Davins Comedy Blog

THE GREEN NEW DEAL- A BIG BAD DEAL - By Joe Currie (Davin's Den)

One of Trumps campaign promises is that he is going to work on intrusive and job killing over regulation from the Obama administration and for the most part it has worked creating job creation and one of the factors of the economy is doing so well.

Alexandria  Ocasio Cortez has released the Green new deal resolution.

The new Green deal will be one of the most government intrusive programs and will be the leading factor to a socialistic society.

They are using the global warming issue as the rallying cry by claiming it will conquer global warming by eliminating fossil fuels in ten years. It is nothing more than a utopian socialist dream of federally guaranteed jobs requiring trillions of our tax dollars and massive government intervention.

One of these proposals is a carbon footprint based tax at around $20 to $60 per ton and this tax is to drive an economic incentive to bring alternative fuels to the market.

It is consumer demand and not a government imposed tax to being an incentive to alternative fuels or any product for that matter. 
A similar tax has been in France and has done nothing except spark rioting for over three months.

It is interesting they are doing this under the guise of global warming which are the first two pages of the proposal.

 It has been a big issue since the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) issued that Global Warming is our biggest threat, and we have twelve years to save ourselves from it. Never mind that a lot of these scientists are funded by the government and don’t want to lose their grant money or that the father of global warming studies said he no longer believes in it.

Some of the measures of this plan are to create millions of good High Wage Jobs and to provide prosperity and economic security for all people in the country. One of the ways they want to do this is to collaborate with the labor unions. Labor unions had their place in the beginning of the last Century. But they got greedy, killed the auto industry, and are one of the factors for companies moving overseas.

Let’s take a look at when the government creates jobs and does it through the unions. In New York it now costs seventeen dollars to cross the Verrazano and George Washington Bridges, with the other crossings costing between eight fifty to six fifty each.
 Each of these bridges a day make over a million dollars each, each bridge!
The MTA claims they are broke and are now proposing a toll hike claiming it is due to upgrades to the infrastructure, but what about the millions upon millions of dollars that you collect each year? They go to legacy costs negotiated by the unions for pensions and salaries and that’s way it costs so much to cross these bridges. And when you have the government and the unions work together the price to the end user is too high for a service that is substandard.  
It is interesting that Cortez and her ilk want High paying good jobs but at the same time want to stop Amazon from moving to Queens which would create Thousands of high paying jobs for the area. Why do they want to do this? Because of tax breaks to Amazon. Typical “tax but don’t give back liberal progressive”.

 Did she think of the tax revenue that all these new jobs would bring in? Did she think of the new businesses that would be created to support Amazon in the area.

Let’s look at the other facets of the Green New Deal and see how the government has been doing with similar programs.

The deal proposes- Affordable, safe, and adequate housing-

Let’s look at NYCHA which is the New York City Housing Authority. They provide affordable rents to millions of people in the city. It was created as a great social program to help the poor. The reality is these buildings are crime ridden, and these people are living in nothing less than squalor. The apartments have lead paint and have had problems with heat and hot water. Because it is government run, it is a bureaucratic boondoggle with the government officials pointing fingers at each other with nothing much being done.

The deal also proposes High Quality health care-

Let’s look at Obama care which a grand majority of the people do not like, and was a program that was forced on the American people with a tax to boot if you do not participate.
Is it high quality health care?? Depends if your Doctor is on the plan and quite a few are not. Do we need to do something about health care? Yes but not with the Government running it, just look at Medicare.

In addition they want to mandate that all existing buildings achieve maximum energy and water efficiency. Do you know how much money that will cost a company? The money that a company could spend on expansion, increased wages, and research will now have to be spent on a government imposed program. This will affect companies’ bottom line, will effect pricing, likely cause inflation, or may close businesses entirely which will cause a raise in the unemployment rate.
Working with the farmers and ranchers to remove pollution and greenhouse gases-
 The family farm is dying as it is tough to survive and adding another government mandated program will be another burden and will sure kill off these farmers which are fighting everyday to survive.

Ensuring a commercial environment where every business person is free from unfair competition by domestic and international monopolies-

I hope they know legislation has been in effect since the last century to combat unfair business practices.

In regards to dealing with international monopolies, these are the same people that are criticizing Trump over the Tariffs, and taking a stand on trade with china, and reworking NAFTA.

The Green deal is compared to Roosevelt’s new deal but where did that money come from back then? In 1929 when the depression hit the top tax rate was twenty four percent on top incomes. By 1932 it went to sixty three percent.

 Several key things happened due to this, the depression lasted longer as a lot of these people in this higher tax bracket that owned businesses did not want to hire or expand at that tax rate. In addition they moved a lot of their money to tax shelters which gave Roosevelt no choice but to create excise taxes on the middleclass and the poor from everything new cars to Coca Cola.
You cannot continually tax the rich in a tax and spend environment. With the rich taking tax shelters  that percentage of taxes to take will now dwindle. We are seeing it now in New York as tax revenues have fallen but the deficit has not.

The new green deal would be a socialistic failure and will lead the country into a depression. Why am I so skeptical, let’s take Venezuela which was the richest Latin American country and then went to the poorest thanks to socialistic programs.

For these reasons they are now fighting to end socialism and we here in the states should be fighting to stop it as well.

History has shown that Socialism leads to poverty, A society dictated by the Government through overreach and taxes will end the work ethic of people that have the drive and desire to succeed, a work ethic that has made this country great for over two centuries. 

And as they say, people that don’t remember the past are condemned to repeat it.
God Bless America.



Baseball calls itself America’s National Past time.  Football would argue they have replaced baseball as the national past time. I would submit that they are both wrong. America’s real national past time is arguing. It is something that everyone can engage in and gender, race, age, do not determine your access to this event.

I remember as a kid we would play games in the neighborhood; usually involving some aspect of athletic achievement.  Sometimes the games would have set rules like basketball or baseball or football. Sometimes the game would be created by us with its own unique rules. The one thing that was consistent was invariably we would spend a good chunk of the daylight time arguing. Were you in or out? Was it fair or foul? Did you foul him or didn’t you? Was that too high? Was it too far? Did you call time out? There was no objective official. We just had to sort it out on our own. When you are a youngster a do over is often the solution. It cuts down on the arguing so you can get on with the game. As you get older do overs become a less satisfactory solution.

What do you think most people spend their time doing on social media? For most of us it is not clicking like on kitten memes. Nope someone has an opinion and we disagree…vociferously and unrelentingly. It can be politics or sports or music or a recipe. We don’t need a topic. Make your point so I can disagree with it.

We have television shows that are centered around arguing. Most political shows are this way. A good amount of sports shows are this way. The same holds true with radio. The best calls are the ones who disagree with the host of the show.

I don’t know about you but my kid feels the need to argue. I mean she will eventually realize we are correct and have her best interest at heart but first it is an argument. Why? Because. That is her default setting. Even shows that depict our nation’s past feature this. I watch Little House on the Prairie and they didn’t argue in the Ingal’s house but they sure did at the Oleson’s Mercantile and home.

Today I got into an argument about the Super Bowl Half Time Show and how Maroon 5 did. There was more passion in the argument then there was in any Maroon 5 song. We all thought they sucked. I am sure Maroon 5 thought they sucked. But I was wrong. Some one thought the criticism was unfair and that Maroon 5 did well. Only in America.

Now some of you are going to say I am wrong about my evaluation. I have two things to tell you. One, you are wrong. Two, you are a fine American.



“She’s funny. She seems a little eccentric maybe, but really, I don’t think it’s that bad.”
I’m paraphrasing, but that is the gist of the comments I would hear when I finally would allow someone to come home and meet my mother.  I’d prep them, by telling them that she was a paranoid schizophrenic, and was liable to say various inappropriate things and have some strange habits, but they’d always assure me that it was fine, they weren’t there to judge.  I wasn’t afraid of their judgement at that point, since if I was letting them into the secret lair I had already figured that they were my friend, and could be trusted not to hold it against me.  I was just preparing them for whatever unpredictable things they might encounter.

There was Life of the Party Mom, who would tell joke after joke, and would be the most vivacious woman you ever met who seemed to not have a stop button.  There was Anxiety Mom, who would be smoking incessantly, complaining about what the neighbors were saying about her, and may take an instant dislike to someone.  Depressed Mom didn’t speak a lot, and would sleep on the couch and cry about how my father must be guilty of coaching my brother and I to avoid her, and of promoting alienation of affection.  Oh, there was Screeching Mom, a personal favorite, who would lash out at my father and accuse him of adultery, or yell and bang pots on the walls to let the neighbors know she was aware of their spying.  But the one I was most afraid would come out when bringing the very rare boy home, was Inappropriate Seductress Mom. Yeah, that was fun, watching my mother say racy things to the guy I liked.

For the record, schizophrenia is misunderstood to be a split personality disease, and I’m not trying to further that trope by describing my Mom’s various unpleasant and uncomfortable moods with titles, like they are separate personalities.  She absolutely had one integrated personality, but she was unable to tell reality from delusion, and that is the crux of the matter for the family of diseases that are under the umbrella of schizophrenia.  Mom’s particular variety was the paranoid type, where she believed that a nebulous “they” were after her and my family.  She developed a whole bunch of coping skills she believed would keep her and us safe from their threat, which were bizarre and sometimes extremely annoying to those around her.  For example, she kept to a secret schedule of habits during the day, where she did things at the correct time or in the correct pattern.  She used to count the number of steps taken from room to room, and if she found herself on a “bad” number before crossing the threshold into the next room, she would shuffle her feet until she was at a “good” number to continue.  If you have ever seen Three Stooges movies, and see how one would stop abruptly and the other would smash right into their back, you would see how annoying it was to try to walk behind her into another room.  The woman seriously needed brake lights.

Usually though, Mom was strangely able to pull herself together enough to be almost normal during these occasions when someone new would come over, since any visit was usually brief.  I spent the entire time waiting for the other shoe to drop, but she usually just behaved a little over-excited to meet them, as if we kept her locked in a cage most of the time.  Yes, there were some really cringe-worthy comments sometimes, and her constant smoking and stacked ashtray fascinated people, but nothing worse than you will see on the average sitcom these days.  In the moment, it felt worse than it may have been in their eyes, now that I have made the comparison to tv shows.  Just some lovable eccentric, they’d think.  Yeah, right.

I think what really got me upset was that she was able to fake being normal for new people, but we had to deal with all kinds of unpleasant versions of Mom during the rest of the time.  If she could make pleasant conversation when they were there, why did we have to listen to the litany of complaints the rest of the time?  It was infuriating to see that she had some degree of control over her behavior when she wanted to, and we were stuck with the shitty stuff.  It made it seem as if I was the world’s biggest exaggerator.  There were some people who hung around long enough to see her run out of energy to be on her best behavior, and turn back into the person we lived with.  It was almost perversely satisfying to see the light go on in a friend’s eyes when they finally REALLY met Mom.  At least I could finally be vindicated, and they would see why I would warn them before coming into our dark, secret embarrassing hellhole, I mean home.


2019 - By Joe Currie - Davin's Den

As I start a new year I usually have goals or an agenda. This is the first year I really don’t. Six years ago January started in turmoil as I came to terms that I was not happy in my marriage or where my life was going.

The following years I worked on trying to save my marriage, coming to terms with my wife that we could not, and preparing to separate and the drama that goes with it. Soon after that I was getting my house prepared to sell then not having it sell for a year, being four months away from bankruptcy and then finding a buyer.

The next adventure was finding a new place; going through the ordeal of buying it and then moving in. This was then followed by the mourning of leaving the only place I called home since I was three, ending a twenty six year relationship, and starting a new life in a new place and living alone for the first time in twenty four years.

This year I can say that the dust has settled in my life and after all that has happened I just want to chill. Also for the first time in my life I am tired. My schedule with all my projects and the day program some weeks can be grueling, but I love what I do in all of them and it’s my choice. But I am starting to see some cracks in my armor.

When it’s a Friday night at eleven pm you have been up since 5:30 am and your are in a comedy club in Manhattan sitting in a stairwell freezing waiting to go on, you sit and wonder how long can I go on doing this? Wouldn’t it be better to be home watching a movie with a couple of cocktails?

When you are lugging musical gear into rock club and then tripping over yourself and everyone else trying to set up to play for thirty minutes in front of twenty people, you question how long can I go on doing this?

The radio show takes a toll on me as well, two and a half hours in rush hour traffic to go there, a three hour plus show, then two hours back home, no lunch as I am plugging the show and then outside of that, three hours to do the I Heart clips every week and then the two hours to write a blog every three weeks.

The day program also takes the life out of me with the stress and the customers and then coming to the fact I may never get out of there.

Actually I do have goals and one of them is I want to concentrate is my health. I always thought I was invincible but I am finding out I am not. I am a diabetic and I am now feeling the effects. But as always I still have that feeling that the fight has been brought to me and the only answer is victory.

Another goal is I would love to go a vacation this year. I have not been on a vacation in eighteen years. Please don’t think that going on the road is a vacation. I have been afforded to work at some nice places, but the fact remains you still have a task to complete, and that is a show.
I would love to go away for two weeks and get away from everything. No phone, no gigs, and no rehearsals. I would love to wake up in the morning and not have to do a mental rundown of what I am doing that day and what I have to prepare for and load into the car.

The conflict is the money to go on vacation, everything I do costs me money, and you may ask do you make money? Yes but it all gets funneled back into everything I do and I break even and in some cases lose money. Once again how long can I go along doing this?

With this one of my goals this year is to get my fiscal house in order and watch where ever dime is going. I had spent years with someone that took for granted and did not understand how much the bills were. I also spent last year spending money for a divorce, furniture, a new roof, and all sorts of new beginning stuff. Even though my wife did not contribute as much as she should with expenses she did help somewhat. Now it’s only me.

One thing I have been considering this year is quit doing everything, yep I am done. I don’t want any of this anymore. I am just going to go to the day program, come home, watch the TV shows that everybody watches and go to bed by 9:30.

 On the weekend no shows either, I am going to watch All the Family, The Jeffersons, and Barney Miller all afternoon. Then I am going to Stop and Shop and do my Grocery shopping, come home, eat dinner, and then watch a movie and then go to sleep.

Sounds great,,, No all the above to me is an existence and not in my DNA. I can’t do it. There is nothing I would rather be doing more than a show and so there lays the conundrum.
So what will I do?? I don’t know Barney Miller is on.
Happy New Year.


DON'T HIRE A COMEDIAN - By Davin Rosenblatt

You don’t want a comedian. I know as a comedian and someone who owns a talent agency that makes comedians available to restaurants, corporations, and private people I am not supposed to say that. It is counter-intuitive and it hurts my wallet.  Still, I think it best I save us all a bit of trouble and heartache.

You saw a comedian on tv or their video clip or in a club or have a vague concept of what stand up comedy is from the opening scene of old Seinfeld episodes and it looks like a good time.  You are correct, it is a good time. The audience in front of that performer knew they were seeing a comedian, wanted to see a comedian, and were doing so in an environment conducive to seeing a comedian. When you have those elements comedy can be magical. It is a good time. You want to bring that to the people you care or about or are tasked with entertaining. I get that. You are a good person and you just want to spread joy.

You contact a comedian or an agency and are eager to put this together.  However, a lot of the people at the event do not know a comedian will be part of the festivities. Surprise comedy is never a good idea. Tell the people that you are bringing in a comedian. That way the people who want to see it will be excited and those who do not can excuse themselves while the comedian is performing.  The comedian you saw was hilarious but they curse too much. There are some people  attending your event who are sensitive to some expletives. You would like comedian X but can they refrain from cursing you ask. Some of them can. Some of them can’t. You saw a video or them in person and they cursed a lot and you enjoyed that show and you would like that show but different. Does that really make sense? Do you go to a play and ask them to alter the dialogue?

Maybe cursing is not an issue. Maybe they don’t curse at all. However, you really enjoyed the show but their joke about race or religion or politics or Brussel sprouts or lawn chairs may offend some people. Can the comedian not talk about those topics? And while we’re at it let’s not talk about sex, gender identity, or Lady Gaga…just to be safe. But you definitely want to create the exact some feel and enjoyment that you experienced when you saw Comedian X…just none of those things he talks about. Does that make sense? Do you have your favorite restaurant cater your party but tell them not to serve the food that you enjoyed so much. If they could just do a more bland version of everything or have a menu of nothing you tasted and enjoyed that would be wonderful.

Why am I bringing this up? Because every day we are reading headlines of people or colleges or organizations hiring comedians who do exactly what they always do…their act and then being outraged that the comedian did their act.  There are plenty of comedians that can work without cursing or without taboo topics or even vaguely provocative material.  You will find many of them on cruise ships. Hire them. You will pay a lot for them but they will be very safe. Don’t hire the comedian who has a Netflix special that you love, for your office party, give, them no idea what is off limits until 5 minutes before the show and expect it to go well.   I know good comedians make our performance look effortless. News flash…it takes a lot of effort to make it look effortless.  When you change the rules of engagement right before the show bad things will happen. A lengthy conversation before contracts are signed can save everyone a lot of disappointment.

Colleges think they want comedians…you don’t. Comedians talk a lot of shit. We look at the world differently than you. We see humor in everything. It is why we are good comedians. A comedy show should never be a safe space. Even if nothing “offensive” happens part of the allure of live stand up is that something naughty could happen at any moment. It is the titillation. Comedians need that edge…even if we never approach it. If everything is off limits and everything is too much then maybe let’s agree that college is no longer a “safe space” to exchange ideas. Standup is an exchange of ideas. If our ideas are too much for you that is fine. Just don’t ask us to stand up there and talk about nothing. If I talk about Nike someone will be offended because they use poor child laborers or Colin Kaepernick  and now we are into the abyss of some one is offended. We really were just talking about how hard it is to get the new Jordans and when we were growing up we went to the supermarket for our shoes. Even when we are not making a political statement to someone we may be making a statement. And we can’t have that in college these days.

Don’t get me wrong. Stand up comedy is great in comedy clubs, firehouses, Elks lodges, restaurants, etc. Go see it! It is fun. It can be nice for birthday parties or corporate events. Just make sure everyone is on the same page way before the gig starts.

If you are unsure if comedy is right or you are unwilling to let the comedian be the comedian they are than I suggest, magicians, jugglers, pianists, face painters, palm readers, djs, etc.  There is much less chance one of these performers will say something that is “offensive.”  Please support comedy. See it live in the venues I mentioned. Bring your friends to see us in those venues. If you really want us for your special event we will do it but keep in mind stand-up comedians are much closer to tigers than we are to tabbies.  We are a bit dangerous and unpredictable. Please see us in our natural habitat. If you invite us into your habitat don’t be surprised if everyone leaves with a few scratches and bite marks. (I charge extra for the bite marks).


Godzilla v. Tea Roses - By Pip Helix (Davin's Den)

There is a certain type of personality that I find very difficult to be around, and that is the self-aggrandizing blowhard.  We all know the type – the guy who barges into places, talking too loudly, mostly about himself and his real or imagined accomplishments, and who only values the people around him for what they can do for him.  Look at me, be impressed by me, you matter little to me!  Stomping around like Godzilla through a bed of tea roses, these people lack any sort of humility, sensitivity or perspective.

I worked for one of these people for many years.  Fans of our show and Facebook friends of mine know the stories I have told about my Evil Overlords at my previous day program, and he was the head of the Overlords.  What a difficult man, in so many ways.  If you told a funny story, he had to tell a story that he imagined was better than yours (even if the rambling conclusion was not always clear, and not always funny).  If he gave direction in an unclear way, he would bellow and belittle any attempt at clarification, and you certainly would have your head handed to you for making a mistake.  He was the hero of every story he told, the mastermind who knew better than the experts in the room, and could be incredibly spiteful of any attempt to overshadow his “perfection”.  Does any of this sound familiar in the current climate?

I suffered a lot of emotional damage at that job, and found that his style of sometimes being beneficent and kind, followed by outrageous bouts of rage and bluster, gave me a type of PTSD.  I would silently rage while he would speak to me as if I was a slow child, insulting my intellect and position at the same time.  It occurs to me that some of the most unappealing parts of his personality and behavior are mirrored by our current Liar in Chief.  I am outraged by the behavior we are all witnessing, but I am also feeling incredibly triggered – reliving some of the more egregious incidents that made me a nervous wreck.  It’s hard to parse which is more enraging, the current outrageous daily assaults on Twitter and the daily headlines, or the past unbelievably unprofessional behavior I had to deal with.  Either way, I find myself to be in a nearly daily state of anger and despair. 

In the old day program, I felt trapped in a job, overseen by a blustering megalomaniac.  Today, I feel unable to change anything while watching decisions made by our blustering leader that feel so clearly to be based on lies, unscientific gut feelings, ego, and promises to powerful enemies.  That feeling of helplessness mixed with anger washes over me just as it did a few years ago, and I feel physically sick from it.  It’s just so similar.  Other people saw the behavior of the Evil Overlord, but did nothing to curb his more overbearing behavior for years on end.  Good people who could leave did so, and others who were not as able to leave their positions were stifled under the weight of his ego and unchecked power. Now, I see people actively demonstrating and resisting the same kind of monster, and yet no matter how many tea roses get crushed, this Godzilla is still loose in the garden, destroying everything it sees, and no one seems able to stop it.  It is soul-crushing to live through it on both a micro-, and now macro- level.  


WILL YOU DO THE FANDANGO? - By Joe Currie (Davin's Den)

Last week Joe’s girl and I went to see Bohemian Rhapsody. I have not been to a movie in years and my how things have changed.

First I made reservations on line which I have never done before, then they want me to reserve my seats. Reserve my seats?? Just let me walk in and pick where I’m going to sit when I actually see the riff raff in front of me.
I arrive at movies, go to the presale line and grab my tickets with the assigned seat. I was hemming and hawing all the way into the theater, I walk in and along with the popcorn I also ate my words.

The theater had big reclining seats with cup holders and plenty of room, it ruled and now I know why the reserved seats.

After twenty minutes of trailers, TWENTY MINUTES?? We get it, you’re trying to push other movies but you could make it ten. To be fair they actually tell you on line its twenty minutes which does give you time to get a backup snack or take a final leak.
The movie was incredible. I remember when the song Bohemian Rhapsody came out. I was a latchkey kid and my Mom gave me a list of chores I had to do after school. I would put on the hit station at the time 99X and do my chores. When I first heard Bohemian rhapsody I remember stopping what I was doing and just listening, I never heard anything like it before, it was amazing. I remember after that every time I would hear it I would act it out years before Wayne’s World.
Queen was amazing, I remember the band I used to be a roadie for play Tie your mother down and always felt like it was one of the best rock tunes ever.

As for the movie, the story was very good and I had a hard time not singing along or playing air guitar as I don’t want to appear to be the riff raff I did not want to sit next to.

I loved the movie and so did Joe’s girl and on the way out we talked about how great Queen was or is. Don’t forget they still play, first with Paul Rodgers of Bad Company, and now with Adam Lambert from American Idol which I think is a wise choice, and one Freddie Mercury would approve of.  

I have been a musician for thirty years and have been working in bands since I was sixteen and have been a major fan for a lot more and I have tried to learn everything about all the bands in rock and know all their histories as a fan.

It’s amazing the difference of opinion of people I have played with and have talked about the love of music and their opinion on the movie.

Fred my drummer in Rotgut thought the movie was awful and was not accurate and left a lot of the story out.

Jimi my drummer in Sexy Suzn who is a seasoned as Fred and knows his musical history as well as him thought the movie was fantastic.

As I said I thought the movie was phenomenal. Fred felt that the music was not in chronological order and they did not mention other facts in the movie such as how Brian May and his dad built his first guitar.

I agree with Fred on the music not being in chronological order, but I did realize that it was not a documentary but a movie and as such they had to keep the story moving.
I would know this personally as Davin, our friend Chip and myself are writing a story of my life of struggling to make it in the entertainment business in the shadow of two close friends that have. The story has me playing in a band, doing stand up, and doing a radio show while trying to keep my marriage together. We actually got a comment back that the story is not believable that somebody does all this stuff. I found that hysterical as it’s my life seven days a week.
But here is the deal; it’s not a documentary about me it’s a story about me. Davin and Chip are doing the main writing and I have been adding because even though I am not Freddie Mercury, or in Queen, the tie in is the exact details slow the story down. During my real life I live part of the story, when I read the script a lot of the stress the character faces would be too much in real life.

Go see Bohemian rhapsody and please remember it’s a story and not a documentary and you will enjoy it. Hopefully in the near further you will see my story which will not be a documentary and hope you will enjoy it as well. Don’t forget as Queen said, “Is this the real life or is this just Fantasy”.                                 


THURSDAY THANKS - By Davin Rosenblatt

I am thankful for Thursday. Not the one coming up that Americans call Thanksgiving. The one from last week that was a complete white shit show. It was awful, don’t get me wrong. Eight hours in snow and ice and never getting to your destination is a very bad day indeed but I realize it could have been much, much, worse.

I should probably back this up a bit. I was scheduled to do a show in Huntington, NY which is Long Island. With a decent commute it is a two hour ride. For days the weather forecast was for two to four inches of snow where I live. Lesser amounts around the city. Not a big deal for those of us who live in the North East. We are used to that driving. It is slower. It is more treacherous but it is manageable for most of us. This was a very good paying show for a person I have only worked for once before. I would be working with Joe Currie which was nice too. With the forecast the way it was I planned on giving myself extra time to get there. I gave myself 5 hours for what is normally a two hour drive. I was giving myself so much extra time that Joe and I planned on meeting for dinner before the show.

I looked out the window and saw that it was just starting to snow. I figured it was time to hit the road. I put my shovel in the back of my car…just in case. I brought some gloves with me since it was chilly.  I was low on gas but I would fill up when I got to NJ since it was much cheaper there and I had more than enough to get to the gas station. I put on my cowboy boots and into the weather I went.

My car was slipping and sliding more than I liked but I was able to keep it on the road.  I got onto 17 East in NY and started to make my way to the gig. Everything was moving well until it wasn’t. A couple of miles into my drive and we were not moving. I was watching the snow pile up on the highway as we sat. Truth be told for the amount of snow we had so far there was a lot on the highway. Didn’t they salt ahead of time? Didn’t they plow? Around 4:30 I texted Joe and told him I was sitting in traffic and I would update him. I told him where I was which was essentially not far from my house. Slowly we started to move. And then stop. And then move. The thing with driving in the snow is once you stop on an incline you may not be able to start again. You may get stuck. I got stuck. In the middle of the highway. It is a scary feeling when you are in the middle of a highway in slippery conditions and you have to worry about getting yourself unstuck and worry about somebody hitting you. I managed to get myself moving again. I am thankful I did. I am thankful nobody hit me. As I made my way down 17 ever so slowly I saw car accidents in the middle lane, left lane, and right lane. Everyone would shift to get around one accident and then another one would be right in front of you. Rinse repeat. I am thankful I was not one of those cars that were in an accident on 17. There were cars that slid off the side of the road. I am thankful I was not one of them.

I was listening to the traffic report and they shut down the George Washington Bridge. There was a 30 car accident on the upper level. I am thankful I was not one of those cars. This was now backing up traffic for hours in all directions. It looked like I had to take the Tappan Zee Bridge which I am unfamiliar with as far as getting to Long Island. My wife made me install Waze a few months ago. I rarely use it. I used it Thursday since it is good for alternate routes and updated traffic on those routes. I am thankful I had Waze.

I started my way down the NYS Thruway. I would not be heading to NJ to take the George Washington Bridge. All this time in the car and spinning tires took its’ toll on my gas tank. I was now very low.  I was in the left lane trying to stay on the road. Gas was all the way to my right at a rest area. I dared not try and get there. I would have to take my chances and hope I could find a gas station along the way.

I continued down the Thruway and got stuck again. Once again another car stopping in front of me caused me to stop and I could not get it going again. Somehow I got myself free and continued. I was thankful for that.

Finally I saw two snow plows. First ones I had seen. Where were they? One of the drivers was an asshole and cut me off and appeared to be mad at me like I knew where he wanted to go. He has the snow plow. I have a compact car without snow tires. I came upon an exit. I figured I would get off there and get some gas. I got off but I sat on the ramp for 30 minutes. Traffic was a mess. I looked to my right and saw a gas station a few blocks away. I did not think I would have enough time to make this gig if I dared try and battle this traffic. Instead I got back on the Thruway.

Waze did not want me to take the Tappan Zee Bridge. It wanted me to get off the Thruway in about 15 miles. That would take me to the end of the limit with my gas. It was a gamble. I struggled along in the left lane. It was the cleanest lane. Now I had a cop behind me with his lights on riding my bumper. He could have gone around me to the middle lane. His car was better suited for that. He did not. He made me switch lanes into a very snowy middle lane. He is a douche. I kept on going and once again on an incline the car in front of me stopped. I was stuck. A Mustang was fishtailing to my right. He was coming very close to hitting me. I had a car behind me so I could not reverse. To the left were the woods. I was stuck. I did not have the room to reverse or try and drift to the right side and I did not want to go off the road. I got out of the car in my cowboy boots to assess the situation. Cowboy boots are not the best for snow and ice. I tried to use my shovel to dig out. I am thankful I brought my shovel.  I tried to dig out. Nothing. I lent the shovel to the guy in the Mustang so he could try and dig out. Nothing. Traffic was building behind us. I was at the beginning of a good old fashioned standstill.  More people were getting out and trying to help each other. Some cars were able to get free.  If I could get free it might free up more traffic. Another guy tried to work around my tires and knock off some ice. The Mustang driver tried to help me too. My car was not going anywhere but these guys were right by my tires. I did not want to hit them. I did not. I am thankful I didn’t. The guy in the Mustang told me to take off my anti-lock on the tires. I thought that was for better traction. Taking it off made all the difference in the world as with that bit of advice, the other guy pushing, and my tires spinning I was able to get moving again. I am thankful to both of them for their help.

Now my car was screaming at me that I needed gas. All that spinning had inflicted damage on my gas tank. I had a few more miles to get to my exit. I made it. I am thankful. There was no gas to be found right off the exit so I continued to follow Waze while worrying about running out of gas. I also had to pee and was thirsty. Still nothing. Finally I came to a traffic light. Waze said turn left. It looked like a small road. Before I turned I gave a hard look down the road I was on. I saw lights. I hoped it was a gas station. It was. I am thankful I looked. I am thankful for the full tank of gas. I am thankful for the bathroom. I am thankful for the bottle of water. 

It was time to get into the car and make my way towards the George Washington Bridge. Enough time had passed to where it was open but now it would just be insane delays. I made my way. And then I sat. Road shut down temporarily as there were cars in the ditch. Finally that cleared up.
I got in touch with Joe and he told me to head home. I called the man who hired me. He sounded in a panic that there would not be enough show. I tried to get in touch with Joe again to see if he wanted me to keep trying. I couldn’t get in touch with him. I sat in a strip mall while I waited. I went to get a slice of pizza. The pizza place was out of pizza. Finally I got back in touch with Joe. He told me that the original host cancelled so Joe hired another headliner and they would be able to cover the time. I am thankful Joe hired another headliner to replace the host.

I made my way home with a full tank of gas and an empty stomach. I found a pizza place on 17 North in NJ. They had pizza. I am thankful they did and that they were open.

I made it home over eight hours after I left accomplishing nothing but survival. For that I am thankful.  Some people were stuck in their car for 15 hours. I was not one of them. I am thankful. Some people got into car accidents. I did not. For that I am thankful. One person lost their life when their car slid onto the rail road tracks and died. I did not perish and for that I am thankful.  I made it home in one piece and my car no worse for wear. I am thankful. My wife and neighbor shoveled so I could pull into the driveway. For that I am thankful. There were even fresh cookies waiting for me. I am thankful my family made cookies and left me some. Joe and the other comic were able to cover the time and the show went well. I am thankful. On Friday I got in touch with the man that hired me and he was very understanding. I am thankful for that. On Saturday Joe gave me some money for my effort to get there. I am thankful for that.

So Thursday had a lot of bad things. Many of which should have been avoided by local authorities. Still all things considered I was pretty lucky. And for that I am thankful. Being thankful in the face of hardship can be very hard but in this case it helped me keep my sanity and for that I am thankful.


NANA - By Pip Helix (Davin's Den)

My Nana was born in 1899, which as a child, confused me.  How could someone be from the time before the 1900’s and be alive?  To be fair, that would only make her 64 when I was born, the youngest child of her youngest child.  Still, that number seemed to be magical, as if she was not only from another time, but from another dimension.  She knew all kinds of old-fashioned things, lost arts and ways, that I found fascinating and comforting.

Nana was a professional nurturer.  She had 5 daughters who grew up during and in the aftermath of the depression, and she was used to making due with whatever she could scrounge up to make a nice home for my grandfather and her daughters.  She made the clothes my mother and aunts wore, cooked and baked everything they ate, and kept her modest house clean and covered with doilies.  She excelled at the domestic arts, and was also a pretty decent painter for someone without any formal training. 

When I was small, I would spend nearly every day at Nana’s with my mother, who it seems could not be trusted to be alone with me.  My mother’s schizophrenia was barely reigned in during those years, and my father told the story of racing home from work with his heart in his throat after getting a phone call from my mother, who said that the voices were telling her to put the baby’s hand in the fan.  The fact that I have both hands is a matter of that white-knuckle ride my father took, and the little bit of sense that told my mother to ask from help before obeying the voices.  It was decided that we would spend every day with Nana, newly widowed, until Dad was done with work.

During those days, my Nana showered me with hugs and attention and love, all while endlessly listening to me prattle on.  I don’t know how she stood the pain of seeing my mother, deteriorated to obviously paranoid and delusional, while keeping up with an active and very talkative toddler.  When I got my own first home, I unwittingly started to decorate it like an old lady, trying to recreate the warmth and security I felt at Nana’s house.

She would make me very weak coffee with milk and sugar, so I could have coffee while she and my mother did.  I had an old playset of pots and pans at her house, handed down a million times, including dishes and a couple of food items – a plastic lobster, a corn on the cob, and one other thing I don’t quite recall.   I don’t know how many meals I served Nana which were variations on that menu, but she happily ate them all, along with gallons of imaginary tea.  I felt safe napping in her back bedroom, with the sound of the small planes from nearby Teterboro airport buzzing overhead as I slept on the chenille bedspread.  Of course, she still believed that you treat burns with butter, and held some odd beliefs – “Let’s eat dessert before dinner tonight, like the Jewish people do.” – but was never unkind, and tried to keep the peace with everyone.  My cousin once admitted to me that Nana told her, in strictest confidence, that she was her favorite grandchild.  We laughed when I told her that I had been told the very same thing.  I’ll be that all of the grandchildren got the same special message.  Whether that was the healthiest thing or not is up for debate, but it made me feel special, and my cousin said the same.
There was a time, when I was a teenager, that I was angry at Nana for not having stepped in and helped us financially when my Dad could no longer afford our house, when I was four years old.  In those days, health insurance didn’t do very much for mental illness, and my mother’s multiple shock treatments cost an extraordinary amount for a family living on a postman’s salary.  Eventually, he could not pay both the medical bills and the mortgage, and something had to give.  My father’s parents helped out a bit, but Nana didn’t.  There was a belief in my mother’s family that somehow my father had caused my mother’s illness, because she had been fine up until childbirth.  Unfortunately, it was childbirth that brought out her schizophrenic tendencies to the fore, but ignorance led them to blame my father, and therefore, no financial aid was forthcoming.

The shame of having to move back to apartments after having made it into a house was more than my father could bear. Besides the loss of face, the most heartbreaking part of losing our house was losing our family dog, who we could not take with us into the “no pets” apartments my father found.   I watched as my brother handed over the leash of his beloved dog to strangers, and then watched his heart break into a million pieces, some of which he left on that front porch.

I held onto that anger for some years, trying to reconcile the loving woman I grew up with and the stingy woman who would let our family suffer such a downfall.  With maturity, I came to understand that she was living on very modest means herself, and wasn’t in the position to save our house.  Also, I could understand how it seemed like cause and effect that my father’s entrance into my mother’s life corresponded with a lively, intelligent and talented woman descending into madness.  The heartache they must’ve felt to see such a change in my mother was probably overwhelming, and they needed somewhere to place the blame.  So sad for my father that people’s understanding of mental illness was still in such an ignorant state at the time.  He didn’t deserve any blame for anything, except for his drinking, which I’m sure he did to cope with a terrible situation.

Now that all of this is well in the past, I remember my Nana extremely fondly, and find that in times of trouble, I put myself back in her house, in that back bedroom, and I feel the warmth of the sun streaming in the window, while I snuggled in chenille, and the familiar sounds of the small airplanes buzzing overhead.  I think of her when I take my coffee with too much milk and sugar, and I wish that I could talk to her now, woman to woman, and find out who she was when she wasn’t nurturing everyone else.



Halloween is in several days and the big Compound party is tonight.

The Compound parties are always a blast, and three years ago Anthony Cumia thought themes would be good idea. In the past years, we had an Eighties theme, a Jaws theme, and a TV show theme. This year it will be commercials.

As I get ready for the party tonight I am looking back. When I was a kid it was a major deal, why?? You got to dress like an asshole, bang on doors and ask for treats. I wish I could do that every day.

You would plan what you wanted to be and thought it would be the coolest costume ever, and that day came, you were a super hero.

You thought when you rang that door bell people wouldn’t know if you were there for candy, or to save the day. I was planning to tell people don’t worry citizen that there was nothing to fear that I’m just here for a tasty snack.

I was a super hero and I was invincible, and nothing could stop me,,, except for the cold. A cool fall afternoon meant a jacket from Mom. I explained to my mortal mother that Super Heroes don’t wear jackets. She explained to me that they do if they want to trick or treat.

You know what it’s like when you ring the door bell and the lady asks you who are you supposed to be? And you have to open a snorkel jacket and show her an “S”. I should have just said Eskimo and called it day.

I never really gave out the candy when I was married, that job fell to my wife as with my schedule I never get home until midnight. That being said I did make sure that the candy was top notch because bad candy means eggs and shaving cream.
When I was a kid when you would get shit candy, an apple (razor or no razor) or pennies this was a guaranteed spot on the hit list for that night. So I knew if I did not want my house to look like an omelet or a Gillette commercial it’s Milky Way all the way.

Halloween night was fun, egging and spraying shaving cream over everything in site was a pisser. One year my Mom even bought me shaving cream, as long as I wore a jacket.

As I am writing this I had a thought, do kids today even go out egging?? I think they just have an app on their phone for that now. Well another lost art gone to the wayside.

As I got older I stopped with Halloween, I was not one of those guys at eighteen that would bang on the door and the lady would open it, and say who are you supposed to be?? Stoned and hungry lady, give me a three musketeers.
For years after I never participated in Halloween or dressed up for parties. I could not be bothered. The good thing about Halloween parties though is it gives chicks the excuse to wear the skimpiest stuff they can which is good as candy I say.

The one thing about this time of year is I sometimes forget its Halloween time and I will go to the diner and wonder why these people are dressed like assholes? Then it dawns on me that I’m the asshole who can’t read a calendar.   

For the past ten years I have gone back to dressing up at parties because you look like an uptight dick if you don’t. I am actually am an uptight dick, but better to look like someone else that night. I don’t want to give away what I am wearing at the party tonight but I will be in a tee shirt and it may be cold at the Compound tonight. I am going to wish I had a jacket.

Mom was right again.