Hello and welcome to the Smile Syndicate Music Hour – the home of Funtime music. Check us out on Patreon.com/thesmilesyndicate and join the Smile Squad!

I’m excited to hear today’s songs. Let’s go, Jason!

Thanks, Miss Elizabeth. Hello, friend. Thanks very much for downloading and listening to today’s episode. You’ve turned your ears toward us and said “fill these up with something good.” We are now honour-bound to do just that so Miss Elizabeth and I will now work very hard to do just that. We’d like to fill your ears with Smile Syndicate brand Funtime Music and Funtime Entertainment.

You might notice some noise in the background. We’re on the plane, headed to our next summertime destination. We were in Jamaica last week to kick off Summer Commotion 2019 last week – our month-long series of special episodes celebrating Smile Syndicate Funtime Music and Entertainment, under the blazing, relentless sun. We’re traveling to the world’s most beautiful summertime spots and while we’re there, we’re debuting new segments, joshing around, and I pull out that guitar and do a Smile Syndicate song or three sitting right there.

So, Jamaica was amazing. We made a bunch of new friends, we spread some Funtime while we were down there and now it’s time for new beaches, new oceans, and the same old sun. We’re going to debut a new segment next week and I’ll probably pull out the old guitar for a few songs as well. But this old Earth of ours is one Big Blue Marble and it’s gonna take some time to get to our next destination. So it’s a travel day today but we’re gonna bring you the show right from this airplane flying some 300,000 feet above your heads as I speak. I asked the people around me if it was okay to take out the guitar and sing but they all downvoted the idea, so we’ll play new Smile Syndicate songs on our travel days and do the mini beach concert kind of thing when we’re actually on the beach.

We’re flying in comfort here. I’m sure you can hear the roar of the engines. But you probably don’t want to hear that through the whole episode so let’s turn on the noise canceller and quiet things down a little.

Let’s get this show off with a bang. Let us check in with the Smile Syndicate Chart. Every week, songs compete like gladiators of old to see who will be the champion. Skulls get crushed, kneecaps get popped, and pride itself often finds itself face down in the sand. It’s a bloodsport to be sure, but as long as we the audience don’t get any blood on us, we tell ourselves that it’s all okay. Whatever we need to do to sleep at night – I’m fine with it. A stern warrior has stepped forward, the severed head of its foe in his hand and he proclaims “the number 3 position with a bullet position is MINE.” Indeed it is, proud champion. This is the Smile Syndicate with WALK THE ROCK WALK!


It’s definitely an experience recording a show while on an airplane. This noise canceller is working fine for you, dear listener, but Miss Elizabeth and I can still hear the roar of the engines. I can barely hear myself think, but I will push on. Miss Elizabeth and I are also separated by 8 or 9 rows of seats, so that’s an added challenge.

But we are up to the challenge and plan to do a few Funtime things before this plane lands. First off, more music. We’ll be spinning the cursed Round Wheel of Mystery, peering into the very pits of Hell and hopefully that sulfurous pit belches up a command to play a Smile Syndicate song. If it’s some other kind of dark command, I gotta tell ya, Wheel, my options are kinda limited being cooped up on this plane.

In the Marquee Song Slot at the end of the show, that most coveted spot in all of podcasting, we’ll be debuting a brand new Smile Syndicate song! It’s an intimate arrangement of a Smile Syndicate punk classic. Today, we’re proud to feature SO FAR, NO GOOD 2000.

And let’s not forget the Funtime Entertainment. We’re going to present the latest installment of THE CULTURE VULTURE where I give you all you need to know to appear educated through the entire range of the world’s culture. It’s breezy, fun, informative – you’d be crazed to pass it by.

But first, we’ve got something to thrill you and chill you. Miss Elizabeth has assembled a crack crew of mystery hunters and together they explore the dark and supernatural corners of Smileton in a segment we call MISS ELIZABETH – INVESTIGATOR OF SUPERNATURAL MYSTERIES.


Some episodes ago I told you about how my friends and I have formed a super squad to investigate supernatural mysteries. We’re really getting a lot done:

We came up with a bunch of potential names for the group (still no decision made on that front)

We picked a group action utility vehicle (we’re going to use Connie’s jeep until we can properly determine which type of vehicle would best need our needs going forward)

We picked a pattern for our printed 3×5 and 4×6 cards that we’ll use to document all the information we uncover while solving supernatural mysteries.

But most importantly of all, I’ve gathered a group of people who are as concerned as I am that people seem to be disappearing and being replaced by brass statues of themselves in the Smileton mall’s food court. So it’s me, Connie from Connie’s Kettle, Tiffany the blacksmith, Hunter, her ex and Duncan, Connie’s ne’er-do-well brother-in-law.

This whole situation is spooky. And we faced a major challenge this week.

Did someone else disappear?

Well, yeah, but the major challenge we had to deal with first was the printer screwed up our order. Somehow the design we chose wasn’t used. They printed up a bunch of black cards with gold printing and a weird bikini and cigar kind of logo. It looked like a card from a gentleman’s club. It took some doing to get that fixed up. I had to make 3 calls!

But, it wasn’t all bad for us, this week. We added a new team member – he’s the cutest member of the team. He’s a parrot. His name is Bird and he’s beautiful. Connie looks after him. He’s a darling and very smart.

Jason hates the bird.

So, we gathered for a team meeting. Once we all agreed on where Bird’s perch should sit, we got down to business. If Bird is going to be part of the team, and not just relaxing back at Connie’s place, we’re going to need supplies. Food, water, nice bowls, things for him to climb on. An appropriate bathroom situation. So, this week’s mission was going to be to plan and execute a pet store run and get Bird all kitted out.

The team was on fire. Connie and I put the shopping list together. Tiffany drove. We got those supplies in under an hour. Before we knew it, we were back at Connie’s Kettle. Bird was sitting on his perch enjoying a nice treat and we could get down to business and start processing the clues we’d discovered this week.

We had a few good clues to work with

It’s been raining for the past couple of weeks and we haven’t seen any new statues. The supernatural force responsible must not be able to stand water. It’s his weakness. Hunter has been tasked with making sure we have lots of water on-hand whenever we go out on recon.
We got a team credit card and it got maxed out the first day. After some sleuthing, we figured out it was Duncan who bought a bunch of liquor and socks online. He got a reprimand and he’s promised to pay the money back.

I got a magnifying glass and went to study all the statues up close. One was a woman with a cell phone in her hand. I took a close look and I could see she had been on a call. I could see the phone number! It was local. I scribbled it down. This could be a vital clue!

I took the note back to the Kettle. Time to hit the internet and find out who this number belongs to! Turns out this clue is a piece of dynamite – this could blow the whole case wide open. I got a match on the phone number. It belongs to a certain Jasper Joseph, one of your food court buddies. Would you mind explaining to me why his number appears on the phone of someone who’s disappeared and been replaced by a bronze statue?

Well, as luck would have it, who do you think walked into Connie’s Kettle and tried to get a free tea using an expired coupon? Yes, Jasper Joseph.

I marched right up to him, demanding answers. He pretended not to know what I was talking about. I grabbed him by the ear and dragged him right over to the statue in the food court. The closer we got, the more agitated he became. He’s really scared of those statues. From a well-based fear of the supernatural or was it guilt that made him crazy? When we got close, I could tell he recognized her. But he still denied it. We walked back to the Kettle arguing. He was still determined to get his free tea.

When we got in there, Bird started chirping “Liar! Liar!” Jasper Joseph got really rattled. He started sweating, looking around, trying to find an exit. Bird just kept going “Liar! Liar!” Finally, Jasper Joseph broke from the cross-examination. “Okay, I know her, alright? She’s a real estate agent, and I was selling the condo belonging to someone whose identity I stole. I had nothing to do with the statue stuff. I didn’t do anything illegal. That’s all I know. Just keep that bird away from me. ”

Hunter stepped forward, “okay, Sidewinder. We’ll believe you for now. Now get the hell out of here.”

We’re really thanking our lucky stars we added Bird to the team. I went over to tell him what a good birdie he is when he started squawking again. He started shouting “Man in a cap! Man in a cap!”

I looked where he was looking and saw a man run past the store towards the exit. We all chased after him but when we got outside, he was gone.

That was a little too much adventure for one day so we settled back and had some nice tea to soothe our nerves. I hope Smileton sleeps a little better knowing we’re on the case. There’ll be no more new statues replacing our townspeople if I have anything to say about it.


This wheel is disturbing. It appeared one day. Seems to be cursed. Tells us to play Smile Syndicate songs, usually, but sometimes it’s something else.

Last episode you may have heard the wheel send me a text, telling me to play a song. Well, this self-aware tool of the devil has just sent me a telegram. A flight attendant just dropped it off. It says “the wheel has turned. You are to play ‘I’m Going Back To High School.'”

I’m Going Back To High School

Let’s cup our hands behind our ears and all being swaying gently. Let us say with one voice “Jukebox, play us a song.”


I don’t want to complain about our flight. Our flight attendants have been great, but kinda stand-offish. Not one will come on the show. I don’t buy the whole “I’m working”. When a podcast is being recorded on a flight you’re working, it’s part of your job to come on the show and do your part. We keep going places and no one wants to say a few words.

But they’re doing a good job. I kinda made one busy during the song just now. I’d ordered a Coke and got brought one and the attendant goes, “you want the whole can?” I go “sure”. She goes further down the aisle and of course I spill it everywhere. I flag another attendant down and ask for another Coke. He drops something, bends down to pick it up and I accidentally spill the Coke all over him. I go “Sorry. I’m just having no luck today” and he just goes “I can see that!” He goes off. But I still don’t have a Coke. The attendants aren’t coming by so I have to speak up – “hey! Hey! Still need a Coke here!” Didn’t get one and now the show’s back on so I’m gonna have to wait until after. Flyin’ ain’t easy!


Culture Vulture is taking off. Purveyors of culture have started to recognize The Culture Vulture’s influence and they’ve started currying its favor. I’m getting sent all kinds of menus, sculptures and art installations with the artists clamoring for me to review them. Most of it ends up in the garbage, but there are a few interesting items.

I got sent a menu for a place – Diabolique. All in French. The menu was filed of pictures of these models – high fashion, slicked back hair, sunglasses, pouting – real Euro-vaVOOM type stuff. Now, I’m bringing this up because I want to highlight that The Culture Vulture isn’t infallible. There are ways to hack the system. I’m working at fixing these loopholes and backdoors, but I’m still human.

I found this menu beguiling. Normally, I glance at a menu and I can size up the place in three seconds. But this menu wasn’t forthcoming. The hints I usually look for were probably there, but these sorcereses were tripping me up. Unfortunately, for this one, I was going to have to actually go to the restaurant and at least check it out before I reviewed it.

So I hopped in a cab and said “Diabolique, s’il vous plait.” The cabbie floors it and I’m there in 10 minutes. I’m really looking forward to having a sophisticated experience.

I get there and the place is in a strip mall. I kinda pictured it being in a more seculded, sensuous spot, not next to a kids’ bouncy castle place on one side and a liquor store on the other. It was definitely the place – the sign had the same pictures of the models as the menu on it.

I go in there and I’m overwhelmed. They must have been pickling something in there because I nearly passed out. Wow – I didn’t know dill could hit you that hard, but wow.

Turns out, those models on the menu don’t work there. It was a grizzled, unshaven guy in a dirty apron barking orders and some young guy. It was an empty diner. I don’t read French, but judging from what I saw, the menu was mostly eggs, toast and hash browns. The cook spotted me and yelled “HEY!” So I turned and ran.

So, an interesting experience. I admit the menu lead me astray. If you want perfection, you’re kidding yourself. The Culture Vulture can be fooled but at least he’s honest.

So that’s Diabolique – 3 stars.

Five Tips for Talking About Ballet at a Dinner Party

If you’re new to this, try this easy tip. It’ll start and stop the ballet conversation in 2 minutes. Identify a target. Sidle up to the person and steer the discussion towards ballet, then immediately act like you’re so bored at having to discuss it. The more arrogant you come off, the better. If people start asking you what you like about it, your answers should make it sound like you almost don’t even like ballet. “Oh, yes, the dancers ARE graceful. The music is SO beautiful. It’s ALL too much to take!” Your target mutters, “jeez, sorry for bringing it up” and they wander away thinking “that person’s an expert – I’m not in their league at all!” This tip is for beginners. It’s a sledgehammer that is effective, but being so overt with sarcasm can make people start avoiding you at the dinner party. Once you’re ready to move on, there are more subtler tools to use.

People normally associate good ballet with Russia. If this gets brought up, have no patience for it. “Yes, yes. If all you want is stock, run-of-the-mill ballet, you go to the Russians.” Try leaving it there. If you get a “well, what do you like?” smile like a snake and hit them with this one: “my conception of ballet is too large to be limited by arbitrary lines drawn on a map. Dance is a universal language.” If you’re lucky, other people will have overheard you and you might get a nice little burst of quiet applause. If you still get pressed on this, grab a country at random. “There are many fine dancers coming out of Chile these days” OR “if you’ve never experienced ballet on the fjords of Norway, then you’ve never really experienced ballet.” Failing these, you have one nuke in your pocket. If your foe still won’t give up, just say “I’m afraid I have no use for ballet as it’s practiced in the northern hemisphere. Now if you’ll excuse me.” Writing off half the planet in one grand gesture is bold – your opponent will be speechless for long enough for you to make your exit. They’ll be left thinking they just went through a ballet tornado. They’re unlikely to lock horns with you again.

Every ballet dancer had a famous teacher. But the people you’re talking to won’t know any. Make one up. The first name doesn’t matter – just make sure the last name sounds Russian or French. Say things like “Talking to you reminds me of my ballet teacher, Louise Galishnakoff.” or “It’s funny you should say that. My ballet teacher, Marie Le Bouche used to say the very same thing.” If you can’t think of a name, just saying “ballet teacher” might be good enough. While you’re shovelling hors d’ouevres down your gullet you can say, “uh, what would my ballet teacher think if this if they saw me doing this! Oh, well! YOLO!”

Complain about modern choreography. “Ugh, today’s choregrapher make the dancers look like robots made out of tin and old garbage cans. Today’s ballet commits the cardinal sin – it’s boring.” But don’t hearken back to the good old days. You need to be forward-thinking to come across as a connoisseur. Look to the future. “I look forward to the days when ballet moves with the destructive force of a hurricane, with the crushing power of a landslide but with the refinement of a master craftsman woodworker carefully carving a stool from an oak. Don’t wake me until that day comes.” If you get any response apart from quiet nods, I’ll eat my hat.

If you’re really feeling brave, claim to be a ballet dancer yourself. If you catch the slightest whiff of skepticism use one of the following to erase all doubts:
Say “I’d show you my feet, but they look like hamburger.”
Offer to pick up the person. “You want to know what flying feels like, just let me know.”
Casually go up on point while sipping your drink. When it’s noticed, just go “oh, I’m just practicing.”
Claim that you got your big break by pushing a fellow dancer down the stairs
If all else fails, there’s only one sure way to convince your foe you’re a ballet dancer – dance ballet in front of them. Flail, jump, run around with your arms behind you – you’ll be convicing if you just do one thing – LOCK EYES WITH THEM. They will be convinced – they’ll see your body moving, but they’re eyes are locked on your eyes. You do your big move, blink hard, the spell will be broken, they’ll come to, start shaking their head and they’ll begin clapping, they’ll shout BRAVO! And soon the whole room is in an uproar! Nice work!


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MARQUEE SONG SLOT – So Far, No Good 2000

That’s it! We hope you enjoyed the show. If you did, please consider joining the Smile Squad and support this podcast on Patreon. Join our just cause as we pursue the values of Funtime music, Funtime comedy, and general delightedment.
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So it’s bye bye from Jason.

And bye bye from me. See you next week.

And as always, remember friend, the sun is a jukebox.