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Saturday, September 30, 2006

Take THAT, Chris Bliss!

Oh yeah, you may be the "King" of internet juggling sensations, but you've got competition, buddy! Make way for the next big thing to hit inboxes across the globe - ME!

SOON, ladies and gentlemen, you'll have a video to send to everyone you know. You'll have a new music video to post on your blogs. Most importantly, you'll have something you can use to annoy every one of your juggling friends (if you have any other than myself).

This Friday marks the premiere of what may be the world's ONLY music video for a half Jamaican Reggae/half Assyrian language pop-rap song, "Ladieleh Moyleh Brayah" (Can you think of another one?). If there is another song meeting these standards, then this one is certainly the only one featuring the juggling & fire-eating mastery of one Andy Martello.

Oh yeah, next stop...superstardom!

I filmed this back in August as a favor to a Columbia film student, Kamelya Alexan. Every so often I get contacted for just this sort of thing and if I've got the time (and I get a copy of the finished product) I'm more than happy to oblige. (See, this is one of those freebies I'm more than open to doing.)

I can't wait to see how it all turned out. Believe it or not, the song is actually pretty freakin' cool. Don't believe me? Take a listen for yourself. It was all done in one night and being a student film, certainly done on a tight budget. However, from what I've been told the project turned out great and I'm proud to be involved.

Here are the stats:

The Song & Video: "Ladieleh Moyleh Brayah"
The Artist:
Lazar Malko (featuring Chicago Reggae artist, Zen)
The CD:
Ashtar ($10.98 at
The Very Handsome Fire-eating Juggler:
Andy Martello, of course!
The Director: Kamelya Alexan

The Premiere: Friday October 6, 2006 (7 PM to 9 PM)

The Place: Columbia College, 1104 Wabash, room 402, Chicago, IL

Once the video has been posted I'll provide you with a link and I've no doubt you'll want to share with everyone. How can I be so sure? HELLO! Did you not hear me the first time?

  • Half Jamaican Reggae
  • Half Assyrian Language
  • Yours truly juggling & eating fire
Here's a BONUS!
  • Campfire surrounded by cute dancing babes!
Really, it's a no-brainer. Just for novelty's sake alone you know you'll have to take a look and probably send it to a few friends.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Captcha Can't Answer This

I'm not a big fan of trying out anyone's beta projects and being a guinea pig for free. However I may make an exception if someone can give me an answer to this...

In Blogger Beta, does the blog realize when the owner of the blog is logged in and not make the poor guy work so hard to comment? By that I mean, if I'm logged in and leaving a comment to my own blog, do I still have to add those "captcha" things to prevent spamming? If so, are they easier captchas than anyone else has to enter?

I don't mind doing this already, but why the hell are those captcha text thingamabobs so LONG and convoluted for me in my own blog? I go to other blogs and the text I type in to leave a comment is something like, "PeuTd" or something equally as simple. The font is always easy for me to read and I never have to add it twice. I try to leave a comment on my own blog and the text I get stuck having to type in is usually,


What the hell? I just want to respond to my relatively few, but always entertaining readers. Why the hell am I always the one having to work so hard to comment on my own blog?

Someone's Gotta Say It

I do not scour the internet looking for stuff like this. I merely find stuff like this and point out the hypocrisy of it all. That's what comedians do.

However, perhaps the parents out there reading this will take a look at it and decide, "Oh yeah. We're supposed to be PARENTS and watch what the fuck our kids do. I totally forgot how much we suck! Good lord, thank God we get that tax break, otherwise this parenting thing wouldn't be worth all the hard work at all."

Here are just a few gems I found at a popular site featuring the easy uploading of videos & audio, as well as an active online community of people going "LIVE", chatting away in chat rooms and broadcasting to the world via their webcams. For the techno-challenged who somehow found this blog but have no idea what I'm talking about otherwise, these are people who were chatting with others online and you could actually see them chatting with you via their webcam. A video web chat if you will. Sometimes you even get real-time audio feeds to accompany the chat and enhance the experience.

I tried to pick the ones who clearly were representing themselves and NOT ones using a fake age. Their photos matched their webcam images and they seemed to be "real" and that may be the most disturbing thing of all. I've removed names to protect the "innocent", but these are the photos THEY CHOSE TO PUT ONLINE IN AN OPEN FORUM so I didn't have to go this far to prevent embarrassment. You do not have to be a member of this particular online site in order to check out people's profiles, and watch their webcast, in case you were wondering.

I'm just saying, don't let your profile photo (the visual representation of who you actually are) contradict your written description of you and your like or dislikes when chatting online.

I'll start with a mild one. All typos and web slang are kept perfectly intact to preserve the integrity of the author. I apologize for not being able to provide a web-to-English dictionary for you.

How about this gal? Now she has MANY photos of herself in her profile and she obviously mixes them up quite a bit. However, this is the one that was up at the time I was at this communal website. She's 16 years old. Nice pic, right? If I weren't blocking out her eyes you might not even notice the cleavage, right? Oh yeah...We live on Earth and most everyone is looking at the cleavage. Anyway, let's read her profile. 16....i will ban you if you...
-pm me repeatidly after i told you to stop
-mention my tits
-are from 4chan
-are an asshole (synflood is an exception)
-umm yea i unno i guess i'll make it up as i go

i have 60 people on my ban list and its still growin =]
im not afraid to tell you to fuck off.

i dont feel like talking about myself...

besides that im a pretty cool person ^_^

im required to say that btw

Now believe me when I say that this is the TAMEST of the various profiles of people who offer up tantalizing photos and then say things like, "Don't mention my tits." I chose not to show you the SEVERAL photos I found of people in their bras or in a string bikini, CLEARLY featuring their brestimases and then boldly telingl you in their profile, "I won't flash you and don't ask to see me naked or in my underwear."

Huh? I just don't get it. Isn't there an old adage that says, "Don't use your tits to get people to chat with you if you don't want people to chat about your tits." If not, there certainly should be. I'm pretty certain Martha Washington said something like that.

How about this one from a 14 year old girl. I'll start with her special profile message. It shows that she KNOWS to watch out for creeps online. Good for her!


Well then we may as well check out the profile photo of herself that SHE CHOSE to help bring this message of inner strength, confidence, teenage innocence, and chastity to the foreground. Bear in mind she had quite a few photos to choose from. This just happened to be the one she had up there hoping to get someone to click on her, chat, and make new friends. Sweet really.

Wait for it...
Ah yes, there it is.

I'll quote a line from the film, "Face Off". I think it is appropriate for these two young ladies and ALL of the people, male & female alike who have tawdry pics of themselves in this public forum but don't want the weirdos to hit on them.

"If you dress up like Halloween, ghouls will want to get into your pants."

By the way, since I know that there are a LOT of ladies out there just dying to see photos of good looking & well-built young men without their shirts on you can find a million of those such profiles too. Not that this is the point of this entire post. I'm just sayin'...

Last, I have a photo of someone that I just liked. I still protected her identity because...Well, I'm just a nice guy like that. She seemed nice, funny, and appeared to have a good head on her shoulders. She was originally from Chicago and had no reason at all for me to think that there was anything wrong with her or how she spends her time online. I just liked her photo. It made me laugh for one obvious reason.

Penguin in cleavage. Funny. OK, she's 17 and the word "cleavage" shouldn't really be in this sentence. But it is a funny photo and certainly suitable for Andy Land, right?

For the record, I have not chatted with any of these folks. I do not try to chat with anyone online that I do not already know either from actual human contact or from friendships forged through my blog, my writer friends, and so on. This is not the result of some awful perverted thing I had going on around here. You all know me well enough to know that when I go looking for smut online, I go to the right places and do not waste my time with kid stuff. heh!

No, this is just something I've been noticing a lot of lately and being a smart-ass, I felt it necessary to bring it up. It should be as entertaining as it is disturbing. No matter, it makes for good content and I plan on reexamining this concept as I find more hypocritical and confusing crap on the internet.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

A Funny Video for Thursday

I can't get the post I'd scheduled for today to load, so you get my Friday post a day early. Nice.

Remember when I told you about being a member of a comedy group that went kaput? Well, two of the guys from that group made a video some years back and I've still got it hanging around my hard drive. Basically it was a project designed so one of the guys could test out his new (and presumably now ancient) video editing software.

While this is not an official Mr. X's Briefcase sketch, it is still something that makes me laugh every time I see it. Did I get permission to post it online? FUCK NO! I told you that I was the reason this group broke up and they can just retroactively add this offense to the laundry list of reasons why I'm an asshole. BWAHAHAHAHA! Besides, I think they're still quite proud of it as they should be. It's very good.

Enjoy...Midwest Farms Bologna!

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Women Ask Me Lots of Silly Questions

Perhaps it is because I have something of a reputation for giving women secrets about men "behind enemy lines", but women ask me a lot of silly questions.

More often than not, they have to do with why men hope, if not WANT certain things to happen within the confines of their sex life. I get asked questions about breast size, threesomes, lesbians - if it is in the common ground area of deviance and desire for a man, some gal will ask me to explain it to them and most certainly get depressed after hearing the answer. I guess there are still women out there with some hope that we men are not really that simple. Go figure.

Recently a discussion arose about why so many guys have fantasies about gymnasts, contortionists, or any "ist" that simply means, "bendy girl".

Now I could post some rather hard core photos I've got saved for just such an occasion to help illustrate the whys and the wherefores. I could even just refer to an old Seinfeld episode for the answer.

Instead I'll send you to a fantastic (and SAFE for Work) video that should answer all your questions. If you can't quite figure it out, just TRY real hard or ask some guy at work to explain it to you. Zeesh!

With thanks to Ole' Blue for making me aware of this video and for recently linking to my Bob Newhart post.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Ten Things Tuesday: Favorite Mustards from the Mustard Museum (So far)

All of these are available for purchase at the world famous Mt. Horeb Mustard Museum. I recommend you check them out right away.

OK, I actually listed 13 mustards there. Consider it a bonus or something. Besides, I could list MANY more if I wanted to. Perhaps another list will be made down the road. I've only got about 20 more jars in the cabinet just waiting to be opened!

Labels: , ,

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Here's a Novel Idea


Yeah, yeah, yeah. I know you wanted it in your precious little salad. Tough shit. Stop wasting good food and cook the damned spinach.

I forget the exact details, but I think if you boil the spinach at a temperature of 125 degrees for something like 15 SECONDS, you have E. coli-free food. Don't quote me, but it is some very hot water for some VERY short amount of time.

And am I the ONLY one who finds it both fitting & funny that the company distributing the tainted spinach is a company called "Natrual Selection"?

Saturday, September 23, 2006

A Penguin Video

Found this at


Friday, September 22, 2006

Ten Things Tuesday (Saturday Edition): Blogs that Should Be Renamed, Retired and/or Stricken from the Official Record

This is not a commentary about the content or writing of anybody's blog. I've never seen most of these blogs, probably because there's so damned many with the same freaking name it isn't worth my time!

  • Captain's Blog (Really, even the FIRST guy who nabbed this one wasn't original)
  • Ramblings (And any title with a form of "Rambling" in it)
  • Musings (See: Ramblings)
  • Bloggity Blog (or "Bloggity Blog Blog")
  • Tales from Andy Land (Though I'm considering creating an "Andy Land" blog webring)
  • Rants (See: Musings)
  • Free Your Mind (And while you're at it, open a thesaurus)
  • Writer's Blog (If you are a writer, you can certainly come up with a better title than this one!)
  • Hot Diggity Blog (See: Bloggity Blog)
  • A Blog's Life (With a nod towards, "This Blog's for You")

Thursday, September 21, 2006

For People Who Wear Dickies & People Who Have Dickies

After putting it off for some time now, I decided to try and sell some things on eBay. There's loads of stuff cluttering up the house. Some didn't cost me a thing other than storage space and the muscle expenditure moving it from house to house all these years. If I can sell some of these items for ANYTHING it will get them out of here and make everyone around here a whole lot happier.

What is on the block, you ask?

For the people who wear Dickies brand clothing we have a nearly new set of gray coveralls. I wore these exactly 5 times for the Bridgestone/Firestone national sales meetings. In total, they were worn for less than 5 hours and are damn near new. I know that jeans and such tend to sell well on eBay so I gave it a shot.

For the people who have dickies we have all 12 issues of Playboy from 1991. I reckon that back issues tend to sell better individually, but if I can sell an entire year's worth at once it is all the same to me. I inherited several years worth of issues from "Straight Ray", April's grandfather. He ran out of space for the damned things and figured I'd provide a good home. Indeed I will.

No reserves on anything so if anyone bids on them, they're getting the hell out of my house. Down the road I'll be listing MANY more items of all shapes and sizes. When I list something with a little more appeal to my MASSIVE blog audience, I'll keep you posted.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Bob Newhart Hates Me

I suppose this could technically fall into the category of "Random Celebrity Memories" but for now I'll just tell the tale. I mean, I never met the guy or anything.

Bob Newhart, comedy legend and entertainment icon, is on Conan O'Brien right now. I'm a BIG Bob Newhart fan and always have been. However I can't see him any more without thinking about he blew a gig for me. Rest assured, so far as I know he had no animosity towards me and this wasn't a personal thing. It's just a funny story.

Some years back Newhart was going to appear at the Paramount Theatre in Aurora, IL. This is a place I'd been trying to get in with for some time to no avail. At a networking event I ran into the main booker of talent for the place and did my best to schmooze a little more. He asked me of my availability for a certain date and indeed, I was available. That date was when Bob Newhart was in town and the theatre was having a difficult time finding an opening act.

I'd have done that gig for FREE if I had the chance and told him just that. He laughed and said, "Free wasn't necessary. Just keep the date open." The calendar had a nice notation placed inside and a press kit went out to the theatre the next day.

Soon thereafter I called to make sure my press kit and video had arrived safely and all that sort of schmoozing stuff. The materials were there and everything was looking good for me. I waited to hear the YAY or NAY from the theatre.

When the call came, I found out that I would not be working for Bob Newhart. According to the theatre booker, "Bob said he just doesn't like to have a juggling act go on before him." That was that.

This is an excuse - uh, line I've heard a million times from other comedians. Nobody wants to follow a juggler, a magician, a musical comedy act, or any other comedy act that involves a skill other than just saying funny things (or saying things funny). I've actually had comedians at clubs who were headlining (to my feature set) ask me not to do so much juggling so their acts wouldn't do well. I've taken to telling these folks to find solace in the fact that they were getting paid better than I was for the night and if it bothered them so much they should write a 45-minute set about how much jugglers suck ass.

Juggler, Michael Goudeau seems to have summed it up best as to why comedians hate comedians who also juggle. I'll paraphrase. Comedians have to entertain a crowd with stories about things that happened already. Jugglers entertain crowds with things they're going to do for the audience before their very eyes.

Knowing this, it seems strange that an established legend like Bob Newhart would worry about such a thing. I mean, NOBODY would have paid the ticket price to see me. They would all be there to see him and I'd be the guy pissing off the crowd simply by NOT being Bob Newhart.

Years later I saw an interview with Newhart talking about one of his earliest days in the business where he had to follow a juggling act at a theatre show and bombed every time. He decided a comic simply can't compete with feats of skill and when he got to a position in his career when he could choose his opening acts, he vowed never to have a juggler work before him again.

So, I never got to open for a comedy hero of mine and coincidentally, I've never been able to get in with the folks at the Paramount Theatre. Thanks, Bob. ;)

Incidentally, Mr. Newhart has a new book and DVD available for purchase now and I'm quite certain you'd all enjoy them very much. Details are available at his website.

Tell him I sent you and maybe I'll get to open for him one day.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Oh Boy. A Dentist Appointment. Great.

So I've got either a piece of tooth missing or a chunk of filling missing. Either way I felt it necessary to make an appointment for today and see what's what. I don't really have the cash for whatever is required to fix the problem, but that'll work out somehow. I'd much rather be sleeping.

Thanks for all the kind words and positive mojo. I did get home safely and got to my late night gig just fine. I'm going to withhold complete anger about not receiving my check until a time when it seems as though I WON'T get it. I've worked with these folks before and I've no doubt the cash will come. I'd have just preferred it came when it was promised.

Funny thing about this run of several two-gigs-a-day days...Nearly ALL of these gigs were ones where the check is coming later. "Net 15" or "net 30" situations and so on. The difference between the others and the Toledo thing is that I knew and expected the cash from the other gigs to come later. It is just odd to work 10 or 11 shows in a week and have nothing to show for it right away. Ah well, I'll be wealthy in a couple of weeks.

Monday, September 18, 2006

PLEASE, God...or Whomever...

This gig in Toledo has been nothing but a clusterfuck from the get-go.

  • A complete lack of comunication from the client, even though I've called and called many times to go over details
  • Wrong info being relayed from me to the client and back again
  • Too damn many cooks in the kitchen

I'm tired and cranky. I may have a problem with my tooth. Were it not for a trip to Tony Packo's this evening I'd probably curl up in a ball in my room and cry myself to sleep.

PLEASE...God...Someone...let this go well this morning. It will all be over by about 10 AM if all goes well.

Oh yeah, I've got to drive all the way back right afterwards so keep the mojo rolling my way.

I'll have a damn Ten Things list some time this week, after I get home and can relax.


The gig started EARLY and there was a free breakfast. Nice! The gig went well (my part, I mean) and everyone seemed very happy. Of course, none of this matters because...


I sent them an invoice WEEKS ago in order to prevent this sort of bullshit from happening. The LAST thing I needed was to cart my sorry ass all the way to fucking Toledo and NOT walk away with my money! OK, there are other bad things that I don't want to happen as well, but gig-wise, not getting paid is on the top of the list.

Up side: I had a healthy breakfast & I get to leave for home much earlier than expected.

Down side: I don't have my cash and may never see the damned check in my lifetime.

This client??? NEVER AGAIN!

Sunday, September 17, 2006

One Crazy Pussy

The title of this post is designed to draw MANY people to this blog via searches.

The LINK is to one damned funny video featuring one crazy pussy.

The length of this post is short because I've been one wordy bitch of late.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

"Good Exposure" (AKA, "Will Work for Free")

I get asked to perform a lot of shows for free. More often than not the group asking for the freebie is a charity or some sort of benefit to raise money to get rid of a disease that we should have gotten rid of by now simply by not being slaves to the pharmaceutical lobby.

I am not a an unsympathetic man. I do actually perform pro bono shows every year. However, I pick and choose these free performances VERY carefully and I do not do many of them.

First off, even if you are "not for profit", I most certainly am for profit. My business is impossibly difficult at times for one to make a living and profit is and always will be my friend. If profit wants to come around and say, "HI" I've got my doors wide open.

Next, the free shows I do perform either have to be extremely entertaining for me on some bizarre & personal level (The National Mustard Day Fest is a great example) or the organization hosting the event has to have some great personal attachment to me. If some diabetes awareness group or someone else with a personal tug on my heart strings comes a calling I MAY be receptive to the prospect of a free show. I can't promise I'll be there because I HAVE to make a living too.

Ask me to work a freebie at peak times and you are likely to be refused because I can't afford to lose work on a busy Saturday in July. Every case is different. I'm just as likely to turn down a donated show during the slow times because I'm not making ANY money that month and just leaving the house could make or break me.

The worst is the promise of "good gxposure". This is the single phrase used more than any other by folks wanting a free show. "Be in our fest and you'll be seen by thousands of people AND get a listing in our festival guide. You'll receve some good exposure."

OK, here's the thing. If you are not promising me the front page of the Chicago Tribune & massive TV coverage I'm not getting "good exposure". If the people attending the festival are not exclusively meeting planners, casting directors, and maybe Steven Spielberg I'm not getting "good exposure". If my listing in your festival guide does not include a full color photo, my contact info, and a cover doused in Super Glue to prevent the attendees from tossing the guide in the shitter I'm not getting "good exposure".

When I did The Bozo Show all those years ago, that program had LONG AGO stopped paying the acts. I did it for three reasons - I got a broadcast quality tape of my performance, I would be seen on a nationally known program in front of an audience of over 25 million people, and I would have a great excuse to do additional marketing to the prospective clients with this addition to my resume. THAT was "good exposure".

What really bugs me about the "good exposure" thing is that the very question is a tad insulting to someone who's been working in the biz for as long as I. You found my website without any problem so how much more exposure do I need?

At the risk of sounding even more like a total prick, let me give the person hopeful to get a free show from a starving artist a few tips on what not to do or say.

  1. Eliminate the words "good exposure" from the equation. If you cannot provide some sort of guarantee of major press coverage for the specific entertainer or a promise that a Hollywood agent ready to sign a fresh face will be watching, we'll get our exposure in our own time, in our own way.
  2. Don't ask the performer to do a free show DURING A SHOW IN PROGRESS. Yes, I've had this happen, too many times. You're really making the performer HATE YOU and your cause by interrupting the show. Come to think of it, asking the performer immediately after the show is over is just as much in bad taste. Ask for a business card and contact the guy some time when he's not tired and sweaty from completing a show.
  3. Don't ask for a freebie if you are representing a group with PLENTY OF CASH to pay for a show. Most of the people you are asking for free shows don't cost that much to begin with. If your group is say, "The Richest Billionaires in World Club" (a fictional group...DUH!), we'll have no sympathy for your plight. Just the other day I was aksed for a freebie from a downtown Chicago group with more than enough cash to afford a measly $450.00 or less for my show. It doesn't endear you to the performer and doesn't serve your purpose well.
  4. Have something you can offer the performer in lieu of cash (and not involving "good exposure"). Most of these events depend upon the sponsorship from the local stores or businesses. They have more of a vested interest in your community and allocate money for supporting events like yours. Get them to donate gift certificates or services so you can have something to offer the performers (people who haven't the funds to allocate for free shows and may not even live in your community). At the very least, you have to be able to guarantee free parking, easy access to the performance facitilty, or a free meal. If there's a trade instead of a donation on the part of the performer, then it is beneficial to both parties.
  5. Don't ask way too soon. Asking a performer a year in advance for a freebie may seem like a good idea to you, but honestly, if the performer knows he's very busy during the time of year your event is he's still going to say no. Plus, he would rather commit himself to a freebie when he's a little closer to the date and knows for certain if he's got a gig or not.
  6. Don't ask way too late. Don't wait til the last minute to ask because if the performer isn't working by the week of your event he's already made plans with his family. Plus, it makes you look like the entertainment to your very important event is an afterthought and that not only upsets the performer, but makes him that much angrier when you then ask for a free show. I was asked just this year by a MAJOR organization for a donated show, downtown, in the busiest part of town with the least amount of parking, on an otherwise busy Saturday in July for a free show. They'd been promoting and planning this event for a year and a half and they called entertainers about 10 days before the event. What the hell is that?
  7. Don't expect an entertainer to drop everything because you have called him, especially if your free event is during one of the busiest times of the year. We have to work and make our money during these busy times. I'm a whole lot more likely to take a freebie on a Wednesday as opposed to a Saturday, as is every performer I've ever known.
  8. Don't take it personally. If we turn you down politely and explain why, you've been given plenty of courtesy and you should move on. I've been actually yelled at by someone who couldn't understand why I couldn't take the gig and I was turning it down because I was booked elsewhere!
  9. Consider whom you are asking. Don't just stop to think about the fact that you're asking someone with a tough enough task (making a living as an entertainer) to do your show. Consider where the person is coming from. If the guy lives in Nashville and your event is in Montreal (extreme example) he's REALLY not going to take the show. Find out if the person is close to you or in the area at the time of your event. I've taken many free shows simply because they were on the way to or from a paying gig I had that same day. I'm not driving the hour it takes me to go downtown if I don't have to. Sorry.
  10. Be up front and honest, not vague and earnest. Tell the guy up front who you are, what you do, and what you're asking for. Trying to soften a guy up with the stories about your miniscule funding, the kid who's life you saved, or the number of people affected by the awful disease just tells the entertainer, "You're not going to make a dime and nobody will really see your act" long before you get to asking the question. It ends up putting us in a less than receptive mood, the same way the people react to telemarketers or Amway reps. Be honest and up front with your needs and requests. The change will be refreshing to the performer and you just may end up with what you're looking for.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Now THIS is What I Call a Schedule!

  1. A gig on the 14th
  2. TWO bookings today
  3. TWO bookings tomorrow
  4. TWO bookings on Sunday
  5. A day of rest (Translation: a drive to Toledo for the first of TWO gigs on Tuesday)
  6. A gig in Toledo, Ohio in the early morning and one in the evening in Chicago (What am I, nuts?)
I know that there's plenty of time in there for more work, but I'm VERY pleased to be so busy for the next few days. It's a shame that the summer has to end. Here's hoping I can have some more runs like this one in the fall. Even all this work can't make all my bills disappear.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

"Love Under the Big Top" Available at the Riverwalk Journal

If you've forgotten about my tale of circus love involving myself & one very passionate baboon, never fear. "Love Under the Big Top" was selected to run in the September/October 2006 issue of the prestigious Riverwalk Journal.

I'd almost completely forgotten about the story being in the Journal this month. Fortunately I received a most excellent and flattering e-mail from a Paul S. Brittain. Paul has a great piece of fiction, "What Keeps Me Alive", featured in the Riverwalk Journal this month as well. Here's what he wrote.

"Mr. Martello-

I have read your stories in recent editions of the River Walk Journal, and must say that they are outstanding. The stories are funny, entertaining and well-written. I now look forward to each new issue to see if you have a story included.

I felt quite honored that my story "What Keeps Me Alive" was included in the same issue as your story: "Love Under The Big Top."

Keep up the good work.

Paul S. Brittain"

Isn't that the coolest thing? What a great pick-me-up to my day to receive such a nice e-mail from a much more talented writer.

You know I don't read a lot, but I did take the time to read Paul's work and it is quite good. Of course, the quality of work found at Riverwalk Journal is ALWAYS exceptional and you really can't go wrong with the content found there. I'm always amazed and humbled to be included among such fine work. Really, why would any respected publication print a story about me and a masturbating baboon? Makes no sense, but I'm appreciative nonetheless.

Thanks to Paul and to the great Liz Ross and all the staff at Riverwalk Journal for including me, yet again, in their fantastic literary collection.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Oh Yeah. I've Still Got Fans!

Check out this most excellent fan pic sent to me by the lovely and talented, Webmiztris, looking all S-E-X-Y in her leopard hat & Andy Land accessories.

You may recall that she's the gal who did the redesign on my blog. I sent her some of my free stuff along with her check, because I'm just that stupid. She posted this pic at her site and now she's even cooler than ever before. Why? She's officially in the Penguini Posse!

And is it wrong that I'm so amused by the fact that my fan pic appears in a blog post of hers with the word, "Cocksbury" in it? Probably so.

Do you want FREE STUFF just like Dawn? Well then, get out yer camera and snap me some fan pics. I need love and attention to validate my existence ya know. CLICK HERE for more info or just click the link in the side bar.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Ten Things Tuesday: Anagrams for "Tales from Andy Land"

Just a few drawn from the Internet Anagram Server. I may go to this well again someday!

Punctuation & commentary was added for comedic effect.

  • FLY SNOT - A DREAMLAND! (Right next to Epcot Center)
  • FLY A STANDARD MELON (Because those new-fangled melons are just too complicated.)
  • DENY A SMALL FART, DON (Something my dad, Don, did often)
  • A DOLL MENDS ANY FART (Stick this Barbie up yer ass. That'll solve the problem!)
  • A DART FALLS ON MY END (It happens. Must have been a bad throw.)
  • A DART MAN ENDS FOLLY (This will be the title of my post after the bank denies me a loan to buy the King of Darts store in Streamwood.)
  • DAD FELL. MANY A SNORT (What can I say? he was a big guy. Fat guys falling down are just funny, especially if the fall from the force of a good fart...which dad denied making.)
  • FADS TOLL MANY A NERD (They really do. Nerds have no idea what do wear.)
  • MALLARDS DENY A FONT (Stupid mallards! I wasted to use Helvetica. But Noooo!)
  • A MANLY OLD NED FARTS (You GO, Ned! Fart 'em if you got 'em.)

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Ernie Kovacs & The Nairobi Trio

If any of you recall my story about my dad making me watch Ernie Kovacs and his Nairobi Trio sketch, you may have found the story interesting, but still had no idea what the hell I was talking about. Don't worry. A lot of people have no idea what I'm talking about most of the time.

Anyway, click here and watch the classic bit of "back-of-your-head" comedy that Ernie Kovacs was known for. I'm sure many of you won't think it is funny at all, but it certainly might answer a few questions about me. ;)

You may have to go back a few pages in the archives to see it. This site seems to update regularly and changes links on a whim. GRRR!

Moreover, since everyone is planning on some somber 9/11 rememberances, I thought that something funny was more than in order.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Give Yoko Ono a Break

Not that anyone is really lashing out at poor Yoko much these days, but if you are, please "let it be." Let me just say that when you get creative people together for a group endeavor, sometimes egos clash and the band just breaks up.

I was directly responsible for one such break-up.

Mr. X's Briefcase was a sketch comedy group for which I was proud to be involved. It featured four very talented and funny guys, all friends of mine. We set our sights on bring about the grand rebirth of the sketch comedy recording. We met once or twice a week, writing new sketches, enjoying one another's company, and working towards achieving our goals.

We even got a sketch of ours, "Suicide Hotline", played on the nationally syndicated comedy radio program, The Doctor Demento Show. In fact, that recording became the 3rd most requested novelty recording in 2001's Funny 25 countdown. I still use that sketch to this day as an intro to some of my comedy club dates and you can hear it by finding the "Easter Egg" I've rather poorly hidden within my blog skin.

Mr. X's Briefcase had exactly one live show. We were the opener at The Lincoln Lodge, a most excellent alternative comedy room in Chicago. We packed the place with many a friend and we had a damn good performance. However, the final rehearsal for the show was what broke up the band, so to say.

We all put so much time and effort into this single, cheap show, that we forgot to have fun and tensions ran amok. Ultimately I know it was some heat-of-the-moment hurtful things I said that did us in. Sure we all were hot about something, but quite frankly, I was the asshole. I've apologized many times and I've even been told it wasn't my fault. I know that it was in fact, I who killed a dream just as we were actually getting modest success. I've never forgiven myself for killing the crop before the harvest.

In the years since I've been hesitant to work with too many others for exactly that fear that it would all turn to crap again. I wasn't fearful I'd be the cause for group-ending tension. I was more afraid that another dream or another friendship would be lost in the simple goal of trying to achieve some kind of greatness out of collective creativity.

For the better part of a year, maybe a tad longer, I've been living with the thought that I somehow did it again. Perhaps one day soon I'll talk abut it.

Friday, September 08, 2006

How Freakin' Cute Are We!

Yeah, yeah, I know it's a cheap way to get attention by posting photos of adorable baby jungle cats. So sue me for fuck's sake! I got three of these things lying around just waiting for some use other than to entertain me and April and lord knows there's plenty of other useless crap out there in Blogland to make this seem worthy of your eyes.

When I was at the Winnebago County Fair there was a group across from my staging area called the Big Cat Adventures. This was a tiger rescue group from Texas that offered a brief show about tigers, a chance to touch a baby tiger, lion, and cougar, as well as a chance to take photos of you feeding a baby tiger.

April and I are always suckers for big silly fun like this and since she was able to attend the first day of the fair with me, we got to take one of the first photos.

I know most people say this, but April & I rarely take good photos together. I don't know why. It just works out that way. Somehow, this one turned out to be one of the best photos we've ever taken.

Oddly enough, three of our best photos involve us with a baby lion or tiger.

Check out this one of me holding onto a baby lion, Chilly, at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. I look a little silly in my opinion, but the damned lion is so cute and April is so babelicious you hardly notice dumpy old me.

About a year earlier, we took a photo at the MGM Grand Lion Habitat with a somewhat bigger, but nonetheless adorable lion named, Willow. Again, we look pretty darned good.

We have been wanting to snap a shot with the MGM lions ever since we saw that they were available. Unfortunately, even with all the times we go to Vegas, you simply can't guarantee a baby lion every time you go to the MGM Grand. When this first opportunity arrived, we were a little sad it wasn't a tiny little guy, but it turned out to be just as much fun as we wanted.

When the chance to get in touch with a tiny lion cub, we got there early and snapped our photo. In fact, while waiting for the line to even open April won about $200.00 on a clot machine, making paying for the photo a whole lot easier. ;)

I don't know if it is the presence of critters or our presence in Las Vegas that makes us so damned cute and happy. I just know that I like having the photos, recalling the memories, and spending a few bucks to help keep these magnificent animals alive.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

A Few El Rey Updates

I found a GREAT resource for odd and impossible to find movies. Something Weird Video is THE HOME of every type of bizarre and oddball video ever made. OK, it may not have everything you'll want to find, but it does have "Tonight for Sure"!

Something Weird owns the films in their catalogue and custom makes every VHS and DVD you order. Since the nudie-cuties are among their major arsenal of film classics I was happy to find I could get a fresh copy of this film for the low price of $15.00. It is worth it to me to find out if this is in fact the film featuring the El Rey, if not to see Coppola's first film.

Bob Martello
cannot recall if this is in fact the film in question as he doesn't remember the title or too many of the details surrounding the time the El Rey was in use for this project. However, the facts I've forwarded his way and shared with you, all add up and he's told me that there's a good chance I've got it right.

I also plan on sending a letter to the Jerry Schafer I found in Las Vegas. If this gentleman, an entertainment and video producer still very active in the Vegas scene, is the same guy who made Tonight for Sure I'll be sure to report what I find.

I've shared a few e-mails with accordion legend, Tony Lovello. He was kind enough to provide the names of the ladies in the group, also present the night of the El Rey fire. One lady was his now ex-wife Lavonne and a gal with a great showbiz name, Jo Ann Conti. Both are currently out of the entertainment business. Perhaps they might be around and interested in sharing their versions of that fateful night.

Tony himself has only recently jumped back into the entertainment game, after a 30+ year break and an extremely successful foray into the hotel business. Returning to the road (he's been touring for the last three years and performing full time again for the last 6), I find it absolutely amazing that his status as a master accordionist is what he chose as both his initial profession and later his retirement plan. He even had former bassist for the Tony Lovello Revue, Kenny Laursen, video his recent Las Vegas performances.

Tony sounds like a great guy and he was kind enough to forward his contact information to me. I look forward to talking to him very soon.

Last, but certainly not least, I'm I can report a new addition to my slow-growing collection of El Rey memorabilia.

The images in this post are two matchbooks from the mighty El Rey. April found them on eBay just before I did. I vowed I wouldn't be outbid on these The best time to get me to bid on something silly is when I've been really busy with paying gigs. LOL!

Sadly, I only won the first auction. I got outbid in the last seconds for this more colorful matchbook. I'm devastated. Ah well, you win some, you lose some.

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Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Happy Tard Land

I checked my stats and found that someone discovered my blog by typing into Google the phrase, "Happy Tard Land". Naturally I was intrigued.

I checked out the link and did the search myself, wondering where exactly does Andy Land fit into a search for "Happy Tard Land". Well kids, I'm proud to say that this here blog ranks...

Numero Uno, Baby!

I couldn't have said it better myself. Yep. All the Tards love Andy Land. I've finally made it.

I do feel bad for the two MySpace LOSERS who ranked #2 & #3. Better luck next time. If you want to get all the Tards at their happiest, you have to shit-can that trendy, hard to navigate MySpace account and get yerself with Blogger, specifically in ANDY LAND!

My Tards are the happiest Tards around. Look at them. They all look like they're smiling to me.

Google needs to come up with a search engine that gives you an idea why the fuck anyone is searching for a certain term in the first place. I kind of want to know who the hell searches for Happy Tard Land and why. Don't you? Moreover, why didn't that Tard-lovin' surfer, looking for happiness, stop by on his little man-sized tricycle and leave a comment?

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Ten Things Tuesday (Wednesday Edition): Post Labor Day Activities

  • Find women wearing white shoes and beat the shit out of them.
  • Spend all week fucking up simple tasks at work and blaming the Labor Day holiday for messing up your body clock. Toss in the phrase, "I keep thinking today is Monday".
  • Start every conversation with, "I can't believe summer is over!"
  • Check your calendar, realize you still have a couple weeks of summer left, start every conversation with, "I can't believe summer is almost over!"
  • Count the days until Rosh Hashanah (Jewish only)
  • Count the days until Ramadan (Mel Gibson only)
  • Count the days until the shopping malls put up Christmas decorations. Uh-oh. Too late.
  • Fake a feeling of depression and cite summer's end for your attitude. You may have to wait for a leaf or two to turn orange before anyone will take you seriously.
  • Do test-runs of prospective Halloween costumes.
  • Stop wearing pants. This has nothing to do with Labor Day. It's just a good idea.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

TONIGHT'S the NIGHT! A Message from Nicky Vegas

My friend Nicky Vegas wanted me to post this here. I apologize in advance if he offends anyone (or gives them crabs). I'll do my best to clean up his comments a bit.

If you happen to be in Rockford, Illinois today and would like to check out a kick-a$ show, you simply can't go wrong with...

Sure, Ted Nugent is playing that same evening on a different stage, but

A) He's an a$$hole (that sometimes plays some rockin' music, in between spouting Republican bulls-hit and
B) His tickets are WAY more expensive than those for...

What's that? How much to see the show? Well, the show is free with your admission to the
On the Waterfront Festival.

How much is that? How the hell should I know! Why not do a little homework and go to their freakin' website yourself, ya drunk ba$tard!

That fudge stain Andy Martello will be there running our video camera & selling t-shirts for us. If he doesn't cry like a little beach when we give him a swirly in the Drop-A-John we'll even bring him home after the show.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Belated Sorrow

I am not sure how I missed this one, but back on July 3rd, a fellow performer, a kind colleague, and a significant part of any Chicago area kid's childhood passed away.

Claire Newton, wife of Bruce Newton, and co-creator of Chicago TV icon, Garfield Goose, died at the age of 78.

For those of you not from the Chicago area or the Midwest, Garfield Goose was as big a deal as Kukla, Fran, & Ollie, Howdy Doody, or any other TV puppets you can recall. The self-proclaimed King of the United States (Garfield Goose) was beloved, funny, and a great TV star. Garfield Goose and friends appeared on WGN Tv from 1952 to 1976 and the Newtons continued to make live appearances up through this very year.

I worked with Bruce & Claire a few times over the years and they were always extremely energetic and friendly. Claire was quick to dispense the hugs and even though she had the appearance of an overly made up grandparent to most of the youngsters, the hugs were always happily returned.

I was always afraid to hug Claire because she seemed so brittle for such a vibrant and active person. I swear I heard her creak every time I had occasion to hug her. Never the less, she would hug with all her might and wouldn't take "NO" for an answer.

She and Bruce made over 150 live appearances a year at festivals, schools, and just about any event. There was always music, juggling, bad jokes, and of course, the highlight of the show, Garfield Goose. Bruce and Claire created Garfield along with many other great puppets from Chicago's TV history, but few could get people's faces to come alive like Garfield Goose.

Back when April & I were dating, she accompanied me to a very lame little festival. She found a sunny patch for which to read and decided to wait out my performance time rather than try to have any fun outside of my show. It was a TINY fest with few games, rides, or attractions of any kind.

As I was finishing up and about ready to exit the grounds, I noticed that Bruce & Claire were arriving and setting up their stage. I hadn't seen them in awhile and I was happy to see them still working.

Jokingly, I asked April if she wanted to meet a celebrity. I figured she was too cool or too young to even know who the hell Garfield Goose was and would appreciate the joke. When she asked who was at this lame festival (other than me) I told her, "Garfield Goose", and she sprung up from her chair eager to meet the King himself. I couldn't believe how happy she was at the thought.

I introduced her to Bruce & Claire (Claire pounced on both of us with big hugs all around) and they chatted away as if we were all old friends. Before too long, I asked Bruce if April could "meet" Garfield. I expected him to bring out the puppet and have a few stories for her, let her touch the thing, and that would be that. Instead, Bruce let her "MEET" Garfield.

There he was, beak, crown, and all. "Alive" as can be and carrying on a conversation with my fully grown adult girlfriend. Claire & Bruce carried on as if April had stepped into a routine from the TV show. April asked if it was OK for her to hug Garfield and indeed it was A-OK with His Royal Highness.

Soon afterwards, we said our goodbyes and April smiled all the way home.
She got a little embarrassed in the car afterwards and meekly said, "I just hugged a man's arm". I'd tell her she actually hugged Garfield Goose and that got rid of the embarrassment. April also commented on how she was certain when she hugged Claire she distinctly heard her creak and I just laughed.

To this day, April will talks about that day. She also believes that of all the things we've done together and people I've introduced her to, meeting Garfield Goose is among the most impressive.

That was the last time I saw either of the Newtons. When I heard about Claire's death I couldn't stop thinking about that day and all the other times we worked together. I remembered they sent me a hand-drawn Garfield Goose card after our very first meeting, telling me how nice it was to meet me and work with me. Unfortunately I don't have the card anymore, but I will always have the memories, which is really more important.

You can see a great clip of the Garfield Goose program at the Museum of Broadcast Communications website. You'll have to scroll back a page, but it is there.