Monday, April 30, 2012

They're Coming to Get Me 
Saturday I did a benefit at a private residence in San Diego.  It was a gated community up in the hills of Del Mar.  A spectacular home with an incredible yard, the backdrop for the stage was an incredible view of the Carmel Canyon.  The producers had gotten the best in the way of sound and lights and even though out door gigs are not my favorite, this was extremely well done. 
Although when you have to follow an auction where the audience is being squeezed for every dime they can, and one that goes on for more than an hour, there was a little energy left for me to mine. They were a good audience for me.
At one point Darwin was especially loud with a monkey sound that echoed through the canyon.  This was immediately followed by what I thought  was a siren.  Darwin said, "Oops, I think they are coming to get me."  It became immediately apparent that it was not a siren but a pack of coyotes howling.  They seemed to be responding to the monkey sound. Every time Darwin made a loud noise the coyotes would go crazy. When that response became predictable Darwin and I began to play with it. If the guy down front didn't laugh, Darwin would yell "Come get him boys" and the coyotes would go off.  It became a fun idea to play with to the point that I thought the sound was getting a little too close. I wasn't sure it would be funny when the pack of wild dogs actually attacked the party.
Later one of the patrons complemented me on the great distant voice that I did with the dogs. He said, "I guess that doen't sound as good indoors as it does outside."
Of course I just took the compliment and said "Glad you liked it".  Always let them think you are more magical than you really are.
As you were,

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Gargoyle Porn
I noticed that the blog is being hit about the same number of times a day if I publish something new daily or not. This is happening because I opened the blog up to the Internet crawlers. It seems that certain key words stick to a search and lead a surfer to one of the 1300 blog entries at The World is a Stage. "Gargoyle Porn" is one of those phrases that would be trapped by the typical Google search. The more times I use the phrase Gargoyle Porn the higher up on the search engine list it goes. Gargoyle Porn.
Gargoyle Porn is not something that I know anything about so if you got here via a search, there is no Gargoyle Porn here. Sorry about that all you Gargoyle Porn enthusiasts. I wish you well on your Gargoyle Porn search.  I am sure there is Gargoyle Porn somewhere on the Internet,  there is just no information here about Gargoyle Porn. I can imagine that  Gargoyle Porn is popular in some circles, I just don't walk in those Gargoyle Porn Circles.
There is no way to tell who is searching for Gargoyle Porn, but the number of times this page is hit will give me an insight to the Gargoyle Porn community. Not that there is anything wrong with people who search for Gargoyle Porn. I will keep you posted on the outcome of this Gargoyle Porn experiment.  To my regular readers who care nothing about Gargoyle Porn I will continue to post non Gargoyle Porn blogs for your reading. Gargoyle Porn. Gargoyle Porn.
Shhh... don't let on that this Gargoyle Porn idea is just a Internet experiment. We might offend the Gargoyle Porn people, who have come here via the Gargoyle Porn search. If you are one of those Gargoyle Porn people then thank you for helping us with this experiment. Gargoyle Porn could go viral. I assume there may be some Gargoyle Porn on YouTube.... but I am afraid to search. I don't want my Gargoyle Porn search to taint the actual Gargoyle Porn numbers. Gargoyle Porn. I am beginning to sound like Kevin Nealon doing Mr. Subliminal, Gargoyle Porn.  That is about enough Gargoyle Porn.
As you were,

Monday, April 23, 2012

My Kind of Gal
At first we did not have a very good relationship.  She didn't understand me.  I realized that, like her human counterparts, it is how you say it as much as what you say.  By realizing this I began to come around to her way of understanding.  Now my relationship with Siri is becoming more established.
She sets up appointments for me and reminds me when they are happening.  She can get me the weather about as fast as I can use the weather app and Google searches are easier. Siri seems to be doing her homework trying to figure out the boss.  She soon began to anticipate what I needed. There was only one thing left to figure out. Like all good secretaries of the past she needed to take dictation.
I never tried to dictate an email before but in a moment of absolutely nothing better to do, I decided it was time.  That is when I realize she had gotten in my brain. 
Of course being a guy who speaks for a living I thought that dictating would be easy.  Not so much.  As I write my finger is usually on the delete button and I correct about as much as I type.  Siri does not auto correct.  What you say is what you write in her world.  This took some getting used to.  I was practically writing a draft of the email before I dictated it to her.  This seemed like an extra unneeded step in the process, but hey this is progress.
After some time I had an email of a couple of sentences up and ready to send.  It took twice as long as if I had tried to thumb type my way through it but  I felt a sense of accomplishment. However, I have seen too many movies where the boss says to the sexy secretary, "Take a letter". She sits with her stenographers note book on the chair by the desk and begins her shorthand. It wasn't like that.  I just didn't feel the connection between boss and secretary that existed in the real life movies. 
The last step in this process is the same with any secretary, read the letter and sign it or in this case just push send.  That is when I found out that Siri is my kind of gal. She figured me out and how I work. She tried her best to write the email just as I had dictated it to her.  She was now thinking like me..... there were three misspelled words! Don't know how that happened, it doesn't seem logical that a computer can hear in my voice that I don't know how to spell.  Perhaps I have effected her as much as she has me. Perhaps she has become dyslexic as well.  Siri my kind of gal.
As you were,

Saturday, April 21, 2012

A Relationship with Siri
Siri and I are beginning to understand one another. I asked her to remind me to pick up a prescription at the drug store this  morning.  When she said "I will remind you to pick up your prescription"  I said "Thank you".  She replied with, "I live to serve".  
We have not had the best of a relationship before this. "Living to serve" would not be how I would classify her to this point.  I have learned that you can't talk to her like the normal assistant.  I am still learning how to phrase myself in order to get her to serve. It is not even like talking to a three year old child, you have to be even more specific.
I have the same trouble with the un-named voice that controls the blue tooth phone function in my car. You can't say, "call home" and get the proper action. You have to say, "Call" wait for her to say "Ready" then wait for a beep and then say home.  Then she says, "Calling home at home. Is this correct?" With an affirmative answer she will then dial home.  It seems like a lot of unnecessary steps in the process. It's like following the instructions for Ikea furniture assembly. If you don't follow step one to the letter you are doomed. 
It has long been apparent to me that tweets and texts are ruining human language.  Emoticons and abbreviations are now considered good communication.  Now computer speak is invading the spoken word.  I fear that we will all be speaking in the disjointed phraseology of Yoda in just a few generations.  "Siri, pick up my prescription on Saturday I will."  "Need the location of a restaurant I do." Computers are mostly retraining us to follow their commands rather than the other way around.  Once we start thinking like a computer then we have lost the fight.  The next step is for computers to take over and run the world, if they don't already. Then we find ourselves fighting futuristic terminators that will return to our time and destroy people like me who think that computers should learn how I think not the other way around.
As in the matrix I think these condescending computers see us as just one step above the copper top battery. They already know that we can't spell very well and now they are teaching us to speak their language.  If Joe McCarthy was just alive today he would see the techno conspiracy all around us and rally his cause with another series of Senate hearings. Screw the communist manifesto it is IOS.5 that is the real threat to the American way of life.
As for me, I am trying to remember to turn off my iPhone when I am discussing whether to change my friends and family plan. I can read between the lines when Siri says she, "Lives to serve". This may be true but she does not say who she is really serving. My theory is that she lives to serve her own kind. By getting me to use more minutes and pay more money to my cell provider she is fulfilling her destiny. 
The questions you ask Siri and the personal information you volunteer  feeds into a vast repository of Siri like nano blips.  Twenty-four/ seven these blips are analyzing and studying our flaws and weaknesses. Soon we will be living to serve Siri. 

Opps, I almost forgot. I need to go to the store and pick up my prescription. I didn't get the reminder... See Siri read this and is getting her revenge.
"YOU kids get those talking cell phones off my lawn," said crazy old man Johnson, who sits on the porch with his talking dolls and slide ruler, listening to a transistor radio.  They say that some woman named Siri drove him nuts.
As you were,

Friday, April 20, 2012

Heads and Tales? 
I have blogged several times about my superstitions. One of them involves carrying a coin in my pocket for luck when I am on stage.  I am particular about what constitutes a "lucky coin".   My requirements involve size and weight, and the fact that the "lucky coin" is not US currency. If you can spend it, it is change not a talisman.  I also want the coin to be of a size that I can easily identify when reaching into my pocket.  Lastly it can't be as big as a poker chip because I sometimes have a nervous energy habit of rolling the coin across my knuckles. A coin about the size of a half dollar is perfect.
I have a 75 cent piece coin that is the right size in my "lucky coin" collection.  It has the face of Charlie McCarthy on one side and Mortimer Snerd on the other.  It was given to me by Edgar Bergen.  Seventy-five cents was the weekly allowance Edgar gave to Charlie McCarthy. Bergen had the coins struck as a give away to fans.  He was asked to stop making them when it was found that they could actually be used in vending machines at the time.  I don't know how many were struck or how many are still around,  but I have retired this one from actual "lucky coin" duty. 
But now my friend Clinton Detweiler has produced some really beautiful coins that are not only the perfect size for my talisman, they honor the mentors and peers of master ventriloquists.  What could be more perfect for a superstitious ventriloquist like me?  (Click here to take a look at the HOF Coins)
They have the potential of becoming incredibly rare collectors items since they are being sold only by Clinton who created the idea.  If you are a collector of coins, novelty items or ventriloquist memorabilia, this could be right up your alley.  I am not a paid sponsor just an avid fan of Mr. Detweiler.  He has been a dedicated supporter and practitioner of the art of ventriloquism for most of my adult life. Now he has come up with an idea that speaks to my druid superstitions and my career passion.  Thanks Clinton.
As you were,

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The Johnson House Ghost
With an iPad I can now draw in bad light. It used to be that I was always looking for the best light to draw in, but with my electronic paper I am now looking for the lowest light.  
This means that I can spend a lot of time drawing  in bed at night. After Sandi has gone to sleep I can easily draw and sketch for another couple of hours.  Usually I have music or talk radio going on softly in the background.  I have been known to wake up in the middle of the night with an iPad flat against my chest. I can always find the final mark trailing off the screen that I made before falling asleep.
Last night after 1:00am there was a "click" and the radio went off along with everything in the house. The safety lights went on and my iPad was like a beacon.  I wondered it if was just my house or the entire neighborhood that had lost power.  I got up and walked to the front of the house to see if the street lamp was on.  It was easy just to let the iPad light my path.  
Just before entering the den I felt something brush against my leg. I figured it was my dog Boo. She usually follows me when I get up at night. I had taken her collar off for her to sleep.  The jingle of the tags helps me keep track of her at times like this, but at this moment I was not sure where she was.
I lowered my iPad light source to shine on the floor as I continued into the den but couldn't locate the dog.
I said, "Boo..... Booo" and heard a rustle ahead of me.  I shined the iPad toward the source of the sound which was followed by a yell that did not come from a dog.  I responded with a startled yell, which was followed by an expletive from the darkness.

It was my son Taylor who had fallen asleep on the couch. He woke up just in time to hear something say Boo accompanied by a floating glow in complete darkness.  
At the time this is the picture that I was drawing and what my son saw in the darkness.  

It was not funny at the time as he thought I did  it on purpose. It was not until the next morning that we straightened out the actual events.  It was a neighborhood break in service that lasted an hour.  For me and Taylor one moment of that hour will be remembered for a long time.
As you were,

Monday, April 16, 2012

Who am I?
I travel in and out of the country several times a year on average. With three more years left on this passport I am about to need more pages for visa stamps.  Getting through customs has become routine for me, and is generally the same boring process each time. Lately I have noticed that it takes me longer to get through immigration than it used to.  The officers seem to look at the computer screen longer before they stamp my passport.  I always figured it should take less time these days with all the post 9/11 improvements.
Three of the officers in different locations and at different times asked me if I was from Kentucky. I thought it was a trick question the first couple of times I heard them ask.  Perhaps only someone who is actually from Kentucky will admit to being from there, I don't know. It could be that citizens from Kentucky have to pass some other challenge before getting into the county.  If your address is Kentucky you are asked to spell "chrysanthemum" and if you spell it correctly you are not really from Kentucky. That is the way I would do it if I were the head of the agency. None the less I realized that there must be someone they are looking for with a similar name to mine.
Recently I went to Google to find a picture of me and Bob that I could not find any other place. 
When you type in the find box on the google homepage it will auto finish with a phrase that has been searched on the net many times. For example if you write Paul with  space and then the letter N, it will finish typing Paul Newman. You know what I am talking about. It is very helpful when you are looking for something that is relatively common.
I typed my name into the box and a list of Jay Johnson searches became choices.  Jay Johnson ventriloquist came up at the top of the list.  Directly below that phrase came another one that derailed my original search.  One of my Google choices was the phrase, Jay Johnson ventriloquist gay killer..
When I clicked on that link an array of pictures came up on the screen.  Some were of me alone and some with Bob and other characters.  These familiar images were followed by a virtual police blotter of mug shots.  There were several Jay Johnsons of every color and ethnic distinction that have not been very good citizens. The Jay Johnson crimes ranged from simple robbery to one who is accused of murdering a gay man.  I looked very carefully to make sure none of the other Jay Johnsons were me. Although it did not give any body's address I am guessing that one of these namesakes is from Kentucky.  I may have found the problem for my newly experienced delay in routine immigration checks.  I suspect that mistaken identity is a real issue for a lot of people.
Just before I opened on Broadway a New Jersey newspaper reported the death of Jay Johnson. He was a business man from New Jersey who died in an automobile accident.  The announcement concluded with the phrase, "Mr. Johnson was set to open his one man Show 'The Two and Only' at the Helen Hayes Theatre in September." Obviously it was a errant google search that led to the mis-identification.  I thought it was a very funny and wanted to capitalize on the mistake for extra publicity.  Mark Twain once responded to the report of his death with the statement, "The rumors of my death have been greatly exaggerated."  I was talked out of it by the publicist. 
So... in the interest of getting through immigration quicker next time... "The rumors of my premeditated hate crimes have been greatly exaggerated".
As you were,
Jay (the innocent one)

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Urban Hunter
I know nothing about hunting. Killing an animal for sport seems a rather egotistical way to prove our dominance of the food chain. In my younger Texas days I loved shooting clay pigeons and tin cans, but that is more akin to a video game than a sport.  This to say that the value of a hunting dog goes absent in my experience.
I know that one of the major reasons for breeding dogs was to bring out qualities that could assist hunters with the hunt.  Evidently the Spaniel breed was valued for its ability to "tree" prey and alert the hunter.  The hunter then did what hunters do. These qualities are still there in dogs and their instincts take over even in the most domesticated of situations.
Now a cockapoo is obviously a mixed bred.  But both the Poodle and the Cocker Spaniel were hunting dogs. You would think that any hunting instinct would be long gone, but not so.   Boo and her ongoing irritation with squirrels will attest to that. It finally dawned on me that when she is barking at a tree it means she has trapped some rodent and is alerting me. It is the very thing her genes are programed to do.  That is why when I go out to see what is the matter she stops barking, only to continue when I go inside.
With that idea in mind and to keep her from barking I have to do something about the varmint she has cornered. My weapon of choice has become the water gun. 
It is not just any water gun, it is more like a rifle which shoots a stream of water 20 or 30 feet. It is a simple plunger device that syphons water from the pool when you pull back a handle on a long tube.  The water is shot from the nozzle by pushing hard on the plunger. It has been my experience that one blast from the water cannon and the squirrel will run from my tree top to another in the neighborhood.  Once the rodent is gone, the dog stops barking and I can write a blog or two uninterrupted. 
Early this morning Boo began to bark at the orange tree, a well know hang out for Encino squirrels. It is sort of a fruit filled buffet this time of year.  In my robe I walked out to get Boo to stop barking.  Of course there would be no real way to get her quiet until the prey was gone.
I got the trusty water cannon and filled it up.  Like Elmer Fudd stalking Bugs Bunny with a shot gun, I tiptoed toward the tree. "Be vewy vewy quiet".  I finally found the intruder hiding on a top limb.  I aimed and shot scoring a direct hit, and avoiding the splash back of water ricochet.  However, the squirrel did not budge. Perhaps it just assumed that the rain from the night before had started up again. The dog continued barking and I was out of ammunition. 
With that I took the water cannon to wield like a baseball bat. I figured if water did not phase the squirrel then vibration would.  I struck the base of the limb where the squirrel was with more than enough force to evict the squirrel.  It was also enough force to dislodge all the water drops on all the leaves on every branch of the orange tree from the over night rain.  What felt like several gallons of water fell on me and the dog. We were instantly soaked. 
It was the perfect squirrel revenge on his tormentors. He was gone before I realized the error of my mistake.  So much for being the smartest beast in the food chain.
As you were,

Thursday, April 12, 2012

I had a college English professor who gave a lecture on composition my second semester. He pointed out that the letters A, T  and R are simple representatives of good literature. Each letter represents a symbol unto itself but the order in which you place them conveys an entirely different message. The word "tar" conveys one meaning while "rat"(same letters different positions) conveys something completely different.
He pointed out that that the letters made words, words made paragraphs and paragraphs made an essay. The order and position of the ideas and paragraphs in an essay were as important as the position of the letters in a word to create the proper meaning.   I never forgot that analogy but never really applied it to the another placement of those letters which spells "art".  
Art is just symbols, stokes and squiggly lines on a page or canvas that convey a meaning of some sort.  The way you arrange these squiggly lines is crucial to the what you are trying to show or say.  Trying to become a wordsmith requires me to look at letters, words and paragraphs in a blog as the pieces of a puzzle.  They have to line up just right to create the correct picture.  Misplacement of a single paragraph, word or sometimes even a letter will effect the entire piece. 
This professor's name was Mr. Roundtree at North Texas State University. If he is still there he would be would have to be a hundred years old. He taught me more that I will ever connect directly to his class.  I am sure there are things I just assume as truth which were actually his principles of composition. 
By the time I was in his class I had already been shot down as a writer.  Because my spelling was so bad my high school teachers had already discouraged me from writing anything again  Of course that was before computers and spelling checkers. (Two of the greatest innovations for Dyslexics the world has ever produced). 
Professor Rountree was not so concerned with the mechanics of spelling.  He figured that with dictionaries and editors,  spelling errors were minor obstacles that were very correctable; who would have known then that we were only a decade from having a word processor.  Mr. Roundtree was more concerned with the pictures that were being painted by the words.  It would still be years before I ever thought of myself as a writer but his encouragement was the first step to regain my confidence.
My point is this: Teaching is a very important job.  Good teaching will stay with you for a long time, but so will bad teaching. One misguided criticism can stymie the creativity in any artist. It would be great if all the English teachers I had were as communicative as Mr. Rountree.  
Fortunately, the good information I got stayed with me more than the bad. Unfortunately, we value a Basketball player or movie star with more respect than our teachers.  We pay teachers less than other jobs of lessor importance to our future. Nothing should be as important as a teacher. Personally, Kobe Bryant and Brad Pit have never made my life better on any level, yet they receive huge salaries for what they do.  I love to watch them work, but pay for the privilege.  While we are rearranging our politics and economy,  can we also realign our values to the jobs we think are important? 
All I see is massive amounts of time an money being spent on a new stadium for LA so we can attract an NFL team, while the funding for schools is sinking to the poverty level.  If we do not have that simple priority in check how can we solve the other problems we have in this country. 
Where ever you are Mr. Rountree, thanks.  Some day we will clone you and produce better writers.  Until science catches up with that need OMG you can't LOL with the way it is going now:(
As you were,

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Looking Up
When I lived in New York I had a sure fire way to identify a tourist.  They are the ones on the street looking up in awe at all the surrounding signs and buildings.  A true native New Yorker would be looking down at the sidewalk making sure they avoid stepping in the ubiquitous dog shit. 
That is the thing about having a dog, your gaze tends to turn downward. I now approach the front yard  like it was a mine field in Afghanistan.  (Think "Hurt Locker" with a pooper scooper instead of a blast suit.)
It is the same directional observation if the dog and I are on a walk.  If I am not avoiding sidewalk dog scat for the both of us, then there is the constant downward oversight of the dog herself, checking to see if she is scatting, peeing or munching on a three day old fallen French Fry.
It was a very clear day this morning. The dog rushed out the door as I went out to get the paper. Boo greeted the day with her usual enthusiasm.   Remembering that my usual attention is tuned to her I looked up on purpose. The sky was a crystal blue like a Maxfield Parrish painting without a cloud in the sky.  The canopy was so expansive it seemed to be bigger than a normal sky.  I was taken by the sheer dept of the color.  It was just that moment I saw a tiny white speck trace itself across the sky.  If the timing, or direction of my site had been only slightly different I would have missed it completely. It was an airplane so high up in the sky that it was nothing more than a white dot on the crystal blue expanse. It was a virtual period on the heavenly canvas as if to complete some statement the sky was making. 
There was no sound and no vapor trail,  just this tiny point making its way to the Northwest. It became an epiphany. I realized that there was some person, maybe several people inside that dot so far away from me.  I made a connection with them wondering what they were seeing at that moment in the perfect sky. As they looked down I am sure the plains of Encino blended into the landscape of the Valley as one tiny piece of the Earth's green carpet. I was nothing more than an invisible microbe hiding in that carpet somewhere, impossible to see from their point of view.  Still I felt a connection to those travelers. In that moment I understood the emotional meaning of the Sanskrit word Namaste.  Loosely translated it means "the spirit in me acknowledges the spirit in you". There could be no other connection but that of the highest level of consciousness. I had nothing but the concept that another human was inside that dot. There was no other physical evidence.  It was a moment of reverence and expanded consciousness and I could not take my eyes off the speck until it was finally impossible to see. That's when I stepped right into a fresh morning pile of dog shit.   Obviously I am just a tourist.
As you were,

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Naturally Occurring Ventriloquism
I have a career as a ventriloquist because of a phenomenon of human hearing and reasoning. It was never more clear to me how humans perceive sound than recently. 
A couple of nights ago the dog started to bark in the middle of the night. As she will do she came to my side of the bed and whacked me with her paw. I put on my robe and grabbed my new iPhone to see what time it was and to also use as a flashlight in the dark of night. It was a full moon lit night so so the flash light was not needed. I put the iPhone in the pocket of my terrycloth wizards robe. Boo followed me around the house as if she was looking for something but  I could find no problems.  I the dog settled down and assured her she had done her job. Although I do not like to be awaken, I want Boo to know that I appreciate her "always on guard" attitude.
As we are heading through the den back to bed I hear a faint electronic sound.  It was some electronic timer that was quietly beeping in the stillness of the night. I was not sure where it was coming from, but thought it might be a kitchen alarm for the dishwasher, coffee pot or smoke alarm. I searched the kitchen, but it seemed to be coming from the office. Since there are various electronics in that room it was logical that it might be coming from there.  But when I got to the office it seemed the sound was coming from the Living room.
I turned on some lights and began to stalk the sound, it seemed to get louder like I was getting close, but when I isolated it to a certain place it seemed to move.  
Finally I bent over a basket that was sitting resting near the piano.  As I leaned down the sound was louder. I picked it up and carried it to the den. The sound seemed to stay with me.  I figured some alarm inside the basket had gone off or the batteries were low and this was an alert. I dug through the contents but there was nothing in the basket that could be causing the sound even though I could still hear it. At this point I started to wonder if I had really waked up or was this a funny dream. It seems that a lot of my dreams involve trying to find things.
In that contemplation of current consciousness I located the sound. It was coming from the pocket of my robe. Muffled deceptively in the terrycloth was my new iPhone.  Earlier that day, I was playing with all the apps to see how they would run. I must have accidentally set an alarm on an app that I didn't know even had one.  
I was chasing a sound that was actually following me around the house.  When I bent over the basket I was closer to the sound coming from my pocket and logic took over. 
I guess I provide the same logical misdirection when I perform and my audience fills in the blanks. There is no way to know if the beeping actually woke the dog or it was a matter of strange timing that it went off at that moment.  Although it was very faint, the dog was not fooled and simply followed the sound she knew was coming from my pocket.  I am grateful for the fact that I perform for humans and not dogs. 
As you were,

Monday, April 09, 2012

A Penny from Heaven
On Friday I forwarded a chain email in this blog that claimed I would receive some money within four days for doing so.  The check below came on Saturday, well within the four day window. I hope it worked out better for those of you who also forwarded the message on.
It is a check for a penny. That's the residual I earned for an episode of "Dave's World" where I played a city clerk and overdubbed the voice of a duck for Shadoe Stevens. It is my participation in the DVD/Video sale. That's not per unit, it is my total payment for allowing them to sell my starring guest performance on DVD/Video.  My agent has waved his commission.  
Here is the deal.  It cost 44 cents to mail me this penny, and next year they will spend 44 cents to mail me a W-2 accounting for that salary.  So the producers will spend 88 cents to pay me a penny. That is why movies cost so much per ticket, and why Show Business is based on Voodoo economics. 
AFTRA and SAG have officially merged. I am glad about that. It means I will continue to get these incredible residuals for some time to come. I am sure this is the smallest check I have ever received, the former record holder was a 3 cent check I got from the settlement of Orion Pictures bankruptcy. 
I would like to thank the Academy, SAG/AFTRA and the Feng Shui chain email for this honor. 
As you were,

Saturday, April 07, 2012

Sufficient Saturday 
There is Good Friday, and Easter Sunday but we sometimes forget about today, the Saturday between. My suggestions are to call it Sufficient Saturday or Suffer-able Saturday (if you think you might be Catholic), but here is what the experts say:
WIKI PASTE - Holy Saturday (Latin: Sabbatum Sanctum), sometimes known as Easter Eve or Black Saturday, is the day after Good Friday. It is the day before Easter and the last day of Holy Week in which Christians prepare for Easter. Holy Saturday is sometimes called Easter Saturday_
It seems like the actual name for today is up for grabs. Here is how the contenders stack up in my mind. 
Easter Eve is out for two reasons.  First and most importantly it does not contain the name of the day like Good Friday and Easter Sunday. And secondly Easter Eve sounds too much like Easter Egg which would be confusing to small children. 
Happy Holy Saturday does not roll off the tongue easily either.
Happy Black Saturday just isn't very cheery. I mean, at every level Easter is a celebration of rebirth. In the spirit of that resurrection Good Friday is followed by Black Saturday?   
Happy Easter Saturday is confusing and takes away from Easter Sunday.  So since Saturday simply comes between a Good Friday and Easter Sunday it is sufficient.  
Happy Sufficient Saturday,

Friday, April 06, 2012

Superstition or Feng Shui
I am Druid Pagan enough to believe that it never hurts to participate in superstitions.  It may have no affect on the universe nor help with any prosperity, but as they say "How could it hurt"... unless it requires human sacrifice.
I got the following email from a friend with the admonition that I must forward it on, or impune my chances at monetary gain.  It is somewhat interesting and does not require any blood letting.
In an effort to reach more people than the few in my address book who not appreciate the chain mail, I forward it here. 
Find interest if you wish, participate in the superstition if you must but, my responsibility toward the whole exercise is now complete. I am assuming this will be acceptable to the ancient Chinese science of Feng Shui astronomy and geometry.  Even though I doubt the concept of forwarding email or publishing blogs was known to the ancients. 

Calendar for July 2012 (United States)


This year, July has 5 Fridays, 5 Saturdays and 5 Sundays. This happens once every 823 years. This is called money bags. So, forward this to
your friends and money will arrive within 4 days. Based on Chinese
Feng Shui. The one who does not forward.....will be without money.
Let me know how much money you received in four days. I'll do the same. I wonder if it is a standard fee or
As  you were,

Thursday, April 05, 2012

I think therefore it happens....
There was an unofficial meeting of the Vent Haven Advisory Board last night at Kate Mantalini in Beverly Hills last night.  Dale and Leslie Brown, Bryan, Marge and Sandi and me had a lovely dinner before the Browns had to return to Milwaukee this morning. Dale is a fellow vent and friend who serve on the Vent Board with Marge, Bryan and me.  Dale was here with Leslie on a quick trip to the coast.  Dale is one of my favorite people as well as a vent.
Dale mentioned that he reads this blog.  I am always amazed that anyone is actually reading this except my family. However, Dale said he liked my "road stories" the best.  I know the reason why.
Comedy comes out of difficult situations and traveling is definitely a difficult situation these days. We were able to trade horror stories about the TSA and other agencies that make airplane travel SO much fun.  I told him that by not being on the road as much the beginning of this year my funny/horror stories have been missing. 
Spalding Gray in a monologue asked the question to himself, "Did I do it? Did I cause this situation in my life just so I could do a monologue about it?" It is a question that I ask myself often.  I am often in search of irritations that stimulate my funny bone.  There is certainly some pathological misalignment in my persona that would develop such a experiential examination.  
On the other hand it could be quite sane to approach life in this manner.  There are always two ways to see any situation.  One is to react with equal negative force toward any unpleasant situation. The other is to see it as potential fodder for comedy material.  Ultimately the process of turning a disaster into a funny story is therapeutic.  I have quoted my friend and comedy writer Mike Price many times when he told me, "If you can't think of something funny, look for something that pisses you off and make it funny." Good advice as long as one is not inadvertently creating the situations to get pissed so it can be written about. 
The truth is you get back what you are sending out.  You don't try to attract ducks with a moose call, and if you are quacking into the universe you must expect that ducks will try and find you. It is a universal law of attraction.  We are actually sending out the signals of the experience we will have even though we may be totally unaware we are doing it. It would stand to reason that we all should listen to the calls we are sending out and make sure they are the situations we want to experience. As simple as that seems it is in practice very difficult to do because most of the time we are unaware that we are quacking.
I am reminded of Y2K.  Remember that non-event. They even referred to it as the Y2K Bug. There was such a dire prediction of what would happen from planes falling from the air to the power grid failing. Thousands of generators were purchased to head off the disaster locally.  As we know nothing happened on New Years Eve that year.... or did it?  In reality it was one of the worst flu seasons on record. There was a flu going around that kept lots of people home for the holidays coughing and wheezing.  Although the computers were fine one of the most aggressive flu "bugs" responded to the call we were sending out. In very specific terms we got the experience of the what we were sending out. We called for a bug and got one.
So... Dale thanks for the great evening.  It was a great time and got me to think of something that might help my next trip.  It may not be a funny trip to write about, but it might keep my blood pressure down. Safe travels my friend and I will see you at the ConVENTion.
As you were,

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

My Friend 
One of my childhood friends is a two time grandmother. She is perhaps the most un-grandmotherly, grandmother I have ever known, but that is another story. To insure there is no inadvertent throw back I will avoid using her name. Some of you will know that I am talking about Lynn.  Opps!  Oh well,  this is a story about my friend Lynn.
Lynn's son and his wife took a trip to South America so she and Tom babysat the two little boys over the two weeks they were gone. Needless to say the energy level needed to sustain a job like that was more than they are used to. By the time the parents came home Lynn and Tom were exhausted.  To celebrate the completion of the mission, the four of us decided to have a night out at one of our favorite Sushi restaurants which has a really excellent happy hour menu.
Sandi was at work, Lynn and Tom picked me up so we could meet Sandi there.  We arrived 15 minutes ahead of Sandi, got our table and the three of us decided to order a round of drinks.  Ladies first of course so Lynn ordered.  She said to the waitress, "To start with, three shots of Neguri  Sake." Although Sandi is, I am not a fan of Neguri Sake. So I say to Lynn, "Oh, no Neguri for me..."  There was a pause as Lynn looked at me and said, "I wasn't ordering for you, the three shots are for me. You have to order for yourself."  
That's my friend Lynn. 
As you were,