Friday, May 19, 2017

VIMH: Comedy Routine -- "Dworkin"

VIMH stands for "Voices In My Head" -- a new feature in this blog.  Like the "Dream" posts, the content will be from an alternate reality -- day dreams.

All my life, I've had hundreds of significant thoughts every day. But lately my brain has been working overtime on elaborate monologues. Here's one in which I come out on stage to do a stand up comedy routine...

Thank you so much. How many of you have heard my routine before? Just clap if you have? [silence] Anyone? [more silence] Anyone at all? Ah ha, trick question! I actually don't have a routine. I just come out here on stage without any idea what of I'm about to say.
But before I launch into my non-routine, I have a sort of experiment I want to try. See, I used to be an engineer. But after about 25 years it occurred to me how boring it is. I'm still a bit of a gear head, though. I like data, finding patterns, making connections. Lately I'm into studying people named “Dworkin.”
Anyone out there named “Dworkin?” Yes, really? Okay, wow, that's great. Could you stand up please? [house lights gradually turn on] Both of you? Okay! This is exciting. Wow. Wait, hold on, are you female? Have you always been female? So you're married to a Dworkin? Or is that your brother or cousin? Or both? Maybe you married your cousin? Well, could be if you're from Kentucky...
Oh you married a Dworkin? Hmm, I'm not sure this will work. You know, I've never met a female Dworkin before. [looking them over appraisingly] Hmm. Ahh. Interesting. Could you move out into the aisle. I need to get a good look at you.
In the meantime, I'd like to point out to everyone how the house lights turned on. And I didn't even ask for that. That's wonderful. It means we have a great lighting crew here tonight. You know why they're great? They're paying attention, listening to the routine. Or non-routine. They could've just set a timer when I started my set and took a nap. But they didn't do that. They were listening. And then when I started in with the audience participation, they undimmed the lights. They didn't just click them on, blinding everyone. That would've sucked. No they were real artistic about it. [to the crew...] How many of you are there? Just blink the lights to show me. Three? Great. How many of you are male? Two? How many are female? Don't laugh. Ten years ago that would be a joke. Today it's a serious question, unless you're from North Carolina.
[Two Dworkins are standing in the aisle.] A good lighting crew goes unnoticed. A bad one can ruin your evening. Like the time I took my daughter to see her friend's ballet recital. I'm not a fan of ballet. And amateur ballet makes me anxious – I'm afraid someone's gonna fall. Or fart. Or fart after falling. My plan was to wait for the house lights to dim and then close my eyes. But they didn't dim. So if I closed my eyes, those girls on stage would see that I had my eyes closed. Maybe one would get upset and fall. Or fart. Even if I wanted to watch the performance like a normal fan, the glare from the lights was giving me a headache. Finally, after intermission, someone dimmed the lights.
[Two Dworkins are still standing in the aisle.] The point is, I'm not the only one working tonight. But I'm the one you're clapping for. Or heckling. The unseen performers that are here tonight are just as deserving of your adoration. There's the lighting crew. The folks doing audio; without them I'd be [moving lips as if talking] like an idiot. Security, too. They're out there, somewhere, packing a whole lot of heat, so don't get any ideas. Someone's got a finger on the thermostat too, making sure we're comfortable. And you wondered why you had to pay 30 bucks to get in. At least most of you paid. And I get only two dollars out of that.
So let's give our unsung heroes a round of applause.
[Two Dworkins are still standing in the aisle. Finally I notice them.] Hello there? What are you two doing standing there? Are your hemorrhoids giving you that much trouble? You do have tickets, don't you? Well then sit down! Otherwise I'll have to call Security.
Wait hold on. You 're not named “Dworkin” are you?

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

One of My Favorite TV Scenes

Thought you'd like to know, this is one of my favorite scenes from a current television series...

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Can't Get Here From There

Whenever I hear journalists discuss Syrian refugees, they usually mention how Turkey and Greece are overwhelmed by the huge number of people, followed by a plea for cities in Europe and USA and even Australia to allow more immigrants.  But I never hear about refugees going to the wealthy middle eastern states of Saudi Arabia (20.5), Qatar (73.7), Kuwait (29.3), UAE (40.4)1.  Why?  A busload of Syrians can travel from Aleppo to Riyadh in less than one day.

It makes me think the “Muslim Invasion Theory” is real.

Distance from Aleppo to Riyadh: 1570km (20.5)
Distance from Aleppo to New York City: 9000km (56.1)
Distance from Aleppo to Paris: 3145km (36.4)

1The numbers in parentheses are the GDPs per capita in thousands of US dollars of the respective countries, according to the World Bank:

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Wednesday Weigh-In 20170427

Okay, how do I not eat the ice cream, chips and Nutella before I go to bed?

Waist = 41.0"
Height = 5' 9"

  1. Wikipedia BMI page
  2. Tanita Scale with Body Fat monitor
  3. Javascript must be enabled to view the data.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Alternate Advice

I read the “Ask Amy” advice column nearly every day.  Yesterday's column kept gnawing at me to respond with “Alternate Advice.”  Let's start with the letter from the advice seeker:
Dear Amy: My wife and I love the beach. We walk on the beach, kayak and picnic, and in the summer we swim. 
When it's hot, and the beach is crowded, my wife invariably asks me, "Are you checking out that girl in the bikini?"
I always say no, which is a lie she sees right through. An argument ensues, dampening our otherwise beautiful day.
I am in my 50s. I have no delusions of long-term futures with young girls (or anyone else) on the beach, but I love to look at attractive females. I try, apparently unsuccessfully, to be discreet, but my natural instinct is to stand and applaud. I know I sound like a dirty old man, but I doubt I am alone.
So, how can I be honest and not hurt my wife? And can we still go to the beach?
-- Lying on the Beach
This would be my response:
Dear Lying: You're not alone.  First, get a pair of dark, wrap-around sunglasses.  A hat is not enough to protect your eyes from the sun, a lot of which is reflected off the water and sand.  Plus, they'll afford you some privacy from your creepy wife.
Yes, I think your wife is creepy.  Here's a woman who, situated in a relaxing natural environment, is too obsessed with what you're thinking to pay much attention to the limitless sand and surf, the sea breeze, the variety of people.  This tells me that she is way too insecure or she wants to pick a fight with you. 
Here's how I would react.  First I would blatantly admit (without being defensive) that I was checking out the girl in the bikini.  Then I'd follow up with one or more of the following (or something similar): 
“That polka dot bikini she's wearing reminds me of that old song....” (1) And then I'd start to sing the song.
“I wonder if Tommy Hilfiger carries around a bag with her name on it.” 
“Doesn't she work at the library/coffee shop/drug store/church?” 
“Don't get jealous.  She's not at all my type – she's just too old.” 
But then it's important to follow up with, “Why do you ask?”  Not gruffly, or with an annoyed tone, or as a “piss-off” type of reprimand.  Ask with genuine concern.  Because it's a very good question.  Why is she so tuned in to you in this wonderful environment? 
And what's so bad about looking at a woman who is essentially walking around in brightly-colored underwear, which is precisely what a two-piece bathing suit is? 
If your wife's erratic behavior continues or gets worse, mention this to her primary care doctor.  She might need the help of an endocrinologist to treat the effects of menopause, or a mental health professional to deal with insecurity. 
Note that while I'm siding with you, it's under the assumption that:
  1. You're only looking and not actually standing and applauding, nor are you fondling yourself, or whistling, or making lewd comments like, “Ooo, what a piece of ass...”
  2. You're not checking out young girls but rather young women.
(1) Don't try this on a nude beach.

Here's the advice seeker's letter but with some minor changes:
Dear Amy: My husband and I love the beach. We walk on the beach, kayak and picnic, and in the summer we swim. 
When it's hot, and the beach is crowded, my husband invariably asks me, "Are you checking out that guy in the Speedo?" 
I always say no, which is a lie he sees right through. An argument ensues, dampening our otherwise beautiful day. 
I am in my 50s. I have no delusions of long-term futures with young guys (or anyone else) on the beach, but I love to look at well-built men. I try, apparently unsuccessfully, to be discreet, but my natural instinct is to stand and applaud. I know I sound like a cougar, but I doubt I am alone. 
So, how can I be honest and not hurt my husband? And can we still go to the beach? 
-- Lying on the Beach

In this version of the letter, the husband sounds jealous and maybe a bit possessive and scary.  The first step on the road to being a victim of spousal abuse is to rearrange your thinking and behavior to placate your partner, even if you've done nothing wrong.

Ms. Dickinson's response seemed to imply that the husband was actually standing up and applauding.  She writes, "All 'attractive females' know when they're being checked out. Some may enjoy the attention, but even if they do, the last thing they want on their day at the beach is a round of applause from you."  [My emphasis]  And the title of the web page is "Man at the beach gives bikinis a round of applause."  Huh?

The page also features a video with the caption, "Sexually objectifying girls and women leads to aggression toward them, a recent study has found."  Amy, I look at attractive things -- artwork, flowers, cars, architecture, and, yes, women.  It doesn't mean I want to have sex with them.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Virtual Walk Through Muir Woods

Check out this virtual walk through the woods to "tap into a deeper sense of purpose and well-being with the first VR meditation of its kind—A 360 guided mindfulness practice through Muir Woods National Monument."