Saturday, March 31, 2012

Today's poem up for autopsy is from my child hood.  It may be the first poem that I ever memorized and it certainly shows.  Let's get right to it shall we?
Ooey Gooey was a worm
And a mighty worm was he
He sat upon a railroad track 
The train he did not see,
Ooey Gooey. 
The rhyming meter of this poem is ABAC.  A normal couplets, the most simple pattern form is ABAB. 
A Couplets is a Stanza of only two lines which usually rhyme. Shakespearean (also called Elizabethan and English) sonnets usually end in a couplet and are a pair of lines that are the same length and usually rhyme and form a complete thought. William Shakespeare makes use of couplets in more complex rhyme schemes.
Here are a couple of examples of couplets that the Poetry Coroner has certified alive and well.
True wit is nature to advantage dress'd;
What oft was thought, but ne'er so well express'd.
— Alexander Pope
Whether or not we find what we are seeking
is idle, biologically speaking.
— Edna St. Vincent Millay

It would appear that these poems have something to say, metered correctly and are in good health. Ooey Gooey is a novelty poem that attempts to be funny by causing the reader to anticipate the standard couplets form then changes at the last minute.  This change is supposed to be a double entente making it a statement of the reality of worm guts on a rail road track rather than the actual rhyme. With out the life giving finish it would appear to be DOA.

Poetry Coroner's report on "Ooey Gooey"
Current condition: Deceased
Cause of Death: Lack of proper anticipated meter and rhyme

Friday, March 30, 2012

Weakly Apologies
Time once again for my weak apologies.  With a change.  I will apologize to the people that I didn't mention this week.
1) Frosty, Heidi and Frank
2) Mitt Romeney
3) Rick Santatorium
4) Rush Limbo
5) Ronald Raygun
6) The Supreme Court
7) Cross dressing, Van Nuys Detective, Dennis Derr
8) Humming birds
9) The Jersey Shores
10) Dick "if I only had a heart" Chaney

And anyone else who wanted to be mentioned in the blog but wasn't.

A special shout out to Peter Marshall on his birthday.  Happy Birthday Peter...
Azure wear,

Thursday, March 29, 2012

For me TAO is short hand for  the "Two And Only".  After writing the title of my show so many times there was a need to shorten the phrase to avoid carpel tunnel syndrome. I realize philosophically TAO  has a different meaning to most everyone else, and even a different pronunciation. Here is the kangi... Of course you would pronounce it Dow.
By definition "it is the way, the path or the guiding spiritual principle behind something."  Loa Tzu wrote on the idea of Taoism centuries ago. When I was in High School the book entitled "The Tao of Motorcycle repair" was published. It mingled eastern and western philosophy through the metaphor of motor cycle repair.  Later there was "The Tao of Pooh" which created a philosophy out of Winnie the Pooh's life. Perhaps it is time for a new Book of TAO...So here it is my abridged version of: 
The TAO of the BOO
Three Rules to live by:
Be in the moment.  Boo is always in the moment. Everything's an adventure to be approached with equal vigor.

Only  acceptance.  Boo accepts my actions without judgement or reaction. Boo will never "un-friend me".

Off with Squirrels.  Boo believes with dedication in total squirrel eradication.

Unfortunately the Tao of the Boo falls apart here. Bad behavior toward squirrels flies in the face of unconditional acceptance. It does, however, strongly support the concept of being in the moment.  It becomes a philosophical enigma.  The metaphor falls apart. Boo is a dog neither a motorcycle nor cartoon character. I need more meditative substance and quiet reflection.  I think the Book of the Tao of the Boo needs more work, but who has a quiet time to think and write when the dog is barking at squirrels all day?

As you were,

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Digital Sheep's Clothing 
In the LA Times yesterday there was a feature article about social media. It seems that social media is now being used to trash opponents in the political arena with effective results. They are Trojan horse sites and phony Facebook pages that seem to be in support of a candidate when in reality it is full of half truths and complete lies. There have even been some cases of bogus Twitter accounts.  Supporters think they are following their candidate when in actuality they are being propagandised by the opposition. Given the notion that everything is taken as fact on the Internet it becomes a problem for the truth to rise to the digital surface. 
Ordinarily I would argue on the side of freedom of speech no matter what the means of transmission, but this is different. These attacks are made anonymously with no recourse for slander or libel. Freedom of speech means that an individual has the right to speak what is on his mind as long as it does not infringe on another persons freedoms. These wolves in digital sheep's clothing have nothing to do with freedom of speech.  I don't see that the constitution protects libel snipers who hide in the web. 
To have the right to free speech you must also incur the responsibility for speaking. Freedom of speech comes with the amendment that we also have the right to face our accuser.  How can anyone have the right to face someone with opposing views if the accuser is faceless and unidentifiable? Without that right there can be no right of free speech. Say what you will about what you believe but do it out in the open and own what you say. Hiding behind a computer screen spewing lies is not a constitutionally sanctioned freedom. Anyone who posts something anonymously does so for the simple reason they do not want to take responsibility for the statement.  It is cowardly and restricts the freedom of those who have the courage of standing by what they say. If you don't know the source how can you evaluate the statement?
With more powerful tools new rules are needed.  The safety precautions for using a hand saw by necessity must be different than those taken when using a powerful electric saw.  This is responsibility and it is no less important to be responsible for such a powerful tool as the Internet.  Say what you mean, but own what you say and be ready to take the cheers or the geers of repercussion.
As you were,

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

To Noel Paulene 
Just after I heard that Nicki and Jeff were expecting a little girl I drew this picture. It was an attempt to channel the idea of her arrival. Art is thought expressed in form, but since my thoughts are dyslexic at the least, it may need explanation.
In my concept, Noel's arrival happens on stage in front of people at a theatre. Beginning her dance of life. A Dancer taking her first bow. The performer's first solo. (Okay... so to a carpenter everything is a nail, to a performer everything happens on stage - I didn't say the thought expressed was deep just dyslexic.)  
I intended to give this sketch too her but I haven't yet.  I think it is a matter of timing. The more I thought about it, what does a four week old great niece need with this sort of stuff.  It is not even colorful enough for her to focus on at a month old. 
So I figure I will publish it here, on this blog, now. Hide it in the archives of the digital human history on the world wide web. It will exist here in the ether world where ever information and blogs like this are stored. It is a virtual message in a bottle thrown into the digital ocean. She will discover it some day at just the right moment in time.
I fancy that she will discover it while conducting some ancient digital archeology assignment for school. In a future google global search for her own name Noel Paulene Valeri ... this  blog will get a "hit". Although buried among every other text containing her name it will be there somewhere.  
Some day in the future Noel will be reading this entry and looking at the picture dedicated to her. She will understand a lot about the Great Dunka Day from looking at this drawing.  We will connect over distance, space and time. She will faintly smile and remember : "That's right my great uncle did NOT make a living drawing."
What ever it is that leads you here, and when ever you find it, Noel, know that a lot of people have been thinking about you even before you were born.
As you were,

Monday, March 26, 2012

Do you want to Upgrade?
Years of computer use reminds me that "do you want to upgrade?" is an ominous question. I suppose it appeals to the word-smithing side of my nature with a shout out to the capitalist in me.  The mere phrase uses the imagery of words to entice the reader.  In this case the consumer.
"Upgrade" is such a good word. Everyone is looking for an upgrade of some kind. If not physically then they're looking for an upgrade emotionally. An upgrade is a good thing; it is something you want. It is the very opposite of a downgrade which nobody wants.
If you get an upgrade to your seat on a plane, a hotel room, credit score or a rental car that is a very good thing.  It means by saying yes, your enjoyment factor will increase. Upgrade implies that your life will be better with it than without it. This is true in almost every aspect of life except one.
I just got a message. "Would you like to upgrade to the new Blogger interface?" It is like the flame to the moth, I can't resist.  Forgetting all that I have come to know,  I fall victim to my own romantic myth surrounding the words "upgrade" and "new".
Could there be anything better than a new upgrade?
"New" is such a good word. Almost as good as "upgrade" in the emotional imagery department. Everyone wants something new. New is better. New is the latest thing, New is something we have never experienced before,  or so we have been told.
Therefore, if an "upgrade" - which is something better than I have now- is "new" - which is something I have not experienced nor encountered before - then it stands to reason that I want this "new upgrade" immediately.
It is so easy to click on a computer button.  We assume that we know what it means when we tell a computer to do something.  We don't know. We don't know if it will take seconds or will we have to wait for the entire world wide web to reboot? Will I spend the rest of the day trying to recover files? How long will it take to upgrade everything else?  Although, it is most certainly the first problem encountered, time is the least of the problems ultimately. The new Blogger interface upgrade has taken place and what I am looking at while blogging now is different.
I write on an entirely alien landscape. The new upgrade to the interface is stark and bleak. All the romance of the words "new and upgrade" have been taken away.  It is functional and mechanical. But does it need to be more? Perhaps not. What is the contribution of the canvas to the expression of art? 
The old grade was not better nor was it worse than this one, it is just a change.  Although a change is always growth, and an upgrade is a change, an upgrade is not always growth.  This upgrade is, after all the romantic notions of how this entire experience would be better after it happened, just a different view out the same window.
As you were,

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Announcing a new Literary Feature from the single minded, single staffed blog publication of the 
The World is a Stage.  
Welcome to The Poet's Corner. I am aware that the banner heading says Coroner. But I missed it and signed off on the drawing so perhaps it was actually meant to say that. This weekly feature will be a place to analise, compromise and lionize the literary form known as the Poem.
According to the dictionary a poem is : A verbal composition designed to convey experiences, ideas, or emotions in a vivid and imaginative way, characterized by the use of language chosen for its sound and suggestive power and by the use of literary techniques such as meter, metaphor, and rhyme. 
In this feature we will use those very techniques which we scholars call the three "M's" Meter, Metaphor and Rhyme.
There are thousands of wonderful vibrant imaginative poems written by people every where.  These poets spread the curve from brilliant thinkers to talented word smiths. There are really good poems in the world well worthy of discussion.
However, we will talk about none of those poems.  We will deal with only marginal quality, locally grown poems that have expired.  They are dead, gone, past their prime.  These are the poems that the literary minds will debate on this blot under this new feature. 
We will get to the bottom of why these poems died.  What caused their death? Who was responsible? Or was it natural causes from age or misuse? 
 We have just enough time to mention the dead poem up for discussion today: 
The Blog for today
Was frittered away
By a muse in gray corduroy
Other words to smith
And Collaborate with
So there's nothing left to say.
This is what you would call a dead poem. It was dead on arrival due to lack of substance or lack of subtleties which also could have contributed to its demise.  So, the Poet's Coroner rules: Sate of the Poem  - Dead         Cause of death - lack of proper preparations.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Weakly Apologies
In an effort to keep peace in the world of Ether, and to counter the Karma incurred by errors of omission as well as commission. It is now time to offer my apologies.  The World is A Stage,  all of its staff members, writers, tech experts, artist and editors are truly sorry to all anyone especially those on the list below for writing, drawing or implying anything that might have been taken the wrong way:

1. Frosty, Heidi and Frank
2. The Floon Family Folies
3. Chris Lockhart
4. Marge
5. The Irish
6. St. Juantuminy Swithens.
7. The Tony Awards®
8. PDS
9. Broadway Gypsys
10.  Sandi Asbury
11. Fred and Ethel Mertz
12. The Mistress of Dragonbone
13. Ring Worms
14. Jay Sandrich and Linda
15. Corduroy 
16.  Ducks in general
BUT... in no way do I apologize for anything said about Rush Limbaugh, Rick Santatorium or the anonymous jerk that called me an idiot for my post about the Binewski's. To those people I would like to say: "May your crotch be infested with a thousand fleas and your arms be too short to scratch."

17. Now... I have to apologize to David Roomie for using his curse.

As you were,

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The Blog for today
Was frittered away
By a muse in gray corduroy
Other words to smith
And Collaborate with
So there's nothing left to say.

Ash your ere, (Gaelic)

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

My Terpsichore (tûrp-sĭk'ə-rē)
Fundamental fact of Art:  Art is art.  Soup is soup. Sometimes Soup can be Art.  But,  Art  can never be soup. JKJ
The Professional Dancers Society, PDS, is a non-profit group that is associated with the Actors Fund. Their moto is Dancers helping Dancers. Along with the actors fund the PDS has been able to provide millions of dollars for dancers in need. Sometimes they need medical support for the injuries they have sustained dancing, sometimes they need what every one needs when they get to a certain age, security and a safe place to live. PDS provides dancers with that kind of help. I think they are doing a great job.  I am a proud supporter. This is not a paid endorsement. I am all for the world of dance. I am invested in that world as much as the world of ventriloquism. 
I married my way into the world of professional dancers. I will never be a gypsy but slowly I have become accepted in Sandi's dancing community and it has become part of my own world as well. There is one thing to say about the Gypsy chorus, dancers know how to have fun no matter what age they are.  There is a personality that is common to those who use movement as their instrument and art. I fell in love with that personality trait and a woman who embodied it.  I found my gypsy love and married her quickly.
Sandi always said her goal was not fame or fortune (obviously... cause she married a ventriloquist), she wanted to be the best dancer she could be.  She wanted the respect and the acceptance of her peers, other great dancers. To watch her work constantly with so many celebrated dancers on television, movies and in the theatre was proof to me that she certainly had that peer respect and acceptance. 
However, the definitive acknowledgement of Sandi's career came Sunday at the PDS Gypsy Luncheon fund raiser honoring Julie Andrews.  This is the 25th anniversary of the PDS and most of the past honorees were there. It was a star studded event with Carol Burnett, Ann Margret, Dick Van Dyke, Carl Reiner, Mitzi Gaynor, Marge Champion and Nigel Lithgow, not to mention the honoree Julie  Andrews. Also taking a bow on that stage was Sandi Asbury-Johnson. The show sold out the Golden Globe room at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. It was a very special event and day.
But first there needs to be some explanation so one can fully appreciate Sandi's honor. To be clear, a dancer in the chorus of a Broadway musical is lovingly called a gypsy. 
There is a lot of cross over between Broadway dancers and LA dancers. In fact most of the dancers on television and in the movies are also Broadway gypsies. When the PDS was chartered on the west coast they borrowed a tradition from Broadway... the Gypsy Robe. 
The Gypsy Robe goes back 53 years as a superstition and ritual of Broadway musical theatre. No musical on Broadway has opened since 1959 with out the presentation of the Gypsy Robe. The legend is that a robe was worn in the 1920's on opening night by Ziegfield Follies starlets for good luck.
The Professional Dancers Society Gypsy Robe
worn by 2012  Recipient  Sandi Johnson
Here is how it goes even today. On the opening night of every Broadway musical the current keeper of the Gypsy Robe will come to the theatre and present it to the next in line.  That would be the gypsy dancer who has the most Broadway credits, usually one of the older dancers in the chorus. There is a time honored ritual participated in by the entire cast. The gypsy robe gets decorated by attaching a symbol of that show and is passed on during the opening night of the next new musical to open. Mementos and  show logos keep getting added to the robe. Only gypsies are eligible to receive and wear the robe, neither principle actors nor stars of the show are qualified. It is an honor bestowed on gypsies by gypsies themselves. This year Sandi's brother Cleve was the recipient of the Broadway Gypsy Robe on opening night of "How to Succeed in Business". Finally, when there is no more room to attach anything, a new robe is created and the old one is retired to a vault for  safe keeping and posterity at the Actors Equity office in New York City. 
So,  25 years ago the PDS began a West Coast version of that tradition.  The only difference is that the PDS robe is decorated with items from the honoree's career. The PDS robe honors the  person, the gypsy his or her self, not just the show.  Now Sandi has been awarded the LA Gypsy Robe and she will add her name to the legendary Gypsy Robe . 
I could not be more proud of my favorite dancer, acclaimed princess of the gypsies, my forever love, the spirit of Terpsichore, mother of my children, my way shower  and wife... Sandra Asbury-Johnson.
As you were,

Monday, March 19, 2012

Rumor Resolved
I have included this text in the comments section of the blog about the real Fred and Ethel last week. I knew if the idea was put forward someone would have more information about the Floon Family Follies. Unfortunately I did not get the information on the Floons like I thought I would.  However, I did get the facts about the characters of Fred and Ethel Mertz.  Ironically it came from a friend whom I did not know was also a Desilu expert.  Below is the information from Chris Lockhart.
According to Madelyn Pugh, who wrote every I LOVE LUCY episode including
the pilot - Fred & Ethel were not based on real people.

The name MERTZ came from a local family from Pugh's hometown. Years
after the show became famous, she was always worried that the real Mertz
family was angry with her.
But she bumped into one of the adult children who told her that the
entire family got a big kick out of the "fame." Pugh could not remember
where the names Fred and Ethel came from, but she was pretty sure they
were pulled from the cast of characters out of the life of her writing
partner Bob Carroll, Jr - as was often the tradition.

According to the article, the real life Fred & Ethel were performers.
TV's Fred and Ethel Mertz were vaudevillians, but it was an afterthought
- not part of the original character creations. The writers wanted to
include a brief song during the first season and asked actors Frawley
and Vance if they could sing. The writers were surprised to learn that
both had extensive Broadway musical training. (Vance was even in the
original cast of ANYTHING GOES.)

So, a showbiz backstory was created to utilize their song & dance
talents - which the writers thought would open up all new
possibilibities for plotlines.

So, based on the recollections of the show's creators - the similarities
with the real life F & E are merely coincidental.
Chris Lockhart
Thank you Chris. Thank you Marge.
As you were,
Magic Trick
To stop an individual wheel from turning all you have to do is look directly it. The wheel you are looking at will not move until you look away.
Looking directly at the moving wheels can cause temporary confusion. 
As you were,

Sunday, March 18, 2012

St. Swithens Day
It is the 18th of March a day that every true Irishman remembers with traditional headaches and bloodshot eyes.  Yes it is St. Swithens Day named after St. Juantuminy Swithens the patron saint of the hangover.  Not enough attention is paid St. Swithens but his day is remembered more clearly than St. Patricks Day.
So here is to St. Swithens, we shall celebrate with an aspirn and a stiff cup of coffee and avoid the notion that the hair of the dog will do any good.
As you were,

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Everyone's Irish Today

"May you be in heaven an hour before the Devil knows your dead."

As ye weir,

Friday, March 16, 2012

Hidden Treasures 
I once heard of a guy who was redoing his house years ago.  I'm not sure what his business was but he had a large number of heavy stock posters in his possession.  He couldn't figure a use for them but decided that they would make acceptable insulation in one of the bedroom walls.  So between the studs he placed hundreds of these posters and closed up the walls.
Years go by and the house changes ownership several times. One owner decided to remodel the very bedroom and when they opened the walls they found all the old posters.  It seems that they were created by and artist and a lithographic company that had become famous.  This home owner was now in possession of hundreds of posters that now had become valuable.  He was able to pay for the construction with the funds made off the sale of the valuable poster.
Several years ago we were redoing the bathroom next to my bedroom/office at the house. The studs were open to the room and the insulation was about to go in. That is when I got the call that my off Broadway show had just been nominated for a Lortel Award.  It was the first nomination of any kind that the show had received. 
Thinking of the posters in the wall I took a single poster for the Off Broadway Show and with the contractors help we attached it to the inner wall of the shower.  It is mainly a guest bath now, but the few times I have showered there I always remember that I am facing a hidden poster of my show. Like the hidden playbill in my Tony, it may never be found in the future.  I am not so concerned.  For me it is like sending a message out in space, or throwing a bottle with a message into the ocean (which I have also done off the coast of Hawaii). I don't know why that fascinates me, but it always will. 
Whomever is reading this? My hope is you have some idea that fascinates the imagination of your soul as well.
As you were,

Thursday, March 15, 2012

The Tony Award® Trophy
One of the cool things about a Tony Trophy is that  the medallion itself is engraved. On one side it has the logo crest of the comedy and tragedy masks, the other side is engraved with the name of the award and the person/show it was awarded to.  It is the only award that is actually engraved.  An Oscar for example is the figurine  on a stand with a name plate engraved on its stand. The Oscar itself is not unique except for the name plate. 

The Tony®Award is mounted on a semi circular frame on a black stand that allows both sides of the trophy to be displayed. So it spins on the frame. It is the ultimate temptation for an Attention Deficit Adult like myself who is also a superstitious romantic.  Since I got the Tony Award® I have taken to the practice of spinning it on its frame for good luck.  As you might imagine I have needed a lot of luck in recent years.

This obsessive compulsive tendency has caused the frame to loosen on the stand. It reached critical mass recently and the entire frame and medallion began to wobble. There seemed to me no way to tighten it back up.  
I think one can send it back to the American Theatre Wing and get it repaired, but that seemed like a big hassle and it would mean that I would not have the Trophy for a few weeks.  If you were me you would think, "there goes my chance at good luck for a few weeks". I set out to see if there was anything I could do to fix it myself.
Lest you think that I am an novice at performing delicate repairs, let it be known that I have done such surgery on various puppets in the past. How difficult could a static trophy be compared to the clock works inside a vent puppet head?
The first problem I encountered is the type of screws attaching the base. They are not a standard screw head, in fact it requires a square tool. It needed a screw driver with a square point. I was sure that such a tool existed but did not own one.
To find such a tool I took an impression of the hole with silly puddy. I find that silly puddy is good for many things and I am never without. Using this impression of the head of the screw I went to the hardware store to see if I could match it.  After looking a long time and asking several "helpers" about the tool, I finally found what I thought would work.  Had it not been the right tool this blog entry would be filled with expletives. 
Using that square tool I was able to open the bottom of the stand to discover that the frame is held on by a "nut and screw shaft".  There is no way to tighten the frame unless you open up the bottom this way.  It was not difficult and the repair was done.
However, the stand is actually hollow, an enclosed box hiding the nut and bolt. This proved too tempting for me not to do something with.  My solution was to find an original playbill from Broadway, and take the credit page and the front cover off.  With a couple of folds the two sheets of paper slid nicely into the secret box. I closed it up with my new special tool and the trophy is as good as the night I got the Tony Award®.
I can't imagine that anyone will ever open it up to find the hidden playbill. The medallion is the prize the base is standard to all Tonys. However, some day it may be discovered and it will be the documentation to the show that actually won the award.  That makes it one of a kind in very many ways.
I started to film the repair and post it on YouTube under the title, "How to Repair a Tony Award®" but I did not think the American Theatre Wing would approve. 
Now you know the secret.  Mum is the word.
As you were,

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Joke of the Day - that day was

September 4, 1939

First Banana:  
Who is that over there?
Second Banana:  
Over there? What?
First Banana:
 Over there,  is that Irene           Dunne?
Second Banana: 
Is she done? Not only is she done, she is over done if you ask me? 

I am heartened by the fact that I actually posted that joke in the medium of cyberspace. Even though there is instant communication from bad blog jokes to instant comments, there is still no acceptable emoticon for a sustained groan.
As you were,

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Fred and Ethel 
Assuming the rumor about "I Love Lucy" basing the characters of the Mertz on a real life couple is true, here is more evidence that could confirm the notion. (Previous article on the Floon Family Follies). I was sent this picture from one of my blog readers of the real Fred and Ethel Floon (the faded picture to the right.) It is in better shape than the photo I found of the Floon Troupe, and clearly shows Ethel and Fred Floon in more detail. Unfortunately other than the photograph, the reader did not have much more information other than being aware of the performers and the troupe. 
To me there is a slight resemblance of the couple on the right to William Frawley and Vivian Vance who played the Mertz. Of course like a conspiracy theory it is easier to show connections working backwards than forwards.  So it is easier to see the resemblance to the actors who played Fred and Ethel Mertz looking back in time. 
According to those who saw the Floon Family Follies, Fred and Ethel were song and dance performers. They had an act in early Vaudeville but later toured with a troupe hawking early patent medicine. Ethel was a somewhat dizzy belting singer, and Fred played a frugal curmudgeon in the act. Ethel seemed to be the comedian of the act while Fred was more of the straight man. Certainly not the caliber of Burns and Allen but contemporaries. They eventually retired from show business and became landlords of a brown stone building in New York City. They never performed professionally after their retirement, but were willing to jump into one of their old routines at a moments notice. Seems to me that is the very back story of the imaginary Mertz couple.
But there is even more compelling evidence to the rumor. William Frawley was not the person that Lucille Ball wanted to play the role of Fred Mertz originally. The original actor that Lucille Ball wanted to play Fred Mertz was Gale Gordon. At the time "I Love Lucy" went into production Gale Gordon was obligated to another television series. On the later episodes of "The Lucy Show" Gale Gordon was available to play the comic foil role of Mr. Mooney.  The resemblance of Fred Floon to Gale Gordon is not as strong, but still the same type of actor.  However, this is the Internet and everything is true on the Internet. 
I was part of the generation that thought  Paul McCarthy was dead based upon "evidence" hidden in the Beatles Albums of the day. That proved not to be the truth, and this could be the same. I love a good story and I am a conspiracy nut.  This does not have the element of a conspiracy but it is an interesting story. There could be some people still around who know about the Floons who can either substanciate this rumor or totally debunk it.  Being the web it could be that this blog entry will find them.  I will certainly update any more information that I get on the Floon Family Follies and its relation to "I Love Lucy".  Until then.
As you were,

Monday, March 12, 2012

The Great Dunka Day and the Mistress of DragonBone
My friend John McLean says that a useful definition of a myth is "a story that never happened but is always true."  The seeming contradiction of that statement is compelling to me. The Great Dunka Day and the Mistress of DragonBone certainly fits the definition.  The difference is that this myth has yet to be told. 
On Saturday, March 10, 2012 at 8:12 AM my niece Nicki and her husband had their first child.  She is a beautiful girl named Noel Paulene. I was in Dallas, where she was born, over the weekend and actually got to meet her about three hours after she arrived.
My niece decided that she and Jeff would not tell anyone her name until the family met her in person, geographical restrictions withstanding.  I just happened to be in the city on business and got to be part of the "meeting/welcoming committee".  
I have always been very close to Nicki. In her younger years her attempt to articulate Uncle Jay came out Dunka Day.  That stuck and even now I am Dunka Day or just Dunka if the greeting is less formal.  As usual her timing, having Noel when I was there, is in keeping with her incredible sharing and loving nature.  
Also in attendance was my Mom.  This is her first Great Grand baby. Noel was named after my Dad and her. Dad's middle name was Noel and Mom's middle name is Paulene.  Dad passed on last September only 6 months before his name sake's arrival.  I am sure they had a chance to hang out together before she caught the "womb bus" to Earth. 
Noel will start her journey at one of the residences on DragonBone, my brothers ranch in the country side of north of Dallas. I have written about DragonBone and the fabulous Smokin' Dragon Pub on the property.  I am sure that I will write about it again. It is a special place to me. It is not a working ranch or farm, it is more of a park. Go Karts, walking paths, lakes,  giant swing sets, gazebos and an incredible playhouse dot the 70 plus acres. It was envisioned to be the perfect place for "city" kids to explore.  It is still a favorite destination for my two grown boys as it is for me.  As we toasted Noel's arrival my brother dubbed his first Grand - Daughter, the Mistress of DragonBone. 
In the pub is a leather bond journal with the tooled picture of a Dragon on the front. It keeps a record of the visitors, friends and legends who are invited to this exclusive club.  As one might assume, my Brother and I celebrated well into the wee hours on the Saturday night of Noel's birth.  We realized after too late that it was daylight savings time change so we celebrated even longer than we thought. 
In my post to the Pub journal I decided to write Noel a note for future reading.  Since I am her Great Uncle I signed the entry, Your Great Dunka Day.  I liked the sound of it. (my actors ego would like any title that contains the word "great".)  It is the beginning of a wonderful fairytale myth on our adventures together.  I have many things to share with the Mistress of DragonBone, but not as many as she will share with her Great Dunka Day.  First chapter begins today. 
Once upon a time in the enchanted land of DragonBone, a child was born to the Prince and Princess.  She arrived while the Great Dunka Day was meeting with the Fifinellas who had gathered nearby. Dunka rushed to meet the new mistress with great joy. Pinky Poo, the master of the blue bear, and Slim the Scarecrow were there with the matron of ParkView and the DragonBone King  and Queen. The Kingdom celebrated and a feast was prepared by local merchants.  
The King and the Great Dunka toasted this blessing well into the night soothing the Dragons in their lair, talking of great adventures and the new journey that had just begun.....  
To be continued......
As you were,

Friday, March 09, 2012

I don't want to embarrass anyone but this is a direct quote from a person who commented on my "Rush To Judgement" blog.

"This all is not an opinion, but traceable, verifiable, observable, fact."

You can read the entire missive in the comment section of Wednesday's blog.Read it or not, agree with it or not, I can't let it go without a comment in return.
First of all, I am always suspicious of any noun (particularly the word "fact") that needs to be modified by three adjectives. I am also skeptical of anyone who states that a narrative is "not an opinion". Of course it is an opinion. Even if someone states the truth, it is an opinion of the truth, not the truth itself. As the Buddhists say "a finger that points toward the moon is not the moon".
However, the modifier that confounds me the most in this narrative is the word "Observable". This could be the most unreliable method of determining a fact there could be. Observable? Really. Is it a fact because it is observable? In what reality is the observable an unqualified fact?
If I am watching a sunset on the beach the "observable" fact is that the sun is slowly sinking into the ocean. If I am in a desert the "observable" fact is that there is a lake of water on the horizon. Magicians rely on the idea that the observable is not always the fact of what is happening on stage.
The fact is that although one can "observe" the sun sinking in to the ocean, that is not what is happening. Nor is there a lake in the desert when one observes it on the horizon, it is a mirage.
When someone we like says something we disagree with we call that "freedom of speech". When someone we don't like says something we disagree with we call that blasphemy. That is not a fact that is my opinion on human nature.
As you were,

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Rush to Judgement
I did not post the link to a Credo site advocating a boycott of Rush Limbaugh's advertisers on my FaceBook page. When you share a computer and forget to logout of your Facebook page another person can post a link accidently. It is done before they realize it is not their page. It should NOT have been a big deal. It's Facebook for Pete's sake. FaceBook, where people pretend to own a farm.
However, it started a heated discussion about Mr. Limbaugh and his actions with people commenting on other commentors comments all playing out on my wall. Both sides of the arguement were dedicated to their point of view. No one changed anyone elses mind. It simply crowded my page and forwarded emails of the chatter to my in box. I would not have posted such a link because - I don't care.
Here's the reason. Whatever Rush Limbaugh is, he is also an attention whore, or attention slut if you prefer. All he wants, is attention. He wants to be talked about. He wants to matter. He wants to insert himself into the National dialogue during this political year, having no real qualifications to serve in government nor even run for office.
You can not hurt Rush Limbaugh by attacking his advertisers, nor calling him names. The only thing that will upset Rush is if you dismiss him as completely irrelevant. Which he is. Stop listening to him and stop talking about him. If people become outraged at what he says, it proves, in his mind, that he matters. He does not. He will never matter. He is a radio "mouth jockey", nothing more.
I do not listen to his program. The only reason I knew he had made his remarks is because people talked about it. They are still talking about it. Rush is loving the attention. Even as he apologises he continues to feed the flames. When this controversy fades he will attempt to start another fire storm with some other outrageous accusation. That is what he does, and with no other desernable talents that is all he can do.
Rush Limbaugh is neither a comedian, a singer, an entertainer, intellectual nor elected official. Because of this he is neither funny, entertianing, can't carry a tune and is shallow in his discourse. He is the filler between ads for companies wanting to sell you something. He is a eunoch giving sex advice. He has no authority, responsibility nor power over anything that affects my life, or anyone elses.
Stop talking about Rush Limbaugh. Which is what I plan to do right now.
As you were,

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

The Floon Family

I discovered an interesting group. It was a group of performers billed as the Floon Family Follies. This traveling show was the last of the old time Medicine Shows that traveled around the country in the mid to late 40's. They entertained and sold an ointment that was "good for what ailed you". Although they were not all family the core of the group was Ethel and Fred Floon (in this picture the couple sitting in the wagon).
The group was one of many that traveled America in the early days of the 1900's. When the era of the traveling medicine show ended in the early fifties, the Floons took their money and invested in a brown stone building in New York City. It is rumored that when the creators were looking for the "next door neighbors" in the TV series "I Love Lucy" they patterned the Mertz after Ethel and Fred Floon, even keeping their first names.
It is believed that a ventriloquist performed with the troupe for a season. I have not found a photograph with him in the picture. It would be impossible to identify him without a photo since he took on the Floon pseudonym of Kent Floon. I have located a picture of Fred and Ethel alone that is much better quality than this old photo. I am doing some research and will publish it with a detailed story of their lives in a blog to come.
Whether the connection to "I Love Lucy" is valid or not it is still a fascinating story of how entertainers used to make a living. Those days are gone now and although I tend to romanticize them I am sure it was a hard life. I guess when the only entertainment people ever got to experience was live and of the moment it sounds great to me.
As you were,

Monday, March 05, 2012

Sunday, March 04, 2012

There are some rituals and traditions that have no reason to exists other than repetition.  This is a case in point. It is the "Changing of the Shoe" ceremony.  Out with the old and in with the new. This tradition was started a year ago when there was  also a change of shoe.  You can see the original post by clicking HERE.  I was going to write the same story about my Sunday shoes again, but if you clicked back you are already up to speed.  
Yesterday I retired my old tennis shoes and bought a new pair.  Sandi did not like my white ones and referred to them as my "nurse shoes." So I bought grey shoes this time to end the discussion. 
Once you have started a tradition you have to follow up.  Besides it's a Sunday, traditionally a slow news day, and even networks throw in fluff.  I can think of nothing that is more fluffy than a shoe story. At least it is not a Facebook video of me raking leaves with my dog. Wait... no it is too late to film that. Why work that hard on a slow news Sunday.
There is some consistency to the fact that the original story is from my childhood and about my Sunday shoes, and here it is Sunday... A slow news day.  Did I mention it is a slow news day? 
So there you are. A blog with nothing of real interest or merit. It happens in all forms of publishing and broadcast. When you commit to a daily public communication sometimes you just run out of clever things to say and you inadvertently resort to grasping at nonsense just to keep it going. In those times when you've got nothing of real value to say, you come up with things that are so stupid it exposes the superficial nature of your actual abilities.  Just ask Rush Limbaugh.  
As you were,

Saturday, March 03, 2012

Life as it Should Be
There's a joke that goes like this.  An Actor comes home to find his house vandalized and his wife who has been sexually assaulted. Although he demands to know who has done this awful deed the wife is reluctant to tell him.  Finally she says "Okay, while you were gone your agent came to the house.  I tried to  fight him off but he attacked and raped me."  The actor looks at his wife and says excitedly, "My agent came to house!?"
So last evening we are having a wonderful dinner with  our friends Jay and Linda Sandrich.  My friend, favorite director and mentor says. "How is your new Dog?"  
I said, "How did you know about Boo?" We had not seen them since the dog took over my house.
He said, "I read your blog."  Jay Sandrich reads my blog!?  I guess I have to work a little harder on these entries in the future.  
I would still hold Jay in the highest regard even if he didn't read my blog, but gee whiz. After the years of reading and directing scripts from the best writers in television, I think my blog would fly too far under his radar.  Just goes to show you why everyone loves Jay Sandrich.
Friendship is very important to me.  Friends are the greatest gift the cosmos has to offer, in my opinion. In a business where careers are short and television series shorter it is difficult to remain friends with someone you worked with.  Jay and Linda have been friends, supporters, investors, mentors and very special people to Sandi and me for decades. 
I think when St Peter greets me at the pearly gate he will not ask to see my financial port folio.  He will want to have a look at my address book. He will see all the friends I love to laugh with and say, "Come on in, you are the kind of person we want up here."  With that entrance requirement I could spend eternity with the people I love to hang with the most.  You can keep your streets of gold, give me streets filled with the people I love to laugh with, that is heaven to me.  Unlike all the possessions and things we gather here on earth, memories of the joy shared with friends is something you *can* take with you. 
Don't waste a moment getting together with your friends.
As you were,
(the other)

Friday, March 02, 2012

Weakly Apologies
Editors Note:
In an effort to keep the world a happy place, the management has established a new policy. The World is a Stage will offer Weekly apologies to those who might have been inadvertently offended by a comment written in this blog by Jay Johnson. 
Here is the list of apologies for the week. 

I apologize to the following:
Frosty, Heidi and Frank
Gasoline Stations
The Academy Awards
Rick Santorum
Peter Max
Julie Andrews
Spalding Gray
The American Dream
The Tazman Sea
New iPad users
Dog lovers
Cat meat eaters
and  The Daily Word

As you were,

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Bring Back the 60's
The 1960's, a time of social change, freedom, peace and equality; when love was free and gas was cheap.  There was a social consciousness and a rock and roll search for spiritual enlightenment. This is a tale of those ancient days.
A young man goes on a difficult journey to seek the advice of the Ancient Guru.  After traveling for days he climbs the highest mountain in Tibet to find the Guru's monastery.  The master sits on a pillow in the temple room. Sensing the presence of another person the Guru breaks his mediation, opens his eyes and beacons the young man into the temple. 
"What is it you seek my son?"
"I have come a long way to ask you a question." Said the young man.
"I am old and I have the answers." Says the Guru, "But my time here on this plain is short.  For travelers like yourself I can only answer one question.  Think long and clearly on what that question will be."
The young man thinks carefully and says, "Yes, I know my question."
"Then ask your question," says the Guru, "but come closer for my ears are failing so I do not hear well."  
 The young man steps closer to the Guru and in a clear voice says, "What is my Fate?" 
The Ancient Guru closes his eyes and connects to a higher self.  After a moment of silence his eyes flash open and gaze directly at the young man.  The Guru begins to speak in a distant voice.
"It will be sent to you and only you.  It is only yours to receive and no one else.  And," he continues, "No matter where it is coming from no matter what roads it has traveled it will be delivered to you at the appointed time. It will pass through many places before it gets to you, but you must be there to receive it. You must be there at the appointed time, or else it will be taken back. It may be days before they attempt to deliver it again.  Besides, sometimes you have to sign for it."  The Guru ends his answer and the audience is over.
The young man is perplexed and angry. The answer to his one question was gibberish.  
The Guru closes his eyes to meditate but the young man does not leave.  Breaking all the monastery rules the young man lashes out at the Guru and says, "I have traveled miles and miles on foot in snow and rugged mountain peaks with my one question. This crap is your answer?  I wanted to know my Fate."
"Fate," interrupts the Ancient Guru...  "I thought you said Freight."

As you were,