After a long day of toil and trouble, there are those who unwind by putting their tired feet up on the divan and relaxing with maybe a small glass of wine or perhaps a beer. There are those who like to put their head back, close their eyes and chill out to some fine, mellow music. There are even those who enjoy lounging with a nice, fun game of Words With Friends.
But me? I like to watch courtroom brawls on You Tube.
Oh! You say you know of a video where a child rapist on trial for murder throws a little tantrum right there in the courtroom because he feels he’s being treated unfairly, huh? Well, let me at it. What’s that? A link to a sixteen-year-old murderer wearing a t-shirt that says “KILLER” in black Sharpie as he’s flipping the bird to his victims’ families while they address him about his crimes? Why, don’t mind if I do! A guy in prison orange threatening to kill the judge? I must! A woman lunging at the judge after being found in contempt and then shouting: “What did I do? Get off me!” as she’s subdued by deputies? Thank you! A guy shackled while hissing and barring his teeth at the judge as she reads him his rights? I can’t think of anything I’d rather do more.
I can watch this stuff for over an hour. It’s sick. Nothing will make you more appreciate your upbringing (no matter what it is) than watching families brawl in a courtroom. Nothing will make you feel a little less depressed about whatever’s bumming you out than knowing you don’t have to deal with the stuff you’ll see in these courtroom blow-ups. I guess what’s satisfying about them is they show how the criminal going away deserves to go away.
These guys should learn that when it comes to defending your behavior, instead of throwing a tantrum in court, they’ll get into a lot less trouble with the judge if they say: “Look, your Honor, you weren’t there.”
SPANK • PADDLE • P&P (crossed out)
IN THE RIGHT WAY 4
THE RIGHT REASON
TAKE USERS(S) CONSENT
HOST • MODERATE GROUP
Yeah. If there’s one thing I’m sick of, it’s getting spanked for the wrong reason. “Hey! What was that for?”
I know what the gist of the stuff on this card means, but I’m so glad I don’t know what all of it means. From the handwriting, I have the feeling P&P stands for Probation and Parole. And I believe this font is called Criminale.
What’s the most unsettling thing about this picture? The subject matter of the card, the handwriting on the card, or my creepy shadow looming over the card?
Since all this blog stuff is about my dumb life, lemme talk about how this reminds me of one of my many brilliant jokes.
“At the S&M Awards ™, it’s an honor just to be dominated.”
Thank you. No, seriously, thank you.
“In the right way, 4 the right reason” sounds like the person who wrote this has had some bad experiences with getting paddled in the wrong way 4 the wrong reason. And user’s consent? As in “Use me! Use me!” I’m so out of this scene. Maybe this guy’s into getting dominated by people who wear clothes from the movie Tron. “Oh! You’re a user! Well, I’m here to be used! Show me your master control! I wanna be masterly contolled!”
And I guess the last two lines are an offer to host a group in which firm penalties will be issued. How weird is it to put up an ad saying: “Who’d like me to penalize them for something?” “Hey, I’m having a penalty event over at my place next week. You wanna come over?” Are whistles blown? Flags thrown? Humiliations to follow? Sounds great. Lemme bring Kleenex. For my tears!
I wonder if this person would write me a ticket for something. “Hey, you know what really excites me is getting punished by city officials. Can you write me a citation for something? For, like…I don’t know…mumbling or something?”
And I know he’s offering to moderate a group, but it’d be funny if he was looking for a group that was moderate. “Yeah, what I’m really looking for is a group of people who are into being dominated to an easy, temperate degree if that’s cool.”
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There is no more frightening news story than one about a sinkhole.
In Florida, there was a man in his home, on his couch—I’m assuming watching Wheel Of Fortune, I’m assuming covered in Cheetos—who got swallowed up by a sinkhole. Just like that. Gone!
Of all the statistically unlikely ways there are to die, the sinkhole has got to be the most diabolically random, malignantly sinister, cosmically unfair way to meet your end. Let’s go through the most statistically unlikely ways to die:
Struck By Lightening: Probably not gonna happen. But if it does, at least it doesn’t come out of nowhere. You can’t go: “Wait a minute! How the hell did that happen?” You’re out in bad weather, you can see those clouds are black, it’s starting to rain. You might get hit by lightening. But a sinkhole?
Shark Attack: Probably not gonna happen. But if it does, you can’t go: “Where did that shark come from?” Probably from the ocean you’re swimming in! But a sinkhole?
Plane Crash: Probably not gonna happen. But if it does, you can’t go: “How is this happening to me?” You’re on a plane, man. And it’s going down. But a sinkhole?
I bet everyone who’s ever been killed by a sinkhole has probably yelled this as they were meeting their doom: “THIS IS SOME BULLSHIT, MAN! I CAN’T BELIEVE I’M GOING OUT LIKE THIS! THIS SUCKS!”
I bet people have literally yelled: “OH, C’MON, MAN! REALLY? I DID NOT SIGN UP FOR THIS!”
No one does. No one signs up for a sinkhole. There are no forms for that.
You never hear anyone say: “Well, he was in suburban Tampa during sinkhole season. You mess with the bull, you get the horns.”
They should call them suckholes. Because it sucks to die in one. If you die in one, you just won the shittiest lottery in the universe.
“Today’s Pick Six numbers are: 3, 22, 26, 29, 38 and Brad from Jacksonville, Florida. No criminal record at all. He just disappeared into the ground with no warning whatsoever. We’re hoping he did something wrong.”
But he probably didn’t. The sinkhole is the sniper of natural disasters. The sinkhole is the natural disaster other natural disasters cautiously gossip about. Tsunamis, hurricanes and tornandos all get together and go: “Look, we’ve done some pretty shitty things in our time, but that sinkhole shit? Fuck those guys.”
Whenever a sinkhole gets called an act of God, God says: “Uh, excuse me? I’ve done some pretty shitty things in my time, but that sinkhole shit? Uh-uh. No way.”
Sinkholes are so shitty, I bet not even Satan likes them. Which is weird, because where do you go when you die from a sinkhole? Hell, obviously. C’mon! It’s a sinkhole. Where else are you gonna go? I bet Satan hates sinkholes. I bet he thinks they’re a pain in the ass.
SATAN: What the here? Who are you?
BRAD (who just dropped into hell through a sinkhole): Brad.
SATAN: Brad? This is hell. What did you do?
BRAD: I don’t know. I really don’t know. Live my life?
SATAN: Don’t tell me. Sinkhole, right? Ugh. Get back up there. Go back. I deal mainly with murderers, rapists, pedophiles and genocidal dictators. I wouldn’t even know where to put you poor sinkhole people. You don’t belong here! And do me a favor: When you get back up there, tell everyone I’m not so bad okay? Yes, I am the Prince Of Darkness, fine, but that sinkhole scene is evil! I got nothing to do with it!”
Imagine being the realtor who has to sell that sinkhole house in Florida.
“Well, here we have a lovely two-bedroom, two bath, one sinkhole residence. It’s got a huge backyard which I’d love to show you right now.
“I’m sorry. What was the third thing you said there?”
“Oh. Two-bedroom, two bath…one sinkhole. HUGE backyard!”
“Just one sinkhole?”
“Yes, but it is the master sinkhole.”
Did you hear about Mark Mihal, the guy who got swallowed by a sinkhole on a golf course? He survived fortunately. I don’t know what’s worse: Getting swallowed eighteen feet into the earth by a sinkhole with a relatively small diameter on a golf course, or all the horrible golf puns the reporters use when they interview you.
REPORTER: So, Mark. Tell us about your hole in one.
MARK: I fell into the earth eighteen feet and dislocated my shoulder.
REPORTER: Would you say that’s your handicap now?
REPORTER: Has this put a wedge in your love of golf?
MARK: I saw the devil.
REPORTER: What was it like when the fairway gave way?
MARK: Really scary because I almost died.
REPORTER: That sinkhole probably had you really teed off, right?
MARK: I wish I were back in it right now.
By the way: Every open mic should be called “The Sinkhole.”
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Hey Beckett. Nice meeting you today. I don’t know if babies can remember back six hours, but I was at a McDonald’s commercial audition with you and your parents today where they asked me to watch you while they went in to read for it. That’s right, Beckett: Your mother and father left you with a childless, forty-three-year-old stranger so they could get work in a commercial. You just received your first dose of precisely how diabolical this town is.
“Oh, you’re leaving him with Matt?” the casting director asked your mom. “Well, that makes sense because if there’s anyone who exudes parental energy, it’s Matt.”
Kind of a dig, right? I didn’t think so. I smiled. So did you, if I remember right. Because I can see that you already know how to process sarcasm. That’s a huge plus in this business. If you’re around sarcasm long enough, you’ll almost be forced to become a stand-up comedian.
I’m always surprised when people ask me to watch their babies for them. Especially today. Because if you needed someone to watch your baby, who better than a guy reading—at that very moment—a book about the Rwandan genocide?
Before leaving you alone with me, your dad was leaning his head into your cool little stroller and making silly, blubbering mouth noises close to your cute little face. I saw that and was immediately alarmed. “I don’t have to do that, do I?” I asked him. “No,” he said. “Good,” I said, “Because I don’t do that.” And boy don’t I!
Your dad put a little device next to your ear that played the sound of the ocean, covered your stroller with a blanket, then went in to try and get a job in a commercial. I could only see your feet. They kept moving. That was good. I didn’t have to read to you from that book on vegetables your parents got you. Do you even like vegetables? They mostly suck. These parents of yours. Are they really your parents? When you’re older and you read this, you should say to them: “I can’t believe you left me with that guy! I’m lucky to be alive!”
Why am I telling you stuff that you were there to see yourself? You’re probably all: “Dude, I know. I was there.”
Your parents came back out and saw you were still there, that I had not eaten you. Before I went in for my turn, I said: “Nice meeting you, Beckett” and I’ll probably never see you again, but I just wanna say I hope I get that commercial and not your parents.
“So, the chili cheeseburger. Can I get that without the huge demon tongue emerging inexplicably from its center? That’d be great!”
It’s supposed to be a chili. I guess. But it looks like a tongue. And I can’t see anything else when I look at it. Like this cheeseburger’s going: “Eeeeh! I’m exhausted!” Or: “Shit…I am drunk!” That’s a drunk-ass chili cheeseburger. It’s like it’s saying: “Kiss me! C’mon, jerk! Kiss me! You know you want it! Show me respect though! And pay first!” Or: “Doc, I gotta tell ya, I feel like crap!” This chili cheeseburger has had a rough night. Go to bed, chili cheeseburger. Your tongue reflects light.
But is it a tongue? I’m looking at it now and I don’t know anymore. What is that? Shit. Who drew it? Let’s talk. I’d like to commission the artist to do some other drawings of food items with enormous tongues lolling out of them.
“Can you do a huge box of nachos with a tongue? But not just sitting on top of it. Rolling out of it, like Jabba when he Frenches Leia!”
“Here’s what I want: I want an enormous chimichanga mural, but, protruding from one end of the tortilla, like a dragon getting a check-up, is a fat, bad-ass, bright-red devil tongue. But make it light-hearted. Like it’s mocking you. Like it’s going: “Nya, nya, nya!” and then blowing a raspberry. I don’t want people to feel like they shouldn’t eat it.”
“Thank you for agreeing to draw a picture for my restaurant Les Amis. We’d love a painting of a shiny, saucy plate of delectable boeuf bourguignon, but instead of porcini mushrooms, can you just paint a huge-ass tongue coming out of the center of the beef and extending out toward the viewer. Sort of a 3-D bourguignon kind of thing. I want my customers to feel as though the beef will lick them. I want them to be licked by beef.”
This chili cheeseburger is about to go down on you.
I first wrote about the monstrosity above some years ago. Like a crotchety neighbor with a municipal bone or two to pick, I spoke of the tumor tree ensconced in the middle of this wall like an unyielding knot of disease. Not on one side of the wall; not on the other. But—as you can see—in it. For years. For more years than I’ve been living here. And in so standing there in the midst of that concrete structure, it stood too in the midst of my brain: an interrupting irritant that wouldn’t go away (like me in this neighborhood), that had long since layed down roots (like me in this neighborhood), that persisted in its presence like a dry, unmoving vagrant (like me in this neighborhood, one day maybe).
“Uh, isn’t it the wall that’s in the way of the tree?” you say. “This seems to be a zoning issue, not a tree issue.” However you’d like to see it, this picture above is what you’re looking at. Due to property lines, there’s no room for the wall to be moved any farther east nor west. As a result, you get this horrific result. For many, many years.
That is, until now:
I halted dead in my tracks when I saw this. It was like a beautiful crime scene. A Mexican laborer leaned against a junction box eating chips. He was covered in bark and other arborous debris. I walked over to him, but kept looking at that wall: that continuously bricked, uninterrupted, treeless wall.
“Excuse me,” I said. “Yeah,” he said. “You cut that tree down,” I said. “Yeah,” he said. I couldn’t believe it. I thought I was dreaming. I said it again. “You cut that tree down,” I said. “Yeah,” he said again. “You repaired the wall,” I said. “Yeah,” he said. “I can’t believe you cut that tree down,” I said. “Yeah,” he said. “Do the owners know you did it?” I asked. I didn’t care if the owners knew. I was just glad someone did it, this cleansing. I was glad it was gone. I admit it. He said: “Yeah” again but it was at this point I knew he didn’t speak English. It was at this point I knew that I never had to ask him anything. All I needed to do was look at his work. And I did.
And I said: “Thank you.” I told the guy: “Thank you” again.
“Yeah,” he said.
I think I even said: “You have done the community a service.”
I wondered if I had ever seen this guy before, passed out drunk on various lawns in my neighborhood. Maybe. Didn’t matter.
“We need to throw a party,” I said. He stopped saying “Yeah” at this point. I said: “Thank you” again and walked away.
Someone old must’ve died, and in so doing relinquished not only their life but their custody of that tree. That malignant tree. That deformed wall. This should be on the cover of the L.A. Weekly. Shouldn’t there be some kind of ceremony with the mayor or something? I look forward to whatever grass grows in that dirty patch there.
I told that guy thank you three times.
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You got a list of things to do, errands to run, goals to accomplish, and occasionally you get preoccupied. Occasionally, there’s an urgent call to tend to something that may not be on your list but is still nevertheless urgent: Randomly in the middle of your day, you see two flat surfaces that are some distance apart; you visually gauge the space between these two flat surfaces; and ask yourself the all-important question of the ages:
“Can I jump that shit?”
Now that I look at the shot above, I wish I had gotten something else in the picture to give it some scale, but I really think I could clear this green water. I thought so at the time I took it, and I definitely think so now as I view it from the safety of my pajamas. I honestly believe I could bound over that shit. What is that, ten feet maybe? Can anyone jump ten feet? How far is ten feet? The phases of the jumping event occur swiftly and systematically in my head: Barefoot, converging on the gap at an arc, running seven point five miles an hour maybe, full sprint (of course), legs at full stride (of course), pushing off from one side with toes clamped ever so briefly into the cement (for traction only), then quickly open again for full launch potential (almost typed “full release potential” [that’s different]), standard hip flexion thrust for as much midair momentum as possible, then the inevitable and successful landing on the other side.
This—like that girl with low self-esteem you met last night—is thoroughly do-able.
If I’m to be arrested for something in my life, I say let it be this.
“Sir, would you mind telling me what you were doing down there?”
“I was jumping over that stream.”
“Stream? Sir, that’s the L.A. River.”
“Well, then looks like you’re talking to a man who just jumped over a river.”
I’d also like to make this jump whilst wearing a suit. Barefoot and in a suit. I’d also like to pretend the water is lava.
(You’ll notice that nowhere in my imaginary prep for this feat is there a plan to have bail money set aside.)
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Last night after a show, a drunkish woman I didn’t find attractive—armed with the added confidence of her three friends—said to me: “You’re adorable. So, are you into women or men and are you single or what? Do you wanna hang out or what?” I immediately—and I mean immediately—stood up, said: “Nice meeting you, everyone,” and literally ran from the room, from the restaurant, and up the sidewalk.
That’s me. Hi.
I love doing that. When someone I don’t know irritates me, I love literally running away from them. You know why? Because it works! I’m not around them anymore. See? They’re gone! And so am I. It’s childish and cowardly, but so effective. She’s a stranger so I’ll probably never see her again. I did physically what I would’ve done electronically: I socially blocked her in person.
Here’s what I think: Any woman I find attractive would never say something like that to me. Women who speak to me like she did intuitively know—I think—that I’m probably not into them, so they feel the need to add some flavor or spice of aggression to their parlance in a desperate hope that maybe I’ll be down for something really crazy and impulsive, and I never am. It just makes me wanna run from the room. And so I did. I ran from the room and to pizza by myself which was so much more fun. When I started to rise from the table to run away from them, her friends winced at her words and quietly moaned their support of me.
I had just done a great set at Taix and thought: “What a great show to end the year with.” Driving up the coast today. Yahtzee and beer and cornhole (the bean bag toss game, not anal) and laughing and whatnot with friends in a beach house tonight.
Happy New Year! Try running away from stuff in 2013! It works when you get hit on or mugged.
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I hear my neighbor saying “Hello” over and over again. She’s doing it right now. The upstairs one. Just hellos, like a parrot. I hope she’s on the phone trying to communicate with someone, but what if she’s not? What if she’s just sitting there in her apartment going: “Hello? Hello? Hello?” over and over again. To no one.
I just took a brain test on this website. It was one of these exams to measure how quick your head can still figure things out: memory, space relations, etc. The website eventually asked me if I wanted to pay for the rest of the exams and my brain never moved faster than when I clicked no. How was my response time on that, brain test website? Pretty fast, right? I’m the quickest no in the west. Then I went and watched Dennis Haybert’s death scene in “Heat.”
I was playfully but purposefully slapped the other night. It was a test slap of sorts, the kind she gives to see if she could give more and if I might slap back, which I didn’t and won’t. I said: “Don’t slap me,” but she did it again about twenty-five minutes later. Rather than writing it off altogether, I stopped and told myself: “You can be slapped every now and then.” I’ve been advised to let more grey area into my life. That’s right. I’ve been encouraged to allow more of the most boring, dingy color in the spectrum into my life. That’s like telling me: “You know what you need in your life? More meh.”
Meh—especially when I see it written out—sounds like the name of a weird dish that no one eats at family gatherings. It’s a tradition that Grandma makes every year. No one ever knows what’s in it, but there it is: Not just sitting in a beige bowl in the middle of the table, but squatting in it, this prune-colored mass of unidentifiable glop that everyone at some point is obligated to put on a cracker.
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At the Silverlake Lounge Open Microphone last night, my friend Amber Kenny and I came up with what could be a fun stand-up comedy game: Whenever someone neither of us recognizes gets on stage, we place bets on what topics we think they’ll talk about. Wagers must be placed after listening to the comic for just ten or fifteen seconds, although the quicker and more impulsively you can make your prediction the more exciting the game. We came up with a mere short list of popular topics that you basically can’t avoid hearing when you’re at an open mike for comedy. Players can place bets on the likelihood that any of the following topics will be discussed:
Faggot—this refers to anyone simply saying the word “faggot” in any context while on stage, from the most intellectually ironic usage to the most obliviously homophobic usage. Faggot is faggot.
A movie they saw recently—comics love talking about movies they saw recently, or not at all recently. (See “Back To The Future” below.)
The word “hack” or “hacky”—some comics lay down a protective airbag beneath them before doing a bit by letting the audience know that “this might be hacky, but…” and then freely launching into the bit. The operative word here being “but,” for while the comic may know that their premise is potentially hacky, it’s certainly never hacky enough for them to not do the bit.
“I’m not an adult.”—This refers to anyone who laments how little they’ve matured.
Rape—I don’t see how you can even play this game without making this bet at least three times in a night.
Ok Cupid—People be datin’! Even worse, open mike comics be datin’!
Pretty girls talking about how they can’t get boyfriends—There ain’t no way a pretty girl who no one recognizes at an open mike ain’t gonna talk about how tough it is to find a man. No. Way.
Diarrhea—Not only does it flow in real life, it also flows through the sets of many an open mike comedian. How you gonna get through a night without hearing the word “diarrhea?”
Back To The Future—Now if you wanted to dial this back a little bit, I guess you could say “90’s movies,” but if I’m feeling saucy, I might make this bet by getting real specific and saying “Back To The Future” just based on how many flux capacitor jokes I’ve heard over the years.
Abortion—Some people simply can’t not joke about abortion. They’re usually people who have never had an abortion.
I think a possible name for this game could be: “Place Your Bits.”
This game is still in its fetal stages and there are, of course, many more topics to come as well as any you can think up on the spot by just seeing the person walk on stage. The next time I see a really big person go up there, I just might place this bet: “McRib. This guy’s goin’ McRib.”
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