Thursday, April 17, 2014

I was almost REALLY creepy

Freshman year of high school. I thought I'd be hip moving to the small town of Roseville, CA from Corona, CA. I mean, Corona was closer to LA, so it was pretty much a guarantee that I'd be the coolest thing Roseville ever saw right?

Here's the thing; The kids in Roseville didn't know they weren't hip. That's the way hip works. And instead of adoration and admiration I got a lot of, "Are you wearing army boots? Are you a skinhead? I didn't even know there were gay skinheads. Ha ha, faggit." My favorite Overheard In Roseville quote from that time is "New Wave girls are girls who are already ugly so it doesn't matter if they look weird." I was in hell.

It took awhile to make friends and when I did it was with the biggest geeks in school, and this is before geek was chic. These guys were the best though and I cherish the memory of getting muddy playing really intense games of capture the flag in the creek, where my boots seemed perfectly appropriate, helping Mike with his model railroad set up, and laughing our asses off watching Late Night With David Letterman during sleep overs. I'd resisted for years, but it turned out geek suited me.

One of the members of the geek corps happened upon a porn tape. Pre-internet a porn tape was just about the greatest gift the universe could bestow upon a high school freshman. We all gathered at a latch key kid's house and gave it a screening. It was Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs. No clever name, I think they decided the original was dirty enough. We watched one scene. It involved a feather duster, no dwarfs, it was Snow's solo in the spotlight and it was glorious. We'd have given it a standing ovation but none of us felt comfortable standing.

Dave noticed that the back of the box advertised a deal to get a video a month on the cheap mailed right to us. We decided we'd pitch in and get a PO Box, open a checking account, and sign on up. This was exciting. This was some grown up shit. We started picking titles, discussing whose house was available at what time for screening parties. We could even alternate who got to have the tapes at home with 'em. Then Mike said, “Yeah! It'll be a porn club!”

That phrase sparked something in my brain. I had one of those “Moments of clarity” I've heard so much about. Looking at my lust filled friends I said, “Hey guys, I'm pretty sure that if we do this, we'll officially be really creepy.”

And the realization spread over them. We all said quick awkward goodbyes, headed our separate ways, and never mentioned the porn club again.

Friday, April 4, 2014

This White Guys Thoughts On Suey Park and #CancelColbert

My gut reaction was to find #CancelColbert ridiculous.

Then, as I read more I moved on to, "Oh, it was a misunderstanding. The joke was heard out of context."

While many people of color defended Colbert, there were enough condemning the joke, even after the context was clear, that I had the choice to either consider the complaint further or assume that THAT large a number of people of color either didn't understand satire and/or were hysterical and knee jerk and completely irrational. This seemed a poor assumption to make.

And while I considered Colbert's joke, I don't mean that I considered whether or not he should be cancelled (never Park's real goal) or whether he was intentionally being racist (I have no doubt his intent was the opposite) but rather it was a good joke or not, whether this particular joke might have been a miss.

This discussion went on in my brain. I may have talked with a few friends about it, but I did so privately. What I didn't do, was to immediately publicly condemn Suey Park and everyone else supporting #CancelColbert.

It seems to me that if an Asian woman finds a joke about racism against Asians (and about racism against Native Americans once context is added) offensive, the white guy should probably listen to her carefully and give her argument a lot of thought. The white guy should maybe not be SO quick to assume he knows more about racism than she does and should not be so quick to assume that she doesn't comprehend or that she is hysterical and irrational. When many other people of color feel the same, this is magnified. I feel like a white guy navigating discussion of racism might want to be slower to respond, more eager to listen, less cocky.

I am still not sure exactly where I stand, but it has affected the way I'll move forward with comedy about race. I feel like it will affect the way Colbert will move forward as well. What I do know is that whether I fully agree with Suey Park or not, the interviews I've heard and read that have actually allowed her to speak show us a very intelligent and thoughtful person. I have no doubt she understands satire and I don't have to necessarily agree with her to be glad that she is willing to push this conversation even against a huge effort on the part of many who rather than enter the conversation immediately seek to end it, often doing so with insults, threats, and other bullying. I am still a fan of Steven Colbert. I am now also a fan of Suey Park.

I hope that this incident strengthens the push against racist sports mascots. Imagine if the amount of energy that went into condemning Suey Park went into condemning the Redskins name and mascot, something I think Colbert and Park would both like to see come out of this.

Friday, March 28, 2014

4 Up, Round 1

It's simple really.
Four comics, each makes a joke, and each comments on the others' jokes.
Graphics by Torch Davison

Aparna Nanchurla's Joke

Johnny Taylor's Joke

Keith Lowell Jensen's Joke
(KLJ's Pic by Amy Scott)

 Myq Kaplan's Joke
(Myq's picture was shot by Mindy Tucker) 

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Don Geronimo, some guy with a podcast

I said that Don G and I crossed paths as he was on his way down. Then he got canned in Sacramento. He scrambled and got another gig quickly, in DC. He got canned from that one in record time. His brand of mindless negativity is done. Now he has a podcast. Dang, decided to skip satellite and go straight to a subscriber based podcast. Far be it for me to take delight in another's failing... HA HA HA, I'm SO taking delight in watching this dudes fail.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Why I'm Not A Libertarian

My libertarian friends like to present themselves as the peace-niks, abhorring the violence of the tax man.
And I do see this violence. I see that they have no choice but to pay their taxes or people with guns will seize their property and/or incarcerate them.

I also see the violence strewn throughout human history of people hording resources and living lavishly while the masses starve, regardless of how hard they work. This phenomenon did not stop with modern capitalism, far from it. If it had the “violent and oppressive” taxation, and wage and safety regulation would never have been necessary. 

So, given the choice between these two forms of violence, I see a clear choice.

Oddly enough this choice benefits those oppressed tax payers as well, as their position at the top is never more stable than when those at the bottom are well fed and cared for. 

I must ask; why is it okay to use force to stop us from murdering each other but not to stop us from starving each other?  

That said, I believe this first type violence that the libertarian wishes to avoid is in fact a fiction. The money they are made to pay tax on is not theirs. Do they really think it is? Would they support the right to pile it up and burn it? Money is produced by us, and it's value honored by us, all of us, collectively. It is a key ingredient in a system of resource distribution. They do not strike me as being forced to participate in this system against their will. They participate gleefully and masterfully benefiting from it more than anyone. They reap it's benefits, benefits never available so readily in any other system in human history and then they complain when they have to pay back into that same system and they call it violence. 

Do not be mistaken that I am stereotyping all libertarian's as excessively wealthy. The above character could be any tax payer. I am not a property owner, few people would consider me wealthy, but I am a tax payer and I'm proud to support the social safety net. 

I do have two friends who are opposed to paying taxes because they disagree with the American military industrial complex (as do I), but they honestly opt out. They earn so little income the tax man wants nothing from them. They live in a one bedroom apartment. They produce amazing low budget films, painting, and rock and roll recordings. They educate homeless kids. Their choice and protest strikes me as sincere and in stark contrast to the libertarian complaining that their home or vehicles could be taken if they choose not to pay their taxes.

Another popular libertarian canard is the lazy, freeloading welfare recipient. The real leisure class somehow offends them not a bit but the statistical anomaly that is the welfare cheat is exaggerated to represent a whole class of people. 

A very important person to me got to spend her childhood not being homeless and malnourished because her mother had access to social programs. This mother may have made bad decisions at a young age or may have just had terrible luck, or perhaps a bit of each. Social programs allowed her to continue to feed her kids, all four of whom are now self sufficient adults, while allowing her to go to school and eventually become an amazing special education teacher who benefited our society greatly, while also earning a living and paying back into the system that caught her when slipped and fell. Sorry if I end on a personal and emotional appeal but it is personal. The people who would face starvation, and violent non-gated communities, and a lack of opportunities are the people I love and interact with everyday, and one of those people is me. Another of those people is my daughter. It is personal. 

But you know I wouldn't leave you wanting. Here are some lovely numbers for you: 
In 2012 more than 47.8 percent of families receiving food stamp were working (the highest ever), and only 13.2 percent were welfare recipients with no working adults, according to the US Department of Agriculture.
The USDA reported that, "76% of SNAP households included a child, an elderly person, or a disabled person. These vulnerable households receive 83% of all SNAP benefits."
Of our uninsured families, 78 percent have at least one working person in the family and 62 percent have one or more individuals working full time.

Friday, February 28, 2014

I hate TV

I do.

I know it's the biggest hipster/snob cliche to say I don't own a TV, but I don't, though I may as well because my home is stocked with two desk top computers, two tablets and one laptop all of which can bring us pretty much every show around.

I love All In The Family, The Simpsons,Star Trek TNG, and I'd probably love Breaking Bad and Downton Abby if I'd give them a chance but they want too much of my time. I can watch a movie. I can give you 2 hours to entertain me. Very rarely do I feel something is good enough to escape into for more time than that before it becomes more about the escape and less about the entertainment.

It sounds like we live in a golden age of television. I'm hearing about all the great shows. Maybe I'll watch 'em someday if I'm stuck in a hospital. But for now I refuse to give up time that I could spend doing something interactive, trying to learn how to play the guitar, or even watching a great movie, and another great movie, or spending time with my loved ones. And that's where the terrible irony is. I lose time with my loved ones because they watch TV, something I have so little interest in sharing with them.

I try. I watched a few episodes of House of Cards. Brilliant. Would have made a great movie. Maybe even a couple movies. I watched Sherlock. Great acting. Funny silly plot lines. By the 3rd episode I was feeling over it. I watched LOST all the way through and I want to kick JJ Abrams in the shins for that. I watched Dexter. Jesus. Really well acted and well written but I just can't spend that much time putting violence in my head. There is enough of that on the news.

Even Facebook, that epic time-suck, is at least putting me in touch with real people who touch my life and whose lives I touch. People I can hug, and know and talk back to.

When I was younger it wasn't a big deal. We all rejected TV and spent our time at the river, or making out, or listening to music, or exploring new foods because life was so exciting and we'd just been given the reigns to our own! But I guess we got bored of all that and now I am feeling increasingly lonely as even my artsy fartsy friends spend more and more time watching and discussing the latest must see TV.

And I still don't know how to play the guitar.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Is the old Jack hiding in the Vatican?

Not everyone remembers this but Jack from the Jack in The Box showed up to save the company which almost died of e-coli.

When I was a kid you'd go to a Jack in The Box drive-thru and you'd actually talk into a clown head to order. They had a big ad campaign when they updated their image and ditched the clown, commercials of the clown being blown up with dynamite and such.

Then, in the early 90s three kids died of e-coli linked back to tainted meat served by Jack in The Box. It hit the company hard as you can imagine. Dead kids equals terrible PR. Sales plummeted and stock value crashed. They were in trouble.

In 1994 Jack came back in the very original and often controversial (Jack blowing up a room full of the suits who'd gotten rid of him) commercials and the public loved it. This new Jack with the normal human body and ridiculous head was a hit. And we forgot all about the e-coli and the dead kids.

And that, is how is I feel about the new Pope.

Solid

I work in a pretty masculine industry. My boss is a pretty manly guy.

When my ulcerative colitis was at it's worse and I'd dropped a crazy amount of weight and looked like death he took notice. He asked how it started and I said that I went to the doctor after not having a solid shit for over a month.

As I tried various treatments and medications he showed his concern in his own manly way.

I'd go into the bathroom and when I came out I'd see him standing nearby.
"Solid?" he'd ask.
I'd shake my head, no.
He'd give me a "Sorry buddy." and we'd go on with our workday.

Then, one day, I came out of the john and he said, hopefully, "Solid?"
I proudly nodded my head, affirmative.
He high fived me.
And throughout the day, whenever there was a quite moment I'd hear him cheer from his office, "SOLID!"

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

On The Macklemore Witch Hunt:

I don't think he stole the song Thiftshop. The similarities to the song he supposedly cribbed aren't that strong. (Google it if you don't know what I'm talking about.)

I think its a hard sell to say that being white is an advantage in hip-hop. White artists having that level of success in hip hop is still an anomaly outside of ICP circles. (Like crop circles but scarier.)

I don't think his lyrics about worrying that he was gay as a kid represent a lyrical #NoHomo but rather an honest telling of his personal experiences with homophobia, his own. Critics are leaving out the lines "Bunch of stereotypes all in my head." "A preconceived idea of what it all meant".

I don't think saying "I'd think that hip hop hated me" is him saying everyone in hip hip but him is homophobic. I think that's a huge stretch and skips the line "Have you read the YouTube comments lately?"

There are lyrics in Same Love and Thriftshop that I rejoice at hearing on mainstream radio. Both songs had some great things to say and said them to a big audience that needed to hear them.

I find it funny that he's accused of exploiting the momentum of the marriage equality movement. Right, because all those artists have been scoring all them hits doing hip hop tunes about marriage equality. It was a no-brainer. (/Sarcasm)

Could he have handled the awards thing better? Yeah. He could've been a fucking hero. I appreciate when people are heroic. I don't think "You were less than heroic!" is enough of a slight to justify much of the vitriol I've seen aimed his way.

I honestly don't know how the Grammies work. But lets not pretend that this isn't subjective. Did he have the best hip hop/rap album of the year. Probably not. Did the winners in any other category have the best whatever album of the year? Ever? Usually not, with occasional delightful surprises IN MY SUBJECTIVE OPINION! Of course I realize that institutional racism has historically played a role in who gets recognized, continues to play a role, and that is where I think his opportunity to be a hero was missed.

I think he's a good guy, who says some good things, and that his sudden rapid acceleration into HUGE success is probably a bit daunting. I think he's trying, and doing pretty well more often than not.

Not sure if this matters or not, but I'm not writing this as a huge fan of his music. I like Thrift Shop, a fun song that does a great job of mocking the label/status bullshit. I like the words and message of Same Love. I don't actually listen to him often at all.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Some shit happened in 2013, and I tweeted about it

NY and New Jersey a mess after Hurricane Sandy
Republicans Peter King and Chris Christie decide Govt. shouldn't be TOO small. Want govt. in their business a little bit.

Pope quits, which is some shit that doesn't happen
The Pope was in the middle of trying to live tweet the Grammys when he just said, "Fuck it! I'm out.

The Pope is trying to quit. They're gonna kill him now right? Or is that the other big criminal organization based in Italy? I get mixed up.

Chris Dorner murders LAPD so LAPD murders him back
If he is wearing an "I'm not Chris Dorner, don't shoot me” t-shirt I will be impressed.

GOP responds to getting 0% of the minority vote by rolling out a minority member to explain their anti-minority policies.

New Pope got off to a rough start:
New pope: gay adoption = child abuse. So gays who want to adopt can rely on the church to pay all their legal fees?

When they announce the new Pope, everyone reply "Why not Zoidberg?" 'kay? It'll be HILARIOUS!

SCOTUS discusses same sex marriage
I'd like to apologize to everyone for giggling every time I hear "Oral argument" during the same sex marriage discussion.

Justice Scalia leaves an empty seat on either side of him while gay marriage is being discussed .

Paula Deen loses her job for being racist. SCOTUS guts Voting Rights Act.
Well, at least it looks like we're winning on TV.

Wendy Davis' amazing filibuster in Texas
Now they're chanting Wendy Wendy Wendy and I don't think its because they want square hamburgers. #standwithwendy

Gay Marriage legal in CA
During my plural marriage do we burn the bibles before or after sacrificing the goat? Not the goat I'm marrying, a different one.

George Zimmerman Acquitted
C'mon now folks, FLA isn't all bad. I mean, lets remember they are the state that delivered George W's 1st term...okay, bad example.


Obama says if he had a son, he'd look like Trayvon Martin, Right Goes Crazy
When rich white guys accuse a black guy of "starting a race war" I'm not sure which part is funniest but the word "starting" ranks high.

Ben Afleck cast as Bat Man, internet goes bat shit crazy.
My daughter cast me as The Friendly Dog Catcher, nobody much cares.

McDonald's Announces return of Monopoly Game
You could win a million dollars, but you're more likely to get diabetes and heart disease.

Govt. Shut down
Canadian born Ted Cruz is causing me to question my normally progressive views on immigration.

Cruz did not best a 24hr 18 minute filibuster against the 1957 civil rights act & so fails to be AS big an asshole as Strom Thurmond, barely

Obamacare.com stumbles in beta version
If a government capable of such sophisticated conspiracies can't put up a proper website, only one conclusion to draw: Libertarian Hackers!

Wait, so the govt. put up a website and it has bugs to work out? Unacceptable! This BS doesn't happen in the private sector!!!

Edward Snowden springs leak
Hey conspiracy theorists, that this administration seems to SUCK at keeping secrets, that's just part of the ruse right?

Knock Out Game joins razor blades in apples, Satanic Ritual Murder, LSD in Temporary Tattoos and other scary things that never really existed
To know if someone has played the knock out game you tie 'em up and put 'em in water to see if they float...

Goodbye Mandella, Goodbye Lou Reed, Goodbye (and good riddance) clueless “Friends”
One nice thing about a celebrity dying is I get to eliminate a bunch of hack wannabe comics from my FB and Twitter feeds.

Marriage is Gay
So I'm seeing the results of gay marriage being legal! Turns out, if you legalize gay marriage... GAY PEOPLE GET MARRIED!

Wait, there are folks who DON'T believe humans can affect climate by polluting, but DO believe we can affect it by treating gay people nice?


Obama Shakes hands with Raul Castro
Cuba just invaded Poland! Damn you and your handshaking ways Obama!!!

Duck Dynasty
You support free speech but A&E isn't free to choose who speaks for them? Duck dude says what he wants, and A&E airs who they want. Free.

Hey, I don't have a TV show! All this time I didn't even realize I was having my free speech oppressed! NO FAIR!

That the duck dude doesn't understand the 1st amendment is about as surprising as his being homophobic.

WAR ON CHRISTMAS
There are no atheists in foxholes? You mean except for in the war on Christmas right?

I wasn't gonna do Santa with my kid but now... I think black, gay Samantha Claus may be leaving some gifts 'neath the tree

Happy Hollidays? BUT THAT DOESN'T EXCLUDE NON-CHRISTIANS! WAAAAHHHH!!!

My boss: You shouldn't be listening to this. You don't believe in this. Me: You believe in Rudolph the red nosed reindeer?

Skynet goes live and kills us all
...