Recap – Gallagher at The Gothic Theater Denver, Colorado

Last night I went to see Gallagher at the Gothic Theater here in Denver Colorado. I’ll admit, last night, I was worried. You see, I had posted on Facebook that I was finally getting to see him. And I had some friends trying to talk me out of going based on what they had heard.

(Looks like I missed Joan Osborne too.)

The first time I heard about Gallagher, I was around age 10. A 4thish grader in California, I knew about him because my parents had gone to one of his shows in San Jose, CA. Much to my surprise, we saw that same show on cable, more commonly known as “Gallagher The Bookkeeper.” I got hooked.


I loved the way he played with words and the English language. The fruit smashing, with some witty commentary about how unwitty society could be, was also hilarious. Heck I learned a lot. “Stuck in the Sixties” taught me about the environment and “The Maddest” taught me about how silly life is. I ended up seeing about ten of his specials. By the time I was an adult and well into my own little hippie movement, I saw him on “We Need a Hero”. He had shaved his hair bald, just gone through a divorce, and his hippieishness came across to me as hateful towards women. I didn’t think about him much anymore after that. Over the course of another decade, from my mid-20s on, I’d read about a performance he’d do in Aurora, IL but conflicting desires and a bare bank account put me in the “I’d like to pay my respects but… nah.”

I finally decided this month to see him. Out of curiosity, out of nostalgia and out of respect, just as my favorite baseball players growing up became tarnished from steroids, I found in my later years I can still appreciate the enjoyment they gave me… even if it was an illusion.

Looked like no one was there in line, an ominous start.

Looked like nothing was on stage besides a King Soopers run with an extra helping of Glad trash bags and an odd, out of place, pot of flowers. Where were all his inventions and props? No mechanical baby or rainbow blimp? No giant couch?

And I’d heard stories that he wasn’t all that funny or all that nice anymore.



Is this still the same guy? Is he just faking it? Just hanging around before the performance because he has nothing to do besides pimp his old act?

There are some moments in life you never expect growing up. I never expected that, shortly after the above picture, I would leave my seat to get a pre-show drink, and there, across the bar, was Gallagher munching on some fruit. I’ll admit I was tempted to talk to him, to buy him a drink too. But it was within half an hour of him going on, and after about a half an hour of him taking pictures with fans, I didn’t want to disturb him. Still, I felt disturbed. Eerie. Of all the things I was expecting for tonight, I wasn’t expecting that! Dumbfounded, at a loss for thought and words, I went back to my seat.

I sat in the fifth row, the four front rows covered in plastic. Figured I was safe. Next to me were two teenagers who hadn’t heard of him and just came to “do something tonight”. “What’s he like?” Droid + YouTube Clip = Quick Gallagher Education. I also warned them I’d heard he became hateful, spiteful and not all that funny.

The theater filled up (though not sold out). People all around me, and two to three rows behind me came in wearing plastic. I still had on my work clothes.

Oh well, maybe I’ll get lucky.

And sure enough, I did.

Gallagher was fan-fucking-tastic.

All the jokes seemed fresh, had that same sly silly wit I remembered from when I was younger. Yeah, some things might be a bit touchy, but nowhere near the level of South Park or George Carlin (two other favorite comedy past-times of mine). And I found I didn’t care that he wasn’t swearing every third word like most “modern’ comedy. I didn’t care that his hair was gray and I stopped worrying about whether he would glare or grumble or spout out insults like I was afraid he might. I had fun, and by the end of the night, I didn’t want it to end. Neither did the teenagers next to me, rolling with laughter between ducks behind their plastic. Oh yeah, I got messed up good. So good, in fact, that a helping of Gallagher’s Smash-o-Matic smudged up my camera despite my best efforts.


I felt bad that I wasn’t sure if I wanted to take a picture with him. I felt bad I hadn’t offered a drink. I looked at the clock and realized he had been on stage for two and a half hours, much longer than most comics. That he’d let others on stage to take part in smashing stuff. And I loved the way the stage looked afterwards, _real_, silly fun, with that odd, out of place flowerpot still there serenely as an encore.


I felt that, yes, Gallagher had taught me something new once again.


For Matt – Poem

 For Matt


Jet black hair floats past his shoulders…

A glare? A stare? A smirk?

The evil eye at work.

His head twists down the corridor

Plated boots scrape the stony floor…

As he stomps down the catacombs

Eager to explore, to learn, to plunder

The secrets of the world.


Gold, he seeks ye not.

A magic sword, fun but often forgot.

A title, a fief, a lure of fame?

Nay, the red-haired lass on his arm

Is the focus of the game.

As he stomps down his catacombs

Eager to explore, to learn, to share

The love of the girl.

You Are In A Box




You Are In A Box.

A Smaller, Smaller box.

With Polka dots and wavy lines.

A smaller smaller box.



You’re in a box

A smaller smaller box.

Wit polka dot an wavy line

Smaller smalle box.



U in da box

Small small box.

Polka dot n wav line

Small smal bx.



U in []

smal sma []

Poka o & /\ –

sma sm []


U []


o ~

Global Warming is Proof that God Exists – Comedy


I thought when I was making you in my own Image that things would turn out differently. Sure, I gave you intelligence and free will, but you sure have a bad habit of using too much of the latter without enough of the former. What do I have to do to prove that I exist? You’d think the genetic memory which instills a loathing for locusts, floods and other “Acts of God” would remind you I’m around more than an exclusion clause in your life insurance policies. Yet no, you get lost in the nitty gritty. Spend an endless amount of time debating creation versus evolution, using energy by the gigawatt to burn out a planet I made for you. Spend more time finding reasons to hate each other than to find some common ground to at least tolerate each other. Oh sure, once you figured out that the radiation from nuclear weapons were something that could bug the crap out of you long after you forgot what you were fighting about in one of your little “World wars” ended, you showed at least a little restraint in the future on the physical violence side. Now you just limit yourself to suicide bombers and peacekeeper initiatives just to add a few unexploded cluster munitions and shrapnel into the mess you’ve made of my dirt. You know, when I made dirt, I made it so you that things could be planted, would become fruitful, and multiply. Not to hide claymores and bones… but no, that’ll always be someone other child’s problem to worry about, right? Meanwhile, I try to keep at least a few problems off your plate. No major asteroids have slammed into your cities and/or stone-aged your planet. No supervirus has wiped the lot of you, yet. Even when I do overtly nice things like preventing anything really, truly bad from happening during your little Y2K hysteria, I get dismissed. Well, no longer. Stop believing that I, in whatever form or fashion you want to call me, be it Allah or Jehovah or God or the Is or natural selection doesn’t exist. The end game is still the same. You people are doing things that you shouldn’t be doing and you should know better. You’re goofing up your planet and each other and if your landfills and landmines don’t convince you, my anger will suffice. I’ll make your seas boil and your skys fall a bit and maybe, finally the whole lot of you scientists and deists will see eye-to-eye.

So, take heed, I do exist and let global warming prove that I am pissed.


The #Diva – A Raunchy #Poem


The Diva by Richard Bergstrom

Well, she can scream, but I saw her on stage.
She looks too plain to get the frat boy buck
From another diva’s treasury.

So, we service her lips with shiny gunk.
She can net those purple-dyed curls with strings of pearl
And be the diva in ecstasy.

Install a mike and press it at her throat.
But, if we plugged her much lower the sales would soar
At the joy of a diva singing.

Make a bank of lights that highlights her shape
With a pushup bra and revealing tattered shorts
That show a diva made for dreaming.

This girl cooes loudly with her purse high held
And we will make a bundle until her star dies.
Forget that girl, the next one’s in line.

Five #Dumb #Blonde #Jokes


(I say that a lot so far in this blog, don’t I?)

You see, blondeness isn’t just a hair color. It is a state of mind. In fact, it’s a completely different plane of consciousness! With that in mind (or lack of a mind), on to the five jokes!


If you’re blond and you know it, clap your hands!

*forgets how to clap*



 Q: Why do blonds think balls are made out of velcro?

 A: Damn things keep getting stuck between their legs.



 John Travolta was flying a plane with Barack Obama, Brad Pitt and a Boy Scout over West Virgina when an engine fails and the plane starts to lose altitude. Luggage, then seats, then almost everything not tied down get thrown out the sides to try to maintain altitude. The plane is still going down and all that is left is three parachutes. Barack Obama says “My country needs me. Unfortunately, I must survive.” The others agree and Obama takes a parachute and jumps out. Brad Pitt says “You know, I helped in Haiti and Darfur. I donate to charity and adopt children from all over the world. Besides, I’m the smartest blond in America. I must survive.” Brad Pitt then jumps out. John Travolta says, “Kid, I’ve led a full life and yours, yours has just begun. Go on, take the last parachute.” The Boy Scout says, “No it’s ok, there are two chutes left. The smartest blonde in the world just took my Boy Scout backpack.”



Some people are so bright they’re faster than light. Blondes are slower than dark.




If you can

read this

that means that you’ve either

been on the internet long enough to get miffed

 when someone puts black on black on their profile,


you know how bad I am at html

or you have




on your hands.

(But I appreciate the effort)




The Rude Awakening of A #Transformers Fan


I’ll admit I was a Transformers fan growing up. My first Transformer was Sideswipe.

If you don’t recognize him, don’t be surprised because he barely got a cameo in any of the cartoons.

My sister got Mirage.

At the time, a powder blue Transformer was as close to a “girl’s toy” as possible while still being “fair”. Unfairly, Mirage could also disappear (which is another reason you don’t see Mirage much in the series, but the special power sounded cool anyway).
My brother netted the real prize by getting Wheeljack.

Not only was Wheeljack neat in a plasticky-looking kinda way but he actually had some speaking lines in the cartoon series. That made my brother cool.

See, in the mid 1980s in California, how cool you were was judged by your fellow kids in the sandbox by what Transformers you had. For example, there was a brief period of a few months when I was the coolest kid in school because I had Metroplex!

It was a triple changer and had things you could open and put little Transformers in and then you could close those doors and push buttons to shoot things and it was neat and radical and wow it even looked expensive!

Even the friggin’ box looked intimidating!

(Thanks Mom and Dad!)

So I was kicking ass and kissed a girl until someone came up with a big purple dinosaur…

I was no longer cool, I felt old, traumatized to the point that even Barney makes me twitch. But at least Tom Arnold got even for me, at least in spirit.

Sorry, I *twitch* digressed but I had to get that out of my system. *twitch* *twitch* Get some closure. *SLAP*

So where was I? Oh yes, Transformers. I was no longer cool. I had to grow out of them, find other things, so I experimented. Little League baseball? Cool. Playing Dungeons and Dragons with fourth graders who can’t subtract a d20 from a save roll? Not cool. Thus I learn. I got tired of Headmasters and Powermasters and other ideas that somehow made the Transformers not like Transformers. I hear Beast Wars is/was great, but I never tried it (and by then, I was deep into Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure and Night Court anyway).

Then you become an adult. Then you become nostalgic. And then, apparently, everything gets rebooted. I’d like to thank Michael Bay for bringing Transformers back then kick him in the ass for not coming up with a better story than in one of the old 1980’s cartoons. You get some points for some cool special effects and for…

But it still ain’t as good as, didn’t break me up, bring me to tears like…

My favorite Autobot, yeah a cartoon, but someone I looked up to and learned from and wanted to be like… all cracked and faded to gray.

Besides, back in the 1980s, we didn’t think Optimus was coming back. Things that died tend to, you know, stay dead. But Mr. Bay couldn’t even hold that plot line for two hours.

Every so often, I catch a glimpse of some new Transformers cartoon all anime-style with none of the cool anime flair and all of the Pokemon wide-eye-to-pinch-eye look. T’aint my thing. Besides, I did my part. I raised my niece and later my daughter on the original cartoons and the original cartoon movie, the drama of seeing the characters I’d grown up with die in the first ten minutes and when little Daniel grew up and swore..


Crazy world. Tough to sort out. Way too many changes and it’s hard to be as young as I used to be. And yes, even now, Optimus Prime can come back from the dead. Still, I think Optimus Prime would have troubles adjusting too..

“I’m feeling much better now.” – John Astin, “Night Court”

Michael Bay, you ran the Transformers franchise into the ground. You can stay and guard the base!

Beetlejuice The Sequel?



Seth Grahame-Smith: So, what do you think of the outline I’ve worked up for the Beetlejuice sequel?

David Katzenberg: I like it! Even went into what the actual spelling of his name means. It’s going to be great bringing him back.

Grahame-Smith: Even twenty years later, people still want to see him.

Katzenberg: I’m glad you didn’t write Beetlejuice as a standard reboot Freddy Kreuger reboot. We’ve got to make him fresh, bring him up to the times.

Grahame-Smith: Yeah I know. I think we can do more things with him today than Tim Burton did back then.

Katzenberg: Exactly. You just can’t make Beetlejuice as a PG movie these days.

Grahame-Smith: Burton took that campy Batman TV series from the 70s and at least rebooted it with Michael Keaton so it worked, then after Burton got bored and Joel Schumaker punted it, Christopher Nolan took it darker. So I did the same thing with our Betelgeuse. I used some of Michael McDowell’s dark ideas from the original script.

Katzenberg: Trying to rape Lydia might be too much to actually show but we can hint at it. He can try to kill the Deetzes though. Really shock the audience and get them jumping out of their seats.

Grahame-Smith: Yeah, too bad we can’t do the winged demon thing.

Katzenberg: If Schumaker can give the Batsuit nipples…

Grahame-Smith: A shame, I liked Burton and Keaton’s Batman more. Unfortunately, Keaton was so iconic that we also have to keep the same kind of look that Beetlejuice…


Betelgeuse: It’s showtime!

Katzenberg: Holy shit Grahame!

Grahame-Smith: Um… oops?

Betelgeuse: Pardon me, did you do that?

Katzenberg: I can’t fucking believe that Betel…

Betelgeuse: Ah! Oooh ooh ah. No one says the B word.

Grahame-Smith: Not a winged demon. Without the striped suit and frazzled hair, you look like a regular guy to me.

Betelgeuse: I’m the ghost with the most, babe.

Katzenberg: Well, we don’t quite get it.

Grahame-Smith: His head isn’t even smaller.

Betelgeuse: Wait. I gotta card around here. Somewhere. Here. Here. Who do I have to kill? Here, hold that for me will ya?

Grahame-Smith: A rubber rat?

Katzenberg: You know, maybe this is a bad idea after all.

Betelguise: Oh I know what you’re asking me. Can I be scary? What do you tnink of this?

*synthetic crab claws pop out of Betelguise’s face and wiggle around*

Betelgeuse: You like it?

Grahame-Smith: Like it enough to get writer’s block.

Betelgeuse: Ah. Well… I attended Juilliard… I’m a graduate of the Harvard business school. I travel quite extensively. I lived through the Black Plague and had a pretty good time during that. I’ve seen the EXORCIST ABOUT A HUNDRED AND SIXTY-SEVEN TIMES, AND IT KEEPS GETTING…


Grahame-Smith: You knocked him out cold.

Katzenberg: I hated that reboot.

Grahame-Smith: So…

Katzenberg: So… Betelgeuse.

Betelgeuse: *mutters from the floor* That is why I don’t do two shows a night anymore. I won’t.

Katzenberg: Betelgeuse.

Betelgeuse: Good thing, too. I gotta do a photo shoot for GQ in…

Katzenberg: Betelgeuse!


Katzenberg: Now about that outline…

Grahame-Smith: Yep. I’ll call Burton and sell it to him now.

Katzenberg: Good, this time he can reboot his own damn ghost and we can add in the raping and killing later.




For reference, check out )

The Special Brand – Story


The “Special” Brand by Richard Bergstrom

Mike was a bramble patch of maladies.  Yes, it was hard for a guy to make a living when he was capable of two things: paranoia, and self-diagnosis.  You name it, he thought he had it, and he’d try to prove it.  My doctors, for example, would do a blood test to discover if I was anemic.  Well, Mike liked skipping the middle man and would gorge himself on every form of pasta, rice, soybeans and chickpeas there are.  Then, to prove the hefty requirements of his disability, he would give very public, regurgitating demonstrations of the amount of iron he must consume.  Sorting threw the spew on his plate, if not the table, he would identify the various minerals in his vomit by their coloration.  Of course, he’d then claim to be bulimic.

I actually got to know him from my high school English class a few years ago.  He was a pale kid, with tawny hair and a wrenched posture in his seat.  Mr. Janson gave Mike the “special” brand, while I thought he was just a perpetual snoozer.  During a supposedly provocative lecture on “Great Expectations”, Mike, in mid-snore, slumped sideways out of his chair, went to the floor duck-tuck-and roll style, then rose to his feet and walked to the front of the room.  He hoisted his bottom onto the teacher’s desk, dangled his Keds sneakers off the desk and laid down.  Two more momentous things happened that day.  The teacher stopped speaking, and Mike asked for a copy of the Sunday funnies.  Apparently, he couldn’t sleep and needed something to tire him out.

Mike and I became fast friends.  His arthritis would kick in and almost on cue, I’d happily volunteer to escort him out of class to the nurse’s office.  On the way down the hall, he would start to curse.  Every single fuck, suck, and shucks in the book would stream out of his squeaky throat, and reverberate off the lockers.  Now, a bad friend might have called for help from another teacher, or hurried Mike down to the guidance counselor.  But no, not me.  Heck, when word gets out a kid has multiple personalities that vary from drunk redneck to catatonic, well, that can hurt a developing boy’s reputation.  So, in the interests of privacy, I’d lead him out the front door, and to the school’s baseball diamond.  He would follow me easily enough with a Frisbee in one palm, and his right elbow cradled in the other hand.

I never got worried.  After all, I’d never seen him be violent.  He wasn’t even really disruptive.  He was just, as the teachers would say, “different”.  And, those teachers would go out of their way to accommodate him.  I also got a few brownie points along the way, for being a friend to such a “troubled child”.  In an age where friendships broke up over a difference in girlfriends, cars, or opinions, he was relatively low maintenance with a lot of side perks in an Elephant Man Keeper kind of way.  Almost like watching a series of cartoon car crashes, he was the life of any party.  A portable Ripley’s Believe It or Not of combined prognoses, psychoses and pathologies.  In a word, he was fun.