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Jon Stewart
Palace Theater
Columbus, Ohio

* * * * *

by Rick Brown

It was interesting to see Jon Stewart bound onstage and begin a stand up performance that in many respects could be labeled “The Un-Daily Show”. Instead of the usual pressed suit professional image of his television show, Mr. Stewart wore a long sleeved t-shirt with kaki trousers. Instead of the mostly sarcastic nuance of his small screen persona he leaned more toward balls to the wall stand up. Jon Stewart is surely at times reminiscent of Johnny Carson. But in his Palace performance influences like George Carlin, Woody Allen…even a touch of Robin Williams…surface. He has that kind of genius.

Mr. Stewart began by feeling out the crowd a bit, talking about how the Palace Theater had gone all out for him by bringing out their “best black curtain” and “taping down” the microphone chord. He alluded to midwestern cuisine and how everything seemed covered in something. When he cautiously eased into his “swing state” routine the audience abruptly reminded him that although in a Red State, Franklin County had voted heavily for John Kerry. This seemed to put Jon Stewart at ease and he immediately did…in his Carsonesque voice…”so you are that little blue bleep…the tiny blue ameba…in the sea of red.” Thus the preacher began his sermon to the choir. But no one cared. It felt good to laugh at Republican jokes with 2826 others who weren’t afraid to show their pleasure.

The monologue was framed in Stewart’s premise that the reason extremists on both sides of the spectrum get all the sound bites…all the photo ops … all the media attention…is because most moderates … well… they have shit to do! Moderates don’t have time to protest outside Terry Shiavo’s room like right wing extremists because … they have shit to do. Historically speaking, most revolutions have been started by students. Why? Everybody else has shit to do!! And although Mr. Stewart leaned mostly to the left he didn’t spare Democrats. He speculated that John Kerry really only had two things going for him in the 2004 Presidential Election: his initials and the fact that he looks somewhat “Lincolnesque.”

Stewart’s material is heavy on religion and politics. He does a lot of sexual humor as well but it usually is in context with those two subjects. Some of the jokes I had previously heard on “The Daily Show” but he expounded more elaborately with his stand up versions. Noting his appreciation for the new Pope because…when the world was Pope-less people were “driving their cars over the curb” for lack of knowing what to do. We needed the Pope to tell us what to do. Or…as Ohio’s own Devo so aptly put it years ago, “Freedom of choice is what you’ve got. Freedom from choice is what you want.” Stewart observed, “Christmas is the birth of their savior. Hanukkah is ‘the oil lasted longer than we thought it would.’” Commenting on his family…”My wife is Catholic and I’m Jewish. We’re raising our child to be very…very…sad.”

The subject he spent most time on…and is obviously very passionate about…was gay marriage. Mr. Stewart believes this to be the most divisive issue in our country today. And I agree, as did the vast majority of the crowd. The response to Stewart’s epiphany “It really doesn’t matter because, as I understand it, it’s not mandatory. You don’t have to marry a gay person.” Got one of the most raucous responses of the evening.

The biggest difference in the TV Jon Stewart and his live incarnation is that Stewart doesn’t limit himself to the politically relevant. He did a number of apolitical pieces ranging from the difference between cats and dogs (cats are free) to cats in heat to dogs eating garbage (and the consequences thereof). His routine about a guy getting caught by a security camera having sex with a piñata may have been WAY over the top but it also had people falling out of their seats with laughter. And the inclusion of such nonsense perhaps made all of us realize that be it … politics … religion … cats … dogs … piñata fucking … it’s all nonsense in one-way or another.

Call it our moment of Zen.

Jon's Official Web Site

sleeps in
by Jessy Kendall

he sleeps in, sleeps like this-
sitting up
in a recliner
in a cabin 8 by 12.
i can’t imagine the discomfort
he doesn’t even realize he’s in anymore.


still the same,
on my belly
on the pier
dragging my under-
water-finger through sand
on little sebago in windham.
cold cold it fascinates
and bores me at
the same time - like always.

The First Week in May
by Rick Brown

I have a minor problem with depression. Actually, it’s more like a severe case of melancholia. Most of the time I’m unaware when it will seep into my bedroom in the night…like the fog in Carl Sandburg’s poem…required reading when I was a boy. My disdain for the poetry I felt forced to read back then, has morphed into the joy of still knowing a few of them. My funk creeps into my life like Sandburg’s cat-like fog. Yet…instead of hovering on it’s haunches…it is more like a surprised intruder frightened into silencing me. An imagined murderer…stabbing me to death with a rubber knife…provoking a thudding pain in my heart.

And never is that dull thud more evident than the first week of one of the most pleasant of month’s…May. The telephone’s signal flashes me back to the calls…some of which I participated…some not. The phone as harbinger…the news of impending suffering and subsequent death. Mother…Father…Boyhood Friend…College Roommate. Just when everything around me is being reborn, I am haunted by dreams of hospital beds…the tired expression in the eyes of those I never really thought would leave…plugs pulled in loving resolve…greeting hours…the cold feel of brass coffin handles…finality…the “everness” of forever.

It at once seems silly to me to talk about…yet the pain…not deep enough to salve the guilt that comes with it…inspires…requires me to do just that. I know I must embrace it…to suffer just a bit in remembrance. To deny the pain…to shun it…would disrespect the ones who are gone. I embrace that dull, thudding pain in my heart…and wait for the fog to lift. To return to the garden. To grow something that lives…again this year…and the days that remain for myself and those I care for.

John Bennett
Southern Comfort
2Co’s Cabaret
The Short North
Columbus, Ohio

* * * 1/2

by RIck Brown

The absence of Tom Cardinal…actor extraordinaire and general manager of 2Co’s Cabaret…on this evening became obvious almost immediately. Tom seems omnipresent…even when he’s back helping out in the kitchen. So I knew his not being involved (due to illness…and fortunately he’s back on his feet) in this night’s presentation of Southern Comfort ’05 would have an effect on the show itself. Still, the show must go on. And so it did.

Bonzo's Corner
Rick Brown

by Ted Kane

Put the phone down and
back your car up; I have the
right to the crosswalk.

These fashions are not
meant for you; the low-rise jeans
make your back look fat

The barmaid: older,
but sexy nevertheless;
sweet Jesus, those tits

Blank Sight
by John Bennett

Paris, As I See It
by Becky Watts

I’ve never been anywhere. (Relatively speaking.) As the youngest child of eight children, vacation meant packing ten plus people into the station wagon and heading to East Harbor, Lake Erie, for a day trip. Or there was the infamous “zoo summer” where we packed the station wagon on multiple occasions to visit every zoo in the state, or the infamous “museum summer”, where we packed the car to visit the Air Force museum, the Ohio Historical Society, etc. While growing up, when learning about the world, I always assumed I would see all of the places I read about, all of the places I learned about in History class. It wasn’t until sometime in my thirties that I realized I most likely would not see most of the world, as due to life circumstances, even since being on my own, I’ve not traveled much. I’ve been fortunate to travel a few places in the United States. Key West each of the last two years was wonderful. There was, however, one place, that was always at the top of my list, one place that I just knew that someday I would have to see. That place….that city….was Paris. And thanks to the overwhelming generosity of a very dear friend, my wish was realized.

Claire Ritter, greener than blue.
Zoning Recordings, 2004.
by Ted Kane

Pianist and composer Claire Ritter gives us a delightful and variegated listening experience with her latest album greener than blue. The titular conceit is that the music is split between the blues and tunes that are "green" pastoral, impressionistic, or what you will with the overall balance favoring the latter. Perhaps so; this judgment comes from the music's creators, after all, but it has always been my understanding that blue is an essential component of green, and I hear that base color all over the CD.

by David Hochman

I couldn’t believe my luck. As I entered the dancing club in the Rue de la Montagne Sainte Genevieve, with its plush velvet walls and chandeliers, they were all sitting there against a wall, observing the couples on the dance floor: Jake, Ernest, Galileo and, strangely, Howard, our milkman from childhood. Oddly, I was happier seeing Howard than I was Galileo. But then, that was because Gal, as we called him to his consternation and our delight, could be quite a bore. Often he’d drone on about his most recent invention or idea.

Ernest motioned me over, then stood up and pumped my hand. “Damn good to see you,” he said. Then, quietly: “I was getting a bit bored. Gal’s been telling me about some goddam telescope of his. The man doesn’t know shit about hunting, never even been to Africa for Chrissake, but when it comes to gadgets--”

“Tell me about it. Last time he wanted me to try out his new thermometer. Suggested we go back to my place and he’d insert it you know where.”

Feral Muse
Island Life

by Cory Tressler

Litterae Scriptae Manet
Painting with Light

by Patrick O'Malley

Whaqi Iraqi
Starring Larry, Curly and Moe
by Rick Brown

The scene: The Three Stooges, all dressed as American soldiers, are loitering in front of a Hummer in a desert somewhere in the middle of Iraq.

Moe – “Okay now…the two of yous get over here and form a straight line! I gotta read you our orders the Cap’n just sent us.”

Larry - “I thought we were here to look for weapons of mass desecration. “

Curly – “You mean weapons of mass desertion!”

Moe grabs each one by the head and conks them together. BOINK!!!

Larry and Curly – “OW!! Hey!!”

Moe puts his hands on his hips, grits his teeth and says, “How many times do I hafta tell you Rumsfelds? That was before Big W. decided there ain’t any.”

Curly – “Ain’t any WHAT?”

Larry – “Weapons of mass deconstruction!!”

Moe slaps both of them across the face simultaneously, unfolds a piece of paper and says, “Now listen up you half brothers to a Republican Guard. It says here we’re to get in this Hummer and go find us some insurgents and spread freedom while we’re looking.”

Curly with hands on hips, belly sticking out asks, “Insoygents? I ain’t never seen no insygents. What does an insoygent look like?”

Moe points to a teenage Iraqi boy walking in the background. “He looks just like THAT”

Larry, “But ain’t that a citizen? They look just like citizens?”

Moe, “Yeah they do.”

Larry, “But if they look exactly alike don’t that make it…what do you call it? A civil war?”

Moe, “Stick out your tongue.”

Larry sticks out his tongue. Moe grabs him by his unruly hair with one hand and by the chin with the other and clamps Larry’s tongue between his teeth.
Larry – “OWWWWWWW! What was that for?

Moe, “In case you was thinkin’ about free speech! We’re guests here remember? Guests spreading freedom and don’t you guys forget it!”

Curly, “But didn’t we INVADE?” And before Moe can slap him adds, “I know how you tell them apart….the insoygents from the regular guys. ”

Moe…gritting his teeth spits out, “You do huh? Well tell us Mr. Chalubahead.”

Curly, “They look the same but an insoygent goes BOOM!!!”

“Remind me to kill you later”, Moe shouts.

Curly - “I’ll make a note of it.” Curly pulls out a laptop and begins typing. Moe grabs the laptop and throws it as far into the desert and he can. Curly puts his hands on his hips and goes “HMMMMMMMM!!!” in a high pitched whine. Then Curly pulls out a laptop half as big and begins to type. Moe grabs this one too and throws it as far into the desert as he can. Curly slaps his hands over his own face going “HMMMMMMMM” again as he pulls out yet another laptop…this one very tiny….about 2 inches by 2 inches. Curly begins again typing on the teeny tiny laptop. Moe snatches the tiny laptop away, clamps it on Curly’s nose and squeezes hard. CRUNCH!!!!!!

Curly – “OW! OW! OW! I think you broke my proboscis!!!”

Moe – “Into the Hummer weekend warriors” He grabs Larry by the hair and pushes them both into the vehicle.

Moe gets behind the wheel and starts to drive erratically with Larry sitting in front next to him and Curly in back. Curly immediately falls asleep and begins to snore. “ZZZZZZZZ Mee! Mee! Mee! Mee! ZZZZZZZZ Mee! Mee! Mee! Mee!”

They hit a rock and Larry is thrown upwards, hits his head on the top of the vehicle and says, “OUCH! I never knew exactly what a Hummer was…but I always thought getting’ a hummer would be more fun than this!!”

Moe - “Quit complainin’ camel brain.” He grabs Curly’s foot and twists it. “Wake up Cheneyhead!! We got insurgents to find!!”

Curly – “NGAAAH!!! But Moe! I was dreamin’ of Condi!! She was tellin’ me sweet, sweet lies!”

Larry to Moe – “Well, at least this time he wasn’t havin’ that Dr. Germ nightmare.”

Curly – “Dr. GJJOYM!!!!!!!! Not HER!! Not THAT!!!” Curly grabs himself by the throat and says, “I’m suffocatin’! I’m suffocatin’!!”

Moe – “Knock if off anthraxhead!! Big W. changed that too!! Besides…Dr. Germ is in jail posing for BDSM pictures anyway.”

Larry – “THAT I’d like to see.”

Moe begins wistfully – “www.attorneygeneralgonzalez.com has them…hey shut up! We gotta spread some freedom here!!!”

Just then their Hummer hits a roadside bomb and is blown to smithereens. The Stooges are seen in the clouds dressed as flying angels.

Moe – “Well boys…I guess it’s time to meet our maker.”

Larry – “But which maker are we gonna meet?”

Curly – “Yeah…is it the old guy with the beard…the young guy with the beard…or the other old guy with the beard?”

Larry (with a twinkle in his eye) – “Do we qualify for all those virgins?”

Moe – “I’m gonna moy-dah yous guys!!!”

Curly – “You CAN’T Moe!! We’re already dead! Nyuk! Nyuk! Nyuk! Nyuk!” Curly sticks his tongue out at Moe and goes “NAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHH!!”

Moe begins flapping his wings furiously chasing the two other Stooges while Curly shouts, “WOO WOO! WOO! WOO! WOO! WOO!! WOO”

Closing Three Stooges theme begins and the credits roll.

Empty Palace
by Rick Brown

The weekend started off like so many others. Friday night we had friends over for dinner and conversation. Saturday we did chores and went out for a nice meal at a gourmet restaurant. And Sunday began like most stay at home weekends relaxing in the dining room reading the Sunday newspaper. My wife, Yvonne…unlike my life’s desires…has maintained a successful business career. This is something I can’t relate to on many levels. But hey…if she likes the challenge and enjoys her work more power to her. She works a lot of hours and because of this reads an entire week of newspapers on Sunday morning. We’re usually up late the night before so Sunday morning coffee drinking and reading spills over into Sunday afternoon more times than not. That’s the routine and we like it fine.

This particular Sunday was a little different in that we had tickets to see Tim Conway and Harvey Korman for the second of two shows at the Palace Theater downtown. The first performance was scheduled for 2 pm. We had seats for the “night” show, which was to start at 5 pm. For months we had been joking about the time of the show…that it was set up so we could all be tucked into beddie bye early. Korman and Conway have been around a while after all.

So it came as quite a surprise to me when Yvonne decided to give our dog Henri a hair cut…at 3:30 in the afternoon. Since we had spent the good part of 48 hours together I decided to dispense with the usual marital bickering and bite my lip. Now anyone who has been married for any length of time knows bickering at it’s best can be a great communication device. At it’s worst it can deteriorate into a full-blown argument. So after almost two solid days of congeniality I kept my silence.

Then I looked at the clock and saw it was 4:10. Yvonne…the blanket she was doing the haircut on…and the surrounding wall-to-wall carpeting…were all covered with dog hair. I’d venture to say there was more dog hair there than remained on Henri. I got out the vacuum and began sweeping the entire downstairs hoping this would be a clear signal as to the time situation. My lip was sore from my teeth clamping down on it. At 4:20 I figured it was time to throw caution to the wind. “Uh…you are aware the show begins at 5 aren’t you?” Yvonne’s head snapped around to the direction of my voice. Her eyes were filled with terror. “FUCK!!!” she cried. Now my wife rarely swears let alone uses an f-bomb in front of anyone. She raced upstairs with the words “I won’t wash my hair” lingering behind. This is a woman…who as a small child was nicknamed “Pokey” by her family. Yet much to my amazement there she was pulling her coat on at 4:40 saying “Let’s GO!!!!” She drove. We made some lights. And I was astonished when we pulled into a relatively close parking garage at 4:55. It appeared as though we were going to have time to walk to the Palace Theater, score an expensive glass of cheap wine, and be escorted to our seat before the “fashionably late” came through the front doors. Incredible!

But I had an uneasiness come over me as we came up from the underground garage. “I know it’s Sunday and Columbus isn’t a bustling downtown…but doesn’t it seem a little deserted to you? I mean…why would they have two shows if they only sold a couple hundred tickets for each one?” I said to anyone willing to hear…and they were few and far between. The wind whipped around us as we traversed the 2 blocks to the Palace Theater. The place had no one in front. Yvonne glanced over at me. And sure enough…once we got to the lobby entrance…taped to the doors…was a sign that read “Today’s Shows Have Been Cancelled Due To Injury”.

A little aside: this isn’t the first time we’ve had this happen. Twenty or so year ago we and a few friends piled into our 1964 VW Van and drove all the way to Cincinnati to see James Brown only to read a note that he was ill and the show postponed. We ended up shooting pool at a bar across the street for a couple hours.

“Geez…I hope one of them didn’t fall down and break their hip.” was the terribly ageist thought that popped into my brain.” Yvonne turned around and we looked into each other’s eyes. Serendipitously then…and I believe this may be a sign of “maturity”…we threw our arms around each other…threw our heads back…and laughed uproariously.

Our Top 5 Picksby Ted Kaneby John Bennettby Cory Tressler by Patrick O'Malley by David HochmanTravel SectionRecipes and MoreLinks Worth a LookBack Issues

© 2001-2004 NakedSunfish, All Rights Reserved

Issue 1 - January 2002