- Picture of MY Wall
- ob·fus·cate Verb /ˈäbfəˌskāt/
- obfuscating present participle; obfuscated past tense; obfuscated past participle; obfuscates 3rd person singular present
- Render obscure, unclear, or unintelligible
- the spelling changes will deform some familiar words and obfuscate their etymological origins
- Bewilder (someone)
- it is more likely to obfuscate people than enlighten them
As you were,Jay
Monday, January 31, 2011
Wednesday, January 26, 2011
Saturday, January 22, 2011
Friday, January 21, 2011
So when my friend Marsha showed up for coffee with her iPad it became a seminar of "what are your cool apps?" She turned me on to some really great ones. One of the most interesting is a speedometer. It is just that. Using the gps chip in the iPad it reads and looks just like the speedometer in you car and registers distance and speed, I put it in the car and leaned it against Radio. It was just as accurate as the BMW dashboard. I could easily have used it instead of the one installed.
Here is what I am thinking with Bluetooth tech, we could hook all kinds of information to the ipad which could essentially become our personal instrument panel. Like the screens in Star Trek sick bay, our personal read out could include our heart rate, blood pressure, temp, blood sugar, UV levels, distance traveled, altitude, and a million other checks on what our body is doing at every moment. You could bring your personal control panel to a doctor's appointment, and the doctor could access the stored results to see how you have been during the times between appointments. Perhaps figure out that certain places or heights are not healthy for you.
I told Marsha it is like the Dick Tracey wrist radio/ television communicator has now become a reality but even more amazing. (Probably only to those of use who actually remember Dick Tracey form the Sunday paper color funny pages.) I'm glad to be around watching, analyzing and app- ing my way into a brave new world. I just wish our politics and national dialogue would advance so easily and beneficially. We still seem to be practicing 18th century government. With all this 21st century abilities.
As you were,
Tuesday, January 18, 2011
Tuesday, January 11, 2011
José was a very large guy from El Paso. He was 5' 6" and maybe 300 pounds. His mother owned a Mexican Food restaurant in the Texas Border town and he grew up being the official taco tester. You would say that he was a jolly fat man, very enthusiastic on stage with a smile that never quit. There was a laugh in his voice even when he sang. The producer I mentioned loved to give him comedy characters to play on stage.
José was a tad naïve and would fall for the same practical joke over and over, so he was a target, a large easy target, for me and the rest of the members of the cast.
There was a running joke that we all perpetrated on him nearly once a week and he never ever saw it coming. That was the fun of the of it, he was just too jolly to believe we would continue to conspire against him.
I think the joke started when one of the guys legitimately misplaced his wallet. He was asking everyone if they had seen it and the entire company was looking for it. Toward the end of the evening it was found. Rather than just tell everyone it had been found the guy decided to hide it in José's locker and shared that information with everyone but José. We all made a point to be near that locker after the show. José opened the locker and one of us (maybe me) said "Hey, Dave, isn't that your wallet?". In a well rehearsed motion everyone turned to see the "stolen" wallet. We all looked at Jose with contempt. "Jose, how could you?I thought we were friends. If you needed some money for extra food you know I would have loaned it to you, " was all Dave said as he retrieved his wallet. As we all shook our heads and headed out the door José was baffled and pleaded his innocence to the condemning cast. Even by the next day he didn't realize he had been hoodwinked.
A week later one of the guys asked the cast if anyone had seen his watch. In a repeat performance we were all there when the watch was found in José's locker.
Another week or so went by and one of the waiters mentioned they were running low on silverware in the kitchen. The opportunity was too perfect. At the end of the evening silverware cascaded from José's locker. "José how could you" became the mantra. After a few more discoveries we cooled it for a while. José finally began to catch on when there was a crowd gathering at his locker at the end of the evening.
The final ploy was the best. One night the Chef was not there at the start of the evening. It was the talk of the theater. Would there be dinners tonight if Jimmy the Chef was not in the kitchen? Sure enough when we all finished the show Jimmy the Chef was bound and gagged below José's locker. All at once we said, "José how could you."
No doubt his weight was a problem no matter how jolly and happy José seemed. However, I don't recall him ever complaining about anything in his life. Less than ten years after the demise of Charlies Place José Alverez died of a heart attack. I remember his good nature and on stage he never gave less than a hundred percent. We miss you José and if you are reading this now some how, "Have you seen my money clip?"
As you were,
Monday, January 10, 2011
It was a dinner theater called Charlies Place in FT Worth, Texas. We did a variety show for an audience that dined on gourmet spaghetti. It kept Sandi and I employed for a couple of years as bizarre as it seems now. And it did lead to meeting my first personal manager who brought me to LA and the rest is history as they say. The manager assured me my parading days were over. It is the only thing he came through on.
We changed shows every few months at Charlies Place and eventually did a show themed on all six countries that owned Texas in it's past. The cursed parade was part of the Mexico theme. In context of the show a procession of Mexican peasants proceeded the arrival of Coronado, the conquering hero. It became a musical number because we were so happy to be conquered, I suppose.
We were all dressed in muslin drag with sombrero's carrying various gifts for Sr Coronado. In reality the gifts were cheap border town souvenirs from Juarez. We paraded through the night club carrying the "gifts" trying to look and sound as Mexican as a waspy cast could. Only the guy who played Coronado was actually Hispanic. He translated a song for us to sing in Spanish at the conclusion of the parade.
My peasant was chosen to carry an awful interpretation of Christ on the Cross depicted in straw. I came to call it the "damn straw Jesus". I was at the time humiliated as a performer and offended as a card carrying Methodist to have to carry such a gift. It was pure sacrilege as I saw it, and hated every second I had to handle it. I will probably have to answer on judgment day for the way I treated the icon. I was as abusive as possible toward the prop hoping it would become so shabby looking they would have to give me something else to carry. It didn't work. All I accomplished was to make an already awful looking savior look more terrible.
They did have the good sense to put me in the back for the musical number. Consequently I never had to learn the Spanish lyrics. After the first phrase "Coronado hombre amado ..." I faked it with words like enchilada, taco, con queso and occasionally Desi Arnaz. In FT Worth, Texas no one was going to notice.
The show ended finally but ran longer than Mexico occupied Texas. There were other humiliations in performances to follow but none as defeating to my ego as bearer of the "damn straw Jesus".
So parade on my Royal Caribbean brothers and sisters. I can tell you that this too shall pass and some day if you are lucky, like me, they will give you a Tony in exchange for your goofy prop.
As you were,
Friday, January 07, 2011
I finally get on the Navigator. I've been here many times and know the accommodations well. It is a suite and not a crew cabin. I am happy.
When I settle in I discover that the television is not working. Since Bob doesn't talk to me except on stage I usually have the TV on and tuned to CNN for company. That and the off chance there might be some universal catastrophe that might cancel my show.
But the television is broken and won't turn on. "Damn TV" I say to myself. I am not happy.
For a few minutes I wonder what will keep me occupied during my down time. I soon discover I can bide my time drawing and reading and playing with my IPAD. I begin to fill the day with those activities. I think how much calmer it is spending time creatively with out the drone of impending disaster and drug ads polluting the atmosphere. I fall asleep that night not to the TV but beautiful music coming from my favorite itunes. I think this will be a great advantage not having a TV. The TV is such a distraction. I say, "Damn TV". I am happy.
I wake up refreshed. I greet my steward with a smile in the hallway. He is happy. He asks if everything is alright. I say the TV doesn't work but all is good. The steward says, "Damn TV." He is not happy.
He leads me back to the suite. After a few unhappy minutes trying to fix it he finally discovers a glitch in the remote. He says the TV is prone to this problem. Frustrated that it he has to fix it again, he says, "Damn TV". He is happy.
He leaves the suite with the Television on and ironically tuned to CNN. Cliff hanger promos fill my world once again and I am caught up in the need to see the incredible video coming up next. I wonder, on the ship who would I call if I suddenly did have an erection that lasted four hours. The production manager? I think I am happy. But then realize I am caught up in the world of "coming up next". I am not drawing and I am not reading. I am not listening to my music. I come to my senses and break the hypnotic CNN spell. I try to turn it off but can't. Short of contacting the steward and ruining his happiness again, I can not get the TV to turn off. I think to myself .... "Damn TV" and I am not happy.
I leave the television on and leave the suite for the deck looking over Montego Bay. Soaking in the beauty I decide to write a blog on my BlackBerry about not being happy. But now... I am happy........ "Damn TV."
As you were,
Thursday, January 06, 2011
I talked to my son yesterday. He told me about a scary experience at the house earlier that day. Living in Encino with a security system and an electric gate on the driveway entrance we have always felt very safe, but criminals are always a step ahead of any technology.
My son had just returned from class and driven into the garage. The gate stays open for 45 seconds before it closes automatically, and had not yet closed as he was getting a backpack out of his trunk. At that moment an old car sped through the gate and screeched to a stop in the middle of the driveway, blocking any exit. A Ukrainian man jumped from the car and started toward him. It was the typical scenario for a home invasion robbery.
My son is a big guy and grabbed for anything he could use as a weapon. By then the intruder was almost in his face. Taking an offensive stance with a makeshift weapon in hand, he said, "What the f*** do you think you are doing?"
The guy jumped back and nervously said, "Bags, Bags I deliver the bags."
It was the long lost luggage from Germany being delivered by an English-challenged Ukrainian delivery man who was in much too much of a hurry.
No call, no notice, just a rush up the driveway when the gate opened. He quickly got our bags out of his car, with the motor still running, spewing exhaust. He tossed them on the porch and left as frantically as he arrived. It all took less than 45 seconds since the gate was still open as he sped away. My son took a moment to let his blood pressure drop and now sees the humor in the whole thing.
This event happens on the same day I receive an email saying KLM has no new information on our bags. I thought the email was funny because it said the bags were not lost, but they didn't know where they were. I wondered at the time what the KLM definition of "lost" actually is.
So there you have it, the final chapter in the saga of the lost luggage. The two bags have been out of our possession since December 17th just short of three weeks.
American Express is due a letter of praise from me. As a long time member and Platinum Card holder, the global services division has called, questioned and badgered KLM every day on my behalf since the bags were lost in Amsterdam. Sandi and I were able to get on with our lives, work and travel without having to sit on the phone ourselves. I will continue to be a fan of AMEX. I'm not sure I will choose to fly KLM again....although they did eventually return the bags to our home, albeit in a somewhat dysfunctional way.
Real life is so much more interesting than fiction, except in the case of reality television shows.
As you were,
Wednesday, January 05, 2011
My friend Jeannine Brenier has a line in her act that has stayed with me for decades. Talking about her career, She said,"You know how they say it's lonely at the top, well it's jammed right up here in the middle." I'm not sure what my show biz ranking is nor who decides but I am sure that loneliness is not exclusive to any rank. Even if you travel with an entourage you find yourself watching CNN alone in some hotel room trying to fall asleep.
That is where I find myself tonight, in a Crown Plaza hotel room near the Miami airport waiting to join a ship in 48 hours. I can't count the number of hotel rooms I have occupied in my career. After I filled a large cardboard box with the plastic card keys from places I stayed I stopped counting. I had an idea that some day I would cover the walls of my office with a hotel key mosaic. That is less appealing now than when I started keeping them. All hotels look alike to me now and even the best with the most beautiful decor feels cold and Spartan. It is a space you occupy but never claim as your own space. Home is where your heart is and I have never found my "heart" in a hotel room.
They have me on the Executive floor. Other than a small private lounge featuring morning coffee with continental breakfast and the necessity of a card key to access the floor, I don't notice the Executive additions.
Signage in both English and Spanish proclaims the entire floor a "quiet zone", information that should be shared with the planes landing at Miami International near by. The sign suggests ways to keep the "zone" quiet. It says, "Between the hours of 9:30pm and 9:30am please keep your television volume to a minimum, do not slam your door, keep conversations down especially in the hallway and NO LOUD SINGING IN THE SHOWER."
In my years of staying in hotels I can't remember a single time when my solitude was disturbed by "loud singing in the shower" nor did I know this was a big problem for Inn keepers.
CNN has started to repeat its programing so it must be time to go to sleep. In the morning I will try to remember where I am until I totally wake up and look around. The first thing I will comprehend fully is the fact that I am not home, I am living the glamorous life of show business.
As you were,
Tuesday, January 04, 2011
At any rate I see things differently and mostly think of that as an advantage.
As my mind wonders off today in contemplation of where our lost Christmas luggage might be, I recall some of my encounters with the KLM representatives in Holland. What comes to mind is the Dutch greeting that starts any conversation in Amsterdam. Every person behind a counter greets you with "Hallo". It sounds enough like "hello" that I would immediately start explaining my problem in English. Although most people speak English in Amsterdam it is not their first language and I speak faster than the average human.
I would realize my mistake about three sentences in. Their expression would go blank and their eyes would glaze over with that thousand yard stare. Of course I would start to compensate by speaking louder and slower. It is the equivalent of a Japanese speaker trying to help me understand by loudly saying "Bo... Choy. mich.... Ting ...Seri.... Owtaw. " volume is not the solution.
For all I know I was telling KLM to keep my luggage and send it to the Swiss Army.
Sandi believes our luggage will be found and arrive soon. She is an optimist, she thought marrying me was a good idea and still thinks my oddness is cute until it can be cured. All my friends regard her as a saint for staying with me for almost four decades. Being on the road was much more fun last week when she was here.
As you were,
Monday, January 03, 2011
Back on dry land for a day or so. The hotel has a free wifi and I feel like I am in control of my iPad again. I will catch a ship at Grand Cayman in a day or so and continue my Naval life. It means a couple of days in a hotel, but it keeps me from having to fly coast to coast twice in 48 hours. Sandi flew home today from St Thomas, through Phidelphia. It is an odd way to get back to LA and it will be a long day for her, but she is due back on the set of "The Big Bang Theory" this week.
It is not the flying so much as the connections that have been difficult in the last couple of months. Flying to Ft Laudrdale last week I had to divert to Chicago instead of going through Dallas because the connections were not happening on my original flight. It delayed me by six hours but at least I made it wit all my luggage.
The Oasis of the seas was a real experience. I made the joke on stage that they could design a ship with a carousel on board but I still couldn't turn around in my cabin bathroom. Six thousand people, and it is crowded, but big enough that there is always a place you can be that is not packed with people. They have an outdoor aqua stage at the back of the ship where they do a water show. They do there best to make it like Cirque du Sole's "O" in Las Vegas.
My favorite feature on the ship is a bar called "Rising Tide". It is a small lounge that is in the middle of the Royal Promanade that seats twenty people or so. At fifteen minute intervals the entire bar lifts and rises three decks to come to rest in the Central Park section of the ship. Central Park is my favorite part of the ship. A park like setting that is open to the sky with plants and restaurants. It is calm and beautiful and takes you totally away from what you think of as a ship environment.
Happy New Year to all. Thanks for all the well wishes.
As you were,
As we left the ship the electronic marquee had been changed to advertise the next act coming to the theatre. It was the picture of a band called Abba-cadabra, an Abba cover group. The text said.... Comedy Ventiloquist. They had not changed it from description of my show the day before. You can build the biggest ship in the world but it still has to be maintained by humans.
Sunday, January 02, 2011
But the only disaster encountered was the reality that the ship is full of more than three thousand non English speaking passengers. They only know one phrase of English, "You ....not funny".
But I must say this ship is more impressive than you can imagine. I have worked on every class of ship in the RCCL fleet and the Oasis truly is a destination unto itself. In fact there may be too much to do since every venue is in competition with every other. There was a comedy show at the comedy club at the same time as my show. About half the club audience was at the wrong place. I felt bad for the comedians; when they announced the comics names for their show fifty people got up and left for my theatre.
Sandi is going back home tomorrow, but I am hanging around Miami to catch the Navigator for another week at sea. I have not been home for more than four days at a time for four months. In the words of Hyman Roth from the Godfather, "I didn't say anything because it is The Business we have chosen."
Oh and if you are keeping score is now going on week three of the hunt for our luggage. They now say there is no record of the attempt to delivery the bags in Berlin.
As you were,