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Archive for August 27th, 2012

Shane, Marilyn Ferdinand and Sam in Skokie, Illinois

Laurie Buchanan and Sam in Crystal Lake, Illinois

by Sam Juliano

This week’s Monday Morning Diary is sitting atop this morning’s comedy countdown post for the first and last time during the project due to the strong desire to headline a family road trip to the mid-west that won’t be forgotten.  The fact that the countdown review today is my own made this decision an easy one.  Anyone looking for Number 85 need only to scroll below the Diary post.

The road trip began on Sunday evening August 20 at 10:00 P.M. when we left our Bergen County, New Jersey home in our Honda Odyssey, heading west on Route 80 for nearly fourteen hours until we stopped off the highway in Gary, Indiana to visit Michael Jackson’s childhood home in an economically blighted area that was once a bustling steel industry city.  The kids, Jacko fans all, signed their names to the board in front of the tiny house, and took pictures in front of the plaque that was placed there after the King of pop’s death. (Lucille has subsequently reminded me that the stop in Gary, Indiana was on the way back from Chicago on Wednesday morning not as I state here on the way in!  Ah well, I am losing it!)  Next stop was the great city of Chicago, arriving at approximately 1:00 P.M.  We stayed at a Holiday Inn Hotel and Suites, sleeping two nights until Wednesday morning.  Like any trip that is ultimately unforgettable it’s the people you meet who make all the difference, and the precious time we spent with the likes of three blogging friends and associates provided Lucille and I and all the kids with some splendid conversation, and stories that gave everyone some pointed laughter and some sage advice on shared points on shared intersts.  First off was my Wonders in the Dark friend and colleague Jamie Uhler, a person I have wanted to meet for a very long time, and one who has been part of a regular daily e mail chain since the time when he joined the writing staff of the site.  My friend, who is not a ‘picture taking kind of guy’ took the full day off from his workplace to make clearance for spending time with all of us.  It certainly for me was an emotional moment when I first laid eyes on Jamie after he met me in the Holiday Inn lobby after subwaying from his home on the other side of the city.  Jamie accompanied me on the elevator up to our rooms where he met Lucille and all the kids, who were preparing for an early supper.  With Jamie as our guide we rode around the city checking out downtown buildings, prominent movie houses and Wrigley Field, before settling on the Lincoln Restaurant for decent food and great conversation.  (more…)

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by Moe Howard

Note: This excerpt is taken from ‘the files of Moe Howard’ published in his autobiography that released in September of 1965.  Sam Juliano has transcribed it for the countdown.

What most people don’t know is that Larry, Curly and I were professional plumbers before we went into show business.  We once worked in the basement of the Empire State Building -Curly, joker that he was, told the security guard that it was upstairs- in the months before the place opened in 1932.  It was at that time that we perfected the art of mixing electrical and water pipes, a stroke of vocational brilliance that gave plumbers and electricians more work, and by having the consumers always in suspense as to what might happen when they turned on a switch or pushed a button.  And we had loads of fun too.  I’ll never forget the time when one of the building’s architects was rung up by his wife at lunchtime and no sooner did he pick up the receiver, a stream of water gushed out into his ear.  The three of us laughed our asses off, but Bill Purdy -ah that was his name- was fit to be tied.  Curly had done some experimenting that morning with phone wires by connecting a wall switchboard box with the a copper pipe that was connected to a tee-shaped elbow.  Curly was a card and though he was my brother and I loved the guy I often had to straighten him out by turning his nose with a pipe wrench or by lovingly banging the back of his head with the blunt side of a claw hammer.  Larry was a good worker, but he was a simpleton who needed to get disciplined now and then.  Usually I’d grab hold of his head and rip out a few hairs or sear his arm with the molten lead that we used to connect cast iron drainage pipes.  I laughingly remember I once used a lock of Larry’s hair after we ran out of oakum.  Ah so you don’t know what oakum is, huh?  It’s a fibrous hair-like hemp product that was used for caulking in wooden vesels dating back to the Victorian period.  Heck, that guy Charley Dickens wrote about oakum in Oliver Twist when he described what the orphaned extraction for use in navy ships for the British fleet.  (more…)

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