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Archive for November, 2013

One Bullet in the Chamber

Monday, November 25th, 2013

I have a ton of fun performing what I call a “combo show”. This is an event where I appear either before the stand-up show or afterwards as Barney Fife. Guests get an extra suprise and event planners get value added treat.

I don’t know how Elvis impersonators feel when they show up somewhere decked out in jump suits and lamb chops. But I hope they get half the positive energy I receive when I put on the holster and badge. Everyone (except one guy in Houtson) loves Barney Fife and has great memories of The Andy Griffith Show. I get to hear about favorite episodes, chance meetings with cast members and I occasionally get a glimpse of a collection from an avid fan.

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As I roam around I hear the chuckles and excitement. I pose for pictures and write tickets. Yes, most people ask if I have a bullet – and I do! Once I forgot to bring it and I never heard the end of it. “You can’t be Fife without a bullet!” I just told them that Obama took it and there’s not much I can do about it.

Jamestown, ND Chamber of Commerce

Recently I got to do this combo show in Jamestown, ND. The event was for the Chamber of Commerce and was an appreciation banquet for the farming community. I couldn’t help but think of how much we owe to the farmers who are out there in the blistering heat and bitter cold working to provide food for all of us. I grew up helping out on a Tobacco farm. Although it isn’t a food source, Tobacco pretty much enabled our country to develop and prosper. It’s trade value alone was enough to settle many territories.

So, as you light up a smoke or pour milk over your Wheaties, think of a farmer who gives his all to provide for you. And whenevI’ll bring my bullet and jokes to privide a well deserved laugh for these hard working folks.

Job Perks

Monday, November 11th, 2013

One of the absolute best perks of my job is seeing our great country. When I first started in Columbus, OH on 1991 I had only visited 10 states – Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Missouri, Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

Now, I have performed or spoke in all but 6 (Rhode Island, Connecticut, Maine, Washington, Oregon, Hawaii).

While I have found truly beautiful places along the way – Boise, ID really is a hidden treasure – I was completely blown away by a trip to Anchorage, AK. While performing for the Mat Su Health Foundation at the Aleyeska Resort in Girdwod, AK I was treated to pure awe. You literally couldn’t stand anywhere and not want to take a picture.

Breathtaking beauty is everywhere ... I love my job!

Breathtaking beauty is everywhere … I love my job!

After the Friday night performance, I had all day Saturday to sight see. I had to wait until after 9:30 am for the sun to come up. So I had a great breakfast and made a short list of where I wanted to go.

On the drive out of Seward I had to pause for two moose to cross the road. The first a female and the second an apologetic male chasing after her. He probably had said something stupid.

My first destination was the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center (although I stopped 12 times before I got there to take snapshots and videos of the mountains and waterways along Highway 1). This awesome spot allows you to get out and walk or drive around a two mile loop and see everything from Elk and Moose to the rare but expanding herd of Wood Bison and Bears. For less than $15 it was a true bargain.

At one time thought to be extinct, the mighty Wood Bison is on the rebound with a little help.

At one time thought to be extinct, the mighty Wood Bison is on the rebound with a little help.

About an hour South of Anchorage on the Kenai Peninsula, I got to see a glimpse of the ever retreating Portage Glacier. Hundreds of years ago the glacier was estimated to be about 14 miles long. In 1986 a Visitors Center with stadium seating and floor to ceiling glass windows was built so travelers could view the glacier from a warm and windless spot. Sadly, the glacier is no longer even visible from the visitor center (although you can take a boat ride to see it). It’s current size is approximately down to 6 miles. Impressive nonetheless, and thought provoking to say the least.

I stopped at various pull over areas all afternoon and saw salmon swimming in a river inches away from the shore. I felt like grabbing them and firing up a grill! But, they leisurely swam away. I watched Bald Eagles soar and stopped a hike short when I noticed a set of bear footprints. They were big and so deeply sunk in the ground I knew it had to be one heck of a specimen. I didn’t want to stick around and find out!

Overall, this has to be the best scenic trip I have ever taken. It was an arduous 15 hour travel day from home – but well worth it. As I walked through the airport Sunday morning I checked the departure screen. I noticed that a flight to Hawaii was about to board and it’s only 5 1/2 hours … hmm … that could knock another state of my list!