Friday, January 30, 2009

Family Update

I mentioned Renee had to go out of town last weekend. I didn't mention why out of respect for her privacy. I wasn't sure it was my or the blog's place to give details about her mom's condition until she was comfortable talking about it. Now Renee feels we should get the word out so here she is:

"This is my first time as a guest-blogger, but I am a frequent commenter…. I wanted to start by saying thank you to all of you for your thoughts/prayers/well wishes! J

As Jon mentioned the other day, I had to be out of town quickly, and I am soooooo happy it was just a quick trip!
My mother was in a brief coma [Tues night, 1/22] and snapped out as soon as her kids arrived [fully awake on Mon 1/26]! I know we were all excited to see Obama take office, but this was a bit of an extreme reaction. We do have a lot to learn about what exactly happened, but are very happy Ben’s Grandma is still around to get the smootches she needs!
We have set up an update-page through the hospital too, so feel free to check it out and send your well wishes!"

We all hope Roxanne gets well soon.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

William Shatner on the Muppet Show Update

After 167,005 hits, "William Shatner on the Muppet Show" has been censored for copyright issues. WGA doesn't like it. They didn't produce Shatner's "Has Been" album so I have no idea what stake they have in this. But considering I haven't made a dime off it (or gotten any spots from it. Or even had it kill in front of a live audience) it makes no sense.

Luckily, they haven't found this yet.

And now I've told them about it. Oh, hell.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Long Day

Just concluded a very long, very screamy 13 hours with Ben. This after an entire weekend alone while Renee had to fly out of town. So I'm posting veyr late and stealing a video form Ed Murray's blog.

On second thought, screw that. I'm not stealing his hits. Go to Ed's blog and watch it. It's worth it.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Seymour Duncan Triple Shot

The NAMM show is running this week. It's basically Toy Fair for guitars. Last year Seymour Duncan announced the P- Rails and this year they've got something just as innovative.

It's a pickup mounting ring that hides two switches. Once wired, they can split from the humbucker to P 90 to single coil. They can even go from series to parallel to phase. All from the pickup itself. This is a huge relief for those who thought they'd have to drill into their guitars or change all their volume and tone knobs.

I was really hoping to get P-Rails this Christmas. It didn't happen but that may be a blessing in disguise. By the time my birthday rolls around, I should be able to grab a set of Triple Shots as well.

Here's the press release.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Oscar Nominations Are In.

And "The Dark Knight" was all but shut out.

Heath Ledger is nominated but that is it. Look at what made it. Preachy dramas released a month ago starring the same actors who were nominated last year and the year before. Sure, Mickey Rourke is a surprise but look at the best actress category and tell me what year this is.

The Academy will tell you it's not about ratings. Which is true. They don't get any. It all has to do with their nomination choices. When does the broadcast do well? When they've nominated movies people see. Titanic. Chicago. Lord of the Rings. These were good years.

Audiences like to treat the Oscars like a sporting event. They pick teams and root for them with every envelope. Elaine Chen has an awesome annual party with a ballot sheet and prizes. Years when I've seen nothing? This is a very hard sheet to fill.

Now you have a film everyone has seen. According to the box office, people have only seen Titanic more. And critics around the world have hailed it as a modern classic. This is the film you choose to ignore. Why? Because it's the sixth in a franchise? Because it has too many explosions? Because you think Brad Pitt aging backwards is more believeable? Get ready to battle an "Office" marathon, "Super Bowl for women".

And Hugh Jackman as host? You don't want me to watch this at all.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Inauguration Jokes

Here's everything I wrote about the inauguration. Unless I get up tonight I can't ever do these again.

How great was the inauguration? After all these years we finally get to see... Bush leave.

The Democrats were glowing. The Republicans were...crippled. What the hell happened to these people? George Bush Sr. came hobbling out. The CNN anchors said, "We don't know what's wrong with him." I figured Frodo threw the ring into Mt. Doom. And evil was falling.

Then Cheney comes out in a wheelchair. This was fantastic. I always thought he was Mr. Potter from "It's a Wonderful Life." Now I have proof. "You're worth more dead than alive, George Bailey!"

You want further proof he's evil? He was wearing a black fedora! The last guy I saw wearing a black fedora was threatening Marion with a poker. "We are not thirsty."

All the celebrities were there. John Cusack, Steven Spielberg. This was an historic moment. It was the closest John Cusack will ever get to Spielberg. He wasn't even in "The Terminal."

You know Obama took his oath on a Bible that was last used for Lincoln? Those rascists. First black president and he can't even get his own Bible.

I wonder how many presidents were turned down for that Bible.
"You know, I'd like to be sworn in on that Lincoln Bible."
"You know, no."
"Why can't I be sworn in on the Lincoln Bible?"
"Because you're Nixon! Come back in four years when you're not Nixon!"

Then CNN covered three hours of a luncheon. They didn't cut away. Wolf Blitzer was on the air saying, "Democrats, they like to eat birds."

So I turned it off. I came back and they were saying, "Ted Kennedy had a seizure during the luncheon." Those Kennedys. Always have to be the center of attention. "Sure there's a new president, but look at me! Stop eating! Pay attention to me! Get me a stretcher!"

That was a good five minutes.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Writer's Room Tonight!

Everyone's very happy about the President today. So I'll be doing lots of jokes about Elmo.

Writer's Room


Bryan Tucker (Saturday Night Live, Chappelle's Show, Chris Rock Show)

Jamie Lee (

Myq Kaplan (Comedy Central's Live @ Gotham)

Maria Shehata (Comedy Central's The Watchlist, Arab American Comedy Festival)

Team Submarine (Sketchfest, Montreal Comedy Festival)

Jon Clarke (McSweeney's)

Mike Drucker (The Onion, Comedy

Tuesday, January 20, 2009
Time: 9:30pm - 10:30pm
Location: The PIT
Street: 154 W. 29th St
City/Town: New York, NY

Monday, January 19, 2009

New NewsGroper Article!

Ricardo Montalban has passed away. And William Shatner couldn't be happier.

Read on!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Ben Xmas

New York. Chicago. Wisconsin. New York. Ben had a great time. I'm still tired.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

The Dark Knight - Direct From Japan

I was rereading my old high school journals. The entries for the summer of 1989 went mostly like this:

"I can't believe it, she used to like me and now she says she doesn't know he liked her and they seemed so happy and why did she say that to me I hate school she should call me back I wish she would just tell me I like her so much and...


That pretty much sums up my life. I've loved Batman since I was old enough to watch the Adam West show. It's a love that never wanes. I've been there for the camp, the Neal Adams run, the death of Robin, the Tim Burton movies, the animated series, the Superfriends, the Schumacher movies, everything. So when The Dark Knight was called the best film of the year, I was very interested. And when these outrageously expensive 12" action figures were released in Japan I was also very interested. Enough to sell some stuff to get them.

Here's the Batman Begins version. It counts in the Dark Knight line as he wore the suit for the first few scenes. This was an Asian exclusive I had shipped from Hong Kong.

And this is the Dark Knight version. Before I got them in hand I hadn't noticed how different the suits are. They're completely different costumes. I have to hand it to Christopher Nolan. Whereas marketing pushed teh directors to redesign the suit every time, he was the only one to come up with a valid reason in the story for one.

I made this Bruce Wayne from spare parts. The Christian Bale head came as an extra with the Batman figure. The body was my left over Indiana Jones and the suit came from my review copy of Mr.White. The whole thing cost me nothing.

And now the Joker. This figure manages to reach the creep level Heath Ledger achieved in the film. Which means Renee doesn't want to look at it.

Since I bought two Batmans, Hot Toys felt they could sell me two Jokers. They were right. Here's the Bank Robber version from the beginning of the film. I may be the only person who loves the line, "No no, I kill the bus driver."

Hot Toys had better reference for this figure so they resculpted Joker's likeness and added it as an extra with the Bank Robber. It's adaptable to the first figure so you can actually improve him. Perfectionism or money grubbing? I refuse to answer.



I'm not even finished. Two-Face is coming in the summer. And if I manage to sell anything else, there's a Batpod and Batmobile in scale. When it comes to Batman, there's no depth of crazy I won't sink.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Sweep Picking

I've been playing the guitar exactly 20 years. I can't play this.

Maybe it's time to take lessons again. He makes it look so easy. Damn you, Frank Gambale!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Facebook and Ambiguity

Ben's at the babysitter's and I'm in town so for once I'm way ahead of my work. So much that I can write an actual post.

I've been avoiding Facebook for the last year or so. I was already on myspace and I hated it. Myspace was a necessity for booking shows but that was all the good it could do. But as everyone migrated away to Facebook (Tim Warner has a joke about that so good I won't steal it) I did too. And I found something strange.

Everyone is here. Not just teenagers and creatives like Myspace. Everyone. My mom is here. Second and third cousins are here. And everyone I went to high school with is here. I feel uncomfortable about it.

There's a kind of "Magic Garden hippie commune" vibe on facebook. Anyone will add you. Anyone. Friends that haven't spoken to me in ten years added me within a day. Bitter feuds are resolved with a right click. I've been adding ex-girlfriends left and right.

And I can keep tabs on them. I can see what my old friends are doing every day. Even if I don't want to know about them, there they are. Taking pictures. Updating status. Going to dinner. There's a familiarity here I don't need. Am I a friend or a voyeur?

There's a few people I miss in my life and they are now my Facebook friends. Does this mean that everyone's cool with me? Should I message them and make jokes like I did twenty years ago? Am I back in their lives or am I just a living reminder of the past? When does it get weird? Besides now, that is?

I'm positive you have facebook friends you don't see in real life. How do you handle it? How do you treat them? How do you sleep at night?

Monday, January 12, 2009

Mark Feigenson's Cars

Collectors understand one another. Last night I dug through three of Robert Yee's closets stacked with toys. Today I'm watching this. Mark is a big vintage collector and most of his tin cars come from the 50's. Here they are. He's got the boxes even though they're not in this video.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Dad's Coming Home!

This Monday. But first I'm taking my last trip down to Baltimore to visit. I'll be in the car all day, know the drill by now.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Happy Birthday Walker!

Walker turns 40 next Tuesday. So let's soften the blow by mentioning it early. That'll help.

He's taking it well. So well that he's producing a giant music festival this Saturday night. I'm hosting and you're invited.

An All ages show Sat night Jan 10th in Rockaway Queens
@ RAA Fort Tilden Studio 6 & 7
Walker and The B.O.T.G.(It's Walker's Birthday)
with special guest B.M.W.A.& College
headline a list of great Queens artists with paintings by
Kim McCabe and Eileen Citarella
musical guests
7pm Cry-Baby
8pm Indaculture
10pm Symptom 7
11pm Rat-Trap Bumkin
12 mid Daha
$10 donation at for RAA from 7pm till 1am

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Hey Bulldog

Here's another prepared piece as I recover from the trip home. It's one of my favorite obscure Beatle tracks and the only Beatle song we used to play live. I HAD NO IDEA THIS FOOTAGE EXISTED. 14 years after the Beatle anthologies and they're still finding more great stuff.

On my way to Chicago I stopped at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. The SG George plays here used to be on display but try as I might, I couldn't find it. Sadly, I think it's been rotated out. That van with my stickers on it is gone too. The bastards.

Monday, January 05, 2009

The Road Back

I'm driving all day today. If you know my number, call me. I could use the conversation.

UPDATE: I got home earlier than I thought. I pulled in at 2:00 a.m. with a speeding ticket, gastric problems from rest stop food and wired on Red Bull. I got ninety minutes sleep and annoyed everyone. And it looks like I blew up my desktop from leaving it on for ten days. Yay, me.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Friday, January 02, 2009

My Trip

Monica totally called me out on this. None of my posts have anything to do with where I've been this week. That's because it's been so busy I've been posting pieces written before I left.

Christmas we went to my Uncle Timmy's for brunch. I dropped Renee and Ben at LGA that night, went home, cleaned a bit, watched the Life of Brian Blu-Ray Monica gave me, recorded with the talk box Renee gave me and went to bed.

The next day I packed, met with Tim a bit (he's watching the cats while we're gone) and took off at 4:30. Charlie couldn't make it, Trafton couldn't make it, Tim couldn't make it so I did the 850 mile drive alone. That playlist was essential.

The drive was strangely uneventful. No one was home when I called so the long conversations on the drive didn't happen. But I didn't feel isolated or bored. I drove for eight hours then pulled into a motel 20 miles from Cleveland.

the next morning

The next day I had a little time so I stopped by the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. It was strangely underwhelming the second time. I remembered all the really cool stuff from five years ago and noticed a few things missing (Robbie Robertson's strat, George Harrison's SG). Even the Wetlands van with my stickers was gone! I also walked into the most ignorant conversation I've hever heard ("Ron Wood was the Rolling Stones's first drummer. He's dead now. Sam and Dave are a folk act. They're still together".) They'll let anyone in these days.

Got to Chicago and crashed. The next day we had Christmas at Renee's dad's. Once you're a father, you're on the road crew of Christmas. There's a big spectacle going on, but you're in the rafters making it work.

Since then, it's been travelling to Renee's mom and staying at Jill's for New Year's (champagne, oven pizza and Goodfellas). And I've finally got a moment to write this. Now if I can get a moment to write those other ten things I promised I'd finish.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Happy New Year!

All that bad stuff I mentioned yesterday? Let's pretend it's gone away.