Friday, March 20, 2015

A lawsuit claims many California wines contain five times the allowable amount of arsenic. This just in: California wines have an allowable amount of arsenic.

Liza Minelli is back at a Malibu rehab facility. Now, I don’t want to say Liza has been there a lot, but the favorite pasta entre at the cafeteria is the Liza Minelli Vermicelli.

In the NCAA tournament today, Wichita State Shockers play the Indiana Hoosiers in the "What the hell does your team name mean?" Championship. 

A group is lobbying to change the face on the $20 bill from Andrew Jackson to a famous woman. Of course the treasury is trying to take the easy way out. They’ll just change the name under the picture from Andrew Jackson to Ellen Degeneres.

Donald Trump is considering running for president. I’m not sure about Trump as a president. Trump’s solution to everything is to take something from one place and sweep it over to cover up a problem somewhere else.

All five teams from Texas, Baylor. SMU, Steven F. Austin, Texas and Texas Southern, were eliminated in the first round of the NCAA tournament. And the shocking part is Tony Romo wasn’t even involved.

Sort of hard to believe all the teams from Texas wouldn’t be better at shooting. 

A new documentary came out called “Living in the Age of Airplanes” and it’s narrated by Harrison Ford. Look for their next documentary; “Safe Driving In Our Time” narrated by Suge Knight.

Starbucks is having their baristas write racially charged messages on their customers cups to promote a racial dialogue. The only racial dialogue I have ever heard in Starbucks is when an African American said; “Damn, you white people pay a lot for coffee.”

South African surgeons claim they have performed the first successful penis transplant. Although the recipient isn’t so sure. If the transplant was so successful, he wonders, how come he can only get erections during episodes of “Downton Abbey”?

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Neil Diamond - I Am, I Said

Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band - Night moves (album version)

THE CARS ― Moving In Stereo & All Mixed Up

Misery Loves Misery

Truth be told, I am going through kind of a tough time with comedy writing. 

The comedy gravy train has slowed to a trickle out of a rusty spigot. Wrote a bunch of stuff, jokes, stories, articles and the like, and sent it out into the ether. So far the only response has been one polite rejection e-mail. Not even a letter.  

For some reason, this reminds me of a tough time I had when I first came to California. 

The Fall of my freshman year in college found me living alone in a Long Beach studio apartment with a fold-out couch for a bed, a Formica kitchen table with two chairs with holes in the padding patched with duct tape (one more chair than I needed) and a transistor radio. (Cue: Neil Diamond's "I Am, I Said")

The other song that kept coming on my little radio to complete the soundtrack of my utter sorrow was Bob Seger’s “Night Moves.”

The apartment had the general dank smell of Irish Spring soap, a strawberry scented candle and a mildewed dishrag. If sadness has a smell, this was it. To this day the sight of a popcorn ceiling can hit me with a wave of angst.

Everyday, I would go to class. Every afternoon I would train for the Decathlon (my only salvation) on the track. At night I ate by myself in a fast food joint, did homework, read, wrote letters to my high school friends - whom I missed so much - and went to bed. No TV, no stereo. No parties. No booze or drugs or sex. No friends.

At night, I was so lonely I was sick to my guts. It was miserable. I was miserable. 

But I remember thinking all of this hard work and loneliness has to pay off, right? That’s what everyone tells you. All of this monastic tortured discipline and misery has to come with a reward. Everyone from my minister preaching about god, to reading about Jesus in Sunday school to my parents pounded that into my head.

So it has to be right. Right?

Cut to: two years later. It is a sunny, warm Saturday Spring afternoon and I'm lying on the deck at the Sigma Chi fraternity apartment at UCSB with several of my Sigma Chi brothers and little sisters. While I had trained on the track that foggy morning - my frat brothers had surfed - this bright, blue afternoon we were lounging, telling jokes and drinking icy cold beers.  And I was getting suntan lotion rubbed on my back by not one, but two gorgeous bikini-clad, long-haired little sisters. 

The Cars “Moving In Stereo & All Mixed Up” blasted on the house stereo.

Was this the karmic reward for all of that loneliness and misery of my first horrible year in California? Was all that sadness being paid back? 

No. Not at all. It doesn't work that way. 

My fraternity brothers, scattered around me in their post-Hollister Ranch surfing blissful stupor,  grew up in San Marino, Newport Beach or Marin County, living every day like this. They never had a lonely day in their lives. Their days were filled with surfing, beach volleyball, washing their convertibles and laughing in backyard barbecues. They expected their life to be a long, glorious party and so it mostly was.

Misery has no responsibility to pay off later with happiness. Misery merely breeds more misery. Loneliness breeds more loneliness. Bad luck breeds bad luck.

(Although I can say unequivocally the lonely time in Long Beach helped me appreciate happier times when surrounded with friends)

Don’t get me wrong, there is no doubt hard work, studying and working out pays off, it just doesn’t come with any obligation to pay off due to accompanying agony, self-pity and misery.

Happiness breeds happiness. You just have to grab happiness over misery and go after it as hard as you can.  

Now somebody straighten up and fly right and pay for this stuff.

I'm flinging pearls here . . .