Friday, December 31, 2010

Heeere Comes Aaaaaanother One!

I am much better at looking back than looking forward. It's a character flaw which I don't actively embrace, but accept as one of those delightful character flaws that make the diamond which is me more valuable.


My name is Historiclemo, and I'm an alcoholic. I've been on the wagon exactly eighteen years today. And I mean, New Year's Eve of 1992 was the last drink I took. And my friends, it was a DOOZY.

But I'm feeling much better now.......

Every year, I think back to the moments of the year that have brought me to this place; I see the faces of those that have passed through, and I smile at the thought that one day I'll see them all again, either here, or hopefully, there.

As many of you know, I lost my Mother in February. It was a long time coming, but the effect of "face first into a brick wall" is not lessened by the fact that you know it's coming. Every year, I baked the Butterball Cookies that were traditional for her holiday, and they were good; but would have been better, if.....

Similarly, we lost Pyramus a few weeks after that. He was a good cat, and even though we greeted the impish Rufus in the early summer.....Pyramus will always be missed.

I saw some old friends in October, and found a bit of my soul in the process; mended some fences and re-built some relationships. To Steve, Michelle, Becky, Todd; Thank you for your kindness, your memories, and the friendships that have lasted into a third decade.

I stepped onto a stage again last summer, for the first time since my sabbatical back in '03. I call it a Sabbatical, but it actually turned into a Mondical and a Tuesdical, as well. It was a good time, the weather was beautiful for July in the Northern State, and I impressed everybody with my charm and wit, as well as the fact that I could build a set after being awake for 43 hours.

I'm currently in rehearsal again. You can see me at the Dakota Stage in a production of SCREWTAPE, opening at the end of January. I hope I don't suck.

I have plans this year to do some traveling; I have my annual trip to the white beaches of Siesta Key FL, to visit my Father in his repose. We'll spend a week, maybe catch a Grapefruit League game in Sarasota...I understand the Orioles will be playing the Twins in early March. This year, and afternoon game, I think....the night game last year was exciting, but hypothermia-inducing.

I'll be going to KC in May to celebrate the wedding of one of my favorite former students; he's an excellent designer, a creative writer, and is the only student that ever threatened to actually kill me. I think some of them thought it, but Greg is the only one to actually state it. Out Loud. To me. In no uncertain terms. The least I can do is go see him get married. I'm also planning to walk about the Truman Library for a day...and maybe walk in the footsteps of Jesse James.

As of now, I have plans to fly to London in June, again at the behest of my family. Father wants to walk in the footsteps of the early Historiclemo's, and since I've never been to England (But I kinda like the Beatles), I would like to see some things; particularly the re-creation of the Globe, the Sherlock Holmes Museum, and Stonehenge. In fact, I would like to do a lot of touristy things.....the only thing that's going to be sad is the fact that I won't be able to fully enjoy the pub.


I suppose I could supplant the Guinness by attempting to find a chip shop without looking like a doofus American. my constant, and semi-constant reader, I would like to thank you for attending to these blurtings, these occasional Barbaric Yawps. I hope to continue, in a more constant manner, in the year of 11.

May you see youth in the mirror, and smiles in the eyes of everyone you meet.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Clear As The Tolling Bell......

When I was an actor, I used to enjoy going to the large 'cattle call' auditions; you got a chance to see old friends, catch up on the stories, listen to a few monologues (and steal what was good.....I mean, borrow!) and bask in the go-go-GO that is the callback audition.

Okay, it wasn't until I was pretty well down the road from the college life that I learned to like the 'cattle call'. I can even remember the moment: I was standing against a wall in this line of 25 actors, getting ready to be moved en masse into the first couple of rows of the theatre, so that we could not only stew in our own juices (at eight-f***ing-thirty on a Sunday morning, no less) but we were forced to watch all the other auditionees do their thing.

I was standing in this line, with what could only be described as the road company of the Bedlam Asylum, murmuring lines and singing to themselves as we made our way into the dark of the theatre.

And this thought ran through my head like Steve Prefontaine on the Juice: "F**k it."

And that became my mantra: "F**k it."

(By the way, I edit because I have nieces and nephews who read this stuff, and I don't want them to get the idea that I'm wild about cursing. I AM, by the way, just plain wild about cursing, but they don't need to know that. Oh, wait. SH*T!)

It was at that moment when I realized that I would have far more fun if I was just what I wanted to be, and not what I thought they expected me to be.

And off I went, to do a monologue about a one-legged man auditioning for the role of Tarzan.

And I killed.

And I pretty much improved my skills tenfold in that one moment of clarity.

I love moments like that.....I can remember another time, when I was playing Romeo.

(holds for laughs.)


We were blocking the balcony scene, and it wasn't working....the director was looking for something romantic, and I wasn't making it click. And this went on for quite some time, until in dramatic frustration (have we met?), I threw my script into the tenth row of the house.

As I watched the paper fall like...well, paper.....I realized the problem.

The problem was the pace.

The stupid bastard was in the garden of the house of his enemy, and would surely be killed in ghastly ways should he be caught, and the director had me being all mushy and junk like I had all the time in the world to close the deal with this ditzy dame.....

Ten minutes later, it was finished.

Moments of clarity.

I had them in art, all the time.

Pity, really, that I couldn't get that kind of clarity in my life.

Well, it ain't over yet.

As the great Messiah Donald Shimoda says, "what the Caterpillar calls the end of the world, the Master calls the Butterfly."

Monday, December 27, 2010


It's now the 27th; the last couple of days went by like a Whirlwind.

I'm probably not the only person who felt that way.

On Christmas Day, I got off of work at 0830, went home, had a cup of coffee and opened some presents; my favorite was the DVD collection of the Brother Cadfael Mysteries starring Derek Jacobi; I loved these when they were on PBS, and now I own them....I also have my eye on the I, Claudius collection, but since I've seen it very often, I've put it off. Derek Jacobi is one of my favorites.

Also, I got a collection of bendable figures; Popeye, Olive Oyl, The Pink Panther, and Gumby and Pokey. All I need is Mr. Bill to make the collection complete, and they go up on the shelf next to my D.B. Cooper Bobblehead.

I slept for three hours and began the dinner preparation; the Prime Rib roast was cooked a bit more than MY taste desires, but got good reviews; the Chicken was tender and moist, and all the fixin' were scooped out in huge amounts and the sound of laughter and talk around the table was like sweet music for my soul. Then we opened more presents and then I went to bed so I wouldn't be cranky when I went to work at midnight.

Got home on the 26th, and for some reason went into a deep, ten hour coma. Screwed up my whole sleep cycle and now I AM cranky. But at least it's not snowing, and nobody brought explosives onto an airplane in their crotch this year.

Little victories.

So, I just wanted to take the time to say that I hope you all got rest and rejuvenation, that you're families held you tight, and your face hurts from smiling.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

A Beacon in the Darkness....

The view from my Office window, in the dead of night on Christmas Day.

It's a comforting sight on a foggy night.

To my friends, and anonymous readers, I wish you well and happy; I drink a toast to your health and well-being; and I hope for all of us the blessings of the Creator.

Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Monday, December 13, 2010

The Funniest Joke....IN THE WORRRLLLLD!

Stop me if you've heard this one.....

A couple of New Jersey hunters are out in the woods when one of them falls to the ground. He doesn’t seem to be breathing, his eyes are rolled back in his head.

The other guy whips out his cell phone and calls the emergency services. He gasps to the operator: “My friend is dead! What can I do?”

The operator, in a calm, soothing voice, says: “Just take it easy. I can help. First, let’s make sure he’s dead.”

There is a silence, then a shot is heard. The guy’s voice comes back on the line. He says: “Okay, now what?”

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Rumination as the snow files.

Sorry, I've been distracted.

The weather has been particularly brutal the last couple of days; snow, wind chills sending the thermometer into areas where you really believe that Dante was right, and the final circle is frozen; and of course, my traditional Thursday into Friday, which translates into, 'waking up at 0600 on Thursday morning, and finally getting to sleep again on Friday around 1300.'

Life on the Plains is an endurance test, my friends.

In other news; the tree is up and decorated, and the process of collecting and wrapping the gifts has begun. I ordered the Historiclemo Family version of the Christmas Goose (Prime Rib Roast, which will be slow cooked from early morning to mid-afternoon, and served with every single accoutrement I can think of), and the recipes are brushed off, the baking ingredients for this year are collected in that small corner near the oven....I'm nearly good to go.

This year will be Hershey Kiss cookies; Buckeyes; Simple Spritz Cookies; my Mother's Butterball Cookies (I may actually shed some tears as I make these; my Mother being frequently on my mind these days); and some drop cookies I'm going to wing 'cuz I got a whole s**tload of Quaker Oats I have nothing to do with.

Oh, and candy......primarily Fudge.

The Christmas Day dessert will be a sheet cake of some kind, with wishes that I could transport one of those lovely cakes I see from time to time coming out of my friend's imaginative bakery. Perhaps I'll make some ice cream.

I'm sorry, I just went into a kind of dessert heaven.

I have a lot to do, but a reasonable time to do it in....

In other news:

The audition bore fruit. I've been cast as Screwtape, in a play called Screwtape. Seems like an interesting role, from what I've read of it.....and I have no idea what the other cast members are like; and I don't even have a rehearsal schedule yet. But it goes up at the end of January, if anybody cares.

At times like this, I remember this beautiful moment during the production of Sweeney Todd; holding his blade high, after so many years, he cries, "At last! My arm is whole again!"

Know how you feel, Sweeney, old boy.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

I think it's Tuesday. Don't hold me to that, though.

I'm doing a lot of living in my head these days. It happens every holiday season; it was actually worse when a) I was drinking and b) when I was single. I had a lot more quiet time in those days for my hobbies, which included recrimination and self-loathing. But, the relief of not being controlled by something, and being with changes things. When I'm in my head, I dream dreams and solve problems and plot for the holiday bake fest.

I went down to the local community theatre last night and auditioned for a play called Screwtape; based upon a novel by C. S. Lewis. Based upon the reading material, it's interesting, but at the same

It's a funny thing about auditions; if you're next meal doesn't rely upon the success of audition, it's a lot more fun. Couple that with the fact that you're a reasonably unknown entity, then it practically entitles you to play fast and loose. The only downside is that in an effort to make everybody ELSE look good (which I have always believed to be the secret to successful auditioning), I was getting varied reactions; from a kind of gratitude, to a kind of pissed off arrogance at my effrontery.

So, I'm not sure how good a fit I am with this particular group.

Still, it's nice to blow out the carbon from time to time, and not care about the results.

And I got home in time for the second half of the MNF game, which was pretty much a foregone conclusion before they even kicked off to start the third quarter. But I had money on New England; I had hoped the Jets had played better, though. I hate it when the one game I really get to see in the course of a week is a blowout.

And it was a hellava lot better than watching the Red Wings get crushed by some West Coast team that never saw ICE except in a glass.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Vampires, Zombies, and the Holy Ghost.

I have not watched the AMC series The Walking Dead.

The truth is, I find movies about zombies to be....disconcerting.

Everybody has their bogeyman thing, I suppose. And I would think that 'zombies' would be very high on the list of things that scare the beeeejeeezus out of people. But then again, you'd be surprised how many people are afraid of cotton balls.

I know of two.

Just sayin'.

At the same time, I'm okay with movies about long as the movie itself doesn't suck. NEAR DARK is one of my favorites. But I avoid things like A VAMPIRE IN BROOKLYN, and anything called, BRAM STOKER'S DRACULA.

Side note: Calling that piece of sh*t Bram Stoker's Dracula is like waving a paltry poultry over a vat of noodles and calling it soup. I won't even talk about the Eddie Murphy thing; it's hard to talk over all the sucking that movie did.

Well...if I had to be really honest, I think SHAUN OF THE DEAD was pretty funny.

And when you think about it, Dracula is just a zombie with an intellect, drinking blooood instead of eating braaaaiiiiins.

Okay, NOW I'm reminded of an old line from Sam Kinison: Did you ever notice that Jesus was the only person to come back from the dead that didn't scare the sh*t out of everybody?

Okay, this isn't exactly a first for me: I've actually started with no specific point, and no decided ending.....and the middle is just filler.


Sunday, December 5, 2010

Title not forthcoming.

The famous actor George Sanders, who committed suicide in 1972, wrote in his suicide note that he was leaving because he was bored.

I read that story when I read his biography, titled A Dreadful Man, in 1979; my Mother was most fond of actor biographies, and I got them after she was done with them.....

She had a first edition copy of A Conversation with Cary Grant which was actually signed by the great man, and it's disappeared. I'd actually kill to get it back.

But, digression is good for the soul.

Until just a few minutes ago, I never believed that anybody could be so bored as to mistakenly down five bottles of Nembutal, scrawl a hasty message, and go to sleep. But with the benefit of living, I can see how the boredom can overcome a man.

Rest easy, my friends. No such finale is planned.

But I am frightfully bored; with the job, with the town, with the cats, and yes.....the same conversations over and over again.

Actually, it might just be a low day, or a low month, or a freakin' low year: everybody has those moments of OCD and the manic and the opposite of manic. There are times when the need for information of any kind, any new mystery or new topic of conversation will make me feel like a thirsty man in the desert.

And then, there are times when I think if one more person, loved or unloved, liked or simply tolerated, makes one more vocal sound...that even so much as a 'good morning' will make we wish (as I seem to perpetually do) that these freakin' windows opened without the benefit of actually throwing a chair through them.


Maybe I just need to throw myself into the kitchen for my annual baking fest.

Or maybe I just need a quiet room and dim light.

A stout ship and a star to steer her by.