Wednesday Trivia: Rock and Roll Edition

Welcome to Wednesday and today we dish out trivia on rock and roll. Belt in, kiddos. Some of these facts may startle you.

  • The White House social office has confirmed that the band, The Presidents of the United States of America, has been blacklisted by the Secret Service from all White House events. The reasoning is that, because of their name, the potential for confusion constitutes a security risk. That, and Agent Johnson just can’t seem to keep himself from dancing whenever the song “Peaches” is played.
  • 1374_the_residents_c_the_residentsLikewise, The Residents were also blacklisted from White House events. This was not due to any potential confusion over “residents” and “presidents”. It was more due to both Presidents Carter and Reagan found the whole eyeball thing kind of creepy. (For the record, Vice Presidents Mondale and Bush were both fond of the album Duck Stab!)
  • No Beatles rumor has ever been completely confirmed or debunked. None of them. Think about what that means. Unsettling, isn’t it?
  • boingersIf book sales were taken into account, the floppy record inserted into the Bloom County collection Billy and the Boingers Bootleg would have been the top selling album of 1987–easily surpassing album sales by Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, and U2.
  • The first rap music video ever aired on MTV was “Rapture” by Blondie. Three years later they next aired Run D.M.C.’s “Rock Box”.
  • bonhamLed Zeppelin is an anagram for Peed Zen Pill. Zen Pill was John Bonham’s first band. He was ejected from Zen Pill for urinating off the stage. Creating the name Led Zeppelin as a roundabout anagram for this incident was Jimmy Page’s idea. True story.
  • Zen Pill would rename itself Yes with Alan White taking over on drums. The song “Close to the Edge” is about the John Bonham/Zen Pill incident.
  • Bored at work? Here’s a list of celebrities who were in popular rock and roll bands from the late 60s to early 80s. Some may surprise you. See if you can find their old band pictures on Google images. Helen Mirren, Steve Buscemi, David Ogden Stiers, Steve Jobs, Morgan Freeman, Dame Edna Everage, Paul Frees, Warren Beatty, Carrie Fisher, Isabel Sanford, Judd Hirsch, James Cameron, George Will, Liu Xiaoming (Chinese ambassador to the UK), and (yes!) Buzz Aldrin.
  • Gene-SimmonsTechnically, Gene Simmons is not a washed-up rocker. He’s merely irrelevant.




Where my nose is, lately.

Where my nose is, lately.

And it’s back to work. Seems that’s what I do a lot these days. I pound out these usual trivia bits on Wednesdays, lost mail on Fridays, and odd stories for Mondays, but it’s the bills what gots to be paid, so it’s back to the grindstone. I just finished up another issue of Film International and am working on another Directory of World Cinema. I also need to finish up a trivia book for Bearmanor as well as some smaller projects, and some editing for Merry Blacksmith projects.

Hey, keeps me off the streets, right? You wouldn’t want me on the streets. That’d be a traffic hazard.

Too ra.


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Jay Lake Challenge Week #7 – Eugene Mirman vs. an Ice Cream Sundae (a one-act play with special guests)

I’m back to writing absurdist plays. Sue me. These are fun. To Eugene Mirman, H. Jon Benjamin, and Kristen Schaal: please note that I’m a helluva nice guy and too poor to sue. To readers who don’t know who these three people are, that’s okay. They don’t know who you are, either.

So without further ado…


(a one-act play with special guests) 

SETTING: A complicated stage setting. Good luck. Maybe you should produce this as a radio play.

H. Jon Benjamin

H. Jon Benjamin

A deserted wharf off an un-named port city. Set in the middle of the wharf is a simple ice cream sundae with hot fudge and a small sprinling of nuts. The ice cream should be vanilla, but honestly… this is up to th director. The flavor simply represents the ‘everyman’.
Standing beside the sundae is RANDY GILL, a local reporter. He can be played by anyone, but MUST be voiced by comedian H. JON BENJAMIN. This is not optional.

RANDY: Good afternoon. I’m your on-the-spot reporter Randy Gill who is, for some reason, being voiced by H. Jon Benjamin. I think that’s the guy from BOB’S BURGERS and ARCHER. I think he was on some other stuff as well. I don’t know. I only watch the Game Show Network. Where was I? Oh, right…


I’m Randy Gill and I’m standing here beside an ice cream sundae who is scheduled to fight oddball comedian Eugene Mirman. What? Really?

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Friday Mail – Ace Appraisers On the Case!

Welcome to Friday… and welcome to Friday’s mail. I’m your host, John Teehan, and bringing in today’s mail is Corwin, a black-furred fox. Today’s mail comes from a New York address intended for a recipient here in Rhode Island. Close, but no cigar. I got the letter instead, and I’m here to share it with you…

To: Mr. Wynn Featherstone
Codswallop Road
Hope, Rhode Island

From: Barrymore Finkelstone
Ace Appraisers
New York, New York

Dear Mr. Featherstone,

We are returning the various items sent to us via bonded courier as agreed. To be perfectly frank, we wonder how bonded our courier needed to be after examining your items. We cannot give you any formal appraisals given that each item has certain issues which preclude us from doing so. Please note this summary:

  • vaseWhile Ming vases do indeed come from China, the one you presented us came with a sticker affixed to the bottom which reads “Made in China.” We do not dispute the country of origin, but the sticker suggests the vase is not of the Ming dynasty.
  • The skeleton labelled “The Elephant Man” appears to be a full elephant skeleton. No human elements are present. (N.B. The tusks were notably absent, but any value they may have had is negated by current international ivory trade laws.)
  • We are aware that Da Vinci produced several versions of The Mona Lisa, we do not believe he ever produced a version in which the lady is extending her middle finger to the viewer.
  • Your “genuine” South American fetish doll appears to be nothing more than the head of a 1970s Star Trek ™ Spock doll atop the body of a 1960s Barbie ™ doll. You should note that each doll in their original form and packaging would have been worth something. 
  • Your “first edition” copy of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit contains numerous references to McDonalds. The Hobbit was first published in 1937. The fast food restaurant chain wasn’t established until 1955.
  • Yes, the 19th century grandfather clock is possessed by evil spirits, as you claim. However, that very fact lowers its overall worth considerably. We suggest acquiring an old priest and a young priest to remedy the situation. Then you might be talking a little bit of money. Possibly
  • The wax cylinder recording of Thomas Edision reciting “Mary Had a Little Lamb” is intriguing, but the constant in-line references to radio personality Howard Stern make us believe it is a very clever fake.
  • Your collection of corrspondence between Jefferson Davis and Robert E. Lee are highly questionable given that each letter signs off with the phrase “fuck ‘em if they can’t take a joke.”
  • We are impressed with 18th century water pump. We would be more impressed if the handle was still attached.
  • Newsboy bottle 01We are sending back the ship-in-a-bottle without comment. The crew of the ship appear to not only be made up of living humans (albeit very, very tiny), but they also appear to be in some distress. You should know that we are consulting with our lawyers.

Under separate cover, we are sending you a check for a full refund. We would appreciate it if you do not contact us again.

Yours sincerely,


Barrymore Finkelstone
Ace Appraisers
New York, New York


No time to chat. Work to do, work to do. Alexander Technique, Canadian Wetlands, Comedian Trivia, painting!


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Rumor Wednesday – Conspiracy a’Go-Go

Welcome to Wednesday! This week’s rumor mill presents some of the best conspiracies floating around the internet. If you’ve not heard of any of these, you’re not paying attention. Spread the word!

  • There really is no such thing as “Emo”. It’s a fabrication of the Unilever Corporation who make black hair dyes, facial tissues, and razor blades. Look it up! Most Emo bands are just Goth bands with the sound turned down.
  • Why are people so freaked out ab out contrails and chemtrails? Have you ever noticed how much poop a flock of geese can leave behind? Doesn’t look natural to me. What are “they” feeding these geese? What’s really in their poop? How else do you explain the decline of the Tea Party?
  • 52513593George R. R. Martin finished writing the entire Song of Ice & Fire series seven years ago. Contractually, he is not allowed to release installments within periods of less than five years. Who is behind this, you ask? Good question. I’m not saying aliens, but…
  • Speaking of aliens… that Giorgio Tsoukalos is a proponent of the ancient astronaut theory is well known. What is less well known is that he is also a body builder–in a very traditional sense. While never convicted of grave robbing, there have been questions. His staff have a fear of fire and windmills. Consider, too, that Ancient Aliens is produced by Prometheus Entertainment. The subtitle to the novel Frankenstein? The Modern Prometheus. You do the math.
  • Speaking of Frankenstein–or more accurately–Frankenstein’s monster… ever notice how, despite many attempts to remedy the situation, House Speaker John Beohner’s skin color still doesn’t look very realistic? I’m not saying he’s a soulless monster. Well… not a monster, at least. But how hard is it to make realistic skin? Hollywood does it all the time (Tom Cruise, for instance).


  • Lost had us all fooled. Watch it again. You’ll see it.


Moving forward on a number of projects. The film journals are caught up for the moment. Working on a comedy trivia book, a photo book for artist studios, a book on John Huston, some paintings, and edits to a book on writing. Keeping quite the busy. No time to linger.


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Jay Lake Challenge Week #6 – No Moving Parts

200px-Stylised_Lithium_AtomThis is another one of those cases where the story idea has been knockin’ around my noggin for a long time, but I never wrote it out completely. It’s an old idea, and would likely fit better in a 50s pulp mag than anything contemporary, but at least it’s out of my noggin’ now. It’s a bit longer than previous stories. I could probably cut half of it with no loss, but I’m tired and I’m late in posting this as it is. (Hmm, I watch too much Big Bang Theory)

Without further ado…




“What if everyone thought like you?” I asked Jimson.

“Then I would expect that the travel industries would be in for a bit of a slump,” responded the voice on the phone. Typical Jimson. Acerbic. Caustic when the mood really hit him. Phone conversations were a blessing in a way. I always had the option of hanging up. Fortunately it rarely came to that.

I leaned back in my recliner and took another sip of my sole Friday night beer. “Did you know that the nomination committee wanted to pass you over because of your legendary fear of travel?”

“Then they’re idiots,” responded Jimson. “It’s not fear that keeps my feet firmly rooted on the ground, it’s a rational decision based upon knowing how well things fall apart. The nomination committee is more than welcome to climb into an airplane any time they wish. I’ll miss the funerals, but I’ll be sure to send flowers.”

Dead flowers, I figured. It would be in keeping with his sense of humor. “Well despite their best intentions, you went and won the Feynman Globe for Applied Engineering. You’ll be getting a letter. Want me to accept the award for you?”

Jimson paused. For a moment I thought he had hung up, but then he said, “No need. I’ll be there to collect it myself.”

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Friday Mailbag – Meet Mr. and Mrs. Doe (the return of Majestic Control Groups)

zgx18q63usfp2w3oToday’s mis-directed mail calls back to one from a couple of weeks ago from a private investigator under contract with an organization called Majestic Control Groups. In the last report, the investigator quit. Apparently it was a short-lived absence as he is back on the job again–at least that’s how it appears. it’s the same sort of plain, unaddressed envelope. Same old typewriter lettering. Same old black-furred fox delivering said letter unto me. Here’s what it says:

To: Majestic Control Groups, Observe and Report Division
From: Rollin Rochs, private investigator under independent contract
Subject: Subjects 27A and 27B Observance Report

I don’t know how you guys convinced me to come back after I had just quit. 

I arrived in town last week and began surveillance of subjects 27A and B, henceforth known as John and Margaret Doe. As initially reported, there does appear to be some form of strife in the Doe household, although it is admittedly difficult to detect at first.

Over the course of the next few days, this investigator tailed the couple and observed them performing all the seemingly typical, natural, and occasionally strange acts one might expect from a happily married couple:

On Saturday, the Does attended an outdoor market. He purchased a small amount of smoked fish. She purchased an artisan bread and some honey. Afterward, they visited a used bookshop and made several purchases. Later investigation showed that among the books purchased were a photo book of various South American politicians dressed as Vincent Price, a guidebook to asymetrical leaves, and a collection of dirty limericks by Cardinal Timothy Dolan.

At 10pm that evening, a loud argument began which lasted for exactly fifteen minutes. Could not get close enough to hear details of argument. By 10:30, all lights were turned out. Couple asleep.

On Sunday, she attended church and he stood on a street corner waving at random passers-by. According to neighbors this is very typical. Later they fired up the backyard grill. This investigator could not get close enough to confirm exactly what was being grilled, but the smoke made this investigator experience dizziness, minor hallucinations, and reversal of long-held political stances. When the smoke cleared, all returned to normal. The Does appeared to be eating hamburgers.

At 10pm that evening, a loud argument began which lasted for exactly fifteen minutes. Could not get close enough to hear details of argument. By 10:30, all lights were turned out. Couple asleep.

On Monday, she left the home–presumably for work. This investigator remained behind to observe Mr. Doe who spent most of his day in front of a computer, typing. Mr. Doe got up from his desk three times before Mrs. Doe’s return. The first was to relieve himself. The second time was to go out to the back yard and shout obscenities for five minutes. The third time was to relieve himself again, but this time in the bathroom. When Mrs. Doe arrived home, she was not happy with the state of the house, but who would be? Mr. Doe tidied up and made dinner.

At 10pm that evening, a loud argument began which lasted for exactly fifteen minutes. Could not get close enough to hear details of argument. By 10:30, all lights were turned out. Couple asleep.

On Tuesday, this investigator followed Mrs. Doe to her office. While the other employees entered via the front door, Mrs. Doe entered and exited the building exclusively through second story windows. She’s quite athletic. At lunch time, Mrs. Doe met with an unnamed and as-yet unidentified individual in the back of the building where the two traded chess pieces for the next half hour. Neither participant seems to know how to play chess.

At 10pm that evening, a loud argument began which lasted for exactly fifteen minutes. Could not get close enough to hear details of argument. By 10:30, all lights were turned out. Couple asleep.

On Wednesday, this investigator interviewed neighbors. Neighbor A finds them a delightful couple, if admittedly a little strange. “They add colour to the neighborhood,” they said in an odd way in which the “u” in “colour” was quite clearly pronounced. Neighbor B finds them suspicious. “They’s be too happy, sez we,” said Neighbor B who is apparently a pirate of some sort. Neighbor C admitted to going through the Doe’s garbage on a regular basis. At first this investigator thought perhaps this could lead to clues until this investigator learned that Neighbor C adds her own garbage to the Doe’s. She wasn’t particularly useful.

At 10pm that evening, a loud argument began which lasted for exactly fifteen minutes. This time, with the help of a local cat, this investigator could get close enough to glean the subject of the argument. Get this…

Apparently Mrs. Doe brought home a box of cookies for them to share–which they did quite happily until it came down to the last cookie. Mrs. Doe insists that Mr. Doe should take the last cookie because she brought them home as a treat and he should appreciate that treat. Mr. Doe insists that Mrs. Doe should take the last cookie because she deserves it more and doesn’t get enough appreciation for that fact.

Honestly, where do you people find these people?

4038oatmealcookieOn Thursday, this investigator waited for Mrs. Doe to leave and for Mr. Doe to enter the back yard for his daily obscene rant. The domicile was breached and this investigator located and removed the last cookie.

It was oatmeal raisin. It was also a little stale.

By 10:30pm, it was lights out with no argument preceding.

Friday showed no unusual activity. Lights out again by 10:30pm with no issue.

Is that what you guys sent me out here for? To steal a cookie?

I quit.


Rollin Roch, PI
formerly of Majestic Control Groups, Inc.




Has it been a whole week already? I guess so.

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Wednesday Rumor Has It – General Knowledge Edition

Welcome to this week’s rumor mill. I can’t vouch for these facts… it’s just what I heard. Passing them on to you is a public service. Honest.

  • Contrary to popular humor, ‘gullible’ does appear in the dictionary. The word, however, is misspelled.
  • Sir Walkington They of Exeter (1588-1640) was a noted thinker and orator of his time. His name is immortalized in the phrase “That’s what They say…”
  • jon_lovitz-devil-snl-46_2-1Comedian Jon Lovitz has a twin brother named John. No one has ever confused one for the other. Why? Jon is right-handed. John is not.
  • There are more foods named after “the devil” (devil’s food cake, devilled eggs, devilled ham, etc) than any other supernatural figure. (There’s… angel food cake and… what?)
  • “Bombing” on stage used to have a more literal meaning. In the 1920s, vaudeville performers who failed to entertain on stage often had to dodge small, hand-made bombs flung from…who else? Anarchists. The Atlantic City boardwalk had to rebuilt seven times between 1922 and 1924 due to a particularly bad run of performances.
  • It is more difficult to break out of a soap bubble than into one.
  • Magazines are not allowed on the International Space Station because of the unpredictable nature of subscription cards.
  • John Oliver provided the voice for Vanity Smurf in the recent Smurfs movies.

He’s looked better…


  • Erratum: Nyquil and Dayquil to not “cancel each other out” as previously reported. My apologies to Mickey Rourke. Get well soon.




It has been a super-busy couple of weeks. I just sent off the last of a run of film journals I’ve been working on and am prepping a new trivia book by Mel Simons. Sent off a bio on adult actress Marilyn Chambers yesterday. Today I’ll be sending in edits for a similar bio for Porsche Lynn. I’ll also be prepping a bunch of paintings for an upcoming group show, and finishing up a largish (24×36) new painting. Why am I here talking to you?

I should be working.



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Jay Lake Challenge Week #5 – John Oliver Meets Amelia Earhart (a one-act play)

As has become common for this ill-advised set of stories I’ve been pushing out lately, any similarities to anyone living or dead is purely coincidental. I swear to God. Honest. Would I lie? What, me worry? In any case… I’m a real nice guy. A pleasure to be around, but way too poor to sue. So, you know… please don’t sue.


John Oliver Meets Amelia Earhart (a one act play)


mFBlt862jMxz68f3fitP9vASetting: A talk show set featuring two chairs separated by a small table holding a vase of flowers. Stage is backlit, but forward lights are off. Sitting in one chair, in silhouette, is JOHN OLIVER. In the other chair is a small mound of random human bones topped by a skull wearing a leather flying cap.

Cue: Opening music

Lights on.  AUDIENCE applauds. As applause dies down, OLIVER looks at the audience, somewhat confused. As he opens his mouth to speak, he is interrupted by the vaguely ghost-like voice of AMELIA EARHART.

EARHART (v.o.): Good evening, and welcome to Amelia Tonight. I’m your host, Amelia Earhart.

Audience applauds.  OLIVER closes his mouth and looks at the pile of bones.

EARHART (cont.): Tonight, my guest is John Oliver, noted comedian and, some would say, insightful political commentator. John, it’s a pleasure to meet you.

OLIVER, unsure what to do, cautiously leans over and picks up a small knucklebone. He shakes it a few times, and gently puts it back before surreptitiously wiping his fingers on the seam of his trousers.

Late Night with Jimmy Fallon - Season 4 OLIVER: It’s… it’s a pleasure to be here. Umm…

EARHART: Thank you. First, why don’t you tell us about your newest project?

OLIVER (gaming up, but still a bit off): Well, I have a new show on HBO called Last Week Tonight and… excuse me… are you interviewing me?

EARHART: Why, yes. Shouldn’t I?

Audience laughs.

OLIVER: Well, it’s just that usually… that is to say… I usually do the interviews. I mean… you’re the celebrity, after all and–

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Rumor Wednesday – Steve Buscemi edition

600full-steve-buscemiToday we’re looking at some random facts interspersed with some true, honest-to-God bits of trivia about America’s favorite actor.

  • The average lifespace of an internet meme is 23 days. The average lifespan of an e-mail chain letter is 12 years.
  • To prep for an acting role, Steve Buscemi once stalked a Canadian couple across twenty states over the course of three weeks. During this time, he would come into the contact with the couple under the guise of: a gas station attendant, a short order cook, a police officer, a roadside fruit salesmen, a lifeguard, a nun, and twice as a man feeding pigeons on a street corner. Reportedly, the couple did not catch on until federal agents stepped in and told Buscemi to knock it off. As for the couple, they merely assumed that most Americans looked like Steve Buscemi. True story.
  • There are more clam shacks per square mile in Rhode Island than any other state. Ironically, Rhode Island is also the shellfish-allergy capital of the world.
  • A single cup of coffee contains enough caffeine to power a television set for three hours. The reason why this incredible power source has not been properly harnessed is possibly Steve Buscemi’s fault. Why? When asked, Buscemi switches to speaking with a German accent and throws dinner rolls at the questioner until the subject changes. Yeah, weird, right? Weird and suspicious.
  • Technically, bald people have the most fun. Less time for hair care is more time for fun, fun, fun!
  • BuscemiSpeaking of stalking, Steve Buscemi was once a victim of stalking. Between 2002 and 2005, Buscemi had filed numerous complaints against one Pierre Peders for instances of stalking, breaking and entering, harassment, and indecent exposure. Years later, Buscemi would play a character named Pierre Peders in the self-directed film Interview. It has been suggested by some that there was no stalker… but that it was Buscemi stalking himself all along.
  • The International Space Station has its own resident cat. Its name is Random Facts. Ja, surprised me, too.
  • Final Steve Buscemi fact: Like many actors, Buscemi has a strong superstitious streak. Although he is right-handed, he will only play left-handed characters. This often results in roles in which he barely uses his hands at all–or if he does, he does so awkwardly. It’s not a terrible idea, actually, as it tends to give his portrayals a more realistic, everyman feel.


ScotlandIt has been a very busy, but very productive week. I’ve knocked out proofs for a book on American and European theatre, a proof for a film journal on Scottish cinema, revisions on books about the Alexander Technique and Canadian wetlands, revisions to a couple of film journals, final packaging for a biography on 70s porn star Marilyn Chambers, and–within the next two days–a complete film journal focusing on Chinese cinema.

All of this before the fourth of July. Moving forward, moving forward. Also making progress on a photo book project of my own.

But no time to gab here. Back to work.


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