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April 2009

April 27, 2009

Just A Quick Check-In About Going to the Ballgame This Weekend

Went to the baseball game this weekend. The Mets hosted the Washington Nationals at the sparkling new CitiField, so named because the good people at Citibank had too much money, and so decided to get rid of some on a baseball stadium. And thank goodness they did because CitiField is a much better name than H&HBagelField, which was the runner-up.

I attended the game with my brother, his son, my two kids, and my uncle who was visiting from Chicago, or as he calls it, Chicagoland. Everybody was excited to go to the game, and that excitement lasted all the way until the second out in the first inning when the whining began. My kids wanted hotdogs. Which was expected. I wanted a hotdog too, but I didn't need it within three minutes of sitting down. First I wanted to admire the green, green grass and the blue, blue sky. First I wanted to take in my surroundings, and see if there was any potential upskirt vantage points (there weren't). I did not want to immediately get into a long hotdog line. But I did. Because if there is anything worse than whining children, I don't know what it is, and I have long ago learned to give my children whatever they want because it keeps them quiet for three minutes at a time. Yet another reason why I am once again a finalist for Parenting Magazine's Father of the Year Award.

So we all got hotdogs, which were made by the famous folks at Nathan's. Delicious, as expected. Their crinkle cut french fries, while tasty, were a little on the mushy side, and the water we all shared was watery - just the way I like it. After the hotdogs, the kids were quiet for three minutes and then started asking for Cracker Jacks because the guy came around yelling "Cracker Jacks! Cracker Jacks! Who wants Cracker Jacks!" Had he not asked the question, my children might not have answered: "Me! Me! Me!" But he did ask, and they did answer. So I bought a bag of twenty-two dollar Cracker Jacks. (Not really. I don't know how much they were because I'm on TV, but to a regular person they were probably a lot.)

My son dug right in, but my daughter decided she didn't like Cracker Jacks, which triggered the first "I want to go home." This is the third inning. I explained her we couldn't go home yet because the game had just started and because we weren't fucking going home. She turned around and decided she wouldn't watch the game. Which was fine with me. Then she said she wanted cotton candy. I said no. I don't know why I said no, except that I think cotton candy is gross and because I had just bought so much crap I didn't want to buy more. But apparently "no" was the wrong answer, because that started tears and tantrums and undoubtedly planted a seed of resentment that will eventually blossom into a tree of rage during her adolescence. Did I finally give in and get her the cotton candy? I did. Because I am trying really hard to win that Father of the Year Award.

So then they had cotton candy. When that was done, my son decided he'd had enough, too, and he wanted to leave. And his stomach hurt, which I could not understand. But we did not leave. My brother, nephew, and uncle seemed intent on staying, and we were not going to pussy out before they did. So we sat there and watched a few more innings of uninteresting baseball; the others went to walk around the new stadium. Did we want to join them? My children did not, even after being promised a chance to view the new Jackie Robinson rotunda. Now I am a huge Jackie Robinson fan, but his significance was somewhat lost on my eight and six year old. So instead, we just sat in our seats and I listened to them complain some more. Finally we also decided to walk around, which was fine.

We found my other family members, and together we checked out the kid's area, sponsored by EA Sports. They had a fancy t-ball set-up, a pitching machine and a Hershey Park sponsored dunk tank, which was notable for the fact that the tank was filled not with water but foam, which ruined the entire effect. Plus, the guy getting dunked didn't yell insults, but instead shouted words of encouragement like "Good try!" Good try? Who wants to dunk somebody who wants you to do your best? That runs counter to the whole dunk tank mentality. So that sucked.

Then we roamed up and down the stadium stairs because my daughter wanted to go as high as we could go, which turned out to be pretty high. We did that. Twice. Then we retired to our seats where the drunk guys in front of us recognized me, and I had to sign one of their college textbooks and the other guy's tits. Which would have been okay if he'd had a better rack, but he didn't. Finally after, the Nationals put away the listless Mets 8-1, we made our way out of the lovely CitiField and to our cars. The game was more than a bust, but less than a rousing success. My son told me he hates baseball and doesn't ever want to go to another baseball game, but at least he said this somewhat cheerfully. There was no malice in his voice; instead it was just a simple declarative statement: "I hate baseball and never want to go to another game." So much for my breeding another Sandy Koufax. My daughter also does not need to return, although she seemed less adamant about her decision.

As for me, I'm going back to CitiField tomorrow night, this time without the kids. Because unlike them, I love America.

April 22, 2009

A Death in the Family

We had a death in the family this week. My son’s hamster Nibbles died, a mere nine months after we found him in a local pet shop. Nibbles was a good hamster. He enjoyed doing all the classic hamster things: running on wheels, climbing in plastic tubing, chewing cardboard, and of course, nibbling. One habit he had would have been amusing if it wasn’t so desperate: he used to hang from the top of his glass aquarium by his teeth, clawing and chewing at the plastic which encased the perimeter. It was always unclear whether he just liked chewing that stuff or if, like a Cuban refugee, he was willing to risk life and limb simply to escape.

From the beginning, I was against bringing a hamster into our home. The way I saw it, I had enough lives under my care: I did not need to add another. Plus I suspected it would come to a bad end. Small rodents tend not to live very long. When I was five, I awoke one morning to find my own guinea pig lying on his side at the bottom of his cage, stiff as fiberboard. Bringing a hamster into the home, I tried to argue, was like inviting in the Grim Reaper. We knew he would come for the pet; it was just a question of when.

But my son wanted a hamster, and my wife wanted my son to have a hamster, and my daughter wanted cupcakes, which didn’t really affect the decision one way or the other. So I was out-voted and one morning I took my son to the pet shop to buy a hamster. The selection was somewhat limited: I think they had two. We decided on the one that was slightly more brown than white because he seemed a little spunkier. So we purchased him (we called Nibbles a him because we did not how to determine his gender, and so allowed my son to assign him one, which must have seemed unfair to Nibbles but I wasn’t going to poke around for hamster bits to try to determine the truth) along with an aquarium, a wheel, a little house, some bedding, a water bottle, hamster food and hamster treats, which are like little honey drops. Total outlay for Nibbles and Nibble accoutrement: around a hundred bucks.

I assumed incorrectly that my son would forget about Nibbles as soon as he was safely ensconced in his room. He did not. Although I would be lying if I said the two became fast friends, my son often played with the hamster, spoke to Nibbles, and even gave him an endearing nickname on top of his already too-fucking-cute regular name: Nibs or Nibbies. When Nibbles cage needed to be cleaned, he complained about it less than I did, and to his credit, enjoyed spraying the Windex onto the glass and helping to wipe it off. My son was a much better pet owner than I was at his age, which makes it even sadder now that Nibbles is gone.

Continue reading "A Death in the Family " »

April 20, 2009

Big News!

MTV has finally gotten off its ass and is putting out one of the greatest sketch comedy show in the history of sketch comedy shows. They're also putting out "The State!"  When? July 14th, Bastille Day, which is a French holiday commemorating all the Bastilles. Here's the official announcement from MTV:

http://www.mtv.com/ontv/dyn/the_state/series.jhtml

Is this exciting? I guess so. Here's my fear about it: people often remember things as being better than they were. The first Thanksgiving, for example. People think, "Oh it was so great." Guess what? There was too much corn, not enough turkey, and a lot of scarlet fever. I'm definitely not saying getting The State DVD is going to cause scarlet fever, but then again, who's to say? I mean, medical science has made a lot of advances over the past three hundred years, but they still have no idea what causes scarlet fever (except for the fact that they do know).

So yeah, the State is coming out on DVD. If you want to see the trailer for the DVD, I've posted it below.



April 19, 2009

My Brutal Work-Out Regimen

There are probably those among you that think somebody like me, blessed with enormous talent and startling good looks, requires very little personal maintenance other than biannual trips to the dentist and a regular supply of Rogaine. You would be wrong to think that. In fact, there is an extreme amount of effort required for me to look this effortlessly gorgeous.

For one thing, there is my cardio program, which consists of once-weekly sessions on the treadmill. This morning, for example, I ran for almost half an hour! (“Running” is obviously a subjective term. In my case it meant brisk walking. Again, “brisk” is a subjective term. As is “half an hour.” As is “treadmill.”)

If that sounds like a brutal regimen, trust me, it is. Were that all, I would still be in incredible shape. But I combine that with a daily stair-climbing workout that would put most Navy SEALs to shame. My house has two different staircases, which I traverse several times a day. Up, down, up, down, and that’s generally it. Occasionally I have been known to take some of these steps two at a time, without even pausing on the landing before ascending.

Throwing up yet? If not, try getting up with me in the morning. What time? How about eight o’clock in the morning??? Sometimes a little later, depending. And I do that four or five times a week. This is after going to bed around midnight! Try living on eight hours a night of sleep for a few weeks, then check back in with me to see if you’re surviving.

Then throw in my strength training. If you’re not weeping from the cardio, then travel with me to my home gym, which is consists of one single, sadistic piece of equipment: a ping-pong table. Granted, playing ping-pong doesn’t technically fit the definition of “strength training,” since the heaviest thing I lift during these sessions is a ping-pong paddle. But there is a lot of bending over to retrieve the ping-pong ball, which necessitates lifting my own body weight over and over and over again. Special Forces have long used the body’s own resistance as the core of their training, and I do the same thing. Yes, it’s extreme. Yes, it’s brutal. Yes, it’s the reason I look so good.

The exercise is only half the equation, though, because without a proper diet it would all be for naught. That’s why my diet is just as extreme as my work-outs. For example, breakfast this morning consisted of one slice of homemade banana bread (no butter), and a handful of Frosted Flakes straight out of the box. Plus two cups of English Breakfast tea and a Lexapro, which has no calories, but makes a shitload of seratonin. Lunch was homemade quesadillas and guacamole, followed by some vegetable crudite. EXTREME! Dinner? Perhaps the most brutal of all: chicken sausage served with penne and maybe a glass of white wine.

Why do I subject myself to this level of deprivation? Because in this game, you’ve got to stay one step ahead of the competition, and I know right now, there are hundreds of young comedians desperate to take my place in the basic cable stratosphere. They are just waiting for me to slip up, even for a second, so that they can take my place in various VH1 programs reminiscing about decades past, and assorted failed television projects. Well I’m not about to let that happen.

Which is why I will continue to rise at the crack of eight or nine o’clock in the morning and subject myself to my intense work-outs, (I didn’t even mention taking foul shots on my driveway basketball hoop this afternoon with my son) killer cardio, and miserable diet. Because if you’re going to stay on top, you’ve got to be willing to sacrifice. And also to Twitter a lot. And host fake reality shows. And maybe do some commercials for soda pop.

God, I’m such a loser.

 

April 16, 2009

One of My Favorite Things I've Ever Seen

I honestly don't know if I've ever been so inspired.


Now I have to throw out all my old die-cut, laser-etched, hologram embossed origami business cards and start all over. I also need to invest in a much better hair dryer.

April 13, 2009

Where Do I Find A Good Drug Dealer (Preferably Named Ricky)?

This post is going to expose a certain amount of naivete on my part, but I have often wondered where drug users get their drugs. How does one go about finding a drug dealer? There are obviously drug dealers around, because lots of people use drugs, but I have often been bedeviled with the question: how do these people find each other?

Maybe it’s because I don’t do drugs and so am at a safe remove from the scary underworld of pot smokers, but I have never understood how one goes about finding a supplier of illicit narcotics. Is it just “friend of a friend” stuff? Because throughout the years I have often asked friends who I am confident get high where they get their drugs and I am usually met with, at best, uncomfortable chuckles. Do they think I am a narc? Trust me when I say: there are no comedian narcs. (Except Mike Birbiglia, but that’s obvious)

AstroMike  

                         (narc)         

I have often thought it would be great to have a regular and reliable drug dealer. Somebody courteous, friendly and responsible, who would be willing and able to supply me with whatever drugs I needed whenever the fancy struck. Say it’s five o’clock in the afternoon and I have a hankering for some ‘meth. It would be so great to pick up the phone and call Ricky.

(My hypothetical drug dealer’s name is Ricky because it sounds like the kind of name that is both friendly but also scummy, which is how I want my drug dealer to be. There should be an adjective to describe people who are friendly and scummy at the same time: “Deadhead?”)

I would call him up and say, “Hey Ricky, can you bring over some ‘candy?’” Candy would be our codeword for drugs. When he asks what kind of candy, I would say “meth.”

“Sure friend,” Ricky would respond because even though our relationship is professional, on some level we are also friends or at least friendly. Like the bagel guy I purchase my breakfast from every morning.

Half an hour later Ricky would arrive at my doorstep with my candy. I would invite him in for pizza because it’s pizza night. He would politely decline, and then slip me a couple Vicodin “on the house,” in case the ‘meth got a little too much to handle.

“Thanks Ricky,” I would say. “See you soon.”

“Bye Mike,” he would say, and then jump on his moped and putter away to wherever drug dealers go on their mopeds.

Doesn’t that seem like a civil way to conduct illegal business?

But I don’t have a Ricky in my life. The closest I have is a doctor who gave me pain killers once when I broke my wrist. Those pain killers are long gone, but my wrist still hurts when it rains or when I think about snowboarding.

I used to think that once I got famous people would start offering me drugs left and right as a way to curry favor. No dice. Maybe I’m not famous enough. But shouldn’t even people who are a little bit famous get offered drugs: even crappy drugs? Isn’t that one of the main reasons people get famous? Nobody’s even offering me chewable vitamins. I got a pair of free Saucony sneakers once, but no matter how hard I huffed on that new shoe smell, I didn’t even get a buzz. So I threw them out.

A big part of my career master plan is to get hooked on drugs so I can get the resultant press when I decide to clean up. Then I could hit the college lecture circuit like Jody Sweeten from “Full House.” You wouldn’t even know the name Jody Sweeten if she hadn’t been a tweaker.

As it is, I’m such a ninny that I will probably never have a proper drug habit even if I do find my Ricky. But that doesn’t mean I’m not willing to try. Because drugs may have a bad rap, but it’s not like they ever killed anyone. 

Alright, it’s late. I’m gonna take my usual six Ambien and call it a night.

April 11, 2009

My Daughter's Constant Freak-Outs

At some point I have to believe my daughter will stop having constant freak-outs. The only reason I maintain this hope is because none of the adults I know have them, which gives me hope that there must be a point in a child’s life where freak-outs lose their appeal. Of course, I have heard about high-powered executives who launch regular tirades at underlings, but I don’t consider that the same thing. To me, that’s a judicious display of power. That’s just showing the little people what’s what. When the little people do it, however, that’s grounds for termination. Unfortunately, according to the state laws of Connecticut, you cannot terminate your child.

Today’s incident occurred when my five-year-old daughter, whom I will call Her Shittiness, broke the propeller off a cheap paper airplane with which she was playing. This lit the fuse which soon exploded the bomb, when five minutes later the wings became detached. Now, I have certainly experienced my own frustrations with shoddy Third World workmanship. (The plane was manufactured in a country which shall remain nameless, but which is best known for their billions of people, their tasty cuisine, and for their poisonous baby formula.) But even when I am upset with poor craftsmanship, my reaction is never to start screaming at the top of my lungs, tell my father I hate him, and run away shrieking, making sure to slam every door en route to my destination, which in this case, was her bedroom.

As far as freak-outs go, it could have been worse. She might have stabbed me, for example. But the point isn’t that it might have been worse; the point is simply that it happened at all, and that these behavioral transgressions occur so often, that in my house such antics are considered de rigeur. They are as regular as the toilet clogging. I do know not the proper way to deal with either my Her Shittiness or the shittiness.

Moreover, I am not soliciting parenting advice from anybody who might be reading this post. If you offer such advice, I will not respond to you, but I will read your helpful insights and have the following thought: “Go fuck yourself.” No, I do not want your help. Because I am not the one with the problem. The problem is with my daughter, who I am beginning to think is out of her mind. Maybe that’s not a productive attitude to take towards one’s offspring, but at this point I see no alternative explanation. I have looked on WebMD to see if there is possibly a known medical condition that would explain these outbursts, and there was one: being batshit crazy.

There will be certainly be those among you who will blame her parents for her acts of domestic terrorism. But these are the same people who blame America for 9/11. Like America, I am benevolent and good. I am forthright and just. On the other hand, my daughter at some point undoubtedly lived in a cave and trained with the Mujahideen. Perhaps that’s what she was doing when I thought she was at day camp. I do not know.

What I do know is that I am quickly running out of options for dealing with her. Time-outs are ineffective. The Naughty Corner has also lost its deterrence value. Taking away toys does not work. Taking away food works, but it takes days. We do not spank our children, which is increasingly starting to feel like a foolish decision. I have so many wooden spoons, and increasingly I have found that they are talking to me. They whisper to me when I am feeling particularly frustrated. They say, “Nobody will ever know. Just one good paddling.” But I will know, and I could not live with myself if I hit a child. Strangle, perhaps. But not hit.

Only moments ago Her Shittiness came dancing downstairs from her bedroom wearing her sparkly red shoes and asking if she could have a marshmallow. I told her no, and she did not freak-out. Instead she gave me a hug and ran off singing a song about puppies. Her deviousness knows no bounds.

April 08, 2009

As If I Didn't Have Enough To Do - Now I Have To Compare Myself To Picasso

Between writing my stupid television show, writing my stupid blog, and raising my stupid family, now I've got another chore: contributing yet more words to yet another blog. Yes, the official "Michael & Michael Have Issues" blog is now up and active. There's not much up there yet, but we wanted to give fans a behind the scenes view of our show months before the actual premiere in July. It's like a band giving loyal listeners hidden tracks or something. Or like a chef who takes the leftovers out of the trash and makes something delicious. I don't know what it's like, but that's what we're doing. So like I said, that's yet another thing to do during my day. Honestly where I find the time to also do Twitter and watch the BBC show MI-5 on Netflix is beyond me. This is where having a really good meth connection would be so great: the less sleep I require, the more hilarity I could create. That's how Picasso did it. Not so much with the creating hilarity part, although Guernica, when viewed at a certain angle is pretty funny - and not so much with the meth part because I don't think they had meth when Picasso was around - and I don't know how much sleep he required - so the comparison might not be as apt as I first thought. My main point was really just to compare myself favorably to Picasso, whether it was an accurate comparison or not. Because he was a stud. So yeah, I'm mildly exhausted and a little bit upset because after swearing to not finish the bag of pretzel sticks I went ahead and finished the bag of pretzel sticks. Something Picasso never would have done. At least not without painting them first.

April 07, 2009

Writing Phases

There are many phases to writing a television series. The one I am in right now is called the “Everything is Terrible” phase, in which everything I write I believe to be, or is in fact, terrible. Yesterday’s phase was “Is This Terrible?” in which I write something I believe to be good. Upon looking at it the next day, however, I find myself asking the following question: “Is This Terrible?” Because of the phase I am currently in, the answer is inevitably yes. Yes, it is terrible. Fortunately, these phases do not last long.

Tomorrow may very well return me to the “I Am A Genius” phase, in which I write a single joke which gives me the temporary illusion that I am a genius, much the way a snort of cocaine gives the user the temporary illusion he is a genius. (I’ve never tried cocaine but I’ve heard.((Double parenthetical: this is true. I have not, and will never, try cocaine.(((Triple parenthetical: unless it was really good shit.))))))

Writing is just plain hard. At least for me. I’ve read about people who feel as though the words just flow right through them, like chocolate milk through a crazy straw. But I am not one of those people. Even the words I am writing now are causing me tremendous agony. If you could see me, you would see that I am bleeding through my forehead, a direct result of my concentration in service to my blog, and thus, to you. As Will Ferrell said while portraying George W. Bush in his recent Broadway show, “You’re welcome.”

Yes, the work is challenging, the rewards few. But I am not a martyr. No, I am a conscript in the army of Art. A lonely soldier on culture’s battlefield, lobbing my joke-filled grenades towards a mirthless enemy, those grim-faced automatons who never met a fart joke they enjoyed. My purpose on this earth is to slay those people, either with my comedy, or with my anti-biotic resistant bacteria. 

So while I am currently trudging through my “Everything is Terrible,” this is just a minor skirmish in a much larger campaign. Tomorrow the battle will be joined again, and when the smoke clears I will still be standing. Or, as I was today, sprawled out on a couch in the lounge eating Wheat Thins. Because I love Wheat Thins.

Checkin' In

A quick check in. Michael Showalter and I are busy as little busy creatures writing our new TV show, “Michael & Michael Have Issues,” which is why I do not have time to blog more. When I get done from a day spent writing jokes, it’s very hard to come home and write more jokes.

Most nights after work I just need to relax, so I take out my latch hook rugs, turn on the Hallmark channel, and just “go to town.” No, I’m not confident that “go to town” is the appropriate expression to describe watching the Hallmark channel while latch hooking, but when you are as enthusiastic about both activities as I am, there is probably not a better one.

Also, I’m not eating very well. As regular readers know, I am an ardent vegan. Now that I’m working, though, the veganism has pretty much gone by the wayside, to be replaced by a diet of nothing but caramel and pig’s feet. (Not together, though, because that would be disgusting.) Let’s be honest, when you’re working hard, we’ve all been guilty of eating whatever’s quick and cheap: caramel and pig’s feet, right? A little caramel here, a little pig’s foot there. (Incidentally, when I say “a little pig’s foot,” I do not mean that the pig’s foot I eat is small. Far from it. I always get the jumbo or “foot long” pig’s feet.)

On the bright side, I do not see my wife very much. Now I love my family enormously, but I recently reread David McCullough’s biography of John Adams. He and his wife had a famous love affair documented through their many letters to each other written during their absences from one another. My wife and I have been enjoying a similar correspondence. The only difference is that we use today’s technology so that instead of handwriting long love letters to each other, she calls me on my cell phone, and instead of talking about our love for each other, she tells me how much it’s going to cost to fix the car. Very, very romantic.

For those of you wondering how the show is going: you’re just going to have to wait and watch. I will say this: if you enjoyed “Mind of Mencia,” you’re going to freak out when you see “Michael & Michael!” The shows are so similar it’s eerie. They’re so alike that some people have been asking us if we just took his scripts and reshot them. The answer to that question? Yes.