Tag Archives: Bill cosby

Ticketmaster can Shove It


It’s not as if I learned something I didn’t already know today. The world is driven by money; it shouldn’t shock me to have the fact thrust in my face, but it did.

Back in December, my wife got me tickets to see one of my favorite performers of all time. A guy whose stand-up routines I would memorize entire twenty-minute passages from. A guy whose mannerisms and quirky onscreen personality was the stuff of legend. It was a brilliant gift, the kind of gift I only wish I could think to put together for her, and man oh man, was I excited.

And then, a month or so later, the first allegations came out.

By last count, the number of women accusing Bill Cosby of rape has grown to something like 43. And it immediately put me in mind of the Sorites Paradox. Because when the first woman came out, I thought, surely not, this is just some gold-digger. When the second woman came out, I thought, she’s just trying to piggyback on the first. When the third came out, I thought, they smell blood in the water. Nothing, at first, convinced me that there was anything to the allegations.

Somewhere along the way, though, a few voices in the dark turns into a chorus of accusers, and it’s hard to ignore 43 women claiming the same thing in one form or another. But I’m not here to weigh in on Coz’s guilt or innocence.

My gripe is with Ticketmaster.

Thanks to all the poison in the air around Bill Cosby right now, my wife and I decided that we’re not keen to support the man right at the moment, and asked for a refund or even just a credit to attend another show, but Ticketmaster’s not having it. They’re hiding behind the fact that they don’t sell the tickets, they merely streamline the transaction, and since the venue hasn’t canceled the show, they can’t do anything about my tickets.

Look, language matters, so I’m going to make a big deal about it. Ticketmaster. A billion-dollar enterprise. Claims they can’t do anything about our tickets to this show.

Now, I understand they have to be very careful and very specific about refunding money, because it’s all slippery slopes when you start dealing with people’s moral objections to performers. But the reason this case is different — and why I don’t think any slippery slopes really apply — is because the allegations against Bill Cosby, at least for the vast majority of the public, were a bolt from the blue that nobody would have expected. Certainly my wife and I didn’t when we made plans to go to the show. I don’t think that, if Ticketmaster were to grant refunds for this show, they’d suddenly have a mad dash of customers canceling tickets for all kinds of venues with similar or even related circumstances. This feels like a one-off to me.

But never mind that. They said they “can’t” do anything for me.

Bear in mind that security has been tripled for the event, and a group of protesters has claimed that they will disrupt the show in any way possible, both outside and inside the venue. Don’t worry about the fact that a week prior, local news stations have run stories about protesters ramping up for the event. My only recourse, according to Ticketmaster, is to sell my tickets.

Which would be great and fine if it turned out I had a dentist appointment during the show, but nobody wants tickets to this show now (except maybe the protesters). They’ve washed their hands of the matter; it’s my problem now.

Which I suppose isn’t all that surprising. They got our money, what else should they care about?

It’s just very disappointing. Ticketmaster “can’t help me.”

Never mind the enormous PR service they could do for themselves (who, in the world, actually likes Ticketmaster?) by doing the right thing and making refunds available to the people that ask for them in this case? Sure, they’d lose money on that venture, but think what positive press it would buy them with customers.

Ticketmaster “can’t help me.”

Problem with that is, it’s the wrong currency. They’ve got a chokehold on the ticket business, so why should they relinquish a single cent on any grounds, moral or otherwise?

Truly and honestly, it’s not about the money. Not that my wife and I can afford to chuck $150 away on this event we’re now not going to attend, but we’ll swallow it if we have to. I’m mad — flabbergasted, really — that the company is willing to stonewall me (and thousands of other customers in Atlanta, it turns out) on this no refunds policy despite the morally charged nature of this particular situation.

So if the event does not get canceled, and if you happen to be a protester who wants to get inside the venue — for whatever reason, that’d be between you and whoever you pray to — let me know. Because since Ticketmaster has demonstrated that they don’t give one flying sharknado about me, I think it’s only fair to return the favor.

This post is part of Stream of Consciousness Saturday.


Toddler Life, Chapter 76: Infants Are At War With Our Sleep Schedules


I believe I’ve written before about the sixth sense the babies have about the plans adults have made in the house. In short, if you are a parent of a kid under… mine are only 2, so I’m going to extrapolate a little bit here… 7, that kid will inevitably find a way to unearth your plan, smear it with his slobbery little fingers, then shatter it into tiny little pieces, then eat the pieces and poop them out all over the oriental rug in the living room. The priceless one you inherited from your grandmother. The one valued at over ten thousand dollars, because somehow a rug can be worth more than a car.

They know. They have brains the size of baseballs, but they can smell a plan forming, and the smell is abhorrent to them. They don’t have sophisticated language skills yet, or the ability to set a booby trap or actively create a mess for you to clean up at the expense of whatever thing you were thinking of doing, but what they do have is the knack for becoming unignorably needy and unbearably obnoxious.

Case in point:

Morning runs have been getting dodgy of late. My wife is exhausted from the wee hours wake-ups with sprout #2 (justifiably so) and has asked me to help out with some mid-night changings and feedings. (Mid-night is hyphenated, because oh, if only they happened at midnight. No, were they at midnight, they would fall in between REM cycles and allow for a nice long stretch of sleep unbroken before sprout #1 wakes at half-past waaaaay too early. These happen at 10:45 — roughly an hour after we head to bed — and 3 AM — just a few hours before we’re going to wake up.)

There’s a corollary here which neatly encapsulates the Catch-22 that takes place in my house every night (and here, were current events different, I’d quote Bill Cosby’s Himself routine about how “the same thing happens every night”, but the world is an ugly place and I can not currently quote Bill Cosby without feeling a little bit skeevy). Sprout #2 begins crying at oh, whatever time she damn well feels like it. My wife sleeps much more lightly than I do, so she wakes up immediately (I can sleep merrily for at least ten minutes of infant fussing). So she’s awake anyway, but I’ve promised to help out, so wife starts poking me in the ribs to wake me up. I get up. Go downstairs to warm up a bottle. Bring it back upstairs and begin to change baby’s diaper. By the time I get the bottle in her mouth, about twenty minutes have passed since she started crying. It’s a funny trick of the universe that twenty minutes is about the amount of time it would take for my wife to hear the crying, get up, change the diaper, stick a boob in the kid’s mouth, and be back in bed. But I dutifully feed the kid. Sometimes she accepts the bottle, sometimes she doesn’t. Either way, it’s about 40 minutes from the time she originally started crying before I can have the little bundle of joy laid back in her bed; 40 minutes which my wife cannot sleep through because of first the crying and then the slurping and then the singing and fussing and finally the walking around as I soothe baby back (hopefully) to sleep.

If that was too much to follow: it takes my wife 15-20 minutes to settle the crying baby back down with roughly a 95% success rate, and it takes me about 45 minutes to settle the baby with more or less a 30% success rate, because even though the girl can take a bottle, what she really wants is a boob, and to a lesser extent, her mother. But I am trying to help, so I soldier on anyway.

Right, back to the point. Baby wakes up at 4 AM this morning. I have the brilliant idea that I’ll put the baby down, and, since I’ll be awake anyway, I’ll suit up and go for a run, then come back and go to sleep if time allows, and if not, well, the run will have woken me up.

But the baby knows, and she won’t take the bottle from me. I’m determined to pull my weight and let my wife get her last two hours of beauty sleep before she goes to work (she’s making bank while I’m home for the break), so I keep at it. Baby fights me for twenty minutes, drinking about two swallows of milk and drooling half the bottle down her onesie, which then needs changing. Changing the onesie makes her cold, which wakes her up even more. Then she poops, so I have to change her diaper, which makes her even colder.

Now it’s 4:30 AM, and the baby is wide awake. Sometimes she can fake me out and appear to be awake but actually be very very tired, so I lay her in the crib and decide to give her a few minutes to see if she falls asleep while I suit up for my run.

She doesn’t. She begins squalling louder than before. I trudge back in and try the bottle again, but she demonstrates surprising forearm strength and nearly swats it out of my hand. There’s nothing for it: she’s awake, but I’m going to insulate my wife from having to get out of bed, so I take her downstairs and watch her flerp around on the floor for a while. (“Flerping” is that uncoordinated rolling, scooting, flopping and stumbling that only a baby who’s surprisingly mobile but not yet able to crawl can accomplish.) This she does for fully an hour without showing any sign of getting tired.

So I can’t run, because the baby is awake and will cry like I’ve stolen every cookie from her entire life if I lay her in the crib. And I can’t go back to sleep, because if I close my eyes for an instant while the baby is flerping in the floor, she’s likely to pull the Christmas tree over, or gag herself on the tail of a cat, or somehow set fire to the drapes. This infant — brain the size of a baseball, remember — has not only pooped on my plan for a productive early morning, but destroyed my fallback plan of going back to sleep, and has made me feel like an idiot besides for now being stuck on the couch watching her flerp at 5 AM.

5:45 AM comes, and I hear my wife stirring upstairs. I take the baby up and relate the events of the morning, and share my opinion that the baby is probably still hungry since she hasn’t actually eaten in nine hours. My wife takes the baby into the nursery and within two shakes of a cricket’s whisker, the baby is asleep, drunk on breastmilk straight from the tap.

I go for my run anyway at this point, because I’m stubborn like that, and spend the rest of the day in a mind-fog that can only come from … well, from a sleep-deprived night with an infant who is, apparently, smarter than all of us. Or at least smarter than me.

The only rational course is to plan to wake up in the night to feed her. That way, when she foils my “plan”, she will play right into my trap of letting my wife and I sleep through the night.

This will work.

Please, let this work.


Toddler Life, Chapter 219


Living with a toddler is two parts awesome, two parts terrifying, six parts gross, and eight hundred parts blinding, world-shattering panic.  One moment you are giving high-fives to your adult family members as he takes his first steps, the next moment you are spilling lemonade all over yourself in a scrambling frenzy as he legs it across the yard toward the street.

They are incredible little critters, capable in single acts of making you shake your head in amazement, shaking your head in wonderment, shaking your head in disgustment; sometimes all in the same single act.  For example (and this is a 100% true, zero-embellishment story), MERE MOMENTS AGO as I was sitting down to think what I would blarg about tonight, I situated myself with tablet on the armrest of the sofa and keyboard in my lap.  I reached over the arm of the sofa to get a sip of my soda and put my hand in a pool of something slimy.

Let me not bury the lede.  I did not at the time, nor do I now, know what the slimy something was.  I was more or less equal parts appalled and curious (a state of mind I have come to live in as a parent), but this time, at least, discretion got the better of curiosity and I cleaned it up without asking the difficult questions.  I should point out (and I don’t know if it’s a guy thing or a parent thing or a me thing) that whenever I come across these somethings in the house, I *must* sniff them.  For some reason, some tiny but unknowable part of my brain just HAS TO KNOW whether what made the mess is benign (masticated cookie bits, fruit juice, melted chocolate) or Just Another One Of Those Things Which Will Make Us Need To Burn The House Down One Day (cat barf, blood, cat poop, human poop), and as long as the stain in question hasn’t yet dried, what better way to test the content of a smear than by shoving it up under your beak?  This happens more than I would like to admit.

As I said, I somehow stopped myself from smelling this slimy something, but it was green and brown and cold and gross and Extra slimy, so I felt it a safe bet that it was something I didn’t want to smell. I cleaned it up, simultaneously wondering at a number of factors:
1) when did he make this mess?
2) what did he use to make it?
3) how did he make this mess in this spot without either my wife or myself noticing him making it?
All at once I am admiring his stealth and choking back the bile rising in my throat at the touch of this slime on my hand.  So, you know, impressed and horrified at once, that’s parenting.

Anyway.

It’s funny how clever he can be when he wants to be and how dumb he can be when it suits him.  We’ve been trying to teach him colors for over a week now, and he is more than happy to call everything blue.  The sky?  Blue.  The plate of spaghetti?  Blue.  School bus?  Blue.  OR, he will happily hold up a brightly-colored object and ask us, “what color is this?” and when we tell him, he tosses it aside in favor of the next bright color that he can “what-color-is-this” us with.  This game can be played for entire minutes at a time (a minute in baby time is worth a good hour of adult time).

So he either cannot understand, or is willfully refusing to understand, colors, but at the same time, he can make a fully-understandable (and in fact perfectly grammatically correct) sentence to tell us, “No, I don’t want green beans”. “No, I don’t want juice.”  “No, I don’t want night-night.”  All I know is, as Bill Cosby once put it, it takes a lot of intelligence to fake stupidity, and if he can pick and choose what kind of vegetable he would like for dinner, then he can Dondraper sure tell the difference between blue and red, no matter how much he calls them both orange.

Then there’s his motor skills.  Improving, by leaps and bounds in fact, but I still wouldn’t trust him with a ginsu knife, or for that matter a tube of toothpaste.  He can conduct himself across a room in 2.3 seconds, arms and legs flailing like a scarecrow in a hurricane, leaping with outstretched legs up the step into the foyer and sidestepping the cat like he’s Jackie Chan in Drunken Master.  The same child will then, while walking AND holding my hand in a grocery store, trip over his own feet so badly that he sprawls on his face and begins screaming like I’ve taken his favorite plastic dinosaur away.

Yesterday we were watching The Tigger Movie for, oh, I don’t know, the thirtieth time this week (those of you without children, don’t judge — those of you with children know exactly what I’m talking about, you know your kid has THAT ONE MOVIE).  For no apparent reason, without any apparent impetus and certainly without warning, he turns to me with the look of greatest purpose on his tiny, innocent face, and says, with all the gravity and urgency of a bloodstained, cyborg-pummeled Schwarzenegger, “I GO.”  And then gets up and dashes from the room, scarecrow arms and legs flapping madly.

I don’t know what was in his head, and it doesn’t matter.  It was awesome.  Things are so immediate.  There’s no doubt, no hesitation, no waffling over “well, if I do this, somebody might think this…” The cookie looks delicious, I GO.  That juice needs spilling, I GO.  That cat needs it’s tail pulled.  I GO.  Simple words for simple deeds.  There’s an eloquence in that to be striven for.  I’m not sure it’s worth the price of all the poop and vomit, though.


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