Television for cats: just one more reason not to have cable

Cat with remote If you have a cat, I’m sure you’ve heard about the world’s first TV program specifically designed for cats. This groundbreaking show premiered — ironically — on the Oxygen Network, which demonstrates what can happen when creative minds are allowed to collaborate freely and openly in a room that is actually being deprived of oxygen. That’s the only explanation I have for some of the things I saw on this show; things like cats doing yoga. Cat haiku. And a cat that eats with chopsticks.

Yes, I said a cat that eats with chopsticks.

As you might’ve guessed, the cat I saw doing this was Siamese, which is a breed known for its intelligence. I watched in amazement as Ying-Yow (which is Cantonese for “always hungry”) demonstrated his supreme cognitive skills by using chopsticks fitted with special “booties” to eat a mixture of dry cat food and squid. As impressive as this was, he still isn’t as smart as our cat, which would have simply run away to find a new family.

But not before breaking his chopsticks in half and shoving them into the nearest “booty.” Continue reading

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How it looks being on the radio

imageOne of the advantages of being on the radio is there’s a certain amount of anonymity. You’re never going to be in the grocery store and have someone behind you say,”HEY! Didn’t I see you on the radio? What you said about fruitcake was a disgrace! I LOVE FRUITCAKE! I’m heading to the express line so I can meet you in the parking lot, Mr. Funny Man!”

It’s true there’s always a chance someone could recognize your voice in the grocery store. Which is why radio personalities use a special “radio voice” on air that’s different from their normal speaking voice. For example, many people don’t known it but off the air Howard Stearn sounds a lot like Elmer Fudd.

It’s true. I once heard an off-air tape of Stearn in the studio asking for some visiting strippers to take their tops off…

“Pweeze wadies, pweeze. I’m feewing wike I need to see your bweasts…” Continue reading

Nanoo nanoo, Robin

image The first time I saw Robin Williams he was tossing an egg into the air the same way one might release a dove. “Fly! Be FREE!” he gleefully hollered as “Mork from Ork.” On his face was a mixture of hope and enthusiasm that was infectious. Magical. As if he could see something none of us could — but that we believed in because of the innocent faith he projected. For a brief moment, as the egg was suspended in the air, it seemed entirely possible that it would defy the laws of physics and take flight, propelled by the power of laughter from the live studio audience.

But as I sat in front of the TV and watched the egg fall to the counter top with a splat, the laughter was suddenly squelched into a sympathetic hush. Robin kneeled in front of the shattered egg, devastated, unable to fathom why the joyous release had ended so abruptly. In that moment he won the hearts of an entire generation of fans, including mine. I also understood for the first time that humor is the flip side of sadness — and how there are few things that can unite people, or open their hearts to a new perspective, as quickly as laughter. Continue reading

In the event of a Sharknado, find the nearest catfish noodler

(This morning I’m over at Long Awkward Pause, where my assignment was to offer an informative piece on Sharknado survival. It’s a Public Service Announcement of sorts, minus the “service” part…)

Yes, Minnesota, even you have reason to fear a Sharknado.

Yes, Minnesota, even you have reason to fear a Sharknado.

We all know it’s only a matter of time before “The Big One” hits the West Coast, probably somewhere in California first because, let’s face it, they get everything first. The aftershocks will then spread north along Oregon’s coastline, which is exactly where I happen to live. I’ve prepared myself for The Big One as best I can but the truth is: How much can you really prepare for a Sharknado?

Earthquake.
Tsunami.
Volcano.

No problemo.

But you’re going to need more than a survival kit of granola bars and toilet paper when faced with a giant tornado full of hungry Great White sharks. Although the toilet paper will probably come in handy. (Read more at LAP!)

Following up with self-proclaimed best-selling author Ima Knowitall!

image With the release of her highly anticipated online novel Time-Traveling Vampires of Love just a few days away, I held little hope of getting a second interview with Ima Knowitall when I called her private number this morning. As I mentioned in my first interview, she is the author of more than 40 online novels this past year, and has received multiple awards, including the coveted Prolific Speller Award, the Hemmingway Award for “longest run-on sentence of 2012 and 2013” (same sentence) and, most recently, was honored by the Society of Illiterate Columnists (SIC) for her contributions to “…the advancement of people who write without the shackles of proper grammar.

Despite knowing I had almost no chance of landing a second interview with an author of Knowitall’s caliber on the eve of her latest release, the fact that she had given me her private number meant I had to at least try. During our initial interview a month ago at a nondescript Del Taco location, she explained that her secret phone number is part of an elaborate system of security measures to protect her from hoards of overzealous paparazzi and fans. Nervously, I called the number and was ready when a man who identified himself as “Shizzle” answered from what sounded like the inside of a phone booth. Continue reading

… This Just In…

image

…TAT-tat-tat-TAT-TAT-tat-tat-TAT…

[Breaking News: from another strangely irrelevant moment in our news room…]

Editor: “It says here that this year’s Holistic and Psychic Fair is going to be…”

Me: WAIT!! Don’t tell me….

[An anticipatory silence in the newsroom]

Me: “… Sorry — I got nothin'”

Editor: “Just for that, it’s your assignment now.”

Me: “Somehow, I knew that.”

Behind every country music star is a great soda wrangler

(Think of this week’s Flashback Sunday as my own version of “Looper,” where we encounter a younger version of myself from a mind-bending span of… two weeks ago. That’s when part one of this post,Shooting a Music Video? Avoid the Black-eyed Four-Stepfirst materialized from 2004 in our Sunday flashback. As you may recall, depending on how you spent last night, I was invited to the making of Adam Marshall’s country music video “Cowboy Hat,” which I quickly took him up on — and he just as quickly regretted. So now, as we do each week, let’s go back in time, back to when the only followers I had were promised free Sea Monkeys — and when I thought Freshly Pressed was a magazine for snooty French coffee drinkers…)

image As I mentioned several weeks ago, I was invited to participate in a music video by country singer Adam Marshall during the filming of his music video for “Cowboy Hat.” Though I haven’t actually seen the finished video yet, I can tell you the music is great, that everyone in it is attractive, and they can all dance really well. Which is why I can say, with some certainty, I am not in the final cut.

Yes, I was wearing a cowboy hat and boots.

Yes, I met Adam Marshall.

And no, I didn’t realize “Coyote Ugly” was a euphemism for someone at a singles bar who is highly attractive; at least not until I met my dance partner and politely introduced myself as “Wowwy.Continue reading

Shooting a country music video? Avoid the black-eyed four-step

(Though I normally post this feature at 6:30 a.m., if we keep in mind what we know about the space-time continuum, and remember that Flashback Sunday is essentially a trip back in time, the question we must ask ourselves is: Am I still running behind? Or am I actually incredibly early in an alternate universe? OR, just like throughout high school, am I fabricating an elaborate excuse for being late with my assignment? Only Stephen Hawking knows. That said, we are digging so deep into the archives this week we will need rubber gloves. As always, it is a column from a time before we knew each other — 2004 to be exact — back when I thought “Freshly Pressed” was an online clearing house for fake nails…)

image Admittedly, being a humor columnist has its privileges:

Complimentary full-body waxes.
Unsolicited fruitcake.
Tickets to the World Toilet Expo.

The list goes on.

However, occasionally I’m invited to be part of something really cool that doesn’t require shaving my entire body or sitting on a giant, revolving commode that burps. In this case, I’m talking about being on the set during the making of a music video for country singer Adam Marshall. According to Adam and his producer, after reading some of my columns, they thought it would be fun to have me write about the making of their music video, “Cowboy Hat.” As an added bonus, they created a part just for me, in which I play the pivotal role of “Crowd Member” who, according to the script: Can be replaced by a coat rack if necessary. Continue reading

Naked News broadcasts viewed by some as too cheeky

image (Warning: At all costs, the following information must NOT fall into the hands of Geraldo Rivera.)

According to an ad in the Toronto Star newspaper, the producers of “Naked News” are seeking anchors for their daily internet news program. For those of you who’ve never heard of this program, let me take just a moment to explain it:

They report the news, and they’re naked.

That’s pretty much it.

And for most men, that’s explanation enough, which is why the website now averages 6 million viewers per month. Continue reading

My interview with best-selling author Ima Knowitall

(Fridays are always a good reason to get excited! And not just if you’re a cross-dresser who tells his wife he “works late at the office” on Friday nights while secretly going by the name “Bobbi.” No! The other reason to get excited — and this includes you, too, Bobbi — is that it’s also time forNed’s Nickel’s Worth on Writing.” Or as some people have suggested, “Ned’s NWOW,” which is definitely the kind of thing that could stick, unless I use a disinfectant. As always, today’s Nickel’s Worth is brought to you by Gliterary Girl, a literary website where I’m a regular contributor each week, or at least until they change the pass code…)

imageIt’s rare when an author of this caliber agrees to acknowledge your presence, let alone be interviewed and, during the course of that interview, actually speak. So you can imagine my excitement at having gotten award-winning and self-proclaimed best-selling author Ima Knowitall to discuss her career and upcoming book release, Time-traveling Vampire of Love. She has been heralded by the New York Times as “…our generation’s J.K. Rowling, mixed with E.L. James, if they weren’t already from our generation, and if she added initials to her name.”

High praise indeed.

In addition, Knowitall has been recognized by prestiges writers’ groups across the globe, such as London’s famous Nouns of the Baskerville, Seattle’s Puget Sound Pronouns and the Dangling Participles of Dublin. The author of more than 40 online novels this past year, Knowitall has received the coveted Prolific Speller Award, the Hemmingway Award for “longest run-on sentence of 2013 and 2014” (same sentence) and, most recently, she was honored by the Society of Illiterate Columnists (SIC) for her contributions to “…the advancement of people who write without the shackles of proper grammar.” Continue reading