Friday, February 06, 2009

Of Ties and Bongs

Michael Phelps. The most accomplished Olympian in modern history. Turns out the man uses his lung capacity for other things besides collecting gold medals in the swimming pool. The man smoked some pot out of a bong. Someone took a photo of it and it ended up on the front page of a paper in England. Kellogg’s has dumped him from sponsorship and he has been suspended for three months from any swim events. Yeah. That will show him. Give a stoner free time. I wonder what he will do with three months of nothing to do?

I say give him another medal. Any stoner that can do what he has done deserves another medal. I’m not saying it has to be a gold one either. Maybe just a gold foil chocolate one. I think he would enjoy that.

I know he is a role model to kids around the world but you know what? As a reformed pot smoker he’s our role model too.

The former press secretary to the former president is not happy with Obama. Why? Obama does not enforce a dress code in the White House. Bush made it a rule that anyone working in the White House must have a jacket and tie on at all times. Well if you ever needed proof that adherence to petty rules breeds more foolish decisions this is it. Does it make you feel any better about the things the Bush team did knowing that they were all dressed as gentlemen as they made some of the most profoundly bad choices in the history of the presidency? Me either.

Its good to know that while our little war of choice was dissolving into the biggest strategic mistake in modern American history was playing out and during the destruction of our economy by the rich stealing money literally right out of your bank account these guys were more concerned with wearing the right tie.

That is so gay.

I am starting to think the entire Republican Party is in the closet. These are the same people that jumped all over Obama for not wearing a five-dollar American flag pin made in China on his lapel. To them this meant he wasn’t patriotic enough.

If your expressing yourself with Jewelry your gay.

Remember Joe the plumber? Guess what job he has now? It’s still not a plumber. He is being paid as a consulted for the GOP.

Oh that’s rich!

He lied about the taxes he owed.

He lied about his name.

He lied about actually having a plumber’s license.

He’s perfect for the Republicans! If anything the man is overqualified. Course, its not like Democrats paid their taxes either. You gotta love that. The last three Democrats Obama wanted on his cabinet didn’t get confirmed because they all forgot to pay their taxes. They did pay them and the fines too sure. But still, come on guys! If you’re the party in favor of spending tax money on health and education for the people you have to pay your taxes first before that money gets to the programs you want. Head in the game people!

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Fake Adds on Facebook

On Facebook recently there have been many adds for debt relief and stimulus checks sent out by the Government. First of all this 100% false. Individuals like you and I are not eligible for these checks. Why? The program does not exist. Look at the photos of people they use. Often times they pick a newsperson sitting behind a desk looking official. You can see where they digitally altered the photos to add hands holding up what looks like a IRS refund check. It was the last add that grab my attention. They have Bill O’Reilly holding up a fake check with his fake photo shopped hands. Problem is, that’s not the biggest flaw in this. They have him on the set of Inside Edition. A show he hasn’t hosted in what, more than 15 years? Perhaps the Government rationalized that going back in time would prevent all this from happening. If that were true none of us would know his name.

Come on Facebook! These are misleading and deceitful adds that play on people’s fear of what is going on.

The Odd Compliment?

Have you ever been told something so outlandish that it renders you mute for a moment? A few weeks ago I walked in to a place and saw a guy I haven’t seen in a while. He noticed my haircut and then said, “You look like a cross between Luke Skywalker and that guy who rapes a lot.”


It’s hilarious in a strange way. When I started to think about it I realized something. When someone has excelled in their field and you cannot remember their name people will probably know whom you are talking about just by saying something like, that baseball player who hit all those homeruns but everyone thinks was using steroids. Almost anyone would say, “Oh yeah. Barry Bonds.”

So when he says, that guy who rapes a lot what he means is there is a guy out there who is so well known for it that by simply saying, that guy who rapes a lot, we would all go “Oh yeah. How is Larry?”

The Luke Skywalker thing was cool but you probably don’t want to hear the word Force in connection with the other part of that observation. Is there a Jedi out there using their powers over women's minds?

"No doesn't mean no."

I know some strange people.

Seriously though how funny weird is that compliment? “Hey haven’t seen you in a while. What have you been up to?”

“Oh you know.”

Luke Skywalker and that guy who rapes a lot! What the hell did I tell the guy who cut my hair?

“I want it sort of like Luke Skywalker in the original film and a bit like that guy who rapes a lot.”

“Oh you mean Larry!”

I’m not sure I would visit a guy with access to scissors who would automatically know who I meant just by me saying, that guy who rapes a lot.

Monday, February 02, 2009

My Morning Brew

Starbuck's has amazing customer service. Sometimes the customer service is too good.
Caffeine is a drug. A pretty powerful drug too. If you think it isn't and you start your day off with a cup of coffee try going without it one morning. On the few occasions when that has happened I am reduced to tears laying on the floor in a fetal position with a pounding headache in about two hours. Cold turkey is not the way to quit anything. I decided recently to at least cut down. That meant I was going to go from ordering a Venti in the morning to the next size down. A Grande. However every time I walked in to the Starbucks they would already start pouring the super tanker of liquid ambition I need to get into a wakeful state. I felt guilty the first couple of times when I would get to the front of the line and explain that I am trying to cut down and instead of this size I wanted the next one down. By about the 10th time though I was starting to get irritated. I would walk in the door and just shout, "I am not getting a Venti anymore!" Considering that the Starbucks shares space with a bank, walking in shouting anything was frowned on. Fine. I would get to the head of the line and just take the Venti waiting for me and pour out what I didn't want. That would sometimes get me dirty looks from other customers. One day a lady was doing the same thing at a second Starbucks memory hole counter. We looked up at the same time and caught each others eye's. She smiled and said, "Did you change your size too?"
I was not alone!
Then it occurred to me that there are a million Starbucks around the city. I will just start going to another one. You know. Start over. Just go to a new one and establish a new routine.
That worked for a while. But when I was ready to make the jump down to the next smallest size again the same old problem started again. Shit! Thanks for being a bunch of Codependent johnny on the spots but can you wait till I make it to the counter?
The same situation played itself out over a month. In the end I just did the same thing. I accepted the larger size of coffee with a smile and drained most of it into the memory hole. Then I thought, well there are other Starbucks still. So I changed local ones again. I got the Tall coffee for a while with no problems. Then, I walked in one day got to the counter and there at the register was a guy who worked at my original Starbucks. Sitting there was a Venti. "Just the way you like it!" The guy said with a friendly smile.
If you work at a Starbucks you can pick up shifts at any Starbucks in the area. Thats how I learned that.
Let me take this moment to once again apologize to you for what had to seem like the most strange reaction to excellent service ever. After reading the proceeding story you might see why I reacted the way I did. I have been under stress recently. What with the economy, turning 40 and still looking for that break in my career, that had something to do with it too. Anyway, sorry.
Here is what happened.
I freaked out. I just wanted to cut down the amount of coffee I was drinking. Thats all. Three months latter I was spending more money on less coffee.
I snapped.
Yeah. It must of seemed like I was breaking up with this guy.
Christ. Cutting down on coffee just made me react the way I do when I drink too much coffee.

A Bad Trip Across a Bridge

I was coming back from a gig in Lodi, crossing the bay bridge around midnight when a very unusual situation happened before I could comprehend just what was going on. I had been feeling out of sorts all night. I started to suspect the Denny's burger as the reason. The damn thing sat in my belly like a hot coal. It bothered me off and on the rest of the night. I didn't think too much about it. The less I thought about it the more it would just get better. Right?
Ever drive across the bridge and puke outside the window while attempting to stay in your lane and maintain a shred of dignity? I can now say that I have endured this unique challenge.
Food poisoning. Thats what it was. I had the burger around 7PM and hit the stage around 9:30PM. The show was weird but I didn't really feel anything in my stomach during the show. This is evidence to me that I not only love doing stand-up but that I am also good at it. When I am working I don't feel pain. Do you know what I mean? I have performed with head and chest colds. I have performed with head aches, sprains, broken bones and emotional issues. When I am performing I don't feel any of it. Even after shows where I went up hurt in some way there is a grace period like a high that lasts for at least an hour after the show. Then what ever aliment that is bothering me makes itself known again.
The sudden realization that I was going to be sick and there was no place to pull over hit me at once. I managed to get the window down but with the wind effect and trying to keep an eye focused on the road it was a mess. It happened twice before I made it to the first exit that lets you off near the greyhound station. I figured I could just stop around there. A guy throwing up probably wouldn't look too out of place. Without getting graphic here by the time I got to the end of the off ramp the entire left side of my upper body was covered. The back seat, driver side door and even the inside of the rear window all got it bad too. My cell phone was resting in the door handle. Thats doesn't work anymore. How I didn't hit another car on the bridge weaving between lanes and struggling to keep my eyes open as I was vomiting I will never know. The added adrenaline just set me more on edge when I could pull over. Cars blew past me. I couldn't see anyone but I imagine they could see me. It must of been hard not to notice.
I felt absolutely horrible. I wanted to pull over climb into the back seat and hope I would wake up to find it was all just a dream. A bad dream. Ugh. What a night.
The show was also something of a mess. The place was nice but instead of a stage there was a small area against a wall where a microphone waited. Tables were directly in front of me at waist level. I felt more like a waiter than a comic. There was a large group in back that were loud and drunk through out the show. But they were not the table I got into it with. The table I got into it with was some modern Adams Family family. Two couples, one older and one in their early 20's sat at the table. The kid had a military haircut and five black spiders tattooed on his arm. Of course I ask why? The kid, who is buffed like nuts just smiles and looks at the older guy. OK. Thats a little strange. When I talk to him he tells me he use to be an investigator. In classic cliché fashion he says if he told me what type of inspector he was he would have to kill me.
Game on Jack-ass!
Its all pretty good natured for a while till I talk to his wife. Here is the story I am given. They have been together five years. They met in Sweden. She is from some former soviet state. He is the kind of investigator that use to carry a gun.
When I ask where she is from she is surprised.
"Ow kan U hell I am naught frum ear?"
"Ah. That accent."
She then tells us she can speak five languages. I say what a waste in America where we can barely speak one.
The crowd gives that an applause break.
Ain't that America? I can't help point this out to the crowd that we are a nation oddly proud of our ignorance. That gets more laughter.
Strange crowd out here in Lodi.
I get into trouble when I call his wife his swedish princess. When I call her this he rises a little out of his chair and points a withered finger at me.
Hey what? Its a compliment to call a woman a princess. Right? I ask the crowd their thoughts. We are all in agreement on this. Calling a woman a princess is a compliment.
He then does something unintentionally hilarious to me that I can't help but point out to the crowd. He puts a hand behind his right ear and says, "What?"
An investigator with bad hearing? How many people are in prison because this guy didn't hear something right? I can see by his face that thats enough. I wrap up and get the hell out of there with my crisp hundred dollar bills sitting in my fat wallet. Another show another success.
Comedy gets treated badly on the road. It is also the one type of entertainment where people feel strange asking other people to quiet down. With no bouncers or even a stage to give a comic a little more credibility you don't feel completely respected. Its the idea that you can just hand us a Microphone and you have a show that bothers me. But I took the gig assuming it was going to be something like this set up. As these gigs go it was actually pretty good.
When I got into my car to leave my head was throbbing like a stereo speaker. I had two hours to talk myself out of being sick and two minuets of complete panic when that didn't work out. Lesson learned. Next time I will stop. Shit. I gotta start taking better care of myself.