Fe = irony
According to the NY Daily News, there are 11 middle schools in NYC with the word “science” in their official title. At 6 of these 11 schools, a majority of the eighth grade students failed the State Science Exam last year. NYC has been pumping out lots of ads for Science and math teachers. Unforunately, they have not been advertising enough for science and math students. Interestingly enough, these statistics do once and for all disprove the theory of intelligent design.
Leading the way was my hometown borough, the Bronx, where at the “Math, Science and Technology Through the Arts Intermediate School” 13% of eight graders passed the exam. Perhaps instead of teaching science “through the arts” they should try teaching students “through the science” or change their names to “Burger, Fries, Large Coke Through Inattendance Intermediate Babysitting.”
As a side note, before getting back to science, The article also cited the “Bronx Writing Academy,” where over 80% of eighth graders failed the English exam. When asked to comment the school’s principal said, “The tests results is wrong.” Through an interpreter. I have since learned that they have re-named the school the “Derek Zoolander School For Kids Who Can’t Read Good.”
At the Academy of Environmental Sciences, 15% passed. When asked whether he thought global warming was real or required more study, the school’s principal replied, “Never heard of it.” Then he was appointed head of the EPA.
Through student interviews I have discovered the causes for these declining test scores. Here they are in the students own words:
“I’m in the middle of a Madden Franchise on PS2,”
“The school still does not provide the eighth graders with day care facilities,”
“if I already made it to eighth grade without studying or going to class, why starts now?”
“F–k that S–t”
I think what we are losing sight of is that 8th grade science is not rocket science. In fact it is not even biology. In most places it is Earth Science. Rocks. The kids of NYC are failing rocks! The phrase “dumb as rocks” has now been replaced with “you’re as dumb as a kid who failed rocks.”
One person in the article did offer a legit response. She said that you cannot judge a kid’s ability on one test. Many of the kids at her school have trouble reading and doing math. That is an excellent point Principal. So, how did he or she get to the 8th grade in the first place? I remember making fun of kids who had trouble reading. It was not nice of me. I was also in the 1st grade. In 8th grade if you cannot read, you either require braile or should not be in the 8th grade.
Next week the city will be releasing the foreign language results. I received early results and only 33% passed. In all fairness English is very difficult.
I take the subway approximately 7 days a week and there are some problems I would like to address that can make the subway a lot better for me and many other people. Here are my suggestions.
1) If I can hear the lyrics to the song playing in your ipod you are either deaf and in need of medical attention or inconsiderate and should be accidentally bumped into so that your ipod falls and breaks. Headphones were invented to make listening to music a personal experience. They were not invented as a challenge to assholes to adapt their ways to annoy people on the subway. Turn down the volume.
2) Stop selling me candy on the subway. I get it young people “you are not selling candy for no basketball team (nice double negative).” Maybe if you were in school at 11 am, instead of on the subway selling me “M & M peanut” (I prefer to call them peanut M&Ms), you would know what a double negative is.
3) People who wear backpacks on crowded subways are gigantic pieces of dung. Take your backpack and put it between your legs. If you do not I believe it is the right of every subway passenger to raid you backpack until it is thin enough to not take up the space of another person.
4) Just because you can squeeze into a seat, does not mean you should. I do not believe that people should sprawl accross three seats on a subway, but if there is half a seat available, there is always someone who takes it as their personal mission to fit in. And that person is almost always huge. Stop it.
5) Small children who do not pay a fare should not get a seat. You wanted Jr? Carry him, let him sit on your lap or hold his hand – I am tired and I paid my $2. Or give the kid some M&M peanut to sell to pass the time, you know so he can do something positive with his life, stay out of trouble.
6) If you are panhandling – just come up with a good story. If you are on the same train all the time, do not tell me that your house burned down last week and then 9 months later tell me that your house burned down last week.
7) Stop littering. Washington D.C. has given 12 year old girls fines for eating on their train. And you know what – they are spotless and clean. NYC subways are filthy, as are the stations. I have not littered since about the age of 8 because I learned that it was inconsiderate, like everything else on this list. m
da duh da duh da du da duh de duh de de dah duh de de duh
I am glad warm weather has finally arrived because that means Mr. Softee will be parked squarely outside of my office building until October. And just like kids, except fatter and more tired looking, my office mates and I flock for the delicious soft-served ice cream and shakes. And as an adult bonus some of the names they give their specialty cones are downright dirty: the nutty dip deluxe, the red merlin, the two face, the rusty trombone. Ok, only three of those are on the Mr Softee menu, but I have no idea what a red merlin is.
Sidenote – the Good Humor truck lacks the artistry and craftsmanship of Mr. Softee.
But something dawned on me my senior year of high school, when I officially became 6’7″. Mr. Softee, who often loomed so tall, often about 7’0″ when standing in his vehicular/dairy majesty, had stepped out of his ice cream trailor to reveal a man who was no more than 5’3″. Several things dawned on me from that point on:
1) I could never be a Mr. Softee, unless it came with a sun roof.
2) Ice cream truck people are a small breed.
3) There is not one Mr. Softee, but a legion of small men working for Mr. Softee.
4) Mr. Softee trucks are like small mobile homes that only come with a kitchen and ice cream.
But I have discovered a new wrinkle with Mr. Softee. There is a Mrs. Softee. At my job, the truck, which can barely fit an oompa loompa, not only has a small man, but also his small significant other, which is a nice sight because it means that someone answered the man’s personal ad that said: “Small man seeking even smaller woman who likes ice cream and being cooped up in a truck. Blenders and riding shotgun a must.”
That is why I really like Mr. Softee because he reminds us that there is always someone out there for you, even if you are 5’1″, have an obsession with ice cream, live in a car and only know one song.
I will keep this short
Well, the show was a success on Saturday. It was a sell out and I am looking forward to hearing the recording at the end of this week. I am hoping to release the CD by early June.
Nothing too funny here, so I just wanted to say thanks to all my friends and family who came to the show and to everyone who helped me put it together.
Funny stuff later in the week. For now – I need some rest.
Welcome to the Comedic Jungle.
With only a few open mics and 1 hosting gig tonight at New York Comedy Club (24th and 2nd in NYC @ 9pm) left I am closing in on a milestone in my career – my first comedy cd. I want it to be the Appetite for Destruction of comedy cds. In other words I want to debut with some of the best comedy ever recorded, then produce a second album that is strong, different, homophobic and racist and then return with a double cd of awesome jokes, only to finsih with a cd of old jokes that suck from the 70s. Then I will get fat(ter), talk about producing an album called Iraqi Democracy and watch my other comedian friends put together an album called Chartreuse Shotgun, which will suck but will be bought because it will at least vaguely remind people of how great The Height Of Comedy was. (if you are not familiar with Guns N Roses then stop reading this and get the hell off of my site (but stil come to my show)).
I would analogize my cd to a reggaeton cd, but it will be neither loud, nor annoying (see Reggatone sounds like ring tones – the most commented on blog with 3 comments, including one by me, so really 2).
Friends of mine have issued me lots of well wishing, most popular of which has been, “Don’t suck.” Thank you for that vote of confidence.
I will be offering an unbiased review of the performance on Sunday/Monday along with pics from the show and after party (which is also a birthday party for me). 1st rule of comedy cd recording: make it on a weekend when people who don’t like your jokes still feel the need to come because it’s a special occasion. I think I may record my second cd at my wedding in 2021.
I am keeping this one short and uninteresting because 95% of the people that read this will probably be at the show.
To close with a joke, a few people have done a most hilarious thing to me. They have told me that they are sorry they missed my recording, but they had something to do. I happily told them, “Oh, you actually didn’t miss it – it is on the 22nd,” to which the response has been, “oh, OH, ohhhh-kay, ohhhhhh, you know I can’t make it then either, but good luck, I wish I could be there.” Well I will be there, in 2 days. See you then.
It was Easter Sunday and it seemed like a normal trip
on the train down to the gym after Church. As the 4 avid readers of my blog may know from my March 27th posting (Inside Man…) crazy things can go down on the 1 train on the weekend and this Sunday was no exception.
I was sitting and reading when a Latino couple in their 30s got on the train and proceeded to have an extremely loud and annoying argument for approximately twenty minutes about how to use a metrocard and who had the metrocards, etc. People in my car definitely found it extremely annoying by a lot of eye rolling and sighing. But nothing can make a young Latino couple make up faster than a homophobic, racist white guy in army gear.
As the couple continues to fight in walks a man in his early 30s dressed in full army camoflouge, in case the train turned into a jungle, with dog tags and a backpack. I do not think he was a veteran of any war, unless it was the War on Drugs, which he definitely lost.
This was no big deal, but when an apparently harmless man in his 40s walked into the car, army fantasy camp guy turned into Bill Paxton from Aliens. What follows is a severely edited (this would be like playing Scarface on network tv) transcript of the train ride:
Army of None: STOP FOLLOWING ME
40 yr old: I am not following you.
Army: YES YOU ARE. YOU ARE AN F—ING FA—OT WITH AIDS AND YOU ARE ATTACKING ME WITH YOUR FINGER
40 yr old: Just let me pass.
(exit 40 yr old)
Latino Male (LM): What is your problem (no longer fighting with Latino woman)?
Army: MY PROBLEM IS THAT HE IS A F—ING F—OT WITH AIDS WHO ATACKED ME WITH HIS FINGER AND WANTED TO MAKE HIS SPEECH, SO I EXERCISED MY RIGHT AS AN AMERICAN TO LEAVE AND NOT BE ATTACKED BY A FA—-OT WITH AIDS.
Latina Woman (LW): You can only get AIDS through sexual transmission.
J-L inner monologue: (in that case can I have your used heroin needle please)
LM: Yeah and watch your language.
Army: Why don’t you shut up bitch? (rhetorical question) I SHOULD NOT HAVE TO EXPLAIN MYSELF TO YOU ABOUT PROTECTING MY SELF FROM (guess what) A FA—T WITH AIDS.
LW: Do you have issues with your sexuality?
Army: No I do not, but I do have a problem with you explaining myself to you N–GG-R.
J-L inner monologue: Well this just got interesting… and what about that guy’s finger attacking you?
LW & LM: N-GG-R? What?? And you’re a piece of white, trailer park sh-t?
Army: That’s right I’m a white trash N-GGA – with an A.
J-L inner monologue: good distinction sir.
LW: Do you know the meaning of the word N-GG-R? it means ignorant and right now you look like the only N-GGa/er in this train.
J-L inner monologue: You make a good point LW, but niggardly actually means cheap, but I get your point.
LM: What if I was to get up and kick your ass?
J-L inner monologue: Good question. What Would Jesus Do (even though it is Easter I do not mean JC, I mean Jesus, LM’s cousin)?
Army: take your best shot (arms open)
LM: Call me something and we’ll see. call me a Sp-c or a N-gg-R or bitch.
Army: Looks like you’re doing a pretty good job yourself.
J-L inner monologue: that’s true, but you were even better Army.
Train announcer: next stop 66th street
J-L inner monologue: Damn – my stop.
LW: (yells at Army)
Army: Well that’s cause you’re a Sp-c N-GG-R Bitch!
J-L inner monologue: Hey now that is too far. Unless me and my Latina lady have a daughter I do not see any SNBs. But good effort at unbelievably super racist comments – not accurate but the whole train feels your anger.
And then I exited the train, yelling to the conductor that there is a problem in Car #3, but he did not seem to care.
If you go back to the Inside Man blog (3-27-06) you will see that this is not the first time someone has added a race to the slur N-GG-R bitch. My uncle was once called a WNB by a student, so with that I give my final grades to the performers.
Army: A for effort – and shock. I mean most people only think that kind of racism and homophobia exist in movies and the Ali G show. However, your overall grade is an F for being a total waste of a human being and army fatigues.
LM: Overall grade C-. He loses early for yelling at his woman about a metrocard, but gets some quality points late for stepping to Army. However, when called to take his best shot he did not.
LW: A-. If she had been hotter she would have gotten an A+, but she made some valid points and unlike LM did not start a fight over a metrocard.
Subway Conductor: D- for not paying attention to me, but could be as high as an A if he called the police – who knows?
Guy with AIDS; Although he allegedly already has 4 letters I will give him another A, because he took a very harsh and unjustified attack quietly and without causing a scene. Of course if he was lying about having AIDS I guess it is much better for him, but he would get an F for lying to the riders of the 1 train.
All I can say is thank God it was Easter and people were acting civilized. I will be taking the 1 train on Saturday and Sunday (22nd and 23rd) if anyone wats to accompany me for the next adventure.
The Height of Comedy – 6 days and counting.
Is Brooklyn in the house?
I saw on the news last night, and read in the paper this morning, a story about some students that were arrested during large student protests at a Brooklyn high school for causing a disturbance. It occurred when the students refused to give up their cell phones as per NYC public school rules (the rule has been in place for sometime, but I believe based on my expose on reggaeton and ringtones (4/5/06), Mayor Bloomberg has finally decided to act).
One teacher said he was happy the students were protesting because it was a nice civics lesson, but he hoped they could apply their enthusiasm to things like political elections or war protest. Sorry Mr. Kotter – but I think if students place that big a priority on their Nextel, they could give two sh**s about the president or the war in Iraq (which acording to the students polled are George Washington and Vietnam).
Some of the kids on the news were saying if there is an emergency and their parents need to reach they need their cell phones. Hmmmm, I don’t know, but hopefully a parent knows the following:
1)where their child goes to school
2) when their child is at said school
3) a phone number for said school
4) their child’s name
Now I know that in many cases the parent does not know their child’s name (Shawn Kemp, Larry Johnson – this means you), but if that is the case parents like that are far too busy trying to have more kids to care about their existing child’s/children’s emergencies.
Furthermore, if the child has an emergency (ipod battery not charged, sex with the teacher is not as good as it used to be) they can always use one of those primative devices known as a pay phone to call home.
Somehow I feel that these kids do not get nearly as upset when they get a D on their history test or when they leave their backpack at home (on the subway I am often amazed at how many future Fortune 500 CEOs go to school routinely without backpacks, books or condoms).
I think the reason the city gave for the ban makes no sense though – “cell phones are disturbing the learning process.” That is what it should do – kids that want to play with their ringtones, send pictures and talk all day should not be stopped from doing so. What will happen to industries like telemarketing, soft core porn and loitering if all the kids pay attention in class? To sum up my point – I would like to give a summary of a joke comedian Anton Shuford (Philly comic) has told:
“I was a teacher, 4th grade, and I had a student named _____.” The kid was 13 in the 4th grade. So I asked _____ one time, ‘what do you want to be when you grow up?’ and he said real tough, ‘I don’t want to be nothing.’ So I looked at him and said, ‘Well, young man you are on your way.’ I stopped assigning him homework halfway through the year. I mean who am I to mess up a kid’s dream.”
So I say to the high school students of NYC who want to keep their cell phones, ipods, PSPs, and vibrators in school – this is one comic who will not stand in the way of your dreams.
9 days until The Height of Comedy
My fifteen minutes of non-fame
Well, this weekend marked career comedy festival #2 for me. I ventured down to Washington D.C. for the DC Comedy Fest “Comedy Jam.” (by comedy jam they mean part of the festival that no one cares about)
I got on the 4:30 Amtrak down to DC, which conveniently broke down in Baltimore (and Amtrak is losing money?? No way!). Fortunately my set was not until 9:55 pm, so I had time and I got there in plenty of time. I breathed in the Adams Morgan air and ventured towards the DC Arts Center.
That name is deceptive – there is some art work, but with the Smithsonian in town and the fact that the DCAC is located above a bar named The Angry Inch, DC Arts Center may be a misnomer.
So when I got the venue I saw a few things: there was no stage, only 60 seats in the venue and no microphone. Furthermore I was following a Johns Hopkins Improv group called Buttered Nibblets. And then I took the stage.
The set began with some difficulty, probably because I felt like I was lecturing a class that no one wanted to take (the venue was at half capacity and had stadium seating (if you can call five rows of seating stadium). But then I got rolling.
I had a good set, but if my brother did not live in DC I would have called it a waste of an Amtrak ticket and time. I stayed for the next few acts, including a sketch group call Cubicle, who had a hilarious “Al Pacino School of Acting” sketch that had me laughing my ass off.
I then went to meet fellow comic, host of my cd recording and buddy Danny Rouhier (www.funnydanny.com). We had beers and discussed his audition for Letterman and then shared cheesteak and fries in Georgetown – it reminded me of the good times of law school (going out drinking with friends) and not the bad parts (law school). Danny asked women to pose for photos for our respective websites, but they declined. Williams 1, G-Town 0.
The rest of the weekend consisted of me hanging out with my nephew and brother (the park and Ikea). Fun, but not that exciting. I made it home just in time for the Sopranos Sunday night so I call the weekend a success.
Check out the photos in the blog and media sections.
The Height of comedy – 12 days…
an annoying coincidence?
I would first like to thank the corporate “outside the box” thinker who answered the question: “How can we make cell phones more annoying?” The answer that person came up with was ring tones.
I held out about a year longer than most before getting a cell phone (although my hats off to two of my friends Hank Willson and Danny Rouhier who held out about 3 years). I just believed (and part of me still does) that only doctors and other important people need cell phones. Unlike computers (because they do run our lives), we could all get along without cell phones – we would just have to be places when we say we will be. Simple. But I sold out and it has been a fairly nice convenience. But I always and I mean ALWAYS leave my phone on vibrate. Why? Because I don’t like the sound of ringing phones and many other people don’t like it either. But not everyone subcribed to this philosphy. This group goes by another name: women.
They were the first major group to buck vibrate because their phones were often in bags and they could not talk to their friends if they could not hear the ring. But like one woman in my office – a ring was not good enough. No, it required a digital rendition of Belinda Carlisle’s Heaven is a Place on Earth. And Hell is a gadget in your purse.
So women started it, but men and women are advancing it. Because for the last year or so people have been able to play real songs as their ring. So now when I am on the bus or subway I have to be held audio hostage by some kid who left his textbooks at home, but remember his PSP, his ipod and his cell phone with his G Unit ring. As long as he remembers I like large fries with my #9 meal then I guess we won’t have any problems when he graduates high school 6 years from now.
But then the unholy alliance of ring tones the new “musical” genre of reggaeton (latin for “stolen rap beats” and “no more than 12 Spanish words”) emerged.
Now I have friends who enjoy reggaeton (the same way someone says “But some of my best friends are _________”). This is the sort of Spanish rap type music for those of you who have not had the pleasure of hearing it blared out the open windows of a shiny Escalade with license plate neon light covers.
This is the music that has finally made white and black people sound like old white people in the late 80s and early 90s: “It all sounds the same. I dont get it.”
Just take the Louis Armstrong of this genre Daddy Yankee (not a Yankee, but possibly a Daddy).
Here is the Dylan-esque chorus from his hit “Gasolina:”
A ella le gusta la gasolina (dame mas gasolina!) = She likes gasoline (give me more gasoline!)
Como le encanta la gasolina (dame mas gasolina) = How she adores gasoline! (give me more gasoline)
Probably the best and most complex metaphor since 50 Cent told women that they could lick his “lolli pop” in the candy shop.
So you can imagine how much I enjoyed hearing this song as a ringtone. I felt like Shooter McGavin in the film The Perfect Sotrm when he sees the two bad weather patterns about to collide.
But I have yet to hear a reggaeton song that does not strongly ressemble Gasolina. Now an artist as brilliant as Father Met will have copycat artists, but does every song have to sound the same? Give me a generic beat, women who sound horny in the chorus, some keyboard (more Herbie Hancock than KC and the Sunshine Band) and add a man yelling Sapnish. HIT RECORD.
Maybe I am just being a hater. Perhaps I wish I could find the comedic equivalent. Take Richard Pryor’s jokes, make them less funy and then have sexy women say the punchlines, in Portuguese. SITCOM DEAL
I am just waiting for someone to develop ringtones of fingernails accross a chalkboard. That I would download, make sure it is extremely loud and have a woman saying “chalkalina” in the background and then yell at everyone saying “Now you know how I feel.”
The meltdown… of kids’ movies
In what is becoming a weekly movie review column, I saw Ice Age 2 this weekend. Now I hated Ice Age (1). I saw it as one part Shrek, one part Monsters Inc. mixed together with worse animation, awful dialogue and voila – Ice Age. I felt so strongly about its crappiness that I almost got into fisticuffs at work.
So why did I end up going to see Ice Age 2?
Well, the woman I am currently dating has a 4 year old son (see my live routine for extensive, sitcom-potential humor). Because of this, my opportunities for female companionship this weekend consisted of either seeing Basic instinct 2 by myself with a hand towel or sucking it up and seeing Ice Age 2 with Mom and Son.
So after I saw Basic Instinct 2 I was tired so I gave in and I met Mom and Son for Ice Age 2. However, also present were the 7 and 4 year old daughters of Mom’s cousin (there is an easier way of saying that by I do not know if it is 2nd cousins or cousins removed or if they are just cousins like Tracy McGrady and Vince Carter – guys who were at the same cookouts during their teenage years).
So we ventured into the theater where I spent approximately $365 on concessions only to have one of the kids say – “I don’t like popcorn,” to which I respond, “And I don’t like being emasculated by small children, but since we’re all here why don’t you save my last shred of dignity and eat the popcorn.” I don’t think she knew what I was talking about.
So the movie began amidst the cacophony of children and babies. Why do people insist on bringing (having)babies to movies? A common excuse I hear is that “I couldn’t find a babysitter.” Well, by all means don’t allow bringing another life into the world to affect your movie watching! And remember your stroller for the club later on.
So the movie began and 90 excrutiating minutes later it ended. I heard one review of a fellow patron, “I didn’t expect much, but it ended up being funny.” I had a different take – I expected crap, but prayed that it would not be the deabacle that was Ice Age (1). My prayers went unanswered.
The real problem here is that kids movies are just garbage now. My generation and past generations had Snow White, Pinnochio, Peter Pan, The Jungle Book, 101 Dalmations, The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin and The Lion King, not to mention the genius of Jim Henson (Fraggle Rock, Muppets, The Dark Crystal, Labrynth). Now, aside from Pixar and Shrek, the gross majority of kids’ movies these days are horrible.
There are several possible theories for this:
1) Perhaps like Saddam in Iraq, Disney may have been morally corrupt when they were a corporation denegrating minorities (Dumbo crows, Indians in Peter Pan, Kurds in Iraq), but the worldwide movie watching public still may have been better off from an entertainment point of view than they are today. And even since then (late 80s-early 90s), when Disney became more culturally sensitive, they actually stepped up and gave us the Magic, Larry and MJ of animated movies (Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin and The Lion King). But Disney has lost its way and needs to find its racist or culturally sensitive roots (Valiant, Chicken Little, etc. don’t cut it). In other words, Disney needs a creative dictator to keep the animated film world in check so that movies like Doogal are not allowed free to terrorize innocent young minds.
2) Parents have gotten to a point where they will automatically go to any movie just to keep their kids quiet. Personally I think kids need a little more reading (although I know after a tough day playing video games a kid has to unwind with bad films). But that said, movie companies have learned that they do not need to reward the loyalty of families because the loyalty is undiscriminating – if there is a movie out for kids, they’ll see it. And with compeition from Madea’s Family Reunion, Final Destination 3 and the aforementioned Basic Instinct 2, it is no shock that parents won’t have anything to do even if they wanted to do something, further guranteeing Ice Age 2 tons of cash.
3) Movie theaters really don’t care about kids. There were 10:30 pm shows of Ice Age showing. 10:30? This is not a movie where adults will go by themselves (and still be legally competent). So now in an era where numerical parenting is at a high, and quality parenting is at a low, we have AMC theaters offering parents a chance to keep their 7 year olds out until past midnight. Personally I think after this blog – just taking your kid to see Ice Age 2 should constitute child abuse.
4) There are always people like me who are virtually held hostage by the movie industry. Around small kids I am prettty much Arnold Schwarzenegger from Kindergarten Cop, “This is oeur class pet, de ferret. Yes, yes, now weur haffing fan.” But the closest thing to a ferret I can give to three kids is Ice Age 2. In the words of Arnold – it was not fantastic.