Monday, December 30, 2013

Wylie Revisited

New Years News

Just under the wire for this year, I signed an agreement with Pop Twist Entertainment to be distributor for the film: "Jay Johnson: The Two and Only."  We actually executed the contract on Friday of last week.  
I am very excited that we have moved into this phase of the project.  I am looking forward having information soon about the purchase, download or other viewing possibilities.  Thanks to everyone who has helped move the project along especially Bryan and Marge, you are the best. Wooden Americans everywhere are in your debt.  Thanks also to everyone who has patiently stood by during this long process.

In other news if you have friends in the New England area send them to Norwell, MA on January 11, 2014 and   The Company Theatre .  I will be doing the live version of the show on that Saturday for two performances, 4:00 and 8:00. 

Start the New Year off with a laugh and a heart felt tear, This is the first time we have been in the Boston area since before we opened on Broadway.  I am excited to "play theatre" with my friend and PSM John Ivy and tell the story again.  It is my greatest thrill to do this show live and I hope to see you there.
I am slowly getting back into my regular blogging schedule.  I'll be waiting for things to happen so that I can relate them here.  It seems impossible that it will soon be 2014.  It seems even more impossible that this is the beginning of my 8th year as a blog writer. However, I will keep trying until I run out of things to write about....
As you were,
Jay

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Friday, December 20, 2013

The Black Hole of Chicago

Based upon more than 3 million miles flying on various airlines I have some rules I try never to break. One involves Chicago.
Never book a connection through Chicago
If there is no other way to get where you are going, then the lay over between flights at O'Hare can't be less than two and a half hours.  Any airline will tell you that a "legal" connection is anything that leaves 45 minutes later than your incoming flight... don't believe it.  That is the absolute minimum time in perfect conditions and no varibles. It can take that long to walk from one end of the terminal to the other.  The over/under of that bet is much too risky. 
In the winter the issue is weather.  It can hit Chicago fast, cancelling flights and causing delays which cause havock with connections. But even in the best of weather there is an issue that can stress out even the most seasoned traveler.
For me travel/flighing time is gate to gate.  For the airlines "flying time" is the actual time in the air.  So flying time stops when the plane lands. 
For the passengers the flight is not over until you can get off the plane with all your luggage. It doesn't so much matter if the plane lands on time if it takes 45 minutes to get to the gate so passengers and luggage can be transfered. Chicago is infamous for landing on time and killing your connection time with more than a half hour taxi time, or waiting on a plane to leave a gate your plane is scheduled to arrive.  It has happend to me so many times that the "no Chicago connection" rule is carved in stone.
So, when I was booked through Chicago to get to Ft. Lauderdale from Los Angeles, it didn't seem like a good idea for many reasons.  But the arrangements were made before I could voice my concerns and the flight locked in.  There was almost two hours layover in Chicago, and although it is winter, I thought it would work. 
First problem began with LAX at 7:00 in the morning. Just as we were ready to board we were told our plane would be unloaded and a different plane would be making the trip.  "Equipment change" is the exact term.  I asked about connections and the LAX gate agent said that the new plane was on the ground, "That was good" he said, and my  connection would also be good. It would probably only mean a delay of an hour.  I had almost two hours so he convienced me. 
The hour delay turned into an hour and a half, but still there was a chance to make the connection, although there was no way to make sure the luggage would make it.  That becomes a bigger problem for me than most since it is not just my clothes but my act that is checked. 
We made up time in the air and we actually touched down in Chicago almost 50 minutes before my connection.  That is a legal connection according to the airlines.  I thought it might work. But then again this is the black hole of Chicago and there was snow on the ground. 
We taxied for 40 minutes and although I was the first one off that plane it was not an easy hike to the connection gate and when I got there the gate was closed and the de-icing process had begun. There wasn't even an agent around.
Being a Platinuim American Flier I called my American number.  I told him my problem.  I needed help to book another flight.  He said he could not help, I needed to find an agent at the airport.  I reminded him I called because I could not find an agent.  It was a catch 22.  
This was the last flight to Ft. Lauderdale that day and I was stuck for the night in Chicago.  I went to the Admirals Club and got the first flight the next day. However, the club was closing in a couple hours... did I need a room for the night? They found me a room near the airport but would not pay for it since the "Flight landed on time" It was my fault that I missed my connection.  At this point I was not in the mood to rally a cause.
In the course of life this is not even a blip. Spending the night in Chicago before getting to my destination is not a crisis.  Not having my luggage for a night is also no big deal.  Not having a coat in the freezing Chicago snow was the worst part of it. Who dresses for Chicago when you are flying to Ft. Lauderdale?
The worst part of the experience is, I could have avoided it.  I temped fate by breaking my Chicago Rule. I knew better, and will not press my bet again.
As you were,
Jay

Thursday, December 19, 2013

It works for me...

Perhaps the Mayans were right and the world did end on 2012.  Something is different because I've had two good experiences with TSA types in just a few days.  As most know, my experience with members of that agency have never been, what you might say "cordial".  I think it is the idea that they presume everyone is guilty until we prove otherwise.  In  Chicago there was a random gate check by the TSA.  There was a sign that said, "Anyone refusing to be searched will not be allowed to board the plane."  I can't decide if that is blackmail or extortion. At any rate, I was not one of the ones chosen to be randomly violated, although it still pissed me off.  
Then at the dock in Ft. Lauderdale the port side security put my cases through the xray before I could board the ship.  He stopped the coveyor belt and looked very closely at my bags.  I repeated the well practiced phrase that gets me through these situations, "I'm a guest entertainer boarding, that's my puppet, I'm a ventriloquist."  The person acted like he didn't hear me, and yelled "bag check." A woman of extaordinary size came over and looked at my bag. Then she looked at the screen.  Once again I said "It's a puppet". She stands like a huge deer in the headlights for a moment then tells me not to touch the bags.    This process has taken a lot of time and the people in line behind me are growing in numbers and becoming more irritated.  The massive lady paused for a minute and called over the armed police official who was standing by.  I said, "I'm a guest entertainer... I'm a ventriloquist and this is my puppet." The policeman looked at the screen, then at the two screeners and said, "What are you screening for? Puppets? That's clearly a puppet, let the man go."  As I was gathering up all my stuff I heard him say, "Clock out." to the man on the xray and another person took over the screening.  
On any level I take that as a win.  So either the world did end or the TSA monkeys are being extra nice since the shooting at LAX a couple months ago. Either way, the cosmos it making my life a little easier. 
As you were,
Jay

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Bad Dreams

Did you ever have one of those bad dreams that seem to hang on for most of the day?  Like the smell of burned toast that stays in the air long after. All day long you have to remind yourself that the bad feelings are only the memory of a dream? I have been experiencing those dreams for the past week. 
One of them involved a fight with my best friend. It was a very realistic and stressful dream. It took some time for me to realize it didn't happen.  The memory of the fight was just the memory of the dream not an actual event.  But, it continued to bothered me. I could not get the thought out of my mind and began to think that it might be some premonition. Perhaps my freind was actually mad at me and I channelled the idea in a dream, or maybe it was a sign of a fight to come.  
I decided to text him. I said, "Last night I dreamed that we had a horrible fight. Are we still friends?"
I got this reply, "You are my best friend. One of the nicest guys I know, except in your dreams where you are obviously a dick."
That dream was just the first of several nightmares this week. The pattern seems to be the same.  A stressful situation of loss that takes me all day to get past. Last night even that idea became part of the plot. In my dream I said to someone, "'For a minute I thought this didn't really happen, and I only dreamed it."  The person in my dream said, "Oh, you didn't dream it, it really happened." I became even more depressed in my dream state. 
This experience started me thinking about reality. There is no doubt that when we are dreaming, no matter how illogical, we believe it is the truth of what is happening to us.  At one moment in this imaginary universe I caught a glimpse of the truth.  I knew it was not reality but a dream.  However, the minute I express that truth the dream tells me I am wrong and I return to the illogical universe. 
I guess the lesson is: when we have found the truth within ourselves we can not look for validation or proof from the outside. We have to find the truth and hold on to it inside oursleves.
As you were,
Jay

Saturday, December 14, 2013

TSA

Normally my interaction with the TSA is a contentious one. But not this morning. I am pre-screened. That means I get to go through the "security lite" line. They are generally more friendly and less stressed.
So the X-ray guy looks at the screen and says, "What is in there?" Indicating my small black carry on.
I say "That's a puppet."
He looks at it again and says "Works for me."
I said, "Actually he works for me."
There was a rare laugh from the TSA. My day has been made but the plane is late. Just when you thought it was a good day to travel.
As you were
Jay

Friday, December 13, 2013

If it smells like a Duck...

It is Friday the 13th and that seems like a lucky day to me.  Maybe we had more luck than we know this past week.
Everyone is getting a lot of humor out of the sign language interpreter for the Nelson Mandella's memorial. It's funny, an interpreter for the deaf signing gibberish at an event the whole world is watching.  It is much like a Saturday Night Live sketch with Garrett Morris yelling at the camera through cupped hands. However, as the details of the event come out it becomes a little less comedy sketch and more like a sinister plot.  
According to the LA Times the man who stood only feet from the most powerful leaders in the world was clinically diagnosed with schizophrenia. He heard voices inside his head and he spent a year and a half in a hospital jail for his problems.  He was known to be violent with sudden outbursts of anger and once took a clerk hostage inside a courtroom. 
The man admits to his condition and says now that he was having "an episode" while he was on stage with president Obama. He was hearing voices and "seeing angels".  In the Times he was quoted as saying that the episode was probably brought on by the excitement and the importance of the ceremony.  He basically broke under the pressure. Fortunately he did not get violent. 
At the least, the people responsible for vetting this guy to be on stage were derelict in their duties; at worst it was a terrorist plot that did not play out.  To add to the mystery, the agency responsible for getting this guy to the podium is gone.  "Vanished into thin air" is the quote from South Africa. 
Now if I owned the agency that supplied this guy, I too might disappear from a public relations angle if nothing else.  It can't be good business to be the agency that sent an "illiterate" signer to the big show.
But playing the role of conspiracy advocate as I do,  what if this was a "front" company who got this guy to the podium that day.  The company knew he had uncontrolled violent outbursts capable of harming people and could crack under pressure. Just get this guy next to world leaders in a stressful situation and see what happens. 
If he cracks and becomes violent he would  be the "lone crazy" who snapped.  Damage would have been done, this guy would be the patsy.   The people who got him there (the agency) would have "vanished into thin air" and the chain of responsibility would be broken. The plot would end with a mental problem.
There are so many political terrorist plots that are interrupted, this could have been the bomb that didn't go off, but in the perfect cover story it was just a confused sign language interpreter. You can bet that no one will look into this as anything but a "comic" situation.   
I personally think that the minute it was determined that his sign language was gibberish he should have been quietly removed from stage. First of all, he was not doing the job he was supposed to do, and secondly... most importantly... he could have been sending instant signals to coordinate a larger plot of attack. 
Perhaps I read to many crime stories.  Still this whole thing seems like a very odd duck.  You can bet that it won't go any further than this blog.  I guess there is no story if there is no story, but in some ways it seems that a crisis event was diverted by sheer luck. 
As you were,
Jay

Monday, December 09, 2013

Literary Clean Up

Deviant Moon Tarot Card reading.
Lunatic Spread Personal Indicator Cloth.. by Jayson
Looking through drafts of blog pieces never published is interesting.  Some are so time sensitive that finishing them now would be pass√©. Some have no time reference but a logical thread missing that does not connect to any idea I still have.  Other missives were not well thought out blogs but bits of prose related to nothing specific. 
However, it seems a shame to discard these ideas simply because they were edited or deleted from a blog. Ideas should always be relevant for the mere sake that they are ideas. So here is my plan for this blog: It consists of the left over pieces from attempts to blog. They do not relate... they do not connect. They are simply dust bin shavings of ideas past.  After you read them you will know why they have never been included in a blog before.

Time Stamped
Until a few years ago I thought Black Friday was the Friday when the stock market crashed and the Great Depression began.  Or as I celebrate it, Black Friday is the Friday before Halloween.
Unfortunately it has been co-opted by the retail commercial marketing machine and turned into a news worth freak show of greed and bad manners. It represents the worst quality we have as Americans and shows the world that we care more about a flat screen television than we care about starving children.
How ridiculous it must seem to other countries who are fighting for their freedom and peace, to see a bunch of over fed Americans fist fighting for the best deal on a new PS 4 at Walmart. In most countries you would see violence like that over a loaf of bread. It would be a fight for survival not a fight for cheap electronics

What is with the attention grabbing slutty actions of  Madanna    Paris Hilton   Britney Spears   Miley Cyrus last night? 

Incomplete 
... but then again it was not because he wasn't trying. He wore a hole in the carpet with his

What I actually said was, "That is a cunning array of stunts..."  

I was reading the entertainment section when I became aware that someone was looking at the same article over my shoulder. It was beginning to irritate me so I turned to give whoever it was a look. It was Donny Osmond wearing an Elmer Fudd hunting cap.  I said, "I thought you were the one who was a little rock an roll..."  

Well, it wasn't like being the opening act for the Aristocrates. 

So the Rabbi walks up to the guy in the gorilla suit who has just bought the hooker a drink and says, "What da ya think.... this is an Avacado factory?



I swear it was a TSA agent that was so wide she would get stuck in the metal detector if she tried to go through.

There was no spelling checker in those days so it said, "Be sure you come to the desk and sign the Rooster."

All cleaned out now, and a meaningless blog.   As it was.
As you were,
Jay