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November 22, 2006

My New Most Favoritest Thanksgiving Song Ever

stuffing.jpgPass the Stuffing
by Grant Baciocco & Doug Price

The turkey is done; the potatoes are mashed,
but you're not here so my holiday's thrashed.
The candied yams, well, they're ready to eat
but the marshmallows on top of them, well, they just aren't as sweet.
Since you walked out of the door
I just don't feel like giving thanks no more.

So thanks for nothing.
Please pass the stuffing.

The TV is on in the living room.
A broken heart would be my parade balloon.
And all I want to do is just sit here and cry
and watch my tears fall down into my pumpkin pie.
My cranberry sauce heart has lost its canned shape.
Dumped on thanksgiving, well, that's something I just can't take.

So thanks for nothing.
Please pass the stuffing.

Thanksgiving holiday comes every year
but you aren't ever coming back, so to you, my dear, I say:

Thanks for nothing.
Please pass the stuffing. (repeat and fade)

This is from The Radio Adventures of Dr. Floyd, a podcast my kids love, and I can see why. Ranks right up there with Blue Christmas as one of the best holiday break up songs ever. Not that I can name many holiday break up songs. In fact Blue Christmas is the only other one I can think of right now. Clearly an underexplored musical niche.

November 16, 2006

Water Cooler Factor

water_cooler_1.jpgAll right, I have to ask the question - Does anyone actually stand around a water cooler and have conversations with their coworkers?

I must have heard this tired old saw used three or four times this last week. We supposedly have water cooler conversations about sports, about television, about politics, and today I was told we are having water cooler conversations about OJ Simpson's new book.

Well, in my place of work we don't even have a water cooler. And, while I'm not typically a literalist about these sorts of things, I have to wonder - Do these conversations really exist around said water coolers?

November 8, 2006

You did a hell of a job, Rummy...

rum-viper5.jpgDonald Rumsfeld was finally fired today after a long record of gross incompetence. But I liked his poetry. Maybe he has a literary career in his future. I will say farewell with one of my favorite poems, er, press briefings of his.

As we know,
There are known knowns.
There are things we know we know.
We also know
There are known unknowns.
That is to say
We know there are some things
We do not know.
But there are also unknown unknowns,
The ones we don't know
We don't know.

February 12, 2002, Department of Defense news briefing

And here's a recitation!

November 4, 2006


bloodelffemale2.jpgEvery so often one writes a script that you know you will want to share with your great grand children some day. Something that will stand the test of time. Something that, when you finish it, you feel as if you actually transcended your own ability as an artist and have gone to another plane, another level.

This is not one of those scripts.

My prompts for today's script were:

Who: Victoria’s Secret Salesperson
What: A Dripping Faucet
Where: A Glass House
Opening Line: “Watch out!”

and I was writing for two women.

So naturally I wrote a script about World of Warcraft.

Part of this script was inspired by a game my daughter and I do in which we take a sentence or phrase and repeat it over and over with as many different interpretations as possible.

Written for Out of the Hat 8
Renegade Comedy Theatre

CHERISH – a voice actress
DEE – a producer

[lights up, CHERISH is in a sound studio with a mic and headsets, a script in front of her on a stand, DEE is at a mix board with headsets on as well]

CHERISH – Watch out! I have a magic wand and I know how to use it!

DEE – Again, less urgent.

CHERISH – Watch out! I have a magic wand and I know how to use it!

DEE – No, more pouty.

CHERISH – Watch out! I have a magic wand and I know how to use it!

DEE – No, give me more attitude.

CHERISH – Watch out! I have a magic wand and I know how to use it!

DEE – Again.

CHERISH – Watch out! I have a magic wand and I know how to use it!

DEE – No, we’re just not getting what we want.

CHERISH – What do you want, dammit? I mean, I’ve been doing this freaking line since lunch!

DEE – How do you think I feel? How do you think I feel, miss talent, when Blizzard calls me up eight weeks before launch of the most anticipated computer game of the year and says, “We want to redo the voices of our Blood Elves, they didn’t test well in Beta”?

CHERISH – But what am I doing wrong? What do you want?

DEE – I want a voice that will give that slave wage gold farmer in Shanghai something to keep him warm at night. I want a voice that will cause that 14 year old boy in Fort Wayne, Indiana to spontaneously sprout pubic hair. I want a voice that will make that computer software engineer never want to leave his parent’s basement ever again.

CHERISH – You want that? But aren’t elves supposed to be happy, cute, cuddly creatures? That’s what they wanted in the Keebler voiceovers.

DEE – Have you ever played World of Warcraft? Come here… Look at these screen caps. What do you see?

CHERISH – These are the elves? I thought this was a Victoria’s Secret layout.

DEE – Perfect! Yes! Victoria’s Secret. Go back into your little glass house and let me hear your best Victoria’s Secret salesgirl voice.

CHERISH – Really?

DEE – [begging] Yes, please!

CHERISH – Okay, I’ll try it. [goes back into booth and puts on headphones] Watch out! I have a magic wand and I know how to use it!

DEE – Better! Okay, you’re a sultry sorceress. You are pissed, but yet a come hither kitten. You’re the huntress, but you like to play with your prey. Sell it!

CHERISH – Watch out! I have a magic wand and I know how to use it!

DEE – Good! Okay, let’s move on to voice cue 167A.

CHERISH – Okay, let me find it… Okay, got it… “Let me know if you see something you like.” What is this line? What is going on here? I don’t get my motivation.

DEE – It’s a standard line for vendors. When the players come up to a vendor in the game, they ask… leading… You’re a merchant, okay?

CHERISH – What am I selling?

DEE – Oh, please, as if you don’t know… Look, same voice as before.

CHERISH – The Victoria’s Secret salesgirl voice?

DEE – Yes, that one. [to herself] I’m going to kill Mark in central casting. [to CHERISH] When you’re ready…

CHERISH – Let me know if you see something you like.

DEE – Again.

CHERISH – Let me know if you see something you like.

DEE – More. Again.

CHERISH – Let me know if you see something you like.

DEE – Again.

CHERISH – Let me know if you see something you like.

DEE – Again.

CHERISH – Let me know if you see something you like.

DEE – Again!

CHERISH – Let me know if… Dee! This is killing me!

DEE – Look, you’re not due for a break for another hour and we still have 44 voice cues to get through today!

CHERISH – But, it’s the same thing over and over. It’s like water torture, like a dripping faucet. “Watch out! Watch out! Watch out! See something you like? See something you like? See something you like? I have a wand! I have a wand! I have a wand!”

DEE – Welcome to my world. Want something different? Let’s try sound cue 79D.

CHERISH – [flips through pages] “I can’t put that there.” What kind of game is this?

DEE – It’s for when a player tries to equip his character with something that doesn’t go in the proper slot.

CHERISH – Do players often try to put the wrong things in slots?

DEE – All… the… time. Let’s try it, shall we?

CHERISH – I can’t put that there.

DEE – Again.

CHERISH – I can’t put that there.

DEE – Again.

CHERISH – I can’t put that there.

DEE – Again. Sexier.

CHERISH – How am I supposed to make that line sexy?

DEE – You really don’t get out much, do you? Okay, let’s try sound cue 882A.

CHERISH – “Ouch?” Just “ouch?”

DEE – Yeah, it’s for when a character gets hurt, but only a little bit. Like when they fall off a cliff.

CHERISH – They fall off a cliff and they only say “ouch?”

DEE – It’s a fantasy world. Live the fantasy. And don’t forget, what are you selling me?

CHERISH – Victoria’s Secret.

DEE – Do it.


DEE – Less pained.

CHERISH – Less pained? I’m saying “ouch” for Christ’s sake!

DEE – I bet every time you say “ouch” you aren’t exactly hurting.

CHERISH – Hey, let’s keep my recreational life out of this!

DEE – You are the one in the glass house, babe. Let’s try it again.


DEE – Again.


DEE – Again.


DEE – One more time, sexy.


DEE – Okay, let’s move on to sound cue 132R.

CHERISH – “Is that a dagger in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?” You’ve got to be kidding me.

DEE – One of the standard female Blood Elf greetings.

CHERISH – What’s the other? “Want to stick your tongue down my throat?”

DEE – No, they are saving that for the next expansion. Let’s hear it.

CHERISH – Is that a dagger in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?

DEE – Again.

CHERISH – Is that a dagger in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?

DEE – Again.

CHERISH – Is that a dagger in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?

DEE – Again.

[repeat, lights out]

November 3, 2006

Signs of Intelligent Life

vla1_grande.jpgI'm writing for Out of the Hat again, which is a 24 hour project where the writers draw out of a hat (literally) a who, what, where, and, this time around, an opening line and have to write an approximately 10 minute script overnight. My prompts for today's script?

Who: Oprah
What: Gummi Bears
Where: Elmo’s World
Opening Line: “Oh… I see.”

Oddly, three of these prompts were placed in the hats by my daughter. What are the odds?

So, lucky you, you can read my play before it's performed tonight. I remind gentle readers that all writings on this site are under a Creative Commons License.

Signs of Intelligent Life
Written for Out of the Hat 8
Renegade Comedy Theatre

JONES – slovenly, jaded, philosophical
PERRY – idealistic, ordered, true-believer
VOICE 1 – offstage voice
VOICE 2 – offstage voice

[Lights come up, JONES is eating a bowl of cereal. The theme from Elmo’s World is playing in the background. PERRY enters.]

PERRY – [taking in JONES] Oh… I see. [stares disapprovingly]

JONES – [using remote, turns down the volume, theme fades out] Hi. You’re here early.

PERRY – I came to check out the spectral analysis of the overnight download from the third array before I started my shift.

JONES – [lifts up a stack of paper and plops it down, continuing to eat cereal and stare off stage at the “TV”] Got yer spectral analysis right here.

PERRY – [sniffs as she brushes something off of the top of the stack of paper] Did you read the memo from Stanford about the new buffer standards?

JONES – [rolls eyes] No.

PERRY – “No?” Just “no?”

JONES – No but.

PERRY – “No but” what?

JONES – No but it made a really nice origami frog.
- Hello, Mr. Frog.
- Hello, Chris.
- What are you doing here, Mr. Frog?
- I’m a memo from Stanford University where they think they know more than you do!
- Oh boy, Mr. Frog! Why don’t you go play with your new friends, the origami horse from MIT and the origami crane from Cal Tech and your whole new origami family!

PERRY – Jones, this isn’t a laughing matter!

JONES – Do you see me laughing? [stares PERRY down and starts cracking up]

PERRY – Millions of dollars of equipment and a three year grant for the only - the only - fully funded SETI project and you spend your time… [looks off at the TV set] watching Sesame Street and eating breakfast cereal at four in the afternoon?

JONES – That’s not true. [shovels cereal into his mouth defiantly]

PERRY – [looks at him incredulously] In what way is that not true?

JONES – It’s not four o’clock in the afternoon. If it were, I’d be watching Oprah. Until then, it’s Elmo time. [singing] La la la la, la la la la, Elmo’s World… sing it with me… la la la la…

PERRY – I can’t believe I’m on this project with you. I thought you believed in what we were doing. When I think that of all the six and a half billion people on this planet you are one of the eight people most likely to first make contact with alien intelligence… I want to puke.

JONES – Eight in six and a half billion, eh? Since I figure those odds are significantly better than us actually making first contact on this project, I wouldn’t get too uptight about it.

PERRY – What do you mean? This is the state of the art SETI project. We have full access to some of the best signal heuristics technology on the planet. If there are embedded signals…

JONES – Look, I know the whole sales job. I’m not some elected stooge giving out paychecks. I’m on the collecting end of this scam. If you do the hard data on the possibilities of finding a far space civilization in synch with ours…

PERRY – In synch?

JONES – Okay, look, I’ll make this simple for you. We figure the universe is, what, about thirteen and a half billion years old, right?

PERRY – Yes.

JONES – And the whole of human civilization which is actually broadcasting our presence into the cosmos by means of radio and such has been, what, about eighty years?

PERRY – Yes.

JONES – And how long do you think we will keep doing that until we blow ourselves up?

PERRY – [grimaces] Not funny.

JONES – For the sake of argument, let’s say our civilization lasts even another 10,000 years. That’s like a tiny fraction of the age of the universe. And even in that amount of time, Elmo and Oprah, being broadcast out into the cosmos at the speed of light, won’t even make it to the center of our own galaxy. Our own galaxy!


JONES – So, let’s say, for sake of argument, that there is over here a sentient race of gummi bears who have struggled out of their gelatinous primordial slime, did the whole 2001 ape and obelisk thing, and start sending telegraphs to one another. And let’s say they even evolve telecommunications technology similar enough to ours that they are actually looking for radio waves to decipher. And let’s say even that they are within the 10,000 light year limit of our own solar system. What are the odds in thirteen and a half billion years of cosmic history that their civilization would overlap with ours in any meaningful way such that they would be interested in talking with us?

PERRY – Astronomical.

JONES – Exactly.

PERRY – So, this is just a joke? You just sit here collecting data, watching daytime TV, and filling out reports so you can get paid?



JONES – No, you fill out all of the reports. I fold the memos into origami animals. But, yes, other than that this is pretty much a joke.

PERRY – But, even if what you say is true, even if the odds are that low, which I don’t totally accept, then there is still a chance. And we serve as a symbol of humanity looking beyond itself, looking for our place in the greater cosmos… right?

JONES – That’s the delusion talking. Look, if we are any kind of symbol, we are the symbol of human arrogance that anyone who was actually intelligent would want to talk with us.

PERRY – But we want to talk with them. If we want to know that we aren’t alone don’t you think…

JONES – Do I think that alien intelligence really gives a rat’s ass about what we do in our corner of the cosmic sandbox? No. I think that’s our hang up. We think everything is about us, right? [singing] This is the song, la la la la, human’s song. This is our world, la la la la, human’s world. [stops singing] Copernicus told us differently, but we still want to think we are the center of everything.

PERRY – Okay, smart guy, so we aren’t the center of the universe. The chances of anyone out there actively trying to talk with us is remotely small…

JONES – Infintesimally small…

PERRY – Whatever. So, your answer is to wear your pajamas to work?

JONES – It’s not like anyone sees me. I’m down in this bunker all day long. And I doubt if the sentient gummi bears would care.
- Do you care Mr. Gummi Bear?
- No, Chris, I love you just the way you are.
- Awww… I love you too, Mr. Alien Gummi Bear.
[eats the gummi bear]

PERRY – You don’t take anything seriously, do you?

JONES – Since the alternative is morbid depression, I think you should count yourself lucky.

PERRY – I think I’m going to go crunch these numbers in the break room. [exits]

JONES – Crunch? Actually, I could use some more Cap’n Crunch. I’ll go with you. [exits]

[a beeping noise, VOICE 1 emerges from static]

VOICE 1 – People of earth. Greetings. If anyone is listening. Please. Send more “I Love Lucy” broadcasts.

VOICE 2 – Yeah, and “Dragnet.”

VOICE 1 – Oh, yeah. Love Jack Webb. “Just the facts, ma’am.” Cracks me up. Every time.

VOICE 2 – Yeah, and Lassie. She’s a genius. Best dramatic timing… ever.

VOICE 1 – Poor Timmy.

VOICE 2 – Poor Timmy. Oh, the sorrow.

[music fades up on Elmo’s world refrain]