June 10 – June 16 (2019)
RANDOM PIC OF THE WEEK
My pal Rob sent me this picture. Wouldn’t you have loved to have been a fly on the wall to hear what Walt Disney discussed with Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy???!!!
One of the things I love to do when I drive around my hometown of Sioux Falls, South Dakota is listen to local AM radio. They have a lot of great oldies stations there. One of them was playing an old “American Top 40” program from 1983. It was great listening to Casey Kasem count the hits down all the way to number 1. He played “We Two” by Little River Band, which is one of my favorite songs of all time. Hearing Casey talk up the intro to this song, with that golden voice of his, gave me a serious case of the feels. He was one in a million. And so is this song.
Monday the 10th – HOT TOMATO! – We got a sneak peek at summer over the first few days of the week. It was 103 in L.A. and it felt great! We have been having a lot of cool, overcast weather, so to get a taste of summer like this suited me just fine. I got up at 1 and walked Roxy, but she didn’t stay outside for very long. Then I went to get my Gran Tornio out from my auxiliary garage and drove it around to charge up the battery. I was heading out of town later in the week, and I didn’t want it sitting idle another week. Oddly enough, driving around with the windows down on a 103 day felt pretty good. It reminded me of the time in the 70’s when I had a ’74 Nova without air conditioning. My air conditioning system was such; I rolled all the windows down, and if I wanted to turn up the air conditioning, I drove faster. I drove by Jersey Mike’s to get lunch, but since I needed to keep the engine running while I was inside there wasn’t any ideal parking spots near the restaurant where I felt comfortable leaving it running. I drove to the bank and went inside, but the line was much too long, so I left with the intention of making my deposit within the next few days. I went to the Taco Bell drive-thru to get lunch and then headed to Bang Zoom for another digital assistant session. By the time I got to the gig, the Torino had been running for quite a while, so I was satisfied that the battery was sufficiently recharged. We got out of the session a little before six, so I had time to run over to the bank and quickly make my deposit. Then I went home to record some auditions. My friend Sara met me at Paty’s and we spent a delightful pre-summer evening on the patio having dinner. I went home to do some work and then grabbed a nap. I got up later to type out Wally’s Week and plan for my upcoming trip to Sioux Falls, South Dakota to celebrate my parents’ 60th anniversary!
Tuesday the 11th – TOOTH-DAY AFTERNOON! – As if 103 wasn’t enough on Monday, Tuesday hit 105. But again, I don’t mind it. I got up at noon and checked e-mails, and then hurried off to the dentist for a day I had waited for, for a very long time. Since my schedule has been so crazy, I told the dentist I wanted “one stop shopping” on my next visit. Instead of breaking up the appointments to cover several different issues, I wanted everything done in one sitting. So we had to fill 3 cavities, do my semi-annual cleaning, and put the crown on my implant! FINALLY! After a year I was going to have a tooth in the upper back left again! First he numbed me up on the right side; the location of the 3 small cavities that needed filled, and while that took effect he got ready to put my crown on. First he removed the little cap from my implant that had been in there for about a month. Then he put an “abutment” in the implant. It’s like a little post that screws into the implant, which will host the new crown. Then they took an X-ray to make sure everything looked good, and then he place the crown over the abutment. It all fit perfectly! Then he attached the crown to the abutment with a tiny screw which goes up through the bottom of the crown through a tiny hole. Once the crown is screwed down tightly, the tiny hole is filled in with composite filling. I can’t believe after a year of craziness I was finally going to be able to chew on my left side again! By the time he was done my right side was pretty numbed up. He filled two cavities on the upper right, and one cavity on the lower right. One cavity on the upper right had gotten under the filling of a previously filled tooth. Not sure how THAT happened. But I’m glad he caught it. The one on the lower right was a bit more problematic, and for a while there he thought it may have needed a root canal. Once he got all the decay cleared away, he realized he had reached the nerve of the tooth. He said he could put some medication in there and seal it up with composite filling, or perform a root canal. After all I’ve been through the past year I told him to do option 1 and we’ll hope for the best. I’m DONE with dental stuff! Then I got my cleaning, which was actually the most painful part of the day. The sonic cleaner he uses can cause sensitivity in certain teeth sometimes. An hour and a half later, I was out the door! WOO HOO! What was going to be my first meal with my new tooth? I picked up my mail on the way home, got some supplements for Roxy at the pet store, and then put the Torino away. I went home to do a little work, and then my pal Jim Ojala came by to pick up the mannequin to make my Captain Kirk figure. He’s going to put a likeness of William Shatner on the head of the mannequin, and then the work of painting it, hairing it and costuming it will commence. My friend Brie came over and we headed over to pick up my ‘adopted grandma’ Shirley for the Sons of the Desert meeting. At the meetings they sell hot dogs and chips before the movies start, so THAT was the first meal with my new tooth; hot dogs and chips at a Laurel and Hardy fan club meeting! Pretty sweet! Margaret Kerry was there to speak and was terrific. In addition to being a dancer and an actress for close to 80 years, she’s probably best known as the ‘figure model’ for Tinkerbell in Disney’s animated “Peter Pan.” She even recreated some of Tinkerbell’s scenes from the film, much in the same way she did back in the 50’s! It was superb! We watched a few Laurel and Hardy films and then I went home to do some work. I recorded an audition and then made my traditional Saturday night Super Salad, even though it wasn’t Saturday night. The previous Saturday night I was getting some fast sleep before a singing in Pasadena. So this was the only “make-up” night I could do before my trip out of town. It’s been REALLY busy of late! It was great eating my salad with my new tooth. And chewing on my right side again will take some getting used to. I enjoyed my salad and watched another episode of “SNL” from the season four DVD set.
Wednesday the 12th – FINAL DAY BEFORE LIFTOFF! – The day started with a trip to Guns Direct in Burbank so I could do a PPT (private party transfer) application. I have a friend who’s selling me his Walther PPK (the “James Bond” gun) and a Springfield model 1911. Since it’s a handgun you can’t just sell it outright, you have to have a certified dealer do the transfer legally. After the paperwork was finished I went to the Burger King drive-thru to get lunch, and then headed to Bang Zoom to do another digital assistant Voice-Over session. I think we have one more session after this, and that will be it. I’m anxious for this platform to be launched so I can tell you more about it! After the session I headed home to pack up for my Thursday flight to South Dakota.
Thursday the 13th – HEY! THAT’S ME! – The alarm went off at 6:15am, I showered, my housesitter Ariel arrived at 6:30am, my driver Armen arrived at 6:45am, and we drove through morning traffic to LAX so I could catch my 10am flight to Phoenix (my connection to get to Sioux Falls). Armen used to drive my friend Bruce Kulick to the airport all the time when he was flying out to do his gigs with Grand Funk. But since Bruce moved out of the LA area, it was nice of Bruce to refer his driver Armen to me. I hadn’t been to LAX in a very long time, and it was interesting seeing all the changes. I got checked in around 8am and had a few hours to kill before the flight took off. Better to be early than late! When I got on the plane and was looking for my seat, I heard one of my safety announcements play on the overhead system. Normally when I fly American Airlines out of Burbank, the planes are on the smaller side, and they don’t have recorded announcements. But it tickled me to hear the announcements by me, telling me to stash my carry-on baggage in the overhead compartment or under the seat in front of me. Not only was that fun, but the flight attendant in First Class was one of the most beautiful women I had ever seen. WOW! But she was also a dynamite flight attendant! I was tired, so I slept the entire hour to Phoenix. But I’ll never get her angelic face out of my mind! Once I got on the ground in Phoenix I found my gate for the Sioux Falls flight. It was running about a half hour late. It was supposed to depart at 12:45, but it ended up departing only 15 minutes later at 1:00. They got the passengers off the previous flight, and got the passengers loaded up for the next flight pretty rapidly. I was impressed! Because it was a smaller plane there were no recorded announcements that played. But since my First Class ticket indicated that there would be a meal on this flight, I purposely avoided eating in the terminal during my layover so I could enjoy the on-board meal. I was seated in the aisle seat of the second row, and each row of this plane had 3 seats. So the flight attendant came to take orders and the conversation went like this…
FA: (to first person in row 1) “Would you like a chicken wrap or a Greek lentil salad?
First person in row 1: “Chicken wrap.”
FA: (to second person in row 1) “Would you like a chicken wrap or a Greek lentil salad?
Second person in row 1: “Chicken wrap”
FA: (to third person in row 1) “Would you like a chicken wrap or a Greek lentil salad?
Third person in row 1: “Chicken wrap”
FA: (to me) Would you like a Greek lentil salad?
Me: (long pause) That’s my only choice?
FA: We just ran out of chicken wraps. They only gave us 3. We have to take what they give us.
Not really being in to Greek lentil salads I passed. But I did mention that I purposely avoided eating in the terminal because it stated that lunch would be served on board. She apologized profusely and I told her it wasn’t her fault and that I’d be alright. Firstly, I was going to be eating for 20 people once I got to Sioux Falls, because the food there is so good. And secondly, I was going to be fasting for a day next week for a surgical procedure so it would be good practice. But since I hadn’t had a single thing to eat all day and it was getting deep into the afternoon, I figured I’d just nap and dream of all the great food I was about to enjoy in Sioux Falls this weekend! We touched down in Sioux Falls at 5:45, I got my checked bag, my rental car (a really nifty Ford Flex!) and my first stop was the B&G Milky way to have 3 delicious sloppy joe’s, a strawberry shake, and a Diet Coke! YUMMMM!! Heaven on earth! And not a Greek lentil salad anywhere in sight! (Moral of the story: ALWAYS eat in the airport during layovers no matter what your ticket says you’ll get onboard!) I checked into my room at the Hilton and headed to a restaurant called Fry’n Pan to meet my folks, my sisters Peggy and Bonnie, and my niece Julia. Since I had just eaten I didn’t have anything else, but the company was nice. Then I hit Wal-Mart to pick up some supplies, and headed back to my room to unpack. A bit later in the evening I ordered a Boss’ Pizza, something I look forward to doing every time I’m in Sioux Falls. But when the pizza arrived it was really short of sauce (even though I had ordered extra sauce.) I showered and hit the hay. I got a “straight eight” – a full eight hours of sleep all in a row; which is a bit of a rarity for me.
Friday the 14th – TOODLING AROUND SIOUX FALLS! – I had the day to myself, since none of my parents’ party responsibilities would happen until later. At noon I met Devin and Mike, the General Manager and Program Director of a radio station in my “other” hometown of Aberdeen, South Dakota for lunch. I’m the station voice, which makes it kind of novel that I’m still on the air in my old hometown after all these years. With my class reunion coming up this fall, Mike had suggested a while back that I do a six hour radio show on their station to celebrate the Class of ‘79’s return. I’ve been feverishly writing it and planning it for several months now, and I wanted to show them the progress I made. This is going to be a blast! After the meeting I stopped by the local JoAnn Fabrics to shop, and found some perfect fabric for a new project I’m working on. I bought the entire bolt of 7 yards, as it was on sale for $4.99 a yard! (Marked down from $19.99 a yard!!) My pal Valerie Perez had asked once if there are real falls in Sioux Falls, so I stopped over to Falls Park to shoot some video and pictures for her to prove that, “Yes Valerie…there IS a Sioux Falls.” On the way back to my hotel I passed up another location of B&G Milky Way, and naturally, I couldn’t resist. The salad I had at lunch hadn’t really stuck with me, so I was in the mood for a few more sloppy joe’s and an ice cream cone. I ran into an old pal there who was in town visiting from North Carolina. While I ate my strawberry/vanilla twist cone, Joel Kunkel introduced me to his kids, and accompanying nieces, and we chatted about all sorts of things. I headed back to my room to rest up, and then head over to the social hall in Tea, South Dakota where my parents’ 60’s anniversary party and luncheon would be held on Saturday afternoon. My sisters and folks had done a great job of decorating everything up, so there wasn’t much else that I could do. Afterwards a bunch of us went to a restaurant called Granite City, a neat place with a patio that’s positioned next to a small man-made pond that plays host to ducks and croaking frogs. There were 8 of us eating, but when the meals arrived only 6 of us got our food. My friend Scott’s wife Patti and my mom didn’t get their orders. Very few things make me more furious than food arriving separately when there’s a big group of us. I gave them a few minutes, and then I excused myself to go get the manager. They apologized profusely and offered to give us all complimentary desserts. I thought it was nice of them to make it right with us. After dinner I went back to Wal-Mart to get more supplies, and I spied a big bag of banana popsicles. You don’t see them often, and I was wondering how I could get them crammed into the little freezer in my hotel room. But instead, I made a mental note for next week’s pre-op fast. I knew I could have popsicles as part of my liquid-only diet, but I couldn’t have anything red, blue or purple. But these were yellow AND very tasty! So I would be on the lookout for them at the LA Wal-Mart when I got back home! I got back to the hotel and got another “straight eight!”
Saturday the 15th – 60 YEARS! – I got fancied up and headed over to the location of my folks’ luncheon and celebration. In the elevator on the way down there were two guys (around the age of 22) passionately discussing how they were going to smuggle booze into wherever it was they were headed. One guy said he figured he could hide two bottles behind his suit bag, and stuff a few more bottles in his pocket. The other guy was trying to figure out how he was going to smuggle in the booze. I rolled my eyes. I guess this is what passes for excitement in South Dakota – figuring out ways to smuggle booze into an event. But, at least it’s nice to have goals…as strange as they may seem. My folks’ party was fun and it was great seeing a bunch of my relatives whom I hadn’t seen in a long time. My sisters and I offered up a short presentation of various videos, songs and memories. My dad was even coerced into playing his new ukulele! After the festivities I drove back into Sioux Falls to meet my old pal “Hutch” for a few beverages. Steve Hatt was “Hutch” to my Starsky when we were in Junior High, and we’ve remained friends ever since. So when I’m in town it’s fun to get together again. I headed back to the hotel to change into comfy clothes, and then hit B&G Milky Way again for a few more sloppy joes. Since I won’t be back in the Sioux Falls area until late July, I had to get my fill while I could! Around 7 I met my pals Dr. Doom and his wife Mrs. Doom (actually oral surgeon Dr. Lou George and his wife Gina) at the movie theater. Dr. Lou was given the name Dr. Doom by my pal Officer Mark and I when we were hanging out at the Las Vegas Toycon a few months ago. Dr. Lou is obsessed with the Dr. Doom character from the Fantastic Four comics, so he considers the nickname an honor. My pals Scott and Dave quickly joined us in the theater to see “Godzilla; King of the Monsters.” It was a very fun two hours. I just wish the monsters had more color to them. They all seemed very drab. When we left the theater it was pouring rain! But yet the sky was still clear in the distant horizon…VERY strange! It was raining so hard we didn’t want to make a break for our cars, but you could still see the bright moon in the sky in the distance. And to make the visual even MORE picturesque, the clouds around the moon looked to be in the shape of the monster Ghidra from the movie we had just seen. I’ll never forget it! We all had a good laugh about that. My folks texted me to let me know my 94 year old great uncle had just flown in from Santa Barbara and was hungry. So we all went over to the Fry’n Pan (one of my folks’ favorite hangs) for dinner. My sister Peggy and her husband Jeff joined us. It was good to see Uncle Veryl again. He was confined to a wheelchair, but his nice assistant Angie drove him around and got him to where he needed to be. A long time ago, Uncle Veryl and I used to correspond. He was a very successful architect, and also drew cool monster characters on his letters to me. He was also very tall, so I gave him the moniker “Tall Cool Uncle” (or T.C.U.) for short in our correspondence. Not only could he draw (I also drew when I was a kid) but he lived in California; which I thought was a dynamite combination. It was fun to see his face light up when he saw me as he was wheeled into the restaurant. VERY special. I got back to the hotel to check into my Sunday afternoon flight and pack up to go home.
Sunday the 16th – Sunday (NO) Funday! – Promptly at 11am I checked out of my room and I had to get back to the Fry’n Pan to meet my folks for breakfast. It was nice being able to buy my dad breakfast on Father’s Day! But the hotel only has 3 luggage carts, so there were people stalking other people who had carts, and following them to their cars so they could grab the carts the minute they were empty. This was very awkward during check-out time. For Christmas, maybe I’ll buy them a few more luggage carts, as they seem to be suffering a shortage. I got to Fry’n Pan with mom and dad, and my pal Scott joined us too. Then in comes Uncle Veryl and Angie! BONUS! Around 12:30 I said my goodbyes to everybody and got in my Flex to go get it gassed up. My 3:15 flight would be boarding at 2:45, and I wanted to be there by 1:30 to get checked in and settled. Plus I still needed to get to Fed Ex to ship some stuff home. I got gassed up, got the stuff shipped, and made my way to the airport. I was within two blocks of the airport when I got a text. It was from American Airlines saying that MY FLIGHT HAD BEEN CANCELED! OH NO!!! They also stated that the earliest they could get me out of Sioux Falls was Monday night at 6:30pm! DOUBLE OH NO! I sped to the airport, parked my rental car and ran to the American desk. The people were already starting to line up to get rescheduled. Thank GOD I was First Class, because there were only two of us in line and they had a separate attendant for First Class passengers. Otherwise I would have been there for hours in the line of 20 to 30 people who were in the same boat as I was…no flight that afternoon to Dallas! They issued me my alternate ticket and I started planning what to do. Even though I connected through Phoenix on the way TO Sioux Falls, I had to connect through Dallas OUT of Sioux Falls. It’s just the way it ended up being. I don’t fly United because I despise the Denver airport (long story) so this route was a suitable option that got me back to L.A. at a reasonable time. My first calls were to my housesitter and my driver to let them know I may be extending my trip involuntarily for another day. (I found out later that there was majorly bad weather in Dallas, and several flights had been cancelled over the past few days) I told Enterprise that I would be keeping my Flex for one more day. I’m SO glad I didn’t turn it in yet, because other passengers who were stranded for 24 hours were going to all the car rental desks asking for cars, and there were NONE available. I learned a valuable lesson for the future. Whenever possible, check into the flight BEFORE returning the rental car! I figured I’d drive back to the hotel, see if I could get a room for the night again, but also get on the computer in their business office to find an alternate flight on a different airline. Reluctantly I checked United. Nothing for that evening. Then I checked Delta. BINGO! They had a First Class seat open for that night! 7:15 flight to Minneapolis, connecting to a 10:50pm flight to LAX – landing at 12:38am. It would involve a 2.5 hour layover, but it would give me plenty of time to get dinner so I would have to eat a Greek lentil salad on the flight. YUCK! I booked it and printed my boarding passes. I’ll get credit for the unused portion of my ticket on American later, and most likely apply it toward my trip in late July. I needed to get back into L.A. so I could start prepping for the colonoscopy I was having on Wednesday. I texted my housesitter to let her know I’d be back around 1am, and I texted my driver Armen to ask if he could be there at 1am to get me at LAX. Both said it was fine. So I phoned my folks and told them the situation. I went to their apartment to visit a bit more, and then met my pal Scott at Granite City for some more beverages on the patio. About 5:45 I headed to the airport. I returned the vehicle to Enterprise and told them I would NOT be needing it another day, and I got checked in to my flight. I got through security and got ready for my flight to Minneapolis. The plane was very, VERY small, and the onboard AC wasn’t working all that well. So within an hour flight to Minneapolis I had sweat through the hoodie I was wearing. As soon as I got to the airport I bought a thin Minnesota Twins t-shirt, and wrapped the hoodie around my carry-on bag. I strolled through the airport looking for a familiar place to eat. A ha! McDonalds! But you had to order through one of their kiosks! It felt strange. I took my food to the gate to wait for my flight. I got on my flight to L.A and it was a great feeling! The plane’s interior was gorgeous, with moody blue lighting all throughout the plane! It looked very much like my Tranquility Zone! It was very relaxing and pleasant. The seats were nice and roomy and best of all, the AC worked perfectly! Funkmaster George Clinton and his wife were on my flight. COOL! The nearly 4 hour flight to L.A. was smooth, and I slept the majority of the way. I pulled my cap down over my eyes, pulled my hoodie over me, put my Bose noise-canceling headphones on, put on my iPod’s mellow playlist, and slept virtually all the way home. I only woke up once I felt the plane begin to descend. That’s the way to travel! There was a gorgeous full moon out, and as we flew over the Pacific Ocean to circle into LAX I looked out the window at the moon-bathed ocean. GORGEOUS! Simply stunning! Coupled with the blue lighting of the plane’s interior, and everything I had gone through that day to try and get home on time, I was feeling rather “high” knowing that I was finally going to be home again soon. I got my checked bag, Armen was there waiting, and I got home to see the pets. It was a great trip, I got to see a lot of great people and have a lot of great food, but it was also GREAT to be home! I put my stuff away, got ready for bed and collapsed! The first few days of the new week would be spent prepping for my procedure on Wednesday, but after that my schedule would be wide open for a while. And given how busy the past month as been, I was REALLY looking forward to it!
And how was YOUR week!?
PIX FROM THE WEEK