highlights of the Jerome Bettis "Miked Up" clips ABC wouldn't or couldn't play:

  • "I don't care about the Super Bowl MVP award. I just want a ring. Plus, the MVP gets an Escalade, and you know Jerome Bettis don't drive no American car."
  • "Ow. Ow. Ow. Damn, I crapped my pants a little bit on that tackle."
  • "Willie, I want you to hit that hole, and then just fall down. Lean forward and get the safe two yards. That's Steelers football, baby."
  • "Honestly, this is the first time I've been to Detroit in eight years. Terrible, depressing city."
  • (Singing) "You make a dead man come, yeah, you make a dead man come."
  • "Yo soy el autobus, cabron!"
  • "No, me and my girlfriend have an open relationship, baby. Both of us see other people. It's cool."
  • "Please don't hit me so hard, Mr. Tatupu. (whispered) Please. I'll just fall down. No one will know." (Pause) I'll give you money."
  • (Flatulence) I guess The Bus should have made a longer stop in the can during halftime, huh?
  • "Oh, that's nothing. Just got a little bit of a stiffy here, Antwaan. Nah, that always happens when Troy makes a tackle. It's cool."
  • "Willie, you need some oxygen? Want to borrow my inhaler? How about some Skittles? I got a bag right here in my helmet."
  • We gotta pull together here! This win means nothing if we don't cover the spread! Let's get a first down here - for the gamblers!
  • "Jerome Bettis, you've just won the Super Bowl? What are you going to do next?"
    "I'm going across the border to Windsor, to gamble, smoke Cuban cigars, and pick up a busload of whores!"

In the aftermath of Pittsburgh's victory, there's been a lot of talk about the poor officiating in Super Bowl XL. To get some perspective on the game, I asked baseball umpire Doug Eddings to look at the game tape and give his opinion on some of the more controversial calls.

Zembla: Thanks for helping out, Doug.

Doug Eddings: No problem. Say, were the Chicago White Sox involved in the Super Bowl this year?

Zembla: No, the White Sox are a baseball team. It's the Seattle Seahawks and the Pittsburgh Steelers in the Super Bowl.

Eddings: OK, got it. Do either of these teams play in the American League Central Division?

Zembla: Again, that's baseball. The Seahawks are in the NFC West, and the Steelers play in the AFC North.

Eddings: AFC North, that's close enough. Let's do this.

Zembla: Sounds good. Now, Doug, I'm going to show you a controversial play, and you just let me know what you think of the call on the field.

Eddings: Will do, buddy.

Zembla: Here's the first one. Darrell Jackson catches a pass at the 23 for a first down, but the Seahawks are called for holding.

Eddings: Looks like a pretty obvious penalty to me.

Zembla: Alright, let's move on. The next play is a little more critical. Darrell Jackson catches what looks like a touchdown pass, but he's called for offensive pass interference. Some people have complained that this was a "ticky-tack" call, and that the referee threw the flag late.

Eddings: You know, that didn't seem late to me. In fact, he seemed a little hasty. Take your time, let the players jog off the field into the dugout --

Zembla: They don't have dugouts.

Eddings: Whatever. The important thing isn't the speed of the call. It's that you eventually make a call, and stick to it, no matter how indefensible and illogical that call might be. Anyway, Jackson clearly changed the direction of the defensive back there. Great call.

Zembla: Alright. The next play is a punt return. Peter Warrick runs the kick back 33 yards, but it's called back due to a holding penalty.

Eddings: Warrick plays for the Seahawks?

Zembla: Yeah.

Eddings: OK, that's definitely a hold. Holding that one guy over there, totally.

Zembla: Fair enough, Doug. Now, in this disputed play, Ben Roethlisberger tries to run the ball in, but appears to be stopped at the goal line. The touchdown signal is a bit delayed --

Eddings: Doesn't matter. What's your hurry? He's been signalling like that all game. Great call.

Zembla: Well, the Seahawks challenge the call, and the replay official--

Eddings: No need! That replay crap is bullshit! He saw it fine the first time. Next call.

Zembla: This next play is - it's actually just a missed field goal by Josh Brown. I guess it's not really controversial.

Eddings: You sure that kick missed? Kinda looks like it went through the uprights to me.

Zembla: Doug, he obviously missed the kick. Look at it. It goes wide left. It's not even that close.

Eddings: (Shrugs) Agree to disagree.

Zembla: The next play is - OK, this is simply a terrible call. On an interception return, Matt Hasselbeck tackles Ike Taylor, but he gets called for blocking below the waist, even though he's making a tackle, not blocking.

Eddings: Boy, that is a close one. He looks like he's blocking well below the waist here.

Zembla: Come on, Doug! How could he be blocking there? Hasselbeck's making a tackle! He's on defense!

Eddings: Young man, they teach us in umpiring school never to be afraid to ask for help when you're unsure. So if you don't mind, I'd like to consult with my good pal, NFL official Pete Morelli. Come on in, Pete. (Pete Morelli enters)

Pete Morelli: Hey Doug. You're asking about the Hasselbeck block?

Eddings: Yes. To me, the question is, does Hasselbeck make a football move?

Zembla: That's not the question!

Morelli: Doug, I'm going to say that Hasselbeck definitely makes a football move going after that blocker. Good call. Tack on fifteen yards to the end of the return.

Eddings: I concur, Pete.

Zembla: Unbelievable. Fine, we'll move on. On this play, Hasselbeck scrambles, but appears to fumble at the end of the play. Pittsburgh's Troy Polamalu recovers - but the play is challenged and reversed.

Morelli: Polamalu. Replay. Why does that sound familiar?

Eddings: Pete, that looked like a horse collar tackle by Hasselbeck. What do you think?

Morelli: Hmm. See, this is where I would have blown the play dead and made them replay the down, Doug.

Eddings: I concur. First down, Steelers!

Morelli: Exactly.

Zembla: That doesn't make any sense! Pete, what gives? In the game against Indianapolis, every call you made went against the Steelers. And now, you and Doug are displaying ridiculous favoritism toward Pittsburgh. Did the NFL pay you off? Is this because Jerome Bettis was playing in Detroit, his hometown?

Eddings: I'm fairly sure Bettis is from Chicago.

Zembla: He's from Detroit!

Eddings: (Shrugs) Agree to disagree.

Zembla: Seriously, Pete, what's going on?

Morelli: (Deep breath) It's Mr. Joey Porter. He knows where I live.

Zembla: But...the game's over. The Steelers won. You weren't even working the game!

Morelli: That doesn't matter to Mr. Porter. From what I hear, he's already trying to motivate himself for next season. If you're reading, Mr. Porter, you should know both Doug and I respect you a whole bunch.

Zembla: OK, this is pathetic. We'll look at one last play, and then this is over. Here, the play clock expires, but the officials still allow Ben Roethlisberger to call time out. Shouldn't this have been a delay of game penalty?

Morelli: No sir. I wouldn't be surprised if a defensive player on the Pittsburgh sideline, possibly a outside linebacker, saw the play clock winding down and alertly signalled for a timeout. Great call.

Eddings: Pete, I'm gonna have to say that's a passed ball. Take your base, Big Ben.

Zembla: I hate you both.

(Read Part 1, Part 2, Part 3)

Papa Smurf: Brainy, first of all, I want to thank you for that smurfy letter.

Brainy: Oh, Papa Smurf!

Papa: Also, the poem was lovely. But I hope I haven't given you the wrong impression.

Brainy: P-p-papa Smurf?

Papa Smurf: When you and I made smurf, it was very special. But I thought I was very clear right from the start - we're smurf buddies, nothing more.

Brainy: Is it - is it my glasses?

Papa Smurf: Brainy, I can't be tied down to one smurf right now. You know that.

The Internet is abuzz today with responses to last night's State of the Union address. Some will compare it to Bush's previous State of the Union speeches, while others will take a more historical perspective, weighing it against big speeches made by other U.S. Presidents. I'm going to see how it measures up to the most recent State of the Union; that is, Lee Tamahori's xXx: State of the Union, the greatest action-adventure movie of all time about the State of the Union address.

xXx: State of the Union
STATE OF THE UNION bush.jpg cube.jpg
TITLE State of the Union 2006
Directors that have left since previous edition Michael Brown, FEMA Rob Cohen, xXx, The Fast and the Furious
Who have since moved on to... Public shame; a heckuva cushy job Stealth, a film about a robot plane that becomes sentient after getting struck by lightning
Controversial replacements since previous edition John Bolton, Ambassador to the United Nations Ice Cube, XXX
Controversial because? Doesn't believe the U.N. should exist Used to be a rapper
Returning characters Cheney, Hastert, Bin Laden, hypothetical/mythical WMDs Samuel L. Jackson; the guy who makes weapons and gadgets
Last-minute additions to the cast samuel_alito.jpg
Justice Samuel Alito
Early moments acknowledge the death of? Coretta Scott King Previous XXX Xander Cage
According to the President, is the union strong? Yes Yes
War-related quote from fallen hero "Never falter! Don't hesitate to honor and support those of us who have the honor of protecting that which is worth protecting." - Marine Staff Sgt. Dan Clay "Wars come and go, but my soldiers stay eternal." - Tupac Shakur
"Did the President just quote Tupac?" No Yes
Implausible plot point that is crucial to the storyline Osama Bin Laden plans to "seize power in Iraq, and use it as a safe haven to launch attacks against America and the world." The Secretary of Defense, Willem Dafoe, plans to assassinate everyone else ahead of him in the chain of command, including the President, during the State of the Union address
Is America threatened by terrorists? Yes Yes
Really? Not exactly Yes, really
Our villain previously terrorized... Afghanistan Spider-Man
Repeated phrase "A hopeful society..." "If it's got wheels, we can jack it"
How much decision-making should be in the hands of the military? "As we make progress on the ground, and Iraqi forces increasingly take the lead, we should be able to further decrease our troop levels -- but those decisions will be made by our military commanders, not by politicians in Washington, D.C." The assault on the secret NSA bunker and subsequent assassination scheme is carried out by a military splinter group, led by the aforementioned Secretary of Defense, a former general. Clearly, important decisions should be made by Samuel L. Jackson, or XXX himself
How important is research and development? "To keep America competitive, we must continue to lead the world in human talent and creativity." "To deal with these guys, I'm gonna need some serious gear."
What steps can we take to further technological advances? "Double the federal commitment to the most critical basic research programs in the physical sciences, and make permanent the research and development tax credit." Have the geeky white guy make cool weapons and Xzibit will pimp out everybody's car
How does freedom defeat terror? "Democracies replace resentment with hope, respect the rights of their citizens and their neighbors, and join the fight against terror." Ice Cube escapes prison by jumping off the prison roof onto a helicopter, and forty-five minutes later, he fights Willem Dafoe
Unrealistic goal Pass line-item veto, cut the deficit in half by 2009 Catch up to a bullet train by driving a souped-up car after it, on train tracks, so that Ice Cube can jump from the car to the train, rescue the President, and escape via helicopter
Budget Expenditures of $2.466 trillion, Deficit of $347 billion Expenditures of $87 million, Deficit of roughly $61 million
How do we make up for the budget shortfall? Um, make temporary tax cuts permanent? Um, DVD sales?
Interruptions by applause 67 0
Did Sean Keane watch it? No No
Why not? Unconvincing performance by lead performer, weak script Ditto
"God Bless America"? Yes Damn straight

(Read Part 1, Part 2)

Handy: Truth or Dare, Tailor?

Tailor: Truth.

Handy: Tailor, if you could kiss anyone in Smurf Village, who would it be?

Tailor: Oh, smurf! I want Dare instead!

Handy: Too late! You have to answer, or you'll get smurfed!

Tailor: Fine (Deep breath) I think Smurfette is pretty cute. I guess I'd kiss her.

Handy: Oh.



Tailor: What is it?

Handy: Nothing. It's just - I have had a crush on Smurfette for a while now.

Tailor: Oh. Sorry - I didn't know.

Handy: I even invented a Smurfmobile for her.

Tailor: I made her a dress!

Handy: You should know, she told me I was her forever lover, you know, don't you remember?

Tailor: Well, after loving me, she said she couldn't love another.

Handy: Is that what she said?

Tailor: Yes, she said it. You keep dreaming.

Handy: I don't believe it!



Tailor: So, it's your turn. Do you want --

Handy: Dare.

(Read Part 1)

Brainy: La LA la la la la

Hefty: LA la la la la

Vanity: La LA la la la la

Dyslexy: ALL all all all all

(Extended silence)

Brainy: Dyslexy, it might not be working out with you in the a capella group.

Clumsy: Um, Smurfette, could I talk to you?

Smurfette: Sure, Clumsy.

Clumsy: Your white dress look really pretty today.

Smurfette: Thank you, Clumsy.

Clumsy: I'm not good at this, but - Smurfette, we've been spending a lot of time together recently. Singing, getting captured by Gargamel, escaping from Gargamel, more singing. And I'm starting to realize that - I think I smurf you.

Smurfette: Clumsy, I smurf you, too - but I don't smurf smurf you. I smurf you as a friend.

tips for aspiring stand-ups

A boozy audience is a laughing audience. Passing out small bottles of Winner's Cup vodka (the discount hard alcohol with the heart of a champion) is a cheaper investment than you might imagine, and worth every penny.

Making eye contact with the crowd is good. Making physical contact with the audience is not so good. Using contact paper to trace members of the crowd is just silly.

Sure, Gallagher has the monopoly of smashing fruit with a mallet. But what about emotionally abusing a watermelon? "What's the deal, with you? You're not water, and though loosely considered a melon, you're certainly not a member of genus Cucumis. And why are you such a racist symbol, man?"

It's not nearly as messy and just as devastating.

Saying the name of the town in which you are performing is a good way to get cheap applause. Even if you're from that town, and you never perform anywhere else, and you haven't even left the city limits in a month and a half, you should still tell the crowd how it's great to be "back" in San Francisco. They will clap. Other phrases that will get you some cheap applause:

"Call me crazy, but I believe that people who love each other should be allowed to get married."

"I don't care what anyone else says: San Francisco is the greatest city in the world!

"I just became the father of a beautiful new baby girl."

"Can I get a big round of applause for the wait staff/earlier comedians/yourselves?"

"That Dick Cheney sure is a butthead, huh?"

The regional device works even better if you can make disparaging comments about inferior cities in the same region, and their inferior audiences. Popular targets include Fresno, Bakersfield, or Redding. Since I only perform in San Francisco, and occasionally Berkeley, I can't really speak with authority about other locations, so I try to play neighborhoods against each other.

"Thank you," I'll say. "I tried that joke in the Richmond District, and it did not go over well. They were like, 'I don't understand that, maybe because I was on the bus for three hours today and then a Russian Mafioso wearing a track suit kicked me in the shins.' Thank God, you're not like that here in Western Addition."

Trying to banter with the audience is a risky proposition. When you're telling your jokes, you always know what you are going to say, at least. With the audience, there are no guarantees.

At a recent open mic, a first-time comic was telling jokes about growing up as the son of a priest. He wasn't doing too badly, but he was nervous. So, when he began to falter, he decided it was time to interact with the audience. "The worst thing about having a priest for a father," he began, then addressed me directly. "Wait, what do you think is the worst part of having your dad be a priest?"

I said the first thing that came to mind. "I don't know, the molestation?"

He froze, and his face reddened. "No," he stammered. "No!" he almost shouted, then closed his eyes and shook his head, like he was trying to shake my accusation out of his mind. It turns out that the worst thing about having a priest for a father is that you have to confess your sins to him, something he explained while shooting me disgusted, disappointed glances. Such is the dark side of banter.

If any East Bay readers have an interest, I will be performing at Laugh Your Axe Off on Wednesday evening (8 PM, 2060 Valley Life Sciences Building), part of UC Berkeley's run-up to Saturday's Big Game versus Stanford. Friday is of course my headlining debut at 50 Mason in SF (8 PM, $10), and the official promotional info is after the jump.

Independence Day

(Pilots are assembling on the tarmac, when President Bush appears, clad in a flight suit.)

PILOT: Mr. President!

PRESIDENT BUSH: All right boys. Let’s do it.

PILOT: Sir – you’re going to attack the aliens with us?

BUSH: Nope. I just need you to pose for a few photos with me. Won't take a minute.

Return of the Jedi

(Han Solo and Lando Calrissian stand in front of a banner advertising the Endor Relief Telethon)

HAN SOLO: The Battle of Endor has devastated this once-beautiful forest planet. Storm troopers on speeders and exploding shield generators did extensive damage, leaving many residents of Endor homeless. Now, more than ever, these people need your help, to rebuild their lost treetop homes. Please donate to the--

LANDO CALRISSIAN: George Bush doesn't care about Ewoks!


(President Bush addresses a crowd of reporters.)

BUSH: As you all know, Titanic, the ship of dreams, has hit an iceberg in the Atlantic Ocean. Forces assisting in the rescue effort will be arriving in two to three days to help the waterlogged passengers. But first, I want to thank the crew members on the Titanic assigned to watching for icebergs. We've got some courageous sailors working those lookout shifts, and the nation thanks you. The good news is – and it's hard to see it now – the good news is that out of this sinking ship is going to come a new and better class of unsinkable luxury ocean liners. I pledge, right now, that the Coast Guard will find Trent Lott's lifeboat, and we will rebuild his first class stateroom. And I'm looking forward to sharing a drink with him there, while the Irish stay below-decks, where they belong. Again, I want to thank the crew of the Titanic – Captain Smith, you're doing a heck of a job.


AIDE: So, the team will drill into the asteroid and detonate an explosive charge, which should throw the asteroid off its collision course with the Earth. It's a desperate plan, sir, but we only have a few days until the asteroid hits.

BUSH: Sounds good. Have Cheney call Halliburton and set it up.

AIDE: Actually, Mr. President, we have already selected an eclectic, ragtag group of roughneck drillers to carry out the mission.

BUSH: I trust Halliburton. Halliburton does good work.

AIDE: With all due respect, sir, the Halliburton Corporation simply does not have the drilling expertise for a job like this. In fact--

BUSH: Look, my vacation ends next week. We can talk more about it when I'm back from the ranch.


KEVIN COSTNER: I don’t understand. How did the budget get up to $215 billion?

BUSH: Our intelligence indicated that the Craft Services table was at risk for insurgency attacks.

KEVIN COSTNER: That doesn’t make any sense.

BUSH: We stand by our intelligence. Rest assured, Universal Pictures, we will not cut and run from this motion picture.

jet blue

A Scene From a Parallel Reality Where the Celebrity Passengers From Jet Blue Flight 292 Switched Places With The Heroic Passengers of United Flight 93

Jet Blue Flight 292

TIMOTHY: I’m getting worried. We keep changing directions and circling. What’s going on?

MARK: Check out Channel 7.

TIMOTHY: You mean ESPN2?

MARK: No, ESPN2 is Channel 8. Channel 7 is CNN. They’re showing our plane. The landing gear is stuck in a sideways position.

TIMOTHY: That son of a bitch landing gear! Those goddamn wheels are in league with each other.

MARK: We’ve got to do something!

TIMOTHY: You’re right. OK, here’s the plan. On my signal, we’re all going to rush the landing gear.

MARK: If the landing gear won’t let us down, we’re gonna take it down! (punches palm of his hand)

TIMOTHY: Everybody ready? 3, 2, 1. Let’s ro---wait, are they passing out chips?

MARK: Yeah. Have you had their Terra chips before?


MARK: Oh, you’ll like them. They’re blue.

TIMOTHY: Really. OK, let’s have a snack first, then roll.

(Three minutes of silent chewing)

TIMOTHY: These really are delicious. And I can’t believe they have chocolate chip biscotti!

MARK: You know, if you order a soda, they bring you the whole can, too.

United Flight 93

TUCKER WATKINS, “ONE LIFE TO LIVE”: I’m sorry, is this hijacking going to go much longer? I have an audition.

TARYN MANNING, “HUSTLE AND FLOW”: This is so boring. I thought there’d be TVs on the back of the seats.

JOANNA GOING, “INVENTING THE ABBOTTS”: No TVs? Fuck this, we’re crashing the plane into a big empty field.

TUCKER WATKINS, “ONE LIFE TO LIVE”: I can’t believe I bothered to pack a lunch for this shitty flight. (Sigh) Alright, let’s roll, I guess.


"Professional driver? Closed course? Do not try? I think I could totally do that move through the mud in my truck. In fact, I totally have done that before. Get in the car, I'll fucking show you that move."


"I think Honey Nut Cheerios spans the food pyramid just fine all by itself."


"I don't care what that says. I don't care. I totally trust Joe Isuzu."


"This car costs exactly the same at any dealership in the country. I will fucking guarantee that. Every auto loan is no money down, every lease is for 18 months, and the interest rate will never ever change."


"Actually, I don't think this three-day erection is any of your goddamn business, OK, Johns Hopkins?"

* * *

blind justice


ABC has a drama about a police officer, blinded in the line of duty, who fights his way back to the job and learns that in some ways, he's a better cop than ever. As ten or twelve different ads in the Church Street MUNI station will tell you, "He lost his sight...not his vision." The show is called Blind Justice.

There is something about the genre of crime and detective drama that allows the physically challenged to participate, and in fact excel at their jobs. In that spirit, I'd like to present some potential new shows for any interested blog-reading television executives still putting together their upcoming fall lineups.

"Special Agent":

An autistic teenager lives a solitary, withdrawn existence, until a bungled home invasion robbery results in the death of both of his parents - and reveals his hidden genius for forensic science. Now he's out of the house, and off to Quantico as the youngest and wackiest member of the FBI!

Sample dialogue:

"Uh oh. Five minutes until 'Law and Order'. Definitely only five minutes until 'Law and Order'."


"You Have The Right To Remain Silent":

Tagline: He's no dummy.

A mute police sergeant brings criminals to justice, in part due to his hard-boiled interrogation techniques.

Sample dialogue:

"What's this about, copper? I don't know nothing about that robbery." (Pause. Sergeant cracks his knuckles.) "OK, I heard that Big Jimmy was gonna knock off some rich guy over on Mulberry, but that's it." (Pause. Sergeant removes his jacket.) "Fine! If I testify against Big Jimmy, can you make it so I don't do any prison time?" (Sergeant nods, signals to DA in sign language.)

The Short Arm of the Law:

While thwarting a bank robbery, a freak explosion costs Officer Cunningham his arms, below the elbow. With a little assistance from his helper monkey, and a whole lot of courage, Cunningham returns to the beat - dangerous, but not armed!

Sample dialogue:

"I gotta hand it to you, Cunningham, you were right about those Latvians."
"It was simple, sarge. No self-respecting Latvian deli could get away with serving sprats like that!"
"I got a tip on that body we found in the aqueduct - can you keep it close to the vest, Cunningham?"
"Sarge, it's the only way I know how."
"Eek eek!"
"You can't tell anyone either, Zephyr!" (Laughter.)


The men of the 87th Precint are obsessive about fighting crime - and compulsive about justice. Also, they all suffer from Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder to varying degrees.

Sample dialogue:

"Williams, I want you to run those lab tests again."
"But, Lieutenant, we've already confirmed the DNA match three times."
"Run the tests again. I'm going back to re-check the crime scene." (Lieutenant locks, unlocks police car for 3 1/2 minutes)

Please enjoy Lincoln/Kennedy Coincidences, published in the November edition of The Heuristic Squelch back in November, but hitting the internet right now! Laugh your asses off, all of you. No offense to the assless, of course.

As you know, my first love is and forever will be cage fighting, but stand-up comedy is a close fourth. I will be tickling funny bones and tearing comedy cartilage next Saturday, February 19th, in a return engagement at 50 Mason Lounge. Shockingly, the club is located at 50 Mason St., near Union Square. Hey, what's the deal with Union Square? Are we still rubbing it in to the Confederacy? Hey, Jefferson Davis, no traitors allowed on the cable car! And tell Stonewall Jackson to stop fondling the mannequins at Macy's! Hey, you ever notice how long it takes women to put on their hoop skirts? I finished combing my muttonchop sideburns a fortnight ago! It's like, ladies, we gotta be at Appomattox Court House some time before 1866, OK? Am I right, Sand Happers?

It's another comedy showcase, made up of many talented, up-and-coming local comedy talents, and probably one crappy guy. Most likely, no one will try to lick or bite you at this show. I'm doing ten minutes. I may or may not dance. The official promotional information appears below:

Come see the funniest and hottest SF comedians ranging from comedians who have performed in top cities, been on TV to brand new up and coming local comedians.

50 Mason, SF Comedy Club Friday Night Showcase

Where: 50 Mason, SF Comedy Club (50 Mason Street @ Eddy)

When: Saturday, February 19th, 8:00 - 10 p.m, (Doors open at 7:30 p.m.)

Admission: $10 (No Drink Minimum)

Transportation/Parking: One block from the Powell Street BART and Muni station. Parking garage conveniently located across the street from 50 Mason and a 'discount' parking lot is on Eddy Street.

Raffle: Great prizes given away each Friday and Saturday night!

Reservations: Please call 415.398.4129


INTERVIEWER: Our guest tonight is Gane$h, superstar elephant rapper from Bombay. How you doin', Gane$h?

GANE$H: I'm aight. Working for peanuts, but ain't we all in this world?

INTERVIEWER: True dat. Let's jump right in here and talk about the new album. On the first track, you declare that the Indian elephant-African elephant feud is over. Is this because of the death of Babar?

GANE$H: You know, a lot of that Indian-African tension was just a creation of Ringling Brothers and the media. The feud was what it was, but no matter what was said, Babar's always been my pachyderm.

INTERVIEWER: You and Babar traded insults for years. His single, "Short Tusks In Yo Mouth (So My Trunk Can Fit)" set off an extended battle. You suggested he was afraid of mice. Babar mocked reincarnation. Finally, in "Burn Babar" you laid down a devastating verse arguing that Babar's work was just an extended apologia for French imperialism.

GANE$H: You know, we trumpeted back and forth a lot. But, yo, that's just how elephants communicate. It was all about selling records. And circus tickets.

INTERVIEWER: Do you think Babar's music will continue to find an audience, even in death?

GANE$H: Babar has a legacy now, and that's gonna last. We elephants, so you know we ain't gonna forget him. It don't matter what size ears y'all have. You gotta hear Babar.

INTERVIEWER: Well said. On a different note, your album cover sparked a storm of protests when you appeared wearing ivory jewelry.

GANE$H: That's misguided. It ain't an endorsement of poaching, 'phant. It's just bling.


WONKA: boy...You won! You did it! You did it! I knew you would, I just knew you would! The factory's yours! Come in, Mr. Wilkinson. Charlie, meet Mr. Wilkinson.

CHARLIE: Slugworth, you son of a bitch. (CHARLIE throws Everlasting Gobstopper at WILKINSON)

WONKA: No, no, that's not Slugworth. He works for me.

CHARLIE: How dare you show your face in this chocolate factory? (CHARLIE begins punching, kicking WILKINSON)

WONKA: Charlie, for God's sake, stop! It was only a test!

CHARLIE: This one's for Augustus! (Punch) And Violet! (Punch) And Veruca! (Punch)

GRANDPA JOE: Charlie, you're killing him! Please!

CHARLIE: Back off, old man! I'll hit you so hard you'll wish you were back in that bed!

WONKA: I don't think he's breathing, Charlie!

CHARLIE: (crying) Fucking Slugworth! (Punch) (Sniff) Oh, Mr. Wonka, what have I done?

WONKA: Cheer up, Charlie. It's gonna be OK, but we have to move fast. Grandpa Joe, we need two gallons of Fizzy-Lifting drink, a case of Scrumdidilyumptious bars, and an Oompa-Loompa that can keep a secret. Charlie, go warm up the glass elevator. We're headed for Mexico.

Rejected Lines From "Garden State"

"I've been off drugs for the first time in 17 years."

"What about marijuana and ecstasy?"


* * *

"Maybe an Academy Award is just a trophy made out of Hollywood's wishes."

* * *

"Who is this?"

"It's The Shins. It'll change your life."


"After you hear this song, you'll try to make people listen to The Shins all the time."

* * *

"Maybe this soundtrack is just a group of songs that make us all nostalgic for the same imaginary mp3 playlist."

* * *

"What's going on?"

"I think I'm about to cry."

"Oh good. Otherwise I would have had to have an epileptic seizure to wrap things up."

* * *

"Why is Method Man in this movie?"

"Maybe the Wu-Tang Clan is just the Actors' Studio for -"

"Stop right there."

* * *

"Hey Albert? Good luck exploring the infinite abyss."

"Thanks. Hey, you too."

"By 'infinite abyss', you mean Sam's vagina, right, Albert?"

"Yes I do."

(Post removed for publication elsewhere - internet famousness will be updated as famousness grows)

The elsewhere it's published

new squelch with new keane content

Volume 14, Issue 2 of The Heuristic Squelch is out now, with some brand-new Keane Komedic Kontent™. Enjoy!

The Continuing Adventures of Bi-Curious Frankenstein

Hipsters Rally Around Bush

Issues are available on Sproul Plaza on the UC Berkeley campus, but you can get a .pdf file of the issue here. Pages 10 and 11 feature a Keane Kreative Koncept™ about Spider-Man and his Emotional Spider-Sense, brought masterfully to life by criminally-uncredited writer Aaron Brownstein and artist Anthony Wu. It's a Kickass Keane-Inspired Kollaboration™, and your life will be better for having perused it. Enjoy it with some Adobe Acrobat Reader you love.

Your Guide To Avoiding Drugstore Embarrassment

All of us must make the occasional drugstore purchase of an embarrassing item. To avoid this, maintain your confidence in the face of derision, always have a snappy retort ready, and steer clear of any product that has the word "anus" as part of its name. Don't let those Walgreen's employees rattle you. You're better than them, unless you work at Rite-Aid. Here are some example situations, to give you a feel for the right attitude to maintain.

* * *

CLERK: That's a big tube of anti-fungal cream you've got there. Bad case of athlete's foot?

ME: I'll have you know, this stuff also works on jock itch and ringworm, jackass.

* * *

CLERK: Can we get a price check on these Joe Lube camouflage condoms?

MY GRANDMOTHER: Sean, what are you buying?

ME: Just supporting the troops, Grandma.

MY GRANDMOTHER: Oh, alright.

CLERK: I think this eight-ounce bottle of Astroglide is also on sale.


ME: The lube is made by Iraqi orphans, Grandma.

* * *

MANAGER: We ask that customers not sample our items in the store.

ME: Don't worry, I'm totally gonna buy this deodorant.

MANAGER: (Pause) Why aren't you wearing pants?

ME: Your sign only mentions a shirt and shoes.

* * *

MY SEEMINGLY PLATONIC FEMALE FRIEND: I'm glad this drugstore is still open. Do you think they have Ben and Jerry's?

ME: I'm sure they do.

MY SEEMINGLY PLATONIC FEMALE FRIEND: Great. Some Cherry Garcia will be perfect for when we're watching "When Harry Met Sally".

CLERK: That'll be $9.68. Also, Sean has a big crush on you.

ME: As a friend! I hate this store!

(After their poor performances this season down the stretch, San Francisco Giants closers Matt Herges and Dustin Hermanson will surely be seeking other employment. Where, you might ask? Read on, friends.)

Adult Movies

HERGES: So you spread your fingers like this, Destiny, and put pressure on the ball with your fingertips.

DESTINY: Don't you mean "balls"?

HERGES: Excuse me?

DESTINY: Anyway, thanks for the tip, Matt. I still think the knuckle curve sounds like it would be painful.

HERGES: Maybe a little bit, but in my experience, it's important to change speeds. Say, did you see where my friend Dustin Hermanson went?

DESTINY: I think he's on set with our featured actor, fluffing.

HERGES: "Fluffing"? What's that?

DESTINY: It means he's blowing the lead.


FIRE CHIEF: Hermanson, get over here and grab this hose!

HERMANSON: Chief, I was thinking. Instead of spraying water directly at the blaze, why don't we aim about a foot to the right?

FIRE CHIEF: That's idiotic, Hermanson.

HERMANSON: Over and over again, spray after spray, just outside of where the water needs to go. That's a good strategy, isn't it?

FIRE CHIEF: Just grab the goddamn hose, Hermanson! And where the hell is Herges?

HERMANSON: He's throwing buckets of gasoline into the burning building.


HERMANSON: Is that wrong?

Real Estate

RICHARD ROMA: Look, the statute says that you can change your mind three working days from the time the deal is closed. Which, wait a second, which is not until the check is cashed. Whats the earliest the check could have been cashed?

JAMES LINGK: Today, I guess.

ROMA: So, you have three business days to . . . (Office manager FELIPE ALOU approaches ROMA, waves right hand.) You're taking me out?

ALOU: Herges is going to close the deal. (ROMA hands ALOU his briefcase, walks out. MATT HERGES enters.)

HERGES: How's it going?


HERGES: (pause) You know we sold you some worthless Florida swampland, right?

LINGK: Wha- what did you say?

HERGES: Yep, worthless. Also, we already cashed your check, last night.

LINGK: I - I gotta go! (LINGK runs out)

ROMA: You stupid fucking asshole, Herges! You just cost me six thousand dollars and a Cadillac! You fucking child. I'm going to the restaurant! (ROMA exits)

HERGES: (to ALOU) Is this be a bad time to tell you that me and Hermanson robbed the office last night?

ALOU: You mean, you took the good leads? The Glengarry leads?

HERGES: That's right. All the leads are all gone, because of us.


PRESIDENT BUSH: What my opponent does not acknowledge is that my economic program has helped millions of wealth-, er, ordinary Americans. We must ensure that America remains prosperous, and the way to do so is through a bold and fair tax relief plan.

JIM LEHRER: Mr. Hermanson, you have 90 seconds for rebuttal.

(HERMANSON steps off podium. Paces around. Picks up rosin bag and drops it. Tugs cap. Returns to podium.)

HERMANSON: Could Jim Brower answer this one for me instead?

JIM LEHRER: I'm afraid not, Mr. Hermanson. You still have 75 seconds.

HERMANSON: Um . . . Tax . . . relief. Relieving . . . taxes. Relief. (Pause) Not my best area. OK. (Deep breath) The American people need to give the IRS a free pass, no, a series of free passes, to raise taxes as much as they want, until our economic recovery is irrevocably lost, and the hopes of America's fans are horribly, horribly dashed.

(CROWD boos)

HERMANSON: I'm sorry. Octavio Dotel prepped me for this debate. Just vote for Bush, I guess. I'm hitting the showers.


JUNIOR LIFEGUARD: Come quick, Mr. Herges! Dustin Hermanson can't breathe!

HERGES: What happened?

JUNIOR LIFEGUARD: I'm not sure. He was eating hamburgers with Lance Berkman, and all of the sudden, his face started turning blue, just like last month with Andruw Jones.

HERGES: You mean . . . ?

JUNIOR LIFEGUARD: Yes. Dustin Hermanson is choking. Again.

HERGES: Hang on, buddy! Here comes the ol' Heimlich maneuver. (HERGES wraps his hands around HERMANSON's throat and begins strangling him. HERMANSON struggles briefly, then collapses.) No! Why, God, why? (In frustration, HERGES throws his whistle through the air at 85 MPH, in a straight line.)


HERGES: I'm afraid not. Just like the woman last week who hit her head on the diving board and died, or the kid who drowned in the baby pool yesterday, or that game where I gave up two home runs in the ninth inning against the Rockies, this is another blown save for Matt Herges.

JUNIOR LIFEGUARD: Gosh, how do you still have a job?

HERGES: Peter Magowan is too cheap to hire a competent replacement.

Don't get caught holding too much of the combination 2/@ key. Not a good long-term bet. Sure, the number two gets a lot of use now, but how long is this bubble going to last? Smart investors realize that A and T can combine to duplicate @'s function in any imaginable situation. Not to be too blunt, but the @ key is for fucking losers. If you're heavily into @, try to diversify, maybe pick up some sleepers like W or the Home key.

I have a very good feeling about the long-term prospects for 6/^. Call it a hunch. I think the carat is going places.

This is only tangentially related to that whole alphanumeric thing, but I hear really good things about the Newton. Maybe see if you can invest in a stylus.

Sometimes it can be fun to light a twenty-dollar bill on fire, just to watch it burn. This is technically illegal.

Kurt Cobain is going to live forever.

Reader Mail

John from Providence writes, "Hey, how you doing man? Thanks for the heads-up about Scroll Lock. You really saved my ass. Think the Expos have a shot this year?"

No problem, bro. The Expos have a solid team, but I think the World Series will probably be cancelled this year.

u is for orange alert





Al-Qaeda Headquarters,
Somewhere within the Axis of Evil

AHMED: Please, assemble yourselves, my terrorist brethren. We have important plans to discuss. Project U is finally nearing completion.

(murmurs of excitement)

FAYED: But . . . I have heard that Project U was impossible, only a beautiful dream for the cause, and an unholy nightmare for the godless Americans.

KHALID: The technology is too costly! The hydraulics alone cost millions!

AHMED: This is no dream, fellow haters of freedom. Recently, a brilliant Pakistani plumber defected across the border to Afghanistan and provided us with the final piece in the puzzle. In a mere matter of weeks, the powerful "U-bomb" will be at our command. Today, we turn our attention to selecting a target.

AZIZ: I am intrigued. How does this weapon work?

AHMED: The U-Bomb's great tactical value comes in its power, combined with its concealability. It attaches to nearly any type of urinal, exploiting the building's plumbing system to spread the blast and create maximum structural damage. And much spraying of urine. Best of all, it can be easily triggered via catheter.

KHALID: This urinal bomb sounds remarkable! But where to deploy it?

AHMED: We need an urban, downtown center. A place where the explosion can cripple transportation, government and commerce all at once. (Pause) We're just deciding between the Embarcadero and Powell Street BART stations.

ALL: Hooray!


Montgomery BART Station,
San Francisco
(A Compromise)

FAROUK: We are thirty minutes behind schedule, Mustafa.

MUSTAFA: I apologize, but I could not have anticipated the delay at MacArthur. Who would guess that "Millbrae" indicated San Francisco? There was no need for us to go up and down the stairs there, and I am sorry.

FAROUK: Put it behind you, Mustafa. We are here, and now is time to move. Take up your observation post, and I will proceed to the target point.

MUSTAFA: Yes, Farouk.

(FAROUK notices sign)

FAROUK: "Due to heightened station security, all public restrooms are closed". Mustafa! What do we do now?

MUSTAFA: What if you told the station agent that you really, really had to go?

(FAROUK tries to get station agent's attention, fails. Pretends to be impatient and agitated. Actually becomes impatient and agitated. Still, no progress.)

FAROUK: It is of no use. These Americans are so clever, anticipating our every move! First, the plan to smuggle poisoned breast milk onto airplanes - stopped by airport security details! Then our U-bomb, rendered all but useless today!

MUSTAFA: Farouk, we must not dwell on our failures! Perhaps we could see if the Lake Merritt station has an unguarded urinal . . .

FAROUK: Oh, what's the use, Mustafa? Even if we could figure whether we needed a train to "Fremont" or the unholy city-state of "Dublin-Pleasanton", there's no way we can succeed! Ridge would be two steps ahead of us, as always! He sees all and knows all! Just last week, he announced our plot to disrupt the presidential election - before we had made the plot in the first place! This is no mere man. Ridge is a demon of freedom!

MUSTAFA: (whispered) Or an angel.

FAROUK: Mustafa, I do not know what to do. We can't even afford to go back to El Cerrito Del Norte station - who would have thought we'd need return fare?

MUSTAFA: Wait, Farouk. This bathroom is within the exit gates.


MUSTAFA: So, we never went through the gate. If we return to our original station, we will owe only an "excursion fare" of $4.

FAROUK: You lying jackal!

MUSTAFA: I speak the truth!

FAROUK: Amazing! Perhaps . . . perhaps American freedom is not so bad after all. Come, Mustafa. Perhaps we can sell this U-bomb on Ebay.

(CURTAIN. REO Speedwagon's "I Can't Fight This Feeling" plays over the curtain call)

Pedagogue: It states on your name badge here that you're a pedophile.

Pedophile: That's right.

Pedagogue: I would not have thought one would be so open and brazen about such an ignoble pursuit.

Pedophile: Well, the way I see it is, women's feet are beautiful. I just can't get enough of them. And any fine-lookin' lady with a nice set of little piggies should know right up front that toe-sucking is my thing, just so there's no confusion or awkward moments.

Pedagogue: Excuse me? Am I to understand that you have a foot fetish?

Pedophile: That's what the card says, ma'am.

Pedagogue: Oh no. You see, "pedophile" is derived from the Greek root "paidos", which means "child", and "philia," which is "love of". "Pedophile" then refers to "love of children", and in the early 20th century became adopted into the vernacular as a term for one who has a sexual perversion in which children are the preferred object.

Pedophile: No way!

Pedagogue: You may have been confused by the Latin ped-, which does refer to the foot. The term that you are undoubtedly looking for is "podophile", or more correctly, "podophiliac", which uses the correct Greek root. Incidentally, many words in our common speech have the same root as "pedophile", like "pediatrics" or "encyclopaedia", an extension of paideia, which refers to child rearing, or the education of children.

"Pedophile": That is very enlightening. Can I ask you another question?

Pedagogue: Certainly.

"Pedophile": Are you wearing open-toed shoes?

osama bin laden: making the video

(With the release of yet another alleged missive from the embattled Al Qaeda leader, Zembla is proud to reprint Osama Bin Laden: Making the Video, which originally appeared in the Heuristic Squelch)

Excerpts from "Osama Bin Laden: Making the Video"

An Al Jazeera Exclusive

Friday, 4:30 AM

Carson Sabarmati: What's up, privileged elites of the Arab world? We're coming to you from Detroit, Michigan, site of the shoot of Osama Bin Laden's new video, a video that will premiere on Al Jazeera in just 30 minutes.

Osama Bin Laden: When Al Jazeera approached me, I knew we had to shoot this video in Detroit, you know what I'm saying? Detroit is where the true fans are at, and I hope a lot of the militant fundamentalist Muslims in the Lower Michigan area come out to the shoot.

(Speeded up film of Bin Laden climbing into jeep, shaking hands with film crew, spitting on the American flag, shooting a rifle, and kicking a puppy)

* * * *

7:15 AM

OBL: (Picks up a green jilbob from the clothing rack) Now, this looks pretty fly. But I'm not sure if it'll seem too decadent. (Selects new item) This dishdasha is from Versace, and it kinda says, Saturday night, hitting the club in downtown Kabul. Saudi Arabia will love this look. (Picks up hooded white cloak) This jalabiyah realy says "mujahadeeni," but I don't know... let's just go with the same camouflage thing I always wear. Give me that white cap, too.

* * * *

Radio Interview
8:43 AM

DJ: We're here on KMSM here in Detroit, talking with famed terrorist Osama Bin Laden. Osama, thanks for coming out.

OBL: Well, I don't usually visit pop stations, but I'm making a video for Al Jazeera, so it's all good, you know what I'm sayin?

DJ: We appreciate it. So, the new single is a 45 minute speech about Israeli human rights abuses in the occupied territories, and the scores of civilian casualties from the US bombing of Iraq.

OBL: Yes, it's a cause I feel very strongly about.

DJ: So, what made you choose Dr. Dre to produce it?

OBL: Ever since his N.W.A. days, Dr. Dre's slick beats and anti-authority attitude have been an inspiration to all oppressed peoples. Plus, he said Nate Dogg might be willing to do a guest vocal. He's got such a sweet voice, you know?

DJ: I hear that, Osama. We'll be back in a minute with Osama Bin Laden, but first, here's Cat Stevens with "Peace Train."

(Bin Laden slaps forehead)

* * * *

The Vision
11:52 AM

Director Hype Williams: Osama had a vision for this video. First, he was going preach into the camera in High Arabic for an unbroken 40 minutes. Then, he was going to fire his rifle at a target a few times. Then, a little more preaching. That was all cool, but I had an idea to switch it up a little.

OBL: Look, I've showed off political Osama, I gave y'all militant Osama, and now it's time to show off the playful side of Bin Laden.

(Clip of OBL and Mase on a speedboat, with four girls)

Director Hype Williams: Underneath those birkas, and chadors are some fineass honeys. Just take my word for it.

* * * *

12:48 PM

OBL: We shall continue until we win this battle, or die in the cause and meet our maker.

(Camera explodes, killing camera operator, key grip, Best Boy, and Al Qaeda cofounder Muhammad Atef)

Hype Williams: Cut!

OBL: OK, who's working security? Cut off their hands.

* * * *

1:54 PM

Carson Sabarmati: The video has just been delivered to Al Jazeera's office by a blindfolded courier. He's been wrapped in a carpet and driven in the back of a jeep, flown blindfolded in a cargo hold of a prop plane, and then spun around ten times so he won't be able to remember the way back. So now, Bin Laden fans, and Al Qaeda operatives looking for coded messages, enjoy the new OBL video world premiere. Peace out.

Q: Why did the Silver Surfer have to leave his job as a herald?

A: He was Ga-lactose-intolerant!

Q: What came out of the Hulk's nose whenever he ate strawberries?

A: Mucus!

henry david thoreau, newlywed: part 2

(Read Part One)

Because America has spoken, politely and respectfully, and demanded it, here is another excerpt from the soon-to-be-blockbuster story of Henry David Thoreau and wife.

The Wedding Night

Wife: Henry David, what a lovely ceremony that was!

Thoreau: Indeed! Oh, wife, what a blessed union of true hearts has been made on this day!

Wife: We have such lovely conversations, Henry David.

Thoreau: It is my hope that our intercourse might go forward to something better than the intercourse of sages.

Wife: (Pause) Look, I know not what kind of girl you thought you were marrying...

Thoreau: Oh! No, wife, by "intercourse" I was referring to conversation, not to... (Wife glares) Let me get you something to drink to calm your temperment.

Wife: Is it going to be water from the Pond?

Thoreau: (Pause) Maybe?

Civil Disobedience

Thoreau: I can't believe you paid my tax!

Wife: But, dear...

Thoreau: I cannot support giving monies to our government when those monies go to support a war against the free people of Mexico! I know I have explained to you countless times that this armed conflict has nary a purpose but to advance the deplorable institution of slavery across our border!

Wife: But, dear, we are having supper with the Emersons...

Thoreau: Better that I had stayed in my cell, disobeying the unjust, nay, immoral laws than to become a party to this action.

Wife: But, dear, Mrs. Emerson has made her award-winning huckleberry pie.

Thoreau: I still agree not with the... huckleberry pie, you say?

Wife: Yes, dear. Two of them.

Thorea: Wife, I am sorry to have spouted off like such an angry teakettle. Quickly! We shall just have time for a quick bathe in the Pond before supper.

The Day Off

(Wife returns from market)

Wife: Good afternoon, Henry David!

Thoreau: How was the marketing, my dear? (Takes sack of provisions out of her hands and places it on the table)

Wife: It was quite agreeable, thank you. How was your day off from laboring?

Thoreau: Oh, it was remarkable! I happened upon an anthill in my stroll about the Pond. Alongside, there was a colony of red ants engaged in a struggle with their black counterparts. The drama, the bravery, the courage those ants exhibited, why, it was as exciting as a war of men! Truly, it was an echo of the grand struggles so many years ago at Lexington and Concord!

Wife: That sounds...interesting. How else did you occupy your afternoon?

Thoreau: How else? What else would provide such sheer drama as a wounded red ant, still doggedly attaching his mandibles to the thorax of a black ant, refusing to succumb even in its death throes! Not even when I brought the ants into the house to observe them with a looking glass did their fierce battle cease.

Wife: You brought the ants into the house?

Thoreau: One never knows what chivalry, what heroism exists beneath our very feet!

Wife: So you didn't do the dishes?

Thoreau: Yes, the unobservant... oh, the dishes! my mind...

Wife: This is the third time this week! I am sick and tired of your... (Spots ants crawling on table) Oh! My maple syrup!

Thoreau: (Staring at ants, transfixed) Fascinating!

henry david thoreau: newlywed

Henry David Thoreau, author of Walden, Civil Disobedience, and Transcendentalism for Dummies, was one of the pre-eminent writers and philosophers of his time. Now, for the first time comes the story of his little-known life as a newlywed on the shores of Walden Pond, painstakingly reconstructed from journals, letters, and squirrel eyewitness accounts. Hollywood agents and sitcom producers can begin negotiations for the rights to this heartwarming tale here. An excerpt from the as-yet unreleased screenplay appears below.

The Anniversary

Thoreau: What do you want to do for our anniversary?

Wife: Why don't we go to New York? I hear it's beautiful this time of year.

Thoreau: Honey, it's not worth the while to go round the globe to count the cats in Zanzibar. Methinks that some men find it easier to voyage around the world than to explore one's private being.

Wife: You never take me anywhere! (slams door)

The Pet Name

Wife: I love you, Hank-Dave.

Thoreau: Honey, my name is Henry David. To shorten it in such a manner makes it sound veritably uncouth.

Wife: Dear, it's a pet name. Everyone calls you Henry David. "Hank-Dave" is my own special name for you.

Thoreau: Well I don't like it. Let the huddled masses use pet names, for I need only the good Christian name of my parents.

Wife: Does that mean you'll stop calling me "my little industrious wood-tick"?

Thoreau: But, honey, that name is cute.


Wife: Dear, I hear in the village that they are putting Old Man Hathorne's house up for sale.

Thoreau: That village is perpetually abuzz with gossip like a village of non-sleeping, gossipy people-bees! (Pause) Did you like that metaphor? Should I write it down to show Emerson?

Wife: If you like, Dear. But about Old Man Hathorne's house...

Thoreau: Well, what concern is it of ours?

Wife: I thought that you might want to leave the edge of the pond for some more... established quarters.

Thoreau: Leave Walden Pond? Never!

Wife: Why not? It's small, it's dirty, and even you have begun complaining about having to sleep out of doors when guests come over.

Thoreau: But...but...we have to preserve this land!

Wife: Preserve it? This stupid pond? Who are we preserving this filthy fly-infested pond for?!?

Thoreau: (quietly) Don Henley.

an ode to my favorite muni line


Since moving to San Francisco, I've spent a lot of evenings walking the streets alone, and returning to an empty house. Sure, it gets lonely sometimes, but there's one certain MUNI line that's been there for me, day-in, day-out. And as a thank-you to this wonderful public transit service, I asked Sir Paul McCartney to write a song about it.


By Paul McCartney

From Ocean Beach
Take my commute, make it less dirty
You stop at Montgomery and at Powell
Don't need the Night Owl
Until 12:30

My favorite train
Though my own seat, no, I'm not gonna get
You can't help your popularity, Jude
It's just lots of dudes
Live in the Sunset

And anytime I take the J
Don't be dismayed
I'm not sick of your crowded conditions

Don't you know I'd be insane
To board your train
For making my way down to the Mission

You've got my back
Riding you my commute's improving
The minute you leave the underground track
I'm warned to stay back
The stairs are moving

So let the others out and in
Grand hunk of tin
Compared to you, the streetcar's a poor way

And once I hear them say "Duboce"
I know I'm close
The movement I need is through the doorway


Two blocks away
From my apartment here in the Castro
If I miss you, and I'm left in the lurch
I won't walk to Church
You're still much fast'ro

Fast'ro, fast'ro, fast'ro, fast'ro, fast'ro, Ahhh!



(repeat for 4-5 minutes)

arnold runs for box office glory


Arnold Schwarzenegger is running for governor, and Hollywood is ready! Even if Arnold doesn't make it to the state capital, he'll have plenty of roles to choose from among these proposed special-election-themed motion pictures.

Civics Class Cop: LAPD detective John Kimble (Arnold) is on the trail of a killer (Gary Coleman), but his only lead is the California high school that the killer's son attends. Comedy ensues as Kimble tries to find his man while explaining all about the California state constitution, with the help of his pet ferret (Darrell Issa). Eventually, Kimble faces an even bigger challenge than solving a murder case: pronouning the word "gubernatorial."

Sample dialogue:

Student: Mr. Kimble, I heard a rumor that you were going to run for governor.
Kimble: It's not a rumor!

Conan the Libertarian: When Conan (Arnold) was just a child, his parents were killed by socialist tax collectors. He was brought up by Mongol economists, who trained him in the ways of monetary policy, laissez-faire capitalism, and swordplay. Now Conan is taking revenge on his left-wing enemies with an assault on the state capital. Screenplay by Harry Browne.

Creditor: A group of GOP commandos (Schwarzenegger, Richard Riordan, Bill Simon) is dispatched to the wilds of Sacramento to rescue the hopelessly gridlocked state legislature. But once they arrive, they find their reform programs slowly being picked off, one by one, by a deadly invisible killer: the $40 billion dollar budget deficit. Can tough talk, IOUs, and after-school physical fitness programs kill this monster? Co-starring Jesse "The Body" Ventura.

Sample dialogue:

Richard Riordan: The state treasury is bleeding money!
Arnold: It don't have time to bleed!

Terminator 2: Election Day: A cyborg is sent back in time to gather signatures for a recall campaign. Opposing him is the most sophisticated, amoral, cold-blooded fundraising machine in world history: the G1000, Governor Gray Davis.

Sample dialogue:

Arnold: I'll be back... to submit the petition to the Secretary of State for certification, so that he will have to certify a new election within 60 days, unless those 60 days are within a month of the regularly scheduled November election.

The Last Political Action Committee: No word yet on what the complicated plot of this one might be, but it will likely be only marginally popular, while costing tens of millions of dollars.

True Lies: Arnold stars is a secret agent with a double life. While his wife believes he's a boring, Humvee-driving action movie star, he is secretly a powerful politician. Now he faces his most difficult assignment yet: convincing the people of California that the Democratic governor is to blame for the Republican deregulation of the energy industry. With Jamie Lee Curtis as the wife who sells out her family's political legacy to help her conservative husband get elected.

Total Recall: Get it? He's running in the recall election? If he wins, Gray Davis will get totally recalled. That's the title - Total Recall! Get it?

Sample dialogue:

Arnold: I would like to take an imaginary vacation to Sacramento.
Technician: This joke is unoriginal, Mr. Keane.

I woke up before my alarm clock went off because someone was walking in the kitchen and I didn't know where I was because we just moved. Then I came into the office and tried to learn how to answer the phones and I accidentally hung up on an indigent prisoner phoning from the San Mateo County Jail and then I spilled a whole cup of coffee all over the leg of my jeans and I could tell it was going to be a terrible horrible no good very bad first week of work.

I think I will apply to work at a legal defense project in Australia.

The next day I came in and I had to stamp all documents that came in for the court run. I wasn't supposed to do anything to the front of the notices of appeal but I forgot and I stamped them all anyway. Kristina had to come and help me.

Then I ripped an envelope that came from prison even though I was supposed to save it, so I tried to attach it back to the original letter but it ripped a little more and I couldn't find any paper clips. I finally got it to stay but after I put it in the attorney's box, he told me I needed to make a copy and mail that copy to the panel attorney. By then I was hungry and I couldn't find the panel attorney's address and I didn't want to ask because I was embarrassed. It was a terrible horrible no good very bad first week at work.

If Australia was really settled by criminals, I bet legal defense work is either way easier or way harder.

The burger place didn't have electricity when I went there so they didn't have fries, only gross salad. I ate the salad anyway, but I scowled every time I took a bite, when I remembered to.

I wonder if they have state funding for appellate work in Australia. I wonder if they even have states.

The next day at work I came in and I was tired because I'm not used to working full-time. I had to make service copies for an opening brief and make sure that the blue pages separated the appendices from the rest of the brief. I had already copied a lot of them when Kristina reminded me to sign the proof of service before I started, which I forgot, but it didn't matter because the blue pages were in the wrong place so I made about 500 copies for no reason and totally hogged the VeloBinding machine for over an hour. At least I didn't have to sign all 22 service copies. Still, it was one more example of the terrible horrible no good very bad first week of work.

Also I didn't have a chance to do laundry and my pants got dirty from the move so I was wearing khakis from the "Too Fat" bag, which I wasn't too fat for anymore, except I gained some weight in San Diego, so they were tight in the waist and uncomfortable.

I bet people's weights don't fluctuate as much in Australia. Probably because they have a more active lifestyle and don't eat as many simple carbohydrates.

Wednesday I had to do the court run I didn't finish from the day before but also the mail which I also didn't finish and I couldn't find my stamp and I got confused because I didn't know how to process a writ and also I was still stamping notices of appeal on the front instead of the back because I forgot again. Also I had a headache from lack of caffeine but I didn't want to make coffee because I don't know I just didn't want to, OK? I don't think I'm overstating what a terrible horrible no good very bad first day of work this was.

I would seriously move to Australia, except for the year-long lease I just signed, and the security deposit, and the sneaking suspicion I have that maybe Qantas is due for a crash.

I was still asking a lot of questions and I felt dumb for asking the same thing all the time. People told me not to feel dumb but I still felt dumb and then I got mad when people tried to help me because I didn't want people to do the work for me except I couldn't finish all the work myself so I secretly did want them to do it for me but I also wanted them to make a really big deal about me having lots of work to do and it being my first week and me being tired and heroic in trying to do all the work but instead they were just trying to get their own work done and reassure me I wasn't asking too many questions and I felt very frustrated and it was terrible, horrible, etc.

I bet passive-aggressive behavior is a lot more effective in Australia.

Finally today I did a brief and I made a lot of mistakes and we had to have the court messenger come a lot later but eventually Kristina and everyone helped me and I finished just before four o'clock and I felt tired but also a sense of accomplishment and a feeling that maybe, just maybe, I wasn't going to be a total jackass all the time at work.

"People always have a tough time when they're starting out at a new job," Kristina said.

"Really?" I asked.

"Except in Australia," she said. "Then it's a piece of cake."

sean keane versus deep blue

(Originally appeared on the fine KALX radio program "Bobbing For Lobsters")


MARK: Two weeks ago today, Sean Keane delivered a challenge that has reverberated throughout the world. Calling it a "test to the limits of artificial intelligence" and "an epic battle between man and machine," Keane challenged famed supercomputer Deep Blue, the computer that defeated chess grandmaster Gary Kasparaov, to a best-of-seven series. The game: Checkers.

(Inspirational. Hank Williams, Junior-style theme music plays)

MARK: Today, "Bobbing For Lobsters" takes you live to the Haas Pavilion at UC Berkeley, where Sean Keane is preparing to take on supercomputer Deep Blue. I'm Mark Stapanovich, and with me today is former world checkers champ Paul Culderfeld. Paul, how do you see the matches shaping up today?

PAUL: Mark, I see this being a tough challenge for Keane. Deep Blue is a scalable, highly parallel system that utilizes 256 processors, capable of calculating 100-200 billion moves within three minutes. This makes Deep Blue a very formidable opponent. What complicates matters is that Keane is, well, just not especially good at checkers.

MARK: Not especially good, Paul?

PAUL: No. Mark, not really. Keane is a timid player, extremely emotional and cautious. He refuses to move his back row of checkers, for example. Also, any slight bit of adversity leaves Keane whining and complaining, leaving him vulnerable to any opponent with even the barest amount of guile or aggressiveness.

MARK: So you think Keane will be vulnerable to Deep Blue, Paul?

PAUL: I do, Mark. Though Deep Blue's specialty is chess, it has played nearly six trillion games of checkers in the last two and a half days.

MARK: Plus, Deep Blue is unlikely to be rattled by Keane's flamboyant checkers style, which we heard in an interview earlier this week.

SEAN KEANE: (on tape) I am the greatest checkers player in the history of the world! I'm gonna treat Deep Blue like he was an Apple 2E! I'm gonna jump jump him like I was Kriss Kross! I'm king of the world! I'm pretty! I'm a baad man! I'm gonna king... (tape stops)

MARK: It looks like they're getting started, so let's go down to the board.

REFEREE: Alright, Mr. Keane has won the toss and elected to defend the south side of the board. He will be playing red. As black, you have the first move, Deep Blue.

SEAN: Hey! Why does he get to go first.


SEAN: Stupid computer.

MARK: We'll be right back with more of Sean Keane versus Deep Blue.


MARK: We're back at the Haas Pavilion, where Deep Blue has taken a commanding lead of two games to none in its landmark checkers battle with Sean Keane. Paul, can Keane turn things around?

PAUL: Mark, as long as he can calm down and stop crying, he still has a shot. Deep Blue is running WinAmp, Free Cell, and four different windows of Mozilla, so his decision-making isn't nearly as fast as usual. It looks like Keane is taking his time with his next move.

SEAN: I'm going to mo-o-o-o-ove from D-4 to squa-a-a-a-are... E-5.


SEAN: No way! I didn't take my finger off!


REFEREE: Actually, Deep Blue, the replay shows that his finger was still on. Sean gets a do-over.

SEAN: Yes!


SEAN: I'm going to mo-o-o-o-ove from E-5.


SEAN: Dammit!

MARK: Looks like Keane is starting to fall apart. We'll be back.


MARK: We return to the Haas Pavilion where it has been all Deep Blue so far. Still, Keane has refused to resign, and after an afternoon of dominance by the supercomputer, Keane has rallied in the fourth game and is threatening Deep Blue's back row. Let's go down to the action.

SEAN: Alright! I made it to the back row! King me!


SEAN: What's the problem?


MARK: Paul, this is quite a turn of events!

PAUL: Incredible, Mark.

SEAN: But... Deep Blue... that's not fair. You're cheating!


MARK: It looks like Keane is...he's pulling out the wires attached to Deep Blue's CPU!


SEAN: Yes, I'd like to hear it, Deep Blue. Sing it for me.


REFEREE: By forfeit, Sean Keane is the winner!

(Crowd erupts)

MARK: Do you believe in miracles, Paul!?!

SEAN: I am the greatest!

PAUL: Mark, what a dramatic ending! What a display of heart from this proud, sentient, chess-playing computer!

MARK: This is going to go down in the annals of computer-human checkers battles, to be sure. This has "Bobbing For Lobsters" coverage of Sean Keane versus Deep Blue. For Paul Culderfeld, I'm Mark Stapanovich saying, "King me...please!"

are young swimmers juiced?

As I am an authority on youth sports due to my unparalleled recreational swim coaching success, I am often contacted by the sporting media. And recently, the sporting media wants to know just one thing: Are today's young swimmers juiced?

Swimmers are bigger and faster than they were a generation ago. Why, in just the last decade, many of the sport's most hallowed marks have fallen, from Alexander Popov's 100 meter freestyle time to Mary T. Meagher's 100 butterfly record. Youth recreational sports are no different, as the Contra Costa County records for 13-14 Girls' backstroke and butterfly fell last year, as well as the "unbreakable" 11-12 Boys' butterfly mark. Clearly, this goes beyond advances in swimsuit technology or better training methods. No, these kind of marks require some chemical enhancement.

To a trained professional like myself, the signs can be obvious. You see a nine year old boy come to practice in May six inches taller than he was the previous August, and alarm bells go off in your head. That's not the only red flag. Kids dropping six, seven seconds on a 50 freestyle. Thirteen year olds towering over their twelve year old counterparts. Girls eating entire bags of Gummy Worms and not gaining weight. Let's face it: The drug culture of professional sports has affected even the formerly-pristine world of age-group swim competition.

Sure, I've heard the excuses. "Billy lost a lot of baby fat." "Johnny learned to do a flip turn." "Growth spurts are perfectly understandable for pre-adolescents, particularly those active in sports." To which I say, peddle your sunshine somewhere else, Pollyanna.

I don't blame the kids, really. In the past, kids would be satisfied with doing their best, and having fun. No longer. There's pressure from the parents, who want results for their swim lesson dollar. They don't like buying Capri Suns for losers. There's pressure from the sponsors, like Speedo and TYR. When Nike signs a five year-old to a six-figure endorsement deal, that kid had better touch with two hands on his breastroke. Perhaps most importantly, there's pressure from the other kids. As one unnamed 7-8 boy told me, "Coach Sean, you don't get the bitches by swimming on the B relay."

Usually, it's a gradual thing, with the performance enhancements. You'll see a kid chugging a Coke twenty minutes before their race, and you know they're on their way to trouble. Pretty soon they're eating Pixie Stix and drinking Mountain Dew, desperate to get a caffeine-and-sugar-high edge on the competition. Those are the kids who will be listening when a stranger offers them something to "put a little distance on that streamline." Though I haven't seen any shooting up, all those Pokemon band-aids have to be hiding something.

No one but Coach Sean is willing to blow the whistle on it, because there's too much snack bar money at stake. Just remember who was willing to tell the truth at the end of the summer, when the County backstroke champion gets disqualified for having a Speedo full of cork.



Frosted flakes are the taste adults have grown to love. They're grrrreat!

Bill Walton


What is he talking about? Have you tasted frosted flakes? Frosted Flakes are horrrrrible. Get them out of here!

Frosted Flakes claims to be part of a balanced breakfast? When I think of a balanced breakfast, I think of the great ones. Pancakes and orange juice. Sausage and eggs. Larry Bird. Robert Parish. French toast. Frosted Flakes is the worst breakfast cereal in the history of the world.

Look at these ingredients. Riboflavin? Riboflavin is a TERRIBLE vitamin. No vitamin in the last twenty years has disappointed like riboflavin has. The Kellogg's corporation needs a timeout here.

In the immortal words of the Grateful Dead, those who choose to lead must follow. But if you fall, you fall alone. If you should stay, then who's to guide you? Not Tony the Tiger. Not the Honey Smacks frog. And definitely not Kenyon Martin.

Twist It


The Zone








(Photography credit to Mike Barnett)

Professor: This is a fifty-minute exam, covering Chapters 4-6 and the first two sections of Chapter 7. Please bubble in the correct answer using a #2 pencil.

Observational Comic: What is the deal with the #2 pencil warning? Are there a bunch of charcoal artists taking this test? We can send a telescope out to the edge of the solar system, but we can't design a Scantron machine capable of reading lead from a #2.2 pencil? Who's running the Scantron industry - the Florida Election Commission?

Professor: You now have forty-seven minutes.

Observational Comic: And don't get me started on Newtonian physics. This guy died a virgin, and he's lecturing me about the laws of motion?!? I mean, come on, people!

Professor: Get out.

Observational Comic: Thank you! I'll be here all next semester, retaking the course. Remember to tip your proctors.

Male Nurse Trebek

Surgeon: We're losing him.

(EKG flatlines. Patient expires)

Female nurse: He's dead.
Alex Trebek: I'm sorry, it was a blockage in the right ventricle. The right ventricle.

Bomb Squad Trebek

Police Ballistics Expert: Should I cut the red wire, or the blue wire? Dammit, there's no time!

(Cuts blue wire)

Alex Trebek: The wire leading to the power supply is generally marked red, so you should have cut the blue wire. The blue wire. That'll cost you.

State Attorney Trebek

Defense Attorney: Due to the extenuating circumstances of the case, and the attempt at restitution made by the defendant, we would ask that the state agree to a suspended sentence and extended probation in exchange for a plea of "Guilty."

Alex Trebek: Can we accept that? Judges?

(Three beeps emanate from the bench)

Alex Trebek: I'm sorry, the state of California insists on jail time. Jail time.

Stand-Up Comedian Trebek

Alex Trebek: ...So we drive on a parkway, but we park on a driveway. And on Jeopardy!, the questions are the answers, and the answers are the questions. What's the deal with that?


Alex Trebek: Johnny Gilbert, is this thing on?

Wheel of Fortune Trebek

Contestant #1: I'd like to buy a vowel.

Alex Trebek: (Sighs) If you must.

Contestant #1: Can I "U"?

Alex Trebek: For the love of God, it's "Laissez-Faire Economics!" "Laissez-Faire Economics!" This isn't that difficult, people!

Contestant #2: Alex, I'd like to solve the puzzle.

Alex Trebek: (Sighs) If you must.

Google Search Engine Trebek

Google User: (types "pyongang north korea")

Alex Trebek: Did you mean pyongyang north korea?

Google User: Even in search engine form you remain smug, Trebek!

Top Five Rejected Lyrics From Bryan Adams' "Have You Ever Really Loved A Woman?"

5. Tell me have you really really really really loved a woman?
4. Seriously? I mean, really really really loved a woman?
3. Really really really really really have you really really really really really really loved a real woman?
2. Dude, cross your heart and hope to die, have you fucking loved a woman or not, motherfucker?
1. Oh, you can't tell me it's not worth really really dying for, I can't help it, there's nothing I want more

(Read Part 1 2 3)

A salesman knocked on the door of Little Johnny Kissinger's house in December of 1975. Little Johnny answered the door.

"Johnny, is your father, Henry Kissinger, there?" he asked.

"He ain't home. He be out with President Suharto, approving Indonesia's invasion of East Timor, even though the military action be illegal and Indonesia be using US-supplied military equipment." Johnny replied.

"'He be out'? 'Indonesia be using'? Johnny, where's your grammar?"

"She ain't home either."

(Read Part 1 2 3)

Knock knock.

Who's there?

The illegal secret bombing of Cambodia.

The illegal secret bombing of Cambodia who?

Knock knock.

Who's there?

The illegal secret bombing of Cambodia.

The illegal secret bombing of Cambodia who?

Knock knock.

Who's there?


Orange who?

Orange you glad Henry Kissinger never had to face charges for the illegal secret bombing of Cambodia?!?

(Read Part 1 2 3)

Two traveling salesmen and Henry Kissinger are walking down the road. It's getting dark, so they stop at a farmhouse. They go up to the door and ask the farmer of they can stay the night. He says yes, but they have to sleep in the barn, and they aren't allowed to touch his daughters, or undermine socialist governments in South America.

So they go to sleep, and during the night, the farmer's three daughters sneak into the barn, and the travelers can't resist, even Kissinger, though he also sneaks into the house and makes a long-distance call to a Chilean general in the middle of things. The farmer bursts in with a shotgun and catches them with the girls, and immediately marches them out to his field.

When they get out there, the farmer orders them to go out and pick ten of their favorite fruit. The two salesmen come back, carrying grapes and plums. The farmer tells them, "Now shove them up your ass." The guys try, but they keep looking out at the field and cracking up, and the fruit falls out. They get as many as nine, but are overcome with laughter.

The farmer looks at them and says, "Look, you're free to go once you get all ten up there. You were so close. What is so god-damn funny?"

The first salesman says, "Kissinger's picking watermelons!"

And the second says, "And ordering the assassination of Salvador Allende!"

(Originally published in The Heuristic Squelch)

Top Five Travis Tritt Songs For the New Millenium

5. "Here's A Quarter, No, Wait, Here's a Quarter and a Dime, Call Someone Who Cares"
4. "I Don't Especially Care To Hear Your Problems, But I Just Have A Twenty - If You Can Get Change, You're Welcome To Call Someone Who Cares"
3. "If You Keep It Brief, You Can Just Use My Cell Phone"
2. "Here's Two Quarters, Call Someone Who Cares"
1. "Use 1 -800-COLLECT And Save A Buck Or Two On All Your Calls To Someone Who Cares"

You hear a lot about people trying to work on their spirituality, get in touch with their God. Some people seem to want to be as close as possible with the Lord. Not me. My relationship with Jesus Christ is strictly business.

He's my carpenter. Handled the addition we put on the master bedroom. Works fast, polite to the kids, doesn't work weekends. Technically, He's a carpenter/messiah, because of the dying-for-my-sins thing. Saying my sins is kind of weird; it's the accumulated sins of all of humanity, not just my stuff. I'm not ungrateful, but I also don't want to get that thrown back in my face all the time. The last thing I need is Him trying to guilt me into bringing Him lemonade when he's out on the roof.

If it gets too personal with your savior, things can get weird. Out of nowhere, Jesus will start dropping hints about maybe going bowling, getting a bite to eat after church. Next thing you know He's "just dropping in" every Saturday afternoon and inviting me to join His softball team, or go with him to wash the lepers. No thanks.

I have a friend who always talks about how great his relationship with Jesus is. He's always telling Jesus his problems, asking Jesus' advice, washing his feet and stuff. Of course, this guy also didn't notice that Jesus did a half-assed job sanding and sealing his deck last summer. Whenever I point out the places where it's cracked and splintered, he just gives me some crap about how the Lord works in mysterious ways. Mysteriously lazy, maybe.

Once, when I was kicking back, watching the Sonics with Barabbas and the boys, we called up Jesus and invited him over. It was pretty awkward, what with constantly having to explain the rules to him, and how he kept referring to the refs as "pharisees." Near the end of the game, Steve accidentally took His name in vain after Brent Barry missed an easy layup, and even though Jesus forgave him right away, played it off like it was nothing, it got pretty quiet for the last few minutes. After that the game ended, and everybody pretty much cleared out. We haven't called him up since. Don't get me wrong, Jesus is a nice guy. We just don't have that kind of a relationship.

By Sean Keane and Monica Fitzpadrick

It's 2024. My rebellious son Seamus O'Murphy Padrick-Keane wants to borrow the space-car, but he's been grounded for breaking space-curfew. When I refuse to give him the keys, Seamus wallops me over the head with an empty bottle of space-whiskey. Reeling and bleeding, I stagger towards the space-foyer and alert his mother, who cold-cocks the unsuspecting Seamus with a space-wrench as he dashes towards the space-garage. "Seamus," his mother bellows, "You've... shamed us!" His mother pauses as the hilarity of her statement sinks into her enormous Celtic head and the weight of it all eventually causes her to topple over.

Kevin Deenihan has a glass jaw, and collapsed like a rag doll.

While walking home from the pub, I spotted a tiny green-clad man with his tiny foot caught in a steam grate. I knew right away that it was a leprechaun, and that anyone who captures a leprechaun is entitled to his stash of hidden gold. So I looks the wee little guy in the eye, and I says, "Look, let's play it straight here. Ye're captured, and ye'll be telling me where your gold is without any of yer leprechaun tricks." He protested a bit, but eventually led me to a garden with hundreds of rosebushes. I made him tie a red handkerchief onto the bush which hid his gold, and went off to get my shovel. When I returned, every bush in the garden had a red handkerchief around it. I was so angry that I hardly noticed the partially-peeled potatoes being lobbed at me from a nearby tree. The little bastard gave me no gold at all, just a series of tiny-but-vicious kicks to the kidneys. The wee bugger was brutal with the pointy toes, but ye have to respect the man.

So it was wicked cold one day in Southie and I was walking along the river. I was taking a nip a Jameson's that I stole from my old man one night when he was passed out drunk by the fire and suddenly a cop car was pulling up beside me. O'Malley. This was not the first time we'd met. I eyed him up and down as he opened the car door. All the sudden there I was again, skirt around my neck and knickers around my ankles, goin' at it on the hood. We humped like two leprechauns on the glistening emerald isle. I had a confession, I told him, "I don't really know what the word 'altercation' means." He paused for a second to eye me wildly, "And I'm too embarrassed to ask."

"Sit yer foockin' arse down or I'll climb up there and give you somethin' to cry aboot," a disgruntled patron three rows back grumbles towards the stage. "Get yir foockin' foot outa yer arse, Vladimir! Foockin' do somethin!" (Estragon crosses, looks to the man) "I sometimes wonder if we wouldn't have been better off alone, each man for himself." (Disgruntled patron stands, stumbles towards stage and sweep kicks Estragon's bum foot from under him) "Well foockin' A right!" (The sun starts to set) "Aye, let's go," I says to my friend. He says "Feene, we're goin.' We're goin.'" (Nighttime. They do not move. Blood trickles from Estragon's nose. Vladimir sobs like a wee baby in the corner and the curtain falls)

The toughest altercation I ever had was with an Irishman named myself. Scrapping and brawling is one thing, but try learning to read at age 22. It's always tempting to quit studying phonics and drown your sorrows in alcohol, especially when a jerk like Danny McGinnis is giving you shit about Dick and Jane and that foocking dog Spot. Still, you have to battle with yourself every day to stay focused on the goal of self-improve-ment and literacy, unless that McGinnis simply WILL NOT SHUT UP, and then you haul off and smack him one, and he responds with a knee to your groin, and at that point Timothy O'Flanneryhan breaks a bar stool over Danny's head, and someone is biting your ankle, and just before you lose consciousness, you can read the label on the bottle of Bass Ale flying towards you in what seems like slow motion, for the very first time ever.

Presented without revision - editorial commentary in italics

Note: Lists not actually funny


10. President, Hair Club for Men
9. Pimp
8. Commisioner McCheese
7. Big Red Shoe Salesman
6. Shamrock Shake Machine Repairman
5. Dave Thomas's Bodyguard
4. Spokesman for American Heart Association
3. Assasin (sic) (so he can kill the Burger King guy.)
2. Friend of Bill
1. McBum

(note: despite appearances, list not actually supposed to be insulting)

9. Dan Druff
7. Dan the Man
5. Fievel
4. Danny (His name is Dan!)
3. Ratboy
2. Boon (this was an elaborate reference to "Benny and Joon," since he was dating a girl named Jenni at the time, and so, Jenni and Boon...)


10. Illiterate Wood Sprites
9. The Geraniums
8. Pink Lemonade
7. New Kids on the Block
6. The Scuzzy Long-Haired Guys In Black Who Don't Bathe a Helluva Lot
5. The Ballerinas
4. Satan's Petting Zoo
3. Crap
2. The Dropouts
1. The Gentle Fuzzy Rabbits... from Hell!


10. Eat my weight in Apple Jacks
9. Lust after Wilford Brimley
8. Play Peter, Paul, and Mary albums backwards to decipher hidden messages
7. Two words: chipmunk lacrosse
6. Count to 100 in Swahili
5. Invent new uses for Sweet N Low
4. Play Peter, Paul, and Mary albums forward to decipher hidden messages
3. Hibernate
2. Teach Molly to fetch (This is mean for no good reason at all. I retroactively apologize for this joke)
1. Shampoo. Rinse. Repeat.

Reminder: Jokes are written by 14 year old Sean; thus, not funny.

only the pennington man shall pass


The above was spoken by Mike Barnett shortly before the Raiders' dismantling of the New York Jets in their recent playoff game. Chad Pennington is the New York quarterback, failing miserably in the contest, and the line references the instructions given to Indiana Jones in the climactic final moments of "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade."

The game continued, the Raiders kept amassing points and rushing yardage, and our conversation turned naturally to the subject of Indiana Jones. Much like the Raiders, Indy is an unstoppable force. And also like the Raiders, Indy is getting up there in years. In fact, the final sequence in "Last Crusade" seems designed to disguise Harrison Ford's advancing age (he was 47) and lack of mobility. He passes the first challenge by remembering, "Only the penitent man shall pass," and then kneeling down. The second challenge is solved by spelling the name of God in Greek. His supposed "leap from the lion's head" involves Indy simply falling and landing on an invisible bridge. All told, these stunts could have been performed by Harrison Ford, ex-president Gerald Ford, or ex-Beatle George Harrison without much decline in effectiveness.

After completing these "challenges," Indy is given a task that only a sufficiently cultured, middle-aged man can do properly - pick out wine glasses. No young man would have the patience and experience to select the true Grail. Plus, Harrison Ford doesn't have to run or jump.

Plans are reportedly in the works for a fourth Indiana Jones movie. Right now, Harrison Ford is 60 years old. The action sequences are going to have to be scaled down a great deal to accomodate his age and infirmity.

Young Nubile Adventureress: Indy, the Nazis have flown the ancient relic back to Germany! How are we going to find the cash to pay for our plane tickets?
Indy: I can cash in my IRA. By the way, it's much better to begin a Roth IRA when you're young, so you can avoid many income tax penalties.
Young Nubile Adventuress: Kiss me.

Sallah: What's wrong, Indy?
Indy: (clutches chest) Having... heart attack... pills...
Sallah: They're right over there, Indy. Behind that nest of snakes.
Indy: (gasping) I... hate... snakes. And... saturated...fat.

Short Round: No time for another trip to the restroom, Doctor Jones! We gotta move!
Indy: My greatest challenge is ahead of me now, Short Round.
Short Round: What is it? We gotta fly rickety biplane over mountains? Fight a troop of Gestapo soldiers using bare hands? Ride pushcart through elaborate mine?
Indy: Tougher than that. I have to find where I left my car keys.

santa claus = god for kids


Now that the holidays are over and my haul of coal-free gifts is safely ensconced in my bedroom, I think it's time to bring up the dark secret behind Christmas that no one likes to talk about. Simply put, Santa Claus is God-For-Kids. All this rooftop-and-reindeer business is naught but subterfuge. Jolly old St. Nick is to God Almighty as a plastic Big Wheel is to a regular bicycle: a training aid that lets children adjust to an intimidating and occasionally scary adult concept.

Let's look at the parallels:

God lets you ask for your dog to come out of surgery safely, by kneeling down and praying. Santa lets you request a new X Box by sitting on his lap.

God has many songs written in His praise, called hymns. Santa has plenty of songs of praise, but they're called carols instead.

God has priests to do His will. Santa has elves to make His toys.

God, by way of the church, demands tithing. Santa Claus demands you leave out cookies and milk, or, at the Keane house, beer and pretzels, on Christmas Eve.

God punishes for bad behavior with the threat of Hell, an eternity of fire and brimstone. Santa threatens coal, not sulfur, but otherwise the comparison is apt. After all, wouldn't most five year-olds choose an infinitude of torment over a toyless Christmas?

God had a secretary named Kennedy. Santa Claus had a secretary named Lincoln.

Eventually, kids learn that Santa Claus isn't real. It's a traumatic, world-shaking event to find out that what you previously considered to be the embodiment of all that is good about the world is merely an illusion. No one is there to see when you're sleeping, know when you're awake, or know when you've been bad or good. Luckily, there's God, Lord of heaven and Earth, creator of all that is seen and unseen, to fill the void. Whatever doubts a kid might have about the creation of the world in seven days, or Jesus turning water into wine, neither is as unlikely as one man delivering loads of free toys to children all around the world in one night.

And, like the Santa Claus myth, the God story is passed down from generation to generation. Sure, there's a few exceptions. There's the son who marries a Jewish woman, and stops getting a Christmas tree. There's the daughter who reads Nietzsche in a junior college humantities class, and decides that God is dead. But for the most part, belief in the Big Guy and the Big Fat Guy go hand-in-hand. Now, if there were only some kind of self-sacrifice, or dying for the sins of the North Pole community in the Rudolph story, then those clever Christians might really be onto something.

The recent release of the three-movie DVD set of "Back to the Future" series offers us a chance to look back fondly on the adventures of young Martin McFly and his eccentric mentor Emmett Brown. However, as correspondent Monica Fitzpadrick points out, there are still some unsettling, or simply bizarre aspects of the film.

First, Miss Fitzpadrick points out her favorite discovery of the re-release, namely, the depiction of the Libyan nationalists from whom Doc Brown purchases plutonium. These Libyans are swarthy. They have dark hair, and some sort of face paint. One of them wears a turban-headband thing. Even though they're dealing in weapons-grade radioactive material, they nonetheless travel around in a decrepit VW bus, with a sun roof. (Keane family note: We owned nearly this same vehicle, a blue-and-white marvel named "Huey" that maxed out at about 75 MPH, 45 if driving uphill. My parents opted for the sun roof instead of air conditioning, a decision that would haunt us every summer, when we were forced to choose between stifling heat and mini-tornados whipping down from the open sun roof.) For whatever reason, this crude Middle Eastern stereotype had not registered with Miss Fitzpadrick until a recent viewing, but once it did, it has become virtually all she can talk about.

Other Libyan-related questions raised relate to the VW's ability to race a DeLorean, or that a case full of shiny pinball machine parts would deceive even the most simple-minded terrorists. One imagines a series of 1985 public service ads about how when you travel through time, you're really funding the murder of a judge in South America.

Another interesting scene in "Back to the Future," from a 2003 perspective, comes when Marty McFly visits a shop and tries to order a soda. Contemporary viewers of the film are likely to be just as confused as the 1955 drugstore owner was upon hearing McFly request a "Tab." One can imagine a kid today, too young to remember the soda hubris of the mid-80s, catching one the thrice-weekly USA network airings of the film and confusedly responding, "Why is he asking for a tab? He hasn't ordered anything! Why does he think he can get a Pepsi for free? Just because people think he's in the Coast Guard?" The joke has boomeranged, culturally, exposing the fragility and transience of pop culture, especially as it pertains to sugar water.

Finally, one cannot discuss "Back to the Future" without going over the greatest example of poor judgment in the film, which I call the "ten-minute fallacy." Before leaving 1955 and returning to the future, McFly attempts to warn Doc Brown of his impending death at the hands of the Libyan nationalists. Once Doc tears up the letter, McFly wonders aloud how he might save his friend:

"Dammit, Doc, why did you have to tear up that letter? If only I had more time. Wait a minute, I got all the time I want. I got a time machine! I'll just go back and warn him."

The audience nods along with McFly, following this train of thought. With the time machine, McFly need not remain a victim of temporality. Instead, McFly could go back to a few hours before he met Doc Brown at the Twin Pines Mall, and try to change the rendezvous. He could go back to a full day before he left, allowing himself time to save Doc Brown, try again at the musical audition, or even avoid his fourth tardy in a row and subsequent confrontation with slacker-hating Principal Strickland.

Instead, McFly utters the fateful words, "Ten minutes oughtta do it." Ten minutes! That's his entire cushion? It has to have taken almost five minutes just to drive to the Twin Pines Mall from downtown, since it took McFly ten minutes to sprint there. For McFly, "all the time I want" translates to roughly the length of one side of a Weezer album. One wonders what McFly was going to do to thwart the Libyans in five minutes, once he arrived on the scene - trick them into driving into yet another Fotomat? Maybe they'd have collapsed under the sheer weight of their own stereotypes.

Still, "Back to the Future" is a fine film, and a fine movie franchise (although making two entire films hinge on McFly's unwillingness to be called "chicken" was perhaps not the strongest dramatic choice). In fact, once I get a chance to peruse the entire three-movie set, I will no doubt have a blog entry effusive with praise for Messrs. Zemeckis, Lloyd, and J. Fox. I'll just have to set aside a little time to compose and edit the entry. Ten minutes oughtta do it.

short conversation roundup, part 1

Various brief conversations from the past few years:

Sean: What are you eating?
Jay Lee: Cow meat.
Sean: Do you mean beef?
Jay Lee: (pause) Yes.

Gene: (trying to explain the nerdish game, Shadow Run) It's like... do you know what role-playing games are?
Kati: Yes, but I don't think we're talking about the same sense of the term. No whips and chains, right?

Monica: B's are bad, right? B+'s, I mean. Those are bad, right?
Sean: No. A B+ isn't really bad at all. It's frustrating though, because it's close to an A. Basically, a B+ is bad in the same way a handjob is bad. The end result is a net positive, but you're just so close to something way, way better.
Monica: OK.
Sean: Plus, there's a lot of chafing with both... unless that's just the TAs I've had. Getting a C on a final, and dropping to a B+ is the academic equivalent of a handjob for which you have to wear a condom.
Monica: That is a beautiful analogy.
Sean: Thank you. It's going to be the title of an inspirational book for teenagers.

Presented here unedited from their original notebook form:

Jurassic Park Parody: Scientists clone Jesus, put him in amusement park. He goes nuts, starts eating people.

Jerry Springer Show Topic: "I'm the World Ultimate Fighting Champion, I have a black belt in karate, and I'm confronting my wife's lover."

Steven Spielberg's Amishstad

Socratic Method Acting: Getting into character through the use of a dialogue with... yourself. Basically, it's De Niro at a mirror yelling, "You talkin' to me?"

A fat guy and a girl in a bikini play hacky-sack together.

Superhero: The hero leads a decadent, morally impure lifestyle, and gains power with each new sin. At a moment of weakness, he can attain strength by smoking a cigarette, or masturbating.

Weird Al's Ghostwriters: A biography of the really weird-looking parody songwriters who sell material to Weird Al, including stuff too "cutting-edge" for Al, like an Eric Clapton parody song called "Dead Kids in Heaven."

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Raincoat (?)

The ASNEM Convention: For dyslexics with an IQ above 140.

"Making spaghetti": New euphemism for masturbation.

Attempting to get people we know to refer to Cotati as "The Cotati that rocks the body."

Fake Paul McCartney song called "El Nino":

The rain goes drippety-drip
The drains go glubbety-glub
My heart goes flippety-flip
'Cause I'm in love

Rain Man II: Two doughnuts fall out of a box. Waitress goes to pick them up.

CHARLIE: Wait! How many doughnuts, Ray?

RAY: (quickly) Two.

WAITRESS and CHARLIE count. For a while.

CHARLIE: How many doughnuts did you sell us?


CHARLIE: And how many did we eat?


CHARLIE: Nice try, Ray. There's three. Twelve minus nine is three, see. (points to first doughnut) One. (points to second doughnut) Two. (points to first doughnut again) Three.

WAITRESS: Wait! There's one doughnut left in the box!

(They stare at RAY in amazement. CHARLIE recounts the doughnuts.)

Wilt Chamberlin's "40,000 Lines about 20,00 Women"

Theoretical Mathematicians: They walk around campus discussing the TV show Perfect Strangers. Colleagues invite them places, bums ask for change, and their response is always some variant on, "No, I don't think that's statistically probable!" They make fun of Euclid a lot. One of them wears a t-shirt with Mark Linn-Baker's face on it.

Einstein!: It's a sitcom about Einstein. The concept is pretty much the same as Mr. Belvedere. Einstein works as a butler. He's a good butler, but he's not supposed to help the kids with science projects or their physics homework. Unfortunately, he can't resist nachos!

Suggested catchphrases:
"Mmm, I love nachos!"
"No, I really muzt not solve ze equation for you because eet would be... did you say jalapenos?"

Beginning every question with: "Not to be redundant, but..." or "In your heart of hearts..."

columbus day


in honor of the holiday... originally appeared on the "Bobbing for Lobsters" radio program on the mighty mighty KALX


JESSICA: Good evening and welcome to "Hot Seat," the Bobbing for Lobsters community affairs show that puts today's most controversial and dynamic public figures into "The Hot Seat." I'm your host, Jessica Choe. This week's guest is quite a notorious person in Berkeley. He's a Genoese sailor who rose to fame with his "discovery" of the New World in 1492, but his reputation has suffered in recent years. Please welcome to the show Christopher Columbus. Mr. Columbus, thanks for coming on the show.

COLUMBUS: Thanks for having me. There's been some bad blood between me and the city of Berkeley in the past, and I'd like to take this opportunity to clear the air, and correct some misconceptions about me.

JESSICA: Alright. Let's start off with the issue of genocide, Mr. Columbus. People have accused you of being responsible for the deaths of over eight million indigenous peoples in the Americas. How would you respond?

COLUMBUS: Well, to those charges, I'd have to bad.

JESSICA: Your...bad?

COLUMBUS: Yeah. You know, I was young and impulsive... I said some things I shouldn't have, cut off too many people's hands for petty offenses... anyway, like I said, my bad.

JESSICA: would you answer allegations that you and your crew spread tens, if not hundreds of diseases through the North American continent?

COLUMBUS: Hmmm...again, I'd have to say, "guilty as charged!" (forced laughter) Listen, you have to understand that 1492 was a very different time....We didn't have the same medical knowledge that exists now - in fact, we treated most illnesses by a combination of bleeding and mystical incantations - but that's really no excuse...

JESSICA: What about the enslavement of thousands of Native Americans, and the barbaric treatment they received?

COLUMBUS: Um, again, this was a very different time. We thought that the residents of America were, at best, highly evolved monkey people who...I mean, the King and Queen of Spain used to call me "Dago Guinea Wop Explorer" in the court...but that's no excuse. Again, I'm sorry.

JESSICA: Mr. Columbus, it seems that you have no explanation at all for your legacy of exploitation and genocide.

COLUMBUS: Look, I'm just an illiterate, headstrong Italian with a weakness for grog. I sailed across the whole friggin' ocean in three leaky ships, contracted syphillis from a Seminole whore, and ended up penniless, in a dirty prison cell in Barcelona. Could you cut me a little slack?

JESSICA: I...I'm sorry, Mr. Columbus. I didn't realize...

COLUMBUS: Yeah, well, how do you think it makes me feel to have cruel graffiti written about me all over campus? That Berkeley doesn't even celebrate Columbus Day? That two entire continents are named after that no-good interloper Amerigo Vespucci?

JESSICA: I guess I've been a little unfair, Mr. Columbus. Perhaps the characterizations of you as an insensitive, racist murderer don't properly take into account important differences between our historical eras. Our contemporary perspective might be too narrow, our judgement too hasty. Let's move on to a new topic. What is your take on the affirmative action controversy in California?

COLUMBUS: Hmm...affirmative action. Well, there do seem to be an awful lot of Orientals in Berkeley.

JESSICA: (uncomfortable pause) Umm...

COLUMBUS: Are they planning to build another railroad soon? This place is simply brimming with coolies.

JESSICA: I think we've suddenly run out of time, Mr. Columbus. Thank you for joining us, and I hope you'll tune in for next week's show, when our guest will be TV's Judge Mills Lane. Good night everyone.

dinosaur comedy, take 2

| 1 Comment

Scenes From Quentin Tarantino's 1994 Hit "Pulp Ficton," If It Were Rewritten To Become An Educational Film About Dinosaurs

Vincent: You know what the funniest thing about Europe is?

Jules: What?

Vincent: It's the little differences. A lotta the same dinosaur shit we got here, they got there, but there they're a little different.

Jules: Examples?

Vincent: Well, you know what they call an apatosaurus in France?

Jules: They don't call it an apatosaurus?

Vincent: No, they don't attention to fossil similarities among members of the same genus, they don't know what the fuck an apatosaurus is.

Jules: What'd they call it?

Vincent: "Brontosaurus with cheese."

Jules: "Brontosaurus with cheese." What do they call a Stegosaurus?

Vincent: Stegosaurus is stegosaurus, only they call it "le stegosaurus."

Jules: What do they call a wooly mammoth?

Vincent: I dunno, I didn't go into the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology.

* * *

Fabian: Whose motorcycle is this?

Butch: It's a chopper.

Fabian: Whose chopper is this?

Butch: Ankylosaurus's.

Fabian: Who's Ankylosaurus?

Butch: A huge armored dinosaur, measuring about 25-35 feet long, 6 feet wide and 4 feet tall, weighing roughly 3-4 tons.


Butch: Ankylosaurus's extinct, baby, ankylosaurus's extinct. (revs engine, drives away)

* * *

Jimmy: What's on my mind at this moment isn't the coffee in the conference room, but the dead pterodactyl in my lobby.

Jules: Jimmy...

Jimmy: I'm talking here! Now, let me ask you a question, Jules. When you drove in here, did you notice the sign out front that said "dead pterodactyl storage"?

Jules: Jimmy...

Jimmy: Answer the question. Did you see a sign out in front of the museum that said "dead pterodactyl storage"?

Jules: Naw, man, I didn't.

Jimmy: You know why you didn't see that sign? 'Cause storing dead pterodactyls ain't my fucking business! This is an exhibit on Jurassic Period herbivorous dinosaurs, OK? Not fucking Cretaceous Period carnivorous pterasaurs, OK? You know what's gonna happen if my supervisor comes in and sees a pterodactyl here? I'm gonna get reassigned. No probation, no employee education classes - fucking reassigned! And I don't want to get fucking reassigned! Now there's a field trip coming in less than an hour and a half. Do your classification, call in your paleontologists, and get this pterodactyl the fuck out of my museum.

* * *

Esmerelda the Cabbie: Hey, mister?

Asteroid: Yeah?

Esmerelda: You were that asteroid? The one that crashed into the Gulf of Mexico and caused the extinction-level event - that was you?

Asteroid: I'm him.

Esmerelda: You killed all those big dinosaurs.

Asteroid: They're dead?

Esmerelda: The paleontologist on the radio said so.

Asteroid: (to himself) So long, triceratops.

Esmerelda: What does it feel like?

Asteroid: What does what feel like?

Esmerelda: Killing off an entire species of dinosaurs. Creating an impact so severe it leads to massive environmental changes, like global warming, acid rain, and the destruction of the ozone layer, so that many types of animals disappear from our planet forever.

Asteroid: Tell you what, if you give me one of them cigarettes, I'll give you an answer.

Esmerelda: Deal!

Asteroid (lights cigarette): I couldn't tell you. I didn't know the dinosaurs were extinct until you just told me. And now that I know? I don't feel the least bit bad. After all, the K-T extinctions could have been caused by me, or a sea level change, or even a climate change caused by a massive volcanic eruption. Paleontologists will be debating this shit for years.

Esmerelda: Here we are. The fare is Forty-five sixty.

Asteroid: (holds out hundred dollar bill) Now if anyone should ask who your fare was tonight, what're you going to tell 'em?

Esmerelda: The truth. Three well-dressed, slightly toasted comets.

* * *

Zed the Ankylosaurus: Bring out the Gimp.

Maynard the Triceratops: The Gimp's busy cleaning off fossils with a tootbrush.

Zed: Well I guess you're gone have to take over that painstaking labor, now won't you?

Maynard: Lacking opposable thumbs, that might be difficult, Zed.

Zed: As would sexually assaulting these gangsters we found, but we're not letting that stop us, are we?

* * *

Vincent: You want some velociraptor?

Jules: Nah, man, I don't eat raptor.

Vincent: Are you Jewish?

Jules: I ain't Jewish, man. I just don't dig on dromaeosaurs.

Vincent: Why not?

Jules: They're feathered dinosaurs. I don't eat feathered dinosaurs.

Vincent: But velociraptors taste good. Deinonychus tastes good.

Jules: A turkey vulture may taste like pumpkin pie, but I'll never know 'cause I wouldn't eat the filthy motherfucker. Raptors are among the closest dinosaur relatives to birds. Fossil records show evidence of plumage. That's a feathered dinosaur. I don't want to eat no goddamn reptiles with feathers - it's too damn weird.

hobbit comedy

this is old

Urban Legends of Middle-Earth

* If you play "The Walking Song" by Bilbo Baggins, along with The Wizard of Oz, it totally lines up.

* Aragorn was once relaxing at the Inn of Bree after patrolling the Hinterlands. He began talking to a beautiful half-elven girl at the bar for an hour or so, but she disappeared when he visited the restroom. When he returned, the only thing that remained was a ring of mithril. When he asked Butterbur the barkeep about the girl, he appeared frightened. Visibly quivering, he told Aragorn that the girl had been killed by the Nazgul ten years before.

* Jamie Lee Curtis is a hermaphrodite.

* If you gaze into a palantir, and chant "Bloody Mary" three times, she'll appear. That is, of course, unless the evil eye of the dark lord Sauron manifests itself instead, in which case, you are totally screwed.

* If you eat lembas and drink Coke, your head will explode.

* One time, a guy in New York bought a bunch of baby orcs as pets. When they started to grow up, he freaked out, and flushed them down the toilet. Now there's a race of giant orcs living in the New York City sewers.

* In the movie Three Men and a Baby, you can see the ghost of Gandalf the wizard standing in front of a window. The scene was shot in the same apartment where he battled the Balrog to the death. Some people will tell you it's a cardboard cutout of Ted Danson, but that's just bullshit.

* Hobbits have enormous penises.

* People actually want to read three hundred fucking pages of elf genealogy.

hooray for english


Why English Is The Best Language, Ever

Look, I'm sure you don't need a whole lot of convincing. We all know English is the linguistic top dog. But just in case there's any confusion, here's how English stacks up against a few challengers.

English vs. Spanish

The reason why English is superior to Spanish is the element of surprise. In English, an exclamation point can sneak up on you; it is a dramatic, often unexpected ending to a sentence. In Spanish, that exciting conclusion is telegraphed. One sees the upside-down punctuation, and automatically, one anticipates the exciting conclusion at hand. When the right-side-up exclamation point arrives, it is but anticlimax.

English vs. French

Look, Frenchies, without us, you'd all be speaking German, OK?

English Vs. Hawaiian

Hawaiian is ostensibly a very functional, useful language. In fact, the word "aloha" means both "hello" and "goodbye"! How magical that the same word can mean two totally opposite things! Of course, historically, that led to a few problems:

December, 1941 - Oahu

Lookout #1: Man, we sure lucked out being stationed here in Hawaii.
Lookout #2: You said it, mister. Hang on, we're getting a message. It says ma'iuauaua'liau'au.
Lookout #1: Ma'iuauaua'liau'au? What does that mean?
Lookout #2: According to my Hawaiian dictionary, it means "skies clear, no danger..."
Lookout #1: Great!
Lookout #2: ...or, "imminent Japanese sneak attack."
Lookout #1: That's bad. How do we know what they meant?
Lookout #2: Beats me. Don't worry about it - I'll get you another mai tai.
Lookout #1: Mahalo.

English Vs. German:

Look, Krauts, without us, you'd all be speaking French. Well, you'd probably still be speaking German, but in France or England maybe. But, without the Romans and Visigoths, you'd all be speaking Hunnish, OK?

English Vs. Old English:

When I was a freshman, my roommate's name was Yi. We didn't really get along. One day, when I was bitching to my friend about him, I said something like "Yi annoys the hell out of me." My witty friend shot back, "I understand you're annoyed, but why are you speaking in Old English?"

Anyway, choosing between English and Old English is kind of like choosing between accessing the internet through a cable modem or by yelling into a Dixie cup attaching to a string. Plus, when you're yelling into the Dixie cup, you have to pronounce every single consonant, since there's no silent letters. Also, it's the 11th century, so most of the online content is just Beowulf fan fiction anyway.

Final score: English, 5; Non-English, 0. USA! USA!

the diary of chris webber


Dear Diary,

Would you like to know a secret? OK, but you can't tell anyone. There's a girl who I like and her name is Tyra B. I would tell you her last name, too, but I'm afraid that Peter Vecsey or other NBA beat writers are going to find about it and then they're gonna tease me. I always tell the reporters I don't want to tell them who I like, not even if they tell me who they like, but I'm worried. Hedo T. is having a sleepover next weekend, and they're probably going to play Truth or Dare. Last time we played, I picked "Truth," and I think Doug C. was going to ask me who I liked, but his wife made him go home before I had to answer. I'm just going to choose "Dare" this time.

Dear Diary,

I can't believe how mean the refs are! Rick F. was totally pushing and bumping and hurting and fouling me and when I yelled at him to stop or I would tell the ref on him, he gave us double technicals! Unfair! I made the pouty face so he would know how mad I was. Someday, when Rick F. pushes me under the basket, I hope it hurts so bad that I die. And then the refs and the Lakers and Coach Rick are all really really sorry they were mean to me. And also Vlade D. would feel bad about making fun of my headband.

Dear Diary,

I think that Vlade D. might be smoking cigarettes! After practice, I saw him and Peja S. outside doing something and when I said hi to them, they tossed something behind them and muttered something in Yugoslavian. Maybe I should talk to Vlade about how smoking is bad. Or tell Coach Rick. I just hope they don't try to peer pressure me like Juwon H. in Washington.

jesus and the altar boys

jesus comes down to earth to lecture the priests about their most recent scandal. He starts off by talking about how disappointed He is with the priests and how they've totally profaned their positions, and ignored the word of god and god's teachings.

"look, jesus, about the altar boys. it's just that..."

and jesus says "altar boys? no, i'm not talking about altar boys. i'm talking about how you priests continue to associate with women whom are menstruating. i mean, come on, i spell it out very clearly in leviticus. any man who comes into contact with a woman who is at her monthly time should become unclean. and he must wash his hands in holy water, and then break the clay pot that he used to boil the holy water in, and then, after he prays, he only becomes holy again at dusk. you guys are constantly unclean... are you even on your guard about this? we need some serious burnt offerings from you guys. wait - what are you saying about altar boys?"

"you know, jesus, the scandal about the priests performing sex acts with their altar boys."

"yeah. and...?"

"well, jesus, the priests. altar boys. blowjobs. holy water. you know."

"what of it? what the hell else are the altar boys there for?"

fermat and schubert


So it's a conversation between Fermat and Schubert, at lunch:

Fermat: Schubert! How good to see you! I haven't seen in you in many weeks.

Schubert: Good to see you as well, Fermat! I have been working long hours on my latest composition. Once I complete this third movement, my masterpiece is complete. But enough about me, Fermat - Tell me how your research progresses.

Fermat: Wonderful, wonderful. My theorem will soon be proven!

Schubert: Good to hear, good to hear. So... are we still on for skydiving tomorrow?

Fermat: I wouldn't miss it for the world!

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