The Cynics Workshop

Where I can try to influence the world, one word at a time.

Dayton, Ohio

Yesterday (August 19th) was a big day. Not for the reason many of you are thinking, but rather because on August 19, 1933 the first ever soap box derby race was ran in Dayton, OH. I have long known that Dayton was the home to Orville Wright, Charles Kettering and the National Cash Register Company (NCR)…so in light of this I decided to take a little deeper dive into the United States’ 61st largest metropolis and its 841,502 little Dayton-ites.

Founded on April fool’s day in 1796, this city has proved to be no joke. It has risen up to be ranked as the No. 1 medium sized metropolitan area in the U.S. for economic development by Site Selection magazine. I have never read that magazine…or even heard of it, but that sounds like a great honor. It was also ranked No. 16 & 14 for exports and export-related jobs by the Brookings Institution. I’ve also never heard of the Brookings Institution but anything that carries the title of an Institution has to have some type of credibility. I think it’s great that Dayton is doing such a great job in trying to balance out our trade surplus/deficit…what is your city currently doing?

Currently it is 51.3% female, great news for all you single guys out there. It is also home to the first round of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tourney, more great news for single guys. Let’s hope they don’t export those things! That was a little joke based on Dayton’s ability to export things (see above paragraph).

Clearly the elite of the U.S. have taken notice of Dayton. President’s Lincoln, Andrew Johnson, Garfield, Kennedy, LBJ, Nixon, Ford, Reagan & Clinton have delivered addresses from the steps of the Old Courthouse in Dayton. When’s the last time a U.S. President has visited your city? Note, please do not answer this question if you live in Washington, D.C., or New York City…because it happens all the time there.

The tallest building in Dayton is a whopping 408 feet tall. You may laugh at that, but such a short building allows more of the sunlight to touch the city, thus allowing for happier people, which leads to a more productive city, etc. If you don’t think that is important, go visit Seattle. The sun literally never come out there, and coincidentally, Seattle is a horrible city…see how that works?

Don’t like politics or women? Did you know that in 2012 (just 2 years ago), Dayton was ranked No. 2 in the Country as an arts destination? That’s higher than Cincinnati. Dayton is also home to the Dayton Art Institute and the Dayton Ballet. For someone who doesn’t like politics or women, there is a lot to do in Dayton.

Feeling a little under the weather? If so, Dayton will take care of you. In 2011 (just 3 years ago), the Dayton area was rated number 3 in the nation by HealthGrades for excellence in healthcare. That’s impressive. That’s also a lot higher than the town of Gary, IN. Have you ever been to Gary, IN? If so, it will make you sick. Seriously, you will become physically ill just by being in that city.

Assuming you are not physically ill and you are looking to visit Dayton, the Dayton International Airport operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. For all my International readers, you could also visit one of Dayton’s sister cities like Augsburg, Germany or Holon, Israel. Israel might be a little dicey right now…perhaps Monrovia, Liberia or Oiso, Japan.

I hope I was able to convey to you what an absolute city powerhouse Dayton is. Sure it may not have the luster and lure of a San Francisco or New York City, but few cities do. An just remember that John Dillinger was captured and arrested by Dayton city police while visiting his girlfriend at a boarding house in downtown Dayton…not San Francisco, but Dayton!

Headline of the Day

Do you remember a few weeks ago when I said that “Missing Boy Found Alive in own Basement” was the best headline ever? It still is. Today I found this little beauty though…”A Man Accidentally Killed Himself While Taking a Selfie.” What’s even better than the headline is how he killed himself. He was waving a gun around while taking a picture of himself and the gun accidentally went off. I would argue though that the gun didn’t accidentally go off…this was simply someone’s (you can fill in the blank here) way of doing the world a favor by removing this stellar individual. In related news, the Darwin Awards have been cancelled this year after an overwhelming outcry to give this young man the award were received. And I thought social media was stupid. If it weren’t for social media, I would have gone through my whole life thinking there wasn’t someone more stupid than the guy who got trampled by a bull while taking a selfie during the running of the bulls. On second thought, social media is stupid. In fact…so are selfie’s…there could be a future post dedicated to this new phenomenon.

Headlines

As I was browsing this morning, I came across a few unique headlines:

Missing Boy Found Alive in His Basement – First of all, this is perhaps the greatest headline ever. How could you not want to read that story? Of course it is from Michigan…but the first rule when you lose someone is to actually look for them in your own house! It’s like when you lose your glasses, you look on your head. You lose your kid, you look in the basement. Duh! It just goes to the greater point that most people are not qualified to be parents.

Drone Peeps at Undressed Women – Need another reason not to trust the Government?

Flight Attendant Brings Sass to Sky – Let’s hope she brings back the free peanuts too…that was the best part about flying.

The World’s Tallest Tower? – The interesting point about this is the use of the ‘?’. So are they asking if there is a World’s tallest tower? If it comes down to the simple task of measuring, I would think this debate could be solved relatively quickly.

Vasectomy Part of Guys Plea Deal – Need more evidence that women really are cruel? In addition, I’m glad we are finally doing something about the fact that some people are not qualified to be parents.

Facebook is 69% Male and Mostly White – Why am I not surprised? White guys really have nothing better to do with their time? It’s not like you can access porn on facebook…what the hell are they doing?

Hidden Camera Abuse Videos Under Fire – Which part is under fire, the abuse part…or the fact that it is caught on tape?

Gary Oldman is Really, Really Sorry – What does Gary Oldman have to be sorry about? Gary Oldman is a legend. Gary Oldman could steal a blind man’s guide dog and not have to apologize. Gary Oldman could pea in a public pool and not have to apologize. Gary Oldman could return a book to the library 3 years late and not have to apologize…in fact he could probably get the library to pay him a late fee just for making him drive there. Gary Oldman should replace that lame Dos Equis guy as the most interesting man in the World…well because he is.

World Cup 2014 Hottest Player Bracket Challenge – Seriously? That same website then also has the guts to have another story titled ‘World Cup Taking a Bite out of Worker Productivity.” Yea, no shit…because we are all too busy voting on who the hottest player is!

2 Men Throw out $1M Ticket, Sue New Jersey Lottery – Where else but New Jersey could you find 2 individuals who are literally so stupid, that they would not only throw out a winning lottery ticket, but then have the gall to sue the state because they are idiots? I was always under the impression that NJ had good schools, well these two wonder kids must be imports because you’d be hard pressed to find 2 dumber individuals wondering around in the World today. That would be the equivalent of…you know what, I can’t even think of an analogy that would equal…probably because there isn’t one. These two are literally the two biggest idiots on the face of the Earth. There has to be some kind of prize we can give them…and there is, it’s called welfare. Thanks Democrats.

How to Make More With Less

I can’t believe it’s been 20 years since the Juice was loose. By that, I of course mean OJ’s now infamous run from the cops down LA’s freeways. That’s not what I want to write about though. It was the Juice made me think of the real winner that appeared from that fiasco. Kato Kaelin. Kato was a bum (he still is), but I mean literally…he was sleeping in the guest house out back. He was doing nothing with his life. He was hanging out, relaxing, smoking some of the green stuff, doing some surfing. Then the Juice showed up. Now I’m not going to take this time to comment on whether or not OJ is guilty or just the luckiest man in the world…I want to focus on my boy Kato…and all the other people who have tried to keep up with him only to fall short…all those who have made more with less.

Owen Wilson. Let’s be real here, if Owen wasn’t an actor he would be driving a bus down the 405. He is a guy who looks like he got hit in the face with a lacrosse stick about 43 times. He’s not funny. He talks weird. He’s not even the talented brother. He has not been in one good movie…yet he is winning.

Jason Segel. Where do I even begin with him? Yes he was in a mildly successful television show, but he contributed nothing. Barney literally carried that show. Without NPH, that show would have gotten cancelled after the pilot aired. He looks like a serial killer. He can’t act. He looks like he would run over your dog and keep driving. He’s winning too.

Jesse Heiman. I seriously considered putting this kid at the top of the list. To start out with, he is a bonafide legend. Raise your hand if you’ve made out with Bar Refaeli. Notice how only 1 person here had their hand up? It’s Jesse. He’s appeared in like 400 shows and commercials. He lives in Texas. These are all wins. Yes Texas is a win…need I remind you that gun racks and open beverage containers are still legal there. Remember the fence they wanted to build? Genius. But take a look at this poor guy, he looks like a life size chia-pet. If I’m in the post office and Jesse walks in, I’m catching up on my Hail Mary’s. This kid looks like he’ll take a baseball bat to your car if you fail to properly signal at the light. There’s absolutely no reason why this kid should not be compared to Milton…yet he is winning.

Barack Obama. You seem surprised with this one? Well let’s see. His name is Barack. It’s Barack. So you’re saying that 15 years ago your kid comes to you and says, “hey Mom, I’m going over to Barack’s house to play”…your letting him go? Of course not! You’re probably putting him in his room for even asking you. You might even call the police just to have them do a drive buy of ole B-boy’s house just to look for anything suspicious. You might be asking how Barack didn’t make the top of the list. After all, he is President…tough to beat that. He was born in Hawaii, tough to beat that. He has a kick ass house that we all paid for…tough to beat that. He makes $400K/year…tough to beat that. Has he ever made out with Bar? I think not. And let’s not forget…his name is Barack after all. Oh, did I mention that for a while, his last name was synonymous with the FBI’s most wanted terrorist in the world, of all time?!? Yet somehow, he is winning.

Steve Buscemi. Oh Nucky. If you happen to be a brave person, I dare you to google image Steve. I’ll give you a minute. Now that you’ve cleaned out your shorts, do I really have to say anything else about Steve? Winning.

Pat Sajak. Think about it, for the last 32 years, Pat has been asking people from across the country to tell him letters, then he asks a pretty girl if there are any letters in a particular word or phrase, then either shows mild disappointment or tepid excitement. For this Pat is paid $8 million dollars a year, and has accumulated a net worth of over $45 million. $45 million?!? Pat was a weather man…a weather man! He even hosted his own talk show. That only lasted for a little over a year. Know why it failed? Because Pat is arguably the most boring man in the World! He is the complete opposite of the Dos Equis guy. The exact polar opposite. If Pat held a staring contest with a statue, odds are the statue would voluntarily start to crumble rather than share time and space with Pat. Ever see that SNL sketch ‘It’s Pat’? Know why they picked the name Pat…look no further than Sajak. Even his name is horrible. Just say it out loud for a moment. Do you like yourself a little less now? That’s the power of Sajak…he’s like a spirit vacuum. But on the flip side, he’s gotten to hang with Vanna for 32 years. Your telling me that in all that time they haven’t snuck into the break room a few times? And he does have the easiest job in the world…literally the easiest job in the world. They actually did a test in some select markets where a capuchin monkey hosted his show and the ratings were actually better. Not only could he be replaced by a monkey, the show would actually be better. Multiple words describe The Sajak, one of which is winner.

I could go on all day, but I think we got a pretty good list here. All these fine folks are making more with less. All of these fine people are chasing one man though. The original and still the best. Kato Kaelin. The man who set the standard. A man who literally has made a life out of two people getting killed (allegedly by OJ). A man who just wanted a place to sleep, but found a life…a calling really. A man who refused to get a haircut for fear he wouldn’t be recognized. A man who inspired a generation of young kids. A man who for a short time was on the lecture circuit. A bum, yet a winner. For no one in this world has made more with less than Kato. I raise my glass to you sir, I wish I could touch and inspire people like you…only I don’t want anything to do with OJ.

Earth Day

Today is Earth Day 2014. The only day I like better than Earth Day is Arbor Day. Today is all about creating a sustainable, healthy environment by making your neighborhood greener. I’ll bet you’re not going to do any of that, are you? I’ll bet you didn’t even know it was Earth Day today. I’ll bet you’re going to do the same thing you normally do. I’ll bet you’re going to throw that paper in the trash instead of recycling it. I’ll bet you’re going to leave that light on when you leave that room tonight. I’ll bet you probably left the water on while you were brushing your teeth this morning. I’ll bet you took an extra long shower this morning. I’ll bet you rode in an SUV this morning. I’ll bet you didn’t car pool this morning. I’ll bet the lights are on in your office right now. I’ll bet they don’t need to be. I’ll bet you don’t know what a Howitzer is. I’ll bet you just went to Google now. I’ll bet you don’t know what it takes to get the Energy Star logo on something. I’ll bet you don’t care either. I’ll bet you’ve never looked into what it would take to have solar panels on your house. I’ll bet you wouldn’t want a wind turbine in your backyard either because you think it would make your yard look ugly. I’ll bet you’ve had tuna fish within the last month…how was that tuna caught? I’ll bet you didn’t know the average U.S. family waste’s 33 lbs of food each month. I’ll bet you’d reach for a plastic water bottle before a re-usable one because it’s easier. Why don’t you try cleaning the pacific garbage patch, there’s nothing easy about that. How are you feeling about yourself now, pretty good?

Do you know when Arbor Day 2014 is? It’s this Friday, now get off your ass and go buy a tree to plant.

Head Scratcher of the Day

I get an alert on my phone that says “Autopsy of Philip Seymour Hoffman is inconclusive.” He died with a needle in his arm and 50 bags of Heroin around him…and you geniuses can’t come to any conclusions on how he died?? I sure hope that pathologist wasn’t making more than $32,000 a year.

By the way, I loved Philip…I thought he was a great actor. If there’s anyone out there who thinks Lester Bangs isn’t one of cinema’s all-time great characters, do yourself a favor and build your next house on top of a sink hole.

It’s a Story

I just made a record. A real live record, or an album, depending on when you were born. You didn’t know I was a musician did you? It’s actually selling pretty well, perhaps not by The Rolling Stones status, but it is selling. I owe it all to an engineer.

So the story is that for years I have been an amateur musician, in addition to a writer. I would do all covers, never any of my own stuff…funny considering I am also a writer. I just found it easier to perform what others wrote; really I just found it easier to sing what I already knew was a good song. I was always afraid to bring out my own stuff; for fear that the audience wouldn’t like it. My covers were pretty good, good enough that people always used to tell me I should record them. It’s kind of a hassle re-recording a song though, you have to get the original artists permission and that is sometimes easier said than done.

Well finally after hearing it enough I decided that I should make an album. After all, there might be a small handful of people out there that like my version better than the original. So I started that arduous process of reaching out to the people’s people to try to get the people’s permission and for the most part it actually worked, the people decided to let me sing their stuff. So I went into the studio and I laid down my tracks. At the end, I was getting ready to pack up my gear when the engineer said to me, “you know, you’ve still got the studio for another 20 minutes, you got anything else you want to lay down?” I did have a few original pieces in my pocket and just for kicks, I decided to do it. I sang a few of my own songs and when my time was up, I started to pack my stuff up. I thanked the engineer for his time and I could tell he was about to say something and then he stopped. So I said, what, what is it? He said, “well, I probably shouldn’t say anything, but, I actually thought your original stuff was better than the covers.”

As fate would have it, I actually had a gig later that evening and a little more than half way through the set, I couldn’t get out of my mind what the engineer had said to me. So I switched it up a little and I had the band cancel a few of the covers we were set to do in favor of my original songs. I passed them off as being originally done by someone no one had heard of from the Midwest. After the show I was at the bar when a couple of people came up to me and told me they enjoyed the show, and then they actually asked for more info about the guy from the Midwest because they really liked those songs and they wanted to look for an original cd or something. I was definitely caught off guard so I had no choice but to resort to the truth. After hearing they were mine, they told me I should do more of my own work.

Thinking this couldn’t just be luck, I decided to incorporate more and more of my own stuff into my shows, forcing me to change the way I marketed myself even…going from being a cover artist, to just a plain artist. A year or so went by and I was having really good luck with my original work, more and more people would tell me after the shows how much they really liked it and where they could get more of it. After hearing this more and more at my shows, I decided to go back to that same studio to make another record, only this time it would be my own stuff.

After laying down all my original songs, I was packing up my gear and I again thanked the engineer for his time. It was a different guy so I asked what happened to the guy I had last time. He said he was no longer here so I asked what his name was. Knowing this guy was really the catalyst for me over-coming one of my biggest fears, I decided to look this guy up, I had to talk to him again. I hit the internet and actually had a bit of luck. Since his name was rather unusual, there were only 3 in my area, so I liked my chances. I couldn’t go try to find all three then next day like I wanted to because between my day job and a few other obligations, I had a busy couple of weeks ahead. In reality, I was pretty nervous. I wasn’t sure what I would say when I saw him again, he probably wouldn’t even remember me.

It was just like the movies when I set off to find them. The first 2 were misses, so I knew the third had to be him. I drove down his street and stopped in front of his house. There were two cars in the driveway, and one of them was a pick-up truck so I knew he had to be home. My heart was almost beating out of my chest, I was so nervous. As I stood at the bottom of the stairs leading to the front door, I wondered why I was so nervous. He is a regular person, just like me, so why was I nervous? I rang the doorbell and a woman answered. I asked to speak to him and she didn’t say anything, she just looked at me. I said his name again, is he home, can I speak to him? I again got the same look. I told her my name and who I was. I told her the story of how I went to record a record and what he said to me, how he gave me this huge burst of confidence, how it was all him that made me start to sing my original songs when I performed, how I recorded another record, only of my own songs this time, and how that record is actually selling. I found myself rambling on and on when I suddenly stopped. I looked at this woman and she was crying. I was speechless, I was fumbling around trying to figure out what to say when she looked at me and told me he had died last week.

She told me she was his daughter. She was the only one home but she invited me in. We sat down and I told her I was sorry for coming. She asked me why I was sorry. I told her that I didn’t mean to make her cry; I only wanted to come over to say thanks to her father. She told me there was no need to apologize. The reason she was crying was that for years she never really knew what her father did for a living. She knew he worked at this little studio, but he had always told her that he just helped out. He would help set up instruments for people to play, he would clean up after they left he told her. So when she heard my story, and the profound impact he had on my life and my work, it was just too much for her to take. We ended up talking for almost an hour before I decided to leave. I told her that if I ever make it big, I would invite her to a concert.

When I got back to my car I started to reflect for a moment when it hit me. If I hadn’t taken so much time after I had gotten his name, I might have been able to talk to him before he died. I started to cry myself. But then I thought, maybe I wasn’t supposed to thank him; maybe it was all fate that it worked out the way it did. Maybe he was just supposed to come into my life for a couple of hours only to change it forever going forward. I don’t know. I think about him from time to time though, I can’t help it.

A man once said to me, “you can’t stop what’s coming.” I suppose he’s right.

Head Scratcher of the Day

So as I’m scrolling through ABC News’ website today, I stumble across this gem of a headline:

“JFK’s Injury Would Still Be Fatal Today.”

Really? So getting half your head blown off would still be fatal today…hmmm, I didn’t know that. I would have thought for sure with all our advances in modern medicine that wouldn’t have been the case. I didn’t know Katie Couric was writing for ABC News now.

Revolving Doors

I don’t like revolving doors. Perhaps nothing more in life symbolizes the man holding us down more than revolving doors. Think about it, you approach to door with a brisk walk, and as you enter you are forced to slow down, take these humiliating mini-steps, the door is hitting you/your bag in the back, you are trying to simultaneously push the door with your hand while also trying to push it with your foot, while not tripping, it’s a shit show. Ever wonder why you feel a sense of relief when you exit a revolving door? Wonder no more. It’s claustrophobic, you are trying to time your entrance into the door so you don’t screw up the person who is also trying to exit, you are trying to walk fast while the old lady in front of you is trying to walk slow, you push hard and the guy who exits in front of you shoots you this look that says “what, I didn’t move fast enough for you?”

There are no rules, it’s every man for himself. How do you deal with a lady? Do you let her go first so she has to push the door, or do you go in front of her so you can bear the brunt of the 300lb pieces of glass? You go first thinking you are helping her out and now she is mad at you because you aren’t a gentleman. She is a cute brunette and you want to talk to her but you can’t because you know inside she already knows you are selfish. Thanks to those revolving doors, your relationship with that cute girl who wears those black knee high boots, black tights, white skirt and black jacket is over before it begins.

They have a governor on them so if you are by yourself, you still have to walk like you have a piano on your back. What happens if you go to Australia and you don’t know that doors rotate the other way? I’ll tell you what happens, you look like a tool because you go to push the door and you can’t figure out why it won’t move. For all of you who are going to Australia soon, you’re welcome for that little tidbit of information. You ever get stuck inside one of these things because some idiot tried to rush to get in and they end up getting wedged between the door and the jam causing the whole thing to stop, all because they couldn’t wait 2 seconds for the next opening, it’s a mess.

The one place that uses these effectively, airports. The entrance is like 15 feet wide, the door moves by itself, there’s more than enough room for you, your luggage, and that obese person who will soon be sitting next to you and half in your seat on your impending flight, it’s perfection on a swivel. Whenever you can take human interaction out of the equation, you have a victory. The only thing humans do consistently really well is screw things up.

As for me, I’ll stick to using the door next to the revolving doors so the next time you’ll see me, I’ll be at the bar having a drink with a cute brunette.

Fear the Tea

There was a time when I thought I wanted to go into politics, heck part of me still wants to, but then I live this political nightmare that we are going through and I have to smack myself so I start to think straight. I prefer coffee over tea, but the tea I think you should be afraid of is not Earl Grey, it is the beast known as the Tea Party Republicans and that future Kleenex spokesman himself, John Boehner. These yahoo’s are more than likely to cause the U.S. Government to shut down because they can’t get their way with healthcare. So put another way, they would prefer the U.S. Government shut down instead of providing their citizens healthcare. If you think that is bad, wait a few weeks until we approach the day when we run out of money and can’t pay the interest on the mountain of debt we have…that day is only a few short weeks away. Now I realize that a lot of these is simply posturing by those spoiled cry babies, but a shut down even for a few days goes against everything this Country was founded on. This Country needs more smart people to go into politics, people who live in the middle and are willing to work with others to help make this Country a better place to live. The last thing this Country needs are these right wing nut jobs who want to come in and blow the whole thing up. Think that political party has some merit to them? Did you get a chance to check out Sarah Palin? That chick melted faster under the heat than a stick of butter in a frying pan.

I don’t know if the answer is a bigger Government, or a smaller Government…but what I do know is that what we’ve got now isn’t working. Once these moron’s get elected, it is all about them. There are so few elected officials out there that are actually fighting for their people. The only thing they care about is getting re-elected. They are there to serve their needs first, then they serve the needs of their constituents who funded their campaigns, and then they try to make it look like they care about the middle class people who live in their districts. They write bills that are thousands of pages long, that have so many loopholes and contingent bills tucked in that the main reason the bill was drafted gets completely lost. They cut side deals with other politicians that say I’ll vote for your cause if you vote for mine. They take money from special interest groups that try to turn these spineless worms into puppets.

So what’s the solution? The easy answer is that you are. The reason why that answer is easy is because it is wrong. Don’t think for one second that because you can vote 1 way or another that you have any control over who is in office because you don’t. The electoral college controls that. Want to vote for someone you do have control over…then focus on the smaller elections, the ones that control your County Executive, or your Town Supervisor, that is how you can make a difference. Our President is nothing more than a figurehead who can’t even control what color tie he will wear. Look at what Obama has done with his 2 terms…nothing! Any we gave him a Nobel Peace prize for that…how dumb are we!?!? By the time the President actually passes a law and the effects of that law actually trickle down to you, you’ll probably be dead. Focus on someone who actually has the ability to make an impact in your neighborhood, that way you can actually control something that will have an impact on you.

%d bloggers like this: