Archive for April, 2012

R.I.P. Moose Skowron

April 29, 2012

Saturday April 28th, 2012 – Fox Lake, IL

   I was saddened to learn of the passing today of former Yankees and White Sox baseball player Bill ‘Moose’ Skowron at age 81. I had the pleasure of meeting him years ago and thought he was a delightful human being. He was friendly and funny and lit up the whole room when he entered.

He owned or at least partly owned a bar with a restaurant not far from U.S. Cellular Field, and I went there after a White Sox game once with a comedian friend named Ross Bennett. I turned Ross on to wheeling and dealing sports cards as something to do on the road, and he enjoyed it.

In fact, he’s the one who suggested we go visit the bar in the first place. He’d heard Moose was a nice guy, and often showed up to sign autographs and visit with the customers. There happened to be a card show in town that weekend, and Moose was scheduled to be a paid autograph guest.

Ross thought instead of paying to go to the card show which would include more money to pay for parking and then paying again for an autograph, it would be a better idea to go to a Sox game and relax, then hit the bar to see if Moose might stop in. Even if he didn’t, it was worth the risk.

The game was a lot of fun, and then we went to the bar afterward but there was no Moose. We were fine with that, and each of us ordered a rack of ribs that were flat out delicious. Ross is one of my favorite people and always has been, so we hung out and enjoyed our meal and friendship.

About halfway through our rib dinner, sure enough in walked Moose with a big old grin on his face and an aura around him like he owned the joint – which he did. People gravitated toward his positive energy, and he was shaking hands and greeting people like a politician at a whistle stop.

He worked his way around the room, and eventually came over to our table. Ross and I didn’t mention we were comedians, as we didn’t want to upstage Moose. This was his home stage, and we both respected that. Plus, he was such an engaging fellow it would have been hard to take the spotlight from him. We were both just happy to have a chance to share some face time with him.

We bantered back and forth a bit, and then Ross politely asked him for an autograph, which he signed without question. It would have probably cost at least $60 with parking and admission to the card show, but here he got one for about $20 and it came with a rib feast. Now that’s a deal!

It was a wonderfully pleasant experience all around, and I was always a rabid fan of Moose’s after that. I’d never really heard much about him one way or another, only that he’d played with the Yankees and was friends with Mickey Mantle. I didn’t even know he was a Chicago native. All it took was a few minutes of personal contact, and I wanted to know everything about him.

It’s remarkable to see what being a quality person will do. I know I wasn’t the only one who felt that way, as both Chicago newspapers talked freely of how popular he was with players and fans alike. We should all strive to have our obituary read like Moose’s. One after another, quotes said what a great guy he was and how he’ll be missed. That’s what life is all about in my opinion. I’m sorry Moose Skowron has passed, but he sure didn’t waste his 81 years. That guy was a success.

Getting Up To Get Down

April 28, 2012

Thursday April 26th, 2012 – Milwaukee, WI/Madison, WI/Niles, IL

   As the song from the ‘70s by Brass Construction says – ‘You got to get UP to get down.’ I need to find a way to make something good happen, and I won’t be able to get that done sitting on any couches. Action is needed. I have to go rattle some cages and see who I can find to help me do it.

Today I had a full day of cage rattling, starting extra early with breakfast at Miss Katie’s Diner in Milwaukee with my friend Lynn Miner. Lynn was a student at my comedy class years ago, but I’ve learned way more from him than he has from me. He’s always been willing to offer his help.

Lynn used to be affiliated with Marquette University, but I’m not sure of the exact title he had. I know he was a bigwig, as whenever I’d visit him there the people at the reception desk jumped up to do whatever he said whenever he said it. It’s good to have friends in high places, and Lynn is definitely one. What’s even better is that he doesn’t act like a big shot. He’s just a regular guy.

Another big shot with Marquette ties I met through Lynn is Jim Peck. Jim lived in Los Angeles for years and hosted quite a few network game shows. That’s a lot harder than it sounds, and Jim is a world class broadcaster. Not only is he a total pro at what he does, he’s about as quick witted and funny off the cuff as it gets. He’s got a deadpan comic delivery that cracks me up every time.

Jim happened to be having breakfast at Miss Katie’s and came over to join Lynn and me while we were brainstorming ideas. Jim still does radio in Milwaukee on WTMJ, and both of them had some helpful ideas of what I might want to do to help get off the road and back myself up with a source of income that doesn’t come from comedy clubs. These are two contacts to value highly.

Actually, I have more quality contacts than I think. I tend to not be one to ask for favors, and if I like someone I like them for who they are and not for what they can do for me. I don’t think I’d be overstepping my bounds to ask my contacts for a hand. People ask me for help constantly, and most times I’ll do whatever I can without thinking twice. Now it’s my turn to get some in return.

After breakfast I drove to Madison, WI for an appointment I had with an account executive for a radio station. I’m still interested in developing a market between the four city squared circle of Chicago, Milwaukee, Madison and Rockford and Madison is my weakest link. I don’t have a ton of high powered connections there yet, but I really think it could be developed as a solid market.

I’ve never been a hit with the college crowd anywhere, but I’ve found there to be a lot of smart people in Madison who aren’t of college age that love what I do. They’re not really being served right now, and I want to secure new venues and produce some comedy shows there later this fall.

If nothing else, I made another connection for future reference. I think the meeting went pretty well, even though I don’t know if the guy took me seriously. We’ll see, but at least I took it upon myself to take action and make a connection. I want Madison to be a place I work in the future.

Tonight I hung out at Marc Schultz’s house for dinner and watched the NFL draft. We talked a lot more about comedy than football, and he’s also someone that has always been in my corner in a time of need. Not everyone hates my guts, and those are the people I need to connect with now.

None For The Money

April 27, 2012

Wednesday April 25th, 2012 – Chicago, IL

   Times are getting tougher than I’ve ever seen them – and that’s saying a lot. I’ve had more than my share of difficulty trying to survive before, but not like now. Money is ridiculously tight, and the price of gas isn’t helping anyone except oil companies. How is anyone supposed to make it?

I got the dreaded last minute call today telling me that two shows I was booked for in Ohio this weekend won’t be happening, and that was a big time buzz kill. Even if it wasn’t much, that was my income for the week. Now it’s a big zero. I didn’t really want to go to Ohio, but this is worse.

On top of that, I’m not getting anywhere with the idiot who booked that debacle in Berwyn, IL a few weeks ago where the thick skulled and even thicker necked Croatian heckler that had to be bum rushed and thrown out by (count ‘em) THREE bouncers. I’m hearing a lot of excuses – none of them valid. Chances are I’ll never see a nickel, and I’m the much bigger idiot for showing up.

Piled high on top of everything is the chunk of change I’m owed for the wonderful weekend in West Virginia that fell out in March. That really hurts, as it was a significant amount of cash with a comma in the total and I was counting on it heavily. Having it taken away that close to the date was inexcusable, and I still should be paid in full in my opinion. But that’s all it is – an opinion.

Fortunately, that opinion happens to be shared by the booking agent I used to negotiate the deal in the first place. It’s Tom Sobel out of Louisville, and he stood to make a payday as well. He did the professional job he always does in putting the deal together, and sure earned his commission.

I’m sorry the event didn’t happen, but that’s neither Tom’s nor my fault. We had all negotiated a deal between the three of us, and two of us need to be paid. Good luck with that. I’m not seeing much hope of getting a check without going to some kind of small claims court, but that will take time, money and aggravation nobody has to spare right now. I don’t need that. I need my money.

Tom Sobel has always been great to work with, and I’m sorry this happened for both of us. He goes out of his way to be fair and ethical in his dealings with both comedians and venues, and if all bookers were like him I’d be out of things to bitch about. But they aren’t. And I’m bitching.

There were a lot of years when I never had to deal with anything close to this. Whatever money I’d been promised, I got. Once in a while there’d be an isolated incident like with that belligerent bully biker bastard in Milwaukee who still owes me $400 from 1992, but those were exceptions.

Now it seems to be happening left and right, and I’m not digging it. Cancellations are also a lot more common now than I’ve ever seen them. I think I’ve lost more work this year than I got, and I know I’m not the only one who’s experiencing this disturbing new trend. It’s the Wild West out there, and quite scary. There used to be if not rules at least guidelines and courtesies to the game.

Not anymore. Everything seems to have been thrown out the window and it’s everyone on their own to figure it out for themselves. I’m old school, but I’m going to have to adapt or get out and do something else for a living. I’ve squeaked by this long, but it’s getting trickier every week.

Empty Next

April 26, 2012

Tuesday April 24th, 2012 – Fox Lake, IL

   Once again, it’s back to the trenches to start all over. I lost count years ago the number of times I’ve had to pick myself out of the mud, clean myself off and try to climb back on the horse of life with hopes of ending up somewhere desirable. Maybe I should change my tactics and call a cab.

Right now I feel like what a losing Super Bowl coach or player must feel like. I’ve invested all my time, energy and focus into one project – only to come up short of the ultimate goal and have no championship status to show for it. The bitter sting of defeat overshadows anything positive.

I did what I thought was right, even if I couldn’t make it work on a scale that met the standards I’d set before I started. I put in a solid effort in my eyes, and have nothing to be ashamed of even though I am horribly disappointed. There have been a lot more than me who have felt let down.

I’m at a point now, none of this is new. I’ve been crushed before, hurt before, and had the exact same feeling I’m feeling now more times than I want to remember. The world will keep spinning no matter what happens in my life, even when it ends. I might as well do what makes me happy.

What makes me happiest of all is making others feel good. I know how much I enjoy watching top quality entertainment of all varieties, and if I can be a source of it for others that’s what keeps the blood pumping through my veins. I’ve always been my happiest by far when I’m performing.

That could be on a comedy stage, or behind a radio microphone. I know what I’m doing either place, and all I have ever wanted is the chance to make a decent living doing either, or better yet both. I don’t think that’s too much to ask, but apparently a few others have some issues with it.

I can’t worry about those who don’t like me, even though I do have to deal with the situation at hand. The fact is, I’ve managed to clash with a few key people over the years and it’s making my situation now harder than it needs to be. I wish I’d handled some things differently, but whatever I did I did and this is the position I’m in today. That could change, but right now I’m in a pickle.

The good thing is, I’ve been in a pickle since birth and I know what it feels like. It wouldn’t be a surprise if some of my ancestors were named Vlasic with all the pickles I’ve been in up to now. I’m not afraid in the least. What I am is tired. I’ve been where I am now so often it’s boring me.

I don’t want to be in this position anymore, but I am. In my mind I should have had life figured out by now, but I still find myself struggling furiously with a lot of the same petty things I’ve had trouble with countless times before. Am I missing something? Is this my own Groundhog Day?

The C. Cardell Willis tribute is now over. Even if it would have drawn 2000 people and got on CNN, it would still be over and I’d be looking for the next thing to do. My problem is I have too many ‘next things’ and all of them appeal to me. I feel like I’m at a rocking party at the Playboy mansion and all those spectacular babes are fighting over me but I have to narrow it down to just one of them to take home. It’s hard to choose just one, and that’s where I am with my list of fun projects. Even Super Bowl winners have to start over again the next year. It’s now my next year.

Still Stinging

April 25, 2012

Monday April 23rd, 2012 – Fox Lake, IL/Milwaukee, WI

   The bitter sting of the overabundance of chairs without buttocks occupying them at Shank Hall in Milwaukee last night still hasn’t gone away, and I doubt it ever totally will. It bothers me a lot, even though I know it shouldn’t. The worst part is, I didn’t do any of it for me. It was for others.

I really felt I owed it to Cardell to let him have his night. He and my father both were born and died in the same year, as did Saddam Hussein of all people. Now there’s an unlikely trio. One of these things is not like the other. Saddam and my father spent their lives polluting the world with their mildewed karma, spewing tainted selfish energy. But both of them died with little suffering.

Then a Cardell comes along and lifts up everyone in his path, but gets dementia and spends his last days in a rickety old nursing home in the heart of the ghetto. That’s not right, even if I’m not the one making the rules – and I’m not. Why do the biggest bastards in life always bail out at the end unscathed, but a good guy like Cardell suffers like a dog and doesn’t get the credit he’s due?

If anyone earned respect and the right to have a tribute years after his passing, it was C. Cardell Willis. He was a true mensch. But after six months of solid work, all I could manage to rustle up were 80 people who would show up in his honor. All they had to do was sit and enjoy a comedy show, which I don’t find to be all that difficult. I don’t see why the joint wasn’t packed in tight.

I’m especially disappointed that the young comics in town didn’t show up for this. Jason Evans was very kind to help spread the word with his website www.mkefunny.com and I’m grateful for his support. He’s a student of the game, and is trying to also be a performer himself. He couldn’t have been any nicer and more supportive, but as for the rest – they totally blew the evening off.

I’ve done some favors for quite a few of them, and tried to be the supportive mentor figure that Cardell was to our generation of comedians. His favorite phrase was always ‘Pay it forward’ and that’s what I’ve always tried to do. I was hungry to learn, and also hungry to help. I don’t get that feeling from many others, and I think it stinks. I don’t make the rules, but I still think it’s wrong.

But what does it matter what I think? Not much. No. Not true. Not a damn thing. All anybody can do is their best, and I’m trying to do exactly that. My faults are glaring and many, but at least I have a heart and some passion about what I’m doing. Or I thought I did. Now I’m just drifting.

I got a call today from Mark Gumbinger asking if I wanted a free ticket to the Brewers game at Miller Park. I didn’t really want to go, but I said yes hoping it would help me forget my troubles for a couple of hours. It didn’t work. It was fun to hang with the guys, but I wrestled with all this.

What the hell am I going to do with myself now? I spent months getting that show put together because I felt it was the right thing to do. I did it exactly how I’d want it done for me if someone were going to remember me after I’m gone. I gave it all I had, but it feels like it was a tank job.

But if one of the Kardashian’s boobs happens to wander out of her bikini, there’d be reports on the hour from every radio station and TV network in North America. They’d call in Geraldo, Dr. Phil and CNN, and Nancy Grace would talk about it for weeks. How did I end up on this planet?

The Human Edsel

April 25, 2012

Sunday April 22nd, 2012 – Milwaukee, WI

   No. Not again. Yes. Again. It’s another direct kick to the keester by life with a steel toe combat boot dipped in vinegar. I am now a living, breathing, walking official example of Grade A stupid and I don’t know whether to scream or cry. I did both on the way home tonight, but it still hurts.

   What in the black hole of Uranus was I thinking anyway? The very definition of stupidity itself is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. I have tried time after time to fill up a particular room for a specific purpose, usually to benefit charity, but I constantly fall short and am bitterly disappointed afterward. It happened again tonight, and I’m devastated.

This one took every last bit of wind out of my sail, even though I thought it would be different this time for some insane reason. I needed roughly 100 people to make the suggested donation of $11 to cover all my expenses for the C. Cardell Willis Tribute Show at Shank Hall in Milwaukee tonight, but only 80 showed up. I was grateful for every one of them, but I’m still upside down.

I honestly thought I did all I could do, and expected a WAY better turnout. Nobody who came out knew the difference, and when the room was sat it looked relatively full at first glance, but it was a total ‘comb over’. There were empty seats everywhere, and I noticed every one of them all night as I walked back and forth throughout the room doing my hosting duties. This was painful.

I have no idea what else I could have done to promote this show, and to see the return numbers so small made me want to end my life and move on to whatever if anything is next on the docket. If there is another side, it has to be better than this. If I didn’t have someone in the car with me as I drove home, I swear this might have been the night I drove into a wall. It stung me that badly.

The fact is, the general public en masse is just not interested in whatever I have to offer. That’s a bitter pill to swallow, but it appears to be true. I feel like a human Edsel right now. Contrary to popular belief, the Edsel’s demise was not because it was a bad car. The Corvair was a bad car.

The Edsel flopped because it didn’t sell to a large enough audience. The masses just didn’t take to it, and the plug was pulled. The same thing happened with New Coke. It never was able to get a big enough customer base to keep it around. These are prime examples of supply and demand.

Whatever I’ve been supplying, a large demand for it hasn’t been there. I feel like I’ve been on the wrong planet since birth, and I never felt more that way than tonight. Apparently, my passion for paying tribute to someone who gave his life helping others was not shared by as many others as I had imagined. I thought for sure we’d be able to put at least 300 poopers in the pews tonight.

I had an extremely difficult time hiding my disappointment all night, but I had no choice. I was the one who put this whole thing together, and I had to smile and pretend everything was peachy. The people who came out had a wonderful time, and I’m delighted they did. That’s exactly what was supposed to happen. What wasn’t supposed to happen was that I lost money. That was what I hoped wouldn’t happen the most, but it did. I guess I could be angry, but what would that do to change anything? I tried my best to pull this off, but it flopped. Where are the keys to my Edsel?

Second Chance Success

April 23, 2012

Friday April 21st, 2012 – Wilmington, IL

   I think I ended up learning a lesson tonight, but I’m still a little fuzzy as to what it actually was. I did a one nighter in Wilmington, IL I wasn’t looking forward to that turned out to be a very hot show and I was pleasantly surprised by how enjoyable it was. Top to bottom, it was a total blast.

I did a show at the same place maybe two years ago, and it was a pretty rough night. There was an incessantly babbling drunken female heckler – the worst kind, and that turned it into more of a verbal fist fight than a comedy show. And there was a sparse turnout on top of that. No fun at all.

This time, it was the polar opposite. The place was over full, and they even had to haul in extra chairs from the restaurant next door to make room for everybody. I got to bring my own opening acts, and I chose Mike All and Daryl Moon. Both did a fine job, and appreciated the opportunity.

The whole thing went about as well as a one nighter in Wilmington, IL could go. The audience was there to laugh, and they hung on every word. The show built correctly, and everyone in front of me did exactly what they were supposed to. If every night was like this, life would be a party.

I even sold some merchandise. People didn’t flinch when I said my new DVDs were $15, even though I hesitated a little when I said it. I’ve never felt comfortable selling anything after a show, but it’s becoming a necessity to survive. I’ve tried to keep it simple and reasonably priced for the most part, and all I’ve had to sell were CDs at $10 each.  But I’ve seen guys get as much as $20.

I’ve seen a lot of others get $15. I think a lot of it is how it’s presented. If someone comes up at the end of a show and wants to buy something, price is usually not the issue. They want to take a little piece of their experience home, and often they’ve had a few cocktails so that helps open the wallet a little easier. I’ve observed the process for years, but I’m still uncomfortable executing it.

The best marketers I’ve seen usually have a mediocre act at best. They put laser beam focus on the marketing, and their act is just a means to an end. I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with that, but that’s never been where my attention has been. My focus has been on doing the shows.

If someone should happen to want to buy a CD afterward, I’m happy to oblige. I tried offering t-shirts for a while, but that was a huge pain in the ass for many reasons. No matter what size I’m carrying, there’s always some freak of nature dwarf or 7 foot Swahili tribesman who has to have a special size that I don’t have, and then I get that size and then don’t sell another one for years.

All of these are useful lessons to learn, and I’d be smart if I started applying them to my career – or lack thereof. Doing shows in bars in Wilmington, IL and towns like it is not what I pictured myself to be doing at this point in my life. There was nothing wrong with those people, and I did enjoy myself tonight. But on a larger scale, this is just not what’s going to put me over the top.

But what is? That’s the nagging $64,000 question that’s been eating me alive and still is. I gave this particular gig a second chance, and I’m glad I did. The first time didn’t thrill me, but this one made up for it. I didn’t get rich, but they treated me like I was famous. That’s not the worst thing.

Almost Show Time

April 21, 2012

Friday April 20th, 2012 – Milwaukee, WI/Fox Lake, IL

   The big weekend for the C. Cardell Willis tribute show is finally here, and I have to admit I am more than a little apprehensive about drawing enough people to see it to cover my expenses. No, that would be the wrong choice of words. FEAR would be much more accurate. I have no idea if anybody will show up, even though I have spent months trying to get the word out to everybody.

Without a doubt, this is THE hardest I’ve ever worked on promoting any one single show in all my life. It’s a one time chance to honor someone who meant a lot to me, and I want to pull it off with style and class. I’m going into it as how I would like it if someone was doing this for me.

Unfortunately, Cardell is the last person I need to worry about. He’s already done his part, now it’s a matter of setting everything up correctly on both sides of the microphone. I have a fantastic lineup of comedians, and I couldn’t be happier everyone I asked agreed to be part of this event.

It really is a solid mix of local talent from the old days, and I have no doubt they will all put on a killer night of entertainment. People are coming in from Philadelphia, Phoenix and Portland for this and I want to make it worth everyone’s while. There are no second chances. I have to nail it.

Getting people in the room is what worries me more than a little. I’ve been trying to get people to fill all kinds of rooms for comedy or charity shows since I started performing in 1983 and I’ve been painfully unsuccessful the entire time. Some nights have been better than others, but I can’t think of one show that really blew the roof off of anywhere. But that’s what I want for Sunday.

Just ONE night I want to have a full house of people who want to enjoy themselves, and have a killer show that’s recorded and able to be passed on for the ages. If I can do that, I’ll feel as if my life has had at least a little bit of worth and wasn’t a complete waste of time. This is my big shot.

I know I’m probably setting myself up for major disappointment, but I’m going to roll the dice and take the chance anyway. This is just the right thing to do on so many levels, and if I lose my ass, shirt and everything else – I still think it’s worth doing. It’s a culmination of my life’s work.

I was supposed to be on the radio this morning at 7:20 to promote Sunday’s show, but I was up so late working that I slept right through it. I never do that, but I did it today. Steve DeClark set it up for me, and he’s one of the comedians on the show. I texted him in a panic, and he handled it.

I don’t care that I wasn’t on the show, as long as word gets out. I did drive up to Milwaukee for a breakfast with my cousin Wendy who also said she’d help spread the word. She slipped me $20 to donate to the cause, and that’s exactly where it will all go. I also stopped at ESPN Radio to see Drew Olson, who had plugged it on the air during ‘The D List’. I’m grateful to all for their help.

In my eyes, I’ve done about all I can do with the resources I have. I’ve emailed everyone in my circle of contacts that might have a chance knowing anyone near Milwaukee, and asked if they’d help spread the word. I’ve also begged the comedians to help, but that’s not how most comedians are. That’s what scares me. We’re performers, not promoters. I hope this works, but who knows?

Cream And Bastards

April 21, 2012

Thursday April 19th, 2012 – Fox Lake, IL

   I’m in one of those moods where I question the very reason for not only my existence, but that of the entire world. Why are any of us here, and why don’t we have a concrete reason? Doesn’t it seem like a big waste of time and energy to be stumbling through life without any real purpose?

It does to me. I still haven’t figured anything of significance out in all my years of existing on a crazy out of control planet, and I feel farther away from any answers now than I ever have. It just feels so random and half assed, and I don’t think life should work like that. But who am I to say?

I would think there should be SOME kind of logical order in all this insane chaos, but I haven’t found it yet. My grandfather’s saying of ‘cream and bastards rise to the top’ hits home now more than it ever has. Something’s wrong. Why isn’t life fair? I don’t know, and it’s driving me crazy.

The good seem to die younger and younger, but the scumbags won’t. Why has Charles Manson managed to live this long and get free meals, medical care and housing? Not only that, he’s even got women (plural) who want to marry him? This is insane to me, but it’s true. And it’s not a one shot deal either. Ted Bundy and ‘The Night Stalker’ Richard Ramirez had chicks want them too.

Really? I can’t get a date on a Saturday night because the divorcee with three kids I ask out has a headache or needs to get her toenails painted and blows me off, but some psychotic murderer in prison gets panties and nudie pics mailed to him by the pound. Something’s WAY wrong there.

And I can think of at least one hundred comedians like myself who have been out there busting ass bones for decades trying to bring a few laughs to the world and scratch out a humble living in the process, but we’re still unknown and fumbling through life in squalor and obscurity. But then I see idiot after idiot get constant network television coverage when they didn’t even ask for it.

I find the human race as a species to be filled to the brim with stupidity, selfishness and having absolutely no hint of a clue as to what life is even about. I know I don’t know, and it’s frustrating beyond words. I’m also trying my best not to be stupid or selfish, but that’s not working out very well either. The more I learn, the more I don’t know. And I could do more to help others as well.

What does any of this mean? I wish I knew. I get up every morning with the best of intentions, but then at the end of the day I’m usually disappointed with how little of substance I’ve actually managed to accomplish. Maybe I’ve done a little something trivial to please myself in the short run, but as far as making a lasting contribution to the greater good of humanity – failure again.

There are some very solid people in this world, and I’m striving with all my might to be one of them. But there are far too few others in my opinion who are complete wastes of a perfectly good orgasm. They’re eating our food and breathing our air, but what they give back doesn’t add up to what they take. They’re dead weight, and slowing down whatever progress needs to take place.

Again, who am I to say any of this? I’ve got my own problems trying to survive myself. I know I’m an idiot too, and it doesn’t thrill me in the least. I’ve got sky high aspirations in life, but have no idea how I’m ever going to attain them. Sadly, I probably won’t – and that’s so disappointing.

Willis And Clark

April 19, 2012

Wednesday April 18th, 2012 – Fox Lake, IL

    Back home and back to work. And I like it. Despite all the obstacles I may be facing, I am still in a position to be ultimately successful in all areas of my life and that’s the plan. I may stray off course more than a little, but in the big picture I haven’t given up and am still in the game to win.

I know have a lot of irons in the fire, but all of them are projects I really enjoy. It now becomes a matter of which one or ones are most important, and make them profitable. Right now, I am off in too many directions at once, even though I’m working on getting better all the time. And I am.

The project I need to focus on right this minute is the C. Cardell Willis tribute show coming up this Sunday in Milwaukee. I’ve done a lot of work getting the groundwork laid, and now I’ll wait to see if my efforts will be rewarded with a turnout. People have assured me they’d show up, but as my grandpa used to say “I’ve heard ducks like them fart under water before.” Who can tell?

I just want to make it a special night to honor Cardell’s memory. He was such a positive caring soul, I’d hate to see the milestone of his 75th birthday come and go without fanfare. I’m not even 50, but if anyone would want to pay tribute to me at 75 whether I’m living or not I’d be honored.

Whatever happens on Sunday, I’m all in now. The hall has been rented, the word has been put out, and those who will show up will show up. I’ve got a couple of radio appearances scheduled for Friday, as well as being on the list for fallouts for a couple of TV shows. Will that help to put fannies in seats? Who can say? I don’t think it can hurt, but I can’t guarantee it will help either.

What’s really important is what I do after that show is over. Monday it’s back to work again to start on the next project. It’s already almost May, and the year is slipping away as they all tend to do. Years melt into decades, and before long my life will be over too. What can I do to make the most of my remaining days? I have gargantuan aspirations of what I’d like to get accomplished.

The sad fact is, in all likelihood I won’t get to a tenth of them. I’ve pissed away a lot of time on just trying to survive that I’ve never been able to really graduate to that next level. It’s a crushing disappointment, but that’s how it is. Do I just give up and let my days drift away, or do I fight?

Dick Clark died today at age 82. There’s a guy who not only found a way to make it happen for himself – he kept it going for decades. Wow, what a super success story he was. Is there even one other person that has come close to having touched as many people as Dick Clark? From hosting American Bandstand to The $10,000 Pyramid to New Year’s Rockin’ Eve, his reach was wide.

I was fortunate enough to have interviewed him a couple of times by phone during my various morning radio incarnations, and found him to be a consummate professional and true gentleman. He had a vibe about him, even on the phone. He achieved a level of success few others ever do.

Dick Clark touched millions. Cardell Willis touched considerably less, but was still a positive influence to many, myself included. Hopefully I can have a positive impact somewhere as well.