Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The New Mouse House Is OPEN!

Now that I'm nearly settled in the new digs (check out the pic to your left. Ain't it purty?? I'll invite ya in for dinner sometime; all you've gotta do is bring the food. And maybe a stove ...), we can get back to our norml cheesiness here ...

CHANGING SCENERY is just one perk of moving, natch; the other is that yer head clears and you think more clearly after awhile. Y'see, if you've been in your old digs since 1938 or so, then chances are you've taken in every dust particle, every scent, every nuance of the old place and stored it in your mind somewhere. That includes all the bad "stuff" that's "happened" to ya over the years.
A new and better place, with more room and even an inside toilet (imagine!), can make a world of difference.
And, now that yer elder Cuzzin' Mouser has made that very move, I'm also resuming my old position as music publicist and promoter. Now, you'll still be seeing online articles I've penned at times, but this is the business I was teethed on and trained in ... so why not? Besides, I occasionally get these little green papers they call "money" for it!

IT'S ALMOST TIME for that big night, when little dudes and dudettes, dressed in all sorts of outlandish garb, come knocking on your door with their hands out and hopes for goodies from you.
Yes, fellow Mousers, we're talkin' about those last-minute political campaigners -- purveyors of purloined purpose practicing their palaver in order to get you on their side just before going into the booths (or, considering they're at your door, probably just before you're going to the bathroom. Salespeople always come knockin' at that time, don't they? And politicians are definitely 'salespeople' of sorts ...)

Of course, we'll also be seeing little kids  trick-or-treating for sweets or other goodies.  Now, a lot of towns and cities have some cool events planned for them, rather than see them taking a chance on the street; many have those events planned for their local shopping malls (hey, where better?  Mama and daddy can go shopping while Junior really rakes in all the cool treats from the dozens of stores around him!).
But the main thing that all of us should be doing during the H'ween days is to watch out for the children ... keep them as safe as humanly possible!!  That means watching the streets as you're driving (especially between parked cars on the streetside) and, of course, for any activity that could be harmful to them!

We were all kids once, I think ... and our communities did the same for us, right?  So whaddya say we continue the tradition?  Who knows? Maybe someday in the future, a youngster you helped to keep safe will end up writing a blog about teen show hosts and mousers and other good stuff ...

Stay tuned ...

Saturday, October 20, 2012

The Lloyd Thaxton Legend Lives On ...

Teen show titan ... producer professionale ... motivational master ... journalistic juggernaut.  Father of finger folks and curator of crazy. That's what millions of people knew about Lloyd Thaxton (aka Lloyd Thaxton).  But, for many others of us, in the business or not, he had a loftier and much more important description:

He was our friend ...

Lately, the Relic (Uncle Lloyd had also called me Computer Dude, Eagle, Chucky and collect ...) has felt more of his influence than I did back at my old tromping grounds.  Been digging more into that manic masterpiece of motivation, Stuff Happens! (and then you fix it) and feel an affinity for that jackass on the book's ad copy (I was one for awhile, remember!).  The man, flatly, knew how to talk with people in everyday language -- which (with the exception of that prop-uh writing I've gotta do to please my publishers) is the way I do onscreen-and-off.
His finger-people don't go unnoticed (especially since the last time I tried drawing them on my digit tips, it was in indelible ink!!  They're now my 'forever friends' ...).  They were the earliest of "Muppets", I guess ... sure to bring a smile to every kid who tuned in each afternoon to watch the show ...

The ad copy ... with me comin' outta the books' pages ...

But LL was more than just a friend to me.  He was, in many ways, my mentor ... a guy you coulld depend on for straight-but-stillll-fatherllly talllk about any problllem (somehow, ya got hooked on his "LL's".  Silllly but not syllllabic to lllots of y'allll, but fun to Lllloyd's telllly fans and llloving follllowers) or to helllp perk you up about a career move.  We'd toss around a lllot of ideas (one of which you're reading alllready!), worked on ideas for what he calllled a "hand-hellld new Spaper" on ollldies rock (I usedta be a newspaper publllisher once).
His sense of humour was second-to-none (and I've never known a nun who didn't have a sense of that), and was just as quick to take a joculllar swipe at himselllf as he was any topic!  What's the old saying? "The check's in the mail wait -- wrong saying. Try again: If ya can't laugh about yourself, you can't laugh about other things."  What I'm saying is that, if there was any one-word description of our esteemed master Mouser and Head Cheese, it was that he was real!  Amen, Mr. Belich (you know who you are!!)?

Yes, Uncle Lloyd is still seriously missed!  There are those who remind us of him in ways, especially that still-young personality of pop and pep, Joel McHale (one day, destined to grow up to be another Justin Bieber, I believe ...) -- but LL was one-of-a-kind ... a rarity in this world ... the truest of gems amongst that "field of dreams" made up of so many rocks and stones in Hollywood and beyond.

And to think we were blessed and honoured enough to call him "friend" ...

Stay tuned ... 
(PS to Gary B:  You once mentioned Steve Martin as a possible lead in a flick about Uncle Lloyd.  I just mentioned Joel McHale.  Hey, man ... who better??  Think we can sell the idea?)

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The Chi-Town Rerun

Mousers, with your Cuzzin' Chuckers backlogged with work that was delayed whilst I moved into new digs, I thought we'd rewind one of your fave posts 'til I've dug out from under all this 'moved' stuff! So, enjoy ... and I'll be back tomorrow evenin': Now ... where's my shovel??

It all started so innocently on that July morning ...
Y'see, back in '99, I took my (then) daughter-in-law and two-year-old granddaughter to Chicago so we could witness Kaela's dad graduating from boot camp at Great Lakes Naval Air Station.

I said the trip started innocently enough: Since I hadn't been to Chicago since 1897, I thought it was safer to take the Greyhound™ bus. Nothin' to it: Buy tickets, load baggage, find seats, relax. Right??

Yeah ... uh-huh ... suuuuure ...

Since the night before had been a long and sleepless one, I dozed off just before the bus approached the Indianapolis station for one of its famed stops (long enough to get a drink, not long enough to use the bathroom). Suddenly, I heard Kaela's unmistakeable cry.

(Now, for this next part, PLEASE understand that I was groggy. Please?? Thank you ...)

So, still mostly asleep, I instinctively reached over, rubbed her arm and mumbled, "There now, honey ... grandpa's here! You're gonna be okay!"

Suddenly, I was hit by a wadded-up piece of paper, and my name was being whispered loudly but urgently: "Chuck! CHUCK!!"
I barely cracked open my eyes when I noticed Kaela ... sitting with her mother ... on the other side of the aisle!!

I went from a drowsy to "freshly-poured-ice-down-my-pants" look in .015 milliseconds. If Kae's up there with her, then who was ....??

As they (and a few other passengers) began laughing, I slowly, hesitantly glanced beside me.

Now, I dunno ... maybe the sailor was coming off leave or something ... but, fortunately, he was still asleep! Thank goodness. Maybe I was off the hook? Probably not, considering it wasn't his arm I was stroking (NONONO!! It wasn't, er, "that" ... it was his leg! His LEG!! ONLY his leg!! Geez ...)

And I was right. By the time we pulled into the Indy station and I started to g-e-n-t-l-y get up to retrieve K's diaper bag, he tapped me on my hand and slipped me a piece of paper with his phone number on it! (And, no, I didn't, so don't ask ... let me suffer in peace, willya??)

Finally, after pulling into the Windy City (I'd moved to another seat. By myself ...), we got off the bus and into a cab, heading for the Metra™ train station.
Now, for you who've been there, you know there are some revolving glass doors in front -- and Chicagoans move faster than the speed of light through those things ...

ummm, until I showed up.

Carrying all the bags so K's mum could focus on carrying her, I waited until just the right moment and finally jumped into a vacant door ... which was smaller than my load ...
and jammed the entire system!

Y'know, people look a mite funny when their faces are pressed against glass ...

Eventually, I got out ... just to see my daughter-in-law nearly bent over in laughter ... red-faced, but laughing at me (imagine ...)!!

On the escalator going up to the elevated train platform (remember, me: pack mule. Daughter-in-law: protective mum), one of K's shoes fell off. Gallant granddad to the rescue. I reach over to retrieve the shoe ... a couple of bags fell off my shoulder and sped down the escalator and ...

remember the old bowling alleys?? Well, replace the pins with humans, and ...

All I could do is run down ("down" an "up" escalator!), grab the bags, look around in embarrassment whilst trying to save my butt by mouthing "I'M FROM KENTUCKY!" and run back up the moving staircase while keeping my head bowed (at least that way they wouldn't see the foot in my mouth!)

On the train, the conductor would come back and announce each suburb on the route as we reached it. The first time, little K. looked confused. The second time he came back, she looked angry. The third time he came back to announce the suburb, she jumped into the aisle, put her hands on her hips and yelled out, "NO S--T!!"

We finally got to the train depot at GLNAS and had to get over to the gym where the commencement was to be held.
But there was a problem: A wicked-looking barbed-wire fence separated us from the main area!

Natch, Mr. Braveheart took all those bags and negotiated the fence ... pulling barbs out of his torn shirt, wiping off a little sweat and blood with my hand. FINALLY ... I'd made it! I turned around ...
to see K and her mum standing in front of me ... and they were (do I haveta say this again??) laughing!!

Six feet from where I went through, the fence had stopped, allowing anyone (with any sense) to go around it ...

We finally got to the gymnasium and the ceremonies (and, I've gotta admit, when Tim marched in with the grads to Anchors Aweigh, I jumped up, tears flowing, and shouted. The guy behind me did finally apologise for burning my butt with his cigarette, though ...*).
After a fantastic July 4th weekend with him (and a great stay at the Great Lakes Navy Lodge), we took another stop in Chicago -- a very brief and cautious one (eyes watched ... and remembered) -- and headed home.

*(Alright, I've gotta 'fess up: The reason behind the tears and shouting was that I was proud of my boy. I'd raised him and his bro, Mike, by myself since they were pups, and to see him marching out there, so dedicated in his perfectly-pressed Navy whites, made me feel tower-tall ...)
But I wasn't done with Chi-Town ... yet:
A year later, whilst on the way to work with a client up in Canada (I took a non-sailored Greyhound™ this time), I stopped in the Windy City; since the next bus wasn't due for another eight hours or so, maybe I could make up for the mess I made last time.
Yeah ... right ...
I put my cigarette out in the ashcan as I turned around and headed for the terminal. With enough time on my hands, certainly there'd be enough time to take in one of the city's famous blues gigs.

Suddenly, people started running in and out of the station, yelling excitedly. I looked out and saw the unmistakable flickering of fire!
Apparently, somebody'd thrown a cigarette ... into ... the ... wrong can. One marked ... 'garbage'!
It was all just a simple mistake. I mean, any balding Kentuckian could've done it ... right??
Anyway, after viewing the resulting festivities ... er, from a distance, I thought it'd be a good time to exit the station right then (or, until the next bus came). So I checked my pockets and realised that ... I'd lost my ticket!!
No problem, really. Since I was sitting in the station when the flames started flickering, I just backtracked. There it was ... fifth seat from the right. I grabbed it, put it in my coat pocket, and took off.
"Hey!! HEY!!" The guy who was running after me had blood in his eyes: MINE!

"Who the hell do you think you ARE, man?? Gimme back my ticket NOW!!"
Judging from the way he was reaching for my coat lapel, I don't think he wanted it for warmth! But I obliged (either that, or this 6'4", 275-pounder was gonna make me "late" -- and I don't mean for the bus; it's what my friends would've called me ...)

"Look ..." I stammered to him (and the now-gathering crowd of mostly-roughnecks) as I pulled it outta my pocket. "I bought this ticket in Ashland, Kentucky, and I'm headin' for Canada. See?? It clearly shows I'm heading to ...

Boston, Massachusetts ...

So, as I was fumbling my apologies and handed it back to the man, another guy looked over and under the seats. "Here go one for ..." he checked it out ... "Calg'ry, Canada ... an' IT from Kentucky!" He handed it to his friend who grabbed my lapel, opened my coat and shoved it in the side pocket.

No, my friends ... I don't think Chicago, Illinois, will ever forget me. That's why I now have insurance ... and a good set of fake glasses-and-nose in the event fate lands me there again!
(DISCLAIMER: Don't get me wrong; I really love Chicago. The events that occurred in these posts actually happened, but does not reflect the city or its people ... most of whom I hope to see if I'm ever allowed back there ...)