TWO FUNNY PHILLY GUYS with the hilarious Joe Conklin & BigDaddy Graham ~ Sea Isle's LaCosta on Friday night, August 3rd. Click here for tickets!
BIG DADDY'S CLASSIC ROCK THROWDOWN
If you are a music lover and you haven't been listening to BIG DADDY'S CLASSIC ROCK THROWDOWN with Spins Nitely, then check it out!
Every THURSDAY at 8 PM. Listen live athttp://wildfireradio.com/big-daddy-graham. By the way, all you have to do is click on that wildfire blue line and the most current show will AUTOMATICALLY begin to play, Just give it a moment
This week on BIG DADDY'S CLASSIC ROCK THROWDOWN?
10 favorite songs by artists who've been to jail!
Don’t forget last week’s BDGs 10 fav Big Band tunes! (PART 2) Don’t miss!
TRIVIA AND QUIZZO...
MONDAY ~ Pour House in Sea Isle at 9:15 PM
TUESDAY ~ PJ Whelihans in Maple Shade NJ at 7 PM
WEDNESDAY ~ Crest Tavern in Wildwood Crest NJ at 9 PM
My daughter Ava is running a Quizzo nite every Monday night at the NORTH QUARTER CREOLE in Wilminton DE starting at 7pm. Then it’s CHICKIE & PETE'S in Drexel Hill every Tuesday at 7 PM! Plus every Wednesday night at 8PM at PJ WHELIHANS in Haddonfield. Don't forget Thursday night at 7pm at CHICKIE & PETE'S in South Philly!That's a busy schedule!
Big Daddy Graham-Marc Farzetta & Joe Conklin taking a stab at Sinatra's "Summer Wind!" Click Here
BIG DADDY'S LOOKING FOR THE TWENTY BEST ONE HIT WONDERS
Ok, the nominations are in. Please vote for your favorite five, but they must be from the nominated songs. Remember, this is just for fun, but any song that you bring up that's not on the list here, it won't count as a vote. You folks helped pick these nominated songs anyway. Send your picks to bigdaddy295@aol by Thursday, June 21 by 5pm.
IN ALPHABETICAL ORDER (Please don't ignore those 3 words!)
THE BOY FROM NEW YORK CITY...
BECAUSE I GOT HIGH...
AFROMAN (Bill Matz pick)
LOU BEGA (Bill Matz pick)
JUST A FRIEND...
BIZ MARKIE (Vince Quinn pick)
THE WORST THAT COULD HAPPEN...
JOHNNY MAESTRO & BROOKLYN BRIDGE
TIME HAS COME TODAY...
CHUMBAWAMBA (Vince Quinn pick)
SWEET SOUL MUSIC...
DO YOU LOVE ME...
GROOVE IS IN THE HEART...
COME ON EILEEN...
DEXY'S MIDNIGHT RUNNERS
KUNG FU FIGHTING...
FRIDAY ON MY MIND...
FOUNTAINS OF WAYNE (Mike Angelina's pick)
ALL RIGHT NOW...
SPIRIT IN THE SKY...
SALLY SAYIN’ SOMETHIN’
OH BABE WHAT WOULD YOU SAY...
IDES OF MARCH
IN A MOMENT...
WALKING ON SUNSHINE...
KATRINA & THE WAVES
CULT OF PERSONALITY...
LIVING COLOR (Bill Matz pick)
EVE OF DESTRUCTION...
I’LL MELT WITH YOU...
IN THE SUMMERTIME...
LOVE IS BLUE...
99 LUFT BALLOONS...
YOU GET WHAT YOU GIVE...
OMC (Vince Quinn pick)
TIME WON’T LET ME...
ME & MRS. JONES...
BAND OF GOLD...
STANDING OUTSIDE A BROKEN PHONE BOOTH WITH MONEY IN MY HANDS...
Hey! If you need any mortgage work done whatsoever get hold of my main man Ken Miller at 856-830-1131 or 609-238-3293 firstname.lastname@example.org NMLS #152270
RAVINGS FROM A MAN WHO NEVER SLEEPS... 5/27
Here’s my latest article from Sea Isle Times..
MY TEN FAVORITE THINGS ABOUT THE SEA ISLE 2018 EDITION
This is my fifth such list which for this paper, which means that there are now fifty separate cool things about Sea Isle that I love. You would think that it would be difficult to keep this list fresh, but the truth is, it’s not. The older I get, my affection for this island grows deeper. So here it is. The latest ten additions. Or nine as you shall see. To see the other cool forty, go to bigdaddygraham.com
10 ACCIDENTALLY CRASHING PARTIES You’ll be walking down a street on your way to a club with a friend. You’ll pass a killer, huge, jammin’ party that’s overflowing out into the driveway. As you walk by, someone recognizes you.
“Karen! What up? Get over here!”
And now you’re in. Granted, it’s not an engraved invite, but now you have every right to be munching on their chips and filling your Red Solo Cup with a beer. The party is one of the best of the summer. Within ten minutes, your friend disappears and the next thing you know you’ve been at the party of the season for hours. And you know absolutely nobody. Believe it or not, I know a woman who met her husband of twenty-two years in this exact way.
9 GOLF CARTS I never hit the links and I swear when I first saw these carts start popping up, I thought to myself “does Sea Isle have a gold course now?!” So this year I vow to play the Pirate Island Miniature Golf Course using my neighbor’s cart. Just try to stop me!
8 DUDES SITTING ON THEIR DECK PLAYING AN ACOUSTIC GUITAR
And they’re always playing James Taylor, Neil Young, or Cat Stevens.
7 FLOODED STREETS Now look, if the water has a habit of getting into your first floor, crawl space, or garage, then you will find nothing amusing about this. And I get that. I feel for you, I do. But I can’t tell you how many videos have been sent my way of cars floating down Landis or Central Avenues. All of a sudden we all become Sue Serio sending weather reports to all of our friends and relatives back in the states. “You can’t believe how deep it is!” “I just saw somebody kayaking past the Ocean Drive!” “Stay away from Landis Avenue!” I’ll get these videos even though I’m making an appearance in Bucks County more than two hours away. It’s like they want me to drive down immediately just so they can yell “I told you so!” as your car floats down Central and into the bay. I swear I once saw a fin coming right at me while I was crossing Landis down around 35th St.
6 THE DEAUVILLE Technically not in SIC, but one of our jitney’s will take you there and it’s about time it got mentioned in one of my articles. It’s a classics. And I get an opportunity to give a shout out to Lynda Brown who passed away this off-season. She ran the Deauville for years and was a very nice woman.
5 THE FINE FOLKS WHO LIVE “SOMEWHERE OUT ON ROUTE 9”
When I perform in Sea Isle, I do a little riff on “somewhere out on Route 9.” If you don’t live on the island and you’re not from Dennis Townshop, then I just assume you’re from “somewhere out on Route 9.” Now here me out on this. I get a little tired of people who act like the folks who live out there have no right to invade the island. They’re always complaining about the traffic they cause after the fireworks or something lame like that. That’s just wrong. The more the merrier. Seriously, would you rather enter a packed club or restaurant or a half empty one? And it’s the many folks who drive in from “somewhere out on Route 9” that add to the party. Years ago, I had many friends who owned trailers out at Seaville shores. Most of them were West Catholic grads, and summer-wise, raised their kids out there. Great times they were and now two of my best friends just bought a home out at Osprey Cove and I’m excited about it because it means I am going to see them a lot.
4 O’DONNELLS POTATO SOUP Look, I need your help with this. Their potato soup is awesome, but it’s not available every day. So I need every potato soup lovin’ fool on the island to bombard the Pour House with phone calls, tweets, emails, and smoke signals to we get this item on the menu everyday. Start now!
3 THE LOBSTER LOFT LOBSTER One of my favorite sights in the world is that giant lobster that comes into view when you drive over the bridge and down on to the island. But the lobster is leaving us. Jimmy Bennett is rebooting the Loft and he has started a letter writing campaign searching for suggestions over what to do with out giant-clawed friend. If you have an idea, send your suggestion to
The LaCosta Lounge 4000 Landis Ave Sea Isle City NJ 08243
So here’s the letter I sent.
“Dear Mr. Bennett, I will donate 2 billion dollars to the charity of your choice for Mr. Lobster. I am then going to enlist the services of The Night King” from “Game of Thrones” and have that lobster brought back to life. Then he will patrol the Promenade and pluck any jackass riding a bike while texting and heave that knucklehead into the sea. In all seriousness, let’s keep that lobster on this island!
.2 THURSDAY AND SUNDAY NIGHTS Is there a better feeling in the world than when you make that last minute decision to turn a regular weekend into a three day extravaganza? You’ll be in work on Thursday afternoon and get a phone call from a friend. “I just took Friday off. Let’s go down tonight.” “I can’t. I have an extremely important meeting tomorrow that I just can’t miss.” “Oh really, I just found out the 58th St. girls are throwing a party.” “Really? What time can you pick me up?” Or you’ll be on the beach on Sunday afternoon.
“You know it’s supposed to be this nice tomorrow. Let’s take Monday off.” “I can’t. I have an extremely important meeting tomorrow that I just can’t miss.” “Go Go Gadget’s playing tonight.” “Well, actually, I do feel a 24 hour flu coming on.”
1 CHICKS, CHICKS, AND MORE CHICKS Yeah, I’m aware of the justified #metoo movement, but this will always stay #1 for this red-blooded American male. Here’s my latest article from 7 Mile Times..
THE FIRST TIME
There is a documentary currently running on HBO titled “Elvis Presley, The Searcher.” There’s not much about The King that I don’t know by now and although there’s really nothing new story-wise here, it does include photographs and live footage that I don’t recall having ever seen before. It also contains brilliant commentary from the late Tom Petty who recorded his narration parts just seven months before he died, including this gem.
“Imagine what it must have been like to have seen Elvis Presley for the first time with no warning.”
You would have had to be living in the Memphis area around 1953 for that to be the case. It was in his junior year in high school that he restyles his hair, grew sideburns, and started wearing those flashy clothes. He was startling in his appearance alone before he opened up his mouth to sing and once he did that he became the most unique kid in Memphis and soon the planet. So what Petty means is what it must have been like to have seen Elvis performing at a fair or high school and you had never seen a photo of him or heard him before. It had to be the ultimate in a “what the %$&* is that?!” moment.” One that very few people on Earth got the chance to experience. So imagine, just for a moment, what it must have been like to have seen the ocean for the first time. With no warning. Here you are, some cavewoman minding her own business, looking for a bite to eat or a rock to throw at your husband’s head, when you start to hear this faint roar, you walk over some sand, and the next thing you know you’re exclaiming “what the %$&* is that?!” The first time I remember seeing the ocean was when I was six years old. A friend of mine’s Mother had a friend she worked with who had a place in Avalon for a week. Seriously, that’s how it went down. It was on 11th St. and we didn’t get down till dusk, but the first thing me and my buddies did was beg our Moms to let us run down and see the ocean. An older sister accompanied us and I can still remember how awed I was by the sheer size of it. That, more than anything else about it, blew me away. But I at least had a “warning” because I had photos of it in dentist and doctor offices and had also seen the ocean on TV. Which is a lot different than if you had never had any visual whatsoever of the Big Blue. Over the years, I have entertained guests at my shore house from all around the country. Many of whom had never seen an ocean “in person” in their lives. And you know what most of them do? They drive as close as they can get to the ocean, get out of their cars, and check it out before they come to my pad. There are two reasons for this. One is that they don’t want to appear rude by running out of your house the second they arrive, and two, they can’t wait another second to see it. It’s that amazing. So you are going to flip out when I reveal to you what floored me the first time I saw it because I had never seen one before, hence had “no warning.” In fact, you may even find it pathetic. A miniature golf course. That’s right, a miniature golf course. Bear with me here. I had seen golf on television. I had seen plenty of photos of golf in various sports magazines. My love for magazines, which I still possess, starts when I’m very young at Nurthern’s Barber Shop. (Where Old Man Nurthern used to hold a mirror to the back of my head and ask me “how’s that look?” I would always reply “terrific!” like I had any notion of what the back of my head was supposed to look like.) To tell you the truth, at the age of eight, I had never even seen a “real” golf course. I had seen football fields, basketball courts, and baseball diamonds in the flesh by that age. But I didn’t even realize miniature golf existed! There wasn’t a course in Southwest Philly. I had never seen it on television or at the movies. There were never any photos of miniature golf in sports magazine or in the sports section of any newspaper. So here it was 645PM on a Tuesday evening. Beach time was over. So were the barbequed burgers and dogs. It’s that moment that all parents dread. You have to do something with the kids who are stir crazy down the shore and it’s not bedtime yet. What’s a Mother to do? You can’t handcuff them and lock ‘em up in a bedroom. (Although my older sister tried that once.) So when Aunt Helen suggested miniature golf we all screamed out “yes!” without having any idea what it was. All we heard was the word “golf” and that was enough for us. We were actually going to participate in something that our Dads played. But wait. It gets better. When we get there we discover that we’re actually going to use a putter just like we had seen in “grownup” golf. That’s cool. But even more exciting was the fact that this golf course had windmills and moats amongst other cool stuff. If you shot the ball in the clown’s mouth on Hole 18, you actually won another round. On them! So while I give you this miniature golf moment doesn’t actually rank with viewing Michael Jackson performing the “moonwalk” dance steps for the first time, it was exciting to this eight year old. I want the red ball!
RAVINGS FROM A MAN WHO NEVER SLEEPS... 5/16
GE & AP
For years, I have been telling you that I literally grew up next to a giant GE factory that 8000 men worked in at one time. Well, thanks to a listener by the name of Chris Romolini, you can now actually see it . This is a scene form a Sidney Poitier movie called THE LOST MAN. (Me and my buddy Rick actually watched the filming one morning).
To the left you can see the sign for the A&P Supermarket where I used to carry home groceries for older women who would actually let me carry their bags into their homes! That would never happen today. While I did build up a steady clientele of ladies who now knew me and trusted me, the fact is I stepped into many a kitchen as a total stranger. They would tip me anywhere from a nickel to fifty cents.
Across the street you can see a blue Bulletin newstand where I sold newspapers to the workers on Saturdays. My main stand was up the hill at 70th St where I worked the other five days, but you can't see that newsstand here.
The house I grew up in is amongst those cluster of rowhomes that you can see in the upper middle to the right corner. Where the police car makes the U-turn is about two and a half blocks from where Rhea Hughes grew up. (Years after me, Rhea is much younger!)
The Internet is amazing, eh?
RAVINGS FROM A MAN WHO NEVER SLEEPS... 5/11
Here’s my latest article from South Jersey Mag...
MY FAVORITE TV MOMS
The month of May holds what I consider to be the single most important holiday of the year. Mother’s Day. You can forget to celebrate Flag Day and live to get away with it. There are Halloweens Year’s Eve and many stay home. But Mother’s Day? Seriously, where would we be without Mom? (I know, not even born) Who changed your diapers? Mom. Who did you crawl into bed with when you had an earache? Mom, that’s who. Who cried out the very first curse word you ever heard when some idiot cut her off on Rt. 55 on the way to your basketball game? That’s right, Mom! In the past I have written many articles about my Mom. I’ve written about my wife in her role as a Mother. And now thanks to my daughter Keely having twins, I have a Mother-In-Law who is now a “great” grandmom. I have a wife who is now a grandmother. (But God forbid, don’t refer to her as “Grandmom” unless you wanna take your life in your hands. She’s “Lolly.”) And now I have a daughter who’s a Mother. Crazy! I thought about saluting my favorite Movie Moms but then it dawned on me that I should salute TV Moms instead because when you’re growing up, you can actually watch the TV Mom in your house along with your Mom. That’s High-Def. Here are a few of my favorites.
JUNE CLEAVER She was the Mother on “Leave It To Beaver” and that’s where all the confusion begins for me. She was called “Mom” on the show, but neither her, nor the house she kept, looked remotely like mine. Or anyone I knew. In fact, growing up in Philly, the Cleaver house and world was what I hysterically imagined South Jersey to look like. But June? She never came running at you all ticked off with a spatula. She barely ever even raised her voice. You never heard her curse out her husband Ward. Geez. I thought my Dad’s name was a word I can’t print here because that’s all I ever heard my Mother call him. The clothes June Cleaver wore to clean the bathroom in looked like dresses my Mom would wear to a wedding. What’s really weird is when Monty Python dressed up as housewives, they wore the exact kind of house dress and apron that all the Mothers I knew wore. And they were men!
MORTICIA ADDAMS AND SAMANTHA STEPHENS Witches! At least I didn’t have to worry about how my Mom stacked up against them. While my Mom could have her tough side, she definitely wasn’t a witch. But I can still hear my Mom, who spent her life washing, ironing, folding clothes, watching “Bewitched” and exclaiming, “What I wouldn’t do for that nose.” I think my wife is still wishing for it. As for Morticia? Let’s just leave it at it “The Addams Family” was the first time I discovered that a Mom could be sexy. Not that I ever thought of my Mom that way, but I’m sure some of you growing up had a good looking Mom or two in your development.
EDITH BUNKER I know this is an obvious choice, but I truly loved her. I didn’t dig her putting up with Archie’s crap, but just the way she would greet people when they entered her home so reminded my of my buddy Rick’s Mom. I used to love going over Rick’s house not just because he was my best friend, but because I knew his Mother would be all over me offering me soda and sandwiches and cookies in a truly happy and jovial way. And here’s something interesting. Edith did dress like the Moms I knew. So much so, that I thought maybe the Pythons patterned their housewives after Edith. But Python airs a couple years before “Family.” However, I remember that “Family” was based on a British TV show called “Till Death Do Us Part” and that without a doubt the Pythons styled their housewives off the “Edith” of that show. I love connecting the dots.
ROSEANNE CONNER Here’s where the wall of TV-style phony Moms truly comes tumbling down. Roseanne could truly get on my last nerve but I fully recognize the courage it took to portray her and all her warts. The days where the bedroom of a TV married couple featured two beds (like “Lucy & Ricky”) because you couldn’t show a married couple sleeping in one bed, were gone forever. Good. That was truly stupid and I would never want to go back to such a time.
SOPHIA PETRILLO Her portrayal of the wise crackin’ Mother of Bea Arthur from “The Golden Girls” makes me laugh to this day. My daughter Keely used to endlessly watch reruns of this show when she was barely ten and whenever Sophia appeared on the screen I would stop whatever I was doing to wait for the joke I heard her deliver countless times. And I would still barrel over. By the way, by now I’m sure your aware that Bea Arthur was actually a year older than Estelle Getty.
ESTELLE COSTANZA Now this is what most Moms and families sounded like in my neighborhood. Always screaming to get a point across. When I first moved to Mullica Hill we lived in a twin and our neighbors, who we shared a wall with, yelled at each other exactly like Estelle and Frank did for hours on end. It was the last time I shared a wall with anybody. Both Estelle Harris and Jerry Stiller are still with us at the age of 90! Maybe you live longer with all that yelling.
DAENERYS TARGARYEN I know, her kids are dragons. But what Mother reading this hasn’t called her kids “little monsters?” And what Mom wouldn’t want a dragon or two to cut down on the heating bill?
So here’s to Alice Kramden, Peg Bundy, Louise Jefferson. Laura Petrie, Carmella Soprano, Debra and Marie Barone, Tami Taylor, Gloria Delgado-Pritchett, Florida Evans, Jane Jetson, Lorelai Gilmore, Skyler White, Marge Simpson, Lily Munster, Betty Rubble and countless others. HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY!!!
RAVINGS FROM A MAN WHO NEVER SLEEPS... 4/15
Here’s my latest article from South Jersey Mag...
WHERE DOES A JOKE COME FROM? (IN HONOR OF APRIL FOOLS DAY)
Where does a joke come from? I’m not talking about a joke of the “three men walk in a bar” variety. I have no idea where those jokes come from. It would take a combination of Sherlock Holmes and a much better writer than me to come up with the origins to such jokes. Very few standups tell those types of jokes today. Somewhere along the way it became uncool to tell “joke-jokes.” But I love them and start off every one of my shows with such a joke as a salute and homage to them. I believe every one of us should have at least one joke-joke at our disposal. But once I get that joke out of the way, I then go into my “material.” And I can tell you where the bulk of those one liners comes from. Simple observation. You’re driving and something comes out of the radio that tickles you. Or a billboard. I might be hanging at a bar and a friend states something in an odd way. I then lay that “thought” into my “BITS” section of my I-Phone. Then before I go on stage, I write down ten of them down on index cards. Not the entire thought, just a key word. Then when I’m fifteen minutes or so into my set and I’m on stage with the crowd cooking, I literally take those cards out of my pocket. I then explain to the audience that they are about to be “Guinea pigs” for material I’ve never done before. Some get a huge laugh and then eventually become part of my show. Others bomb so bad I never try that thought again. Here are ten index cards that are in my pocket right now. “CAN’T TALK!” I love it when you call someone and they scream “I can’t talk right now!” Then why, God forbid, didn’t you let it go straight to voicemail? It’s 7pm and I know you’re not in work.
DRY CLEANERS I’ve been going to dry cleaners for over fifty years. Just once, just one stinkin’ time, I would love to hand the woman my ticket, and have her say, “Oh, here’s your pants right here.” That has never happened to me. Never. The odds are astronomical for that never to have happened just one time. But no, she’ll push that button and the carousel wheel thing will go from here to Kansas and back before my pants will turn up. Please, just one time.
MARIAH CAREY Ever wonder if Mariah Carey could sing in a turtleneck sweater? Madonna is the only woman on earth who has sold more music than Ms. Carey, and I’ve yet to fully hear one note that Mariah has ever sing because . . . .well . . . .let’s just say I’m distracted. Every note of her entire career has been sung with maximum cleavage. I’m certainly not complaining, just wondering.
TRAFFIC LIGHT I have never, in twenty two years of living in Jersey, gotten the light at Rt. 70 & Springdale. No matter what direction I approach that intersection from, I get that light. And I could name many, many other Jersey crossroads. How can this be?!
CABLE BILL Ever wonder if when a woman who lives in the Philippines calls to complain about her cable bill, some dude who lives in Mt. Laurel picks up the phone? “Hey, why you calling me, ya meathead!? I’m in Jersey. I got your cable bill right here!
NEGATIVE ENERGY Everyone is always so quick to jump on your case for using energy in a negative way. “Why you wasting your time getting upset over something that you can’t control?” I’m sure these same people remain perfectly calm when the person in front of them at the bank is trading in thousands of pennies that they have been saving up since the Korean War. So why doesn’t someone invent a car that runs smoother when you’re flipping the bird at a car that won’t get out of the passing lane? How about a vehicle that burns less fuel when you’re cursing out some teenager backing out of a Wawa while they’re texting? A car that encourages you to lose your temper. I’m telling you, I’m on to something.
QUICKSAND When I was a kid, someone in a TV show or movie was always stepping in quicksand where they would sink their way to a slow and bizarre death. Now I can’t tell you the last time I’ve seen a quicksand scene. Same thing with piranha and mountain lions. Geez, I recall that there were sewers where if your wiffle ball rolled down it, that ball was history because the bottom of that sewer was rumored to be teeming with piranha. It’s all gone the way of truth serum. But what do I really miss? Movies with giant Roman boats that were powered by fifty slaves or so rowing at the bottom of the ship. Now imagine this. You’ve committed some crime like shoplifting a piece of bread or maybe you were just born into into the wrong family at the wrong time. “Herb, I know you’ve just turned sixteen, but the best I can offer you is a rowing position on the “Roman Candle.” Granted, that’s all you’re gonna do the rest of your life and it’s a bit smelly, but you will be in the best shape of your life.” Alright, there’s your destiny. No junior Prom. No Netflix. No Panzarotti’s. Just rowing. Every day for the rest of your life. It can’t get much worse than that, right? But wait, it does. Because they’ve neglected to tell you that they’ve hired this drummer from the Vikings Marching Band that you must row in beat to or this huge muscle-bound oaf will whip you. Are you kidding me? Just once I’d like to see one of these slaves go, “you know what, that’s it. I’ve had it. Just kill me now. It’s not like I’ve got the weekend to look forward to.” I’ve always wondered why all these slaves didn’t do that. What would the owners of these ships do? They’d be stuck in the middle of the ocean. These rowers needed better union representation.
MASSIVE As if the words “heart attack” aren’t enough, why must one insist on placing the word massive in front of them? Believe me, if I have two friends of mine die from a heart attack, I’m not going to feel any worse for the friend with the massive attack. And it seems like the work massive only applies to heart attacks. Ever hear anyone complain about a massive splinter?
SPRING WATER I was in a Raymour & Flanagan recently buying a pull out couch. The friendly salesman at one point offered me bottled water, which I graciously accepted. The water bottle said “Raymour & Flanagan on it. Hmmm, I was unaware of the “Raymour” spring in the Alps. Or the “Flanagan” streams in Switzerland. (Which is where I always imagine these streams of water to be)
CAR TOWED It’s amazing how much humor there is out there that you couldn’t make up if you tried. I was recently parking my car when I noticed a sign that said “CARS TOWED AT OWNERS EXPENSE” Like the grubby guy behind the grubby counter when you go to reclaim your car is going to go “Yeah, we got your car, but you know what? You don’t have to pay to get it back. It’s on us.” Thanks a lot, pal.
Any humorous observations you like to share? Send them to bigdaddy295@aol. Happy April Fools Day!
My latest article in the Sea Isle Times...
SINCE WE LAST TALKED
Since we last talked? Well, let’s see. Something that all of you reading this have been waiting for your entire lives finally occurred. THE EAGLES WON THE SUPER BOWL!!! Sea Isle has always been an amazing Philly sports town. I remember the summer the Birds signed Terrell Owens. I strolled into one of Secret Service’s Jam Sessions and they were chanting “T.O. T.O. T.O T.O.” and he had not played a down yet. Imagine how nutty it’s going to be this summer? I can’t wait! And how cool is it that one Jason Kelce is a Sea Isle regular? He’s so insanely popular now, he’ll need a posse of security around him just to a hoagie. But my daughter Ava, who knows him a little bit, swears that’s not his style and imagines he’ll be just as accessible as always. Expect to see a record amount of Eagle beach towels, hats, umbrella’s, etc. this summer. Here’s an idea. I think one of Sea Isle’s bars should have one, and only one, TV that no matter what time of the day or night you go to that club, that TV is showing Super Bowl LII. 24/7. Wouldn’t that be too cool? You would actually bring a friend who maybe hadn’t been down this summer yet to proudly show that TV to them. Let me hear you all the way to Strathmere, E-A-G-L-E-S!
THE WATERMELON HOUSE It was painted pink and turquoise by Sue & Don Dorff in 1984 after their kids picked the colors. It sat on the corner of 35th & Central and was instantly recognized at great distances from sea and air. It was one of the more unique dwellings in Sea Isle history. Although, Don and Sue were not the original owners, the first thing they did when they bought it was paint it those remarkable hues and add the deck you see in the photo here. Every Memorial Day Weekend they would put up this poster. They transformed their garage into the infamous Lemon Lounge that was so popular there were lines to get in on the weekends. Sue had this amazing grill permanently placed in the driveway and often I would walk over there to hear her exclaim, “Oh, you’re just in time for a burger.” (Like that was an accident) Alas, Don and Sue have moved to Florida and this magnificent dwelling was leveled over the winter. It should have received a “national landmark” certificate where it would have been against the law to touch even one of the deck spokes which, (As you can see if you look closely) all had a different color, painted lovingly by their daughter Keiley. The house may have been demolished, but you can’t erase the memories of all the fantastic times I had at that house. Good luck Don and Sue. I hope there are no beach tags in Florida.
GOVENOR CHRISTIE LEAVES OFFICE First he ordered us off the beach. Then he sits on a beach that supposedly was closed. (Does a North Jersey beach qualify as a “real beach?”) Now I’m not overtly political, so I’m going to leave my judgments of his work to myself, but I will say this. Somewhere in North Jersey this summer, there’s going to be a beach with less room on it when he plops his heavily fortified beach chair on it. I know. A fat joke. I couldn’t resist.
TOM PETTY Many awesome musicians passed since last summer ended. Fats Domino, Malcolm Young (of AC/DC), David Cassidy (My wife had a huge crush on him back in the day), Robert Knight (of “Everlasting Love” fame,) but none will have the effect on Sea Isle’s legendary music scene that the death of Tom Petty will have. While many bands perform AC/DC’s “You Shook Me All Night Long,” there is not a band, or a solo artist accompanied with just an acoustic guitar, who doesn’t perform “Free Fallin’” or “American Girl” or “I Won’t Back Down” to name just a few of the incredible suitcase of songs that Tom Petty left us. “He wrote songs that only did everyone know the words to, but he wrote them in keys that made them comfortable for everyone to sing. For an artist who sold millions of records, he was STILL underrated” says Greg of the legendary Juliano Brothers, who says they could do an entire set of Petty tunes and no one would complain. So this summer when you’re belting out a Petty tune, take a moment to pause and relect on the incredible Tom Petty. MARK EIDENBERG We lost a great one over the winter when Mark tragically passed away on January 4th. For over 20 summers, a buddy of mine by the name of Darren DeGaetano and I had a beautiful routine . I’d be sitting on the beach and I’d get a one-word text. CAROUSEL? I’d put down my Daily News, tell my wife I’ll be right back, and walk up to 43 St. (For the record, “right back” in Sea Isle loosely translates into “three and a half hours.”) I’d walk up and there would be Mark behind the bar. His standard “hello” was usually something along the lines of “Hey Big Guy. Still on the air? I stopped listening to you a long time ago.” He was so sarcastically funny. Who knows how many thousands of us were served by Mark? Over 20 summers he worked that bar. He’s on the Mt. Rushmore of Sea Isle bartenders. Bars are made of so many facets. Liqour. Music. Food. Barstools. Glasses. Bottles. But bars succeed or fail because of the men and women behind the bar.
Mark was a dedicated family man who not only was a terrific athlete, so were his and his wife Terry’s sons that he also coached. The Dennis Township Football Association was an organization that he loved and gave countless heartfelt hours to. But what more can you say of any person who passes than “he was a really nice guy.” That’s pretty much it, isn’t it? And that he was, that he was. He was as integral to this town as sand. I guarantee you that the first time I get that “CAROUSEL?” text from my buddy this summer, our beers will be a little salty because they’ll be mixed with tears. Miss you already, Mark.
THE TWINS “My daughter Keely gave birth to her twins, Jameson and Lucy on August 8th. Please read the lettering on the sign in this photo and tell me this isn’t the coolest photo ever!” My daughter’s husband Matt is raising them right.
My latest article in the 7 Mile Times...
COMEDY IN AVALON & STONE HARBOR
I imagine I am at a point in time where I have to explain who Ed McMahon was to younger readers. He was Johnny Carson’s longtime sidekick on “The Tonight Show.” “The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson” was not the first late night talk show. Steve Allen and Jack Parr own that distinction, but Carson perfected it. And the template that Johnny and Ed created is still in place today for Kimmell, Fallon, Colebert and crew. And Ed McMahon? Ed perfected the sidekick role so well by laughing at Johnny’s jokes, playing straight man during skits like “Karnac The Magnificent,” that most of today’s late night hosts don’t even bother with a sidekick. Not to mention that Ed’s responsible for one of the more legendary moments in cinema history when a murderous Jack Nicholson in “The Shining” chops his way through a door and exclaims “Here’s Johnny!” That was Ed’s famous line when he would introduce Carson at the beginning of every show. So why am I mentioning Ed at all? Well, Ed helped make Avalon famous because he owned a house at 19th and the beach beginning in the late sixties and seventies and Ed and Johnny would talk about Avalon frequently when they would chat about what they did over the weekend on their Monday show. And as a Jersey shore loving young teenager, that just filled me up with pride. Avalon? Our Avalon?! I mean you couldn’t get much bigger than the Tonight Show. Particularly when it came to breaking comics, so I even took more special notice. So, since throughout the 80’s and up to a few summers ago, I booked comedy nights at four different clubs in Stone Harbor and Avalon, I thought I would remind you of some of the amazing standups that have graced the stages over the years on our 7 mile island. Please take notice that I am putting these comics in alphabetical order. I don’t want anybody thinking I favor one over the other. They are all amazing talents.
JAY BLACK Jay has written over three movies for the Hallmark Channel starring the likes of Paul Sorvino, Erika Christensen, Joe Piscopo, Scott Wolf, and many others. As a standup he has won the College Comic of the Year three times. Trust me, a stop as a standup on one of the late nights or a Golden Globe nomination (The Oscars disgracefully rarely nominate comedies) as a writer is in the works for Jay. You’ll remember you read it here.
JOE CONKLIN The most brilliant impressionist ever. Period. Most folks, and rightfully so, are amazed how drop dead perfect his voices are. But what’s not appreciated enough is how brilliant of a writer he is. Week after week, month after month, year after year, Joe has to keep producing new songs and new bits. And don’t forget when a new player, coach, celebrity or politician (Both his Trump and Obama were perfect) are in the news, he has to master that voice immediately. He’s uncanny.
TODD GLASS Todd is a regular on Jimmy Kimmell, Conan O’Brien, Tosh.0, to name just a few TV programs, and was the first comic who went on before me where I said “I’ll never follow that maniac again.” A complete lunatic on stage.
DOM IRRERA Bada bing! One of the funniest cats ever, I just worked with him at the Tropicana in Atlantic City a month ago where he’s still packing them in and that showroom seats 2000! He’ll hate that I’m writing this, but he was already a legend when I began my career. He was one of the first “local” comics that I saw where I said to myself “What’s the point, I’ll never get that good.” An amazing standup with a long line of acting credits including “The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson” “Seinfeld” “The Big Lebowski” and the currently running Showtime hit “I’m Dying Up Here.” I opened up for him at The Rocking Chair because I knew he was coming from another show and possible could be late. I ended up stretching my set to 50 killer minutes until I saw he was there. I mean I smoked the room and within ten minutes the audience forgot I even existed! And he’s funnier than ever. I was standing next to Dom once when a stranger approached and asked Dom what kind of humor dud he do? And Don replied “The funny kind.”
ROSIE O’DONNELL No need to rattle off credits when you are a “household” name. People forget that before Rosie became the icon that she is today, she was one hell of a high energy, take-no-prisoners standup. Stinkin’ hilarious. I wish she would perform in the area more.
MIKE SACCONE Performed many times on the 7 mile and dig this story. Mike and I once discovered that we both enjoyed counting money on Sunday mornings. You usually got paid on Saturday nights after a three day or weekend engagement. Well, Mike had reached the final round of “Star Search” and if he beat a comic named “Spanky”
RAVINGS FROM A MAN WHO NEVER SLEEPS... 3/5
Here's my latest article for the South Jersey Mag...
On Dec. 15, I had a decision to make. Joe Conklin and I always have a guest emcee for our Two Funny PhillyGuys extravaganzas and the show was scheduled for the Broadway Theatre in Pitman on Feb. 10. However, for advertising purposes, I had to nail down the emcee by this December date. We had used NFL Hall of Famer RayDidinger before and the crowd always loved him. So his name was in the mix. The Eagles were 11-2 on Dec. 15 and talk of the Super Bowl was in the air. But the Eagles had just lost Carson Wentz for the season. I kept looking at that Feb. 10 date and realized that would be the first Saturday after Super Bowl LII. What if a miracle happened and the Birds still managed to get to Minnesota and win the stinkin’ thing? Wouldn’t it be wild if Ray was the emcee that night? On the other hand, if the Eagles collapsed, the show might be better off having an emcee that wasn’t so tied to the Birds. I rolled the dice. I booked Ray and the night exceeded my wildest dreams. When Ray got introduced the ovation was deafening and went on for a minute and a half, and if you don’t believe that sounds that long, give the ovation a listen at BigDaddyGraham.com.
So let’s review. The game was awesome. The fact that I was the first full-time host on 94WIP after the game was an honor. The parade was every bit as memorable as we dreamt it would be. Jason Kelce’s speech was one for the ages. But it was the truly genuine and heartwarming standing ovation that Ray Didinger received that Saturday night that I will always remember the most. Here’s more from South Jersey residents who were either at the game, the parade, or both!
Gerald is from Sicklerille. He had a successful mobile disc jockey business called “Party Time” that performed at weddings and private parties. He did a private party for Sammy Hagar on the Camden Riverfront and Sammy made him an offer to join him on the road, which he did, leaving everything behind. A year and a half later, he decided to become an actor and he hasn’t stopped working yet. “The hardest thing for me to leave behind was my Eagles season tickets. I’m one of those ‘bleed green’ guys,” he says. Gerald has a buddy who works in an NFL front office, so Gerald was offered a free ticket to the Super Bowl. Free! But he had a decision to make. “I was so confident that the Birds were going to win, that I contemplated not going to the game, and coming home for the parade. I couldn’t do both. But a free ticket?! That’s an easy decision.” He found a room 20 miles outside the city, Ubered himself around and had a blast witnessing, in my opinion, the Greatest Football Game of All Time.
CATHY AND JEFF WEATHERBY
The Weatherbys’ tickets, however, were decidedly not free. They were offered ticket packages through Jeff’s company, but they were ridiculously expensive. If the Mantua residents and longtime Eagles season ticket holders were to go to the game, a lifelong dream, they would not be able to pay for one year of their son Conner’s high school tuition. “So he misses senior year, no big deal,” Cathy decided. “I’m sure college admissions bigwigs will understand that we’re talking the Eagles and the Super Bowl here.” I’m sure they’re joking, but who knows? They ended up meeting Brian Westbrook, just about every media head on Radio Row, and had dinner in the same restaurant with Carson Wentz on Saturday. “We’d do it all again in a heartbeat. It was the most exciting trip ever,” says Jeff. “I hope they go to the Super Bowl next year.” Not sure if Conner, or their other two kids, Ryan and Sean, feel the same.
Pat and Mike, who haven’t missed a game in 17 years, grew up in Gloucester City and are now Mullica Hill residents. I have traveled to London, Paris, Rome and Camden, and everywhere I vacation, other tourists, no matter what part of the world they’re from, will always ask me the same question when they find out I’m from America. “Oh, I guess you know Pat Settar?” So of course the entire family was at the parade. Mike explains, “We were expecting a nightmare of a journey, but we took the PATCO from the Ferry Avenue station, and had our standing spot on Broad Street by 8:30 a.m. The whole trip took about a half hour. We just got lucky. We saw every player and every coach and then walked up the Parkway and caught all the speeches. A day we’ll never forget.”
JAMESON & LUCY
My daughter Keely’s twins were born on Aug. 9, 2017 and if ever a picture told a thousand words, this is the one.
See you at next year’s parade!
A ROW HOME CHRISTMAS...
First of all, thanks to the almost 2,000 of YOU who came out to see the show. My whole career has been "no you~no me."
Most importantly, I must thank the director of the show, Anthony SanFilippo. It's not easy to direct the star of the show when he also wrote the piece and from day one, Anthony let it be known who was the boss and he made the show tighter and funnier. Go see ANYTHING he directs.
To the amazing talents who hosted the very entertaining and often hilarious Q&A's after the show. (Alphabetical order) Angelo Cataldi, Ray Didinger, Phil Heron, Rhea Hughes, Mike Jerrick, Eleanor Kerrigan, Glen Macnow, Rob Maaddi, Phil Martelli, and Spins Nitely.
To the media members who went out of their way to help promote the show. (Alphabetical order) Bryan Cole, Joe Conklin, Thomas Drayton, Spike Eskin, Marc Farzetta, Ava Graham, Karen Hepp, Robert Huber, Lauren Johnson, Ken Katz, Paul Kurtz, Andrew Porter, Charlie Scalies, Cindy Webster, Neal Zoren, Wildfire Radio, and 94WIP.
Matt Boyle (who you should contact at email@example.com if you need any video, film, or audio work), he's amazing. To my daughter Keely for giving me the greatest Christmas present ever, the fantastic twins, Lucy & Jameson. (Matt also contributed)
The Players Club of Swarthmore welcomed me with open arms and both their stages are excellent venues to see a show. Let me thank their friendly and professional staff who personally worked on my show. (In alphabetical order) George Ainsle, Jen Armstrong, Betsy Berwick, Donna Dougherty, Reba Ferdman, Emily Fishman, Amy Graham, Lee Greenwood, Rick Greenwood, Dave Griffith, Esther Grubb-McKinnie, Charlie Hoover, Carolyn Hopson, Harriet Hudgins, Rebecca Jami, Dani Kennedy, Lori Knickerbocker, Denise Kolodziej, Dot Kowal, Suzette Krausen, Sue Larson, Chuck Lowry, Pat Maze, Mikhaela McKinnie, Leslie Miller, George Mulford, Reine Patterson, Marissa Perri, Renee Perri, Andrew SanFilippo, Stan Schneider, Bohdan Senkow, Kathie Senkow, Alan Stamford, Davida Weiler-Stone, Adam Young and Charlotte Zeigenfuss.
Additionally I want to thank Producing Director Ruth Wells Fischer and President Jim Carroll who worked with Anthony to get this show approved by the Board of Governors at the Players Club as well as the cast and crew of Italian American Reconciliation and specifically its director, Kristy Boyer Chen, for being so willing and gracious to change their rehearsal schedule to allow A Row Home Christmas to go on the Main Stage.
And last but not least, my wife Debbie, who suffered through months of my angst and stress in putting this all together.
Dag, I hope I didn't forget anyone.
RAVINGS FROM A MAN WHO NEVER SLEEPS... 2/21
Here's my latest article for the South Jersey Mag...
I am writing this on my laptop sitting in a parking lot in Maple Shade. My car thermostat says 12 degrees. 12 degrees! Now I know what you’re thinking to yourself, why am I writing this in a car to begin with? That’s a story for another time. The question I am asking myself is “why am I sitting in a car in a parking lot in Maple Shade and not Miami, Florida?!
I can’t remember a colder winter and I’m sure the weather geeks like my wife would say, “Oh, you’re forgetting the winter of 1998. That’s the record holder.” Well, guess what? I did forget the winter of 1998. Just like I will do my best to erase this winter from memory. (That is unless this is the year the Eagles win the Super Bowl. Deadlines being what they are, I am writing this the Friday before the Eagles are due to beat the Vikings. A game the Birds will prove victorious. There, I said it in print, and you’ll be reading this after Super Bowl LII.)
As Bob Dylan once said, “You don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows,” I don’t need temperature, wind chill, barometric pressure, or any technical jargon to know if it’s freezing or not. I know it immediately in the nine seconds it takes me to walk from my front door to my car in the driveway. And it sucks!
So I started thinking. Is there anything good about cold weather?
It has to be freezing to begin with for it to snow to begin with, and although the older I get the least I like it, standup comics become standups because they are basically immature people who never grow up, hence we always think young.
So when I hear that there could be snow on the way, I swear to you the first thought that pops in my head is “will we be off from school tomorrow?” The fact that I have not been in school for 97 years doesn’t prevent that notion from entering my brain. There was nothing more exciting to you as a kid then getting a day off due to snow. The very rumor of snow would get your heart pumping.
And if you were a teacher and it started snowing during the day, during your class, you might as well stopped speaking right then and there. Not one kid would be listening to you anyway. They’d be too busy getting word from the kids closest to the window or whether of not the snow was sticking or laying. And if this rumor would start around bedtime, there was no sleeping.
I swear kids get off from school due to weather much easier then we did back in the day. I went to Catholic school and KYW could announce that an earthquake hit Medford. That a tsunami was tearing through Gloucester City. That a power outage had disabled all of South Jersey. And the first thing you would hear on the news would be, “but parochial schools will remain in session.”
Alas, I’m not in school anymore, so there is no time off due to snow. It looks pretty while it’s falling. . . . . . For about an hour. Then its break out the sidewalk salt, the window scrapers, the shovels, you get the picture.
I know, I could have put this under the heading of “SNOW,” but I wanted to make sure sledding got it’s own segment because everything about sledding is fun and awesome. And unless you are really old or so out of shape that you can’t walk up the hill to begin with, it doesn’t matter how old you are. You either sit up straight or lay on your stomach and go! How many times have you taken your kids out sledding and end up stealing that Flexible Flyer and flying down the hill yourself with your son or daughter (or both) laying on top? It’s the best.
It’s not like skiing where you really have to know what you’re doing and own all the proper gear. Heck, if we didn’t have a sled we used a trash can lid or whatever was handy that you thought would get the job done. No ski lift. It was, and remains today, gloriously free. It was safe unless you had that bump that sent you flying through the air, but if it had that hump, it made the ride that more exhilarating. It wasn’t like you were going to end up like that poor dude crashing on “Wide World of Sports.”
I took my daughters to a hill that was at exit 58 off Route 55. Washington Township had it’s Big Moose on Wedgewood Golf Course. Mt. Laurel had Laurel Acres Park. Everyone reading this had their spot and what’s the first thing you notice when you start taking your kids there? That’s it’s not this Mt. Everest that you remember, that it’s really just a nice little hill. (By the way, I might do an article on famous South Jersey sledding hills in the future, so write me at bigdaddy295@aol if you have one you would like mentioned)
According to my pal Jim Kennedy who works for AMC in Cherry Hill, movie attendance actually goes up in cold weather. “Cabin fever” grabs hold and while you’ll freeze your keister off walking from the lot to the theatre, it’s not like you’re out strolling around outside for a couple hours. And you still end up with that “at least we went out and did something” fulfillment. Although I must admit the colder it gets and the older I get, the easier it becomes to stay at home and watch Netfix.
If you are a man, this paragraph will mean nothing to you, but as someone who lived with two daughters and a wife (who happens to be a woman) for 25 years, I can tell you it’s of life and death importance that a woman have matching apparel for every conceivable weather condition existent. Fox 29’s Sue Serio predicting ten below zero weather meant a quick trip to the mall for matching coat, gloves, scarf, and hat. (Even though it’s reached that temperature like twice in over a century)
While I would like to say that I could think of a dozen other cool things about cold weather, the truth is it was a struggle to come up with the four I did. I hate it!
HEY! I'M LOOKING FOR ALBUM COVERS. I DON'T CARE ABOUT THE CONDITION OF THE VINYL...
Click on Ray to hear the amazing ovation he got at the Pitman's Broadway Theatre on Saturday, February 10th, which was the first Saturday of our Super Bowl!
There is this amazing talent in the New York area by the name of Rachelle Garniez. She's an versatile singer who accompanies herself on piano, guitar, and, yes, accordion. She's a gifted songwriter with a tremendous sense of humor. She often performs at a really cool Village venue Pangea that seats maybe fifty that itself is worth checking out. Go to these sites for more info: www.rachellegarniezcom.virb.com & www.pangeanyc.com
You can take an inexpensive tour of RADIO CITY MUSIC HALL that's well worth it.
Check out MASH ARMY & NAVY on 8th Ave between 45 & 46th streets. A blast from the past!
Folks are always asking me about piano bars in Manhattan. There's two I would recommend and they couldn't be any bit different. DON'T TELL MAMA is on 46th St between 8 & 9th Avenues. It's a comfortable narrow long bar where you either sit at thee bar or at a table. They have a singing piano player and every fourth song or so a member of the bar or serving staff will get up and sing a three song set. And sometimes a member of the audience will get up at the mic and sing. And they have awesome food also. It's a really fun joint, but completely different from MARIE'S CRISIS CAFE which is at 59 Grove St in the Village. (Make sure you have the address handy before you get in the cab.) MARIE'S is a tiny hole in the wall basement club where there is a piano player but no professional singer. YOU are the singer. It's insane. People (like my nutty wife) go there TO sing. There's no microphone and literally 150 people or so will be singing at the top of their lungs to some Broadway tune Which, by the way, IS ALL Marie's does. They don't mix in pop tunes like MAMA does. The two couldn't be any different from each other and any more fun if a piano bar is your bag.
A HOTEL TO STAY AT? We always use some hotel site and often stay at one of these two hotels which I would both recommend. THE BELVEDERE on West 48th St is clean with a nice lobby and it's very convenient to Broadway and many clubs and bars. THE WARWICK is pricier, but still affordable when you go through Expedia. It's at 54th & 6th and many famous folks (like the Beatles and Liz Taylor have stayed there.
As obvious as this sounds, you can spend a couple hours exploring Central Park and never get bored.
LEXINGTON CANDY SHOP on Lexington between 82 & 83rd St. has been opened since 1925 and is a don't miss trip.
BIG ONION WALKING TOURS are a lot of fun and reasonably priced. I have taken many of them and they never disappoint.
54 BELOW on 54th St. is literally the basement of the famous Studio 54 disco. It's a terrific place to see anybody. Top notch club.
Finally made it to BIRDLAND for one of those CAST PARTY shows. What a great time and the sight lines are excellent. Legendary jazz artists perform there and if you ever thought about seeing one of them at BIRDLAND, do it.
A BRONX TALE the musical is really good. I wasn't expecting much and I was very entertained.
You can get a really good cheese steak at 99 MILES TO PHILLY at 94 3rd Avenue. The owner is from Philly.
LETS CALL IN SICK!
Philly wins 56 to 45! (There was no "X")
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