Archive for January, 2012

Perhaps I’m an old fuddy duddy!  Maybe when I reached my 30’s, not only should I’ve expected a 1-3% annual decrease in testosterone, I should have expected a decrease in my ability to tolerate counter-culture.  I spent four hours at Occupy Philly and realized that the disorganized rantings and drivel of hipsters would quickly become too much to bear.  When I did a show last spring and the room filled with hipsters, I should have known my brand of comedy would be too much for the audience.

Too much you ask?  Of course it is too much.  The typical hipster is a well subsidized (thanks Mom and Dad), skinny jean sporting, thick framed glasses wearing, unkempt hairdo having, new aged Beatnik.  Of course, the moment Jack Kerouac erupts from this movement, I will take back everything I ever said about Hipsters.  Until then, I will continue to detest anyone that proudly proclaims, “I am  a hipster.”

The term alone denotes a level of douchebaggery unseen for quite some time.  When I was twelve, I sported electric blue pants and “No Fear” hooded flannel shirts because it reflected my hip hop interests.  Did I look like an absolute tool bag running around in a pair of pants that made me look like a fruity superhero with a burgeoning waist line?  Of course it did.  However, I had an excuse.  I WAS TWELVE.  If you are in your twenties and thirties and embrace a term that essentially makes you sound phony, then the chances are you are as real as monsters under the bed or an honest politician.

But, Chris, they are unique and far from mainstream.  NAY, I say.  When you take on the characteristics of anything and people look at you and say, “Oh, there goes a hipster,” then your attempt at being progressive quickly starts heading in the other direction.  How does a dive corner bar with a half functioning cooler that serves just barely cold beer, not call itself a Hipster bar when its denizens are stuffed into jeans that scream for an inch more of denim and their shirts are all killer finds found stuffed in the bottom of the dollar t-shirt bin at the local thrift store?  If the only way to see clearly includes the need for glasses; how does an individual not notice that everyone is rocking the same pair of Roy Orbison glasses?  The clothing style is actually the least of what drives me insane about hipsters.  (Perhaps I’m just jealous that skinny jeans make it to my calves and refuse to go up any more?)

The thing that drives me the most insane is actually the attitude.  Yes, the attitude.  When trying to engage the hipster, the attitude quickly changes and the ne’er do well, unaffected attitude becomes rather affected.  The scruffy beard that is reminiscent of Zac Galifinakis and every homeless person I ever encountered, hides the lips but sadly not the words.  The conversations are about how different they all are.  Quickly scanning the room, it looks like a casting session and everyone is going out for the same part; douche!

I am all for individual style.  I embrace the idea of young kids exploring their identities through fashion, music, literature, and art.  I think college kids should dress and act any damned way they want because the moment they graduate, assuming they went to college to utilize a degree, the world changes.  I have tattoos up and down my arms, chest, and back.  I love the idea of wearing earrings that are classy, yet bad ass.  I think PBR is great when it is 100 degrees outside and a cold PBR absolutely will hit the spot.  I thoroughly enjoy Talib Kweli and appreciate a multitude of music, musicians, and the ever changing genres of music.  However, I am not unaffected and I happen to think structure is what keeps this nutty world of ours from completely bursting at the seams.

The show I did where the room filled with hipsters, I knew from jump street that I had met my match.  When they announced my name, they clapped but only with one hand.  When I introduced myself, they looked scornfully at me (I wore a pair of jeans with a shirt and tie).  I came onto stage with the sounds of Jay-Z in the background and before I could get into a joke, a bullish looking individual with its arm around a moderately attractive, fellow hipster, yelled out, “We’re lesbians…just letting you know so it doesn’t throw you off.”  I looked down at the hipster version of Pat (remember Saturday Nigh Live) and thanked her for clarifying because I just assumed it was a regular old couple sitting there.  At no point while looking at “shim” did I think, somewhere under that cluster “F” of an outfit are breasts and a vagina.

The audience did not appreciate my attempt to highlight the androgyny in the audience.  Instead, they started talking to one another.  I laughed, looked out into the crowd and said, “You suck, your clothes are horrible, your music is trite, your knowledge of beer is borderline retarded, and patchouli is for hippies!”  I walked off stage, collected my pay for the night, and I left faster than I have ever left a show.  I was not afraid that a band of misfit hipsters would soon surround me, reminiscent of “West Side Story.”  In fact, they just sat there.  I got a “whatever” from one of them, but I could not make it out clearly because I needed to get home to bathe.

Perhaps my words are harsh and my own terseness will get in the way, one day, of having a very close “hipster” friend that I can talk about….or we could….but then there’s always….

Okay, I get it.  I’m not for “hipsters” and they are not for me.  However, do not say you are part of some progressive movement that does not care what others think.  Revolutions and movements are done through the sharing of information and connecting intelligent, articulate discourse.  Shitty flannel shirts and t-shirts that are as smug as they are witty is not the prerequisite to belonging.  If it were, social misfits in middle and high schools would never have to worry that they don’t have the same clothes as the popular kids.  If you’re not picking up what I’m putting down, “hipster” needs to graduate to adulthood!

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OLD WHITE PEOPLE:  I’m not old.  I am white.  If I wanted to see old people argue, I would watch them argue over a thirty cent coupon at the supermarket.  It is mind boggling that individuals actually sit and watch these debates and discuss why they enjoy Romney over Gingrich or vice versa.  It is akin to two people arguing over which is worse; date rape or forced sodomy.  Does it matter?  We all get F’d in the end! (That was an unintentional pun!)

SUPPORTERS IN THE AUDIENCE:  I can rattle off a dozen things that I would rather do than sit and listen to pompous blowhards espouse trite arguments over why the other candidates are not the right choice.  (These are in no particular order)  1)  Get kicked in the wedding tackle.  2)  Watch a Lady Gaga video.  3) Sit through a marathon of “iCarly” with my daughters.  4)  Chew broken glass.  5)  Build a website.  6)  Read “War and Peace” in Russian. 7) Hang out at a Manga Convention. 8) Watch any Pauly Shore movie.  9) Have a conversation with a “Jersey Shore” aficionado. 10) Complete a jigsaw puzzle 11) Stare longingly into Sheppard Smith’s wizened face. 12)  Watch a documentary on Christianity and find out it’s the replay of a Bronco’s game.  I am all for showing support to a candidate; just do us all a favor and shut up.  If we wanted to hear from you, then we’d wait for you to become a millionaire, lie openly, twist facts, and pine for the days that you could essentially argue on the behalf of bigotry and then shrug your shoulders over your blatantly racist comments.

MODERATORS:  Anyone that can sit and take a debate seriously is seriously defunct.  How does one sell their soul and still find the energy to ask questions that are loaded, biased, and completely irrelevant to the issues that our country contends with everyday.

INVENTING TERMS:  I consider myself a well read individual.  I know that there are those that walk this Earth that would absolutely shred me in arguments over certain topics.  The people on Jeopardy that know answers about 16th century Parisian artists would clearly demolish me in an argument about 16th century Parisian artists.  However, not since George Bush (feels like eons ago), has a candidate made up words or used already established words that do not coexist.  “The problem with this candidate is that he is a Right-Wing, Independent, Tea Partying, liberal, neo-conservative.”  I feel like I’m in the movie Scanners.

SELECTIVE HEARING:  How is it that these ass clowns will stand at a podium, hear an attack, and then answer in a way that does not even cover the topic.  “Mr. Gingrich here is an adulterer.  If his wife couldn’t trust him, how can the country?”   Gingrich will turn his head slightly, look back at the claimant and say, “Regardless of my voting history, this man is a xenophobic know-nothing.  Maybe the rest of this country is okay with baby killers, but I believe abortion is wrong.”

We will look at the television screen or computer monitor, scratch our heads, and debate whether to eat an entire bottle of Tylenol.

IOWA?  REALLY?:  No disrespect to this corn producing state, but I’m not sure if I believe the state of Iowa should play an integral part in the primary process.  Don’t get me wrong, I still think New Hampshire should go by the name Old Vermont, but it seems to me that states that actually have cities where a four story building is an apartment, not a financial institution. (No disrespect to Iowans; I am sure your state is moderately tolerable.)

THE LIBERAL MEDIA:  I love when I hear the term “Liberal Media!”  As if CNN or ABC gets Frank Caliendo to do voice over work so they can play back video but the audio is changed.  Really?  I think the problem is there are so many news sources out there that the only way to get real news is to be there when it happens.  Remember when the liberal media got millions of Jews to starve themselves, stand behind makeshift “concentration” camps and pose for photos?  Yeah, I don’t remember that either.  Perhaps the reality is the media should just replay everything from start to finish and the commentator should respond the same way most Americans do when they watch these cavalcades of self indulgence.

PUNDITS:  You’ve been around Washington long enough to know the ins and outs of politics.  Fine, we get it, you know a bunch of people and your opinion sucks just as much as every other opinion.  Walk through a dairy farm and you’re bound to step in cow dung.  Hang around Washington long enough and eventually the truth is a suggestion, not an obligation.

MOOT POINTS: I know it is harsh and this is obviously my opinion, but I really don’t care what a candidate’s voting record on abortion is.  People have fought to have Roe v. Wade overturned for decades now.  What is more important to you?  (Answer honestly!)  A woman’s right to decide the fate of HER unborn child or an economically sound plan for helping to rebound our economy?  If you answered “abortion,” then chances are your parents made the wrong decision.  Sorry, it’s just how I see it!

LESSER OF TWO EVILS:  Finally, the thing that bothers me the most are those that make the claim, “I guess my decision is really based on deciding which candidate is the lesser of two evils.”  REALLY?  That even remotely makes sense to you?  Your decision is predicated on deciding which candidate will screw you less?  The debates are merely stomping grounds of yesteryear.  The ghosts of candidates past rear their ugly heads and the recycling of politics leads us down a spiral of degenerative acceptance; the utilization of blissful ignorance and blithe dopiness.

America is a nation of rich history; some of which should make every individual beat their chest and holler from the rafters.  Of course, there is a tremendous amount of history that should force individuals to drop their heads shamefully.  Regardless of the history, if we don’t learn from its story, then we are merely looking to repeat the same mistakes of the past.  Do not watch the debates with the hope that suddenly a refreshing candidate that answers questions directly and takes ownership for his indiscretions and screw ups will fall from the sky.  Like the old joke goes (only tweaked a pinch), what do you call a thousand politicians jumping out of a plane with no parachutes?  A GOOD START!

 

 

 

 

Education in major cities is beyond the point of “fixing.”  There is a crisis that most do not want to know about because the thought of it all may be too much to bear or it may not matter to you.  Truthfully, there are more reasons to be informed than there are to remain ignorant.  Ironically, the duality of the word ignorance is essentially at the center of inner-city education.  Whether nestled peacefully in the suburbs or immersed in the inner city, the education of urban youth is paramount to the success of this country as a whole.

I have taught students that fight me when I try to expand their vocabularies.  They scoff at the thought of knowing four and five syllable words because education, at least in the inner city, does not provide for individuals and the family.  Of course there are those that have earned degrees from colleges and did so from some of the most destitute and downtrodden sections of America’s biggest cities.  However, we are more apt to recognize the starting forward of a popular basketball team or the hottest rapper in the game before we can rattle off the names of those individuals.  It is difficult to tell a sixteen year old child that although in his pocket is more money than some teachers make in a month, education is far superior to selling drugs on a street corner.  After all, a college degree has fed less families than the drug game has in many of these students’ lives.

In the city of Philadelphia today, the new numbers guru passed down a mandate that schools across the district must cut their energy consumption drastically.  The recommendation of turning out lights in classrooms and hallways is the number one solution to this problem.  Not only are we talking about schools that are drastically underfunded because of the decisions of a few that affects the lives of hundreds of thousands, the term technology once meant more computers, white boards, and projectors.  Sadly, it now means a teacher can claim that the technology used in his or her classroom is from the flickering lights above their heads.  Does this mean dress codes will now include a miner’s hat?

I referenced that the education of inner-city students did not effect just the neighborhoods that these students come from, it means that in the next fifteen years, our students will fall even further behind because the numbers game is essentially a proverbial hit squad that discounts the individual and looks only at the bottom line.  We ask, “how could this happen?”  As once superintendent, Arlene Ackerman, sits and collects unemployment after receiving nearly a million dollar buyout of her contract, the mortgaged futures of the students she claimed to work tirelessly for, are now literally sitting in the dark.

Those students that lack the basic skills of their suburban counterparts will find themselves in colleges and universities, admitted purely for financial reasons, and will fail these very students because they come far less prepared than their suburban peers.  Sadly, we accept these decisions and look befuddled at the government.  How can we as a Nation turn to a government that is hemorrhaging as we speak?  Before we turn to a government that makes it abundantly clear that a single test dictates funding, we must become pioneers and pave the way for success across all racial, political, cultural, and economic lines.

Before you are ready to point your finger at others, perhaps we should all stand in front of a mirror and ask the hard questions of what we as individuals and Americans can do to impact the lives of others.  “Joe the Plumber” gained national recognition for his every man’s perspective on America.  We work hard, we earn every dollar we make, and we refuse to let our money go to programs that appear to act solely as siphons for money.  Ask a child taken from an abusive home if your tax dollars are wasted.  Ask the inner city student that only eats when she is in school if your tax dollars are wasted on the likes of someone with whom you may have never held a conversation.  Imagine the elderly that cling to an existence that provides them with just enough to survive.  Quality of life is not predicated on whether your television projects in 3D, your central air system also purifies the air in your home, or the car you drive can park itself.  No one wants to admit that quality of life stems from brotherhood and equality.  If you say social programs are good, then you are against democracy.

If Democracy means casting off the unwanted, then I must be a dirty socialist.  If caring for the well being of those that sprung from the loins of those ill equipped, ill educated, and ill funded is a socialist mentality, then tell me where the secret meetings are held.  Do not get me wrong; I love THINGS.  I want to give to my children in the same fashion that celebrities with children named after mountains, fruit, and fictional characters provide for their families.  However, when my seven year old says she does not like the News because it scares her, then I have given her more than I would have ever given her if I bought an iTouch, a Big Wheel, or a vacation.

The notion that our government will somehow save itself from its own blinding greed is laughable.  If you want change, then make change.  Stand in line at the polls in November, but before you lull yourself into believing that the government cares for the best interests of ALL of its citizens, ask yourself if your vote will make the final decision in an election.  I promise you that your vote will never become the makings of a Kevin Costner movie.  If you want to strengthen your country, it will not be through the use of one finger pressing the name of a candidate in an election.  Change will occur when you decide to become part of the solution. Rather than allow the political aspirations of someone else to motivate your work, remember that your motivation to make change will ultimately come when you decide to make a change in the life of another.

Beautiful…

Posted: January 23, 2012 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , ,

My wife has spent the last eight hours tucked away in the bedroom as she covers the weekend shift for her job. Each phone call adds to a tremendous amount of paperwork she must complete. Women ask what’s sexy to a man; the answer is not as complicated as Hollywood and beauty magazines make it out to be.

Sexy is a woman that works hard. When a woman maintains a household, supports her man, and gives her all to a profession she so adamantly believes in; I call that beautiful!

When a woman rolls into bed in a pair of sweatpants and can still give you that smile that melts you, I call that beautiful.

Beautiful is relative to the woman. When the size of a woman’s breasts establishes the value of her beauty, then you are simply listening to the opinion of a single individual. Beautiful to me is my wife.

Don’t get me wrong; there are a litany of entertainers that I could rattle off that I find sexy and beautiful. The point is that my fantasies include the beautiful woman that sleeps just inches away from me.

No pants or shoes have ever made a woman beautiful. Those items are merely ornaments to the individual. When a man finds himself captivated by a woman, he has never acknowledged your Jimmy Choo’s or your brand new jeans. Beautiful is how she feels in those jeans and shoes.

I know this isn’t the typical ramblings of a comedian but I know far too many women loathe things they see in the mirror. The next time you find yourself struggling with something staring back at you, remember that superseding all that is wrong are so many things that are right.

The beautiful part of beauty is that with time the things that are wrong and right will fade away but your essence may remain forever beautiful.

Less government, more government, somewhere-in-between government. Regardless of your politics, I prefer the term “peopletics.” Republicans should be referred to as “F’em Alls” and Democrats should be referred to as “Hug Em Alls.” Find me a selfless politician and the pessimist in me will make a wager in my head that they’ve tickled the undercarriage of a minor, have tapped twice on the bathroom floor in a public bathroom, or they are waiting to tickle the undercarriage or tap the bathroom floor twice. Politics has turned me angry, more misanthropic than I once admitted, and sadly, politics has made me apathetic.

Did you hear Rick Perry dropped out? I was more interested when Rick James dropped dead. Newt Gingrich has some great ideas; too bad he reminds me of EVERY OTHER POLITICIAN. That is why I followed Barack for a bit. Now, he has shown that politics is only as productive as the ding-dongs, derelicts, and degenerates that the American public votes into office. I have debated about politics, gotten riled up by those that see it only one way, and found myself agitated by the thought of having to endure another election.

How much money goes into these campaigns? Enough to take care of a host of individuals that have lost their jobs. When people lose their jobs, the public rips their hands from their shoulders and starts wagging its fingers violently towards Washington D.C. If you need a scapegoat, start turning to those lobbyists that act on the behalf of those that pay them the most. What happened to Lincoln’s quote that he more or less borrowed from abolitionist, Theodore Parker? “A government of the people, by the people, for the people” is a pretty decent representation of what democracy SHOULD be. That brings us to the question of whether America is better explained as a democracy or a capitalist institution.

I know that I would rather be represented by a guy that has two mortgages, three kids, and a business he is trying to keep afloat than a lawyer that practices bullshit slinging and word twisting. We are all anxiously awaiting a vote by Congress that could ultimately stifle the Internet. The moment our government begins to govern the internet, I will quickly read up on the history of Rome so as to anticipate precisely what is going to happen next.

I want a peopletician that does not consider the bottom line no matter the decision. I want him to be cognitive of the bottom line, but I hardly want to rely on the knowledge and lack of knowledge that individuals elected into government bring to the job everyday. Isn’t it enough proof that our government is ineffective that the rich vote one way and the poor vote another? A peopletician would show audacity at redundant questions, would scoff at the idea of letting some ONE decide for some MILLIONS. The next time you find yourself trying to be the next James Carville, take a step back and remember that even though you may be the next John Stuart Mill, the only way people will pay attention is if you do so under the auspice as a devout Christian, Critic, or Charlatan. Rather than Occupy city squares and smell like hygienic abstinence or patchouli, occupy the offices of your local government. Demand the leaders perched behind cherry and mahogany desks come out to see exactly what their constituents must endure.

I am Chris Smith and I am a peopletician!

You probably do!  Regardless of whether you are slaving away as a busboy at T.G.I.Fridays (which by the way, kudos to you for not blowing your brains out!) or pouring blood, sweat, and tears into your new start-up; a website can mean so much to so many.

“CHRIS!  You don’t have a website yet?”  Over and over people would look at me as if they just watched me eat the still beating heart out of a newborn Panda’s chest.  “But…why don’t you have a website?”  As a comedian, there has to be a place for “fans” to check out your dates and to keep bookers in the loop of what you’re doing.  I did not have a website because I am cheap and I am cheap.

I bought my domain from a popular website that is endorsed by a race car driver that has never won a major race.  However, she has a vagina and is not hard on the eyes.  Regardless of where I purchased the domain, I also signed up for a website builder program that is just…mind F’n boggling.  Ever want to know what a schizophrenic feels like when the whispers become too much to bear?  Have you ever thought to yourself, “self, you have never had a psychotic episode before and I think it is high time we enjoyed this experience together.”  Go build a website!

Now I know there’s techie types that eat this crap up and laugh at the rest of the minions that falter at the hands of webdesign.  Then there’s the guy that will read your HTML back to you and explain to you in HTML terms what the problem is with your probably-about-to-get-second-in-the-Special Olympics-web-design!  You sit there slack jawed, grabbing at imaginary pooh so you can throw it at him in a violent manner.  Alas, you may be brilliant in something else that you do in life but the sad reality is that web design is not part of your repertoire.  Perhaps you consider yourself a Renaissance type, but relax my gallant friend.  Web design is of the new fangled technology that is not impressed with the fact that you write dopey poetry and you painted a few pieces of fruit once.

If you need a website built, have some 17 year old, self taught, hates the world but loves technology, High School junior to build it for you.  This is the same kid that can’t have a grown up conversation with someone unless they reference Middle Earth, dungeons and dragons, or weed.  Hit your neighbors kid up and toss him a hundred bucks and let him go buck wild.  Technology does not elude me, but I am starting to get tired of trying to update my website and if I choose to do so on a good day will ultimately force me to question my self worth!  I guess the only way to conclude this commentrant (that’s commentary and rant together…I can do that because I drink PBR, wear skinny jeans, and design graphics for websites…) is to put the blame on Al Gore…way to go, dick!  (Al Gore claimed that he invented the internet)

New Year…New Me?

Posted: January 17, 2012 in Uncategorized

A coworker and I launched a “Biggest Loser” type competition at work to help motivate those individuals to shed those unwanted pounds.  As for myself, I have a little more than a “few” pounds to shed but I am working hard towards that goal.  Last week I lost 7.5 pounds and I have never felt as motivated to lose weight as I do right now.  I want to do it so I can look in the mirror without staring down a litany of things I hate.  I also realized staring myself down that perhaps I should stop hating parts of my body and put more effort into changing it.

That, I believe, is the problem with losing weight.  If I go to the gym consistently, track my food and exercise through http://www.myfitnesspal.com (a great site for managing what you put into your body), and set short obtainable goals, I will lose weight.  However, I need to stop staring myself down in the mirror and expect to see the weight to vanish from the areas I detest.  Today, I came home from the gym and changed out of my soaked gym clothes.  I looked in the mirror and instead of staring down my man boobs, I noticed that my shoulders are showing definition.  There I realized that instead of staring down what I hated, I could admire that I have already started to change how my body looks in some areas.

I would not presume to share techniques and what’s worked for me with only 7.5 pounds lost.  I will, however, share the mindset that I have adopted.  Enjoy yourself for it is the only self whose shoes you will ever get to walk in.  If it is weight you want to lose, then you must be willing to walk in those shoes more.  When those shoes carry you to the fridge, realize that what you put into that fridge is absolutely a reflection of who you are as an individual.  If you see the makings of a fraternity refrigerator and the only thing staring back that looks like a piece of fruit is the mandarin in your orange flavored vodka, then the decision is easy to make.  I said the “decision” is easy to make.  The hard part is testing your own constitution, defying your own odds and your own perception of self.  If you’re like me, then you look at your children and realize the older they get, the longer you want to be around them, not just around FOR them.

I think it’s time to start making changes for myself and if they affect those around me, so be it!  I’m not giving up and this blog is as much for myself as it is for anyone else.  We can all do it; the trick to success is establishing a mindset that declares war on old habits and complacency!