Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Sweet Airs That Bring Delight.

I am at an undisclosed location.

And I like it.

In the last few days, I've been a few places and I've seen a few things; places that are familiar and new simultaneously; people with familiar faces and old stories and love that never ends.  Genuine smiles.  Hearty embraces.

In a sense, a large part of my self image has had to be restructured.

People remember me.

And while I always thought my body of artistic work was memorable, I never thought that *I* was.

Bobby saw me from a distance; he hadn't laid eyes on me for several decades....and his smile was a mile long.  And his hug was as genuine.

One of the first things Christy L. said to me was, "I woulda recognized you in the dark."

And a couple of reasonably recognizable Hollywood types sent very nice Birthday greetings.

And of course, if you were watching my Facebook wall, you will have noticed that three delightful people showed their love by carrying me around with them like Flat Stanley in Chicago, New York, and OKC.  The very act was enough to reduce me to tears of laughter, and warm humility.

And the trip down memory lane continues.  Who KNOWS what tomorrow will bring?

And WHY can't I feel like that EVERY DAY?


I need to reevaluate.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

It's Going Down Slow......

Bruce Cockburn is one of my favorites; I first discovered him in 1979, with an album called DANCING IN THE DRAGON'S JAWS. That album included one of his only serious US hits, called WONDERIN' WHERE THE LIONS ARE. We used to sing the song every time the Lions lost. Which was a lot. But I digress. I first heard this song in 1987, when I finally began to collect his works. I was especially touched by the last verse of the song, which I used as some program notes for a show I did in graduate school.

"God damn the hands of glory
That hold the bloody firebrand high;
Close the books, and end the story
Of how so many men have died;
Let the world retain in memory
That mighty tongues tell mighty lies;
And if mankind must have an enemy,
Let it be his war-like pride."

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The Mortality Flip-Flop.

I have a secret habit, which I indulge late at night.

Eyes up here, people.  Out of the gutter.


Normally, my idea of "Living Out Loud With Nothing To Say" would prevent me from watching such a thing, let alone enjoying it.  And I'll admit to a couple of twinges within my psyche as I watch these interesting people work their way through other people's stuff.

The chief twinge, of course, is that of mortality; that eventually, somebody is going to go through my stuff like a malevolent mole, looking for the pricey, and tossing the things that I have collected as trash, when in fact they are the collection of a misunderstood genius....and thereby, priceless.

My collection of Twain, in the original red covers; the first officially sanctioned complete collection, gathered from antique stores and online auctions, will wind up at a library sale.

My collection of robots will wind up in the trash, probably with an eye-roll and a passing thought as to the sanity and taste of the owner.

Theatre posters, programs....food for the fire.

The autographed photos might be worth a few bucks......maybe.

I've managed to depress myself.

I've changed my mind......


Monday, July 16, 2012

It's cheap magic, but it's all we've got......


I saw that movie with a very nice girl, back when I was a very nice guy.  Yeah, it's a chick flick, and yeah, there were parts that I made fun of (particularly the end, when I could help but hum the theme from SUPERMAN), but the film was done almost entirely at Mackinac Island, and I was a frequent visitor there.

I tell you that to tell you this.....it is incredibly easy to travel in time.

I did it a few days ago.

Of course, we all know that the senses are finely tuned  to memory; the sense of smell most finely tuned, they say.....but the others are, as well.

I was out on a walk the other morning; it was early.....I think about 5 AM.  The sun was just considering a trip over the horizon, and the temperature at that hour of the day is comfortable.  July can be unbearable in the Northern State, by the way......confirming in a way my belief that Mother Nature is Bi-Polar and in need of some pharmaceutical balance.....

In that moment, with the soundtrack of THIRTYSOMETHING coming through the earbuds and the smell of freshly mowed and watered lawns wafting through the early morning air, I was off, many years ago and many miles away......

Back to a time when I used to travel.  And I found joy in the travel.  And during those times, I would walk through early morning neighborhoods and look at houses and wonder what kind of people lived there....and I would live in strange houses and I would look for the spirits of those that had passed through the door before me......and I would wonder who I would meet, and what kind of script there would be to work, and what kind of audiences there would be to woo and to win.....

But on this particular day, it was flashing back to the late summers in the Show Me.  The time between the end of the summer contract, and the arrival of the students.  A kind of quiet that only comes at that particular time of the year.....the slight melancholy at the end of the performing season, and the anticipation of the new challenges in education.

In those brief moments, the only responsibility is to the pleasure of walking.  Of taking a deep breath of midsummer.  Of popping the cork and allowing the tension to pour out.

The day could've gone to Hell in a Handbasket after that and I wouldn't have noticed.


Saturday, July 14, 2012

As if.

I spend a lot of time tired.

Yeah, I know.  Who doesn't?

And you all know that when you're tired, things irritate a bit more quickly than usual.

I am constantly reminding myself to see the other side of the story.  And, it ain't easy.  These days, the idea of a mind open to new ideas and new interpretations of old ideas is a sign of being the dreaded, "Flip-Flopper."  As if an steadfast grip on an unexamined idea is the BEST thing to be.

As if the first idea is the best idea.

As if a committee is better at concocting a plan than an individual.

As if a "Blue Ribbon" committee is even BETTER at it.

As if people who make a living playing characters on television are automatically assumed to have some sort of special insight into the workings of the world.

As if this post you are reading is just another example of misguided narcissism.

Nature offers example that there are benefits to the irritant; eventually bringing forth lovely things.

The pearl, for example.


I'm waiting for the pearl.

As if.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Q: What's So Funny?

A:  The short answer is, I'm not sure, but I know it when I see it.

I can remember, when I was a lad, watching a Steve Martin television special.  His second album was selling well; he had appeared on Saturday Night Live, and was about to embark on a film career..well, you know how that had turned out.....

I can remember the special very well; some of it was video of his stand-up at some fabulous place like Hollywood or Vegas or some such; and some of it was sketches.  My favorite was, of course, Turtle Boy, the story of a guy who works the Turtle ranches.  But I also remember a sketch where he's playing a Civil War general, taking his leave of his wife to go and fight.  As he leaves, he begins singing, "Leavin' on a Jet Plane", with the lyrics, "don't know.....what a jet plane is..." before he leaves.

I was sixteen years old and I laughed.

I'm almost fifty now, and I still grin at the memory of it.

I was all about the comedy back then, of course; a die-hard fan of SNL, a fan of Belushi, I would watch SCTV and PYTHON, and even FRIDAYS, and FRIDAYS mostly sucked, but it sucked in big way; it dared to be great, fell short, and didn't apologize.

I've talked about my favorite comedy stuff and I won't rehash, but the fact is, I had an appreciation of all sorts of things, and I appreciated the experiment, even if it didn't work out well.

Chevy Chase did a TV special, as well.  I don't remember it AS fondly, but I do remember him doing some kind of classic comedy obstacle course, with pies, and slapstick stuff.  It wasn't bad, but the fact that I only remember that leaves me to believe that it wasn't all that good.....and being witness to the kind of material Chase has chosen down the decades.....Foul Play and Community notwithstanding.....sigh.

There are some things I cannot tolerate, however.

I cannot tolerate humiliation comedy.  Comedy that makes somebody look intentionally stupid.  Demeaning humor.  Black comedians talking about stupid white people; blonde jokes; man-on-the-street stuff.  Nah.

I don't care for comedy that involves bodily functions; vomit isn't funny...and doing it MORE makes it even LESS funny, in my eyes.

I've never found the sound of somebody eating funny.....but some people like the sound of fingernails on the chalkboard, so I try not to judge; but I WILL change channels, or leave the room.

I suppose like all people, I enjoy comedy that comes to my level.  And that's why I don't watch SNL anymore (except for some of the Weekend Update stuff); the demographic seems to be 15 year old boys.

There are a couple of shows on Adult Swim that I have tried to appreciate; but Loiter Squad and the Eric Andre Show just don't click with my sensibilities....and I suppose that's going to happen....

I need more comedy.

And LESS drama.

KnowhatImean, Vern?

Wednesday, July 4, 2012


I have been following the Amelia Earhart story with a kind of anticipation that perhaps, after three-quarters of a century, that one of our great mysteries could be solved, and a pioneer can be given a proper farewell and send-off and a place to rest.

On the other hand, I love a good mystery, and the solution of one so long standing is also a moment of quiet contemplation on how nothing is permanent; not even a disappearance.


Well, we'll always have D.B. Cooper and Jimmy Hoffa.