Archive for April, 2011

Upper Peninsula Angst

April 20, 2011

Tuesday April 19th, 2011 – Fox Lake, IL

I’m starting to feel very comfortable with not being on the road so much lately, and I’m not at all looking forward to a long drive to the U.P. of Michigan tomorrow for two nights of shows at the Kewadin Casinos in St. Ignace and Sault Ste. Marie. I’d cancel if I could.

It’s a week of goofy routing, with two nights in the U.P. and then Friday night off. Then it’s Potawatomi Casino in Milwaukee which is always a fun time, but then back up to the U.P. just outside of Escanaba in a town called Harris for a very early show on Sunday. It’s at 7pm but it’s Eastern Time up there so it’s 6pm our time. I’m out of there by 7:30 easy.

In a perfect world, the three U.P. gigs would get bunched together and then lead into the Saturday night in Milwaukee. That would make all of our lives much easier, but of course it doesn’t work that way. It rarely does. That’s when the shows are, so that’s when we go.

And to make it worse, there’s apparently a winter storm going through the area which is never fun up that way. Freeway access runs out just north of Green Bay, and it’s two lane hell the rest of the way north and then east to the Mackinac Bridge. It can get pretty ugly.

And even worse than that, I’ll be making the drive in my 1983 rear wheel drive Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham with onion skin tires, and gas will probably be about $4.50 a gallon after I get north of Green Bay. Welcome to the wonderful world of being a road comic.

I’ve had to make that drive more times than I’ve wanted to, and it’s a winding maze of danger in very desolate country. I could easily slide off the road and be marooned for who knows how long? It’s undeveloped woods most of the way, and there are maybe three or four radio stations across the dial, mostly playing songs from 1974. It’s a Twilight Zone.

I always thought the U.P. of Michigan was one of the only places on Earth I could see a UFO, Sasquatch and a werewolf – all in the same day. If I was looking to lay low from the Mafia or disappear from society, that’s probably where I’d go. It’s a great place to escape.

But, in this day and age and especially economy, work is work and not something to be taken for granted. The run pays pretty well, and the people are always very friendly in all the casinos. The hotel rooms are great and they feed us delicious meals in the restaurants. No, it’s not a career maker by any means, but it is a reliable way to pay off some bills.

The guy who books this run lets me pretty much pick the weeks I want to do it, so it’s a sweet gig I can usually count on about twice a year. I’m not complaining about any of that part of it, I just don’t feel like making the drive tomorrow – especially in funky weather.

But, that’s how it turned out. I didn’t think snow would be a factor this late in April, but in Mr. Lucky’s world all bets are off. I’m going to shut my mouth, open my eyes and ears and enjoy the next two days as much as possible. I’m grateful for the opportunity to work.

Advertisement

Biding My Time

April 19, 2011

Monday April 18th, 2011 – Chicago, IL/Fox Lake, IL

It’s really time to get down to work, and any excuses are falling on my own deaf ears. It all boils down to maximum effort, and until I start giving that on a consistent basis, I will keep wandering aimlessly like I am now. What will kick me in the ass? I wish I knew.

Every day I try to get things done, and every day distractions and unexpected situations come out of nowhere to grind everything to a halt. I’ve got a dozen or more projects, each in various states of semi completion or dormancy, and no matter how hard I work on any one of them the more the others feel neglected. It’s your typical 3lbs of beans in a 2lb bag.

It doesn’t help in the least that all my worldly possessions are still in complete disarray from me unexpectedly having to move last year and now all my phone contacts have been lost with my recent phone situation. 99% of everything I have, am or aspire to is laying in a pile either where I live or in a storage bin. My mind is cluttered and it’s trickling down.

How do I fix this? I don’t know of any other way but to make a plan of attack and find a way to consistently work on it until the plan is in motion. In theory, life shouldn’t ever get to this point of disorganization ever again, but no law says it won’t. I’m really struggling.

I’ve left the majority of the big things to wait untouched while I go take care of the tiny things like doing comedy shows around the area. I’ve been doing red hot shows lately but that’s not going to be what makes me financially secure in the long run. I still want to get out and do shows, but I want to have other income from other sources while I’m doing it.

That means I have to plan them out, set them up and have people around me that are in a position to keep them running while I’m away doing other things. Right now, I’m only out there doing the other things and everything I really want to do is just collecting dust.

Comedy classes are something I think can really bring in a nice income. It’s something I know I’m good at, and have been working for fifteen years to polish both my syllabus and my teaching skills. It’s a legitimate product that a lot fewer people are doing than being a comedian, even though it seems like everyone and their uncle thinks they’re able to teach.

I’m still in partnership with Zanies in Chicago, and that’s big time credibility at least in the Chicago area. A new class started tonight and it’s full to capacity which is very nice to see. Bill Gorgo is teaching the beginner levels, and I know the students are in good hands.

The thing to do now is keep cranking out products and find a way to duplicate the class on line and in other venues. I’ve got a system, much like a restaurant chain comes up with one and then sells franchises. I’m doing the same thing, and now the fun part is starting.

I have to market my system as the best, because I truly believe it is. It took a lifetime of surviving my own dumb mistakes to come up with it. If I can get more residual income to start coming in, I can relax a little and work on the next thing and do that one right also.

Devastating Disappointment

April 18, 2011

Sunday April 17th, 2011 – Fox Lake, IL

If there’s one area of life in which I’m thoroughly well versed, it’s disappointment. I’ve had more than my share of high expectations dashed to the pavement with cruel coldness, so when it happens to someone I know and like I’m extremely empathetic. I feel the pain.

Mike Preston left a somber message on my phone today that the video footage we shot yesterday with Burt Reynolds is all unusable due to a botched camera setting. I could hear the devastation in his voice as he left the message and I felt like driving over to his house and giving him a big hug. I’ve had that feeling more than I ever wanted, and it totally rots.

Apparently there’s some sort of manual focus mode that can be deployed on the camera but an idiot like me would never know that. I assumed it was an auto focus, and since I’ve always worn glasses I wouldn’t have caught it. Every time I’ve had to borrow binoculars I always have to adjust them to my nearsightedness. I’d assumed the camera was in focus.

I eventually spoke with Mike and apologized profusely that I should’ve caught it but did not because of my glasses situation. He said it was left in that mode by a crew member on his Psychobabble TV show staff. It was the one thing he forgot to check, and it cost him a killer interview with a major celebrity. Only he and I will ever know it really happened.

I had a similar situation happen with me and my comedy idol Rodney Dangerfield when I had my one chance to meet him in Utah in 2001. I’d spoken with his wife Joan who was very nice to arrange a backstage meeting, and I’d brought someone from my radio station to take a picture. It turned out the guy blew the photo, and I still don’t know exactly why.

What made it worse was that I’d bought a disposable camera as a backup and before we left he told me not to bring it because he’d “handle everything”. Uh huh. I was standing at the dressing room door with Rodney and we were hitting it off very well. I knew some of the people he knew and I even made him laugh a couple of times. It was a dream evening.

That turned into a nightmare when I heard the picture was lost forever. The one who did it made it worse by not telling me until we were halfway home. I felt the same jolt of pain I bet Mike did when he discovered the interview we did was unusable. I feel bad for him.

Some moments in life only come once and then they’re gone forever. Rodney is passed, and I’ll never get my chance again. Only three of us know it really happened – the halfwit who blew the picture, Rodney’s wife Joan and me. I haven’t seen the guy since that night and why would Joan Dangerfield care? Rodney was her concern, not me. I knew that.

That’s why I could totally relate to Mike’s pain when he called. I heard it come from his heart and it made me sad. In the scheme of things, none of it means anything, but it’s very disappointing to have a once in a lifetime situation botch because of a technical screw up. I know I met my hero Rodney Dangerfield and I know Mike Preston did a killer interview with Burt Reynolds just yesterday, but unfortunately my word doesn’t count. What a drag.

Burt Reynolds and James Wesley Jackson

April 18, 2011

Saturday April 16th, 2011 – Naperville, IL/Bolingbrook, IL

Today was one of THE most enjoyable days of my entire life. From start to finish, I had a total blast and did a pair of exciting things I’ve never done before. One exciting thing is a day maker, but two is off the charts. This was a one of a kind day I won’t soon forget.

First, my friend Mike Preston asked me to tag along with him to do a video interview at a place called The Hollywood Palms Theatre in Naperville, IL. It’s a spectacular joint but I’d never heard of it before today. What a moron I am. I should keep up on entertainment trends, etc. This is a wonderfully executed  idea of big gorgeous theatres with good food.

Seating is like a movie theatre, but there’s a place for a meal in front of everyone like a diner. I’d heard of places like that, but never seen one before today. This was a very well  executed idea, and I was blown away by how efficiently everything ran. It’s a machine.

The theatre is bringing in celebrities to sign autographs to bring awareness to the public of their existence. I think that’s extremely smart, and this weekend the celebrity was none other than Burt Reynolds. Yes, THE Burt Reynolds of ‘Smokey And The Bandit’ fame.

Somehow, Mike got access to film an interview with  Burt for his cable television show “Psychobabble”. He’s had celebrities on before, but none this big. Burt Reynolds is a big time move star. Period. I was impressed Mike was able to do it, and happy he asked me to tag along. All I had to do was hold the camera while he got his interview. I could do that.

He did some funny interviews with people waiting in line to get autographs, and then he interviewed more people who’d been through the line and gotten odd stuff signed from an old CB radio to the glove compartment door of a black Pontiac Trans AM from the ‘70s.

The whole thing was an unbelievably cool event, and everyone at the Hollywood Palms Theatres couldn’t have been nicer or more helpful to both Mike and myself. I was just the camera dude, and they had no idea I was a total idiot. Well, that’s pretty hard to disguise.

We had to wait about an hour, but I didn’t mind. We eventually got back into the closed off private area where Burt was taking a break between signings, and got into the office to get a one on one with him. We walked through the door, and sure enough – there he was.

He looked to be in great shape, and Mike sat down to do his interview. I made sure they were both in camera shot and double sure the ‘record’ button was on. I sure didn’t want to blow Mike’s chances at getting this interview, and I stood as still as possible so as to keep the shot from wandering. I’m not a cameraman by any means, so I wanted to be careful.

Mike really pulled off a fantastic interview. He asked Burt some great questions and he got some great answers. Burt recognized Mike wasn’t an idiot and responded with a super generous interview in return, and then complimented Mike on doing his homework at the end. He totally had, and it really came off well. It was exciting to be a part of the process.

After that, we packed the camera into my Cadillac and headed to Bolingbrook, IL for a gig at a place called Asbury’s. It’s in a country club, and they’ve done comedy shows for several years once a month on Saturday nights. I’d done it once before, and there wasn’t a large crowd as I remember but those who did come were there to laugh and enjoy a show.

I’d asked to be booked back with a chance to produce a recording project for my friend James Wesley Jackson, aka ‘The Enviromedian’. James and I worked together in Chicago Style Standups for several years, and I’d been a big fan of his before that because I knew he had toured with and opened for George Clinton and Parliament/Funkadelic for years.

He had a comedy album back in the ‘70s, but has long lost the original recording or the rights to reproduce and sell it. I know he’s got fans from his days with the band and he’s a sweetheart of a person, so I approached him about producing a new project of his to sell.

Many people have a hard time selling themselves, but can easily sell someone else, and I think I’m one of them. I believe in James, mainly because he’s such a positive soul. I’ve never EVER seen the guy in a bad mood, even when things look bleak and I admire that a lot. Plus, his style of comedy is very unique. It’s quirky and witty and audiences love him.

I told James I was willing to put up the money to have a recording made and turn it into a quality product for him to sell if he’d let me be the executive producer and put my name on it. I know in my heart I can come up with something we can all be proud of, and sell it to the fans of Pfunk who remember James from the days of the landing of the Mothership.

I’d also like to do a video interview with him about his memories of touring all over the world with such a unique crew, and put that up on Youtube in chunks to help promote the recording project. I see the whole thing perfectly clear, and I can only wish I was that sure of what I’m doing for my own career. That’s all over the place. This is all crystal clear.

The audience tonight was about one hundred people and they were scorching hot and on the mark from the start. I did about thirty minutes in front of James, and then explained to the audience what was taking place. They take a break between the acts before putting the headliner up, and tonight it fit perfectly. I went back up and explained what we needed.

I gave James the very best introduction humanly possible, and he went out and ‘tore the roof off the sucker’, as the Parliament song goes. I was proud of him the entire time and it was a treat to watch him have his day up there. He looked great, and the crowd loved him.

He must have thanked me for asking him to do this at least ten times. He was like a kid at Christmas, and I thought he was going to cry when it was over. Seeing a guy that happy is contagious, and I was absolutely thrilled we were able to pull it off. James deserves it.

Mike Preston said he thought it came out great, and I think a DVD will be the way to go with this project. James Wesley Jackson is now a Uranus Records recording artist. I had a chance to live a dream by producing another comedian, and I think it was a big home run.

Wow At The Raue

April 17, 2011

Friday April 15th, 2011 – Crystal Lake, IL

Some days everything falls into place. I don’t know what it is or how to make it happen on purpose, but there’s a vibe in sync with whatever’s going on in the universe and things fall into place without effort. If I knew how to achieve that every day, life would be great.

For whatever reason, I felt it today – even though I probably shouldn’t have. It was rainy and cold most of the day, and tax deadline day too. I always say I’m going to get my taxes done before April 15th, but I rarely if ever do. This was yet another year where I didn’t get to them on time, but I contacted my accountant and filed for an extension. I’ll get to them.

What made today so fun was a hot show at The Raue Center in Crystal Lake, IL. It’s an old theatre that’s been renovated, and I’ve performed there three or four times before. I’ve always had solid shows there, and tonight was no exception. Everything was firing right.

In my mind, this is how it should be every night. There’s a volunteer staff that treats us like royalty, and we get a spacious dressing room backstage to relax and hang out before a show. There’s a fridge packed with sodas and cold drinks, and a table of snacks next to it.

That doesn’t cost much at all, but really makes a difference. It makes us feel wanted and appreciated, and really goes a long way with most performers, as we don’t often get those little extras – or at least I don’t. Not in clubs or hellish one nighters anyway. This is nice.

They do comedy once a month on the third Friday, and have established a solid core of followers from a subscription list of those in the area who support the theatre. They’re an outstanding audience, and really appreciate the shows. This is what comedy is all about.

If it were like this every night, I’d sure have a lot less to bitch about. Maybe I just enjoy complaining. I hope not, as I don’t know how much more road torture I can stand. This is exactly the kind of gig I want to be doing as much as possible. It’s close to home, easy to do, extremely well run, and a lot of fun. The pay is decent, and they want me back again.

That’s a pretty hard combination to beat, and I don’t need to. If I had enough places like this to keep me busy for the year, I’d be all set. I know they’re out there, but how do I find them and get booked? There’s really no circuit per se, every place has a deal of its own.

Nights like tonight make me feel like I’m almost there. The people lined up to shake my hand after the show and tell me how funny I was, and I thanked them and meant it. I knew they meant it too, as they would quote their favorite lines from the show. That’s flattering, but also lets them feel good by being able to repeat it. These are just plain nice people.

I know there are MILLIONS of people in America who would love what I do. Most are exactly like the people who came out tonight. They’re not night clubbers or regular party people, these are upper middle class people with lives who came out to be entertained for an evening of comedy. They got it tonight, and everyone went home happy. This was fun.

Cheap Shots Comedy Show

April 15, 2011

Thursday April 14th, 2011 – Forest Park, IL

I’ve come full circle. I can remember when I first started in comedy, I used to look out at audiences and think to myself “Damn, they’re old.” Now I find myself looking out and thinking “Damn, they’re young.” I don’t know when that transition occurred, but it did.

Tonight I worked for a very young audience, and it was an honor. There’s a group that puts on shows above a bar and restaurant called Skrine Chops in Forest Park, IL. They’ve named it the “Cheap Shots Comedy Show” and it runs on Thursday nights at 9 o‘clock.

I was asked to perform by Pablo Rodriguez, one of the three guys who runs it. The other two are Ryan Budds and Pat Chase, and all three of them are about as classy of people as I’ve ever seen for such young comics. They’re in their 20s, but have the maturity level of being around much longer. I really like what they’re doing and was glad to support them.

The room is just a tiny space seating maybe 50 or 60 people tops, but they run it really well and the people who were there were there for a show. Most of the people were other comics hanging out, and that’s a good thing. Those guys create a positive atmosphere for new comics to grow, and it’s important to have positive energy starting out. It’s rough.

I was really flattered that a lot of those new comics had come out specifically to see me. I know I host the Zanies Rising Star Showcase shows on Monday nights, and there were a few of them that were probably there because they thought I had some influence over Bert Haas the booker, when in reality I have none whatsoever. I’m still glad everyone came.

I’ve always tried to go out of my way to encourage new comics and I mean it very much when I tell them they had a good set, even if they didn’t get laughs. Going up on a stage at all is an extremely difficult thing to do, and getting the approval of a veteran means a lot.

Pablo and Ryan could not have been any more professional, onstage or off. They sent an email confirming the fact I’d be there, gave very easy to follow directions, and treated me like a king when I got there. They went out of their way to make sure I had everything I’d need, and throughout the show they kept me posted on when I’d be going up. It was great.

If professional comedy clubs would treat comedians like that, we’d all be thrilled. These guys are doing it right, and it was my pleasure to support them by closing their show. The audience were all in their 20s, and I felt like a dad lecturing a group of his kids’ friends.

I probably did about a half hour, and I could see the young comics watch with the same look of ‘some day’ that I had when I watched experienced comics when I started. It’s not rocket science, it’s just a matter of getting out there and doing it, which is what they are.

It takes a while to put it all together, but it comes. It will for them too. I hope I did my part and encouraged those kids tonight. I saw a lot of my own past in those guys, and my hope is that they all keep doing it. Support them at http://www.cheapshotscomedyshow.com.

Better Than Before

April 15, 2011

Wednesday April 13th, 2011 – Fox Lake, IL

Losing all my phone contact numbers is turning out to be a positive turn of events after all. It has forced me to completely regroup and evaluate who the most important people in my life really are by sorting through everyone I know and choosing the best of the bunch.

The way it happened might have been inconvenient, but the results are already showing. I’ve sent out notices on Facebook and via two email addresses that I lost my contacts, and asked everyone to resend their info. I’ve received an overwhelmingly positive response.

That makes me feel great, and allows me to reconnect with all kinds of people I haven’t spoken with in years and compare notes. Everyone evolves, or at least I think they should, and it’s smart business to know what everyone is doing to see if we can help each other in what we’re all doing now. It’s like advertising. You have to let people know you’re there.

I emptied out the archives of two email addresses and sorted out the duds and ones that weren’t really contacts. The computer keeps email addresses from everyone we ever send emails to apparently, and a lot of those were one time shots and not really connections for current business. Asking someone about an Ebay item three years ago isn’t a life contact.

I erased every email address I didn’t recognize, and also a few people I had no use for in my life like my embezzling ex business partner’s family members. Then I sent out emails to everyone else explaining what happened, giving my new information and asking for an update from them if they still wanted me to be on their contact list. That started the flood.

Responses came in bunches, and I couldn’t keep up with them all. It was very flattering to get that many responses, but I also realized how many things I must have missed out on because I just wasn’t in steady contact with people when I could have been easily doing it all along. It’s more maintenance than anything, and I’d let my system fall into disrepair.

I guess I really didn’t have an actual system. I just compiled some people’s info in three different places – two email addresses and my old phone. Some of those overlapped with each other, and most of it was thrown in there randomly. I’m going to be much better now and actually create a real system for staying in contact with people that benefits all of us.

Most of today was spent sorting out the list of contacts and loading them into my phone by hand, which isn’t easy. It’s a smart investment of time though, as I am now able to put everyone in categories and save their email and phone numbers on my Google account.

I also hand wrote every number down on my calendar as a backup, and even though I’m hoping I don’t need it, I do have a backup in case this ever happens again. It’s a very slow process, but one that will pay off in the long run – and in the short run too. It already has.

I reconnected with a bank teller I had the major hots for years ago who is now divorced and wants to get together for a drink or dinner. Bingo. I should have done this years ago.

Rockford, Paper, Scissors

April 13, 2011

Tuesday April 12th, 2011 – Rockford, IL

Rockford, IL has always been a mystery to me. I’ve performed there a zillion times over the years, and can’t understand why comedy isn’t popular in that town. By all accounts it should be hot, but it isn’t. All kinds of venues have been tried, but they always fizzle out.

It’s got all the makings of a good comedy town – rust belt, blue collar, dying economy, located on an Interstate, it should be perfect. Michigan has several towns exactly like that that have supported comedy for years. Rockford should have been able to support a club.

There hasn’t been a full time weekend club there in probably twenty years. I worked it in the day, and it was fine as I recall. But once it closed, that was it. Nobody ever tried to do it again, and it makes no sense. I would think someone could go in there and do well.

The reason I thought of all this today was I got asked to be a guest this afternoon on the “Stone and Double T” radio show on WXRX, “The X”. I haven’t been on in a while, and they’re always fun to hang out with on and off the air. They’re just down to earth guys on a rock station in a blue collar town, and we have a good rapport. I enjoy doing their show.

In theory, they should be the ones to bring comedy to town. They are the Bob and Tom station, and could start by bringing in acts that are popular on that show. Unfortunately it wouldn’t be me, but we joke about it all the time. They know the story of how I’ve been blacklisted from the Bob and Tom show, and they’ll bring it up on air to stick it to me.

It’s all in fun, and I roll with it. I know those guys aren’t mean spirited like many radio people are, and it’s just another running joke on the show. They’re real, and so am I, and that makes good radio. We never know where we’re going to go, and that makes it work.

We were talking off the air why Rockford has never been a comedy hotbed, but concerts seem to fly there. Stone and Double T used to book an annual mega concert with a ton of bands for years and it was always a success even though it took a ton of work to put it on.

I don’t think comedy would be that difficult at all, but apparently I’m wrong. We tried a Chicago Style Standups show there a couple of years ago and it was a flaming flop. We’d talked about it on air for weeks if not months beforehand, and didn’t draw flies that night.

I’d like to make Rockford a regular stop if possible. It’s part of my self titled ‘Squared Circle Of Uranus’ territory which includes Chicago, Milwaukee, Madison and Rockford. Between those four cities there are about fifteen million people and all kinds of scenarios from major city to rural and everything in between. It’s also not far from where I live.

If there’s entertainment money to be made in Rockford, IL I’m going to find it. Maybe I’ll have to sell funny t-shirts at a flea market or take out an ad on Craig’s List. Whatever it is, I’m now looking for it. Why drive to Duluth or Dothan, AL when this is so close?

Pickers, Hoarders and Sellers

April 13, 2011

Monday April 11th, 2011 – Fox Lake, IL

I’m finding myself watching more TV lately than I have in a long time. I’ve had a lot of monkey work to do like sorting through my seemingly endless stack of boxes from when I moved, so I’ve been putting the TV on as background noise to help ease the boredom.

I’ve been watching the History Channel and getting into shows like ‘American Pickers’ and ‘Pawn Stars’. The first one is where two guys from Iowa scour the backwoods of the nation in a van looking for antiques and collectibles to resell at their shop. It’s addicting.

It goes perfectly with the second one, which is about a family who owns a pawn shop in Las Vegas and people bring in all kinds of oddball stuff trying to sell it for big bucks. It’s fast moving and well put together, as is American Pickers. Both are on Monday evenings, usually accompanied by past episodes of each show. It’s a night of cheap entertainment.

There’s also a show on A & E called ‘Storage Wars’ where people bid on storage units full of stuff that has been abandoned by those who stored it. Believe it or not, I really like that one too. None of these shows take up much attention, and they’re all very watchable.

I think it strikes the same nerve in everyone The Antiques Road Show does. It’s the big hope we all have inside that we can basically get something for nothing. We find a trinket in our garage or at someone else’s rummage sale, and hope to sell it at a ridiculous profit.

Gambling is the same thing. Everyone dreams of dropping a couple of coins into a slot machine and hitting a major jackpot. Whether it’s unrealistic or not, it keeps us returning. These shows are capturing that spirit and energy, and I bet they’re putting a big time dent into the primie time programming of the networks. Mondays sure do have me hooked.

It’s a treasure hunting thing. It brings out the adventurer in us all, and then at the end of the show it fits nicely back into the drawer in our minds where we store it. It’s an escape. How many people would really be willing to go out there and do what it takes to actually live that lifestyle? I’m sure it’s a lot harder than it looks, and those guys deserve to make a profit. Both hunting for the actual stuff or owning the shop to sell it come with a price.

Another show which has caught my attention is ‘Hoarders’. I’m not even sure that’s the official title, but a lot of people have seen it because I hear a lot of people talking about it.
It’s kind of depressing in a way, but I keep watching it whenever it’s on. And it’s on a lot.

I wonder what the attraction of this show is? Maybe we’re all closet hoarders or at least we’ve known one. Most of my family had that disease to a point, even though it was then known as being a ‘pack rat’. Then, they die and the family has to shovel out all the mess.

Maybe we could solve everyone’s problems by having the American Pickers visit a few hoarders and pay them for anything that may be worth something, then go resell it. Maybe not. Maybe I should finish sorting my own hoard so I can turn off the TV and get a life.

Old Car Aggravation

April 11, 2011

Sunday April 10th, 2011 – Fox Lake, IL

Owning an old car can be a lot of fun, but when those little annoying things go wrong it can be a major buzz kill. I’ve been getting my money’s worth and then some from my ‘83 Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham, but now some things are starting to go wrong and I’m not sure how much longer I’ll keep it. Old cars can suck big bucks, and it’s just not worth it.

First off, some turkey neck puke decided it was funny to snap off my antenna. There’s a wire inside it, and now it’s just dangling off the side of the car. If I could catch the little gang banger punk that did it, I’d take the antenna and shish kabob his poop shoot with it.

I am SO sick of the direction society is going. We’re protecting these little bastards who haven’t had any home training and are running around like monkeys in a zoo. I sound like my grandparents, but too bad. How about a little responsibility for these mongrel hordes?

My cousin Brett is a union carpenter and really works hard for his living and has done it for over twenty years. He has two trucks packed with tools and a one car garage, so he has to leave one parked on his driveway. Last year some delinquent teenage mutant waste of a sperm cell oozed by and vandalized the hell out of his truck, causing over $3000 damage.

The cops caught the punk, but he denied it despite witnesses. He was on probation for a list of crimes, so they just extended it and gave him a judgment to pay restitution. He and his family were broke so no money ever exchanged hands. He never was punished, so my cousin came out the loser because he had to pay his own deductible to get the truck fixed.

If that was me, I’d have a very hard time not finding that punk and taking a golf club to his skull until he was a vegetable. I would feel neither guilt nor remorse as I took whacks to his left ear, and that really scares me. I don’t want to be a violent person, but that’s the climate of the world these days. It’s cold and getting colder, and good people are screwed.

Now my radio barely works, and AM stations are especially weak. That’s where all the sports talk is, what I mostly listen to. Getting it fixed would cost a lot more than the car is worth, so I’ll try to figure out a way to cheapo rig it until I dump it. It’s an inconvenience.

Another bit of frustration is the power windows went out yesterday. The driver’s side is still working, but only in front. The passenger side doesn’t work at all, and the front one’s stuck in the down position. I’m not sure if it’s a simple fuse that puked or it’ll take major bucks to fix. Everything worked when I bought the car, but wear and tear are inevitable.

I’ve had a lot of fun with this road yacht, and hope to pilot it a while longer. I’ll need a set of tires soon, but other than that the motor and transmission run mondo smooth. It still starts at the flick of a key, and rides like a…like a Cadillac. I’ve made my money back in comedy work over twice what I paid for the car, but if it were to hold out for another four or five months through the summer, I’d be thrilled beyond words. Having to mess with a new stereo or drop big cabbage on power windows would turn a bargain into a bum deal.