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Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Good Riddance Bush. Or, a trip to my bank makes it all personal

The times we live in! Man, what a mess.
Pakistan and India are on the verge of a shooting war, Israel has launched the largest military assault on the Gaza Strip in 40 years and people want Obama to say something about it all even though he is not the President.
With three weeks left on the job where is Bush?
Vacation.
That’s right! With only three weeks left to go he is on yet another vacation. Don’t you want a government job like that?
While the world falls deeper into destruction, Bush is sleep walking to the finish line. Where is his staff during all this?
Making the Sunday morning talk show rounds where they give interviews proclaiming Bushes legacy will be remembered in part for his peace making.
Seriously.
The world burns but they would rather rewrite history than deal with anything like reality.
Maybe we should just let Bush know he is free to leave any time.
Any time.

Laura Bush, not amused by the shoe-throwing incident, has said publicly that it was an assault. Actually, the shoes never hit him so it is an attempted assault. More importantly though, I wonder what she calls what we did to Iraq? Those weren’t shoes we were dropping from planes Laura. Maybe she doesn’t understand.

I was standing in line at the bank yesterday. As if there isn’t enough anxiety about banks these days, the branch I go to has a giant plasma screen TV behind the tellers so you can watch in line. Great. They always have it on CNN. I’m worried about my account because of a mistake they made and now I get to watch another war and more children with blood on their faces as I wait to speak with a representative. Please pump all the fear and loathing you can into an otherwise normal trip to the bank, Wells Fargo!
I did something very San Francisco. I interrupted a conversation to let someone know I had been offended by a comment I overheard. That’s what I did, but I didn’t clear my throat next to a smoker or lecture someone with a pet to get their balls cut. It was a father and son who were speaking. The father said, “People want to make fun of Bush as a failure, they forget that there hasn’t been another 9/11 on his watch.”
I love this argument! It’s a fool’s refuge.
“Excuse me, I couldn’t help but hear your last comment. Your right, under Bush there was only one 9/11. An event he allowed to happen when he ignored several warnings from foreign intelligence services and of course the CIA briefing titled, Bin Laden determined to strike with in the U.S. To be fair though, he did get that briefing while on vacation at his ranch in Texas and who really wants to do anything when they’re on vacation? Right? I mean, thats where he was when Katrina hit New Orleans, too”
You can imagine how that went over.
I thought this guy was going to have a melt down! His eyes bulged, a vein appeared to throb at his temple and his son just looked at me in a way that suggested, I have to put up with this now for the rest of the day, ass hole!
His reply? Nothing. Just his eyes aimed at me with a cold resolve to come up with the right thing to say. Eventually, he came up with something. It took a few minuets but you could tell he thought he had me! But oh what a familiar Conservative talk show programed response it was!
“What did Bill Clinton do to keep us safe?”
“Well, I can tell you this much. The people who attempted to bring down the world trade center on his watch were all found, put on trial and the mastermind now sits in prison. Under Bush, the mastermind of 9/11 has never been found yet everyone seems to know where he is. When Clinton did send cruise missiles to kill Bin Laden at a suspected terrorist training facility, he was criticized for doing so. Everyone thought it was to distract us from the infamous blowjob scandal. Man I miss hearing about Blowjobs and cum stains as serious news. Now days its Torture, Spying and Billions of dollars lost along with human lives. The music might have been more depressing, but I miss the 90’s”
A few bank employees laughed, the security guard grew more uncomfortable and the son just shook his head before getting his dad out of there.

Look, its not productive to get bogged down in what one President did over another. It’s not productive to start any sentence with Democrats did this or Conservatives did that. But if you can’t look at the shape of the world right now and see that virtually the entire Neo-conservative platform has almost destroyed the economy with unchecked deregulation, left Iraq and Afghanistan more open to terrorist take over than before we showed up to free them and cost America its reputation all around the world as the Good Guys, then your simply not paying enough attention. This whole idea that Bush has been a success because we didn’t have another 9/11 on his watch is complete bullshit.
We had THE 9/11 on his watch!

In fact, the reason I was at the bank had to do with 9/11. To make sure you are not a front for terrorist operations like a charity distributing money to bomb makers, any large deposit has to be verified. They do this by sending the depositor a form. I was sent one because a few months ago I opened a modest CD with them. Did the whole thing on line. A month and a half later, this form shows up. A month and a half later. With lightening speed reaction times like that, how could a suspected enemy ever get money out of the bank in time? Now keep in mind, this is a legal form that will be reviewed by the Department of Homeland Security and was prepared by Wells Fargo.
There were two typos in the document.
Two!
I could overlook these typos. After all, don’t most of us make the simple mistake of spelling health club, hezth club?

In a fit of conspiracy overindulgence, a friend pointed out to me that changing a single letter like that gives the appearance that it is an Arabic word. Maybe not to you and me, but to a computer whose job it is to look at all this information coming in and flag items that appear foreign or suspicious, it might. Think of it as the digital equivalent of racial profiling.

Maybe. I am not willing to go all the way on that one yet. Course, people have ended up on the Governments secret no fly list for easier to explain reasons than that. Sen. Ted Kennedy was on the no fly list. So was a 5-year-old boy. Since the government won’t tell anyone just what the criteria for getting on the damn thing is and there is no official way to confront them if its wrong, maybe my friend has a point. Will see the next time I fly.

I do know that the other typo wasn’t a letter in a word. It was a number. According to Wells Fargo, who was going to pass this information on to an agency that has the police powers of the CIA and the FBI combined, I suddenly opened a CD for $100K!
That’s how they wrote it. $100K.
I wish!
I opened a CD for $10K. Now maybe its just a zero, but at a time when the American public has lost any respect for the banking industry, shouldn’t you be on your best behavior? I mean do you really want to shake any customers faith in you, Wells Fargo? Couldn’t I just simply close my account and walk across the street to another bank? The other thing to consider is that these forms are also sent to my old friend and Nemesis, the IRS. Like every comic I know, I have my issues with those guys. In the last few years I have finally been able to start paying off what I owed them from those years of driving around the country doing stand-up, drunk and ignorant to tax law. If the IRS got an official Government document stating that I had $100,000 in the bank and haven’t finished paying off my debt to them, what do you think would happen to that CD? They would take it in a heartbeat. That’s the law. In my head I could see a series of Kafka like mistakes resulting in my own personal disaster all because some teller at Wells Fargo was having delusions of grandeur while carrying ones.
No thanks.
To me, this brings the decadence, disease of greed, incompetence and ignorance of the last eight years down to a very personal level. Course, anyone with a mortgage payment due, a soldier returning from combat with no VA benefits, a scientist with a good idea or an Iraqi kid missing arms but free to wave an American flag as we drive by in fighting vehicles that aren't properly armoured, also has had the Bush legacy made very very personal for them.

Good riddance Bush; you might have believed in God but it felt like you worked for the Devil.
I do wonder what will happen to Darth Cheney when he leaves.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Of Guns and Shoes

Sometimes you hear a story and your not sure where to place the outrage. This story will challenge any sense of justice you have.
Any.
An argument ensued while others at the Riverview Movie Theatre watched "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button," starring Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett.
A man angry that a family was talking during a movie threw popcorn at the son and then shot the father in the arm, according to police in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
The man was carrying a Kel-Tec .380-caliber handgun clipped inside his sweatpants, police said.
Alright. First of all no one is dead. Laugh and cheer away my friends! I know, its terrible and wrong. A guy was hurt after all and thats never good. But fucking A! How many times have you thought about doing this in the exact same situation?
Me too.
I can't go all the way and give this guy full blown hero status, but I might give him a pat on the back. Hell, I might contribute to his legal defense fund.
Then I saw a photo of the dude.
Oh man. A lot went wrong there! Course, we can deduce that from his lack of impulse control I suppose.
This guy is missing a few pegs on his aggression escalation scale. There should be at least a few more steps between throwing pop corn and gun. Shouldn't there? Correct me if I'm wrong, but the story also said he clipped the gun inside his sweatpants.
Sweatpants?

Are you kidding me? This guy gave up. When you wear sweatpants outside in public your just telling the world you know your a fat pig, but you don't care. I bet it had stains on it too. Mustard, grease, bits of cheese. Its a flag that says, I am going to eat what I want so I am going to be comfortable doing it. A man in sweat pants doesn't give a fuck. But here is the thing that cracks me up the most. He's going to a movie on Christmas day, usually the day when they release movies best described with terms like, warm hearted and moving. So he puts on his Christmas sweatpants because maybe hes going to hit a buffet before going to the Theater, but before he leaves the house he somehow goes through a thought process that ends with him bringing his gun. Your going to see a Brad Pitt movie on Christmas! The only reason to bring a gun is to shot yourself. Christ almighty!
I still blame the family for talking during the movie. If you see a guy who obviously loves to eat throw food away from his mouth, he is pissed! Really pissed. Maybe he isn't missing scales on his aggression meter. In his world throwing food at someone is a serious indicator of just how upset they really are. You should expect a gun coming into the situation next. Its like me throwing my Star Wars models at you. They mean a lot to me folks. If you ever anger me to the point where I am throwing those at you, run. The next thing coming out will be a gun my friends.
"Dude, that guy just hit me with a pot pie!"
"That huge guy in the sweat and food stained sweatpants with the worn out elastic ban?"
"Yeah."
"RUN NOW!"
A few people on the Internet have made the comparison between this guy and the guy who threw his shoes at Bush. This really says something about us doesn't it? One guy risks his life to make an elegantly simple protest against lies about a war that never had to happen. Another guy shoots a dude for talking during a movie. They don't exactly add up on a scale do they? Defending the truth or, taking action with a gun against a guy who won't shut up? See my point? But thats us. Thats Americans. In our heads they both did something publicly we all wished we could do. That makes them equally eligible for folk hero status. Its a damn shame the situations weren't reversed. I mean, don't you wish the guy with the shoe had used a gun instead?

Monday, December 22, 2008

The Clone Wars

For the record, I detest blogs about a persons favorite TV shows. It’s down right pathetic. People will analyze every word of dialogue and the meaning behind the placement of props. All these blogs do is loudly and clearly inform the reader that the writer has a life lacking in meaning.
This is my blog about a TV show.
I know. I know. It’s a bad one too. The Clone Wars on Cartoon network. In my defense I am a huge Star Wars fan. I have to watch. Not only to see the missing chapter in the Star Wars saga filled in, but to catalogue just how bad the show can be sometimes. It really can be awful. It can also be really good when they get away from the childish slapstick. The stories range from dark morality tales to light hearted adventures. The Spaceships, aliens and cities all look beautiful. Digitally rendered in bright detail, it is only when the human characters are on screen that it looks bad. While everything else is gorgeous, the people look like puppets missing their strings. They move with an awkward motion when they should be graceful. The battle droids are positively moronic in their speech and capabilities at fighting off Jedi. But the thing that really ruins it for me is a major problem in the philosophy. I know. I know. It’s just a show. Well, it is and it isn’t.
The impact Star Wars had on me as a kid growing up in the flat pampered suburbs of Chicago in the late 70’s is impossible to explain. That first movie was an accidental masterpiece. Truly. At the heart of the movie was The Force. A religion, way of life or maybe even a philosophy-no one really knew. The mystery only increased my hunger for meaning in my own life. As silly as it sounds Star Wars was the first tangible hint that I lived in a much larger world with forces all around me I didn’t have to be blind to.
Then came the Ewoks.
Then came the Prequels with massive plot holes.
Worst of all; Jar Jar Binks. A completely digital creation that seemed made just to annoy the faithful. Lucas seems to have struggled with his franchise. Was it a kids movie or a fable for adults? The second you added puppets was the second it got hard to take seriously.

Its fair to say that I drifted away from Star Wars for many years. The new movies were crap. Painfully acted from a script that held all the excitement of ice fishing, I had been let down enough from something that was so important in my childhood. Then came the clone wars. You have to understand just how mysterious those two words are. In the original movie, Obi-Wan makes reference to a time before the Empire. A time best known to all in the Galaxy as the clone wars. That was it. From that tiny bit of back-story my brother and I managed to spend countless hours awake wondering out loud exactly what happened in that missing era. That’s why the announcement of the new movies subject matter was greeted with such excitement. Finally we would know the story of how the Empire came to be! Finally we would get to see the events of the clone wars!
Then the movies came out.
The entire clone wars turned out to be a single order spoken into a wrist mounted communication device by the Emperor. There was no chase across the Galaxy of valiant Jedi. There was no hunting down or dramatic battles. The clones simply received the order, turned on the Jedi and young Vader to be went from being a mass murder of Sand People to killing children.
That was it? That was the missing piece of the puzzle I waited a lifetime for?

Maybe Lucas knows he fucked up. Maybe someone broke from the pack of yes men that must surround him to tell him how ripped off a lot of fans felt. Where was the epic? Where was the subtle lure of the dark side and young Vader’s slow eventual fall into evil? What we got was a whinny teen in love. What we got was about five minuets of screen time for the clone wars.
Where was the story we had been promised since childhood?

When the Cartoon network announced a new series based on the Clone Wars, I was cautiously optimistic. I started watching. I could ignore the stupid dialogue for the battle droids. I could overlook the crudely drawn people against meticulously created backdrops. But then one night something occurred to me. Something that upset the balance of these myths. The flaw in the Star Wars philosophy was about to be revealed.
The “bad guys” fight their war with droids. The “good guys” are fighting their war with clones. Does that make sense to you? If the Jedi really were a group of warrior monks who protected and worshiped life in all its forms, why would they create a race of living beings for the sole purpose of war? Are the bad guys really so bad when they appear to be more humane than the Jedi?
I know. I know. The fans will remind me that the clones were made in secret from the Jedi. It was all part of a grand master plan to destroy the Jedi. OK. But does that make it better? Are we to believe that after learning of the clones existence the Jedi simply said, lets use this fighting force of human beings anyway? Didn’t anyone on the much-celebrated Jedi council even suggest this might not be in keeping with their teachings? Better yet, didn’t someone say, it’s a little weird that someone made an army for us at just the right time, ha guys?
Its just a TV show. I know. But it wasn’t always.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

"Shoes"

Here is a unique situation. Maybe even an only in San Francisco sort of thing. As anyone watching the news knows, President George Bush made an unannounced trip to Iraq. Basically, he wanted to gloat over his presumed victory. You know what happened. An Iraqi journalist took off his shoes and threw them at Bush. With the first shoe he yelled, “This is your farewell, Dog!” With the second shoe he yelled something about Bush being responsible for the deaths of millions. Can't argue with that. After what seemed like an extraordinary delay in response time, another Iraqi journalist stepped in front of him while a few more civilians wrestled him to the ground. The secret service eventually ducked their heads in and took control of the guy. I guess if Bush doesn’t give a fuck anymore they don’t either. I hope Obama has a better detail assigned to him than those dudes. At least this time when Bush was declaring victory he didn’t have a Mission Accomplished banner hanging behind him.

Anyway, I posted a simple note on facebook and on my status update that I was going to send a pair of shoes to the White House. I didn’t think anything more after that. But then, I started to get e-mails both private and on facebook from people who thought I should donate my shoes to Goodwill or some other organization like that. Good idea. But the pair of shoes I bought came from Goodwill. Another person was angry that I would be wasting shoes in these dire times and suggested I give a pair to a homeless person. I don’t know a lot of homeless guys with a liking for 80’s Nikes in size 5. This went on all night. E-mail after e-mail from friends and strangers who thought it was a dumb idea or thought it just wasn’t worth it or of course the bleeding heart liberal response of, give the shoes to the poor! Some e-mails were typical of conservatives. "If that guy would of thrown his shoes at Saddam, he wouldn't of left the room alive, ass-hole!" Hey, no disagreement about that. Saddam was a bad dude. What everyone conveniently forgets is, He was not only on our CIA payroll during his war with Iran, but we were the country that not only sold him those biological weapons he used on the Kurds, we also gave him satellite photos complete with wind direction to make there delivery even more lethal. So please, spare me the shit about how much better the country is now.
A few were with me. Everyone wanted to know why. What was my thinking here? Here is my thinking. A few years ago CBS had a show on the air named Jericho. CBS canceled the show. The fans were not too happy about this. In one of the last episodes to air the hero of the show is sent a note from the bad guys demanding their surrender. The hero sends back a one word response that was also the response an allied commander gave a German commander in world war two when he was asked to surrender; “Nuts.”

This is what the fans did to show their disapproval with CBS for cutting their favorite show. They sent canned nuts to CBS corporate headquarters. In just a few days CBS had thousands of containers and packages filled with nuts. CBS attempting to get the upper hand in the war of PR announced they would be considering the fans wishes but in the mean time they would be re- gifting the nuts by sending them to the troops serving in Iraq.
MMMM, yummy! Because isn’t that exactly what you would want if you were pinned down under machine gun fire all day in 130 degree heat? Salty mixed nuts doesn’t seem like the snack I would pick. Long story short, the show got picked up by another network. If Americans can be moved to action by the death of a TV show why can’t the least we do is recognize just what a total fuck up the President has been these last eight years with an act of civil disobedience like mailing him old shoes? Personally, I am going to send his library a box of them every month till the day he dies.

Ah America. You know what this has taught me? That Americans are willing to let bygones be bygones but if you fuck with our TV shows you will get a dramatic and unique response from us.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Send the White House Shoes!

The shoe guy!

Who would of ever thought that a dude would be in the news about shoes and wasn’t gay? Who would of ever thought that the secret service would be blind to shoes as a weapon? I guess thats why they still check them at the airport.
Just for the record, the guy who threw those shoes was an Iraqi television journalist, Muntadar al-Zaidi. He stood up and shouted "this is a goodbye kiss from the Iraqi people, dog," before hurling his shoes at Mr Bush.
Bravo!
I think Mr. Bush needs a clear sign of our disgust that even he can recognize. I implore you all to send a pair of shoes to the White House. No note needed. I think he will get the point.

Here is the address for the White House. Send some shoes, flip flops or combat boots.


1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW
Washington, DC 20500
(202) 456-1414

A Modest Proposal

I can’t watch the news at the moment. Each broadcast starts with the reading of grim statistics on just how bad things are. The message in it all seems pretty clear to me; the way we do business has to drastically change.

I work for a small company. If we are any indication of what passes for normal business then I truly do understand why the economy fell apart. Here is a thought; the economy can no longer be viewed on a natural human scale. Yet, all these companies spend billions on commercials just to tell us they care. They don’t. At my company any big decision has to be decided by at least four other people I have never met face to face. People who are sitting in cubicles looking at spread sheets and making choices based on all those zeros and ones. It takes about three weeks to get an answer to even the most basic questions and in the end they often change their minds in a week anyway. So, we take about a month to stand still. Sound familiar to anyone yet?
People will say to me, you should feel lucky to have a job. I feel lucky to have a paycheck. That’s it. Whatever loyalty I originally had toward the company has vanished in recent months as I attempt to put faces to all those numbers. That’s not something companies want. The number one thing almost every major business in this country seems to have forgotten is the customer.
Were people.
They say in war the only way for a soldier to be effective on the battlefield is to first dehumanize the enemy. When you can do that then you have no problem killing your enemy. Somewhere along the way companies went to war on us. They sold us stuff that was against our own best interest. But so what, someone was making money somewhere and that’s all that mattered. It use to be the mantra of the service industry that the customer was never wrong. Now days the customer is sold something because he doesn’t know whats best for him. That’s the mentality of modern business. The customers’ hesitation is just a minor barrier on the road to getting money out of them.
Where did that get us?
It got us debt. It got us foreclosures on a scale not seen since the great depression. It got us fields of shinny brand new SUV’s no one wants anymore. It got us a war run for profit. It got us lead in our children’s toys and rocket fuel in babies’ milk. It got every last one of us down on our knees and worshipping the Almighty dollar at the expense of any real value.
We all helped to make this current financial climate. They made the commercials and we bought it. Literally. Now, after more than a trillion dollars has been handed to the same people who fucked us over with no strings attached or questions asked, the regular guy is still being ignored. All this talk about jump-starting the economy misses the point over and over and over again and I think I know why. These captains of industry and Wall Street morons cannot conceive of commerce at the human day-to-day level. They are use to transactions in the millions and billions. Surely, the thinking went, if we give the banks the money they stole, lost or invested in questionable practices, then everything could return to normal.
Nope.
A trillion dollars of your money, of every taxpayer’s money now sits in the vaults of banks that for some reason refuse to loan it to anyone. Meanwhile the consumer, the biggest contributor to the health of the economy is being ignored. What if the government used that money to pay down mortgages? What if that money was put into the hands of regular people for rent, gas, food, health care bills, credit card payments and all the little stuff that adds up to the business of living? All these well educated genius keep trying to make changes in the rarefied air of boardrooms. Fuck that. We learned from Regan and the Bushes that trickle down is bullshit. You want the spenders, the consumers, the Joe six-packs to spend hard earned dollars again? If you do, corporate America, you have to get back into the people business. You have to produce a car of value. You have to train representatives to pick up the phone and listen to the complaints. You have to put what really is our money not into the hands of billionaires, but into the hands of the single mother, the senior living on a fixed income, the student overwhelmed by debt, the parents struggling to make ends meet and the typical everyday guy who can no longer afford what were all starting to see were impulse buys and luxury items anyway. Until the MBA’s in New York figure that out, keep watching your hedge funds shrink and those profit reports diminish. If your too dumb to figure out that the health of the economy is run on the backs of the ordinary citizen, then keep doing what you have guys have been doing. It really isn’t working.

Friday, December 12, 2008

While its still mildly funny=)

The auto bailout didn't pass Congress because the Republicans acting against Bush dug their heals in and said no bailout unless the unions cut their wages. The Unions, who are now being made out to be the bad guys in all this said, fuck you! What sort of an economic recovery package asks people struggling to support families to work for less? The CEO of Ford has announced his salary for next year will be $1.00. Your telling me that if we cut all the senior management pay by 10% across the board that wouldn't make a difference? Why is it the people at the bottom are always asked to do with less when it was the people at the very top who did this to the country in the first place?

Meanwhile, the under reported news might as well be called; the death of the Republican party.
Joe the Plumber, moron and self righteous political prop that he is recently said in an interview that he was ..."appalled..." at John McCain for his answers to him about the Bank Bailout. He said he wanted to leave the campaign bus after seeing some of the tricks of the trade on the campaign. In fact he said it made him feel dirty. Way to go Joe! Just as I think we agree on something he proves what a complete idiot he is by saying he voted for McCain because he was more scared of Obama as the President and he thought Sara Palin was, "...the real deal!"
This is a guy who lied about everything!
How much money he makes.
His name.
The fact that he is not a licensed plumber.
He hasn't paid taxes on his property.
Shit, if this guy gets convicted of a crime he is eligible to become a Senator I think.
Why is anyone still listening to this jerk?

Colin Powell, on a Sunday morning interview show said the Republican party needs to "stop shouting at the rest of the world and start listening." He also said we should stop listening to Rush because basically, he is an idiot!
Damn!

But all that is nothing compared with this little gem. In an interview George Bush said he doesn't believe the Bible is literal.
Boom!
I guess he is no longer a Born again then.
When did this little conversion happen? Maybe Bush doesn't think there is a God anymore. After all, this was the dude who basically told the American people that God told him to invade Iraq and that he would find Weapons of Mass Destruction there. Looks like either God lied, Bush didn't hear right or you reach the inevitable conclusion that whatever God Bush believes in doesn't exist.
Merry Christmas everyone! Lets all try and enjoy the death of western civilization while its all still mildly funny=)


Thursday, December 11, 2008

Wheres the money?

Just so were clear on all this let me see if I have it down.

The banking industry, suffering from a crisis of their own making, has been handed over a Trillion dollars so far. I don’t know if your paying attention, but every time the news refers to the Wall Street Bailout, they call it the 700 Billion dollar bailout. Well, that’s just bullshit. On the news each night for the last few months you hear that the government handed an additional 20 Billion to this company and 5 Billion to another one, but no one seems to be keeping track of how much has really gone out or where it is going.
Don’t take my word for it. The office of accountability just reported that so far, 150 Billion dollars couldn’t be accounted for.
Can’t be accounted for?
What the hell does that mean? It means it’s gone. Just like the Billions of dollars in cash that was shipped to Iraq, it’s just gone.

Meanwhile, the one industry that does make something in America can’t get a loan for 15 billion dollars.
Amazed yet?
Did you know the Treasury Secretary was the CEO of one of the banking companies that made this mess right before he was the Treasury Secretary? Did you know that legally we cannot ask where the money went or for what purpose it was used? Did you know that they told us it would be for distressed mortgages but right after we handed it to the Treasury Secretary he said, were not going to spend it on that?

The American Tax Payer just got fucked for more than 1 Trillion Dollars and the Government asked for nothing in writing. Nothing! We bought stock in banks whose stock has only continued to fall. Great! People are still loosing their homes but I guess they can take comfort in knowing that their new forced investment is tanking.
We could bailout the car industry 20 times over with what has already been stolen in bailing out the Billionaires! Sure, Detroit painted themselves into a corner by continuing to make over priced gas guzzling vehicles with low MPG, but if they go that’s it for whatever middle class, blue-collar families are left.

Have the oil companies’ loan the car companies the money needed. You can’t have one business without the other. The oil companies keep posting record profits so we know they have the money. Make them help.

Or, have the government announce that the first American company to make a quality car that gets 100MPG will get a few billion and some juicy tax breaks.

I wish someone with balls would stand up and asked what the hell is going on. What happened? Near as I can tell were getting fucked like six different ways all at once on this “deal!”

Socialism finally showed up in America, but it’s Socialism for the banking companies that so far have made the 1% of the wealthiest 1% even more dirty stinking rich while the average person in the other 99% are going broke. And please, don’t tell me people who couldn’t afford houses shouldn’t have bought them in the first place. You had the President giving speech after speech about the ownership society he wanted to create by getting low income and poor families into houses by reducing the regulations on the banks. The banks spent billions selling the American dream to anyone with a TV or a web site or a mailbox. Everyone was told they could own a home. Everyone! Now it’s the homeowners’ fault for believing the bullshit the banker who went through the paper work with them? I don’t think so.

Monday, December 08, 2008

The Worse Comic

Comedy is subjective.
When asked if his language was offensive, Eddy Murphy once famously replied, "If a stadium full of people are laughing then it's not in bad taste."
Thats why its never exactly fair to call someone's act bad. I might not think it is funny, but a packed room in a comedy club that is laughing their asses off might disagree with me.
Arie Spears is bad comedy even if his Mad TV fans were laughing. In fact, it is hard to know who to be more angry with; Arie Spears or the crowds that laughed at his shit. Every comic doesn't have to be a genius or even have jokes that are amazing. But using shit that you didn't write that appeals to nothing but the lowest common denominator is beyond cheap.
Heres the thing, you don't have to use your stand-up to teach, but you certainly don't have to maintain every ignorant stereotype about groups of different people either. A lot of bad stand-up does just this. This dude was the worse Headliner I have worked with in a long time.
He opened his set each night with one of the oldest, been done by a thousand other comics a hundred times, hacky setup's; "White people laugh differently than black people."
Ugh.
He then tells the crowd that we are all a little racist. That too much bad history has occurred in America for it to ever end. Maybe. Thats a pretty defeatist attitude. Besides, we just voted a black guy into office as the President. I think there has been some progress. But none of that sets the mood for his act. An act where he says, I can't see the black people in back. Smile.
Give me a break.
I hate it when a comic dresses up old jokes in social commentary or some heart felt emotional plea only to follow it with the same old bad punch lines you have heard before.
At one point he tells us that when white people watch the news and see black people doing crazy shit we don't say, oh African-Americans. No! According to Arie, when white people see black people doing crazy shit on the news we say, those dumb niggers!
When you look at the crowd you can see who is laughing loudest at this blanket statement.
Its white guys who do say this.
They give each other a slap on the back or a quick high five and trade knowing looks. Arie has to know that this type of joke is cheap. His contract states that no other black comics should be Booked on the bill with him. God forbid another African-American comic would do similar stuff or even go the other direction by making fun of this lingering racism in polite society. Aries act gives the crowd permission to keep being dumb. He never challenges the crowd to look beyond the simple black and white differences we have.
A lot of bad history might have happened here but perpetuating it with bad jokes that tell people its OK to be racist isn't going to help.
In Aries world, all Mexicans are all illegal. Women are bitches and gays are immoral. Yup. That last one is particularly interesting. He tells the crowd that he knows he is in San Francisco, but to him this town is just one giant male shower in a prison. The last time he was here he dropped $200 bucks on the ground but was too afraid to bend over and pick it up.
Not only are these jokes really old and extremely hacky, but he uses this as a set up to explain to the crowd exactly how he feels about homosexuality. He thinks it's wrong. The reason he thinks its wrong is that he has too much respect for women. Right after that he does a joke where he says, why does it take you bitches so long to cum?
Yeah, that sounds pretty respectful.
Comedy is subjective.
What one person thinks of as funny another might be offended. Between using old jokes that I have heard from many many other comics and premises that rely on ignorance for them to work, he has to be one of the worse comics I have ever worked with.
Seriously.
Not a single thing coming out of his mouth was his, intelligent or unique in anyway. He is a perfect example of everything that is wrong with stand-up. He can put butts in seats because he has a degree of fame but he is NOT a stand-up. He is a TV performer doing this to make money and could care less about quality or art.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Hello Friends, Fans and Stalkers!
I am in a contest for some cash. You tell your favorite street joke and people vote on them. To help me make a little money all you have to do is go to FunniestJokester@funniestjokester.com
Then, click on my joke, Last Supper and vote for me!
Thanks=)

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Merry Hanukkah, from the White House!

The president and the first lady invited leaders of America's Jewish community for a Hanukkah reception at the White House next month.
One small problem.
The message reads that the couple "requests the pleasure of your company at a Hanukkah reception," written beneath an image of a Clydesdale horse hauling a Christmas fir along the snow-dappled drive to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.
Oops!
Why did they let the guy who invaded the wrong country send out the Hanukkah invitations?
Actually, They didn't. Or at least they blamed it on Laura's people.
When reached for comment, Laura Bush's spokeswoman, Sally McDonough, said the White House usually prints separate cards, but in the waning days of the presidency, there had been an oversight.
"Mrs. Bush is apologetic," she said. "It is something that just slipped through the cracks."
In other words, they just don't give a fuck anymore.
It's interesting to note that the Bush White House not giving a fuck isn't that much different than the Bush White House at war. You know, when they really care about something.
Mistakes happen. Details fall through the cracks. Laura's people will take care of it.
Wait till the Easter cards go out to the Muslim leaders.

WWjD?


These are troubled times and the world looks for answers. Now is the time to ask yourself, What Would joe Do? Well, I can tell you. God, if there is one, sees our prayers like status updates on Facebook. I will listen! I can respond. Ask me anything. I will apply the vast storehouse of knowledge that is me to your unique and special problem. joe is not just a person or a way to think; joe is a philosophy!
So go ahead. Truly ask yourself, What Would joe Do?
Its not hit spellcheck. Am I right, people?
Maybe that explains it all? God only speaks to people who have learning disabilities. Dyslexia might of been the way of at least one scribe along the way.
And look people, if Jesus was gonna comeback he would of done it by now. God sent his only son to Earth to die for our sins. Shit! You think that isn't gonna give him issues? What are those Thanksgivings like? I mean, I still resent my dying Father for making me shovel snow for a neighbor once when I was eight.
Let me get this straight. This dudes Dad had him sent here to be murdered in a horrific way to make up for something that by definition he created when he made our nature and this is the guy who is love and forgiveness?
I don't think so.
Anyway, got a little off message there.
WWjD
It will change your-life;)
Yeah!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Worth Our Salt

People who eat health food are always trying to get me to eat some healthy version of whatever it is I am enjoying. It's always the same pitch. "This is just as good as your chips." Or, "It tastes just like those!"
Wrong.
It never tastes like potato chips are suppose to taste. They know this. Thats why as a last resort they will tell you, "It doesn't taste like cardboard at all."
Bull Shit!
Now I know it tastes like cardboard. Its the same thing as a cute flirty girl at a bar whispering something the location of her tattoo and then issuing the blanket statement, "I hope you don't think I am being a tease?" Well now I do.
If you say it, you are being one. Same as if you tell me the health food store chip doesn't taste like cardboard.
It does.
In a final effort they will attempt to sell you on it's healthy properties and it's amazing flavor. Careful health food people, this is where you can drop the ball hard. For instance, I was recently asked if I wanted to try a healthy alternative to the lay's potato chips I grew up with. After we went through all the above steps mentioned it came time for that final pitch.
"It has flax seed oil to keep you regular and it has delicious spices!"
It tastes good and it's good for you!
Desperate attack.
Flax seed oil is like fiber and bran mixed together in a potent natural colon cleanser. The "spices" were the real thing, just organic varieties of peppers, oregano and paprika.
Alright, what the hell. It has tasty spices and it will help me shit. Well, thats exactly what it turns out to do perfectly; it helps you shit spices. Hot, burning on the way out spices.
Excellent!
Put that on the outside of the bag.
Look, if a diet rich in fast food has made things painful, this made it burn. Sorry to put that in your head people, but I am writing this as a public service.

American food has always been safe. Healthy? No. But you knew where you stood with something. The goal was always to make things look the same and taste easy.
Wonder bread.
It brings a smile from childhood to your mouth doesn't it? The real wonder is calling it food at all. They tell you on the bag that it is fortified with vitamins and minerals and you think, how can this be bad? The reason they add those vitamins and minerals is simple. To make wonder bread they have to render edible food virtually devoid of any nutritional value. So before they finish making it they have to pump artificial versions of those good things back into the bread. Umm!
What you get is a white, bland, doughy bread that is little more than a condiment delivery system.
If you had wheat bread back when I was a kid, that was excuse enough to get beat up during recess and called a faggot!
We have come along way indeed.
Then there is that other marvel of modern science I grew up with; American Cheese!
Flat, orange squares pressed out perfectly and stuck to plastic, they were a 1970's main stay in any school lunch room. Stick one of those onto a slice of wonder bread and you have yourself the quintessential American snack; grilled cheese sandwiches! Um um good! Bland, but good.
If you ever wanted more flavor, you could always add a dash of Ranch dressing. But lets not get too excited.

I think you can tell how open we our to others as a country by what food does really well. For a long time the typical kid ate American cheese sandwiches made on wonder bread and potato chips for lunch. You could just as easily use peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for this example too.
Bland? Sure. A little boring at times? Yes. But you knew what you were getting and the message to the world was easy; we will remove flavor, nutrition, taste and anything that makes you stand out to create a uniform easily digestible unit of food.
Conform to our ethnic palette cleansing!
Resistance is futile!
Then, somewhere in the 80's, salsa hit the Midwest!
Suddenly, flavor was actually flavorful! Then came curries and more exotic spices in jars with strange labels. Some of the words weren't even in American.
What!?
As immigration became an issue in our modern culture, our culture began getting alternatives to boring bland casseroles, meat-loafs and hot dogs. It was an exciting but dangerous time to be shopping for food in America. That divider bar at the grocery store wasn't just a bar anymore; it was a border!
Just exactly what was that Taco version of Hamburger Helper doing north of our border?
As I was weaning my taste buds away from ranch dressing and cheetos, the health food thing went mainstream. Now even exotic foods from different parts of the world could have the joy sucked out of them and sold to us on the merit of being good for us. Being American, we fell for it of course.
What makes something healthy now?
It's organic. That means it was grown with out pesticides or fertilizers. Most of the time.
It has added vitamins and minerals.
It has no flavor because as well all know anything that tastes good has been chemically engineered in a factory somewhere. You want something to taste good? Then you need Red Dye #5!
Funny thing is, most health food labeled "Health Food" simply isn't.
It's not made from organic sources nor is it free of added healthy sounding stuff like "vitamins" and "minerals."
In other words, were back to wonder bread, only now; it comes in Wheat!

It's not enough to just be food anymore either. If your a snack food, you gotta have a web site baby! Cheetos has a site with games, health advice for kids, a break down of the ingredients for parents and even a cheesy fact of the day. Thats where I learned that the first true cracker was made in Massachusetts! Oh sure, you can get a pun from the inside lid of a yogurt, but they don't have the graphics's a web site has.
Lets not forget the most famous American snack food ever brought down from the Heaven's for mans mass consumption. Of course I speak of; the Twinkie!
When contemplating the Twinkie, with its golden sponge cake and vanilla cream filling, it is tempting to think it is the peak of perfection. But you would be wrong my friend! The fried Twinkie is where its at!
Every culture fries food, but in America we fry just about everything to delicious perfection. There is nothing that a vat of boiling animal fat can't make better.
Nothing.
You want to see the great American melting pot in action?
He's the immigrant working the fry station at McDonald's.

You want to know everything about us? Go to Wendy's, Burger King, Jack in the Box or any other number of cookie cut out fast food places. What do you learn? We want it hot. We want it fast. We want it cheap. Flavor? Yeah, there is ketchup and mustard.
That was it for a long time. A side of ranch would get you looked at weird and a request for salsa might get your ass kicked as a Communist! Taste is almost a second thought to fast food. They know it will be desirable because no matter what progress they have made to coming up with healthier Whoppers and more nutritious Big Mac's, its still the fat, salt and marketing that drives us to them with open mouths like moths to a flame. We mistake speed for quality. We take flavor, any flavor and blow it up to its most basic description. Food is now spicy, hot or fiery! Lets not confuse things with talk of different peppers or types of spices from regions other than here. Too confusing! If I see flames next to it on the drive through menu then I know what I'm getting. Besides, if it gets too hot, I can just dip it in some Ranch.
Ah Ranch!
Is there nothing your pudding like consistency can't drown into submission? Maybe America isn't a melting pot. Maybe its more like a blob of ranch dressing. Everything and anything it touches is over powered by its white, friendly and mild flavor. You can put up a fight, but it will just be there, always tasty and always good with new things.
The statue of liberty shouldn't be holding a torch anymore. It should be a waitress holding a menu in one hand and a side of ranch dressing in the other. Why? We don't make anything anymore. We have become a service industry nation. We are all waiting on each other, tipping each other and secretly dropping each others orders on the floor when no one is looking.
Think what you will about this, but remember that the phrase, as good as his salt, came from Roman Guards. They were paid in salt. Might not sound like much but salt was not only a form of currency, it could preserve food for long trips. The better you were the more salt you got. Hence the phrase.
Are we worth our salt these days?

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Viva Viagra!

A friends girlfriend is a Bra fit specialist.
Score!
She touches other girls boobs all day. Technically, when he is with her then, it counts as a three way. Right?
I wish I was even half kidding about this. This is the male mind at work. Or at least, this is my mind at work. Christ, when do you grow out of this shit? The average American male is said to have a sexual thought every three seconds. Every three seconds? Are you kidding me? I am so above average then. How does anything get done?
I have a theory about our current economic collapse and the rise, excuse the pun, of erection aids and organic penis enlarger products.
Viagra first appeared on the market in 1998.
The Clinton years!
American prosperity!
The Internet and alternative music!
Good times!
Now jump forward to the post 9/11 America. On line pharmacies sold more Viagra in the months that followed 9/11 than at any other time in the drugs history. It is literally as if everyone at once said, fuck it!
Even the most casual Internet user or late night TV viewer has noticed an increase in commercials for anything having to do with the size or function of a mans dick. For the last several months if you clicked FOX news on line, a quarter of the page was taken up by a woman with photo shopped exaggerated sized eyes and a caption that said something like, never let another woman make you feel inadequate again.
I thought Fox news already had enough big dicks over there but I stand corrected.
Go on Facebook, Myspace or your spam folder and you can see add after add for various all natural penis enhancement products or different versions of Viagra. The reason the economy fell apart seems pretty clear to me now. Every guy was getting something to make his dick bigger, harder, ejaculate larger loads, improve stamina, prevent premature ejaculation and so on and so on. Of course the economy fell apart. No one was doing any work accept the people filling these orders.

Prayer Booth?


I lifted this off the FOXNews web site. They are desperate to feed their regular readers something, anything now that their side went down in flames this election.
Enjoy-

New York City officials this fall launched an art project called "Public Prayer Booth," which features a modified phone booth rigged up with a flip-down kneeler. Passers-by, if they're in the mood, can bend to their (padded) knee and say a prayer — a private moment in a very public atmosphere.

To cover the story, NPR sent reporter Margot Adler, a Wiccan priestess and author of two books on paganism. Lo and behold, she happened upon the president of the New York City Atheists, Ken Bronstein, an outspoken opponent of public religious displays.

"I just happened to be walking by at this exact moment," Bronstein told Adler. Then he denounced the display of what he called a "supernatural situation" on city property. Bronstein said that it was inappropriate for the public sphere and had to go.

"You know, if they want to put it on private property, that's where it should go — but not in public space," said Bronstein.

Critics are calling the radio report a biased assault on religion — one that's being supported in part with public funds.

"There are serious efforts under way right now to erase religious expression from the public square," said Father Jonathan Morris, a Catholic priest and FOX News contributor. "I don't understand why these groups would be so fascinated with taking this [religious expression] away."

NPR vehemently denied that its coverage was opposed to prayer or organized religion.

"There's no bias in this story and to imply that there is because of a reporter's religious beliefs is absurd," said Anna Christopher, an NPR spokeswoman. "[Adler] spoke with several different people with several different viewpoints on the booth."

Adler said traffic was sparse by the booth and she had trouble finding someone who took it seriously enough to pray there, but she interviewed a woman named Francesca Richardson who lives on disability payments and stopped to say a prayer. Adler compared her to Avery Williams, 7, who said grace for her ailing pets.

"Well, my gerbil died so we prayed for him, and my dog had a very bad leg so we prayed for that too," said Williams.

Asked whether their reporter was taking snipes at the faithful on the government dime, NPR was adamant that she wasn't and explained that only a minuscule amount of its funding comes from the government.

"Less than two percent [of NPR's budget] comes from competitive grants from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and the National Endowment for the Arts," Christopher said.

"There's no disrespect for religion at all. Our reporters are able to separate their private practices ... and their standards as journalists, and in no way does [Adler's] religious affiliation affect that."

Religious groups were enthused about the project, saying it provided an opportunity to discuss religion in the public sphere.

"Any respectful artistic expression that gets us thinking about spiritual realities, respectful artistic expression is good," said Morris.

The public flare-up is just what Dylan Mortimer — the 29-year-old artist who created the installation — was hoping to stir up with his work. Religion is "just one of those topics you don't bring up at the dinner table," he said. "My hope and my dream would be that there will be a respectful way to engage in dialogue."

On that front, Mortimer's work has been a smashing success.

"Some people love them, some people use them sincerely in prayer, some people use them jokingly. Some people laugh at it, some people are offended, some people have put graffiti on them," Mortimer told FOXNews.com. "All of those reactions are totally valid."

Mortimer's installment, which is set to come down later this month, is sponsored by New York City's Department of Parks and Recreation as part of its 40-year-old Art in the Parks series. Asked about the controversy over the artwork, the city said it stood by Mortimer's piece.

"[Mortimer] is working independently and his work raises questions about religion in the public realm, but he does not take a position on it," said Christina DeLuca, a spokeswoman for the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation. "As he says, the goal is to spark dialogue, and we hope New Yorkers receive the work in this spirit."

Monday, November 24, 2008

Of Pianos and Ass Print's...


The Vatican has officially forgiven John Lennon for his comment, “The Beatles are more popular than Jesus!”
That only took 42 years.
Lennon should feel pretty good about that. It took the Vatican 360 years to forgive Galileo for making the crazy suggestion that the Earth went around the Sun.
The Catholic Church is big on forgiveness. Just not in peoples’ life times.
I can’t imagine John Lennon, where ever he is and in whatever incarnation he is in, caring that much about it.
When he said it to a London newspaper in 1966 it caused a huge backlash against the Beatles in America. Radio stations held public burnings of their albums. Protests broke out and kids willingly tossed Beatles albums onto pyres. There is something hilarious about the whole episode; people burning songs about love because one of the writers of those songs made an off handed comment about being more popular at the moment than another guy who talked about love.
You gotta love that!

My hero in civil disobedience has been captured! For the last year and a half someone was going around the town of Valentine, Nebraska committing acts of vandalism. Sort of.
He would smear K-Y jelly or lotion onto his ass and then press his ass to the windows of buildings leaving behind an imprint of his behind. In one brazen attack, every window in a hotel had fallen victim.
Awesome!
I don’t have a clue why this guy did what he did. For all I know he might legitimately be nuts. All I know is that the cops couldn’t catch the guy for a year and a half! The town is in a small corner of the state and has a population the size of an average skyscraper in down town San Francisco during a workday. For those reasons alone, he is my hero!
Maybe he got some sexual pleasure out of it. Maybe it was his way of protesting something. Maybe he just did it because it is a small town in the middle of nowhere and he was bored. Doesn’t matter what the reason is; you have to admire his ability to evade the police with his pants literally around his ankles.

Then there is this mystery. Police in Harwich, Massachusetts, are probing the appearance of a piano, in good working condition, in the middle of the woods. Discovered by a woman who was walking a trail, the Baldwin Acrosonic piano, model number 987, is intact -- and, apparently, in tune. If for no other reason other than it adds a bit of wonder in an otherwise gray feeling time, I love this! It’s not easy to move a piano so the cops think that who ever did it had help. No reports of a missing piano or any pranks have been reported so somebody moved this thing out into the middle of snow-covered woods for some reason no one can figure out. Listen, on a shitty Monday when the news is nothing but grim reminders of just how badly greed is working to unravel the American dream, a strange and romantic scene like a piano in the middle of snow covered woods makes me smile a little thinking there are still souls on this planet who are motivated to act out in ways sublime and beautiful. If they find a butt print in lotion on the bench in front of it I will die with a smile on my face when the time comes.

The Near Perfect Weekend Gig

Thursday night I get a text message from the Punch Line Booker.
"Are you available this weekend to headline the Punch Line?"
Yes.
I don't know much about the headliner who had already been there for two nights. I don't know much about the reasons why he couldn't finish the week either. Thursday night, after a performance that suggested no turmoil inside the man, he left the stage, walked out the door and ran from the club.
A few hours later after managers, excuses and ego's were dealt with, I'm getting a text for the gig. Good for me, sad for him. Comics are not the most stable lot. No secret there. But to be at a point where you are about to blow up big and not be capable of emotionally handling it is sad. I feel for the guy, I really do. But I wish I was in a position to blow off choice gigs in great cities and then have my managers explain it away.
Whatever the reasons, it was now my weekend. Friday and Saturday night at the San Francisco Punch Line! It really doesn't get batter than that.
One small hiccup in the whole thing. Months ago I agreed to headline a benefit for an organization in Oakland that gets Athletic equipment for kids. I can't cancel. My Karma couldn't take the hit. Lately when ever I get a Booking in the city, I can almost depend on another call coming in with a show for that same night. If you hear me complain about being stuck in San Francisco, you have my permission to tell me to shut up. If you are double Booking yourself on a weekend night regularly, you really can't bitch about your career so much.
Here is how it worked.
I should be going on at the Punch Line's first show at about 8:45. I come off stage at 9:30, make the 20 minuet or so walk from the Punch Line to the Comedy College about six blocks away. I go on there at 10:00, do my set till 10:30 and when I come off that stage, I turn around and make the easy walk down hill to walk in the Punch Line at 10:45, right when I should be going on for the late show.
I learned two things during this marathon. One, I am desperately out of shape and two, I could of just walked. No show ever starts on time.
I made it!
All the shows were a hit. Some sets I liked better than others, but nothing to out of the ordinary. All in all, a pretty good weekend. I get my check after the Saturday shows and as I make my good byes I get accused of stealing a joke. It's something I have never been accused of before. It is also something that you better be sure about saying. Calling a comic a joke thief is about the worse thing you can say to a comic. Any time these things happen the people and the jokes in question are never around to end the debate. In this case however, they were. Here is the extra ridiculous part of this story. Its a dick joke. Thats all. In fact, its a jacking-off joke. A joke that I gave tags to the comic for.
Think about this for a second. IF I was ever going to steal a joke, something I have never done or been accused of doing, do you think I would do it literally in front of the other comic standing behind the bar during my set? Even I don't have balls that big.
It started simple enough. I was talking to a guy in the front row. I asked him if he was married and in one of the most unintentionally funny things I have ever seen, he looks at his hand for a ring first and then responds no. If you can't remember if your married or not with out having to look for a ring on your fingers, your in trouble! No way I was going to let that comedy gold go!
When I riff, I like to create a personality sketch of the person I am talking too. Then, I can talk into the Microphone as that person. When it works, it kills! When it doesn't, it means the crowd is dumb. Tonight, it works. I go off on this dude being asked if he is married and having to look at his hand every time. From there it's not a far stretch into masturbation jokes. In the middle of that I reference the joke in question. Actually, I just mention the product the other comics joke is based around. I referenced it because I know the guy is there!
When I finish my set I go up to him and ask, "Did you see that?" I didn't ask because I thought I was in trouble. I asked because I hoped he saw it. I think it is cool when comics throw some part of my set into their act when I'm in the room. Other comics like it too. He smiled and said yes and that was that.
That was that is rarely the end.
As I made my good byes his girlfriend confronts me about it. She is strident. She insists I stole it. The bartender looks at me as well. Before this scene goes any farther I realize, hey the guy is in back. Lets ask him what he thinks even though I already know. I go into the back and ask, "Did you think I stole that joke from you tonight?"
"No."
"Then talk to your girlfriend because she does."
His reply, "Punch her in the face."
I think that means I was right but I will pass on the face punching.
All this just reminds me that a lot of people who are around comedy are not comics. They don't get it. They are never the ones on stage but always the first to have "notes" for you. They don't understand the concept of tossing inside jokes over the head of the crowd to the one or two people who will get them.
It bugs me. At the very end of a near perfect weekend the person I made a point of going up to for a quick chat and a good bye tells me I stole her boyfriends joke. Wonderful!
I head home with this burning a hole in my head. I am pissed! How is it that at the very last second an entire found money weekend can get fucked up by one comment from one person who has known me for years? Such is life. Because as this thought is eating me up I realize, fuck them. It was a great weekend. The guy whose joke it is doesn't think I stole anything. End of story.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Union Square

I went down to Borders Book store today. I have become addicted to a series of sci-fi books so I had to pick up the next three. Thats how they get you! Its the Borders right by Union Square. They have the Christmas tree up waiting to be lit. Every where you looked people were milling around holding their bright colorful bags and Starbucks cups. The economy might suck right now, but you wouldn't know it from the crowds. This might be my class issues acting up, but most of the people I saw holding a purchase projected a sort of immunity from the current events. They looked like mannequins that had come alive in a Gap store window and rushed out to walk around in the November sunshine with credit cards and ultra brite white smiles. Of course every woman had on large bug eyed sun glasses and knee high boots. The men were confident and well dressed in jeans that cost more than I make on most private gigs. They held hands or cell phones that they will gladly replace for the newest cooler model when it comes out in a week or a month. Doesn't matter when, they will buy it. These are the people we hate but want to be. Young, well off and attractive. They match the people on billboards and in window displays. I could see people checking out each other and the flash of envy in their eyes as they looked from advertisements to other people and back again to themselves in the windows reflection. Everyone was trying to look like the people they saw in commercials.
All of this, this spectacle of mass consumption mixed with self-esteem based marketing began as a simple remembrance of Christ's birth. How weird, ha?
Into this scene walked a protest. The first sign that this idyllic capitalistic outing was about to be interrupted, were cops cars driving the wrong way down crowded streets. No sirens blaring or even lights flashing, just a cop car trying to get around a cable car filled with over weight tourists in shorts and Pier 39 sweat shirts. Then I could hear the shouting. It wasn't a large group but they made up for that in volume. Holding signs that read, No More Fed and, Don't Bail Out Billionaires, they chanted slogans and moved steadily up a sidewalk bordering the square. People turned their heads toward the commotion. I slowed down and finally came to a stop to watch the soft collision between ideals and consumption. This is the best time to watch peoples faces. Eyes squinted of those who didn't wear sun glasses. Lips tightened on the faces of the living mannequins. Everyones pace slowed a bit as they took in the protest. It was an intrusion into their shopping sprees. Impolite and frivolous, was the impression I got from the shoppers. The protest represented ideas they did not enjoying having to consider. Especially today when they were going about the collection of the latest things, the freshest fashions and the newest gadgets. Happiness avliable at a special marked down sale for the holidays. Precisely why the protest marched around Union square in the first place, I thought. Some eyes seemed embarrassed. The message of the protest made a few guilty. Other eyes were glazed over with the plastic smiles of the disinterested. A few were simply confused as to why people would ruin this wonderful day. I didn't talk to anyone so all this is guess work. But eyes and body language tell a lot if you let it. To me it seemed as if the shoppers were simply angry that people would make a big deal out of something they couldn't do anything about anyway. After all, they were helping the economy by going out and buying. What were these people doing? Screaming slogans and bothering people with fliers? For what? A few of the living catalog people actually shock their heads. The gesture was beyond condescending. It was a wave of the hand a dismissal of what these people were yelling. From where I was standing I thought both groups lived up to the stereotype the other group had firmly in their heads about each other. The kids, wearing faded jeans that actually got that way from use were forcing fliers into the manicured hands of women wrapped in burberry scarfs. It might as well have been an alien encounter for both sides. The kids were aggressive, vocal and just as set in their thinking as the people who treated them as a mild upset to be discussed over drinks later that night. Faces turned to masks and sunglasses became a shield to not see the out stretched hand holding a flier with Ron Paul's name on it. After living here for so long and either seeing or participating in these types of marches, I doubt the effectiveness of such actions. The people you are trying to reach react as if you shit on their living room floor. The people doing the reaching out have nothing but scorn in their eyes for the women in fur coats and the men who bought those coats for the women they see as accessories. Each side has contempt for the other. All this was going on around the giant tree, sullen and dark with strands of unlit lights sunken into its branches. Our economy depends on people spending more money than they really have. Its a hell of a system we have created for ourselves. What is bad for the individual is good for the economy as a whole. But it caught up with us finally and everyone present in union square today shared that now familiar general anxiety over what comes next. No mater how much money was spent today, its not enough. No matter how right the yelling kids holding up bumper sticker slogans might be, the approach might just turn more people off to the concepts then on. All in all, it was a very San Francisco day. The rich and articulate poor did the dance around each other that has gone on for all of recorded history. Whatever change is going to happen I doubt either side will have much control over. Things have gotten beyond what the system is set up to handle. Once, I thought ripping it all down was the thing to do. I held signs and locked eyes with men in suits hoping to project some understanding into them. I am not a suit these days, but I did buy two books and a magazine at a national chain store. I was participating in the system I have never had much love for too. Apathy, I suppose is my philosophy of choice these days. Frankly, I would love to see the rich suffer. Problem is, to really cut them deeply you and I and everyone else who struggles over decisions like buying food or paying down the credit card, would have to be reduced to great depression style poverty before they ever felt a sting.
Merry Christmas and happy stock market returns.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Powerful Ignorance Vrs. Facts.

Punch Line gig this weekend!

I don't know the whole story yet, but these things happen. The Headliner for this weeks show at the Punch Line will not be there. I kinda got the feeling from the Booker that something happened.
Long story short, now I am the Headliner for this weekend at the San Francisco Punch Line.
If your in town or hanging around, come on down! See me in my natural habitat.

Two shows tonight and tomorrow, 8PM & 10PM
415-397-PLSF
444 Battery St. (Right behind the Cinema)

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Time for a Yard Sale on the White House Lawn

Well, I don’t get it. Course, it’s the news so who really does understand what is going on anymore. Car makers show up in Washington on private jets asking for money and pirates, or being one is starting to look like a legitimate career opportunity.

But lets get to the important news story of the day.

Chimpanzee adopts two tiger cubs at Florida Animal Park.

Where are the backers of prop 8 on this? If two men pledging their love and life to each other is an abomination, then different types of animals raising entirely different species of animals must be a huge concern to them. I mean, it’s a slippery slope right? First it’s monkeys raising tigers and everyone thinks, “that’s so cute!” But where does it end people? Did Noah have couple swapping going on aboard the ark? I don’t think so. We must put a stop to this insidious inter- species family before they have a chance to corrupt our traditional family pet values! Next thing you know it will be dogs sleeping with cats, birds nesting with snakes and a lion lying down with a lamb. Oh wait. That last one is OK because it is mentioned in the bible.
So new rule, or old rule I guess. Animals cannot enter into sacred relationships with other animals unless those animals are lions or lambs.
Some animals are just more equal than other Animals.

Senator Ted Stevens of Alaska was not only the longest serving Senator in U.S. history, but he was convicted of multiple felonies and sentenced to prison this week.
Here is the fun part-
He narrowly lost his re-election bid after a weeklong recount. The people of Alaska almost voted in a man they already knew had been convicted of ripping them off.
Wrap your head around that.
First we get brain dead caribou Barbie running as the V.P. candidate and now we get this.
What the hell is going on with Alaska?
It’s become the new Florida.

Bail out the auto companies?
What do you think? I’m sure we will get our money’s worth on this deal just like we got on the last giant bail out where the massive amount of money is now being used for something other than the stated reason they told us it would be used for.
Why would anyone doubt this?
Lets just keep handing out money to business that not only fails, but aggressively fights anything like, regulation, modernizing and making something of quality people actually want to buy?

Yesterday, I got a letter from the California state franchise tax board. They took another look at my return for last year and decided I owed them an additional $68.73.
Fuck!
You have to be kidding me, right? Every giant inefficient scam that calls itself a business in this country is getting a welfare type hand out from government, but California is going to grind to a halt if I don’t cough up an additional seventy bucks? Sorry, but I have swallowed enough bull shit for one year. These companies might be too big to fail, but I am too broke to help them. besides, the state of California is rapidly becoming a bricket anyway.

You ever get hit up for change by a homeless guy who is wearing better shoes than you are? Wall Street and now Detroit are dressed up in Armani suits with a cup in their manicured hands asking us, the American tax payer to give till it hurts because they fucked up so bad and stole so much money from everyone that now, unless we give the people who already fucked us over more, they will go out of business and bring down the economy.
Its not a bail out they want, it's a fucking threat!

I understand that between the big three automakers almost 3 million people are employed. Add to that the dealerships and parts manufactures and it doesn’t take a genius to see that losing them would be a bomb going off in the already weakened economy. We either hand money over to companies who fought against the production of fuel efficient vehicles, or we pay for the employees’ unemployment benefits and possible retraining.

Wake up America. The “dream” we have all been working for and sold on was set up with a financial myth that a handful of very rich people benefited from. Meanwhile, Fox news and its cast of yelling liars have never been more irrelevant or more off the mark. They called Obama a socialist, a communist and scared the dumb half of the country into buying record amounts of guns with the explanation that the Democrats were going to take them away any day now, but they never mention the fact that the government pretty much nationalized the entire banking system. So much for good old capitalism. I might be a little off on this, but that sounds a lot like the way Fascism starts. Doesn’t it?

America is about a month away from holding a yard sale on the White House lawn. Frankly, that’s what the Bush administration did for the last eight years anyway. You wanted something and had the money, it was yours! I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that congress is looking for the receipt for the Louisiana purchase. Maybe the French will give us our money back. Look what happened to the south anyway. It’s where we have the biggest illiteracy rates and gun purchases! I doubt the French will take it back. It would be like returning underwear you wore for a few years.
"What is this mark?"
"It's called ignorance. Sorry. We tried to wash it out but you know, you can't mix colors."

Hey Russia, you want Alaska back? We will throw in a Mary-Kay cosmetics saleswoman as the governor for no extra cost!
How about a bake sale for the Department of Education? As long as California gets to make the brownies, I think that might make us some money back. Actually, lets see if Mexico wants to buy back a little bit of what use to be theirs!
Wall Street has pretty much operated as a casino, I say give Manhattan back to the Native Americans and let them run it like a casino. Those turn a profit. And I don’t mean beads either, people!


Monday, November 17, 2008

40

A friend gave me a giant birthday card. On the front were drawings of Star Wars space ships and the words, "A long, long, long time ago..." When you open it, the Star Wars theme plays.
The message inside the card reads, "...you were born."

I didn't think I would live to see 40. I really didn't. It wasn't a death wish or anything, it was just a thought I never questioned. Then, came my life of always wanting more. Eventually more leads to the inevitable; no more. As in, you can't do that anymore or, you can't eat that anymore. Man, thats the truth! I can't have cheese anymore. I never thought that one day I would look at Vodka the same way I look at pizza. "If I eat that, I will be fucked up inside for a few days."
Food hang overs!
No one tells you about these things. Well, they do, you just don't listen when your young because youth is isn't just another age, it's another world.

No one says what they mean and nothing is called what it actually is anymore. No one wants to say anything negative. It started with Starbucks in the 90's. Small became Tall and we thought it was cute. The stock market no longer fell either, it experienced corrections. No one had problems too. We all started having issues.
Once I hit 40 all my tall issues had corrections.

I would say I am doing a little navel gazing lately only I can't really see my navel these days. I have the typical spare tire. What a lousy phrase that is. A spare tire is something that comes in handy in an emergency. 20 extra pounds around my middle isn't going to do anyone any favors when my car gets a flat on the side of the road. When you open the trunk and see a spare tire you go, "Thank God!" No one is saying those words when I take my shirt off.

We use to say that my Father remembered nothing. Driving around town he would point out the window at a store and say, "I remember when there was nothing there."
Now, me too.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

George Bush- "Say, Obama. Is it true what they tell me about black guys?"

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Wait Long Enough

There is a report I read briefly on Yahoo that asked the question, Are Victoria Secret bra’s causing health problems?
Yes. Yes they are. Four-hour erections in some cases have been reported.

I am all for a free press. Still, should the news be telling us what Obama and his family’s Secret Service code names are? Kind of takes the secret out of the secret doesn’t it?

Ever read, The Secret? It seems that our entire economy was based on the philosophy of thinking that a combination of wanting and thinking hard enough about wanting something would translate into real dollars.
Isn’t this the kind of thinking we tell our kids to grow out of?
“You can’t just wish for something. You have to go do the work!”

This month, two friends of mine lost their Fathers to long health battles and two women I cared about a long time ago contacted me. Strange.
My Father is in bad shape. When people ask what he has the most honest response simply is, “He’s old.”
There isn’t any one major thing wrong with my Dad. It is time taking its toll on him. That and the complications on top of complications that came with a botched gull bladder operation performed at the V.A.
We see it all the time with older people. One fall or one medical procedure gone wrong marks the beginning of a downward spiral. Frankly, I am amazed that my Dad has been able to hang on as long as he has. His body no longer does what you and I take for granted. He is almost entirely confined to live inside his mind.
When I think about that, really think about it, I get claustrophobic.
I have never really lost anyone close to me. These friends who just lost their Fathers have been devastated by their death. Is it selfish to keep thinking, how will I be when this happens to my Dad?
It keeps going through my head.

Then, the women contacted me the same week I will turn 40.
Its not like I want to have a middle age crisis, its just that the universe seems intent on bringing one to me.
One was an X-girlfriend. We moved in together as starry-eyed young lovers when I was 19. The other girl was a girl I was simply afraid to make any meaningful moves on even though the mutual attraction was obvious.

With the X, I realize that time will eventually heal all. When we broke up it was hard. I carried that grief around with me for a few years. I tried to get back together with her several times, but she was not having any of that. When I heard her voice on the other end of the phone yesterday, I felt no tug at my heart or any pop-song longing for what was.
Time.
Eventually, it does seem to do what no amount of drinking could ever accomplish.

12, maybe 13 years ago, she showed up at my job. The X, I lived with. She was different in a way I could not immediately explain to myself. Long story short, she became bi-polar along with other emotional issues and was placed in a mental health hospital by her parents.
That was the last time I saw her.

With the other girl it was all my fears. She was too perfect. She was cute, smart, and sweet and always looked amazing in no matter what she had on. I was completely convinced that even though all the signs she was giving me were green lights, I would fuck it up. Now days I think of it as a sort of middle age crisis at the age of 25. I had been in love twice before meeting her and each time the relationships ended in spectacular failures. I just didn’t want to go through anything close to that ever again with a girl as incredible as her.
Today she is married, still looks great and is proud of the successes I have had in comedy.
Shit.

I can’t say if it truly is better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all. But I do know the regret of never having acted on feelings is a sting that outlasts anything like the embarrassment of being turned down.

When I think about the women I have known I don’t stop to consider the insults, petty jealousies or out right bull shit two people might inflict on each other. Today I think about the ones I could have had something with but convinced myself otherwise.
Lesson learned.
Its not a long list, just a few names really, but the idea that my life could of gone in another direction if I had done something differently is a powerful form of self inflicted grief that is hard to shake. Its difficult to say where nostalgia ends and unproductive thoughts begin. Actually, it’s not hard at all. I can honestly say this is a question I was born with. Any one who was ever adopted knows this question well.
What would my life be like if another family had gotten me?
What would I be like if things had worked out with that job, that girl, that show, this day?
Its a branching chains of dominos.
I can’t know anymore than anyone else could. If there were a machine that could show you what your life would have been like if you turned left instead of right at an intersection in the road, would you look into it?
I don’t know if I would now. I use to think I completely would with no hesitation. Its not like I don’t love my parents, but there is no way I am the product of an X-Nun and an accountant. We were challenging on each other when my parents raised me.
Tomorrow I turn 40.
Please, hold the shit about; it’s just a number and all that crap.
People only say, it’s just a number when it’s clearly no longer just a number.
40 means waking up takes a bit longer. There are mornings when I think of my Dad and my chest seizes up for a second as I consider what the passage of time will do to me.
40 means the guitar that sits against the wall of my room will probably remain something I do. Not something I am known for.
40 means the, “Your still young. You have time to figure it out” comes to an end. 40 means the people around me who are younger look at me to know shit when life becomes serious. How should I know? I will ask. Your old, they reply. Before I can respond with sarcasm or protest, I remember when I was their age that 40 did indeed seem old to me.
Shit again.

Wait long enough and time heals the broken heart from relationships. A little longer and what if, becomes a wound all it’s own. Longer still and the body you live in starts a process that seems designed to strip a person of their dignity.
My point?
I don’t have one really. I am just marking the passage of another year and the set of ironies and incidents that have gone into making it memorable.
Cheers=)

Monday, November 10, 2008

Sarah Palin-
"I think the Republican ticket represented too much of the status quo, too much of what had gone on in these last eight years, that Americans were kind of shaking their heads like going, wait a minute, how did we run up a $10 trillion debt in a Republican administration? How have there been blunders with war strategy under a Republican administration? If we're talking change, we want to get far away from what it was that the present administration represented and that is to a great degree what the Republican Party at the time had been representing,"
I really couldn't put it any better.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Camouflage Christmas

Check this article out!

MIDLOTHIAN, Va. – When 10-year-old Austin Smith heard Barack Obama had been elected president, he had one question: Does this mean I won't get a new gun for Christmas?

That brought his mother, the camouflage-clad Rachel Smith, to Bob Moates Sports Shop on Thursday, where she was picking out that special 20-gauge shotgun — one of at least five weapons she plans to buy before Obama takes office in January.

Like Smith, gun enthusiasts nationwide are stocking up on firearms out of fears that the combination of an Obama administration and a Democrat-dominated Congress will result in tough new gun laws.

"I think they're going to really try to crack down on guns and make it harder for people to try to purchase them," said Smith, 32, who taught all five of her children — ages 4 to 10 — to shoot because the family relies on game for food.

There are a few ways to look at this I guess. Hey, just like he promised he is stimulating the economy even before he takes office. The other way to look at this is, I hope the secret service has an arsenal on hand to protect our nations first black President. I don't know if you noticed or not, but the places where more guns are sold are also the states that didn't vote for Obama.
Obama will have the secret service. That means like most black people in D.C. he will be constantly surrounded by white guys with guns.
Comforting?

OK. Who, in 2008, relies entirely on hunting for their food? What white trash little boy asks for a "new" gun for Christmas? What do the parents teach these kids?
"Mama. Whats Christmas all about?"
"Jesus was born into the world! We rejoice at his message of love and peace for all mankind!"
"Can I have a machine that is designed for the sole purpose of killing?"
"Of course you can, Baby!"
I don't remember, did any of the wise men bring ammo as a gift?

The oldest kid in this article is 10 and she is buying guns for all of them? Yeah. That seems a lot safer than letting gay people take the same 50 50 shot at marriage as any of those little white trash rug rats will have when they grow up. That is, if they make it through another camouflage Christmas without incident.
I would hate to be Santa coming down the chimney of that house!
House.
Ha! I mean trailer.



What Do We Do About Gay Chickens?

So let me get this straight, California voted to give chickens cages where they could stand up, turn around and stretch their wings but basically shoved gay people back into the confines of the closet? Irony on top of ironies, prop 8 was mostly funded by the Mormons, a religion that allowed for multiple wives until relatively recently in modern history. Hey! If it was OK for a man to have many wives, I think it might be OK for a man to pledge his love to another man as his partner. Besides, this shouldn’t be seen as a moral issue. It should be a legal one. After all, religious or not, any marriage that ends doesn’t end in a church, it ends in a courtroom.

If the Mormons could wake up and join the 21st century by putting an end to bigamy, why can’t they see prop 8 for what it really is, state sanctioned bigotry. Come on! There even spelled similarly!

I guess the big question now is, what do we do about gay chickens?


Thursday, November 06, 2008

Notes on the day after History

-Today I saw a homeless man selling copies of the Chronicle for $3.00. I am just guessing here, but I think he took a bunch from a rack when they came out early in the morning. What a smart thing to do! The front page declaring Obama's win will be a collectors item. If you tried to find a Chronicle in a rack after the election, then you know they were empty pretty early.
Sure enough, one by one I watched Marina Chicks, Castro boys, Button down business men and Hipsters all willingly purchase a copy for $3.00.
See. Obama has been elected President and already he's putting people back to work.

-Listening to Air America radio in my car, a conservative caller still arguing after a landslide victory about "Obama's socialism" commented, "...it's capitalism first and if you can't make it on your own get out of the way or you will get rolled over."
I think thats why they lost.
Another conservative was quoted on CNN as saying, "I don't know how we lost."
Your shitting me, right?
I don't know, maybe it was the 10 Billion dollars a month occupation of a country that had nothing to do with 9/11. Maybe it was the economic melt down created by the conservative delusion that all business should have no rules or regulations placed on them to maximize profit. Perhaps it was the choice of a nearly brain dead X-beauty queen whose every public utterance made George Bush seem like a professor of linguistics. Maybe it was John McCain, a millionaire with 7 homes and 12 cars saying, Obama was a bad candidate because he wanted to "...spread the wealth." Maybe it was the failure of hunting down and bringing Osama Bin Laden to justice. Perhaps it was the lack of any weapons of mass destruction ever being found or maybe it was the arrogance of a man who spent precious minuets in one of his few press conferences stuttering a "no" to the question of, what mistakes have you made and what would you do different? Maybe it was the idolization of Joe the plumber; a guy who lied about his name, lied about making the money he said he did, lied about being a dues paying union member with a licenses to be a plumber in the state of Ohio, and on top of it all- hadn't even paid his taxes! There is a lien on his property. Or wait, I know! It was probably the home mortgage industry bankrupting America and the predatory lending unleashed on us under the guise of creating "The Ownership society."
Any one of these things might have been the reason why the Republicans lost. Take your pick sore loser.

-History gives rise to phrases that slip into the mainstream as metaphors. My fathers generation had, "If we can put a man on the Moon then we can..."
I predicted ours will become, "If we can put a Black man in the White House, then we should be able to..."

-Fox TV gave new four year contracts to its pool of loud mouthed ass holes. They are sharpening their knives and taking aim at Obama just as they did with Clinton. They will be the persistent buzz of an annoying fly by your ear. They will say outrageous spiteful untrue things like never before because their world, the world of old rich arrogant white men is ending. These are the same people whose morality allows for the public shamming of a President who got a blow job in office but cheered for a war where millions are dead. Yet, they will tell you with a straight face that they are pro-life.
Seriously, guys?

-Got news for everyone.
As long as we remain the richest empire with the deadliest military in the history of the world, we will have enemy's. A lot of enemy's. Irony is, most of our enemy's are of are own making. Saddam Hussein was as much an American creation as Coke. Our homeless are relatively rich if you look at what most of the worlds population calls life. We are resented and admired, held up as a beacon of hope and renowned for the devastation it requires to keep this luxury life style going.
And we are a nation that loves to party.
75% of our money holds enough traces of cocaine that drug sniffing dogs have to be taught to ignore it like back ground static.
To the majority of the planet, everyone here might as well be Paris Hilton.

-Truth is, to keep us living the American dream, a great many people in a great many nations have to do a lot of the heavy daily toil the statue of liberty promises to free people from.
So you can see how we might look silly in the eyes of the world when we talk about human rights and freedom.
America has a national flag, a national bird, and national holidays. But we aren't a nation.
Were an irony.

-If America was started in defiance of the established powers that be so all people could be free and equal, then asking tough questions about our country cannot be un-American. So stop with the ra-ra were number one bull shit for a moment and see things as they are, not as we want them to be. On the list of things like live births, murder, educational standards, life expectancy and our own quality of life surveys, America consistently comes in behind countries most of us only know as punch line's. Question is, do you want to accept things as they are or do you want to change them? If you want to change then lets agree on what work needs to be done. Also, lets stop making private matters of morality into things that are legislated. Wasting time arguing over gay people and the legality of them having the same basic rights as any other married couple isn't useful. Besides, what are you preserving with so called, Traditional marriage?
An institution that fails 50% of the time?
What else do we hang onto in society that ends up not working half of the time?
A gun that worked half the time wouldn't be acceptable. A condom that worked half the time wouldn't be useful either. Let gay people have the same opportunity to fuck up each other as you or I have.
If its a religious issue allow me to point out that if you insist on following social laws write down in a 2,000 year old book that has been edited, transcribed, rewritten and translated incorrectly at times in history, then you can't say, we don't follow the rule about stoning people to death anymore because thats barbaric, but were still following the one about gay people.
What we need, what we all want is the dignity of a job that allows us quality of life. How do we insure everyone actually does get what their promised by the constitution? You know, Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness? The black and white, Democrat or Republican approach to this has been either, less government is the way or more government is the way.
They both miss the point.
The right question is, where should government be involved to better the quality of its citizens lives and where can that promise best be served without government involvement?
I heard a man say, "Good government should function so you don't notice its even there." Government for the people and by the people implies the people have a duty to be informed. That means participation beyond casting a ballot every few years. It means paying attention and yelling Bull Shit when the government says something like, we are invading a country for your protection.
The last eight years of George Bush were a monument to petty personalities, primitive beliefs and staggering greed. He told us we were at war but asked nothing more of us other than to go out and shop. He told us we were in danger of having our way of life and liberties taken away, yet it was Bush and company that removed civil liberties and manipulated us with fear to do it.
They made war into just another business and waged business like it was a war. How else would you explain oil companies record breaking profits and the complete collapse of the banking industry?

-I bought a copy of the $3.00 Chronicle and put it in a box in my room. It is a time capsule now. The real reflection of the times we live in is not the front page with a beaming proud Obama claiming his landslide victory, it is the news stories between the pages that tell us of our days. Those are the pages that will remind us more than anything else why Americans voted for hope this year.