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Nick Adams book tour kicks off...

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Sound of Young America pal Nick Adams just kicked off the tour for his very funny new book, "Making Friends with Black People," at Book Soup in LA. Not only were there plenty of folks there, but one of them was the first white lady ever to be on Soul Train... and according to photographic evidence, one of them was TSOYA pal / brilliant standup comedian Jasper Redd. I'd link to Jasper's website, but the man still doesn't have one, which is probably why so many people come to our website after searching for "Jasper Redd."

Nick's got a few more readings coming up... He'll be reading at Marcus Books in San Francisco on Friday at 6PM, and Saturday, he's reading at Barnes & Noble in Oakland at 7:30 PM. I'll be at the San Francisco reading (in the audience, of course), so come and say hi to Nick and I.

Nick Adams on The Sound of Young America
Buy Making Friends with Black People for like $10
Nick's Blog

Milton Berle's Business

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Understand that I do not condone downloading or illegal internet file sharing, because it's just like Lars from Metallica coming in your dorm room and messing everything up or whatever.

But let's say I wasn't so dead set against it (which I am). I would visit this amazing blog. And I would make backup copies of things I already owned for my own personal educational use. Like Albert Brooks' long out-of-print albums. And David Cross bootlegs. IF I wasn't against it, which I am.

Anyway, the blog linked above is called Milton Berle's Cock, and it reminds me of an old showbiz yarn that I heard somewhere and think it HILARIOUS. You should know that it's not family-friendly.

Anyway, Uncle Miltie had a legendarily large schwantz. One day, a young, upstart comic goes up to him and says, "I hear you've got the biggest dick in comedy."

And Miltie says, "Well, I'm a modest man..."

and the kid says, "Come on... we'll have a contest."

And Miltie says, "No no no..."

and the kid says, "Come on... we'll have a contest..."

And Miltie says, "Kid, gimme a break."

and the kid says, "You chicken, Miltie? I'll whip out mine and you whip out yours and we'll see whose is bigger! Come on!"

and Miltie says, "Fine. But I'm only taking out enough to win."

Lookwell

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Last week, we watched Heat Vision & Jack... this week, it's the pilot that's always nipping at HV&J's heels for "Most Salivated Over By Comedy Nerds Unaired Pilot" status... Lookwell. This series, created by Robert Smigel and Conan O'Brien, stars Adam West as a crime-stopping acting teacher. Enjoy!

Will Wright on the Future of Gaming

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I'm going to start off-topic here, but did you know that you can buy magazine subscriptions on Ebay? And if you're looking for a mass-market magazine (The New Yorker, Cosmo, Spin, whatever), they're really, really cheap.

Anyway, I bought a year subscription to Wired for $3, and it ain't much of a magazine. Once in a while there's something interesting, but not too often. That said, though, there's a fascinating piece by Will Wright, the designer of SimCity, the Sims and many other games, about the future of gaming.

Games are evolving to entertain, educate, and engage us individually. These personalized games will reflect who we are and what we enjoy, much as our choice of cooks and music does now. They will allow us to express ourselves, meet others, and create things that we can only dimly imagine. They will enable us to share and combine these creations, to build vast playgrounds. And more than ever, games will be a visible, external amplification of the human imagination.

Great stuff.

Proceedings of the Athanasius Kircher Society

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At some hazy point in Europe's past, the objective truth didn't matter as much as it does today. Really rich folks collected (real and fake) religious artifacts, objects of art, biological marvels, and anything else you can imagine into wunderkammer, or cabinets of wonder.

The contents of these cabinets and other related marvels, like the cat piano above, are celebrated at the Proceedings of the Athanasius Kircher Society. This mystery-enshrouded blog celebrates the life and ideas of one of the great collectors and creators of oddities, Athanasius Kircher.

What's most wonderful to me is the way that these objects are so profoundly liminal... they refuse to be classified as "real" or "fake." It's an idea that's deeply related to The New Sincerity.

That's what I was thinking about when I did an interview on this Sound broadcast with Ricky Jay, the brilliant magician and historian. For a while, Jay did radio commentaries about this sort of stuff, like this one about a genius pig. I tried to get them for The Sound, but he wouldn't go for it.

See also: The Museum of Jurassic Technology

Watch Comedy Central tonight.

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Tonight, half-hour specials from two of the best comics in the business, Arj Barker and Todd Barry, will be premiering. Arj is the most magnetic performer I've ever seen on the standup stage, and he uses that magnetism to draw you into a weird alternate world. Todd is a master joke writer whose sly, dry delivery makes every punchline pop.

Two stories:

Last time I saw Arj Barker perform, I talked to him after the show, and told him how much I'd love to have him on The Sound of Young America. Turns out, he had already been on The Sound of Young America, and I'd forgotten. Moral of the story: I am a jackass.

Last time I saw Todd Barry, I was driving him to his hotel for SF Sketchfest. At the time, I drove a 65 Dart, which had no seatbelts in the back, where he was sitting. He was absolutely horrified, and expressed his horror by berating me and my "deathtrap" car for the next 20 minutes. Moral of the story: just let Todd Barry take a cab.

You can see some clips of them performing here on the CC Presents page. Arj has been blogging on behalf of the Comedy Central Insider from Australia or something. The shows air at 9 and 9:30 tonight.

Todd Barry on The Sound of Young America (realaudio)

We're legendary in Maine.

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I know what you're thinking... I listen to The Sound of Young America, but I lose sleep ever night wondering if the Portland Press-Herald of Portland, Maine thinks my favorite show is "Worth Checking Out."

Well, they do, apparently.

Rufus Thomas: Hero of The New Sincerity

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Rufus Thomas was a legendary Memphis DJ, who became even more legendary through his novelty-soul recordings for Stax Records. His daughter, Carla Thomas, recorded Stax first hit side, and he contributed many of his own. He often performed in short pants, and sang comic dance numbers which were both funny and truly danceable. He passed a few years ago, but he remains a great hero of The New Sincerity.

Learn more about Rufus and download his tune "Chicken Scratch" over at the Stepfather of Soul.

Heat Vision & Jack

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For some of you, this may be old hat, as it's been circulating in bootleg form for some years. But for those of you who have not seen it, it will be a revelation. This pilot, for a show called "Heat Vision & Jack," stars a pre-fame Owen Wilson & Jack Black, and was directed by a pre-annoying Ben Stiller.

Jack Black plays a super-smart astronaut on the run from Ron Silver (who plays himself), riding his talking motorcycle (played by Wilson). One of the most conceptually audacious comedy shows I've ever seen, and effectively executed, too. FOX passed (understandably, I'd say, given how ridiculous the whole thing is), but it lives on to entertain us all.

(For those of you for whom this video doesn't show up in your reader, click through to the web version).

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