Wednesday, December 31, 2008

"If you cannot get rid of the family skeleton, you may as well make it dance." ...George Bernard Shaw









Happy New Year,
Jay

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Monday, December 29, 2008

Jay-Birds:
"The Monogram Dikwillow"


The rare and endangered "Blue Crested Chester Dikwillow" , better known as the "OHNO Bird"found mostly in the swampy area of the Sahara. It can be recognize by its strange makings and mating call. The genitalia of the male bird is longer than its legs so when it lands on the hot desert sand it calls out
"Oh No... OH NO".

They are beautiful birds that actually help the environment by converting green house gasses into usable oxygen when they fly through the air. Unfortunately although they are beneficial to slow global warming they are also gooood eatin'

As you were,
Jay

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Saturday Signs
Rizza Rare is back and full of wonderful predictions. Once again, Well Done Medium Rare.

Saturday - December 27, 2008

Scorpio - Get over your anger, the strife is all over now. It is time to blow it off. You don't have to fight or hide for fear, there are more options opening up. Wear something with feathers.

Sagittarius - You missed that one o'clock appointment but it will be fine. Reschedule and you will hit the mark. Time to use your Zen state. Enjoy the sunshine.

Capricorn - A minor set back but things are going well. It is the tally at the end of the day that matters. Roller coasters can be fun, when you know they are really not going anywhere dangerous. Enjoy you pet.

Aquarius - It is time for some smooth sailing. Everything is seasonal and now it is time to relax. Don't let indulgence dull your senses, watch that party personality. You need a clear head so you don't get over confident. Enjoy the ride. Do it now.

Pisces - Just do it. Don't over think, it is better to make a move than just keep spinning. The only mistake is the fear of making a mistake. Each will be its own journey. Make the sale you are thinking about.

Aries- Rise above the horizon so you can see what is ahead. Don't forget to plan, but let it come without forcing it. Try a more diplomatic approach and see if there is an better way to see your mate. You are in your own way.

Taurus - Have you been listening to the chicken littles of the world. You know the rumor is not true, and you know things are looking up. Be happy, work at being happy. Be strong and work hard for someone else in your life.

Gemini - It is sometimes ego to observe yourself too much. Keep a perspective, but realize that it is you watching yourself and you can't really be objective. Others have a stake it the outcome. Don't smother people with your words.

Cancer - You want to stay home, but force yourself to get out. The more you stay in your shell the more you will spiral downward. Go to that party, it will make you feel like a different person.

Leo - Don't be over blown. You can be bigger than life, but try being better not bigger. The bigger you are the more you need to help the smaller. Take care of the little ones, human and animal.

Virgo - You have some bad habits that need to be looked at. It doesn't seem to matter now, but you need to correct them now while you can and have time. Others may see you as pure as the driven snow, but be honest with yourself. You know what you need to do.

Libra - There are things you are taking for granted in your life style. Be grateful and don't over indulge. Know that this time is a gift and treat it so. You may think you are in balance, but you are just a little bit off. Change your habits just to do something different.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Another Recycled Recountance

Another story from several years ago.

As I wrote in my journal the guy sitting next to me on the plane says, "You must be a writer." I mumbled some phrase that was intended to say.... "The reason I am writing in my journal is to avoid talking to inquisitive seat mates." He didn't get it. He is a writer. Told me he is working on the "History of WWII." I said, "Very comprehensive subject... I wouldn't know where to start on a project like that." (read... leave me alone I am trying to write my own history, thank you.) He said, "Well this is how I started." And with those six words, I am sentenced to airplane hell.

He has a lap top computer with the entire text of his book, letters from soldiers, declassified reports of battles, navigational charts and SIX HUNDRED AND FORTY NINE scanned black and white photographs from WWII. From Detroit to Los Angeles I was captive audience to a guy with a lap top vacation slide show.

"And here is a shot of the island of Koregeidor and the USS Nicholas engaged in the first battle of the start of the south sea push." "Here is that same ship from the bridge....click.... from the stern.... click... from the ship next to the ship looking back...click... a shot of the Executive Officer during battle...click.. oh and a very rare photo of the Nicholas taken from the Japanese ship in the battle just as they were struck by a torpedo...click.... Japanese sailors being rescued from the water......"
Click...Click....Click...

The food came. It didn't matter he was able to continue the show and balance his tray at the same time. One of the bitter sweet joys of the larger fist class seat.
At about slide Six hundred and twelve... a dialogue box appeared on the computer screen that said "Low battery power... shut down immediately or plug in charger." If he had gone for the charger... I would have gone for my fork and poked out my own eyes. Thank goodness for limited battery life... it saved mine.

As you were,
Jay

Thursday, December 25, 2008

I still like to play with PhotoShop. Here is Santa delivering gifts in my very own house. He is looking at his list and filling Brandon's stocking. I hope he was as good to you all as he was to us. Happy Holiday and a very Merry.....
Jay

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Eve
Tonight we are having family friends over for a buffet dinner to celebrate the season. "Buffet" is a French word that means, "Get up and get it yourself". It will continue a long line of Johnson Christmas Eve celebrating. Soon after Santa stopped actually coming to my house, the Johnson rule was: all presents could be opened on Christmas eve. Years later I realized why that rule was firmly established.

As a child I would get so excited on Christmas Eve that I could not sleep, postponing any covert Christmas activity my parents needed to do until late into the night. Then of course I would be up with the sun begging my folks to open presents. My Dad is one of the great proponents of sleeping in late on any holiday, so it was more than a sacrifice for him to be up late setting up the surprise and then up early to "enjoy" it. Soon he established the rule that let us celebrate into the night and sleep in the next morning.

That worked pretty well until I got married. The Asburys celebrated traditional Christmas Day. Sandi's younger brother was too young to understand the joys of sleeping in on Christmas morning. We would celebrate with my folks into the night on the 24th, then get up very early and drive from Dallas to Houston to be there for and early morning Asbury celebration.

Basically working nights and being a showbiz kind of guy, I developed a taste for sleeping in. Particularly on holidays. However, by the time Sandi's brother was old enough to celebrate a late morning Christmas our boys were born. I became my Dad, staying up late to assemble the toys and waking up early to "enjoy" them.

This year may be the one where all has come full circle. Since the boys have been back home they have stayed up late and slept in till noon most days. However, through the years Sandi and I have been waking up earlier and earlier as a general rule. I have the feeling this year I will be waking the boys up early to open presents on Christmas day....
As you were,
Jay

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Recycled Recountance

Having both boys at home is a real treat. The level of activity has increased dramatically. Brandon's friends have been by to hang out at the house for several nights now. The Pool Table is getting more use than normal. Brandon's Friends are like my boys as well. They were my Cub Scouts when I was the Cub Master back in the day. They all have a special place in my heart, and I am so proud of the men they grew up to be. I'm glad to know that my "show biz" approach to Scouting did not ruin them for long.

So in keeping with the notion of memories and because I have not had as much quiet time to write as normal, here is a story from 5 or 6 years ago.

I recently met LUBO and LUCY. They are from Romania and perform a rather amazing balancing act. LUBO's finale is a dangerous trick balancing the tip of a sword on the tip of a dagger that he holds in his mouth. No gimmick. The real thing, razor tip to tip. More amazing is, he performs this trick four times a week on a moving Cruise ship! They were hired to perform one 15-20 minute show. However, when they got on board the entertainment staff wanted two different shows of that length or a total of 40 minutes worth of material. In a very thick accent LUBO said to me, "Do they know how many tricks I have to do for 40 minutes. Forty minutes.... that is almost half a circus."

I was telling my friend LYNN MITCHELL the LUBO and LUCY story recently and I commented that I never realized it before LUBO's story but my forty-five minute show is actually "half a circus". Without missing a beat she said, "Actually your act is a half-assed circus."

As you were,
Jay

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Medium Rare Zodiac
More from Rizza Rare and the cosmic message. The planets are moving and so is our fate. Find out what this week has in store for you.

Astrological forecasts are provided for entertainment only. Please no wagering or gambling based on the information contained here in.

Saturday - December 20, 2008

Sagittarius
- The number eleven is important this month. Follow where it leads it is a sign of direction. There may be several blocks in your way, but there is a path. Look for the signs which are sometimes not written in stone.

Capricorn - You have not been lucky recently, but it has not come to harm you. Something has kept the flow from running out. You will continue to be filled and soon the luck will turn around. It will be tempting to take the lid off, but remember it is what keeps the inner live safe.

Aquarius - It may be time to take on a cause. Help someone or some group who needs you. Your talents can make a dramatic change in the lives of others. It is time to show your light and let it shine for others.

Pisces - There is something about the East that compels you life right now. It is a good thing. East is where the sun rises and this is the time of a new beginning for you. Where you were struggling to breath only months ago, now you are looking for a fresh new day and new way.

Aries- You need to spend more time with the ones you love, particularly your number one lover. You are so comfortable with them it seems that you take them for granted. Love more, there is an economic swing coming soon.

Taurus - Drama seems to be unavoidable, but it is not. Like a Greek tragedy on the stage it is just an illusion. Learn what you can from observing it without getting involved in it yourself. Have discussions not debates.

Gemini - Your love life is front and center as you are looking to complete the circle with romance. Don't rush head long into a dark place. The rule for success is gentleness and grace.
Try that instead.

Cancer - The fountain is flowing forth more than you can accept. Do not wish for abundance when it is pours out more than you can accept. Do not water down your ideas, stay single minded and strong.

Leo - Try to bridge the gap between what seems to be two entirely different ideas. One looks like the beginning the other an end. You are the connection that will make them both one. Focus on the center.

Virgo - It is a roller coaster ride for you. There have been ups and downs happening so fast you can't keep track. In fact sometimes you have mistaken a valley for a hill. Don't worry the struggle is always followed by a hill to coast down. Save your strength for the next hill.

Libra -The path is straight and swift for you right now. Use the strength you have now to see the goal. Become one with your goal as the arrow becomes one with the target. Celebrate.

Scorpio - Some of your plans have not worked out like you thought. But stay in the moment. What you are doing now is preparing to make your future mark. The two actions are concurrent and you will soon see that this is the time you saw the target. Be free and fly.

Friday, December 19, 2008

A "Do Over"
My friend Bob Conrad commented yesterday that the link to the Art Sieving article was  a dud. Chalk it up to operator error on the part of your humble blogger.  Sorry for the wild goose chase and thank you Bob for taking the time to let me know.  I appreciate all your comments and feed back.  And while I am on that subject, I appreciate everyone who reads this blog. I am not sure why I write it. Perhaps as Edward Albee said once, "I write to know what I am talking about."  

Below is a reprint of the article in its entirety.  Art Sieving was an inspiration to me and although it has been 34 years since I was able to communicate with him physically, I feel his presence as often as yesterday.  This is a very nice tribute to a very talented man.  He may not have been a national celebrity, but he is a national treasure. He is one of the unsung artists who lives a life of art for the sake of doing it, and not so much for the glory. For the sake of humanity's soul I hope there are those of his ilk who still walk the earth. 

One comment on the article below. For the life of me I cannot remember who Roger Maxwell is, but I am sure he was one of the 100's of reporters I talked too when we were promoting my show Off Broadway in 2004. 

It is reprinted from THE STATE JOURNAL-REGISTER by Dave Bakke, SJ-R.com columnist, Posted Dec 13, 2008 @ 11:40 PM, without permission, but I hope they will consider it a form of a low tech link.  
As you were,
Jay


THE STATE JOURNAL-REGISTER by Dave Bakke
It has been 34 years since Art Sieving died, and the memory of his accomplishments in Springfield has dimmed. But an e-mail from a Washington, D.C., art dealer has changed that, at least temporarily.

Art was a sculptor, painter, photographer, wood carver and ventriloquist. He died Feb. 9, 1974. I had never heard of him. But his work lives on. One of his oil paintings was just sold on the East Coast. The art dealer, Sean Welch, contacted the newspaper.

“The buyer wants to know when Mr. Sieving was born and died,” Welch wrote. “I can’t find it anywhere. Would you consider passing this on to someone who could research it for me? He was a fairly important guy in your state, so it may not be hard for your staff to find out.”

The more I found out about Art, the more I wondered what happened to his work — including the 25 or 26 wooden Lincoln dioramas depicting scenes from Abe’s life or the 25-foot concrete statue of Lincoln — said to be the largest one in existence at the time.

Some of the dioramas are stored, but not displayed, at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library here in Springfield. More are at the Long Nine Museum in Athens. The statue’s fate is unknown.

Art was born in Manito. In Springfield, he worked for the state, a camera shop and a local real estate company. He never went to art school, just took a correspondence course when he was in his 20s. He and his wife, Blanche, are not believed to have had children. Art’s great nephew, Vic, lives in Jacksonville.

“We’d go to Springfield and see him,” Vic recalls. “I think it was him that got me on ‘The Howdy Doody Show’ and on ‘Cactus Jim’ (a Quincy TV kids’ show). Then I grew up, my grandfather died when I was in the service, and, you know, you lose contact with older relatives.”

In 1963, Art was working at The Camera Shop in downtown Springfield, but he quit to create Lincoln dioramas for Prairie Run, which was located between Springfield and New Salem. Prairie Run’s owner, Walt Loud, commissioned the work, and Art said at the time he “wouldn’t trade places with the governor.”

In those days, Springfield had yet to realize the full potential of its ties to Lincoln. Art was told there was no place in Springfield that would display his dioramas. There just wasn’t enough interest.

In 1971, Art created more dioramas — this time depicting the life of Tom Sawyer. Those were displayed at a museum in Hannibal, Mo.

The legacy from Art’s life that echoes loudest today comes from his ventriloquism. He carved his own ventriloquist’s dolls, the best-known being a buck-toothed character named Harry O’Shea. Art and Harry regularly performed around Springfield on TV shows and for Gov. William Stratton’s children’s Christmas party, held in the 1950s at the Illinois State Armory.

When Art was in his 70s, he received a letter from an aspiring ventriloquist. Jay Johnson was just a teenager at the time. He had come across Art’s name in a magazine and written to him. Art responded, and the two struck up a friendship.

Johnson became one of the most famous ventriloquists in the country. He and his wiseacre dummy, Bob, were regulars with Billy Crystal and Katherine Helmond on the TV show “Soap.”
In 2004, Johnson told the story to Playbill’s Roger Maxwell.

“I called (Art Sieving) on the phone,” Johnson said. “We talked for an hour. I was 17, he was 71.
“He told me he was retired, didn’t know how I got his telephone number, but said he’d send me pictures of his work as a sculptor of ventriloquists’ dolls. I got the pictures, and it was indeed what I was waiting for. When I called back, he told me he had already started. Art Sieving. Just a sweet, sweet guy. He’s gone now. He used to say his act was very ‘de-sieving.’”

Sieving carved a puppet named Squeaky for Johnson. That was to be the puppet Johnson used on “Soap” until the executives on the show decided Squeaky was too nice. So Bob got the job and became famous instead of Art’s puppet.

Whenever Johnson performs his stage show “The Two and Only,” he still tells the story of how he was influenced by Springfield’s Art Sieving.

Dave Bakke can be contacted at 788-1541 or dave.bakke@sj-r.com.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

My Mentor
My friend Art Sieving was a very talented guy. Like a diamond there were many different facets to his life and I only got to know a couple of sides. He became even more complicated in my memory as I wrote the story of "The Two and Only". Other than being ventriloquist/carver I didn't know a lot about his early career. The letters that we shared over the years were mostly about our common passion toward ventriloquism.

Just a day ago I got the following link from an associate. It is an interesting tale about my friend Art Sieving. As my blog today I share it with you.

http://www.sj-r.com/homepage/x1049857588/Dave-Bakke-Artist-little-remembered-here-has-a-following

As you were,
Jay

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Away with the Manger
One of my favorite boyhood memories of Christmas is the "manger scene" with the baby Jesus. Small depicting figures were carefully placed on the coffee table each year with other Christmas decorations. My Mom thought it was a great reminder that the holiday was not just about Santa Claus.

When Sandi and I had our first Christmas together as couple something was missing until we had our own "manger scene". I think we got it from an Avon saleslady. It is the "Deluxe" version with an Angel, Three Shepards and two stable animals in addition to the regular cast of Joseph, Mary, Jesus and the three Wise Men. It is now more than 35 years old and it has been out every Christmas until this one.

My friend Sink first introduced the idea of an "active" manger scene. He said as a child he would set up his manger scene with the Wise men some distance away from the stable. Every day he would move them closer so that they would actually "arrive" at the manger on Christmas day. I thought that might me a great way to retell the Christmas story to my kids. So one year we did just that. I would get the boys to help move the Wise Men closer each day as Christmas drew near. I thought it was cute when they referred to them as the "Wise Guys" who sometimes flew with super powers to the next location. This is when the lines blurred for my kids. For me the manger scene was a reverent reminder of faith, for them it became an action figure game.

The Christmas when the boys were eight and five, I walked past the manger scene to find it had been re-arranged. The Wise guys and the Shepard's were now worshiping a donkey that had replaced the baby Jesus in the straw. Before the lightning strike of blasphemy hit the house I quickly swapped the figurines back into their proper roles. Perhaps the kids were admiring the baby Jesus and mistakenly mixed up the order. Surely the boys weren't "joking around" with the sacred Manger Scene.

Later when the donkey was again occupying the bed of Jesus I decided to talk to the boys. Neither fessed up to the crime, but knowing my eldest Son's humor I assumed it was him. I assured them both that we could all go to hell if this sacrilege was not stopped. The donkey was to remain in his proper place. The next time I looked it was not the donkey being worshiped; it was the sheep.

I mentioned to the boys that the punishment of hell applied to the worshiping of all farm animals. The next time I looked, one of the Wise men was in the straw and baby Jesus was tending the sheep. I could never catch either one of them in the act, even though I was constantly vigilant.

A day or so later, once again, the cast of characters were covertly rearranged. This time it was discovered by a guest who dropped by the house. I threatened my eldest son telling him that this game would stop or I would become the vengeance of the almighty. He swore that he had not touched the figures this time. Only after it happened yet again did I realize that the five year old was swapping the characters because he knew it might get his older brother in trouble.

As the years went on it became a Christmas time joke for one of the boys to rearrange the figures and try to get the other one in trouble. Friends of the boys soon picked up on the tradition. I was on constant patrol around the manger scene either trying to catch them in the act or rearrange the figures. Eventually I saw the humor in it and realized Jesus probably did too, even as the arrangements got more bizarre and shall we say adult themed.

We decided that the temptation was too great this year as both boys are back home for the first time in three years. Since they are my boys, they will never get too old to go for another joke. Jesus and the rest of the Characters will remain in the box.

What is Christmas but a time to remember?
As you were,
Jay

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Yes, Virginia there is a Santa Claus
I saw him last night at Ralph's Grocery store. It wasn't one of those posers in a rented red suit, it was the real thing. Other than a cute little 10 year old girl, I don't think anyone else realized he was there.

Just inside the doorway of this store is one of those vending machines sometimes called a"grapler". You know, the carny game where you put in a quarter and try to guide a hook over to a plush toy. If it holds on hard enough the hook will move over and will drop it into a bin. It rarely happens. It is just short of gambling.

As I walked in a little girl had just placed her bet by putting a quarter in the slot. I've never see anyone attempting to grab a toy at that machine before so I stopped to watch. Indeed she had maneuvered the hook just above a cute panda bear toy and it dropped on top of the dolls head. It's designed to give you false hope like that, the hook has nothing to hang onto and it usually slides right off again. This time it didn't. It held. I watched the toy swing with the momentum and hold on until it was dropped into the bin.

The little girl was ecstatic. I said, "I have never seen anyone win that game before... good for you." She said, "Thank you," and excitedly ran to her Mom. It was like she had won the New York lottery. I saw it in her eyes. Christmas came early. Santa made an unscheduled stop to pick up some carrots for the reindeer and worked a little magic just for her.

Oh, I didn't get a good look at Santa, only his reflection in her eyes, but I knew she saw him standing there. I couldn't get the grin off my face for the rest of the evening.

I don't know the little girl's name but to me, she is Virginia.
As you were,
Jay

Monday, December 15, 2008


The Picture of Santa
Christmas of 2003 my family traveled to New York to celebrate with my Brother-in-Law's family. His daughter, Jacqueline, was five at the time and just on the cusp of not believing in Santa. They do not have a fireplace, thus no chimney. They always told Jacq that Santa had a Golden Key and entered through the front door.

Jacq was very concerned about this. With us staying there one of my boys would have to sleep on the couch in the living room where the Christmas tree was displayed. She was concerned Santa might wake up Taylor when he entered with his key. If Taylor was awake Santa might bolt and forget to leave the presents. This meant the "Shopping Spree Barbie" doll she asked for might not be forth coming. My brother-in-law, Cleve, called me for elder parent advice on how best to deal with the situation. After thinking about it for awhile I came up with a plot worthy of the CIA. Here was the plan.

On Christmas morning Taylor would tell Jacqueline this story:

In the middle of the night he heard the door open and it was Santa delivering presents. He pretended to be asleep, but secretly grabbed his camera and just as Santa finished he snapped a picture of him, as he was leaving. Unfortunately he was out the door before he could get a good picture of his face. Then Taylor would show Jacqueline the picture on his digital camera.

To accomplish this Cleve sent me pictures of his front door from various angles after the tree was up and decorated for Christmas. It was then my turn in "PhotoShop hell" for a few days. I constructed the major parts of Santa Claus, scaled it to fit and layered the various parts between the door and the room. It took a while to get the shadows to line up and everything to register but it was a labor of love. After it was done I downloaded it to Taylors camera and the ruse was set. I was certain that physical photographic evidence of St. Nick himself exiting her very house would be a moment Jacq would never forget.

The morning came, the "Shopping Spree Barbie" was under the tree and Jacqueline woke us all up very early. Taylor let her absorb the moment but at just the right time started to tell the tale.
She listened and smiled and when the smoking gun clue flashed on the screen of the camera, her face was a blank. "That's nice," she said, and quickly returned to attending Barbie. It was not the reaction I had anticipated.

As we thought about it later we realized we were looking at it with non-believers eyes. Of course she did not go crazy with wonder. If you believe in Santa Claus, why is a picture of him in your house any more astounding than a picture of any of us by the front door. A picture is a picture.

The next summer I moved to New York for my off Broadway run. On a day off I went to Cleve's house for a 4th of July party. There were several of Jacqueline's friends and parents there. I was introduced as "crazy Uncle Jay" who plays with puppets. At some point Cleve quietly called me down to the basement to observe the girls at play. They were all sitting around the computer. Jacqueline was holding court. It went something like this.

"And that's when my cousin, Taylor, who was sleeping on the couch took a picture just as he was going out the door." She clicked the mouse and up came the Santa Photo from the Christmas before onto the screen. One of the little girls said, "I knew he was real." The others "oooed" and "ahhed" at the proof. Cleve and I beamed silently from the shadows.

Sometimes you don't know what you have accomplished until months, days, maybe years later. But one thing I know for sure, any task you do for love, comes back in the most delightful ways.
As you were,
Jay

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Medium Rare Zodiac
Medium Rizza Rare has gazed into the stars again and is calling it like it is.

Astrological forecasts are provided for entertainment only. Please no wagering or gambling based on the information contained here in.

Saturday - December 13, 2008

Sagittarius
- You are traveling soon. The holidays look very bright for you. You can make the old ways and your new person fit together an easy way. Just be who you are now and don't worry about how people have seen you in the past. This is another major passage for you.

Capricorn - Some of your plans have not worked out like you thought. But stay in the moment. What you are doing now is preparing to make your future mark. The two actions are concurrent and you will soon see that this is the time you saw the target. Be free and fly.

Aquarius - Just when you thought there was no room to go up, the trend fooled you. Things are brighter than the world is telling you. You see the future as bright and it will be the way you see it. Stay focused on the prize..

Pisces - That project of cleaning out the closet is still waiting. Remember when you go through that storage unit, you are cleaning up your mental attitudes as well. Get rid of the old stuff and make use of the good things that have been sitting there waiting for you to get back to them.

Aries- Legal matters have not been resolved. Make sure you are not trying to find justice in the legal system. The justice is in yourself. Give the legal system that which is needs and stay out of the fray as much as you can.

Taurus - Your love life is front and center as you are looking to complete the circle with romance. Don't rush head long into a dark place. The rule for success is gentleness and grace.
Try that instead.

Gemini - The future is what you make it. If it seems there is less in front than behind you are looking in the wrong direction. Today is a new day no different from yesterday, make it what you want it to be. Don't carry the past around, it is a weigh on your shoulders.

Cancer - You don't want to become too routine. You learn from the odd and the obscure and as an artist you need to be stimulated. Don't let the challenge get to you. Know that it is all about learning and expressing yourself.

Leo - Just when you thought there was no room to go up, the trend fooled you. Things are brighter than the world is telling you. You see the future as bright and it will be the way you see it. Stay focused on the prize.

Virgo - Try to bridge the gap between what seems to be two entirely different ideas. One looks like the beginning the other an end. You are the connection that will make them both one. Focus on the center.

Libra -Combinations of seven and six are all good for you this month. There are seven days in the week use them all to reach your destination. Today is the sixth, it will be a lucky day for you.

Scorpio - Be aware when you are over doing it. Things are going well, but don't get lax. Celebrate in moderation. Celebration can become a deterant to moving forward. There will me time to pat yourself on the back later.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Is Santa Claus Real?
For your second child the question comes a little earlier in age than the first child. Siblings seem to want to "blow the cover story" for the younger ones sooner than their parents.

When my youngest son Taylor asked, "Is Santa Claus real Dad?" I thought I could hedge on my comments and continue the myth a little longer. He was a much younger than his brother was when we told him the facts of the Fat Man. So I decided to go the metaphysical route.

"Santa Claus is the spirit of Christmas, Taylor. He is the symbol of joy and giving. That joy of giving lives with all of us and is very real if you let it be." I know, I know... a little too wordy for a kid, but the truth is often wrapped in metaphor. Taylor thought for a minute, wrinkled his nose, closed one eye and looked up at the ceiling to contemplate what I had said.

"Let me put it this way. Is there a fat man in a red suit that comes down our chimney once a year to leave presents that little elves make?" It was a specific question and deserved a specific answer. It was short and to the point which is the way Taylor always liked to receive his information.
"NO." I said.

"Yeah, I didn't think so." It didn't ever seem to bother him or cause him any problems of readjustment. Christmases continued to be just as joyful and giving as they always were before. I think I figured out there wasn't and anthropomorphic Santa long before the folks knew I did. I guess Taylor and I just cleared the air a little sooner.

As you were,
Jay

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Christmas Decorating Tips
When Christmas time arrives replacing items normally displayed in the house in favor of seasonally themed decorations is the norm. This creates a festive atmosphere and makes Christmas a very special holiday. It's great to rediscover memory filled decorations that have been hidden away for a year.

However, there may be items you don't want to pack away for the season. How do you deal with these treasures during Christmas time?

Take, for example, the American Theater Wing Tony® Award . Suppose for a moment you have a Tony® Award for Best Special Theatrical Event that normally sits on your mantle. Seasonal tradition dictates that you pack up the Tony® for a few weeks. Replacing it perhaps with a seasonal candle or, if you are of Christian origins, a manger scene featuring a plaster replica of the baby Jesus and the Virgin Mary.

However, since Christmas time is also the time for parties, not having the Tony® on your mantel could be embarrassing for your guests. Attending these parties will be friends who may not have been around for some time. While a plaster replica of the baby Jesus and the Virgin Mary on the mantel may be seasonally correct, it is not "informative". Chances are your Christmas party friends know that you love Jesus, but may not know that you also have a Tony®. Because of the potential embarrassment it might cause a guest who did not know this information, it is better then to keep the Tony® for Best Special Theatrical Event on the mantel. There is always room for Jesus on the coffee table or on top of the piano.

As you can see from the above photograph, the Tony® can be easily incorporated into the greenery of Christmas. It functions the same way as a decorative candle without the light. It goes very will with other silver decorations. It can also be a terrific conversation starter for friends you haven't seen in a long time. They might say, "What is that beautiful object on the mantel next to the silver Reindeer candelabra?" The conversation then continues as one might answer, "That is my Tony® for Best Special Theatrical Event presented to me by Eddie Izzard for a Broadway show I wrote and performed in New York." See how easily the conversation flows when you have the right starter.

Of course if you just don't have the proper decorations to compliment the Tony® here is another tip. Wrap the Tony® as a gift to yourself and put it under the tree. At the party when everyone is exchanging gifts have that gift ready. When everyone is watching open it up and exclaim, "Oh look everybody, it is my Tony® for Best Special Theatrical Event presented to me by Eddie Izzard for the Broadway show I wrote and performed in New York.... how did that get under the tree, it is usually on the mantel."

I hope these Christmas Tips are helpful. They also work with Oscars®, Emmys®,Grammys® and other such trophy awards. It is not recommended for Sports trophies of lessor note than the Heisman or anything awarded at a rodeo. Happy holiday.
As you were,
Jay



Wednesday, December 10, 2008

That Time of Year
I'm not sure who would be keeping score, but I may have to miss a couple of blog days in the next few weeks. December is the fiscal close out of my corporation. It is always a cloud over the holidays when we have to prepare for the government to take whatever cash is left at the end of the year. It will be a scavenger hunt this time.

Neel DeWulf has been our bookkeeper for a decade. She is a beautiful French lady who would quietly come to the house and make all the QuickBook numbers work for the CPA's. Our family was trained to give her a double cheek kiss when she would arrive. The boys adored her and she even house/baby sat for us several times when Sandi and I were both gone on a trip.

Neele was an accomplished artist and a musician. Her paintings were displayed in a couple of galleries and when she played our piano it would breath with her talents. She used to make comments on some my artwork that might be left out. I have to admit, sometimes I would purposefully leave a sketch lying around for her to find just to get a comment. Even when she thought my subject matter was a little depressing her beautiful accent would make the comment sound like a compliment. We would talk about art and music in between the questions about whether a dinner on the Amex was business or pleasure.

She would fix some tea for herself when she arrived and became a regular part of our family. She was not a Mac user and I had to be "the techy" for her sometimes. It was usually an easy problem to solve but she thought I was a Mac genius. The best part is when she had to reconcile a statement with a lot of numbers. Neele would talk to herself, in French. There were several times I thought she was conversing with one of the wooden children that also occupied the office. She once asked if that bothered me. I said of all the people not to be bothered by someone talking to themselves it would be me.

Neele was in her 40's when she passed away from breast cancer this summer. It was sudden. I was in London when we found out. The work she would have done has been piling up and it has fallen to me to get it all in shape by next week. As I dug in this week I found notes she left in the files. Little clues to lead me in the right direction. It is difficult to come to this time of year and not have her around.

We miss you Neele, and you will be happy to know that I am talking to myself while trying to do your work.
As you were,
Jay

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Time Flies
I was looking back in my calendar and realized this is an Anniversary for me. It is not one that I would celebrate, and not one that resonates with much happiness. It does however make me stop and think how relative time is.

On December 9, 2006 I was flying back from New York. My Broadway run was over and I was leaving New York after living there for several months. I had always assumed that the show would run through the Holidays that year, but it didn't. I remember coming home sad, depressed and disoriented. I would wake up in the middle of the night, still thinking I was at my apartment in New York and wondering where I was. The entire Christmas Holiday was oddly out of place.

So much has happened since then, a Tony, the tour and London. Too much has happened to believe it has only been two years. The only thing that lingers this year is that depressing feeling. I guess I'm still not dealing with it very well. It just seems that everything fell apart after London. The whole world went crazy. The economy tanked and "depression" became a buzz word rather than just my feeling.

This seems to be yet another year when we say "good ridence" to a tough year and hope that the next calendar will be kinder. Here is to 2009, I hope it comes soon and with a smile.
As you were,
Jay

Monday, December 08, 2008

Christmas Stories
Every parent of my generation has faced the same dilemma at Christmas time; your kid wants the toy that everyone else wants. Usually that means the stores sell out of it quickly and it becomes the hunt for Red October to find one. You start calling Toys R Us on a daily basis inquiring when the next shipment truck is due. Or you resort to the "black market" when someone with two of the items is willing to part with one for an inflated price. I am glad the boys are not kids anymore and those days are over. The items 20 year old men want are easier to find, just harder to afford.

There was one year our oldest wanted a He Man Power Sword. It was a plastic sword replica of the one He Man wielded in animated glory on his favorite cartoon show. It was impossible to find. I think I called every toy store in the Valley who called every store in their network chain and no one seemed to have the He Man Power Sword. There was the almost daily check to see if a shipment had come in. Nothing. Time was running out and we were trying to come up with alternatives and a Plan B.

At the same time we were participating in the Angel Tree program at a local store. By taking a list hung on the Angel tree, you could fill the Christmas wishes of some family less fortunate. We picked a list at random. The single mother of this family wanted toiletries and hygiene items. Sandi and I both thought realized that the idea of gifts and necessities merge on a certain level.

As Christmas drew very near we were filling the mother's necessity list at a drug store in the area. The shelves were empty for one of the specific items. We asked a stock boy if there was more in the back. He left and returned quickly with what we needed. He was a young guy and happier in his job than most this time of year. We thanked him and he said, "Is there anything else you need?". Jokingly I said, "Only a HeMan Power Sword." And we were on our way to check out. As we got to the counter the boy approached us. He was holding a HeMan Power sword. "This is the last one, I remember seeing it in the back. I don't know why it didn't get put out on the floor."

I would never have gone to that store to find the He Man Sword. We weren't looking for it at that store. We would never have been Christmas shopping at that store except looking for what a single mother needed. The two events became one. It was never more obvious that the gift you give comes back to you. I hope this time of year is filled with miracles for you too.
As you were,
Jay

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Medium Rare Zodiac
Medium Rizza Rare has gazed into the stars again and is calling it like it is.

Astrological forecasts are provided for entertainment only. Please no wagering or gambling based on the information contained here in.

Saturday - December 6, 2008

Sagittarius
- The path is straight and swift for you right now. Use the strength you have now to see the goal. Become one with your goal as the arrow becomes one with the target. Celebrate.

Capricorn - Combinations of seven and six are all good for you this month. There are seven days in the week use them all to reach your destination. Today is the sixth, it will be a lucky day for you.

Aquarius - It is a roller coaster ride for you. There have been ups and downs happening so fast you can't keep track. In fact sometimes you have mistaken a valley for a hill. Don't worry the struggle is always followed by a hill to coast down. Save your strength for the next hill.

Pisces - Try to bridge the gap between what seems to be two entirely different ideas. One looks like the beginning the other an end. You are the connection that will make them both one. Focus on the center.

Aries- The fountain is flowing forth more than you can accept. Do not wish for abundance when it is pours out more than you can accept. Do not water down your ideas, stay single minded and strong.

Taurus - Your love life is front and center as you are looking to complete the circle with romance. Don't rush head long into a dark place. The rule for success is gentleness and grace.
Try that instead.

Gemini - Drama seems to be unavoidable, but it is not. Like a Greek tragedy on the stage it is just an illusion. Learn what you can from observing it without getting involved in it yourself. Have discussions not debates.

Cancer - You need to spend more time with the ones you love, particularly your number one lover. You are so comfortable with them it seems that you take them for granted. Love more, there is an economic swing coming soon.

Leo - There is something about the East that compels you life right now. It is a good thing. East is where the sun rises and this is the time of a new beginning for you. Where you were struggling to breath only months ago, now you are looking for a fresh new day and new way.

Virgo - It may be time to take on a cause. Help someone or some group who needs you. Your talents can make a dramatic change in the lives of others. It is time to show your light and let it shine for others.

Libra -You have not been lucky recently, but it has not come to harm you. Something has kept the flow from running out. You will continue to be filled and soon the luck will turn around. It will be tempting to take the lid off, but remember it is what keeps the inner live safe.

Scorpio - The number eleven is important this month. Follow where it leads it is a sign of direction. There may be several blocks in your way, but there is a path. Look for the signs which are sometimes not written in stone.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

The trial of my friend ended in one count of Not Guilty and a hung jury on the other six counts.  The split was 11 to 1 in favor of not guilty.  One lady held firm and would not see the other side.  Although it should be over the DA said he would continue with a new trial on three of the other six charges.  This is truly a waste of time and money and the defense is hoping the DA will change his mind.  
Coming Soon to some of these same local stations.



Monday, December 01, 2008

December 1st ?
How can this be December already? Is it true that I will very soon have to come up with another New Years resolution, before I have really started last years?  After my admission last Friday that I hate to shop, is it really that time of year when buying presents is required?  Ultimately, Sandi does most of the gift shopping, but won't I have to surprise her with a present she didn't buy? What will I give the lady who has everything? After more than three decades what can I get her that she doesn't have already? Doesn't she have me?  Isn't that enough?

Have I been paying attention to the hints she has been throwing out all year? What was it that she said she would like just the other day? Did I forget already? And what if she gets me something that is of greater value than I get her?  How am I going to feel then?  Can we even afford Christmas this year?  

I usually give the boys a grinch present, but what will it be this year? Isn't it easier to find gifts for the boys now that they are grown? Or is it? Aren't their tastes more expensive now?  Remember those days when the very toy they wanted was the one no one could keep in stock? How many times have I called Toys Are Us to ask when the next shipment arrives? Remember those stressful Christmas'? Isn't it better now? What are you complaining about? Why don't I just go for it and stop the cry baby routine? What is the matter with that?

Is this blog going to be entirely written in questions?  What kind of style is that? Can you sustain an essay comprised of only questions? Who would even think of doing such a thing? Doesn't that become irritating for the reader? When will it stop? Isn't this blog entry about December the first? When did it get off on this "question track"? Can I keep going on with questions?   Who knows?
As you were?
Jay?

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Madam Tnek has once again given us a universal Tarot Card reading for
Saturday, 29, 2o08
Five of Pentacles (Reversed)

The card represents what you cannot confront or are hiding from yourself. Five of Pentacles (Worry), when reversed: Concern over finance leads to prudent action. Impending physical threat is met with calm and skill. Suffering and loneliness leads to spiritual growth. Stress is met without resorting to excess or the pursuit of oblivion.

Friday, November 28, 2008

The Morning After
Thankfully I am married to a lady who understands consumerism and likes to shop.  She is my ambassador to a world that I may never understand.  My lack of understanding came clear today as Macy's is advertising a sale starting at 4:00am this morning.  

Let me repeat that 4:00am. Bars are not allowed to be open for business at that time of morning.  Starbucks is not even making coffee at 4:00am morning. Most reasonable retail establishments know that 4:00am is not prime real estate for consumers.  However, for the true shopper who just can't wait until daylight to score a bargain, Macy's is here to service your addiction.  

Given my admission that I am a novice at the process I can't speak to the Macy's staff, but I generally find retail "floor walkers" (to use the 50's term) not that helpful under normal conditions.  They are usually either rude, over helpful, uninformed or just missing from the process of "shopping".  I can't imagine the attitude of this bunch at 4:00am nursing Thanksgiving hangovers without even a "triple espresso, soy, macciato with no foam" from Starbucks to take off the edge.

I know the economy is hurting and Christmas shopping is the retail mother lode, but opening at 4:00am and discounting items to ridiculous levels seems to be a lose/lose.  The cost of utilities for opening up so early, combined  paying the counter people time and a half so they can push items priced below cost sounds like an Enron idea.

Even my lovely partner is not enticed by the idea of retail savings that can only be gotten at 4:00am.  This is obviously a ploy appealing to the worst of the addicted masses. Shop-a-holics who are so desperate for a "purchase" fix they will set their alarms for the middle of the night. If this were any other type of business we would see the problem in its true light.   Suppose Hooters announced it was opening at 4:00am with a discounted happy hour, all drinks below cost.  I think we would all agree this "sale" would attract some "consumers" that really need help.  I know there are shopping addicts out there... I've seen it on an Oprah rerun. (Or was it Maurie Povich or Jerry Springer?) Pity these people who, long before the world has awaken, will have bought skirts and shirts and other clothing at entry level prices.  "The first polo shirt is free kid" cause we know you will be back for more. 

Did you hear that bang?  It is either our economy shooting itself in the head or it's the starters pistol beginning the Christmas Shopping season.  It is the cry of our selfish free market economy, spend and buy or you won't have any money to spend and buy with, which will keep you from spending and buying.  Maybe as an economy or as a country we should "make and create" rather than "buy and extend".  I have a feeling the countries loaning us the money for our $700 billion economic bail out got up at 9:00am this morning to "make and create" the items Macy's is hoping you will buy at 4:00am.  
As you were,
Jay

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving 2008
I really like the idea of Thanksgiving.  The traditions of the dinner, the Macy's Parade, football games and gathering with friends and family not withstanding, it is a great notion.  Setting aside a time to be grateful is a very worthwhile reckoning.  Even in tough times I have more than I can comprehend to be thankful for.  It is nice to stop and take stock every chance I get.

I thought maybe I would put together a gratitude list for the blog this morning.  That list suddenly got out of hand. The Internet did not seem to be large enough to contain it.  After family, friends and events in my life, I started to just look around.  I couldn't find anything in my immediate world or consciousness that I couldn't be grateful for. Sounds like a paradox but I realized that I am grateful for gratefulness itself.  

If you are reading this you are probably included in the original list of friends or family.  In either case we are all part of this greater human family. I give you Thanks for today and everyday. Make it count.  Have a Happy Thanksgiving.
As you were,
Jay

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

My friend's trial went to the jury yesterday.  They decided to recess for the holidays and will resume on Monday. The defense attorney thinks it will be a quick deliberation.  He also said the trial would take half the time it took.   I am tired of trying to figure out what is good or bad for our side. Giving them several days off before the real job of sorting out the evidence could be a great thing.  I could argue the opposite that it will not be as fresh in their minds after five days off, the conflict becomes exhausting.

I know a lot of people are traveling today.  I wish everyone a safe journey to the their destination and a wonderful holiday.  There is much to be thankful for but in these times when everything seems to be bleak it might require looking deeper.  Aren't the best treasures those that are hidden away?  I think so.  It is, in spite of evidence to the contrary, a really wonderful time.
As you were,
Jay


Tuesday, November 25, 2008

My friend's trial continues. It is a little easier to take now that the defense has started its case. Several people have been caught in lies. In some cases when asked a direct question like, "Did you ever say......" the witness denied ever even thinking such a thing. When a MySpace page print out is is offered as evidence with their picture, their name and the exact words in question, it is hard to recant.

Ironically, another friend of mine is serving on the jury of what is being called the MySpace Trial. It is the well publicised case of a Mother pretending to be a young boy on MySpace and tormenting a friend of her daughter. That girl committed suicide because of her actions. This happened in Missouri but the case was filed in Beverly Hills. Headquarters for MySpace is located here. I compared notes with my friend on how he sees the judicial system from that side of the rail. I think we see it about the same.

As you were,
Jay

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Saturday Sun Signs
Rizza Rare once again has shared the knowledge of the stars with us here at "The World Stage". Thank you, Medium Rare.

Astrological forecasts are provided for entertainment only. Please no wagering or gambling based on the information contained here in.

Saturday - November 22, 2008

Sagittarius - Some of your plans have not worked out like you thought. But stay in the moment. What you are doing now is preparing to make your future mark. The two actions are concurrent and you will soon see that this is the time you saw the target. Be free and fly.

Capricorn - As the year comes to and end you are amazed that plans have worked out better than you thought. What was going to be a break even is now looking like a profit. Keep doing what you are doing you are on the right path.

Aquarius - There are rough days and there are calm days, but they are just days. Nothing is permanent but change. You can write your name in the lake but it won't stay. Know that the calm waters of you home port is just ahead.

Pisces - If it seems like you have been fighting a trend you have. If you are going in circles you at times you will be going the same way as the crowd. That doesn't mean you are part of them, you are just going that direction any way. Try to keep a clear head and focus on the goal.

Aries- The future is what you make it. If it seems there is less in front than behind you are looking in the wrong direction. Today is a new day no different from yesterday, make it what you want it to be. Don't carry the past around, it is a weigh on your shoulders.

Taurus - Just when you thought there was no room to go up, the trend fooled you. Things are brighter than the world is telling you. You see the future as bright and it will be the way you see it. Stay focused on the prize.

Gemini - You are traveling soon. The holidays look very bright for you. You can make the old ways and your new person fit together an easy way. Just be who you are now and don't worry about how people have seen you in the past. This is another major passage for you.

Cancer - That project of cleaning out the closet is still waiting. Remember when you go through that storage unit, you are cleaning up your mental attitudes as well. Get rid of the old stuff and make use of the good things that have been sitting there waiting for you to get back to them.

Leo - Set backs last month seem to be coming into focus. You are still the king of the jungle, but the rules change daily. A king rules by accepting the changes and making them his own. Rule by compassion and forgive often.

Virgo - Be aware when you are over doing it. Things are going well, but don't get lax. Celebrate in moderation. Celebration can become a deterant to moving forward. There will me time to pat yourself on the back later.

Libra - Legal matters have not been resolved. Make sure you are not trying to find justice in the legal system. The justice is in yourself. Give the legal system that which is needs and stay out of the fray as much as you can.

Scorpio - You don't want to become too routine. You learn from the odd and the obscure and as an artist you need to be stimulated. Don't let the challenge get to you. Know that it is all about learning and expressing yourself.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Our court is not in session on Friday. One of the jurors has to attend a funeral. The trial will begin again on Monday.  I wonder if there will be a verdict in this case before Thanksgiving. 

No comments on the actual trial today.  I think I experienced every human emotion at one point except joy.  It is exhausting on everyone.  As depressing as it is inside the court the witnesses called at 10:00 am sometimes are dismissed at 4:30 pm without getting to testify.  Witnesses are not allowed inside the court to watch the proceedings. They must wait in the granite hallway outside the courtroom.  There are no seats, not even ones as uncomfortable as airport chairs, only cold stone benches with no backs.  It is like waiting inside a mausoleum. 

The outside of the building is floor to ceiling glass windows.  The view of the San Fernando Valley at the seventh floor level is stunning.  For the first few days,  the brown smoke clouds from recent fires hung on the horizon making the world look dirty and glum.  Today it was clear and beautiful. It was one of those days in LA when the mountains take on the blue color of a Maxfield Parrish painting.  This beautiful view does not sync with the lifeless atmosphere of the Superior court hallway. 

It was an usually surreal atmosphere at the courthouse today. In front of the two buildings that house the Municipal and Superior court buildings is a mall.  Today a "farmers market" street fair occupied this park like space.  Folk Singers were strumming guitars and singing among tents selling an assortment of interesting goods and foods. This street fair circus contrasted with the line of people cued up at the security entrance into the courthouse.  Inside, the atmosphere is anything but festive.  

So far there is not a job in the judicial system I would want to have.  Not a lawyer, not a clerk, not a bailiff nor judge; not a juror, not a defendant, not a DA nor a cop.  The absolute last thing I would like to be is a defendant.  I have not seen a happy person yet.  

Tomorrow is the weekly astrological forecast from Medium Rare.  Enjoy.  Dunne out.
As you were,
Jay

Thursday, November 20, 2008

I thought I could write some more about my courtroom experiences.  I had this romantic notion it would be a great back drop to study real life characters and write about it.  Instead I have become sickened by it.

Perhaps it would be different if I was not so emotionally involved.   The process stinks, the situation stinks and I did not realize the toll it would take to watch a friend go though this. 

They tell me a trial is like a three act play.   Act one always ends with a tragedy  that seems to be impossible to resolve.  We are only half way through Act 1 and the situation seems not just impossible but hopeless.  There is no happiness in a courtroom,  there is no funny bailiff.  Harry Anderson is not on the bench making wise cracks.  It is depressing, and sad to think that a person's life will change because of this hap hazard process.  I just hope the truth can be seen through this dirty window called American justice.

Although I can't seem to shut my mind off from the subject,  I don't think I can write anymore about it here in the blog.  If a couple of days are missing a blog, it is better than continuing to think about this. 

I'll get back to you when I can think funny again.  

As you were,
Jay

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

They finally empaneled a jury at 3:35 yesterday afternoon. There was only time to swear them in and dismiss by 4:00. Opening statements for the trial will begin today at 10:30 am. Today is a critical day since the prosecution will lay out its case.

I have never been involved in an experience like this before and it is surreal. The accusers, the defendant and the jurors all exit the court through the same door and end up standing in the close quarters of the hallway during breaks and before proceedings. You can cut the tension with a knife. I am surprised more violence does not break out in these situations. People who hate each other are herded together in confined spaces in the name of resolving a situation peacefully.

The female clerk for Court 121 is particularly rude. She is dismissive of the defendant's family and tries to restrict where they sit and when they can enter the courtroom. She has the attitude that anyone who is not a lawyer or jury member is an ignorant irritant. When she takes phone calls at her desk near the judge she is nasty to anyone who calls needing help. In the silent court we can hear her responses. They are arrogant and intolerant to those who have reached her in every situation.

There is a sign on the door that says "See the Bailiff before you take a seat." When you enter and try to get the Bailiff's attention, he acts annoyed about being bothered.

The court employee's I have run into so far are burnt out bureaucrats who hate their jobs and have the bedside manner of DMV clerks. I think there is a weight requirement on the guards at the entrance of the building manning the metal detectors. If you are not at least 300 pounds over the ideal weight for your height you need not apply. A large pizza would distract the guards long enough to drive a Humvee through the lobby.

I am sure this could be an aberrant situation and it just happens that my friend drew the worst court with the worst employees in the county. However, from what I can gather from people who know the system, this is the norm at this court.

The trial has not even begun and I am already disgusted and disappointed by the process. Mob mentality and vigilante justice would be more civilized. These small minded unhappy people with megalomaniacal personalities run what we call the justice system. My advice for anyone reading is: Avoid at all costs ever having to become involved with the Legal system. It may be the best in the world, but flawed by the worst human employees that can be found to work it.

As you were,
Jay

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

This week I will be playing the part of Dominick Dunne at the Los Angeles Superior Court.  I am sitting in the gallery of a trial in support of one of my best friends. He is one of the toughest guys I know, but this is very hard on him and his family.  Family and friends have come together in support for him in ways that can only be the expression of unconditional love.  I wish each juror had the experience of knowing this guy for 30 years like some of us.  If they did, this judicial process would not be necessary.   I'm not sure why a select few have decided to betray him.

I have always tried to get out of jury duty and thought of it as a tremendous waste of my time.  However, as they selected the jury yesterday I began to hope that the people that were chosen had a better attitude toward their duty than I have in the past.  When your friend's reputation and possible freedom is on the line you really want the best possible people in that jury room.

The courtroom process is antique, slow and surprisingly hap-hazard in Van Nuys.  That is the reason for the extensive appeals process, the possibility for mistakes is obvious and plentiful.

I'm not sure how much I can report on what I see except in general terms.  I am way too close to this trial to even talk about it.  If I can find a way to express my experience in the broadest of terms without the necessity of specific trial details I will.  

But for now my creative juices are on hold as I watch this very odd judicial process play out.  It is interesting and entertaining when it is a drama on television.  However, it is nothing like that in real life and the emotional drain of the reality is exhausting.

As you were,
Jay




Monday, November 17, 2008

Vent Haven Museum in Kentucky has requested some items to display along with some of the puppets in my collection.  They also want scripts and clippings and anything else that would pertain to my career.  It has been interesting to open those old boxes in storage and discover what is inside.  It's funny how much of your life you forget about.  Things saved at the time seem too important to forget about years later.  I am almost having an out of body experience.

In one trunk I found a script that I had written for a pilot that never happened.  At first I didn't remember writing it and I got totally hung up on the plot.  It is a disconnected feeling to be reading an original story that wasn't familiar under my own byline . 

I also found some design sketches for a jester stick.  I have always wanted to design a jester stick, and forgot that I had ever sketched one out to build.  There was also the beginnings of a face/mouth mounted on a stick that I believe my Mom and Dad made for me when I was in High School.  As I looked at the design and the head on a stick, it looked to be the beginnings of the same project. Although the two things were created 20 years apart it was too weird.

In the day time I have been sorting memorabilia and in the evening I have been creating this jester stick. He has gone through several makeovers so far. I have been documenting the progress with pictures and video.   However, my goal is to have a talking jester stick around for Christmas.  The family thinks that is a scary thought, but it seems pretty natural for me. 

As you were,
Jay

Saturday, November 15, 2008

My thanks to Madam Tnek the psychic tarot card expert and seer for this reading today. Until recently Madam Tnek had a small store front on Ventura Blvd and Haskell in Encino, CA. The neon sign out front read, "Madam Knows the Future for everyone." Recently she closed the store from lack of business. Wait a minute, didn't she know?

The Single Tarot Card Reading for Today -
Saturday, Nov. 15, 2008
King of Wands: The essence of fire behaving as air, such as lightning: A great and daring leader who inspires others to rise to challenges alongside him. An artist who can take hold of an idea and make it a reality through bold action. One who is forceful, charismatic, and honest, leading by example, but unafraid to invest authority in others. A dashing and magnetic personality, carrying authority naturally, and striking at the world with swiftness and grace.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Rare Signs
These fortunes were prepared by the world respected astrologer and medium Rizza Rare. Rizza put a lot of work into these forecasts just for our blog readers. I just want to say thank you and... "Well Done Medium Rare."

Astrological forecasts are provided for entertainment only. Please no wagering or gambling based on the information contained here in.

Friday - November 14, 2008

Scorpio - You are mad and ready to strike, but the reason is all gone now. It is time to cool off. You don't have to fight or hide under a rock, there are more options opening up. Enjoy the sunshine.

Sagittarius - That one o'clock appointment is very important. Go for it and you will hit the mark. It is the Zen like approach that you need most. Think through the target. Wear something with feathers.

Capricorn - The year has been good and looks to be getting even better. Your birthday is coming and it will be a major celebration. Enjoy it and know that more is coming even if there is a turn in the road. Buy a dog.

Aquarius - There has been a sea of trouble for you, but there are calm waters ahead. Don't let indulgence dull your senses to what is coming. You need a clear head so you don't get over confident in the calm. Make the sale you are thinking about.

Pisces - Just decide what you want to do. You really can't make a mistake, both paths are leading to the same destination. Each will be its own journey. Enjoy the ride. Do it now.

Aries- Although it seems you are between a rock and a hard place it is not the case. That is not a wall you are butting up against but your own limitations. Try a more gentle approach and see if there is an easier way through.

Taurus - In spite of others thinking it is the end of the world, you believe differently. Things are looking up for you. There is no reason to be happy except to be happy. Be strong and work hard for someone else in your life.

Gemini - Get over yourself. Stop trying to multi-task. It is okay if you only do one thing in a day. Relax and let someone else take the rein. Take yourself out to dinner and let the other one pay.

Cancer - Get out of the house. Have some fun. The shell you have built up around your life is not letting in the sunshine. Meet some friends for crab cakes.

Leo - Your roar is much worse than your bite. You are really a pussy when you get called on it. Forget about being in charge. Adopt a cat.

Virgo - Try to be yourself and not what you think others want you to be. It may be that you have to be more truthful to yourself and admit that you are no angel. It is okay, no one is perfect and if you think others see you that way you are probably wrong. Let go.

Libra - Stop trying to beat the legal system. You must find the balance within yourself, because established systems will always let you down. Just pay the fine and get on with your life. Keep a clear head.

Thursday, November 13, 2008


My kids are all grown and I miss telling them bedtime stories. Here is one of my boy's favorite tales. I am not sure if it was really their favorite, or the only one I can remember. Either way they heard it a lot and I am sure they will be telling it to their kids some day. I love these nursery tales that have a moral theme, and a lesson of principle that is metaphorically presented in such a wonderful way. They just don't write them
like this anymore.

The Tale of the Snake and the Fox
Once upon a time a snake came up to a fox and said,
"It seems to me we have met."
"I too, "said the Fox, "it seems to me that we have met somewhere before."
"Then give me some money."
"A Fox doesn't give money," replied the tricky animal and in order to escape, he jumped into
a riven of chicken honey and strawberries.

But the snake was quicker and with a well chosen blow of the fist he struck the Fox in the middle of the forehead, which broke into a thousand pieces as he cried,
"NO, NO, a thousand times No. I'm not your daughter".

Now good night and sleep well, my little kiddies.

Apologies to Eugene and his Soprano, Mr. and Mrs. Smith, the Fireman and "genera of the absurd."

As it always is,
Jay


Wednesday, November 12, 2008

My Bad
I left out a very important paragraph from the chapter of my novel yesterday. It must have sounded very disjointed. Sorry.

Insert the paragraph below after the word "Jack" in the version I published yesterday and it will make more sense. It was just a typo, you know how those things happen.

As was I,
Jay

a very dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a very dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a very dull boy.All work and no play makes Jack a very dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a very dull boy.

All work and no play makes Jack a very dull boy.All work and no play makes Jack a very dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a very dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a very dull boy.All work and no play makes Jack a very dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a very dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a very dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a very dull boy.

All work and no play makes Jack a very dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a very dull boy.All work and no play makes Jack a very dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a very dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a very dull boy.All work and no play makes Jack a very dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a very dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a very dull boy.
All work and no play makes Jack a very dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a very dull boy.
All work and no play makes Jack a very dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a very dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a very dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a very dull boy.
All work and no play makes Jack a very dull boy.
All work and no play makes Jack a very dull boy. All work and no play makes Jack a very dull boy.