Friday, October 25, 2013


My excruciatingly slow recaps and analyses of Monty Python's Flying Circus now continue where I left off, at approximately the one-third-of-the-way mark of the first(-recorded) episode, "Sex and Violence."  We had just gotten a pretty decent example of the latter, with a bunch of small, harmless rodents being musically bashed by large wooden mallets; it only seems right to follow that with an exploration of the subject to the left of the titular ampersand...

(Note: to increase confusion, I am retaining the time-code reference points referring to the YouTube embed of the full episode included in the last post; however, for the purposes of more immediate reference, I am embedding the second ten-minute chunk of the show also available on YouTube in this post.  The time codes in parentheses refer to the shorter videos.  Got that?  Good.  Now, please explain it to me...)

10:30 (0:00) - By Python standards, "Marriage Guidance Counsellor" is a rather conventional piece of sketch comedy: a pretty basic premise (couple goes to counsellor out of concern for wife's possible infidelity; counsellor cuckolds husband right in front of him), delivered straightforwardly (at least to a point).  With very few changes, the main body of the sketch could have come straight from an old vaudeville show, right down to the trope of a woman getting undressed behind a screen and tossing her clothes over the top of it.  (Why a marriage counsellor would have such a screen in his office is never explained; perhaps it's a subtle indication that this isn't the first time he's pulled such shenanigans.  Maybe this counsellor's always "on the job" in more ways than one.)  Nonetheless, it's still a funny sketch, and noteworthy for the first appearances of two important, erm, figures in the Python universe.

Saturday, October 19, 2013


From: Jeroboam Glasier, Head of Publicity Department
To: Thinkmoto
Re: The Campaign

I've got to hand it to you guys - I thought the telekinesis-in-the-coffee-shop gag you came up with for Carrie was clever, but you've really outdone yourselves this time.  The movie's not coming out for months, and already the work you've done for Dumb and Dumber To has to qualify as the most inventive and audacious in the history of viral marketing.  The way you've used social media, what seems like every comment thread on the Internet, and that fake cable "news" channel you started is nothing short of brilliant.  I can't begin to imagine how much planning, coordination, and sleight-of-hand it's taken to make it look like a mass outbreak of sheer, shameless stupidity has overtaken the country, but we couldn't be more impressed with the results.

My only concern is that you might be going a little too broad - the "ranting stenographer" gag the other day was a hoot, but too many more bits like the guy who wants to take a class-action lawsuit against homosexuality and you'll sacrifice the believability at the heart of all good pranks.  Save the really silly stuff for opening weekend.  But, really, amazing work - IFC's interested in signing that troupe you've been working with (The Tea Party, right?) to a development deal, though they might want to wait until that whole "SNL Diversity" issue dies down first; a troupe that big could use a LITTLE ethnicity, at least.  And as for that smaller troupe you hired, they recommended you sign them up for some classes at the UCB, or get an Odenkirk or an Apatow to help them whip their material into shape; you can't fault their commitment, but a little nuance will keep their schtick from seeming too one-note.  "The Westboro Baptist Church" is a great name, though - make sure they keep that.

Oh, and one more thing.   You might think I'm jumping the gun, but if this one hits, Peter & Bobby are talking about making the threequel all-female.  Amy & Tina don't seem interested and they're already dead set on Melissa McCarthy/Rebel Wilson for Shallow Hal II (I know, I know, but let's not break it to the boys until after we open - it's like they say about waking up a sleepwalker).  No promises, now, but they've been pretty impressed with that ditzy-cougar duo of yours - Bachmann/Palin Overdrive or whatever they're calling themselves this week.  Could be perfect; they're reasonably easy on the eyes, obviously have no fear of looking ridiculous, and if they can spew out that nonsense patter for hours at a time like you say, it'll practically write itself.  But let's keep that on the q.t. for the time being - we wouldn't want it to go to their heads and wear out their welcome on Day One like that Cruz kid you hired.  (The Seuss estate was not happy, by the way, but we'll talk about that when you're in town.  Bet you've never seen a rhyming cease-and-desist letter before.)

But, really, guys, outstanding work so far, and I've no doubt there's more to come.  I'll be honest; some of the studio guys had grave doubts about putting so much time and so many resources into this campaign, and even I had my doubts that you could sustain such idiocy, such ludicrous, counter-intuitive notions for so long without the American public catching on to the gag or even questioning how anyone could be so dumb and not choke to death on their own drool.  But you did it.  And let me tell you, that's going to help us out a lot when we start developing next year's pictures.


P.S. - Jeff D. just called from the set - wants to know when he can finally 'fess up to our gag and give the Emmy to its "rightful owner."  Having a real hard time keeping a straight face.

Saturday, September 28, 2013


1. American Cavalry Charging with Drawn Swords (1898) 
2. Balancing in the Basket (1898) 
3. Battery B Arriving at Camp (1898) 
3a. Battery B Pitching Camp (1898) 
3b. Battery Charge (1898) 
4. Blanket-Tossing a New Recruit (1898) 
5. Bowery Waiter and the Old Time Ball Player, The (1898) 
6. Cattle Leaving the Corral (1898) 
7. Cholly's First Moustache (1898) 
8. Col. Torrey's Rough Riders and Army Mules (1898) 
9. Come Along Do! (1898) 
10. Dynamite Cruiser 'Vesuvius' (1898) 
11. Cubans Drilling, Manual of Arms (1898) 
12. Doing Her Big Brother's Tricks on the Bar (1898) 
13. Dude's Experience with a Girl on a Tandem, The (1898) 
14. Farces de Jocko, Les (1898) 
15. Folding Beds Are Tricky (1898) 
16. Girls Imitating Firemen (1898) 
17. Mysterious Midgets, The (1898) 
18. Naval Review Spithead (1898) 
19. New York Mounted on Parade (1898) 
20. Off for the Rabbit Chase (1898) 
21. Nursemaid's Surprise, The (1898) 
22. Our New General Servant (1898) 
23. Overful Seat, An (1898) 
24. Overloaded Donkey, An (1898) 
25. Pea-Hulling Machine (1898) 
26. Philadelphia City Troop and a Company of Roosevelt's Rough Riders (1898) 
27. Policeman, the Cook and the Copper, The (1898) 
28. Policemen Play No Favorites (1898) 
29. Poona Races 1898 (1898) 
30. Pope Leo XIII Passing Through Upper Loggia, No. 1 (1898) 
31. Precarious Position, A (1898) 
32. Procession of Mounted Indians and Cowboys (1898) 
33. Relieving the Guard at St. James Palace (1898) 
34. Runaway Knock and the Suffering Milkman, The (1898) 
35. Rushing the Growler (1898) 
36. Shooting the Chutes at Home (1898) 
37. Snowballing the Coasters (1898) 
38. Spanking the Naughty Girl (1898) 
39. Stealing a Ham (1898) 
40. Swift Chappie, A (1898) 
41. They Will Never Do It Again (1898) 
42. They're Not So Warm (1898) 
43. Three Ways of Climbing Over a Chair (1898) 
44. Timid Girls and the Terrible Cow, The (1898) 
45. Tramp Caught a Tartar, The (1898) 
46. Trying to Jump Her Board Bill (1898) 
47. Tug in a Heavy Sea, A (1898) 
48. Two Naughty Boys Teasing the Cobbler (1898) 
48a. Two Naughty Boys Sprinkling the Spoons (1898) 
48b. Two Naughty Boys Upsetting the Spoons (1898) 
49. Uncle Rube's Visit to the Man-o' War (1898) 
50. Unexpected Advent of the School Teacher (1898) 
51. Victorious Squadron Firing Salute (1898) 
52. View of Cramp's Shipyard (1898) 
53. What Demoralized the Barber Shop (1898) 
54. What Our Boys Did at Manila (1898) 
55. When the Clock Strikes Two in the Tenderloin (1898) 
56. When the Organ Played in Front of the Hotel (1898) 
57. Who's Got the Red Ear? (1898) 
58. Winding the Maypole (1898) 
59. Gladys Must Be in Bed Before Ten (1898) 
60. Giving the General a Taste of It (1898) 
61. He Wanted Too Much for His Pies (1898) 
62. Heaving the Log (1898) 
63. How a Bottle of Cocktails Was Smuggled Into Camp (1898) 
64. How Uncle Reuben Missed the Fishing Party (1898) 
65. How She Gets Along Without a Maid (1898) 
66. Idle Hours of the English Coast Guards (1898) 
67. Hungarian Women Plucking Geese (1898) 
68. Joe, the Educated Orangoutang, Undressing (1898) 
69. Jovial Monks in the Refectory, The (1898) 
70. Jumping the Rope After Bed Time (1898)

Thursday, January 10, 2013


So says the man ("Hexen Definitive/Strife Knot," Perverted by Language, 1983), and I can hardly argue with him.  Indeed, I am lacking entirely for words of my own today, but the blog must go on, so allow me to indulge via YouTube embeds of one of the signal figures of my sorry existence, Mark Edward Smith and the mighty Fall...

1) Could this be the greatest music video of all time?  Were it not for Billy Squier's "Rock Me Tonite," I daresay there'd be no contest...

Wednesday, January 09, 2013


(an exclusive excerpt from my soon-to-be-remaindered rock memoir)

May 16, 1990, Turmeric Beach: Well, it happened at last.  I passed the audition to be the new lead singer of Nobody In Particular.  Quite a change from delivering Grade-Q meat to junior-high-school cafeterias, but I believe I'm up to the challenge.  It's really funny how the whole thing happened, since I've been a fan of NIP ever since they played the Knights of Akron hall last Thursday.  The power, the charisma, the exemplary posture... their music transported me to a place I haven't been to since I drank from that beaker in tenth-grade chem lab on a dare.  Like then, it was a deeply spiritual and transcendent experience and I couldn't stop throwing up for three days afterwards.  I hung around after they finished their "set" (music lingo), and we hit it off immediately.  I'll never forget the way the bass player affectionately elbowed me in the face when I told him how his solo on "Chicken Lips" reminded me of that really cool Kajagoogoo song.  I pledged right there and then to make this band my life, to follow them everywhere they go, to be in the vanguard of a new breed of fans, "Nobody-In-Particular-heads" as I like to call us.  Well, me anyway.  But soon fate intervened, and suddenly my wildest dream came true.  Okay, perhaps not my wildest dream, which involves Pia Zadora, the Lincoln Tunnel and a three-legged unicorn with an egg beater for a horn, but close enough in its way.

Tuesday, January 08, 2013


Today marks the 78th anniversary of the birth of one of our greatest cultural referents, pop-cultural icons, and the man who single-handedly rescued the sequin industry, Elvis Aaron Presley.  And, I'm sure you would agree, the only way to properly honor the memory of this titan of American music would be to let one of the lesser members of his entourage run his mouth off for a few minutes.  This long-suppressed recording from the August 16, 2006 Wow & Flutter program features Red Bloostone, a man with intimate knowledge of the King of Rock 'n' Roll as far as anybody can prove in a court of law, interviewed by Robert Ham (no relation) (to Elvis), and includes some heretofore unheard factoids as well as several of the greatest moments in recorded Presliana.  Please, enjoy:

(Gosh, I hope no one notices I just lifted a post from a year ago and presented it as new.  Huh - what does it mean when the red light on the voice-to-text software is on?)

Monday, January 07, 2013


So, apparently last night's episode of Family Guy started like this:

...much to the delight of many members of the comedigeekocracy.  Words like "witty," "brilliant" and "amazing" have been bandied about.  To which I can pretty much only shrug.  (Seriously.  Overwork has worn me out to the point that I have no control of my motor skills below the shoulder.  You would be equal parts impressed and horrified to see how I'm typing this right now.)

Sunday, January 06, 2013


I'm at the tail end of my fifth consecutive 10+ hour workday, and this Ham is fried.  So you will excuse me if I uphold my daily blog-duties by reviving a 15+ year-old piece I wrote, with a number of obsolete references, awkward writing and jokes that would be excised or rewritten if I had the time or the energy.  Not a bad concept, though, and more than one chuckleworthy passage.  Two.  There are two chuckleworthy passages.

I feel ebullient. I feel replenished. In short, I feel like the protagonist of one of the greatest works in the Western literary canon, Dame Judith Blume's Are You There, God? It's Me, Margaret(the Red Badge of Courage of teen-menstruation novels). In other words, I GOT IT! No, notthat - the experimental ovaries I got were removed weeks ago (remember, do a background check before responding to those "NEED QUICK MONEY?" flyers you find under your windshield wipers), and even if they weren't, whether or not I'm regularly receiving the monthly curse (the original working title for this magazine, by the way) is irrelevant, and beside the point as well. I'm referring to that thing that that pale, short guy with the snap-on toupée promised everybody they'd get eventually. You know what I'm typing about. Don't make me repeat it. Oh, Jesus... you know... how everybody will gain public renown for a duration lasting half of the time it takes "Chihuahua on Fire" to win the $10,000 prize on America's Funniest Home Videos. All right, fuck it, my fifteen minutes of fame. I just buried the needle of the "tired cliché" meter attached to my hard drive (I should probably reconnect it to my computer), so I hope you're pleased with yourselves.

I knew it was coming to me, so I had to do it right. I sprung into action immediately, sustaining only mild facial contusions when I slammed into the wall. Picking up the phone with a grace rarely seen in these parts (a good thing on balance, as I don't believe those other parts should be made to bend that way), I dialed up the Consensus Bureau in San Atorium, CA, to schedule my quarter-hour of renown. This is key - if you don't set it up yourself, you're likely to wake one morning to find you had achieved and lost household word status while you were busy disgorging a beaker's worth of saliva onto your musty C3PO pillowcase. After a long, protracted interval on hold, listening to the piped-in sounds of the latest Tangerine Dream album (or maybe someone had just left the receiver atop the office dehumidifier), the Director of Ephemeral Eclat herself came on the line and told me I was in luck.

Saturday, January 05, 2013


(An exclusive excerpt from the posthumous memoirs of an anonymous member of the Turn Righteous at the Light religious cult, whose mass suicide two months ago shocked the world and made them runners-up in Deceased Fanatic's Home Journal's annual lethal cocktail recipe competition.)

By the time you read this, I will have gone on to a better place. Barring that, I will be dead. I am writing these words for the understanding and edification of future generations. And I am writing these words to practice my penmanship. I've been working on my loops. I, in addition to four hundred others of my kind, are holed up here in the Compound of Heavenly Peace and Affordable Hourly Rates (what the heathen would call the Motel 6 just outside of Oxnard), counting down the final hours, awaiting the Rapture. Hope it isn't late like it was yesterday. If I don't get my Rapture by noon, I'm worthless for the rest of the millennium.

They laughed at us, scorned us, and denied us our consolidation loans, but as you read these words, it is we who will have had the last laugh, provided we can get it in before the lethal dose of sinus medication kicks in. We are the Chosen, the remnant spoken of in Scripture, the elite who got their membership fees in before the March 31st deadline. It is we, the few who shall escape the wrath that will come down and lay over this pustulant Earth like a divine plastic couch cover from which the stains of mortal corruption may be wiped clean by the damp cloth of God and a little Formula 409. In just a few minutes, we will take our rightful place beside the throne of God, show Him our laminates, and be ushered into the highly exclusive V.I.P. (Very Immaculate Person) lounge in the heavens, where all is serene and your first two drinks are half-price. Hallepenjo!

It has been a long, arduous road we have travelled these many years (what the unholy would refer to as Interstate 19 out of Tuscon). Every member of the Turn Righteous At The Light flock has their own stories, but since the TV-movie and action figure rights for most of them have been sold, I am only at liberty to recount my own. 

Friday, January 04, 2013


Repurposed content that I didn't come up with myself (but should have, dammit) counts for something, right?  Good.  Day Four complete.

...well, heck, while I'm at it, why not embed another unusual Saturday Night Live musical guest performance?  This comes from the episode that is widely considered the worst SNL ever (to which I have only two words: Deion Sanders), and this either mitigates or reinforces that contention, depending upon where your tastes lie.  Certainly we're unlikely to see the likes of this on the show these days, or ever again.  So score one for Jean Doumanian.

Thursday, January 03, 2013


Three days into my blog-post-every-day project, and at least two things have come clear: 1) the necessity of daily content has forced me to be far less precious about the creative process (a welcome development for the kind of guy who has filled entire notebooks - several of them - attempting to analyze a single episode of a forty-three-year-old television show, and has still only gotten about two-thirds of the way into it) and 2) the necessity of daily content has forced me to post material which, were I allowing myself to be even slightly more precious about the creative process, would otherwise be taking a return trip to the drawing board, possibly only on a brief layover while awaiting its connecting flight to the dumper.  The attempted piece of aural humor that follows is not altogether hopeless, I suppose - on paper, it looked like a real corker - but, to my ears, it falls well short of satisfaction.  Chalk it up to my usual haste - instead of spending the hour or so it would have taken to pre-record it ahead of time, I opted to do it live, on-air, near the end of last night's installment of Wow & Flutter without so much as a rehearsal or even a cursory scan of the dialogue in order to determine what words might be hiding in the tangled thickets of my infamously inscrutable handwriting, the same sort of haste that forces me into compound knots of tortured syntax in attempting to introduce said attempted piece of aural humor in a blog post titled with a limp, labored pun because it's six minutes before midnight and I just have to get this thing date-stamped January 3 or I've failed my public, by which I mean the two dozen spambots who facelessly scan this blog and keep trying to sell me trazadone and Ugg boots.  Anyway, my intent is to use this piece in the next episode of my podcast, should that ever surface, so perhaps it will be rewritten, re-edited and re-performed into a truly marvelous piece of audio comedy between now and then.  Or at least I'll use stereo separation to make it clear that I'm supposed to be playing two different people.  So you might look upon this as raw material, a demo version of a future masterpiece, part of the track listing for some future Beatles Anthology of comedy.  Or, more likely, another example of what happens when medium talent meets mediocre execution.  But, hey, it's content.  Even if I'm not.

Wednesday, January 02, 2013


(sorry about this, i thought you said "three dog fight." i'll change the picture before anyone sees the post.  - art director)

(a little number, in fact a series of them, I hope to perform live one of these days, for singer and increasingly horrified accompanist, who begins by playing a familiar tune:)

One is the loneliest number that you'll ever do

Two can be as lonely as one, it's the loneliest number since the number one

Three is socially inept, he keeps touching people inappropriately when he doesn't even know them

Four weeps uncontrollably when anyone says the words "relationship" or "mother"

Five stays in all weekend sending nude tweets of himself to unsuspecting consonants and ellipses

Six hasn't changed his clothes in over a year and won't be able to leave his house without the jaws of life and some cooking lubricant

Seven ate nine while fourteen and fifteen watched, the video of which got a record number of hits on the numeral-porn website,, but somebody recognized him and he got fired from his job at the state house - he is now working part-time helping ghostwrite Rick Santorum's memoirs

Ten - well, nobody heard from ten for about a month-and-a-half until one day when the neighbors noticed an ungodly stench coming from his studio apartment and they knocked on the door for half an hour with no response (accompanist stops playing) so finally they broke down the door and found stacks and stacks of unopened mail, takeout containers and soiled underclothes (accompanist walks off in disgust) and the neighbors had to cover their faces with wet washcloths and wandered through the place, tripping over stacks of illegal pornography involving lowercase letters and bizarre artwork sculpted from what they can only assume was his own ordure until they discovered that feral cats had eaten more than half of... (forcibly pulled off stage)  What?  What?  It's all true!  It's all true!!!...


Tuesday, January 01, 2013


play this year backwards and you can hear the strains of "Deux Mille Treize, Année érotique." though that's not Jane Birkin singing.  i think it's Depardieu in a dress.

Resolutions aren't my bag.  They never work.  Ever.  So this is not a resolution, nor a plan, nor a project, nor a ephron, just a, lessee, ah, a notion:  to contribute some kind of content of some description to this sad l'il weblog-au-mine every single day this year and presumably beyond.  Whether I have anything worth sharing or not.  Like now.  This counts as content, right?  I believe it does.  Great.  Done.

Of course, I could also share one of my favorite moments of music-on-television, one I come back to regularly just to bask in its infernal glow.  It's a moment that has only gained in infamy over the years, but I don't see the big damned deal - regardless of what the tabloids and the rest of the gutter press said about it, the slamdancers (Ian MacKaye's in there somewhere, as allegedly is John Belushi just out of camera range, a real missed opportunity if you ask me) don't seem all that out of control.  Check out the quick overhead shot during the performance: the audience in the front rows look slightly bemused but hardly terrified at the so-called "riot" taking place mere inches in front of them.  It's all showbiz.  But it is one of the moments that made the first half of the seventh season of Saturday Night Live, the period where Dick Ebersol tried to rescue it from oblivion and Michael O'Donoghue tried to make it burst into flames, such a bracing, unnerving experience, the best moments of which still crackle with tension thirty-plus years later, and it's still a kick to watch.  So here you go - from October 31, 1981, Fear on Saturday Night Live.  The hell with black-eyed peas and red underwear - I'm watching this every January 1 to start the annum right.  Happy New Fear.