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Bear Asses

My family is traveling to Yellowstone National Park in about a month and my mom has been getting a little bit concerned about bears.  Apparently, there are a lot of bears at Yellowstone and she’s worried we may run into one. She’s been reading up on bear spray and assures us we’ll be able to get some as soon as we get to the park.

Actually, I guess you can buy the stuff at 7-11 in that part of the country.

I don’t know why she’s so concerned, to be honest.  When it comes to National Parks and bears, I have the worst luck.

About ten years ago, Pat and I took a trip to Washington DC.  We spent most of our time in the city but for a day trip, we went to Shenandoah National Park.  It was a foggy day and unfortunately, most of the views of the valley were obscured.

As we were driving, Pat suddenly shouted “BEAR” and pointed across the road to where a bear was clearly hanging out waiting to be noticed.  I fumbled with my camera and took one picture:

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As you can see, it is a blurry picture of what might be a bear walking back into the forest.  Looks like the butt of a black bear from what I can tell.  I’m sure it was a bear but this picture could be used as proof of Bigfoot about as easily as it could be used as proof of a bear.

That would not be my final failed encounter with a bear in a National Park.

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Geeks Without God Spins Yarn at Die Laughing

Geeks Without GodDie Laughing was an amazing experience for a lot of reasons but one of them was the opportunity to record a couple of live episodes.  Audience feedback really makes the podcast so much more fun.

This week’s episode features local comedian Elizabeth Ess.  She wanted to talk about the Hobby Lobby case now before the Supreme court and we were happy to oblige.  We spent a long time talking about the details of that case and making jokes.

There were also a lot of interruptions as we tried to reach our fundraising goal.  I thought I was going to cut the interjections out but in listening to the raw file, it actually was kind of fun.  Hopefully listeners will agree.

I edited a few things – mostly conversations with people in the back of the room – but for the most part, the episode is as originally recorded.

So hey, if you want to hear us talk about religious liberty and head shaving, this is the episode for you!

I Am Privileged!

As Facebook slowly transitions away from a site where people say meaningful things about their lives to a site where people post the results of  various buzz feed quizzes that report on important personality traits like your alignment (I’m chaotic good), what Firefly Character you are (I’m Luke Skywalker), how long you would survive a zombie apocalypse (I died of a heart attack when I saw the report on television) or what kind of ladder you use to change a lightbulb (a badly balanced stack of used video cartridges).

The most popular quiz for the last few days has been a 100 question quiz on how privileged you are.

Before I go any further, I’m going to ignore the fact that everyone taking the quiz should have scored at least a 20% because of the fact they had the free time to take a 100 question quiz on the internet.  Right there you are doing a lot better than most.

So I filled out the quiz and my score was 68 out of 100.  It seems like I’m fairly privileged.  I was surprised, though, because as a straight white male with some amount of financial success, I expected I would be swimming in privilege.  About the only way I don’t have privilege is because I’m an atheist and I am not part of the wealthiest 1%.

I probably would be if I sold those video cartridges.

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On Natural and Unnatural Hair Loss

984035_10152368464124540_8836301962623702556_nI’m not a vain man.

By that I mean that I’m not obsessed with my looks.  I don’t think that there was ever a time in my life when I was considered “hot” and, at 46, I don’t think I’m likely to start turning heads now.

If I allow myself any vanity, it is in the fact that I have nice hair.  My hair is thick and soft and shows no signs of receding.  I’m going to have this hair long after any other attractive feature I possess has ceased to be an asset.

I remember a time when I was about twenty.  My brother had decided he wanted a mohawk.  I came home one night and my mom was sitting with him in the living room.  He was wearing a hat.

She was wearing an expression of quiet disapproval.

His expression was one of gleeful triumph.

The conversation went something like this:

“Hello, what’s going on?”  I said because it would have taken someone completely oblivious to miss the implication that something awkward was, in fact, going on.

“Your brother…” my mom began and then stopped.  My brother can grin in a way that is extremely unsettling.  It is the grin of someone who is prepared to do something entirely unpleasant (but non-harmful) at any moment.

That was the way he was grinning as my mom tried to answer my simple question.

“Oh…” she finally said, “just show him.”

David whipped the hat off his head to reveal a completely bald pate.  He’d even shaved the stubble.

“I shaved my head!” he cried.

“It feels awesome!  Here!”

This is when he charged across the room and began to rub his bald head against my bare skin so I could share in the experience of his baldness.  It felt pretty weird.

“Isn’t that weird?” he asked.

The whole situation was weird.

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Putting it Together – Die Laughing

I’m moving my Putting it Together blog to Sunday.  It used to be on Monday but I decided to switch things up.  If you are OCD, this is probably messing with you. Otherwise, you probably don’t care.

As I write this, we aren’t even halfway through Die Laughing.  I don’t know if we’ll manage to raise the funds we hope to raise with this insane idea.  I really hope we make it (looks like we will).  I’ll tell you one thing about this crazy show I already know – I want to do it again.

Running a theatre company is expensive.  And the more you want to do, the more expensive it gets.  I would love to tell you that everyone can raise all the funds they need from ticket sales but the truth is, there is hardly a company in existence that makes all of their money that way.  Fundraising is a reality that most companies will have to face.

So we have to raise money.  The idea, however, is to find ways to make the fundraising enjoyable.  Because nobody likes asking for money all the time.  And people get tired of being asked.

Making it enjoyable for the audience is obvious.  I’d like people to show up for some percentage of a fifty hour marathon.  I’d like to believe they will enjoy some of it.

But it also has to be enjoyable for the people putting on the event.  Any event that lasts fifty hours is a lot of work.  If you aren’t having any fun, you probably shouldn’t be doing it.

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I Don’t Know If I Can Make Anyone Die Laughing But I May Just Die Trying!

This weekend, Fearless Comedy will be putting on Die Laughing, a fifty hour comedy marathon.  Right now, it looks like we might get hammered with a massive snow storm as the event starts but that doesn’t matter.  We’re going to make this show happen.

The good news is that the entire event will be streaming so you can watch it even if you decide to cower in your home.  And I’ll be doing a lot of performing that weekend.  Here’s a schedule if you are just going nuts wondering when I’ll be on stage again.

Friday, April 4th, 7:00 PM – Big Fun Radio Funtime

We’ll be doing encore presentations of two of our favorite scripts and then Geoffrey Brown and I will perform 30 minutes of original Citizens’ Band tunes!  We’ll also introduce our weekend long songwriting challenge.

Friday, April 4th – 10:00 PM – Vilification Tennis

There will be insults a-plenty and Duck Washington will debut as our newest cast member!  Also, Kelvin Hatle will present his brilliant “News from Lake Vilbegone.”

Friday, April 4th – 11:00 PM – Geeks Without God

We’ll be recording a live podcast featuring comedian Patrick Bauer.  The topic will be Tarantino movies.  Pop culture reference!

Saturday, April 5th – 4:00 PM – PowerPoint Karaoke

I’ll be sitting in judgement on comedians who are making up a presentation from scratch!  Is it far that I judge them?  Yes it is fair!  For I am ME and I SHALL wield petty power!

Saturday, April 5th – 8:00 PM – 12:00 AM – Hosting

I won’t be the star of the show but I’ll be introducing them!

Sunday, April 6th – 1:00 AM - Geeks Without God

Our second live podcast will feature Elizabeth Ess!  We are going to talk about Hobby Lobby and birth control.  Should be totally filled with comedy about knitting.  There is also a decent chance I’ll be bald at this point.

Sunday, April 6th – 2:00 PM – Judging a Book By It’s Cover

I’ll be hosting this silly game in which contestants must describe the plot of a book based only on the cover illustration.

Sunday, April 6th – 6:00 PM – The Dregs

The Dregs will be doing our music and comedy thing with a special challenge to help raise money.  Song choices go to the highest bidder!

Sunday, April 6th – 8:00 PM – Fearless Lab

A completely random hour of Fearless Comedy!  And I’m the host!  If Geoffrey and I get paid to write any songs, we’ll be performing them during this final hour of the marathon!  It’ll be awesome!  I’m using all exclamation points because I’ll probably be hopped up on Five Hour Energy Drink at this point in the weekend!

Duck Duck Grey Duck

The United States of America is a country divided.  Never has there been so bitter a battle than the war over a simple little children’s game.

The civil war was just a skirmish compared to this fight and we, the proud warriors of Minnesota must stand alone.

It is a simple question that divides us.  One even more important to our self-worth than the question of whether or not we are drinking “soda” or “pop” or even “soda pop.”

Is it “Duck Duck Goose” or is it “Duck Duck Grey Duck?”

The rest of the country says Goose.  They turn up their noses at Minnesotans who have, apparently, failed to recognize that there is no other way to play this game.  Conform, Minnesota!  Conform!

Minnesota defiantly responds that no!  We will not conform! We haven’t ruined “Duck Duck Goose.”  We have fixed it.

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Putting it Together – Five Fifths

Putting it Together is my Monday “artist talking about art stuff blog”.  The title comes from “Sunday in the Park with George,” the best (and possibly only) musical that is entirely dedicated to an artist talking about his art.  Is that pretentious enough?

Sometimes you get exactly what you want and then you realize all the reasons you may not have wanted it.

The Minnesota Fringe Festival does a big fundraiser every year wherein they invite five producers to write one fifth of a familiar pop culture property.  When it comes to writing comedy, pop culture parody is kind of my wheelhouse.  I have been super hopeful that someday I would be asked to write a fifth because that’s my thing!

So this year, I’ve been asked to write a fifth.  And when I got asked I was really excited and happy because, as I said, this is completely my thing!

The movie in question is The Shining and I love The Shining.  Not in a crazy Room 237 kind of way, you understand. It is a great film that offers so many exciting possibilities for satire.  Some of which haven’t even been featured on “The Simpsons!”

Many of which I can squeeze into the fifteen minutes that shall be mine to bend to my will!

So excited!

What happens after that initial excitement about what I get to do, however, is the realization that I just agreed to actually do it.  Then the doubt creeps in.

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The King Has Returned

I’ve often said that the Oscars are given out too early.  If you really want to know what movie is the Best Picture of a particular year, wait ten years and then hand out the awards.  I’d bet most of the time you would get a different result.

2004, however, was the year The Return of the King won Best Picture and something tells me that we wouldn’t see too many people shouting for Peter Jackson to return his trophy.  I wonder, though, how the movie would have been different if it had been about another King.

Not Elvis.  I don’t know crap about Elvis.

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A Plompf Of Cats

My family owns four cats.

After about ten minutes of research on the internet, I have determined that we are not crazy cat people.  In order to qualify as crazy cat people, we would need to have reached at least double digit cat ownership.  We are no fewer than six cats short of crazy cat person status.

We do own one more cat than the city we call home allows.  You are permitted up to three dogs and three cats.  Four cats, however, is excessive and you must be stopped.  To ensure that our children will not have to deal with the trauma of police bashing down our doors and forcibly removing one of our cats, I am keeping our city of residence a closely guarded secret.

My wife, who frequently takes an afternoon nap, spends a lot more time with the cats than I do.  In the afternoon, all four of them can usually be found on the bed.  When all four of them are curled up in a single mound of contentment, she has decided to refer to the resulting pile of fur, feet and ears as a “Plompf.” I think this is because it roughly emulates the noise a cat makes when it jumps up onto the bed and flops into position.

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This is a very contented plompf

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