You can always believe Abe Lincoln.
HOW IN THE WORLD DID IT GET TO BE AUGUST ALREADY? I just got the Christmas decorations down and now I have to start shopping for Halloween candy. I’m certainly not going to give any of it away to those grubby little kids who’ll come knocking on my door, but if you want to get any of the really good candy you’d better start shopping early.
August is one of those “in-between” kinds of months. It doesn’t have any big holidays to speak of. Oh, sure, the third of August is “National Grab Some Nuts Day” and on the 8th we all celebrate “National Sneak Some Zucchini Onto Your Neighbor’s Porch Day,” but Hallmark doesn’t put out a line of special cards for either holiday, do they?
In July the whole country goes up in smoke with the 4th of July shindigs and in September kids go back to school and millions of parents celebrate until they get so smashed that they make little brothers and sisters for the kids who are already in school. August just doesn’t have anything to compare to that.
I rest my case.
I’M GOOD AT GROCERY SHOPPING. I’M NOT GOOD AT DANCING.
Everybody has those little slices of life where they excel and others where they stink like the next morning in a fraternity house. No matter how hard we try to master a certain skill it evades us.
Being a professional musician is something I could never be because I really lack, not only the talent, but also the dedication that it takes. When someone asks me if I can play any instruments I tell them that the only thing I can play is the radio.
OVER THE YEARS I HAVE SEEN A LOT OF COMEDIANS. Most of them ranged from dismal to really good. There was a different level for those above “Really Good.” Those were the “Classics,” the “Geniuses, “and the “Made me laugh out loud.” There aren’t too many that made it into that last group. One who did make me laugh out loud every time was a Comedian I’ll bet you never heard of. If you are under 40 years of age I’d put money on it.
The person I’m talking about was a Spanish ventriloquist named Wenceslao Moreno. He performed under the stage name of Señor Wences.
Throwback Thursday – “100 Years Of Turning Left”
AUTO RACING IS BIG, VERY BIG IN INDIANA. This year it is even bigger.
“Why, Oh, why?” I hear someone ask.
The reason is that this year is the 100th edition of the Indianapolis 500 race. This year, as in every other year, 33 cars will tear around the 2.5 mile track for 500 miles – turning left the entire time.
I HAVE HEARD THAT IT IS A GOOD PRACTICE to go through your computer every so often and root out old and duplicate files. It is like digging into the back of that closet to pitch whatever no longer fits or is so out of style you’ll never wear it again. The last time I ventured into my closet I tossed out all of my 1970s Double Knits and Disco Duds.
As far as doing that in my computer hard drive I uncovered some long lost but interesting stuff. Old stories that never got finished, and links to sites and people long forgotten. In the midst of all those antiquated items I found a couple of gems. Well, maybe not gems, but things that still work and are worth keeping. One thing I resurrected was a short Stand Up piece that I used to do in days gone by. The date on the file was 2007.
Throwback Thursday from April 2016 – “I’ll Need To Sleep On It”
SLEEP – I’M IN FAVOR OF IT. I’ve had years of practice doing it. I can do almost anyplace.
Whenever I sleep witnesses have sworn that I do it with my eyes closed. Not everyone does it that way. I know someone who sleeps with their eyes wide open. Talk about Spooky. This person was not a sleepwalker with his eyes open. Nope, this fellow could be in bed, tucked in, snoring like a locomotive, with his eyes open. I’m sure there is a scientific explanation as to how and why he does that. My five cent answer is that he was possessed by demons that never sleep and stay up all night watching infomercials. Yup, spooky.
Do you recognize any of these names? If you do I’d be very surprised, but I’d bet that you would recognize their faces in a flash.
Every film and TV show has Leading Men, the “Stars” but it is the “Character Actors” who fill in the blanks. What good is a Hero without a Villain to vanquish or someone to rescue?
These three guys were what Hollywood called “Character Actors” portraying any number of roles in countless films and TV shows. For every John Wayne or Clint Eastwood there are hundreds of actors who create the atmosphere of danger and serve as the Antagonists that keep us on the edge of our seats. Someone has to rob the stagecoach so that the Lone Ranger can hunt them down.
I admit that either possibility is, at minimum, plausible.
They (The ubiquitous “They”) say that Time is a fluid thing and that the very concept of Time Travel is no longer the property of Science Fiction writers. OK, I can accept that, but I just don’t expect it to happen while I’m quietly trying to have a cup of coffee.
Twice in the last month while I was concentrating on getting my plastic straw through the lid on my iced coffee my world was intruded upon by the 1950s and then the 1960s. I’ve been through those decades before so I recognized them immediately.
I AM A BIG FAN OF LAUGHTER. It is much better than crying and Giggling is superior to Growling. Even the occasional Snort is acceptable although having coffee shoot out of my nose is not pleasant.
When I feel the need for a good sustained laugh I go to YouTube and pull up a few episodes of “The Vicar of Dibley.”
I do it because I can.
I confuse people.
A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away I used to be part of an Improvisational Comedy group in San Francisco. The eight of us (AKA the “Improv Alternative” and later as “Anchovi Daiquiri”) worked in nightclubs, theaters, street fairs, and any place that would let us through the door. We would do a two hour show made up entirely from audience suggestions.
TALK ABOUT PAINTING YOURSELF INTO A CORNER…Whew!
This morning (a few days before Valentine’s Day) I was stumbling into St. Arbucks for a transfusion with a little Half-n-Half when I saw a poster advertising a weekend concert. Whoever put it up was careless and posted it sideways on the bulletin board. The concert featured a singer doing a Frank Sinatra Tribute Show.
That singer is a performer whose Show Business career is firmly rooted in “The Law of Diminishing Returns.”
Throwback Thursday From November 2015 –
I HAVE BEEN SURVEYING THE WORLD OF PERFORMANCE ART.
It’s not hard to do –just look in your local newspaper for listings under “Live Entertainment and whenever you see something that boasts only one person doing the show, you’ve found it. But beware and tread carefully.
Most of the “Performance Art” solo performers that I’ve met over the years have been solo because nobody else in their right mind would get on a stage with them. Would YOU want to share the stage with a guy smearing ice cream all over his body? Not unless you brought the chocolate syrup and a spoon. But that would also call for a very low passable sense of culinary hygiene.
IS THIS THE FUTURE? ARE THESE THE THOMAS EDISONS OF TOMORROW?
I was flipping through the 237,812 channels on our TV the other day. There I found much to be ignored. I suppose that someone, somewhere, on some combination of medications might find some of these channels entertaining or informative. Me? I really have my doubts that “Ancient Aliens” built everything from the Pyramids of Giza up to and including the Astrodome.
But I did find one program that was both fascinating and appalling at the same time (Other than the Evening News). It was something called “Battlebots” or “Robot Wars,” or something like that.
Throwback Thursday from September 2015 –”Downwind Of Upstage Is No Place To Be”
THERE IS A GOOD REASON my wife, the lovely and unfailingly perceptive, Dawn, calls my trips to St. Arbucks, along with, “The Usual Suspects,” my “Play Group.” I admit that there are some days when the maturity level drops below Pre-School closing in on Pre-Natal.
For several days now the main topic of conversation among the group has centered on the television western series, “Gunsmoke.” This show hasn’t been on the air since 1975. Why this has become important enough to warrant two days of conversation is unknown.
I understand the lure of nostalgia – the being able to share common memories with contemporaries who are now getting along in years. What I can’t understand is why it has become necessary to dramatize scenes from the show – right there in the corner of the coffee joint. It mystifies me and I think it scares some of the staff and other customers.
The conversation seemed to center around one character on the show: “Chester Good” – portrayed by Dennis Weaver, a mediocre actor at best.
“Chester” was the Deputy to Marshall Matt Dillon, played by James Arness and irrelevant to this discussion.
The character of “Chester” was disabled on the show. His character was gunned down in an early episode and for the rest of his time on the show he ran around with one leg, unbending, and stiff as a pool cue.
Week after week he would scuttle around, getting in over his head with the local bad guys. He would then run, after a fashion – stiff leg swinging out like the line on a weed eater, and yelling, “Mr. Dillon, Mr. Dillon, come quick.” Not exactly a showcase for Mr. Weaver’s acting chops, but it paid the bills.
How all of this was remembered by The Usual Suspects in 2015 is where things got dicey.
After describing “Chester” and his “mobility issues” it was determined by one Suspect that more was needed to illustrate his point (Whatever it was). He also thought that it would help if he performed Chester’s lines, but his recollection veered a bit from reality.
The Suspect hauled himself out of his chair and began to stiff-leg it across the floor. Then his dialogue came out, loud enough to reach the back row at the Hollywood Bowl.
“Holy Sh**, Mr. Dillon. Come quick. Holy Sh**!
It was at this point that I tried to hide under a table. I’m positive that “Chester” never said that on network television – ever.
This breach of nostalgia etiquette had the other Suspects trying to force him back in his chair.
“Sit down! You’re going to get us all thrown out of here!”
I peeked around and all of the baristas and other coffee drinkers looked like prairie dogs – alert with eyes wide open, wondering what was happening. Was the big guy with the bad leg going Postal? Was he a threat or merely nuts?
The answer to that particular question was: All of the above. But I’m not being judgmental.
Now, all of this could be written off as a quirky, one-time event, like Ross Perot or World War Two, except that there was an encore performance the next day.
When I arrived on the scene this “Faux Chester” was already wound up like a Joy Buzzer and moments later he was off and running, albeit with a significant limp. I was still near the door, so I just sidled over toward the recycling bin and pretended to be checking that things were being sorted properly.
If this was going to be a daily performance, I told him, he was going to have to join the Actors’ Equity labor union. It was either that or he was going to be hauled off for a 72 hour observation at the Bubble Factory. Personally, I’m voting for the 72 hour gig.
Most days at St. Arbucks are quiet, contemplative even, but this week it was more like being trapped inside bad Community Theater.
I SAW THIS PICTURE POSTED ON FACEBOOK the other day – Bill Murray and Keith Richards. My first reaction was, “Dang, these guys have gotten old.” Then reality slapped me a good one right across my face. I am four years older than Bill Murray. At least Keith Richards is older than me. Of course, in that three year head start on me he has crammed in about 700 years of hard living.
I remember when the Rolling Stones first boogied into our collective consciousness – about 1963 or so – and back then Keith Richards was “The Cute One.” It didn’t take long for him to become “The Already Dead One.” At around that same time there was all sorts of hoo-haw that “Paul is Dead!” and a lot people believed that, but I’ll bet nobody ever bothered to check Keith Richards’ pulse.”
WE HAD THE OSCARS ON THE TV A FEW WEEKS AGO. I didn’t say that we actually watched it, just that we had it on the Tube. Of all the films nominated for an award I think we had seen…One. And I didn’t care for it all that much.
It is Springtime and we are hard into the Award Shows Season as well. Various Organizations and Industries are stumbling over themselves to put on a show of overwhelming Self-Congratulations. Heavy-Duty exercises are being done to facilitate better the patting of one’s own back.
WHO KNOWS WHAT TOMORROW BRINGS? Not me, that’s for sure. Given the state of the world today there are few things that can be regarded as certain. Not many, but there are a few. I bumped into one of those sure things last night.
My wife, the lovely and cinematically tasteful, Dawn, and I are big fans of the Movies. Dawn’s taste is better and covers a wider spectrum than mine so she roots around and uncovers some real gems. Last night she found a truffle of a film that is going to be on our short list of “Movies to be seen ASAP.”
I KNOW PROGRESS WHEN I SEE IT and a thunderbolt of Progress has struck in Terre Haute (That’s French for “You three guys – into the trunk!”)
As I was sipping my coffee this morning I decided to check the local news site to see what was happening here in the Wabash Valley. My heart skipped a beat
Who cares that the local Macy’s store is closing other than the people who go there to ride the only escalator in town? Who cares that the Indiana state University basketball team is not doing very well…again? Who cares that the new Starbucks “Blonde Espresso” tastes like 10W-40 Pennzoil Motor Oil? Who cares about any of that stuff when the real news is that a brand spanking new Drive-in Theater is going to open up in town this Summer?