It Came From My Notebook!

Bonjour mon prouts!

So over the past year or so I realized that I simply wasn’t happy with the amount of writing I was doing at home, it simply wasn’t enough.  So I decided to put some effort into writing during my work hours as well.  So during my lunch breaks I’ve gotten into the habit of doing a few writing exercises to increase my output and experiment with different styles.  Whether it’s some badly written poetry, a few paragraphs about random thoughts, or a short stream of consciousness story; I’ve tried to spend at least a few minutes of my break everyday writing something.  If nothing else it at least helps stimulate my mind between the long bouts of cerebral drudgery that is my desk job.  Now my pocket notebook is filled with pages of crazy nonsense, fragments of greatness, interesting concepts, and profound thoughts in need of expounding.

As I was looking through my notebook searching for ideas or topics for this very blog I came across one of these exercises I wrote which I had completely forgotten about.  The concept for the writing was simple enough, I would sit down and begin writing the first thing that popped into my head and just go with it until my lunch break was over.  So with nothing much else to share this week I present to you the results of that writing exercise:

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There was a man who ordered a cheeseburger.

“No pickles.”  He asked.

With a nod the cashier complied, punched in his order, rang him up, and the man paid with cash.  

As the man stepped down to await his food another server pointed to the end of the counter and asked him to step down further and wait just around the corner.

With a shrug the man complied.  His shoes squeaked as he walked.

Around the corner was a short narrow hallway.  There the man waited for a moment, another moment, and longer.  Soon he began to worry he would be forgotten. (But don’t we all worry about that?)

As his worry really started to mount a heavy looking utility door at the end of the hall slowly opened outward.  From the doorway another server peaked out and looked at the man, waving him over.

“No pickles?”  She asked in a whisper.

The man nodded reflexively.

“Follow me.”  She told him.

Looking around the man slipped in behind the heavy looking utility door and followed the server in.  He just really wanted a cheeseburger.

The room beyond was dark and soon completely so.  The man lost sight of the woman he was following and began simply following the sounds of her steps through the murky space.  The path through which she guided him was long and twisted and the man bumped into several walls and corners in the dark.  (This must be a very large burger joint.)

Eventually the footsteps halted and in the silence the man stopped too.

As he stood there a single wood torch was lit in front of him and the small flame burned brightly in the recent total darkness.

“That is odd.”  The man thought.  With the scent of the burning flame harsh in his nostrils he stepped forward into the glow of the torch.  There on the other side of the flame sat an enormous cheeseburger the size of a small garage.

That is probably more odd.”  The man concluded.

Which is when the cheeseburger opened its eyes.  Three large human looking eyes inset atop the upper bun of the cheeseburger.  Looking down at the man, the bun-eyes narrowed.

“No pickle?”  The burger asked.  It spoke with an invisible hinge, like a mouth with three lips.  A lip of bun.  A lip of burger meat.  Followed by another lip of bun.  

The man nodded.  “Yes, that is correct.  I ordered no pickle.”

And then the burger spoke again.  The cheeseburger regaled the man with countless hidden secrets of reality.  Occult knowledge which shapes out perceptions and which can alter the very fundamentals of existence.

The man listened wide-eyed and intently.  His mind was like a balloon full of mayonnaise and about to burst.  How long the cheeseburger spoke can not be accurately determined but when it finally finished speaking the chamber was filled with a deep silence the likes of which have not been experienced since the seconds before the Big Bang.

Slowly the man raised his hand and commented, “I just really want a cheeseburger.”

To which the giant cheeseburger closed its eyes and replied.

“You are the cheeseburger.” 

The man looked down and it was true, he was a cheeseburger and as he realized this he saw the enormous tri-eyed cheeseburger slump forward, open it’s bun and burger mouth, and eat the man up in a single gulp.  At that moment the man became the giant cheeseburger and the giant cheeseburger was him.

“Well this has been weird.”  He thought to himself before he decided to leave the chamber.

With a heave and a thrust the gigantic cheeseburger exploded into the sky, through the planet’s atmosphere, and into the majesty of the stars beyond.  For what else is there to do for a giant cheeseburger with an insight into everything but to take to the sky and wander the cosmos for the rest of eternity?

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That is all!

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Minute by Minute

 

One of the benefits of being a lifelong, outspoken Star Wars fan is that sooner or later you don’t really have to go out of your way to find cool or interesting Star Wars stuff.  Eventually everyone I know realized that a large portion of my conscious thought is focused on Star Wars and unless they’re talking about Star Wars the chances are pretty high that I’m not listening.  Therefore my friends and family are constantly bringing new and exciting Star Wars tidbits to my attention and it’s great!  Whether it’s production news, toy releases, or simply attempting to test my knowledge base I seem to constantly be engaged in one Star Wars conversation or another.

Recently a friend brought something to my attention which has become a new tangent for my Star Wars obsession.  This particular tangent is a podcast entitled Star Wars Minute.  Without the slightest bit of hyperbole Star Wars Minute is a pure work of genius.  It’s one of those simple, yet brilliant concepts that is begrudgingly infuriating only because you didn’t come up with the idea yourself.

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The main premise of the podcast is that the two hosts, Alex Robinson and Pete “The Retailer” Bonavita, watch the Star Wars movies one minute at a time, every day, Monday through Friday, and break those minutes apart, analyze them, celebrate them, and most importantly delve into hilarious prolonged discussions about each glorious minute.  Starting back in 2013 the hosts worked their way through every minute of Star Wars, Empire, and Jedi, and are now currently well into The Phantom Menace.

At this point those of you reading are probably thinking one of three things:

A:  “Oh wow!  This sounds great!”

B:  “I mean, I like Star Wars but this seems like too much . . . . “

C:  “How the hell can you talk, at length, about one minute of a movie?”

Allow me to address these questions before I continue.

A:  You are absolutely correct.

B:  It really isn’t overwhelming at all.  Sure there are a lot of episodes but you can really jump in anywhere, or just pace yourself and start from the beginning.  The episodes are generally 20 – 40 minutes long and if you like Star Wars I guarantee you’ll find yourself soaring through them in no time.

C:  That’s the beauty of the Star Wars movies, there is a lot to talk about.  If you really think about it, in any given minute of any of the Star Wars movies there are any number of elements coming together at the same time on screen.  You’ve got the actors, the characters, the aliens and ships of the Star Wars universe, the production style and cinematic choices of George Lucas, John Williams’ music, the various special effects, behind the scenes trivia, various drafts of the screenplay, and the list goes on.  So in short there is a great deal to talk about, both good and bad, in every minute of these films!

Now I don’t know the exact origins of Star Wars Minute or the duo that hosts it but here is what I’ve uncovered from their on-air conversations and a bit of interwebs research.

Alex Robinson is a comic book writer and artist based out of New York City.  Pete the Retailer was a manager at the New York location of the cult entertainment megastore Forbidden Planet.  Based on pure conjecture and their roster of podcast guests I’m guessing that these two friends pooled their network of contacts within the writing, cartooning, and comedy scenes and brought together this brilliant daily podcast with an expertly understated flare.

Pete and Alex have a great chemistry on-air and their conversations and dissections of the Star Wars movies are both informative and entertaining.  It’s like sitting around with your friends watching the movies, pointing out the interesting aliens that are stumbling around in the background, examining the confident ineptitude of Han Solo, and really analyzing the whininess of Jedi-to-be Luke Skywalker.  However I don’t want it to seem like the hosts exclusively make fun of the Star Wars movies, this isn’t a podcast version of MST3K.  Pete and Alex have an honest love for the fantasy/sci-fi adventures from that galaxy far, far away.

It should also be pointed out that Pete and Alex are Star Wars fans dating back to these films earliest days and the two of them are very knowledgeable about the fictional facts of the Star Wars universe, but not too knowledgeable; which in this case is an asset to a show such as this.  Although these guys are Star Wars super fans with a long running successful Star Wars podcast I do find myself occasionally shaking my head in dismay at some of the Star Wars knowledge they slip up on.  That however leaves the hosts and their guests open for a great amount of comedic speculation meaning the show doesn’t dwell too heavily on the practiced regurgitation of Star Wars lore.

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Sure we all know Wuher was the bartender but Chalman owned the Mos Eisley Cantina.  Duh!

Speaking of the guests, almost every episode of Star Wars Minute has guest hosts who are Star Wars fans and experts of varying degrees.  Most of the guests seem to be friends and colleagues of the hosts who each add interesting and humorous points of view that help keep the daily podcast fresh week to week.  A few of my favorite guests that I’ve heard so far are Tim Kreider, Chris Radtke, Jackie Kashian, and the best of all Tony Consiglio.  When perusing the various episodes keep an eye (and ear) out for those guest stars and make it a point to listen to weeks when they appear.

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If you can appreciate this image, then you’d probably appreciate Star Wars Minute.

Overall I’m just going to say this: if you’re a Star Wars fan and are looking for a new Star Wars related podcast to listen to I highly recommend Star Wars Minute.  You can jump right into the daily show which is now covering the Prequel Trilogy or you can go back to the beginning and make your way through the hundreds of episodes which minute-by-minute examine the classic Original Trilogy films.

And Pete and Alex if you’re ever in need of an extremely knowledgeable Star Wars fan for an open guest spot just go ahead and send me a message.  I’ll just be over hear studying my many tomes of Star Wars lore!

That is all!

The New Hit Meme

Bonjour mon prouts!

We’ve got another blog for you today and if you’ve been waiting for a Star Wars related post, well you didn’t have to wait too long!  As you may or may not know one of my favorite aspects of the Star Wars universe are the droids.  C-3PO and R2-D2 are the absolute best of course but where would that far, far away galaxy be without the ubiquitous gonk droid?  And who could forget the menacing Imperial probe droids?  Even the group of notorious bounty hunters summoned by Darth Vader to find the Millennium Falcon was comprised of two droids; IG-88 and 4-LOM!  Hell I even enjoy the comically inept antics of the prequel’s battle droids!  Roger, roger!  And now with the Force Awakens we’ve got the spunky and loyal BB-8!  Which I’m fairly certain is just a small robotic puppy inside a robotic puppy play ball.

Droids!  They’re awesome!

In the intervening time I’ve been away from this blog I’ve still been trying to leave my mark on the world and these days there is no better legacy then creating a meme!  Right??

I mean meme creators are probably some of our most well-known internet celebrities!  I think we’re all familiar with the creator of the “Keep Calm and Carry On” meme, the British Government.  I’m no expert of course but I’m guessing it was that gem of internet masterwork which made that Empire what it is today.

Then there’s the photographer behind the “Ermahgerd” meme whose name escapes me at the moment of writing this but I assure you I know their name and speak of them often, as I’m sure you do as well.

And of course let’s not forget the big daddy of them all the Trollface meme!  I don’t think I even need to tell any of you who created that heavy hitter, they are after all a household name!

Anywho so several months ago I was struck with the idea for a hilariously immortal meme which I could combine with one of my favorite elements of the Star Wars movies!

You:  “Wait Josh does that mean it’s a droid meme?”

Me:  “You’re damn right it’s a droid meme!  Now get out of that oil bath and take a look at what late night ideas in conjunction with boredom produces!”

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You see the joke here is that the droid has been used in a way that might void any type of theoretical warranty the manufacturer would have provided which may have been stipulated in the fine print of some long discarded user agreement

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Protocol droids shouldn’t have their parts swapped and used in battle, it’s all there in the user agreement

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Tusken Raiders shoving the droid off a cliff instantly voids the warranty.

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A droid chassis to carry your guts around should not encounter blaster fire.

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“Use aboard starships” does not mean “trudging through swamps”!

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I hate sand.

 

So go ahead and take the “Voided Warranty” meme out into the world and spread it throughout the interwebs, repurpose it, reapply it, and make it your own.  Put it on a picture of you and your toaster or maybe plaster it on a picture of Michigan’s governor next to Flint’s water treatment facilities!

The important thing here is that by cannibalizing the hard work of the creators of Star Wars I’m sure this’ll finally bring me the creative recognition I’ve soooooo longed for!

AND if you’d actually like to learn the origins of the memes mentioned above OR any meme ever thus ruining the entire premise of the above set-up make sure to visit: knowyourmeme.com

EDIT:  There have been two updates to this post along with some new additions to the meme!  Check them out HERE and HERE!

That is all!

People I Know: Jason Lemmon

This interview you are about to read has been the most difficult of the People I Know interviews to edit thus far.  There are several factors to this, one of which was my recent 100th Post post which surprisingly put me under a lot of pressure to perform.  Secondly it seems that these past few weeks have been hell-bent on doing everything they could to delay any and all progress I tried to make on posting this interview.  And thirdly the words of Jason E. Lemmon are not easily condensed down into a manageable blog length format.  It proved to be quite a struggle and some of his concise wisdom had to unfortunately be cut so that other gleaming Lemmon nuggets could shine through.

But who is Jason Lemmon you may be asking yourself.  He is an enigma.  A man of humor, yet a connoisseur of some of the most finely crafted dramatic works.  Jason seems to be an individual who stands alone, thinking for himself yet often can he be found in the company of throngs of his friends.  An individual of deliberate speech and mercurial wit.  Prepare yourselves for a glimpse into the mind of this one, this only, Jason Lemmon.

Joshua:  First of all Jason, thank you for sitting down with me here today for this interview.  I’ve got some hard-hitting questions, I hope you’re ready.

Jason:  I am.

Joshua:  Good.  Starting off I know you’re going back to school now, so what are your goals currently, in life?

Jason:  My goals.  Well I’m going to college to be a math teacher for high school.  But I have a lot of different goals.  I mean are you talking like bucket list type goals?  Or just like what I want to do with my future?

Joshua:  Well let’s say, what’s your five-year plan?

Jason:  Five year plan, ok.  Well three and a half to four and a half years of that is college so . . .

Joshua:  (Laughing)  Let’s go seven year plan . . .

Jason:  Seven year plan, ok.  So then with the extra three years then, I hope to find a job.  Although I’m not sure if I’m going to relocate or not, and find a person that I regularly have sex with.

Joshua:  Those are some good goals.  That’s three years, you should be able to do that.

Jason:  Well it gives me seven years for the girl, because that could happen during college.  The teaching job probably won’t happen until I get the degree.

Joshua:  True.  That’s true.  And so it would definitely be a girl though that you’d regularly be having sex with?

Jason:  Um, I mean as of now that is all that I’m open to.  But if I were to find a man who overpowered my erotic senses then I guess I would make the exception.

Joshua:  Now Jason, you are a naturally funny person, humorous I mean.  Who are some of your favorite comedians of all time?  And, in the same answer, who are some of your favorite current, or newer comedians?

Jason:  Well my inspiration in comedy was always George Carlin.  It’s unfortunate that he passed away especially with some of the stuff that’s happened in the last few years.  I would have loved to see his point of view on them.   That’s like the easiest answer by far.  And then modern-day, Louis C.K. has honestly gone up, I love him almost as much as I love George Carlin because I find Louis C. K. to be one of the funniest men alive.

Joshua:  Have you watched his show, the new one, Louie?  I’ve only seen a couple of episodes but I enjoyed it a lot.

Jason:  It’s a great show, it still doesn’t surpass his standup, but it’s still extremely funny.  You know he had an old sitcom that was canceled very quickly, but it was on HBO, called Lucky Louie.

Joshua:  I remember hearing that name, I never saw it though.

Jason:  And of course, just the other day my roommate and I watched Pootie Tang, which was written and directed by Louis C. K.

Joshua:  What??  No.  Are you serious?!  I had no idea!

Jason:  It’s true, yeah.  He was the sole writer and sole director of Pootie Tang.

Joshua:  No way!  That . . . blows my mind.  Really?

Jason:  Go watch that movie again, and you’ll have a completely different perspective of it.

Pootie Tang: Written AND Directed by Louis C. K.

Joshua:  Wow.  I’m going to have to do that.  You have blown my mind here today.  That’s fantastic.  But staying with the topic of comedians here for a moment, what in your opinion makes a good comedian?  And what makes a bad comedian?

Jason:  I think half of it, a good 50% of being a good comedian, is just presentation alone.  Because you can take hilarious bits and make them not funny at all just by presenting them wrong.  And vice versa, you can say things that aren’t even regarded as humorous but somehow you deliver them in a funny way.  So yeah I’d say 50% right there is that.  And then the rest is just split up into stuff like coming up with jokes that people can relate to, things that people don’t talk about often but everyone experiences.  You’ll almost always hit the mark with stuff like that.  If you can hit on taboo subjects, I mean I guess part of being funny is having balls.  Being able to say things some people will hate you for, but a lot of people will find you hilarious for.  And again an easy way to suck would be bad presentation.  Also if 90% of your material is stolen, that usually isn’t funny.  So that’s why I hate Carlos Mencia.

Joshua:  Who are some other comedians that you hate?

Jason:  Um, Dane Cook.  Although I used to love him actually.  When he first started, I thought Dane Cook was absolutely hilarious.

Joshua:  Lauren and I were talking about this exact thing recently.  We were saying that it seems like it was very quickly that everyone went from really liking Dane Cook, to suddenly everyone hates him.  We were trying to figure out the reasoning for that.  I said because I think he got real cocky, after he got successful.  After he got successful, it just seems to me that he got really cocky and really lazy.

Jason:  I think you’re right on, because I think he started off as some guy doing something completely weird and odd, you know?  He was  just being who he was, and it was funny.  But then once he became really popular he let if all go to his head and now what he is doing is no longer weird and out of the normal but it’s really cool and badass and so he just started to act like he knows that now.  His performances come off now as him overdoing everything.  It just seems like a lot of his jokes where he took them too far wasn’t anymore because they were funny, but because he just knew that’s what everyone reacts to.  He just lost a lot of the humor, again I guess it goes back to presentation.  He just presented things differently after he became famous.

Joshua:  Now you’ve done some stand up right?

Jason:  Just very little, locally.

Joshua:  Yeah, but go into that a little.  What was that like for you?

Jason:  It was actually a pretty great experience, I probably performed for 15 people total, and 9 or 10 of them were friends and family.  But it was still really fun.  I mean it’s not exactly what you expect once you get up there, and no matter how confident you are you’re nervous as hell once you’re on the stage.  It was a really good experience and I actually wish I would have gone on with it more and in the past four months or so I’ve started writing stuff down to possibly get back out there.

Joshua:  Really?  That’s awesome.  That’s fantastic, I hope you do.  I would be interested to see what you have to say, it’d be good.  Continuing with comedy a little bit more, there’s the old practical joke with the bucket full of water over the door.  Person opens the door, water pours down on top of them.  So recreate that joke, but instead of water what would you put in the bucket?

Jason:  Well a funny thing is I’ve done almost this same joke, but I did use water.  Once when I was in high school I paid a kid to mow my lawn while my mom was at work because I was supposed to mow the lawn.  While he was doing this for me, he was almost finished, and while he was mowing down the side of my house I went out on the roof and dumped a bucket of water on him.  Which I found hilarious.  He didn’t because he was in the middle of doing me a favor.  Granted I had to mow the rest of the lawn, but I only paid him part of what I originally was going to because he didn’t finish mowing my lawn.  So . . .

Joshua:  It was a win/win.

Jason:  Yeah that’s fair right?  Anyway though to answer your question, since I didn’t do that.  Obviously there are plenty of inappropriate things that I would love to put in that bucket such as semen, or something like that.  Usually just the phrase “bucket of semen” is pretty funny.  One of my big things though is that the joke needs to be funnier then it is going to piss the person off, and I think that would be about as mad as you could make someone.

Joshua:  Yeah I think that would do it.

Jason:  But if I were going to really fill it with something . . . this is a tough question.

Joshua:  It is.

Jason:  It would always be fun to put the oil in there and then blow feathers on them, but that’s only because it’s so clichéd it would make me laugh.

Joshua:  And if you could actually arrange for that to work in real life, like get the feathers to blow on them and have it all work out, that’d be great.

Jason:  Yeah it would be great because you would have just perfectly reenacted the oldest cliché in comedy.  But I have always thought that cottage cheese was really funny.  I know when I was younger I used to say that I always wanted go swimming in a pool of cottage cheese.  It just seems like such a random substance.  But the more I’ve actually been talking about that, the more I’m actually now thinking in my head, creamed corn.

Joshua:  Creamed corn?  That’s a good one.

Jason:  So either creamed corn, or the blood of a recently murdered victim.

Joshua:  (Laughing)  Yes, both good answers.  Good, good.  Alright now moving on.  I know you’re an avid reader.  Who are some of your favorite authors and are you reading anything currently?

Jason:  My favorite author is Kurt Vonnegut Jr., he’s my favorite author because he has my favorite book, I mean all his books are great but my favorite book is Breakfast of Champions, or Goodbye Blue Monday.  I also really like Chuck Klosterman a lot.  He used to write for Spin magazine, and now he’s got a bunch of journal books out and two novels, although the first one sucked.  But the second one sounds really interesting.  I’m technically currently in the middle of another book, although I’ve forgotten all about it and haven’t read it in probably three months.  I was in the middle of the Handmaids Tale, it’s very good.  As far as comedy writing, Chuck Klosterman is pretty funny.  I read all of George Carlin’s books, obviously.  I guess when I read, for some reason I lean a lot more toward serious drama.  There’s a book that was incredibly good, that I can not think of the title of . . . . but I highly recommend it.  I own it even, and it is amazing.  So read that.

Joshua:  (Laughing)  Alright, I’ll have to check that one out!

Jason:  There’s a great book called the 13 1/2 Lives of Captain Bluebear and it’s like kind of a kids story but it’s written more for adults.  It is fantastic.  No one has ever heard of it, but I always recommend it.

Joshua:  You may have told me about that before.

Jason:  Oh did I?  I may have.  Well now it’s on record that I recommended it to you.

Joshua:  What would you say has been the best movie/book adaption of all time?  That you’ve seen at least.

Jason:  That’s tough.  Right away Fight Club comes to mind, because it’s so popular for being, the movie that was better than the book.  At least in my opinion, and many others.

Joshua:  Which is like the rarest of things.

Jason:  Yeah.  But that’s such a cliché answer I don’t want that to be my answer!  Let me think a second here . . . . my problem is all the books I read are books that weren’t changed into movies, or were changed into way, way worse movies.

Joshua:  Ha!  Yeah.

Jason:  Honestly, I think the Shining is better than the book.  Although its nothing like the book, they’re so far apart they’re almost two different things.  I don’t mean it to be insulting but by changing so much I think they even improved it.  I mean the book’s not bad but . . .

Joshua:  I’ve never read the Shining.

Jason:  It’s okay.

Joshua:  Well I don’t think you have to worry about that criticism, I’m pretty sure Stephen King doesn’t read my blog.

Jason:  Ummm . . . . I’m gonna have to say Fight Club.

Joshua:  Oh?  Good answer, good answer.  I’ve never heard that one before.  Now, as a big movie buff Jason, quickly off the top of your head:  Favorite director of all time, favorite movie of all time, and favorite genre of movies.  Go!

Jason:  This is actually really tough.  I really hate this question.

Joshua:  Good I like to ask questions people hate.

Jason:  I like Todd Solondz a lot because his movies are kind of weird and unique.  Honestly though I’d probably have to say Darren Aronofsky is my favorite director, if I had to choose one.  His movies are crazy, they’re always good, and he’s just unique I guess.  It seems like everything he puts out is something that you’ve never seen before and I mean it’s amazing to see one director doing that because Hollywood itself can’t even do that.  So I’d definitely go with him I guess.

Darren Aronofsky: Better than the entire Hollywood collective.

Joshua:  And can I just interject here about how disappointed I am that he’s not directing the Wolverine movie, because that would’ve been just the craziest fucking thing ever.

Jason:  Yeah that would have been insane, I was interested when I first heard that.  Now the next Wolverine movie is just going to be as good as the first one.  But now for favorite movie of all time?  Again this one is really tough just because it gets updated all the time.  Actually I do have one answer to that I just always give because it’s always up there, and that’s Johnny Dangerously.  I have always thought that movie was absolutely hilarious, I don’t know, it’s one of my favorite movies.  For it’s time it’s absolutely fantastic.  It’s very ballsy for its time, had a lot of jokes that people considered risqué.  And Roman Moroni is such a great character too.

Joshua:  And what is your overall favorite genre of movie?

Jason:  Genre, is probably the hardest one to answer.  I mean I love to watch comedies, but the thing with comedies even though this completely goes against what I just answered, is that none of my favorite movies come from comedies (other than my absolute favorite movie).  But I mean when I list my top ten favorite films of all time, it’s almost all drama and maybe a little bit of thrillers, but drama always has a huge role.  It seems like when you get into sci-fi or comedy those are genres that aren’t going to have a top film unless it’s like epic, it has to be absolutely amazing.  Whereas drama, because they involve so many emotions you just have to make a really good film and then on top of that everyone is emotionally involved and therefore it feels like an even better film.  So I think that’s why those always lead, dramas kind of rule my favorites.  But I think that horror and comedy are my two favorites to watch, they’re the most fun.  And when the two mix, it’s fantastic.

Joshua:  So Jason very quickly if you can, and this may be a difficult request, summarize what you think the biggest problems are with modern Hollywood and the movie industry.

Jason:  I don’t know what’s wrong with movies, honestly, in reality it’s more the audience.  The fact is Jack and Jill made money.  The only movie that beat the Muppets at the box office, which is a classic comedy, the Muppet movie was witty, everything was genius about that movie, and the only movie to beat it and destroyed it this weekend, was Twilight.  You look at the popularity of certain movies and you start to realize that they are going to continue to make shit, because everyone’s eating this shit up.  So unfortunately I think for there to be a real significant change in how well movies are written and made we’re going to have to actually see people starting to put the better movies up top and not watch the shit.  I don’t see that happening.

Joshua:  Earlier today we were talking about blogs, and you mentioned your movie blog and you have My Blog Skip.  What do you like to write about on your blogs in general, and why do you write blogs?

Jason:  I started My Blog Skip because in the past I’ve had multiple blogs here and there I had Who Let the Blogs Out for a little while, but I just enjoy writing and sharing things that I find interesting or funny.  But every time I made a blog I would just lose interest and not really care so I decided to start again, go at it one more time with My Blog Skip.  At first I was pretty successful and I think my favorite thing that I wrote, and I only did like three of these, was called Saturday Cinema Showdown where I just took two movies and basically made it sound like they were fighting in a boxing match, but really I was just rating which one was better than the other.  I really enjoyed it but I put so much time into those blog entries.  The photoshopped images alone would take me an hour just to get those looking correct.  I put so much time and effort into it and I didn’t really have any readers at that time, like I had two or three friends who read it so as much as I enjoyed it, and it’s not even that I didn’t appreciate the few that did read it, it’s just that I lost interest without even thinking about it.  I stopped writing them.  I realized suddenly I’m two Saturdays behind and then I kind of just left that.  Then I think becoming a member of Reddit was a big help because I started seeing funny things all the time, so then I would post those sometimes.  Then it became a pretty generic blog where I’d barely write but I would post things all the time that I would find funny.  I’m glad I still have that but just recently I realized I still wanted to be writing, that was the whole purpose of even starting it, I wanted to get back into writing.  My one friend actually started a cooking blog on called Through the Cooking Glass on Tumblr, and I was asking her about that.  I was saying ‘what made you decide to write this’ and she said ‘I just wanted to write again and since I love cooking, that would be a good way to focus on the writing’.  Then I realized that was my mistake I’ve been trying to come back to writing in general, nothing specific, and I realized that maybe if I focus specifically on something I love, which movies are the big thing, that I’d find it easier to write more often.  Then I created Movie On Up, and from there I’ve been pretty successful so far.  I’ve posted seven posts, and this has only been just over a week.  But that’s why I started it though, it’s all been trying to get back into writing and this time I found specifically if I focus on this category, that’s the way to do it.

Joshua:  Yeah, that’s why I started interviewing people, and started this whole People I Know segment.  I know a lot of interesting people so why not just write about them, instead of trying to think up something to write about.

Jason:  I was actually pretty jealous whenever you started posting these because it was an idea I thought was good enough that I wished I’d thought of it.

Joshua:  Wow.  That’s a very high compliment actually, thank you.  But now I’m going to completely change the subject.  There was a quest we were on at one time and I can’t remember if we’d ever discovered this or not, but your birthday falls on John Stamos’ birthday.  My birthday is the same as Bob Saget’s, and we were hoping to find another of our friends who had Dave Coulier’s birthday.  Did we ever find anyone with Dave Coulier’s birthday?

Jason: We never did find anyone with Dave Coulier’s birthday.

Joshua:  Because I thought at one time you said that you had found someone who shared his birthday.

Jason:  Actually I feel like there was a point where I thought ‘oh my god, that’s the birthday!’, but I don’t think it was a friend or anyone, I don’t think we ever found someone who we could talk to or hang out with.  Do you remember what the birthday is?

Joshua:  It is September 21st.  Dave Coulier’s birthday is September 21st.

Jason:  Well maybe a reader out there will have his birthday!  If any of you out there share Dave Coulier’s birthday contact Josh.

Is your birthday September 21st? Send me a note, let's be friends!

JoshuaAnd if you live in the Ohio area.

JasonOr if you want to get on Skype with the two of us.

Joshua:  And just hang out on Skype for hours on end.  The circle must be complete.

Jason:  We can start a Full House birthday blog.

Joshua:  Ok, now here’s a question I’ve been asking everyone I interview, but I’m going to change it up a little bit for you.  Everyone hates this one, and you might hate this even worse because it’s going to be a little more difficult for you.  Here it is, describe yourself with a phrase of 7 words or less.

Jason:  My mom named me Jason Edward Lemmon.

Joshua:  Next!  I know you’re a fan of dinosaurs, if you could have, own, any one dinosaur and that would be the only dinosaur alive in existence, which one would you have?

Jason:  Now does this dinosaur for sure act friendly toward me, or do I not know?

Joshua:  It would act, however you would think it would.  Let’s say that you raised it from an egg, so it would be as friendly toward you as it possibly could.  I would be pretty confident that you raising a dinosaur would make it fairly friendly towards you.

Jason:  My initial reaction would be a velociraptor because Jurassic Park made them look pretty badass.  Especially if it was going to be the only dinosaur on Earth, everyone would be much happier with me for selecting that dinosaur since it is the popular favorite.  But even raising it nicely a velociraptor to me seems like it would still kill people.

Joshua:  Yeah I think that would probably still kill people.

Jason:  I guess I’d have to look into the details of the whole situation to decide whether I want the velociraptor or not.  I guess I’d probably need a backup dinosaur now, since I don’t know what they’re going to give me for details.

Joshua:  Yeah, you have no way of knowing what the dinosaur reanimation commission will say.

Jason:  So for backup dinosaur, probably the stegosaurus.  Because it was my favorite as a kid, and I don’t know, it just seems like one of the farthest things from anything in existence today.  So that would be a good one to bring back.

The debate: Would you rather have a raptor or a stego?

Joshua:  That’s a good one, and I like your reasoning, you just don’t see shit like a stegosaurus anymore.  Here’s another question for you, it’s sort of a classical philosophical conundrum.  Button then zip, or zip then button?

Jason:  For pants?  Oh I always zip then button.  Oh wait!  No.  I don’t actually!  That just seems like the way to do it but then now that I think about it I always button then zip.  That is really weird that my reaction was that, it just seems so normal, but then I realized oh wait I do button first.

Joshua:  It’s harder to zip first really, because if you button first . . . .

Jason:  Yeah, then it’s just straight up with the zipper.  And that’s what I always do.  Now you’ve blown my mind!

Joshua:  (Laughing) Good!  I’m glad!  Now Jason the final question I have for you:  Is there any one pop culture subject that you think doesn’t get enough attention?  It could be a band, a movie, a television show, anything or anyone that you’d like to promote and get others to take notice of.

Jason:  I would like to see more attention drawn to the old Mr. Show episodes.  It’s an absolutely hilarious show, you know Bob Odenkirk and David Cross, I own all the seasons and it’s one of the funniest shows I’ve seen, but nobody has seen it.  There’s so many people who say ‘oh yeah I think I’ve heard of it’ but nobody has actually seen it.  I think everyone needs to see that.  And also, I’m gonna actually pick two things because they’re equal, the comedy group Stella is hilarious.  They had a TV show, but before that they were just 5 minute internet shorts.  If you haven’t seen the show, watch the show.  Then if you like the show get online and look those up, because on there it’s not TV and they can do whatever they want and it’s highly inappropriate and ten times funnier.  Then on top of that, their stand up is absolutely ridiculous.  I saw them live and it was one of the best standup events I’ve ever been to.  So watch Mr. Show and check out Stella.

Jason Lemmon says: "You should watch this show! It's funny!"

Joshua:  Thank you Jason for sitting down here with me today, it’s been a pleasure, I thank you for your time sir, and do you have any final words before we end this?

Jason:  Nope.

Joshua:  That is all!

10 Underused Characters I Want to See More of!

     So the other day I was thinking about the actor Michael York.  He’s had a fairly significant career and if you’re a geek such as myself you should be at least somewhat familiar with him either from his movie career (Logan’s Run, Austin Powers), his varied television appearances (Curb Your Enthusiasm, Knots Landing), or his cartoon voice work (the Clone Wars, Justice League).  Specifically I got to thinking about his character from Austin Powers and how I always wanted to see more from Basil in the zany James Bond parodies.  This then got me thinking about other characters that I feel I haven’t seen enough of, or wish had bigger roles in their various genres.  Always on the lookout these days for blog fodder I decided to compile a list from some of my geeky interests, of fictional characters I wish had a bit more screen time, or were present a little more on the page.  The underdogs and the unappreciated, the forgotten and the mysteriously unexplained.  Characters I can only describe as underused, and who if I had my way, would have a slightly longer moment in the spotlight!

     Of course I don’t really cover all of the characters I’d like to see more of in this short list, and there are certainly many other fictional universes for me to choose from but I decided to go with the characters that directly sprang to mind when I chose this topic, and doubtlessly my choices have been influenced by my current activities.  If there are some characters you think have been criminally underused leave me your lists in the comments!  But without further ado, here’s the Ten Underused Characters I want to see more of!

#10 – Luigi: Mario Bros. Video Game Franchise

     The younger brother of the heroic Mario, Luigi is the oft overlooked second half of the Mario Bros. duo.  Luigi is controlled by the second player, a position that is not often taken up without some modicum of contention.  As such Luigi is generally looked down upon as second best, and not at all as desirable as his elder sibling Mario.  As the franchise has evolved over the years Nintendo has played up this aspect of Luigi portraying him as a bashful, reluctant hero forever eclipsed by the shadow of Mario.  It is for this precise reason that I love Luigi!  He is hilarious.  Modern video games have allowed the characters to portray more emotion and personality then they could in the early 8-bit Mario games and for my money Luigi is where it’s at.  In the various Mario themed sports games for instance Luigi’s lack of confidence is always emphasized making for humorous moments when he surprises himself with success.  Luigi of course has had the opportunity to headline a game of his own with Luigi’s Mansion placing the younger Mario brother in a haunted house and pitting him against an army of ghouls and Boos, the perfect setting for the Don Knotts of the Mario universe.  Although he’s had a big presence in almost all of the Mario games, I feel there’s always more room on my shelf for another solo Luigi game, I demand a follow-up to Luigi’s Mansion and perhaps a game involving his evil counterpart, Waluigi.

#9 – Marcus Cole: Babylon 5

     Unfortunately many reading this probably don’t know who this character is at all, and I contemplated simply adding Babylon 5 in general to this underused list, but I decided against it and stuck with only characters.  Continuing my quest to revive an interest in Babylon 5 just let me say that if you’re not familiar with this show, and you enjoy sci-fi/fantasy, then you really should check it out.  It’s currently on Netflix so you really have no excuse.  Anyway on to Marcus Cole.  Marcus was a regular character on the show for two seasons and became the face of the mysterious group known as the Anla’shok, or the Rangers.  Coming from a tragic background Marcus joins up with the Rangers who are a joint Human/Minbari organization who are keeping an eye out for dark, lurking things in the farthest regions of space.  Marcus eventually comes to Babylon 5 and has a significant role in the show’s unfolding story, however by the time Marcus arrives on the scene there are already a great number of other important characters vying for face time.  As cool as Marcus was, I always felt that his story was often pushed to the periphery and after every major appearance he made I was always left wanting to know more.  I believe they could have gone farther with his storyline and I think he had potential for a far greater story.

#8 – Basil Exposition: Austin Powers

     This is the one that sparked this list.  Michael York as Basil is hilarious, he really does a great job in comedic roles and he can actually harness a real zaniness as evidenced by his cartoon voice work in the Clone Wars and others.  I think Basil was best featured in the first Austin Powers movie where we got to see him in the retro 60’s scenes and the modern-day goofiness.  His stifled, almost naive acceptance of Austin’s shenanigans are spot on and York’s subtle style really plays off well with Mike Myers outrageous Austin.  However when the other two movies came out I felt that Basil was sort of pushed aside in order to introduce more characters and allow for more Mike Myers.  Don’t get me wrong I still think the Austin Powers movies are great, but with a talent like Michael York among the ranks I thought they really could have expanded his role slightly, giving him a bit more room to flex his comedic muscle.  Although I suppose Michael York has made a career out of underused characters, taking on small, but memorable roles and giving them his all and Basil Exposition is just another entry on that list.

#7 – Animal Man: DC Comics

     When it comes to DC comics, Animal Man is the number one hero I want to see get more attention.  One of DC’s more obscure characters Animal Man clearly doesn’t have much in the way of name recognition, but once you familiarize yourself with the character you will find that he does have one hell of an interesting history within the DC universe.  Introduced in 1965 Animal Man only made a handful of comic book appearances throughout the silver age, and it wouldn’t be until the 1980’s that he would begin to rise in prominence.  Finally getting his own title written by comic book legend Grant Morrison, Animal Man underwent a tremendous character change and definition taking him from a typical superhero, to a galaxy spanning man in search of a greater understanding.  It really is quite hard to explain here in a single paragraph, but the Grant Morrison run of Animal Man is arguably the single biggest improvement to happen to any individual  hero ever.  After the Morrison storyline and a brief stint with the Justice League International Animal Man’s popularity faded once more.  It wasn’t until the weekly comic event 52 which featured Animal Man and a small group of heroes trapped in outer space as one of the many ongoing storylines in that series, that Animal Man again found a major role in comics.  Truly an underdog, and certainly unappreciated, I believe Animal Man is one of the most interesting characters DC has in their arsenal and I would love to see Buddy Baker have more of a presence in the DC universe.

 #6 – Kremzeek: Transformers

     I don’t claim to know all that much about the entire continuity of the Transformers or their universe, but I do know one thing.  I.  Love.  Kremzeek.  I was introduced to this character several years ago now and I have been a fan ever since.  In the original cartoon series Kremzeek was created by Megatron as an ultimate weapon for the Decepticons, or something along those lines.  Kremzeek is a bio-electric creature that can travel through, disrupt, and control electronic circuts and devices including the Transformers themselves.  After devastating the Autobot base little Kremzeek sets off for Japan to wreak havoc by jumping through trains, walkmans, and factories until finally one of the Transformers tries to destroy him with a high dose of energy which results in Kremzeek multiplying in a tribble-esque variety of colors.  Eventually the multiple Kremzeeks are reunited into a giant Kremzeek which the Autobots turn back on the Decepticons before begrudgingly destroying electricity monster.  Of course one little Kremzeek manages to escape and the episode ends with the Autobots chasing him down.  As far as I know this is the only appearance of Kremzeek in the cartoons, however there have been several homages to the little guy in other episodes and throughout the various Transformer series.  I for one would love to see more of the tiny electronic terror, there should be a return of Kremzeek in the new Transformers Prime series!

#5 – Deathlok: Marvel Comics

     Don’t know Deathlok?  Think Robocop mixed with the Punisher, and a dash of Marty McFly.  Any of that sound like something you’re into?  Then check out Deatlok, not to be confused with Dethklok the cartoon heavy metal band of Metalocalypse fame.  Deathlok, like Animal Man, has a bit of a confusing back story and a varied interdimensional continuity that sometimes places him in the normal 616 Marvel continuity and other times sets him apart in an alternate reality.  Wherever in time and space Deathlok resides however, you can count on him to bring the pain.  Basically an amped up cyborg zombie with a computer companion in his brain and a high-tech blaster in his hand; Deathlok has been known to seek revenge on the government that turned him into the undead robot he has become as well as team up with other heroes on occasion when it suits him.  There is an element of mystery to Deathlok along the lines of Wolverine, with his origins tracing back to shady government military programs coupled with a loss of memory.  A loner seeking revenge, Deathlok had a brief solo title career in the comics, but has now been relegated to a supporting role popping up on rare occasions as a surprise guest, most often being reactivated by some villain who rattles his sporadic memories and puts him to use in some dastardly scheme.  I think it’s time Deathlok gets called up from the bench and put to use in this more mature comic book day and age for some truly gritty and dark anti-hero storylines!

#4 – Crystal Ball: G.I. Joe

     This guys inclusion on this list is clearly influenced by my current Terrordrome Renovation project, but after doing a little research I believe he genuinely has a right to be here.  Crystal Ball heralds from one of the earliest G.I. Joe toy lines way back in 1987 yet as far as I can tell had no presence in the G.I. Joe cartoon at all.  His file card explains that Crystal Ball is a top Cobra agent and a dabbler in the dark arts who is a master hypnotist and mind reader.  All of those sound like qualities I would think Cobra might want to employ against the Joes in order to force them to give up their plans and secrets.  Also, according to urban legend, Crystal Ball is also connected to Stephen King, the master of horror himself.  Supposedly King’s son was a fan of the cartoon and somehow through his fathers connections was able to write-up the biography for Crystal Ball lending a bit of sinister occult flair to the Cobra forces.  As a side note, from another source, Crystal Ball supposedly was one of the worst selling G.I. Joe figures ever, many of which remained on toy store shelves for years!  Rumor has it that as a result of his poor toy sales the makers of the cartoon deemed him unpopular and thus never included him in the show.  That seems like the completely wrong thing to do if you want to sell toys, personally I would have gone the opposite route and included Crystal Ball in the show and made sure he was awesome, thus making him more desirable.  Alas ol’ Crystal Ball has been relegated to running gags and parodies among toy collectors as seen in Toy Fare magazine and he is widely known as one of the worst toys of all time.  I for one love magical elements involved in any story, especially when used by the forces of evil, it just makes for some good villainy.  Aside from a few cameos in the G.I. Joe comics, Crystal Ball was never given a fair shake and I think it’s time he took his rightful place in the hierarchy of Cobra!

#3 – Every Bit Part and Background Creature in the Neverending Story

     There are so many interesting creatures and odd folks in the Neverending Story that I could make a list of underused characters just from this movie alone!  The racing snail, Night Hob the bat rider and all the other crazy bastards wandering around the Empress’ court were all so wild and exotic to me as a kid.  I couldn’t get enough of this movie when I was growing up, and it had a similar appeal for me as Star Wars did, packed with strange creatures and places the world of the Neverending Story seemed so much deeper and more complex than the movies plot revealed.  One reason to rewatch this movie is just to look around during different scenes to get a better look at the costumes and creature designs that were standing around in the background!

#2 – Mon Mothma: Star Wars

     The supreme leader of the Rebel Alliance, this is Princess Leia’s boss and the heart and soul of the entire Rebellion to Restore the Republic, but we don’t get to see her until Return of the Jedi!  Like the Emperor, the leader of the Rebellion goes unseen until the end of the saga.  Unlike the Emperor however, Mon Mothma has only a brief inconsequential scene where she sets up the attack on the second Death Star, and then disappears not even returning for the ewok celebration at the very end.  There were to be scenes in Revenge of the Sith that showed the first hints of the Rebellion and featured a young Mon Mothma, but those scenes were ultimately cut.  Because of the focus of the stories in Star Wars we never really get a good look at the Rebellion other than our brief time at Echo Base on Hoth and so we don’t really have a chance for more Mon Mothma, but it would have been awesome to maybe see some hologram communications between Leia and Mon Mothma similar to the conversations between Vader and the Emperor.  Leia is supposedly a prominent political figure among the Rebel Alliance but we never really get to see her do much in the way of leading the rebellion, she generally just gets taken prisoner a lot.  A few transmissions with the rebel HQ between Leia and Mon Mothma might have helped maintain Leia’s leadership position beyond the first movie.  Oh well, I’m not really complaining at all, just saying that I like Mon Mothma, she actually reminds me of my aunt, and I would have liked to see more of her and the Rebel command structure in the movies, but I guess that’s what the EU is for right?

#1- The Duchess: Alice in Wonderland

This might seem like an odd choice for my number one spot but I’m a huge Alice in Wonderland fan, it was one of my first literary obsessions.  Alice in Wonderland is one of the few books I can read over and over again.  As such I was very disappointed in the recent movie which drastically departed from the style and story of the books and tried very hard to make Alice in Wonderland into something it was not.  Alice is not a hero per se, but a traveler and a discoverer.  Like an explorer from history charting a course through an insane realm.  One of my favorite encounters Alice has in the book is when she comes across the Duchess’ house, the pepper tossing cook, and the transforming pig/baby.  There’s just so much going on there, and the original drawings of the Duchess are just great, such a lovely woman.  This moment in the book seems to often get bypassed in other adaptations and I always feel let down that I don’t get to see the startled look on Alice’s face as the baby’s upturned nose becomes a snout and the squirming child trots off a pig!  I suppose it all boils down to the fact that few movies are ever as good as the book, as true as it is with most works, it is especially true with Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass.  The Disney cartoon is probably still the best but I have always kept my hopes up for a live action big screen adaptation that remains loyal to the books, or perhaps focuses on Through the Looking Glass entirely (which seems to never get much attention.)  All in all there are a great many characters that pop up in Alice that I would like to see more of but the Duchess takes the top spot, I suppose I will just have to sit down grab a corner of mushroom, and make my own trip to Wonderland where I might not only meet the massively headed Duchess but perhaps all the other underused characters as well.  I’ll let you know how it goes!

That is all!

Friday Funny Pages: Nick Fury’s Favorite Shirt

 

Christ!  This week has really flown by.  Yard work, cleaning up old toys, and dressing as a viking (don’t ask) have really made time fly as it were.  Here it is, Friday already and time for another Friday Funny Pages!  Todays panel comes to us all the way from the 1960’s and Strange Tales #151.  This was the first issue for a young up and coming comic book artist named Jim Steranko!  Based on layouts by Jack Kirby and written by Stan Lee this issue was of course destined for greatest.  Jim Steranko would later go on to take over both the drawing and writing credits for the book, making Nick Fury into what he is today (Samuel L. Jackson?).

When I was searching through my comics for fodder for this segment this particular panel made me chuckle.  Out of context you see Nick Fury waking up after apparently being captured by HYDRA, and the first thing that springs to mind is “I needed them clothes!”  Not the fact that he’s trapped, captured, and surrounded by bad guys.  Though I guess the security deposit on a tux is pretty astronomical.  That’s exactly why James Bond doesn’t rent his tuxedos.

Anyway, of course the real reason he needed his clothes was due to the fact that they were lined with SHIELD crafted spy gear to assist him on his mission and without them he was going to have to rely on his wits to see the mission through, that is if he ever makes it out of HYDRAS glass box of death!  Will he?  Won’t he?  You’ll have to read the issue to find you!

Till next time dear readers!

That is all!

Friday Funny Pages: You Look Faaaabulous!

First off let me say happy April Fool’s Day!  Today is the day you can go out into the world and start punching people in the face or kicking them in the groin and as long as you yell “April Fools!” afterward it’s all okay, right?

Anyway, now let’s take a look at the great, great pair of panels we have here today.  This of course comes from the late, great Jack Kirby drawing one of the earliest Fantastic Four adventures.  What I find so hilarious about these panels is that in the first image he has just come up with this idea to make Alicia (his step-daughter) a doppelganger for the incapacitated Invisible Girl and mere “Minutes Later” he has been able to put together an FF uniform and a convincing blonde wig!  This of course implies that the Puppet Master’s mastery is not limited to puppets, but that he is also a master stylist and fashion designer as well!  If this super villain schtick doesn’t work out for you PM, you should think about opening a salon in Soho, those are very trendy at the moment.  Just saying, think it about it you sassy bitch! 

(Though it might help to cut back on the creep face while you have those scissors in your hands.)

That is all!