some good news about the scalping battle

We know about scalping.  We know it’s bad.  We know that it’s just too much trouble and too much cost to go see a nationally touring act.  I won’t talk about why, I did that here.  Ok, will sum up super quick.  90% of concert tickets NEVER go onsale.  AND… they are long gone BEFORE the public onsale happens.  That last 10% is gotten not by fans but by computer programs that resourceful scalpers use.  They can ping Ticketbastard 100 a minute, whereas your slow dialing ass can do it once.

Let’s instead look at if it can be fought, and is anyone doing anything about it.

First… can it be fought?  Yes, but only by sucky and complicated means that are NOT consumer friendly.  To stop scalping, you can

  • Require the ID or credit card of the credit card that bought the ticket. This is essentially making an entire concert will call.  This means where you used to have 5 ticket takers… JUST taking tickets… you could move 20,000 people into an arena.  Now imagine if EVERY one of those tickets has to be verified with an ID.  Imagine standing in line behind 10 drunk women fumbling through their purses looking for their ID as you hear the opening band start up.  In many venues, this IS being done.  In fact, with an AXS show… it is the upside down world.  Instead of going to a show and they take your ticket… you show up with NO ticket… and they print your ticket at the door.
  • Print people’s names on the ticket. No one is doing this, and (seriously) I came up with this idea myself.  I could be done SO goddamn easily.  This way, TM could justify their ‘convenience’ charge.

Either one of these solutions suffers because it means you can’t give away or sell tickets.  Or buy them as a gift for a friend.  Which one do I prefer, knowing everything I know?  Neither.  Shoot the scalpers in the fucking head.  Same with TM, for sanctioning and embracing, and encouraging scalpers with their own scalper site ‘Ticketsnow.com’

What is the alternative?  Sadly, it is simple.  Stop going to concerts.  Stop patronizing scalpers.  Like the drug trade, this is kinda all our fault.  As long as some asshole is willing to pay $4,000 to see Adele… we ALL have to pay that.  Note, if I could afford that… I would pay it.  Adele is bitchin, and likely won’t tour again for a LONG time.  That is not faint praise, the last 4 concerts I went to… 3 of them were Iron Maiden.

Why aren’t the artists and managers and all that fighting for us?   Why would they?  As long as tickets are being sold, they are good.  It is likely better for their bottom line when ALL tickets sell out… even if a venue is only half full during the show.   Some artists are fighting back, though.  Here are their badass and commendable ideas and fights.  What is cool and interesting is every one of these bands took a different tact.  Spoiler alert… none have been effective –

 

So… let’s look at the good news and good dudes/dudettes who are fighting the good fight

Pearl Jam – back in the early 90s, they wanted to keep ticket prices at $10.  Not just the face value… but the total cost at the end of the day after fees and such.  Ticketmaster laughed, and they have a monopoly on the venues due to contracts.  So, PJ filed a DOJ anti trust suit, and then testified in front of fucking Congress.   The balls on those kids.  Even today, 20 years later, no band has taken such extreme measures.  Sadly, the effort fell flat.  There was supposed to be a whole slew of A-listers to show up and support them.  Their record companies and various suits warned the artists not to piss of TM… with the monopoly and all.  So… where folks like Garth Brooks pledged to show up… NO OTHER BANDS showed up.  So, you just had 5 long hair upstarts bitching at ‘the man’.  It was dismissed, sadly.

SO… Pearl Jam said ‘fine, we’ll just sell our own tickets to our own fans… and bypass TM’.   Yeah, that SUPER didn’t work.  TM ended up writing their own legislation that fan clubs can’t have more than 10% of a venues tickets… AND said all fan clubs have to charge at least $15.

Even better?  TM got sued for not even allocating that 10%.  Also, more on that here.


NSync – did I spell that right?  Well, who cares?  You know them as a soulless boy band, and launching pad for Justin Timberlake.  Well, they care, too.  They did a tour during their heyday, and found out that NONE of their floor seats ever went on sale to the public.  It’s not just a dick move.  Knowing what we know now, not even a big deal.  BUT… they also realized they would be playing for, and facing, NOT fans.  It would be suits, and the families of suits, and radio station suits, and super rich people.  They blew a gasket and busted the whole thing wide open and told everyone.  Again, 20 years ago, this was a BALLSY move.  A band like Pearl Jam knew they could keep playing.  NSync, though, was a corporate creation.  For them to stand up to the industry that incubated them was just very cool and strong.


Prince – Prince wanted to play small clubs again.  There were 2 problems with that:  they would make a tenth of the money he could make playing mega arenas.  In fact, let’s stop here and run the numbers.  He played the Ogden theater, a cool little club of 1200.  Let’s say tickets are $100.  His gross, then, is 120K.   Great take for one night’s work, right?  Normally, someone of his status would play the ____ center.  You know, the venue where your basketball and hockey team plays.  Ours is called the Pepsi Center, and it holds 20,000.   Let’s say those tickets are also $100 each.  If he plays this venue, just a few blocks away, he grosses 2 million.

but… Prince wants to play clubs.  How does he do this and make his nut.  What can he do?  He prices the tickets are fair market value.  Those Ogden show tickets were $250 each.  Am I outraged?   No!  I am turned on!  I LOVE what Prince did, and here is why – it was incredibly innovative!  See, Prince could have charged $100.  Thing is, NO fan would get those tickets.  They would get gobbled up by presales and scalpers.  THEN… those scalpers would have charged (and easily got) $250 a ticket.  If people are willing to pay $250 to see Prince in a club (instead of a soulless mega Arena)… shouldn’t that money go to Prince?  Yes it should.  PLUS > at that price point it squeezes out the scalpers.  The scalpers would have to buy each ticket for $250, and sell it for what?  $300?  Not worth their trouble.   Prince is great, because he is one of 2 people in ALL of rock and truly do (or… did) only what they believe in.  The other is Neil Young.

String Cheese Incident – also not amused by the monopoly and mark ups.  Using a loophole where tickets could be bought for face value at the venue… String Cheese went to the venue and bought up ALL the tickets.  Then… sold them to their fans at face value.  Once again, the balls on these guys.  They also fought a couple long and ugly court battles with TM over all their bullshit.  These dudes, like everyone on this list… are heroes!  More on that here, and here, and here.  Just in case it is lost on you what they did, let’s let the band explain themselves.

One Friday afternoon recently, about 50 fans and friends of the band String Cheese Incident took $20,000 in cash to the Greek Theater in Los Angeles to take a small stand against the system — in this case, Ticketmaster.

With money advanced by the band, each person had enough to buy eight tickets at $49.95 apiece for the group’s show in July. Once all tickets were in hand, almost 400 of them, they were carried back to String Cheese headquarters in Colorado and put on sale again through the group’s Web site — for $49.95.

“We’re scalping our own tickets at no service charge,” Mike Luba, one of the group’s managers, explained in an interview last week. “It’s ridiculous.”

Fucking heroes!  Don’t worry, TM sued them, too.  It’s a great story and an interesting read.  Bonus evil TM fun?  Once they finished their total monopoly by merging with Live Nation, TM closed that loophole about the box office.  It is now MORE expensive to drive to the venue and buy tickets there (vs over the phone).  I experienced this personally, and wrote about it here.

Kid Rock – tried something fun and innovative.  He did a shed tour (its’ the half seating and half lawn venue your city has) and he capped the ticket price at $20.   AFTER FEES.  Let me demonstrate how impressive that is.  About 10 years ago, Motley Crue did a shed tour, and tickets were only $5.   Before fees.  After fees?  $25 each.  You may see $25 being a great and fair price to see Motley Crue.  You would be Correct.  Until… you see that 75% of that goes to TM.  $20 of the $25 is all service fees.   So, when Kid Rock caps the very end cost at $25… everyone has to take less.  Kid Rock explained it as “I can afford it, I am rich.  If no one shows up, I can take the loss.”  What kind of loss, you wonder?  He awesomely explained that it costs $100K for him to show up.  Keep in mind, this is cost for salaries of bus drivers and cooks and roadies and hookers.  I know Kid Rock takes a ton of shit for being a Trump flunkie, and he should.  However, it doesn’t mean he isn’t a good dude.  This stunt proved it.

This method of cost control is a very close cousin of what Pearl Jam was trying.  What did Kid Rock do different that he was able to do it, where Pearl Jam could not?  He (Kid Rock) worked with TM, instead of against them.  Every artist has been working against TM for so long (and for good reason)… that no one had tried to work with them.  Oh, and the real short answer of how this business model works?  Kid Rock gets a cut of the beers sales (which he also capped at $5).  Even though his politics are wack, I still very much enjoy ‘Devil without a Cause’.  I feel the same way about Uncle Ted.  Total psycho dickweed, politically… but it’s tough to think of a cooler song than ‘Stranglehold’.  Again, I’ll let Mr Rock (nee Bobby Ritchie) explain himself

This is a model Rock says he has been working on for a long time. “It’s always going to come down to price, but I think [from the fan’s perspective] it’s more the service charges, the fees, getting in there and not knowing what beers will cost, what they’ll hit you for parking,” he says. “Every little thing they nickel and dime you, and it’s not just music, it’s sports, it’s going to the movies. Artists demand so much money, and you have to set ticket prices at [a certain level]. Everyone’s fighting the system, and it’s really been all of our faults. We’re all fortunate to make as much money as we do, and I can surely take a pay cut and help out in these hard times.”

See, this is what is great about Kid Rock, and why I can’t hate him.  Plenty of folks talk about protecting the vaunted ‘blue collar worker and poor suffering family’… but Kid Rock actually did something.  Name someone else who has?   Trick question, the answer is no one.

Adele – wanted fans to see her show.  And only fans.  Here is the unique approach she did – no ‘holdback’ tickets.  This means she put every single ticket on sale for every show.  No tickets were held back for family, friends, promoters, fan clubs, record companies, radio stations.  How is this a big deal?  I mention in the article I referenced at the very top that 90% of tickets now to go ‘holdbacks’.  What that means, specifically, is this:  Billy Bob is going to play Red Rocks this summer.  It holds 10,000 seats.  Tickets go on sale Dec 15th, 2017.   When that onsale happens, and you log in to get tickets, 90% are already gone.  Only 1,000 tickets will actually go onsale.  When that happens, you won’t even see those 1,000 tickets.  Computer programs used by resourceful scalpers get those tickets.

Sadly, industry folks say Adele’s most excellent intentions had little effect.  Her tickets still showed up instantly on the ‘secondary’ legal scalper sites.  It’s ok, though, at least she tried something no one else has.  Fucking Hero! If you don’t like Adele, as a person, you don’t like puppies!  She drinks and curses and belches and laughs… all in concert.  She is good people!

Eric Church – several artists have canceled tickets they knew were scalped.  Most famously, the Boss.  Springsteen has canceled blocks of tickets, and encouraged use of paperless tickets (where you have to show your ID at the door).  Church, though, went nuts. He just canceled 25K tickets for his tour.  Here is why that is ‘balls’;   those 25K tickets were guaranteed money that he had in pocket.  Assuming tickets were $85 each, he walked away from 2.1 million dollars.  I gotta be honest, I have no idea who he is, and I don’t dig new county that isn’t Chris Stapleton.  But, whoever the hell this guy is… he is a hero.

That is all for now, I shall keep you posted on the good fight as it occurs.  If you know of other artists taking similar initiatives, please drop me a line.  My email is ‘I am correct at gmail dot com’ (all smooshed together, no spaces)

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Friday Fives – worried about the weather

How do you fall asleep in hot weather?

Not with AC, I can tell you that.  Have never had AC since we moved to Denver 20 years ago.  However, I tend to go to bed somewhere between late, and very late.  So, things have always cooled down by then.

How do you fall asleep in cold weather?

First… a fan to make it even colder.  Then, like 8,000 blankets

What is the weirdest weather you’ve ever witnessed?

Was in downtown Denver (ironically) at a Red Cross training.  I get a text we need to gather in Elbert to stand up the EOC there for flooding.  Quite odd I was pulled away from my disaster training exercises to tend to an actual disaster.  I get down to Elbert (it’s our county seat, I know you have never heard of it) and we start dealing with the flooding.  Then, 2 tornadoes hit our county.  Tornadoes are, as you know, very warm weather thingies.  Well, two hours after the tornadoes hit we got a BAD snow storm.  So bad that I ended up closing down the one and only county highway (86 – Franktown to Elizabeth to Kiowa) with some flashlights.  It was blizzard conditions, and our plows were at least an hour out from being ready.  Due to the accidents and help I had to dole out and me and another gent literally closing the road off (behind us, of course.  I still had to get home) it took me 4 hours to do the drive that normally takes 25 minutes.

What would be the most inconvenient weather report to hear in the morning?

It’s never snow.  Meaning… hearing it is snowing never makes me sad or mad or scared.  It thrills me, and my truck.  Having no AC, I guess the worst news would be heat.  There is a reason I fled Phoenix.  Extreme heat is stupid… and rather avoidable.

firenado.  it’s a very real thing.

 

You’re in charge of a “Sharknado” type film series, what animal and extreme weather condition is your choice?

Honey badger, with this magnificent fruity bastard handling all the narration

firenado

 

Friday Fives – stop feeding your congressman bacon

I don’t trust people who . . .. 

Litter.  It doesn’t just show contempt for nature, but for fellow mankind.  I have mentioned this before, but since we are here I’ll say it again.  I notice people who litter are Republicans.  Yes, I know… a sweeping generalization.  That’s my bag.  Anyhow… you don’t have to take my word for it.  Instead, I ask you this… just remember that comment/observation.  You will see that I was Correct.

I just love people who . . .

Who love and respect and honor those who are at lower stations in their lives.  Meaning… don’t be a dick to the garbage man, or the maid, or the waitress… or the bum.  There is some wisdom in this classic dating advice for women “A guy who is sweet to you, but an asshole to the waitress is an asshole”.  This speaks volumes.  Here it is said again by a mind brighter than mine – be kind whenever possible.  It is always possible.” Dalai Lama

Sometimes, I just get so depressed over . . . 

How EVERYONE hates govt and Congress… yet EVERYONE re-elects their Congressfolk at a rate of over 90% every election.  Do you think your calls to Congress, and letters, and aggressive Facebook rants mean dick to your Congressperson?  Not when no matter how much you loathe them… you will still vote for them.

Another analogy (sorry, but it’s how I best communicate and think) – imagine you are training a puppy.  He gets on the counter, and you HATE that.  You tell EVERYONE how you hate that, including the dog.  You sent letters to the dog, and gleefully participate in public polls about how much you dislike your dog getting on the counter.  YET… each time he does it, you give him some bacon.  Not only are you not effectively punishing the dog.  You are rewarding him.  Your vote is bacon.  Stop feeding your Congressperson bacon, especially when they are bad dogs.

Sorry, it’s a bit of dramatic hyperbole to compare the public servants of Congress to dogs.  We can all agree dogs are much better people.  As Groucho Marx once said “outside of a dog, a book is man’s best friend.  Inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read.”

It’s just not normal to . . .

for disenfranchised Americans to think a real estate developer would fight for the poor.  I FULLY get that the other choices sucked ass… and I voted for neither of them.  I also fully get that for poor and disenfranchised voters (meaning anyone who is not a white male over 40)… ANYTHING was worth trying.

I think  . . .  is the new normal.

toll roads.  Here is Denver, we have a few major highways that run through town.  They have ALL been moved to toll roads for expansion.  The new and super important and badly needed C470 run from I-25 to the foothills is getting new lanes.  they are in the widening process now.  Just googled it and found out those will be toll lanes.  So, a better to commute to work coming soon… unless you make under $10 an hour, or have kids.  the other side of the C-470 is the E-470.   Toll road, the whole thing that loops around Denver… always been a toll road and always will be.

That shitty stretch of I70 that always backs up around Idaho Springs?  Finally expanded… to toll lanes.

and just yesterday, I got a survey about widening of the I-25 from Castle Rock to Monument.  They are widening it.  Via toll lanes.  There is SO much to say about this, I could really do a post blog on this issue.  I won’t, but I will point out this – its likely our own fault.  Whenever the govt asks for money for roads (or anything)… people hear ‘taxes’ and vote no.  Always, every time.  Same reason schools are broke.

Oh, and I have written about this.  Bitching about traffic isn’t exactly groundbreaking social satire… but I see issues and I address them.  Hopefully, with a good sense of humor and some honest research on the issue as well.  Start here, then go here, then go here.  Note how nobody and no time in any of these studies recommended toll lanes.  Here is another reason why they suck (besides being elitist and unfair to the working poor) – they are still vulnerable to same traffic jams, accidents, and foul weather.   My suggestion is light rail.  Roughly the same ecological footprint (for digging and up and paving over things)… but is weather proof and traffic proof.

ok, one last dig.  When it’s done, the few who can afford it (myself included, I admit) get to zip past the poor people in traffic.  In the meantime, EVERYONE gets to live with this for 3 years… including the people who will never get to use it.

 

a handy guide to New Orleans, from someone who has never been there

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Dear reader, I missed last week’s Friday Fives.  I was luckily otherwise bothered to be in New Orleans for the very first time.  We spent an amazing 4 or 5 days there, and it was just the best time and place ever.  Now… this week’s Friday Fives will likely be late or never, as I am training a new hire training class every day 80 miles away.  If I am not training my new hires for 8 hours a day, I am prepping or tearing down.  Or… driving.   So, let’s kill 2 drunk college kids with 1 stone.  I am going to answer all your questions about New Orleans.

As North America’s ‘Top Unsolicited Tour Guide®’ step right in to the real New Orleans… from a guy who was just there like this morning, y’all.

After my very first time there (for only a few days), I will take on the questions on the Chamber of Commerce site.  Likely, the answers were thoughtfully and painstakingly put together by people with lifetimes of experience of the ‘Big Easy’.  I am not only not that person, I won’t pretend to be.  My answers are honest and only speak of my limited experience there.  I will tell you the real truth that those pinheads are afraid of.

Note, I did not ever read any of the answers.  I just copy pasted right off this fine site

first… let me start with this, their new slogan

New Orleans – Its like Las Vegas for people with souls and character®

How can I experience New Orleans’ cultural celebrations and festivals this season?

GTS – google that shit.  There is TONS of amazing and free stuff happening pretty much always.   We found the New Orleans Treme Jazz and Gumbo fest this last weekend.  Totally free, and in a beautiful and awesome park  > Louis Armstrong park.  It was exactly what it sounds like, and it was amazing.

I have not visited New Orleans in a few years. What can I expect?

The fabled ‘French Quarter’ is exactly how you mis-remember it.  Painfully so.  I got the vibe that New Orleans works really really hard to feel and look like what you think it might look like.  We have traveled a lot, around the world, and this felt like a singularity. Remember that iconic scene in ‘the Great Outdoors’, where they are trying to sell their miserable house?  They want it to look like a woodland paradise for the buyers, so you hear things like ‘ok, queue the deer’.  I swear, it felt like that… and it was AWESOME.   Hookers?  yup.  Every single building looking like it was painted only once about 1200 years ago?  Amazing street music and jazz everywhere?  An odd amount of body paint and glitter?  Each and every square inch declaring itself the ‘real New Orleans’, and the actual, genuine, and real life “Home of the _________”.  I dare you to find a business in New Orleans who doesn’t not proclaim themselves the ‘home’  or originator of something.  It’s pretty terrific!

I swear, it feels like every day New Orleans is auditioning to get the lead part in a movie about New Orleans.  This isn’t a bad thing, they know who butters their bread.  It did feel a bit desperate, though.  Example, I dare ANY owner of ANY thing in the ‘French Quarter’ to put a new coat of paint on anything!  You can’t, it ruins the ‘charm’.

Now, obviously there are still tons of ‘pre/post’ Katrina  things happening and evolving.  Basically, Hurricane Katrina was like the arrival of Jesus and his impact on the calendar.  Every conversation about every single thing begins pre, or post, Katrina.  You truly cannot fathom the impact it had on every single aspect of life in New Orleans.  We weren’t in town longer than 30 seconds when our Uber driver told us an excellent (and plausible) explanation of how the government actively failed in the controlling the hurricane damage and flooding.

meschiya lake 2017

amazing local singer Meschiya Lake

How many visitors have been to New Orleans recently?

7?  I don’t know.  Who cares? You shouldn’t!  What kind of stupid question is that?If you are just a follower, go to a Cowboys game. Does it make a difference, or have a direct impact on your experience?    Just go, man.

What time of year should we go?

not summer, way too hot and humid and sticky.  and busy.  Not Mardi Gras, because now you are sharing the roads and sidewalks and airports and cabs and lines for the bathroom with a million random ass mouth breathers who are so drunk that they won’t even remember being there.   Like most places, aim for the ‘shoulder seasons’, which is the time least busy.  This way, everything is the least crowded it can be, the locals are the most ‘locally’, locals aren’t so sick of tourists at this point that they are happy to strike up conversations, and you can get better deals.

What are my restaurant choices?

Too many to mention.  Your choices are 2, basically.  You will end up doing the third.  First choice is start researching now.  You will go down a rabbit hole of food porn.  You may never escape.  You will go to New Orleans on a 3 day trip with a list of 37 places you MUST visit.   Second, you told some people you were going to New Orleans, and they gave you a list of 38 places you MUST visit… or why even fucking bother.  These are good.  Write these down, and (most importantly) get a strong feel for where you are staying.  This, where you are staying, will dictate everything.

See, what will actually happen is a combination of the three.  The top two, and the reality of just winging it.  Yes, there is that amazing café that will change your life that is a short 25 minute cab ride away.  It won all the awards.  Guess what?  You are tired, and had an amazing day, and just don’t have that in you.  Blow it off.  Find a place in walking distance.  It will be amazing, no matter where you go.  There is SO much great food there, that it equals competition.  You can’t succeed wit mediocre in that environment.

In fact, put away your trip advisor and yelp for a couple days.  Go out, make snap judgements.  Improvise.  Pretty much no matter where you go, you will have the best food you have ever had.  Every single meal was transcendent, even sketchy $6 subs from the corner market.   Btw, you have to call a sub a ‘po boy’.   Don’t even ask why, but I just made you cool.

What are my options for shopping?

Just like any other place on earth, too many to mention.  If you are looking to find cool stuff, or unique local stuff, or fun gifts… you will find that.  This isn’t a New Orleans thing, it’s a getting out of your house, thing.

What type of events does New Orleans offer sports enthusiasts?

Wrong question to ask.  With SO much going on culturally there, to go for sports would be a waste of time.  Would you ask that about going to Angkor Wat in Cambodia?  If you got to see Pearl Jam at Red Rocks, would you ask where you can get good fries?  If you were offered a sailing trip around the Caribbean, would you ask where you can catch a good basketball game?  Like any major market, there are many sports and sports franchises.  That isn’t why you are going to New Orleans.

Wanna go to a great sports city?  Go visit Buffalo, or Green Bay.  Those towns, some would say, are cultural zeros.  So, they WORSHIP their football teams.  Trust me, more travel than I care to admit is to go see the Broncos play in other markets.  In Buffalo, for example, they show up to the parking lot to tailgate the day before the game.  Yeah, you leave Saturday morning to go watch a Bills game at Orchard Park.   1) it’s wicked fun, and 2) there is literally nothing else to do in Buffalo.   Great football town, but not much else.

What’s the best way to get to New Orleans?

Doesn’t make a difference how you get there.  However, consider how to maximize your time there.  Yeah, you could drive there.  But, then you spend 2 or 3 days getting there, 2 or 3 days there, and 2 or 3 days getting home.  That is a great adventure, and you should take that adventure.  It is a road trip, though.  Not a trip to New Orleans.  If you have 7 days off of work, spend that 7 days in New Orleans if you can… not getting there and back.

that being said… that airport is SKETCH.  Shady, gross, terrible food, one lousy coffee stand, and to fill my water bottle i had to go into the bathroom.  Pretty sure I have Hepatitis after that airport.  Which one?   Each!  Granted, these are truly first world problems.  I guess I am spoiled by the Denver airport, it’s pretty great.

What are my options for taxis, buses, airport shuttles and streetcars?

All those things mentioned above.  Those are your options.  However, you won’t use any of them.  You’ll find yourself on a rented bike or in an Uber/Lyft if you aren’t on foot.  We had bikes the whole weekend and it was my favorite part of everything.  You move swiftly through neighborhoods, you still see and take in and small all the adventure, you aren’t paying per trip, you are getting exercise, you are saving the environment, you won’t spend 4 hours a day looking for parking space… and even if you are rip shit drunk… you won’t hurt anyone but yourself.

Is New Orleans a safe place for visitors?

Sure, but like ANY travel, have your common sense.  Don’t wander too far away after dark, don’t be overtly drunk… especially after dark.  Don’t leave your valuables laying around or in play site.  Don’t leave bikes or cars or kids unlocked.  This has nothing to do with New Orleans, but is about travel in general.  Nothing good is going to happen anywhere on earth at 3 am… especially if you just look $300 out of the ATM.  Go to bed.  There is plenty of adventure tomorrow.  opt to live to see it.  That is the difference between going when you are 20, or 45.  Hint… I am closer to the latter.

*** odd.  You didn’t ask about the music.  The music is the thing there, man.  It is everything.  The food is the best you have ever had, and the limitless booze (and fact that the bars don’t close) is plenty of fun… the thing about New Orleans is the music.  It is everywhere.  I saw SO much great and amazing and life affirming music in three days.

proof?  Here are some shots from my phone over the course of a few days.  This isn’t even necessarily seeking out music.  it’s just being out and about.  You’ll notice some of these folks are proper stages, some are in corners of bars, some are on corners of intersections, and some folks were just plain set up in the middle of the street.  Musical heaven.  no.  Musical Double Heaven®

 

it was magnificent.  I have traveled a modest bit around the world… and never to New Orleans.  It was everything I wanted it to be, times 100.  I can’t wait to go back.

*** side note – our host, the Nixons, also turned us on to the HBO show Treme.  Spot on.

I will say this again, because this is the story of New Orleans

New Orleans – Its like Las Vegas for people with souls and character®

Friday Fives – emotional rescue

 

What’s the dumbest thing you ever cried over?

Well, it’s not dumb… but those videos of soldiers coming home and surprising their kids gets me EVERY time in the feely parts.

What is the hardest you can ever remember laughing? 

About a year ago, give or take several months, wifey and I were driving.  We were listening to the comedy station and it was a Patton Oswalt bit about a fat guy trying on pants.  He compared it to a dying soldier.  I can’t begin to do it justice, but we were laughing to hard we had to pull over to compose ourselves.  I SO wish I could link it here, but I was looking for it recently and couldn’t find it.

Btw… this comedy radio channel is brilliant!  Where was this my whole life, and why has no one tried it before?

 When was the last time you cried?

We covered that above

What is your emotional rescue?

Bob Dylan music.  Specifically, Blood on the Tracks is my go to for everything.  I listen at least once a week.  Can not possibly say enough good things about early Bob Dylan.  Btw, those hipsters who want to say ‘before he went electric’ are just wrong.  His best stuff is his early electric work (1965-66) and Blood on the Tracks came a full ten years after that.  It is, however, almost totally acoustic.

 Describe a new emotion you have just invented?

This happened about 5 days ago.  I saw a photo of a guy doing something dumb that went viral.  In his face, I could see he was already regretting it.  He was ‘pre-gretting’ it.  Or… ‘pregretting’

So that is my new emotion AND word – pregretting®

You are welcome to use that, America.  My compliments!

the words i cannot say

Words we I can’t use anymore

Update – 11.5.17

I wrote this about 2 weeks ago.  It’s a draft.  As always, the kernel is interesting, but I don’t feel I can execute on it to not just sound self indulgent and ranty.  So, this piece was shelved.  You are getting a behind the scenes.   Why do I tell you this, and then why I am posting it?  Last night on SNL Larry David did a skit that is EXACTLY my piece.

So, now I had to share it.  Amusingly, it kinda gets filed under ‘I told you so’, or ‘I was Correct’.  The piece below is as it was written, and yet I think it is EVERY buzzword I talked about.  Note, I am a rabid fan of SNL, and never miss it.  I went to NYC so I could see the studio, it was amazing.  First, here is the skit.   Below it is my piece.  Mine was first.  It was written 18 days ago.  I swear!

Being a word guy, I have to pay attention to words we can’t use.  Most of them, it is for good reason.  Thing is, mostly… we were using them wrong.  That is the real issue, maybe.  Let’s start with ‘fag’.  Can’t use it, and we were using it wrong, anyway.  I am not going to play totally dumb here.  We knew it wasn’t a flattering term.

As a young male, I used that term all the time.  Thing is, I was using it wrong.  It meant, totally and entirely… ‘lame’.  “Dude, you are staying home tonight?  Fag!”   As you can hopefully see from the context, this had nothing to do with sexual preference.  Why can’t we use it?  Well, because it does mean ‘gay’, and it’s wrong to say.  Firstly, it is clearly used a pejorative – a put down.  This states, implicitly, and explicitly, that there is a defect in being gay.  Maybe you think ‘but we use it among ourselves.  It doesn’t refer to gay people, and none of us are gay, anyway.’

I mean… what was the subtext of saying an event was ‘gay’, or you were ‘being a fag’.  Of course, we meant these things were lame.  I guess the underlying bit was ‘these things are lame, and so is being homosexual’.  I am going to have to come back in ten years and edit out the word ‘lame’, and say ‘differently able’.  Ok, back to ‘gay’ and ‘fag’.

Well, odds are one of you is.  I am looking in your direction, Steve.  Just get it over with. Imagine how that person feels, especially if they are closeted.   1 in 10 is gay, and 1 in 10 are left handed.  I am left handed.  Imagine if I wanted to hang out with a social group who used ‘lefty’ as a pejorative.  “dude, that guy drives like a lefty”.   Jesus, who made these brownies, a lefty?  What do you call a dead lefty?  A good start!   Man, I think I am just gonna pretend to be right handed around these guys.

So… that one I completely get, and feel bad how freely I used it.  ME.  I am not going to say ‘it was a different time’, or ‘everyone did it’.  There is no ‘we’ here.  This is on me, and they were my actions.  I was wrong.

I would be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge this above.  These kids aren’t playing football, or tag.  They are playing ‘smear the queer’.  In case you are young, or not a guy, this was a very real game with a name I feel disgusted by.  You have a football, and a bunch of kids.  Whomever has the football is mercilessly chased and tackled and hit… until he gives up the football.  The next person who gets the ball runs for his life, as he is now ‘the queer’.  Yes.  Terrible!  Not the game, mind you.  The name is just sickening in retrospect.  We played it daily at lunch and recess.

retarded

Another word we lost, due to us moving it wrong – retarded.  Man, I LOVED that word.  And man did I use it wrong.  I meant something was dumb, or ineffective.  This bus schedule is retarded, it won’t be here for another hour.   That has nothing to do with development disabilities and challenges.  Mostly, it means (again)… lame.  Man, this concert is retarded.  This also denigrates people with learning disabilities… and unfairly.  No one chooses to have to cognitive deficiencies.  I get why I can’t use that.

Funny and terrible side note.  As a youth (we are talking about 35 years ago), we were told that word was mean.  We had a retarded child in class.  Instead of appreciating the differnces, and being sensitive to our peers… we came up with a work around.  We called retarded kids ‘gompers’.   Funny, in that we used the work around when the actual word was appropriate.  Gompers came from this – there is a school in Phx, AZ that was a magnet school for retarded children – the Samuel Gompers school.   To sum up – we kept ‘retarded’ in the lexicon to refer to things we didn’t like.   But to refer to actual retarded kids, we called them gompers.   Wtf?

But then there are ones I just don’t get.

Mulatto

That means half black, half white (I don’t have time to type out African American.  For brevity… it’s black).  Apparently, that is a pejorative as well.  I guess it always was?  I truly NEVER saw it that way.  I kind of tracked rock stars of mixed race, as it was interesting to me.  Lenny Kravitz, Bob Marley, Tyler Stewart, and Tom Morello.  It fascinates me to see what race they ‘pass’ as.  Tom Morello… just looks white to me (yeah, white.  Again, no time to type Caucasian).  Here is Tyler, the drummer for Barenaked Ladies

I find it SUPER interesting that Bob Marley was.  Why?  He is probably the most recognized black man on Earth.  His music and life’s work were about the struggles of being poor and black in Jamaica.  Bob Marley is who you listened to in college so that girls knew you were sensitive.

I tell you that to tell you this – what is wrong with it?  To me, it is simply a descriptor.  Apparently, I am wrong.  Here is a nice and thoughtful little piece about it.  I do know this, though – as a straight white male… I don’t get to decide what is offensive.  It appears the preferred term is ‘mixed race’.  I don’t like it… just because it is too long.  Wait, that is dumb.  Mixed race is less syllables than mulatto.  Why is it offensive?  Is it because it implies being black is somehow less than being white?  OR… it is because being of mixed race is somehow less than not mixed race?  Truly, I am just curious as to what part about it is offensive.  Good news, though – even though I disagree philosophically, I have dropped it from my vocabulary.

Midget

Can’t use that anymore.  I guess I see why, as it can be used as a pejorative.  I see it simply as  descriptor, though.   Here is my big problem with having to drop the word ‘midget’… it’s replacement >  little people.  Man, that seems WAY worse to me. Were I a little person… which would I prefer?  I guess it would depend on the context.  I am super sensitive to this issue, though.  I am short.  Not real short, just 5’8”.  I have always been insecure and neurotic about it.

Siamese Twins

Yup, gone.  We have to call them conjoined twins.  Nope, don’t like this replacement, either.  How is ‘siamese twins’ a pejorative?  I have never heard someone use that term to describe anything other than humans who were born physically stuck together.  Perhaps if people said things like ‘dude, you drive a like a Siamese Twin’.  Or… ‘nice guitar.  Who picked that out, a Siamese Twin’?  Even if I wanted to use it in a derogatory way, how would I go about that?

Dumb

Handicapped

*** ok, end of piece.  I was going to explore those next two words above, but I realized the piece was petering out.  My next intention is what words do we use now that won’t be acceptable in 20 years.  Like… we don’t say ‘handicapped’, we say ‘disabled’.  Well, i think we do, that may be out already.  You get the idea.  Instead of saying ‘retarded’, we are allowed to say ‘dumb’.  Well, remember… ‘dumb’ is a medical term, and has NOTHING to do with intelligence

lacking the power of speech (offensive when applied to humans)

again… you get the idea.  We won’t be able to say this soon, and that is probably ok as well.  Language is malleable, and I love that.

Friday Fives – lefty justice edition

What was the high school fad that, looking back makes you say “really?” 

It was the late 80s… so that whole neon/Wham thing.  We can look back and laugh, now, right?  Absofuckinglutely not.  Know what that did?  Make a whole generation of kids people homophobic.  Seriously.  Were the great and cool George Michael alive today, he would agree with me.

What is a current fad that needs to go away?

I am pretty far removed from fads.  All I do it work, and I don’t even have cable.  So, I have virtually no idea what is happening out there, except for politics.  In that sense, the term ‘fake news’ drives me crazy.  I have NO doubt there is false info going around.  Lord knows there is.  However, there is a demographic on the right who uses that for things they don’t agree with.

Trump called information about his dismal inauguration turn out ‘fake news’.  Said the turn out was historic.  Well, we have photographs.  We can count every single fucking head, and then compare that with empirical and historical data.  Then, we can say ‘actually, the evidence and data and FACTS show that this was the worst attended in ____ years.  That isn’t ‘fake news’.  It’s just ‘news you don’t care for’.

What isn’t a fad but probably should be.

Your mother?  Flashing?  Not bad flashing (guy parts), but good flashing (girl parts).  Can I even say something like that in lieu of all the Weinstein news?

What’s your “in-Fad-uation”

Besides spending 3 weeks listening to ‘goodbye yellow brick road’ over and over and over again?  Can’t think of one.  I guess it appears I am going down a BNL hole, musically.  Steven Page, who I kinda expected to fall apart (you know, after getting fired from BNL, getting busted for coke, and caught cheating on his wife… all inside like a week or two.  But, dude sounds terrific.  Can not WAIT until he gets back with the band.  and he will.  100% dead on positive, he will return.  Neither are near as good without each other.

Check this amazing video out.  If you just look at the still… it looks sad.  He is an unkempt hobo playing for invisible fans.  Poor guy probably doesn’t even know his name.  But the watch it.  He sounds AMAZING, and perfectly studio perfect.

*** ok > there is this > he seems to think he left Barenaked Ladies, because his songwriting suffered.  Um…. yeah… like a week after he got busted for coke, BNL loses a multi million dollar Disney deal… Steven quit?  Yeah, sure… to spend more time with his family?

What is the opposite of a once popular fad?

Sexual harassment?  Oh come on, lighten up, Francis!  In fact, lemme tell you a little something about why your sexual harassment classes don’t matter.  They don’t teach people WHY it is wrong… just that it is wrong.  But how can that be done?  I’ll tell you – watch the famous old PBS special ‘blue eye brown eye’  Watch as an amazing teacher DEMONSTRATES why racism is dumb, and wrong.  I don’t think the stuff we teach today teaches respect.  It’s more designed to teach you how to not get caught… or how not to get your company sued.  But why it’s wrong, and stupid, and cruel to be sexist or racist… they don’t seem to care.