Insert ‘Web’ Pun Here:

By Paul Caputo and J. Schnell Carl

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Plug Magazine, January 1 1996

Plug Magazine ( was an early entrant into the Internet content space back when you had to call a website a magazine so that people knew what it was. It was… I’m not even sure I remember what it was. It wasn’t around very long, the domain is currently unused, and I can’t even find any cached copies on to remember what it looked like. So let’s just say that it was another predictably disappointing highway service plaza on the road to writing stardom for Paul Caputo and me.

The Internet is the greatest thing since “Knight Rider,” especially the episode where KITT’s evil twin KARR tries to kill David Hasselhoff.

Just think about it. A decade ago, when men were men, and Hungry Hungry Hippos was a great Christmas gift, the idea of a world-wide computer network accessible to the Common Man — or at least the Common Unpopular Teenage Guy With Pimples And No Friends — was beyond the wildest dreams of the world’s leading thinkers, even the people responsible for “Tron” and the song “Mr. Roboto.” Just five years ago, the Net was nothing more than a way for Matthew Broderick to almost cause World War III, or maybe a pastime for horn-rimmed-glasses-having, propeller-beanie-hat-wearing losers.

Today, however, the Internet is used by all kinds of horn-rimmed-glasses-having, propeller-beanie-hat-wearing losers. Companies now include Internet addresses on advertisements; lawyers and insurance salesmen print theirs on business cards or just have them tattooed to their tentacles; even the TV show “Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman” has its own address, so that … uh … so … okay, we have no idea why the Hell they have a Web site. Write us if you figure it out.

In the old days (August 6, 1978 – April 2, 1983), it used to take months, even years, to send a letter down the street to your neighbor to ask to borrow a huge block of ice or some other common household item. Now, because of the modern miracle of the Net, you can’t correspond with them at all because your roommate has been on the phone with his girlfriend for the last hour.

Think of how the Net has changed our lives. For instance, according to one television commercial for CyberWorld or ElectroPlace or CompuPrincipality (or whatever), a dorky-looking guy (with horn-rimmed glasses) gets a really attractive woman to go out with him because he has E-Mail. 


(Of course, in the commercial they don’t show you, that woman had to change her address four days later to get “Pretzel Boy” there to stop sending her things like “Top Fifty Star Trek Pick Up Lines” and “Top Eighty Reasons Warp Transducer Coils Are Like Girls, If We Knew What Girls Were Like.”)

Also, sports fans no longer have to go through the expensive and time-consuming routine of actually watching sporting events. Instead, we can just “log on” to the “Web” or “Net” or “Mesh” or “whatever” and check the up-to-the-minute score updates on ESPN’s “Web” “site” (http:\\

Some day, the Internet will completely change the way the entire world functions. People will order pizzas with anchovies on the Net. They will call friends to see if they want to join in on an order of anchovy pizza on the Net and even digitally throw up from all the anchovies on the Net. All of the world’s problems will solve themselves because everyone will have gotten so caught up in finding Web pages like “Those Fabulous Goldfish!” or “IowaNet” or, more improbably, “Pluginc,” that they will forget that there ever were such things as Famine, Poverty, Tony Danza or the Late Seventies.

However, as you have seen on your local news (see the Local TV News Web site, http:\\, there has been some controversy surrounding the world of CyberSpace. If you missed your local news broadcast for the last ten years, what you missed was two car crashes, a kooky weatherman and a story about a surfing kitten. But you also missed a group of Concerned News People whose duty it is to tell you that children — we don’t want to alarm you, but they are PROBABLY YOURS — are being seduced by Pimply Electro-Sickos and photographed in compromising positions (such as in a figure-eight, speaking at Republican fund-raisers, etc.) These photos are then sent to other Pimply Electro-Sickos. 

Or, worse, people may be using the Internet — heretofore used only to view stills from “It’s a Wonderful Life” — to view pictures of women who, through no fault of their own, have VERY LARGE BREASTS and are NAKED AS A JAYBIRD. As you know, this sort of perversion causes Rampant Excess Sexual Thoughts in teenage boys. Then again, teenage boys get Rampant Excess Sexual Thoughts thinking about the Federal Budget Deficit, or even about sand. We can all see that this is the sort of CyberNudie-ness that has led to the nation’s alarming rise in Crime, Earthquakes, Death, Herpes and Squirrel Abuse.

What the news stations don’t tell us is that there is a lot of good that can come out of the Internet. Without Cyberspace, Jeff would have nowhere to get Simpsons sound clips to put on his computer (such as,”Aye Carumba!” and “Kill Nicole? Me?! Aye Carumba!”) Also, what would he do all day when he was supposed to be working?

That’s right. You guessed it. He’d be photographing naked children and sending the pictures to unsuspecting houses through the REGULAR MAIL. From this example, we can tell that the Internet is keeping an otherwise sick human being from perverting today’s youth any further than he already has.

So we can see that, on a scale of “all that” to “sucking like a Hoover or Paul’s old girlfriend,” the Internet is “good.” Without it, countless people would have to leave their rooms to make friends, and Trek Warp Coils Net would have never been founded. It has made the world a smaller place, allowing people on all corners of the world to communicate and, therefore, argue about such important matters as which level of “Doom XIII” is the “wickedest” and whether insurance salesmen and lawyers really have tentacles, or just are single-celled beings with no tentacles.

Or whatever.

SPECIAL NOTE: Be sure to catch Jeff and Paul’s weekly column, “Corn Ahoy!” on “IowaNet.”

Hail To the Egg Shells

By Paul Caputo and Jeffrey Carl

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Plug Magazine, December 1 1995

Plug Magazine ( was an early entrant into the Internet content space back when you had to call a website a magazine so that people knew what it was. It was… I’m not even sure I remember what it was. It wasn’t around very long, the domain is currently unused, and I can’t even find any cached copies on to remember what it looked like. So let’s just say that it was another predictably disappointing highway service plaza on the road to writing stardom for Paul Caputo and me.

It feels just like this: You’re driving down I-95 at a reasonable and prudent 116 miles per hour. Your cares melt away in the scenery as you reach to shift into fifth gear. You notice the scenery, you notice the girl in the car next to you, but you don’t notice that you accidentally miss fifth gear and slip it into reverse. Your car’s transmission leaps out of the hood and smashes through your windshield. In that final, crystal clear moment as you look at your engine sputtering happily in the passenger seat next to you, you wonder what could have possibly gone wrong. As your car spins in 70-mile-per hour circles and crashes into an 18-wheeler full of radioactive explosive poisonous snakes in the next lane, you can’t help but feel a little surprised and disappointed.

It is not hard to imagine that Cleveland’s long-time football fans felt more or less the same upon hearing that their beloved Browns are moving to Baltimore next season. It must have been a surreal, punch-in-the-gut, kick-in-the-pants, rub-your-eyes, shake-your-head, say-it-ain’t-so, pour-me-six-martinis feeling never before experienced by any sports fan.

Sure, Cleveland isn’t the first team to move. Baltimore Colts fans felt the sting of relocation in 1984, but even the Colts were not as intrinsically tied to their city as the Browns were before last week. Until the moment Browns owner Art Modell appeared on a street corner across from Camden Yards to announce that they had reached a deal to build a brand-new, 400,000-luxury-box (or something) football stadium in Baltimore, the idea of sports franchises moving had always been sort of a detached experience.

It is hard to imagine a die-hard Tampa Bay football fan (either of them) breaking down in tears on TV upon hearing that the Buccaneers might be moving to Orlando. Houston sports fans were probably rooting for the Astros and the Oilers to move to Northern Virginia and Nashville respectively, so that they could firebomb the Astrodome and convert it into a parking lot or the world’s largest Taco Bell or anything but the world’s ugliest domed, astroturfed stadium.

Fans in Los Angeles probably haven’t even noticed that the city lost both of its football teams last year. In fact, fans in Los Angeles probably never even knew that there were football teams there, unless someone just happened to steal a car and notice that there were cleats and helmets in it.

But Cleveland is a city whose fans are among the most loyal (“insane”), devoted (“really, really insane”), die-hard (“not real bright, either”) fans the NFL has ever known. It is a city whose people supported (“were actually willing to pay $40 for the ticket and $7 for a concession-stand hot dog for”) their team. It is a city that lived for Sunday afternoons. 

Now, all Sunday afternoons mean is colored comics in the newspaper. 

While it is wrong to blame Art Modell for the plight of all professional sports, it certainly is easy. He is an active part of the assault on the modern sports fan that started when the first big-time free agent left a city that loved him for a team with a bigger bank-roll. Basketball fans in Charlotte walk past an enormous mural of Alonzo Mourning painted on the side of a city building. Once the portrayal of a city’s sports hopes, the mural now stands as a tribute to athletes who will abandon a city and its dreams for the extra million dollars a year they must need to Super-Size their McHappy Meals when traveling from city to city.

Now, though, even the most supportive of cities must fear losing not only their superstars to the lure of big bucks, but their entire teams. After watching the Browns announce that they will leave Cleveland, how can any sports fan allow himself to give his heart to any team? If Cleveland’s fans – the sort of people who would go to a four hour football game in sub-zero temperatures wearing nothing but a dog mask, body paint and bikini briefs – can’t hold onto a team, who can?

Flash forward 20 years.

You sit down in your living room on a Sunday afternoon and turn on your television to watch the Nashville Elvises (formerly the Winnipeg Jets, an NHL franchise that moved to Nashville and started playing football instead of hockey in 2007 because the city said it would build them a stadium built entirely of crumpled hundred dollar bills, plus allow the team to keep all of the revenue from sales of overpriced “soft” pretzels) play against the Richmond Egg Shells (an NFL expansion team that unfortunately came into the league after all of the intimidating names had been taken).

At half time of the game, Egg Shells owner Bob “Bob” Ukrop IV announces that the franchise will be moving to Washington D.C. at the end of the third quarter because they city has promised to build them a stadium with solid-gold Gatorade coolers. Then, at the end of the game, they will be moving to Nome, Alaska, where city officials have promised them each “a bajillion dollars and the mayor’s daughter.”

“Hey,” Ukrop says. “It’s a business.” 

That’s funny, we thought it was a game.

It’s Supposed To Be Funny

By Professor J. Schnell Carlsbad, Ph.D, Ed.D, Sa.T, Pb.J, M.P.H.

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Plug Magazine, November 1 1995

Plug Magazine ( was an early entrant into the Internet content space back when you had to call a website a magazine so that people knew what it was. It was… I’m not even sure I remember what it was. It wasn’t around very long, the domain is currently unused, and I can’t even find any cached copies on to remember what it looked like. So let’s just say that it was another predictably disappointing highway service plaza on the road to writing stardom for Paul Caputo and me.

Hello there! And welcome to Richmond’s Comedy Web Central! And, as the old sailors used to say, Comedy Ahoy!

This collection of assorted “comic essays” and “crap” is the result of many hours of decidicated effort, a few of which was actually “work.” And it should be appreciated as such.

To wit: What is comedy? Is it innate? Is it a Rabelaisian doctorine of satirical whimsy? Is it a Voltaireian wave of Frenchness? Is it a “Toucan-Sam”-esque cavalcade of breakfast cereal? Is it, as most would figure, just a load of “pseudojournalistic horseshit?”

These are difficult questions. As such, I don’t feel like answering them. In fact, all I really feel like doing is taking another shot of “103 Proof Fighting Cock.” But since they are paying me to answer this, the least I can do is give a scholarly answer: one that is thoughtful, insightful and blatant horseshit.

It all began as the brainchild (“brain” in little finger-quotes) of Jeffrey Carl and Paul Caputo. Oddly enough, both men are albino Swedes.

Jeff had worked for a small newspaper in Westmoreland County, Virginia, where he “received more hate mail before 9 a.m. than most people do all day.” Paul had been a columnist for a Pennsylvania paper, which was only firebombed twice. They brought their respective “talents” in “writing” “journalism” to their college of choice. It happened to be the same college, because both got half-off on tuition: Jeff as a result of an ill-decide scholarship, and Paul because he had pictures of the Dean of Admissions in a Holiday Inn with three cheerleaders and a rubber model of an automatic transmission.

Soon, each rose to a position of prominence on campus: Paul as an outspoken liberal colunist in the school’s library bathroom walls, and Jeff as a drunken fratboy who, in a drunken stupor, fervently retched on classmates. Incidentally, both wrote for the college newspaper.

During their years as school-chums, they grew so bored with their literary efforts being “the talk of the town” that they decided to combine their efforts and become “the talk and Morse Code telegrams of the town.” In some circles, they were also the Bizarre Mime and Braille of the town.

In his Junior year, Paul was named as the Editorials Editor of the college newspaper. In Jeff’s Senior year, he replaced Paul, because the new Editor-in-Chief thought the intellectual quality of Jeff’s columns was better. Also, Jeff was having sex with her (the Editor, not the columns) frequently. Of these days, Jeff later remarked, “Huh?”

But the fact remains that both were campus celebrities and superstars to the paper’s readers — yes, both of them. At any rate, they persisted for months as the “literary” “life” of the “college” they attended (which we won’t embarrass it by using its name but will call the “Univ6sity 6f 6ichmond.”) Their exploits were sometimes legendary, and almost always fictitous. People frequently showed how envious they were by saying of their work, “Jeff and Paul what? Who the Hell are you talking about?” Their burning jealousy was obvious.

But the fact remains that at their graduation, Jeff received a standing ovation, and Paul received several direct hits from vegetables and small rocks. Paul later laughed these off as just being the result of unusual indoors atmospheric conditions.

During this time, an awkward friendship was formed: Paul admired Jeff’s brilliant comic wit, and Jeff admired Paul’s girlfriend. It was like a match made in heaven, if heaven were full of Fiery Pits and Screaming Dead People. Actually, that’s Hell I’m thinking of.

But the match was made nonetheless: Paul and Jeff had found common comic grounds: Dave Barry, “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy,” and “David Hasselhoff.” Both particularly admired the episode of “Knight Rider” wherein KITT’s evil twin, KARR, tried to kill David Hasselhoff. Incidentally, both had attempted the same thing previously and Jeff was arrested for prowling around Hasselhoff’s estate with an axe, muttering “It’s time to make the donuts, David.”

Jeff and Paul became fast friends, and they labored for months thereafter, working for hours and hours, diligently laboring, to convince people that even though they were “fast friends” that they weren’t gay. Jeff got engaged, just so people would realize.

Jeff and Paul also became a top-notch writing team, and began to pour out articles. Their first work, “Modes of Semantic Epistemogoly in Post-Jungian Realism,” was rejected by “Science” magazine. Then their second article, “Mating Behaviors of the Tuft-Titted Grutmouse” was rejected by the “Audobon Society Quarterly.” Incidentally, it was accepted by “The Richmond Times-Dispatch.” They had hit rock-bottom.

But then they turned back to comedy, and the result from critics has been non-stop apathy ever since. Paul and Jeff began writing for “The Richmond State,” and they began receiving figuratively hundreds of letters a day.

Jeff and Paul also began writing a movie script, which they abandoned when they realized that it resembled too closely “National Lampoon’s Senior Trip,” and also “Citizen Kane.”

Soon thereafter, they had an idea. “Hey,” they said. “Let’s order CHINESE FOOD!!!!” Soon after that, they had another idea. “Hey,” they said. “We’re hungry again. Let’s get A PIZZA!!!!!!!” I’m not sure how the idea of writing for “Pluginc” came about.

At any rate, their first columns on “The Web” were greeted with a tremendous wave of people ignoring them. This was actually an improvement on their college careers, which had involved tremendous waves of people, including (TRUE FACT!) Male Cheerleaders, trying to “beat the shit out of them.” Encouraged by this — as well as the fact that Kevin and Chuck fell asleep one day with their HTML Editor open — they set up their own Web Pages, making them “Caught in the Web” or “Linked in the Net” or “Passed Out on the Floor.”

And so you see the Web Archive before you. Peruse it. Browse it. Shriek violently and throw fruit at it. They don’t care. They get to count the “hit” anyway.

The kindest recommendation I can give to these young hooligans is that they have never vomited on me personally. Their stuff may or may not be funny. I can’t tell Then again, they have never let me out of these straps to check.

In short, “Enjoy!” Or, “Belive me, you’ll puke on your keyboard if you try to read this!” Or, “Or whatever!”

As long as these cheese-dicks pay me for this. Otherwise, I really couldn’t give three shekels and a dead rat’s ass.