Archive for August, 2011

There’s Green In Clean

August 31, 2011

Tuesday August 30th, 2011 – Fox Lake, IL/Algonquin, IL

I’m back to being busier than I should, and I need to watch that. Stress isn’t included on the agenda my doctor said I’ll need to maintain for good health. I’ve been holding steady over two months now since I got out of the hospital, but that doesn’t mean I’m home free.

Every day is a struggle, and with all I’ve got lined up on my schedule, stress is going to pop up quite frequently. I’ve already taken two months off work, I can’t last much longer with no income. My bank account is tapped, and I’m red flagging on the financial front.

Gas at $4 a gallon isn’t helping, nor are the every day bills that don’t care if I was in the hospital or not. I have bills like everyone else, and there’s still the hospital bill to clear up however that will work out. I did apply for hardship status, but it’s still not a closed case.

Worry and stress won’t help anyone, but how can it be avoided? People are losing their jobs left and right, and I’m not the only one in this predicament. A lot of people aren’t in good financial shape right now, and it’s not something that ‘just goes away‘. It’s a crisis.

I’m still making my health a top priority, but that comes with a price both in money and time. It costs more to eat well, and takes more effort. Exercise also requires more sleep to allow the body to recover, not to mention extra laundry. The time comes from somewhere and leaves less to do other things like look for gigs, work on my act or read like I‘d like.

Life doesn’t get easier, and I thought it would by now. I thought for sure I’d have a nice juicy nest egg put away and be able to enjoy life. It’s hard to enjoy life when bill collector types are spread everywhere like poop in a pig sty. Even when I’m relaxing, it’s stressful.

Today I had lunch with Michelle Krajecki. She’s a former student who’s been working as a Christian comedian in churches for years. She’s very smart and I respect her because she handles herself with professionalism and class like it‘s a business, which it totally is.

I spoke with Michelle and another former student Karl Newyear about doing shows that feature clean comedy. Karl bills himself as ‘The World’s Funniest Lutheran’ and between the three of us we could easily pull off a nice show for audiences that don’t enjoy going to comedy clubs because they think it will be dirty. Unfortunately, they’re usually correct.

Off color humor doesn’t offend me but it isn’t for everyone, just as not everyone likes a restaurant that serves spicy food. Those who do, love it. Those who don’t, want no part of it. There’s a gigantic market being underserved for someone who can be clean and funny, and every joke is not required to end with “…and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”

What I’m looking to do is offer up a clean 90 minute show that can be sold to those who don’t want to hear foul language or certain subjects. It’s a business decision, and lining up Michelle and Karl will help sell it to audiences that may not be comedy regulars. We can deliver laughs without a single swear word, and painfully few other shows can match that.


Another Moving Experience

August 31, 2011

Monday August 29th, 2011 – Cary, IL/Fox Lake, IL

Another sad good bye. My friend Jerry Agar and his family are moving out of town, and none of us are thrilled about it. The truck was being loaded as we stood in his living room and talked about all the times we’d done it before. We couldn’t sit, there were no chairs.

Since we became friends in 1989, Jerry has moved from Wheaton, IL to St. Cloud, MN to Toledo, OH to Minneapolis to Tucson to Knoxville, TN to Raleigh, NC to Kansas City to Chicago – and now Toronto.  He’s been working there for about a year already, but he’s just now bringing the rest of the family. Welcome to the wonderful world of life in radio.

It’s a brutal business, and not for the squeamish. Since 1989, I’ve moved from Chicago to Lansing, MI, home to Milwaukee, back again to Chicago to Reno, NV to Los Angeles back to Chicago to Salt Lake City back to Chicago yet again to finally where I am now.

I’ve had my own spanking from the radio business, and Jerry and I went over our moves as we watched a moving truck about to leave for another chapter. This one was unplanned and unwelcome. He was doing fine in Chicago at WLS before the powers that be decided to blow him out the door because they could. They didn’t care about the ripples it caused.

Nobody thought about kids that have to go to yet another new school. They have not an ounce of sympathy for the strain it puts on a marriage, or the stress of trying to find a new job when there was no real reason for not having the old one. There’s no rhyme or reason for any of it, but it happens all the time. We either keep sucking it up or get the hell out.

Jerry is sucking it up, and I admire him for it. I also admire his family for staying in one unit through all of it. His wife Ann has been Superwoman through all these moves, and I always tell Jerry if he ever cheats on her I’ll kill him myself. Their kids are amazing also.

They’ve learned to just pack it up and move on to the next town without complaining at all. I’ve known all three of them since they were born, and they’re all wonderful kids who will be productive members of society. None of this was their fault, but they’ve handled it extremely well. The oldest Tanner is now in college in Texas, and he is going to be fine.

The whole family will be. I will too. We’ve survived this long, I don’t see how this time will be any different. We shed no tears, because we’ve been through this before. We’ll get together at some point when I get through Toronto, and I will. Hopefully he’ll stay there.

Jerry is really great at what he does. He’s a talk show host, but didn’t start out that way. He was on morning shows with music just like I was, and he adapted and used his skill to become one of the very top in his field. To get blown out like he did was without merit.

I get my radio fix on Sunday nights on AM 1050 WLIP in Kenosha. I don’t get a nickel for it, but I don’t have to load up a truck and move to another country either. I’ve decided once and for all that if I must go to work for a clueless imbecile, that imbecile will be me.

Rediscovering Sun Ra

August 31, 2011

Sunday August 28th, 2011 – Kenosha, WI

Weird isn’t always a bad thing. It depends on the kind. There’s good and bad weird just as there are good and bad fats, bacteria and I’m sure all kinds of other things that aren’t at the top of my consciousness right now. Crust comes to mind. On pizza or bread, it can be delicious. On underwear, it’s disgusting. Everything in life depends upon circumstances.

It’s time for me to get weird. I feel it. I’m sure there are those who think I’m already out of my mind and a certified card carrying flaming bag of nuts as it is, but I’m talking about calculated crazy. It’s a business decision, and I’m not the first to venture in that direction.

There are all kinds of entertainers who have gone that route. Lady Gaga is in the current crop, and she came from Madonna’s pedigree. Marilyn Manson came from Alice Cooper, who also spawned KISS. It’s not new, it just has to be new for me. I’m way too run of the mill ordinary as a comedian to get any real notice. I have a major flaw going against me.

I’m the wrong color. Maybe in life white males have an advantage, or did, but it’s a bad hand dealt to the undiscovered comic. It just is. Race is such an oversensitive subject that nobody wants to discuss it, but it’s a fact. White males have a disadvantage in comedy.

That doesn’t mean it’s impossible to make it, but it’s a lot harder. I’m not angry about it but it does affect me and I have to deal with it. Other races can go on stage and tee off on white people, but if a white comic even mentions another race – the audience tightens up.

I’m not interested in analyzing it any more than I have to. It is what it is, and I regret we still haven’t gotten over it as a society, but we haven’t. I’m interested in breaking through the pack and getting paid for the lifetime of sacrifice I’ve made perfecting my life’s craft.

Doing what I’m doing hasn’t gotten the results I’ve wanted, so I have to change and try something else or accept the fact that I missed the mark. I don’t want to accept it just yet, so it’s time to tweak the recipe and see what happens. It’s worked for all kinds of others.

George Clinton is my prime example. He went weird in the mid ‘70s and decided to try an outer space gimmick, which worked beautifully. He invented a character and created a look, and the public bought it. I did. I thought it was one of the most interesting gimmicks I’d ever seen and still do. George didn’t invent weird, but he did adapt it to his own style.

I’ve been studying George for years, and I’m still a fan. One who George and as it turns out many others were influenced by was an eclectic jazz musician named Sun Ra. He was a very inventive master showman. He claimed to be from Saturn, and lived his gimmick.

I knew about Sun Ra, but am now getting back into studying him again. He was off on a wild tangent, and used weird to the maximum effectiveness. He also used outer space as a  template for success, and I love it. The King of Uranus fits right in to this, and I’ll reshape as many old style tricks as I can to make it all appear fresh. Nothing on this planet is new.

Basement Bloodshed

August 28, 2011

Saturday August 27th, 2011 – Fox Lake, IL

Now I did it. I was trying to fix of all things a broken piece of string and ended up with two bleeding fingers. That’s unpleasant enough, but it’s one on each hand. That will be a bigger hassle than it needs to be, but it’s too late now. The damage is done. I’m an idiot.

I’ve never been good with mechanical chores because I don’t enjoy that. Bob Vila isn’t facing any competition for his ‘Mr. Fix It’ title from me any time soon. I’m not interested in that kind of stuff at all, and if I never darken the door of Sears or Home Depot, it’s ok.

Whatever part of the male chromosome package with that in it must have been left out  of my genetic blueprint at birth. I have no desire to own, operate or oversee any task with a tool involved. I don’t like getting dirty, and I’d rather hire someone than ruin it myself.

That being said, all that was needed was to change a piece of twine attached to the chain that clicked a light bulb on and off in the laundry room where I live. I don’t think that’s a job to farm out even for me, so I took it upon myself to suck it up and get it done myself.

I’m the one who broke it, even though it had been yanked on thousands of times before I ever moved in. Whatever. That’s how it goes. Mr. Lucky shows up right at the moment trouble occurs, and then has to deal with it whether he wants to or not. It’s my formula.

It’s my comedic formula that is. Living it in real life isn’t so funny. I had no string, so I had the brainstorm to walk to the dollar store in downtown Fox Lake, about a mile away. I’d make it part of my daily walk, and it would have purpose. Ha. I got there and couldn’t find the string, and had to ask two clerks and they couldn’t find it either for ten minutes.

Finally, the manager was called in and she found it in ‘Automotive’. Really? There’s an ‘Automotive’ section at a dollar store? And balls of string are in it? What kind of cars are getting fixed like that? Even the rattletraps I drive wouldn’t get repaired with kite string.

The whole ordeal was more than I ever intended, and then the clerk told me it would be $2 for the ball of string. It’s a dollar store. Why was this $2? I was trying to be funny with the whole concept, but nobody was biting so I paid for it and left, hoping never to return.

When I returned home, I discovered there were no scissors to cut a piece of the string to replace the one I broke, but I did find a fresh razor blade I thought I’d use instead. It was a brand new blade, and a lot sharper than I thought and before I knew I had a nasty gouge in the pinky of my right hand. Blood was spurting everywhere, and I knew I made a mistake.

Then I tried to pick up the blade with my left hand and promptly put another deep cut in the middle finger of that one. More blood. More stupidity. More reason never to pick up a tool or sharp object ever again. Then I had to find bandages. Ever try to apply those with a bloody finger on each hand? The sink looked like the shower in ’Psycho’, and took a long time to scrub out and make clean again. All that bloodshed to fix a stupid piece of string.

Cheesehead Sports Bonanza

August 27, 2011

Friday August 26th, 2011 – Milwaukee, WI

It’s good to have connections. If there’s one thing I’ve done correctly over life’s journey it’s amass an impressive network of quality contacts all over North America I respect and admire, and I work hard to keep in touch with as many as I can. It’s not always easy to do, but it is always worth it whenever I do it. Sometimes we don’t reconnect for a long time.

That was the case today as my friend Rick Wey called and said he was going to be up in Milwaukee and had an extra ticket for the Brewers game against the Cubs no less. Rick is from Nashville and a true gentleman. He does comedy and he’s very funny, but also has a career working for a trucking company. He’s on the road more with the job than comedy.

He’s in a supervisory position and has quite a few people under his jurisdiction. He’s an outgoing guy and very sharp, and breaks every stereotype about southerners except for the gentleman part. He’s about as nice a guy as I’ve ever met, and we’ve always hit it off well since we first worked together at Zanies in Nashville years ago. We’ve stayed in touch.

To make it even better, he’s a huge sports fan so that’s another thing that bonds us. He’s a huge University of Tennessee fan because he went there, and loves baseball too. He had a trip to Milwaukee a couple of years ago and asked me to a game then. It was a blast, and not only was it fun to hang out with Rick – the rest of the staff were sweet people as well.

There weren’t as many tonight, but we still had a great time. Rick’s father was with him this time, and he was a treat. Rick is a few years older than me and in excellent shape, but his dad was not far behind. I hope I’m that spry when I get to be that age, if indeed I do.

We had a lot of laughs, and it was a real treat to spend a picture perfect summer evening with such a fine group of people. I’m flattered I was asked, and there were no pretenses at any time. Nobody was trying to scam anyone, it was just a night out to enjoy a ball game.

The Brewers didn’t disappoint, and won the game 5-2 after getting behind early. I could feel the excitement in the park, even though the Packers were playing in Indianapolis. It’s the first time I ever remember both teams being good at the same time, and it’s exciting.

The Brewers were the talk of the town in ‘82, even though they lost the World Series in seven games. I remember how fun it was to watch them then, but the Packers season was cut short by a strike. They went to the playoffs for the first time in ten years, but it wasn’t like it is now. They stunk, and everyone had false hopes. This team is a legit contender.

The Brewers look like they’re going to win the division, and I can’t remember the last time that happened. Probably 1982. Since then there have been many years of unbridled futility, and most people lost interest. Not anymore. The town is back in baseball mode, and never left football mode. The Packers are a religion in Wisconsin, and now they are being challenged by the Brewers with the fantastic season they’re putting together. What a relaxing low pressure night out with a group of nice people. This is what life is about.

Uranus Frightens Me

August 26, 2011

Thursday August 26th, 2011 – Hoffman Estates, IL

Life is going exactly the way I want it to, and I want to acknowledge that to the universe with gratitude before anything changes. Every life has ups and downs, and I’m on a major league up and enjoying every tick of the clock. This is how I always thought it should be.

The weather is perfect, I’m really enjoying what I’m doing, my health is good and it’s a pleasure to get up in the morning knowing I’m on the right track and where I need to be to have a shot at transforming my hopes, dreams and Lucy schemes into something tangible.

My attitude these days is like the perfect fuel to air mixture in a carburetor. It’s neither lean nor rich, and I feel like I‘m running efficiently on all cylinders. I know it won’t last forever, and that’s why it feels so good now. It isn’t always like this. Two months ago, it was exactly the opposite. I wasn’t sure if my gonads were going home with me or not.

They did, and nobody was more delighted to learn of that development than me. I have a second chance with diabetes and the surgery with all its pain and embarrassment has all healed, and I’m still on a big time high from it. I’m finally seeing the big picture in life.

Whatever troubles or tribulations lie ahead are beyond my control,  but what I can do is keep pressing on and develop positive habits exactly like I’ve been doing. It’s happening exactly how it’s supposed to, and that’s why I’m in such a good space. The vibe is right.

That doesn’t mean I won’t blow it, or some catastrophe won’t show up out of nowhere and blind side me back to where I was, but I really don’t think so. I feel like I’ve plugged in to the source I’ve been searching for, and even if things go poorly I’ll be able to last.

It’s no one thing that’s put me in this position, but a combination of many. Starting and stopping for so many years was all too typical, but it feels different now. I feel like I have finally entered the game of life, and have an excellent chance to win. That’s so exciting!

I have a vast number of contacts in several areas, and today I spent an hour sorting all of those I want to connect with into the particular project I see them working best at should they so choose to do so. I don’t see why most of them won’t, and I’m proceeding as such. I organized my list of projects and listed the top dozen people in each I’d like in place.

One of the top people on my list is Jim McHugh. He’s been constantly reminding me to get going on the King of Uranus idea, and I’m finally taking him up on it. He’s very right, but for whatever reason I’ve been swamped with other things and not able to find the time to get it started. I know for a fact there’s something magic there by people’s reaction to it.

EVERY single day including today, somebody will pull up behind me and I’ll see them snicker at my URANUS 2 license plate and ‘I (heart) URANUS’ bumper sticker or they’ll click a picture with their phone and give me a honk, smile and wave as they pass. This is a winner of an idea, but now I have to see it all the way through. Today got a step closer.

Jim and his brother in law Mark Huelskamp met me for lunch with the express purpose of finally getting this project not only up and running, but profitable. Necessity is still the mother of invention, and I need to find a way to start a business that lets me stay at home.

Mark is a very talented web designer, and handled the Chicago Style Standups website when Jim and I were both members of that group. I paid Mark a long time ago, but never followed up and got the site functional and I can’t think of a good reason why. I blew it.

Yes, I was busy with other things and on cruise ships and in clubs on the road, but that shouldn’t have postponed it this much. I really think that deep down I was afraid of this, and I don’t have a legitimate reason why. I’ve never had much luck with business related things, but this is different. It felt right when I thought of it, and feels even more so now.

It’s goofy. It’s stupid. It’s simple and at best a fifth grade level of base humor. Perfect! That’s what most popular sitcoms are, and they rake in big bank. I’ve tried, but just can’t make it through an episode of ‘Two And A Half Men’. Sorry, it doesn’t appeal to me on any level other than there are some hot chickies to gawk at. Big deal. The show is lame.

Lame to me maybe, but not so to MILLIONS of others who absolutely live to watch it every week. I felt the same way about ‘Three’s Company’ when that piping hot nugget of dung was a major hit. I love to look at sexy women as much as any red blooded American male or card carrying lipstick lesbian, but I couldn’t sit through an episode of that either.

My personal taste and what the public buys are two different things, and I know it. That doesn’t mean I can’t give people what they want, and that’s what this project is aiming to do. I doubt if Ray Kroc ate McDonald’s hamburgers very often, if at all. He sold billions of them to the public, because he knew that’s what they wanted. That’s how he got rich.

What I’m looking to do is sell funny to as many people as I can, using a goofy character called ‘The King of Uranus’. I’m going to dress like a king, act like a king, present myself as a king to strangers until I actually BECOME The King of Uranus. I have a baseball cap with that printed on it and every time I wear it I get people who notice and laugh out loud.

As much as it hurts to admit, as a comedian I’m just another white guy in a giant sea of too many others who are exactly the same. Yes, I have the Mr. Lucky angle and that’s not bad – but it isn’t a show stopper that makes people stop what they’re doing and take note.

I want people to stop whatever they’re doing and say “There goes The King of Uranus”, and then laugh like school girls. That’s what Jim and Mark and I did at lunch today as we brainstormed ideas and more importantly narrowed them down to ones I have to do in the next few days to get this project moving ahead. This is not a fantasy, I’m going to live it.

There are all kinds of things to do to get it going, but I knew that when I started. That’s part of the fun. If I don’t do this, I’ll be extremely disappointed. It’s not a matter of trying, it already works when people see it. Away with fear. All systems go. Next stop, Uranus!

A Witness To Fitness

August 25, 2011

Wednesday August 24th, 2011 – Fox Lake, IL

I’ve been taking extra long walks for exercise the past three days and I can barely stand up straight as a result. My hamstrings feel like rubber bands about to snap, and it’s torture to walk up flights of stairs – but I love it. This is what I should have been doing years ago.

It takes major effort to keep this up, both physically and in time expenditure. I intend to get it done first thing in the morning, but sometimes I just can’t. I’ll get a phone call or an errand needs to be run and I’ll put it off until later in the day. Then that throws everything else off schedule, but I feel it’s important so I make it a priority. Everything else can wait.

I’ve made up my mind to do this for the rest of my life, but I’ll need to make a schedule and plan everything else around it. Obviously, winter will be an issue if I continue to live where I live, and I do for the foreseeable future. If I should happen to get a twelve picture Hollywood deal, I’m sure a gym membership will come with it. If not, I’m not taking it.

There’s a small gym about a mile and a half from where I live, and that will probably be where I work out this winter. I checked it out, and it’s not huge like a Bally’s but it has all I’m going to need for now. They have Nautilus machines and free weights but no pool.

I can’t believe I’m thinking about stuff like this, as I haven’t in many years. It wasn’t on my top 10 list of life priorities, or even top 40. Now, it’s number one with a bullet, and all other activities in my life will just have to wait. Fitness is a mission, and I didn’t expect it to become so important so fast. Having one’s private parts operated on tends to do that.

The diabetes diagnosis was scary enough, but that surgery really drove the point as deep as could be. Maybe my skull is extra thick and I needed the loudest message possible, and I think that was it. It’s healed up now, and feels fine – but I’ll remember that pain forever.

I think it has scared me into eating healthy and working out so I never have to have that kind of horrific experience again. It was a wake up call, and I heard it and am still hearing it. It’s like a bugle blowing revile in my ear a foot from my bed. I can’t avoid hearing it.

Walking is good, and I intend to continue, but now I need to add other ingredients like a weight program and maybe running or swimming or bicycling. Maybe all that to a certain degree, but then I have to be careful of overdoing it too. Injuries are the last thing I need.

I was talking about how much better I feel to a friend of mine recently, and suggested it might take my funny away. I never really thought about that, but if it’s true – so what? I’m sure I can find something else to do if I had to, and the way comedy is going, I’ll have to.

I’m always going to be a dented can, but I’m getting better as a person all the time. Step by step, I’m making steady positive progress and improvement, in all areas of my life and it would be hard to ask for more. The rest of the world is in shambles, but I have my own problems to deal with and I’ve been doing that. I’m just sorry it took so long to get to it.

Cosby’s Colossal Clout

August 24, 2011

Tuesday August 23rd, 2011 – Fox Lake, IL

Bill Cosby performed at The Riverside Theatre in Milwaukee on Sunday, and I’m sorry I wasn’t able to be there to enjoy it. If any one act in American standup comedy history is  a real live honest to goodness living legend, it’s him. There’s Cosby, and everyone else.

I don’t think most civilians realize how immense the scope of Bill Cosby’s talent really is. By far, he reaches the widest range of audience of anyone I’ve ever seen. His audience spans the gamut from kids to senior citizens, North to South and all colors of the rainbow.

I often tell the story of how my grandfather took me against my will to see Cosby when I was probably 14 or 15 and thought I knew everything. He played at the Performing Arts Center in Milwaukee, a very nice venue. I was very unimpressed when we got there to see nothing but a microphone and a chair on the stage. How was THAT going to entertain us?

I don’t think I’d ever seen a live comedian work before that night, and to make it worse, there was a piano player that opened the show. I don’t remember how the piano got to the stage, but it did and I had to endure that – even though the guy was really good. His name was Walt Michaels, and I don’t have a clue as to why I still remember that now, but I do.

Gramps looked at me when Walt was through and said “See? This isn’t so bad, is it?” It wasn’t, but I was a punk kid who wanted to see a wrestling cage match with The Crusher bouncing Mad Dog Vachon’s head off of a chain link fence or some other highbrow act.

Then Bill Cosby came out, and my world was never the same. I can’t remember one bit he did, but every one of them were hilarious and he had Gramps, me and the entire house bent over in our chairs, clutching our sides and gasping for oxygen from laughing so hard.

To this day, I’ve never seen anything come close to matching it as far as diversity of the audience with the possible exception of Victor Borge. Gramps took me to see him as well but by then I went willingly. After seeing Bill Cosby once, my faith in Gramps was solid.

The review of this past Sunday’s performance said that there was also a mixed audience of all ages, and that Cosby did two and a half hours and had everyone laughing once again over thirty years later. I’ll bet some other grandpa took his grandson, and the cycle played out again. Maybe that kid will get the spark and go on to become a comedian like I did.

My style of comedy is nothing like Bill Cosby’s, but very few people’s are. He’s created his own unique blend of storytelling mastery, facial expressions, rhythm, cadence and one hell of a stage presence that can’t be duplicated. Two and a half hours? That’s unheard of.

I saw Jay Leno do over two hours once, and he was outstanding. But I have to think Jay would have to admit he’s no Bill Cosby. Nobody is, and nobody else ever will be. Even at 74, he’s still throwing heat apparently. I was in awe as a teenager, and after doing comedy myself over twenty five years I’m even more impressed now. Cosby is the king. Period.

A One Horse Race

August 23, 2011

Monday August 22nd, 2011 – Fox Lake, IL

I’m starting a brand new chapter in my professional life, and for the first time ever I feel like I’m ready to do it correctly. Every other time I’ve done this it’s been a half ass barely thought out long shot that has resulted in a flaming pile of wreckage. This is a new day.

Life now becomes a perpetual race against the clock, and I’ve got to make the very best use of my time as possible. Each day has to have purpose and direction – at least if I think I’m smart. My days of random wandering waiting for bold adventure to find me are over.

I did it way more than the average ham and egger, and I must admit I really enjoyed the intoxicating feeling of total freedom. I got to explore my country several times, and chase  some dreams along the way. I actually caught a couple, and took it a lot farther than most.

Everyone’s days here are numbered, but I’m starting to become really aware of it. Time is not the inexhaustible resource I used to think it once was, though now I realize it never was. Every day counts, and after a while they run out for everyone. I’ve wasted more than I care to admit, but it’s too late to do anything now other than learn from it and move on.

Learning has been my one constant, and I’m doing it more as each day passes. I wonder if it’s just me or is this the proper order in life? I’m not sure. I see a lot of halfwits making as stupid or stupider mistakes than I ever did, and many are older than me. I’m not so bad.

I’ve never claimed perfection, but at least I see improvement. I’ve learned from my vast array of frightening mistakes, but I’ve also made some difficult positive decisions that are now in a position to pay off handsomely if I play my cards correctly. It’s an exciting time. I have a bulging backlog of life experience, but I’m also able to facilitate future changes.

One thing that’s changing completely is the game of standup comedy. It used to be a big novelty, and virtually every performer was lumped into a single category – comedian. Not anymore. The novelty has long worn off. Audiences are becoming jaded and fragmented.

It’s not good or bad, it just is. If I don’t learn to adapt accordingly, the game is over and I’m out pounding the cement for a job at a Jiffy Lube greasing up rusty ball joints on pick up trucks. Failing to plan is planning to fail, and that’s where I sit now. I need a road map.

I was always a ‘wing it’ guy, and I went with the flow way more than I probably should have. I didn’t stick with any one thing, but instead preferred to drift without a rudder and see where life took me. I’m not where I want to be, because I never chose a destination.

That’s about to change in a big time hurry. My personal life is on a major upswing, and my professional life is about to follow. I’m changing on the inside and that will manifest itself on the outside. It has to. The Law of Cause and Effect can’t be changed no matter if I believe in it or not, which I do. My causes are already changing, and the effects are sure to follow. This is the best place I’ve ever been physically, mentally and emotionally also.

I got a chance to meet Kenny Rogers when I lived in Utah and I thought he was a genius at how he handled his business. He said he’d been singing so long, at any time he’d never know if he was in style or out. Sometimes he had a hit, then it would fade. Then it would happen again. Then it would fade again. He wouldn’t worry about the temporary downs.

He said he just kept busy doing all the things he needed to do to put himself in place for the next hit, and it always came eventually. He didn’t focus on the dry spell, he looked for what would get him out of it and concentrated on that instead. That’s why he’s a big star.

Who doesn’t know Kenny Rogers? He went from a rocker to a country singer and found his stride quite nicely. He also acted in movies and even opened his own chain of chicken restaurants. He adapted to the times several times, because he needed to stay in business.

If I’m going to stay in the entertainment business, I have to make major changes and the time to do it is now. Times and circumstances are completely different from when I began and I’m a completely different and better person. I can’t keep doing the same old things.

Being a constantly touring nightclub comedian is unbelievably difficult on many levels. It was an enticing challenge twenty five years ago, and I did it and did it well. My level of fame or lack thereof does not reflect my level of acumen. I know what the hell I’m doing, at least on a comedy stage. When it comes to business dealings, that’s a different story.

I’m unfortunately by far not the only performer in any genre to have this weakness, but I’m finally at a point where I can accept it and move forward. I’ve screwed it up so badly over the years, I’m now able to see what went wrong and at least make an effort to fix it.

The biggest and most glaring mistake I see in hindsight is my severe lack of preparation and direction. Some of that was my fault, and some wasn’t. I’ll take the bulk of the blame though, and hope there’s still time to recover. Cooks have recipes, and I need one as well.

I started overhauling my entire life schedule when I was down in Texas last week. I put generalized lists together of all my projects, and what I think I’ll need to do in what order to make them operate smoothly. I saw how out of sync I am, and know I have a whole lot of busy work ahead of me. It’s a major project in itself to make a list of my other projects.

Some are long term, some are short. Some are more important than others and a couple of them are pipe dreams I can’t realistically afford to invest time in right now. The sports cards were one of those, and I’m SO glad that’s out of my life. Now I need to trim further, and I am. I’ve got a much better feel in my head for where I want to go than I ever have.

There are some mistakes I’ll probably never be able to recover from. Bob and Tom will probably not have me back no matter how stupid I think that whole situation was and is. I apologized for whatever I did, but they didn’t accept. That’s just how it is. There are way more opportunities than that, and I have to find them. Do I want to do standup? Not in the same way I’ve been doing it. I’m just another white guy. I need to develop a hot gimmick.

Cause And Effect Lessons

August 23, 2011

Sunday August 21st, 2011 – Franklin, WI/Kenosha, WI

My physical health continues to improve, and with it so does my attitude and demeanor.  I can really feel it, and I have to say it doesn’t suck. I’m filling my body with good things on purpose, and it’s making a difference. I’m also filling my mind with better things too.

I’m making it a conscious point to always have a book with me so I don’t get frustrated when I have to wait, even for a minute or two. I also have plenty of audio recordings with me in the car at all times so I can bathe my brain in wisdom, knowledge and good vibes.

News depresses the hell out of me and Chicago sports radio is inane verbal flatulence of no earthly benefit to me at this time in my life. Most if not all of the Chicago teams are in total disarray, and most of the apes who are paid too much to host shows are pompous.

I used to just rot in traffic with everyone else, and let it bother me. I would scream at the brainless chuckleheads in front of me who wouldn’t hang up their cell phone and beep my horn long and loud at the stooge in front of me a fiftieth of a second after a light changed.

Now, I don’t even care. I’m mentally prepared to be driving with major league doofuses and numbskulls, and I lose myself in something I can learn from. Lately I’ve been hearing Earl Nightingale’s ‘Lead The Field’, which is one of the classics in that genre. He’s an all time favorite of mine, and what he says is right to the point and dead on. I love his stuff.

There are still idiots who still pull major boners right in front of me, but my anger level is about 95% lower and over about ten times faster. I still have an occasional lapse, but it leaves as quickly as it comes, where I used to let it really piss me off to the point of doing stupid things like following them for miles just to give them the finger they had coming.

They still have it coming, but it’s not going to be from me. Some gang banger criminal could pull out a pistol and put a third ear hole somewhere in my skull. I’m learning to let it go, and the one who’s most surprised is me. For whatever reason, I’m thinking better.

I don’t think it’s a coincidence that I also haven’t had one of my major depression funks in months, and that’s something to cheer long and loud about. When I would sink into the abyss of that horror, I didn’t think I’d ever come out. I really believe it was diet related in origin, and if I keep eating like I have been I can kiss that hellish torture goodbye forever.

My friend and former student Russ Martin asked me if I’d do a show at his birthday and retirement party which were rolled into one. Russ is a good guy and of course I said I’d be there. It gave me a chance to practice and work off some of my rust. The crowd was super hot and I had a blast with them. I was able to help a friend and help myself. I love that.

Tonight we had a rocking Mothership Connection radio show on WLIP with Sharla Rae from Chicago, Andrew Grant  from London and Toni Reilly from Brisbane, Australia as a panel of in studio experts. You can find their info at