Saturday, May 30, 2015


My name isn't on the poster but thanks to an invitation from Bill Zapf, I'll be part of this show in Plant City tonight (Saturday).
Uncle Mike's Grill
106 SR60 East
Plant City FL 33567
Saturday, May 30 - 8 PM (doors open at 7 PM)

Friday, May 29, 2015

The show you may or may not have missed, depending mostly on if you were there or not

On Sunday, May 17th, I performed stand-up comedy at Side Splitters here in Tampa (I may have mentioned that was going to happen once or twice or more times). If you weren't able to make it, or if you were and just want to watch me try to make a bunch of words come out in what is supposed to be a humorous arrangement, designed to provoke laughter, again and again and again, here it is via the wildly popular internet site known as "YouTube".
All the sloppy, emotional thanks I offered last week apply here as well (one "Thank You" for each individual view please).

CAUTION: Probably contains less profanity than you might expect or want.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Goodbye, Jack

My cat Jack died this morning.
As is almost always the case with "pets", he was more than that.
He was a companion and a true friend.
I will love him forever.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Fighting is dumb

Last week I ranted and raved under the new heading of "Uncle Oldie McNostalgia's Fables of How Things Were Better Whan He Was A Kid Because, Well, They Just Were, Damn It". This week, I'm ranting and raving again but I feel I need to file it under a different heading than that one so I'm introducing "I'm Not The Smartest Person Here, But At Least I'm Smart Enough To Not Engage In Dumbass Activity Like This. You Dumbasses"

Fighting is part of hockey. Like it or dislike it, at this point in time, it simply is a part of the game. Personally, as a fan and as a writer who covers the game at the NHL level, I think of it like Icing or Offsides; I don't like or dislike it, it's simply part of the game.

If it were not part of the game, it would be extremely dumb, just as it is when it occurs outside of a game (or a profession, such as soldier or police officer or kick boxing consultant) that it is a part of. These are not the thoughts of some liberal pacifist or a coward, although I would happily admit to being both of those as opposed to fighting over it. These are the thoughts of somebody who is smarter than people who get into fights. Any time somebody gets in a fight, it's for a dumb reason and it carries with it some really dumb consequences...

  • You don't look cool - You might think you look like Keanu Reeves executing smooth martial arts moves while wearing an expensive suit in The Matrix, but it's highly more likely that you're rolling around on the ground, making weird grunting noises while your pants are halfway down your ass and huge clumps of hair, natural or textile-based, are coming off by the fistful. Basically, you look like a dipshit.
  • You get hurt - Fighting involves conflict with someone trying to punch you in the face! Have you ever been punched in the face? It fucking hurts!
  • You could hurt someone else - Do you really want something like that on your conscience forever? 
  • You might get arrested - "What are you in for?" "Fighting." "Oh, so I suppose you think you can kick my ass, huh?" I didn't say that." Yeah, in jail-speak, you kinda did. 
  • You could pay a fine - Do you have extra money to pay for something like that? Of course not. Nobody does because there's no such thing as "extra money". 
  • You could do community service - Saturday mornings, orange coveralls, picking up trash on the side of the road and having to ask permission to go to the bathroom. What about that sounds remotely appealing?
  • You could be seriously injured or killed - If I'm in a situation where I have to fight, it means I have no other choice and I'm legitimately concerned for my safety. As such, I'm going to fight dirty with the intent of ending it as quickly and permanently as possible. That means eyeballs and ball balls and other vital organ, soft-tissue-y areas are in play and at risk for as much punishment as i can possibly inflict, again with the intent of ending it efficiently. I promise I'm not the only person who feels that way about getting into fights.
  • You won't be remembered the way you think you will - Nobody is going to say "Remember that time _____ beat the crap out of _____ in that great fight?". Everybody will say "Remember that time those two assholes ruined a good time by getting in a fight?"
All dumb things that could be easily avoided by simply not doing something dumb.

And those dumb reasons I mentioned? Almost always it's over a girl (or a guy) who doesn't want anything to do with you. If that isn't it, it's something even less than that, like somebody insults a shirt you're wearing. It's never a noble cause. You're not locked in combat with Hans Gruber on the 30th floor of Nakatomi Plaza battling for the lives of innocent hostages.
I bring all this up with the reference to hockey because while generally, hockey fans are truly wonderful people and I love them, there are some dummies. These dummies think it's a good idea to fight with hockey fans from other teams. Let me assure you: when you fight under what you choose to believe is the aegis of some sports team, you still have more in common with the guy you're fighting than you do with the players on the team you've chosen with which to ally yourself. They're professional athletes. They're being paid to invest that level of passion in the outcome of games. For them, success or failure at a sporting event has a direct and immediate impact on their careers, their ability to earn a living at what they do. For you and your perceived opponent, a sporting event is an evening out. That's it.
Don't be dumb; don't get into fights, you dummies.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Trolling for dollars

President Barack Obama opened a Twitter account the other day.
First, the bad news - He immediately received "welcome" messages like this:
And this:
And these beauties:
Of course, it's not racism because racism is over and stop dwelling in the past and yappity yap yap and bleeble bloop blarf.

But here's the good news - "Threatening the president of the United States is a specific crime, carrying a maximum penalty of five years in prison and $250,000 in fines. The Secret Service even has a dedicated team called the Internet Threat Desk. A spokesperson told the Daily Dot that the agency constantly monitors social media for potential threats but declined to share any specifics. And yes, there’s an illustrious history of Americans ending up in prison for tweeted threats toward the president.

In 2013, North Carolina man Donte Jamar Sims was sentenced to six months in prison for tweets like “Ima Assassinate president Obama this evening!” When Alabaman Jarvis Britton tweeted “I think we could get the president with cyanide! #MakeItSlow” in 2012, he got off with just a visit from the Secret Service. But he posted similar tweets a few months later, and he ended up with a year-long prison sentence. Ohioan Daniel Temple is currently serving a 16-month term for tweets like “so I gotta kill barack obama first.”

There’s little evidence yet on what happens when users tweet threats directly to Obama. But there’s plenty of precedent of people ending up behind bars for contacting the White House directly with a threat. A Texas woman named Teddy Bear Paradise was sentenced to almost two years for mailing Obama a letter promising to kill him, for example, and New York’s Christine Wright-Darrisaw got almost three years for calling the White House and describing to a staffer in detail how she’d kill the President." - The Daily Dot

In other words, the President has solved all of America's financial problems by trolling the internet. Brilliant! If they can collect cash from everybody who hates Obama (you know, the good ol' American patriots who are not racists but people who want a return to the values that made this country great and just coincidentally happen to have little regard for black people, that's all), we'll be able to fix the budget, give raises to all the teachers, cops and firefighters and have enough left over to establish a school lunch program for graduate students. Well done, sir. Well done!

Monday, May 18, 2015


A no-show. Although to be fair, I don't think he was invited.
Yesterday (last night, actually), I finally got to perform stand-up comedy at Side Splitters, something I've been looking forward to for months and it went even better than I could have ever hoped for. The place was packed and the crowd was just beautiful. It was nice that some friends managed to make it out. I appreciate that more than I can express. I'm glad that they got to see some really good comics, including the incredible JB Ball, Rio Paris, and Jared Waters among others. Sean Patton, who had been the headliner at the club all weekend did a set of new material (thank God I didn't have to follow him). As far as my performance, I think I did okay. I'm deliriously happy with how the whole night went and I hope to share audio and/or video from it soon, in about a week or so.
Huge thanks to everyone who came out and made it possible; Side Splitters management and staff (especially the very funny Mike Morris, who handled the hosting duties), all the comedians who performed and everyone who showed up to enjoy a great night of live entertainment on a late Sunday night.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Tonight, tonight

Come celebrate your forbidden, star-crossed love tonight with
Me, doing stand-up comedy
May 17, 2015 * 9:00PM
Side Splitters Comedy Club
12938 N. Dale Mabry
Tampa FL
"Oh Tony, are these really the best seats you could get?"

Saturday, May 16, 2015


Oh boy! Drag racing? I love drag racing!

No drag.
No racism.
Just this guy... 
Okay, maybe a little racism. No promises.
...telling "jokes", performing "comedy", overusing "punctuation".

Me, doing stand-up comedy
May 17, 2015 * 9:00PM
Side Splitters Comedy Club
12938 N. Dale Mabry
Tampa FL

Additional detailed blibbity-blabby-blah available here!

Friday, May 15, 2015

Another bitter old man post

I'm starting to feel the need to rant in this manner so frequently lately that I think I'll add a new sub-label:
"Uncle Oldie McNostalgia's Fables of How Things Were Better Whan He Was A Kid Because, Well, They Just Were, Damn It"

One Saturday afternoon, a long, long time ago when I was a wee kid, my grandmother took me and my sister to see "Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory". It wasn't playing at Benton Harbor's two-screen cineplex so that meant hiking it over to the one in St, Joseph. When we got there, the parking lot was jam packed and we could see a line out the door. Sure enough, the show was sold out. "Well, I guess that's that", said grandma, as she circled the lot before heading back out on the road to take us home. I don't know about my sister, but I was in the back seat fuming. "What the hell, old woman. You didn't think to pick us up earlier in order to deal with a contingency like this?" Of course, I said this only to myself.
This was as close as we ever got to any Golden Tickets
As soon as we got home, I expressed my frustration to my dad (who was probably at least as disappointed to see grandma's car pull into the driveway again so soon). "Things don't always go your way", he shrugged. Wait a minute. Is this a life lesson? What did I do to deserve a life lesson? It wasn't like I got caught trying to set fire to a school or teasing a blind kid. I just wanted to see a movie about candy. While his nonchalance and words of wisdom didn't ease my disappointment in the least at that time (I'm actually still kind of salty over it; I never have seen the damn movie), But it was a life lesson and a pretty good one because I survived just fine. So did my sister.
That actually happened. It wasn't a situation where it looked like there was a possibility that things might not go my way, that being enough to cause my parents to fly off the handle and freak completely the fuck out, even though it would eventually turn out just fine and I would get my way and their hysterical overreactions to protect my precious entitlement would be a complete waste of time and energy.
Grandma wasn't bothered enough about it to even get out of her car and yell at a manager. Dad wasn't inspired to take legal action. I don't remember where mom was during this whole thing but I feel I can comfortably say that she wasn't willing to give any more rat's asses than grandma or dad had offered, which was a big fat zero. In spite of this almost aggressive indifference to our plight, my sister and I both managed to survive. In fact, it could probably be effectively argued that this experience was actually good for us, in that it demonstrated that it is, in fact, possible to confront less-than-ideal circumstances, be disappointed with an unfavorable outcome and not die as a result.

The moral of this fable is that I'm better than your kids ever will be because you're raising them to be sniveling whiners by enabling them to believe that they're supposed to get whatever they want (which, if you're confusing that with love, is another stupid thing you're doing). Thanks for ruining America, jerks.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Blame hockey

Hey, remember when I posted this back on April 16, saying that things in real life were about to become super-hectic because of the Tampa bay Lightning's participation in the 2015 NHL Playoffs and I might not be able to devote as much time to the blog as I usually do? Remember that?
Well, last night this happened.
Which means the Lightning are moving on to the Eastern Conference Finals.
Which means I currently look like this...
I haven't shaved in a month and I'm also exhausted! HA HA HA HA!!
Which means this madness is going to continue for at least another week, POSSIBLY LONGER!
Which means I didn't do any write-y stuff for the blog today, so I guess as far as new content goes, this is it for today. What a letdown, huh? Sorry about that. But on the other hand, this...?

Totally worth it.
See you Friday.

Monday, May 11, 2015

If you can read this, you're invited

I'll set up a Facebook event invitation gizmo later because I believe there is now a law requiring you to do so if you are involved in any way with an event where people are expected to attend, but before that happens consider THIS as your special VIP earlybird invitation...

Come watch
Me, doing stand-up comedy
May 17, 2015 * 9:00PM
12938 N. Dale Mabry
Tampa FL

It'll be an open mic format, meaning I don't know exactly what time I'll be going on and it will be a short set, probably less than 10 minutes. It'll be basically the same routine I've been working with since I started doing this back in December or January or whenever it was.
So what's the big deal?
Well, I've been working on it pretty hard for a while now and I finally think I've got something worth sharing on a large(r) scale. Also, Side Splitters is my favorite comedy club (seen so many great shows there; Carl LaBove, Lynne Koplitz, Robert Kelly, Nick DiPaolo, among others) and this will be my first time on the main stage at not only an actual comedy club but my favorite club, so kind of a special deal for me which would be nice to share with friends. It would be cool if you could be there. Even if you're somebody who for whatever reason has stopped being my friend. I'd really like you to show up because I'd like to find out what that's all about. Wait, scratch that. We won't have time to get into it. Come anyway, though.

You don't have to buy tickets in advance (I don't get a penny of the gate money either way) but if you want to, you can by clicking THIS LINK RIGHT HERE! Don't sweat the price; there will be lots of really good local comedians so it will be worth it. Plus, I think it comes with a free drink and pizza or something.

Thanks. See you Sunday!

Friday, May 08, 2015

You gotta (Hulk) hand it to me

Oh, you look nervous.
Is it my hands?
Yes, the rumors are true. I can't and won't deny it any longer.
I have Hulk Hands

I'm not going to live in shame anymore. I shouldn't have to and I won't. I am still a valuable, functional member of society and I can do anything I set my mind to (well, maybe not most guitar chords). The world is just going to have to deal with me on that level.
Gosh, I'm brave!
So, so very brave
Don't get me wrong; life is a struggle sometimes for me, a struggle to which most of you can't possibly relate. All I can do is the best I can do. For example, the other day I was at a local restaurant and I simply could not peel the wrapper off of a straw. A waitress observed what I was going through and came over to help me. She did it out of pity for me and my affliction. But I don't want her pity. I want her Goddamned respect!
That, and an order of curly fries. Thanks.
Speaking further to what a valiant, brave individual I am, I "came out" with this announcement at work on Tuesday.
SUPERVISOR: Clark, do you have a second? I want to...
CLARK: (Folds Hulk Hands and rests chin on them) Yes?
SUPERVISOR: Okay, what's with the hands?
CLARK: You mean my... Hulk Hands? (pounds Hulk Hands on desk, in a disproportionately 'pleased-with-himself' manner)
SUPERVISOR: Terrific. Why?
CLARK: Why? Ask God that question. I do. Daily.
SUPERVISOR: Did God tell you to buy them at Target yesterday and then wear them to work today like some kind of jackass?
CLARK: Maybe.
SUPERVISOR: Okay, great. How about you take them off so we can have a serious conversation for a minute?
CLARK: Oh sure, just take them off! Wouldn't that be wonderful? I'm sure that a miracle like that would serve no greater purpose in your mind than to make you feel less uncomfortable. "Take them off", she says! I'll bet you'd just looovvve that. Well, it isn't going to happen, all right? This is who I am now; I am an individual with Hulk Hands!
CO-WORKER: Hey Clark, do you have Hulk Hands?!
CLARK: Yes, Steve. Yes, I do.
CO-WORKER: Awesome! Smash something!
CLARK: (sighs) It's not enough I have the inherent difficulty of trying to struggle through day-to-day life with this cursed affliction but I also have to deal with these ridiculous stereotypes? What kind of unenlightened, hostile workplace is this??
CO-WORKER: Come on, just smash something.
CLARK: (sighs again, crushes Coke can)
SUPERVISOR: Well, all right then. I'm going home now.
Some people just can't handle it. Me, I have no choice in the matter. These are the (Hulk) hands I was dealt.
Damn, I am SO brave!

Thursday, May 07, 2015

Podcast time: An interview with Carrie Bailey

Carrie Bailey is a friend of mine and she has just published her novel, "The Ishim Underground", five years in the making. The other day, I was able to convince her to put her coffee down (an impressive feat in itself) long enough to talk about that and some other stuff. Even better, I recorded that conversation for the purposes of sharing it with you, which I will do now in this latest edition of The Ridiculously Inconsistent Podcast. (NOTE: The sound quality is not that great, mostly because this was done over a speakerphone and Carrie is a soft-spoken lady. It's still free, though, so no complaining allowed. Or aloud, for that matter. Ha ha ha!)

Monday, May 04, 2015

Baltimore Orioles: league leaders in understanding the concept of empathy

Last Saturday, when violence began to erupt in the city of Baltimore following the death of Freddie Gray, Baltimore Orioles Chief Operating Officer John Angelos (son of team owner Peter Angelos) responded via Twitter to local sportscaster Brett Hollander's criticism of the protests taking place in the city (also via Twitter)...

"Brett, speaking only for myself, I agree with your point that the principle of peaceful, non-violent protest and the observance of the rule of law is of utmost importance in any society. MLK, Gandhi, Mandela and all great opposition leaders throughout history have always preached this precept. Further, it is critical that in any democracy, investigation must be completed and due process must be honored before any government or police members are judged responsible.
That said, my greater source of personal concern, outrage and sympathy beyond this particular case is focused neither upon one night’s property damage nor upon the acts, but is focused rather upon the past four-decade period during which an American political elite have shipped middle class and working class jobs away from Baltimore and cities and towns around the U.S. to third-world dictatorships like China and others, plunged tens of millions of good, hard-working Americans into economic devastation, and then followed that action around the nation by diminishing every American’s civil rights protections in order to control an unfairly impoverished population living under an ever-declining standard of living and suffering at the butt end of an ever-more militarized and aggressive surveillance state.
The innocent working families of all backgrounds whose lives and dreams have been cut short by excessive violence, surveillance, and other abuses of the Bill of Rights by government pay the true price, and ultimate price, and one that far exceeds the importances of any kids’ game played tonight, or ever, at Camden Yards. We need to keep in mind people are suffering and dying around the U.S., and while we are thankful no one was injured at Camden Yards, there is a far bigger picture for poor Americans in Baltimore and everywhere who don’t have jobs and are losing economic civil and legal rights, and this makes inconvenience at a ballgame irrelevant in light of the needless suffering government is inflicting upon ordinary Americans."
Then on Wednesday, manager Buck Showalter offered his two cents...
"You hear people try to weigh in on things that they really don't know anything about. ... I've never been black, OK? So I don't know, I can't put myself there. I've never faced the challenges that they face, so I understand the emotion, but I can't. ... It's a pet peeve of mine when somebody says, 'Well, I know what they're feeling. Why don't they do this? Why doesn't somebody do that?' You have never been black, OK, so just slow down a little bit.
I try not to get involved in something that I don't know about, but I do know that it's something that's very passionate, something that I am, with my upbringing, that it bothers me, and it bothers everybody else. We've made quite a statement as a city, some good and some bad. Now, let's get on with taking the statements we've made and create a positive. We talk to players, and I want to be a rallying force for our city. It doesn't mean necessarily playing good baseball. It just means [doing] everything we can do. There are some things I don't want to be normal [in Baltimore again]. You know what I mean? I don't. I want us to learn from some stuff that's gone on on both sides of it. I could talk about it for hours, but that's how I feel about it."
Good job, Orioles. This is clearly an organization that is not detached from the community where they play their games. What can we learn here?

  • Understanding why someone might feel the way they do doesn't mean you have to endorse or even agree with their actions or reactions.
  • It's not a good idea to form an opinion about a situation based on nothing but cursory, visceral reactions. 
  • Most things are bigger and more complicated than the parts of them that piss you off.

Friday, May 01, 2015

Here's to the less-than-aerodynamic heroes among us.

Batman. Spiderman. Superman. Iron man.
Skinny bitches, all of them.
Then there's Floyd Briggs.

No super powers. No gadgets. No fancy, high-tech protective suit.
Just a man with a camouflage hat standing in the middle of his street, ready to face down any maniac on a motorcycle that might come his way.
Attaboy, Floyd!