My show

Finally, after years of endless, prevaricating smack-talk, I’ve logged my one-man spectacle.

Small venue, and already half sold.  

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PLEASE–let me be like this guy when I am old.

I submit for inspection, the following picture: 

 
I could not have had a greater moment of catharsis when I saw this. I literally told myself I was within speaking distance of a demi-god.

This monstrosity was parked in front of my local, organic-meets-health-meets-non-GMO-ish health food store. It also happens to be the place I buy filtered water for our home dispenser.

But never mind that. LOOK at the aplomb–the unabashed “I could give a RIP” sense of assurance that guided this ship into port. It is EPIC.

To be so at ease with ones self that the occasion to engage in the preparatory steering compensation that arcs a military-grade behemoth into a parking space just becomes an option is what I want out of life.

That guy could care less. He must sleep like a LOG.

When he’s not signing autographs. I’m not sure I even want to know what he looks like. I just know from the staff that he “does it every time he comes in.”

That’s all I care about: that he consistently could care less.

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“Back to the Future,” and the one thing it TRULY DID get right

Back-To-The-FutureThe October 21st, 2015 rubicon crossed by Marty McFly and company was almost completely muted by the faked, gaffed, and photoshopped “pre-hoaxes” that routinely swept FaceBook over the years.

When the day finally arrived, I figured something was up, based upon the truly viral nature of the claim.  Being an idiot, I did not realize that the futuristic reference was from the second film, so . . . being a bit naive, I watched the first one with my kids, as a some sort of cinematic eulogy to the day.  I mean, because after that day, even future predictions would now be in the “past.”

It never hit me that no one was concerned with screeching towards 2015 in the first one, until it was almost over.  By then, I was too tired to fire up the second one, and went to bed.  But something occurred to me: The writers did make a future prediction–in reality more of a cultural arc–from the trip back to 1955.

In the 1985 portrayal, Marty (Played by Michael J. Fox) notes that his uncle Joey is in jail, for some nondescript reason. Not a lot is made of the issue–until he goes back to 1955, where he meets his mom’s side of the family, and realizes his mom is a hormonal teenager in need of attention prone to imprint sexually and emotionally on the first suitor that walks through the door.

While he awkwardly deals with his own mother’s infatuation with the anachronistic stranger in her house, he notices his uncle Joey–still a baby and the obvious product of a late-in-life child-bearing foray–wearing a striped outfit–behind the “bars” of a crib.

And only ONE reason is inferred as to why the percent prediction will stand: The father is introducing the family’s first television while they are at the dinner table.

That’s right.  A previously engaged family are now transfixed by the glowing screen in front of them.  Cue up 18-plus years of parental neglect, and Marty’s 30-plus uncle will be locked up. Perhaps that metric is a little simplistic, but the idea that we are cultural slaves to the screens was a valid point in 1985.  Although, I wonder if Simon & Garfunkel didn’t broach this in the 60’s with their song, The Sound of Silence:

 . . . and the people bowed and prayed

. . . to the neon god they made

And yes, it does appear that the father will now be too busy watching Jack Benny to even care about his daughter’s suitors.

As I’ve said about 20/20 hindsight observances, “there’s nothing worse, than Nostradamus in reverse.” But in reality, we still are looking at our future.

There’s still time to change that.

 

NOTE: These screens, of course will be ironically used to see if the second’s film’s prediction will be borne out in a somewhat eerie coincidence–as the Cubs really did make it to the World Series.  

 

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With Apologies To Dickens

In 2002, I published what is to date, my only book.  Don’t get excited, I didn’t get all hyfie in the ISBN numbering anteroom, I just self-published.

I could tell you all about that 22-page manuscript, that, while not some best seller-amongst the sleight-of-hand guys, did manage to make a few bibliographies where the art is concerned–especially with this particular form of presentational performance: The story deck trick. But instead, I’ll just let the routine itself do the talking.  By all means, please forward this to your friends.  Maybe they’ll like a hack’s take on Dickens’ home run story.

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Do I think I can fool Penn & Teller? No idea

IMG_9130

A new routine: still being devised.

I’m not even sure that is really the idea of anyone thinking they can beat the premise–and some manage to do it.

I’ve been kicking around the idea of going on that show just to say I did it.  Just to say I did a cool card trick before millions of people.

To the uninitiated (and yet still coming from guy for whom television isn’t one of my fortes anymore), Penn & Teller have managed to forge a career out of being the “bad boys of Magic.” This has been garnered through what has been allegedly “exposure” routines–routines in which long-held secrets of legerdemain are flayed open for the entire world to see.

But really, the secrets are neither interesting, nor inaccessible.  The premise of this show is one of the American Idol sort, where magicians attempt to fool the seated duo, and those succeeding will be awarded with the chance to open P & T’s show for one evening.

Oh, and there is one major departure from American Idol.  Unlike the half the judges on that show, Penn & Teller are actually master at their craft. I’m not sure I ever could stomach having Paula Abdul sit in judgement of anyone’s vocal acumen. Dance? Yes.  But c’mon.  Blowing Kisses in the Wind should’ve never had air time.

Now, I guess that would be cool, inspire of the fact that my own act is devoid of the visceral, Grand Guignol vascularity and occasional F-Bombs.  But I just want to go to Vegas and try–and show an entire world a brief glimpse of yet another skill set I’ve forged for over half my life.

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Yosemite is starting to call my name again

FullSizeRender-3By the time I reached the Yosemite Valley Floor last year, after having ascended Half Dome’s daunting summit, I walked away (actually I sort of limped away in a “paper-armed-anthropod-wearing-a-robotic-exoskeleton” sort of way) telling myself I was done with insane, one-day jaunts that test the limits of water supply, sanity, and altitude weaknesses.

My GoPro helmet footage testifies to exactly how precarious-feeling the cable ascent really is.  But, like anything else, it was technically the part one refers to the most–mainly because people occasionally fall from there.  If you do, there IS NO recovery; you will be assuming park temperature in a matter of minutes.

51XDpGoFcPL._SX332_BO1,204,203,200_The stories–sometimes macabre, sometimes endearing–are all chronicled in a book called, fittingly, Off The Wall, by Michael Ghiglieri.  In there are the some 900-plus deaths attributed to Yosemite’s unforgiving terrain since those records were being kept with any degree of solidity.

One might think that the majority of deaths would be found at the foot of the notorious promontory, El Capitan, and while there are many (because, you know . . . gravity), the majority really do seem to be more or less attributed to the foolishness of those claiming not to be foolish enough to climb the granite walls.  In reality, the culpability for many, many deaths can be laid at the feet of idiots who try to “scramble,” which means “forge a shortcut to the valley floor” from the established trails.  What looks like a unified slope to the bottom is actually an optical illusion–there may actually be a 600-foot drop awaiting you–and you won’t know it until you’ve “scrambled” right off the edge.

Essentially, I’ve only read two books on Yosemite (with the exception of The Yosemite, by John Muir), this one, and Shattered Air, by Bob Magic.  Now, the fact that he lives about ten minutes from me makes this even cooler, because the book is amazing.  It simply chronicles a famous incident in 1985 that involved a fatal lightning strike–killing  people and ending with a moonless rescue attempt by helicopter.

Yesterday, I grabbed this book from the library and started reading it again.  Now, it’s a completely different book, because I now know every single reference point.  I’ve sat on those same places, touched those same cables, and even unknowingly stood right on top of the place where the youngest member instantly lost his life thirty years ago.

I’ll be covering the book here when I finish. Until then, feel free to read my Half Dome Primer, which was a post-trip attempt to distill all the problems I encountered,and the things you may want to consider before you go.

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I just need to remind newbies

That just because I’ve become a hopeless, non-productive literary derelict, does not mean I haven’t had moments of lucidity, outward mobility, and unabashed, monomaniacal creative streaks.

Take this movie I made as evidence.  If you haven’t seen it, watch it.  If you have, give a guy a few clicks anyway:

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Video Blog (VLOG) Tomorrow

IMG_5651Mainly because I’ve been a hopeless derelict.  My stats are not only NOT off the hook, there’s barely a hook at all.

I know.  My bad.  My bad.

Blame Brazil.  They’ve got me all knotted up. 🙂

Anyway, I think I’ve formulated a decent gripe for tomorrow.  We’ll see.

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In the hopper

Because Steve said it was good.

He was right.

  

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Dear Mountain Dew: Would YOU PLEASE–make up your mind?

Diet_Dew_LogoWe’ve all got our own calibrating benchmarks. You know the ones that literally gives the final clarion call–the ones where we just KNOW God’s gonna finally pull the rip-cord on the Great Anthropological Freak Show down here.

Even I thought I had it tagged when the guy who made me idolize him circa 1976 on my Wheaties Box is now engaged in a histrionic, three-legged race down the halls of media narcissim with his ex-wife, step-daughters, and monomaniacal son-in-law.

But no.  That wasn’t it.  Who was I kidding anyway?  Just when I think we have plumbed the depths of human self-absorption to it’s final stratum before hitting the Mantle–something else comes along. Taco Bell.

Me: I’d like two Soft Taco Supremes, and a Diet.

Speaker: Um, Pepsi or Diet Mountain Dew?

Me: Excuse me, Diet Mountain Dew? Who’s playing a joke in there?

Speaker: laughing.

Do I really need to go on? Diet MOUNTAIN DEW.  The go-to choice in the crack-versus-cocaine-economic-windfall-margins for every church lock-in this side of the planet.

Mountain Dew is one molecular tick away from tasting like Codeine-enhanced cough syrup.  They are’t even trying to hide the fact that its bad for you. In fact they could place a sub-slogan, “”It will dew you in” right under the corporate moniker, and no one will care. They won’t care because people drink it precisely because it is reputed to be the ONE morally-obbfuscated way for kids to get jacked upon caffeine while maintaining that Children’s Television Workshop kind of faux innocence.

So DIET Mountain dew comes along.  No idea why.  Is there some sloganeering vortex afoot in the Halls of Pepsi that says, “Let’s push that Diabetic milestone a few years down the road.”  Trust me, I understand departmental myopia when it comes to dopey mission statements COMPLETELY devoid of substance, but c’mon. You’re going to dial back the one drink that has predicated itself on ZERO shame?  Please don’t.  I NEED the depraved to remain that way.  This is soda sophistry at it’s worst. People will just move on to Red Bull at a higher cost.

Does Strychnine have a modular half-model that promises, “Now with only half the violent, convulsive paroxysms?”  I doubt it.  Cyanide doesn’t make some dopey claim to making “Goebbels-children resistant” half-solutions. (Okay, settle down.  I’ve been reading a lot of Holocaust literature lately. And while that last joke is somewhat dark, I’m a bit calloused. Sorry).

I’m just not sure what kind of diplomatic gains are made by this development.  And for all I know, DIET Mountain Dew has been around for years, but it has never been a part of the conversant gradations of my drive-through order.

Because at the end of the day, I neither care nor partake of neither the annoyingly-boring Kardashian/Jenner media grabs, nor Mountain Dew.

Because neither have any value.

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