Monday, December 21, 2009
Winter in the Midwest is a bleak affair. The land is flat. The sky is an unbroken gray. It's a perfect movie backdrop for suicide.
I think that's why Christmas lights and baby Jesus scenes become the glowing attractions that they are out there.
Let me explain that my sister lives in a town named Paw Paw. It's supposed to be named after a fruit that grows there or a small Indian tribe. I'm not sure.
There are just too many jokes to make about inbreeding and the identity of fathers.
It's a farm town.
It is two and a half hours southwest of Chicago and trapped somewhere in a 1950's Norman Rockwell America with 70's AM radio for a soundtrack and FOX news coming in loud and clear on the TV's.
Most people set up a manger scene on their front lawns. They do the whole thing; three wise men, statues of animals, Mary and Joseph and of course, little lord Jesus asleep in a hay-filled manger.
All of this pious folk art is then strung with lights. It sort of gives the appearance that Mary and Joseph traveled to Reno instead of Jerusalem.
My sister loaded her family up in the jeep and took us on the annual tour.
I started to notice something as we take in the displays.
Over the years some of the statues must of been lost, broken or misplaced in the huge barns that sit hulking on the barren prairie.
What you start to get is a stand-in cast of whatever figures are available. Problem is, sometimes there not the Biblical figures or the replacements were built on a different scale. The manger scenes then become unintentionally hilarious.
In one scene I see the baby Jesus, two wise men, and Santa Claus.
It's particularly striking because this Santa is one of those plug-in ones that glows with a painted plastic light. Being red, he looks like the Devil.
Another scene has everything perfect but instead of Mary, Joseph is standing next to an elf. I suppose it's possible that Joseph might be attracted to an elf, but it's obvious that whatever set the elf originally came from was a much larger scale.
The elf is huge compared to Joseph!
What is supposed to be a humble smile on Joseph's face seems more of an expression of acceptance. Like Joseph has just learned to accept being this massive elf's bitch.
At least all these manger scenes still stay in the Christmas theme. More than a few just assembled whatever characters they had and placed them in the traditional positions. That's the only way I would know that the little mermaid, Frankenstein, and the tin man from The Wizard of Oz were filling in for the wise men.
During the day one creative farmer tied up live animals around his manger scene. Unfortunately he put real hay in the manger so the two cows and four goats were all feeding on the hay. It looked like the animals were eating the baby Jesus alive!
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Dear people booking a comic for your annual corporate event,
Thanks for booking me. Seriously. These can be fun shows that exceed every ones expectations. To insure that your gig goes great, please follow the advice of the comic who has been at this for almost two decades. When I say, don't have the crowd of 300 people in a hotel ballroom just sitting down to be served dry chicken and fish as I am about to perform, that means don't have the crowd just siting down to a meal of dry chicken and fish at the same time you introduce me.
Oh, and as I said in the e-mails, comedy works best with intimacy. A large ballroom is fine, but having people sit around the edges of the dance floor, one hundred feet away, and expecting them to pay attention to the guy on the unlit stage as they get served their dry chicken and fish doesn't help. Neither did a shitty sound system that couldn't reach the back of the room.
I think that was mentioned in the e-mails too, but its was a delightful three hour drive in the rain only to see that none of the agreed upon instructions were followed.
Let me get this straight, you write the student loans for people all over American and don't see anything just a little unsettling that you have a casino night at your convention? Good to see all that money people are struggling to repay for job's that no longer exist is being gambled away by people who can't follow simple directions.
Dear lawyers at that other gig,
What a surprise that self-satisfied, self important manicured card board cutouts from a Banana Republic catalogue wouldn't laugh that hard. Thanks you for keeping me waiting an hour and a half and thank you for having the meal served just as I am about to perform. It was so very original to hear the guy with a smile like a hatchet eating his chicken like a date rapist say, "tough crowd."
People with a sense of superiority don't like to laugh. Not because it is a sign of weakness, but because they hate to feel like they have no control.
Laughter is involuntary.
Thanks for living up to almost every stereotype about lawyers.
Thank you Dude in the front for not even turning around during the whole performance but still saying ridiculous shit under your breath as you looked across the room at a poster of yourself waving good-bye. How weird was that?
Thank you head partner in the company doing everything to look above it all. The jeans with a blazer is a nice touch if you were a comic in the 80's. It says, I am so rich that conventional professional dress codes no longer apply to me. But thanks for the check. How many people can say they annoyed a room full of attorneys for half an hour and got money out of them?
What the hell is in your shit? I took one and woke up the next morning feeling more worn out than if I had just not slept. I think I know why. It's because I lead another life in the hours I was suppose to be asleep. I went on line, called people and generally made an ass of myself as I sleep blogged.
It would of been cool if I had started something like a fight club, but instead I wrote about candy as I instant messaged people.
The warning label on Ambien should say, Don't take with Internet!
Jesus Christ, the whole reason I quit drinking was so I wouldn't wake up feeling like shit and not remember the crazy shit I did the night before!
I like your products and yes, there is definitely a sense of being hip when I sit in a cafe and shoot a condescending look at the P.C. user struggling with some Microsoft problem.
What you lack in bugs you make up for with trying too hard to be unique. Your like the kid who dyes his hair purple and cuts his arms even though you live in the suburbs and your greatest problem is deciding what bumper sticker to post under a stop sign in the neighborhood.
USB, Fierwire connections, different cables, downloading drivers and 'latency' issues all have to be overcome if you want to record your guitar on Garageband. I guess I thought it would be easy because in every official Apple manual I could find all it says is, just plug your guitar into the computer! Even the video tutorial says it but oddly enough doesn't show it. There isn't the slightest mention of Audio Interfaces ANYWHERE other than the blogs and chat rooms dedicated to the millions of other people who had to find out the hard way that you can't just plug your guitar into your shinny new Apple and expect it to do what the side of the box, computer, website, salesperson and manuals all say you can do! Five hundred dollars later and now I can plug it in and you know what?
It sounds amazing, ass-holes!
Dear comments posted and e-mails sent to me concerning my last post where race was mentioned once,
Thank you for pointing out that I am now a racist, wrong or mislead when I said I don't agree that all white people, by virtue of being white, have it easier. I guess I will become like Joe the Plumber, a Klan member or the typical cartoon image of the angry white guy for pointing out what is a huge simplification with punch lines. You know, like comics do. I didn't realize this was the first step in becoming a racist but it must be true because you say it is.
Thanks for telling me what I can and cannot say and then explaining how you're still different from those evil conservatives who censor people. Of course your all correct and I was wrong. Next time I will check with you to see how I feel. Again, I apologize for taking issue with a gross generalization and pointing it out in a humours way.
I know the Republicans have no heart, but do you guys have any balls? Let me see if I understand this right. The health care reform you have been arguing over for a year would make the purchase of health insurance from the same companies that have fucked everyone over mandatory? How is that reform? OK, sure. You say the Bill would make it illegal for them to drop people but the same bill would also let the insurance companies charge elderly people up to five times more. How is this reform and not some give away to the insurance companies? You're going to take tax money and pay the insurance companies to cover people who can't afford to buy it from those same companies and if people don't purchase health care insurance they will be fined?
Are you guys out of your fucking heads?
You guys already get health insurance paid for by tax dollars. Can't we at least have the same thing as our representatives?
Tuesday, December 08, 2009
Once upon a time Dennis Miller was cool. He is famous for explaining in an interview why he started self identifying as a conservative. After 9/11, he heard a lot of his liberal friends call Ruddy Giuliani a “Nazi.” He reexamined his beliefs and realized that he now had more in common with conservatives than liberals. Saying anyone is a “Nazi” is always a huge exaggeration. Kind of like saying a health care reform plan that would cover more people and save more lives while denying record profits to companies who have a nasty habit of dropping people once they actually need what they have been paying for is Nazi like. Whatever. I do understand hearing something and having a hard time finding a place for it in the context of what you believe. That was Denis Millers tipping point. I am worried it’s happening to me. It started with Tofu.
I was performing at a show recently when I did this joke.
Science now says that eating too much tofu can have a negative effect on your memory. I think this is true because every time I have it I forget it tasted like shit the last time.
From the back of the room a high-pitched voice went “Come on!”
The tone of outrage was unmistakable. It was a Vegan girl who wanted to dispute the scientific findings, the slanderous statement I made about its taste and her disapproval in general with any swipe at her food of choice.
Since she obviously eats a lot of Tofu I thought, just move on. She will probably forget this in a minute or so.
No such luck.
Here is the thing. I was at the end of a long show already. A show where she had sat quiet or laughed at the usual endless stream of dick jokes, an implied rape joke, a domestic abuse joke and other assorted politically correct challenging jokes ranging from poor taste to borderline racist. But tofu? That is where she drew the line!
Oh San Francisco.
I could write this off to the phenomena of everything is funny until its your issue, but her displeasure at having Tofu mocked while none of the other material she had heard inspired her to comment just seemed more ridiculous to me than usual. I hadn’t made some outrageous statement like all women are objects or God created black people to serve us; I made a pithy little joke about fucking Tofu and she lost her shit!
Stand-up comedy is a lot of things. It is the intersection between art, bad taste, the first amendment and trying to make a room full of strangers laugh in an age where every subject is polarizing. People go out to see stand-up comedy with an expectation that its going to be just like the one comic they saw five years ago on a TV show and then become offended when real issues are talked about. But again, this is fucking Tofu! Her reaction seemed out of proportion for the subject.
I am for Gay marriage, health care reform, a colorblind society, cutting pollution and a woman’s right to choose. Down the line, I am a liberal. What I am starting to have problems with is the mentality, the blanket statements and the lack of willingness to turn that critical eye inward. One day a woman standing in front of me on MUNI was wearing leather pants and going on about cruelty free food choices clearly oblivious to her fashion choice of irony. The bus stopped to pick up a guy in a wheelchair and half the bus with hemp shirts on and End Don’t Ask Tell Now bumper stickers across their Apple Laptops moaned at the few extra moments this process would take. A white Dude with dreadlocks rolled his eyes and loudly said, “Fuck!”
I looked down at him in the seat reserved for disabled and elderly people and went “Are you going to be late to the compost heap?”
So often in comedy shows it really is a case of everything is funny until it’s my issue but so often in San Francisco it seems like my liberal cause cancels out your liberal cause.
It’s a guy in a wheel chair, Ass-holes! You know, all inclusiveness and such? It’s sort of what all liberal thinking rests on.
We always ask conservatives if they have ever asked questions or tested their assumptions, but do we?
I get annoyed at people who wear their beliefs like fashion choices.
Does the color of my breast cancer awareness ribbon clash with my gay rights rainbow flag button? I have a No Blood for Oil bumper sticker on my Land Rover, so its alright to idle my engine for ten minutes as I block traffic waiting to get into the Trader Joe’s parking lot for sustainable farmed free range waffles.
These aren’t such crazy exaggerations.
A girl wearing a fur coat once heckled me after a joke about bestiality. She explained that the coat was second hand and like some moral version of the carbon-offset concept, she could wear it guilt free. This is classic San Francisco thinking to me! Since I didn’t purchase the coat and it looks great on me it’s all right to wear the skin of an animal but it is never all right to have sex with one?
I looked at her from the stage and asked, “So with your logic it would be OK to be the second one to fuck the horse?”
I heard a comic on stage talk about the idea of white privilege recently. He made the blanket statement that all white people have it easier.
All white people?
I understand that many of our institutions still have a bias built into them and that racism is alive and well even after we elected the first black president, but a blanket statement like that, no matter how many guilty white liberals nod along in agreement is still a huge generalization.
I would trade my poverty, my lack of access to dental and medical care, clinical depression, alcoholism, addiction, IRS problems and crushing debt for the cops pulling me over and white woman wanting to fuck me any day.
When I expressed this thought to a friend, she looked at me like I had just put on a white sheet and set fire to a cross! Her argument, more people of color have had it far worse for far longer than you!
True. No argument about that at all. The thing is, I had nothing to do with it. I can’t donate money I don’t have or give jobs in a company I don’t own or make some statement that comes off sounding condescending about the plight of minorities or even sit through Blind Sided. The best I can do is be respectful to everyone regardless of his or her race, color or creed. If that isn’t enough then were in bigger trouble than we want to admit. I walk into a show as a white person but leave black and blue because I get hit over the head with the message so much that I am the problem.
I am a white, heterosexual male.
Apparently I’ve been the problem all along. Slavery, that was me. Denying woman equal pay, me as well. In fact, I had the idea to have Puritans with small pox sneeze on blankets before we handed them out to the Indians.
I’m not saying white people in history haven’t pulled some of the worst shit in history, I am just saying I wasn’t there, don’t agree with what was done and I am one broke barely hanging on guy looking for the answers too and it sure doesn’t feel like I have had it any easier than anyone else.
All of these are examples of those moments when I have an uncomfortable realization; I am liberal, but I don’t exactly agree with what is being said. Sometimes I can’t put my finger on it but it feels wrong or off or maybe just not my truth yet I am scared to say it. I have to think Dennis Miller didn’t just throw out his ideals all at once. It was probably a lot of little moments like this that lead up to it. When that girl shouted “Come on!” after a silly little joke on Tofu, I felt a sharp snap in the back of my head. I’ve had it with this liberal bullshit!
That was my first thought.
In tone, it sounded the way any commentator on FOX news has said it a hundred times before. Thinking about it later, I was a little scared. Am I getting older and growing more jaded to the world’s problems, or am I becoming pragmatic? Are we accomplishing anything or just replacing one set of slogans for another? Can you point out the shades of gray without being labeled a racist, Nazi or hater when everyone seems to suffer from black and white thinking these days?
Tofu is a great way to explain most stand-up comedy. Bland, tasteless and forgettable five minutes after you’ve watch it, Tofu is the mainstay in the American intellectual diet. When most of the population has a better understanding of the plot lines on Lost than the war in Afghanistan, it makes sense to have someone heckle you over soybeans I guess. Part of why I think that heckle happened and not during all the other stuff is a bit depressing to ponder for my art, but it is an inescapable conclusion. Dick jokes and jokes that only work if the audience feeds into some portion of the stereotypes used in most routines are expected. Crude, lewd and decidedly not politically correct is the expectation most people have for a comedy show when they walk in a club. Guys and girls are different, dating is weird and almost any joke that start with the comic emphatically saying, fellas or ends with the comic saying, what’s up with that are worn premises and tools, but it is still the framework for much of the stand-up out there today. When you step outside that narrow margin of safety, you are bound to hit someone’s big red button that almost every American not only has, but also expects you to know about without ever having met them before. I just never thought that Tofu would be one of those buttons.
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
More to come!
Monday, June 29, 2009
Check it out. Its a collection of funny people writing about everything and anything. Yes, we would like you to become a paid subscriber. For the price of a cup of coffee you could read insightful, funny and unique perspectives on things. Check it out=)
The other reason, I've been publishing blogs to my facebook page. You can read whats what there and eventually they will just publish to both sites.
Sunday, May 17, 2009
Tuesday, May 05, 2009
By now you have heard about it. The cable news networks seemed to take a delight in telling us how dangerous the swine flu could be. I got the feeling watching some of the coverage that not since the days following 9/11 has CNN had something so juicy to scare people with!
So far, only one person has died in America from the swine flu while 13,000 people have already died this year from the regular flu.
In other words, salmonella tainted spinach has killed more people. Hell, bad peanuts have killed more people than spinach this year. In fact, America has killed as many pirates this year as the swine flu has.
Yesterday, the acting head of the health department announced that the swine flu is no more deadly than the regular flu.
How about that? We closed schools and diverted flights, wore masks and ran out of hand sanitizer for a virus that is no worse than a really bad cold.
What is it about us? Why do we constantly get upset at the wrong things while the more dangerous things in society are regarded as business as usual situations and not problems?
Gun shops across the country are reporting a run on ammunition, a phenomenon apparently driven by fear that the Obama administration will increase taxes on bullets or enact new gun-control measures.
When Bush got elected a second time, liberals stocked up on sugar free snacks and poster boards for protests.
Almost four months into a new presidents term and the right is stockpiling arms.
Great. How can this go bad?
If the gun lobby had its way, guns would be sold in vending machines outside school cafeterias.
Thats the only way I would agree to school prayer in public schools.
By the way, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission said there were 37 known vending machine fatalities between 1978 and 1995. Every year about two Americans die when they shake a machine trying to get a stuck snack out. Thats why we have warning labels on the side of Coke machines telling you not to shake them.
Vending machines killed more people last year than swine flu so I guess there pretty dangerous. If thats so, why don't guns at least have a warning label? I don't know exactly what it would say, maybe something as simple as WARNING: the U.S. Surgeon general has determined that guns can create big fucking holes in people!
If vending machines killed 10,000 people on average every year do you think there would be a strong lobby in Washington D.C. busy keeping them legal and on the streets?
Vending machines don't kill people. People kill people!
"You will have to pry this can of Coke from my cold dead hand!"
Squirt guns that look too much like real guns are against the law.
Law darts were made illegal after a kid was killed by one.
Vending machines, killing two people on average every year have more precautions built into them than guns do and guns were designed specifically for killing. Yet the idea of making them less available to society at large is seen as an attack on peoples personal liberties.
I can't think of a greater way to deprive someone of their personal liberty than shooting them, yet suggesting we do something about this uniquely American problem gets people crawling out of the wood work and screaming, "Second Amendment rights!"
The only way to remove a gun from the streets is apparently to announce that it was held by a Mexican with the flu.
Course, the people with guns will only say, we need to strengthen immigration laws!
Carrie Prejean is back in the spotlight again. She is better known as anti-gay marriage Miss California. She is now a spokesperson for traditional marriage and in trouble over topless photos of herself. Little miss traditional values posed for some racy photos back in the day! The photo—showing a topless, pink-underpants-wearing Prejean with her arm strategically placed—first appeared on TheDirty.com before making its way around the web.
I could care less. What makes this truly hilarious is her sanctimonious defense. If the traditional marriage people think a model who is already notoriously bad with words is a good spokesperson then you might have just proved you are dumber than her.
And that is saying something!
She called the release of the photos, "attacks on me and my integrity as a woman."
Lets stop right there for a moment, shall we? Think what you like about nudity or values or whatever. Its none of my business what you do. But the argument can be made that a woman of integrity might not pose topless in her underwear for money. I don't think that way but I am guessing the people who hired her as a spokesperson do.
Oh but its gets better!
"I am a Christian, and I am a model. Models pose for pictures, including lingerie and swimwear photos. Recently, photos taken of me as a teenager have been released surreptitiously to a tabloid website that openly mocks me for my Christian faith."
Your being mocked, bubble head because you posed nude and still want to claim you're a Christian.
How do you reconcile this in your own head? Jesus, hung almost naked on the cross so its alright for me to pose naked? Even if it is a sin, he died for those already, right?
Can't you almost see her incredulously stomping a single pump wearing foot down when she says, "I am a Christian and I am a model!"
"I am not perfect, and I will never claim to be. But these attacks on me and others who speak in defense of traditional marriage are intolerant and offensive. While we may not agree on every issue, we should show respect for others' opinions and not try to silence them through vicious and mean-spirited attacks."
If you're a model people will use your photos to make the most amount of money they can. Now that you are shilling for family values, anyone who ever snapped a photo of you is going to release them for profit and in the process irony laden statements like this one will erode your credibility while it drives the price on your old photos up.
Also, you're defending traditional marriage? Whose attacking it? Far as I can tell, its the straight married people who are attacking gay peoples self evident right to ruin their lives as they see fit. If anyone is attacking the sanctity of marriage its married people. It ends in divorce 50% of the time. In fact, I bet at least one married man jacked-off to her photo. If anything, this model Christian has created more situations that put traditional marriages in jeopardy than a gay couple wanting the same rights society gives other married couples.
Unless your husband in jacking-off to gay guys posing in their underwear. If thats the case you might be married to the leader of a church.
What everyone is missing and what seems to be lacking in any intelligent debate about gay marriage is the fact that marriage fails half the time. Why defend anything with a 50% failure rate?
It would add an extra sense of adventure if guns only went off half the time. Might give animals being hunted a sporting chance too. I doubt anyone from the gun lobby would defend a product that only worked half of the time.
I say, get that statistic up to at least 80% before you go claiming another group is going to ruin it. Maybe one way for people to take the whole traditional marriage thing seriously is not hire a spokesperson who can be found nude on the internet. I'm just saying.
Monday, April 27, 2009
I was on a radio show talking about torture in the course of discussing the weeks news. A guest called in. Conservative, Bob, the host said.
Apparently they knew him.
He summed up the conservative point of view on the entire torture scandal with the official position from Bizzaro world.
Where is it written down that torture is illegal? He asked. Because if it was, his reasoning went, then Dick Cheney would be in jail by now.
Reasonable men can agree to disagree. But what do you do when faced with this?
All I had to do was Google, laws on torture.
The geneva conventions are pretty clear on what torture is. This is only the first section of many many that spell it out in detail:
-CONVENTION AGAINST TORTURE
and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading
Treatment or Punishment
1. For the purposes of this Convention, torture means any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person information or a confession, punishing him for an act he or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed, or intimidating or coercing him or a third person, or for any reason based on discrimination of any kind, when such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity. It does not include pain or suffering arising only from, inherent in or incidental to lawful sanctions.
This seems pretty clear to me. Torture is illegal.
Shortly after 9/11, Vice President Dick Cheney appeared on a Sunday news show and told the American people that we would deal with our enemies by working on the "dark side."
We now know what he meant.
What the Bush administration did was not only illegal, but profoundly stupid for reasons that will become clear soon.
To find some kind of a blue print for how to torture, the White House turned to a military program ironically designed to train our servicemen how to cope with torture if they were ever captured. Not just captured, but captured by countries who didn't sign the Geneva Conventions. That means, countries that still use such practices as water boarding.
They reverse engineered programs and techniques to help withstand torture into a seriously flawed program designed to torture.
The name of the program is SERE; Survival, Evasion, Resistance, Escape.
During the Korean War, the Communist Chinese used it on P.O.W.'s to get false confessions for propaganda purposes.
A lot of research has been done on torture. Turns out, when people are being subjected to extreme pain, they will say what they think the interrogator wants to hear to make it stop.
This is the method they picked. Its bad enough that it was morally repugnant and against the law, but they chose a technique known for false confessions.
The White House was not only cruel, but stupid as well.
The SERE program's chief psychologist, Colonel Morgan Banks, issued guidance in early 2003 for the "behavioral science consultants" who helped to devise Guantánamo's interrogation strategy although he has emphatically denied that he had advocated the use of counter-resistance techniques used by SERE instructors to break down detainees. However, records show he was in Iraq as a consultant.
All of this is bad. Today, it got worse. Under oath, people are now coming out on the record to tell us that torture was being used on detainees to create a link between Iraq and Al-Qaeda.
If you think torture is the best way to capture terrorists and get intelligence you are wrong. Instead of pointing out studies I offer this fact as evidence. After the first attack on the World Trade Center, the Government treated it like a crime scene. Evidence was collected, leads followed and eventually with skilled interrogators and patient research, the people who planed it were found, tried and are now in jail.
No one was tortured to solve this. No country was invaded to solve this. No bombs were dropped on innocents civilians by mistake. No secret prisons were set up outside America to get a conviction. New law didn't need to be hastily written to give legal cover to unethical acts to get the information required to get convictions.
The White House made a clear and informed choice to use ineffective brutal methods that are defined as war crimes.
Aren't we suppose to be the good guys?
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
If you have been a reader of my blog for awhile, thanks. I enjoy writing them and I hope you enjoy reading them. Times are changing. In a few years news papers will probably disappear from the street replaced by blogs and subscriptions to news websites. While blogs will remain free, I think you will also start to see a new trend. Subscription blogs for an inexpensive monthly fee.
I was recently contacted by a man who wants to do just this. Some larger recognizable names to draw people in and guys like me. Might just work. Who knows? But being paid to do what I have been doing free since I started this blog is cool! This blog will still exist. I hope to start using it more for video clips soon. I hope if you have been a loyal reader you will make the jump with me.
I will let you know the details once everything is signed on the dotted line.
Every Friday afternoon I can now be heard on KSRO the Drive giving you a break down of the weekly events complete with punch lines! If you can't get them in your area, you can listen to it on line and eventually in podcast form here, Facebook and who knows where else.
Cross your fingers and stay tuned!
Check out my calendar on my website for Gig's. standupjoe.com
Saturday, April 18, 2009
With Americas first African-American President in the White House, the governor of Texas is now seriously talking about seceding from the rest of the country over what he calls the federal governments oppressive reach. Thats how he refers to the stimulus money.
This might be the clearest example of the difference between conservative thought and liberal thought. When the liberals are out of power they write blogs. If they are feeling really naughty they might have some meat instead of that veggie burger they normally get.
Three months out of power and the conservatives want to leave the country!
That would make them something they have been calling liberals for a long time now: Un-American!
Let them go.
This is the same action as an immature kid loosing his fifth game of checkers in a row. They basically want to flip the board over. Only the board is the country and its not a game.
Come on Texas. If you got real about this situation you would see that Texas needs America a lot more than America needs Texas.
This what Texas offers. More wool comes from Texas than any other state in the union. So we lose them. So what? What do we really lose, sweaters, ignorance and Chuck Norris?
Texas ranks #49 in verbal SAT scores and #46 in average math SAT scores.
That means if you wanted to confuse a Texan a sentence like this might do it:
If you're making less than 250,000 a year how much are your taxes going down under Obama?
I think I am starting to see the problem.
When Bush was governor of Texas they were 49th in education.
That means they could beat Mississippi, they just couldn't spell it.
Hell, let the entire south go if they want. Don't let the Mason Dixon line hit you on your ass on the way out.
Glen Beck. Know the guy? He is the next generation Bill O'reilly and one of the chief architects of the tea bagging movement. I might be wrong about this but if one of the guys talking about your movement works on TV where he talks for a living, I don't think you can claim your movement is grass roots.
On Tax day, Glen Beck held a rally in Texas at the Alamo. If you know your history then you know the reason why Davy Croket was fighting the Mexican army. Mexico had outlawed slavery and the good people of the nation of Texas were fighting to keep slavery legal.
Texas lost the battle of the Alamo, but when you think about the current condition of Mexicans working for slave wages across America in jobs you or I wouldn't do, you might think Texas won the war.
Odd place to announce you are a "real American with old fashioned American values..." cause I gotta tell you, the kind of old fashioned American values a place like the Alamo represents is the reason we passed the 13th Amendment,
abolishing slavery in the United States. I'm just saying if you want to reboot a revolution you might want to choose a better backdrop for it than a fort that was defended by red necks who were fighting to keep humans like animals for labor.
The NSA announced that it reviewed the current program of wire taping communications in the United States. The NSA said it "over collected" information and had a hard time distinguishing between domestic and international communication.
Over collected? What a polite way to say you eavesdropped on everyone. Do you know that right now the Justice Department affirms its right to go into a citizens home, search their computer and personal papers and never tell you they were there! The United States government says it can go through my stuff and not tell me?
I don't remember dating the government.
Also, its pretty clear on my bill what is a domestic call and an international call. If these guys couldn't even figure that out why would we think they could interpret terrorists plots talked about in code over the Internet?
But here is the real kicker.
It also found evidence that the NSA attempted to wire tap a member of Congress. This is the NSA saying this in their own public report. This isn't some urban myth being passed around by bloggers strung out on red bull this is your government admitting that it not only spied on U.S. Citizens but it actually made an attempt to bug a member of congress.
People sometimes tell me I swear too much on stage. If you're watching the news and not swearing with a few choice expletives when you hear stuff like this, then you just don't get it.
This is bad people! This is really bad. I know, its depressing and stunningly unfunny so here is a dirty joke to take your mind off of it before we get into more hard to hear truths.
I told my brother something he had never heard before apparently, because he said, "New wrinkle."
I asked, "What does new wrinkle mean?"
He said "Every time you learn something new your brain gets a new wrinkle."
"Oh. I guess that makes my testicles a genius then."
Thats how I will get you to pay attention. I will tell you something you should know and then follow that bitter truth with a bipartisan dirty joke.
Obama released four memos from the justice department written at the request of the Bush White House on the subject of enhanced interrogation techniques. They are little more than disgusting verbal games written in legal prose to not say the word torture. Its clear that the authors, one of whom is now a sitting federal judge, knew they were being asked to invent law to make torture appear legal.
OK. Thats pretty scary stuff too. Here is another dirty joke.
My brother told me his girlfriend had tricked him into getting pregnant. How is that possible? You're a grown man. What did she do, cover her vagina with leaves and you tripped and fell in?
Then he asked, "Thats how women get pregnant?"
he said "New wrinkle."
Obama has said they will not prosecute anyone at the CIA who participated in these types of "enhanced" interrogations. We have to move forward not look backward. This is the Obama doctrine. As much as I believe in what the man has come to represent I think almost everyone can agree that a blanket forgiveness without even a formal confession of wrong doing is premature.
You might not have to go after the people who were "only following orders" but shouldn't we go after the people who gave those orders?
I think we should.
No dick joke here folks. There isn't one powerful enough.
The fact is were suppose to be the good guys. The ones who don't put aside their values even when it seems we would gain by doing so. People say, thats naive. America has to live in "the real world."
America was founded on the idea to change the real world. But there right. America doesn't live in the real world. It exists in a better world. Torture has no place here. Thats why we have laws against it. Thats why we don't recognize a king or allow our rulers to abuse religious belief to control people. Right?
We are a nation of laws not a nation of what ever those in charge want to do. The truly scary thing is that all the enhanced powers the Bush administration gave itself have not ben given back yet by Obama. One of the oldest laws of man states very clearly, power given is rarely returned. If we are willing to set aside the values that make us better than the terrorists this time, what will we set aside next time?
I just hope that someday I won't be talking to a 20 year old kid and after I tell him what freedom is, hear him reply, "new wrinkle."
Thursday, April 16, 2009
Here is the non-story everyone will be talking about this weekend. On Jamie Foxx’s satellite radio show, he recommended that Miley Cyrus make a sex tape. Lets not feel too bad for the 16-year-old millionaire. She is the new Olsen twins. In fact, since Miley has arrived on the scene you don’t see them too much anymore. I think the Olsen twins were somehow combined into one bratty child star known as, Miley Cyrus.
I can’t feel sorry for her in the least. She is living every 16-year-old girls dream. Her Dad works for her, she is star and she has a 20-year-old Italian underwear model as her boyfriend. By the way, why are people getting worked up over Jamie Foxx’s comment? I thought statutory rape was a little more important than talking about what is only a matter of time.
Between pirate attacks and tea party protests over taxes I am wondering if we are repeating the 1700’s again? I hope not. There is no way I am going to start wearing a powdered wig.
I have a question. When do the pirates get their own reality show? Each week you can watch as they take a ship. Who wouldn’t watch that?
I have to admit. I feel a little sorry for Mr. Bush. I don’t know if he has been watching the news lately but if he is you know he is sitting there going “My first test with the military was 9/11 and Obama gets pirates? Unfair!”
If ever there was a guy who wanted to fight pirates, it was Bush. If it had happened during his administration you would of seen press conferences where Bush tells the America public that Johnny Deep is living somewhere in France so we are going to invade to Iraq.
The tea baggers! I love the fact that apparently no one on the right thought to Google tea bagging before they pronounced themselves proud tea baggers. And what was the protest all about?
Paying too much in taxes.
It doesn’t exactly ring true when 95% of the people in this country are getting a decrease in taxes and the other 5% who are lucky enough to be among the wealthiest humans on the planet will get a 3% increase or what it was under Bill Clinton.
I saw some of the protests yesterday. I saw people with signs take public buses to public parks. I saw police officers directing traffic and doing security. I saw elected officials giving speeches trying to talk over work crews repairing public streets. In other words, all things taxes pay for. Now I know, no one likes the idea of taxes and I think the protest was more about the bail out of banks than anything else. Everyone hates the idea of handing billions of dollars to the people who screwed us all over but I also understand you can’t just let the entire system collapse before you do something about it. Do you know what you get if you do?
Why do you think Somalia has a pirate problem in the first place? They have no government, no public services and the means to collect taxes for those public services. So what did they turn to?
Pirates and tea bagging, folks. Sounds like a normal weekend in the Castro.
Tea bag all you want folks but the truth of the matter is Americans pay less in taxes than most of Europe. While we bitched about gas going up to five bucks a gallon last year, England was paying twelve bucks. Still are too. I also find it hysterical that most of the nut jobs on the right (FOX) defended the AIG bonuses. So I’m confused. The bail outs of the banks to maintain the level of society we have come to rely on was wrong but the million dollar bonuses paid with bail out money to the people who fucked the economy up was right?
You can’t have it both ways. You can’t keep screaming that Obama wants to change our way of life when our way of life was what got us all into this mess. You can’t be against the bail out but for executives getting their bonuses because, “that’s how capitalism works!”
I can’t think of a better example than this for why it might be time to take a very close and very long look at our finical system and change a few things.
Have you ever heard the term, Paradox of thrift? It’s the term given to this situation: As the economy goes down people start to save more and spend less. As they spend less, the economy goes down even more. What is good for the individual is bad for the system as a whole.
If we live inside a system where saving is bad for the system then the system might be the problem. Not people saving. The system we live in now depends upon it growing constantly. Our economy is like a shark. If it stops moving it dies.
That’s crazy too!
The only other model I can find that is similar to how our economy works is cancer. Cancer, you may know, is the sudden and unknown growth of cells in the body. Eventually, you die from it. And if you don’t die that means you survived one of the toughest treatments there is in medicine, chemotherapy.
I say it is time to apply chemotherapy to the economy. Don’t take my word on it. Check out this quote from a dude you may know.
Thomas Jefferson -"If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issuance of their currency, first by inflation and then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around them will deprive the people of all their property until their children will wake up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered."
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
She wasn't kidding.
Saturday, April 11, 2009
Watching your weight with portion control?
All you can eat buffet!
Get caught looking at other women when you're with your wife at home?
Enjoy the topless review in the crazy girls show!
Holding onto money now that the economy sucks?
Come stick that 401K in the most liberal slots. After all, vegas gives you better odds these days than Wall Street.
I'm working at the Rivera Casino all week. Its a long week too. Monday-Sunday, two shows a night. Fourteen shows in seven days is a grind for any comic. The upside is you can refine bits all week. Tweak them a little and try out different tags. Anything to keep it interesting for yourself.
The Riviera is old Vegas. You can find traces of its glory days in the black and white photos of stars when we really had stars. The greats worked here. Bob Hope, Bob Newheart, Steve Martin, Don Rickles and major names in theater and music. Buts its also old Vegas in the literal way. They are a mixed bag this gray and graying crowd. I am struck by how many canes, limps, wheel chairs and plus size wardrobe I see. As a people, we are in horrible shape.
I am the opener. It stings the ego a bit but in Vegas you get paid what a lot of clubs pay for a Headline week. Still, fifteen minuets up front is not as sweet as walking into the glory position of headliner.
Comedy seems to follow a sort of rhythm. The highs get smoothed out by the lows. In the long run, if you can be even then you can be a success. This week I am the opener but the opener in Vegas at a classic hotel. Last week I was the headliner at a show and got a standing ovation after Riffing an hour long show for a fair sum of money.
Its all Good.
During a show I am talking to a guy who says this is only the second time he's been to Vegas.
"How did it go the first time?" I ask.
"I lost all my money and I came to get it back."
The way he said it sounded like he was going around town hanging up missing posters of his cash.
"It's gone, Dude."
The scale of Vegas was built to inspire awe and gluttony. Its all about excess here. A friend I haven't seen in forever happens to be in town the same time I am. We go to Lunch at the Rain-forest Cafe inside MGM Grand. Every few minuets you hear one of the waiters shout, "Volcano!" As soon as the other waiters hear it they start yelling it too. What gets this introduction is a dessert. I'm not sure what it is. All I can say is it came in a bowl that looked more like a sink. Ice cream was piled high. Slabs of what I think were chocolate seemed stuck to the sides of it too. To top it all off they ad a sparkler on the top.
I think they yell volcano because thats more appealing than shouting diabetes!
Everything in the cafe is plastic. The trees, plants, leaves and name tags. Fake animal heads stare out at us from the plastic canopy of plastic vines that line the walls. There is a thunder storm every twenty minuets. The lights flash and a sound track provides the audio component. All in all, it is how Americans like there outdoors-brought inside and made to run on a show schedule with people bringing you food named after a natural disaster.
My sister lives in Henderson. It is suburbia anywhere just a half hour drive from the strip. When she picks me up she drives past a mega church.
"Its where I take Bible study classes." She proudly informs me before adding, "you can think what you want about that."
Done and done, sister.
She explains that the church is so big it has its own Starbucks.
Hello. I would like some no foam, half caf forgiveness, please.
At my end of the strip, Vegas is a little worn. The Riv is a classic, but she is showing her age. At this end you see a lot of people who probably remember this place back in the day. At the other end of the strip the average drops into the twenties. You see groups of guys all looking like they're staring in their own private episodes of Entourage. The girls have bought the myth of Vegas. The uniform for girls seems to be slightly slutty dresses with the time honored accessories of high heels, that after drinking make them all walk like a tipsy valocaraprtor, and of course those wacky long skinny drinks in novelty shapes that are really just portable lack of inhibitions delivery systems.
All in all, I have a fun week. Everyone at the Riv treated me great and the other comics on the bill were pretty cool too.
Till next time, Vegas.
Friday, March 27, 2009
Obama basically called them out Tuesday in his press conference asking his critics where their budget was?
If you were looking for a metaphor about our times and how we got here I can't think of a better one than this. A bunch of Republicans smugly waving around a thin folder containing no financial data what so ever and saying, trust us!
Excuse me if I am stating the obvious but isn't this exactly how we got into this disaster in the first place?
19 fucking pages with only the numbers that number the pages is not a budget guys. Its barely a book report. Even cookbooks have more numbers in them than this did. Probably not a good idea to say cooked and books around these guys.
Even members of the conservative press were pissed at the Republicans during the press conference for this. Every question the reporters had was answered with a very lame, we will be releasing more information next week.
Like the numbers?
The big idea in the budget was a 10% tax cut for the wealthiest American's. Because that already worked so well for us.
For the last time-trickle down economics didn't work!
Your just embarrassing yourselves at this point guys.
The government is inspecting all the showers on military bases in Iraq. Of the 20,000 already inspected, 7,000 of them had electrical problems. KBR, one of Halliburton's companies, was found criminally negligent in the electrocution deaths of 3 solders in showers built by KBR.
The company that just got the multi million dollar contract to rebuild the showers?
And that is your metaphor for how much corporate America cares.
If they could feel OK about making a profit on selling showers that killed our solders in Iraq, then you know they didn't think twice about stealing money from grandpa's pension plan on Wall Street to buy another penthouse on park avenue.
The thing that really makes me slow down and stare at the train wreck that is the Republican party right now is listening to them scream about one party rule in Washington and a White House that won't listen to their concerns. Obama has been called a dictator for wanting regulations to prevent this finical disaster from happening again.
Your kidding, right?
Thats pretty much how you guys ran things when you were in power!
And before you think I am turning around and childishly saying, now you don't like it do you? Consider this little fact.
In the history of the Congress the filibuster has been used sparingly. A filibuster prevents any vote on a bill from happening.
Since January, its use has gone up 90%.
The Republicans not only don't want to consider any new ideas they don't even want to hear any conversation or debate about them either.
Last but not least, the mother of metaphors!
The U.S. military has just begun work on a mediaeval style wall with only four ways in or out around the city of Baghdad. Everyone will be searched on the way in. Yup. Nothing says mission accomplished like a giant castle wall surrounding a city in an architectural style best associated with the dark ages.
Let freedom ring!
If you still believe that anyone in Iraq had anything to do with 9/11 then perhaps you can torture logic just a bit more to convince yourself that if those people attacked us for the simplistic reason said over and over again, they hate us for our freedoms, then a wall between them and freedom should make everyone happy.
Friday, March 20, 2009
The best thing a social commentator can do is cry bullshit when he sees bullshit. It shouldn’t matter whose bullshit it is, Republican bullshit or Democrat bullshit. The point is bullshit is bullshit, red or blue.
Fact: Democrats were fully aware of the $165 Million dollars in bonus pay that went to the company that almost single handedly destroyed the economy. We know this because while everyone was tossing blame around like a beach ball at a Phish concert, officials at the Treasury, the Fed and Federal Reserve Bank of New York exchanged e-mails about the bonus program in late February. AIG revealed the bonus plan in filings last September. In November, Treasury and Fed officials negotiated the terms of these retention payments; and in December, Democrats called for a hearing on the bonuses.
This is what makes people jaded about politicians. These guys weren’t outraged. They were acting outraged when the public found out about bonuses they had already decided to pay.
And that my friend is bullshit.
Here is where the fun starts because both sides seem to have come up with solutions that are crazy. As mellow-dramatic as they possibly could be, the Democrats held a special session of Congress and passed a tax law. 90% of the AIG bonuses would be taxed!
That’s a pretty awesome thing right?
If this comes to any court, and it will, it will be found to be unconstitutional for one reason. The U.S. Constitution states very clearly that the Government cannot make a law after the fact to punish or single out a person or group.
Singling out only the executives at AIG who got multi-million bonuses and slapping them with a 90% tax rate seems like we are indeed singling out and punishing one group. Yes they deserve it but if Democrats spent the last eight years pointing out when Bush didn’t follow the constitution then turn about is fair play.
So of course the Republicans tripped all over themselves when they had the first legit criticism of the whole bail out mess. They must have been tripping on something because now a lot of them are OK with AIG keeping those bonuses. You read correctly-they are in favor of letting the morons that almost bankrupted the world economy keep that money.
That is exactly what Rush Limbaugh and other high profile conservative leaders have been saying now. Why would they defend this gluttonous act of greed with Wall Street in its death throws?
Because they believe in capitalism!
It’s hard to tell who is crazier on this subject now. One side knew about the insane amount of money these losers were getting and pretended to be outraged when the rest of us found out and the other side says capitalism is all about people getting the most they can and so what that 50% of all mortgages held in the country are behind.
Then there is us. The American public. We are truly a strange crowd. What we decide in mass to get upset about often times isn’t that big of a deal. So I say, who gives a shit about $165 million bucks? It represents less than one percent of one percent of the $170 BILLION DOLLARS that AIG owes us so far. Whats the plan for getting that back? I haven’t heard it yet either. Have you?
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
I wonder what you get for doing your job really well over at AIG?
Think of the balls you would have to have to see your company branded public enemy number one in the middle of the greatest economic disaster of our lifetimes and still walk into your bosses office and go, “So when am I getting that bonus check?”
The things I could accomplish with a set like those!
The obvious question is, bonuses for what? The bonus money came from the third Government bail out. You morons! If it weren’t for that money you wouldn’t even have a job right now. Someone needs to explain exactly what these people did to deserve these huge bonuses after they bankrupted the world economy.
The first story was it was a retention bonus. They couldn’t have bright minds leaving so they paid these bonuses to keep the best and the brightest. I know. When I read that the first time I practically fell out of my chair.
The best and the brightest?
The best and the brightest on Wall Street seem to be the people that got us into this mess. You would do better in the public eye if you just said you paid them to leave and stop fucking everything up. One problem with the retention story. After getting their million dollar plus bonus checks, eleven employee’s left the company. So much for that.
The next story was, it was written into the contracts and the Government knew this when handing over our money to failed giant, AIG.
Well, sort of.
This is the kind of political fight that Washington enjoys playing as sport. The blame goes around. It’s either the Republicans or the Democrats fault depending on who you talk to. Here is a crucial little piece of fact that people might want to hold onto during all this. This deal was signed by Bush. Not Obama. Now, I don’t tell you this to wade into the argument, I just want to see this fact acknowledged. Also, someone did think about this situation and did put an amendment in the original bail out bill that stated very clearly that this money could not be used for any type of bonus pay. It got taken out of the bill at the last minuet. Why? Because this is America damn it! The Government shouldn’t and doesn’t decide what the limit is for executive pay!
Maybe it should now.
Also, they kept telling the unions to renegotiate their contracts, why can’t we tell AIG and anyone else getting our money to do the same thing?
Its interesting to note that when the big three automakers came to Washington looking for bail out money several Republicans insisted that the Unions agree to lower their wages to what foreign auto workers make. Yeah, that’s the solution! In the middle of a crisis that largely affects low and middle class workers, lets lower their rate of pay.
Funny how its evil socialism when people making less than $60,000 a year need health care, jobs and a financially sound future but it’s helping out a company that’s too big to fail when it comes to forking over billions of dollars to the exact same people who got us here.
How the hell does that work?
Are we living in a bizzaro world now and no one told me? We must be. The Pope said yesterday that condoms not only wouldn’t help stop the spread of AID’s in Africa but that it would also make it worse? Ok. I’ve had enough of primitive belief in fairy tales and misinterpreted script written two thousand years ago playing any role in what I like to call reality. You know reality. Everyone does. Even though I might want to run from it occasionally, I know I live there and I know what is real and what is not. It is a fact that condoms do indeed prevent the spread of AID’s. After eight years of living with the Bush idea of abstinence only programs you know what the department in charge of administrating those programs found out?
It doesn’t work.
Kids who got abstinence only instruction had more sex sooner than kids who got the truth from that scary scary place called reality. Not only did they start having sex earlier but also they had it without any protection leading to pregnancy and sexually transmitted disease in larger proportion than those kids educated about their bodies in reality.
That only took eight years and tens of millions of dollars to find out. I wonder when these guys are going to get their bonus checks. I mean, they failed hugely and that is when we hand out big money these days, right?
Dear Pope, if you can wear a giant foreskin looking hat on your tiny-minded head then anyone should be free to wear a little hat on their tiny head to prevent disease and more tiny mouths that will go hungry and suffer. This seems like a no brainer to me but again, I live in reality. The Pope preaches to the poor and offers prayers to help them escape their crushing poverty while he lives in a Castle. Hey, more condoms means less suffering. Less suffering means less people turning to fairy tales out of desperation. Condoms means less clients for the Church.
Give the church time to catch up I guess. It was only last year that they did away with limbo. It was the place babies went to wait for getting into heaven because they weren’t baptized. It only took about fifteen hundred years before someone in the Vatican thought, “Holy shit! Do we really believe in this still?”
So give them time. It took eight hundred years for them to admit that Galileo was right and the Earth did go around the Sun. They also apologized for keeping him under house arrest the last years of his life for pointing out this fact. The Church is just a little slow.
But all this stuff is nothing compared with a news story that has somehow managed to fly beneath the radar.
That might be a poor choice of words. Sorry.
Russia is in talks with Cuba and Argentina to station Bombers in those countries. The Russian president announced they were going to rebuild their nuclear stockpile in response to what they see as America gaining footholds in countries bordering Russia. All this only a week after Hilary Clinton visited.
Don’t know what she did but perhaps she is not invited back.
I don’t know what there worried about. Its not like we just march into places that didn’t do anything to us.
Oh wait! Never mind.
Lets welcome back the cold war folks. A good war might be just what the doctor ordered to get this economy back on track, eh? We can all go to work for defense contractors building bombs to keep the peace. Hey, if the Pope can publicly state that condoms don't prevent AID's, then I can say, building bombs for peace, with a straight face!
In an odd little twist, remember the Star Wars project under Regan? They wanted to develop a way of shooting Russian ICBM’s out of the sky. Billions of dollars and decades latter we are not that much closer to being able to do that. But what about all the technology and all the bright minds that got poured into this idea? Did anything useful come from it like the way Tang and Velcro came from the space program in the 60”s?
Of course it did!
Lasers that were developed to shoot missiles down have now been put into the service of reducing deaths from malaria. Wrap your head around this- they have made a Laser capable of vaporizing clouds of mosquitoes in Africa thus preventing any disease those annoying little bugs might carry. Thirty years and hundreds of Billions of dollars latter we can’t knock nuclear tipped rockets coming our way out of the sky but we can kill Mosquitoes with the biggest back yard zapper ever!
Good luck out there and remember, as Rome burns we will at least stay warm=)
Thursday, March 12, 2009
A chimpanzee living in a zoo in Sweden has demonstrated the ability to plan ahead. In a calm and deliberate manner he collects small rocks to throw at human visitors later.
Scientists are amazed at this behavior and want to study it more. I think they’re missing the bigger point of the story. The message from one species to ours seems pretty clear-fuck off and let me out!
Makes you wonder what those singing whales are saying about us.
To prove I am an equal opportunity pointer outer of all things silly and or ironic, check this story out. Hillary Clinton visited Russia as the new Secretary of State recently. She brought with her a fake red button with the word “reset” written in Russian on it. The idea was to restart the diplomatic relationship between Russia and us. Not a bad idea. One little problem though, the word written on the button wasn’t reset.
It was overload.
Should have just gone with the easy button from those Staples commercials.
Besides, do we really want to give any country with nuclear missiles still in the silo’s any incentive to go near red buttons?
Cable news, left or right, is pretty much all spin and all commentary all the time. What they all have in common though is the crawl. You know, that space at the bottom of the screen where the real news seems to show up. I have seen professional newscasters explaining the latest melt down of a pop start while just bellow their big smiling heads are stories that seem much more important.
Million-dollar idea: All TV shows should have a news crawl at the bottom. The more important the news the more trivial the show we’ll put it on!
New Disease Found in Africa!
Put it on American Idol.
Russia Tries to Stop Accidental Nuclear Launch but Hits Incorrectly Marked Button!
Put it on The Real House Wife’s of Orange County.
Natalie Portman and Scarlet Johansen Move In Together as Lovers!
That will be on CNN like usual.
I think this can also be a way for the dying industry of newspapers to stay in the game. They can partner up with Hallmark cards. Most of the card can be whatever message there is and then at the bottom of the page could be a headline from the day’s events. Maybe even something related to the event.
A Mother and Father give their son a card upon graduating from high school. Congratulations on your achievement! We’re proud of you! Then, at the bottom could be the headline. Study Concludes Fewer Kids Getting Into College.
You get the idea.
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
It’s a not so brave world out there on the Internet. With digital anonymity people feel free to say anything. Web sites can become little more than junior high playgrounds with innuendo and half-truths passing for fact. What protections, if any do you have? None, as it turns out.
There are a few things any of us are truly good at in life. I have no illusions about my abilities. I am only good at one thing in life: Stand-Up Comedy. Turns out I am also pretty good at teaching certain aspects about this art. Every other month I hold a class in Riffing. Riffing is when the comic talks to the crowd or makes stuff up as they perform. It might seem like a difficult thing to break down into easy to teach tools, but so far I have been able to successfully pass along some of my experience in these classes.
Recently, after one such class a friend e-mailed me a negative review of the class. Hey, the cost of doing business these days is suffering the slings and arrows out there in the ether. But this one caught my eye for a number of reasons. The most obvious, no one with the name they posted the negative review under was in my class. They also got details completely wrong. So wrong that it became pretty apparent this person wasn’t there at all. The got the order of things wrong. The number of people in the class was wrong. They invented a situation that never took place in class too. When I looked at the persons profile I could see that the profile had been set up the same day as my class. It had no other reviews or friends and lacked a photo. All right, it seemed pretty obvious to me that someone had gone out of his or her way to post an incorrect and malicious review. Why? Who knows? People have all kinds of reasons to say shit about other people. What makes it frustrating though is Yelp’s lack of concern. You see, they operate a website that has no way to confirm the I.D. of the person posting the reviews. Because of this it lends itself well to those among us who feel they must strike out under the cover of fake screen names. I thought I would just e-mail Yelp. Surely after reviewing the situation they will remove the fake review. Nothing could be further from the truth.
The first E-mail reply started by telling me they take the removal of any review very seriously. Hey, me too! However, after investigating they have decided to leave the review intact. What investigation? They didn’t contact the venue where I held the class. If they did they could easily confirm that no one under such a name was present and the details they posted varied wildly from other posts about the class. They did suggest I contact the person via Yelp and offer a refund. Thanks for that advice Yelp. Your right. I should pay off some low level blackmailer with money I didn’t accept from them because-They weren’t there!
I replied to the second and the third and finally the last e-mail from their legal department with all the above facts. What did they do? They sent me a quote of the law where they have been granted immunity from libel. In other words, they can legally run a site that effects people’s ability to make money and has the potential to harm reputations with the knowledge that some people will abuse the site and they don’t have to lift a finger when it can be easily proven.
From now on I am going on stage with a T-shirt that simply reads, Yelp can suck my left nut.
I’m not that angry at whatever small dick idiot thought it necessary to give my rep a black eye. I am angry at Yelp for refusing to do anything. They aren’t going to change the site to verify I.D. and they won’t make a simple phone call to check my story. Instead, they are content to offer useless advice (I sent e-mails to the person and yet to get a reply) and passive aggressive corporate speak to cover their lazy asses.
So what did I do?
I posted a bad review of Yelp and their business practices on Yelp. I plan to post more under various names. Hey, its OK to do so. I know nothing will happen to me. I also want to recommend that you do the same thing. Tell them what a bunch of disreputable arrogant people they are. Keep posting. Post under other peoples names with fake profiles if you want. Like I said, the law will apparently protect you but not them.
Monday, March 02, 2009
Actually, Obama's biggest expense in the new budget comes from being honest. He included the cost of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars in the budget. Something Bush & Company never did. They always left it out of the budget and referred to it as supplemental spending. It was dishonest accounting. Something the Bush administration, the banking industry and Wall Street all seem to have done.
2. The era of big government and big spending has returned to Washington.
Bush presided over the largest expansion of American government in history. His reason was 9/11.
Clinton responded to the attack on the world trade center by treating it as a crime, tracking down the people who did it and putting them in jail. All in an era of Americas greatest economic expansion since world war two leaving office with a surplus.
Bush responded to 9/11 by creating the department of homeland security, ran the deficit up faster and further than anyone else in history, and took us from a nation with a surplus to the largest deficits yet.
3. The Democrats & Obama are raising taxes!
Nope. Anyone making less than $250,000 a year won't pay a dime more in taxes. Any family that makes less than $250,000 a year won't pay more in taxes.
Taxes on people over $250,000 will return to the same rate they paid under Clinton. Period.
4. I want to see this President fail.
That is a direct quote from Rush. How is it he and any conservative talk show host jumped down the throat of anyone who dared to question Bush with the usual refrain of, "How dare you question the commander and chief while we are in two wars!"
Well, were still in those two wars of choice. How dare you, Rush for demonstrating a breathtaking brand of hypocrisy!
Ah how the rules change when its not your guy in office, eh?
5. This President is a salesmen for European socialism and will destroy our way of life.
Our way of life destroyed our way of life. What every other thinking person would call greed, the Bush administration embraced and called deregulation or free enterprise. I think you know where that has brought us. Taking tax payer money and handing it over to the banks with no strings attached and no way to trace the cash is called helping an industry to big to fail. But the government making health care available to everyone is called socialism and that is somehow bad?
Consider this, every elected official in Washington enjoys the benefits of FREE health care. So the idea that the government can't provide health care to people is completely false. They already do.
Sunday, February 22, 2009
And they say no one gets discovered in L.A. anymore.
This gives me hope. I wonder who he got as an agent? This also shows that Hollywood is not youth Obsessed. Well, maybe not entirely. Finally Hollywood gets a celebrity with even less meat on their bones than Paris Hilton.
Oh the times we live in Friends!
A-Rod gets dragged before the collective media to admit he used a "performance enhancing substance" but the guy who owns the peanut plant that knowingly sent out products contaminated with salmonella that killed 9 people gets dragged in front of Congress just so he can say, "I take the fifth..."
Why is A-Rod getting all the attention here? He did something unethical sure, but none of his mistakes lead to any ones death.
Meanwhile, everyone continues to hate the mother of eight new babies because she personifies a lot of what is wrong with America. Over consumption, poor planing and aggressive ignorance when questioned about her choices.
She doesn't have a job but set up a web site seeking donations. At least she won't be on welfare folks. Course, it looks like the first things she spent money on was Botox and collagen for her lips.
She does look a little like Angelina Jolie if you cut off her face and tried to put it on a much bigger head.
lets hope she's not trying to out baby Pitt & Jolie. Lets hope she's done having kids.
I would like to send out a song on the request line. Its an old one but a good one. Heres the Go-Go's with, "Are Lips Are Sealed."
Its been a surreal few days for me too. First, I lost my wallet. Ever have that happen to you? What a sickening feeling it brings on in the pit of your stomach. I.D., Money, Credit cards, receipts, business cards, notes, phone numbers, photos- all little things that have so much power.
They were all gone. Somewhere between a Starbucks and a gym the damn thing got a way from me. I looked everywhere, called Starbucks even showed up to bug them but it was gone. The money was the thing I was least worried about.
A hundred bucks from the gig last night. I can always make more money telling stories. Oh well. I also had a check in there from another gig. I had already signed it with my account number on it. Shit. I called the bank and waded into the swampy red tape frustration that that was. Christ on a cross! Phone trees are the switch board to the nine circles of hell. They never ever give me the one option I need. They ask for my account number (followed by pound of course) and when I do get a human being they just ask me for the number again?
Look at me. Complaining about phone trees. I am such an old man.
Anyway, I lost my wallet and began the task of laying claim to my identity. At best, its a preemptive strike against the worse case senior. Frankly, I couldn't sell my ID if I had to. Good luck if you stole it dude, but I doubt you could do anymore damage to my credit that I haven't already done.
Everything got taken care of but there is a ethereal sense of loss that comes with life in the digital age. Passwords got changed and numbers replaced, all new things to remember and where do you write that down and keep it all?
Shit! Shit! Shit! All this just a few days before I was set to fly to a gig in Sun Valley, Idaho. Now I had to dig out the passport in whatever dusty corner it had fallen into. Oh, you can't download a form or do anything via the Internet to get another drivers license. You have to go down there and sign a from in front of them with your birth certificate. Joyful employees they are not down at the ole DMV. Ever have an overworked under paid in fear of being laid off 300 pound government worker analyze the one document that proves you were born? Such a delight! Here is what everyone says who has ever seen my birth certificate says. "Why are there so many blank spaces on this?"
Its true. I'm adopted and for some reason or another there are empty spaces where information should be. The basics are there. Name, place of birth, attending Doctor. But things like time of birth and mother name and a few other little bits of info are simply not there.
I think it adds a bit of mystery to me. I like it. But these moments come up from time to time in life where I have to show this piece of paper and people don't believe it is a legitimate birth certificate.
Its legit. I'm not.
A running family joke was it didn't look like a birth certificate. It looked more like a gift certificate or a Mad-Lib.
I had to take money out of my bank account for the trip to Idaho. I rely so much on ATM's and my credit/debt card that I seldom have more than a twenty in my wallet. Now I was walking around with four hundred bucks in twenties stuffed in my pocket.
I didn't want to be in a situation where something came up and I had no money so that was the figure I settled on.
Walking through Airport security with a bunch of cash stuffed in your pockets makes you crazy paranoid. Well, thats what it did for me. And wouldn't you know it I got picked for some additional screening. Apparently it was my luggage they were more concerned with. The guy watching the screen on the X-Ray was squinting at it the way I use to watch porn on the scrambled channels. Anyone else remember that? It seems crazy that you can sit down in any public library now and type the word pussy into Google and in a micro second be rewarded with ample choices of visual material. We use to have to tune into HBO late late at night on Saturday and see naked bodies rubbing all over each other as the signal was messed up so it looked like you were seeing some movie shot in Picasso-vision.
That could be a breast that might be some bush. Every once in a while the screen would come in completely clear for a second or two and you might get a butt shot.
Of a guy.
Airports have intense energy. All these souls in transit leave some mighty fierce echos. I was also flying on a friends employee pass. That means you fly on standby. There was a chance I might not make it. I hate thinking that. I am anal about being on time and making the gig. This time I was rolling the dice to make the gig profitable.
I made it.
I landed at the small airport in Sun Valley and along with four other people left in the resort shuttle. We were rewarded with the shortest tour in history. The ride wasn't short. Just the tour. This is what it amounted to. Our driver would point to a building and simply say, "Bruce Willis owns that."
That was it.
Good to see that Die Hard money was well spent.
The resort at Sun Valley really is a beautiful place. The e-mail the Booker send out was three pages of warnings that read something like this. DO NOT MAKE TROUBLE! YOU ARE A REPRESENTATIVE OF THIS COMPANY! DO NOT ASK FOR FREE THINGS OR FAVORS!
Christ! I get it. Its a great gig and a great location and you don't want to mess it up. This created an expectation that we would be in some theater with amazingly well behaved crowds who want to see great comedy.
That wasn't the case.
It was in a bar called the boiler room.
Yup. It was essentially just another gig on the road at a bar complete with all the noise and distraction such a setting comes with. The crowd was fun but again, it was the typical bar crowd at a comedy show. Lots of riffing because neither they or I could stay focused enough of the written stuff with all the noise of people coming and going, ordering drinks, shouting out private jokes to each other at the tables and any number of other minor little distractions. It was fun but after all the build up it was something of a let down too.
What is going on? Look at these headlines.
Mysterious fire ball reported over Texas.
Two nuclear subs hit each other in the Atlantic.
First African-American president elected.
Nearly intact mammoth skeleton found in L.A.
L.A. Thinking of Rationing Water for the First Time in Two Decades.
Pirates hold ship hostage.
Stock market fall creates worry of global depression.
Satellites collide 500 miles above Russia.
Face transplant patient regains self-confidence.
These are the kind of headlines you see in Sci-Fi movies set in the not to distant future. Most of these headlines are two weeks old or less. Buckle up friends. The adventure of Americas transformation into something else has just started. What we will be is any ones guess but the fact is we are in decline because we all thought we could have a lifestyle well beyond our means. The rich are blaming the poor, the poor are blaming the rich and the Republicans want to see the president fail. We got it all going on now folks! Race, class, economic downfall and the realization that we can no longer be the super power we always thought we would be.
Did you see the anchor from MSNBC go nuts when he was asked about the presidents plan to buy up mortgages from people who can't afford to keep paying what they were paying? Live on air this guy looses it and says words to the effect of, Lets all stop paying are mortgages!
Didn't we just hand wall street something like a trillion dollars? If we can bail out the people who wrote those shitty mortgages, spent billions on advertising to people who really couldn't afford those mortgages, then we can certainly bail out the families who are living in those homes. Can't we?
And all this goes on against the backdrop of who can be more bipartisan.
Well, enjoy the warmth at least while Rome burns.