Marriage license kiosk opens up at Vegas airport in time for Valentine’s Day

You need energy to busk. You need to get up and get out there.

The sidewalk is the busker’s home, his neighborhood, his city, his world.

Or hers, until English gets a non-gender pronoun other than “it.”

Some think that buskers are only about sidewalk entertainment. Not so. Buskers are about life. Busking is meant to be a full-service endeavour.

I do not seek to entertain. I am of the clergy. My purpose is to conduct religious worship and perform other spiritual functions associated with beliefs and practices of religious faith. To provide spiritual and moral guidance and assistance to members of the community.

And yes, to marry couples. Singing and dancing (by me) included.

That’s my biretta on the curb there.

Be advised that I only marry couples, one born male, one born female. If you were born on the spectrum, I have a cassock you can shroud yourself in while I take a peek and check to see what’s what.

You’ll need a license. No license buskers out today. There are kiosks at the airport, in all the major casinos, and at all Chevron stations. The slots at most churches can also be set to pay out in marriage licenses.

Part of your vows must include a pledge not to use the divorce-lawyer buskers you see over there. God loves all his children but those guys piss Him off. Once you’re hitched, stay hitched. For the children’s sake. And while I’m thinking about it, don’t patronize the condom buskers either.

During the wedding liturgy, I’ll be performing “In Christ Alone,” “Make Me a Channel of Your Peace,” and “On Eagle’s Wings.”

Please take a number and step to the end of the line.

Pax vobiscum.

Missile-alarm Activity Guide

Missile Arrival Time – Activity Before It Hits

If you have 1 hr. (the missile won’t take longer) – Put your will in a lead box. If everything mentioned in the will is located near you, don’t bother.

If you have 45 minutes – Enough time to do something fun. What do you like? Food? Indulge yourself. Rock climbing? Climb your chimney. TV? Lots of buzzkill programming probable at this time; stick to DVDs. Sleep? If you can sleep in this situation, your mind is right.

If you have 30 minutes – Way too much time for anything religious, like prayer. An eternity if you’re praying, especially if you’ve got bad knees. But speaking of eternity, you might want to spend a second or two thinking about how you’re going to spend that.

If you have 15 minutes – Cook soft-boiled eggs!  One iteration for practice and another to eat, with seconds left over to wash the yolk off your lips. A good soft-boiled egg depends upon timing. Bring your water to a boil, then maintain it at a strong simmer. Add eggs to the pot. Begin timing. If you’re cooking one or two eggs, five minutes delivers a tasty runny yolk. Cook up to seven minutes for a firmer yolk that can still be eaten with a spoon. Don’t just check your watch. Set a timer to ensure consistent results.

If you have 5 minutes – You need something simple to do. Straightforward. No time to organize. I like to floss at stoplights, for example. If your life has not been so great, count your blessings. Five minutes should be plenty.

If you have 30 seconds – Bend over. KYAGB. (Why not go out on an old, old joke?)

WATCH: World’s Scariest Roller Coaster?

(Huffington Post, 11/21/11)

Coaster Rules:

You must be at least one or two years old to ride. That is, you must be old enough to scream Help!

Lactating mothers: we do not recommend breastfeeding your child during the ride.

Not recommended on this ride: false teeth, toupees, glass eyes, falsies, wooden legs, wheelchair cases, crutches, comical hats, clutch bags, loose brooches, heart transplants less than a week old, anyone afflicted with the jimjams, fantods, hysterical blindness, the screaming meemies, neuritis, or neuralgia.

Please use the seatbelts that we provide. If you insist on standing up at some point during the ride, remember to refasten the belt when you sit down again, assuming that you’re still in the car.

If, when your coaster car reaches the very, very top, you decide to opt out of the ride down the other side, please step out onto the platform provided up there. Hold tightly to the handrail once you’re out, as the wind at that height can blow you right off the structure.

If, after the first circuit, the cars come through and your seat is empty, another ticket-holder will be allowed to take your place. If you show up later, having somehow survived your fall, you will not be given a free ride.

We are not legally required by State, County, or Town ordinances to provide you with statistics relating to the safety of this ride. This includes any information regarding fatalities.

No firearms, even though the Constitution guarantees your right to carry one, or more. If you’re going to be pig-headed about it, at least put the safety on.

Please do not eat during the ride.

If the individual seated in front of you does eat, we advise you not to attempt the Heimlich maneuver, at least while plunging downwards at speeds that will exceed 100 mph.

Do not smooch your sweetie on the ride if you are wearing braces, which can become like flashing knives on the whiplash curves.

We’ve given up on all our rules about vomiting.

Most important: Have fun!

My Life As A Mime

We lived in Flatfield, Iowa, next to a grain elevator. I was playing in the backyard with my mom when Silo #67 blew. It was one of those corn-dust explosions. The concussion ruptured my mom’s’ eardrums. My dad was standing outside the company headquarters at the time. He lost his eardrums too. In that moment, my parents were rendered deaf as a couple of scarecrows (as we used to say there in Flatfield).

My drums were spared because at the critical moment, I had my fingers stuck hard in my ears, to block out my mom’s scolding after I had soiled the sandbox. Unfortunately for me, whirling metal flak from the silo removed both of my hands at the wrists, which were cocked up in a way to support my fingers in my ear holes but which also inadvertently presented clean targets for the bladelike projectiles.

My fingers remained in my ears, but I could still hear my mother’s cries of dismay, even if she couldn’t.

Being a tough farming family, bred over the years from hardy immigrant stock, my mom and pop and I healed up and went on with our lives. Flatfield was set out on the plains where every farm had someone on it missing a digit or a limb, the toll taken by harvesters, axes, and the like. My parents learned signing for the deaf; I learned to use my new hooks. As I could not sign without articulated fingers,  I took up charade-like gesticulating as a way of communicating with my folks.

Thus began my lifelong career as a mime. Through mime grammar school, mime middle school, mime high school, mime summer programs and tutoring, mime college, and mime graduate school, all paid for with state and federal disability scholarships, as well as a few shekels chipped in by our local Lutheran church, I took as my major “Make ‘Em Laugh.” Counselors urged me time and again to consider the dramatic side of miming, but I felt that my greatest challenge lay in generating giggles and guffaws using only my hooks, my stumps, my wits, and my God-given talent. My parents supported me fully in this, although they were rarely able to figure out just what it was that I was trying to tell them.

Throughout school and thence out onto the street as a busker, I faced one relentless enemy, the mercy laugh. It was always present, merciless (as opposed to merciful), a specter that haunted me. Or does that metaphor even make sense? I credit my strength of character for my early successes as I struggled at school against those awful sympathetic titters. Children can be cruel.

Out on the street with my diploma in my hooks, I took up professional busking at the top, on 12th Street and 3rd Avenue. Few mimes, even the best of them, dared face those stoney financial faces heading to and from their labors in mahogany-lined offices, those investment bankers so used to screwing their fellow Americans (pardon my French) for a living.

I could handle the flinty hearts, but I couldn’t take the sympathy. Even those fiscal gnomes bathed me in it. In no time, I found myself retreating to 42 Street and then, as the weather grew colder, to 75th. Finally, I reached rock-bottom, miming on 102nd and Baldwin for a couple of homeless winos and a bankrupt dope fiend. The authorities found me in the gutter, covered with the Style and Home & Garden sections of the Sunday paper.

I began my rehab at the center on Soldiers Island. The staff fitted me out, at taxpayers’ expense, with the latest in new and improved hooks. I performed for the vets there, who were returning from the war in pieces. Amputees of every description. No need to worry about sympathy from this group.

And among them, an Army babe missing both her arms. Helicopter crash. She had a great laugh and a great body, what was left of it. I couldn’t wait to get my forearms around it. Plus, she discovered that she had a little thing for mimes. A lot of the servicemen around were hitting on her, but in addition to my profession, I had my proficiency with prosthetics going for me. After all, I’d been using hooks all my life. Inez (for that was her name) had further to go, needing arms as well as hooks, but she was a trouper, always ready for a laugh and a little bump and tickle.

Rehab complete, we moved in together, on the other side of the river. Inez  went back to law school and I started working the terminal-children wards at hospitals around the city. I got a lot of laughs from the kids and the staff with my hook-and-balloon act. Hooks popping balloons by accident never gets old. Neither does accidentally sitting on your hook, or a little innocent toilet humor, wiping with the hook.

We married, Inez and me. We had a couple of kids and as they grew up, it was good to have someone with hands around the house.

Lady Gaga Forgot Her Pants Again

(Huffington Post headline, 11/14/11)

Why does this rate a headline?

Dame Edith forgot her lorgnette for the opening at Epsom Downs. Now that was news.

I’ve forgotten my pants a time or two when going to work, but all that got me was a good spanking on the bare bottom by my boss, Mrs. Pregfort.

Colonel Smythe forgot a delivery of trousers to one of his battalions during the big war, but as he also sent them into a sector that he thought was safe but that was in fact the location of the Bosch high command, whence not one man returned alive, the fact that they had no clean pants to change into was rendered moot.

God Himself is said to have forgotten to take into account Man’s increased carbon emissions in this, the Late Industrial Age, so that the Supreme Being must now sit and watch helplessly as his children boil like lobsters in a pot, before He goes out and gets started on Earth 2.

The worst lapse occurred, according to scripture (refer to the Pseudepigrapha), when Satan was carrying out his revolt against Heaven. He planted a bomb under God’s throne, but in the confusion and tumult occasioned by the uprising’s inception, he and his lieutenants forgot to light the fuse.

Humphrey Bogart and my mom

My mom’s family moved to Temple City, California, the year the town incorporated (1923). Temple City is just east of Alhambra and San Gabriel. My mom was nine. From the age of fourteen, she worked in my grandfather’s drugstore in town. At the age of twenty-one, she moved to Hollywood and got a job in the makeup department at Warner Brothers. Two years later, she went out with Bogart for the first time. They’d seen each other around the studio – he was making a movie for Warners every two months – but they only spoke to each other for the first time on the “Kid Galahad” set in 1937. He was thirty-eight at the time. She was twenty-three.

Bogart was just divorcing Mary Philips, his second wife, and dating around, but judging from the letters he wrote to my mom that year, which he must have handed to her right there in the studio, and which he resorted to, perhaps, because he wasn’t quite free yet and she was so young, judging from those letters, there was something about her that he couldn’t get out of his mind. However, she was a good Mormon girl and although he tried giving up tobacco and alcohol several times, the longest for two months, he always lapsed.

The letters continued even after he married Mayo Methot the following year. He and Methot brawled constantly, violently, and according to what he wrote my mom, Bogart knew that he’d made a terrible mistake, although he wouldn’t admit it publicly and the marriage lasted for years. Whatever happened after that, my mom quit Warners suddenly in 1939 and returned to Temple City.

Four years later, Bogart was making “Passage to Marseille,” which was shooting at the gardens in Arcadia, and he went out one night with Claude Rains and Philip Dorn, looking for a watering hole. They drove straight down Baldwin Avenue into Temple City and parked across the street from  the Orangeland bar. Bogart got out of the car and saw my mom through the window of grandfather’s drug store, standing behind the counter.

My grandparents were in back at the time. They heard Bogart come in. My grandmother peeked out and recognized him. By this time, he’d made “High Sierra,” “The Maltese Falcon,” and “Casablanca,” and he was a serious Hollywood property. Of course my grandparents knew that my mom had met many actors and actresses, but she had never mentioned Bogart to them. Now, here he was, begging her to come back to him. They spoke for thirty minutes. Rains and Dorn came in and Bogart sent them out again. My mother would never talk about the conversation. Neither would my grandmother, who had her ear to the door the whole time. Finally, Bogart left.

The following week he reviewed Lauren Bacall’s screen test for “To Have and Have Not.” She was nineteen and he was forty-five and still tied to Methot, but at last he had found the love of his life, or the second one.

Drinking with a star

We finished shooting last night at ten and the male lead, not Ashton Kutcher, asked me if I wanted to grab a drink on the way home. We stopped at Noir Bar in Maison 140 on Lasky Drive, and by the time I returned from the bathroom, nAshton had two attractive UCLA premed students lounging back on those red cushions in front of the lacquered wall panels. Anne and Carole. I sat down next to nAshton and he introduced me to them and told me that he’d ordered champagne and did I mind? I didn’t.

When the bottle arrived, he immediately ordered another and we emptied the first before the second got there. The talk was small. In fact, it wasn’t talk, it was banter. Then, nAshton’s phone played a little tune, he answered, he spoke, he snapped the phone shut, apologized, and was gone.

“I’ve never met a star before,” Anne said. “Not to talk to, even though I grew up in Woodland Hills.”

“I shook Don Knotts’ hand,” Carole said, “but he was old and unwell.”

“Isn’t nAshton in a relationship?” Anne asked me.

I shrugged.

“That wouldn’t stop him,” I said.

“I was already dreading the moment he made his move,” she said.

“It would have been painless,” I said. “You with several more glasses in you.”

They put down their  flutes and eyed me.

“I’m older than your fathers,” I said. “I’m here for a drink.”

“What’s it like, working with the stars?” Carole said. “Are they different from the rest of us?”

“Probably not,” I said, “but I’m different when I’m with them. Sitting here with you, I feel almost normal.”

“So you were going to say no?” Carole said to Anne.

“Absolutely. Well, maybe take it one step further, but no more.”

“One step further and you’re in his house,” Carole said.

“Even so.”

“Once you’re in his house, it’s hard to say no,” Carole said.

“He’s done this a hundred times,” I said. “Probably more. There is never a good moment to say no.”

“Then I guess we dodged a bullet,” Anne said. “Whew.”

We finished the second bottle and I ended up inviting them over to the lot to watch a scene being shot.

“The only thing is,” I said, “you’re both remarkably attractive, not to mention bright. If nAshton sees you there, he’s liable to ask you to do this again.”

“We’ll say no,” Anne said.

“He’ll be in costume. Made up. A very, very impressive guy on set.”

“We might go for a drink with him” Anne said., “but that’s it.”

Busking 12

You’ll find me at 7th and 62nd.

My sign: I’LL SING YOUR SONG. 25 CENTS.

Put your money in the hat and name your song.

1. I’ll tell you that I don’t know it. Do you know the words?

2. You tell me the words, or move on.

3. Do you know the music?

4. You hum the tune, or move on.

5. Can you sing the song, with those words and that tune?

If you perform the song, I’ll return your quarter. Otherwise, move on.

Busking 10

Hello, everybody! This is my last chance to busk on the space shuttle, so I’m up here offering the following to members of the crew:

$1  I make you laugh and spew your Tang into the weightless air and then I clean it up with my miniature Dustbuster.

$2  I make the sound of escaping air, scaring the bejesus out of your shuttlemates for a laugh.

$3  When your shuttlemates put me outside, I keep saying “Open the door, HAL” for a laugh.

$4  I press a ham on the shuttle window from outside.

$5  After tagging the shuttle and swiping one of its hubcaps, I catch a ride back to Earth with the Russians, giving them the case of Cîroc I brought up with me.

Busking 6

I’ve been busking along 5th Avenue. Without any entertainment skills, I’ve been offering the following:

$1 – I go around the block, snatch a purse, and bring it back to you. Contents are pot luck.

$2 – I slip into that deli over there and bring you back a cheese.

$3 – I sneak into the wake at that funeral home on the corner and bring you back the wedding ring from the deceased’s hand. I have no pickpocket skills, but when the mark is dead, it’s not so hard.

$4 – I wait over by that park bench and when a woman in a tank top walks by, I wrestle it off her and hand it to you as I flee.

$5 – Within 10 minutes (or it’s free), I  bring you a baby in its stroller, with diaper bag.