31 julio 2003

Señor Wences and the Other Boss

Dear George Steinbrenner,

Enough already! Jesus fucking Christ. Can't you ever leave well enough alone? Dear god, I can't fucking keep up with this shit. Every day, it's a new player, a new trade rumor, people are getting shipped out. It's enough! I've been a Yankee fan for over 20 years and I can't even read the articles about the team in the Daily News anymore. When you ruin my sports section experience, you are screwing with my comfort level in the bathroom and that's where I draw the line. If I can't take a crap in peace with sports section in hand, I'm not a happy camper

How does a man who runs a team that won four World Series in six years have an inferiority complex? Your moves are motivated to systematically screw a team that hasn't won in 85 years!!! You're like the kid on the playground that it wasn't enough he was the best at dodgeball, he had to pick off all the weak kids by pegging them in the head and then laughing at them.

I know you are playing by the rules. It may not be against the rules to spend all your money and bring in all the good players to your team. That doesn't make it right. It's not right to elbow out the competition by spending all the money you possibly can. That's called being a monopoly. And that's illegal in real business life. So let it fucking go. You have a squad that 29 other owners would kill for. Let them do their work and keep your fucking nose off the field.

You've not only ruined my favorite team for me. You've ruined baseball for me. I can barely stay interested in the fucking sport anymore. The regular season doesn't mean shit. It's like hockey. But at least in hockey, they're allowed to kick the shit out of each other.

Piss off.

Señor Wences

S'OK? S'awright.


30 julio 2003

Señor Wences and the Union of Two People

The good Señor believes that there are three good things about getting married:

1) Bachelor party
2) Wedding gifts
3) Tax breaks

I do, however, respect and recognize the convention as an official announcement to the world (and the government) of love and what have you. And the good Señor can take no issue with two people who are willing to commit themselves in this fashion. This is the system that's been set up for us. You fall in love. You get married. This is the way it is. I'm OK with it. And I'm sure that one day, there will be a siren that will tame the good Señor and convince him that monogamy is a good thing or, at the very least, a beneficial trade-off for him. She will become Señora Wences.

The reason that she will become Señora Wences is that I am a heterosexual male. My wedding will consist of a man and a woman. There are other people in the world, men and women alike, that would prefer a member of the same sex to become their Señor or Señora as the case may be. I have no problem with this. If two people, regardless of their sexual orientation, want to undertake the institution of marriage, that's just fine with me. In fact, I encourage it. There's a shortage of strong family units in this country and a family is nothing more than how you define it for yourself. A mother and a father, two mothers, two fathers, whatever. The Beatles said it best, "Love is all you need." I digress.

Our president with wars raging on two continents and a still not altogether diffused nuclear (not "nucular") crisis on another, along with a still staggering US economy, is about to tackle head-on the crippling national issue of gay marriage. On the heels of the still fresh Supreme Court rulings that struck down a Texas law banning homosexuality, the president today cast aside calls for a law that would legalize same-sex marriage in the country. He believes "that marriage should be between a man and a woman."

Taking the religious implications aside, it's deeply troubling to me that something like this is an issue in the year 2003. What is the obsession with other people's personal business? I understand that tax breaks come along with marriage and if that were the argument, he might have a little more ground to stand on. But tax breaks are clearly not the issue here. The issue is the close-minded assertion that heterosexual marriage is the only right kind of marriage and that homosexuality is wrong. That is the issue and that is a problem. This country will make its greatest strides when people drop the snooping neighbor act and just let people love who they want to love, regardless of their sex. It's their business. And at the end of the day, it's relatively harmless business.

Homosexual couples want to let the world know that they love each other just like heterosexuals do and they deserve that recognition. They are your neighbors. They are citizens. They are taxpayers. They deserve to reap the same benefits as every other citizen. And only the most close-minded individual would begrudge them that right simply because of their sexual preference.

S'OK? S'awright.


29 julio 2003

Señor Wences and the Boss

Sunday July 28th was an overcast night and it threatened rain for most of the evening. The air was hot but there was a cool breeze that whipped around Giants Stadium and if you listened closely, you could overhear the concert goers that were also sports fans talk about how many field goals had been knocked down by this very same wind. The atmosphere was electric and Jersey was about to welcome home its prodigal sun for the seventh time this July. It was 8:15 and the troops were getting restless. As the lights went down, a noise swelled up from the crowd and an unfamiliar onlooker might have thought that 60,000 people were booing the act that they were about to see. To anyone who knew the scene, the name was as familiar as their own.


And he was on the stage and cheers swelled from the crowd. The band launched into the music and Bruce led an energetic sing-slong for the whole night. The crowd needed no help. They knew the words. Bruce stood on the front of the stage, waving his arms and wildly encouraging the crowd. They responded in kind and screamed back to him, further pushing him. He sang some new Bruce. He sang some old Bruce. He sang some of the Bruce that was in between. He ran from side to side on the stage, sliding on his knees and jumping up when his momentum came to a stop. He played and played and played for 3 hours and when he was done the crowd wouldn't let him go. They screamed for him. They wanted more. The Boss was magnanimous. He gave them a little more. And then it was over. The crowd filed out of the stadium and they talked about the gift that they'd been given by Bruce Almighty.

It isn't just that the straightforward, grinding style of his music breathed life into a city and a nation that was decimated by terrorist attacks. It isn't just that his songs and lyrics champion the blue collar environment in which he grew up. It isn't just that he's an idol for the working class or the common man. It's all of that combined. It's that not one, but two major news publications championed him as the savior of rock and roll and made him the first person ever to appear on both of their magazines in the same week -- 28 years ago. It's that there's no pretention to his performance or his music. He does what he loves and he loves what he does and you can tell just by watching him play his guitar.

Music is one of those things that sparks recognition, that hits you on a visceral level. There's no explanation as to why we feel the way we do about the artists that we love, other than that we love them and their music. And 60,000 people professed their undying love to one man on a stage who played them songs and memories from a 30-year love affair. In the words of Bruce himself, "Show a little faith, there's magic in the night." And there was.

S'OK? S'awright.


25 julio 2003

Señor Wences and the Intrepid Cubans

It seems that a group of Cubans looking to flee the shores of their Communist homeland for the gold-lined shores of these United States have enlisted the help of a 1951 Chevrolet truck. The running engine with a propellor attached to the driveshaft sent the makeshift vessel hurtling through the high seas at a mindbending 8 MPH. About 40 miles from the Florida Keys, the Coast Guard spotted the ingenius Caribbean island dwellers and sent them back to their homeland, as per their "wet foot, dry foot" policy.

It seems the United States's policy regarding illegal immigration is a somewhat capricious one, tantamount to "if you can beat us, join us." If you make it though the Coast Guard and beat the patrol to the shore, you can stay. If we stop you on the seas, you have to go home. No cold soda for your trouble. It seems this only applies to folks from "la isla del Communista". If you are wetback from Mexico, you have to go home no matter where we catch you. In fact, we've got pickup trucks waiting to haul your ass back to Guadalajara. And we'll get you back there faster than Pat Buchanan raiding the kitchen of my local diner for green cards.

I understand that we've got a lot of issues regarding homeland security to work out, though I don't know that our current system of color-coded alert levels really does anything other than make us look supremely gay around the world. I know we're trying to fortify our borders with a certain degree of integrity. We don't want people wokring here without paying taxes either. No green card or Visa, no official status, no way the government can ram you up the ass on April 15th. I get it. And I see where they are coming from.

But the other thing I see is 10 Cubans, earning ten cents a day working twelve, fifteen, eighteen hours a day, that came up with a plan to try to improve life for themselves and their families. They rigged up a 1951 truck because they had nothing newer. They figured out a way to make it float and they shoved off the shore hoping that they could make it. The good Señor cannot comprehend the amount of squalor one would have to live in to be moved to take to the seas in a 50-year old truck. I do, however, recognize that these are creative, intrepid and resourceful people. The kind of people that you would want working for you. The kind of people who support their families and work hard. They come here looking for opportunity. If they are lucky enough to dry their feet, they find it.

S'OK? S'Awright.


23 julio 2003

Señor Wences and the Company Outing

Folks, the good Señor's company planned the annual summer outing for today. The company has chartered buses to take us a grand distance of 25 blocks to Central Park, so that we may dine at the city's most overrated restaurant (Tavern on the Green). They didn't even give us the full day at a nice place like they used to. We used to have an outing. A day at a nice place where we could have a whole day to ourselves in the sun and throw the football or frisbee or softball around. Do they do that anymore? No, we have to come into work in the morning and if we opt not to go to the picnic, we have to stay at work for the rest of the day. So your options are: a) go to a crappy picnic at a crappy restaurant with people you don't like or b) stay in the office where, mercifully, the people aren't. I go for option c) leave the office and ditch the picnic.

I recognize that many companies do not even have a half day for their employees at a picnic. Fine, I'm a shallow asshole. But excuse me for believing that anything worth doing is worth doing well. I didn't ask for them to throw a picnic. They decided they were going to throw one. As such, it's their job to throw a good party, not just go through the motions like they seemingly do with every other "benefit" of working here. The one good thing that they ever did at this company was the holiday party. The holiday party was always a beautiful, formal affair. Now, they've cut it because of cost-cutting measures. The one time of the year where you are suppsoed to forget about cost and budgets and just remember that your employees work hard for you all year round. Gone.

This isn't a small company, by the way. We're not talking about a 50 employee shack somewhere. This is a huge, multinational, multimedia corporation, with offices all over the country and world, employing ten of thousands of people. I have something to say to them now.

You want to pull this shit on us, fine. But don't expect us to work extra hard for you. Don't expect maximum effort and don't expect good, positive things to be said about this company. I used to like working here. Now it's just a job. As my good friend Peter Gibbons would say, "That only keeps you working just hard enough not to get fired." Keep up the good work folks.

By the way, it's raining here also.

S'OK? S'awright.


22 julio 2003

Señor Wences and the Embattled Basketball Star

Well, well, Kobe. You just couldn't keep the stallion in the corral, could you? It wasn't enough that your wife is so hot that things made of paper actually burst into flames when she walks by them. You have to go and sleep with some chick in Colorado. Note that I didn't say that you had to go assault some chick in Colorado. The verdict is still out on that and I don't know whether you did or you didn't. I wasn't there. Maybe you did just have consenual relations. Maybe she's telling the truth. Maybe there was a little too much alcohol involved. There are literally dozens of scenarios.

But you present yourself as a fairly intelligent guy. You're from a good family. It's hard for me to speculate why you'd let yourself get into a situation like this to begin with. Maybe you just thought that famous people can get away with anything. Maybe you just needed something to kill a little time. Maybe you had a legitmate reason for doing it. Again, I wasn't there. But it would seem that you'd be smarter than this or at least have learned a little something from the countless other famous people who've had issues in this arena. You know, like Mike Tyson. He had less than the desired outcome from his sexual misdeeds. If you wanted to fuck all kinds of other hot women, you shouldn't have gotten married. Anyone could have told you that. It doesn't take a genius. Unless I'm mistaken, no one put a gun to your head and said, "If you don't marry her, I'm going to blow your brains out." No one forced you to get married.

I hope it was worth it. You let "little Kobe" make the decisions and you got burned. You know something? If this were any other crime, you'd really be fine. Damon Stoudamire got busted for marijuana. He'll probably just get another slap on the wrist. I think someone got busted for a gun this offseason too. I'm sure they, too, will survive with reputation untarnished. However, you are in a considerably worse situation. There is no harder label to wash off than "sex offender." Ask anyone who's served time for it. Given the proper prosecutor, jury and circumstances, you may get that branded right on your forehead.

I'm not going to sit here and throw idiocy at you, like the people that you hurt worst were the fans. It's bullshit. Anyone who's investing that much of themselves in someone else to begin with should reprioritize. And your wife seems to have forgiven you and I have nothing to say about that. Whether she chooses to forgive you or not is between the two of you. But regardless of all the other nonsense involved here, one thing stands tall above the rest of it. You have inexorably altered the path of your life from this point forward. Your work ethic is revered by the NBA establishment. And now everything you've worked for is crumbling down around you. And you've taken a teenage girl down with you.

S'OK? S'awright.


21 julio 2003

Señor Wences and The Long-Running Sitcom

The good Señor is an avid TV watcher. And by avid, of course I mean that I have a serious problem. I watch an enormous amount of TV. As you might imagine, I see a whole lot of crap. I have a few shows that I make sure that I tune into. I have a couple of "depending on the episode" shows. I also have a few shows that qualify for the train wreck clause. Then there are the shows that I wouldn't watch even if I knew the people that starred in them personally. Over the years that it has been on the air, "Friends" has fallen into each category described above.

During its few few seasons, "Friends" was a can't-miss for every episode. The characters and situations were fresh and funny, albeit unrealistic. Then, during the Chandler and Monica courtship days, it was a "let's see what it's about tonight" kind of show. The kind of show that you flip on to see it for a little while and if it sucks, you put on the game. When Ross lost his mind and his job and then got a new job and started dating a student while his ex-girlfriend Rachel dated her father, it was a train wreck sort of thing. The show moved back and forth between categories for a bit and when the cast announced that the 9th season would be their final season, the writers developed a story with a finite end and began to put the pieces in place. Everything was arcing perfectly. The show was again a can't-miss. It was funny and the storylines didn't make you want to change the channel. Then, the cast announced that they'd be returning for a 10th season. Now the writers needed to fuck everything up, so they could put it all back into place. And the show sucked. And for the first time, for me, the show fell into the 4th category. The "I wouldn't watch it if they were passing out free blowjobs during the screening of it" phase. That is a horrible, horrible phase to be in. In the fall, "Friends" will return for its 10th season. I will, of course, tune back in because I am a sucker. Also, because I need closure. I need to close this chapter on my TV watching life so I can move on to a couple of new shows.

According to the AP, Matt LeBlanc is in talks to bring Joey to his very own spin-off sitcom. The talks are preliminary. There are no details as to the setting or the supporting cast, though I'd imagine that this would be a nice opportunity to have an actor move to California and start a life in the movies there. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if they end up writing that into the end of "Friends." I'll find out, when I tune into the last episode, just to make sure that my "Friends" are all going to turn out OK. I'll be rooting for Ross and Rachel to put it all aside because, quite frankly, they probably should have by now. I hope Monica and Chandler make a baby together, even though the Monica character sucks so hard, I'm amazed someone in the cast hasn't killed her yet. Phoebe should meet a nice guy who understands that she's a little kooky, choatic and twirly and that she needs someone to support her music.

But, Joey. Joey, if you go to California, I can't follow you. Even if you go to a new building and make new friends, move in with your parents, I can't go with you. You have things to do and I do too. I have new characters to meet and new shows to watch. I have to figure out whether the crime drama genre is worth diving into. I need to find a couple of shows on the new fall schedule. I like the looks of that new cop show on ABC. And you have things to do too. You need to develop a new, younger audience. You need to figure out what your show is going to be. You need to leave me here with memories of 10 seasons dating back to my college years. I'll find a way to go on.

In the words of Rachel, "And that, my friend, is what they call 'closure'"

S'OK? S'awright.


18 julio 2003

Señor Wences and the Pretty Pirate Girl

A friend of the good Señor's went to see the Pirates of the Carribbean film and he reported back to me with some startling news. It turns out that the young woman, Keira Knightley, who appears in the film was born in 1985, which even my suspect mathematics tells me that she's only 18 years old. The most startling discovery to the good Señor was not only that the girl was barely legal but that the the good Señor's younger hermano was considerably closer in age to Ms. Knightley, having been born in 1989. I felt dirty and a little ashamed but to be fair, she is legal and I'm never going to have sex with her so it's OK.

Now, Ms. Knightley appeared in a movie called The Hole in the year 2001, when she was 16 years old (15 during filming), and as it turns out there was a 2-second naked scene in this film where Keira shows her breasts by flashing one of her fellow castmembers. True to their uptight, Protestant nature, many American folks expressed their dismay that a 15-year old would show her breasts on screen at such a tender age. Some even claimed that while it was not against the law in Britain for her to do so (adulthood begins at 16 there), that did not mean that it was moral for her to do so. And true to their more socially liberal attitudes, many Europeans chimed in and expressed that the Americans that chimed in were being riduclous for many reasons, not the least of which is that the scene wasn't pornographic, didn't purport to be pornographic and was relatively harmless, given the amount of actual pornography that exists. This debate rages on at IMDb here, if you are interested.

The people that have stepped forth to systematically condemn this girl (and anyone who thinks that there's an issue here) for a second long nude scene at the age of 15 have proven only one thing to me, that circumstance doesn't matter to them. It doesn't matter that this was a benign, quick incident, not exploitative or dirty. It only matters that we saw her boobies!! Quick, Hal, cover the children's eyes! That underage girl showed her boobies. I need to call my Congressman to express my outrage. All I'm saying is open your mind just a teeny, tiny bit and let some light in there.

All that said, the reason for this post isn't any of that. The reason for this post is the post of one sweiland75. Sweiland75 had this to say about this incident:

"You Americans are so paranoid about 'underage' nudity it's pathetic and laughable. Thankfully, I'm from Canada where we have a slightly more european stance towards nudity."

Now, those folks that are privileged enough to know me know that I'm not what you'd call the most proud American. We do some good things at home and abroad. We do some shitty things at home and abroad. I'm not going to get into it all. By and large, I don't hate people because of their nationality, like all this "Freedon Fries" nonsense that you hear. However, when some dumb fuck from Canada comes screaming out of the box about how pathetically laughable Americans are in any respect, it deserves a response. I'm pretty thankful that this asshole is from Canada also, so I don't have to run into him on the street. Though I happen to agree that the attitude of some Americans reagrding this topic is a bit too conservative, all inclusively insulting "you Americans" for this view is not only ridiculously general, it's downright stupid. How do you lump 250 million people together as having the same viewpoint? Maybe all Canadians are on the same page about everything, I don't know, but the last time I remember one country being on the same page, it had German subtitles and it wasn't very good times. So before you go ahead and call all Americans laughable based on their attitude about a 15-year old's flash scene in a hardly seen movie, watch it. Last I checked, Canadians were using their worthless currency as wallpaper.

S'OK? S'awright.


17 julio 2003

Señor Wences and the Little Señor

The Australians have come up with the medical research breakthrough of the decade. As it turns out, frequent masturbation, particularly in your 20s, decreases the likelihood of developing prostate cancer by nearly a third. In fact, "clearing out the ducts" prevents the body from building carcinogens in that area, according to the Cancer Council of Melbourne's Graham Giles.

I'd like to see the Vatican Cancer Council's response to this study. "According to our findings, the likelihood of prostate cancer notwithstanding, masturbation, even once, will make you go straight to Hell. So I guess the question for you people is this: Would you rather die of prostate cancer and go to Heaven with the Pearly Gates and the singing angels and the glavin? Or would your rather polish the rocket and go to Hell to party with Satan? We're fairly sure you'll make the educated decision." You've got Cardinals hanging around the Fontana di Trevi going, "Hmm, Hell huh? Even once? I can't ... Not even for my health? Hmm."

Let's face it folks. For the not-so-God-fearing world, this is the best news we've gotten since they told us that drinking every day will add years to your life. The fact that he mentions "especially in your 20s" is icing on the cake. You know the scene. It's like 11 o'clock on a week night. There's nothing on TV. You don't want to watch the news. You're flipping through the channels and you want to see if there's a piece of a movie you've seen like 95 times that'll carry you through to "Family Guy" at 11:30. You check Cinemax and you're square in the After Dark hours. You look at the screen and there's breasts all over the place. She's riding him like a dime-store mechanical horse. You're thinking, "Well, my roommate's not home. Let's take care of business." And you do. Guess what? You're adding 2-3 years to your life and you didn't even have to eat any fucking tofu.

Tonight, I salute the Australians by getting piss drunk, punching someone in the face and the "wrestling the alligator," if you know what I mean.

S'OK? S'awright.


16 julio 2003

Señor Wences and the Tried and True

It is said that "Life is an enigma wrapped in a puzzle bound by a question mark." It is true that some puzzles in life that cannot be solved. I quote Homer Simpson: "You're a grad student, eh? How come you guys can go to the moon but you can't make my shoes smell good?" Some things will just never be solved. However, as I live and breathe, I realize that there are some immutable laws of the universe, truisms that I've found work for me. They are not necessarily delicate. You may not believe them. I have found that, by and large, they are correct. Here are some of them:

1) People who love chickpeas LOVE to have sex.
2) People who do not like the song "Hey Joe" by Jimi Hendrix are not worth the time that you will spend talking to them.
3) If you see a man fidgeting, chances are he's struggling not to look at the breasts of the woman he's talking to.
4) 1 in 3 people do not know all of the words to "The Star-Spangled Banner."
5) 1 in 3 people do not know the difference between "your" and "you're."
6) When your palm itches, there's an airplane taking off from Chicago's O'Hare International Airport.

Follow these simple rules and you'll be successful. These are only some of the many things I've picked up. E-mail me here and let me know what you've learned. I'll publish it on these very pages.

S'OK? S'awright.


15 julio 2003

Señor Wences and the Sleep Clinic

On Sunday, I had the opportunity to visit a sleep clinic and subject myself to a round of nocturnal tests. I arrived around 9:00 PM with a urine sample. The staff clinicians told me that this was not that kind of clinic and that I could feel free to dispose of the urine that I'd collected. I wish they'd told me that before I took the time to collect all this urine. It's not easy to dispose of 6 gallons.

After a brief explanation of the procedure, I was invited into a room. There, I was told to sit down and a crack squad of savvy, motivated nurses took to applying electrodes to various parts of my body. Though I thought that the rectal probe was a bit excessive, they assured me that it was all in the name of science. It's difficult to argue logic like that.

They invited me to go to sleep at my leisure, though with 25 electrodes attached to your body, a breathing device up your nose and a plunger up your rectum, it's a little difficult to sleep. I anxiously await the results of this examination. They will be here in 4-5 days.

S'OK? S'awright.


11 julio 2003

Señor Wences and the Day Off

Everyone enjoy your weekends.

S'OK? S'Awright.


10 julio 2003

Señor Wences and "The State"

In 1994, a sketch comedy show of endemic proportion arrived on the scene and immediately made all other sketch comedy shows look like a box of shit. That show was "The State." Unable to comprehend the television gold that they had on their hands, MTV unceremoniously dumped the show in 1996. "The State" was more than a sketch comedy show. It was a wonderful melangé of spoof, satire and general off-the-wall hilarity. It was stewarded by the indomitable Michael Ian Black, who has since moved on to a supporting role in the television series "Ed." I don't think I speak in hyperbole when I say that watching Mr. Black work in the comedy milleu is as if you were to look in the face of God himself.

"The State's" crowning achievement was a segment entitled "$240 Worth of Pudding," featuring Barry and Levon. Barry and Levon were leisure suit-clad gentlemen who had a fondness for inanimate objects, including the aforementioned pudding.

I'm Barry And Levon.

Barry And Levon

Which The
State Character Are You?

I invite you to check out the "The State" website here. All of these videos are free and freaking hilarious. Enjoy.

S'OK? S'Awright.


09 julio 2003

Señor Wences and the On-Haitus Pop Star

Britney Spears is not a virgin?


Next thing you are going to tell me is that Tara Reid isn't a virgin and I cannot have my whole belief system torn down in one fell swoop.

So this is it folks? This is all we've got left to do. Publish and religiously follow stories regarding the sexual habits of 21-year olds. Now, it's clear that Ms. Spears' star is fading a bit and she wanted to vault herself back into the spotlight for a while whoever it is that does her choreography, lyrics and music takes a year long vacation in Barbados. I think we're all comfortable with the understanding that as goes her "talent" people, so goes Britney. I don't even think that Britney herself would contest that.

But her sex life? Is it brazen for me to submit that not only should the valuable television and newspaper space that this story has taken up be used for anything else at all, but that no one in the country should give a damn if she takes it nightly from a bouncer named Chuck or sits quitely in the library reading Nancy Drew books? When I tell people that I don't really care that Britney's dating this person and Justin's with Cameron Diaz or Ashton and Demi have been seen all over the place together, they look at me as if I've just shot Bambi's mother. You don't care that Britney and Justin are broken up? How could that be?

How could it be? Well, to be honest with you, I've got all I can handle with the small little corner of the world that I've carved out over here for myself. These other things that look like you that are in the cars next to you and walking all around you, they are called "people." And these "people" have thoughts and feelings much like yours. If you open your mouth and speak to them, you'll find that some of them think the exact same things as you. When you get to know them very well and spend a lot of time with them, they are called "friends." Try this exercise and then maybe you won't be obsessed with the sexual lives of pop stars.

S'OK? S'Awright.


08 julio 2003

As it turns out, Yankee Pot Roast and Fruit Salad do not sufficiently tame the raging fire within me to get my thoughts out to as many people who are willing to listen.

[Courtesy: Detroit Free Press]

April 21, 1999

NEW YORK -- Senor Wences, the master ventriloquist who delighted "Ed Sullivan Show" audiences with his puppet-head-in-a-box, Pedro, and his falsetto-voiced hand-puppet, Johnny, died Tuesday at 103.

The Spanish-born ventriloquist, whose real name was Wenceslao Moreno, died at home in New York City.

During the 1950s, Mr. Moreno bickered and bantered with his puppets while he drank, smoked and juggled.

He conversed with Pedro, a head in a box ("S'OK?" "S'AWRIGHT"). And he was defeated by Johnny, who boasted, "Deefeecult for you; easy for me."

Mr. Moreno created Johnny by scrunching up his fist, drawing a mouth where thumb and index finger met, and draping a blond wig over the top.

His character Pedro was a gravelly voiced head in a box, born of necessity when Mr. Moreno's ventriloquist's dummy was accidentally damaged and only the head was spared.

Mr. Moreno would talk to his puppets with his face right in theirs, as if daring the audience to watch his lips -- which, of course, never moved.

He would stuff a hankie in Johnny's mouth and have the puppet speak with a muffled voice while he himself smoked a cigarette. Then he would give Johnny a drag, and the puppet -- that is, Mr. Moreno's hand -- would somehow emit perfect smoke rings.

Mr. Moreno also entertained four presidents, toured with Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis, did a Broadway show with Danny Kaye, and played casinos in Las Vegas. He was born in Penarada, Spain.

A memorial service and burial will be in Spain this weekend.

I'll carry the torch, Señor Wences, on the pages of this self-serving journal.


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