Sunday, July 15, 2018

They Keep Taking Things Away From Me, Goddamn It

Toucher and Rich will no longer be simulcast on TV as of this past Friday.

They are moving to a new studio on Monday; this I knew. I did not know they would no longer be on TV.

This is a radio sports talk show that has been simulcast on TV on NBC Sports Boston. It is hilarious. The three main guys are funny. They make me laugh.

I need laugh.

Rituals. Gotta have them.

On work days, before heading out, I usually spend an hour or so reading, comforted by coffee and cat. Then I microwave myself a gourmet breakfast sandwich and watch an hour of Toucher  & Rich.

I do this for the laughter. For the insanity. Not for the sports knowledge.

They make me laugh, which makes me feel good.

So officially, as of tomorrow morning - which is the next time I am required to report for duty - I will be lost.

"Oh my God Joe, that is horrible. Why don't you just kill yourself? Or even worse - watch an endless loop of trump spewing mouth diarrhea?"

I know, right? But we all have our comforting rituals. It is not just comfort food. It is familiar things that ease our minds or distract us or entertain us. Things that we need to feel human.

Of course the show is still on the radio. I know I could listen to it. I also know I won't.

Some people don't get it. Carol used to ask me why they felt they had to broadcast a radio show on TV. I get that. But, somehow, it was comforting to me.

Sit back in the recliner, munching on a gourmet breakfast sandwich, mindlessly enjoying the witty banter. I did enjoy the sports conversations; I learned stuff and also gained a perspective I wouldn't have had because these guys are so knowledgeable, so immersed in the world of sports.

But they also played insane games, went off on non sports tangents, busted balls and just generally had a good time.

That was one of the big deals for me. These guys laughed their asses off at work. They had fun. Who does that?

So when I was watching it Friday morning and they talked about that being their last simulcast show, I was blown away. I felt empty.

I know you think I am overreacting - I can see it in your face. But that is just the way I feel.

I am not sure what I am gonna do tomorrow morning. I could just keep reading, which is indeed a peaceful pursuit.

But I need the insanity. Laughter is hard to come by these days for me.

Maybe I'll dig up some comedy stuff on Netflix. There are tons of comedy specials out there featuring comedians I don't know. Could be a goldmine.

Or maybe I will just sit and stare blankly at the wall. Like Puddy on the plane in Seinfeld.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Perfectly Sensible

"The world hurts people, John. I come in after the hurt. All I do is kill people who are already dead."

Richie ( Samuel L. Jackson) in "Meeting Evil"

Dark Times

At first I just laughed at trump.

Recognized him for the moron that he is. Never believed he would be elected. Until it got close to election day. Then I began to experience stomach cramps.

When he got elected I figured his reign would never last because he is so hopelessly stupid and uninformed that he would go down in flames. Quickly.

I did not underestimate him. I saw him for what he is. I underestimated the spinelessness of republican congressmen. I underestimated the stupidity and hatred that fuels his most ardent supporters.

His presence in the white house confirms the unmistakable vein of hatred and bloodshed and viciousness that has consistently run through this country's history. From Day One.

There is a direct connection between trump and all the people who lied to, tortured and killed Native Americans while stealing their country from them. Direct connection between the people that delivered slaves to America's shores.

There is a direct connection to the Germans who tortured and executed Jews. There is a direct connection between trump and every violent regime in the history of the world that has used torture and execution to control the people.

Here is what I am getting at.

trump is not just stupid. He is vicious. Hate filled. Mentally unstable. Racist, misogynistic, xenophobic. Empathy is a sensation impossible for him to experience. The same is true for love, compassion, or even the basic ability to identify with another human being as a human being.

He will gleefully drive a knife into the back of anyone who stands in his way. And his way is one of greed, lust for power, hatred and vileness.

Allow me to be more direct.

Can you imagine the level of hatred and lack of conscience it took for people to kill Native Americans? To lock slaves up in cargo ships, chained like sardines, sold as property, whipped, beaten, starved and lynched. To herd Jewish people into ovens where they were executed by the millions.

Can you imagine how heartless a person has to be, how vicious, how warped, to look into their victims eyes and then execute them unjustly?

That is the kind of human being that trump is.

Too many people in this country do not understand just how dark a place we are in. How many people trump will inspire to violence and open expression of hatred and violence.

Spineless republicans are the most vile. They do not respect trump. They know he is a moron and they know he is systematically destroying democracy.

They don't care. All they want is to accomplish whatever political objectives they feel are important to them. Regardless of the well being of their constituents, regardless of the well being of this country.

trump's moron base are equally as vile. They would re-elect him in a heartbeat. They point to increases in their paychecks and the performance of their 401K's as proof of the wonderful things trump has done for them.

Ignoring the fact that the increase in their pay is temporary, while the increases in advantages to the wealthy are permanent. Ignorant of the fact that the stock market will crash, just like it did before President Obama took office and for the same reasons. Because trump has gone out of his way to strip away regulations and oversight and allow banks to conduct business in as irresponsible a way as they like.

Moron Americans elected a dictator. They elected him. How ironic is that? He did not seize power in a bloody coup.

Although it could be argued that he did seize power by recognizing the stupidity and hatred in millions of Americans and convincing them through hyperbolic lies to support him.

Now that he is there he ain't going anywhere. Because republicans are happy to lap his balls, and brainless voters stand ready to re-elect him.

He is destroying the foundation of our lives in this country.

And laughing condescendingly as he does it.

Monday, July 9, 2018

Cheer Up

"Every hour wounds. The last one kills."

Neil Gaiman,   "American Gods"

Friday, July 6, 2018

Got McCartney On My Mind

Paul McCartney's birthday is on June 18. He just turned 76.

Every year I am aware of the day, mostly because the date is always the same. Isn't that amazing? His birthday is always on June 18. Talk about consistent.

I have bashed him many times. I will never forgive him for writing "Wonderful Christmas". Jesus Christ.

He's my least favorite Beatle.

Famously he was cornered by a journalist on the day after John Lennon was executed. He was asked a few questions and was pretty tight lipped. Then he said "It's a drag, isn't it?" With zero emotion.

He got slammed for that. I have seen clips of him many years later trying to explain himself and even then he shows no emotion.

My general impression of him is that he is a pretty cold guy and pretty full of himself. In 2002 he released a live album that included 19 Beatles songs; he credited them as being written by "Paul McCartney and John Lennon".

Fuck that. It's Lennon/McCartney. That's it. That's the way it has always been. Is his ego so fragile that he had to get top billing?

Still..................................... he is a Beatle. The significance of that was brought home to me once again recently when I watched Carpool Karaoke with James Corden. Featuring Paul.

It is 23 minutes and 43 seconds of  amazingness.

First of all I have never seen Paul let his hair down so much. He was personable, comfortable, not pretentious at all. I actually enjoyed him. Liked him.

So there's that.

The conversation and the singing as Corden drove was just fantastic. He was having a blast and so was McCartney.

On top of that Corden and McCartney made the rounds of Liverpool. They popped in to the house McCartney lived in from the age of 12 to 18, popped in to a barbershop on Penny Lane, and they stopped in to a pub.

When they were leaving his home a crowd had gathered outside. They were so excited to see Paul. One guy told him that he had played the Beatles' music at his dad's funeral. That is the kind of connection people make with music and musicians. Deep and meaningful.

The pub was the best.

Paul and his band were set up behind a curtain. The people in the pub did not know he was there (ostensibly).

Corden told a woman to choose a song on the jukebox. When she did, the curtains opened up as Paul and the band played "Hard Days Night".

The people in the pub looked genuinely astonished. I don't know how it was accomplished but these people appeared to be genuinely blown away. And then they were so excited. They were treated to a mini concert.

Singing along with the band. People started coming in off the street. There were so many smiles, so many people letting their hair down and singing Beatles songs with Paul McCartney.

Music is the holy grail, baby. We need music like we need food and water. Whatever band you connect with can lift you out of a dark place; can make you smile, cry, laugh, dance and sing.

Without music we would all be fucking lumps of useless flesh.

And when you are talking about The Beatles you are talking about the band. I love The Stones, I worship The Stones, I always have and always will.

But The Beatles did it first and it was a nuclear explosion. They hijacked our souls and imaginations; they turned the world and our lives upside down.

Their impact on life - not just music - is impossible to overstate.

So, yeah, McCartney is still a god to me. A flawed god, but  I gotta tell you - when he dies I will be devastated. Just as I was when John and George died.

The Car Pool Karaoke resuscitated my awe. I will try to be gentler on Paul from now on.

No guarantees though. After all - I am a crotchety, judgmental old motherfucker.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

!

The best things in life are free
But you can keep them for the birds and bees
Now give me money
That's what I want
That's what I want, yeah
That's what I want

Your lovin' gives me a thrill
But your lovin' don't pay my bills

Money don't get everything it's true
What it don't get, I can't use

Well now give me money
A lot of money
Wow, yeah, I wanna be free
Oh I want money
That's what I want
That's what I want, well
Now give me money
A lot of money
Wow, yeah, you need money
Now, give me money
That's what I want, yeah
That's what I want

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

One More Reason

One more reason why I love music.

Why I could never, under any circumstance, live without it. When that Fuckhead trump gets around to banning music I will kill myself.

I was bippity bopping to work this morning listening to Sirius XM and up pops "Wild Thing", by The Troggs.

Now dig, I got all four windows down, the sunroof open, I am smiling in the sun even though it was borderline cool. Fuck it, mama. I am making this summer my own, even if I have to compromise a little warmth.

My brain starts cookin' and I'm thinking what a great song this is. I have always loved it. Even though it is simplistic, even though it is kinda humorous - it is a great goddamn song.

And I'm thinking how simple a love song can be. This particular song, expressing love in as basic a way as is possible.

I am smiling.

The very next song is "Maybe I'm Amazed" by Paul McCartney. One of my favorite songs of all time. A song I rarely get through without shedding a tear, because I think about Carol.  Especially now.

"..............Maybe you're the only woman who could ever help me........................" (she tries so hard).

And I'm thinking here is another simple love song but in a completely different way. A much more serious song, a powerful song, a song where Paul stresses his vocal cords to the limit at times, a song written by a Beatle, for Christ sake.

A song packed with emotion and wonder and self deprecation, self doubt, and an awareness of the power of love. The power of having somebody by your side to love you.

Now I am REALLY smiling. Once again music has saved me, given me a new awareness, a refreshed perspective.

Jesus Christ, man - what more do I need? What more can anybody ask for?

I'm driving to work kind of down. Not because of the job; I like the job. But because somebody else gets to control my schedule, tell me where to be, when to be there, how long to stay there.

I never thought I would be in this position at this age.

Then along come The Troggs and Paul McCartney to flame up my brain and my emotions, to make me feel alive when seconds earlier I felt like I was driving a hearse.

I would shoot music into my veins if that was possible.

I NEED it that much.