Ten Things Tuesday: Things to Do In the Extreme Heat
In case your part of the world is besieged with extreme heat and/or humidity I thought I'd share a few helpful tips to make the hot, sticky weather more bearable.
- Call up friends that live in even HOTTER places and listen to them bitch. If they're even one degree hotter than you are you'll feel better in no time.
- Medical experiments. Place a puppy, a kitten, and a baby inside a locked car and see who's head explodes first.
- Check in on your elderly neighbors and relatives. While there, ask them, "Are you warm enough now? Should I turn up the heat? You were freezing cold just fucking yesterday, when it was only 102!" (Repeat as needed until they fall and can't get up.)
- Get naked. That would be my answer for just about anything, but in this case it applies.
- Go to any rural locale. Then, at the top of your lungs, ask any farmer that comes up to you, "Hot enough for ya? Hot enough for ya? Hot enough for ya?"
- Everyone else tries to fry an egg on the sidewalk. You try to fry a whole chicken.
- More experiments. Recording temperature levels, see how hot is has to be before your balls sag down to your knees. Anything for science.
- Buy 10 cases of sun tan lotion. Ask EVERY good looking chick if she needs someone to put lotion on her back. You'll be surprised at how many take you up on it.
- While applying lotion to the aforementioned ladies, reach around and feel up their tits. Tell them you're dyslexic. Works every time when you tell this to blonde women.
- Keep some of that lotion for when the cops throw you in jail. It WILL come in very handy later on.
How to Make Me Read Your SPAM E-mail
If you're anything like me, (and God, I hope you're seeking help) you get quite a lot of SPAM e-mails boasting about the next big HOT stock on the market. These e-mails generally have some basic subject header and when opened, reveal a chart with all sorts of facts and figures, followed by complete and utter gibberish. Allow me to demonstrate (click the images to enlarge)...
Normally I just ignore them completely. Occasionally I get fooled by one and some SPAM slips through. However when I get an obvious SPAM e-mail from a Roosevelt Quintero, I just gotta check it out. I mean, a name like that just can't be ignored.
So Roosevelt sent me an e-mail with some stock info. The twist? There was complete non-gibberish BEFORE and AFTER the stock info; stuff so completely random and funny in or out of context I just had to share.
Here's the parargraph before all the stock info.
Searching for what, Paulie? The reason she had to bring him the bedpan so infrequently was not only because he was on a diet consisting entirely of liquids and gelatines (earlier, when he was in the cloud, she had fed him intravenously), but also because Novril had a tendency to cause constipation in patients taking it. He had even burned his notes. They had simply gone back to the old routine, Paul writing, Annie reading each days output, and enough time had passed between the argument and the thumbectomy that Paul had missed the connection.
And here are the THREE
brilliant paragraphs afterwards.
"She were a good lady, sair! Before this strange experience, he had considered four pages a day to be his optimum output (on Fast Cars it had usually been three — and only two, on many days — before the final finishing sprint). Late that afternoon, as the first of the village people had begun wending their way up Calthorpe Hill to pay their respects to the grieving lord, Shinebone had returned. The Royal typewriter made a shitty writing machine, but as an exercise tool it was great.
"That night I changed your medication for something a little stronger, and when I was sure you werent going to wake up even if someone exploded a grenade under your bed, I got my little tool-kit from the cellar shelf and I took the keyplate off that door. Indices meant nothing to her.
They were giving you pain, and you could only move them a little, but you were moving them. "She now laid the first page of Fast Cars on the grill, words he remembered writing some twenty-four months ago, in the New York townhouse: "I dont have no wheels,Tony Bonasaro said, walking up to the girt coming down the steps, "and I am a slow learner, but I am a fast driver. Come on! How can you knock artistry like that? There was a freakin' thumbectomy & a bedpan involved for fuck's sake!
I know that reprinting this crap will only serve to bring me more SPAM e-mails. However, play value is way more important to me and making you smile is always on my list of crap to do in a day.
I Can't Believe I Remembered
I actually remembered that my passport would expire this year. I've only used the darned thing once in 10 years and somehow, without even having to check the date, I remembered that August of 2006 would mark the expiration date and today I sent out the necessary crapola to renew the thing.
I only got the passport in the first place because at the time, I had an agent convinced she was going to book me overseas and she needed to know that I was ready to travel. Since I figured an extra form of I.D. never really hurts and there might be a day when I would actually travel out of the country, I went out and got the thing.
Funny story about this agent. I've worked for several agents and agencies throughout the years, but have never really had "an agent". Unless you're about to break through or have become something of a commodity on your own and need a little further help, you don't really have an exclusive agent for my type of work.
One day, out of the blue, a gal by the name of Simone Finner gave me a call from Hollywood and she wanted to be my agent. I don't know for certain where she found me or who she was, but she wanted to be my agent and she was going to make me some real money. All things I've heard before.
To be fair, Simone Finner was actually a pretty big deal in her day when it came to booking variety acts. On her roster was the legendary Señor Wences, whom she represented most of his career. This, however, was not "her day" and she was clearly at the end of her career if not a littledelusionall.
She was, however, fun to talk to and had many great stories so for all intents and purposes I told her she could be my agent for certain venues and bookings so long as I got to keep my regular locall work . She told me, "I don't deal in pennies, kid so keep your local work for yourself."
She tried unsuccessfully to get the Kennedy Center Honors to honor Wences and have me spin plates at the show (he was a juggler & plate spinner as well as a ventriloquist). Wences was still alive and performing at the time (he lived to be about 100) and that would have been cool.
She submitted to a resort in Lake Tahoe for a 3 to 6 month contract at $1,500.00 a week. That never came in.
"You wanna work in Japan for about 30K this Spring? I'll get out your stuff."
There were numerous phone calls and she actually did submit my promo to a lot of places, but she never did get me any work and I never did really think she would. She did, however, ask to borrow some money a few times and since I wasn't exactly working I had no money to lend. I joked, "I guess I need a better agent."
Regardless, she provided me with a lot of funny stories, sent me a rather frightening photo of herself and her dog (long gone, so don't ask to see the photo), and gave me some hopes that somebody would find my act worthy of being booked. She may not have ever gotten me any work, but she made me feel better about not getting any than I'd ever felt before.
Since then I've had MANY different agents call me up and ask if I could travel (meaning do I have a passport). None of them have ever managed to get me that high-dollar international gig, but just in case I do get work like that or just get to take a vacation I decided to renew.
I got to use my passport on my one trip to Jamaica. This was a belated honeymoon for me and April. We'd planned on going to Florida for a weekend and found out that all the Y2K flying panic made it actually cheaper to get a week in Jamaica (hotel and airfare) than to get three days in Florida. So we went to Jamaica and had a most wonderful time. I'm sure I'll tell you more about that some other day.
For now, let's all admire how young and FAT I looked 10 years ago. Geez-O-Pete! What the fuck was I eating back then? Must have been beach balls or something. Hard to believe I got so much action back then. I'm way better looking now. I'll show you my new photo when the passport arrives, assuming they issue me a new one.
I May Not Be "Big Time", but I'm Always a Professional
Thursday I received a frantic call from the Carol Stream Park District (CSPD), a repeat client of mine. I've worked a few events of theirs over the past few years and it is always nice to hear from past clients.
They were in a bit of a panic because of a very unprofessional move or two from someone claiming to be a professional in the business. OK, I shouldn't be so insinuating. Could have been a fluke for this guy or just a bad day or something. Could just be a simple misunderstanding. Who knows for sure?
Back in May, the Park District scheduled a magician (someone I've never heard of before) from the Northwest suburbs to perform on July 28th. This was to be a small event for local kids where a magician would do about 30 minutes of magic and the kids would then go off with a Park District worker and learn some simple magic tricks they could build and perform themselves. No big deal.
Well, apparently for about a week prior to the event, the folks at the CSPD had been calling the so-called professional to confirm the date. This is a standard practice for both the entertainer (who really should have called them first) and the people booking the talent. Neither the magician nor the agency pimping out the guy returned any of their calls, which, naturally, brought about the panicky state from the CSPD folks.
Thankfully, they decided to call me in the hopes I had the date and time available to perform a show, anticipating that the magician had made himself disappear from the booking. The last I spoke with them left me with the possibility of the gig. If they hadn't heard from the guy by NOON Thursday they were going to just book me. As luck would have it I did have Friday morning open and the magician didn't even return the call. Since the event was about 3 miles from my front door I was happy to take the gig and "save the day" as one person put it.
Even though I am NOT a magician (I work for a living. Ba-Dum-BUMP!), they knew after working with me a few times before that I am a professional and would not let them down. They knew the show would go over well and they would have no headaches with me. That made me very happy indeed.
Plus, since they've been kind enough to hire me a few times before and since they'd already gone through enough headache I told them I'd take the gig for whatever money they were paying the magician, which as it turned out was PRACTICALLY NOTHING, another indication that the guy was not the busy, polished, and working professional he claimed to be (What's the adage? You get what you pay for!). Being a last-minute gig I viewed it as found money and didn't even try to get my standard fee.
When I got to the event they told me they'd heard from the guy that morning. He took another gig and never bothered to tell anyone. I guess they never got an actual contract with the guy (which is another very unprofessional move on his part) and felt that it was no big deal. Good freakin' lord!
So in essence I got a little extra cash, a big ego boost, some great word of mouth for my act and some great references for my professionalism. Not a bad day for me. I mean, I've made my share of mistakes in this business, but so far as I know, stories like this are not told about me and that suits me just fine.
This kind of thing happens all too often for my comfort. I've told you before about how you can spend a lifetime building a good reputation in this biz and blow it all in less than five minutes. This kind of thing, though not my mistake, can have a ripple effect across the board. When one performer blows a show or something equally as awful, it makes ALL OF US look bad. The client is that much less likely to hire ANY performer, be it a magic act, a juggler, a tap dancer - whatever.
When you do this to a group like a park district, word spreads about that performer QUICKLY. Park district folks TALK. Even though that performer may be mentioned by name to the first people to hear the story, much like the telephone game, by the time it gets to the 5th person or more, it could be ANY PERFORMER who screwed over the CSPD and that's bad for business. Thankfully, they also talk about the good things and for at least a little while I can feel like the good guy.
Got this E-mail
Normally I wouldn't bother reposting e-mail humor, but this not only made me laugh, but I'd actually been to a few of these sites before.
These companies failed to think their domain names through: 8). Then, of course, there's these brainless art designers, and their
1). A site called 'Who represents' where you can find the name of the agent that represents a celebrity. Their domain name is:
2). 'Experts Exchange', a knowledge base where programmers can exchange advice and views
3). Looking for a pen???? Look no further than 'Pen Island' at:
4) Need a therapist???? Try 'Therapist Finder' at:
5). Then of course, there's the 'Italian Power Generator Company' -
6). And now, we have the Mole Station Native Nursery, based in New South
7). If you're looking for computer software, there's always
whacky website: www.speedofart.com
9). Want to holiday in Lake Tahoe?????? Try their brochure website
at: www.gotahoe.com !
How About A Little Fire-Eating Today?
Come On, Parents! Get a Clue!
I'd like to ask everyone to stop giving celebrities so much shit for giving their children oddball or unconventional names. I know that it is easy to poke fun at a Pilot Inspector Lee or anyone else, but take a gander at your local phone book or do a name search online.
There are WAY TOO FUCKING MANY people named Dick Johnson.
What the hell are you idiot parents thinking? DICK JOHNSON? I know, I know. You named the kid Richard and had high hopes he'd become a Rick or a Rich or even an Ed. NOOOO, somehow you ended up with a DICK Johnson. YOU created a person who essentially is named "Penis Penis". Have you ANY idea how many times your kid is going to get his ass kicked in school just for having that name? Unless you are 100% positive your kid will go into porn you are a complete asshole for giving your kid a name like Dick Johnson.
This applies to all the Peter Johnsons of the world too. So please, morons - uh, I mean, parents...Take a little more time when naming your kids.
I'd take a million Pilot Inspectors or Moxie Crimefighters before I'd take even one more Dick Johnson.
Ten Things Tuesday: Pros & Cons of Working at/Attending the County Fair
- Pro: Fart all you want. Everyone assumes it came from a barn.
- Con: You hear that Toby Keith song about shoving a boot in your ass every five minutes.
- Pro: Farmer's daughters. LOTS of farmer's daughters!
- Con: All the best lookin' sheep are taken.
- Pro: If you left your teeth on the nightstand - NO PROBLEM!
- Con: There's a place where Trace Adkins actually gets work.
- Pro: Food on sticks!!!
- Con: If you park in the wrong place you get all too good a view of the demolition derby.
- Pro: Chickens with fuzzy feet, pot-bellied pigs, and baby cows.
- Con: "Pig-fucker" is not considered an insult.
Can You REALLY Call Yourself "The World Series of Pop Culture"...
...When two different teams in the competition don't know the names of the actors in "The Brady Bunch"?
I had high hopes for this show on VH1 and was even upset I didn't try out. Now I have mixed opinions.
- I'm upset for missing out because I and my potential teammates know just about 100% more about pop culture trivia than all of these people and could have cleaned up!
- I'm happy I missed it because the low level of difficulty in the questions and the absolute moronic teams assembled make me feel as though an appearance on this show would only serve to make me look like an asshole.
- I'm upset because I love Entertainment Weekly and I expected better from them.
Ah well, at least I didn't even try for this show. It is not like I was asked to submit materials and then summarily dismissed. That's already happened three or four times this year and I couldn't take getting axed by this one as well.
Yes, I Know I Should Be On TV
Please, stop telling me at gigs and in casual conversation about how I should be on "America's Got Talent" and "Master of Champions". I'm aware of the fact that I should be on those programs. I'm even more aware of the fact that I'm on neither of them.
I was asked by a few different agencies to submit promotional materials to both programs. Appraently I don't have talent and I'm not a master of anything.
I don't mind all that much. I'm a bit pissed at some of the talent I have seen and envious of some of my colleagues getting on these shows. I try to keep my chin up though. Really, I don't want to live in a world where David Hasselhoff or Oxana Baiul is telling me if I'm talented or not.
Regardless, please stop telling me that I should be on these shows. What you're doing is confirming that the shows aren't really filled with all that much talent AND getting me upset when I think about not making the cut...the cut of some crappy acts. In a way, you're making me come to the realization that I am so bad, I couldn't compare to some of the absolute shit that have been on the shows. Sure there are some great acts as well, but I don't care about them. The spaces watsed on crappy acts are what I notice, because those could be filled with people like me.
HEY! Here's an idea. Since you're going to stop telling ME that I should be on these shows, you should START telling THE PRODUCERS of those shows that they're missing the boat by not having ME on them. THAT would make me feel a whole lot better about myself and it would help guarantee that I don't misinterpret your otherwise well-intended compliment.
Haven't we been through this sort of thing before?
Among the Reasons I Love Independent Baseball Leagues
The Major Leagues wouldn't do something this cool. The damned White Sox stopped letting Minnie Minoso
take a swing years ago.
Who Says the Internet is Useless?
Why if it were not for the Internet we'd never have a photographic compendium of cats that look like Adolf Hitler.
Ladies and gentlemen, with many thanks to Entertainment Weekly (a magazine I should REALLY write for, by the way), I give you...
This site is certainly as entertaining as the Infinite Cat Project
and almost clearly as culturally significant as the Men Who Look Like Kenny Rogers
website. However I yearn for the day when there's a site dedicated to cats that look like Kenny Rogers. Some day...[SIGH!]
Sadness & Loss
The first day at the Kane County Fair went well. A little rain ruined one show, but it feel about the time a break would have been taken anyway so no big deal. A bit hot and a bit humid, but otherwise, loads of fun. My little stage is right next to an adorable petting zoo and there are many kids as well as many critters running about.
However I've got a bit of depression in the background. I heard from a fellow performer at the fair that Santa's Village, a small amusement park in East Dundee, Illinois, closed its doors this year rather abruptly and unexpectedly. More importantly, it may be closed rather permanently.
The announcement came around the middle of May of this year and somehow I missed the story. However most people didn't know about this and there wee many folks who showed up at the gates on Mother's Day (the traditional opening day of the park) only to be turned away filled with sadness.
I felt bad for my friend because he and his wife had a regular booking there for many years now and they heard about the closing pretty much the same day everyone else did. What a blow to his season to lose a regular booking like that.
Santa's Village, known for the "Three Worlds of Fun" found inside, was not the largest or the most amazing amusement park around. It was, however, a mainstay of family entertainment in the Midwest for over 50 years. It had a charm and appeal to it that made for a good time. Whether you were there to enjoy a taste of what amusement parks were like "back the day" or you just wanted a more affordable place to take your kids for a day of fun, Santa's Village was always a good choice.
I went there quite a few time as a kid and even came very close to losing my life there on one occasion. That, however is a story I'll share at another time. The main reason it is of significance to me is because Santa's Village was damn near the first professional gig I ever had as an entertainer.
I had to be about 16 when I first started working there. I seem to recall being a junior in high school and working there for at least two summers. I auditioned with my little comedy & juggling act for magician & W.C. Fields impersonator, Jim Spence.
Jim was a great guy and a good friend for a young entertainer to have. Though I can't claim to have made a ton of cash working for him, I can lay claim to a lot of valuable performing knowledge as a result of my working for him. He and I got along very well and we remained friends for many years. He helped me learn bit about performing, gave me good advice, passed along some good names to me and suggested some places to send promotional materials. He even passed my name along to the Reynolds family, who owned a small circus I would eventually work for MANY times over the years (even as recently as this past April).
The shows we did were pretty lousy really. Jim was the main act and I would be a supporting act, along with other high school kids who would sing or dance or whatever. Occasionally I'd have to dress up in a giant bear costume and do some meet & greet with the kids. Good lord that suit sucked!
I do recall working with some really cute girls there and, had I the confidence, I might have asked them out. Of course, I do also recall doing some rather naughty things with other girls back stage there, so maybe I didn't need more confidence - just more time. HEH!
Apparently, the old stage where I worked still had some graffiti scrawled by me and about me (written by others) on the walls back stage. Many years worth of crazy teens wanting a job for the summer scratched some sort of messages back there. I'm sure the sound booth still had a few chunks of Martello wisdom as well.
While I haven't been there in many years and haven't given the place a second thought in some time, it is very sad to think that something so "permanent" a fixture in my life is quite possibly gone forever.
Regularly updated news about Santa's Village can be found HERE
Busy Week for Me, But That's Not What I'm Happy About
Starting today I'll be performing several shows a day at the Kane County Fair. I'm there through Sunday and I even have a booking on the following Monday. So I'll certainly be making a living this week.
While I am happy about this, the thing that is bringing me the most enjoyment is the fact that Tuesday brought about the DVD release of one of my all-time favorite TV shows, The Adventures of Brisco County Jr..
This short-lived FOX program from the early 1990s starred the incomparable Bruce Campbell and was one of the most clever, funny, and enjoyable shows of its kind. Of course there aren't many shows of this kind so you can take that accolade however you wish.
Brisco County Jr. had a lot going for it. It paid tribute to the classic action movie serials of days gone by. It never took itself too seriously and, in their own words, was just below over the top. Lots of tongue-in-cheek humor peppered in among excellent action sequences, nestled within a western setting (1893 California) made this a very fun show to watch.
However there was also a bit of a science fiction aspect to the show which was a welcome change from the standard western genre. Basically you had an action/western/sci-fi/comedy in Brisco County Jr. and I watched every episode. I hoped dearly that FOX would give this show a fighting chance and not do awful things like shift it around the time slot board and chase the audience away. Of course, that didn't happen and FOX did all they could to ruin the show. IN spite of a decent audience willing to watch the show, it got bounced around the weekly slots and put on month long breaks so many times even the loyal fans couldn't tough it out.
Hmmm...A well-written sci-fi western that FOX didn't handle properly? Sounds familiar to me.
Anyway, MANY people, fans of Bruce Campbell to be sure, have been waiting for this to come out on DVD for a long time. Finally, we're all dancing the Happy Dance.
Ten Things Tuesday: Revelations About High-Speed Internet
- It takes considerably less time to get completely bored with surfing the net.
- I watch too much porn. I always did, but now I watch WAY too much porn.
- I deserve to be ridiculed for watching the trailer for "Rocky Balboa".
- Being able to read more blogs in a day doesn't make most of them any more interesting.
- I'll never be as funny or as popular as Homestar Runner or Joe Cartoon.
- Just because you have the faster connection doesn't mean you HAVE to watch the she-male vids.
- I still have no friends. I just come to the realization much sooner now.
- MySpace still sucks and having a page there doesn't mean I'll suddenly become Dane Cook.
- I'm either going to make a lot of extra cash on eBay now or spend a whole lot more there.
- The thrill of discovering strange videos before VH1's "Web Junk 20" airs them is fleeting at best.
"Get Your Girl On!"
Does anyone else have a problem with the new commercial for the Hummer H3?
Basically, the commercial is trying to make the Hummer appeal to women in the same way it appeals to men. It is all based upon some mom getting snubbed and pushed around by another mom at a playground. However that's not the issue.
The commercial ends with the snubbed mom feeling all empowered and running off to make herself feel better by impulse-spending 30K on a Hummer. Still, that's not the thing that got to me.
No, it is the tag line. As the smiling woman drives off in her new H3, now feeling all happy she's ruined her family's financial future, force-fed even more gas-guzzling auto exhaust into a dying planet, and never REALLY got back at the mom who bullied her in the first place (Really, this commercial makes women look VERY stupid.) we see the slogan...
"Get Your Girl ON!"
immediately followed by,
I suppose I should be glad it didn't read, "HUMMER; Get your girl on!"
because that's even worse. Either way, I, a comedian and card-carrying member of the Pig/Dog/Man Club reads that and immediately thinks...
"What other way is there to get a hummer?"
"I always get my girl on when I want a hummer. That's her job. I can't reach."
"I suppose I could get someone else's girl on, but that could lead to trouble."
"Is this some sort of right-wing anti-gay thing? I mean, you could "get your man on" for this sort of thing, right?"
I COULD go the corporate clean route as well...
"Get my girl on my Hummer? She'll ruin the paint job!"
I know. I'm a juvenile manchild. No need to remind me. Still, is this commercial any good at all? Shouldn't women be a little upset about the whole concept? I mean, sure, they'll be mad at my interpretation of it, but...Zeesh!
After My Gig Today...
April and I are off to Ravinia to catch some lawn, drink some wine, and listen to the unbridled power and musical majesty of Sir Tom Jones!
We've been fortunate enough to see him perform three times before (twice in Vegas and once at the House of Blues in Chicago) and I can't wait for this one. It has been awhile since we've been able to see him. He's been a bit pricey whenever he's been around of late. However, lawn seats at Ravinia cost us about $30.00 total and since he's got a voice strong enough we could probably hear him from our balcony, that should be more than good enough for us.
I'm really hoping I can get there in time to get some good viewing & listening space though. His opening act is Etta James
and I'm DYING
to hear her. This should be one amazing night! Let's hope for low humidity, few mosquitoes, and no rain. OK, maybe enough rain to chase away the crowds, but not enough to ruin the evening. ;)
Stardust Fading Away Into the Night
Sad news if you're a fan of classic Las Vegas. The Stardust will be closing it's doors by the end of the year. (Click for Story)
April and I have always loved the Stardust. It is a great older casino with some of our favorite gambling, food, and memories.
We enjoyed an all-you-can-eat sushi lunch at the Sushi King as well as a meal or two at Tony Roma's (Before their quality went WAY down) within the walls of the Stardust.
We saw Tim Conway & Harvey Korman perform there as well as the great Wayne Newton.
April even got to kiss ole' Wayne and claims he has the softest lips of any man alive.
April has always enjoyed playing some of her favorite slots there and I had an impromptu audition for the Las Vegas Comedy Festival at the Stardust.
Most recently, the Stardust was the place where we rented a car and ventured out to Searchlight, Nevada to visit the home of the El Rey Casino. As it happens, Willie Martello's daughter, Barbara, still works in the lounge at the place. I'm very hopeful we'll get to meet or chat with her before she moves on to another property or retires.
April and I have been saying we're not going to take our regular second vacation to Vegas this year. The economy just hasn't been all too supportive of people like us of late. While my booking year looks good on paper, the cash has come at odd times and the bills haven't all been in line with the incoming checks. Now, hearing this news, I can't help but feel that we have to find the cash for one last trip to one of our favorite casinos.
Tuesday, April and I got to head out to LaSalle, IL to visit Sue, my mother-in-law . I haven't gotten to see her new house since she moved out there and April hasn't had a chance to visit since before Mother's Day.
Sue insisted that we not mail her Mother's Day gift and rather, bring it when we could. I didn't know Sue had a birthday present for me and I can only assume April told her to hold on to it until we could get there to bring her present.
So when we got there the belated gift exchange began. She loved her goodies and I was very happy to receive a cool walking stick with a penguin at the top. Since I don't have my digital camera handy I'll show you a photo of a similar stick, but not the exact one I received. One of these days I'll snap a shot of the real stick for your viewing pleasure. Mine is taller and all carved wood, and not this molded sculpture on a smaller cane (I like mine way better!)
Sue also handed me a most excellent Opus birthday card with a check inside. Cash...is there anything it can't do? I was happy as a clam with the walking stick so the check was quite literally too much. However, she was planning on giving me something from my Ten Things Tuesday Birthday list or at least give me some dough to put me on the path and so...
Today I purchased one of those cool craft totes to transform into my new prop bag. This thing is HUGE and emptied out a couple of bags from my car's trunk. Now I have something a little more "airplane travel-ready" as well as a neater look for my stage show. I need to make a few adjustments to it and tweak it out a bit to make it more stage ready, but right now it is chock-full of props and resting in my car, waiting for my gig later today at the Buffalo Grove Park District.
Thanks so much, Sue! You're the best In-Law a guy could ask for!
Just Trying Something Out
I was going to make a nice long post about why I'm actually kinda cool with having few friends. There was going to be stories about my upbringing, conclusions about how I can really only rely on myself and not friends, and a long diatribe about how people only read into what I say and not actually listen to what I say. Instead, I have decided to make an attempt to embed a video of me from Stickam.
In case you didn't watch it yesterday (or ever), here are a few segments from my comedy routine about what it was like being a clown.
Ten Things Tuesday (Wednesday Edition): Things I've Watched or Listened to Since Hooking Up the DSL
Maybe I'll have a funny Ten Things Tuesday
list for you next week. Until then, why not check out some videos of me found at Stickam.com
? You can even post them at your own blogs and e-mail them to friends!
Look At How Fast I Am Moving!
Can you see me at all? Am I even visible on your screen? I doubt it, because I'm moving so damned fast!
OK, enough of that crap.
Now let's play a game of "Good News/Bad News"
Good News: My DSL installation went through without a hitch (KEEPING FINGERS CROSSED). Clearly a big improvement from the last time I tried to get DSL around here. Let's hope it stays that way and I can cancel my dial-up right away. Being the skeptic that I am, I'll hold off for a bit before canceling my Juno service. For the record, the first thing I did after checking e-mail and all that was to download Golfwidow's current podcast. After that I watched some porn.
Bad News: My printer went kaput as I was plugging in all the stuff for the DSL. I had to power down briefly and when I went back up, the scanner part of my machine seized up, grunted an awful series of noises and recommended I try shutting down and powering up again. I did as told and...nothing. My scanner bar is permanently stuck and I'm going to be without a scanner/printer/fax/copier for a couple of days.
Good News: I have the service plan for my printer and will be receiving a new one absolutely free. I've only had to do this once before and the folks at HP took great care of me. Since I love this printer so it made perfect sense to not only have the service plan, but extend it by a year. Had I not done that I'd be shopping for a new printer this week.
Bad News: Getting a replacement printer from HP the last time meant I'd get another of the same machine. Since my machine is no longer being made I'm getting a completely new machine altogether. This may seem like "Good News" to you, since it is technically a free upgrade. However, among the reasons I got this printer and not the next model up was that I had the option to use photo black ink for all my photo needs and standard black for general usage printing. Yes, it meant I had to buy 3 different cartridges instead of two, but the quality of the photos was better. Now I have no choice but to use the machine that has the photo card inputs (which I don't need) and the one fewer ink cartridge option (which may result in lesser-quality photos). I'll reserve judgment until I put the machine to use and see how I like it.
More Bad News: I have about 5 or 6 sealed printer cartridges here that do not fit in the new printer.
Possible Good News: I MAY get to exchange my sealed and new printer cartridges from the obsolete machine for new cartridges that will fit in my new machine. I have to write a letter of request and send it all to a special division of HP and all that rot, but it is worth a shot. They can still say no, but I know they've done this in the past and since I'm a loyal customer with the service package and all that, there's hope.
Bad News: You'll have to wait until Wednesday for "Ten Things Tuesday". Why? What aprt of "faster porn" don't you understand? DUH!
I'll be hooking up my DSL. If it goes anything like the last horrible time I tried to get DSL around here, this will be the last time you hear from me. If it goes better, I'll be around, but too busy to talk to you freaks because I'll be downloading so much porn.
Either way, wish me luck.
Let's Lay Our Cards On the Table
Poker players, REAL poker players (meaning people that love to play the GAME of poker and not just bandwagon riding freaks) think Texas Hold 'Em and damn near all other Hold 'Em variations suck major ass and are no fun to play.
The only reason that Texas Hold 'Em ever gained any prominence at all is because it is the one poker game out there that can maximize the number of seats and players around the table. Make the table big enough and you can have one hell of a big ass game going if all the players are limited to two freakin' cards. More players means more money, especially with so many suckers lining up to play the damn game these days.
Hold 'Em is less poker than all poker games. Sure all the same factors exist. There's betting & bluffing and all that crap. However, it can't hold a candle to true poker games like 5-Card Stud. Hell for fun's sake, 7-Card Stud or a good game of Draw poker will always be more interesting and more fun to play than any game of Hold 'Em.
It is more than time for poker to go away from my TV screen. I liked Celebrity Poker Showdown, but that's only because actual actors and comedians are more interesting than most poker players. It takes a lifetime of misery peppered with grand success before you are even 1/10th as interesting as a Doyle Brunson in the poker world. However, now that Phil Hellmuth has replaced Phil Gordon on Bravo (I guess Bravo has some sort of clause in their contracts that require all expert poker commentators to be named Phil.) it just isn't the same.
So now, I'm fine with all televised poker going far, far away. The game sucks, no matter which Van Patten you have working the room. I was watching poker on TV back when the best celeb they could get was Gabe Kaplan for fuck's sake. So really...Make poker go away.
Mojo, Mojo, Mojo. I Need Blogger Mojo.
Nothing all that mojoriffic, really. I mean, this is not an emergency or anything like that. I've got a mailer going out tomorrow, the first of what I hope will be a three-part marketing series designed to boost work for the fall, holiday, & early 2007 seasons.
See, we're in full-on summertime stuff. Most everyone is working very hard at festivals, picnics, and what-not. Normally, and this is some place where most performers will admit personal failure, I'm too busy to work on a big marketing push during this time. It happens to all of us. We all end up relying on the certainty of the upcoming busy season and marketing for the next season falls by the wayside.
Well, the economy of the past few years has hindered the reliability of the busy seasons. Even though I am among the few acts that works when times are tough, it has really caught up to me. Between now and Labor Day there will be something of an influx of calls at the offices of agencies and meeting planners for the next "big season" for entertainment and I want to have more work than I can handle.
Poverty left over from a less than stellar fall through January from last year prevented me from being able to fully maximize my marketing opportunities to insure a REALLY busy summer. No complaints. I'm busy enough to make bills and cover some costs for other things the business needs. I just know that I could be busier this year and I'm hoping to avoid missing out on the bounty before year's end.
Since I have a few checks from some good summer gigs finally in the bank, I'm trying to take advantage by doing the necessary marketing. Mailer #1 is printed, stamped with postage, and ready to hit the mailbox. If all goes well, the majority of them will be hitting the target desks on Tuesday (the day that, statistically, the most productive work gets done in offices nationwide). Next round of cards is scheduled for around this time in August.
Introduction to "Best Song Ever!"
I'm not sure if I'm going to make this a weekly installment or just a sporadic posting, but I've decided that it is time I spout out nothing more than my own over-indulgent opinions about some of my all-time favorite songs. For lack of a better idea I'll be titling these posts, "Best Song Ever!"
Understand that I'm a bit odd with regard to my favorite songs. Everyone has a song or two that they can listen to a few times in a row. My favorite songs are ones where I can quite actually listen to them 10, 20, 30 times in a row, if not more. Seriously. No problem at all. I could let 30 minutes to an hour go by and not hear a differing note from some other song.
I tried to make a mix tape of such songs and found out it was extremely difficult to enjoy because I'd rarely get past the first song. Some of them I like for their content. Others are on my list for my emotional attachment to them. Some I just like because they're just guilty pleasures.
This is just to give you fair warning that I'll occasionally be rattling off some sort of Andy-centric nonsense about songs that, in my opinion, hold the universe together. Had these songs not been written and recorded the world just wouldn't quite be the same. Many of these songs are ridiculous and might not be included on any such list written by more qualified folks than myself.
Until then, I'll do a very stereotypical "please leave comments" kind of blog thing and ask you...What are your all-time favorite songs? Do you have any songs that you can listen to so many times, people around you would worry for your sanity?
Labels: Best Song Ever
Stuff to Watch, Stuff to Listen to
July 4th was a special day for me. Not only did I have a good-paying booking in Wisconsin, but I was able to increase both my CD and DVD collections.
First off, April bought me a late birthday present, one which I've been patiently and eagerly waiting for, "Doctor Who, The Complete First Series".
I'm back in the Doctor Who madness full-swing, thanks to the superb new series. I've been watching all of the extra features like crazy for the last couple of days and I'm sure I'll wear out all the encoding on the discs soon.
Next, something that I've been waiting even longer for, "American V, A Hundred Highways", by Johnny Cash. I'll have a full review of my own after a few more thorough listenings. Otherwise you may click here for a review and some sound samples. Until I give you my full opinion on the work I'll just say in the brief overview that this, like the previous American recordings, sits comfortably among the finest music ever recorded. This CD, while somber & sad at times, never steers away from the masterful story-telling of Cash and the brilliant production artistry of Rick Rubin.
A gig, Doctor Who, and Johnny Cash. Beat THAT for a perfect Independence Day!
Oh yeah, I also had HAMBURGER CAKE waiting for me in my fridge at home. :)
Ten Things Tuesday (Special Wednesday Edition) : Things Most Americans Do On July 5th
- Rummage through back yard shrubbery. Try to find your fingers.
- Take the extra Vodka-filled watermelon to work and wait for the blackmail fodder.
- Blame the lingering sulfur smell on the dog. If you don't have a dog, buy one.
- With bottle rocket still lodged in your eye socket, sneak into work, and figure out how you can get workmen's compensation.
- Rehearse this phrase, "No, I blew up my ass cheeks by trying to light a fart on fire. Not that other thing you were asking about." Say it with conviction and maybe someone will believe you.
- Call in sick, then finish up keg of Old Style from the party.
- Thank God you stocked up on Aloe Vera ointment a week ago, even though you told your wife you'd rather spend the money on a few extra bottles of Night Train.
- Wish you'd removed disc of Jimi Hendrix playing the Star Spangled Banner at full volume before you hit "PLAY" on your CD player.
- Call contractor. Get price quotes to replace neighbor's roof.
- Spend the day telling your husband, "Aren't you glad I made you buy all that Aloe Vera ointment?"
Pissing on the Berlin Wall
This is among the funniest photos I've seen in my life. I was given permission by my brother to post it. He's the one pictured here. Here's what's going on.
This was taken this past April in Las Vegas. In our quest to show my brother some of the more unusual and varied things in Vegas we brought him downtown to the Main Street Station.
There, in the men's room, sits one of the largest surviving pieces of the Berlin Wall. It was purchased for the sole purpose of having 4 urinals attached to it and be part of the lavatory. Few people know about this little bit of trivia and those that do, including the women, try to get in there to not only do their business, but snap a photo or two and touch the Berlin Wall (it is not protected by any glass or covering).
Matt was, of course, impressed. Let's face it, this is something of an oddity to find yourself in front of the Berlin Wall, especially if you're taking a leak at the time. It's even more unusual to find yourself taking photos inside a men's room. That being said, I asked him if he wanted a photo of him standing next to the Berlin Wall.
Matt, having something of a wicked sense of humor, decided that the only "appropriate" photo he could take would be one where he was angrily and triumphantly flipping off communism and injustice, or possibly just show some anger towards the condition of the men's room. I don't know for sure. It was all a big joke, as you can probably tell by looking at his over-the-top expression. It also made for one hysterical photo.
I laugh every time I see this photo. The little things make all the difference here. Note the baseball beads around his neck, festooned in the patriotic red, white, & blue. America's colors - America's pastime. We bought those for him as we were going to see a Las Vegas 51s game later that night. His shirt features depictions of the various streets and boroughs of New York. It couldn't serve any better as a humorous "God Bless the USA" kind of photo if we had planned it.
Happy Independence Day to all legal, home-grown, or naturalized citizens of the United States of America. To the rest of you, enjoy your day off work. ;)
Tune in tomorrow for the special Wednesday edition of Ten Things Tuesday.
Please Rise As We Bring You the 4th of July Week Edition of...FIND THE PENGUINI!
Oh say can you see... LUCY LAWLESS!
Makes me stand at attention!
Here's a poem that was given to me some time back. Unfortunately, there is no author credited on this photo-copied piece of paper I was given. If you know who wrote this, by all means let me know. Regardless, once I post this here I can toss the paper and keep it from traveling from drawer to drawer. ;)
UPDATE: Golfwidow was kind enough to find the author (Richard Wilbur) and send a link for info about the guy. So I'll credit him appropriately here and hope you'll all head out to buy a copy of his Collected Poems 1943 - 2003
Richard Wilbur (from Ceremony, 1950)
A ball will bounce, but less and less. It's not
A light-hearted thing, resents its own resilience.
Falling is what it loves, and the earth falls
So in our hearts from brilliance,
Settles and is forgot.
It takes a sky-blue juggler with five red balls
To shake our gravity up. Whee, in the air
The balls roll round, wheel on his wheeling hands,
Learning the ways of lightness, alter to spheres
Grazing his fingers ends,
Cling to their courses there,
Swinging a small heaven about his ears.
But a heaven is easier made of nothing at all
Than the earth regained, and still and sole within
The spin of worlds, with a gesture sure and noble
He reels that heaven in,
Landing it ball by ball,
And trades is all for a broom, a plate, a table.
Oh, on his toe the table is turning, the broom's
Balancing up on his nose, and the plate whirls
On the tip of the broom! Damn, what a show, we cry:
The boys stamp, and the girls
Shriek, and the drum booms
And all comes down, and he bows and says good-bye.
If the juggler is tired now, if the broom stands
In the dust again, if the table starts to drop
Through the daily dark again, and though the plate
Lies flat on the table top,
For him we batter our hands
Who has won for once over the world's weight.