Friday, August 30, 2013


I guess it was the thought of Labor Day that sparked this blog. The economy is still not in balance. Banks who helped create the recession are now making more than ever. The stock market is back higher than it was before the big fall from real estate derivatives. But unemployment still remains too high. Why?
There are certain principles of the truth that are common to the human species and its relationship to the eternal. Folk lore, myth and religions incorporate these principles and cloak them in parable and metaphor to help us understand the universality of the idea.
Common to all is the idea of prosperity and supply. These ideas are the same to everyone everywhere and have always been true.  Although the parables are told in different ways the message is the same. Whether it is a tribe hoping to find the buffalo herds or a car salesman looking for customers,  we are looking for a supply of something that will translate into our prosperity.  
In more primitive times prosperity was more closely related to the food supply.  Today it is a salary or income that provides money which we exchange for food.  But either way it is the principle of having "enough".
Indian stories talk about a buffalo calf that was enchanted. If you cut off its leg or flank a new one would grow back.  They found in times of famine they could eat part of the calf to survive and the calf would regenerate itself, thus providing a continuous supply of food... prosperity. The only rule was this... only take what you need from the calf, because if you took too much the calf would die, ending your supply and prosperity. 
The Israelites were faced with the same principle in the desert. Manna came from heaven to keep them alive. The only rule was... only take what you need for that day.  Any time they tried to hoard a supply it would spoil and could not be eaten. 
Orange growers do not chop their trees down to gather the oranges.  That seems pretty straight forward.  So it is that this flow of supply leading to prosperity has universal rules even in this currency driven world. 
To relate this to yesterday's headlines.. the employees of fast food chains went on strike demanding higher wages.  The only resolution will be the balance of everyone taking enough. Either side, management or employees, will stop the flow of supply if they try to take too much.  Prosperity is a river that continues to flow, you can dip the water you need from the moving supply.  If you dam up the river to keep the water for yourself... the flow stops.
More is not better if it is more than enough.
That's the way I see it...  you may see it differently.
Have a great Labor Day weekend.
As you were,

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Yes to the Day not Yesterday

Art by Jayson
I had a discussion with a Buddhist friend of mine about past lives.  My question was, are Buddhists interested in past life regression to try and understand the path that brought them to this life?
She basically told me that Buddhist have no more interest in past lives than the average person. Certainly it was not a tenant of belief.  
The Buddhist philosophy is not a matter of what happened back when, it is a matter of what you are doing now for that which is to come. At least that was my "take away" answer.  I am sure the Buddha would say it better.
It stuck with me though.  If one believes in reincarnation and we are here correcting the mistakes of our past, knowing those past mistakes is not as important as it would seem.  In fact the way I see it, that's a subtle cop out.  It becomes too easy to blame the situation you find yourself in on something from your past rather than your present involvement.
If a person is afraid of dogs, for example, and finds out that in a former life they were attack by dogs, it may be interesting but not helpful.  It is not important how dogs treated your former self, but what your current self is doing to make peace with the dogs today. Rather than your life being some paper cup that is blown to some experience by the winds of fate, your life is the wind blowing the paper cup to the experience of your own choosing.
Life is a little more difficult than overcoming dogaphobia.  There are people, places and ventures that have "attacked" us in the past.  It could make us afraid to repeat the experience. At the first sign of fear we generally stop and run away. If you do that you are definitely off your path. 
When you find yourself in a place you don't want to be you ask how did I get here?  The answer is not because, "those people, places, ventures or dogs hurt me in the past. I feared they would do it again,so I ran away." They did not make you afraid, you are in control of your own emotions. To get back on track you will probably have to come their way again.  One will never reach a destination by running away and coming back to the same point in the journey time after time. 
No matter what you were before, even yesterday,  and no matter what caused your fear, unless you are moving forward you are going in circles. Deal with the issues today as a new person capable of moving forward in strength not running backward in fear.  Other wise you will be stuck in the same place for a long time and perhaps in Buddhists thinking... many lifetimes.
As you were,

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Death and Comedy

People are people and types don't change no matter what profession you find yourself pursuing.  I don't know much about the politics and personalities of a corporate board room, but I have navigated my way through a green room full of comics and novelty acts.  I assume the personalities are similar even though the business is different. 
We all know people who are "always on".  In the business world this might be a person who is always talking about their job, or their possessions or their status in a company. There maybe a disproportional number of comics with this type A personality for a logical reason.
Comedy is complicated and so close to the edge of tragedy and depression, they sometimes mask themselves with comedy. I don't think there is a standard psyche for a comic although it may attract more than its share of damaged personalities.  They are "always on" because they might not like who they are if they are not always funny. 
When you think about the courage a person must conjure when they go on stage, alone and face a crowd of strangers, you understand that ego issues might develop.  You have to believe you are the funniest person in the room or you would talk yourself out of being in the room. Don't let the audience see your insecurities, hide behind the laugh.  It is a comic's only shield of protection.
Years ago I was on a bus going from a ship in the bay at Ocho Rios, Jamacia  to the Montego Bay airport.  That is about a two hour drive along double lane highways with no traffic rules.  I have made the drive several times and survived.  It is not a public bus but transportation for the "fly on" entertainers aboard ship.  
On one particular trip there was four of us in a bus that could hold 12, a comic, a juggler, a ventriloquist and a young lady no one seemed to know.  I didn't know the comic very well, but the juggler and I had already spent many hours trading stories on the deck of the Navigator of the Seas.  We were having a nice conversation when the comic inserted himself into the discussion.  It quickly turned into a comedy routine for the comic and he began to dominate the chit chat.  
Either he ran out of material or took a breath but either way there was finally a welcomed lull in the one-sided conversation. I could see it in my juggler friends eyes. He was thinking the same thing I was thinking... "How do we wrestle the conversation back to anything except the Comic and his career."
The young lady had not said a word.  I assumed she was an entertainer so I took that moment to introduce myself.  She seemed sad.
I found out that she was not an entertainer but a passenger going to the airport to end her cruise early. Just as a conversation starter I asked her why she was leaving. She teared up and said there was a death in the family and she was called home. 
The juggler and I expressed our condolences. I was flying from Jamaica to Los Angeles that day... I asked her how far she had to go to get home.  She said, "I have to go to Cleveland."  She said it with a tragic tone in her voice. Whomever it was that died was obviously very close to her.
In that tender moment the comic said, "Cleveland, huh, I am going to be performing at Yuck Yucks in Cleveland next week, you should come by for some laughs."  It was extremely insensitive and inappropriate.  She turned to look out the window and did not speak to any of us for the rest of the trip. The comic went on to tell stories from his favorite comedy clubs. Nobody was listening.
Comic, actor, singer or zither player you have to get past yourself and understand when a group of people is or is not an audience. 
As you were,

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Horny Stories

You are probably reading this for all the wrong reasons. This is another story from the Horn, the club I mentioned yesterday. (Find porno stories other places on the net).

I was green from Texas when I landed at the Horn. I was trying to figure out how to entertain the audiences that came there. Half jaded show biz types, the other half tourist who heard this was the place to see great talent in LA.
With enough regularity to make me question my abilities, the same thing would happen on different occasions. Ric would introduce me. "Here is a new kid. One of the best ventriloquists you will ever see. Welcome Jay Johnson..."  Play on music... I walked on stage. At that very moment 20 people sitting different places in the club would get up in unison and walk out.

"Just a case of ventrilo-phobia," I would tell myself to sooth my damaged ego.   Those waiting to get in the club would fill the room back up and the set seemed to go well. Better each night as I adjusted material.
But it happened enough to make me really question the art form I had chosen to make a career of.  It always stung to see the mass exodus when my name and the word ventriloquist was mentioned.

This was not an issue at the places I worked in Texas, but this was the big time and I wondered if I really could work as an LA comic. I knew I was walking a high wire and could fall at any moment. I kept it too myself hoping Ric would not notice the exodus and fire me.

One night I got there early and while I standing in the empty room, the bartender asked Ric, "how many crawlers do we have tonight?" Ric looked at a piece of paper and said, "Tonight we have uh.... 18."
"Crawlers?" I said, thinking it was a professional show biz term.
"That's the bus tour. They go to five bars in LA on a given night. They call it the Hollywood Pub Crawl Tour."
"Pub Crawl" I said.
"Yeah you must have seen them here. They stay from 9:00 to 10:00, and then move on to the Fox and Hound on Wilshire."
"I wasn't aware."
"You must have seen them get up and leave together."
Inside my head there was an audible "boing" as I grasp what I had just heard.
The two comedy spots happened at 10:00 and 11:45. If I was doing the early set, the 20 people were not walking out on me, they were just exiting to get on the bus and move to the next pub.
I made it in the business at that moment.  I was an LA comic and my job was secure. I was assuming the exodus was all about me and my act. There could be no other logical explanation in the self-centered world of an LA comic.
Later that year I was cast in Soap. ABC casting executives had seen me perform at the Horn, so when I went in for my screen test it was just a formality.
As you were,

Monday, August 26, 2013

What's Opera, Doc?

It was party conversation I was having last night about my friend Ric Ricardi who used to run a showcase club called The Horn. 
The Horn was mainly a room for singers with a couple of comedians a night. So many people got their start at The Horn, it was the place to be seen at the time.  When I first got to town I performed there until things began to happen for me in the business.  I was there for about a year.
Ric, who is no longer with us and neither is his Horn, was a strict club owner. He was a tough Italian who ran the room as a performance space not a bar.  He was the host, doorman, manager, talent booker and Master of Ceremonies introducing each act. Printed on the red candle holders at every table was the phrase.. "Do not Talk while the Performers are on stage." No please, it was not a request but a demand.  He and the brute bartender were also the bouncers and would throw anyone out the door if they did not abide by the no talking rule.  
As one of the comedians, there was always the chance that Ric might throw someone out the door physically just before your set. This created a distraction that was tough to overcome when you were trying to do comedy for the ones obeying the rules. 
That was only one of his quirks.  He started the club with his wife Margaret. Although I never knew her, they say she was tougher than Ric when it came to the attentiveness of the crowd. She had been gone for almost 25 years by the time I showed up.  Although Ric was a "player" when he was young, in his old age he would get emotional when he mentioned her on stage.  The story was almost always the same. He would talk about the moment he found her lifeless body, and how he missed her.  To say the least it was not a chipper story to tell an audience at a club.
The comedians alternated between the early spot and the late spot between singers.  The line up always rotated around the singers who were in town so we comedians never knew who we might follow.  
There was an opera singer named Marge.  A budding diva who was very formal and classical.  I learned quickly that if you were going to follow Marge on stage it was going to be a tough night. 
She was not always there but when she was her set was a group of very heavy arias from various operas.  No matter what else she sang, she would always close with a tragic death song dirge.  
Unfortunately for the comic who had to follow her, the ending song was so tragic and her performance so dramatic you had to work much harder to get the audience back in laughter mode.  Moreover, it happen to be Ric's departed wife's favorite song. 
On more than one occasion Ric would become so emotional from the song he would launch into the Margaret story from the stage in great detail.  Here is how I remember one of those evenings: Marge is done and Ric takes the stage....
"That was Marge.  Beautifully done Marge. That last song was Margaret's favorite. Margaret, my wife, and I started this club so many years ago, this was her room. It was almost 25 years ago that she left us. (beginning to tear up).  I found her slumped over her makeup table one morning. She must have been dead from the night before because her body was cold and stiff. There she was gone...(more sniffles... a little frog in his throat) and she took my heart with her....(choked up) My life has never been the same.... I miss her so much.... and now to entertain you... here is Jay Johnson.  (Lively play on music... I walk on stage).
I clearly remember the look on their collective faces of sorrow, shock, horror and sadness... none of the emotions in the comedy "color pallet." It was like working a coal mine to get them to laugh. 
I was telling this story at the cocktail party and said, "That was my experience following opera."
A friend in the group perked up and said, "Oh, then you must know (insert a name I didn't know)."
"No, I don't", I replied trying to connect to this non-linear question.
 "Oh, he is fabulous. Sings like no one you have heard.  The Santa Fe opera is trying to get him back to sing in their lead production this year." 
After some more information about this person's opera career I said, "And why am I supposed to know this guy?"
My Texas friend replied, "Well I thought you would know him since you said you followed opera."
That's when my friend Lynn connected the dots of this odd conversation and said,
"No, no. Jay didn't say he followed opera, he said he followed an opera singer." 
A huge laugh ended the opera conversation. 
As you were,

Friday, August 23, 2013

A Dancer Dances... a writer wites.

In a moment of attempted editing I lost the text to this blog.  On Sept. 1, 2013 5:52PM
It was not one of my best.  That opinion I know was shared by at least one of my sons.
I return you to a transition graphic.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Hundred - eleven year old Sea Lion

Today in the LA Times there was a picture of a 111 year old Sea Lion. I began to read the story about how the sea lion had been found off the coast of Hermosa Beach struggling against the rip tide.  He (Or she) they didn't say, was taken to a marine life shelter, nursed back to health and was being released back into the sea today.  
Old Sea Lion
Wondering why they just didn't keep the sea lion and let him live out the rest of his life at the marine shelter, I began anthropomorphizing the creature.  How long does a sea lion live anyway? Surely it would not be long term care for such and aged creature.  Shouldn't it be able to live the short balance left of its life in the comfort of a "old sea lion home"? Where is the Willard Scott of sea lions wishing him a happy Smuckers Birthday, and making a big deal out of the fact that he made the century mark plus eleven more years against all odds in the open sea? 
After a couple of cups of coffee I began to wax militant. Where was the SPCA?  Why had PETA not tried to stop this ancient creature from being thrown back to the sharks? What time was that "release" taking place? Was there time for me to get there and prevent this from happening?  My adrenaline was pumping and my righteous indignation was peaking. I decided the only thing I could really do for the animal was have another cup of coffee and stay mad.
Of course that is a hard thing to do for a person with AADS.  In just a few minutes my attention was captured by another headline in the Times and my blood began to cool off. I think that was the moment that I realized I had read the headline wrong.  The sea lion was not 111.  The foundling sea lion was ill.
In the infamous word of Gilda Radner's Emily LaTella  "Never Mind!"
As you were,

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Haunted Television

It was a great advertisement for a program about ghosts and hauntings.  In fact the program is called Haunted. Normally I would not remember one of the hundreds of commercials I see on television daily.  Even on the cable stations when they run the same commercial multiple times in the same half hour, it is hard to be memorable.  This one was different.
The Haunted Drawing
I like to have the television on when I draw.  Being very nearsighted I take off my glasses for reading and drawing, so it is hard to see the television screen and my drawing in the same glance. I have found that history shows and true crime shows are best to "watch" when I am entertaining an artistic muse. Those programs are basically reenactments and become more like a radio show than a television show. A narrator will usually explain what is happening, so it is easy to follow along even when my gaze and attention are on my drawing.
I think it was a true crime story I was watching while drawing last evening. An advertisement for a show about ghosts came on.  Typical erie music and young people gasping and reacting to blurry images in a dark room. The last frame was just the title, Haunted,  across the screen appearing in that wavy Scooby Doo effect.  The sound of the erie music went silent. The picture started to flash on and off. I still thought it was part of the promo until it stopped blinking, broke up in a digital pattern  and froze.  
As a digital screen will do sometimes.. especially if you have Time Warner cable, everything was frozen. The words, Just a moment appeared, then disappeared. Nothing was happening. I couldn't turn the cable converter off and I couldn't change the channel, I couldn't even turn the television off.  Experienced at this procedure I started to unplug the cable box to re-boot, which is the only thing that helps.  Before I could do that the sound came back on with a pixelated screen clearing to a normal picture. Detectives were once again trying to catch a murderer and I went back to drawing.
I thought to myself that would be a great commercial... have it end like the television had frozen so it gets you off the sofa.  But that is about as far as my thoughts went at that moment.  I scraped the drawing I was doing and started another.
As cable does, the same commercial came on about ten minutes later.  I immediately recognized it as the Haunted commercial that froze the television before.  I put on my glasses to watch it.  It came to the moment with the Scooby Doo ending and the title froze again.  It certainly had my attention this time, Haunted took on a personal meaning.  I did not attempt to re-boot this time figuring that it would react in the same way it did before. Not so.
I hear a click, the screen goes totally black and the cable box turns itself off. It was as if someone had unplugged the unit. It probably takes ten minutes for the cable box to re-boot and during that time I could not dismiss the idea that a show called Haunted had just haunted my television.  
Perhaps some programing genius has embedded a worm into the commercial itself causing the cable to go crazy at the end.  What a great idea to get remembered among all the other commercials. Or...maybe it was a real ghost who was trying to get my attention.
I found myself reacting like the Cowardly Lion in the Wizard of Oz, pulling my tail and repeating, " I do believe in ghosts... I do believe in ghosts.. I do.. I do .... I do"
As  you were,

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Work Day

BC... before children, I was not known to be functional until 10:00 am. I was a nighttime guy. Working clubs at night and allowing for a few hours of decompression after the performance meant that my normal work day ended about three in the morning.  In fact there was a business rule at my house that no one should call before 10:00 if they expected to talk to me about anything of substance. That rule changed at the birth of our first son. He was too young to understand.  In fact when I started taking him to school I was shocked and amazed at how many people were up and about their day by 8:00am. 
I woke up very early this morning and immediately went to see if the daily paper had arrived.  There was no hint the sun might show up and perhaps it was too early even for paper boys.  But there it was, the Los Angeles Times  neatly wrapped in a plastic bag on my drive way. It was 4:30 am.
In the stillness of the morning I thought to myself, "How early did the paper boy get up to have my paper here for me at this hour?" 
I some how connected with this unseen messenger in my mind and realized, he or she adjusted their day to their job just as I had adjusted my nights to my job. As I write it now is does not seem so insightful but in that moment I realized how life in 2013 is not a matter fitting our work into daylight hours. The sun no longer dictates when we can work.
It's one of the things that excites me most about New York City. It is a 24 hour town. As Frank Sintara sings in the iconic anthem New York, New York... "I want to wake up in the city that doesn't sleep."At any time of day you can be on the streets and see hundreds of people going about their jobs and their lives. 
No one has ever come up to me and said, "Thank you for adjusting your day so you would be ready to entertain us tonight." That is just part of the job.  So perhaps my paper boy is not expecting me to say "Thank you" for getting the paper to me at the moment I wake up... even if I wake up way earlier than usual, that is just part of his job.
Perhaps it is age and maturity but recently I have been aware of the jobs around me that, although invisible most of the time, make my day go so much better. There are people who work all night so that I can have a good day, I never meet them I never see them, but without them life would not be the same.
It is easy for me to believe in alternate universes when I stop to comprehend that I live in a world of alternate universes.  There is so much going that I am totally unaware of here on earth, how could I not think there might be other worlds going on right here as well. I wouldn't be aware of those worlds either.
No point to this blog other than to say, this is an amazing place this universe, this thing we call life. A day is what you make of it, so have a good one and don't take it for granted.
As  you were,

Friday, August 16, 2013

In Rehab

Not me and not that kind of Rehab.  I am doing fine.
A friend had a toe amputated and is still in need of antibiotics for several more weeks. They transferred him to a Rehab facility here in the valley. I visited him yesterday to help him set up a computer to connect to the Internet. My experience with those sort of facilities is very limited, and I know that the quality can vary by what the insurance will pay. This one is not the top of the comfort level, but sadly it is probably not the worst of them.
It is clean and the nurses are pleasant as they can be but it is like visiting Bedlam or some other asylum.  Half drugged and fully crazy people wondering the halls in walkers and wheel chairs.  Some just sit in a wheel chair outside their room staring at something that doesn't appear to me.  
There are three people to a room.  My friend has the bed closest to the window. Not a great view from a first floor but it makes his cubical seem larger. 
The guy in the middle bed did not make it through the night.  He was gone the first morning.  Don't know what happened... in my best Pollyanna voice I hear myself saying... "Oh they must have released him." 
The guy in the bed nearest the door watches the History Channel and the Military Channel 24/7.  As if that was not distracting enough he also yells back at the screen.  No rhetorical questions are left un-answered and his political leanings are very clear in his comments.  So much for resting and trying to rehabilitate. 
When I tried to set up the computer I found that the outlets in the wall were so old and worn they would not hole a plug.  The plug would just fall out of the wall disconnecting everything I had plugged in.  I ended up having to use adhesive tape to secure the plug in the socket. But I did get him back on line so he can at least FaceBook to people who aren't "barking mad."
Our health care industry really needs to be better.  One really doesn't know what it is like in that industry until they are forced by some crises to deal with it.  The problem then becomes trying to manage a huge system when you are not in 100% great health.
So here is a shout out to every nurse, every doctor, every receptionist who works in that arena. They are great people who are not paid like a rock star and what they do is so much more important. They take care of the people who have no one else and can't take care of themselves.  It is a noble calling and one that should receive much more respect than it gets.
Thanks from a person who saw what you do yesterday. 
As you were,

Thursday, August 15, 2013

It's All in the Delivery

This from WIAS field reporter Phillip Grecian who found this jewel on line. I will let the video speak for itself.  We'll discuss after.

Eddie Izzard has a comedy routine about singing the National Anthem, pointing out that most people don't really know the words. Mr. Izzard suggests one can fake it if you use strong physical gestures affirming and denying each phrase alternately and in sequence. Sounds harder than it is but basically if you act like you believe in what you are saying, even if it is totally wrong, you will at least look like you know what you are doing. If done with complete commitment, some will be fooled. Obviously Miss Lake Darnell has studied the Izzard method of fake singing.
She is not having trouble with the words, she has "key" issues. But, that is of no matter to a beauty contestant who is bound and determined to show poise, grace and refinement in the talent portion of her competition. With total commitment to a musical key that has no relationship to the one played by the instrumental back up, she affirms and denies the dramatic words with abandon.
As students of performance, turn off the sound and watch the video again.  She looks exactly like she knows what she is doing.  It is obvious that her every move has been thought out. Her rehearsals were probably videoed and studied. It appears hours were spent choreographing every move from the left hand on the hip to the pointing accusations at the audience.  Then with head thrown back and left arm embracing the heavens she sells the last note as if channeling Barbara Streisand.

Unfortunately that is with the sound off and this is not a dance number. When combined with the sound it becomes obvious that more time was spent on eye makeup than learning how to sing.
And lastly, if you are going to choose to sing as your talent, and you really don't have any singing talent...why in the name of Bert Parks would you chose..  "I'm Telling You"?  This is Effie White's 11:00 number from the musical Dream Girls and is meant to be sung by a drop dead diva with a huge voice.  It is a torch song with incredible emotion. Even singers with incredible voices shy away from this tune.  Jennifer Holliday originated the song on Broadway in 1981 and won a Tony Award for her performance as well as the Grammy for Best R&B Performance, Female for its re-release in 1982 for which it became a number-one R&B hit for Holliday. Jennifer Hudson portrayed Effie and sang the song in the 2006 film adaptation of Dreamgirls, winning an Oscar for the role. Hudson's version became a Top 20 R&B single, and a number-one dance hit. And then comes... Miss Lake Darnell.

Reporter Phil Grecian had only three things to say after posting this performance:
Holy Crap. Holy Crap. Holy Crap.
Well said.
As you were,

P.S. Thank you for the inspiration, Phil.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Wireless Hell

If you go to Wikipedia they will explain that Wifi is a term used by an AM radio frequency that transmits data wirelessly.  They do not tell where the word WiFi comes from.  I thought for a time it stood for Wireless Frequency.  That only works if you are dyslexic or just a really bad speller, which is sometimes the same thing. After 24 hours in WiFi Hell, I realize now the word stands for "Will Fight It".
Our WiFi has been spooky since the day I installed it. Because at the center of my house we have a triple fireplace, there is a theory that the stone is absorbing the signal. I could believe that if our WiFi issues consisted of a "weak" signal, but it is not. The signal is erratic. Unpredictable... haunted you might say.  Besides over the years I have tried every configuration that might skirt the bricks... but no permanent remedy lasts.
Regular WIAS readers will remember that John Ivy and I had haunted WiFi in the Rochester "star" house.  There was an account named Sammy that kept logging on from a location in the basement. There was no Sammy nor a location in the basement... and we were too far from other houses to have the signal pirated by someone named Sammy. Although I have never identified a "presence" like Sammy, my home WiFi is equally as unpredictable. Routers disconnect, the signal will disappear from certain parts of the house only to reappear for no reason. Download rate can go from blazing fast to glacier slow at any moment... independent of how many of us are on line at the time. 
I called the ISP and determined  they are of no help.  They could determine that the modem was working and a signal being sent, more than that... useless.  I finally told him the things he was suggesting to do I had  done over and over for a year with only momentary help.  I hung up, politely but disgusted.
My solution, which I had not tried, was to shuffle the wireless units in the house and create a brand new network.  What a great idea that was.... not.  
It is like a game of Jinga, you remove one thing and the entire structure collapses. And I didn't just remove one thing, I removed at least five different routers. I was exponentially in deep shit or was I in deep shit exponentially... I'm not sure, deep shit is the key modifier in that sentence. 
I ended up constructing three different networks. This was a lengthy process of hard booting each device and re programing. Each hard boot took a couple of minutes to reset, times the five relay devices, times infinity (because I was trying all possibilities). I spent hours just waiting to find out what didn't work  before I hit on the combination that seemed to.    
At one point I was afraid I would never get back on line.  The router wouldn't talk to the ISP and the HPCH and PPoe were at war with the WPA2 and the signal didn't seem to like the wireless port in the middle bedroom on the opposite of the house.  The protocol for the ID and Subnet was a BFD and I finally said WTF. 
I spent all day getting back to the point I started.  I am back on line and it seems to be a better connection... at least the Microwave oven doesn't shut it down anymore. However, anytime I tried to improve the WiFi efficiency in the past it has only lasted temporarily.
So come on WiFi demons, I am ready for you.  I have holy water for you and Vodka for me. The fact that this post is actually being published is a sign that Vodka is winning.
As you were,

Monday, August 12, 2013


To MC Escher.
As you were,

Out of Gas

As I was on my dog walk this morning I passed by an apartment complex. I hear a screeching noise coming from an open window on the second floor of one of the units. Boo stopped and strained her ears. It was a familiar sound but it took me a minute to place where I had heard such a sound before.
City Nights
It was the staccato reverberation of a dot matrix printer.  It used to be the sound of anyone printing out a computer page, today with ink jet printers the sound of computing has changed.
Another THINK...
We had friends over for a dinner party last night. It was great fun, lots of laughs and wonderful show business stories. There was only one glitch.
Due to poor planning of my propane ration, my grilling was cut short by a lack of fuel. Three tanks all empty.  The party did not get to experience my grilling expertise as we had to quickly move the cooking in doors.  
I have never had a sense of how long a full propane tank lasts.  When we lived in Sherman Oaks I was on a television series which meant a carpenter practically lived at our house for a couple of years helping us fix it up. That was when I got my first propane barbecue grill.  Before that I was a charcoal and lighter fluid guy. The propane grill was like driving a car after only riding a bicycle.  For three years I never changed the tank on the grill and we used it a lot. After a year and a half I bought a gage that would tell me how much gas was left in the tank.  It never seemed to get much lower than half empty and I never ran out of gas.  It was only after the carpenter had moved on that I realized he had been filling up my tank every few weeks. He lived in a camper and used propane for his little kitchen. When he got more propane for his camper he would fill my tank as well.  Mystery solved but lesson not learned.
But the party was not slowed by my lack of propane proficiency. I have been blessed in many ways but one of my greatest blessings is friends. Sandi and I have a wonderful array of friends who are interesting, talented, funny and obviously great to be around. I know not to take this blessing for granted, it is a gift and I am grateful. So to my friends who are reading this right now... Thanks for being in my life.
As you were,

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Week End UpDate

Here is something you don't hear every day. 
I was in my own world in the office and Sandi walks in.  She needs to discuss something of importance.  After a few seconds of me trying my best to put on my important face she says,
"I can not talk to you when you have underwear on your hands."
It might take more explanation.  
My unusual friend Richard Garlinghouse gave me this gift in the picture.  It is a pair of Handerpants. He thought that since I had my hand in so many puppets, perhaps a little thought toward hygiene would be appropriate. 
I actually like them a lot and wish they were around when I was drawing cartoon cels on acetate. In the process of painting a cel it was difficult not to leave palm prints all over the clear acetate, the Handerpants would have been perfect. 
It reminds me of a joke.
When a guy has five penises, how do his pants fit?  Answer: Like a glove. 
Thank you Mouse for the gift and the laugh I got from Sandi.
As you were,

Friday, August 09, 2013

The World is a Stage

Balboa Park is a short walk from my house. Beautiful park with a good size lake and lots of picnic area.  The dog and I like to go there to get away from the Hollywood rat race. That proves to be a little more difficult than you would think.  You can take the actor out of Hollywood, but you can't take Hollywood out of the actor.  It just seems like everywhere I go.... everything relates to show business.
A respectful bow to Gary Larsen's "Far Side"
As you were,

Thursday, August 08, 2013

Food For Thought

Last night we went to the Upright Citizens Brigade to see my Goddaughter perform with her sketch troupe. Her mother lives in Ashland, Oregon and came to see the show as well.
I had not seen Leslie for some time.  In the dim light of the club she said to me, "Are you okay... your eyes seem a little red."  
Although there could be certain indulgences that might cause that condition, I had not partaken of any recreational stimulants in some time.  I realized it was probably my glasses.  
My regular glasses were being repaired and I was wearing an older pair from decades ago that had a slight rose tint to the lens. It was the style at the time and I am betting that it comes back into fashion, at least until my newer pair is fixed. 
I began to explain that my red eyes were probably caused by the tint. I reassure her I was okay, I took off my glasses and blinked at Leslie.  She examined me like a cop at a traffic stop and determined I was fine. As I put the glasses back on I poked myself in the eye, which began to turn red and water.  Without missing a beat she said, "Yep...I think it is the glasses that are making your eyes red." I laughed so hard my other eye teared up and turned red. 
Leslie is also the one who once wrote a punchline for which there is no joke.  The punchline:
"No... but my goats are kidding." 
And another think...
No dogs were harmed in the production of this
This week a hamburger was served using meat that had been grown from beef stem cells.  It was a publicity stunt since the beef cost nearly 30k to produce in this manner.  Reviews of the taste were mixed and the researchers said it might be twenty years before this type of food can be produced. So... here is my question to any vegetarian/vegan reading. Does the prospect of processing meat this way change the status of what is acceptable in a vegan diet?  
I don't understand the political reasons but have heard that vegans object to any form of life being killed for consumption. I totally get that and while my Texas heritage will not let me completely eliminate beef from my diet, I can understand. There is a lot of cruelty that goes into a Big Mac from a cow's point of view, not to mention the treatment of chickens.  But... if in twenty years we can process beef and chicken without having to destroy a cow or clucker to do it... does that change the reason not to eat meat?
Eddie Izzard suggested that if God didn't want us to eat meat, he would have made every species of life vegetarian.  If we were never exposed to a food chain and never observed animals eating other animals to survive we might never have invented the Barbecue. Food for thought.   
As you were,

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Random Thoughts of Trivia

There is a billboard on Ventrua Blvd.  I pass it every time I make my way home or if I am walking Boo.  It scares me.  Here is a picture of it.
I suppose if I had IRS problems I would want a Grown up Eddy Munster to represent me.  After all wouldn't you want a blood sucking undead ghoul to deal with a blood sucking undead ghoulish organization?  
Okay... so I did add the teeth... but the widow's peak and the dark scary eyes are his.  But that is exactly the way I would want my advocate to look if I had to show up for an audit. I can hear it now.  
"Mr. Johnson this is the IRS we have you tagged for an audit this year. When can we meet with you?"
"Let me see.  I'll call my representative and see what we can do.... can you meet after sunset during a full moon?"
And another think....
Last night about 11:00pm my television viewing was interrupted by an emergency broadcast tone. It was an Amber alert for a little girl who might have been kidnapped by her father, after he murdered her mother somewhere near San Diego. They gave the make model and license number of the car.  I thought to myself.... if the car drives through my back yard I will definitely make a call. Otherwise there was not much I could do from my bedroom two and a half hours away from the scene of the crime.  
At that moment my cell phone rang with the same alert tone as the television, two seconds later Sandi's cell phone went off as well.  The same Amber alert was broadcast to our cell phones which were both turned to silent.  I found out from the LA Times this morning that it was the first time a state wide alert has gone out to cell phones. California law enforcement has the ability to activate a program that sends an alert to every cell phone in the state. It can override the silent mode and display a push announcement even if you do not have your phone set for push displays.  
I hope they catch the guy if he is guilty and I hope the little girl is okay.  Perhaps someone traveling on the San Diego freeway got the same text identified the car and turned him in. But there is an over riding worry I have in this policing ability.
I understand that there are some "worm" programs that sit on a smart phone hidden in a harmless game.  With that hidden app your video camera, microphone and GPS can be activated. Once activated you can be tracked, spied on, listened to and videoed without your knowledge.  I thought that was a bunch of future shock alarmism until I got that alert text on my muted phone last night. 
Oh... and you know that camera on your computer that allows you to skype with Mee Maw?  It could be turned on right now. Someone could be watching and you wouldn't even know it.  As for me I have a little post it note over the camera lens of my monitor when I am not using it. 
Futurists predicted we would become a society where Big Brother was alway watching with cameras every where. We could be there now.. but what no one seemed to predict is that we would all be carrying around a video- walkie talkie to Big Brother in our pockets.  
As you were,