Wednesday, September 21, 2016

The new originality

Things have changed.
That happens over time.
I understand. I get it. I'm okay with it.

Kinda.

I mean, I try to understand. I try to get it. I try to be okay with it.

Still, sometimes I'm thrown a curveball with which I can't quite connect. Apparently, concepts like "100%" and "original", concepts that I thought that by virtue of their self-evident, basic definitions were incapable of being altered, have somehow changed.

Definition of 100 percent:  completely, entirely

Definition of original:1 archaic :  the source or cause from which something arises; specifically :  originator
2 a :  that from which a copy, reproduction, or translation is made
b :  a work composed firsthand
As someone who actually does produce 100% original material every single time I do something, I was thrown when I came across this on Facebook yesterday:
Specifically, what this person was (is) upset about, is this:
If that looks familiar to you, it could be because you may have seen it pop up in an obscure little film franchise known as "Star Wars". Other people posted comments in support of the original poster's complaint, including one who said that that the original poster was a victim of copyright infringement. Against my better judgment, I posed a question:
"How is taking a logo from a movie that's been around for 40 years '100% original'?"
I received a reply:
"Original is when you create your car your own way, a way no one has seen in the cars seen the movie could have been around 1 billion years but if I created a style or a way my car looks doesn't give the right for someone else to copy it just cause they want too, create your own shit!!! Point blank!!!"
To which I responded:
"I guess. But try applying for a copyright, as discussed above, with that design and see how 'original' the lawyers think it is."
That drew this:
"Who cares about lawyers dude! , you'll have to go after the whole car scene! If anything the [sic] should pay h [sic] I mean and everyone else with these type of decals!"
Eventually, the original poster chimed in:
"Because of the fact that although the logo belongs to the movie, the design and concept behind a Star Wars themed car specifically tail light design for a Chevy Spark the exact same year was hand-painted... Those tail lights aren't available in any stores they were custom made... Its original because these aren't able to be purchased anywhere. There is no store or location where you can buy these."
At this point, the absurdity caused my sarcasm to kick in:
"Okay, I get it. Like recording a bunch of songs on a CD that can't be bought in a store makes it original. Got it."
Unfortunately, it didn't land on the intended level:
"Exactly doesn't make it good it just makes it original"
Oh.

So remember folks, the guy selling mix tape CD's in the parking lot of your local gas station isn't a douchebag bootlegging hack capitalizing on the creativity of others, he's an artist trying to sell his new "100% original" album.
Be sure to catch my next "100% original" stand-up appearance where I'll be... umm, oh, let's call it re-interpreting... 30-year-old Eddie Murphy fart jokes that I've never stolen... err, re-interpreted... before! It won't be good, but I'll be able to defend it as "original".
Eddie can send me a check.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Justice: Meh.

Comedian Steve Miller does a very funny bit about reviews of national parks on Yelp. I was reminded of that the other day when I saw that a friend of mine "checked in" at the Hillsborough County Courthouse. 
Did you even know that you could rate the county courthouse?
Did you even know that the hallowed halls of local justice, where trials are held and other judicial matters are settled is a crummy joint that's only worth a lousy two and a half stars?
Two and a half stars! 
"I'll judge YOU, judges."

I didn't read the reviews, but I can just imagine...

Brian M. of Tampa: Let me start with the location. I get it, the whole urban-downtown-hip-chic aesthetic, but enough already. The architecture of this particular location with the high ceilings and a spacious lobby gives way to rooms with stately wooden paneling and no windows in them (wtf?!?). The whole thing sets off a heavy (and frankly, pretentious) "This is a place of authority where serious business is conducted" vibe. If that's what they're going for, okay, but it isn't very fun.
Also, what does a statue of a juggling mermaid have to do with the legal system?

I was there to argue my side in yet another dispute with my ex-wife, who is simply the worst. In spite of that fact that anyone with eyes could see (hellooooo!) and my well-presented argument about how my being two years behind in my child support payments is a form of protest and therefor protected by the First Amendment, the judge actually ruled against me!
Oh hai, Hillsborough County. I didn't know you could overrule THE CONSTITUTION!!!!!!

In fact, in addition to needing to pay all the past-due child support, I was given an additional fine ($200!!!) and sentenced to eight weeks of anger management training just because I threw a snake at her (my ex, not the judge).
Not even venomous.

Overall, this was an underwhelming experience and I do not look forward to going back yet again for the fifth time for similar bullshit. One star for cleanliness, one star for ample and convenient parking and a half star because they validate.  

Friday, September 09, 2016

Still too soon... but just wait

Sunday marks 15 years since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

Here's how some are choosing to observe the occasion:

Walmart under fire for 'disgusting' 9/11 tribute
https://www.yahoo.com/news/walmart-built-twin-towers-coca-130200519.html


Troll couple slammed for cosplaying as the Twin Towers on 9/11
http://www.fox32chicago.com/news/dont-miss/203573203-story



Mattress Company Condemned for ‘Tasteless’ 9/11 Commercial and ‘Twin Tower Sale’
https://www.yahoo.com/news/mattress-company-condemned-tasteless-9-223426110.html


Ouch, guys!
'Under fire!' 'Slammed!' 'Condemned!'
Too soon. Too, too soon.
But hang in there. Eventually, and I don't know when exactly, but 9/11 will be at least as much fun as a cruise ship running into an iceberg, with more than 1,500 people dying as a result:
"Weee! I'm plunging to an icy death! I wanna go again!"
And at that point, your favorite fast food chain (always happy to do their part when it comes to killing folks) may even sponsor you!

Wednesday, September 07, 2016

Plugnellas County!

Hi, people who live in Belleair Beach, Belleair Bluffs, Clearwater, Dunedin, Gulfport, Indian Rocks Beach, Largo, Madeira Beach, Oldsmar, Pinellas Park, Safety Harbor, St. Pete Beach, Seminole, South Pasadena, St. Petersburg, Tarpon Springs and Treasure Island (and everyone else, for that matter but especially those of you in Belleair Beach, Belleair Bluffs, Clearwater, Dunedin, Gulfport, Indian Rocks Beach, Largo, Madeira Beach, Oldsmar, Pinellas Park, Safety Harbor, St. Pete Beach, Seminole, South Pasadena, St. Petersburg, Tarpon Springs and Treasure Island).

Hey, how are you? How's it going? Seriously, I want to know.

But before you answer and I lose my train of thought, and whatever level of general interest I'm pretending to have in your welfare, just let me tell you about a couple of things that will happen within the confines of your county of Pinellas that you can and should attend so we can hang out:

Schnitz and Giggles
Friday, September 9 at 8PM
Stilt House Brewery
625 US 19 ALT
Palm Harbor, FL
September 9 is National Wiener Schnitzel Day. Even if you're not such a fan of very thin, breaded and pan fried cutlets made from veal that you feel an entire day is needed to celebrate them, you've got to admit the fact that such a day exists and allows for the creation of the pun that is the name of this event is pretty great. Plus, all of these things:

  • It's free
  • Stilt House Brewery produces a wide variety of delicious craft beers
  • Food from The Red Line Food Truck will be available
  • The event is hosted by CJ Hernandez and will feature performances by
  • Becca Childs
  • Daniel Figueroa
  • Bill Kirkpatrick
  • Jeff Klein
  • ME!
Man, that sounds pretty great. If I wasn't already going, I'd go.



And then on Saturday...
The Last Big Bash
Saturday, September 10 at 6PM
Kymatic Studios
2436 Emerson Ave. S. 
St. Petersburg, FL
The first time I heard about Kymatic Studios, I couldn't figure out where in St. Pete it was located so I put the address into Google Earth and found this:
Naturally, my reaction was "I'm not going there! It looks like a place where they paint cars." Naturally, I wound up going anyway. I walked in and there was loud music and weird lights and girls with hula-hoops. At one point, the emcee announced, "Hey, we had a case of flip-flops delivered here today. We don't know why. We're pretty sure it was a mistake because we're in a warehouse and this is the warehouse district. But if you want to buy some flip-flops, come and see me because we're selling them for $2 a pair." This made me an instant fan for life. That, and the fact that everybody there was and is so friendly and accommodating and supportive. I've performed there dozens of times, once doing what amounted to a residency of six weeks in a row. It's my favorite place in all of St. Pete. I love Kymatic Studios!
Well, their landlord is putting the screws to them, raising their rent substantially in spite of not providing basic services that any tenant would expect. There's no air conditioning and that big garage door on the front was broken for most of the summer, turning the place into an oven. As a result, they have to move. This show is a fundraiser to help them find a new home. The future is uncertain but they're optimistic. I'm sad that this is happening but truly honored that they've invited me to be a part of what they're billing as "The Last Big Bash". This massive show is scheduled to go until 3AM! Check out the line-up:

  • 6:30-7:05 Chuck Terzian - Music
  • 7:10-7:20 Traci Penokie - Poetry
  • 7:25-7:55 John Clark - Music
  • 8:00-8:10 Clark Brooks - Comedy (Me)
  • 8:15-8:45 American Songbox - Music
  • 8:50-9:00 Todd Stimmell - Comedy
  • 9:00-9:20 Cocoa Bella - Music
  • 9:20-9:30 Topaz Hooper - Poetry
  • 9:30-9:50 Sierra Amora - Music
  • 9:50-10:00 Danny Figueroa - Comedy
  • 10:00-10:30 Jonathan Blake - Music
  • 10:35-10:45 Cali Poetik - Poetry
  • 10:50-11:10 Zig Zag - Music
  • 11:15- 11:25 Jander Gray - Comedy
  • 11:40-12:10 Dead is the Cat - Music
  • 12:20- 12:30 Elijah Henry - Comedy
  • 12:40-1:10 Graveyard Groupies - Music
  • 1:30-2:00 Shifted Grimm – Music
Kymatic happens to be smack in the middle of the 2nd Saturday ArtWalk so that'll be happening too, with Kymatic showing and selling artwork.
All of that for just $5!

But yeah, what's up with you?

I'm never going to play Mobile Strike

I'm posting this because apparently my multiple refusals to click on all those ads that constantly pop up on my phone are not enough and whoever is in charge needs to know
I'M NEVER GOING TO PLAY MOBILE STRIKE!
Never!
Never ever!
Do you hear me? NEVER!!!
I don't care how many cartoon Arnold Schwarzeneggers you throw at me, it is NOT GOING TO HAPPEN!

At my wake or funeral or whatever ceremony that takes place to commemorate my passing (I don't expect to be involved in the planning of that event), people may gather at some point and regale each other with the exploits of my life and one of those people may say, "Did you know that in his whole life, not once did he play Mobile Strike?" To which someone who didn't know me that well and never read this blog post might reply, "Did he want to?" "That's the thing; he never did!" That's how much I don't ever want to play Mobile Strike.

What's the big deal? Why not play the game?
Good questions with multiple answers.

1) I'm already playing a game. When the ads pop up to tell me to download another game, I'm already playing Tetris Blitz. I'm enjoying Tetris Blitz a great deal and ads for Mobile Strike hamper that enjoyment. Have you ever been eating dinner at home and seen an ad on TV for some restaurant that caused you to stop eating and go immediately to that restaurant? Of course not. That would be stupid. 
Oh shit, throw my salad in the trash. I've got to go!
Leave me alone and let me enjoy Tetris Blitz in peace.

2) To my own admitted (sometimes) detriment, pushing me to do something, even if it's the greatest thing in the world, is going to have the opposite of the desired effect, which is to get me to do that allegedly greatest thing in the world. The more popular something is, the less likely I am to want to participate.
Never seen oneogy, let alone trilogy
Why? Because I'm some hipster elitist douchebag snob? No! I just resent things that lots of people enjoy.
Okay, so maybe I share some traits with hipster elitist douchebag snobs.
At least I don't look like this though.
3) I'm pretty sure Mobile Strike is not that great of a game. Here's what's promised:
And here's what shows up as sample game play in the pop up ad:
Build a tower?!?
We're under attack and you want me to do carpentry?
How does building a tower qualify as "NONSTOP ACTION"? Where's my giant gun? How much mayhem and carnage can I create with a hammer and some two-by-four's? Build a tower? That's grunt work. What's next after I clear this level, the Hang-Around-With-A-Bunch-Of-Goofs-In-The-Motor-Level achievement?
Been there, done that.
In closing, if you're reading this, Mobile Strike Inc. or Arnold Schwarzenegger himself, please leave me alone. I'm never going to play Mobile Strike.
Thanks.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

This thing with Colin Kaepernick

"SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick has willingly immersed himself into controversy by refusing to stand for the playing of the national anthem in protest of what he deems are wrongdoings against African Americans and minorities in the United States." - excerpted from this story by Steve Wyche at NFL.com

If this bothers you, I get it. I completely understand. If it's your sincerely held belief that every citizen who lives here enjoys considerable freedoms and privileges that come from simply living here, thanks to people who have paid ultimate sacrifices, I'm in total agreement. If you also believe that it's not much to ask that you stand up for two minutes (or however long it takes) at a function where the National Anthem is paid as a small tribute of respect. I'm with you.
Mostly.
Up until where that conflicts with The First Amendment, anyway. I think exercising the right to free expression is more important than symbolism and ceremonies, whether I agree with what's being expressed or not. But for the most part on all of the above, yep, I'm with you.

The problem I have is with hypocrites.

I'm going to (mostly) avoid what I feel is the inherent hypocrisy in the argument against him being able to speak at all, which is the popularly held opinion that Colin Karpernick shouldn't be saying anything about black people being oppressed because he has lots of money and has never been oppressed. Meanwhile, Black Lives Matter protesters shouldn't be out there blocking traffic because they need to get jobs and contribute to society. So, a guy who is employed at an elite level in his chosen profession shouldn't be allowed to open his mouth, nor a whole bunch of people perceived and dismissed as bums. Then who exactly does get to exercise their right to free speech under the First Amendment and express dissatisfaction with a system that many people agree is, at best, not perfect?

This guy, basically.
Even though I'm running out of patience with idiots like this:
Yeah, black people kept their mouths shut prior to 2008 because Dr. Martin Luther King, Malcolm X and Muhammad Ali are all fictional characters.
People who seem to honestly believe that racism is over, that black people woke up on the morning of January 2, 1863, had breakfast at a diner, then hopped in the front seat of a bus where they watched Michael Jackson videos on MTV on their way to playing some Major League Baseball on a perfectly level field. Many of whom believe free speech is something that should only be available to those who say things they agree with. These people simply refuse to GET IT and they're wearing me out.


No, in spite of all those words I spewed up there, today I'd rather direct my ire toward the people who are more upset and "outraged" at the disrespect shown to military veterans by how Colin Kaepernick chooses to express himself rather than actual, real disrespect being shown to military veterans in the form of actual, harmful actions. Specifically, people who will waste time and energy posting stupid, exploitative memes like this one...
If you see a picture like this and think "that would make an excellent meme", you're a piece of shit.
...rather than educate themselves about the existence of situations like this...
"Divisive Senate politics on Thursday (July 14) stalled funding for troops and veterans, and threw the defense budget into uncertainty for the second year in a row." - Military.com
Based on the volume of sheer vitriol and anger directed at Kaepernick over these last few days, I'm betting most people are too busy devouring every word written about him to even bother to click on that link above.
Well, they might not read every word written about him. That would be bad for their narrative.

And that's just the latest episode of the government screwing veterans and nobody really caring that much.

The only logical conclusion that can be drawn from that is most people care about the conduct of "warriors" in the NFL more than actual warriors.
Makes sense, really. Let's face it; in real life, the troops are icky. They wear drab clothing, get all disfigured with their arms and legs blown off and psychologically traumatized and just generally unattractive. Then they come home from the war(s) and they want jobs and money and healthcare so they can have families.
Blech!
On the other hand, football players wear colorful costumes like super heroes, are fit and handsome and many of them have the decency to go kill themselves when we're finished with them.
Thank you for your service.
Plus, it's much easier to show the world what good people they are by slapping a "SUPPORT THE TROOPS" bumper sticker on their car than actually doing it.
Show everybody what a good patriot you are for less than $3? Hey, beats voting!
To sum up: My point is that no matter how much Colin Kaepernick's opinions and the way he expresses them disagree with your opinions, his affect on veterans, compared to the conduct of people whose actions actually have a direct impact on the lives of veterans and their families, is literally nothing. And if you refuse to acknowledge that truth and insist on fighting this battle on this level, you're a grandstanding hypocrite.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Quit crying, Tampa. Again. Still. Always.

I wrote this two years ago prior to the 2012 Republican National Convention taking place in Tampa.
Apparently, that message didn't land and we still have some work to do.

Comedian Amy Schumer just had a book published, in which she said (wrote) this...

"I was on the road doing a tour and traveling between two horrendous cities: Fayetteville, North Carolina, and Tampa, Florida. I'm not scared about writing that and making those people mad, because I know for a fact that no one who lives there has ever read a book. JKJKJKJKJK, but kind of not K."

It's three sentences, 54 words, 262 letters, from a 336-page book.

Here are headlines reacting to those 54 words from a 336-page book from some of our major media outlets:
  • "Comedian Amy Schumer puts Tampa on blast" - TV station WTSP (CBS affiliate)
  • "Amy Schumer had a great one-night stand in Tampa, but calls the city 'horrendous' in her new book" - Tampa Bay Times
  • "'Horrendous' Tampa responds to Amy Schumer" - TV station WTVT (Fox affiliate)
  • "Celeb Amy Schumer slams Tampa" - TV station WFTS (ABC affiliate)
"On blast"? "Slams"?
It's hard to tell from the media's reaction, but it's not an entire book about how Amy Schumer thinks Tampa is horrendous.
Does anyone weep for Fayetteville?
Before you ask "how does this even qualify as news?", which is a valid question, remember that a community's news media is a reflection of the boobs who live there. Boobs who respond to headlines like those with comments like these:
  • "I have always said people who bash other people or other places have a lot of insecurities of their own and are not very happy. She is very unhappy and really is a pathetic person. You can tell she has insecurities. And we know what they are."
  • "When someone with class and respect say that, then I will take it seriously. Otherwise, consider the source. Unhappy people bring unhappiness around them."
  • "My opinion of her isn't any worse; I thought she was gross, overrated, and a talentless hack from the start. This comment just shows she's a moron as well."
  • "Maybe the people of Tampa need to show her just how many books we read and boycott her show. She will change her tune when her wallet gets hurt. Not funny!"
  • "No one should buy tickets to her upcoming show here !!!!"
Seriously? A boycott?? Over that???
It's exactly the kind of joke that's made about Cleveland, as well as lots of other places, all the time. Making fun of New York, along with Los Angeles and Chicago, is practically an institution. But every single time somebody says anything even slightly mean about Tampa or the surrounding Tampa Bay area, this is the standard reaction.
Also, if you can read a passage that insinuates that you can't read...
Thankfully, some people here have a sense of humor, and more importantly, a sense of perspective. Including Mayor Bob Buckhorn:
"Based on what I read, she had a hell of a one-night stand so there are some Tampanians who are doing their job so that's a good thing. Certainly she is entitled to her opinion, misinformed as it may be. I'm certain if she got to know us like we know each other, she'd probably want to move here."
And who is bugging the mayor with bullshit like this?!?
The other great response comes from Inkwood Books, a very cool independent store here in Tampa who not only updated the sign outside their store (see above) but also this on social media:
"Dear @amyschumer Please help us sell the 4 copies of your book we ordered. Since you told everyone we don't read, we are now a small band of starving/thirsty booksellers in need of pizza and gin. We heard you will be in ‪#‎HorrendousTampa‬ in October. Would you consider a book signing? ‪#‎TheGirlWithTheLowerBackTattoo‬ ‪#‎TrampaStampa‬ ‪#‎booksellerlife‬ ‪#‎WeActuallyReadAndSellThe‬$@#*OutOfBooks #booksellerlife ‪#‎SecondChances‬ @simonandschuster"

"Totally kidding. Loved the book, love your humor. Not kidding about signing books though…we’re up to like 17 readers now"
Which prompted this response from Schumer herself, who will be performing in Tampa on October 16:
"I really appreciate your offer. I trash Long Island, where I’m from all the time. Maybe I’ll come by if the timing works!"
Again, butch up Tampa. You need to not only get over this petty butthurt nonsense already, you need to not let it bother you that much in the first place. This is the kind of thing that comes with being a city. If anything, we should appreciate the shout-out. Unlike one outraged (??!!!!) local major media outlet, at least she cared enough to get the name right.
Ironwhat now, WFLA.com?

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

You didn't vote for me, did you? Good!


Voting for Creative Loafing's 2016 Best of the Bay awards ended yesterday.
"Oh no! It's too late to vote for you!"
Yeah, well, there's kind of a point to mentioning that now. As promised back on July 21, I restricted my "campaign" for votes to just one mention. I didn't really feel it was necessary to waste time pandering to my readers since I was fortunate to have won TWO OF THOSE MOTHERS last year. Unless you're in a highly competitive industry like restaurants or dry cleaning I think an annual quest for positive feedback in the form of a community award is unnecessary and excessive. That's my opinion, anyway. No offense to those who feel otherwise. I will say that I kind of hope to win one for this blog, just in recognition for longevity really, and maybe that will happen this year. We'll see. Either way, ultimately, I got mine. I'm cool with that if that's how it shakes out.

That said, I'm very flattered (and more than a little surprised) to have ended up nominated under five different categories. I'm not sure who is responsible (except for the blogger category; I did that one myself for the reason listed above). So here's a big, fat, sincere, sincerely fat
THANK YOU
to whomever it was to put my name out there. It doesn't stink to have people think highly of you.

"Best Local Citizen" though? How did that come to pass??

To sum up, if you voted for me, thanks. If you didn't, that's perfectly fine. It truly is an honor just to be nominated.
I really hope you did vote for Vivienne Brown as "Best Local Actress" though, because she is terrific.