Why Taking Richard Kline’s Comedy Class was the Best Thing I’ve Done

My wife Anne and I just finished a four, Saturday comedy course with Richard Kline. The class study was about reading and reacting to both comedy scripts and comic setups. Basically an effort to learn to emote in a comic way using timing and emphasis on comic phrasing.

RichardKline_1840I have no goals or aspirations of being a comic actor but the experience was so fulfilling and interestingly enough, an incredibly valuable tool for many aspects of my working and social life. Who doesn’t want to be more interesting in the way they speak – as opposed to monotone. A lot of the study was about emphasizing certain words that could transform a seemingly mundane sentence into a funny one.

Just the performance aspect of learning short scripts and performing them was helpful for anyone who is shy in social situations or business meetings. And learning the comic ‘setup’, is helpful for any kind of writing by enabling a wider range for sentence structure and articulation.

Another fun side-effect of this course is that now, when I watch my favorite sitcoms, I see how hard it is. I used to see my favorite actors at face value, just as funny people in real life. Now, I can kind of dissect what the actors are going for and truly appreciate the nuance and the writing – good or bad.

I highly recommend this course with Richard, or something similar in your locale.

Do I think PewDiePie is a Racist?

This is my first introduction to PewDiePie, I’m more of a Casey Neistat watcher, and I’m Jewish too. I don’t believe PewDiePie is any kind of racist but tend to wonder why the knee-jerk offensive images he uses are about Nazi’s and Jew’s? Maybe it’s a Swedish thing. I wonder if he would have had those people on Fiverr holding up a sign that says ‘kill the N-words’? Maybe he should just stick to stupid shocking imagery, like asses or something…

Is PewDiePie a Racist?

2013 Volvo XC60 – The Bluetooth is a Bit Wonky with my iPhone

April 2017 Update: I’ve had my Volvo for almost a year and I still love it. I’ve also gotten used to the quirkiness of the media of this particular auto. Friends of mine who have all different kinds of cars all have similar quirks related to the iPhone and their car’s blue-tooth. The new 2018 XC60 has the Apple Car Play, I’m pretty sure. Eventually, I’ll trade this for a new one.


April 2016: I just bought a 2013 Volvo XC60 that I love but the Bluetooth is a bit wonky with my iPhone.

Phone calls and Siri work great through the Bluetooth but the navigation apps on my iPhone do NOT work unless I have the Media/Bluetooth selected. If Radio is selected the Apple Maps/Google Maps do NOT ‘speak’. (It has to be on Media/Bluetooth). If I am NOT listening to an iTunes song at the time of using Apple Maps/Google Maps (Bluetooth selected), the Nav does NOT work.

This is corroborated by my friend who also has a 2013 Volvo.

I don’t think that I could possibly the only person to complain about this? Does anyone have a solution?

I was wondering if there was some kind of update to the Bluetooth that is more compatible with the new iPhone? Or maybe I could buy a new version of the media computer from a 2016? Would it fit?

Finding The Skinny Gene

I am throwing my hat into the diet advice ring with my own observations and successes with losing weight. If you know me personally, you’ll know that most of my life, I’ve been thin and when I try to espouse diet advice friends will usually say, ‘you’ve always been skinny, what makes you the authority on losing weight’?  But if you ask anyone for advice wouldn’t I be the best choice of someone to ask? And while I was thin all my life, I hit my fifties and I had gained more than 25 pounds. I didn’t notice until a relative posted a photo of me on Facebook from the side, sitting on the couch.

After the shock of seeing that photo, I looked around at my friends and noticed that everyone was fat. It seems that the only skinny people my age that are thin are the ones who work on it. A lot people my age are on some kind of antidepressant and we all know that makes one fat. Sedentary life along with a slowing metabolism (and maybe a daily Zoloft) is a deadly combination for gaining weight. My literal prescription for gaining weight is my antispasmodic medication. It’s first side effect listing is weight gain.

Analyzing the skinny gene: From my observations (not referencing scientific research here) I’ve noticed that there are skinny people and fat people. I believe that it is less of a ‘skinny gene’ an more of an ingrained healthier approach to food.  I am not saying that skinny people can’t be fat or that fat people can’t be skinny. But it will be far more difficult for someone with the ‘fat-gene’ to stay skinny.

If anyone has a ‘skinny-gene’ I do. I a have a fairly healthy approach to food. As an example, at around 4:30 PM after working most of the day, I may get a few hunger pangs. The first thing that I do is look at the clock and say to myself, dinner is at 6:30 and maybe, I may get a drink of water. At 6:30, I go make a salad then dinner. Someone with the ‘fat-gene’ may be able to do this but it probably comes with the ‘denial’ baggage and maybe some sort of anxiety which leads to snacking after dinner as a reward for denying food all afternoon.

Unfortunately all dieting is comprised of some sort of self denial. I can understand why most people are over weight. Most people have pretty shitty jobs with some boss or another standing over them yelling or dehumanizing or whatnot. The last thing you want to do when you are on lunch break, finally with some alone time is to practice self-denial with food. Dieting is also a total bummer when you see how little food you actually need compared to how how much you want. But I’ve found (as one with the skinny-gene) how to approach dieting to get the most out of the smaller amounts of food you’ll be eating without too much pain.

The first diet commandment which you shouldn’t believe and have to throw out is having goals. In my opinion goals just set you up for long term failure. What is the first thing you do when you’ve met your goal? Eat? And what do you do when you haven’t met your goal? Eat? So, how to avoid goals? Make a commitment that

from this day forward you will eat healthier and be thinner. I pig out sometimes if I’m out to dinner with friends or a BBQ or something. I don’t beat myself up. No guilt for the falling-off-the-wagon binging. During the week I’ll be back to being more disciplined. It took me a long time to lose 25 LBS. Remember the commitment said above, this is the long run not goal oriented. And it’s much healthier to lose weight slowly. This is a life style more than a diet.

What to eat? When to eat? How much to eat? Number one rule; eat like a human being, not like a hyena at the kill. Even if you’re at McDonald’s if you eat slowly you should get full before you over eat. I’ve found that during the day at work, I don’t need a lot of calories. In fact I feel more awake and productive in the afternoon if I eat fewer calories at lunch. For Breakfast I will eat a high bran cereal, not just good for shitting but bran is bulky and makes you feel full. Drink water during the day if you feel hunger. (Try to keep

breakfast under 200 calories). For lunch, I prefer corn chips to stale bread so I find the best cheddar I can find and will eat a small amount of cheese with a few chips (maybe 7 – 10 chips). Now this is paltry but if you eat slowly and drink a large cup of black coffee or water it’ll definitely sate you until you get home from work.

For dinner, try to avoid anything wheat, try quinoa which is great. Eat a big salad. If you’re going to make pasta or rice and meat, chicken, etc, double the meat and halve the rice or pasta.

As you can see it’s not really a diet. The idea is that you try to stay under 500 calories for breakfast and lunch because most people are busy and hunger

pangs are easier to ignore during the day. This also leaves you with at least 1000 calories for dinner which is actually hard to eat in one sitting if you eat at a human pace. To avoid snacking after dinner, I find chewing gum after dinner is sating. It’s more of an urge to masticate rather than any real hunger.

If you try it be sure to write me and tell me whether it worked or not and what problems, etc. Remember, the adage: This not a sprint it is a marathon. If you feel you’ve over eaten over the weekend or a raucous dinner, or lingering vacation, no harm no foul, back to it during the week.

A Brundlefly of Science Merged with Religion

Have you noticed lately that the there has been this weird marrying of science and religion? There has been this Brundlefly created, where the definition of science has morphed into some kind of belief system and the true definition of science which comprises of theories that can be tested and verified has been thrown out the window.

At first the creationist movement seemed kind of quaint to me.  I seriously ached to go to the Creationist Park and Museum in Kentucky.  This idea that dinosaurs roamed the earth just a few thousand years ago has that Jurrasic Park kind of excitement attached to it, a fantasy just like any of the hundreds of weird sci-fi movies one can enjoy.

I was astounded when Todd Akin Innocently volunteered to a news reporter a few weeks ago his theories on ‘legitimate rape’.  How a woman’s eggs clench up when the rape is legitimate, somehow rationalizing that any woman’s pregnancy is from legitimate sex. He said he heard it ‘somewhere’, without divulging his source.  This was obviously the beginning of a difficult go at defending his anti-abortion stance. He never named who he had heard this ‘legitimate rape’ theory from, most likely from some brochure from an anti-abortion group.

The most dangerous melding of science and the bible has to do with the whole Anti Global Warming movement.  Anybody can point to some kind of research or study that debunks climate change but in my opinion it all stems from the belief that god created the Earth in a perfect form. Everything on Earth is for us, created by god, and therefore we can’t fuck it up.

I want to keep my prostate

I wasn’t going to ever write about my medical problems, or if I were, I was planning to create a whole new blog dedicated to such, but at this moment I feel that there are many people in my situation and I had the need to vent.

I am about to endure my 3rd Prostate biopsy.  I’ve had a cancer diagnosis for a while and I am choosing to live through Watchful Waiting. My GP just told me on my last visit that the statistics of death for those who are Watchful Waiting are the same as those who do nothing.  If this is true, I really could just forget the whole thing and go about my life and have the same chances of surviving with – or dying from – Prostate Cancer.  Watchful Waiting is exactly like having the Immunity Idol on the TV show Survivor.  If you use the Idol too soon, you are seen as a foolish, paranoid wasting a chance to be able to use it when you really need it most.  If you are voted off the Island while still holding on to the Idol, you are seen as foolish by not recognizing the obvious signs.

Thanks to the School of Being Healthy

10 years ago I was strong-armed into having a prostate biopsy by my urologist. At that time my PSA was about 2.5 well under the 4.0 cutoff for the Prostate antigen.  The biopsy showed pre-cancerous cells.  I was about 42.  I held out on another biopsy until about 5 years ago, my PSA was hovering about 3.5.  In one of the 12 samples the results showed a few of the super slow growing cancer cells that most men die having (but not dying of) well into their 80’s.

Allowing that first biopsy was probably the worst mistake I ever made.  My doctor, whom I respect and like, gave me this argument at the time: Don’t you want to see?  You probably don’t have cancer and then we don’t have to worry.  This was ten years ago mind you, the consensus and dogma of the time was to test up the (literal) wazzoo, destroy as many prostates as possible, save lives.  I am now living with the diagnosis of cancer.  Upon receiving the results of each of the first two biopsies, my Doctor suggested to me that, “patients usually choose to destroy their prostate at this point with this diagnosis.”

With this cancer diagnosis, I can’t go back to ignorance.  Long before the US Preventative Task Force came out with their recommendations to stop all PSAs for any healthy men, studies had been coming out furiously over the years about the men who needlessly destroyed their prostates and that a large percentage of men died with prostate cancer but not from it.  But I, with the diagnosis of Cancer, am now tethered to the prostate roller coaster with PSAs every 4 months.

I promised my Urologist that if my PSA didn’t go up I could wait 5 years before my next biopsy, next week is 5 years.  Plus my PSA did go up a bit.  It’s hovering around 5. Probably nothing to worry about… Stay tuned.

Thanks to Your Cancer Today

Why Not to worry about PSAs: PSAs can fluctuate wildly due to a lot of different factors, and I’m sure everyone who has had a PSA has experienced the insane PSA anxiety when it’s high.  My PSAs go up and down.  I have pretty chronic Prostatitis.  This can raise my PSA about 2 to 3 points. You can imagine how it freaks me out when I see high numbers, but usually with a course of antibiotics these numbers come down.  What I have to look for and truly worry about is PSA numbers rising quickly over a short period of time.  Other things that can screw up a PSA is having sex or masturbating to close to a PSA, this can raise the numbers a point or two.  A tough tennis game, swimming, hard exercise and such right before a PSA blood test can screw with the numbers too.


UPDATE (as of March 2012): Believe it or not the test was clear, whew! 4 more years.

Steve Jobs and Life in General

Steve JobsA couple of weeks ago, on the evening of October 5th, I was about to start dinner. My wife comes home from work and as usual, sits on the couch and checks her iPhone for Twitter and Facebook updates. She looks up at me, “Oh my god, Steve Jobs is dead.”

I began to feel myself crying. And just a little over 6 weeks since my own father’s passing, I became teary over someone I did not know personally, although in some respects Steve Jobs was in my life as much if not more than maybe even my father. Steve Jobs had really become a kind of patriarch of modern life, it was really he that was Apple: completely synonymous. Even I, who is now typing this Post on a Windows 7 computer, who does not personally own any ‘i’ anything am affected daily by the new world that Steve Jobs created. Every modern computer device that is not Apple evokes the Apple design and concept.

My next phone may be an iPhone, but what about the phone after that? Will Apple still have the vision with out the patriarch?