Wednesday, October 31, 2007

A Halloween Miracle

Well, not quite a miracle, but a delightful story nonetheless.

So, I was coming home from a delightful Halloween party at my friends' place* in Morningside Heights, dressed in my painstakingly accurate Shaun-from-Shaun of the Dead costume. Looking to snag a cab, I raised my cricket bat in cab-hailing formation. My wife, seeing a police car down the street, scolded me to put my bat down, apparently afraid that the fuzz would mistake us for a roving gang of cricket hooligans.

Sure enough, at the nearest light, the police car stopped, rolled down the window, and the cop in the passenger seat yelled...

"Hey! Why don't you try throwing records at the taxis!?"

Now, like most folks under the age of, say, 35, I have ambivalent feelings about the police. Living in NYC (and in not the world's nicest neighborhood) I'm always happy to see them around. Still, I have the usual fear of people with lots and lots of authority and guns.

However, this police officer not only identified my costume from 30 feet away, thought of a funny and appropriate-to-Shaun of the Dead remark, and yelled it to me. In that moment, to me, he was truly New York's finest.

Bravo, cop. Bravo.

*One of said friends being inimitable children's literature blogger Betsy "Fuse #8," who gave The Flop House a beautiful shout-out over at her School Library Journal site. Thanks to her for that, although god knows what her audience will make of the podcast. Thankfully she makes clear just how profane we tend to get.

Monday, October 29, 2007


Well, the previews are over (as is... well... the first show -- yeah, I sort of dropped the ball in promoting this), but there are still TWO chances to see Zombira's Scaretaculous Halloween Horrortacular (a sketch show) this Halloween season.

Advance tickets are available (without any service charge!) at Brown Paper Tickets. We share the bill with Jameson Bartleby's Haunted Hayride featuring Jeremiah Murphy (fans of the summer show might remember him as Sealegs McGoo). Also, Monday (tonight)'s show will be preceded by the Disgraceland Family freak show. So if you wanna see a freak show, tonight's the night to come. If you wanna avoid a freak show, come see us tomorrow.

Zombira's Scaretaculous Halloween Horrortacular
Part of the Big Bang at MC2
October 29, and 30 at 8 PM

The Sage Theater

711 7th Avenue

Times Square, Manhattan

8PM, $12

"ZSHH" is your #1 resource for sketches involving me in a pirate hat and jumpsuit.

The Flop House Episode Five is ONLINE

In the second of our special Halloween episodes, the gang gets caught in the deathtrap that is Saw III. Meanwhile, Simon spins an elaborate handstand analogy, Stuart gets turned on by Icyface, and Dan offers Jigsaw's girlfriend a little relationship advice.

Download it here, or paste into iTunes (or your favorite podcatching software) to have new episodes delivered to you directly, as they're released.

0:00 - 0:40 - Introduction and the special "Halloween Remix" Flop House Theme
0:40 - 2:31 - Partial synopsis of Saw III, courtesy of Wikipedia
2:32 - 29:49 - Does unremitting torture and pain appeal to you? Then, why not watch Saw III, so you can experience a little of it? ZING! You got zinged, Saw III!
29:50 - 32:53 - Final judgements.
32:54 - 36:57 - The sad bastards recommend.
39:01 - 43:00 - Podcasty business, next show teaser, goodbyes, theme, and outtakes.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007


Zombira's Scaretaculous Halloween Horrortacular, the sketch show that played to full and delighted houses last October is back for this Halloween season! It sports half the original cast, and half NEW BLOOD, but all the sketches from last year will be represented, as well as an all-new bonus sketch, at no additional charge to you, the discerning Halloween sketch show consumer. Whatta deal!

The dates are Thursday the 25, Sunday the 28th, Monday the 29th, and Tuesday the 30th (so you don't have to miss any weekend Halloween party fun, to enjoy the show) at 8 PM. Thursday's preview performance is "pay what you can." Advance tickets are available (without any service charge!) at Brown Paper Tickets. We'll be sharing the bill with Jameson Bartleby's Haunted Hayride featuring Jeremiah Murphy (fans of the summer show might remember him as Sealegs McGoo), and the Disgraceland Family, a real live freak show. (Epiphone, the dramatic improvisors, come on after intermission, so if dramatic improv doesn't sound fun to you, that's the time to cut out.)

So come, celebrate your Halloween by seeing a bunch of people dressed up in silly costumes... uh... hmn... but, BUT, they'll be acting in funny scenes, instead of drunk off mulled cider in your buddy's apartment. And also...


Friday, October 12, 2007

Halloween Video Cavalcade!

I used to be part of a monthly talk show called "The Primetime Kalan," with my friends Elliott and Erik. Last year around this time, we had our Halloween show, which we hosted as "Ghost Hunting Club of New York," three paranormal scholars who went to various locations in the NY area, trying to catch a ghost. (A side note: our guest for that show was The Daily Show's Dan Bakkedahl, who showed up in a helmet and knee pads, claiming that he thought we were the "Go Stunting" club.)

Anyway, it's taken a year for them to show up online, but here, for the very first time, are the Primetime Kalan Ghost Hunting Videos! (Cinematography courtesy of Brock Mahan)

Video One: "Grant's Tomb" - by Elliott Kalan

Video Two: "The Jersey Devil" - by Dan McCoy

Video Three: "The Yeti of Williamsburg" by Erik Marcisak

And, as a special bonus, I offer this fourth video. It was done by Elliott, Erik, and former show director-turned-Flavor-of-Love-editor Joe Guercio long before I was involved with the Kalan show. Still, you can see that this video share many of the same themes from the ghost hunting shorts (for instance, the conviction that pipes, 80's-style montages, and Photoshop are the tickets to comedy success), proving that it was inevitable that I'd join the group eventually.

Just one bit of background: R2-D2 was Elliott's "co-host" on his show, until they decided to abandon that bit. This video was produced to explain his absence from the show, but you don't really need to know that to enjoy the video, other than one or two stray comments.

WARNING: Do not watch if you are sensitive to violence against robots

"The End of R2-D2"

Monday, October 08, 2007

In Which I Make a Theological Argument

Here's something that originated as a reading I did on Fist City a few months back...

Blessed Are the Vulpine
In 1965, Presbyterian minister Robert L. Short saw the publication of his book, The Gospel According to Peanuts, which used characters and episodes from Charles Schultz’s long-running strip Peanuts to illustrate lessons about Christian philosophy, and to teach theology through the easily accessible medium of the comics page.

While I admire the work of the honorable reverend Short, I cannot help but think he backed the wrong pony, allegoric-crypto-graphically speaking. For I believe that the truest moral lessons can be gleaned from a close examination of that chaplain of the comics page, Slylock Fox.

For what is more key to any religion than the law? Whether it be the Torah in Judaism; the Ten Commandments in Christianity; or the Criminal Code for the United Federation of Anthropomorphic Animals in Slylock Fox, the law is the cornerstone of an ethical society. And who upholds the law? Not Max Mouse, the ineffectual but well-meaning everymouse. No—while virtuous, Max is unable to combat the evil forces aligning against him, whether they plan to steal boxes of cupcakes or to distribute counterfeit bubble gum cards. Max must seek solace in a higher power—specifically a Fox smart enough to notice that known counterfeiter Kopy Kat seems to be chewing a lot of gum these days. Through Slylock, I have learned that God helps those too incompetent to help themselves.

Slylock Fox is filled with such lessons. Consider The Parable of the Empty Room With the High Safe, wherein a safe is found burgled, despite being several feet off the ground, in a room with nothing to stand on. How was it done? Would it surprise you to learn that the thief stood on a block of ice to crack the safe, and then allowed the ice to melt, thus eliminating the evidence? Of course it wouldn’t. You’ve read a locked-room mystery before. But the solution only yields more mysteries. Like: why isn’t there anything else in the room? Is putting a safe on a pillar in the middle of an empty room really an effective security strategy? Isn’t it difficult to attempt delicate safe-cracking while atop a slippery ice block? And where did the ice come from? If the thief had access to ice, couldn’t they procure something slightly more useful, like a ladder? The moral is: sometimes that which seems most pressing is the simplest mystery to solve, while we are constantly surrounded by evidence of the universe’s ultimate unknowability. Also, if you’re gonna steal, you should find some way to work ice into it.

From Slylock Fox, I have learned that all bad people have curly, old-time-serial moustaches, and/or black eye masks. And they have names like Count Weirdly, Reeky Rat, Slick Smitty, Wanda Witch, and Shady Shrew, making them easy to be identified and avoided. On the other hand, if you encounter someone named Extraordinary Egret, or Likestagiveablowjob Lynx, you should pursue their friendship ardently.

We followers of the fox, or Zorroastrians, as we like to be called, know that even the virtuous can be tempted, and that sin can come in pleasing forms, namely that of comely thief Cassandra Cat. Still, despite the temptation of her two, full, human-style bosoms, rather than the traditional four cat nipples—and despite the tight catsuit that she wears, which manages to emphasize her shapely hindquarters, while de-emphasizing her tail—Slylock knows that she is evil at heart, and that for him to couple with her would be as wrong as a human man going on and on about a cartoon cat’s full bosoms. We mustn’t give into temptation, no matter how well-drawn.

Some may take issue with my position, believing instead that the meek will inherit the earth, and thus Ziggy is the true cartoon messiah; or that the truth can only be found in the Zen koan-like unfunniness of Fred Bassett. Beware these false idols. Some may question the seriousness of Slylock Fox as a comprehensive system of religious teachings, noting that its full title is Slylock Fox & Comics for Kids. But did the prophet Whitney Houston not proclaim the children are our future? Checkmate, doubters.

All I know is that any creature who would willingly, and without species prejudice, help out Aaron Aardvark, Cliff Cat, Dumpty Dog, Buford Bear, Bradford Bloodhound, Carl Cardinal, Stewey Stork, Basher Bull, Earl Elephant, Don Dove, Bobby Beaver, Terry Turtle, Chester Chick & Mrs Chicken, Henry Hippo, Kenny Kangaroo, Tompkin Tapir, Charlie Chimp, Dippy Duck, Roxy Rabbit, Oswald Ostrich, Horace Hippo, Edward Eagle, Robert Raccoon, Fred Flamingo, Andy Anteater, Manny Monkey, and Penrod Penguin, is truly a fox to be emulated.

Please join me in giving solemn offering of 500 fish a day, plus expenses.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

The Flop House Episode Four is ONLINE

In the first of two special Halloween episodes, the team examines the sure-misfire team-up of Jim Carrey and Joel Schumacher, The Number 23. Meanwhile, in a shocking twist, Simon rails against twist endings; Stuart discusses digital sex (in an analog way); and Dan can't quite get a handle on how to name movie characters.

Download it here, or paste into iTunes (or your favorite podcatching software) to have new episodes delivered to you directly, as they're released.

0:00 - 0:37 - Introduction and the special "Halloween Remix" Flop House Theme
0:38 - 4:11 - Synopsis of The Number 23, courtesy of Wikipedia
4:12 - 34:00 - Wouldn't it be spooky if this segment was TWENTY-THREE MINUTES LONG? No? It wouldn't? Then you've learned the chilling secret of The Number 23.
34:01 - 36:40 - Final judgements.
36:41 - 40:52 - The sad bastards recommend.
40:53 - 44:07 - Next show teaser, goodbyes, theme, and outtakes.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Recycling Center: Rejected Jokes Edition

The joke submitting season begins anew, and another crop of jokes withers and dies, to be reborn on my poorly-read blog...

Marcel Marceau, the world famous French mime, died this week at the age of 84, after a long battle with invisible walls.

China has banned "sexually provocative sounds" on television. Bad news for their hit show, “Squish Squish Moan Squirt.”

The Los Angeles City Attorney has filed hit and run charges against Britney Spears relating to in an incident in August, although her defense attorney argued that Britney hasn’t had a hit in years.

A new report says that there are now fewer gay characters on television than in previous years with only seven characters on the five broadcast networks, six of which were Rosie O’Donnell.

According to a new bill introduced in Congress, airlines would be required to set aside a place within the cabin where parents could seat their children out of range of PG-13 or R-rated movies shown on overhead screens. Also according to that bill: YOU will be seated directly in front of those children.

Columbia University's president sparked a controversy this week when he defended Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's appearance on campus by saying that he would also have allowed Hitler to speak to the students – a stance that seems less brave, when you consider that Hitler would address the crowd in German, and is also a corpse.

NASA's chief said Monday that the space agency plans to put a man on Mars by 2037. And, with luck, that man will be Dick Cheney.

In a rare trip outside the National Archives, the Emancipation Proclamation is on display for four days in Little Rock, prompting a few residents to say, “Lincoln did what now?”

According to a new study, germs such as salmonella that go into space on a rocket, come back to Earth stronger and deadlier… which is why experts recommend never eating a chicken salad sandwich that’s been to space and back on a rocket.

Google has blocked a bid to trademark the name "JewTube," because it sounds too similar to their YouTube video sharing site. Business analysts were not surprised that the bid was cut short, as they had predicted that any JewTube would be circumcised.