Daily Limerick
May contain immature content; if you're a minor, go away!
(c)1999-2013 John "Sloop" Biederman
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missives@dailylimerick.net
Archives: December 2013
DAILY LIMERICK 12/1/2013:
Wish of Trailer Liz for bequeath
from Claus? Simply her two front teeth!
Since plan left her boyfriend glum,
played all Yule--dug soft gums!--
"Wrap the Yule Log in Mouth Wreath"!

***

SLAPPIN' AND YAPPIN' 12/1/2013:
Thus begins the All Christmas theme for another Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

So unless something really strikes us as Two Cents-worthy, farewell to News Limericks until Dec. 26 or so...

Happy Extra Merrily Cheezy Christmas Season!...

***

SUNDAY STORY TIME 12/1/2013:
A SPECIAL, TOUCHING SECTION APPEARING SUNDAYS ONLY
(Touching in some manner, anyway)

TODAY'S EDITION: My New Old Christmas Tree Ritual
I'm a lonely guy.

I'm not looking for pity or anything. Just stating a fact. Which doesn't DESERVE pity, either--I am indeed "lonely," but I'm not "lonesome." Or perhaps, to fit the saying, I'm "often alone but not lonely" or... You get me, right?

Less than half of my adult life has been led within a romantic relationship. That's not just a toss-off approximation--I've done the math in my head. Sure, it's close to half, but still less. I'm also the type who gets the vast majority of my sex and dating within relationships--there are exceptions, but I've never been much of a serial dater or one-night-stand artist.

I realize that romance isn't the only gauge of loneliness. On that level, while I don't have huge numbers in the Friend department, I have numerous close friends--when I do form friendships, they tend to last forever. But as time plods on, and we're all beset with adult responsibilities, we see each other less and less. We can touch base after years and pick things up as if it were days between last contact, but I generally don't spend a lot of time with friends. I've also rented spare rooms in my condo for most of the past decade, meaning I've had roommates, but most have been on a need-to-pay-bills level only, and even the actual friend-roommates... I'm digressing too much.

Clarifications aside, I am indeed a lonely guy.

Slapper Yapper Grasshoppers know I'm a nut for Christmas. I've put up a tree as a single adult, starting in a small studio living alone, for the past 20 years or so. Likewise, I've festooned my abode with lights and other Seasonal decor and, while I've been married and engaged and hooked-up on-and-off--thus making a social effort of the Tree Trimming deal at times--I've often, perhaps mostly, done the Christmas Decor Ritual all by myself.

I don't mind this. I have a naturally writer-like disposition, valuing my "me time" even while generally aspiring to be less lonely. I have a ball decorating the Tree by myself. Most years, though, I've made at least a token effort at recruiting a friend or babe I'm after to join the fun.

Until last year.

Last year, as I generally shoot as close to just after Thanksgiving as I can for the Tree Fest, my mother was in the hospital, so I wasn't around the homestead a whole lot... December 1 was decided upon as The Day. I'd brought the boxes of ornaments and such up from storage before an out-of-town trip. planned to get back into town, grab a tree and do it up... Received a call just before heading out to buy and drag a Tree home.

My Mother had passed away.

Partly because Mom would want Christmas to go on--and she was always stressing, "Don't change your plans on my account!"--partly to keep my mind from wallowing in despair, partly because a dose of Christmas was badly needed, partly because I hold Christmas so sacred... I went right out and got a Tree anyway.

And did up my place in Christmas Merry as the long process of adjusting to Mom's death began to ever so slowly unfold mentally and emotionally.

So while on the surface, Tree Trimmming all alone this year was nothing out of my ordinary, the attitude was completely new. I 100 percent planned to do it up alone--and wouldn't want it any other way.

Now, this doesn't mean that if, say, I have a Lady next year, and/or a family of my own and/or coordinated-willing friends, I'll refuse to Go Christmas with other human beings. Family and friends are a huge part of holidays, of course, and none more than Christmas.

But this perhaps temporary New Old Christmas ritual somehow IS very Christmas-y. Wallowing in the Season, spending time alone with memories, somehow communing with generations of family--indeed, with all of Mankind through History--in the time honored, sacred tradition of Christmas...

******

DAILY LIMERICK 12/2/2013:
A swingin' elf, hot, single 'Chelle,
while hanging up the Jingle Bells,
and caroling, "Fa la las"
opted to go ben-wa--
turning 'em to Tingle Bells!

***

SLAPPIN' AND YAPPIN' 12/2/2013:
Ahhh.

The weekend following Thanksgiving always brings a much needed and anticipated dose of Festivity.

Though we're no longer sure if the whole Tree Trimming thing is the main festive source, or the fact that finally, FINALLY, media shut the hell up about Black Freakin' Friday already... Seriously... It's starting to eclipse a little known holiday known as CHRISTMAS... Good God...

******

DAILY LIMERICK 12/3/2012:
A couple, both as kitchen rookies,
got festive and baked Christmas cookies!
The jellies, nuts, jangles
let loose and entangled
resulting in... Well, Christmas nookie!

***

SLAPPIN' AND YAPPIN' 12/3/2013:
Time to reconoiter for a the modern marketing age, guys--

Dress those bell-ringers in skimpy outfits and rename as...The Salavation Army!...

******

DAILY LIMERICK 12/4/2012:
I'll spare details, to keep you guessing,
but as Season has us count blessings...
Code of barbecue
rules my sweet love, too,
when good... Just say, I'm counting messings!

***

SLAPPIN' AND YAPPIN' 12/4/2013:
After a long work day, I was riding the subway home and, starving, stuffing down a sandwich on my ride.

A black man, a bit older than me, asked, "What kind of sandwich is that? Roast beef, huh?"

"No," I answered. "Well, it has roast beef on it, but some other meats, too. I got it from Walmart. Need to soup it up a bit, with hot peppers and stuff, but it's big and cheap."

The guy nodded, knowing exactly where I was coming from.

Why talk about the weather with strangers?

They say pro ports exist solely because they're a reliable soure of male bonding.

I say there's no better way to connect with your fellow man than gettin' all philosophical about the Wonder O' the Sammich...

******

DAILY LIMERICK 12/5/2013:
A fetishy elf, Festive Moe,
waxed stocking-obsessed--first sign snow!
Not chimmney's--but those on legs!--
from which, gift "-job," he'd beg--
aft rolled-down from "muscle-toes"!

***

SLAPPIN' AND YAPPIN' 12/5/2013:
Rules of business, updated--

The customer is always right...with exceptions for the Banking Industry, Big Medicine and, considering that we pay their salaries...Government...

******

DAILY LIMERICK 12/6/2013:
A frisky toy soldier named Gooden
sniffed a new type of figgy puddin'!
Eyed angel 'top tree;
shocked lil' Pam McGee--
by puttin' the "wood" into "wooden"!

***

SLAPPIN' AND YAPPIN' 12/6/2013:
Hollywood...Bollywood... Guess many flicks coming out around now are "Jollywood"...

******

DAILY LIMERICK 12/7/2013:
Thanks, Santa--Yule gifts? Got it made!
But there's reason to be afraid...
Eve partiers, keep an eye,
for St. Nick's sleigh in sky...
Could rein(deer) on your parade!

***

SLAPPIN' AND YAPPIN' 12/7/2013:
Now, since the middle-ish portion of a certain month is referred to as the "Ides of March"... Could we be nearing the "Ives of December"?...

Seriously; think about that one... Hey, nobody feels like working around now...or even "working"...

Happy Joyously Cheezy Saturday!...

******

SUNDAY DAILY LIMERICK 12/8/2013:
Dashing through snow, Jed got disparaged--
wife wanted car; he preferred carriage!
Been while since bells jingled;
he wished he were single...
Agreed 'pon one-horse open marriage!

***

SLAPPIN' AND YAPPIN' 12/8/2013:
If you just call it a "Yule" log, it goes from embarrasing...to "festive"!...

***

SUNDAY STORY TIME 12/8/2013:
A SPECIAL, TOUCHING SECTION APPEARING SUNDAYS ONLY
(Touching in some manner, anyway)

TODAY'S EDITION: When the Going Gets Tough...
...Sure, the tough get going...but they also have to blow-off Sunday Story Time... Yeah, a big Part II is still coming...

******

DAILY LIMERICK 12/9/2013:
A crusty ol' elf, name of Larry,
had air not of filth, but of...merry?
Though known bathroom lazy-wipe,
was such a festive type--
nether zone bore...jingle-berries!

***

SLAPPIN' AND YAPPIN' 12/9/2013:
Long-time Slapper Yapper Grasshoppers may recall that we once billed this site, "Your Tricycle on the Information Super-Highway.

You know, since we're all about content and... Well, just LOOK at the damn site!

So we're wondering now if we have a copyright lawsuit against that ObamaCare website...

******

DAILY LIMERICK 12/10/2013:
Dude made date to bake gingerbread
with hot chick who was ginger. Red
hair and alabaster skin!
Yule kick-off did begin
when he received ginger-head!

***

SLAPPIN' AND YAPPIN' 12/10/2013:
Not sure what to make of it, but it doesn't seem good when one's flippant Facebook comment gets a "like" from TWO exes...

******

DAILY LIMERICK 12/11/2013:
'Bout Fam'ly, is Christmas--don't tarry
your thoughts! Yet I beg be contrary--
built into the season
is lady yen pleasin'!
Work Carols, feel Joy and make Mary!

***

SLAPPIN' AND YAPPIN' 12/11/2013:
Since we're on the subject of fruity flavored Tootsie Rolls... We were on that subject, weren't we; no matter... Eat an orange one with a vanilla one, together in your mouth, and... Well, delight...

******

DAILY LIMERICK 12/12/2013:
It's said each time that a bell wings
an angel somewhere gets its wings!
Last night, merry-making,
found whole damn tree shaking!
Some angel got stiff bad-a-bing!

***

SLAPPIN' AND YAPPIN' 12/12/2013:
Chief Limericist checked-in, here, to say... You'll have to pry my John Thomas from my cold, dead hand!...


******

DAILY LIMERICK 12/13/2013:
It's Christmas! Good tiding unfurled
to all women, men, boys and girls!
To hail Savior's birth,
pray for Peace on Earth!
(And "Piece" that is Out of this World!)

***

SLAPPIN' AND YAPPIN' 12/13/2013:
Not sure what to make of this, it being the Merry Month of December and all but... Happy Extra Cheezy... Friday the Festive Thirteenth?...

******

DAILY LIMERICK 12/14/2013:
When Santa's elves hit the egg nog
they morph into horned-up egg-dogs!
Such unbridled ass-fest
could cause things disastrous--
but most males are curbed by egg-log!

***

SLAPPIN' AND YAPPIN' 12/14/2013:
There's gotta be some form of warning in the blatherings of Nostradamus about Chia Pets and "Duck Dynasty," right?

Seriously. That combo simply CAN'T be good for Humanity...

Happy Winterfully Wonderful Extra Cheezy Saturday!...

******

SUNDAY DAILY LIMERICK 12/15/2013:
Was shocked when I first heard song played--
"The Twelve Days of Christmas"? TWELVE? Crazed!
But Big Retail's Yule raping--
earlier, Time's shaping...
I'd now applaud mere Twelve Days!

***

SLAPPIN' AND YAPPIN' 12/15/2013:
"You gauge a man's wealth not by counting his money, but by counting his friends."

Another old maxim destroyed by the Facebook Age...

***

SUNDAY STORY TIME 12/15/2013:
A SPECIAL, TOUCHING SECTION APPEARING SUNDAYS ONLY
(Touching in some manner, anyway)

TODAY'S EDITION: The Last Cell Phone Hold-Out--Update
Slapper Yapper Grasshoppers may be eagerly awaiting a certain Part II...but, well, Life's happening and such, so I'll toss you a Part II, of sorts, on an entry a while back concerning my former status as the Last Cell Phone Hold-Out, a status which changed this past summer... Well, I'm calling it a simple "Update," but maybe your considering it a "Part II" will ease the jones... Anyway--

So, am I happy about finally being among the Cell Phone Masses? Blown away by the added convenience in life?

Er, no. Now I can just be bothered wherever I go. Wish the damn things were never invented...

******

DAILY LIMERICK 12/16/2013:
Christmas? For me? Shut up 'bout "selfies"!
Lame term--place, with egos, on shelfie!
But, gotta admit,
turned-on, more than bit,
when hot Santa's elf sent me... "Elfie"?

***

SLAPPIN' AND YAPPIN' 12/16/2013:
My ex- is sooo cold... I went down on her once and a scene from "A Christmas Story" broke out!...

******

DAILY LIMERICK 12/17/2013:
Long-time Slap-Yapps know bro's of Frosty
form theme for our Christmas Lim rost'ry!
Though milked through the years,
there're more--need not fear...
Like his upscale brother named Costy!

***

SLAPPIN' AND YAPPIN' 12/17/2013:
I read "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty" years ago and always considered it a classic.

Now there's another movie out and... Well, Ben Stiller.

I just get the feeling that, somehow, all is not quite right in the world...

******

DAILY LIMERICK 12/18/2013:
Some carolling rev'lers hit town;
took a dinner break between rounds...
Joe unwisely chose, "shrimp boat"--
gassed-up, hit rare "Brown Note"--
stoked an off-white Christmas (tinged brown)!

***

SLAPPIN' AND YAPPIN' 12/18/2013:
Take Kraft (or extra cheapo) mac and cheeze; add can of chili; get chili mac...

******

DAILY LIMERICK 12/19/2013:
Best not to receive, but to give gifts--
that's Spirit of Christmas at core, pith!
Thus gifts from your honey?
The thought trumps spent money--
in turn trumped by box that it came with!

***

SLAPPIN' AND YAPPIN' 12/19/2013:
Our advice for today WAS going to be, "It's better to give than to receive--even with, or especially with, a seasonal game of 'Hide the Pickle'"... Then we realized that this is coming from straight males and... Piece on Earth, Good Dill to Men...or something... Hey, it's the Holidays and we're at least making the work effort...

******

DAILY LIMERICK 12/20/2013:
Christmas Eve, 'neath tree gifts are wrapped!
No stirring... Wait? Was that a "slap"?...
Upstairs bedroom's where comes from;
Ma, Pa taste sugar plums--
wearing JUST kerchief and a cap!
***

SLAPPIN' AND YAPPIN' 12/20/2013:
So what exactly do you call it when a cat pees on you? Or at least your bed, while you're in it?

"Off-golden shower"?...

******

DAILY LIMERICK 12/21/2013:
Met slut elf... Not sure how I feel.
There's certain exotic appeal...
Yet, too, vibes bit silly,
confusing my Willie--
take curly-bell-toed, four-inch heels!

***

SLAPPIN' AND YAPPIN' 12/21/2013:
Happy Extra Cheezy Winter Solstice... Oh, and...

Happy Merrily Cheezy Saturday!...

******

SUNDAY DAILY LIMERICK 12/22/2013:
While Jolly Joe Fa-La-La-La'd,
eyed Festive Flo--felt Fa-La-Raw!
He so Jingle-Jingled
soon Flo Jingle-Tingled--
as he removed her Fa-La-Bra!

***

SLAPPIN' AND YAPPIN' 12/22/2013:
So, around this time of year, considering the Santa Thing and all, you readers are... Slapper Yapper Lapper Grasshoppers? Or something?... Hey, we're plugging forward amid all the excuses to go festive...

***

SUNDAY STORY TIME 12/22/2013:
A SPECIAL, TOUCHING SECTION APPEARING SUNDAYS ONLY
(Touching in some manner, anyway)

TODAY'S EDITION: When It Rains...
...It floods.

Seriously.

Can't believe all the bullshit happening at once... Oh, and why DOESN'T Sunday Story Time deserve a break for Christmas?...

******

DAILY LIMERICK 12/23/2013:
A cute, shy girl elf, name of Holly, topped
the "Good List"! Was nursing a lollypop
as Santa prepared for rounds,
Christmas Eve, 'cross world bound...
So her reward? Kringle's...jolly-pop!

***

SLAPPIN' AND YAPPIN' 12/23/2013:
Merrily Extra Cheezy Christmas Eve...Eve!...

******

DAILY LIMERICK 12/24/2013:
Hark! Though Herald Angels do sing,
mars Glory to the Newborn King...
See, Angels are beautiful!
Throw in snoot a'full--
Hark, Harold Angel's got "schwing"!

***

SLAPPIN' AND YAPPIN' 12/24/2013:
Festively Cheezy Christmas Eve!...

******

DAILY LIMERICK 12/25/2013:
Peace on Earth, to all 'neath the sun!
And, don't forget, give Joy its run--
of course, may God bless us,
but Joy can bring messes
so, too... God Mess Us, Ev'ry One!

***

SLAPPIN' AND YAPPIN' 12/25/2013:
From all of us at Daily Limerick, to all of you Slapper Yapper Grasshoppers, a very Merry (and Extra Cheezy) Christmas!

God Bless Us, Every One!

(With the possible exception of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emmanuel)...

******

DAILY LIMERICK 12/26/2013:
Most restart Yule Countdown--year's tocks away.
But Euros and such dub this..."Boxing Day"?
Details?... Well, need schooling, see?
Still, they ain't fooling me--
post-Christmas blah ploy, outfox for day!

***

SLAPPIN' AND YAPPIN' 12/26/2013:
Every year on this date, as now a sort of unintended tradition, we toss out the same content.

So this year, we're FINALLY going to just get back to business.

We'll begin with... Hmm.

Okay, then. How about... Ahem.

Oh, what the hell.

(Sigh)...

******

DAILY LIMERICK 12/27/2013:
Long, DL's site slogan did say,
"Tricycle on Info Highway"!
Seems site for ObamaCare
ripped that off! Want our share,
Gravy Train, lawsuit! Must pay!

***

SLAPPIN' AND YAPPIN' 12/27/2013:
A tray liner informed us that one perk of a McDonald's job is, "competitive wages."

Don't laugh.

Micky D's wages, in fact, blow away many a Taiwanese warehouse...

******

DAILY LIMERICK 12/28/2013:
Past Christmas--curb fest, cull restraint?
Hell no! We're 'mid Holiday Taint!
Wait for Countdown Scene fun?
Why? Frolic between 'em!
Let's nibble that Taint 'til we faint!

***

SLAPPIN' AND YAPPIN' 12/28/2013:
As of noon today, we're officially at the halfway mark amid the Holiday Taint.

You know. Between Christmas and New Year's?
Happy Extra Cheezy (and Taint-a-licious) Final Saturday of 2013!...

The "taint" being... Well, you should know...


******

SUNDAY DAILY LIMERICK 12/29/2013:
Hist'ry Law, most bizness finds swell,
now some industries find, won't gel!
"The customer's always right"?
Big Medicine? Yeah, right--
"Customer can go to hell!"

***

SLAPPIN' AND YAPPIN' 12/29/2013:
Yay! Only 362 days until Christmas!

Ahem.

(Sigh.)

Alright, enough of that. Back to reality and such. Don't want to give Big Retail any ideas...

***

SUNDAY STORY TIME 12/29/2013:
A SPECIAL, TOUCHING SECTION APPEARING SUNDAYS ONLY
(Touching in some manner, anyway)

TODAY'S EDITION: Rock Star Dreams, Part II
When we last left Our Hero… Really? I need to recap? Part I of this essay is in the damn Archives, as is everything that's ever appeared on this site!

Alright, then.

Last week, in the first part of the essay, I detailed how I, as a lifelong writer, detoured into Rock Star Dreams for most of high school and into my early twenties. But that I was mostly roped-in to the idea because musicians were the Only artists in the insulated world of high school and I found myself focused largely on tasks like writing lyrics--thus coming to believe that I was simply a writer trying to stuff myself into a rock star's clothing.

That's oversimplifying our story. I actually had some musical talent, and I worked hard culling it, but I was doing the college drug experimentation thing which, combined with my dad's negative attitude toward my Rock Star Dreams, nixed not only the serious pursuit of a music career but also my parents' bankrolling of my higher education and… Again, there's the 'chives.

Suffice it to say, while admittedly oversimplifying here, that I pursued becoming a rock star as a young adult before deciding it was all part of a screwed-up life stage, a diversion on my lifelong path as a writer, to which I returned after nixing the Rock Star Dreams.

My first attempt at college was over, with little tangible to show for all the time and effort directed at Rock Star Dreams. Some songs and the ability to play a mean bass guitar, but no music recordings or gigs worthy of adding to a resume.

It's rather depressing to go from living independently at college for the first time, getting that taste of adult freedom, to landing back living with the parents, working grunt jobs rather than beginning a real career. This is one reason I developed a drinking problem. And, as the drug dabbling waylaid my Rock Star Dreams, the boozing diluted my early writing efforts.

But only temporarily--and not as horribly.

I started by writing short stories. It seemed that becoming a novelist was the Dream Gig, supplemented with the practical job of newspaperman. Since I had an early penchant for books like "The Lord of the Rings" and sci-fi, that's what I started writing. I followed the standard route of making a name by selling short stories to appropriate mags, or attempting to, then using those credits to sell full books. In the back of my mind lurked the goal of writing an actual novel, but it seemed such an endeavor required, first, an idea I could get excited about and sink my creative teeth into. I figured I'd eventually stumble upon a suitable novel idea.

There were many reasons this plan didn't result in novels. The drinking, as mentioned, was one. Also, the "standard" route I followed was dated by the time I indulged it. And I wasn't really cut-out for the genres--obviously a humorist, I sought to write "serious" stuff, despite early success as a high school humor columnist and the fact that I didn't delegate humor to the realm of "lesser" art. (In fact, I was a crusader against slighting humor, but this was another case of my not holding myself individually to my overall "rules.")

This is not to say that this back-with-the-parents phase wasn't productive. Despite floating in booze, I learned to craft cover letters and queries, research publication outlets, put in regular writing hours (legitimately working at the craft professionally) and I even netted constructive replies to my work from editors--a step above cookie-cutter rejection slips.

Hell, I actually sold a work! "Sold" meaning payment only in contributor copies, but some Brit lit mag wanted to publish one of my poems (something I dabbled in for kicks, mostly). I was told upfront that the rag had a huge backlog, that it could take a year or more to see publication and… The damn thing folded altogether before that happened. But it was otherwise a legit "sale."

The DUI led to losing my driver's license, moving in with a friend in the City of Chicago to get around/find work via public trans. I continued the same writing plan, assembling a writers' group for input on works. A while after a horribly negative experience with a stint in Big Rehab, it hit me that a "One Few Over the Cuckoo's Nest"-like treatment of a rehab stay would make a great novel idea.

I wrote and edited this novel, through help from another self-formed writers' group, and went through the whole grind of sending packages/queries to literary agents. This was around the time I returned to college to finish my journalism degree.

I ran out of agents to query and never sold the novel, "'Hab." But college brought a return to journalism that was successful beyond even my lofty expectations. First, I landed a gig as one of the student newspaper's columnists--humor again. For this I won awards, but the gig also landed me on the newspaper staff--eventually becoming editor-in-chief! Just before returning to school I'd sold a piece that actually DID pay money (although peanuts), for my college internship I landed at MAD Magazine (in later years selling them features) and… Something more important happened.

I faced-up to the fact that I was a humorist. No more need to pursue "serious" works. Yet I wasn't quite sure where I fit in as a writer. The novel had been growing less culturally important with time, as had the newspaper. Publishing houses were merging and leaning more and more toward "blockbuster or celebrity only"--making an endangered species of what insiders call "mid-list authors." New media were emerging left and right, all leaving the novel's place as uncertain.

What else was there? Freelance writing could still be lucrative, but it always entailed mostly "job" writing, with occasional creative and/or humorous Dream Gigs. Script and Hollywood writing was something that never thrilled me--writing for which others took the glory. I started this site a few years after college, of course, but I've never expected it to support me. Books of humorous essays, perhaps?

For the first time in my life, I wasn't sure what my Dream Career was. But I'd been a writer by identity for my whole life--and I now had a degree in the field--so, damnit, I'd just plug away, assuming it'd all figure itself out as the Internet and all the New Media evolved from Wild West into whatever it would become.

Also, just before returning to college I'd begun a performing career. I didn't know it was a "career" at the time, just an outlet to meet other writers, but as I mostly ditched my "serious" poem readings in favor of humor, I became a decent performer and even gained fans. Since I was dwelling in the comedic, I started doing poetry at comedy shows, then tried stand-up--and it all went pretty well.

I graduated college, started a poetry scene newspaper (successful in many ways, but not monetarily), landed a job as editor of an artists' newspaper, got married, was dragged to Los Angeles with the Wife--where I bolstered a stand-up resume and landed a job at the Daily News of Los Angeles and supplemented that with passable income as a freelance writer.

Writing was always a rough path on which to make decent income, more and more so with time--since the invention of radio then TV overall--but I managed. At times, I eeked out full-time income from freelance, but usually it was a mix of that and in-office stuff (full- or part-time). My performing, still seen as a glorified hobby, was bringing sporadic income of a passable sort by that time, too.

Around the time of my divorce, I started working as a grant writer part-time, supplementing that with freelance--and this proved a marvelous mix of freedom and reliability for years, until landing back as full-time editor at the artists' newspaper. Around then I also recorded some music. A friend of mine had been saying for some time that my rhyming, metered poetry could easily be set to music, so I indulged him, on a whim. I dubbed the project/band Sloop and the Magnificent Musical Nut Wagon. I passed out CDs of some songs at shows here and there--and received positive feedback, but didn't think much of it. In fact, super-positive feedback--that it was different, funny, original, etc. My Musical Maestro friend had been moving back and forth between Chicago and St. Louis for the entire 15 years-plus I'd known him, and he'd entered a multi-year stint exclusively in St. Louis around then, so the idea of an actual, playing band was tough to realize. I tossed a couple tunes onto a site for sale, somehow sold a few (but not enough to cover the site's membership fee). We talked about "some day" doing more with the project, and he updated me on his perpetual plan of returning to Chicago periodically.

At this point in life, I welcomed the stability of full-time employ again, but the stability faltered. The arts publication saw a regrettable change in leadership, I bailed and became a successful, full-time freelancer and then… The Great Recession.

The Great Recession ushered in a phase of life I view as my absolute worst--besting (worsting?) college failure, alcoholism and divorce. The timing of it all worked for maximum destruction of life and hope. For more than a decade I'd indulged a side dream of successful, full-time freelance, and after leaving the artists' newspaper, it was finally achieved. I'd even made more money freelancing than that last full-time, in-office gig.

So when the freelance income started to flag, I was in denial. Denial was bolstered by the fact that this was the only field I'd built my life on, since a young boy. Things HAD to turn around. And the freelance flagged slowly, meandering to about three-quarters-time pay, then half-pay…and teasing me along the way. I'd think, "Okay, maybe this freelance thing just won't work after all," only to then land a great-paying extended gig, tricking me into thinking things would come back around…only to fizzle toward quarter-time pay. Etc.

I'd struggled through a spendthrift ex-wife, then being socked with extra debts through the divorce, to reach a point where I could FINALLY start saving money…only to blow that savings as the Great Recession kicked-in. A frugal guy, always budgeting my money, as the freelance flagged I was soon near-maxing credit cards and… Still, it was about far more than the money.

My very identity was in jeopardy.

From the time some teacher in grade school told me I had a knack for writing, encouraged by my parents and my own penchant for creating, I hit the writer's path. I had the whole grind down--keep your clips on file/linked and handy, constantly scour websites and other resources for better opps, hit-up the big publications with your resume and clips every few months, keep adding to your skill set (recently I'd added theater reviews and sports writing)… Now this grind that I'd work years to perfect was useless? After working my nuts off to get somewhere in the industry?

I figured that eventually the industry would recover. Eventually the news aggregates and such would milk their traditional sources to such a point that news itself was in danger, with a new paying model a necessity. Any schmo can blog about the news in his mother's basement, but you have to pay people to hit the courthouses, legislatures, 2 a.m. murder sites, etc. Eventually. And eventually the Wild West of the Internet would have to shake-out with advertising footing the bills, as it did for centuries of print.

Right?

I thought so. Still think so. Still think MAYBE so, anyway. But there's no guarantee and one has to eat and such.

So for once in my life, I had to do SOMETHING ELSE for a living. Not like working a coffeehouse temporarily while attending college. A new CAREER. Or at least another career, hopefully just a side/second career.

There were two key problems with this new career jazz. One, I wasn't qualified to do anything else. I had a college degree, typing skills--all sorts of things that could translate into other fields. Or so one would think. In that economy--hell, still in THIS economy--employers could demand that even shit shovelers have years of direct, recent experience. I was willing to work a restaurant job, even shovel shit, but… Not exactly a feel-good experience, finding myself seemingly unemployable.

The second problem is that there was no other career I WANTED. I never understood those kids in school who, when we'd have a "career day" or whatever, would scramble to come up with a topic for their report. "I don't know WHAT I should be when I grow up."

Never had that problem. Until the Great Recession anyway.

Teaching seemed a decent career path. I enjoyed some of the tutoring I'd done in the past--side job at college, unofficially in writers' groups and such--and saw the logic of the many artsy-farts who went into teaching to supplement their creative careers. But taking on more student loan debt? Uh-uh. And I knew some of these artsy-teacher types seeing downsizing since well before the Great Recession, with many colleges turning to more part-time teachers.

Since my dabbling in performance had gone on for 15 years at this point, I tried out some Craig's List "Talent" ads and such after piecing together an acting resume. It didn't take long for me to land some decent paying stuff.

Imagine that. Turning to ACTING to pay the bills. But that's what I did.

Now, this wasn't instantaneously an actual career. It was another art to struggle and starve with, like writing. But nothing else was coming through. I had some good, extended gigs--working a Halloween haunted house, for instance. And the stuff I DID land paid really well--$250 for a couple-hour photo shoot here, $50 for a TV show bit part there.

Then, an opportunity arose allowing my acting to become a full-time career...or so it seemed (and perhaps so I blindly hoped).

This play, "Dinnner with the Mafia," eventually changed to "Dinner with the Family"... Well, that's a whole multi-part Sunday Story Time right there. So I'll avoid digressing as much as possible.

I applied for an ad seeking actors for a 1930s, comedic interactive dinner theater deal--knowing that such a play, especially a phenom like "Tony & Tina's Wedding," could offer a "gig" with pay and regularity on par with a traditional full-time job. This was also right up my alley, if I may wax cliche, in that I've always dug that whole 1920s-30s gangster, prohibition-era stuff. I already had era hats, wearing them as part of my general style, and with job-ready suits, ties, etc., I was good to go.

I received a call to set-up an audition and found the producer to have sky high plans for this show--shows Friday, Saturday and Sunday matinee for the Next Big Thing! I was being considered for one of the major parts, "Elliott Mess." I landed the part for the "A Team," as they'd initially planned a dillio worthy of two whole functioning casts, plus a likely improv-crowd interactive role for the "B Team," we began rehearsing and... Dare I believe?

The producer and director for this show seemed professional. Mostly. Like the whole idea of attaining financial security in theater, their behavior sometimes brought reason for doubt. But didn't everything? A friend of mine took a job out of his field in real estate to make ends meet, only to find the company's checks bounce on him. Nothing else was coming through for me, there IS Big Money in Entertainment, even if it's not always easy to pocket, and the other actors on board, mostly experienced acting professionals, found the process passing their smell-tests so... I dove into the play as a gateway to a new career.

We signed contracts guaranteeing $100 per show, rehearsed two times or more per week and a huge, honkin', swanky banquet hall in a border suburb was landed for the shows and rehearsals--with a 250-seat capacity! As best as I can tell, I initially applied for this gig in late 2010, was called back and auditioned in the early months of 2011, rehearsals actually began that July and an opening date was set for late September.

Oh, that Summer of 2011! Late May, I was hospitalized with a sinus infection from hell. Since the infection was dangerously close to my brain, liquid, intravenous antibiotics were in order for most of June and... That means difficulty leaving the house without shitting one's pants, to be blunt. A situation that doesn't end when you finally finish with the antibiotics themselves--for about another month after that, your own digestive bacteria climb back up to speed. Around which time an actual surgical procedure was scheduled, which brought another round of antibiotics--strong ones, though not the intravenous variety and... All this has a way of curbing your fun in the summer sun.

Oh, and upon my release from the initial hospitalization, my then live-in fiance informed me it was over, she was moving out, which occurred July 1... I clung to this play as my only hope for a bright, new future. That and, to a lesser degree, learning to teach ESL as yet another possible career path.

Guess I forgot to mention my attempt at a career teaching/tutoring English as a Second Language. I volunteered at an organization in return for free ESL classes/certification. Went way beyond my minimum commitment--a whole freakin' year--and even applied for jobs in the field, including at said organization... No dice without a major in the field and more financial aid debt was out of the question.

So I did believe in this play opportunity. Even as reasons for doubt strengthened and increased in number. I did my research and the producers' claims of the play's past success--in downstate Springfield, a far different theater scene animal than Chicago, but it was running, and was still running, for seven years--checked out. But the overly ambitious A Team/B Team plan was nixed fairly early on in favor of "backups for key roles where possible," the opening was pushed forward repeatedly and, while the play's producer was allegedly hard at work raising funds, there wasn't much to show for this.

At some point that summer, we all signed contracts, $100 per show, and received a $50 good faith stipend. So these guys were either smooth Bozos or mere happenstance lent them a hand, as every time the red flags were dangerously acccumulated, an optimistic sign, ala the stipend/contract, emerged to quash any emerging questions of, "Should I/we bail"?

So, were they "Bozos"? Yes...and, perhaps, no. The director had experience acting, and had been around the scene long enough to know what was what, with connections and such. The producer had music producing experience, anyway...I think. He was short on details regarding his experience. They jumped into what appeared a great opporunity, did what seemed sensible, so I cut them slack on that but... Bozo behavior was evident.

They booked this HUGE banquet hall with no marketing to show for it. As a journalist, I volunteered to work with press releases and such--but soon realized that my efforts were the Whole Press Enchilada. Any money the producer was raising--also short on details--must've went for rental fees for the hall and/or his and the director's expenses/wages.

There were more Bozo Red Flags, including eventually learning that our producer/money man was living in a YMCA...but the whole Play Story actually justifies its own Sunday Story Time--and likely a multi-parter, at that.

The play finally opened late January, 2012, with a preview and a couple of shows. After which a scheduled rehearsal turned into a meeting in which we were informed that... The dudes couldn't aford to pay us according to our contracts and they were "regrouping." We recieved our partial payments and were told to await a reboot in February or March...which never happened.

Of course, this raised the question of whether or not further effort with these Bozos was worthwhile. We actors met immediately after the Meeting at a separate locale and there was mixed opinion on that. (For my part, I'd soon decided that I would give the Bozos another chance, with great skepticism and mostly to recoup payment.) There was talk of taking over the production ourselves, which eventually happened. First, one of the actresses engaged the playwright, who was pissed at the Bozos, and tried a half-assed reboot. Then I took the reins.

Around this time, I'd decided that, even if my Writer's Path seemed to have hit a dead end, I should at least make the most of the hard work and sweat I'd already put into it. So I put my current skills and experience into a Super Edit of my old novel, submitted packages to literary agents and...eventually, received the same old results of nil. From there I eventually worked it into an e-book, which now sits, available for sale, but not selling.

The failure of "Dinner with the Mafia" did prove to me that I had a new career after all--as an actor/performer. Like most, if not all of Life's disasters, the Silver Lining showed that I could "wow" a crowd in a major interactive role and that I was worthy of making money, even a living, doing it. And this play did have the basic ingredients for a possible success, I'd put tons of work into it already, which seemed a shame to waste and... Okay, I really, REALLY wanted it to succeed.

Given that my overall situation was the same, with no other jobs coming through, etc., etc., I became the main director/producer of what was then, "Dinner with the Family." (Believe it or not, objections from Italian-American groups to the "M-Word" is a Big Deal in these matters. Trust me.)

Man, was this task a pain in the ass. I'd spent most of my career(s) as a solo writer/performer largely because my experiences with team creative endeavors--bands, sketch groups--left me frazzled and frustrated attempting to manage flaky artist types. This project meant dealing with fourteen actors!

As this remount was underway, auditions and rehearsals beginning Summer 2012, my friend, Stephan, moved back to Chicago--and was itching to FINALLY get started on Sloop and the Magnificent Musical Nut Wagon. We met once or twice to rehearse and plan, he sheduled a show date or two--glorified rehearsal, really, to get the ball rolling... But I was too swamped. Producing this play was beyond biting off more than I could chew--it was more than I could fit in my mouth!

We opened the play late October, followed with a few sporadic shows, then my mother was hospitalized, a visiting uncle died, Mom rehospitalized throughout November, passing away Dec. 1... The family obligations, back and forth from city/country, killed any hoper of seriously rolling out the Nut Wagon.

We landed a sweet pizza place, mini-banquet hall locale for the play in early 2013, opened with a good turnout then... The play didn't pan out. Again, I'll spare details here and now. Actually, with a few good turnouts, and a few good payouts, over a few months' run, we probably outdid the average play, but we missed the mark for a new, long-running phenom.

Spring 2013 became a time of personal rebirth. With a new resolve, I began directly approaching sources of employ, really REALLY thinking on the puzzle of matching my oddball talents to the Real World. Tired of wallowing in my failed, lifelong career path's death, now ragingly pissed-off at the damage the Great Recession had wrought... My new Career Path was made official in landing a well paying, regular Gangster Tour Guide gig.

Performing became my bread and butter.

It's a collosal understatement to say that the failure of Dinner with the Family bummed me out. Nearly two years of hard work, and a rare light at the end of Recession Tunnel... But I knew myself enough to realize that I'd need another Big Creative Project to complete The Self and... The official, full-on beginning of Sloop and the Magnificent Musical Nut Wagon.

Now, you need look no further than this very site to learn all you'd possibly want to know regarding the musical project. So let's just say we've now kicked off with a few debuts.

Small time shows, sure. Cheap, grassroots promotion, easy-to-land venues. Very little turnout from our Publicity Machine...but those in attendance? Singing along, stomping along, "liking" our Facebook page on the spot via smartphone... In short, we're different, entertaining and, since crowd reaction's really the only gauge that matters for live shows, so far ridiculously successful.

Pathetically enough, my long ago, original Rock Star dreams brought very little in the way of live performance. But an old familiar rush overcame me with the Nut Wagon live, like a ride on a Time Machine.

I wonder if my Young-Ass Self would snicker at my Current Self, were such a meeting indeed possible. Metal-head witnessing... Goofball Rock, or something.

Onstage, performing live, the genre differences were irrelevant.

I was a Rock Star.

I am a Rock Star...

******

DAILY LIMERICK 12/30/2013:
Now, Greta van Susteren looks weathered!
And Pete Rose? Long time now, skin's leathered...
View one, then the other one,
brings to mind a question...
Anyone seen them together?

***

SLAPPIN' AND YAPPIN' 12/30/2013:
So... Late December. Guys wearin' shorts.

What the hell?

Now, we're no... What's-His-Face Gunn or whoever--no Fashion Police, or at least not on a "qualified" level, but... C'mon.

Yeah, there was a bit of a warm-up here in the Midwest but... Dudes, nobody wants to see more skin in December. Well, at least not, considering you're, you know, MALE and such.

As I pen this, the weather's to take a turn much colder.

May your taints all be frost-bitten, knuckleheads...

******

DAILY LIMERICK 12/31/2013:
Big Holidays, like New Year's Eve,
each year beg themed Lim--no reprieve!
But have thee a fine one!
Next year, I'll design one
that DOESN'T hack rhyme "Eve" with "beave"!

***

SLAPPIN' AND YAPPIN' 12/31/2013:
Happy Extra Cheezy New Year's Eve 2013!...