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Jonathan Katz's "An Evening of 75 Laughs"

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PRX.org, the online public radio content clearinghouse, is hosting the public radio special "75 Laughs, an Evening with Jonathan Katz." The hour-long special also features H. Jon Benjamin, Bill Braudis, Tom Leopold, Laura Silverman, Ron Lynch, Tom Snyder, and Andy Blickenderfer.

You can listen to the whole thing on PRX, for free, but you have to register. It's quick and painless, though. And once you're registered, you can review some Sound of Young America shows, and help balance out that one star review (out of five) that we got from their editorial board.

Abandoned Computer Games

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Home of the Underdogs is one of the most amazing websites around. It's what's called an "Abandonware" site, dedicated to computer software (particularly games) which is now out of print. Of course, LOTS of computer games are out of print, since they're only state-of-the-art for about a year.

The site features hundreds and hundreds of games, in every genre and from every era, and any game that's out of print is downloadable. You can, for example, play Beaurocracy, an Infocom text adventure game from 1987 written by Douglas Adams, author of The Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Or the original Bubble Bobble. I remember playing Loom for hours on my best friend's dad's Amiga... and I can't even tell you how many hours I spent creating plays in Front Page Sports Football Pro. You can even get old Voyager CD Roms, like this one about Steven J. Gould.

What are your favorites here? Let us all know.

Link

Another Dispatch from San Francisco's Northern Police District

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My local police station has the greatest newsletter ever. Here's an excerpt:

Thursday, May 4, 3:44 pm, Auto Burglary Arrest: Officer Cesena was on patrol in the area of Polk St. and Myrtle St. He has received numerous complaints from victims who have had their cars broken into. While patrolling, Officer Cesena noticed a man leaning into a car through the broken window. This is commonly referred to as a clue. Officer Cesena, recognizing the clue, detained the man and determined that the man did not own the car and had no lawful business in the car. The man was arrested and booked at Northern Police Station. The suspect earned himself a one-way bus ticket back to prison as he was on parole and Parole Agents frown on their parolees committing felonies while under their charge.

Your donation dollars at work...

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Thought I'd offer an accounting of where your donation dollars (and the show) are going...

The big expense this month is our mailing -- we're sending out 225 or so Maximum Fun Club cards, we made stickers (they're expensive!), and of course, there's ink and envelopes and postage and everything. So that's a total cost of several hundred dollars, enough to put us a bit in the red for now.

Also... I bought our first ever bit of advertising, just to try that out. 10,000 impressions on the Proceedings of the Athanasius Kircher Society blog through Federated Media. Those ads just started running today. May be a disaster, but I figured it was worth a shot. $75 total, iirc.

I also joined the Association of Independents in Radio, which is a trade group for independent radio producers. There are precious few independent programs like this one, but hopefully the much more seasoned folks at AIR can help guide this show to future successes, particularly in the radio arena. They were nice enough to let me sign up at the student rate of $35/year.

On the horizon are new pins and t-shirts, although that may be delayed by my employment status (or more accurately, unemployment status).

Talking with some folks about whether to incorporate or become a non-profit, or what. That's still in the air. If you happen to know a lot about those issues, get in touch.

So, there you have it... your donation dollars at work. If you haven't donated already, consider doing so now. You can support the show for as little as $2 a month, and I know you like it that much, or you wouldn't be here :).

I think I'll do a state of the show cast once some loose ends get tied down, just to keep everyone up-to-date, but in the meantime, that's that.

Field Report: Dr. Katz Live in NYC

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Keith Barber writes in to give us the rundown on the Mr. Katz Live experience at Gotham's Comedy Club in NYC...

Show was decent, considering it was only $12. I think it was less than an hour. H. Jon Benjamin was there, and the guests on the couch were Susie Essman and David Cross. Most of the remarks were ad-libbed. Laura Silverman wasn't there, but at one point Katz pushed the intercom button and we heard her say, "Dr. Katz's office." The next time he pushed the button, Ben answered and said he sent Laura home for the day.

I saw Todd Barry there, and Hesh from Sopranos.

There's also a great writeup on The Apiary, from which we stole the picture above.

Total Destruction to Your Mind

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Friday night, I had the pleasure of stopping by Pirate Cat Radio in San Francisco. I'd describe the locale, but I'd hate to give up their coordinates, so I'll just say there was some speculation that preperation for an orgy was going on in the other room and leave it at that. I spun some records on Brain Dead Dave's show, and the one that got the hottest reaction was Swamp Dogg's "Total Destruction to Your Mind," from his 1970 LP of the same name.

Swamp was born Jerry Williams, and as a child he was a singing star as "Little Jerry Williams." He grew up to be an accomplished soul producer and songwriter for Atlantic Records.

Then, in 1970, he decided to unleash Swamp Dogg upon the world.

Swamp's music is straight soul music, dipped in LSD. His singing is like no one else -- I used to play his records back when I had a music show, and someone called in and said, "Who the hell was that? Sounded like Van Morrison crossed with Cher!" He's also blessed with an unbelievably off-kilter sense of humor, which he is entirely unafraid to display on wax.

The photo above is from Swamp's second record, "Rat On!", and it's typically ridiculous. Many of his album covers feature him in his underoos, which as you can see, is not an erotic sight.

Anyway, here's three Swamp Dogg tunes. If you like them, his website store has both "The Excellent Sides of Swamp Dogg Vol 1." and Vol 2. These are from Volume One, which features "Total Destruction to Your Mind" and "Rat On!"

Total Destruction To Your Mind
Synthetic World
God Bless America For What?!

Heroin Pig, etc.

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The comedy audioblog Milton Berle's Cock has a great update today, featuring, among others, Bruce McCulloch's "Shame Based Man" CD. My freshman year college roomate loved McCulloch, and owned this CD. It's very, very odd. As you might expect.

Here's a track from it: Heroin Pig.

Punk Farm on the big screen?

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Loyal listeners may remember Jarrett J. Krosocska, the author of "Punk Farm." Jarrett emailed me late last year to say he listens to The Sound of Young America while he paints, and would I like to have a copy of his book... I said, "sure!" Turns out Jarrett's book is a beautiful tome for toddlers about a group of farm animals who get together to perform a punked-out version of "Old McDonald."

Jarrett emailed me this week to say that "Punk Farm" was optioned by Dreamworks for a film. He's got the news release and other official stuff here on his website. We can only hope that he'll remember The Sound of Young America fondly while he's taking a treasure bath.

Centaur

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One of the reasons that Christopher Walken is so great on Saturday Night Live, I think, is that his natural delivery is so stilted that it's like he's reading from cue cards anyway.

Good Morning, Whoopi?

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"Wake Up With Whoopi" is now more than just a recurring nightmare you've been having. Soon, it'll be a Clear Channel syndicated radio show. The Times is reporting that the Whoopster has inked a deal with the radio super-conglomerate to host a morning show starting July 31st.

Cheap jokes aside, it's either a sign of either how desperate the radio industry is, or that the radio industry is waking up. On the one hand, Whoopi long ago passed has-been on the road to completely forgotten. On the other, she remains a big-name talent, and her skill set is genuinely suitable for morning radio. One of the reasons Whoopi still has any career at all is that she comes across as sincerely personable, and building a personal connection is what that kind of radio is all about.

And Whoopi is talented. I mean, 15 years of awful movies (then awful TV shows, then awful commercials...) may have erased it from our minds, but she exploded out of the San Francisco theater/comedy scene around 1980 on merit. The Broadway show that brought her to the national consciousness was genuinely funny. And she's a bright and articulate advocate for the issues she cares about, even if the occaisional outrageousness gets in the way of that.

Color me curious on this one.

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