WTF San Francisco?! When did we turn into Raider Nation?

I am really ashamed right now and I don’t even know who to blame or how we fix this as a society. I am a proud 49ers fan and have been for many, many years. I always enjoyed going to games at The Stick with my Dad. I prided myself on the fact that “our” fans were the civilized ones. The rowdy and at times criminal behaviour was for Oakland and the Raider Nation. The Niner fans had their tailgate parties reminiscent of a neighborhood social in Mayberry or Stepford. The Raider fans were crude, rude and socially unacceptable. The Red and Gold set snubbed their noses at their loud “reindeer games”.

True, I haven’t been to a Niners game for some time now, at least a decade if memory serves. My parents moved back East, ticket prices soared out of reach, even when we were the Charlie Brown losers of the league. I was so thrilled by our teams win last weekend against such an amazing team as the Saints. It seemed like all our hard work and waiting was coming to fruition.

And then it turned to ashes in my mouth. My friend Thayer, who moved to New Orleans with her hubby, had a friendly bet with me (as friends will do). As the game went back and forth and near caused me heart failure, never once did I think to trash the Saints or their fans. Those guys played like warriors and everyone’s fans deserve to root for their team. Remember when we were at the bottom of the pile for so long?

Well, this is what she told me – “Hey, are they talking about how badly the Saints fans were treated at Candlestick? Have some friends of friends that were being verbally attacked (Really hurtful stuff, re: Katrina references) so viciously they left early because they were afraid of physical violence if the Saints won. They said other Saints fans on the flight home had similar stories. [:(] ”

That is upsetting to me. WE are suppose to be the civilized fans from the “Enlightened” city. I thought perhaps it was a few bad apples. Then I read this in the San Francisco Chronicle with increasing horror and unease – from a Saints fan. Here are some letters to the Editor – and here is the letter from the gentleman with his daughters one of the writers referred to –

This behaviour is appalling and must stop. Is our society so broken, scared and cowed that hooligans and criminals are allowed free reign? As a city we watched in horror as a Giants fan was bludgeoned near to death at a Dodgers game. We were outraged, as we should be and guess what? We should be outraged now. This behavior is unacceptable! The problem? How do you stop a stadium of tens of thousands of people from turning into a blood thirsty mob worthy of the Circus Maximus? Don’t know what that is? Crack a frackin book and look it up!

Do we stop going to the stadium and just watch on the tele? How do we fix this problem? I really would like some solid ideas because I haven’t a clue. I can understand the fear of standing up to drunk, abusive people especially if you have your children with you. The very real threat of violence or death is not a fantasy. Do you lock up thousands of idiots? SF and Daly City PD just don’t have the presence to police this.

Will I root for my team on Sunday? You betcha! Will we be having my bet-winning King Cake as part of our spread? Yes we will and raising a pint to New Orleans as well! Will I bash anyone who roots for the Giants other than good old fashioned ribbing over a beer? Of course not! We need to clean our houses people. Not just over a football game but in all aspects of our lives. This behaviour does not exist in a vacuum.

And here is where I apologize to the Raider Nation. We all know what they say about people who live in glass houses….

Whack-A-Doodle Wednesday Christmas Street Surprise

It seems this didn’t post yesterday due no doubt to my fat fingers so here it is a day late.

Here in the City by the Bay we know how to get into the holiday spirit! Salvation Army bell ringers? Old hat. Ice skating rinks with fake ice? Soooo last century! Midnight mass? So Catholic. No, we have something better than all of those holiday traditions. We have naked Santa’s. In fact, one of the largest (if not THE largest group of naked Santa’s) ever assembled.

Don’t believe me?

Why? I have no idea. Perhaps it’s like climbing a mountain because it’s there. This is especially true if it involves nudity or herbal substances. San Francisco actually has no laws against public nudity. It only has laws against lewd behavior so don’t pet your reindeer in public or display your North Pole upright and you are good to go. Why would someone want to go starkers in a city where the temperature rarely climbs above 68 degrees? You tell me. I haven’t a clue.

Even walking to work you see all kinds are things that make you shake your head in wonder. There was a woman in a red Santa-type skirt dress with green tights which lead me to believe she was on elf duty at Macy’s or one of the other large department stores. She looked frazzled with wandering dead eyes. Yup, definitely elf duty. You get that look after shepherding hundreds of screaming children to the North Pole Annex for a six-hour shift. I hope she was on her way to Kate’s or another tavern of note here in Soma. She needed a good cup of Christmas cheer.

The strangest thing I saw this week was in South Park. No, not Colorado. It’s a cool little neighborhood down by AT&T ballpark. I almost ran into a guy dressed completely in green spandex. He had a helper, a bit like a seeing eye dog, guiding him down the sidewalk. Why? Because when I say covered I mean covered. Head to toe. He looked like a giant lime green tic tac or an upright slug. What was he doing? I have no idea. In San Francisco, you don’t ask. You just go on your way. Nothing really fazes you. It’s like New York that way only our streets are wider and there is less snark, more fab.

The last observation for this week was a guy in red, green and white stripes riding a bike. Striped socks, striped sweater, striped pants, hat, gloves, scarf, everything was red, green and white stripes. He was riding down Folsom on his merry way to whatever elf convention, murder mystery party, performance art venue he was bound for.

We may not have snow but we do have our share of Merry.

Halloween Costumes Enter The Age of Television

So today for your Monday Morning Funny, we continue with the parade of bad Ben Cooper kiddie Halloween costumes.

When some of us were kids, sitting around our newfangled COLOR TV sets, we were treated to a cornucopia of family programming such as The Brady Bunch, Gillian’s Island, Adam-12, Emergency and Dragnet. There was also Love American Style (truer than the red, white and blue), Laugh-In and Happy Days. Here are a few blasts from the past –

Suicide may be painless but the changes this costume brings are too many to count but I’ll give it a go. The drawn on lapels, the painted on buttons and belt, the standard name across your chest so people know for sure who you are and the slick plastic jumpsuit. The mask is also terrifying in a dead corpse way and doesn’t convey the hard-working, army doctor feel.

What is wrong with just going to the army/navy store, buying some Army greens and putting a red cross on them? OR if you really want that M*A*S*H feel, pair those with a bathrobe, cowboy hat and a martini glass for that dashing Hawkeye Pierce look.

Moving on to the land of WTF, I give you The Love Boat, Exciting and New! Oh yes, come aboard, we’ve been expecting you!

Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you – Captain Stubing! The happiest Captain ever to sail the Caribbean with a bunch of horny and angst filled passengers. Oh and that wacky crew! Who could forget perky Julie the Cruise Director, Issac the wise-cracking, hip bartender (Look at how progressive we are! We have a black bartender to liven up our white crew! It’s almost like The Mod Squad!), Doc the ship’s doctor who we know is smart because he wears glasses and of course Gopher who grew up to be a Congressman!

The thing that’s most terrifying about this costume, aside from the slightly creepy pedophile Uncle mask is the jumpsuit itself. A life saver? Really? You put a giant, round life-saver on the front of this costume with a big picture of the whole cast? I suppose since the creepy mask has the hat on, people will be able to pick your character out of the handy line-up you’ve provided them. GAK!!!

Again, white pants, white shirt, white sailing hat, black shoes – you are done. What is so hard?

Next time? A potpourri of horror from films, to music groups to puzzles. Yeah, the strangeness continues.

Attack of the 100 Foot Yachts, the 1% And The Entitled Mega-Rich

In case you have been living under a rock, the America’s Cup is coming to San Francisco in 2013. What is the America’s Cup? Is it a sport? Yes. Is it Hockey? No, that’s the Stanley Cup. It’s sailing. Large boats sail about and it’s a race of sorts. Honestly I have no idea of any of the particulars past that. I don’t have a membership at the yacht club, I don’t summer at “The Vineyard” and have usually get sick on a boat.

However, this race is a huge deal for our city, will bring in a ton of tourists and a large percentage of wealthy yacht enthusiasts for this event. That’s good. Money is good. I’m all for visitors spending money, especially having the 1% here dropping a chunk of change, bits of caviar and small pocket dogs. What I’m not for is trashing our waterways to accommodate the needs of the very, very few.

What am I talking about? I’m talking about the 1% and their yachts. Now these aren’t just regular people with a butt load of dough and a nice boat. These are the uber-wealthy that are planning to bring yachts a little smaller than a cruise ship to San Francisco Bay and need a place to park it. We are talking a boat about 180 – 260 feet long and four stories tall.

The organizers of this event want to park two dozen super yachts along Rincon Park. The problem?
1) These yachts are so tall, they would block the view for all the rest of the people (residents and visitors alike). Since these boats are way too wide for the regular marina they would be docked past the Ferry Building, creating a fantastic view of the Bay and the race for the billionaires on board but a large, white wall for the rest of us.

But wait, there’s more….

2) The agreement brokered between the city and the America’s Cup Event Authority gives them the right to dredge if the yachts are too large to dock (which they are) and create a recreational marina.

If the agreement isn’t tweaked what this would do is actually take a stretch of open lawn and waterway and turn it into a marina for future large yachts, greatly impacting the access and enjoyment the residents and visitors now enjoy.

Hey, I’m all for pumping money into the economy but it should be tempered with an eye to the consequences. Should a prime viewing spot for the race be the exclusive property of two dozen yacht owners just because they have more money than God and a boat the size of a building? Should the citizens and future visitors of our city have to surrender a lovely park and water view for the docking convenience of a select few who don’t want to take their boats to the Marin side of the bay?

I think there should be a way to be good hosts and good stewards at the same time. There have to be other places to park these mega yachts that won’t permanently change the look of our bay side parks. After all, the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.. or the 1%.

Ben Cooper Meets Aquaman

Ladies and Gentlemen, let me introduce you to Aquaman, founding member of the Justice League and the Prince of Atlantis. He can swim, breathe underwater, communicate telepathically with fish and is the one member of the Justice League that I would bet bats for the other team.

I admit I had a bit of a crush on Aquaman when I was seven. He had that swoopy hair, the tight outfit and he hung out with dolphins. Chicks dig dolphins. Just sayin’. Now my childhood fantasies of a seashell marriage under the sea with an alleged bi-sexual, trans-species hunk has been destroyed with this cheap and cheezy costume. Just as a note for the distant future to all the little boys out there. You will NOT get laid in this outfit. It isn’t chick bait, it’s just creepy.

As creepy as this little kid with his Frankenstein’s Monster meets the creepy Stephen King Clown from It costume. Creepy Frankenstein clown – that’s what the picture on his chest says to me! “Yeah F-you Ben Cooper and your freaky lame costumes. I will never get laid in the future because of you and your candy sucks!”

Asshats Abound In San Francisco And Two Try To Run Me Down As Well

Whack-A-Doodle Wednesday is back! After over a month of “outdoor theatre performance eating my brain” I have returned. Granted, I am parceling out my time between writing a first draft of my second humor novel but I’m determined to at least stop in her twice a week at least.

The news is full of the disaffected nowadays. Occupy Wall Street, Occupy San Francisco, Occupy Winchell’s Donuts, the list goes on. My heart goes out to them. The state of our Union is failing. I am all for earning money through hard work. Believe me! I would LOVE to work hard and have a beautiful house in Newport Beach. It took me SEVEN YEARS just to find full-time work. I was not proud, I was not uneducated, I had experience. I was willing to do whatever would pay me money though I stopped short of selling crack to school children. I will admit there were times when that was looking pretty damned attractive but I fought the urge to become a criminal.

I understand the frustration of seeing uber-wealthy people and corporations take the money of the middle-class (after screwing us out of our life savings) and then screwing us again. It would be humorous if it wasn’t so sad and pathetic. Will we ever learn?

So what I have learned from this? I’ve learned that a great many people don’t live in San Francisco or Los Angeles or Reno. They live in the State of Me. They exist in a deluded state of entitlement that puzzles and pisses me off. Rules are for other people. They don’t apply to them.

Case in point, the other day I was almost killed twice in a ten-hour period by self-entitled asshats.

I get into the office early, I’m talking up at 4:45 or 5am and in the office at 6:45am. This is what I like to call the “butt crack of dawn”. It is still dark at this time of year. I was crossing the street to my office at 2nd Avenue and Harrison. The light was green and I was in the cross walk. A pickup truck comes around the corner nearly hitting me then has the nerve to stop and bitch at ME for being in the cross walk when he wanted to turn. Evidently I was supposed to stop for HIM.

Note for any future asshats who want to pull this shit, don’t get into this kind of idiocy with me at oh butt thirty when I haven’t had my grande, non-fat, no water Chai tea latte! I yelled at him to keep on driving, pedestrians have the right of way and the light is green or is he too stupid to figure that out. He then yells that I need to move, I tell him hitting me will move him to a jail cell where I would make it my life’s mission to make sure he was sold to the con with the most cheese sandwiches. He then drives off.

Cut to 4pm. Same day, same corner. SAME DAMN CORNER only this time it’s a woman in a brand new Mercedes who comes flying around the corner literally 12 inches from hitting me. Again, I’m in the cross walk with a green light. I lose it. I took down, see a small rock and toss it at the clueless bimb in the new Benz. Yes, I hit her car. Did it dent it? I have no idea. I’m sure it didn’t. It wasn’t much of a rock. Maybe it nicked her paint job.

The real question is how much more damage would she have done to me if I was walking just a touch faster when she barreled around the corner, talking (non-hands free) on her cell phone and paying zero attention to the road.

Yes, I am surrounded by self-entitled asshats. I can only hope that majority of us sane people re-assert ourselves and work to take our lives back. It is better than petty violence though I admit, hitting that car did feel good.

The Horror of Halloween Costumes Past – Pt 1.

Happy Samhain to everyone! That’s Happy Halloween to any of you muggles or non-Celtic folk out in cyberspace. The Celtic New Year is here, the veil between the worlds of the living and the dead is thin. As evidence of this, I bring you the horrors of bad kid costumes past. Not only today but for every Monday through the month of November.

You see dear readers, each November I am entombed in writing solitude, banging out another first draft of a new novel. I know I have been remiss in the writing department this past month due to moving, work and acting commitments. So I am writing all of my November blogs in the last week of October and putting them on auto-post (yay for technology) so I don’t let you all down again.

So today for your Monday Morning funny – Halloween kid costumes. Personally I was tired of haranguing everyone again about “sexy” costumes for females that have become standard fare nowadays for anyone 12 years of age and up.

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, there was Ben Cooper. No, not the western actor from Bonanza, but the company that made those plastic jumpsuit costumes for kids. You probably wore one of these if (a) you grew up in the 50’s, 60’s or 70’s, (b) your parents had some cash to spend but no creativity or (c) they shoplifted from K-Mart. These costumes usually consisted of a plastic mask that had two eyes holes and a hole in the mouth that always made the mask look like some demented sex doll and a plastic “coverall-style” costume.

The costume itself was a jumpsuit that tied in the back. Nine times out of ten it didn’t reflect the physical outfit of the character. Instead it usually featured a picture of the character with their name written in large letters for good measure. Case in point – the She-Hulk:

Hey, I had no idea Bruce Banner aka “The Hulk” had a girl friend, let alone that she was a green gal with bad Howard Stern hair. However you can see where the front of this costume just has a slightly better looking picture of the character on it and lists the character name. I suppose just painting yourself green and wearing ripped clothes was just too hard.

In this Spock (from Star Trek) costume, I see trends even more horrifying.

Not only do you have a picture of Captain Kirk and a couple other cast members in the upper shoulder of the costume (neither of which is Spock by the way) but the colors are garish. To add insult to injury, they are from the first Star Trek movie. The one we never speak of – Star Trek The Motion Picture. It was so awful I try to erase it from my memory just like Godfather 3 or American Pie: Band Camp 5. To me, The Wrath of Khan was the first Star Trek movie. I really don’t want to be reminded of the original movie with its shallow and lame Veeger plot. If you have no idea what I am talking about, read the Wikipedia cliff notes.

This suit not only has the Starship Enterprise smack dab on Spocks chest but there is some kind of eclipse/corona effect coming from his crotchal area. This really creeps me out especially since this costume is designed to be worn on a little kid.

Shudder. Next Monday – Ben Cooper takes on the world of comic books and loses.

Girls Are Not Stupid! Stop It Already!

A few weeks back this latest entry into the Hit Parade of bad ideas hit the net. It seems JC Penney’s buyer thought carrying a shirt in its on-line store that said “I’m too pretty to do homework so my brother does it for me.” was cute or funny or true. I think it is a sign of what is wrong with our culture. Penney’s pulled the shirt after a well deserved avalanche of emails expressing displeasure over the sexist garment.

But we all know when you cut the head off the Hydra, two more grow back. Forever 21, that bastion of hoochie clothing, carried this shirt which proudly proclaimed the wearer to be “Allergic to Algebra”..

Well thank the Gods for whoever had the sense to tack this post-it to the shirt. It is a small, but meaningful way to rebel. This whole “dumb girl” trend reminds me of the talking Barbie Mattel carried years back. One of the phrases she would spout is “Math is hard.”

Now I’ve never been good at math. My brain just doesn’t work in a linear fashion however I did learn something important in High School. I learned I wasn’t stupid (as I thought for years and years after being called that by boys and teachers), my brain just worked differently.

I had a wonderful Pre-Algebra teacher as a Sophomore. He took the time to explain equations in different ways until I found one my brain could interpret correctly. Granted, my High School was on a mod system (like a college system) with an open campus, a different schedule each day, lecture halls and classes that were 30, 45 and 60 minutes long depending on the course. This allowed teachers to have posted office hours so kids could do homework during school and get extra help during school as well.

Society throws so many negative stereotypes at girls that it makes me gag. You need to look a certain way, have a certain color hair or a certain size breasts and don’t be too smart or boys will get all intimidated and not like you. These shirts aren’t funny, they are insulting. They aren’t carried in the boys/mens department, just the young women who are hit with the reinforcing message that they don’t have to be smart, just pretty. “Don’t worry about having a brain, you are just an ornament.”

Well what if you aren’t the kind of pretty that society says you should be? Why should women who have certain looks forgo education so that a man will “take care of them” instead of them learning to take care of themselves?

Most people know it is not OK to use racial, religious or ethnic slurs but it’s still OK to demean women, portray them as less than men and if someone points it out they are the one in the wrong. I’ve seen comments on various blogs saying the people who object to this have no sense of humor. Really? You know, I have a terrific sense of humor and this isn’t funny. I also don’t think that portraying men as emasculated worms for laughs is funny either.

I’m not a “bitch”, a “feminazi”, a “party-pooper” or a “fascist”. I am a woman. I am no better and no worse than a man. I am an intelligent individual who refuses to be the reflection of shallow society fashion. I am a woman. Deal with it.

The Poodle Man of MUNI

Muni scares me. There, I said it. Aside from a school bus, I have only been on city buses a few times in my life. I would not have the slightest idea how much it costs, how it works, what a transfer is or If they even take physical money anymore. Perhaps they just take peanuts or crack.

What I do know is that MUNI is full of crazy people. MUNI also tends to run over pedestrians with increasing regularity. It is like a demented game of Frogger only with a 2 ton piece of metal and you trying to stay out of harms way when a MUNI bus drives by. Even being on the sidewalk doesn’t seem to count as a “safe zone”.

Since BART only skirts the bay, people need a way to get to other parts of the City. I was tricked onto MUNI by a friend and was in for an eye-opening experience. In addition to the law-abiding citizens on the bus, I saw a few gang-bangers having it out with some belligerent banger wanna-be’s at the stop on the sidewalk. OK, if THAT goes South, I’m not as concerned. I am concerned about the on-board fights, thefts, vandalism and of course, the crazies. I know, the crazies need transportation too but you have no way of knowing if they are harmless crazy or psychotic crazy.

Case in point, the Poodle Man of MUNI. I have no idea the name of the line I was on. I know it was over by the Metreon. I was on my way to see my friend Peanut and she brow-beat me into getting on the death bus since (a) I didn’t have my car, (b) my destination couldn’t be reached from BART and (c) it was way too far to walk.

This guy looked like he escaped from the mental ward, covered himself in as many cotton balls as he could find as a disguise and then went on a hunt for every dirty, stuffed poodle in the area. He tied them on his body, stuffed them into plastic garbage bags and into the pockets of his ratty coat. He would alternate between barking and talking to himself and others. He would proclaim in a booming voice, how Willie Brown put a chip in his head and now the aliens can track him. Why Willie Brown cared enough to chip him like a Bichon Frise is beyond me. He then started holding forth on how alien poodles can battle German Sheppards, grey aliens and Bruce Willis and win.

“OK, crazy dude. You need some meds. Badly. I feel sorry that you are left to wander the streets, without medication, food or a bed like a nice mental hospital could provide you with. I remember the time when then Governor Reagan cut the majority of mental health funding in the State. This resulted in the majority of the non-uber violent crazies being tossed out on the streets. The majority of these people migrated to Hollywood or San Francisco. They still do.

I started wondering where the Poodle Man got all the cotton balls or all the stuffed poodles. Obviously a flickering porch light of sanity still burns somewhere. He had to seek out and acquire specific types of stuffed dogs which shows the ability to form a plan and execute on it. Sure, it’s a bat-shit crazy plan but a plan none the less. At least he wasn’t violent. There are those kinds of crazies out there as well and I was without my mace or handy PVC knee-whackin’ pipe.

What would I like to see? I would like to see mentally ill people get the help they need in a safe, clean hospital. I would like to see violent criminals and crazies locked up in a cage. I would like the citizens of this City to be able to travel without fear of violence or death. But most of all I would like to see a death match between a miniature, alien poodle named Strawberry and Bruce Willis. I’m betting on the poodle.

Is Chubby Bunny The New Craze?

I know, I know, I owe you a whack-a-doodle Wednesday post but I am buried. Buried in unpacking boxes, memorizing lines for a show, work and a few new writing projects. I don’t even have time to change my mind most of the time. Then I sat down to my laptop, decided to read the paper, which was really the Chronicle on-line and was diverted.

You see, my attention was grabbed with a headline that proclaimed the next “new thing”, a phenom called “Chubby Bunny”. I pictured obese rabbits, lounging in pastoral splendor but rabbits have nothing to do with this. It seems the point of this “game” (and I use that word loosely) is to see how many marshmallows you can stuff into your mouth and still say “Chubby Bunny”.

No, really, people do this. I’m not making this up! If you think the worst thing your kid can do is getting knocked up or selling crack, you have yet to meet the horrors of Chubby Bunny. Pay attention parents. It starts out all sweet and innocent and full of unicorn sparkles. Just picture a circle of cherub faced children sitting around with a big of marshmallows. One at a time each child pops a marshmallow into their mouth and says “Chubby Bunny”. Each time the bag is passed, you insert another marshmallow into your gob. If you can’t say “Chubby Bunny”, you are eliminated. If you chew or swallow the marshmallows, you are eliminated. If you regurgitate fluffy white marshmallow pieces on your friends, you are eliminated. Pretty innocuous, right?

It sure is until someone dies! Yup, there have been two verified Chubby Bunny fatalities. One was a 12-year-old girl named Casey who suffocated while playing this at an after-school fair. The game was suppose to be supervised but the teacher had stepped away before the start of the contest to speak with the janitor for 10 minutes. Kids being kids decided to start playing without him. Casey quickly choked on a marshmallow lodged in her throat. The other fatality was a grown woman, 32-year-old Janet. She was in a Chubby Bunny contest and suffocated in the same manner. Getting those sticky marshmallows stuck in your throat is a hazard.

Who would have thought that marshmallows could kill you? Me. This is how I figured this out. Peeps are evil. Peeps are made of processed marshmallows therefore marshmallows are evil. I just love the nonsensical, simplistic flow of my logic. It’s almost like a Michelle Bachmann rally. Hmmmm, I have an idea! “HEY Extreme Whack-A-Doodles! Ever heard of Chubby Bunny? It’s a wholesome game full of family values. You might want to give it a go at your next cross burning… I mean gathering!”

Why did this game even get started? Is it because the economy is in the toilet and we are in denial? Instead of standing on-line for government cheese, have we been driven to stuffing chemical-filled “food” into our mouths as a form of entertainment? If so, I weep for our country. We have way too much time on our hands.