030110 Marty’s Python

March 1, 2010

I’ve been working on a new, 90-minute comedy show, “Marty’s Python,” that I hope to place at a Ft. Myers of Naples venue this year. It’s an homage to, but not an imitation of, the classic 1970s British series with a similar title, and I’m looking for backers. here’s a sample of the content:

List of Sketches for Marty Python (so far)  By Martin Miron

Intro: The Water Bottle Sketch

A silly conversation about the pros and cons of bottled water.

The Olympic Sketch

An eight-way tie ensues when the results of a hotly contested Winter Olympic bobsled event must be rounded off.

The Biography Sketch

A narrator begins to describe a famous figure, but gets sillier and sillier and sillier, only to carted of by The Men in the White Coats and their Butterfly Net.

The Funeral Sketch

A wealthy gentleman finds a novel way to tell off his unpleasant relations and associates and run off with his secretary at his own funeral.

The Heckler Sketch

A comedian struggles to deliver his joke at a club where the audience craves to know every last detail.

The Gay Marriage Sketch

Two men have an argument about who gets to be the woman on one particular day.

The Scrabble Sketch

An innocuous after-dinner word game turns quite racy by means of double entendres.

The Social Networking Sketch TBD

The Historical Sketch (period costumes) TBD

Finale: the End of the World Sketch

All cast members participate. It has been learned that due to nuclear war, the world is coming to and end, but hasn’t reached this group yet, a la Neville Shute’s On the Beach. They begin by commiserating, but end up at odds over what song to sing, each having a personal or nationalistic favorite. Thus, the occasion breaks down into a brawl that illustrates the reason why the world failed in the first place. Notably, an enormous version of the ubiquitous butterfly net descends on the lotr from above and the curtain or lights go down.

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021010 sock monkey poem

February 10, 2010

what is it with the sock monkeys

first it was letterman asking   wanna buy a monkey   in cabin boy

now ive got two of them in the house one medium sized

one tiny with a little santa hat sewn onto his head

theres even a sock monkey spoon rest on the stove for chrissake

when and where will it end

020710 On proofreading

February 7, 2010

I think that proofreading is like ironing; the garment is washed and dried, and it could be worn, but there are still a few wrinkles in it to be taken out before it looks good.

012410 A bird joke

January 24, 2010

A friend of mine found a dead bird on the ground and I told him to look under the bird’s left wing. He asked, “Why?”
I said, “That’s where they put the tattoo if he’s a gizzard donor.”

011410 Citizen journalism

January 14, 2010

Citizen journalism – what does that concept conjure in your mind? As various segments of the news industry change, seeking ways to stay relevant and solvent in an Internet age, it would seem that the light of democracy has been unleashed.

The press can’t be everywhere, all the time, but people can and are. What better place to get all the dirt but at the grassroots? Sounds good on paper, but what about the training in reporting, writing and ethics that professional journalists receive?

In my experience, a local news story from a citizen source likely consists of a (bad) photo of a sunset, some recollection of a 50-year-old anecdote, a picture of a kitty or the adventures of a toddler. This model is still in its infancy, so I’m trying to be patient.

Last night, I downloaded a keen, free app for my iPhone: a client program from The Associated Press international news service. It’s got all the stories, photos and videos I hoped for, plus one shuddering, titanic feature. There’s a menu item that allows me to write an account of any event I’m witnessing, with pictures taken with the phone’s three megapixel camera, and upload it directly to the AP.

This means that anything that happens can theoretically be viewed around the entire world within minutes of its occurrence. I can’t wait to see what happens next. Sunsets need not apply.

010710 Buyer’s remorse

January 7, 2010

Christmas in America really is such an orgy of consumerism; some stores do half a year’s business in a single month. Then, the next day is one of the biggest spending days of the year, as shoppers return all the things that didn’t fit, they already had, weren’t compatible or just didn’t work. Others took advantage of post-holiday price cuts or purchased what they had hoped they’d be getting all along.

I heard about a local family that got a new, big screen TV, hooked it up and found that their room was too small. Even after rearranging the furniture, they said the experience was like looking up people’s noses. Buyer beware or be careful what you wish for? Take your pick.

Some people feel that way about Obama today. As last year’s present under the tree to counter what the Grinch had left for eight long years, he has caused some voter’s remorse among the large majority that elected him. If so, it’s not his fault, he’s doing exactly what he said he would; work hard, every day, to find solutions for America’s biggest, most pressing problems, even if they are politically taboo.

It’s going to be awhile until next Christmas, so I suggest we sit down and read the manual on this new toy, because it has the potential to be a lot of fun, before we go back to the store and stand in line for an exchange.

010610 Baby, it’s cold outside

January 6, 2010

It’s not like we don’t have winter in Naples, but it seems that if you blink, you might miss it. For much of the year, you can’t tell what month it is without a calendar, but this record cold snap really has our attention.

Psychologist Elizabeth Kubler-Ross describes the universal stages of grief, which we all experience at the loss of a loved one. I think we do the same thing in periods of inclement weather. After all, we love our idyllic climate, don’t we? Here is how they might be described:

Denial
This begins before the cold arrives. We see the chilly forecasts and say, “Oh, it’s never as bad as they say it will be. I’m just going to wear a long-sleeved shirt tomorrow.”

Then, as we hustle ourselves into the car in the morning, “Wow, this is nippy, but I’m sure it will be back to normal by noon.” This stage begins to unravel when, about 1 p.m., under a beautiful blue, cloudless sky, we perceive that it’s actually getting colder.

Anger
The temperature dips again that night, prompting frenzied searches throughout the house for that thermal undershirt we bought on a ski trip a couple of years ago. We start to get a little testy, muttering, “Why now? Did this have to happen the week my parents are coming in from Minnesota to go fishing
?”

Bargaining
The inconvenience is starting to show. “I’ll take in the groceries for dinner, but the rest can stay in the car. It’s like a refrigerator, anyway.”

Compromises are made. “Okay Fido, I’ll take you out, but only as far as the back yard.”

We ask God for intervention. “Our annual barbecue is scheduled for tomorrow night, and there’s a hundred pounds of ribs in the fridge. Lord, please don’t let it freeze again.”

Depression
Now the winter regalia is out in full force. “Why did I move here, anyway? I could have put up with this kind of weather back in Toledo.”

Flannel shirts are flying off the racks at the mall. “So much for my tan. Next year, I’m going to Hawaii.”

Reports of imminent crop failure fill the airwaves. I didn’t even know that Florida produces 95 percent of the nation’s endives.

Acceptance
At least we have a sunny, palm-lined landscape to reassure us that the place was, at one time, warm. “Hey, maybe we should check out some of the museums.”

Coffee shops and taverns do a booming business. “At least, if it’s cold here, it must be really frigid Up North.”

All these emotions are not unusual in themselves, but that they are condensed into such a short time is the amazing thing. Finally, when the sun does make a dent in the afternoon temperature and the final night of cold vanishes, we are left right back where we were to begin with. Now that things are back to normal, I have to put my sweaters into storage, because with all this stuff lying around, I can’t find my Speedo.

010510 My hair is growing

January 5, 2010

Yes, my hair is growing. I haven’t cut it in a while and the back is started to flip up a little. Reminds me of the first time I grew it long, after high school. It was on the way to the waist length of my hippie days, but first, it was just long.

Long hair was cool, and a great way to get chicks. Some of us tried short hair wigs (I did it once) to get jobs, but they didn’t fool anyone. As more of my friends were drafted away to be murdered in Vietnam and my own name was entered in the lottery that determined the unlucky, I started to take the hair more seriously.

Even before then, I interpreted the buzz cuts of the business world as a symbol of conformity. When I saw that head shaving was the first act the military performed on the kids, I knew it was true. You see, the shorter their hair, the more people look alike; as it gets longer, everyone starts to look like an individual.

I’ve got my own chick now, but after assessing the current political and social climate, I’ve decided that my hair is growing.

010410 Why bad is so good

January 4, 2010

Language changes, and that’s a good thing. Some might be surprised to hear me say so, because as a professional proofreader, I’m always skewering writers for breaches of form they feel free to ignore. In those cases, I’m merely acting as a referee, using agreed upon rules so we can all be on the same page, as it were.

The example that got me thinking about it is “My bad.” Maybe Michael Jackson started bad on the road to reform in the public psyche, but this is different. Here, the phrase means that something unintended or malicious was caused or enacted, and that someone is taking the blame and apologizing.

Far better than “I’m sorry,” or “Pardon me,” both of which reek of mustache wax and antimacassars, “My bad” makes a succinct, contemporary job of owning up and getting on with it.

There is, of course, an element of irreverence implied, as if whatever the transgression, it wasn’t the end of the world. In the end, it’s a lot more like “Oops,” but what kind of a word is that?

010310 Remember that fun is free

January 3, 2010

With the new year starting tomorrow (the first weekday, anyhow), here’s a tip that might make it a little more pleasant. Have fun. Things happen every day in the news or our personal lives that can bring worry and consternation, but we don’t have to dwell on them.

If you’re in the right frame of mind, almost anything can be fun, whether alone or with friends or family. Errands, chores, shopping and other tasks zip by when you’re smiling and laughing; if you can’t find something to smile about, you’re not trying hard enough.

I’ll never forget a family I observed in rural Guatemala years ago. The mother was hanging laundry on a line to dry, singing, and the children were running and playing in the yard. I never heard her yell at the kids or scold them. These people had no reason to be so joyful by our standards; they had few possessions and no money, surviving by self-sufficiency or barter.

I have found that we all would rather be friendly than not. It’s the stress of our daily routine and events beyond our control that grump us out. If you feel the world is holding a gun to your head, realize that it’s shooting blanks. Nobody has it all or lives forever, so let go and laugh.

There is a catch to this system of unlimited fun and frivolity. For some, it may even be a deal-breaker. You see, for it to really work, you have to be nice to people.