Friday, July 29, 2011
Thursday, July 28, 2011
I sometimes get a mini-block as a writer. It is not that I can't think of something to write about, it just seems that writing what is on my mind at the time is boring... even to me. Like this morning. I want to enter a blog, but the only thing on my mind is the current "tournament of bull-headed idiots" going on in Washington, DC. I sometimes think Washington politicians are being paid a kick back by John Stuart writers just to provide them with stupid material. A human is the only animal that laughs. Freud says it is a form of relieving aggression. We bare our teeth in a smile and laugh rather than fight when we find a situation offensive, or threatening. Perhaps it is time to take some things seriously and rip the veins of some lawmakers just for being stupid. The gene pool of politicians has currently reached the stage of regression. At the current rate of attrition a politician in 2020 will have an IQ of less than a turtle and will need to be institutionalized. I say thin the herd now and allow helicopter hunting. The greatest threat to Americans is not a group terrorist on an airplane... it is a group of idiots in congress.
My Dad was an investment banker specializing in finance for political subdivisions of the State of Texas before he retired a couple of decades ago. He dealt in municipal Bonds and did very well in that career. Just to brag about him, at one time his company ranked number two in the nation for his specialty of bonds. Number one was a New York company with several thousand employees. My Dad's company had three employees, the vice president was my Mom.
Dad was particularly skillful in investing his own personal portfolio. My talents ran toward performing, but I did pick up a few empirical tips along the way. One of the things Dad liked most, at the time, was Treasury Bonds. He liked Treasury's because they were backed by the United States of America. He used to say, "No investment is a hundred percent safe, but if the Government can't pay its bills, then it means the whole economy is going down and everyone will lose their money." He did really well with Treasury's and other government bonds. He did not double his money over night, but he did not lose it back over a week. During his career the possibility of the government defaulting on loans was unthinkable.
Yet here we are five days away from the United States defaulting on debt because congress can't come together and see the forest for the trees. And there are some in Congress who think that it would be the perfect punishment for this administration. I guess sinking the boat in the middle of the ocean would teach the captain a lesson, but we are all going to drown with him.
The problem is that the "tea party -poopers" think they have a mandate but have no idea what they are fooling with. If our credit rating drops we are in a world of trouble. It is the only case in which "trickle down" economics actually works. The more interest paid on the top of the pyramid means an exponential increase all the way down. Think it is hard to get a loan now? How about 13% mortgage rates, 20% car loans and credit cards in the low forty percent range? And we are not talking about the rate changing back in a few months when we learn our lesson. It will stay that way for a long time. Think that can't happen? Just for reference check the prime loan interest rate in the mid-seventies. And that was with the AAA credit rating we have now.
The rule of comedy used to be, think of something that irritates you and write about that... The rant will become funny. It doesn't seem to work this time for me. I'm just irritated. Just for clarification... Ronald Regan raised the debt ceiling 18 times in his eight years in office, and George W. Bush 7 times in his two terms. There was never a threat nor even talk of a threat from "tea heads" to default and spoil our credit rating. Yeah, government needs to spend less, Americans need to eat less as well, both are too fat. Perhaps this is the way to adjust both. Default, become a third rate country where a loaf of bread is $20 dollars and perhaps America will lose weight. Oh, but remember the sinking ship metaphor? It is really going to be hard to tread water while you are starving.
As you were,
Saturday, July 23, 2011
"Outside of a dog a book is man's best friend.... inside of a dog it is too dark to read" - Groucho Marks.
Just after my off Broadway run some years ago we had to put our dog Smooch to sleep because she had developed a tumor on her spine and was in great pain. It was a terrible event and I was the one elected to be the last one to hold Smooch as she went to sleep for the final time. It was a traumatic experience for the whole family. I think I was the last to get over the event.
|Smooch toward the end|
We doubted that we would ever find a dog like Smooch and we were not ready to jump right in and try to train a puppy in hopes it would turn out as great as Smooch. Well, you never know how things will work out.
A couple of weeks ago at a poker game with some actors who are involved in Actors and Others for animals, Mary Willard casually mentioned that a friend needed to find a good home for a dog because it was not getting along with their young children. I mentioned this to Sandi and Taylor and they decided they wanted to at least meet the dog. So I pursued the matter with Mary.
Turned out that the dog was a 2 year old cockapoo, like Smooch and I was amazed that the dog looked exactly like Smooch. I guess it was already a done deal, but we had to meet the dog to see if it was going to like us.
She loves to chase a tennis ball. Last night when I was getting ready for a show at the Comedy and Magic Club, I got Spaulding ready. Spaulding of course is my tennis ball character. Although Boo has several tennis balls to play with, Spaulding became the one she wanted. No other toy or tennis ball interested her. Taylor finally had to make a magic switch with one of her tennis balls to get her to stop stalking Spaulding.
The funniest part of the whole adoption is that the dog belonged to Suzanne and Weird Al Yankovic. The joke will be that we rescued Boo from Weird Al, the fact is Al and Suzanne found the perfect dog and trained her for the Johnson house. Things work out in Weird ways sometimes. Marry the lady that first mentioned the dog saw me walking Boo the other day. She said to Boo, "Well, you just went from one weird person to another... didn't you?"
As you were,
Friday, July 22, 2011
We attended Eddie Izzard's concert at the Hollywood Bowl on Wednesday night. (Mr Izzard once gave me a Tony Award at the Radio City Music Hall - but he is even more famous for other things). He is the first comedian to headline the bowl and he drew 12,000 people. It was really a wonderful performance, and to fill the bowl is a monumental accomplishment as a performer. At the beginning of the show he stated what a big place it was and proceeded to run to the back of the bowl giving high fives. After he got back he said, "That might not have been the best idea." He was breathless for just a moment but hit a pace that was hysterical and relentless. He is such an intellectual performer. At one point he was talking about the Internet and stated that we all lie. He said we always click the box that says, "Have you read and agree with the terms of service." He said no on reads those documents...."Some where in the contract you agree to have your buttocks removed and sold to China."
Tonight I will go to the Comedy Magic Club and perform for their anniversary. I know this is perhaps the third decade that they have been in business. I was one of the first headliners to perform there. Gees that makes me sound ancient. The idea is to fill the show with every comic they can squeeze in and we all do 4 minutes. I can barely introduce myself in four minutes but it will be fun to hang with the guys I rarely get to see anymore.
As you were,
Monday, July 18, 2011
I think I got it this time. I think I got what the Vent Haven Museum is all about this trip. It is the posterity of the art form. The complete repository of information and in most cases the instruments of ventriloquism. It really is more important than just a rare collection of puppets and pictures. I more clearly understand the separation and distinction between the convention and the museum trust. It was a perfect celebration of the 70 years of Jimmy Nelson. To the first Dean of American Ventriloquist jimmy Nelson, congratulations. I will still think of you as the Godfather of Ventriloquism my friend.
It took me three connections to fly back on Saturday to the Burbank Airport. This was, of course, done because of Carmegaddon occurring on this very week end. It turned out to be a non-event and caused less trouble than normal work on any freeway can create. They finished 15 hours a head of schedule and had the freeway opened back up by mid Sunday. I could have taken a direct flight to LAX and not had a problem in hindsight.
I was drawing on my iPad for most of the time spent on my three airplanes. On one of my flight segments there was a really nice flight Attendant. She made a couple of comments on the stuff I was drawing. I was flattered, and she was bubbly and funny. I guess the attention made me work that much harder at my art.
I will admit to becoming totally focused on my drawing. It was almost hypnotic, or more likely AADS. But at one moment I became aware that the funny Attendant was looking over my shoulder and may have even said something. I looked up at her and she said, "That is really wonderful. I love that picture.... What a shame it is electronic". That didn't seem to connect in my mind. Earlier I mentioned to her that these drawings printed out very nicely and emailed perfectly. There was no slight in it being electronic as far as I could comprehend. I wanted to understand, so I said,
"What do you mean, it's a shame it's electronic."
She moved into the aisle an looked me squarely in the face, as if I needed to read her lips. I thought she spoke to me in a little slower and more precise than necessary tone. She made i sound so important that it woke me from my drawing trance.
"It's electronic," she said, "you have to turn it off... we're landing!"
As you were,
Thursday, July 14, 2011
I am off to the Vent Convention in Kentucky. They are honoring my hero, mentor and friend Jimmy Nelson and I want to be there when they do. The host of the evening asked that my presence be a secret, so I have not talked about going here in the blog. Several people have asked me if I was going and I had to either pretend to ignore or give a silly answer. Since it started yesterday I guess I am okay in tipping the surprise. I am not staying long, only long enough to visit with Jimmy and see the permanent Jay Johnson display at Vent Haven.
So, depending on the Ft Mitchell wifi connections I will blog when I can for the next few days. Check back in and I will do what I can to document the experience without the use of the words odd or weird.
As you were,
Wednesday, July 13, 2011
I don't know if it is playing in the rest off the country, but Los Angeles is just two days away from what the media is calling Car-meggdon. It is an event born totally of the Southern California love affair between the car and their evil partner the freeway. The traffic in Los Angeles is legendary and local journeys are expressed as a formula of distance multiplied by time of day. From my house to LAX Airport at 4:00AM it takes 20 minutes, at 4:00PM it averages an hour. Either way you have to take the 405, not just 405, THE 405. Freeways in Los Angeles are so important their number must be proceeded by an article of speech. It is also acceptable to refer to them by their proper name like THE Santa Monica freeway, the San Diego Freeway or the Harbor Freeway. You get the idea that the freeways here are necessary monsters that demand the respect of the locals.
The 405 or, the name we use to confuse the tourist, the San Diego Freeway, is one of the most used, most crowded and most necessary arteries from the valley to the westside and the link to the airport. It is so important and such a problem at times that the city has decided to widen it and add carpool lanes due to be finished by 2013.
For the most part the construction has been done at night when several lanes can be closed with the least interruption of service. But there is a bridge over the freeway at Mulholland Drive that must be completely demolished because its span is not wide enough. The time has come to complete that step of the project. It will require complete closure of the 405 for ten miles, both ways cutting the expanse of the LA sprawl in half for 52 hours this weekend. The resulting traffic problems has been dubbed Car-meggdon.
Unfortunately I can not just stay at home and lounge in the pool like the media is telling us to do during the closure. I must travel by air. I was scheduled to leave out of LAX and return during Car-meggdon. The only solution was to change my routing and fly through the Burbank Airport which is on my side of town. It will require me to take two planes to get to my gig and three planes to get back. Ah the glamor of show biz.
As you were,
Tuesday, July 12, 2011
|King of Spades, Queen of Diamonds, Seven of Diamonds,|
Joker and Credit Card
Monday, July 11, 2011
Sunday, July 10, 2011
|One of my personal Zombies|
Friday, July 08, 2011
Oh and by the way, now that the Casey Anthony Trial is over can we fire Nancy Grace? Send her home and take her holier than thou ass off television. She has become more irritating than Judge Judy, but without the charm. If I were to cast the Snow White, Nancy Grace would be the evil queen. If I wanted a poster girl for what is wrong with the legal system in this country, I would hire "helmet hair Nancy". There is nothing more irritating than an aging cheerleader who has become a know it all.