Random Acts of Kindness

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When I first heard of EC Stilson‘s idea for a blogfest I thought it was a great one, because I’ve been on a mission to put out good stuff amongst the bad. But it was hard to think of what to write. I was worried I’d have one of those Academy Award moments and forget to thank someone very dear. I’ve been so surprised lately and grateful: my folks have put money in my account when I had less than a dollar and they didn’t know it, I got an amazing thank you note from an old friend on my birthday when my friends that lived near me forgot, and a client/friend of mine sent some money on paypal because they thought I had really worked hard on their website (and I think they also knew I needed the money.)

But then it occurred to me that with all of the bloggers and their different styles, those stories aren’t quite the Amusingz style. So here is my contribution to the Random Acts of Kindness.

I’ve been doing magic since I was ten years old and have done it professionally for about 25 years. I have tons of stories to fill a book, most of them because of the odd characters or the “kids say the darndest thing” moments. And there’s been some real sweet moments as well.

Having made somewhere in the vicinity of 120, 000 balloon sculptures (yes I just did the math and WTF?) I can tell you that it’s not an easy gig. And I don’t just mean the blowing up of the balloons, which of course all purists will tell you should be done with the mouth and pumps are for wussies. The worst is the summer, because humidity and grass are the natural enemies of balloons. One because of the whole “heat expands” and then you’re in the car air conditioning science and the other because those little tiny blades are surprisingly sharp to the latex. And as much as you tell kids that fact, even illustrating it with touch and encouraging them to “feel,” they are dropped and popped and need to be replaced NOW.  So let me tell you that on a hot August day in the city of Chicago, surrounded by twenty four year olds, that don’t understand the concept of a line or a turn, yelling what color and kind of animal they want, one can lose their patience and their sanity.

On one such day, actually the third party of the day, when all the moms chose to have the parties outside because the idea of letting everyone be cool in the air conditioning was no trade-off for  cleaning they would have to do with say, a sponge and a couple of towels, I was rescued by an angel.

She was about two and half years old, with that curly hair that only little girls have and she was wearing overalls which I find absolutely adorable on little kids. As my fingers twisted, my eyes turned and found her standing there, finger curled fish-hook style into her mouth, twisting gently from her pelvis from side to side and holding a cold bottle of water. Her mom, who had been her seat cushion for the show, whispered “go ahead, give it to him.” She stood there. I smiled. She walked over and handed me the water and I said thank you. Even though there were kids waiting in line and she was the little sister of one of the other kids, I asked her what kind of balloon she wanted. She didn’t say anything, but turned and ran to the back of the line.

As the kids got their balloons and I got to make hers she ran off and the mom smiled and I said “thanks for rescuing me, I really needed that water.” She said “Oh no, that was all her. She said ‘Mommy he must be thirsty from blowing up all those balloons and talking so much’ and went to get you the water.”

Break your heart moment although when it swells that much it’s indestructible.

 

Who Do I Get to Blame?

smash

 

There is a time when you can chalk it up to money, there is a time when you can call it a tribute and then there is a time when you can say WTF when a really great song is chewed up and spit up so far all over the place you just have to get on your knees and search for who is to blame.

I just watched the finale for Smash. I take that back, I started to watch it and the opening song made this blog.* They took one of my favorite songs, Queen and David Bowie’s “Under Pressure” and made it look like the Mouseketeers were doing it.  I liked Smash, at least I tried to. I like musicals and dance but the show could never decide what it wanted to be. I felt bad that it didn’t work out. Until just now.

So, how did it happen? I no longer have cable to watch VH-1 and see if there is an episode of Behind the Music that shows the fall of one of the remaining members of Queen. I know David Bowie just released a new album, so maybe between the recording sessions for that and buying pants for Iman, he’s broke. But I highly doubt it. So do they have to give their permission? Or is it a case like Michael Jackson at time time owning all the rights to the Beatles songs and so you had to ask him. And well there’s a million jokes about why Michael jackson was too busy to pay attention, but I’ll take the high road.

So let’s say that the rights were available. Do you know why they picked the song? Because the episode is about the Tony awards and so they’re all “under pressure.” Come on! This is why your show is cancelled. That’s just like every teenage magician using “Whoa Whoa Whoa It’s Magic” from the 70s or Steve Miller’s “Abracadabra” from the later 70s or maybe it was 80s. These are talented song writers and creative people, Steven Spielberg is the executive producer, and that’s your lame excuse for a connection?

And then of course the voices. The best was Anjelica Huston talking some of the lines so that we can get everyone in. And Debra Messing just getting a little chorus part. There were two exceptions-Jeremy Jordan and Katherine McPhee actually had the voices to pull it off. Why, why, why, if you had to use that song couldn’t you just let them do it and have shots of the others looking nervous? Queen did it, they used Adam Lambert to front a concert and he was pretty terrific.

So that iconic bass line, light touch on the piano keys and finger snap led into a…joke.  Wow, break my heart, you people just don’t care. Your version was worse than The Iceman Cometh or whatever that one hit (and not even his hit) wonder’s name was.

So who’s to blame? Who’s going to get their ass kicked? The original members of Queen are English guys and then there’s Broadway guys. I think I can take ’em.**

*I actually enjoyed the episode and loved the nearly a cappella number they did/ That’s what they should have done more of instead of trying to be too many shows at once.

**Just in case, I’m not really angry and I’m not going to beat anyone up. Sometimes people misinterpret my humor.

Water Cooler Talk 5-29-13

Weekly random thoughts. Since I’m self-employed it’s my version of water cooler talk: no one to talk to so it goes out to cyberspace.

Chances are, that I wear a silly grin.” Nope, in my case, guaranteed.

When Snoop Dogg changed his name to Snoop Lion, did he also change his diet?

I wonder if he’s ever thanked his parents, because bobslist just does not sound as good.

Do people in France dream of seeing the sights in Paducah?

Did anyone try lighting their sneezes first, then they burned their face, so they went to their butt?

Has anyone’s face every “frozen that way?”

When the moon is full does the man in the moon smile biggest? I’ve never really looked.

If newspapers and magazines do become obsolete will they end up leaving iPads at doctor’s offices so you have something to read?

Does A Bridge Over Troubled Water have handrails?

Why does it have to be a Big Bang? If the whole tree in the forest thing not making a sound is true, could it have just been a small bang?

 

Late Night Roulette

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Lately I’ve been stuck in a late night cycle, the graveyard shift of my own design. Well design is not the right word, for it happened by accident. One night I could not sleep because of noisy streetwalkers and noisy neighbors. I’m sorry, I really mean people walking on the street not prostitutes. So there I was, not able to fall asleep until 5:00am that morning. And now I’m stuck.

For the past week or so it’s been 6,7 ,8 am before I fall asleep. Which means that I wake up between 1 and 3. I miss half the daylight, I can’t have breakfast because of the New rules, and I end up drinking a soda instead of coffee for a pick me up. It’s madness.  And I can’t get out of it.

Since all I’m doing right now is designing websites, it doesn’t matter when I do the work. Except that i miss the good craigslist ads looking for WordPress programmers and they end up going with someone else that will do it for $100. But I’m able to keep up with my work. Because I’m getting enough sleep. It’s not insomnia. That was the original title for the blog but that’s not what it is. But just for the heck of it I looked for a picture or clip art that reflected insomnia and nothing came up with Google. So then I googled bug eyed and this is what came up.

Christina Ricci

 

Christina Ricci is bug eyed?  I happend to think she’s very lovely and I don’t think she looks bug-eyed.  This is bug-eyed.

martyfeldman

 

and hysterical.  I love him in Young Frankenstein, and he had a brief variety series when I was in my teens. Marty Feldman is truly a funny man.

But there’s the problem. At night you tend to go on too many tangents. Although it doesn’t matter what time I’m writing code for a website, I don’t feel as productive. I’m worried about making too much noise and I keep trying to go to sleep so that I can reverse this spell. So then I waste hours just lying there trying to count my bills in my head. It’s very difficult.

I’m sure my younger self is having quite the laugh. Oh how we beg our parents to let us stay up. I loved the late night when I performed at some clubs and wore black all the time. I didn’t want a schedule. That guy would think I’m silly.

But now I like colors and I like the daylight more. I have more energy grooving with the rhythms of nature instead of the caffeine of Diet Coke. Tonight i’m going to try and just stay up again. Hoping the exhaustion stays at bay for the entire day. Or maybe I’ll end up in a Google search for the origin of sleep medications and natural alternatives.

 

Memorial Day

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There are days when being funny isn’t maybe the best choice. There is a lot to make fun of in government and leaders and war itself is an absurd notion that begs to be ridiculed, scorned and talked about until it doesn’t exist any longer.

But the people who have served deserve out respect, our admiration and our thanks. So thank you to those that put our freedom and their beliefs before their own lives.

A Conversation Between Angels XXXXII

“You know, I wish I could go back to Earth and tell them what I’ve learned.”

“Like love is the only thing?”

“Nope.”

“There’s no point in all the senseless fighting?”

“Nope.”

“They should take care of the Earth or it won’t be around long?

“Nope.”

“Well then I give up, what wisdom do you want to share?”

“Always wear clean underwear.”

Never Satisfied

I think it’s obvious that in our modern society we are never pleased, we always want bigger, better, faster. But our impatience is not a new thing.

Take for instance the game of Bingo. According to Wikipedia, the game of bingo can be traced back to a lottery game called “Il Giuoco del Lotto d’Italia” played in Italy in c.1530. There was no translation for the exact phrase, but my Italian heritage helps here as it means “I’m bored, whatever you can think of to play will work.” By the eighteenth century, the game had matured, and in France, playing cards, tokens, the reading out of numbers had been added to the game.

Hugh J. Ward standardized the modern game at carnivals in and around the Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania areas in the early 1920s. He went on to copyright “Bingo” and author the rule book on it in 1933. The rule book. Ah there’s the culprit. You see when people are given rules the first one they adhere to is to break the rules. And that’s when Bingo went nuts.

Bingo couldn’t be played with simple hand drawn cards, there had to be special pre-printed ones which of course someone had to charge for. The original beans were replaced by “tokens” which would later morph into special plastic containers that made an ink mark and therefore you couldn’t use the card again, which got back to more money.

And the people that played changed as well. Once upon a time the family gathered around to laugh as they played and talked, but modern bingo moved into church basements which everyone knows can be a breeding ground for pettiness and jealousy. That coupled with the growing number of colors one could wear on their head in the form of a hat or wig took the game from its simple roots and catapulted it into its only natural outcome-Las Vegas.

So you see a simple game becomes a billion dollar industry. Up next-virtual bingo, after all, we’re never satisfied.