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Sunday, April 30, 2006

First of May, but I'm No "First of May"

Today is the first of May. "First of May" has significance to me and other past & present circus performers. That is the term for "rookie" clowns, or other first-time circus performers. It was also the "official" title or degree on my rather useless diploma from the Ringling Bros. Blown College. I believe the term comes from the traditional starting date for the circus season, May 1st.

It has been many years since I was a genuine First of May. However there are many times when I can be made to feel like a rookie in the business. Take Saturday night's gig.

I was completing the second of my two stand-up bookings. This one was at the Odyssey Fun Center, a bowling alley with a lounge that doubles as a comedy club from September through April. I've worked only a few comedy club/bowling alleys in my day, but they were all memorable.

In any event, while sitting at the bar eagerly awaiting the beginning of the program, I saw a couple of patrons reading through the local free entertainment publication and talking about the show they were about to see. Below is a scan of the advertisement.

Andy Martello & Brian Green at the Odyssey Fun Center
Allow me to recreate the entire conversation I overheard.

Guy W/Paper: Check it out! This guy (pointing to photo of headliner, Brian Green) is awesome! Remember when we saw him here last time?

Other Guy: Oh yeah! Didn't we see him on TV?

Guy W/Paper: Says here he was on B.E.T. and A&E, so yeah. He's that funny one.

Other Guy: Oh YEAH! I know this guy. He's hilarious! Cool. Who's this guy? (Points to my photo, long pause)

Guy W/Paper: I dunno. Never heard of him. Don't recognize him.


The funny thing was that I was quite actually right next to them when they were trying to ascertain my identity. They could have just looked at the guy sitting at the bar to at least recognize that "he" was actually in the building. I came very close to chiming in with a snide remark, "Yeah, well I never heard of you either." I chose to find it amusing and to move on, knowing I would RULE later on in the evening.

Even stranger was when we were approached by a lady, Deena, who was attending her very first stand-up comedy show. This was such a big deal that she felt it necessary to ask both of us for our autographs to commemorate the occasion. Brian & I found it all amusing as in the real world we're both pretty much nobodies with serious leaning towards the cool side. Of course we signed the bar napkin for her and did our best to make her First of May venture as a comedy club audience member a memorable one.

Monday May 1, 2006 Weign-in

225 Pounds

Back to a 15 pound loss over all

Too much good food on the road. Some excelent eateries in da U.P. , eh. Back to the plan this week.

Today I Rest

I'm home.

I'm sleepy.

I'm not blogging much of anything today.

I'm just going to get some rest

and hang around.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

One Way to Really Cut Into Your Earnings...

...Is to get a speeding ticket on the way to the next damn gig! I wasn't speeding on purpose. It is just so damn easy to get lost on M35 where there are no people or towns for countless miles. Ah well, not like I was actually making any money on this trip anyway. I just hate feeling like an idiot for something so trivial.

Of course, isn't that part of being an idiot? Anyway, I'm killing time at a library now and I'm depressed because of my damned ticket. I could use a hug.

Friday, April 28, 2006

One Down, Two to Go

Just got back from my gig at Pasquali's in Negaunee, MI. The show went very well so far as I could see. A pretty good turnout and a considerably larger crowd than I would have expected. Naturally I had a good representation of friendly Martello fans there, but there were clearly more people there just to see comedy than to see little ole me and that is always cool.

I'll have some photos of the place when I get back home. I don't want to mess up my brother's computer with any more of my nonsense than I have to. Let's just say that Pasquali's is an odd little place with some fun people.

Busted out a new joke or two and was pleased with the results. Did a lot of working the crowd which is probably my forte, really. Juggled things and ate flammable objects to my satisfaction. Mostly I got to spend some quality time with my brother, my neices, and my sister-in-law (even my ex-sister-in-law came to the show which was cool). I'll have more of those stories to share as well.

Now I have a freebie/audition thingy show in Harris, MI for a luncheon group from the Michigan Association of Fairs & Exhibitions, which is on the way to my next paying gig at the Odyssey Fun Center in Sheboygan Falls, WI. I REALLY hope this show provides me some gainful employment here in the state. Not only can I use the money, but it would justify the free show and give me more excuses to come here and visit.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Cheap Gigs As An Excuse

I'm doing two bookings this weekend that clearly are not paying ANY of my bills. I take gigs like these every so often because it provides a perfect excuse to visit family members I don't see often enough. In this case I'm doing two really low-paying comedy gigs so I can get a chance to visit my older brother Marty & his family.

I went up here a couple of days early because I didn't end up filling the rest of the week. However this really pisses me off. I had no fewer than 3 calls for the 27th (all different times) and at least one call for the 26th. Potentially, I could have added $1,500+ in earnings to my month. Instead, NONE of the calls came through as actual bookings and so I'm being paid to visit family (sort of)

I find myself in Marquette, MI, very close to my first of the two craptacular gigs, Pasquali's in Negaunee, MI. I'll be sure to take a snapshot of the place today as you just won't believe how bizarre this all is. Pasquali's is an Italian restaurant sporting a Scottish Highland chick dancer in the sign, and it used to be a disco club (complete with lighted dance floor) and a topless bar, of all things.

I'm the feature act so I'll be doing about 30 minutes of stand-up, juggling, whatever I do to make people laugh. This will be fun because I know there'll be a reasonable amount of audience all there to support ME. Normally nobody comes to se my shows so this is already a welcomed treat.

The next day I stop off at a casino to do a freebie show as an "audition" for a fair board committee (I picked up this show after meeting a friend of Marty's) in the hopes they'll likel the program enough to actually PAY to have me work some of their fairs later on. Honestly I normally wouldn't take this gig as the time it would take for me to drive to the show is time I'd rather spend with family, fishing, and just relaxing a bit. However, this one is on the way to the show I have later that same night in Sheboygan Falls, WI at the Odyssey Fun Center.

GOOD LORD! Is there really a stand-up show at a place called the Odessey Fun Center? I'll be sure to give you a full report.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

An Observation

This really only applies to people like me and thankfully, there are precious few of us.

If while in your car, you are listening to an mp3 disc filled with versions of Louie Louie (about 233 of them to be exact), and your cell phone rings, you may not hear it immediately. This has little to do with the fact that the music is so loud inside the car. It has a lot to do with the fact that your cell phone ring tone is also Louie Louie.

I'll Extend World Penguin Day by One Day

Here's a photo of a metal penguin sculpture found at the Miller Park Zoo in Bloomington, Illinois.

Oddly enoough, there are no actual penguins at this zoo at all.

Otherwise it is a very cute little zoo and I recommend it to anyone passing through the Bloomington/Normal area.

I figure this is better than actually acknowledging "Administrative Professionals Day" today. Stupid made up nonsense. ;)

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Sorry to Interrupt Ten Things Tuesday, but I Forgot...

...I'm back at 220 pounds as of yesterday morning and therefore back at a 20 pound weight loss. However, that's not the really important thing I forgot to mention.

Today is

So do penguin-centric things today if you can. Go to a zoo, juggle your Penguinis, watch an Academy Award-Winning film about penguins, or just grab yourself a Humboldt and fuck the ever-living shit out of it.

In honor of this most important day, I repost a story sent to me by fellow penguin-lover, Golfwidow. It's about Mormons making garments for penguins for whatever reason. I just wonder if they made them those awful chastity-protecting undergarments for them as well.

LDS Women Doing Their Darndest to Save Penguins
By Peggy Fletcher Stack, The Salt Lake Tribune

Move over Morgan Freeman. Mormons are on the march to save penguins - one skein at a time.

LDS women in New South Wales have undertaken an unusual service project, knitting sweaters for cousins to the loveable stars of the Academy Award-winning documentary narrated by Freeman.

The smallest breed of penguins, often known as "fairy" penguins, tend to get caught in oil spills off the coast of Australia, which can destroy their natural oils or even kill them. Doll size, tight-fitting wool sweaters can keep the penguins warm during the rehabilitation process, and "stop them preening and ingesting the poisonous oil," according to The Sydney Morning Herald,

The sweaters improve penguin survival rate to about 98 percent, the paper reported.

Hearing about the penguins' plight, Jenny Allen and Marion Braun, members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from the coastal town of Coffs Harbour, organized a campaign to bring together Australian and New Zealand women aged 50 to 80 to knit sweaters for the foot-high penguins.

With the help of Pet Porpoise Pool, an oceanarium in New South Wales, the group was able to rally over 300 knitters and produce 1,800 doll-size sweaters, said a press release from the LDS Church.

Tourists flock to see these tiny penguins as they "parade" nightly from sea to shore at the Phillip Island Nature Reserve in Victoria, Australia. The knitters have produced so many colorful sweaters that some are now being sold in the reserve's gift shop on toy penguins, the release said. The money that has been raised has allowed the reserve to build a rehabilitation pool.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Ten Things Tuesday: Photos Cluttering Up My Hard Drive

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Rantical - The Blog

Elvis Pretzel of RanticalDon't be afraid. Be curious. Be angry. Be in the mood for some Rantical thinking, useful information and amusing ideas found at Rantical - The Blog.

Do you want music news? Rantical has it!

Ever wonder what Brokeback Mountain would be like if Halle Berry & Jessica Alba were the stars? Rantical knows!

Are you tired of the man-child, pseudo-President we have in office and just can't seem to find the right blog to poke fun of the Right's puppet? RANTICAL IS THE ANSWER!

Oh yeah, Rantical is also among the very cool blogs I read every day. You should too.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

The Message Is Clear

Friends don't let dogs drink & dump.

Friday, April 21, 2006

OK, So I'm Twelve

If you have a juvenile little mind like mine, you know that Interstate rest areas are considered to be homosexual meeting places.

If you are a giddy moron like me, living in Illinois, you also know that there are many stories suggesting Abraham Lincoln had some homosexual tendencies. If you don't know this you still giggle at the thought...because you're a complete bonehead.

It follows that if you are a giddy moron with a juvenile little mind, living in Illinois, you would have no choice but to take a photograph of a sign at a Springfield, Illinois area rest area, read into it a little bit...

...and laugh like a total fucking idiot.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Where Have I Been?

While on the road this past couple of weeks I had some time to contemplate exactly how much traveling I've done over the years. Maybe it was listening to Johnny Cash's "I've Been Everywhere" so many time that brought this on.

Naturally I've done the majority of my traveling because of my work and not because of my need to go on vacations. I should really change that because I'm practically dead now and I'd like to really SEE some of the places I visit.

In any event I'm proud to say that there's about 10 states in the U.S. that I have not been to as of yet. I've been to at least three provinces of Canada as well as a brief stop in Mexico.

I also spent a great week in Jamaica back in 2000. People were so worried that Y2K was going to cause planes to fall from the sky that it was actually CHEAPER for me and April to go to Jamaica for a week (hotel & airfare) than it was to go to Florida for 3 days (not including theme park tickets).

I have not performed in all of the places I've been in. Many of the places I've been to can claim little more than a view of Andy Martello driving by. I've been "through" as many states as I've been "to" I suppose. I was in Alabama for exactly 6 minutes once and from what I was told, that was the perfect length of time to be there. I'm sure I'll get back there for a real visit, but the fact one of my clients felt it necessary to bring me to Alabama just to say I've been there was pretty funny.

There MUST be someone in Hawaii who can pass my name along, right?
Rather than tell you where I have been, I'll post a map and show you where I haven't been instead. It is just easier that way. If you happen to live in these states and know anyone looking for a kick-ass entertainer, be sure to pass my name along. I may never get to your state otherwise.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Funniest Photo of the Younger Martello Brothers Ever Taken!

I can't look at this photo without laughing. What you're looking at (assuming you're not laughing to death) is me and my brother, Matt, a mere millisecond before being launched into space. Matt got it into his head he had to go on top of the Stratosphere Tower and ride the world's tallest thrill ride, Big Shot.

I've been on the now closed High Roller roller coaster & the X Scream rides at the Strat, but had never gone on this one. How could I let my little brother ride alone?

The view on the day was absolutely amazing and of course, the ride was exhilarating. Matt was screaming about the beautiful view, the panic of the moment, and just letting go of a lot of bullshit, the way you should when you are on a vacation. Later, Matt would insist the ride was, "awful", but I knew he had a good time scaring the crap out of himself.

I love this photo because of the polar opposite facial reactions captured in the image. Matt looks frightened out of his mind, but certainly happy about the experience. I look like an old man wishing the damn kids would get off my lawn.

Normally I never buy these thrill ride photos, but I had no choice but to spend a few bucks on this great moment in time.

I Have a Cold.

F-U-Z-Z-Y!Exhaustion from the hundreds of miles, many hours, and seemingly non-stop performing has made me rather susceptible to catching a cold. Add in the many weather changes and the fact that yesterday had me driving many miles and several hours again in order to fulfill my promise to April to make up my missing her birthday and - BOOM! Instant cold.

Had a great day though. I plan on catching up on some work and being outside a bit today and tomorrow. Otherwise I plan on sleeping and healing. So no fascinating tales from Las Vegas, Searchlight, Bloomington, or Springfield for you today. No matter. Based on my stats, nobody has been around here to read anyway so it all works out well.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Ten Things Tuesday: Rejected TV Catch Phrases

Go, Go, Gadget Colon!

Whatchoo talkin' 'bout, Matlock?

AAAAaaaaayyyyyyy...BLOW ME!

Jane you prepubescent slut.

Eat My Shirts!

Oh my God! They killed Oprah!

Would you believe...I'm a homo?

Sit on it (and call me Daddy)!

We just want to pump [clap] your ass!



This blog is now listed among the Best American Blogs at (where else?) Best American Blogs.

Aren't YOU jealous?

No post yesterday. I dislike Easter and figured nobody would be around to read here anyway.

I was actually quite busy yesterday though. First off I had a 4 hour strolling gig at the Chicago Hilton & Towers making balloon animals of all things. Then I had to high-tail it out of town to make a gig at the Sabre Room.

Gotta catch up on lots of stuff today, including some client calls and a dentist appointment. I'll have Vegas stuff, El Rey news, and other things later this week.

Oh yeah, I did gain a few pounds with the Vegas trip and the Southern Illinois trip. I'm not worried though as I'm back on the plan and WAY ahead of schedule with regard to my loss total. No panic, no angst. Don't you wish you were in the Fat-Ass Blogger Fit Club?

Monday April 17, 2006 Weigh-in
223 Pounds
Net Loss: 17 pounds

Saturday, April 15, 2006

I Can't Be the Only One

Has anyone else noticed that there's no worse adhesive bandage available on the market than Curad? Seriously, bleeding to death is actually a better and more reliable option than using these damn things!

Am I the only one who misses the Arthur Treacher's Fish & Chips chain? I know that there are still a few straggler locations here and there, but for the most part that chain has been gone for too damn long. They used to be everywhere I wanted to eat. Long John Silver's just isn't the same at all. I heard that Treacher's was a big mob front and that's why they're no more, but I don't care. I miss the food!

Does anyone else do Google searches to see if there are photos or other news pertaining to people they slept with in the past? I'm always surprised when I find something about an ex and (in some cases) surprised when I don't. HEY! if searching for yourself on Google is called Ego-Surfing, is searching for ex-lovers on Google called Retro-Surfing? If not, it should be!

God DAMN it is good to be home!

Friday, April 14, 2006

It's Not As Much Fun Alone

My mother-in-law has always said that if April & I were dropped from a plane anywhere in the world (with parachutes, I assume) that within a short time we'd find something fun to do. I believe this to be true.

April & I are always trying to find fun places to go and unusual things to do at those places. I've always enjoyed such adventures as my dad was one to take us for walks simply, "to see what we can see."

I've been to these stupid small towns many times before and I was always able to occupy my time somehow. I keep an eye out for historic places, cool buildings, unusual activities in the hope I can one day return with April and we can enjoy them together.

This trip reminds me that this sort of travel is just not as much fun alone. I'm not going to check out the old capitol building in Vandalia on my own. I didn't check it out 15 years ago and I'm not going to do it now. If April were here I'd be there in a heartbeat. I may go to some antique stores or a few places that pique my interest, but for the most part, I'll be eating, driving, and heading to a library to check my e-mail until I can collect my pay envelope and go home.

This trip is only a week long. It is paying for my 2005 income taxes and a couple of other bills. I'm not gone all that long, but I definitely do miss being home and sharing the stupidest little things with my wife. I am thankful for the work as you all KNOW how badly I needed the boost in income, but I'll be more thankful when I get home.

Friday is the last day of the tour and I'm likely to drive like a bat out of hell to get home that evening. I really can't wait to get the hell out of here. Right now I can' get the library computer to allow my Yahoo Mail to go through. I think I actually worked a gig at this library some time ago too. Sad.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

I Miss Reliable Cell Service

I guess when you live in an area with trivial things like people, businesses, buildings, and the like you are a bit spoiled with regard to being able to use your cell phone and make a call.

That doesn't happen all too easily in Southern Illinois. Even in larger towns like Mt. Vernon, it is really a crap shoot.

Of course other things bug me about cell phones that have nothing to do with my immediate location.

My cell phone is not my home phone. Everyone I give the number to, especially agents, know that the BEST way to guarantee I'll get your message is to leave a message on my home phone FIRST. Always try the home number FIRST. Only call my cell phone is if you A) Have tried my home phone AND left a message there B) You NEED to know the answer to something immediately (checking availability, etc.) C) This is an EMERGENCY and you couldn't reach me at home (but left a message anyway.

I insist on leaving the message at home because I ALWAYS pay my home phone bill. A cell phone bill (while always paid by me) is usually one of the things people dump when money is tight. I'll ALWAYS have a home phone and I'll ALWAYS check the messages frequently & return calls. Moreover, we've already established that cell service, especially when traveling abroad, is not reliable. I've lost more messages, dropped more calls, and ruined any chances at sensible conversations trying to use my cell phone than I ever did with a land line. If it is important, you'll leave the message at home FIRST!

Naturally, everyone assumes my cell phone is the best way to reach me.

I don't even turn the damn thing on if I'm home. I leave the house...I turn on the phone. You leave a message SOLELY on my cell phone I may not get it for DAYS!

Do you get it? I can turn off my cell phone and ignore it without any concern for who may be trying to call. I can also LOSE my cell phone. My home phone is ALWAYS at home. I've tried to take it with me, but as soon as I hit the parking lot the service becomes shitty.

I spent money to put my home phone number on my business cards, my website, and many of my promotional items. WHY on Earth would you ASSUME that I was giving you a number I didn't want you to call? Makes no sense.

Got the message?

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Best Review EVER!

I rarely get any sort of reviews of my work other than the simple, "YOU SUCK!"

Even more rare is to get a review of my work from someone who has never seen me perform live.

Well kids, Golfwidow took care of that for me and provided a review I'll surely gank for some upcoming promo piece. Check out this AWESOME review (and equally excellent bit of blog-whoring & pimping on my behalf) found at Six Line Reviews!

Many thanks to the lovely & talented Golfwidow! She recently had a birthday (as did Bud Buckley). Since I wasn't around to wish them well when it happened I feel it necessary to do so now. I really liked her birthday post as it reminded me of how I felt last year when "celebrating" the same birthday. In case you forgot how I felt, let me direct you to my column at Malicious Bitch.

Speaking of birthdays, today is my wife's birthday. I feel a bit awful missing it to work on this circus, but when the gig came in I was so desperate for work I took it without even stopping to remember her birthday fell in the middle of this week. I usually go out of my way to provide her with a kick-ass birthday and we were thinking of heading back to Springfield again. Then the starving entertainer in me took over (I do owe a fair amount of taxes this year) and BOOM! I'm making it up to her next week some time.

In any event, she understands and is spending the day with her mom so all is well. I just had to lay out my own self-imposed guilt trip for you today. Happy Birthday, April!

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Ten Things Tuesday: Things Seen, Read, or Overhead in Southern Illinois

  • "Children under 10 should be accompanied by an adult to all bars" (Thank God this sign was seen at a buffet and not a saloon. Of course...I could be wrong.)
  • "Want to see what printing was like NEARLY 100 years ago? Here's Okawville's first newspaper from 1893" (At the Okawville Hen House restaurant)
  • "They're not hot flashes. They're power surges!" (T-shirt won by one SCARY gorilla-like woman at a Ryan's restaurant in Mt. Vernon)
  • Sign outside of Hungry's pancake House in West Frankfort: "Meatloaf Frog Legs"
  • Billboard along I-57 South: "Want to see an EXTREME Meth Makeover?" the billboard featured mug shots of people stung out on crystal meth.
  • While asking for directions to the venue in West Frankfort Pt 1: "I suppose you'd want the easiest route to get there, huh?" She didn't give me the easiest route. She gave me the wrong route altogether.
  • While asking for directions to the venue in West Frankfort Pt 2: "Do you know where Shorty's is?" (My response: "NO") "OK, go past Shorty's and then make a left." Her directions were correct.
  • "Is this where the circus is tonight?" (My response: "Yes") "Well how do I get in?" (My response: "Do you have a ticket?" ) "Well, I have one of these." (She presented a family ticket good for her and her entire family. I know this because it said FAMILY TICKET clearly on top. My response: "Present that at the door and you can get in to see the show." ) "OK, where is the door?" (My response: "At the front of the building here." ) "Alright, is this where the circus is tonight?" Repeat as needed to make the person go away.
  • "If you don't soon come to see me in Mt. Vernon, I'll come see you with an axe!" (Old advertisement for Mt. Vernon.)
  • Store I passed: Hair Salon/Gun Shop/Liquor Store

Now, on to Mt. Carmel, IL. More tomorrow.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Greetings From Southern Illinois

Yeah, I'm a big time star. Last week, Las Vegas. This week, Mascoutah, Illinois. Ahh the glamorous life!

Sunday found me working for long-time friends and employers, the Reynolds family in Mascoutah. Circus stuff, fun for all ages, etc. Good people to work for and a fun time is expected for the week.

The Reynolds gave me one of my first "real" bookings many years back and I'm proud to say that my career started, peaked, and ENDED with their show. ;) It is also worth mentioning that most all of my circus stories worth writing about have occurred when performing with these folks. So if you're reading A Clown in Kentucky, Pass the Soap, Wilbur, most all of my Kentucky stories, and others you can be fairly sure those stories happened on this show.

Among the highlights of yesterday's travels and the show was a hand-colored picture given to me by a young circus fan named Rebecca. I think this was her first circus adventure and she couldn't wait to give her present to me. Very cool. I'll post a scan of it when I get back home, along with scans from VEGAS!

Currently I'm sitting in a library in Mt. Vernon, IL and will be off to the booming metropolis of West Frankfort, IL for a 7:00 PM show. I am not heading to the booming metropolis of Metropolis, IL this trip, which is too bad. That's a fun little town obsessed with Superman!

Ah well, that's all for now. Many thanks again to my most talented guest bloggers. I'm going ton spend the remainder of my time here at the library leaving comments on last week's posts. I've got no scale here so I've no idea what I weigh this week. I'm probably a bit fatter after a week in Las Vegas. The trip started out at Hash house a Go-Go, so you can imagine what my waist line looks like now!


Saturday, April 08, 2006

In the Immortal Words of the Prophet, Larry Flynt..

The pervert is BACK!

I'll have loads of stories, photos, and other stuff to share later. Right now I have to get ready for another week out of town, sleep, jerk off, whatever.

Until then, MANY THANKS to the guest bloggers for all of their wonderful work.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Pray for THIS

I'm so glad I can come on Andy's blog and say stuff I can't say on mine. Andy will say ANYthing. Because THIS. IS. ANDYLAND.

I was reading bumper stickers in a traffic jamb today. They were overwhelmingly religious fanatic in temperment. I wasn't far from the location where that Domino's Pizza guy wants to build a town for right wing Catholics only. Looks like he has enough potential buyers in that area. Although he better but up tickitack homes because most of them were driving 12 year old cars.

I came to the conclusion that the Christian Right should start their own third political party. If they were honest with themselves, this is what they would do. They could call it WWJD? It would get them out of the obvious conundrum regarding having to support a GOP who has been, faking the cause of war and getting our young soldiers killed and wounded; going to war anyway and staying there; destroying the environment with thinly veiled lies and excuses; supporting the causes of rampant materialism that fuel environmental damage and war. The Jesus I learned about wouldn't do that stuff. Oh and then there is the problem with supporting people who get caught doing things like accepting bribes from lobbyists, orsigning a budget that was not constitutionally passed by both senate and congress. I'm not in the least bit religious but I'm certain the dude from Nazareth I learned about wouldn't be supporting that stuff.

They make themselves look like hypocrites and give more reason for non church oriented people to stay as far away from churches as possible. As if they didn't have enough reasons already.

The WWJD? Party would be joined by serious religious zealot members of both major parties. They would get some people elected. They would eventually have deal making power. It would be fair and honest. Politicians who are addicted to screwing their interns and taking money from lobbyists won't have to pretend anymore that they are religious. They can just run on a Screw and Accrue platform. Politicians who believe in separation of Church and State could openly say so instead of pussyfooting around it.

Why tie tax breaks for the rich with prayer in schools? What do they have to do with each other? Are they praying for more tax breaks? Why tie the destruction of Social Security to posting the ten commandments in court rooms? Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's Social Security check? Why tie support for religious schools vouchers to the support of insurance companies through privatizing Medicaid? Do they think the HMOs are gonna kick in money for bibles? Not even if you're faith healers, baby! Those fuckers don't even want to pay for Band-Aids. Wheelchairs? Who needs a wheelchair if you have an old pair of roller skates and an orange crate?

Start your own damn party and put it out there if you think religion belongs in politics. It's patently dishonest to support politicians who only want your votes and money and expect you to go along with corrupt ideas that have nothing to do with your agenda. Let the GOP admit that they are the party of big business no matter what. Let the Dems admit that they'll support the average and below average workers as well as they can while trying to earn as much as the GOP. That's honest. Let people decide based on what's really important to them.

Either the majors will clean up or there will be a multi party system. Then they can all compromise with each other and dilute legislation to get parts of their own agenda passed into law. Wait a minute...we really are screwed, aren't we?

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Look Out! Train Wreck Comin' Thru...

*Waving wildly*

Hi! It's me, Jade! Yes, I agree...Andy must have been out of his mind, allowing me to guest post while he is gone! I promised I would behave, and so I will. Gosh. And I wanted to have fun in Andyland too....pffft!

I have to be honest. I've sat about thinking of what to post here for a week or more. I wanted to be witty and funny like Andy is, but how does one duplicate such comedic perfection? Well, one (being me) can't, so scratch that idea!

Back to the drawing board.

Since it's Thursday I thought I'd put together a Thursday Thirteen list to post here, except, that idea didn't pan out so well either. Hell, I can't even come up with a Thursday Thirteen for my own blog and I know that Andy wouldn't be happy if I'd posted about pretty flowers, blue skies, children's messes or pet's poopies, and that is what my life has consisted of so far this week. I know, be jealous. My life is exciting, I can't help it.

So, in a nutshell, that leaves me in the here and now. Totally brainfarted, blank paged, bloggers block, whatever you want to call it I've no idea what to write here. Hey, for having no ideas for a good post, I sure have managed to waste a lot of space, didn't I?

Damn you Andy for making me promise to behave! That's like asking a penguin to fly. I think you clipped my wings for this one....Hope you're having a fabulous time!

I will leave you all with this funny little ditty for the day and go bury my head in the sand to hide my lack of creativity here. Ciao!

The Case of the Pregnant Lady


A lady about 8 months pregnant got on a bus. She
noticed the man opposite her was smiling at her. She
immediately moved to another seat. This time the smile
turned into a grin, so she moved again. The man seemed
more amused.

When on the fourth move, she had the man arrested. The
case came up in court. The judge asked the man (about
20 years old) what he had to say for himself.

The man replied, "Well your Honor, it was like this:
When the lady got on the bus, I couldn't help but
notice her condition. She sat under sweets sign that
said,"The Double Mint Twins are Coming" and I grinned.

Then she moved and sat under a sign that said,
"Logan's Liniment will reduce the swelling, and I had
to smile.

Then she placed herself under a deodorant sign that
said, "William's Big Stick Did the Trick," and I could
hardly contain myself.

BUT, your Honor, when she moved the fourth time and
sat under a sign that said, "Goodyear Rubber could
have prevented this accident"... I just lost it."


See ya on the flipside!


Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Anecdotes on Andy ala The Penguini Posse

Testing, testing… is this thing on? (Sorry, I could not resist!)

Did you notice what the date was today? 4-5-6 ba dum dum. Easy as 1, 2, 3, you see! I know, but wtf does it mean? Nothing. Serious. I just wanted to open up my guest post on the fantabulous Andy Martello blog with a bad one-liner to get you over the hump on hump day, today. ba dum dum. (No applause, puhhhlease)

Today’s lineup includes me, and later DB will grace us with his adored presence to fill in some of the gap Mr. Martello has left in the wake of his vacation.

I thought long about what I would splatter across the sainted comic’s electronic fodder space, and I came up with zilch. I would have kicked my feet up over the desk with a big stogie to think better, only none were to be found. I begged his own wayward children, The Flying Penguinis of Oahu for assistance. They just laughed and swilled down the rest of Kim and Jeffee’s beer.

The Flying Penguinis of OahuSo instead of trying to capture bad juggling skills on video, or capturing momentous Penguini shots on film, I’m just going to share a little anecdote. Andy and us, we go waaaay back—even before blog. Ms. Moore, who used to write for, with, and about MBc, hooked us up with Andy some time ago. Marjo said in a sense, "I’ve got a friend." "He’s funny." "He writes." "He writes well and he’s funny." And there you have it six months later (give or take a few months for email tag), we hooked up via MBc and still goin’ a coupla years later via blog. Of course, he sends me things, too—that always helps! Marjo lied. Andy is hilarious and his writing, incredible! Ahhh, the memories.

Now Andy… get your butt over here to do some corporate hooha and give us a visit, would ya already!

Thank you all for your attention, allow me to introduce DB (like you all don’t know who the heck he is already!). DB has a few words to shout share while Andy is out of town.~BTude.

What can I say about Andy that hasn't been covered in the tabloids and rags from NY to LA? I suppose I could write just about anything since Martello admittedly doesn't read. Of course, his seeing-eye wife will probably take pity on him and read to him, so I should at least stay in the ballpark.

The Flying Penguinis of OahuAccording to Andy, "Men are simple creatures, not unlike the animal that we are most often compared to, the dog." I do have to admit that Andy does at least have simple tastes. A cheap cigar, a cold beer (or in a pinch a warm one), and a penguin movie will keep him occupied, but he may wander off occasionally and have to ask for directions.

One of the best things I can say about Andy is that he enjoys his job, and really does bring a lot of happiness to audiences all over the U.S. I remember one of his commentaries about performing at a special needs school where he made an impact on a young boy,"In the grand scheme of things, I have a good job."~DB.

The Flying Penguinis of Oahu

Ten Things Tuesday: Differences Between Andy Martello and a Cigar:

10. Andy doesn't stink up the room.
9. Andy doesn't have chew marks and spit on one end.
8. If you bring Andy to a party, no one makes you stay outside on the terrace.
7. Andy has never been anywhere near Monica Lewinsky's naughty bits.
6. Andy doesn't look like a great big smelly turd.
5. You don't have to buy expensive humidors, cutters, lighters, and ashtrays to get Andy to work for you.
4. Andy has never been in a Jacuzzi with Arnold Schwarzenegger.
3. When Andy eats fire, he doesn't spit ashes on the carpet.
2. It doesn't cost extra to get Andy out of Cuba.

And the number one Difference Between Andy Martello and a Cigar ...

1. You never see Triumph the Insult Comic Dog sucking on Andy.

(Guest post done by Golf Widow, whose birthday is this coming Thursday, April 6th. That is also Bud Buckley's birthday. As birthday gifts to us, Andy has taken a lovely trip to Vegas and left us at home to do guest blog posts for him. We can't wait for Andy's birthday.)

Monday, April 03, 2006

It's Like Andy Lite.

Hello Everybody,

It's me, Kim! Andy chose me to be a guest blogger for him in his absence, I love guest blogging!

I like to step inside the head of the person I'm writing for, imagining that I am them speaking to their usual audience. I try to assume what nuances and emotions customarily settle upon the individual when they sit down to write a typical post and attempt to emulate them - to channel them if you will, only they don't have to be dead.

Being Andy vicariously is an adventure in itself, let me tell you! His abundant energy is almost a shock to the system, especially if you are an older female body. I acclimated as best I could and began to focus on the more subtle aspects of The Martello. For instance, I had the sudden urge to wear something, anything containing polyester fiber. After that, I set about lighting several candles, then dimmed the lights and put on a little mood music, you know, Frank. I struggled with the decision to drink wine or beer, settling on the sexy bottle of Pinot Noir I knew was stashed beneath the kitchen sink where the kids would never look, and I sat back, closed my eyes and let my hands calmly rest on my keyboard, admonishing myself when one or the other would errantly stray towards my lap, and then I began feeling what it's like to seduce readers, slowly, seductively, gently fondling their soft ...

Hey, whoa! What I mean is, guest blogging is a cool way to meet people.

In attempting to understand the true essence of being The Martello, I immediately put myself on a diet. I suck at dieting. I know I should probably be on one, someday, but I only half care. However, this duty to post for Andy made me face my responsibilities, so I hauled ass to the grocery store.

I am happy to report that I am currently trying the Stouffer's Macaroni & Beef Diet.

For the reason mentioned as well as:

* They were on sale 3 for 5 bucks.
* It has tomato-y goodness and I love the shit.
* I don't have to do dishes after I eat it.

Now, this may not be one of those hip and trendy Atkins or South Beach Diets that are all the rage right now, but it makes me feel like I'm commiserating with Andy in a more personal way as well as addressing the issue of my fat ass, and most importantly, it isn't all that painful.

Although this experience has been quite enjoyable for me, as well as tasty, I am duty bound to confess that although it is possible to imagine The Martello, there is only one who can actually be The Martello, and -

- oops, I gotta go, the microwave just dinged.

And we can all thank Andy for that.

Hope you're having a wonderful time Andy!

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Yes, I've Seen the Juggling Video (Rant)

In fact, I've seen the actual juggler LIVE at Zanies comedy club some years back. All told, I've been aware of Chris Bliss since my teens when I saw an experimental video of him on our local PBS show, Image Union.

I'm a juggler. Jugglers tend to hear about other jugglers, especially if they are more famous than ourselves. Jugglers are the ONLY people who know the names of other jugglers. I'm very happy that the internet has provided Mr. Bliss some much needed publicity and made you non juggler people take notice and remember his name.

I truly appreciate that you thought of me. Many thanks.

Now please stop sending me any one of the many links to his multiplex juggling finale backed with Beatles music (Multiplex is the technical term for what he's doing there.). Do I enjoy his work? Yes. Do I end up feeling considerably more inadequate every time someone so easily impressed sends me this link? YES! Thanks for sharing.

I know you aren't doing this intentionally, but here's what you are actually doing when you send this video to another professional comedian or juggler. You are essentially telling your friend, the one you wouldn't pay to see anywhere, "THIS GUY IS AMAZING! Why aren't YOU like this? I mean, you're good, but THIS GUY? WHOA!"

I know you're just trying to be nice, but really...stop're killing me here. Send the video to people you know that like juggling but aren't professional entertainers. Then your gift will not hurt so much.

Nobody is sending any info about me anywhere. I have no representation, no Beatles finale, and no money. I've got a slew of videos up at Stickam that you could be sending out if you found them interesting enough (Check out all of them in the Gallery. There's 4 pages of videos for you to ignore and hate.). You could certainly pass along my info to people in your address book if you wanted to, but you won't. Why? Because you KNOW me. Someone you know can't possibly be as good as someone you've never heard of before.

If you must send this video or that of any other professional in the same field as your friend (in this case, me), ask yourself these questions first.

  • Have I ever sent any videos of my friend to anyone? He's kind of impressive and he needs the work. Maybe I should help out my friend first.
  • Whoa. This Chris Bliss guy has been on the Tonight Show. He must be way better than my friend, the professional entertainer who hasn't been on The Tonight Show. Do I want to ruin my friend's day by sending this video to him?
  • Hmmm...have I even seen my friend work anywhere before? Sure I begged him to get me tickets the weekend he opened up for George Carlin, but have I ever paid to see him headlining at a club somewhere? Heck, have I even bothered to go to some of his free shows before?
  • Have I even told any of my other friends to go see my friend the entertainer?
  • Come to think of it, have I ever paid to see ANY juggler anywhere before much less sent this guy's video to everyone in my address book?

Since you all can't get enough of Chris Bliss (A guy who I do like, by the way. A talented guy), here's some things you don't know about the guy who's talents have impressed you so.

He was on The Tonight Show. Did you watch then? Do you remember any of his routine? Did you even remember his name?

Even when he was doing versions of this juggling act as an opening act for the likes of Eric Clapton and Michael Jackson, he found that he couldn't really make a good living as a juggler. There's no "high end" of the juggling biz so he started taking on more bookings as a comedian where there is a high end and potentially a multimillion dollar payoff. The act seen so many times online is the last three minutes of his stand-up routine and it is the only juggling he does in the whole show. If he comes to your town are you going to go see the juggler in the video? Yes. Will you be upset that you have to wait 50 minutes to see the juggling? That depends on you. His stand-up is pretty good, but you may not like it. Just don't act surprised.

Since you're all so impressed with the juggling, but likely not impressed enough to see him live or check out his website, I may as well tell you that the even cooler thing about him is his involvement with a movement to get a plaque featuring the Bill of Rights installed next to ANY public governmental display of the Ten Commandments. That's freakin' cool. But you don't notice any of that cuz you're sooooo impressed with his juggling you feel it necessary to humiliate all your juggler friends with his video.

Maybe it is just other people juggling that you like (After all, I am a juggler and nobody cares.). Since you are so impressed with juggling check out another juggler,Jason Garfield. He was so angry that people were bombing his own e-mail inbox, impressed with Chris Bliss and his three-ball madness, he decided to do the same routine with five balls. Be sure to send the link to everyone you know, especially if that person juggles.

While we're at it, you should try and listen to the Penn Jillette Radio show. I wouldn't know about any of the Bill of Rights stuff nor Jason Garfield were it not for Penn & his co-host, Michael Goudeau.

All of the aforementioned jugglers, Penn Jillette, Michael Goudeau, Jason Garfield, and of course, Chris Bliss, are much better jugglers than myself. I love a good juggling act. I admire all of these guys and even went to the same old Clown College as a couple of these folks. I like juggling. I just don't like 50 of the same e-mail.

I am not jealous of any of their talents, but I'm certainly jealous of all their attention, their money, their great gigs, and the fact that everyone I know is so impressed with other performers, people that they don't know, so impressed that my inbox is flooded with other people's work while I am stuck begging for spare change on a free blog.

I used to be a very good juggler. I gave up circus style juggling long ago when I found out that the majority of the work I have to do is for 45-minute programs. I've forgotten more tricks than I remember and whenever I work somewhere and other jugglers are in the crowd, they get pissed at me because I'm not a "real" juggler to them since I don't do high-skill performance anymore. However I'm damn funny and an otherwise excellent performer.

Now if you want to send me video clips of juggling and other things that may interest me, why not send me more things like THIS?

Twenty-Six Years Ago Today

I've talked about this before. I may as well repost the whole story.
Well, the edited version of the story.

By Andy Martello

Having worked for circuses I have had many exciting encounters with animals. However my first truly hands-on experience with animals came when I was a young boy, years before my future career as an entertainer.

It was the spring of 1980. I was in the final stages of a cold that had kept me out of school for a couple of days. On this day my Mom had called the school to excuse my younger brother as well.

As we both sat around the house questioning why we were home we saw Dad rustling about with an old map. The only other time I'd seen this map was years before when we'd taken a trip to the Milwaukee Zoo. I only remembered 3 things from that trip; the map, where we went, and Samson the Gorilla. Samson was the largest Lowland Gorilla in captivity and was quite the spectacle to behold.

Mom & Dad told us to get dressed and meet them at the car. They wouldn't say where we were going. During the long drive I asked if we were heading to the zoo. I explained my theory about the map and they laughed at the prospect of a map that only led to the Milwaukee Zoo. Sure enough, the zoo was our destination.

Mom suggested that we see everything once, then in our remaining time go back to our favorite spots. This proved to be a great idea, giving us a chance to fully enjoy everything we saw.

During our first tour we'd encountered the mighty Samson, still mugging for cameras, still demanding attention from the crowd, still massive in size. Since our last visit, he'd been put on a strict diet making him a svelte 550 pounds as opposed to the 600+ he was before.

Dad was most taken with Samson. He admired the size and grace that such an animal possessed & would often comment about how dainty Samson was when eating, taking the time to pull out one grape from the large pile of food & eating it as if it were a delightful bonbon. We were all in awe of the gorilla.

The day became increasingly warmer and my cold had all but disappeared. Towards the day's end Dad went back to the gorillas while Mom took us back for one last penguin visit.

Closing time approached all too quickly. We expected to find Dad reading a book in an empty gorilla house. What we found was Dad chatting away with one of the zoo's animal handlers, a middle-aged Italian man.

Dad introduced us to the man, Samson's personal caretaker since the gorilla was a baby. He had fantastic stories and information that you couldn't get from the signs on the walls.

As closing time approached, the handler took a quick look around the and whispered to Dad, "Are you alone?" Dad nodded. The man then whispered something in Italian meaning, "come here". We followed Dad and the handler not knowing what was happening. Upon turning the corner the handler noticed a young couple at a different exhibit. In a hurry he called to them, "Come on folks, you don't want to miss this." We came to a locked door which the handler opened.

The other side of the door was a small white room, barely big enough for all the people. The room became even smaller when we bore witness to the largest Lowland Gorilla in captivity. Samson the Gorilla was now standing a few feet away behind a wall of white bars.

Everything in the room crashed to a halt. Nobody was breathing, moving or even blinking we were so awestruck at the sight of him. Samson was THERE and the only thing separating us from his grasp were those metal bars.

The handler explained that "Sammy" couldn't get his arms through the bars and it was safe for us to get a little closer. We kept our distance. He told us about Samson's private sleeping quarters, the oranges specially imported from overseas for him to eat - we got the "exclusive tour". It was hard to hear the handler's voice, my heart was beating so loudly. This was amazing.

None of us could believe what we were privy to, and it was all because Dad struck up a conversation with a total stranger. The handler was petting the fingers of the great ape through the bars.

At that moment he asked if anyone had any food. The mere mention of food caused Samson to let out a thunderous roar, an unforgettable bellow that suggested a perverse sense of power and strength. As we trembled with fear, Samson spit out a pile of empty sunflower seeds he'd been storing in his cheeks. The discarded shells flopped to the ground. The trainer, unfazed, yelled, "Sammy! Be nice! Stop showing off!" He explained Samson was posturing for our benefit.

After a brief search Mom found in her purse a package of Blammo bubble gum, an awful sugarless gum. It was nonetheless, a food stuff that made Samson very happy. Samson saw the gum and began screeching and roaring, throwing his body against the bars. The trainer took the gum and scolded him the way a parent would a toddler, "Now Sammy, if you don't be nice you won't get your treat." Sammy sat down and became quite coy and pleasant. The trainer took pieces of gum and fed them directly into Samson's mouth.

After the first few pieces were gobbled up I was handed half a stick of gum. "Here ya go. Go on and feed him if you want." I froze in disbelief. "It is OK, he can't get at you," said the trainer. Dad said, "Go on, son. Its alright", as if HE would know!

The handler gave me instructions of how to feed a gorilla, "Move slowly without putting your fingers through the bars. When Samson opens his mouth place the gum on his lips and DON'T put your hand into his mouth," he said.

I crept towards Samson, looking directly into his eyes, shaking uncontrollably. The trainer was quiet and encouraging. When I got my hand a few inches from Samson's mouth, he darted towards the bars and grunted loudly, frightening everyone. I dropped the gum and attempted to run behind my Dad's legs. Dad was trying to hide behind Mom.

"Sammy! Stop it," snapped the handler, "He knew you were scared. He was just joking with you." Great, a gorilla with a sense of humor. The man insisted I try again. I bent over to pick up the gum. Finding the gum on the floor I'd noticed Samson's foot. His foot was the size of my head. If I hadn't absorbed the enormity of this creature yet, I surely gained the proper perspective then.

I approached Samson and inched closer. As the gum neared his lips Samson stuck out his bottom lip like a pouting child. I placed the gum on the bottom lip and he slowly curled his lip back, easing the gum into his mouth. Samson eased away from the bars and I backed up towards my family, smiling from ear to ear.

The handler said it was time for us to leave, confessing he really shouldn't have brought us there. We were all extremely thankful for the experience and stayed there thanking him. The other couple shook the man's hand and dashed off.

Once out of sight, the trainer interrupted our chatter, "Ok, they're gone...LET'S GO!" We were confused. Was there MORE to see? It seemed impossible the trip could somehow improve. We followed once again.

The time spent talking about sleeping quarters & imported oranges made more sense as he took us to see those exact things. He intended to give us tactile proof of every detail of Samson's life. He wanted us to see everything.

He showed us photos of Samson from various segments of his life. We saw where Samson’s meals were prepared and we were each given two of the special oranges to take home with us. "Try 'em when you get home. They're simply the best you'll ever eat," he told us. We stuffed the oranges into our pockets.

The handler took us down a staircase and around a corner. Once at the bottom he switched on a light, revealing Samson's bachelor pad, the private sleeping quarters. Samson was waiting for our arrival. We saw a large hammock, an assortment of toys & a tire swing, but it was nearly impossible to take any attention away from Samson.

The handler threw oranges towards Samson. Samson caught them and devoured them immediately, the juice splattering against his jaws. Handing some oranges to my brother, Matt, asking him toss a few towards the gorilla. "He can get his arms through these bars, so just toss 'em from here,' he said. Some oranges made it to their destination, but most of them fell short, being thrown with a little less strength than my brother's pitching arm would allow. Who could blame him? Who wants to chance upsetting a gorilla by pelting him oranges?

The trainer retrieved the errant oranges and fed them to Samson. Soon thereafter things quieted in the room. We noticed Samson was very focused on the hands of my brother, who had taken his souvenir oranges from his pocket. Samson was very deliberately looking at Matt's hands, then up to Matt's face, and back again to the hands, suggesting those oranges belonged to HIM and Matt should part with them immediately.

The man, noticing what was going on , stepped into Samson's sight line and told Matt to put one of the oranges back in his pocket. He took the remaining orange from my brother and gave it to the gorilla, explaining that there was "no more, Sammy." After that final orange was eaten, the man urged us back upstairs.

We thanked him profusely for the special tour. He simply shrugged our gratitude off as if to say, "t'weren't nothin'."

I have no idea what his conversation with my Dad was like prior to our adventure and I still can't imagine why were so lucky on that spring day. Dad explained he merely told the man how much we liked the zoo and Samson. As near as we could figure, the handler took a liking to Dad just for being Italian. Whatever the reason, we were treated to a most unforgettable day.

We went home talking a mile a minute the entire time. Once home we enjoyed the delicious flavor of Samson's oranges and relived the experience with each bite. I left one orange on the kitchen table with the intention of bringing it to school for "show and tell."

The orange never made it into the fridge nor to school. It was shuffled around from table to counter. As the days past the orange went forgotten by me entirely. One day my Mother presented me with a smaller, hardened orange, asking me if I wanted to put it some place safe. Somehow the orange didn't rot or get moldy at all. It simply shrunk and ossified, becoming a perfect souvenir. The orange is completely in tact and remains in my possession.

In 1981 Samson the Gorilla died. I never got the name of the trainer and have always meant to find out if he still worked at the zoo, hoping to thank him again. A bronze statue of Samson sits at the Milwaukee Zoo and his remains are on exhibit in a Milwaukee museum. Of course, no statue or display can compare to the beauty of the actual creature and nothing can compete with memories I have of that day.

Update: Since the initial writing of this story I've some to learn that Samson's caretaker was Mr. Sam LaMalfa.

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