Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Ghouls and Zombies at OHS

Orchard Hardware Supply is the nearest hardware store to my house.  Sometimes I go over and walk around just to get a rush of testosterone.  Most of the time I am not looking for something specific, just visiting all the tools.  Today I was actually looking for a certain cabinet latch to replace one that is broken in the kitchen.
I am not above asking for help when looking for an item.  As a matter of fact I had to ask several clerks to even find the section that I should look in today. It may be that men don't ask for directions because we can't follow them when they are given to us.  Even after someone told me what I was looking for is on aisle 14, I didn't find the latch right away. I wondered around thinking I would see a sign saying, "Over here, Jay". That never happened.
The store has all of its Halloween merchandise on the push aisles displayed all over the store.  Some of the employees were dressed in costume. There is a sort of "unfinished" haunted house feeling to the store right now. That added to the illusion that struck me on my mission.
I saw a bunch of guys my age walking around in a daze looking for the same "Over Here" sign that I thought would be there for me.  I passed some of them several times and it became obvious that none of us knew where we were going or in some cases what we were even doing there. We all had this bewildered look on our faces shuffling along not to fast lest we walk right past the item we needed. 
Being that it was all Halloween-ed out I suddenly saw us as Zombies and Ghouls lusting for human brains, and like the stereotypical male Zombies we were had no  clue where the human brain section started.  One older man in particular was perfectly cast as a Zombie except for the wondering eye.  He never looked at me but kept his gaze at "lower shelf level" with his mouth a gape and limping a little. I passed him four times and he was still wondering when I checked out.
The clerk who was not in costume said, "You're in a good mood today."   I said, "Who doesn't like Halloween?" She looked up to see a long line of Zombieisque handymen waiting to check out  and said, "Me."
 As you were,

Monday, October 29, 2012

What's on your mind?

Two Days till.....

I found a count down clock to Halloween in the gaget section of the google blog stuff.  It was nice, good graphic but it came with an ad that was bigger than the clock and it could not be deleted. You would think as much revenue as Google generates on pop up ads and paid for searches they could let the Halloween count down clock go naked.
How dare Google commercialize an other wise respectful holiday?
As you were,

Friday, October 26, 2012


There is something about Halloween that will always be special to me. There are many reasons both personal and universal.
On the universal level, what is not to like about Halloween? It is not a family holiday so there are no worries about celebrating together or traveling to be with family.  Not that this is bad a bad thing, it just sometimes adds to the complications of celebrating the Holidays.  
Halloween celebrates the strange and unusual, the dark side of the moon, the yen to the yang, the naughty over the nice. You get to dress up like someone or something else and there are no rules about what is appropriate garb.  Top all that off with the fact that as a kid you get candy just for ringing some one's doorbell. The perfect holiday.
Outside my window
For me, my first venture on the stage was at Halloween.  Abernathy, Texas where I grew up used to celebrate Halloween with a parade, a costume contest and a Harvest Play every year at the school auditorium. As a kid I was called upon to be in those productions. I have played cowboys, ghosts, and been the official crown bearer for the Harvest Queen.  I loved being in those shows and always looked forward to it.  To top it off after the show we could go trick or treating and get enough candy to cause a sugar overdose of energy. Perhaps it was a psychological connection to the stage,  perform... get candy... even Pavlov's Dogs would become hooked.  
Later in life when Harry Anderson and I teamed up we produced some of the greatest Halloween shows the Comedy and Magic Club has ever seen. (Jay said modestly).  These shows gave birth to some of my favorite vent characters, some are still with me.  There was Long John LaFeat, Nethernore and Log Chainey the wooden killer. Log Chainey was the star of the show for a couple of years.  He is a 7 foot monster that looks like one of the evil trees in the Wizard of Oz. He comes on stage dragging me by the  torso and proceeds to become enraged with every wood joke that I tell. It is a unique body costume switch that Kirk Thatcher and I designed. Log was too complicated to make it into the cast of "The Two and Only" but Long John and Nethernore made the Broadway cut. 
Before Harry moved away from Los Angeles we worked months on a "walk through" haunted house in the basement of his Pasadena house.  We pulled out all the stops and raided Harry's vast supply of body parts and magic tricks to amaze the participants.  Mike Caveney even called it the best Haunted House he had ever seen and called his friend David Copperfield to tell him about it.  David arrived a couple of days after Halloween for a personal tour.  It included a severed head that would turn into a werewolf when "moon light" was shined on it.  The moon light was a simple flashlight which anyone could shine on the head, but the effect was mind blowing.  David was impressed.
Every year I create Fredrick the Frightening.  Fredrick started as a simple scarecrow/life-sized mannequin when I was a kid. He grew in design and structure over the years as I was able to find more grotesque and magical head/faces for the guy. The head I liked the best was a foam rubber pumpkin that had a very frightening expression.  I added glass taxidermy lion eyes and it was truly frightening.  After several years the foam began to decay and Sandi tossed it before I could retrieve the eyes.  If we were ever going to divorce that would have done it... but even expensive taxidermy eyes are no where near the value of a soul mate like Sandi.  
This year with a very simple optical illusion Frederick will turn his head and follow you where ever you walk in a room.  Since our neighborhood is gated and no sidewalks we don't get any trick or treaters so Frederick will spend the night at the Williams house nearby.  They get over 200 little ghosts and ghouls and he will be appreciated by a larger audience.  Be afraid kids... be very afraid.
Five more days.... can't wait.
As you were,

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Gas Light

After my blog yesterday about Boo, I now think that my life compares more with the film Gaslight than Vertigo.  I have exposed my weakness for making over Boo in the image of Smooch. Armed with that information here is what some of my friends are sending me.  
No offense to Kim Novak or any members of here fan club or family.  The picture wasn't intended as any editorial toward an iconic movie star. She even makes this incarnation beautiful. 
Rather this clever composite is a statement that friends who know me as well as my son are aware of my canine obsession.  Yikes... my opaque personality and obsessions have been outed. 
I find this picture compelling and just a little bit disturbing.  It makes me stutter in a quintessential Jimmy Stewart manner.  I have never been comfortable with heights and look pretty good in a 50's suit and fedora.  I think I have found my Halloween costume.  I will dress up as John "Scottie" Ferguson. I doubt that I can find the costume in this photo for Boo, but my delusions are obviously working over time so it should work in the mind of Jayland.
Thank you Marjorie.... LOL and OMG.
As you were,

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

A story about a Dog

My oldest son returned a week ago from living in Berlin for the last six years. It was his first time to meet Boo, my dog.  He thinks I spoil her. I tell him I was much tougher raising little boys.
I'm not sure anyone agrees with my method of Boo training and it particularly fails to compare with the discipline of German dogs. My dog is no "Ich bin ein Berliner"  by breed or behavior. Perhaps my son is judging her by culturally different standards. Boo is better behaved than Smooch, our first dog, although it is amazing how similar they are in most other respects. 
Portait of Boo 
Regarding my relationship with Boo my son recently made reference to an Alfred Hitchcock movie. It was an amusingly erudite reference typical of my son's keen observation and intelligence.   I can't seem to get it out of my mind.
The reference was to Vertigo  a 1958 psychological thriller film directed by Alfred Hitchcock based on the 1954 novel D'entre les morts by Boileau-Narcejac. The screenplay written by Alec Coppel and Samuel A. Taylor.
Most people will know it as Alfred Hitchcock's Jimmy Stewart, Kim Novak movie.  You can go to Wikipedia and read the plot.  This guy falls in love with a woman who commits suicide.  He becomes obsessed with another woman, and attempts to dress her and style her in the image of the dead lady.  At the end of the movie we discover the woman is the same person in a twisted murder plot that ends in tragedy. 
But this is a dog story.
Smooch was a dog we adopted from my brother-in-law. I was close to Smooch but she was not my dog. She was mostly attached to my youngest son and she was a good family dog. Smooch developed an illness and it became necessary to ease her pain and put her down.  No one wanted her to go through it alone, but nobody wanted to be there for it either.  As Father of the family, it was my duty to see Smooch on her way. I had been the "one in  charge" at the death of Peanut the rat,  Gilley the Frog, and Renfield the cat. For those events I only had to deal with the after math of death.  For Smooch my presence was required to be there for the moment. I never felt closer to Smooch than when she was drifting away in my lap. That experience affected me profoundly.  
We didn't have any pets for several years after that. I only wanted a dog if it could be exactly like Smooch in training and personality.  I doubted that we would ever find a dog like Smooch. If cloning was an affordable option I might have considered it.  If not Smooch, better to be without a dog.
A little more than a year ago I heard about a dog needing a home while I was winning at a poker game. The dog belonged to a celebrity friend of a friend. The dog was four years old, 20 pounds, trained, vaccinated and cute.  I asked what kind of dog it was and the poker hostess said, "Blond". 
At the encouragement of my wife I got a picture and more information on the dog.  She was a blond cockapoo who looked remarkably like Smooch.  In a few days when I finally met Boo it was love at first sight and she became my dog. Boo is so similar in personality I call her Smooch occasionally still.
Is my son right in his film comparison? Am I obsessing? Am I Jimmy Stewart and is Boo Kim Novak? Am I trying to reanimate puppy love lost, in the image of a new blond cockapoo? Am I trying to recast a relationship with Boo that I only had with Smooch for the last moments of her life?  Who would even make that connection to Vergtigo  and cause me to wonder but my loving son who has been gone for awhile?  
I'm under the delusion that I'm a complicated person, but the more I try to be opaque the more transparent I become. That is why we have family... to point out that fact.
As you were,

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Di Vinci Code

I doubt that Leonardo would have published his drawings on the web. That is the difference between Mr. DiVinci and myself, among other things. As for me, since there have been no scientific journals hounding me for this information, I share it with the blogosphere.  
One warning... do not take time for granted. If indeed life's pause button has been found, make sure the moment is right to time travel.  Also, know where you are going.  There is so much time and so little now.
These are actual notes taken during my Time Capsule experiments.  For some reason the time machine could not be found for a day.  In an effort to document my attempt to"find" it, I took careful notes using my best drawing pen.  What I found was compelling and unexpected.  
With all our clocks synced to each other via the internet, radio frequencies and atomic seconds there should have been no variance in time. That is why this finding was so baffling.
Using my iPhone and iPad along with my computer I worked all day on the project.  I eventually found the Time Machine and the Time capsule. Looking back on the last few measurements I realized the calculations show a "time gap". It shows that for 31 minutes time stood still.  I believe the time machine made a jump into an alternative universe that is ahead of us by a few minutes.  Since those events have yet to happen in our universe, but are past in the alternate, it would be impossible to exist there.  
Mrs. Williams always told us to show our work so here it is.  

As you were, 

Monday, October 22, 2012

Magic Castle

I just finished a week at the Magic Castle.  I always have a great time when I am there performing. What a unique place to work.  
I find that magicians have the best stories.  Mike Caveney works with a live chicken on stage and told me this one involving livestock productions.  
It seems that a friend of his was going to do the "duck bucket" trick at the Castle.  As you might expect that trick involves producing a live duck from an empty bucket.  (No I can't tell you how it works because of the Magicians code of secrecy). It doesn't matter since the story does not involve the production method anyway. 
The magician didn't want to travel with a real duck so he decided to get one when he got to Los Angeles.  The place to get a live duck is Chinatown, so that is where he ended up.  He was directed to a shop keeper with a pen of ducks for sale.  The magician wanted just the right one as far as size and color.  He looked at all of them and found a white one that was just right.  Although the merchant did not understand his reasons for wanting a specific duck, he finally isolated the one the magician wanted.
In one well perfected move he grabbed the duck threw it down on the chopping block quickly cutting off its head saying, "You like me to take off feathers." 
Little did the duck know that he was just moments away from going into Show business.
As you were,

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

What goes around....

It was my friend Harry's birthday this last weekend.  It was great to see him, but it was like the best High School reunion at the party.  Many people I have not seen in a long time were there.  My friend Turk made the trip from Austin, Texas.  
Turk has two girls that are now seniors, one in High School and one in College.  The youngest made a profound statement the other day, Turk said.  It seems that they had misplaced the cordless phone in the house and were turning it upside down to find it.  Lilly said, "They ought to make a phone with a cord on it that attaches to the wall so you would always know where it is."  
The exponential growth of wireless, cordless, remote and blue tooth devices has eclipsed the old days when you had to find a phone booth to make a call on the road.
As you were,

Friday, October 12, 2012

Time to Think Again...

Spalding Gray did a monologue about living in Los Angeles for a year. He was bothered by the weather and the season change... because basically there is none here in LA. He said that he kept waiting for the winter weather to come so he felt like staying inside and writing. To quote: "When will it be winter so I can wear corduroy and think again."
That statement is particularly relevant at this moment. Yesterday the sky opened and it began to rain. Today the rain is gone but it is overcast and cool enough to wear a sweatshirt when I walk to the Coffee Bean and hang out in doors. Spalding is right. With the sun gone it is time to "think again."
I have become aware of how this blog has changed over the years. I wanted it to be an honest narrative of my life and my feelings. It took me a while to realize this desire is a paradox, and although the thoughts are honest they are also public. After a few publications went semi-viral I realized that being vague is a lot less trouble than being honest.
There have been so many "twists" to the filming of my show it would read like a James Bond novel if I could be honest. Unfortunately I can't. Being honest would not accomplish anything from a business stand point no matter how good it would feel to get it off my chest. Perhaps this is the problem Nostradamus faced in his day. It could be why he disguised his thoughts in quatrains. He had to keep them cryptic in order not to be burned at the stake. Why not use the same device. So here goes, an exercise for me to keep my sanity and a conundrum for the "son of a bitch" of my wrath. Decrypt this and bite me you f----- idiot. Yeah, you.... you know who you are.... I'm talkin' to you.
The French lawyers with their small interest have killed the way for the rest.
They cover their past mistakes by claiming they are looking out for the best.
Their insults and posture are hubris and ultimately nothing but abuse.
We move forward as they regress, determining the way and its use

As you were,

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Attention Span and Life

Blogs to Tweets.  
How much time can we spare to listen to someone else?  Well, not always listen, we read or text our interactions now. 
So, How much time can we spare to read about someone else? 
It seems the current human attention span is of the second and dropping.  We are all constantly connected to everybody who is connected so we can "share" what is going on in our life. Aren't we all just talking to ourselves? Who is actually paying attention to what we are doing except ourselves?  
So, the shorter the better... Tweets over Blogs.  Speed over content.  The quicker the thought the better because it will not be retained more than seconds (and dropping) anyway.  I am the only one listening so I might as well say it quick and get on with myself.  Short and aBrvi8ed:  :0
Life is like an unfinished...... 
or is that death?

As I am,

Friday, October 05, 2012

The Great Divide

I remember I was in High School during a presidential campaign that was contentious.  Although not as contentious as the last few have been, it was still a divided electorate. In my government class there was a girl I had a crush on.  She was cute and perky and on the drill team squad.  
Being a shy kid I was mostly admiring her from afar.  She seemed to do everything with such charm and grace. Then one day she walked into class wearing a campaign button.  The button portrayed the picture of the "other" candidate.
Neither one of us was old enough to vote yet, but that was the nail in the coffin in our "never to be" romance.  How could she feel strongly enough to sport a button of a man I was sure would ruin the country and destroy my budding adult life? Obviously I was wrong about how smart and aware she was.
She didn't seem so cute and perky after that.  I became aware that she was stuck up and snooty, just like all those drill team girls. Now I knew why she had not given me the time of day, she was one of the "others" and obviously living in a household of adults who had no clue about what was good for America.  That was it... a relationship that was nipped in the bud.
Back then presidential elections did not go on 24/7 and once we had elected a President it was over until the conventions of the next election cycle four long years away.  Once the campaign yard signs came down, everyone began to look the same.  I would be out of high school by the time the next one came along.
At the end of that school year I found myself paired with this drill team queen on a student council committee. Only months before, this would have been my chance to move in on her in my non-confrontational shy way... but after that "button incident" it was just another duty to fill.
To my surprise we got along very well. We had a common cause to help the school in whatever way we could.  She was funny and clever in addition to being just perky and cute. We never mentioned politics or the Presidential election or party affiliations or anything connected to the button she once wore.  After many years of looking at high school as a distant memory and me moving away from Texas, we remained friends.  We even connect on FaceBook occasionally, until yesterday.
There it was. A picture of "the other" candidate on her FaceBook status with an invitation to "Like" his page and join his camp....  Delete.... "Fool me once... shame on me... fool me twice... you uninformed skank".  
I don't think I am the only one who is acting like a dumbstruck teenager in this election.  Can we just get it over with so I can get back to my adult life and see my friends as people, not some tool of the wrong political party?
As you were,

Monday, October 01, 2012

Graphic Monday

In the attempt to distill art I have come up with this diagram.
As you were,