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An Alternate View on Superman


Noel Murray of The Onion's AV Club has some interesting things to say about his favorite superhero, Superman over on their blog.

"The appeal of Superman—again, maybe just to me, though I think to others as well—is that because he can do everything, he doesn’t have to do much at all. He can take care of business and then chill out, solitude-style, at his Arctic clubhouse, where he tinkers with robots and obsessively arranges his souvenirs into a massive monument to himself. Or he can spend a whole day thinking up the perfect birthday present for Batman. Or he can make publicity appearances, while dodging Lois’ attempts to find out his secret identity. The stakes are pretty low in those forty-year-old Superman stories—even in the “imaginary tales” where some bored staffer figured out a way to end the endless Superman saga, at least for a week. And if somebody today wants to know how to write a Superman story, it shouldn’t be that hard. Just ask a ten-year-old boy what he’d do if he were Superman, and take notes."


Rakim Allah Interview


Amazing interview with the God, Rakim, the greatest rapper of all time, on Halftime Online:

"I’ve been writing rhymes for so long I got like five or six different ways I write a rhyme. It might be from the last word in the verse to the first or sometimes I sit there, toy with it and I might come up with sixteen of the illest words I can and write the rhyme to fit in. That’s just when I’m fucking around or when it’s a little slow for me and I’m not in the mood to write I know how to force it out. I’ve been writing for so long I got a lot of different ways to write. Everything becomes too normal after a while. I’ve been writing for so long it’s like how could I do this different. How can I make it seem like I’m not writing a rhyme today. Those are just some things I do. People bug out when they see me grab a paper and start writing from the bottom. People be like what are you doing? Just slow down. By the time I get to the top I’m done. They like done with what and I be like this is sixteen bars. I just wrote a rhyme nigga. It’s crazy man."

He just breaks down how he changed the hip-hop world forever in this question:

"Halftimeonline: When I was 19, I heard you talking in an interview about how you messed around with jazz. You said one of your favorite artists was Thelonius Monk. He saw visions when he wrote songs so it’s funny how you just mentioned you see a whole song before you write it. So do you still mess with the saxophone?

Rakim: Oh no doubt. I ain’t played one in a couple of years but I think that had a lot to do with my rhyme flow. Playing the sax and then enjoying jazz music man. It’s like I learned how to find words inside of the beat. Back in the day rappers were bump bump bump ba bump ba bump. They was rhyming like that but I was like bababa bump bump babum ba babump bababa bump. The syncopation and the pauses is all from knowing music, playing the saxophone, listening to John Coltrane and Thelonius Monk and the crazy shit they were doing. I just tried to incorporate that into my rhyme flow. That played a big part in my flow."


John Candy on Letterman in 1983


Thanks, Yogaflame

Contest 7/6/06


Another weekday, another Sound of Young America contest here in listener appreciation month. So awesome to get all these entries -- time was, we would have a contest, and we'd get exactly as many entries as we had prizes.

All that aside... today's contest... draw a picture on the theme "The Creation of The Sound of Young America." Email the picture (or even better, a link to it) to contest at maximumfun dot org, along with your name and mailing address. The best entries will be published here on the blog, and one randomly selected entry will win a Season Four DVD set of Kids in the Hall. One entry per person, please keep file sizes under 1 meg, and good luck! As usual, if you don't want to be on the email list, please mention in your entry.

**Contest Closed!!**

Here's the final results.

The Creation of The Sound of Young America


Today's contest for a Kids in the Hall DVD set was to create a depiction of the creation of The Sound of Young America. Six brave listeners entered. Thanks to all six for entering, and congratulations to Max L. of Austin, Texas for his winning entry, selected at random.

I would be remiss, however, if I didn't celebrate all the AMAZING entries... so here they are!

From Max in Texas:

From Steve in Santa Maria, CA:

From Dan in Meriden, Connecticut:

From Michelle in Ebony, Virginia, an entire creation myth:

" Once there was this unicorn and he was shot with many arrows. The virgin Mary saw what was going on and decided that something good had to come out of its death. So she used her saintly abilities and from the dieing beast emerged the Sound of Young America."

From Kyle in Housatonic, Massachusetts:

And finally, click this link for the piece from Corky McDonell!

I feel so lucky!

Is Your Spouse a Pod Person?


John Hodgman helps you find out the truth.

"I recommend creating a pre-nuptial questionnaire--a list of very personal questions that only your true spouse knows the answer to. You can imagine the sort:

What side of the bed do you sleep on?
Where do you keep your toothbrush?
Why do you keep it there and not put it in the safe like I suggested?
Don't you think our personal items should be protected by a fireproof safe?

That sort of thing."

That link again.

The Gear of Young America


At least one electro-dorky listener has requested it, so here's a rundown of the gear I use to produce The Sound of Young America. I'm no gear expert, and I reccomend doing some reading at and if you're looking to make your own decisions. That said, here's the rundown.

Microphone: Shure SM7A

This is a great voice mic, one of the standards for radio broadcasting. Especially good on the lower side of the register, where you can find me hanging out and having a soda. I got the 7A instead of the 7B because the only differences are a slightly larger windscreen and like $100.

Mixer: Mackie 1402 VLZ-Pro

Mackies are sort of the industry standard, known in particular for their mic pre-amps. I bought mine from a nice roadie type who'd upgraded his home studio (he wanted more channels). Luckily, I don't really need more channels. I chose this one over an even smaller one because I wanted sliders instead of knobs. I'd like to get one of these some day, because of the built-in firewire interface, but those are expensive.

Telephone Hybrid: Telos One (rack mount version)

(It's the one in the middle, by the way.) The telephone hybrid basically takes a telephone conversation, which is inherently two-way (i.e. you can hear yourself in the earpiece) and breaks it into two parts. One channel is the other end of the phone line, one is the microphone in the studio. If one were to tap directly into the phone line, both sides would sound all phone-y. The Telos is sort of the industry standard for this kind of machine. I've used several kinds before, and the Telos is easily the best. Any phone interviews in our Santa Cruz days were conducted on a Gentner machine, and the results were passable, but less than satisfactory.

Everything Else
For in-person interviews, my second microphone is a Studio Projects B1, an inexpensive mic with pretty excellent sound. Not as good as the Shure, but pretty dang good for $75 or so. In a pinch, I use some Grady mics I bought three for $20 after a tip from Matt over at AST Radio and Never Not Funny. They're surprisingly passable.

I use a PC to produce the show. It's a Dell, and it's very powerful... my mother teaches college, and she has some kind of program where they take the cost of a Dell out of her paycheck over the course of years, so it didn't hurt the pocketbook too bad. I have a couple of external hard drives, as well -- a total of about 650 gigs right now, and I'm planning on buying another HD soon. I keep an eye peeled on deal blogs for big rebates and whatnot for those.

My computer has a Sound Blaster Audigy 2ZS sound card, and I just go direct from the output on the mixer to the input on the sound card. I'm working on a USB interface, perhaps a multi-track one, haven't figured that out yet. Anyone has any good resources, let me know.

I produce the show in Adobe Audition 2.0. For single-track recording, I usually use SoundForge, which I'm more facile with, since it was all we had at KZSC. I usually edit interviews in that, then put the show together in Audition, though I'm working on learning Audition better.

I have a couple of boom-arm mic stands I bought at Guitar Center, and a broadcast mic arm (the kind that's like the arm of an architect's lamp). Unfortunately, I managed to bust the clamp of the broadcast mic arm, and you'd be surprised how hard they are to replace -- if anyone knows somewhere that sells them, please email me.

In fact, if you for some reason have any questions about any of this, just email me. I'll help however I can.

Contest, 7/5


Man, two Kids in the Hall sets given away... three more to give.

Today's contest: what Kids in the Hall sketch convinced Newsradio creator Paul Simms to build a show around Dave Foley?

Email your answer to contest at, with the date in the subject line, and your answer and mailing address in the body of the email. If you don't want to be on our mailing list, please mention that in the email as well.

You have until 5PM pacific. I'll pick randomly from the correct answers then!

[Editors note: I originally wrote, "what Kids in the Hall sketch convinced Newsradio creator Phil Simms to build a show around Dave Foley." That should read, "What Kids in the Hall sketch convinced New York Giants quarterback Phil Simms to build a show around Dave Foley?"

**Contest Complete!**
The winner today is Matthew K. from Boston, Massachusetts, who correctly answered The Chicken Lady! Which, by the way, is a sketch that still gives me the willies.

The Ike & Tina Turner Revue


TSOYA listener Cibby suggested this post... and it was a great idea.

Have you ever watched Ike & Tina Turner perform? Those two people are SO raw... they just stepped on stage and TORE SHIT UP. And their dynamic is insane -- it's like they want to fuck each other, love each other, and murder and eat each other at the same time.

"Baby, Get it On" in 1975

"Sexy Ida" sometime in the early 70s

"I Wanna Take You Higher" on Soul Train (note that they're one of the few groups Don Cornelius allowed to play live on the show)

"Fool in Love" on Shindig in the early-mid 60s (the subtext... or actually... the text here is powerful)

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