Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Back From Seattle

The Mountain Was Out —Briefly

Mt. Rainer, that is. I saw said volcano on Saturday and Monday as I visited my sister and sundry cousins in central Washington. (Seattle is the closest major airport, hence its inclusion in the header.) A delightful visit, filled with much driving here and there in a rented hybrid Jeep.

Over the weekend, I participated in a chi running seminar, taught by Danny Dryer himself. The founder of chi running over a decade ago, Danny continues to simplify his methods so that they are easier to grasp. I hope to expand my walking and running using this method in order to avoid stress on my knee.

As said by Jason Nesmith: "Never give up, never surrender."

Monday, September 19, 2016

What Adam Carolla and I Did

Our Acme Comedy Sketches From Ancient Times

Adam Carolla Podcast listeners Dan and Chris alerted me to last Tuesday's show where Ace recalled a comedy sketch he and I performed back in 1990. (Typing that made me feel logey and in need of a nap.) Adam and I were charter members of the Acme Comedy Theatre and the sketch in question occurred during the company's very first show. This nostalgic bon mot falls between 6:20 and 19:00 of the Ariana Savalas and Dr. Bruce podcast. Listen as Adam relates how the LA Weekly Review of the production missed the mark in one key respect.

 Originally, Acme was started in 1989 in a small playhouse in Studio City owned by actor/writer Mark York. When Adam and I performed there, our company was called the Two Roads Players, then the Tujunga Group, and probably something else before founder and director M.D. Sweeney stopped letting actors vote on names and simply called us Acme.

I think my favorite unproduced sketch involved Adam, myself and Paul Rugg. We were overweight proprietors of a smorgasbord doing our own commercials under the name, The Lardells. Paul's wife Marie had a dance background and choreographed our portly moves. Somehow, it fell away, never to be see the light of stage.

A Tale of Two Outlooks

As a general note, Adam and I worked on a number of sketches together. But when it came to solo material, I'd have to give him the laugh laurels. My instincts tended toward witty, surreal sketches such as the one where an optometrist corrected people's third eyes and adjusted their apocalyptic visions. Such an offering would garner polite, knowing chuckles. Adam would then come on stage and perform a sketch about a guy who got his nuts caught in an escalator and bring down the house.

That's why he's the honcho of Carolla Digital and I'm retired.  

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Fifteen Years After 911

K called from Florida, "Planes crashed into the World Trade Center and one of the towers just fell." Unemployed in Los Angeles and half asleep at 7:30 AM, I shuffled downstairs to the TV, past Joy as she prepared for work. At first, all I saw was a dirty cloud obscuring southern Manhattan. Then a stunned announcer said the second tower had just collapsed. Joy joined me, work forgotten as we learned of the attack.

Other friends phoned throughout the day. Paul Rugg speculated about the pilots of the doomed aircraft, certain they weren't Americans forced to crash. TJ, a Vietnam vet, was incensed at the footage of jubilant Palestinians with their candy and AK-47s. He wished he could gift them with a nice buttering of napalm. In a grim mood, I agreed.

Watching TV and power-chewing Nicorette, I mostly felt numb — except when the subject was jumpers. Then I felt horror. Go to work, sip coffee, joke with your pals, then decide whether you'll suffocate, burn alive, or leap a quarter mile to certain death. Questions of etiquette arise: jump solo or hold hands with a co-worker? Perhaps several of you link arms and form a chain, finding courage in numbers. Or do you clutch a table cloth and step into the air, desperately hoping it slows your fall?

The journey takes ten seconds.

Air velocity rips away your shoes.

You explode on impact.

I will always be haunted by the jumpers of 9/11.

Oceans of paper were blasted from the towers, filling the New York sky like the Devil's ticker tape. Invoices and wedding invitations floated down to gray sidewalks.

My friend Cathy, who worked in D.C., reported chaos as the government sent everyone home at once following the Pentagon attack. One jammed intersection turned scary as a man leaped out of an SUV brandishing a pistol and attempting to direct traffic.

Being murdered is not a heroic act, though it can be. Flight 93 passengers fought back and died, saving many more in their sacrifice. North Tower Port Authority employees rescued over 70 people before perishing.

There were many heroes that day.

My sister Mary Pat and I had dinner at a coffee shop. She was passing through town, leaving a job in Mountain View, CA to return to Phoenix. Depressed by the day's events, our meal was not jolly.

Later, Joy tried to give blood, but the hospital was overwhelmed with donations and refused.

Vulnerability, grief, dismay, anger.

Such a beautiful morning with a sky so blue.

(Photos from: Little Green Footballs.)

Repost: Sept. 11, 2008

Update 2013: Strange to reread this. TJ died in 2009 and K passed away just over a year ago. My wife, Joy, and I are doing well, as is Paul Rugg who now rides the train

Update 2015: I had cancer surgery last year, but recovered. My wife is doing well and my sister battles her own health woes. I have not heard from my friend Cathy in a few years.  Paul Rugg continues riding the train in addition to being a voice over machine.

Update 2016: And now 15 years have passed. Heard from my friend Cathy, who continues to work for USAID. I noticed that nowhere in the entry do I mention Islamic terrorists. Islamic terrorists killed everyone in NYC, the Pentagon and Shanksville, PA. Whether armed with box cutters or bombs, they continue to kill innocent people from Thailand to Paris to Orlando, Fla. Their political-religious movement is worth fighting, as were Nazism, Japanese fascism, and communism. Even if our strategy and tactics are often hapless and misguided, the cause is just.

Friday, September 09, 2016

Happy 50th Star Trek!

Oh, My, as I Meet Mr. Sulu

(Originally posted on March 24, 2007.)

This morning, Nick and Ernesto joined me for a race in Griffith Park. (In 1995, I did a 5K there. That turned out to be my last 5K for eleven years.) Small field, very informal. I finished in 25:18. That's an 8:09 pace. Not what I wanted but slightly better than my 1995 time. And I smoked back then. I wonder how my running career might've gone if I'd eased off the Kents sooner.

At today's race, George Takei was Master of Ceremonies. A nice guy, he sat at a table and signed autographs for free. (Many celebs charge.) Naturally we lined up. Nick just turned 30. He had never seen Star Trek and that included the original series as well as the movies. He knew George Takei from the Howard Stern Show. Ernesto knew about George and Star Trek but dug him most from Howard Stern. I overheard a teacher in the line say her students only knew George as Kaito Nakamura on Heroes.

Well, he'll always be senior helmsman of the Starship Enterprise to me. I asked George to please inscribe my picture: "Live Long and Perspire." He laughed and did so, asking me about my running. (He was a marathoner himself, back in the day.) George finished up and I thanked him. As I left, he said, "live long and perspire."

God willing, I shall, and the same to you, Mr. Sulu.

Wednesday, September 07, 2016

Fun with Phiippine Phish

Cheeky Fellow Seeks Cash From Formerly Overweight Writer

Not the musical group from the early 90s. They are neither foreign, nor do they seek money from me via a scam launched with an old email. Nevertheless, I'm being phished via an ancient account belonging to my cousin's hub. Here is the pitch:

 I'm in Manila, Philippine right now with my family on Holiday and I'm short on cash right here, I tried to access my account from the cash machines here and it's not working, I went to the bank to withdraw and I was informed that I cannot withdraw money from my account in some countries,that it's network errors, I'm thinking if I could get a quick loan of $1,500 from you or anything you can afford to loan me so that I can clear some little things here and also take a cab to the airport. I promise to refund it as soon as I get back home Friday morning, let me know so I can send you my details.

Waiting to hear from you.
I respond:

As you know, I've earned my living for years shooting rabid dogs for the county of Los Angeles.
Due to recent cutbacks, I'm afraid that money has been tight.
I could send you a large jar of change. I don't know if there's $1,500 inside, but the jar
is very large.

Let me know. 

Also, I read somewhere that many of the cash machines in Manila operate by
placing sugar cane into a slot. Did you try that? 

Yours in the Purity of Our Essence,


The next move is up to Mr. Phish.

Oh, did I mention "formerly overweight?" Yes, I believe I did. My iintermittent fasting diet continues to show results. Last month, I discarded an additional two inches off my waist. I'll weigh myself later today and see where matters rest after two months.

In case you've never seen the Northern Lights, neither has Phish.

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