Posts Tagged ‘King Of Uranus’

Eleven Percent Genius

July 11, 2014

Thursday July 10th, 2014 – Island Lake, IL

I read a quote one time that defined “genius”, and I wish I’d have written it down. Usually I am a fastidious compiler of interesting quotes, but that particular time I was not for whatever reason, and now I am at a loss to find it anywhere. I found a lot of others in my search, but not that one.

Maybe I didn’t read it, I heard it. I don’t recall, but the basic message was “Talent is the ability to reach goals others can’t reach. Genius is the ability to reach goals others can’t see.” I have no idea who may have said it, but that’s not important. The message blew me away and still does.

I think there is at least some degree of genius in all of us, even though we don’t always act like it. Stupid seems to have a stranglehold almost everywhere, but occasionally bursts of genius slip out into the mainstream and thumb their nose at the rest of the world. Oh, to be one of those few.

Genius is a title that is often thrown around freely but incorrectly – especially by those without any of their own. Sometimes it’s a matter of opinion, and there is room for doubt. Is Kanye West a true genius? Despite what he may boldly claim, there would be those that may beg to differ.

I don’t want to get into it about him, as I can’t say I’ve heard even one of his songs. His whole arrogant persona makes me puke, but that doesn’t mean he’s not brilliant at what he does. Genius and humility don’t have to go hand in hand, and I’m sure there are all kinds of personality types.

Would anyone debate that Stephen Hawking is a legitimate genius? But would anyone want to trade places with him? I don’t think being a genius guarantees happiness, and in fact it would be a hindrance. Most of the world doesn’t operate on that level on a consistent basis, and never did.

I don’t think it takes an especially high level of genius to be successful in life. Supposedly we only use about ten percent of our mind’s potential. With all the mouth breathers walking around on a daily basis I find that number to be extremely inflated, but I’ll use it for example purposes.

How much more brain power would anybody need to use to come out on top? I say it would be eleven percent, but there would have to be a workable plan of action in place and that plan would need to be executed. That’s where I’ve had problems, and still do. There has to be a battle plan in place, and that’s where the genius comes in. One needs to see the vision before anyone else does.

I’ve had a clear vision in my head of what I wanted my life to be like since I was a small child. Does that classify me as a genius? I guess that would depend on who one would talk to, but since I have yet to be able to execute my full vision in the real world that would be a resounding no.

The King of Uranus concept is something I have pictured in my head for years, and I still have big plans to make that more of a reality. I have done it in bits and pieces, but nowhere near to the degree where I pictured it –at least not yet. I see it clearly in my own head, but it’s not executed.

Now I need to transfer that vision to as many others as I can. If enough others see it along with me, I’ll be called genius. That’s a great title to be referred to after one is dead. While still above ground, I’d much rather be known as “rich”. I don’t need to be a full genius – just eleven percent.

If you didn't know who his was, would this look like the typical genius to you?

If you didn’t happen to know who this person was, would he look like the typical genius to you? I doubt it.

How about this guy? Inspired madman or complete jackass?

What about this guy? Inspired madman or complete jackass?

Flea Flicking

April 21, 2014

Sunday April 20th, 2014 – Wilmot, WI/Caledonia, WI

I was up early this morning, but not to look for Easter eggs. The weather was perfect and this is the unofficial start of flea market season. The one I went through yesterday was a small one close to where I live. It was indoors and not that great. Today I ventured farther north to Wisconsin for a run through an outdoor one in Wilmot and then north to Milwaukee for an indoor/outdoor mix.

I have to say, I was sadly disappointed with both but I did learn a lot. I shut my mouth and tried to observe as much as I could on every level. I watched the sellers and the buyers to see how the interaction took place, and I also made a point to see everything that was for sale and how it was presented. Most of it was displayed poorly, and that alone was an important lesson immediately.

I showed up dressed in a pair of jeans and a short sleeve button down shirt with a pocket full of ‘I (heart) Uranus’ book marks to give to anyone who may have noticed my ‘King of Uranus’ ball cap. I’ve worn one in public before, and throughout the day a few people usually laugh and make a comment like “Hey, I love your hat!” I figured this would be a good place to practice my pitch.

Sure enough, I wasn’t in the place more than thirty seconds and one of the vendors laughed out loud and pointed it out to everyone around her. I smiled and gave her a book mark, and I saw her face light up as if she’d just won the lottery. She made a big deal of it, I could tell she meant it.

That made me feel like my day wasn’t wasted, and I kept on walking. It happened a few times more, but not more than ten. Still, I’ll count that as a big win and I’m glad I was prepared with a giveaway item. I don’t have a website up yet, but I did tell everyone about my @UranusTweets Twitter account which is also printed on the book mark. It was a great way to spread the word.

Other than that, I just wanted to see who the winners were that looked like they were actually making a buck. There was a Middle Eastern guy with a turban that had a big display of colognes and perfumes. He looked like a pro, and had a tent set up with sturdy tables holding all his wares.

There was also some family selling produce, and I’d seen them last year. They looked like they were moving some merchandise also. Unfortunately, I don’t want to push produce or perfume if I have anything to say about it. I want to develop a display of Uranus items to sell in character.

It would obviously have to be the right flea market in the right area, but I could see myself with a professional looking display of merchandise doing a well presented slick and funny pitch every half hour to an hour as a crowd gathered. Adding showmanship to the mix would blow the doors off of anyone I saw today. Most of those I saw were desperate looking sorts hawking pure junk.

A few people had some interesting setups, and there were some specialty booths that I thought were well presented as a whole. Other than that, it was a bunch of toothless mooks wasting their time with a mish mash of mostly garbage I couldn’t see anyone paying for. Maybe they do a lot better than I think, but if they do they sure don’t spend their profits on clothing, soap or a dental plan. None of them would be my competitors in the least. I don’t want to do what they’re doing.

I want to SELL, but be entertaining doing it. I didn’t see much entertainment going on at all in Wilmot, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t worth my trip. I also saw how poorly most booth people treated potential customers, and that blew my mind. Didn’t anybody want to make any money?

One guy had some old slot car racing sets from the ‘70s. I used to love those when I was a kid, and he had some still in the original box. The box was a bit tattered, but it was the original. I was patient far longer than I should have been, but I wanted to find out what he was asking for them.

I had no intention of buying, but I wanted to strike up a conversation and see how much he was able to tell me about what he had. For all he knew, I could have just won the lottery and wanted a price on everything he had. Instead, he kept on blabbing with some other goof, and he never even acknowledged my presence. I hate to say it, but no wonder he’s making a living at a flea market.

Maybe he’s not making a living at all. I should talk, as I’m looking into setting up myself. I am not going to be one of the people I saw today though. If I do it, it’s going to be a SHOW, and it’s going to turn some heads. None of what I saw go on today would happen in what I was doing.

Milwaukee was a lot different than Wilmot. Seven Mile Fair is the largest flea market in all of Wisconsin, or at least that’s what their advertising says. I have been going there most of my life, but it’s really changed over the years. It’s a lot slicker now, and there isn’t as much older stuff.

One thing that really turned me off was a $2 admission charge. Wilmot was $1, as are most of the admissions I’ve ever seen. $2 is a potential deal breaker, and it will be for me because I don’t see myself going back there any time soon. It just wasn’t the place that would fit what I’m doing.

For one thing, very few of either the vendors or shoppers spoke English. That’s fine, but it isn’t the audience that would buy what I would be selling. I’d sell funny Uranus t-shirts at first, along with anything else I could think of that was related. How could I make a sales pitch if they didn’t know what I was talking about? That would be a major problem, but again I just went to observe.

I did see the typical guy selling kitchen knives and wearing the headset microphone, but he was between presentations so I didn’t get to watch him work. He had a pleasing display, and was elevated to make sure he could be seen by a larger crowd. Eventually, I could see myself doing exactly that.

I’m not kidding myself though. Putting together a presentation like that would cost BIG money to get started. I’d need display tables, banners to say who I am, a supply of merchandise ready to be sold, and probably a sound system of some sort eventually. I am not looking to put on the suit and stand in the sun to sell the typical flea market fare. I would want to take it a whole lot higher.

If nothing else, I can’t believe any other comedian is thinking of this. If they are, I doubt if they could pull it off. I think I’ve got it all to myself, but in the right scenario I could see merchandise selling like crazy. Maybe it wouldn’t be a flea market but rather an art fair or something like that. I’m going to keep tweaking this idea, and come up with a line of products to test out sooner than later somewhere. It won’t be where I went today, but it wasn’t a waste. I learned by showing up.

I went to some flea markets today to look for ideas on how and what to market. www.7milefair.com.

I went to some flea markets today to look for ideas on how and what to market. http://www.7milefair.com.

Would you buy a funny bauble or trinket from this man?

Would you purchase a funny bauble, trinket or doodad from this man?

Exploring Marketing Options

April 21, 2014

Saturday April 19th, 2014 – McHenry, IL/Volo, IL

Improving my marketing skills from the ground up is my mission not only this year but every other year that I am lucky enough to experience from here on out. It’s something all businesses need to succeed, but especially entertainers. We are our own product, and marketing is a must.

I have been lucky enough to have squeaked by for decades, mostly because I was in the correct place at an opportune time. I rode the wave of the comedy club boom of the 1980s, and was able to make enough to at least survive from late 1985 on. Some years were better than others, but my primary source of income other than a few scattered years doing radio has always been comedy.

That’s good and bad, but most people can’t see the bad. “You make your LIVING standing on a stage telling JOKES. How bad can life be?” Well, in a lot of ways that’s true. I always enjoyed the performing part of it, and I was never motivated by money. If I could squeak by, that was ok.

As it turns out, I could have more than squeaked by and it was my fault for not doing it. By all accounts, I should have had at least one recording a full ten years before I did. I actually thought about it, but nobody else I knew had one and I thought it may appear egotistical. What a dummy. Ego shmego. It would have been some financial security I could have used to further my career.

It probably would have been a cassette, but the form doesn’t matter. Maybe it would have been a vinyl record album. Or both. The point is, I would have been able to sell them every week and even at low numbers I could have hauled in a nice chunk of change over a ten year time window.

I was averaging at least 45 weeks of work then, and quite a few years I worked 50-52. It wasn’t always the best work in the best clubs, but say I could have averaged ten units a week sold over a ten year period. That’s 450-500 units per year at what likely would have been a $10 retail price.

On the conservative side, say that’s $45,000 over ten years minus say $2 per unit to make. That still leaves me $36,000 had I not touched any of that money – and knowing me I would not have. I’d have saved it for some kind of stunt nobody else would have done. It may have been a flop of epic stature, but that’s me as well. I’ve never been afraid to go all in. I have tasted defeat often.

What if I had spent that $36,000 on TV commercials somewhere or a full page ad in one of the trade papers? When was the last time you saw a comedian or performer of any kind spend money on self promotion? It just doesn’t happen – at least not without management or a recording deal.

There are obviously taxes in there too, and I realize that. I would report every last penny, as it’s just not worth trying to screw the government. I’d rather have a clear conscience and just pay my fair share. Whatever was left would have still been a nice bit of cash to use on some promo stunt.

I wasn’t forced to think that way then, as work was plentiful and nobody was selling anything other than their comedy act. We were ‘artistes’, and that’s great on paper but most of us are now certified vagrant caliber broke and wish we would have had our marketing chops on the way up.

Too late now, but it’s not too late to change. One thing I have that the newbies don’t is a whole lot of experience in front of audiences coast to coast, and a backlog of polished material that I am able to use whenever I need it. That’s part of what paying dues is about, and I’ve put in my time.

Now I’m looking to sell what I’ve been able to create, but in other ways than just saying it on a stage somewhere. What else can I do to get paid? I suppose I could write columns, and I’ve been doing that for the past few months in a publication called “Scene Magazine” in Fond du Lac, WI. My friend Silk Casper asked me to do it, and he’s been making sure I get a check every month.

It’s not huge, but it’s been steady and I guess I can say I’m a published author. I think. I’m not anywhere close to being a professional, but it’s a solid start and I am grateful for the opportunity. Branching out and creating a new stream of income for being funny comes in very handy now.

But I know there’s more – a LOT more. There’s both a flea market and an antique mall within an easy drive from where I live, and I took a lap in both today just to check out that scene. I have been going to thrift stores, flea markets and rummage sales for decades, but now I’m seeing them all with fresh eyes. I used to go there looking to score treasures. Now I’m looking to be a seller.

The marketing skills of the sellers at flea markets and antique malls are all over the place. Most are very poor from my experience, and have little to no people skills. Just a friendly hello when I walk past their display should be the bare minimum, but I’d guess maybe 10% or less will do it.

I went today just to observe, and I learned a lot. I went to the flea market first, and looked at all the displays to see which ones I liked and which ones I didn’t. Most of the stuff was thrown in an unorganized pile, and was difficult to look at. It took work to sort through all of the clutter to see if there was anything I’d want to buy. They made it hard for people to spend money. Not smart.

Even little things like business cards were missing. What if I was looking to sell something one of the dealers specialized in? Maybe I had a relative pass away that was a big collector, and I was looking for someone to help me appraise the collection. Whatever the case, 99% of these mutants didn’t even say hello and maybe strike up a conversation that could have led to a business deal.

One guy there had some old toys, and his display was a bit sloppy but still interesting. He had a pair of old Schlitz salt and pepper shakers that I bought for $10 and an old pair of Schlitz patches from the ‘60s or ‘70s that their drivers used to wear. I can use all of that for “Schlitz Happened!”

The antique mall was a little better, but not much. Most of the vendors that were there were not very talkative, and I found that appalling. They didn’t have to pester me like the stereotype of an old time used car salesman, but a friendly smile and a hello would have been nice. I didn’t get it.

I ended up buying a collection of 50 old ‘Fate’ magazines from the ‘50s through the ‘70s for $1 each, and that was a steal. They’re a great read, packed with tales of UFOs and the paranormal of all kinds. I’ll scour them for King of Uranus ideas, and keep exercising my marketing muscles to use in the future. I want to go out past Uranus, and find ways to make money when I’m sleeping.

I found some Schlitz salt and pepper shakers at a flea market today. I will use them for my one man show 'Schlitz Happened! An Old Milwaukee Blatz From The Pabst" www.schlitzhappened.com.

I found some Schlitz salt and pepper shakers at a flea market today. I will use them for ‘Schlitz Happened! An Old Milwaukee Blatz From The Pabst.” http://www.schlitzhappened.com.

The same guy sold me two cloth patches Schlitz drivers used to wear in the '60s and '70s.

The same guy sold me two cloth patches Schlitz drivers used to wear in the ’60s.

I also found some old FATE magazines from the '50s through '70s. The cool cover art alone was worth the $1 each I paid for them all.

I also found some old FATE magazines from the ’50s through ’70s. The cover art alone was worth the $1 each I paid for them all.

Scratching And Clawing

April 16, 2014

Monday April 14th, 2014 – Island Lake, IL

I don’t often give myself credit for a lot of things, but one thing I have always been able to do better than almost anyone is absorb an inordinate amount of life’s punches. I have had more than the average journeyman’s share of lumps to take starting from my earliest memories, and it’s not getting any easier. I know everyone has their own batch of problems, but not many are like mine.

I have never thought I was better than anyone else and I still don’t, but I do think that I’ve been able to last longer in the line of fire than almost anyone I know. It’s a wonder I am not constantly sucking a crack pipe or guzzling moonshine by the jug. Had I gone that route, I would be dead.

Sometimes when I’ve been at my lowest points, I would get a giddy feeling of impenetrability that made me feel like Superman’s big brother. I would laugh at everything that was crumbling around me, and march through the rubble to continue my journey. “Is THAT all ya got, life?”

Then there were other times that for no reason I’d just turn into a giant ball of nerve endings of the most sensitive kind, and any little thing would cause severe pain and agony. All I would want is to curl up in the fetal position and go to sleep for eternity. There has rarely been an in between.

At the moment, I’m feeling the in between. Part of me doesn’t care if I live or die this very day, but another part of me is laughing inside and mocking life for thinking it can defeat me. It’s quite an odd mix I admit, but it’s what I feel. It’s like I’m caught in between gears and stuck in neutral.

Inside there’s a lost little boy cluelessly wandering through life all by himself like he’s gotten left behind in a big Kmart and can’t find his parents or anyone to ask to make an announcement to look for them. It’s intimidating as hell, and I have no idea if I’ll ever find my way to safety.

There’s also a bad ass ape like creature in there that could stomp The Incredible Hulk in a fight with one arm tied behind his back. He is not afraid of man or beast, and has a crystal clear vision of what he wants and where he wants to go. He’s sitting alone in a cage, just waiting to cut loose.

All he needs is an invitation, but that’s the problem. Very few seem to know or care that he’s in there, and even though he would never do any harm those few that do seem to be deathly afraid of having him anywhere around. So there he sits, loaded with potential – but not using any of it.

I guess I’m just suffering from a total shortage of self esteem. Everyone wants to feel wanted by somebody, and I’m just not feeling it from anywhere right now. I scratch and claw furiously each week to barely stay afloat, and as humbling as it is to accept the world is not waiting on pins and needles for the King of Uranus to arrive. I’m going to have to scratch and claw that into life also.

Scratching and clawing is not what I want to be doing right now. Creating and enjoying would be much more to my liking. I’ve suffered enough – at least in my mind. At least a short run in the sun should be in order, shouldn’t it? I’ve hung in there this long, it would be a total shame not to score my payoff. I could really use a little shot in the arm from the universe right now. I’m tired.

Sometimes even now I feel like a lost little boy wandering through life with no direction or guidance.

Sometimes I feel like a lost little boy wandering through life without any direction or guidance.

Other times I feel like I'm bullet proof and can take anything life can dish out.

Other times I feel like I’m bullet proof and can absorb absolutely anything life can dish out.

It sure would be nice not to have to scratch and claw my way through each and every week. How about some relief soon?

It sure would be nice not to have to scratch and claw my way through each and every week. How about some relief soon?

High Hopes And Daring Dreams

April 13, 2014

Friday April 11th, 2014 – Island Lake, IL

I read a fascinating interview with Mel Brooks a long time ago where he said that every one of his movies was a major source of disappointment to him. He told how whenever he’d begin each project he’d have grandiose visions of what it would be, but what came out was always a lot less.

I wish I couldn’t relate, but I feel exactly the same way. I feel like I have worked so hard to get where I am, but have painfully little to show for it. In my mind I should have accomplished a lot more, but it doesn’t matter now. Here I sit with what I have, and a clock that keeps ticking faster.

It sure would have been nice to have a career mentor the whole way through. I would have had a lot more successes, and a lot less headaches. I would love to be the career mentor of somebody just starting out, as I could totally offer them a lot from an experience perspective. I’d be able to save them a lot of time and heartache, and point them in a positive direction early and stay there.

What brought this all on today was running across yet another old stash of notes I had forgotten I made years ago. It was from 1991, and I was just going to work at 93QFM in Milwaukee at that time. I was 28, and full of high hopes and daring dreams. Coincidentally, that was right when life really started to get hard, and I’ve been in recovery mode since. Seeing the notes made me laugh.

I wrote that I wanted to have the first comedy album of all the comedians in Milwaukee, and it would be done by my 30th birthday. Actually, I was only ten years late, and it ended up being on CD instead of vinyl. And like Mel Brooks, I was disappointed with what eventually came out.

I remember seeing an interview with Bruce Springsteen talking about wanting his albums to be life changing experiences for those that heard them. He wanted the listener to be blown away and not be able to contain themselves. I have to admit, that’s what I wanted too. Does it ever happen?

How many times does something come along and really change the game with anything? It’s a very rare occurrence, and only a few ever experience it. I haven’t come close, even though I have had a lot of positive feedback on not only my CD, but my comedy as well. Still, I can do better.

Also in my notes from back then were pages of sitcom scene ideas and a dozen movie outlines I came up with for feature length films. Many of the ideas held up surprisingly well, and I could still see someone fleshing them out today. I’d love it to be me, but who has time for all of that?

I’ve got all I can handle and then some working on the King of Uranus idea. Even that’s had an extra long germination period, and I am terribly disappointed. I only hope to salvage a fraction of the grand vision I had with the initial idea, and hopefully it will provide a little bit of a retirement where I won’t have to sleep under a freeway bridge and bum change from exit ramp motorists.

I did catch a few bad breaks along the way, but everyone does. The hard part is to keep looking ahead rather than bitch about the shortcomings of the past. The sitcom and movie ships in reality have sailed. It stings, but that’s life. At least Mel Brooks had some hits. I’m counting on Uranus.

Mel Brooks has grandiose visions before he starts a movie project- but he is always disappointed with the final results. I can relate.

Mel Brooks has grandiose visions before he starts a movie project- but he is always disappointed with the final results. I wish I couldn’t, but I can relate.

Fantastic Friends

April 9, 2014

Tuesday April 8th, 2014 – Milwaukee, WI

It was back home to Milwaukee today to attend a seminar held especially for me by my friend Lynn Miner. Lynn is a magician among many other things, and we met when he was a student in one of my first comedy classes back in the mid ‘90s. Since then I’ve learned a lot more from him than he ever did from me, and it’s people like him that make me continue to teach to this day.

Among Lynn’s “other things” is holding successful workshops for universities along with his son Jeremy on how to procure funds through grants. They’ve done it all over the world, and are on the road more than I am. They are great at what they do, and are at the very top of their field.

Once in a while Lynn will ask me to punch up something he’s doing with a funny line. I never mind, and gladly throw him any ideas I can. He never abuses my time, and has always been very supportive of anything I do. If I had more people like Lynn in my life, I would be a big time star.

I have always had a difficult time asking for favors from anyone, and I’m sure that goes back to my dented can childhood. I need to get over it fast, because sometimes people really want to help. I know I do, and it feels great when I can. Why am I robbing someone else of their joy?

Lynn is nothing short of amazing when it comes to simplifying complicated business concepts. He has a formula that he uses in his workshops, and he broke down a version of it for me today over lunch as he went over my King of Uranus idea. He pointed out – painfully correctly – that I have not come up with an acceptable business plan to date, and that would be an absolute must.

I don’t dispute that at all, and I sat and listened as he laid out what I needed to do. He wants me to make a list of everything I envision the business to be, and then he’s going to sort it into what needs to be done in what order. He didn’t have to do that, but he graciously offered to help and I will gratefully accept his kind offer. I know I can’t do it myself, and this is a super opportunity.

This concept is SO going to be a success. I feel it to the depths of my being. People like Lynn are in my corner, and although he’s really great he’s not the only one. I have a very deep bench, and most if not everybody on it will gladly help me however they can. I’ve cultivated them for a lifetime, and have not exploited them as resources. I am picking my time to ask, and it is now.

I have 100% confidence that Lynn will be one of many that will point me in the right direction. Even though there are still a few that think I’m the devil, a whole lot more don’t and couldn’t be any more supportive. Those few who don’t like me barely know me, if at all. It’s their loss by not giving me a chance, but that’s the situation now. Hopefully I’ll change their minds in the future.

Another great supporter of mine for decades has been Drew Olson. He’s another ace in the hole and is as well connected in Milwaukee as anyone I know. He is on AM 540 ESPN Radio with his partner Dan Needles on ‘The D List’ from 10am to 1pm weekdays, and since I was in town I had to check in with him as well. He is also a supporter of the Uranus idea, and has some connections he thinks may help as far as making products, etc. I’m thrilled to have an all star list of friends.

Lynn Miner is a man of many talents. He's a world class magician, and also one of the top in his field at grants workshops for universities. He is helping me with my business plan, and I am unbelievably grateful.

Lynn Miner is a man of many talents. He’s a world class magician, and also one of the top in his field at grants workshops for universities. He is helping me with my business plan, and I am unbelievably grateful. http://www.minerandassociates.com

Drew Olson is also one of the most generous people I have ever met - and we have been friends so long I don't even remember when we met. It was the '80s. Catch him on 'The D List' on ESPN Radio in Milwaukee. www.espnmilwaukee.com.

Drew Olson is also one of the most generous people I have ever met – and we have been friends so long I don’t even remember when that was. It was the ’80s. Catch him on ‘The D List’ on ESPN Radio in Milwaukee. http://www.espnmilwaukee.com.

Defining Crazy

March 31, 2014

Sunday March 30th, 2014 – Gurnee, IL

With all the hands on experience I have had wading through depression funks over a lifetime, I can always count on one thing on the other end – an extreme burst of creativity. It’s a lot like the shot in the arm Popeye gets when he eats his spinach. I have the same experience, and it’s great.

Is this proof positive I am a bipolar wackadoo? Maybe and in fact more than probably, but I’ve never denied I have a delicate balance in my psyche. Some may call it being a total kook, but I’m a creative type and all creative types have that certain degree of crazy. It goes with the territory.

There are also many definitions of “crazy”. Sometimes that word is used to describe those that think unconventionally and try new ideas. Edison and Einstein had it used on them I’m sure, and if they’re the standards of what the word means – sign me up. Crazy isn’t always a bad thing.

Then there are the Hitlers and Saddam Husseins of the world. That’s the dark side of the word, along with the Jim Joneses, Jeffrey Dahmers and so many more that I don’t even want to glorify with a mention. I think crazy is nowhere near strong enough to describe these insidious beasts.

I think it’s a waste of time to attempt to diagnose the problem. The fact is it’s there and I have been dealing with it for a lot of years. Medication scares the hell out of me, and I’ve spoken with more than one doctor about it through the years. People were nuts long before medicine arrived.

The only practical solution I see is to just keep working through it. Diet and exercise are a part of the program, and I’m the first to admit I haven’t been keeping up with that like I know I need to. I’ve had all I can handle to keep my bills paid, and I put all my focus into my work as of late.

Maybe that’s part of the reason for my recent dip, or maybe it was the places I worked that had small crowds and poor circumstances. Whatever the reason or combo platter thereof, I was really low for a while there, and when I get like that nothing matters. I get lost in a vacuous black hole.

I feel like I’m unplugged from the universe, and on the outside looking in. What I need to keep in mind when it happens again – and I don’t doubt it will – is that there is a creative surge on the other side if I can only wait it out. I should know that by now, but this last time I simply forgot.

Admittedly it had been a while since I slid through this nasty mud, but I’ve been there enough to have an idea of what to expect before, during and after. How shortsighted of me to forget the best part, but that’s how deep the darkness can feel sometimes. I’m feeling much better now, and all that really interests me is Uranus. I know in my deepest heart that’s the direction I need to go.

I don’t know how I know that, but I totally do and I’m going to follow my gut no matter what happens. I had dinner with my pit crew Eric Feinendegen tonight to talk about getting corporate type bookings, and even he’s on board. It’s the right time and the right place, and I feel it in my bones like nothing I have ever felt before. I may have to do some other things to survive while we get things going, but I’ve been doing that all along. This IS crazy – but in the positive way.

Was Einstein crazy? I'm sure he was called that. If that's the definition, sign me up.

Was Einstein crazy? I’m sure he was called that often and by many. If that’s the definition, sign me up.

Call me crazy, but I'm risking my entire future on Uranus.

Call me crazy, but I’m risking my entire future on Uranus.

In Tide, Out Tide

March 23, 2014

Saturday March 22nd, 2014 – Island Lake, IL

After being on an extended hot streak with getting bookings for the last three months, the tide has now gone out. That’s how the game works, and it’s a cruel cycle. When the tide is in, I have more than I can handle making sure I get to gigs on time, have clean clothes to wear and all that kind of minutia. I often have to do radio interviews or other promo stuff that sucks up time also.

Everything else gets pushed back, and then when the tide goes out again I’m left with sky high piles of miscellaneous chores that need my attention – but there’s no money to spend on anything because I have no income. The money I earned from all the work I just did is long gone, and here I sit at ground zero waiting for the process to start all over again. This isn’t how I want life to be.

Unfortunately, I don’t know what to do to change it. I need money to survive as everyone does, but when I’m out earning it I don’t have time to concentrate on getting myself out of the cycle of perpetual frustration. I’m going to have to figure it out, as it’s not going to change without effort.

I’ve got all these little poles in the water, hoping to snare a fish that will feed me for a while. It would be a whale if I had my way, but it doesn’t need to be. Just something bigger than a guppy would make life easier. Living hand to mouth like I am is getting more discouraging by the day.

I still have the dream alive to really hit the mother lode, but standup comedy doesn’t have to be the way I hit it. The way it’s looking now, I’m not going to be in the business much longer and it isn’t a bad thing. My needs are different and the business is different, so I’m not going to fight it.

Part of me will be a standup comic forever, and I’m proud of that. I attained a level of skill that very few ever come close to, but it didn’t come without an enormous price. I have earned all that I have, but now it needs to be transferred to another arena for a payoff. That’s where the trick is.

Will I hit it big as a speaker? Maybe, but it won’t be an accident. Will the King of Uranus be a sensation, if even for a short time? That could happen too, and I hope it does. In my mind, that is the kind of thing I was born to do. Struggling to stay afloat like I am just isn’t part of the dream.

Now here comes summer sooner than later, and I am BONE dry for bookings. I have a couple of things between now and June, but not much. Then it’s Death Valley Days after that. I wish my schedule was jammed full of working the top venues for top dollar six or seven nights a week.

It’s not like I couldn’t deliver great shows. I’d blow the roof off a lot of places from theaters to top comedy clubs to auditoriums that never even had comedy shows before. It’s SO frustrating to not be able to pack a room when I know I have the ability. All it would take is one big tour to get my finances in order for life, and then I could really start to do good and help people. I want that.

The tide is out right now, and this is when it’s the hardest to stay positive. I have piles of tasks I can’t stand doing that need doing, and there’s no money to hire anyone to do them. Sometimes I feel I have almost arrived, but others I feel farther away than ever. This is one of the far times.

The tide of life goes in and out. Right now mine is out.

The tide of life goes in and out. Right now mine is out. That’s the hardest time to stay positive.

Deeper Into Uranus

March 14, 2014

Thursday March 13th, 2014 – Island Lake, IL

On this date in 1781, one Sir William Herschel discovered the planet Uranus. From that day on every grade school science class has never been the same. No matter how straight a teacher may try to present it, everybody ends up giggling uncontrollably. That’s why Sir William is my hero.

No matter how one may view it, Uranus is funny. It hits on a base level, and I am not ashamed to admit I find everything about it absolutely hilarious. It’s a bad pun. It’s juvenile. It’s as old as the universe itself – and that’s the reason I want to dive into the black hole head first and own it.

I am stating to the cosmos loudly, clearly and in no uncertain terms that effective immediately if not sooner I am officially claiming the Earth rights to Uranus for as long as I may live. I have dabbled in it before, but it wasn’t enough to own it. I have only scratched the surface of Uranus.

Did I invent this? Of course not. I just got through saying that Sir William Herschel discovered it in 1781, but he didn’t own it either. Uranus was first spotted around 1690, and that gimoke did not invent it either. It was there the whole time. It’ll be there when I’m gone, but I want to use it.

David Letterman never claimed to have invented a “Top Ten” list, but he has claimed it for his own. Good for him. He saw it was available, and he has used it wisely for decades. That’s what I want to do with Uranus. I want to end up so deep into Uranus nobody else will be able to follow.

When I walk down any street in any town on any continent, I want people to say “Look! There goes the King of Uranus!” And then I want them to giggle as much or more than they did in their science class back in grade school. I want to lift humanity’s spirits through the power of Uranus.

This is a dream that has been flickering inside of me far too long. I have seen only random bits and pieces of it come true, but every last bit of it has been overwhelmingly positive from a vanity “URANUS 1” license plate on my car to a “King of Uranus” baseball cap. The masses eat it up.

There is absolutely no reason whatsoever that I can’t run with this and take it to the pinnacle of either unbridled raging success or totally catastrophic failure. Quite honestly, it’s the success that frightens me if anything. I’m accustomed to failure and can navigate effectively, but it’s boring.

Tomorrow is my birthday, and I have made up in my mind I’m going to put Uranus out there to sink, swim or succeed beyond my wildest dreams. That won’t be easy, as I have some pretty wild dreams. Actually, I just think it would be fun to have it as a legacy. I want the giggles to continue for generations after I’m dead. There could be no greater honor than to get laughs posthumously.

I’ve had this idea floating around for far too long now, and I’ve got to either hit it or quit it. I’m sick of doing it half ass. Get it? See, the angle never stops. Uranus is a wide open magnet for fun. I am now officially accepting the Kingship and now prefer to be known as “His Royal Highney”.

I Googled Uranus – which is funny in itself – and the facts that came up laid me out. “Uranus has rings.” Hee hee hee. “Uranus has only been visited once.” Stop it! “Uranus is a giant ball of gas.” I think I’m going to shoot milk through my nose! From this day on, Uranus is my destiny!

Sir William Herschel discovered Uranus on this date in 1781. See his expression as he 'looks up Uranus'. Hee hee hee

Sir William Herschel discovered Uranus on this date in 1781. See his asinine expression as he ‘looks straight up Uranus’. (Hee hee hee)

Look! Uranus has rings!  (Giggle giggle)

Look! Uranus has rings! (Giggle giggle)

Uranus is on FIRE! :)

Blow it out Uranus!

My King of Uranus logo - like the planet itself - is sideways. No other planet is quite like it.

The official recognized King of Uranus logo – like the actual planet itself – is sideways. No other planet is quite like it. Thumbs up Uranus!

If you'd like a book mark, send me a mailing address and I'll mail one out free of charge. No strings attached to Uranus.

If you’d like a book mark just like this one, send me a mailing address and I’ll mail one out free of charge. No strings attached to Uranus.

I Miss Uranus

February 25, 2014

Sunday February 23rd, 2014 – Island Lake, IL

I’ve really been enjoying life these last couple of months, and much of the reason for that I still have to attribute to the positive energy flow that was started by reconnecting with my siblings. It has improved my life to the core, and everything just feels better because of it. It gives me hope.

We have our meeting set up for March 8th, but don’t have a place just yet. I’ll let them choose, as it really doesn’t matter in the least from my end. I’d be ok with a can of sardines and a glass of water. It’s not about where we meet or what we eat, it’s about having closure. That’s what I have wanted as long as I can remember, and even getting together one time will do that. It’s all I need.

I had one of my super vivid dreams a few nights ago. I have those from time to time, and when I do they’re unbelievably life like. I have had them about being on stage or TV or even playing in the NFL or NBA. When I’m having one, it’s like I am in a completely different world. And I am.

I can’t explain how they differ from regular dreams, but they absolutely do. In this most recent one, I was at the restaurant where we were supposed to meet up, and I sat at the table the hostess told me to go to. The place was crowded, but I could feel eyes on me from all across the room.

The longer I sat, the more uncomfortable I became. I finally left thinking they weren’t coming, and then I got to the parking lot and they were all driving up in one car. I was overwhelmed with emotions, and I started to weep openly. They all did too, and we tried to go back inside but it was closed. I felt pure exhilaration to see them, and the dream was so intense it felt frighteningly real.

When I woke up, it was all I could think about. I know there are a lot of built up emotions from my childhood, but I didn’t think it would affect me as deeply as it has. This is exactly what I feel I’ve needed forever, and I don’t know how I know it but I know everything else is just a bonus.

I am fully prepared in my mind should things go south. I don’t think they will, mainly because all of us have volunteered to be there. Nobody is coming kicking and screaming, but that doesn’t mean someone won’t change their mind before that day. I won’t, but I can’t speak for the rest of them. I know I’m going in with the right mindset, and no matter how it plays out I’ll deal with it.

There’s no denying there was a lot of damage done to all of us. Childhood was an ugly blur of dysfunction, and it will be painful to go back into that mess. We’re not going in there to troll up that old sludge, but I don’t see how at least a little can’t splatter on us during our time together.

We’ve all got raw nerves exposed, and chances of someone hitting one are unfortunately really good. I’m not going to lash out at anyone, and should it get out of hand I’ll politely leave and not initiate any combat. I believe in my heart none of us want that, but if it happens I’ll remain calm.

Even then, I won’t carry any grudges or wish them anything other than peace. That’s what I’ve wanted, and we’re almost there. I have no idea if we’ll stay in contact after that night, and though I’d really like that we’ve all built lives for ourselves and nothing would change much for any of us. We’ve already learned to live without each other, so anything more than that will be an added treat. I’m looking very forward to March 8th, and no matter what happens I’m already a winner.

The change that has come over me is dramatic, and I’ve never felt better. It’s pretty late in life to be starting over, but that’s how I feel. No matter what happens on March 8th, I will hopefully wake up on March 9th with something to aspire to. Without hopes and dreams, life is worthless.

I’d still love to find a good woman and experience what a healthy love relationship is. That’s a goal I’d like far more than comedy. I have been striking out left and right lately, even though I’m trying my best to put myself in a position to make myself available to someone special. It’s been a total blow to my already shaky self esteem, but if I don’t try I’ll never get my chance. It’s hard.

But like with my siblings, I know what it’s like to be alone and not much will change if I don’t hook up with Miss Dreamy Pants. I know several women I’d love to hook up with, but for some reason it’s just not clicking at the moment. Maybe I’m changing too much and too fast for them.

All I can do is be myself, and that’s one thing that I know is absolutely improving by amazing leaps and bounds. My whole inner psyche feels better than I ever remember, and I have to think it will catch up in the rest of my life. Maybe the women I like now aren’t the right ones for me.

I’ll let that happen as it will, or maybe it won’t. If I have to die alone, I’ve always been able to deal with that. I’ve been alone my whole life, so it’s not a big deal. I know I have trust issues, but a big part of getting over that will be this meeting. I feel great about it and am ready for anything.

What I’m not feeling great about is my career – or lack thereof. I am having without a doubt by far my best shows ever, but I’m not making much of a dent anywhere. I can’t seem to crack all of the big comedy club chains like the Improvs or the Funny Bones, and that’s only because of a jag against me by a few people in charge. It has nothing to do with my ability, but that’s how it goes.

Could all that turn around in a second? Absolutely! ONE big break will turn it around, and I’ve always known that. What I don’t know is if I feel like hanging in there much longer and sucking raw sewage fumes. It’s just not thrilling me, and I need a place where I can channel my passion.

In all honesty, what I want more than anything else is to develop the King of Uranus and make it a viable entity rather than a half baked whim I have kicked around with no set direction. There is a goldmine in Uranus, and I feel it with all my heart. It excites me to an inner boil, and it feels like my inner mission despite the fact people have told me I’m nuts. A lot more have laughed.

That’s the whole idea. I live to make people laugh, and it doesn’t have to be just doing standup comedy. I love doing it, but not with the life toll it takes. The King of Uranus is a goofy gimmick by itself, but the creative genius will come from the marketing aspect of how it all gets executed.

I want to be the head of a successful company that sells funny. That could be clothing, trinkets, novelties, live shows – it doesn’t matter. I want to create a brand, and be the personification of it. Much like Vince McMahon personifies the WWE, I want to be associated with Uranus. No joke.

Crazy? Without a doubt. Stupid? That’s debateable. I feel this so strongly I can’t keep it in, and it’s all that trips my trigger right now. Sink or swim, this is where my passion lies. I can see it all as vividly and realistic as one of my intense dreams. This idea has rotted too long. I miss Uranus!

Did you know that this is the official international symbol for Uranus? You do now.

Did you know that this is the official symbol for Uranus? You do now.

Here's my logo. Remember - it's always FUNNY when it comes from URANUS!

Remember – it’s always FUNNY when it comes from URANUS!

See what I mean? Who doesn't think this is funny? I don't want them around me.

See what I mean? Who doesn’t think this is funny? If you don’t, stay away from me please.

She might think it's funny.  Maybe she'd like a date with royalty!

She might think it’s funny. Better yet, maybe she’d like a date with royalty! Uranus is for lovers.

Who doesn't? It's the butt of every nine year old's jokes. Pun intended. This is the level of the public's sense of humor, and I'm going to get a few bucks from each of them. Thumbs up Uranus!

Who doesn’t? It’s the butt of every nine year old’s jokes. Pun intended. THIS is the level of the public’s sense of humor, and I intend to get a few bucks from each of them. Thumbs up Uranus!