Yesterday, I was invited to be the featured reader at the Not-So-Silent Planet, a speculative fiction open mic presented by Wordsprout. I was flattered and, of course, incredibly nervous because I didn’t know what I was going to write and, as always, I had no idea if it was the least bit funny.
The inspiration for this particular story came from the phrase “I just wish there weren’t so many bass players.” I don’t know why as I have no particular hatred for bass players. The phrase just struck me as funny. Over the course of the day, I managed to find a bunch of words to wrap around that phrase and this is the story that emerged. Honestly, I think it works better read aloud.
But I liked it. And I think it worked well. So I’m putting it out on the internet for people to enjoy or ignore. Warning: this story does not contain any cats.
Apologies to regular fans of my Friday blog. I’m going to do things a little differently today.
I’ve been writing Shit that Pissed me off most Fridays for the last three years. I enjoy it as an exercise in writing humor and in exploring my opinions about what is happening in the world around me. Since I’ve started writing the column, it has never coincided with my birthday.
Well this year, it has.
So I decided instead of spending my birthday thinking about stuff that annoys me, I’m going to write about things that make me happy. I’ll post this week’s shit that pissed me off on Monday. Because even on my birthday, there are things that piss me off.
I begin my 48th year today and in honor of that, here are 48 things that make me happy.
1. I’ve been married to the same amazing woman for the last 25 1/2 years. She is brilliant, courageous, thoughtful, sexy, and supportive. She laughs at some of my jokes. She listens when I’m in a bad mood. She corrects me when I’m wrong. There is not a night that goes by where I am not happy we share a bed, a home, and a life.
2. I’ve got one fantastic mother. She loves math and has spent her life finding ways to help others love it too. She loves being an amateur artist. She is a fun travel companion. Any day I know I’m going to see her is automatically a good day.
3. My oldest son is great. He’s clever, cheerful, fun, and affectionate. He grew several inches in the last year and is starting to show signs of facial hair. Pretty soon, he’s going to learn how to drive and get a job and start looking at colleges. I’m not sure I’m ready for any of that.
4. My youngest son is wonderfully creative. The way he builds new Lego structures and describes ideas for new games or parks or dinosaurs shows boundless inventiveness. His head must be such an interesting place to live.
5. My Brother is full of passion and energy. He has been remarkably successful in not just the field he has chosen to pursue, but most anything he decides to accomplish. We have a great relationship hampered only by the distance that separates us.
6. My Sister-in-law has a sharp sense of humor, an infectious positive attitude, and seems like a perfect partner for my brother.
I’m going to tell you what I personally think is the worst job in the world. Perhaps it’s best to call it the job I would have right before I realized I had nothing left to live for. It’s this job right here:
What do they call this job? Sign waver? Potential target in Death Race 2000? Least valuable member of the team?
I can only assume they give this job to people who suck at making pizza. And you’d have to really suck at making pizza to be kicked out of a Little Caesars kitchen.
If you suck at making pizza that bad, they put you out on the street and make you wave around a sign so passing motorists will think “man, I haven’t had any cheap, shitty pizza in a while. Sure, I just ate an expensive lunch on my company’s dime but for only $5.00, I can buy a large pizza, eat half a slice and give the rest to my staff. I’ll look like the most generous guy on the planet!”
While this ploy might work with Donald Trump, I don’t know if it works for anyone else.
So some poor dude is standing out on a corner freezing or baking his ass off for little to no benefit. At least that’s what it looks like to me. Maybe Little Caesars sells dozens of extra pizzas every time they send one of these guys out on the street. Maybe it’s because people think “oh thank god that asshole isn’t making pizza right now.”
It looks like a shitty job to me. But you know what has occurred to me lately? There’s a job that sucks just a little bit more.
Good for her, right? She decided she wasn’t interested in getting the Measles so, of her own free will, she went behind her parent’s backs and solved the problem the way most of us would solve that problem.
The mom is losing her shit because she didn’t consent to the procedure. Too bad for her they live in Canada and at sixteen, her daughter gets to do whatever the fuck she wants with her own body.
As a parent, I understand that there are certain choices we need to make for our kids until they reach a certain age. I’ve told my kids that they can get a tattoo if they want but they have to wait until they are 18. Why? Because I figure it will give them a little time to think about it before they get a picture of Twilight Sparkle tattooed on their butt.
If they came to me at 17 and had a good argument, I’d probably tell them it was fine.
Given how my kids respond to pain, this hypothetical conversation is never going to happen. But I digress.
This pain in the ass mom seems to think that she has some right to control over another person’s body because that body happens to belong to her daughter.
What is she so angry about anyway? If her daughter develops autism as a result of the vaccines, she is still going to be moving out in a couple of years.
I’ve been reading a lot about what people think is funny.
I’ve discovered one universal truth: if it doesn’t make you laugh, it’s not funny.
By that I mean if a comedic piece doesn’t make someone laugh, they declare it isn’t funny.
If they don’t get the joke, it is because it was a bad joke.
If twenty other people laughed and/or got the joke, they were wrong.
With that in mind, I want to talk about Dumb and Dumber. I really hate the movie. I don’t find it funny at all. Except for the dog van. That shit is hilarious.
So. I don’t like Dumb and Dumber. It doesn’t make me laugh. Since I’m a comedian and I, theoretically, know comedy, does that mean the film isn’t funny? Does it mean I should lecture everyone who loves the movie on all the ways it is a terrible comedy? Does it mean I should say very thoughtful things like “I understand why you think it was funny but here’s why you are wrong.”
Or does it mean that comedy is, at least in part, a matter of opinion? Read More…
I could mention a lot of things that piss me off about the latest mass shooting in Charleston.
I’m pissed that in spite of the fact the killer is a self admitted racist, there are lots of people who insist that this wasn’t about race.
I’m pissed because South Carolina still flies the Confederate flag at its state capitol and state leaders continually try to pretend there are no racist connotations that can be associated with that flag.
And I’m pissed because every time there is a mass shooting, some pro-gun nuts find ways to blame it on the victims because they weren’t carrying a gun.
This dude blames one of the victims because he was a legislator who actively campaigned against allowing guns in churches. As if that is some sort of crazy far left-wing position that made him some sort of fringe politician.
What kind of whacked out liberal would oppose guns in churches?
The NRA solution to gun violence is always MOAR GUNZ! I guess I understand because that’s their solution to everything.
One wonders, though, if just once they could wait until the bodies are in the ground.
Let’s see if I can make this funny…
I was poking around CNN this morning and I came across this article in which Vince Vaughn outlined his opinions on guns. He likes them. A lot.
Now I’m on record as not being a big fan of guns. I don’t like them in much the way that Vince Vaugh likes them a lot.
I don’t like that we seem to have a love affair with guns in this country. It feels a little bit creepy. We wrap our adoration with guns up in a whole bunch of contrived excuses but I think we mostly just like guns a lot.
I may not be a fan of guns but I understand that the second amendment gives us a right to bear arms. I’m not questioning Vince Vaughn’s right to carry a gun any more than he should question my right to not carry one. Since I’ve clearly stated that I don’t want Vince’s guns, let’s get down to my issue.
In his steadfast opinion that we’d all be a lot more safe if everyone carried guns, Vaughn makes the following statement about banning guns:
Banning guns is like banning forks in an attempt to stop making people fat
Um…ok. That’s a cute analogy that was probably pulled right of an NRA brochure but it really isn’t the same thing at all. See, people don’t need a fork to get fat. In fact, they can down a few bags of Cheetos without any utensils at all.
Maybe that’s what Vaughn means. If people don’t have guns to kill people, they will just use a different tool. Just as a gluten sensitive overweight person will use their hands to eat Cheetos if a fork isn’t legal, so too will a crazed lunatic use a knife if a gun isn’t legal.
The difference being that a fat person can eat a lot more Cheetos with their hands but a crazy person can’t kill as many people as quickly with a knife.
The basic argument that we should arm school teachers to prevent school shootings sounds logical until we consider that instead of one shooter, we now have multiple shooters. No matter the intent of all those people with guns, the fact is there are more bullets flying around and it really seems like that is a recipe for more people getting hurt.
But what if it isn’t? What if the single best idea for safer schools is an arsenal in every classroom?
Even if allowing teachers to carry guns is a great idea (until a teacher goes crazy and starts shooting up their school – but that would never happen because teachers never go crazy), I don’t honestly think Vaughn or people like him want their guns because of school shootings.
Earlier in the article, Vaughn says this:
We have the right to bear arms to resist the supreme power of a corrupt and abusive government.
A-ha! The problem isn’t really school shootings, it is our right to rise up and resist the government!
First off, Vince, if we are going to rise up and resist the corrupt government, I think you should have a look at one of these:
Our government has a lot of these. Not these specifically. This is a model and I think it’s British. Our government has great big American tanks. A lot of them.
I don’t know what kind of gun you have, Vince, but I don’t think it’ll do much to stop a tank. In fact, if you stood in front of a tank and fired a gun and I stood in front of a tank and didn’t fire at it with my not gun, we’d both still be crushed when it ran us over.
If our government really wants to put you down, Vince, your guns won’t be able to stop them. You know that, right?
But let’s explore the likelihood of our government putting us down. When Clevon Bundy engaged in armed resistance of the government back in 2015 (because he refused to leave land that didn’t belong to him), how many people got killed? Did the government opress the shit out of Bundy or is he still on the land that doesn’t belong to him?
I know that someone will bring up Waco as an example of the government oppressing people with guns and yes, that was a tragedy. Let’s keep in mind that the people following David Koresh were also crazy.
In fact, most abuses of government power are police officers shooting unarmed people who are, frequently, black men. So how do you think the scales will be tipped if those black men were all given guns? It’s their constitutional right!
Will more or less black men die? How about more or less police officers?
Let’s assume that Trayvon Martin had a gun the night he was killed. Let’s further assume it was a firearm he was legally allowed to carry. Let’s further assume that George Zimmerman approached Martin in a threatening manner and Martin shot him in what he believed to be self defense.
My hunch is nobody would be talking about Martin as a champion of the right to bear arms.
What if we armed everyone at the protests in Ferguson last year? Would that have prevented deadly violence? And if a bunch of police, who are representatives of an “oppressive government,” got killed, would we all be talking about how those brave protestors were “taking back our country?”
Honestly, I question how oppressed movie star Vince Vaughn is anyway. I mean, when he talks oppression, I’m assuming he means taxes.
Because he can definitely say anything he wants. He can go virtually anywhere he wants. I guess one could argue being prevented from entering certain rooms in the Pentagon due to national security issues is oppression but how often do movie stars need to do that?
Vince and I can both agree there are things we’d prefer our government didn’t do. We might disagree on what those are but I just don’t feel the boot of the government on my neck. In fact, most Americans don’t. Most Americans spend most of their lives barely dealing with the government.
So I have to assume he is talking about taxes.
Taxes suck. I’d love it if they were lower. We could lower them a ton by slashing the military budget in this country. It would result in fewer tanks, which would make resistance a little bit easier.
All of this is ridiculous.
That’s my point. The pro gun stance is nothing more than a bunch of people who really like guns trying to make excuses for why they like those guns.
So why not just say “I want to have my guns because I really like guns?” And why not admit that when you are talking about everyone’s right to bear arms, you are really talking about your own right to bear arms?
People in most third world countries would laugh at the concept that our government is oppressive. You want to understand oppression? Here’s another picture of a tank.
So stop with the paranoid rhetoric about how we have to be prepared to resist a government that forces us to drive sober and stop at red lights.
Go to the range and shoot your guns. Have fun! And stop making excuses.
Constellations are weird.
I can understand people looking in the sky and seeing pictures. I see pictures in the clouds all the time.
From our perspective, stars are just dots in the sky. It makes a lot of sense that people would just play connect the dots. Especially given our pre-disposition to finding patterns in everything.
What has always seemed strange to me, though, is the pictures that human beings have found in the stars. Not all of them. The big dipper makes sense.
I see a handle. I see a cup. It looks like a dipper. It also looks a little bit like the Tin Man’s oil can but I’m willing to call it a dipper.
It is also part of Ursa Major. Which is supposed to look like a bear.
Ignore the picture of the bear juxtaposed over that group of stars and ask yourself: if you looked at that particular grouping of stars, would you immediately come to the conclusion it is a bear?
When I started with Vilification Tennis, I was a vilifier. I was OK, I guess. I didn’t suck. But when I took over as the host of Vilification Tennis, I transformed the show. I didn’t transform it by making myself the star of the show. I transformed it because I figured out how to make the show look better to the audience.
I just have a basic understanding of how to run a show from the stage. There is a reason that I’m the front guy for The Dregs. Nobody has to tell me how to do it. I just know.
Every now and again, though, something happens that freaks me out a little. I get rattled.
We all get rattled sometimes. It can be a challenge as an MC because you need to be focused on the show and on the moment. If you are spending a bunch of the show worried about a choice you made, you aren’t in the moment.
Say you aren’t going to serve pizza to gay people?
Say you ARE going to serve pizza to gay people?
Be a woman with an opinion that you choose to say out loud?
Death threat! Rape Threat! Public exposure of your address, phone number, and place of business! But you shouldn’t take it so personally!
It has become clear a death threat is the internet equivalent of a mic drop.
Think you have a cogent argument? I’M GOING TO KILL YOU!
BOOM! Your argument is invalid!