I bought my wife tickets for Bruno Mars what felt like 7 years ago, but last night was finally the night. If it’s a big name, you have about 14 minutes to buy tickets online when they release a half a year or more before the concert. Better than Janet Jackson whom I bought tickets for orignally, who then got preggers in her 50’s and postponed the concert, so the ticket company rescheduled for a vacation we had planned, then postponed again and finally refunded my money after a year. (She then rescheduled the concert a week later.) We went to show, me knowing five Bruno Mars songs and her in the 2nd trimester – party time for the Coens!
Something called Dua Lipa was the opener. I think I had Dua Lipa once, but there’s a cream for that, so I’m OK now. Turns out she’s a British singer. Well, you learn something new every day…or once a season for me. She sang well, but I didn’t know one song of hers. I had a nine dollar beer though, so I didn’t really care if her backup band was cranking jack in the boxes for the beats.
After a big stage setup, Bruno came out. I will say this, I may not listen to pop or R&B or whatever isn’t heavy metal often, but he is very talented and his band was also top notch. His keyboardist played Beethoven (my wife told me that) and they were all dancing in sync (not N Sync, I have my limits) which reminded of a 60’s Motown group. I also didn’t know Bruno played guitar, but he didn’t play any Megadeth or Black Sabbath covers, so I really don’t know why he bothered to pull it out. He also didn’t yell “O-H!” like 95% of the bands I’ve seen in Ohio, so he got points there. He lost points for wearing shorts onstage because I am not allowed by rule to do that in comedy and it’s not fair, because I can sweat in 48 degree temperatures.
I was probably most fascinated by the pedicab we took back to the car. Some guy that looked like a roadie for Puddle of Mudd – Puddle of Mudd now, not 2004 Puddle of Mudd, was pedaling like a beast. I realized I should probably pick up a side job doing that, since my workout now is picking up the same toys for 3 hours and I don’t get paid shit for that. I think my wife had a good time, which was all that mattered to me, plus I also got her Ed Sheeran tickets for her birthday, so I think she owes me a flight to England to see Iron Maiden or should arrange a Pantera reunion show with Zakk Wylde on lead guitar. I just wait for her to take of that after the baby is born, of course, I’m not unreasonable.
There was a very long line at the grocery and so I perused the magazines. The most loud and in your face cover belonged to Star, which was all about celebrity beach bodies. It was as ridiculous as I thought it would be.
First off the Kardashians were on the cover – Kim, wearing a thong with a caption about her rump and Kourtney wearing a bikini with side and bottom boob hanging. That one was great, because the caption said something about having a nice body despite having three kids. That’s really nice, I mean, showing off side boob in front of your kids aside, work it girl! Never mind scarring up to three children!
Another fun one was Antonio Banderas – the caption made fun of his jelly belly. I looked it up on my phone. Antonio Banderas is 57 years old. WHOA LOOK AT OLD FAT BELLY, HOW DARE HE NOT ROCK A SIX PACK AT NEARLY SIX DECADES! WHAT A LUMP OF DUMP!
All the other magazines were about Angelina Jolie doing great or terrible and the English Royal family. Are these all owned by the same company? I thought back to a week ago when I heard a Yale student saying they shouldn’t name a building after Ben Franklin – since it was a brokerage firm. I know now we are doomed, but at least when the nation falls, I’ll know how that Steven Tyler isn’t very toned at 69 or whatever he is.
The title is what goes through my head every 14 seconds normally, but even more when I watch one of those house finder shows. The premise is the same each time; couple looking for houses and one wants something stupid and the other wants something dumber. Here’s some examples that were on while I was picking up my daughter’s toys, which she promptly dumps on the ground immediately after I pick them up, much like Tantalus from Greek mythology. For his crimes, every time he reached for fruit, the tree bent just out of reach. That’s how it is picking up after a toddler.
One couple was moving to Spain after they fell in love with a town there. The woman was all about “being right in the action!” She was 60. What “action” is there at 60. Going to run down to the techno club at midnight and rip some lines? Enough with the “action” – yuck.
The next one the couple was 100% focused on two sinks in the craproom. I can tell you, I don’t want to be anywhere near my wife when she’s getting ready. She feels the same about me. I think we can take the extra four minutes and have one sink. I don’t need to play, “Is that another damn back hair?” while someone is standing next to me judging me.
Then there’s the ol’ “WE HAVE, I MEAN HAVE, TO HAVE A HUGE KITCHEN!” people. I hate these people most. Another couple had no kids and we relentlessly talking about needed more counter space and a huge island and a wine rack and…there’s two of you. You need an oven, a fridge and a sink. You’ll be OK. I’m sure the actual three times a month you “cook” by tossing a frozen casserole in the oven or make those enormous meals for two anorexic adults that take up three inches of counter space will be OK, especially when you cook a meal once every 3 weeks.
I wasn’t going to write anything about 9/11; it’s been talked about so much, I thought, what could I possibly say that hasn’t been covered. Then I read an article I hadn’t before…which lead to another one…and another. I realized how crucial it is to revisit these things from time to time.
The first story was about trying to identify a Twin Towers jumper that a photographer who had been on a photo shoot for wedding models that morning took. He captured a man, who looked perfectly calm, plunging headlong into his own death. The quest for his identity opened up a festering sore with the family of the man that was identified; one “reporter” even went as far as to approach the man’s daughter at his funeral, thinking he was helping bring closure to the family. Turns out it wasn’t even him, the family was ravaged by rage over the thought their father/husband didn’t fight to get out and it was finally overturned due to a another reporter doing better investigative work. As a side, the story mentioned how the true number of jumpers was hidden by certain media outlets, like the New York Times, to lessen the blow with all the emotions that come from suicide.
I don’t know how I’ve never seen it, but I then read about a man who made it down 81 floors to safety. He was in the bathroom, making jokes about a new restroom sign, when the building lurched and all hell broke loose. Gas lines started fires, rubble and debris fell, doors wedged shut from being shifted. They kicked in the women’s room to help a co-worker get out, then began their descent. Some jokes, some panic and the horrifying realization of seeing bodies begin to accumulate. At the end, he stopped to help a man administer CPR and it nearly cost him his life. The building began to collapse and by fortune, he wasn’t killed and wound up next a firefighter with an axe. He escaped and described the sound of thousands of lives being extinguished at once. His eyes swelled shut as over 140 shards of fiberglass hit them during the collapse. He went on the describe a strange residue he kept finding in his ears over the next few weeks and was sure it was at least in some part, the obliterated bodies of those who were killed.
I read about first responders who were killed, one firefighter by a falling jumper even, of all things. Stories everywhere about updates on families – kids who lost parents of all ages when it happened, from infants that would never meet their fathers or mothers, school age kids who now woke up with one parent where there were two the day before. I read about Congress playing games with medical funding; tying the funds into other pork bills, then acting outraged when some voted against it (or politicians holding it up while people suffered – depending on your perspective). Lastly, I read about the crushing realities afterwards – we built the Empire State Building in one year and some change, it took until this year to rebuild a church destroyed that day. Thanks to human greed, politics and infighting, it took over a decade to rebuild the site again with the Freedom Tower.
Even now, with hurricanes pounding the shores across the southern US, there are alternately looters on one hand and on the other, people raising money and having food drives across the country. I saw a story about a woman that stabbed her one year daughter to death two days after reading about a cop that drowned in Harvey’s flood waters trying to help others. I took in an article about a dad that was shot in a carjacking while his two year old daughter was in the backseat not long after reading the local paper’s insert about local heroes, including a girl who had organized tens of thousands of books to be given to the less fortunate and a suicide hotline volunteer who had saved dozens of lives.
I could try and make some salient point; tie in some enlightened wisdom and then pat myself on the back for a thought well constructed, but the last week’s worth of information for me was dark and hopeful; depressing and uplifting on a roller coaster that is the human experience. Great suffering caused by nature and humankind and then rebuilding of spirit as life moves on, healing but always scarred. I learned we should revisit these things; we should make ourselves read these stories. It is right and important we know of tragedy so we can appreciate life and the strength of the mortal soul and to recognize the depths of evil that the same species has the capacity for. Finally, to remember that some aren’t able to click another article or read about incredible horror and then move on from these things. Hopefully that is something I don’t forget anytime soon.
People often think comedy is all fun and laughing until you pee and do cartwheels and whiskey inspired karaoke, but here’s some things I hate about it. I also hate the term pet peeve, but that’s for another time.
1. People ask when your next show is every four minutes. NO ONE EVER COMES THAT ASKS. Someone could be all, “When’s your next show?” I could be all, “In your next door neighbor’s front yard!” They would be all, “OH! I’LL BE THERE!” Then they move on purpose.
2. Even worse? The “remind me when your next show is” person. “When’s your next show?” Actually, it’s next Friday at blah blah blah at blah pm at blah west 2nd St. “I’LL BE THERE! Just make sure you invite me on Facebook, then text me and call me, and I’M IN BABY!” I just told you. Why don’t you put a reminder on your phone? “I CAN’T FUNCTION PLEASE SEND A CARRIER PIGEON AND SMOKE SIGNALS AND THEN PICK ME UP AND BUY ME DINNER AND CHANGE MY DIAPER AND I’M THERE FOR YOU BRO.” Never mind, I quit comedy.
3. Other comedians. Most comics are fine people. Others are a genus akin to something you an exterminator about when you see it in your house. Some go 15 minutes long on a Tuesday show where there are five people in the crowd, but they work three days a week, so screw you! Some will beg you to book them on a show, then be late, cancel on you, or never help promote the show. They put up 14 posts about politics a day, promote open mics they’re not going to, but your show? Too busy. The world has to know what I think about North Korea.
4. People that ask you to book a show for them with absolutely no concept of your free time. “Hey, you know any comics that will do my show in Butthump, West Virgina?” Um, are you paying me a booking fee? “NOPE!” OK, let me reach out to 37 comics while I’m fixing dinner for my kid and then argue pay and start time and set time for you. Need me to do your taxes? Build a deck? After all, I’m a comic, so I can do it all, my friend. You just sit back and enjoy. OH! Be sure to complain afterwards the comic was too dirty or wasn’t funny enough. Take it out of my non-existent booking fee.
Something I’ve been seeing gain steam in the last few years is talk of privilege – the idea, which grew out of a professor’s book in the 80’s, that being in certain categories gives you inherent advantages in life. Example: being white means you won’t experience discrimination like minorities. Same for straight over gay, male over female, etc. You have to be an idiot or a bigot to deny historical facts clearly supporting this, like voting rights, positions of power and the like. Where the concept has fallen off the rails for me is that it’s being used a club of guilt to bludgeon people with now; usually the wrong targets also. The other thing is that, just like anything, everyone is getting greedy with it and exclusive also. I saw, in my limited research on this, a small group was claiming “cognitive privilege” was being experienced by the smart. Dumb it down, brainiacs! Your privilege is showing.
Again, I’m not denying that privilege exists, but I saw this quiz on a random post and it honestly made my brain begin to ooze out of my ears. It was a very unscientific privilege checker. From here out I’ll put the questions in quotations. “I have never been called a fairy or other derogatory slur for homosexuals.” Well, I have, but I’m straight…so does it somehow lessen my privilege that another straight guy in high school called me a queer while playing pickup basketball?
It continues like this. “I work in a salaried job” was a question right after “I have never been raped.” So having a salary over hourly is the same level as being raped on the old privilege-ometer, everyone! So that question is already odd, never mind the fact that being raped or not raped has equal points as “I don’t have student loans.” So if you have a student loan, throw your arm around a woman who’s been sexually assaulted and tell her you’re in the same boat, after all. Moreover, what if you got a full ride because you applied to a dozen scholarships? What if you don’t have loans because you lived at home to save money vs. the student who wanted to party in a dorm and took on more debt? What if you don’t have student loans because you didn’t go to college? The last question I asked shows another hole – so having a student loan, which you didn’t have to sign up for, makes you less privileged than someone who, for example, went to be factory worker or truck driver, for example.
More hits include “I have never worked as a waiter, barista, bartender or salesperson.” I’m in sales now, so I’m less privileged? “I’ve never been shamed for my body type.” Well, if you’ve ever been to high school, you can’t check that one off no matter what body type you have. Fat? Forget it. Skinny? Forget it. I was in great shape in high school, but my torso is longer than my legs, so I took a beating for it. Does that reduce my privilege?
I would go on, but you see what this quiz was, clickbait, but it was presented as very serious. (I chose not to promote it, but it’s on Buzzfeed if you want to check.) The biggest issue I have with the whole thing? Now what? So I’m privileged/not privileged. Does that mean I should lie on the ground and cry from guilt/hopelessness? Should I scream at someone five points ahead of me or hold someone three points behind me and tell them it will be OK? Again, it’s a clickbait link – hell, I did the quiz, but what’s the end game? If used as a tool to show people how isolated or difficult others have it, fine. When it becomes a “Ooo! Ooo! I’m less privileged than Jerry!” it loses any point and I daresay, becomes a wedge driver that does more harm than good. I picture two people from completely different worlds arguing with one another based off 100 questions, rather than on their life experiences and intellect. I also can’t tell you many white people love to scream into the wind to other white people about privilege, which leads to this exchange. White person 1: “Check your privilege!” White person 2: “I had a horrible childhood, what are you talking about?” Then it just goes right into the gutter and people block each other, stop speaking, unfriend, and so on.
Of course, when I commented I thought the quiz was sad and divisive, it was later pointed out that I was straight and white and a man, so I guess none of this blog or anything I’ve ever said matters. Well, poop, time to delete all my social media accounts and move into a cave in the hills. Nice knowing everyone, sorry for existing! I’ll just keep my yap shut and let people who have been servers claim the same status as people who have been ostracized from their families for their sexual orientation and rape victims.