You are what you is.

Wednesday, April 09, 2014



Chaos at KBOO last night, hereafter recalled as The Night Of Technical Difficulties, Because sometimes everything goes wrong at once. The hard drive which houses many of the station's shows decided to go temporarily into witness protection, the CD that Twilight and I had burned decided to become un-burned (only later to mysteriously re-burn itself) and the computer connected to the control board in which EPISODE TWO was loaded via flash drive (a sensible last-ditch emergency measure in case CD and S-Drive failed simultaneously) went on strike for higher wages, shutting itself down MOMENTS before the show was set to begin!

The result was that, at 9:59:45, with T-15 seconds before showtime, Twilight, Seth & I found ourselves in the studio with a cast of several, including a tech-guy crawling on the floor trying to manually re-connect suspicious wiring, Rolf (of UBU hour fame) waiting to provide assistance / praying it would be fixed in time for his 11pm slot, Roxandra (our slutty French Princess), the DJ from the previous slot who probably just wanted to escape the madness, and possibly a few other folks as well.

So at 10:01, after the legal IDs and such, we had to go LIVE on the air, first to make excuses as to why the much touted PUPPET RADIO THEATER EPISODE TWO was not being broadcast, then to ad-lib comedy in a variety of voices puppet and otherwise, and then, finally in a desperate attempt not to disappoint, to literally RECREATE the 1 hour show from memory.

Mercifully, Eris and her minions (who'd been fucking with us all day...but that's another story) showed mercy, and one by one various systems came back online, more or less.

The result, dear listeners, is that you can revisit the chaos here through the miracle of KBOO's automatic archive function. Had the show gone as planned, clicking that would bring you to the show's start, a painfully awful (and thankfully short) version of THE EAST IS RED being played by my Red Guard KBOO DJ, which is where the show begins.

However, due to the chaos, clicking that link now brings you to the point at 10:01 when we are desperately trying to make the show itself (which starts after about seven minutes of ad-hoc radio anarchy) play.

Oh, one other fun thing: Because we knew we'd go overtime with the technical issues, we had to cut out one sketch - Talkin' Tunes with Terra Berkeley - which will appear on next month's PUPPET RADIO THEATER.

There was one other minor technical issue later in the show involving two versions of EPISODE TWO playing consecutively and out of sync for about a minute. As self-appointed Puppet Fuhrer it falls upon me to fully take the blame for this...

...and place it squarely on ROLF's shoulders, since it was totally his fault for forgetting to take the first version off before cuing up UBU Hour.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled broadcast....

Saturday, March 08, 2014

Lonely Planet Spicy Foods

Another awesome Lonely Planet book worked on by yours truly arrives in the mail!

Knowing my penchant for preparing and eating challenging foods, Last summer Lonely Planet asked me to pitch 'em some ideas for an upcoming title, The World's Best Spicy Foods (a spicy sister to the previous year's World's Best Street Foods, to which I also contributed four articles).  As with Street Foods, the catch was that any dish I pitched I'd not only have to research the back-story for, but also be able to replicate on my own.

Which makes sense - how else could Lonely Planet in good confidence tell readers how to make the dishes themselves?

Anyway, I pitched six of my favorite dishes, four of which LP assigned me to write up. (The other two had already been assigned, proving that great minds think alike.)

With the exception of Chili Dogs (or Chile Dogs, and you'll have to purchase the book or go to New Mexico to understand the difference), The four dishes were all foods I'd discovered in my travels. I'm especially proud of my ability to replicate pitch-perfect Fish Head Curry (not once but twice) and create a Jamaican Jerk chicken dish that tasted pretty damned close to the best Jerk I've ever had (in Belize, naturally).

Center photo in collage is of me celebrating book's arrival by downing a bottle of Marie Sharps Hot Sauce. Other shots various pictures from research phase.

Monday, March 03, 2014

Puppet Radio Theater is On the Air!

Ladies and Gentlemen, Children of all ages (listening by Children is not advised) Puppet Radio Theater, a subsidiary of SoylentCo ("made of people...people like you") is proud to announce that Puppet Radio Theater: Pilot Episode will be infecting the airwaves at exactly Ten PM Pacific Standard Time tonight, Monday, March 3rd.  In Portland? Listen through the radio receiving device of your choice at 90.7 FM. Not in Portland?  We pity you, and suggest you listen online through the magic of the interweb through this link or by typing into your browser the following hieroglyphics:

Join Floyd, Hazel and Lucky, three deranged well-meaning hand puppets as they take over a public radio station's airwaves for a full hour, rifling through the contents of the station's mystical comedy box to bring you a series of sketches performed by talented folks from the theater, comedy & radio circuits of Portland and beyond. 

Sketches include one exploring the marketing strategies of a company whose flagship product is made of people, another concerning America's favorite time-traveling space cadet, a third exploring Joseph and Mary's intimate menage-e-tois with Yahweh, and radio advertisement for the late Lou Reed's least popular Christmas album.  There's also Interspersings with the wise and bitter sage Mahatma Jones, plenty of radio commentary by the puppets themselves, an incident involving a hand grenade, and then Comedy Music by the great and Unknown.

Sketches written by yours truly, performed by the group, and produced in a secret bunker somewhere east of the Willamette River. We've been given a regular slot, and next month's show is already in production.

Join us tonight at 10pm at KBOO, 90.7FM, Portland Oregon (or at anytime after) as we make Puppet Radio History.

Thursday, February 06, 2014

Stuff Discordance

Just a quick shout out to Organizational Expert Andrew Mellen. Andrew and I were introduced through my old & dear friend Sarah Byam, and after relating the tale of Twilight & my move-in experience, Andrew suggested it might make a good guest blog post on his site. And the rest is digital history. Click here to read the post, and to see a lovely shot of Twilight and I with our in-progress Floyd and Hazel Puppet personas on hand.

On the subject of puppets, we are busy at work writing sketches for the second episode. If you haven't heard the pilot yet, scroll down and check out episode one of Puppet Radio Theater (directly below).

Much work in progress. More to come

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Puppet Radio Theater: Pilot

Loyal Readers and random strangers who've stumbled upon Snarky Tofu looking for tales of face sitting and lady-boys, behold the latest comedic work: Puppet Radio Theater: The Pilot Episode.

Puppet Radio Theater is a collaborative project featuring Twilight Kallisti, Olga Sanchez Saltveit (Of Portland's Milagro Theater), Author-Comedian Mark Saltveit, my brother Mahatma Jones & Me. With post-mortem music by the great Zoogz Rift and a special appearance by Gordon Ramsey as Lou Reed.

Have a listen!

I'd been writing comedy sketches for a couple of years between travel writing gigs & letting them molder on various hard drives.  Settled at last, I began volunteering at KBOO in Portland, working with some other volunteers on a show called The Ubu Hour. After getting a reasonable handle on how to operate a control board, I got a group together to record a few sketches, collecting four together that added up to around 20 minutes of material. (The fourth sketch is a section from the Christmas special I wrote for the Ubu Hour; after listening to it a few times, I realized the theme - Joseph and Mary going to an abortion clinic in Nazareth, had little to do with Christmas.)

After knocking around some names and theme ideas for the show as a whole, we came upon the idea of a group of mildly deranged and foul mouthed puppets taking over a radio station. (Big nod here to The Muppet Show, Meet the Feebles and Uncle Floyd!)

Made some mistakes with the first show - acting while operating a sound board is tricky, which is why one of the performer's microphones in two sketches came out distorted (Sorry, Olga!)

As I listen and re-listen to the show, I'm already sensing what works best for audio comedy, and what works, well, not so best. I've made my feelings known through my own Puppet Persona (His name is Floyd in homage to the great Uncle Floyd, and he's the one who talks the most).

Episode Two is in the works. If you're one of my friends who I've already subject to the individual sketches & you feel like you want to skip them and get right into the inter-sketch banter and Mahatma Jones' nuggets of wisdom ("Interspersings"), the time layout of the pilot episode is more or less this:
1:30 (Start of Soylent Green Damage Control)
7:15 (end of Soylent Green Damage Control)
9:00 (Patchouli Moonbow, Hippie Time Traveler Starts)
16:30 (Patchouli Moonbow, Hippie Time Traveler ends:)
18:30 (Metal Machine Christmas Carol Starts)
21:35 (Metal Machine Christmas Carol Ends)
22:40 (Mary and Joseph Sketch starts)
26:00 (M&J Sketch Ends)
Anyway, please feel free to offer opinions as to what works and what doesn't. I'm writing the second batch of sketches now, Twilight is creating the Puppets (Yes, of course there are Puppets), and Mahatma is writing some music. It's our hope to have a regular monthly show on KBOO starting in the next few months.

We'll keep you posted.

Now scroll back up and listen to the show.
Fine. Don't scroll. It's this:

Friday, December 27, 2013

Patchouli Moonbow, Hippie Time Traveler

Caught in a temporal vortex created by a malfunctioning I-phone during a heavy sweat lodge session at Burning Man, Patchouli Moonbow now travels through time dispensing advice to the unenlightened throughout history. She's Patchouli Moonbow, Hippie Time Traveler.

Performed by Radio Puppet Theater (A subsidiary of Soylentco);
Featuring Twilight Kallisti, Olga Sanchez Saltveit, Mark Saltveit, Mahatma Jones & Me.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Radio Comedy: Soylent Green Damage Control

Another in my radio comedy barrage (sketch group name pending), this one a sketch I wrote a year or two back that imagines what would happen if the awesome reveal of the classic Charlton Heston film Soylent Green (and if you haven't seen that one, here it is: Soylent green is People. People!) came to pass in the current laissez faire corporate climate.

Seriously though...does anyone imagine even for a second that the Corporate Cocksuckers running Soylentco wouldn't follow my script in spirit (if not to the letter)?

Oh Detective Thorn, you sweetly naive man you. People indeed!

Speaking of People, thanks to the people who brought this script to life, Olga Sanchez-Saltveit, Mark Saltveit, B Seth Brown & Twilight Kallisti. People! People!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Metal Machine Christmas

UPDATE ~ December 17, 2013
At the suggestion of my long-distance comedy partner and long-time Snarky Tofu Richard Deming I re-envisioned (and subsequently re-recorded) METAL MACHINE CHRISTMAS. Same idea, very different delivery. I think this one works way better.  Welcome to the Kitchen of Comedy, folks!

The impetus for this one came on me like slow-building agony from an urethral fire-ant bite.

It's not that I hate Christmas, it's just that in America Christmas is impossible to escape, even for someone who totally ignores the mainstream media.  From November 27 to January 2 venturing out in public subjects one to an endless stream of awful, bullshit Christmas noise, a constant cacophony of public forced noise merriment.

OK, fuck it. I hate Christmas. Happy now?

I thought I could escape by restricting my food shopping to Fubon, the Asian grocery store - Ironically enough I'd alluded to it in the War on Christmas Sketch sketch, having my Radio Journalist say "Fubon had declared neutrality" early in the war on Christmas.

But reality called bullshit. Fubon was blasting carols, and their shitty sound system only amplified the awful Aural rape.   I found myself screaming my favorite Chinese revolutionary anthem at the top of my lungs ("沒有共產黨就沒有新中國,没有邓小平没有性 生活. 中国读者请你们讨论) before the manager asked me to stop。

It was in Fubon's cold parking lot that I vowed if I ever owned a supermarket to play non-stop through December Lou Reed's METAL MACHINE MUSIC, a thought swiftly crushed by the realization that I will never own a supermarket. 

I do, however, write and produce comedy sketches.  So with the help of the vocal styling of my old buddy Gordon Ramsey I recorded METAL MACHINE CHRISTMAS at the KBOO studios. You may accept this humble recording as social commentary on the true awfulness of Christmas Music, proof of the Genius of the late Lou Reed or anything else you like.    

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Radio Comedy: the War on Christmas

Working quite a bit on radio comedy lately. This one was part of a multi-segment Christmas show for KBOO's Ubu Hour. I feel it's safe to post here, as nobody who reads this blog is likely to be offended by the idea of Virgin Mary visiting an abortion clinic,  Jehovah being a sociopath herpes-slinging shapeshifter or Jesus and the archangel Michael being lovers .

My brother Seth (who also plays Jehovah) does say "fucking" towards the end. You've been warned.

Script written by me, produced by myself and Rolf S. from KBOO. Credits at the end.

BTW, the new sketch drawing by the amazing David Lee Ingersoll, who I am hoping to have do the illustrations for my upcoming E-book My Parents Are Little People.

More to come, Merry Fucking Festivus!

Friday, December 06, 2013

Increasingly Erratic Notes from Portland

Was it John Lennon who sang life is what happens when you're busy making other plans?

Perhaps. I could look it up, but at the moment I'm on an uncertainty binge. Best to take it to the logical conclusion. Winter has come here in Portland, and there is frost on the ground, and I am spending an increasing amount of time learning legend and lore of my adopted home city, telling the stories of the hucksters, vagrants and eccentrics who lived in the city long before it was Portlandia. Men like Bunko Kelley, who wrote a fine book that I've only just read. Send me an email, I'll bring you on the tour. You'll thank me for it.

In the meantime, I'm working to put together My Parents are Little People, a book of short stories and essays gathered over many years on the road, as well as writing comedy scripts for the radio. Then there is love, yes, and having found that what else is there to strive for?

Of course, health care would be nice. Perhaps the subject of the next Improbability Drive. Who knows?

Ah yes, new thing on the blog. See that fine column of books over there to the right of the text?
The one that's replaced the old column of books, only longer? Live links, every one of 'em, that'll take you to the Amazon page where you can buy various books I've written, co-written, or contributed to.

Apparently I get a cut. Click on one. Buy a book. I will exchange your money for meaningful goods and/or services.

Many, many stories in the works - time moves differently off the road, so readers who've gotten used to a post or two a week, stay tuned: There's more to come, more and better.

Drop me a line why dontcha?


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