Sunday, April 29, 2012

The Silver Surfer Connection

Quentin Tarantino cited Breathless with Richard Gere as one of the 'coolest"movies. Tarantino incorporates The Silver Surfer (the obsession of Gere's character in Breathless) into Reservoir Dogs as homage. It is a poster in Mr. Orange's apartment.
Which got me thinking about his mirror speech. Mr. Orange is about to go downstairs to hook up with Nice Guy Eddie and Mr. White. Mr. Orange is an undercover cop. He opens the apartment door then hesitates, closes it and turns to the mirror. "Don't pussy out on me now. They don't know. They don't know shit. You're not gonna get hurt. You're f***ing Baretta. They believe every f***ing word 'cause you're super cool." Then he leaves the apartment.
I memorized that speech at one time in my life. When I am walking into situations that make me uncomfortable, I need words to bolster my confidence. I like that and I used it. Actually stood in front of a mirror and spoke the words while looking myself right in the eye.
I used it a few times. Job interviews, new job situations. Used to use it a lot when I was a rookie bartender at the legion. The crowd used to intimidate me so I had to get my game face on.
I have gotten away from it but the need may arise again soon.
My favorite confidence booster was Appetite For Destruction. My brother got me a job at a difficult time in my life. A very good job with very good pay. I will always be grateful to him for that.
The commute was 1 and 1/2 hours one way. Long day, baby. And the office was a nest of vipers. I was hired as a credit analyst, and due to circumstances beyond my control was quickly promoted to credit manager. It was a leasing finance company and the sales people were vicious.
I was the guy they had to go through to get their deals financed. I was over my head. They were relentless. Like the honey badger.
Guns N' Roses released Appetite in 1987. Their debut album. Bless their hearts. I started the job somewhere around 1990. It is a magnificent album filled with righteous attitude and in your face bravado. Just what I needed.
I listened to that album every single day on my commute to work. Sang along to many of the songs at top volume. It worked me up into a lather; made me feel invincible.
Events of the day would strip away layers of confidence until I was nothing but a shell by the time I hit the road for the ride home.
But Guns N" Roses was waiting for me in the morning.
Right now it's Willy, Eckhart, and Leonard. You gotta draw your inspiration from sources that make sense to you and correspond to where your head is at at that time.
Everybody has a gimmick. Some people just pretend to be tough. That is transparent 99% of the time.
Do what you gotta do. Believe in it. Make it yours. Be creative.
To quote another line from Reservoir Dogs "You got to make that shit naturalistic as hell."
Life is a game, folks and we are all actors. It doesn't hurt to learn a few lines to get you through.

Dig This

On writing:

"Listen carefully to first criticisms made of your work. Note just what it is about your work that the critics don't like, and cultivate it. That's the only part of your work that's individual and worth keeping."

       Jean Cocteau

Saturday, April 28, 2012

The Dachsund

A bolt of lightning.
Carol and I were on the phone last night talking to Keith, recently returned from a vacation in San Antonio. My sons live better than I do. Keith has been to Mexico twice and now San Antonio. Last year Craig spent some time in Key West. I love it. I want them to be happy, I want them to enjoy life.
But of course being the material guy that I am, I still hold out hope for the day when I can call them both up and say "Set aside the month of May - we are all spending the month at the family compound in Hawaii."
I was digging his voice and his description of a cool vacation (although the trip home was hell). I was digging being a Dad. I was digging with pure wonder Keith being my son, which is a constant.
I was on the phone in my bedroom and my eyes were drawn to The Dachsund on the armoir. It was my father's. Electricity.
The Dachsund is a porcelain dog my father kept on top of his dresser. It has a hole in it's back where he stored his tie clips and an upturned tail he hung his watches over. The tie clips are the ones that clipped across the tie, not tie tacs.  I always preferred the pin; the older style moved around and was not as effective.
The Dachsund still has a bunch of my father's tie clips in it and two of his watches hanging on the tail. My father died in 1999; the dog has been in my home ever since. 13 years. Sometimes I notice it, most of the time I don't.
Last night I was staring at it during the conversation and I was getting chills. It was like a direct connection from grandfather through son to grandson.
And my emotions were all over the place. I was not close to my Dad. Truthfully I was not close to either of my parents. Without getting too heavy, I never felt accepted by them.
Yet I keep The Dachsund on my armoir and always will. The father/son thing is heavy and always complicated. Obviously I have feelings for my Dad, and the dog sparked them to the surface. I dusted The Dachsund off this morning and it is sitting in front of me as I write this. Looking at me with droopy ears and sad eyes. Somewhat disquieting.
Hearing my son's voice last night while I was staring at the dog was mind blowing. The confused feelings I had/have for my father crashing up against the powerful love I have for my son. And of course the inevitable thought that someday my son will keep something of mine to remember me by.
At some point and, maybe unbeknownst to me, possibly forever, my father must have had that Dad love thing going on. That Dad pride.
At some point I stopped feeling it. And that could be attributed as much to my own twisted perceptions as to an actual love loss. Impossible to know. It is indeed a tangled web we weave.
I just went through The Dachsund to check for surprises. There was a small plastic box amidst the tie clips. There was a pin in it, I opened it up and took a look at it. It was a Sons of Italy pin with the word Member across the bottom. It looks brand new, shiny and unscratched.
The Sons of Italy was an important organization to my parents. Both full blooded Italians, they were proud of their heritage. The Sons held dinners and all sorts of social activities and my parents enjoyed them. Had many friends as members. And yes there were times at dinner parties in my house when you would swear you were watching an episode of The Sopranos.
I'm sure this pin meant a lot to my father. If he ever wore it I know without a doubt it was worn with pride.
This morning I held in my hands two watches that were once on my father's wrist. I handled tie clips that once helped him to look cool. I inspected a pin that represents the fierce pride he felt for his heritage.
I have in the cupboard downstairs the American flag that draped his coffin.
When I got to the funeral home after he died, I demanded to see my father's body. The funeral director refused because my father had not yet been embalmed. I did not back down because I did not want to remember my father as a wax dummy. They took me out to where he was lying, unzipped the bag and stepped away. I looked at him for a minute, then bent over and kissed his cheek. His face was unshaven and scratchy. That is a memory I cherish.
Regardless of our history together, these are physical things I can never let go of, memories that are a part of my soul.
Being a parent is an awesome responsibility, the most powerful position you can hold.
It deserves to be handled delicately and with pure love.

Who Needs Words? (How many times do I have to tell you?)

Just let Lakota in from the screened in porch. She stayed out there longer than I expected. It's cold and Lakota doesn't like the cold. In the dead of summer when it's 304 degrees, Lakota will saunter upstairs to our bedroom where it is 404 degrees and curl up on our bed. Maka refused to even go out this morning.
Anyway I was patting Lakota and telling her how surprised I was she stayed out there for half an hour and wasn't it cold and she was curling around my ankles and purring.
I felt the love between us and wondered if we humans talked less, maybe stopped talking at all, we would treat ourselves better. Lakota and I didn't need words to communicate, and the communication was powerful.
Of course the drawback to this observation is that I was talking. Lakota was probably thinking "If you would just shut the hell up, this moment could be even more intense, more honest." I am compelled to talk constantly to and at our cats.
Before I expect the human race to minimize verbal communication, perhaps I should learn to shut up first.

Friday, April 27, 2012

You Leave Me, ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh Breathless

Everything is so amazingly relative, baby.
Watched Breathless last night. With Richard Gere. 1983.
Now dig , this movie was a re-make of a French film made in 1960. I have watched both many times and the French film is infinitely better. More subtle, super cool. Starring Jean-Paul Belmondo, directed by Jean-Luc Godard. If you have brushed up even casually against French film, you recognize both of these names as giants in their field.
Regardless, the point is that foreign films achieve the same impact in subtler ways, cooler, more restrained, sophisticated.
When we Americanize films, we tend to go over the top.
I have seen the Gere version much more than the Belmondo version because it is generally more available.
And I have always watched it with a smirk, an understanding that the violence and the insanity of the main character are exaggerated.
But I have dug it for the same reasons you have - sometimes in life I wish I was Jesse Lujack.
Not as a cop killer, but as a reckless criminal who just doesn't give a damn about anything and who indulges in and celebrates his insanity in the face of a world he cannot respect.
He worships Jerry Lee Lewis - singing Breathless a couple of times in the movie with abandon - especially in the climatic final scene - he sings it with every fiber of his being like it is a religion. Which of course it is to him. Jerry Lee is the man and Jesse can only try to be as cool.
Suspicious Minds - Elvis - smoothly woven into the plot as well, sung by Jesse at just the right time and with just the right reverence when his back is against the wall.
The Silver Surfer. Jesse reads this comic religiously and identifies with it but not in the crucial way that proves to be his downfall. The Silver Surfer researched - "One of the noblest and tormented cosmic entities in the universe, The Silver Surfer treasures freedom above all else, but has often sacrificed his liberty for the greater good."
Jesse has a few opportunities to escape the predicament he has put himself in, but keeps putting it off because of the love he burns for his obsession - Monica Poiccard, the character played by his voluptuous co-star.
His dream is to run away to Mexico with her; his reality is death at the hands of police who eventually trap him resulting in his decision to go for the gun rather then turn himself in.
Here's my point.
I was enthralled with this movie last night. I suspended disbelief. I accepted the over the top angle of the plot as supreme reality.
And I was mesmerized.
The reason? I am feeling trapped. I am being forced to perform as a trained chimp in the hope of achieving financial security. The interview merry-go-round.
And I would much rather be an armed criminal with a finely tuned sense of the absurd who can break into Suspicious Minds when it appears that I have absolutely no options.
I would much rather be an armed criminal, surrounded by cops with a gun at his feet, who decides to break into a fatalistic rendition of Breathless before reaching for the gun and certain death.
He even acts a bit of it out, turning towards the cops and pushing his hands against the air to accentuate the words before turning his back to the cops and looking back down at the gun.
At this point in the movie, when Monica realizes that she actually does love Jesse after trying to pretend that she doesn't, and begs him not to reach for the gun, my heart ached.
She called the cops on him to put him in this position and then regretted it - too late.
I got sucked all the way into this movie last night and I dug it. I felt it, it moved me, it disturbed me. I loved it.
It fed my fantasy because of where my head is at right now. I have never enjoyed the Gere version nearly as much as I did last night.
Postscript: As soon as I caught my breath, I dialed up another gem. Coffee and Cigarettes. You have never heard of this movie and never will unless you make the effort.
It is not an action movie. It's all dialogue. In fact it is a collection of scenes, each one different than the next and unconnected except for coffee and cigarettes (and some dialogue).
It is quirky, comical, bizarre and delicious.
Give it a shot for Christ sake. Every movie you watch does not have to have Vin Diesel in it, you know.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Dig This

"The last refuge of the insomniac is a sense of superiority to the sleeping world."

            Leonard Cohen


Birds are my ultimate ally in the quest for some semblance of sanity.
My mind wanders and tortures and questions and plots and plans and forgets and dominates and sabotages. It never shuts up, preventing me from experiencing brief moments of peace.
I am committed to walking on these very good days, to getting outside and breathing what passes for fresh air in 2012. Enjoying the scenery, feeling the wind, hearing the rush of the stream that runs parallel to my street, checking out horses, buffalo (?), squirrels, the rare and occasional deer. And listening to the birds.
For most of the walk, my mind wanders and I miss a lot. It blows me away that as I am worrying about avoiding The Mortgage Vampire's fangs, the sound of the birds gets blotted out. And all other beauty as well.
When I force myself to focus on the birds, the sound of my worries gets blotted out.
I prefer that scenario.
It's an exercise in mind control and a good one. I focused so intently this morning that smoke came streaming from my ears. I enjoyed 60% of the walk.
When I can get to the point where I become one with nature for the entire walk, then I will have achieved impressive control of what is left of my mind.
I am gambling that this will lead to sanity.

Cat On A Screened In Porch

On beautiful days when I leave late for work I have to summon my cats in from the screened in porch. Actually I have to trick them. If they are both out there, I shake their bag of treats, they come running, I throw a few on the floor and quickly walk to the sliders and close them.
If only one of them is out there, I can usually saunter out and gently pick whoever it is up and carry her into the house. Against a backdrop of protesting meowing.
Either way I hate doing it. They live for that porch because they are indoor cats and that is their taste of the wild world of nature. They suffer through winter as I do because it's too cold out there; they don't like it. So they are bored and they sleep 27 hours a day.
When it is warm, they are on the porch and stimulated. Birds, chipmunks, squirrels, cats, dogs, gentle breezes, wind, rain; whatever comes across the yard keeps them engaged. It's good for them. They are alive and alert.
Whenever I am forced to disturb that, it disturbs me. I wish I did not have that much control over their contentment or the lack thereof. Complete control.
It would be cool if I had only partial control. Like if they could say "Hold up, big boy, we are supremely content today and we are not coming in. Go back inside, clean the kitty litter box, refresh our water and leave us alone." Then I would have to call work and say 'Rich? It's Joe. Can't make it in today. The cats want to stay on the porch and I have to keep an eye on them." Of course his response would be "No problem Joe. I understand completely. See you tomorrow."
This would only work if the cats were reasonable. Like sometimes they say"Yeah we are pretty content out here, but we know you are not as smart as us and have been unable to arrange your life so you can sleep on the porch whenever you want to. So we'll come in today. Just pick us up a treat on the way home from work."
That would work.
If they were stubborn and stood their ground every time, I would be in a lot of trouble.
These are the things I think about.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Dig This

"If the cliche -  what doesn't kill you makes you stronger -  is true, than I should be f***ing Superman by now."


Honest Moments

Honest moments are hard to come by.
You can’t be honest with people who won’t listen to you,
and most people can only hear the voice in their own head.

A voice designed to protect, to justify, to mislead into an
uneasy peace made uncomfortable by truth.
Lovers and spouses, physically intimate, are
spiritually remote because pain, heartbreak
and disappointment stand in the way.
Honest moments with yourself may be the hardest to come by.

I can’t, I never will, I failed, I don’t know, I won’t have, I didn’t try are harsh judgments.

I’m OK, I’m grateful, I’m happy, I’m lucky, it’s not my fault are so much easier to swallow.
It starts with you.

Genuine self-knowledge is a weapon against all other delusion.

Honest moments are hard to come by but worth the effort.

Game Change

Reading Game Change. A non-fiction, intimately detailed account of the 2008 Presidential campaign told specifically from the perspective of Barack and Michelle, Bill and Hillary, and McCain/Palin.
Heady stuff.
I like it because it gives you a perspective you don't get from the media or anything else you have read or seen. The two guys who wrote it are insider journalists who put the thing together ethically, promising anonymity where it made sense and offering explicit details that are not malicious. They were trusted by the people they interviewed so you are getting good stuff.
One great story concerned President Obama a few days before the Iowa caucuses. Apparently he is a cool character. Sleeping like a rock throughout the campaign. But it became apparent that he might win Iowa, which was considered crucial to his campaign. On this night he woke up at three a.m., sat bolt upright in his bed and thought "I might win this thing."
I suppose the prospect of becoming President of the United States would unnerve anyone.
It's cool the way his whole campaign materialized before he ever considered running. He began noticing the response of crowds at speaking events and other public appearances and so did those around him. In the United States and outside the United States. High ranking members of Congress began urging him to run, putting the thought into his head.
Slowly the realization came around that something special was happening here, unprecedented. All about timing, being in the right place and being the right man for the job.
I have said repeatedly that his election was a fluke. I don't believe Americans are bright enough to make a choice like that. But what I keep getting from the book was the reaction from people that they were so sick of the political game in this country, that they were looking for  a change, someone who would impact their lives positively, looking for hope. And Barack Obama had the aura, the charisma, the intelligence and the fire. Regardless of race.
When this became apparent to his team, one of his top aides said he felt they had been handed "a porcelain baby." Something very precious and very fragile.
How very true.
The republicans are trying with everything they got to shatter that porcelain baby. To make President Obama the villain, the incompetent. Ironically to project their own short comings onto him. They want to be able to say "See, you thought he was going to save you, but he let you down."
Of course they are doing this with lies and innuendo and by blocking every single initiative the President proposes regardless of the welfare of this country.
Michelle Obama was the biggest opponent to her husband running, when it was in the discussion stages. Because of the impact it would have on their marriage and their children. And she was the only one gutsy enough to ask if he would be safe. If enough protection could be provided to make him secure.
The rest of the team avoided the issue because they felt it was a touchy subject and one they were not qualified to offer an opinion on as white men. She is a gutsy lady and I respect her for that.
Carol and I are meeting with a rep from the committee to re-elect President Obama tonight. We met months ago but all initiative was lost through invisible e-mails and a haze and a daze.
So we're going to try to crank it up again, and reading this book is timed perfectly. It has me vibing and striving.
Because President Obama will not enjoy the unprecedented support he had last time, Especially from the young. They are the most vulnerable to cynicism because they thought they had elected a unique animal, an anti-politician. And all they have seen is job loss, bank corruption, a failing economy and a narrowing of future prospects for them.
The level of sacrifice and suffering on the part of us wee folk has been so enormous and so frightening that the truth can be easily overlooked.
President Obama has accomplished enormous things on his watch against all odds, and the instability of the economy and by implication our very lives is more attributable to republicans past and present than to the President.
His presidency is indeed a porcelain baby, and this campaign is the most crucial in our country's history.
We have been given a gift, and we have to preserve it. There is hope, if President Obama is allowed four more years to fight. Eight years of enlightenment might be just enough to open the door a crack. To wake this country up to reality and sow the seeds of dignity back into the lives of the wee folk.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Dig This

"A woman watches her body uneasily, as though it were an unreliable ally in the battle for love."

Leonard Cohen

Cruising Into Sunshine

Cruising into work this morning. Back roading a glorious route.
I have been in and out of darkness over the past month or two trying to drag myself up out of the depths of depression and back into 2011 levels of commitment, enthusiasm and belief.
Up and down in and out.
Today was a good day. Drunk as hell no throwing up. Excuse me, that was a meaningless sample of Ice Cube lyrics from 1992. Sometimes I can't help myself.
Today was a good day. I was up and out. My mind was fresh and free.
The early morning angle of the sun illuminates things differently, brings out truths you don't see at noon. I was digging the sunshine on the houses I passed, on the gently swaying trees, the fields. The sky was clear, there were puffy white clouds.
I am a wordsmith. I am musical. But I cannot paint. If I could paint I would have painted this morning. My ride in was serene.
When you remove yourself from worry and pettiness, when you blast yourself out of regret and anticipation, you are suddenly just here.
And everything looks different. Sharper angles, more focus; definitely more beauty.
You should try to do this every six or seven thousand days. It makes you feel alive.

I Had To Do It

Obviously I dug Fenway's 100th. It was an emotional affirmation of a unique slice of life.
There is another important 100th birthday this year.
Oreo cookies.
I confess that on Sunday night, after a 37 hour day at The Booze Emporium, I swelled my belly with a macaroni meal my lovely wife had prepared.
AND THEN I reached for the bag of Oreos I bought that very morning. On my way into work I stopped into Shaws to snag a bag of Werther's caramel hard candies. A delightful taste sensation that refreshes my breath sugary sweet so as not to offend the very delicate patrons who buy jugs of disgustingly cheap vodka.
Two steps into Shaws, I came face to face with an Oreo display. It was 8:00 on a Sunday morning. I was helpless.
And so for dessert I ate 37 cookies. That is exaggeration but honestly, if you saw how many Oreos I ate, you would accuse me of having TB. Two bellies.
I thoroughly enjoyed my gluttony and experienced no guilt.
Happy Birthday Oreo.

Monday, April 23, 2012


This is a post graduate essay on marriage. A dissection. An intellectual (hopefully) discussion that attempts to avoid the emotional.
Marriage is good. It takes two to throw punches at the world. Love is magic. Love really is the thing, no matter how much we smirk about it or ignore it or abuse it. If all humans lived in a perpetual state of love there really would be no war. No killing or abuse and indignity of any kind. The Golden Rule, baby. It could work. But humans are not smart enough for that.
You can be a loving person and bring that into the world and you would be a saint. But if you find someone to love and you marry them, you have increased the power of love exponentially. And if you take it a step further and create kids and treat them right, you have powered love up to a nuclear level and spread it out even more throughout the world.
Now you're talking about Godliness.
Finance is what screws it all up. You need money for food. If you don't have enough money, you fight. You stress, you worry, you curl up into a ball and absorb the cruel blows of the world.
If one partner is making the dough and the other is not holding up the other end of the bargain, problems ensue.
Because the underachiever carries the weight of two. Both suffer, both worry, both stress because of the failings of the one. That is a heavy burden, to have that kind of impact on someone's life. To have worry doubled.
The lost soul would bring less suffering into the world if allowed to live in the dark in the cheapest apartment available to negotiate failure individually. To cope with it or be destroyed by it.
But love doesn't work that way. And that is good. Because love supports. Love encourages. Love never stops believing in the future success of the loved. Love is a lifeline that gently and sometimes not so gently depending on the circumstances, attempts to guide the lost one toward the truth. Toward some sort of salvation.
Awareness of that love on the part of the beneficiary is deeply appreciated, soulfully felt, and gratefully acknowledged internally but often not expressed. Because of the many layers of pain and worry and confusion that exist between the soul of the beneficiary and the love given.
The message becomes contorted and honest communication is lost in both directions.
The underachiever bears the pain of failure and even more so, the pain in the eyes of the one being let down.
Enormous pain.
Ultimately love succeeds. Love pulls the beneficiary up and over, believes the other to succeed. Or at the very least, love nourishes the soul of the underachiever and makes a life gentler.
In evaluating the love equation, infinite care must be taken to factor in the magnitude of both the love giver's patience and commitment, and the beneficiary's pain that blocks honest expression of gratitude.

You Are One Sexy 100 Year Old, Baby

Carol taped Fenway's 100th Birthday bash for me. She watched it live and raved about it. Tears. Two others told me the same thing.
Carol and I watched it Saturday night.
Glorious magnificence.
The Field of Dreams thing was brilliant. History walking out of the centerfield wall, materializing onto that beautiful field with no accompanying commentary. Names were not announced and that made it so more dramatic. They were up on the video screen but I find it hard to believe they kept up with them all. Some came out individually, many in groups.
Jim Rice kicked it off, the first one out, walking alone. I don't know how they arrived at that decision or if there was even a thought process involved, but it was cool. He just walked out and the procession began.
I was struck by how many faces I did not recognize. I felt guilty about it. Because of the drama of the moment I felt like I should recognize every single face. But of course I am not a bleeding fan, and I am willing to bet even Red Sox bleeders could not recognize every face.
I was also surprised at how strongly I reacted to certain players. Yaz, Longborg, Remy, Vaughn, Rico, Malzone, Spaceman, El Tiante, Eck, Pedro, Millar and many more. And Tito. Apparently I have bled a little over the years.
They congregated on the field as the procession continued and there were hugs and laughter and hand shakes. Players who hadn't seen each other in years but shared a special bond.
What an elite group. One out of 36 trillion human beings make it to the big leagues. Those athletes are supreme beings; talented, hard working and fortunate. Playing for the Red Sox makes it an even more elite group. Because The Boston Red Sox has an aura, a history, a feel, a legacy that no other team has. There were over two hundred former players and personnel on that field and that was one magical crowd.
As far as the aura goes. Rice summed it up in one comment in the post event dissection. He talked about "Fenway Park. Not stadium. Ballpark." I loved that. The Sox have managed to keep that ballpark feel. It is a beautiful, a sweet, a magical place.
Every human being should be recognized and celebrated in that way. Just for living a life. Making it through 75 years, through youth and innocence, through marriage and children, through careers, through jobs, through money and no money, through joyful exuberance and bitter defeat.
The logistics of coordinating 7 billion tribute celebrations might become somewhat overwhelming. Besides that, life doesn't work that way. You live, you try, you die. And you don't get 34,000 cheering your life.
So you fix your favorite drink, you sit back and you watch two hundred athletes standing in brilliant sunshine in Fenway getting a loving thank you from the handful of fans who can still afford to go there.
And you dig it.
When Tek and Wake wheeled Doerr and Pesky out to second base in their wheel chairs, I fell on the floor and swam around the living room in my tears. The most recent Sox retirees helping probably the oldest retirees onto the field for one more time. Absolutely lyrical.
It was a cool touch to have the current Red Sox players join the former players on the field.
Eck is the man. Because he is honest, he is emotional and he speaks from the heart. And he does it armed with experience and knowledge. Formidable.
He talked about what a good thing it is for current players to be involved in a ceremony like that. Because when you are a player "it's all about you." You are so wrapped up in your career, and worrying about it, obsessing about it, that you forget how magical it is to be a big league player. And it's gone in a heartbeat.
You participate in Fenway's 100th and it slaps you in the face what it's all about. The history that you are a part of, the camaraderie you share with your fellow athletes. The reverence and appreciation of the fans. Your place in this very select world.
He also summed up Fenway's beauty in typical Eckersley style. Wrigley Field is often compared to Fenway for charm and history. Eck:"Wrigley Field can't hold Fenway's jock."
I love that man.
We do things right in Boston. The duck boats, man. That's a perfect example.
And the 100th.
It was beautifully done and a fitting tribute to a sports cathedral and the players who are and have been and will be worshipped there.
Dig it, baby.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Don And Jerry

I am not a huge baseball fan but I do dig it. The first week of the season, I am as a wide eyed child on his first trip to the zoo. I watch intently, renewed and invigorated.
That quickly wears off.
The Sox are only twelve games into the season and already baseball has just become something on the TV screen. Something to glance at and track half- heartedly. That's because they play so many goddamn games. 162 games. Who the hell came up with a schedule like that? The Marquis De Sade? (one of my favorite people).
So you have a million games and it's slow moving stuff. It does not compel you to stay focused.
Football, hockey, these sports you have to watch with burning intensity. The action magnetizes your eyes, you cannot look away.
Baseball you can walk away for an hour to set your neighbors house on fire, run out and pick up more cold beer and attend mass, re-hit the recliner and ask  'What's the scoop?" and you're right back in it.
"It's the top of the seventh, the score is tied at one, there are two outs with men on first and third, Pedroia's at the plate with a count of three and one."
Boom. You didn't miss a thing.
Don and Jerry make the whole thing fun. I love those guys and I love their relationship. They make me laugh. Don and Jerry make baseball much more interesting to me.
They are knowledgeable and I learn, they call and color the game well, and when they go off on some strange conversation I laugh. Happens time and time again.
There are many times when I am slumped in the recliner beaten down by life and unrealized dreams, with my eyes pointed towards the screen, but I'm not really watching the game. I'm hazed out and dazed out and debating in my head the comparative merits of cremation versus burial, when Don and Jerry start up on insanity and suddenly I am laughing, alert and engaged. They bring me back from the dead.
I never thought Orsillo could replace Sean McDonough but he has. McDonough's humor was sharper and more biting, Orsillo's is self deprecating, but it works. I guess that says a lot about Rem-Dog that he could work so well with both of them.
Anyway as I drag, crawl and drool my way through another 162, it's good to know that I can count on D&J to shake me up and wake me up, breathe life into me and make me laugh.
That will get me through boring games and tough stretches of season.
Don and Jerry, baby. Icing on the Red Sox cake.

Have A Nice Weekend

This is the time of year retail employees hate the most. It's a time of year called Everybody Is Living Large Except You.
Summatime generally is difficult. Warmth fills everybody's life but yours; your life is an ice cube. Everybody is flitting gaily about like voluptuous butterflies wearing T-shirts and shorts doing summatime things. Except you. You are wearing whatever ridiculous uniform your employer mandates, most likely a silly little name tag and maybe even a hair net.
Friday night, 75 degrees, everybody is dancing into your store with visions of weekend. Going here, doing that, getting outside.
You will be working.
Memorial Day, July 4th and Labor Day are the cruelest. Three weekends the rest of the world lives for. They celebrate and worship these weekends as if they were religious ritual. And rightly so.
It's three chances to be free, three weekends of illusion for people to be fooled into thinking their life is their own. Until they wake up on Tuesday morning in a puddle of vomit with the alarm clock smashing their skull mercilessly.
People don't think. They prance into your store all week long with talk of the upcoming long weekend. Friday is the worst. They come in drooling, frothing at the mouth, twitching, salivating with anticipatory eyes literally bulging out of their skulls.
"I'm going to the Cape this weekend. Winnipesaukee. Old Orchard Beach. Going out on my buddy's cigarette boat gonna try to brake the sound barrier. Having a three day barbecue/orgy. Hampton Beach, baby, Hampton beach. Going hiking. Kayaking. Working in the garden. Going to a concert. Going to two concerts. Going to our favorite restaurant and a movie for starters. Taking a long drive in my brand new refurbished 1969 Corvette.What are you doing?"
"Well let's see. Hmmmmmmm. I'm working tomorrow. Yeah, I'm working tomorrow. But I do have Sunday off so that's something. Gotta work Monday too. Yeah I'm working on Memorial Day/Pseudo July 4th/Labor Day. But that's OK. I got Sunday off. One day in a row. Looking forward to it."
At this time of year everybody in the world is having fun except for you. Even your dead mother is having more fun than you.
At this time of year you want to kill every customer in existence so there will be no one to wait on. But that is impractical.
This is a cautionary tale. You long weekenders beware.
As you're exiting the store with whatever precious prize you have purchased and you say to the worker bee "Have a nice weekend", don't be surprised if he or she reaches under the counter, grabs an eight pound dead fish and slaps you across the face with it.
The only appropriate response you can utter at that point is "Thank you. I deserved that."

Thursday, April 19, 2012

A Gutless Aging Rocker

"evil, America hating Obama administration."...
"...ride into that battlefield and chop their heads off in November"
"If Barack Obama becomes the next President in November again, I will either be dead or in jail by this time next year."
On Debbie Wasserman Shultz ( Democratic National Committee Chair):"Wasserman Shultz is such a brain dead, soulless idiot. I could not be more proud that this soulless, heartless, idiot feebly attempts to find fault with Ted Nugent, because I am on the right track and she just encourages me to stand stronger."
On Wasserman Shultz and Nancy Pelosi:"Varmints."
Above quotes courtesy of Ted Nugent.
I have no problem with hyperbole. I embrace it. I have used it repeatedly in this blog to express my feelings, especially about republicans and the NHSLC. I have said things of the same magnitude of intensity and nastiness many times.
Free speech, baby. It is a precious right. Although since September 11, 2011 and W's twisted definition of what compromises national security, free speech in this country has been considerably diminished. There are eyes and ears everywhere now and you cannot take for granted that speaking your mind will go unpunished.
All of what Nugent said is despicable, but I have to let most of it go.
Except the dead or in jail comment. Whatever he meant by that, it at least implies that when President Obama gets re-elected, Nugent will do something illegal or so threatening that it results in his own death. Disturbing. But of course it's only words.
What really disturbs me about this is that his remarks were made at an NRA convention in St Louis. YouTube it. Look at the crowd. It will give you chills. It's possible that there were one or two Rhodes Scholars in the crowd, but I'm guessing 99% of them were the Dinty Moore's Beef Stew Natty Lite crowd.
With guns. And anger. And racial prejudice.
Here's more of his comments you might not be aware of. Remember the crowd.
"Our government is wiping it's ass with the constitution, while members of our military are getting their legs blown off for the constitution."
Talking about trying to drum up support for Romney" being at an NRA event, God bless you, it's a good indicator..."
"The President, the Vice President, our Attorney General, Hillary, they are all criminals."
His words were designed to inflame. To incite. To provoke intense emotional response. Heavily spiced with a flavor of violence. A suggestion, an acceptance of violence.
Of course he will never admit that. That is what disgusts me about these ultra conservative right wing assheads. They pretend to be tough but they are not tough enough to stand behind their own words.
I'm glad the Secret Service is getting involved, meeting with Nugent today. It kicks everything up a notch. But ultimately it will be meaningless because he will deny that he was threatening anyone, deny that he was energizing the brain dead to threaten, hurt or kill anyone. He will only say that he was trying to activate Romney supporters to vote and to campaign.
Unless there is some back room torture and intimidation going on that can scare the crap out of Nugent. In my warmest fantasy that is what I wish.
The atmosphere in this country is already explosive and it will intensify the closer we get to the election. I don't think most people realize how volatile the situation is.
We are one brainless statement away from riots and killing and lawlessness. I truly believe that.
Gutless morons like Nugent/Limbaugh/O'Reilly/Gingrich fan the flames purposefully and while disingenuously denying their intent. They are spineless cowards with no integrity.
They are playing with fire and they know it and they are not worried about the results.
Because they have their back yard bunkers stocked with Dinty Moore and Natty Lite.
And guns. And bullets. And bibles. And American flags.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Dig This

"There are two basic motivating forces: fear and love. When we are afraid we pull back from life. When we are in love, we open to all life has to offer with passion, excitement and acceptance. We need to learn to love ourselves first, in all our glory and our imperfections. If we cannot love ourselves we cannot fully open to our ability to love others or our potential to create. Evolution and all hopes for a better world rest in the fearlessness and the open-hearted vision of people who embrace life."

"A dream you dream alone is only a dream. A dream you dream together is reality."

John Lennon

I'm Taking A Walk

Trying to get outside more on days like this. I'm walking, baby. I'm so focused on writing that I usually sit at the desk all day. Decided that's not healthy; too obsessed.
I'm walking my street which is so quiet and picturesque and serene BUT there is a lot of trash by the side of the road.
Most of it beer cans. Some soda bottles, some styrofoam food containers, but most of it is booze.
I don't know if this is a commentary about life or a commentary about drinkers.

Signs of Life

Driving to work, outside a small shopping plaza are small signs stuck into the ground. From a distance I  thought they said Singles Vacations.
I thought "that's a pretty cool option for All The Lonely People."
When I got closer I realized the signs said Shingles Vaccinations.
Not quite as romantic.

I'll Take The Written Word Every Time

As I have stressed repeatedly, I much prefer to communicate through the written word than through speech.
When you talk to people, generally they don't listen and they try to one-up you.
I was talking to a guy at The Booze Emporium yesterday about what you do to survive. I went through a brief period in my life where I was working two full time jobs. Two companies literally across the street from one another.
I worked 7:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at one company, then crossed the street and worked from 4:00 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. at the other.
So I tell the guy this and he says "Did you have weekends off?" I could see where he was going and I wanted to stab him in the neck with a pen.
I told him I had weekends off. Of course he says "There was a time when I was working seven days a week."
I wanted to grab him by the throat and ask "Were they seven SIXTEEN hour days?"
But I didn't. It would have been a waste of effort. We were not communicating.

All Is Illusion

Stumbled downstairs this morning, Carol had Morning Joe on the tube. It's a daily ritual and a good one. As I staggered around the kitchen, emptying, rinsing and refilling the cats' water bowl, scarfing an 81 mg Bayer aspirin and a tablet of Crestor, downing one tablespoon of cider vinegar in water and preparing a cup of coffee, I was half listening to the show.
Had a Ford executive on, spewing words. I honestly was not listening to what he was saying, but I did pick up on all the right buzz words.
Electric cars, fuel mileage, the environment. He was talking very earnestly (quite an actor), coming across as if he cared about all these things.
He doesn't. He only cares within the boundaries of what the law forces him to do. And he'll even try to tweak a few things within those boundaries. Outside of those boundaries he will rape the environment and your wallet, and give you the lowest possible acceptable gas mileage that he can get away with.
Car ads amuse me as they try to convince you that 28 miles per gallon is good. Even 32 or 35 miles per gallon (rarely seen). Because they have the technology to give you 75 miles per gallon. And although that would provide blessed relief for us wee folk, it's not too good for the gas industry who I suspect, call me paranoid, enjoy a loving relationship with car manufacturers. So don't hold your breath; you will be paying for gas with blood very soon.
We need to wake up. Corporations will never tell you the truth and never do what's right for you or the economy because they don't care about these things, and they have the money and the power to get around them.
Nothing changes but the marketing. It's like cretinous republicans throwing around terms like job killers and job creators. They don't plan on fixing the economy because it is above their intelligence level and does not feed their greed, but they make you think they are on your side.
Carlin said it best. They call it the American Dream because you have to be asleep to believe it.
Corporate TV ads drive me crazy. Like Chevron trying to come across as partners with small business. "They rely on us and we rely on them." Like there is mutual exchange of information and knowledge between the big guys and the little guys, making everything better for both. Are you serious?
If Chevron could do it, they would force every small business into bankruptcy. More business for them. But small business is a political football right now, the backbone of this country and all that. So Chevron says what you want to hear.
And they have this goofy, happy time music in the background.
I cringe.
BDO is the worst. It's like a religious ad. You get these executives talking about some financial crisis that is being handled within their company. "Who is going to restructure the company and bring us back to financial stability?" "BDO." Said with reverence. "And who will manage our five year plan so we don't fall back into the same traps again?" A brief pause. "BDO". Said with unbridled worship and respect, punctuated with a knowing smirk.
BDO is an international finance company with a huge American presence. Their global network earned $5.67 billion dollars in revenue last year.
Do you really think they have a heart?
The conversation should go like this: "Who will minimize payroll and employee security and benefits  while maximizing profits?" "BDO". "And who will torture rebellious employees in secure re-orientation chambers?" Respectful silence. "BDO." Knowing smirk.
TV lulls you to complacency so your brain becomes weak and pliable and susceptible to bald faced lies.
You end up walking around thinking "I love Chevron. I worship BDO. I trust and respect American car manufacturers."
And the sound in your head is in the same tone as Homer Simpson's voice when he sees food and says "Mmmmmmmmm, cheeseburgers."

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Where Did I Leave My Life?

I did some research on early onset Alzheimers yesterday.
My brain has been foggy lately. Actually for quite a while. Feels like it is enveloped in thick plastic slowing down the firing of the neurons and resulting in forgetfulness and a general haziness.
There is a woman who comes into The Booze Emporium with her husband and it is obvious that he's got the Alzheimers thing going on. She leads him around the store and talks to him like a child. He has a blank look on his face; in his eyes. He is around my age.
That's what got me thinking. That's what struck fear in my heart.
If my brain turned to pudding, Carol wouldn't dessert me. But she would refill my whiskey bottles with caramel colored water and serve it to me in Crown Royal tumblers. A fate worse than death.
I was reading up on brain exercises that can fight back and help to keep you alert. There were maybe ten things on the list and four of them resonated with me. Memorization, doing math in your head, learning to play an instrument and learning a foreign language.
I began memorizing a poem yesterday. It felt good. My brain worked up a sweat and I had to give it a shower. Worked a couple of math problems.
I have picked up my guitar(s) off and on over the last five years and I need to get back to that. Music is in my soul; expressing it is therapy. Eight years ago I began learning Italian and I was magnificent at it. Such a beautiful language. Got away from it.
There were general tips in this article to improve brain health as well. Exercise regularly. I'm getting back to that. Fitfully but still, trying to regain my Olympic form as it existed in 2011.
Avoid boredom.
I was horrified when I read that.
My life is boring rooftop to the basement. From the shock of the alarm clock to the dead drop back into bed at day's end.
My job is repetitive. So repetitive that I don't need a mantra to meditate. All I have to do is picture myself at work and I am immediately in a trance. The same thing over and over and over again. Even down to the conversations with customers. The same words, the same lame jokes and comments, the same practiced responses on my part.
I come home and CLANG I hear the iron bars slam shut behind me. Actually I feel greedy fingers picking my pocket as I walk up the steps before the clanging. Mortgage Vampire, PSNH, Comcast; I'm trying to make it from my truck to the house and dollar bills are floating out of my wallet into the unforgiving hands of The Insane Corporate Clown Killer Posse.
Then CLANG and I am in prison again.
We exist at a poverty level that paupers laugh at. Can't go out to dinner or movies or baseball games or go clothes shopping or anything shopping; can't afford to drive anywhere. We are prisoners. We go nowhere. We do nothing.
We won't even walk outside to breath in fresh air because it will wear out our shoes faster and they will have to be replaced.
No wonder my brain is atrophying.
I used to hate the expression "if you're bored than you're boring." Didn't make sense to me until I thought about it. It's true; if you are bored than shake things up, make things happen, un-bore yourself.
That applies to individual situations but when your entire life is boring, changing that is like trying to jog through quicksand. It's like trying to play the violin wearing a straight jacket. (?)
I'm stuck in the job situation. The economy sucks, so like Richard Gere in An Officer And A Gentleman, I got nowhere else to go. The Liquor Commission Braintrust refuses to promote me even though I am regularly responsible for functions above my pay grade, for no additional pay. Of course that's the rub; they love to give me part time coin and limited hours for full time responsibility.
Crawling up to a full time position would at least allow Carol and I to go out once in a while. Maybe McDonald's twice a year.
Until then Boredom Is My Enemy.
I'm going to memorize poetry and do the math. I won't promise to play the guitar or learn Italian because I have made those promises before and looked the fool. But I am hopeful.
Exercise is coming around. Soon you will see me in a Speedo and you will applaud.
But the key is changing my life. Exploding it, imploding it, stretching it out, resuscitating it so that the word "life" is not self mockery.
Because caramel colored water ain't gonna take me to where I need to be. 

Monday, April 16, 2012

From And About Lenny Bruce

"I rode with him in a taxi once, only for a mile and a half. Seemed like it took a couple of months."  Bob Dylan

"Lenny Bruce died from an overdose of police." Phil Spector

"Bruce stands up against all limitations on the flesh and spirit, and someday they are going to crush him for it." The New York Post

"I've been accused of bad taste, and I'll go down to my grave accused of it and always by the same people, the ones who eat in restaurants that reserve the right to refuse service to anyone."
Lenny Bruce

"The kind of sickness I wish Time had written about, is that school teachers in Oklahoma get a top annual salary of $4,000 while Sammy Davis Jr, gets $10,000 a week in Las Vegas."
Lenny Bruce

"If Jesus had been killed twenty years ago, Catholic school children would be wearing little electric chairs around their necks instead of crosses."
Lenny Bruce

"Every day people are straying away from the church and going back to God."
Lenny Bruce

One Of Us Cannot Be Wrong

I hate to keep hammering away on Leonard Cohen, but read these lyrics. Does this sound like the ultimate broken heart to you?

One Of Us Cannot Be Wrong"

I lit a thin green candle, to make you jealous of me.
But the room just filled up with mosquitos,
they heard that my body was free.
Then I took the dust of a long sleepless night
and I put it in your little shoe.
And then I confess that I tortured the dress
that you wore for the world to look through.
I showed my heart to the doctor: he said I just have to quit.
Then he wrote himself a prescription,
and your name was mentioned in it!
Then he locked himself in a library shelf
with the details of our honeymoon,
and I hear from the nurse that he's gotten much worse
and his practice is all in a ruin.

I heard of a saint who had loved you,
so I studied all night in his school.
He taught that the duty of lovers
is to tarnish the golden rule.
And just when I was sure that his teachings were pure
he drowned himself in the pool.
His body is gone but back here on the lawn
his spirit continues to drool.

An Eskimo showed me a movie
he'd recently taken of you:
the poor man could hardly stop shivering,
his lips and his fingers were blue.
I suppose that he froze when the wind took your clothes
and I guess he just never got warm.
But you stand there so nice, in your blizzard of ice,
oh please let me come into the storm.

The man can write. He captures emotion emotionally, powerfully, honestly. Your heart aches for his aching heart. The imagery is exquisite and unique.
Oh no. I sound like a critic. I have lost my mind. What qualifications do I have that allow me to express opinion?
Or am I just a fan?
Wait. I am human. Yeah, that's the ticket. I am human.

Is There Really A Choice?

President Obama has: averted a Great depression, rescued the auto industry,  repealed the discrimination of "don't ask, don't tell", overhauled health care, ended the war in Iraq, nominated two women to the Supreme Court and taken out Osama bin Laden. The economy has just experienced two years of steady employment growth and 3.5 million new jobs.

republican policies are: anti-woman, anti-immigrant, anti-black, and anti-gay.

You choose.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Jabba the Hutt At The Scooter Store

It is my observation that a lot of the people you see in stores riding around in those motorized scooters are fat, and appear to be uneducated and poverty stricken. Just one more symptom of a particular mentality in this country.
The elderly is one thing. It makes sense, they deserve whatever help they can get to make their lives easier. They have earned the right.
But if you are Jabba the Hutt and unemployed, you are taking advantage of the system to indulge your laziness at my expense and I don't appreciate it.
In situations like this I wish cannibalism were legal. Your demise could feed me and my lovely wife for one full year.


Vouchsafe is one of my most favorite words. I don't use it. It is almost impossible to use it in the 21st century.
It is used a lot in the works of Shakespeare.
It means to give by way of reply; to grant as a privilege or special favor. As in: "He vouchsafed the secret to only a few chosen disciples."
I am re-reading Beautiful Losers by Leonard Cohen and he actually used the word in the novel. He wrote the book in 1966. A word of warning - do not run out and pick up this book. It would drive you crazy. It is one of those crazy word association, sometimes stream of consciousness, somewhat hallucinogenic books. I absolutely love it.
I give you permission to read the book if you have ever read William S. Burroughs, especially Naked Lunch, and survived it.
If not, Beautiful Losers, will blow the top of your head off.
There. I have vouchsafed my advice to you.

Dig This

"Act the way you'd like to be and soon you'll be the way you act."

Leonard Cohen

President Obama's World

Recently read an article in Time about President Obama's intelligent handling of foreign policy.
Good foreign policy Presidents are defined as having managed a complex set of challenges expertly, making few costly errors. Bad foreign policy Presidents are defined as having made mistakes that cost America in lives, treasure and prestige. Great foreign policy Presidents are defined as having created enduring structures and relationships that produced lasting peace and prosperity.
The article suggests that President Obama is a good foreign policy President with the opportunity to become a great one.
You can focus on the big stuff President Obama has accomplished like the crippling of al-Qaeda, the killing of Osama bin Laden, and our careful role in supporting the toppling of Muammar Gaddafi's regime in Libya. But he has also repaired, re-established and established respectful diplomatic relations with many foreign governments.
I don't pretend to understand any of this and neither should you. Foreign policy is a confusing topic with so many different ideologies and leaders and interrelationships between countries that it is almost impossible to keep up. Unless you are Bill Maher or Rachel Maddow.
My point is that President Obama has been pretty successful at working with foreign countries in a world that is increasingly global, where everything is interrelated.
But you don' hear much about it. If W had killed Osama bin Laden there would have been parades and ceremonies and pickups with full sized American flags and empty Natty Lite beer cans driving onto the lawn of the White House. President Obama does it and the celebration is pretty muted. You know the reasons why and I'm not in the mood to rant about it today.
When asked why he has been successful in this arena President Obama said "That whole political circus that has come to dominate so much of Washington applies less to the foreign policy arena. There's not a lot of posturing and positioning and How's this going to play on cable news? and Can we score some points here?"
In other words, if republicans were not so focused on obstructing the President on domestic policy, his presidency could have been amazing.
Immediately following the article was a one page thingy on the economy and how it will affect the campaign. This contrast is what truly disturbed me.
The economy will be the biggest issue of this campaign because it directly affects peoples' lives. Unemployment, underemployment, financial suffering with no hope of relief are driving American citizens into panic mode. Romney's camp are betting that a fragile economy will defeat President Obama because he will be blamed for it.
The President has not handled it perfectly BUT a large part of his failure can be attributed to stubborn refusal by republicans to work with him along with the sheer enormity of the crisis he inherited from George W. Bush.
This is what is hugely wrong with our political system. We elected a President who is supremely gifted to be able to accomplish a lot in helping this country to survive. But he has been stymied by petty, unintelligent, blindly partisan republicans whose only mission is to defeat him. For reasons I am not in the mood to rant about today.
He has quietly proved his intelligence and diplomatic skills on the foreign front. Quietly because we Americans don't understand it. He could have accomplished as much domestically with intelligent, bi-partisan support.
If he is defeated this country will have squandered an immense opportunity.
And you will be working for $7.25/hour with no possibility of ever retiring and a home that declines in value every year.
While republican fat cats light Cohibas with hundred dollar bills.

Just A Thought

Having a conversation with the wife yesterday about health and people's approaches to it.
It's a crazy world today. Too much information, much of it conflicting. You can spend 23.5 hours a day reading food labels. Trying to reduce your intake of this, eliminate your intake of that, increase your intake of this, moderate your intake of that.
There are 10,000 theories on how to attain health, maintain health, preserve and protect health. What kind of exercises to do, how often and for how long. Changes from year to year. The definition of good foods versus bad foods changes too.
Doctors have general ideas of how to be healthy but when you come right down to it they don't understand the most important thing: how the human body works, how it interrelates to diet, exercise and lifestyle.
They can recommend a diet that supposedly reduces your chances of getting cancer (which changes continually) but they can't cure cancer. Same thing with heart disease and other physical trials and tribulations.
A guy can run five miles a day and eat whatever healthy diet is the current craze, and die at the age of 26. A guy can drink a bottle of vodka every day and smoke two packs of cigarettes a day and live to be 83. (I believe the latter situation exists more than the medical world would care to admit).
And our highly educated, overcharging doctors cannot tell you why this is.
Maybe that's where the God thing comes in. The spiritual thing, the essence of being a human. That gap between clinical knowledge and true understanding might be the sign that we can never truly comprehend life. Maybe we are not supposed to.
I'm just throwing it out there. You can chew on that for a while if you are so inclined, although I know it's a beautiful Sunday and you might prefer to turn your face to the sun and hope for three in a row for The Sox at Fenway.
I wouldn't blame you.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Something Else To Collect Dust

I collect a lot of things around me to inspire me. To hang on the wall, to sit on my desk.
Eventually they all become something else to collect dust.

God Is The Bigger Elvis

Dolores Hart, what a gal. I recently watched a documentary about her that blew my mind. It's called God Is The Bigger Elvis.
She was a hot prospect and rising star in Hollywood in the late fifties and early sixties. Between 1957 and 1963 she starred in ten films opposite leading men like Elvis Presley, Anthony Quinn, Montgomery Clift, George Hamilton, and Robert Wagner. She's kicking ass in Hollywood and poised to be set for life financially and what does she do? She walks away from it all and joins the benedictine Abbey of Regina Laudis in Bethlehem, Connecticut. She became a nun and is still there today. In fact now she is top dog, Prioress of the Monastery.
From leading lady in Tinseltown to leading lady in Jesustown. Fascinating.
What inspires someone to make such a drastic decision? This is what blows my mind. And obviously it was the right decision because she stuck with it.
Part of what makes her decision so drastic is that she had it all. She had what any of us would kill to have. If I moved into a one room cold water flat with no heat, one wooden table and one unforgiving chair, a mattress on the floor, stopped bathing and started writing poetry, everybody would say "I'm not surprised. He hated his life anyway." If any of us made a huge life change people would say "Good for you, you are trying to make your life more your own."
Did she hate her life? Or did she discover a life that made more sense? I don't know. I am not equipped to understand it. I have trouble picking out just the right pair of socks every morning.
Whenever I hear about someone with that level of commitment it makes me think they have the inside scoop. That they know something that I don't know. That they have figured out something about life that the rest of us schmucks are missing.
I am not saying we should all suddenly get religious. What I am saying is that I am willing to bet that most of us would love to make a huge change in our lives. I mean really shake things up and go in a different direction. Completely new career, move from the east coast to the west coast or from the the U.S.of A. to Italy. Throw out all your clothes and buy a new wardrobe that expresses your nature honestly and blows the minds of family and friends. Speak differently, tougher, meeker, more intelligently, more vulgarly. Gain weight, lose weight, dive into a new sport, commit yourself to something fanatically that you have always wanted to do.
But we don't do it. It's amazing how complacent we are. How many conversations do you have with people who complain about their lives and go on to say "I wish.................". Be honest. It happens all the time every day.
It happens in our minds constantly, and that might be the most honest and most difficult conversation of all.
Mother Dolores is a pretty cool cat. When asked why she walked away from Hollywood she answered "I never considered my decision as walking away from Hollywood. I felt it was walking into something more significant and by that, I took Hollywood with me. I really loved my work and the people I worked with."
I love the fact that she doesn't condemn Hollywood. She accepts it as a positive part of her life. In fact she is still a voting member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
She was engaged to Don Robinson when she decided to enter the Abbey. She broke off the engagement and did her thing. Robinson never married and visits her every year at Christmas and Easter. The documentary shows one of his visits. When he leaves he is tearful and Mother Dolores is tearful. A very human side of the story.
There are a lot of amazing people in this world amidst the pettiness, viciousness, hopelessness and disappointment of life.
How the hell do they do it?

Willie, Eckhart, and Leonard

I'm trying to rearrange my brain again.
I have been lost lately, completely untethered. More so than you could divine from my twisted words, if you can believe that.
Effort has been severed from result so that I have been drifting through a world that is hallucinogenic. Where I am is incomprehensible to me given the work I have put in to not be here.
I felt absolutely panicked the other day and desperate to grab onto something, so of course I turned to words. Trying to calm my mind down and settle me, to regain some perspective.
I have read 13,689 rearrange your brain self' help books over the years, just like you. 99% of them fade from memory after the last page is turned. Two have stuck with me and I always go back to them (but obviously never fully learn the lessons within).

The Tao Of Willie - A Guide to the Happiness in Your Heart by Willie Nelson. At first blush you might laugh at that source. If I catch you I will dispose of you like Tony Soprano disposed of Ralphie Cifaretto. The book is filled with wisdom.
I like it because it is written in a straight forward way. Believe me I have read my share of heavy duty books. One comes to mind called Denial of Death. It was written by a doctor of something whose theory was that we all act as if we will never die and this denial is at the root of all our problems. I practically needed a translator to get through that one.
Willie talks about living the golden rule, the simple power of stopping to take a deep breath, wiping out negative thoughts and not hanging around with negative people, meditation, letting go of anger and regret, recognizing the fact that we are not in complete control of our lives, taking an honest look in the mirror. He illustrates the ideas with anecdotes about his own life. If you know anything about Willie you know he has had his ups and downs and his share of challenges and difficulties. Just look at the man, listen to the man. He seems pretty well at peace to me. That's all the authenticity I need.

A New Earth: Awakening To Your Life's Purpose by Eckhart Tolle.
Don't let the title fool you. It is not one of those new age wimpy ass books. This one slaps me in the face and makes me get up and dance because it gets right to the heart of my personal, twisted psychoses.
There is a lot to it but there are two basic points that I gobble up. The first is that your emotions tell you what your mind is thinking. If you pay attention and don't like the way you feel, think differently. Sounds simple but it is powerful.
I am an emotional man and a very twisted one, so I am almost constantly in a state of fear or anxiety or worry or depression or sadness. Happiness is so foreign to me that when it does occasionally break through I am startled. As if the sun suddenly came out at midnight.
When I am awake and aware and recognize pain in my soul, I stop and focus on what the hell I am thinking. And I can temporarily erase the pain. Powerful stuff that somehow I forget about for long stretches of time.
The second and more powerful point to me is the idea of freeing yourself from your mind. We all have a point of view constructed from experiences and learning and tainted by misconceptions and failures. Kind of a voice in your brain. Mine is particularly nasty; if I could rip him out of there I would beat the crap out of him.
If you pay attention to what that voice is saying to you and recognize it as something separate from yourself, you can eliminate the negative influence it has over you. Sounds mystical but it is not. And the process is powerful.
I always try to add a third dimension to the road back, beyond Willie and Eckhart. Sometimes it's Hunter, sometimes Bukowski, The Beatles, anyone who inspires me and whose mind I respect.
This time it is Leonard Cohen.
I grabbed on to him tenaciously after watching that special. Reading his lyrics, listening to the songs, reading his writings. His words inspire me, they challenge me, they make me think and they make me want to change. They appeal to the small portion of my brain that is still functional that knows intuitively that I can be smarter.
2006-2012. A wild ride so far. But I'm still swinging.
And I have my books and my poetry to protect me.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Why Not Us?

Just prior to the start of the Red Sox season, Carol and I watched Four Days in October. A documentary about the legendary comeback of the Sox over the Yankees in the 2004 American League Championship Series. I wanted to get juiced up about this season because it is such an unknown at this point.
So the Sox are down three games to none having been beaten in Game 3 by a score of 19 to 8 in the third game. A game by the way which we watched at my son's apartment directly across the street from Fenway Park. You literally walked out the door to his apartment building, crossed the street and you were at Fenway. When they got their asses kicked that night Keith said, quietly, "We're not done yet." I'll never forget that.
So now it's Game 4, bottom of the ninth and the Sox are down 4 to 3. Kevin Millar is the lead off hitter and he walks. And the fans cheered. They CHEERED. Francona yanks Millar's slow ass off the bag and pinch runs Dave Roberts. Roberts steals second and the fans CHEER. They stand up and cheer.
What the hell were they cheering about? This is what blew me away about watching the documentary. Digging the fans. Down three games to zip, losing in the bottom of the ninth, a walk, a stolen base and they are going wild.
Bill Mueller stands in, gets a hit and Roberts scores, tying the game.
The place explodes.
Talk about hope. Talk about belief. Talk about faith. Talk about loyalty.
If you could harness the emotion in Fenway that night and leak it into syringes around the world, cancer would be eradicated.
We are all so hungry for hope, for success, for escape, so hungry to see the good guys beat the bad guys once in a while, that we are willing to believe that a walk, a stolen base and a single can tun around a series that appears hopeless to the rest of the world.
That ninth inning reaction by Red Sox fans is what sports are all about. But it is rare that the outcome of the game matches the enthusiasm of the fans.
That's what was so special about that night and that series. It was a perfect night. It was a perfect comeback. The fans and the team were one, and they created a powerful vibe that drove back everything negative in the world. Even if it was only over the course of four days.
That was four days that Red Sox fans and baseball fans everywhere will never forget. Because there was a disturbance created in the space time continuum and the jolt created was a hell of a lot more powerful than 1.21 gigawatts.
I expected to create magic by watching that documentary but it hasn't taken hold yet. The Sox are one and five, last in their division, and limping home to Fenway.
But I had my emotions juiced watching the 2004 ALCS comeback one more time. I took the Red Sox fans' improbable enthusiasm and stored it away for future use.
A formidable weapon which I will yield carefully when the time is appropriate.

What's It Gonna Be?

You're on the road to work at 7:15 on a Saturday morning in early Spring and there are precious few other people on the road. You stop into Dunkin' Donuts and there are only two people in the store. You drive by houses where people are sleeping or drinking coffee and reading the paper. Cars are in driveways and nobody is out in the yard. Yet.
You pull into a soul-less parking lot in between Loews and the Oriental restaurant that nobody ever goes into. Shut off the car and wait, because if you activate the store alarm even one minute before authorized, there will be a permanent mark on your record.
You wonder how your life has come to this and how you will get out of it. If you ever do get out of it.
And then you hear the birds. Chirping. You focus on the sound and forget about everything else.
It is one moment of pleasure. It is also hope. You concentrate on enjoying the song and think about how cool it must be to be a bird.
You brush up against hope carefully and allow your mind to imagine a different life.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Natural Truth

I can learn more spending one day with my cats than I could spending ten years with another human.

Chelsea Hotel #2

Lyrics from a Leonard Cohen song about a night with Janis Joplin:

"I remember you well at the Chelsea Hotel
you were famous, your heart was a legend.
You told me again you preferred handsome men
but for me you would make an exception.
And clenching your fist for the ones like us,
who are oppressed by the figures of beauty,
you fixed yourself, you said, "Well never mind,
we are ugly but we have the music."

Leonard Cohen

Watched a tribute special for Leonard Cohen last night. Filmed in 2005. Bunch of talented people performing cover versions of his songs.
This is an absolutely amazing man. A singer/songwriter that other singers, other songwriters and other musicians revere. He is in the stratosphere where Bob Dylan lives.
There are precious few people with this level of talent and insight into life and the ability to express it profoundly. People who have experienced life, actually lived it and can share that with us in ways that inspire.
I am ashamed to admit that I discovered him in a roundabout way. He has a couple of songs on the soundtrack of Natural Born Killers. While watching the movie and hearing the songs, my soul said "Who the hell is this guy? I love this stuff." I researched him and voila he was in my life. I'll take my inspiration from whence it comes.
In specials like these you always get people saying "He changed my life." I always considered that a profound statement and wished I could apply it to my life. Some of these people changed musical direction because of his influence, or looked at life more deeply, or got into music and poetry because of him, or incorporated some of his style and inspiration into their own creations.
I always say The Beatles changed my life. The Allman Brothers changed my life. Hunter S. Thompson changed my life. But I never believed it because nothing about my life changed. I still ended up a lower middle class slug flailing away at life. I never acted on any of this inspiration.
But as I listened to Leonard's songs last night and paid attention to his interview comments, I realized I was alive with emotion. And passion. The man resonates with me and always has since the first time I came across him.
And it hit me that the same rings true for The Beatles and The Allman Brothers and HST and Bukowski. They HAVE changed me.
Something internal, something that gets triggered whenever I see them or hear them or read them. Something that was not there before.
The fact that I have not used that inspiration to make changes in my life does not mean that I won't. After last night I almost feel that it is inevitable.
I can walk around singing a Leonard Cohen song and feel pretty cool about it. But when you see professionals performing his songs in complete rapture, as in this special, you realize how powerful, how special this man is.
He is 78 years old and recently released his twelfth studio album, called Old Ideas, which debuted at number 1 across the globe. He is going on tour. I pray for the opportunity to see him.
He wrote a song called Hallelujah. Listen to him sing it or listen to Rufus Wainwright sing it, who does an amazing cover version. Either way it will fire up your emotions and blow your mind. The song is the very definition of emotion.

Some of the lyrics to Everybody Knows:

Everybody knows that the dice are loaded
Everybody rolls with their fingers crossed
Everybody knows that the war is over
Everybody knows the good guys lost
Everybody knows the fight was fixed
The poor stay poor, the rich get rich
           That's how it goes
           Everybody knows
Everybody knows that the boat is leaking
Everybody knows that the captain lied
Everybody got this broken feeling
Like their father or their dog just died
          Everybody talking to their pockets
         Everybody wants a box of chocolates
         And a long stem rose
        Everybody knows
The man understands life and will not spare your emotions if you live in fantasy land.

He said his earliest memory of writing was when his father died. Leonard was nine years old. He went into his parents' bedroom and grabbed one of his father's bow ties. He cut it open and inserted a note into it and buried the tie in the back yard. He doesn't remember if it was a prayer or a good bye or a poem. But what a profound thing for a nine year old to do. A sensitive, creative soul revealed.
He dresses impeccably, beautiful suits and a fedora. He speaks softly and is a gentleman of dignity. Yet his words, his perspective will knock you out.
In 1994 Cohen retreated to the Mt. Baldy Zen Center near LA beginning what became five years of seclusion. In 1996 he was ordained as a Rinzai Zen Buddhist monk. He got back to music/writing/poetry in 1999.
I could go on and on. He is a fascinating man and a continuing source of inspiration, intelligence, insight and humility.
A Leonard Cohen quote: "My reputation as a ladies' man was a joke that caused me to laugh bitterly through the ten thousand nights I spent alone."
Check him out. Your life will be better for it.

A Passing Remark

Enjoyed Easter dinner with two of our most favorite people in the world. Divine day.
A passing remark by, I'll call him Bill in the interests of preserving anonymity, blew me away.
We travel to Old Orchard Beach annually for a getaway; the four of us plus two or three others. Me and Bill were looking at pictures from some of these trips and he said "Look at us, the older we get the more we look alike."
Unbelievably true. The women put on poundage and resemble each other in body shape. The men get beer guts, man breasts and grizzled white beards.
Maybe this is a way to soften the road to death. We are born unique and with potential. Then we blow it and stumble through life unfulfilled. And we all begin to look like one another. Maybe as a reminder that we are all traveling the same road.
That's the way I see it, anyway.
Thanks for the insight, Bill.

Illusion of Freedom

I have the day off from work today.

All I have to do is figure out how to save my own life.

That's Gein, Which Rhymes With Obscene

I'm done with Eddie Gein. Laid him to rest, you might say. He died in 1984 in a home for the criminally insane, which disappoints me. I prefer to see these guys executed.
Came across an interesting English folk song/poem that was referenced repeatedly in the book.

The Unquiet Grave

The Wind doth blow today, 
my love,And a few small drops of rain;
I never had but one true-love,
In cold grave she was lain.

I'll do as much for my true-love,
As any young man may;
I'll sit and mourn all at her grave
For a twelvemonth and a day.

The twelvemonth and a day being up,
The dead began to speak:
'Oh who sits weeping on my grave,
And will not let me sleep?

'Tis I, my love, sits on your grave,
And will not let you sleep;
For I crave one kiss of your clay-cold lips,
And that is all I seek.

You crave one kiss of my clay-cold lips;
But my breath smells earthly strong;    
If you have one kiss of my clay-cold lips,    
Your time will not be long.

"Tis down in younder garden green,
Love, where we used to walk,
The finest flower that ere was seen
Is withered to a stalk.

The stalk is withered dry, my love,
So will our hearts decay;
So make yourself content, my love,
Till God calls you away.

One more ghoulish reference from a guy named Henri Blot on trial in the 1800's in France for necrophilia. After being rebuked by the judge he replied: "How would you have it? Every man to his own tastes. Mine is for corpses."

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

You Might Be Depressed If.................

you are driving to work and you see a woman walking her dog. The woman is healthy, full of energy and pep. The dog is supremely happy, wagging his tail and sniffing life in drunkenly.
And you think "Some day they will both be dead."

Monday, April 9, 2012

Working Man Blues #2 (excerpts)

Well the place I love best is a sweet memory
It's a new path that we trod
They say low wages are a reality
If we want to compete abroad

Well I'm sailin' on back, ready for the long haul
Tossed by the winds and the seas
I'll drag 'em all down to hell and I'll stand 'em at the wall
I'll sell 'em to their enemies

Now they worry and they hurry and they fuss and they fret
They waste your nights and days
Them I will forget
But you I'll remember always

Meet me at the bottom, don't lag behind
Bring me my boots and shoes
You can hang back or fight your best on the front lines
Sing a little bit of these workingman's blues

The Truth

I honestly feel deep down in my soul that if you spent a couple of days listening to nothing but Bob Dylan you would come to understand life.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Mccarver Is A Nerd

Was Tim McCarver a nerd as an athlete?
The man drives me crazy. He is so overly dramatic and contrived in the broadcast booth that whatever insights he has into baseball are overshadowed by the sheer stupidity of his delivery. And to make matters worse he sits next to Joe Buck.
I like Joe Buck. I think he is intelligent. I think he is knowledgeable and has a great command of the English language. I love his sense of humor. It is sarcastic, understated and fueled by intelligence; my favorite type of humor.
One or both of my sons hate Joe Buck. I'm not sure of the statistics because I have so many sons to keep track of. Anyway I don't get it. I am always willing to give them the benefit of the doubt because they are both supremely knowledgeable in the world of sports. I tend to defer to them. Although as with most everything in life I am probably more knowlegable than I give myself credit for.
I gotta go with my gut on this one. Joe Buck is good. Which makes McCarver look like even more of an idiot. Kind of like Steven Hawking sitting next to George W. Bush.
McCarver's overall aura in the booth is one of nerdiness. Which makes me wonder what his persona was as an athlete. Athletes comes across as cool. Carefree. Jokester/pranksters. Sometimes tough and intimidating. It is rare that you perceive an athlete as a nerd. Unless you consider chess a sport.
So, what if McCarver was a nerd? Did the other baseball players laugh at him behind his back? Or to his face? Did they taunt him? Did they tell him they were going out to The Beerhouse for dinner when they were really going to The 1904 Steakhouse? Did they deflate the tires on his car?
I have this picture of him sitting alone at one end of the bench while the rest of the team sits together at the other end. Telling Tim Mccarver jokes.
In 1964 Mccarver was the World Series' Most Valuable Player. He could play the game. But I just can't shake this image of him on the field and in the locker room and dugout as a buffoon. Lots of former players suck at broadcasting. This conforms to my theory on why lots of bosses suck. The skills required to be a boss are much different than the skills required to do a job. Doing a job well does not automatically translate into good bossifying. Being a successful athlete does not mean you will be a superstar in the booth.
Athletes' personalities do not change from the field to the booth. Kevin Millar is as funny in the booth as he was on the field. He is who he is. Ergo I have to believe Mccarver was a nerd on the field.
His life must have been a living hell. Ugly women and cleats filled with shaving cream.
I'm running out of gas on this theory so I gotta refer to two quotes from yesterday's Red Sox game. I was watching the Sox get spanked by Detroit. It was painful but the hot dogs I grilled were magnificent. Actually the dogs weren't that great but what I decorated them with was. Sweet onions, four blend Mexican cheese and horseradish mustard.
Beckett threw a hanging curve that got slammed for a double. Mccarver said:"I don't want to alarm Red Sox fans, but that pitch looked like a pitch thrown by a pitcher with thumb problems." Beckett has been struggling with an injured thumb for over a year and it was rumored that he might not be ready to start this season. Mccarver was just playing the odds, betting that Beckett is indeed hurt and will miss some starts so that McCarver can look like a baseball genius. He was also being incredibly insensitive to the emotions of Red Sox fans. I don't think McCarver's powers of observation are so finely tuned that he can determine a pitcher's health from one pitch. Even if he was a catcher.
Detroit destroyed the Sox. Five home runs. Mccarver said:"And on this Masters weekend Detroit is really driving the ball." Jesus. I think he was trying to be funny. He was funny as a nerd. Funny as in fans shaking their heads and saying this guy needs to be institutionalized.
What scares me is the thought that there is a chance he thought his comment was insightful commentary. Creative. Incisive.
My dream is that one day Joe Buck will be drunk in the booth, Mccarver will say something inane and Buck will smear hot dog mustard and chili all over Mccarver's face.
That would be good TV.

Holy Awakening

In honor of Jesus' resurrection I arose quite early on this Easter morn.

Friday, April 6, 2012


Anger so powerful it consumes a life. Becomes that life. Anger so large it eclipses the world so that steps taken in any direction cannot escape it.
Anger burning with an eternal fuel supply. A wildfire of anger when the conditions are right.
The conditions are right.
Anger burning indiscriminately towards the destruction of something. Anger burning itself out. Because of lack of fuel. Or because there is nothing left to destroy.


Reading about Ed Gein, 1950's serial killer. It is disturbing, I'm getting a reaction in my gut which I like because it makes me feel alive, but what is more disturbing is when Maka, curled up in my lap, looks back over her shoulder at me from time to time. That contrast of innocence and pure evil is wrenching. She carefully inspects the book with her nose from time to time. I wonder what she smells.
Living in a small town in Wisconsin it's amazing he got away with what he did for as long as he did. When he was finally flushed out, the investigation into his home provided macabre discoveries. Skulls hollowed out and used as soup bowls, skulls on each of his bedposts, furniture and clothing made out of human skin. Apparently he was a frustrated artiste. Body parts found in bags and boxes all over the house. There was more but I won't go into it because Lakota is sitting on the desk in front of me and I don't want any of this evil to disturb her sweet nature. I am blowing cat fur off the keyboard as we speak.
Eddie's mommy messed him up, and when she died leaving him completely alone in the world, he took it out on women.
We all try to control other people. Paint them in a corner. Force our opinions down their throats and ignore anything they have to say. It's a diseased form of self defense. We create a fantasy life for ourselves in complete contradiction to the facts, and we cannot allow others to disturb this delusion.
Then you expire, shoot on up to heaven and come face to face with Jesus. Who says "Holy Christ, THAT'S what you did with your life?" We are immediately and belatedly ashamed.
I'm thinking that first kill for a serial killer doesn't come easy. Maybe they think about it for a long time, allowing it to transform from a random thought, at first perhaps a little frightening, to something that makes sense. Something acceptable. Something defensible.
Or maybe the abuse and twisted logic of parents bubbles inside like a pie in an oven until the timer goes off.
Or maybe life's injustices pile up one on the other until the battered brain creates it's own moral code, it's own rules for fighting back and/or setting the world right just a little bit.
Taking a life is the ultimate control of other people. You don't have to deal with them any more if they are dead. Pretty much eliminates the possibility of debate.
You do the deed and lay low, waiting. Nothing happens. No fingers are pointed. You got away with it. You are feeling pretty cocky now. When a well known woman disappeared in his home town, of course everybody talked about it. When Ed was involved in the conversation he would say "I know where she is. She's back at my farm." Which she was. Dead. But everybody assumed he was joking because he was a strange bird. That's pretty cocky.
You are feeling cocky, and after that it must be like eating M&M's or Lay's potato chips. But sooner or later you will get caught. Confidence and cockiness are two different things. A confident hitter bats .310. A cocky hitter slumps to .220.
Ed Gein's house was a mess. They said the place was a dump. Food and containers and trash and newspapers and magazines and tools and all kinds of stuff all over the floor.
Except two rooms that were sealed off. When they opened them up they found a perfectly preserved bedroom and living room. Neat as a pin, undisturbed and covered in dust.
His mommy's rooms. That was the part of the house she lived in before she died.
Ed Gein's story was the inspiration for the movie Psycho.
How many killers' careers are the result of psychologically twisted mommies? You take a look around at all the idiot parents in the world and factor my theory of Transference of Stupidity into the equation and it sends chills down your spine. Mix those ingredients up in a brain that is not firing on all cylinders and the result is a fertile breeding ground for developing psychopaths.
Excuse me. I gotta go kiss my cats.

Dig This

"My life is so boring I don't have to be awake to live it."


Pitbull, My Ass

Who the hell is this PitBull guy anyway? When I see him in that Bud Light commercial I want to buy him a dress. Da. Acting so over the top tough that he looks like a fool. It's a rap thing.I am not gonna rap rap because I like a lot of rap. Yeah you heard me, I am 58 years old and I like a lot of rap. Or hip hop or whatever the politically correct term is in 2012. I was schooled in rap when it was being born, by my sons.
Back then you could keep track of the players. Now there are 14.3 million hip hop artists in the world with 75 new names every day. Seems bizarre until I think back to my own musical childhood vis a vis my parents. In the beginning you had The Beatles and The Stones. A few years down the road there were an unlimited number of rock bands extending all the way out to The Strawberry Alarm Clock. So my parents probably felt as overwhelmed by rock as I do by rap.
The macho posturing thing in rap is rock posturing taken to the extreme. I think rock stars tried to act cool more than tough. Although The Stones and Guns 'N Roses might disagree with me. The rock dudes were all about being wild and different and super cool with an I don't give a damn what you think of me and my long hair and bell bottoms and drugs attitude. Until the eighties hair bands. I haven't got a clue what they were trying to tell me.
But rap dudes have taken the act to another level. Dre and Snoop Dog were (are?) pretty intimidating guys. Tupac. I think they were naturally cool, naturally tough. Today acting tough is part of the job description so you have to project it even if you would rather pick daisies. And the phonies look like morons. Walking around with this ridiculous scowl on their faces acting like every woman in the world has to have them. They try to look so tough that they look more like Pee Wee Herman trying to look tough.
Seeing Pitbull in a Bud Light commercial does not make me want to go out and buy Bud Light. Nothing in this world could make me want to go out and buy Bud Light. But seeing Pitbull does not make me want to be like Pitbull either. I wanted to be as cool as Tupac. I thought some of that attitude, that swagger, that F**k All Y'All attitude could do me good. But I knew I could never pull it off.
Pitbull doesn't know that. He thinks he's the 2012 version of Tupac.
Tupac could destroy him with one lyric, never mind a gun.
Pitbull is not Tupac any more than The Strawberry Alarm Clock were The Beatles.