Hey everybody, it's been a while. It will probably be a while before you hear from me again, but don't worry. I'm not quitting comedy. I just have a ton of things in the works, including relocating to Orlando, Florida. It will take me a few months to get my comedic bearings back and get settled in down here, but no worries. I'll have jokes coming before 2017 is over!
Standup Comedy Show in Sissonville on April 1st at Carney's Village Café. Show starts at 9:00 pm, with no cover charge. Come drink and laugh with us!
I wrote last fall that I was going to have a new beginning in comedy (and life), to a degree. Phase 1 was to cut the fat out a little. I left two things I loved doing, improv with the No Pants Players and recording my old radio show Laugh Appalachia. Once that was done, I wanted to get rested up and recharged.
That step took a little longer than I thought. I figured I would take the Christmas holidays and relax on a long vacation. That went well, but I was still tired when I came back. I decided I needed to continue to get my energy back by resting a little longer. Well, here we are almost 4 months after my sabbatical began and I finally feel like it's time to get back to comedy! I've been lackadaisically writing, but it's time to kick that back into gear.
Comedy isn't the only area I needed to upgrade. I got fat last year. Too much doing things that weren't active, eating whatever I want, and way too much stress. I'm hitting the reset button. I went to bed super early last night and got up early this morning, got in a light workout, ate a filling breakfast, and have had a great morning of work.
Throughout this process, I'm going to use my blog as a journal of sorts. So, I won't be sharing a lot of the stuff I write through social media and advertising like I do when I'm promoting a show, but be sure to come back to my site for more updates with how things are going. Since this is my comedy blog, I'm going to focus on the comedy/work/life balance. People talk about work/life balance like it's the key to a happy hippy-dippy life, but the life of being a comedian that isn't a complete professional yet, which is what I amsince I have a day job, can have a grind to it.
Each week, I am going to look at three or four pro sports topics. Here is the first post of the Lee Hale Comedy Sports Review, February 13th edition.
This will be a topic I will probably beat to death over the next few months. Russell Westbrook is the NBA MVP at this point. The all-star game voting was downright shameful. The fan vote needs to either be eliminated, or you need to pass a test to prove you aren’t too stupid to choose all stars. I would propose a similar test for voting in actual government elections, but that’s another post for another group of people.
Back in 2012, I argued that Mike Trout should have been MLB MVP over Miguel Cabrera, but Miggy won the triple crown. You can’t give a player the MVP over a triple crown winner, no matter what he does, in spite of Trout being comparable at the plate and was way better in the field and circling the bases. This argument is essentially the same. You can’t give the MVP to anybody else if a player is currently averaging a triple-double. I’m aware his efficiency is lower than you’d like, and he does turn the ball over a lot, but willing a team to the playoffs like he currently is the definition of value.
Let’s put some perspective on it. LeBron James is the best player in the world. He’s given that value, in spite of not having the explosiveness he used to, largely because he has the ability to score, rebound, and pass the ball. This has made his one of the greatest ever. And in his career, he has 47 triple-doubles. Westbrook has 26 this year. That is absurd, and there’s no argument that anybody else should be the MVP.
Until he drops below having a triple-double, there’s not an argument that can convince me that he shouldn’t be. If he does drop below that mark, then I will start considering somebody like Kawhi Leonard, who is only 1.24 behind in ESPN’s Hollinger stats in PER, but has a usage rate of 29.3 compared to Westbrook’s 42.5. Although, having a usage rate of 42.5 is astounding by itself. There should be an Ironman Award for that himself.
The NFL Draft season is starting. Let’s be honest, here’s your chance to keep football going when they aren’t playing on Sundays. College fans love it because they get to see all kinds of news about their favorite players, and pro fans love it because it gives you optimism that your team is going to beat the Patriots for the Super Bowl next year.
I won’t spend much time on this topic this week, but for right now, it’s seems like every year there is either a huge debate between two or three players who are going to go number 1, or there’s talk about the depth of the draft. This year is a depth year. It looks like nobody is going to be able to compete with Myles Garrett. The main question involving the top end of this draft is, will Cleveland draft him, or will they trade that gold mine that comes with a first overall pick for the long list of things they could get in return. Neither of the main quarterbacks available via a trade are worth the first overall pick straight up, but could Dallas trade Romo, along with a ton of picks, or could the Patriots trade a ton of resources towards Cleveland with Garoppolo for it? I think Cleveland hangs on to the first pick and trades their 12th pick with New England for Garappolo, given Romo’s age and inability to stay healthy. That’s just my opinion.
Catchers and Pitcher Reporting
Ah, baseball nerds, it’s time to pop those baseball boners and get excited. Pitchers and catchers start reporting over the next week or so…which means we are about 2 months away from meaningful baseball. I only pay attention to spring training so I can play in my fantasy baseball league, which I only use to pass the time until fantasy football starts in the fall.
A few things to look for this spring that I’m excited about:
Which Byron Buxton shows up this spring, the legendary level prospect that has flashed potential or the offensively inept player who hit .193 over his first 63 games in the big leagues last year? I hope he’s the superstar I waited on in my league for over a year before releasing him and watching him tear it up when he came back to the majors.
Consensus number 1 prospect, Andrew Benintendi, is still hoping to break through in Boston this year. Players like him make spring training awesome. I consider spring training AAAA baseball, and that’s what I watch it for. I have no intention of watching Mike Trout or Clayton Kershaw play in the spring, just wait until it counts for them. I know how amazing they are. Let me see Benintendi.
Matt Wieters is still a free agent. How? He’s not the awesome catcher he once was, but he’s still better than quite a few of the MLB starters. Who gets him on the cheap for this year will be one happy team.
One an almost personal note, I’ll be watching my two top keepers in fantasy baseball, Giancarlo Stanton and Bryce Harper, hoping they stay healthy for the season. That’s how I managed to get both of them. If they stay on the field the entire year, I’ll be able to keep up with just about anybody on the home runs front, but those two definitely know how to get hurt. I hope they aren’t.
Feel free to comment below and let me know what you think. You can tweet at me about how stupid you think I am at commenting on sports @hale_lee. Now, each and every one of you have a great week. Unless you’re a terrible human being, then I hope your week sucks.
Be sure to tune into 96.9 FM on WWSA radio at noon on Wednesday. I'll be rocking the studio with Buzz Browning talking about the upcoming Lee and Andy Variety Show. I'll also be giving away some free tickets. So be sure to tune in and check us and maybe walk away with free tickets to the Alban!
The West Virginia Department of Education should do something amazing to make being a teacher awesome and save state funding at the same time. They already have a program in place that pays teachers based on a bunch of factors, but a lot of teachers work 9 months (give or take) out of the year. The rest of the time, the state should allow local businesses and people to sponsor teachers.
Here's an example, but before you start reading this, keep in mind this is all random, I have no clue what the carpentry teachers are like in Beckley, nor do I know if finding good carpenters is a hard task in Beckley, this is just random thinking:
The average teacher makes around $40,000 in West Virginia (that's an unverified number found from a quick Google search, but for this example, it doesn't have to be perfect). Now, $40,000 is not a great salary, but you can live on it. Let's say a business in Beckley is having a hard time finding highly qualified carpenters. The local school doesn't have the funding to buy the proper materials or hire a qualified shop teacher that can teach the kids how to perform quality construction tasks. So a company, let's just say Silverpoint Homes in Beckley, needs quality carpenters to build quality houses.
So, Silverpoint can go out and work with the board of education and say, "We found this amazing teacher from out of state that could teach our kids exactly what they need." This school could then say, well, we can't afford him, and Silverpoint could pony up $10,000 a year extra for 5 years and they could hire the shop teacher of their dreams, making the local kids better at carpentry.
Seeing the great publicity that Silverpoint Homes is getting from investing in the local children, so White Pines Manufactured Homes wants to get involved, because they would also benefit from great carpenters. They have already paid the teacher, but the teacher has said they could use better materials to teach the kids construction practices. White Pines could donate the materials to build a small home. The kids then spend a year building this home.
Now you have a competitive carpentry market, and kids coming out of school have the trade skills to build the houses in Beckley, and they can ship these houses all over West Virginia and Beckley is suddenly profiting from a housing market.
I understand I have over simplified a lot of complex issues, but I think this is a fun idea. Plus, teachers could wear sponsor uniforms like they do in NASCAR, and everybody would have fun with this seeing all the brands that are supporting them.
I am currently promoting the Lee and Andy Variety Show. I have posters printed, thanks to the awesome people at Dunbar Printing! I'm looking for good locations to put posters up in St. Albans that would be seen by the general public. If you know of any places I can put 11x17 posters up to help make this show a success and to spread the laughter to as many people as possible, let me know. You can respond here, on the Facebook post, or shoot me a message. Any of these will work. Thanks for your help, and I look forward to bringing comedy to St. Albans next month!
Man, 2017 is off to a great start. Halestorm released their newest cover album, and it was awesome. I think Hate Myself for Loving You is my favorite cover on this one, but In the Still of the Night and Ride the Lightning are incredible as well. Do yourself a favor and go listen to them. They cover the 21 Pilots song Heathens, which is very interesting being done as a rock song.
Thanks to Spotify, I also know that Dropkick Murphy's released a new album, for the first time in years. I need to go drinking in Ireland with these guys. Can anybody book a comedy tour in Ireland for me? That'd be wonderful. Thanks.
There's a big wreck on the interstate a few miles ahead and the highway is essentially a parking lot that moves 50 feet at a time every few minutes. We've all been there. It always sucks. Although, it doesn't suck as badly as the ones that were in the wreck to back it up. Anyways, you sit in traffic and a few cops, ambulances, and fire trucks drive past you up the shoulder. This is all fine and dandy.
Then it happens, some jerk face comes up with what he thinks is a genius move to save him time, so he whips out and follows these vehicles and just drives up the shoulder to try to get to an exit, sometimes as far as a few miles away. Congratulations, you complete waste of life and detriment to society, I now hate you. Sure, there's a chance that person is rushing to a hospital because they have a pregnant lady giving birth, or because little Jimmy broke his finger, but it's a very very very small chance. More likely than not, it's some run of the mill piece of trash who thinks he is more important than everybody else and doesn't have time to waste on sitting in traffic jams and allowing the traffic to flow in an orderly fashion to help everybody move along more quickly. These are the same people who usually drive 90 mph on the interstate and swerve across all the lanes constantly passing people. There's a special circle of Hell for you.
My solution is to straddle the white line and block people from being able to do this. Unless they flash some blue or red lights at me, I'm not letting you through. To the truck-drivers who block the shoulder from these degenerates, I would like to say, "Thank you!"
This may not seem like a bad idea to you, but here's the thing. The shoulder should be used by emergency crews getting to the accident and by them alone. If you're 30 feet from the exit lane and only dip off the interstate to get there when there isn't a line, that's fine as well. Everybody else can just sit in line. You're probably not that important, and if a few of you do this and cause another jam at the exit, or even worse, try to just pass people then merge back into the lane, you could be backing up the only available lane for emergency crews to help injured people. Then the blood of that accident is on your hands.
The moral of the story, if you think driving for a mile on the shoulder is a good idea, I genuinely wish you terrible 2017! Have nice day...and don't be an idiot.
For 2017, I'm going to mix things up a little. I'm going to be doing a lot more charity and volunteering than I have in years past. I'm been so busy the past couple of years that I wasn't able to do a lot of independent things, but now that I've cleared my schedule up a good bit, I am going to be striking it out on my own a little more and trying to help out the community here in Charleston a lot more.
One of the biggest ways you'll see me is using two apps that allow companies to sponsor you and donate to a charity depending on how far you walk. These two apps, Charity Miles and Walk for a Dog, allow me to donate to a list of potential charities, with the Walk for a Dog going to the Charleston Humane Society and Charity Miles varying, but I've recently been doing a lot of giving to Stand Up To Cancer. These are the idea that even small donations, most of my walks or runs only contribute $1.00 or so, but they add up over time. Over the course of the year, this could be near $1,000 raised between the two apps. So, if you see me and one of my puppies walking around Charleston, you'll know why!
I've also always volunteered with Habitat for Humanity and a few other groups over the past few years, here and there. I'm going to try to step those up and do them a little more often than I have in the past. I only live a couple of miles from the Habitat for Humanity Restore, and they can always use a hand.
All in all, I think this will be a very fulfilling year in my life, and hopefully I'll do a little good for some people, or pets, around the world! Maybe I'll see you on the charity trail, so to speak.