Interview: Red Green from the Red Green Show

Would you want to ride Red Green's bike?

A few weeks ago I had the privilege of interviewing Red Green from the quirky Red Green show on PBS for an article for the News-Sentinel newspaper.  He appeared this week in a one-man show at the Embassy Theatre. On the phone and in person he was funny and it was a pleasure talking with him. My whole family are fans and my kids were impressed. That says a lot!

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RED GREEN’S PERSONAL WIT & WISDOM TOUR

“It’s always been easy for me to make people laugh,” said PBS actor Red Green aka Steve Smith. “I like connecting with people. Laughter is the greatest way to break through someone’s defenses.”

Red Green is the Canadian star of The Red Green Show, a wildly popular comedy show that started airing on PBS stations in the US in 1993. “What was supposed to be a one-summer season show has done pretty well,” said Smith via a recent phone interview. “I meet teens who like the show WHO were not born when we started.”

Red Green’s WIT & WISDOM TOUR will appear at the Embassy Theatre on Wednesday, April 25 at 7 p.m. See ticket information below.

This is Red Green’s second solo appearance in Fort Wayne. “I did 47 touring dates in the United States in Spring 2010 and 41 shows in Canada in 2011,” he said. “The fans have been great in both countries and the shows have been well supported.”

After appearances in a string of inconsequential TV shows in Canada  in the 1980s, Red Green hit on the concept of a deep-woods do-it-yourselfer with a homegrown philosophy on nearly every subject. He  quickly rounded up a posse of quirky friends, all of whom rely on the belief that duct tape fixes everything, and formed a community built around the men-only Possum Lodge. The Red Green Show began airing in Canada in 1990.

The constant stream of hilarious off-balance one-liners (“When the going gets tough, switch to power tools!”; “Remember you may have to grow old, but you don’t have to mature”) connected with fans. At its zenith The Red Green Show aired on 100 PBS stations. The show’s final season in Canada was 2006 and in the US 2007. Reruns air on approximately 80 US stations.

When not touring, Smith keeps up the comedy by authoring books in keeping with his light-hearted show:  The Red Green Book: Wit and Wisdom of Possum Lodge; How To Do Everything: (From the Man Who Should Know) and Red Green’s Duct Tape Is Not Enough. The 300-page We’re All in This Together takes a more somber approach as a biographical account of Smith’s life.

His current book project — a beginner’s guide to women — is due out in 2013.

Will there be another Red Green movie like Duct Tape Forever which was shown at the Embassy in 2001? “No,” replied Red Green. “Just watch Duct Tape Forever backwards. It has a different ending.”

Despite more than 20 years of success on TV, Smith is philosophical of his enduring popularity. “I’m enjoying being a one-man show and the show has almost a half million friends on Facebook, but I don’t want to project my life too far ahead,” he said. “I owe it to the fans not to be doing this just for the money or a contract. I don’t want to turn into a bitter old guy, just an old guy. As long as there are people who share my sense of humor, I’ll keep my stick on the ice.”

The End

Canterbury Book Fair reunites friends

This spring I was invited to participate in the Canterbury Book Fair in Fort Wayne. It was a joy to see many people I met last year when I was the guest speaker. Laurie Gray, author of Summer Sanctuary, and I have been friends for several years and she coordinated the visits. Thanks, Laurie!

Students, parents, teachers, and librarians from the community could peruse the large selection of books written by many local authors.

One who was present was an old friend of mine and one I was so glad to see. Linda Wade was the president of the Fort Wayne Christian Writers Club when it met during the 1970s-1990s. It was a source of encouragement and advice for me when I was learning to write. Linda conducted the meetings with grace and love. The club no longer meets but many of us stay in contact as friends.

I’m available as a speaker for your group’s meetings. Please contact me about speaking. adamswells.com@kjreusser (reverse the sides).

 

Take care,

Saint Aloysius Catholic School has great readers!

Speaking to students at Saint Aloysius Catholic School

 

I recently spoke to students at Saint Aloysius Catholic School about the joys of writing. They were interested in learning what it takes to be a writer. I shared with them that it is not always easy or even fun to develop a book or story (it takes several months!), but it is always worth the discipline in the end. I admitted it’s pretty cool to have a book with your name on the front cover!

 

The students were attentive and I left them with bookmarks of my books. I hope they will look for the books at the local libraries and become avid readers!

 

If you’d like me to speak at your school or young people’s group (scouts, service group), please contact me: adamswells.com@kjreusser (switch the words on both sides of the @ sign).

 

My goal is to meet as many students as possible to encourage them to read, read, read!

 

If you have a special means of getting a young person to read, I’d love to hear about it. Please leave a comment.

Thanks!

 

Stan Geisel loves his 1977 Triumph Spitfire

Stan Geisel and his 1977 Triumph Spitfire

A garage sale introduced Stan Geisel to his 1977 Triumph Spitfire in 2001. The British-made car had a ‘For Sale’ sign propped in its windshield. Geisel was shopping for a motorcycle. When he saw the 2-seater in a friend’s yard, he noticed it needed new brakes, interior, and convertible top. The body was clean and Geisel decided to purchase it and try to get it in running condition.

 

Over the next few years Geisel worked on it, having learned much about car engines from his father while growing up and later at his job as a mechanic in a Ford dealership. Geisel had owned other classic cars, but this was the first foreign car. “I knew it would be a challenge,” he said.

 

Geisel did research on the Internet to find companies that sold original parts for this type of car. Although the Triumph stopped being produced in 1980, certain companies still made parts for it. Geisel added several custom applications. He rebuilt 4-wheel disc brakes. He changed the powertrain by installing the engine from a totaled Camaro into the Spitfire, thus converting the original 1.5 liter engine to four times the horsepower. A son-in-law fabricated a wooden dash for the car. As the car only had two gauges (speedometer and tachometer), Geisel relocated them and added others. The transmission is a 5-speed manual. He installed devices to prevent theft. He also added new tires.

 

One thing Geisel had to adjust to was the difference in terms used by the British for parts of the car as compared to American usage. The trunk is a ‘boot’. The hood of the car is the ‘bonnet’; the top of the car is the ‘hood’. The car’s left rear quarter panel was called a ‘wing’. Geisel referred to the owner’s manual printed online to keep him straight. “It provided the English translations,” he said.

 

Ironically, when Geisel got out his metric wrenches to work on the car, he found the standard American system of measures still applied. “Apparently, the British changed to metric around 1980,” he said.

 

Geisel painted the car British racing green (sometimes known as hunter). Although Geisel had never added new upholstery, he followed directions on a kit and the biscuit-colored vinyl and cloth upholstery looks appropriate for the car’s flashy style.

 

By 2008, Geisel had the car ready for action. Geisel has driven it 2,400 miles, mostly giving rides to his wife, Cindy, and their seven  grandchildren around his home in Bluffton. He has another vehicle for daily use.

 

The Spitfire holds six gallons and gets around 22 miles per gallon. “After about 150 miles, I’m looking for a gas station to fill it up,” said Geisel. During trips to Bloomington, Indiana and eastern Ohio where the terrains are hilly, Geisel said the Spitfire did fine. Geisel is careful to go the speed limit, though he admits he’d like to get the Triumph on a race track to test its maximum speed performance. “I’ve never been able to let it stretch its legs,” he said. “I’d like to add a turbo charger.”

 

Geisel enjoyed working on his Spitfire, but qualified his enthusiasm. “There’s times when you wonder if you should have undertaken the task of fixing a car,” he said. “If you have a mechanical aptitude, it can be OK.”

 

The End

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Strangers Without, Friends Within

Gorgeous blooming tree at Foster Park

Gorgeous blooming tree at Foster Park

Strangers Without, Friends Within

Thirty minutes before the church service was scheduled to begin, Sharon swung the pack off her back and found a seat in a tall pew. Glancing shyly at people who entered the Gothic sanctuary, she felt a glimmer of hope as several stopped to greet her. But by the time the service started, she still sat alone.

A team of men and women led the singing and the preacher presented an inspiring message. Sharon waited until everybody filed out before gathering her pack and heading toward the door.

The minister shook her hand.

“You honor us with your presence,” he said. “Passing through?”

“Yes.”

“Where are you headed?”

“I plan to catch the 2:25 train toGlasgow,” Sharon answered. One benefit of traveling alone was making a schedule that suited her.

“We’ll be praying for your safety.” The minister released her hand and greeted the next person standing in line.

Sharon stepped outside. Underneath a bright sky, the moors shone like a sea of green glass. Sharon tried to focus on the glorious surroundings, but a sudden attack of self-pity paralyzed her thoughts and limbs.

‘What do I do now?’ Sharon strode toward the inn where she had stayed the night before. Perhaps the proprietor could suggest a walking tour of the area.

When a soft hand touched her arm, Sharon jumped. Turning, she recognized a woman from the singing team.

“Hello. My name is Jayne.” The woman smiled and held out her hand. “The minister thought you might be free for lunch. Could you join me?”

Sharon hesitated. The offer sounded wonderful, but her funds were running low. Meals, of necessity, would be skimpy.

“There’s a wonderful eating place near Ayrshire,’ the woman continued. “Ayrshire has a train station. Perhaps you could catch your ride there.”

The woman’s enthusiasm and friendly manner swayed Sharon and the two climbed into Jayne’s car and started off. As they drove, the two women chatted like old friends. After what seemed a short time, Jayne stopped the car.

Sharon’s heart dropped at the sight of the attractive eating establishment. Sharon tried to think of some excuse to get out of going inside. Finally Sharon blurted, “I’m sorry, Jayne. This restaurant looks wonderful, but I can’t afford it. If you’ll tell me where the train station is, I’ll walk there and find something to eat later.”

Jayne’s mouth fell open. “You won’t be paying! You’re my guest.”

Sensing a refusal would offend the woman, Sharon graciously accepted her kind offer, though it felt uncomfortable doing so.

Jayne ordered roast beef with vegetables, while Sharon ordered seafood crepe with cheese. Soon, it was time to head for the train station.

“Thank you for the most wonderful day,” Sharon said, hugging her new friend at the depot. “You’ll never know how much it meant to me.”

Jayne returned the hug, beaming. “Godspeed on your journey.”

On board, Sharon leaned back in her seat and closed her eyes. Memories of the day flooded over her like a gentle spring rain. She noticed a weary-looking family seated across from me. Smiling, she leaned forward. “Hi, I’m Sharon. Would you like to share some tea with me in the dining car?”

The End