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
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.
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


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, " 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?"