Wednesday, August 31, 2016

This thing with Colin Kaepernick

"SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick has willingly immersed himself into controversy by refusing to stand for the playing of the national anthem in protest of what he deems are wrongdoings against African Americans and minorities in the United States." - excerpted from this story by Steve Wyche at

If this bothers you, I get it. I completely understand. If it's your sincerely held belief that every citizen who lives here enjoys considerable freedoms and privileges that come from simply living here, thanks to people who have paid ultimate sacrifices, I'm in total agreement. If you also believe that it's not much to ask that you stand up for two minutes (or however long it takes) at a function where the National Anthem is paid as a small tribute of respect. I'm with you.
Up until where that conflicts with The First Amendment, anyway. I think exercising the right to free expression is more important than symbolism and ceremonies, whether I agree with what's being expressed or not. But for the most part on all of the above, yep, I'm with you.

The problem I have is with hypocrites.

I'm going to (mostly) avoid what I feel is the inherent hypocrisy in the argument against him being able to speak at all, which is the popularly held opinion that Colin Karpernick shouldn't be saying anything about black people being oppressed because he has lots of money and has never been oppressed. Meanwhile, Black Lives Matter protesters shouldn't be out there blocking traffic because they need to get jobs and contribute to society. So, a guy who is employed at an elite level in his chosen profession shouldn't be allowed to open his mouth, nor a whole bunch of people perceived and dismissed as bums. Then who exactly does get to exercise their right to free speech under the First Amendment and express dissatisfaction with a system that many people agree is, at best, not perfect?

This guy, basically.
Even though I'm running out of patience with idiots like this:
Yeah, black people kept their mouths shut prior to 2008 because Dr. Martin Luther King, Malcolm X and Muhammad Ali are all fictional characters.
People who seem to honestly believe that racism is over, that black people woke up on the morning of January 2, 1863, had breakfast at a diner, then hopped in the front seat of a bus where they watched Michael Jackson videos on MTV on their way to playing some Major League Baseball on a perfectly level field. Many of whom believe free speech is something that should only be available to those who say things they agree with. These people simply refuse to GET IT and they're wearing me out.

No, in spite of all those words I spewed up there, today I'd rather direct my ire toward the people who are more upset and "outraged" at the disrespect shown to military veterans by how Colin Kaepernick chooses to express himself rather than actual, real disrespect being shown to military veterans in the form of actual, harmful actions. Specifically, people who will waste time and energy posting stupid, exploitative memes like this one...
If you see a picture like this and think "that would make an excellent meme", you're a piece of shit.
...rather than educate themselves about the existence of situations like this...
"Divisive Senate politics on Thursday (July 14) stalled funding for troops and veterans, and threw the defense budget into uncertainty for the second year in a row." -
Based on the volume of sheer vitriol and anger directed at Kaepernick over these last few days, I'm betting most people are too busy devouring every word written about him to even bother to click on that link above.
Well, they might not read every word written about him. That would be bad for their narrative.

And that's just the latest episode of the government screwing veterans and nobody really caring that much.

The only logical conclusion that can be drawn from that is most people care about the conduct of "warriors" in the NFL more than actual warriors.
Makes sense, really. Let's face it; in real life, the troops are icky. They wear drab clothing, get all disfigured with their arms and legs blown off and psychologically traumatized and just generally unattractive. Then they come home from the war(s) and they want jobs and money and healthcare so they can have families.
On the other hand, football players wear colorful costumes like super heroes, are fit and handsome and many of them have the decency to go kill themselves when we're finished with them.
Thank you for your service.
Plus, it's much easier to show the world what good people they are by slapping a "SUPPORT THE TROOPS" bumper sticker on their car than actually doing it.
Show everybody what a good patriot you are for less than $3? Hey, beats voting!
To sum up: My point is that no matter how much Colin Kaepernick's opinions and the way he expresses them disagree with your opinions, his affect on veterans, compared to the conduct of people whose actions actually have a direct impact on the lives of veterans and their families, is literally nothing. And if you refuse to acknowledge that truth and insist on fighting this battle on this level, you're a grandstanding hypocrite.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Quit crying, Tampa. Again. Still. Always.

I wrote this two years ago prior to the 2012 Republican National Convention taking place in Tampa.
Apparently, that message didn't land and we still have some work to do.

Comedian Amy Schumer just had a book published, in which she said (wrote) this...

"I was on the road doing a tour and traveling between two horrendous cities: Fayetteville, North Carolina, and Tampa, Florida. I'm not scared about writing that and making those people mad, because I know for a fact that no one who lives there has ever read a book. JKJKJKJKJK, but kind of not K."

It's three sentences, 54 words, 262 letters, from a 336-page book.

Here are headlines reacting to those 54 words from a 336-page book from some of our major media outlets:
  • "Comedian Amy Schumer puts Tampa on blast" - TV station WTSP (CBS affiliate)
  • "Amy Schumer had a great one-night stand in Tampa, but calls the city 'horrendous' in her new book" - Tampa Bay Times
  • "'Horrendous' Tampa responds to Amy Schumer" - TV station WTVT (Fox affiliate)
  • "Celeb Amy Schumer slams Tampa" - TV station WFTS (ABC affiliate)
"On blast"? "Slams"?
It's hard to tell from the media's reaction, but it's not an entire book about how Amy Schumer thinks Tampa is horrendous.
Does anyone weep for Fayetteville?
Before you ask "how does this even qualify as news?", which is a valid question, remember that a community's news media is a reflection of the boobs who live there. Boobs who respond to headlines like those with comments like these:
  • "I have always said people who bash other people or other places have a lot of insecurities of their own and are not very happy. She is very unhappy and really is a pathetic person. You can tell she has insecurities. And we know what they are."
  • "When someone with class and respect say that, then I will take it seriously. Otherwise, consider the source. Unhappy people bring unhappiness around them."
  • "My opinion of her isn't any worse; I thought she was gross, overrated, and a talentless hack from the start. This comment just shows she's a moron as well."
  • "Maybe the people of Tampa need to show her just how many books we read and boycott her show. She will change her tune when her wallet gets hurt. Not funny!"
  • "No one should buy tickets to her upcoming show here !!!!"
Seriously? A boycott?? Over that???
It's exactly the kind of joke that's made about Cleveland, as well as lots of other places, all the time. Making fun of New York, along with Los Angeles and Chicago, is practically an institution. But every single time somebody says anything even slightly mean about Tampa or the surrounding Tampa Bay area, this is the standard reaction.
Also, if you can read a passage that insinuates that you can't read...
Thankfully, some people here have a sense of humor, and more importantly, a sense of perspective. Including Mayor Bob Buckhorn:
"Based on what I read, she had a hell of a one-night stand so there are some Tampanians who are doing their job so that's a good thing. Certainly she is entitled to her opinion, misinformed as it may be. I'm certain if she got to know us like we know each other, she'd probably want to move here."
And who is bugging the mayor with bullshit like this?!?
The other great response comes from Inkwood Books, a very cool independent store here in Tampa who not only updated the sign outside their store (see above) but also this on social media:
"Dear @amyschumer Please help us sell the 4 copies of your book we ordered. Since you told everyone we don't read, we are now a small band of starving/thirsty booksellers in need of pizza and gin. We heard you will be in ‪#‎HorrendousTampa‬ in October. Would you consider a book signing? ‪#‎TheGirlWithTheLowerBackTattoo‬ ‪#‎TrampaStampa‬ ‪#‎booksellerlife‬ ‪#‎WeActuallyReadAndSellThe‬$@#*OutOfBooks #booksellerlife ‪#‎SecondChances‬ @simonandschuster"

"Totally kidding. Loved the book, love your humor. Not kidding about signing books though…we’re up to like 17 readers now"
Which prompted this response from Schumer herself, who will be performing in Tampa on October 16:
"I really appreciate your offer. I trash Long Island, where I’m from all the time. Maybe I’ll come by if the timing works!"
Again, butch up Tampa. You need to not only get over this petty butthurt nonsense already, you need to not let it bother you that much in the first place. This is the kind of thing that comes with being a city. If anything, we should appreciate the shout-out. Unlike one outraged (??!!!!) local major media outlet, at least she cared enough to get the name right.
Ironwhat now,

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

You didn't vote for me, did you? Good!

Voting for Creative Loafing's 2016 Best of the Bay awards ended yesterday.
"Oh no! It's too late to vote for you!"
Yeah, well, there's kind of a point to mentioning that now. As promised back on July 21, I restricted my "campaign" for votes to just one mention. I didn't really feel it was necessary to waste time pandering to my readers since I was fortunate to have won TWO OF THOSE MOTHERS last year. Unless you're in a highly competitive industry like restaurants or dry cleaning I think an annual quest for positive feedback in the form of a community award is unnecessary and excessive. That's my opinion, anyway. No offense to those who feel otherwise. I will say that I kind of hope to win one for this blog, just in recognition for longevity really, and maybe that will happen this year. We'll see. Either way, ultimately, I got mine. I'm cool with that if that's how it shakes out.

That said, I'm very flattered (and more than a little surprised) to have ended up nominated under five different categories. I'm not sure who is responsible (except for the blogger category; I did that one myself for the reason listed above). So here's a big, fat, sincere, sincerely fat
to whomever it was to put my name out there. It doesn't stink to have people think highly of you.

"Best Local Citizen" though? How did that come to pass??

To sum up, if you voted for me, thanks. If you didn't, that's perfectly fine. It truly is an honor just to be nominated.
I really hope you did vote for Vivienne Brown as "Best Local Actress" though, because she is terrific.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Trump, out of context

Once again, Donald Trump has said something stupid, mean, ill-informed and stupid. Donald Trump says lots of stupid, mean, ill-informed and stupid things. When coming to his defense, Trump supporters have exactly three responses:

  • "But Hillary..." Seems like if your guy was halfway decent, you could say something good about him without deflecting attention to his opponent.
  • "He's joking!" Oh, I get it. They don't know that jokes are supposed to be funny
  • "He's being quoted out of context!" That's what Trump himself usually says.
Actually, that last one sounds like fun. So here's

In the spirit of this article, here's a picture of Donald Trump, altered to make him look sillier than he does in real life. To the best of my knowledge, Donald Trump has never actually uttered the phrase "Bibbity dibbity blee bleh blah". But in my defense, I actually wrote this a week ago. So all bets are off, I guess.

ME: Mr. Trump, you were recently criticized for wanting a baby removed from one of your speaking engagements. Do you have a problem with all babies or just that baby?
TRUMP: She's a very dishonest person. 
ME: She's a baby! She was just being a fussy baby! 
TRUMP: I have one of the great temperaments. I have a winning temperament. She has a bad temperament. She's weak. We need a strong temperament. And that's all it is. I have a strong temperament.
ME: I don't think getting in a fight with a baby is a good...
TRUMP: I know how to win.
ME: Well, sure, in a fight with a baby...
TRUMP: I have a temperament where I know how to win. She doesn't know how to win. Honestly, she lies a lot. And she really - she should tell - the truth.
ME: Wow! You make that baby seem like a real piece of shit!
TRUMP: You understand that. And it turned out I was right. A lotta people gave me credit for that.  
ME: This kinda makes me wonder. Do you have some sort of history with this baby? Have you encountered this particular baby before? 
TRUMP:  I don't think I've ever met him. I never met him. I don't think I've ever met him.
ME: Oh, is it a male baby? I thought...
TRUMP:  I think so. Yeah, I think so. So I've - I don't think I've ever met him. I mean, if he's in the same room or something, but I don't think so.
ME: But you were in the same room. The room from which you want this baby of suddenly unknown gender removed. Remember?
TRUMP: I have never spoken to him on the phone, no. I've spe - I've spoken - when we had the Miss Universe contest a number of years ago, we had Miss Universe in Moscow, in the Moscow area. He was invited. He wanted to come. He wasn't able to come. That would've been a time when I would've met him.
ME: How old would he - or she - have been then??
TRUMP: I'm gonna take a look at it. 
ME: So it sounds like there is some sort of pre-existing relationship between you and this baby. 
TRUMP: I had - no, I - look. What - what do you call a relationship? I mean, he treats me - No, just so you understand, he said very nice things about me. But I have no relationship with him. I don't - I've never met him - Well, I don't know what it means by having a relationship. I mean, he was saying very good things about me. But I don't have a relationship with him. I didn't meet him. I haven't spent time with him. I didn't have dinner with him. I didn't - go hiking with him. I don't know - I - I wouldn't know him from Adam except I see his picture, and I would know what he looks like.
ME: Maybe he was wearing clothing from your line. Do you or any of your companies have anything to do with designing or manufacturing baby clothes? 
TRUMP: That was all because of me. 
ME: Oh? You're actively involved in the production of clothes for babies?
TRUMP: I wasn't involved in that. Honestly, I was not involved - 
ME: Wait. You just said... 
TRUMP: You look at suits and ties and shirts. You look at - steel. You look at so many different things.
ME: You make baby clothes out of steel?!? 
TRUMP: They make 'em in very small - 3 percent of our product is made in apparel. And much of the material comes from overseas.
ME: Still. It seems like metallic clothing would be very uncomfortable. Maybe that's why the baby was crying.
TRUMP:  They softened it, I heard. But I was not involved.
ME: I'm not sure I understand what's happening here...
TRUMP: I think the voter understands it. Because they understand that I s - you - you know, you're not reinventing the wheel here with these questions. These questions get asked all the time.
ME: Okay then.

* This has been a totally out-of-context interview with Donald Trump. All the quotes attributed to Mr. Trump in this interview were taken from this interview with Mr. Trump. Go ahead and read the whole transcript for yourself and see if they're any less silly in context. 

Monday, August 08, 2016

Me, and the ungrateful children who don't appreciate me

What's this? Another podcast already? Gee, it's only been 15 months since the last one.
Yes, it's another podcast, smartass.

In this one (featuring Zac Townsend and Colin Means, producers of "The Hungover Achiever"), an attempt to celebrate me and all of my glorious, heard-earned achievements over the past year goes awry, resulting in balls being busted and bridges being set on fire (if not burnt to a crisp).
Attempt to enjoy!
(Get this one and the rest of them on iTunes here!)
Zac Townsend, Colin Means and me.
Thanks as always to PW Fenton for his invaluable assistance.

Thursday, August 04, 2016

Big League Shrew

Devin Siebold (very funny comedian, come see him Friday night at 10:15 PM at Side Splitters after you see me in the 8 PM show ) posted this assessment of Donald Trump as a basketball player yesterday on Facebook:
"I think what bothers me the most about Trump now is that he now has a full arsenal of intelligent people at his disposal and he is still coming up short. He can pick up the phone and get a top notch speech writer, a publicist, people well versed in public policy, and a team of social media and marketing gurus yet he still misfires with every step. That's like having Kobe, Shaq, Jordan and Curry on your team and passing the ball to (Orlando Magic mascot) Stuff the Dragon."
That's funny and I like it. But here's my take on Trump if he played sports:

Apologies to Reggie Jackson
Trump would be a back-up catcher, usually sitting in the bullpen and complaining about how the manager mishandles the pitching staff. When actually in the line-up, he'd hit .231, strike out a lot, hit the occasional homer, but only in non-clutch situations, like late in blowout games and when there's nobody on base. He'd be utterly incapable of executing a sacrifice or otherwise moving runners into scoring position. Behind the plate, he'd have plenty of passed balls which he'd argue should all be scored as wild pitches. He'd also be the guy to do a bat flip after drawing a walk.

Apologies to Vinny Testaverde
The obvious answer is quarterback, the kind of quarterback who can't move in the pocket and blames his linemen when he gets sacked six times a game. But I think he'd be a wide receiver who runs unnecessarily elaborate patterns with lots of cuts in and out and also running in circles. He's the guy who literally jumps up and down because he doesn't get thrown to, even though he claims to be open on every play. When he does make a reception, he always runs out of bounds rather than take a hit. Forget about downfield blocking or trying to make a tackle on a turnover.

Apologies to Caldwell Jones
My assessment differs from Devin's a little here: It wouldn't matter who was on his team, Trump would never think of passing, insisting on driving the lane and crying foul every single time his weak shot was rejected, which would happen every single time. Then he'd blame his teammates for never being open. He'd also insist on wearing pre-Jordan era short shorts.

Apologies to Wayne Gretzky
Please. Trump could never be a hockey player.

Wednesday, August 03, 2016

Why my 5 mile commute takes more than a half hour

According to Google, which is currently a more reliable authority on everything in the whole world than any religion or government that has ever existed, I live exactly five miles, and in almost a straight line, north and south, from where I work.
This commute, whether to or from work, never takes less than a half hour and sometimes takes as long as 45 minutes. How utterly absurd is that? Answer: pretty absurd. A better question is, how is that possible? Well, here are factors that add up to a reason. Also pretty absurd.

THE WAWA - All right, this one is on me kind of. There is a Wawa exactly 0.4 miles from my house (again, thanks Google) and while I don't stop there every day, I go there often. I recognize that since it's not on my way, it automatically increases the distance and time of my commute. What complicates things is actually the other people who stop at the Wawa. Specifically, the people who get in front of me in line who inevitably purchase:

  • Gas or groceries with coins
  • Tobacco products - Is it really necessary for every convenience store to have a wall only slightly smaller than the Green Monster at Fenway Park full of different types and packaging of cigarettes, all of which require the customer and store clerk to play a game of Marco! Polo! to find someone's preferred cancer delivery system?
  • Lotto - Slightly less arduous than finding ultra slim menthol light 100's in a box is the task of scanning stacks of scratched-off losers before deciding to blow some of this week's cigarette budget on games called "Quick Bucks", "Happy-Go-Lucky" or "Big Money". It would speed things up immensely and be more accurate if they just had one scratch-off game titled "Fuck It".
What you could win from the lotto or what some people spend on it.

TRAFFIC LIGHTS - On my daily 10 mile round trip, I go through 44 intersections with traffic lights. That's 4.4 per mile, or one for less than every quarter mile. Granted, you hit more green lights than red but that's a lot of potential stops. And while most of them are concentrated downtown where traffic is heavy (and where it's possible to hit three or four red lights in a row) lots of them are in residential areas where you frequently have the pleasure of sitting at a red light like an idiot while zero cars cross in front of you.
I pay taxes for this!

THE BUS - I consider myself a supporter of public transportation because when I needed it, it was there for me and served me well. But the fact of the matter is, with the way our roads are laid out and the amount of traffic on them, if you ever find yourself boxed in behind the bus, you might as well go ahead and cancel your early appointments. Because you're going to stop every couple of hundred feet, sometimes for several minutes and nobody is ever going to let you pull out from behind it.

I guess this is my panorama for the foreseeable future.

ASSHOLES DRIVING THE WRONG WAY - Tampa leads the league in people driving the wrong way down one-way streets. Possibly because downtown Tampa has lots of one-way streets that sometimes change direction for no discernible reason. Also possibly because downtown Tampa has at least six of those streets under construction at any one time. Plus, many people who drive downtown are assholes. Whatever the reason is, I see at least one of these dummies a week. Sunday, I saw two of them within three blocks, one of whom was taking a leisurely drive down the streetcar tracks.
Here's a picture I took of a truck driving south on northbound one-way Florida Avenue. Good thing the driver had his headlights on, so everybody could see what a dumb ass he is.

ASSHOLES ON BICYCLES - Why yes, there is a bike lane over there to the right, a lane placed there to be used exclusively by people who want to operate a bicycle safely on the street. But by all means, you go ahead and pedal at 15 MPH or less in the left lane of a three-lane thoroughfare at 8:30 in the morning while people in cars are trying to get to work. Because #ShareTheRoad, I guess. Right, you self-entitled Seminole Heights khaki shorts-wearing douche?
THIS piece of...
Add all these up and it's remarkable that it doesn't take even longer than it does.