Monday, June 29, 2015

It's been nine (plus) years!

These things happened in 2006, nine years ago:

  • Twelve coal miners died in the Sago Mine Disaster near Buckhannon, West Virginia
  • A stampede during the Stoning of the devil ritual on the last day at the Hajj in Mina, Saudi Arabia, killed 362 Muslim pilgrims.
  • Several European newspapers reprinted controversial cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad, sparking outrage and rioting
  • Saddam Hussein was found guilty of crimes against humanity and sentenced to death by hanging
  • Zacarias Moussaoui was convicted of conspiring to kill Americans as part of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks
  • Over 160 people were killed on July 11th by seven bombs on the train network in Mumbai India
  • President Bush acknowledged secret CIA prisons around the world outside of US legal jurisdiction.
  • The St. Louis Cardinals won the World Series
  • Italy won the World Cup in Germany defeating France
  • The Carolina Hurricanes won the Stanley Cup
  • The Pittsburgh Steelers won the Super Bowl
  • Somebody won the NBA Championship. Probably either the Lakers or the Celtics. Who cares?
  • And on June 18th, I posted the first entry in this very blog
Somehow, I forgot my 9th anniversary 11 days ago. Nine years. NINE YEARS!! I have been posting what I call Ridiculously Inconsistent blog entries on a fairly regular basis over some 3,285 days (give or take, however the various Leap Years have impacted that). As I often tell people who listen to me talk about it, that's approximately eight years, 11 months and two weeks longer than most blogs last. The world was a very different place back then. For instance, purple was illegal and one usually had to resort to the black market to get it, making the production of this blog a very risky endeavor.
"Psst, whaddya got in a nice Amethyst?"

Point being, I've been doing this a long time. This is the Bowhead Whale of blogs! Do I deserve some kind of longevity award? I don't know. Probably?

Friday, June 26, 2015

Now, it's just Marriage

So as you're probably aware by now, this happened earlier today...
Supreme Court Affirms Constitutionality of Gay Marriage

This means, well, lots of things to lots of people...

  • For starters, as always, my shingle remains hung"THIS IS NOT A JOKE! As an officially ordained minister, I am qualified to legally marry the living daylights out of you and your spouse (Current record: 1-0). Seriously, I will marry you so hard, you won't walk right for a week. If you're straight, gay, lesbian or any other combination I'm not immediately aware of, it doesn't matter. It's all good! I don't care! I can commit weddings of ALL kinds. You find somebody you love who loves you back? Beautiful! We're in business. I'll make sure the necessary paperwork is taken care of and I'll perform the service. I'll even write the vows or incorporate yours into the ceremony, if you're writing your own (which I think you should because that's a really sweet and thoughtful thing to do). And here's what may be the best part: I work cheap! Check it out: All I require is an invitation to your wedding reception, seated at a table with one of the more morally casual bridesmaids."
  • For my friend, the very funny Jeff Rey, it means this: "Jokes done. I'm a comic before I'm an American, but I'm still an American, and I'm very proud of my country. 'the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were,' I hope all straight people can understand how healing it is for gay people to read this. I wish I could have heard this as a child, but then I wouldn't be funny. There were no models for healthy relationships for me growing up. That has been changing and this solidifies it. There will still be bigotry, hatred, and ridicule, but now it won't be justified. Future generations can know for a fact that their capacity for intimacy is not some deviation or deformity. It's the same human need. We don't have to relegate ourselves solely to bars, or debate if it's appropriate if a child sees us holding hands. We ain't Mr. Slaves anymore. We're your neighbors. I feel so much better than I would have thought. My reaction to this is one of psychic cleansing. I feel healthier. Good work guys. Now put a shirt on and go to work like everyone else faggots. All this contention. Now it's done. It's settled. Let us never speak of if again. Kinda like the Civil War."
  • For my "Spike on the Mic Show" castmate PW Fenton, it means: "Nice way to wrap up the week. Thank you, Supremes!"
  • My friend Hope Chanel echoes the TGIF sentiment: "Happy Friday indeed. One for the history books (even if WAAAAAAAAYYYYYYY overdue) and time to celebrate. I can't imagine not being able to demonstrate my love for my soulmate in every way anyone else can, and its hard to think that there was a time when George Carter and I wouldn't have been allowed either {Hope is white and her husband George is black}. The ignorance will not immediately die with legalization but it is a step in the right direction and it's about damn time!" PS: Hope and her husband operate a venue here in Tampa that would be great for weddings and/or wedding receptions.
  • The Onion sees it like this: Supreme Court Rules In Favor Of Most Buck-Wild Pride Parade Nation’s Ever Seen   "Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor...agreed that the right to 'an uninterrupted three-day batshit insane rager' was mandated by the U.S. Constitution." (God bless The Onion)
  • And to this dink in Texas, it means he feels he needs to go all Lucille Bluth on the matter:
Have a great weekend, everybody. Celebrate something that doesn't happen very often: the fact that the world (at least this chunk of it) is measurably less shitty now than it was when we went to bed last night. 

Unless you're some dink in Texas, in which case, nobody cares what kind of weekend you have, you dink.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

The summer jam of 2015 has arrived!

Members of the groups Uncle Kracker, Better Than Ezra and Sugar Ray, bands that you have loved... well, maybe not loved... bands that you have known to have existed at some point have come together to form a SUPER GROUP
The most appropriate illustration for 'super' in this context

called Uncle Ezra Ray! And if you think they used up all their creativity in coming up with the SUPER GROUP's name, oh boy, just wait until you experience the lyrics to what is sure to be the jammiest summer jam of summer '15! It's called "B.H.Y.B.", which stands for "Bring Your Hot Body" and it goes a little somethin' like this...

This song may sound familiar to you if you have ever loaded a handful of dog turds into a CD player and pressed play (no judgment here; who among us hasn't made regrettable decisions while huffing turpentine?).

SUPER GROUP Uncle Ezra Kracker are going to tour this summer, and wouldn't it just be fantastic if they did so with Smash Mouth?!?

Because it's not a food/music festival until somebody in a crowd of people throwing free bread yells "KICK HIS ASS, SEA BASS!". Can you even imagine the meta-ironic amazeballs-ness of being smashed in the mouth by the lead singer of Smash Mouth? Beats having a toad shoved into your wet sprocket, at least.

Basically, what I'm saying is these two things are SPECTACULAR and they need to happen TOGETHER at a fairgrounds nearby all summer long!!

God have mercy on our souls.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Customer reviews on the internet are completely over

In 2010, my hero Prince was ridiculed for making the following decree:
"The internet is completely over"
He was speaking specifically about the internet as it pertains to services like iTunes as platforms for artists to release new music and be compensated fairly, and he was right. He wasn't talking about the actual, entire internet and everything on it, but another area he could have been talking about, because he would have been right again, is customer reviews.

Customer reviews on the internet are completely over.

There was a time when these were some of the very best things about the internet. A new restaurant opens in town. Is it any good? Did the newspaper review it? Do I trust their opinion? Do I know anybody who has actually been there? Do I want to just take a chance and find out on my own? Too many questions. Ta-DA! Customer reviews from the internet to the rescue!
That was a handy resource for a little while. You could turn to nice, normal people with good intentions who wanted to share their honest experiences and informed opinions and help you make a decision. Then something changed. Now all review pages look like this (for a Mexican restaurant down the street from where I live):
That's because people who post reviews have become self-aware and realize that they actually wield a measure of influence, that there were people out there paying attention to what they had to say. This teeny, tiny bit of power feels good, but it isn't enough. It's never enough. They want, desire and crave more of it. And since there's nothing to be gained by playing right down the middle and it's impossible to type louder than somebody else, they have resorted to extremes in order to continue to draw attention. Things that are good have become "amazing!" or "awesome!" or simply "the best". Things that aren't as good "suck" or are simply "the worst". Many of these people are of the mindset that their praise can turn a struggling enterprise into a goldmine while their condemnation can turn that same enterprise into a smoking crater.
Misguided belief in outdated idiom that The Customer is Always Right + Anonymity = Internet reviewer
And sometimes, lots of times, if there are enough of them, that turns out to be true. But what about the poor, prospective customer seeking nothing more than a pleasant evening out eating some decent Mexican food? Now that sucker has to decide to weigh the risk/reward factor. Will I have a gastrointestinal experience that borders on multi-orgasmic or the culinary equivalent of being raped and then buried alive in an unmarked grave? Of course the two extremes cancel each other out and we remain at square 1. Sure, we could do some research on the background of the individual reviewers, see which ones are credible, which ones are cranks and/or if their tastes are similar to ours and base our choices on that data. But at that point, it becomes a project and who has time to take on another project?
Sweet Christ, all I want is to eat some good this.
So what happens? Well, what generally happens is we pathetic shmucks resort to what's worked for us in the past: Did the newspaper review it? Do I trust their opinion? Do I know anybody who has actually been there? I guess I'll just take a chance and find out on my own.

Friday, June 19, 2015

I'm back. And I have something to plug: a second chance!

There are two kinds of people in the world, those who came and saw me do stand-up at Side Splitters back on May 17th and those who said they wish they could have but just couldn't make it for one reason or another (I'm aware there might be other kinds of people in the world but for the sake of this bit we're not talking to or about them or even acknowledging their existence. Sorry, other people in the world. It's not that you don't matter, but, well, kinda.). Well, just like the ghost of Waring Hudsucker, I am here to offer BOTH of those groups a second chance because I'm going back on Sunday, August 9th!
If you went last time and had fun, there's no reason this time won't be at least as much fun. If you weren't able to go and have fun last time, you can go and have fun this time. Everybody is a winner! Unless the club happens to be infested by hornets that night. There's no reason to think that will happen but it might and if it does, that will almost certainly cut down considerably on the fun factor. But barring infestation by flying sting-y insects, it should be a pretty good time.

Mark your calendars, update your mobile telephone computing device, re-calibrate your sun dial. Whatever it takes, DO IT!!

Me, doing stand-up comedy
Sunday August 9, 2015
Side Splitters Comedy Club
12938 N. Dale Mabry
Tampa FL
This is what I looked like last time. What will I look like this time? There's only one way to find out!
(I'll probably look very similar)

More information about Side Splitters is available here
More information about flying, sting-y insects is available here 

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

I'm back. And I need a vacation.

The NHL playoffs are over, the right team didn't win (although we came very, very close) and my life can now return to a manageable level, including the regular maintenance of this ol' blog. The last nine weeks has been wonderfully terrible. As a sportswriter and in the performance of my "regular" job I experienced extreme highs and severe lows. I wanted it to end differently but I'm glad it's all over, even though I already can't wait to go through it all again soon.

One thing I won't miss for a while is my playoff beard, as show here:
I didn't shave between April 12th and June 15th. It got really uncomfortable, and I don't even mean how hot and itchy it got. I'm pretty sure that at some point, it became a sentient, evil being and it was sneaking out at night and murdering hitchhikers. If there are dead bodies under my house, I'm going to know exactly why and it's going to be very hard to explain. But it's gone now. I cut it all off after the Lightning lost Game 6 and donated it to Locks of Loathing, a charitable organization that puts hair in nice people's food so they can learn to hate things. I feel good about that.

The other thing is I need a break. Because I'm exhausted. After all, the reason I wasn't here is because I was doing stuff elsewhere, generally putting myself through a meat grinder. Long days filled with hard work and extreme emotional swings. I am beat. I need to get away for, like, a three-day weekend and just relax. Ideally, to a place with a pool. Not too far away. And cheap. As in, free. Basically, who out there has a house with a pool where I can stay for three days? Hit me up.

Between now and then, yep, I'm back here and will resume pumping out new material, starting now-ish.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

2015 NHL Stanley Cup Final Game 6 recap: Lightning shut out 2-0 to end season

Originally published at on Monday, June 15th

The Tampa Bay Lightning's incredible season comes to an end in Chicago where they lost to the Blackhawks 2-0, ending the 2015 Stanley Cup Final losing four games to two.

The Chicago Blackhawks beat the Tampa Bay Lightning 2-0 in Chicago Monday night to finish off the 2015 Stanley Cup Final four games to two.

This is not an obituary of the 2014-15 Tampa Bay Lightning. There will be time for that in the days ahead. This is merely a recap of the game that happened to end that season.

If it's possible for two teams to play absolutely great and yet for one of them to just not be quite good enough, that was the Tampa Bay Lightning in this game and this series. They had plenty of opportunities to score, win this game and even the series for a Game 7 back in Tampa but were simply unable to convert when it was necessary. Again, that's the story of the series as well as the game, a series whose games were all tightly contested with a razor thin margin separating success from failure.

The first goal, and eventual game winner came at 17:13 of the second, courtesy of Duncan Keith, who redefined the term "iron man" throughout the postseason, with assists going to Patrick Kane and Brad Richards.

The dagger came at 5:14 of the third when Kane scored with help from Richards and Brandon Saad.

The beleaguered Ben Bishop started in net for the Lightning and gave it a valiant try, stopping 30 of 32 shots, coming up absolutely huge more than once to keep things close.

What to make of this series? It could have been over in four, to either side. It could have also easily gone seven. And it could be said that whoever the loser was when it was all over would be able to proclaim that they deserved a better fate and they would have been right. That's not the way championships work though. So be it. Congratulations to the Blackhawks and the city of Chicago and wait 'til next year (which should be awesome), Bolts fans.

Okay, maybe this was kind of an obituary.

Game notes:

  • This was the only game of the series decided by more than one goal.
  • The Lightning finish on a three-game losing streak, their first time losing three in a row since March 6-10 of the 2013-14 season.
  • Prior to tonight, the Lightning hadn't been shut out since Game 5 against the Detroit Red Wings.
  • Almost 17,000 were estimated to be in attendance at a watch party inside Amalie Arena.