Thursday, March 31, 2005

Grave Robin


Hi. Remember me? My name is Jason Todd. For a while - back in the crazy 1980s - I was one-half of the dynamic duo: Robin, the Boy Wonder. You knew me as the second Robin, or the least likeable Robin. Trained by the Dark Knight himself - Batman - I inherited the role when the original Robin - Dick Grayson - outgrew his sidekick status and hung up his cape for the more mature guise of Nightwing. Brash, headstrong, and impetuous, I could often be seen leaping into battle, fists swinging while Batman called after me to "wait" or to "be careful." More often than not, I was being held hostage by Two-Face or Scarface or Clayface or some deranged villain with a messed-up face and a grudge. Whatever.

I don't think you guys ever really gave me a chance. True, I was often portrayed as angry, mentally unbalanced, and reckless. But there was another side to me - a side that none of you would ever get to know because you bloodthirsty fanboys picked up the phone and brutally murdered me. Oh, sure, it was the crowbar beating I took from the Joker, added to the bomb explosion that killed me, but you all called it in. But I digress.

See. No one ever liked me. And even though I only wore the Robin outfit for a scant 4 years or so, I was apparently deemed "too unlikable to live." And so, you killed me.

And - oh, irony of ironies - THEN I became popular! Suddenly, you couldn't tell a Batman story without referencing "poor, dead Jason Todd." I became embedded in the Batman mythos: the Robin killed by the Joker, the Robin who died, the Robin who Batman couldn't save. Saint Robin the Second. In life, I was a hoodlum-turned-hero that nobody liked. In death, I became the most devastating loss to Batman since the murder of his parents. The image of Batman holding my broken, limp body became iconic.

I. Was. Immortal.

And now, I can't even have that. You want to rob me of my dignity once again. You can't just leave well enough alone. Noooooo. You need to dig up my rotting corpse and continue exploiting the fanboy culture's morbid curiosity with death and suffering by bringing me back as the Red Hood. Well, let me just say this: I'm flattered that so many people are excited about me and think enough of me to want to see my return. But, where was this show of support when you were all jamming up the phone lines requesting my death?! What, couldn't stand the fact that the hated Jason Todd was forever memorialized in the Batcave, my empty Robin outfit eerily hanging behind a glass display case, a painful reminder of Batman's failure? Did my constant presence in Batman's continuity gnaw at you? Did my importance to the mythos drive you insane? Is that why, ultimately, you have decided to wake me from eternal slumber and shove me back into Batman's living world?

Thank you. Thank you for this final insult, stripping me of my iconic stature and my rightful place in Batman's mythos. Being the dead Robin was the ONE thing I had going for me! Now I'm just another lunatic with a chip on my shoulder and a point to prove; a half-crazed ex-Robin, once thought dead but now running amock in Gotham, alive and kicking, and boosting sales for the Caped Crusader.

You guys hated me so much that you had me killed. And I'm sure this latest stunt will no doubt bring even more hatred and bitteness my way, so at least I've got that to look forward to. Thanks a lot. If you guys hate me so much, why can't you just leave me alone and let me rest in peace?

Lord only knows, if this dumb idea doesn't pan out, you'll probably just have me killed off. Again.

Screw you,

Jason Todd (Robin II)

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Free Technology!

The Supreme Court is currently weighing in on the battle over file-sharing, which has led to Justice David Souter uttering probably my favorite new argument by a Supreme Court Justice:

"I know perfectly well I could go buy a CD and put it in my iPod. But if I also know I could get the music without buying it, why wouldn't I?" This all comes out naturally, as though Souter was listening to his iTunes on the way to work this morning.
(from Slate)

I just really love the idea that Justice Souter and I could both be listening to our iPods on the way home from work today. I wonder if he has Radiohead on his iPod, too.

Friday, March 25, 2005

"Straight up now tell me..."

In 2000, widespread voting irregularities and problems caused confusion and errors in the Presidential Election, throwing its validity into doubt and sparking a call for election reform...which never happened. Ultimately, the Supreme Court stopped the vote count, no solutions were presented, Florida's vote remained screwed-up, and the broken American electoral system remained unfixed.

In 2004, problems persisted in highly contested states, such as Ohio, where outdated machines and understaffed precincts caused numerous reports of voting errors - including some precincts which recorded more votes than voters (I'll let you guess which candidate benefitted from those glitches). Yet, no revote, no electoral reform, no solution offered to fix the problems.

But Fox screws up the vote on American Idol and it's instantly corrected the next night with a complete revote! Yay! Democracy in action! The system works! It just makes me wonder - if an entertaining popularity contest of would-be celebrities garners more respect and faster, more decisive action than the American Presidency, why aren't we voting for the next American President on reality TV? I feel that that may be the only way to save democracy and insure a truly fair vote these days. Or, you know, we could actually allow people to vote.

Speaking of American idols, Paula Abdul is caught in a hit and run. What's the deal Paula? Is it gonna be you and me together (oh oh oh)...are you just having fun?

Ah, well, have some Pie and feel better. Pie!

Thursday, March 24, 2005


Ya know, with all the negativity, bile, and general nastiness going around these days - what with the GOP's morbid cirque macabre and hollow grand-standing - I'd like to take a moment to offer some genuine positive mojo to an otherwise terribly cynical and disheartening week. So, to celebrate the end of the work week, here you go. Some good ol' fashioned American Apple Pie:

Ain't nothin' more wholesome than apple pie, my friends. So, go ahead. Pick up the phone and order yourself up some pie. You've worked hard. You deserve it. Mmmmmm. Pie. So good, you could just wander around the streets of your fair neighborhood, licking your lips and letting your mouth roll over it's sweet-sounding flakey goodness. Mmmmmm. Pie. Ross knows what I'm talking about.


It puts the "good" in Good Friday.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Note to the Weather-gods

Please make it stop snowing and raining simultaneously.

Thank you.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Kung-Fu Zombies

John Rogers is previewing his entire 8-page "Zombie Tales" story on his blog right now. Go check it out. And then order a copy from Boom! Studios.

Monday, March 21, 2005

Is this necessary?

I mean, really.

Comedy is so glamorous

Oh, the life of a struggling comedian is so glamorous! Why, in the past 2 weeks, I've performed in hotspots around the city, from youth hostels to the basements of bars. Just the other day, I had the pleasure of performing a 5 minute set in the middle of the afternoon to a video camera and a handful of comics, with nary an audience in sight. Yes, comedy. The most respected artform of them all.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Sappy Paint Haddy's Day

I mean - hic - Pappy Daint Saddy's Day. Haint Daddy's Say. Saint Paddy's Gay. Hic. Day. Hic.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

GOP Congress rolls over for Male Prostitute

via Raw Story:

The House Judiciary Committee voted against adopting a resolution demanding Bush agencies turn over all credentialing information related to James D. Guckert 21-10, the discredited conservative reporter and prostitute who wrote under the nom de guerre “Jeff Gannon.”

Find out why the GOP doesn't care that a male escort with dubious credentials had unfettered access to secret White House and CIA documents. Call early. Call often. Have friends call. Be respectful. Leave lots of messages. Feel free to e-mail them as well. Let them know you're outraged.

Rep. Howard Coble: (202) 225-3065, (336) 333-5005, (336) 626-3060

Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner: (262) 784-1111, (202) 225-5101

Rep. Lamar Smith: 202-225-4236, 512-402-9743, 210-821-5024

Rep. Steve Chabot: (202) 225-2216, (513) 684-2723

Rep. Chris Cannon: (202) 225-7751, (801) 851-2500,(801) 955-3631

Rep. Spencer Bachus: 202 225-4921, 205 969-2296, 205 333-9894, 205 280-0704

Rep. Randy Forbes: 202-225-6365, 757-382-0080, 804-526-4969,434-634-5575,

Rep. Jeff Flake: (480) 833-0092, (202) 225-2635

Rep. Elton Gallegly: (202) 225-5811, (805) 497-2224,(805) 686-2525

Rep. Trent Franks: 202-225-4576, 623-776-7911

Rep. Louie Gohmert: 202-225-3035

Rep. Bob Goodlatte: (202) 225-5431, (540) 432-2391, (434) 845-8306, (540) 857-2672, (540) 885-3861

Rep. Mark Green: (202) 225-5665, (920) 437-1954, (920) 380-0061,

Rep. John Hostettler: (202) 225-4636, (812) 465-6484, (765) 793-2161,(812) 232-0523,(812) 882-0632

Rep. Bob Inglis: 202-225-6030, 864-232-1141, 864-427-2205, 864-582-6422

Rep. Darrell Issa: 202.225.3906, 760.599.5000, 909.693.2447

Rep. William Jenkins: (202) 225-6356, (423) 247-8161

Rep. Ric Keller: (202) 225-2176, (407) 872-1962, (888) 642-1211, (888) 642-1211

Rep. Steve King: (202) 225-4426, (712) 732-4197, (712) 224 4692, (712) 325-1404

Rep. Dan Lungren: (202) 225-5716, 916-859-9906

Rep. Mike Pence: (202) 225-3021, (765) 640-2919

All contact info was taken from their main congressional websites. Every US Congressman can be found here.

Please feel free to circulate this around the web. Now, get crackin'!

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

For Paul

You know you wanna follow this link.

Work is for suckers.

Somehow, this doesn't make me feel secure

More e-mail. This time, it's to help keep the ol' Homeland secure!

From : You Can Be A Cop
Sent : Tuesday, March 15, 2005 3:41 AM
To : bpoulten
Subject : Homeland Security Is Everyone's Job

Now, I don't really know what's worse: the fact that they've tied Spam mail into the scare tactics of the Dept. of Homeland Security, the fact that they predict a 29% increase in the need for criminal justice professionals over the next five years, or the fact that they're just randomly soliciting people to become police officers.

I guess any warm body will do, especially if they're the type of person who actually reads their unsolicited spam mail. Um, like I did.

Maybe they saw the picture of me in my uniform, thought I was hot, and decided: "We got to get us some of that."


Sunday, March 13, 2005

What you don't know

Shhhhh. It's a secret.

7 out of 10 Americans are worried about government secrecy.

3 of them can neither confirm nor deny that they were polled.

Friday, March 11, 2005

On the lighter side

Strindberg and Helium.

Need I say more?

"Are you threatening me, Master Jedi?"

Revenge of the Sith.

Go watch the trailer (if you haven't seen it already).

I know we've all said that we won't get fooled again. But damn. That's one sweet looking trailer.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Speaking of...

Obviously, I'm thinking a lot more about crafting my comedic persona and in doing so, I've come to realize that I don't really need to craft one. I don't know why it's taken me so long to realize this. But, as I've slowly discovered, I don't need to be someone else onstage.

I've been performing on a far more regular basis these days, which is both good and bad. The good: it's ALWAYS a good thing for a comic to perform on an almost nightly basis. The bad: not all rooms are equal and not all shows are ... ah, helpful.

Last Saturday, I had a great time (and a great set) at the Comedy Studio. The previous Wednesday, I tanked so badly at a late night open mike, I can still taste the bitter dick I chomped. Now, granted, the circumstances were not the greatest. I was the 347th comic to go up. It was well after midnight when I finally did my 5 minutes of monkey-dancing. And a large black "comic" slumbered in the back of the room, snoring loudly for most of the show - rousing only briefly from his cacophonous sleep to lumber onto the stage, deliver his witty barbs and race-baiting rants, answer some questions from around the room in some half-hearted attempt to improvise with the audience of comics, only to lurch to an abrupt halt at the end of his time, of which he went over.

But, it was only an open mike. So why shouldn't I have rocked the place? I should have no trouble being funny for a bunch of comics, especially when the 2 sitting up front are dressed identically and look like they just walked out of a Harry Potter convention (an observation that fell on deaf ears). And yet, there I was, stumbling through my set, watching helplessly as both new and old material alike struck out worse than Mark Bellhorn on a 3-2 change-up.

Dont get the wrong idea here. I'm not examining my comedy techniques because of a bad set at an open mike. After that cluster fuck of a show, I did 2 more sets which went fine, culminating in a pretty solid taped set at the studio. The real issue is, I KNOW what I need to do. And I know how to do it. But when I get uncomfortable or nervous, my mind freezes up and I'm on autopilot. It might not always translate to the audience, but I know the difference. Moreover, I've seen some of the best comics around have off-nights. Yet, even when their stuff isn't always working, they still exude confidence, as if to say, "I'm a professional. I know what I'm doing." They don't let the audience reaction rattle them. Or, if they do, they certainly don't let it show.

That's where I need to be. That's where I want to be. And that's where - hopefully - I'm going.

It's just the nature of the beast, man. Work, work, work. They can't all be rock star nights. But man, those open mikes can be brutal. I believe the good reverend is right: I need to drink more. A LOT more.

Monday, March 07, 2005

In which I suddenly become reflective

So, I'm currently trying to find my stand-up comedy "voice" - that is, I'm trying harder to just be myself when I'm performing stand-up. Why is this difficult? Well, my original comedy roots are in sketch and improv comedy, artforms that rely on diverse characters and varying points of views. But stand-up is far more individual and intimate. And revealing. Audiences can sense fear. They can also sense trepidation and uncertainty, despite strong material. On the flipside, a strong personality and a confident attitude can sell a mediocre joke and win over the audience, despite lackluster punchlines. And with the amount of time I've spent on writing bits, I feel like I need to invest some more time focusing on performing the bits.

The writing and the performing of jokes are two completely different beasts. Many a stand-up comic will tell you that when responding to a heckler, quickly and succinctly rattling off a put-down will get a big laugh from the audience, even if it's a standard one-liner. It's the speed of the delivery and the quick-thinking of the comic that's rewarded, not necessarily the eloquence of the phrase. It's here that a comic's abilities as a performer shine. Likewise, a comic's delivery can elevate even the lamest of jokes to the heights of hilarity (I'm slipping dangerously over into New Yorker territory here, with the pithy comments). Think of Chris Rock or Lewis Black. Sure, the material's great, but it's their stage presence that really makes them stand out. Sam Kinison had some great quotes, but would they have been nearly as powerful - or as funny - had they not come from the chubby dude in a trenchcoat and cap unleashing his wit in primal screams?

Which brings me back to me and my stage persona. Lately, I've been wanting to cut loose more onstage, but once I get in front of the mike, I feel like I'm very guarded and almost nervous. I'm almost relying solely on the strength of the material, and the performance aspect is taking a backseat. This isn't always the case - in rooms where I'm comfortable, I feel much more confident in myself, and I think it shows. For me, I think the trick is being able to maintain that confidence no matter where I'm performing.

So, that's my goal. To gain more confidence and to be more comfortable just being myself onstage. Because I think I can be a pretty funny guy. And once I'm able to just let go and be myself, the material becomes fresher and easier to generate, I become more relaxed and the audience becomes more engaged.

Why is it that just being ourselves is sometimes the hardest thing to do?

Friday, March 04, 2005

Workin' for the Weekend

As I have already mentioned, I'll be up in the Boston area this weekend. If you're in that neck of the woods, come on up to the 3rd floor of the Hong Kong on 1236 Mass. Ave in Cambridge and see me do some stand-up at the Comedy Studio at 8 pm.

Otherwise, you'll just have to wait until Monday to enjoy more of my sparkling wit and wisdom.

Until then, I give you Dr. Doom being attacked by squirrels.

Bonus "Weekend Edition" Post!

Spidey plus crayons = funny.



Spider-Man's greatest bible stories!

Second: I'll be up in Boston this weekend, performing at the always spectacular Comedy Studio on Saturday Night, March 5th. Show starts at 8pm. Pop on up to the 3rd floor of the Kong and buy me a Sam Adams, if'n you like. I won't stop ya. In fact, I might like it. I like Maker's Mark even more. Curse you, McIntire!

Anyway. Comedy Studio. 1236 Mass. Ave. Saturday. March 5th. 8pm.

*Not really. There will be no live nude girls. It was just another attempt to try to increase traffic. And mentioning Paris Hilton was getting old.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Another good reason to own a Time Machine...

Roadhouse: The Play.

I wish I had known about this before it closed. Seriously. I would have paid good money to see Bruce LeeRoy playing Patrick Swayze in this loving tribute to the 1989 classic. Seriously. You're telling me you wouldn't wanna see this:

Of course you wanna see that. You'd shriek with delight upon hearing Dalton utter the immortal words: "It'll get worse before it gets better." You'd thrill to the tawdry spectacle of rowdy sex and violence. And you'd shed genuine tears over Wade's heartbreaking death. This was probably amazing. And I'll never get to see it live.

And I live here, dammit! I could have seen this if I knew about it BEFORE it closed. How could I have been so out of the loop?!

From the New York Times:

A ridiculous movie is reincarnated as a ridiculous stage show at 27 Barrow Street in Greenwich Village, where the cast of "Road House" will be bashing bottles, hurling chairs, stabbing heroes and villains, ripping out throats, indulging in murder and arson and baring backsides and breasts...

And this glowing review from in-nyc:

Road House, the play, is a hoot of a show ­ out-camping the campy original and filled with hysterically funny fight scenes. The actors literally give their all, flying through the air in barroom brawl after brawl. ... Timothy Haskell has every reason to be very proud of his show - it rocks!

I bet it was the most awesomest thing ever. That's right. Most. Awesomest. Thing. Ever.

And I went and saw the Gates, instead. Dammit.