Saturday, December 24, 2011

January comedy dates

After a three show rut in November, I had a couple of really fun nights at Monkey Pants and Tosos. The Tosos show might have been my favorite show ever. Just a really great crowd. So, here is where I'm at in January:

January 13 Tosos, North Central Phoenix 9:00 pm
January 24 Laughs and Drafts at Copper Blues, Phoenix, 7:00 pm
January 25 Hidden House Comedy, Central Phoenix 9:00 pm
January 26 Monkey Pants, Tempe  8:30 pm

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Last comedy dates of 2011

I started doing comedy on St. Patrick's Day this year and I'm going to end the year having done 42 shows. A lot of comics have done a lot more than that, but I thought it was a pretty substantial investment for a guy living in the far west valley with a full time job, a part time job and three kids. My last four shows of the year are at Hidden House, Stand Up Scottsdale, Film Bar and Monkey Pants. I will be hosting at Hidden House and Monkey Pants, which will be my first times doing so. I'm very excited for all these shows.

Hidden House Comedy Wednesday November 16 at 9:00 PM
Stand Up Scottsdale Friday November 18 at 9:00 PM
Film Bar Phoenix Tuesday December 6 at 9:00 PM
Monkey Pants Tempe Thursday December 8 at 8:30 PM
Toso's Friday December 9 at 9:00 PM

Monday, November 07, 2011

Doo to doo doo Dora

Took my daughter to see Dora the Explorer live on stage last week. Not sure it was my best parenting decision. She’ll need to try heroin to reach that level of bliss again as a human. We’ll be in a grocery store and she can spot a Dora lunch bag on the top shelf 100 feet away. If Osama Bin Laden wore a magic backpack and hung out with a talking monkey, it wouldn’t have taken Seal Team Six and a couple thousand CIA operatives to track him down. And when I say talking monkey, I include everyone at Fox News.

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Don't dump society's education problems on teachers alone

I have a column in today's West Valley View. I might return to doing a newspaper column after a significant break.

One of my favorite novels is the 1998 opus “The Beach,” which tells the story of a community of rugged individualists that cling to their unique ideals. Like all good literature, moral questions get raised and explored. In this case, a member of this separatist beach community gets injured in a shark attack and the group decides to stay isolated instead of bringing him back for the medical attention he desperately needs. His moaning and misery begins to spoil the mood, so he is whisked away from the group to fend for himself. His problem remains unsolved, but most just take comfort in having the issue out of sight and out of mind. A much smaller subgroup in the community tries to nurse him back to health with the limited resources available, while the rest wash their hands of it.

This scene reminds me a lot of the situation facing our public schools. I’m in my fourth year teaching middle school in the Liberty School District and what I’ve generally seen is this state shirk its responsibility to educate the youth. Our school budget, already among the nation’s most meager, goes down each year, while not coincidentally our prison budget is the lone area going up. Last year we had a local override extension election, few voted and it was narrowly defeated. Good teachers lost jobs, skimpily paid teacher-assistants lost jobs and many of the various student supports from reading coaches to English Language Development teachers to the librarians to the discipline coordinators were dismissed. Meanwhile we continue to make do with absurdly outdated computers, limited PE facilities and a dismantled full day kindergarten and sports program. Our exhausted, demoralized staff scrambles to plug all these leaks and truly hope the cavalry comes out to vote on November 8 supporting the override this time.

When people choose to either vote no or not vote at all in these override elections, the problems don’t go away. The students keep showing up, keep needing to be educated, keep looking for adult educators spread further and further thin in bigger and bigger classes with greater subordinate demands to give them the time and attention they often aren’t getting elsewhere in our society full of broken homes, increased poverty and income disparity -- problems children did nothing to cause. Not supporting the schools isn’t like skipping vacation this year to save money. The need and the obligation for education remains. What you are doing when you fail to support education is putting the problem on the teachers, then walking away and telling them it’s your problem. We don’t do that to doctors, nurses, plumbers or any other professionals. We teachers continue to plod along with less and less help despite the fact that it’s wrong, selfish and counterproductive to invest so little in our children compared to every other state in our country. Education is a partnership between parents, teachers, students and the community-at-large. It is not something teachers can, or should, do alone.

Our country right now is in a malaise. We have run up a staggering debt. The social safety net has huge holes in it. We’ve seen the values of our homes decrease, and I would suggest that one of the ways to help is to send a message that Buckeye is a place that supports and invests in education and where you want your kids to go to school. This election is a referendum on how people feel about the value of education and how they want to support those people who spend their days dedicated to the success of your children.

It is also important not to be bamboozled by the misinformation out there. The conversation on this topic in this forum and others tends to be ignorant and mean spirited. People often say factually inaccurate statements like, “there are too many administrators.” Every school in the Liberty District has only one administrator except the largest school. Another fallacy is the role of a teachers union. We don’t have one. I can be fired at any time for any reason, and in fact, my teaching experience by law can’t even be used as a retention criterion. It is actually in a district’s financial interest to fire veteran teachers the way the system is set up now. My check is down $100 from two years ago, my wife and kids don’t have health insurance, my 301 money is down $1500 since I started, and I don’t even have access to extra work like coaching and summer school to try to scrimp by anymore. The current conditions have at least three good Liberty teachers I know ready to leave the state at year’s end, and I would imagine that will be a growing trend.

The local school budget isn’t Washington D.C.’s cesspool of waste and ill gotten lobbyist pork. It’s a shoestring operation that generally solves its problems by just making more and more demands on teachers already stretched to the limit. We need your help and we need your support on November 8.

Incidentally, it should be noted that in “The Beach,“ the shark attack victim died despite the efforts of that small group. He needed more help.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Letter to the Editor West Valley View

A recent letter writer made the claim that he had to remove his daughter from Freedom Elementary School to give her “a chance.” I’ve taught at Freedom for the bulk of the school’s existence, live a half mile away, my son graduated from Freedom in May and my younger son is in third grade there right now. I think I know the turf and am heavily invested. The school has never been better, and this is primarily related to an entire staff that is awesome. I teach middle school, so this is the area I know best and will speak of most.

Our reading and science scores are up dramatically, and this is in an environment in which our middle school staffing is down 20 percent in the last two years, not to mention the loss of other support areas such as librarian, ELD teacher, physical education teacher and the discipline coordinator. Our population is enormously transient given the housing market crash that continues unabated. I received a new student literally two days before the AIMS test in March and another 3 days before school was over in May to give you an idea of the constant revolving door the school faces through no fault of its own. One subject in one grade level not meeting an unrealistic benchmark can put an entire school on “warning status,” and give an unrealistic impression of what is happening in the big picture. While I hate to say a body as inept as the Arizona Department of Education is right on anything, when they say the AYP standard is unrealistic and misleading, they are quite correct.

The writer makes a factual error in saying the Freedom principal has eliminated writing instruction, and sarcastically mocks the idea that the social studies teacher can teach writing effectively. Writing has been spread among the staff in middle school and continues unchanged in the primary grades. It hasn’t been eliminated at all. And as the social studies teacher, I have 11 years experience teaching writing and have excellent student writing results at Freedom. We have two other highly qualified, effective and experienced writing teachers on the middle school team as well.

No one needs to pull their child out of Freedom or any Liberty School. What they need to do is vote in November for their own property values and their own children by supporting the $9 per month school budget override. They might also consider contacting their child’s teacher and saying, “How can I help you help my child.” And if really motivated, perhaps join the local PTO and pitch in. Those steps would be far more effective than making factual misstatements and insulting people who work long hours with low pay, little job security and lots of abuse for doing an amazing job. Stop by and see for yourself if you don’t believe me.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Quick thought on the occupy backlash

Already the "hipster" personality type is being used to attack the various occupy movements. Like elections, this will be about personality, not issues. Yes, people protesting are more apt to read books, make scary references to banking law like the Glass Steagall Act and some might even inhale. If that's too much of a turn off, it makes perfect sense to bash those folks and side with the people who want to cancel your medical coverage when you get sick, destroy the last vestige of your union, foreclose on your house and pay you just enough to need two or three jobs.

Monday, October 03, 2011

Upcoming comedy schedule

October 3 LMAO Phoenix
October 15 Speakeasy Comedy Lounge
October 19 Hidden House Comedy
October 24 The Turf Comedy Show
October 25 Stand Up Scottsdale
November 1 Film Bar Phoenix

Roman Religion

The Ancient Romans fascinate me. They had a God for every activity that they had to bargain with to gain favor. A wealthy merchant going on a sea voyage would first visit the Temple of Neptune, sacrifice a bull and bathe in its blood. Now you can believe what you will and think what you want about these ancient religious practices, but I think we can all agree on one thing: Religion being ridiculous bullshit is no recent phenomena.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Cowboy up

I'm from New Jersey. No one there is wearing a Cowboy hat and that whole get up unless it's Halloween. I was in a Chili's the other night and two guys came in all Cowboyed up. My first thought was, "I forgot to buy candy this year. All those kids are going to think I'm a dick."

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Bono blown off stage

Watch this chick get pulled up on stage, approach Bono like the restraining order just expired, and blow him off the stage with her dance moves. She highlights, like a college freshman with bad study habits, his Irish, white, middle-age lack of dance moves. The comedy kicks in around 3:57.


I play a Fender bass. I never saw anyone play electric bass and look uncool. And then there was Mike Huckabee. The pan flute is suddenly looking a lot more hip.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Really New York Times

The New York Times is on Twitter. C'mon now fellas. Is the New York Times not
big enough forum for you? What media consumer out there said, "There are already too many media outlets analyzing fiscal policy, reviewing opera and describing the civil strife in Chechnya. What I really need is someone else relating the joy of McDonalds finally bringing back the McRib."

Sunday, September 04, 2011

Partying with the Nuge

I'm a Chomsky reading, secular humanist, long time liberal, but I have to admit, if I had invites to parties at both Ted Nugent's house and some NPR listening ethnic studies professor, I'm totally hanging out with the Nuge. He wins in every area. Conversation. I can have tedious discussions about my carbon footprint and genocide in Darfur, or I can talk NFL football with crazy, drunk people. Booze. I can pretend to taste the difference in those two different Beaujolais vintages, or I can slug Jim Beam straight from the bottle without looking out of place. Food, I can throw down on some grilled tofu with an organic parsley salad or I can have a steak grilled medium rare that Ted killed that morning. Music, I can kick it with a glockenspiel concerto or the eight minute Stranglehold guitar solo that includes an onstage animal sacrifice. Overall vibe. I’ve never been to a decent party where the statement, “Check out the tits on the blond,” is considered controversial. Finally, if Nugent's party sags, you know he'll just blow some shit up. Anyone ever seen a boring fire?

The Comedy Store in Hollywood, my Ivan Drago pic

Made it out to the Comedy Store in Hollywood this summer. I took this picture as a reminder of my goal to be performing here one day. That place is long removed from its heyday, but there is still a lot of history there. This book, "I'm Dying Up Here,"  really captures how the place fell apart quite needlessly over very little money, lots of ego and the general shitting upon of comics, which seems to be a normal trend that has changed little over time. I'm going to keep this picture as a reminder, kind of like Rocky did with Ivan Drago.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Latest Comedy Dates

August 28 The Comedy Spot, Scottsdale
September 1 Hidden House Comedy, Central Phoenix
September 8 Hidden House Comedy, Central Phoenix
September 10 Speakeasy Comedy Lounge, Scottsdale
September 13 Film Bar Phoenix, Central Phoenix
September 19 LMAO Phoenix, East Phoenix
September 22 Hidden House Comedy, Central Phoenix
September 29 Monkey Pants Tempe

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

The floatation tank ought to be more well known

I went for a float at the True Rest Floatation Spa in Scottsdale yesterday. This was my third float. I had a friend I worked with in New York City at the AMEX named Richard Torres, one person I miss and wish would find me on Facebook, and he was obsessed with this concept and talked about it often. That was approximately ten years ago, and Rich would also try to get me to Google floatation tanks at least once a week. There was little information on this concept at the time. I heard Joe Rogan discussing the tank experience on a podcast and it made me realize that this must exist more prevalently now, and all things considered, I'm shocked this concept hasn't taken off more. It's something I would buy stock in as I think it has nothing but upside. I suspect that in twenty years the tank will be as common as a massage. I did a search and found that there was a float center in Scottsdale, so I gave it a shot.

What it involves is extremely salted water set to exact body temperature, so you can lie down in a completely dark environment and float in a way where skin and water are almost indistinguishable. The ears are also plugged. Left with no distractions and little to do, the mind takes you on a trip that feels like what I would imagine outer space to be like. I felt the sensation of movement without going anywhere. The rest of the day I felt really relaxed and at ease, so while a float session isn't cheap, about 80 dollars a pop, there are specials to be had that makes it about half that. They had a half off Groupon I grabbed the other day. I would definitely recommend trying the tank.

Monday, August 01, 2011

Congratulations Brad and Kathy

One of the downsides to living all over the world is that the people you like most tend to be spread all over the world. It can be nice when you travel and get to see old friends. My buddy Brad Ruszala, frequent target of chop busting on this blog, got hitched yesterday to the lovely Kathy. Sadly I could not make it all the way out to Saipan, but I'm thrilled to death for the both of them and hope they enjoyed my internet based video chop busting.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Stage spillover- Hollywood kisses its own ass

Every year Hollywood blows itself with the self congratulatory Academy Awards show. They give statues to some pretty boy for being the “best actor.” The King’s Speech was the last big winner. A guy acted like a pampered royal whose big accomplishment was reading a prepared speech into a radio microphone without stammering. Whoa - what a stretch! I say if you want to honor someone playing a role, give it to a waiter on the fifteenth hour of his Waffle House shift. Acting like he gives a shit how your day was and if your eggs were cooked properly is a real performance. Give that tortured bastard a statue for the acceptance speech alone. “I’d like to thank everyone who made this possible. First thank you Fox News for convincing my fellow broke people that unions are a horrible anti-American plot pushing evil things like a living wage and a medical plan. I’d like to thank that condom for breaking in 1999 leaving me with teenagers needing braces. I’d like to thank my buddy Joe for convincing me to drop out of high school and work on the band full time. And finally thank you to that payday loan company on Van Buren. Without your support I would have blown it by throwing the coffee pot at that witch who finger snapped at me. 

Iphone video not too shabby

I took this with the iphone 4 at Rush's Time Machine show in June. Quite impressed with the results.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Latest dates

Current comedy schedule through August.

Hidden House July 27 Central Phoenix
Manuel's Cantina July 28 North Phoenix
The Comedy Spot July 31 Scottsdale
Monkey Pants Comedy, August 11
Hidden House Comedy, August 18
The Comedy Spot August 28 Scottsdale
Hidden House Comedy, September 1 Central Phoenix

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Almost nothing can't be messed up with Arizona education

The state introduced a new writing test this spring, changed the way it was graded and raised the passing score. Officials hoped the changes would stabilize passing rates, which have fluctuated wildly among grades and over the past five years. The passing rates fell steeply. A little more than 50 percent of fifth-, sixth- and seventh-graders passed the exam, down from about 75 percent last year. Sophomores did better. This year, 68 percent passed, down by only 5 percentage points from last year.The former writing exam was an essay in response to one question. The new writing exam is one essay and 27 multiple-choice questions. The essay counts for 60 percent of the writing test and the multiple-choice questions, 40 percent. Because of the test changes, "this dip in writing scores was expected," said Roberta Alley, the state testing chief.

Dear Miss Alley,

As someone who spent an enormous amount of time and effort teaching writing this past year, I can't even begin to tell you how disappointed I am in how the state went about assessing writing this year. I do not believe the scores to be even close to reflecting real proficiency, especially as compared to other subjects. They do not even seem to represent a normal curve and paint an unusually harsh picture that makes it impossible to see year to year growth. A 25 percent drop in those passing basically means the test either then or now is wildly inaccurate. I would say now. On top of that, the multiple choice questions make as much sense as judging a cook by his or her ability to chop vegetables. How about we again give full weight to what really matters: the final meal? The holistic scoring gives the parent and teacher less data on strengths and weaknesses of the student, and is a clear indicator of where this is all headed given Arizona's meager support for education: A full on multiple choice test that's cheaper, less accurate and will only serve to further demoralize teachers in this state who get treated poorly enough as it is. I hope you'll be on the right side when that happens.


                                                            Jeffrey C. Turbitt

The Gold Standard

Want to keep this clip readily available to remind myself that the perfect six minute set does exist.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

So much for good times at Smiling Cove Marina

ACTING Gov. Eloy S. Inos yesterday signed into law two local bills, one of which prohibits the hanging of clothes especially underwear in areas visible to passersby. House Local Bill 17-40 has been dubbed as the “panties bill” because its author Rep. Joseph M. Palacios said he introduced it after seeing underwear hanging on a balcony in the Garapan tourist district. Palacios, R-Saipan, said he saw how tourists shook their heads in disgust upon seeing the panties. This, he said, will surely chase away tourists.
In separate news, it is now a crime to have a sail on a local sailboat!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The Cars are back. I'm glad, but...

When I heard The Cars were returning after a near 25 year hiatus, I was pretty pumped. They were my first musical love. I'm conveniently ignoring that Billy Joel's Glass Houses was the first album I ever bought. The more experimental Cars songs, and there are a lot of them such as this one, still rank, to me at least, as some of the greatest songs of all time. Their latest album Move Like This is shockingly good for a band so far removed from their prime and so rusty. The album really feels like the next logical Cars album if they didn't sadly piss away all those good years for no particularly good reason -- especially in a world where Journey and Yes literally took people from tribute bands and made them their new lead singer. I've watched several clips of the mini-tour The Cars did, and there are some stellar moments. Elliot Easton's solo on You're All I've Got Tonight is just phenomenal. But man does this band miss the late Ben Orr. No one in this band can sing back up if their life was on the line. Overall, the playing is really sloppy. I wish they had just rehearsed more. They were never a stellar live act, and this hardly negatively impacts their legacy, but please prepare a bit more. There is a small cadre out there who really appreciates their artistry and want to see it as good as it can be.

Remaining July Comedy Dates

Shout House, July 12 Glendale
Monkey Pants and Hidden House July 14 (Two this night in that order.)
Hidden House July 27
Manuel's Cantina July 28 North Phoenix
The Comedy Spot July 31 Scottsdale
The Comedy Spot August 28 Scottsdale

Monday, July 04, 2011

Couple of new bits I tried out

Here are a couple of new bits I tried out the other night. You have to show up to a show if you want to see more.

Saturday, July 02, 2011

Stage Spillover - Don't side with the douchebags

I inject myself with a thousand dollars worth of drugs every two weeks. It’s not a newly formed heroin habit, I have Chrohn’s Disease, and that’s the minimally effective medication I’m on. Everybody has something wrong with them. Diabetes, hypertension, shriveled up raisin testicles. Those of you who don’t currently qualify, can join this shitty party at any moment. Look around any crowd in this McCulture of ours. If our bodies were a car lot, this wouldn’t be the 2012 new car auto mall, it’s some Craig’s List auction of late 70s Pintos. Except for Tempe, damn there are some fine looking women there. If I were single. Who am I kidding, I’d be afraid to talk to you. Funny and educated always loses to short, fat, bald and broke. But I digress. I point this out because I really want to know, which of you broke SOBs was out there protesting health care reform? I had a one day hospital bill last fall of $10,000. There is probably a maximum of two people in this whole crowd who couldn’t be shit canned tomorrow on the whim of some dickhead and have no health coverage. Try going to the doctor then. You’ll get as much attention as the guy in the strip club tossing nickels around.

I know what you are thinking. These issues are complicated, I have a busy life and the media is no road map. I'm here to help. I’ve got a simple solution for establishing a world view and it's foolproof. On any complicated issue, look where the douche bags line up and just be on the other side. Gay Marriage. On one side you have judgmental busybodies, closet case politicans exploiting rednecks and preachers looking for attention. On the other side you have a group whose only major flaw is elevating Cher, Liza Minelli  and showtunes above their cultural import. Pretty simple call. Another one: Global Warming: Science says it’s happening. Oil companies and Fox News says it isn’t. You don’t even need to turn off the X-Box to know where to side on that one. If you were teammates with the HMOs during that debate, you basically offered brass-nuckles to someone who keeps punching you in the face. Wisen up pinwheel! And if it was your stupid relative opposing it, throw an M-80 dangerously close to him at the Fourth of July picnic. Che Guevera got started that way.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Updated shows updated again

My summer woodshedding, by my standards of performing at least, on the local comedy circuit has been going reasonably well. Restaurant shows are tough, but Dillon's on Cental went ok. Not nearly the disaster I had at Dos Gringos. LMAO Phoenix is quickly becoming the biggest and best crowd in the valley. I had my best set to date there in late May. Hidden House is still great. My last set there went ok, but I flubbed some things and wasn't as prepared in my delivery as I should have been. I'm very curious to see what my friends Steve Marek and Jamie Sanderson do with Monkey Pants in Tempe. So far they seem to be rocking it. Check out the podcasts those guys are doing on local comics. It is available on Itunes and on the link by their names.

LMAO/Arizona Virtual Studios May 23 East Phoenix
Film Bar Phoenix May 24 Central Phoenix
Dillon's Comedy on Central June 1 North Central Phoenix
Hidden House June 2 Central Phoenix
Monkey Pants June 9 Tempe
LMAO Phoenix June 27, East Phoenix
Hidden House June 29 Phoenix
Monkey Pants June 30 Tempe
Film Bar Phoenix July 5 Central Phoenix
Shout House, July 12 Glendale
Monkey Pants and Hidden House July 14 (Two this night in that order.)
Shout House, July 19 Glendale
Hidden House July 27 Central Phoenix
Manuel's Cantina July 28 North Phoenix
The Comedy Spot July 31 Scottsdale
Monkey Pants Comedy, August 11
Hidden House Comedy, August 18
The Comedy Spot August 28 Scottsdale
Hidden House Comedy, September 1 Central Phoenix

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Richard Turbitt, KIA 4-20-68

My second cousin, Richard Turbitt (second from left), was killed in action in Vietnam on his twentieth birthday in 1968. He was there for a bit less than a year. I never heard much about him growing up and surprisingly didn't ask questions. I was fascinated by that war and read tons about it at a very young age. This is the only reference I could find on the internet that showed him, and didn't just make a reference to his name on a wall. Thanks to veteran Tom Ford for sharing it.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Lots of new comedy dates

I'm having a blast finding my way in the Phoenix local comedy scene. I've done five sets thus far. Only one was a disaster, but I got a bit I liked out of that unpleasant experience at least. Ideas were flowing, though they've slowed down slightly of late. I have some things to polish, try and hone. Overall this is going better than I could have reasonably hoped. I have several dates coming up. I'll know more about where this is heading by the end of June.

LMAO/Arizona Virtual Studios May 23 East Phoenix
Film Bar Phoenix May 24 East Phoenix
Dillon's Comedy on Central June 1 North Central Phoenix
Hidden House June 2 Central Phoenix
Monkey Pants June 9 Tempe
Hidden House June 29 Phoenix
Monkey Pants June 30 Tempe
The Comedy Spot July 31 Scottsdale
The Comedy Spot August 28 Scottsdale

At LMAO Phoenix

This is a recent set, the day after Osama was killed, at Arizona Virtual Studios, which puts on a great comedy show called LMAO Phoenix.

Monday, March 28, 2011

At the Hidden House April 21

My stand up debut on St. Patty's Day went better than I could have reasonably hoped, though I was a bit disappointed in myself that I flubbed a few things. It was very interesting to find out how things I thought were really good got minimal response, and things I thought were throw-away jokes got a big reaction. I'll be out at the Hidden House again on April 21. It was originally scheduled scheduled for April 14. My next set should be at least fifty percent new material for my friends who made it out last time. Late in the summer, July 31, I will be appearing at the Comedy Spot in Scottsdale. There is a big local comedy scene in Phoenix that I didn't even know existed until a few weeks ago, so health allowing, I plan on performing two to three times a week this summer at various locations. There are a lot of cool people I've gotten to know doing this. These people have offered some great advice, support and feedback.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Precedent has been set

A headline in Tuesday’s edition of the Marianas Variety stated: “Judge tells man who fails to pay child support to get a job.” The law is based on precedent. After what happened to Judge Govendo, I’m wondering if this will also require another full-blown judicial anal probing with all the honesty and integrity of an online personal ad. This judge hurt this guy’s feelings when all he did was not support his children. Next thing you know this same judge might say something really harsh like “Adios Muchacho” to a spousal abuser. Deadbeats must be treated sensitively.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Making my stand up debut in March

I will be making my stand up comedy debut at the Hidden House Comedy Club in Phoenix on March 17. They have shows every Wednesday and Thursday with comedians that are very passionate about the art form and are there generally working out new material. The Hidden House Best of CD is quite excellent. I heard Volume I last night. The audience tends to be hard corp comedy fans and not the bachelorette crowd. I'm hoping the ghosts of Hedberg, Hicks, Kinison and others are with me. I've been talking about this too long and need to finally do it. If I do well, and things continue to progress, I'm going to head out to L.A. this summer to get more experience.

Monday, January 24, 2011

That perfect petri dish of capitalism

Almost three years removed from island life, I still try to keep up with the happenings of my old home of Saipan, and when it comes to island political affairs, few people nail it as accurately as my friend Zaldy Dandan, who is an incredibly bright guy and the voice of reason on CNMI politics with his clear-headed, reality based insight into CNMI shenanigans. For someone so on the money about CNMI politics, it's confounding to me that he can be so wrong in political philosophy.

About once a month or so, Z rails about liberalism and touts the virtues of the American Right, a group that is a virtual celebration of stupidity, oligarchy and fear mongering. While I can certainly understand his not being impressed by the Democratic Party, I'm completely confounded that someone as bright as Zaldy aligns himself with anything as moronic as the American Right Wing and its “the jury is still out on evolution” ethos, which is intellectually embarrassing, or should be, to anyone who takes thinking seriously.

In his latest column he comments on the famous, "perfect petri dish of capitalism," notion that the Republican jailbird Tom DeLay boasted about regarding the CNMI, which Zaldy feels is inaccurate. I disagree. Yes while the CNMI is, in part, incompetent government run amok, it is also pure capitalism. When the garment industry owns the government, and corporate control of government fits a definition of fascism, and can pay quasi indentured workers a mere $3.05 per hour to work in sweatshops and dump its waste into the ocean for someone else to clean up with no rules, no oversight and no restraint, that is pure capitalism. Given their druthers, and they've already made advancements by shipping jobs abroad and demonizing labor unions, the American Right would have that type of system everywhere, which is why DeLay spoke in such awe of the CNMI. He, a high ranking leader in the American Right, loved a place where business could do anything and workers had no rights and made meager wages.

The real canard today is that there are so many working class stiffs that just witnessed and are currently feeling the joys of deregulation, of just letting banks and businesses do whatever they want, and yet they still subscribe to this “government is the problem” philosophy and do the bidding of big business, even when their interests are so divergent. Government is the problem because while it is supposed to be the police and put some brakes on corporate excesses, these police are bought and paid for by these criminals through campaign contributions that give them excessive influence. Government is essentially paid not to do its job, paid not to act in the interests of the masses, but of a privileged few. The results is what we've seen from Worldcom, Enron, Citibank, Bank of America, Goldman Sachs and all these other corporate criminals: hubris, bailouts and profit privatized while loss and risk is transferred to the public.

Big business has no natural predators left. The carcass has been picked clean and there is very little left for the rest of us other than high unemployment, upside down mortgages, stagnant wages, and the cost of gas, medical care and higher education rapidly outpacing inflation. For them, corporate profits aided by their control of the U.S. Treasury continue to soar. For us, it's all backwards. The top 1 percent now owns 25 percent of national income, yet fear of a president with a funny name or of illegal immigrants or of some bogeyman who might take our guns foolishly drives the blue collar into the arms of these Right Wing grifters, who have managed to create silly controversies as a distraction while they are robbing the store.

Some benefit financially from this setup, some don't know better, but Z, you must know the deal. I'm not saying be a Democrat, but how you can be on that team?

Editors Note: Back in the day I used to meet up with a group of divergent Saipan thinkers, including Zaldy, and argue about these types of things over copious alcoholic beverages. How I wish I could do that again.