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Home Page - August 2016
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness.
That is a good way to summarize that last few years of website inactivity. I actually thought of it this very morning and I will appreciate it if you do not plagiarize me. It says it all. It was the best of times and the worst of times. Please don't plagiarize me. Thank you.
The 'best of times' had to be those fleeting moments when I was content. Satisfied to just enjoy the performance which WAS my career, and confident in the present if not in the future. The 'worst of times' was when my nephew in Minnesota texted, "Where's your website?" It was a good question. I hadn't been near robsherwood.com in a long time. I was on Google in a heart-beat and a moment later was horrified. Where WAS my website?
In 2003, before the take-over of our private lives by Facebook, there was a certain prestige in having an actual dot-com website. Some friends urged me to get one, even to the point of regularly checking for the availability of an acceptable domain name. I wanted the whole name, dot-com, and that is the only thing that would do. But it was not to be. Robsherwood.com was owned by a real Rob Sherwood in southern California who worked in a completely different profession. My friend and eventual WebMaster, must have checked regularly because when the real Rob Sherwood let his domain ownership lapse, he sent a check and got it for me. Stolen. Usurped. You snooze, you lose. Robsherwood.com was mine! All mine! Mine! (Insert maniacal laughter)
There is no honor in love and war... and domains. Through the years I've resisted any guilt and, WebMaster Mike has dutifully sent in the check renewing the domain ownership. (I have always been dependent on the kindness of strangers) When my nephew, Sean, did his 'Paul Revere' and I was certain that Karma had taken its due and I had lost robsherwood.com in the same way I had gotten it, I frantically sent a text to Mike and he was roused to action. He caught it within the grace period. All was saved. To make sure it would never happen again, paid in advance through 2026. 2026! You can count on any updates in 2026 being covered in drool.
So, you could say the 'Age of Wisdom' will continue. Because of this emergency, here I am actually writing something for the Home Page and hopefully picking up My Story where I left off. Where did I leave off? Oh, yes. Holding on to my career by the finger-tips in San Francisco.
I could do all this on Facebook. So many people have such a dedication to keeping themselves current over there. It intimidates me. I read about the happiness and sadness of people I know. I get a little peek into their lives. I am stunned with a sadness and an inability to do the right thing, say the right thing, or even think the right thing. It is all so real. So daunting. There is the 'Age of Foolishness'. The silliness and irresponsibility of My Story seems an indulgence that is more embarrassing than rewarding. It is the only life I had, so if I'm going to be remembered even a little bit, I will finish the damn thing. If you thought my memory was distorted before, you haven't read anything yet.
A quick update. As my mother used to say, I feel like the Wreck of the Hesperus. Old as Hell. I walk like an old man. I don't care if I match and hardly ever wear anything but white sneakers. (Poor writing there, because it isn't like I am walking around naked except for white sneakers, but I wouldn't be surprised. Many a day, especially when it is wintery, I have spent the entire day in just my underwear. When I do that I am overcome with guilt and add it to the long list of things I will be spending time in Purgatory for. I know. I ended that sentence with a preposition. More appropriate if I ended it in a proposition. "Wanna see me in my underwear?")
Back to the Golden Years. One of the good things, I get to dote on my great nephews and nieces like a Grandfather, something I sadly won't be. I make up for it by being a really eccentric Uncle. I watch television too much. When I'm bored, I find places to live for a while in reality or in my imagination. I read. I read. I read. I listen to music. Sure, I listen to show-tunes. When I'm traveling or on mass-transit I'll ear-phone whatever current music grabs me, but at home I listen to the music I love. I listen in awe at the majesty of our God, who gave such a talent to some of His children. It gives me shivers from my feet to the very top of my head. A body rush. How wonderful to create or perform such beauty. I admire so much anyone who exceeds.
When my nephew texted me about the website, he also included a picture he had taken of me talking to my 4 yo niece. Not only do I feel like the Wreck of the Hesperus, but I look like the Wreck of the Hesperus. If there is any part of me from my shoulders up that isn't sagging, I couldn't find it. My jowls had jowls! My neck sagged and then sagged again. There is so much extra flesh under my chin there is nothing left in my shoes. There are turkeys with my picture on the locker door. I think even my eyebrows looked like they were melting and my eyes didn't have bags under them...they had suitcases!
Bella is sitting next to me, looking up at me. SagFace/NoPants...her great uncle. The look can only be describe as complete awe. It was a life changing moment in her life. What caused that rapt attention was the story I was telling. We were riding on a train and had just crossed the bridge over Congdon Creek. That's when I said, "When I was a kid I was playing in that creek and I was bit by a beaver."
Bit by a beaver! Many of the children of Friends-with-Kids, have heard about my beaver encounter. I hope with the same incredulous look. Some might even remember THAT guy who said he was bit by a beaver.
Bella's younger brother though I was bit by Justin Beiber. But THAT is a different story.
So, there it is. A Home Page 2016 update. Now let's see if I can finally leave my heart in San Francisco and at long last move on up to Washington State.
Oh I can't think about this now! I'll go crazy if I do! I'll think about it tomorrow." But I must think about it. I must think about it. What is there to do?" I can't think about it now. I'll think about it tomorrow. After all, tomorrow is another day.
(don't plagiarize THAT either)
Home Page - December 2013
Merry Christmas to you all. And just think of the wonderful year that lies ahead. I had planned to write something a bit more substantial but as always happens, the Christmas craziness and general lack of ambition caught up with me and here I sit at the computer waiting for the shuttle with time to spare. I will spare with you. All of you. Especially the hard-core friends who still check my site in the hope that there will be something. Anything. A bit, fragment of underdone My Story. Don't get your hopes up. I have many excuses for the up-date lack. There is the constant social whirl, the jet-setting, the parties in Cabo and of course my decision to live the rest of my life as a woman. A menopausal woman. (sometimes I make myself laugh)
I'll give you a quick up-date. My nephew, Sean, has two wonderful new additions to his family. Bella is 2 now and a delight and a princess. Bryce will be 1 in December and I call him Swiper.....his grandparents call him honey-ham......and he is just a sweet little boy. My older Great Nephews and nieces are in their teen years and know everything. But they are good kids and I like visiting with them. I have been blessed with some good relatives.
Many nights I have lain awake thinking of things I want to share here. The imperative seems to fade with the daylight. I realize that I have nothing to say about the broadcasting industry because it is so different, so changed, and so alien that all I can tell now is what I did and maybe why.....again....no promises but great intentions.
Seriously, I wish you all my love and maybe 2014 will be the year some of the special ones and I re-connect. Sometimes I miss you desperately.
Home Page – January 2013
You know you are in for it when someone says to you: “I have to show you the video of the kid's grade school graduation.” The only thing worse is when they say: “Let me tell you about the dream I had last night.” That being said, let me tell you about the dream I had last night.
I wonder if I am the only ex or current-DJ who has nightmares with this recurring theme? The dream always involves an on-the-air situation. Sometimes, I am a new DJ; unfamiliar with the equipment, format, and music. Once in a while I am an old pro having a major on-air breakdown as if I had temporarily forgotten how things work. I have been having dreams/nightmares like this for years and until lately I figured they were just the deep recesses of my brain letting a snippet or two of memory ooze out while I slept. About a year ago I began taking a new medication.
An aside if I may. The older you get the more conversations you will have (sometimes with total strangers) about your prescriptions. If when you are on a bus and half way to your stop you know your seat mate is trying a new stool softener, you're probably an old coot. But I digress.
For some reason, I looked up the side effects for this particular med and one listed was: May cause disturbing dreams. A disturbing dream should be one that involves snakes, being buried alive, Hillary Clinton naked. My disturbing dreams involve radio. Last night I was on the air. The music was on 45's and my ability to properly cue vinyl had deserted me. That is if I could find any music to play. All the 45's were unlabeled and kept in plastic IKEA storage boxes. I had dead air after every break. I was behind on my spots, someone was purposely bumping the tone-arms, the new PD was in the hallway taking notes and the general manager (with a full set of metal leg braces) was screaming that I should be fired while I was screaming that no one had provided me with a play-list.
I warned you. Hearing about someone's dream is like sliding down a razor-blade bannister.
I woke in an actual sweat. Well, not a real sweat because for some reason I have never had active sweat glands. I woke moistly, shaking but quickly relieved, wondering if I should call a lawyer about the side-effects of that medication. The more I thought about the dreams, the more sense I made out of my lack of progress on my continuing My Story. I didn't leave my heart in San Francisco. I got stuck there. Deep down inside I knew I was doing my readers a service because My “San Francisco” Story is a terrible dream and I was loath to share it. Perhaps the last few years I have been going through 'the change'. I know that's a woman-thing but something is going on. Recently I was at the doctor and he said I shouldn't be drinking Diet Mountain Dew. After a slight pause I said, “Why?” He said it wasn't good for me and I said, “So what?” Really. At this point in my life what is Diet Mountain Dew going to do to me. Will it kill me? I know that if I can't drink Diet Mountain Dew I WILL KILL someone else, so for society's sake, I will keep drinking the Dew.
And in much the same way, some of My Story in San Francisco, Washington, The Twin Cities or Modesto, California are like that Dew. Some of the memories and musings aren't good, but will they kill me? Nope. And some of the memories are good (wonderful) and either way they give me a jolt, just like the caffeine I get with my morning DMD.
I also woke up this morning with a sore throat. In spite of my flu shot, it is probably the start of my second cold of the season. How many time did I work sick? At KDWB I learned to drink Coca-Cola to settle a queezy stomach. Since the invention of all the chemicals and the use of corn syrup, I wonder if that remedy even works anymore. Working with a fever or a bad cough wasn't fun but the nature of the beast made the sore throat about the worse. I hated missing work and except for my various mental health lapses rarely did in the first 10 years of my broadcasting career. At KDWB there was always the specter of Howie Anderson filling in on my show and always the worry that if I missed a few hours I would be replaced permanently. When you come right down to it, though, the Barons of Broadcasting who owned the stations and often sat in offices down the hall didn't have contingency plans for illness. Really. If you couldn't work what good were you?
In Green Bay, Wisconsin at WDUZ I had two memorable bouts with bad colds or what people refer to as 'the flu'. The second was during my star-crossed return to Green Bay in 1968. I wrote about it earlier. If you missed that part of My Story or just haven't kept notes here is a quick synopsis. After leaving WDUZ the previous fall and making this or that wrong move, I ended up, hat in hand, asking the WDUZ Barons to be taken back into the fold. Without the impact of General MacArthur in the Philippines, I returned. And stayed about 30 days. I was sick for about 15 of those days and besides; I was no longer loved like I had been the first time. The new Program Director treated me like the plague (it was JUST a cold), he gave me a six and a half hour, Monday through Saturday shift, and celebrated when WDGY called and beckoned me to “come on down”. If they hadn't I would have killed myself or killed the PD.
My other bout of sickness at WDUZ was in the early autumn of 1967 when I went to work with a fever, and a cough. Added to the mix was a bad bad bad gastro-intestinal system. If I can be delicate, I had already used the bathroom twice when 7pm rolled around and my show began. And then several things happened. My stomach roiled, some former fans and their parents from The Uncle Rob TV Show in Austin, Minnesota stopped by to say hello, and the realization that what was in my gastro-intestinal system was going to go up or go down and I was just going along for the ride. Add to this the fact it was 1967 and the average length of a song was about two and half minutes. And at WDUZ the bathroom was one floor below the studio. An impossible situation made worse by the audience from Austin who must have been mystified by my sudden absences. They were the witnesses who watched as the horror unfolded. By the time the crisis was over and they, thank the Lord, left, I had been up and down the stairs at least four times, Green Bay had been entertained by lots of dead-air and my underwear was in the trash. I must have smelled like the last out-house available to the Polish army as they marched off to meet the invading Germans. My Austin fans were never heard from again.
If I don't start telling the stories of my time in Washington and back in Modesto I won't have any stories to tell. I am forgetting things at a fearful rate. I recently got mail from Gary DeMaroney. He was part of the U100 story, the KO93 story, and the FM104 story, my final station. He's in the radio station ownership game (always his dream) and slaves away by Palm Springs. In a bit of newsiness, he wrote: “Doc is considering a station in the area.” What? I actually had no idea what he was talking about. Doc. Doc? The only “Doc” I could think of was a character in San Francisco who claimed to be a Heart/Lung Surgeon (retired), dyed his eyebrows jet-black, and had dirty fingernails. Dirty fingernails never gave me confidence in a surgeon. Or dentist for that matter.
I was at a loss. It wasn't until I mentioned this to someone on the phone and he reminded me that Doc was what they called the Fuller in Fuller/Jeffrey Broadcasting, the company that owned FM104. I worked for DOC Fuller in California for six years!
When you consider that my two last radio stations account for more than a third of my career, there should be a lot to write about. Even among the knobthorns and wattletrees that was San Francisco and K101, I have manged to find a few contented moments and a recent e-mail from Mark Ramos reminded me of one. The song Chariots of Fire was on the play-list and a woman named Beverly Meir was Music Director. He remembers me walking down a K101 hallway singing at the top of my voice, “My pants are on fire....my pants are on fire....cause I have a desire....for Beverly Meir.” He was correct when he wrote, I needed a ghost writer. I can only say that a habit for changing song lyrics that began at KDWB with the then-named Barry McKinna was still inside me years later. So, even with a fading memory there are more stories in My Story and I guess I should tell some.
In the meantime, I haven't gone on as many adventures as I would have liked, but the ones I did have were a little frosting on my latter-day cake. My nephew Sean added two to the greater family. A little girl, named Bella and a little boy named Bryce. Bella is beyond beautiful, just the prettiest little girl ever! As I write this, Bryce is barely a month old but I can already tell he is handsome, near genius, and destined for greatness. The rest of the family ranges from good to bad and up to down and often I find my greatest friend is me. A year ago, as a Christmas present for my Great-Nephew Braydon and his step-brother (also Braydon, but called Lilo), I wrote a book. It involved a talking dog, a train ride, and bad guys. Everyone who has read it, liked it and it is 4,332,910 on Amazon. (Just kidding) At least one or two people ask me regularly for a sequel. Speaking of trains, Europe has it all over the United States when it comes to trains. Of course, they tax the hell out of something or other to pay for them but imho that is a good use of tax money. I am also boycotting the news and politics because after last November, you all deserve what you got. Besides, before the country implodes, I'll be pushing up daisies as my Mother used to say. Good luck Bella & Bryce. Tag! You're it!
My Great-Nephew urges me to blog and tend to my site and not to use so many dirty words. So here we go. One great push towards the Summit. The Last Crusade. Another trip to Oz. A story that began in 1962 and ended in 1993. And when I reach that Promised Land, I will write about other stuff. Stuff that doesn't give me nightmares.
So here I am, with a sore throat, sitting in a snowbank, thinking about writing Chapter 30. Would someone please kick me in the ass? But first, I think I'll make some snow angels. Then we will see.
Home Page – February 2012
There has to be some reason it has taken me so long to add these San Francisco Chapters to My Story. Some deep psychological reason. I have to admit, in reflection, I didn't get much satisfaction from my short while at K101. Living and playing in San Francisco, I loved, and the first chance I had to get back there, I jumped at and we'll get to that part of My Story eventually.
During this time I was spending a lot of Doctor Office time and I have chosen to leave much of that side story out of My Story. I hate to filter everything I did through that stuff. Also, sometimes I can't help but stray from the career aspects of My Story. When I get right down to it my friendship with Don Bleu and his family as at the top of Good Things About That Period list. I have to also thank the dozens of San Francisco colleagues who regularly arise from their secret places to give me a hello along with their personal good memories of K101. About five years ago, I ran across some slides I took during the late summer of 1982 as I was preparing to leave for Washington State. I took pictures of the theaters I went to, the one I work at, the street cars and painted signs on the sides of buildings. I took pictures of sidewalks I walk upon and staircases I climbed. I wanted to remember the trivial part of San Francisco that I loved so much. Before I finish with this part of my story, I hope you'll indulge me as I write about the non-broadcasting stuff. It was so very very important.
One more note. I have tried not to smear or slam people. I won't deny there are animosities but what would be gained by spewing that venom. I haven't been totally kind and even when I thought I was crossing the line, I've heard from the individuals involved and they seemed to think I wasn't too hard on them. During the two years I have struggled with this K101 story, looming have been a few instances that I almost dread telling. Dealing with the 'corporate structure' has never been my long-suit and although I admire those to are successful at it, I also think they are intrinsically evil people. (Kidding) So, look forward to these 'corporate' stories in Chapter 30. Then we can move on.
Thanks as always to the loyal readers. The people who remember. Those who write and those who beg for more. My guilt at not writing is testament to the fact that I care. Take care, be good children, read my blog, and, as always, I....
“...Got no feel, I got no rhythm
I just keep losing my beat
I'm ok, I'm alright
Ain't gonna face no defeat...”
It has taken me a year to write this next chapter. Partly because I'm lazy and partly because it has given me so much to think about. Sometimes too much thinking isn't good.
I was never good at handing in assignments in school, so this is no exception. I would have waited even more days.....took this Home Page right into October, but my web master is traveling next week and I'm going to a football game tonight. So, with about five minutes to spare, I have put -0- on Chapter 28.
Hope you enjoy it and if I can I'll update you over on my Blog. Love to hear from you.
The memory is an interesting thing. For the last year, I've had plenty of time to work at remembering. I've contrived little exercises like what side of the bed did I sleep on in every place I lived. I'd play these games just after turning out the lights and it took me days, if not weeks, to complete one. I've lived a lot of places and slept in a lot of beds.
Something else intrigued me. How come my memory was so lousy on things I should remember like my own name? Why can't I remember the name of the engineer at WDUZ in Green Bay? I can remember his face. I can remember the dirty jokes he told me. (Including the dirtiest joke I know) If someone would say his name, I would instantly know who he was and where I knew him. But his name? You could cut off my chocolate and I could come up with that name.
Once before I wrote about this and used a 'beets' analogy. It got it from a guy named Maynard. I worked with him during the theater/non-radio days in San Francisco in the 90's. I don't remember his last name and Maynard may not be his real name but just one he liked to use. And he isn't beets.
The Beets Theory: Of all the vegetables in God's veggie kingdom, the only one I really don't like is the beet. Cold, pickled, hot, creamed, or borschted, I just don't like beets. I don't hate beets. I am perfectly fine if other people like them. To me, beets are a non-issue. A non-starter. Something I just don't think about. The theory the, is that some people are...well....beets. I don't hate them. I just don't think about them.
And you must see the flaw in that theory. I don't like vegetable beets. There are many, dozens, of human beets I thoroughly liked. During the horror that was my 6 month stay at WEBC in Duluth, the one bright spot was the PD I hired. He was clever, dedicated, hard-working, loyal, and I can't remember his name. Sometimes, while writing MY STORY I have been embarrassed by this shabby shortcoming. What do I think now?
I imagine there are thousands, hundreds of thousands of little memory boxes in my brain. Each box contains the info of our life, but most of it is stored way way at the back of the pile. Otherwise, we would be overwhelmed by minutia. Is it more important to have a memory of my Mother's perfume than the TV show I watched on May 13, 1955? It depends. So, here is MY THEORY:
All these boxes of memories are in there. Some important ones are stored with the unimportant ones and some unimportant ones are at the top of the pile. Some were dropped on the way to the back and others were mistakenly put in the attic. This brain of my is a memory mess. I can force some important ones forward but most of them are lost among the memory of my first hot beef sandwich, my first pair of shoes and and Maynard's last name.
I'll try not to let another year go by without continuing MY STORY. Until then...
“....I saw your face in a crowded place, And I don't know what to do.”
July 15, 2010
While living my minimalist life in San Francisco in the 90's, I was like Elsie in a field of clover; one very contented bovine. Life was as good as it had ever been. It wasn't a perfect life; it was a sweet life. There is a myth concerning a Chinese “curse”. May you live in interesting times. In other words, have a stressful and unhappy life. I'm not sure about we interpret that correctly. Perhaps it means just what it says. Interesting? Enjoyable? Contented? Whatever. I don't mean to go Haily Mills on the stalwart several who read this. For most of a decade, I rode the same roller-coaster we all ride. We like to think OUR lows are lower and OUR highs are higher than the hoi polloi. They aren't. Trust me. They really are not. Most of us are on the same thrill ride.
You have been reading My Story as I wrote it. Once in a while, I go back and read something written two-three years ago and wish I could edit, redact, correct, and emend. Maybe I will. Maybe I'll lose 50 pounds, quit biting my nails, floss daily, and lather and rinse twice. I haven't added to the story since August 2009. The longer I've gone without posting a chapter, the guiltier I've become. I hate to check firstname.lastname@example.org because the chastising email reminds me of the look of a disappointed father. It wasn't because I wasn't thinking about it. I was. Often. When I began five years ago, I thought it would be an easy process. I was full of “radio” stories and had been boring people with them for years. How many times had someone said, “You should write a book.” Guess what?
Not all thoughts have to become words.
I think the words written in My Story have missed the point. A psychiatrist once asked me to estimate what percentage of “ME” was represented by my career. I told him sixty percent. Some psych professor had opined that anything beyond 30% was too much. And my $100 and hour shrink parroted that opinion. Did the Morning Show in Modesto in 1990 actually represent 60% of “ME”? My answer was a lie. It was what I wanted to believe because it was the way I was raised. My Father began business in deepest part of The Depression and his meat market then, and grocery store, later, were 85% of “HIM”. Name a success. A real, stellar, pie-in-the-sky, success who isn't obsessed. They have a quest for name, money, power, and achievement. I supposed there are exceptions. There are always exceptions. I firmly believe, however, that you have to really work at being successful.
In San Francisco I used to have coffee two or three times a week with my own little Algonquin Round Table group. The concept of an Algonquin group comes from the legendary (and probably quite mythical) group of wits, thinkers, writers, and contemporary philosophers who met regularly at the Algonquin Hotel in New York City. The clever bon mots and penetrating repartee' were covered in various newspaper columns and a little Google on the subject will save me some typing. I so looked forward to the chit-chat of my latter-day Algonquin group. Not everyone was brilliant. I don't think we had a genius in our group. Some were conservatives and some were liberal. Gay and straight. Even a red-head. Sometimes they were exasperating and often stupid. Once in a while we were even insightful. We certainly laughed loudly and often. I tried to re-create this group a few years ago in Duluth using Craig's List but when people arrived at the Caribou Coffee and found out there wasn't going to be sex, the drop-out percentage was near 100 percent. (Now that I think about it I went about it wrong. I should have used Craig's List to look for people who wanted to have sex at Caribou Coffee. When they arrived and saw the other potential participants they'd just have wanted to talk. Damn! Too late now.) This subject of “success” came up and I postulated as above and it was a lively discussion. And now I can continue because I have identified my success. I have found my 80-90%. It wasn't broadcasting. It wasn't the theater. It wasn't about money. I spent more than I ever made. I didn't make many life-long friends and those I did make, I treat poorly, use shamelessly, and abandon easily. The question remains. What was my obsession?
I can't think of an easy name for it. Sometimes it was radio. Or some play. Then it was where I lived. Then it was some current hobby. Later a TV show. Sometimes mass-transit(!). A book. A restaurant. A bed, a couch, a piano, a Christmas Tree. Whatever it was, for a moment or two it grabbed me TOTALLY and, until something else came along, was my obsession. Seems like everything in my life is like food in my refrigerator. It comes with an expiration date. Until it goes bad, it isn't always spicy but it is always good. If I don't use it, I throw it out.
Soon, I'll get back to writing My Story. The longest journey begins with THIS single step.
Welcome to my Web Site. If you are new to www.robsherwood.com just imagine you have picked up a copy of War And Peace and get reading. Most of the story is here beginning with my early days at broadcasting school. I am writing it as I go along and the most recent chapter is about my time at K101 in San Francisco in 1981. My radio career ended in 1993 and there are some snippets of the next part of My Story my life after radio. I've also found time to write about some of my family events over the years. Browse the pics I've posted on Flicker too. All the tabs to navigate are in the headings at the tops of this page.
Now, if you want a more contemporaneous exposure to the “World-Rob-Sherwood”, then click on the blog tab and join in the merriment. Not many people comment, but more than I would expect, read it. If you want to get a peek into my vacuous and puerile mind, knock yourself out.
Since I last added a chapter, I've had a good summer. Soon, the Minnesota State Fair will be upon us and I'll spend some time celebrating the end of summer with a cream puff, Pronto Pup, and a bucket of Aunt Martha's chocolate chip cookies. Life is good.
If you wrote and I didn't reply, I apologize. I meant to but I've been busy paving that road to Hell. Write again. Thanks for reading my scribblings and, as always.....
“....If music be the food of love...Then laughter is its queen...”
Minnesota August 2009
Late April 2009
Well! I worked hard to get this chapter in My Story finished in time for an April posting. It was always my plan to do a couple chapters this month, but the best plans...etc. When my web-master told me he was going on vacation and wouldn't be able to post until late in May...let's just say I couldn't stand your scorn. So here it is. Only moderately edited and spell-checked, please forgive the obvious errors.
While WM Mike is gone I'll get another chapter ready to go and before summer is here I'll be on Interstate 5 headed north to Tacoma, Washington. There is light at the end of this story's tunnel.
Thanks for the kudos and as always I apologize if I do too much belly-button gazing. Take care and see you on the blog.
“Even a memory is a paradise for all the fools like me...”
Duluth April 2009
With Easter just days away and spring a fact, like the daffodil emerging from winter darkness into the light, I am here with more to say and more to write. If you have been stung by my absence, I am sorry I wasn't more forthcoming with new blogs and chapters of My Story. In truth, I enjoy it when I do it, but in my dotage I have lost all sense of ambition. As I once wrote here someplace, losing your ambition isn't like losing a body part, but more like being cured of a fever. And...like a fever, once it is gone you feel a lot better, but you need a shower.
(Did that make any sense?) Thank you for the comments and emails of concern and I will certainly put all your names on my list of good intentions. My sentiment is authentic but you all know I adore cheap sentiment. I'll try to fill you all in on the last couple of months on the blog.
There is a new chapter in the proper place. I am enjoying writing these chapters, particularly, because I have a diary I kept and that is helping my memory. That journal is mostly about what was happening at the moment but there are many entries that refer to U100 and WEBC that were written when the events were recent and the painful memories acute. I am tempted to re-write large portions of My Story. (Will this EVER finish?) I won't for now. Instead I shall plod on with the events of 1980, 1981, and 1982. Please forgive a gap here and there as I redact my own story. It is what it is and my purpose is to put it on “paper” and not go to Confession.
So, imagine we are in the woods, or on the beach, or somewhere away from city lights. There is a canopy of stars over our heads and the only lights are from the glowing coals of a fire and the frequent red of a cigarette. The breeze is warm and my voice comes out of the darkness telling this story. My Story.
“....and the forest will echo with laughter......
Minnesota April 2009
It's new! It's new! You'd think that during the doldrums of winter there wouldn't be much to do but diligently apply myself to the eventual completion of My Story? You'd be thinking wrong. I know for sure there are 3 people who continue to read what I write even though it isn't about U100. Therefore, here is another Chapter for the four of us. My goal is to pound them out this year and finish the radio things this year. Then, I will tell a heavily redacted version of the post and pre-radio Story for a guaranteed readership of one.
At some point I may do a little tweaking and fine-tuning of various Chapters as I hear from some of the people involved who refresh or correct my memory. I'll let you know if an addition or change is imminent.
Though it may seem like teeth extraction, I actually enjoy writing these and hope you get a kick out of reading them. When I am finished I will be pleased to know that both Golda Meir and I wrote our stories.
Home Page October 2008
It is fun to keep blogging and if have stumbled onto www.robsherwood.com and didn't realize you'll find me blogging frequently where I add to MY STORY all too infrequently. At least that is the blog and email input I get. There is tab to get you there along the top. There's a lot of crap on this site so spend some time surfing and find out things you NEVER knew before.
The pictures I feel like sharing are tabbed, especially on my blog or you can just go here: There's a lot of Family Pictures and you're welcome to browse any of the sets. Some of the pics may seem inexplicable but if they are posted they're there for a reason.
I hope to get at least a couple of additional chapters on here before Christmas so that I can clear the decks for 2009 and the beginning of the San Francisco part of My Story. After that it's north to Washington and then back to Modesto, California. The story doesn't end there because (if I'm still interested) there are 7 years in San Francisco about as far from radio as one can get. Unless you count listening. After that...I have no idea what I'll do.
I love this time of the year and it is followed by my favorite...Christmas Time. My holidays are much better when I am prepared so before this month is over I'll be making my list and checking it twice. With luck, by the week or two before Christmas I'll have nothing to do but enjoy myself.
Thanks to everyone who has written since June. If I haven't written back it is either laziness or forgetfulness. I haven't any bones to pick with anyone. Especially if they take the time to say hello. Keep and touch...have a great Halloween....and see you HERE in November.
“....I'm getting old and I need something to rely on...”
There seems to be surprise that the Chapters in My Story just keep coming. This isn't the “Dave Bush doesn't want beans!!!” sort of surprise. Just your regular surprise. I guess a couple of years of Chapters pulled from me like bad teeth lessened expectations. So whether you want them or not, now I am pumping them out and my eye is on the finish line.
Radio seems so alien to me these days. Have I really become that old fogey who talks about the good old days? The sad fact is that while I was living those days I didn't realize they were the good ones. Now that I think about it they always weren't. But, even though it sounds like it, I'm not complaining. I spent some time in radio's intoxicating embrace, doing the night show when doing the night show was hot and doing the morning show when doing the morning show was hot. I went to sleep looking forward to work (most days) and except for the pages I write here, I don't spend time obsessing on what is past.
Now for some promises. Another Chapter from KO93 follows today's addition and after more than a year a chapter in the San Francisco story. I am also working on some more pictures. Whether you were part of the Blythe, Austin, Cedar Rapids, Green Bay, Minneapolis, Duluth, Modesto, San Francisco, or Washington State story, I hope you enjoy following this strange odyssey. You should all write your own My Story.
“....And the night has been too lonely and the road has been too long.”
May (again) 2008
As promised I have added another chapter (Chapter 21) of My Story to my site. I got a great email from Deane Johnson about the initial purchase of the property and in the nick-of-time made a couple of corrections in the chapter I am posting today. Now, I wish I had been more diligent in pursuing the background and histories of all of My Story. Anyway, I look forward to incorporating some of this detail as the story unfolds.
I also got one of my first really negative responses to My Story. Considering that I am relating events when I was out of work, full of self doubt, and working at micro-market facilities, I fail to see how everything I write is only to boost my ego. (As if my ego needed boosting) It brings to mind the ultimate programming solution when a radio station fails to please. “Have you noticed your radio has a dial?”
I am looking forward to the next few episodes because in so many ways working at KO93 was so much damn fun. Following that is one of the dismal periods in my career...the couple of years I spent at K101. The only good thing about it was the city it was in. I fell in love with it and made the most of it until it changed. I feel like an estranged spouse saying, “You chew in your sleep!”
Anyone who wants to remind me of facets of the story or has insight into background, let me know. I would love to add it all to My Story.
When I was eleven years old a teacher of mine devised a punishment that became a life-long pursuit. For one month I was ordered to keep a journal. In the journal I was to write everything I did wrong on a daily basis. Since this woman had once referred to me as the Spawn of the Devil I can imagine what she expected me to write. Through the years I have continued to keep that journal. Sometimes writing daily and sometimes weekly. Through the years there have been times when I put it aside for several months at a time, but I always eventually returned. In the late 80's I quit writing in the journal and began typing a journal. For a couple of years I journaled in the computer. A little more than a year ago I went back to actually writing in a journal. Somehow THAT is the most satisfying. I mention all this because when I moved to California I began journaling again with a passion. In preparation for the next few years of My Story I have dug them out of storage and with a great deal of redacting used them as the basis for the continuation of My Story. The detail will be mind-boggling and the minutiae mind-numbing. What ever you think while reading it, I am having an absolute ball while writing it. Please forgive me.
I first put my toe in the California radio-waters during December of 1979. I was there for about 18 days and those days are covered in Chapter 20 that I am posting now and Chapter 21 which will be posted next week. Check back often.
Of course, I enjoy your mail and comments. For almost 4 years, my friends, colleagues and fans from the West Coast have put up with my endless reminiscences of my career in the Midwest. Finally, as promised you all now can brace yourselves because you are soon to be part of My Story.
I went to the grocery store and stocked up on provisions in preparation for the spring blizzard they were predicting. Since I consider the weather reports on television as truthful as some good old Bosnian sniper-fire, I was skeptical. I looked out the window just before going to bed and although the wind was howling, there was no sign of snow. Just by coincidence, I woke about 1:30am and looked outside. The wind was violently shaking both trees and flag poles but the pavement was clear and evidently the snow was a figment of some meteorological imagination.
After a few moments I noticed a few flakes of snow. They really weren't flakes but more like little white frozen bits of ice blowing horizontally past my window. During the next five minutes, the blowing snow increased to the point it began accumulating and I crawled back in bed accepting that THIS time there was a reprieve for our local weathermen.
As a full-scale blizzard dumped 18 inches of snow on the north country, I was snuggled indoors with Diet Mountain Dew, a package of Oreos, some crusty baguettes, and the urge to finish up a couple of chapters of My Story. So, as promised, (I said before April 15th) here are Chapter 18 and Chapter 19. If we get some more bad weather you may even find an additional chapter or two before summer.
My life, like my additions to my website, proceeds in spurts and spasms. I will admit that I thoroughly enjoyed writing about the events following WEBC and I am sort of excited when I contemplate writing about My Story-California. Hope you all enjoy reading it as much as I enjoy writing it. If there are mistakes, whether they are of a technical nature or because of faulty memory, they are all mine and committed without guile.
Take care, my friends....
April 2008 - Duluth
Home Page March 2008
Finally I return to the pages of www.robsherwood.com. In a way the blog has detracted from my attention to these pages, but it has been fun and I love hearing from you. The comments some attach to the blog or the emails of comment and greeting are regular heart warmers.
My lack of new chapters for My Story doesn't mean I have been idle. I was dragged kicking and screaming onto the Internet and in my wildest imagination never thought it would become so personal or so involved. Four years of writing My Story in dribs and drabs meant it all became rather confusing and disjointed. I started the story in the middle, dropped back to the beginning on one thread and continuing forward on another. Over the last couple of weeks I have gone over it all and now there is only one thread. Now there is only one story.
My Story. I have edited and consolidated the various threads and chapters and in a few days the new 17 chapters will replace all the originals. My editing involved correcting typos, grammar when possible, mistakes in memory and adding updates as well. Aside from that, the story is unchanged. If you want the originals for some reason, now is the time to paste and copy. Some of you may enjoy re-reading them all to see what you missed.
A new chapter ...Chapter 18....will follow in just days and by the middle of April the California years will begin. Thanks for your patience, your interest and your loyalty. These days I live for the moment. I don't have any quests, no mountains to conquer, or notches to carve on my sword. Life is calm and contented and simple pleasures suffice. The words I write are just another DJ website to you. To me they are my legacy. My Story.
Home Page, December 2007
I promised another episode in My Story before Christmas and here it is. One caveat. I spent no time dealing with typos or spell-check or grammar-check. It is as I typed it.
I hope you are checking out the blog and as always I encourage you to participate. I love hearing from you and even if you don't blog, the email is appreciated.
Someone asked me recently if I was bored with writing about my career. They seemed to sense things were different from when we started all this 3-4 years ago. I am lazy, but I am not bored. I still enjoy writing about it all and try not to offend. Sometimes I feel pressure to write and at other times wonder if anyone really gives a shit. Write something! Take out the garbage! Rake the leaves! Shovel the snow! Don't slouch! Stand up Straight! Get out of bed! Clean your room! Eat your vegetables! Do your homework! All good ideas and the prompting was well-deserved, but the more I was 'prompted' the less interested in the task I became.
One other point. My memory is imperfect. Also, as someone said: One's real life is almost always the life one doesn't lead. If someone else wants to write a history of my events, let them get their own website.
Have a wonderful Christmas! Can you believe...2008? Shit!
As always, I remain...
“...still crazy after all these years.”
Home Page November 2007
I will admit willingly my laziness and lack of attention to this seemingly endless story. At times my memory is embarrassingly inadequate and I am in a constant battle to keep animus to a minimum.
Plus, the do other things.
The narrative now leaves the Twin Cities for a bit. There is only one thread. My Story. If you are the least bit interested I sometimes post on my blog and welcome any comments and additions you wish to make. I appreciate your mail and try to answer it all in a timely manner.
Looking forward, we should wrap up my WEBC sojourn before Christmas. With the New Year comes the story of the changes and upheavals that eventually led to My Story on the west coast.
I hope your Halloween was wonderful. My period in San Francisco has indelibly etched that holiday on my psyche. Thanksgiving is coming and you know my best wishes are with you. I have many wonderful memories of that holiday both with family and particularly with friends. My favorite holiday follows Thanksgiving and I'll save those happys for my next chapter.
Here And There
Home Page August 2007
It hasn't been a great summer! Maybe that explains why I haven't written here and the blog has been hit and miss at best. Nothing particularly dire to report except a certain tide of events that caused my little boat to rock a bit. A faulty DNA can be hell...but I shall take misfortune like a man and blame it on somebody else. A few days of catalepsy would solve the problem, I'm sure.
The addition to the KSTP story AND the wrap-up of the Green Bay story are here for those who want them. In spits and spurts I'll put some thoughts on the blog. Looks like I may miss the State Fair this year and I'm depressed as hell about it. I'll will try to persuade my brother to bring me a bucket of Martha's cookies. They will work better than Prozac. Especially with about 6 glasses of ice cold milk.
I won't promise anything new or special because it seems like I've been promising for years now. When it happens..it will happen. I will try to continue the story to the best of my memory...nostalgia isn't what it used to be. It's great to hear from you, and as always...
“...the fundamental things apply, as time goes by.”
Home Page Mid April 2007
Another entry! The second one in a week! “He must be very sick.”
Actually, I just wanted to up-date you on a couple of new-additions to the Rob Sherwood website. The first one is a blog. For all of you who complained when there was nothing new, (2 people) there will almost always be something new when you click on the blog link.
The other changes will make navigating about a little easier for you AND for me. We should have that in place by this week-end. Then, all we have to work on is some improvement to the picture page and some streaming audio. We are coming up on the 4th anniversary of the site and to celebrate I will be sending you all money.*
If you haven't been here in a while, read the last Home Page just below this one, the continuing Robbie adventures in Green Bay and on University Avenue in St. Paul, and check out my daily random thoughts.
*Don't believe everything you see on-line.
Main Page April 2007
Music swells! Felderschtein! Key change! Vocal! Something is new at the robsherwood.com site!
I love the big pop music arrangements for singers like Barry Manilow, Melissa Manchester, and now Celine Deion. I Made It Through The Rain by Manilow is a good example. The song builds...and THEN...a rhythmic pattern, usually the drum, bom, bom, (pause) bom, bom, bom...and key change. We used to spend hours listening to the new releases, searching for the 'hook'. I tell you without fear of contradiction: “No hook = No hit”. Period. Unfortunately, in the 70's a lot of the hooks were: bom, bom, (pause) bom, bom, bom, key change. Once, while working at KSTP I commented to someone that this particular 'hook' was called (in the industry) a Felderschtein. It was named after the first arranger/producer to used it, Mr. Felderschtein. I don't know his first name because it was totally untrue. I made it up. Sometimes, it is fun to create something like that and just let it stand. Years later I would regularly tell people they were listening to a Felderschtein. No one challenged me and like O.J., I got to believing my own 'story'. At some point someone came under my influence and carried my Felderschtein lie with them into an actual recording/arrangement/producing situation in a studio. You can imagine the quizzical looks when he told these recording studio pros, “We need a Felderschstein.” I heard the regulars at that studio still refer to bom,bom, (pause) bom, bom, bom, key change as a Felderschstein. I keep waiting for Simon Cowell to complain that an American Idol performance had too many Felderschsteins.
I was sitting at the Mall, eating a Mrs. Fields brownie, reading a Nero Wolfe mystery and listening to a MP3 cornucopia of Broadway Felderschteins when the urge to emerge into web-site cyberspace overcame me. I rushed home and spent the next 6 hours fine-tuning today's additions. Taking a cue from NASA, I wore a diaper to eliminate unnecessary bathroom breaks. A regular slug of diet Mountain Dew kept me going.
I apologize for the months of neglect and promise, never again to abandon you. Until, of course, I climb that golden staircase to join Anna Nicolle, Elvis, and Tex Ritter (oooooooowaaaaa!)....Wait a minute. Not only is that reference about 140 years old, but my name isn't Tex Ritter so it doesn't work anyway.
I think the depression of the winter and a certain ennui as my legs go to hell kept me away. My intentions were good but like always were better than my actions. Every day I would think of something to write and like Scarlet on the staircase, say, “Tomorrow is another day...” The plaintive requests for more content proved that somebody actual DID “give a damn!” There were always distractions. Theater, movies, TV, politics, and the news they had snuck a snook into Hillary's sniz!
Some of you haven't forgotten me and I thank you for the mail and apologize for no instance response. I enjoy the forwards too. Hope you enjoy the various continuations and always enjoy your commentary. My memory is getting worse every day, so help me if you can. I better hurry.
Take care. Until next time, I,
...”don't like goodbyes, tears or sighs, I'm not too good at leaving time...”
Home Page November 2006
I had to get this on before Thanksgiving. It will give you all something to do while waiting for the holiday to be over. This wonderful time of year begins on Thursday....or began on Thursday for most of you.
You might wonder the reason there are these long stretches (pauses) between writing. I actually spend a lot of time musing. Thinking. Wondering what I will write. Just a history isn't in the cards. For one thing, I don't remember enough to write a truly accurate history. And it is MY history anyway, so are you really all that interested? The bottom line is: I write what affected me and if it coincides with a historical time-line...great.
Nothing's gone the way I planned
My life has taken turns
I don't begin to understand.
I hear the drums
My time has come,
The play's about to start
But I can't recall my part.
Is the mask I'm wearing comical or tragic?
Something precious has been lost
My mind keeps going over all
The bridges I have crossed.
Yet strange to say
As dark and gray
And hopeless as it seems,
I am not without my dreams
Though it sounds naive
I still believe in magic.
A wonderful song from a wonderful little play... Anyway. Since last we got together, here, I have been blessed by some wonderful mail. Whatever credit they give me, I wish I deserved it more. Or, I should say...I wish I had done more to deserve it.
Over the next couple of weeks the archives of the various stories will change. I started writing My Story in the middle, divided it into two parts...then three parts, and soon it looks like a fourth part to confuse you. The new archives will be easier to navigate. Hope it all works. We're adding a new Chapter to the U100 story as I make the move to KSTP. There is also the 2nd Chapter of the San Francisco Story. (It should be the second SF story; this one starting in 1994 apres' radio) Coming soon another chapter in My Story takes me to Green Bay. Does any of this make any sense? It's MY life and I'm confused!
So, let's post this stuff and get back to TV.
“...tell me now and I won't ask again....”
Home Page October 2006
Wrapping up the U100 portion of this story has been very difficult. I felt there was more to write and I didn't want to write it. Since I realize the fans of that station are legion, I promise I won't abandon you entirely as I move on. I chat now and then with former colleagues and in the future will add their memories. If anyone has a U100 story of their own and feels like putting fingers to keyboard, send it to me we'll find a place for it.
When I left U100 I still had 17 years of career ahead of me. There is a lot more coming in “My Story”. If Jim Dandy at WDGY had a smaller ego I wouldn't have been there when Deane Johnson called for KDWB. If WDGY had given me a raise, I wouldn't have been at KDWB to fight with the imported Chicago PD. If KDWB hadn't coveted the U100 FM signal I wouldn't have worked at KSTP and if Jack Nugent hadn't had a heart attack, I wouldn't have moved to Duluth to work for the Lacaducks. If WEBC hadn't sucked the very life out of me, I wouldn't have been in Minneapolis to get the call from California and later, if Harold Greenberg hadn't joined Deane Johnson in hiring me away from WDGY, he wouldn't have been so ready to bring me to Seattle/Tacoma. And if Gary DeMaroney hadn't worked the death-watch at U100 for me, he wouldn't have called me in Tacoma and brought me back to California.
The randomness of life, mocks us all.
On a personal note (since it has been so long since I wrote last), this was a wonderful summer. The weather was spectacular, the time with my family special, and what traveling I did, good. I got to the State Fair in Minnesota, appropriately on Senior Day, and in a summer of heat and sunshine, spent the day in cold and rain. I didn't enjoy it so much this year. Next year. Now I am looking forward to the holidays, getting out of the cold when it comes, and doing some theater. I have been idle too long.
The problem with doing nothing is you don't know when you're finished. Thanks for your mail. By the way, the email issues are resolved and mail shouldn't bounce anymore! I look forward to hearing from you. I'll try to write again before the end of the year. Maybe a couple of times. Trust me.
“...now I'm only falling apart...”
Home Page July 2006
Well, I missed it again! For the last 3 years I have had every intention of spending some July time in the Twin Cities at the 'Conclave' convention. My intentions, while honorable, are easily thwarted. This year, I was in NYC for a close friend's birthday and in Duluth for my nephew's wedding. Next year.
Yes, I am spending this wonderful summer in Minnesota. It's quite a culture shock from California and especially jarring compared to San Francisco. In all my years in the California City By The Bay, I never heard anyone complain that a restaurant was a little 'spendy'. I am surprised any restaurant succeeds because by Duluth standards they are ALL spendy. Minnesota is a hoot! The state where Ketchup is a little too spicy.
Actually, I was sincere when I said this has been a wonderful summer. The weather has been near perfect here. Duluth has the most spectacular bike trails and I am on them at every opportunity. In San Francisco there are lots of hills and a regular bicyclist learns how to bike around them. In Duluth there is only one hill and the only way around it is via Canada or Hinkley. (Non-Minnesotan readers, get out a map!) Since I don't want to end my bike rides with a 6 mile up-hill finish, I load the bike in the car and get down the hill before starting. I also go to ball games. When I was in Modesto I went to dozens of baseball games with the, then, Modesto A's. In Duluth, we have the Huskies and I try not to miss a game. Traditional, relaxing, great fun.
What are we offering this time around? The U100 Story creeps closer to the inevitable end. Many people write to share their U100 stories and sex myths are prevalent. When I mentioned 'sex' in the Chapter Preview many thought I should put a sphygmomanometer cuff around my head to check if there was too much pressure on my brain. Pretty tame stuff, actually, but consider yourself warned if you are easily offended. At the end of Chapter 11, the phone rings. It wasn't the first time a ringing phone changed my life and it wouldn't be the last time.
More from My Story. That thread is taking you, along with me, to Cedar Rapids. This is all beginning to circle around and soon we will be back where we started in Chapter 1.
To complicate everything even more...I am starting a new thread about things that happened after I left radio. (Or after radio left me) Starting this month is the San Francisco Story just for friends and colleagues who never knew the radio Rob Sherwood.
Don't be confused. Just read everything.
I am beginning to anticipate the Minnesota State Fair. OMG! Just thinking about it is giving me tingles. I may have to write about that before all my other stories continue. Thanks to Kenny who writes regularly and Jeff who write religiously. (really) Moon who writes gaily (?) and Pat who calls. (One of these times I'll actually be here when he does) I hear from Mesa and she threatens to bother me and Cindi (an original Whoopee Woman) kept me informed on doings at the Alameda County Fair. She actually sent me pictures of Pat Boone. Last time I went to the Alameda County Fair I skipped the Tony Danza review. Why? Mrs. Willie Keppleman keeps in touch. So many write and I hope I answered you all. I try. Write again.
Take care. As always, I remain....
“...one who keeps tearing around, one who can't move...”
Home Page June 19, 2006
I was at my computer this morning writing some emails and the thought arose, “Rob...Rob....yoohooooo....Rob....Why not send this to the website?”
It suddenly struck me that even though most people tune in, so to speak, for the various continuing sagas, perhaps I might enjoy some ranting and raving in between assignments. So, here I am.
What a great week (so far). I was up and dressed with nowhere to go. Actually, I had a 'therapy' session this morning at 11:30. I was early and since it only takes 15 minutes to get anywhere in Duluth, I decided to catch up on my correspondence. (By the way, the therapy is on my hips and knees...not on my brain)
After the therapy I think I will join the Monday Senior Citizen rush for lunch at Old Time Buffet. I am at a point now where I judge the various cities I have worked in by whether there was a good buffet. During the years in Minneapolis/St. Paul, I don't remember a true buffet. I know there was a semi-buffet because while at U100, we had our Christmas Party at one. Was there an all you can eat buffet in Tacoma when I was living there in the 80's? I can't remember going to one. Wait a minute. There WAS a Chinese Buffet on the same street as Cloverleaf Pizza. I remember going for lunch there and after a while the owner or manager or whatever..some Chinese guy...started rushing us and dropping broad hints that we were through eating and if we weren't we ought to be. Without a doubt, the Nirvana of Buffets was Modesto, CA. They called them Smorges. (pronounced – S-more-ghees) When I got there in December of 1979, it wasn't a week before the manager, Bill Johnson, took me to Wang's Smorge. It was all you can eat Chinese PLUS. There must have been a dozen buffets of all stripes including a Mexican buffet called Taco Plenty or something stupid like that. That place was horrible. I think the re-fried beans were made from a mix. In the latter days of Modesto buffeting, (pronounced Buh-fay-ying) there were two of them only blocks from my home. In the days of trays, people would try to limit their trips through the line by loading up one plate. I never understood the attraction of gravy in my Jello salad. I actually saw one person eliminate the problem by leaving the plates behind and heaping the food right on the tray. San Francisco was light on buffets. Either they were considered too trashy or they were afraid the street people would save up their money for a once-a-week foray. (“Excuse me sir, but did you know you smell like shit?”)
It was kind of an eating week-end. On Saturday, I went with my brother and his wife, 70 miles north to a city called Virginia. It is only the second or third time in my life I have been to Virginia and this time we went for the 30th annual Festival of the Loon. It an arts, crafts and food festival. The arts were slim..the crafts were everywhere (buy now - sell in your yard sale next week!!), and the food high caloric and kinda good. I opted for sharing an order of cheese curds, an order of onion rings and a foot long Taco!!!! I now regret the taco and wish I had gone with the Italian sandwich with onions and peppers. After all, I wasn't with anyone I was planning on getting close enough for them to smell my breath. It rained the entire time we were there. A nice steady rain. The temp was in the upper 70's so an umbrella was all you really needed. I'm sure the rain dampened people spirits (ha ha – I love puns) but for me the rain was perfect. It made the day something more than just another festival. It became...an ADVENTURE!
In a quest for SOMETHING TO DO, I visited the mall..twice. My mall observation is....what's the deal with the teeth? While reading my book, drinking diet Mountain Dew, and watching the passing people parade, I noticed that in Duluth, when it comes to teeth, “Houston, we have a problem.” The younger ones have generally good looking teeth, but something happens to people in their mid-20's. Hello? Hello? Hydrogen Peroxide? Hello? I kept wondering why more people weren't wearing brown shirts so they would match. And right across from me were a tooth-challenged man and a wife. If the man needed a bridge, the woman needed a trestle. She only had about three visible teeth. What the hell does she eat? Can you gum a sandwich? I like that crusty San Francisco sourdough. If she tried to eat a sandwich made with it her mouth would be bloody. Judging by her size she must be on a diet of Top Tater and potato chips....the chips soaked in beer and swallowed whole. How about in the future, forget about the Nascar t-shirt and put 16 bucks in the teeth kitty.
One final comment on teeth. Senior teeth. Now we all know that when you see some guy or gal in their 80's and their teeth are straighter than a 14 year old's 'member' when he fantasizes Jenifer Lopez naked....then, you know those senior teeth just scream..."CHOPPERS!"
I think someone would do the senior smile a major service if the false teeth they made were not so damn perfect. A little crooked here, a little chip there, an imperfection just to make them look like teeth and not Chiclets. And one further point. Let's limit the amount of teeth in a senior's mouth to 32. These woman with 40 or 50 teeth just have too much of a good thing.
Well, with all that off my chest, I can proceed to have someone attend to my sore hips. I hope when they are rubbing and probing around down there I don't start thinking about Jennifer Lopez. Or Brad Pitt.
Thanks for the mail Moon, Kathy, Mesa, Fred, Lori, Mike, Sara, Kenny, Rach, Claudia, Jeffrey, Larry, Mary & Lola...and others I am too lazy to look up right now. Look for new 'episodes' in the next couple of weeks. Working my buns off, and listening to show tunes...
“Then suddenly you changed and now I don't know who you are..”
Home Page May 2006
It has been a long time since I put finger to keyboard and continued my stories. I try not to spend too much time staring at the monitor because my Mom told me not to sit too close to the television because if I did I would grow hair on my palms.
Wait. Maybe I am mixing up her warnings.
Anyway, for those of you still visiting this site and checking out my crap, I hope you enjoy my latest offerings. First, I continue the story of my time as Uncle Rob in Austin, Minnesota. I had a ton of fun while I was there and appreciate all the Funny Company fans who still find time to write and say hello. I also continued to probe my memory of that incredible experiment called U100. Compared to Austin, during my time on Cliff Road I was older but not necessarily wiser. I continue to be amazed that so many people were paying attention. I also wrote some personal stuff that old friends or family might enjoy. Or not. Oh, I almost forgot. I also included a ‘forward’. Some of these are particularly funny and appreciate the effort of those who include me in their mailing list. This one I HAD to share with you. If you haven’t seen it before, I stuck it in the pictures section. "The worst albums covers….ever!"
Quickly, an explanation. When I am not here it is usually because I am trying to ease the boredom of ’retirement’. Not working is not what it is cracked up to be. Since sympathy is listed in the dictionary between shit and syphilis, I can imagine how much pity I am getting from you. The main problem with going anywhere is having to deal with people. So far this year I have dealt with my share of retards, but that is an insult to mentally challenged people.
So, thanks for visiting. Mail me if you can. I love hearing from people and I try to answer everyone during the year I get the mail. For some reason people using the web-site mail addy are getting bounced so you might try, email@example.com. That usually works. I hope the rest of your spring is warm and dry and you have a great summer. Until next time,
" …I made it through the rain, I kept my point of view…"
Home Page, March 2006
Are you ready for spring? I have spent way too much time on the frozen tundra this year though the year is young, I am dedicating myself to not repeating the same mistake next winter. The problem I have is just laziness. It is easier to sit on your ass than to move that ass someplace warmer. Herrick commanded, "Gather ye rosebuds while ye may." I remember shit like that but I don’t adhere to the message.
Included in this posting are some new mental meanderings into my career. There is the continuing thread of the early days in Austin. I get a lot of mail and the Uncle Rob mail and the U100 mail make up 75% of it. To keep the masses happy, the U100 thread continues, also. I am doing my best, but in my case, nostalgia isn’t what it used to be. Apparently I was right when I told the nun my brain was full. I’ve had decades to empty it. Also, included is the beginning of a gothic romance featuring one of my favorite morning show characters, Desire Montague. I scored only a medium at writing well, but I win the gold at writing poorly. Hope you enjoy that. Betty…my dear friend, Betty, also has something to say this time around.
Keep the mail coming. I surely enjoy it. If you get bounced for some reason, you can always use my other "super secret" email address firstname.lastname@example.org
In every heart is a secret garden, a sort of small paradise of surprising individuality and in the heart of the most honest man is a cesspool of hideous reptiles. Who are we as human beings? Where did we come from and where do we go? Are we animals or are we gods? As I get older I am starting to feel like an alcoholic doing the 12 steps. In one of the steps, you are suppose to ask forgiveness from everyone we have hurt. Then I think of Tony Soprano when he told Christopher, "Maybe you should skip that one." Tony is probably right.
Recently at a Chinese Buffet, the fortune cookie nailed it. "If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always gotten.’ What is all this about? Well….just be nice to somebody. Today.
Until Mike, my best friend and webmaster twists my arm again,
"and the forests will echo with laughter…" I remain,
Home Page, January 2006
Surprise, surprise! I spoil you with additional scribbling. My Story continues its two-track way with the continuing story of my early TV days in Austin doing the Uncle Rob Show and my recollections of the two years of U100. You may notice in the U100 story I regress a tad. All the detritus of U100 & WYOO memos and schedules and this and that bits and pieces of paper are in Minnesota and when I went home for Christmas, it was obvious they filled in some of the memory blanks and deserved attention. As grows the twig, so grows the tree, so this minutia from WYOO had a great impact on U100. Trust me. I find it all very interesting myself, and since all this belly-button gazing pleases me, I shall continue.
I also begin the year with the sad news of a passing. According to a conversation, the Café D Napoli on Hennepin Avenue in Downtown Minneapolis is no more. I was about 6 years old the first time I ate there. It was with my father and over the years since I have eaten there with family and the best of my friends. My last time was with a friend from California in 2003 and it was as good as I remembered it. Goodbye to a dear memory. I hope it resurrects somewhere near or opens a branch in heaven. (Not that I expect to get there, but my Mom and Dad would like it)
So, how was your New Year’s Eve? The older I get, the less important these kind of holidays become. I was awake for the beginning of the new year, only because I woke to pee. As the Jolly Green Giant said, "There is nothing like a good pea." That joke is a lot funnier said rather than read. I don’t party much. Now days I only drink to steady my nerves. Sometimes I get so steady I can’t move, but that is an entirely different story.
I am going on a little trip and will be gone for most of January. Look for my next jottings in February. Cross your fingers if you care.
(Don’t let anyone leave the room! My Tijuana Love YoYo is missing! Oh…I found it. How did it get there?)
Before I finish here, I want to comment on the ham I had on Christmas Day. It was the best! I remember many ham dinners with Don Bleu and his family and the dilemma when the ‘ham was bland’. Beware the Bland Ham! Well, this ham was the best! It came from Iowa. Lots of pigs in Iowa. I worked in Cedar Rapids for 6 months and from an olfactory standpoint, I remember the entire city smelled like oatmeal (Quaker Oats Factory) and frequently when driving in the country you got a scent reminiscent of bacon. It was pig shit. They sure do have a great ham, though. I’ll find out the brand and share it with you if I remember. Those of you keeping Kosher can mold pastrami into the shape of an Iowa ham. Vegetarians can shape tofu into the shape of a ham and then shove it up their ass. Sorry about that. I have had nothing but grief from vegetarians.
I end this with some confessions for 2006. I like Velveeta. I like canned corned beef. (A Product of Argentina) I would go to a Barry Manilow concert. I prefer Hellmann’s Mayonnaise to Kraft. I run water on my shred of wheat before adding milk and I dip grilled cheese sandwiches in ketchup.
I feel better now.
Make it a terrific year and I look forward to hearing from you. Even if you only say hello, you keep a lonely old DJ feeling wanted. Until I return, I remain,
"…trying to get that feeling again."
Minnesota January 2006
HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!
Home Page, December 2005
Your prodding has been successful. I take just a moment in the end-of-the-year stress to update this enduring web site.
I love Christmas (my Christmas Tree stays up year round) but in spite of the anticipation of the holiday, I never accomplish even a soupcon’ of my plans. I apologize. I wanted to use Amtrak to return to the snow-country 140 miles north of the United States (Duluth) but I just ran out of time. Forced to suffer the indignity of airplane travel, I have arrived in time for cookies and snow.
On top of everything at the airport I took off my shoes with great resentment. On the train, I rarely wear shoes but that’s different. And this stupid woman asked if I had anything in my pants. Sadly, I had nothing in my pants. Except for the wadded up sock.
People ask me if I am afraid to fly. It’s not the flying I mind. It’s the bursting into flame and crashing I don’t like. I mentioned this to my seat mate and he said that the chance of dying in a plane crash is greater on the ground than in the air. Of course that makes sense. The plane doesn’t crash UNTIL it reaches the ground.
I have plans for 2006 that include breaking bread with some of you, continuing the saga, adding some audio, and getting back to some pix. (Yeah, right!) I thank you for your patience and continued faithful readership. I hope your Christmas is special and contented and your New Year contains what you want when you want it.
Until next year, I remain, no longer….
"…dreaming of a White Christmas."
PS: Read the poem!
HOME PAGE, October 2005
So much for my good intentions. I had planned to write some extra chapters during October, but because of one thing and another, I didn’t. At least I improved my rather sorry past failure to answer email. Someone suggested a mass email ‘reminder’ when I get off my ass and post new web site material. If you want to get on the list, let me know. As always, thanks for your mail, thanks for reading my drivel, and thanks for the excessively kind remarks contained in so much of the mail.
I recently undecorated my Christmas Tree and then redecorated it. I do that once a year to my year-round Christmas tree. I have had a permanent Christmas Tree for years. It is proof of how much I enjoy the holiday. When my parents were alive, they would look at my Christmas tree and shake their heads with bewilderment. In San Francisco, Christmas is eclipsed by the celebration of Halloween. It is, hands down, the Number One holiday of the year. When I first moved to SF in 1981, Halloween was a lot better. On the day of the 31st, every place you went; to banks, fast food, businesses, people were in costume. Elaborate costumes, especially with make-up and masks, have disappeared a bit with the fear of terrorists or unidentifiable robbers.
Halloween still gives the diverse population of San Francisco a chance to ‘dress up’ and along with the Gay Pride Parade in June, gives everyone an opportunity to exercise a natural tendency toward excess. In Washington State, a 14 year old boy was expelled from school for wearing a penis costume to school. On Halloween in San Francisco I have seen dozens of penis costumes. My favorite a few years ago was a head to foot perfectly anatomically correct (however a bit cartoonish) wiener. What made this costume stand out (if I may use that term) was the device the wearer had installed in the top (tip?) which regularly at his command emitted a stream of soap suds. It was hilarious to watch the queens and the tourists squeal with terror and delight as they were covered with costume splooge.
I hope this wasn’t too graphic. We live in a de-sensitized society. I have only a surface understanding of many of the geo-political problems facing the world, but I do know how to deal with vaginal dryness if I am ever faced with that situation.
If I had dressed as a penis, Mom and Dad would have just been bewildered. Almost everything I did as a child (or as an adult) left them bewildered. My only regret is that they weren’t bewildered by my shockingly innovative theory on Quantum Physics or my celebrated appearance at Carnegie Hall performing the concerto I had written between visits to the Vatican to counsel the Pope. Instead, only circumstances prevented them from having to deal with a penis-clad son.
My father would be 100 years old if he were alive today. I can’t imagine what he would think of our world.
Like me, he would be….well….bewildered.
Home Page, Late August
Plans for the State Fair have changed for me (alas, but I still may make it) so thanks to Fred, the Axman a few memories of the U100 first year at the Minnesota State Fair. We were in a trailer and our impact was a lot different than it would have been if we were still playing oldies.
There are more U100 pixand we’ll get around to them soon.
Since I was rousing my exalted webmaster from his California torpor with an unscheduled visit to the website, I thought I might as well add a couple of other things including a rant and an explanation of how and why "I punched a nun".
A couple of quick things that don’t deserve their own rant, but have you noticed the saltine cracker scam? When the crackers come in 4 wrapped stacks (as the premium brands have for years) there are fewer crackers per stack than there were at one time. I used to be satisfied with one row of crackers per chili dinner but now have to have a row and a third.
It is hard to imagine the damage from the hurricane. Even with the wall-to-wall cable TV coverage the images hardly seem real. I don’t believe it is caused by global warming although I do know something about global warming. In Northern Minnesota we get a lot less snow then we did when I was like five or six years old. Back then the snow was almost every year up to my chest if not to my shoulders and now the snow hardly ever gets deeper than my mid-thigh. Do you think this aberration could be caused by global warming or by nutrition?
The month of August has brought lots of mail and many re-visits from some I haven’t heard from in a year or so. Even Gary DeMaroney surfaced. (I hate Gary) Great to hear from you all. I will try for a couple of up-dates in September since October is a traveling month and things may slow down.
Some of you I hope to see soon.
Minnesota where summer is almost over August 2005
Home Page, August 2005
Well, hasn’t this been a special month? I’ve heard from a bunch of old friends and foes and it has been a treat. I have an honest desire to get together, but I am not making any commitments.
What a summer. It’s been hot and I love it. Still, I ask myself, on a regular basis, "Why do people live in Minnesota?" It can’t be just for the fish. BTW…I don’t eat fish. Never in my life with the exception of an accidental intake of tuna salad (which I spit…spat out? …out before I really tasted it) and a soupcon of lutefisk at Christmas Time, to honor my Swedish roots. I remember Moon’s "vegetarianism" and how tuna were exempt. I often wondered what the cow did right and the tuna did wrong. And how come the cans of fish meat are "dolphin free". How come a little mayo and a hunk of Flipper doesn’t make a tasty sandwich? And would you dance naked in the window at Macy’s to save the whales? How about to save the snail darters. Is it because whales are bigger? So, size DOES matter. And cows and tuna have similar problems. Cows poop wherever they please and tunas and dolphins poop in the same water they live in.
Ah, the questions. Where do I go to find the true meaning of life? That reminds me of the man to walks halfway around the world to visit a wise guru in the mountains of Tibet and after crawling on hands and knees through blizzards he collapses at the feet of the wise man and asks, "What is the true meaning of life?" The wise man replies, "A wet bird doesn’t fly at night." Shocked, the poor half frozen man says, "You mean to tell me I went halfway around the world, crawled on my hands and knees, and almost died in a blizzard and you tell me the true meaning of life is ’A wet bird doesn’t fly at night’? And the wise guru looks at him and says, "You mean a wet bird DOES fly at night?"
I was at dinner recently and the subject of asshole transplants came up. If you had to have and asshole transplant would you rather the donor were Jessica Simpson or Angela Landsbury? And why is that?
The other day, I was taking a shower. It was very hot and I had just returned from a bike ride. I needed that shower. Not only was the road grime sluicing away but the water was refreshing me. While soaping up, I started thinking of people I had worked with throughout the years. Now, here is where this story gets really weird. The doorbell rang. I debated ignoring it, but at last hopped out of the shower, wrapped a towel and answered the door. It was a couple of Jehovah’s Witnesses.
If you haven’t read 1776...do so. I will be so impressed! Also, the Bernie Goldberg book about the 100 people who are screwing up America. I bought the latest Harry Potter, but I am waiting for the exactly perfect time to enjoy it. Also, I’ll need some help with the big words. On television, I am hooked again on Big Brother. I am almost ashamed to admit that. Also the dance American idol, Nanny 911, Hell’s Kitchen and the best show of the summer on TNT…The Closer!!! I watch waaaaay too much TV. I write this on Sunday afternoon anticipating the Soprano’s re-play from last season and pizza. (I always eat Italian food while watching the Sopranos) The weather is perfect and life is okay. Love hearing from you.
Until next time,
"Don’t go changing’ …try to please me…."
Minnesota August 2005
Home Page July 2005
Hey! Can you believe I have actually sat down and wrote for my web site two months in a row? What a summer this has been. Has it been as hot where you are as it has been where I have been? They have installed Teflon lamp-posts to keep the hookers from sticking. I have to change underwear twice a day. Nobody likes a guy with sweaty Wonder Woman Underoos. If it gets too hot, you can always go to the beach. If you do, you may see a hot little number parading around in a string bikini, high spike heels and carrying a beach bag. My family thinks I look silly, but I think I am hot!
I feel guilty turning on the air conditioner. I like hot. Not your regular hot. Your Africa hot. And then, my VCR wasn’t working right. I rented some movies and the VCR played them all backwards! I rented Die Hard. It was about a bunch of terrorists who reconstruct a building just in time for a Christmas party. I watched The Ten Commandments. It’s about a bunch of Jews who walk backwards into Egypt and tear down a pyramid. The I watch this movie, Friday the 13th about a nice paramedic named Jason who heals people by pulling hatchets out of their bodies. I watched Jaws. It was about a shark who keeps throwing up people till they open the beach.
(See, I was watching these movies backwards. Get it?)
The heat makes it hard for me to sleep. I tried counting sheep, but the smell kept me awake. And I get all itchy. The doctor suggested Preparation H, but it upsets my stomach.
Got to do a little theater this summer. First thought I was doing Peter Pan but it was embargoed. Ended up in a cheap-ass production of The Wizard of Oz. They had a left over Barney Costume so they re-titled it as the Lizard of Oz. They also had a left over Colonel Sanders costume so they re-titled it as the Gizzard of Oz…
Okay, I’ll stop. I haven’t done that in a while, but when I do it is still fun! All I need is a snare drum for some well situated rim-shots. Actually, I had hoped to attend the "conclave’ this year in Minnesota, but it isn’t going to happen. Next year. Those of you who go, say hello to anyone who thinks I’m dead. Probably best I don’t go. I am satisfied not to be in "the business", but too much time with everyone there might make me jealous. There are some things I miss. Or, perhaps, it might just make me feel as old as I am.
Its fun to hear from you and I could surely use some reminders on the U100 story. Until next time, you can…
"Call me irresponsible, call me unreliable….."
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October 26, 2005
Late August, 2005
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