The Adventures and Misadventures of a Neer Do Well Artist Living in Baltimore.

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Location: Baltimore, Maryland, United States

I am a visual artist and writer living in Baltimore. I don't have any artist friends. Frankly, artists scare me, there so darn flaky. The above picture is either of me or proof that I'm a pretty decent artist. My goal is to be a self sufficient artist, whereas I wouldn't have to do something else in the day in order to eke out an existence. I also like to attend various cultural events around town. I go to plays, the symphony, etc. Also, I have Asperger's Syndrome. I found this out recently and it has explained a heck of a lot as to why I am as I am.

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Wednesday, May 19, 2004

Yesterday, I learned of the death of Tony Randall. I liked him most when he appeared on talk shows. He was kind of a TV talk show whore. If you had a TV talk show and couldn’t get Tony Randall as a last minute guest then in my opinion your show was doomed. Most of all I loved his appearances on >Late Night With David Letterman. Last night Dave did a small memorial to Randall. He showed montages of Randall’s various appearances on his show. It was a very small gesture. I wish Dave had done more to memorialize Tony Randall. The guy was on his show a zillion times!!!

I myself, have an actual real life Tony Randall memory. When I was in the third grade at Eutaw Marshburn Elementary School circa 1978 we went on a school trip to the Baltimore City Fair. My teacher at the time was Ms. Turnblazer. I remember this trip vividly because on the bus Ms. Turnblazer revealed that her first name was Sharon. The class was shocked because we also had a classmate named Sharon. What I remember about Sharon, my classmate, was that she was skinny felt she was fat and was obsessed with dieting. I suppose that if she felt this way at eight she’s probably anorexic today. Anyway back to Sharon , my 3rd grade teacher. I was shocked I had no idea that teachers had first names. I thought they were all born with the first name of Ms.

I have to say Sharon Turnblazer was and is among my all time favorite teachers. She was very vibrant, wild, and out there. I don’t think a day went by when she didn’t do or say something shocking. I would say at the time she was probably in her early to mid twenties. I also found it shocking and ground breaking that when she would take our candy she would munch on it all day. We couldn’t get it back because we weren’t supposed to bring it to school in the first place. I said to myself if I were a teacher I would eat candy all day just like Ms. Turnblazer! Teaching is a perfect racket if you're a sugar junkie. Another interesting thing about her was that she had pet hamsters in the back of the classroom. I remember one of them was named Sabrina. Oddly, enough we also had a classmate who was named Zabrina Williams. Zabrina pronounced her named Sabrina. I don’t remember if the hamster was named after her or if it was already named Sabrina. At the time I had never seen hamsters before. I thought they were rats. Gradually, I got used to them and wanted hamsters of my very own. This wish would not be fulfilled until years later when I moved out of my parents house.

I often wonder, what ever happened to Ms. Turnblazer? I guess she probably got married, changed her last name, and got out of teaching. Who knows maybe she’s locked away in a mental hospital or had a sex change operation, or maybe even abducted by aliens. I have to tell you I can’t think of a celebrity she most resembled. It’s been ages since I’ve seen her. What I remember of her is in bits and pieces. I remember she was full figured had curly brown or was it red hair and maybe wore glasses?

Back to my Tony Randall real life memory....When we arrived at the City Fair we all kind of explored around checking out exhibits. As I recall all the rides were not operational just yet. We’d arrived early in the morning I’d say about 9-10am. So we all kind of wandered aimlessly around seeing all that we could see of the inner harbor. Then we all found ourselves at the inner harbor amphitheater. Outside, was Tony Randall performing live. It was kind of sad because the majority of his audience were senior citizens and elementary school students who were kind of aimlessly milling about. I’d say that the majority of the elementary students probably had no idea what the hell he was talking, but who like me I’m sure were thinking, “Hey, that’s Felix Unger! What’s he doing down here?” As I vaguely recall his comedy routine wasn’t funny to me, a very sophisticated eight year. I’m sure that I probably still would not have found it funny. I was the type of third grader who stayed up late to watch >Johnny Carson and Saturday Night Live. My favorite stand up comedians at the time were Richard Pryor and David Brenner. So I’d say I wasn’t the average eight year old. I remember I lingered a bit then walked on feeling bad that Tony Randall had sunk so low. He was performing before third graders. And that, ladies and gentlemen is my Tony Randall memory.

link | posted by gail at 11:32 PM |


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