Archive for December, 2011

Let’s Cancel Christmas This Year

December 20, 2011

Monday December 19th, 2011 – Fox Lake, IL

In the immortal words of Popeye the Sailor Man, “It’s all I can stands – I can’t stands no more.” That’s how I feel about Christmas and all that goes with it, and it’s only December 19th. I’m up to my roasting chestnuts in festive, and I’m ready to kick some Yule tide ass.

Enough already. Enough with the commercials. Enough with the same six stupid songs being played over and over and over again in every retail outlet, restaurant and elevator in the free world. Enough with those annoying bastards ringing that bell by the entrance of a store who stare at me like I just molested an elf when I don’t make a substantial donation.

I don’t want to be within six city blocks or forty country acres away from a single drop of that disgusting egg nog, a lick of a peppermint candy cane or even in the same zip code as a fricking fruit cake. My pancreas is quivering at the thought of those repulsive ‘treats’.

I want to rent a bazooka and take out the biggest reindeer around and fire up the hibachi or a George Foreman Grill and have a barbecue in December. Wouldn’t feeding strangers be a great way to show good will toward men? Oh, and I want to grow a pony tail so I can wrap mistletoe around it so all the off key carolers can kiss my jingle bells. Silent Night!

And don’t let me get my greasy paws on that little drummer boy. The tune I’ll pound on his coconut won’t be printed in any hymn book. That little punk has a major league fanny kicking coming if he doesn’t put those sticks down. I’m a poor boy too. Enough already.

Can’t we find a way to cancel Christmas for one year? The world will still spin, and I’m sure I’m not the only one that feels this way. They canceled the World Series in 1994, and we lived through that. I doubt if one person complained on any of the other six continents, and I didn’t hear a whole lot of bitching from Canada or Mexico here. Life will continue.

I don’t have a problem if someone enjoys Christmas, and in fact I think it’s kind of neat that something so stupid gives some people that big of a kick. Go ahead, have fun. Knock yourselves out, but DO IT ON YOUR OWN TIME. Have parties, decorate your house all you want, kill all the perfectly good pine trees you want – just don’t force me to do it too.

Restaurants used to have smoking and non smoking sections. Why can’t we have that at this time of year? A ‘Christmas’ or ‘No Christmas’ section. That way if someone wants to enjoy a meal without having to listen to Jose Feliciano’s only hit record, they can do that.

To many of us, it’s NOT the ‘most wonderful time of the year’. It brings back memories of things we don’t want to think about, but can’t help it because we’re reminded of it on a nonstop basis. And what about Jews, Muslims and others that don’t celebrate Christmas?

I know, I know. Now I’m a Scrooge, and I need to lighten up, blah blah blah. I’ve heard it all before, and I’ve tried to shut my mouth and press on. Not this year. It’s only the 19th of December and I’m about ready to crawl down a chimney and flip out on somebody.

Mediocrity Makes Money

December 19, 2011

Sunday December 18th, 2011 – Milwaukee, WI

What an ideal day to not watch the Green Bay Packers game. They had to lose at some point, and today was it. I was busy doing other things and didn’t watch the game, and my life is better for it. Hearing about it was painful enough. I’m glad I didn’t have to see it.

It’s been almost a year since I’ve had to feel the sting that comes with defeat, and I feel the dark side of my addiction returning. This last year has been a freely flowing supply of high quality heroin, and it’s been the purest and longest lasting buzz imaginable. It ended today, but I can’t complain. Few other sports teams in history have had a streak like that.

This was a run for the ages, and it doesn’t have to be over yet. They’re still the top team in the league and the favorite to win the Super Bowl again, even though that doesn’t mean they will. It’s been a fun ride, but this was a definite speed bump. They played like bums.

I wonder how that happens after such a solid year? Is it biorhythms, dumb luck or some mysterious unseen force that plays an equalizer role? It was an unpredictable scenario all around the league this week, and the Packers weren’t the only odds breaker. Indianapolis Colts fans had reason to keep a gun out of their mouths as their team finally won a game.

This has to be exactly how the NFL wants it – no undefeated teams but no winless ones either. By the time it’s all done, 20 or more of the 32 teams will be hovering somewhere between 9-7, 8-8 or 7-9. All the fans in those cities will have hope until the bitter end, so they’ll keep watching the games. It’s probably great for business, but bad for greatness.

Mediocrity ruins the quest for excellence, but it’s everywhere. Life itself isn’t fair, and never has been. In the jungle, the slow ones get eaten. Period. They don’t put weights on the cheetahs so they run slower and give the limping gazelles a head start. It is what it is.

Baseball fans hate the Yankees for one reason – they WIN, or at least they have through history. Have they bought the best players? Many times, yes. But they’re in a huge market and can afford to do that. What’s supposed to happen, six million people move to Seattle?

It spreads way beyond sports too. Are McDonald’s hamburgers the best? Not even close to the middle of the pack, but they sell the most. Is Britney Spears the best singer? Again, you’d have to be tone deaf and delusional to think she can sing at all. It’s more than that.

I think it boils down to the fact that the masses really are asses, and the people in charge just want our money. Does the NFL care that the Packers are undefeated or the Colts were winless? Not especially. The Colts had their run recently, and those people will stay loyal.

Now the fans in Kansas City feel justified for their crummy season because their bunch of rummies beat the reigning Super Bowl champs. All the NFL cares about is that the fans of all the teams keep watching games and buying jerseys. McDonald’s buys commercials to keep us going there and buying their crap. They want us all addicted, and it’s working.

A Picture In Motion

December 18, 2011

Saturday December 17th, 2011 – Kenosha, WI

Who knew the road to being in movies came through Kenosha, WI? That’s where it did for me, and I’ll take it how I can get it. I appeared in a film a while back called ‘Dead Air’ that was directed by Mark Gumbinger, and starred my WLIP radio cohort Louis Rugani.

It was a lot of fun, and Mark and I have become good friends. I’m in his inner circle and we have frequent lunches most Mondays along with Lou at a Chinese buffet in town, and we also get together to watch movies and Packer games at his house. It might not be L.A., but it’s a bunch of creative people getting together minus the plastic B.S. of Hollywood.

Fun is fun, and I’d rather hang with good people in Kenosha than blood suckers in Lost Angeles. Not to say there aren’t good people in L.A., there are plenty. But that scene is so crazy and competitive, they often don’t get to shine and live up to their potential. It’s sad.

I guess I’m settling, but I’ll take being a big fish in a small pond – at least when it comes to a movie career. I never wanted to be a movie star anyway. I’m a comedian, and staying the course with that keeps me plenty busy. If I can appear in Mark’s movies, it’s a bonus.

Mark likes to use the same people in his projects, much like Charlie Chaplin used to do and Martin Scorcese does today. We always joke that Lou Rugani is Robert DeNiro and I am rapidly becoming his Joe Pesci. I’m not an actor and never was, but it’s fun to be part of the group. Mark and Lou and everyone who hangs out with us I now consider friends.

I love hanging out with other comedians, but in this group I’m the odd man out because I’m the only one. Actually, I’m the odd man in because they’ve all seen me and now bring people with them and help spread the word. They’re fans, and it’s nice to be appreciated.

I’m fans of theirs too. I know nothing about directing or acting, and don’t claim to. The creative process may be similar, but they’re completely different crafts. Mark knows what he’s doing, and we clicked on the set of Dead Air. I took his direction well, and could see he knew exactly where he wanted to go with it. That makes it easy, and we didn‘t clash.

Mark has been slugging it out with his films as long as I’ve been at comedy. He’s done all kinds of interesting projects from horror films to documentaries, his most recent a very well done and informative one chronicling the 100th anniversary of The Titanic disaster.

I trust Mark’s creative vision, and he has approached me about teaming up on a comedy project. He wants to film my act in a controlled studio type location, and make it a quality production on HD with several cameras rather than a one camera shot in bad lighting like most comics end up having. I’m thrilled he wants to do it, and I know he’ll do it up right.

With his technical experience and my comedy experience, I know we can at least have a demo to use for other projects. He wants to do it in January, but I’m ready to go whenever he is. I know we can pull this off, and this is exactly what I need to start off the new year.

Radio Regret

December 18, 2011

Friday December 16th, 2011 – Fox Lake, IL

I’m at a crucial crossroads in my professional life, and I need to make some decisions in the next little while that will determine whether or not my years of agonizing struggle will have a payoff or not. Obviously, doing what I’ve been doing hasn’t worked how I wanted.

Bad breaks and stupid mistakes aren’t in the basic recipe for massive career success, but are an unfortunate reality for most of us. I’ve had more than my share of both, so now I’m ultra sensitive before making my next move. Mistakes can be fixed, but breaks are breaks.

The break that still stings to the bone is getting blown out of my radio job at ‘The Loop’ in Chicago on this date in 2004. It’s been seven years, and not only does it still boil in my stomach – it riles up both of my former partners Max Bumgardner and Spike Manton too.

All three of us gave it all up for that gig. We put in a brutal year of trying to settle into a routine of learning our roles, and just when we started to make it cook the station got sold and we were out on the street for no real reason other than those fine upstanding folks that bought the station decided to punt us after they’d promised the old owners they wouldn’t.

Apparently, we were part of a five year plan for morning radio in Chicago. We’d passed our one year audition, and were in a prime position to have a nice long run making decent money in a major market. There’s no reason we couldn’t have done it, but it wasn’t to be.

Those fine folks at Emmis Communications were THE coldest reptiles I’ve ever met in my radio life, and are right up there with anyone I’ve met in life in general. We were told until we were sick of hearing it how Emmis was ‘the Hebrew word for truth’. How nice.

I wonder what the Hebrew word for lying corporate pus bag is? That’s how they treated us, and the three of us will never forget how humiliating it was to have to be walked from the building by security after we were fired. Five minutes beforehand, we were a morning show in a major market. Then, we’re being treated like criminals being led to execution.

They took us off the station website immediately, and it was like we never existed at all. I don’t think the CIA could do a better job of vaporizing someone so thoroughly, and only the three of us know exactly how painful and humiliating it was. It‘s still a vivid memory.

We got a large number of calls and emails apparently, and I still have a few of them one of my friends at the station was kind enough to forward my way. I took the time to answer every one, but what else did I have to do? I didn’t have a job anymore, and it still doesn’t make sense they had to be that nasty and heartless. It‘s not like we embezzled from them.

Our timing was as bad as it gets, as we hadn’t established ourselves all the way just yet. None of us were big names, and we knew it. We risked everything to have a shot to create exactly that, and we all believed we were on a path to do it. After we were gassed, nobody offered us a job or even a bumper sticker. We were all hung out to dry. Merry Christmas.

That’s why it’s so frustrating. We got caught in no man’s land, and it was nothing more than a classic case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Had Bonneville kept the station, we’d have in all likelihood had our five year run, and still been employed today.

That company was great to work for. It’s actually the Mormon Church, but they do treat their employees very well I must say. They also owned ‘The Mix’ in Chicago, where Eric and Kathy have been the morning show forever. The company is all about stability, and it would have been the same with us. Our old boss Greg Solk told us that was in their plan.

The three of us were exactly the kind of people they were looking for. None of us were wild partiers or convicted felons, and if anything we were all pretty boring off the air. We were just regular guys, and that’s the angle the station wanted to highlight. We WERE the typical listeners they wanted, and it totally would have worked. We were being groomed.

That was a rare instance of true chemistry, and we all knew it. It was like The Beatles or a championship sports team. All the pieces fit together perfectly, and we were all ready to give it all we had. Greg Solk hand picked us, and his track record of success is legendary.

Why would anyone want to blow that up? We still can’t figure it out, but that won’t get us our jobs back. They ended up bringing in Jonathon Brandmeier eventually, but I don’t think he lit the world on fire like they thought he would. Plus, he cost them a LOT more.

We would have been a total bargain, and even if we were still there we’d have signed a long term contract for steady money rather than go for the throat like Brandmeier did. He could afford to do that, as he’d had his success and had a reputation that preceded him.

That’s what radio executives will pay for, as most of them are too incompetent to have any kind of forward vision themselves. They’d rather sign some old dog and overpay him than develop fresh talent that’s home grown. It happens over and over, and Brandmeier is getting yet another chance in Chicago at WGN. His reputation continues to pay his bills.

Good for Jonathon Brandmeier. I don’t begrudge a guy if he can keep getting gigs, but I don’t see why we couldn’t get one either. I think Emmis could have tossed us some kind of a bone, but they pissed on our heels as we walked out the door and it’s hard to forget it.

What’s done is done, and after seven years the only ones who still remember any of this and care even a little are Spike, Max and myself. I still talk to both of them, and it’s a sore spot with them too. We laugh and bust balls with each other, but deep down we know we got boned. We’re not the first and won’t be the last in radio to get it – but it really hurts.

We all agreed that we need to move past it, and we’re all trying. We’ve been trying hard since this date in 2004. We were poised for a nice run, and had it happened as planned the three of us would be in an entirely different world right now that would include insurance and a steady income and my ability to draw as a comedian. It’s all very disappointing, but also very real. Radio is an oozing cesspool. And people wonder why I don’t trust anyone.

Back To Business

December 17, 2011

Thursday December 15th, 2011 – Milwaukee, WI

Back to the real world, at least for now. Uranus has to wait. As much as I’d love to dive in head first with no time or money limits and make that my primary base of operations, it will take time to develop until it becomes profitable by itself. It’s still an infant in diapers.

This is part of the entrepreneurial process, and I willingly accept it. I’m certainly not the first to have to my divide time between making a living and trying to put a dream together in my spare time. It’s been done before, and there have been big successes. I have a shot.

Several success stories pop into mind. J.K. Rowling did rather well for herself, and she apparently came from humble beginnings. So did Walt Disney. Then there are my heroes in the mail order business Melvin Powers and E. Joseph Cossman. They both started on a wing and a prayer, and transformed themselves into multi millionaires. I want to do it too.

I feel it’s all finally in positive motion, but I still have bills to pay like everyone else. I’ll have to make a gradual transition into having a full time income from mail order products the same way I had to segue from a day job into standup comedy full time. It took years to make it happen, but I was eventually able to make my full time living as a comedian only.

I’ve done it successfully for over twenty-five years now, so I must have done something correctly. I could have made some better decisions at times, but I still managed to stay off welfare or not have to work some dead end snivel service job like most of my family did.

I’ll keep doing comedy, but I’m constantly thinking of this new venture and feeling very good about my chances to not only survive, but succeed to a level I’ve never attained with anything else I’ve ever done. I did it before with my comedy, and I know I can do it again.

Today I had a very pleasant meeting with the American Diabetes Association staff up in Milwaukee. They wanted to meet me in person after seeing my recent appearance on ‘The Morning Blend’ TV show promoting my show for diabetes awareness month. They loved it, and asked if I’d consider being part of their annual fundraising event next November.

I told them I absolutely would, but after meeting them all in person I have to believe I’ll be doing a lot of events in the future. They were really friendly, and I felt like I fit in from the second I walked through the door. Getting diagnosed with diabetes wasn‘t pleasant or fun, and if I can help make it easier for others in the same boat I was I‘m happy to do it.

My contact’s name is Jacalyn Gillis, and she introduced me to Sally Sheperdson who is the local director of the Milwaukee office. Sally’s brother happened to be in the office for a visit, and he’s exactly my age. He was intrigued by my story, and Sally was encouraged.

Apparently, very few people who have Type 2 diabetes are willing to share their stories. Sally said getting her brother’s attention was exactly the kind of person they are trying to reach. Getting diagnosed wasn’t fun, but if I can make it easier for others, I’ll gladly do it.

Uranus Calls My Name

December 15, 2011

Wednesday December 14th, 2011 – Antioch, IL

More work on the King of Uranus project today. It’s all I think about. My inner antenna is pointing me in this direction for reasons I don’t know, but I’m closing my mouth and in full obedience mode. I feel this is exactly what I’m supposed to be focusing on right now.

The point is, I’m focusing at all. There just isn’t ever going to be enough time for me to get to all the fun things I’d like to explore this lifetime, even if I live to be 100. I haven’t even hit 50 yet, and I’m already sucking wind. I have to carefully manage all of my time.

I haven’t done that so far, at least not to my satisfaction. Too bad. I have to shake it off and keep going – full speed ahead. And I am. I’m going to work on this project night and day with all my spare energy, but reality still exists and I also have to keep money coming in so I can survive. I have comedy gigs coming up, but in between this will be my baby.

The first thing I need to do is put a written plan together. I’ve had notes scribbled down on scraps of paper, but I’ve now put them all in a computer file AND BACKED IT UP on three separate thumb drives. I’ve still got more fleshing out to do, but the frame is there.

The second thing I need to do is get busy and physically make the King of Uranus a real live entity. It won’t be difficult, since nobody knows what he looks like. Not even me. I’ll experiment I’m sure, but basically all I need is a shiny crown, a cape or robe of some sort and a scepter. Since Uranus itself is a light blue, that will be my primary color of choice.

Eventually, I’d like to get fancy. I picture this to be a cross between the ornate robes Ric Flair wears to the ring and the wild getups George Clinton used to wear on stage. The last few times I’ve seen him he’s cut his multi colored hair and toned it down a lot, but for the longest he was a visual show all by himself. I need to start somewhere, and let it evolve.

The third thing I need is to solidify my teams, both on camera and off. To do this right it will have to all be recorded and put up on You Tube. I don’t intend to walk around on the street dressed like a gay rooster for no reason. Everything has to be carefully documented.

Then there’s the whole business side of things. I need to keep immaculate records of all my transactions for tax purposes, and I know that going in. This is a big job with a bunch of little jobs worked into it, not just some goofy costume I put on and expect to get rich.

There are all kinds of things that will need constant attention, and in no way will I have time to do all of them. I need a team of quality people in place to help this turn from cockamamie long shot scheme to profitable entertainment business venture, but that’s the goal.

Today I met with Jay Bachochin who will be my go to guy for printing. He used to be a part owner in an Alpha Graphics business but he’s not now and is looking for work. I like Jay, but also know he’s honest and creative and good at all kinds of things I’m not. He’s a whiz on the computer, and we’ve done business before. He’s a perfect fit for what I need.

Another thing that’s an ideal fit is our timing. He needs to earn a living, as do I. Neither of us wants to work for anyone else, and we’re painted into a corner. Something HAS to work, and when I laid out the concept at lunch today he let it soak in and then had several very solid ideas I knew were right on the money. We’re a good match, and we both feel it.

My friend Jim McHugh is another. He’s a no B.S. guy who jumps on me to get going if I lose momentum, as I often do. Whether the reasons are legit or not doesn’t matter. If I’m not moving ahead, I’m losing ground. Jim has been exactly what I’ve needed to press on.

Jim’s brother in law Mark Huelskamp is my web designer, and he brings his own brand of expertise to the table. He’s good at what he does, and Jim acts as a great go between to keep things moving. One by one, the members of the team are starting to find their place.

Jim helped find my new artist Jeanie Janz, and she’s been a major upgrade. She’s a fun person, and thinks the concept is hilarious. That’s exactly what I need. She’ll design a lot of products to sell, and I have my contact Marc Mallen in Antioch, IL to print up t-shirts.

Jay will help create any printed material from flyers to stickers to signs to anything else we might think of. I’ll need all these people eventually, and several more as well. This is an ongoing process, and will take years to build it up to be a workable system. That’s ok. The point is, I’m DOING something and getting my head out of Uranus and into action.

It’s slowly coming into reality, but it is coming. The 13th of every month will serve as a  point of reference, as Uranus was discovered as a planet on March 13th, 1781 by William Herschel. Old Wild Willie could have named it anything else, but I’m delighted he didn’t.

I’m going to claim ownership on this concept like David Letterman claimed a Top Ten list. He wasn’t the first person to use a list, but he made it his own. This is similar. I’m far from the first gimoke to cut loose with Uranus jokes, but I’m taking it farther than anyone else, and I’m owning it as my territory starting immediately. I stake my claim on Uranus!

This means I need to claim it on many levels. My big picture long term vision is to get all my projects in a row so they feed off of each other. I’m not sure if I want to make The King a standup comic, but he sure could host some comedy shows with my funny friends. They’d do an outstanding job. All I’d need to provide is the draw, and that’s my intention.

Another area to consider is the Mothership Connection radio show. I already call myself The King of Uranus on the air, and nobody has told me to stop. I don’t say what it means, it’s just my moniker. If I can grow the show, it will grow the spectrum of people who hear the name, who in turn will hopefully visit my website, and purchase products. Perhaps.

It’s all a giant circle, but for once I feel I’m actually going to pull this off. I won’t die if I fail, but I will absolutely NOT accept failing to try. I know there is an audience that will think the entire concept is hilarious. It won’t be everyone, but that’s fine. Nothing appeals to everyone. I just need enough to like it to make me rich. And I know they’re out there.

It’s Good To Be The King!

December 15, 2011

Tuesday December 13th, 2011 – Fox Lake, IL

Time trickles steadily away for all seven billion of us who share space on this planet, so why would anybody waste even part of one second doing anything that’s not fun? I don’t know, but we absolutely do. Life has a way of draining hopes and dreams from us all, but I’m having a difficult time accepting it. I fall prey to it too at times, but I refuse to give in.

I’ve come way too far and worked way too hard to just drift off into the abyss and leave this coldhearted crazy world with even half a drop of desire still inside me. If I’m going to find happiness, I have to seek it. And to seek anything, one should have a clue what it is.

To me, happiness is making other people happy. I know that sounds sappy and right off of a Ziggy Hallmark card, but I really mean it. When other people are laughing, they’re in a good mood. There’s positive energy everywhere, and I get to enjoy it too. It’s a win/win.

Possessions don’t thrill me, and getting a lot less important. I swear, when I get rich I’ll still buy my cars from an auction. I might buy someone else a new car, just because Elvis started that trend and it sounded fun. It would give me more satisfaction to see somebody else go nuts when they receive a car rather than me getting one for myself. Is that stupid?

Maybe it is, but that’s how I feel. The whole world is stupid, and getting stupider by the minute. That’s why I’m so fascinated with my King of Uranus concept. It’s right at a level where the masses can grasp it, and it’s totally harmless. In this day and age, that’s needed.

Tensions are running sky high everywhere, and humor is sorely needed whether anyone realizes it or not. I think they do, but they don’t always know where to get it. I don’t mean just going to watch comedians at a comedy club, even though that’s a good start. I mean a revolution in how humor is both delivered and received. I want to broaden all parameters.

I’m getting a much clearer picture in my head of who ‘The King’ is going to be. He’s an ultimate outsider – the perfect ‘butt’ of all jokes. Pun totally intended. The King of Uranus has to be an identifiable character both by how he looks and what he says. It’s a total package.

It’s part professional wrestler, part flamboyant evangelist, part standup comic, part nerd, part clown, part goofball and finally a part of me thrown in like a cherry on a sundae. This is something I really want to do, only because I think it could do so much good for people in the long run. Plus, it will be total fun to breathe life into it from the ground up. I love it.

EVERY SINGLE DAY, someone tailgates me in my car and takes a picture of my plate that says ‘URANUS 2’ and my ‘I (heart) URANUS’ bumper sticker directly above it. It’s a just a nondescript run of the mill Chevy Cavalier, but those two things give it identity.

People give me thumbs up and waves all the time, and I see broad smiles on everybody from hot chicks to old fogies and everyone in between. I’ve got something here, now it’s a matter of deciding exactly what that is, and what I want it to be. This is a life mission.

I’ve farted around with this concept way too long – another pun intended. It’s time for a deeper commitment, and today is that day. I like the 13th of the month, as nobody else has claimed it. That’s the day each month I used to send my ‘Mr. Lucky’ comedy newsletters.

Then my ex business partner did his little embezzling number and ended up skating off with my mailing list, and I’ve been working to get back on track since. That’s part of my point. Life happens, but it happens to us all. I’m not the only one who has had obstacles.

I’m disappointed that I’ve allowed them to slow me down as much as they have. I admit I’m scattered and going in way too many directions most of the time, but that’s just a part of who I am. Maybe it’s my left handedness, or another reason. But it’s never an excuse.

I’ve been working on one facet of the Uranus project or another every single day for the past few weeks, and actually making more progress than I have in a while. It keeps me on my toes, as there are a lot of things to work on. There are business duties, and then there’s the whole creative side. Since I’m starting from scratch, (another pun intended) it’s slow.

There are more than enough other things to distract me, and they have, but then I’ll have someone beep and give me a thumbs up at a stop light or walk up to me in parking lot and say how funny they think it all is, and I know without a hint of doubt I’ve hit the jackpot.

In a quarter of a century of trying to get famous as me, I’ve failed miserably. I struck out big time, and that’s just how it is. The public didn’t care, and that’s their right. Then, I get a personalized plate and a bumper sticker made and I’m suddenly the hit of the highway.

I don’t even have the character created yet. It’s just some dorky white guy who drives a painfully ordinary Chevy Cavalier, but I know I’ve hit on something. I have to BECOME The King of Uranus, and I need to do it in a hurry. When it hits, it will hit big, and I need to be ready. I’m not even going to say if, because something inside knows it’s a winner.

How big a winner, I don’t know. And truthfully, I don’t care. It’s already been amazing to see the reaction of people just in the planning stages. I can only imagine how it will be when I’m decked out in my getup and out in public wearing a long royal robe and a crown on my cabbage. I’m going to carry a scepter too. If I’m going to do it, I’m doing it right.

I stopped at a costume shop today to look for ideas. When I sashayed in and announced  I was The King of Uranus, the stunned look on the woman’s face followed by a big giggle as I calmly looked at her without flinching made my trip worthwhile. I’m finally living it!

I know I’m nuts, and I know it’s a juvenile idea that‘s off the deep end, and I don’t care. What’s anyone going to do, laugh at me? That’s my objective, so thanks from the bottom of Uranus to anyone who thinks I’m out of my mind for doing this. Congratulations, you nailed it. I am out of my mind, but so is the rest of this world. If I’m going to have to live with all these other kooks, flukes, flakes and failures, I might as well go down swinging.
Everyone else in my family died without living any dreams. My dreams live in Uranus!

Comedy With Class

December 14, 2011

Monday December 12th, 2011 – Chicago, IL

Some of the most fun times I’ve ever had in a comedy club have come when the club is not even open for business. Read into that statement whatever you will, but this time I am referring to a comedy class. When everything goes right, it’s an exhilarating experience.

What makes it so enjoyable is the melding together of creative minds with a purpose to create something positive – laughter. Some students are better than others, and all of them are in the beginning stages of what will be a life long journey should they choose to do it.

It’s a safe environment, because I make it that way. I encourage them to ask questions at any time, and it’s an absolute blast for me to watch them grow. There’s a little switch that goes on in someone’s head when a concept takes root, and I never get sick of watching as a face lights up when someone catches on. I feel like a little league coach and it’s a kick.

Tonight I gave students a final bonus session for an especially good class I’ve got going at Zanies in Chicago. It was an excellent mix of people from diverse backgrounds, as has frequently been the case. I just finished another class at Improv Playhouse in Libertyville, IL and that was the same thing. I liked them as well, and gave them a bonus session too.

It’s an added value to the class, and I love it when they get that glimmer in their eye like they’re scamming something for nothing. Nobody has ever complained, but what they fail to realize is that I get just as much or more out of being there than they do. It’s a win/win.

Being around standup comedy and constantly preaching the fundamentals over and over helps keep my instincts razor sharp for my own act. If I’m constantly thinking about it for someone else, I can’t help but think about it for me too. What I love about class when it’s going well is, the group can watch each other grow, and they experience the same thing.

Tonight’s class was small but mighty. We only had three students, and each were about as different as different gets. One was an actress and self described ‘former hippie chick’. Another was a musician with OCD who just turned 50. The third was a single dad around 30 who looks 18. They’re very diverse, but all have a similar spark of creativity inside.

They each went up on stage and went through their act, and that’s never easy in front of three people. I tell them, and it’s true, that it’s good practice at this point in their games to just get up there and plow through it on a real stage. It’s a luxury most newbies never get.

All three of them did a splendid job, and I had them go through their routine twice. One time I just let them go, but the second I stopped them at certain points and critiqued them gently but firmly so everyone could learn. They needed it, and everyone took it correctly.

These people got what I was telling them, and I think all three are going to stay with the process, at least I hope they do. They’ve all put in a noble effort, and I’m extremely proud of how each has grown so much in such a short time. If nothing else, I enjoyed seeing it.

How Now Braun Cow?

December 13, 2011

Saturday December 10th, 2011 – Fox Lake, IL

Ryan Braun is screwed. He could rescue kittens from a burning building or donate most of his multi-gajillion dollar paycheck to charity, but from this day forward he will forever have to live down the fact that he has tested positive for the infamous ‘banned substance’.

That said substance could be anything from heroin to Flubber and anything in between, but what it is doesn’t matter. He got caught, and the damage is done. It’s bad for him yes, but even worse for the Milwaukee Brewers – not to mention the credibility of baseball.

He was the golden child. He and Prince Fielder were the two young bucks of the game, and the team chose him to reward with the long term big money contract. Fielder will get the mother lode of booty to match his own mother load of booty, but not in Milwaukee.

The Brewers had to choose one of the two, and Braun was the one. He was the man and then some. He’s got a restaurant in town and has it going on with the ladies I’m sure. The team is the talk of the town, and he’s the reigning N.L. MVP. All of that is tainted now.

I’m sorry to see this happen. Milwaukee is my home town, and when I travel around it’s been nice to have people say “Hey, how ‘bout those Brewers?” in recent years. For far too long they were such an invisible non factor, nobody even cared they were in the league.

I think it was good for the game to have a small market team rise up and have a nice run for a few years, but now it appears to be over in a day. So long playoffs, hello pissed off. I hope I’m wrong, but I don’t think I am. It looks like there will be no joy in Miller Park for 2012, and maybe longer. Nobody has ever skated in this situation without a suspension.

And a whopper of a suspension it is. Fifty games is what the verdict will most likely be. That’s bad for business, both at home and on the road. Fans want to see stars, especially if they’re shelling out good money for tickets. I know I do. This is a no win deal for anyone.

The initial reports are that he’s denying he ever knowingly took anything illegal, but it’s too late for that now. The toothpaste is out of the tube. Accusation is just as bad as actual guilt, so he can cry a river of crocodile tears and it won’t do any good. Too little, too late.
I’m sure he’ll fight it tooth and nail, but no matter what happens this will leave a big scar.

I don’t know Ryan Braun, but from all I’ve seen I like him. He’s a hell of a player, even if he is on the juice. Barry Bonds was a hell of a player too, a certain Hall of Famer. Then, he decided to turn himself into a synthetic version of King Kong and he’s tainted as well. I hope it was worth it. The only way he’ll get to see the Hall of Fame now is with a ticket.

I’m getting more jaded about everything as I get older, and sports is not the sacred altar it was to me as a kid. That’s because I realize people who play them are just that – people. There’s some kind of dent in everyone’s can, and this is to be expected. I’m disappointed as a fan and a Milwaukeean, but too bad for baseball. The Green Bay Packers are 13-0!

Aura Colors

December 12, 2011

Sunday December 11th, 2011 – Kenosha, WI

Just when I thought I’d rattled the cage of all topics ‘woo woo’, along comes a new one to thoroughly pique my interest. That’s an advantage of hosting a paranormal radio show on a weekly basis. I am constantly exposed to new concepts, and it broadens my horizon.

Sometimes I wonder if I should keep doing the show, as it’s been on the air for going on four years now and hasn’t generated a penny of financial income. I forget how much I get out of it educationally, and tonight’s show was a friendly reminder. I love all of this stuff.

It makes me think, wonder and contemplate all of life on a much larger scale than doing what everyone else is doing. Too few ever venture out of their individual comfort zone to explore what’s ‘out there’, not only on this planet but beyond. We’re just a cosmic speck.

I have to thank my grandfather for planting this seed in me as a kid. He loved to try new things and see new places, even in his final days. He would frequently take me along with him on his adventures, and then ask me to express an opinion afterward. He said it wasn’t necessary for me to like all of it, but it was necessary to give it a try with an open mind.

He’d often take me out of school to go someplace for a day trip. Sometimes it was some kind of obscure museum. Sometimes it was an ethnic restaurant where I couldn’t identify a single thing on the menu. Other times it was a live performance like a play or concert.

One time we went to a polo match. Another time we saw Victor Borge perform. I never knew where Gramps was going to take me, and I never knew if I’d like it once I got there. I often hated it, but all these years later I’m grateful for the chance to have experienced it.

That’s why I enjoy The Mothership Connection show so much. I get to keep growing in areas that I want to explore. Does Bigfoot exist? Will the world end in 2012? Is there life after death? I don’t know any of those things, but it’s sure interesting to seek the answers.

I’ve learned a little about a lot of subjects as I’ve done this show, and it’s all fascinating to me. Subjects like numerology and dream interpretation have been around for thousands of years, so I would think there has to be at least a tiny grain of truth in there somewhere.

Tonight we had a fantastic guest on who talked about aura colors. Her name is Pamala Oslie, and she really knows what she’s talking about. Apparently, all things have an aura and they come in 14 colors. Much like astrological signs, they apparently have meaning.

Pamala was able to read all of us in the studio and she nailed it. She’s been at it for 27 years, and even has a radio show of her own. Her website is http://www.auracolors.com and she does readings, has books available and even started a singles dating site based on auras.

I don’t think this is flimflam. We found Pamala both credible and entertaining. We kept her on the air an hour longer than she was scheduled. Now I’ve got another topic to study.