Monday, December 27, 2010

Miracle on Long Island

 

A miracle happened on Christmas Day. Miracle is a huge word. I realize this. I try not to overuse it, just like brilliant and genius. I reserve those words for Woody Allen and for Skylar my 6 and a half year old granddaughter.


The last time I witnessed a miracle was when my daughter was pregnant with Sky and I said to Glenn, my then son-in-law.


“This is a miracle!”


He responded, “This isn’t a miracle. A miracle would be if I was having a baby.”


I glared at him and said, “You know what a miracle is, Glenn? It’s a miracle that I have the control not to punch you in the face right now!”


Fast forward to Christmas two days ago. My daughter Jackie and Glenn are divorced and although I reluctantly admit he’s a wonderful Dad to Sky, we don’t celebrate holidays together so he’s not part of this story.


My son Doug and me and Tony Baloney, my perfect little Morkie zipped to Jackie and Sky's house near mine on Long Island to spend Christmas Day with them. We were busy bringing presents into their house so we didn’t notice that we closed the front door and Tony had wandered back outside.


Ten minutes later when Skylar showed us a present she had for Tony we realized he wasn’t in the house. A sick feeling washed over me and even as I yelled in the house.  


We all ran out, calling “To ny, To ny” trying to whistle and clap and try to see as far down the block as we could. I ran back and jumped in the car to get further faster. With the window opened I must have looked a little like a dog myself with my head hanging out of it. I felt a sob coming on and I stifled it.


People on the block said they hadn’t seen him…I described him as a little 9 pound Morkie wearing a Santa suit. A furry, four legged, low to the ground Santa has to stand out, I thought. I imagined my little guy scared and lost and my heart was doing flip flops.


Somehow, I knew that he wasn’t a Lassie who would sniff his way home. Somehow I sensed that Tony is probably helpless like me when it comes to his sense of direction.


As my panic rose, random thoughts popped into my head.


1. "I’ve ruined Christmas for Skylar. If we don’t find Tony I won’t be
     able to go back and finish opening presents. I’ll just be a mess."

2. "When do you stop looking? I’ll never stop looking."


3. "Oh, God, now am I going to be the Poor Widow Me who lost her dog?"

4. "I wonder if I'll feel like eating later"…was interrupted by,

    “Hey, that man found your dog!”

Tony was safe! The guy was driving around looking for
someone who was looking for a dog. His kids found him six blocks
away in the middle of the street. I followed him back to his house and
his kids handed my little Santa to me.

I squeezed that confused sweetface and I kissed and hugged the kids and the father.


As I walked back to the car carrying Tony Baloney in my arms I tried to
memorize the address to drop something on their stoop the next day to thank
them. I haven't done that yet. I'm blaming it on the blizzard.

The real kicker was that after a wonderful day, Doug, Tony and I headed back to my house where I listened to a message on my answering machine. I stood in my kitchen impatiently trying to make out what sounded like a 10 year old boy.


I assumed it was one of my cousin’s kids wishing me a Merry Christmas…I turned to Doug and said,

“Why do they put a kid on to leave a message? I hate that! I can’t understand a word he’s saying and he left a phone number – So ridiculous…I can’t even make it out. I’m not even going to try!”


“Hey, Mom” Doug said smirking, “Listen to the first part…he’s saying, “I found your dog.”


Right there is my Christmas miracle…not that we found Tony because of the goodness of strangers…but that I can be such an asshole.

Comments are appreciated folks...thanks!

















Sunday, December 12, 2010

Young & Ugly Beats Old & Pretty

When did "Poor Widow Me" lose my appeal? Walking towards my office the cat calls from hunky construction workers were constant. I admit, that was in 1970 when I was twenty, but guys, have a heart. Can’t you eek out a pity whistle to make a 60 year old widow happy?


I'll believe that you think I'm hot. I promise you. My needy gene will argue with my rational brain and my needy gene will win.  I'm that self protective.  I may even flirt back and make a game of it, not like the little snots that dismiss you like the dirt you’re shoveling.


In spite of my less than stellar track record, I don’t have low self esteem. My self esteem is actually higher than it should be. I’m always surprised when men walk by me without giving me a second look. Sometimes, even the first look turns out to be a mistake; he’s either squinting at the sun or looking past me to some young thing with legs that start at my neck.


Still, I’m not totally living in fantasy land. I do own a mirror. I know when I’m out of my league. Recently, I was in an airport and noticed “Barbie” from behind. Her genes were painted on her colt like legs and her shoulder length hair was ridiculously bouncy, healthy and shiny. Her hair reminded me of the ‘locks’ in old Breck girl commercials.


I trotted after Barbie just like children run double time to keep up with their Moms. I had to see her face. I was on a mission to console myself that maybe God was on my side and he gave her ugly features.

I almost abandoned my suitcase to be able to run fast enough to catch up to her. The clincher is that with those legs she was as quick as a Giselle and my Dachshund legs were no match.


I never did see her face. But, I went home to Google 'Breck Girls.' Wikepedia gave me the following list of gorgeous women who were Breck girls between 1968 and 1976. They are all approximately the same age as I am today, a fact I celebrated with smug satisfaction.


HA! Their hay-day is over now too… although not really. They are still close to a 10 while my number is plunging faster than the stock market did in 2008.


Here’s a partial list: Cheryl Tiegs 63, Cybill Shepherd 60, Jaclyn Smith 63, Kim Basinger 57, Christie Brinkley 56.

My needy gene is definitely going to have to work overtime here to convince my rational brain that a taxi driver wouldn't run me down to pick them up.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Run-Away Widow Joins the Circus (sorta) Hey, That's Me!

David Moye of AOL wrote this story:

Showbiz is a hard career, but it's even more difficult if you're trying to make it big by singing "Silent Night" like a pigeon, yodeling while milking a cardboard goat or imitating Ralph Kramden doing Shakespeare.


But New York radio personality Leslie Gold is doing a sort of showbiz stimulus package for people whose talents are, shall we say, less easily marketable -- such as the 60-year-old who wears a pigeon suit and coos like a bird sitting on a telephone wire.


And she's doing it by bringing back "The Gong Show" in a live setting. Gold will present "Gong Show Live" at B.B. King Blues Club & Grill in Times Square. It's a talent show modeled after the cheesy game show hosted by Chuck Barris in the late 1970s, where contestants compete for a measly sum ($543.32, to be exact) while trying to avoid being "gonged" by the three judges.


Heidi the Yodeling Guy is perhaps the only entertainer trying to make a career out of an act that consists of him yodeling while milking a cardboard goat. So far, a stage show called "Gong Show Live" is the only place giving him a chance.


For Gold, who will be one of the judges, bringing back a TV show in a live setting is something of a demented dream come true.


"To me, this hits the entertainment sweet spot," she told AOL News. "The best parts of shows like 'American Idol' and 'America's Got Talent' are the bad acts." Gold is a devoted fan of "The Gong Show" and got the idea to do her version after interviewing show creator Barris on radio.


"I'm an admirer of his. I think he's some kind of kooky genius," she said. "I wanted to do it as a live event."

Gold was told not to bother even trying to restart "The Gong Show," mainly because her naysaying friends assumed the rights to it were sewed up and wouldn't be granted. That wasn't the case, however.


"The trademark for the TV show and live show had lapsed, and the guy who was in charge of them said 'Yes!' [and] I knew he was doing nothing with them."

The first of what Gold hopes will be many live shows was held in August, and it was an immediate success.


"The club wanted us back within three weeks, but we held out till Halloween, which I think is perfect for this," she said, adding that the idea of a talent show where acts can be potentially gonged off the stage is especially appropriate in the Big Apple.

Pigeon lady Carol Scibelli dresses like a bird and sings songs such as "Silent Night" as a pigeon might.

"New York audiences can have a gladiator mentality," Gold said. "We can tell how the audience feels after 10 seconds, but we give all acts at least 30 seconds."


The task of finding enough acts unworthy enough for the show fell to casting director Robert Russell, who claims he checked out thousands of performers looking for the best of the worst.


Some of the acts that made the cut include "Amazing Amy," a contortionist who claims she's 55 but is suspected of being more than 80; Jessica Delfino, a performance artist who sings a song about being raped; and a striptease act involving robots.


"Yes, they're robot strippers," Russell confirmed. "The act is not risque because, well, they're robots."


Russell is especially enthusiastic about Bob Greenberg, who recites Shakespeare as Ralph Kramden from "The Honeymooners," and Carol "The Pigeon" Scibelli, who dresses up like a pigeon and sings "Silent Night" and "Hava Nagila" as a bird might.


It's a talent that Scibelli has waited 48 years to capitalize on.

"I started doing this when I was in eighth grade," she said with a laugh. "You know how kids like to do goofy things. I actually performed for Chuck Barris himself at a 25th anniversary 'Gong Show' celebration at the Friar's Club and I didn't get gonged! Barris even told me he liked my act because I had the chutzpah to sing 'Silent Night' to a room full of Jews."


Scibelli's background is in writing, but she is ready to fly at a moment's notice to pursue any opportunities to make it big as a birdbrained singer.

"They may take the show to Tampa and I'll go with them," she said.


Most of the entertainers are from New York and New Jersey, but David Reynolds is flying out from Las Vegas on his own dime in order to perform as "Heidi the Yodeling Guy." He dresses up like a St. Pauli Girl on steroids and milks a cardboard goat while yodeling.


"I actually used to perform this act on a cruise ship," said Reynolds, who thought he gave up showbiz four years when he decided to open up a flower shop. "It's hard because you're yodeling and milking at the same time. Of course, churning butter is a whole 'nother thing."

Like Scibelli, Reynolds was a fan of the old "Gong Show" and hopes to milk the exposure into getting something bigger.


But not every act on the live show was familiar with "The Gong Show." In fact, Roger Hanson, 21, wasn't even born when the show debuted and was unfamiliar with the Comedy Central reboot a few years back.


"When I tried out, I didn't take it seriously," he said. "But when the other performers told me about it, I did research it and now know how important the show was."


Hanson performs under the name "Wonder Boy," and he describes his act as "extreme interpretive dance."
"I do a warrior-angel-robot thing," he explained. "I'm a big dude so dressing like a fairy's pretty funny."

Hanson wants to do a good show and is excited about the chance to win the $543.32 grand prize that goes to the act that gets the best score from the judges.

"I just got my associate's degree and am trying to get into the Fire Department, so the money would be nice," he said.



Friday, December 03, 2010

A Widow Joins The Circus

Weird News


Live 'Gong Show' Gives Break to Yodeling Goat-Milkers, Other Quirky ActsUpdated: 38 days 10 hours ago

.Print Text Size Print this page
EmailShare on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on DiggShare on Lifestream

David Moye

Contributor



AOL News (Oct. 26) -- Showbiz is a hard career, but it's even more difficult if you're trying to make it big by singing "Silent Night" like a pigeon, yodeling while milking a cardboard goat or imitating Ralph Kramden doing Shakespeare.



But New York radio personality Leslie Gold is doing a sort of showbiz stimulus package for people whose talents are, shall we say, less easily marketable -- such as the 60-year-old who wears a pigeon suit and coos like a bird sitting on a telephone wire.



And she's doing it by bringing back "The Gong Show" in a live setting on, appropriately enough, Halloween.



On Oct. 31, Gold will present "Gong Show Live" at B.B. King Blues Club & Grill in Times Square. It's a talent show modeled after the cheesy game show hosted by Chuck Barris in the late 1970s, where contestants compete for a measly sum ($543.32, to be exact) while trying to avoid being "gonged" by the three judges.







The Radiochick Corp.

Heidi the Yodeling Guy is perhaps the only entertainer trying to make a career out of an act that consists of him yodeling while milking a cardboard goat. So far, a stage show called "Gong Show Live" is the only place giving him a chance.

For Gold, who will be one of the judges, bringing back a TV show in a live setting is something of a demented dream come true.



"To me, this hits the entertainment sweet spot," she told AOL News. "The best parts of shows like 'American Idol' and 'America's Got Talent' are the bad acts."



Gold is a devoted fan of "The Gong Show" and got the idea to do her version after interviewing show creator Barris on radio.



"I'm an admirer of his. I think he's some kind of kooky genius," she said. "I wanted to do it as a live event."



Gold was told not to bother even trying to restart "The Gong Show," mainly because her naysaying friends assumed the rights to it were sewed up and wouldn't be granted.



That wasn't the case, however.



"The trademark for the TV show and live show had lapsed, and the guy who was in charge of them said 'Yes!' [and] I knew he was doing nothing with them."



The first of what Gold hopes will be many live shows was held in August, and it was an immediate success.



"The club wanted us back within three weeks, but we held out till Halloween, which I think is perfect for this," she said, adding that the idea of a talent show where acts can be potentially gonged off the stage is especially appropriate in the Big Apple.





The Radiochick Corp.

Pigeon lady Carol Scibelli dresses like a bird and sings songs such as "Silent Night" as a pigeon might.

"New York audiences can have a gladiator mentality," Gold said. "We can tell how the audience feels after 10 seconds, but we give all acts at least 30 seconds."



The task of finding enough acts unworthy enough for the show fell to casting director Robert Russell, who claims he checked out thousands of performers looking for the best of the worst.



Some of the acts that made the cut include "Amazing Amy," a contortionist who claims she's 55 but is suspected of being more than 80; Jessica Delfino, a performance artist who sings a song about being raped; and a striptease act involving robots.



"Yes, they're robot strippers," Russell confirmed. "The act is not risque because, well, they're robots."



Russell is especially enthusiastic about Bob Greenberg, who recites Shakespeare as Ralph Kramden from "The Honeymooners," and Carol "The Pigeon" Scibelli, who dresses up like a pigeon and sings "Silent Night" and "Hava Nagila" as a bird might.



It's a talent that Scibelli has waited 48 years to capitalize on.



"I started doing this when I was in eighth grade," she said with a laugh. "You know how kids like to do goofy things. I actually performed for Chuck Barris himself at a 25th anniversary 'Gong Show' celebration at the Friar's Club and I didn't get gonged! Barris even told me he liked my act because I had the chutzpah to sing 'Silent Night' to a room full of Jews."



Scibelli's background is in writing, but she is ready to fly at a moment's notice to pursue any opportunities to make it big as a birdbrained singer.



"They may take the show to Tampa and I'll go with them," she said.



Most of the entertainers are from New York and New Jersey, but David Reynolds is flying out from Las Vegas on his own dime in order to perform as "Heidi the Yodeling Guy." He dresses up like a St. Pauli Girl on steroids and milks a cardboard goat while yodeling.



"I actually used to perform this act on a cruise ship," said Reynolds, who thought he gave up showbiz four years when he decided to open up a flower shop. "It's hard because you're yodeling and milking at the same time. Of course, churning butter is a whole 'nother thing."



Like Scapelli, Reynolds was a fan of the old "Gong Show" and hopes to milk the exposure into getting something bigger.



But not every act on the live show was familiar with "The Gong Show." In fact, Roger Hanson, 21, wasn't even born when the show debuted and was unfamiliar with the Comedy Central reboot a few years back.



"When I tried out, I didn't take it seriously," he said. "But when the other performers told me about it, I did research it and now know how important the show was."



Hanson performs under the name "Wonder Boy," and he describes his act as "extreme interpretive dance."



"I do a warrior-angel-robot thing," he explained. "I'm a big dude so dressing like a fairy's pretty funny."



Hanson wants to do a good show and is excited about the chance to win the $543.32 grand prize that goes to the act that gets the best score from the judges.



"I just got my associate's degree and am trying to get into the Fire Department, so the money would be nice," he said.

Filed under: Weird News, EntertainmentTagged: amazing amy, americas got talent, b b king, carol scapelli, chuck barris, david