Tuesday, August 30, 2011

A Swing and a Miss

Once again, I struck out in The New Yorker's 298th "Cartoon Caption Contest."

But I still like mine best: 
"François, we're going to need another one of your fabulous sacrifice bundts."

The finalists:
  • "O.K., we learned a lot this game, including you can't rush a soufflé." - I don't really see the baseball connection

  • "First base wants to know if you have anything gluten-free." - Meh.

  • "I trust you know what to do when you get to the plate." - A forced baseball reference at best.

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Friday, July 01, 2011

Drinking Problem

An Open Letter to the Production Staff at Red Eye

Hey Greg (and Friends),

I have no doubt that the bean counters at Fox News bean are reluctant to spend a lot on your excellent show because it's broadcast at 3:00 a.m. So, it's understandable (even admirable) that the RedEye production staff takes it upon themselves to purchase set props, such as the plastic water cups, at local retailers like Bed, Bath and Beyond.

However, I must point out that during the June 30th "Halftime Report," a label of some sort (price tag/barcode) was clearly visible on the bottom of Greg's drinking cup. I've attached a screen shot. Just food for thought.

Andy rules. Bill sucks.

Matt Maul

Greg, you magnificent bastard -- I READ YOUR BOOK!
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Monday, June 27, 2011

You Can't Please Everyone

Wow.  I received a scathing comment from a guy named Benjamin in Florida (according to the New Yorker website) to something I posted OVER A YEAR AGO who must be suffering from membrana (that's Latin for "thin skin")!

A finalist for the 192nd New Yorker "Cartoon Caption" contest from May 2009 (YES, fucking May 2009), Benjamin took issue with the fact that I didn't  LOVE his entry (original post copied below).

Benjamin (as "anonymous") writes:
Hi. The caption you entered for this cartoon is awful. Sad and pathetic is the understatement of the century. Not even the slightest bit funny. You lack any sense of humor or literary prowess. To say that a caption "sucks," when it outperformed yours, and is in every way shape or form better than yours, is a pathetic example of poor sportsmanship. You obviously can't write, so quit it with the whole blog thing. No one's reading buddy. Sincerely, the guy that submitted that caption.

My response (bold added):
Dude, you sound so angry (anonymously yet).

I'm not sure how I was being a poor sport? I acknowledged that my entry was poor. Seems to me that you've got your panties in a bunch just because I didn't LOVE your caption as much as the New Yorker did. Hey, savor their positive feedback.

Also, the only way you could have found my obscure post is that you Googled your New Yorker cartoon caption "finalist" status from a YEAR AGO? How fucking sad is that?

As far as my writing goes, to each his own. 

Original Post:

As usual, the winners of the 192nd New Yorker "Cartoon Contest" did nothing for me.

My entry was sad and pathetic:
When my agent told me that I was booked on a "local talkshow," I didn't know he meant in Detroit.
Sigh (so sad).

BUT, the finalists weren't that great either:
  • Both the movie and I will be released this summer. - in the valley of the blind, the one-eyed man is king

  • This is fancy role-playing for a conjugal visit. - sucks!

  • It's my first time on 'Celebrity Parole Hearing.' - you've got to be kidding

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Monday, May 09, 2011

The Politics of Chotsky

Almost predictably, whenever news of major import breaks, ancillary stories about entrepreneurs cashing in with t-shirts seems to follow close behind.  Such was the case of Maurice Harary, a 23 year old business student out of New York, who reportedly sold 120 thousand dollars (or more) worth of "Osama is dead" themed apparel (at Osamadeadtees.com).  He struck while the Internet iron was still hot and cashed in big time.

From The Village Voice:
As of yesterday, he'd reportedly sold 25,000 t-shirts at $12 per shirt. The disturbing frat-boy nature of the "Osama is Dead" t-shirts notwithstanding, it's pretty impressive that Harary acted so quickly and successfully, so props to him for that.
But wait!  The would-be Donald Trump has had a change of heart.
Now, though, he's giving all the money back? Seriously: he told CBS, "I will now be refunding all orders on Osama dead tees. Celebrating over the death of someone, whoever it is, is evil in my eyes."
Closer scrutiny indicates an element of bullshit could be in play here.

Based upon the t-shirt images from his website, Harary used other "schwag" fulfillment sites such as Zazzle and CafePress which actually render such products and sells them for their "merchants" one item at a time.  As the cheapest shirts on Zazzle and CafePress are more than $12 each, it seems unlikely that Harary could sell his shirts for that and make money UNLESS he had gotten a quantity discount by pre-ordering a stock of inventory. The start-up cost of this would be very, very expensive for a college student (prohibitively so).

Instead of the "moral issues" cited, it might be that Osamadeadtees.com actually closed up shop because Harary realized too late that his small-sized operation wasn't equipped to fill 10,000 orders and still be profitable.
    So, instead of politics, it might really be a matter of simple math.
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    Friday, May 06, 2011

    It Depends On What Your Definition of "Is" Is

    Fun with Google Autocomplete.  Typing in "is" generated this roster of eclectic choices.

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    Thursday, May 05, 2011

    Tense Situation

    In case anyone is curious about what the people in the now famous Situation Room photo were REALLY thinking:

    Read more!

    Monday, April 25, 2011

    First Impressions: 1,001 Online Dates

    As someone who hasn’t been on a “first date” in over a quarter of a century, I’m well out of the loop in understanding how people currently engage in this age-old social ritual. So, my excessive display of surprise when recently told by an old high school friend that he met his wife through a web dating service was borne out of honest ignorance. In fact, Online Dating Magazine estimates that 20 million people a month visit Internet dating sites such as eHarmony, Match.com or Zoosk.

    This actually shouldn’t be all that surprising as a simple glance at the news reveals a plethora of events where the Internet plays a pivotal role ranging in importance from Rebecca Black’s rise as a pop culture star (sorta) to regime change in Egypt and Libya (maybe).

    With that in mind, the writing/producing/directing team Mark L. Feinsod and Evan Leed use the popularity for this form of hooking up as the premise for 1,001 Online Dates. The independently-produced series is, appropriately enough, accessible online at: http://www.1001onlinedates.com/

    Read the Full Post at The House Next Door...
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    Sunday, April 24, 2011

    Special Easter Movie Review: The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly

    I've always had a genuine interest in ostensibly "non-religious" films that evoke Christian imagery and yet tell a conventional story. Often, these are more insightful and less melodramatic than movies specifically about Jesus.

    One of the most obvious examples is The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951). Klautu, the alien visitor with an important message for humanity, takes on the name of "Carpenter" while on earth. After being killed by soldiers, he is literally brought back to life amidst a flash of light. Both Hombre (1967) and Cool Hand Luke (1967) feature Christ-like anti-establishment title characters. Likewise, the grandfather (Alan Arkin) in 2006's Little Miss Sunshine is a sort of savior. Sure, he's a heroin-dealing, cocaine-using, porn fan. But his life and death function to guide the main characters out of their nihilistic Hell. After the events surrounding the cathartically chaotic beauty contest, the family returns to their van and ponders an empty linen bed sheet (shroud) which had formerly covered Arkin's corpse.

    Films like those listed above perform a tricky balancing act that incorporates, to varying degrees, symbolic elements from the New Testament, such as the Resurrection (a tricky thing in real life too), while retaining a story that stands on its own.

    Sergio Leone's The Good, The Bad and the Ugly (1966) is an another example of such a film. Loaded with Christian imagery, it still holds up as a traditional Western.

    ...Full Post at Basket of Kisses.
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    Monday, April 18, 2011

    Cold Calling: A Single Man

    2009's A Single Man depicts the pivotal events that take place in the life of the title character on November 30, 1962.  Colin Firth is excellent as an English professor, George Falconer, who is going through a severe depression after the death of his partner, Jim (Matthew Goode), eight months previously.

    Through Falconer, the film explores the depths of emotions faced by individuals who are forced to deal with loss.  While other attempts to present same-sex subject matter in television and movies are often self-conscious and veer into melodrama, director Tom Ford takes a matter-of-fact approach to the relationship at center of the story. This allows the audience to empathize more with its universal themes.

    ...Full Post at Basket of Kisses.
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