Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day 2010

Saturday, May 29, 2010

To the Readers,
After trying to keep a semi-daily blog for a couple of years now, I have not been able to post for the last couple of weeks. Due to a tragic illness in my family my thoughts and observations have been confined to that single subject. I have not shied away from personal admissions in past blog entries, but this is too difficult to write about. Perhaps there will come a time when I will need to write about it but not now.

I don't know how many people make this blog a weekly visit but I hope you will keep checking in from time to time. I like to write and this blog seems to be a satisfying outlet; I am sure I will be able to get back to it soon. Continue to be as you are and I will try to continue to be as I am.

This too shall pass,

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Yeah, That's a picture of the one I put together.
I have too much time on my hands.
You would think it would be easier to just
write another entry in the blog....

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Taking A Break

While I'm away.. Enjoy Pirate Yarns from the Keel Haul Tavern...

As you were,

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Hubert is actually Heneryetta  
We have a humming bird feeder we keep supplied with the most addictive sugar mixture available.  It is outside the kitchen window and we can observe the activity the feeder generates unnoticed by the winged participants. Recently there was a humming bird who  fiercely defended the feeder territory like a gladiator.
We named the bird "Hubert" and watched him guard the food supply for months, picking a fight with any other humming bird that attempted to feed.
Last week Hubert wasn't on duty.  We wondered where he had gone until we discovered this nest in the tree. It is only about an inch high and almost invisible. I snapped a picture with a maximum close up setting. Turns out that Hubert, the gladiator, is actually Heneryetta, the mother. 
She sits in the nest all day long, rarely even turning the other direction. This morning when I went out for the paper she was gone for a moment.  I got a ladder and very carefully peeked inside from a safe distance.  Nestled in the middle is a perfectly formed miniature egg the size of a ticktac.  I am almost embarrassed to say how exciting that was to see.
Okay so I am usually on the road making a living. Some might say that I have an exciting life performing on great stages and staying in five star hotels around the world. It doesn't leave much time to watch the parental life of a humming bird.   But, I have to tell you, I haven't seen a show on the road that is as fulfilling and awe inspiring as the one that is going, on almost unnoticed, outside in my tree. I wonder what else I am missing by not looking around more on a daily basis.
As you were,

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Normally you don't think of accountants as funny.  However, the business manager I have been with for decades is not the normal.  She is funny and smart and a good friend with impecible tastes.  When we moved to LA years ago one of the singers I worked with at the "Horn" said to me, "Some day when you are a big star my sister will be your business manager. "  Two years later I got SOAP and signed with a business management firm. I was assigned to the only female partner in the firm.  Turned out to be Barbara's sister Birdie just like she predicted. I'm still waiting for the "big star" part to come true.
Birdie and her husband Ted formed their own company after working for the best show biz firms in town.  I was able to steer my friends like Harry Anderson and writer/director Randall Wallace to her as they were making their fortunes and they have been part of the firm for years as well.  I'm glad to be part of the team.
I was at Birdie and Ted's house one evening with Harry  and we were sitting at their fabulous bar/den which had recently been beautifully reconstructed. I said to Harry, "I think they  call this the Jay Johnson bar, because my fees paid for it."  Harry said, "Are you kidding? I pay five time what you do... it should be the Harry Anderson bar."  I said, "True you pay her a lot more than me.... but who put you two together? That's why it is called the Jay Johnson bar."
Ted developed a case of Bell's palsy this week.  It is a treatable condition that causes half the face to become immobile.  The prognosis is good. It only lasts a few weeks and there will be a complete recovery.  However, the doctors said that the virus causing it is linked to Herpes.
Birdie said to me "when the doctor told Ted he had herpes.... well you should have seen the look on the other side of his face."
As you were,

Monday, May 17, 2010

Political Cartoon
I don't write about my political views. But sometimes I express my thoughts other ways. Here is one. I'm not sure the symbolism reaches everyone. I guess interpretation is the job of the viewer...

I call it
"Razing Arizona"
It will only take 43 seconds out of your day.  Make of it what you will.... or don't.

As you were,

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Here is an interesting mind game.  It uses Numerology to determine who you secretly admire as your hero. It is simple math... even I can do it. Try it...It's remarkable  how accurate it is!

1)  Pick your favorite number between 1 and 8
2)  Multiply your choice by 3
3)  Add 3
4)  Multiply again by 3  
5) You'll get a 2 digit number.....maybe 42, for example
6) Add the digits together.  Example 4 plus 2 = 6 
Now that you have a single digit number. Scroll down and check the last box on the right side of the screen that is titled "List of Heros". Your number will indicate who your hero is..... mine was Albert Einstein....
As you were,

Friday, May 14, 2010

Happy Anniversary To Sandi and Me...
There is a long family story that goes with this picture, too long to recall here.  It was taken by a street photographer on a rainy October day near Trafalgar Square in London.  The vendor also owned the monkey. 
 By 1974 Sandra and I have been married a couple of years and have enough money saved to take a trip. I had never been to Europe and Sandi wanted to go again so we went. 
We had a great time but we were broke when we got home.  Mr. Meeker hired us back at Charlie's Place and a year later we moved to Studio City.
They say, take a picture you don't like today and save it for ten  years and then you will really like it.  Well this picture of us is 36 years old and I'm still not sure I like it.  Sandi is trying not to notice that I am trying to grow a moustache, and I am trying not to notice that she is holding a monkey.
Sandi if you are reading this...I am glad we met. I can't believe how many years I have been in love with you.
Hurry home
As we were,

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Life is Too Short?
When I was living in Texas and out of college I made an animated cartoon called Orley the Worm.  I drew all the cells, photographed them on super 8mm film a frame at a time.  I was a man with a mission to experience animation. 
It took me about 4 months and when I got the film back from the drugstore, it was a 47 second long silent film including 15 seconds of credits.  I was stunned by the amount of work I had to do to get under a minute.
Today it is different. You can draw on the computer, save to Imovie and add sound in hours rather than months. So that is what I have done for the last week rather than write a blog.  Here is the result.  I'm not saying it is a candidate for short of the year... nor that it even makes any sense to anyone but me.  But I find the process so much easier now.  However, after all this work I am still sure that life is too short to do much of this.  I hope you enjoy click here to go to  Frog Kroakie:

As you were,

Monday, May 10, 2010

Dallas in the Spring
It has been too long since I lived in Dallas to remember how beautiful it is in the spring.  The weather was perfect last week for Sandi and me.  We remember the humidity and scorching days of Dallas summer the most.  Not so this time.  The one day it rained late in the afternoon seemed to be only an opening attention getter for the beautiful rainbow that appeared around sunset.
Of course our positive Texas attitude was shaped by the fact that I was there to perform for the 70th Anniversary of the Dallas Summer Musicals.  Michael Jenkins, managing director and one of my favorite Two and Only Producers asked me to come; it was a first class Dallas society event to honor the "not for profit" Dallas Summer Musicals and raise money for kids at risk. 
We stayed at the Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek.  That is a world famous five star hotel, located in one of most beautiful and expensive areas of Dallas.  The hotel is so friendly and service oriented you start to feel it is  your duty to let the staff spoil you.
 I grew up going to Dallas Summer Musicals but this was the first time I had ever performed on their stage. When the Two and Only came to Dallas we played  the more intimate Majestic Theatre Stage.  However, since it was my show that delivered Michael Jenkins and the Dallas Summer Musicals their first Tony©Award, I am part of the family.
The Dallas Summer Musicals was actually started by my first boss and mentor Charles R. Meeker, Jr.  I have written about him often.  He taught me most of what I know about show biz and I worked for him for 10 years until I moved to Los Angeles to seek my fortune.  
The show was great.  I shared the spotlight with Cathy Rigby, doing a scene from Peter Pan complete with flying,  David Cassidy, Ben Verene, Tom Wopat, Mitzi Gaynor and Sutton Foster. We had drinks with Sutton back at the Mansion after the show.  She is a massively talented girl and very special performer who is as nice as she is gifted.
During the final bows for the show Cathy flew as Peter Pan into the audience sprinkling fairy dust on the patrons.  It still takes my breath away to see stage flying and wire work done well.  I had never been that close to it before. Cathy, with her gymnastic abilities makes it look so easy and effort less.
The most interesting thing about it was the high tech stage craft that was used to launch her into flight above the audience.  On a predetermined signal the flying rigger grabs a large rope that is ultimately attached to a cable and the belt around Cathy's waist and he jumps into the orchestra pit.  Simple and effective.  The "flying specialist" was Steve.  He was off the next day to Barcelona to fly a seven person pyramid across a river.  I think it took more than just jumping into an orchestra pit for that.
Sandi and I moved from the Mansion to stay a few days extra with my sister and her husband.  It is always fun to be around my little sister who is still the best audience I can have.  My wife constantly refers to her  as a Saint, not just because she laughs at my jokes, but because she is who she is.  I don't think anyone who really knows my sister would disagree.  She comes from a long line of independently strong Toler women combined with the tenacity of the Johnson clan. 
We managed to spend time with my parents and a quick trip out to Dragonbone to visit my brother and his wife.  Dragonbone is beautiful especially when green and sunny. Here is a quick shot of the entrance to the Smokin' Dragon Pub which is part of Dragonbone, and one of my favorite places. It is so pretty with the landscaping and pergola in front.
So now I am back and preparing for the run at the Laguna Playhouse.  More about that later.
As you were,

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Thanks and I love you Mom-
From: Your "different" Son...
Happy Mothers Day

Saturday, May 01, 2010