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Archive for April, 2009

(Originally posted Friday, March 20, 2009)

I want to apologize for my lack of blogging lately. I know all 20 of my regular readers must be furious with me, and I certainly hope you found some other worthwhile ways to spend your time, like playing Rock Band or killing your enemies in rival Mexican drug gangs.

My posts will likely continue to be infrequent as there are many other projects pulling at my attention right now, some of them having to do with “The Retributioners” and others having to do with long-neglected creative and domestic work. Stephanie and I are looking forward to a challenging but perhaps very exciting year. We will keep you updated on everything that’s happening with us.

In the meantime, I am still slowly transitioning my blog to this WordPress account.

Some of the things I have been remiss in not commenting on are the continuing financial turmoil, the latest spending package in Congress and the flagrant greed and rapacity of companies that are purloining government money and rewarding themselves for not performing well (I’m looking in your direction, AIG).

Because I regard my blog as mainly comic in nature, I’ve been hesitant to start doing political rants again because 1) I don’t want to be shrill and 2) I do enough journalism elsewhere. However, it probably wouldn’t hurt if I did a send-up of that appalling spending bill at some point, blasting all its horrible earmarks. Yet it’s also important to remember that one of the reasons we vote for our Congressmen is that they go to Washington and grab money for us, setting up these same horrible pork-barrel projects in our backyard that get us work and give us nice, gray, ugly WPA-style buildings to stare at in awe. So, are the American people partly to blame for the spending bill? You betcha.

One of the ways I think we fail to understand our role in government is this way: the government shouldn’t be considered some abstract entity completely alienated from us. Our government is a complex expression of the demands we make on it. When a structure based on human demands reaches a point of too much complexity, it starts to take on what scientists call “an emergent property.” That means it starts acting according to its own rules and own logic. A human body, to give you a tidy analogy, is a complex organism whose desires and wants don’t necessarily reflect the immediate activity of its animal cells and tissues. Yet the activity of the cells are obviously a part of being a human.

So rather than bitch about Congress right now, think to yourself: Would you really be willing to call your Congressman and say: “I don’t want that new job-creating federal works project in my state. I don’t want it even though I know that over the river in New Jersey, there’s a pretty good chance someone like me is foaming at the mouth to take that money himself.”

OK, enough ranting. Here’s a top 10 list of the worst earmarks in the spending bill:

1) $10 million for a plant that makes earwax into a homoerotic sculptures like those figures photographed by Robert Mapplethorpe.

2) $20 million to teach beavers in North Carolina the symbols of North American Sign Language

3) $330,000 for a special dye that turns bags of Heparin anti-coagulant in every American emergency room green on St. Patrick’s Day.

4) $2 billion to completely recreate the island of Manhattan to scale in the South Dakota badlands

5) $500,000 to develop a car that changes colors when the driver is angry

6) $1 million to teach kids in south Texas the oft-needed pantomime of crossing their eyes

7) $4 million to get Angelina Jolie back together with her estranged father John Voight and thus sell millions of magazines and create thousands of jobs

8 ) $2 million to remove tattoos from the spouses of American Idol contestants

9) $1 million to promote the “taste” of American “food” to the Chinese.

10) No more money for 10. Sorry.

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(Originally posted Friday, March 20, 2009)

From: Michael Gooch, 15 years old, Junior High School Student, Mena, Arkansas
To: Jennifer Aniston, actress, movie star
Re: Idealism and Disillusionment

Dear Jennifer Aniston,

I’m writing because I, like you, have faced some pretty rocky times in my life. I’ve gotten some pretty bad grades. My dad’s out of work. My older sister is having her second baby out of wedlock. Sometimes I just want to curl up in a ball and die.

But then I look at you. Every time I pick up a copy of this week’s Us Magazine or People or In Style, what I read makes me horribly sick. It seems that these people won’t leave you alone. Every day they want to know the status of your relationship with John Mayer. Or how you feel about your ex-husband Brad Pitt and his great betrayal with Oscar winner and much-lauded humanitarian Angelina Jolie. I fret endlessly over these horrible factoids and pieces of gossip and all the jealousy that feeds it. And it occurs to me you at this late date, as you get older and likely more tired of the rampant tabloid speculation, that something horrible might be happening to you: that you may be losing your idealism.

I cannot let this happen, Jennifer Aniston.

I look at people everywhere suffering. They’ve been laid off. They’ve had their savings wiped out. They’re reeling from war and poverty. They are sick of corruption on Wall Street and in our nation’s capital. They see congressmen adding tons of earmarks to our nation’s necessary spending bills, and thus they lose interest in participatory government. They shudder and slump over at the sight of high food prices due to rampant inflation of commodity inputs. They see the price of education skyrocketing at three times inflation so that they can’t possibly imagine their children doing better than they did.

As for myself, I feel like I’m strong enough myself to weather these cataclysms. I take vitamins and I try to read self-help books. I see a high school guidance counselor once a week. I go to church on Sundays and Wednesdays. I say to myself every day that I’m a good person and I can take whatever the world has to dish out. I have a t-shirt that says “It’s not my business what other people think of me.” And it isn’t!

But what makes me cold is thinking of what all of these political and environmental and spiritual upheavals might be doing to you, Jennifer Aniston. It must be rending your soul to be in a roller-coaster romance with a posturing musician who seems to be greatly ambivalent about the string of hot blondes he’s dating. It must tear out your heart to hear the yellow journalists talk about your septoplasties. It must kill you to have your mother write a book about you for a substantial profit. It must make you want to plunge needles into your eyes whenever you read another article about how you’re either pregnant or gaining water weight. That’s not to mention the great existential despair you must feel when you find out how much AIG is getting in bonuses with your tax money.

The world is a hard place. I have 15 hard years to prove it. But when you’re young, you think anything is possible and you can change things for the better. Hope is a resource, and it must spring eternal, something my friends at Jenny Craig and I remind ourselves often.

What I can’t stand under any circumstances, though, is the idea that you, Jennifer Aniston, with all your talents and beauty and brains and charmed life and millions of dollars of net worth, might for one minute start to have doubt. Spiritual doubt. Philosophical doubt. Sometimes it comes through when I’m reading an interview with you: your world-weariness. The devastation you feel at personal betrayal and life’s ceaseless unfairness. The pages of Vogue practically ache and sag with your personal sorrow.

This isn’t something I can abide by. Not from the woman who played Rachel and finally got her Ross. Not from the woman whose helmet hairstyle made us all want to be her boyfriend. Not from the woman whose saint-like quality in “The Good Girl” allowed us to overlook the fact that she was playing a total slut.

If you became jaded, I don’t know what I would do. If I thought for an instant you had lost your faith in a better world, I don’t know if I myself could keep going. Sometimes I’m so torn up about the idea that you might be losing hope that I can’t do my math homework or take my insulin.

I have lots of advice for you. You have to always remember the good things about people. Even those horrible tabloid reporters and naysayers. They don’t know what they do. You’re better than they are. You are golden and perfect, even with your oft-repaired deviated septum. You have to exercise at least twice a week and try to remind yourself before you go to bed every night what good thing you did that day, even if it was just giving somebody a kind word or getting some back-end syndication money for a television appearance. You just have to pat yourself on the back once in a while like that. Also, rather than focus on the destructive capacities in mankind, think of those people who pursued goodness for its own sake: Oskar Schindler. John Rabe. Mother Teresa. Meryl Streep.

There is badness in the world, Jennifer Aniston, but to find hope, we just have to look within ourselves. If I may quote Michael Jackson, we must start with the Man in the Mirror.

Maybe you know all this or maybe you don’t, but if you didn’t, it occurred to me today that maybe somebody could save you from cynicism. If that person was me, then you don’t have to tell me. Just think of me from time to time and maybe send me an autographed picture.

Sincerely,
Michael Gooch

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(Originally posted Saturday, March 07, 2009)

As the Watchmen campaign continues, Stephanie and were delighted to notice that The Retributioners got a small mention in The New York Observer‘s story about the film’s advertising juggernaut.

The campaign still continues and you can check out the Watchmen-related video tie-ins on the Axis of Comedy Network.

Especially check out Kyle Piccolo: Comic Shop Therapist, which has the main Watchmen references with the embedded clues. Stephanie appears in episode 2.

We make references to the campaign in Episode 13 of The Retributioners: Hippie Freeloader, which you can see at Axis of Comedy, or on our main site.

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(Originally posted Tuesday, March 03, 2009)

What are we posting on our Facebook status updates that are getting us fired?

–*Sally: I’m so bored at this job.

–*Jesse just took a box of paperclips.

–*Ralph plans to bang the new secretary.

–*Bernard is paying off old investors with new investors’ money.

–*Julie used to think that making erotic cakes would be endlessly fun, but like everything else it becomes tedious.

–*Judy just slept with her married boss Rick.

–*Rick is married but just slept with his underling Judy on his boss’s $495 Mid Century Modern gray tweed sofa, which isn’t anywhere near as easy to clean as the ads say.

–*Sarah is going to leave a typo in this memo to the head of financing as part of my small tendency toward Bakuninist-style anarchy and Situationist Internationale political gestures. Also I’m dyslexic.

–*Joey just left a pubic hair in every cake of soap on the third floor as part of a prank played on the guys in editorial.

–*Jason is going to interview no one and totally pull his latest New York Times story right out of his ass.

–*Governor Paterson is going to publicly embarrass Caroline Kennedy by calling her a liar and see my public approval rating dip to a nadir just to add to the mystique that I wield power badly.

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(Originally posted Saturday, February 28, 2009)

It’s finally here, and we’re encouraging you to watch it and leave comments on the official website:

http://www.theretributioners.tv/

I also encourage you to watch Stephanie make a small appearance in the 2nd “Kyle Piccolo – Comic Shop Therapist” episode, which ties in our episode, and is a big part of The Watchmen campaign. In fact, his video has a ton of clickable fun stuff within the video!

http://www.kylepiccolo.com/

To give a little background on this campaign involving “Kyle Piccolo” and three other web shows on Axis of Comedy (http://www.axisofcomedy.tv/), here’s an article describing the whole deal, and how all these web shows are working together. This page has links to all the other articles that were written about it as well:

http://bit.ly/vohYV

It’s a very exciting campaign that lasts until March 8th. Enjoy!

Episode 13 was written and directed by yours truly.

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Snappy Comebacks

(Originally posted Friday, February 27, 2009)

–* I’m sorry, but I can’t even work up the energy to be insulted.

–*Except for your thoughts, words and presence, you’re the most awesome thing I can imagine.

–*Are you the king of all jerks or just the ceremonial figurehead?

–*I don’t remember asking for a French hotel room with a douche.

–*I ought to kick your mother fucking ass.

–*You piece of shit. Screw you.

–*A ha ha ha. Mister Quippy Man Made a Quip. Blow me!

–*I drink YOUR milkshake.

–*Carpet muncher!

–*Pillow biter!

–*Touche, shit-for-brains.

–Watch your step, retard.

–*Well put, you scumbag.

–*Why don’t you go swim in a big bucket of piss!

–*Sit and spin on my middle finger, fuck face.

–*Fuck you! Fuck you! Fuck you!

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(Originally posted Wednesday, February 25, 2009)

–*Rumor

–*Scout

–*Brisket

–*Buffalo

–*Cob Coin

–*Fidelity

–*Schism

–*Vestal

–*Snarm

–*Flibbertigibbet

–*Skype

–*Rumble Pie

–*Dink

–*Dolphin

–*Forage

–*Master Blaster

–*Sponge

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