Friday, January 30, 2009

YouTube Superstar - Daniel Songer


Welcome to the first of what I hope to be an ongoing series about one of this country's greatest resources: YouTube entertainers.

When I moved to IC some 10 years ago or so, one of the things I loved most about this time was the fact that their cable company carried an honest-to-god Public Access TV network. I've always been obsessed by these channels - they just seem the ultimate in democracy: a TV station that will let anyone record a program about anything. Sure, most of the content is pre-packaged features from various organizations looking to get some attention for little effort: churches, cults, ultra-left-wing concerns, etc... Also, with the University nearby, it's also a beacon for "wacky" obviously stoned students looking for a creative outlet, but there was also some great personalities at work - people who, for various reasons, HAD to get their stories out there.


Now, PATV is in danger of becoming an extinct species. This is a depressing situation all around, but thankfully we do have another source for amateur entertainers, besides, you know, American Idol.

Now YouTube has it's own problems that stem paradoxically from it's greatest strength - it's easy accessibility. Currently, YouTube is mostly a cesspool of crappy videos, but if you can find a good filter (say, PoETV) you can find some gems among the flotsam. I feel Mr. Songer is among those gems.


Make no mistake, Daniel Songer is a renaissance man. Dancing, poetry, comedy... some guys can do it all and Dan The Man, well, he can also do... things? Dan is from Georgia, this much we know - also he IS NOT GAY. We know he is not a homosexual because he tells us so repeatedly in every single video. He does, however, have a weakness for the ladies and most of his offbeat stories usually revolve around trying to impress them with less-than-successful results setting up the punchline.

And then the awkward silence.

And then he swipes his hand through his thinning hair.

Jump cut. Then on to the next "joke"!


I can't explain it. Is it the way he bellows every word he says and then cranks it up even louder every time he hits the "punchline"? Is it the mystery of the person behind the camera giving him a count - who is that guy and for God's sake, WHY? Is it my inherent hipster's need for a source of ironic anti-comedy?


Nah, it's probably the dancing.

Friday, January 9, 2009


Another holiday, another trip down south, another chance to blog about the peculiarities of America's favorite down-home tourist trap, Branson, MO.

OK, so I'm cheating. Lambert's Cafe is technically within the city limits of nearby Springfield. But my mom and sister always makes it a target destination every time we visit.

Every. Single. Time.

Why you ask? Do we as a family just enjoy waiting outside with 200 other strangers for an hour, then running the gauntlet to our table to order $12 entrees while underpaid high school students continually ask us if we want some sorghum? Hell, no!

We do it 'cause of the kids. The kids love it!

This year we decided to get there early and it paid dividends. By getting there at 10:30 in the morning, we were able to secure a table after only a 45 minute wait! So, after passing the time visiting a wine & cheese shop, a toy store, a furniture warehouse and a clothing consignment shop, we were primed and ready to experience the giddiness of hearing our name announced over the old-timey public address system and made our way to our seats.

An intimate dining experience!

After you get seated and order, an underpaid high school student in suspenders will eventually make his/her way to your table with a metal bowl filled with "pass-arounds". Now, as far as I know, these pass-arounds (not to be confused with reach-arounds, unfortunately) come from a tradition that allows subsidy-enriched farmers in the Springfield area to dump their unused cattle feed on Lambert's property, which is then scooped up, fried in hog fat, and then served to hungry customers.

Not shown: the grease stain left on the napkin

Those pass-arounds are only the beginning of the Lambert's dining experience (or The Full Lambert, if you will). Soon, one of the many Lambert's worker drones (usually the prettiest male with the most complicated haircut) will delight the whole section with a display of pastry-based marksmanship that is unique (as far as I know) to this particular chain of restaurants:

The majesty of Lambert's - truly evidence of a wonderful world!

After all the rolls are "throwed", all that's left is to eat your sub-standard entrée, push your way through the crowd to the exit and leave Lambert's with a little more happiness in your heart, a little more cholesterol in your veins and a lot less money in your checking account.

Bon appetite!