Tuesday, August 30, 2016

My latest meme is going nuts

A response to Tom Woods

Tom Woods of The Tom Woods Show responded to an old meme of mine that has been making the rounds again.
You can read his post about the meme here:

And here is my reply:

"I think he actually believes he’s refuted our whole outlook."

Well, I don't.
I made an admittedly flippant joke based on a funny conversation that happened between me and my daughter. Like any of my jokes, it's meant to be a jumping off point for dialogue. I don't think quite so highly about my jokes. This is the problem with the tone of most of the current crop of critiques of this meme, assuming I'm some smug asshole and then continuing to assume the worst about me in the light of that, as I'll get to in a minute. The truth is I'm very interested in politics, have friends all over the spectrum and often engage in spirited debate with libertarian friends, we of course have many beliefs in common also.

"I’ll be a sport about this and disregard the creep factor – threatening his four-year-old with violent death, and then telling us with morbid satisfaction that she hasn’t spoken about her freedom since.

No wonder this guy loves the state. His scare tactics are pretty much the same as what the Bush Administration pulled after 9/11."

Only, you weren't a sport, and you didn't ignore it, you implied I abused my kid.

Again, this relies on you having already assumed I'm a terrible person. I talk about a lot about my relationship with my daughter in my comedy, and she is a bright, strong, awesome kid. At no point in this conversation did she think that daddy would hurt her or put her in danger. A four year old, in case you haven't known many of them, is quite capable of play and pretend and being silly. Most four year olds, certainly this one, know their father's general behavior and disposition and are used to flights of fancy. I also sometimes tell her I'm going to eat her nose. This too is a heinous threat, yes? She runs away giggling and gets a lie ready, so that she can make her nose grow back, Pinochio style. She usually goes with "I don't like cookies." In case I'm not clear, she doesn't really think I'm going to eat her nose, nor does she think lying really makes noses grow, nor did she for one moment think her extremely safety conscious and loving father would drive recklessly and endanger her life.

This meme has been around for quite some time and only this week has anyone ever saw it as my actually threatening her. As I've said already, I think you really have to decide that, because I make a flippant joke about my disagreement with your philosophy, I'm a real prick and then view it through that lens to arrives at such a ridiculous point. Unfortunately I have now had libertarians on Twitter threaten me with bodily harm, one even posting a picture of me with a spray of poorly photoshopped streams of blood in place of my head. The picture was one of me and my daughter and when I repeatedly asked that it be removed and her left out of our fight, I was told that what I did to her was worse. Now, I do know that "Two wrongs make a right" is not part of libertarian philosophy. A shame it was employed repeatedly. The irony is, Libertarians threatening me with violence really strengthens my gratitude for the protections the state provides. Two libertarians friends were very quick to tell me that this behavior is not in line with libertarianism and the non-agression principle, and this is true of course, but to my thinking it was too easy for those who threatened me to excuse it as retaliatory or justified by painting themselves as protecting my daughter from her horrible abusive father.

And where do I say we haven't spoken about freedom since? We speak about it regularly.  You are projecting something on here I didn't say. "She hasn't yelled at me" doesn't mean we've stopped speaking. Yelling and speaking are two different things, a point many on both sides of this debate need to learn.

NOTE: Tom Woods did edit his post to remove the part about me being a child abuser. Sadly, he didn't apologize or note the edit on the actual post. He posted this to Twitter:

I won't try to quote the next part as there are many examples of how Libertarians do adhere by agreed upon rules. I know this, of course. My meme was actually about a public rule on a public road, not a private rule on a private road. Sincere question; do you, in an ideal society, see public roads existing?
What's funny is maybe a quarter of the responses I get from Libertarians tell me they do in fact disagree with traffic laws, and they often include links to articles about small towns, particularly one in Germany, where traffic signs have been completely done away with.

"On top of this, he thinks it’s valid to argue like this: my four-year-old wants to do something she shouldn’t, so therefore the government should treat all of us like four-year-olds, forever."

Yeah. Unfortunately too many of us do indeed behave like four-year-olds. Exhibit A, the people who came to threaten me with physical harm on Twitter last night. I believe their posts are still up if you'd like to go to my account and look under "Tweets and replies" to verify my claims. I think this gets at the heart of our differences. I don't have the faith in the bulk of humanity that you have, and I question what in history justifies your faith. I do also see the history of violence on the part of the state, but much like the harm done by combustion engines, I think it's unrealistic to think we'd go backwards. I look at the Scandinavian model, and I see a way forward. I see countries with a high quality of living and real liberty that isn't tread upon by the oppression of nature, starvation, predation, and other things that had our life expectancy so low before we organized into what became states.

For the record, I don't think I just successfully refuted libertarianism here anymore than I did when I made that joke. I do think I shared some of my thoughts with you, and some of you will politely share your own thoughts and we'll have a conversation, the kind of conversation that has actually changed minds, mine included. I arrived at my current beliefs through reading and having discussions, and its quite a ways from the beliefs I grew up with.
I'm not a bad guy or a smug asshole, and I won't even bother to defend the joke. I make a lot of jokes, and this isn't even one that ever made it onto one of my albums or specials. Some people like it, the meme keeps going around, some people demonize me as a child abusing know it all, it goes around some more. There is no need and no point in demonizing me.

I welcome anyone who wishes to reply here. After the harassment last night and the very disturbing use of a picture of me and my daughter, I will not engage on this matter in a forum where I don't have some controls to protect against such behavior. Threats, name calling and other ad hominem attacks will be deleted. Thanks.

More on my views regarding libertarianism can be found here: Why I'm Not a Libertarian

Here's another old meme:

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Mike Gribble

I had a boss named Mike Gribble.
He was as close to a wizard as I've ever met.

He is the Mike in Spike and Mike's Festival of Animation. Dale Gribble on King Of The Hill is named for him. He is the one who put me on stage, literally pushed me out there. My first stand up performance was me impersonating Mike, including having the audience join me in wiggling our fingers above our heads and then slowly lowering them down to magically start the cartoon show.

When I wasn't performing magic under Mike's tutelage, there was much debauchery as an employee of Spike and Mike. Many girls were kissed, many drugs were consumed, so many laws were broken, with occasional breaks for falafel and reading.

I went from spending a night in jail in Chicago to helping trash a hotel room in Seattle and getting busted for it to getting caught by Mike sitting on my ass on a college campus where I was supposed to be working all in the span of 48 hours.

Mike drove me up into the hills where I thought maybe he was gonna kill me, or more likely knock me around a bit. He was really mad. I was fired at least, I was sure.

Instead he gave me an impassioned talking to about him and Spike's business/dream and about how to live and how not to live and he implored me not to waste this life that was so precious. He told me there was no reason to waste his time or mine unless I wanted to be part of this magic thing. He invited me to be part of the magic, or to go find some magic of my own. Life wasn't for getting one over on someone.

Back at the corporate apartment we were staying at he repeated this speech for the other flyer guys. Mike stood there, 6' 4" tall, long purple beard, in front of a wall of window with the sun setting beyond the Puget Sound behind him and he gave this beautiful sermon. He was bigger than life. Then he bought us all pizza and we picked a movie to watch.

Later, in Riverside, CA, Mike and I went out to see a flick and after he drove around aimlessly talking to me about women, and love, and how getting laid may be great but really loving someone and having an amazing relationship was better. I told him I agreed, and that I wasn't the player he knew me as, that I was just getting over a broken heart. A couple days later I was excited to introduce him to my best friend Bryna who'd just recently become my girlfriend.

We were at a party after the last show of the Riverside run. Bryna told me she thought Mike was sick. I told her he was just tired. She said, "No. Look at his girlfriend's face. Something is wrong." I didn't think much of it.

A short time later I was living in Sacramento and my brother Erick called to ask me if I'd heard that Mike had died. I hadn't.

I think of Mike daily. I try to live his words, because they were good words. I wish I could tell him, I wish I could show him, and make him proud of me. I thought of Mike as Peter Pan to a big crew of Lost Boys and even a few Lost Girls, but Mike wasn't afraid of growing up, he encouraged it, because he knew that it didn't have to mean giving up.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Bad Comedy For Bad People, live taping

Tickets are up for sale!
My event page at the venue's website isn't built yet, so you have to look at the events by date page and click "Buy" on Bad Comedy For Bad People, Feb, 27th.
Here: https://www.harriscenter.net/online/default.asp
It is assigned seating, so act quick to get the best seats, though honestly, there isn't a bad seat in this venue.

Monday, January 11, 2016

When I was a kid, if you liked Bowie, we could be friends

I first heard David Bowie when my brother said, "Hey check out this video. This dude totally kisses another dude!" That was DJ from Lodger.

Later I would roller skate to Let's Dance, and China Girl.

I remember the Halloween my brother John dressed as Screaming Lord Byron from the video for Blue Jean.

My family split in half when we came to Northern California and my three older brothers stayed behind. On my first visit back I was left alone with my brother Erick's records. I played Space Oddity over and over.

My brother Edward came up to stay with us for awhile in Roseville and we'd sit in the garage so he could smoke. We'd play Changes over and over. That Christmas Edward gave me copies of Lodger and Never Let Me Down on cassette tape.

I was having a hard time making friends in Roseville, but when another kid complimented my David Bowie t-shirt I invited him over to watch Labrynth on cable. That's how Billy Russell became my best friend.

When I met Bryna, Hunky Dory (the first album she bought with her own money as a kid) was on constant rotation.

Then I lived with Chris Sirhc and much Bowie was played, particularly The Man Who Sold The World.

Just recently I went though his entire catalog in order and renewed my fandom discovering much in his later albums to love, particularly Earthling.

My boss and I bonded over a mutual love of all things Bowie.

Just yesterday I told my wife I'd play the new album for her on Spotify.

I thought we'd have Bowie in our world a lot longer. He's always been there, patron saint of freaks. It's hard to imagine that he's gone and impossible to express just what he has meant to us.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Pretty Rough

Last night Johnny Taylor Jr. and I performed at The Crocker Art Museum. Yeah, we fancy. At the early show half the audience was really into it, and the other seemed like maybe they were checking out stand up comedy for the first time, now that it was in a real center of culture and all.

In between shows, I was confronted by an older woman who told me, "Your jokes were pretty rough."
I asked her, "What do you mean by rough?"
"Well you were talking about penises and bananas with condoms on them and a little boy."
I said, "Woah!!! That is a gross misrepresentation of that joke! I told a true story about trying to be responsible, making sure my 13 year old nephew had information about safe sex."
"Why? Why would you tell a 13 year old those things?" she asked, with dismay in her voice.
"As I said in the joke, this 13 year old, we were led to believe, was sexually active. And it's just information. Kids should have information. I'm actually really proud of that joke and how graphic it is in the information it shares."
"You should have just told him not to do it."
"Not to do it!? That doesn't work! The people in those flyover states that we don't care about, they were gracious enough to do an experiment with abstinence only education and guess what, their teen pregnancy and STD rates are off the charts, but listen, I don't think you object to my comedy. I think we have a philosophical difference and you're mad that my act didn't cater specifically to your beliefs."
She snapped back, "You don't even know me!"
I said, "Yeah! Which is why it's so absurd for you to think my act was gonna be tailor made for you. Listen, you look around this museum. You're gonna see a lot of art, and some of it you're not gonna like and the artists... they're probably not going to care what you think. It's been a pleasure talking to you."

The second show we straight murdered.

Monday, November 16, 2015

See a penny, pick it up...

I'm a skeptic.
This doesn't mean I'm completely immune to they psychological effects of superstition.
Walking down the street, I spied a quarter. I picked it up. I put it in my pocket. I went on to have a really terrible 24 hours, just the worst day.
I was grumbling back down the same street where I'd found the quarter the day before, and when I came to the spot where the quarter had been, I stopped, took it out of my pocket and placed it right back again where I'd found it.
The streak of misery ended.
Over the next year I probably passed up a good couple of cups of coffee worth of change as I refused to pick up abandoned coinage on my frequent walks. I'd tricked my brain into shaking off the negativity but had picked up a superstition in the process.
Then I started picking up coins again.
You see, I'd had another bad day, and found myself wishing I had a bad luck quarter in my pocket so that I could put it back where I got it and get myself back on the right track.

Monday, September 21, 2015

This Bernie Supporter's Ten Honest Answers to Ten Honest Questions

I found this article titled:

Ten honest questions I’d like every Bernie Sanders supporter to answer

1. If Elizabeth Warren were in the race, most of you would be supporting her instead. If neither Warren nor Bernie were in the race, most of you would be supporting Martin O’Malley despite knowing nothing about him. How are we supposed to take your endorsement of Bernie seriously when you appear to be simply backing him because he’s not Hillary?

Yeah, if Warren were in I'd support her. I'd support Hillary before O'Malley though. But I imagine there are people who'd prefer O'Malley to Hillary. It's almost like people are voting for the person who best represents their views and Hillary might not be in the top 3 positions on that list for some of them. 

2. Do you honestly believe that Bernie would do well with foreign policy? Do you think he’d really be able to get congressmen of either party to vote for any of his initiatives once they see that he’s not willing to compromise even a little? Are you envisioning a scenario in which President Bernie would be able to get anything accomplished at all? Even his most prominent supporters like Noam Chomsky have acknowledged he would get nothing done in office. Are you so enamored with the very idea of a protest candidate winning, you wouldn’t care that he’d be ineffective?

I'm a bit emboldened perhaps by Obama getting as much done as he has even with the House and Senate he has, but I suggest you look into Bernie's history or even just listen to him more than you seem to have. He is an adept politician, no stranger to politics or to compromise.
And to be honest, I'm more concerned about what he'd stop from happening at this point given the extreme platform of the modern GOP. 

3. Are you unable to understand national polls, or do you just like to ignore them because they reveal that your guy is losing by thirty-eight points within his own party?

Do you just pick your candidate by who seems to be winning? Bernie has been gaining ground. He may win a couple of early primaries and the effect of that might further close that gap on the national scene. Or I might campaign for the candidate I am passionate about, and if he loses, take the loss like an adult and decide what to do from there.

4. Are you under the impression that the people showing up to Bernie’s rallies each get more than one vote? Is that how you think he closes the gap? Or have you intentionally saturated yourself so thoroughly with people voting for your guy that you’ve honestly forgotten the vast majority of the nation says they favor someone else?

Yes. OMG? You mean, you don't get extra votes when you attend a Bernie rally? WTF?! (See answer to #3, and quit being an asshole.)

5. Do you understand that Bernie’s refusal to take traditional SuperPAC money means that even if he did get the nomination, he’d be outspent ten to one by his republican opponent? Are you aware that moderates and undecideds make their decisions based primarily on television ads, which are the most expensive part of any campaign? Do you get that nearly every ad would be for the republican? Do you get that he’d almost certainly lose? Would you really rather Bernie get the nomination and lose, than Hillary get the nomination and win? Because that’s how it looks to the rest of us.

Yeah. We understand. Do you get that for many of us it's one our favorite things about him, and that the world is changing fast? We are becoming the media. The GOP is not putting forward a serious candidate. If ever there was a time when this could happen it's now, (and also several other times in a our history when a dark horse candidate won.)
Are YOU suggesting the Democratic establishment as well as all the registered Democrats aren't going to pull together behind Bernie if he gets the nomination? 

6. Why do you spend more time pushing crazy lies about Hillary than you do talking up Bernie’s ideas? Bernie himself has made it clear that he thinks highly of Hillary, and he scolds any reporters who try to get him to trash her. If you’re primarily supporting him because you think lowly of her, have you considered the extent of the disconnect between you and your candidate? Has it occurred to you that if Bernie heard you talking about Hillary the way you talk about her, he’d angrily tell you off?

But I don't. I actually follow Bernie's lead on this one. As do most of his supporters. Why would you let the loudest and most obnoxious followers of any group represent the majority? 

7. Do you really think that Bernie’s strong showing in New Hampshire, a tiny state five minutes from where he lives, where he’s been locally popular for decades, is representative of the nation? Do you really think that New Hampshire’s four electoral votes will make a difference in this primary? And again, do you not know how to read national polls, or do you just like ignoring them because those polls reveal that your guy’s candidacy is already finished?

This should have been 8 (sort of) Honest Questions, since this is the third time you're asking this one. I'm curious why you're so interested in what we think if you're so sure this race is already over...

8. Do you get that you’re supporting Bernie for essentially the same reason that conservatives are supporting Donald Trump? Do you realize that both men are basing their campaigns entirely on “government sucks, the system sucks, both parties suck, politicians are idiots and a trained rat could do better, and I’m just that trained rat.” Do you not understand the parallels between your desire to stomp your feet at Bernie’s generic indignance, and conservatives’s desire to stomp their feet at Trump’s generic indignance? Does that not embarrass you?

Do you get that Bernie is a life long politician? Do you? 

9. Most of you supporting Bernie are also fans of Obama. Seeing how Obama has all but endorsed Hillary, and how Obama sees her as his natural successor, don’t you find it odd that you’re instead rooting against her – even as you still try to take credit for supporting Obama? How does that make you any different from the republicans who try to take credit for Obama’s accomplishments while insisting he should be replaced by republican?

I disagree with Obama on many things. I am a fan of some of his stances and accomplishments. It's almost like I have a nuanced view and it's not a "For him or against him" situation. I'm also not rooting against Hillary. I have some problems with Bernie's voting record. A few. I have many more with Hillary's. If she becomes the nominee I will vote for her as I believe she is better than anyone the GOP is offering up, by far. I'm very glad that Bernie, and more importantly the support he's garnered, is pushing her further to the left. 

10. And the only question that truly matters: when Hillary becomes the democratic party nominee, will you pout and stay home on election day and hand the nation back to the republicans? Or will you show up and vote for Hillary because you know she’s the far better of the two candidates? While none of us understand why you’re supporting a less-qualified protest candidate whose ideas aren’t realistic and who can’t win anyway, we’re really only going to judge you based on what you do on election day. So when it’s Hillary vs Jeb TrumpCruz, what’s it going to be?

If those are my choices, I will vote for Hillary. You're worried about her beating them even as you're so sure of her beating Sanders? Weird. 

Friday, September 11, 2015

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Friday, August 21, 2015

I will deliver

I don't have a gig tonight, SO...

I will deliver.

If you live within a few minutes of the downtown/midtown Sacramento area. I will drive further for large orders.

You may order any of my DVDs or CDs and I will deliver them to you, and take a picture with you.

No delivery fee, though I do accept tips.

Deliveries start at 8pm. I accept cash, checks, all major credit cards.

Yes. This is silly, but I totally mean it.

To The Moon, CD: My first album, recorded at Luna's about 5 years ago $10

Cats Made of Rabbits, CD or DVD, recorded at The Sacramento Comedy Spot $10 or $15

Elf Orgy, CD, recorded at SF Punch Line $10

Atheist Christmas, CD and DVD, my latest, 2 full shows, recorded at SF Punch Line San Francisco and Sac Comedy Spot. $15