We’re back. Good trip. New podcast and blog next Saturday. Did I tell you about the rooster who came back from a business trip on Easter Sunday, and saw all the brightly colored eggs…and beat up the Peacock ?
Archive for March, 2013
I’m sitting here in my big, comfortable, manly , black leather poppa chair in my living room, and I’ve just read what might be the best Louie Louie Generation poem ever written. Proud Podcast Participant John Lancellotti sent it to me. He wrote it a long time ago. It’s called, HANGIN OUT. And It goes like this:
We did it in the dark street
as daytime turned to night.
You’d find us hangin’ out
benearth a corner light.
Or maybe down the block,
we’d gather in a group
to spend the evening laughing,
noisy shadows on a stoop.
We dared the night to harm us–
with danger always near —
but hangin’ with the crowd
was a room we closed to fear.
For boys it was a passage
that led to being men.
We learned that life was struggle,
the gutter’s great Amen…
For girls it was a time
to test a woman’s ways,
to learn about the magic
that turned their men to slaves.
That’s how the city brewed us
in the kettle of the street,
where hangin’ out with friends
made being kids so sweet.
John’s poem set off a sound in my head that I hadn’t heard in years. It was the front door bell ringing, and my buddy Eddie Kelly from across the street was standing there again…just like he did all those years ago…and he’s saying, “Hey, can you come out to play ?” Eddie is about a year older than I am. I’m eight. He’s talking stickball, punch ball, box ball, two hand touch football, or maybe buck buck. Buck buck was a Brooklyn game that involved jumping over a line of guys and landing as hard as you could on the guy in front to see if you could make him fall down. It was a little rougher than today’s NFL…almost approaching the level of last year’s NHL playoffs.
As the neighborhood guru, Eddie taught us younger guys life’s lessons. Like, touch a toad and you’ll get warts. Stick lead from a pencil into your hand and you’ll die. Make a face when somebody slaps your back, and the face stays there till you die. Step on a crack, and you’ll break your mother’s back. You’re in TROUBBBLLLE, but it’ll be ok if you say, PLEEEEZE. And there are alligators in the sewers. Like all the other younger guys in my neighborhood, I pretty much looked to Eddie for life guidance, until one day when he was about 13, and I was really noticing how Jeannie Cambell next door who was 14 was beginning to change…and I was really liking it…Eddie said, “Hey Dick, we’re going to get girls.” I wasn’t quite sure what he meant by getting girls, but if it had anything to do with people who were beginning to look like Jeanie, it sounded good to me.
Then he blew it. I realized in one crushing moment, that Eddie really hadn’t thought life through. He said, “We’re going to go to school at this seminary in upstate New York. There’s a girl’s school just a few blocks away and the girls all love the guys who go to the seminary school.” He didn’t want to hear my first question which was…you guessed it…”How are we going to get girls when we graduate and become priests?”
Eddie and I kind of lost touch after that. Eventually, I went to college, and he didn’t. In my senior year, I finally scraped $25 together, and bought his old car. It was worth $25. Top speed was about 28 MPH…after that it got too noisy, and the smoke became a hazard to the traffic behind me, and when you turned the wheel, a block or so later the car would tend to move in the direction you wanted to go. Usually. I got to see some neighborhoods I’d have never seen if that steering wheel had been a little tighter. The car was the very essence of a jalopy. But it was my first car. And it ran. Sometimes. And it had a functioning back seat. And as I keep telling you in my book Staying Happy Healthy and Hot…you’ve got to have the Gratitude Attitude.
Dick’s Details Quiz. All answers are in the current podcast.
- Why do they call it Mississippi ?
- What do the letters PMS-1 mean on a license plate ?
- Why do guys who have sex three times a week have to be careful about what they tell their wives/girlfriends ?
Dick’s Details. They take your mind off your mind.
Jalopy is an interesting word. Wikipidea says it’s a car that is often old and neglected and is in a barely functional state. I do tv commercials for a living. And I was thinking about how I would describe it if I were doing a TV commercial for a Jalopy manufacturer. And I think there should be jalopy manufacturers. Some wise Louie Louie lad should become a jalopy manufacturer. Louie Louie guys have a sense of humor, and an understanding of practicality. I think the first guy to sell new torn jeans must have been that kind of Louie Louie guy. His jeans making machine probably screwed up, and tore up a big batch of them, so he figured life gave me lemons, so I’ll make some lemonade. Step number one is don’t call them torn. Call them distressed. That makes them hip. Step number two, hire some people who look like Jeannie Cambell was beginning to look to wear a very tight pair, and do some tv commercials. And that’s just what some guy did.
So why shouldn’t some smart Louie Louie lad do the same thing with cars. Point out the advantages of driving a really beaten up old car. Nobody wants to challenge you to go first at a stop sign…your car looks like you’re really up for challenges like that. Who’s going to bother stealing it ? Tail gate ? I don’t think so with all that smoke coming out of the exhaust. And think of the way you can explain why they’re called jalopies ? You could claim they were imported from the Jalopa-goes islands, where they were first discovered by Charles Darwin, the guy who came up with the theory of how humans developed from animals, by carefully observing how well the ladies on those islands were developing. We know this because he took pictures of the better developed ladies to prove his theories, and later made a fortune by selling those pictures to National Geographic magazine purely to advance scientific research of course. I think the sales of distressed cars would go through the roof. And think of the positive effect it would have on the employment figures. New car dealers everywhere would hire parking lot attendents to cosmetically alter their vehicles. Only they wouldn’t be called parking lot attendents. But with Political Correctness we couldn’t call them parking lot attendents. We’d call them dentists.
There’s a story about a woman who works at an automobile dealer’s in the Night Connections 2 Personal Audio CD. The woman’s husband stopped paying attention to her. Paying attention is the sexiest thing you can do with somebody. You’ve got to pay attention when your lady says she’s got a headache. And it’s nice when you pay even more attention when she doesn’t have a headache. So pay attention. Because like the woman in this story, if you stop paying attention, eventually, she’ll stop having a headache with somebody else.
“The Joy Of Giving Thanks is from the Night Connections 2 Personal Audio CD. If you like it, you can just keep the current podcast. Or if you want a fresh copy, just check out the Night Connections 2 icon on the home page.
It was wonderful being a kid back in the days when we had side vents in car windows, Howard Johnsons with orange roofs, double features at the movies, with a newsreel thrown in. We had great toys then too. The best was a hollow hard rubber ball we called a Spauldeen. You could play an amazing number of games with a Spauldeen. Some people think toys aren’t necessary. That’s not true. Toys help you have a happy childhood, and then go on to the next stage of your life. And when you look back at it from the Louie Louie perspective that’s pretty clear. When girls are little, they like dolls. When boys are little we like soldiers. When we grow up things switch around. When girls grow up they like soldiers, and when boys grow up we like dolls.
Actually, as my Lady Wonder Wench and other Louie Louie Ladies know very well, most boys really don’t grow up. I mentioned last week how crayons are so important to the continuation of civilization. And I’m not alone. Just now, a box arrived at the front door. It was sent by Proud Podcast Participant California Dennis…the mis-placed New Yorker. In it is the biggest, best set of crayons I’ve ever seen. The note in the box said, “I like crayons too.” Thank you Dennis for your crayons. And thank you John for your poem. And thank you Eddie Kelly… wherever you are. If you went to that seminary, don’t be too sorry you weren’t elected pope. Remember the gratitude-attitude in my new book. Being the pope is the kind of job where if you screw up you really get in Ttrrroouble. And it doesn’t do any good to just kneel down, look up to heaven and say Ppllleeeze.
I just had a great time on the air with Bob Burns. We were talking about my book Staying Happy Healthy And Hot. I think you’ll get a kick out of it. http://www.on-video.com/FTP_Directory/On-Video/WONDBobBurns031513.mp3
My Lady Wonder Wench and I are taking a couple of weeks off to play. We’ll look forward to being back in touch with you on or about April 6. Happy Spring.
Oh yeah, the feel and smell of crayons is wonderful … just ask California Dennis; now HE knows Crayola …
And there is absolutely no way to do “nothing” with a box of crayons in your hand. But the idea of moving parts is, I do believe, hugely overblown … at least by the Louie Louie Lads of my acquaintance. Eyebrows? Ears? Fingers … ????? Hmmmmm …
Why is it that every single Navy boy/man I knew in Boston had a ton of moving fingers and practiced long and well to get the use of them in line with their wants? I walked home alone from several dates because of that – until, of course, I met the Lad himself. Then, for some reason, I stopped noticing moving parts … well, sort of …
Did the Lad remind youall that we are going to Spring Training again this year ‘cause we are gluttons for punishment? We’ll be gone for two weeks…back the end of the month. No matter what Gary Cohen says as the Mets announcer, I really don’t believe they’re gonna win anything … sigh … moving parts?
I am sitting here in my big, comfortable, manly, black leather poppa chair in my living room, and I’m semi-seriously considering popping a copy of my new book, Staying Happy, Healthy And Hot into my neighbor Steve’s mail box. He really needs to think about the Gratitude-Attitude that the book talks about. Steve starts every day off with a smile, so he can get that over with as soon as possible. He often suspects people are plotting to make him happy. When someone says, “Have a nice day” to him, he usually says, “Sorry, I have other plans.”Our state motto is on our license plates. It says, “You’ve got a friend in Pennsylvania.” I wouldn’t be surprised to see Steve putting a strip of tape under the slogan that says, “Don’t look at me.” He definitely needs to grab some Gratitude-Attitude. Steve is an excellent example of the Dreary Drones I’ve been talking about in my book. They’re people who have just let themselves turn into hunks of luke-warm meat. Steve is kind of a stale sausage. He’s retired, and I think he’s just bored. I could never figure out how people can get bored.
I was a therapist in New York for a long time, and when I took a client’s history, I always asked, “What do you do for fun.” You’d be amazed at how many people looked at me and said, “Oh not much. There’s nothing much to do.” That was in New York City. There’s nothing much to do ? Really ? There’s always something happening in New York. Of course a lot of it is unsolved, but nothing to do ? Come on.
Louie Louie Generation lads and ladies know that it’s impossible to do nothing. Doing nothing is doing something. And if you’ve been working too hard, doing nothing can be very good for you. Big Louie, the Chief Mustard Cutter of the Louie Louie Generation is very clear about that. He says, “If you’ve still got some moving parts left, for crying out loud, move them.” If you’re lucky enough to be living a comfortable middle class life, with occasional upgrades to business class, use your spare time to help the community. Join a volunteer fire department. Help out at a hospital. Do what Big Louie just signed up to do…donate your services for the temporary relief of underprivileged local nymphomaniacs.
Dick’s Details Quiz. All answers are in the current podcast.
1- How come there are so many rabbits?
2- Why should snails change their socks frequently?
3- Why should blondes stay off escalators?
Dick’s Details. They take your mind off your mind.
Kids are a good example of the fact that people aren’t supposed to get bored. They’re always doing something. That’s why when you take your kid to an Applebees, they give your kid some crayons and a paper napkin to draw on. They know kids always have to be doing stuff, and they figure the expense of a few crayons is worth keeping your kid from running around grabbing handfuls of other customer’s deserts, and biting people at the bar.
When we go to Applebees, I always ask for some crayons. I like crayons. They have a kind of kid smell about them…like chalk has, and sliced apples… and peanut butter. I’ve always liked apples, peanut butter and strawberry jam, oatmeal and raisins…and I now have them every day for breakfast AND lunch. Because I’m an adult and I can eat like a kid if I want to. I liked being a kid.
I tell the waiter the crayons are for my “little guys.” And that’s not a lie. I sometimes call my fingers my “little guys” because like most “little guys” they get into trouble quite regularly. It’s not my fault what they do when the little guy in my head who’s supposed to steer me in the right direction lets go of the steering wheel and starts reaching out to some lovely Louie Louie Lady. If the lady is extra estrogen enriched, there are times when that guy in my brain completely loses control of several body parts…my eyebrows for example. They flip up and down a couple of times, my nose twitches, and when I first met my Lady Wonder Wench she says my ears wiggled. She says now that was the only reason she was giggling at my jokes.
Giggles are good. And you sometimes hear them in restaurants like Applebees. There’s a story about that in the Night Connections Personal Audio CD. I think the story proves that sometimes, the hottest love affair ends in the coldest silence. She didn’t want to leave him in the cold. She wanted to leave him some warm words instead…because she loved keeping him warm…That took some strength. Because he’s still there…in her mind. And in her heart, she knows she’ll never…completely… leave him.
The story is called “Always.” It’s from the Night Connections Personal Audio CD. If you like it, you can just keep the current podcast. Or if you want a fresh copy, check out the Night Connections icon on the home page.
That Gratitude-Attitude that’s in my new book Staying Happy Healthy And Hot has kept me happy for a long time. Like a lot of guys, my color vision isn’t terrific. When I was a kid, to be sure I was getting the color I wanted, I used to have to look at what it said on the crayon. But I always liked crayons. I think every kid did. Even today’s big shots. The president, the Pope, even that nut case in North Korea. Can’t you see them all as little kids, concentrating so hard they’re sticking out their tongues…and running over to their mommies when they managed to draw something that looks like a tree…and being so proud when mommie puts the drawing up on the refrigerator.
Maybe we should have crayon rockets. When things get tense, we could launch a crayon rocket with a payload of millions of crayons. The thing would explode high up in the air, and millions of crayon boxes would float down under little parachutes…and everybody would drop their guns, run out, grab some crayons and concentrate so hard they stick their tongues out while they’re coloring. No more wars.
I wonder what would happen if instead of my book, I put a box of crayons in my neighbor Steve’s mailbox.
Now hear this, all you Louie Louie Lads and Lasses: so he’s another year older (and probably deeper in debt—I just haven’t figured that out yet) … but as he himself says, at least he is another year older.
Of course, he doesn’t LOOK older to me … but then I suppose I need my eyes checked again … and he doesn’t FEEL older … and for that I do NOT need either better eyes or any kind of help …
Yep, there are wrinkles galore (for both of us, mind) and we neither of us can boogie down the garden path. But we still follow that road when we can (which is more often than most pimple people think) and we still turn soft looks into “oh, my goodness” (and my goodness has nothing to do with it) … and I am looking forward to going to Spring Training and spending lots of time in our room ………..
I’m sitting here in my big, comfortable, manly, black leather papa chair in my living room trying to recover from having another birthday. I used to think that even noticing that you’ve had another birthday after the age of 21 can be depressing. But as Big Louie, the honcho of the Louie Louie Generation says in my book Staying Happy Healthy And Hot, “Always remember the “Gratitude-Attitude.” There’s got to be something good about adding another year of wrinkled splendor. I guess you can say when you get to be this age, you never have to worry about dying young any more.
“Gratitude-Attitude.” There’s no question that my slick is slipping. I am no longer the captain of my Sunday Softball League team. I can still swing a pretty good bat, but I have been demoted from second base to first base…and those of you who play ball will understand. No more pop up slides either. I had that knee replacement, and the wobble hasn’t caught me yet. But when you’ve made a habit of thinking of yourself as kind of Prince Charming plus a few years, it’s sometimes hard to remember the Gratitude-Attitude.
I’ll give it a shot. I am grateful that I am not yet just a natural source of methane. And I have learned that life is too short to worry about how short life is. I have also learned how to make a perfect spaghetti ball with a fork and a spoon. I recently found out that if you put a saucer of milk on the floor, a cat will magically appear. I’ve learned the value of an old friend who invites my Lady and me over for the weekend…and we go out to a Chinese restaurant for dinner, and we compare fortune cookies and swap stories about some of the great Christmas Eves we had as kids…and some of the great Christmas Eves we’ve had with our own kids.
It’s sometimes hard, but I know it’s important to remember the Gratitude-Attitude when your coffee cup says “Dad” in big brown letters, and the mirror says the same thing too…with lines on your forehead, a scar on your cheek, and hair that isn’t dark brown any more. Most of the time when you drink out of your cup that says “Dad,” or look in your mirror at that upper Louie Louie generation age guy, you feel like you’re still a kid playing at being a grown up. Then, you sit down at your computer and start doing your real grown up work. But some mornings while you’re shaving and drinking your coffee…there’s a problem. The kid inside starts laughing at the guy in the mirror with the Dad cup in his hand, and the lines on his forehead, and the silver streaks in his hair. In fact, some mornings, the kid laughs so hard that you start laughing too. And you both laugh so hard you spill your coffee.
But the kid inside was laughing, because he couldn’t ever imagine playing at growing up so he could sit down at that computer. He played at growing up to be the Lone Ranger. The masked rider of the plains. The guy with the big white horse and the silver bullets. You could swear you actually heard the kid saying…”Hey, Dad…with the coffee cup in your hand…what happened to the masked man I always wanted to be. When am I going to thunder down the trail with my big white horse and silver guns? When am I going to swoop down on the bad guys again, or scoop an innocent maiden out of the clutches of a fate worse than death. When do I start passing around the silver bullets, and ride into the golden west before anyone gets to say thanks?” But then…before you have a chance to explain, the kid runs outside to play…and you’re left standing there…with a coffee stain spreading on the floor.
Dick’s Details Quiz. All answers are in the current podcast
1- Why should you never go to a cookout given by a smart guy in a white lab coat?
2- And why should you decline a flight in one of his airplanes?
3- How can you tell if a shark is hungry ?
Dick’s Details. They take your mind off your mind.
It says in my book Staying Happy Healthy And Hot that you’ve got to remember the Gratitude-Attitude. My buddy Kevin is a compulsive, competitive golfer. He was complaining to me yesterday about a new course he’s been playing. He says the fairways are too long, the hills are too steep, and the sand traps are too deep. I reminded him about the gratitude-attitude. I said, “At your age, just be grateful that you’re still on the right side of the grass.” There’s one of the few remaining record stores down the block from where my buddy Al lives. He was complaining about being so old that everything he liked in there was marked down to $1.99. I said, “Al…be glad you’ve still got $1.99.” There’s a story about the Gratitude-Attitude in the lovin touch Personal Audio CD. It’s called, “It’s A Parking Meter Life.” It’ about a “first morning together.”
I got lucky. That turned out to be just the first morning…watching her open her eyes…slowly…in the dawn light…turning the morning sky…blue. There have been tears on that pillow too…through all the years. And very personal smiles. And the first traces of sliver in her hair. I got lucky. That was just the first morning. And it might not ever have happened at all. But it did.
“It’s A Parking Meter Life” is from the lovin touch Personal Audio CD. If you like it, you can just keep the current podcast. Or if you want a fresh copy, just download it from the lovin touch icon on the home page.
Another birthday. There’s an old song that keeps popping up in my head…it goes “Another year older and deeper in debt.” But gratitude-attitude. It also means lots of phone calls and cards and emails from some folks who figure I mean something to them. A very special smile from my Lady Wonder Wench. She knows the difference between who and whom, but she didn’t give me a hard time about it on my birthday. It means learning a few more things about this lumpy life. For example, there are lumps in the road, lumps in my oatmeal, and sometimes there’s a lump in my throat. And so far I’ve been able to get over all of them. You live and learn. Stuff like, loyalty should be the eleventh commandment. You never outgrow your love of Mickey Mouse and Road Runner cartoons. Some people mistake habit for love. And sometimes passion quiets down to tenderness…but not always. A biggie is that the sexiest thing you can wear is your self confidence. And it takes courage for a woman to wear a red dress, or for a man to carry her pocketbook in public. So…Gratitude-Attitude. If you break your mirror, and you’re getting old…hey…seven years of bad luck…be grateful…that means you have seven more years.