Archive for June, 2013

June 24 – June 30 (2013)


I’ve always said, you just don’t see any depressed people at a dog park. Now you can see why.

Last Thursday on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” I sang a song on the act 2 comedy segment called “Audience Sizzle Reels.” It needed an Elvis-y flair, so my pal Jim Wise (producer of the segment) asked if my Elvis impression was still ok. (I’ve known Jim since the old days when we were doing radio comedy at the Cutler Comedy Network!) It’s such a catchy tune, that even after the recording session was finished, I couldn’t get it out of my head. Here’s the song Jim wrote for audience member Riva Lee Korb.

Monday the 24th – BATHROOM BONANZA! – I didn’t get a hotline call from “The Tonight Show,” so I woke up on my own at noon to let my contractor Terry in to continue working on the downstairs storage area in my garage. He’s been busily working in my crawlspace to create a storage space for my library of videotapes, audio tapes, reels, cassettes, etc. It’ll be a nice cool, dry place for maximum preservation. My electrician Electric Bob came over to discuss my upcoming bathroom remodeling project. Awhile back, my fiberglass bathtub developed a crack in it and needed replacing before water leakage caused mold and all sorts of other nasty stuff. The majority of the work will be done while I’m on vacation in South Dakota, because my lifestyle isn’t really consistent with workmen coming in the early morning hours and banging and pounding all day. It was a foggy, cool day, so I decided to bike into work. As usual, I stopped by Paty’s in Toluca Lake for a quick salad. But they were out of the fried chicken pieces they put in my favorite salad, so I had one with grilled chicken instead. Not really the same, but it was adequate nonetheless. It was a fun day to bike. Overcast, cool but also warm, if that makes any sense. I had lots on my mind so it was good to clear my head. With my upcoming bathroom project and my forthcoming trip to South Dakota weighing heavily on my mind, I really needed this ride. I got into work a little early and did a few bits for one of the writers. Then we rehearsed the opening. After we started the show I got on the computer and finished up Wally’s Week. When we wrapped I hopped on the bike and headed out. But before I went home I stopped by the fro yo place to get something cold. The kid working there must’ve been about 24. He came out to clean up the table I was at and he apologized saying that people were so messy. I told him I was guilty of that earlier in the day. I had my salad at Paty’s and left quite a mess around my plate. I had forgotten to have them leave off the onions, so I had to pick them out by hand and lay them next to my plate. He said he has the same problem with mushrooms. I said, “Me too! Hate ’em!” Then he said he also hated avocado and I said, “ME TOO! HATE ‘EM!” Then I asked him how old his mom was. He said she was 44. I said as much as he and I have in common, it’s quite possible I may have known her in the past. He laughed heartily, but she lives in Arizona. So it’s doubtful the Fro Yo kid and I share any DNA. It was a funny moment though. When I got home I saw Terry’s progress and it was very nice! I went inside and finished up Wally’s Week and did an audition. Then I took a dip in the jacuzzi to relax the legs. I grabbed a quick nap on the couch, then got up to remove everything out of my main bathroom. Electric Bob was coming over Tuesday to take my bathtub apart and haul it away, so I needed to have everything out of his way. It was a huge job, but I got it done! I retired for the evening and watched an episode of “Hawaii Five-O” from the season 11 DVD set. My pal Brian Tochi was in it! He played a young thug who cuts a deal with McGarrett to infiltrate a new gang that comes to Honolulu. Great work, Bri!

Tuesday the 25th – TORRID TUESDAY! – The hotline woke me up to let me know there were three “TS” bits in my inbox waiting to be recorded. In the middle of recording the third one Electric Bob and Terry arrived to start demolishing my bathroom and bathtub. Electric Bob is replacing my toilet as well with a really nice one (a heated seat!) so it should be nice once all is said and done. Terry continued working on the storage area, while Bob and his minion Ernie started ripping things apart. Not being a fan of loud noises and destruction, I decided to go run some errands. I got a prescription, stocked up on some vitamins, went to my printer to get some signage printed for Planet Wallywood, picked up some more Linatone for Roxy, and got lunch to go at Taco Bell. During all of this, I spoke with a very nice lady who lives in the house I grew up in back in Aberdeen, South Dakota. I told her I would be visiting over the 4th of July week and I’d love to see the ol’ house. She said she’d love to show it to me. WOW! I’m going to get to see my old house I haven’t lived in since 1978. I know the exterior had changed quite a bit, but I’m not sure about the inside. I got to NBC and opened the show. Then my pal Jim Wise (one of the writers and an old compadre of mine from the Cutler Comedy Network days when we were doing radio comedy together) showed me the Elvis bit we did together. It turned out great! We wrapped the show and I headed home. When I walked upstairs to look at the bathroom I couldn’t believe my eyes! Everything in the bathroom was gone! Only the studs in the wall and the insulation were left! With the bathtub out, there was a fine layer of white powdery dust over everything. So I set about cleaning it all up. My pal Edi and her daughter Ems stopped by just as Terry was finishing up for the day. We all went out to Denny’s for dinner. But I wasn’t great company because my mind was busy contemplating the bathroom project and my South Dakota trip. I got home and napped on the couch for a bit, then I got up and cleaned my vanity area top to bottom. I took a shelving unit from my bathroom, unscrewed the legs and put it in my vanity area. It’ll work out great! I think I’ll keep it! I vacuumed my bedroom and continued to clean like crazy! I fed and walked Roxy, did some auditions, and paid some bills. Whew! What a day! What a night! I did some laundry and brought up my big suitcase from the garage, since I’ll start packing tomorrow for my trip to South Dakota this Saturday. Before bed I watched another “Hawaii Five-O” episode called “A Long Time Ago.” GREAT episode. The best one so far this season!

Wednesday the 26th – PACK, LOCK, TALK! – I was up at noon to meet with Electric Bob and Terry again. I walked Roxy and came back in to talk over the bathroom project with Terry and Electric Bob. After much contemplation, I decided only to redo the bathroom and not the vanity area. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. The vanity area is fine, and I don’t feel we had enough lead time to really do it the way I wanted it anyway. So I kept the workmen focused just on the bathroom, the bathtub and toilet. Later, I’ll have him redo the shower in the Puppet Room as well, since that’s getting fairly old now too. I readied some checks for deposit while Terry finished up the storage area. He just needs to install the lighting and a few finishing touches, then we can start hauling stuff into the storage space and clearing out some of the garage area. Electric Bob and his minion Ernie put new fans and lights in both bathrooms. I did a bit for “TTS” in my home studio and e-mailed it in (a little tricky when you’ve got workmen pounding and hammering both upstairs and under the house!). I’ve still got to pick out a tub, tile and fixtures. That needs to be done before I leave for South Dakota Saturday! I headed into work but stopped by Quizno’s for a bite. I went to NBC early, we finished the show, and then I went to Gun World to buy a lock for my gun case, so I can pack it in my checked luggage. You are allowed to carry an unloaded handgun in your checked baggage as long as you declare it and fill out a small orange card. I stopped by the bank and made some deposits, stopped by the dry cleaners to get a comforter for the Puppet Room bed, stopped by my mailbox to get some mail, and headed home at last. Electric Bob and his minion Ernie had finished up for the day. But Terry put in another two hours before he knocked off for the day. My effects guy Jim Ojala stopped by to pick up the talk box for my Beetlejuice figure. We’re going to experiment with a larger speaker and a different triggering switch. I took a swim, a brief dip in the Jacuzzi, and then went upstairs to my bedroom to work on rewiring some lighting effects. I have a neon sign, a “Family Guy” Pawtucket Patriot ale can lamp, and of course my new Riddler trophy. I needed to wire them in such a way that they could be lit separately. But yet I wanted the two showcases full of toys to be lit simultaneously. It involved emptying all of the drawers from my dresser, moving that, cleaning behind it meticulously, and then moving one of the showcases away from the wall a few inches so I could get access to the outlets. Whew! It wasn’t an easy job, but it’s perfect now! I cleaned up some of the areas that were left dirty and dusty by the workmen, and then I started packing for my trip. Because the vacation was so extensive (seven full days!) I needed a lot of clothes. More than what could be handled by my suitcase. So I went downstairs in the garage and found a suitable box, put some extra clothes in it, sealed it up, and readied it for Fed Ex the next day. If all goes well, it should arrive Monday morning in Sioux Falls just in time for me to need them for my trip. I fed Roxy and took her on our late-night stroll. Then made some of my world infamous Buffalo Mac (diced buffalo chicken pieces mixed in with bits of celery and Kraft macaroni and cheese. Yum!) By the time I settled down to watch another episode of “Hawaii Five-O” I realized I hadn’t stopped moving all day!

Thursday the 27th – BEAUTIFUL BERETTA! – Fed Ex was my first stop of the day so I could ship my clothes. It was a heavy box and even though it didn’t have to be in Sioux Falls until Monday, it still cost over $100 to ship. But it was necessary. My next stop was Regenix for another follow-up appointment to see how my scalp was looking. I got a clean bill of health! All was going well! As I was in the McDonald’s drive-thru my agent called to let me know there was a bit for “TTS” in my inbox. I sped home and recorded it. As I was working on locking up my Walther PPK in my traveling box, I realized that the little lock I had bought at Gun World wasn’t going to be enough. It only locked one side and the gun could still be slid out of the box on the other side because of its thin profile. So off I went to Gun World to get a second lock. While I was there I made the mistake of going into the back room to see what sort of new guns they got in. Bad idea. I found a beautiful Beretta M-9, which is the military version of the 92FS model. The FS is made in Italy, but the M-9 is made in the U.S. I’ve always liked how that gun looks, and I remember a dart gun I had as a kid looking a lot like this. In fact, at one of the voice-over studios I work at, there’s a yellow resin version of the M-9/92FS in the voice booth. When actors are doing scenes for videogames, some of them prefer to actually have something in their hands as they go through the physicality of battle. The Gun World salesguy who showed me the gun said he carried one during his four year stint in Afghanistan. I told him it clearly kept him alive and returned him to U.S. soil in great shape, so I said “SOLD!” It’s a beaut! Just as I finished the paperwork I got a call from “TTS” asking me to come in early to record a bit. I sped to NBC and did the bit, then opened the show. When we wrapped I hurried back home to meet up with Terry, who drove his big pick-up truck over. We headed over to Contractor’s Warehouse and bought a new porcelain coated steel tub for my bathroom. It’s not oversized. It has no jets or fancy widgets…it’s just a plain ol’ tub. This will be much easier to install. No electricians needed to wire in power for jets and in-line heaters, and no plumbers needed to re-rig the water delivery system in my bathroom. We got it home, unloaded it into my garage and went to DuPar’s for dinner. By the time we got back it was too late for Terry to do any work on the storage space, so I helped him load up his table saw and his air compressor. Terry was pretty tired, but I was feeling over-energetic. I hopped up into the bed of his pick-up and started pulling his equipment up into the truck. Bad idea. I bent over to pull the table saw in and SNAP! Something under my left rib cage hurt like heck! I guess I’m not as spry as I thought. I don’t think I hurt a rib, because I didn’t hit it on anything. But perhaps a muscle got strained or something. But it really hurt! When Terry left I came back inside to do work. I did an audition then started up with the packing again. Though it took a while I got everything finished up and ready. It took forever! I fed and walked Roxy on our late-night stroll through the neighborhood, then I came in to do a second audition. I made a salad and got ready for another “Hawaii Five-O” episode in bed. I was beat. And my rib still hurt!

Friday the 28th – HI HIATUS! – The ol’ hotline rang at 10:30. My agent let me know there was a “TS” bit in my inbox. By 11 I had it finished and sent to NBC. Today was even hotter than the previous day. I think we’re in for a heatwave…just in time for me to leave town. Perfect! I walked Roxy and came in to shower up for the day. Just as I was leaving Terry pulled up to start working. I stopped at Subway to get a footlong tuna on white, and then sped off to Studiopolis. I did a bunch of work on another “Bleach” episode, and a pick-up on the “Tiger and Bunny” movie. My rib was really hurting on my left side, and every time I yelled or exerted myself, it stung. Just before we finished up the session another bit came in from “TTS.” Suzy the engineer at Studiopolis recorded me and sent it over to the “TS” guys. Then I relaxed and ate my sandwich. While I was in the lobby I ran into two Beetlejuice Graveyard Revue alums…Daran Norris and Brian Beacock. Both were there working on different cartoons, but it’s always fun to talk about those old days slaving away under tons of hot make-up at Universal Studios. I got to my car and sped to “TTS.” I got inside where it was cool and opened the show. Then I was called to one of the editing bays to do some ADR (lip-sync) for an upcoming comedy bit. We wrapped the show and we all took off for a week-long hiatus to celebrate the 4th of July holiday. I drove over to United Airlines at the Burbank Airport to talk to one of the clerks there. I wanted to make doubly sure that the lock and case I had for my Walther PPK were suitable for travel. I showed her the lock and the case and she said it was fine. I just needed to fill out the card when I checked in. Neat! I drove home and fed Spook and walked Roxy. Then I took a much-needed four hour nap! I got up at 10 to finish packing, and finalize the bathroom remodeling details for the workmen to follow in my absence. I got a wild hair to try and look up my old vocal teacher from Junior High while I was back in Aberdeen. Gary Zimmerman was always one of my favorite teachers, and I have some great footage of him teaching in class back in the early 70’s. But when I Googled his name, his obituary came up. Mr. Zimmerman had passed away in April of 2012 from cancer. Rats. Of all the rotten luck. I would have liked to have spoken with him to tell him what his guidance and teaching meant to me as a kid.

Saturday the 29th – I’M FLYING! – The alarm rang at noon and I got up to do some last-minute packing for my flight later that afternoon. I would be leaving at 3, and landing in Sioux Falls, South Dakota around 10:15pm central time. Sara came by to give me a ride to the airport, and my ribs were still hurting quite badly. When I lifted my baggage it was particularly nasty. I got checked in, declared my gun, and enjoyed the flights. They were a breeze, and I slept most of the way! As we got close to landing in Sioux Falls at 10:15pm, I looked out the windows and saw all sorts of fireworks going off all around the landscape. Beautiful! I remember flying in last year at night around July 4th and seeing the same sight. I was hoping I’d be able to enjoy it again this year! But I realized in all of the chaos I forgot my charger cords for my i-Pad and my tablet. I’ll have to stop by Best Buy on Sunday and get new ones. I also will stop by Walgreens to get some Ben Gay pain patches for my rib injury. When I landed and got to Hertz, I realized my corporate credit card wasn’t in my wallet. What could have happened? So I called Sara and had her search the house for it. Boy, my mind must’ve been really occupied with other stuff, considering the amount of things I forgot to bring! I rented a Toyota Rav 4, which was very nice! And the weather in Sioux Falls was cool and pleasant. Not at all like last year’s trip, when it was about 103 every day. I met my folks at Fry’n Pan for a late dinner, and they gave me their heating pad for my ribs. I got to the hotel and there were some guests at the desk having an argument with the hotel clerk. Apparently some credit card was declined or something, and it took me awhile to get checked into my room. I dropped off my luggage and headed to Walgreens. But there was more action at the store. Some guy was dizzy and had passed out in the store, so all sorts of police and paramedics were there. I counted 14 people for one dizzy guy. Wild! Sioux Falls was rockin’ on a Saturday night! I just wanted to get to my room, have a Diet Pepsi and some popcorn, take a pain pill and go to sleep!

Sunday the 30th – YEAR 101! – Though my ribs still hurt a bit when I woke up, they were definitely getting better. I enjoyed a taco burger at Taco John’s and headed out to my grandma’s birthday party. She’ll turn 101 on July 2nd, but we held the party today so more people could come. It was mostly the immediate family, not a huge party like last year’s 100th celebration, but it was very nice. My folks asked if I would serve communion to the family and lead them in a prayer. Of course I said I’d be honored. Gram’s in really good shape for being 101, and hearing her saying the Lord’s Prayer with me as I held her fraile hand in mine is something I’ll remember as long as I live. But after two hours Gram was ready for a nap. But we all had a great visit. I headed out to Best Buy to get my tablet and i-Pad chargers. One of the techs there showed me how I could get music from my i-Pad to play through the car’s stereo via Blue Tooth. This was the most amazing thing I had ever seen. I had no idea it could do that! The i-Pad sat in the backseat playing away, while it talked back and forth to the Blue Tooth! I had my own little radio station broadcasting! AWESOME! I drove around Sioux Falls some more and listened to great tunes. After a quick stop at the B&G Milky Way (one of those little mom & pop ice cream stands) to get a couple of sloppy joe’s and a malt (MMMMM!) I drove out to Catfish Bay where my sister and her family were going to be baptized in the lake with other members of their church. It was a huge event, and everyone seemed in great spirits. The weather couldn’t have been more perfect. When it was over I drove back to my hotel room to get ready for dinner with my ol’ radio pal Scott Maguire and his wife Patti. After a scrumptious steak dinner on the outside patio, I went back to my room to relax and rest my rib.

And how was your week??!!


Here’s the latest addition to my growing collection. It’s a Beretta M-9. I remember having a dart gun that looked exactly like this when I was a kid. I’ve always liked the look and styling of this handgun. It’s 9mm and a real beaut!