There’s No Place like Home, By George – by Gerry Fialka

Thanks to everyone who keeps the conversation going by responding to my George Carlin article in the June issue.

“The alternative to violence is dialogue, which is a kind of encounter interface with other people and situations.” – Marshall McLuhan. We develop critical thinking skills and advance as a community with conversation.

Kelly Carlin sent in from the center of the universe: “Thank you for connecting the dots and re-rooting us to that land that holds much for my family.”

Andrew Nicholls told me that George would say, “The best thing about living at the beach is that you only have assholes on three sides of you.” Andrew, author of “Comedy Writer – A guide to creating comedy for print, TV and stage”, was head writer (along with Darrell Vickers) for the “Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson.” They also wrote for many more including Garry Shandling and George Carlin. Check out my two interviews with Andrew on my podcast “I’m probably wrong about everything” on youtube.

Part one
Part two:

Missi Calvey explores the human condition with amazing video art on her youtube channel MISSICs’ART

Be sure to watch the 4 minute masterpiece “Somnambulism” she made inspired by the quotes she read in my article. Without me and her talking at all about the article, she combined the George Carlin and Thornton Wilder quotes with the “Wizard of Oz” and Disney’s “How to Play Baseball” to make engaging enlightenment.

Check “Somnambulism” on youtube
and my recent interview with Missi Calvey InnerViews#101
Most important, Missi’s video returns us to the epiphany scene at the end (or is it the beginning? ala Italian philosopher Giambattista Vico’s cyclical history trope recurso) of the 1939 film Wizard of Oz. Since McLuhan broke the Finnegans Wake (1939) code, he may quip “The Wizard of Us.”
Recall Judy Garland (celebrating her 100th year in 2022) lying in her bed surrounded by her friends and family:

Hunk: Remember me? Your ol’ pal Hunk.
Hickory: And me? Hickory.
Zeke: You couldn’t forget my face, could you?
Dorothy: But it wasn’t a dream. It was a place, and you [Hunk] and you [Hickory] and you [Zeke]… and you [Professor Marvel] were there. [Everyone laughs] But you couldn’t have been, could you?
Auntie Em: We dream lots of silly things when we…
Dorothy: No, Aunt Em. This is a real, truly live place. And I remember that some of it wasn’t very nice. But most of it was beautiful. But just the same, all I kept saying to everybody was, ‘I want to go home.’ And they sent me home. [Everyone chuckles again] Doesn’t anybody believe me?
Uncle Henry: Of course we believe you, Dorothy.
Dorothy: Oh, but anyway, Toto, we’re home! Home! And this is my room – and you’re all here! And I’m not gonna leave here ever, ever again because I love you all! – And oh, Auntie Em, there’s no place like home. There’s no place like home.

Carlin is the atomic dog, like Toto, pulling back the curtain to reveal the hidden. Create the disease and offer the cure? Is that advertising? The broom (skywriting) is the tool. So that’s what Dorothy/Judy is told to get if she wants to return home. Let us pry. How can we further fuse interpretive parables about the Wizard of Oz (Us) and the percepts of Marshall McLuhan to transform the very subject that we are examining?
The Wizard?: “Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.”
Dorothy: But how can you talk without a brain?
Scarecrow: Well, I don’t know… but some people without brains do an awful lot of talking. . . .
Dorothy: Toto, I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore.

Venice is truly a real live place, and sometimes seems like a dream, too.
At Sponto Gallery’s JazzFunkFest, a reality in Venice, Eric Ahlberg used to recite Carlin’s “Modern Man” routine as a kinda rap-poetry. Here’s a except:
“I’m a non-believer and an over-achiever, laid-back but fashion-forward. Up-front, down-home, low-rent, high-maintenance. Super-sized, long-lasting, high-definition, fast-acting, oven-ready and built-to-last! I’m a hands-on, foot-loose, knee-jerk head case pretty maturely post-traumatic and I’ve got a love-child that sends me hate mail.  But, I’m feeling, I’m caring, I’m healing, I’m sharing– a supportive, bonding, nurturing primary care-giver. My output is down, but my income is up. I took a short position on the long bond and my revenue stream has its own cash-flow. I read junk mail, I eat junk food, I buy junk bonds and I watch trash sports! I’m gender specific, capital intensive, user-friendly and lactose intolerant.” Now that’s the real deal, pure uncut George Carlin.

Another Venice local told me about his cousin Stan Lewis, who set up Stan’s Music Shop in Shreveport, Louisiana in 1948. The business eventually grew to six retail stores (whose costumers included Elvis and Dylan), a nationwide mail-order & distributor service, and multiple record labels. His brother, Ace, met Carlin back in the mid 50s when he was stationed at Barksdale Air Force Base and worked as part-time disc jockey at KJOE. Stan — a record distributor — pushed new records to Carlin including a mistakenly shipped exclusive Elvis song “All Shook Up.” Carlin played the record on air and got instant nationwide attention. Ace says Carlin could be found coming in to their record store just about every week to borrow the likes of Woody Herman and Stan Kenton for his radio show. “He’d play them and then he’d bring them back the next day and I could tell this guy was going somewhere,” said Ace. During the past fifty years, Stan Lewis traded birthday and Christmas cards with Carlin. “He was just a normal person, very friendly,” said Stan. The Lewis brothers say Carlin never forgot his roots.

Carlin taught us to be critical thinkers, even if it meant not agreeing with him. Todd von Hoffmann – Venice resident/historian and Tourney Direktor of the upcoming 9th Annual Gopher Scramble – A Completely Unauthorized “Caddyshack” Tribute benefitting The Venice Heritage Museum, had some thoughts. von Hoffmann wrote: The recent TCM doc Dean Martin: King of Cool, reinforced that he a big golf enthusiast. The other king of cool, Steve McQueen, played golf with Jackie Gleason in “Soldier In The Rain”. Golf is cool and for GC to talk shit about The Great Game shows, with all respect, not a thinness of, but definitely an unfinished character. For someone to say they hate golf is to declare oneself undeveloped at best and suffering unrecoverable playground damage at worst. Perhaps GC thought this was a thrust at The Establishment Elite. How little he understood about this humbling egalitarian pastime. All I hear in that bit is a boy crying, “I never earned my father’s approval!!” If he had been an Anglophile like me he might have read P.G. Wodehouse and his wonderfully hilarious, grandiose & absurd golf short stories. George was a breakthrough, he had to suffer derision & criticism that would seem laughable today (which only served to make his success sweeter, naturally), but his remarks about golf make it clear that he had a lot of growing left to do. I’m sorry I never got the opportunity to introduce him to Royal Penmar – Hackers Haven by-the-Sea. It’s where Bill Murray and most of his brothers have played as well as Charles Bronson and Cheech & Chong. GC could have learned a lot from a few rounds with those guys or my golfing buddies.
Back to Oz (Us) . . .

Dorothy: Oh, but anyway, Toto, we’re home – home! And this is my room – and you’re all here – and I’m not going to leave here ever, ever again, because I love you all! And… oh, Auntie Em, there’s no place like home! . . .
“There’s no place like Venice.”
Glinda (the good witch): Now those magic slippers will take you home in two seconds
Dorothy : Toto too?
Glinda: Toto too.

GEORGE TOO ! Thanks Mr. Carlin . . . for keeping us in conversation. “Converse” is from the French converser “to talk, open communication between,” also “to live, dwell, inhabit, reside” (12c.), and directly from Latin conversari “to live, dwell, live with, keep company with.
We do feel safe at home.

SUN, Sept 11 at 7pm at THE VENICE WEST
Gerry Fialka host a celebration of the Beats in Venice
with Suzy Williams & Brad Kay, and stellar musicians & poets.
Cool Kittys & Daddy-Os dig!!! Delve deep into Venice West history, songs by Jack Kerouac, Laurence Ferlinghetti and all the local cats, too. NOTE (more to come): Terry Kirkman’s name is listed in Zappa’s Freak Out list. Frank & Terry made a sign that said “Rent – A – Beatnick” and they played coffee houses way back. Terry wrote “Cherish’ for his band the Association.

Side Note: Maryjane is looking for places and collectors for her extensive VENICE HISTORY archives from 1967, inclusive of ephemera/fliers announcements, posters, T-shirts, books and even canal bottles dug out in 1994… and many ARGONAUTS and FREE VENICE BEACHHEADS papers, plus other Venice magazines. She is unable to continue storing such really! One may also see her Venice History videos tapes, 18 so far and 2 more in a month and then likely @ 4 over next year from now on YOUTUBE “Venice History Tapes” Link =
Maryjane’s land line = 310-226-2903 Please NO texting and she is NOT daily on computers !
She suggests that long life Hotels and Restaurants might wish sections of such for halls and rooms and event rooms and patios, and perhaps stage, film, video, props collection for projects.