Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween, 2012

Well, it's Halloween again and that means it's time once again to recycle my annual joke.
I've only ever written one standard format joke. I'm pretty proud of it though and here it is (read it aloud for best results)...

Knock knock
Who's there?
Ow.
Ow who?
Werewolves of London.



Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Coming soon: This blog, rendered in paper!

I haven't been keeping this a secret per se, but somebody pointed out recently that I haven't made an actual formal announcement here on the blog, which is kind of silly, so here it is:
I'm writing a book. More accurately, I'm taking the "best of" from this site and putting it all together into a book.
It will be titled "A Ridiculously Inconsistent Treasury" and will be out very soon, hopefully by Christmas (for obviou$ rea$on$). Part of the reason I was hesitant to make a formal announcement is because it isn't finished yet and I live in a place that is littered with strip malls that have had sun-faded "COMING SOON!" signs hanging in empty storefront windows since the '90s. But in this case, while there's still work to be done, it's finished enough to look like a book. Let's put it this way; if we were building a car, it would be street legal right now. But we want to put a nice paint job, some cup holders and a stereo system in it before you take it for a ride.
And just so you know, my use of "we" is not nosism; I'm referring to a super-talented team that I hand-picked to make this happen.
  • Keri Ramos is handling the editing chores.
  • Jessie Stehlik is doing the illustration and title design.
  • Jessie's husband Pavel was enlisted as photographer.
  • Catherine Durkin Robinson is involved as is the uber-glamorous Amy DeMilo... but you'll have to wait and see exactly how.
In case you think my involvement at this point consists of nothing but copying and pasting content into new documents... well, yeah, I'm doing a lot of that. But I'm also working on a couple of value-added features that (hopefully) will make it more fun than just reading the material here on the blog. Also, I'm making Keri and Jessie miserable with late night phone calls for increasingly unreasonable and mercurial demands. We should have more info, including an actual release date soon. And of course, we'll have at least one party, complete with food, drinks and music. Stay tuned. 
Until then, the video below should illustrate where we are in the whole process right now...

Monday, October 29, 2012

Last minute Halloween costume ideas for men

Hey fellas, it's only two days until Halloween and you might be stressed out over what to wear as a costume. As is usually the case, women have it easy in this regard.
Choices galore!
God damn it, it's just so hard to be a man! It's not like we could ever dress up like a baseball player, a student, a Star Wars character, a cop or a fancy French prostitute, right? Of course not. But don't worry, guys. I have some solutions for you.

Put on a suit, a porkpie hat and some
shades and you can be a Blues Brother! Or...


Keep the suit, ditch the hat and you can be a Reservoir Dog! Or...


Carry around a personal massager (while
wearing a suit) and you can be a Man In Black! Or...


Wear a suit, swap the "massager" for a "gat"
and you can be John Travolta in Pulp Fiction!

Put on a suit and a band-aid and you can be
Mayhem from the Allstate commercials!


Put on a suit and a cap from your favorite
NBA team and you can be a First-round draft choice!

Put on a suit and an American flag lapel pin and
you can be your favorite presidential candidate! Or...

Put on a suit, an American flag lapel pin and act like a jackass and
you can be a parody of your least favorite presidential candidate!


Put on a suit, be terrible and give yourself a juicy
contract extension and you can be an ineffectual and
 ethically challenged college administrator!
What's that you say? You hate wearing suits? You say you hardly consider a slight alteration to something you wear all the time anyway to be a costume? You say it's Halloween and the reason the sexy costumes for women are popular (albeit not for everyone) is because it's kind of fun to be naughty, maybe even downright dirty for one day out of the year? You ask, why should women have all of the crude and vulgar fun? Hey, don't rush me! I was saving that for last...

Put on a suit, staple a dead pelican to
your head and you can be an asshole!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Perspectivillified: the plight of the middle-aged white guy in a position of power


"See, I prefer to look at the rape
as half-full, rather than half-empty."
On Tuesday, Indiana Senate candidate Richard Mourdock made the following comment during a debate:
"...even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that is something that God intended to happen."
Predictably, people jumped all over him for it, as though he was somehow endorsing rape. How stupid. He doesn't endorse rape; he's saying that God does. He isn't even saying rape is a good thing, regardless of how highly God thinks of it. That's outrageous and unfair. All he's saying is that carrying a criminal's offspring is not a shabby trade-off for that criminal sticking his penis in you without your permission.
The key here is to have the right perspective. Look at the big picture here, ladies.
On the one hand, vaginal bleeding or infection, hypoactive sexual desire disorder, diseases, chronic pelvic pain, urinary infections, severe depression, suicidal tendencies, lack of empathy, anger and aggression. On the other hand, hey, free unwanted child!
That's a pretty sweet compensation package. Try to think of children as drafts from God's personal checking account, and in the case of your rape baby, it would say "Sorry for your inconvenience" in the 'For' line.
It's all in how you look at it.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Post debate wrap-up

Hey, are you someone who is interested in politics that couldn't be bothered to watch any of the three televised debates between Obama and Romney, figuring you could just tune into the internet about 36 hours after the last debate ended and get caught up at that point? Then this is the web site for you!

Here are the three key points (one per debate!) that were brought to the public's attention for further discussion:
Big Bird's job is in jeopardy.
If you find yourself with a glut of female
job applicants, a good way to catalog
them all is to sort them into binders.
Military tactics and weapons are
drastically different than they
were 95 years ago. 
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:
  • "Is that it?" - Yeah, pretty much.
  • "They didn't talk about anything else?" - Well yeah. They talked about lots of things. But these are what got stuck in the filter, so to speak.
  • "Can you at least illustrate the relevance by telling me what each candidate's stance on these three issues is?" - I think they were mostly against them, more or less.
  • "Well, how the hell is this stuff supposed to influence my vote?" - Oh, I don't know. I don't necessarily think it should. Just because people chose to fixate on these things doesn't mean they're important.
  • "How did each candidate perform?" - Romney was like, 'Grrrrr' and Obama was all, 'wha-a-a-a...?' and then Romney was like, 'you heard me, about the war or whatever' and Obama was all like, 'no, it was the economy'. And stuff.
  • "No, I want to know who did a better job of presenting their views, who conducted themself in the most 'presidential' manner?" - Oh. Neither of them. If you hear somebody say their candidate was the more presidential of the two, first of all, their candidate probably lost that particular debate. But more importantly, that person doesn't know what a president does. The debate is to being the president what a job interview is to having that job. You know how after you get a job, you never behave the way you did in the interview ever again? Same thing here. A debate is a competition. It's not about being a president, it's about getting to be a president. 

Monday, October 22, 2012

Autumnal festiveness!

It's that time of year again. Aw, don't moan and groan and be like that. Seasons change and there's nothing you can do about it. Just get in the spirit of the whole thing, relax, go with the flow and it will all be over before you know it. Who knows, you might even enjoy yourself. And what better way to throw yourself into the fun than with a decorating project? Doesn't that sound fun? Sure it does! Come on, let's go to the store!

What? Oh, we're not buying anything. Why? Because we're not taking anything home, silly. That's right, we're going to do our decorating project right here in the store! That slowly-spreading smile on your face tells me you think you know what we're going to do. The big ol' grin already on my face says you're correct...
PHALLIC GOURD DISPLAY, 2012 version!! 
  1. Head to the produce department, where we will find this box:
  2. Oh, this is pefect! We have a nice variety of sizes, textures and even skin tones (sorry, non-caucasion folks!) from which to choose.
  3. Here's the easy part; picking out the components. Yeah, grab that big one. What the hell is that thing?!? It's perfect! That's our focal point (so to speak). Now get in there and find a couple of smaller, round ones. Stay away from the ones with the warts on them because we want to be subtle.
  4. KIDDING! It's Halloween! Subtlety can set itself on fire and jump out of a space balloon for all we care. Find the most mottled, pimpled, shriveled, warted, disgusting ones they have!
  5. What's nice here is, this is food. As such, you can not only handle it as much as necessary, you can do anything you want (short of actually consuming it) and you look like any other idiot shopper making an unnecessarily difficult decision. Go ahead, heft it, look at it, smell it. Whatever it takes to really experience it. Nobody has to know what we're up to.
  6. 
    "What are you telling me, pumpkin? You're a fruit, not a vegetable?
    Ha ha ha! Stupid pumpkin; everybody already knows that."
    
  7. WARNING: This ONLY works with food. It's the exact opposite with clothes, where you can put everything on and walk around like it's yours but do not do any of that other stuff. Especially underwear.
  8. Now this is when things get tricky; the actual arrangement. While you want the world to see your handiwork when you're finished, you absolutely do not want to be seen doing it. Keeping in mind that the store undoubtedly has security cameras and if there's a guard bored out of his mind somewhere in the back, what you're doing is the most interesting thing he'll see all day long on those monitors. And if your town is just the right size, this is the kind of thing that could actually wind up on your local news. Conduct yourself like one of Santa's elves or a ninja.
  9. WHAT TO DO IF YOU GET CAUGHT: Don't get caught.
  10. And now, you're all done. Behold the magic which you have created! Was it worth it? Of course not. But hey, what is?

Happy Autumn!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Thank you, Ms. Meeks

For whatever reason, I don't have a lot of "Mr. Holland's Opus"-style fuzzy memories of teachers from when I was a kid. I don't remember my years spent in classrooms defined by passionate people who cared about helping us as individuals do what was necessary to find our talents and develop our potential, prone to heartfelt motivational speeches and empowered by a "follow-your-dreams" philosophy. I remember people who seemed frustrated and irritable, pushing groups of us through sequences of mandated tasks, prone to looking really tired with an "everybody-needs-to-be-on page-53-by-Thursday" attitude. They didn't seem to want to be there any more than I did, and I didn't want to be there at all.
I know, teachers are among the most overworked, underpaid, underappreciated professionals in America, if not the world. They have an extremely difficult job and a tremendous responsibility and most do it because they're dedicated professionals who sincerely believe in helping children. Since we as a society don't pay them what they're worth, we should at least do a better job of acknowledging the job they do by saying "thank you" more often. I get all that. 
Still, I can only speak for myself and things like this happened to me...
ME, 9th GRADE HONORS ENGLISH STUDENT AT BENTON HARBOR HIGH SCHOOL: "Excuse me, Mr. Garrison. I have a question; Pip's ambition to improve himself motivates his best and worst behavior, so is Dickens saying..."
Mr. GARRISON, NOT THE ONE FROM 'SOUTH PARK', BUT MY 9th GRADE HONORS ENGLISH TEACHER (AND ALSO HEAD OF THE LOCAL TEACHERS UNION AT THE TIME) AT BENTON HARBOR HIGH SCHOOL: "Ugh. You smell like French toast."
Okay, that was weird. Weird enough to have almost completely derailed the point of this blog post and maybe weird enough to merit one of its own. My point is, even though I still don't know what the hell that was all about (What exactly is wrong with French toast? Is it bad to smell like French toast? I like the way French toast smells. I wish I smelled like French toast right now!), my relationships with teachers have always been poor. Granted, I was a screw-around-in-the-back-of-the-classroom kind of kid ("disruptive", "doesn't pay attention") but I rarely felt engaged. When I did try to absorb knowledge into my wee sponge of a brain, I was told I smelled like fancy breakfast.

Ms. Meeks was, and continues to be, the notable exception in my sad, sorry history with educators. She was my drama teacher in high school, teaching a class I enjoyed so much, I took it twice, by coming up with a fiendishly clever ruse to outwit Mrs. Carter, my guidance counsellor...



Mrs. CARTER: "You have to choose another elective. Since you took Drama as a sophomore, you can't take it again."
ME: "No, I didn't."
Mrs. CARTER: "Your transcript says you did."
ME: "That wasn't me."
Mrs. CARTER: "Oh. Well, okay then."
Like most teachers I was used to, when Ms. Meeks (her last name was Crumedy at the time) gave passionate speeches, she was usually expressing her annoyance with us as a class. She was the first person I ever heard invoke the phrase "my last nerve", as in "you are standing on" or "you are working". But her class was the first place I was not only allowed, but encouraged, to be really creative and make people laugh. We almost never opened a textbook, spending our time making stuff up and then acting it out instead. I didn't have to try to get away with screwing around in the back of the class; I was required to screw around in the front of the class, and my grade depended on it. My first efforts were comedic monologues, basically shameless rip-offs from Chevy Chase's Saturday Night Live schtick of delivering deadpan dialogue combined with physical slapstick. I used to get pretty banged up doing that nonsense. I found out later that Chevy banged himself up pretty good in real life too. I may have been a plagarising little hack, but I was a committed plagarising little hack. More importantly, for the first time in my life I was getting positive feedback from peers in the form of laughter. Not the kind of laughter I'd get from acting up out on the playground or in the back of class. That behavior had resulted in bad grades and nasty notes home to mom and dad. And not the hilarity that ensues when the other kids won't let you have a seat on the bus or when a group of girls would look at you and laugh loudly among themselves. I'd been familiar with that stuff for years. No, this was something that not only positively influenced my grade but was also something I could manipulate and control. I fell in love with it almost immediately. This, along with encouragment from Ms. Meeks, gave me courage to try new and different things, including (eventually) my own all-original stuff. I haven't looked back (or ripped off Chevy Chase) since.

The first stage role I ever auditioned for as an actor was the policeman who arrests Rosa Parks and drags her off the bus in a skit that was part of the annual Black History Pageant. Benton Harbor was and is a predominantly African-American city and school district (about 90%, as of the most recent census), and so the pageant was a pretty big deal. There weren't a lot of parts for white actors, but I really wanted to be in it. As drama teacher, Ms. Meeks was the director. A kid named Jerry Bishop was auditioning for the part, but when reading the script, he balked. "I can't read this. I don't believe in saying this word", he said. The word was "nigger". Ms. Meeks said, "If you want the part, you'll say the words that are written in the script." "Even that one?, he asked. "Especially that one", she answered. As Jerry stood there, debating the merits of selling out his deeply held personal beliefs for this level of "stardom", I offered assistance...
ME: "Hey, I'll say it! I'll say it!"
Ms. MEEKS: "Okay, Clark."
ME: "You want me to say it right now?"
Ms. MEEKS: "You'll get your chance, Clark."
ME: "Because I've probably already said it at least four or five times today. A few more times is really not a big deal."
Ms. MEEKS: "That's enough, Clark."
ME: "I'll say other bad words, too. All of 'em. Seriously, I do not mind. I mean, at all."
Ms. MEEKS: "Clark..."
ME: "Give me five minutes, I can probably come up with song lyrics!"
Ms. MEEKS: "Stop helping, Clark."
Jerry Bishop didn't get the part. I did and ended up doing more shows under her direction through my stellar high school acting career, including the play that was presented during the following year's Black History Pageant, "Steal Away Home" by Aurand Harris. I played seven different white guys in that one (my friend Ron Leuty played another five; we should have won some kind of awards). 

These days, Ms. Meeks and I are 'Friends' on Facebook and the other day, she 'Like'd something I wrote. She does that from time to time and it's always a thrill for me. As happy as any kind of positive feedback makes me, those 'Like's from Ms. Meeks mean much, much more. Probably because of the tangible connection between me doing what I do now and the very first time anybody in a position of authority let me believe that was even a viable option, that what other teachers had dismissed as disruptive behavior might be a strength and not a weakness.

So while I should have said it sooner and I should say it more often, thank you, Ms. Meeks.  

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Keep your bloggers close, keep your enemies closer

The dangerously gifted Keri Ramos published a touching piece yesterday about nurturing and growth. She teased it on Facebook with this comment:

"Being my friend puts you in danger of being written about at some point."


As good as the piece is (and it is), this flippant one-liner she probably didn't even put that much thought into is what struck a chord with me. Because this is a moral dilemma I fight on a fairly regular basis. The people I interact with, be they friends, family, co-workers, random acquaintances or perfect strangers, they didn't sign up to be characters on my little purple sitcom. It's not fair for them to feel like they need to be on their guard when they're around me. It is never my intention to do harm by violating anybody's privacy and I don't indulge in gossip. However, I do what I do and I can't write about the idiotic goings-on at somebody else's dinner table while ignoring what's happening at mine. If I scrub everything through a filter before I write about it, the only things I'll ever be able to publish will be the stupid things I do to myself when I'm alone. Believe it or not, there aren't enough of those incidents to keep this thing running. I realize this may cost me on some level when it comes to personal relationships, particularly in regard to how personal those relationships can get. Like I said, it's a battle I continue to fight, but I'm mostly okay with it. That doesn't make conversations like the one I recently had with someone at dinner less awkward...

"Okay, you aren't allowed to write about anything we talk about tonight, all right?"
"Check, please"
"Oh, come on."
"Sorry, I'm not going to agree to that."
"Why not?"
"You know what I do. I'm a chronicler of life's moments. I provide a unique insight into the human condition."
"You are, by your own description, somebody who writes fart jokes."
"Sometimes that is the human condition."
"I don't feel comfortable with the idea that anything I say or do could end up on the internet for people to laugh at."
"And I don't feel comfortable making a promise that I would just end up breaking if necessary. Wouldn't you rather I be up front about that now instead of lying about it?"
"Those are my choices?"
"Look, It's not just about you. What if I say or do something hilarious?"
"It hasn't happened so far."
"And it might not happen at all! Meanwhile, if something noteworthy does happen and I don't write it, who's to say that the guy at the next table doesn't have a web site and he could do it instead. And he might not be as nice about it as I would be."
"Are you trying to make me paranoid so I'll relax?"
"I'm just being honest about the situation."
"Look, I know everybody here has a camera on their phone and that if I trip and fall, there could be 30 versions of it on YouTube within an hour and there's nothing I can do about it. That's entirely different from me talking openly with you and then hoping you don't turn around and use what I tell you to make fun of me."
"That's not what I do. You know that. You can talk openly with me. I don't write about every single thing that happens around me. I don't put people's stuff out in the street. I know people find that kind of thing entertaining, but I don't, so I don't do it."
"But you could. You're reserving the right to do exactly that."
"Yeah. I could. But I'm not on a mission to gather personal info from people so I can turn it into jokes and make their lives miserable. Come on, you know that."
"Yes, I do. And if I had to bet, I'd say you're going to write about this conversation we're having right now, aren't you?"
"No!"
"..."
"I doubt it."
"..."
"Yeah, maybe."
"... "
"I might. (Sigh) Yeah, I probably will.
"... "
"I am. I definitely am."
"Check, please."

Monday, October 15, 2012

Learning lessons I already know

In spite of what I said a while back, I wound up in a strip club last the other night. And once again, I learned I'm not good at strip clubs. And when I say that, I don't mean I misbehave when I'm there, acting like some kind of jackass. I mean the way someone would say they're not good at golf. I just don't/can't get into it. Never have, guess I never will.
Here's what happened this time...
A former co-worker got in touch and said he had free VIP passes at Scores here in Tampa, which is one of the "nice" strip clubs my comedian friend was talking about. This meant getting in without having to pay the $10 cover. He likes to act like a big shot so I didn't mention that there was a coupon to cut out from the paper for the same deal. I was bored and figured "why not?" I got there, found a seat near the stage and felt uncomfortable almost immediately. For one thing, it's way too noisy. There's loud dance music that plays constantly but worse is a DJ who never shuts up. "ALL RIGHT GENTLEMEN, LET'S KEEP IT GOING AND WELCOME DESTINY TO THE STAGE!" Why is it necessary to  welcome destiny? It was inevitable that she would show up sooner or later. I wonder if these places ever considered quiet periods; 20 minutes of silence every three hours, so everyone can stop and reflect on where they are in life. Probably not.
As I sat there passively, like I've always done in strip clubs, I did my best to avoid eye contact. Of course, at some point a dancer is going to approach. Then I have to smile and come up with an excuse for why I don't want whatever special she's pushing. "No thanks, I have stitches that are still healing" or "No thanks, I have exactly zero dollars and 58 cents on me". One of them was really persistent, smelling like cotton candy and bending my ear as I stared at a television over her shoulder. Eventually, she got frustrated and said, "you're really into that ballgame, aren't you?" and I said, "the funny thing is, I'm really not". That finally drove the point home and she left me alone. 
This allowed me to take notice of the douchey dudes I was sitting among. There were really creepy douchey old guys. There were douchey young guys who will probably grow up to be douchey old creepy guys. There were middle-aged douchey guys who were creepiest of all because you'd think they were old enough to know better but not so old as to be pathetic. And we were all sitting there, what, pretending to be millionaires? Yeah, like that's how I would live if I were a millionaire; surrounded by a bunch of douchey dudes and scantily-clad women who would be there for the sole purpose of getting my money. Okay, so it's half right.
Then there were the the thick-necked, bald-headed bouncer types in tuxedos, the kind who I felt wanted to come up and say, "daaahh, the boss don't like it when youse just sits here and don't spend no money." To which I would have to stand up and reply, "Yeah, well your boss is not the boss of me, is he tough guy? Now, please don't rip my arms out of the sockets." All of that combined to make me feel sad and I started to get up to leave, regretting having gone in the first place.
As i did, I spotted the worst thing in the whole place. Mounted on the ceiling, near the top of the brass pole is a piece of wood, about an 8" section of two-by-four, painted black to match the ceiling. The dancers would shinny up the pole, get a grip on that piece of wood and push off of it to get themselves spinning. The black paint is worn off where it's been grabbed and there are what look like gouge marks in it. As I thought about how much wear and tear it would take over a long period of time to look that way, I imagined a dancer on her first day on the job, climbing up there and seeing that. I equated it with going into a jail cell and seeing claw marks on the wall where previous residents had tried futilely to dig their way out. Now I was really depressed.
I left after about a half hour and went home. The only reason I stayed that long was because I felt bad about wasting the valet parking guy's time.
I don't really have a right to complain; I had the choice to go or not and I chose to go. It was very nice of my former co-worker to hook me up with the discount (since I hadn't cut out the coupon in the paper). I just need to do a better job of remembering what I'm not good at. 

Friday, October 12, 2012

Celebrities! They're just like me!


"Impudent child! How dare you make
eye contact with The Tyra?"
 The other day, I found myself thumbing through an issue of Us Weekly magazine because I guess at that particular moment, I needed to hate myself just a little bit more than usual. Inside, I found that Us Weekly has a section titled "Just Like Us!" which features famous people doing and saying mundane things. The purpose, if there is one, is to let us normal folk know that we're all basically the same ("Gee, if Jerry Seinfeld has to pick up his own dog's poop just like I do, I'm doing okay!"). That's a healthy message that could serve to keep us grounded in reality, but being as it's coming from a magazine that exists for the sole purpose of stalking documenting the exploits of celebrities, they don't pull it off gracefully.
I'd like to share with you a feature article I found there, which I present exactly as published, without comment...


Tyra Banks: 25 Things You Don't Know About Me
The creator of America's Next Top Model, 38, dishes to Us
  1. My wallet is full of different currencies from my travels.
  2. I hate chocolate.
  3. I've got rhymes! When I give speeches, I finish with a poetic rap.
  4. I'm a car-pool queen. I love to pick up my friends and drive somewhere new.
  5. I love using pen and paper to make lists.
  6. I rule at the game Taboo.
  7. My favorite word is flawsome. You + your flaws + awesome = flawsome!
  8. If I was an animal, I'd be a giraffe, with my long neck and eyelashes!
  9. I eat burgers with no bun, extra mayo.
  10. I wore braces for two years as a kid.
  11. When my feet hurt, I wear sneakers under my long dresses.
  12. I prefer the coziness of a twin bed to a king-size one.
  13. I lick the barbecue-flavored powder off chips before eating them.
  14. I'm a total morning person.
  15. I'm fascinated by India.
  16. America's Next Top Model has been franchised in more than 20 countries. So I appear as a special guest judge on shows.
  17. My mother used to be a medical photographer.
  18. I dream of becoming a star beach-volleyball player
  19. I often go to amusement parks in disguise. I prefer to be unnoticed!
  20. If I were a teenager, I'd have a huge crush on Andrew Garfield.
  21. I Instagram so much I'm getting carpal tunnel syndrome.
  22. My passion is working at the TZone at NYC's Lower East Side Girls Club, which builds self-esteem in girls.
  23. I smize to myself in the mirror every night. (Smize = smile with your eyes!)
  24. I always teach waitresses to booty tooch. That's popping your booty out while you pose.
  25. I believe that every little girl has some supermodel sass in her.
What I learned from this (other than how disgusting it must be to eat potato chips with Tyra Banks) is that celebrities, at least empty vessels like Tyra Banks, really are just like me! Check it out...

Clark Brooks: 25 Things You Don't Know About Me

The guy who writes jokes about farts, 48, dishes to You

  1. I have a wallet.
  2. I hate cancer.
  3. I don't have any rhymes, but if I were ever asked to give a speech, I would close with a big musical number backed by a gospel choir. 
  4. Sometimes, I ride the bus. When I do, I go where the bus driver takes me.
  5. I use a greasy piece of meat to write lists on the wall (first item on list: "Buy pen and paper")
  6. The game Taboo is not played in my village. Probably because of the name. We are a primitive and fearful people.
  7. My favorite word is bullshit. Tyra Banks + talking = what comes out of a bull's ass!
  8. If I was an animal, I'd be a human, with my vague semi-resemblance to a human-like being.
  9. I eat burgers with cheese.
  10. I wear glasses.
  11. When my feet hurt, I sit or lie down for a while.
  12. I prefer sleeping indoors to sleeping outdoors in a public park or the dumpster behind Arby's.
  13. I lick the barbecue-flavored sauce off my fingers after I eat things with barbecue sauce on them.
  14. I'm a total nimrod.
  15. I have been to Indiana.
  16. America's Top Model has been franchised in more than 20 countries. So I judge the taste of people who live in those countries and I find them as vacuous and insipid as those who watch this tripe in America.
  17. My mother used to take medicine and photographs.
  18. I dream of beach-volleyball players.
  19. I find the best way to draw unwanted attention is to wear disguises in public to places that draw crowds of people like amusement parks.
  20. I have absolutely no idea who Andrew Garfield is.
  21. I use the proper names of things that I do as verbs so much I wouldn't be surprised if somebody Baseball Batted me in the face.
  22. My passion is sending contradictory messages (see Tyra's #22 and #24 above).
  23. Tyra Banks makes me want to slists. (Slists = slit my wrists!)
  24. I always teach people making less than minimum wage to booty mooch. That's sending the message that your booty is available for sex for the right price.
  25. I believe that Tyra Banks has some succubus in her.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Fear and self-loathing in the ladies room

Gentlemen, we have had finer moments.
In ongoing efforts to keep women under control by leveling their self-esteem at each and every opportunity which tends to give them a general feeling of dissatisfaction with themselves and keeps their self-confidence nice and manageably low, we have done better work than recent efforts, like this or this.
However, just when I was losing faith in us, I come across this...

"Please...do not look at me. I have a functional digestive system for which I feel deep shame."
...and realize we've completely redeemed ourselves!
This is on the door of the women's restroom at a restaurant here in Tampa. The men's room has one with a guy dressed as a farmer or something, but he's just standing there. That's all we as males need to know that this is the room men should enter if we need to relieve ourselves. For women, we send that message with an image of a woman squatting somewhere in the middle of a field with her bloomers around her ankles, and not happy about it.
Ho ho! Well done, lads! We remain, geniuses.

Monday, October 08, 2012

You lucky, lucky lady!

Hi there!
Remember me?
You might not. Because when I was trying to talk to you, you acted like you couldn't hear me or you were busy or something. That's a shame. I was going to buy you a drink. Your choice!
Any way, shortly after that, you probably didn't see this whole thing because you left, but some guy was checking you out. He wasn't even subtle about it, turning his head and everything. Not cool. Not cool at all. And I let him know about it.
"Hey bro, what's your problem?"
"Excuse me?"
"I saw you looking at that girl. You need to back off."
"Which girl are you even talking about?"
"The one I saw first. She's mine."
"Dude. Whatever."
He turned to walk away and I broke a pool cue over the back of his neck. Man, he went down like a little bitch. Or more accurately, somebody who had suffered a sudden blunt trauma to their spinal column. His friends were all like, 'you psycho, he's attending college on an athletic scholarship!'. Ha ha ha! The bottom line is I kicked his ass under the rules of fighting.
The good news for you is that under those same rules of fighting, you really are mine now. And when I get out of here in 90 days or so... my lawyer is going to argue that being treated in the county hospital for the broken collarbone, a blood-filled left eye and a dislocated jaw that I suffered at the hands of either the bouncers who threw me out or the cops who arrested me (I honestly don't remember) should count as time served... the first thing I'm going to do is give you a call.
Hey, seems we both have something to look forward to now, don't we?

Saturday, October 06, 2012

Tig Notaro's already legendary performance available via Louis CK's web site

(DISCLAIMER: I'm such a devoted fanboy of Louis CK that when he sends out an email announcing he has something to sell, I'm probably going to buy it without even knowing what it is. If you think that's pathetic, I'm actually so devoted that I'm inclined to use this space to advise you to do so without even listening to it myself first. That said, I did buy it and I did listen to it before writing this and I sincerely believe that it really is a remarkable performance, documenting an extraordinary connection between an extremely honest performer and an exceptionally receptive audience. I think you'll be glad you experienced it, the awkwardness as well as the funny stuff, which you can do by reading the email below and clicking on the appropriate links.)

A message from Louis CK - Friday, October 5, 2012 10:03 PM

Greetings to the people and parts of people that are reading this. Hi. This is Louis. I'm a comedian and you bought a thing from me. Well, I'm writing to tell You that there is a new thing you can buy on my website louisck.com. It's an audio standup set by not me but another comedian named Tig Notaro. Why am I selling someone else's comedy on my website?

Well, Tig is a friend of mine and she is very funny. I love her voice on stage. One night I was performing at a club in LA called Largo. Tig was there. She was about to go on stage. I hadn't seen Tig in about a year and I said how are you? She replied "well I found out today that I have cancer in both breasts and that it has likely spread to my lymph nodes. My doctor says it looks real bad. ". She wasn't kidding. I said "uh. Jesus. Tig. Well. Do you... Have your family... Helping?". She said "well my mom was with me but a few weeks ago she fell down, hit her head and she died". She still wasn't kidding.

Now, I'm pretty stupid to begin with, and I sure didn't know what to say now. I opened my mouth and this came out. "jeez, Tig. I. Really value you. Highly.". She said "I value you highly too, Louie.". Then she held up a wad of note-paper in her hand and said "I'm gonna talk about all of it on stage now. It's probably going to be a mess". I said "wow". And with that, she went on stage.

I stood in the wings behind a leg of curtain, about 8 feet from her, and watched her tell a stunned audience "hi. I have cancer. Just found out today. I'm going to die soon". What followed was one of the greatest standup performances I ever saw. I can't really describe it but I was crying and laughing and listening like never in my life. Here was this small woman standing alone against death and simply reporting where her mind had been and what had happened and employing her gorgeously acute standup voice to her own death.

The show was an amazing example of what comedy can be. A way to visit your worst fears and laugh at them. Tig took us to a scary place and made us laugh there. Not by distracting us from the terror but by looking right at it and just turning to us and saying "wow. Right?". She proved that everything is funny. And has to be. And she could only do this by giving us her own death as an example. So generous.

After her set, I asked Mark Flanagan, the owner of Largo (great club, by the way) if he recorded the set. Largo is set up for excellent recordings. He said that he did.

A few days later, I wrote Tig and asked her if I could release this set on my site. I wanted people to hear what I saw. What we all saw that night. She agreed. The show is on sale for the same 5 dollars I charge for my stuff. I'm only keeping 1. She gets the other 4. Tig has decided to give some of that to cancer research.

Tig, by the way, has since undergone a double mastectomy. She is doing well. Her doctors say her chances of survival are excellent. So she went there and came back. Her report from the frontlines of life and death are here for you to... Enjoy.

Please go to my site louisck.com and buy her show. You can buy it here:
http://buy.louisck.net/purchase/tig-notaro-live

Thank you. Have a terrific afternoon.

Louis C.K.


(POSTSCRIPT FOR THOSE WHO NEED OR AT LEAST APPRECIATE AN UPLIFTING TURN TO "DOWNER" STORIES: After 6-Month ‘Nosedive,’ Comedian Tig Notaro Announces She’s Cancer-Free Read more: http://entertainment.time.com/2012/10/02/after-6-month-nosedive-comedian-tig-notaro-announces-shes-cancer-free/#ixzz28UUYSLiP )

Friday, October 05, 2012

Steps taken by a recovering cynic

I recognize, for better or for worse (worse, probably), that I'm too cynical. I also recognize that cynicism isn't a terribly attractive trait. Aside from being flat-out negative, which is a drag, cynics tend to be unhappy, pessimistic and doubtful to the point of being downright paranoid. Who wants to spend time with people like that? I am definitely not only a "glass-half-empty" guy but a "I-knew-somebody-would-come-along-and-drink-half-my-beverage" guy. I can make an effort to curb this kind of thinking and behavior but at some level, it's an issue of internal hard-wiring. I feel like I have made some improvements but it's a daily battle and several things make it difficult to quit it altogether.
I Yam What I Yam!
One area that can really test the resolve of a recovering cynic is politics, especially high-stakes, large scale politics. It's very easy for anybody who's even slightly inclined to be cynical to really come off the rails when the presidential election season gets ramped up.

For example, I think most politicians are liberals or conservatives the way Tampa Bay quarterback Josh Freeman is a Buccaneer. He's a football player, not a pirate. He's not out committing mayhem on the high seas, plundering and pillaging. He just happens to be affiliated with an organization that has adapted aspects of an identity in order to appeal to consumers and sell them something. If circumstances were different, he could just as easily "be" a Saint or a Viking or a Seahawk. 


One thing you can do to mange your cynicism is by adjusting your perspective. For example, it's good to remember that the people who run for office are actually a relatively small part of the political system. There are far more voters than candidates. The drawback there is many more voters means many more morons and few things reinforce the cynic's point of view like the moronic actions of morons. I've made conscious efforts to seek out people of different opinions who aren't idiots and that has been helpful, but there are vocal contingents on both sides who are just straight-up stupid. I'm talking about those who are incapable of accepting any criticism of their views, unwilling to acknowledge the merits of their opponents, while wearing t-shirts with logos on them, waving signs, yelling terrible things at one another. Basically, I still feel like the presidential election is what it would look like if all the banks sponsored a college football bowl game. And as a result, my bigger picture view is that we've stopped evolving, this is a good as we're ever going to get, and that maybe it's time to let another species like dogs or ostriches be in charge for a while.

But I still haven't given up and as such, was looking forward to watching the recent debate between President Obama and Governor Romney (which I did as part of a panel hosted by the Tampa Tribune). Even though I know most political debates go something like this:


MODERATOR: Please detail your energy policy.
CANDIDATE A: Energy. Now that is definitely something. But what I think the public really needs to know is that I am 100% against birth defects. I always have been and I always will be. You can examine my record from the very beginning and you will not find one single instance where I said that I was in favor of birth defects. That is indisputable truth!
CANDIDATE B: Wait a minute, Jim. I'm not in favor of birth defects either.
CANDIDATE A: Oh sure. NOW you say something.
  Which illustrated the single toughest thing about trying not to be cynical: frequently being right.

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Deserving a second chance is not the same thing as being entitled to one

Tuesday night, Adam Greenberg got his first official at-bat in a Major League Baseball game.
Over seven years ago, he was struck in the head by the first pitch he faced in what should have been his first at-bat (getting plunked in the melon doesn't count as an "official" at-bat). A pinch runner took his place at first so he could be treated for any potential head trauma and his big league career was over.
Filmmaker Matt Liston launched an online campaign called "One At Bat" in order to get a major league team to give Greenberg the chance to have what he was denied long ago. Major League Baseball made a special roster exemption available to the Miami Marlins, who signed Greenberg and gave him his long-lost opportunity. He entered the game in the sixth inning as a pinch hitter against the Mets' R.A. Dickey and struck out on three pitches.
On the surface, this is one of those feel-good stories that pop up in real life every now and then on their way to the Disney studios before coming to rest at a theatre near you. But if you dig down just a little bit, there isn't a whole lot of substance to feel good about; at best, it's a nice thing to do for a guy who kinda got screwed but at worst, it's a case of reward without merit.
"This was never a gimmick. I got to the major leagues on my own merit. I worked up through the ranks as a little kid and all the way up. I earned that spot seven years ago." -- Adam Greenberg
I'm not disputing what he says. The thing is, there are literally hundreds of guys since 2005 who had shots at big league careers that just didn't work out for one reason or another who could say the same thing and thousands who came along before 2005 who could plead similar cases. He's not a victim of injustice, he's a victim of Shit Happens. He's not someone who got close, was denied and then toiled away to work his way back to where he was, he's someone who benefited from a public relations campaign. This isn't Rocky Balboa or Rudy Ruettiger or Jim Morris. This is a guy who had his shot and it just didn't work out. Sure, it stinks that things didn't turn out the way he planned because of circumstances beyond his control but who among us can't say the same thing? "I could have been _____ if not for _____."
In my humble opinion, I don't think it's healthy to draw inspiration from a story like this. Because the message ultimately is "if you get a bad break, even especially if it wasn't your fault, if somebody else feels as bad about it as you do, they might take steps on your behalf to make it right." I don't fault Greenberg for wanting a second chance and I don't fault Liston for helping to make it happen. That's very nice. I just don't think it's a good idea for people who've been dealt a shitty hand to think of themselves as the next Adam Greenberg and to sit around complaining about their circumstances and waiting for the next Matt Liston to come to their rescue.

For example, here's how I apply this situation to my own life (because the point of everything that ever happens in the universe is how I draw parallels from it and apply them to MY life; me, me, me, me, me)...

I was at a spring training game in St. Petersburg with the intent of getting Dave Winfield's autograph. Winfield has always been one of my favorite players and I was excited as I staked out a spot along the rail near the first base dugout, putting me in a prime spot right up front. When I saw him, I politely called out and he headed over. Immediately I was surrounded by other fans who also wanted his autograph. When he got to the fence, he took the blue Sharpie I had offered in my right hand but didn't take the '76 Topps baseball card I had in my left. He started signing other people's items as I waited patiently for him to get to my card. Eventually he announced, "I have to go" and he walked off without having signed my card, taking my Sharpie with him. So in spite of doing everything 'right', I not only didn't get the autograph but lost a pen in the process. Do I think Dave Winfield owes me an autograph? Of course not. It sucks, it isn't fair but shit happens. Put on a helmet and get an autograph from somebody else instead.

I do feel that he owes me a blue Sharpie, though. So if you're reading this, Dave Winfield (or any crusading filmmakers with some free time on your hands), get in touch and let's right this wrong. 
"Give me back my pen! (please)"