Saturday, May 10, 2008

Mothers Day

Mothers Day.
Mom and I don't talk much anymore. Not since the 12 hour drive from Walnut Creek, CA to Henderson, NV. That was about a year ago. I know, it's sad and it has more to do with each of us holding onto the idea of who owes who an apology. Course, this has gone on as long as I can remember. Sure, I could call and say hello, I love you and happy mothers day. I probably will too. But under the surface remains the tension. We just don't understand each other.
Years ago, my Mother surprised me and asked me why I resented her so much. I sat there in silence for a moment thinking that to answer would be to invite yet another battle of yelling and passive aggressive black belt moves from her. I told her maybe someday I would explain it and I left it at that.

Like a lot of Mothers, I hear about shit I did as a kid. You know, in the middle of an argument or the middle of lunch.
As a kid.
It is thrown in my face at the oddest times and for no reason connected to logic that I can see. So, I return the favor. I point out stuff that was done while they raised me. I get the same answer from Mom every time, "We did the best we could."
Why do I resent you so much Mom? I resent you because when I point out your mistakes you always answer with, we did the best we could.
You point out mine mistakes and say how you are disappointed in me.
The difference?
I was a child and you were an adult.
You don't think I was doing the best I could as a kid? You were the adult.

It has always annoyed me when I hear people blaming their parents for shit going wrong in their lives. I am not saying that they are responsible for my issues, but their, we did our best, translates into me as an adult. Moms idea of doing the best she could was to pray and pray and pray. People wonder why I have issues with religion, it was Moms drug of choice. Any questions I had about anything got the same answer, ask God. Pray.
As a result, I don't think I ever really got to know mom. Every thing had religion attached to it. That, and I am so tired of hearing about the mistakes I made as a kid.
Happy Mothers day?

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Now back to your regularly scheduled pessimism.

Myanmar has suffered a natural disaster where 100,000 people are dead. Yahoo finds it is just as important for me to know that Clay Akins might have made the boldest change in his look yet. Such is news these days. Every thing is presented as spectacle, not information. Every thing is equal. 100,000 people dead, a former American Idol gets a new hair cut. I am waiting for the next crazy preacher to tell us exactly what it was the people of Myanmar did wrong to get such a punishing natural disaster. Isn't that how God works? Gays wanted to have a parade in New Orleans, Hurricane strike kills mostly black people in the lower Ninth ward where almost no gay people live. Seems like God has poor aim when he sends these things. That's ironic, considering how many of his followers seem to love their guns and pride themselves on their aim.
Oh well.

A few posts ago, a comment was left asking if I cross reference the news. I suppose I do. I am fascinated in the way we are presented stories. Right now, mentioning Obama in the news automatically leads to questions about Rev. Wright. If you look at any of the news from the BBC or articles written in the Canadian press, the only time they mention Rev. Wright is to ask what is the American obsession with creating a story rather than covering events? Other counties press have pointed out that all the candidates have been backed by various Ministers who have said some highly questionable things in their past too. Why highlight Obamas pastor? He was just his pastor, not a consultant to anyone in the White House as Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson have been. There is no big deal here accept that the press keeps saying it is a big deal.

Somewhere in the late 70's the networks decided to make the news just another product in it's line of TV entertainment. The simplest way was to let opinions be mentioned about the events they were covering. Now, that's all we have. No one is reporting on an event, they are all giving us their opinion of the event. Believe it or not, a news story might not fit comfortably in to the black and white of CNN or FOX. Why just cover the news when you can have people yell over each other? You might not leave informed, but it makes the powers that be a lot more money than just stating statistics and showing footage of disasters.

Truth is now spin.
Most people under the age of 30 get their news from the Daily show, a TV news parody show on a Comedy Network.
Polls dictate policy. No politician can actually say what they think without first checking to see what a percentage of people also think.
Money is not just power, but the ability to present the message of choice to the most people from the best media outlet. Everyone is equal, but when it comes to the first amendment and getting your message out there, some are more equal than others.
Rome had nothing on us!
Rome had outrageous public events in it's coliseum, and we have reality TV shows.
Rome fought wars in distant lands for riches and resources, we occupy Iraq and Afghanistan for Oil.
Rome rotted from within, crushed under the weight of bureaucracy and spread thin across it's empire until barbarian tribes with little more than clubs invaded and destroyed it.
We have Fox news.

There will never be a single planet wide disaster that you see in the movies or a revolt in the streets that your grandchildren will be able to point to and say, that's when it happened. Instead, we are like the frog in the pot of water slowly being brought to a boil. By the time Global warming, pollution, disease, loss of rights we took for granted and poverty catch up to us, we will just be starting to experience those first few pangs of anxiety that something really is wrong. The first thing we need to do to avoid that is to start thinking for ourselves and stop letting the Media tell you what is important and what to think about a topic. If you are wondering what the dander is in just blindly listening to what is coming out of the TV, all you have to do is look at the war with Iraq and the way the supposedly objective media became little more than a propaganda tool for the White House. Just recently the Pentagon suspended it's program of sharing secret information with military annalists employed by the media. You know those retired Generals and experts at all things war related? They were being given private briefings and essentially being told what to say. Their mission; paint a rosy picture of what is happening in Iraq. The media, whose job it is to be on the look out for just such an abuse, allowed it to go on unchecked for 7 years until the New York Times finally had the balls to print what it knew to be true for more than a year. Do you know what we call it when the state works with the corporations to strengthen each? The word is fascism. Fascists are just like you and me. They just think that a strong leader and cooperate rights are more important than individuals. other than that, they are just like us. By any definition, America has become a fascist state obsessed more about maintaining it's role as the only super power than advancing the agenda of human rights. How is this accomplished? Not with tanks in the streets or secret police, but the use of consumer choice falling like an avalanche over the human spirit. Everything has become a product, just like the news. Now that everything has a monetary value, no one has any values other than I got mine, now you get yours. It is the message that pervades every commercial and the message that keeps us from forming any true bonds to oppose the message. In the information age with the next big blockbuster coming soon, we have all traded the space inside our heads for a ticket to the next big thing, the new car, the louder game, the promise of a solution to the emptiness inside us we let the next pop song put into words because we no longer can.
100,000 people dead. Killed in one night in one storm. But the top story today was, falling
consumer confidence raises fears on Wall Street. This is the world we live in. Information has been replaced with speculation. Speculation is the system we have that sets the price. As our money shrinks in value, we turn to the next thing in an attempt to buy our way out of the wasteland the news shows us. Not one of abandoned huts and mud covered bodies, but of strip malls and asphalt parking lots backing in the sun. We have been bought off one by one with the belief that getting rich is the greatest reward simply because you can buy the best stuff. Instead of retired generals to explain the latest mess in Iraq to us, or reporters embedded with troops in the far corners of our crumbling empire, we should embed reporters in the peace movement and have spiritual healers on the news to break down events at protests.
Just a thought. Now back to your regularly scheduled pessimism.


Long before what is turning out to be the longest nomination battle in memory, The Democratic National Convention told the Democratic leaders in Florida and Michigan that if they moved up the dates of their primaries, their delegates would not be sat at the convention. In other words, their votes would not be counted in the primary. The states went ahead and moved up their primaries anyway knowing this.
Before any Democratic candidate began the process of securing the parties nomination, all candidates acknowledged and understood that Florida's and Michigan's delegates would not be counted. All candidates agreed to this and as a result, no candidate even campaigned in those states. Voters stayed away from voting in the primaries too. Obamas name did not even appear on the ballots in those states.
Now, with Hilary Clinton falling further and further behind, she wants those delegates counted. She wants votes counted from ballots that don't even have the names of her rivals on them after she agreed along with everyone else that those delegates would not be counted. Even Howard Dean, the leader of the DNC, says it is not fair to change the rules in the middle of the game.
To be honest with you, I am blown away that after all the problems in counting votes in Florida, the Democrats would even allow this situation to happen. But it has and when Hilary was the front runner, she was fine with it.
Here are the mathematical facts as they are today. Obama leads in pledged super delegates and regular delegates. In other words, Obama, by any test you want to give, leads in the popular vote. If the DNC decides to vote Hilary for the Democratic candidate, it will be saying fuck you to the average voter and fuck you to the whole idea of following the rules. Again, each candidate agreed before the process started that those delegates would not be counted.
As usual, the Democrats find away to fuck themselves even in a year when people are closeting their Republican affiliations.
Now we have a mess with powerful peoples ego's getting bruised. Some people who are rich and support Hilary, have offered to pay for a recount of Florida and Michigan. Will there be new ballots or just the counting of ballots that only have Hilary's name on them? Will it make a difference to Hilary's campaign? Should those states have been penalized in this way? What the hell was the DNC even thinking?
At this point, I don't think it would put her ahead in pledged delegates. If the super delegates go against the will of the popular vote, they will look as bad as the Republicans they have been yelling about corruption and back room deals for the last 7 years. Like it or not Clinton's, but Obama is the choice of most Democrats. Maybe not the rich ones who own movie companies, or the Republicans who have donated a lot of money to you in the start, but the choice of Democrats who get up in the morning and wonder how they are going to pay for things.
Hillary loaned her campaign 5 million dollars a few months ago and just announced it is now giving herself another 6 million. Yet, she calls Obama the elitist. I have news for you Hillary, if you can give yourself 9 million dollars of your own money to continue to fight the obvious, you might want to reconsider calling Obama an elitist.
This is why more people continue to go for Obama, he is not calling anyone names or playing the normal game of politics like changing the rules for his benefit.

Just Another Show

Last night I drove to Davis for a show on campus. I have never performed at the college there. I see it every time I go up to Sacramento and back, but all I see is that parking garage it seemed to take them forever to build. Behind it is a school. A pretty nice school with a campus overrun with bikes and ducks. Apparently you are not suppose to feed the ducks. The males become larger and more aggressive. This in turn leads to them gang raping the female ducks.
Wow! Campus life is the same for females if you are a duck or a human I guess.
I saw a sandwich board advertising something for a co-ed pre-med fraternity. My gut says you should avoid this one ladies. What a great cover the guys have set up. "Who wants a jello-shot before we play doctor?"
Each time I do a show on a campus I become envious of the kids. I really do wish I would of gone. Especially to a place like this. I felt more like I was walking around the manicured lawns of an estate than a college. It was beautiful. I think I fell in love with half a dozen girls I passed walking around. Everyone looked so young and so fresh. I am so jealous that for them the adventure is just beginning.
The show was held in your typical multi-purpose college room complete with furniture that seemed right out of a Crate & Barrel catalogue, a fire place and stage. Yeah, I said fire place. How nice is that? And these were not those uncomfortable plastic chairs that gave my generation scoliosis and are legendary short attention span, these were wood and cushion chairs that would of fit in with some loft in the city. They even had a bit of my Comedy Central performance playing on TV screens around the campus. How about that!
25 People showed up.
That is always a little discourging. The weather was nice but 25 people at a free comedy show hurts the ego a little bit. I mean, it's free comedy on a Wednesday night!
There were four other young comics that went on before me. When I was told this I thought, oh shit! But they were all pretty good. A little rough around the edges, some jokes that I would drop and 3 of the 4 had bits about pimps and Ho's. We wonder why we go home alone after shows and jack-off? Maybe you shouldn't tell so many jokes about Pimps and Ho's guys. Then, women might talk to you. It was the first time in a long time that I actually sat and watched other comics perform. I am still amazed that in this age of CGI laden movies and video games that any of us can get a group of people to pay attention to us talk. But the little crowd was great. By the time I got up there we were an hour in and they were as warm as they were going to be. They were fun. I didn't want to leave the stage and the friendly warm room. When the show was over I got the usual nervous, "Nice show" from the girls and "good set" from the guys who then look down at their shoes. Just by being older you become an authority figure. Strange. I am still the guy I was when I was their age. We stood around for a while bull shitting and talking. It was only when I said I was going to my car that I realized they were hanging around to hang out with me. I am so bad with people off stage. I really don't know how to relate to them with out a microphone between them and me. As I walked back to my car with the poster from the show, I thought of how much this campus felt like the park by my house as a kid. The evening was warm and kids were stretched out on the grass in groups of 3's and 5's. This is always an odd time for me. That post show bliss is like a drug mixing with the let down that it's over and that I missed something in my life when I was younger. I recently told a class of new comics that you have to make peace with the idea right now that you will probably never be famous or even make that much money in stand-up. The best that you can hope for is this feeling I have right now. Of walking away from a great little show where you felt completely comfortable on stage, had fun and know you did well. Because really, that is all you get most nights if it goes well. I didn't make big bucks on this little gig and I am certainly not going back to the dorm room of some hot french student to talk politics and make love by the light of a lava lamp. But I feel good and that has to be enough.
Knowing that though, and climbing back into my car for that lonely drive down I-80 to
San Francisco is something else. Thats the thing; I want something else. Well, not something else, I still love being a stand-up, I want something more. Every time I finish a week at a club or a run of a few weeks working regularly, I just think what it must be like to do this more often. Even after 15 years I feel like I get a little better with every bit of stage time. What would it be like to be on stage night after night in front of crowds who showed up and paid to see you? It has to be a whole other high.
Well, I turn up the music, put the windows down and race down that dark stretch of I-80 on just another Wednesday night after another great show for a small crowd. It's good. But it's not enough anymore.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008


Way to get Robert Downy Jr. to not take drugs or drink during the filming of a movie; put him inside a suit of armor.

Text message sent out by 19 year old San Diego College student/drug dealer.
"Attn faithful customers both myself and my associates will be in Vegas this coming weekend. So stock up, we will be back Sunday night."
Give them a break. After all, finals are coming up soon.

Overheard snippet of cell phone conversation in a parking garage. " are never to put your fish in the oven again! Put your father on the phone... Then wake him up!"
I kinda had the impression that her son put a fish bowl inside an oven as the Dad dozed off in an easy chair with a bottle of Jack Daniels at his side and Girls Gone Wild playing on the TV.

Subject line of an e-mail sent by the top mental health professional at the Veterans Affairs regarding the number of attempted suicides; "Shh!"
That one sorta of speaks for itself I think. It sums up the last 7 years of Bush & Company and the way they handle business. People get hurt, cover it up.

Ladies! Way to a mans heart; through your back door.

People I have offended this week with posted comments on various web sites; 2.

Number of apologies I have given this week for said comments; 2.

Average number of people I offend in a week; 4.

I am getting lazy.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Slip & Slide

Gas Tax Holiday?
Anyone buying this idea? My sister lives in Illinois. When they tried this a few years ago, the oil companies just raised the price by the exact percentage the tax would of been at the pump. It was a holiday alright...for the oil companies. Also, if you don't collect taxes for three months, where will the money for road improvements and bridge construction come from? If they really want to do this then do it like the bad joke those IRS stimulus checks are. Send everyone a gift card for $40.00 that can only be used at a gas station. Otherwise, yeah, it's just a stunt that ends up accomplishing nothing.
I have revised my idea on what to do with Bush's, Mission Accomplished Banner. It will still be a Slip & Slide, but every time he leaves the White House, he must run and slide down it on the white house lawn before boarding any helicopter, car or airplane.
Also, for every American lost since declaring mission accomplished, we put one rock under the Slip & Slide. You ever slide down one of these in your back yard as a kid and hit a stone or root? Man, that will knock some wind out of you! If that doesn't get the President to start making smarter choices I don't know what will. It will be like trying to slide down a Cobble Stone path! Take that fucker!

Monday, May 05, 2008

Any Ideas?

The last few weeks have been great. I have managed to work every room in the city. Twice on some nights, got to headline Cobb's on a Saturday, the Punch Line for two days last week and middle for Greg Proops this past weekend. Life is good!
Now comes the post work blues. Ugh.
I hate this part of it. I always feel like a super hero who has to go back to his secret identity after saving the city. Hang up the cape, take off the boots and sit down to the key board to crunch numbers in a cubicle. Ugh!
If you love what you do but can only do it for an hour a night, what do you do? You write a blog.
I also had an interesting conversation with a stranger recently who had a great idea. I have the ability to speak in front of people. I can verbally communicate ideas. There has to be a way to turn that into a marketable skill. Turns out, there is.
About once a year I have a minor anxiety attack that ends in tears and frustration. I think about what I should be doing besides comedy. Lets face it, as much as I love it and as good as I may be at it, I might never achieve the level of fame at it that I would like. Still have to pay bills and wake up feeling good about myself though so what is there? That my dear readers is the question I put to you. I know there are marketing companies out there and people who teach people how to speak for lectures, but what else is there? Anyone have any ideas on how to create a career with out a college diploma but the ability to speak with humor in front of crowds?
If you have any ideas, please let me know.