Tag Archives: comic novel

Stupid, Dumb and Dunderheaded

 

Harvest Moon 2014
Harvest Moon 2014

“Your wallets gone, passport is missing and you’ve just received a note from the consulate. There is nothing they can do. You will have to live with your new tattoo and the sex change operation.”

Send in the clowns… they’re already here…

Working today on the stupid… I try not to do stupid, but sometimes you can’t help visiting the stupidity littering the landscape before us.

Fortunately I do visit with the gods and they remind me to maintain my stupid sense of humor. Thank you Three Stooges.

I make my living saying stupid things that on second appear to be smarter than they first look. Of course frequently I am dumber than I appear.

Still we wish the world of the future will be handed to our grandchildren in better shape than the way it was handed to our generation. This is looking stupid both in terms of hopes and the utter logjam of stupid that clutters the path to this goal.

Well, this is the sheer quality of this era of information. With all this power comes all this stupidity. People don’t just act stupid they go on and do stupid for all of their lives. Case in point would be everybody that thought Galileo was stupid. James Inhofe our stupid senator from Oklahoma reprises his moron and stupid. His stupidity is well paid for by a well-oiled not so stupid machine.

And that is stupid. We are essentially much dumber than our brilliance might suggest. It isn’t that we aren’t smart enough it is that we are simply too prone to dunderheaded choices. We are simply brimming with what I respectfully refer to as the ape shit crazy.

Is this too hard to understand? Can you say Fukushima? Dumbest idea we’ve ever had. Build it and they will come. What do you mean you didn’t know that there could be a tidal wave so big that…. We could turn around and go the other way but as smart as that turn might be it feels dumb to the stupid inside of us.

“You can hardly contain your excitement at the going away party; they are finally leaving for college. They come home for Christmas and want to know who the hell gave you permission to buy a new car.”

Hot Spring Honeymoon Front Cover
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 “BTW… I finished your book. I liked it. And I laughed.” Nick Nicholas Sensational Street Act

The Stupidity Links

Ultimately we are throwing our grandchildren under the bus…

Is it the deficits or is it putting people back to work? Come on really? You don’t know what to do?

This is your brain on mushrooms… 

 

 

Prizefighting the Godzillas in the Room

Wives and Lovers...
In the Ring…

“As far as entertainment goes clinching a barbecue fork in my teeth and performing this stunt stands at least one foot higher in the minds of audiences than topless dancing does.”

The Godzilla in the room of a performer’s world is to know when to build new material.

A huge dividend is paid for having polished a routine. It is a reliable tool in the shows running order. Anyone who has honed their act to this razor sharp edge is reluctant to abandon the surefire for uncharted waters.

I have no such show. Twice now in my four decade career my performing dogs have retired leaving me to start all over from scratch. New jokes and stunts are devised. Most of the old show has to be abandoned in its entirety. A few pieces are cobbled together and survive. But that killer closer you’ve been doing for a decade is now an old flea bitten hound with cataracts and hearing loss.

This week I’ve had no less than two superb variety acts make no bones about it. They aren’t building material right now. “Thanks, but no thanks.” The shows working fine as is and it really just isn’t what they want to do. I was racked with envy. Talk about a couple of lucky stiffs.

Build new material? Of course not! It is a source of flaming pains in the ass followed by spiraling pangs of doubt that are halted once your confidence has been shattered beyond reach of repair. Unless the dogs died why in the name of vaudeville would you set out to make yourself so utterly miserable? Nobody needs to man-‘splain this. This isn’t fanny patting this is butt kicking welcome to your own personal little hell.

I am between rounds. Angelo Dundee’s in my corner. Half-way through the fight and I’m giving, as good, as I’m getting. When you are prizefighting, and when you are building a new show, you know you are in the ring and if you’re going to win the fight you’ll need to face the fact that you are going to take a pounding.

The lipstick on this pig is that I can see the light at the end of the funnel. Testing proceeds apace. I’m taking the now proofed pieces to my lego-comedy-puzzle and have near finished erecting the all shiny new framework.

Dundee slaps me across the face. I stand up off my stool. The bell rings. I’m heading back into the ring. It’s all fancy footwork and tactics now; my audience won’t even see it coming. I’m back and I’m packing a knockout punch.

Don’t believe me? Get in line. Buy a ticket. Put your money where your mouth is. Working cheap is for suckers, and winning fights is what you do when a career is on the line.

Drop by the slaughterhouse of comedy where this act works six nights a week. I either kill or I die. Last night it was the audience picking itself up off the floor. Damn right they deserved it. I worked hard for that victory. And that’s how a new show gets done. You got a problem with that?

in the round

“My volunteer will toss the orange into the air over to me. The orange may well miss. Continue across the room and land at this table where this beautiful woman is seated. If it does stay where you are; I’ll go over and get her phone number.”

Hot Spring Honeymoon Front Cover

 Get it Here… 

“The love scenes are among the funniest I have ever read — and what in this world is better than funny sex? The author’s strong, unique narrative voice and high-desert dialogue are seductions in their own way and sure to entertain.”

Finding the Fun in the Setting Sun

The soaring soul...
The soaring soul…

“One morning you wake up in Yuma, Arizona in this thing called a motorhome. The phone rings it’s a receptionist, she’s calling to confirm your appointment with the plastic surgeon.”

While on stage the topic of the golden years of our lives needs to be approached carefully. Cliché is an epidemic hazard. As we approach this period in our life several surprise events often preface the lives of the stubborn and willfully blind.

There is the midlife crisis. Do you do anything or do you continue doing what you’ve been doing and chuck the whole notion of aspiring to remake a better more fulfilled self?

There are divergent responses to this chapter in life. By the time I had remarried I had opted for a bumper to bumper overhaul. I didn’t want to repeat the same patterns again and again. I figured the idea was to refrain from saying and doing the same things I had done and take a fresh approach. The fresh approach was simple. Try to do wholesome and skillful things. Had I been doing this all along, then that might not have been much of a change from my earlier years.

Besides the midlife crisis there is the no small matter of what work you have been doing. If it is close-sourced you will feel dead ended, retirement will be appropriate, and relieving yourself of the work that doesn’t infuse your life with passion is helpful.

If you work is your passion you may approach this period of your life with the promise of further productive vocational decades.

“Your wife is doing her impression of you when you first met. She’s fiddling with your buttons, tugging at your zipper, nibbling at your neck.

She keeps telling you how sexy you look. You think she’s in denial.”

The children are out of the house, but they are never gone. You live in the wake of those years. I’ll stick my neck out a bit and suggest many of us abide in a satisfaction and fulfillment from our work as parents. Good work as parents, good relationship with yourself, whether single or married now, and sensible relationship with your vocation, whether retired or you continue to work make up this terrain.

The golden years are fascinating. We know ourselves so well now. We seldom suffer foolish unfulfilling relationships of any kind at this point in our life. We are busy. There are not many decades left. Whatever unfinished business there is to do, it is time to get those temporal and physical things done. In my case it is about the finishing touches on a near four decade career on stage and equally fascinating career as an author. Many of you know me for my work on stage, but in fact I know myself as a lifelong writer and novelist. More of you will come to know more about this part of my life as well. It is about those last long sailing voyages on my calendar.

And there is this routine I’m putting the finishing touches on. The routine briefly visits this stage in life. And it must touch it with the spaciousness and compassion that is its hallmark. We only get here by chance and if we are wise we will make good use of its spirited richness. That is why they are so golden.

“You come to appreciate the spiritual meaning of the word: “emptiness”, it fits exactly with how you feel about your 401k.”

Hot Spring Honeymoon Front Cover
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“The notion that sex equates to love being predominant is a hard train to catch if it isn’t really going anywhere. As a matter of fact sex, or sexual attraction seems to confuse every character in the book at one point or another, making for some very funny side trips.”

Fun and funny novel about lust in the dust of a small town in Nevada

 

 

The Non-Fat Caffè Latte Love Show

Ohio State Fair
Ohio State Fair

It’s Good for Your Heart

Kate Hart and The Detroit Women

If one starts a career touring with the Royal Lichtenstein Quarter-Ring Sidewalk Circus why in the world wouldn’t you find yourself in the midst of producing, The Good to the Last Love-Non-Fat Caffè Latte Love Show… A soul nutting, spoonful of romance, low calorie, laugh riot comedy.

“You’ve suddenly found your inner Jacque Cousteau… you are now ready for the deepest dive of your life.”

“It’s the remake of The Hunt for Red October… the enemy Russian sub is you, and nobody can know that you want to surrender. The other sub is her, and she can’t be sure of your motives. Are you looking to a world with a future or are you here for a one night stand?”

“You’re not some indecisive, skirt chasing, hound fearful of commitment. No, you are a proud Russian officer. Your compatriots, the other men, are onto you. They know you want to surrender, and you must be stopped, before you defect and are given lifelong asylum- a marriage. Men the world over are aghast that you have given a woman a firsthand look at the super-secret run silent technology that only a man of your kind knows how to use.”

Hot Spring Honeymoon Front Cover

 

The comedy is available right here

click on cover

We loved it.  Upon deeper reflection, “Everyman” merges with “Everywoman”  to become “Everyone” in a small, dusty desert “Everytown”

 

Bat Show Audio…

Bats in the House

Welcome to the world of entertainment in the Riviera Maya. What we have here is a short clip from my show at Puerto Aventuras just south of Playa del Carmen. I’d just come on stage. I was perhaps 5 minutes into my opening monologue when a sizable bat with wingspan of a little over a foot to something less than a foot and a half winged on into the theater. What you can see is that behind me is a stage and curtain. After buzzing over the top of the audience the bat went up into the rafters behind me on the stage. I rushed over to the curtains and closed them and our bat was now confined backstage. It only took forty years for my performing bat to finally show up.

Hot Spring Honeymoon Front Cover

Click on Cover to Get Book Now

“Move over Moliere. Smith’s depth and wisdom give the reader a surgically precise but comic look into the relationship between the sexes.”

 

Making Show

Book show blog pic

It is more than connubial bliss, more than your partner’s satisfaction. It is in fact more about your ability to overcome sleep deprivation.

The show went off like a Roman candle last night. I was able to proof the quality of the opening monologue one more time. This is not even the tenth time I’ve tested the material.

It was tangled up with my performance. I had to deliver. I had memorized and practiced for several hours yesterday. My plan was to try and go in and out of the new material with short improvised excursions with what was right before me in the room.

I was at Puerto Aventura a resort along the Riviera Maya, Mexico. The setting was a theater. It was a family audience. In my business this location is one of the best. Good lighting, good seating, the stage is set up correctly, and the sound is excellent.

I punched away with the new routine. What the new routine sets out to do is create a mythical explanation of how I arrived in Mexico, a short jabbing at the audience’s use of relationship to build their lives, a digression where the differences between an eligible bachelor and what I call a slacker dude are explored. Ultimately I draw my audience into the world of not just relationships, but of penultimate relationships… the revelation of the identity of the world’s greatest lover and of course naturally the world’s greatest lover’s lover. I try to pick extraordinary common people to play these parts in a show that tries to sneak up on my audience’s preconceived notions of what love and lover’s might look like.

Life is not based on any static position or point of view. Life is dynamic. There are no answers. There are experiences, and the experiences are what our imaginations thread together into what emerges as the story of our life.

The basic narrative is the story of deciding whether we will fall in love and explore the mystery of our hearts powers. What kind of relationship do we wish to form and with what kind of person? Some are certain they want to be in a relationship while others are quite sure they would rather remain single. Some want children others might focus on their careers. We begin this journey in our youth and we deal with these choices over a lifetime. How well we love and how complete our surrender to the mystery has much to say about the story of a person’s life.

There you have it. This is in essence what I am thinking about, what I am writing about in my novels, and what I am trying to make an entire show of on stage. Last night’s almost hour long performance suggests we are well on the path to what I call, The Book Show.

 

 

 

 

Your One Night Stand on the Front Page

Fletch's cabin small

 

Imagining Hot Spring Honeymoon

Where Love Has Come to Play

“Emptiness does not differ from form. Emptiness is form and form is emptiness,” This ambiguous quote comes from Buddhism’s great teachings contained in The Heart Sutra.

Caught in this paradoxical world of here and now, the fiction writer slashes through all the chaos that we know as life on earth and proposes a pathway for human beings to arrive at a moment of clarity. It happens by chance in a parking lot, on a night like no other, in the arms of a perfect stranger, then a kiss and the answer to a question, and a plunging off into the night together… I see patterns in all this human behavior. Yes, I see taller women with shorter men, but not so often as the other way around.

Ultimately the world is more spiritual than physical, but what would we do if a writer of fiction was trapped in a literary form that had to remain nameless and shapeless? Where would the reader grab hold? We know the answer to that question. The reader would attach to the spirit leaving out the physical earthbound parts of the story. This is the literal neighborhood of life that characters press with their eager lips so they may enter into the ethereal realm. If relationship and love were formless and nameless the reader would be denied the pleasure of imagining characters groping through the delusion and into the beyond of where love’s located. Think of this as loves enlightenment experience, a non-judgmental elixir for the lustful, if such a kind of human pleasure might be allowed to be experienced, beyond the boundaries of conscience. This is where the sauce of love is to be simmered over passions stove.

Sexual farce unmasks the libidinous scaffolding where not such adorable human nature is delineated. This is not where we live, but for many of us it is a place we have once visited, some more than others, plenty having stayed long after they ought to have moved on. Human sexuality as comic farce pokes at uncomfortable truths as well as fallacies. We get into love and out of love by some odd gateway that is both physiologically ornamental and optically invisible.

A good farce is ridiculous, the whole human condition is absurd, but facts are facts and for reasons that can appear to be almost completely unfathomable our human nature urges many of us to find partners that we will want to enjoy intimate sexual behaviors with. There is the revelation, nudity, and all manner of peculiar yet popular physiological maneuvers associated with this part of the story. They must be wildly popular as people the world over repeatedly perform these very same stunts. More often than not this behavior provokes not just bodily desire, but love and the quest for relationship. What these provocateurs do about all this sex is the stuff of comedy and tragedy.

In Hot Spring Honeymoon I tipped the scales of human experience in the direction of laughter and amusement. I dared to explain loves whereabouts as in the proximity of lust, perhaps it is not the prettiest place we might locate this noble human hearted phenomena but certainly one of the more ordinary and naughty places. Maybe that’s sexual farces greatest fun is that it seduces the virtuous reader. And just when we had thought so much of our better natures we find ourselves having to hear the remnants of this other less wholesome and skillful side we all have resting in repose within us.

There is fortune in impulse control, glorious wisdom to be earned by tamping down the error of our own ways. Many of us grow up and get a life, find love and a reliable partner. Because of our lack of fame and notoriety we have not had our most salacious miscalculations splattered across the front pages of the National Inquirer for the whole world to see. Instead if we’ve lived long enough, we’ve quelled this perfectly human aspect of how we have been designed, and now from the lofty heights of at long last knowing better we slip back into our other self and enjoy the guilty pleasure and a good romp through the jungle from where we once prowled. We pass through this life at times tangled in this whole affair to discover we are part prey and at other times we have been shocked to discover inside of us is part predator. Or perhaps, as my wise friend gently urges, “You who are nobly born, remember who you truly are?”

 

Lord of the Styles

Flatbush small

 

 

This moment’s style and fashion is so obvious. House of Cards has it, Veep deploys it, and Silicon Valley is based upon it.

Lenny Bruce skewered the sacred by roasting it atop the fires of the profane hypocrisy’s he alone seemed capable of speaking about.

And for each act taking one tack there is another cohort heading off in another. Nancy Meyers comes to mind, Seinfeld seems to wield this same aim, Nora Ephron… Then, there is the illustrative past including the direction of Frank Capra, George Cukor, and Howard Hawks.

Mel Brooks seemed to relish the hijinks of the soul of the Marx Brothers. Where Lenny Bruce failed at late night television an equally prolific and volatile Richard Pryor found the means of performing in this setting.

An adorable Eddie Izzard seems almost tame. Hedwig and the Angry Inch feature’s a transgender East German singer. The Book of Mormon if you search online will produce a vast stream of essays on the where to draw the line on what is too vulgar or obscene, and what we ought to do when sitting in a theater and what we are watching outrages us.

It is one thing to be the audience and another to be the creator. What seems clear is that once a project is conceived the skill is in working all the way to the edge of the style that the creator has invented. You do shock jock radio? You work to that edge. You do breezy afternoon commuter type banal styled talk radio you work to that side of the dial.

It comes as no surprise that given the crass bombast passing for political discourse that the cultural artistic entertainment community finds itself pulled in the same direction. Better the bomb throwing pugilistic types take their seat at the head of class. Oprah was a one of a kind and she’s off air and done.

Each of us that work’s in the narrative arts allows for some choice to approach. Any can work. We bow to the masters of one kind admiring their skills and talent while we remain on our own path.

The finger to the wind approach vexes integrity. Mel Brooks has to be Mel Brooks, and thank the gods for that. For the moment, at least this point in time, House of Cards, Veep and Silicon Valley are banking on finding their audience share by leaning hard upon one particular edge in a world that is in fact far more diverse than they can afford to allow for. In short there is a limit, every style can only take you so far, and from there you are on your own.

Brooklyn as Tribal Paradise

Brooklyn Heights

If Camera Pointed in the Opposite Direction You Would See 100’s More of My Peeps…

Perhaps our politics is broken but our bond to community here in Brooklyn is not. We gathered along the East River for a Memorial Day barbecue. We found our countries citizens doing the same. We shared the space, every type and kind present for the holiday’s last hurrah.

It was tribe and village, type and kind, tolerant and generous all to each other. We shared the commons, arrived and departed by subway train. We played cat and mouse with park police enforcing the no alcohol rule. All they wanted was that the gathered use red plastic cups. Roger that, ten-four, over and out.

The New York City I have found here is a cauldron of cooperative life. The people are a splendid sea of multicultural diversity. Age, sex, religion, race, hairdo, and tattoo are each of their own kind, but of this one trait we all shared along the East River. We shared tolerance and appreciation. We are all in this together… Yesterday’s thousand kindnesses reminded me I am nurtured by a sprawling heap of loving humanity.

Now I strap my working hat back on and turn my attention to the charms of working the Book Expo America at the Jacob Javitts Convention Center… Won’t that be something….

sunset Brooklyn

 A Glorious End of Day… Thank You Brooklyn

You Changed Me…