Monday Morning Coffee Club: 4/25/16

Monday Morning Coffee Club: 4/25/16It’s the final Monday of April, Modern Philosophers!

That should mean that Spring is finally on its way to Maine.  We’ve had some glimmers of the season’s lovely weather, but those were only temporary.

This is Maine, after all, and Snow Miser maintains a residence here.  As a result, we are plagued by chilly weather well into the early weeks of May.

There’s not much to report from The House on the Hill this morning.  I had a busy weekend of working out, writing, and doing some Spring cleaning.

There was a Deep Thought bouncing around my head that maybe Spring couldn’t arrive until I had cleaned, so I did my part to provide a warmer, sunnier future for my fellow Mainers.  You’re welcome!

Despite the slight chill in the air, I am being serenaded by birds as I write this, Modern Philosophers.  I can’t quite make out what song they’re singing, but it sounds pretty good and it’s making for a pleasant morning.

We had a taping of The Nite Show last week.  It was a fun affair despite the fact that Governor LePage was a guest.  He was on his best behavior for once (thankfully!), but he did make a bit of a mess at the Maine State Republican Convention this weekend.

There was some comment about Bulgarians being difficult to understand.  I’m not quite sure of the context because I try not to read any articles about LePage due to the fact that they give me extreme headaches, but I’m positive they were offensive and ridiculous.

Politicians say the darnedest things, don’t they?

As you can tell by the light content of this post, there really isn’t much going on in my world right now.  That might explain why I’ve been cutting back on my blog posts.

I haven't had much to say lately, but that doesn't mean that I won't keep writing.  Eventually...It’s not that I don’t want to entertain you anymore with my silly stories, but it’s just that I just haven’t been inspired to write much lately.

I think this is a phenomenon every writer experiences at some point, so I’m not really worried.  If it persists, I will be sure to make an appointment with my script doctor.

Perhaps my brain just needs a vacation.  It works so hard for such little pay, so it makes sense that it holds out for better treatment every once in a while.

As always, there is plenty of coffee, so please help yourselves.  I might not be writing at my usual prolific pace, but I can still get the interns to make coffee.

It looks like it’s going to be a beautiful day, so make sure to get outside and take advantage of it.  The world is an amazing place so get out there and live in it!

Want to make your Monday even better?  Follow me on Pinterest…

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Greetings From Anywhere But Here

The Devil can't quite grasp why the blog has to close for two weeks while I'm on vacation. If this guy really the Prince of Darkness?“I don’t understand why you have to close down the blog while you’re on vacation,” The Devil whined as he followed me from the kitchen into the living room.

He was like the best dressed school kid I had ever seen, following on his teacher’s heels, and complaining about having to stay after school for detention.

“Why is this so difficult to understand?” I asked as I put six bottles of Snapple into the cooler in front of the couch.  “I write all the posts, I’m going on vacation for two weeks, therefore, there won’t be any content to put on the blog.”

“Couldn’t you write the posts in advance and then schedule them to go live throughout the two weeks?” Lucifer insisted.

I ignored his question for a moment while I sat down on the couch, got comfortable, and reached for the remote to turn on the TV.

With a snap of his well manicured fingers, The Prince of Darkness caused the TV to go black again.  Clearly, he meant business.

“I’m not going to write fourteen blog posts before I leave on vacation,” I growled as I tossed the useless remote onto the table.  “Haven’t you been listening?  I’m taking a new approach to life.  I have new priorities.  This vacation is more important than pretty much anything else in my life right now.”

Satan raised an eyebrow, gently tugged at the cuffs on the jacket of his impeccably tailored suit, and then cleared his throat.

Greetings From Anywhere But Here | The Return of the Modern Philosopher“But what about our weekly column?” he asked with sadness in his voice.  “I know it might be just a short story to you, but for me, it’s an afternoon I get to spend away from Hell and with a friend.”

I sighed.  He really wasn’t making this easy for me, and to be honest, his behavior had completely caught me off guard.  Why was this bothering him so much?

“I figured you’d be fine with having a couple of Sundays off,” I confessed.  “More time to spend swindling people out of their eternal souls and whatnot.”

Lucifer’s shoulders slumped in surrender and he slowly walked around the table to his end of the couch.  He sat down, let out something between a groan and a heavy sigh, and then grabbed a Snapple from the cooler.

“So you’re saying our bro time means nothing to you?” he asked softly.

Bro time?  Was he serious.  This was The Prince of Darkness, right?  Since when did he talk like a frat boy from some raunchy teen comedy?

“Of course your friendship matters to me, but this vacation is very important,” I insisted.  “You need to trust me on this.  We can make up for it with extra…bro time…on Saturdays after I get back.”

Satan’s eyes lit up like a child’s on Christmas morning.  Well, if that child wasn’t mortal enemies with Jesus, whose birthday is celebrated on that holiday.  But you get the idea of what I’m trying to say.

“Do you really mean that?” he asked as he handed me a Snapple.  “That would really make me feel better about your being away for two weeks.”

I eyed him suspiciously, but graciously accepted the Snapple.  I was thirsty, and this bizarre conversation was making me long for a drink.

“I’m glad to hear you’re okay with my taking a vacation,” I quipped.  “Your approval means everything to me.”

The blog will be closed for vacation beginning on Friday, April 29.  Please use that time to read all the older posts you've missed!“So why won’t you tell me where you’re going?” The Devil asked as my sarcasm sailed right over his head.

“Because I want to ensure my privacy,” I explained for what had to be the twentieth time.  “Nothing can interrupt or interfere with this vacation, and nothing will if no one knows where I am.”

“I am The Prince of Darkness,” he reminded me as he snapped his fingers to turn on the TV.  “I could find you if I wanted.”

“And then you’d also find yourself permanently banned from The House on the Hill,” I replied with a huge, fake smile meant to convey both menace and threatening.

Apparently, the evil grin got across my point because my house guest ended the interrogation and turned his full attention to the Yankees game.

Did you know it’s easy as Hell to follow me on Pinterest?

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If Only Trump Would Let Me Shave His Head…

I realized today that if Donald Trump would let me shave his head, I might consider voting for him...I was getting my hair cut this morning, Modern Philosophers, when the oddest Deep Thought filled my head and refused to leave.

If only Donald Trump would let me shave his head, I might consider voting for him.

I know, right?

Totally mental.  Not at all a logical thought.

And yet, there it was, parked in my brain and refusing to leave.  A Deep Thought squatter.

So what was behind this odd bit of thinking on my part?  I’ve been opposed to the idea of Future President Trump from the moment he first opened his smug mouth and so many hateful words spilled out of it.

How in the world would shaving the man’s head make me reconsider my stubborn stand against Trump in the White House?

It would take a great deal of trust on Trump’s part to allow a total stranger to remove whatever the hell that is living on top of his head.  So if he were to grant me permission to expose the dome inside which all that hatred congeals on a daily basis, I’d have to acknowledge that Trump was making an effort to change.

At this point, Trump can’t sink much lower in my opinion polls, so any change on his part is bound to cause an upward tick in his numbers.

Let’s face it, Trump clearly gets some sort of power from his hair, so if he were suddenly okay with getting rid of it, that would be an indication that he had seen the light and his chrome dome was a symbol of the new man ready to lead this nation.

Plus, I’m fairly certain that thing on his head has unseen tentacles that reach down into Trump’s brain and tell him what to do, say, and who needs to be offended and ostracized on a particular day.

Lex Luthor knows a thing or two about how being bald can corrupt a man...Without the hair, he would be a Trump we’ve never before seen.

Of course, I know what you’re all thinking.  A bald man hungry for power is the ultimate Hollywood bad guy: Lex Luthor, Dr. Evil, and Blofeld come to mind.

Sure, that’s totally true, but I think that Bald Trump would be much more humble.  He puts in quite the effort to make what’s going on up top seem natural, so that tells me that Trump is extremely vain and doesn’t want the world to know he is balding.

By letting me shave his head, Trump would be making himself extremely vulnerable.  In exposing the top of his noggin, he’d also be exposing a version of Donald Trump that American voters have never seen.

Voters would be mesmerized, and Trump would dominate the news cycle again.  This time, however, there would finally be a positive spin on the message.

Trump trusts.  Trump reveals.  Trump humbles himself before the nation.  Trump makes America bald again.

Bernie is balding. And that's why we trust him...Let’s face it, I’m already partial to a balding politician, so it makes sense that another one in the race would pique my interest.

I’m not saying I wouldn’t vote for Bernie Sanders if Trump allowed me to shave his head.  However, if Bernie were not to receive the nomination because the Democrats decide to back a stylish head of hair rather than a balding one, I’d have to give the Balding Billionaire a second look.

After all, I’m fairly certain Hillary is wearing a wig, and it just pisses me off that she won’t come clean and admit that to the voters.  How can I trust a President who is afraid to show me the Presidential dome?

So, Mr. Trump, if you really want my vote and you’re ready to have a clean cut look for the summer, just leave me a message in the comments section.  I hope to hear from you!

While we’re waiting for Trump to contact me, follow me on Pinterest…

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You Never Forget Your First

As a Hopeless Romantic, I've been thinking a lot lately about First Love...I’m obviously talking about First Love, Modern Philosophers.  This is a family friendly blog, after all!

As a Hopeless Romantic, I constantly generate Deep Thoughts about love, relationships, dating, and affairs of the heart.  Most of those thoughts have to do with my trying to figure out where I went wrong along the way.

I’ve never been very good at love, and whenever I try to figure out why I can’t master something, I like to go back to the very beginning.

That’s why my head was filled this week with Deep Thoughts about my First Love.

I believe I’ve walked you down this path before, Modern Philosophers, but Memory Lane can be a wonderful place to visit when you stop at the right intersections.

First Love found me the summer I was sixteen.  My Stepmother declared that I was old enough to have a summer job, and I ended up working at a sleep away camp in upstate New York.

As a huge fan of the Friday the 13th franchise, I looked forward to the experience.  I knew I was safe from any serial killer’s wrath because I was a virgin, and everyone knows only the sexual active campers and counselors get hacked to bits.

It was my first time away from my family’s influence for such an extended period of time, and I looked forward to spreading my wings and learning to be a bit more social.

In other words, I was hoping to figure out how to talk to girls while I was far away from home and wouldn’t be embarrassing myself in front of any member of the opposite sex I’d have to face on a daily basis around my neighborhood.

Love found me, but since this was the geeky teen version of your favorite Modern Philosopher we’re talking about, First Love was awkward, weird, and one sided.

You know, typical Austin.

I found love for the first time at Summer Camp.  I just wish Bill Murray had been there to give me some witty advice...I fell for a fellow counselor, but she was too old to legally reciprocate.  She let me hang around her all the time, though, and she was really cool and fun.

I never got my first kiss that summer, and didn’t come close to even leaving the dugout, let alone making it to first base, but I did finally learn how to be comfortable speaking to an attractive woman.

That was a big step for me, and even though I didn’t notice it at the time, it gave me some much needed confidence with the opposite sex.

Of course, it still took me until the following summer to get my first kiss, but who knows how long it would’ve taken had I not had this awkward rendezvous with First Love?

If you’d like to read more about my First Love and how it has affected every romantic decision I’ve made since, please head over to The Good Men Project to check out my new column.  I never get any comments on my articles over there, so I’d love it if you could leave me a few lines about your first love.  You know, make my column look as if people actually read it!

You can find my article here:  http://goodmenproject.com/featured-content/did-a-misguided-first-love-ruin-my-romantic-future-austinhodgens-jrmk/

As always, thank you for your support, and I’m really looking forward to reading your experiences with First Love.  Why do I think my tale is going to be the most awkward?

I may not be your First Love, but you can follow me on Pinterest…

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The Writer’s View From the Second Row

A recap of last night's taping of The Nite Show with Danny Cashman. Guests included Governor LePage, Police Academt star Michael Winslow, and US Olympian Julia ClukeyIt’s been a really wonderful Writer’s Day, Modern Philosophers, and I wanted to take some time to tell you about last night’s exciting taping of The Nite Show with Danny Cashman.

It was the final regularly scheduled taping of the season (there still might be a special Summer Edition) and we did four shows instead of the usual three.

It was a long, but fun and entertaining night.

As usual, I took a seat in the second row and live tweeted the events while also taking tons of photos.

I thought it would be fun to share some of these candid shows from the second row of The Gracie Theatre to give you a staff writer’s perspective of the evening.

I’m only using my phone’s camera and there are always crew members in the way of my shots.  However, I think this gives you a real behind the scenes look at how a late night talk show gets made.

Michael Winslow from the Police Academy flicks was the surprise guest!Last night’s surprise guest was Michael Winslow, star of the Police Academy films.  You might remember him as the officer who made all the cool noises.

He put on quite a performance.  At one point, he did a trumpet duet with band leader Brian Nadeau, but Brian was the only one who actually had a trumpet!

It was uncanny the noises that came out of his mouth.  As someone who admits to having watched most of the Police Academy flicks in the theater, this was a total fan boy moment.  And the best was yet to come this morning when I checked Twitter…

That’s right, Modern Philosophers, Michael Winslow replied to my Tweet about his appearance on the show.  How awesome is that?

US Olympian Julia ClukeyUS Olympian Julia Clukey, a Mainer, stopped by the show again.  For some reason, Danny feels compelled to serenade Julia via video song parodies whenever she is a guest.

She is clearly a good sport because she keeps coming back.  And she is an awesome sport because he rides the luge for the US Olympic Team!

Maine Governor Paul LePageThe Walking Dead gave us the most hated Governor of all time, but Maine Governor Paul LePage might run a close second.

He is always upsetting and antagonizing someone, and the blog interns think it’s a miracle that he’s yet to be impeached.

Governor LePage must have been anticipating some trouble from the audience last night because there was a major police presence at The Gracie for his appearance.

Perhaps the officers were just there to make sure he got back to Augusta without causing any trouble in Bangor…

The Jump City Jazz BandAs always, The Jump City Jazz Band kept the joint rocking and the audience entertained.  It’s always hard for me to get a good shot of them from my seat on the other side of the theater, but at least no crew members managed to get into frame for once!

We had several delays last night due to technical difficulties, and the boys in the band made sure no one got too bored.

Danny Cashman and Joe Kennedy field questions from The Nite Show audienceAs I mentioned above, there were several technical glitches during the show which led to some lengthy delays.

Hats off to the awesome NESCOM crew, who are all students at Husson University, for getting things up and running again.

During the delays, Danny and Joe would field questions from the audience.  People were very curious as to why the normally clean cut Joe Kennedy had a beard, and he shared that he was growing it for an upcoming appearance in “Fiddler on the Roof”.

The things you learn at a Nite Show taping…

Danny Cashman doing the monologue.  This joke was probably written by me!As always, Danny started off every show with his monologue.  This is the part of the show where I get to shine, since I write monologue jokes.

For this taping, I knew at least one of my jokes had made the cut because I could see it written out on the cue cards when Luke walked out to his position by the camera.

No matter how long I’ve been doing this, I still get excited every time Danny tells one of my jokes.  Then I get even more excited if the audience laughs…

The Nite Show set right before the cameras roll.Here’s a cool shot of the set right before the show starts.

That’s the big head of fellow Nite Show writer David Forbes Brown blocking most of the light.  Dave is a great guy, but I must tease him since he is wearing a Red Sox hat and sweatshirt in the photo.  That explains why he can only be photographed from behind.

That’s Katie operating the camera above the monitor.  We bonded during the taping we did in Houlton earlier in the season.  That was the one where I was forced into Cue Card Boy duty, and Katie filled in as stage manager.

I had no idea where I was supposed to stand, so my directions were to follow Katie wherever she went.  That made my job a lot easier, and I managed to get through the night without knocking over a camera or falling off the stage!

2 Nite 9One final shot of the set.  As you can see, the camera impedes my view of Danny’s desk, but did you really expect them to give the writers premium seats?

Truth be told, I picked that seat because several members of the team sit in that area and we can chat it up during the show.  Aside from Dave, who’s always in the seat in front of me, there’s photographers Jennifer and Michael Murphy, fellow writer and audience warm up master Steve Estey, and Danny’s right hand and executive assistant, Joy Sinclair.

They are a fun bunch, and getting to talk with them makes the night even more fun.

So that about wraps it up.  Hope you enjoyed this view of last night’s taping through the eyes of one of the show’s writers, Modern Philosophers!

Now that you’ve followed me around for a taping of The Nite Show, why not follow me on Pinterest as well?

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The Old Strip and Sprint Trick

I was up early on Writer's Day, and one of the first things I did was go for a run. I'm all about health, fitness, and being positive!Happy Writer’s Day, Modern Philosophers!

I was up bright and early on my day off enjoying a priority that has become extremely important to me ever since I started down my Positive Lifestyle and Fitness Path.

It’s amazing how much life can change if you alter your perspective.  Until recently, my top priority on Writer’s Day would have been to sleep as late as possible.

Instead today, I was awake hours before I would have been on a normal work day.

Life is different, Modern Philosophers, and to quote the great Philosopher Clown Ronald McDonald, “I’m lovin’ it!”

I eventually got out of bed, put on my running gear and headed out to put 3 miles under my belt.  As you can see from that first photo, I had on my running hoodie.

Even though it’s late April, the mornings in Maine are still very chilly.  I also had on sweatpants because it isn’t warm enough yet to bless the neighborhood with a view of my stunning runner’s legs.

About a mile into my run, on what turned out to be a gorgeous Spring morning (I had to check to make sure I was actually still in Maine!), I realized I wasn’t going to make it back to The House on the Hill dressed as I was.

I was just too darn hot and the sun had me locked in its sights.

I tried rolling up the sleeves on my hoodie, but they’d only go up a couple of inches.  I attempted to hike up the legs on my sweatpants as I continued to run, which was just plain stupid given how much of a klutz I am.

The Old Strip and Sprint Trick | The Return of the Modern PhilosopherEventually, common sense reared its ugly head, and I slipped off my hoodie, miraculously doing so without getting it all tangled in my ear buds.

I’m pretty sure a passing car honked in appreciation of my little strip show.  In my mind, this vehicle I couldn’t see because I had my hoodie pulled over my head and was running blind on one of the busiest streets in my neighborhood, was filled with beautiful women, who tossed dollar bills in my general direction.

In fact, I posted a status update on Facebook that said my little in-run strip show had netted my $8.

Of course, one of my wise acre friends immediately replied “Only $8???”.

I only took off the hoodie, so I think $8 would be quite the windfall.  Perhaps I will experiment further on a future run.  Women of my neighborhood, do not go out for a morning drive without packing some singles for the trip!

Naturally, I had no idea what to do with the hoodie for the remaining two miles.  At first, I balled it up and carried it like a football, but I worried that some moron linebacker would sprint out of a side street, blindside me, and cause me to fumble.

This deep thinking Modern Philosopher finally decided it would be best to tie the unneeded hoodie around his waist.  Since it was me, it not only kept slipping off, but it also choked me because I tied it around my waist and over the wires to my ear beds.

Eventually, I figured out that I needed to tie it under the wires, but I spent the last mile of my run constantly tightening the hoodie around my waist.

Just Run! | The Return of the Modern PhilosopherSure, I must have looked like a total geek, but since I’m all about being more positive now, I’m going to count that as extra cardio work and additional calories burned.

All in all, it was a great run on a spectacular Spring morning.  My Writer’s Day is off to a smashing start, and I think I’ve got another blog post in me for later.

Hope you’re all having a great Writer’s Day, too!  I’d love to hear all about your day in the comments section…

You might not want to follow me out on the road for a run, but why not follow me on Pinterest?  It’s fun and a lot less sweaty!

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Time For A Much Needed Show Biz Break

It's time to take a much needed break from my busy life to attend tonight's taping of The Nite Show With Danny CashmanIt’s been a very busy last couple of weeks, Modern Philosophers, and I think it’s time to put on my TV Writer Boy toga and take a much needed break.

Tonight’s taping of The Nite Show With Danny Cashman comes at a perfect time.  My brain is tired, the voices in my head are shouting over each other to get my attention, and the Deep Thoughts have so much depth at this point that they are clogging up my neck.

The perfect way to escape from all the hustle and bustle is to sneak off to The Gracie Theatre and assist in making late night TV magic for a few hours.

How many people can actually say that, Modern Philosophers?  I consider myself very lucky that I have the option to leave my life behind for a little while and head for a mini vacation in TV Land.

Even though a television taping is a very busy, very high pressure experience, I find it incredibly relaxing.  As a writer, I’ve done all my hard work already.  Show night is when I get to put my feet up, mingle with the fans, and allow myself to be entertained.

Writers have it easy once the camera roll.  We’ve already done all we can do, and if we don’t need to appear in a sketch, the only pressure on us to have as much fun as possible.

If you can get a gig as a TV writer, I highly recommend it!

This blog is temporarily closed for a taping of The Nite Show!Tonight, I’ll get to mingle with US Olympian Julia Clukey and the Governor himself, Paul LePage.  Sure, I often write disparaging jokes about Maine’s Governor, but he’s been on the show before and has made absolutely no mention of the jokes we write about him.

Maybe I’ll ask to take a selfie with him.  Wouldn’t that make for an exciting profile pic on Facebook?

I’m not sure if I’ll do my usual behind he scenes photos and live tweeting, though.

I really am completely exhausted, and I might just find my usual seat in the second row and simply veg.  Or I might hang out backstage and see if I can get the Governor to put on an eye patch for an awesome The Walking Dead photo op.

One never knows what might happen at a taping of The Nite Show!

I do wish you could all join me tonight.  Wouldn’t that make for an awesome blog outing, Modern Philosophers?  We should try to set that up for next season.  I’ll get the interns on it right away.

Hope you’re all having a great day.  I’ll be back for more blogging later…

Can’t join me at tonight’s taping of The Nite Show?  How about hanging out with my on Pinterest instead?

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