Thursday, July 31, 2008


No, not Chuck Sigars (happy birthday, by the way).

Kate Bush turned 50 yesterday. Happy Birthday, Kate!

I have had a love affair with KB since the first time I saw her on Saturday Night Live in 1978. Eric Idle brought her over as musical guest on a night when he hosted and I was instantly hooked. She sang two songs, "The Man with the Child in his Eyes" (sitting in a flesh-colored, glittery body suit on Paul Shaffer's piano) and "Them Heavy People," dressed like a gumshoe.

Unfortunately, her records were NOT easily available in the US until 1981, when I bought them all.

Which was fairly easy, since there were only four at the time. She's only released four more in the ensuing 27 years. 1985's "Hounds of Love" is a masterpiece and should be required listening for all human beings. It's one of my top 10 favorite albums.

The English press gave Kate a lot of ink yesterday, as I figured they would. Over here, where nobody knows or cares who she is, all she could muster was getting her name in the list of celebrity birthdays.

There are about 80 bazillion videos of KB on youtube. Go watch one.


Speaking of my top 10 favorite albums, they are, in no particular order:

Revolver -- The Beatles. The best album ever released by anybody, ever. Please don't argue with me. The song "And Your Bird Can Sing" -- hell, the guitar riff ALONE from this song -- is already 4,000 times better than anything you or I will ever think of.

One Size Fits All -- Zappa and the Mothers. Frank called this group "The band that could play anything." And they do.

Hounds of Love -- Kate Bush

Tango: Zero Hour -- Astor Piazzola (when I bought this album several years ago I found myself playing it incessantly for about six months. I still play it five or six times a year.)

The Lion and the Cobra -- Sinead O'Connor (maybe the best debut album ever)

Closing Time -- Tom Waits (or maybe THIS was the best debut album ever)

Freak Out -- Mothers (or maybe THIS was...well, you get the idea)

Blood on the Tracks -- Bob Dylan

Santana -- Santana. I think this is the first album I ever bought with my own money, back in 1970.

Gorilla -- The Bonzo Dog Band. "And looking very relaxed, Adolph Hitler on vibes!"

What are yours?

TT (Oh, and I'll take Haydn over Mozart any day of the week)

Thursday, July 24, 2008


I was thinking about languages today.

When you consider that the Oxford dictionary people add new words to our vocabulary pretty much every damn day, you realize that English is and probably will always be a very living and effective language.

But all of the yammering uttered by all of the people who've walked this planet at one time or another had to have started with grunting.

I like to think it was started by four guys: Nounman, Verbman, Adjectiveman and their weird friend from another cave, Adverbman, who was pretty anal.

So they're sitting around one night, when lightning ignites a tree. They've never seen fire before, but they get the idea that it's warm. They bring it to a pile of sticks to keep it going. They're all sitting around getting warm, except for Adjectiveman, who was late to the party.

Adjectiveman looks confused. He motions, "what the hell is that?" Nounman motions to him to get closer to it and stick his hands out. (Nounman is a hopeless practical joker.) Adjectiveman does so. He stretches his arms toward the fire. He reacts positively!

He grunts: "Haaaaaaaaaaaahhhh"

Just then, through mid- haaaa, Nounman kicks Adjectiveman in the butt, sending him tumbling into the fire. So Adjectiveman invents the first word:


At this point, Adjectiveman dusts himself off, points at Nounman,then points at Nounman's mother, then makes sex motions, since there are no nouns or verbs yet. And they all have a good laugh.

Before long, "Hot" is the new grunt. Nobody just wants to "ugh" anymore; it's hot hot hot all the time. So they add noises to the end of hot to differentiate different levels of hot! Hot-ah. Hotcha. Hotdog.

And they are off to the races.

That's what makes English so interesting. Think of words from the 40s, 50s and 60s that we don't use anymore. When's the last time you said "Groovy," unless you were singing a song from the 60s that had that word in it? I remember once hearing the phrase, "Solid, Jackson!' and having to ask my mother what the guy was talking about.

Hopefully, we won't bomb ourselves into oblivion, but if we do, and the entire CONCEPT of language has to be rethought, I'd like to propose the first word of the new World Language:



Just a reminder: ROMANTASY CABARET RETURNS TO THE SETS THIS SATURDAY. MUSIC! SKITS! (Including one skit featuring me and my beautiful wife Janice! We made it up and everything and people at rehearsal last weekend were falling on the floor laughing, so we guess it's good!) Dancers! Nakeder dancers! Nuder than Nakeder dancers -- you know, Burlesque!


This show always sells out. Get tickets now at www.trashcityentertainment.com

The SETS is at Southern and Mill on the SE corner in the SE corner of the strip mall.


Thursday, July 17, 2008


WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. — A woman who ate poisonous wild mushrooms nicknamed death angels that she found growing near a highway rest stop just outside New York City died.

Westchester County's health department says Zoila Tapia found the pure-white mushrooms July 6, in a wooded area along Interstate 684 in Bedford, a town about an hour's drive north of Manhattan.

The 61-year-old White Plains resident was hospitalized after eating the mushrooms and died July 10. The mushrooms are among the prettiest but deadliest in the world and often are called the destroying angels.

The health department warns against eating mushrooms found in the wild because it's difficult to tell which ones are safe.

Westchester County Medical Examiner Dr. Millard Hyland told The Journal News that by the time Tapia sought medical help, her kidney and liver functions were compromised and her chances for survival were quickly declining.

The state Department of Transportation cleared the mushrooms from the rest stop.


Okay, some commentary now about the above story. Is it just me, or was the first or second thing drubbed into your head as a child -- shortly after "DON'T DRINK THE BOTTLES WITH THE SKULL AND CROSSBONES ON IT" something along the line of NEVER EAT A MUSHROOM THAT'S GROWING THE YARD -- YOU COULD DIE!" ?

I remember MY mom saying that. Of course, she also warned us against eating anything that didn't come directly from a store -- like forest blackberries would be poisonous, but the ones at the store were okay. (This of course is bullshit -- we had blackberries growing at the end of our back yard that were TONS tastier than the store stuff.)

I don't mind mushrooms one way or another. If they're on the pizza, I'll eat them. If they're in the salad, no problem. If not, no big deal either. They don't so much provide taste as texture, anyway.

I've never tried psychedelic mushrooms. To be honest I've never tried any mind-altering drug other than alcohol. But if I WAS gonna do something it'd be mushrooms because the effect doesn't stick. It does its work and goes away.

Or so I'm told.


I don't hold to the belief that celebrity deaths come in threes, but with Bobby Murcer and Tony Snow checking out in rapid succession, I have to wonder who's next. Or maybe they were just the tail of George Carlin...


Tuesday, July 15, 2008


I went to Las Vegas last weekend because my brother Dave finally ended 38 years of bachelorhood, and married his girlfriend Katrina there in the Excalibur.

The Excalibur, like all other buildings there with a chapel in it, has a nice racket going. You get about 20 minutes in the chapel before they move you and the guests out one door and load in the next wedding party.

We were up there for two nights. I didn't have any extra money to do something like go see a show so Janice and I did a lot of people watching.


1. Even though the place is a zoo, someone will catch your eye as you walk down the strip, and over the course of the evening you'll keep seeing that person. On Saturday evening I kept running into one particular guy with a Homer Simpson T-shirt on. Five, six times I saw this guy.

2. Regardless of the teeming amounts of people there, someone you know is there too, and you'll probably bump into them. (We just HAPPENED to take the tram to Mandalay Bay on Friday night just to see the hotel, and we saw a friend of Jan's. Turns out that somebody else from my office was in Vegas, too, but I didn't see her.)

3. The strip is too busy. There's literally too much to see.

4. There are no clearly marked signs indicating how to get from Phoenix to Vegas or vice versa. Which explains how I drove from Wickenburg to Quartzite before I realized I was nowhere near Las Vegas, and from Las Vegas to Primm, at the Nevada/California line, before I realized I had to drive back to Vegas and figure out what the hell I did wrong.


Shameless Plug Department:

Buy your tickets fast soon - they won't last long!! Buy Tickets

The July 26th show of Romantasy Cabaret welcomes back the fabulous LOLITA HAZE: The Nymphet Of Burlesque!!

For more information on Lolita you can find her at http://www.myspace.com/lolitahaze

Romantasy Cabaret is also tickled pink to the tips of our toes to welcome back the amazing and hawt HIGH PIMPSTRESS!

Other fan favorites such as the RAZOR SWALLOWING MOTHER FAKIR

and FUNNY MAN Tom Tuerff will also entertain you!



I opened a comedy showcase last night and got paid for it! I like those gigs...


Wednesday, July 09, 2008


Quick: which performer in the 1930s Tarzan movies is still alive?

No, not Commissioner Gordon.

Not Maureen O'Sullivan.

It's this guy:


Isn't that great? He has a MYSPACE!

Oh, the stories he has no way of telling...

How would you like to be the oldest recorded member of your species? I think that's great...


This Monday I'm opening up a comedy show at the Grand Avenue Tavern, 24th Dr. and Grand. $5. 8 p.m. COME OUT.


Prior to that, I'm in Vegas to watch my brother get married. After 38 years of bachelorhood he's finally giving it up.
But VEGAS? In JULY? Sheesh.


Thursday, July 03, 2008


A few years ago, my friend Shirley bought the DVD box set of the first season of Saturday Night Live. She has yet to crack it open so tomorrow evening we're going to do just that at her boyfriend Joe's house. We figured it's only right to watch the first show, in honor of George Carlin, who was the first night's host.

Despite its primitiveness, those early years of SNL were the best -- particularly music-wise. Acts got booked because the producers LIKED them, and not necessarily because they had an album out that needed to be pushed. Most acts back then were either nobodies, who desperately needed and deserved exposure; non-traditional acts, ditto; or huge stars, who didn't need the help but gave street cred to the show.

The first SNL had TWO music guests, both pretty big back in 1975: Janis Ian and Billy Preston. Ian had struggled as a folkie for years and had finally hit the charts with "At 17," and Billy Preston was, well, Billy FUCKING Preston, who'd had several hits on his own by this time, and was instantly admired by everybody for keeping the Beatles together longer than they probably should have been by literally becoming one of them (in all but name) for their last two albums. (Billy plays all the organs on the "Let it Be" and "Abbey Road" albums.)

It was a show that could make your career overnight. Leon Redbone is a case in point. His first album had sold a paltry sum before his first appearance on SNL; afterwards, you couldn't find the damn thing for months.

It could also do NOTHING for you, as Libby Titus will probably tell you if you ever meet her somewhere.

Another group who was told their lives were going to change with an appearance on SNL were the Roches. They were PERFECT for Saturday Night Live, but America didn't know what to make out of them. Years later, they wrote a song about it and made one of the best videos of the 80s, which I'd like you to watch because it's fun!

Nowadays, the only people that get booked on SNL already have a following and millions of dollars of support behind them. That sucks.


This is something I only tell my VERY best friends and perfect strangers on the Internet: I'm a big fan of John Phillip Sousa. Always have been. Anybody can write a march but Sousa's best (and he did write some AMAZING stinkers) are the very best.
(By the way, you are definitely doing yourself a favor by NEVER hearing anybody sing the WORDS to "Stars and Stripes Forever." Yes, there are words to that song. They are locked away forever with the lyrics to the "Star Trek" theme, "Sleepwalk" -- yes, the song you all know as Santo and Johnny's big instrumental guitar hit had WORDS -- and "I Love Lucy."

Anyway, back to Sousa. My favorite Sousa March is El Capitan. I want it played at my funeral, preferably by a really bad high school band that has never performed it before. (If not I'll settle for a record.)

Kids like these! (Actually, for middle schoolers, these kids are pretty good)


As a kid growing up in Indiana, I was always afraid of fireworks. I was the kid who only held a sparkler if forced, and then with the tips of my fingers, as far away from my body as possible. My cousins, who all lived across the street, had no such fears. Every July 4 I have a memory of one Independence Day when I remember watching my cousin Kevin and his friends drop round after round of lit firecrackers through the hole in a manhole cover. The NOISE! Jeezus...I can still hear it.

Then one year, we were in my back yard -- a HUGE yard, the best thing about our house in Indiana -- when somebody dropped a spent sparkler in the grass behind our garage. Thing was, the sparkler wasn't quite out yet and within a couple of minutes our garage started to catch fire. Fortunately my uncle Ed was there, and since he was a fireman at the time, he had it out in professional fashion before there was any major damage done.

Uncle Ed just passed away this year so I'll keep that memory of him, holding our garden hose like it was one of those big, thick canvas fire truck hoses, front leg bent, back leg straight and steady, like he was trying to put out the Empire State Building.

Have a great Fourth of July!


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