Decade in review

The new hot thing the last week, other than everyone having a doctorate in international affairs from the school of bomb everything or the university of war sucks maaaaaaaannnnnn, was to do a review of your last decade. It was quite the decade for me personally…I guess it should be, if your decade was just “meh” maybe you drink some coffee or get a life coach or something. I got married, had two kids, moved, lost family members and got old, but let’s focus on comedy.

I started the last decade off winning the Semi-Pro division at Go Bananas in Cincy. I was told I was the first out of towner to do so, but I know it’s been done since. I’m sure there is a marble statue of me somewhere. I also started doing longer sets that year, like for real longer, not just new comic “Sure, I can take your money and figure it out!”

I quit smoking altogether so in other words, I can’t go to open mic comedy anymore. Too many human cigarette breaks in a 22 person show. That and with two kids, you need to have time to leave the house. Oh and writing new jokes more than once every six weeks would help.

I got to open for Colin Quinn, who was one of the nicest big names around and he actually liked my set (at least he said he did…wait, was he just being nice?). I also found out J Medicine Hat and Jim Wiggins passed. They were two comics that helped me out a lot when I first started. Wiggins told me about tricks regarding where to focus on the crowd and timing; Medicine Hat took me on the road to the Virginia Beach Funny Bone early in my “career” and told me to lighten up a bit and look like I was enjoying myself. I guess I can act after all!

I also passed the feature showcase to be able to work clubs, but I’m still waaaayyy down the lists and to be honest, haven’t really pursued gigs now that I have a family. My son wakes up at 3 am now and my daughter has cried when I left for shows, so that’s a great way to ready to make strangers giggle – exhaustion and guilt, let’s go baby!

I don’t know what the record for telling people when your next show is knowing they won’t come, but I am sure I was close in the last decade.

I started running a monthly show (it used to be an open mic weekly – never again) that just hit the four year mark. Check me out at Rehab Tavern every 3rd Friday at 8 pm in Columbus.

I got to do a bunch of roasts, debates, even a sketch/improv show, try out for a commercial for Wal-Mart (they didn’t announce a last place audition finisher, but it was surely me) and even hosted Ultimate Sinner on Sirius/XM channel 38, Ozzy’s Boneyard.

I’m sure there’s something I’m missing, but my son, as mentioned, got up at 3 am yet again, so whatever. Comedy and stuff. Yaaaayyyy.

How to do the New Year on Facebook

New Year’s Eve used to be my favorite holiday when I was much younger, now it’s my least favorite. Well, of the ones you get days off for. Sorry Arbor Day, until I get a day off and don’t have something tied to it, like planting 12 trees or making out with a spruce, you’re still worse. Here’s why it’s plummeted for me: everyone on Facebook suddenly became the arbiters of life rules because the calendar changed. So here’s your offenders.

“New Year, New Me” – This is as old as time. The difference is all the quitters that used to tell you their annoying life plan now put it in writing. If this is 11th year in a row you said you were getting your life together, just be a degenerate at this point, it’s a lifestyle. I thought these people were the worst, but now there’s more.

“Don’t celebrate success, you do you” – I thought the repeating resoluter was bad until I saw this post about 20 times. “Don’t let other people’s success affect you, you keep doing what you’re doing!” So are other people not supposed to post things showing accomplishment? Also, what if that motivates someone to actually change? One of my pet peeves is the random, soulless motivational statement. One that perpetuates mediocrity is worse. If you’re an adult and you don’t know there are people posting their best life as a total fraud, I feel bad for you. If you’re thrown into a tailspin because Randy lost five pounds or Sue finally started that Etsy business, it’s not their fault.

The person that takes their resolution and beats you over the head with it – Take all the last paragraph and ignore it in this case. To give an example, I accepted a friend request a few years ago from someone I didn’t know well, but we had bookoo mutuals, so whatever. I can’t go 48 hours without seeing some post about this person really had a great workout and used to not, but now does and life is amazing oh and here’s a workout selfie. And another one. And another one. And the same post again. And again. Hey did you know I had a great workout today? WE GET IT.

In summation, how about if you want to use New Year’s as a catalyst for change, go for it. Don’t bludgeon with your resolutions and don’t crap on people for changing. In other words, don’t be annoying and try to be less of a piece of garbage. There’s a resolution for everyone. Now let me blog about that for seventeen straight days with selfies until someone tells me I’m success shaming or whatever.

20 years after the fall of civilization – a Y2K remembrance

Some may not remember, but it is the 20 year anniversary of Y2K, the (almost) greatest disaster in modern history…except for nothing happened. The hottest story of 1999 right up to the new year’s first minute was Y2K, unlike the year before, when the hottest story was you could play Prince’s Party like it’s 1999 on repeat (not a bad outcome, late 90’s pop was trash). Y2K was where some nerds realized that all the computer coding wasn’t set to handle the year changing from 1999 to 2000. Companies spent billions and billions, hired every computer programmer under the sun and were screaming from the street corners. Entire companies started up with the sole purpose of chaining programmers to the floor figuratively until they reprogrammed every computer they could find.

The end is nigh! Oh wait, I’m in college and have beer, never mind!

Why such a big deal? It was supposed to have the potential to wipe out everyone’s entire financial history as computers had just really replaced paper records. Missiles were in danger of being fired as nuclear failsafes were overcome by the glitch. Preppers bought food and water and even built “Y2K” shelters. Me? I was partying like it was 1999 (the song regained popularity as it was the last time you could party like it was 1999 vs. the first time the year before). When you’re in college and you have seven dollars in your account, you kind of don’t care about being wiped out financially. Plus the internet back then was nothing like today. Ask Jeeves and Netscape were bigger than Google, it took about 27 minutes to download a site, as opposed to the hours it took in 1994, but still awful, and Napster was the king of the internet until lawsuits knocked it into oblivion.

Midnight came and we went online to see the destruction and nothing happened. Nothing. Not one thing. Except that on January 1, 2000, we could no longer party like it was 1999. That was really sad. RIP 1999. Somehow, we had to trudge on in this wasteland, but only history will really see the impact. (Is that someone playing 1999 and saying this song is a millennium ago? Bad joke time and also not really correct as 2001 is the new century and millennium? It’s back baby!)

How Christmas has changed

Being a father has meant a radical shift in Christmas; here’s what has changed.

  1. Now I “have” to eat the Santa Cookies after the kids fall asleep. Sacrifices must be made. Basically, I eat them off a plate now instead the cooling rack.
  2. Some assembly is required, aka, “Who in the f@#! designed this toy with that screwdriver/wrench/dinglehopper in mind?” Putting together my daughter’s bike took about 20 minutes, I thought it would take two.
  3. Fun gift ratio is WAAAAAYYY lower the older you get. In fairness, I can probably buy whatever for myself would it kill any of you people to pull resources and get me a bald eagle? It’s been on my list for 22 years.
  4. I have to wrap gifts now. The guilt finally got to me, but I wrap like Captain Hook after a bottle of Captain Morgan’s.
  5. I actually initiate the Christmas music. I never thought this day would come. Side note: There are no modern remakes tolerated, even Wham’s Last Christmas will be played over Taylor Freakin’ Swift in this house. Bing, Burl, Cole, Williams and the like or GTFO.
  6. Watching kids open presents (my daughter says “presidents” and it’s the best) is better than opening them. Unless there’s a bald eagle under the tree, then those little scamps better get out the way.

The best and worst of Christmas

Top five worst things about Christmas:

5: Shopping for older relatives. “What do you need?” “Oh nothing.” “Great, thanks for the tip, since you literally own everything you’ve ever wanted in 54 years.”

4: Parking. It’s cold, it’s nuts and you don’t want to be there, but seven other numbnuts are driving in circles too, waiting to win the “I need something from the mall, too” lottery.

3: Bad Christmas music aka that dumb hippo song, Simply having a wonderful Christmastime and modern remakes. LEAVE NAT KING COLE ALONE TAYLOR SWIFT. PUT DOWN THE CHRISTMAS SONG AND BACK AWAY SLOWLY.

2: Traveling in bad weather with kids. Single Chris needs to travel in the snow and ice? Better grab a hat. With kids and family? 45 minutes of prep work just for boots and snacks.

1: When Christmas is on a Wednesday and it ruins your bonus day off work.

BEST FIVE:

5: Christmas cookies.

4: The food, usually. “Oh, no, don’t bother with that casserole, we have plenty to eat!” (If she brings that casserole, let the dog eat it off your plate when no one is looking. What do you mean the dog won’t eat it either?)

3: Good Christmas songs. Even the ones without words, like the Charlie Brown one. I love that song and if you disagree we will fight after school.

2: Seeing family. Bonus if your family pounds Old Milwaukee and gambles.

1: Watching kids open presents. This is the best and makes me feel like the Grinch when his heart grows. They usually meltdown later and cancel it out when they’re exhausted, but that’s what spiked Egg Nog is for, which is 1A.

Michael Vick and whataboutism

About once a month anymore, I see some social media argument go viral and everyone vomits up someone else’s arguments until it gets personal. OK, maybe not everyone, but from what I’ve seen, this Michael Vick petition has now boiled down to 1) Michael Vick did his time and if you sign the petition, you’re racist or 2) Michael Vick should be executed for his actions in the dogfighting scandal and if you disagree, you endorse animal cruelty. You think I’m joking? Go for a walk in the comments of an article or post about him. If you haven’t heard, Vick has been selected by the NFL as a Pro Bowl Captain and people are outraged a convicted animal abuser is being allowed to take part in the event, so a popular online petition has been circulated to remove him.

One hot talking point currently is based in whataboutism. What is whataboutism? It’s ignoring someone’s actions or words by pointing to someone else’s actions or words. When I was a kid, I got a C on a math midterm and pointed out one of my friends got paid for A’s and B’s, so maybe I needed motivation. My motivation turned out to be getting my Nintendo removed for a month. I got an A that semester in math after that, but I had tried yelling what about that guy over there. Now, the converse is that a lot of people excuse bad behavior pointed out in whataboutism and this isn’t acceptable either. If the person you support did something the same or worse and you scream whataboutism, it’s a deflection, not a valid argument. For example, if you’re attacking a politician for being a sexist and a guy you like on other issues turns out to wife beater or sexual assaulter, you can’t scream whataboutism, you’re a hypocrite and a partisan. It can work both ways.

That said, the current argument is replete with the argument. One guy I’ve seen is attacking people who are attacking Vick by reposting other petitions and asking why people aren’t concerned about other cases and causes, like for example Brock Turner, the guy who raped a passed out girl and only got six months. Here’s my take: you can walk and chew gum at the same time. You can dislike Vick’s endorsement from the NFL and still be upset about the Amber Guyger slaying of an innocent man. You can detest dog abuse and still think Brock Turner is a scumbag who was let off way to lightly by a judge with absolutely terrible judgement. One thing I am very, extremely tired of in our modern society is that everyone thinks they are experts because they have the internet. “Well, I know everything about the Vick trial because I saw a picture of a dog who may not even have been Vick’s dog and I’m angry.” “Oh yeah? Well I know everything about Vick because I read an article saying he did his time. I didn’t read the trial transcript, don’t know him personally, etc., but I’m going to argue with you to the death.” She how both positions fall short of intelligent debate?

Vick was convicted and the things that happened on his property were abhorrent. He and his pals/associates bred dogs to fight to the point of maiming or death. Dogs were tortured for not winning or violently executed. Many had to be destroyed for their wounds or because they were too violently wired by the process that animal experts found they couldn’t be rehabbed. Did he serve his time? Yes. Did he lose a ton of money? Yes. Did he get to play in the NFL again? Yes. Is he free to do want he wants now? For the most part. The issue most people are having right now is with the NFL promoting him as an ambassador. Can he undo what he did? No, but it’s not like he stole a candy bar. Are there other people who have done worse? Absolutely, even in the NFL. Ray Rice lost his career, not when he punched his fiancee, but when the tape was leaked. People also need to realize this is a human reaction. Once we see videos or pictures, our rage is like a wildfire. It personalizes everything. You can’t unsee an image of a maimed dog. Dogs are also the most popular pet in America, by far. People who are outraged by the outrage need to realize that.

People also need to realize that there are horrific things that go on every day around the world. We only care about what the media tells us to be upset about, politicians can use to get our vote or what is promoted on a viral level. Do you ever see stories about human sex traffickers being arrested? I don’t. Anyone know how many sex offenders live in your neighborhood? Probably not – I don’t and I have kids, but every time a cop shooting takes place I see people take up arms on both sides. Anyone know who your state representatives are? Probably not. I’m told, however, how entire parties are the problem, not the people representing me. People with $1200 smartphones tweet how capitalism sucks. Politicians and actors flying first class or private planes tell me not to use plastic bags and straws to help the environment. People who aren’t sick or in the medical field tell me about my healthcare. The left tells me not to eat a chicken sandwich, then the right does. Everyone is a legal expert and then pukes back an article from some highly partisan website as proof. No, I think I’ll make my own opinion about Vick or whatever and I don’t need someone who knows as much or less than me screaming at me one way or another. Have something relevant? Happy to check it out when I have time and quite frankly, I don’t have much time. Make it worthwhile.

I think he’s a complete reprobate that is sorry only because he was caught and lost everything. I don’t think the NFL should be using him to change toilet paper rolls in the men’s room. He has to live his life though and the justice system that we have said he did his time. Don’t like it? Fill out a petition to increase the penalties for animal abuse. That will do more good than going after Vick. Honestly, though, I don’t care if someone signs the petition because what he did was vile…and yes, so are a lot of things. You can be mad about those also. If you are calling out the world for not caring about other petitions and did nothing to promote them, you’re not helping, you’re wasting everyone’s time.