Archive for the ‘Comedy’ Category

No laughing matter

October 9, 2018

ABQ Studios. Just take a left turn at Albuquerque.

No joke: Netflix, which seems to have cornered the market on standup comedy, is investing in Marc Maron’s old hometown of Albuquerque.

The streaming service is acquiring ABQ Studios from Pacifica Ventures, with a $14 million economic-development assist from the state and city, and says it anticipates bringing a billion smackers and up to 1,000 production jobs per annum over 10 years to our little corner of the cinematic universe.

Terms of the deal have yet to be disclosed.

Netflix has produced in New Mexico before, of course — there’s “Longmire,” “Godless” and some Adam Sandler vehicle that I will watch just as soon as there’s nothing else on TV and I’m chained to a chair with my eyelids wired open.

And ABQ Studios, which opened for business in April 2007, has hosted everybody’s favorite Duke City drug drama, “Breaking Bad,” along with bits of Marvel’s “Avengers” franchise, according to Variety.

“Our experience producing shows and films in New Mexico inspired us to jump at the chance to establish a new production hub here,” said Ty Warren, Netflix veep for physical production.

“The people, the landscape and the facilities are all stellar and we can’t wait to get to work — and employ lots of New Mexicans — creating entertainment for the world to enjoy.”

This has to be considered good news, which we so rarely discuss here, and I’ll look forward to learning more of the deets once the cheerleaders drop their pompoms and the joyful noise abates somewhat.

In the meantime, if you don’t have a Netflix subscription please acquire same with all possible speed. We need to make that $14 mil’ back before all these Netflix execs get their cars stolen.

Unstuffed

April 28, 2017

In my last post I mentioned that we live in a desert, by which I meant an actual desert, the Chihuahuan.

Soon we will be living in a consumer desert as well, if Herself has anything to say about it.

Her elder sister and niece have been earning some pocket money hawking items on eBay, and their enthusiasm for the activity has proven contagious. Herself has begun working our overgrown unused-goods orchard like an undocumented immigrant, plucking low-hanging fruit like her unworn Oakleys, my still-functional Flip UltraHD camcorder, and our fifth-generation iPods for sale to the slavering hordes of bargain hunters at large on the Innertubes.

She also required me to drag her old Cannondale R800 down to this weekend’s BikeABQ bike swap at Sport Systems, where the 23-year-old machine is certain to fetch dozens of dollars. If anyone in the vicinity needs a low-mileage, made-in-USA, 48cm road bike, this sucker is the last nickel bargain in America.

There’s all manner of crap cluttering up El Rancho Pendejo, and none of it is safe. Soon, if we’re not careful, we’ll be forced to go out and get … more stuff!

Shit and bad luck

January 13, 2017

 

Today, Friday the 13th, should be Inauguration Day.

In support of my argument I refer you to the renowned political scientist George Carlin.

Trump and Carson Meet ISIS

November 20, 2015

Speaking of bozos

June 22, 2015
Phil Austin popped round the blog a few years back to say, "Thanks for the insurrection."

Phil Austin popped round the blog a few years back to say, “Thanks for the insurrection.”

It had completely slipped my mind, but Phil Austin actually dropped by the blog back in 2009 to squeeze the wheeze (honk honk) and tip us off to a quartet of shows The Firesign Theatre had scheduled in Hollywood.

He will be missed. And thanks to Mike Deme for sending me to Doctor Memory with this remembrance from Mike Tiano.

I have yet to hear word one from John Cleese.

One less bozo on the bus

June 21, 2015
A fragment of the Firesign collection here at Ed Siegelman's Ground Zero Equal Opportunity Apartments, purchased from the fine folks at Giant Toad Supermarkets.

A fragment of the Firesign collection here at Ed Siegelman’s Ground Zero Equal Opportunity Apartments, purchased from the fine folks at Giant Toad Supermarkets.

Nick Danger is no longer at The Old Same Place. Phil Austin, who voiced that character and so many others for The Firesign Theatre, went west on Thursday. He was 74.

I stumbled across Firesign in high school, years before I ever heard of Monty Python, and snapped up almost every bit of work that they did, either as a group — a collective self-dubbed “Four or Five Crazee Guys” for the invisible fifth person that arose from their collaboration — or as fragments thereof.

The collection includes the widely known (“Don’t Crush That Dwarf, Hand Me the Pliers,” “Waiting for the Electrician or Someone Like Him,” “I Think We’re All Bozos on This Bus”) and the less so (“Everything You Know Is Wrong,” “In the Next World You’re On Your Own,” and “The Tale of the Giant Rat of Sumatra”). I got ’em all, on vinyl, CD and occasionally both.

Some friends and I had the good fortune to catch their act in Denver once, Back In the Day™. You can keep your Beatles, Stones, and Dead, thanks. I got my Firesign, and that’s better than a pile of groatcakes soaked in 30-weight with an entrenching tool within easy reach.

Fellow Firesign Peter Bergman beat Austin out the door in 2012. Or maybe he’s on the other side of the album! I’d better check. …

• Late update: Any Firesign fans out there packing iPhones? Tell Siri, “This is Worker speaking,” or ask her, “Why does the porridge-bird lay its eggs in the air?” I’d forgotten that Austin did some voiceover work for Apple commercials, and it seems that “Bozos” may have struck a chord with the Black Turtleneck Mob.

Your moment of Zen

February 11, 2015

Ah, Jonny, we hardly knew ye. Even after 16 years.

I saw this coming a while back. His was a fine line to walk with an impossible burden to bear — being both a comedian and a newsman at the same time. He knew it was wrong, but he did it anyway.

And Jon Stewart was very good at it, for a very long time.

But it had become clear that he’d lost his enthusiasm for professional multiple-personality disorder — Am I a comedian? A newsman? Something else entirely? — and the nightly performance anxiety must have been withering, with acolytes and assholes alike hanging on his every word.

The targets of his barbs will be cackling with glee and flinging a few feeble darts of their own in his direction as he departs. That will be irksome, but not as irksome as wondering who — if anyone — can follow Jon Stewart’s act.

What, now we have to start paying attention to the real news? That shit don’t be funny, yo.

• Editor’s note: The video up top may be Jon Stewart’s first interview. It’s a clip from the special “George Carlin: 40 Years of Comedy,” which first aired in February 1997. If you’ve never seen it, check Kindly Old Doc Google. You probably won’t find the entire thing in one place, but there are bits here and here and here.

R.I.P., Robin Williams

August 11, 2014

There should be a law against really funny people doing themselves in.

I’m talking the harshest possible punishment here: Bring them back to life and make them be funny some more.

That’ll teach ’em.

June bugged

June 1, 2014
The Old Guy got a radical kit makeover for the Giro.

The Old Guy got a radical kit makeover for the Giro.

You ever get the feeling someone hit the fast-forward button on your own personal reality? Lately it seems as though I’m stuck in a high-speed loop — wake up, snag a cup of mud, plunk down before the iMac, and then suddenly it’s bedtime. Repeat ad infinitum.

For instance, how the hell did it get to be June already? The Giro just wrapped, and the Dauphiné starts next Sunday? What is it, racing season or something? Next you’ll be telling me the Tour’s just around the corner.

Consigliere Pelkey and I had a high ol’ time calling the Giro over at Live Update Guy. He solved the never-ending software problem by getting a colleague to build him some, and it worked just swell. Not a lot of bells and whistles, but you don’t need many of those for the sort of one-ring circus we run.

That tent folded this morning. Tomorrow I have an Adventure Cyclist deadline, and Thursday my Bicycle Retailer contributions are due. In between we have Herself’s mother and sisters in residence at The House Back East™, so, yes, my dance card is all filled up for a while yet, thanks for asking.

Also tomorrow, Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference kicks off in San Francisco, and the usual oracles are predicting bits of this, that and the other.

I’m hoping the elves of Cupertino have been busy stomping bugs in Mavericks, because the old iBeast has been acting out now and then since I pulled the trigger on the OS upgrade (our fourth, after Herself’s MacBook Pro, the Mac Mini we use to stream video, and my MacBook Air). Those newish machines are all ticking along without incident, but with the 2009 iToad I’ve seen hard crashes that can’t be force-quit away; mystery reboots not ordered by Your Humble Narrator; and other oddball ailments that have me spending way too much off-the-clock time discussing diagnoses with kindly old Doc Google.

Right this moment all is well, but boy, does Mavericks ever use a metric shit-ton of whatever memory you have installed. I have 12 GB in the iThing, and more than once over the weekend Activity Monitor reported that 11 of it was in use.

Meanwhile, the 2006 MacBook limps along just fine with Snow Leopard and 2 GB of memory. Go figure.

Wave dynamics redux

June 18, 2013
Five reasons you should wave back.

Five reasons you should return a friendly wave.

Editor’s note: The Twitterati are abuzz with references to various wave/not wave essays, which goes to show you that the times, they are not a-changin’, no matter what Mr. Dylan said. I wrote this piece for Bicycle Retailer and Industry News back in 1995.

I swear to Eddy Merckx, the next time I wave cheerily at a passing cyclist and he just gives me The Look, I’m gonna chase his arrogant ass down, knock him off his bike, drag him back to my house and chain him to a wind trainer in front of the television, where a steady diet of anaerobic-threshold intervals and “Full House” reruns — coupled with a chamois full of red ants and occasional encouragement from a Bull Buster cattle prod — should drive home the argument that courtesy is the grease which keeps society’s bottom bracket spinning freely.

What is with these guys? Unlike passing motorists, I generally wave with all five fingers on a given hand, and there are no pentagrams tattooed on my palms. Has the mousse that grips their so-carefully coiffed ’dos soaked through their scalps to enmire the already-sluggish machinations of their brains? Are their Oakleys so dark that they simply can’t see my friendly salutation? Have they heard the ugly rumors about me, their sisters and the Sonoran donkey?

Beats me. I have no answers. But, as you might expect, I have a few theories. And here they are:

• Me Cool, You Lame — You, the non-waver, may think that your bike and/or cycling attire is way neater than mine, and that to wave would be to compromise your coolness. But I’m a Media Dude, see, and that means my bike is so much cooler than anybody else’s that I have to let it get all grunged up and filthy-looking just to keep wanna-bes like Claudia Schiffer and Tom Hanks from trying to steal it. Should anyone make off with this bike, of course, I can track them by the hideous shrieking of its 4-year-old, unlubed Dura-Ace chain. But I won’t bother, because I’ve got three or four even cooler ones at home that I never, ever ride, and I didn’t pay a nickel for any of them. Hahahahah.

• I Have a Goatee and You Do Not. This is a corollary to Me Cool, You Lame. It’s also on a par with thinking a Murray preferable to a Merlin. I sport a full salt-and-pepper beard and a sizable bald spot because of a nagging case of testosterone poisoning picked up in Vietnam when I was teaching Chuck Norris all about karate. You, on the other hand, wear a straggly soup-strainer named for a smelly barnyard animal fond of eating garbage, and it doesn’t even cover your zits all that well. As my daddy was fond of saying, if you can’t grow more hair on your face than you can on your butt, you should shave.

• I’m Too Scared to Take One Hand Off the Bars. This is a theory with potential, since most velo-snobs seem to spend all their free time rifling Mom’s purse for the cash to buy purple chainrings and trying to trials-ride the tables at Espresso Yourself instead of practicing basic cycling skills, like waving to other cyclists, riding a straight line, and and blowing your nose without getting boogers all over your Banesto jersey.

• I’m Dumber Than a Food Stamp Office Full of Suntour Executives. Also a theory with potential, this assumes big lag time between the eyes registering an occurrence — a friendly wave, a big smile, the development of trouble-free indexed shifting — and the brain processing the information: “Duhhh … hand up; smile on face; duhhhh … he was WAVING, George! Yuh, yuh, that’s right … he was WAVING, George! Can I pet the rabbits now, George?” That’s a Steinbeck reference, dude. Jeez, four years in grammar school and four years of reform school, and you didn’t learn nothing in either place.

• Don’t Bother Me, I Am a Racer. “Look, Marlin, it’s a USCF licensee! And here we thought they were extinct! We’ve got to move quickly — I’ll get the tranquilizer rifle and the ear tags; you call the Smithsonian and National Geographic!

• Exercise is Serious Business. Sure it is. So is getting chained to a wind trainer by an irate stranger with a sound-proofed basement, an ant farm and a cattle prod. Think about it … then wave.