Saturday, March 29, 2008

Watching the rest of the world from a window while you finish the hat....

Did you ever have a day when you had questions, but the answers were immaterial, the time had long passed to ask them, let alone ANSWER them, and you berated yourself for even thinking about the questions in the first place?

Welcome to my weekend.

It seems that everything I read these days leads me down a path where I actually begin to wonder what people must think of me. And it may come as a surprise to you, but there are RARELY times when I wonder what other people think of me. The truth can now be told: Most times, I don't even much care what I think of myself.

But sometimes......just SOMETIMES....I would like to ask those questions that probably come with difficult and embarrassing answers.

Like this one:

What were you looking for, and why didn't I fit?

Friday, March 28, 2008

Hey! Is that a bandwagon? Sign me up!

Eighty questions that people around me have been answering about themselves, and what the hell, I'm a joiner......and I don't have any other topic for today...

What’s your middle name? Wesley.

How big is your bed? Lahge enough for meself, me lovely woife, end two cets. (just try to write in an australian twang, I dare ya.)

What are you listening to right now? Nothing. The wife worked late, so I'm being quiet.

What are the last 4 digits in your cell phone number? 3330

What was the last thing you ate? Ham sandwich. Darn those leftovers.

Last person you hugged? Patti.

How is the weather right now? cloudy and chilly.

Who was the last person you talked to on the phone? I'm not good with the whole phone thing. Can't remember.

What is the first thing u notice in the opposite sex? Eyes.

Favorite type of Food? I have a fondness for the nacho.

Do you want children? That ship has sailed. Honestly, didn't really want passage anyway.

Do you drink? No, but not a day goes by.....the last decade has been pretty easy, though.

Ever get so drunk you don't remember the entire night? Only once.

Hair color? Brown, with white. The white's not my idea.

Eye color? Blue.

Do you wear contacts/glasses? Well, those reading glasses. But that's a new thing.

Favorite holiday? Don't really have one.

Favorite Season? Fall.

Have you ever cried over a girl/boy? Yeah. But only when I lost them in some way.

Last Movie you Watched? The Hoax. Not bad.

What books are you reading? The World Without Us.

Piercings? No mutilation for the sake of fashion.

Favorite Movie? My Favorite Year, Glory, This is Spinal Tap, Life of Brian, The Blues Brothers.....too many to name.

Favorite college football Team? I follow Northern Michigan, Western Illinois, University of Michigan, and the University of Mary.

What were you doing before filling this out? My morning chores.

Any pets? Cats. Two.

Dogs or cats? Are ya deaf?

Favorite Flower? Pillsbury.

Have you ever loved someone? Yes. Still do. Love is like any energy; it can be created, but not destroyed.

Who would you like to see right now? My mother, whole and fit.

Have you ever fired a gun? Never in anger, and never AT anything.

Do you like to travel by plane? Like is such a strong word.

Right-handed or Left-handed? Right.

If you could go to any place right now where would you go? To the Portside Inn on Washington Street in Marquette Michigan, on any winter night when the snow is falling and the pizza's on the table. Old, good friends all around.

Are you missing someone? I'm always missing somebody. It changes.

Do you have a tattoo? No mutilation for the sake of fashion. I wear my adornments on my soul.

Do you still watch cartoons on Saturdays? Yup.

Are you hiding something from someone? Yes. What's your point?

ARE YOU 18? Nor would I wish to do THAT again.


Did you get enough sleep LAST NIGHT? yeah, I'm good.

FIRST THING YOU THOUGHT ABOUT THIS MORNING? Oh, crap, another negative TSA story in the news.....

WHAT DO YOU HAVE HANDY AT YOUR BEDSIDE? books, bottle of water, remote control.

GRILLED OR FRIED? Whatever ya got.

WHAT MAKES YOU UNIQUE? Apparently, my imagination, sense of humor, and appreciation of history.

ARE YOU AFRAID OF THE DARK? No. But I can be afraid of what's IN the dark.

FAVORITE HANGOUT? Wherever she wants to go.

FAVORITE SONG? The Mary Ellen Carter by Stan Rogers. Rise again.....



WHAT ARE YOUR NICKNAMES? Clem, Jayce, and occasionally "freakboy."




FAVORITE T.V. CSI, Law and Order, Scrubs, Pinky and the Brain...

COMMERCIAL? Anything that's clever.



What’s your favorite color? Blue.



WHAT DO YOU USUALLY DO WHEN THE CLOCK TURNS 11:11? sigh and think, "forty nine minutes until lunch."

Color of your bed sheets? white.


So......good day, eh?

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

I really should use an outline.....or maybe simply stay on point....

It's like a cry in the night, really.
The thing you don't want to hear.
And after you hear it the first time, you dread it's second coming.

The sound of a computer giving up the ghost.

And now, with every little sound that comes out of the shiny metal box, I fear that it's going to happen again.


Time for a little subject change.....

I don't know what's happening in the rest of the world, but from my window, it has once again blown in some kind of Alberta Clipper or Chinook wind or something, and it's cold again. And dreary. I don't mind cold and dreary, mind you. I come from the land of Michigan, so I'm familiar with cold and dreary. I went to college with cold and dreary. I was a little put off by cold, but wound up having a tumultuous affair with dreary, and although it wasn't what you would call exhilarating, it was....

Nah, it really wasn't.


The tradition of family at Easter was upheld again this year, in fine style, here at Casa Historiclemo, otherwise known as the HaHa Hacienda. Lots of food (and yes, I do raise a finger in the kitchen now and again), and plenty of eggs for the children to hunt....which they did. Everybody seemed to have a good time. All thirty three of them. Even the nieces, nephews and smallish cousins didn't grate me like lemon rind.

And, you don't really have to entertain when you can put the HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL 2 dvd on upstairs, and the NCAA tournament on downstairs.

It makes me wonder what my life would have been like if I grew up in a huge family like the one my darling wife comes from. Perhaps I would have been a little more gregarious.

There is one strange tradition, though. For some reason, after a few drinks, everybody gets really interested in how many "famous" people I know. I try to tell them that all the people I know are famous.....but they want to know what Zac Efron's like (and I only knew him briefly, back when he was like 16 or so), or how many people I've worked with that are in films, television, or on Broadway (seven, all told, none of which any of my family have heard of).

And then they wonder why I'm not famous.

And then, I tell them this story:

Years ago, when I was an actor, I would look forward each year to those regional cattlecall auditions. You go, you peddle your flesh for eight or so hours, and then you schmooze with old friends in to the wee hours. And sometimes, you're good; and sometimes, you're not so good. Sometimes, the job people want to talk; and sometimes they don't.

One year, they didn't want to talk. At all.

So, I'm sitting in a hallway outside a room where the person I was dating at the time was interviewing for something, and along come these two young ladies. They don't notice me sitting on my briefcase, reading a book. The conversation is about some poor schmuck who didn't get many callbacks.

"God, he usually does so well at these things"
"He must be devastated."

I'm paying little attention, really. You hear that kind of crap all the time.
But then...

"I hope Clemo's okay about it."


My first brush with fame; I get anonymous people talking about me. About my FAILURE, which is typical for theatre people...we're kinda bitchy like that.

My response to this conversation? I lowered my book and said kindly,

"Actually, I'm okay with it."

Now, keep in mind that they could have stopped, and we could have had a laugh about the odds of talking about somebody you don't know at just the moment when you're passing that person you don't know.....but no. They just kept walking, and had the nerve to look insulted that I had overheard them.

I have a lot of stories like that. They start strong, get jumbled in the middle, and sort of.....just......peter out.

I could have just said to my family: Fame sucks.

But that seemed to understate it.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

And then one day, KERPOW!

Miss me?

Well, on Saturday, after a long weekend of teaching useless things to uncaring people, I returned to my home to find that my computer had died.

Time of death, sometime between midnight and eight pm, Saturday, March 15.
Cause of death, cancer of the hard drive.

So, this afternoon, some nice man from Dell showed up at my door, popped in new one, and here I am....sadder but wiser.

You see, it had been some time since I backed up.

And so I lost everything.

Addresses. Pictures. Music. And the makings of a pretty good script....

Man plans.
God laughs.

See you soon.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

A song-inspired tribute to the only one I need.

When I met my wife in the summer of '99, she wasn't interested in dating an actor. In fact, she had a rule about it. The rule was simple: no actors. And of course, the rule was actually extended for me: no actors, especially actors of questionable sanity, with hair down to the middle of their backs.

I don't know quite how it happened. But one day, she invited me over to her house for pizza. I slept on the couch. I never left. And to this day, we have been together.

I've changed. From terrible debt to some solvency; from sunny California to..uh..North Dakota; from long haired travelling actor to adultified government servant; from wondering why I was alone to understanding that this was what I was supposed to be waiting for. And all for this woman whom I look forward to seeing at the end of the day, and in the morning before the day begins.

She is in every way, shape, and form, the better part of me. And the fact that she loves me negates some of those things that would have prevented my entering heaven.

And I don't really need to know how it happened.

You can take all the tea in china
Put it in a big brown bag for me
Sail right around the seven oceans
Drop it straight into the deep blue sea
Shes as sweet as tupelo honey
Shes an angel of the first degree
Shes as sweet as tupelo honey
Just like honey from the bee

You cant stop us on the road to freedom
You cant keep us cause our eyes can see
Men with insight, men in granite
Knights in armor bent on chivalry
Shes as sweet as tupelo honey
Shes an angel of the first degree
Shes as sweet as tupelo honey
Just like honey from the bee

Monday, March 10, 2008

Starts strong, ends weak.

When I get on the various exercise equipment I keep locked up in the basement (I keep it locked up, because those things can escape and do harm), I like to pop in some kind of entertainment on the small television I keep in the room with the assorted instruments of torture. (Just let me say that I feel sorry for the small television. It's an innocent appliance, locked in a room with recidivist exercise equipment.)

The television has a vcr attached to it (remember vcr's? they were all the rage in the long-ago), so I go to a box I keep conveniently located next to the rest of the stuff in this apparently cramped room, and I pick out a random tape, and I pop it into the machine, and off I go, exercising.

Now, you have to keep in mind that I have a few stupid rules that guide my life; and one of those stupid rules is that if you pop an untitled and unlabeled tape into the machine, then BY RULE you must watch it for at least one quarter of an hour.

I'm never sure what I'm gonna get.
But I'm pretty sure there's no porn in there.

Pretty sure.

Anyway, my point is.....

I enjoy the surprise that comes with the tape. For example, yesterday I watched a portion of an old A&E movie based upon a Robert Parker novel. I had almost forgotten that A&E had done three of those Spenser novels, starring Joe Mantegna. A few days before that, it was a Horatio Hornblower movie, starring that fellow from the FANTASTIC FOUR movies, who's name doesn't have consonants in it (I think it's spelled Ioan Guffaw, or something like that). And before that, a Gary Sinise film called TRUMAN. All really cool movies.

I even pushed through one about Ernie Shackleton. Eh. Can't all be winners.

Oh, yeah. I said I had a point.

Don't forget to label your videos.

Tomorrow, I'll discuss writing an entry without an apparent ending. Or middle. And a really hazy opening.


Thursday, March 6, 2008

Random Roundup.....

There's a book sale at the local library today.

I love book sales like I love candy; and I'm a man who'd sell his soul for a good piece of chocolate.


Wait. I had a point here. Oh, yes! Book sale today!

Chocolate causes amnesia.
Or, is it Milk that causes amnesia? Milk of Amnesia? Or is that Magnesia, which to my mind is a kind of SUPER Amnesia?

Book sale!

There's something about going to estate auctions and library book sales and used book stores. Sometimes, you can find a treasure that they don't even know they possess. It doesn't always work, though....for example, at John King's Used Book Store in Detroit, they know EXACTLY what they have, and what it's worth...and if you want it, you'll pay dearly for it. But other places....well....


A library sale in Keokuk, Iowa, sold me a first edition of PT Barnum's Autobiography for a dime. FIRST EDITION! (Not mint, but still....)

A small used book store in Lexington, Kentucky sold me a first edition of Harpo Marx's Autobiography for two bucks. This was back when it was out of print (it has since returned to print).

A used book store in Marquette, Michigan sold me a copy of Asimov's Guide to Shakepeare (also out of print at the time) for a buck. I'm not sure this one has come back into print, but it's a great research tool.

An antique store here in Bismarck sold me the two volume set of the Annotated Sherlock Holmes (the original by Baring-Gould) for three dollars.

Today, I search for bargains.....if I can find hardbacks of the first Stephen King novels......editions of Leon Uris.......Allan Eckert......Rex Stout in hardback.....and hopefully something will jump out and say "booga booga."

Other stuff:

Have been jonesing for a Hilltop Sweet Roll. If you have never been to Lanse, Michigan, in the beautiful Upper Peninsula, then you've missed out on the largest Sweet Roll ever created. It's as big as your head. And heavens, they're tasty! If you don't believe me, check them out at

I see a headline in the entertainment section of my server that asks: "is America ready for a gay 'idol'?" What? Wasn't Clay Aiken gay?

And doesn't calling the show "American Idol" violate some kind of commandment? Is there a smiting in our future? Or, have we already been smote?

Other other stuff:

I was watching the Republican make an acceptance speech after the latest round of primaries. It was a good speech, but was marred by his absolute failure at selling the thing.....look, pal, STOP LOOKING AT THE TELEPROMPTER, or at least PUT THE TELEPROMPTER IN FRONT OF YOU SO YOU DON'T HAVE TO KEEP LOOKING OFF TO YOUR LEFT! Nothing bothers me more than a politician reading a speech somebody wrote for him, and not even bothering to commit it to memory.

If I had my wish, all politicians would have to write their own speeches. There's no better way of discovering that your candidate is a lamebrain than by making him write down his thoughts.

Is our children learning?
Am our country?

And lastly:

I miss The Far Side.
And Bloom County.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Ifter Works of Therapoy, E Kin Mick Mesef Inderstard Perfectree.

"I am not myself these days,
For all I know I may be you;
There's more than room enough for two
Inside my mind........."

That's from THE MYSTERY OF EDWIN DROOD, a musical by Rupert Holmes. It should get more revival than it does, because it's a good musical; and for me to say that is like your average child saying, "it's good lima beans."

The truth is, I've not been myself for a good long time. Or, more to the point, I don't feel like I've been myself for a good long time.

"I should have been an artist;
I was never meant for work."

That's from SUNDAY IN THE PARK WITH GEORGE, another good musical from those good people at SWEENEY.

I'm reminded of an old saying, "some days you eat the bear, and some days the bear eats you." Lately, I've been feeling that the bear has consumed me, and nature has taken it's course.

That's right. I feel like shit.

I was thinking that maybe if I wrote it down, somehow my little grey cells would sort it out, and I would see the path to enlightenment, and hopefully it would lead to ice cream. Instead, I sound like a whining manic-depressive who wishes he was Napoleon.

Actually, that last line DID make me feel a little better.

I think about what I would like to do on a vacation that never seems to come; apparently, my vacation's name is Godot.

The things I'd like to do are things I know I won't do, even if I have the opportunity. I'm not interested in theme parks, the beach tends to get boring after a couple of days, I like to gamble, but I'm not sure about Vegas in July, and if I went back to Michigan, I'd want to cruise around the Upper Peninsula and Mackinac Island, but I think my wife and soul mate would beat me bloody and throw me into Lake Huron.

For those of you that know me, I'm a very clever, but mostly boring fellow.

Let's say, 24% clever.
6% tedious.
2% redundant.
and the rest is boring.

In essence, there is something missing in my life.

I think it's art.

The road to art has been blocked off by the department of transportation. Apparently, there's been some kind of water main break. They should have it open as soon as possible.

The sign is almost five years old now.

Actually feel better.

And how are you, Gertrude?

Sunday, March 2, 2008

A quandary over my own bad habits.

"You can't go through life on another man's road; my habits protect my life, but they would assassinate you...." -Mark Twain

When I was a drinking man (and I was a PROFESSIONAL drinking man in my time), I was not what you would call gregarious drunkard. I'm naturally cynical, and when inebriated, I would become even more so.......oh, and cruel. Oh, I could be so cruel.

I can't think of a time back then when I can say I hated myself.

Now, all I can do is think back to those times and hate myself.

I'm grateful for the people who stuck with me through the early days of my recovery. It takes a saintly soul to have put up with the ugly drunk, and something just north of a saintly soul to put up with the ugly drunk going through withdrawal. I'm equally grateful to the people who accepted my long-overdue apologies for my behaviour in those times.

And forgive me for saying there isn't a day that goes by that I don't miss it.

I'm a smoker, too, by the way. It's a habit I can't seem to shake for very long, but I don't equate it with the drinking problem, because I never hurt anybody's feelings when I smoke. And, I tend not to smoke around people who don't smoke. I obey every single local regulation, I stay away from public entrances to buildings, and I don't complain if somebody asks me to extinguish.....

My alcoholism is seen by many as a romantic flaw; one worthy of Poe, Hemingway, Fitzgerald, and others.

My fixation on tobacco makes me a pariah.

The thing that bothers me is this:

Why is alcoholism a disease, and smoking just a bad habit?