Friday, May 2, 2008

Don't Forget

Remember, if you want to read my latest posts, you should be checking out www.teaandfood.blogspot.com, which I'm updating daily. If you want more travel tales of the LNP, you can read my book one day. I plan to call it "I Was a Teenage Sketch Comic, and then I Kept Doing Sketch Comedy."

But in the spirit of food, here's a picture of a very strange place to eat:



Specials include "Raw Leg of Lamb Ripped from Your Opponent's Flock in the name of Odin."

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Wild Sage Growing in the Weeds

Hell is a strip mall. A travel plaza. Neither natural nor cosmopolitan, such places are horror in a Tim Horton mask.

Yet in the worst places in America, where we spend most of our time on tour, I am still able to experience nature in raw and surprising ways. In the shadow of many a Motel 6, I’ve found deer, red fox, rabbits, hawks, and even coyote. Manhattan is a lost cause, but in these remaining scraps of greenery, the struggle for control has not yet been decided.

This morning, with only an hour to spare, I went for a walk behind our Comfort Inn in Ohio. I took these pictures along an abandoned train track just a stone's throw from the hotel.

A newly sprouted hayfield, furrows full of mud from the last snowfall.



Fruits on the fringes.



A burrow.



My favorite kind of ice.



My least favorite kind of ice.



In the puddle of a construction site, brave young shoots penetrate the ice. The mud was so thick that it took my shoe, and stepping out of it, I landed my sock into the freezing mush.



Yellow corn.



Red Corn.



Shotgun shell.



And then, the trees took back the tracks.

Long Time No Blog

Howdy, folks. Just wanted to let you all know that I'll be posting more substantially later today. I know it's been a while, but I've been focusing more on teaandfood these days, which I do update every day or so and which has absorbed some of the travel and humor components of lolusa. But sit tight for a few more hours and you'll get your fix.

In the meantime, here's a picture of Zach trapped in the gear shift.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

More Theater Classes We'd Like to See

Brendan of La Tene chocolates had this to add in regards to my penultimate post:

"I think you've hit upon the crux of the problem with theatre classes (and yes, there is a problem). Other suggested classes:

-Espresso Training and Latte Terminology
-Cover my Shift: Building You Career With Flexible Jobs
-Microsoft Office for Those Who Will Eventually Resign Themselves to Full-Time Jobs
That Require Its Use."

And I'll add another: Sleeping Your Way to the Top (Of Your Local KFC)

Any others?

Friday, March 14, 2008

Backstage Pass Part II

Speaking of bad backstages in corners of cafeterias, last night's backstage was bad and in the corner of a cafeteria. There, on the heater, I found this rock hard abandoned, dry banana tip:



If whoever did that's name is Anna, I suggest that they ban her.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Backstage Pass

In theory, it is crucial for a performer to have a properly set up performance space. In our experience, the same is true, provided you replace “crucial” with “a chimera.” ("a horrible or unreal creature of the imagination; a vain or idle fancy")

Mayb we'd be better prepared for acting in the real world if there were fewer theater classes like “Improvisational Movement” and more like “How Not To Cry Because So Few People Came To Your Show In Pittsburgh and It’s Cold Out.”

Then again, we didn't take theater classes. And that’s a good thing, because we don’t get to perform in very many theaters. Frequently, we'll show up for a gig only to find that the “auditorium” is not only a cafeteria, but just a corner of it, the rest of it being roped off for cleaning. During our show.

Our most recent “backstage” was made from mostly empty bookshelves, wheeled together. There I found this text. Judging from the font size, who do you think Kenneth Branagh thinks is more important: Kenneth Branagh or William Shakespeare?



Seeing this book I couldn't help but think how much less impressive the Ghost of Hamlet's Father would have been crawling out from behind the salad bar.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Unholy Trinity

I came across this photo in an old yearbook after our show at Trinity College. I don't know who these guys are, and they might be dead by now, but I hate them.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Menu Typos

I know it's not nice, but it's funnier than it is mean. These come from a Vietnamese restaurant in Albany, which cooks a lot better than it spells.




-Aaron "Coconut Mike" Kagan

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Bizarre Google Hits III

It's that time again! Thanks to my site meter, here are actual search terms that have brought people to this blog. And in a vicious circle, once I post them, if anyone googles them again, they'll only be more prominently listed. You might say that looking for information about "funny refrigeration" and ending up at LOL, USA is the modern day rolling a rock up a hill only to watch it come back down.

Without further ado:

-Fluidity exercise bar craigslist new jersey
-baby powder on my vagina
-Funny refrigeration
-Pictures of chafing on the vaginal area
-adult novelty shop I-90 Massachusetts
-Vagine bizarre (from google france)
-Locked inside cheesequake park
-Vagina chafing cream
-cowboy strippers
-I have a mole on my vagina
-"Ha-hah"
-cream coming out of my vagina

I've said it before and I'll say it again: am I really the only person on the internet who has written (one word, one time) about genitalia?

In conclusion, here's my personal favorite:

a hideous jewess lay with me

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Dig It



Until now, I thought the only way was through the sandbox, with a plastic shovel.

Kids these days have it way too easy.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Yesterday Was the Winter of Zach's Discontent

For our last batch of shows, we were lucky enough to have an excuse to experience the Adirondacks in winter, which were picturesquely blanketed in ice and snow. At the hotel pool, we went under water.




















And at a frozen (solid, Mom) roadside stream, we stood on top of it.


If you compare Seth and Zach's dress to their relative levels of comfort, that whole 90%-of-your-heat-escaping-through-your-head-
if-you-don't-wear-a-hat-thing really seems true.

I learned the hard way, however, that Lake Placid was closed for the season.


We had a great show at Paul Smith's College, which by acreage is the largest school in the U.S. if not the world. The predominant majors are culinary arts and forestry. That and it's attractive, remote location make me think that it would be a great place to suffer out the end of the world.

Friday, February 29, 2008

Blisteringly Funny



A blister. A pen. An airplane delayed for de-icing.

A puppet is born.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Toilet Humor



Really? In that order?

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

In Tuition, part. 2

It seems the headmaster at this particular private high school hadn’t approved of some of our material. We couldn’t imagine what he was referring to, since we go out of our way to clean up shows for younger audiences, replacing every “shit” with a “crap.” Turns out he didn’t like our material about him.

After all the dangerous ad-libbing we’ve done in our career (making fun of Southern accents in the South, patronizing boisterous audience members who later turn out to be mentally challenged), I couldn’t believe this was the chicken that had come home to roost.

All we’d done was compare the headmaster to a very popular Hollywood actor. One who most people consider to be attractive, charismatic and successful, except for a recent suicide attempt. It paled in comparison to the time we made fun of the president of Vermont Technical College, only to have him stand up from the audience, walk on stage, and eat a marshmallow off the floor that had just been in my nose. And if anything from the show had been offensive, it should have been when Seth made a wacky exit through the empty baptism pool behind the altar that served as our stage.

We apologized. He said it was “too late.”

However, it was not too late to print up T-shirts of his face photoshopped onto the actor's body, and to then send a few hundred to the boy’s dorm. We didn't, but we might as well have. Having gone to private school, I've learned that all you have to do to make amends with the administration is to donate something with your name on it. Late Night Players wrestling team codpieces, anyone?

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

In Tuition, part. 1


If we also did shows for the government and health food co-ops, you might think that we pick our venues based on who we’ve personally given the most money to.

For instance, we used to pay to go to college, and now colleges pay us (an embarrassingly small portion of what we gave them) to come back.

We've also started doing the occasional private high school show for institutions much like the one I once went to. Such schools often solicit funds from alumni, figuring that graduates must make at least as much money as they used to pay to go there. I in turn solicit funds from the schools to have us come perform, knowing that they’re right about most of their graduates (besides me) and therefore have lots of money (to give to me).

Of course it sometimes feels a little funny being back on a private high school campus after all these years. It always gets my goat that the students dress better than we do and do tons more coke.

After one such gig, we were asked back to the headmaster’s office to claim our check. We thought it was funny being called to the office at age 27. But it wasn’t funny at all; we were in fact in a lot of trouble.

Monday, February 18, 2008

No Country for Little Girls

I recently attended a friend's princess themed birthday party. It being her third ever, I felt a little out of place, or "tall." Noticing my discomfort, the girl's mother said that she expected the experience to end up on my blog. I smiled politely, my mind already racing for humorous titles (The Princess and the Pee in the Pool? Go Shorty, It's Your Birthday? It's My Party and I'll Cry If I Want To Because I'm a Toddler?). But deep down I didn't really think it would make the cut. Deep down I also felt queasy from pink cupcakes.

A week after, I found myself house and dog sitting for the same family. Coming back to the large, empty, dark house after a matinee showing of No Country for Old Men, I fully expected to meet some horrible fate inside. It was then that I found this:



Once part of the birthday cake, it is now part of my nightmares.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

A Midwinter's Day Nightmare, aka: Shakespeare vs Family Guy (part III)

I was caught. I love Shakespeare, but to be honest, some episodes of South Park have made me laugh harder than I’ve laughed at many versions of the Dumb Show. Wanting to stick to my guns, earn their respect, and stay truthful all the same time, I said the following:

“I’ll admit that some episodes of South Park are funnier than some of Shakespeare’s plays, like for instance... Macbeth.” I thought I was off the hook, but by mentioning something that they couldn’t watch on YouTube, I had only confused them. So I decided to fight fire with fire, and pulled out the classic middle school closing argument: insult.

Me: “This stuff can be funny. The problem isn’t in the writing, because I’ve seen it done well. So if it’s not funny, it’s your fault.” Shocked that a man with just a post-it note would be so daring, they conceded.

I said this knowing deep down that the fault was probably my own. Still, I had to create a climate in which they wouldn’t stab each other with pencils, which they kept trying to do. Surely William Shakespeare thought the same of Lord Chamberlain’s Men.

In the end, I couldn’t help but feel that these kids were unknowingly being true to the impish spirit of the play. Puck, who brags about removing a peg from an old woman’s stool and watching her fall, is not that different from an adolescent boy. While teaching, I felt something like the confusion and terror the Lovers experience while fleeing through the haunted Athenian wood, their world turned topsy-turvy. And true to Shakespeare, in the end, amends were made and order triumphed over chaos. Half human, half ass, the young troublemakers had to stay in the forest, living out the rest of their awkward years, while I got in my car and drove away, paycheck in pocket.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

A Midwinter Day's Nightmare, aka: Shakespeare vs Family Guy (part II)

The continuing tale of my trying to convince twelve year old boys that they like a four hundred year old play about fairies.

When I was in seventh grade, I observed that many of my peers were bad at school, but great at picking on me. Like dogs, it was as if they could smell that I was afraid. Unlike dogs, they would then use English to publicly ridicule me about whatever it was I dreaded most.

Worried that I had bad breath? They’d tell me I did. Worried that I didn’t have enough hair on my body? Oh, I’d hear about it. Worried that I had too much hair on my body? Even worse.

Today’s middle schoolers seem to have retained this trait, because one in my class said exactly what I didn’t want him to:

“This stuff’s not funny anymore! Maybe it was funny back then, but it’s not now. It’s stupid. What’s funny now is Family Guy. Do you really think this is funnier than Family Guy?”

I did think it was funnier than Family Guy, because I hate Family Guy. So I simply said “I’m not a good person to ask, because I don’t really like Family Guy to start with.”

When he regained his composure, he continued: “Then what about… South Park?”

The other students gasped, and drew back.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

A Midwinter Day's Nightmare, aka: Shakespeare vs. Family Guy (part I)



Having run out of passes, the principal of a local high school fashioned this badge for me out of a post-it note. The line between being a creepy interloper and a visiting teacher had never been so paper thin.

I had accepted a desperate plea to help direct a scene from A Midsummer Night’s Dream. I say desperate because the dictionary, by which I mean a website, defines “desperate” as “reckless or dangerous…extremely bad; intolerable or shocking.” And that’s exactly how the students behaved.

Teaching children’s martial arts classes taught me to discover my inner harsh disciplinarian; conversely, I’ve learned to be warm and encouraging while directing youth theater. This time, I had to do both at the same time.

Me: Okay, now try a little something funny. How about a funny bow after you say your line?
A Seventh Grader: I don’t want to. (puts on I-pod ear buds)
Me: You have to. Is that clear? Excuse me? I asked you a question.
A Seventh Grader: This is stupid!
Me: Do it or go to the office. Do a funny bow.
(He does so, glaring.)

The scene was what Shakespearians call “The Dumb Show.” While I have seen, and directed, renditions in which enterprising actors can save the piece with outlandish physical comedy, I’ve also always secretly thought it was a little, well, dumb. Let’s just say there’s a lot of eggcorn humor.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

I Go "Gee" for Goji


Being on the road is hard. And the hardest part is that sometimes it's tough to brew a nice cup of tea.

A loose tea drinker, I've tried bambo strainers, stainless steal tea balls, and little individually wrapped puehr cakes, but it's always messy. Hence, I must sometimes use a tea bag. I know, it makes you want to vomit, right? Well, if you accidentally swallow the string and tag.

My sister knows my plight, so she gave me the box of tea featured in the photo above. It contains Goji berry, which, much like it's predecessors, the acai berry and electroshock therapy, is currently considered healthy.

The box claims that you will "feel fresh and recharged with every sip." They add that one should drink three cups a day, which I'm sure is helpful in recharging their bank account. It looks like they also promote bowing to the floating head of Yogi Bhajan.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

My Partner the Cork Screw


This corkscrew is one of 1,500 on display at the Culinary Institute of America in Napa Valley. They belonged to "Brother Timothy," one of the Christian Brothers made famous by their (low prices for their lousy) brandy. I was not at all surprised to learn that the exhibit is considered a "must see" by corkscrewnet.com. However, I am surprised that there isn't a rival site called corkscrewcom.net.

Also, it looks like Seth.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

The View

This was the picturesque view of the Blue Ridge foothills en route to our hotel in Staunton, Virginia:



The view from within the hotel was quite different. There were two possibilities, depending on which side your room faced. I don’t know which was more disturbing - the window facing a parking lot…



Or the abandoned insane asylum…



Prowling around the grounds of the asylum, I quickly and irrationally became concerned for my well being. In fact, I went so far as to imagine myself having to use rudimentary parkour to reach the top of the tool shed for safety, while a deranged assailant slashed at the air, just beyond reach of my Achilles tendon.

This thought was disturbing in two ways. The first is that the only thing I want near my Achilles tendon is the cozy heel of my new Merrells. The second is the fact that I thought more about my safety than that of those who had been locked inside the now crumbling walls.

Which ranked higher as a cause for concern – the unlikely possibility of an attacking madman, or the suffering of those who had been confined to the structure I now found so eerie? Just thinking about how much worse it was from the inside finally sent a real shiver up my spine.

That night we were greeted at the venue by a volunteer staff of undergraduates. We later learned that they were part of a gifted program, which explains why, when we asked where they were each from, one of them said “Narnia."

Monday, January 28, 2008

Typo Negative?

Though often accused of misogyny, Ernest Hemingway tackles gender head on in his classic novella The Old Man and the Sea. Early in the story, the narrator suggests that, when referring to the ocean in Spanish, one's choice of article reveals the depth of the speaker's relationship to nature.

For instance, the modern fisherman, with their outboard motors and blaring radios, use the masculine form of "the," saying "el mar." In contrast, Santiago, symbol of a bygone era and (sea) salt of the earth, still prefers the softer, more feminine "la mar."

It seems a Peruvian restaurant in Somerville, MA, has initiated a similar discussion. At least that's what their cocktail menu suggests:


Thursday, January 24, 2008

High Stakes



I earned this buck fair and square from the stewardess on our flight to Richmond tonight. I bet her that our disco ball wouldn’t fit in the overhead compartment. Full of bravado (and tiny pretzels), she said she’d go as far as to bet $500. Not wanting to risk a year’s pay, I talked her down. Meanwhile, the people waiting in line behind me grew only more eager to board.

When she realized her error, she dutifully paid up, and said: “There. Now you can go get a cheeseburger.”

If I’d played my cards right, she would have had to tell me to buy five hundred cheeseburgers.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

The Sleepiest Little Parrot In Town



Note the bomber plane linens. This is Elise's cousin's "parrotlet," which is an unclever name for the world's smallest type of parrot. I do, however, enjoy the name of the color varietal "green rump."
For a reason I cannot understand, the bird likes to pretend that it's a little, sleeping human. It even holds the comforter in its tiny claws.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Euro-Pop Meets Swedish Massage



Also from San Fran, this photo comes from a promotional sandwich board in front of a posh spa, or "poshp". I think it's supposed to make you want to go to the spa, but it makes me think of the cover for The Bends, or Rufus Wainright being tortured with pancakes.





Wednesday, January 16, 2008

The Simpsons In San Francisco?



Funny, I thought he was more into horror movies and skateboards.

This is my second favorite public transportation acronym, the first of course being "MARTA." If all subways had such grandmotherly names, I think people would be less apt to urinate on them.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

ATM, ATM! (Said like "Auntie Em")

As if calling an ATM an ATM Machine wasn't grammatically incorrect enough, we discovered this item on a cash machine at a bar in Newburyport, MA. Now how does that old saying go? "I" before "E" except after "C," in which case follow up with an extra "C" before "P?" I especially like that it's on there twice.



I know, I know - not everyone went to Brandies.

ps - I'm going on vacation, so no posts for a week. If you remember how, go talk to a human instead.

Bible Battles!

As promised, here's footage from my History Channel debut in a feature called "Bible Battles." The program makes the case that the Bible is not so much a spiritual text as it is a military history. It supports this theory with lots of footage of biblical heroes flying through the air and chopping peoples’ heads off.

While the theory may be unorthodox, when you examine the Bible through this lens, you finally get a response to the age old question “Why do bad things happen?” Answer: because it’s awesome!

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Love At First Sight

Elise snapped this Photo of the Day while I was getting the distance between my pupils measured for new glasses. My interaction with the optometrist somehow looks both tender and antagonistic, but really it was just expensive.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Introducing the "Photo of the Day"

A lot of common New Year’s resolutions just aren’t going to come true, like dieting or deciding that next year you won’t drink so much champagne that it comes out your nose and butt. So I’ve picked a realistic goal that, with a little determination, I think I can actually keep up until the next time Father Time cuts Baby New Year’s head off with his scythe, lights it on fire, and hangs it for all to see in Times Square.

This year, every day, I’m going to wake up. Also, I’ve decided to start posting a “Photo of the Day.” If for some reason I don’t post a photo one day, I may not have fulfilled my first resolution. In that case, call a doctor.

Without further ado, the first Photo of the Day. I can only assume that this is a shrine to Sankt Snoรค, the Swedish patron saint of snow:

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Paleo Indians + History = Comedy

I was enjoying a lazy Saturday morning at home when I missed a call from a friend of mine who shoots films for the History Channel. His message said this:

"I need someone of your build and your look to be a Paleo Indian; you know, the first people on this continent. It'll be a bunch of running around, simulating mammoth hunts, fun stuff. Give me a call."

If it's anything like the last shoot I did for him, in which I played an ancient Habiru warrior, it should be a hoot. It all started when I answered a craigslist post seeking actors who are "athletic, long haired, unshaven, and semitic looking." Ding, ding, ding, and ding!

Coming soon: footage of me being a Habiru.
Coming later: footage of me pretending to hunt a mammoth.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Vitamin Teeth

This is what happens when we don't have a show for a few days and I start drinking eggnog.

Friday, December 21, 2007

My First (and Last) Stripper

I may never have seen a stripper if it weren't for touring. Why else would I have been at a rodeo cowboy bachelor party in South Dakota?

Seeing a stripper has never been a priority of mine, as I'm both a feminist and stingy. But after my experience, strippers are in fact a priority in my life, in that I hope to never see one again.

We'd been hiking in the Badlands all day and were persuaded by Seth to stop for "just one drink" at a bar. And that was it's name: "Bar." Little did we know that we'd wandered into a wild and crazy last night out for a rider on the rodeo circuit. When we walked in, it was definitely a little weird. "It" mainly being Zach's hair. But by the end of the night, the cowboys had bought us so many drinks that one of us ended up throwing up on the side of the highway. I won't say which Late Night Player it was, but his name was "Seth." (There were two then.)

Despite the fact that I used to dress like they do for real on Halloween, we all found enough common ground to develop a real camaraderie with the bachelor and his "pardners." It went a little something like this:

Them: We hate big government!
Us: So do we!
Them: We tour the Western half of the U.S.
Us: We tour the Eastern half of the U.S.!
Them: We're ranchers!
Seth: I'm a vegetarian!
Them: We're going to f*cking kill your p*ssy *ss!

When Seth clarified that he wasn't an "environmentalist," tempers died down.

There was much talk about how the girls had come all the way from Sioux City, which I think just meant that they weren't overweight. Still, I found their display unarousing and somewhat embarrassing. Instead, we all turned our attention to a naked girl who made us feel right at home: the owner's dog.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Off Kilt-er

Besides peeing at Tim Horton’s, the LNP have yet to go “international.”

It’s a shame, because we’re a perfect fit for audiences abroad. At least that's what the students at one school in rural New York thought. When we walked into their cafeteria, everyone stopped what they were doing and someone whispered “Who are those international guys?” The answer was “Jews.”

Maybe it’s because we haven’t done the outreach, but maybe it’s because we were so burnt by our first, and last, attempt to stretch our borders. Here is an actual excerpt from an e-mail I received from a Scottish theater owner back in '03. As a fresh faced college graduate new to the entertainment biz, I was surprised at how quickly Interpol and Scotland Yard were dragged into things.

“Interpol are now asking for all the evidence i have eg e mails etc this is for their investigation… on a fun note im really looking forward to seeing you guys here… i still think you lot are a hoot he he he anyhow see you soon you owe my company £1000.”

As you may have guessed, we didn’t end up performing at his theater. And he didn’t end up getting squiggly L 1000 dollars from us.

Now here's a creepy picture from a how-to-tie-a-kilt website:

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Turkey and Rice

Today the New York Times ran the following:

"Rice in Baghdad as Tensions With Turkey Rise"

The skirmish between Kurdish rebels and Turkish troops is a serious international conflict in an area that is no stranger to violence and political turmoil. Still, if you pretend that a "Baghdad" is some type of cooking vessel, the headline sounds a lot like a casserole recipe. In fact, here are different images that come up as "turkey and rice."