Sunday, May 29, 2005

Housewares Beaver County Summary

The Cellar Dwellers wrapped up two back-to-back shows this weekend (three if you count our weekly improv workshop) with some grand results! Our show opened in Beaver County on Friday at the community college to a crowd of over forty people. It was a very good show (with one rather amusing technical glitch) that debuted with a nice write-up in that day's paper.

Saturday, we moved our show to Geneva College and had a stellar performance in front of over fifty people (which made for a pretty packed house given the size of Geneva's Bagpiper Theater). It was a fantastic show with a very enthusiastic audience. A few people told us afterwards that "Housewares" is one of our best shows.

Thank you very much for those of you who gave us such a warm welcome in our beloved county. Thanks to our dedicated fans who support us always. And a big thanks to those of you who braved attending a show for the first time. Hopefully we will be seeing you again!

All that's left now is one more performance up north at the New Castle Playhouse Annex in New Castle. Our next new sketch show after that is planned for the end of July.

WEBWrestling1.jpg
We wrestled our way through two successful back-to-back shows!

Friday, May 27, 2005

Desperate Housewares!

Housewares-Webcard.jpg

Utter Ramblings of a Sane Man

Mike the Tall is frustrated. First of all, let me say that I hate not being in shows anymore. I hate never being able to come to anything or even do anything anymore cause I work all the freakin time for half the money I used to. This is will teach all of you out there not to burn bridges!!! What an idiot I have become.

Ok anyways, I have always heard that you give a little and you lose a lot. In fact, that's what the drama was about in church last Sunday. You let one thing slide and then it opens the door for a whole host of other crap. Shame might bring envy, then drink, lust, and who knows what else. Let me put a much finer point on it. When did we stop saying "Goodbye" on the phone? I work, for those of you who don't know, at Blockbuster in Pittsburgh. It's the busiest store in the area, and we get phone calls all the time. Sometimes it seems as though the phone never stops ringing. I am slightly disturbed by the abundance of people who do not say goodbye when the conversation is over. They just don't say anything. I answer with the spiel. They say hello. They ask their quesiton, which most of the time is not inane. I answer. Then there's nothing. Silence. No Thank you. No Goodbye, Just.....nothing. What the hell? Did they just drop dead? Was the answer that "No, we have no Team America to rent." was too much for them? Were they struck dumb by the Lord as a lesson, such as John the Baptist's father? Sometimes it's a good 20 seconds of nothing. Usually I say Thank you, cause you can't force someone to say it. Or I say....well, goodbye. Or I just hear a click.

Maybe we're so used to talking to machines that we now treat people who answer phones like automated machines. I don't know.

I also have a beef with public swearing. I had to reproach three people yesterday who were F-ing everything in the store. Not literally of course, and if they were it'd be sad. Who could really make sweet love to a DVD case? I hope no one. Anyway, these people were swearing like crazy and there were kids in the store, one guy had a kid with him and he was cursing a blue streak. I couldn't believe it. We wonder why kids swear so much. One mother came in and used several of the words from PG-13 and R rated movies, and she was with her son!

The reason she was angry leads me to my next point. Blockbuster has lots of rules. One of the them being you can't rent on someone else's account unless they let you. This lady wanted to rent on her mom's account, but her name was not on it. I told her she needed to be on the account. It's a very easy thing to do. I could have called the mom and added her, but instead she went into a tirade and stopped listening and started swearing. F-this. F- that. This is bullshit, and other such lovly turns of phrase so good for her 8 year old son to hear.

I'm careful about that because I've had people get really messed up by someone messing with their account. And a few were mothers that had to take their irresponsible daughters off of their accounts. Apparently grandma was supposed to pay the $50 or so that was racked up by the daughter renting a bunch of kids movies for junior or daughterette and never returning them. Not kosher.

But really what it comes to is that no matter how many times you ask me, I can't change the rule. One girl called last night and said her movie didn't work. It was an old VHS tape, I wasn't surprised. I told her we'd give her a credit for it. She wanted me to give her a free rental coupon to use at another store so she could get another VHS tape of the same movie at another store. None of that am I allowed to do. But she kept asking the same thing in like three different ways. She asked about five times. But asking again doesn't change the rule. That's such a winey, bratty thing to do. Apparently her parents gave in after being asked five times. Well, the huge corporation of Blockbuster is not her parents.

Big companies don't give a crap about you. Occasionally they will do something that will save you money, but it's to make more business. But if too many people take advantage of it, it'll stop. Like the movie pass for $10. It was too cheap and I'm sure they started losing money, so they don't do that anymore. Oh well.

Also, there needs to be an update on my son for those who care. He's starting to walk. He's ridiculously cute. Almost to the point of making people sick. HE's losing a little baby fat, so the vomiting from his cuteness has been considerably curbed. I will get to see him again Monday, and his birthday is the 9th. He's almost 1 year old. I can't believe it. My life was put into a downward spiral when I knew I was going to have a son, and I still haven't started the upward climb yet. I've just stopped falling, but it will be worth it. It seems weird to love someone so much. But I friggin made him! Me! And Lateta too, mostly her in fact, but still it's crazy that we can do that. We can make little models of ourselves. Wow.

Wow.

Wow.

I guess that's all for now. Also, if anyone has an idea of what they think I should do for a career. Leave a reply little message thing. I'm open to suggestions cause I'm a pisces, and I'm curious what people think I should do.

Mike the Tall!!!!!!!

Desperate Housewares in the BCTimes

On the day of our Beaver County premiere of "Desperate Housewares," the Cellar Dwellers got a very nice write-up in the Beaver County Times Weekender. It was accompanied by a lovely cast picture (see below). So check out this cool article, and then make plans to see a show. Trust me, it's always worth it.

"Desperate Housewares" by Scott Tady

CENTER TWP. - Forget about Eva Longoria of "Desperate Housewives" prancing around in her panties.

Hmmm. That's not so easy to forget once you start imaging it.

But forget about that for a minute, and focus on the Cellar Dwellers, those mirth-making pop-culture connoisseurs who this weekend present their latest comedy extravaganza: "Desperate Housewares: Or the Dish Ran Away With the Spoon."

Just like that hit ABC show, the Cellar Dwellers intend to captivate their audiences beginning at 8 tonight at the Community College of Beaver County Allied Health Auditorium in Center Township. The local comedy troupe's next show, at 8 p.m. Saturday, takes place at the Bagpiper Theater at Geneva College, Beaver Falls.

Tickets are $5 with information available at (724) 462-4651.

In typical rapid-fire fashion, the Cellar Dwellers will present a dozen zany skits in "Desperate Housewares," tackling the major issues of the day, such as lazy superheroes and robot girlfriends. One skit revolves around a courtroom showdown between a pro wrestler and a nerdy webmaster; another skit wonders what would happen if a frat house adopted a Third World child.

The second hour of the show is unscripted theater improv, similar to the crowd-pleasing, gonzo performance Cellar Dwellers members delivered at the 12:15 a.m. May 19 screening of "Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith" at Cinemark Theatre in Center Township.

Along with this weekend's two Beaver County shows, the Cellar Dwellers travel north next weekend for a June 4 show at the New Castle Playhouse Annex Theater in New Castle.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

The Cast of Desperate Housewares

WEBDwellerCast.jpg

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Mark Your Calendar

I clipped my toenails today. They were really getting quite long, long to the point where my shoes were beginning to fit a little snugly around the tip. I can't even remember the last time I cut them. It may not have even been in 2005. I hardly ever pay any attention to my toes. I wear shoes and socks most of the time. Even in the summer. I never really have been much of a sandal wearer - I just can't stand that 'scrape-flap' sound and the sneaking feeling that my footwear will go flying off at any moment.

I have no way of knowing when I last cut my toenails. This got me to thinking: I really should record these things. Not so much so I can actually schedule my nail clippings. There's little chance of me ever doing anything silly like that. My toenails are wild animals which refuse to be tamed by timetables. I need to record these things only so, when I clip my nails and wonder 'when was the last time I did this?' I can simply look it up. This will save me countless hours of wondering. I can use this time for more profitable endeavors, such as contemplating where ear wax comes from.

So, I am writing this post to declare that today, May 22 , 2005, I, James Angelo Catullo, being of sound mind and body officially clipped my toenails. Now, I need not wonder next time I clip my nails. I'll be able to look at this blog and know when I last cut them. So, I apologize if this post is not amusing. It is not meant to be. I created it for my own use. Now, I have time for more enlightened thought.

So, when was the last time I shaved my back?

Shalom

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Midnight Star Wars and Impromptu Improv

I managed to get myself a ticket to one of the three sold-out midnight showings of the new Star Wars movie last night. All of the Cellar Dwellers, led by Ben (the biggest Star Wars fan), bought up about fifteen tickets. We all attended together, with some of our friends, for the 12:15am showing at the huge, new Cinemark movie theater. Many of the Dwellers had spent all day watching all five of the existing Star Wars movies, preparing for the grand finale that would be screened tonight.

But what none of us expected was that we would be called upon to do an improv show in front of over 350 people.

Here's how this amazing event came about.. Because the theater was so crowded the Dwellers were forced to split up. Me, Larry, Joe, James, and Christoph were sitting in the last row of the front section of the theater (you've seen these kind of theaters before... the large studio ones with the risers and the front section that is on the floor). Ben, Dave, and some of our friends sat up towards the top of the theater. Everyone was there an hour before the actual movie started! All three showings of Revenge of the Sith were sold out, and folks began showing up hours before the showtime just to get a good seat.

As we were sitting there, just conversing with one another, I heard something. A few people in the theater were yelling "Hey! Cellar Dwellers! WOOO!" You know, various things like that. We all turned around and waved to them, just happy to be recognized in public. But then people started chanting "Cellar Dwellers! Cellar Dwellers!" And other folks just started cheering and clapping. We didn't quite know what to do with ourselves. But then a fellow came by, I had recognized him from one of our shows, and asked if we were putting on a free show to pass the time. We all looked at each other, unsure of what to say.

Not long after that, a good bit of the crowd started chanting "We want a show! We want a show!" And since the majority of us were sitting in the front of the theater, we couldn't ignore their calls. We all stood up, turned to the audience and Joe called out, "Give us a minute!" He then ran up the side stairs of the theater to grab Ben and Dave. Larry quickly found a random piece of paper and a pen and we got ready to put on a show...

Joe stood in front of the enthusiastic Star Wars crowd and said "Thank you! We are the Cellar Dwellers, for those of you who aren't chanting our name. We are a sketch comedy and improv troupe here in Beaver County, and among other things... we do improv every Friday!" and those who knew us chanted back "Every Friday?!" (this was the chanting we do with our audiences during our Friday improv workshops). Then he said, "So is everyone excited to see this Star Trek movie?" Everyone booed and Joe corrected himself, "Oh, shit, I mean Star Wars!" And everyone cheered. "Everybody, to introduce the first game, here's Larry!" The crowd went nuts yet again.

Larry introduced a game we play quite often called Film Styles. James, Dave, and Joe were going to play this together. They were to do a scene, and throughout the game Larry would stop them and yell out a film or theater genre and they would have to continue the scene in that style. So they began the game, screaming as loud as they could to make sure they were heard throughout the theater. Things got crazy when Larry got to "Swashbuckling Film" and James began scaling the handrails and climbed the stairs to the theater. Joe and Dave followed suit, and the next thing you knew James was standing on a chair in the center of the theater, screaming about yellow snow! The crowd was loving it, and as soon as a big laugh came our way, we stopped the game and moved on.

Joe then introduced Fairy Tale in a Minute, a game involving me and Ben. The chosen fairy tale was none other than Sleeping Beauty (not one I'm particularly familiar with), and we had to perform the entire thing, all of the parts, in under 60 seconds. Ben quickly chose the role of the princess, and began spinning "this thing" and pricked her finger and fell asleep. I was the prince, and I busted down the door of her room, stabbed his mother (a dragon?) in the stomach and kissed him so he could wake up (a theater kiss of course). But that didn't satisfy the crowd, so we did it again in 30 seconds. And again in 15 seconds. And finally we had to do it in seven and a half seconds. It was in this case that Ben just grabbed me, leaned me back, and planted a big, goatee-filled kiss on my cheek. Not what I had in mind for the evening, but the crowd went totally nuts when that happened.

While everyone was cheering, we decided to wrap things up before the credits rolled (and we would all need to go get drinks after yelling so much). So Joe thanked everyone for cheering and told them about our new show (Desperate Housewares, or the Dish Ran Away with the Spoon) which opens next Friday at CCBC. And then of course he said, "And we do this every Friday!" and the entire theater responded "EVERY FRIDAY?!"

It was certainly a shining moment for us. Something like that has never happened to us before, and we all agreed that we were glad we didn't pass up the opportunity. We all settled back down for the showing of Star Wars: Episode III. After the movie, as everyone exited the theater, people were telling us "Hey, good job!" Someone who hadn't been there earlier might have thought we made the movie. It was an exciting evening, and even if the movie had sucked (which it most certainly didn't) it still would have been worth it.

Monday, May 16, 2005

Thank You Epstein-Barr

My Spring semester, a semester that was widely regarded as a success, ended on a less than high note for me. I am known to many as a very healthy person, not necessarily physically active but healthy nonetheless. However after being sick and worn down for the two weeks leading up to finals, I took matters into my own hands and went to the doctor.

I had somehow contracted mono, and at the worst possible time... what follows is a chronicle of what I've been through thus far.

The Two Week Illness - Before I Went to the Doctors
During the end of April, I started to get sick. Of course, I tried my best to deny it. I had managed to go all semester without catching anything, all after Puff, Jon, Mic, Athena, and others had been ill. I was usually very good at that sort of thing; managing to avoid sickness' evil grasp when he was all around me. But I couldn't last forever, it was bound to happen, and I was forced to admit it... something was wrong.

It began with a casual sore throat and a chronic headache. Every once in a while I would get a fever or be attacked by a cavalcade of shakes. I decided to take care of business and go to SHU's Wellness Center. After crawling up five floors, the nurse (who was very friendly, if a bit condescending) told me "You have what everyone else has." If this were true, the entire campus would look like pieces in one of those electric football games, shaking around and bumping into one another. But I took her advice, and her Tylenol.

But, after two weeks, and a second visit to the Wellness Center, I knew I had to take things to the next level.

The Doctor Is In
I made an appointment with Premier Health in Latrobe, out near the Mountain View Inn. This is the very doctor Puff had visited not a month earlier when he was attacked by a flock of seagulls (or some sort of viral infection).

The morning of my appointment, Thursday May 5, I was feeling the worst I had all year... and I had to take my Christian Scriptures final (which I was unable to properly study for, thanks to copious amounts of shivering and headaches). On top of all this, this Thursday was also a holy day of obligation, so I had to fight through dizziness and weakness to get to St. Joseph's for mass. I'm sure the folks there in Church, which included many faculty, administration, and fellow students, thought I was hung over or coked out of my mind. But I give my kudos to Monsignor Rubino (no relation) for keeping things speedy, so I could meander down to the parking lot by the Music Department, where Puff had kindly parked my car. And so I set out on my own to this doctor's office, it would be the first time I have made this kind of journey without the loving aura of my parents.

When I got to the doctor's I filled out the necessary paperwork, sat and read an issue of The Economist, and within fifteen minutes, was called in for my check-up. First the nurse came in and said to me, "So tell me, what's wrong with you?" and I laughed and replied, "Alot of things." She told me to clarify with some symptoms and I went through the list of everything that had been ailing me for the past two weeks. After that, she called in the doctor who "checked me out," if you know what I mean. That's when she said the dreaded words, "We are going to have to take a blood sample." Something was telling me that this was going to be more than the prick I got when I get my cholesterol checked at the pharmacy.

I was led into a second room and forced to sit in a chair reminiscent of a school desk. A large, burly woman claiming to be a nurse came in, filling most of the room, and laughed a deep, vicious cackle as she pulled out a 6-inch needle from a rusty bucket. She handed me a tourniquet and said, "You look like you know how to use one of these." I did my best John McClain impression, and pulled the leather strap tight with my teeth. That's when she looked deep into my eyes and said, "Get ready for a shit storm." She plunged the need deep into my vein and I shut my eyes and bit my lip. She was laughing, in a higher pitch than before, and when I opened my eyes I saw that she had filled three tubes with my sweet "life oil." The nurse squeezed out of the room muttering, "Go back into your examination room and sit down."

Okay, maybe it wasn't that bad.

But after about fifteen minutes of waiting, the nurse came in with the news, "You have mono!" She handed me a balloon, tooted a little noise-maker, and then promptly took out a pin and popped the balloon. I walked out of the office, head down, depressed about the news I had just received. But at least I got two things out of my visit: a prescription for penicillin (to avoid the possibility of getting strep throat) and an excuse to get out of classes for the day.

Mono: A Brief Overview
For those of you who don't know what Mono is... let me explain. It is known to most ignorant people as "The Kissing Disease." This, of course, makes anyone who has it appear to be a whore or a gameshow host. But, this isn't a proper representation of how the disease is actually spread. I certainly didn't get it through kissing (I more than likely caught it from my roommate Jon, or from just general overwork). But the disease is actually spread through saliva and mucus. So you could really call it the "Blowing Your Nose Into Someone's Mouth/Licking Someone's Eye/Sticking Your Tongue In Someone's Ear/Sneezing on Someone Else' Tongue/Pouring a Cup of Your Spit into Someone's Coffee" Disease. That's a little more fitting.

Mono is a condition caused by the Epstein-Barr virus. You can contract this virus by visiting the Epstein-Barr during Happy Hour every Wednesday night at 9:00. Quarter drafts and free pretzels for the kids! Once you contract mono, the Epstein-Barr virus will always be in side of your body, but you aren't likely to catch "mono" ever again. It's sort of like chicken pox or being audited.

The main symptoms of mono are fatigue, headache, fever, sore throat, and the urge to run for local magistrate. There aren't really any prescription medications to treat mono itself, you can only treat the symptoms as they come and go. Most importantly, you are contagious for like 6 months, so pretty much everyone around you is screwed.

The Road to Recovery
I spend a majority of the day, as well as most of the weekend, either in bed or sitting in a chair. I tried to rest as best as I could, especially knowing that I would have a weekend full of play practice and performance. But the doctor did give me penicillin, which made me feel much better by Saturday afternoon. On Sunday, aside from my cough, I had totally forgotten about my virus... I appeared to be on the road to a quick recovery!

Or maybe not... I got through all of my finals with flying colors, and went into Wednesday (my last day of work) feeling strong and ready to fight off a dozen Nazis. That evening, I had a great time going to Red Robin, the Mall, Barnes and Nobles and watching another iteration of Dawn of the Dead. Karissa and I even packed half of my stuff into my car! I went to sleep that night thinking everything was going to be okay.

Then I woke up looking like a red Jackson Pollack painting. I was covered in a terrible rash! How? How did this terrible, humiliating injustice occur? Well, it turns out that 90% of people who have mono and take penicillin, get a rash. It's sort of final proof that you indeed have mono. Great. They couldn't just send me a note on official letterhead, they had to give me a rash. I was branded with the Scarlet Letter... only it was written by a kindergartner all over my upper torso.

Such a constant reminder of my illness, of course, brought back many of the symptoms that I had overcome. And this brings me to today. The rash is slowly leaving, but also making me very very itchy. And scratchy. I will have the entire week to rest up for the following weekend: the premier of the newest Cellar Dweller show.

A Few Words of Wisdom
If I can impart a few tips about mono, here they are:
• Don't take penicillin, or don't take more than 5 days worth.
• Don't get blood drawn without a loving hand to hold... or a gun.
• And be very skeptical about where your blood goes, because vampires are always lurking around in doctor's offices.
• Peter O'Toole's make-up in the film version of "Man of LaMancha" is really fake.
• Always plan to get mono when you have alot of work and unpacking to do... because then you can put it off without anyone really getting angry.
• Be careful who's tongue you sneeze onto.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Commencement

Good afternoon Class of 2005. Please everyone take your seats. I know most of you have never been in the presence of a person of my stature, but please hold your applause for the end. First, just let me congratulate all of you for successfully completing your studies - well, let me congratulate every one but that guy in the third row who seems to think it's hilarious to wear a funny hat instead of his mortar board. Ok, buddy we get it you. You're an individual, a free spirit, and you can't be confined by 'the man's' rules, but really, you might as well be wearing a douche bag sign. Oh yeah, and good luck getting a job with your art degree. Tool.

Anyway, I did not come here to pick out a single student for derision. I came here to commend you lovely students. After all, college is hard. I know when I was in school I would often spend up to three hours a day in class. I would follow this up with a nap and watching bad sitcoms on ABC Family. Then I'd eat something and then spend some time hanging out on the quad throwing a frisbee. Then I would do some school work during the commercial breaks of Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune. Then of course came another quick nap followed by a night of drinking. It was absolute hell. God, I was so relieved to finally escape that mind numbing drudgery, and enter the warm, welcoming embrace of the real world where I could look forward to the relaxing, happy realities of bills, responsibility, and the 8 hour work day.

Clearly, you guys have quite a future ahead of you. Just let me give you all a taste of what the coming years hold for you. Your first apartment will be small, cramped, and smell vaguely of cool ranch doritos. Unless of course you're receiving a liberal arts degree today, at which point your first apartment will look a lot like your parents' basement. Your first job will probably have nothing to do with your major. There's even a good chance your first job will require nothing from you but a GED and a hairnet. Liberal arts kids, I'm looking at you again.

Also, remember, if you haven't found love yet, your going to die lonely. It's so much harder meeting people in the real world.

You know they make you wear black for a reason. Today marks the death of your childhood. Now you are going to have to actually answer for your selves, except of course for the smart Liberal Arts kids who are going to grad school. Remember you can effectively remain emotionally arrested at this level if you manage to never actually leave school.

So, in conclusion, I hope you really enjoyed the past 4 to 8 years of your life. I really do, because you're going to be paying for it for the next 10 to 20 years depending on what kind of deferment you have available. Oh, and you...parking lot...right after the ceremony. I'll smack that hat right off your head.

Shalom

blog for bridget

hey, joe here,

it has recently come to my attention that our blog does not go unread as previously thought. It seems there is at least one confirmed cellar dweller blog reader out there in ...blog reading land?...and her name is bridget, (hopefully thats how you spell bridget). bridget is one of the original audience members of F.N.Improv, and for that we thank her. unfortunately for the cellardwellers , this dedicated member of fandum has not been around of late, taking a mid spring hiatus ? well it would appeare that its not that simple.

bridget, unlike many of the cellardwellers has a real job. ( you can imagine our jelousy) and it is for that reason that the most dedicated audiant we have ever had, has been gone for so long. and now, in her absence let us all take a moment to reflect upon what bridget has given to us over her months of pure unadulterated dedication to the F.N.Improv cause.

I remember it like it was 3 months ago. a timid girl walked into our theater one nite around 10pm on a friday asking and i loosely quote from my distorted memory, "is this where the F.N. Improv is?" and from that timid virgin to our caberet theater grew a woman who proved one nite that yes!! she is a litterate member of society, by braving the scorn of uncool public opinion and getting up on stage to participate in an improv game called the play, and unlike any other volunteere who had gone before her, read like she new how. which was very impressive. and it is from that moment of pure beautiful litterate behaviour that a life long participating member of the audience was born.

bridget went on to volunteere for other improv games such as tap and stage directions. she even went as far as to yell suggestions from the blackend darkness of the theater seats. and for that bridget we , the cellar dwellers thank you, and pray for your sweet release from the land of the employeed , so that you may once again bless us with your unbrideled enthusiasm and charm , thank you bridget and may god speed you back to any number of our upcoming shows. if there where only more audiance members like you , the theatrical world in beaver county would be a better place. thank you again and may the comedy gods fill your everlasting days of employment with the laughter you've filled our souls with as well.

joe eoj

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Making Lemonade

My life is far from perfect. Those of you who know me might consider this quite a bit of an understatement. “James,” you might say, “Let’s be perfectly honest. Your life sucks.” To these people I would just like to say, “Shut up.” My life isn’t all bad. I have a lot of good things going for me. I’m smart, funny, devilishly handsome, and one hell of a swell guy. True, there are many areas in my life which may not be up to snuff, but I am not here to dwell on my shortcomings. No, I’m not going to use this forum as my personal whiny sounding board. I will not bore you, dear reader, with endless kvetching. For, you see, I have turned over a new leaf. You are looking at a new man – or at least reading the writing of a new man. I have made a solemn vow to accentuate the positive. From this point forward I am Mr. Optimist. Life may keep on feeding me lemons, but that’s just fine by me. I’ve got a full supply of sugar, and I know how to make some killer lemonade.

For instance, just today at work while on my lunch break, I managed to spill quite a bit of coffee on my nice dress shirt. Let’s just say that coordination is not among the plethora of gifts God has blessed me with. I am a bit of a klutz. Now, this coffee spill would have completely flummoxed old James. It could have very easily ruined a nice dress shirt. But new James remained completely unfazed. Unsightly coffee splotches on a nice pressed garment can’t bring me down. New James is nothing if not resourceful. I simply bought more java and now instead of a sharp white shirt, I am the proud owner of an uber-stylish coffee colored shirt. Problem solved.

My car – the ’93 Lumina I have affectionately dubbed ‘The Silver Buller’ – leaks oil like a sieve. I am constantly pouring more oil under the hood which invariably ends up decorating the pavement beneath it. Sure, this is an annoying problem. Old James would do nothing but fret and complain, but new James has devised an elegantly simple solution to this problem. Now, instead of putting the oil in the car, I pour the oil directly onto the ground beneath the vehicle effectively cutting out the middle man. This is the very model of efficiency. Plus, in the right light my parking place takes on a rainbow glisten.

As mentioned earlier I am one attractive guy, although many would consider me to have a few physical flaws. Most glaringly I am going prematurely bald. I don’t necessarily consider this a bad thing. It is a completely natural turn of events, not unexpected when the heads of my male forebears are examined. It makes me look distinguished and it also saves me plenty of money on shampoo. Still, some people do not agree with my humble assessment of my sexy, sexy self. Not that the sentiments of these people bother me, but I have taken steps to ratchet up my image. To help explain my male pattern baldness and let everyone know the true me, I have a bought a T-shirt. That’s right, a T-shirt. So, now everyone will know that I do not have a bald spot, but instead I possess a solar panel for a love machine. The love machine is me, by the way. The fact that this solar panel keeps expanding should tell you just a little something about the quality of this love machine.

So, you see, I no longer wallow in self pity. I am a new man, reborn into the world of positive thinking and self-esteem. I can hit all the curve balls life throws at me. Through sheer pluck and determination I will make my way in this world. Now, there’s nothing for me to do but sit back and wait for the self-help book deals to come rolling in. Eat your fat heart out Dr. Phil.

Shalom

Friday, May 13, 2005

Desperate Housewares Press Release

Attention: Theater/Entertainment Section

The Cellar Dwellers present “Desperate Housewares”

“Desperate Housewares or The Dish ran away with the Spoon” is a collection of brand new skits written by the Dwellers. In their traditional fashion, topics from the show are all across the board and all very funny. The show features over a dozen skits including: a frat house adopting a Third World child, robot girlfriends, lazy superheroes, and a court showdown between a pro wrestler and a nerdy webmaster. The second half of the show consists of the Dweller’s unscripted theater improv. It’s a hilarious blend of rapid-fire comedy and theater improvisation. The show runs for two hours.

Reservations and directions for the show are located on our website www.TheCellarDwellers.com

The Cellar Dwellers are an improv and sketch comedy group from Beaver County, Pennsylvania. They have been delighting audiences since 1997, and have been performed in Beaver, Lawrence, Allegheny, Venango, and Westmoreland County.

Saturday, May 21st at the Barrow Little Theater in Franklin, PA. 8:00PM
Friday, May 27th at the CCBC Allied Health Auditorium in Center PA 8:00PM
Saturday, May 28th at the Bagpiper Theater, Geneva College in Beaver Falls PA 8:00PM
Saturday, June 4th at the New Castle Playhouse Annex Theater in New Castle PA 8:00PM

All tickets are $5.00.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

farting and boobs

Let’s take it down a notch.
Why is there so many objections to farting and burping in this society? Aren’t these natural bodily actions?
They are. (not that I’m in the habit of answering all my own questions) Not only is it unhealthy to hold them inside, it’s mentally damaging, too.
That’s right, our psyches are taught to burp and fart, the same as Pavlov’s dog salivates at a bell.
When we’re babies, mom throws us over a shoulder and pats our backs until we let one rip. Then the louder we are, the more goo-goo faces, and ‘you’re a little piggy, yes, you are …yes you are’ we get. When does that stop? (and more importantly, why?)
When you’re a baby and you fart, people come over and grab your butt. Sure they’re looking for poop, but you don’t know that, because they’re also giving you the sing-song ‘you’re a stinky baby, yes, you are … yes you are’ which you associate with good things, like burping and sticking random objects in your mouth.
Now I’m not saying stick random objects in my mouth – I’m not saying don’t, either, mind you, but that’s a different post – What I’m saying is if I have a natural bodily function, let’s celebrate a little more. Tell me I’m piggy, yes, I am, yes, I am. And if I fart, go ahead and grab my butt. Most of the time you won’t find poop there, and I’ll like it.
I’d do the same for you if you want.
Oh, and as for boobs, I like them. Like a bell to Pavlov’s dog. (I’m a piggy, yes, I am, yes I am.)
ps farting, poop and boobs – the Second City would be sooooo proud of me.
Peace
Larry

Monday, May 09, 2005

Online Predators

Parents are all up in arms about freaks trolling the internet for their children. And now we're creating things to scare children and parents from the technology. It's getting out of hand!

Back in the day stories were created to keep children from talking to strangers or not listening to their parents. Red Riding Hood is a prime example. She left the path and talked to a wolf, and she ended up eaten. Stupid bitch.

But now there are news stories abound about "What are your children doing on the computer?" It's all part of the media's attempt to control people with fear. Kids talk on the computer the same way they talk on the phone. Kids will always have slang that their parents won't understand, and those instant messanger abbreviations are no exception. Kids make those to purposefully keep their parents' knowledge at bay. I'm sure parents can remember making their parents faint when they said things like "swell" and "so's your old man," which are now ":)" and "SYOM." Not that anyone uses the latter.

Also parents have seem to have forgotten something very important. 7th graders are little balls of hormones. They dont know why, but they want to jump on top of each other and wiggle around. This is a twist of nature. People used to get married at that age, now they're still kids, but the hormones think "HOly crap! We only have 10 years to have kids and raise them before we die!" So kids want things and they don't know why. This makes it very hard for kids. But censoring the only outlet that's not sex might be asking for trouble. Let them flirt, it makes the level of internal torture lessen.

Of course this also makes them more accessible to the online predators. The way the news talks about them, you'd think your neighborhood isn't complete without one. That simply can't be true. I'm sure there are lots of people who have dirty thoughts, but few act on them. How many people have you thought of killing or punching? Have you done it? Exactly. Plus, most people don't have the time to be freaks, nor the money, nor the ability to get something like jail time.

I recently saw a billboard that said "1 out of every 5 kids is approached sexually online." or something like that. And that got me thinking how truly unfair that is. I know there are people who genuinely are after hurting kids and they should be drug behind horses over cacti. But that can't be everyone. First of all, now it's a horrendous thing for a 20 year old to flirt with a 17 year old. How many of us wouldn't be here if their grand or great grandparents being the same age had been scored or arrested for being together? Romeo was probably 18 and Juliet 12! I mean come on!

The other thing is that everyone always sides with the kids because apparently kids are too stupid to be manipulative? I beg to differ. I admit to chatting online sometimes, and even not about sexual things sometimes. I personally have been approached online by five people underage for sexual purposes, and they were gunning hardcore for an older person. If someone took up one of those kids for anything, even mentioning a meeting, the FBI could bust down their door, and then the computer's taken and they look like a total perv. I defy anyone to look deep in their computer and find no porn. Even the nicest person has something even if it's be a virus or mistake. There is porn there. I'm sure 80% of computers have some porn. Regardless, those kids knew what they were doing. They weren't trying to snare or entrap adults. They wanted to meet and have naughty things happen with adults.

They are humans with feelings and the government has put down a wall at 18 that makes both sides really uncomfortable. The best solution, like anyhting else, is good parenting. Let your kids realize that their bodies go bersek when they're young, and who doesn't want sex? If you wait, it's better, but it's hard to convince someone of that when that's all they want and they can't even tell you why.

So, dear media, step off, parents have enough stuff to worry about. They don't need to worry about their daughter talking to her five friends online every night. It's better than 10 hours on the phone to each one individually. Parents relax. To those seven online predators out there, there's always the Pacific ring that amnesty international hates but it's legal to date 13 year olds. Get the hell outta my country, freakshow.

Saturday, May 07, 2005

A Quarter Century Strong

Twenty five years ago today, I arrived fresh from my mother's womb fresh faced and gooey. That's right this is the twenty fifth anniversary of that most momentous day in human history: my birth (although, since I arrived via C-section I can lay claim - like Macbeth - to being of no woman born. Also, like Macbeth I am easily controlled by women and driven by an unquenchable lust for power and paranoia, but I digress). Today, oh happy reader, is my birthday.

I have now been on this planet for twenty five years. This sounds like a long time. Lord knows that when I was a child twenty five years would seem like an eternity to live. I thought - very foolishly - that by this point I would be and feel like a successful, well-adjusted adult, but I would still be living with my parents. My view of growing up was truly warped by television - I mean, how long did those Huxtable kids live with poor Cliff? The truth of being twenty five - at least for me - finds me to be a still emerging, adjusting child. Albeit a child who can now rent a car without paying an exorbitant premium.

I know that birthdays are often a time for self reflection and evaluation. It is a time to measure your progress over the past year and project your life course into the future. However, I find self examination eludes me, mainly because I am very shallow and deep thought hurts my head. Moreover, I do not care to stress over the past years, my triumphs and my failures. Just let it be said that being 25 is a lot like being 24 which was a lot like being 23 right on down the line to 5 being a lot like being 4. Of course, using logic this would mean that being 25 is a lot like being 4 which is of course pure lunacy. I know infinitely more dirty jokes now than I did at 4. I guess I am capable of some rudimentary self analysis.

So, what - you might ask - is my purpose in writing this silly little post if not reflection? The answer is quite obvious. Today is my birthday, and this is just a shameless little plug for presents. Bring'em on. Really, it's the only way to shut me up.

Shalom

Monday, May 02, 2005

Upon Rewatching Star Trek 2: The Wrath of Khan

The other day I was watching Star Trek 2: The Wrath of Khan - which, I say from a completely undorky, non-trekkie point of view, is the most bad ass of the Star Trek films. Now, up to the other day, I probably hadn't seen this movie in about eight years. This is not an arbitrary number of years. I decided long ago that Wrath of Khan is best seen once every eight years. I based this number on countless hours of research into human physical and mental limitations. I discovered Wrath of Khan is just way too intense to be viewed more often than every eight years. Viewing the film more often - say once every six years - may lead to undue mental and physical strain. Just hearing William Shatner's anguished howls of "KHAN!!!" can cause the elderly to slip into comas and induce labor in woman who aren't even pregnant.

Still with this said, there are things which I noticed this time which I didn't eight years ago. They're only small, tiny little details, which nonetheless did detract from the film if only in the slightest. I guess my critical faculties have grown in the past eight years. It's been known to happen. Now, before I list these tiny faults, remember this film still rocks...hard.

Now, Wrath of Khan features Ricardo Montalbon as genetically altered 20th century super man Khan. In the classic Star Trek episode 'Space Seed' - I swear to God I am not a complete nerd - Kirk first tangled with Khan and eventually marooned him on a distant planet. In this movie, Khan gets off the planet and seeks revenge against Kirk. That, in a nutshell, is the entire movie. Now, I know what your thinking. You think you know what my first complaint is, but you're wrong. You think I'm going to complain about the casting of Ricardo Montalbon. I am not. As a matter of fact. I applaud the casting. If I had to find someone to portray twentieth century genetically engineered superman, I would definitely go the Montalbon route. Face it, the guy just reeks of 20th century genetically engineered superman. No one else could have played this role.

My problem is with the writing and execution of the Khan character. Here's a guy who's been genetically altered to be smarter and stronger than other men, but you never really see this in the film. He lucks his way off of his planet and right into Kirk's axis. He doesn't really do anything. On top of this he's outsmarted by William Shatner about three times - by William Freakin' Shatner. Come on, we're supposed to believe this guys a uber-intelligent but he can't outfox Shatner. On the plus side, Ricardo does wear a super sweet fake muscle chest piece.

Now onto my major beef with the movie. This isn't a problem with this movie, but with a lot of Star Trek films. The film climaxes with big space battle between two federation ships. As to be expected the ships exchange a lot of lazor and photon torpedo fire, leading to only a shaking camera and a few exploding panels but no real damage. This is OK with me. It's a Star Trek movie, I don't expect anything less. What does bother me is the sheer amounts of extras who are killed for no reason. You might know what I'm talking about. Every time a lazor hits, the movie shows the interrior of the ship sustaining damage. Invariably - in the non-bridge scenes at least - there is some poor sap walking by this very part of the ship who is sent flying through the ship to show the power of photon torpedoes.

This bothers me mainly because this guy is always just strolling along minding his own business like nothings going when the torpedo hits. Come on, you're in a space battle with a group of 20th century genetically engineered supermen, show some hustle. Shouldn't these people be running to battle stations like their lives depended on it, not just strolling along like a sunday afternoon in the park. What's wrong with these people? Maybe their on their lunch break. "Sorry Steve, I know we're under attack from genetically engineered 20th century supermen, but it's noon and I packed a lunch. Be back in half an hour. I'm just going to walk slowly to the break room along the exterior of the ship." You'd think they would at least move to lunch with a sense of purpose.

Oh well. Those are just few of my tiny problems with this totally badass film. There may be more problems which I did not notice. I'll be sure to look for them on my next viewing and report back to you. Talk to you in eight years.

Shalom