Sunday, September 30, 2007

capes vs. masks

Attention Marvel Comics. You should totally hire me to be a writer for you. Or, at least an editor, and we can go from there?


Simple. I know the difference between the Marvel Universe and the DC Universe.

Oh, everyone knows that, you might say. Well, everyone except many of the writers currently working at Marvel.

As the comic book fan base continues to simultaneously age and shrink, the contents have become increasingly self-referential and meta-textual. Often at the expense of its own internal logic. Which has become blatantly obvious in the recent pages of many of Marvel's once-magnificent mags.

Here's what I'm talking about:

It has long been established that in the Marvel universe, civilians / ordinary citizens often throw around slang words to describe costumed heroes and villains, most notably with the very derogatory term "Mutie," used to describe mutants. Now, "mutie" makes perfect sense as a Marvel Universe slang word, as mutants make up a large part of the populace. But if a DC character were to throw around such a word, it wouldn't really work, now would it?

Which is why I find it odd that "Capes" has become the new default slang word for costumed super heroes in the Marvel Universe. While "capes" would certainly seem to be a fitting descriptor for costumed adventurers over at the Distinguished Competition, very few Marvel characters actually wear capes. Most Marvel denizens wear masks. So, wouldn't the more appropriate slang word for costumed super-powered beings in the Marvel Universe be "masks?"

Or, if you wanted to be even more clever and stick with a term already established years ago by Kurt Busiek, you should call them Marvels. I mean, it is the Marvel Universe and all. Marvels. Almost makes too much sense.

That one's a freebie. My rates are very reasonable. Hire me.

I anxiously await your response.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Al Division East: OWNED!

Thank you, Baltimore Orioles!

(and thank you Boston Red Sox)

So that's what a berth looks like.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007


Some things that made laugh in the Family Guy Star Wars spoof:

"Now go to file menu..."

"You don't believe in the Force, do you?"
"Oh, you mean that thing you just found out about three hours ago and now you want to be all judgey...?"

"Can't we board it up or something?!"

"...I just want a railing here..."

"p-choo! p-choo!"

The Robot Chicken conversation at the end. Nice one, Seth!


Speaking of Robot Chicken, one of my favorite


If you're in the NYC area tomorrow night, come check out my show at the Tank, INSTANT CLASSIC. It's cheap, it's fun, and you never know when my friends and family will throw me a surprise roast again that somehow manages to make it into the NY Post!



The Tank @ C:U * Downstairs * 279 Church Street * NYC

$5. No drink minimum. Lots of cheap beer.

Starring: Liam McEneaney! Kyria ABrahams! Max Silvestri! And Larry Murphy!

Hosted by Benari Poulten and James Patterson.

You should go. You'll like it.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Everybody wanna talk about Star Wars like they got somethin' to say...

While everyone has some kind of opinion about last night's season premiere of Family Guy and its official and fully authorized Star Wars parody, I would like to remind everyone that Muppet Babies did this first...and more than once...over 20 years ago.

First, in 1984, on the episode entitled Gonzo's Video Show.

And this was 1984, merely one year after Return of the Jedi hit theaters, when some of us who loved Star Wars AND watched cartoons were still actually children!

You remember Muppet Babies, right?

Here's the recap of what was (obviously) my favorite episode of the series :

Nanny has rented a video camcorder so she can study her tennis swing, but she has some time left before she has to return it to the store so she lets the muppet babies play with it for a while. The muppets argue about what kind of movie to make with the camcorder and eventually decide to re-enact "Star Wars" since there are enough parts in that movie so everyone can participate: Kermit is Kermit Skyhopper, Animal is Animal Vader, Piggy is Princess Piggy, Gonzo is Gon Zolo, Fozzie is Fozzwokka, Rowlf is Obi Rowlf Kenobi, Skeeter is Skeeter3PO, and Skooter is SkooterD2. When they are done filming they invite Nanny to the nursery to see the completed film. Everyone pulls up a pretend car and pretends that the nursery is a drive-in movie theatre. The film plays and everyone loves it! The muppets decide that they are going to go to Hollywood to pursue careers in showbiz, but Nanny reminds them that they are still way too young and that there is plenty of time for all of their dreams to come true!

A few years later, they revisited Star Wars in an episode where Rowlf has to take a bath and the Muppet Babies hop through various, sci-fi related parodies, from The Jetsons to Star Trek to, naturally, Star Wars.

Here are some YouTube clips:

So there ya go, kids. Family Guy: Boldly going where the Muppet Babies have gone before!

Thursday, September 20, 2007


If you are in New York and want to see a good, free comedy show tonight, swing on by Telephone Bar. 149 Second Ave. Between 9th and 10th. Let's say around 9ish.

I will be there, making with the joke-joke-ha-ha.

The Clubhouse @ The Telephone Bar

Stand Up Comedy
Cassidy Henehan,
Jay Bois
Peter Kassnove

The people who will make you laugh:
Lumpy, Rachael Parenta, Livia Scott, Benari Poulten, Andrew Wright

The Telephone Bar
149 Second Ave. (between 9th and 10th) NYC

R / 8th St. stop
6 / Astor Pl. stop
F / 2nd Ave. stop

Now you know...and knowing is half the battle!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Blue Thunder: the TV show

What if I told that back in the halcyon days of the 1980s, there existed a show about an amazing hi-tech police helicopter that hunted down terrorists, foiled burglaries, and thwarted crime? Would you think it was the most awesome show ever?

What if I said that the futuristic chopper could eavesdrop from 2 miles up; had whisper modes which allowed it to sail silently through the skies; infrared night vision to snoop on average Americans cowardly criminals; bullet proof armor plating, thermal radar devices which could see through walls; machine guns; and heat seeking missiles...? Now what do you think? Awesome, right?

What if I said it co-starred Bubba Smith and Dick Butkus?

Oh, yeah.

It also starred Dana Carvey.

Yes. Dick Butkus, Bubba Smith, AND Dana Carvey PLUS a kick-ass, tricked out, crime fighting chopper.

How do you like it now?

Blue Thunder was based on the Roy Scheider movie of the same name and it only ran 11 episodes. Which is too bad. Because had it continued, a Knight Rider crossover was inevitable.

Ah, what could have been.


Tuesday, September 18, 2007

"Don't look, Marion! Keep your eyes shut!"

Well, at least the new movie sees the return of Karen Allen as Marion Ravenwood. So, that's a huge plus. And she still looks fantastic.

But really, the more production stills I see from the fourth Indiana Jones movie, the more I feel like it's just going to be a slap-dash passing of the torch movie, where Indiana Jones becomes wacky comic relief in his own movie.

I consider Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark to be one of the most perfect movies ever made.

Indiana Jones has become a cinema archetype and even when he was forced to suffer the indignity of eating chilled monkey brains, he never played second fiddle in his own movie.

So, the fact that this movie is supposed to kick off a revitalization of the franchise, following the son of Indiana Jones...gah!

The idea of an old, befuddled Indy clinging to his son Fonzie on the back of a motor bike, taking a back seat to the action so younger audiences can fawn over their new slicked-hair teen heartthrob...I can't look. I don't want to look. People who look should have their faces melt off.

I know I sound like a curmudgeonly old man, shaking my fist and screaming at kids to get off my lawn. But, this is Indiana Jones we're talking about here.

Does every single thing I loved as a child have to be dug up like a relic from one of Indy's archaeological digs? Does every fond memory, every scrap of nostalgia, every shred of something good have to be recycled, rehashed, and regurgitated until there's nothing left but a cracked, hollow shell of what was once a pristine and beautiful treasure?

The fools. The bureaucratic fools.


I'll still be there opening day. Spielberg and Lucas win again.

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.

At least it's better than the original working title:

Indiana Jones and the Rape of the Lost Childhood.

Monday, September 17, 2007

every other geek has commented on it....

The Iron Man trailer makes me want to see the movie. Which is, you know, what a good trailer is supposed to do.

So. Kudos.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

reflections on a Saturday morning

This Rosh Hashanah has found me particularly reflective and as we are now in the Days of Awe, I thought I would share one specific prayer...a prayer not exclusive to the Rosh Hashanah service, but one that I find especially appropriate this time of year.
Emphasis mine.

A Prayer for our Country

Our God and God of our fathers: We ask Your blessing for our country, for its government, for its leader and advisors, and for all who exercise just and rightful authority. Teach them insights of Your Torah, that they may administer all affairs of state fairly, that peace and security, happiness and prosperity, justice and freedom may forever abide in our midst.

Creator of all flesh, bless all the inhabitants of our country with Your spirit. Then citizens of all races and creeds will forge a common bond in true brotherhood, to banish all hatred and bigotry, and to safeguard the ideals and free institutions which are our country's pride and glory.

May this land under Your Providence be an influence for good throughout the world, uniting all men in peace and freedom, and helping them fulfill the vision of Your prophet: "Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall men learn war any more." And let us say: Amen.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

almost famous

Or, as DJ Hazard put it at my roast, "The Poulten March Is On!"

From today's New York Post:



September 12, 2007 -- HAPPY birthday, you syphilitic loser!

Next time you’re looking to honor a friend or colleague, forget boring drinks at a bar or a tedious group dinner. Karaoke? Played.

The birthday party du jour is . . . the roast.

And really, what could be more fun than getting close friends together to publicly and mercilessly tear someone limb from limb?

It’s like Alberto Gonzalez’s congressional hearing, only with an open bar.

“The roast is a time-honored tradition,” says Chris DeLuca, a writer-comic who has been organizing roasts with his friends for a few years. “People have seen those old Dean Martin roasts and think they look pretty funny. Roasts are cool. They evoke memories of people laughing, smoking cigars, being good sports. They’re a different thing to do.”

And as different as they are, they still, oddly enough, serve the same purpose as a regular party: showering a guest of honor with attention.

“Even when they’re mocking you, all the attention is on you,” says Jane Borden, a writer who recently had herself roasted upon turning 30. “It was like a wedding, except it was just about me. And filthy.”

“It’s something in our culture that it’s acceptable to see people squirm,” says Geordarna Poulten, an event planner who just threw a surprise roast for her brother, Benari. “Plus, me being the younger sister, it was a good way to pay my brother back.”

That said, there’s a fine line between cracking on someone in a good-natured way and going too far.

“Anything that violates relationships is something you shouldn’t go near,” DeLuca says. “It’s an opportunity to bust people’s chops, but you should be able to say the things in front of his girlfriend or wife and not have a fear of an impending divorce.”

Benari Poulten says he enjoyed his ribbing, no matter how malicious it got. “Comedy is the only profession where people pay respect to you by beating you up. It’s an honor,” he says. “Roasts are one of the times when you can let loose. You’re almost given permission to be as brutal as possible. It’s really about seeing how far you can go.”

And far they went. How about these jokes from Benari’s friends? Sorry, “friends” ?

“Benari is so little, his last showbiz gig was when he was hired to be the bait on ‘To Catch a Predator,’ ” cracked Dan Newbower.

“I’m not saying Benari is short, but it must feel good to know that if you’re ever in a gunfight, you never need to worry about ducking,” said Baron Vaughn.

“People don’t know this, but Benari actually has written some new jokes in the past six years. It’s just that someone put them up on the high shelf,” said Kyria Abrahams.

We’re gonna hazard a guess that Benari is not tall.

The fun was only amplified by the fact that his parents were there.

“That gave the night a surreal feel,” he says. “It was weird having people saying these graphic things and looking over and seeing my mom laughing.”

These days, though, everyone can enjoy a good roast. Comedy Central runs the occasional special, and Sarah Silverman turned her emcee gig at Sunday’s MTV Video Music Awards into an opportunity to pick apart famous people in the audience.

Of 50 Cent she said, “Can I just say I think it’s so cute that he’s still alive.”

But she saved her harshest quips for Britney Spears, who’d just finished performing. “Have you seen Britney’s kids?” Silverman asked. “They are the most adorable mistakes you’ll ever see.”

Britney was probably not laughing. Although somewhere, K-Fed was - but only because he was high.

See how easy it is to make fun of someone? Go out and try it yourself. Make sure to bring your sharpest barbs, your strongest liquor and, above all, your thickest skin.

And for added fun, I had the last line of the "Rules of the Roast" side bar piece...a rule which is quite apropos, I think.



September 12, 2007 -- SHOULD you be invited to speak at a roast - and at this point, it’s only a matter of time - here are some pointers to appropriately pay tribute to the honoree (and keep the other presenters from unleashing a malicious verbal assault upon you).

1. Keep it short, dummy

“Three minutes is a long time,” says roaster Jane Borden. “You really don’t need more than that.”

2. Write actual jokes, jackass

Try not to just tell embarrassing stories. Those tend to have a you-had-to-be-there quality. Come up with a bunch of short quips instead. “It’s a very specific art form, and if you stick to it, you’ll do well,” says Borden.

3. Know the limits, nimrod

Sure, it’s a harsh environment, but you don’t want to go too far by spilling personal secrets or insulting someone’s significant other. “Don’t say, ‘Hey, it’s great you’re marrying Karen, but did you know Bill banged her?’ ” suggests roaster Chris DeLuca. “It’s not good to have a fistfight.”

4. Crack on others in the room, dimwit

Spread the non-love around! Everyone in the room, especially the other presenters, is fair game and should be destroyed. “Everyone gets a little bit of attention,” says DeLuca. “It’s a weird ego thing. Some of my friends who are comedians, the worst thing you can do is not mention them.”

5. Spin old jokes in a new way, dufus

Yeah, your friend is fat and has warrants out for his arrest in Florida. Everyone is going to be making fun of those same attributes; your challenge is to come up with a new way to harp on tired themes. “I had a roast for a friend, and people made fun of the amount that he drinks,” says DeLuca. “So people came up and would say, ‘Frank is a drunk.’ Someone else would say, ‘He’s dying of cirrhosis.’ But by the fourth or fifth time, they had to get creative to make the same joke. I said, ‘A lot of people get up here and talk about his alcohol addiction, but if you do that, you miss out on his other life-crippling insecurities.’ ”

6. Get ready for the consequences, %รณ&@#!

“Be prepared to make apologies the next day,” says roastee Benari Poulten. “You never know.”

Thursday, September 06, 2007


Dear Apple Lemmings Lovers who bought the iPhone immediately at full price because they couldn't wait to brag about how awesome they were:


Sorry. It's not nice to laugh at others' misfortune.

Many users are fuming over Apple's substantial 33 percent price drop (of $200) on the 8GB iPhone just a little over 60 days after the product was introduced; it has left hundreds of thousands of users, enthusiasts, and other customers wondering whether Apple was just gouging its faithful customers when it priced the popular device at $599 and $499 at its launch at the end of June.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Iraq, You Report

It's almost time for General Petraeus to present his report on Iraq's progress to Congress.

And a lot of folks are giving the Administration grief over the fact that, while General Petraeus will present the report, the President will prepare the report.

The criticism is unfair, I think.

Look at it from the President's point of view. This is a situation where the President is really just helping out a friend with a tough assignment. I'm sure when the President was in school and he had to present a report, he had someone else write it up for him.

He's just paying it forward.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

So this is what 30 feels like.

Where's the ka-boom? I thought there would be an earth-shattering ka-boom?

Ah, well. Go, shorty. It's my birthday. And we gonna party like it's my birthday. 'Cuz it is.