Posts Tagged ‘professional wrestling’

No Religion Please

June 27, 2014

Wednesday June 25th, 2014 – Island Lake, IL

I’m going to stomp all over a very touchy subject today, even though I probably shouldn’t. I’ve already gotten myself into enough trouble with some of the posts I’ve made through the years, so why stop now? This is the subject that happens to be on my mind today, so I’ll bring it up gently.

Okay maybe not so gently, but here goes: Please STOP trying to force your religion down my throat. I don’t want to hear it, and I’m not interested. If and when I ever do want to hear it, I will ask. Until then – ZIP IT. Whew, that felt good. I just hope people will take it right and let it be.

I’ve lost count in the last couple of weeks of self appointed do-gooder zealots thinking they’re helping my cause by waving a bible in my face. I’m trying to be polite, but it’s getting very hard. If it helps you get through your own personal mine field, great. Personally, I think it’s all hooey.

Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism – all of it. There, how’s THAT for pissing in the pool of the highest amount of people in one fell swoop? I’m not trying to start any unwinnable fights, but after looking at it objectively, logically and intelligently that’s the conclusion I come up with.

I was “force churched” as a kid, and at that time I bought it hook, line and sinker. I also bought the concepts of Santa Claus and professional wrestling mind you. I believed in those with all my heart as well, but was eventually clued in to the truth. I feel exactly the same way about religion.

This is a subject that really gets people going. Look around the world at the wars going on right now. How many of those have religious overtones? I’d be shocked if any DIDN’T. Can anybody define exactly what ‘God’ is? It seems to be different all over the world, but who really knows?

It sure isn’t what I was taught as a kid, and I can’t believe the billions that still believe it. I am not claiming to be smarter than anyone, but from a logic standpoint does it make sense? We read stories written thousands of years ago that were translated into many languages, and we believe it without question just because we’re told to? Really? I’m sorry, but I just don’t buy it. It’s a tale.

Of all the billions, trillions and zillions of planets, why would this little one be so important? It doesn’t make sense from that point alone. And if God is supposed to be perfect and without fault, how come humanity is so flawed and continues to screw the pooch generation after generation?

If indeed God made us in His image, either He’s imperfect or He cranked out a faulty product. We’re genetic AMC Gremlins, and it’s not getting any better. And I’m not buying the “free will” argument either. Good people get screwed all the time, and I just don’t see how a loving God is able to sit back and let that happen. I am totally disillusioned, and I admit my faith is evaporated.

When I was a kid, my grandfather told me “Explore all the religions you can now. One day you will wake up and discover it’s all crap. There IS no pie in the sky, and this life is where you have to do your best. After that you take your chances.” I thought he was crazy then, but he was right.

If you are a member of any organized religion and you believe it, that’s your business. I won’t get in your face or mock you. You can do what you like for you, but please don’t force it on me.

My views on God have done a 180 over the years. My grandfather predicted it and he was correct.

My views on God have done a 180 over the years. My grandfather predicted it and he was correct.

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It Takes A Champion

June 26, 2014

Tuesday June 24th, 2014 – Island Lake, IL

If I have learned nothing else from my life’s long twisted journey, it’s that making one’s living exclusively as an entertainer for any significant amount of time is nothing less than a big old, icy cold, rock hard, unforgiving, unrelenting, cruel, nasty, fire breathing seven days a week BITCH.

Anyone that has lasted more than ten years has my undying respect, and then there are the lifer types like me that have gone past any and all ‘normal’ boundaries, and find ourselves desperately hanging on for dear life from week to week despite having sacrificed our lives to polish our craft.

My particular scope of view has been standup comedy, radio and professional wrestling. I have friends in each of those areas that have been at it for decades and are either struggling to hang on even a little bit longer or feverishly looking for something else so they can continue to survive.

And I know there are other fields like actors, dancers, musicians, magicians, film makers and a few more categories I’m sure I missed that are in this same (sinking) boat. We’ve devoted our all to our crafts, but never “made it big”. That term is so unfair, and it’s never about who is the best.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it until someone hears me – there are all kinds of talented people at any given craft that are virtual unknowns, and quite often those with minimal talent manage to claw and scratch their way to the top by having razor sharp focus and wanting the spotlight more.

It takes almost a psychotic obsession to hit the big time in any creative endeavor, or a once in a lifetime streak of amazing luck. Or both. That’s rare enough, but now find a way to keep yourself around for more than a few months or even a year. Trust me, it’s NOT easy and most people fail.

In the comedy field, I can easily name dozens of really solid acts that just never found a way to get that break we all need. There are all kinds of reasons for it, but that doesn’t mean they are not talented – and solid citizens as well. Unfortunately, that doesn’t matter in this vicious death race.

Names that pop into my mind off the bat include Dwight York, Don Reese, Dwayne Kennedy, Larry Reeb, Tim Walkoe, Jimmy McHugh, Beth Donahue, James R. Zingelman, Tim Northern, Danny Storts and Ron Ferguson. For every one of those names there are a dozen more, and I will stop naming because I know I’m excluding a friend that I like and respect. But you get the idea.

This all started when I got a phone call today from Rick D’Elia – another highly respected road warrior I love onstage and off. What a classy chap he is, and funny too. He is originally from the Boston area, but has been living on the west coast for years. We met in 2003 at the San Francisco Comedy Competition and have stayed in touch. He’s out there still slugging it out just like me.

He’s driving across the country, and working a week in Oklahoma this week to earn money to get himself home. He’s getting thrown out of his apartment for subletting while he was out trying to make a living in the crumbling comedy business, and he needs to find a place when he returns. I love Rick like a brother, and could totally empathize with his situation. This is why I have zero patience for cocky know-it-alls that have paid zero dues. The show business meat grinder is not for everyone. My heart goes out to Rick and everyone else still in the game. It takes a champion.

Rick D'Elia is a super funny comedian onstage and a classier person off stage does not exist. Look him up along with every other name I posted in this entry. They're ALL great, and deserve a break. www.rickdelia.com.

Rick D’Elia is a super funny comedian onstage and a classier person off stage does not exist. Look him up along with every other name I posted in this entry. They’re ALL great, and deserve a break. They’ve paid big dues. http://www.rickdelia.com.

Hope For Homer

November 14, 2013

Wednesday November 13th, 2013 – Fox Lake, IL

Today is only Wednesday the 13th, but it sure is behaving like Friday. I’ve had more bad news in one day than I’ve had in the last six months – and I’ve had a rough six months. First off, I was told that Mike Gumbinger passed away last night. I wasn’t super close with Mike, but I am good friends with his brother Mark and we all watched Packer games together in the last several years.

Mike has been in and out of hospitals the past few years, and it was a long and painful process. I felt really bad for him, and I know Mark went above and beyond the call of duty to wait on him to the point of sacrificing his own life. It wasn’t easy for anyone, and I’m sad to hear he passed.

Then this afternoon I received word that my friend Steve “The Homer” True had been involved in a car accident in Milwaukee and was in critical condition. I only received sketchy details, so I called my friend Richard Caan who lives in Milwaukee. I thought he could give me more details.

He sounded distant when he answered the phone, and I told him what had happened to Homer. He said he had just come from the same hospital, and his mother just passed away. What horrible news all around. It was like an episode of the Twilight Zone. There were eerie vibes everywhere.

I knew Richard’s mother and she had been sick for a while, but it was still a shock to hear that she’d passed. I saw her not all that long ago, and the 1994 Nissan Sentra that was such a constant source of grief was originally hers. Richard had given it to me with good intentions, but it was an unbelievable money sucker. That wasn’t Richard’s fault, and I am still grateful he thought of me.

The news of Homer is especially devastating. I can’t begin to say enough good things about all he has done to support me through the years. I met him in the early ‘90s when he came here from Madison, WI to work as a sports talk show host on WISN. I was working at WQFM at the time.

When I ran my first professional wrestling show in Waukesha, WI in October of 1992, I hired him to be a celebrity guest ring announcer for the main event. He not only did a fantastic job, he refused to accept any pay because he knew the budget was tight. I will never forget him for that.

Then through the years we stayed in touch, and he would frequently come out to support me at comedy shows when I appeared in Milwaukee. He would pay to get in, and often bring friends as well. There are very few souls anywhere that are that flat out good hearted, but Homer definitely is one of them. Not only that, he can do sports talk and play by play on the radio, and do it well.

His father is a motivational speaker named Dr. Herb True. One time Homer had his dad call me to offer some encouragement about hanging in there with comedy and I won’t forget him for that either. He didn’t have to do any of it, but time and time again Homer has been a friend in need.

Whenever I have done a benefit show for any cause – and there have been many – Homer will not only show up, but donate cash out of his pocket. He never asks for a receipt for tax purposes either. He gives from the heart, and his is gigantic. I love the guy, and this news really stings me. What makes it even worse is that today is his birthday. I wrote him a heartfelt note of thanks for all his support, but that was before I heard the news. My deepest wish is that he’ll get to read it.

Steve 'The Homer' True - a heart as big as anyone I've ever met. He can use your prayers tonight.

Steve ‘The Homer’ True – a heart and talent as big as anyone I’ve ever met. He can use your prayers tonight.

That Magic Feeling

February 5, 2010

Thursday February 4th, 2010 – Lake Villa, IL

I’m loving this week off of shows, but I could use a month. Maybe six. There’s just too much other stuff to do, and the harder I work to chip away at the pile the less it seems I’m getting done. It’s an ominously high pile. Still, I have to start somewhere so I’m doing it.

I’m still on a high from the buzz of seeing that website template yesterday. It brought it all to life for me, and I don’t care if anyone else thinks it’s cool or not – I do. It’s the same feeling I had after I promoted my first pro wrestling show in 1992. It was THE hardest but most rewarding project I’ve ever done, even now. It drained every tiny bit of effort I had.

Anything and everything went wrong that day, up to and including the truck that hauled the actual wrestling ring breaking down. It threw everything into a state of panic and I had all I could do to hold everything and everyone together. Eventually we got it there and did the show, and afterward I sat in Denny’s eating rubbery eggs feeling like Donald Trump.

That feeling of accomplishment is absolutely pure. It can’t be bought, either. It has to be EARNED. I’m sure it’s the reason people run marathons or climb Mt. Everest and it has a ripple affect throughout one’s life. It builds self esteem and feelings of worth and makes a person feel alive. That’s what I get on stage as a comedian, but it took years to get good.

I’m ashamed it took years to get to this point with the Uranus site, but it did. It’s been a zig-zaggy path with too much starting and stopping, so that’s why it felt so good to see an actual picture of an actual website template with my own eyes. It’s like someone getting a restaurant location picked out and going to see the actual building. There’s a thrill in that.

Then it’s time to get the business going. That’s where I am now. Yes, it’s nice to see the website, but now I have to fill it with products, promote it and SELL something. It won’t mean anything if I can’t make money with this, and that’s the one thing I’ve never had an actual knack for doing. If nothing else, I’m sure going to learn a lot of valuable lessons.

I think life is all about learning. It’s also in ‘the journey’. That’s one thing I’ve learned in my lifetime of pursuing standup comedy. It’s not one big event that signals the arrival of success, it’s a compilation of many small successes and the ability to enjoy each one.

If I had to start comedy over right now with the knowledge I have now, I’d do a whole lot of things differently. Well, I’m starting this venture with the information I have from my comedy years so I will use whatever wisdom I’ve acquired and apply it to this idea.

The King of Uranus is immature, juvenile and just plain stupid. But it’s FUN, and who doesn’t like to have that? All my years in comedy I’ve spent trying to seriously get ahead and prove something to everyone else. Screw that. I’m doing this for ME. And for money.

But money is fun, if it’s spent correctly. My idea of that will be to help others and put it to good use. First, I need to earn some. That’s why I’m doing this. Complicated, isn’t it?