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Michael J. Nelson's RiffTraxxx

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Mike Nelson's been on The Sound of Young America a few times, mostly talking about his books. I've never had the personal attachment to Mystery Science Theater 3000 that some have (coughJordancough), but I will say that he's pretty much the nicest funniest guy ever. Or at least, in my experience on The Sound of Young America he's pretty much the nicest funniest guy ever. (Here's one of the interviews, by the way.)

In the years since MST3K, he's kept himself busy authoring three funny books and most recently recording a few commentaries for campy DVDs like the original Little Shop of Horrors. Now, he's taken the latter occupation one step further with something called RiffTrax.

Despite its awful name, it's a fun idea. Nelson records commentaries for movies, and sells them as MP3s. You download them, put them on your MP3 player, rent the movie, and watch it while listening to your MP3 player. Then Nelson makes some funny jokes.

The first film in their soft, beta launch is Nelson's all-time favorite, "Roadhouse." The Patrick Swayze vehicle is certainly ripe for mockery. Check out rifftrax.com and enjoy!

Neil & Paul

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Neil & Paul are bringing their sketch show, "Growing Up is Tough" to the UCBT in New York. Their enthusiastic silliness reminds me of Pee-Wee Herman, which one of my top ten favorite things, so that's high praise. The Apiary went inside with them, talking about their program. I love them so much that I wouldn't be surprised if I accidentally made out with them once I moved to LA. New York TSOYA-ers, get your butts to this show.

That's it... I'm calling a ROBOT-OFF!

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Yesterday, I challenged Sound of Young America listners to design and name their own amazing robots, and wow! What a haul of great robot designs!

Like check out this one, from Ameen in Los Angeles:
Looks pretty tough to me! Too strong!

Here's one from Carol in Connecticut, but it doesn't have a name. Any ideas?
And here's one from Michelle, who says, "His name is Kruegal, and his lower torso is a minimicrowave. He's sad all the time." A mini-microwave? I could use this one around the HOUSE!
Neal in Somerville, MA offered up this robot called Oafbot, but it seems like he didn't understand the contest... because SOMEONE NAMED LEONARD designed it!

Andy, one of our FOREIGN FRIENDS from the United Kingdom, submitted this robot, who looks like HE OR SHE could use some EXERCISE!
Lenny in Oceanside, New York made Maximillian Fun -- specifically to help out YOURS TRULY!
Mike found out what happens when you mix BOTS and DINOS. You get Gibbons the Tyranobaut Extraordinaire! Bad news for CIVILIZATION.


Looks like Ryan's robot might be useful in a boudoir! His name is DIDDLE BOT.
Holy cow! Half ROBOT half HEART half HORSE? Great work, Jill!

And by random selection, the winner of the Iron Giant DVD is LENNY! Congratulations! And of course, everyone wins by sharing their great ideas and art with the world.

The Del Close & Charna Halpern Roundup

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The Apiary's new Chicago branch office, The Bastion has a fascinating interview today with Charna Halpern, improv guru and founder of the Improv Olympic. She helped keep improv super guru Del Close on track in his later years, and helped train artists like Vince Vaughn, Mike Myers, Amy Poehler, and Rachel Dratch. The IO's name recognition can't match that of its Chicago forebearer, The Second City, but it's impact on comedy rivals its more well-known counterpart. Halpern also recently launched a blog of her own, with stories from the early days of Chicago improv and much more.

Meanwhile, in New York, the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater is gearing up for the Del Close Marathon, a tribute to Halpern's partner-in-art. Close was the Big Idea Man of improv, and his legacy is celebrated with a weekend of 24-hour-a-day improv. Last year at this time, we talked with Anthony King, the theater's artistic director, and Ian Roberts of the UCB about the festival, and with Jeff Griggs about his fascinating book on Close, "Guru." Here's the MP3 of that show.

Cheers to Jerry Minor!

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Jerry Minor has always had more talent than success, but it looks like with his great work on Lucky Louie, the latter is catching up with the former. From TV Guide.

Podcast: The College Years: The Boys are Back

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After a long summer hiatus, Gene, Jordan and Jesse return with a vengeance. The first ever appearance of "Hang It Up" (before "Keep It Up" was even a glimmer in Jesse's eye). The XXXTreme Weatherman. Traffic from the Foppish Dandy. Also: a quiz bowl between Dan and the head of the UCSC Cheer Squad.

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Tomicon?

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I've never been to a comic book convention, but as I understand it, if you're gonna go to one, San Diego's Comicon is the one to go to. Primarily, I am told, because of the non-comic-book content. The event is jam packed full of cool stuff for the nerdish type. Lots of great people will be there, including Jordan Morris, "Boy Detective" (he'll be signing autographs from the main floor... he'll be the kinda nerdy guy walking around buying comic books and so on).

Anyway, even more fascinating than the actual convention is something called "Tomicon," which is a parallel convention our pals Tim & Eric from Tom Goes to the Mayor are putting on. It seems that they will be meeting at some sort of hotel or restaurant, then marching to the real (err... larger) convention. Sounds like it will be every bit as awkward as the comedy on their TV program. I say hurray!

OVERHEARD at the Tommorow Show

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OVERHEARD by helloitslate, from the mouth of Craig Anton at The Tommorow Show:

"Knock Knock
Who's There?
Jimmy Fallon
Jimmy Fallon Who?
Yeah whatever happened to that guy..."

Today's Contest: The Iron Giant

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Today, you can win a copy of Brad Bird's wonderful film The Iron Giant on DVD from The Sound of Young America. Today's another picture contest -- submit a picture of a robot of your own design, and give it a name. The email address is contest at maximumfun dot org, and make sure you include your mailing address in the body of the email. Links to the file are better than sending the file as an attachment, because I have a small mailbox.

Also, remember that every entry for a daily contest is also an entry for our big listener appreciation month prize, a Pez MP3 Player thanks to inventor/entrepreneur/stay-at-home dad/TSOYA listener Pat Misterovich.

Rocking Haiku

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Yesterday's contest required you the readers to offer a haiku on the theme of "Rocking." Here're the entries:

Our (randomly selected) winner, Dan, offered this moderately snarky poem:
The act of rocking
involves little skill, only
shifting body weight

Jon from Arlington (who probably has never seen Savion Glover dance) wrote:
Bring in the noise bring
in the funk? Some other time.
I say, bring the rock.

Ileen from NYC offers a very thematically appropriate musing:
Elvis Costello
Two icons' names smashed to one
Greater than the sum

Michelle in Virginia offers:
Play that guitar loud
the bass is for losers man
and jazz musicians

Jill in Illinois wrote this surprising verse, perhaps inspired by the new New York Dolls album:
Rocking is simple
You know what you need to do
Get panties and bras

Karl in Portland got philosophical:
To Rock. It's more than
distorted guitar -- rocking
is a state of mind.

Mike in Illinois submitted some rock spirit:
let's blow this cheap dive
kick over the jukebox and
take home the waitress

Jacob gives us a TSOYA-themed rocking poem:
Irony is dead
But nothing can stop
The Sound from rocking

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