Monday, June 17, 2013

Who Is This Artist?

Males born in Wisconsin receive certain gifts at birth: a full keg of beer, a cow suitable for tipping, coronary arteries good for about fifty years of unlimited dairy and brat consumption (smoking not included), and the guarantee that tailgating without leaving one's apartment or home is not a punishable offense in non-football months. Greenbush Boy believes females born within the state receive at birth pink sedatives to deal with what lays ahead for them, though he is not sure of that.

When Greenbush Boy left Wisconsin for Los Angeles, he took with him only the keg of beer and his quarter-clogged arteries. Elsie the Cow had long since left his backyard for some fast talking bovine who would lead her down far too many garden paths. Eventually they did marry and produce fine tippers of their own. Greenbush Boy's tailgating activities ended when he moved to a town that made movies about fantasy football rivalries but had no interest in a real team of their own.

One Sunday, when none of the sporting events actually interested him, and many decades before poker tournaments became a spectator sport worth breaking a six pack over, Greenbush Boy found himself walking along a gentrified stretch of Melrose Avenue. By the early 90s Melrose Avenue had morphed from a scarred battle zone of flop houses, bath houses, and abandoned houses to a trendy neighborhood filled with vintage clothing shops, antiquarian book dealers, art galleries, and burger shops with valet parking.

Now Greenbush Boy prides himself on being a big art connoisseur. Usually his tastes drift towards pieces where human-like children stare out at you with saucer eyes, or dogs play poker in smoke-filled basements, or large breasted women, wearing less apparel than he does in a shower, wash hot rods. Occasionally he'll  walk through a gallery serving wine and cheese and just stare at a piece of artwork that catches his fancy. The more Greenbush Boy stares, the more he drinks. The more he drinks, the more he drools out opinions on art, politicis, religon, and city politics to whomever is around. Then like the third act of a movie, someone takes ubrage with his words and decks him.       

Now Greenbush Boy never drank to the point where he awoke in a bed with bags of coke around him, in a city he never heard of, next to a dead hooker named Celia or Kalie or Felice. But semi-expensive wine, especially out of cans or brown paper bags, has always played havoc with his metabolism. He finds out weeks later about the strange and wondrous purchases made in his name using on smudgy receipts. Two such purchases are these pieces by an artist named ELLIOT.
Who is the artist Elliot? Is he alive or dead? Did he produce more of this form of outsider art? Greenbush Boy has no idea whether Elliot is his first or last name or maybe a pen name. The purchases were so long ago, the name of the gallery is now as lost to time as the brain cells that first fixated themselves on these watercolors. No doubt that storefront has also disappeared, replaced by other galleries, or shops, or or high priced valet only burger joints. Receipts! Greenbush Boy don't keep no stinkin receipts. 

These two pieces still fascinate Greenbush Boy as a combination of both Harvey and Howard exists within him. He used a foot pail one time to boil some eggs, but forgot to change the water. He hasn't eaten a boiled egg since. The house dress was requisitioned by an ex girlfriend who found it absurd he would dare wear such an item with flip flops. The flip flops were hers as well.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

When a Dream Floats Away like Methane Gas

There comes a time in every little boy's life when he has to part with even the most precious of items. Items that have traveled with him lovingly and securely through bad break-ups, Midwestern floods, questionable grease fires, and TSA full body cavity searches. One such item is the above pictured John Lennon autograph on Dakota Apartment stationary, picked up at a Actors and Others For Animals Celebrity Fair auction sometime in the 70s.

Back then I was really enamored with celebrity sightings. I would see Paul Newman or Clint Eastwood eating somewhere, and I would salivate; jump up and down; squeeze tightly my Kodak box camera; and rush pell-mell towards them like a beserker screaming, "Me want autograph." I presume it is a Midwestern thing since I used to do the same thing during Packer games. The stars would never acknowledge my presence, but their Mossad trained bodyguards would clothes line me and drop kick the most sensitive part of my body across the room. They would then tear up my valet parking stub, force me to inhale the pieces, and point me in the direction to the closest body of water.

So for an autograph hound dog like myself, celebrity fairs were like walking into a candy store and then walking into another candy store. So much to choose from, who could decide? The Actors and Others For Animals Celebrity Fair was, for a time, a yearly event, always held out in the Valley on a western ranch either owned by Paramount or Warners or Columbia. And scheduled without fail on the hottest day of the summer. Fun factoid: Hollywood stars sweat just like normal humans though I suspect they have aides that suction off the excess perspiration when no one is looking.

Say what you want about Hollywood, but the stars love their animals. I love stars, and I love animals. A celebrity auction where one could bump into major television stars like Earl Holiman, or Betty White, or JoAnn Worley was like a perpetual root beer float for me. (Movie celebrities always seemed to busy to attend, so, I believe, they sent their maids with their animals instead.)

Glorious picnic foods were served.  Hot dogs and hamburgers and cokes and all sorts of foods that 40 years later would give my cardiologists wet dreams about beach front property in Hawaii. My body thanked me that I did not have to bum-rush any of the stars for their signatures. They were there to actually sign autographs.

Best part of the day came when when those in attendance could bid on a celebrity donation. On boy! Oh boy! Oh boy! Autographed mugs, movie and television scripts, 8X10 glossies, signed clothing worn by the stars themselves. Over the course of several of these events, I picked up an autographed glossies of Elvis and of Ricky Nelson; a Don Rickles key chain; a basketball signed by Kareem; a Hoffa script autographed by both Jack Nicholson and Danny Devito; some crew jackets; an LP signed by Cary Grant; and much more.

I bid against a bunch of people for the Lennon autograph. The item came up and the professional auctioneer described it as a John Lennon doodle on Dakota Apartment stationary. Yoko had personally donated the piece herself. The mention of Yoko's name elicited a number of boos from the audience. Lennon was still alive at the time.

To make a long story less boring, I won the spirited bidding contest. I believe I paid between six and seven hundred dollars for the paper. I got a huge vote of applause from the audience and even shook Betty White's hand. She said I had just saved a lot of cats and dogs with that purchase. I made some stupid remark. She walked away just shaking her head. I felt all was right with the world.

So we fast forward to the present. Money is tight, and I'm still waiting for that knock on the door where a middle aged human stands before me and calls me "daddy,"  and I say, "Are you a surgeon?" So I traipse down to several auction houses to see what the John Lennon signature on Dakota stationary is worth. I had lost track of it for about twenty years, but eventually found it in a book of old race horses of the 19th Century. The autograph was in perfect condition.

While neither auction house declared the signature a fraud, their representatives did say that plenty of Lennon forgeries currently float on the open market. Well, blow me over with a slice of mayo to go. This item was bought at a closed market. It was donated by Yoko herself. I shook the hand of Betty White. I said something stupid to her. What sort of doolally craziness is this?

Well "caveat emptor!" I haven't attended a celebrity auction in decades. I now waste my time thinking about all the time I wasted simply thinking. But I am disappointed. I look around the black hole I call my apartment, and wonder whether my Don Rickles key chain is legit, or my autographed copies of forgettable films scripts are kosher, or whether Kareem's signature is actually that of Doctor J's.

Do I blame anyone for this? No. I don't even blame Yoko any longer for the break-up of the Beatles. For almost 40 years I had a "John Lennon" signature all to myself. I showed it to people. I even allowed them to touch the paper, but only if they were wearing white gloves (though none of the girls ever thought it was worth staying the night to see the same paper in the light of morning). The fact that it was manufactured by someone other than John Lennon now matters more to my creditors than to me. I'm over celebrity auctions though not over most of the causes they espouse. And if my donations allowed some cats and dogs a longer healthier life, then I'm more than happy for that.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013



Greenbushboy's one and only attempt at writing for an audience that is shorter and less aware of the world around it than he is. He wrote it in the first person. He does not remember why.

SYNOPSIS: Seven year old Tilly travels the world hand delivering all sorts of merchandise from her grandfather emporium. Her companions are Roscoe, her harmonica playing sheepdog, Otis, a transforming mode of transportation, Cameron, a six year old computer wizard, and Rose, a loquacious spinning globe. It's all about geography.

I have a very responsible job for a seven year old. My name is Tillie Sanderson and I work with my grandfather. We deliver goods all over the world. All kinds of stuff. I’ve heard some people call our stuff nick knacks. I’m not sure what that means. Remember, I am only seven. Everything we deliver is very unique no matter what it is called.

That man with the large moustache and the big laugh wrapping gifts at that old wooden table is my grandfather, MORTIMER SANDERSON. That table is over one hundred years old and made from oaks from the Black Forest of Germany. Our store is called the SANDERSON COUNTRY EMPORIUM and it’s been in our family forever. Right now we have never been busier. My grandfather tells me that he has been in the emporium business so long, some of his first customers were the Pilgrims. I don’t really believe that. He tells me so many stories about the EMPORIUM that I suppose some of them must be true.

Taking phone orders, and text orders, and internet orders is ROSCOE the sheepdog. He plays blues harmonica when he’s not on the phone. He’s friendly, polite and very efficient. Roscoe does not let my grandfather near the telephone. He knows better than to do that. Grandpa enjoys talking on the phone so much that no orders would ever come through. My mom says her dad can talk the hind leg off a goat. I don’t quite know what that means, but that's something I would like to see.

The EMPORIUM is an old fashioned word for store. At one time during the Old West, every town had its own emporium. It was a very special place where customers could buy or order all sorts of goods like pots and pans and soap and candy and fancy clothes. Sometimes the customers would have to wait until the next stagecoach or train arrived. That might take weeks or even months. Our customers don't want to wait much at all.

Now every town has plenty of stores, but our EMPORIUM is different. Our shelves are full of everything anyone could ever possibly want. We even have a web site where people can order things. Roscoe and I are continuously stocking these shelves. Our store is so enormous, we need roller skates to get around. We know the location of everything. Grandfather often wonders whether he could find anything without our help. We work all the time moving boxes and wrapping gifts. Every day here is like the week before Christmas. "Hurry! Hurry! Hurry!" That's our motto. Lucky for us, we love what we do because otherwise we would always be too tired to deliver anything personally.

Over there in that room is where we have all of our furniture from around the world. We have cupboards from Italy and France, and hand-crafted and hand painted South American and African chairs and tables. I could sit and talk about this forever , but I’m on a very tight schedule so we have to move on.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013


Television programming about teachers and students has not changed since the days when Socrates tried to drum Logic into two goofball characters named Plato and Xenophon. All he got for his efforts were two smart ass jokers turning his Acropolis into a daily Roman circus. So annoyed was Socrates at these two jerks that every night  he went home really episted off. After midnight shots of hemlock to chill himself out, he conceived of the philosophy Epistemology which today forms the intellectual  framework for detention classes throughout the Western World.

This format of teachers teaching students and students not giving a damn has remained in this ossified position since then. So Greenbushboy thought, "let's make all the teachers aliens who need Earth kids to teach them how to better rule galaxies far far away because if you can deal with a roomful of fifth graders, you can just about do anything." The Greenbushboy long thought  ended with "and if the kids fail to get their teacher to the next level of excellence, EARTH WOULD BE DOOMED." 

This was an idea written many years ago and forgotten on a computer that might have been named SIMON. I never really fleshed out the kid characters. I should also mention that this was initially an idea for a live action student film. 


Fifth graders on Earth must help their young alien teacher, MR. KVETCH, pass a series of idiotic pop quizzes so he can graduate, make his parents proud, and then go off and join the family business of ruling a galaxy somewhere. Should the students fail in their assignment, Mr. Kvetch will lose all chance at advancement, and Earth will be obliterated.

The fifth graders at the fabulously exclusive ASHTABULA FEVER ELEMENTARY are used to odd. The architecture of the school is Escher odd. The cafeteria food served is a movable feast because the food actually moves, The teachers are especially odd as they spit, drip, dematerialize, and speak with refined English and Scottish accents though none have ever been to either country. Parents love sending their kids to Ashtabula Fever because after a typical school day there, no parent is ever be described as odd again.

And why is Ashtabula Fever Elementary so odd. Well it's a feeder school for alien teachers. No, not that sort of feeder school. Ashtabula Fever Elementary was set up eons ago for the simple purpose of educating the next generation of Intergalactic leaders in patience, forbearance, and restraint. The whole Universe knows the reputation of Earth children. They are the most illogical, cantankerous, aggravating, and least behaved smart asses anywhere in any galactic quadrant. If a teacher can transverse the frustrations of dealing with miserably spoiled Earth children without self exploding, then managing a galaxy with a zillion stars and zillions more in people would be a Sunday walk in the park. And, of course, none of the students know the true secret behind their school. At least not until NOW!!!


FACIAL “SPITS” CLEARVIEW has been a teacher at the school for six kerbensecs (A kerbensec is a form of time medasurement unknown on Earth). He teaches math but literally spitting out the numbers which appedar above and around his head as dripping integers. No student sits in the first row of his class without umbrellas and rain slickers. Mr. Clearview believes it is his breath that forces his pupils to sit at the far end of the room rather than the volume of water he expectorates. He is forever gargling mouthwash and spitting it into a conveniently placed spittoon next to his desk. He also constantly asks for breath mints. The kids oblige by throwing them at him.

MARGARET “MUMBLES” ROTISSERIE, the science teacher has been around since the year One. She loves teaching on Earth and long ago forgot about placement tests to better her intergalactic status.She's a mumbler and barely speaks above a whisper. Students crawl over her like bugs to hear the daily lessons. She has a claustrophobia issue; she sweats considerably; and purposely uses bug spray as a perfume to keep the kids at a distance.

BUFORD “WHIZZER” EEL school counselor and language teacher,who finds living on Earth far easier than being a swimming instructor on his home planet which has no water but plenty of concrete. Buford speaks as if he is drowning in phlegm. No kid enjoys going in to see Teacher Eel about their future plans for his inspirational message is one marked by doom, gloom, and living at home for the rest of their lives. 

This is Principle OTIS “YOU CAN NEVER HAVE ENOUGH WATER” NIMITZ first year at Ashtabula. His home planet exports nothing but principles to all areas of the Universe. In fact that's what his planet of Demerit is known for.. He is a mean looking disciplinarian who struts up and down the school hall ways handing out pop quizzes on subjects no one understands. He tells the frightened students to take them late at night as pop quizzes are best done when sleep deprived. The results of these exams will never be shown to anyone unless certain unexplained events that only he is aware of force his hand. He loves the taste of water so much when he walks, he drips.

MR. KVETCH is the new fifth grade intern and a gloomier, more dejected,  and morose individual would be difficult to find. His manner of teaching at best would be described as histrionic. Every morning Mr. Kvetch slowly trundles into class. He looks around the room and shakes his head. He says hello to his students as he puts his apple on his desk. He places his sack lunch to the right of that. He takes off his shoes and places them to the right of the sack lunch. He sits down in his chair and stares out hypnotically at the students. Just as he is about to commence his daily lessons, poor Mr. Kvetch begins to shake violently and bursts into carbonated tears. In fact whenever he speaks he breaks into a flood of carbonation.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013



One of many old concepts brought out into sunlight so my hard drive can take a breather. The 3Bs and Gwendolyn was written sometime in the 90s when I witnessed a little girl boss her three brothers around as if she were a drill sergeant. This idea has all the elements that I particularly like in a cartoon series: stupid boys, bossy girls, idiotic villains, and super spy jobs so outlandish I am shocked, I tell you shocked, that none have not been put into practice in real life.


Looking for extra allowance money, ten year olds Brad, Buster, and Baron cut out an employment coupon found in the sewer. DESCRIPTION: opportunity to be super secret agents working for a super secret government agency performing dangerous super secret missions that are so secret that no one even knows they exist. Their contact would be a mysterious woman named Gwendolyn who meets only in shadowy places in broad daylight. Gwendolyn turns out to be a ten year old girl who is so low on the super secret agency’s pecking order that she works out of her own basement down the street from the three boys. She also goes to their grade school. Her assignments come directly from a genetically engineered passenger pigeon named IGNATZ who has a real chip on his shoulder besides the one in his brain. Gwendolyn’s boss is Otis Weasel, a recluse who fears the outdoors because sunlight makes him itch. He wants to see Gwendolyn fail so his stupid son Jacque can have her job.

Brad, Buster and Baron are three eleven year olds living in North Mulch, Manitoba. They spend their free time in a self constructed tree house made from whatever junk they find in the alley between the House of Surprise Meats Food Store and the Pork Rind Company financed, Sewage is Our Friend Campaign Office. The tree house is not much to look at. Actually it is a lean-to. Situated on the ground as no trees ever bothered to grow in their neighborhood.

One day while collecting newspapers to spread out over their tree-house floor to deaden the feel of a sidewalk cracking beneath them, the boys pick up a dripping piece of paper from the sewer. It's an ad seeking secret agents to come to work at a top secret secret agency. These assignments are so secret that only a secret group of people even know they exist, and they’re not too certain. The house down the street marked HEADQUARTERS is listed as headquarters. Shockingly the house belongs to Gwendolyn, their obnoxious classmate and all around teacher’s pet.

Gwendolyn is an entry level spy master one grade. She is so low on the spy totem pole that her base of operations is a basement room next to the boiler. She has no sliding doors, fanciful weapons, or secret passageways. She makes the setting work for her with piles of teddy bears, wicker baskets, and bowls of potpourri.