Archive for June, 2009

Six Billion Choices

June 30, 2009

Monday June 28th, 2009 – Chicago, IL

Being a dented can has a tendency to bleed over into personal relationships of all kinds. Everyone from lovers to friendships to business contacts are included on that list. I’ve had  big trust issues my whole life and that’s just how it is. I’m trying to work through it but if someone in my world sticks it to me or I think they do, I amputate them from my circle.

The way I look at it is if they do it once they’ll most likely do it again and that really has no appeal to me. There are six billion people roaming this planet and we all get to choose which of those we want to associate with on a daily or long term basis. I am learning to be pickier with whom I associate and I have to say I’m feeling good about it. I call the shots.

Lately I’ve been weeding out some of the leakers in my life and it’s not a negative thing at all. It’s actually kind of freeing because I know I don’t have to pretend I like them or be two faced about it. It is what it is. I know there are people who can’t stand me either and I like to know who they are so we can stay away from each other and avoid a useless fight.

Apparently my sister is one of those people. Whatever. That’s one I’m not thrilled about but again I did all I could to change that and she said no. I guess that’s my answer. I’ll just let it go and know I can’t win ‘em all. I tried my best and after that it’s on her. That’s life.

Well, that’s life for a dented can anyway. Maybe she sees no reason to talk to me and by me trying to contact her more that makes it worse. I give up. Now I have a couple of these situations going the other way where people are trying to contact me but I don’t want their energy anywhere near me so I just ignore it. Is that wrong of me? Maybe so, maybe not.

In my mind it’s the best way. It avoids an ugly scene and it stops me from blurting out a  rude statement or five I’ll be sorry for later. Am I a social retard? I’d have to say yes but it comes from growing up as a dented can and never learning to argue nicely. All I saw were ugly brawls and they never got settled. I try to reason with people but many won’t listen.

When I do argue I can get nasty with the best of them and I really don’t enjoy that at all. I usually try to reason once or twice but then I end up letting loose and doing damage with my tongue that takes years if ever to repair. Not saying anything is my way to avoid all of the pain and negative energy that goes with a nasty feud. I just don’t want that in my life.

Two people I’m cutting out of my life are the ones who owe me money for the cars that I stupidly sold them on credit. That wasn’t smart business on my part and I take credit for much of it but I still want my money. I’m going to ask for it as politely as I can and move on and clip them both out of my life. They haven’t helped me until now so not a big loss.

The funny thing is when I’ve done this over the years I never end up missing them. I’ve got a large roster of wonderful friends I am able to count on and share favors with and I’ll continue to nurture those relationships. Out with the leakers and in with the keepers. Who needs to deal with someone who isn’t a winner? Not me. I have six billion other options.

This way of handling myself could totally come back and bite me in the ass but at least I don’t have to be a hypocrite. I don’t have to sit around pretending I like someone or agree with their moronic philosophies when I don’t. To me it’s a time saver and a way to cut the BS as quickly as possible. Unfortunately people don’t always look at it in the same way.

Hey, we’re all different. I respect that. I do try to give people the benefit of the doubt as much as possible and when I’m wrong I freely and loudly admit it. I don’t and never have claimed to be perfect and without faults myself but mistakes are one thing and differences of philosophy are quite another. Mistakes are totally forgivable but to me the other isn’t.

My ex business partner embezzling from me is a perfect example. He could have asked me for the money and I probably would have said yes in a heartbeat. Instead he made it an ugly revelation to have to discover and it still doesn’t sit well with me all this time later.

I need to be associated with a serpent like that? Nah. I pass. Those two comics are in the same boat in my eyes. They could have paid me back a long time ago or tried to arrange a way to not just let it sit there and fester but they didn’t and now I see no reason to go back and associate with them ever again. They’re not even funny comedians in the first place.

Do they have network shows they could hire me for? No. Will they get them? I doubt it. If they would I wouldn’t want to work with them anyway. That’s probably not very smart business on my part but I don’t care at this point. I’d rather be with quality people I like.

There’s also a local booker who’s been a total pain in the ass. I thought we had a decent relationship but last time I saw him he let loose with one of the most mean spirited hurtful comments I’ve heard in a long time. It was really painful and boorish and something right out of my father’s playbook. It still stings me to think about it and it isn’t blowing over.

Supposedly he heard about how it went over with me from someone who reads my blog and now he’s trying to call me but I really don’t want to talk to him and I certainly do not want to work his club anymore. I was booked there in two weeks but thankfully I’ve got a replacement gig that pays three times as much and I never have to work for him again.

I don’t have a problem with that at all but now it’s getting around to other comic friends of mine who are asking me what happened and I just don’t want to deal with it. That guy has a second rate club in a third rate part of town and it frees me to not have to go back.

Zanies has never treated me that way and I’m even more grateful than ever. Bert Haas is my exact opposite in that he can totally get through things like this without a hitch. He’s a politician all the way and I just don’t have those skills. I learn from Bert constantly and he handles ugly situations as well as anyone I’ve ever seen. I guess I have a long way to go.

I don’t want conflict in my life at this point. I’ve had too many good friends and people I like and respect and have never had any problems with and I still do. I want to spend my time growing those fruitful relationships but I have to trim my weeds too. This is difficult.

Dubuque Was Delightful

June 29, 2009

Sunday June 28th, 2009 – Dubuque, IA/Lake Villa, IL

I really enjoyed my experience in Dubuque. I’ve worked there before but not in a casino situation and this one was top notch all the way. There’s a Hilton Garden Inn right next to the casino and I thought it was especially well run in all areas. It was spotlessly clean with friendly staff people all around and the breakfast set up was one of the best I’ve ever seen.

Things like that make a huge difference to someone like me who has spent a lifetime on the road. Great service stands out and I was really impressed with both the hotel and show arrangements and I hope this gig lasts a while. They haven’t been doing comedy that long and I’ve seen sweet gigs like this get ruined in a short time by comics who can’t behave.

It’s amazing how often I’ve seen that happen over the years. A gig starts up and the first time through it’s paradise. The staff is happy to have comedy and they go out of their way to try and please the comics. The accommodations are spectacular and they have free food and an open bar and the waitresses are sexy and friendly and everything feels like Vegas.

Then like locusts comics come through and abuse everything and the next time through it’s a completely different story. The hotel situation is usually changed and we’re now at a flea bag down the road with a numeral in the title. NO free drinks of any kind because the second week in a pair of flaming alkies came in and sucked up all the expensive hooch.

NO meals anymore either because they ordered the steak and lobster for themselves and didn’t even eat it all and they also tried to scam free meals for their wives, girlfriends, six kids and a table of cousins who live in town that they invited to the show – also for free.

The waitresses have been hit on so much they won’t even look in our direction if we are having a fatal seizure and the bar staff is fed up because they keep getting asked to be like personal valets to cater to every comic’s whim and then the comics don’t even tip them.

I wish I was exaggerating but I’ve seen many a sweet gig devolve into a nightmare in a short period of time. I hope this one doesn’t because it’s close to Chicago and it’s always  nice to have decent work close to home. The days of driving to Phoenix are over, at least for me. I’ll either fly or not go. I don’t need the experience anymore, I need the money.

That was my focus on my drive back home this morning. The weather was perfect and I was in a thinking mood. I left my radio off as I let my brain spin like a blender on ‘puree‘. It’s a beautiful drive on US Highway 20 and I allowed myself to enjoy every mile of it as I wrote down any and all ideas that rolled around in my head. That speeds up the drive.

I stopped at Jerry Agar’s house for a while because it was right on my way and we ran a few more ideas by each other. He and I both thought we’d be cruising along on a big time radio career and we should be but we’re not. He needs to find a full time job because he’s got a family to feed. I’m in it for fun at this point. I had a lot of that in Kenosha tonight on the Mothership Connection on WLIP. I could use a few more fun weeks like this in a row.

Reaching My Jackson Limit

June 28, 2009

Saturday June 27th, 2009 – Dubuque, IA

Enough with the Michael Jackson thing already. OK, he was a great entertainer. One of a kind. Bigger than Elvis. I don’t have a problem with that. I’m sad for the family and for the miserable life he must have had under the thumb of his slave driving ogre of a father.

I’m sorry if he became addicted to prescription drugs and I’m really sorry if he actually did those horrible things he was accused of in court. Only a few people actually know that for a fact and if indeed he did do them I’m sure it’s part of the equation of wherever he is.

Other than that, PLEASE stop covering it in the media. I’m not a major TV watcher but if I do decide to take a run through the channels I can’t avoid seeing it on every single one of the news channels in my hotel room and the more I see it the more sick of it all I get.

Why wasn’t it Jesse Jackson instead of Michael? How the hell does that snake continue to fool people into putting him on the air? Al Sharpton too. If those two clowns aren’t the biggest racists of all I don’t know who is. They’re doing more to agitate race relations and cause division than anyone else but they’re both called ‘Reverend’ and treated like kings.

I can’t watch it anymore but it doesn’t look like it’s going to stop any time soon. This is a bigger deal than Elvis’s death which was also sad but no real surprise. This is the part of the human experience that disgusts me so much. Everyone sucked what they could from a Michael Jackson or Elvis and then left their hollow carcasses to rot like a milked out cow.

Let the guy rest already. Hasn’t he suffered enough? How about letting the family figure out how to handle the funeral arrangements and what to do with his three kids? Is it really necessary to stick a mike in front of Al Sharpton? Does anyone care what he thinks about anything? I sure don’t and Jesse Jackson is worse. They’re both as useful as tits on a bull.

The more I see all this the happier I am I’m not famous. That’s all I would need when I die is some imbecile prattling on about nothing in the media and ruining whatever success and good memories I’d worked a lifetime to create. I think Michael Jackson was one of a kind and amazingly talented but all these half ass tributes are turning it all into a circus.

If I’m lucky when I croak there might be a little blurb in the back of the local paper with the lost dog ads and car parts for sale and I’ll be happy to get that. Most people live out an entire lifetime in complete obscurity. Michael Jackson and Elvis were the exact opposites.

All of this makes me more and more grateful for what I have, even if it’s not wealth and fame like I always thought I wanted. Whatever I’ve gotten has been on MY terms and I’m able to survive and still call my own shots. Michael Jackson was trapped in a lot of ways.

There has to be a happy medium in the mix somewhere, doesn’t there? Does somebody have creative control and financial resources but is still able to be free and enjoy life once in a while? I have to believe there is and if there isn’t I want it to be me. That’s success.

Enjoying My Invisibility

June 27, 2009

Friday June 26th, 2009 – Dubuque, IA

After getting drenched by Michael Jackson’s media monsoon most of the morning I feel pretty good about my own life right now. The more I hear the more I think his death was a blessing. He was the life source of countless bloodsuckers, parasites and human leeches.

It’s amazing how everybody seems to want to be ‘the one’ in any particular field but the very few that actually do achieve it are tortured lonely souls who usually die way too soon and never peacefully. I don’t think the human spirit was made for world wide notoriety.

There has to be a balance and once in a while I think any celebrity type has to be at least a little bit like a normal person. Getting recognized everywhere on earth has to be a pretty difficult cross to bear for anyone and I’m sure some handle it better than others. I wonder if I’d be able to handle it all day every day for years and years? That would get to anyone.

I get recognized from time to time but nowhere near enough to call it fame. Most times the people are extremely nice and only want to tell me they enjoyed my show and it made them laugh. What comedian wouldn’t want to hear that? I never mind it and always try to make the person who says it feel at ease. I really am grateful so hopefully they see that.

But when the brief exchange is done I can continue walking in public and eventually it dies down, usually way sooner than later. Then I can blend in with every other run of the mill average Joe and rarely will I get noticed until after the next show somewhere else. It hasn’t ever been to the point of not being able to go outside but real fame has that cost.

Michael Jackson couldn’t go out and hang at the car auction or a baseball card show or anywhere else I like to go and don’t even think about it. If I do get recognized it’s positive and usually just a nod or wave or very brief exchange of words. Unfortunately I’ve never had any throngs of teenage girls swoon and faint when I walked by. That’s disappointing.

Or is it? Tonight I had a fun show in Dubuque, IA. I’m working with one of my former students Steve Purcell from Madison, WI. Steve has really used the class for what it’s for. He does comedy when he can but he has a wife and two daughters at home and a day job.

We’re working at the Mystic Casino and it’s a very nice place. The room we perform in is beautiful and the staff couldn’t be any nicer to us. We did our show tonight and a lot of people came up to us and told us they loved it and shook our hands and it was a small part of our day. After a few minutes everyone trickled out and we walked to the restaurant.

We sat and visited and ate our meal in peace and had a very fun time. I mentioned that a small event like this would have probably made Michael Jackson or Elvis jealous because they couldn’t do it without causing a mob scene. Our meals tasted pretty good after that.

I guess nobody has everything they totally want and that includes the biggest of the big.
I may not be a mega star but at least I can have fun doing a show and then go have a meal.

One Big Time News Day

June 26, 2009

Thursday June 25th, 2009 – Chicago, IL

If anyone asked anyone else “What’s new?” today and heard the usual robot response of “Not much,” they’d have been talking to a liar. What an eventful day today was, probably one of the biggest of the last decade at least if not the century, and I’m talking since 1909.

Farrah Fawcett’s death wasn’t necessarily shocking but it was major news. I know she’d been sick for a while but hearing she passed was a stunner anyway. For my generation she was one of if not THE sex goddess of our era. I can still picture her on that poster. Yeow!

Growing up in Milwaukee they just didn’t make women like that there. Wherever DNA like that was being thrown around that’s where I wanted to move. Not that I’d have a hint of a chance with her but I wanted to at least see her in person to make sure she was real.

I collected autographs for many years and I sent a request to Farrah Fawcett but I never really expected to get a response. I figured it would be worth risking a stamp and the time to write the letter so I rolled the dice and gave it a shot. I remember trying to be funny so I wouldn’t look like a complete ass or worse yet a stalker. I’m sure she had plenty of those.

I remember opening the envelope and not recognizing the return address at first. I’d had many of those because I sent a lot of requests out but when I pulled out the 8×10 that said ‘To Dobie: Fond Regards, Farrah Fawcett’ I thought my eyes were going to bug out of my head. I couldn’t believe I got a response from her. She even had sexy handwriting. Yeow!

Over the years I acquired quite a few celebrity 8x10s from people like Cindy Crawford and George Burns and Don Rickles and many sports figures, media personalities and lots of other celebrities big and small. I had quite a nice collection until I moved to Utah for a radio gig and ended up buying a house. My basement flooded and I lost all of my 8x10s.

Hearing of Farrah Fawcett’s death reminded me of all that but my problems aren’t even close to what hers were. I lost some photographs in a flood. She had cancer of the anus. In a contest of who has it worse I wouldn’t get a single vote. Not even from me. She wins.

What a horrific way to have to die. It sounds so torturously painful. Colon cancer is bad enough but ‘cancer of the anus’ takes it one step farther and sounds downright surreal. It’s something I might jokingly wish on a heckler because it sounds so comically exaggerated. It doesn’t sound real so that’s why I’d say it. It sounds more like a Marilyn Manson CD.

Everyone dreams of having fame and money and good looks and Farrah Fawcett had all of those. Her looks got her noticed and the rest followed and most people never have that opportunity. Again, life isn’t fair and nobody ever said it was going to be. She had it all.

Then at the end of her life the tides turned a little. She got older and her looks faded but only a little. She was still quite a scorcher and most 62 year old guys would love a shot at a woman their age that looks like her. What a sad story and I hope she’s free of pain now.

That was a pretty big story and combined with the NBA draft it would have been a busy news day but then the bombshell dropped and Michael Jackson died. That still seems odd to read as I type it but apparently it’s true. It was on every news network the whole night.

Farrah Fawcett was a major star of her era and had a fantastic career but she only lasted a couple of hours in the spotlight before the big story came in and wiped out everything in it’s path. This story is going to rival the death of Elvis and be talked about world wide.

I was checking my emails and someone had added me as a friend on Facebook. I looked at the friends list and someone wrote ‘Michael Jackson has died’. I did a double take for a second because it seemed so strange to read that at first. Then I turned on CNN and it was just starting to break. What a shocker in some ways but in others it was totally expected.

It might sound cruel but I for one am glad Michael Jackson is dead. He was the ultimate dented can and maybe now he can finally find some peace and happiness and love and all the stuff we dented cans are missing. He made millions of others happy all over the world but at the end of the day I’ll bet he lived a lonely life. Wealth and fame didn’t save him.

I’ve always liked Michael Jackson’s music and to this day Thriller is still one of my all time favorite albums. In the ‘80s it was hard to turn on a radio and not hear something by or about Michael Jackson on any station. He was more than a singer. He was pop culture.

It always bothered me to hear him talk about his childhood in interviews. His father was a mean bastard much like I remember mine and he forced all those kids to practice music not because it was fun but because he wanted to use them to get himself out of the ghetto.

I can’t be a judge of how or why his father did that but it sure did have a negative affect on Michael for his whole life. He was used and abused and turned into a freak show by an array of people who just wanted to squeeze money out of him. Yes, he had amazing talent and loved performing and made untold millions but that never did buy him a childhood.

His fans will always have his work to enjoy and he had a large body of it. He was one of the innovators of the MTV era and videos are still doing what he did in 1982. He had one of if not the best runs in show business history. Elvis was great but didn’t do it worldwide like Michael did. I can’t think of a bigger single act with more worldwide fame in history.

Everyone in the entertainment business dreams of a career like Michael or Elvis but it’s too much for anyone to handle that much fame in my opinion. The Beatles at least had the advantage of being able to share it with each other. Michael and Elvis became prisoners.

As one dented can and human being to another I really was glad in a way to hear that he died. It seemed to be sudden even though it had been building for 50 years. I hope he isn’t feeling pain just like I wish that for Farrah Fawcett. And Elvis. And anyone else who had to be the flavor of the generation that worshipped them. It wasn’t easy and I hope he now gets a chance to heal some of that pain. Maybe now he‘ll get to finally have a childhood.

There’s Always Baseball

June 25, 2009

Wednesday June 24th, 2009 – Milwaukee, WI

Sometimes a hot sweaty humid night at the ball game can be a refreshing mental enema if nothing else. It was ripe and funky the whole evening up at Miller Park as I watched the Milwaukee Brewers finally beat the Minnesota Twins 4-3 in exciting dramatic fashion.

My friend Tony Dunagin has a twenty game season ticket package and asked me to pick a game out of a few he had open. That was extremely nice of him and I took him up on it. Tonight was the game I chose and it couldn’t have been better. It was an exciting victory.

Tony and I were talking about how we hooked up many years ago. He was interested in promoting rock bands and I was already promoting pro wrestling shows in the Milwaukee area. I had an office on Howell Avenue near the airport and he walked in one day and was a good guy and we became friends. That was around 1992 and we’ve stayed in contact.

He and his wife have come to see me perform when I’m in town and he’s just a regular hard working good guy. He used to work at K Mart for years and now he works for a mail order furniture business of all things. He said it’s doing well and he seems to like his job.

Tony is a perfect example of how to network effectively. He came to me years ago and I liked the guy from the start. He never bugged me but he did stay in contact regularly even though we technically never really did any one on one business deals together. He always had a knack for not being a pest and that in itself is a skill. I always admired his method.

As I moved out of the wrestling business and into radio and started to travel more over the years we weren’t in touch as often but then the internet came around and we hooked up again. We’d take turns buying lunches once in a while but there was never any kind of heavy sales pitches or anything like that. He was just a good guy to hang with and chat.

Tonight was really enjoyable. He’s very knowledgeable about sports and also the inner workings of rock bands and promoting shows and we had a very interesting time between talking of all that and watching a super exciting baseball game. It was good summer fun.

There were a ton of gorgeous women walking around and a lot of them were Minnesota fans. They’re known for their hot blondies and there were a bumper crop on hand tonight for all the men to enjoy. The hot muggy night turned the entire stadium into a wet t-shirt contest but nobody I saw was complaining. These weren’t the local cows I remembered.

I will say there is something hilariously funny about a well endowed Minnesota fan who has a halter top that says ‘Twins’ written across the chest. I wonder if the team knows just how funny that really is. I couldn’t stop laughing about it but I still kept my eyes peeled.

This was a really fun and relaxing night even with the humid weather. Tony is very nice to have invited me to the game and I totally appreciate it. Baseball may be full of steroids and liars and cheats but the game itself is still great. This is why people keep showing up.

Too Nice Twice

June 24, 2009

Tuesday June 23rd, 2009 – Chicago, IL

Nice guys really do finish last. I know it all too well, because unfortunately that‘s been my result way too many times. I have always had a giving heart and even as a kid sharing whatever I had was never a problem. Deep down I’m a giver and I’d rather do without for  myself than have someone else in need or even want. I really do try to try to sacrifice self.

That doesn’t mean I think I’m better than anyone else but I do think there are people for whatever reason that don’t think the way I do. I’ve been bitten in the ass many times and I am really starting to get sick of it. My patience is thin and I have to toughen my attitude.

Maybe this is a lesson I needed to learn long ago but I’m getting the message really loud and clear lately and it’s not very pleasant. I’m sick of being a human urinal cake to certain people and I have to send out a different vibe, especially when it comes to money issues.

There are two current instances I can think of that are really festering in my ass. Both of them involve comedians and both involve cars. Both also involve unpaid money that I am owed and have been for way too long in my opinion. It’s my fault and I take full blame.

Most people who know me know I like to wheel and deal cars I buy at the auction. I like cars and I like auctions and I’ve had harmless fun with it for years. No big deal but I made the huge mistake of ‘selling’ two of my tin cans on credit to each one of these comedians.

Both wanted a car for their kid and both SWORE they’d pay me ‘as soon as possible’. If I said that to someone I know in my heart I’d either DO it or make arrangements of how it could get done at a reasonable time. That’s me. It sure hasn’t been either one of these two.

Granted, it was I who was stupid enough to give them the cars and clear titles without so much as an I.O.U. but I trusted each of them and I technically didn’t really need either the cars or the money at the time but it’s been way too long and I can really use the cash now.

One of the louts was one of the Chicago Style Standups of which I was a member. I was trying to help him out and ‘be nice’ but he knew all along he wouldn’t pay me. He’s had a checkered past with some bookers he hasn’t paid commissions to for years and it’s lost an enormous amount of work for him too. I didn’t find that out until after he stuck it to me.

Again, that’s my fault and I admit it but it doesn’t take any of the hurt away. It ended up being the main reason I dropped out of Chicago Style Standups and he’s never tried to get it taken care of. He seems to have plenty of cash to buy bags of marijuana to smoke at age 62 or whatever he is and that’s what really infuriates me. I‘m being totally disrespected.

If someone wants to live like a vagrant in his 60s and wake and bake every morning that isn’t the kind of guy I want to associate with professionally or personally. I used to have a high opinion of him as a comic but then I got to know him and see how he handles all his business and it lost me for good. I made a huge mistake by trusting him with the car deal.

The other one was very similar. It was a guy I met on the road and he said he was also a dented can and had a rough childhood and he wanted to get a car for his son in Texas who just turned sixteen. I know what it’s like to be a sixteen year old kid who craves to have a relationship with his father and I figured since I didn’t I could help that kid catch a break.

The comic flew to Chicago and picked up the car which was a super clean ‘88 Mercury Cougar. It was a one owner title with 50,000 miles on it and was SWEET. I liked that car a lot but I was willing to give it up for the kid and I’d scored it for a relatively cheap price so I said he could pay me what I had into it and we’d call it even. I cut him a killer deal.

He did tell me he couldn’t pay me back for a while and I was cool with it but the kid did have a birthday coming up so I wanted it to be a gift and get there on time. If I was the kid that’s what I’d want so I tried to live by the golden rule like we’re supposed to and did it.

Weeks became months and I think it’s been a couple of years now and he did send me a $100 payment but that was IT. No ‘Hey, I’m trying to pay you…’ Nothing. He had money to move to California and supposedly he’s been in some movies but do you think I’d get a call or an email or an I.O.U.? Nope. Then I found out the kid totaled the car in a month.

The whole situation pisses me off to no end, but mainly that I was stupid enough to give two working cars to people I thought I could trust. I have nobody to blame but myself and I’m sad it came down to this on both accounts. I lost two people I thought were friends.

I guess I was wrong and that hurts too. I was just trying to help out and cut somebody a break. I know what it’s like to be broke and have nobody cut me one so I wanted to buck a trend and create some hope. Instead, all I created was a double heartache for myself. It’s surely not the results I expected in either case and I really doubt I’ll see another payment.

The total amount owed to me would amount to three months rent. That would really be a nice little shot in the arm right now and help me get through a slow summer. It will sure make me think twice, thrice and roll some dice before I ever do a deal like this again. If it were the opposite and I owed them I have to believe they’d be up my ass like a wet thong.

The hardest part of this for me is keeping my personal feelings out of it. I am infuriated and insulted and I feel disrespected by both of these guys. I don’t ever want to associate in any way with either of them ever again, on stage or off. They’re out of my life and I don’t miss either one of them personally but I could use that money right about now. It’s mine.

The same goes for that slimy fat bastard up in Milwaukee who still owes me $400 from the shows I did in 1994 that he laughed off and said he’d never pay me. Well, he hasn’t. It also infuriates me and if the tables were turned he’d have surely sued me a long time ago.

This is why people can be ‘difficult’ when they make it. It’s stupid little things like this over and over and over again. For years. Then when someone breaks through it they want a chance to stick it back in return. I understand it now but still, much of this was my fault.

Doing The Right Things

June 23, 2009

Monday June 22nd, 2009 – Chicago, IL

I took care of some good business today on several levels and I feel really pumped. First I got up and took a nice long walk outside. I live in a neighborhood that looks like the one Beaver Cleaver lived in and there are a lot of nice places to take a walk when I choose to.

I still enjoy the Gurnee Mills Mall because it’s air conditioned and heated depending on the time of year but I have to drive to get there and it takes time and gas. Today I woke up and got dressed and was walking outside a few minutes later. This was pure convenience.

I broke a full sweat, partially because it was hot and humid. Still, I got a little pump and focused on my breathing and rhythm and it was very productive. That got me going in the right direction and I wrote out the check for the parking ticket I got in Milwaukee a while back when I was a guest on The D-List on ESPN 540. I’d been putting that off too long.

Then I signed online and reconnected with my writing partner Rick on the bank robbery story as a movie script. It’s an amazing story but it’s been sitting there too long and we’ve now got to finish it or abandon it and I am voting for finishing it. We have a treatment for anyone who may want to look at it and the version of the current script is looking doable.

I totally believe at some point we’re going to get a pitch session in L.A. and someone is going to buy this script and make an excellent movie out of it. It’s one of my best shots at breaking through the ‘wall of white guys’ in Hollywood and I need to make it a priority.

At least the project is back in motion. Rick is a great partner but he’s busy too so we let it sit for months and nobody complains because we’re each so busy on other things. I took charge on this and started it up again and I believe it’s time to sell this story and get paid.

Another thing I restarted today was comedy classes at Zanies. I offered a free class since I was booked to headline the show tonight and we had a very nice turnout. Bill Gorgo was there and I love teaching with him. He’s very laid back and fun and contrasts my energy.

There was a very nice mix of people and we really had a rocking class. I think most will sign up for a beginner class and we can start that very soon. It’s encouraging to see there’s still some interest in Zanies and the classes because there is a glut everywhere else. Now I hear Second City is teaching standup classes. Why would they do that? That’s confusing.

To me it would be like if KFC started selling hamburgers or tacos. That’s not what KFC does. It seems the same to me with Second City. They’re known for improv comedy and a very popular class with many levels attached to it. They must see money if they’re doing a standup class so I may be on the right track after all. Still, I never did this for the money.

I teach because I enjoy it. I also love peforming and I got to headline the show tonight. I usually host the rising star showcase but Bert Haas was off tonight so I closed the show. It was a lot of fun and I had many friends show up to see me. It was a very productive day.

Father Figuring

June 22, 2009

Sunday June 21st, 2009 – Kenosha, WI/Lake Villa, IL

Another Father’s Day. No matter how many more I live to see it won’t erase the feeling of emptiness that goes with it. I won’t yammer on about it because I’ve done that enough. I talked to my cousin Brett today and he’s in the same boat. He and his old man have not spoken in several years and at this point he said he has no desire to. What’s done is done.

Unfortunately I can relate. I didn’t speak to my sperm donor for years either and then he died and that was it. No tears. No mourning. No emotions at all really. Not right away. He was such a cold hearted ogre I was just glad to know he wasn’t alive to be mean anymore.

The worst part is that I’m by far not the only one with an ugly father story. Many people have had to struggle with it and I’m sorry to hear of it. Wayne Dyer has an amazing story of how his father abandoned the whole family and Wayne never got to meet him at all. He only got to stand at his grave and that’s when he was able to forgive him for all the pain.

If you’ve never heard Wayne Dyer or have and don’t like him that is one amazing story I think every dented can should hear. I personally happen to really enjoy all of the stuff he puts out because I think he’s passionate about it and funny too. His vibe is extremely real.

He doesn’t mince words and says a lot of things that make a lot of sense to me. I always get something out of listening to his audio programs as I do from several people like Tony Robbins and Brian Tracy and Earl Nightingale and Les Brown and quite a few others too.

I’ve been pounding a lot of those recordings into my head lately because I really think it resonates in the subconscious mind. If I’m going to win the game of life I have to tune my inner brain waves to the right frequency for success. Rotten thinking brings rotten results.

We all can get into that mental rut and I for one am sick of staying there. Yes, my father was a bully and a loser and a pathetic excuse for a person much less a father but who’s to say his function wasn’t to show my siblings and me how NOT to live? That concept has a twist I really hadn’t thought of but it sure is interesting to think about. Maybe it’s correct.

It’s very difficult not to have anger and disdain and a lot of other ill feelings toward him and I drift in and out of all of them but the concept that I may have chosen my parents is a mind bender I’m just now able to even conceptualize. Why would anyone choose that?

The Mothership Connection is great for stuff like this. Tonight we had a fantastic guest named Kay Taylor Parker who went into a lot of things like this and it was riveting radio for the entire two hours. We got a ton of calls and the time flew by. I highly recommend a trip to her website at http://www.starsourceonline.com. Tell her you heard about her from me.

Have we lived before? Are there old and young souls? What’s the truth? Lots of people have lots of answers and everyone thinks they’re right. I’m trying to think it all through so I can make up my own mind. What I do know is I’m not the only one who’s wondering.

Up For The Down Stroke

June 21, 2009

Saturday June 20th, 2009 – Chicago, IL

I don’t know why, but for some reason I was kind of bummed out today. The weather is spectacular and this is the prime time of year. Normally that alone cheers me up but today I was feeling a funk coming on and not the kind I like. In fact what made me feel worse is that George Clinton was playing in town tonight and I didn’t find out until it was too late.

Usually I’m up on when the band is playing anywhere close and if I’m off I’ll always go see them but it slipped past me this time. I was sorry it did because whenever I catch them it always energizes me in a positive way. They’re playing up in Milwaukee in July and I’ll hopefully catch that one and maybe even have my new CD ready to share with the band.

It was an email from Pedro Bell’s assistant that told me they were in town tonight. I had no idea and by the time I found out I couldn’t have gotten back into the city and fought all the Saturday traffic and construction again especially since I just was in the city earlier for Jerry’s Kidders on WGN. Had I known then I’d have stayed around and seen the show.

I don’t know why I felt so low today but I did. We had a fun session of the Kidders but I just kept thinking of how little to no impact we’re having on anything. Yes, maybe we get a few laughs once in a while or maybe people think we totally suck canal water but I can’t feel any kind of positive feedback other than we as a group have fun. But it’s not enough.

Then I got to thinking of how the TBS Just For Laughs Comedy Festival is in Chicago at Zanies and none of us have any part of it. They’re taping comics at Zanies to go on TV on WTBS and it really hurts that I’m not part of it. I didn’t bring it up with the other guys because they seemed to be in a good mood and I didn’t want to bring anyone else down.

This whole business is a big game and I’ve been a piss poor player for far too long. I’m really trying to get better but it seems like it might be too late. Lewis Black said he felt as if he was never going to make it big and resigned himself to the fact he’d manage a little theatre somewhere and then he got his shot on Comedy Central and things turned around.

I’m beginning to think I’ve past the point of having my shot. I don’t show up on any of the important people’s radar after a lifetime of trying. A lot of those people in the festival have been doing it a lot less time than me and quite frankly aren’t as strong a comic as me but they’re taping for TV and I’m sitting around bitching I’m not working on a Saturday.

The Kidders are fun but I don’t think it’s going anywhere. Not now anyway. We all take pride in what we’ve done and give it our best every week but I really don’t think anybody in charge cares one bit. The Mothership Connection is fun too but that’s also not putting a dime in my pocket. Should I chuck it all and try something else? I want some stability.

But I also want the creative buzz too. Can I have both? Is that possible? I think so but it sure would make it easier if I had a steady income right about now. I’ve always been able to squeeze out a living but right now it’s the tightest squeeze I’ve had in quite a stretch.

I couldn’t stand the thought of hanging out at home tonight with nothing to do. Usually I can get lost in a book or a project but tonight I wanted to be anywhere but here. There’s a glut of pools in the neighborhood and everyone seemed to be having a party tonight and I just wasn’t in that kind of mood. I don’t really know the neighbors and it felt awkward.

I tried calling every woman I like who is breathing and/or within a 900 mile radius and on short notice I couldn’t rustle up a date to save my pasty white buttocks. I was thinking of buying a gun and some bullets and taking target practice in my left ear but that isn’t the answer either. Well, it’s AN answer but not THE answer. I kept thinking of what to do.

Jerry and Tim Slagle were talking about how fantastic they thought the new movie ‘Up’ was. I am so out of the loop with current pop culture that I’d heard of it but that was about all. I knew it was about some cranky old guy who wouldn’t move out of his old house and eventually floated away with some balloons. Big deal. Not something I thought I’d enjoy.

Those kind of movies aren’t directed at me and I honestly don’t care if they ever found Nemo or not. I still haven’t seen that one yet but I hear it’s pretty good. I’ve got a backlog of other movies to see first before I ever get to that one and I won’t be crushed if I don’t.

There’s a movie theatre very close to where I live and I drove over and bought a ticket for Up just to escape my pissy mood. Sitting home would have let it grow roots. I wanted something to make me forget it and boy did I get it. What a movie. I totally got lost in it.

It caught me at the right time on the right day but I’d say this was one of my favorites of all time. It grabbed me right away and touched me all over and not many movies have had that affect. The Princess Bride and The Shawshank Redemption come to mind along with A Christmas Story and The Grinch movies. Maybe Forrest Gump. That‘s pretty much it.

This one had feelings and emotion and really communicated it well. The animation was spectacular and it all just fit together perfectly. The old man character reminded me of my own grandpa and I didn’t know until afterward that it was Ed Asner who was the voice.

Another twist that caught my attention was the little boy’s name was Russell. That was my father’s name and maybe because it’s Father’s Day weekend that had something to do with why I was feeling a little off today. Every other commercial I’ve heard lately pounds it into my head even more. “Menard’s is having a FATHER’S DAY sale!!!” Ok. Enough.

I was in a foul and ugly and hurting mood today but I was able to escape for a while and that‘s what good entertainment does. It had that rare magic a classic has and I totally think this movie will attain classic status. I’ll see it again and hopefully bring some kids along.

I’d sure love to be able to leave that kind of a legacy to the world. Millions will enjoy it who aren’t even born yet just like Laurel and Hardy made me laugh and still do long after they’re dead. THAT is a true gift that keeps on giving and I strive to leave something that future generations can enjoy. So far I’m still struggling to pay bills. I’ve got a ways to go.