Thursday, May 31, 2012

Had Another Bird Moment

Got to work this morning exactly seven minutes before I am allowed to enter the store. The New Hampshire State Liquor Commission has very exacting rules about what you can do and what you cannot do. They are driven by fear so they try to control every single facet of their operation. It is ludicrous.
I was considerate enough to get up at 6:00 a.m. to go in and open up the f***in' store but I dared not enter before 8:00 A.M. because the security company would call and a black mark would become a permanent entry on my employment record.
No matter.
I sat and listened to the birds. They were in full throat and positively mesmerizing me with a symphony. A very beautiful symphony.
It occurred to me that these birds were sitting in trees that sit in between a trailer park and a soul-less parking lot that services a Lowe's, the liquor store, Market Basket and various other spirit killing enterprises.
And they were singing their hearts out.
These birds should be in verdant pastures, liquid forests, purely natural habitats. Instead they overlook a f***ing parking lot. Perhaps they are more interested in real estate values. Still they sounded so goddamn happy, so goddamn free.
It occurred to me that if they can do it, I can do it. This is in keeping with my recent epiphany. I am not happy with my life but I have walked through a door of change and I like the view.
Why not dig what I can and change the rest at whatever pace it takes. Muscle my way forward but accept that it might go slower than I desire, and have the presence of mind to breathe, to feel, to smile, to celebrate the fact that I am alive and respect the fact that I ain't dead.
To sing. In my own way, in my own key, in a way that makes my soul happy.
You can learn a hell of a lot more from nature than you can from any human.
Dig it, baby.

Another One From: Wanted - The Outlaws

The song:

My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys

The lines that I worship:

"My heroes have always been cowboys.
And they still are, it seems.
Sadly in search of, but one step in back of,
themselves and their slow movin' dreams."

They ain't just talking about cowboys, baby; it's all of us. We are all one step behind who we are and we are all chasing our dreams. Clumsily.
Slow movin' dreams. I guess if you even have dreams, and you are chasing them piece by piece, bit by bit, because you don't have the time, because you have a job or jobs or you don't have a job and you are desperately seeking a job, well then it is a slow movin' process.
Most of us don't really know who we are; we think we do but we don't. So we are always one step in back of ourselves.
I thought the song was written by Willie Nelson or Waylon Jennings. I was wrong. It was written by Sharon Vaughn. I don't know who Sharon Vaughn is but I love her. These are sensitive lyrics.
You cannot go wrong looking to poetry or song lyrics for inspiration or understanding. The people who write this stuff are students of human nature and they understand you because certain emotions or thoughts or questions or misunderstandings or painful confusions are universal. They don't have to know you personally to know you.
This is why I love all music all poetry all literature all theatre.
We are all connected even though we fight to dispute this. Expressing individuality is not mutually exclusive from being human.

I Am Exultant

Told you I'm reading God Is Not Great by Christopher Hitchens.

He has used the word vouchsafed TWICE and I am not even one third of the way through the book.


Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The More Loving One

Randomly came across this poem by W.H. Auden. I dig it.

"Looking up at the stars, I know quite well
that, for all they care, I can go to hell,
but on earth indifference is the least
we have to dread from man or beast.

How should we like it were stars to burn
with a passion for us we could not return?
If equal affection cannot be,
let the more loving one be me.

Admirer as I think I am,
of stars that do not give a damn,
I cannot, now I see them, say
I missed one terribly all day.

Were all stars to disappear or die,
I should learn to look at an empty sky
and feel its total darkness sublime,
though this might take me a little time."

That "let the more loving one be me" is a heavy duty line. Good way to approach human relationships. But what the hell do I know? I am in no position to give advice. Dig the poem if you dig poetry. I love poetry.
If you don't dig poetry, skip it. Find something else that fires your soul and dig that. Time's a wastin', people.

The McCartney Conundrum

Paul McCartney is my least favorite Beatle.
When I was a kid he was my favorite Beatle. Then I began to mature and reason and John became the man. His raw honesty and intense emotion expressed so openly in his songs knocked me out. Later on I realized how impressive George was. Contemplative, intelligent, a crafter of beautiful, insightful songs with an overlooked  wicked sense of humor. John and George remain equal in my mind forever. Ringo is cool. Laid back, funny; I like a lot of his songs and I like him as a person.
McCartney is superficial. Choose any interview and you'll notice he never says anything deep. Nothing inspirational. He seems full of himself, an impression confirmed by something I read many years ago that said he tried to reverse the song writing credits on a Beatles greatest hits collection.
I got home Monday night and immediately vegetated my sunburned, tired, satisfied ass onto my recliner. Punched up Palladia and waltzed right into a McCartney concert from 2007.
The audience always cracks me up. The guys all look like nerds. They look like business guys trying not to look like business guys, trying to look cool and failing miserably. Rocking out of time to the music.
The women look good. Maybe the camera guys focus only on the pretty ones, as camera guys tend to do. (Check out a Red Sox game if you don't believe me). You don't see 380 pound women rocking out to Paul.
Women are naturally more rhythmic, more fluid; they rock in time with the music. They are more natural and they don't look stupid grooving to the tunes.
McCartney sings Hey Jude and the whole place goes crazy singing along to the na na na na part. Belting it out with power and emotion. This is to be expected.
Then he sings Let It Be and the audience sings every word. Every f***ing word. This is not a mindless chant, this is reverence. This is connection. This reflects how much Paul McCartney and his music means to these people.
Let It Be is one of my favorite Beatles songs. It sparks a deeply emotional response in me. The phrase was his mother's, she used to say it all the time. The Mother Mary in the song was his mother. The song almost has religious overtones to it.
So this is my eternal dilemma. He IS Paul McCartney. No matter how hard I try to intellectualize him as the least significant Beatle, I am in awe of him. Always will be. Had I been in that audience I would have been singing every word to Let It Be. And every word to every other song too. I am obnoxious that way. If you are not of my generation you cannot understand this. You cannot understand the impact, the power, the meaningfulness.
I can say with confidence that there will never be another phenomenon like The Beatles. And I was right there to drink it in and make it a part of my DNA, my emotional makeup, my outlook on life.
I was looking at him on that stage and thought how bizarre it was that he was surrounded by musicians that I could not name. Not John, not George, not Ringo. And yet there was still an aura. As a Beatle his aura is powerful enough to dominate any stage, no matter who else is on it.
That audience wasn't singing Let It Be just because they like the song. They were singing it because they remember being blown away by The Beatles, they remember how that made them feel, what it did to their minds and their way of thinking. The song brought them back and they were basking in the emotion.
It was a cool way for me to slide back to reality. My brain was sunburned, but Paul McCartney managed to spark some life into it, got my emotions stewing, made me feel alive and awake.
The expressions on the audiences' faces said it all to me. They looked like kids seeing and hearing Paul McCartney for the first time. Radiant and reverent. But there was experience reflected there as well, an understanding of how life doesn't go the way you expect it to, undeniable physical aging fifty years down the road.
It was like his music brought the kid in them to the surface without wiping out the adult, like both those phases of life were merged together in their faces.
I criticize Mr. McCartney a lot but goddamn it, he is a Beatle.
That is a truth that I can never escape.
Nor do I wish to.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

A Weekend of Magic and Mystery

The wife and I stepped out of character this past glorious weekend.
We took off.
Unplanned, unannounced, unfinanced. Just like that.
We had ben invited to attend The Sixth (I think) Annual Sarge and Cori Cookout in Saco, Maine on Monday. Shortly thereafter my lovely wife wisely suggested "Why don't we go up Sunday and spend the day on Old Orchard Beach?"
Boom. Done.
Understand that we rarely go away because we are flat broke, so it felt delicious to spend money we don't have indulging ourselves a little happiness.
We were gone approximately 45 hours, not even two full days but it felt like Woodstock; three days of peace, love and understanding.
It was a slowly unwinding, deliciously indulgent get away that reinvigorated our souls.
Hit the beach around 1:00 or 1:30 Sunday afternoon and stayed there until 5:00. Carol crocheted, I dozed, and when I was awake, we talked. We also listened to the ocean and meditated. Just the two of us.
I made a rookie mistake though by miscalculating the ferocity of the sun. It was an overcast day, windy and on the verge of chilly with periods of blue sky. In fact by 5:00 we were both wearing sweatshirts. Anyway I got burned to a crisp. My face is a beacon of redness and my legs HURT.
But I got a really cool hat out of the deal so everything works out.
We strolled downtown, checked out all the shops, grabbed some grub and sat at a table in the center of it all digging the scene.
Back to the motel, hung on the porch overlooking the beach until my sunburn kicked in and I began to shiver, then we retired to the room to watch the race. Harvick turned in a solid performance so I was happy.
Monday we cleared out of the motel, chowed some breakfast and took a long walk on the beach. Supreme.
Then it was off to the cookout. Perfect day. Cool, comfortable, bright sun, a gentle breeze.
Cori and Sarge are magical people. Two people who know exactly who they are and who are fun to be around. It's rare to meet a couple like that; usually one is cool, one is neurotic. In our case I am the neurotic one and proud of it. But when you have a couple where both individuals are cool, you are in the presence of pure magic and unmistakable awesomeness.
I have a theory that good people attract good people, and Sarge and Cori are proof of that. Carol and I have met so many cool people through them because of the racing connection and the bar (they own Sarge's Tailgate Grille in Saco, Maine - go there, eat magnificent food, and hang in the bar and laugh yourself a good time. DO IT NOW!).
So the crew at the cookout was fun.
And there's always the bonus of family. John, Kevin and Wayne. Talked with them, laughed with them, dug 'em. Made the day even more special.
I met Robin (hope I'm spelling that right). Not sure if I met him for the first time yesterday or if I have met him previously. As I said, we have met many people through Cori and Sarge and the circumstances usually involve alcohol and perhaps something illegal, so my memory ain't exactly accurate.
Anyway, Robin is a scotch drinker. I hate scotch. I drink whiskey because I love it and it loves me. The only scotch I have ever been able to stomach was Johnnie Walker Blue. Deeeeeeeeeelicious, but it costs $210 a bottle. Good thing we are broke because if I drank that I would drink a bottle a week and it would cost me $10,920 a year. I'd have to get a real job.
I'm the kind of party individual that, if somebody says "Hey Joe - I'm drinking gasoline, you want some?" I'll say "Sure and make it a double."
So when Robin offered me some scotch, McClelland's, a single malt, I said sure, but I was thinking all right, let's get this over with.
However..............I liked it. It tasted damn good. Scotch is produced in four regions in Scotland and one of them, Islay is known for smoky, peaty flavor. Apparently that is the type of scotch that my taste buds approve of. Honestly I don't remember if I drank Islay or Speyside, but it was damn good.
Anyway the cookout was a gas; good food, good conversation, lots of laughs. We headed out early because we have a long ride.
Got home and found the cats alert, excited and happy to see us. Great ending to a great short/long weekend.
Man I gotta tell you, something as simple as a quick get away like that can recharge your batteries and fire up your soul. Carol and I experienced sweet, peaceful magic, alone together and in the company of family and friends.
I'm a new man today with a refreshed perspective and red skin.
All thanks to my lovely wife who so innocently said "Why don't we go up Sunday and spend the day on Old Orchard Beach?"
She is so much wiser than me. Thanks, babe.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Memorial Day Weekend Coming Back Around

OK. It's Sunday of Memorial Day weekend. I cannot have my previous post be the only one I make on such a sweet day, at such a sweet time.
First and foremost it always bothers me that most people forget that this weekend is about remembering those who have died in the service of this country. People who GAVE THEIR LIVES so little people like me can enjoy the right to say whatever I want in this phony baloney blog.
This includes people who were drafted and didn't want to go to war, but did any way and died. People who volunteered to serve and were killed. People who have enlisted many times over and were killed.
War is stupid and our reasons for getting involved are often suspect, but you have to respect people who have the guts to put on a uniform and risk everything so you and I can live life as freely as we do.
Think about them this weekend and find a way to thank them.
The weekend is also about sweet release. For most people, three days away from the tyranny of employment.
Kicking off summer.
You can feel it in the air; it's a laid back, got time to be human vibe. Especially with the good weather we are enjoying.
People with horrifically ugly legs walking around in shorts.
Working a job is a noble thing, no matter what level you are at.
I recently whined about the plight of the retail employee. I now stand tall and admit that I have a two day weekend - in a row - and that is a sweet joy which I will savor. I talked to people yesterday who are working all three days.
I don't know what to say to them. All I can say is that I work for an organization that has no problem lying or misrepresenting to their employees how much they will be paid in specific circumstances. I am talking about the sacred trust of a paycheck here. Corporations get away with whatever they get away with, but you NEVER ever make a paycheck a negotiation, a mystery, something that an employee cannot rely on to be consistent. This organization has crossed that line and I hope someday they are prosecuted for it. But I won't hold my breath.
I hope you do not find yourself working for an organization like that this weekend. I hope you get paid well and the paycheck better include some OT.
In general, I hope this weekend provides some peace of mind to as many people as possible. I hope it is a magnificent kickoff to a summer filled with good weather and great times. This is the time of year to LIVE, people.
We have to dig in and start enjoying.

The Official republican Campaign Slogan

Worked yesterday. Eating my lunch - a gourmet bologna sandwich - sitting in the Peace Mobile in the parking lot - basking in the glory of the day. A hot summer day. My kind of day. Listening to the birds. Feeling peaceful.
A sixth grade drop out drives by the car in his full size pickup and yells F**K THAT NI**ER. My wife's car is adorned with President Obama stickers.
I immediately extended my middle finger as he drove past in order to hold up my end of this intellectual discussion. I don't know if he was looking into his rear view or side view mirror but he kept on going and disappeared into the Lowe's parking lot.
I was furious.
This is exactly the kind of person republicans are trying to incite with their subliminal smear President Obama campaign. They are not making an intellectual pitch to thinking people, intelligent people, trying to prove to them on the basis of facts that the Prez is not a good Prez.
The birther crap, the Jeremiah Wright and Bill Ayers distortion, the socialist stupidity, the anti-American, anti-capitalist garbage - it is all purposefully designed to create a false image of President Obama, one that sixth grade dropouts are eager to lap up like a dog laps up his own vomit.
Because they are racists. Violence prone, uneducated, vicious, mindless racists.
If the republican party had any guts at all their official campaign slogan would be F***K THAT NI**ER.
Because that is exactly what they have been saying, exactly what they have been campaigning on for four years.
Politics is a sleazy, dirty business. Since the election of President Barack Obama, republicans have perfected the slimy image most people have of politicians; it is impossible to go any lower. If they walked around with F**K THAT NI**ER T-shirts, it would actually elevate the process because it would be honest.
I finished my bologna baguette and dozed off a little in the sweet, hot, birdsong, mid afternoon sun.
Before I trudged back in to The Booze Emporium I moved the car. To a spot where I could see it from the store.
That car is my wife's pride and joy. She loves it even more than she loves me. Probably because it doesn't get drunk and say and do stupid things.
I would be in the store for three more hours. Time enough for sixth grade drop out boy to go home, drink 18 Natty Lites and six shots of Canadian Hunter and come back with a sledgehammer.
I was furious at having to think this way. I was furious at his mindless reaction to the fact that we have a black President. I guarantee you he doesn't know a goddamn thing about President Obama's policies, doesn't even have an interest in politics.
All he knows is that there is a ni**er in the White House and he can't stand it because he is obviously intellectually and morally superior to the President.
And I despise Romney, republican senators and representatives, and right wing talking heads for intentionally fanning the flames of this guys vicious, racist attitudes. And the millions of idiots who share the same opinion.
I have said it before and I will say it again. If you vote for Mitt Romney for president you are committing treason against the government of the United States.

Friday, May 25, 2012

God Is Not Great

Sometimes I rest my brain, sometimes I exercise it.
Just finished a fluff novel, something I picked up for a buck in the Hannaford bin. There is good fiction, lousy fiction and fiction that is just barely readable. The book I just finished was in the third category.
It was a good story but not exceptionally well written. I can't even tell you the title. But my brain needed rest so I cruised through it.
Today I started reading God Is Not Great by Christopher Hitchens.
BOOM. Pushups.
An intellectual approach to proving how harmful religion has been to mankind and how disingenuous it all is.
Exceptionally tasty.
I felt my brain responding to his arguments and information hungrily like, yeah, I need to know this. I need assistance in my intellectual quest.
I tend towards not believing in God because there is too much cruelty in the world. Hitchins made the observation that if Jesus could cure a random blind man he came across in the road, why not eliminate all blindness? Which is in line with my eternal why do children get cancer question.
But I am 58. Death sits on my shoulder. When you have made it this far in life you are walking through a fatal illness minefield. Yeah you can die at 10, or 38 or 47, you can die anytime, but when you hit the fifties, catastrophic bombs are exploding all around you.
You are demographically doomed to worry about cancerheartattackstrokediabetes and 310 other diseases.
So I don't want to dismiss The Big Guy out of hand. I haven't done what I want to with this life. I want to believe I'll get another chance, or that through some bizarre clerical error I could wind up watching The PATS win another Super Bowl with Jesus and a bag of chips.
But intellectually I reject this notion. I am uncomfortable with it. It seems too bizarre to believe. The Jesus part, not The PATS.
Consider my strange dilemma. Yesterday I started digging into the Sermon on the Mount. Today I started reading God Is Not Great.
It would be an interesting study to plow through both simultaneously. I don't promise this because as Lewis Black has diagnosed, I have ADD.
Besides my brain would probably explode.
But the good thing is that my brain is getting a workout. This is the kind of book you read slowly. I am a fast reader but I slow things down when the material is this meaty. Understand as much as I can and allow the rest to seep into my pores for later evaluation.
That's it for today. No time.
You'll be hearing more from me.

What I Believe

If you talk to me with absolute conviction, I automatically disbelieve you. Don't trust you. Stop listening to you.
You have to have a subtle tone of humility in your voice, a suggestion that maybe you don't know everything, that you might be wrong, for me to even consider evaluating your words.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Hit Somebody! (The Hockey Song)

I have never used this blog to deliver a direct message to specific individuals. (At least I don't think so - I have written so many words that I cannot grasp the enormity of what dribbles out of my brain).

There are five main characters in the store I work in. THREE of them are avid hockey fans.
I have never run into this before. Hockey is not huge on the popularity scale compared to the other three major sports. I dig it but not as an expert; I dig the sport for it's similarity to football - skill and grace combined with brutal violence.
I have run into plenty of hockey fans but never in an environment where they are the majority.
It freshens my perspective.

So, to SteveEricBob -

Go to the web, YouTube, your cell phone, smart phone,  the record store, the local sheet music purveyor - grab a hold of and familiarize yourself with:

Hit Somebody! (The Hockey Song) by Warren Zevon. You will love it.

It's typical Zevon; satirical, hilarious and just plain tasty. AND it features David Letterman in the chorus repeatedly yelling Hit Somebody. Are you aware of any other song on the planet earth that features David Letterman? This is an amazing bonus.

Actually it's a waste of ink to include Eric in my plea. He is off the grid. No cellphone, computer illiterate, and generally cut off from all forms of communication other than the 13" black and white TV in the kitchen.
Perhaps SteveBob can include him in.

Anyone else who is interested, feel free. Zevon is another guy I dig. However if you have no sense of humor don't bother; just tune back in to Fox TV.

The Sermon On The Mount

When you are inspired by intelligent and creative people, you are inspired to look into the things that interest or inspire them.
I was lead to the Sermon on the Mount by a guy I shall not name, because if I name him one more time in these pages you will slap me. (Actually it's not going to be that easy - I will quote him time and time again until my soul has had it's fill).
I have never delved into religion deeply; it interests me as a historical issue and a possible source of inspiration or thought process or philosophy for living a life.
As I age (rapidly) religion takes on more significance. So I scanned through the Sermon on the Mount to see what it is all about.
It's going to take more than scanning.
It's heavy duty and subject to a million interpretations, according to the critiques of it that I also scanned.
In a nutshell, Jesus did some meditating, hiked up a mountain with his disciples and others gathered around him and delivered a speech outlining his expectations for his disciples and his position on law, anger, adultery, divorce, oaths, love for enemies, and includes sections called the beatitudes, the salt of the earth, and the light of the world.
It covers a lot of ground.
I will dig into it deeper because that's where my head is at - searching for depth, searching for knowledge, taking new approaches to improving and changing myself.
You are in trouble. I'll be sharing my findings and opinions in these very pages.
I have always dismissed stuff like this. But suddenly I feel the more knowledge I have the better equipped I will be to evolve.
Yeah, even at the ripe old age of 58 I am trying to evolve.
Do you sense the longing? Can you feel the urgency?
I am compelled to comment. I pull up the Sermon on the Mount on this internet thingy and the first thing I have to do is X away an advertisement. An advertisement was covering and preventing me from accessing the Sermon on the Mount.
Could be a commentary on why the Sermon has not had the impact it should on humanity.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

A Letter To The Chinese

Leonard Cohen's book - Beautiful Losers - was translated into Chinese and published in China in 2000. The Chinese publisher asked him to write a letter (instead of a preface) to Chinese readers. This is what he wrote.

"Thank you for coming to this book. It is an honor, and a surprise, to have the frenzied thoughts of my youth expressed in Chinese characters. I sincerely appreciate the efforts of the translator and the publishers in bringing this curious work to your attention. I hope you fill find it useful or amusing.

When I was young, my friends and I read and admired the old Chinese poets. Our ideas of love and friendship, of wine and distance, of poetry itself, were much affected by those ancient songs. Much later, when I practiced as a Zen monk under the guidance of my teacher Kyozan Joshu Roshi, the thrilling sermons of Lin Chi (Rinzai) were studied every day. So you can understand, Dear Reader, how privileged I feel to be able to graze, even for a moment, and with such meager credentials, on the outskirts of your tradition.

This is a difficult book, even in English, if it is taken too seriously. May I suggest that you skip over the parts that you don't like? Dip into it here and there. Perhaps there will be a passage, or even a page, that resonates with your curiosity. After a while, if you are sufficiently bored or unemployed, you may want to read it from cover to cover. In any case, I thank you for your interest in this odd collection of jazz riffs, pop-art jokes, religious kitsch and muffled prayer as an interest which indicates, to my thinking, a rather reckless, though very touching, generosity on your part.

Beautiful Losers was written outside, on a table set among the rocks, weeds and daisies, behind my house on Hydra, an island in the Aegean Sea. I lived there many years ago. It was a blazing hot summer. I never covered my head. What you have in your hands is more of a sunstroke than a book.

Dear Reader, please forgive me if I have wasted your time."

Humble, respectful, self deprecating, amusing. I love it.

A Word Of Caution

Cruising in to work on the back roads this morning, drinking in the sunshine like it was Crown Royal. My god it was spectacularly beautiful and I was thinking spectacularly beautiful thoughts.
Until I saw the Romney sign. A BIG Romney sign blotting out a portion of my view.
I was past it in a second, but it shattered my reverie for minutes.
I'm going to begin this with my expected rant about republicans, and then I'll try to approach it in a more dignified manner.
republicans are scum. Immoral, amoral, racist, lying bastards. I hated politicians before I ever delved into politics, but in the last four years, because of republicans, I have no patience for them, they disgust me, they are worthless human beings. Worthless even as fertilizer. If you ground them up and seeded your garden with them nothing would grow. I'll cut Democrats some slack but I will not back off on republicans. They turn my stomach.
The new approach is to paint President Obama as anti-capitalist, anti-free market. Insinuating that since these reflect the core of the American economy, he is un-American. That he is a socialist. And of course the economy is a huge issue in this election.
Immediately after he was elected, before he ever set foot in the White House, republicans began a campaign of discrediting him with the focus being that he is un-American, he is different, he is exotic. They used every slur they could, except the one truth that was driving all this.
He is BLACK.
And they knew there are plenty of Americans willing to line up behind this hatred because they are racially prejudiced.
The election is coming up quickly. I am asking you to pay attention. Listen to what the republicans say. Get beneath their words and examine the facts. Because their words are lies.
It won't take a lot of effort on your part. There is this thing called the internet. You can easily verify whether or not claims being made are true or not.
You can investigate the things they accuse President Obama of, and decide for yourself whether or not they have any merit.
I am willing to bet anything that you will catch republicans and Romney in lie after lie after lie. I know that you will not catch President Obama in any lies.
It is dangerous to take what republicans say at face value. They are playing on the fear everyone feels due to a shaky economy and even shakier employment situations. They are firing up racial prejudice. They are acting like school kids who make fun of the new kid who transferred from a foreign country. Or even another state.
republicans trivialize our political process and magnify the worst traits of the American public.
The fate of this country hangs in the balance.
It's simple. Do you want a Romney in the White House? A guy with no backbone and no convictions. A guy who goes along with this dangerous game of painting the President of The United States as un-American.
Or do you want an intelligent man in the White House who has handled enormous problems as best he could, in the face of absolutely no cooperation from republicans.
And single handedly kept this country moving.
Check his record carefully. Go beneath the surface. Make the effort.
The campaign the republicans and Romney are waging is shameless.
We are all better than that.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Me and LC

I am immersing myself in Leonard Cohen this afternoon.
I told you that I am committed to going deeper. In the past week I walked through a door in my mind that I have been wanting to walk through for a very long time.
It happened suddenly, as these things do, but the important thing is that it felt right and continues to feel right. When change happens and you are ready for it, you feel it soul deep. You cannot force it, you cannot fake it.
Believe me I have tried.
And now I am standing in a different place looking at myself from a different angle. I have an idea of what I want, where I want to go, who I want to be. Actually the goal is not who I want to be, it's about becoming me.
I need help. I'm relying on Leonard Cohen.
Available to me On Demand is the 2005 special -  I'm Your man - A Tribute To Leonard Cohen. It is bizarre to me that something so profound is available on something so crass and superficial. But I will take my inspiration from whence it comes.
Today I fast forwarded through all the music and listened only to the things LC had to say. And I took notes. The documentary is cut in with his thoughts and remembrances. I approached it like I was taking a course.
The man is profound.

In discussing the inspiration behind one of his songs, 1000 Kisses Deep, he said about creativity and about life:"Sometimes when you no longer see yourself as the hero of your own drama, expecting victory after victory, and you understand deeply that this is not paradise..somehow we're, especially the privileged ones that we are, we somehow embrace the notion that this veil of tears, that it's perfectable, that you're going to get it all straight. I've found that things became a lot easier when I no longer expected to win. When you abandon your masterpiece and sink into the real masterpiece."

I try too hard. I fight too hard. I expect to win in the game of re-arranging my life. I am obsessed when I have a day off or half a day to myself, I am obsessed with changing my life. And because I put so much pressure on myself, I shrivel up and waste the day. I sit in front of this keyboard and tell myself to write something good and I end up cleaning the kitty litter box.
My spirit has been stripped and tortured over the past year and a half and I didn't realize that I was empty and incapable of evolving because of that.
I walked through that door and realized I had to fill my soul up again. I need a source or sources of inspiration to help me change.
I approach my life is if I am going to die tomorrow, but not in the living with abandon kind of way. It's more of a panicked I have to accomplish something right now kind of way.
I am trying to change that. So today I traded keyboard gridlock for Leonard Cohen 101. Using him as fuel. Because if I die tomorrow I would rather spend today in the company of someone I look up to than to spend it grinding my teeth in front of a computer screen.

"A lot of those songs were the response to what struck me as beauty, whatever that curious emanation from a being, or an object, a situation or a landscape. You know, that had a very powerful effect on me as it does on everyone. And I prayed to have some response to the things that were so clearly beautiful to me, and they were alive."

I'm talking about a point of view here, a perspective, a way of approaching life. Such a humble approach given such enormous talent and sensitivity. He prayed to be able to express in poetry and song the things that moved him. He didn't just assume that he could crash ahead and slam words on page. He was looking for the inspiration to do it right, to do justice to the beauty that moved him.

LC studied with a Zen Master named Roshi. "Roshi deeply didn't care who I was, and so who I was began to wither. The less I was of who I was, the better I felt."
Boom. Another philosophical point of view I can embrace.

I'm filling the tank. Not to just make myself happy or to tell you what I am thinking or doing. I'm probably boring you anyway.

My goal is to change. I am genuinely searching for depth. I want to express my thoughts more deeply in my words. I don't want to just write about what inspires me, I want my writing to be inspired. I want to bring some weight to my life.

I think me and Leonard Cohen make a pretty damn good team.

Almost Cut My Hair (Ode To Myself)

Almost cut my hair
Happened just the other day
It's gettin' kind of long
I could have said it was in my way

But I didn't and I wonder why
I feel like letting my freak flag fly
And I feel like I owe it to someone

Well, must be because I had the flu this Christmas
Oh yeah, and I'm not feeling up to par
This increases my paranoia
Like looking in my mirror and seeing a police car

Well I'm not giving in an inch to fear
You know I've promised myself this year
I feel like I owe it to someone
Like I owe it to someone

When I get myself together
You can find me in that sunny southern weather

I'm going to find a space inside a laugh
Separate the wheat from the chaff
I feel like I owe it to someone

(Lyrics courtesy of David Crosby. Sentiments courtesy of both of us.)

What If I Am Jesus Christ?

What if I am Jesus Christ and I don't know it? This could be the source of all my angst.
Maybe my spirit knows who I am but my fragile, flawed human brain does not. Maybe there is a war going on there that keeps me off balance, fills me with anxiety and a sense of not knowing who I am, where I should be and what I should be doing.
Maybe every time I sin, my essence slaps my wrist. Or soul. Or conscience. Keeping me bewildered.
This could apply to you as well. I am not the only potential Jesus candidate.
Maybe you are Jesus and you don't know it. Even as a woman. Jesus digs chicks.
Are you depressed and confused? Out of sorts and out of place?
Turn off the TV and dig deep into yourself. Take a look around. It might blow your mind.
This is just a concept. You have to explore all possibilities in life.
This whole religion thing is mysterious at best. Nobody knows a damn thing.
So why not explore a ground breaking concept?
As I think about this, if every one of us was a potential Jesus it would radically alter human interaction. Kind of like the horse essence thing I mentioned when discussing I'll Have Another.
I'm still investigating.
I'll get back to you.
In the meantime treat me nice. Just in case.

An Observation

A cup of coffee. A book. Two content cats lounging on the screened in porch. A gurgling fish tank. A gentle rain. A fountain gurgling in the garden. The garden.

A more powerful pain killer than morphine.

Too Damn Many T-Shirts, Man

Got me a lot of T-shirts, man. Two drawers full of my armoir spilling over into a third, maybe a fourth. I purge them every great once in a while but they procreate. I cannot keep up.
A T-shirt collection can tell you a lot about a person.
PBR. Sarge's Tailgate Grille. Courtesy of my amazing, oh so real, brother-in-law. A very cool guy. Go to his and Cori's restaurant (the afore mentioned grille). Eat there. Party there. Laugh there. Dig racing there. You will absolutely love the place.
The Allman Brothers Band. Lots of them. If anything ever happens to Gregg, if they ever god forbid disband, I will curl up in a dark corner with the iPod on an endless loop.
A Duane Allman T-shirt that I cherish.
The Stones classic tongue shirt. B.B. King. Bob Dylan.
An autographed Luther Guitar Jr. Johnson shirt. (For my 50th birthday courtesy of my lovely wife). An autographed Buddy Guy shirt (courtesy of my magnificent brother).
PATS basic team shirt and division and conference championships and a couple of Super Bowls. Red Sox '04 but not '07 and a bright red team shirt. Bruins. Beautiful, baby. Paw Sox longest game in history. But no C's. What's up with that? What's wrong with me?
A New Orleans shirt. My city even though I have not been there. Yet.
Susquehanna University. Keene State University. Two shirts that cost me over $100,000, worn with bursting I love my sons pride.
Zwack. I'm HUGE in Hungary.
F*** You You F***in' F***, and F*** All Y'All.
Two Harvick shirts. A cheapie and a beauty. To ward off the evil Jimmie Johnson vibe. That is an awfully feminine way to spell Jimmie.
The Ed and Joe Show. An annual piece of my history fueled by balls to the wall insanity.
The Grim Reaper.
H&H Restaurant. Vittles by Mama Louise and Mama Hill.
Assorted Rynborn shirts. Greatest blues club in the history of the world, whose demise I still mourn. Drunkenly pissed off Carol many times in that place. Also experienced exquisite music in that place every single time.
President Obama. 'Nuff said.
Hunter S. Thompson.
NHIS before it became NMS.
Jagermeister, Bacardi, Guinness, Ketel One, Pinnacle and multiple Crown Royal. CR is the only one I care about.
The Wanta spring and summer collection.
I didn't bother to go into the hamper. There are more in there. So I apologize to any of my T-shirts who feel slighted.
Strangely enough as I wrote this I got the urge to buy more T-shirts rather than get rid of any.
Leonard Cohen. The Beatles. The Doors. Southside Johnny. Springsteen. Had a Beatles shirt, had a Doors shirt but they are gone now. They must be replaced.
Need Bukowski.

Take a close look at your T-shirt drawer. You'll get to know yourself better.

Monday, May 21, 2012

I'll Have Another

Did you dig The Preakness?
I did. With extreme prejudice.
It tasted like chocolate.
I am not a horse racing aficionado. I watch the big ones like I am supposed to, then I don't think about it for another year. But a voice inside of me tells me that I could get into horse racing. Especially if I had money.
Good thing I work for the New Hampshire State Liquor Commission.
I dig the spectacle. So much attention, so much hype, so much adrenaline focused on a two minute sprint. It condenses a maximum amount of excitement into a short time span. There is no room for boredom there. That's what draws me to football, it's what draws me to hockey.
And there are cool hats.
Of course if I was hooked, I would be going to local tracks and everything would be much smaller, but I can see me rooting insanely for a horse that I just laid down my mortgage payment on. Losing, spending a month calming Carol down, and then running back to the track with the next mortgage payment. That is infinitely more exciting than buying cardboard flavored Breakfast Happy-O's to live within my budget.
And speaking of cereal, do we really need Dulce De Leche Cheerios? Designer cereal? Designer cereal with a name most people cannot pronounce? Dulce De Leche is a thick caramel sauce popular in Latin America found in many pastries and sweets. That sounds delicious. It also sounds like a flavor that cannot be duplicated in Cheerios. Even with chemicals.
What the hell is next? Tiramisu flavored Fruit Loops?
Anyway I missed the Derby but I caught the Preakness and now I am swept up in Triple Crown fever. Why not? Gives you something to talk about, something to look forward to, something to spice up your life. A reason to call in sick on the day of the Belmont Stakes.
These animals are majestic. Beautiful. Spiritual. They project power and they project cool. If humans had the same essence as race horses, nobody would mess with anybody else and planet earth would be a garden of Eden.
And running out for a gallon of milk would take on a whole new meaning.
Carol picked up on the difference in the way Bodemeister's jockey talked about his horse versus the way I'll Have Another's jockey talked about his. Bodemeister's jockey talked about what he would do, how he would handle the horse. I'll Have Another's jockey talked about his horse reverently, said that the horse does all the work and he is just along for the ride, talked about how he had to respond to what the horse was doing.
This is key. I think the jockey/racehorse relationship is spiritual, and the jockey who gets that will get more out of his horse.
I don't dig the riding crop though. I'd rather see the jockey use Twizzlers to coax more out of the beast. Maybe when the sport evolves a little more, those jockeys who are  enlightened could use imaginary riding crops to inspire their steeds.
I'll Have Another was purchased for $35,000, which is cheap for a racehorse. He
blasted into coolness immediately, beating 43-1 odds to win his first race after the purchase. Two months later he won the Santa Anita Derby, went on to win the Kentucky Derby and then the Preakness.
How cool is that? Even after beating Bodemeister from 100 yards back in the Derby, all you heard about was Bodemeister in the Preakness. Until I'll Have Another beat him again, this time from 30 yards back. He's the Rodney Dangerfield of racehorses.
J. Paul Reddam owns I'll Have Another. He claims the origin of the name is in honor of his wife's cookies, saying that when she asks if he wants one more cookie he always responds I'll have another.
That sounds like a typical watered down story designed to protect the delicate American public from the evils of the world.
I prefer to believe that Reddam is a two fisted power drinker who can down two bottles of whiskey a day and who will say from the floor at the end of the night "I'll have another. And make it three fingers."
I'll be digging Belmont. Psyched to cheer I'll Have Another on to the first Triple Crown since 1978. Heart pumping, adrenaline flowing, focused on that race and nothing else. Living in the now for a few minutes, baby. Sweet release.
Think I'll fix myself up a Mint Julep, since I missed the Derby.
And in celebration, chow a bowl of Tiramisu flavored Fruit Loops.
That's living, baby.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

A Love Song

I would like to dedicate the following love song to my amazing wife of 34 years who continues to believe in me:

My baby is a basket case
A bipolar mama in leather and lace
Face like an angel, she's a perfect waste
My baby is a basket case

Dracula's daughter, Calamity Jane
Smoke on the water, water on the brain
She's pretty as a picture and totally crazed
My baby is a basket case

She's gonna make a madman outta me
She's gonna make a madman outta me

She's manic-depressive and schizoid too
The friskiest psycho that I ever knew
We're paranoid lovers lost in space
My baby is a basket case

My baby's gonna celebrate
I'm being dragged through the nuthouse gates
Got my straitjacket on and I'm taking her place
My baby is a basket case

She finally made a madman outta me
She finally made a madman outta me
My baby made a madman outta me
She finally made a madman outta me

(Lyrics courtesy of Warren Zevon)

Disclaimer: And to those with absolutely no sense of humor, this is totally tongue in cheek.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

What Are You Reading Lately?

Bill Maher interviewed Dan Rather on his show last night. Heavy duty. Two highly intelligent, well informed minds exchanging opinions and information.
Part of the conversation concerned the corporatization and consolidation of media. In 1983 when Rather was at CBS, there were 50 media companies, separately owned, that were involved in national distribution of the news.
Now, because of corporatization and consolidation, there are six. Six huge corporations that control over 80% of the national distribution of the news.
Rather's point, and Maher's as well, was that these companies are in bed with influential Washington politicians because the corporations need things from the government and the government needs to control what the public knows. Rather said the average person has no clue how much control these people have over what we see, hear and read.
Those are frightening words.
Not news, nothing new, but frightening because they were spoken by Dan Rather. Dig this guy. He got fired from CBS in 2004 because he reported that George W. Bush used connections to get himself into a privileged unit of the National Guard to avoid service in Viet Nam. Then he disappeared from the unit for a year.
A soldier in Afghanistan goes missing for a day he is AWOL; more than that he is considered a deserter.
Rather had the guts to report the truth, and because CBS was uncomfortable with the story and especially because they were getting pressure from the White House, Rather got fired.
Lenny Bruce talked about censorship of the news, George Carlin talked about censorship of the news. My generation fought against corporate control and the lies that result.
None of this is new. All of it is true.
Dan Rather said the corporatization and politicalization of the news has resulted in the trivialization of the news.
Right on Dan.
Think about this. You are not getting the truth, you are getting what others want you to believe is the truth. Think about how that impacts what you know, what you think, what you do.
It might have sounded radical coming from Bruce or Carlin or Jerry Rubin but it sounds pretty heavy coming from Dan Rather.
Let me tell you folks - we are living in an LSD world.
Nothing is as it seems and it's all designed to keep you down.
Rather pointed out that in the old days, news reporting was kept somewhat honest because it was considered to be, at least in part, a public service. Networks didn't expect the news operations to make money; the shows catering to American stupidity made the money.
But that has changed. Once again Gordon Gekko rears his ugly head.
Guys like Bruce and Carlin and Christopher Hitchins and many other deep thinkers like them lived to question everything, believe nothing, accept nothing at face value.
That's the only way to fly, baby.

Teenage Swagger

As you know, being the brilliant individual that I am, I take the back roads to work. This route brings me past the local high school.
Sometimes sitting at the street light the teenage boys strut by my car on their way to classes that will teach them nothing but impatience. They look so pathetic, walking so cool, trying to look so cool, so tough. Then I got to thinking - what else are they gonna do? They got nothing, they know nothing, so they have to act, put on a show, pretend to be substantial.
It occurred to me that it is much more pathetic the way we older folks swagger. We know a lot, have seen and experienced a lot, and we still put on a show. Try to look cool, act tough. It's possible that we are less cool, less tough than a teenager because we have been worn thin, beaten down and disillusioned. We pretend to have the answers when all we have is opinions. Maybe the teenagers are more honest.
We may even be more fragile. "You end up like a dog that's been beat too much until you spend half your life just covering up." (You know the song). You start out like bone and end up like bone china.
But we got the act down, baby.
Maybe teenagers could age more intelligently if the ones who went before were more honest with them.
The girls are a whole different story. They KNOW they own the world. They don't have to do anything but just be. Some strut, some don't. It doesn't matter. They get ogled by the high school boys and the old Aqualungs that drive by. That's all they need to know.
I don't know. The human existence fascinates me. I'm just trying to figure it all out. Looking for a little honesty. From myself first, branching out from there.
I pranced as a teenager; it was exhausting. Actually believing that anyone was even paying attention. But when does the acting stop? Does it ever stop? Or does it just change, adapt, morph into a more desperate kind of theatre?
JL said it passionately - all I want is some truth.
Swagger ain't truth. Swagger is fiction.

There comes a time...........

There comes a time in your life, when you have broken enough promises and turned enough good intentions into asphalt, that any promise you make or any good intention you verbalize, is a lie.
Words mean nothing.
There comes a time in your life when you have to act.

What Doesn't Kill You.....................

What doesn't kill you makes you stronger. I believe that is true. Surviving breeds survival.
I also believe that whatever doesn't kill you, kills you.
Or at least parts of you.
If the right things get killed you learn, you move on, you keep fighting.
If the wrong things get killed you give up.
You gotta learn.
Learning isn't easy because the obstacles are huge and they are relentless. Like the honey badger.
We believe we are learning and we act accordingly, but we are really shutting down. We act like we are learning, we put that "I got all the answers" attitude out there, but we are just projecting our pain and confusion, or projecting an image that hides our pain and confusion.
We continuously eliminate the things about life that we can't handle or don't like by ignoring them or mocking them, and we create a false life based on what is left.
What is false about that life is pretending to know.
The more you know, the more you realize what you don't know. If you can recognize that, you might find some honesty. If you cannot recognize that you are living a lie.
What doesn't kill you makes you stronger implies that you learning from your experiences. At some point I think most of us stop learning and start covering up.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Searching For Depth

I checked out for a couple of days.
I'm checking back in.
When I don't purge in this blog for more than one day I become invisible.
I am driven to write.
Can't help missing one day once in a while. Life moves too fast. Too much going on. But two or three  days without writing kill me. My body swells up like the Goodyear blimp with all the backed up thoughts.
Driving to work this morning practicing the "being here now" routine. I was thinking - I am fat. I am broke. I am trapped as a part time clerk. I don't write enough. I can't sell my writing.
And brilliant sunshine was passing me by. Caught myself and started to dig my surroundings.
Instantaneous relief. Mental and physical. Anxiety went away. My body became calm.
It lasted two minutes.
Then I was back to what the hell am I going to do? How do I get out of this? How do I make more money? How do I break free?
Lewis Black says we all have ADD. I agree. I know I do. If I can't stay focused on something that brings me peace, then I must have ADD.
Been a strange week. Things have happened to me that broiled my brain into action.
Searching for depth.
Had another job taken away from me by the NHSLC. Against my better judgement, I allowed myself to hope, which allowed them to take that away from me. I applied for a position that was posted. Two and 1/2 weeks later they called me up to tell me they filled the position. I never even got to interview for it. I could go on my usual rant about how unfair this is, how these people are immoral, and it would be true, but I'm taking another approach.
This is the corporate climate in America today. Everything is stacked against the employee; they are treated unfairly, taken advantage of and lied to. Wouldn't matter where I went. It would be the same.
I will say the NHSLC is heavily weighted towards the scum encrusted side, closer to being the worst of the worst than the best of the worst, but this is our world.
So I'm searching for depth.
Looking to dig deeper within myself to find a way to deal with this.
Had another incident this week that shook me; it added fuel to the fire of my desire.
I cannot win by whining. I cannot win by hiding.
I'm looking to add a new dimension to my existence.
I'm capable of it. I have to stop sabotaging myself.
Last year I gave birth to hope.
I have spent almost five full months of 2012 stabbing it in the heart.
I want to write better stuff in these pages. I want more thought, more incite, more intelligence, less whining.
This will not be easy because I am one emotional Italian, and a lot of the good stuff I write comes from pure emotion. But I go over the top a lot and defeat my abilities, distort and dilute my message.
Writing words that people can connect with is good. Writing words looking for sympathy is a waste of time.
I want to think more deeply. I believe I am capable of this, even with my severely whiskey diminished brain capacity.
I am searching for depth in my life.
It's too easy to live superficially. I'm 58. I no longer have time for that.
I couldn't stay "in the now" on the ride into work because my brain was working over all these concepts. Evaluating them, wondering how to make them happen.
In a way that I could believe.
You have to be ready for change. When you are, you feel it.
This week shook me up. My brain has opened and is begging for new input. New approaches, new thinking, new information.
I think I am ready to make a change.
I know I need it.
I have been banging my head against the wall with this job search. I have been banging my head against the wall with personal weakness.
My head is warped and has become quite frightening to children.
I have to start banging it in a new direction. Smooth out some of the lumps.
Very dangerous to put these words down on the written page. I am laying myself out there for comparison. Comparison against myself. Opening myself up to ridicule.
But I really don't care. This blog is about my mind, my heart, my soul, my life.
It's honest. At least as honest as a human can be.
Searching for depth.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Just Do It

Read an article in Time yesterday about attachment parenting. That's the deal where mom nurses her kid until he's 18, allows him to sleep in her bed, gives up her full time job and essentially never leaves his side, encouraging him to continue calling her Mommy well into his 50's. It's a school of thought that is an overreaction to the "let your kid cry himself to sleep" school of thought.
Both schools of thought suck.
Letting your kid scream in his crib is barbaric. Babies communicate by crying. How the hell else are they going to talk to you? When you get tired, when you don't feel good, when you're unhappy, you get a little snippy, a little short, a little sarcastic. You act like a baby. Except a baby has a better excuse - he doesn't know why he feels the way he does. You do. And you can express your feelings, however maturely or immaturely you do it. He doesn't know why he's cold, he doesn't know why his stomach hurts, he doesn't know what that sound is and he can't ask you. So he cries.
Pick the damn kid up. You won't spoil him. You will heal him. He will feel loved, safe and protected. These are not bad things.
The flip side is attachment parenting. You can smother your kid with love. Or what you define as love. You can smother him with attention. This does spoil him.
The kid does not need to be nursed until he gets his first motorcycle license. He doesn't need you to hold him 24 hours a day. He doesn't have to sleep with you every night.
We make everything hard in this country.
You want to know how to be a good parent?
Love your kid. Love him genuinely, regard him with the awe he deserves, guide him gently. Use common sense.
When we brought #1 son home from the hospital, we put his car seat with him in it on the couch and looked at each other and said "What do we do now?"
Because you are a rookie and you feel this overwhelming burden, this responsibility to make sure everything is alright.
We quickly figured out that if the kid wasn't crying, he was happy. When he cried, we loved him. Changed him, fed him, held him; loved him. Loved him when he wasn't crying too but there were times when we left him to his own devices, let him entertain himself, explore the world with fresh eyes.
Carol fed him on demand. Not on a schedule. Somehow we figured out that he was a human, not an animal. How would you feel if you got home from work STARVING and your wife said "Supper will be ready in three hours and there is no other food in the house."
You would bolt out of the house to the nearest Cumbys and snag yourself a sack of Funyons and chow those bad boys down before you made it back home.
Your kid cannot bolt to Cumbys.
Do unto your kid as you would have him do unto you.
We over analyze everything. We need to leave the natural things alone. Being a parent is natural, and if you listen to your kid and listen to your heart, it will all just flow.
People who need textbooks to be a parent are the same people who need the "how to use box handles" directions on the sides of Avon boxes.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Miller Lite Punch Top Can

When Miller Lite came out with the "tastes great, less filling ad" in the early 70's it was cool. It was a whole new approach to beer drinking and beer marketing and it was cool. People began swilling Miller Lite by the gallon even though it was essentially swill.
America is a marketing driven consumer economy.
But the ads were fun. They were entertainment.
Things have degenerated considerably since then.
Coors Light with the blue mountain thing. You know you're beer is cold when the mountains on the label turn blue.
I have been drinking beer since 1969 and I ALWAYS know when my beer is cold. I don't need anyone to tell me and I don't need a gimmick. I am the cooler packing champion of the world. I have awards. I have testimonials.
Now Miller Lite has the punch top can. After you pop open the beer, you punch another hole in the top, courtesy of another itty bitty tab, so you can achieve a smoother pour.
I don't know if you have to buy a special second tab hole punching device - it wouldn't surprise me - or if you can just jam your house key in there.
Let me tell you something. People who drink Miller Lite don't know the difference between a smoother pour and a tsunami. In fact, they don't give a good goddamn about a smoother pour.
They just want to drink as much beer as quickly as possible. They don't care if it flows over their chin and soaks their T-shirt to their chest, as long as they can inhale the maximum amount of beer in the shortest amount of time.
The thing is, the people who buy these cans will be standing around at parties trying to look cool and lecturing on how amazing this beer can technological development is.
This is why marketing in this country is a multi-billion dollar enterprise.
Because people dig the sizzle over the steak.
I would love to know what the annual sales of Natty Light are in this country. If you factor out the alcoholic effects of the failing economy, and arrive at pure sales figures for people who buy Natty for the exquisite taste, I believe the results would be frightening. And an accurate indicator of the level of discrimination, taste-wise, the average beer consumer in America displays.
Pretty soon these beer companies will come up with a can that you can drink. Something that is triggered by the temperature of the beer remaining in the can. As the beer warms up, the can begins to melt.
So you are motivated to drink the beer quickly so you can then consume the can.
Of course the marketing campaign will be aimed at providing the beer consumer with maximum satisfaction. It will have absolutely nothing to do with stimulating sales.
P.T. Barnum - Nobody ever lost money underestimating the intelligence of the American public.
That mantra is timeless and the centerpiece of the marketing world.

Bow Ties

I am all for flamboyance. I wore pink socks to the Fishercats yesterday.
But bow ties never make it. In my humble opinion.
They don't make it as a fashion statement. They don't make it as a declaration of flamboyance.
Bow ties look silly. Bow ties should be banned from men's wardrobes into eternity.
Trust me, when the guy from Men's Wearhouse says "You're gonna like the way you look", he was not talking about bow ties.

The Greatest Opening Paragraph In The History Of Journalism

"At least bank of America got it's name right. The ultimate Too Big to Fail bank really is America, a hypergluttonous ward of the state whose limitless fraud and criminal conspiracies we'll all be paying for until the end of time. Did you hear about the plot to rig global interest rates? The $137 million fine for bilking needy schools and cities? The ingenious plan to suck multiple fees out of the unemployment checks of jobless workers? Take your eyes off them for 10 seconds and guaranteed, they'll be into some shit again: This bank is like the world's worst-behaved teenager, taking your car and running over kittens and fire hydrants on the way to Vegas for the weekend, maxing out your credit cards in the three days you spend at your aunt's funeral. They're out of control, yet they'll never do time or go out of business because the government remains creepily committed to their survival, like overindulgent parents who refuse to believe their 40-year-old-live-at-home son could possibly be responsible for those dead hookers in the backyard."

Matt Taibbi for Rolling Stone. An article titled - Too Crooked To Fail

Gary Sinise

Watched a segment on 60 Minutes last night concerning Gary Sinise and the work he does for disabled American veterans. He made a connection to them coincidentally when he played disabled veteran Lieutenant Dan Taylor in Forrest Gump. I was blown away by what this man does, did some research this morning and was more blown away by his depth of character and commitment.
It ain't just Forrest Gump.
His father, two uncles, three brothers-in-law, a sister-in-law and a nephew have all served in the military, stretching from World War II through Vietnam and on to Afghanistan.
His commitment began in the eighties when he was Artistic Director of Steppenwolf Theatre. He worked on material written by a group of Vietnam veterans based on their experiences while serving there. Moved by this, he contacted local Vietnam veterans groups, took the cast to local VA hospitals, and began a series of free performances for veterans.
He was introduced to the Disabled American Veterans organization in 1994 when he played Lt. Dan, and has supported them ever since.
September 11, 2001 was the ultimate catalyst that inspired him to really intensify his efforts. He was determined that he was not going to let our service personnel and their families experience the negative reception and lack of support received by veterans returning from Vietnam. He immediately volunteered his time with the USO.
In November 2003 on his second trip to Iraq with the USO, he visited a school that had been completely refurbished by U.S. troops. This inspired him to co-found Operation Iraqi Children which has since morphed into Operation International Children.
He took his first trip to Iraq in June 2003. The intense reaction to his Lt. Dan character was obvious in the enduring connection it made with servicemen in all branches of the military. Service members who didn't know him as Gary Sinise, the actor, knew him as Lt.Dan, and deeply identified with the character.
He formed the Gary Sinise and Lt. Dan Band so he could do more to entertain the troops than just shake hands. Since then they have completed over 40 USO tours, visiting bases in Alaska and throughout the U.S., and in Kuwait, Iraq, Afghanistan, Germany, Belgium, The UK, The Netherlands, Italy, UAE, Qatar, Korea, Singapore, Diego Garcia, Okinawa and Guantanamo Bay.
He raised funds for The Pentagon Memorial and The Brooklyn Wall of Remembrance.
He is the national spokesperson for the American Veterans Disabled For Life Memorial. He is involved with Building Homes For Heroes. And The Stephen Siller Tunnel To Towers Foundation, which supports children who have lost a parent, and firefighters and military who have been seriously injured and have sacrificed their quality of life in the line of duty. And Snowball Express which creates hope and new memories for the children of military fallen heroes who have died while on active duty since September 11. And The Advisory Council of Hope For The Warriors, an organization founded by military wives which supports U.S. service members, their families and families of the fallen.
He has received The Presidential Citizen's Medal, the second highest civilian honor awarded for exemplary deeds performed in service of the nation.
He is involved in a whole bunch of other things, and has donated his own money to many of these causes. My fingers are getting tired, otherwise I would list them.
This man is amazing.
We all waste time whining about petty things, I am first among you, and here you have this guy giving everything he's got to help veterans. Using celebrity and wealth to do good, to give back, which is the mantra of The Gary Sinise Foundation. "To provide opportunities for people to give back."
These things happen quietly. Idiotic things that the Kardashians do get maximum coverage. Gary Sinise is giving everything he can for exceptional causes and you don't hear about it.
His band makes appearances in small communities to help raise money for disabled veterans who live there. People who are double, triple and quadruple amputees. He raises awareness that these brave people need support within the community.
A number of them were featured in the piece and I was blown away by their confidence, determination and positive attitude.
And I whine about being fat.
Go to and read about a man who demonstrates what a human being can do when they rise above pettiness and selfishness.
The man is an inspiration. He stands for all that is good about the human spirit. All the traits that get buried under a mountain of distraction and self pity.
Gary Sinise single handedly shifts the balance of humanity towards a positive perspective. A heavy load that he is obviously qualified to handle.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Dig This

From Disorder In The House by Warren Zevon:

"It's the home of the brave and the land of the free
Where the less you know the better off you'll be"

Bird and Butterfly

I'm in butterfly mode today.
I was standing in front of my picture window yesterday, digging sunshine, thinking lazy thoughts, when a butterfly fluttered by. Beautiful.
Followed shortly thereafter by a bird who swooped in and snagged the butterfly, perched on the wrought iron flower pot holder on the banister, and commenced to chow down.
I was horrified.
The butterfly was flapping his wings in the birds mouth but was beyond escape. The bird kept snapping his beak, the wings stopped flapping and eventually the butterfly disappeared down the bird's throat.
I was describing the scenario to my lovely wife who was essentially laughing at my sensitivity. She was giving me the "that's how life works" point of view. And I'm sure most of you out there are thinking the same thing.
Now, one of the things that makes our marriage interesting is our different approaches to life. I have an artistic approach to life. I am not saying I am an artist, I am not singing my own praises. What I mean is that I am not a practical guy. Nothing I do makes sense and I like it that way. I see things differently and I do not and will never accept practicality or the concept that this is the way things work.
Which probably explains why I live in dire poverty.
Carol is rock solid. She understands how life works, lives by the rules, and accepts bizarre concepts like "you have to work for a living whether you like it or not" and "you have to live within a budget".
Very strange.
But truthfully, if it wasn't for Carol we would be living in a cave eating butterflies.
Here's what got to me. Birds are delicate creatures. They fly, they sing, they are pretty, I dig them. Butterflies are even more delicate creatures. So delicate they almost don't exist. Beautiful. Peaceful.
As I watched the bird eat the butterfly, the bird suddenly appeared brutal to me. I saw it differently. The image won't last; birds are my sanity check as I walk. They like my singing as much as I like theirs.
It was a harsh moment watching beauty killing beauty. It disturbed me.
Coincidentally, later on I was reading the paper that my magnificent son writes for and there was a piece in there about the Karner butterfly. The official state of NH butterfly.
This official state this and official state that amuses me. How far do these people go? How many official state things are there?
I want to see a list.
Here's what blew me away. The Karner butterfly, as an adult, will live for one or two weeks. Can you imagine a two week lifespan? Would kind of change your perspective, wouldn't it?
For one thing, if I knew I was only going to live for two weeks, I wouldn't have a blog. There would be no time for whining.
A drastically short lifespan would be good for us humans, perspective-wise. We live our lives as if we are immortal. Wasting time, cultivating pettiness, worrying about useless crap.
Two weeks would not give you enough time for that. You would want to burn brightly in those two weeks; scorch the earth with intensity and go out roaring like a lion.
Highlighting the wonderful relationship between man and nature, the Karner butterfly is actually on the federal endangered species list. The caterpillars of the Karner blue butterflies feed only on wild blue lupine plants; much of the habitat where the lupine plants grow has been destroyed.
We weren't happy enough that they only live two weeks; we decided to wipe them out completely.
Anyway, that is today's butterfly rant. I pledge to continue enjoying nature, drinking in the beauty and ignoring the brutality. I must do this intensely over the eight or ten good days available to me before two feet of snow once again blanket the region.
Please note: I have completed an application and submitted it to our forward thinking state officials requesting that I be designated as the official state blogger.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Greasy Chicken Smeared Pitching Fingers

Josh Beckett is an eating chicken and drinking beer in the clubhouse, playing golf when he can't pitch, overpaid, pampered pain in Red Sox nation's ass.
He lasted two and 1/3 innings last night, gave up seven runs, and was lustily booed by the fans as he walked off the mound.
Deservedly so.
He should be ex-communicated from baseball, stripped of all his wealth, and forced to work for a company that pumps septic tanks.

(Please compare this story to that of Carl Beane).

Carl Beane

Death is a royal pain in the ass. It won't let go.It's all around you all the time threatening you, intimidating you, torturing you, confusing you.
I am obsessed with it. The first thing I do when I get a new issue of Rolling Stone is check out rock 'n roll obituaries. Time magazine comes, I go to Milestones. The recently dead.
People die all the time and you are reminded of it, but you react differently in each situation.
Sometimes a name is mentioned on TV and you take note of it but it doesn't really register. Doesn't ruffle your gut.
Sometimes it hits too close to home and you are floored, devastated, destroyed.
And sometimes death pops up and you get an unexpected reaction.
Carl Beane died on Wednesday. He was the Red Sox PA announcer. He was 59.
As soon as I heard the news I could hear his voice in my head. Distinctive and very cool. I was surprised at how upset I was.
Even though you don't know the guy, you feel like you do. He only had the job since 2003, but his voice was the voice of Fenway Park. His voice was woven into the magic and awe that is the beauty of Fenway, the tortured and recently vindicated history of the Sox, and the lives of every person who sat in those seats for the last nine years.
Especially kids. It is a cliche, but you can't think about warm summer baseball without picturing a dad proudly sitting next to his young son who is wearing a baseball glove in the one in a trillion chance a foul ball might come his way.
Young kids must be overwhelmed by the whole spectacle; the park, the players, the crowd, the game. And that voice. Hearing that voice booming out of the speakers has to burn something cool into a kid's memory banks. Contributing to the larger than life experience of digging a game with dad.
Don Orsillo said that every time he saw Carl Beane, Carl would say "We have the greatest jobs in the world, don't we?"
He knew what he had. He knew what he was a part of. He respected it and enjoyed it.
The Sox paid tribute to him last night before the game and did it with typical Boston class.
They replayed his voice announcing the '04 World Series, the '07 World Series, and from just a few weeks ago, the 100th anniversary of Fenway Park. It was surreal hearing that voice boom one more time knowing that he was gone.
There was no announcer during the game last night. That was a great tribute too. No players being introduced. Just silence. Because that voice is gone and even though it must inevitably be replaced, that silence last night celebrated a life in a way that no applause or accolades ever could.
Beane worshipped Sherm Feller. Feller was the Red Sox PA guy from 1967 to 1993.
When Carl was a kid, he told everybody that he would be a Red Sox announcer. How cool is that?
Before every game Beane would tap Feller's picture right outside the broadcast booth and ask him to get him through another game. And he told everybody who asked about the job "I'll never fill his shoes, but I do get to sit in his chair."
Everything I have read in the last couple of days, every testimonial I have heard, paints a picture of a man who was living his dream. He owned two World Series rings. People asked him to do wedding announcements and voice mails and other recorded or spoken messages and he was thrilled to do it. I wish to hell I had his voice on my phone. That would be cool.
Sometimes death serves to remind you how cool life can be.
He used the same before game greeting as Sherm Feller as a tribute because "it was and is perfect."
I had tears in my eyes last night as the Sox played that greeting one more time to open the game.
"Good evening ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, and welcome to Fenway Park, America's most beloved ballpark, for this evening's game between the Cleveland Indians and the Boston Red Sox."

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Big Stan And Little Dwight

I don't want to rag on the NBA, man. It's too easy. Everybody does it. When I encounter sports critics, the NBA seems to be their favorite target and least favorite sport. Especially among idiot racists.
The whole Stan Van Gundy/ Dwight Howard thing really pissed me off. Recently during the season, Howard calls for Van Gundy to be fired. A player calling for a coach to be fired. And then he denies it like a coward.
Do you see how big this guy is? What the hell is he afraid of?
There were rumors during the season that Howard wasn't giving maximum effort because he was unhappy there and wanted to be traded. In the final year of a five year EIGHTY MILLION DOLLAR  contract.
Now Orlando has been bumped from the playoffs and everybody is waiting to see who goes. Howard or Van Gundy.
Too much drama in the NBA. Too many overpaid prima donnas. I don't watch a lot of it during the season. I'll watch playoff ball if the C's are involved. The C's have a little of that throwback swagger and less of the prima donna stuff. But Rondo worries me.
They whine and they flop. I can't stand it. Every time a foul is called the hands go up. Who me? An incredulous look on the face. Even if some moron deliberately drives his elbow into another guys' head resulting in a concussion.
Somebody brushes past a player on their way to the hoop, ruffling his jersey with the breeze, and the guy jettisons back and falls down like he was slammed with a sixteen pound sledge hammer.
And then he gets up with that incredulous look and the hands, if a foul is not called.
Difficult to take this sport seriously.
And the money. Boatloads of money. More than any other sport, I get the impression that effort is inversely proportional to the size of the contract.
The last two minutes of a close game lasts 28 minutes. This is not exciting.
Coaches are the most underpaid, disrespected position in sports. Heart attack jobs. And the NBA is the worst.
In many cases the players are openly scornful of the guys who spend sleepless nights plotting ways to win while dealing with egos, paychecks, and playacting.
I don't want to rag on these guys. As with all sports I can revel in the beauty of it. The athleticism, the grace, the talent, the hard work and mental toughness that goes into competing at that level.
But NBA players make it easy to change the channel to the Bob Ross painting show on PBS.


Did you see Tom Brady's hair? Tommy, my man, what the hell are you doing? He looked best when he wore his hair long. I felt the same about Johnny Damon. But then again, I am long hair prejudiced.
Brady keeps me off  balance. I love the man. He brought me three Super Bowls. Me personally.
He is a wicked competitor and his teammates, coaches and opponents all respect him. He is an awesome quarterback.
But wearing your hair like that is superficial. My only hope is that he did it as a joke to provoke a reaction. It looks ridiculous and he knows it. If he was lead guitar in a punk band I would authorize the look.
But the man travels in rarefied circles. The money. The celebs. The wifey. The clothes. The events.
Come on, man.
He is not the greatest speaker. Definitely not dynamic. When I hear him talk, it feels to me like he is right on the razor's edge of coming across like a dumb jock. But not quite.
I see him with the wifey and I get the impression she might be in control. Which I definitely do not want to believe. Do you really think the hair was his idea? Can you imagine the reaction of his teammates?
When I see him at social events and on the cover of a magazine holding a goat, I get the impression he might like the limelight in an artsy, left of center, elitist kind of way.
I don't want to believe this.
So he keeps me off balance.
Kind of comes across as a hard working, down to earth, competitively tough football dude. Kind of.
Kind of comes across as a media darling, well spoken and witty. Kind of.
Kind of comes across as a guy who swept a super model off her feet. Kind of.
Kind of comes across as guy who would not be dazzled by the glitterati. Kind of.
Kind of comes across as a guy who knows exactly who he is. Kind of.
You keep me guessing, Mr. Brady.
Do me a favor. Bring me another Super Bowl. I need it. I hunger for it. Make up for the goddamn giants and wimpy Eli.
Even better - destroy them in a third match up. 85 to 3.
You'll have plenty of time to play strange hair celeb after you retire.
Maybe you can rock the Professor Irwin Corey look next.

The irony is............

as we get older we feel compelled to run like the wind to outrace the clock and catch up to our dreams.
But our bodies are failing us.

So we must do it with our minds.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

A Sense Of Despair

A sense of despair is good for your hair,

it makes it turn funky and white.

It moves you to drink and stand on the brink,

and keeps you awake through the night.

It raises blood pressure and thickens your gut,

and slows your life down to a crawl.

‘Till you get to the point as you light up a joint

where you never feel healthy at all.

So thank you despair, you’re making me money

it feels so damn good to be rich.

I call myself Doctor but others, I know,

just call me a son of a bitch.

Written by Dr.Feelgood and sincerely dedicated to all the stressed out people with paid up insurance premiums.

Strangely Enough

Strangely enough, I turned on my radio on the ride home from work yesterday. I never do that because radio sucks; just ask Ray LaMontagne.
There are 150 million good songs from the "classic rock" era (my formative years), but classic rock radio only plays fifty of them. Over and over and over again. I despise them for this.
But yesterday I needed loud rock to blast my skull. And I had it cranked.
The radio and sound system in my truck are light years away from Bose. But one thing I pride myself on is my ability to adjust the sound controls to maximize enjoyment. I have a good ear.
I adjust bass and treble, right and left, front and rear (in other vehicles) perfectly to get the best balance. So I was reasonably content.
Heard "I Will Buy You A New Life" by Everclear. Never heard the song before. I really dug it.
The guy is separated from his woman and he wants her back. He promises to buy her a garden, a new car, that big house way up in the west hills; I will buy you a new life.
Sounds materialistic on the surface of it, but that's not how I interpret it.
Money buys freedom. Breathing space. Every man wants his woman to live easy. I think the lyrics are exaggerated to make a point. Obviously he will do anything to get her back. But I also think he's talking about providing her a good life.
A woman cannot honestly look into the eyes of her underachieving man without a hint of disappointment. Buying her a new life can turn that look into respect.
It ain't about furs, it's about dignity.
The song also has a couple of lines that support my point of view about money beautifully.
"I hate those people who love to tell you money is the root of all that kills.
They have never been poor, they have never had the joy of a welfare Christmas."

The very next song I heard was Free Bird. I was switching back and forth between classic radio and The River.
What is it with Free Bird? I don't want to love that song. It is a cliche. But I do love it. I was singing loudly, and if I had a lighter with me I would have snapped it to attention and charred the roof of my truck.
It's the beauty of being true to yourself. That's what I dig about the lyrics. Not about a desire to not be pinned down; I think it's about self knowledge and living in accordance to that knowledge.
Easier said than done.

Got me thinking about another Skynyrd song. Simple Man.
A mama giving advice to her son. Written shortly after Ronnie Van Zant's grandmother and Gary Rossington's mother died, based on advice the women had given them over the years.
The lyrics are fabulous. Talking about love, money, trouble, living. "All that you need, is in your soul."
But the lyric that knocks me out is simplistic. Sometimes that's the way it works.
"All that I want for you my son, is to be satisfied."
Your ego convinces you that you are qualified to bring a life into this world. When you look into those eyes and hold that life in your arms, you are in love. Overwhelmed. Knocked out.
You think about how hard life is. How disappointing it can be.
And all you want is for your child to be satisfied. Content. Happy.
Money, fame, career; fine. But what you really want for your child is peace of mind.
Peace of mind. There is nothing more valuable than that.

It was a cathartic ride home yesterday in my 15 year old truck with the sound system that is light years away from Bose.

Hey May; Come On Man!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Today is May 9. By my calculations we have had only a couple of days of sunshine and warmth. The rest - rain and chill.
This is a travesty of the agreement we humans have with Mother Nature. May should be a glorious month. It really is the month when everything bursts forth.
April sun is faux sun; it does not warm your blood. May sun penetrates; it wrestles you alive from cruel winter. You exult. You run, you scamper, you barbecue. You plan ahead.
Everything blooms beautifully. Even false hope within you.
We have voided our agreement with Mother Nature by shamelessly raping her.
But she holds the ultimate power.
Hopefully the beginning of this month does not portend five months of rain. That would be torture. Well deserved, but torture nonetheless.
I, you, them, we, all of us need a few months of warmth and easy living.
You cannot shiver and suffer endlessly without relief.
The human spirit demands light. It demands warmth.
The human spirit is cracked; now let the light get in.
And life giving warmth.
May, baby. Come on, man!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

That's Why Helicopters Were Not Deployed

Words, sentences, lines, quotes; these things take up residence in my head and stay there. Forever.
From poems, movies, TV, books. I like the way something sounds or the way it's worded and it burrows it's way into my brain and stays there ad infinitum.

Natural Born Killers. Robert Downey Jr. plays Wayne Gale, a reporter covering and exploiting the murderous crime spree of Mickey and Mallory Knox ( Woody Harrelson and Juliette Lewis). Gale helps Mickey and Mallory escape from prison; they take him with them promising to make him their last victim. Of course he is not thrilled about this and refuses to believe it until the inevitability finally sinks in.
Along the way he believes that he has become one of them, that he has been radically transformed into a psycho, that a bond has been formed. After the prison break Gayle keeps up a running commentary for the camera, at one point wondering why helicopters were not deployed to help in saving him.

Just before Mickey and Mallory exterminate him, there is this conversation:

Wayne Gale: "I thought a bond developed between us."
Mickey: "No. Not really. You're scum, Wayne; you did it for RATINGS. You don't give a shit about us or anybody else except yourself; that's why nobody gives a shit about YOU. That's why "helicopters" were not "deployed".

The tone Mickey uses in saying that last sentence is absolutely perfect. Il fabuloso. I LOVE the way he says it.

I don't think helicopters will be deployed to save my fledgling NHSLC career.

Weasel Scum F***S Rule My Life

Weasel scum f***s rule my life.
Promising things.
Delivering nothing.
Directing me the wrong way down a one way street.
Jerking me around.
Feigning quid pro quo.
Dripping condescension.
Toying with my security.
Financial and psychological.
Weasel scum f***s rule my life.

Monday, May 7, 2012


LC is touring in Europe until October. Then the US of A.
I can't wait until October so............
He will be in Amsterdam on August 21. Seems like the right place to see him. Please plan on joining Carol and I there this summer. We will have a ticket waiting.
Then...................December 15. The Wang Theatre. Boston. A perfect place to see him.
Bundle up and meet us there.
We will Leonard Cohen our way through 2012.
There are worse ways to get by.


From Bird On A Wire:

Like a baby, stillborn
Like a beast with his horn
I have torn everyone who has reached out for me.
But I swear by this song
And by all that I have done wrong I will make it all up to thee.

I saw a beggar leaning on his wooden crutch,
He said to me, "You must not ask for so much.
And a pretty woman leaning in her darkened door,
She cried to me "Hey, why not ask for more?"

Leonard Cohen

Sunday, May 6, 2012


Just made a dump run wearing my Pabst Blue Ribbon T-shirt.


Loveable Losers And No Account Boozers

Everything old is new again. Zounds, there is something cool about digging something up from the past, something you dug exquisitely but forgot about, and re-experiencing it from a new angle.
Or something like that.
I have two boxes of CD's. One is the "to be copied onto the iPod" box, one is the "already copied onto the iPod"box.
Unfortunately because I am generally slow moving and largely unaware, there has been some crossover, some mix up in the filing system. But nothing I can't handle.
Anyway, on weekends my gracious wife allows me to pilot the PeaceMobile to work. Mainly to save money on gas. But the benefit to me is the CD player. I need to be in complete control of what I listen to. Hence my deep love of the iPod and intense hatred of the radio.
To make it fun, before I leave I dip my hand into the "to be copied onto the iPod" box and pull out two random CD's and run with it.
I admit I am easily amused.
One of the gems yesterday was:  Wanted - The Outlaws. Issued in 1996, it is a collection of beauties from Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, Jesse Colter and Tompall Glaser.
Isn't Tompall the greatest country name ever? It isn't just a taste of country, it is the very heart of country. Like Mom and Dad were sitting around swigging moonshine trying to decide on a name but couldn't. And then "Well why don't we name him both, Maw?"
There are songs on this album I HAVE to belt out. And I did last night. Motoring that Bug backroads home and singing my goddamn heart out.

Honky Tonk Heroes (Like Me). Waylon. LOVE this song. The beauty of listening to these guys sing these songs is knowing that they have lived these songs. Genuine.
But you can identify with them too. Unless you are a goddamn nun.

"Piano rolled blues, danced holes in my shoes, there weren't another other way to be
For loveable losers and no account boozers and honky tonk heroes like me"

I am the blues, I have danced holes in my shoes, I have been a loveable loser and a no account boozer.
Ain't never been no honky tonk hero. But I have sung a lot of drunken karaoke.
Man it just drums up visions in my head of cutting lose in a dive bar. Partying with people who you like and even those that you don't. Doesn't matter. All that matters is the good time, the release, the insanity, the fleeting feeling of flying, a hint of immortality.
I have been there many times and loved them all. Those lyrics take me back there and celebrate a chunk of me.

Good Hearted Woman. Waylon again. He wrote this about me and Carol. I was drinking whiskey with him one morning, talking about marriage and he said "Joe you got an interesting dynamic there. I'm gonna write a song about it."
Well maybe it didn't quite happen that way. But it could have.

"She's a good hearted woman in love with a good timin' man
She loves him in spite of his ways she don't understand
With teardrops and laughter they pass through this world hand in hand
A good hearted woman lovin' a good timin' man"

Good lord Waylon, you nailed it. I do like to party. Love to cut loose and air out my insanity. Cain't hardly hep it. Carol stands back and lets it be, shaking her head, even after all these years, thinking "How the hell did I get hooked up with this madman?"

"He likes the bright lights and night life and good time friends
And when the party's all over she'll welcome him back home again
Lord knows she don't understand him but she does the best that she can
This good hearted woman lovin' a good timin' man"

You'll never see Carol standing on top of a table singing, as I have done in a bar I recently worked in. You'll never hear Carol walking around saying "I am Jesus Christ", as I have done in a bar I recently worked in.
She don't understand it and she definitely don't understand the whiskey. But she knows it's me, so she doesn't sew me into a bedsheet and beat me with a broom. (Happened to Willie Nelson. True story.)
I haven't listened to that CD in 317 years. Last night that CD was me and I was that CD. It was new again and it made me feel superb.
Cruising down the road singing loudly and with conviction.
Man, I felt good last night.

(Editor's note: Can you guess which CD will be copied into my iPod machine today?)

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Junior Seau 2.0

Still thinking about Junior Seau.
The human body is such a fragile thing. We are infinitely vulnerable. Knives, guns, fists, bats, loneliness; any of these and many other things can easily kill us.
Then there is the inside stuff. Heart attacks, cancer, strokes and hundreds of other hideous diseases.
A human body is an intricate and delicate mechanism.
When someone commits suicide it can be a knee jerk reaction to some calamitous or seemingly calamitous event. You lose your job, you lose your house, you lose a loved one. You snap and the gun is at the temple.
I think more often than not it is the result of long suffering, an accumulation of pain built up over a long period of time.
And yet the human body can handle this pain, hide this pain, walk around as if everything is OK. Jerry Rice got me thinking about this. He played golf with Junior Seau on Monday. Said he was bubbly, upbeat, funny; Rice said he was who he always was. Disbelief was obvious in Rice's tone of voice. He just could not believe there was anything wrong based on a round of golf two days before Seau killed himself.
I kept hearing about how cool Seau was from friends and teammates and coaches, but to hear Rice talk about Seau's demeanor two days before suicide blew me away.
I don't think he was suddenly overwhelmed in two days. I think he was in enormous pain on that golf course.
And Jerry Rice couldn't see it.
I see pain as a physical thing. It is inside you like a tumor. It has physical manifestations, it affects your heartbeat and blood pressure and breathing and psyche.
It affects your mood, how you deal with the world, how you see the world and yourself. It is all encompassing.
Some believe attitude is connected with disease. If that is true, pain must play a large part in all the hideous diseases that attack our fragility.
And yet a human being can hide this thing from the outside world. Walk out the door and smile and laugh and talk and function. With all our vulnerability, the human body can handle and hide enormous pain and keep on moving.
I don't think most people who commit suicide do it thoughtlessly. It is a huge decision, especially given the unknowns about what comes after. I think it takes a lot of courage to kill yourself knowing that it may be the end of the road, period. No redemption, no reincarnation, no Jesus holding your hand.
Suicide must be the result of enormous pain. Enormous.
I am not one of those who condemns people who kill themselves. I believe that if your life is so unbearably painful that you just cannot function, why continue to suffer? What is the point of that?
I believe you should exhaust every option available to you to try to deal with your pain, get all the help you can get. Doctors, friends, relatives, whatever it takes, whoever is out there to support you. Obviously Seau didn't do that and I'm guessing most suicides don't. I don't know what the answer to that is. That is the downside to the human body being able to hide so much pain.
It's too bad we are set up that way. You have a nasty pain in your gut, you grimace and visit Dr. Feelgood. You cannot hide it.
You get a nasty pain in your psyche and you smile at the world. There is something off balance there.
One more unpopular point. Conventional wisdom says that suicides are selfish. "Think about the suffering inflicted on loved ones left behind." I say those loved ones should feel relieved that the suffering has ended. I don't believe the definition of love should include expecting the object of that love to suffer endlessly.
I don't know what was going on in Junior Seau's head. I am inclined to believe his football career radically affected his post football life. Maybe he was beginning to see signs of dementia. The gun to the chest might be a hint. Maybe he was suffering in other ways. Maybe these things have been coming on for a while now. Bear in mind that he just retired from football officially in 2010, although he probably extended his career longer than he should have.
I imagine it is almost impossible for a football player to handle dementia or incapacity of any type. On the field these guys are monsters, invulnerable, the toughest of the tough, and I'm sure that's how they see themselves in general.
The whole situation has me marvelling at the fact that the pain we need to deal with the most, the most hideous, self destructive pain we can endure, is the pain that nobody sees. The pain we find a way to hide, no matter how enormous.
What does this say about our evolution as humans?
We vilify emotion as weakness. We hide anything that is perceived as weakness at all costs. What we celebrate as strength of character is often the very opposite.
We trivialize life in living this way.
And I don't hold out much hope that we will ever learn to do otherwise.