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Showing posts from April, 2015

The Glory of the Honorary Doctorate

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I've always wanted an honorary doctorate. It's not a major item on my bucket list. In fact, I don't even have a bucket list. But if I did, this wouldn't be on there.

The desire for an honorary doctorate pops up this time each year, as famous and not-so-famous people in the arts, science, and humanities are asked to give thoughtful university commencement speeches around the country.

As an added enticement, the people often have an honorary doctorate conferred upon them.

That just sounds so cool: to have an honorary doctorate conferred upon you.

It sounds so regal.

"What, this old thing? It was conferred upon me a few years ago."

They don't just slip it to you like a street corner drug deal, or mail it to you in a large enveloped marked "Do Not Bend" which your letter carrier takes as a personal insult and irons a crease into it.

There are Doctors of Literature, Humane Letters (academic distinction), Laws, Science, Fine Arts, Humanities, and Div…

Up Yours, Old Way of Doing Things

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My friend, Jason Falls, co-hosts the 100 Proof Badass Radio Show, and his employer, Elasticity, is the show's sponsor. During the intro, Jason always says "the three founders threw off their corporate PR firm neckties, grew mustaches, bought a panda suit, and said "up yours, old way of doing things."

I always thought that was an odd thing to say, as if the old way of doing things was a single person you could talk to. And if you could, why would you say something so crude? That idea inspired me to write this story.



"Up yours, Old Way of Doing Things!" shouted the young man, throwing his arms open wide.

"Excuse me?" said Old Way of Doing Things.

"Who said that?" asked Disruption. He whirled around, looking for the voice.

"I did," said Old Way of Doing Things, stepping out of the shadows.

"Who are you?"

"I'm Old Way of Doing Things. You just called me."

"Oh, I didn't think you'd hear me,"…

Karl the Curmudgeon was a Propaganda Writer

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"Did I ever tell you I was a government propaganda writer, Kid?" asked Karl.

No, you didn't, I said. What did you do, write light operas about Billy Yank and Johnny Reb?

Karl muttered something vulgar and gave me the finger. "You know you're only 20 years younger than me, right?"

Twenty-one years, I corrected. That's a whole person who can drink younger than you.

"Whatever, Grandpa. Just remember, whenever you joke about the aged, you're one of us."

I gestured at Kurt, our favorite bartender at First Editions, the literary-themed bar we frequented. Two more beers, please, Kurt. And a glass of soluble fiber for great-grandpa Karl. I turned to Karl. So tell me about your freelance propaganda work.

Kurt set the beers on the bar. He must have been out of the fiber.

"Well, it was in the 1970s and 80s. We were responsible for writing pulp fiction stories to counteract the crap Kim Jong-il and his father Kim Jong-Oops used to spread."

Review of The Drowsy Chaperone at Beef & Boards Theatre

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Leave it to a musical parody to flip the switch for me to make me finally like musical theatre.

This past weekend's showing of The Drowsy Chaperone at Beef & Boards Theatre was enough to make me realize I now like the art form, and while I'm still selective, I won't pooh-pooh the genre anymore.

I had the chance to attend a Media Night performance of my new favorite musical this past Saturday, thanks to a complimentary ticket from Patricia Rettig, the Beef & Boards marketing and media relations director.

The show was actually written as a parody for Bob Martin and Janet van de Graaf's stag party, when the two got married in 1997. The fun show turned into a show at the Toronto Fringe Theatre Festival (Martin became a co-writer), ran in Toronto a few times, and then became a Broadway smash, winning five Tony awards, and being nominated for eight more.

The premise is a rather timid Broadway-loving Man In The Chair (David Schmittou) is looking for a way to chase aw…

A Letter From My Facebook Feed

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Dear Erik,

I'm so angry right now! I can't believe what's happening right now with RFRA, and ISIS! And President Obama and Iran! And Benghazi! And RFRA again! And who the hell serves pizza at a wedding anyway?!

And now I'm happy because here's a video of kitties playing together! Can't you just die from all the cuteness?

Also, I'm pumped about my new CrossFit exercise program. I'm doing battle rope, dead lifts, and these things called burpees. (Of course, I've got that one friend who makes predictable jokes about burpees.)

Check out this picture of the sunset. Have you seen such a beautiful sunset?

Ooh, look another kitty video! It's so cute and fluffy!

Watch this video of this person doing something with another person. WHAT HAPPENS NEXT WILL BLOW YOUR MIND!

It's a good thing I'm on that exercise program, because here's what I'm eating for lunch! It's a pork tenderloin. No, it's a hamburger. No wait, it's a kale smoot…

Entries sought for upcoming Goats Gone Wild exhibit (PRESS RELEASE)

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From my friend Kendal Miller, the executive director of the Switzerland County Tourism office. You can learn more about Fred the White Goat on a blog post I wrote for VisitIndiana.com.

(VEVAY, Ind.)—The Switzerland County Visitors Center announces a call for entries for their second Goats Gone Wild exhibition. Open to youths and adults, the event will open from 6-9 p.m. on July 3 during Vevay’s First Friday. The art show is just one of the activities that will kick-off the inaugural “Fred the Goat Festival” to be held on Saturday, July 11 on Liberty Street in Vevay.

“Fred” was a white goat that once roamed Vevay Hill in Switzerland County, Indiana, for many years. Residents were often seen searching the hillside for Fred in hopes of taking photographs to upload to his Facebook page. After his death in late 2013, Fred is now immortalized by a white concrete statue placed in his honor. “Fred the Vevay Hill Goat Festival” is a tribute to his memory.

Goats Gone Wild participants are invit…

Destroy Alien Portals for Fun, Exercise

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I've been playing a game on my phone called Ingress.

That is, the game is called Ingress. I don't call my phone anything.

But I've been playing this game rather frequently. Fervently, you might say.

(Editor: Obsessed. The word you're looking for is "obsessed.")

(Erik: Not obsessed. I'm just a fan.)

(Editor: You made me play it. You said you would hide naughty typos in your columns if I didn't start playing.)

Ingress is like virtual geocaching. Geocaching is where you travel to a particular set of GPS coordinates, and look for a waterproof container left by another geocacher. Find the item inside, report it on your mobile app, and move on to your next cache.

Ingress is similar, only you don't have to search for a physical object. The "object" you interact with is called a portal, and it exists only on your phone. If you're within 35 meters of the portal, you can interact with it. If you're not, you can't.

The game is built on G…