Goin to the city, gonna do a lot of comedy

This is not comedy

Hosting a mic at the Greenwich Village Comedy Club

This is one of my favorite places to do comedy and the producer, Steve Aarons, is one of my favorite people in the city. I am trying to make myself go out and about even when it is super cold and tomorrow, it will be super cold. Of course, I will be outside only a little bit. I will walk from the subway to the club and then back to the subway. I will also stop off at a pizza place for a slice. Or maybe at a sushi place for some of that (I have eaten pizza three times in the last week).

Either way, it will be a lot of fun! If you are going to be in New York City today (Tuesday, January 4, 2022), head on over to 99 MacDougal Street. You’ll thank me later!

Still fighting for Paul Rusesabagina

This fall, No Business with Genocide joined the Hotel Rwanda Foundation and #FreeRusesabagina campaign and delivered tens of thousands of your petitions to President Joe Biden and Secretary of State Antony Blinken asking them to do more to bring Paul home. Now we are asking Dr. Biden to use her voice to help. In September, Paul was sentenced to 25 years in prison. His heath continues to decline and he is still being denied access to his lawyers, medicine, and any documents related to his case.

Multiple groups have denounced the trial and the verdict. Both the Clooney Foundation and the American Bar Association have said it was neither fair nor just. Please sign and share our petition to Dr. Biden.

For more information about Paul Rusesabagina and the situation in Rwanda:

Sometimes when I post about Paul, I get messages about the crimes he was accused of. I don’t normally respond but I am going to respond now.

  1. I am not convinced the crimes Paul was accused of happened. At least not the way the Kagame regime says. I say this becauise, Kagame accused Paul of the same thing in 2010 and it seems unlikely that the same crime was committed twice.
  2. If Kagame had real evidence, he could have gone the legal route. He took similar accusations to the U.S. and Belgian governments back in 2010 and neither found the charges to be credible.
  3. More recently, if the evidence was credible, it would have been presented in court. None was.
  4. If there was a real case against Paul, the Rwanan government would not have had to infringe on his civil rights. He was denied access to his lawyers, legal documents and the paperwork he needed to file an appeal.
  5. If this was a legitamite case, the witnesses would have been sworn in like at every other Rwandan trial. None were.

If a permanent resident of the U.S. who is also a Belgian citizen and U.S. Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient can be kidnapped by the leader of another country, who is safe? No one.

Are we finally at the end of the American experiment?

This is also not comedy but I think it is important. As we near the anniversary of the almost coup, I am reminded of something I wrote a while back. On January 18, 2021, I wrote a piece for the website Addicting Info. That no longer is around but I found my piece on the Way Back Machine (which moved to Canada when Trump moved into the White House).

In Goodbye American democracy, you had a good run I quoted Abraham Lincoln who warned the country would not be destroyed by outside forces but from within.

Shall we expect some transatlantic military giant to step the ocean and crush us at a blow? Never! All the armies of Europe, Asia, and Africa combined, with all the treasure of the earth (our own excepted) in their military chest, with a Bonaparte for a commander, could not by force take a drink from the Ohio or make a track on the Blue Ridge in a trial of a thousand years. At what point then is the approach of danger to be expected? I answer. If it ever reach us it must spring up amongst us; it cannot come from abroad. If destruction be our lot we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen we must live through all time or die by suicide.

President Lincoln at the Young Men’s Lyceum in 1838

I ended the piece:

When we start destroying the foundations of our government (the DOJ is not alone, the State Department is also being decimated from within), we are participating in a kind of cannibalism. When our government acts only to get one side ahead of the other politically and we live in a time when each side lives by a different reality, how can anything positive come from that?

For decades, during the Cold War, the Soviet Union sought to weaken, if not destroy, the United States. Lincoln was right. They should have saved their money. We are going to do it for them.

From, Goodbye American democracy, you had a good run

Both sides of this debate think we are facing an existential crisis. People on my side (including Congresswoman Lynn Cheney) think if Donald Trump gets back into the White House, democracy is dead here. People on the other side, like Dan Bongino (conservative pundit and talk show host) think if he isn’t returned to power, our republic is lost. The main difference is I am not sure how clear-headed Mr. Bongino is. Trump has attained a cult-like power over his people. They think he was draining the swamp but was thwarted by the deep state.

I guess we’ll see what happens but hold onto your hat, this is going to be a crazy year.

New Year’s Resolutions?

Resolutions to read

Anyone have resolutions for 2022?

As usual, I have some. As usual, the first two are to get more exercise and to eat healthier. In 2021, I changed my diet to a mostly plant-based diet and bought a bike. For a while, I was walking every day (usually down to Stony Brook Village) but that tapered off. To keep me more accountable with my resolutions I am posting some here:

  • Eat better
  • Get more exercise
  • Start a podcast (by the end of February)
  • Put up a TikTok video every day
  • Put together a packet for the late night shows
  • Write every day
  • Perform every day

Looking for something to read? How about this awesome book?

My friend, Nicole Willson published a novel in 2021. I bought it to support her but I cannot stress enough how much I enjoyed it. (The cat enjoyed chewing on the cover) Tidepool renewed my interest in horror fiction. I used to love reading horror but moved away from the genre as my life calmed down. Nicole is a great writer. One of my favorite pieces by her is The World Spinner. If you have “read more” on your list of resolutions for 2022, I cannot recommend this writer enough. Once I started Tidepool, I could not put it down. That is a the telltale sign of a good story and good writing. Check. It. Out. You’ll thank me later.

I am still working to end #genocide, will you help?

We made real progress in 2021. Here are a few things we accomplished:

  • Progress for Myanmar: Kirin Beer and Harry Winston stopped helping the Burmese military. Facebook shut down some of their accounts and Chevron cut some of their payments (more needs to be done on both fronts). The Burma Act of 2021 was introduced (it still needs to pass and be signed into law).
  • The Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act became law.
  • Several cities passed anti-genocide resolutions. Educating people about #genocide and other mass atrocities is crucial in this fight. No Business with Genocide is working with other localities on passage of more of the same.

You can read more about my work in this area and how you can help here.

Hello, 2022!

2022

How did you say goodbye to 2021 and hello to 2022?

Say hello to 2022! Were you up watching Andy Cohen get hammered and tell off Bill deBlasio? Maybe you watched Myley Cyrus experience a “wardrobe malfunction.” I did neither. I ordered a pizza (peppers, onions & mushrooms) and did a Zoom show. Then I went to sleep. Well, I went to bed and watched The Truman Show until I fell asleep. No ball dropping for me!

Also, my neighborhood was very quiet. I think I heard some fireworks this morning but nothing on New Year’s!

The new version of Windows has turned me into my mother

She has been upset with the updates to Windows and other applications she uses. I don’t normally have an issue with them. Things change all of the time. Why get upset? Well, I am not thrilled with the updates to Windows. I gave in to the pressure to update a few days ago and am not all that happy with the results.

Anyone else feel that way? I sure hope that is not some indicator of how 2022 is going to pan out. If it is, we all need to hold on because it’s gonna be a bumpy ride. I can kind of understand how frustrated my mother gets.

Movies I was told were great but left me wondering what all the fuss was about

Someone I know told me that Eyes Wide Shut was Stanley Kubrick’s best film. He also said it was the “most dense and most cryptic.” I watched it last night. What am I missing? I know I am so late to the party that it ended but this will be on my mind until I write about it to here goes.

  • First of all, the timing was all wrong. Tom Cruise’s (Bill) character finds out about the death of the woman who rescued him from the orgy by reading about it in the newspaper. The woman was sent to the hospital that morning. That is not enough time to get it into the paper he is reading. I think if the movie took place over a longer time period a lot more would make sense. It’s only 48 hours.
  • Then, they leave a lot on the table. Bill goes to the orgy party after Nicole Kidman’s Alice tells him she saw a Naval officer when they were on vacation and was so enamored by him that she wanted to give up her whole life. Bill becomes obsessed with cheating on her and goes to the orgy party but … who are these masked orgy people? We get the sense they are the rich and powerful elite (Jeffrey Epstein anyone?) but we never really learn who they are. If you introduce a gun in act one of a play, you need to use that gun in act 2. That never happened here and I was left feeling it was a lot of mental masturbation without the climax.
  • Everyone in this movie wants to have sex all the time. Bill is nearly seduced by two people at the party the coupe goes to at the start of the movie. Alice is nearly seduced by a mysterious man at the same soiree. When Bill goes looking for the friend that got him into the orgy, the hotel guy practically falls over himself wanted to sleep with Bill. I get it. The core of the movie is the sex cult but do we need to be hit over the head with it? Kubrick thinks so. I do not.
  • The teasers for this movie all feature the Chris Isaak song, “Baby did a bad, bad thing” but what bad thing did these people do? Alice looks at a hot guy and has a dream of being unfaithful (which makes her feel super guilty and she tells Bill all about it). Bill goes to an orgy party and thinks about being unfaithul (at the party and with a prostitute) but he doesn’t actually cheat. He also confesses to Alice what happened. What bad thing did they do? Be human?

This movie took forever to make and runs a very long time and yet it was totally empty. Someone, tell me what I am missing because I just don’t get it. Best Kubrick film? Hardly. Though I thought 2001 was boring, it was better. And then you have to compare this to The Shining and A Clockwork Orange and I don’t know how anyone thinks this was better.

Maybe you can explain it to me. Leave me a message in the comments if you want.

I know that movie came out in 1999 (a great year for movies) but I am often slow to watch certain things. Next week, I will review movies from 2000. In 2041, I will review movies from 2022.

A look back at the year that was 2021

2021 sucked as much as 2020

Before we all leave 2021 behind, it is good to reflect on everything that happened

For a lot of reasons, the last few years have sucked. In February 2020, I did a great show in Greenwich Village (at the Greenwich Village Comedy Club) and thought This is going to be my year! Three weeks later, everything in New York shut down and 2020 was no one’s year. Unless you count Covid 19, it was its year.

Things seemed to be looking up at the start of 2021. Joe Biden would be coming into the White House and Donald Trump would be leaving. There were a number of covid vaccines about to be approved. Sanity had prevailed and maybe the pandemic would end.

On January 6, pro-Trumpers rioted on the mall and stormed the capitol building. No one could have known at the time that the year was going to be decided that day. Chuck Todd once called the era we are living in the “post facts” era. He was right. Trump supporters believe that he won the election. One told me Trump received 81 million votes (that was Biden’s number). I have no idea what right-wing site he was reading but when I pointed him to the Federal Election Commission (FEC), he told me that the FEC is a leftie organization and couldn’t be trusted.

Justice made a comeback this year

There were some really good things that happened. Police officers Derek Chauvin and Kim Potter were convicted. I was surprised in both instances as cops in the past have gotten off when they kill people. The men who stalked Ahmaud Arbery and killed him were convicted. Ghislaine Maxwell, Jeffrey Epstein’s second in command, was convicted. R. Kelly was convicted.

These convictions don’t undo the wrongs committed. George Floyd and Arbery are still dead. The women and girls tormented by Maxwell and Kelly still have to live with what happened but it is a start.

George W. Bush was right about pandemics

How often do I tout things Dubya said? Rarely.

If we wait for a pandemic to appear, it will be too late to prepare.

George W. Bush in 2005

In 2005, Dubywa went on vacation and read John M. Barry’s The Great Influenza. He was so taken by the book and its message that he set up the office of pandemic preparedness in the White House (Trump effectively closed it down when he moved in). Bush saw the message of the book wasn’t “the 1918 flu was really bad” but that pandemics can happen anytime. I know people who blame the Chinese government for the current pandemic. While they are not blameless, this was a long time coming.

Back in 2006, I started worrying about bird flu. It wasn’t until 2013 that I blogged about it. I have read The Great Influenza and other books about deadly flu outbreaks. Most start in Asia. A pig can harbor a bird and a human virus at the same time. Viruses in pigs can mutate and now you have a deadly flu that can infect people. This is what scientists think happened in 1918 flu (if you are wondering why it was called the “Spanish Flu,” that is because this was during WWI and media outlets were banned from reporting on the disease everywhere but in Spain).

So things started opening up in the spring and then the Delta variant hit. I was vaccinated in April/May. By the fall, I thought things for vaccinated people were looking up. Then Omicron hit and the world started shrinking again. Now I had to cancel an event I was planning for Paul Rusesabagina. I am very sad about that.

We made progress against genocide in 2021

It is easy to only see the bad things that happen. In December, I delivered some petitions to Harry Winston asking the jeweler to stop sourcing #GenocideGems from Myanmar. Ten minutes after we left, they announced they would do just that. In February, Kirin Beer ended its relationship with the Myanmar military.

A few weeks ago, President Biden signed the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act into law. There are good reasons to think Secretary Blinken will declare what has happened to the Rohingya is a genocide. Gainesville, Florida passed an anti-genocide resolution. We are working with other localities and cities to get more of these passed. No government should profit from or fund genocide.

So, by 2021. I really hope 2022 is better.

PS. You can still lower your tax bill for 2021 AND help me fight genocide by donating to this.

How will you celebrate National Bacon Day?

people love bacon

Bacon; it’s not just for breakfast

Do you love bacon? If you do, you are not alone. I went through a period of time when I thought I wanted to convert to Judaism but it is hard (and I am lazy) but a friend I had gone through the process and said they are harder on converts so bacon would be out of the question if I went that way. So that idea was a nonstarter. The fact that I was pretty much an atheist also didn’t bode well for a conversion to any religion.

I often question why people follow one religion or another but I most often question Christians. It seems the people who identify the most as followers of Christ are also the ones most likely to condemn other religions. I self-identify as Buddhist but that is more of a philosophy than a religion and is not without its own crazies and zealots. I mean, look at how the Rohingya have been treated by the Buddhist majority in Burma. Not well.

But back to bacon. I used to love it but it is so messy. And I feel bad for the pigs so I eat Morningstar Farms vegetarian bacon. Tastes good to me.

Will you help me fight #Genocide in 2022?

We made a lot of progress in 2021. The Burma Act was introduced. The Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act became law. Harry Winston stopped sourcing #GenocideGems from Myanmar and Kirin Beer stopped working with the Burmese military. Gainesville, Florida passed an anti-genocide resolution. We were also able to empower Burmese people all over the United States and train them how to lobby Congress. We worked hard for Paul Rusesabagina and will continue to do so until he comes home.

Donations from great people like you make all that possible. If you can, please donate. If you do it today or tomorrow, you can take your donation off your taxes for 2021. We can end genocide if we work together.