30 Thoughts Before 30: #28: “We Might Be Too Old For Facebook. Or Maybe Not?”

I remember when I first joined Facebook. It was June 2008 and I had just graduated from high school. You know, as a way to keep in touch with those fellow students and make friends with people I would meet in college (I never met EVERY person I friended when I was in college), but for the most part, Facebook was still mainly for college students and by the time I joined, the site was letting everyone on.

The time I spend on Facebook has gradually gone down since college. It’s now a way to keep in touch with high school friends I still care about and the people I actually met and created meaningful relationships with while in college.

When our parents started joining it, that made it less appealing. I have a request from my parents and several relatives, and I have no plan on responding to those. Sorry, but older adults have ruined the site with fake news stories and memes that were funny in 2010 or are not funny at all.

We’ll catch up on the holidays.

As I approach 30, I have begun to notice the increase of baby pictures (especially my adorable niece Adelyn) and realized one day that my generation, the one that joined Facebook in high school or college over a decade ago, are becoming the demographic we hated for making it less cool.

I have no plans to delete my page like some of these brave martyrs of the past, but it’s a site I don’t visit consistently anymore. Sure, I’ll check it when I wake up and when I get an alert, but it’s mainly when I get a notification when it’s a friend’s birthday (which is intentional to keep you hooked on the site).

We can blame our parents for ruining it, but we’ll slowly become them

Just How Many John Mulaney “SNL” Sketches Got Rejected?

John Mulaney might be the best standup, writer and actor I’ve stumbled upon in the last five years.

I first saw Mulaney in his standup special New in Town and then went back and heard his “Salt and Pepper Diner” bit from 2008, which only made me like him more. His other specials The Comeback Kid and Kid Gorgeous are just as good and maybe even better.

Then he played George St. Geegland in Oh, Hello with Nick Kroll, which was on Broadway for quite some time.

Mulaney’s style of humor made him the perfect person to write for a show like Saturday Night Live.

Mulaney has hosted twice in the last year and were were introduced to “Diner Lobster” the first time around.

If you have seen “Oh Hello” on Broadway or on Netflix, Mulaney does a monologue as George St. Geegland where he describes a diner menu having items like “lobster” on it.

The sketch in his first hosting gig was outrageous but so well done with a musical parody of Les Misérables, convincing Pete Davidson to not east the lobster in the Greek diner

The sketch has Mulaney written all over it, and in the lead-up to his second time hosting, we learned “DIner Lobster” was written almost nine years earlier and rejected at the writer’s table.

In his second hosting gig, we got another musical number about a bodega bathroom. Again, something from the mind of Mulaney, combining several musicals.

So with “Diner Lobster” and “Bodega Bathroom”, it begs the questions, how many sketches like this got rejected while Mulaney was an SNL writer?

Luckily, Stefon, a character he and Bill Hader created together, made the cut and the best story behind that character is Mulaney re-writing some of the jokes between dress rehearsal and live show, surprising Hader and making him break.

It should become a rule that Mulaney is required to host once a season and his shelved sketches must be done.

Also, this sketch from his first time hosting HAD to be his idea…

It’s so uncomfortable and awkward and with Mulaney playing the creep behind the sitcom, the sketch is just perfect.

I’m already excited to see what Mulaney will do in his third hosting gig next season (it’s not official, but Lorne Michaels has to have him on the short list).

Things I Know Very Little (But Pretend to Know) About: Insurance

It’s good to have insurance. I just learned that recently.

For the most part, I have been a pretty good driver, but I had to file my first accident claim a couple days ago and it was a learning experience.

My dad is an insurance agent, which is good since I tend to have questions that need answered. He was definitely helpful over this past week.

Nobody in my family likes to tell the insurance man we’ve had an accident, but he always says “that’s why you have insurance”.

There was a 24-hour period of stress where I had to file the claim, talk to the adjuster, contact the body shop, make contact with the adjuster, set up the rental car, and get AAA to tow my car to the body shop. In the process, I went to the wrong rental car location and the tow truck was late due to a mistake by the dispatch. In the end, everything got taken care of.

Through the whole process, I learned why it’s necessary to have some type of car insurance. Without it, I would be cleaned out to get the car repaired and pay for a rental for nearly two weeks. Can you say “deductible”?

The incident was also a good reminder to go back and read the details of my policy. Let’s face it, sometimes we treat it like the iTunes Terms and Agreements: there’s probably something important in the fine print to know and we don’t bother to look at it.

30 Thoughts Before 30: #29: “I Kind of Want a Dog”

I had two dogs growing up. My parents currently have two silver labs. My oldest sister has one, that will soon have a baby to contend with.

My parent’s dogs: Bryson and Riley.

Many people have expressed in their own way of saying that dogs are better than humans. I can’t think of a truer statement.

In my neighborhood, it is not uncommon to see people walking their dogs, taking them to local establishments that allow them inside and they always trigger that part of my brain that releases dopamine. I just can’t get enough of them.

I mean, just look at some of these guys and girls….

Big dogs, little dogs, medium dogs: it doesn’t matter.

There’s nothing better than when a dog is excited to see you, jumps up (which some owners try to discourage) and even if that dog is seeing you for the first time, it acts like it has known you forever.

My parent’s dogs can be jumpers. They’re also chewers. I can home for the first time in almost a year and found that they had chewed up the tags on a couple throw rugs in the kitchen and living room. Despite that, they’re great.

I never really got to know our family’s first dog Sammie very well, but Grady, who was a black lab mix, was $50, the runt of the litter and a fantastic dog. He passed away in the spring of 2016, which hit me and everyone in the family hard. My mom adopted Bryson and Riley several months later. They’re fantastic companions for my folks as their house is nearly empty.

Grady. Top picture was the last picture I took of him on Easter Sunday 2016.

I could make a few adjustments to make adoption possible, but there are a few things that make it hard

My work schedule and the size of my apartment are a few reasons why I am holding off. Also, having a dog is like having a child. Couples usually adopt a dog to see how they would be as parents. They both will cost you money and are big responsibilities

Until the time is right for both me and my future furry roommate, I’ll just continue to enjoy the presence of other dogs I see around town.

Also, it’s cool many of the local breweries allow them inside. Dogs and beer are good combination.

Turning into My Parents: Lights

Welcome to “Turning into My Parents”. A series on how I’m slowly becoming more like the people who raised me.

You really can’t comprehend as a child that the thing powering the television and lights in the house isn’t free.

My grandfather always asked us as kids if we had turned the lights off in his basement when we were done playing. Chances are, at 95, he’s still asking his great-grandchildren the same question.

My parents have ceiling lights installed in both their basement and living room, but always favor lamps and the glow of the TV at night.

I’ve come to understand why we would get the stink eye as kids. They have to pay for that.

I have lived in a small, two bedroom house and two, one-room apartments and no bill is similar to the other.

I used to split the bill at the house I lived in for over a year. My electric bill in Oklahoma was like a roller coaster. It was not a well-insulated place and the wind blows like crazy in the winter. I kept my apartment at 67-68 degrees and I still paid over $100 in January. I have only lived in my new apartment in Cincinnati for four months and with it being winter and the heat is controlled by the landlord, my bill has been no more than $25 a month. This could drastically change once summer roles around (my place has an A/C).

Now that I have been paying my own electric bill for several years now, I do what I can to keep my bill as low as possible before going full Amish.

During the day, the sun lights my apartment. At night, it’s mainly a lamp in the living room. Sometimes I leave a hallway or kitchen light on and I’ll get off the couch and turn them off, remembering my parents and grandfather asking if the lights were off in the other room.

And yes. I changed out most of the light bulbs in my former and current apartment with LED bulbs. If it saves the environment and me money on my bills, I’ll get up on a chair and switch them out.

Mom, Dad, Papa: I get it now. Sorry for keeping the lights and TV on in the other room while nobody was in there.

Add it to my tab.

30 Thoughts Before 30. #30: “Are the Best Years Really Behind Me?”

Short answer: No.

We’re often told we have to do everything by the end of our 20s to set up the rest of our life.

The problem is, most of us don’t have everything figured out by then.

Some mask it by getting married and having a kid or two. Others like me improvise without the ring and tiny humans.

First, for the married with children friends, they’ve moved several spaces forward in the game of life. While a little ahead of the game, they are now tasked with being responsible for another human or humans. They probably have a house with a mortgage with joint incomes, too. What do they want, a medal? Sorry, but seriously, they wanted that life and they embrace it. Based on the Facebook and Instagram posts, it seems to be going well for all.

Now, back to single, childless me.

It’s kind of nice.

I picked radio as a career. It’s one that doesn’t quickly lead to a house purchase and paying off my college while starting a fund for someone else.

I’m fine with that.

What’s refreshing is I’m not the only one.

Marriage among 20-somethings is down while both men and women focus on their careers. You may call it selfish, but based on the economic circumstances facing my generation and with people living longer, I find it wise.

College was great, the first few years after provided a heavy dose of reality, but after hitting a few air pockets, that period of turbulence has stopped for the time being.

I’m in a good place with my career path in radio and continue to gain more experience, Cincinnati has more nightlife than rural Oklahoma and that helps with meeting new people, which can be a pain as an adult male (at least for me at times).

The best years are still ongoing.

29 Thoughts Until 30.

Things I Know Very Little (But Pretend to Know) About: Craft Beers

I currently live in Cincinnati, which has a lot of local breweries. One is less than a half mile from my apartment (and it’s great!).

Before I got here, I was in rural Oklahoma for work. There were more baptists churches than breweries (there were no breweries). Cincinnati, from what I was told, is one of the top cities for craft breweries in the country. I’ve only scratched the surface of the craft beer scene in this town (and Covington and Newport across the bridge in Kentucky).

To quote Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh: “I like beer.” I also like going to these breweries. The aforementioned brewery down the street is large, draws big crowds almost every night and always has a few new beers on tap. Just this past weekend, I visited one in northern Kentucky and found one worth drinking most of the night.

For me, I couldn’t tell you the full details of every beer on the blackboard, but I’ll go for darker ales and lagers. If I’m going to spend between five and eight dollars for a beer, I look for flavor and an ABV worth the price.

Now, learning more about craft beers is something I could do in my down time, but I don’t always have that, so I’ll gain bits of knowledge by asking the bartenders questions. They like to say brewing is a science. It wasn’t my best subject in school, but it might make chemistry more intriguing.

We Need Satire Now More Than Ever

Political and religious satire are two shining examples of our right to freedom of speech in this country.

Political satire is one that has existed for a long time in this country. Saturday Night Live has taken the lead since it first hit the air in 1975.

Chevy Chase was a clumsy Gerald Ford, Dan Aykroyd played Jimmy Carter as someone who knew how to handle an acid trip, Phil Hartman was a diabolical Ronald Reagan, Dana Carvey’s George H.W. Bush might be the most popular, Hartman and Darrell Hammond both played Bill Clinton in their own way, Will Ferrell made up words portraying George W. Bush and Fred Armisen and Jay Pharoah did Barack Obama.

With Donald Trump, who was impersonated decades before he became President, has been done by Hammond mostly and a short time by Taran Killam before departing the show.

As debates between him and Hillary Clinton began in the fall of 2016, SNL recruited a heavy-hitter to do Trump: Alec Baldwin, who has been a guest host a record 17 times.

From the start, Baldwin nailed Trump. At times, it feels too easy because Trump gives him so much material almost weekly.

When Trump won, it probably came as a surprise, requiring Baldwin to stick close to New York City when SNL is doing a show that week.

Most, if not all, of the Presidents in office since SNL premiered have taken the high road when reacting to impressions of them. George H.W. Bush invited Carvey to the White House and Hammond stood side-by-side by Clinton while dressed like him. He’s never been President, but Newt Gingrich had Chris Farley visit the Capitol and do an impression of him when he was Speaker of the House.

For Trump, who has hosted SNL a few times, doesn’t like it at all. For a man who likes to insult political opponents and anyone who dares to disagree with him, he had a meltdown after Baldwin re-created his announcement where he declared a national emergency to get money for his border wall.

Trump loves using Twitter to rile up his supporters and cause a distraction.

I’ve learned to ignore the tweets, but this one has almost caused a strain on my eyes from rolling too hard. Maybe Trump has an ax to grind with Baldwin (most conservatives do). A lot of people found the cold open funny, while others will express their outrage by sharing it on Facebook and parrot his words.

What exactly did Trump want SNL to do? There might be some variety hour on state television in North Korea where Kim Jong Un is showered with praise, but SNL is not there to kiss up to him or any politician. They’re tasked with taking the events of the week and making them funny in what is a scary world at times.

Maybe the President should stop making it so easy for the writers.

Also this week, I saw this petition regarding TBS’s new mini-series Miracle Workers.

The American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property (TFP), a Catholic group, organized a petition to take the show off the air due to Steve Buscemi’s portrayal of God.

Here’s the first episode in full.

If you haven’t watched it yet (SPOIILERS AHEAD), Miracle Workers shows heaven as a corporation and Buscemi’s God as the man in charge.

The show opens with God watching all the terrible things happening on Earth on multiple TVs and is clearly distraught by what he’s watching. A stock car driver is shown thanking him for his success and shortly later, which lifts his spirit, but the news anchor announces the driver died in a fiery crash soon after, depressing Buscemi’s God even more as he tries to find a solution to all of Earth’s problems. His solution is to blow up the Earth and start a new project (a restaurant).

Daniel Radcliffe and Geraldine Viswanathan work in the department of prayers, mainly helping people find their keys and gloves while sending tougher prayers to the man upstairs. They agree to take on two tough prayers with the same goal: bring two young people who like each other together and kiss in two weeks time to stop God’s plan.

What I find humorous is this idea they know exactly what God, a man nobody has ever seen or met, is like. I know he was kind of mean in the Old Testament, so maybe Buscemi is channeling that era when God sent a flood to destroy the Earth?

We can portray God, Jesus and other biblical figures in a way where we might poke fun at them, but the writers of shows, movies and musicals don’t risk being killed like others worldwide do when it comes to showing the prophet Muhammad. South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone took a big risk doing it on their show and Comedy Central censored parts of it out of fear.

South Park has had multiple episodes with Jesus. One shows him using steroids, while another shows him killing Bill Donahue of the Catholic League, who overtakes the Vatican in an Easter episode.

So many other shows have used God and Jesus for humor and satire.

It would appear The American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property won’t take the time to truly understand the meaning behind something like Buscemi’s God character. TFP is just jumping to conclusions, which backfires in most situations.

Joan Osbourne’s “One of Us” asked the question “what if God was one us?”. Miracle Workers kind of does this. For the religious, God is in charge of everything going on in the universe. With the way things have been going lately, you may have an understanding of why Buscemi’s God is the way he is.

It’s also a workplace comedy, so it’s not made to be taken too seriously. The Office didn’t show the true American workplace. It showed one we’d like to work at. Miracle Workers gives us a drearier, and yes, exaggerated view of the corporate world and uses heaven as the background.

Perhaps TFP should focus on more important issues. The Oakland, California diocese is the latest to release the names of priests, deacons and others accused of sexual abuse. That’s on top of several other diocese reports across the country that have come out.

Whether it’s Donald Trump or groups like TFP that are so easily triggered by impression of them or some character in a book, it shows that some can’t find humor and meaning in a way someone or something is interpreted.

Gerald Ford didn’t fall down every three steps, George W. Bush can read and his father would laugh at Dana Carvey’s nasally-sounding impression of him.

We need a reason to laugh at politics and religion. Too many times, both don’t make the world a better place. Both have caused bloodshed and war in the history of mankind.

I was told a long time ago to laugh at myself more. I’m glad I learned to, or else I would be a miserable as Trump and the TFP.


The Hurricanes Are Jerks (And Damn Proud of It)

Hockey isn’t for everyone. But you know what everyone likes? Group celebrations.

The National Football League lightened up on celebrations two years ago, leading to group celebrations and the “team photo” for defenses after turnovers.

In the National Hockey League, the Carolina Hurricanes have become the game’s first team to have postgame home victory celebrations. They’ve adopted the Skol clap used by Iceland’s soccer team and the Minnesota Vikings, but after leading the PNC Arena crowd in the chant, they follow it up with a new, choreographed celebration.

More recently, we’ve seen “Duck, Duck, Goose” played at center ice, a Jose Bautista bat flip and the limbo.

Nobody really knew what the young Hurricanes were going to do this season. Having a celebration after each home win helps them stand out from the other 30 teams. The New York Rangers do a stick raise salute to the Madison Square Garden crowd after a win. The Hurricanes took that concept and made it fun.

Also, it keeps fans in the stands if they’re winning. A lot of fans like to break for the exits during the final media timeout to beat traffic.

The Hurricanes continue to come up with new celebrations and they’re also in contention for a playoff spot.

So they’re having fun and playing good hockey. Nobody should have a problem with that, right?

Well, Don Cherry does.

The former player, coach and now talking head on CBC called them “jerks”.

Cherry, much like Mike Milbury, is an old school hockey guys that stunts the game’s growth, especially for teams in markets like Carolina.

Cherry is hockey royalty in Canada. Unlike the Hurricanes, Canadian teams in the NHL don’t have to worry about drawing crowds and building a rapport with fans.

Hockey players get slapped with a stigma that they are just emotionless robots who work out, play hockey and repeat all through their careers. Alexander Ovechkin doing a keg stand with the Stanley Cup this past summer helped show that hockey players can have some fun. God forbid the Hurricanes enjoy a win.

How did the team respond to old man Cherry? They put it on a t-shirt.

ESPN’s Greg Wyshynski reported late Monday night that they’re very popular, and not just in North Carolina.

How hot are those “Bunch of Jerks” shirts that the Carolina Hurricanes created to goof on Don Cherry? A little more than 24 hours after they went on sale online, the Hurricanes sold 1,680 shirts. Those sales included 41 states and three countries: the U.S., the Netherlands and, of course, Canada. They go on sale in the Hurricanes team store on Tuesday. The team commissioned the shirts in protest of Cherry’s “Hockey Night in Canada” criticism of Carolina’s home ice victory celebrations. He called the players “a bunch of jerks” for their choreographed routines that have ranged from full speed jumps into the glass to human bowling pins being knocked down by a helmet.- Greg Wyshynski

Those t-shirts are a lot better than the suits Cherry throws on every Saturday night.

As long as the jerks don’t keep the Pittsburgh Penguins out of the playoffs, they can do a conga line around the ice after a home win and I’ll share it on all social media platforms.