Archive for December, 2012

Less Is More

December 23, 2012

Thursday December 20th, 2012 – Niles, IL

   Call me a cynic, but I’m not betting on the end of the world happening tomorrow despite all the hype about the Mayan prophecies. It would be too easy if everything just screeched suddenly to a halt, and my life has been a lot of things but never easy. I’m betting on struggles o’plenty for all.

I did hedge that bet just a smidge though, and consciously chose to not do the enormous pile of laundry that’s been stacking up like firewood for a while. If the Earth does indeed decide to blow up tomorrow, I’m saving myself that chore. Why waste time sorting socks for the Apocalypse?

Instead, I started to purge myself of the majority of my worldly possessions. I’ve attempted this several times before, and the more times I do it the easier it becomes. Things accumulate in all of our lives, and before we know it we’re choking on our own possessions. They eventually own us.

If anything, I am an anti-hoarder. I come from a family of pack rats, and after they died it was a major hassle getting rid of all their useless clutter that they thought was so ‘valuable’ for so long. I saw it happen with my grandparents, father and an uncle and aunt, and I refuse to let it be me.

Part of what makes it easier for me is that I’ve moved more than the average person. I’ve lived a nomadic gypsy lifestyle most of my adult life, and the process of moving becomes more hated and unpleasant each time I do it. Still, I’ve hauled way too many boxes places they never needed to go. I have spent much of this year going through every last scrap of paper, and I’m glad I did.

I salvaged some things I’m glad I kept, like random comedy notes from my years of traveling I didn’t even remember making. Looking at them now, they’re a time capsule that I can create new material from, and the ideas are all my own. It’s like finding a hidden bank account in my name.

Most of the rest of it is piles of books I’ll never read, music and audio programs I’ll never hear and clothing I’ll never wear. Every time I move I purge myself of things like this, but it manages to pile up again and before I know it I’m backed up again. I need to stop doing this over and over and pare down to the bare minimum. It’s much easier to exist free of clutter – at least it is for me.

Step number one today was going through all my clothes and anything I haven’t worn in a year was put in bags to be donated to The Salvation Army. I dropped some significant weight with my exercise regimen after my diabetes diagnosis, and I had a lot of clothes I won’t likely wear again.

I don’t know why I was hanging on to them, but it felt great to load them into the car and drive them to the Salvation Army store in Gurnee, IL and drop them off. My closet is looking bare, but my spirits are looking up because I know it was the right thing to do. Hopefully someone will get some use out of those clothes, but I’m just happy they’re out of my life. This was a perfect start.

Even if the world does end tomorrow, this was the right thing to do. Clearing out the old makes room for the new, if even symbolically. I’m betting we’ll all be around after tomorrow, so I’ll see how much more I can purge to keep this going into 2013 and beyond. Less is more, more or less.

Catching Up Late

December 23, 2012

Wednesday December 19th, 2012 – Fox Lake, IL

   It sure didn’t take much for technology to pass me by. For as geeky and nerdy as I can be about a lot of things, gadgets have never been of much interest to me. I couldn’t care less about playing video games, even though it’s a multibillion dollar industry worldwide. It just never grabbed me.

‘Pong’ was my first exposure to that world, and I have to say I was less than impressed. I know that was the dark ages and they’re light years ahead of that now, but I have absolutely no interest in getting caught up. My time is limited as it is, why do I need to blow away virtual space aliens?

I probably should also know a lot more about computers than I do, but that doesn’t interest me very much either unfortunately. I could have probably made a nice side income fixing computers or designing websites, but I just never went in that direction. I chose something stable – comedy.

It’s laughable how dumb that choice seems now, but that was what interested me so I chased it and excluded everything else to the point of being embarrassingly deficient in having knowledge about things millions of others have known of and used for years. I’m a self made ‘techno-tard’.

That being said, I finally broke down and bought myself an iPod a few weeks ago. I’d meant to do it for years, but I just never got around to it. My music tastes are mostly old school funk, and I have plenty on CDs, cassettes and even 8 tracks. I felt no pressing need to get all 21st century, but I’ve been doing a lot of exercise walking and I wanted to upgrade what I listen to while I do it.

I did it on the cheap as I tend to do, and went to a pawn shop near my house and scored one for $80 with tax out the door that will more than meet my current needs.  The guy who sold it to me was right about my age, so at least I didn’t feel totally humiliated by having a teenager mock me.

I’ve been experimenting with it for a couple of weeks now, and I love it more every day. I like the fact that I can burn only the songs I like and leave the rest off so I never have to hear them as long as I live. Everyone knows what it’s like to buy a CD and like only one song. What a waste.

I have a ton of CDs that I only like a few songs on, and I’ve been feverishly building myself an outstanding collection of tunes tailor made for me. Music radio stations are in trouble because no program director on Earth can choose what you like better than you. I’m enjoying the freedom.

I’ve got all my Parliament/Funkadelic CDs loaded in as well as everything else I like including stuff I really haven’t listened to all that much. I hope to add and subtract over time and develop a broader musical scope. What amazes me most is the amount of songs I can pack onto this thing.

My current count is 2518 songs, even though not all of them are going to stay there forever. I’ll keep farting around until I get more familiar with the process, but that’s a lot more songs than I’ll probably need in about six lifetimes. When I worked at The Loop in Chicago, I was told the play list hovered around 400 songs, with some getting shuttled in and out to freshen the pot from time to time. It may be late, but I’m catching up at my own pace. What’s next, a daisy wheel printer?

Changing Roles

December 21, 2012

Tuesday December 18th, 2012 – Milwaukee, WI

   I’m fascinated at how strikingly roles can change with the contacts we make in life. Everybody has people coming in and out of their lives constantly, and the way they come in isn’t always the way they go out. Friends turn into lovers or enemies, and vice versa. And there are no guarantees of how long anyone will stay around. The only thing we can ever count on is constant change.

As the year winds down, I’ve been looking over the people I’ve been in regular contact with in 2012 and it’s significantly different than those I was in regular contact with in 2011. Sure, some of the names are the same but many of the main players have moved on. It’s like a sports team.

I had health struggles with my type 2 diabetes diagnosis in 2011, and Jerry Agar and his family were absolutely wonderful in their generosity by allowing me to heal up at their house for several weeks. They couldn’t have been nicer, and it came at a time when I really needed it. I’m grateful.

Then, out of nowhere Jerry got a radio job in Toronto and pretty soon he and his family moved there and we barely speak. There was no falling out, but life just has a way of moving on when it needs to. Jerry has his life and I have mine, and now they happen to be in two different countries.

That doesn’t mean we won’t cross paths again. We’ve been friends since the ‘80s, and we have always drifted in and out of each other’s existence depending on our current location. Right now, it’s not convenient to hang out often. Next year? Who knows? Neither of us has ever been stable.

One friend who has been stable is Dave Hendrickson. I’ve known Dave since my first comedy show in Milwaukee at Sardino’s on Farwell in November of 1983. Dave came into my life in the role of comedy peer, and then exited when I moved out of Milwaukee to begin my road years.

Then we reconnected several years ago, but our roles have changed significantly. I have grown by leaps and bounds as a comedian, and am no longer the aspiring novice when we first met. I’m now the wily veteran I always dreamed of being – even though it came with an enormous price.

Dave pursued a business of doing patent drawings, and has done that for decades. He’s moved on from doing standup comedy, but he still performs frequently with anything from Toastmasters to storytelling and is one of the most creative people I know. I always enjoy working with him.

We’re both left handed, so maybe that’s why we get along so well. He’s also very spiritual and has been a regular part of The Mothership Connection radio show in 2012.

His role has grown to become a large part of the show on air and off, and it’s working splendidly. His title is “The Two Bit Guru”, and his website is www.twobitguru.com. It’s very well done and full of solid content.

Dave’s website person Nate is going to be working on a site for the radio show and also taking over my personal site which needs a major update. I drove to Milwaukee for lunch with Dave to get things in motion, and we got a lot done. We talked about how long we’ve known each other, and how much we have evolved in almost thirty years. The Daves and Jerrys of life make it fun.

Talking Schlitz

December 21, 2012

Monday December 17th, 2012 – Fox Lake, IL

   Clue phone, line one. I have to get something lucrative or at least somewhat profitable going in 2013, or it’s going to be an even longer and harder year than 2012. The thought of that scares the fuzz off my fanny – and also gets said fanny in gear to do something about it. I have zero choices.

I had plenty of choices early on, and every one of them lumped together has placed me exactly where I am today. That doesn’t say a lot about my ability to choose, but it really could be MUCH worse and I realize that every day. I admit I made some rotten choices, but I made good ones too.

Now I have to keep making more good ones and stop making so many bad ones and see if that won’t help change my standing in life. Right now, I’m struggling to just barely scrape by month to month. Hell, it’s been week to week more often than not recently and sometimes day to day.

I’ve been hovering at that level for most of my life except for a few short periods of prosperity over the years when I had a double income coming in from comedy and radio. Those times were fantastic, even though I didn’t have two free seconds for myself. Why would I care? I was doing exactly what I love to do day and night, and I can’t think of any better lifestyle to be into 100%.

I had plenty of money during those times, and I made it go a long way. My standards are about as low as standards get, so it didn’t take much to make me feel like a big star. It won’t take much for it to happen again, but it needs to be steady and hopefully a little more long lasting this time.

My radio jobs came and went so fast, it was hard to keep track of them all. Just when I’d begin to settle in somewhere and start socking away some scratch, I’d get blown out the door and have to start all over again someplace else – usually halfway across the country. That’s no way to live.

Comedy was a nice way to fill in the holes between radio gigs, but there’s no future in it except doing the same thing over and over week after week. There’s no residual income, and unless one can pack big theatres it’s little more than stop gap money. It pays a few bills but that’s about all.

It’s time to step it up, and that’s what I’m focusing on. I have to look at all my projects I’ve got in various stages of completion, and see how I can make them pay off as soon as possible. I need some income right now, and multiple streams of it would be just what the doctor ordered. I could use a period of security after a lifetime of taking risks and having everything blow up in my face.

Today I had lunch with Mark Filwett who is my webmaster for the Schlitz Happened show. He really gets it, and I’m impressed with his work. His website is www.lakecountygeeks.com and he is available for hire for anyone who needs quality web design. I hope to have a site up in the next few weeks and start promoting live shows in the Milwaukee area. It’s a product totally my own.

If done correctly, I can create a brand that’s known locally and have steady income for years to come. It might be with a limited audience, but those people are loyal and if I can capture them it will be well worth the effort. If I don’t, I’ll be driving a school bus. I can’t see myself liking that.

Sadie Steals The Show

December 18, 2012

Sunday December 16th, 2012 – Kenosha, WI

   One of the reasons I enjoy hosting The Mothership Connection radio show on AM 1050 WLIP in Kenosha, WI on Sunday nights from 8 to midnight so much is I get to be in charge of booking the guests. There is an ample supply of fascinating stories and I always enjoy showcasing them.

Usually the guests we have on are of a paranormal theme, but sometimes I’ll stretch it if I think it’s an interesting enough topic. That was the case tonight as we welcomed Joal Derse Dauer and her friend Chris who are nursing an amazing dog named Sadie back to health after being brutally shot between the eyes and left for dead in the wilderness of Kentucky. It’s a remarkable story.

I met Joal a few months ago when I did a benefit comedy show at a no kill animal shelter up in the Milwaukee area called Acres of Hope and Aspirations. Lisa Alberte is in charge up there and they help people dealing with brain injuries. Find them at www.acresofhopeandaspriations.org.

Lisa and her crew do spectacular work with both animals and people, and anytime I can spread the word about someone doing good in the world I’ll absolutely do it. I know it’s not paranormal, but I call the shots so I say what gets on the air. It’s close enough, and our listeners didn’t mind.

That’s why I decided to have Joal, Chris and Sadie on tonight. I thought there was a need for a feel good story, especially after the ugliness of the Connecticut school shootings. That’s been an absolute nightmare for the entire nation, and I wanted to avoid staying on such a negative path.

This was exactly what the doctor ordered. Sadie was pure magic and made everyone feel great. She has a very tangible vibe that radiates from her at all times, and she was the undisputed star of the evening from the instant she got out of the car and limped up to the door of the radio station.

Joal and Chris told us that Sadie has been making miraculous and steady progress and is doing wonders as far as her recovery is concerned. She’s getting constant therapy and attention and she continues to improve by the day. Seeing her in person and feeling her wonderful energy was one of the most inspiring moments I think I’ve ever had. She will be an inspiration to all who see her.

www.savingsadie.com is the website Joal and Chris have set up for people to learn the story of Sadie and what she has had to overcome. It was only April of this year when all this occurred, so it’s only been a short time. I challenge anyone with a heart not to be moved by this touching tale.

Joal and Chris are accepting donations, and for only $10 or more they have a coupon book with all kinds of discounts to local Milwaukee area events that’s also a 2013 calendar. I would donate even if there wasn’t a fantastic deal like that attached, and I hope others will join me. This is why we’re here in my opinion – to help those who really need it. Sadie deserves a chance to recover.

This is a powerful story that should be told to as many as can hear it. I’d like to pump a couple of rounds into the scumbag who would do something like this, but the damage is done. Now it’s up to the rest of us to do the right thing and show kindness. Sadie makes it difficult not to do it.

Still Not Over It

December 18, 2012

Saturday December 15th, 2012 – Fox Lake, IL/Glenview, IL

   Comedians as a collective group can be some of the most insensitive people on the planet when it comes to showing tact when discussing controversial topics. It’s our job to rattle the cages of a mostly thick headed public, and we quickly develop a thick skin and aren’t afraid to push limits.

Even the most taboo of subjects can be hilariously funny between comedians, and we often tell each other wildly offensive jokes none of us would ever dare try on any stage. I will admit, I’m a big fan of these kinds of jokes only because I know they’re jokes. I don’t take the words literally.

The reason comedians are so seemingly callous is that our point of being surprised by anything has been pushed so far back over time we have to go a lot farther than anyone else to get any sort of reaction. It’s like an addict or alcoholic needing more to attain their buzz. A tolerance is built.

There are all kinds of dark and severely twisted jokes that are extremely funny about all kinds of delicate and unfunny subjects from spousal abuse to Hitler to the Kennedy assassination. They show up out of nowhere and spread like wildfire, and this has taken place since the dawn of man.

I don’t claim to be a psychologist, but I’m sure it helps the human psyche deal with things that are shocking and painful. Laughter is a defense mechanism, and comes in our human tool box at birth. Comedians didn’t put it there, but we definitely learn to operate it better than anyone else.

A good example is my friend Larry Reeb. “Uncle Lar” is a hilarious comedian out of Chicago, and one of the best club comics to ever step on a stage. His tag line is “It’s a sick world, and I’m a happy guy.” He has some of the most shocking jokes I’ve ever heard, but audiences love him.

Part of the fact is that he’s a wonderful guy. Off stage, he’s laid back and mellow and actually a very well read articulate person. I’ve been friends with Larry for years, and we’ve gotten along extremely well. Quite often we engage in conversation that has nothing to do with being funny.

Then there are times we make each other laugh uproariously. If someone were to record any of those verbal exchanges, we’d probably both be charged with felonies but we both know what we are saying is only in the context of being funny. It’s between us only, so nobody gets offended.

All that being said, I’m still unable to find a single thing even remotely funny about the horrific events of the Connecticut school shootings. It disgusts me to the core, and as difficult as it was to do I tried to avoid it all day. It took over television, radio and internet but I couldn’t stand it after about five minutes and had to turn it off. Normally my brain would search for where the funny is.

With this particular series of events, I just don’t think it’s there. It takes a lot to shock me about anything, but this comes about as close as I’d ever like to get. What could cause anyone to go off the deepest part of the deep end like this is beyond my ability to comprehend, and when I attempt to figure it out I get nothing but a sick feeling of emptiness in the pit of my stomach and a feeling of deep sadness for what all of the families must be going through. There’s nothing funny there.

Not Feeling Funny

December 16, 2012

Friday December 14th, 2012 – Glenview, IL

   The only thing worse about a day where a mass shooting spree is all over the news is having to be funny that same night. I’ve unfortunately been in this situation too many times to count, and it never does get easier. As horrible as everyone feels – and rightfully so – the show must go on.

That’s what happened tonight at The Laughing Chameleon in Glenview, IL. To make it harder, the intimately sized club features two giant screen TVs on opposite walls and another one behind the bar so it’s virtually impossible to look out in any direction without seeing a television screen.

They had them all turned to CNN coverage before the show, and I wish they wouldn’t have. I don’t know how many in the audience were watching as they were talking amongst themselves, but it sure put me in a down mood. I don’t want to have that in my head right before I perform.

It got to me so much I walked outside until the show started so I didn’t have to look at it. It’s a big enough challenge making a small crowd laugh for an entire hour without having to overcome freshly etched images of the mass murder of helpless children to boot. That’s asking for trouble.

There’s only so much pain comedy can hide, and pulling off a successful live show is delicate at best even under ‘normal’ circumstances. One thing out of place can throw off the entire show, and I’ve seen it happen over and over. I didn’t want to dig myself into hole before I got on stage.

My friend Ira Novos is in town and volunteered to come out and do some time up front and of course I said yes. Ira goes back to my earliest comedy memories back in Milwaukee at Sardino’s jazz club that used to have comedy on Monday nights. He was part of the first show I ever saw.

He lives in Vancouver, WA now, and was home visiting his family. Ira does a musical act, and tonight was the perfect night for it. He plays a keyboard, and the music helped establish a happy and much more uplifting mood than a regular opening act would have. I was glad he was there.

I went up after his twenty minute set and did about an hour and five minutes – a tricky situation in front of a tiny audience. That’s a long time to entertain anyone, but in small crowds the chance to lose them is a lot greater as every little thing can be a factor it wouldn’t be at any other time.

For example, someone going to the bathroom during the show is a big deal. I can’t help but see it, and it’s a tough decision whether to mention it or not. It can be a huge distraction, especially if it comes during a punch line. About six people did it tonight, and it was an issue the whole show.

Another situation is the waitress taking drink orders. That can also be very distracting, but they need to do it because that’s what pays the bills. I get that, but it still doesn’t make things easier in a situation like this. I was able to work around it all, but it took a lot of years to know what to do.

My heart goes out to everyone who was personally touched by this horrific event, and I cannot begin to imagine what all those families must be feeling. I sure wasn’t feeling very funny tonight but it was my job to make those people laugh and I did it. Quite honestly, my heart wasn’t in it.

Walking Tall

December 15, 2012

Thursday December 13th, 2012 – Fox Lake, IL

   I’m delighted to be able to say truthfully that I’ve been keeping up with my physical exercising as of late. That’s one thing that is truly an individual decision, and everyone is accountable for it. It’s not easy to maintain a healthy diet and regular exercise, but I have been making it a priority.

It takes time and effort to exercise, and it also makes me tired so I sleep more. I do sleep much better, but there’s still the tradeoff with the extra time commitment. I try to make the best use of that time by using it to think through ideas I’m working on, but it still shortens up my work day.

It really gets tough if I have to be on the road. That’s the lifestyle that contributed to getting my type 2 diabetes diagnosis in the first place, so I have to be extra careful. It’s work enough to keep up a regular diet and exercise schedule at home much less try to maintain one living like a gypsy.

All I can do is make the best choices I can in whatever circumstances I’m in. I realize I can’t be 100% correct, and once in a while I can have a treat if it’s not out of control. I’ve really managed things well since June of 2011, and I feel the difference every day. I won’t go back to the old me.

Still, the lifestyle of an entertainer is extremely hectic and stressful and maintaining one’s good health requires conditioning over time. I ate whatever I wanted for decades, and I have to believe there are several quarts of special sauce, hot fudge and animal fat encrusted on my heart valves.

It’s not an option to give up my program now, and in fact I need to increase it significantly for 2013 and beyond. I’ve mainly been walking, but my doctor suggested starting a weight program a while back which I haven’t done. I suppose I could also start doing pushups and sit-ups as well.

Then there’s stretching and yoga. I’ve heard amazing things about yoga from many people, and it’s something I would be up for trying at some point. I’d also like to get a bicycle and use that as a change of pace from walking since I live near several paths. Maybe I could ride to a yoga class.

The possibilities are endless, but unfortunately my time is not. It’s been tough enough to keep a fairly regular schedule of walking, especially when I’m at such a stressful point in my life. I have all I can handle with everything else that’s going on, and it would be super easy to blow it off.

Hopefully, I’ll get some benefits in the long run from all of this. In my heart, I know I’m trying to play the cards I was dealt the best way I can. I’m not looking for the easy way out, even if I’ve got to make difficult choices that aren’t always pleasant. Believe me, getting my untanned fanny up early and out for a long walk isn’t my idea of a party, but neither is recovering from a bypass.

None of this is what anyone thinks about when they dream their big showbiz dreams, but it’s a part of life that we all have to deal with eventually. It’s easy to blow it off in youth, and most do. I know I did. Who thinks about daily exercise, a healthy diet and dealing with diabetes? Pass the good stuff! Why yes, I believe I will have dessert with that double cheeseburger meal. I’ll worry about it later. Well, later comes a lot sooner than one thinks. My decadent diet days are ditched.

Fun vs. Money

December 15, 2012

Wednesday December 12th, 2012 – Rockford, IL/Mt. Prospect, IL

   The caravan of fun keeps rolling – even though I have no idea for how much longer. I’m loving what I’m doing more now than at any time in my life, but the money is just not there and I admit it concerns me more than a little. Fun is great and I’m all for it, but stress often overshadows it.

   It wouldn’t take all that much to turn my life completely around, and I wouldn’t have to pester anyone ever again. I’d have my daily needs taken care of, and I could spend even more time with all the enjoyable projects I’m doing now. Nothing would change much except the level of stress.

   Today was another prime example. I did another fill in talk radio shift on WNTA in Rockford, IL and I barely made it to the station because I had some errands to run which included bills that needed paying before service charges would make them even higher. It was hectic from the start.

   Lines weren’t moving quickly today for whatever reason and I had to wait behind every halfwit peanut head Neanderthal who couldn’t grasp the inner workings of a pen. The more I had to wait in line and place after place, the further behind my schedule got. The last half hour of my journey to the radio station became a race against the clock, and shot my stress level higher than Uranus.

   I knew I was going to cut it short, but it became obvious at the end I wasn’t going to make it to the station by 3:05 so I called the producer and told him what the situation was. I put the pedal to the metal on my ‘free’ 1993 Nissan and actually got that little roller skate up to 105 at one point.

   That added to my stress level and I made it to the station and sprinted down the hall to get into the studio and made it by mere seconds. Nobody was upset but me, but having to constantly be in a state of panic over money drains one’s soul – or at least the creative part of it. I’ve had enough.

   But when I got on the air it started getting fun again, and the shift ended up going quite well as it usually does. I’m feeling myself getting much better as a talk show host, and more comfortable going off on unexpected tangents when I feel the situation calls for it. I’m enjoying the chance to learn on the job, and when I’m on the air it’s like being on stage. I’m focusing on that by itself.

   After the radio show I got back in my car and went to Comcast’s Mt. Prospect, IL studio for an appearance on the holiday edition of Mike Preston’s “Psychobabble TV” cable access show. I’ve never not had fun doing that, and tonight was no different. I love working with Mike any chance I get, and I feel like I’m a part of the team. Again, the creative energy there makes it all worth it.

   Too bad there’s no financial remuneration in it for any of us, and all of us felt that pinch as we went out for something to eat after the taping. We were all tapped out, and ordered the cheapest items we could find that would fill our stomachs without cleaning out our wallets or self esteem.

   How long is anyone supposed to go on like this? I thought for sure I’d get at least SOME kind of payoff by now, but I’m still living like I started comedy last week and it feels really wrong to be here this late into the game. The only thing that keeps me going is fun, but there’s a lot of it.

Out Of Body

December 12, 2012

Tuesday December 11th, 2012 – Rockford, IL

   As crazy and frustrating as my life has been and even with the high degree of disappointment I tend to feel on a regular basis, the one constant I can hang my hat on is that I love what I do on a consistent basis. I may not love the financial compensation, but my creative hunger is satisfied.

I know there aren’t many people who can say that, and I love that part of my life. It’s probably the only thing that keeps me from jumping into an active volcano – that and not knowing of any active volcanoes in my immediate vicinity. The point is that without this passion I’d be history.

I thought of it today as I was on the radio on WNTA in Rockford, IL. My friend Jim McHugh tagged along, and it’s even more fun doing the show when he’s in the studio. We were bantering back and forth and having a blast, and I had an out of body experience and saw the big picture.

Jay Leno talked about that in an interview many years ago. He said he knew his act so well that at a certain point he could think about something completely different like what he might have to eat after the show or his dry cleaning while he was on stage performing. That concept fascinated me, even though I couldn’t comprehend it then. I was still trying to master the basics of comedy.

Then one night out of nowhere, I was doing the exact same thing. It’s like I jumped right out of my body and was in my own audience as I was performing. I was free to think about anything or nothing, and knowing that took everything to a much higher level. I felt I was finally “getting it”.

Radio can be like that too. It’s a performance, and there’s a buzz attached to it just like comedy – although it’s not as intense. Comedy is a short powerful jolt that’s an hour or less while radio is longer and steadier. A good radio show buzz can last up to four hours and be quite the intoxicant.

Today it was only a two hour shift, but we were firing on all cylinders and it was tremendously fun on several levels. It’s great to hang out with Jim, and the producer Howard Bailey Murray is both competent and a genuinely nice person. The vibe in the studio could not have been better.

We took it even higher by inviting our friend and fellow Chicago comedian Dwayne Kennedy on to plug the TV show he’s writing for and to get some air time. Dwayne is a comedic genius of the highest order, and Jim and I are both fans. Dwayne doesn’t get nearly the respect he deserves.

Jim also invited singer Emily Hurd to join us. She’s from Rockford originally, and an amazing talent in her own right. She writes her own material and has a powerful voice, and any time I am able to promote somebody locally I always will. Her work is available at www.emilyhurd.com.

As we were on the air, I had one of those out of body experiences and was able to see just how cool it was to be doing what we were doing. I was in a studio with friends that I like and respect, talking to others I like and respect on the phone. I have no idea who was listening, but I know at least somebody was because we got calls the entire time we were on the air. I didn’t get rich, but I did get paid and have been asked to come back tomorrow. I’m on the right track. More of this.