Omicron comes to town

omicron

The other day was National Crossword puzzle day!

Omicron is on everyone’s mind but I am starting with something light. I was so excited to blog about this important holiday and you may not think I am serious but I am all too serious. Don’t believe me? If you were around me on any day that the NY Times has a rebus puzzle, you would not think I am not serious.

“What is a rebus puzzle?” Good question! That’s where they put MORE THAN ONE LETTER OR A DIGIT in a square and it MAKES ME CRAZY! Well, crazier than I normally am. The first time I saw one of these, I thought my head was going to explode. Seriously. And you don’t want to be around me when they get their facts wrong!

The first thing I do every day is the Times’ crossword. I LOVE IT! There is even a movie, Wordplay, about people who do and love crossword puzzles. If you are like me and love them, check it out!

Omicron is not a transformer, though it is transforming life

This week, New York City is once again the epicenter of covid activity thanks to the omicron variety. Not only that but the part of town where I hang out the most is the epicenter of the epicenter. That’s right! Greenwich Village is one of the hottest spots (for omicron) in the city.

Over the last seven days, for every 100,000 Manhattan residents, about 1,672 have been infected, the city said in a transmission chart on its COVID data site.

Source: NYC Health

And that’s just an average – in some Manhattan neighborhoods, the numbers are astronomically higher. In Greenwich Village and SoHo, it’s 2,927 cases per 100,000; in Chelsea, 2,513 per 100,000.

Source: NBC4 NY

This matters to me because when I go into the city, my number one destination is MacDougal Street, which is in the heart of the Village. Great. I thought I was getting my booster shot yesterday but had the date wrong. D’Oh!

Why I am still working to end genocide

Tomorrow is Christmas Eve. This will mark Paul Rusesabagin’s second Christmas behind bars. Please check out the piece I wrote for Medium.

And yes, I am still angry about Annie.

Can you imagine if a Congressperson said these things about Christians?

Don't make fun of Christians!

Lauren Boebert called Ilhan Omar a terrorist because she is a Muslim, can you imagine if someone made that statement about Christians?

Bear in mind, these are the people who have a hissy fit when someone says, “Happy Holidays” rather than “Merry Christmas.” As soon as some people on the right hear that, they are all “It’s a war on Christians! It’s a war on Christmas!” So while people like Boebert are totally cool making jokes about Muslims being terrorists, they would go absolutely crazy if anyone made the same joke about Christians.

And all of this shows what a pussy Kevin McCarthy is. If Ilhan Omar — or anyone else — made a comment about seeing Boebert in the elevator and worrying Boebert was about to start an insurrection, he would be on the House flood demanding Nancy Pelosi strike Omar of her committee assignments. Never mind that Boebert has bragged about carrying a gun to the House floor. If anyone is scary to meet in an elevator, it’s Boebert.

Of course, it is also important to remember how people like Boebert and her blond twin, Marjorie Taylor Greene have also supported Qanon and that craziness. Does anyone not think Qanon people are terrifying? Before I moved back to New York, I had someone take care of my house who was a HUGE Qanon supporter. He believes that Hollywood, industry, and the government are controlled by shape-shifting lizard creatures from outer space who worship Satan and both eat children for their adrenochrome and have sex with them. Now he was on the extreme end of Qanon but he is also an Oath Keeper and has guns. When I left Florida, I knew people who were big into the Proud Boys. If you aren’t scared of these people, you aren’t paying attention.

But back to the hypocrisy. I don’t consider myself to be a Christian. I celebrate Christmas only because I like the secular parts of the holiday. Jesus was most likely born in April so I see this holiday through seriously secular eyes. Some of the worst terrorism on American soil has been perpetrated by Christians. The Klan was/is a Protestant group. People have killed abortion providers in the name of Christ. No religion is free of extremists. Buddhists in Burma have been guilty of persecuting the Muslim Rohingya. In fact, Muslims are more likely to be victims of terrorism and genocide than perpetrators.

Can you come to either of these events?

I am a little nervous about two events I have been planning for weeks.

World Genocide Day protest: We are going to meet up at the US Mission to the UN and walk over to Harry Winston’s headquarters. We will deliver a list of the people who signed our petition to Harry Winston/Swatch to get them to stop selling #GenocideGems. You can learn more here.

Comedy to Free Paul Rusesabagina: On January 11, 2022, at 7:00 pm, No Business with Genocide has teamed up with Two Joke Minimum and the New York Comedy Club to bring together some of the area’s best comedians to raise money for Paul’s legal defense fund. Get your tickets here.

And because we can all use some cat cuteness…

Today, I am annoyed about Annie

Annie live

Seriously, how is Annie a good idea?

I have never liked the musical Annie. Maybe it is because my dad was a sociopath and it would have been nice to be adopted by a rich guy who was not. Or it could be because the Annie I grew up with had red hair and I have red hair and people always said, “You look like (insert redhead here)!” My reasons are deeper than that.

Have you ever actually thought about the plot of the play/movie? Rich, single guy sends a minion to the local orphanage to pick one up for the holiday. Let that sink in. He needs an orphan for the holiday. Since when can rich people just go pick up a child for the weekend? Isn’t Ghislaine Maxwell on trial for doing that for Jeffrey Epstein? Wouldn’t every rich pedophile in the world be hanging out near the local orphanage? How is this a good message?

So, the minion picks Annie because Mrs. Hannigan, who runs the orphanage, is so mean to her. Oliver Warbucks (what kind of name is that? I get Oliver is an homage to Oliver Twist but Warbucks?) gets upset because he thought all orphans were boys. Hey, I wanted a boy to play with!

In any case, Warbucks learns Annie has never been to Manhattan to they walk 45 blocks in December. Who does that? No one. Average people take the subway. Uber rich people like Warbucks take a car. What are you taking her on the Bataan Death March?

Oh, and in the description of Mrs. Hannigan, I read she “doesn’t care for children but loves alcoholic beverages.” Yeah, sounds exactly like the kind of person you want running an orphanage. Never mind that this story takes place during the Depression (though the play came out in 1977) and they get FDR involved because he had nothing better to do, I just don’t think this is a positive message for anyone. Ever.

Are you in NYC? I am working on two events.

  1. Harry Winston protest. This will be one week from today — December 9, 2021 at 10:00 am. This is also World Genocide Day. We will walk from the US Mission to the UN to the Harry Winston headquarters and flagship store. Learn more about this here.
  2. In January, I am working with Two Joke Minimum, No Business with Genccide, the Paul Rusesabagina Hotel Rwanda Foundation and the New York Comedy Club to host a fundraiser for Paul’s legal defense fund. The night will be headlined by Nore Davis, see on the Tonight Show. Wavy Maguire will host and it will feature Jenae Boston, T-Storm, Jason Ox-Horn and me! You can get your tickets here. There will be an option for people who are not in NYC to donate and watch later. Get in touch if you need more information about that.

Random thoughts on a windy day

That’s my friend, James Thompson. I met him when I was living in Gainesville, Florida. Yesterday, I learned that he killed himself earlier in the week. Just before I read about this tragedy, Harvey Ward posted on Facebook about men and suicide. This is unbelievably sad. I wish I could have done something. It felt so random to read of his passing.

This is what Jeremiah Tattersall told the Gainesville Sun:

“He was a very, very kind man. There are very few things that happened progressively in Alachua County that didn’t at least have his fingerprints, often behind the scenes,” Tattersall said. “It was always great to talk with him. We would start talking about something small, like the school board and the unions, for maybe 20 minutes and then talk another two hours about art, life, children, friends. It was also like that with him.”

James also wrote this piece in the Iguana.

It’s hard to think that James was suffering. I am comforted by the fact that he was surrounded by people who did care about him. That might seem strange, given how things turned out but it goes to show how little we know about what’s happening with the people around us. I can be in a crowd of people and feel totally alone.

I also understand, more than I would like, the thought process he may have been experiencing. I have struggled with depression and anxiety and have had thought that I am not going to explain now. I just hope if anyone reading this ever feels they aren’t worth much (as I have felt) or that they need help, I am always here.

This has actually been a tough week for me. Not so much emotionally but physically. I went in for an upper endoscopy (EGD) on Monday and while the procedure itself went fine, it takes about ten to 15 minutes, the experience was harrowing. It felt random the way I experienced this test, which I had had before.

The problem, as it always is, was getting the IV in. I always tell the nurses that I am a “hard stick.” Do they listen or believe me? Of course not! They were all, “we do this every day, all day.” It seemed a nurse got one in but it didn’t work. It took an anesthesiologist about 45 minutes and an ultrasound machine to get the job done and I am back to looking like a domestic violence victim or heroin addict.

I am not looking for sympathy here when I write this, it helps me to get this out of my system, but I experienced something I never have before. Lying on the stretcher, with the medical people trying to get an IV in, I felt more scared and vulnerable than I ever had before. One nurse kept poking and prodding and saying, “If that doesn’t work, I’ll go here!”

No, no you won’t. They tried my foot (hurts a lot). They tried my hands (never happening again). The doctor who finally got the IV told me to never let the nursing staff try and to just ask for an ultrasound.

I am lucky. I have good insurance and access to decent care but that was scary.

I had a city adventure on Tuesday

Fresh off my EGD on Monday, I went into the city on Tuesday

But there’s good news! I have lots of comedy shows coming up!

  • Thursday, September 16 @ 8 pm EDT. Zoom show. This is a fundraiser for the International Campaign for the Rohingya, the parent organization for the Campaign for a New Myanmar. You can get tickets here.
  • Saturdau, September 18 @ 8:30 pm. Coasters in East Meadow. Come on down!
  • Wednesday, September 29 @ 8 pm. The Broadway Comedy Club in NYC. Tix are normally $22 but give the guy my name and your ticket will be $11.
  • Friday, October 1 @ 9 pm. Contest show at Clyde’s in Mt. Sinai. This place used to be Barton’s Place.
  • Friday October 8 @ 8pm. Vagisilly at Coasters in East Meadow.

Did you see this?

My birthday was a few weeks ago and there is still time to donate to my fundraiser for the International Campaign for the Rohingya. You can learn more about that here.

More coffee with do the trick

Sam Bee needed more coffee before her bogus segment on Rwanda

Coffee! It’s what’s for dinner!

No, not really. Dinner around here is usually salmon, sweet potatoes and veggies but I do consume a lot of coffee.

People always ask, “What’s new?” I always want to respond, “Not much!” but that isn’t true right now. So, what’s doin’ in Stony Brook?

First, I heard that Samantha Bee did a segment in Rwanda with a focus on conservation and how they did with refugees. I wrote about that for Medium. The Human Rights Foundation had this to say:

On Monday, the Human Rights Foundation (HRF) sent a letter to television host and executive producer, Samantha Bee, expressing concerns over how Rwanda’s dictatorial regime will likely exploit her show’s segment, “Rwandans and the UNHCR Are Treating Refugees with Empathy,” to whitewash its long history of grave atrocities against refugees and refugee camps, following the country’s 1994 genocide, as well as its ongoing deadly campaign of espionage, extrajudicial executions, renditions, and intimidation against Rwandan dissident refugees living abroad.

The Human Rights Foundation.

I used to really like Samantha Bee. She was great on The Daily Show. She did a segment about someone I wrote for and I was offended that she lumped the website I wrote for in with a bunch of satire sites (I do write satire but try to keep a firewall between satire and general opinion). I haven’t watched her show recently. I do think it is incredibly irresponsible to do a piece on Rwanda about how they deal with refugees without looking at all the people who have been displaced (or worse) by President Paul Kagame.

From critic to being complicit

The view Bee gave of Rwanda was not even close to accurate and the segment will be used by the government as propaganda. Nice job, Sam! You went from being a critic to being complicit.

In other coffee needing news, I have several shows coming up that will be great.

  • Friday, August 6 @ 8 pm (doors open at 6). Governor’s Comedy Club — the Lil Room. Levittown, NY.
  • Saturday, August 14 @ 5:30 pm. Greenwich Village Comedy Club. NYC (this is my favorite venue!).
  • Friday, August 27 @ 9 pm. Clyde’s (used to be Barton’s Place). Miller Place, NY.

Can you help keep me employed?

Ok. I am asking. I work for several non-profits. We work to get companies to not make money from or give money to governments that commit genocide and other crimes against humanity, we are also working to support the people of Myanmar in their struggles post the coup in February and to stop the genocide against the Rohingya. We are also working to free Paul Rusesabagina (Hotel Rwanda).This is important work but we need your help. If you can, please donate here.