Shit that Pissed me off – 4/6/18
Anti Vaxxer asks Why Vaccines Aren’t the Bible
I think we all know that I find the anti vaccination movement one of the worst things in the world today. It’s hard that I can rank anything above our President but as of yet, he has done less real harm. He still has three more years, though (fuuuuuuck).
This particular anti vax kook has an argument that really puts her on the fringe of the movement since she has managed to combine being a naturopathic nut with being a complete right-wing Christian crazy person. It’s a neat trick!
She argues that vaccines can’t be good because god didn’t mention them in the Bible. Which, I must admit, is true.
What’s odd here is that right-wing Christians would freak out if I asked them why god didn’t mention cars in the Bible. Or airplanes.
Because it’s stupid. Whether or not god wrote the Bible, smart people can agree he didn’t bring up stuff like vaccines and cars because it wouldn’t make any sense to the people who were reading it when it was written.
If god had written “Thou shalt yield to the driver on the right when stopping at a four way stop sign,” the hebrews would have said “what the fuck are you talking about god?”
And god would have said “It’ll make sense in a few thousand years.”
And they would have said “can we focus on getting out of this desert right now and then figure out what you mean by four-way stop sign?”
A similar conversation would have happened had Jesus said “How blessed are the unvaccinated for they shall have a lower risk of autism.”
But hopefully it would have involved a fact checker to tell Jesus that the study he was citing had been discredited. Read More…
Shit that Pissed me Off – 11/10/17
After Historic wins for Transgender Candidates, a Minnesota Politician is a Douche on Twitter
It should be no surprise that Twitter is where people go to be insufferable assholes. I mean, our President has made it his career (because he clearly doesn’t enjoy being President).
This week, off-year elections went pretty well for the non ruling party. I mean we are looking mostly at city council races, mayoral races, and a few governor races but still, the Republicans didn’t do great.
One could argue that happens when the highest ranking member of your party is an incompetent, bigoted sexual predator but perhaps that’s just me.
In Minnesota, Representative Mary Franson was a bit disappointed by the fact four transgender candidates won elections this year so she took to Twitter. Because that’s what you do when you want to make sure as many people as possible know you’re a transphobic jackass.
She tweeted “A guy who thinks he’s a girl is still a guy with a mental health condition.”
Which was her way of saying “fuck these transgender candidates, I’m going to publicly call them crazy.”
She didn’t call them “crazy,” of course. She used the more acceptable term “mental health condition.” Which I suppose I should applaud.
But everyone knew she meant crazy. And in an environment where the conservative talking points around gun violence are always about mental health, there is a veiled implication these people are one step away from shooting up a school.
Would she have made the same tweet if even one of these candidates was a Republican?
My guess is yes. Because she’s an awful person and if she wasn’t a Republican state representative in a heavily conservative district, she’d probably be out of a job in the next election cycle. But she is. So we’re stuck with her until she decides to quit.
2016 Fringe Reviews: Days 1 & 2
As an artist at the Minnesota Fringe, I know a whole lot of people involved in the festival. It makes it difficult for me to write reviews and because I don’t want to torpedo anyone’s shows, I don’t write reviews on the official Fringe web site. Instead, I blog my thoughts here. If you are an artist and you read my review of your show, here are a few things I want you to know.
First: You made a show happen. I can’t hate you for that because I know how hard it is to make a show happen. Even if I didn’t like your show, I like that you gave it a shot. I like you for being creative and for being excited and for doing something with an idea besides thinking “wouldn’t it be great if…”
Second: Not liking a show is not the same as not liking a person. I know that’s hard. I struggle with it myself every time I read a bad review. I can have fifteen great reviews and one bad review will wreck me. I’m sorry I didn’t like your show. I really am. I want to like every show. I still like you, though. And I want you to try again.
Third: If I didn’t like a show, I’m going to try to explain why because saying “I hated this show” is useless. Saying “I think this would have made the show better” is helpful. Artists may not agree with me and that’s cool. But I know that they would rather hear someone say “I think this would have improved your show,” than “I just didn’t like it.”
Also, this year I am keeping a “Trump Count.” This refers to the number of shows I watch that make a joke about Donald Trump. I am not complaining about these jokes, mind you. I feel that Donald Trump jokes are vital in a world that needs to make it clear that Donald Trump is a joke.
I’ve seen eight shows so far. Trump count: 5
How I’m going to Die Laughing
This weekend is the third annual Die Laughing marathon. As always, it serves two purposes. The first is to raise money for Fearless Comedy Productions. We have a really exciting slate of shows lined up for this year and we need public support to help them happen.
But the bigger purpose is just to do something crazy. Something Fearless. We are going to fill a weekend with comedy.
A lot of people will be doing a lot of stuff. And I’m no exception. Here is a list of the things I’ll be involved in during the weekend*:
7:00 – 7:30 PM Friday – Fearless Opener
I’m the host for this opening segment and I’m going to pack a lot into 30 minutes. My band, The Dregs, is going to sing the national anthem. Or not. Our goal is to help raise $500 in this first half hour so for every $50 raised, we will sing one less line of the national anthem. Because we figure people don’t actually want to hear it. If we can raise the full $500, we will re-write the anthem in honor of Die Laughing.
We will also be revealing our upcoming Fearless season. We have five shows scheduled in 2016 and we are sponsoring three artists at the Minnesota Fringe Festival. We’re going to tell you about all of those shows and members of our company are going to improvise scenes from each of them!
Shit that Didn’t Piss me Off – 9/18
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 Know What I’m Doing This Weekend
First off, we made our pre-event goal for Die Laughing and that is amazing! The board offered a $500 matching grant prior to the opening of Die Laughing and we have already raised $500. That means we’ve actually raised $1000. Which is amazing.
This blog entry is about my weekend schedule. I’m not just the Artistic Director of Fearless Comedy Productions, I’m also a performer. I’ll be performing a lot this weekend so here, in tiring detail, is what I’ll be doing.
Friday, March 6th
7:00 PM – We kick off the marathon with Fearless Lab. I’m going to be judging a Vilification Tennis match featuring the last four winners of our amateur show – Nick Glover, Molly Glover, Eric Thompson and Duck Washington. There will also be stand-up comedy, short form improv and a variety of other stuff. We also kick off the marathon with a $250 matching grant so help us get started right!
Saturday, March 7th
Midnight – PowerPoint Karaoke. I’m one of the presenters in my favorite improv game of all time. Presenters are given a series of slides that make no sense and must make up a presentation based on the slides. Also presenting will be Windy Bowlsby and Dawn Krosnowski. It should be amazing. Also, we have a $250 matching grant from CONvergence during that hour!
Money Makes the World Go Round
I hate asking people for money. It makes me uncomfortable. I know I’m not alone. Asking for money is hard.
But one thing I’ve learned in the last several years is this: The best way to get people to give you money is to tell them you want it. Nobody has unlimited funds but everyone is prepared to pay something for a thing they feel strongly about.
The Dregs are able to get five dollars per requested song because we have set the price and people want to pay it. We make it clear that there is a price for our services.
So what I’m asking for today is your money. Fearless Comedy needs your support this weekend and there are a lot of ways you can help us out. As I wrote yesterday, we have a lot of plans for the funds we are raising.
First, if you are thinking about donating at least $50, consider a matching grant. Pick an hour during the event and match donations up to a certain amount. This has a great impact because it means people are more likely to contribute because their donation is effectively doubled. The donation you were going to make anyway is also doubled.
Your donation can be anonymous or we can put your name on it.
If you would like to set up a matching grant, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org and I will help you set it up.
Why do we want to Die Laughing?
I’m spending most of this week working on Die Laughing for Fearless Comedy Productions and that means I’m writing about the event. A lot.
So please forgive me if you’ve seen this information before. It’s important so I’m making sure that it shows up in a lot of different places.
Today’s blog is going to discuss why we are doing a fundraiser in the first place. It is really easy to ask people for money. It is a lot more important to make sure they know why we are asking for money.
Our goal for this event is $10,069, which is a juvenile joke. That’s our specialty! It also is probably not enough. We’d be much happier if we made closer to $15,000. I’m going to try to explain why.
Fringe Reviews – Days 10 & 11
I spent a lot of time at the Fringe this weekend and while reviewing shows makes no difference for anyone’s attendance at this point, I’m still going to write about what I saw.
I’ve developed a lot of friends at the Fringe over the years. At first, I would try very hard to see all of their shows because that’s what friends do. Over time, I’ve reached the point where watching every show by a friend could mean I’d never see anything by someone I don’t know.
So I reached the point where I realized that everyone I knew was in the same boat as me. Making a choice to miss a friend’s show isn’t personal. You are only going to see so many shows over the course of eleven days.
When you reach that conclusion, it takes a little bit of the pressure off.
So if you are a friend of mine and I missed your show this year, I’m sorry. If you missed mine, that is OK too. I’m sure we can all still be friends.
Friend a Day – David Traylor
David is another very new friend. I’ve known him for less than a year. He tried out for Vilification Tennis at this year’s amateur show. He didn’t make it into the cast because I only have room for one person this year but we did invite him to be a part of Fearless and that has proven to be a great choice.
I have so much respect for anyone who tries out for Vilification Tennis through the amateur show. It’s about the scariest possible proposition I can think of to try out for a show in front of a live audience. It’s a lot like American Idol without the slightest possibility of achieving any kind of celebrity.
David is well-known in geek circles as Captain America. He’s got the look and the costume and he clearly exercises a lot more than I do.
As a part of Fearless, he’s been willing to jump into just about anything we need him to do. When we wrote the halftime show for CONvergence this year, we decided to plug Captain America into the show because we had the perfect Captain America.
His small role underwent a whole lot of changes between first draft and final staging and he was a complete pro about all of it. As a producer, it is great to have people who you can plug into a small but important role and know that they are going to rock it.
There are a lot of people who try out for Vilification Tennis and only a few make it into the cast. The ones who don’t make it into the cast are typically pretty gracious and I don’t see much of them ever again.
The cool thing about Fearless is we have an opportunity to bring some of those new people with us into other performing opportunities. I’m really glad that we made that decision because it has allowed me to get to know David a lot better over the last few months.