Saturday, December 31, 2011

New Years Eve

It does not feel like the end of the year,nor does it feel like the beginning of one. It doesn't even feel like Saturday. I guess I'm just not feeling myself today.
However, I find myself in Baltimore, MD. Not a city know for cruise ships but here we are loading passengers for seven day cruise. It is very odd to see passengers boarding a Caribbean cruise wearing heavy coats and ski jackets. I always remember that being on a cruise ship on New Years Eve was the setting for The Posiden Adventure, a famous disaster movie.
I would say that this year is already starting out much different from the past. I hope the new year is good to us all.
As you were,

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

More Joys of Show Biz
Okay so it could be worse. Sandi and I are waiting at the dock side straw market in Nassau waiting for the ship to arrive. It was supposed to be in an hour ago and there is no way to really know when it will get here. We are in a temporal warp called Bahamian time, even the locals admit that it is Island subjective. 
Most of the time I am a control freak over-checker who wants to know every detail before it happens.  This trip I never got a hotel confirmation for the over night stay here in Nassau.  I figured that the guy who picked us up would know, so it was not a big deal.  However, it is a big deal if the guy who is supposed to pick you up is not at the airport. This frustration is always amplified by the fact that we started our day in Los Angeles at 4:00am, have been on three airplanes with two layovers and my attitude has been stretched by the airport routine. It must be the stress of the season, during the trip I was witness to three heated verbal fights.  One between a lady and the bus driver who drove us to the American Eagle island hopper in Miami.  It continued as the bus driver followed the lady to her seat on the plane still sharing a piece of her mind. We never really know what the issue was about.
There is a problem landing in a foreign country during holiday season, with spotty cell phone reception and without the numbers of anyone who knows your information. After several attempts to find the number of the shipping agent, a fact I usually obsess about, we reached a man who had no clue what I was talking about.  He said that he would find someone who did and call me back in five minutes.  The Bahamian time equivalent to five minutes is approximately one hour and twenty minutes. But this was a person that was at least aware that entertainers joined the ship off and on in Nassau.  She said my name did not ring a bell.  There was a hotel that RCCL used for overnights and she said I should head there.  We did, and the hotel clerk was the first person that was expecting us, there was a reservation in our name and the room was nice.
The taxi driver called about 10:00 in the evening he was either drunk or I could not understand his accent either way I had to guess at what he was telling me.  He said that the office had given him the wrong flight information and he was sorry but would pick us up at 12:00 to join the ship.  He got us through town and dropped us off at the dock side straw market. We wrestled our luggage around people wanting to braid our hair and sell us pot pipes,  to meet a security guard who said our ship was not in and would not be for at least an hour...that is of course Bahamian time.... so here we are.  The good news it there is free Wifi, with several ships in port today the market is littered with various crew members sitting on the floor with their lap tops. At this time of year the weather is somewhat cooler and so we are not melting in the humidity.
It is always the case. Once I am on the ship it is a really easy gig.... but they pay me to go through the hassle of getting here.
I have said it before and I will say it again.  A job is a job and show business is no different. There are aspects  of every career that justify the salary.  If people are going into performing for any other reason than the love of performing, they might want to think twice about that decision.  
Thank for letting me vent here and pass some time till I am on board and can start to relax. Yesterday we boarded a plane before the sun came up on the west coast and landed after the sun had set in Nassau. It wasn't so much a physically demanding day, but mentally I feel like I was stuffed in a pressurized package and sent across country to be sold to cruel ship captain.
More later when I can find some more free wifi.... probably not on the ship.
As you were,

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas
It is a beautiful day.
Santa was good to the Johnsons, and I trust he was to all of you as well.
More next year....
As you were,

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Casa Vega

One of the oldest and most notorious Mexican food restaurants in the Valley. This is part of their traditional Christmas decorations. Feliz Navidad
As you were,
The Day before the Night before Christmas
It was the longest day of the year when I was a kid.  By now I would have visualized every aspect of the gift that Santa was sure to bring, and imagined every possible joy it would immediately satisfy.  After a month that seemed like a year it would finally be down to hours before the Man in the red suit would deliver on his mission. 
Of course I knew the rules from the song: "He sees you when your sleeping, he knows if you're awake... he knows if you've been bad or good so be good for goodness sake...", but I would take a more pragmatic approach to these Santa rules. 

1) He sees you when your sleeping.  I figured since I fooled my parents several times into thinking that I was a sleep when I wasn't over my brief years, Santa could be just as easily fooled.
2) He knows if you're awake.  See the above.  If I could fool parents into thinking that I was asleep, then I have also fooled them that I am awake. Santa would not catch on either.  I was that good at it.
3) He knows if you've been bad or good.  A challenging problem to overcome, to say the least. My hope rested on the idea that Santa had a short memory. If I was good for the last few weeks before Christmas that would count for the entire year. Since it had worked in the past, I figured that it would work every time.
4) So be good for goodness sake.  Easy. Even at an early age I realized that absent an accurate lie detector test, no one would know if I was good for "goodness sake" or good for the "gift's sake". I could claim to be good for goodness sake knowing the real reward would be delivered on Dec. 25th.

Taking all this into consideration.  It was not unusual for me to cat nap for the whole of Christmas Eve listening for rustling of reindeer in the living room.  We had no chimney so I knew I would hear the door open when he came.  Occasionally I would wake up enough to sneak into the living room to see if Santa had arrived yet. With covert skills  in the dark of night I would try and determine if Santa had visited already.  If I decided he had been to my house already, it would be impossible to go back to sleep  till sunrise knowing my gift was already there waiting for me.
If I determined that Santa had not been there already it would be impossible to go back to sleep listening for him.  Either way sleep was out of the question.
When I was five years old I sneaked into the Living room and saw a large man in a red suit duck behind the Christmas tree so as not to be seen.  I remember that moment to this day.  It was dark and details were sketchy even then, but I knew who it was. I ran into my parents room and woke them up to tell them I had seen Santa Claus.  It was a mixture of excitement and fear hoping that seeing him was not a deal breaker which would immediately put my name on the bad list.
I don't remember my brother nor sister being quite so nocturnal on Christmas Eve. They were secure in the knowledge that when they woke up Christmas morning the celebrating could begin and they did not have to encourage it along through out the night.
I have been told through the years that my folks were very glad when that phase of my childhood gave way to others so they could get some sleep the night before Christmas.  Later in my life the Johnsons would celebrate Christmas Eve and open all presents the night before so that those who wanted to sleep in late on Christmas morning, my Dad, could do so with ease.

Whatever makes you happy tonight and tomorrow I hope you have a sleigh full of it.  There is not doubt that Christmas has been co-opted by commercialism.  Sure the religious aspects of the holiday have been merged with the pagan Solstice.  However all that happened a long time ago so get over it.  Just think of it as the ancients deciding to celebrate the birthday of Jesus at a time when everyone could attend.  A time when they were going to party anyway.  Besides it is not hard to open you heart once a year and count your blessings for whatever you give and receive.  It's not like you have to be good for the rest of the year.
Merry Christmas.
As you were,

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Happy (Politically Correct Pronoun)
In California you know the season has turned not by the color of the leaves, but by the Valet parking in front of Fred  and Mary Willard's house.  It denotes their annual Christmas Party which is always a "to do", and for me the seasonal invitation I cherish receiving the most.
Sandi and I have the luxury of walking across the street to attend, and it is like walking into the Friars Club of the Valley. Not only is the house completely redecorated with more Christmas trimmings than the North Pole, the food is spectacular, drinks flowing and the guests are the most interesting people you would ever want to hang with. If you want to get a bead on what is happening in the world of comedy, on screen, on stage and on television, or if you just want to have a laugh, you have but to engage in conversation with a Willard's party guest.
Through the years I have crossed paths with the attendees and have worked with most of them in some way.  If their names don't ring a bell their faces and voices do. In fact the party itself rings with laughter from every table and every cocktail grouping.  It's not the usual frantic comedy feeding frenzy when everyone is trying to top everyone else. It is not an LA resum√© recital when the question "How are you?" is always heard as, "What are you doing now?". At the Willard's Party it is just genuinely funny people who see the world from a humorous point of view. It is the perfect mix of comics, actors, writers, musicians, performers and one ventriloquist who have made a mark in their chosen career. I for one can not get enough of that kind of psychic stimulation.
Mary Willard is the catalysis. She writes and casts her parties like she would her scripts.  There is always an impromptu performance hosted by the hostess. Mary is the modern day, west coast-version of Elsa Maxwell.  Although I can't imagine a Maxwell party being as much fun. 
There has always been a "feast and famine", "boom and bust" quality to show business.  In this economy it is even more extreme. But the one perk that is not economically driven is joy and laughter.  The artists Mary embraces make her parties a recess from reality where the world is lighter and no one takes it seriously. I for one am grateful I get to be a small part of that world.  The rejection that every comedy artist must face vanishes with a glass of Mary's home made eggnog and her heart warming laugh. 
Agness Repplier said, "We cannot really love anybody with whom we never laugh." In this season, when we celebrate the coming of Love, the Willard's Christmas Party provides enough laughter to love the world, even in the craziness of 2011. 
Thanks Mary and Fred.  You are adored.
As you were,

Sunday, December 18, 2011

The Tattoo

This is the tattoo of the dragon with the girl tattoo.

You knew someone had to do it...

Saturday, December 17, 2011

To the Bat Cave...

Yes Robin that is Sandi and me in front of the Batmobile. We look like two heads sticking out of the top of a tank.

This is due to the fact that we were dressed in our finest black cocktail attire to attend the Big Bang Theory's 100th show party. Sandi works on the hit show and neither of us been on a show that went 100 shows.  Soap only went for 94.

100 is that magic show number meaning a full syndication package, the producers bring a brinks truck up to the actors door and deliver gold bullion.

And it was a great party. Not only great food and great drinks and great music provided by the "Bare Naked Ladies" who wrote and sing the theme show for the BBT, but the party was at the Science Museum of Los Angeles.  All around the party were graduate students assisting with hands on science experiments.
I personally made some glow in the dark slime, a blinking light tie tack,  a glowing ring, and played with floating beach balls that seemed to defy gravity. There were the "pat on the back" speeches and executives from the network who took all the credit for knowing the show would be a hit. Chuck Lorre, creator and show runner,  even  sat in with the band on guitar and surprised everyone with his guitar chops. 
It was a very special party and ironically enough the 100th episode of the show happened just before Christmas.... so the producers were obligated to put a little extra in the stockings of the crew.  
There is one thing about show business, they do know how to throw a party and celebrate.  This show is a blessing to all who work on it. Wonderful cast, wonderful crew,  great AD and a great director.  When a TV show works like this it is truly the best job anyone can have.... but they are so rare.
Happy holidays,
As you were,

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Over Saturation
Perhaps we are over saturated with media now a days. It wasn't that long ago when network television actually went off the air for the night. One could watch the news followed by Johnny Carson, but then it was time to turn off the television and go to sleep. The next program to be seen was a cheesy black and white film showing planes and ships in action while the national anthem played and flags waved. That lasted about two minutes. Afterwards there was nothing but the snowy static of the screen. There have been many times when that hiss of empty broadcast static woke me up after I had fallen asleep watching Johnny. The only thing to do was to detach the virtual IV from my brain and turn the television off.
Now however the television never stops broadcasting and there is never a logical conclusion to your viewing evening.  If you don't set the sleep timer you can find yourself awaken by an announcer yelling into the camera trying to sell you the only chopping device a kitchen will ever need... but wait there's more.
Not that the television is the major player anymore.  Cell phones, iPads, computers, social networking never stop and they never sleep.  Last night the iPad by my bed rang with an alert sound that woke me up in the middle of the night to tell me the Montebello freeway was closed.  It was great to know that at 3:00 in the morning.  However I was awake enough to see that my Blackberry was blinking with the arrival of an email.  Like a trained monkey I found myself opening up my email at that hour to see what I might be missing.  Here is what I almost missed while I slept.  Zazzle has a 24 hour sale on Christmas mugs,  Move On wants me to send money to fight the wrong ideas, Heifer International reminds me that last year we gave them Christmas money and Pajamagram had some wonderfully sexy sleep wear for me to purchase for my wife. To think these messages might have waited until the next day to be discovered. 

Right now, for me, the biggest over saturation of media is delivered via my email.  The junk mail outlined above is only a fraction of what I get every day.  If you have ever bought anything on line from anyone, they have your email and they get to remind you of their current economic condition with the stroke of a send button.  And for me that single message is delivered three times.  Once to my computer, once to my Blackberry and one more time to my iPad. Although I have not done a study, I could spend more time erasing email on three different devices than actually reading the mail I want.  Over saturation.

When do we say "break". When do we say for the next hour I will unplug the land line phone, turn off the television, the iPod, the iPhone, the xBox, the iPad, the computer, the satellite radio and just listen to my own internal sounds.  It could be the most important message you will receive all week, but it is being drowned out by 24 hours of useless information.
So to enjoy this holiday season that is exactly what I plan to do just as soon as I finish writing this blog... and after I check out the voice mail and  5 texts I have on the phone, it also looks like I have 8 emails waiting for me.  Wonder if there is something going on that I don't know about.... I better turn into CNN.
As you were,

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Breaking News.....
In my contemplation of the media, the phrase "Breaking News" is either over used or is incorrectly used. my day,  Breaking News was something like a president being shot or planes flying into buildings. Not so much anymore. Every episode of the "Nancy Grace finger-wagging show" has the phrase "Breaking News" ticker-taping across the bottom of the screen. It doesn't matter if the story is weeks old... it is still breaking news to Nancy. But Nancy just sees the world very differently.  Nancy wakes up every morning to a world full of people to be "holier than". 
Breaking news is something that is so important and news worthy it requires a network to Break into a current broadcast to air it.  I always assumed that is why it's called Breaking News... rather than just News. 
Certainly the correct use is not with Miss Grace who uses the words like an advertising promo followed by the audible phrase "Bomb shell, this just in...".   If it was only Nancy's misuse I could pass it off as just  her case of "OMLS"(Old Maid Lawyer Syndrome) . But it is not just Nancy Naysayer... most media outlets misuse it.
For example, according to the info push on my Google page, this is breaking news... a bomb shell... a story so important that it needs front page space on the Internet. I am sure the civil defense network is on stand by ready to go into action because of this "Breaking News" story. Here it is ripped from the instant media....
Angelina Jolie & Brad Pitt: Will They Have More Kids?
Details immediately on some of these same stations.  Because the story contains the word kids, Nancy Grace will go live with her opinion.
Last week the question was,  "Angelina Jolie & Brad Pit will they get married?" The question came up because one of their 6 children asked. When your own bastard children are begging to be legitimised, perhaps it is time to rethink your concept of commitment... but is that news?
It is my constant complaint about this instant media we now all carry around with us. We are capable of knowing things instantly. No matter where you are you can get a Breaking News alert... even while you are driving a car at 85mph. The possibility that an alert on an iPhone could cause a person driving a car to become distracted is real enough. We have traffic laws dealing with smart phones and driving. So what might be the Breaking News information that could send a car speeding out of control across several lanes of traffic causing massive damage?  Brad and Angelia's family planning strategy.  Now there is Breaking News to die for....
As you were,

Friday, December 09, 2011

Romance of the Sea
I love the television commercials for cruises. Picture what is waiting for you aboard a cruise ship. We see a beautiful romantic young couple in evening wear, drinking champagne, personally served by a four star waiter from a silver tray. They dance to the music of a tuxedo clad string quartet all alone on the empty deck at the magic moment of sunset. 
Right.... All the elements are there. They have a deck, couples, musicians to play for you, waiters to serve you and sunset happens every night, but that's where the similarity to the television version ends.

Here is the reality of a young couple trying to have a romantic sunset dance on the deck of the average cruise ship.
Just getting to the deck is an adventure. Three thousand other passengers are also trying to get there. They mass migrate in wheel chairs, walkers, motorized scooters, with canes and dragging reluctant children. Our romantic couple has to adopt the pace off a three legged turtle or risk stepping on the corrective foot wear of seniors moving at the pace of a glacial flow.
The optimum viewing position for sunset is a limited area of the deck, and filled with large men wearing ill fitting sleeveless tee shirts that say things like "It's not a beer belly... it is a love bundle" with  saggy old Bermuda shorts and flip flops. These unshaven patriarchs are staring at digital camera screens trying to get their family positioned in a way that will not cover the view of sunset. Of course the flash picture over exposes the sunset so they have to take several more. Just when our romantic couple thinks it might be their turn in the sunset, the wife trades places with the beer-belly husband to get him in the picture. 
Our young couple looks very much out of place as they try to find even a square foot of unoccupied deck they can dance on. There they are in beautiful evening dress standing next to a 60 year old guy in a speedo and his wife in a not so opaque thy length cover up of yellow daisies. Several intoxicated younger women show off biker tattoos and loudly brag about how loaded they were when they got nipple piercings. But nonetheless our beautiful couple embraces and waits for the music to set the mood. 
A Jamaican steel drum band blasts out a reggae version of Stardust slightly out of tune. The couple can not find the beat.... the perfect sunset is gone... the ship lists a'starboard knocking the girl off her high heels and into the hairy arms of a lecherous waiter in a caribbean flowered shirt, spilling a tray of  Cabo Wabos,  the special rum drink of the day.
This may be somewhat of an exaggeration.  However, my version of events is just as close to the reality as the television depiction. What they do not indicate in the ads is... the bigger the ship the more passengers, the more passengers the longer the lines, the longer the lines the less freedom and an increase in wasted time.  A seven day cruise on a mega ship.... two of those days will be spent waiting in lines to experience the privacy and isolation you wanted. One day each way will be spent getting on and off the ship. (You know what it's like to board 150 people onto an airplane, try waiting on 3000 people to board with 9000 pieces of luggage) 
It will take you one day to find your way around the mega ship to get your bearings on where to enjoy yourself. If you take an excursion off the ship for a day to see someplace other than the ship there is another day..... your seven day cruise actually lasts  for 24 hours of actual enjoyment of the mega facilities. 
But what do I know this is only my 175th cruise.
As you were,

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Cross Media Opportunity
If you have not seen this on my FaceBook Page.....

.....for every person who becomes a fan of
I'm No Dummy on FACEBOOK before December 3, 2011 a dollar will be donated to Vent Haven Museum.
Everyone should be a fan of  the doucmentary"I'm No Dummy", and if you haven't expressed that fan-dom on the Facebook page it doesn't count in the social ether.

What's So Funny?

I am a big fan of laughter. I love to laugh and so does Sandi. At the same time laughter baffles me. It is so personal it can't be quantified. I don't see the humor in things that others may find hysterical. We seem to surround ourselves with friends who have a similar sense of humor, and could be one of greatest connections to developing a friendship. In the rock and roll days of the 80's when Comedy Clubs were ubiquitous it was a great vehicle for dating. If two people laughed at the same things it was a good indication that there were legs to the relationship.  I often wonder how services like and other dating sites manage to determine a humor quotient with a written profile. 
So how can you determine a persons humor quotient besides observing the actual experience of laughter? There are certain social factors and lifestyles that might indicate a certain propensity for a certain kind of humor but only in a general sense. I am not a NASCAR fan and don't know anything about it. I would not be educated enough on the subtleties of the sport to understand the subtleties of jokes about it. It is like a different  language. Humor is always the last comprehension one comes to when learning a new language. 
When writing jokes for a corporate show if I can find out enough about their business I can find a joke that will only be funny to them. It is the relationship of timing, language and understanding. Every comic knows that the most important of the three is timing. 
Telling a joke the right way is the same as telling a story. You don't start with the surprise ending of the story, and you don't start with the punch line of a joke. It is the biggest rookie mistake. Since most people remember the punch line of a joke because it evokes the laugh, they will identify the joke by the punchline. How many times has this happened to a comic, "Hey Sheckie, tell that joke where the Nun says 'same as downtown'."
There is no way to get a laugh if they know where you are going.
I guess because it is such a personal and diverse phenomena humor will never be 100% the same for everyone. You can't make everyone laugh every time. Comics "go for it" hoping that the majority will see the joke knowing that some will be not laugh and others may be offended. But to be a comic, comedian, clown or humorist you have to take the risk.  The world is only changed by risk takers, you can't homogenize a joke so much that no one finds it funny. I am not advocating humor at any cost is a good thing. No one should use humor as a weapon or vehicle to bully. Getting a laugh by belittling some one or some group is wrong on a lot of levels, but if there are human qualities every one can laugh *with*, it is cathartic and enlightening. It helps us look at our failings in a gentle way. It lets us know that we have not yet reached perfection and shows us a path for improvement. If everyone is laughing and I'm not perhaps I am taking myself to seriously, at least it is worth a glance inward.
This process is important a mental level, but the very act of laughter is biologically curative. It clears out your lungs, oxygenates your blood, and exercises your core.  It is the easiest form of exercise you can do for yourself. Laugh it up some how today.
As you were,

Tuesday, December 06, 2011


Yes it is. But not as much the 175th time you see it. Ten or more of those 175 cruises were to Alaska, and I have yet to become jaded to that view.
This one , however, never changes, never varies nor surprises me. At some point calming and relaxing turns into tedium and boredom. I long for a force 12 storm just to see the ocean show me an angrier face with an attitude that resents a floating hotel cutting through its majesty.
Yet I am not complaining, and am grateful for the chance to work such a beautiful venue. I could be working a comedy club in a show storm right now.
It just proves that familiarity sometimes diminishes your observation. We often forget the blessings that are continually present and all around us.
I'm leaving tomorrow trading this to touch the face of my beautiful wife and receive the unconditionally wet welcome of my dog, Boo. I never grow tired of that experince.
As you were,

Sunday, December 04, 2011

The View

With no reference to the ladies televised gripe fest on network TV, this is the view from the second floor lobby of the hotel in Cozumel where I stayed the night. That is not my ship. My ship, The Freedom of the Seas had to dock about a mile away from this site because it is so much bigger than this small dingy. This would qualify as a life boat on my ship. Size seems to matter for sailing as well.
I contend that the ships have to be bigger because the passengers are. I know that Americans are getting fatter and the poster people for the girth generation take cruises. The cliche that old people take cruises has been over taken by the portly. Why do you think they call the loading zone a PORT.
Just as a note I heard the Filipino guitar trio cover of the Doors "Light My Fire" in sort of a swing standard tempo. And sounded more like "Rite my frier". It was as wrong as it seems. If Jim Morrison was still alive this would kill him.
As you were,

Friday, December 02, 2011

In Search of a Connection

It's back on the road again... or should I say the water.  As always it is all about getting there. This time it is a red eye connection, and layover to get to Cozumel.  I know the port I know the Hotel and I know the drill. In fact they probably have not changed the sheets since I was last there. I will spend the rest of this week looking for cheap Internet or insecure wifi to up date my blogsphere. More later on that.

There were 15 cheerleaders all under 18 who were late for their flight here at LAX tonight. I am trying to think of what a group of cheerleaders would be called.  If it is a "bargain" of Jews, a "slut" of hookers, it must be a "pom pom" of cheerleaders.  At any rate I heard the teacher/sponsor of the group yelling behind me... "Cheerleaders... push your way through and get to the gate.  The plane leaves in 10 minutes."  It would be easy for a "pom pom" of cute girls to make their way to the head of the usual line... but this happens to be the security line of the TSA. One of the front runners says rather baffled, "We have to go through security?"  as if a cheering squad would be exempt from Homeland Security search.  
At first the all male TSA squad was drooling at the idea of so many cuties streaming through the body scan. Their hormone fed excitement began to fade the minute the group of girls began to over load the hand baggage Xray.  They must have said it a hundred times in five minutes. '"No water, put your computer in a separate bin, take your shoes off, makeup outside your carry on in a see through bag." It was an explosion of pink accesssories jamming he conveyor belt. None of the squad seemed to have the slightist clue what the portocol for airport security is. It was not pretty.

My niece and nephew have a dog named Charlie.  Any time a couple hugs each other in the dog's presence Charlie will hump one of the four legs.  It never fails. The minute he sees an embrace he tries to make it a Menage-a-dog. We tested it and a hand shake would not do it nor being close to each other...but once we started to hug it was a canine assault from Charlie.

Now you know why the title in Search of a connection. You put these two stories together!

Just as a post script, I did find the Internet connection at the hotel here in Mexico. Free and easy. As I went to post the above entry, the blogger instructions were in Spanish. My three years of high school Spanish gave me more confidence than backed up by real ability. I opened what I thought was the proper menu item to post, it was I the same position as my English version. But a dialogue box kept coming up that was past my grade level to translate. Fortunately I did not click the button. I repeated that step several times before I found the button to display In English. It was only then that I realized the button I thought was the one to publish, was actually a button that said, " delete this entire blog site?" I was one button away from erasing every blog entry I have written since 2006. There are some who would say that is not a great loss. In the scheme of the world that might be true, but for a guy who can't remember where I was yesterday, it is occasionally nice to go back and realize not only that I  am blessed but most of the time I was aware of it at the time and wrote about it.
If any one is keeping up on a daily basis I will try to publish when there is something to say and the great god Neptune allows a dock with free Internet. The great god of recreational cruising god Royal provides the opportunity but requires a great sacrifice.
As you were,