Sunday, November 25, 2007

comedy minus one

Sorting through my old vinyl record collection on a cloudy Sunday morning, I came across what is perhaps my favorite comedy album of all time, Albert Brook's Comedy Minus One, from 1973. I had seen Albert perform his hilarious "Rewriting The National Anthem" on an episode of the Flip Wilson Show, and knew I had to get it on record.

And I'm glad I did.

What a joy this album is! On the back cover is a shiny piece of foil mirror decal surrounded by a photo of a lighted table as you would find in an old backstage dressing room. Inside the fold-out cover is a script, and on Side 2 there's a comedy sketch with timed pauses so that you can become part of the bit and actually get laughs from the audience. Even after 34 years, I'm still trying to get my timing down. And I'm still nervous as I wait in the wings.

But it's his 'Rewriting' sketch that's the little masterpiece, as he imagines what it would be like if there was an open audition to change our dull National Anthem.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

golf etiquette

Always dress properly, and choose your golfing partner carefully.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

island girl

a story I wrote from gazing at the wonderful artwork
of my friend in Paris, Hervé....

The tent flap moves but I already know from her perfume that the native girl has returned. That scent always reminds me that I’m glad I don’t have spare parts to repair the plane, and within moments her sensual brown hand will tenderly stroke my whiskers and she will be giggling. What an alarm clock! And like the cloudless sky, her clear and knowing black eyes will beg me to follow her running along the soft path of plants with leaves the size of Mini Coopers down to where the swift blue water pools into a clear green pond. And she giggles again as she shoves me in with all her might. She loves that, and I hope she knows I love it more.

Yes, I know the origins of her scent. Peering from behind a trunk one evening, I watched her squeeze the nectar from the purple blossoms of an abundant mysterious plant, lovingly massaging it into her naked body. She caught me spying, and with her eyes fearfully ablaze she ran away. I did not see her for long time. Whenever that good-natured island girl is away, I watch the flame at my camp site long into the night thinking too much of home, and I hate it.

One evening, after finishing work burying the rest of the plane at the crash site, and at the water’s edge washing engine oil from my hands, I was startled by a woman’s scream. Beyond the trees in a clearing, I found her unconscious on the pebbled ground in the shape of question mark. In one pouncing movement I had the stone in my hand and crushed the fanged creature to death before it could tear into her bare left breast.

She wakened during the chilly night by the crackling fire, her head resting upon my lap as I dabbed water gently on her bruised forehead. The dancing light of the flame made her skin the color of whiskey. I carried her into my tent, and she fell asleep again wrapped in my old green blanket affectionately holding my hand. A permanent bump would form on her forehead from her tumble, so I made her a tiara of baby red and white flowers in a wire of branching vines. Sometimes she guides my hand to massage the bump, and closes her eyes as though she’s meditating. She snaps out of her trance all of the sudden and gives me the familiar mischievous grin with the crimson-colored lips of the girl at the edge of the pond just before the playful shove.

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Sunday, November 11, 2007

what it was, was football

Saturday afternoons in the Fall have always meant one thing to me in all my years: The Pride and deep Tradition of Notre Dame Football. But this year has been different. It's as though Autumn's golden leaves are shattering as they hit the ground instead of the familiar graceful descent. Like Golden helmets are splitting apart instead of darting swiftly across the goal line to a cheering crowd.

Charlie Weis waddles onto the field, hikes up his britches, looks concerned, and they get slaughtered. And then he hikes up his britches to his armpits and waddles off. So all you see as you shield your eyes looking into the sunset is the silhouette of a pair of large pants with a head protruding out the top.

1-8 is now where they reside. Buried in the dark cellar. Right next to the shelf with the dusty jars of preserves.

While up in the attic, an old delightful record of Andy Griffith's monologue is playing, and things seem a little better....for a little while.

writer's strike

To paraphrase the great comedian, Robert Klein, I wonder if there's a rehearsal before the actual picketing.
Anyway, it seems a writer's picket line would be mighty easy to cross. If they did get violent I suppose all they would do is hit you with an open hand, which would sting for about six seconds. And when you looked over your shoulder they'd all be huddled together, teeth chattering in fear.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007


It's just one of those things that can excite you, yet slow the heartbeat. Whilst reaching skyward to fill the bird feeder Sunday morning, an impatient black-capped chickadee landed on my left wrist. I was more startled than it was. A regrettable sudden jerk sent it aloft, the feeder crashing to the ground, but it boomeranged and returned moments later as I stood completely still, holding my breath, with my sunflower filled left hand extended. It glided first to a branch of the closest tree, cried out like it was pleading, 'hold it steady!' then bobbed to my hand and swiped one seed.

It was thrilling. Its legs were so thin! And I swear we made eye contact, but by that time I'm guessing it was the onrush of adrenaline that sent me hallucinating.

Nothing else in life mattered.

Monday, November 5, 2007


Another old favorite from SCTV....
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