Archive for November, 2008

Happy belated Halloween everybody!

10,November, 2008


I had a look through my new sock collection and was appalled to find that I had forgotten to wear these babies on the proper date last week – so I’m wearing them today.  Happy belated Halloween everybody!  Tonight I am going to wander around the neighbourhood with a mask over my face and knock on doors demanding candy.  Make sure your mobile phones are on later so I can phone you to bail me out.

Just walking around with this stupid smile

6,November, 2008

I keep finding myself just walking around with this stupid smile plastered across my face. 

In 1980 my college roommate Mike and I actively campaigned for Jimmy Carter in his re-election bid against Ronald Reagan.  On the night of the election we became the unofficial democratic headquarters.  A huge party was prepared in our big old student digs.  ABC was in the kitchen, NBC the living room and CBS was in the dining room.  There were two half kegs of beer and a trash can full of gorilla (grain alcohol and cherry Kool-Aid.)  You were only allowed into the party if you had a voting receipt.

I was lathering up in the shower when Mike just walked in and threw back the shower curtain.  “Get downstairs,” he said, “he’s resigning.”

Carter got trounced – he resigned before anybody had even arrived at the party  – he resigned before the polls closed in California.   

It was the worse party I have ever thrown.  The only moment of excitement was when our only republican pick won a local seat.  (We hadn’t backed the democrat because he was under indictment.)

That night marked the beginning of a right wing lean that has been pressing on America ever since.  Ever since, that is, until last night when, I think, it was finally exorcised by Senator Obama’s spectacular victory.

Obama 2008

I called Mike at 4am and said, “Can you imagine how awesome our party would have been if we were still 21 years old and our party was tonight?

“You’ve been reading my mind,” was his reply.

Now – I wonder – were does one get a bottle of pure grain alcohol and a packet of Kool-aid here in England?

McCain Smiles

5,November, 2008


I went to the supermarket today and bought a packet of McCain Smiles.  I figured they would be the only smiles that McCain has all night.



Mick and Tommy

2,November, 2008

Mick Miller is a comic who in the 70’s became a household name here in the UK on a TV show called The Comedians.  We are performing together on this Atlantic crossing of the P&O cruise liner the Ventura.  Both of his shows were just fabulous – a stream of original one-liners delivered by a master.

After his first show I quizzed him about all of the old comics and especially the magicians that he has worked with in his career.  He told me a great Tommy Cooper story.

For you yanks, Tommy Cooper was a British comedian/magician that many in this country still consider to be one of the funniest UK comics ever.  He was a big, 6 foot 3 and built like an out of shape heavyweight.  In keeping with the boxing analogy, he performed his magic tricks like he was wearing boxing gloves.  Everything went wrong and the worse it got the funnier he was.  He was also a legendary drinker and famous for never giving anyone who spoke to him, in the real world, a straight answer.  One of his favourite gags was to serendipitously slip a tip into a cab driver’s hand and say, “Have a drink on me.”  When the cabbie would look at what Tommy had given him, he would see that he was holding a teabag.

Mick told a lovely story about Tommy driving himself to a gig at the London Palladium.  Never one to spend money on a car, his clapped out Austin 1100 died in the middle of the road not far from the theatre.  Behind him a very posh Bentley hooted at him.  Tommy tried and tried but he couldn’t get his car going.  All the while the Bentley hooted and hooted until finally Tommy got out of his car and knocked on the Bentley’s window.  The electric window (rare in those days) mechanically lowered and Tommy stuck most of his hulking body in to the poor guy’s car and started hooting his horn.  Tommy turned his head and said, “Tell you what, I’ll do this and you start that Austin.”