State of the Season 16 – Monotreme Madness Writing Enterprises

With the last State of the Season you may have noticed that their was no title picture. I will explain, but I hope you’re up to date on your Marvel lore. Fans of this blog (if I may be so bold as to claim some) will know that almost always I have placed Chris Pratt, my self-declared man crush, as the main image adorning my quarterly recaps. Given that Pratt’s most famous recurring character in cinema is Peter Quill, a.k.a. Star Lord, of the Guardians of the Galaxy, I have often displayed a Guardians related picture. Yet as fans of The Avengers: Infinity War are aware, Star Lord was one of the many heroes who vanished into thin air at the end of the film. Since we no longer have a corporeal Star Lord, we lacked a Pratt pic for the last SotS. I think that I will continue to keep his objectively beautiful face off the front page as this Marvel business becomes clearer. Have some dinosaurs in the meantime.

Now that that’s been established, let’s move on to the last 12 posts I’ve churned out since then!

First was “Thoughts on the DMZ and TMZ From the Waiting Room of a Car Dealership”, another inventive piece that was more rambling train of observational thought as I wrote my notes down on my phone while waiting for my overly long car servicing to be completed. Within my watching the world go round notes, I chimed in with some reactions to the headline news at the time. Man, things sure move fast within three months….

At the end of this piece I made a quick reference to two songs, including “Trapped in the Closet” by R .Kelly, a musical artist who is in some hot water of his own right now, but I’ll let Amber Ruffin explain that best:

The other song of course was the brilliant parody of that song by the greatest parody artist: “Trapped in the Drive-Thru” by Weird Al Yankovic:

“The Movie Man” is an appreciation of George Lucas, with a fair amount of criticism, published on his birthday.

“The Mousy Nurse of Oxford, Massachusetts” was originally going to be a history of the American Red Cross, but as I read more into it, I was more compelled by the story of its founder, Clara Barton.

The title was written in a style meant as a nod to Mark Twain.

“Never Forget the Fallen” was a simple reminder to think of those who have died defending what they thought was right for their country on Memorial Day.

“Dynamo Deliverance” is a look back at the evacuation at Dunkirk published on the anniversary of that enormous event. As good as the movie is, there is so much more to the real life story.

“The Cousteau Clan” is a sort of trifecta biography of Jacques Cousteau, and his two sons, Jean-Michel and Philippe, published on Jacques’ birthday.

My next post is a eulogy to Anthony Bourdain. Originally, I simply forgot to give the post a title before clicking the publish button, but in hindsight I like it. It seems to have been a natural mistake that has become more fitting than sticking to the original plan. No reservations indeed.

Since publishing this post, I ate my first In N Out burger on a trip out west. Such was the favorite restaurant of Bourdain in the whole LA area, and I must say that it stands far above all other fast food places. In true Bourdain fashion, my friends and I stopped at In N Out upon our arrival and before our departure. I recommend getting it with grilled onions and a chocolate shake. Animal style is a not-too-terribly secret menu style order you can make there that comes with extra sauce and a bit more flavor added to the burgers in cooking.

“Have You Ever Really Looked At Your Hands, Man?” Well, have you? The real question should probably be, have you ever listened to Pink Floyd’s The Dark Side of the Moon? because you should.

“When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth” – I didn’t really like the latest Jurassic Park movie, but I can recommend Dinosaur National Monument! Seriously, you should go see the latter; it’s amazing! On the way there you can read this post with my thoughts on the Jurassic sequels.

“Turn the Paige” – Like my bio on Clara Barton, I typed up this one on Satchel Paige in the steady, sudden reveal style Paul Harvey used to roll out on the radio. Google it you fucking millenials. Hahahahaha, I kid; I’m one of you and generations are stupid. Everybody’s different and makes their mark their own way. Look at Satchel Paige. You can start by reading what I wrote about him.

“The Eagle Has Launched” is the first of my pieces regarding Apollo 11. This one was published on the anniversary of the launch of that spacecraft and covered some of the details regarding that historic mission.The second part came out the following week with “The Greatest Speech Never Given” about the speech that fortunately did not  have to be read about a mission failure on the first manned moon landing. I think we can all appreciate one fewer instance where Richard Nixon did not deliver us bad news.

I did plan to release these posts around the anniversary of the moon landing (next year is the 50th!), but I forgot about the lunar eclipse that occurred last Friday. Happy accident. Although, it would have been better if us folks in North America could have gotten to see it.


Thanks for reading, and thanks for continuing to visit this site! I hope you will return next week for more original content which you can find here each Monday. Until then, enjoy yourself, and enjoy this bonus random video about the visual of cinema’s best bad guy:




The Greatest Speech Never Given

Last week, I wrote about the anniversary of the launch of Apollo 11, the world’s first manned lunar landing mission that saw Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walk on the Moon. The mission was the successful exclamation point that seemed to permanently declare the United States as the winners of the Space Race, and it went surprisingly smoothly for such a novel scientific venture. Everyone at NASA clearly did their research, and the expedition to collect lunar rocks, film and photograph the lunar landscape, and of course visit the Moon in person for the first time in history.

But what if things didn’t work out that way?

This was the scenario posed to William Safire by some of President Richard Nixon’s aides. Thus he drew up a plan for how to have the president handle the unfortunate circumstance where the men on the Moon mission never make it back. Safire was a speechwriter for Nixon on both of his presidential campaigns, and later wrote for The New York Times as a political columnist. In his memo, In Event of Moon Disaster he advised that Nixon address a potential major mission failure  by first contacting the astronaut’s wives with his sympathies, then by giving his brief, but powerful tribute speech, and finally by having a clergyman official commend the men’s souls in the same practice as a burial at sea.

It may seem grim in hindsight, but the reality is that Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins were explorers venturing bravely into uncharted territory in a vehicle that had never been taken on such a flight before. Even with their experience and the previous missions that tested the capabilities of the equipment and NASA to safely deliver men to the Moon and return them to Earth, it was far from a given. The most problematic part of the mission was in Collins’ picking Armstrong and Aldrin back up. If anything prevented the Command Module Collins was piloting from securing the Lunar Module that the others were in, then they were doomed to remain on the surface of the Moon.

So not only did Safire have to craft a speech that expressed a nation’s sadness in losing two of its best scientific explorers, he had to account for the fact that in all reality of  a failure, they would have to be left behind to die from starvation or suicide on the lunar plains. That is not an enviable death, and writing a statement to describe it in a way that present sympathy and resolve to keep exploring in spite of such a heavy loss is not an enviable task. Nevertheless, Safire did it, and he did it well. The remarks wisely follow the idea of not overdoing it and keep the piece short, yet this does not take away the somber sentiment within it. In fact, it’s terseness allows its listeners to focus on Armstrong and Aldrin, their sacrifice, and the future with some hope. In a manner reminiscent of the remarks of the man who defeated Nixon in the 1960 Presidential Race and opened his presidency with a challenge to explore space, Safire taps into the same vein that John F. Kennedy did. He closes the speech by saying, “Others will follow, and surely find their way home. Man’s search will not be denied.” Akin to Kennedy declaring that we will work toward a Moon mission and explore the cosmos and make other similar ventures “not because they are easy but because they are hard”, Safire offers the same push toward progress in space exploration that NASA has always worked for and assures us that nothing will stop this pursuit.

Here is the speech that William Safire wrote.

Here is a video of Benedict Cumberhot reading the speech in his Doctor Strange voice:

Fortunately, this speech was never needed, and Nixon visited the astronauts as they were in their post-lunar quarantine – a process we now know to be superfluous. Nixon went on to host a dinner in their honor and awarded them all the Presidential Medal of Freedom. They lived on to continue their careers and their lives, and they live on forever in the annals of history.

We can now appreciate Safire’s speech as a great speech that fortunately never was given.

Thanks for reading! Be sure to return here next week for the quarterly recap State of the Season.

I love you to the Moon and back,


The Eagle Has Launched

Today marks the anniversary of the launch of the world’s first lunar mission that put men on the Moon. Apollo 11 took off on July 16, 1969, en route to making history for the likes of Neil Armstrong, Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin, and Michael Collins. They actually landed on the big, reflectively bright ball in the sky four days later on the 20th, and completed their return back to the Earth another four days later on the 24th when they splashed down in the Pacific Ocean and was picked up by the USS Hornet.

The flight of Apollo 11 was without a doubt incredible. The historic importance was obvious to all involved, and in spite of the immense pressure on everyone in NASA, the entire mission was almost perfectly planned and executed. The bigger headline will always justifiably be that man walked on the Moon, but it is worth noting just how smoothly this whole shindig ran – or rather flew and gravitated – along. According to NASA’s website synopsis of the lunar mission, “on July 17, a three-second burn of the SPS [Service Propulsion System – the main engine of the Command Module] was made to perform the second of four scheduled midcourse corrections programmed for the flight. The launch had been so successful that the other three were not needed.” See what I mean? Smooth sailing to the Sea of Tranquility.

Beyond the easy ride the astronauts had on their way to the Moon there was one adjustment made well before the launch. The original primary crew lineup that was announced for Apollo 11 featured Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin as Commander and Lunar Module Pilot (LMP) respectively – roles that both of them filled on the actual mission. However, the role of Command Module Pilot (CMP), or the guy who stays behind to pilot the craft that picks up the pair on the lunar surface once they complete their mission, was not originally Michael Collins. Well, it was in a previous mission that was planned to feature him as the CMP, but then Collins had to have surgery , so another astronaut, who was serving as Collins’ backup, was promoted to the main man in the main Module, for that earlier mission, Apollo 8. That CMP who flew on Apollo 8, was Jim Lovell, the man who later would be the Commander of the star-crossed Apollo 13. Lovell was continuing his role of understudy turned star for the Apollo 11 mission when the crew list was first put out on November 20, 1967. Nevertheless, 20 months later it was a recovered Collins who was flying the Command Module to pick up Armstrong and Aldrin from the Moon. As is fairly common for NASA missions, there was plenty of flipping around on the crews before they every even entered orbit.

As you enjoy this Friday July 20th, look up at the night sky and reflect upon the amazing achievement that so many helped our species earn. Give your shout out to the still up-and-at-’em Buzz Aldrin, and your respects to his mission commander and first man on the Moon, Neil Armstrong. Yet don’t forget the other guys (and gals! You go real-life Hidden Figures ladies and your fellow females!), especially the also-still-cruising Michael Collins, the CMP who made sure that the entire crew made it back to Earth together; and Jim Lovell, who despite being on two Apollo flights into lunar orbit (Apollo 8 and 13) never landed on the Moon. Nonetheless, Lovell, like so many of the  less-recognized members of that era’s NASA team, was an invaluable contributor to the cause of space exploration.

But hey, it’s not all that bad! At least Lovell got to be portrayed by Tom Hanks!

Thanks for reading! If you ever have any questions or suggestion for me, then please pass them along to me at Be sure to get a gravity assist to swing you back here next week for some more information on the Apollo 11 mission.


Turn the Paige

From humble beginnings in on July 7, 1906 in Mobile, Alabama was born a troublesome boy. Leroy Robert Page was the son John and Lula who lived in the “Down the Bay” area of the Gulf city. John was a gardener, and by some accounts a drunk, and as a result. Lula and her children actually would go on to change their surname’s spelling to “Paige” after John’s death, partly to signal a fresh beginning, as well as to appear more refined. Nevertheless, the fact remained that this was the Deep South still under the bootheel of Jim Crow laws, and the Paige family remained poor and black. Leroy spent his teenage years in reform school after he was caught shoplifting for not the first time. From 13-17, Leroy received his state-mandated education in his state-reform school, but his greatest learning came outdoors with a ball and a glove. Leroy’s great love was baseball, and he would do anything to play it. Skip dinner? No problem, let’s play ball. Don’t have a ball or a bat? No big deal, we’ll use this stick and a bottle cap. All that mattered was that he got to get in the game. After his reform school stint in Mount Meigs he did just that by playing with the semi-pro Mobile Tigers. It was there that Leroy started to make a name for himself, but not with his birthname; instead he was better known by the nickname he had earned as a kid carrying bags at the train station: Satchel.

Satchel Paige may be the greatest pitcher in the history of baseball. His official statistics are certainly impressive, especially considering how long he played baseball, but those numbers do not represent the monster on the mound he truly was. Satchel Paige first made his Major League Baseball debut with the Cleveland Indians on this date in 1948 as a freshly 42 year old. He had enough success to be in strange contention for the “Rookie of the Year” award, but was undoubtedly happier to go on to win the World Series in his opening MLB season (which is still the most recent championship for the Indians). Of course, one year earlier Jackie Robinson had become the first black player in the MLB modern era, yet both he and Satchel had played previously in the Negro Leagues, including on the same team, the Kansas City Monarchs. Paige was older, and had more season in the Negro Leagues under his belt, and he was hurt that he was not chosen to be the first player to break the color barrier. However, Paige would go on to declare that Robinson was the greatest black player he had ever seen.

While Robinson made more of an impact in Major League Baseball and had exceptional success after his historic integration, Paige had equally amazing success previously in the Negro Leagues, as well as in traveling Barnstormer leagues both prior to and following his MLB career. Just before the 1947 integration season, famed pitcher Bob Feller put on leagues that traveled by plane to different cities across the country to play baseball with a mix of past and current MLB stars, as well as Negro League all-stars. Feller captained one team, and Paige captained the other and the two pitchers almost always started each game day after day. This seems so absurd compared to today’s baseball; I cannot imagine that daily pitching by the best in the game in a new location each day would go over well with managers and owners, nor would having their top players galavanting about in the off-season. Yet, that is just what Feller and Paige did, and each matched up against some of the best their leagues had to offer. And I mean, the BEST. It’s not hyperbole to suggest that some of these stars were the best in the game at the time because they were some to the best of all time. Players like Phil Rizzuto, Mickey Vernon, and Bob Lemon. Before and after his MLB years, Paige played in similar travel leagues and faced the likes of Cool Papa Bell, Carl Yastrzemski, Rogers Hornsby, and Joe DiMaggio. DiMaggio called Paige the best pitcher he ever faced.

Satchel Paige played his final game of baseball on June 21, 1966, and went on to serve a variety of mostly honorary positions in a few baseball organizations after his playing days. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1971.

Thanks for reading! You may always hit me up at with any questions or comments. I hope to see you back here next week!

Play ball!


When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth: An Apology to a World Long Lost

I owe an apology.

In fact, I owe a few. The biggest one I will get to in due time, but I owe one to all of you, my loyal (or casual, perhaps even stumbling upon this site for the first time) readers. A few years ago I got caught up in nostalgia and praised too highly something that I normally am quite demanding on: a movie. Specifically, I am referring to 2015, a roller coaster year for me personally that saw me come to terms with a great many things regarding myself, my relationships with others, and my appreciation of art. These are reasons why I behaved the way I did then; not excuses. Many of us were – and clearly still are – swept up in the tide of nostalgia that reboots, rehashes, and long-awaited sequels provided for us in the cinema, but this is no justification for my actions either. Now, to be clear, I do not dislike Jurassic World, the 2015 release that marked the fourth film in the vaunted dinosaur-centric series. I called it one of my favorite movies of that year, after all. I realized at its release that it was a derivative film that hearkened back to the original in a manner that often exploited our nostalgia, and I was okay with this because damn it I wanted more dinosaurs! It didn’t matter that they didn’t have feathers now, nor did it matter that the most well developed character was a velociraptor and the rest were bland at best. I got my dose of dinosaurs again, and it was a grand, old time at the popcorn palace. I saw Jurassic World three times in theaters, which pales in comparison to the five times I saw Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens that year (always with different people too!). However, while both were derivative of their original film and capitalized on the success of their predecessors, The Force Awakens offered us lovable new characters who fit right in alongside our established favorites. We are all right with the notion that these are the people who will carry our beloved franchise into new stories. I do not make apologies when I say that Star Wars succeeded at this with their latest saga film, Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi. I’ve spoken more on this matter, and probably will again, but the important thing is that Star Wars took things in a new direction with new characters and delivered a well-crafted story that does not call back to the original films as its most previous film did.  The Last Jedi listened to Fleetwood Mac and went its own way. Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom fucked around within itself like Fleetwood Mac and has steered the series off a cliff, and not even Chris Pratt with a gun and gusto can offer much support in saving it as it sinks.

I will not provide spoilers for the latest dino-spectacle, nor will I demand you stay away from it. You are your own person, after all, and perhaps you will like it. For me though, Fallen Kingdom really fell in a manner that is disrespectful of the original Jurassic Park. To be fair, this is hardly the first disappointment of a dinosaur sequel in the franchise – in fact, none of the films that have followed the 1993 original have delivered the goods the way it did. Nevertheless, none of the sequels have lost their way as this latest one did. Jurassic Park III is a more coherent movie than this latest despite all of its flaws – of which it has many, and it should not be forgiven for simply being less underwhelming than Fallen Kingdom. Still, there is something to say about simplicity. The original film is astoundingly basic in its concept: there is a park with dinosaurs that needs a test run clearance in order to open. From there, we add on the wonder of “Wow! Real dinosaurs!” Steven Spielberg offers heaps of fantastic wonder in so many of his movies, but perhaps none so pure as in Jurassic Park. There is a moment in Fallen Kingdom where Bryce Dallas Howard, who at least gets boots this time, asks Chris Pratt if he remembers the amazing joy he felt the first time he saw a dinosaur. It, like so many other instances is a chance for that movie to take off, but it just keeps bogging itself down in an abundance of activity. Too much happens in two hours for us to ever connect with the characters or the cliche-laden plot. Unlike the first Jurassic Park where Spielberg lets scenes stew to bring home the point at the heart of the story, beyond all the dinosaurs and colorful cast of characters and incredible scientific advancements that all feel so real, what he really wants us to experience is the moral of the story: we should not play God.

That’s it. At its core, Jurassic Park is a lesson in not meddling with nature, for just because you have awesome technological power to create new life, you do not have the means to control that new life. It’s a prehistoric retelling of Frankenstein of sorts; a cautionary tale for all would-be creators. As Ian Malcolm states in that first film, “But your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could, they didn’t stop to think if they should.”

I realize that the story has moved on from that initial theme, yet none have extensively explored anything other than what amounts to a rehash of it.

It would also help if we got less of timely Rexy, the Tyrannosaurus rex from the first movie who has continued her role of deus rex machina through three films now. It was amazing on the first go round (I even declared her grand finale entrance to be my favorite Spielberg movie climax moment), yet her appearances in Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom are a little too convenient. It’s no surprise anymore when she shows up just the good guys need saving or a bad guy needs to be stopped.

Ultimately, 25 years later, Jurassic Park is a enduring classic because it does more with less; Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom does less with more. The muddled plot and shallow characters will not do it any favors in preserving it in the cinematic halls of time, and its most gracious fate very well may be to fall into extinction.

Now while I have not and will not provide any spoilers for Fallen Kingdom in this post, I will offer up some good videos on the series, some of which do delve into spoils territory, so I will mark those accordingly, and encourage you to watch them (especially if you’re in charge of the next Jurassic Park movie):

Non-spoils: “Jurassic Park – Using Theme to Craft Character”

Spoils: “The Problem with Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom”

“Pressing the Dinosaur Button – Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom” – a unique take on how to fix a big problem in Fallen Kingdom

“Serious Questions -Jurassic Park Franchise” – for fun

Finally, my most sincere apologies to… The Lost World: Jurassic Park. I declared Jurassic World to be the best sequel in the franchise after I saw it, and stuck with that for too long. Again, I do still enjoy Jurassic World, and it certainly stands above Jurassic Park III and its own latest sequel. Nonetheless, I have kept what was rightfully yours on its shelf for too long. I now declare, that while it is not a perfect film by any stretch either, that The Lost World: Jurassic Park is the best Jurassic Park movie after the original. It is much maligned for being inferior to its predecessor, but let’s look at what it does right and original and give it the at fewest one thumbs up it deserves. You want more Goldblum? Check. You want intriguing new characters to join him? Check. You want more classic Spielberg suspense in sequences like trailer hanging off the cliff? Checkity check. You want Spielberg to provide awesome introductions to the established players like the T-rex and raptors while simultaneously introducing new ones like the pachycephalosaurus? You better believe check! You want Pete Postlewaite as a big game hunter bored with a lack of challenges seeking to hunt the greatest quarry that ever grace the world in the T-rex? Checkarino! Finally, do you want more of dinosaurs? Then you have come to the right place. Welcome to Jurassic Park…’s off-site dinosaur breeding island. And then San Diego.

For more on this, I encourage you to check out Filmjoy (formerly Movies with Mikey) for a more extensive defense of this still solid movie:

Thanks for reading! Be sure to come on back next week for more fun!

Go Brazil!


Have You Ever Really Looked at Your Hands, Man?

Watching the news recently brought to mind a particularly odd little man with what has to be fake hair and certainly a questionable sense of fashion, prattling on about his fantastic Space- well, just see for yourself:

Teehee! You didn’t expect that, now did you! Ahhhh, I digress, for I didn’t come her to spout off about politics. No, I came here to talk about some spacey sounds that you can really groove to. Specifically, I want to explore, what is to me, the most cohesive music album ever produced: Pink Floyd’s The Dark Side of the Moon.

Following in the footsteps of The Beatles’ Abbey Road, Pink Floyd turned their onstage jams at concerts into a continuous musical experience where each song segues into the next seamlessly. Furthermore, like Abbey Road before it, The Dark Side of the Moon offers more than just a collection of pretty songs that sound good stacked end to end. While surely a masterful complete auditory piece, the songs explore the birth, daily life, and death of man in a manner more musically layered than subtle, yet the meaning within the words is often overlooked because we’re just feeling the groove. As was the case with many of the seven prior Pink Floyd albums, The Dark Side of the Moon provides many an instrumental interlude, but none nearly as long as some of their big jams like “Echoes” that comprise half the album (and every act of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom of the Opera).


The Dark Side of the Moon was the album that marked the blossoming of Pink Floyd’s greatest era, and the blooming of the band’s career. Released in 1973, it was followed by Wish You Were Here (1975), Animals (1977), and The Wall (1979), marking the stretch where Pink Floyd was at the top of their game. The band was moving at a clip under the direction of Roger Waters and David Gilmour, and their most famous songs emerged during this phase of the band’s rich history. For me it all comes together most magnificently with The Dark Side of the Moon. Striking the perfect balance of experimental sound and commercially appealing music, this is the quintessential album from the band that melded progressive rock with the mainstream. Beautiful, soothing, depressing, and so much more, The Dark Side of the Moon speaks to me as soon as I hear its first track:

Thanks for reading, and listening! I hope you’ll enjoy this album in whichever manner you see best, and that you’ll refract back this way next week for more fun, in any colour you like, of course.

Breathe in the air,


Anthony Bourdain was a wanderer who knew exactly where he was in the world. Not necessarily in a geographical sense – in fact, he often was quite lost in that way – but from the perspective of a man who exemplified a go-with-the-flow wisdom in numerous locations and situations that most of us would be freaking out if we found ourselves in, Bourdain saw the beauty in every back alley, every dish,  and every culture.

Looking at his beginnings in the New York City area, Anthony Bourdain was raised by a family environment conducive to cultural growth. His mother was an editor for the New York Times (the paper whose famous book bestseller list he would later find his own name on), and his father was a top man at Columbia Records. With print and music covered in the family, and younger brother Christopher going into money (no, really, he’s a currency analyst), it seemed only natural for Anthony to round out the family’s varied experience with his own mastery of cooking and sense of travel.

Bourdain is best known for his television shows, most notably, Anthony Bourdain: Ne Reservations on the Travel Channel, and then Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown on CNN. On those shows, he brought his personal expertise as a chef who honed his French style in New York’s famous Brasserie Les Halles, as well as his linguistic skills that were certainly on point in his unique culinary books like his first: Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly. Bourdain always added his wit and charm to every situation, every travel by rickety rail or gondala.

Sadly, we lost Bourdain, last week when he took his own life. Whatever troubled him is still being uncovered, but I want to remember the man who recognized the humanity in all through his extensive travels and trials of different food from different places. Whether you remember the man who certainly lived a life worth living through his shows, his books, his food, or his humorous appearances in shows or films like Archer and The Big Short, remember to look at everyone around you as he did: as fellow people with something to share, to learn from, and to enjoy time with.


Making Mondays a little less Mondayish for all with words to educate, inspire, and try out my stand-up routine with.