Friday, January 30, 2009

Skull Bong

The only thing I have to say about this posting is that any and all drug references in Deadpan Inc. are just hearsay. I know only what I read in magazines.

Anybody else think "Skull Bong" would be a kickass name for a rock band? Maybe not.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

KKK Hallmark Boycott

This story is good for a joke, but it's sad that there is still a Ku Klux Klan in this day and age. Really? There are still people who think it's cool to put on the white robes and spout stupid shit? C'mon people. Grow up.

I fully support the efforts of gay activists to get full marriage rights for themselves. But I think the Ku Klux Klan might be even more effective in bringing about this overdue social change. Who wants to be on the same side as the Klan? I don't.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Ten-Year-Old Brides

Keep in mind that this story is about our friends in that part of the world. Not those nasty Taliban. We're talking about those delightful oil-rich Saudis for whom the Bush family has so much affection.

If you're wondering what Disney wedding dresses look like, here's a photo. They don't look as cheesy as I thought they would -- though the Belle dress looks a little too much like a melting plastic cup. Apparently they hired some big-name designer. She even includes suggestions for enhancing the chosen Disney theme of your wedding, such as having a Caribbean band for your Ariel (Little Mermaid) beach wedding. Is it too cynical of me to suspect that the Disney folks had the Saudi market in mind when they commissioned these?

I know it's a typical "model thing," but what's up with the expressions on these brides' faces? If my bride showed up at the altar with any of those expressions on her face, I would have bailed. Ariel, especially, is giving off a "Wipe that smile off your face, dickweed" vibe.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Sting Hates Roxanne

Here's something that's been on my mind since the eighties.

This probably goes without saying, but if you know Sting, or know someone who knows Sting, please do not forward this episode. The last thing I need now is to have Sting pissed at me.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Fish Pedicure

I have a friend who posts the most amazing Facebook status updates. "Friend Name is in the Falkland Islands." "Friend Name is riding an elephant in Thailand." "Friend Name is fleeing hyenas." "Friend Name is having a fish tickles." If I didn't know her, I'd think she's just making stuff up. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a little jealous of her adventures. Though I'd probably pass on the fish pedicure.

Here's the obligitory photo in case you thought I made this up.* The fish are a kind of carp called garra rufa, which means "doctor fish."

*I do occasionally make something up. I'm willing to admit that the town of Congerville was probably photographed at least once in its history.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Blind Man: Musician Challenge Winners

I have to admit, I would have liked to receive more responses to the Blind Man musician challenge. Three would have been awesome. Maybe I overestimated the appeal of lyrics about beating up a blind man. Some people just don't get irony. But quality trumps quantity any day. These outstanding submissions are presented in the order in which they were submitted.

First up is Brian Day of Wilmette, Illinois. Brian Day kicks ass. Brian is easily one of my top three favorite guys who are married to one of my wife's sisters.

Next up is Martin Fisher of San Diego, California. You might want to drop some X and snap some glow sticks before hitting play on this one.

Two great entries -- I really can't choose one winner. So thanks to the generosity of our sponsor, Deadpan Inc. will be awarding both Brian and Martin a Grand Prize: the 2009 Lamborghini Gallardo* -- the orange model shown below.

Did I forget to mention there was a prize? Sorry. But if you need some kind of "prize" to motivate you, what kind of artist are you, anyway?

Maybe at this point you're thinking, "Dammit! I recorded a version of Blind Man and forgot to send it in! I can't believe I missed the deadline!"

Or, "Dammit! I can't believe those songs won! I could do much better than them!"

Or, "Dammit! If you won't do what's necessary to get the information we need from this terrorist, I will!"

That last one only applies to Jack Bauer -- I don't know how that got in there. But if either of the first two applies to you, feel free to go ahead and send me your version of Blind Man and I'll post it with the others. You're too late to win the Gallardo, but not too late to blow us away with your succulent chops. And if you're tempted to just leave a snarky comment about one of these efforts, remember -- each one is 10,000% better than what you sent in.

See you Monday. Be kind to blind people.

*I'm kidding. I would never enter into a sponsorship deal with a foreign car company.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Nine-Year-Old Author

Believers in the American Dream say that if you work hard, follow your dream and keep a positive attitude, success will come to you. Or you can be a nine-year-old whose classroom writing project gets shown to a highly imaginative agent. Good for him. He deserves every dime of that movie deal. He earned it, didn't he? I'm not bitter.

I'd better stop typing now before I go off on a long, ugly rant about ageism in the advertising and new media industries. They'd all hire nine-year-olds and pay them in candy if the labor laws allowed it. See you Monday.

Hey, almost is the last day to submit your version of Blind Man to the musician challenge. All submitted songs will be posted in a special weekend edition tomorrow. Check it out. And if you haven't submitted your version yet, get going. You still have this evening to blow us away.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Taco Bell Wedding

Yet another true story. The kind of story that keeps this humble little hobby of mine going. Enjoy.

The town of Congerville mentioned in the clip has no particular meaning to me -- I just picked a random small Illinois town close to Normal. I searched online for a photo of the town and discovered that Congerville has the distinction of being the only U.S. city that has never been photographed. Ever. Amazing.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

American Idol

Yeah, I watch it. Well, my wife watches it and I tend to be in the room when it's on.

I wonder if Simon has ever seen the Japanese horror movie The Audition. Its tag line is "She always gets a part." It might prompt him to be gentler with the more delusional singers.

Speaking of singing -- just three days left in the Blind Man Musician Challenge. (See last Tuesday's posting.) Everyone is looking forward to hearing your contribution.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Inauguration Day


Finally the end of the Bush era. Finally the smart, thoughtful guy in charge. Finally pragmatic problem solving wins out over blind ideology. Finally a post-boomer President who will try to take us beyond the tired, old conservative vs. liberal arguments of the sixties. Finally something to celebrate.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Virginity Pledges

Whenever I hear about these virginity pledges they ask kids to make, I think about the really nerdy kids. That kind of talk must be like putting salt in a wound. Like asking me to pledge not to buy a Lamborghini Gallardo until they make a hybrid version. Sure, okay, I'll make that pledge. Whatever. As if.

This episode was kind of thrown together to replace one I did about today's national call to service. While it wasn't horribly offensive, it felt a little too snarky about an idea I like. If you'd like to see that outtake, you can find it on the Deadpan Inc. fanpage on Facebook.

Just a reminder that you still have five days to throw together your version of the Blind Man song. (See last Tuesday's posting.) If you don't think you can make a good song out of those lyrics, don't let that stop you. Nobody is expecting great songs here. No matter how bad they are, they're bound to be entertaining. So c'mon, join the party. Have some fun with Blind Man and let us hear your awesome talent.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Bye Bye, Bush

Did you see President Bush's farewell address last night? I was surprised he was so gracious -- I expected him to be the first president to leave office flipping off the nation. There's still time -- could be the departing helicopter shot.

A few weeks ago, the elder Bush was asked if he thought his son had any failures while in office, and he suggested we go to "the google" for that answer. I guess we can assume from that response that he agrees wholeheartedly with each and every one of the 2,860,000 responses to the search term "Bush failures." No wonder he favors Jeb.

If you want a more accurate count of Bush's failures, perhaps because you're in a manic phase of your bipolar disorder and want to come down, check out the list of 128 Bush failures at The Center for Public Integrity.

By the way, I'm pissed at The Colbert Report. The day after I made this clip, they did a bit on Obama plates, including a "Not Microwave Safe" gag. Is it possible that the Colbert writers are trolling xtranormal to poach my jokes before I get a chance to post them on my blog? That's what I'd like to believe. Those bastards.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Giant Pink Lizard

I apologize in advance for the following episode. As a nation, we face troubled times. There are serious issues to be addressed. What the hell am I doing?

Hey, musicians...have you started your "Blind Man" song yet? How's it going? Don't know what I'm talking about? Check out the post of two days ago. I'm counting on superb entries from Jim, Frank, Chris, Heather, Carol, Dan and many others. That's right, I'm talking to you, my musical friend.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Terminator: Salvation

I can't believe I'm the only one who has ever had the following thought about the Terminator movies, but I've never heard it anywhere else.

In spite of the flawed logic, I'll still probably go see this movie. The trailer looks very cool. I might have a little trouble getting past Batman as John Connor, though.

Hey, if you're a musician and you missed yesterday's episode, be sure to check it out. I've issued a songwriters' challenge to put music to lyrics I've written. All (and I do mean all) submitted songs will be published in a special weekend posting on January 24. The first entry has already arrived.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Blind Man: Musician Challenge

This post was based on an experience I had a few years ago. I was on a platform waiting for a train, and a blind man was there, also waiting. From the way he was standing, it looked like he was staring at me. My initial stupid thought was: why is he staring at me? On second thought, I realized, of course, that he wasn't staring at anything. But if I had been crazy...

Are you a musician who would like to put those lyrics to music? Please, go for it. I encourage you to record and perform this song under a Creative Commons Attribution license, which basically means you can do what you want with these lyrics as long as you give me credit. The full lyrics are posted in the comments section.

I just have two requests regarding your use of the lyrics. First, make the best of what I've given you -- no rewriting, deletions or additions. If you absolutely must do some minor rephrasing to fit your melody, that's okay, but try to avoid any substantive changes. Second, make your creation available to the Deadpan Inc. audience. Post your song on a third party site, preferably one that enables an embedded player, like YouTube, and send me the link. If anyone takes the bait, I'll post all the songs on a special weekend edition on January 24.

Even if you're not a musician, feel free to use Microsoft Songsmith. (It's new a program that automatically puts "music" behind anything you sing into your microphone.) Use any genre of music you like: punk, metal, rap, country, folk, emo, techno...whatever. We'd all love to hear it. If you know a musician who might be into this, please forward this posting.

Are you up to the challenge? Do you have the musical chops to turn "Blind Man" into the next "Single Ladies"? Bring it.

One more thing -- if you ever make any serious money off this song (talkin' to you, Kanye), I would appreciate a fair 50% cut of the royalties. You're under no legal obligation to do that, but it would be darn nice of you.

Update: In just over 24 hours, the first entry arrived. Better get started on yours, doncha think?

Monday, January 12, 2009

Sugar Cookies

I think a lot of people will identify with this post-holiday sugar withdrawal. It's like we've spent the last month doing crack and now all the crack is gone and all that's left is celery sticks and baby carrots. By the way, did you know that baby carrots are a fraud? That's right, a fraud. They are whittled out of full sized carrots. Just so you know.

I've never been a clerk at a grocery or drug store, so I wonder if keeping a poker face when a customer acts weird and self-conscious about a purchase is part of the training. It would be really tempting to mess with people to relieve the boredom. "Does this jock itch ointment work pretty good? Aren't you just dying to run home and slather some on? I'll try to get you checked out as quickly as I can..."

Friday, January 9, 2009

Smiley Face Cops

If you have any doubt that what our friends are talking about is a real story, check out the picture below. For this month, in a trial period that may be extended indefinitely, this is what you'll see if you get pulled over in Thailand.

For you younger readers...sorry about the dated Rodney King reference. Unfortunately, none of the people who have been beaten down by the cops on tape lately have the name recognition of Rodney.

I have a feeling this is one of those episodes that will be quietly appreciated and yet get zero comments. I understand -- what else is there to say? But there's something a little sad about that.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Larry Craig's Bathroom

When I read last week that tourist attendance at that Minneapolis airport bathroom had dropped off, I was shocked. Not that interest had fallen, but that anyone would have gone out of their way to see an "infamous" airport bathroom. Seriously?

If their last comments left you scratching your head, you'll want to dig up the Ten Commandments episode from November.

Now that I'm sticking with the xtranormal format, there might be a way I could get de facto ownership of these characters: if Deadpan Inc. became so famous, went so viral, that anyone else who used these characters would look like they were ripping me off. How can you help make that happen? (I naturally assume you want to help and have nothing better to do.) Have you become a fan on Facebook? Have you submitted your favorite episodes to sites like Digg, Reddit, StumbleUpon, BuzzFeed, etc.? Do you wear DI branded apparel everywhere you go? Have you purchased radio or television advertising to promote DI? Think of all you could be doing. Whatever you do do to spread the word, I appreciate it. And yeah, I said doodoo. Grow up.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

The Winter Classic

I live in the Chicago area, and last week the local news media went absolutely nuts over this outdoor hockey game. I really didn't see how bad sight lines and freezing cold added to the experience. I guess you could follow the action on the Jumbotron, but if that's how you're watching the game, couldn't you duplicate the effect by sitting in an uncomfortable chair in your back yard and watching your TV though a window?

Because this episode is about hockey, I've included a French version for our Canadian friends. Though, I suspect that most hockey loving Canadians are going to hate this episode. Oh well, can't please everybody.

As a youngster, I played hockey outdoors on a frozen lake, but that experience didn't make me go all mushy for the Winter Classic. I just never got into watching hockey. Some sports are more fun to play than to watch. Golf for example -- I enjoy a round of golf but rarely get any pleasure out of watching tournaments. Ultimate fighting cage matches, on the other hand, I'd rather watch than participate in.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009


Well, I think most of you will be happy to see a return to the original style of these episodes. In the new style I tried, I liked the voices and the ability to use unique images, but I admit that I also missed the little animated gestures more than I thought I would. Oh well. I'll have to wait until xtranormal goes off beta to see what options I'll have for customizing backgrounds and characters.

If you know the Woody Allen movie where the title of this entry comes from, you're showing your age. It does not refer to this nifty looking device that is also called an "orgasmatron."


Hey, want to see what this would have looked like in the new style? It's posted on the fan page on Facebook -- there's a handy link on the right. While you're there, become a fan and let your Facebook friends know about DI.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Perfect Combinations

The subject of this episode is fitting as I'm trying to find the perfect combination of images and voices for this new format. I'm kind of liking it -- but I know it might strike regular viewers as weird. Let me know what you think in the comments section. If you're not sure, maybe you should give it a few days to see if it grows on you.

I think xtranormal might eventually offer some options that would enable me to have more control of the voices, have exclusive characters, etc. If so, I might go back to that format -- unless this new format is a big hit. This is the beta version of Deanpan Inc. V2.0, and if people like it, I'll move up to higher resolution wide screen images. We'll see.

I should probably mention that in the title of this episode I'm using the term "perfect" ironically. I'm not endorsing any of these combinations, especially not donkey basketball.

Donkey basketball is usually staged in a high school gymnasium as a fundraiser. It's stupid -- not in a "hilariously stupid" way, but in a "stupid divisive activity that will draw hostility to your cause" way. I hadn't given much thought to this form of animal abuse until I went searching for an image and ran across PETA's take on the subject. I'd have to agree that the donkeys probably aren't playing for the love of the game.

Of course, all this talk about donkey basketball is just a smokescreen to keep the Scientologists off my hiney. And I should go on record that I only know about the meth/porn combo from reading about it. I've never watched porn while doing meth. Wait, that didn't sound right -- I should rephrase. I've never done meth while watching porn. That's better.

Don't forget to weigh in on the new format with a comment. The future of Deadpan Inc. is in your hands.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Mental Image Capture

Here's another news item worth noting. Even though the images they've been able to pull from people's brains have just been simple letter shapes, it's pretty darn amazing.

Here's a fun trick you could play on test subjects if you worked in that lab. As you're hooking up a guy to the machine, tell him, "Try really hard to concentrate on the letter shapes we showed you. Avoid thinking about penises." If you do work in the lab and are reading this, you probably shouldn't follow my suggestion -- it would probably mess up the experiment and get you fired.

Just because I mentioned, I have an excuse to throw in a picture from that site. I think it's an "official picture" because she's making a "B" with her legs. Clever!

Be sure to check in on Monday and let me know what you think of the new format I'm going to try. Making xtranormal films is a blast, and the ability to make them is what spawned this blog, but now that it's building an audience I think it should be more unique. I don't like the idea of these films looking like a lot of other people's films. So starting next week I'm going to experiment with a new look. I'm really curious to see your reaction -- that will play a big part in my decision whether or not to make this change permanent.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

New Year's Surprise

Something went horribly wrong with today's episode. I hope you'll still be able to get some enjoyment from it. We should be back to normal tomorrow.

The trickiest part of doing this one is that I don't speak French. Not at all. I used an online automated translator, so I have no idea if it's a good translation or not. They could be speaking gibberish for all I know. If you speak French, let me know if this makes sense.

Of course, the obvious question is, "Why?" I don't know.