Tag Archives: It’s a Comedy

operating manual to the future

Last Show the Last Day in Grand Prairie

For the past two decades Grand Prairie has been a notable stop while out playing the Canadian festival circuit. Sixty-three thousand make their home tucked up against the Rockies where a boundless prairie hits its westernmost edge. Further south a favorite hot spring, Miette in Jasper National Park beckons after a month of shows. I do love getting myself into hot water.

 Grand Prairie is located come boom or bust on two of the largest oil and gas plays in North America, the Montney and Duvernay basins. You want to play politician in this region then you are immediately sucked into the commodities market. The price of rapeseed, pulp timber, and natural gas are the leading indicators of your political viability polls.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau somehow (take that America) passed a carbon tax, a cap-and-trade type arrangement, promising to disburse the funds back to the nation’s taxpayers. There’s a lot of moaning, groaning, finger pointing, blame gaming and outright calls from the prairie provinces for secession, this one named after a bunny rabbit, a Wexit. The alleged unfairness of this taxation has sparked outrage among a handful of hotheaded Albertans they echo the same sentiments of some yahoo types down in Wyoming.

The Carbon Tax Hat Trick

Circumstances remain much the same for Wyoming and Alberta.  Nobody wants to be the fool politician who advocates for exiting from the fossil fuel business. Trudeau isn’t saying he wants to exit, he’s just capping and trading, hoping the price signal will wink-wink, nod-nod its way down in value while renewable technologies and other more tenable business opportunities emerge.

Politics being the art of the possible and not the perfect kind only got half a loaf on this cap-and-trade tax. I’d have urged Ottawa, hell I’d urge Washington to put a tax on fossil fuels and instead of rebating this tax to every voter across the fruited plain instead target the revenues to the communities that are getting hammered by the changes. Targeting is the operative concept here, if you work in Midland this doesn’t go lost on you.

Fearless Spectator in Hot Water

Instead, Alberta’s Premier Jason Kenney has been fighting to get his province’s fossil fuels pumped to Houston through the on again-off again XL Keystone Pipeline. Fighting to keep the fossil fuels flowing Kenney has run off into the wilds of wonderland issuing a report grounded in climate-denial science, bizarre conspiracy theories and oil-industry propaganda. The Oglala Lakota Water Protectors have found our new President Biden joining their fight in the neverending eternal work of keeping their peoples water pure and safe.

Wyoming don’t you worry about coming in second place in the smear and fear game, try this on for size, there is “a new breed of zealots less interested in saving Planet Earth than in destroying the capitalist system.” 

Having suffered a fresh bout of insurrection down here in the lower forty-eight I’m urging the loyal good natured hosts in Alberta to stay calm as tyranny and revolution are overrated.  

Street Show in Sexsmith near GP

One man’s gridlock is seen by another man to be obstruction. In Page, Arizona the Navajo with coal power becoming uncompetitive took the decision to shut down the reservations coal powered generation station. Hundreds of Navajo are out of work, the coal mine that supplied the fuel for the station contaminated their groundwater, and there is no help from Washington on its way. Seventy-five more uncontrolled coal powered generating station shutdowns scattered across the nation are going to inject their economic turbulence into the venomous politics of our present moment.

Touring across Canada and the United States I have done shows among all the various impacted communities. My most recent visit to Grand Prairie was in July 2019. I have played the Navajo Nations schools and libraries many times, the most recent in 2016. I can’t speak for these people, but I can feel for them, and support their effort to create jobs, grow opportunities for their children, help enable a viable self-sufficiency, not neglect, not ignoring their problems, but opening doors to the 21st centuries renewable energy system.

One of 75 Slated to Close

I’m going to Denver this week before I go here’s what I’d recommend. First, when the Navajo Power Generating Station was built in 1970 renewable energy systems were expensive and unproven. Today many remote Navajo living off grid without access to water could get electricity using solar panels, batteries and inverters. The costs remain an obstacle but they’re getting lower and we cannot afford to leave this precious natural resource, our nations first people, behind. Helping nurture our partners sovereign nation will be a boundless blessing. Where to get the funds? A cap-and-trade tax on carbon. Calm down!

How about Alberta? How are we going to figure out how to untangle this hot cowboy hatted mess of commodity addicted Canadians? I’d urge Ottawa to repurpose their carbon tax funds and aim them directly at the people with the most to lose, and that would be the communities hit by the changing energy system.

Working for a Living

Putting whole regions of North America into economic freefall because some politicians have no stomach for helping its workers, because certain partisans can’t stand government using its ability to organize and respond to a crisis, because they can’t utter the much despised three letter word TAX!!!! Not being capable of using our collective power to nurture change isn’t going to get the job done.

I say get on your horse and ride or dismount and handover your spurs. If you don’t have the guts to try we may just need a better posse for the job.

Instead of fighting efforts to rein in climate changing pollutants, maybe start fighting to help your workers transition into the new economy. I’m plenty sure there is no cheap or easy way around this crisis, but there are reality based ways we can respond. Saddle up, time we head this trouble off at the pass.

minding your own business

Man and Mind

I tend to listen to my inner voice and believe every single word. I trust that voice. It’s my voice.

I know that it is just a shameless mind speaking to me. Minds have no pride, they’ll say anything, and never stop talking to you even when they have nothing new to tell you, then they’ll worry, or repeat the same worn out gossip they’ve told you a thousand times before.

I think vacations are more about getting our mind out and about in the world. Keeping a mind confined to one place tends to trigger the onset of idle chatter and then the mind will start yammering on and on about the usual matters often described as having to do with our insecurities.

My mind has enjoyed sleep. We go early so we can get up early. My mind has decided with so much less socializing there really is no reason to remain up until all hours of the night. My mind has been treating me to performing dreams. We suffer engine failures, windstorms, no audiences, funny stuff that is so funny that it has to be a dream because the funny stuff can’t be that funny. Maybe, dreams are funny even without a joke.

Certified Head to Toe

There have been mental apparitions. I’ve been seeing things. It’s all about having the right mentality when you begin hallucinating. I think my mind is concerned about how long this new simple life is going to last and if I did have some sort of mental breakdown it might get us out of the house for an adventure. The lengthy isolation is beginning to take a mental toll.

I’m luckier than most. I have a spouse. I have a spouse I like to talk with. My mind I’ve noticed thinks variety is missing. Every now and again things happen, complaining starts in, there’s this grumbling about not getting out enough, that they’d like to go somewhere and do something. I take my wife along and my mind finds being out and about more soothing to have her company.

On television there is this funny show with this odd man, and he’s got a mind too. You can tell. When he talks, he can’t help giving his audience a piece of his mind. It is funny because when his mind is on display you can tell his mind is kind of different than most minds.

More important to me than demanding optimism from my mind is getting my mind ready, ready mind means I am prepared to pounce upon the next moment and willing to go wherever that next moment may take me. Being in self isolation mode makes this a pretty nifty free ride to the nearest new shiny object my mind might wish to dance with.

My mind reminds me of a yappy chihuahua. Small, noisy and ready to bite your hand. This is what has come of my mind.  

The Bugs of the Sea of Cortez

Another Perfect Day

Anchor holding in San Francisco off Bay View Boat Club. I spent the night on the hook. Here in 1980 I visited the club to attend a meeting of the Dinghy Cruising Association. The DCA trains sailors to cruise by dinghy. Sailing long distances, sleeping and eating aboard a 14’ sailboat requires considerable planning and skill.

Because of the DCA I took my sailboat by trailer to the Sea of Cortez in 1985. There my girlfriend and I sailed off to the islands near Bahia de Los Angeles. Aside from having every kind of bee, wasp, hornet, fly, mosquito, and noseeums feasting upon our flesh it was an altogether unremarkable sailing experience.

Bay View Boat Club circa March 2020

Then while digging out a site for our tent we encountered an unusually significant number of small scorpions living in the soil. Then, there was the matter of the enormous iguana population. Like everywhere we went the iguanas were perched on rock and rim top of every hill and canyon we explored.

Fortunately because of very high winds for 48 hours we were allowed the pleasure of exploring without the insects as they were grounded by the weather. Not so much the iguanas or the scorpions. We had thought it might be prudent to retreat back to the village from where we started but that would need to wait for winds to recede. 

With such violent winds blowing we dragged the sailboat up onto the beach. To secure the boat we collected large volcanic rocks and filled the hull half full to keep the boat from blowing away. Our tent the only safe bug free location on the island failed the first night and we slept with makeshift poles we fashioned from remenants of trees that had been washed up in our lagoon.

An adorable field mouse with a rather unique kangaroo styled set of rear legs spent evenings jumping up and peeking at us inside our tent. It was almost cute, A flashlight was used to dash down to the sandy shoreline at night where the worlds largest outhouse without the house and with the out was located.

Island Magic

Bring lots of bug repellent if you intend to go Sea of Cortez island hopping. Depending upon the time of year there are less or more insects. I’m telling you so you know. As best I can tell this travel tip is rarely mentioned. I don’t know what islands the other writers have been visiting but the islands I visited were the buggiest places I have ever visited until a few years back trying to make my way to shore through a mangrove forest twenty miles out of Key West on another uninhabited island or key as Florida describes them.

I prefer my adventures to be not too hot and not too cold. Not too dry and not too wet. Not too dull and not too exciting. I think adventure by sailboat is most often in the range of what we might all consider reasonable. But, you know like all those workshops you attend, all the bolt cutting, emergency transponders, life rafts and flare guns you stow aboard but seem to never use? Maybe you just might want to reconsider why a previous adventurer is suggesting you be prepared.

About two miles up the bay there is a cruise ship terminal. Offshore there is a ship that has been ordered to standoff the coast. Aboard a passenger has died as the result of contracting the coronavirus. Death is no laughing matter. Heartbroken survivors of the deceased will forever be changed by this event. Still we are going to need to to buck ourselves up and get up and get on with our lives. I’d imagined sailing alone on the bay for a few days would provide a respite.

Downtown San Francisco

I’m seeing a weekend of weeding in the garden, a walk with my wife on a trail, and lots of popcorn and binge watching some as yet unseen Netflix series. This might be a good time to remain in place, at least here in Northern California. I think we all know people who haven’t changed one thing yet. That won’t be true much longer. Take care of yourselves out there.

Time Whispers

I am no longer at the intersection wondering how much further I have to go. The cast playing the Edmonton International Street Performer’s Festival needn’t say a word. Time whispers in my ear.

Street theater is physical. The quickest wits, the sharpest reflexes, these gifts on loan from the gods are asking to be returned. Another season in our life arrives, another page to our story is written.

I have wanted to be a street performer for more years of my life than I have wanted anything. I’ve wanted to be my best version. That is enough.

The kind audiences here in Edmonton allow me to slip into my show. Gracefully I am allowed one more sip. Obey the unwritten rules. Go about the work. Be kind to the children, be comfortable in your own skin. Have an unshakable faith that what you have been put on earth to do is exactly what you are doing. You are enough. You are fulfilled.

I lean into the wind. Hold my wife’s hand. Piecing together next steps. I hear it is wise not to keep holding too tight to yesterday, to not look out too far ahead to tomorrow, to spend most of what you can on making good use of today. I’ve two shows. For today that will be enough.

Lightest Most Mighty Touch…

Playing the least visited towns allows for escaping the travel services industry. Instead of finding more of the same; Marriott, Hertz, Southwest Airlines and Denny’s there is this other original entrepreneurial economy to be relished.

Globalization, climate change, digital technology and economic inequality account for the lion’s share of the changes to sweep across the globe since I first began touring.

Fort Collins, Colorado suffers from a dearth of good paying jobs and the blight of unaffordable housing.

In Emeryville, California there are tent cities filled to the brim, hundreds and hundreds of displaced citizens living without shelter. Inequality expresses its unnecessary and unequal disbursement of productivity and profit to a smaller sliver of our most affluent citizens. This is entirely preventable.

California and New York stepping up in the fight against the release of greenhouse gases gives us all hope. Regenerative farming practices may lock into our soil vast amounts of heat trapping carbon. The development of energy storage systems- pumped hydro, thermal heat storage and solar powered hydrogen making systems all provide humanity with the tools we need to fend off disaster.

Multigenerational entertainment in some fraction of some way advocates for the hopes and dreams of our children, the sage entertainer attempts to give voice to responsibility. Our heart’s desires touch. Laughter and applause can be purposeful.

You know things you can’t bring yourself to even imagine like an uncontrollable climate emergency that might threaten the world’s civilization. The stakes are that high, but not so dire we cease to laugh, no longer make our best efforts. We can do this with the lightest most mighty touch.

Dealing with it

Galloping across the west this week. To San Francisco Monday in a downpour. Tonight to Burbank and back to Los Angeles Arts District apartment. Thursday to Palm Springs for hiking and soak at Sam’s Family Spa. Friday to Portland to meet our daughters new special guy. Saturday a meeting with street performing photographer Daniel Schulruff.

One liner’s are a daily process. Fragmentary nuggets for upcoming tour. Fort Collins, Colorado will be one stop for a few weeks while I practice my life work. Excited to show up throw it down do some shows self anointed and without asking permission. Street theater at its best.

I’ll bang out three a day for a few weeks. Sharpen the act. Best of all I can get most of this done in the shade out of the sun. Constant exposure to sunlight has not been kind to me after all these years of practicing this art.

In another week I will resume a very consistent workout schedule. Juggling, hand balancing and some cardio. More one liner’s to memorize. Add a few sound effects to closing routine and there you have it you now have a view of backstage.

Forty-seven years later I’m still quite capable of accounting for myself in the fine work that is sidewalk show. Simplicity itself. Pure as snow. Rejuvenating and utterly soul healing for audience and artist. See you out there on the street of dreams…

Crypto Jaw Droppers Here

I’m Just Reading the Signs Peeps

Sign Post One

There’s a Call for You

I didn’t recognize the number. The voice message warned that I was wanted, that there were warrants for my arrest, an all points bulletin had been sent and the police were engaged in an active manhunt. To avoid all of that I was urged to call the number left in the voicemail— now!

I’d received an email that same morning. Someone had tried to change the password to my blog site. Moments later I unexpectedly received a Facebook Messenger notification from an associate. Much the same as the voice message the Messenger message urged me to call this number—now!

I’m racking my brain for my previous crimes. The label I removed from the electrical cord? Marijuana possession- illegal lane change- turn signal deficiencies- bulk bin nibbling- pity party- wishful thinking? What have I done! Why me?

I’m a showman, a juggling act, I had a cute dog then she passed. Lighthearted, breezy style, good natured… Somebody? Anybody? What gives?

Don’t click on that! Our email has been weaponized. My bank routinely “fraud-lock’s” me out of my account.

I’m reading the depressing Cambridge Analytica data driven politically motivated psychological cyber warfare stories from the Guardian. Mercer funding Bannon went offshore where they could then disrupt what are supposed to be free and fair elections.

Zuckerberg is in Europe on Tuesday digging his toe into the linoleum beneath his seat where he is testifying. Wonderkind’s post adolescent prodigy can’t quite invent an app that can defang the duplicitous arrows he has unleashed from his crypto quiver.

Criminality is not just venal— it is mostly brutish, thuggish and smug to the point of not quite so intelligent as the smartest guys in that smoke filled room might have imagined. The brightest bulbs don’t play in those rooms because they read the stories, they know the endings, and it isn’t going to so swell for our digital goon squads.

Monday’s harassment is a testimonial to what? The way it is? The cost of living in a free and open society? What unintended consequences looks like in this psychologically armed for scam and profit social media landscape we now all trudge through?

Be careful not just for what you wish, but for what you click for.

Buy a book, book a show…

Edited Red Star

Getting Rid of Stuff

There is no compromising with your stuff

compromise

Immutable Law of Stuff Riddance

The social activity director has been asked to leave the room— Close the door behind you— All those deadlines, all the things you said you’d get around to but you never did, all those— things?

Yeah peeps it is stuff time again. Toxic recycling center here I come. Second hand stores you’re next. Craigslist for items that still have value— picture’s already posted. The rest of the burden will be my burden to bear. Yeah, I got digital media devices. Yes, a terabyte sized solid state hard drive the size of Tinkerbell has done a fair amount of downsizing and cardboard box eliminating. But, there remains—-more stuff.

Then, there is the immutable law of not needing something until the day after you have discarded the very thing you have lugged up and down stairs, across stateliness, at great expense until you fall into that feverish state where relinquishment becomes sacrament. The newborn proud disposer of previously acquired indispensable stuff you’ve never used finally goes only to turn around a come back to haunt you. First, you buy it, then you never use it, then you try to lose it, only to have the thing come back and bite you in the regretful backside of what was once somebodies idea of a good time. This is stuff’s swan song doing dirge and death march, also known as the local-not nearly nearby as you’d like it to be county garbage dump.

I do not think of myself as a materialist. I have basements, garages, storage areas and overstuffed lockers that argue otherwise. Closets, drawers and shelves put a man like me at risk. I’m more able to resist that next shot of Wild Turkey than  I am able to discipline myself at the mailbox and just toss away another catalogue of mail order stuff that can be here to clog my life by the day after tomorrow.

The whole idea of not getting a hernia is like hoping I won’t get wet while swimming. A pair of gloves that’s what I need, that and some kind of plan. I’ll need to go through things one more time to be sure. I wish the whole idea of having a spring cleaning wasn’t even a time honored tradition, because as things go I could first off enjoy getting rid of that little nattering nuisance of a phrase. Of course words are cheap and stuff is heavy, not item by item but when you figure how much all this stuff weighs on my soul you get the idea right?

I’m starting tomorrow. Things have to change. There is no avoiding the fact I have to get rid of more stuff and worse still is people seeing you getting rid of stuff ask if you’d be willing to take some of their stuff off their hands—? Sure, put right there, I’ll see you when you get back from Tuscany, have a great time. You know where I’ll be.

Buy a book, book a show… let’s do stuff together….

coffee

Hot as Hell, Dark as Death

Edited Red Star

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bikini Days

Tranquility

Kona

The Good Life…

Pace is quickening. Blurred through four/five days in Kona. Tense times on the windward side of the island near the volcano filled the radio and papers with news of eruptions. Visibility was down because of the haze in the air from the eruptions two hours south and west of us. Seismic activity occurred prior to our arrival.

We encamped along the western shores in the south side of Kailua-Kona. We did two beach feasts slathered in sunscreen sheltering beneath parasols. We bodysurfed, ate succulent noshes and drank water. We only regarded the cookies. No sunscreen- plenty of cookies- and lots of beer- is now way too old school and irresponsible behavior for repentant post carnivorous recently converted vegans. The salami fans in the family are crestfallen.

20180515_104958

My Recommendation is you drink your coffee here for all eternity

We took our walks early. Best was into a shaded cool fern forest up at about 6000’. We could hike more but with the heat timing is everything.

The youngest in our family are blissfully foolish and the elders delightful denialist’s. We come from a hardheaded stock. The elephants in the room are ignored while instead we spoil the demure and timid Chihuahua’s lounging in our sofa pits.

The facts of life come dressed in bathing suits. Youth looks great in a bikini. Men would kill to remain fetching in their Speedo but beer and time do not much help matters. Lifespans could be accommodated to fix this shortcoming but by my eye we’d mostly all be dead by 30 but for a genetically gifted handful.

Once upon a time all that mattered was enjoying time near bikini clad beachgoers. Now I am expected to not enjoy my time on the beach with quite so much enthusiasm. More sunscreen, shade and water. Less beer, salami and cookies. I’m doing my best, and that’s being honest with you, would someone hand me my sunglasses…?

As ever buy a book, book a show. It is always the most clever moment…

Edited Red Star

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

May 1, ’18 First of May

Wind and Wave

Akumal headlands small

Shoreline

We are sailing from San Francisco Bay to the Channel Islands this summer. Aside from working on the to-do list and planning is to take pause from preparations and spend time reading Bernard Moitessier. The French-Vietnamese circumnavigator’s maritime narrative reads as lyric verse and Farmers Almanac guidance.

Clutter can accumulate within the mind while preparing a sailboat. In this modern era there is the risk of having too much equipment. Electronic navigation has radically changed the task of keeping an accurate course and position. Automatic Identification System-allows two vessels to view the others information while approaching and take evasive action or as needed to hail by VHF radio. Add the weather satellites and telemetry from the ocean buoys being caught offshore in an unexpected gale is much less common now than in earlier times.

Moitessier reads more as an example in how to exercise judgement. He nudges less seasoned mariners to unloading expectations, Turn the keys to your life over to the seas rhythm and wavelength. Be with the wind and the waves. Listen to the music of the bow wake. Technology can veil the visceral, anxiety can turn attentions inward, the long list of things you didn’t get done before shoving off can distract.

Sweet Seas

We untether from a land based time and begin living on that other scale on the inner clock. Nothing much happens when sailing resembling the pace of the modern world. You become acquainted with the pace and rhythm of the clear and present. Here and now with hundreds of miles ahead asks the voyager to get comfortable in their own bones. Impatience, the odd pace of life at sea, unrealistic expectations will contaminate the mind and fog the lens of judgement. Exercising untainted judgement is the highest form of voyaging art. The best decisions determine whether you and your boat will both live to tell.

Edited Red Star

Buy a book, book a show, and be sure to come back for no good reason other than to have a look-see. I’m right here mate.