Sunday, December 30, 2007


Sunday December 30th, 2007 - Milwaukee, WI/Lake Villa, IL

The year is winding down and again I can’t believe how fast it went. Time is flying faster and faster every year and the faster it flies the less I am afraid of - including death. As I get older I can feel my own mortality and realize that all of this life is temporary for us all. We each have our own set of circumstances and problems to work out and that‘s what we get.

This life is never going to be equal or fair and I’m starting to reluctantly accept that too. I hope there is a next life and I hope it’s better than this one. I know I am not the only one disillusioned with all the insanity going on and for whatever time I have left I will try to do what I can to contribute something to the betterment of the collective. And then I’ll leave.

My beloved Packers won a meaningless game today and it took their record up to 13-3. I’ll never forget when they did that back in 1996 because I couldn’t enjoy it. I lived out in Reno back then and was flown back to Milwaukee to have to testify against my best friend in a bank robbery case. I remember getting off that plane and everyone was wearing green.

I had waited my whole life to be able to enjoy that but the daily stress of preparing to be a government witness took the thrill out of football. It took the thrill out of life itself. It’s a feeling I wouldn’t wish on anyone at any time but during that time made it even worse. An ugly situation was made uglier and I just couldn’t join in all that fun everyone was having.

That feeling crossed my mind today as I thought about all that’s gone on since that year. I had to end up testifying at the trial and my best friend went to prison. Then I returned to Reno and I was fired from my radio job two months later. Then I moved to LA for a year and tried to pursue comedy. Then I ran out of money and moved back to Chicago to work at comedy and get paid rather than knock on the door of some imbecile at a talent agency.

Then I got another radio job in Salt Lake City. I moved out there and got fired after only a year and again I was at ground zero with no backup. I again moved back to Chicago and started doing road comedy again. Then I got yet another radio job at the Loop. I thought I was on my way then but after only thirteen months I got fired there too. Another wipeout.

That was in December of 2004 and for the last three years I’ve been slugging it out once again on the road and trying to build up my contacts and survive at the same time. I have a very hard callous in some ways and a very soft spot in others. A person can only absorb so much punishment and I have taken my lumps to say the least. It’s amazing I am still living.

Sprinkled in all that time I almost died in a head on car wreck when I plowed right into a guard rail in a Geo Metro going 65 miles an hour. Again it’s a miracle I’m not dead. I only broke a couple of ribs and I even made it to my gig that night in a rental car. I did not give up during all this time but I haven’t caught many breaks either. I just survive. It’s a wash.

Oh yeah, I lost a house in the deal too. I couldn’t pay my mortgage in Salt Lake City so I ended up just giving it back to the bank and moving out of town with my feelings hurt.

None of these things left much time to find a wife or really work on my career and make the most of whatever talents I do have. I have been too busy surviving all these years to be able to do what I need to do to get seen by someone who can help me get to the next level of whatever I need to be getting to. It’s only now that I am free enough to be able to try it.

I drove up to Milwaukee to have dinner with my cousin Brett. This is our last chance to get together for a while because he’s working hard trying to get his own life going. He has his own mountain to climb but we’ve known each other our whole lives and can relate to a lot of each other’s troubles. He was a witness at the bank trial too and he remembers how I had to drop everything and get prepared for weeks to testify. The whole thing is surreal.

We talked about it over our steak dinner and we agreed it wasn’t fun for anybody at the time and it’s an even less pleasant memory now. What else can we do but keep fighting? It turned out like it turned out and that’s how it looks in the record book. It’s like a photo in a school year book. Years later that ugly gangly buck toothed dorky picture is permanent.

Brett is going to be busy with his job for the next few months and I told him I will be at work trying to get my business idea off the ground. He reminded me that I’ve always done my best when I didn’t listen to anyone else and did things my own way. He’s right. He’s in my corner and thinks if anyone can pull off this idea it will be me. I appreciate the support.

I really think I will be able to pull this project off but I am not expecting it to be easy. I’ll have ups and downs like anything else and in all likelihood there will be more downs at the beginning which will be in the next few months. I need to have a thick skin and think all of my moves through and keep thinking the whole time as I breathe life into my new dream.

It sure would have been great to have had this idea and amount of experience in 1996 to work on the first time the Packers were 13-3. I’d be a lot farther along in life and business and one or two less radio firings would have been nice too but none of that happened and I am where I am. I’m the age I am too and that won‘t shrink either. The clock is running.

I know a lot of people have regrets and think of what could have been but the key is just keep going. Life will be over soon enough anyway and nobody will care whether you lived out any of your dreams or not. All they’ll care about is how to mow around the headstone. I for one am going to keep chasing this dream until someone mows around my headstone.

Uranus Factory Outlet is going to be a gathering place for people who enjoy laughter on all levels. It will be for the people who like to create the laughs and for those who just like to laugh themselves. If I do it right I can make it not only a profitable venture in a financial sense but also a service to mankind. If there’s anything this planet needs badly it’s laughs.

All my past trials, troubles and traumas need to stay right there - the past. I can’t let that cripple me now. I haven’t met too many others that have had to fight as hard as I have but there are some. But again - life is never going to be fair. I’m heading into ‘08 with a focus and determination like I’ve never had in my life. Let’s get it on - I am the King of Uranus!


Saturday December 29th, 2007 - Chicago, IL

It’s always fun to meet a hero. I don’t think many people get their chance to do that but I’ve done it several times. I might not have the same heroes as the public but that’s ok. We all admire different people and that’s what makes life interesting I guess. I don’t just mean meeting someone famous I mean meeting ‘the ONE’. Everyone has a favorite somebody.

Maybe it’s a musician or an actor or even a comedian. I happen to have several and I’ve gotten to meet more than one in person. Rodney Dangerfield and George Clinton are two examples and it was a thrill to meet them both. I didn’t embarrass myself and it was great. To spend a little time with each of them was a lifetime memory and I cherish it even now.

Tonight I got a chance to do it again. I met Tom Wilson who played Biff in the Back To The Future movies. Like a lot of people I loved those movies and I had an extra feeling of appreciation for Tom’s performance because of my background in pro wrestling. Tom was a ‘heel’ which is the wrestling term for bad guy. Every big champion needs to have a heel.

It’s like a straight man in a comedy team. Lou Costello got the laughs but Bud Abbot is a vital part of the team. Costello knew it but not many others did. The public only sees the results. The same was with the movies. Michael J. Fox was considered the star but he had to have Biff to overcome to make him the hero. I thought Tom was great in those movies.

He was a comedian before getting the role and I had always heard he was but never had a chance to cross paths with him in my travels. It’s random chance in who we meet on the road but eventually most comedians get a chance to hook up at some point. I’ve met many comedians over the years and then not see them again for years. It’s just how it works out.

Tonight was my chance to meet Tom. He was working at downtown Zanies in Chicago and his contract says he only does two shows a night. Zanies has three shows on Saturday nights so I was asked to fill in for the third show. I was just at Zanies a few weeks ago but I gladly said yes because I wanted to get a chance to meet Tom so I drove into the city.

On the way in I stopped to have dinner with Bill Gorgo at Red Lobster. Bill had me over last Christmas for one of the best meals I have ever had in my life and I really appreciate it. I told him that then and I still appreciate it now. He’s a fantastic cook and I’m not and I’ve been meaning to pay him back for a year. Tonight was the night and we ate some seafood.

Bill is a really good guy and I love talking comedy with him. He’s very funny and could be a full time road comic and was for years but he now teaches high school and enjoys the chance to stay in one place and I respect him for that. The road is brutal and he still gets to be on stage both at school and in comedy but what he really loves is the writing part of it.

We taught a few comedy writing classes and hope to do it again in ‘08. Getting to hang out with creative people takes away any depression I might have and I never get sick of it. It’s what I live for. That’s why I want to be the King of Uranus and find as many as I can.

After a relaxing dinner and comedy jam session I headed down to Zanies to get ready to perform. I didn’t have to be on stage until the 11:15 show but finding a parking space is an issue not only because it’s Saturday night in Old Town but snow is a factor too. I arrived a couple hours early but that’s ok. I found a great parking space and avoided all the stress.

I walked in the back door at Zanies and Tom was already on stage for his first show. It’s a tiny club and there’s no place to stand when it’s full so I went upstairs to the green room to watch the football game. It felt very good to be where I needed to be before I needed to be there. Usually I’m hauling ass to be at some gig in the sticks and driving like a maniac.

Tom finished his show and came up to the green room where we all hang out waiting to go on between shows. Even that’s a cramped space but there are a couple of couches so it is at least comfortable rather than having to sit in the show room and get stared at like the bearded lady at the circus while people shuffle in or out. The green room is our hang out.

I heard someone coming up the stairs and sure enough there was Biff from the movies. I nodded hello and smiled which is the right thing to do. Right after a show is not a time for intimate conversation. He just finished working and as a fellow comic I know that. I didn’t want to invade his space and I could see that he appreciated it. I let him have his privacy.

He put his things away and sat down and we made our introductions. He knew my name because I am on the marquee right next to him as being on the late show and he was about as easy to talk to as anyone I’ve ever met. Wow what a genuinely nice person he is. I have always heard he was a nice guy but meeting him in person took that to a whole new level.

He is not at all pretentious or egotistical or pompous and we had a great talk for an hour about a lot of things. I didn’t jump right into the movie stuff like most people do and I saw that he appreciated that very much. He opened up about a lot of things and that’s how it is on the road when two comedians meet for the first time. ‘Where ya from? How’s the road treatin’ ya? Where are you next week?’ Stuff like that. There is a bond road comics have.

I felt that we bonded very well so I carefully asked him if he minded if I talked about the movies. He said he didn’t and I told him that I wanted to be able to tell him how amazing I thought he was in those movies and how much I enjoyed both the movies and him in them. He thanked me and said that he now realizes how important giving people the opportunity to do that is. He has decided to not be bitter about it or not be willing to acknowledge it.

What was great was being able to talk about ‘it’ as a whole. Obviously every comedian I know wants to get a movie role in theory but Tom did and the consequences aren’t always positive. He said he has had to deal with being Biff EVERY DAY since 1985. That’s not a joyride all the time and he talked about how some days he has to grit his teeth and smile.

It was a great learning experience and I think I made a friend. We really did hit it off and I have a few places I can get him work like Calgary and Salt Lake City and I will gladly do that. That’s what road comics do for each other. Maybe he’ll put a word in for me as well.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Radio Air Freshening

Friday December 28th, 2007 - Milwaukee, WI/Vernon Hills, IL

I am and always have been one of simple means. Little things please me and little things irritate me. I could lose a radio job 1000 miles from home and not think twice about it but then I might go have lunch and my steak wouldn’t be cooked as rare as I asked and that is what will gnaw at me for the rest of my meal. I’m getting a lot better with it but that’s me.

Today was just flat out FUN. A lot of little things came together and it added up to a big day where I was treated like a star. Who doesn’t want that? Everyone dreams of it and I’m lucky enough to have had quite a few days like this in my life. I might not be a superstar as far as the public goes but that doesn’t guarantee happiness at all. Today was just perfect.

My friend Drew Olson invited me up to Milwaukee to sit in on his radio show from 9:00 to noon called ‘The D List’. I’m a pseudo-semi-quasi-regular with those guys and I always have a blast. It’s very laid back and low pressure and I feel like one of the boys. They have a really good vibe and I can fit right in because I know the local sports scene very well.

I’ve known Drew for too many years to count and he’s as good as there is. Great person and very talented both as a writer and a radio guy. He has been friends with Dan Needles a long time who is a TV sports anchor. I’ve known Dan for years and he’s really fun and the best sports trivia guy I’ve ever met. I thought I was pretty good but he’s the true master.

Sitting around talking Wisconsin sports with those guys is as easy as it gets. I grew up in Milwaukee and it’s taken a lifetime to pack my head full of that knowledge. Why waste it? Not only is it fun to hang with those guys I don’t do it all that often so it’s not like it’s any kind of job on my part. I come in and have fun when I’m in town and it’s my fix of radio.

Radio is a lot of fun when it’s on those terms. Those guys treat me great and listeners do too. I always get a call or a few emails saying ‘Hey, heard your cd. You’re pretty funny!’ It never gets old to hear that and I will offer you reading this the same offer I made to the listeners today. I have a few cds left and while they last if you’d like one as my sincere gift of thanks just shoot me an email and I will mail you one out. I appreciate you reading this.

Some people think I’m a total idiot and that’s fine but a lot of people don’t and they are the ones I am going to focus on. For example there’s a regular contributor to The D List who is a writer who covers the Packers. He is very good at it and I got to know him from being a guest on the show. I sent him one and he ended up playing it on Christmas Eve for his family and he told that story on the air today. How flattering is that? I was touched.

After the show Drew and I went out for lunch and bounced around some show ideas for the new year. Drew is a helper and very positive and as long as I’ve known him he’s an up front guy and goes out of his way to help all people. He had some very good ideas for me and hopefully I had a few for him too. He’s really building a strong network with his radio contacts combined with his baseball contacts from when he was a beat writer for years. He can help me get some play with Uranus Factory Outlet and it’s all a win/win for everyone.

This is how we always thought it should work. We talked about stuff like this years ago when Drew was just as guest on my show when I was on 93QFM. He always says I’m the one that gave him his first shot in radio but he was the one who did me the favor. He knew what he was doing on the air from the first time in front of a mike. Now it’s reversed and I am the guest and hopefully I’m able to pay him back by adding to his show. I try my best.

While all this was going on I had forgotten that I taped a bit for Jerry Agar on WLS. He is doing the morning show this week and three comedians made predictions for 2008. I am always happy to be on with Jerry because like with Drew we’ve known each other so long it’s not even work. Jerry played the bit this morning and I had lots of emails as I got home.

That was enough to make me feel good but I had to get to Vernon Hills Zanies to do my show by 8:00. I am filling in this week a couple of loose shows and tonight was the first. It was a fantastic audience and pretty full which was a pleasant surprise this time of year. It’s traditionally a slow week so seeing a line of people waiting to see me was a pleasant sight.

Jim Moran is yet another radio friend I used to work with who has been all over the dial. He has a girlfriend named Diane who does overnights at WXLC in Waukegan and I hadn’t seen either of them for a while and they both came out to the show. Then on a whim I got a call from Jerry Agar and he and his wife Ann came out so it was a radio reunion for me.

Jim and Diane hadn’t met Jerry so everyone got together and it was a really fun time. It was a lot more fun because the audience was great and I had a blast on stage. Working at Zanies is my home and especially Vernon Hills. I was the first comedian on that stage way back when they opened in 1992. I was an opener back then but I’m the headliner now.

Most of the staff has worked there for most of that time and I know everyone very well. They know my name when I walk in like Norm from Cheers and after I got off stage from that hot set tonight I had a huge inner smile knowing that this was all around a great day. I hung out with friends, was on TWO radio stations, headlined a major comedy club and got to have a delicious pizza after the show with Jerry and Ann at a place called Bill’s Pub.

Everyone who gets into the entertainment business wants to be accepted and thought of as larger than life. They make the mistake of thinking success is nothing less than having a stadium full of people screaming and getting clothes ripped off on the way to the limo. It’s a nice fantasy but in reality who really gets that? And if they do how long does it all last?

The real thing we crave as performers is unconditional acceptance and LOVE. We don’t get it but applause and in a comedian’s case laughs is the synthetic substitute. I never ever get tired of hearing those laughs and today I heard a lot of them and they were STRONG laughs - not just little titters. I had them going by the end of my set and I felt the energy.

What made it even sweeter was that Jerry and Ann and Jim and Diane were there to see it as was Bert Haas the booker and his wife Sally Edwards who opened the show. They all think I’m funny but more important they’re friends first. That was the best part of the day.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Back On Track

Thursday December 27th, 2007 - Lake Villa, IL

More work today but not as much as yesterday. I really did bust my hump yesterday and it shows. When I woke up and looked around my room and saw all the work I actually got done yesterday it made me feel like I really accomplished something. And I did. I will keep this momentum going into the new year and at least I had the guts to fight my depression.

The worst thing would have been to just sit around saying ‘Woe is me’. I was quite woe but I know other people were and are too. Misery really does love company especially for Christmas but now it’s over and I couldn’t be happier about it. The clouds are breaking up and it looks like there will be some sunshine after all. Today was a day to catch a few rays.

My phone rang. My email filled up even more. I was a blip on someone’s radar and I felt fantastic knowing that other people took time to think of me. Marc Schultz called and was interested in getting one of our frequent lunches and that was exactly what I needed today. It’s always low pressure and fun and gave me something to look forward to that I enjoy.

On the way to his house my phone wouldn’t stop ringing. My car was like my own little fan club headquarters as people called to say hey and Happy New Year and thanks for the funny Christmas card. My effort of sending out all those cards to people I hadn’t seen in a while has paid off already. I’m glad I listened to my inner voice. When I do that I’m okay.

Mike Preston called. I really like and respect Mike. He’s very funny and like me is going through a complete reinvention of himself. He realizes how comedy clubs aren’t the future so like me he has to find another road. Well neither of us HAVE to but if we don’t both of us would wind up on CNN in an ugly hostage situation. We know it’s time for a change.

I have been a guest on Mike’s TV show ’Psychobabble’ many times. He has used it as a creative outlet for several years and it’s really a fun show but he hasn’t found a way to get it to pay off financially. I totally relate to that. He’s going to take a break for a while so he can work on an angle he thinks can get more corporate work. I hope he is a huge success.

It takes guts to be an entertainer of any kind but comedians have it the hardest. Comedy is NOT easy and most of us who are able to do it have little or no business acumen or any kind of financial skills whatsoever. I am trying to be smart and change that as is Mike and other comedian friends I have like Jim McHugh and Darryl Roades in Atlanta and several other people with talent that the public hasn’t heard of yet and unfortunately might never.

Talent doesn’t mean guaranteed success and never did. Jamie Lynn Spears and her little illegitimate waterhead cloven hoofed demon baby gets the lion’s share of coverage on TV while smart funny talented people like Mike Preston have to drive to the U.P. to do a hell gig for $200 to pay his cell phone bill. Is there any justice there Johnnie Cochran? Uh uh.

But that’s the life we chose and the life none of us want to give up. The pull of the stage is truly that strong. I’ll still do comedy shows even when I’m the King of Uranus. Really.

A Fast Start

Wednesday December 26th, 2007 - Lake Villa, IL

Believe it or not I had a fantastic day today. Yesterday I was contemplating between the bullet or the rope as to how I should end my life but today I came back strong and had the best full day of work I’ve put in for quite some time. I got up and started working with the things I have rather than lamenting the things I don’t. It wasn’t easy but that’s what I did.

The good thing about all this is I’ve been here before. I’ve had brutal Christmases all my life and December 26th is a joyous day on my calendar because a weight has been lifted and I can start looking ahead to the new year. I’ve also been in the position of being at ground zero and having to start over so many times that it doesn’t frighten me in the least. I’m ok.

Yes, losing my other computer was a kick in the shorts. For whatever reasons that made it happen it happened and I can’t control that now. With that in mind I forced myself to be in a positive mindset all day today. If somebody REALLY focuses on a positive nugget for anything that goes wrong there is one. It may be very difficult to find it but one is there.

It’s like one of those ‘good news/bad news’ jokes. The doctor comes in and says ‘There is good news and bad news. The bad news is that your legs will have to be amputated. The good news is the guy in the next bed wants to buy your shoes.’ Sick? Twisted? Cruel? Yes it is but there is a positive in every single situation. That’s all I was thinking about today.

The bad news is my computer was stolen and I lost all my life’s work and the backup of it. The good news is nobody but me really cares. I won’t lose any comedy work over it for one thing. I don’t need notes to do shows and get paid and in fact I never have used notes like a lot of comedians do. They are lost without their cheat sheets but I never needed one.

More good news is that they didn’t break my car windows like the others who also got robbed. They didn’t get the check for $400 that was on my visor because I had just gotten my mail before I came to the show. Plus I still got paid at the end of the night for the show I did and it was a very strong one. They will have me back and I sold a lot of cds as well.

I can still walk and see and don’t have any cancerous tumors that I know of and I won’t have to sleep in the park or in my car any time soon. These are all good things and I know I should always look on the bright side but it’s not always that easy. Today I decided I will make a new plan and start over and since nobody else cares about my plight neither will I.

One thing I did today was fast - as in not eat anything. I’ve read books on it for a while and even tried it a few times over the years. I think it’s great but the hard part is discipline. The worst thing is eat a whole chocolate pie to break it and that’s what most people do. It needs to be done correctly both to start and finish and I want to get into it a lot deeper.

I’ve been eating horribly and I know it but so has everyone else in America. It’s time to get on a better program and today was the day I started. I didn’t eat at all all day and I felt my stomach gurgle and there were some pangs but I drank a lot of water and I feel great.

The great thing about fasting is that it makes the senses sharper. I have been putting lots of unhealthy foods into my body for a long time and it needs to stop. One day won’t be an instant cure but I really think I can make it a habit and do it one day a week for all of ‘08. I still have the books and I will look them over to see the proper way to go about all this.

Lots of people swear by fasting. Jesus did it in the Bible. Forty days is a long time but if I worked my way up to it and didn’t do it stupidly I bet that would be a fantastic feeling in a lot of ways. It would not only be good for the body but I bet it would clear the mind for fantastic creativity. I have to face it, my days of eating anything I want are now OVER.

But again, I’m totally ok with it. Today I popped DVDs into my new computer and then sorted out boxes as I kind of half watched and half sorted. I watched Goodfellas because it is based on a true story. My movie script is also based on a true story and I wanted to look at it again from that angle. I’ve seen it many times but I watched it with new eyes today.

One thing I had never done before was watch all of the extras on the DVD. I really liked all of it and it made the time go fast. I also watched a James Brown concert from 1981 and thoroughly enjoyed that too. James and George Clinton are my favorites and I ran across a DVD of George I forgot I had and watched that also. They’re both true master showmen.

I bought some furniture a couple of weeks ago at the thrift store in Waukegan and never did put it where I wanted it - until today. I moved around my whole room and placed it all exactly where I wanted it and started stacking all the shelves with books, cds and DVDs. I got rid of a ton of that stuff when I moved and I can see I need to get rid of a lot more but at least for the first time since I’ve been here it’s starting to feel a little bit like my home.

I’ve got a lot of books to read and a ton of audio programs to listen to and I arranged all of it so it will be my business headquarters for Uranus Factory Outlet. I now finally have a desk to work at and two bookshelves with my books put in exact order so I can find what I need in a half a second. It was an all day project but it was really fun and therapeutic too.

For the first time in my life I now have a set place for my birth certificate, social security card, passport, car title, tax papers and any other important paper I may need. I bought the chest of drawers for $20 and I already know it was money well spent. I now have a clue as to where my things are and I can already tell I’m more organized than I have EVER been.

I still have a long way to go but today was as good as one day could be coming from the mental place I have been in the last few days. It feels great to make a strong rebound and I don’t think it has to stop any time soon. If I use this as a motivator and keep working with what I have I might not be as bad off as I first thought. But I’m not getting cocky just yet.

I did get a call for a comedy booking in Peoria in February which made me feel fantastic. I was apparently recommended by another comedian and the booker called and gave me a week at a new club that’s opening there. I can use the cash and I appreciate the thought of another comedian recommending me. One day at a time is the plan and today was positive.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

A Christmas Memory

Tuesday December 25th, 2007 - Lake Villa, IL

I’m not going to lie. Today was a rough one. Christmas is traditionally a tough time for me and this one was brutal. Most of the day I didn’t even get out of bed. I didn’t spend it all sleeping but when I did sleep I had all kinds of weird dreams that woke me up again. I read a little and thought a lot and all kinds of images were flying in and out of my head.

If I ever do take my own life chances are it will be during the Christmas holiday. Back in 1994 I remember having my roommate’s .38 revolver to my head on Christmas Eve. I was feeling really low just like I am now and was in a similar situation. I had just gotten my car stolen with about $5000 worth of old baseball cards I had just bought and I was just angry at the world. It was Christmas and all those ugly memories came flooding back like now.

I was by myself because my roommates were with their families so I sat down and wrote a long letter to my father saying how much he hurt all of us in the family. I guess I did it as much for me as I did for him but it felt good to get it all out on paper. I thought about it as I wrote and decided that therapy was expensive but stamps are cheap so I mailed it to him.

Then I really thought about it and decided whether I wanted to live or not. I decided not so I got the pistol out and put it to my head. That’s a pretty serious time to say the least. If you haven’t experienced it it’s quite an attention getter. Staring at a gun is very serious for the one staring and it doesn’t matter who’s pointing it. I was anything but in a fun mode.

I remembered back when I worked at a frozen custard stand when I was in high school. There was a robbery attempt and someone pointed a gun at me and I never forgot for that brief second how everything else faded away and all I could think of was the gun barrel. It really scared me then but I wasn’t scared in the same way when I was pointing it myself.

I was scared in other ways. It’s very hard to put into words but that’s how I felt. I have had two near fatal car accidents and both of them allowed me to have a split second before impact to have a final thought. Both times I didn’t have any fear as odd as that sounds. It’s more like a feeling of waiting for a carnival ride to start. I wondered ‘What’s THIS like?’

I remember writing a suicide note for my roommates and trying to make it funny. One of the lines I remember writing on it is ‘So THIS is what happens when the Packers lose.’ All of us were huge Packer fans and that was perfect for the situation. I also wrote. ‘Sorry for the mess. Please take it out of my rent money’ and ‘You can flip a coin for my stereo.’

I remember going out in the alley because I didn’t want to leave a mess in the house. We were sharing my one roommate’s couch and he just bought it so I didn’t want to splatter it with my skull fragments. I looked around in the darkness to make sure I was alone. I was.

I remember crying because I was just so frustrated and hurting. Why did life come to the point of this? I tried to be a nice person but things just kept blowing up time after time so I wanted the pain to end. I remember taking a breath and trying to squeeze the trigger hard.

For whatever reason the gun did not go off. Talk about an emotional rush. I squeezed it only once because getting to that point of actually pulling the trigger is not easy. It was an emotional moment to get there and I wasn’t going to just stand there and use my skull in a game of skeet shooting. I remember standing there by myself shaking for several minutes.

I went back in the house and put my roommate’s gun away and sat there on the couch. I was worn out mentally and fell asleep right there. I was awakened by a roommate walking in the door. It wasn’t the one with the gun and I never brought it up. It was too painful for me to rehash then but it isn’t now. I am writing about it hoping that it will help someone.

The people who know what this kind of pain is like don’t normally have anyone to share it with. Too many people who have NO clue of how much it hurts take it upon themselves to be self appointed therapists and offer brilliant advice like ‘Just get over it’ or ‘Trust the Lord to help you through.’ I love that. This always comes from idiots with a trust fund.

My friend Max called me tonight and we talked for over two hours. He knows how it is and can feel all of my pain. He has his own problems and I feel his pain too. We went back and forth about a lot of things and it was very therapeutic for us both. His wife doesn’t get it and thankfully his kids don’t either. He’s done a fantastic job of breaking that chain. His kids are great and they had a wonderful Christmas but Max said he is still haunted like me.

My comedian friend Will C. from Kansas City has to deal with it too. I’m sure thousands of others fight it as well and have nobody to share it with. It’s like a mother discussing the pain of child birth. Unless someone goes through it they can’t relate and have nothing they can offer in the credibility department. I am writing this to hopefully help someone else.

I have discussed things like this on the radio from time to time and it ALWAYS gets the most sincere calls from people who are touched by it. The true heroes of life suck it up for the long run and keep plugging away. But that pain is still in there and it needs to get out. Talking about it with someone who understands and has been there is a very helpful thing.

I felt a lot like I did in 1994 today. I am really hurting from getting my computer stolen. I feel used and abused and wiped out. I worked so hard for so long to get to this point and now I feel like I just slid back down the mountain and am going to have to start all over. It was already hard but now it’s even harder and I’m sure not getting any younger either. I’m trying to stay positive but in reality I am sitting in quite a spot right now. I need a break.

I did crawl out of bed to watch some great specials on PBS about old time comedians. It was very interesting and I sat for hours and watched about Groucho Marx and Jack Benny and Jackie Gleason and Vaudeville. Those guys worked hard too and I learned that Jack Benny didn’t make his first appearance on TV until he was 56. That was sure news to me.

Those guys paid their dues but so have I. I guess I’m not able to see what my payoff will be after all these years of struggle. Having a family would be fantastic but I don’t know if I will ever get that. And that’s the kind of thing that makes me think about eating a bullet.

Monday, December 24, 2007

A Dream Christmas

Monday December 24th, 2007 - Lake Villa, IL

What a fantastic Christmas this was! I think it was the best EVER. My wife woke me up early because the store called and they ended up getting the bike my son wanted after all. I hopped out of bed and my heart raced because I know how much he wants this particular one and we couldn’t find it anywhere. This will make his year when he lays his eyes on it.

My daughter is very easy to shop for. She’s a great kid and I think she just loves the part where she gets to rip open a package. She doesn’t really care what’s in it but we took a lot of time this year and got her everything we could find that had to do with Hanna Montana that she didn’t already have and I was shocked to find out how much that actually was but it’s Christmas so we got it for her and wrapped it all up along with a bunch of gag gifts.

Gag gifts are the favorite part of our Christmases because we wrap them to look like the real thing. Nobody knows what they’ll get when there’s a present under the tree with your name on it and that’s part of the fun. Sometimes a big pretty box will have some really old piece of junk inside but it keeps everybody on their toes. Plus it’s all in fun so we love it.

My wife’s mom came over today and watched the kids while my wife and I went to pick up the bike and finish the rest of the last minute shopping. When we got home there was a fantastic home made lunch waiting for us and we sat down and ate and had a lot of laughs.

Then the kids got dressed and we took them to the old folks home for the concert we do every year. The kids love it and the seniors love it and it’s part of what true Christmas is. I look forward to it every year almost as much as I look forward to going to the hospital for the benefit show we have been doing there for so many years. That’s been a tradition too.

We had a wonderful family dinner and this year it was at our house. My wife’s mom and dad were there with her brothers and my mom showed up with her famous rum balls. I had some even though I don’t drink and they were fantastic. My brothers Larry and Bruce and my sister Tammy and her husband all came at the same time and they were on time for the first time anyone could remember. One of the gag gifts we got them was a cuckoo clock.

Our meal couldn’t have been any better and we had laughs and fun and everyone ate the things they liked and nobody had to eat any broccoli or liver. Everyone was full but then it was time for present opening. My son went nuts when he saw his bike and he rode it in the house and eventually outside in the snow. My daughter loved her stuff too and we all were thankful for the fact we had each other and how lucky we all were to enjoy so much fun.

OK, who the hell am I kidding? I made all of that up. I’ve NEVER had a Christmas like that and as much as I would love it I doubt if I ever will. I wrote some fiction for the first time just because it was way too painful sitting around today trying not to hang myself out in the back yard so my roommate wouldn’t have a mess to clean up in the house. This has been one of the saddest and loneliest Christmases I’ve ever had and I’ve had a lot of them. I am in a funk and I can feel the dark clouds thickening. I will be glad when it’s all over.

I don’t think it will ever be over though. Not in this lifetime. I could tell as a kid that the world I was living in was not a match for the one that was in my head. As I get older I’ve read where we all pick our families and circumstances before we are even born and I can’t believe that I would have picked the situation I got unless I was tripping on some bad acid or drunk out of my mind on grain alcohol. If there is a lesson I am to learn I’m missing it.

Nobody has a Leave It To Beaver Life but why the hell not? What is it about this planet that life has to be this way? I’m sorry to say but I for one am not satisfied with how God is handling things on His end. His quality control is WAY down and most of the people here are the equivalent of Ford Pintos and AMC Gremlins. There are a lot of leakers out there.

I really do believe the majority of people on this planet are completely stupid and do not have a clue as to where their lives are headed or what they are going to do. America has a precious freedom that should allow greatness to blossom everywhere and yet we have lots of people who in my opinion should be carved up and used as shark food at a major zoo.

What keeps me going is that there are a lot of fantastic people in the world too. I do not claim to know what the ratio is of idiots to good people but the good ones sure seem to be a minority from what I’ve seen. But they make it worth the search and I find myself having a great list of friends I’ve acquired over the years and it’s them that keep me from taking a bullet. I know they’re slugging it out in their own lives and I respect them totally. If I have any chance to help any of them at all I surely would. I know they’d do it for me as well.

One of the things I lost with my old computer was my master list of contacts that I have been working on in the last few weeks. There were some wonderful people on there that I hadn’t contacted in a while and I’m SO thankful that I sent all those cards out like I did. If I hadn’t I may have lost contact with many of those people forever. This is all really weird.

Why did I send all those cards out to people I hadn’t contacted in a while? I don’t know but I did. Now a week later I lose my computer with all of their addresses on it. Isn’t that kind of odd? It sure seems that way to me and again I have no idea what any of this means or if it means anything at all. At this point in my life I am just trying to get through today.

It would be SO great to have just ONE Christmas like I described. I would love to have a wonderful wife and some kids that have had some love so I can watch them grow into an adult and blossom and be surrounded by fun. That’s the main ingredient that was missing from most of my family and it’s what’s missing from a lot of people’s lives. Life should be FUN in my opinion and I have tried to spread it in my life but I see I’ve fallen way short.

I’m a wackadoo in many ways and I know that but I’m also a tough bastard too. All the best creative people have that wacked out side and I think there probably can’t be any real creativity without it. I know this is never going to be a perfect world but a little hope or an encouraging sign would be very much appreciated right now. I feel like nobody feels all of the pain I feel or hears my crying out for just a little justice once in a while. Christmas isn’t a time to be sad but neither is the rest of life. I am going to keep trying to bring some fun.

A New Computer

Sunday December 23rd, 2007 - Lake Villa, IL

Now it’s to the point of being funny. When it rains it pours and when it pours it’s Flood City. I am the mayor today. Everything that pushes my buttons happened today and I feel like Christopher Reeve sitting in his wheelchair with all the bags full waiting for his nurse. I’m helpless to fight any of it so I just sat back and let it all unfold. What else could I do?

The first thing I needed to do was get a new computer. This isn’t something I have been planning to do and there probably isn’t a worse time to computer shop or shop period than two days before Christmas but that’s what I had to do so I did it. I arrived at Best Buy just in time to get ignored by four different sales clerks who didn’t look happy to be there so it gave me time to browse around a little and see what I might want to drop my money on.

I finally got some help from a guy who was very helpful actually and he helped me find a laptop with the toys I would probably need and a printer that I would definitely need and it all came up to about $1500 I really wasn’t planning on spending right now. I’m glad that I have been smart enough to save a few bucks but with all the storms that hit this year I will not have the cushion for 2008 that I thought I would. Between my teeth and cars and now this I’ll be eating weenies and beanies and bird seed and living in a basement like a spider.

The process of buying the computer is always torture. I had to buy all the extra things I know nothing about that they tell me I need but who knows if it’s true or not? All of that anti virus and spy ware crap is probably how Bill Gates gets money to go bowling but they always sell it to me and I always buy it. I had to wait a few hours and get it all installed so I took that time to walk through Target and watched everybody scampering to shop for all their presents. Then I went to a book store and read for a couple of hours to kill the time.

I could tell the Packers were going to get buried so I turned the game off in the first half before that set me off on a murder spree. I had to watch every mongoloid ape with a Bears jacket jump up and down in the store when they scored and I was just not ready for that at this point. I’ve suffered enough this week without that. I went to the book store to escape.

The harder I tried to focus on reading the more I kept thinking of the situation I am now in and how would I get out of it? I’m in a dangerous place right now because I can feel the good vibe I had leaving me and leaving quickly. In two days I went from just trying to get over Christmas to now just trying to stay alive. I have always had to trudge through all my past hurdles of Christmas and it always seems like when I think I have it licked it kicks me.

This last few days sure did kick me and kick me HARD. This is all very unfair but that’s how life is. I’m not the only one that has problems and I never said it was only me but still to think that some punk bastard has my computer with all my life’s work on it is painful.

It makes me feel helpless and angry and disillusioned with the entire human race. I don’t feel like this is my home planet anyway and now I feel like I’m drifting away even more. If there’s one good thing about it it sure put the Packers into perspective. Who really cares?

The Lone Rager

Saturday December 22nd, 2007 - Peru, IL/Lake Villa, IL

And then it went black. I am so angry right now I can’t put it into words. I’d type it out on the keyboard of my trusty computer but I just had that stolen out of my car while I was performing in Peru, IL this evening. Now I have to hand write my feelings or I’ll choke an innocent bystander and that’s not right. What pathetic excuse for a human robs from ME?

I’m about as low on the food chain as it gets. Stealing from me is like stomping all of the people at the nursing home. Yes, you can do it without much trouble but what if anything does it really prove? Exactly. NOTHING. Some lowlife bag of pig snot now has all of my hopes and dreams on a computer that he’s probably going to sell for $20 to score crack.

I have been the king of getting things stolen from me my entire life. As a kid I lost bikes and toys and lunch money and everything that could be lifted. As I grew older it’s been all kinds of stuff from cars to collectibles to cash for my rent. I have had unimaginable timing and this was yet another example. I’ll never get it back and this will really set me back for a while because that computer had EVERYTHING that has been important to me in life.

It was just refurbished too and that cost me over $500. I had a backup done but it was in the computer bag because I was going to drop it off at my friend Jerry Agar’s house so I’d be able to protect myself in case ‘something should happen’. Little did I know tonight was that night. I can replay it in my head all I want but the damage is done and I am screwed.

The show tonight was really good too. I worked a place called ‘The Super Bowl’ which has been doing comedy for about 18 years. They have a nice lounge that seats maybe 300 in a bowling alley and they draw a good comedy crowd. I was feeling the holiday blahs so I gave it an extra blast of energy and blew the roof off the joint. It felt good to tear it up.

After the show I hung out and shook hands and signed autographs and sold a bunch of cds and actually felt pretty good. The owner is a very nice guy and he said how much they would like to have me back and I could name the date. It feels great to be wanted and the whole night put a perk in my step. Then I walked outside and saw that someone just had a window broken out of their car. They had just been at the show and they were very angry.

There were two couples and one of the women said ‘Looks like WE’RE Mr. Lucky now unfortunately’ as I walked by. I was very sorry to see it and told them that but I’ve been in that situation so often myself I know it’s just best to leave it alone. I walked away quietly.

Then I drove to the hotel to check in so I could get caught up on my huge pile of emails I have been neglecting lately. I was in a fantastic mood and was planning on staying up for a few hours and knocking out some typing. I opened the back door of my car to get all my luggage and that’s when I discovered my computer was gone. I immediately felt that deep sick feeling in my stomach that I’ve felt so many times before. The joke’s on ME. Again. I immediately got back in the car and headed straight back to the club and I saw a police car already there. The four people were just finishing up their report and then I started mine.

I told the four people that I had lost my computer and it kind of made it better. At least I wasn’t the only one and neither were they. They weren’t sure what they lost if anything at all. They were mainly reporting the broken window damage. I had all my windows but not my computer. I would have broken my own windows if I could get that computer back.

By now the owner and the staff were all outside because they had heard there was some trouble in the parking lot. Peru, IL isn’t that big of a town so I guess it was news. I had to give the story to the cop who was about 22 and brand new. He took my driver’s license to run ME through the computer first to make sure I didn’t have any outstanding warrants.

That infuriated me even more and he had the bedside manner of Dr. Frankenstein. There was NO sympathy other than ‘Yeah, kind of sucks don’t it?’ He then took my info and got my name wrong about six times and misspelled half the words on the report too. I tried to keep my cool and it was very tough. For all I know HE was the one who broke in the cars.

What really stinks about all this is that I had the backup right there in the computer bag. I know that’s not smart but it was only for an hour or so. I usually NEVER leave a laptop in the car but it was very cold and I figured if I put it in the trunk it would make it freeze. I wasn’t really thinking about theft and of course tonight was the night for the grim reaper.

It’s a good thing I didn’t catch whoever did it because I would be in jail right now for an extremely violent beating fatality or dead myself. There is a rage inside me that has faded a little over the years but I know it’s still there. It’s in everyone but very few ever get to it. I have tried my whole life to get away from it but things like this happen and it’s not easy.

Who wouldn’t be upset in a situation like this? Yes I know I should have taken the thing out of the car and put it in the trunk. Woulda, coulda, shoulda. I didn’t and now it’s gone. I will never get it back and I have to start ALL over. My entire act was typed out as was a complete history of my comedy class worksheets that took 15 years to perfect as was a list of ALL my comedy connections and numbers for bookings. And now it’s gone forever for no real reason and the backup I made so this wouldn’t happen is also gone. I feel raped.

The thing that hurts the worst is that I had all of my notes for Uranus Factory Outlet in a file. I have worked daily since I had the idea on September 1st and I was very proud that it was starting to take shape. I had all my contacts and ideas for products and now I am back to square one on everything. I know my act but I was working on a lot of new stuff. I can get the comedy contacts back but that will take months. It’s all going to be a giant hassle.

I’m about all out of ‘hang in theres’ and ‘it’ll get better, you waits’. I am at the edge of a cliff and I feel that something like this could push me over the edge. I feel a deep rage and pure anger and I don’t like feeling that but I have to admit that I do. I don’t look to rob or cheat people and when it happens to me I get furious because I don’t think like they do.

I’ve been down and out before and I’ve been screwed like this before. I don’t like it but I can recover from this. What I don’t know is if I can get over the hump of my inner rage.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Apples And Worms

Friday December 21st, 2007 - Lake Villa, IL

Sometimes my life feels like a giant revolving apple with a worm in it. When the shining part is showing I am bullet proof. I can handle any situation and obstacle and nothing gets in my way. When the wormy part is showing I feel like my life has been a waste of time. It keeps turning and eventually that wormy part comes back around. Usually it’s about now.

I’m really fighting hard to not slip into a funk right now. December has been packed full of ugly memories throughout my life and sometimes one little reminder can set it all off. It could come from a commercial on TV with a Christmas theme or maybe a picture in an ad with something that trips a mental trigger but I always have to fight the funk at Christmas.

It’s funny in a way because it’s IMPOSSIBLE to avoid seeing it. I can imagine Jews and Muslims and anyone else who doesn’t believe in Christmas has to play along and roll with it but in my case it has a load of ugly memories attached. Every year I try to survive all the head triggers and every year it starts earlier and earlier. It’s a torture that returns annually.

When I was a kid one of my first Christmas memories was my old man having his greasy bunch of biker maggots over at the house. I was there with my grandparents visiting and it was not fun at all. It was smoky and the bikers were drinking and one of them ended up at the throat of his old lady with a knife accusing her of cheating on him. What a truly joyous and special yuletide memory. What’s real Christmas without a nice drunken biker knifing?

My grandfather died December 22nd of my senior year in high school. He was the light in my life and also kept peace in the family while he was alive. When he died it all went down the toilet quickly thereafter and needless to say that year’s Christmas wasn’t very cheery. I still remember walking into the hospice five minutes after he died. I knew peace was dead.

I also remember years later that the infamous bank robbery happened in December and it turned out to be a nightmare for years to come as that whole ugly scenario played out. It’s a memory that was a double whammy because years later I ended up testifying against my lifelong best friend and the preparation for that was all through December. It doesn’t quit.

Oh, and it doesn’t help that we got fired from the Loop on December 17th of 2004. That one still stings and there was no real reason for it other than some halfwit wanted to make a change. He didn’t realize that he was affecting the lives of all of us and didn’t care. He’s still got a job even though the station is in the dumper and a shell of what it once was and I’m sure he never thought about it twice after he torched us a week before Christmas. This kind of thing just sits there and stews but nobody cares other than we who had to face it.

These are things that are all part of the wormy side of my apple. When that side revolves around and shows itself it really plays with my head. If I was a drinker I’d be gassed out of my skull and if I was a druggie I’d be higher than gas prices in July. But I’m not. I’m stuck trying to just live through another Christmas and make it to a fresh start in a new year. It’s been the same story most years and I really am getting sick of the whole game. It’s tiring.

What set me off today was getting a call from my friend Max in Springfield. We both are dented cans and hate this time of year because of past memories that won’t go away. He’s struggling with it just like I am and he also is still struggling from getting fired at the Loop just like I did. We have a lot in common and I love him but I wish he wouldn’t have called. Not today anyway. He was feeling down and he calls me when that happens and I listened.

His mother and he don’t get along well and she’s trying to get back in his life. She wants to see him and his family for Christmas and he wants no part of it. She wrote him and tried to invite herself over and now Max is the one feeling guilty. He is trying to do the best for his kids and I respect the hell out of him for doing that and we talked about it for an hour.

I can relate to all of that malignant family tripe and it’s never fun. It’s not fun to live it or hear about it or think about it. I love Max but him talking about his troubles made me sink into a mental place I didn’t want to be and I went off on a verbal tirade for several minutes which left Max laughing so hard he could barely breathe. He felt great and I felt horrible.

My ugly side of the apple was out and the worm was wiggling and I didn’t like it at all. I can feel an actual physical change when I get in a mood like that and it’s not pleasant to be in that space. I feel like I just took a shower and have to put on a pair of old underwear. It repulses me and I don’t want to go back there again. I want to throw that underwear out.

Today is the shortest day of the year - the winter equinox. There is more darkness today than any other day in the year and in theory it all gets better from here. It’s only a little bit but tomorrow there’s more sunshine than today. Then the day after that it’s even more. It may not be noticeable at first but soon it will be spring and the sun will stay out and then it will be summer and daylight saving will be back and all the snow and ice will be melted.

I wish the ice and snow in my life would melt away for good and all this would be over. If I’m supposed to learn a lesson from any of this I haven’t a clue as to what that is. I am trying to live a good life and use whatever talents I was blessed with to help people have a better day in their own lives. I just want to entertain people and help them through this life that can be so difficult. I love to hear the laughs and at times like this I need to hear them.

Tomorrow night I have a gig in a bowling alley in LaSalle/Peru, IL. I’m not sure if it’s in LaSalle or Peru per se but that’s how the towns are advertised. You get both for the price of one. Whatever it is those people are going to get a hell of a show I can guarantee that.

The future actually looks bright and I am excited to be working toward my new dream but today and this time of year have been a speed bump. I know I need to just shake it off and focus on the good things but that’s not always as easy to do as it is to think about. It’s my own personal hell but I don’t want to go there anymore. I want life to be about FUN.

It’s fun to be a comedian when it’s going right. It’s fun to be the King of Uranus even if I haven’t sold one thing yet. I had fun planning it and I will keep doing exactly that until it becomes real. I want next Christmas to be the best one I’ve ever had. That won’t be hard.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Mail Bonding

Thursday December 20th, 2007 - Lake Villa, IL

My left hand is numb from all the Christmas cards I wrote out today but the rest of me is very pleased. I scoured my list of addresses and business cards and scraps of paper that I’d put all together in a box and kept on writing until I exhausted my supply of everything that I needed to keep the assembly line going. I used up all of my stamps, cards and envelopes.

That in itself felt good because I’d been sitting on many of the cards and envelopes for a couple of years now. I bought a bunch of new ones in Utah recently and they were all used and then I started in on the older ones. The good thing about Christmas cards are they will not spoil or go out of date. Plus these were funny and I always enjoy sending funny cards.

I tried to send one to everyone who has ever booked me and just say thanks for the shot. Some of the addresses I wasn’t 100% sure of but I tried them anyway. I’m sure a few will end up coming back but it was worth the risk. I felt great knowing that most of them have the right address and will get to the people they’re intended to reach. It will be very good to renew a lot of friendships and contacts I haven’t made in a while and blow the dust off.

Contacts are SO important. I have always been pretty good at it but I know I can take a giant leap forward with not that much effort. With the internet there is no excuse to have a lack of contacts and I am going to reconnect with as many people as I can in the new year.

It’s not that I’m going to suck up or ask them for anything or be a pest, I just want them to know what I’m doing now and hear what they’re doing and put each other in line for an opportunity to help each other out. If someone I knew years ago is doing something else it could be of mutual benefit to reconnect now on a different level. It’s just smart business.

Greg Phelps is a former comedian friend of mine from Indianapolis. Now he has his own business that duplicates CD and DVD projects and does artwork for them. Of course I am going to use him for my next project and it will be a win/win for everyone. That’s the main reason I took so much time sending all the cards out today. I want to rebuild my network.

It really isn’t that difficult but it does take a lot of work to maintain. People change their lives around and reinvent themselves just like I’m doing now. It’s especially true in those I have crossed paths with. I have many contacts in standup comedy, radio and pro wrestling and none of those businesses could be called ‘stable’. My contacts are constantly making a cross country move or taking time off for whatever reason and some flat out disappear.

I made a major step forward today in taking a few hours to write personal cards to many people I haven’t contacted in years. I know that it will lead to good at some point so I will chalk it up as an investment. It was about $150 total for now but it will be a huge bargain.

I really am starting to do some smart things back to back to back. If I keep doing all this kind of stuff like I have been the future really looks bright. I’m starting to find myself and I feel like I’m actually beginning to know what I’m doing. Now can I bring that to Uranus?

I sure blew it in comedy. At least when I started out. I had a lot of great opportunities if I had only known what to do with them. I blew chance after chance because I just was not ready for it then. I can say ‘woulda, coulda, shoulda’ all I want and I have but that’s not a valid excuse. Timing is everything and it’s only now that I know I’m ready for a big break.

It can sure be a cruel joke sometimes though. I remember it like it was yesterday as I sat across the lunch table from the guy who ran his ‘million dollar idea’ past me and asked me what I thought. I laughed in his face and told him he was wasting his time. He wasn’t very happy to hear it and told me he thought I was wrong. I told him he was a complete idiot.

I guess Jeff Foxworthy has done pretty well for himself without any more of my brilliant insights. I saw him years later and told him I’d be available for more career consultation if he needed any and we laughed about it. I will say he laughed a LOT harder than I did. I’m the idiot and I wholeheartedly admit it. I also admit I was 22 years old and inexperienced.

Jeff said he wanted me to be a part of it and write jokes for him and there’s where I was wrong. I should have taken that opportunity and ran with it just for the experience. Jeff is a super nice guy and I couldn’t be happier for his success but it kills me that it was there in my lap and I not only blew it I vehemently denied any chance of making it happen. Stupid.

Looking back on it now it made perfect sense but at the time I just didn’t have the vision I have now. My mistakes have been huge and painful and some I’ll never be able to repair but on the good side they didn’t kill me and I’m still alive to tell about it after the battle.

Granted, I am shell shocked and feeble from the war but my mind is sharp and I’m going into this new project with a LOT different perspective than I had when I started comedy. I have a calm wisdom now and that only comes from painfully earned experience. I’m ready to take my swings and it took me a lifetime to get the bat in my hands so I could do that.

I’m not going to blow this opportunity. In fact if I do it right I’ll reconnect with not only Jeff Foxworthy but all the other guys I crossed paths with when I started out. Drew Carey is also a great guy and I know he’d remember me. We worked many times and always got along very well. I should have kept in contact but again I let it lapse and that’s just dumb.

I did see Foxworthy years later and he said ‘Why didn’t you call me?’ I told him I didn’t want to make it look like I was asking for anything like everyone else was. He said ‘Yeah but YOU are someone I’d have helped if I could.’ And I bet he would have. He’s great. If I have ever had anything I’ve always helped as many people as I could even on my level.

It’s been many years but now I’m finally ready. When I do reconnect with Foxworthy or Drew or Jeff Garlin or Craig Ferguson or Kathleen Madigan or Frank Caliendo or any one of the people I’ve crossed paths with over the years I’ll not make that same mistake again.

Today was a great start in getting back on the right path. Whether the people I sent cards to ever become big stars isn’t the point. They’re good people and it never hurts to have as many of those in the address book as possible. I dusted off a few of those cobwebs today.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Christmas Contacts

Wednesday December 19th, 2007 - Lake Villa, IL

Good day of work today. I sent out 66 Christmas cards to bookers and fans and people I know will be glad to hear from me. I am sending them out this late because I don’t want it to be the game of ‘he sent me one so I need to send him one back’. I never liked that. This isn’t about getting anything back. I just wanted to send some sincere greetings to people.

Most relationships in show business have a one sided flow. Comedians ALWAYS call a booker they want to get in with. It’s not the other way around. Opening acts call people in higher spots to try and get bookings with them. It’s also almost an exclusive thing. It goes one way and rarely goes the other. It’s just how life works but especially in show business.

What I tried to do today was send cards out to people going ‘the other way’. It really is a great feeling to get a greeting of any kind from someone ahead of yourself in the game. I know what that feels like and I try to do it in return if I can. When I was starting out I met a guy named Tim Cavanagh who treated me very well when he didn’t have to. He made an effort to learn my name and he sent me a Christmas card that year and I felt like a big star.

I tried to do the same thing with as many addresses as I could find today and it felt good to see the pile grow to 66. It will cost me under a buck with stamp and card and just a few minutes to hand write a greeting but I know it will be worth every second and penny. I can sit and brood about how much I hate Christmas or I can try to make someone else’s day.

I’m running out of time and tomorrow is my last day but I have a lot more cards left and a few more addresses so I’ll see how many more I can do before I call it another year. I’m laying a good foundation for next year by doing this too. It will help me clean up my list of contacts and make them current. I’m way behind on it and that’s yet another big project to get to in 2008. This one is important though. Contacts are the life blood of my business.

I’ve been letting them lapse lately and that’s got to stop. My list of contacts has a header on it that says ‘Contacts - 2003’. That’s five years of people coming and going and getting married and divorced and dying and moving and graduating and who knows what else? I’ll start all over and make a list with categories of all the people I plan on working with now.

It’s amazing how that list changes from year to year. People drift in and out of life and it doesn’t always have a pattern. It just happens. Looking through my old list today I noticed a lot of people who were very close to me just a few years ago that aren’t now. I also saw a few people who weren’t very close back then that are now. It’s a list that always grows.

What this basically is is ‘myspace’ without a computer. I could just send an e-card but it doesn’t have the same impact in my opinion as a hand written snail mail greeting card with a funny joke on it that has personal meaning to the individual person. To me that’s special.

I want people to feel special because that’s how we all want to be treated. I know I do but it rarely happens so I am going to try to do it to others as much as I possibly can. I have a huge task ahead next year to make my contact list current but it’s always worth the effort.

Loose Balls

Tuesday December 18th, 2007 - Lake Villa, IL

Today is the first of four days off and I love the very thought of it. A comedian is always on the road and getting to hang out and do nothing is a real treat. It is for me anyway. I’ve been all over the place this year and having a few days off to rest is just what I need. If this coming year goes how I think it will I’m going to need all the rest I can get to get ready.

I need to make sure I’m smart in my use of time in the next little while. I’ve got so many projects either getting ready to start or getting ready to wind up that I don’t want to leave anything out. Time management is going to be my biggest problem in the coming year so I am going to do my very best to be prepared before the year even starts. That’s new for me because usually I just plow into something I think I want to do and see how it works out.

I did that with comedy and radio and comedy classes too. I dabbled in it a little and then it became more than just a dabble and then I was eventually spending a lot of time doing it. I never had much foresight with any of it and I did it all because I enjoyed it. Had I just an itty bitty tiny bit of thought invested into any of those things I would be a lot farther along than I am right now. Too late now. What‘s done is done but I can still learn from all of it.

Whatever happens with Uranus Factory Outlet will be a direct result of what I put into it for as long as it takes to make it successful. I’ve had a lifetime of all kinds of experiences I can draw upon in this endeavor and I’m going to do exactly that. I’ve failed before so that doesn’t frighten me at all. It’s the success part that gives me the jitters a little. Can I do it?

I really believe I can do it. Now I have to prove myself right. I also have to survive until the big money comes rolling in which could be a while down the road. That’s why my time management skills are going to be so crucial in the next year. I have money put aside to be used to pay bills for a year but I still need to take some comedy work to stay in the game.

I also need to keep working on the business too so I’ll be very busy at all times. I hope it doesn’t burn me out so I will be careful to eat better and exercise more and take care of all the things I need to take care of. It’s an ongoing process and I have to stay on top of it. At least it’s all stuff I enjoy though so that makes it a lot better but it doesn’t make it easier.

I know what I’m in for so I took some time off to read a great book called ‘Loose Balls’ which is the story of the old American Basketball Association. I remember it all very well as that was when I was growing up in the ‘70s. There were all the huge afros and the red white and blue ball and the three point shot and it brought back memories to read about it.

I really enjoyed it because it had a lot of insight into the spirit of the league. It was a new upstart project just like what I’m doing and the people who started it had a lot of guts. I’m not assured of any success and neither were they. Some of them won and others did not. If they didn’t try they never would have found out so it was very inspiring to read the stories of the owners and players and what they had to go through to establish themselves and get some respect. I need to surround myself with some people who have a spirit of adventure.

Monday, December 17, 2007

My Check Said BOING!

Monday December 17th, 2007 - Chicago, IL/Lake Villa, IL

Back to work today. Mondays are going to be busy again and I’m delighted. Zanies will continue doing Monday night showcases well into 2008 and I was asked to host whenever I can or want to. I told them I can and want to any and every week available. They will be happy to get an experienced host who can move the shows along and I will be happy for a chance to make a few bucks on a Monday night. It’s a win/win situation and I love those.

I am a little jittery about next year even though I feel I’m doing the right thing. This will be the first time in my adult life that I’m not going into a year considering myself to be any other thing but a comedian first. Even when I was in radio I still looked at myself as being a comedian who had a radio job. Jay Leno said he is a comedian who has a TV show. I am no longer thinking that in my mind. Now I am an entrepreneur who does standup comedy.

I need to make some money. Period. I got farther away from that today when I checked my mailbox at the UPS Store near Zanies. I received the bounced check from the week of hell I just did in Arkansas and Oklahoma. I stupidly took a check for the Friday night show at the restaurant in Tulsa and it came back rubbery. I was furious when I saw it and it still honks me off as I think about it now. That week was torture and this brings it all back like a clogged toilet that won’t flush. Now I’ll have to go to the booker and fight to get paid.

Most bookers take the side of the club and there’s no reason to think these guys won’t. I already sent my commission to them and that didn’t bounce. This really rubs me raw and it never should have happened. I know better than to take a check but I did it thinking I’d be taken care of the following night when I did the corporate holiday party. Instead the exact opposite happened. They ripped me off even worse than I thought and now this. It stinks.

I used to wonder why comedians had bad attitudes and were bitter. When I started out I used to see headliners bitch and moan relentlessly and I couldn’t ever figure out why. All I wanted to do was be a comedian and I said if I would ever get my chance to be a headliner myself that I’d never complain about anything. I did get my chance and now I see why the other guys were so upset. It’s a grind and it wears you down after so many years of it all.

I’m glad I didn’t have the booker’s number when I got that rubber check in the mail. I’d have called and burned not only this bridge but about six more. There is absolutely no way this should have happened and now my bank is adding charges onto it as a penalty to me. I will have a hell of a time getting that paid back and I dread having to bring this up at all.

This is the reason I’m so done with the road life. Not only were my nerves frazzled from a week of hillbilly hell but now my wallet is raped as well. The whole thing makes me want to violently puke but I have to keep fighting and move ahead. I need to make a living but I can’t afford to just let this go. I have to fight for my money and I will but the fun is gone.

This is what makes me want to be the King of Uranus even more. If I’m calling the shots there won’t be any bounced checks. I’ll be the one writing them. This was a painful lesson.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

A Packer Addict Speaks

Sunday December 16th, 2007 - Lake Villa, IL

My Green Bay Packer addiction got another fix today as they stomped on the St. Louis Rams by a score of 33-14. I wish I didn’t enjoy it so much but I can’t lie. I do. I love it. It touches some inner tweak that needs to be satisfied and if I could unplug it I surely would. But I can’t. I don’t play fantasy football. I don’t bet. I just love it when the Packers win.

The NFL loves idiots like me and there are MILLIONS of us that are blindly addicted to any one of their teams. Baskin-Robbins has 31 flavors of ice cream but the NFL has it beat by one. There are 32 teams in the league and every one of them has a core group of mopes who not only plan their lives around watching the games but also buy tons of merchandise. They don’t care which team people choose. They just care that one of them gets chosen.

As I look around my room I have a Packer mug I keep my pens in and a sippy cup I got at Lambeau Field when I was there a few weeks ago and a whole bunch of green and gold clothing with the infamous giant ‘G’ logo on it. I think the only other logo that had a blind brand loyalty like that was the swastika. I hate myself but I can’t help it. I love the Pack.

Today’s game was meaningless in the standings too. They already won their division and have made the playoffs and now it’s a matter of getting home field advantage. Humans are a strange animal because that’s what everyone was talking about on the radio afterwards. I listened to other addicts call in one after the other excited about how good life would be if only Dallas would lose a couple of games and ’we’ could sneak right in and go all the way.

I’m sure there were some ugly deaths in Iraq today and I’m sure there were some people in nursing homes who died alone and orphanages where nobody visited the kids and I wish I didn’t care so much about how the Packers are doing but I was right there hoping Dallas would lose and sure enough they did. I don’t think anyone in Iraq gave it a second notice.

I know I’m a control freak. I never drank alcohol or did drugs because I didn’t want that feeling of not being in control. That’s probably why I’m not married either. I never trusted my emotions to be in the hands of anyone else. Childhood pain hurt so much that I didn’t trust anyone intimately and in some ways I still can’t. I’ve been scorched way too much.

The Packers did it too. Growing up in the 70s they hurt all of us Packer-holics and it’s a permanent scar to this day. That’s part of why it feels so great to see them do so well right now. They’ve never had this good of a record in my lifetime and I’m enjoying every week. I know at some point either they will win the Super Bowl or lose a heartbreaker and I will be right back to ground zero again and thinking about next year. Will Favre finally retire?

Whether he does or doesn’t there will be millions of us who will gather around our radio or TV on Sunday hoping to get another fix of a Packer win. Or a Bears loss. Both are very sweet and next week the Packers play the Bears in Chicago. The Bears are reeling and it’s a good bet that there will be a double dose of a holiday treat in store next Sunday. I will be watching and cheering but until then I need to get my head back in the real game - LIFE.

Snow Emergency

Saturday December 15th, 2007 - Dixon, IL/Lake Villa, IL

Nasty weather makes comedy even more difficult than it already is. There is a big snowy front dumping all kinds of it on the upper part of the country and Chicago is in the path of it all. I was scheduled to be on a show tonight with Jim McHugh and Mike Preston and we almost didn’t make it because of the snow. Situations like this really add a lot of stress to a business which is already packed with it. A relatively easy drive turns into a horror story.

I was going to drive to Jim’s house and then he would pick up Mike Preston who was to be waiting at a freeway exit so we could all drive together to the gig in Dixon, IL. It’s only about 100 miles from Chicago but with this weather all bets were off. I was late right from the start because everyone was driving 10mph and on edge. Getting to Jim‘s was an issue.

Sliding around in the snow is nerve racking enough but to make it worse I hit a big piece of metal in the middle of the road as I crossed an intersection. I don’t know what it was or where it came from but about five minutes later I heard a ‘thwap thwap thwap’ sound that only means flat tire and that’s exactly what it was. Whatever I hit must have punctured my left rear tire and I was plum in the middle of nowhere. The sloppy snow made it the worst possible scenario and I called Jim to tell him I’d be late. This was not at all good timing.

If I would have called a tow truck it would have made me way late. Waiting for Jim was not what I wanted because then we’d both be frazzled and probably dirty from changing a tire in our performance clothes. I opted to nurse the car on the flat tire over to Jim’s house so we could at least decide what to do about it after the show. Time was now a big issue.

I got to Jim’s house and the tire was completely shredded. We decided to nurse it to the Firestone tire store a mile away so I shredded it even more. They were open until 7:00 and the guy behind the counter said he could fix it by then but I told him I had to leave to do a show. It’s against their policy to leave keys in a car but I told him I’d buy four new tires to make it worth his while and he said he would do it. There went all my money for tonight.

I’m ok with it though. This is a good car and new tires will last me the whole year. I had few other options so I took the deal and we started driving. We picked up Mike and had a knuckle biter the whole way to Dixon. Those 100 miles went slowly as we slid around the highway trying not to get knocked off the road by semi trucks. It’s never fun to do that.

We barely made it to the show on time but we did get there. It was a holiday party for a local hospital and there were a lot of doctors and nurses and they looked very stodgy. The sound system was horrible and there weren’t any stage lights but we still had a fun show. I like working with Mike and Jim and we had another guy named Brian Hicks with us too.

Everyone did great and they loved us. After the show they fed us a delicious meal and it made it worth the trip. They were thrilled we braved the elements to come and perform for them and it’s always nice to be appreciated. The snow was over by the time we were done so we decided to drive home. I’ll remember this night for as long as I have my new tires.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Too Much Thinking

Friday December 14th 2007 - Northwood, IA/Lake Villa, IL

Four hundred miles to Iowa yesterday meant the same four hundred back today. I got up at 5am to drive back but it was nasty cold and pitch black and I didn’t think it would make any difference if I left later so I went back to sleep. No matter what time I left I would still have the same drive ahead of me so I might as well face it rested, fed and in the sunlight.

This is the part of comedy that’s really getting old. There isn’t a whole lot of excitement between Northwood, IA and Lake Villa, IL and the highlight was stopping to take a quick run through a Goodwill in LaCrosse. I found a couple of books I didn’t need along with a cassette program by Napoleon Hill the guy who wrote ‘Think And Grow Rich’. I am a big fan of that book and respect his struggles. He came from nothing and built a life of wealth.

There were a lot of struggles in his life and I like to hear of how other people did it so it can hopefully inspire me to do the same. Sometimes I feel like I’m all alone in the world so knowing someone else had it tough is a comfort in a way. I don’t feel like the only hamster on the wheel of life running on a path to nowhere. I’d like to think there’ll be some kind of payoff at some point. It sure didn’t feel like it as I drove through Wisconsin this afternoon.

My friend Will C. is working in Milwaukee this week at Jokerz so I stopped to hang out and have lunch. We went to Jake’s Deli on 17th and North and he loved it. I always love to turn new people on to Jake’s and I’m sure my heart will lock up at some point from all the greasy corned beef I ate over the years but it sure does taste good. We had a great meal.

Will is definitely a dented can and he’s got his own demons from childhood to deal with. It’s good to know someone else is able to relate to those horrors as strange as that seems. My radio friend Max in Springfield and my cousin Brett and precious few others can grasp the feeling of what it’s like to be in that category and only we can cheer each other up at a time when it gets the darkest. If someone hasn’t experienced it they can’t be sympathetic.

I remember a woman I was really hot for many years ago said ‘You’re so BITTER when you’re off stage. I don’t want to be around you when you’re like that.’ That was very long ago but I never forgot it. I’ve gotten a lot better but that damage will always be there. As I look back on it she was a dented can also. She was absolutely gorgeous on the outside but on the inside she had all those ugly feelings too. She noticed them in me and she hated it.

That’s the Catch 22 of this whole thing. I don’t know if a ‘normal’ woman can relate to all my inner craziness not only of my insane family life but of being a creative ‘artist type’ as well. And the ones who can relate to it usually have a heaping helping of their own ugly issues to deal with and that makes it even harder. That’s why I’m still single all these years later. I never wanted to put a wife and kids through the tornado of my unstable existence.

These are the kinds of thoughts that bounce around in my skull on a long boring drive in Wisconsin with nothing else to do. The mind wanders and mine was out there today. I was way out in space and that’s not good. Uranus is as far out in space as my mind should be.

I really feel like I wasted the whole day today. It was fun to see Will and I hope I was able to cheer him up a little but I felt like I was wandering both physically and mentally. I tried to stay positive but I must admit some of the Christmas pain seeped through a little. EVERY damn commercial has Christmas music and every fast food bag has a candy cane on it and it’s just too much to take. Even if I liked Christmas I would still be sick of this.

This has never been a good time for me and even with the thought of being the King of Uranus I still found myself feeling down today. I knew I’d eventually get into another rut and I told myself I’d be strong but when it actually happens it’s not easy to stay the course and plow through it. It’s only another ten days but this is the time when I need a boost.

I got home and wrote out a big pile of Christmas cards to the people who booked me in 2007. I also sent one to my sister, brother and half brother. Before this year I didn’t have a mailing address for any of them but the lawyer sent a list out when my father died this year so now I do. I hope that we can start to finally heal now that Darth Father is finally dead.

I have no idea how any of this is going to be received. I didn’t try to be funny and I only wanted to let them know that I was thinking of them and wanted to end any lingering past feelings of anger. They may throw it away without opening it or maybe we can finally start the healing process. I was in contact with my half brother Bruce by email but for whatever reason he just stopped answering. Maybe he’s busy or sick or angry with me. I don’t have a clue but I’d sure like to be able to establish contact with all of them and make a peace.

Again, none of this has anything to do with comedy but it hovers over my head like a fog and when it gets thick I can’t see anything else. I can go up and blow a room full of people I don’t even know away with laughter but wondering if my siblings will ever talk to me for the rest of my life consumes my thoughts. Being on stage is the hard part for other people but for me that’s no big deal at all. I can do it in my sleep. Real life is what messes me up.

All I ever wanted to be was ‘normal’. What the hell IS that anyway? I never found out. I always thought it was having a mom and dad and siblings and then after graduating school I would find something to do I loved and then make my own home and have my own kids. Nothing even CLOSE to that has happened and doesn’t look like it’s about to any time in the near future. The more I wanted it the farther away it got and now it feels unattainable.

These are the times I really am having an issue with a belief in God. I used to have to go to church as a kid and I liked it but as I get older I think it’s all a big lie. It’s a hoax just as professional wrestling was a hoax. I believed that as a kid too and when I found out it was all a gimmick I liked it even more. I don’t feel the same way about the God thing. It hurts.

I feel if there is a Jesus he loves everyone but me. I remember having long talks with my grandfather as a kid defending the fact I knew there was a God. He didn’t believe in any of it and said ‘There IS no pie in the sky. This is it. Deal with it.’ I couldn’t believe he didn’t believe in God and the Bible and it disturbed me greatly. Now as I get older I feel the very same way and that disturbs me too. I need to stop making these drives. I think too much.

400 Miles For 50 People

Thursday December 13th, 2007 - Northwood, IA

Back to work after a couple days off. I’ve been hitting it really hard lately and any time off at all seems like forever. One thing about comedy is that steady work is necessary for steady improvement. I am going to consciously take some time off next year and that’s not normal for me. I’ve always stayed working in the past even when I had all my radio jobs.

If I really want stage time I’ll be able to get it. There are enough clubs close to me that I can rotate for guest sets when I want and that’s fine with me. I just want to stay sharp and even work on polishing up some TV sets. If I can make enough money with the business it will be enough just to do guest sets at clubs. I don’t need to be driving all those road miles like I have been for a lifetime. I need to use that time to build my business in the next year.

Today was an example of those road miles of old. It was exactly 400.7 miles from home to Diamond Joe’s Casino in Northwood, IA where I did two shows tonight. Northwood is about twenty miles north of Mason City where Buddy Holly’s plane went down and I was just here with Chicago Style Standups about a month or so ago. Now I’m back by myself.

Chicago Style Standups is dead unfortunately. The group concept of comedians doesn’t work without someone being the leader. They tried working by committee and it wouldn’t get anything done. I had fun for a while but those guys aren’t going anywhere so I am not going to waste my time with that anymore. It was a learning experience but now it’s over.

Coming back here today reminded me of all that. This gig is just about over with. It will go until the end of the year and that’s it. They’re not renewing the contract. That’s fine by me. Casino gigs as a rule aren’t very good ones even though they usually pay pretty well. I had to do two shows tonight for a total of about 50 people. 40 of those were at the earlier show where I had to do 55 minutes. The late show had 10 people and I did 50 minutes.

They were actually very nice and I aired it out both shows. I gave my very best and did not whine about the small audience. The check was cut weeks ago and is probably already sitting in my mailbox as I type this. It wasn’t the audience’s fault so I gave them all I had. I did my time and they enjoyed the show. I could hear them laughing and I enjoyed it too.

The whole way up I focused on Uranus Factory Outlet and how I can make it work. I’m doing a very good job of setting time aside to focus on it and I can feel progress take place even though I haven’t sold my first item. I am going to shape this into a workable entity to turn a buck so I don’t have to take gigs in Northwood, IA anymore unless I really want to.

I brought my E. Joseph Cossman mail order tape series with me and listened to it again. I bought it a few weeks ago and enjoyed it and did it all over again today. That guy was a master marketer and made millions many times over with a wide variety of products. He’s got fantastic ideas on his tape series even though it’s a little dated. Most mail order course material was written before the internet. The ideas are good but the internet is a brand new frontier. I am excited about having a chance to be an internet mail order millionaire. Soon!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Exploring Uranus

Wednesday December 12th, 2007 - Lake Villa, IL

Took a day to just hang out and relax. I won’t be having many of those coming up and it doesn’t bother me a bit. I am getting ready for 2008 and hoping to spend the year trying to establish my Uranus Factory Outlet business. That should keep me quite busy even though I won’t be doing as much road work as I have been for the last 20 years. This is a new era.

That’s what I’m telling myself and of course road work is coming in left and right. I got a call today to do a one nighter up near Minneapolis on January 13th which I will take. It’s a chance to get back to Minneapolis but this time I will go there not only for comedy but a chance to network with others in the entertainment field. I need to expand my horizons.

For years I traveled and never took time to network like I should have. I went to places to do comedy and met comedy people but I should have been trying to find corporate type bookers and entertainment bureaus as well. One corporate date will usually pay more than a whole week at a comedy club. Most bigger cities have them and I just never tried to get in with those people. Now as I get older I need to do that and this is the year I will begin.

Another direction I need to go is meeting people who can help me with Uranus Factory Outlet in any way. Most towns have a joke shop in some form so those people would be a group to cultivate for ideas. Maybe I can buy products from them or even exchange ideas they can use in their business too. Either way I need to open my eyes and travel as wisely as I can. Just going places to do comedy gigs is not enough anymore. I need to expand.

Greeting cards is a product I want to explore and I have been collecting funny ones as I see them. I’ve got a lot of Christmas cards that are very funny and I started sending some out today to the people I thought would appreciate them. I only am interested in the funny ones and in my opinion sending a serious Christmas card is a waste of postage. But that’s me. I know other people really enjoy Christmas cards but as for me I like them humorous.

The more I work on this business the more I understand that it’s a people business. I am going to make funny products myself and license them from others and become a place of gathering for people who enjoy humor. I will meet some great people with this and I have already. My mindset is good and I have experience from being a comedian my whole life.

I really think I’m going to make this work. I feel it. I want to be smart about it and get a team of people around me with a similar energy and together we can build this into a great place for creative minds to connect. That’s what drives me the most. I love to create and it never gets old. If I can find others who like it too we can make the sum greater than all of the parts. On paper this looks like a dumb little scheme but in reality it’s my life’s purpose.

Uranus is going to be a lot friendlier than Earth has been. I’ve taken some lumps for the majority of my life but now I can see it turning around. I have a year to get this going and I plan on doing exactly that. If by this time next year I’m not starting to see a payoff I will look for something else but I don’t see that happening. 2008 will be the year of Uranus!

DMV Delight

Tuesday December 11th, 2007 - Milwaukee, WI/Lake Villa, IL

The hassles of life never end. I got a call at 8:59 this morning from the Waukegan Auto Auction telling me there was a problem with the Honda I am trying to sell. The title has an error in the VIN number and an ‘S’ should be a number 5. They can’t sell it until it’s fixed and if I wanted it sold I had to take care of it. I tried to tell them I bought the car from the auction and if there was an error they should have caught it but all of it fell on deaf ears.

I scraped the ice crust off my new old Honda and drove over there and got the title. The girl behind the counter barely spoke English and I knew I couldn’t win any arguments so I just resolved myself to having to deal with the DMV which is about as much fun as a scalp full of head lice. The weather was brutal and a sleet storm was keeping everyone on edge.

It also kept a lot of people off the roads. All the radio stations warned everybody to stay off the roads and some of them actually listened. When I got to the DMV office it looked like it was closed. I have never seen it that empty in my life and I got right up to the front of the line immediately. This was too good to be true! With all the vehicles I’ve registered in my life I have to say this was the best DMV experience I’ve ever had. It was refreshing.

The woman behind the counter was pleasant and smiling and I can’t ever remember that in a DMV office. I slowly explained my problem with the mistake on the title and she took it all in and solved it in about thirty seconds. She dug up a copy of the old title and looked at the number and sure enough there was an error. She replaced it and at no charge even.

Now I knew I was on the wrong planet but enjoyed the trip. The other thing I had to do was register the new Honda and that took about three minutes. My ‘URANUS1’ plate is a winner because the lady laughed out loud when she saw it on my application. This is how I know I have a winner with this whole idea. The public gets it and I am going to succeed.

As a total shot in the dark I asked if I could renew my driver’s license too. I am due for a new one by my birthday in March but she said I could do it today if I wanted. Plus, there would be a $10 increase in price after the first of the year so I’d save that by doing it now. I took care of it all and now I’m legal in every way on the highway. I couldn’t believe it.

Never in my life have I had such an easy time at the DMV. It was in and out and I got all my business done without a hitch. I even went over to the emissions station and that was a breeze too. This one passed immediately and I’m good for two more years. The Mitsubishi was a sweet little car and I made money with it but this Honda is way better. It’s a cherry.

After all the car business I drove up to Milwaukee to have a pizza with my cousin Brett. This would be our Christmas because he’s busy and so am I coming up and we always like to hang out and blow off steam once in a while. That’s exactly what we did and both of us needed it. Our family life has been insane and this time of year isn’t pleasant for either one of us. The pizza was delicious and I drove home in the snow with a full gut thinking about how to make Uranus Factory Outlet a multi-million dollar entity. I really think I can do it.