Tommy’s Taco Thursday: Tacolandia—A Vision

Tacolandia So I book an Uber to get me downtown to Tacolandia. It arrives. It’s a red-and-white checkered paper tray. You would recognize it from a concession stand or from ordering tacos at an East Dallas Taco shack. I hop in the back, and my driver is a smothered burrito. The drive is messy, but he gets me safely downtown. Downtown Dallas is transformed into a Taco Mecca. I step out of the paper taco tray and onto streets made of crispy taco shell. The trees and shrubs are gigantic cilantro bundles and heads of fresh lettuce. There’s a fountain spraying taco sauce 20 feet in the air.

I look around in wonderment, taking in all the sights. The clouds above are smooth, pillowy scoops of sour cream floating in a sea of blue corn chip crumbs. To my amazement and delight, they begin to drizzle warm queso down upon Tacolandia. Everyone has their heads tilted back and their tongues pointed to the sky.

The park benches are giant wedges of lime, and the buildings are giant taco salad shells towering into the sky. The gardens are peppered with chopped habanero, jalapeno, and cilantro. The air smells of crisping tortillas and cumin. There are tomato cannons shooting tomatoes in a 21-tomato salute to tacos.

The Flaming Lips are playing a stage made of ground beef, and all of their instruments are taco related. There’s a mean flauta solo popping as the avocados in the mosh pit begin making stage-side guacamole. Heads of garlic are spraying garlic salt into the crowd.

Then everything goes red.

When I wake up, I’m in jail. Apparently I went mad. I destroyed downtown. I consumed the crowds. I left a devastating crater of salsa stained carnage in my wake. I lie back on my cot and smile. I have no regrets.

#tacos #tacolandia #Dallas #Tommystacothursdays #VIP

Tommy Lee Brown teaches and performs at Dallas Comedy House. He is your man on the street, determined to eat. He is the belly of the city. No taco is too small or too commercial. He will eat it all, and tell you all about it. Direct taco related questions to taconightandday@gmail.com.

Tommy's Taco Thursday: Tales From the Bell

Taco BellI was standing by the side of the service road for Interstate 75 and Spur 366. My partner was in the car calling for back up. In the passenger floor board was a No. 6, a chicken taco salad, no rice, no shell, no red tortilla strips, a pintos and cheese, and extra hot sauce. At this point, we had had our food for 12 minutes. Duty had called and our food was on hold. On our route back from the Taco Bell, we happened upon a street fight. On either side of me were a drunken couple and a delirious Uber driver. The Uber driver had just been knocked out by his shirtless customer. The shirtless guy’s drunken girlfriend was screaming in my face that the Uber driver had hit her in her face. I’m sure my face was taking more abuse than her's had. Backup had not arrived. My partner was still in the car. If he had started eating, I would understand. If he touched my food, well, let’s just say I’d be in line for a new partner. At this point, we were a full 16 minutes from when we had received our order, and I was beginning to sweat.

The Uber driver was trying to get to his feet and kept face planting into the ground. His face was beginning to look like ground beef. And my mind kept pulling to that floor board. I commanded him to stay on the ground, but he stumbled out into traffic. He obviously planned to drive away. I pictured him, behind the wheel, trying to drive through the stars and birds that were obviously circling his head. What if he plowed into my partner’s car and damaged the Taco Bell? I had to act. I lunged into the passenger side of the car and wrenched the keys from the ignition. The stunned driver turned and followed me back onto the grass, away from the street. At this point, our food is 19 minutes old, and I’m pretty sure this was the longest I had ever possessed Taco bell without dining. I could feel my blood pressure rising.

The drunken couple stumbled off to sit under some trees nearby, but not after trying to bribe my partner and I into letting them go. Finally, my partner, Colten, arrived by my side. He seemed to have remained trustworthy. I did not see any evidence on his person that he had dipped into his fourth meal. I was filled with pride and admiration. We located the broken glasses of the Uber driver and finally our backup arrived. We are 26 minutes taco tardy at this point. I bite my tongue and refrain from taking out my take-out frustrations on the backup officers. (This is a good thing, because these guys were part of the personal camera pilot group here in Dallas. And my biting frustration would have instantly gone viral.)

By the time we had briefed and surrendered the case to our backup, Colten and I were over 30 minutes taco tardy. We scrapped our original plan to eat in the car, because we didn’t want our friends and family to be worried. By now our trip to the border had lasted 40 minutes longer than it should have. We arrived safely to our destination and were greeted by applause and fanfare. We were surrounded by people cheering and clapping for us. We looked at each other and shared a moment. A moment in which we appreciated the fact that they had no idea what had just taken place, and more importantly, we shared a moment where we decided we would eat first and then share with them our Tale from the Bell.

#fourthmeal #tacobell #uberintense #uberdrunk #uber #tommystacothursdays

Tommy Lee Brown teaches and performs at Dallas Comedy House. He is your man on the street, determined to eat. He is the belly of the city. No taco is too small or too commercial. He will eat it all, and tell you all about it. Direct taco related questions to taconightandday@gmail.com.

(Image: m01229/Creative Commons)

What We're Loving: Good Things Ending, In Car Giggling, Mile High Shopping, Fictional Assistants

Each Friday, DCH performers, teachers, and students offer their recommendations for what to watch, read, see, hear, or experience. This week David Allison faces mortality, Ashley Bright laughs at absurdity, Amanda Hahn explores the free market, and Ryan Callahan shocks the world. hqdefaultI’m terrified of death and want everything to go on forever. There, I said it! If I had my druthers all things that I enjoy would continue and it would be the law that they exist forever, or at least until I’m tired of watching them (RIP my interest in Dexter after Season Four). I was confronted with this existential crisis this week when I realized that a web series I’ve recently come to enjoy, Chicago Rats, is coming to an end after only three installments. Looking back, I should’ve realized that the warning signs were there all along. I mean, incredibly talented people like Saturday Night Live’s Mike O’Brien and Tim Robinson don’t waste their time on YouTube clips forever. And there wasn’t much of an arc that needed to be completed. And the first and second installments were literally labeled 1 of 3 and 2 of 3, but still, staring down that 3 of 3, knowing that something I enjoy is coming to an end, was not a fun realization.

If for some stupid reason you’re not aware of the random thing that I love this week, let me introduce you. Chicago Rats comes to us from The Above Average Comedy Network on YouTube. You may remember the online conglomerate as the same page that brought you Mike O’Brien’s  Seven Minutes in Heaven celebrity interviews these past few years. The same no budget production style is employed in these videos, the best of which is "Condo Nights". Nights is batting in the Empire Strikes Back slot in the lineup as the second of three and pits O’Brien, Robinson and fellow SNL writer Shelly Gossman as three clueless porn actors forced to improvise dialogue. Their cluelessness is perfect. The other two clips are worth checking out too, but realize, THERE ARE ONLY THREE. So if you want a reminder of your impending demise and the finality of all things, check out the entire three part series. - David Allison

Charles-Bukowski-Uncensored-CD-Bukowski-Charles-9780694524228I have not refreshed the stock of CDs (compact discs with audio files for you youngins)  that I keep in my car in quite some time.  I either hook up my phone, listen to 90.1, or select from the same slim rotation of CDs.  I'm simple and I have a short commute these days.  Heavy in that slim rotation is a Charles Bukowski Uncensored CD that I found at a yard sale a couple of years ago.  And when I put this CD in, I usually listen to the same two tracks on repeat.  The tracks are of him reading his poem, "The Genius of the Crowd."  First, I'll explain why I love this poem and then I'll explain why I listen to it repeatedly.  Aside from when he tells us to beware of folks who constantly read books, he strikes a lot of truth chords with me.  "Beware of the knowers" may be my favorite line because I am always leery of people who are strictly black and white with their beliefs - people who know what's right and wrong.  "Beware of those who are quick to praise for they need praise in return."  Not an absolute truth, but something that's true most of the time.  "Beware of those who detest poverty or those who are proud of it."  Again, he strikes on the absolutes. But here's the real reason I listen to this on repeat.  On the first reading, he pronounces absurdity as 'absurbity.' They let him read through without interrupting him. The next track they ask him to re-read it, but this time pronouncing it correctly.  He tries and keeps saying 'absurbity.'  He can't hear the difference.  Finally, his wife or ladyfriend attempts to walk him through the phonics.  He can do it slowly, but mispronounces it again when he tries to read the whole poem.  They all break up laughing.  I giggle every single time I listen to it.  A hard, raucous, alone in my car. giggle every single time.  If you ever want to listen to it, skip your Uber and I'll drive you home, and we can giggle together. - Ashley Bright

skymall3This week, I traveled out of town for work. Mid-flight on the way out of Dallas, I noticed something in the seat pocket in front of me that I had forgotten existed. It was the most entertaining magazine in the whole world. It was the SkyMall shopping catalog. I love SkyMall so much and laugh out loud every time I flip through it. I’m convinced the creators of the items look through the decoy gift boxes from The Onion and base actual products on those. Compare the pictures below. Based on the products themselves, it’s hard to tell which item is from The Onion and which item is a real product that you can actually buy with real money from SkyMall.


I’ll admit that some of the products are actually somewhat useful, just overpriced. However, most are ludicrous. Of the ludicrous, my two favorite categories are: 1) Tricking old people and 2) Is this for real?!

“Tricking old people” includes cleverly worded products (usually electronics) named to be appealing to old people that can be purchased far cheaper elsewhere. For example, you can buy a “VHS to DVD converter” (it’s a VHS/DVD player, and if you’re under the age of 75, you knew that already) for nearly $300 from SkyMall. The same thing can be purchased for about $200 less at…anywhere else. Don’t forget about the “Picture Keeper,” available for about $60. It’s nothing more than an 8 GB USB drive. As malicious as this trickery is, it has allowed for my favorite hobby of pointing at products with my mouth agape, looking around at my fellow passengers, mouthing “are you kidding me?”

“Is this for real?!” includes things like: boxes that are programmed to say “Lookin’ good, Bob” when opened. Or this giant gorilla statue surrounded by cheerleaders (it’s unclear whether cheerleaders are included with your purchase).


There is also this creepy bag that winks while you walk (it’s unclear why, why, why, why, why on Earth anyone would want this.HahnWWL3

Ladies and gentlemen, do not despair thinking you can only experience the joy of SkyMall on an airplane. I am happy to say that you can browse the SkyMall catalog online or have delivered right to your door, free of charge. If I haven’t convinced you to order it, then let the sole online review from six years ago do the talking: 4-stars from a guy with the username “justdoit.” And he recommends the catalog. - Amanda Hahn

clash18We've grown close enough over the past few months, dear reader, me sharing my thoughts on pop culture, you reading and occasionally acknowledging what you have read, that I'd like to think I can talk about professional wrestling again without fear of mockery or recrimination. Cool? Great, because the WWE Network now has every Clash of the Champions available for streaming.  Cancel my two o'clock, Miss Fletcher, I have some old wrestling to watch! (Miss Fletcher is the fictional assistant I pretend to call with the fake phone on my desk when I want my imaginary car brought around or I need to place a call to President Bartlet. Miss Fletcher is the best assistant a guy could have: smart, loyal, dedicated, and good with her fists. She's saved my life on more than one adventure. It's such a shame to see her slowly turning into a weremole.)

What was I talking about? Right, pro wrestling. For those who don't know, Clash of the Champions was an occasional live tv event put on by WCW from the late 80's through the mid-90's. They were  like Pay-Per-Views, but instead of having to spend twenty or thirty bucks to see them, you could watch for free. Simply amazing that this company went out of business. For my money (which is again, no money) the Clash shows are the most enjoyable wrestling broadcasts in history. They offer the full spectrum of the rainbow that is professional wrestling. There are all-time great matches (the Ric Flair vs Terry Funk 'I Quit' match from Clash 9), all-time terrible matches (Ric Flair vs Junk Yard Dog from Clash 11), hidden gems with wrestlers who never really got their due (Brad Armstrong, Butch Reed, Silver King), and, most important, some of the dumbest gimmicks and worst ideas in the history of storytelling.

I'm talking about the Ding Dongs, a pair of masked wrestlers, their costumes covered in tiny bells, who would ring a giant bell in the corner for motivation. (You're probably wondering, Did those tiny bells sewn to their costumes fall off all over the ring during the match? You bet the did!) I'm talking about the Master Blasters, a Road Warriors-knock off featuring Kevin Nash in a red mohawk and suspenders. And I'm talking about the Shockmaster.

If you've never heard about the Shockmaster, do yourself a favor and watch this clip. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p7Q4EVpIFIk

That, dear reader, is the most famous flub in the history of wrestling. But it's not just the falling through the wall that makes the scene so wonderful. Every terrible part, from everyone standing with their back to the camera, to Sting's "shock the world" introduction, which someone thought was a good idea, to the mistimed explosion, to the fall through the wall, to the Shockmaster meekly grabbing his glittered  storm trooper helmet and putting it back on, to Booker T's "oh God", to the way time stands still while everyone wonders what to do, to the way the Shockmaster's movements do not match the piped in promo in any way, works together to create a magically awful whole. And now I can watch it over and over again.

Miss Fletcher, cancel my three o'clock with Leo McGary. And for the love of God, please stop tunneling through the office.  - Ryan Callahan