Showing posts from October, 2008

White Female Gangsta Bloggas

I laughed, I cried, I thought, "Chris Baggott and his staff have too much time on their hands."

A little video by Jess Wehner and Kristen Raves of Compendium Blogware, spoofing SNL's Lazy Sunday. For those of you outside our fair city, the video was shot in Compendium offices and in downtown Indianapolis on the Circle.

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WERIK RadioErik Deckers
Laughing Stalk Syndicate
Copyright 2008

Many big-city radio news programs are becoming shadows of their former selves, getting their news, including traffic reports, from national sources, not local reporters. They've lost the very essence of what made local news so important and relevant 30 years ago.

I would love to see a return to local radio news. Even better, an ultra-localized news service that gives me the news I want, about things that affect only me. I could listen to it on the way to work each morning.

Good morning, this is WERIK Radio, bringing you the best in local news, sports, traffic, and weather for Erik Deckers. I'm Carl Bormann, with traffic and sports from Judy Capstan.

Topping local news this morning, local business Slipstone Manufacturing announced they will soon add 400 new jobs in the next six months. While this means more economic stimulus for the area, this will add 400 new cars to get in your way, while you’re driving to work.

In othe…

The Vinyl Cafe with Stuart McLean visits Indianapolis

The Vinyl Café with Stuart McLean visits IndianapolisI'm sitting in Row A, seat 103 at the Hilbert Circle Theatre. There are 20 other people in the entire theatre. Mostly because I'm 45 minutes early.

I'm waiting for the Vinyl Café with Stuart McLean to start, and the fair weather fans are out in the lobby, or still on their way to the theatre. I've been waiting for this show since they announced it back in July. The stage is empty, and the crowd trickles in.

The Vinyl Café is a radio show on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, similar to Prairie Home Companion. In fact, it's on right after Prairie Home Companion on WFYI public radio, so the comparisons are inevitable.

Sure, music and a couple of stories are the mainstays on the Vinyl Café's 60 minute offering (compared to the added radio skits, fake commercials, and News from Lake Wobegon on PHC). But a live show is twice as nice. Two hours of music and stories, including what we all came for: Dave and Morley …

I Just Want My $2, Lady

I Just Want My $2, LadyErik Deckers
Laughing Stalk Syndicate
Copyright 2008

Every kid had that quintessential kid job they did for some extra cash. I mowed lawns, shoveled driveways, and delivered papers. I hated delivering papers.

I wasn't one of those kids who worked hard all summer to pay for my school clothes and books (but if my kids ever ask you, I was). Rather, I would wait until I needed some money to pay for something important, like baseball cards or a record, and then work until I earned enough money.

My best friend, Doug, was a paperboy, when I was 10 and he was 11. He delivered the Muncie Evening Press, a later afternoon paper. I sometimes rode with him, so I was his first choice for a sub when he went on vacation for 10 days. That doesn't mean I was the best choice though.

My problem was that I didn't pay attention to things that are going on around me, unless I thought they were important, and I had a vested interest in knowing it. Someone paying me to throw roll…

Gun Safety: Do as I say, not as I do

Pop Quiz
When bringing a DEA agent into your classroom to talk about gun safety and the dangers of guns, you want:

1) Someone who can reach young kids with a positive message.
2) Someone with years of on-the-job experience.
3) Someone who can create a safe learning environment for children.
4) Someone who makes sure a gun is unloaded before showing it to a bunch of kids.

The best line in the whole video: “I’m the only one in this room professional enough that I know of to carry the Glock 40.” BANG!

You have to admit, the guy can think pretty quickly on his feet, which is a good thing, considering he nearly put a hole in one.

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Won't Return My Ball? I'm Calling the Cops.

Every neighborhood seems to have a crabby old lady or man who is the bane of all the kids. When I was growing up in Muncie, IN, it was the mother of one of the littler kids who lived across the street. And she wasn't that old, but she was twice as crabby.

This woman was a psycho. She used to make her kid spend the day in bed if he stepped in a puddle, even in the middle of summer, because now he was "sick." She once yelled at me to play on my own side of the street (not in the yard, mind you, but on my side of the imaginary center line). And she once chased me and my friend, Eric Pratt, with 2 foot hedge trimmers, screaming at us like Attila the Hun. (Believe me, I am not exaggerating about any of this. I wish I was.)

In Blue Ash, Ohio, Edna Jester has earned the reputation of being the crabby neighbor. According to an article in USA Today, Edna, 89, is facing 6 months incarceration and a $1,000 fine because she refused to return a football belonging to a neighborhood kid …

Review of Lord, Save Us From Your Followers

Review of Lord, Save Us From Your FollowersI went to Lord, Save Us From Your Followers, at the Heartland Film Festival, wondering if I would love or hate the movie.

As a liberal Christian, I had twice the chance of being upset by Dan Merchant's documentary, where he "sets out to discover why the Gospel of Love is dividing America."

Merchant spent three years looking at utterances from as well as interviewing people on both sides of the debate, including Pastor Rick Warren (author of A Purpose Driven Life), former Pennsylvania Rick Santorum, Al Franken, Sister Mary Timothy of the Church of Perpetual Indulgence, Tony the Beat Poet and Donald Miller, author of Blue Like Jazz.

Merchant lays out the debate, and gives us example after example of the angry, divisive language from Jerry Falwell, Sean Hannity, and Ann Coulter. And just when you think we're on the brink of a religious-cultural civil war, Merchant shows us that not all hope is lost.

We get to hear from Pastor Rick …

Garrison Keillor: The Man on the Radio in the Red Shoes - Heartland Film Festival review

I was 14 years old when I first started listening to Prairie Home Companion. When my sister and I would go to my dad's for a weekend visit, we always listened to PHC at dinner, moving to the living room to finish up with the news from Lake Wobegon.

Although I outgrew most of my childhood likes and dislikes – beer can collecting just doesn't have the same attraction as it used to – Prairie Home Companion has stayed with me for the last 27 years. Garrison Keillor's smooth baritone can lull you into a state of Saturday relaxation like nobody's business.

So I jumped at the chance to review Garrison Keillor: The Man on the Radio in the Red Shoes at the Heartland Film Festival, dangling modifier notwithstanding.

The movie is a behind-the-scenes documentary about Keillor and his steering of Prairie Home Companion through its 30 year run. We get to see how the show is made, the musicians and actors who are normally just names and voices on the radio, and Keillor's thoughts on…

Heartland Film Festival review: Second Hand Wedding

I kicked off the Heartland Film Festival with one of the first films of the year, Second Hand Wedding, New Zealand filmmaker's Paul Murphy first full-length feature.

I was dazzled by the views of New Zealand's Kapiti Coast and gorgeous shots of the coastline. I've never been to the land of the Kiwis, but an ex-pat American tells me it's the most beautiful place on earth. After seeing the shots by the film's second unit (Murphy was the second unit cameraman too), I can believe it. Northern California is a Superfund site compared to New Zealand.

Garage sale junkie, Jill (played by my new favorite Kiwi actressGeraldine Brophy), and her friend, Muffy, spend weekend after weekend visiting rummage sales, buying anything and everything they can find. In one of my favorite scenes, Muffy and Jill are sitting on the couch, when Muffy notices a chip in a teapot lid, obviously bringing the value down of the whole purchase.

"Wait a minute," says Jill, and she gets up. Sh…

Independent Coffee Shops Need Their Own Identities, Language

A recent visit to the Noblesville Coffee and Tea Company -- my first ever -- was both excellent and a tiny bit disappointing. Just a tiny bit though. As a fan of independent coffee houses around the Indianapolis metro area, I love trying coffee houses for the first time.

My friend, Jeff Coppinger, owner of Lazy Daze Coffeehouse said this was one shop he really likes this place, so I thought I would try it.

I really like the place. Great ambience, gorgeous leather couches, and outstanding coffee.

They even embrace their indie status, by offering bumper stickers that proudly proclaim, "Friends don't let friends drink Starbucks."

Yep, they eschew all things corporate and embrace their indie-ness. Until you order your coffee, available in Tall, Grande, and Venti. That's Starbucks speak for small, medium, and large. Eww.

"It seems kind of funny to have this bumper sticker when you use Starbucks' sizes," I said.

"They're not copyrighted," said the you…

Wii, this is fun!!

My friend, Patric Welch a.k.a. Mr. Noobie, is giving away a Nintendo Wii on his Noobie website.

Patric helps out Noobies to the technology world with useful advice, like buying and using a digital camera, new computer, having heated discussions with me about whether kids should learn to tell analog time (they should), and my favorite segment, TILTS (Things I'd Like to See).

You can win a Wii if you click this link. This very link. Click it. What are you waiting for?!

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Simple Living Ain't So Simple

Simple Living Ain't So SimpleErik Deckers
Laughing Stalk Syndicate
Copyright 2008

My family and I moved recently. We went from the heart of Indianapolis to the northern suburbs, something which did not excite me. I don't know what I hated more, leaving our little urban dwelling, or loading and unloading two truckloads of stuff in 36 hours.

Despite my stabbing back pain, I think it was the leaving our house that hurt the most. I made sure to voice this opinion several times in the weeks leading up to our moving.

"You know, for a supporter of the party of change, you sure whine a lot," said my wife.

"That's not true. I'm all about change," I said, folding my arms.

She pointed at my pose. "You haven't changed that. You still pout."

"Do not."

"Whatever." She went off to pack more stuff.

We've been in Life Simplification mode for several years. We've moved three times in three years – something I haven't done since col…

Creating successful newspapers: You're doing it wrong

Ruth Holladay's blog says Gannett is dismantling The former INTake paper and website will get its web content from national restaurant and calendar provider Metromix. Because no one knows Indianapolis better than a web company in Chicago.

Pick your city? Pick your city?!

This has been Gannett's approach for the past several years. The bean counters and MBAs are deciding that what's best is to get rid of everything that makes the Star the Indianapolis Star, and get local content from national providers, people who know nothing about our corner of the world.

"Trust Gannett: if there is a formula for ruining newspapers and careers, they have it mastered," Holladay said in her blog.

I've got an idea. I'll pick my newspaper. It's online. I'll pick my local events calendar. It's Nuvo. I'll pick my local commentary. They're bloggers -- Holladay, Jennifer Wagner, and Abdul Hakim-Shabazz. What I won&#…

Blog Action Day 2008 Poverty

Like most Americans, I have the occasional bad day where nothing seems to go right. Gas is so expensive, I don’t always fill the tank, hoping gas prices will drop the next day. The kids keep forgetting to turn the lights off, so the electric bill goes up that month. I forgot my wallet, so I can’t get lunch.

Rather than dwell on these things, I thank God instead. I thank Him that I have a car to drive, and money to put gas in it. I thank Him that we have a home and healthy kids to play in it. I thank Him that I have food to eat at all.

Today is Blog Action Day 2008 Poverty, where bloggers around the world are committing a day’s post to blogging about poverty in the hopes that we can at least make a dent in it. And while I don't expect a humor blog to have a huge impact, I know my readers can.

I want to help Haiti. It’s the poorest country in the western hemisphere, where the average Haitian family lives on $2 per day. The average daily salary is $1 per day.

Think about that the next ti…

Saturday Night Live Videos may be available on their own website

According to a story in Broadcasting & Cable magazine, Saturday Night Live producer Lorne Michaels is in talks with NBC to develop an on-demand site for SNL videos, thanks to the success of SNL clips on Hulu. The idea grew as execs saw how popular SNL clips on Hulu (owned by NBC Universal) had become.

One concern Michaels and company have is whether they can monetize the site or not. While I'm all for people making money -- we do live in a capitalist society after all -- I think's lack of financial success should give him pause. SNL alum Will Ferrell's brainchild isn't doing that well financially, which has caused some worries that the site might, well, die. If they don't make any money at it, then they can't consider the site a failure. If they tried, and didn't, what will that do to all the content we've all come to enjoy?

Of course, this means that you might not be able to watch these things for free. If that's the case, be sure…

The Birds and Bees are Out to Get Me

The Birds and Bees are Out to Get MeErik Deckers
Laughing Stalk Syndicate
Copyright 2008

“Sure, I’d be glad to help you with your homework, Honey.”

“Where do what come from?!”

“You’re 12. Why do you want to know about that?”

“Why aren’t you interested in dolls instead?”

“What about Penny?”

“Eight years? Are you sure?”

“Why do you even need to know this?”

“They’re teaching that in school now?”

“Can’t you ask your mother?”

“I know she’s visiting Grandma for a few days. Can’t you wait until she gets back?”

“Why did you wait until the last night to do this?”

“We need to work on your time management skills. Do you want me to start teaching you some tricks I learned?”

“Until bedtime.”

“Oh jeez. Why did she have to leave now? I can’t do this.”

“No, I’m just talking to myself.”

“Okay, look. . .”

“All right, it starts with. . .”

“Okay. First there’s a . . .”

“No, how about this: When a man and a woman love each other very much – look, I can’t do this. You need to ask your mother.”

“Can’t you call her?”

“Maybe her ph…

New KitchenPundit photo

Another creation at Kitchen Pundit. Stop by the link and favorite it. I'm hoping one of my creations makes it on to the main blog one of these days.

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October 6 is Mad Hatter Day !

October 6th is Mad Hatter Day, a holiday created 22 years ago in Boulder, Colorado by some computer people with too much time on their hands (guess they had run out of Star Trek fan fiction). They picked October 6 as the date, because of the "10/6" tag on the Mad Hatter's hat.

I stumbled upon a Mad Hatter Day entry at Ari Rampkin's really old home page (which he updated 9 years ago -- seriously, dude, teh Interweb is never going to be more than a fad if you don't update once in a while. The tubes get clogged, man!)

According to Rampkin, we celebrate silliness on Mad Hatter Day. Do something silly for the sake of being silly. Do something unexpected. Hurl a scone. Wear a funny hat. Speak like a Canadian pirate. ("Arrr, it's aboot time you walked the plank, eh.")

Rampkin presciently wrote on his page 12 years ago:
"But what if your work involves something inherently silly -- say marketing, where you put on a three-piece suit (five or six layers of fa…

War of the Toothpastes

War of the ToothpastesErik Deckers
Laughing Stalk Syndicate
Copyright 2008

Every new marriage starts with some rocky issues that, at least to outsiders, seem impossible to work past. The newlyweds have different ideas about politics, raising children, or money.

It’s especially hard for couples who come from completely different religions. He’s Catholic, she’s Jewish. He goes to church on Sunday, she goes to Temple on Saturday.

“You can’t marry someone outside the faith!” says the young man’s mother. “There will be too many problems.”

“We love each other enough to get past it,” he says. “We’ll figure it out as we go along.”

“How will you raise your children?” the young woman’s mother wails.

“We’ll raise them with a full understanding of both faiths, and let them make their own choices when they’re old enough,” she says.

What the young couple doesn’t realize is this will all just lead to fighting and arguing about which one is the One True Faith, and who’s wrong and who’s right. Eventually, one …