Sunday, December 30, 2007

"Otay" is the New "Okay"

This is what I've learned this past week from my two-year-old niece:

1) "Otay" is the new "Okay"
2) "I'm sorry" makes everything "Otay"
3) Sitting on the potty and not doing a damn thing fifteen times a day is worthy of a cookie and a celebratory cheer of "I did it!" each time. Of course, I have to be witness to this event every time because someone has to know she deserves the cookie. (She does nothing on the toilet and I still have to change her diaper several times a day.)

4) The typical two-year-old gets up a dozen times each night for the following reasons, always in this order: isn't tired, is scared, doesn't need to go to bed, wants some milk, wants some water, has to go potty, wants some juice, there is a monster under the bed, isn't tired, is scared, it's dark, and it's dark again

5) "Why?" is the only word in the dictionary
"Get down." "Why?"
"Eat your carrots." "Why?"
"Put that down." "Why?"
"We can't do that now." "Why?"

6) There is never a time for bed
"Time for bed." "No!" "Yes." "I'm not tired." "When will you be tired?" "Never! I don't need to ever go to bed!"

Mostly, this week I've learned that I'm a great big teddy bear, on which to pounce, kick, crawl, and hug. Not bad at all.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

My Sister's Kids

If you're wondering where I've been, I have my older sister's kids for a while. So, I am now responsible for three kids, ages 11, 5, and 2. She's busy with some things, so I agreed to watch them for a while. I'll be back in full swing after the holidays. Until then, I'm busy holding a toddler over the toilet so she can "go potty" and doing other such things. Have a great holiday, everyone!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

WTF???? Customer Service??!! What's That!!??

Something happened today that hasn't happened to me in years... I received customer service. Now, I know I got a glimpse of it from Adobe a few months ago, but I had to push to get it, after being transferred to several different people in different departments.

I ordered a book of TV and radio contacts to move to the next level and try to get some national media spots to talk about the book, give dating advice, talk about upcoming projects, and just all around entertain. The contact list is not cheap; it is $350 for a year. It's $700 if you want monthly free updates for a year (the industry changes fast and it's wise to keep updated). I ordered the book w/out the udpates. Well, they screwed up and didn't mail it to me Monday like they were supposed to; so, when I called them about it, they apologized and today, they called to tell me they will be giving me the updates for free. So, I got $350 of free updates w/out having to make a complaint or anything (and I wasn't going to; it was a minor error). I must admit, it was very cool and felt great. You'd think more companies would have customer service. Also, when I called their 800-number, I got a person! No "type in the bra size of your mother's maiden's name's best friend's neighbor," or anything like that. Pretty impressive!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

More News - Next Project

I think this is the first time I missed making an entry between posts that is more than a week in length; but, with good reason... I am nearly done with my next project and have been working hard on it. I decided to put three of my thriller screenplays into one book, after re-formatting them and flushing out the descriptive content. All these scripts have been well-received by the film industry but they want some changes with which I don't agree. (Of course, if they bought a script, they could do whatever they want with it and will.) Just like God, which a handful of publishers wanted to alter to the point of ruining it, I am going to try to demonstrate that these stories are ones audiences want. (When you travel a lot and are very social, you listen to what people like and hate and want in books and film. It's the stuff you are not going to get from focus groups, which tend to be poorly representative of the population when it comes to the arts.)

All the scripts have done well. One won a contest, the other placed runner-up in the same contest, and the third got me in with a major production company. One of the scripts is currently being developed by Davis Entertainment (Predator, Flight of the Phoenix, I, Robot), although I have lost touch with them for the time being; both of us working on other projects, and the development situation may very well have faded away. I got some great tips on scripts from them, though, so either way the arrangement was beneficial. Also, the winning script landed me my first manager after Joan Cusack read it and liked it.

So, that's what I've been up to. My latest column is up at I'll have something else to say soon; most likely another dating story from my past...

Friday, December 7, 2007

Singular Existence Q&A and Latest Media

Hey Gang,

My Q&A answering Leslie Talbot's questions is up. You can check it out at Good questions and insightful.

I will be on Chicago NBC Morning News tomorrow morning at around 6:15AM with some holiday dating advice. At around 9AM, I will be on WLUW 88.7 radio in Chi-Town. A busy morning but I set it up this way so I would only have to get up early one Saturday morning and not burn more than one Friday night . . . I know what I'm doing!

Friday, November 30, 2007

Latest Column - Q&A w/Author Leslie Talbot

The latest "Lunch is Not a Date" column is up; it's a Q&A w/Leslie Talbot, author of Singular Existence. The book is quite good and our Q&A addresses the pressures society and media put on women to be in a relationship and to be responsible for all aspects of said relationship, from beginning to end. It went very well. Here's the link to check it out (site is

Nov. 30 Lunch is Not a Date Column

I also suggest reading my last post here, Wed. Nov. 28, as it is very relevant to the topic of roles placed on the genders.

Also, the deal for release of my book in Russia and CIS countries (Belarus, etc) was finalized yesterday. We're going Russian, baby!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

The Mating Dance is Flirting but That's not the Real Issue...

(This post will find its way into my "Lunch is Not a Date" column within the next few weeks.)

As many of you know, I recently did an interview in my column with Halima Sal-Anderson and then another with Classical One; both interviews are on interracial dating (IR). (Visit for the actual interviews.) Since doing the interviews, I have received several questions from black women asking how to do "The Mating Dance."

I have heard the term "The Mating Dance" (TMD) previously in several different circles and each kind of has its own applications. For example, pickup artists (pua's), more specifically Mystery--who is credited with founding the pua technique and community (meaning the on-line one, not the one that's existed for years prior just as a term for guys who were good at picking up women seemingly effortlessly)--states that too many guys ignore the mating dance. They express interest too soon, as opposed to maneuvering around, heightening a women's interest before indicating their own. Psychologists actually agree to an extent, stating that there is a courtship ritual to meeting someone that exists in all species, including humans, and that it tends to be more important to eliciting interest in the female of the species than in the male.

In the term IR's are using it, they are referring to people sending signals of interest to each other, specifically women sending signals of interest to men. The women who have emailed me their questions state that black women are known for not being as good at the mating dance as women of other races, specifically when it comes to "dancing" with white men.

What everyone is really talking about is flirting. Readers of God and my column know that I am very big on flirting, especially citing it as important for the "nice guy," and I provide flirting techniques throughout the book along with examples, illustrating them in the very stories in which I learned them and learned why they are important. I do give some examples of how women can flirt but not as many.

Every woman who emailed me about TMD stated "I feel I've missed out on being asked out by white men because I am not good at TMD." Basically, they are in that annoying state of wondering "what if...;" the state I lived in for years prior to age twenty-three. It is a state many, in fact most, guys live in their whole lives--"What if I asked her out?" "What if I went up to that redhead?" "What if that black woman I saw did date white guys and I just I assumed she didn't?"

The women go on to describe meeting guys on the subway (I'm assuming that's what the "London Underground" is), the bus, in a long line at the grocery store, while leaving a club, and so forth. They are disappointed because they think the guys in these scenarios did not ask them out because they poorly executed TMD. They want to know how to be better at TMD.

Did these guys fail to ask them out because the women sucked at TMD? It seems that many black women believe so; white women, on the other hand, would say, "No, those guys are just clueless." I'm not shitting you on this; black women tend to feel the fault is theirs for not sending out readable, strong signals, while white women always just say, "Guys are so clueless." I get tons of emails from white women asking, "Why are men so clueless?" I have yet to receive one from black women asking the same question. (I know who is who because women always physically describe themselves the first time they email me; I'm not sure why they feel the need, but it is interesting. It does help in some cases, depending on their question, but in most, it is a moot point.)

At this point, it is important to define flirting. There are many definitions, most of which are ridiculous. Dating experts and pua's often describe flirting as any conversation that takes place between a man and a woman. Most commonly those charging for seminars use this definition because if you say, "Hi" to someone they can say, "See? You flirted. Now, pay me $300 for the next lesson." Fucking ridiculous. What about gay people? They can't flirt? Also, most flirting has nothing to do with conversation; rather, it's body language. If I ask a woman what time it is, I am hardly flirting.

Flirting is communication between two or more people which resonates with sexual overtones via a combination of spoken language, physical touch, and body language. Asking someone how his day was is not flirting; asking someone how his day was while simultaneously smiling and running the palm of your hand down his shoulder and arm, is flirting. (Oh yeah, I am required by the publisher to mention that a lot of this stuff is in God; there's copyright laws with which to contend. That's another reason I went with a small publisher; a big publisher would only let me answer the TMD questions by writing "Read my book for all the information on flirting you need and could ever want to know; sorry, the publisher owns all the content and won't let me use my own stuff elsewhere.")

Okay, flirting is defined; great. How do you do it? As with anything else, start simple. One woman stated that she was told to "jiggle her shoulders, wiggle her butt, keep constant eye contact, keep smiling" all while continuing to talk. I laughed my ass off picturing her jiggling her shoulders while wiggling her ass. If a woman did that when I met her I'd be likely to yell, "Help! This woman is having a seizure! Do you have some kind of medic alert bracelet we should read, miss?"

That's a lot of activity to think about and put into play. Keep it simple. Don't try to do everything at once. If you meet a guy you like, when he kids you about something, push him away by gently punching him in the shoulder while commenting, "That's not true" and smiling. Insult him without meaning it--"You're a jerk;" only he knows you don't mean it because you're smiling or laughing while you say it. Twirl your hair occasionally while he's talking. Touch your cheek a few times. Make eye contact while smiling at different times throughout the conversation. Be open with your arms and keep your body toward his. (In short, don't stand there with your arms crossed, not smiling.) Fortunately, our bodies naturally help us with a lot of this stuff. For example, when you are speaking with someone and find the conversation engaging, you will have a tendency to mimic him as he speaks--when he leans forward on his arm as he talks, you are likely to do the same shortly thereafter; when he leans back, you will too, again shortly after he does. It's very natural. When someone isn't doing those things, it is often a sign that the conversation is not engaging to the other person.

So, if you don't over think it, a lot of this stuff will take care of itself. When I say keep it simple, I mean don't go in trying to think about all this stuff. Instead, focus on one or two things. Tonight I'm going to twirl my hair and smile a few times when I talk to a guy I like. Period. Don't do anything else. Another night try something different. When it fits into the conversation, I'm going to ask a guy I like if he's a good boy or a bad boy. Why? What has he done good; what has he done bad. Or, I'll say, "Ooh, tell me about the bad stuff." On another night, combine the two. By using this process, you'll become a natural flirt, able to turn it on and off at will without thinking about it. You'll touch when you naturally feel a good spot in which to do so, make a risque joke when the timing is right, and so forth. Trust me; I know. I used to suck it flirting and now I'm a king at it. I got here by doing just what I'm telling you, along with watching how other people flirted and listening to what they said.

So, what have we achieved? Well, black women, once you are good at TMD and the guy doesn't ask you out, you can then say, "Guys are clueless." Oh, what a fucking joy! I bet you're looking forward to that! Basically, we've accomplished very little in the end. Why? Because you have not established any control over the situation or yourself.

I wanted to address TMD in a blog before my column this week, which is a Q&A with Leslie Talbot, because there is a much bigger issue here that is the real heart of the matter. Ironically, Leslie and I will be addressing it in the column Friday, so a "pre-discussion" here, given all the questions about TMD, is warranted. (Plus, I've learned that for each person who asks a question, there are usually five with the same question who don't ask; meaning there are a lot of women out there who want to know how to be better at TMD, judging from the number of questions I've received.) Read the column Friday for further discussion and for Leslie's input. I will post this entry as a future column in the next few weeks but given all the questions about TMD I am receiving, there seemed no time to waste.

What did I mean by "you haven't established any control over the situation or yourself?" Exactly that. You're foolishly leaving all the power up to clueless men. (No matter how good you are at flirting, you'd be amazed how many guys have no idea that you are interested. Why? Because most guys get nervous and they are not paying attention to what you are saying and doing. You're touching them and smiling and they're thinking, "Okay, what should I say next?" Ever been talking to a guy and you think he is rude because whatever you say he completely ignores, replying with a completely different subject? Like you ask, "Where have you traveled?" and he replies, "What kind of food do you like?" Huh?! He's not rude; he's nervous. He's busy thinking about what he's going to say next the entire time you are talking, so he's not listening and responding, which is a huge part of being successful when it comes to meeting women.)

All women of every race are pre-conditioned by society and the media--I don't care what anyone else says, or what woman lib claims--to wait for the guy to make the all-important first move. I mean, all the questions I'm getting about TMD boil down to simply this: "Okay, if I giggle and jiggle just right, the guy will ask me out, right? So how do I do that?" EER! Wrong!

The concept of God is multi--it's a dating advice book, a book of funny stories, a book about being a standup comedian; it all depends on the reader and what the reader is looking for when they read it. At its most basic level, it is the very honest, open story I've my personal growth, particularly in the dating world. The humorous concept of God is that we all often blame someone else for our dating woes, even God. (In fact, especially often God.) I used to get mad at women for my failures with them. I finally woke up and realized this universal truth: the only person responsible for my happiness is me. That's true for all of us--the only person responsible for your happiness is you. Your happiness is your job and no one else's.

So why the hell wait for the guy to ask you out? Why wander around for the next three weeks thinking Gee, I wonder why he didn't ask me out. Was I not clear about my interest? I hate wondering, so I don't do it. If I'm interested, I make my move and so should you. Look, if I meet you on the bus and we're talking and you're interested, guess what? Only you know where you get off on the bus, not me! Only you know you are getting off in two stops. Are you going to sit there, hoping I ask you out before then? Are you going to ride the bus till my stop, six miles out of your way, hoping I'll ask you out? Then be pissed when I don't, because I'm thinking Well, she's black and she probably doesn't date white guys, so I won't even try for her digits (phone number).

The point is, you don't know what I'm thinking. And I don't know what you're thinking. No matter how much flirting is going on, that's the fact, Jack. It will always be the fact. It will never, ever change. It is one of the few certainties in life. Don't wait for me to make a move; make your own move. "You know, I'm getting off in a few stops, but I'd like to continue this conversation. Here's my email." "If you want my number, you better ask soon; I get off in two stops."

Now brace yourself . . . I may decline. I might be engaged. Married. Gay. Seriously involved. Stupid. Who knows? Most likely, I'll be refreshingly surprised and take your information and call you because I've received a very strong indicator that I will be successful in getting a date. (The number one reason guys don't call after they get your number, ladies? Fear of rejection. They talk themselves out of it because they didn't get a strong enough signal, in their minds, to take the next step.)

What's the worst that could happen? I reject you. Hey, welcome to our world! It happens. I get rejected all the time. Guess what? I'm still breathing, still kicking, the world is still spinning. You get a few rejections under your belt and it's like water rolling off a duck's back. Most importantly, you won't spend a minute wondering What if? Trust me, it is much better to know than to wonder. Yeah, yeah, I know a few guys get put-off by a woman asking them out. Fuck them. Do you want to date someone that ignorant, any way? He's done you a favor by saving you the vast time and energy you may have spent only to come to realize he's a stone age moron.

Don't make excuses; take control of your own happiness. Yes, learn how to flirt and be good at it; it is important. But don't ever rely on someone else for your happiness. This is especially important in IR dating, where there are so many barriers with which to already contend; eliminate the biggest one immediately.

Hope this helps. Remember to check out the Nov. 30 Lunch is Not a Date column; Leslie will be talking about other ill-conceived conceptions still plaguing women these days.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Story Posted and Next Q&A

I finally posted the latest standup story to my site. Also, next week, Friday, my column will be a Q&A interview with Leslie Talbot and a review of her book. Check her out ahead of time here:

Promises to be another good interview. The last Q&A led to a discussion with over 70 replies on the interviewee's blog:

When I get some time (ha ha), I'll be udpdating all my sites and making the column into a blog format. This has been an official Ian Coburn update...

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Just Say No to Comedy Groupies

I've been promising an overdue standup story for some time. Well, I finally have time to write one tonight. I won't have a chance to post it to the site for a while, but here it is, early just for you. (I'm talking to you and one else; not you or you or you; just you.) Actually, it feels good to write something that doesn't have a deadline attached and I'm looking forward to it.

I was exposed to my first comedy groupie in Columbus, OH, at the Funny Bone. She came in on a Sunday night. She sat in the back of the club, by herself. She watched the show intermittently between watching the comedians hanging out offstage at a table in the back of the club, with whom she seemed far more interested than the one onstage. When one of us got up to go to the bar or restroom, she got up and cut us off, briefly introducing herself and smiling. She then promptly returned to her seat. The club manager, Dave, came up to us as the headliner started to wind down his set. (I was an emcee at the time.) "Any of you guys want a blowjob?"

I immediately chimed, "You know, Dave, I appreciate the offer but I'm going to have to insist on being paid in cash."

He laughed. "No, not from me. The woman over there, who's said hi to you all, is our resident comedy groupie. She comes into the club every few weeks on a Sunday and blows one of the acts in the parking lot. Anyone interested?"

One of the acts hurried away for his bonus pay. The idea of getting a blowjob from some woman who cared only that I was a comedian and nothing about me, held no interest for me. It also astounded me that such people existed.

I ran into perhaps a dozen or so comedy groupies over the years and they always fascinated me. To date I have found no other profession with such a following, save for musicians, I'm sure. No woman walks up to a construction worker and offers to blow him after verifying he is, in fact, a construction worker. And it would be quite easy, what with all those tantalizing portable potties onsite. Even doctors and lawyers don't get women walking up to them, offering sex simply because they are doctors and lawyers.

One time I worked with a headliner who had no business headlining and who was helping to kill comedy. I worked with him in Appleton, Wisconsin, at a great club called The Skyline Comedy Cafe. Despite it being summer, when crowds in areas like Wisconsin tend to shrink because people want to absorb as much of the annual fifteen minutes of warm weather as possible, the shows were almost packed. The headliner, whose name I no longer remember, was working for "summer money."

Summer money is another thing I've never experienced outside comedy and one which no other profession experiences, again save for musicians, I'm sure. The bookers of some clubs inform acts that they will be making less money for an appearance in the summer because "the club draws smaller crowds in the summer." The term has become so common that bookers just say, "We'll be paying summer money."

This is precisely why it is so important to have fuck-you money. Johnny Carson coined the phrase "fuck-you money" and the concept trickled down to me via Ken Severa, a talented comedian out of Chi-Town. "You have to have fuck-you money, Carson always said. Not enough entertainers realize that and they hurt the industry for everyone. When someone offers you a gig that pays nothing, you have to be able to say fuck you because you have money saved up--fuck-you money. If enough acts have fuck-you money, the booker has to pay more for the gig." A solid concept I took to heart.

I never quite said "fuck you" to a booker but I stood my ground just the same. I am proud to announce that I have never worked for summer money. I either worked that club in a non-summer month or the club knew better than to offer me summer money and just paid me the regular fee. Usually the conversation with a booker went something like this:

"Okay, well, we're all set, Ian. Now, this will be paying our summer money."

"No problem, I'll do my summer show."

"Summer show?" the booker would reply, getting a little nervous.

"Yeah, I do all the setups and none of the punch lines."

"That's funny," he would laugh.

"That's my summer show."

"Well, seriously, we make less money in the summer because the crowds are smaller."

"Well, funny thing, the electric company, my landlord, and the phone company all send me the same bills in the summer; they don't go down."

Inevitably, the booker saw things my way. If a club can't draw crowds in the summer, it should just shut down for the season. The best thing a comic can do is work that club enough times in non-summer months to become a draw anytime, including in the summer.

As usual, I digress. Back in Appleton, where the booker knew better than to offer me summer money, I found myself in the comedy condo (where the comedians are put up by the club) with a headliner whose name I can no longer remember. He complained to me about the summer money, which I didn't even know the club paid. It turned out he was making the same $400 to headline that I was making to feature. (He should have been making more than twice that much.) He also had to pay his own airfare from Los Angeles and rent a car to drive up from Milwaukee for the week. All I did was drive up from Chicago. In the end, he was actually paying several hundred dollars to perform.

Things got worse for him. I was on the brink of only headlining myself and I anticipated trouble; no real headliner would work for summer money, especially if he had to pay his own airfare. He was losing money on this gig, just so he could headline. He couldn't follow me and the show didn't crescendo in the proper place. Instead of leaving on a high, the crowd left on a low. Worse, I sold t-shirts after my act with one of my most popular bits on it; and I sold a lot, over 100 for the week at ten dollars a pop. He knew I was making the same amount of money, as well as over $1000 more in t-shirt sales.

Tensions grew between us at the condo. He was jealous and I was annoyed. The twit was harming the industry by working a slot for which he wasn't ready, by accepting less than half the normal pay, and he wasn't even a solid feature. He had an agent, who probably arranged the gig by refusing to book his bigger clients at the club unless a few of his weaker clients were booked. I watched many agents effectively slowly close rooms using this practice. It became more and more common and is just one of several reasons why road talent dislikes some Hollywood agents, namely the ones who push comedians prepared for short routines on-camera as road acts. Even worse, they often sent out actors as comedians, who effectively brought shows to a grinding halt.

As the week went on, he decided to usurp his power as headliner. Whenever I was watching TV, he would change the station, even if he liked the show, just so I couldn't watch it, despite the fact that he had a perfectly good working TV in his room, which was bigger than the one in the living room. (This is an understood right of headliners but one which is rarely practiced. I never practiced it as a headliner and those who did were imbrued as jerks in the industry.) After he did this several times, I committed a major faux pas myself by failing to recognize his authority as headliner--I changed the channel back.

"Hey, I'm the headliner!"

"Summer headliner; the rules don't apply to you guys."

He was pissed but there wasn't much he could do without risking a brawl.

Near the end of the week, an English woman approached me with her friends, as I sat at my table in the lobby, peddling my shirts and signing autographs. She announced, "I want to blow you."

"Excuse me?"

"In the bathroom, I want to give you a blow job. Do you have a condom? I'm all out. Well, it doesn't matter; I'll give you a blow job, any way."

You, out of condoms? Shocking. Getting a blowjob while wearing a condom is about as effective as getting a massage over the phone.

"Are you serious? You don't want a blowjob?"

The other audience members gossiped amongst themselves about this strange woman, with disbelief painted on their faces. "Nope, no not for me but thanks."

"Okay, well, you are very, very funny; the best act of the night by far."

"Thank you."

I did give her a hug and let her kiss me on the cheek. My solicitor turned to her friends, "Where's that other act? The one who went last?"

I peddled some more shirts and headed back to the condo. The headliner returned a little later. He beamed at me, determined to prove that he was worthy of the position, somehow, any way he could. "Guess who got a blowjob."

This is not a greeting I'm used to hearing, nor is it anything about which I cared. I have enough time worrying about my own penis, let alone someone else's.

"That's right, I got a blowjob in the bathroom at the club, after everyone left. A woman from the crowd. What do you think of that?"

I shrugged. "Did you wear a condom?"


"Did you make sure she didn't have any sores or cuts around her mouth?"

He started to get nervous. "No."

"That's pretty stupid, to get a blowjob from someone you don't know at all and have no idea if she has anything or a way to spread it and then to not wear a condom."

"Yeah, I guess it was dumb."

His attempt to impress me was not working. He beamed again, refreshed. "But it's still a blowjob!"

He should have left it a that but no, he had to push it and he went further than I could handle.

"What a week. I had great shows, I'm definitely a headliner (something headliners don't announce or discuss) and I got blowed. You didn't get any action this week, did you?"

"No, I don't hook-up with comedy groupies."

"Neither do I! She wasn't a comedy groupie."

"English girl, right?"

"Yeah . . . how'd you know?"

"She made me the same offer but I turned her down. Then she went looking for you."

He stood there, all his energy zapped. It was the final blow to a dismal week for him. Nobody wants to be sloppy seconds, at least not without vast amounts of alcohol being involved. I couldn't resist adding one last comment.

"Comedy groupies; just say no."

Friday, November 16, 2007

Latest Column

The latest column is up at This is a particularily interesting one, as it is another Q&A with a blogger who discusses the issue of interracial dating. He's a college student with some insightful views. Have a good weekend, everyone.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Stay in the Box

I auditioned for Readers Digest yesterday at Zanies in Chicago. It was the first time I had performed standup in a few years, since turning primarily to writing. Readers Digest is looking for the funniest comedian in Chicago. They stated in their craigslist ad, which I happened to catch, that participants would be on their site. I thought that would be good exposure for the book.

It always cracks me up how the people seeking comedians audition them completely, utterly, totally wrong. As a comedian, you assume the taping will be in front of a live audience. At the very least, you assume it will be set up like a normal standup show.

Nope. Not at all. Fortunately, I was prepared, though. I got to the audition and it was arranged as follows: no audience, no other comedians watching to laugh, nothing. It was simply a small production crew. You didn't even stand on stage, you stood in front of it. I also learned only the ten finalists would be on their site. Since I had written my act that morning due to my heavy schedule--some big things going on that will hopefully be announced soon--I knew I wouldn't be one of the top ten. They wanted very specific material on topics such as marriage and pets, so I whipped up a few things. The camera was a mere few feet in front of you and they asked you to look straight into it the entire time. I asked them if it could follow me, because I am very animated onstage. They said, "Sure, just don't go out of the box." The box wasn't even four square feet total. Great.

No crowd. No ability to move. Stare straight head. Do your show. In short, don't do anything that has anything to do with standup comedy. With today's technology, I have no idea why they just don't let you email them a clip as your audition for these "searches." That way you can send them a live show which really demonstrates your comedy and the crowd's reaction. Nope, that would be sensible and few things about such auditions are sensible.

It was a good experience and good practice for any on-camera audtions unrelated to comedy, like for a dating talk show... but boring as hell. A bored comedian is an unfunny act indeed.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Too Old or too Young? Determining Your Dating Age Range

I haven't posted my column up on my blog in a while. Here is this past Friday's column for "Lunch is Not a Date."

Before we jump into this week's column, I am pleased to announce that the debut Q&A proved to be quite a success. The next Q&A has been scheduled already for next week's column. It will be with "Classical One," a blogger who posts his thoughts on dating black women as a white guy and college student. His posts spark intriguing discussions and debates. In coming weeks, also watch for Q&A's with other authors and bloggers, including Leslie Talbot. Okay, now for this week's business.

Lately, I've had people email me asking if someone is too young or too old for them. They ask whether they are too old to troll bars (if you have to ask, yes, you are too old) or too young to go to certain bars. They ask if they should be attracted to older or younger co-workers. It all really boils down to one question: What is your dating age range? How do you determine it?

First and foremost, realize that dating age range has little to do with your age once you are an adult. It is autonomous to each person. In short, your dating age range has nothing to do with anyone else's, save the person who you are interested in or dating.

In my early twenties, I tended to find myself interested mostly in women who were in their early thirties. This was because I had already traveled extensively as a comedian, seen a lot, and had lots of experiences. Women my own age had little in common with me, whereas women in their early thirties had about the same life experience as me.

Now, just hitting my mid-thirties, I find myself interested in women in their early to mid-twenties. Why? No doubt every woman out there immediately thought, Yeah, because they are young and firm. Actually, some of the firmest, best-shaped women I've been with have been in their forties--nothing fake or fixed, they just stay in shape.

I lean toward younger women right now because I am in the midst of making some life-changes, like working on a new career (author, columnist, and web designer--if I ever finish learning Dreamweaver, Flash, and all the other junk), starting to get ready to save and buy a place, and that sort of thing. Lots of women I meet my own age already have a long-since-set career and a condo. They tend to be sick of their job, usually taken simply for the paycheck, and have little passion for it. They are also often downbeat about dating in general. One woman I dated recently responded with glares of skepticism whenever I complimented her during sex. It is annoying and a complete turn-off to tell someone she is beautiful and then watch her frown, followed by her reply--"You don't have to say that, I'm already naked." That gets old, tired, and annoying fast. It's not only skeptical but insulting to my judgment. What, I can't tell who I'm attracted to and need her to point out her flaws while we're fooling around?

I am obviously very upbeat about dating and my career; I have a low tolerance for women who aren't, when it comes to dating them. I relax, have fun, and don't worry about any dating norms, stupid society rules, or maneuvering tactics; I also don't greet my dates and anything they say or do with immediate skepticism. I also play a lot of sports in adult sports leagues and keep very socially active. Again, these traits tend to be shared with me more by women in their early twenties than by women my own age. (Many women my own age prefer to sit at home, catching up on TiVo instead of playing sports or being social.)

So, determine your dating age range not by your age but by where you are at in life. I am at a place in my life right now where dating significantly younger tends to be the current theme. That may very well change, as I am also interested in settling down, and younger women may not share that trait with me, yet. When it comes down to it, I'm not really dating or interested in an age; I'm interested in a person. (For example, just because I tend to date young right now, doesn't mean I date women who like to hit the club scene or hop from one party or bar to another all night long, endlessly. Not for me and many I've met follow that pattern, so I am not attracted to them.)

Date where you're at in life. You'll be happier than trying to force yourself to date where you think you should be dating or worse, where your friends and family think you should be dating.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

TV Shows Support Troops?

Anyone else notice how ironic it is that we are at war (although I guess it hardly feels like it for most of us, including myself, I mean, nothing has changed in my life), and television is always plugging the support of the troops; yet, so many TV shows, like Criminal Minds and Law & Order, have a lead, sadistic villian, who has been in the military and received a dishonorable discharge. Doesn't seem like now is the time to paint such a depiction, does it?

Monday, November 5, 2007

Writer's Block - er - Strike

So the WGA--Writer's Guild of America for those not familiar--have gone on strike. People have been asking me why and what are my thoughts. Well, I'm not in the WGA, even though I've written two scripts-for-hire. Why not? Lots of projects get around the rules of WGA. Unless you write a script for, or sell one to, a big producer or studio, chances are you won't join the WGA. That accolade has not happened for me, yet, particularliy because I have been more focused on books these days, especially a certain one...

Generally speaking, I think writers should get as much credit as possible. The only way they seem to get credit in Hollywood is via money. Most of what they want is related to DVD sales, and that kind of crap. The average writer makes $30 grand a year--in L.A! That's insane! Without writers, there is no show, nothing to act, nada, zilch, nothing. Yet, they are paid very little, unless they happen to sell a script. From what I've read, the WGA has lots of minimums, much higher than a $30 grand annual salary. That means that most writers aren't in the WGA. So, well the strike will help writers all ready doing well and in the union, it does nothing for the writers who really need the money. I think if the WGA really wants to help writers, ALL writers, then it should fight for a minimum salary for writers, like the minimum wage, which impacts all writers, not just WGA ones. I'm not against the WGA helping out just WGA members; that's its gig. What I find annoying is when the organization states, "Oh, well most writers only make $30 grand a year." Yeah? Okay... how are you helping them? Oh, you're not. Well, then, you can't use them as an argument. That's bullshit. (I agree with what I've heard the WGA asking for, I just don't agree with the stats they are claiming to get it.)

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Get a Free Manual from Adobe

I ordered the Adobe Creative Suite 3 Master Collection the first of this month. It is supposed to come with a pdf user guide, but apparently it actually doesn't. If you call and complain, asking them where it is, they will mail you hardcopy for free (normally $50). So, if you have made a purchase of any Adobe software and it doesn't come with a pdf manual it promises, call 'em up and get the hardcopy for free!

I know I promised a new standup story a while back and have failed to deliver. What can I say? Things are crazy, busy, and I still have that stepfather family thing going on, which I keep writing I'll explain. I will. Like I keep promising, it is absolutely insane. It has to be done right, though, and I will probably have to coordinate with a new website. More later...

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Debut Q&A Up!

My debut Q&A with another author on the subject of dating is up at Check it out; the subject is interracial dating. The appearance on WGN this morning went very well; they have a great morning team there and they make it easy. I'll have it up on the site early next week and keep you posted. Have a good weekend!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Busy Week and First Blogger/Author Q&A

I will be on Chicago WGN Morning News Thursday morning at about 7:45AM Central Time, answering dating questions. They are a fun group and I'm looking forward to it. Also, the first Q&A with another author/blogger on Lunch is Not a Date will be posted this Friday as the column. I am looking forward to it. Again, her name is Halima Sal-Anderson and she wrote Supposing I Wanted to Date a White Guy...? She runs a blog at

Also, I am looking into doing a children's book and amateur photography book using my various photos from recent trips. So, a busy week!

That crazy, infuriating thing I promised to blog about? Well, it is coming, unless it can be settled quietly but it doesn't look that is a possibility. It will be a while before I discuss it and I will probably set up a website for it, too. You know I'll keep you posted!

Sunday, October 21, 2007


Ever think about what that word really means? It seems like some people get it and others don't; or, more likely, they just don't give a rat's ass. We are all part of communities, starting with the world community and working down from there. Each community can be broken down into a smaller one. Being in a community often creates an immediate bond, recognition, and respect among people. Communities are dependent upon location and situation. For example, two guys who meet and learn they are both civil servants, instantly bond as part of that community. That bond becomes even tighter when they learn they are both firemen. If they are both captains, or started the same year, or both lost a co-worker in a fire, that connection grows as the community they belong to becomes smaller and smaller; hence, tighter and tighter. When I'm in Illinois, I don't think about other Illinoisans. Yet, when I was in Yellowstone, my fellow statesman and I spoke to each other simply because we noticed each other's license plates. I quickly met some new people to keep in touch with who were also from Chicago; people I never would have spoken to if I had met them in Chicago. Interesting, eh?

In Yellowstone, everyone was part of a community. Whenever we pulled over to observe an animal, people would tell each other where they could see other animals. The community is created because everyone there wants to see animals. Often, if you saw some cars pulled over to look at a few Bison, you would pull over and tell the people, "Hey, there's a whole herd up the road, right along the shoulder." They would thank you and drive up the road for a better experience.

I detest it when people violate a community for their own perceived selfish gain. Or, when they fail to recognize the community and their role in it. I saw a gross example of this on my latest trip to Yellowstone. My mom and I came around a bend in the road and found ourselves looking smack at a wolf, not far off the shoulder. A van was pulled over and two obvious photographers--based on their equipment and hefty triopods--were standing on the shoulder, taking photos of it. We pulled over on the other side of the road and went to get some photos ourselves. I caught one photographer give us a look of disapproval. The wolf started to walk back further, seeking the sanctuary of tall grass. I heard one photographer say to the other, "Man, these are the best wolf shots I've ever gotten."

A car pulled up and slowed down. "What do you see?" asked the elderly driver--a common question among the Yellowstone community.

"Oh, just a coyote."

She nodded and her group drove on. Coyotes are a pretty common sight in the park and many people stop pulling over to observe them; wolves are rare and people always pull over to see them. The two most commonly asked questions rangers get--by far--are "Where can we see grizzlies?" and "Where can we see wolves?" This elderly group of people, perhaps on their only trip to the park and having their only opportunity to ever see a wolf, were deprived of it by an outright lie. It's almost like theft. Why did the photographer lie? A few cars pulled over leads to a lot of cars pulled over, often known as a "(animal)-jam," like a "wolf-jam" or "bear-jam." Such a jam typically scares wary animals away, such as wolves.

The photographers, who had already gotten great shots of the wolf, didn't want to share. They felt they had a special right to observe the wolf, take photos, and that a simple park visitor didn't have those rights. True, you could argue that the photographers were part of a tighter community than just the Yellowstone community; they were part of the professional photograhper community in Yellowstone. Perhaps; however, what is their role in the Yellowstone community? Who buys their photos, displayed on postcards, or their books of photographs? The woman in the car and her group. Why do they come to Yellowstone? To see the real thing these photographers' photos depict. If it wasn't for the Yellowstone visitor, the photographers and Yellowstone would be out of business. No doubt, the photographer violated the unwritten rules of the community. Had I acted quickly enough, I would have told the woman it was a wolf, although the photographer may have used his expert position to again lie in order refute my truthful claim.

Whatever communities you are part of, I hope you follow the rules of the community. You may go beyond the duties of them, if you wish, but at least hold the basic rules to heart; breaking them can ruin aspects of the community for everyone. As a comedian who other comedians have let crash at his place, I've let comics crash at mine; however, the last few stole some items, so now I will no longer do that. See how they have hurt the rest of the community? Alex, an acquaintance of a friend, left a key for me under his mat at a his place in L.A. without ever having met me. (He was in Vegas for a few days and let me crash at his place while he was gone, without ever having met me.) Alex is an actor looking to make a name for himself and I was coming out to L.A. for a week as a screenwriter looking to make a name for myself. That was our community; our bond. Often, actors, comedians, writers, and other artists will let each other in the community know of open gigs, bad gigs from which to stay away, agents who steal by taking too big a cut of the gig purse, and so forth. That is a responsibility in the community.

Whatever communities you are part of, remember to obey the rules of them, even if it might deprive you of something. Remember, the community is after the same thing you are after; that's what makes it a community. There may be times when you have to reach out to the community on a larger scale, to let them know of something or to warn them, so that they don't suffer the way you may have suffered, or to simply help them by shedding some light. If you choose not do so, that's fine, as it may be a big burden to carry and not wanting to do so is quite understandable; however, stop to think If someone had written about this or warned me, would I have benefited? Will others in the community benefit if I do so now myself? If so, hopefully you can find the strength to do so, or to allow someone else to do so for you. People often ask me why I wrote God; that's why. We are all part of the dating and relationship community. I felt I had some good stories and advice to share that could help out others in the community. Period. (Oh yeah, and I love to make people laugh, as you know.)

Communities. If you think about it, where would we be without them? Nowhere. And, if you think a little more, what creates all the problems in the world today, including crime? Simply a violation of a community's rule, unwritten or written. If we all keep our communities in mind all the time, the world would almost be a perfect place.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

New Yellowstone Photos

Here are some of the Yellowstone photos from my latest trip. Enjoy!

Friday, October 19, 2007

Tomorrow, I Promise...

I can't believe it has been a week since my last post. (So, what's new, right?) I just got back from Yellowstone today. I have some very cool new photos and some thoughts to share. Fortunately, I am on Chicago NBC morning news tomorrow, around 6:50AM, if you happen to be up that early and get the station. So, for now, I have to prepare for the show; but I will have a new post tomorrow, I promise... really, I will!

Friday, October 12, 2007

Next TV Appearances and Craziest Blog Ever Coming...

In Yellowstone again, this time with mom. Great time to be here; fantastic colors and most of the animals are in heat, which means clashes among Elk, Moose, and deer. I'll see if I can get any on video to share...

Of course, as always, I am working even while on vacation. (Have to be! Always have to be working to help out the dating impaired, as I used to be one.) I will be on TV next for NBC Chicago Morning news on Oct. 20th (Sweetest Day) and on Oct. 25th for WGN Morning news. I'll keep you posted on the times as we near the dates...

Something recently occurred with the passing of my stepfather that has the potential of being both unbelievable and one of the most horrific things I've ever heard. It promises to be my craziest blog ever, which will infuriate. When I return from my trip, I'll have more details and the blog will post... trust me, this is just wild, wild, wild stuff!

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Rudy's Letter

This is a letter my mom came across while going through Rudy's (stepfather's) stuff. It adds fuel to the fire to get the celebrity-signed-book copy for Ebay, donating the proceeds to a Vet benefit fund. (Thus far, btw, I've heard from the following celebs, all of who want to sign: Brett Butler, Jimmy Pardo, John Caponera, and Rocky LaPorte.) It also provides some insight into the simple everday things Vets struggle to get that the rest of us often take for granted. I will be heading to Yellowstone with my mom roughly from Oct 10-20 and will be focused on the book signing project 100% upon my return. Of course, I'll keep you posted as I hear from more celebs.

Actually, I think I mentioned this letter previously but now I have an actual copy and can quote it. As I indicated previously, Rudy was a big Paul Harvey fan. He wrote this letter in '92, after which his heart greatly improved due to various medication and he was taken off the heart-transplant candidate list.

Dear Mr. Harvey:

For years I have read and heard about Kup's Purple Heart Veterans Cruise. Royko applauds it, as you do. I don't know anyone who doesn't think it's great, including me. Few veterans can benefit from it, however, and most get treatment of a far different sort.

I am an ex-marine with a bad heart trying to qualify for a heart transplant. My beef is that while recently a patient in the Hines Veterans Hospital I was shocked to learn that the pateients' library is unable to provide a daily newspaper. I was told the library had no budget for this. Imagine a lonely, hospitalized vet looking for a job, a cheap used car, a sleeping room, cremation services or just some current reading material - and he cannot go to the library in a huge hospital like Hines and read a newspaper in the great city of Chicago.

Isn't there something three heavy weights like you of WGN, Kup of the Sun Times, and Royko of the Tribune could do? Even a day old paper would improve on the current situation and give some help to our guys.

Where in hell is all the recent Desert Storm spirit? How soon they forget...

A faithful listener,

Rudy Kara

Personally, I find the situation appalling and ironic. There is a lot of rhetoric reminding us that our soldiers fight to protect our freedoms, especially emphasizing our freedom of speech. Yet, these same soldiers can't even benefit from their own work and dedication--they can't read the current freedom of speech expressed in the latest newspaper while they're laid up for defending that freedom of speech. Rudy was right; something is very screwy about that.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Quick Update

I will be working on another comedy story for the site; of course, I will post it here, too. It should be up within the next week or two. This has already been an extremely busy week. A popular cable show is currently speaking with me about being on an episode; would be a lot of fun, so I'm hoping it will happen. I am also setting up my first Q&A with another dating author. I want to do Q&A's with other dating authors and bloggers, as it will bridge some gaps out there and create lots of intriguing discussion and thought.

My first Q&A guest will be Halima Sal-Anderson, who is located in the UK. She blogs about interracial dating between black women and white men. It is an intriguing topic and I read her book, Supposing I Wanted to Date a White Guy...? If you've read God is a Woman, you are familiar with my humorous encounter with a black woman--Aretha. I also have some other exposure and a fair amount of questions for Halima. So, sometime within the next few weeks or month, the Q&A will be my weekly "Lunch is Not a Date" column. It will probably be a two-part column, due to the length. I'm excited about this and really looking forward to it. In the interim, feel free to check out Halima's blog at, aka

As for other things, I am taking some time to help out my mom. We will be hitting Yellowstone for a trip her and my stepfather had been planning to take (she was going to surprise him with the location), and I will be traveling to and fro to Ohio to help her out with things. Also, I found a letter from my stepfather written to Paul Harvey (he was a huge fan of Paul's), trying to get some publicity for Vets so they could have simple things like current newspapers in VA hospitals, instead of week old one. This makes my mission to auction a celebrity-signed book on ebay all the more important.

Out for now; off to unwind and play some hockey!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

The Rudy Way

Sorry I've been gone and distracted so much lately. My stepfather's passing last Monday has been somewhat traumatic and been keeping me busy. I will be back in full form next week, although I am leaving town again around the middle of October--going on a trip with my mom that her and my stepfather were supposed to take. Here is my latest column:

I apologize for not having last week's column up on-time. It was supposed to go up on September 21st and instead it went up on September 26th. Unfortunately, on Monday, September 24th, my mom called me in the night to inform me that my stepfather--Rudy--had passed away. I packed a bag and headed out to be with her in Ohio the next morning. I only got access to the site again today. As such, it will be the column for both September 21st and 28th, in honor and memory of Rudy.

I learned some key things about women and relationships from Rudy. They bear repeating.

"If you try to understand a woman, it's your own damn fault." Rudy told me that when I was in my early twenties, upset about a woman who had hurt me. ("Laura" in the book.) What he was really saying was that women are emotional. There will be many times when a woman acts out of emotion instead of rationale; don't try to understand it. Accept it. Empathize with it. Ignore it. Be pissed about it. But never, ever, try to understand it; because, as a man, you won't.

"A lot of people like me. A lot of people don't. I try to spend as much time as possible with the ones who like me and as little with the ones who don't." When you think about it, it's surprising how much time we spend trying to make people like us. Why? Spend that time with people who do like you. Dating isn't any different. If you find yourself spending a lot of time trying to convince a guy to like you or chasing a woman who keeps turning you down, open your eyes; re-invest that time in someone who shows interest.

Here's a catchy little line that gets a laugh and starts a conversation. I haven't used lines in years but I did use this one a few times and Rudy swore by it. It's very laid back, which is a big part of why it works. Approach a woman and ask, "If I won millions in the lottery, would you run away with me?" The woman almost always replies positively. "Can I borrow a dollar?" When she looks at you inquisitively, reply, "To buy the lottery ticket." This gets a laugh and then leads to a conversation. On the off chance that she says "no" to running away with you, reply, "See, this is why you're single. How much would I have to have for you to run away with me?" Banter with her. Chances are she'll mumble something about there not being enough money in the world for her to run away with her. Tell her, "Good, because I don't have enough to even pay for the drink I'm about to buy you." As long as you get a laugh somewhere along the way, you can get a conversation going. If you don't get a laugh, hey, read the entry before this one--"A lot of people like me. A lot of people don't..."

Dirty jokes work on women. Rudy told tons. Women always fell for them, including my mom--who supposedly hated dirty jokes. It's all about the timing and delivery. Here's one that's actually pretty clean: Three couples go to see a priest about joining the Catholic church. He tells them in order to join the church, they will have to give up something dear to them to show their loyalty to God. He decides that they must give up sex for thirty days. After thirty days, the reluctant couples return to see the priest. He asks them how it went. The first couple replies, "Man, it was tough; we had a really hard time, especially on the twentieth day. Wow, she was looking hot that day, but we hung in there and we didn't have sex for thirty days." "Welcome to the Catholic Church. And you?" "It was tough, really, really, really tough, but we did not have sex for thirty days." The priest welcomes the second couple, as well. He then asks the third couple, "How about you?" The guy shakes his head, "Man, we were doing really well but then on the twenty-third day, she dropped an apple. When she bent over to pick it up, I just snapped. I took her right then and there. It was the most passionate, hottest, loudest lovemaking we've ever had." "Okay, well, I'm sorry but you're not going to be able to get into the church." The guy scuffs, "Pfft, yeah, we're having trouble getting back into the supermarket, too."

What I learned most from Rudy was that when it comes right down to it with relationships with women, it's not about money, looks, or style. It's about showing them you are thinking of them. You do that by surprising them with a gift or date that relates to something they mentioned in passing, which they thought you never even noticed. Do something romantic every now and then. Rudy faired far better with women by surprising them with a picnic in a park or with roller skates to go on a surprise skating date, than other guys who dressed sharply, dropped a heavy dime, and spent their time talking about their own accomplishments. Pay attention to the woman. It really is that easy. (That doesn't mean be a sap or "nice guy.")

Here's a little trick Rudy used that might work in your area. He found out where the airlines put up stewardesses. He became friends with the desk clerks of those hotels and they gave him a call whenever a few strikingly girls landed. Rudy then went to their room and offered to show them the town. Of course, that was years ago. Nowadays, you'll have to put a spin on it in order to make it work; you probably won't be able to get hotel room numbers flat out. Use your imagination; maybe you can find out where the flight attendants eat or what time their flights are landing--that would be key because you could be in the lobby when they arrive.

Most of all from Rudy, I learned that life is short and to enjoy it. I live everyday to its fullest and discovered after his death, from his good friends and neighbors, that he thought highly of me and my approach to life. He was happy for me, that I was able to travel as a comedian during my "early years" and that I have a book out, which is selling well and helping others lead happier lives. It makes sense, since, in a way, I'm really trying to teach people what he taught me. "Tomorrow is not another day; tomorrow is today's backup plan." That philosophy of mine came from a combination of myself, Rudy, and "Carpe diem" from Dead Poets Society. I thought highly of you, too, Rudy. Thanks for all the advice and for being there when I needed it. I will do my best to spread your philosophy and keep it alive.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Stepfather Passed Away

"If you teach a man to fish, he'll take your best spot." That was one of Rudy's many favorite lines. Who is Rudy? For all practical purposes, my stepfather. He and my mother have been together for over 22 years, making them married under common law. Both had bad first marriages and figured why jinx their relationship by buying more rings? If you think of Santa as a beer drinker and teller of dirty jokes, you've got Rudy. On Monday, at age 79, he unfortunately passed away, sitting in a chair, flipping through old limericks he had photocopied, out in the garage. Ironic, since he always complained to my mom--who bugged him repeatedly to clean out the garage--"if this is my last day on Earth, I don't want to spend it cleaning out the garage." Well, that's what he was doing--cleaning out the garage.

I drove out to Ohio, where my mom and Rudy live, Tuesday morning. I've been here since, with very limited Internet access. (I hack a signal from a neighbor but usually it's not strong enough to gain access.) So for those who have been emailing me, sorry I haven't replied; I probably won't get a chance to until next week.

Rudy had the life, man. He retired young after owning a pool hall and inheriting some money. He made wise monetary decisions and was thrifty. He traveled extensively, living in his favorite places at their peak times of year--Florida in the winter, Chicago in the summer, and so forth, until he met my mom. He was the guy everyone knew and everyone liked. He always went out of his way for people, taking time to bring them things or do work for them. For me, it is a huge loss, leaving a great void. Rudy was my advisor. When I had questions, he had advice. I spoke to him only a few hours before he passed about a situation with work.

I don't really know what else to write just yet, I just wanted to get some thoughts out and let you all know why I've been absent recently. I'll be back soon...

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Signature Project and Sites Down

Sorry I haven't posted in nearly a week; things have been crazy busy. The celebrity signature project I have undertaken has been going well. I started to contact celebs, mostly via myspace and direct emails, this past week and three have already responded that they are in--John Caponera, Rocky LaPorte and Brett Butler. I will update as I hear back from more.

Also, my site is down this morning. I just got word that the server hard drive crashed and my host is currently working on the problem. It will either be back up on its current server or I will move it to Go Daddy, assuming I can figure out how that works! I hope I don't have to move it, though, because it could be done for a few days if I move it to Go Daddy; it takes some time, as I understand it, for that to get set up. Sorry for the inconvenience and thanks for your patience.

Monday, September 10, 2007

YouTube Videos of Trip

Here are the two YouTube videos from the trip I've put up; one is a grizzly with four cubs, the other Bison crossing the road. Both were taken at Yellowstone.

Enjoy and have a good one, everyone.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Latest Article - Defending "Game"

Here is my latest article, which explains and defends "game." I happen to know some articles will be coming out soon attacking pua's and game; I felt it pertinent to beat them to the punch and explain what can easily be misunderstood and ridiculed. Before you get your panties or jockstrap in a bunch, I do discuss the problem with game; fortunately, I give the solution, too. Hey, what can I say? I'm a nice guy.

For those too lazy to look it up, here it is written out (like I said, I'm a nice guy. Is anyone buying that?):

Approach your target within three seconds of making eye contact with her. Get her number within five minutes of talking with her and then leave. Wait five days before calling her. We’ve all read these purported general guaranteed approaches to meeting women reiterated tirelessly in numerous articles and books by pick up artists, alpha males, and other dating experts. Rubbish. Quick question—what about her?

The general problem with both the alpha male and pua philosophy is that there is little focus, if any, on the woman. The techniques are far more concerned with dominance, being cool, meeting lots of women, and racing against some imagined clock. I am pleased to see the communities and to see them growing because they’ve created open dialogue among guys about women and sex, which are topics guys don’t explore outside of a quickly commented, “She’s hot,” “I need to meet her,” or “I still gotta give that girl from last week a call,” or a similar blurb. While the pua and alpha male societies tend to get a bad rap from women and society, they are actually good guys. Most of them aren’t looking to get laid or abuse women; they’re simply looking to develop socializing skills with women and date. Perhaps the biggest reason people frown upon them is because they have created terminology which sounds cold and degrading; in order to better teach guys, and communicate amongst themselves more effectively and efficiently. Outsiders erroneously interpret their language as meant to degrade or trivialize women. Examples include terms like “negging,” “skills set,” and numbering women on a scale from one to ten. It’s easy to see how an outsider could quickly perceive these terms as negative. The overall terminology and approach are described as “game.”

Therein lies the most glaring problem with the preached approach—the focus has become on the game, forgetting about the women. Participants focus on developing an arsenal of opening lines, rehearsed moves, and counter-responses to expressed disinterest by the “target” (woman). The point of game should be to develop confidence, people skills, and sense of humor, all leading to improvisation—being able to handle interacting with women in any situation. Once that is achieved, the game should be cast aside, no longer needed. I always like to use my own personal experience to illustrate.

In my late teens, I often found myself unable to speak more than a few words to women at bars or clubs, even though I wanted badly to meet many of them. I pretty much got in a quick hello and smile, asked a question or two, followed that up with awkward silence, then said, “Well, it was nice meeting you.” I then returned to a corner of the bar and people-watched. If I really liked a girl, I would approach her again with another couple questions. Once answered, I returned to my corner and thought up some more questions. I then returned and asked her those questions. It was a sad, totally ineffective approach; in fact, it couldn’t be called an approach. I needed something to say after “hi;” something that was interactive and engaging.

One day I worked with a comedian who performed a riddle on me while we were at a bar. I quickly began to use what I now term the “2 to 9”-bit. I would introduce myself to a woman after a quick hello and then implement the riddle. It went something like this (follow along by choosing a number and following the instructions, too; at the end of the article I explain how it works):

“I bet I can guess what you’re thinking.”

“Oh really?”

“Yeah. Choose a number from two to nine but don’t tell me the number . . . Got it?”


“Multiply the number by nine. You now have a two digit number, right?”


“Add the two digits together.”


“You have a one digit number again, right?”


“Subtract five.”


“Take that number and make it equal to a letter in the alphabet. For example, one would be A, two would be B, and so forth.”

“Okay, got it.”

“Think of a country beginning with that letter.”


“Take the last letter of that country and think of an animal beginning with that letter.”

“All right.”

“Now take the last letter of that animal and think of a color that starts with it.”

“Okay, this is kind of getting long…”

“I have no idea what your number was but why are you thinking of an orange kangaroo from Denmark?”

“Oh my God! How did you do that?”

The woman would usually touch or punch me while expressing her disbelief, putting me more at ease. I would play it off that I was just talented and touch her back. We’d discuss the riddle for a moment, occasionally I’d give it away or tell her that if she was good to me, I’d tell her how I did it. That move quickly developed my flirting skills, as most women replied, “And what do you mean by good to you?”

“Oh, I’m sure we can think of something.”

“Uh huh. I bet you are already thinking of something.”

I got bolder and bolder, which led to more and more flirting. “I am actually more wondering than thinking.”

“What are you wondering?”

“What color your panties are.”

It was surprising how women reacted to such a statement. Some laughed, some told me if I was nice to them maybe I’d get to find out, and some even showed me on the spot. My favorite times were when women replied, “What makes you think I’m wearing panties?” I quickly learned that women liked flirty banter and became a master at it.

After several months and using 2 to 9 to meet many women, I found myself phasing it out. I became more and more at ease with discussing whatever was on hand—improvising—no longer needing a trick or opener. Soon 2 to 9 was gone, replaced by what I term the “common denominator,” named only to explain it better so that other guys can use it. The common denominator is the thing or things you and the woman have in common; it could be having seen the same guy trip in a bar, ordering the same drink, standing next to each other in line, whatever. As I used the common denominator more and more, I paid more attention to my surroundings and what the women said and did, as opposed to having an arsenal of ready-to-use responses. I truly learned to interact with women and dropped all game; I was able to see things from their perspective and develop sensitivity. I was no longer, as women call it, “clueless.” The point is, game should lead to no game; it should lead to a true change in personality.

If you want to date a woman, who have to develop sensitivity and think about her; you must be able to see things from her perspective and get inside her head. Women do not tell guys what is bothering them or communicate well, despite generalizations to the contrary. Don’t believe me? Ask any married man and he’ll set you straight before your next blink. Again, that is where game is lacking; there is no true account for the woman’s feelings and thoughts, outside what might get you laid. Game does not account for women’s feelings and thoughts, not really, which is perhaps the biggest reason why non-participants scorn it.

A quick visit to message boards will find many discussions about women in which guys exchange numerous ideas about how to get those they’ve met, or had some success with, to date them. Like I said, most of these guys are good guys just trying to date a woman they like and they’ve turned to game; unfortunately, many get stuck in the game and don’t get past it. I was shocked to see on Neil Strauss’ site, renowned pua and author of The Game, that he still uses and is developing lines. Huh? He should have discarded game long ago. Other practitioners of game (pua’s, average guys, alpha males) I’ve talked with have moved past it, grateful that it served its intended purpose.

Why can’t many guys get past game? They rely on it too much, instead of taking risks by improvising. It was only through discarding game that I came to truly realize why game works . . . and why it doesn’t work all the time, which is a lot with practices such as approaching a woman within three seconds of making eye contact or focusing on getting her number within five minutes. (A lot of phone calls to those women don’t get answered or returned, so what purpose was really served? Certainly not getting a date.) Also, just like most chick lit., there is an underlying bitterness toward women for many of these guys. I went through the same feelings. I was bitter toward women for my lack of success, blaming them. If I didn’t have good social skills, why should I expect them to have those skills? If I didn’t know how to gage and create interest, why should I expect them to see my interest, or simply have interest for me just because I came over and said hello? I couldn’t; it was unfair and only getting in my own way. Again, I realized this only as I started to discard 2 to 9.

As an example, consider an entry on a message board in which a guy fooled around with a friend he’s liked for years. She and he got drunk and he got her top off in a park, where they rolled around and made out. He called her the next day, excited about what he expects to be a new relationship. He has not heard from her at all since that day, going on one month now. (I could have used any number of entries like this one as an example.) Dozens of guys have responded to his thread. Some have called her a “heartless bitch,” others “not worth your time” or “a tease.” Many have given advice on how he can get her back by using some game techniques; he has replied that none of them have worked. What gives? Not one guy replied, “What about her?”

What about her? Could it be that she’s embarrassed? Fears she may have screwed up a friendship? Feels slutty? Thinks she made a mistake and doesn’t want to mislead him? Is afraid he’ll want to just have sex if they get together again? To his one frustration and confusion, she’s going through dozens of thoughts and feelings. It’s probably too late now, but had he just taken a little time to consider her perspective, he would have anticipated her inevitable emotional reaction. He would have been able to address the issue right away, even on the spot with a simple, “I’m glad this happened but I’d like to slow it down. Can we just get together and talk in a few days? I don’t want to lose our friendship but I like being close to you, too. It’s kind of weird, you know?”

Wow! She’s thinking the same thing and now feels a greater bond and connection to him. She didn’t make a mistake; she can see that they are in the same place or at least having the same confused emotions and thoughts. He actually has the stated concerns but guys tend not to realize such things until it’s too late. We’re not good at analyzing our feelings and don’t do it; women do and to truly be successful with them, guys need to relate to that trait, even without having it ourselves. Again, I speak from direct experience.

When I was going through my severe jerk stage (I tell this story fully in my book God is a Woman: Dating Disasters), I hooked up with a woman who I had spoken to all of fifteen minutes and once on the phone. I met her while she was part of a bachelorette party entourage. It turned out she lived en route to a gig I would be driving to in a few weeks. I pushed hard, even though she herself was engaged. While she declined to give me her number, she did track me down the week before my drive past her town; she had dumped her fiancé and moved in with her older brother. To make a long story short, she ended up naked under me on one side of a blanket hanging from the ceiling in a studio apartment; on the other side of the blanket laid her brother. We called it before technically having sex but as you can imagine, everything else happened.

It took me two days to realize why she wasn’t returning my calls. It finally occurred to me that she was completely humiliated, embarrassed, was probably walking around avoiding her brother as much as possible—if she was even speaking to him—and so forth. Dah! I left her a message that I wanted to talk, that I didn’t want to leave the message on her and her brother’s answering machine, but I would if I had no other way to reach her. That got her to call me back and we discussed the situation. It wasn’t that I was insensitive or clueless; it was that I am a guy and guys don’t operate the same way as women. A guy’s mind and his emotions line up; if they don’t, he doesn’t act. We don’t sit there thinking, Okay, I have all these feelings and impulses that feel great; I can’t act on them, though, because the situation is wrong. My mind is telling me not do it. No. Our minds tell us Great, it feels good, she’s into it, experience each other. Guys don’t do things we don’t want to do; period. Women do and then later will blame the guy. There’s no use being upset about it as a guy, it’s simply the way it works. In her mind, she was thinking I shouldn’t be doing this, I shouldn’t be doing this but her emotions were saying I want him so badly and this feels so good. We ironed it all out but only because I became sensitive to “what about her?” that day.

I break all the rules of game when it comes to meeting women because I no longer need them. Consider the woman I just started to see. I met her on a pub crawl on a Friday night. I caught her eye a few times as she sat at a table with her friends, comprised of both men and women. They all laughed boisterously every few minutes. She wasn’t sitting on the end, so she wasn’t accessible. I shrugged it off and went about my business. Later the seat near her opened up and I went and sat down, commenting that it was obvious they were having the most fun of anyone in the bar and hence, I wanted to be with them. I didn’t ask for her number until we hit the last bar. In fact, I didn’t ask for her number at all; instead, I asked her out for the next night after learning she didn’t have plans. (This is supposedly desperate and makes me look socially non-busy; I’m supposed to appear very busy.) She gave me a maybe. We did not go out the next night but we did go out Sunday night. I broke every rule and yet it has worked out well. Why? Because those rules weren’t the right fit for her. They are not the right fit for anyone, really; they are just tools to be used to develop skills to get comfortable with women. Once you get experience and are comfortable, the techniques and lines should be phased out. Eventually, you will find that you are a new person. I am not the Ian Coburn who couldn’t talk to women armed with skills now; rather, I am a completely different person. That’s the real goal; to change your personality to an effective one, not to rely on rules and lines the rest of your life. Too many guys following game out there aren’t new people; they’re the same people with the same awkwardness and thoughts about women, only they are now armed with tools that, while helpful at first, are now in their way.

Work your game. Get comfortable. Add making a point of trying to see things from the woman’s perspective, anticipating her concerns, and evaluating things from her point of view when things aren’t going the way you expected. Lose any bitterness; the only person responsible for your happiness is yourself. It is no one else’s fault that you struggle in the dating world. Soon you will be a new man; one who women respect and like and won’t label as being a player or pua, or not want to date. The ultimate goal is to get comfortable with women not your game.

How 2 to 9 works: Every number between two to nine multiplied by nine results in a two-digit number that’s digits add up to nine. Subtract five and you end up with four, meaning “D” is always the letter; orange kangaroo from Denmark is almost always what people choose. I got so good at 2 to 9 that I could even call it when someone was thinking of a tan cat from the Dominican Republic. Once a woman did snub me by choosing teal (what the hell is teal?); she’s still in the trunk of my car . . . remember, lose your bitterness . . . Get comfortable with women not your game.

Comedian Ian Coburn is the author of God is a Woman: Dating Disasters, which offers fresh, original dating and sex advice to both men and women via stories of his hilarious failures as a touring comedian and what he learned from those stories. The book spawned his dating advice column--"Lunch is Not a Date" and earned him a new gig as a relationship expert on Lifetime. You may visit the following for more information, including excerpts from the book and his column:

God is a Woman: Dating Disasters is available wherever books are sold.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

A Little Charity

I was watching television Monday night while getting ready for bed and a commercial for the war came on the air. It featured a mother who informed me that her son died in the war and that if we pulled out now ("surrendered"), his death would mean nothing. "Defeat," she said, "is not an option." It had something else in there about needing to achieve "victory."

If you're like me, as most Americans seem to be these days, you are against the war in Iraq but support the troops, and you are tired of the administration trying to tell you that the two cannot be separated--if you are against the war, you are against the troops. I'm sorry, when did we vote for Stalin? I don't remember his name on the ballot, does anybody else? It sickens me that the Bush administration tries to bully us around and trick us into supporting what seems to be an endless war. A heartfelt statement from a mother is hitting way below the belt (when did politicians start doing that?) and insulting to mothers of other soldiers. It's like saying to them, "My son died in the war and your sons should continue to risk death for that reason alone."

You can't stay in a war because soldiers died. If you did, no war would ever end. It's not fair to ask other soldiers to die because soldiers before them died. This seems to be the only platform for the war the administration has currently. "Well, some soldiers died, so we should keep fighting to make their deaths mean something." Okay, then more and more soldiers die. Where does it end? Bush also compared Iraq to Vietnam. Yeah, that's a war you want to reference to gain support. If our adversaries in Iraq have the same attitude about their soldiers dying, we can be certain they will never stop attacking as long as we occupy; they've lost a lot more lives than we and thus have a lot more deaths to make count.

Where I stand on the war is a moot point; I just wanted to state it so everyone knows before I discuss the real issues, because people seem to want to always know these things. Do I vote democrat? Republican? Neither. I vote for whom I think would be best for the job. I would vote for Colin Powell in a heart beat if he were running for the Presidency. I wouldn't hire George Bush to clean my tub. The current candidates stand somewhere in between but most of them closer to the tub cleaning position.

Okay, hopefully we've cast political and war views aside. Now, we can discuss the real issues.

Two things really gall me about the statements the Bush administration makes. One is that the death of every soldier in every war counts, not just the deaths in a war that is won. Soldiers of the Vietnam War don't matter? The Korean? If you're going to stand by Bush's argument, you must argue that the deaths of U.S. soldiers in those wars were meaningless and didn't count because we didn't win. Two, while the Bush administration calls upon us to support the troops, he signed bills cutting Vet benefits early on in the war. This drives me absolutely batty and I am furious at the media for not being all over that; they should constantly be reminding us that Vet benefits were cut early on in the war. (I don't know the specifics of the cuts but will look into them. I spoke to an Iraq Vet who says the benefits are pretty good right now medically, at least in Illinois. He believes this to be more for political reasons than support of the troops and he is, sadly, most likely correct. He is an advocate of the war, for the record, and we had a good discussion about it; of course, he has firsthand knowledge on which I can't comment or relate.)

It is not soldiers fighting for their beliefs which makes their duty admirable; rather, it is that they put those beliefs aside. They are willing to go into battle regardless of opinion. They put their lives on the line; their faith in the hands of their government and citizens to decide how their lives are best served. They trust both completely and unquestionably, unfettered in their decision to serve. It is a soldier's willingness to waive opinion and decision-making that makes him or her worthy of nothing less than our highest respect and admiration. I could never give up my right to have an opinion, which is another reason why I greatly respect those who do in order to serve. It is our duty as citizens to make sure that our government does not abuse or misuse soldiers' trust. It is our duty to make sure their needs are met when they return home, having served us in the greatest way possible. We have dropped that ball.

I believe the Internet to be a great way for everyday average people like me and you to make a difference. More so than ever before, we can impact decision making and raise funds for charity. You don't have to be a wealthy philanthropist to help those in need; yet, you can do more than send a few dollars. I thought about this after seeing that commercial for the war. I thought about it all day Tuesday. What can I do to help vets? How can I assist them? What skills do I have that I can offer them in service?

The answer hit me Tuesday afternoon. Ebay. It occurred to me that I can solicit any celebrities in my book, whether part of a story or just mentioned in passing, to sign a copy. I can then auction that copy off on Ebay and donate the proceeds to a VA fund. Will I raise a lot of money? Any money? Who knows but it is my duty to try. I also want to do this because my father died a few years ago. He was a Korean War Vet and the soldiers at his service, none of whom knew him, were very honorable and respectful to me. This is a way I can help repay their kindness.

I will keep you posted on this project as it develops. I will try contacting the celebrities via their agents and myspace sites. I may post on the blog, asking if anyone knows who someone's agent is; it's not always easy to find out! (I also plan to get a copy signed by them all for NAMI's March 2008 auction--The National Alliance for Mental Illness, and donate the proceeds specifically to children with mental illness. I've been supporting NAMI as often as possible for the last few years.)

Speaking of charity, I've been getting emails from fans of the book asking how they can help spread the word about it and my "Lunch is Not a Date" column. I've been thinking about that, too. I grew up hanging out in libraries, often taking my little sister there and reading her book after book in the children section. It was really cute; she'd go choose a bunch based on the pictures, then return and shove her fingers in her mouth as I read them to her. Libraries don't have a big budget and accept donations. They are a great place for readers to discover a book. If you want to help the book out, please take a moment and help a library out, too. Simply order a copy of God is a Woman: Dating Disasters off Amazon and have it mailed to your local library. Choose "gift" and write "donation" on the card. You'll be helping your library while you spread the word. Thanks everyone for your continued support. It is all very flattering and again, most of the book's success is due to your word of mouth.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

It's Important Because it's There

This will become one of my favorite philosophies. (Oh yeah, I'm back from my trip.) One of the spots we camped at was Yellowstone, where there is still controversy over the reintroduction of wolves, who have now apparently spread across Wyoming, Idaho, Montana, and parts of Colorado. Experts are hoping they will reach Rocky National Mountain Park, where they have decided not to reintroduce them because of the hassle (creating a fund to compensate ranchers for lost livestock and such). Wolves are spreading quickly in part because of the overpopulation of food, particularily elk and deer. The big question those against the wolves pose is always the same: "Why is the wolf important?" In general, why is anything in nature important? Answer: It is important because it is there. Nature knows what it is doing, just leave it alone. Consider that with the reintroduction of wolves, elk populations are being kept in check (Elk can easily overgraze an area, in turn helping to increase flooding and mud slides). Coyotes, carriers of rabies and pests themselves, who have killed far more pets than wolves ever did pets or livestock, and who seem to thrive with human civilization, are being killed by wolves left and right. In Yellowstone, wolves have killed more than half the coyote population, either directly or by lowering the number for birthing. In turn, other animals--whose food sources have been over eaten by coyotes for generations--are making a strong comeback. Bobcats, foxes, lynxes, badgers, and hopefully fishers, martens, and other such critters will re-surge in numbers. Also, according to some info I read regarding east Canadian wolverine populations, the reintroduction of wolves could very well help reintroduce wolverines, who rely heavily on wolf kills for scavenging purposes. (Wolverines are primarily scavengers.) It's important because it's there.

Here are a few pictures from the trip, which was awesome by the way; absolutely awesome. If you like animals, you'll find plenty here. Here's some voclanic activity in Yellowstone. We drove all the way to Yellowstone from Cody, only to find upon arrival that the East entrance was closed due to a forest fire. We had to go all the way back to Cody (over 50 miles of mountain driving) and head from there up to the Northeast entrance of the park (another 50 miles of driving). We were annoyed there were no signs posted by the park service anywhere about the closure or news about it on their radio station. When we got back to Cody, we went to eat dinner at a Subway in a Walmart. Look what was on the door (it turned out not to be a big deal; the drive to the other entrance was spectacular and well worth it; we wouldn't have seen it without the closure). Some people feed a Wild Burro in South Dakota, in the Black Hills. This was the most awesome thing on the trip. I was sitting on the curb, waiting for my friend Greg at the car. A man rushed toward me with his camera. I turned around to see what had him so excited (at first I assumed he had read God is a Woman and wanted my autograph, of course). There, fifteen feet away from me, was a young adult wolf. I was immediately overcome with awe. He looked at me for a few moments, then gaited effortlessly away, covering lots of ground with long, easy strides. I then snatched up my camera and followed. He looked at me again, given me a great shot, then gaited away, vanishing in but a moment. I did a little research to be sure it was a wolf because wolves have a tendency to look very different from one another, and sometimes coyotes are mistaken for wolves. The coyotes in Yellowstone are big but nowhere near the size of the wolf. He was easily more than three times the size of the coyotes we saw there. I found several similar photos of wolves in books and also learned that coyotes and wolves interbreed in the wild, making identification difficult. My wolf looks slightly different than the wolves we saw through high-powered telescopes in the park; while that is most likely due to the wolf being young, it could also well be that I saw what I now call a "woyote"--the product of a wolf and coyote who shacked up. A couple woodpeckers. We drove through lots of blowing sand in Idaho. Notice how small and sleek wild squirrels are, compared to the fat, lazy ones in cities. Just a simple mountain stream. This is what I look like after a week of not showering or doing my hair. (Ladies, this is also how I look the next morning.) The tundra in Rocky Mountain Park (area above the treeline on a mountain). The rarely seen pika, a critter that lives in the tundra. It is often heard barking high pitch squeaks but rarely seen, let alone photographed. This prairie dog in South Dakota was certainly sitting in a funky position. Some pronghorn in South Dakota. A raven, which is basically a large crow. These things may be the smartest animals on earth next to humans and dolphins. They can mimick sounds and voices and have one of the largest thought-processing areas in their brain. In one case, a guy who stocked his fish pond with large gold fish (essentially carp) kept losing them and couldn't figure out why. No one fished in the pond and it was surrounded by a fence. He decided to hide and watch. A raven that was being fed pieces of bread in a nearby park flew over to the pond with a few pieces of said bread in its mouth. It then dropped the bread into the pond. The fish came up to the surface to eat the bread, whereupon the raven swooped down and plucked one out of the pond for a better meal than bread. We could use one of these guys right now, eh? A nice view with a mountain lake. I'm very excited because a guy sold me this lake for fifty dollars! Come by anytime, especially if you're a woman. No swimsuits required in my lake. Old Faithful in Yellowstone. An osprey. This looks like ice but it's actually hot sulfur from the ground that comes up through hot springs. Cool sunset. Bullwinkle. Another mountain lake. Climb to the top of Deer Mountain in Rocky Mountain Park and this is your reward. Or just look at the picture. A fox. I feel very lucky to get this shot. While I've seen about a dozen foxes in the wild, never have I gotten a photo of one. They always take off so quickly, there is no time to get a shot off. I actually got video of this one hunting and killing a mouse. Another trip highlight: A grizzly with four cubs. After the pictures I tried to put up a video of mom and the cubs but it wouldn't work; I'll get one up on YouTube with other animal videos I took and post here when they're up. A hailstorm in the mountains. A blue heron. Hiking in the South Dakota Badlands. This sign sits on the Continental Divide and explains what it is for those who don't know. There is always one moronic driver who wants to go around, thinking that people just stop in the middle of the road for no reason. An elk calf with mom. A herd of elk in Rocky Mountain Park. Man, these things are everywhere out there. No wolves, the local cougars prefer mule deer mostly, and black bears can't catch elk too effectively. Think I was lying? This is Estes Park, just outside Rocky Mountain Park. A dozen elk walked into town one sunny afternoon, as bunches do almost daily. They even rut in town in the Fall, coming down from the overcrowded park. Still think they don't need wolves? All these elk do is eat; constantly! It took this guy three hours to figure out how to get into this cabin. An elk calf. A coyote. Notice the different facial shape from the wolf, as well as the shorter legs, smaller feet, and different build. This guy was in Rocky Mountain, where the coyotes supposedly have gotten big enough to form packs and attack elk (larger than even Yellowstone coyotes). The packs must number like a thousand or something; I don't see how else they could take one down. This guy was less than a third the size of the wolf I saw, who was a young adult wolf at that. This lady was starving when we came upon her. We were glad the animal got there first. Getting a little wet. That mountain spring water is freezing cold but quite refreshing. South Dakota Badlands National Park. A bison. Got some short video of a few fighting. Pretty cool. A herd of bison. We had to stop for a huge herd crossing the road all night long one night in Yellowstone. Such as... A bull elk tries to figure out what is on his butt and if his health insurance will cover its removal.

I highly recommend visiting the national parks, especially Yellowstone, Glacier (didn't hit that one this trip but it is the most wild and rugged in the U.S.) and Rocky Mountain. As you can see, I'm a big animal buff. The trip actually gave me a great idea for a kids book to help younger kids understand, appreciate, and adore nature. I'm pretty psyched about it and am adding it to my list of projects. Seriously, get out and see these places. They are far beyond the justice of any photos or descriptions.