Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Jeremy and Jack

Life is so incredibly bizarre. You really don't know what to make of it. I mean its something you want to hang onto. Nobody, at least most no-bodies, don't want to lie down in the grave. You want to be thrown into the grave kicking and screaming "No I'm not done yet. I got a lot of shit I gotta do."
Still its confusing. You thought you would have fun, live well and redefine the meaning of the word dignity. Instead you rip out of sleep to the sweet tones of an alarm clock and jump headlong into a life you don't want, don't enjoy, a life that creates ulcers and does not deliver on the promise of dreams.
Every single day.
Been sitting back absorbing this whole Jeremy Lin thing. My first reaction was that this is what we wee folk need. All the time every day. A story about somebody that was overlooked who rises up and says "You were wrong. I got something you can't understand that will drive me to the pinnacle of success."
He was waived twice and sent to the NBA's developmental league three times. Now he owns the NBA.
It was inspiration for me and 300 trillion other humans. I thought if he can do that I can be a writer. Then I re-thought "I am 58. My time has passed. If I'm lucky I might make an extra $50 a month writing for a porn site (hopefully under a pseudonym)."
That applies to every one of the remaining 300 trillion minus me humans who were inspired by Lin. Its just a story. It doesn't apply to any of us. And we know it.
And is he a flash in the pan? Or the real deal? I don't know, you don't know, nobody knows whether they pretend to know or not. Time will tell.
I'm also amused by all the celebrities who publicize Lin's success. The people who are already wealthy, already successful, who have to wear Lin jerseys and Harvard jerseys and talk about what a miracle this guy is.
What do they get out of his success? Are they just jumping on the bandwagon? I say yes.
A random Sports Illustrated that came into my possession inspired these words. I like SI but I can't afford it. So I read Random Old Peoples' Dead Dreams magazine instead.
Finished the article, turned the page and BOOM - Jack Jablonski. Story about a high school hockey player in Minnesota who is paralyzed from the elbows down due to a crushing hit into the boards.
A kid who lived hockey, breathed it, worshipped it, dreamed it - who now cannot walk. Cannot even take care of himself.
I went from soaring conflicting emotions about Lin to horrific reality, pain, disappointment and suffering about Jablonski.
Talk about the spectrum of possibility sports (life) can offer. A guy who is disrespected and misunderstood who rises up and wraps his arms around the world. A guy who clung to belief in himself against all odds and made it work. So far.
Contrasted with a kid who has a passion and a talent and a dream who has all of that taken from him in a second, left only with the question mark of what his life will be for the next 65 years. A kid who believed in himself against all odds and got crushed.
I turned one page - randomly - and went screeching from one extreme of life to the other.
They are analyzing the sport of hockey at the high school level in Minnesota. Trying to change rules to make it less violent. They are looking at the game of football in the NFL trying to make it safer.
Who is looking at the rules of life to make it less painful? Less disappointing? Less inconceivable, less confusing?
People succeed wildly in life and we wee folk embrace them as if they symbolize a chance for us to beat the odds.
They don't.
People get crushed by life and we wee folk point to them as an example to remind us of how good we have it.
It means nothing.
The only thing you can take away from two severely contrasting stories like this  separated by one page in a magazine is that life is a motherf***er.
Give it all the effort and dedication you want to, believe in your dreams until you bleed.
You might be rewarded.
You might be punished.
And there is absolutely no correlation between your effort, your purity of intent, your hard work and belief, and the outcome that awaits you.

Monday, February 27, 2012


"Life requires strong drink"

Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob Smith


Sitting, thinking, praying, drinking
Wondering, learning, worrying, burning
Ducking, crawling, staggering, brawling
Bleeding, screaming, howling, dreaming
Starving, gasping, trying, asking
Cornered, confusing, beat down, losing

Dig This

"There's this perennial thing that people have - how do you do it? Why do you do it? Like its - what do you do? How do you go to an office every day? Compared to that, my job is easy."

Keith Richards

NASCAR and a Rainout

Love NASCAR. Hate the reporters. Or are they journalists? What is the politically correct 21st century term? Jesus its so hard for me to keep up. These guys are nothing but wussy ass sycophants.
The guys down in the pits that interview the drivers. My god you can even see it in their eyes. They are fans, not journalists. Especially that big nose guy with the hat; he's the worst.
They lob softball questions at these guys and then stand back so they can absorb the aura. Talk to them like they are gods and never ask hard questions.
The guys in the booth are a little better because most of them are former drivers and/or crew chiefs. They know what they are talking about and they worship the sport, not the drivers. They have been through the drill, they are hardened, they know who and what the drivers are. They will stand by them, they respect their performance in the face of danger, but they don't blow kisses at them.
Well, maybe Darrell Waltrip does. But I cut him some slack. He is a very emotional guy and I can identify with that. He was calling the Daytona 500 when his brother won it. Darrell was actually cheering his brother on during the last lap. He was criticized big time for not being professional in the booth.
I loved it. It was the right thing to do.
The coverage of NASCAR is so soft it is pathetic. They use these animated characters to accompany illustrations and explanations. The commentators are forced to talk about these goddamn cartoon freaks like they are real. Digger, this. Digger that. Is Digger still around? Christ I hope not.
The most dangerous guy in the booth is Larry McReynolds. They are trying to expand the sport to appeal to a larger audience and kill the red neck image. This is the wrong guy for the job. He says things like "let's don't forget" and "Has went" and a million other ignorant redneck expressions. Jimmy Johnson has went to the garage? Please.
I think Dale Earnhardt drove into the wall and killed himself on purpose because he was afraid NASCAR would soon be forcing him to wear a skirt and say nice things.
In addition, NASCAR is very much like a cult. A depraved religion. The guys that rule that sport rule with an iron hand. They emasculate the drivers and dictate what they can eat, when they can sleep, they schedule bathroom breaks for them and they slap their wrists when they use dirty words. And god forbid any of them should criticize NASCAR. Kevin Harvick is sitting in the corner on a timeout.
Reminds me of the New Hampshire State Liquor Commission, which is the strangest organization, top to bottom, that I have ever worked for. Talk about a cult. But that's a story for another place and time.
I was royally pissed that the Daytona 500 was postponed yesterday. I wanted to watch that race from start to finish. My whole one day weekend was set up to revolve around digging the race. My guts have been ripped out and I am exhausted. All I wanted was to relax and sit in my recliner and watch the race with Carol. Catch my breath a little. Feel human. I was going to do appetizers, then cook a fabulous meal.
But I figured something out. Figured out exactly where my karma is at. It occurred to me in a flash of clarity that all I have to do is to want something with all my heart and all my soul for it NOT to happen. If I want it, if I need it, if my very survival depends on it - it ain't gonna happen.
I have to change my approach. Change my thinking. I have to fool karma.
So, in that spirit, I say to all my enemies - Live long and prosper.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

The Curse of Store 072

Dangerous place, Store 072. At least for the employees.
A toe has been amputated, a pacemaker has been replaced and a stent inserted, prostate cancer has been diagnosed, veins have been ripped out of a leg and replaced.
There are five major players in Store 072. The Fabulous Five. Admittedly I am the newest addition, the lowest on the totem pole, lagging far behind in knowledge and experience.
I am also the only one who has not been touched by serious medical concerns.
In an expression of solidarity, I have done everything I possible can over the last two months to destroy my health. Consuming whiskey like water, stopped exercising completely, eating a lot of junk, gaining weight, getting only half a night's sleep, and dealing with a stress level that is through the roof.
No results. No consequences.
My strategy has recently changed. I am now trying to escape from the karma of Store 072 into the warm, welcoming, mother-like arms of anybody who will have me within the wild and wacky world of the New Hampshire State Liquor Commission.
No results there either.
The commission is toying with me, dangling the prospect of hope one minute, cutting it of at the knees the next.
The Sword of Damocles is hanging over my head and I am boxed in, baby.
What a predicament.

(Editor's Note: I am not trying to escape the karma of Store 072, I wanted only to sound dramatic. The karma remains surprisingly positive and is a tribute to those warriors who have had to deal with these health issues. The Fab Four. My sole goal is to make more money. I will miss the laughter of my compadres. I hope no one was harmed, hurt or insulted by the thoughts expressed in this blog entry).

Santorum REALLY Sucks

"They have voluntary euthanasia in the Netherlands, but half the people who are euthanized every year, and its 10% of all deaths, half of those people are euthanized involuntarily in hospitals, because they are older and sick. So elderly people in the Netherlands don't go to the hospital. They go to another country. Because they're afraid because of budget purposes they will not come out of that hospital if they go in with sickness." The Dutch wear bracelets saying "don't euthanize me."
Comments courtesy of Rick Santorum.
This is Rick Santorum, Christ lover, lying and creating mindless, dangerous, fear. WWJD?
I previously pontificated on Santorum's approach to campaigning and by implication, the republican party's approach to campaigning.
Talked about their two pronged attack. The use of innuendo to inflame, and outright lying to inflame.
These comments represent the perfect union of both approaches.
Although outraged, the government of the Netherlands has not responded because they do not want to get involved in America's political campaign.
This is a very cool country. Imagine the restraint and intelligence and political awareness it takes to refrain from commenting on Ricky boys comments, although there are politicians in that country who are outraged at that silence and demanding a response, and an apology from Santorum..
In the Netherlands, prostitution is legal, marijuana is legal and euthanasia is legal. You can giggle about the first two with a juvenile mentality, but it makes perfect sense for pot and prostitution to be legal. In most of the world. The Dutch and much of Europe and the world are miles ahead of us in maturity. Euthanasia should be legal as well. Look at the shit Kevorkian had to deal with in America trying to educate and raise awareness about euthanasia. The intelligentsia in this country would rather have people suffer endlessly, or exist attached to machines, than to do the right thing and allow them to choose to die with dignity. The U.S. is repressed and handcuffed by religion and low intelligence; we cannot deal with these topics intelligently.
Perhaps by the year 2525...................
The Dutch press has responded to idiot boy and with a vengeance. One headline: "Rick Santorum Thinks He Knows The Netherlands: Murder of the Elderly on a Grand Scale."
The only thing Santorum got right is that euthanasia is legal in the Netherlands. Everything else is lies. LIES. Lies intentionally designed to strike fear in the hearts of the most vulnerable.
The innuendo here is that Santorum is implying that this is where the headed as a result of President Obama's Health Care bill. He is playing on the fears of the elderly and the soon to be elderly and counting on them to swallow his bullshit whole, without questioning it or researching it, because he knows that they are most likely racially prejudiced President Obama haters.
He should be disqualified from the race because of his lies, and because of his intentional manipulation of fear and misinformation on the part of the elderly and the American public in general.
The elderly are being attacked on all sides. Afraid of losing Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. Wondering how they would survive without these things. Their nerves are raw so they are receptive to hysteria about involuntary euthanasia. His words, his intent is so wrong, so disgusting that the man should be thrown in jail. Preferably with elderly cannibals.
Santorum is vile, he is without morals (ironic because he presents himself as a grand moral crusader), he is a very small mind and a very small man.
A large segment of the American voting public will eat this crap up, whether they are elderly or not. And use it to turn President Obama into Lucifer.
I'm losing my patience, kids. The republican presidential contenders have been thinned out and this is what you are left with?
Santorum is the Gordon Gekko of politicans. His cutsie sweater vests should be embroidered with the words"Lying, for lack of a better word, is good. Lying is right. Lying works."
I challenge you once again to defend a vote for Rick Santorum. Defend it with facts; prove to me that he stands FOR something instead of standing AGAINST President Obama.
Then look into your soul and do the same thing.

Dig This

"I'm not afraid of death, I just don't want to be there when it happens."

Woody Allen

Friday, February 24, 2012

Santorum Sucks

"America sat from 1940 when France fell to December of "41 and did almost nothing. Why? Because we're a hopeful people. We think "You know, it will get better. Yeah, I mean he's a nice guy. It won't be near as bad as we think. This will be OK."
You know, maybe he's not the best guy. After a while you found out some things about this guy over in Europe and maybe he's not so good of a guy after all. But you know what? "Why do we need to be involved? We'll just take care of our own problems, just get our families off to work, and our kids off to school, and we'll be OK." Sometimes, sometimes, its not OK."

Comments courtesy of Rick Santorum.

Was this chump comparing President Obama to Adolph Hitler? Santorum says no, says he has used this World War II reference 100 times in his career. Maybe.
But why now? Why while he is campaigning for the Presidency? Against President Barack Obama?
This is what republicans do. They make inflammatory comments that play perfectly into the diseased minds of those who hate President Obama, then they deny their intent. But its too late.
The cretinous, prejudiced, hateful voting public has made the association and it is one they want, one they like. They want to vilify this President in every way they can and the republicans spoon feed these hate words and hate images and hate thoughts directly into their mutated, low functioning brains.
Then the candidate comes out with a phony apology or explanation or denial and does everything but wink while he's doing it. The brainless boneheads see the wink though. They see it as clear as day.
I have hated politics and politicians all my life. But never more than now. Politicians are given a clear mandate to lie about everyone and everything. I have never understood why or how they are not held accountable. There are fact checking organizations out there. Every comment should be fact checked and the candidate should be forced to apologize when they are proved wrong. Three apologies of a substantial nature and you are disqualified from the race.
Of course Santorum's WWII comments cannot be fact checked. That is the evil nature of the game these assheads play. They make non-specific comments that can be interpreted in different ways. They know exactly what they are inferring, the great unwashed gobble it up with breakfast as they clean and polish their guns with dreams of assassinating President Obama, and when the candidate is called on it they claim innocence and smirk as if they are above such cancerous comments.
President Barack Obama gets no respect because he is black. Because he is intelligent. Because he will do what's necessary to save this country even if it means shaking up the status quo. I have hammered away on this point endlessly and I will continue to do so.
Go back in my blog and reference openly racist statements that members of Congress have made about The President and were forced to apologize for. Research them on line. I am not making this stuff up.
We are witnessing a unique high point in American politics contrasted to a unique low point in American politics. President Barack Obama is one of the most, if not THE most intelligent President this country has ever seen. The republican party is waging the most despicable, the lowest, most immoral campaign against him that this country has ever seen.
Unfortunately, racism is rampant in this country. It always has been and always will be. Read your history books kiddies and recall how evil this country can be. Start with our treatment of American Indians and work your way up to our history of slavery and beyond.
Millions of people in this country are mean spirited, prejudiced, uninformed and willing to hurt or kill anyone who follows an enlightened path.
republicans are willing to inflame and enrage these people in order to defeat President Obama regardless of the potential consequences. Witness the assassination attempt made on the life of Gabrielle Giffords. Then they will turn their backs on these same people.
In my lifetime I have witnessed the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, the assassination of his brother Robert F. Kennedy, the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., the attempted assassination of President Ronald Reagan. It is almost surreal to think this could happen in this country.
republicans are content to toy with this level of hatred, this intensity of emotion and don't give a good goddamn about the potential outcome.
Rick Santorum and all his idiot republican opponents are disgusting little men.
And so are you if you vote for them.

The Internet Is Invaluable

You learn so much. I take a little look yesterday to make sure I spell Tony Reali's name correctly and I find out he's a huge Goodfellas fan. Who isn't.
It gets cooler.
I find out that on the occasion of the ninth anniversary of Around The Horn, Reali stages a remake of the Copacabana club scene in Goodfellas.
I watch it and get curious so I go back and watch the original scene from the original movie.
I had no idea this scene is considered an iconic scene in movie making. It was a steady cam shot - in other words the camera followed Ray Liotta and his girl continuously as he left his car and walked into the restaurant so you would get a feel for the flow, no breaks, you feel like you are following them into the club.
I decided that I love that scene. There's a line waiting to get into the club but Liotta goes through the kitchen entrance. Walks the corridors, knows everybody and says hi to them, they know him and say hi to him, he tips all the right people looking so cool, so impeccably dressed and coiffed. Walks through the kitchen and finally enters the club. The maitre d' recognizes him immediately, the club is crowded and he signals to a busboy to bring out a table. They bring out a table and set it up right out front - tablecloth and lamp it - light the lamp - and boom Ray and his girl have made their entrance.
Absolutely awesome.
I need that. My life has been such a disappointment to me that I require that level of success. I don't just want security. I want blinding stardom and awestruck respect. I want to take Carol out to the most expensive restaurant in the area and have everybody say "Hey Joe - How you doing?" I want first class, top shelf treatment. I want Carol to look at me with stars in her eyes and say "What do you do?" So I can answer "I'm in construction."
Do yourself a favor. Check out the Goodfellas Copacabana scene on You tube. You'll dig it. Then find the Tony Reali Around The Horn tribute and watch that. It is hilarious.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Dig This

"Music has always been a matter of Energy to me, a question of Fuel. Sentimental people call it Inspiration, but what they really mean is Fuel. I have always needed Fuel. I am a serious consumer. On some nights I still believe that a car with the gas needle on empty can run about fifty more miles if you have the right music very loud on the radio."

Hunter S. Thompson

Dunkin Donuts Does More For Humanity Than Religion

Dunkin' Donuts is the center of the universe, baby. Walk in there on your way to work and check it out. Yeah, I said walk in there; don't go through the goddamn drive-through unless there is no one in front of you. It always takes longer and you are lazy enough as it is.
I pop in there on the days I have to sling booze early; the days I open the store. By the way, as much as I hate early, I enjoy the first hour that I am in the store alone. I dig the quiet and the chance to do my job without some idiot looking at my cutesy NHSLC shirt with the name tag clipped on and asking me if I work here.
Pop into DD on a weekday and you see America as it is. Tired people with bags under their eyes standing at the counter ordering coffee, sandwiches, donuts, whatever it is that will start their day off with a little pleasure, a little dignity. Strangely enough I rarely pick up on an air of desperation. Everybody seems to walk in there with a purpose, an aura of dignity about going to work. Maybe its as simple as being able to treat yourself in a small way. The people that work there are pleasant and I rarely see a grumpy customer. Maybe its as simple as the fact that nobody is awake.
Go there early because that's when life happens to most working folk. If you walk in there later in the morning you'll be greeted by the people who are scamming the system, drug dealers, retirees, layabouts and castoffs. Its a whole different vibe.
The employees work their asses off. Running, whirling, swirling, reaching, grabbing, boxing and mixing. The experienced ones are smooth and a pleasure to watch. Effortlessly dealing with customers, running a register, cooking, bagging and tagging. Trainees have a look of disbelief on their face like "How the hell will I ever handle it?" But us wee folk are eminently trainable; somehow we always learn no matter how fast paced or unreasonable job demands become. That carrot called a paycheck provides endless inspiration.
Zap in there early on a weekend morning and you get an entirely different vibe. Flocks of parents and kids on their way to basketball tournaments, fueling up and socking away treats to reward the kids with later. Everybody seems to know everybody else. Exchanging small talk; the job, the kids, the home, sickness and health, good news, bad news, catching up or keeping up. Its a little odd as a worker bee standing there bleary eyed on a Saturday morning watching all these people live a weekend life, life as it should be; two whole days off in a row every single week. Makes you feel a little alienated or maybe like you have done something wrong with your life. For me, that thought is often followed by thankfulness that I don't do the 9 to 5 anymore. That would kill me. Everything is a trade off for us wee folk.
My ritual is to order the coffee and sandwich (sausage, egg, and cheese on either a plain bagel, or an everything bagel when I'm feeling quite feisty) and then walk over to the sandwich pick-up area while greedily slurping my coffee. Those first few sips are powerful; I am an addictive personality who celebrates his addictions. Coffee ain't nothing but a drug to me and when I begin to feel its effects I know I am alive.
My stakeout point allows me to look into and across the kitchen towards the drive-up pickup window. I was standing there slurping and observing recently, watching these youngsters gliding around filling orders, when a truck pulled up to the window. Guy with a dog leaning over him to watch all the activity.
The dog was amused. His head swiveling to see all these bodies doing the customer service dance. It was obvious that he knew his life was a lot better than anybody's in that store. It was an interesting moment to me, a clearer perspective on the world.
Dunkin Donuts is where life happens. Life as experienced by the worker bees of the world. People who go to work because they have to, not because they have any expectation of enjoyment. People who are hurried and worried, stressed and depressed, hanging on like farmer John.
And somehow making it all happen. Somehow keeping it all together. Even if that requires yards of duct tape.
People to whom a simple cup of coffee and a breakfast sandwich provides dignity.

Ashes On Your Forehead, Whaddya Do?

Wipe that dirt off your forehead you look like an idiot.
Ash Wednesday drives me crazy. Strange religious fanatics walking around with ashes on their foreheads. I think it would be cooler if they walked around with gobs of dried blood on their heads and fake plastic nails attached to the palm of each hand; that would be more dramatic.
Ashes just look silly.
The ashes are made by burning the blessed palms that were distributed last year on Palm Sunday. The priest blesses the ashes and sprinkles them with holy water. Dips his right thumb in the ashes, makes the sign of the cross on your forehead and says something along the lines of "Remember that thou art dust and to dust thou shalt return." The distribution of ashes reminds us of our own mortality and calls us to repentance. The ashes are a reminder of our own sinfulness and many Catholics leave them on their foreheads all day as a sign of humility.
I see it more as a sign of hilarity.
A few people levitated into The Booze Emporium with dirt on their heads yesterday and I found the image entertaining. Snapping up a bottle of hootch so they could go home, get drunk and screw the neighbor's wife. If they rubbed foreheads and co-mingled ashes, would it increase the intensity of the love-making? Could just be my cynicism in play here; maybe they were going home to get drunk and pray to Jesus for a winning Powerball ticket, promising to tithe 10% to the church.
Did you see Tony Reali on Around The Horn yesterday? He had a smudge that almost covered his entire forehead. It is difficult for me to believe that Tony is a devout Catholic. I prefer to believe that he was spoofing the whole deal, and in that frame of reference it was hilarious.
Of course Santorum was running around the country sporting head mud. Phony piece of garbage. Sporting the sign of the cross on his forehead while he tries to regress this country 50 years  by eliminating abortion, and contraception, re-introducing guilt to sex, introducing religion into government as a major consideration in any decision process, and lobbying to have Jesus Christ as his running mate.
I have no problem with you participating in religious rituals, I have no problem with you believing devoutly. But don't run around with dirt on your head. You look like a friggin' idiot. It proves nothing. If you want to be reminded of your mortality and sinfulness and lust for redemption, if you want to be humble, turn inwards.  Feel what you feel, believe what you believe and do it with conviction.
But don't position your dirty forehead in front of me and expect me not to laugh. I keep a bottle of water under the counter at work. I was so tempted to wet down a cleaning rag and and say "You have something on your forehead, let me take care of that."
But I didn't dare. Just in case they are on to something. I'm 58 for Christ sake. Gotta cover all my bases.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Thanks, Popey

On this, the first day of Lent 2012, inspirational words from Pope Benedict XVI:

"Life is a cesspool, and we all have to jump in and swim laps every day."

Monday, February 20, 2012

Clothing The Corpse

So I'm choosing the clothes for The Interview - Version 2.0. Can't wear the same exact outfit because they will use it against me.
"This guy is wearing the same getup he wore two weeks ago. Must be the only dress clothes he owns. We cannot hire a guy with that limited a wardobe to work in our store humping boxes of booze around."

Or even more insulting: "This guy is wearing the same getup he wore two weeks ago. If he doesn't care enough to even try..............."

Really I'm only picking out a different shirt. Different tie. Same shoes, same suit jacket, same pants. As I was doing it, I felt like a family member picking out an outfit for a recently deceased loved one.

Hopefully this is not an omen.

What's Next After So Much Time

I need total silence when I write. Cannot concentrate otherwise. Today I need to shake things up, trying to grab the vibe of the last three weeks and choke the life out of it while choking life back into it. Less obsess, more success. Got Dylan playing on the Ipod machine. Sat down and started to write. Without pretense. Without much thought. This is what poured out. I don't typically write rhyming poetry. It seems simplistic. Its too easy for me. Today I need easy, today it makes sense. Overall its not very good but there are some good ideas in there. And I know its better than anything you could come up with.
An aside: Add Dylan to the list. Love the man. Always have. A guy who had so much confidence in his words that he dared to go out and attempt a career with that voice. I think he has done very well.

You fight for 58 years rocking and rolling away the tears
Knowing full well you can't quit after all these beers
Taking life's pounding and bouncing back every single time
Occasionally eating cat food and drinking cheap wine
Clipping coupons, minimizing expenses, dreaming to maximize hope while
imbibing whiskey and smoking dope
Hope that is often on life support
Waiting for a positive report
Watching, waiting, learning, becoming expert at wrapping wounds
and moving on
Looking for the opportunity to sing your own song
There's a look of confusion in your eyes but the light,
the light is almost always there
It fades from time to time but burns because you care
You care about your legacy, what you leave behind
A wasted life won't cut it, can't stomach the thought of wasting time
You know what you deserve and you ain't seen it yet
Haven't tasted it, seen it or felt it but you still haven't lost the bet
The bet your parents wagered when they exposed you to the world
The bet you laid down when you created a family and let their banner unfurl
You owe them and you owe you
Its your life to live but its their life to lose
So whaddya gonna do?
So whaddya gonna do?
Keep on smiling at the rain, keep on beating back the pain
Never apologize, never explain
Live your rules, paint your soul on your skin
Ignore the fools, laugh at their attempts to get in
No one is welcome inside your head
There's no room there, no appetite for negative words to be said
Move quickly and forcefully, always more, never less
Cut doubt with a razor blade called confidence
Grab a hold of your life NOW and pull yourself up
Believe with extreme prejudice and never stop
Nothing else matters
Nothing else matters

Preparing For Life

Stand in front of a mirror with a rubber mallet in your right hand. Place your left hand on the sink and smash it is hard as you can with the rubber mallet just short of breaking bones.
As the pain shoots up your arm, detours through your guts and then careens straight up into your brain - if you can hold a serene smile in the mirror - you are prepared for life.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

The Tuesday Interviewee

He established a pattern of interviewing on Tuesdays. Had one on 02/07, has one coming up on 02/21. Every other week. Kind of likes the pattern. The most exciting part is the opportunity to be interviewed by Jonathan Banks.
On those days he gets to dress up purdy. Socks without holes, fancy dress shoes, sharply creased pants, dress shirt, even a tie. Wow look at that boy. He is wearing a tie. Suit jacket.
He does it to please The Grand Inquisitors. They know its an act and irrelevant to the job being interviewed for. He knows its an act. But it is what is required so he does it.
And it makes him feel simply wonderful. To dress as expected, to speak as expected, to give them what they want, reminds him of the carefree days of childhood. When doing as you were told avoided spanking and sometimes resulted in candy.
This equation is not as simple. The candy is harder to come by.
If this is Tuesday I must wear a tie.


A passionate man must live his life passionately or wither and die.

All Tore Up

When a man gets backed into a corner, feeling desperate, his insides get all tore up. No doctor could diagnose it, but the man is bleeding internally. Hemorrhaging, really. Hemorrhaging pain, disbelief and worry. Bleeding shock at who he sees in the mirror and what he doesn't see in the bank account. Amazement at the smiles on the faces of those who would destroy him and surprise on the faces of those who would support him.
It can shake a man from lethargy, give him a new definition of life. A more practical one. A definition that drops happiness, relaxation and enjoyment to the bottom of the priority list and rockets a paycheck earned at any cost to the top of the list.
Hope is the only cure for this condition. Hope as a concept is pure. One of life's rare pure things. Hope in reality is anything but. Hope in reality is tainted by agenda. Other peoples' agenda.
When your body and your mind and your soul and your very existence depend on Pure Hope, what you get instead is hope compromised. Hope manipulated by humans without your best interests in mind.
Dangerous stuff.
You are standing by the window with your cat in your arms looking at the frozen February ground. Guts churning, mind trying to comprehend the incomprehensible, thoughts trying to predict what cannot be predicted, walking the treadmill of interviews, hope inflated, hope destroyed, more interviews. Thinking that a few lessons from Al Pacino would put you over the top on the interview circuit. Sizzle over steak, appearance over substance. That's what they want.
February is the Tuesday of months. Monday is a real day, a day you can feel because the weekend is over and you have to walk back into the meat grinder. It has meaning. Tuesday is nothing. It has no meaning. It is literally just another day. Wednesday is hump day, however you choose to celebrate that. Thursday promises Friday. Friday IS Friday. Saturday is the greatest day of the week. Freedom. You can do with it as you please and know it will be followed by another day off, albeit with compromised freedom, semi-freedom tainted by the looming spectre of Monday.
January signals a new year. But it flows away quickly and you have February. February is nothing. February tells you it is still winter and gives you nothing else. An ugly month. March promises spring and you can take it from there for the rest of the year.
So if you are going to feel eviscerated, February is a good month to do it. The month's vibe is in perfect tune with feelings of confusion, desperation, frustration and anger. Dancing to the tune of others for the potential and the privilege of maintaining your uncomfortable relationship with The Mortgage Vampire.
So you look out the window on a cold, frozen, ugly February Sunday morning and wonder which month will follow. Many lives are rooted in a constant February never to escape. That is the source of the permanent sarcasm, the phony, frozen smile, the spineless, unconvincing projection of a know-it-all attitude. Cold kills, baby - cold kills.
March might be nice. Strange thing to say but March might be nice.
Maybe you can break the cycle and stumble forward into March.
Good luck, Bubba.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Dig This

"The reason they call it the American Dream is because you have to be asleep to believe it."

George Carlin

Dig This

" Let us toast to animal pleasures, to escapism, to rain on the roof and instant coffee, to unemployment insurance and library cards, to absinthe and good-hearted landlords, to music and warm bodies and contraceptives.....and to "the good life", whatever it is and wherever it happens to be."

Hunter S. Thompson

Dig This

"We are all going to die, all of us, what a circus! That alone should make us love each other but it doesn't. We are terrorized and flattened by trivialities, we are eaten up by nothing."

Charles Bukowski

Dig This

"Some people never go crazy. What truly horrible lives they must lead."

Charles Bukowski

The History of One Tough Motherf***er

When I am feeling opposed, under attack, violated, threatened, unsure, angry and lost I always turn to the guys who inspire me. Strong, uniquely creative types who saw the world as it is and had the guts to point fingers. Hunter S. Thompson, George Carlin.
This morning I was looking for some inspiration, something to grab onto, something to help me change the view, something to fuel my determination. Something to give me the strength to change, to fight, something to give me the strength to have strength.
Went to Bukowski. He was a poet. My kind of poet. This one slammed me because it exposes the unimaginable horror of this life as we all experience it and celebrates the guts it takes to never give up.
It's called:

The History of One Tough Motherf***er

he came to the door one night wet thin beaten and
a white cross-eyed tailless cat
I took him in and fed him and he stayed
grew to trust me until a friend drove up the driveway
and ran him over
I took what was left to a vet who said "not much
chance.........give him these pills.......his backbone
is crushed, but it was crushed before and somehow
mended, if he lives he'll never walk, look at
these x-rays, he's been shot, look here the pellets
are still there...............also he once had a tail, somebody
cut it off...."
I took the cat back, it was a hot summer, one of the
hottest in decades, I put him on the bathroom
floor, gave him water and pills, he wouldn't eat, he
wouldn't touch the water, I dipped my finger into it
and wet his mouth and I talked to him, I didn't go any-
where, I put in a lot of bathroom time and talked to
him and gently touched him, and he looked back at
me with those pale blue crossed eyes and as the days went
by he made his first move
dragging himself forward by his front legs
(the rear ones wouldn't work)
he made it to the litter box
crawled over and in,
it was like the trumpet of possible victory
blowing in that bathroom and into the city, I
related to that cat -  I'd had it bad, not that
bad, but bad enough
one morning he got up, stood up, fell back down and
just looked at me.
"you can make it" I said to him.
he kept trying, getting up, falling down,finally
he walked a few steps, he was like a drunk, the
rear legs just didn't want to do it and he fell again, rested,
then got up.
you know the rest: now he's better than ever, cross eyed,
almost toothless, but the grace is back, and that look in
his eyes never left...
and now sometimes I'm interviewed, they want to hear about
life and literature and I get drunk and hold up my cross-eyed,
shot, run over, de-tailed cat and I say "look, look
at this"
but they don't understand they say something like,"you
say you've been influenced by Celine?"
"no" I hold the cat up "by what happens, by
things like this, by this, by this"
I shake the cat, hold him up in
the smoky and drunken light, he's relaxed, he knows...
it's then that the interviews end
although I am proud sometimes when I see the pictures
and there I am and there is the cat and we are photo-
graphed together.
he too knows it's bullshit but that somehow it all helps.

It occurs to me as I go through this incredibly silly and ultimately meaningless process of chasing jobs and enduring surreal interviews, manipulation and corporate condescension, that reading HST, Bukowski, watching a little Carlin, will give me exactly what I need to get through it. They have all always been a huge part of my life but right now it feels as if they are becoming part of me. Offering themselves to me as weapons.
There is inspiration in their words to get me where I need to be as a human being. As a man.
And if things get really stupid in any of these interviews, I will have quite a few great lines at my disposal to dumbfound The Clowns.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

How To Use Box Handles

This is how stupid this great country of ours has become. Saw these instructions on the side of an Avon box.

How To Use Box Handles:
1) Push hole in the corner of the outlined area.
2) Pinch the tear away portion.
3) Pull the long ways, like zipping a zipper.
4) Remove tear away portion, creating handle.

There are two illustrations on the box to complement the directions.

Curious, I went on line to the Avon site to see if there have been any complaints filed regarding the directions. I found this: "You left out the most important step. It took me four or five attempts before I realized I could just insert my fingers into the newly created handle hole and actually lift the box. Your directions need to be improved."

Dig This

"These silly dreams you have when you're young. I mean, what, Katie and Brendan Harris were going to make a life in Las Vegas? How long would that little Eden have lasted? Maybe they'd be on their second trailer park, second kid, but it would hit them sooner or later - life isn't happily ever after and golden sunsets and shit like that. It's work. The person you love is rarely worthy of how big your love is. Because no one is worthy of that and maybe no one deserves the burden of it, either. You'll be let down. You'll be disappointed and have your trust broken and have a lot of real sucky days. You lose more than you win. You hate the person you love as much as you love him. But, shit, you roll up your sleeves and work - at everything - because that's what growing older is."

Mystic River - Dennis LeHane

Comes A Time

Comes a time in a man's life when he has to make a decision.
Not everybody gets there. Most people don't. The numbness it takes to negotiate life most often kills the ability to make a stand. A sense of hopelessness is drilled into people as they ride the bumpy road, and change is no longer an option because it cannot even be conceived.
The rich and privileged get to try on persona. Take some time off to reinvent themselves. Try a new look. Try a new approach. Experiment with how to deal with the world until they find a personality that fits. Think David Bowie.
Everybody should have this opportunity. The wee folk are forced into roles before they are ready to accept them, then they become trapped by responsibility. Their souls cry out for change until they become mute. And the original personailty, the real human, gets lost in the shuffle, obscured by an actor's role.
Comes a time in a man's life when he has to decide to stop eating shit and start dishing it out.
The heart and soul have to be aligned to make this real. You cannot fake it.
The typical pattern is to become furious when your life is under attack. Resolve to change. Put up a fight.
But you procrastinate because you don't know exactly what you should do. Procrastination is death because, given time, life will once again beat you into submission. It doesn't take long and the anger is gone. This happens over and over and over again.
Unless you act immediately. Use the anger as fuel against fear. You have to be prepared. Your experiences and conscious self, your needs and desires, your understanding of who you truly are, these must all be buzzing inside you simultaneously. Your unconscious self has to make its presence felt. The truth.
You have to be at the right place. Because it will take everything you got. The world and everybody in it wants to beat you down. Change throws people off balance. They put you in a box when they meet you, and they have to keep you there to keep their tiny world in balance. Show them a different side and they will fight tooth and nail to back you into that box. Because now they have to pay attention to you. They can't just sit back and ignore the stereotype they helped to create.
And nobody wants to have to think about you. They want only to think of themselves.
Comes a time in a man's life when he has to decide to live without fear.
Your essence cannot shine until you become fearless. When you don't give a damn what any living human being thinks about who you are, what you say, how you think, what you wear; then you have become fearless.
When you can make the important decisions of your life unafraid of the consequences; then you have become fearless. You cannot be afraid to lose a job or take a pay cut; you cannot be afraid of what the boss might think. You cannot compromise your true self for any reason under any circumstance. That is the definition of fearless.
Just like that. A small phrase that has always fascinated me with its power. He changed dramatically, just like that. He changed his life, just like that. His attitude, his perspective, his approach is a whole new thing. And it changed just like that.
It suggests enormous change in a split second.
The truth is vastly different. The truth is that when a human has had enough and is strong enough, his spirit bursts forth. In response to one final indignation, one last insult, one last situation that tips the scale to infinitely unacceptable.
A response that has been building for decades. But appears to happen just like that.
Still, I like the perception. Just like that. Boom.
Comes a time in a man's life, if he has anything left in the tank, when he has to rise up and fight. For the pure dignity of it.
They say you have to pick your fights. I think fighting to be who you are regardless of petty criticism from small minds, is the right fight. I think fighting to live your life in a way that expresses and satisfies your soul regardless of opposition from those of limited intelligence, is the right fight.
Hunter S. Thompson used to say "Never apologize, never explain." Words to live by. Because apologizing and explaining put you on your knees, which is where everyone around you wants you to be.
Comes a time in a man's life when he has to believe in himself without question.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Speaking Hypothetically

I have begun to engage in hypothetical thinking as an exercise for my brain. A way to stimulate thought and hopefully regeneration of brain cells in the hope that I may maintain some semblance of sanity for as long as I can before I plunge over the inevitable cliff (so close now) towards dementia.
My brain cells are much maligned. When Crown Royal washes over them, they dance in ecstasy, reveling in the freedom of sweet abandon. The next morning the survivors awake in puddles of vomit to a nightmare of mass extinction; thousands of their friends dead around them in piles of unimaginable horror. Worse still, through the body's early warning communication network, they hear the whispers of the liver croaking out the words "I cannot take much more of this."
Hypothetical thinking. I decided to imagine a guy going on a job interview. A job he needed more than any other job of his lifetime. Because a corporate giant had stripped him of options, taken away his safety net called credit and left him vulnerable, exposed and afraid. A job he prepared for like never before in his life, putting in a minimum of 6 to 8 hours of studying. He had never studied for a job interview before ever in his life. I started to feel for this guy.
I wondered what it would be like to feel confidant after the interview, only to be rejected and told that he scored low on oral expression. A measurement tool you would think would be used for hookers or porn stars. Oral expression? Shouldn't this guy have been "scored" on the relevance of the answers he gave with nervousness factored in? Nervousness purposefully encouraged by the Stalag-like nature of the interview itself? Even given the fact that the interviewers could not know how badly this guy needed the job, you would think they, given job prospects as they currently are, might feel the desperation of an insecure part timer going for the imagined security of a higher paying full time position, and factor that into their "evaluation".
Then I thought to myself - How would this guy feel if this bad news was communicated to him by a Human Resources employee who oozes condescension and insincerity? An employee who goes on to say - "it might be helpful to take a deep breath before answering and try to make your responses more precise and clear." As if she was talking to a five year old.
As I considered along the logical path of this hypothetical scenario, I wondered how this guy would feel if he began to think that he had been screwed by the system. That the decision to hire someone else had been made on prejudices or politics or negative agenda, and not on merit, ability and intelligence. What if he started thinking that the two more interviews he has lined up are meaningless. Maybe the company is looking for a sacrificial lamb at The Big Store, or maybe they are not considering him as a serious candidate for either job? That could signal the death of hope.
What if he felt that the system was a game and that his survival hung in the balance? That he was trying as hard and as sincerely as he could, desperate, while others toyed with his future, completely insensitive to the potentially drastic consequences of the game.
I began to experience hypothetical anger at a nuclear level.
I thought about this guy going home the night he got the bad news and on the day afterwards. Going home to a house silent with tension. Financial stress. Worry. Fear. A house screaming silently with the words "What do you have to do to survive? How can you fight a system that is designed to make you fail?" A house wise with the knowledge of all the jobs worked, all the sacrifices made, all the tortured fear experienced and the tears shed over many decades. A house thick with his feelings of failure.
The disappointment. The sense of hopelessness and helplessness.
I had to give up on this hypothetical exercise because I became simultaneously furious, murderous and suicidal.
I thought to myself that I hope I never meet anyone in such a painful and desperate situation. I don't think I could handle it.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Christopher Hitchins

A guy named Christopher Hitchins died in 2011. He was a contrarian.

Contrarian is the level of intelligence I aspire to, although my brain power is severely limited and becoming more clouded over and limited every goddamn day. Contrarian is the highest level of intelligence. Contrarians question everything. They don't take sides.
George Carlin was a contrarian and I worshipped him. I knew he was a contrarian because I would be floating along, listening to his rap and thinking "Yeah, George, you are my man, you think like me, we are kindred spirits." Then he would mock something that I believe in, something seemingly in opposition to his typical train of thought, and I would realize I don't think deeply enough. I also realized he did not have a typical train of thought. He just thought.
Christopher Hitchins was cut from the same cloth, although his thinking was more right leaning. I am not going to dig too deeply into the man today because I don't have time. I hate that expression because the time I don't think I have will never be back. Anyway I'm going to give you some of his quotes ranging from the everyday to the intellectual to nasty satire. Enjoy.

"Owners of dogs will have noticed that, if you provide them with food and water and shelter and affection, they will think you are god. Whereas owners of cats are compelled to realize that, if you provide them with food and water and shelter and affection, they draw the conclusion that they are gods."

This one, in my humble opinion, is the definition of contrarian: " Beware the irrational, however seductive. Shun the "transcendent" and all who invite you to subordinate and annihilate yourself. Distrust compassion; prefer dignity for yourself and others. Don't be afraid to be thought arrogant or selfish. Picture all experts as if they were mammals. Never be a spectator of unfairness or stupidity. Seek out argument and disputation for their own sake; the grave will supply plenty of time for silence. Suspect your own motives, and all excuses. Do not live for others any more than you would expect others to live for you."

"Human decency is not derived from religion. It precedes it."

"Mother Theresa was not a friend of the poor. She was a friend of poverty. She said that suffering was a gift from God. She spent her life opposing the only known cure for poverty, which is the empowerment of women and the emancipation of them from a livestock version of compulsory reproduction."

"If you gave Jerry Falwell an enema, he could be buried in a matchbox."

On Sarah Palin: "She's got no charisma of any kind, but I can imagine her being mildly useful to a  low-rank porn director."

"My own view is that this planet is used as a penal colony, lunatic asylum and dumping ground by a superior civilization to get rid of the undesirable and unfit. I can't prove it but you can't disprove it either."

"The search for Nirvana, like the search for Utopia, or the end of history or the classless society, is ultimately a futile and dangerous one. It involves, if it does not necessitate, the sleep of reason. There is no escape from anxiety and struggle."

"How ya doin?" I always think, What kind of question is that?, and I always reply "A bit early to tell."

Dig it, folks. I'm outta here.

Celebrity Death

Occasional celebrity deaths are good for the soul. They give us sensation. Something to talk about at work. Some will demonize the dead, some will elevate them to saint-like status. There will be arguments and discussions. Debates.
Celebrity death allows the Grim Reaper to touch your life without hurting your family and friends.
Maybe make you think.
Maybe not.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Just Practicing

The mid February wind is strong today, making the cold even colder. I'm watching the branches outside my window, leafless, sway back and forth. The squirrels are moving quickly today, except the ones who have taken up residence in my attic. They have five star accommodations and heat waiting for them after their days' work and they don't feel so pressured.
Not much snow this winter, but still there is a layer of it frozen on the ground in my yard as a reminder that there is no perfect winter for someone who desires heat.
The driveway is a skating rink that renders my truck helpless as I pull in. As I come around the corner I cannot apply the brake or the truck won't turn. I hit the snowbank once or twice, teaching me that lesson. I manipulate the steering wheel and ease into the spot. Having gotten stuck in this spot earlier this winter, I usually turn the truck around to give me the best chance of escape in the morning. This involves a series of comical maneuvers that send the Dakota sliding back and forth, barely under control, until I can coax it into backing in on ice land.
It is cold in this room. Always is. I'm wearing a 2007 PATS AFC Conference Championship sweatshirt over a heavy flannel shirt. The clothes I wore on Super Bowl Sunday are still draped over the back of this chair. When I got home that night I threw them there and left them there. Except for the Tom Brady jersey. It fell on the floor the other day. It is still there.
I was driving home Saturday night from work  in The Peace Mobile, tired and feeling in my bones the onset of disease. Turned right onto the ramp taking me home and saw a coyote type thing slink off to my left forcing me to swerve right and hit whatever he was ripping into. Felt like I ran over the skull, although I tend to the melodramatic.
Even though I knew it was already dead when I hit it, the thud still disturbed me. In my mind, running over a corpse is not much better than killing something. I felt uneasy for the rest of the ride and for a little while after getting home.
Woke up sick as a dog on Sunday. Actually I rousted myself out of bed around three a.m. so as not to disturb Carol. Slept(?) in my recliner.
Just your typical February.

Tortured Souls

After writing the Whitney/unhappiness thing, the term "tortured souls" popped into my mind.

I think the majority of human beings are tortured souls.

I don' think pain gets any deeper than that.

Here We Go Again

So what is it about this whole happiness thing? Whitney Houston's death got me thinking about this for the 13 millionth time.
So many of the rich and famous who appear to have the world by the balls, end up dying young. By their own hand or their own semi-planned recklessness or a callous disregard for the fragility of life. And in so many of these deaths it is revealed that the individual led a tortured life, lost and alone, hurting beyond their ability to contain it. It is revealed that everyone around them was aware of the pain, concerned but unable to understand it or do anything about it.
The cliche spouters are jumping up, hands raised, shouting pick me, pick me. Gonna lay that money doesn't buy you happiness thing on me.
That, believe me, is a very small part of the puzzle.
Because there are a hell of a lot of poor people and a huge segment of the rapidly vanishing middle class out there who are suffering as well. Suffering like beaten dogs, lost, confused and feeling let down by life.
Pain is a huge part of the human condition. I don't understand why this has to be. But it is, it always has been and it will always be. If rich people suffer, if poor people suffer, if those invisible people in between suffer, what is it about being alive, about being a human that is so unbearable?
Suffering reared its ugly head at the very beginning when life was very hard. But with all the "advancements" we have made over the centuries, all the things in our lives that make life so much easier and comfortable, people still suffer at the same rate.
Even considering advancements in the medical world and psychology and philosophy, all these areas where we understand the human psyche more clearly, we still cannot achieve happiness on a grand scale.
Why not?
I have said before that the "living in the now" stuff, "being grateful for what you have" stuff is just a smoke screen and one more step towards surrender. I think another aspect of that is going about your life outwardly as if you were happy and successful; restaurants, parties, bars; telling yourself you are living large and making the most out of life. Even though you know it is all for show.
Maybe we know too much. We know we are going to die, and maybe that drives us to pursue happiness relentlessly, whether we know it or not, even though we have no working definition of what happiness is.
The concept dominates my thinking. I am empathetic. I see pain all around me all the time and I feel it. I am blown away by the enormity of it. It is even possible for the discriminating reader to intuit unhappiness in my own life, if you read my words carefully and dig the subtle message.
I am a reader. Read anything you like, go back as far as you like, read poetry, novels, essays, plays, philosophical theories and rants and you will see pain. Sometimes raw and open, sometimes hidden in the words.
Listen to the lyrics of music. Same thing. Go as far back as you want and the stories are all the same.
Even classical music. Some is so exquisitely sad it can make you cry without lyrics. Powerful stuff.
How about opera? Give that a shot, see if it cheers you up.
Pain is expressed openly in creativity because in many cases it is inspiration. And because creative types have to speak their pain, they have to air it out. As opposed to us wee folk who puff out our chests and pretend to be tough, when in reality we are more fragile than the most expensive crystal goblet.
Why have we not learned from the pain of every human who came before us? It is well documented, we are all aware of it and yet we can't get past it. Are we that stupid? I have an answer for that but it is a topic for another time and place.
If it is not sheer stupidity, than what is it about unhappiness or about being alive that is impossible for us to figure out?
Better minds than mine have pondered this question, so don't expect any answers from me.
Just join me in incredulity at the sheer enormity of the pain that exists in this world and has always existed in this world.
And wonder why.

Dig This

"When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down "happy." They told me I didn't understand the assignment, and I told them they didn't understand life."
                                                                    John Lennon

Dig This

"You felt it in your soul, no place else. You felt the truth there sometimes - beyond logic - and you were usually right if it was a type of truth that was the exact kind you didn't want to face, weren't sure you could. That's what you tried to ignore, why you went to psychiatrists and spent too long in bars and numbed your brain in front of TV tubes - to hide from hard, ugly truths your soul recognized long before your mind caught up."

From Mystic River by Dennis Lehane.

Note of advice - take one month off from work and read every book written by Dennis LeHane. It will serve you well. (Except the one month without pay part).


DOES ANYBODY KNOW WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON WITH MY LIFE? So sick yesterday that Carol and I could not go out for our 34th anniversary dinner. I spent the day sneezing and blowing my nose; Carol spent the day listening to me sneeze and blowing my nose and being repulsed.

Actually I know exactly what is going on. Somebody out there has a Voodoo Joe doll and they are sticking pins into it 24/7. I will seek you out and when I find you I will slice you up like a Ginsu knife through tomato.

It is disappointing  to have to reschedule a special event. I prefer to celebrate on the day the celebration was meant to be. It is meaningful that way. We'll go out to dinner, maybe in a week or two, we'll celebrate 34 years together and we'll have a good time. But it won't have that magical feeling it would have had yesterday. I don't like postponing birthday celebrations either. When you are a low wage earner you have so little specialness in your life, it means something to make a big deal out of the good stuff on the right day. Everything in your life is a compromise and a let down and has a little or a lot less about it than you would prefer, so when you reschedule an anniversary dinner or a birthday you are continuing to contribute to that flow of less in your life. You are not fighting against the tide, you are weakening yourself even more and letting life steal a little more of your dignity.
I was sick. Dinner was not an option unless the restaurant cleared away ten tables surrounding us to protect the innocent. And of course unless Carol exercised her legendary restraint and understanding and ignored my titanic sneezes and nasal waterfall, pretending to enjoy my company.
There was nothing we could do about it and yet I still feel cheated.
Hunter S. Thompson used to end a lot of his pieces with the phrase "res ipsa loquitor."  Latin for "the thing speaks for itself." I am using it out of context because it is really a legal term defining negligence in specific situations.
But to me, in this situation, it is referring to the negative karma I have accumulated over endless decades.
And you can take that to the bank.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Nooks and Crannys

Can a nook exist independently of a cranny? Can a cranny exist independently of a nook? Or do they always have to exist in tandem?

(Next installment: Sick and tired)

Friday, February 10, 2012

Life Is

Life is lying awake, again, at 4:07 a.m. on a Friday morning, but smiling as you listen to your cats chase each other around the house.

Thursday, February 9, 2012


I crawled up onto the beach exhausted, wet and cold. Never having learned to swim, it was panic that got me there. Flailing away at the water, kicking furiously, the gods must have been with me.
Growing up on the coast, you would think swimming a natural passion. Many of my friends were fish. It just never interested me.
My head was exploding and fog enveloped my mind, as it had my life for the past two months. Rain pounded me as I lay disoriented.  What the hell just happened?
Took a while to catch my breath and allow my heart to stop the drum solo playing viciously within my chest. The storm stopped as abruptly as it began and I laid there, eyes closed, soaking up the sun's warmth as its presence became bolder and more intense. Trying to focus some energy. Kill the panic.
The urgent glow reflecting from the water finally forced me to sit up to see a boat on fire. My boat.
I was crushed.
The boat was my passion last year. Deciding to build it was a strange move for me because I am not a handyman. Not by any stretch of the imagination. I sweat blood with tools in my hand. You have to tilt your head to get a good look at the pictures I have hung in my house. Tells you everything you need to know.
But I was strangely driven by this project, somehow outside of myself, inspired in spirit and by spirit. It was something I had to do, like Richard Dreyfus and his mashed potato sculptures in Close Encounters. It felt good because it was so far outside of my comfort zone, yet it came together nicely.
I put enormous effort and energy into it. Enormous belief and commitment.
And when it was done I was surprised, amazed and proud.
Today was the maiden voyage and the feeling of freedom and accomplishment was overwhelming and so satisfying. I don't ever remember feeling this good about myself. It felt like I earned this reward, like I set a course, made all the right decisions and followed through. Felt like a lifetime of struggle was about to end.
Until the storm whipped up out of no where. The wind and waves frightened me, but worse than that, beyond my ability to comprehend such a thing, lightening struck the boat. I jumped and you know the rest.
As I stood on the beach, flaming embers dropped into the sea as the boat collapsed and left something floating at the waters edge.
I walked down and picked up the hand carved nameplate that had been attached to the stern.
I would burn it tonight to keep warm.

Dig This

"There is no street with mute stones and no house without echoes."

Luis de Gongora

The Interview

Three a.m. is a lonely time of day.
Had the job interview on Tuesday. No idea how it went. Job interviews are never straight forward. Too much going on there. You might think you were fabulous, they might think you were a clown. You might think you sucked and they decide to hire you.
My honest impression is a mixed bag. I think I was solid on some of the questions, improvised on others. Don't know what to expect.
Went after the job because I want it. Don't want it because it is the greatest job ever in the history of employment. Don't want it because it perfectly fits my talents and desires and dreams. I want it because I NEED it. I NEED it because we are broke and living on the edge of disaster.
Had to borrow money from friends to get through the recent truck disaster. That is an uncomfortable feeling. How will we handle the next disaster? When you are in this position, one disaster too many can cause your life to fall apart like dominoes going down in a row.
I am entirely to blame for this and it is an uncomfortable feeling. Carol works hard at a job she doesn't like (she doesn't always admit that) and she gets paid well. For the past six years I have been a chronic underachiever. Because I tried to make myself happy. I was delusional to ever think happiness could enter into the equation. I am earning far below what I am capable of. I am killing us. Because of that, the interview had an air of desperation about it. As if the interview itself was not stressful enough.
In The Scarlet Letter, Hester Prynne is forced to wear a bright red A for all to see. I am forced to wear a bright yellow U. The Underachievers Exposed Society has asked me to go on a speaking tour of local area schools to scare kids straight into success by demonstrating just how badly your life can suck when you make all the wrong moves. Of course the society being what it is they won't pay me, but they have offered to give me two pork chops a month. Our situation being what it is, I am seriously considering the offer.
I have today off. Without pay, of course. All I can think about is what can I do to get money now. How can I put myself in a position to get money soon. Everything I do today has to be geared towards getting money. I cannot waste one second. Nothing else matters. I need money now. Not in six months. Not in thirty days. Bags of it, piles of it.
I woke up at three a.m. this morning. Woke wide awake with this crap on my mind. And listening to the cats and Carol sleep. It was over an hour before I could even calm myself down to the point where I could lie peacefully in bed without my heart pounding and my body sweating. Another hour before I fell asleep. Fitfully.
I am exhausted but it doesn't matter. Learned that a long time ago. Happiness doesn't matter. Health doesn't matter. All that matters is that you get up like a machine and do as you are told.
The alarm clock kills sleep, the job kills independence, the paycheck kills dignity and whisky kills the pain.
That is life in a nutshell.
My pain and anger and frustration are so huge they eclipse my body. I carry the overflow behind me in a fifty five gallon trash bag. Like Jacob Marley eternally dragging the chain he forged in life, link by link and yard by yard.
Been spiralling downwards since the end of 2011. One thing after another. The Chairman of the Board and Ceo of Seagrams called me personally asking me to back off on my whisky consumption. He said they have had to divert all deliveries originally intended for Rhode Island, directly to New Hampshire. Millions of RI whisky aficionados are furious and conducting investigations into the origin of this crisis in order to mete out blame and punishment.
As if I don't already have enough on my mind.
If I get a call from HR that begins with "we're sorry to tell you................" the reaction will be swift and vicious. I'll head into downtown Concord and start beating up on anybody who crosses my path. My initial focus will be anybody wearing any kind of ny football giants gear, but I think once I get a taste for it my choices will be less discriminating. (Violence disclaimer: No women, children or animals will be harmed in this venting process).
Sunday, February 12 is our thirty fourth wedding anniversary. We are going out to dinner. Not because we can afford it. Because we have a gift certificate. If not for the gift certificate we would spend our anniversary at home eating sawdust and regret.
Thirty four years and that's the best I can do. As much as I hate my existence, I hate even more not being able to spoil my very special wife.
This is where I am at as I wait for The Call.
Three a.m. is a very lonely time of day indeed.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012


It's been three days. I can talk about it now.
THE PATS loss in Super Bowl XLVI crushed me. I have watched them play seven Super Bowl games in my lifetime. Lost four, won three. For regular season stats, those odds are horrible. For Super Bowl stats, three championships is magnificent. Football royalty. No matter what.
This loss hurt the most. Got home around eleven, sat in my recliner until midnight sipping whiskey in disbelief and watching the news coverage on the idiot box. I was hurting, I was depressed, I was deflated, I was empty.
Watched the game with the inner circle of family magnificence minus one. JT will be there next time. But it was warm and crazy and the game was exciting until........................
I honestly had no doubt THE PATS would win. Losing out on the perfect season was a blow predicated on a freak catch, but I swallowed it after mourning it for a while. Having faith in Tom Brady and Bill Belichick I KNEW they would never lose twice to the same team. Especially the team that robbed them of 19 and 0. I knew they would make adjustments, have an amazing game plan, keep the giants off balance and that if it came down to it, they would win it for Myra. For Mr. Kraft. I knew this in my soul.
You can talk about the defense that could not tackle, that continually gave up first downs on broken tackles instead of forcing third and long or fourth down pressure. You can talk about a porous pass defense. You can talk about a broken Gronk.
What disturbed me was an imperfect Brady. An imperfect Belichick.
The long attempt after escaping a sack early in the fourth quarter, trying to hit Gronkowski that ended up being intercepted, never should have been thrown. Very Un-Brady-like. Saw a similar play against the Ravens that almost cost them the game. The pass to Welker could have been better, although I realize he was trying to avoid the guy coming across the middle. Pass to Branch could have been better. Tom Brady looked vulnerable and I do not like the feeling.
Belichick throwing the red flag on Manningham's catch. Cost us a timeout, which was huge in the last minute of the game. Very Un-Belichick-like judgment. By the way, that was a superb catch and it was also a superb throw.
I feel like the magic is gone. I believed in up up to the game because THE PATS made it to the Super Bowl with a defense everybody laughed at. That is PATS magic. But it wasn't there when they needed it and I feel empty because of that. I am not giving up on THE PATS, never will. They will keep finding ways to excel. But it will be a grind without the voodoo, without the magic, without the mystique.
I need that magic. That magic has brought me happiness, contentment, pride; it has allowed me to live outside of my tiny life in sweet magnificence. That "they will always find a way to win" feeling, that "you criticize or mock these guys at your own peril" feeling. I do not want to know THE PATS are human like me. That they can lose.
My life being what it is, I have to know there is magic out there, I have to know success can happen against those who preach defeat. I may never get what I want out of life, and if the rest of my life unfolds that way I NEED something larger than me to believe in, something that inspires and excites me. At the moment I choose football over god, but that could change in a heartbeat as I continue to march towards the inevitable.
As long as Robert Kraft and hopefully the Kraft family (not sure about Jonathan, he looks kind of shady to me) are associated with the team, they will do all right. The Red Sox collapsed in a sit com of stupidity, pettiness and drama and I hate them for that. I don't ever see that happening to THE PATS with the Krafts in charge.
But I'm looking for the magic to be revived. I don't know if you can get it back once its gone. Magic is ethereal, it is spiritual and it has its own agenda. I don't know if any human knows what to feed it to sustain it or revive it.
I only know that I need it. The narrow confines of my life dictate absolutely that I need it.
I am still counting on THE PATS to come through. Until then, I'll lose myself in The Allman Brothers Band. Music to soothe the savage, empty, beat down, almost hopeless soul.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Myra Kraft

Don't underestimate the death of Myra Kraft as a motivator for THE PATS today.
I think the Kraft family relationship with the team is unique in the world of sports. Most professional team owners are rich guys for whom the team is a toy, a hobby, an investment, a product.
I think Robert Kraft is very far away from that. I think he is a genuine human being who cares about his players and I think they know it. There certainly appears to be a bond between him and the players when he talks to them. He doesn't come across as a phony rich guy and I don't think he is. For Christ sake, he went from being a season ticket holder when THE PATS sucked, to owning the team and making it possible to win three championships with yet another shot at a fourth.
During the strike negotiations this summer he was a key figure in getting the deal done, and that fact was recognized by owners and players.
I believe there is genuine love and respect flowing both ways within THE PATS organization.
It was there between Myra and the players as well. So many comments when she died from the players talking about what an extraordinary woman she was. The love and respect was deep and heartfelt.
And if it gets tough today, if it is close at the end and THE PATS need to put everything on the line, I can hear Tom Brady telling his teammates to do it for Mr. Kraft. For a man  who lost his wife of  48 years during a difficult year for the sport and manged to handle his loss with dignity while continuing to work for the good of the sport and the good of his team. And if Brady speaks those words he will mean them sincerely and they will touch the hearts of his teammates.
When THE PATS win today, look for the warm hugs between Belichick and Kraft, Brady and Kraft and others.
Please take note. He is the representative of a dying breed. Wealthy team owners who love the sport and respect their players and coaches. A team owner with a heart.

Can I Move?

In Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Butch and Sundance apply for the job of payroll guards when they are trying to give the impression that they have gone straight.
The guy checking them out wants to see how good Sundance is with a gun. He tosses a coin on the ground and tells Sundance to hit it. He misses miserably.
Sundance asks "Can I move?" The guy says "What?" Sundance says "I'm better when I move." He proceeds to draw his gun, spin around and shoot the hell out of the coin repeatedly.
I might have to employ this strategy in my interview next week. I am uncomfortable sitting while people grill me. I prefer to stand and be able to move around. If they ask me a question and I start to blunder I'll say "Can I move?"
"I'm better when I move."
Then I'll stand up and knock it out of the park.

Just a thought.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Tom Brady

I am fueling up the football tank this week. Watched highlights of XXXIX and XXXVI, got two more football specials taped to watch, one a highlight reel of the 2011 season, the other is soundbites from THE PATS 2011 season. Couldn't find anything on XXXVIII otherwise that would be in the tank as well.
Also going to re-watch The Brady 6.
As I watched XXXVI and that iconic image of Tom Brady with his hands on his head, shaking his head from side to side with an amazed grin on his face, I was blown away. That grin is not a cocky grin or a jaded grin, it is the genuine grin of a man who could not believe he had just won a Super Bowl and been elected MVP. Or maybe the satisfied grin of a man who always knew exactly who he was. That is why I love that image.
Brady was drafted 199th overall in the 2000 draft. Six quarterbacks were drafted before him. Chad Pennington, Giovanni Carmazzi, Chris Redman, Tee Martin, Marc Bulger, and Spergon Wynn. His scouting report reads in part "Poor build, very skinny and narrow, lacks mobility and the ability to avoid the rush, lacks a really strong arm."
There are other negatives in there as well.
Brady could not believe he was taken so far down in the draft. Because he believed in himself.
A quote from Aaron Shea, Brady's good friend and teammate at The University of Michigan. "We had apartments right above each other and I would hear him at six in the morning going to run the stadium stairs. He didn't tell anyone. I was probably the only one who knew that this guy was working out on his own, and then he'd come back and work out with the team."
Peoples' opinions mean nothing. Professionals who are paid to evaluate talent, supposed experts, don't know a goddamn thing about where a person is coming from, who they are inside, what they want and how hard they are willing to work for it. This cuts right across the board; professional sports, acting, singing, dancing, writing, painting.
It's there in real life too. Job interviews. Interviewers are often incompetent or playing out agendas or influenced by insignificant things like appearance. People's lives are greatly affected by the judgements of people who are often not qualified to evaluate them.
This is dangerous. And sad.
The beauty of Brady's story is that if you believe in yourself honestly and soul deep, and if you are willing to work your ass off, you can defy negative opinions. You can succeed. And then if you are so disposed, you can confront your detractors and ask "What do you think of me now, asshead?"
Sports present a unique atmosphere for this intensity of motivation because opportunity is short lived. Per Roger Goodell regarding NFL career length - "If a player makes the opening day roster, his average career is close to six years. If he is a first round draft choice, his average career is close to nine years." He used these stats to dispute the NFL Players Association claims that the numbers are much lower. In other words, these were positive stats in Goodell's mind.
Athletes are aware of these numbers, and I think if you believe and if you have the work ethic, these numbers are blazing motivation.
Life is different. Life grinds you down. You will work for forty five to fifty years. It is hard to remain motivated as you crawl down the road, looking for opportunity, for hope, for a chance to prove yourself.
Maybe you have a plan, maybe you don't. But we all want more money, we all need more money, especially in these unfair times when the whole world is out to stop you. To not believe in you. To rob you of opportunity. To rig the interview against you.
Us wee folk might get more shots than athletes over a lifetime at improving ourselves, but the rewards are much smaller at each step and the climb is slow and back breaking. And the setbacks are crushing.
I am drawn to shady characters. The guy with a little evil in him, somebody outside the norm. Because of this I have not given Tom Brady his due.
We should all have Tom Brady shrines in our houses. The Virgin Mary ain't done nothing for you yet. Toss her in the trash and erect a shrine to Number Twelve.
As you struggle for dignity and money, and try to duck the blows that come your way every day, get on your knees and pray to Tom Brady for some of his self confidence and some of his work ethic.
Tom Brady IS inspiration. And validation of the power of belief in your self over the weakness of those who would judge.

Soprano Therapy

In the last week or two, I have been dialing up episodes of The Sopranos On Demand. I have noticed that I am searching for the most violent episodes I can find.
When somebody bashes somebody's brains in with a baseball bat, or shoots someone in the kneecap, or blows someone's brains out after listening to them beg for their life, it makes me feel good.

Mr. Blonde

You cannot hear Stuck In The Middle With You by Stealers Wheel without thinking about Reservoir Dogs.
That scene is one of the most deliciously evil scenes ever filmed.
When Mr. Blonde pulls out that razor and starts dancing to the song, the anticipation is dark and tastes like a gourmet meal. Unfettered, profoundly evil insanity with a twisted grin, and the threat of dismemberment.
When he actually saws the cop's ear off, you can't believe it but you love it.
When I hear that song and that image comes to mind, I don't mind it at all.


1) I would rather be dead than to continue living my life as it is.
2) I don't want to be dead.

This is the supreme definition of motivation.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Dig This

From The Glass Rainbow (James Lee Burke):

"A time comes in your life when the loudest sound in a room, any room, is the ticking of a clock. And the problem is not the amplified nature of the sound; the problem is that the sound is slowing, each tick a little further away than the one that proceeded it."

And More

From The Glass Rainbow (James Lee Burke):

"I do not believe the rage the dead experience can be contained by the grave."

And More

From The Glass Rainbow (James Lee Burke):

"If a person lets fear dominate his life, he doesn' deserve the talent he's been given. Believe me, if that's the case, with you or me or anybody who has a gift, it will be taken from us and given to somebody else."

February 1, 2012 And The Questions It Brings

January is gone, baby. Can you believe that? Doesn't it feel like yesterday was New Year's Eve and you were filled with booze and anticipation. You are now into month two of THE NEW YEAR.

Is your life any better in 2012 than it was in 2011? Is there any possibility of it getting better? Any prospects? Are you any happier? Are you trying to improve yourself? Or have you given up?

Do you even want your life to improve? Do you even want happiness or do you believe it is impossible?


Another year, baby, another year.

Vacuum Packed To Preserve Freshness

There is a football game on Sunday that looms large. It is huge. Bigger than the earth's ability to contain it. The vibe is so big that it envelopes the earth and travels out into space. The super intelligent beings that watch and laugh at us are saying "What the hell is this? We are getting a signal so intense, so focused, so passionate that it eclipses any transmission we have ever picked up before. And we are suddenly consumed with an overwhleming urge to purchase TV's with 60'' screens."
The scope of the Super Bowl validates the enormity of the sport of football. A sport where men willingly subject their bodies to pains and strains and pains and ruptures and broken-ness and concussions and bruises. All in the pursuit of victory, all for a shot at a championship.
Sixteen regular season games. Three or four post season games if you are very lucky and very good. That is a very short season. The short season amplifies everything. Every win, every loss, every injury, every mistake, every spectacular play. This is life as it should be lived. Alive with emotion and passion. Vibrating with excitement and potential.
That is part of the allure of the Super Bowl as a fan. You get to be insane for one game. Out of your mind, forget your life, crazy-passionate, let's crazy go nuts transcendence. You get to be alive. Especially when your team is playing
I am angry and under attack. I am in a very difficult place. You may have noticed that in some of my previous writings, although I am amazingly subtle. So angry, so lost that I got somewhat distracted from the game. If you know me at all, that tells you exactly how pissed off I am.
THE PATS are in the Super Bowl. I need this game.
Their fifth appearance in the last eleven years; seventh in their history. With three rings to show for it. That is excellence. That is a legacy.
I want more. I want this game as much for me as I do for them. I need to celebrate like a wild man, I need to scream and laugh and high five and emote like it ain't never happened before. I need to explode out of the current 2012 Joe, and inhabit a greater, more destiny bound 2012 Joe.
Events appear to be coming together in a way that will fuel the vibe to the highest level possible. Keith's house is the tradition. A family tradition that I love because Keith taught me to love THE PATS.  Full circle, baby, full circle. But it is possible that everyone will be there. Keith, Emily, Craig, Karen, Eddie and his new woman, me and my amazing wife. This has never happened before during THE PATS amazing run. If that is the way it goes, my happiness will be unrestricted.
Intense period for me. Super Bowl on Sunday. Job interview on Tuesday. Between now and then, and around and through it, I am trying to prepare for the interview as intensely as possible. I have never taken a job interview so seriously.
I think in extremes. I have to have a Super Bowl win. I have to get this job. I tell myself if neither one happens I will have nothing, and I fear my reaction. Reality says that no matter what happens at either event, my life will go on. I will survive, and I know this. I have been kicked around enough after almost six decades to know that you always find a way to survive.
But I don't want to survive. I want #4 and I want the job.
Strange vibe. There are those who want me to get the job to get rid of me, there are those who would love to see me fail, there are those who want me to succeed out of genuine concern for me as a human being. That's the way life works whether we want to admit it or not.
It's possible that this Super Bowl means more to me than any of the others. Although that is a difficult measurement, like asking an average shmoe to distinguish between the intensity of two nuclear blasts.
I only know that I am hunkered down for the next  six days in an intensity bunker. I am concentrating all my efforts, drawing everything in, making myself tighter and coiled, preparing to do battle, preparing to give all of this my best shot.
A win in XLVI would be a perfect springboard to a solid interview. Interesting time in my life.
To those who share a genuine concern for me as a human being, I'll keep you posted. Everyone else can kiss my ass.