Masked & Anonymous

I am a self-conscious actor, yet I sometimes work at it half-heartedly. Now and again. Half-hearted and hesitant—I blush easily, which makes radio the perfect venue for the experiment (and if you write for that type of character, a blushing, stammering sort, I’m your man).
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A Pelican’s Life

For reasons that bore me, I am one of those (un)lucky, (un)happy few whose brain does not retain jokes. Neither knock-knock groaners nor shaggy-dog tales stick in this cranium; there are not many punchlines that are still connected to the matching set-up in my thinker.

In itself, this is sort of a joke, as I have written and performed radio comedy on and off for as long as I have been an adult. A quarter of a freaking century.

Each Wednesday night at 7:30 p.m. (alert: this is tonight), the Magnificent Glass Pelican half-hour is broadcast on 88.7 FM WFNP (“The Edge”) in the Rosendale-New Paltz, New York, area. The Pelican is a live half-hour radio comedy show that my friends and I have written, produced, and acted in since 1990. Lately, it has been an improvised half-hour, produced by us and scripted live on-air. We have an unwritten rule that no rules should be written.
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All but the Grand Slam

Some flash fiction-comedy follows.

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“Metaphors was as rare for me as things I can’t find anywhere.”—Pop Hinks.

Pop was describing a time when he was stretching, reaching, striving for an easy analogy, a way to convey the idea that one thing led him to thinking about another, second, thing. It eluded his thinking brain like a bird that had flown away from his grasp, though. The whole thing was a moment and a bird and Pop himself. Just those three things and they were themselves complete and entirely themselves.
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A Life in Comedy

For reasons that bore me, I am one of those lucky few whose brain does not retain jokes. Neither knock-knock groaners nor shaggy-dog tales; there are not many punchlines that are still connected to the matching set-up.

Which is in itself funny, as I have written and performed radio comedy on and off for as long as I have been an adult. A quarter of a freakin’ century.

Each Wednesday night at 7:30 p.m. (alert: this is tonight), the Magnificent Glass Pelican half-hour is broadcast on 88.7 FM WFNP (“The Edge”) in the Rosendale-New Paltz, New York, area. The Pelican is a live half-hour radio comedy show that my friends and I have written, produced, and acted in since 1990. Lately, it has been an improvised half-hour, produced by us and scripted live on-air. We have an unwritten rule that no rules should be written.

For those who do not live there, the radio station streams the show live here at this link. Click on it and turn down your volume, as the station usually has its settings maxed out. This is at 7:30 p.m. Eastern time, and the broadcasts are not archived, so if you can check us out live tonight, thank you.

I no longer live in New Paltz, NY, so I have not been a live participant in a year. But the show still goes on.
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The Legend of Pop Hinks: A Legend

“Metaphors was as rare for me as things I can’t find anywhere.”—Pop Hinks.

Pop was describing a time when he was stretching, reaching, striving for an easy analogy, yet it eluded his thinking brain like a bird that had flown away from his grasp. It was a moment and a bird and Pop. Just those three things and they were themselves complete and entirely themselves.

The bird alighted and then flew away just past his gripping fingers, but it was still close enough for him to catch a thought about a moment in which he could envision, or so he said, a time when he caught that bird. A starling, he said it was.

Metaphors, analogies, similes could be similarly elusive but in a literal sense. “Slippy eels,” Pop Hinks took to calling them.

He was a blues player, one of the greatest slide guitarists on the north side of Kansas City, but the Kansas side, where there were no blues players. It was long a source of frustration for him that he regularly was ranked the third-greatest slide player even though he was the only one. He did not play with a slide, which may have presented most of his trouble.

Pop Hinks also played professional baseball in that far-long-ago era of the 1930s. He starred in a semipro league that was an imitation of the Negro Leagues, but one that starred white players only.

His baseball days were filled with long nights of transcendent sadness spent daydreaming on the bench about playing baseball, and sometimes his daydreams coincided with the game he was watching and not participating in. His blues nights were spent waiting in the backrooms of the seedless bars he did not play in, waiting eagerly to hear the one name he most wanted to hear called to the stage: his own. He never heard it and it was even more rarely called.

He could never find, not till his dying day, which has not yet come, he could never find the analogy that would match his baseball love with his blues love. One song, “A Grand-Slam,” he never played. Another, “The Walk Off,” was never requested. Yet another, “The One-Four-Five,” describing a little-seen play in which a pitcher fields a hit and inexplicably throws to an out-of-position second baseman who throws to third to catch a confused runner off base, was never written, although we debut it below.

It is difficult, Pop Hinks would say, to find a metaphor that covers all analogies, communicates something about real-life situations like love and baseball and the blues to fit most listeners. There are few walk-off homers in life or art or the blues. But if you asked him about those long-ago nights in Kansas City, he would shake his head and say, “I can take you there. But I’ll have to charge.”

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The Magnificent Glass Pelican (MGP) is a live half-hour radio comedy show that my friends and I have written, produced, and acted in for over two decades. Lately, it has been an improvised half-hour, produced by us and scripted live on-air. The current season is our 23rd consecutive or so.

Each Wednesday night at 7:30 p.m. (tomorrow), the MGP half-hour is broadcast on 88.7 FM WFNP (“The Edge”) in the Rosendale-New Paltz, New York, area or is streaming live here: The MGP on WFNP. This is at 7:30 p.m. Eastern, and the broadcasts are not archived, so if you can check us out live tomorrow, thank you.

“Pop Hinks” was a monologue I wrote 15-20 years or so ago, when I had not yet started thinking. Sean Marrinan plays Pop Hinks, and that is Sean with the impressive beard on his face. John Burdick plays the guitar. I wrote the words.

“The One Four Five,” written by John Burdick:

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[Historical note: Before the Brooklyn Dodgers brought Jackie Robinson to the major leagues, white team owners maintained a ban on playing black baseball players, so the black community built a professional baseball league for itself. It was called the Negro Leagues and it existed from the late 1800s till the 1950s, when Major League baseball started integrating. I hate explaining jokes, but there might be readers who may not know this, who might think something called the Negro Leagues was a weird joke. In reality, it was not a joke, which is a sad fact for America. In the joke, which I have now killed utterly dead, I am picturing a world in which white America, upon seeing the success of the Negro Leagues, would create a baseball league to steal black America’s thunder, even while professional baseball was in fact all-white.]

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The WordPress Daily Prompt for October 21 asks, “The World Series starts tonight! In your own life, what would be the equivalent of a walk-off home run? (For the baseball-averse, that’s a last-minute, back-against-the-wall play that guarantees a dramatic victory.)”

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The Mag. Glass Pelican & You

The Magnificent Glass Pelican (MGP) is a live half-hour radio comedy show that my friends and I have written, produced, and acted in for over two decades. Lately, it has been an improvised half-hour, produced by us and scripted live on-air.

It is broadcast from a college FM radio station during the school year, and even though none of us has had any connection with the school as an educational institution for many many years, no one seems to have noticed our graying hair and lack of school books, so the station keeps inviting us back. Or we bribed them when we could not help ourselves. This current season is our twenty-second.

That’s a lot of comedy.

Some of the members, “Pelicans” we call ourselves, have had long careers in the creative arts, some have gone on to careers in technical writing. Myself, I am retired. Among our influences are the usual suspects: Monty Python, Firesign Theater, Del Close. The late Matt Coleman, a beloved friend and eternally a Pelican, once declared to a newspaper interviewer that we “separate the wheat from the chaff and keep the chaff!”

Each Wednesday night at 7:30 p.m. (tonight), the MGP half-hour is broadcast on 88.7 FM WFNP (“The Edge”) in the Rosendale-New Paltz, New York, area or is streaming live here at this link. This is at 7:30 p.m. Eastern, and the broadcasts are not archived, so if you can check us out live tonight, thank you.

Here are two samples of our work, via my friend John’s SoundCloud stream; he is a founder of the Magnificent Glass Pelican and of the great rock/pop group, the Sweet Clementines. The first skit, “My Mother,” was written for us by our friend Brian Scolaro, who once upon a time shared a studio with us. I play the jury foreman. “We find the defendant guilty.”

And “Radio Pirates” is a personal favorite.

Again and always, thank you for listening.

The Story of The MGP

The Magnificent Glass Pelican (MGP) is a radio comedy, audio theater, live half-hour show that my friends and I have written, produced, and acted in for over two decades. It is broadcast from a college FM radio station during the school year, and even though none of us has had any connection with the school as an educational institution for many many years, no one seems to have noticed our graying hair and lack of school books, so the station keeps inviting us back. Or we bribed them when we weren’t looking. This current season is our 22nd, I believe.

That’s a lot of comedy.

Some of the members, “Pelicans” we call ourselves, have had long careers in the creative arts, some have gone on to careers in technical writing. I am retired. Among our influences are the usual suspects: Monty Python, Firesign Theater, Del Close. The late Matt Coleman, a beloved friend and Pelican, once declared to a newspaper interviewer that we “separate the wheat from the chaff and keep the chaff!”

Each Wednesday night at 7:30 p.m., the MGP half-hour is broadcast on 88.7 FM WFNP (“The Edge”) in the Rosendale-New Paltz, New York, area or live streaming here at this link. This is at 7:30 p.m. Eastern, and the broadcasts are not archived, so if you can check us out live tonight, thank you.

Here are two samples of our work, via my friend John’s SoundCloud stream; he is a founder of the Magnificent Glass Pelican and of the great rock/pop group, the Sweet Clementines. The first skit, “My Mother,” was written for us by our friend Brian Scolaro, who once upon a time shared a studio with us. I play the jury foreman. “We find the defendant guilty.”

And “Radio Pirates” is a personal favorite.

Again and always, thank you for listening.