Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Sports Hot Take #1

As NFL coaches start getting younger, I believe that the game will have a dramatic creative shift.  My primary thinking is that more coaches will have played some combination of Madden, Tecmo, or NFL 2K and as a result, they will have a better sense of clock management as well as risk/reward in terms of PATs vs. 2-point conversions & going for it on 4th down vs. settling for a punt or field goal.

I have a lot of thoughts on sports and thought I would share one today that I'm surprised isn't currently being utilized by NFL coaches:

Not snapping the ball when being pinned on the goal line

Special teams play is pretty sloppy, but you still see the occasional stop of a punt right on the one-yard line or after a defense has a goal line stand on 4th down, the offense takes over pinned with 99 yards to go and the risk of a safety if they are sacked.  Snapping the ball from your own 1-yard line is a high risk/low reward scenario, so what should you do?

Don't snap the ball.

It sounds crazy, but in this exact scenario, the no risk/high reward option is to pretend as if you are going to snap the ball and try to draw the defense offside.  Your goal is to gain 5-yards with a penalty and give yourself a cushion so that you can safely snap the ball with greater odds of getting a first down and decreasing the chance of a safety.  If you fail on your first attempt and get a delay of game penalty, you go back "half the distance to the goal", so if you are at the one-yard line, you would go to the half-yard line.  So, after you are penalized and go back half a yard, you go right back up to the line of scrimmage and pretend you are going to snap the ball, once again aiming to draw the defense offside.  If you fail again, you go to the quarter-yard line.  Try again and if you fail, you go to the eighth-yard line, fail again and it is the sixteenth-yard line and so on and so on.  Maybe one time you catch the defense sleeping as they anticipate you trying to draw them off and actually snap the ball, but I'd be willing to grind the game to a halt to try to get those extra 5 yards through an offsides/encroachment to decrease my odds of giving up a safety.

This is an exploitation of the foolish "half the distance to the goal" approach.  It would make much more sense to eliminate this and be able to tack on five-yards to the yard to gain marker.  So, if you are at the 1, your initial goal would be the 11-yard line but eliminating the "half the distance" and implementing a "tack-on" would make the goal the 16-yard line on a delay of game...then the 21...then the 26 and so on as the foul is repeated.  As it stands now, is there really any difference from the sixteenth-yard line to the two-hundred and fifty sixth-yard line?  What about the two-thousand and forty eighth-yard line?  How do you even spot that as a ref?

There's probably something buried deep in the rule book that prevents this, but I've never seen this mentioned anywhere and with all the traffic that this blog generates, I thought this would be the hot spot to share it.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Sketchbook now available online!

From Rick Katschke's (wife's) laptop:

Back in 2007, Drew Steck and I met, improvised together, got along well, played Confidential Mission at the movie theater (JUSTICE SHOT!) and created a movie for the 24-hour film competition.  Our 24-hour film "High Ceiling" was the crowd-pleaser of the festival and we received a lot of compliments from total strangers afterwards.  We wanted to do something longer in the 30-minute range and then it turned out Drew was moving to California so we had a really limited window to create a sketch collection.  I wrote the script in a week and we shot Sketchbook over the course of about 4 or 5 days.

Drew went off to California and edited it together, cutting bits that didn't work and also the complete quote from my favorite line in the script "Two roles of toilet paper?  Yeah, we can make a bomb out of that".  Sketchbook was complete in early 2008 and when Drew flew back around Easter, we decided to record an audio commentary for the movie.  We had so much fun doing it that we recorded a SECOND audio commentary.  Then when he was home for the summer, we started a podcast called "The Internet's Maximum Potential", which is such a bad ripoff of, I'm amazed I didn't recognize it at the time.  "IMP" helped me understand how podcasting worked and from there I started my own show "Host and Guest", which has led to all sorts of adventures and interactions in my life.

I didn't know it at the time but Sketchbook was one of the most important creative endeavors of my life (is it possible to talk about a project without sounding pretentous?).  However, only a limited number of people have actually seen the whole thing, warts and all.  It apparently had a following at the University of Miami and some of the bits are really loved by people who have only seen excerpts (Spy Ghosts, Bandana Brothers, Warhol-esque, En Route).  In fact, my second cousin Ethan loves Bandana Brothers so much that he wanted us to make a full-length spin-off.  Since we haven't gotten around to it, he's taking matters into his own hands and is making a Bandana Brothers comic book.  Drew and I have dibs on the first copy, but with Ethan's permission, I'll post his work online when it is ready.

The bottom line is that Sketchbook is a fun little half hour with two bits that don't really work (both of the Jimmy scenes are just poorly written, but Andrew Nelson helps make the first one better than it deserves to be) but a lot more that do work and are funny.  Drew and I had a lot of fun making this movie and we think everyone that acted in the movie or worked behind the scenes had fun as well. Only one friendship was completely destroyed over the making of the movie (my previous sentence holds true though), but any neutral party would agree that Drew and I are the good guys when you hear the story of what happened.  Maybe another time.


Here it is:
The Sketchbook by Drew Steck & Rick Katschke from Rick Katschke on Vimeo.

Sunday, November 2, 2014


It's only been half a year since the last update, so here are some items that you might have missed during that break in the blog updates.

A new Host and Guest with Morgan Taylor and John Munson.  Morgan and John have both been on the show and were two of my all-time favorite guests.  Morgan is the mastermind behind Gustafer Yellowgold and the new Gustafer album is his best one yet.  John is one of my favorite musicians and I've been a fan of his music from Trip Shakespeare/Semisonic/the Flops/Meltaway/The New Standards/The Twilight Hours for oven sixteen years.  This is the longest non-Tom Fuchs episode of Host and Guest and it was such a treat to get have an extended talk with Morgan and John, as well as Ken Chastain.

Also on the Host and Guest front, you might have missed my interview this year with Elijah Drenner, the director of American Grindhouse and the new film That Guy Dick Miller.  This interview was pretty unique as I set it up on the spot at the Horrorfest Tribute to Dick Miller in Los Angeles and arranged to meet Elijah a week later at the Wisconsin Film Festival in Madison.  Please note that I didn't go to California just to arrange this interview.

I also just started producing a new podcast hosted by Evan Pilak of Peshtigo and co-starring Brian Stefanik and me.  Our first episode captures the first time the three of us were even in a room together, so for a pilot, I think it hints at some of the potential the show has.

I'm also currently working on my new DVD which will hopefully be ready for my 30th birthday next May.  Even if the full program isn't done yet, I'll probably show a rough cut along with CONSUMPTION OPTIONAL and VERDICT UNKNOWN.

Enjoy the 2 hours of audio entertainment linked in this post!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Ken Cosgrove in the FP?

The first half of the final season of Mad Men is here and while it is still unknown if Don Draper is D.B. Cooper, I have officially decided that Matthew Weiner's series takes place in the same fictional universe as the FP.

Ken Cosgrove


I conclude my thesis with this video that proves Cosgrove's feet are prepared for battle in the FP.  This is from the worst episode in the show's history.  Now it at least serves a purpose.

Monday, April 7, 2014

A snapshot of the artist as a young man

Somehow this film was good enough for me to get an interview at the North Carolina School of the Arts in 2003.  I wasn't good enough to get in, but I am kind of amazed that I got the interview.  I like about 75% of this short, everything but the "kick me" sign segment, which goes on way too long and other than the fake blood, I don't really enjoy it.  Still, here's something I was really proud of at the time, less proud of now, but it's enjoyable enough and it is quick enough.

Ugh, "R.N. Katschke Jr."  I know it was meant as a joke, but it just looks pretentious.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

When the HOST becomes the GUEST

I am the worst at keeping my legion of fans up to date of my latest happenings.  To be honest, I don't think I have enough fans to qualify as a legion.  The minimum requirements aren't really spelled out and it isn't clear who I should consult for clarification regarding this matter.  It also seems like the sort of certification that would cost money and that I might cross paths with a well-dressed legion classification specialist who just turns out to be a regular ol' huckster who swindles me and ends up with three dozen US dollars that were originally in my possession.  

How long would I go thinking that I had a certified legion before it all came crashing down in the most embarrassing way possible?  That's right, I'm talking about a hypothetical Legion Ball, where members are awarded Legionnaires hats in honor of their status.  After failing to fit into my father's old tuxedo, I would end up spending a couple hundred dollars renting one for the gala and then worrying that I might spill something on it even though I'll pay the extra money beforehand for insurance that would cover any stains.  The tuxedo place would try to make me feel comfortable, but I wouldn't read the entire agreement and assume in my heart that there was some loophole that would force me to pay an ungodly amount of money for a minor marinara/artichoke dip/some other type of appetizer spill that causes the slightest stain.  If only this skepticism had been in place when I gave that legion certification specialist exactly thirty-six dollars.  He has to have other fake certifications he's selling, right?  There aren't enough people to just cater to this category alone.  If you're going to do this, you need to diversify your catalogue.  Why does the UK spelling of catalogue look so right to me and the Americanized catalog look so bad?

As my limo pulls up and I walk out with my beautiful wife onto the red carpet, we are immediately met by an event coordinator who asks for my name and legion status.  She has been working for months to make sure this night goes off without a hitch and now the check-in process has become so routine that she silently is questioning why she was working so hard and stressing out so much about the event.  After I give her my name and flash my certification card, she flips through the printout a few times and fails to see me listed.   I tell her to check under the letter C because sometimes there is a mixup about whether I'm a Kat or a Cat.  It isn't under that letter either and she starts to apologize and immediately contacts her assistant about a Rick Katschke.  She also spells it as Catschke.  I inform her that it might be under Richard and that the last name also might be misspelled as Katschkejr because suffixes were not made to last on their own in our modern digital world.

There's nothing, no indication that I am a welcome guest at the ball.  She takes a closer look at my certification card and then a tide of disgust rolls down her face.  She looks up and asks me if I think she's a fool.  I'm confused by this and immediately start apologizing because I think I've been impolite and while I don't know what I've done wrong, I'm most certainly sorry.  She loudly announces to the nearby officials, high profile guests also arriving and swarms of media that I am a fraud, a wannabe who came with fake credentials to try and hobnob with people so infinitely better than him.  Flashbulbs begin to blind me and my wife, as the event has a policy of "ONLY OLD-TIMEY CAMERAS ALLOWED".  I try to make sense of the situation, but before I can get any clarification, I am in handcuffs and being separated from my wife.  The event coordinator has rounded up all of the attendees that had made their way into the venue and now they are at the entrance, looking and laughing uproariously at me.  And it is a mean laugh, one that I hear prison, because I didn't know that the combined charges of trespassing and presenting fraudulent documents at a legion event are punishable by death.  My wife is able to plea bargain her way out of any sentencing, but in exchange, she has to provide testimony that reveals every insecurity I have about myself.  The judge agrees not to pursue the death penalty but only as long as every woman, man and child in North America be informed of my flaws and are required to inform future generations of my absolute foolishness.


Back in October, I was a guest on Nick Schurk and Jake Mace's Second Hand News podcast.  I told a first hand story about cowardice. Check it out!

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Eef Barzelay and Chris Otepka

A year ago, I went to a really bizarre concert.  Here's the review I wrote of it, unpublished until now!

Hiding in Riverwest is an intimate unmarked venue known as the Laundry Chute.  There are no signs for this spot, but it is right above the Soapies Laundromat off of Locust and Fratney.  While a secret password wasn’t required, the arrangement and protocol of the Laundry Chute was unclear for Saturday night’s show featuring Eef Barzelay and Chris Otepka.

Eef Barzelay is the lead man for the band Clem Snide but has also released two solo albums.  There’s practically no difference between his solo work and the band’s and in the past some of his solo shows have been billed as Clem Snide.  The biggest crossover into the mainstream Clem Snide had was when their song “Moment in the Sun” replaced the Foo Fighters’ “Next Year” as the theme song to the NBC series Ed.   Chris Otepka was a key part of the great band Troubled Hubble and now operates with his band The Heligoats.  Both men have nasally voices and a quirky songwriting style, so the fact that they now tour together should make their show akin to the Elton John/Billy Joel concerts in their subgenre of indie music.   

Apparently the Laundry Chute’s standard performance space is in an apartment living room, but on Saturday night this area was shifted to the roof of the neighboring Woodland Pattern Book Center.  However, it seemed like both Barzelay and Otepka were under the impression that they’d be performing at a function that was a little more established.  Through his website, Barzelay is a bit of a troubadour for hire, indicating his willingness to play at any venue desired by the booker.  However, that same eagerness was not on display Saturday night.

While their hearts didn’t seem like they were into playing, Barzelay kicked things off with a very brief set which included a cover of Bryan Adams “Summer of 69”.  Most of the songs played by Barzelay were unknown, presumably new songs which will appear on the future Clem Snide album Songs for Mary, which recently was funded on the popular Kickstarter website.  The highlight of Barzelay’s performance was his tongue-in-cheek statement that “this night will come to be known as the East Locust roof sessions in Rock and Roll history.”  He further expanded on this thought, explaining that a whole wing in the Hall of Fame in Cleveland would be dedicated to this performance.  After only five songs, Barzelay gave way to Otepka, making it appear like the two would bounce back and forth throughout the night.

Otepka played a select number of tracks from the Heligoats 2010 album Goodness Gracious, including the song “Heat Waves”, which was preceded by a rambling story about hiding during a party.  Otepka also played the song “Been a Drill” from the 2008 EP The End of All-Purpose, joking afterwards that the five-minute song was actually a rejected jingle he wrote for Benadryl allergy medicine.  After closing out on a high-note with his performance of the song “Fish Sticks”, Otepka deferred back to Barzelay seemingly offering Eef a chance to jump back in.  Instead Barzelay packed up his guitar and the two thanked the small crowd for coming.

Perhaps part of the reason why the two seemed so disinterested was based on fatigue.  They have been touring and in the past two days drove from Chicago to Minneapolis back to Milwaukee.  Still, even if the turnout and venue wasn’t what the two had hoped for, it seemed way too abrupt to have the night end after about forty minutes of music.  Part of the fault also should lie with the Laundry Chute.  In the past, Clem Snide has filled the seats of the Miramar Theater so there is a base of fans in the area.  Without signage even as simple as piece of paper with some marker on it, if fans did venture out to the address listed online, there’s nothing to clue people in that they are in the right place.  To their credit, the Laundry Chute was very welcoming towards those who came but it was still a bit awkward for those who weren’t regulars.

While Barzelay and Otepka’s rooftop performance won’t go down in the pantheon alongside the Beatles performing on top of Apple Studios or U2’s shoot for the “Where the Streets Have No Name” video, it was still an unforgettable evening for those in attendance.  It’s too bad that the actual show itself felt less like a concert and more like an in-store performance…or in the case of Saturday night, an on top of store performance.