Davins Comedy Blog

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).

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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.  

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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”.                                 

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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.

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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.

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SUPER HEROES DON’T WEAR JACKETS - Joe Currie (Davin's Den)


                                  
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.     

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CONFLICTED SILENCE - By Davin Rosenblatt


It occurs to me that even the most politically correct around me have no issue with talking ill of the Hassidic Jews in the region where I live. The non-politically correct do as well.  When neighbors get together and the prospect of the Hassidim moving in comes up it is almost always unified against them.

I should give a bit of background perhaps. In my region there is a neighborhood called Kiryas Joel.  It is almost exclusively Hassidic Jews. If you go there wearing a short skirt they will certainly make you feel unwelcome. It is their enclave and they have no problem trying to make you  conform to their religious preference.  They also vote as a block so they have a lot political power. Politicians bend to meet their needs therefore they receive a lot of tax dollars. Dollars that other communities do not get. This creates resentment.

They also move into other areas and try and get on school boards. Their children do not go to the public schools. They go to private school called Yeshivas.  They try and get on the school board and then do not want to invest tax payer dollars back into the school system. Then the school system fails.  Now this is not all Hassidim but it does seem to be how a lot of them operate in my region.
When rumors surface that they are planning to buy property in the local communities a sense of dread falls over the locals. Including people that are very close to me.  For my part I don’t want public schools defunded and I really don’t like a homogenous population of any type around me. I like diversity. I don’t like a pack like attitude. Anyway, local towns have actually changed laws to make sure they can limit the power an influx of Hassidim would have. It is like people look at their town as a crop and the Hassidim are locusts about to descend and leave nothing but an empty husk.

Still, if Puerto Ricans or African Americans practiced the same approach as the local Hassidim would people be so open about their disdain? Would it be acceptable? Would people say it in hushed tones to me? I don’t think they would. I know some think what they are doing is wrong because I say nothing. I just listen and then they feel the need to try and clean up what they said. The clean up is almost always parts of what I outlined above. But does justifying ones bigotry excuse it? I don’t think it does. I can’t say I am much better. I don’t want the Hassidim moving in and doing what they have done other places. I don’t campaign against them. I am more of the wait and see approach. If they try those tactics I will do all in my political power to put an end to it. I don’t want one political block having say over my whole town. Maybe I am too trusting. Maybe I should be more proactive.
Still it just strikes me as wrong to speak openly and negatively about a whole group of people I have not met. It strikes me as some think it is acceptable because they are Jews and history shows us bigotry against Jews is always more tolerated. When they speak negatively about the Hassidim I don’t stick up for the Hassidim. If I was sure what they did was right I think I would. I am conflicted.

The anti-Hassidim feeling very well could lead to open hostility if they move in. This could make the Hassidim even more insulated and less likely to consider what it means to be a good neighbor. It is not hard to see that once you are hostile to one type of Jew that it could easily spread to other Jews. Anti-semitism could rapidly increase.   I think both the Hassidim and the community are victims here. The Hassidim are victims of being judged without getting to know them individually while some communities have become victims of the Hassidim playing the political game better than everybody else.  It does strike me that some who detest how the Hassidim have played the game praise the president when he finds loopholes and work arounds to get exactly what he wants. Maybe it is fine when you are not personally on the short end or maybe it is fine if it is not a Jew gaming the system.

History tells us this will not end well for the Jews. If it does get worse I hope it becomes clearer to me that I should say something. That I should not let people think I will give these feelings of hate an audience. For now I will probably continue to remain silent. My silence seems to give people the feeling that I am not on board with them and the feeling that they need to clarify. Maybe my internal doubt can manifest itself into others doubting that it is alright to talk about strangers in such a way of disdain.

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Shrink Shopping - By Pip Helix (Davin's Den)


It will come as a surprise to absolutely no one that I have been seeing a therapist for about as long as some of you have been alive.  Oh, this is news to you?  You clearly don’t listen to our show.

Well, I have as many issues as a newsstand, as they say, so I have been on the couch for years.  From issues arising from my mother’s schizophrenia, and my father’s death, to depression, to other fun items that have cropped up in the ensuing years, I have worn out several therapists.  Well, it’s more accurate to say that therapists have come and gone, due to retirements or moving to other jobs, but throughout it all, I have been going to the same general therapy group all this time.  As a matter of fact, it’s the same group that my mother had gotten her treatment from for many years. 

When my family struggled with issues due to my mother, we had group sessions with her previous therapist, which made it easy to skip over the whole deal of trying to explain her particular behavior.  After my father died, my mother, brother and I had group sessions with the same woman, and then after that, I saw her alone for several years.  It was difficult to transition from her to my second therapist, but we did develop a rapport, and it was a blow to have her suddenly leave the practice due to unknown medical reasons. That meant I moved onto number three.  She is very nice, and is comforting, but we don’t seem to actually be getting anywhere.  I am an onion, and there are levels to my madness, but I think in a year or so, we have stayed on the surface, and I am getting more of a pat on the head and a lollypop than anything else.

Now, not all therapists can prescribe medications, so that meant that I had to see a psychiatrist from time to time to renew my medications, too.  I adored the first one, who left to join another practice.  I HATED the second one, who was condescending and insulting, and I am having a problem feeling comfortable with this third one.  She almost seems to have more issues than me, particularly an eating disorder she seems to still struggle with, and I am getting concerned that our meetings to renew my medication are more about her needs to vent than my need to get my meds and get the fuck out of there.

So, for the first time, I am dipping a toe in the waters outside of this practice, and looking for actual, moving forward type of help.  It is scaring the pants off of me.

I searched the internet for possible new candidates, and found one woman who seems okay so far.  I just met with her for an intake kind of visit, where you are asked a bunch of routine questions to narrow down just what kind of sicko you are, and on my side, it was to see how we fit.  It was tough to tell how this will work yet, but I kind of felt like I was cheating on my therapist the whole time.  I haven’t cut ties with the old place yet, because I don’t want to do that until I’m sure I’m in a good place.  She seems more professional than the place I am used to, and that is a bonus, but it’s scary to move away from the familiar.  But, in terms of where I am in my life, and my general happiness, I have to be brave and step away from what seems to be palliative mental health care, and onto a bit of tough love- let’s get your lazy ass going - type of care. 

Next step is trying to find a new psychiatrist to prescribe meds.  I don’t want to just break with my nice therapist and have to keep going back to that person who is not a good fit for meds.  I guess I need to finally break with the old practice altogether.  It is familiar, but it is also haunted with the ghost of my mother’s former presence, and with unhappy associations of other sorts as well.  I have a list of possible choices, and I am going to ask my insurance company, too.  It’s all been something I have been thinking about for a few months, but actually doing it is making me anxious as hell.  What a stupid time to quit smoking.

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TIME AND COMMON SENSE - By Joe Currie (Davin's Den)


                                                    
As an entertainer I go on Face book  and twitter as a necessity, as Davin’s Den does a lot of political commentary I need to be abreast and do research on current events and this takes a lot of my time.

Here is where time and common sense come into play.

For those of us in the nine to five world we get up, have to do whatever it takes to get the kids to school and us to work. We get our news on the way to work as we sit in traffic and on the way home as we sit in traffic. The rest of the day consists of phone calls, meetings and deadlines, we don’t have the time or luxury to sit look up statistics.

When we get home we are exhausted we have dinner, a little TV, help the kids with their home work and get to bed to repeat the same routine for the next day.

We grab the news when we can and then make our decisions based on how it affects us in general and then apply common sense to it.

When I hear that the tax cuts I have been given are crumbs I don’t need statistics, these crumbs translate to over one hundred and twenty dollars in my pay check every month. This money pays my electric or cable bills every month, not liberal rhetoric.
It’s common sense, and if you speak out you get criticized.

When I read that a meeting with an adversary is treasonous and you speak in favor of it you get criticized. Let’s apply business common sense to this. If you have business partner or customer that you feel could affect sales due to their objections over issues you want to meet them, play golf with them, or go to dinner. You want to know them, see what makes them tick. A lot of animosity you have with someone thaws when you meet them in person and get a dialog going. Also getting a feel of someone is also essential in future negotiations.

When you speak out about trade agreements you get criticized. Common sense would dictate that we have had unfair trade agreements for years and they need to be corrected. Tariffs are a current concern but they will lead to the long term solution of getting the new agreements in place. In addition a lot goes into importing goods. For example, it takes at least three months from time of order to time of delivery of merchandise from China, if it is the Chinese holiday, add another month. Also if your container is held up in customs add two more weeks for delivery. Ask any purchasing manager and they will tell you, getting domestic product is much easier and now with the margins so close some companies are making the switch to domestic products. Most people want domestically made goods and while somebody is sitting quoting me a statistic I am in a bin making sure my customer gets the last of a domestically made good. This manufacture of this good is also finding out now that they made a big mistake of switching to an import and are reassign their decision at this writing.

 When you support someone taking a stand on over privileged, pampered athletes that received a free education, that were wined and dined to pick the place to get the free education , and make in a season where many of us won’t make in years kneel during the national anthem you get criticized  . For the under two minutes that song plays we stop and stand together it says we are not a perfect country but we have the freedom to right the wrongs in it. Its common sense but if you speak out you are a racist and wrong.

When you hear a senator who is a proven phony talk about campaign reform and your common sense says they are a carnival huckster and this is just for votes you get criticized.
When a racist group gets attacked by a subversive group that is violent and your common sense says that both groups are terrorist organizations you get criticized for being a racist.

When you see a movement that chose mostly people that don’t comply with the law and with criminal records martyrs, you use your common sense and speak out on it you are called racist.
The bottom line is there are two fractions in this country. The common sense observation is the first fraction is one that had eight years of getting their hand held and have had the benefit of any objection to them shot down, and the people that questioned  those objections shot down and labeled as racists and hate mongers. This contingent knew that it was a slam dunk that they would have four more years of this. When the reality hit that would not be the case, they were left traumatized and disillusioned and have treated the new administration with a hatred that contradicts any of their ideology of acceptance especially when none of their fears have come true.

The second fraction of this country were people that saw the country start to be divided, other countries seeing us at a position of weakness, the police portrayed as the enemy, and an anti-business climate as well all while being told this is who we are. The people spoke out and said this is who we are and we will not be lead by a carpet bagging huckster that the office of president was to the good of herself and not the people.

I am the second fraction, I wake up, eight to five, and I toil for every dollar. I don’t need a statistic I see it in common sense.

 I see more money in my paycheck, I see the business climate picking up, and I have seen people I know that have been out of work for at least two years back at work, I am seeing the immigration situation being addressed. I didn’t vote for someone to teach Sunday school, I voted for them to get results and I see it in real time day in and day out and that’s common sense I could go on, but I have to get ready for work.         

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CRITICAL THINKING - By Davin Rosenblatt


As long as I have been an adult I have always valued critical thinking.  I think it is why I went to law school.  I was never good with numbers so subjects like statistics were never attractive to me even though it is cold hard facts and there is no room for feeling or emotions.  I liked being able to get as much information as possible and choosing the best solution.  To me that seemed like the obvious choice.

However, perhaps I am in the minority in this country.  I see so many people just motivated by emotions and feel when the facts and logic and experience and history clearly say this is the incorrect path.  It drives me nuts.  Discussions between people ruled by emotion and people ruled by fact seldom go anywhere.  It is like talking in two completely different languages. Both people think the other is clearly missing the obvious and is a moron.

I think emotion is great when you are cheering for your favorite team.  I just don’t think it should be the guiding principle in most major decisions and choices. It can lead you into some very big mistakes.  We all think our first love will be our forever love. We can’t imagine life without that person. Our parents tell us to slow down as we have plenty of options and a whole life ahead of us. We think our parents are idiots.  Invariably, for most of us, our parents were correct and our first love was not our forever love.  As we grow older we still use emotion for love but those of us that find fulfilling relationships also use the information we gathered from our failed relationships.  We pick up on certain traits that are deal breakers for us. Certain life styles that will not make us happy.  We use that information to avoid getting into a serious relationship that will inevitably fail.  The lucky ones take all of the failure and turn it into success.  I would suggest that they sprinkled in some critical thought into their quest for love.

I think people fall in love with their politicians.  There were a lot of people who absolutely loved President Obama. He could do no wrong…even when he was wrong. The same holds true for President Trump.  Things that they use to hate they love. Russia comes to mind. Deficits are another. There are plenty.  When these people fall in love with their president they defend him like he is their boyfriend even if it is obvious the president is making a mistake.  I never fell in love with a president. There are presidents I like and presidents I don’t like but I always knew they worked for me. It was not emotional for me it was business.  That is what allows me to go from topic to topic and not view a president as all bad or all good.  I think critically about what they are doing and how it affects things I care about.  See I have emotion but it does not rule the day.

Politicians know we are ruled by emotion.  They create slogans for us to latch onto. Hope and Change. Make America Great Again. It is much catchier than “things will be slightly better if we vary our path a little”. Nobody could get behind that. Most people do not take the time to look at a politician’s background. Their past, their votes, their wins, their losses their flaws. Nah most of us grab onto the slogan and a well delivered speech. 

I think letting our emotions rule us and not looking at things critically is tearing this nation apart. Nobody dares to think, research, or listen.  It is much easier to get all worked up and scream. My guy is the best and your gal is the worst is much easier to wrap our minds around even if the truth is probably somewhere in the middle. I’ll give you an example from this week’s radio show.  We played a new ad from Democratic senator Elizabeth Warren. She talked about among other things how bad Goldman Sachs was bad and Trump’s cabinet was filled with people from there, looking out for the middle class, and how lobbyists control Washington.  These are things she has been talking about for years.  Donald Trump ran on many of those same points to great success.  Yet Trump and Warren feud. Trump fans hate Warren and Warren fans hate Trump.  I am guessing it is because neither really listened to what the other side was arguing for and what said candidate was doing about it. Nah, it is just easier to believe the other one is bad instead of critically thinking about what is being presented. So we fight and name call and hate.

I believe there should be renewed emphasis on critical thinking in schools starting in Kindergarten.  Looking at information and processing it. I am aware this is done now but I think we need to double down on it because it is just not sinking in.  Now we have more information than ever at our disposal with easier access yet most of us prefer to believe a meme cobbled together by some basement dweller. If we can really emphasize that knowledge and critical thinking are things to be prized maybe we can slowly ween ourselves off of the toxic public discourse.

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