Posts Tagged ‘Ralph Kramden’

America Is Dead

November 7, 2012

Tuesday November 6th, 2012 – Fox Lake, IL

   After a long, slow steady decline, I do believe America as we know it is finally dead. Gone is a mass population hungry for success with a work ethic beyond belief, and replacing it is a crew of arrogant, stupid lazy fat cats who think they’re entitled to everything just because they were born in a place they were always told was “the greatest country in the world.” Those days are OVER.

However it happened, it now seems to be locked in place with the reelection of the incompetent boob that personifies the generation in which we live. He’s an amalgamation of the Kardashians, American Idol and Honey Boo Boo rolled into one. It’s lack of substance with no basis in reality.

Nobody wants to face the cold hard facts of how life really is. They’re all looking for the latest Ralph Kramden or Lucy get rich quick schemes so they don’t have to work very hard or struggle for anything. I suppose we are all at least a little bit guilty, as that’s how human nature operates.

Our whole existence has been a constant process of lessening our work load and making things easier or at least more efficient. Progress and technology have evolved over centuries to the point things are now, and I’m not sure if we’re better off as a species. Struggle can be a useful process.

Having a large problem to solve tends to focus one or a group’s energies into getting it solved. There’s no free time to bitch or complain as all available energy is thrown into what needs to be done to solve the problem. I look at the building of this country as exactly that. There needed to be railroads and roads and cities built, and we as a country knuckled down and made it happen.

Immigrants came from all over the world with a similar mindset and all they wanted was a fair chance to build a better life for their children. They were willing to work their butts off for it, and work hard. They built the greatest country in the world because they paid the price to achieve it.

They sacrificed their time and effort knowing that’s what it took to get what they wanted. They had goals and aspirations, and were thinking of their children and children’s children. They were an amalgamation of races and nationalities and they proved that the human spirit can be GREAT.

They handed our generation world dominance on a silver platter, and here we are screwing that up worse and worse by the minute. We should be ashamed of ourselves, but instead we continue to boast and gloat like we actually had something to do with any of it. “U-S-A! U-S-A!” My ass.

We’re like the character Spaulding in the movie Caddyshack. He was the spoiled oafish second or third generation clueless offspring of wealth, and he didn’t know how to function properly in a world where he never had to work for anything. We are now a society of pampered Spauldings.

I’m not saying Mitt Romney was the answer, but he at least had some practical experience with actually running something successfully. I lived in Utah when he fixed the Olympics mess and it was a remarkable accomplishment. What did our esteemed figurehead ever do besides be elected to Congress so he could run for President? This whole scenario makes me puke. America is dead.

Acting Like An Actor

January 15, 2010

Thursday January 14th, 2010 – Chicago, IL

With all the over the top, underfinanced, whacked out, half baked crazy schemes I have been involved in so far in my life, it’s a wonder I don’t have more acting experience. I’ve tried standup comedy, radio, pro wrestling promotion, sports card dealing and other goofy stunts that would have made Lucy and Ralph Kramden wince, but I’ve left acting alone.

Part of the reason is that I respect it as a craft. Anyone has to devote a lifetime to it to be truly skilled, just as in any other craft. Acting is no different than comedy or music or any other craft in that regard, and I was lucky enough to discover comedy early enough on so I devoted my energy to that. It scratched my creative itch and I never needed to be an actor.

That being said, I’ve filmed a part in a movie and am appearing in a play all in the same week. How strange. Up until now my acting experience has been painfully low. Last year I was in a short scene in a film that was directed by my high school friend Bob Richards’ son Kyle, but that was a last minute thing. He did me a favor and allowed me to do a part.

Before that, I was an extra in the movie “While You Were Sleeping”. I was in an actual scene with Sandra Bullock, and I played a mailman of all things. It didn’t take any acting talent to dress in a postal uniform and push a mail cart down the street. The real challenge was not trying to hit on Sandra Bullock as we stood around almost an hour, ten feet apart.

They told us as extras we weren’t supposed to approach the stars for any reason. I guess I can see that, but in my case it was ridiculous. It was filmed in winter and it was about as cold as I can ever remember, and in fact too cold to snow. They needed snow in the scene so they brought in a fake snow machine to fill in the set, and that took just over an hour.

There we were, Sandra Bullock and me, just feet apart. She stood there and for the life of me, I could NOT get her to look my way and say hello. She looked up, around, over at the snow machine, everywhere but in my direction. After a few minutes it got to be funny.

Usually I’m a pretty good schmoozer and can strike up small talk with most anyone, but not this time. Sandra was not a huge star then, but I love brunettes and I would have loved to at least be able to test my flirting skills on a cold day when there was nothing else to do but stand there and hope my testicles would return by spring. She never even said hello.

I’ve heard since that she’s a very nice person and who knows why she didn’t say hi to a lowly extra, but all these years later I haven’t forgotten it. That pretty much ended dreams I may have had to be in movies, but I really never did. All I ever wanted to be was a solid funny comedian. That’s all that mattered to me. I couldn’t care less if I was a good actor.

Now, it’s a little different. I had fun doing Kyle Richards’ movie and even more doing a few scenes with my friend Lou Rugani in “Dead Air” yesterday. Plus, there was an actress named Tierza Scaccia who was not only really good looking and talented, she actually did speak to me both on camera and off. What a great name that is, too. I hope she hits it big.
I’d love nothing more than to show up at the Oscars with Tierza on my arm and moon Sandra Bullock. Thoughts like this are probably why I’m not only not an actor, but still a single comedian in my 40s. I’ve always been prone to doing things on the maverick side, and the masses just aren’t ready for that yet. Sandra Bullock did things right, good for her.

Actually, I’m glad I chose standup comedy over acting. I suppose I could have done the ‘actor/comedian’ route, but that usually means ‘neither/nor’. No matter how many breaks that didn’t go my way, the fact remains that I have paid my dues and am a solid comedian and NOBODY can ever buy that. It has to be earned, just like the skills of a master actor.

My problem with acting is, I have to be someone else all the time. I guess that’s fun for some people, but I’m pretty comfortable in my own skin. It never appealed to me to have to create a new persona over and over again as it takes to be a successful actor. I was fine with shining up the one I had doing comedy onstage. It’s a personal choice for all of us.

Many famous actors kind of just play themselves over and over. Adam Sandler is pretty much the same guy in all his movies as is Martin Lawrence or Eddie Murphy or a flock of other people who didn’t start out as standups. Does Chuck Norris have stage chops? What about Stallone or Arnold? None of these people are what I’d call craftsman. Would you?

Writing is another craft that looks easy and lots of people aspire to become. That takes a lot of discipline and effort too, but who’s willing to put it in? Not many. Those that do are quite rare, and even rarer are those who put in the effort and have real talent to go with it.

I’ve never considered myself a writer either, BUT – I’ve managed to produce an entry in this diary every single day since March 14th, 2006. Does that mean I’m a GOOD one? No, but it does mean I’m a writer to some degree just because I’ve kept cranking out the pages day after day after day. I may still stink, but I stink less now just because I kept doing it.

Acting is the same way. I bet there are ten times as many unknown mediocre Caucasian wannabes in Hollywood and all over who want to be actors, just as I’ve wanted to get into comedy. I paid my dues and chased the dream my whole life, just as I would’ve done had I chose to be an actor. The hard work requirement doesn’t change no matter the craft.

It was a lot of fun to be in the movie yesterday, but I’m not fooling myself into thinking I’m some hidden gem that Hollywood is waiting for. If I really want to pursue it I need to be around it and study it. Acting classes wouldn’t hurt, and probably a few books as well. I don’t have time for all that right now, nor do I want to get involved in a whole new gig.

I love comedy, even though it’s an insane business. What, and acting isn’t? It’s a crazy world all around, so I’m glad I chose what I did. Comedy is the best there is, but that’s my opinion. Too bad, as that’s the only one I care about. No offense to actors, comedy is best.

Still, we’re going to have fun with “You’re On The Air” at The Beverly Arts Center this weekend. We had a dress rehearsal today and I had to act like an actor. I hope I fool them.