Guest Blogger: My Baby Brother

Introduction:

A week or so ago, I posted a blog stating that I was toying with the idea of inviting someone to be a guest blogger.  Without hesitation, my younger brother Christopher said he would love to write one.  Let me say that he is WAY more qualified to write than I am.  He has published a book and has been writing short stories and other things for as long as I can remember. 

I saw his email this morning as I was getting ready to take the boys home.  I had to open it and read it.  I stood in my kitchen laughing as I read it.  My wife was still asleep, and I thought for sure that I was going to wake her up.  My son, looked at me and asked “what’s so funny, dad?”  I looked at him and said, “Just something Uncle Chris sent me…”

At this time, I’d like to introduce you to my brother, Christopher. I hope that you laugh as much as I did….

What the heck are they laughing at?  By Christopher Louis

Growing up my brother and I were crazy and rambunctious kids.  There is no denying that we gave our parents a run for their money.  If we weren’t pushing their patience by staying up long past our bed time or begging them to buy us the newest Star Wars figure, we were beating the snot out of each other or purposely egging the other on to do something totally stupid.  While we were not angels, we also weren’t devils.  We just loved to have fun, laugh, and have a good time.  We wanted to make each day an adventure.  Sure, it got us in trouble sometimes, but it was almost always good natured.

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As with any siblings there are lots of growing pains as you discover new interests, new friends, and truly come into your own and the relationship between you and your sibling changes. Sometimes for the good, and sometimes not so good. Despite our many differences, there has always been one thing that could bring us together – laughter. Laughter has helped us to remember and rebuild our bonds. When friends ask about my brother, I love to share how we can have the other laughing within seconds simply by sending a photo (usually of William Shatner), copying a movie quote (Airplane is always a good bet) or sharing an inside family joke (usually something our dear Grandpa mispronounced).

I admit there was a time when I swore I had to be adopted because I could not understand the joy that Keith, my dad, and my grandparents found in watching Sanford and Son.  However, the same could be said for him in my guilty pleasure of watching Dynasty.  While I am sure neither of us would relish the idea of sitting down and watching either of those shows together, there are still so many movies, TV shows, and old radio shows that provide us with so much laughter and delight.  I thought I would share a few of them with you now.

Your Money or Your Life!

Mugger: Your money or your life.

(Long, awkward pause)

Mugger: Look bud, I said your money or your life.

Jack: I’m thinking it over!

Jack

The first to share is one of the greatest comedians of all time – Jack Benny.  I am forever thankful for my dad introducing us to the joys of old radio shows.  While we both love many others (Fibber McGee and Molly, Burns and Allen, or Suspense), The Jack Benny Program is our favorite.  Whether Jack is giving sales clerk (Mel Blanc) the worst time possible by constantly exchanging show laces (he can’t decide between plastic tips or metal tips), or constantly insisting he’s 39 years old (which can’t be confirmed because there is a hole in his birth certificate from erasing it too many times) it is comedy gold.  Plus, both of us can totally tell you what LSMFT means or what the six delicious flavors of Jell-O were.  (For those not in the know, those are both from sponsors of the Jack Benny Program – Lucky Strike Cigarettes and Jell-O).

(Keith Note:  Lucky Strike Means Fine Tobacco!  Strawberry, cherry, raspberry, orange, lemon, and lime!)

“Some days, you just can’t get rid of a bomb!”

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The 60’s Batman TV show is a treasure trove of comedy genius.  Adam West’s portrayal of the Dark Knight is played so straight and even that it is impossible to not start laughing at the utter absurdity!  Don’t get me wrong – I love it, but it is odd to think how anyone couldn’t see that Batman and Bruce Wayne were one and the same.

(Keith Note:  I pointed out to my brother how he hits the nail on the head here!  It really is absurd!  Proof of the absurdity – and how Commissioner Gordon must be clueless – can be seen as Adam West has a conversation with himself as both Bruce and Batman in the following video clip!)

Of course, the many guest stars paraded through as villains brought much of the laughter.  There was Cesar Romero as the Joker with white paint over his mustache, Frank Gorshin jumping all over the set as the Riddler, Victor Buono running around as King Tut, and Vincent Price as Egghead making more egg puns that you can imagine. Of course, part of the fun is trying to count how many times Robin says “Holy ____” in an episode.  My favorite will always be “Holy Hole-in-a-Doughnut, Batman!”

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(Keith Note: Oh, and I had to add the above picture because of the sub-title of this section!)

“What’s the matter, Colonel Sandurz?  Chicken?”

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There are truly so many wonderful Mel Brooks movies and while I am not as into Blazing Saddles as Keith is, we can’t deny the laughter that comes from watching his films. I’m choosing Spaceballs for this blog. Plus – what’s not to love about this amazing spoof of Star Wars, a movie Keith and I both loved and played and recreated more times than I could count with many, many action figures.

Some of my favorite quotes include:

  • No sir, I didn’t see you playing with your dolls again.
  • How many Assholes we got on this ship, anyhow?
  • Keep firing Assholes!
  • We ain’t found shit!
  • Why are you always preparing? You’re always preparing. Just go!
  • Smoke if you got ‘em.
  • So the combination is 1-2-3-4-5. That’s the stupidest combination I’ve ever heard in my life. That’s the kinda thing an idiot would have on his luggage.

(Keith Note: Love the bumper sticker – “We Brake for Nobody!”)

“Kiddie Car, June Bride, Rookie, Phantom Fox, Blarney Stone, and Clunker”

AKA – The North Avenue Irregulars.  We loved this movie!  It was one of those great Disney gens of the 1970’s that we found and just loved as kids.  I remember how excited we were watching our dad record our own copy of the movie from one VCR to the other.  I also remember the exact spot where it cut out for a moment.  Oh, those good old days of VHS tapes…

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Anyway, who would think that kids would love a movie about a group of church ladies who work to take down an illegal gambling ring? But we did! It had so many big stars of the era; Edward Herrmann, Barbara Harris, Karen Valentine, Cloris Leachman, Michael Constantine, Ruth Buzzi, and Dena Dietrich (famous for playing Mother Nature in Chiffon Margarine commercials).  Each character was different and came with their own burdens and personal issues but came together to bring down the bad guys. As with many 70s movie, it includes its own car chase / demolition derby.

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One of my favorite scenes includes three of the ladies “going undercover” to place a bet and they are all wearing trench coats and sunglasses.  One has a tape recorder hidden inside her coat and just as she is about to place her bet, she is advised to start recording.  She accidentally presses “play” instead of “record” and the song “Roll Out the Barrel” starts blaring from her coat.

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(Keith Note:  My Favorite quotes:  “It’s her money.  Get two” and “Butt out, lady!”)

“Help!  Help!  The Alcalde has all my money!”

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George Hamilton playing dual roles!  Enough said!

Zorro the Gay Blade is one of those movies that just makes me smile and laugh. While George is hilarious as Don Diego and his twin brother Ramon (aka Bunny Wigglesworth), Brenda Vaccaro and Ron Leibman as Florinda and Esteban are so over the top and crazy you can’t wait for them to come back on the screen.

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Some of my favorite lines:

  • You naughty, evil Alcalde! I’m going to do . . . such . . . terrible things . . . to you!
  • Two bits, four bits, six bits, a peso. All for Zorro, stand up and say so!
  • Thank goodness for small favors!
  • Know me? Sink me! We were once womb-mates!
  • There is no shame in being poor! Only in dressing poorly!

(Keith note:  It’s funny that Chris mentions this movie.  Look for a full write up on it from me in early September for the “Costume Drama Blogathon”!)

“Jim never has a second cup of coffee at home …”

Johnny

Airplane! One of the great comedies of the 1980s. There is something about spoofs that if not done correctly are painful to watch. This is not one of them. I think Keith and I have quoted this movie since our first viewing and haven’t stopped yet. There are just so many great lines that I could do an entire post on this movie alone!

Some of my favorite lines:

  • It’s a big pretty white plane with red stripes, curtains in the windows, wheels. It looks like a big Tylenol.
  • Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit sniffing glue.
  • Surely you can’t be serious? I am serious, and don’t call me Shirley.
  • Joey, do you like movies about Gladiators?
  • A hospital, what is it? It’s a big building with patients in it, but that’s not important right now.
  • Get me someone who won’t crack under pressure. How about Mr. Rogers?
  • I haven’t felt this bad since I saw that Ronald Reagan movie.

There are many, many more movies and TV shows I could have included here, but I decided to focus on just a few for now, but as I near my wrap up, how can I not share the one photo that I think we’ve shared back and forth more times than I can possibly imagine? I mean, I even mentioned the person’s name at the beginning of this blog. Without further ado, I present the one image guaranteed to make both of us laugh.

Bill

You can totally hear him right now, can’t you??  The king of the dramatic pause – William Shatner.  There are no more words necessary – this image is all you need.

(Keith Note:  Ricardo Montalban should have won an Academy Award for his performance in this film.  He is brilliant!  My brother once got me a Khan figure to put on my desk for Christmas!)

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Laughter.  It has been a delight revisiting these few memories as they have helped spur so many more that could fill numerous more blog posts.  Thank you for joining me on this guest post, I hope it brought you some laughter as well. I will end with one final image that encompasses a big part of our childhood: Keith and me playing with our Star Wars figures.  The fun and adventures we created beyond the films!

L4

(Keith Note:  My brother could not have picked a more awful picture of me – ok, maybe he could have.  What makes me laugh about this picture is that he has Star Wars figures, and I have that Fisher Price motorcycle dude (who we called “Ginge”)!  I am also appalled that I am wearing black socks in this picture!  The picture, however, is a wonderful time capsule, though.  Besides the toys of the 70’s and 80’s, you will notice ugly shag carpeting, HUGE books called phone books (where we used to look up phone numbers), a stack of newspapers (where we got news before the internet), and one of the first video game systems – the Atari 2600!

It’s always fun to see what others remember and what you forgot.  The North Avenue Irregulars was something I had forgot about!  I am so glad he mentioned it.  In speaking to my brother after reading this, he stated that writing this blog for me, brought about many other things that he “could have” wrote about.  I am encouraging him to keep notes on those things and return for another “guest” spot.  Thanks, Chris!  I love you!)

 

 

Weekend Wrap-Up

wrap up

Because of my “real job” work schedule, I have Thursday-Saturdays off.  I have my sons three weekends a month, and I love that time with them.  One weekend a month, my wife get a “date” weekend.  This past weekend was that weekend.

Thursday

Thursday is usually a short day, because I work the night before.  I sleep late into the afternoon, and then begin the process of going from “midnight” mode to “daytime” mode.  Thursday night, Sam and I didn’t feel like cooking, so we went to our favorite restaurant for dinner.

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I LOVE Lucky’s!  Not surprising I am a “meat and potatoes” guy.  I usually get a Filet Mignon and baked potato.  Because I am currently on Weight Watchers, I opted for broccoli instead of the potato this time.  I also drank water, instead of beer.  The steak was cooked to perfection, as always.  I love when a steak is cooked and seasoned so right, you don’t need to put anything in it.  I always ask for steak sauce, but never use it.

Friday

Friday is “weigh in” day for me.  After the BIG meal the night before, I stepped on the scale hoping I had lost weight.  Happily, I was down 4 pounds and that took me to an overall milestone.

30 pounds weight - SMALL

What an amazing feeling to be down 31 pounds.  Years ago, when I first did Weight Watchers, I hit a 30 pound loss on the week of my 30th birthday.  I was a bit lighter then, but I am working toward being down to where I was the first time I did it.  The journey continues!

***

I am not ashamed to admit that I’ve been seeing a therapist since before my divorce.  I needed to have someone who was non-biased to talk to.  It was a decision that I am glad to have made.  She has helped me in so many ways.  I have learned much about myself, and gained many skills through our visits.  I had an appointment Friday morning.  She, once again, hit on something that really helped me.  I’ve been struggling with something outside of my home life and she helped put some things in perspective. Those moments are awesome.  It should help a lot moving forward.  It’s always a good thing to be able to talk to someone who sees things in a different way and can offer honest opinions and advice.

***

Sam had a practice exam she had to do for her final clinical class.  It was a three hour test that is helping her prepare for the actual test she needs to take for her new credentials.  While she worked on that, I finished the book I was reading.

first conspiracy

Can you imagine America without George Washington?  Me either!  Hell, he’s one of the first famous people you learn about in elementary school.  I went to elementary long before there was President’s Day.  When I was in school, we celebrated Washington’s Birthday and Lincoln’s Birthday in February.  Washington, the “Father of our Country”, was almost NOT.

This book is a work of non-fiction by one of my favorite authors, Brad Meltzer.  As a history buff, I was excited to read this.  This all takes place prior to the Revolutionary War, the signing of the Declaration of Independence, and his presidency.  As a matter of fact, I was surprised at just how close to the start of the war and July 4, 1776 all this took place.

You get a really good picture as to what kind of man Washington was.  Through excerpts of his letters, you see the various struggles he faced and the stress he bore on his shoulders.  You really get a sense of the weight and pressure that was on him during this turbulent time in our nation’s history.  You also see the “birth” of counter-intelligence.  It’s a very good read.

Turn

The book takes place prior to the Revolutionary War primarily, but it does touch on the first few battles of it.  It mentions the “Culper Ring,” which was a group of spies that Washington used to gain information throughout the war.  AMC did a very cool series surrounding the Culper Ring in the series Turn, which I believe is still on Netflix. Ian Kahn played Washington in the series.

Washington

I watched the entire series, but now that I have read this book, I think I am going to revisit it.

***

We spent part of the day grocery shopping and we made turkey burgers for dinner.  We then retired to the couch to relax.  The original plan was to watch a movie, but when we turned the TV on, the Tigers were on, so we watched the game.  It was their “Pink Out the Park” game.

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As you know, my mother and grandmother both died of breast cancer.  I wish I had known that it was “Pink Out” day.  If I had, I may have gotten tickets to the game.  I LOVE when professional sports supports a cause like this.

The Tigers lost (miserably, I might add).  Tiger fans are living through more of the “we are building” stage.  Basically, that means we’re going to suck for a few years.  Maybe, because of this, I haven’t really been watching or listening to a lot of games this year.  At any rate, the game was one of the first ones I really got to sit and listen to the broadcasters.

Matt and Kirk

Matt Shepard and Kirk Gibson were calling the game.  I was quite disappointed.  Don’t get me wrong, I love Gibby as a ball player, but as an announcer, he is boring and monotone.  If there wasn’t a game to watch, and it was just audio, I would have fallen asleep.  I guess I was lucky to have watched George Kell and Al Kaline call games on TV, and Ernie Harwell and Paul Carey call games on radio when I was growing up.

***

After the game was over, Sam and I tuned in for one of our favorite shows – Live PD.

Live PD

I have dissed “reality” shows before.  This, however, is not Survivor, the Bachelor, American Idol, America’s Got Talent, or those other shows about winning money or a bride.  This is real cops doing their job.  I LOVE this show!  There are some other variations of this show – Live Rescue and PD Cam – which are good too.  In my many years on the radio, I have interviewed police, fire, and rescue people before and I ALWAYS made sure to say “thank you.”  They are out there putting their lives on the line, saving lives, and keeping us safe.  Live PD is a guilty pleasure.

Host Dan Abrams has actually wrote a couple books I want to read: Lincoln’s Last Trial and Theodore Roosevelt for the Defense.  Definitely, two to add to my stack of books to read.

Saturday

Saturday started early, as usual, for me.  I have to be up early so I can get to the radio station to be on air at 9.

Moose small

I worked for the Moose years ago full time.  I left to take a morning show position.  I was so grateful to be asked to return part-time.  The staff hasn’t changed much since I left and it’s like returning home to family.  I truly enjoy being back there.

***

I woke up Saturday feeling like I might have a sinus infection.  This is never a good thing for me.  Upon feeling those symptoms, I need to act fast.  If I don’t, I wind up with vertigo.  Every time I have ever gotten vertigo, it has happened because of a sinus infection.  Unlike, Mel Brooks poking fun at it in High Anxiety…..

vertigo

…it’s not fun.  It is crippling!  The last time I had it, I couldn’t even sleep in a bed.  I had to sleep sitting up.  The dizziness is SO bad.  I swear, I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy.  You have no control over anything.  You can barely turn your head.  EVERY little movement can cause you dizziness.  It’s awful.

Because of this, Sam and I went to the Urgent Care and I got checked out.  Definitely the start of a sinus infection.  So they gave me some steroids to bring down the swelling, told me to up the Flonase and sent me on my way.  So far – so good.  Fingers crossed!

***

While we were filing the fridge Friday night after grocery shopping, Sam pulled out the package of bacon that was in there.  She looked at me and said, “You know….BLT’s sound really good.  We should do that for dinner tomorrow.” Behold the power of bacon!!

Tomatoes - Summer 2016

So, we had BLT’s for dinner!  “You’re on a diet, though, Keith” you say?  Yes, indeed.  And Turkey bacon works just as well!  Sam had hers on bread and I had mine in a low carb wrap – BLT wraps are just as good!!

The Week Ahead …

I may have a Guest Blogger lined up in response to my earlier blog.  If you have a story about us you’d like to share, a favorite memory, or a story that one of my blogs reminded you of – I’d love to hear it.  Let me know.

It’s back to work for me, tonight, but I have a very important appointment to keep this week.  It can mean some big changes on the horizon.  It’s exciting.  If all goes well, I will be sharing the “breaking news” in the days ahead ….

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Until then … Have a great week.  See you Tuesday for Tune Tuesday.

 

Pondering an idea: Be My Guest

TRACE-Guest-star USE

I’ve always enjoyed when TV shows bring in guest stars for appearances on my favorite shows.  For example, That 70’s Show brought in many stars from the 70’s as guests or for cameos.  This is not a new concept, Jack Benny’s Show in the 50’s often featured stars like Jimmy Stewart, Humphrey Bogart, Marilyn Monroe, and more.  In the 60’s Batman had guest stars featured in the villain roles.  The Big Bang Theory had some great guest stars! Today, I believe there are even Emmy Awards for Guest Actors in Dramatic and Comedy Roles.  I suppose I could write a blog about my favorite Guest Stars, but that’s not what this blog is about….it’s actually about YOU.

This blog is over a year old now, and much of my writing is personal.  Some of it is about movies and music.  Some of my writing comes from my observations or is brought about by a writing prompt.  While I have a notebook with “future blog ideas” written in it, I have not yet gotten to the point where I feel I am ready to write about them.  There is, however, one “writing prompt” that has come up occasionally that I have thought about using: a guest blogger.

I realize that my blog doesn’t necessarily fit into a “category”.  If I wrote about nothing but movies, I know three or four “movie” people that I would go to and ask if they would consider writing something for this blog.  If it were exclusively about music, there are even more people I know who could write something musically oriented for me.  With this blog being a bit of everything, I’ll be honest, I wasn’t really sure how to handle a “guest appearance”.

Again, this is still up in the air, but here are some preliminary thoughts.  First, someone would actually need to WANT to write something for me.  Once someone expressed interest, I’d want a general idea of what the topic might be.  Topics could be:  favorite memory of us, favorite movie we both like, why you liked working with me, song that reminds you of me, why you read this blog, things that only you and I laugh about, or something like that.

I guess what made me decide to even post about it was listening to an old Jack Benny radio show this week.  In the 1945-1946 season of his radio show, they ran an “I Can’t Stand Jack Benny Because….” contest.  The idea was that listeners wrote, in 50 words or less, why they couldn’t stand Jack Benny and the winner won $10,000.  Let me be clear, if someone wants to write a guest blog for me, it will be for free.  I’m lucky if I have $10 in my pocket.  Maybe I can buy you a beer or send you a nice card or something, but money is a bit hard to come by.  I digress.  I think it would be fun to read your thoughts about what we have in common or your favorite “us” story.

By even opening the door to the possibility of having a guest blogger, I am hoping for a few things.  First, I hope to be reminded of a funny or special moment that I may have forgotten about.  Second, I hope to hear a familiar story, from YOUR point of view.  Third, I’m hoping to learn a bit more about me.  How have I made an impact in the lives of others?  How am I perceived by my friends? Am I a good or bad friend? (and why?)  Do I make a difference?  You know, things like that.

This could actually be something very cool and fun.  It can also be something that I regret.  We’ll see.  Maybe I tossed this idea out and no one will respond – that’s ok.  If you are interested, let me know.  It can be something short or it can be long.  Maybe you don’t want do it at all.  Maybe you just want to suggest something you want me to write about.  I’m ok with that, too.  If you read this through a Facebook link, you can comment there.  If you are reading this on Word Press, you can make a comment here.

I’m interested to see what happens…..

Thanks for reading, and for humoring this idea with me.

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