Davins Comedy Blog

CRITICAL THINKING - By Davin Rosenblatt


As long as I have been an adult I have always valued critical thinking.  I think it is why I went to law school.  I was never good with numbers so subjects like statistics were never attractive to me even though it is cold hard facts and there is no room for feeling or emotions.  I liked being able to get as much information as possible and choosing the best solution.  To me that seemed like the obvious choice.

However, perhaps I am in the minority in this country.  I see so many people just motivated by emotions and feel when the facts and logic and experience and history clearly say this is the incorrect path.  It drives me nuts.  Discussions between people ruled by emotion and people ruled by fact seldom go anywhere.  It is like talking in two completely different languages. Both people think the other is clearly missing the obvious and is a moron.

I think emotion is great when you are cheering for your favorite team.  I just don’t think it should be the guiding principle in most major decisions and choices. It can lead you into some very big mistakes.  We all think our first love will be our forever love. We can’t imagine life without that person. Our parents tell us to slow down as we have plenty of options and a whole life ahead of us. We think our parents are idiots.  Invariably, for most of us, our parents were correct and our first love was not our forever love.  As we grow older we still use emotion for love but those of us that find fulfilling relationships also use the information we gathered from our failed relationships.  We pick up on certain traits that are deal breakers for us. Certain life styles that will not make us happy.  We use that information to avoid getting into a serious relationship that will inevitably fail.  The lucky ones take all of the failure and turn it into success.  I would suggest that they sprinkled in some critical thought into their quest for love.

I think people fall in love with their politicians.  There were a lot of people who absolutely loved President Obama. He could do no wrong…even when he was wrong. The same holds true for President Trump.  Things that they use to hate they love. Russia comes to mind. Deficits are another. There are plenty.  When these people fall in love with their president they defend him like he is their boyfriend even if it is obvious the president is making a mistake.  I never fell in love with a president. There are presidents I like and presidents I don’t like but I always knew they worked for me. It was not emotional for me it was business.  That is what allows me to go from topic to topic and not view a president as all bad or all good.  I think critically about what they are doing and how it affects things I care about.  See I have emotion but it does not rule the day.

Politicians know we are ruled by emotion.  They create slogans for us to latch onto. Hope and Change. Make America Great Again. It is much catchier than “things will be slightly better if we vary our path a little”. Nobody could get behind that. Most people do not take the time to look at a politician’s background. Their past, their votes, their wins, their losses their flaws. Nah most of us grab onto the slogan and a well delivered speech. 

I think letting our emotions rule us and not looking at things critically is tearing this nation apart. Nobody dares to think, research, or listen.  It is much easier to get all worked up and scream. My guy is the best and your gal is the worst is much easier to wrap our minds around even if the truth is probably somewhere in the middle. I’ll give you an example from this week’s radio show.  We played a new ad from Democratic senator Elizabeth Warren. She talked about among other things how bad Goldman Sachs was bad and Trump’s cabinet was filled with people from there, looking out for the middle class, and how lobbyists control Washington.  These are things she has been talking about for years.  Donald Trump ran on many of those same points to great success.  Yet Trump and Warren feud. Trump fans hate Warren and Warren fans hate Trump.  I am guessing it is because neither really listened to what the other side was arguing for and what said candidate was doing about it. Nah, it is just easier to believe the other one is bad instead of critically thinking about what is being presented. So we fight and name call and hate.

I believe there should be renewed emphasis on critical thinking in schools starting in Kindergarten.  Looking at information and processing it. I am aware this is done now but I think we need to double down on it because it is just not sinking in.  Now we have more information than ever at our disposal with easier access yet most of us prefer to believe a meme cobbled together by some basement dweller. If we can really emphasize that knowledge and critical thinking are things to be prized maybe we can slowly ween ourselves off of the toxic public discourse.

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THE VET - by Pip Helix (Davin's Den)

I looked deeply into my cat’s eyes this morning, and told him how much I love him and that everything will be okay.  He was sitting in his cat carrier already, and was meowing his discontent. Having been to the vet twice recently for tests which assaulted his body and dignity, I’m sure he was aghast that we were doing this to him again, and anxious about what was to come.

What he doesn’t understand is that this is going to be a really important day for us all, kitty, Mr. Helix and me.  Our dear Creamsickle (deliberately spelled like that to make him more badass, well, as badass as you can be when named after ice cream) has a tumor on his lung, and the vet has been giving us more and more alarming news since we first began noticing how thin he was becoming. Today, he is having surgery to have the tumor removed and biopsied, and from there we know what his prognosis will be.

Initially, the vet said that his prognosis was months, but months in which the tumor grew and pressed on his lung, making it more and more difficult to breathe, and making him increasingly uncomfortable.  Right now, the only thing that seemed wrong was that he got quite thin over a period of time, and that he developed a wheeze not unlike that when a cat is about to cough up a hairball, only with no disgusting results.  He acted fine, ate ok, and was his usual loving self.  The vet said that the sound he was making was a cough, and an indication that something was wrong.  Boy, was that an understatement.

The prognosis with surgery is unknown right now.  It seems this tumor is in a difficult place to remove it entirely, caught up in some kind of lung structure that I don’t completely understand, and that there is a good possibility (I should say bad possibility) that they will not be able to remove it completely.  Whatever is left will grow again, and depending on what the biopsy tells them is how long he may live.

Creamsickle is one of the two cats that Mr. Helix had when we brought our households together and created the Brady Bunch of cats.  Sadly, the other cat he brought Mushyhead got cancer a few years ago, and all the chemo in the world didn’t save her.  It’s with the memory of this and the demise of other beloved cats that we give him over to the vet this morning, hoping so much for more quality time for him. Neither of us want to torment him for nothing, but we have been assured that to leave it alone, the tumor would quickly become such a burden on his breathing, and he would be gone in months.  The prudent thing to do, the loving thing to do,  is this surgery.

So, today we swallowed with a huge lump in our throats, and told our cat how much we love him, and that it will be okay.  I hope we weren’t lying to him.

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MAKING TRACKS - By Joe Currie (Davin's Den)


                                                             
Since I was a kid, I would always dream of being in a recording studio making an album. For the past thirty years I have been, two albums and several EP’s and endless demo tapes.
The first time I went into a recording studio was back in nineteen eighty eight, with Joe and Anthony Cumia , our bass player Mike and our drummer Lou. I was so nervous and it was such a nerve wracking experience. The saving grace was we all never were in a recording studio before so it was a learning process for all of us.

Several years later our band Finster, different name same line up would be heading into Paris studio. The studio owner Brian Unger was a great guy and a very good engineer and Paris would be our home for many years. These sessions at Paris were very good and we put out our demos. If you were an Opie and Anthony fan, the song “Dara” came out of those sessions as well as some other great tunes. 

Several years later in 1992  Rot Gut went into Paris to record the “Live at the Apollo” album. I just fought my way back into the band as the recording progressed and played on one track. At that time sampling was a big thing and Joe Cumia utilized it as much as he could so much so the final song on the album was a song called “whatwuzthatthing” a five minute song with fourteen different samples. Even though I did not gather or record the samples I had to cover it live and I was able to thanks to my Trusty ASR-10, and SO-1 samplers. That was a memorable summer as we lived in that studio to get the project done. It is an amazing process that you would watch these tracks progress week by week. It is essentially like painting a picture as you are consistently adding something to move something from a sketch to this beautiful painting. 

At this time we were rehearsing two nights a week and I was practicing every night, we did a recording session we won from a competition. The session was for a compilation album of Beatles cover tunes featuring all Long island bands. The project was called “Across the Universe” and the song we picked was “I wanna be your man”. The version we did was not like the Beatles version, we were Rotgut and it had to have our own stamp on it which it did. The song went from grunge, to punk, to reggae, back to punk again in three minutes. We had four hours to do it and the keyboards in the song were very demanding as I had to cover a horn section, a calypso section, and samples as well. I was able nail everything, and the studio was not that much of a big deal any more.

In 1996 we had an all day recording session at my house recording the preproduction for our next project which we called “butts in the ashtray”. Getting ready for it was grueling, the reason why is Joe Cumia is very demanding and not afraid to sink his fangs into me and he did a lot. But he put a work ethic in me that I have never forgotten and that work ethic carried over into comedy when I got back into that in 1997.

 Soon after we went back into Paris to turn the Preproduction of “Butts in the Ashtray” into the EP ‘Slack & Wack”. We were so well rehearsed that the sessions were fun and stress free. Again for you     O & A fans the song “Marcia Brady” came from these sessions. I was covering horn parts, piano and I wrote, edited and triggered all the samples, we actually had a live horn section and I wrote some of the parts for them. I never sat at the control console or had much of a say in the mixing or production. I was told to sit in the back of the studio and keep out of the way. And I sat there, but I did not realize what I picked up until my next recording session.
My next recording Session was with Race Odyssey with Rock and Roll Johnny Race who I still play with in my ohter band Sexy Suzn. John was married to Anthony and Joe Cumia’s Sister Dawn at the time. As Anthony left to do radio Rotgut went on the shelf and I joined up with Johnny.

We entered a studio owned by Don Cassel, Don was noted for being the engineer for the classic rock song Inagodadavida by Iron Butter fly. We had a great time making the album and I actually was at the consol helping mix the album. While I was mixing with Don and John I was wondering how I knew what to do instinctively. I attribute that to listening to Joe Cumia and our Engineer Brian back at Paris Studios and subconsciously picking up all the knowledge of what to do. People commented that album had a wall of sound feel to it and that’s exactly what I wanted.

My next time in the studio was a monstrosity back in 2012. I was in the band McClinton and we were doing the remake of Phil Collin’s “In the Air Tonight” it was done ass backwards and the session was never completed.

When you record you want everything to be perfect because if it is not when you listen for years to come any imperfection will grate on you, with this in mind, I prepare for a recording session like Eisenhower prepared for D day.

Our band Fragile Sky is now in the studio cutting four tracks for distribution, downloads, and to sell at shows. The day of the album is gone. When you record, the drums and the bass go first, then the guitars. With either the vocals or keyboards going next. In these sessions the vocals went next.

This is a big help to me as I like to get a copy of the actual working studio tracks as I can work with them at home so when I go to the studio I know the songs in and out. Every musician has an idea what you want things to sound like in your head. The trick is to get what you want in your head on to the song. I had all sorts of sounds I wanted for the project and I used four keyboards for the sessions to get them. To leave no stone unturned I sat with each keyboard and went through each one, played the studio track against it and see if it would work. I then would make notes and compile a list. This process took eight hours and to complicate matters one the keyboards that most of these songs were written on fried at a show and could not be repaired.  
Once this list was compiled each song was played and each keyboard went against the other to see which one would be the one that would be used for the track. This process took one weekend. With the keyboards picked I would go through each track again, again, and again to know each song in and out not to waste any minute of studio time. I then would go to rehearsal and play along to the studio track for the band to listen to, and then do the song live.
Back home I would then make notes and then sit for hours again to make sure everything was perfect.

There is no better process than this as I arrived at the studio for my session prepared which was handy because I had only a certain amount of time before our harmonica player showed up and I had to be done. The tracks went pretty smooth. I also picked up some interesting recording tricks from Mike from my band and our engineer Frank. You do hear about disagreements in the studio and it did happen as Mike had an idea for a sound and I had my mine. The great thing is I joined the band because Mike’s theory on sounds and song construction are along the lines of mine so we combined our ideas and the songs came out great.
My tracks got done on schedule and Filipe our harmonica player came in and ripped the place apart.

Stay tuned for the release date and come on out to a show.    

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COMEDY ISN’T FOR EVERYBODY - By Davin Rosenblatt


We all think we have a good sense of humor, are open minded, and can take a joke.  Many of us are wrong.  Many of us like jokes that do not make us uncomfortable or talk about something that we don’t find funny. We are picky. We know what we like and if it is not what we like then the joke must not be funny.  That is completely wrong.  Comedy like all art is subjective.  I would argue that if one person laughed ever it was a funny joke. It may not consistently get laughs but somebody found it funny.  Is the person who laughed wrong for laughing? Of course not.

There have been many times where an audience member is laughing and having a good time and then I do a joke that they do not like. Their demeanor changes. They tighten up. Sometimes they heckle. Sometimes they leave. Sometimes they throw objects. Sometimes they tell me after the show that they did not like a certain joke. It is fine that you do not like a joke or a topic. I do think it is a bit unrealistic to go to a live comedy show where you do not know the performers and expect you will like every joke or every topic.  Even more absurd is the feeling that an audience member must tell the performer that they are bothered. I do not see how that is the performer’s issue.  That is the audience member’s issue.  We don’t get to watch You Tube videos of the audience before they walk in. The audience can do some research on the performer. Years ago I had an audience member walk up to me after an hour long set. She said she did not like my joke about diabetes because somebody she loved had diabetes.  So she likes 59 minutes but one minute bothered her so now it was my problem. I told her I had diabetes too and we could share a needle. It was a lie but if I had it too maybe then it was ok. It seemed to placate her and it saved me from having to explain to her how comedy works.

Speaking of how comedy works I now have done that during my show.  I have told an audience member who got offended about a joke about children being sexually abused.  I took the time during my set to explain I never make fun of the victims as I think that is distasteful to me.  I make fun of the criminals.  I tell her comedy is subjective.  I tell her to hang in and there will be more jokes coming that she will like.  She stuck it out and I even got her to laugh at some more child abuse jokes. Kudos to that lady for keeping her mind open.

Unfortunately, I think there are places that are not open minded that still think they want comedy.  If you put a lot of restrictions on a comedian you really don’t want a comedian.  You want knock knock jokes. You want a children’s show. You don’t want a comedian. I am not saying it is necessary for a comedian to be offensive. I am just saying there is a chance it could happen and it is your problem not the comedian’s problem.  There was a story in the news about a comedian / ventriloquist / illusionist who was performing at Purdue and the show did not go well. He had a female student on stage and had her stand back to back and said, “At least I got a feel.”  He also had the student touch his upper thigh.  Now is it something he should be doing at a college? Perhaps not. However, he was accused of sexual harassment.  That is not harassment. At worst it was misreading the room.  Students left in tears. They actually cried over this performance.  They of course made a hash tag about it.  The school said the performance did not represent their values.  The reality is many colleges should not even hire comedians anymore.  In a society where people get triggered and need a safe space over jokes hiring a comedian is a terrible idea. Just set up a big screen and show videos of guys stepping on rakes and getting blasted in the nuts.  It does not require thought.  Now I know I am being risqué, as a student might have had a ball injury and feels triggered about this constant assault on random testes.  The point is if jokes hurt then don’t put yourself in that situation.  In order to do comedy you need to have a set of juevos. Most people are afraid to speak in public. We do it, and we bear our soles.  I never really considered us brave. I considered us doing what we are called to do. However, if hearing jokes has the power to bring people to tears imagine the strength of the people who dare repeat said jokes night after night.  Unless of course the words are not really the issue.  Maybe the real issue is that comedy is not for everybody. Maybe people need to realize that. Maybe comedians need to stop trying to put comedy in places where it will not be appreciated.  Comedy is special.  It has the ability to take power away from those that have it. It has the power to give power to those who have none. It has the power to make you forget your problems.  But it can really only do those things for people that are willing to embrace comedy and not try and bend it to their will but instead be open enough to accept comedy for the gift it is even if you are not a fan of that particular gift on that particular night.

Comedy isn’t for everybody.  Comedy is for the open minded.  It is ok of you are not open minded. You can binge watch Full House. Just for the love of god don’t see Bob Saget live.  You may not have the fortitude for his comedic stylings.

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Selfish Behavior Hurts the Handicapped - By Pip Helix (Davin's Den)


There has obviously been a downward slide in public manners and civil behavior in recent decades.  People seem to think that they should be allowed to do whatever they want whenever they want, without a second thought to how it affects others.  Loud-talking on cell phones, demanding upgrades and comps wherever they go, and finding ways to game the system for their own advantage at the cost of others. All of this self-important behavior is unfair to other people in general. One particular part of society that is being affected by this selfish behavior is the disabled community. 

Of course, great strides have been made in making the world more accessible for people with disabilities, especially since the passing of the Americans with Disabilities Act.  It’s only right that every effort should be made to make accommodations for wheelchairs, hearing problems and sight issues, etc., wherever possible.  In the interest of full disclosure, I have long been more acutely aware of these issues, since I worked part-time in college for one of my professors who was wheelchair bound.  Also, with my mother’s mental illness and my father’s failing health in his later years, I realized that sometimes there needed to be a little give involved to help them through certain obstacles.  However, my brother’s recent mid-calf amputation has really pushed the issue back into the forefront of my mind.

There is a Seinfeld episode where the main characters go to a mall, and George choses to park in a handicapped spot for their selfish convenience.  A wheelchair bound woman was injured due to having to park further away, and an unruly mob gathers around the car to wait for the person who illegally parked in the handicapped spot she needed. Obviously, part of the premise of Seinfeld is that the main characters are terrible people who do terrible things and never learn lessons, so no one was condoning their behavior and you are not meant to root for them to win this particular battle. Still, it was always a very annoying episode to me, because it irks me that people ever think it’s okay to take those spaces, even for “just a second”, or that they flat-out think “Screw them, I need a space.”  Uh, don’t you think that people with handicaps have been screwed by life already? How about a little decency? I would have been standing in that mob, yelling for George’s head.

A recent article on the Huffington Post website spoke about how people are ruining the idea of emotional support animals by faking the need for them, or bringing more and more outrageous examples of emotional support animals onto planes. I understand that there are people who may still scoff at the need for such an accommodation in the first place, but that is usually the lucky ones who have never experienced first-hand the crippling effect of some mental illnesses or emotional damage that would require someone to need such a thing.  Lucky you. For the people with legitimate emotional or physical issues that have been helped by support animals, the misuse of this accommodation by people who just want to bring their peacock onboard is very damaging.  When the public perception of support animals turns to cynicism and scoffing, those who truly need and benefit from this help suffer needlessly.  I mean, on top of the suffering they are already experiencing.

Look, in a desperate moment, who hasn’t used the handicapped stall in the bathroom, when no one was around who might need it.  I’m not a saint.  I admit to using them when no one in a wheelchair was in evidence, and I hurry to get out of there.  If a handicapped person were to come in, they would have to wait 1 minute tops, and they could talk to me through the door to let me know they needed the stall.  It’s not the same with a parking space, where there is no way to call other driver out to move their car.  And by the same token, a person who wants to travel with their penguin on an airplane (it’s happened) should have a legitimate reason.  If everyone now looks at people with support animals as fakers gaming the system, because there are so many, then people with PTSD and other issues have to deal with unwanted scrutiny during airline travel, which is already stressful enough for people with no mental or emotional issues.

What we can all do about this trend is to remember that we don’t always know what kind of issues others are going through, but try to be mindful of the ways we can keep from making their journey more difficult.  Educate others that it is not okay to park in the handicapped parking, or to fake having issues just to game the system.  It dilutes the sympathy that other able-bodied people have for handicapped accommodations if every self-important person thinks that they are entitled to it as well.  How about just thanking the deity of your choice that you don’t have to negotiate the world with that person’s challenges, and can walk to a further parking space, or fly without crushing anxiety.

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LIFE WITHOUT A PHONE - By Joe Currie (Davin's Den)


For eighteen years I have owned a cell phone, we live in a society now where we can’t remember not having one and there is a generation that doesn’t even know what life was like without one.

For the first time in all those years I experienced life without a cell phone. It was a Friday last week and I was leaving the day program to head to my gig in Philadelphia, the trip in rush hour would be about three hours and change. I was leaving at 4:15 and the gig was at 9:30 so it gave me plenty of time to get there even with bad weather coming in.

I jumped in my car and left, about three minutes after I left I checked that I had everything and then my blood ran cold “I LEFT MY CELL PHONE AT THE DAY PROGRAM”. I immediately turned around to head back when I saw my coworker who locked up pass me by. I then turned around and then tried to catch up to him with speeds that would make Vin Diesel shit his pants, but no luck he was gone. I immediately went back to the office to see if anyone was there as someone maybe staying late, but no it was a Friday afternoon and the place was locked tighter than a crab’s ass.

I sat there and as I stared at the building I came to the fact that I will be without a phone for the weekend and I will also have to drive to Philly without a phone. I was pissed at myself for being so stupid and this was the second time recently I lost track of one of my belongings ,the last time was in November when Davin and I were on the road in Myrtle beach and I left my bag in the comedy club parking lot. This time wasn’t as bad as I know where the phone is and that it is safe unless the cleaning people steal it which I doubt as they always are very honest but none the less it was still on my mind.

I had no choice, it is what it is and I started to head to Philly. The trip west through Long Island was fine but when I had got to Brooklyn there was a string of nasty thunderstorms and there was flooding everywhere. I heard on the radio that the Belt parkway which is one of the main roads to get off Long Island into Jersey was stopped, as I have been gigging for twenty two years I know all the short cuts and I took the local roads which were slow but moving. When I got to the Verrazano Bridge which is how you get from Long Island to Staten Island and then to Jersey it was already six forty five. Time was ticking and not in my favor. I will just make this gig and if I am running late I will just call, oh yeah that’s right” I DON’T HAVE A PHONE”. How am I going to call and let them know I am running late, I am the headliner and if I am really late I can still make my spot but how would they know?

I crossed the bridge and the ride through Staten Island was brutal as the flooding from the storm wreaked havoc. I figured when I got into Jersey it would be better, it was seven thirty when I got into Jersey and it was just getting worse. As I am sitting in traffic I am trying to get a game plan going. When I get on The New Jersey Turnpike I will go to a travel plaza and find a pay phone to call the club, however there are no more pay phones anymore and do you know what and idiot I would feel like looking for one “ Do you have a pay phone? Yeah it’s by the Telegraph office stupid”. Another option is maybe find someone in charge at the rest stop and explain the situation and I could borrow their phone or they could call the club for me.  
It was eight fifteen when I got to the New Jersey Turnpike, I know from years of working at this club that it takes forty five minutes from the exit I’m at to get to the club. I decided to haul ass at eighty to ninety miles an hour down the turnpike and then into Pennsylvania. Arrival time for the nine thirty show is nine PM. I got there at nine o’ two, I got there with not one minute to spare but thank god I did not have to use a phone.

The one thing that concerned me is I wrote to Joe’s girl that I was leaving for Philly right before I left the phone at the day program. I was worried because I know she would be worried and I could not write back to her until I got home and onto my desk top computer at three am.
The trip home was uneventful and then there was Saturday. I had to go to the car dealer and sit for two and a half hours for something that was supposed to take an hour and a half. I did not miss my phone as I was making notes for our Davin’s Den Scams the Scammers clips. They take time to log and edit( so I hope you listen to them) anyway that kept me busy and I am on my way home now to have a nice lunch and then leave for the gig again in Philly. I have to leave at five. At quarter to three I get a flat five miles from my house. The only place to change the tire is a sandy patch on the side of the road. I look at the situation, I have two hours to change the tire, put on the donut spare, find a tire place to fix the tire and put it back on the truck and get to Philly. And again no phone if something goes wrong.

A Good Samaritan helped me with a better jack and gave me a tip on how to get the tire off as it was stuck to the rotor. After forty minutes, cutting my hand on the cheap shit jack handle, and being covered in sand and sweat I was on my way back to the house. I got home took a shower and headed to the gig trying to find a tire place on the way because I can’t drive to Philly on a donut.

It is now four thirty and of the two of the tire places I went to, one could not get me out until six, and the other one could not work on the car until the next day. I knew that there was one of those “We Fix Flats” places so I decided that I will just head west on the donut and if I had to I would have to drive forty miles an hour to Jersey on the donut and if that goes flat I will just call the club,, oh yeah that’s right, NO PHONE. With luck I found the fix a flat guy and I was on my way by five.

The trip to the gig was fine and I got there with time to spare. I did find that when you do have down time without a smart phone you don’t know what to do with yourself. It amazes me that for two days I was off the grid and besides of the necessity of a phone in case of an emergency I did not miss it much as it was nice to get a break from the texts and emails.    

I got into the Day Program Monday morning and immediately started to look for the phone. I went to the two places that I thought they might be,,,,it’s not there. One of my coworkers tried to call the phone and no ringing. I am now starting to freak out as I just paid the phone off last month and I can’t afford a new one. As I walk past the reception desk there it is. The cleaning people found it and left a note. What a sense of relief. It is amazing how much we rely on these things and they are such a big part of our lives and how something that was not even around twenty five years ago is now a needed appliance.  
   
During this whole ordeal I was saying to myself that there must be a reason for all of this, and I believe there was, the first text and voice mail was from my estranged wife saying she is not signing the Divorce papers sent to her. And there is the reason, why ruin the weekend with bad news, and about the divorce? That will be a story for another day. Got to go the phone is ringing.       

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THE NEVER ENDING JOURNEY TO NOT FAT - By Davin Rosenblatt


Being the fat kid sucks. I am not going to bullshit you and say looks don’t matter and you should be comfortable in your skin no matter how you look.  Looks do matter. They have always mattered.  People who say they don’t matter are either liars, look good, or are much more evolved than I am. Being fat as a kid means you get ostracized.  You are different.  You are a target for bullies and ridicule.  As you start to get older it means you are much less likely to date.  It means while your friends are dating you are home alone or the dreaded third wheel.  For my youth I was always the fat kid.  I had friends and I played sports but for those who did not know me I was a target. Goodbye self -confidence. 
As I approached 15 I realized I wanted to change my life path. I ate a lot of salad, drank a lot of water, and cut down on bread. Lo and behold I got my first girlfriend. In fact other girls started to notice me as well.  I am just shallow enough to know that made a difference in how I felt about myself.  When I look better I feel better about myself emotionally.  I don’t know why fat is a problem in society but I know it is and I know I am not strong enough to take on the onslaught of looks, derision, and whispers of being too fat. 

In college I gained the freshman 15 but I also lifted weights fairly often. I would continue this throughout my college years and though I was no longer the 27 inch waisted kid I was at the end of high school I was in shape and muscular.  I have never been shredded.  Even when I was running a mile every day in 95 degree heat and doing an insane amount of work on my abs I was never ripped but I was in shape.  I did pretty well with the ladies in college. Even though I ate crap and a lot of it I was working out and had a youngster’s metabolism.

When I met my wife I was 150 pounds and built. I had a 32 inch waist.  I was also getting ready to start law school, would soon begin a comedy career, have a part time job and of course a new girlfriend. There was just not enough time to work out regularly like I use to. I was happy. I was busy. I was not focused on my fitness.  I am not one who gorges themselves on food. I don’t eat a lot. I don’t eat exceptionally bad. I just slowly gain weight. I like to eat at night in bed watching tv. I like to sit on the couch and eat junk food. I really do enjoy eating. It makes me happy. I like sweet. I like savory. I like food. I like food much more than I ever liked working out. Maybe you can relate.

Leading up to our wedding we did the South Beach diet together.  It worked very well for me.  Don’t get me wrong, I hated not being to eat exactly what I wanted but my fiancée made a lot of the food. I essentially was living off of turkey roll. I was fine with it because I was losing a few pounds every week. I like to see the numbers go down on the scale. It motivated me. I did not have to lift heavy objects at a rapid pace. I looked good for my wedding. I definitely could not have done it if my fiancée was eating chocolate cake every night. I do not have that type of will power. It definitely works better when you are doing a program with someone to help motivate each other.

After the wedding we stopped the South Beach diet and fell back into bad habits. Slowly but surely the pounds crept up. It is always a slow climb. A couple of pounds every year.  A few years later my wife is pregnant and that seems like the perfect excuse to eat poorly. And I did. Now don’t get me wrong, I have had gym memberships and I actually went for quite some time. I don’t like going. I hate getting in the car to drive someplace just to be uncomfortable. The point is I was trying. I was walking the treadmill and riding the bike. I was lifting weights.  Thank goodness or I would have really ballooned up. I always tried to keep my weight in check but if you are not exactly on point it is a battle you can lose.  So a bit after my daughter was born we tried Nutri-System.  The food was not great but the plan was easy.  Once again the weight came off fairly easily. Don’t get me wrong, I preferred bigger portions and sweeter sweets but it worked.  Once again though once off the plan the weight slowly crept back up. I was your typical yo -yo weight gain and loss person.

On top of that I stopped going to the gym. It was too far (15 – 20 minute drive).  I did try and walk the hills in my complex. I was still mobile but my eating habits were bad and my metabolism had slowed down considerably. I was getting rounder.  When the crew came to film American Greed at my house we took some pictures. I did not post them because I did not like how I looked. The self-esteem was plummeting. That was the spring of 2017. We then went on a cruise to Cuba. I did the cruise lifestyle and grew to my fattest.  Things were trending badly.  When American Greed came out on tv I joked on the radio that I looked like I ate myself.



When we came back from Cuba my wife decided she had enough of her own weight issues. She subscribed to some something called Beach Body.  They had a lot of work out programs so she picked one she wanted to do and I agreed to do it with her.  We started with 21 Day Fix. It was a high intensity work out 7 days a week for 30 minutes a day.  I did lose some weight. I was not following the meal plan but I was toning some and some pounds were coming off.  We did this program for awhile.  Then we would mix in those work outs with some other work outs.

Still some of the weight I had lost was coming back with a quickness.  There is nothing more frustrating than working hard physically and still gaining weight.  Plus nobody seemed to really notice that I had lost weight.  It was frustrating.  We did drop some weight before our trip to Italy so we were at least happy about that.  The food in Italy is delicious so I was not going to stick to a diet there anyway.

About a hundred days ago my wife was growing bored of our workouts so she wanted to do 80 Day Obsession which is more like 100 days.  You work out six days a week for about an hour a day doing weight training, while doing cardio, and compound movement all while on a very strict eating plan. And no cheat days…F@#k my life.

Can I just tell you I hated waking up in the morning to work out. So many times I wanted to quit within the first couple of minutes of the work out.  My couch and Scrubs is way more enticing than a work out mat and loops and sliders.  If you don’t know what loops and sliders are they are essentially resistance bands and pie tins that are extremely frustrating to deal with.  The woman who leads the work out, Autumn seems like a nice enough gal but I hated her. She was too peppy with too many platitudes and motivational sayings. I am sure this is helpful for some people . For me I envisioned doing horrible things to her just to get her to shut up.  I soon realized that some times the equipment we were told to use was nothing more than an excuse to use the stuff we bought from them.  I stopped using some of the stuff on some exercises. Even Autumn came around and stopped using the stuff on occasion.

The pounds were not flying off of me.  It was frustrating. I was doing the eating plan and working out very hard.  I missed white bread and soda. I was tired of vegetables. I don’t want spinach at 7 Am in the morning!  My mood was deteriorating because the pounds were not coming off quickly and I had never worked so hard.  I lost a few pounds.  My body was changing a bit. I was toning but I needed to see the numbers come off.  About half way through I convinced my wife that we scrap the meal plan and just watch what we eat.  The pounds started coming off more quickly.  The meal plan which had us eating 5 times a day was actually too much food.  With the number on the scale going down my mood brightened.

Next up my annoyance at the woman leading the work out. Shut the F@#k up is never good to yell at a tv.  I started playing music during the work outs. I still heard Autumn but at least on occasion I could lose myself in the music.  Every day my wife pushed play on the video and every day I joined her. Often followed up by playing softball in the evening.  Now my wife thought Autumn was delightful enough though maybe a bit too peppy sometimes.  I think I work out harder on rage and determination than light hearted inspiration.

That is another thing. This work out beat up my body. I don’t just mean muscle soreness. My knees really hurt taking stairs.  My back was aggravated.  I was in pain and feeling worse than I did before working out. There is a lot of jumping while holding weights. I am not a fan of that. You can modify it but I tried to not modify as much as possible. 

Now it did help my cardiovascular conditioning.  I do not get winded nearly as easily.  It did help my strength. I am lifting heavier weights than I was before.  I did get an oblique cut.  I did not shred out the way I would have liked.

In the last month my wife was starting to struggle with the workouts. She was bored and had enough. This is where I picked her up. I would not let her quit.  We were too close and she had worked too hard.  Her body was changing.  She was getting uch thinner but she had problem areas that she was unsatisfied with. I wanted to quit but I wasn’t going to and I would not let her quit.  She had dealt with my bad attitude through most of it so it was time I set a good example for her.

The week before the program ended we went to Florida. I was not going to work out in Florida. I was not going to starve myself in Florida. We went and had a good time. We each lost weight that week. Apparently ice cream and amusement parks are a good work out.

We came back and started Peak Week…the hardest week of the program.  It was hard. It was not Butter Beer and ju ju fruits.  I would end the work outs covered in sweat like I just got out of the shower.

We did it. Did I lose what I wanted to on the program? No. I thought it was a weight loss program. It was a toning program. Am I in better shape? Absolutely! My shoulders are broader, my waist is smaller, my butt is smaller (not that I was worried about that), and my stomach is flatter. I look better.  I have more work to do. I will never do this program again. It is too strict for me.  I will pick various work outs over the next few months to maintain and then October there is another program I hope to start. Work out 4 days a week for 30 minutes with high intensity.  I am going to hate it but I will hate it 30 minutes less at a time. I don’t like working out. That will not change.  I do like being in better shape for all the vain reasons.  I am not an inspiration. I am not going to tell you that I am going to embrace this new lifestyle. I won’t.  I will try. I will fail. I will push again. This will be a life long struggle.  I’m in it. Why? Because my vanity says I have no choice.



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They are telling you – You have to listen - By Pip Helix (Davin's Den)

I remember reading somewhere that in relationships, people usually tell you what they want and where you stand with them.  Of course, you have to actually be listening to what they say, and have to be brave enough to take the words in, without changing it into what you hope they just said.  I wished I had known this so much earlier in life, because I would have saved so much time I spent on people not worthy of the effort, friends, family and love relationships alike.

Why didn’t I listen to the many signals my so-called best friend sent out over the years that she did not value our friendship?  I can recall several painful moments where she told me, not in so many words, but the message was that I wasn’t important.  When filling out the middle-school yearbook questionnaire, she answered the question, “Who do you hang out with?” by saying “No one special”.  I happened to be on the yearbook staff, and the teacher advisor took me aside to show me her response.  At the time, I didn’t understand why he did that, but as an adult, I realized that he saw what I was not ready to see – that she was not a good friend.  He changed the answer to “Friends” before it printed, I think in order to spare my feelings. When I asked her about what she wrote, she gave some strange excuse like she didn’t think it was anyone’s business, but since we had few other friends, everyone knew who her friends was anyway.  It made no sense.  Now I know that she was saying exactly what she thought.  I was “no one special”.

Of course, there were other things that were said or done that made me delude myself into thinking that I must be mistaken, or being overly sensitive.  Whatever the reason, I clung so hard to my childhood friend, well into the first year or so of college, until she finally rejected me outright.

I had been asked to be a bridesmaid to a new college friend, and I guess I was complaining too much about what a process it all was and how it was more rigamarole than I expected. She said to me, “Well, don’t expect me to do any of this when you get married – don’t even ask me.” Ouch.  Who says that to their supposed best friend? Yes, being a bridesmaid or a maid of honor can be a lot of work, but it is a rite of passage for all women.  Your friends get married, you wear an ugly dress and let them fuss over how you are going to wear your hair, etc. I was still unable to hear what she was telling me.

Later in life, I was interested in a guy who belonged to a club I was in.  We spent time together with the club, and then gradually started having coffee together.  I was under the impression that we were making slow in-roads into getting together when he said to me, “So, are we becoming friends?”  Why didn’t I hear that for exactly what it was – I was already friend-zoned.  I heard, oh wow, we are getting closer.  We went out on many what-seemed-like-dates, but without any end of the night kiss, and I thought he was shy.  HA!  He was dating someone else, but was afraid to tell me. It wasn’t until he screwed up the courage to tell me that I knew for sure that nothing was ever going to happen between us.  But I should have, because he told me what I was to him.  A friend.  I just didn’t listen.

When I started to date my now-husband, we spent an evening at Dave & Buster’s, a restaurant/bar with arcade games.  We were having a lot of fun, racking up tickets to be turned in for a prize, and he was casually saying that we could hold onto them and save up for a better prize another time, that we might be able to try for the big prize…a lot of “we”, and talking about the future.  This time, I knew that people tell you what they think.  And I was listening.  This person likes me, this person wants to spend more time with me.  This person values my opinion, even if it is about Dave & Buster’s prizes.  He was telling me what I was to him from the very start.  And this time, I listened.
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STILL GOING AFTER ALL THESE YEARS - By Joe Currie (Davin's Den)


My long time band Rotgut played last night, we played all cover tunes and no originals. Gone are the days of the full show and everybody in our out fits (except for me because I cannot play live in this band if I’m not in a dress). We were not the headliners and we did not have the luxury of the gig being plugged on a prime time radio show for a month, and nobody in the audience really knew who we were.

This was our fourth gig in five years since the band reconvened after a ten year break.
We always enjoy playing but we all had a great time playing this gig as there was no stress and you could feel the vibe on stage that we just had a blast just cranking out tunes and having fun.
Just enjoy what you are doing and have fun. As Viv the keyboard player in Spinal Tap would say “ have a good time all the time”.

Later that night over beers at the compound Anthony Cumia and I were talking and commenting how we are still doing the same stuff we did at eighteen. Obviously one of us has been more successful at it and it aint me, but the bottom line is what I said at the top, it’s about the fun ,and how you love what you’re doing and what you feel your meant to be doing. Earlier in the day I was in the studio with my other band Fragile Sky laying down the beginning tracks to our new project and it is just so cool to spending the day making music with these two amazing bands.

Davin, our friend Chip and I are writing a series based on my life, we embellish a lot of it as it is a dramatic Comedy or Dramedy. In the show I’m essentially playing in a band, a standup comic, and do a radio show. My character on the show wants to make it at any cost. As I review the script I am driven but I am not as frustrated as the character in the show because at this point of the game I realize things may not happen in my career as a comic or musician but the thing is I’m enjoying the ride.

 Have I sacrificed things for this business? Yes since I was sixteen every decision I have made is how it would affect the band or comedy. But as Anthony and I discussed, we stuck to our guns and as two gentlemen in their fifties we are still doing what we love while people of our age have given up on their dreams and go to work, come home, watch TV and go to bed.

Even though I still have to go to the day program, at five my day does not end I’m out almost every night at a band rehearsal, at the radio show, gig, or writing meeting and I would not trade it for the world. As I say it’s a life style and there is no other place I want to be on weekend than a comedy or rock club.

So do what you love and don’t stop if it feeds your heart and soul. And maybe at the next  Rotgut show maybe I will give myself a break and not wear a dress, sorry no can do.

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The Jersey Shore - By Davin Rosenblatt


I was born in Jersey. I grew up in Jersey. I live in New York. I miss Jersey.  New Jersey has wonderful beaches though if you are from New Jersey it is not the beach. You are going down the shore. At least that is how everybody I know refers to the Jersey beaches.  A lot of people probably associate the Jersey shore with the show Jersey Shore.  The Jersey Shore certainly gave one aspect of our beach life.

If you are young then yes the New Jersey beaches offer a lot of nightlife and debauchery. Though I have never been kicked out of night clubs or peed behind the bar like cast mates of the show I do know the night life is full of energy. There are dance clubs, rock clubs, comedy clubs, and boardwalks.  All cranking out loud sounds and beckoning your attention. Flashing lights, high hair, loud Jersey accents; it is all very distinctive. It is all Jersey.

The food…oh the food. The Jersey Shore of my youth had huge $1 pizza slices which were delicious. I would drive a couple of hours just to get the slice. Gas and tolls were cheaper then and I didn’t mind the drive. The grease oozing down my chin. Yum. There is also frozen custard, the best salt water taffy, cheese fries, zeppoles, and for seafood loves fried clam strips.  If you know people from Jersey then you know they love food.  Now you can travel and find some of these features at other beaches but not in so much quantity. Not so unapologetically beckoning you to indulge while you are in your swim wear. Jersey tells you, that you worked hard to fit into that bikini but now you are at the beach so you need a freshly squeezed lemonade with half a lemon in it and some fried food. The food is like the people. In your face and dares you to ignore it.

The beaches…I have to be honest, I have been to a lot more pleasant beaches than the Jersey shore. Beaches with softer sand, cheaper parking, warmer water, cheaper beaches, clearer water, and gentler waves.  Our sand is like the people a bit coarse and rough. Like the people our sand is weathered and a little sharp.  It is not that soft powdery stuff of the Bahamas. The sand like the people of Jersey will not be ignored.  The parking is expensive. Jersey is expensive and the powers that be figure you have been eating fried food and cold drinks that a little cardio every few hours to run to the meter will do you some good. Bring quarters. Lots and lots of quarters for those ever present parking meters.   New Jersey is not a tropical state. We get a few months of summer and that’s it. Our water temperatures never seem to understand that come June we are ready for warm water.  Our water is nice and warm in September when everybody goes back to school. Maybe our water has a Jersey sense of humor.  Jersey charges to get onto the beach. I must admit this annoys me. It is a natural resource and should be open to everybody. It does seem wrong to pay for what was once free.  In more tropical locales the water is so clear you can see your feet and what lurks below.  That is a bit comforting. The Jersey shore offers no such comfort.  If you want to come into its water you will have to take it on faith that your feet are still below you and that nothing more dangerous lurks under you.  The water is not crystal blue. It is green from the seaweed.  Crystal blue and clear is so predictable. You can get that anywhere. No the Shore like the people who live there are never quite what you expect. Just when you expect to receive the Jersey state bird you will get a hug and just when you think you are cool with somebody they will rip into you. And oh that Jersey sarcasm.  Are they being nasty or just joking? Who knows for sure? Kind of like our shore water. You know it is water but everything else is up to chance.  Any beach will give you waves on a stormy day. Waves that leave you wondering which way is up. They will also give you calmness on a nice day.  The Jersey waves are a bit more ribald. Even on a nice day they may take you for a tumble.  Much like the people in Jersey you are free to enjoy their company but don’t for one minute get too comfortable and forget who you are dealing with. Before you know it a surge of green water might sneak up on you and dunk your head. The shore’s waves are fun but they are to be respected.  This is not the calm lapping waves of Bermuda after all.

There are places where the locals depend on being more than kind because you are their income.  In Jersey the locals have a name for the people who flock to the Shore…Bennys.  Bennys in their eyes are a nuisance even though they sustain the local economy. They can’t wait for you to leave and give them back what they think is theirs.  This does not change even if you are yourself from the Garden State.  You are still a tourist to them.

I have travelled the world and been to many beaches but none that has the life of the Shore.  It like its people is a rock and roll good time. There are better beaches for lazy days but if you are looking for a place where the food is fattening and delicious, the people are funny and sharp, the ocean is not a passive body of water but has just enough edge to keep you on your toes or knock you on your butt, and the sand is great for sand castles but will leave a mark if you decide to scrape along the bottom on your knees then the Jersey Shore is the place for you. It isn’t perfect but for me it is home.

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