Those Sucking Sounds


The Puzzle Solved

I would be more comfortable with the trade negotiations now taking place if the titans of industry were bellyaching.

I don’t hear them complaining about the labor provisions.

I don’t hear them bitching about the environmental regulations they would have to obey.

I haven’t heard word one about currency manipulation.

What the hell is wrong with these miserable complainers? If they don’t like something they usually will moan and groan day and night right through the mouths of some of the best bellyaching lobbyists money can buy.

You see they’re just not miserable enough and that must mean in my book that they are skinning the cat just the way they like it while you and me are getting left with the fur and the fleas in the deal.

You see I am a free trader. I am also a fair trader. I like doing business with other countries. Trade negotiations by my reckoning are handled by the wrong people. They have by way of training focus upon particular aspects of trade. We call those focal points special interests.

Well, you see we have special interests too. I know a waitress with a cute fanny and she indeed has a whole legion of gentlemen who are especially interested in what they find so interesting about her fanny.

Believe me there are sincere trade negotiations taking place over access to her marketplace. And let’s just say I know her to be beautiful through and through and expect the final agreement to be of loving benefit to both interested parties.

That’s the miracle of a good trade deal right there. You want all interested parties to be pleased with what they get in the end.

I’m not a scholar, I read the same things you do, we all get to look at the same things, and those of us on the outside of this impending deal are being denied a good look see at the terms to this deal they’re cooking up.

If I had Wall Street bitterly complaining that labor was eating their lunch in this deal I would sit up and take notice and I’d start having some confidence that maybe, just maybe we are finally on the right path toward a fair deal.

No sir, things have the odor of a day old catfish left to rot in the sun. That’s what a no good deal can do to a nose sniffing around for sweeter terms. So come on stop pulling my leg. You trade negotiators stop pretending like this is going to be good for all of us.

It just ain’t so and if it was you’d be screaming to high heaven how the country simply cannot afford to consummate this deal.

The Revolution Waits While We Barbecue


         Call Me Sentimental… Call it Irresponsible

Looks like China is dumping the coal burners in favor of the natural gas burners. Spotted some natural gassers in Gila Bend yesterday. As mentioned THEY ALL looked so last century.

This is a two for one. China does a little greenhouse gas remediation and they stop choking their citizens to death on the particulates and toxins coal shoots into the air.

Meanwhile Japan has decided to ring their island with a tidal wave wall. Then, they can get back to using all the nuclear power they want.

California isn’t resting upon its laurels. Desalination water plants are going up along the coast from Carlsbad to San Francisco. We already have some of the world’s most expensive real estate and now we’ll have the world’s most expensive water to go with it.

Ski resorts are closing in California. For the season. One is left to wonder if this extended season might run a decade or two?

Scientists, those pesky people who go find facts and then report them. Put your hands in your ears my friends. You will not like their new facts unless you take a particular pleasure in pretending they are liars.

So, they are measuring a slowing of currents that run from the Southern Atlantic up to the Northern Atlantic. This slowing they say is not a good thing for earth or in particular the east coast of the United States.

The Federal Reserve asked HSBC, a lovely banking institution if ever there was one, to submit a living will, a plan in the event that they get into trouble detailing how they would liquidate and break themselves up into little purchasable pieces. Naturally they totally failed this rather minor exercise in preparation for a major mess.

Then, to make it even more exciting the clown car pulls up with some joker born in Canada deciding that he has got what it takes to take America back to the glory days. For the love of boat tailed Riviera’s. Please, please, please… I’m stealing James Brown now… but am I the only sentient being that is feeling that it just isn’t fair to have a pair of Texas Yahoo’s scaring the bejeezus out of us….

Southward now to Patagonia, Arizona. Tomorrow night a Vaudeville Show for that fine town. Tonight a barbecue at the historic Oak Bar Ranch… A relic built by big oil and left as the scene for a cookout for a wild band of variety show acts. There is a God. I know it.

Tucson Tumbleweeds


                  The Dangerous and the Uninformed…

What did I learn today? I learned that Gila Bend is about the same as ever. There is a new power generation facility nearby. Natural gas is my guess. Looked decidedly last century.

Rolled out of Cathedral City where the night was spent visiting the brains of the operation. My editor is enjoying the splendor of a blooming spring.

Ted Cruz pissed off my Governor Jerry Brown. I tweeted out an interesting piece on how to treat a politician that pretends that climate change science is still not settled.

Bottom line is that you can no longer report this as a mere position that the politician has taken.

The point of the matter is that in a fact based world we need to know that the individual has elected to run for office on a fact free basis.

Free they may be to say whatever they want but a journalist is not free to ignore overwhelming consensus. They have a duty to point out that the politician is taking a position contrary to the facts.

We can’t have an executive in the White House unshackled from reality. He has to have his head on his shoulders. He may not want to set policy to do anything about climate change, but he has to be honest with his constituents.

Then we can have the debate on the merits rather than on the confusion.

The press is much to blame for this muddle. Get with it kids. Jerry Brown’s making you all look lazy of frightened or both.

My Beautiful Life


What a week. Monday celebrated my wedding anniversary with my wife. She was in LA, I was in Emeryville, California when for all of perhaps 2 minutes and then this happened.

We are in Palos Verdes together today. Good for us. Planning on some whale watching from lookout nearby.

Trip south down the interstate between SF and LA the drought for the moment does not look so severe. But, unlike some of our problems that we CAN do something about if it doesn’t start raining and it turns out that we really do run out of water next year? We’ll find out who has dominion over this earth… man or mother nature.

Obamacare has spurred thousands of small startups! Jobs, jobs, jobs… of all the rotten talking points luck. Where are the jobs? Evidently they are in health care!

This morning I read that Iran thinks there is a deal to be had. This is good news as the options for no deal is a military confrontation. And a quick summary of our successes in military adventures? Viet Nam, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Egypt, Yemen, Syria… am I missing something? Hope springs eternal for some of our more stubborn armchair warriors.

If you are seated with me here in California you might have noticed that we had an summer like winter of a kind I’ve never experienced. Lovely but haunting.

The Prez moved on more EPA regulations this week. Good. I enjoyed a drone view of the Musk’s Gigafactory. Fortunately high up in Reno he won’t have to worry about coastal inundation from the melting Antarctica ice sheets.

This is what passes for life here. Climate change, drought, sea level rise, no place to store all that oil we’ve been drilling, nary a peep about the Keystone XL Pipeline, and they found the nuclear material in Fukushima wadded up in a ball at the bottom of the containment vessel…

I’m on my way via the Prius to Patagonia, Arizona for a Vaudeville Show and some birding along Sonoita Creek. All of these contradictions, all of this chaos, and joys and sorrows… I just kind of sense our priorities are all aligning.

A big shout out to the magical world for Monday’s rainbow. Now that is the mystery of hope…

How Sweet It Is

Pouilly Fuisse
The Most Beautiful Places in the World

Timing is everything. A good location doesn’t hurt.

But, it’s the intangibles that will get you.

“To be completely honest, although I love living in the city, it’s not my favorite place to perform.”


“It seems to have an overly-politically-correctness vibe.”

Really? So, we haven’t changed; they have?

“They seem to repress some of the fun and energy that our typical street show presents.”

For the love of show business.

Street act is foreground, cityscape is background.

A performer is barely on earth. We’d like to be, but you know it’s tough. We tend to be on stage, in bars, at rehearsals. Why isn’t that enough and if it is why doesn’t it come with a dental plan?

Once you have an act you are set. You get to be witness to more death than a mortician. There’s a lot of turnover in this industry.

One day the best act you’ve ever seen turns out to be a plumber. That unexpected incarnation put the fear of god in you.

As Jackie Gleason opined after a sip from the good stuff at the opening of his schtick.. “How sweet it is…” He’s only making that crack because of all the cadavers stacked up backstage.

So, the hungry acts know that you best keep the hook baited. Nothing but nobody waits for spit.

That’s the game. In these modern times. We used to be lousy with gigs from Salinas to Santa Rosa. But, that’s all dried up and nobody left instructions for what to do next.

You want a career in show business? Buy a suitcase, look for cheap tickets. Keep an eye on your back. Change is coming.

Then, you know, the phone rings, they need somebody for some spot dates in Northern Arizona on the Navajo Indian Nation’s territories. “Are you available?”

“You got to be kidding me? I’d do that date for free. When do we leave?” That’s how it is in my game.

You get the regrets and those of us with the moxy to have stuck it out we get the unpaid bills.

Nothing is free but for love and even that bargain comes with baggage.

I got an Australian friend in Dubai playing his swami act with a fake Indian accent to the Emirates. That’s some kind of con he’s got going. And YOU wanted to be in show business…


 This is what the professionals look like…

How to Not Write Anything Brilliantly

Write What You Know

Write What You Know

We go to busking great Tim Motley enjoying his summer in Melbourne for this: “I try to sit down with my morning coffee around noon.”

It usually happens first thing,” Dan Looker explains, “when the previous evening’s alcohol and the morning coffee meet in a front.”

That’s some kind of weather pattern.

The well washed one- veteran British comic- Andre Vincent, “It is thought of in the bath and then never stopped working on.”

Ellen Gavin screenwriter and former theatrical producer at the Brava in San Francisco confides, “I try to write from 9 until 3…” and then cheerfully admits, “I’m supposed to be at my desk now.”

Most writers do their best writing when they are supposed to be writing. It is only when we are actually writing that it is so difficult.

One way or another, sooner or later, they do get it down on paper.

Jay Alexander explains, “I send a recording of my show and have a professional transcribe it.” He’s got the idea.

“I’m open to writing,” Lee Ross explains, “I did get up and do an ‘open mic’ the other week and killed.”

This is how the really gifted writers write.

As Karl Saliter explains, “I continually find myself 10,000 miles from the keyboard.” This is pure virtuosity.

Still technique is important. Rob Williams, “I recommend upscale pencils… look for the Palomino Blackwing Series.”

They are impossible to find.

Andre Vincent, “Notebook is friend, memory is enemy.”

James O’Shea, “I’m not trying to plan anything or know what the story is about.”

Here it is sage advice from many of the hardest working writer-entertainers in show business.

Take it from the working professionals. Blaming writers block is overrated. Hard work is for suckers.

They say that we all have a novel in us. Writing it down, printing it out and putting it on a shelf. That is so last century.

I hope this clears thing’s up for those of you who might still be thinking about writing something.

Out with the Old

Out with the Old

Want to find my comic novel

Hot Spring Honeymoon…

Click on the Picture Above

The Showman’s Shortlist of Worries and Affirmations

Backstage in the Small Time

                                               Backstage in the Small Time

Hats go up and down much as the stock markets do. I had lunch yesterday with Dan Holzman. He had nothing but good things to say about his last outing. The money stunk but audiences were good.

Wheeler Cole back from a lengthy tour of the Big Island of Hawaii has been throwing shows at Pier 39. Ten years away and on the other side of his misspent youth he dawdles for the moment.

His was a good question? “When do you do something besides what you have done?” Just because you can, just because you could, just because you know how to do that does that mean you keep doing it?

Andrew Potter off to Fresno for the fringe mounts another series of performances in his latest digital vehicle. The Road to High Street has been what he uses as an excuse to be with audiences now. He shares now by looking back when.

Karl Saliter just back from Nepal and trekking is presently in Playa del Carmen trudging his show on the boards at the resorts. This is my tribe. Karl is comic juggler, sculpture and fiction writer. He likes soul and sits around a lot. Teaches yoga and eats vegetables. Vegetables if they did worry should with Karl’s lust for greens.

Alan Sands has in the works a steampunk costumed hypnosis act. This is an extreme makeover for a guy who doesn’t own a house. Who needs a house? He spends way too much time flying to gigs. He sits in Foster City when here at home imagining what those sucked into a trance might want to see for a host.

Mike Stroud a friend since his youth, mine was already spent, makes his oyster in the South Bay. He bought early in his career and it has paid off big time. With roots deep in San Jose he gigs as he can and where he can. He sleeps in his own bed more than any person I know devoted to sleeping in their own bed and at the same time claiming a career in show business.

Me, I’m here aboard my sailboat with my wife. She is my beloved. Like me she’s inclined to sleeping upon beds that move. She’s soon like me out of town on assignment. Everything is fast here but for the freeways. They are the slowest.

In rehearsals, writing jokes, memorizing jokes, juggling, gigging now and then, counting down until I go to Playa del Carmen and grind it out 6 nights per… I am up in Napa Valley as I can, when time allows, hiking and scouting vineyards, roadways and restaurants for the next novel.

One of my bachelor friends, a magician, short by way of height, but quick by hand, is rotten that all the cute short girls have been picked over. This is what it means to be trapped in the small time. He is left to look silly with a taller one or none at all. He is worried. They don’t make enough short women and he isn’t getting any younger. He is the loneliest man in show business.

Thank your lucky stars you wanted to be a plumber or shoe salesman. Nothing is easy about this racket called show biz. I’m sorry the phone has just rung and I am due for a martini with a friend who has a new script he wants me to punch up before he submits to his agent.

Letter to the Editor  And this time in praise of  Yes.............

Letter to the Editor
And this time in praise of

 And Last of All Hot Spring Honeymoon

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