Posts Tagged ‘Pepsi’

The Mothership Lands

June 17, 2013

Sunday June 16th, 2013 – Kenosha, WI

   Life is a series of comings and goings, startings and stoppings. I have no idea if there’s any sort of order to any of it, but for some reason Father’s Day has been loaded with significant goings on in my life. Two years ago today, I went into the hospital and was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.

   What an epic nightmare that whole ordeal was, but for the rest of however long my life may be I will always be extra grateful for my genitals. I was fond of them before, but that incident took it to a whole new level. I was dangerously close to losing my Brussels sprouts – and that’s no joke.

   That was a life changer to say the least, and I’ve changed everything around since that incident. I haven’t had a Pepsi, Coke, Dr. Pepper or Mountain Dew in two years now, and I don’t miss any of them. I have gotten off all insulin, and haven’t gone back. It was a wakeup call, and I heard it.

   Tonight was the end of a five year run hosting “The Mothership Connection” paranormal radio show on AM 1050 WLIP in Kenosha, WI. It was a lot of fun and I really learned a lot during the run. I don’t regret having done it, but I’ve taken it about as far as I can and it’s time to move on.

   It took a while to get going, but when it did we really got on a roll. People came and went like a band, but I think I got the most out of what and who I had to work with. There was absolutely ZERO budget, and there’s only so far that can go. It was a labor of love, but it has run its course.

   I met some extremely interesting people who I now consider friends, and also lost a few along the way. Unfortunately, most of the people I had the most trouble with were the women. I didn’t want the show to be a total sausage festival, so I included a woman in the mix to give it a flavor.

   It would be the equivalent of a band having a horn section. It’s not required, but the bands that use them have a distinct sound. I felt the same with this mix. What we were basically doing was a hybrid cross between “Coast To Coast AM” and a wacky morning show, and it worked well.

   What didn’t work so well was that most of the women associated with the show eventually got it into their heads they were the star, and acted more than a bit like divas – which flies with me as well as hand grenades fly on commercial airlines. I had to amputate a few tumors, and I hated it.

   Having to fire someone is hard enough, but having to do it from a show where nobody got paid was especially frustrating. There’s a chemistry factor involved in any ensemble endeavor, and no one person is ever bigger than the team – and it includes me too. I just happened to be in charge.

   Sometimes tough decisions have to be made, but they’re the best for the collective even if there are feelings hurt. I had to let the last two women go because they weren’t willing to follow along, and after a while it just got old. It finally came down to just one co-host, the great Greg DeGuire.

   Greg was and is a walking encyclopedia of paranormal knowledge, and he really added to what the show was all about. I think I grew into a competent talk show host, but he knew the topics we talked about like the back of his hand. It was a great mix, and we never ever had one cross word.

   We never ever made one red cent either, and there’s just so long that can go on. I’m not sure if there’s money there, but I can’t do it if there isn’t. I told the station I wanted some time off, but if I can’t squeeze some cash out of somewhere then this was the last ride. I thank all our listeners of five years, but there weren’t enough of them for us to continue. Still, it was a great experience.

Thanks to WLIP for letting the Mothership fly every Sunday night for five years.

Thanks to WLIP for letting the Mothership fly every Sunday night for five years.

Where the name of the show came from - the Parliament album from 1975. Make my funk the PFunk!

Where the name of the show came from – the Parliament album from 1975. Make my funk the PFunk!

Travels Unravel

July 23, 2010

Wednesday July 21st, 2010 – Grand Cayman/Miami, FL/Chicago, IL

Long day today, mostly travel. I had to report to where I checked in on the ship at 11am and get my paperwork filled out before being taken to the airport in Grand Cayman with a van load of other entertainers including Jim Brick, a pair of jugglers and Christopher Alan Graves. He’s the Sinatra/Sammy Davis Jr. tribute singer we saw perform live last night.

What a life he has. He has that big production show running on two different ships, and he alternates doing it once each week. He flies in the night before, does the show and flies out the next morning. He lives in Ft. Lauderdale, and flies to wherever the particular ship is that might have his show, which he told me has been running for ten solid years now.

That seems like a lot of flying, but he didn’t seem to mind. He’s got two separate sets of costumes he keeps on each ship and works with two separate ten piece bands. None of the stress I have as a pissy little standup can come close to what he must go through but that’s part of the deal. He accepts it and deals with it. I totally respect the guy. He’s a true pro.

Jim Brick was also a consummate professional the whole trip. He really was nice about showing me around and giving me tips, and I know management likes him and I was told he said some very nice things about me to a few of the higher ups already. I help as many people as I can, so when it comes back I’m very flattered and grateful. Jim’s been super.

There were no mean people on this whole trip at all to speak of. Not one. No supervisor head case types, no boozed up hecklers babbling incoherently, nothing like that. I know if I did enough of these that kind of stuff would pop up, but ever so rarely. This isn’t a club.

Jim and I were talking about that in the Grand Cayman airport, which really isn’t grand at all. It looks like a mini beat up version of the Grand Forks airport, but what do I know? I do know I got a snack of potato chips and a Pepsi and it cost me $5.70 American. Ouch.

I know, I had a Pepsi, but I didn’t have one all week on the ship and in fact I thought my diet was very good despite the constant temptation. I ate a lot of salads, fruits, vegetables, and grain bread while staying away from massive amounts of sweets or red meat. I had an occasional naughty nosh but by far not out of control. Plus, I did walk every day as well.

What a hassle it was to get off the ship though. They put us all on a tiny ferry boat kind of thing and that took us to the main Grand Cayman Island so we could give our passports to some government woman who had an American accent suspiciously. She clogged up a time toilet for all of us as we had to wait and get our paperwork as a group before leaving.

The good thing is, that Latino babe from the ship came with us to help make sure it was all done correctly. She smelled like a cross between coconut cream pie and sexy perfume and I wanted to dive on her in the boat, but that might have gotten me some prison time in Grand Cayman and that would have pissed everyone else off because we were all in a big rush to make our plane at the airport. She did ask when I was coming back, so that’s nice.

It probably would have been easier had I just stayed. By the time we cleared everything with customs and passports, we had to hurry to get to the airport. We were only in Grand Cayman for about an hour, but they still made us go through all that anyway. Go figure.

The flight to Miami was only about an hour too – but then they made us go through it all AGAIN. I was pretty frustrated but I’ve learned not to cop an attitude with anyone who is a border patrol agent for any country. I shut my mouth, gave up my documents and waited along with everyone else. It was totally stupid to do it once much less twice, but we did.

The flight from Miami to Chicago was a total nightmare. First, the plane was late about an hour because of a mechanical delay. There was no air conditioning as we waited and it was like a sauna until they fixed whatever needed fixing. There were a pair of babies with the lung capacity and stamina of Pavarotti who were hitting solos left and right and also a yelping dog that everyone wanted to toss off the back of the plane. We were all on edge.

I had a window seat this time and in the middle seat was a very attractive woman with a stuck up snooty attitude I really wasn’t into after hearing two screaming waterheads and a pissed off pooch for a solid hour. She was dressed business sexy though, and looked very good all dolled up in her corporate monkey suit. She had a computer, blackberry and ipod and wouldn’t stop fidgeting with any of them to the point of being extremely annoying.

At first I tried flirting a little because she was good looking, but she made it very clear I was not on her radar, and her sour attitude erased any surface sex appeal there might have been so I took it upon myself to try to annoy her as much as she annoyed me. I know how badly I snore, so I happily nodded off knowing I’d buzz saw her until her eyelids rattled.

I noticed she had her ipod in when I woke up, so I made it a point to go to the bathroom three times just to piss her off. She tried to go to sleep after that and I took out my laptop and started pecking on my ‘Schlitz Happened!’ press release. I know my typing kept her awake, and there was something selfishly satisfying about needling such an uppity bitch.

Here I just spent a week on a cruise ship with HUNDREDS of hot women of all colors, races, social status and income levels, and here’s one with a perpetual period on a packed plane that fate had to put next to me, not to mention the bellowing babies and loud pooch. Sorry, not today. I just wasn’t up for it, and it actually gave me something to fill my time.

The plane landed and I knew she wanted to get away from me as quickly as possible but she couldn’t pry her bag out of the top compartment so I helped her with a smile in front of the other passengers, which really pissed her off. She grabbed her bag without saying a word and I blew her a kiss in front of everyone and said “You’re welcome, sweetie pie!”

A few of the people on the plane laughed, and that’s good enough for me. Maybe she’d had a bad day, blah blah blah. The older I get, the more I realize there’s really nothing that serious anymore. I’d rather be ugly and comfortable in my own skin than a hottie with her piss poor demeanor. This was a long week, and travel makes it longer. I earned my pay.

Hot Fudge Hiatus

July 2, 2010

Thursday July 1st, 2010 – Stevens Point, WI

Here we go with the second half of 2010. Nobody works New Year’s Day, but I wanted to start laying a foundation for everything I want to get done in the next three months and then the next three months after that. Without a tight battle plan, all of this will fall apart.

The first thing on the docket is exercise. No matter what I do career wise, in a nutshell I need to move more and eat less. Period. And, I need to eat different things that don’t taste as good as what I’ve been eating, but won’t make a permanent home in my aorta or lower colon. Fruits, vegetables and water, get used to your new customer. Please be good to me.

I started it all off with an apple, and washed it down with a bottled water. I tried hard to imagine it as an Egg McMuffin and a Pepsi, but it didn’t work. It was an apple and water, but it felt good that I was consciously choosing to have that rather than what tastes good.

I also went back to the Gurnee Mills Mall for my first of hopefully many daily walking assignments. I like it there. The atmosphere is positive and there’s a lot of room to stretch out and lose myself in deep thought as I reflect on life. Nobody ever bothers me in there.

After my walk I went to meet up with Jerry Agar at a hotdog joint that’s about halfway between where each of us live. He’s back from Toronto for the week and we hadn’t seen each other in a while so we hung out and talked about each of our situations. I ordered the chopped salad, and Jerry laughed because we both love their chili dogs. But not today.

Jerry and his daughter Kaelin had hot fudge sundaes, and I ordered a bottled water to go with my salad. I’ve had lots of sundaes and I was fine with it, but they both raised a brow when I passed on one. I used to think life was short and to be enjoyed to the fullest. It may be true, but at this point that sundae would help to make my life shorter. Time for a break.

I then drove up to Stevens Point, WI to see my cousin Leah and her husband Rob. Their daughter Janine has been asking me to come up and visit and today was the day. I told her I was going to be busy for the next few months, so we made time to hang out for a dinner at the Golden Corral. Again, I had lots of vegetables and a water and didn’t go nuts at all.

I know it’s only one day, but I see how it works. It’s not all that hard, but it does take an effort and some discipline to choose to eat the right things, even when the other stuff is all over the place in plain site. I’ve had years of going nuts with it, now it’s time to taper off.

All the way up and back I planned and tweaked and thought of what I need to do to with these next three months. My priority is getting the ‘Schlitz Happened!’ show up and ready  for October 1st at The Schauer Center in Hartford, WI. That’s the main point of my focus.

I also have Uranus Factory Outlet, comedy classes and my comedy career itself to get to as well. That’s a whole lot of projects, and any one could take my focus for three months. This is no easy task, but I took it on willingly. No excuses. Day trip over. Back to work.

Questioning The Big ‘G’

June 22, 2010

Sunday June 20th, 2010 – Kenosha, WI

I’m in another one of my ‘What the hell if anything at all does life mean?’ moods again. It’s still a mystery why the human race exists, and the more I think about it the more I am baffled to the bone. There HAS to be some kind of meaning to all of this, doesn’t there?

Nope. There really doesn’t. Who said any of this has to make any sense at all other than random old chance that has come together to make all of our lives a living, breathing ugly ride for as long as we’re stuck on this water drenched pebble drifting through the dregs of the universe, hoping to cross paths with a cosmic clue. So far, I don’t think we found one.

I know I haven’t. I look around the world, or at least the one I’m in, and see nothing but injustice, insanity and incredible stupidity. Nobody seems to be figuring anything out, and I can’t understand why if there is anything close to resembling what God may be won’t be so frustrated that He doesn’t wipe us out, come up with a better blueprint and start again.

But here we all are, floating through this life plane without a hint as to the why of it all. Personally, the longer I float the farther away from any kind of God presence I seem to be feeling. I wish that weren’t so, but it’s true. I have serious doubts as to the existence of an  all seeing, all knowing single being that keeps track of how many times I break His laws.

If God made us all in an image of Himself, then He must be imperfect too. Wouldn’t it make sense? It seems like there are a lot of holes in the God story, and as I get older I feel like I’ve been had. I believed it with all my heart as a kid, but that doesn’t make any of it true. I believed in Santa Claus with all my heart too, and also pro wrestling. I’m a sucker.

So are millions and billions of other humans, and I have to believe if there was a God as we were taught, wouldn’t all this be cleared up by now? We’re all supposed to believe the story that a random guy named Jesus came here via miraculous birth only to eventually be killed in place of every other human who ever lived because we all broke laws He didn’t.

Doesn’t that sound a bit far fetched? Sorry, it just does. I never thought to question any of it as a kid, I just believed it. They always lay the whole “Just have faith” line on us and that’s supposed to be enough. Well, it isn’t enough anymore. I guess I’m either a budding atheist or a strong agnostic, and those were hideous words back when I was growing up.

I want to know the truth, as most of us do. What’s the deal? Why are there so many bad things happening to good people if God is supposed to be in charge? Why can’t any of us see Him during this lifetime? One glimpse would make everyone believe without a glitch. I’m not trying to be blasphemous or anything else but telling the truth of what I’m feeling.

I’m sorry, ‘Just have faith’ my ass. I wish I did, but I totally don’t. What does that say of me? Am I a bad person for thinking that? I try very hard to be a good one actually, but it’s just not clicking with the God story after thoroughly examining it objectively over my life and trying to make heads or tails of it all. If I have to fry in hell for it, then I guess I do.

But that doesn’t seem right either, does it? Supposedly according to many sources hell will be packed full of unbelievers, infidels, evil doers and those that fall short of a loving God who likes to pass out free passes to an eternal party if we only do things the way that a certain group of people says to do it. IF we do that, then we get a pass to the big party.

If not, we’re destined to spend the rest of a never ending eternity chained up in a big old barbecue pit getting tortured by fire along with the opposite of God, a spirit who’s got lots of power himself, but just short of the power God has. It sounds like a big sibling rivalry.

It also sounds like a major crock now that I think about it, but this story line has been a big part of scaring people in line for thousands of years. It’s worked great for Christianity, Judaism, Islam and all the rest. The masses believe blindly in something they never think to question, to the point of killing other people over it. What a great job of salesmanship.

It’s almost a bigger version of Ford vs. Chevy or Coke vs. Pepsi. Our invisible being of assumed power and omnipotence who’s all about love and peace is greater than yours, but if you try to dispute it – we’ll kill you and your whole damn generation. That’ll prove it.

We’ve all got a whole lot of learning to do, myself included. Hopefully at some point it will all make sense, just like the end of the old TV show ‘To Tell The Truth’. All kinds of BS was thrown around on that show from several sources, but in the very end the real one finally stood up and we all found out the real story. I sure hope that happens in this life.

Hopefully, when we die we get to learn the real reason for all of this and hopefully get a chance to laugh about it with someone like one big episode of Punk’d or Candid Camera. Mean bosses and psychotic ex spouses would come out from behind a curtain laughing as they winked and said “Hey, GOTCHA!” Then we’d all hug and go on about our business.

All that brings me right back to my original question – what the hell IS ‘our business’ of being here at all? It all seems so random and unplanned. We get here and don’t even have a clue of what life is until it’s almost over. Then, we start thinking of how good we had it when we didn’t know we did, but by then it’s too late to go back and take advantage of it.

Then, I look around at the beauty on this planet and think some kind of a plan had to be in place to create all of that with such precision. The mountains and oceans and animals are all spectacular creations of breathtaking beauty, but I want to know or what made us breathe in the first place in order to take that breath later. Why are we experiencing this?

Of course, I won’t get my answer until after I die, if at all. Maybe this is one stretched out nightmare, and I’m the only one feeling it. If nothing else, it sure makes me a better radio host on ‘The Mothership Connection’  radio show on AM 1050 WLIP in Kenosha, WI. We had a strong show tonight with all four hours packed up with interesting guests.

What’s the absolute unvarnished real truth? I still don’t know, but at least I’m trying to make an attempt to find it. Here’s hoping it’s all one big joke and I’ll laugh at the end.

Old Friends Are Best

February 6, 2010

Friday February 5th, 2010 – Milwaukee, WI

Up to Milwaukee today to jump start the one man show idea. I want to do this correctly so I set up meetings with old friends who can help. Ron Lee used to produce shows when I first started and wants to do it again. He loves this idea and has some contacts for places he thinks it could work. Ron and I met up with my old friend Mark Krueger to discuss it.

Mark is an icon in Milwaukee and I bet he knows more people than the mayor. He has a lot to contribute to this project because not only is he well connected, he’s hilarious and a savant when it comes to local references. He could probably do a show like this himself.

We sat around firing off ideas and came up with some good ones. Ron and Mark can do a lot of favors for me and they will. I’ve known them both forever and if they were doing a project like this, they know they could count on me to help. It pays to have old friends.

After our productive brainstorming lunch I went to visit another valuable asset in Drew Olson. He’s another good friend I’ve known forever and knows everyone in Milwaukee’s hierarchy who’s anyone. Between Mark and Drew, that covers everyone I need to know.

Drew had some great ideas too as he always does, but one in particular was outstanding. He knows John McGivern, the Milwaukee actor who does one man shows that have been very successful. I’ve never met the guy but I keep hearing how well known he is in town.

I have nothing but respect for the guy, and am not looking to ‘compete’ or anything like that. When I’ve told some people about my idea for a one man show about Milwaukee the first thing they say is “John McGivern does that.” That’s fine, but why can’t I do one too?

I congratulate John for cracking the Milwaukee market. That’s no easy task. He came at it from a different angle than I did in standup, and he found the secret. Kudos. He proved an audience does exist for local entertainment, but it sure wasn’t in clubs where I started.

Drew suggested I contact John and offered to make it happen. That’s a brilliant idea. I’ll gladly tell him what I’m doing, and hopefully we can team up and make more work for us both. He probably turns down work I’d love to have, and if we’re on the same team I’ll be able to not only get those gigs, but work my way up the ladder and pay him back as well.

I’ve often done shows for groups who’ve asked me to suggest other comedians for their shows in the future. I’ve gotten a lot of shows that way too. John is way ahead of me with this and doesn’t need my ‘help’, but at some point I’m sure we’d be able to trade leads for shows and both end up getting more work out of it. That’s how I’d like to see it play out.

I look at it as healthy. Coke and Pepsi might not like each other, but they make the other one better. Also, how many gospels are there? Four. Is one better than the other? Who can say? They’re different, but it’s the same story. This is similar. John McGivern has his take on growing up in Milwaukee and so do I. We’re different people. I think we can coexist.

It was very nice of Drew to make the gesture and I appreciate it. No matter how it turns out, I will treat everyone with the utmost respect. This is like that scene in the Godfather where Marlon Brando says “Good luck in your new business.” He put a disclaimer in the mix saying something like “As long as it doesn’t interfere with ours,” or however it went.

In theory, I don’t need to ask anybody’s permission to do a one man show or any other show I want to do. I just want to show respect. John McGivern has earned it by making a name for himself doing something nobody before him was able to do. I know how hard it is to put butts in seats anywhere, much less Milwaukee. I don’t want any hard feelings.

I’m trying to follow the Golden Rule too. When I started comedy classes in Chicago, it was something I started from scratch. Then my ex business partner pulled his embezzling stunt and went behind my back and started trying to do it in the same town, and it turned ugly rather quickly. Then a bunch of other ‘classes’ started up and it spun out of control.

Had someone come to me and asked, I could have helped them get started, and we may have been able to grow a business together rather than be rivals. That didn’t happen, and now it’s everyone for himself. I don’t want to have a similar situation in Milwaukee. I’ve been on the other side of it and seen it blow up. Hopefully, that won‘t happen this time.

It’s out of my hands now. Drew sent an email to John, and I’ll either hear from him or I won’t. If I do, I’ll approach it with the attitude that he’s in charge. If I don’t, I’ll do what I do and see how it goes. In my mind, there’s plenty of room for everyone. I’ll make it go.

I had dinner tonight with my old friend Greg Chadwell and his girlfriend Nancy. Greg is a true friend, and I’ve known him since 1982. We worked together cooking at a restaurant called Rustler Steak House on the south side of Milwaukee, and have been friends since.

Greg is a dented can, but never EVER complained. He’s one of the hardest working and most honest people I know, and no matter what life does to him, he just keeps going. I am a whiner and complainer and I admit it, even though sometimes it can be funny when I go off on something that pops my cork. Greg has the right attitude. He shuts up and works.

I needed a place to live in 1984 and Greg turned me on to a room for rent by his former father in law. I ended up staying there for a couple of years, and those people were so nice to me I still consider them the family I never had. They had me over for Christmases even after I moved out, and in fact I’m even a godfather to one of Greg’s kids. I love them all.

He works at a bank now as a loan officer, but he sold cars for many years after escaping from the restaurant business. Greg helped me get a loan approved for my first brand new car in 1988 and I’ll always appreciate him for that alone. Greg Chadwell is a great friend.

People like him make America great. He works hard and doesn’t bitch about wanting to get a bailout from the government or anyone else. The least I could do was buy dinner for a guy like that. I owe him a lot more though. Old time friends are the best. I have several.