Posts Tagged ‘540 ESPN’

Milwaukee Mingling

July 19, 2014

Wednesday July 15th, 2014 – Milwaukee, WI

I took a trip home to Milwaukee today, and it turned into a mini whirlwind tour. With the price of gas where it is I think we all have to plan our trips these days. I squeezed as much into a single day as I could, and it was productive. I challenge anyone to pack as much into one day as I did.

My first stop was Miss Katie’s Diner to see my friend Lynn Miner. Lynn is one of my biggest supporters, and an outstanding human being. He’s a magician among many other things, and he’s looking to do that full time after a hugely successful career as a grant seeker all over the world.

I can help Lynn with adding jokes to his act, but he helps me even more. He’s got a lifetime of experience in making business plans, and is mentoring me in what I’m doing. It’s a win/win for all parties, and I always look forward to meeting up with him. We complement each other well.

After lunch I stopped at the Milwaukee County Courthouse and then City Hall to check out the job openings of all things. I always said I’d never move back to Milwaukee, but if I had a reason to – like a decent job – I totally would. The former demons that used to haunt me are now dead.

I hated going back to Milwaukee because of so many bad memories. Now that I’ve gotten back in touch with my siblings, it has healed a lot of those wounds. None of them happen to live there anymore, but that’s where we were born and raised. Milwaukee will always be part of our DNA.

I don’t know if I’ll get a job or not, but it won’t hurt to sniff around and see what’s available. If I could land a nice gig with benefits, I can still do my “Schlitz Happened!” show around the state and continue performing and teaching comedy classes for Zanies in Chicago so life would be ok.

Since I was downtown already, I decided to take a lap through the Milwaukee Public Museum. It had been years since I did that, but I had some time so I decided to make the investment. I had no idea ticket prices have skyrocketed to $15, but by the time I got to the window it was too late.

I hadn’t planned on spending $15, but it really is an outstanding museum so I bit the bullet and I’m glad I did. There were a lot of exhibits I still remember from my childhood along with many new things I had never seen before. I enjoyed every minute of it, and it was interesting to observe all the kids that were there on class field trips just like I went on when I was that age. It was fun.

After that I was able to squeeze in a couple of thrift stores, but didn’t find any ancient artifacts I could resell for huge profits. If VHS tapes ever come back, I know where to load up. Other than that, it was a bunch of junk I wouldn’t take for free. Still, it’s fun to hunt and I enjoyed the stops.

I was listening to my friend Steve ‘The Homer’ True on AM 540 ESPN Radio and he was on a live remote broadcast at a Pick n’ Save grocery store. He was trying to get donations for the local Hunger Task Force and was flipping coins to donate $100. If a listener won, Homer had to donate.

If Homer won, the listener donated. Homer has always supported anything I ever did, and I was glad to stop and flip the coin. I lost of course, but that’s the legend of Mr. Lucky. I received a big plug on the air, and donated to a worthy cause. Milwaukee will always be home, so why fight it?

Milwaukee will always be my hometown, so I might as well embrace it.

Milwaukee will always be my hometown – warts and all, so I might as well embrace it.

The Surprise Factor

November 22, 2013

Wednesday November 20th, 2013 – St. Charles, IL

I heard one of the best radio broadcasts I’ve ever heard this afternoon as I turned on 540 ESPN in Milwaukee and heard Steve ‘The Homer’ True back on the air. I had wanted to give him a call for a week now, but I also wanted to let him have his privacy as he recovered from his car wreck.

Apparently it wasn’t as bad as originally thought, and that’s the best news I had heard in a long while. It’s not often a friend gets into a car accident so serious that it gets mentioned on the radio on a competing station. That’s what happened, as I’d heard it on the Milwaukee Bucks broadcast the day it happened. Ted Davis the voice of the Bucks is a class act and that was very courteous.

I’m sure we’ll hook up at some point in the near future, and the last thing I want to do is bother the guy when he’s back at work the first day. He was getting all kinds of calls from well wishers, so I just enjoyed his radio show as I usually do. He’s an outstanding broadcaster and always was.

Life is unbelievably delicate, and can be gone or drastically changed in just a few seconds. I’m sure Homer has replayed the point of impact scenario in his head over and over and realizes how frighteningly close he came to taking the terrestrial trip to the other side he wasn’t planning for.

The surprise factor in life is part of what makes it interesting, but also what scares the pants off of us knowing anything – and I do mean anything – could happen at any moment. A car accident is never something anyone plans for, but it changes one’s life forever. Homer knows it full well.

I’ve had a few near misses myself, car accidents and otherwise. My recent kidney stone torture was a prime example. I woke up out of a sound sleep to discover an excruciating pain in my side, so I got out of bed to crawl to the computer to see if I could at least know the cause of my death.

It felt like my innards were going to burst, and shrapnel from my entrails would be scattered all over the walls. I originally thought it might be appendicitis, and I’ve heard horror stories of some people dying if they didn’t get to the hospital in time. It turned out to be ‘only’ the kidney stone.

For something so laughingly tiny, it felt like a bowling ball trying to pass through my guts and I failed to find the funny while it was happening. It’s very funny now, but that’s in hindsight. I’m sure if it comes back I won’t have so much as a shadow of a smirk on my puss. And it just might.

As far as I know, I still haven’t passed it. The people I’ve talked to have told me so many tales that I have no idea what to believe. Some say it may have lodged somewhere and will pop out at random and torture me all over again. Others have said I may have passed it and not even known.

What’s important to me is that I’m not in pain anymore. Whatever happened to that little speck of matter that did so much damage is not my concern – at least for now. I’ve got other things that need attention, as does Homer. Car accidents and kidney stones are obstacles on the road of life.

It does make life interesting, if for no other reason that it adds gratitude to the mix. I’m have no doubt Homer is grateful not only to be alive, but back at work doing what he loves. I’m delighted to be back to making people laugh instead of wondering if I’d live another day. Life is in charge.

Life is full of surprises - expect the unexpected.

Life is full of surprises – expect the unexpected.

The Royal Treatment

March 17, 2013

Wednesday March 13th, 2013 – Milwaukee, WI

   Today quite possibly could go down as THE single most fun day I’ve ever experienced. I had a chance to be the center of attention at the Milwaukee Admirals hockey game tonight in full regal splendor as the King of Uranus, and it was exactly what I thought it would be – a hilarious thrill!

The team has long been known for their stellar and original promotions, and this was ‘Salute to Uranus’ night. They put it in their ads, and I heard back from all kinds of people saying they had heard my name everywhere. I hadn’t planned on my name being attached to this gimmick, so the team did me a favor by getting my name out there too. I don’t mind either way, it was just FUN.

The character itself is still in development, but the fact that an adult would dress up like a goof willingly is a sure way to garner attention. If it weren’t true, they wouldn’t keep sending all those poor saps out in public dressed as the Statue of Liberty trying to drum up business for tax places.

If nothing else, it turns heads for a short second even if only to have the person gawking at the costumed kook think “Well at least it’s not ME.” This is the same principle, but it was received well by everyone and turned out to be an amazing experience. I know I’m on to something here.

It helped immeasurably that the team was totally behind this. Jon Greenberg is on top of things, and always has been. He’s the president of the team, but everyone else was great too. Director of Marketing Tim Van Wagoner worked extremely hard to come up with a true or false quiz to give fans on the bench where they’d give a thumbs up or down. It was the ‘Thumbs up Uranus’ quiz.

I also got to drop the ceremonial first puck before the game, and to see the looks on the faces of the players alone was worth my trip. They gawked at me like I really was from outer space, and I had to bite my lip to keep from laughing. It was exactly the reaction I wanted, and I played it up.

Another major highlight was getting to be part of the ‘Human Hockey Puck’ contest. That’s the one that everyone talked about. There’s a huge sling shot and five fans are put on a plastic flying saucer sled one at a time and slung across the ice to knock down targets like bowling pins to win prizes. I’d seen it done before, but being part of it in full King regalia was a treat I won’t forget.

Between the first and second period I got to sit and sign autographs if anyone was interested in getting one. Jon Greenberg and I had no idea if anyone would show up, but there was a long line of fans wanting pictures and autographs and I felt like Elvis for twenty minutes. It was a big hit!

My friend Drew Olson from 540 ESPN Radio came out to support, and we laughed like school girls backstage about how fun this whole thing really was. He’s seen most if not all of my wacky stunts over the years and he has the full perspective of how much it took to bring this idea to life.

Drew’s radio partner Dan Needles ran a blurb about it on his WISN TV 12 sports cast, and I’m very grateful for the exposure. It cemented the evening, and I’ll remember it forever. It was a big thrill to be able to pull this off, and if nobody else is impressed I don’t care. This one was for me!