Saturday, April 27, 2013

A Hopeful Situation

Good fortune, bad fortune, life's a bitch, life is beautiful.

We moved to NH 27 years ago. Never looked back. Sometime in the last 27 years a guy named Dave, I think, moved in next to us in a pre-fab, trailer type maybe type thingy. I don't know. These things are not important to me so they don't burn a memory in my brain.

Carol - the opposite. She can tell you his name -  first, middle and last, the exact date he moved in, his kid's name, where he worked, both of their birthdays and their favorite pies.

If I remember correctly, the lot was empty when we fled Massachusetts, and when we saw activity over there we worried about the caliber of neighbor who would be moving in. Not sure. Check with Carol. We worried because our other neighbors are the lowest scum on the planet. The kind you could kill slowly as you look into their eyes and not feel one nano-second of remorse.

Anyway the guy, I think, was in a hopeful situation. I think he just scored a job up here that he was excited about, he had the kid, maybe just dumped the wife. I think it was a fresh start.

Fast forward to now. The job fell apart. The guy was thrown into a difficult situation. The squeeze. The life ain't fair squeeze. Mortgage payment problems, the bank looking to collect their vig, and acting every bit as callous and cold as your bookie when you picked Denver in Super Bowl XXIV and lost to San Francisco 55 to 10.

He's gone. Worked something out with the bank, I guess. The bank wanted to physically remove his heart, his spleen, his soul and his future. He worked something out apparently that involved only money.

New couple moved in. Young. We know that because of our busy body neighbor who apparently has researched the life history of everybody on the street.

Apparently they bought the place for 19 cents.

Should we hate them? Opportunity resulting from a ruined life.

I can't hate them. If I could buy another house for 19 cents I would not hesitate. Of course I would have to medicate Carol like you do your pets when you fly from Pawtucket to Japan. She wakes up, groggy, I tell her everything is all right, this is our new home.

Three months later I remove the straight jacket and she settles right in to the new routine.

It's just weird to watch the progression. A new start, hope, a future. Failure and defeat at the hands of this foolish world we live in now. Another new start for people who seized an opportunity and are not emotionally invested in the life of the former occupant.

All while we sit here absolutely choke hold handcuffed, paying for our house for the second time, as we watch lives ruined and lives illuminated with hope.

Whose to say this new couple won't be destroyed by the economy? Or wind up divorced and hatred filled.

Maybe it's the goddamn vibe of that lot. Maybe anybody who moves there will drown in tears.

I don't know.

The guy used to snow plow out our mail box. This Dave guy. Nice guy. He'd bop over and plow out the mailbox for Carol. She always shovelled out the mailbox. I was too busy drying out my socks and waxing my shovel so I could go back out and help her shovel out the mailbox.

Should a guy who plows out your mailbox, lose his home and throw his kid's life into turmoil?

Should a new young couple move in and dare to hope?

They probably won't even shovel out our mailbox.

Life is weird. Feather and stinger, poison and wine.

At my age you get, sometimes, to sit back and watch the cruelty interact with the hope.

As long as your arms are not up in your face in a gesture of self defense.

Dig This (George Jones)

"Maybe some folks are alcoholics and others are just voluntary drunks. Maybe some folks drink due to their body chemistry and others due to their lazy characters. Maybe some have drinking problems, while others have problems enough to drink."

"There are questions I'm still not wise enough to answer, just wise enough to no longer ask."

"You can shut out the world. But you always have to stop, and the world is always waiting when you do."

George Jones

I got into George Jones late, but when I did, I dug him furiously. Still do. Lucky enough to see him at the Capital Center for the Arts years ago. Magnificent concert. Bought me a double CD of his hits. Got me an autographed picture.

Real country singers convey complex issues through simple lyrics. There is brilliance in that talent. Today's country singers convey simple issues through simple lyrics. They are vapid and boring. Plastic and formulaic.

Guys like George Jones could take gut wrenching life situations, sing about them simply and blow you away with their depth. You connected with what they were singing about, and you were blown away by the way they said it.

Hard drinking, hard fighting, take no shit kind of guy. Real country singers lived the life, fought the fights, learned to love by wasting love and came out of it all with lyrics and music that bypassed your ears and went straight to the heart.

Once again the world gets a little thinner, a little less meaningful, a little less real.

Rest up, George. You earned it.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Expression For Lost Souls

You gotta dig the arts, man. Music, literature, movies, dance, theatre, painting, poetry.

That is where life and truth get lived.

Many people trivialize the importance of the arts. As the economy continues to tank it is widely accepted that it is OK to cut creative programs in schools. Nobody notices that developing humans get harder in the heart because of this. Nobody anticipates the fallout decades down the road.

There is an organization called The Creative Coalition. Writers, actors, producers, directors, agents, designers, and lawyers (?) from the entertainment world. From their website:  "........... we began to discover the areas where we could make a difference, and that indeed still drive us: federal funding for the arts, free speech and education." I love this.

This is one huge problem with this society we call America; condescension towards creativity. Instead of being considered as an important piece of a well rounded perspective, the arts are often looked down upon as an indulgence.

Business does not express what is in your soul, your job does not express what is in your soul; art does.

When you cry over a movie, that is your soul crying. When you lose yourself at a concert or dancing to your iPod in the kitchen, that is your soul dancing. When you stand mesmerized in front of a painting, it is your soul recognizing that there is at least one other person in this world who feels as you do.

Snobbery is part of the problem. The wrong people often control creative outlets. They create a closed world of faux elites who consider themselves a cut above.

These people do not understand the role of art. They destroy it by exploiting it and closing it off from the people who really need it; the people who are truly living life.

I watched, again, last night Lightning In A Bottle. This is a documentary on the blues, shot at Radio City Music Hall in New York City in 2004.

The performers included James Blood Ulmer, Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown, Ruth Brown, Solomon Burke, Honeyboy Edwards, Buddy Guy, B.B. King, Lazy Lester, Mavis Staples, Hubert Sumlin and Kim Wilson. Those are the old school heavyweights.

The supporting cast included Steven Tyler and Joe Perry, Gregg Allman, Natalie Cole, Robert Cray, Dr. John, John Fogerty, Levon Helm, Bonnie Raitt and more.

I know you do not recognize all the names and there is a great deal of pretentiousness in my dropping them. Doesn't matter.

I lost myself in the music last night. Mesmerized. Overjoyed. To see the blues masters celebrated, to hear them perform, to hear their songs covered with love.

I worship the blues. You worship something else. Some other form of music. Some other art form.

Your object of worship transforms you, makes you feel better, makes you forget, brings you up out of the slime into the sublime.

That's what art does.

It is not dispensable. It is indispensable.

Humans have no perspective at all. That's because we are scrapping and fighting. No time for essence.

Then again, when you think about it, the old blues masters suffered immeasurably and created beauty from that. With a voice, a harmonica, a guitar. I have often said those men and women were the toughest imaginable. Think about black people in the early 1900's deciding they could go out on the road and sing for their supper.

Undeniable guts.

Anyway, art is the thing that cuts through the layers of denial and pain. It replaces pain-filled tears with tears of joy.

Creativity speaks for the lost souls of broken people trying to get through one more day.

Belly Be Gone

I have lost weight three times in the past 7 years.

Once through a major commitment to diet and exercise.

Twice through my own patented high stress, no food, all whiskey diet.

The latter approach achieves the same results and is easier.

You don't have to take a shower.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Only An Intrusion

When Randall P. McMurphy was admitted to the asylum, he was bemused. Laughing at, laughing with, checking out and trying to help the inmates. Investigating their idiosyncracies, wondering at their mind confusion.

Eventually the darkness set in and Randall was cruelly lobotomized and mercifully suffocated.

This is exactly what I am experiencing with the new job.

I have gone beyond bemused and am trying to avoid being cruelly lobotomized and mercifully suffocated.

So imagine my delight when I got out of work last night and it was 70 degrees. Rolling home with both windows of the truck down and my hair blowing in the breeze.

Thinking to myself when I got home I would drag Carol out to the garden and inhale some peace and beauty. Then thinking to myself when I get home she will already be sitting by the garden.

She was.

I rushed into the house, grabbed a beer and rushed outside to meet the challenge of coming alive to, being alert to, nature.

We spent an hour in quiet conversation. Listening to the birds sing, watching them fly, digging them landing on the feeders and chowing down. Hopping around the lawn happily and unafraid.

We felt the breeze, the warmth. The trees towered above us, swaying gently, peaceful giants that they are.

It was a magnificent moment.


That was my day.

The asylum was only an intrusion.

3:00 a.m.

You wake up at 3:00 a.m. and know you are in for a fight. You try to beat yourself back to sleep. Try to deep breathe yourself back to sleep, kill-your-thoughts yourself back to sleep, calm-your-mind yourself back to sleep.

The clock says 4:17 and you tell yourself you have plenty of time to get back to sleep.

The alarm goes off at 6:00 and your eyes are already wide open.

You know that today your miserable job will be even more miserable.

Life is a sweet, a precious, a delicate, a fragile and an unrelenting thing.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

My Soul

I am stunned and amazed that with all the ground glass, toxic poison and vile waste that has accumulated in my soul, still, somehow, I remain hopeful.

Hopeful of breaking free. Hopeful of bursting forth, hair blown back and teeth bared, into my life. My real life. The life that has eluded me as I struggle with the one I currently inhabit.

The soul is magic, baby. It is resilient. It exists on minimum sustenance while somehow keeping the spark alive.

Dig This

"It's time to renovate my soul."


Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Life is..............

Life is a series of roadblocks, set backs, disappointments and broken dreams, occasionally interrupted by a wispy and very fleeting sense of something better, a fragile possibility of peace.

But it passes.

Monday, April 22, 2013

An Open Letter To Keith Richards


I dig you. I really, really dig you.

You have been a lifelong inspiration to me as a wealthy derelict. That description comes from the heart and is said with love. I want to become a wealthy derelict. The phrase is not meant to be derogatory; I love the fact that you have succeeded on the scale that you have, while still maintaining your badass attitude.

You have never taken any crap from anybody and you stand up for what you believe in with no hesitation. You live your life the way you want to live it, and have defied the odds and the critics by living to the age of 69. And you are not done. Not by a long shot.

I love the fact that people consistently underestimate you, people who try to write you off as a joke. These fools have no idea of the depth of your commitment to The Rolling Stones, to rock n' roll and to the blues. They have no idea that you are substantial. That you have depth and soul. That you would never allow The Stones to suck.

Which is why I hate it when people mock your ages. It is a cliche, something easy to say. All you have to do is listen for 15 seconds to know that you guys still rock. And why not? Many blues icons performed into their nineties. The Stones would not be on stage if they couldn't deliver the goods; you wouldn't allow it.

The Stones are playing the Boston Garden on June 12 and I aim to be there. It is now known as TD Garden but I refuse to call it that. The name has no soul and I know you know what I mean.

I have seen you twice before in THE PATS' stadium, but you were tiny. I had to watch you on the screen. You guys rocked and the sound was great, but the experience wasn't intimate.

I need intimate before either one of us gets any older.

I was 9 when you blew my mind. I can't lie to you though; I was into The Beatles first. I quickly came around and have loved you ever since. And I love the fact that you are still doing it fifty years later.

I checked out ticket prices, which range from $203 to $12,994. Originally this was designed to be a soft complaint about that.

But I can't do it. Because I know The Stones would never screw their fans. The prices are what they are and if I can find a way, I will be a ticket holder.

My wife made it easier for me today by telling me she was not up for the hassle of attending the concert. So the ticket price could be in reach.

I am going through an intense period in my life and this concert would be sweet relief for me. I genuinely intended to whine about ticket prices when I started writing this, but it became something else entirely.

The Rolling Stones are part of my DNA. They mean a hell of a lot to me because of the music and because of the personalities. You are an inspiration to me, but I do not mean to slight Charlie, Ronnie or Mick.

The Stones are part of history and part of the future. You are relevant and you rock. You are deeply meaningful in my life.

You are playing The Garden on June 12.

Hope to see you there.

Dig This

"I was amazed that a child's confidence, once shaken and destroyed, should have such repercussions on a whole life."

Anais Nin from "Henry & June - The Unexpurgated Diary of Anais Nin"

Sunday, April 21, 2013

The Flip Side To Pain

This is absolutely stunning. The alarm was set for 7:15. I WOKE up at 6:00 and crawled out of bed. Tended to my toiletries, including an invigorating shave, freshened up the cats' water bowl, popped the Crestor and the baby Bayer, chowed a banana and scalded up a cup of coffee.

Stumbled up here, sat down at the desk and and marvelled at the sun blazing into my eyes.

The sun is at such an angle that it is fiercely shining directly into my face. I might describe it as annoying if my body and heart and soul did not need, did not crave, spring warmth and comfort so badly. I like the sun challenging my patience like this, letting me know that it is here and doing it's part.  Already, as I write and the earth moves, the light is less intense and moving higher.

I came up thinking about spring. It is struggling to assert itself. The sun is saying to me "Yeah I'm trying to make it happen. Don't blame me - you guys messed up your climate."

When your body and spring weather are out of sync, it is disorienting. It has been spring for a month now but only a few days have been graceful enough to treat us right. The rest have been like a dog dragging a blanket behind him through the mud. Spring is moving forward but winter soils the effort with cold.

I am amazed at how quickly the angle of the sun changes. It is already at the cross bar of the window and hence not directly in my eyes.

I have begun escaping work at lunch lately so I can breathe. I parked by the river on one of those graceful warm days, windows down, sandwich in hand. Sitting under a tree. A tree with ripe buds swollen with promise. Behind the curve though, in my mind, delayed, slowed down, hesitating, blooming late (as my mother used to say about me).

I am yearning for beauty next time I sit there. If I am lucky, nature will have moved along and burst forth with that beauty that can never be taken for granted. Not at this time of year.

In the summer you might find yourself slogging along in 92 degree heat, rivulets of sweat advertising through your clothes your displeasure with the situation, wavy heat lines in your peripheral vision giving solid expression to the heat, your head down, your pace slow.

Not me. I don't do that. When the heat grinds into my bones and boils the marrow, it is the only time my entire body experiences sweet release. I have to be warm from the inside out. Complete relaxation, perfect peace. My body tells me through sensation that this is the way life is meant to be lived. No tensing of the muscles against the cold. No physical tension at all. My body existing loosely, not coiled against anything.

But you might slog through a summer day with dead senses.

You cannot do that at this time of year. Nobody can. Warmth, when it comes, comes out of no where. And beauty assaults your senses. The color coming alive around you, birds singing while taunting us with their ability to fly, animals moving through the woods and through your yard, pursuing survival at a leisurely pace, the smell of delicate flowers and mowed lawns, the feel of the soil.

I am angry at spring. I need it now. The real thing, not the calender version. Of course my anger is meaningless. All of humanity is meaningless compared to nature.

I have a diseased time frame. I sit here thinking that spring is being wasted. Days are getting past me with no spring in them. I mourn them.

But with my guts twisted as they have been for a couple of months now, I have a new found ability to appreciate. Got home early from work yesterday, spent the evening and the night with my amazing wife. Barbecue (Delmonico steaks, baby), conversation, TV, the cats, responsible alcohol consumption.  It was a peaceful, content, soul nourishing night with the only human who holds the other key to me. (I stole that line from My Love by Paul McCartney. I heard it yesterday for the 76,889th time, but that line knocked me down for the first time).

The sun is 3/4 of the way up the window now. Only in my eyes if I look up. Which I just did. Just to get the feel, the power, the promise of the sun.

I have to work today. I despise working on Sundays. Despise it. But the Devil holds the contract, and the consequences of not honoring it are dire. Once I get there I justify the horror with visions of dollar signs and an appreciation of the slow pace. Today even that is impossible. There will be a presence there to break the spell and I am disgusted. Fighting against this obligation today with all that is alive within me.

But I am out early for a change. 2:30. That is workable. When I get home I will sink into the peace and love of my wife, the enjoyment of racing and THE SOX, the cats. Balm for my soul. I will appreciate what is left to me of this day.

The ultimate message here is that I am ready. When nature fights through the environmental havoc we have wreaked and spreads warmth through our bodies and into our hearts and into our souls; I am ready.

Ready with a much more nuanced, a much more pointed and appreciative ability to make the most of it.

This is the flip side to pain.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Dig This

"What can you do to promote world peace? Go home and love your family."

Mother Teresa

Thursday, April 18, 2013

The Briefest Of Moments

Politicians who oppose gun control legislation say it would do nothing to reduce gun violence.

What these cowards should say is "The NRA contributes mightily to my re-election campaign fund and I am not going to let dead children shut off the money faucet." And if they really want to be truthful they should say "Besides, I need all the illegal money the NRA funnels to me personally so I can continue to live like a king while the rest of society struggles to afford their next meal."

Our country is run by cowardly scum. Scum who are bought and paid for by huge corporations and organizations who care only about increasing profits. Who care only about increasing the scope of their influence.

Politicians are supposed to represent the people that elected them. An overwhelming majority of Americans support an assault weapons ban, a ban on over sized magazine clips, and background checks. When Congress acts against the will of the majority, there should be a legal response available to force them to to do as the people ask. At the very least I would suggest that we hold up, one by one, pictures of the 26 innocent lives that were massacred in Connecticut. Go to each dissenting Congressman, put the picture right in their face and read to them the life history of each of these kids.

It wouldn't take long. They were only alive for the briefest of moments.

I would suggest that, except for the fact that these Congressmen are ghouls. Zombies and vampires. They literally have no soul, no heart. In this wonderful country of ours, once you get elected you can do whatever you want to do. Gleefully roll around in the mud of graft and back room politics, lying, cheating and stealing You can screw your constituents and not worry about getting re-elected because the big money interests will grease your way to another term whether your constituents want you there or not.

It is a sad commentary on our political system when the people in power do nothing to protect the safety, the financial stability, the health, and the future of the citizens of this country. These politicians abandon us completely while they get richer and more powerful.

This sound like democracy to you?

I am amused at how twisted the worship of the second amendment has become. It is as if Jesus himself came down on an off day and said "The people must have guns. Heaven is a big place; there is plenty of room for innocent souls. I cannot create enough ways for people to die, so I count on diseased gun owners to accelerate the pace."

The people who hysterically rant about "my second amendment rights, my second amendment rights" are beer bellied, saliva drooling, knee jerk, flag waving cretins. That is not a description of all gun owners; only those to whom it is a cult, a religion. The NRA fans the flames of this hysteria even though they could care less about these people. The NRA is fat, conniving and rich. They are not interested in the lives of these people other than to encourage them to buy more guns. The NRA works along with gun manufacturers to increase gun sales; the NRA works in Congress to increase their power. That is all they care about.

Then they sit back and laugh at the cave men they have just armed. Laugh at how easy they are to exploit and manipulate.

I am willing to bet that the NRA and those mindless gun owners laughed at President Obama's reaction to the stupidity of Congress yesterday. I am willing to bet they laughed at the reaction of grieving parents.

This is who we are dealing with.

I don't care who the hell you are. You do not need assault weapons. You do not need over sized clips. Period. There is no situation where you can defend the need for these things. And you should be forced to submit to background checks.

These things will not stop the violence in this country. You would have to increase the intellect of Americans to do that and I think we are beyond intellectual redemption. You would have to heal the diseased culture in this country and I believe there is no medication powerful enough to do that.

But you have to at least take steps to make it harder for morons and murderers to get guns.

Congress acted against the will of the people yesterday.

They should be swiftly and severely punished for that.

Instead today, they will be smoking fat cigars, eating steak, swilling expensive Scotch and laughing at us for thinking we have any influence over them.

They are as guilty, cold and immoral as any killer, maybe more so, because they are aware of the consequences of their actions and they feel nothing. They do nothing.

These people are vile. These people are our government.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Dig This

"Man is the only one-hundred-and-fifty pound non-linear servo mechanism that can be wholly reproduced by unskilled labor."

Ashley Montagu

Awake My Soul

"In these bodies we will live,
in these bodies we will die
Where you invest your love,
you invest your life."

From "Awake My Soul" by Mumford & Sons.

(Editor's note - I have invested my life in Carol and not been disappointed)

Fixin' To Die

Read a thing in the paper titled "Boomers push doctor-assisted dying."

This is where we are now. This is where my generation is.

Born with a fierce spirit of rebellion and an acute understanding of the truth, with the guts to shine a spotlight on all that is wrong with this society, the boomers fought hard for a long time for an endless list of worthy causes. We were defeated handily many times and have even seen progress reversed recently in mind numbing fashion. There were victories as well, but none substantial enough to turn back the tide of greed, corruption and control that defines our lives now, even to the smallest detail.

I am a baby boomer. Born between 1946 and 1964.

This article got me thinking about the arc of my life. In reality it is more like the flatline of my life.

The inspiration and the glory was there as a kid. The shockwave offering an alternative reality.

But I sold out. Christ, I was an accountant for over 20 years; you can't sell out the values of a rebellious generation any more than that.

Most of us sold out. That's the way life works. Society guides you with cattle prods into accepted paths to follow. Those who rebel, those with a high threshold of pain, end up lost, broke and alone.

My personal torture has been the dichotomy between mind and life. My mind, weak and diseased as it is, has never lost the spark, the belief that we were right, and had we somehow stuck to our guns the world would be a far different and fascinating place.

The truth is that money and power will always win and they expand their control every day.

A bitter pill to swallow.

There is a voice in my head that never stops asking me what the hell I am doing. "What is up with this job? What are you doing with your life? If the life you lead causes you pain in contrast to what you believe, then why aren't you doing anything about it?"

I am still struggling to resolve that, but I am 59 now and my comrades in arms are thinking about physician-assisted dying. Fighting for it, no doubt, as is the reputation for this generation.

Reading those words increased the intensity of the resolve to make my life my own. I have been in overdrive recently anyway due to an alarming wake up call known as a new job. The realization that this amazing generation is now fighting on the final frontier makes the clock ticking in my ear deafening.

Truthfully I would have been more at ease had the headline said "Boomers negotiating with God to authorize reincarnation." Had that been the case, I would have immediately E-mailed God asking that I be reincarnated as one of my cats.

My life has been off the mark since the day I went to college. I have been uncomfortable with it every day since that day. As always, I have to issue a disclaimer lest I hurt my family. My personal life is rich with beauty and love and honesty; I honestly believe I am surrounded with a family that is magnificent and a family that brings me happiness whether I am with them or just thinking about them.

But my other life, the worldly life, the working life, the professional life, has been an enormous disappointment for me and a source of great pain. As I write those words it occurs to me that it takes a high threshold of pain to survive living within the narrow roles defined as acceptable within society if you have a functioning brain. Pain to rebel, pain to adapt.

I am not ready to die, physician-assisted or not. I know in my heart and in my soul that I am better than the life I have led. I can still do something with my life, even considering the severely shortened time frame remaining.

I have been identified as a baby boomer all my life, but there have been no outward signs that I lived and breathed in rebellion.

I will be damned if physician-assisted dying is the first one.

What A Waste

I walked out on to the screened in porch when I let Maka out this morning.

Stood there pretending it was a warm spring day. Heard a woman's voice slowly making it's way up the road and I thought to myself how cool it was for two women to be out for a walk, slowly, casually, enjoying a Wednesday morning.

As she passed the house I realized she had a goddamn cell phone plastered to her ear.

What a waste.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The 117th Running Of The Boston Marathon

Before December 14, 2012 I had become complacent about mass murder.

I am ashamed to admit that. As each mass killing unfolded I felt less and less. Because they became more and more. The oddness of being human - the level of pain you can absorb, the amount of pure filth and garbage your mind can process while you just keep moving on. To your meaningless job and your petty concerns.

When 32 people were killed in Connecticut - 26 of them children - I snapped inside. I became emotionally broken.

Now the Boston Marathon. Innocent people out enjoying a historic day. Off from work, off from school, which means they were actually living their lives, away from the things that stunt them and frustrate them and hurt them and bewilder them.

They were experiencing pure life.

Until two bombs went off. Three more dead. Including an eight year old child. Another kid dead. Another goddamn kid dead.

People with limbs blown off. People shocked, bloodied and afraid.

The mass shootings in America are symptomatic of the incurable disease that has infected this country. A broken humanity striving to survive in a country with only an illusion of opportunity.

Terrorism is symptomatic of the incurable disease that has infected humanity. Yeah the cruelty has existed for thousands of years but now apparently it is all the rage to spread that cruelty around the world as you please.

The human race is horrific. Somehow we took this thing called life and turned it into a competition to see who can get the most, who can control who, who can dominate mind and body and dictate what life should be, what religion should be, what opinion is allowed.

There is a diseased thought current flowing throughout the world that says it makes sense to kill innocent people to make your point.

I used to think that humanity would hit a low point and the cruelty would stop. I thought there would occur some sort of enlightenment or just a simple understanding that we are all human and we are all just trying to make something out of this thing called life before it is wasted.

Subconsciously I thought Sandy Hook might be it. I realized that yesterday when I got the Boston news. I realized it because I sunk even lower. I became more broken. I didn't think that was possible. But I know it is true because of what is inside of me today.

I don't want to go to work today. I don't want to go to work ever again. It means nothing. I don't want to talk to another human today. I want to exist outside of the human race. Away from the cruelty and oppression and lies and corruption that define our lives.

I watched a good chunk of The Masters this weekend. Odd for me because I thought it would be boring. I found it peaceful instead. Such a beautiful setting. Sunshine, breezes, birds singing. Quiet. When Adam Scott won, the commentator uttered two words. "Life changing."

I thought, yeah, that is what I need. Life changing. That is what you need. That is what we all need. Some positive life changing event to soothe our aching hearts.

Getting killed at the Boston Marathon was life changing. Getting your limbs blown off at the Boston Marathon was life changing. Having your mind shocked into a new reality at the Boston Marathon was life changing.

That is the flip side to life changing.

I think mass shootings and terrorism are closer to who we are as humans than winning The Masters.

I don't understand it and I never will.

Closing In

I feel set upon.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Dig This

"And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom."

Anais Nin

Sunday, April 14, 2013


I went to the Hampton Beach Casino last night to see America.


I hate the casino. Cocktail tables jam packed so close together you can't move. I haven't been in years. Surprisingly, last night we walked in and they had theater style seating arranged across the room. No tables. Roomy and comfortable. I was blown away. In that environment the Casino is a great place to love music.


I dig America passively. Horse With No Name and all that. I like them, I don't love them. I went to enjoy a night with my very close friend Eric. America is to Eric what The Allman Brothers are to me.

A religion.

I have known Eric less than three years, but he is a warm and personal friend because we are emotionally honest with each other. Very hard to find in male friendships.

Our seats were 8 rows from center stage, on the aisle.

I came away loving America.

There was an opening act that was very good. Female singer backed by three young musicians. Guitar, bass, drums. Classic rock lineup. We really dug them.

But, when America took the stage I was blown away. Even before the lights came up. They walked onto the stage in the dark and had a presence. Impossible not to notice. The way they walked, the way they picked up their instruments, they way they stood in front of the mic.

A presence forged from 43 years of playing together. A presence forged from surviving life and the music industry for this long. A presence forged from a love of what they do and knowing it translates into the hearts and souls of millions of people.

So different from the opening act.

When the lights came up, they were greeted with thunderous applause and cheering. I could feel the love in that room for this band.

A family sat in front of us before the show began. Mother, father, son. We talked to them a little. The Dad enthusiastically told us he has been an America fan all his life and proudly told us that now his son is into them too. The kid looked to be about 10 years old. Dad and son were wearing identical America t-shirts.

I thought that was so cool and I felt that it said something about this band. A kid born in the 21st century digging a band, with his Dad, whose roots go back to 1970. Beautiful.

America rocked. They are great musicians, they have tons of recognizable hits, they covered other people's music, they did it all. They rocked at times, they were as delicately pretty as Crosby, Stills and Nash at times, some of their lyrics were poetic, they were completely at ease on that stage and made us feel like we were their friends.

They always close the show with the same three songs. Sandman, Sister Golden Hair, and, of course, Horse With No Name. By then I was delirious with music loving happiness. Not quite on Eric's level, who was seeing them for the 12th time. Being with him amplified the experience for me because he was on that stage with America. He was plugged in, forgetting about life, and flying high on the meaning this band has in his life.

We stood - everybody stood - and sang along with the last three songs. I screamed Sister Golden Hair - I have always loved that song.

But it was Horse With No Name that really got to me. I have sung that song 6 trillion times, passively. Standing in the Hampton Beach Casino, singing that song at the top of my lungs right along with America made it so special I will never forget it.

Got some perspective too. In the chorus they say: "In the dessert you can remember your name, 'cause there ain't no one for to give you no pain." Every time we sang that part, Eric rose up and screamed those lyrics. I never gave those words much weight.

I do now. Eric has stuff going on in his life that hurts him. I have stuff going on in my life that hurts me. Screaming those lyrics was like lying on a therapist's couch. Cathartic. It took Eric's sensitivity to those words to open my eyes.

On the way home Eric popped in America's greatest hits CD and we sang/screamed Sandman, Sister Golden Hair and Horse With No Name one more time.

I have poked fun at Eric for years for loving America. I never will again. That band has weight, they rock, they can be raucous, they can be gentle, they are honest creative spirits who can bring joy into your life.

It was an amazing night. I will not be throwing my America ticket away.

Tomas Young

Peaceful Sunday morning. Rare.

Flipping through Rolling Stone magazine and I come a cross a couple of pages on Tomas Young. Tomas Young was shot above the collarbone and paralyzed from the chest down five days into his deployment to Iraq in 2004.. He suffered a pulmonary embolism and a brain injury in 2008. He has had his colon removed.

He has had enough and plans to end his life in May by removing the tube through which he ingests food.

On the 10th anniversary of the Iraq war last month he published an open letter to George W. Bush and Dick Cheney on It reads, in part: "On every level - moral, strategic, military and economic - Iraq was a failure. And it was you, Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney, who started this war. It is you who should pay the consequences."

In explaining his ultimate decision Young says: "I wouldn't be making this decision if I didn't have to have almost everything done for me by somebody else. I don't want to see my body deteriorate more than it already has. I also haven't felt positive stuff happening in the world for a very long time. I just figured now is the time to go."

The ultimate cruel irony for those who give everything to protect our lifestyle, to try to make a difference in the world, is that those in power are consistently making conscious decisions to undermine quality of life and the dignity of being a human being.

"I also haven't felt positive stuff happening in the world for a very long time."

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Too Much In My Head

I was laying mostly asleep this morning with Lakota stretched out on my chest.


I was in the liquor store at a register and people were walking past me, standing in a long line at the next register, glaring back at me in anger.

I explained "I would wait on you if I could but my cat is asleep on my chest."

Paying A Price

My liver is the innocent victim of my insecurity.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Dig This

"Like having a "great" job you hate or marrying for money: you make all the compromises, "it" makes none."

From The Orange In The Orange by Fielding Dawson

The Orange In The Orange

Walked into The Toadstool Bookshop in Peterborough for the first time one glorious 60 plus degree day last week, knowing intuitively that I would love it.

I did. I do.

It will not take the place of The Book Depot in Henniker, a church I have worshipped in many times but have callously abandoned in recent years for the affordability of Amazon used. My soul is ashamed. I will right that wrong soon.

Toadstool will feed my soul on the road; it has the ambiance I need. Picked up a book in the mark down bin - $3.98. With a fattened bank account I can afford more, but old habits die hard and frugality will free me. I am determined.

I was not familiar with the author but I did recognize the publisher - Black Sparrow Press. That was good enough for me. Black Sparrow press was initially set up in 1966 specifically to publish the work of Charles Bukowski. They went on from there to publish the work of many "alternative" writers and still exist today as Black Sparrow Books. Thank God.

The book is titled The Orange In The Orange, A Novella & Two Stories, by Fielding Dawson. Started it this morning. The novella is about a poet/writer who teaches creative writing in prisons.

I was knocked back emotionally by the description of the prisoners in these classes; their hopefulness and willingness to participate. The vibe connected with my opinion that what makes prisons sad places is that many of the inmates are people who could just not figure life out; they are not inherently evil. They make bad choices because life is arbitrarily unfair; the rules of life are not designed to be fair, they are designed to protect the status quo. Money and power exploiting humanity and vulnerability.

I cannot figure life out. I live in a self-made prison.

The teacher's approach is that by expressing yourself creatively, you can allow truth to surface and make changes that could dramatically alter your future. He makes the case that creativity is better served in the hands of the public than in the hands of the elite. I think the privileged tend to take the magic out of art and transform it into a closed community of snobbery.

Art is the expression of pure emotion and truth, which the un-privileged face daily and feel in their souls because they are not removed from life by entitlement; they are immersed in life.

I read up on Fielding Dawson. He was born in 1930 and was an important figure in the avant-garde movement that took hold post-war. "........a time when bohemianism still signified a dissenting community of men and women pursuing new values through creativity, as opposed to pierced nipples and commercial theatrics."


In 1984 he began his first creative writing class for prisoners in maximum security prisons, hence the main character in the novella and an honest understanding of the people he's writing about.

"This revolutionised his life and he threw himself pell-mell into helping brutalised and ruined humans confront themselves through the creative act."

Many of you consider this an exercise in futility. I am not interested in your opinion. I consider it to be a raw and honest attempt to get at personal truth without the use of pills and sedatives or incarceration and violence.

Fielding Dawson continued to teach at prisons such as Sing-Sing and Attica, and women's shelters, for the rest of his life. He also became a passionate advocate for prison reform. He died on January 5, 2002.

I cannot adequately express the emotion this book is stirring in me, nor the respect I have for people like Dawson who see creativity as more than indulgence. People who see it as an expression of human essence.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

It's All In How You Say It

The acknowledgements section of Billy Bob Thornton's book is 6 pages long.  He starts out with the usual; family, book publisher, editor etc.

Then there's this: "What follows is a list of friends, coworkers,influences (some I've known, some I haven't) in music, movies and just life. Basically people who just plain old don't suck...................... Also, this is for the people I'm thanking, so stuff the comments about how long it is and put the f***ing book down."

That list makes up the last four pages.

The acknowledgement ends with this: "..................and everyone who has the balls to try to keep swimming up sh** creek."

I love this man.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Dig This

"For peace to reign on earth, humans must evolve into new beings who have learned to see the whole first."

Immanuel Kant

Sweet Revenge

My  sweetest revenge against my detractors would not be to succeed as assistant manager of a liquor store.

My sweetest revenge would be to succeed as a writer.

This is my secret, my heartfelt inspiration, my most fervent wish, THE Dream.

Let's keep it between you and me for now.

I am angling for the element of surprise.

I Do Worry

I often call Lakota "sweetheart", and "pretty girl."

I often call Maka "little one", "doll face" and "cutie pie."

I sometimes worry that each cat may be jealous of the other's nicknames.

Dig This

"What we do not dare look at, within ourselves, we tend to project out onto others."

From The Reconnections re: Carl Jung and shadow work.

How viciously, unbelievably true.

Dig This

"Nothing has a stronger influence psychologically on their environment and especially on their children than the unlived life of the parent."

Carl Jung

Heavy duty.

British Toilet Association

There is an organization called British Toilet Association. BTA.

I am not kidding. Look it up. They have a website.

Their motto is Campaigning For Better Public Toilets For All. This is a fastidious example of attention to detail.

When you first visit the site there is an information section called The Latest Toilet News featuring headlines like: "Louth public toilets to re-open after 42,000 pound refurbishment."


"Cumbrian market trader's anger over public toilet closure." Iain Aird operates a fruits and vegetables stall near a public toilet. Some public toilets are being closed as part of local government's attempts to save 3 million pounds by 2015. Iain says: "It's absolutely disgraceful. How can the council encourage people to shop and trade at the market if they can't use a toilet?" Facts: "Mr. Aird sets up his stall first thing in the morning and leaves around 4 p.m. He said he would struggle to work for that many hours a day without a toilet break and he isn't prepared to use facilities in nearby cafes as it would seem cheeky."


"Big Issue: Good public loos are the hallmark of a civilised society." I love that. Maybe if we called our toilets loos, there wouldn't be so many disgusting ones despoiling the landscape. Although I have to admit that I have been in some horrific bathrooms in some dive bars, and as I stood in liquid that I was praying was water, I felt comfortable in knowing the squalor was part of the ambiance.

You can tool around the site and learn that the BTA was launched at the May 1999 Public Toilet Seminar. You can become a member or a sponsor. You can check out their "Where Can I Go?" campaign which seeks input from interested parties including "workers in the nighttime economy who have particular difficulties in locating "out of hours" toilet facilities."

I discovered this organization while listening to an NHPR feature on how creative souls are turning closed public toilets into businesses like cafes, art galleries, community spaces. Even converting them into apartments.

One guy converted a public toilet into a sandwich and coffee bar and says: "Everything has been jet washed and the soil stacks have been concreted and capped. It smells beautiful down here now." Feels to me like he is trying too hard. Facts: The old attendant's office has been converted into a kitchen, and the urinals are now table tops.

One woman converted a public toilet into her "dream one-bedroom flat." Facts: her living room used to be the main gents stalls and urinals and her bathroom was formerly the attendant's office. She says "I love the originality of living in a toilet."

Apparently London property is quite expensive right now, so these toilets are a relatively inexpensive way to get what you want. I am an open minded guy given to worship of quirkiness and I respect the bizarre, but the truth is these places still look like toilets.

I would definitely have to check them out, but I am not sure my mind could get past the history surrounding me. I would hesitate to order a pulled pork butt sandwich, and even drinking a glass of water could prove to be traumatic.

Sorry, that was cheap humor but I could not avoid going there. I think I have shown remarkable restraint otherwise.

Anyway, in general I am grateful that the British Toilet Association exists. The Brits have quirky ways of making the world seem more human and I love them for that.

Odd Sensation

Being pulled out of myself, outside myself. Hearing words coming out of my mouth that are not mine to say. Words at severe odds with who I am, how I think. Words that if I heard them coming from someone else's mouth I would think "What a turd."

I walk differently. Doesn't feel right.

There is a blur, a Vaseline thick haze around me; I swear sometimes in my periphery I see blurred ragged lines as if who I am and what I am doing at that moment is so out of character that it creates an atmospheric backlash. Turbulence. Disturbance.

It feels like I am acting, which as I ponder this, is actually true. Acting to match an image in my head or an image forced upon me by the people and the situation.

Makes for a long day.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Fond Memories

"Paula's record shop, with rows of records waitin'
For dreamers to flip through them one by one
Hey, there's one we just saw, on Bandstand they were ratin'
Just look at all those labels, like Roulette and Sun.

Saturday afternoon a half a century on
Bewildered ghosts line all that's left of Main Street
The magic left with the digital dawn
The remnants pass as whispers in retreat.

Yeah, I'm gonna have the nerve to say
That those were the days
And I'll say it right in your face
Yeah, I'm gonna have the nerve to tell
A story that's hard to sell
To the Bank of Wireless Wizards and their fools
That bought this place"

The Boxmasters (written by Billy Bob Thornton and J.D. Andrew)

When I was a kid, I used to hop on the train to Boston, to get to the record department of Jordan Marsh. It was a large record department. I would spend a slow time flipping through the albums. Digging the album art, reading the liner notes. I usually knew exactly what I was there to buy, but I so enjoyed going through everything else and anticipating the future when I could buy those. Albums cost $3.30 then.

It was a religious experience for me, holding those albums in my hands..

I would ride home impatiently, hoping my parents were not around so I could listen to the music on their hi-fi. Later they bought me a record player and it was easier.

This without a doubt is one of the fondest memories of my life.

The Springsteen Effect

Being the boss changes things. As you are required to evaluate those you work with, they are busily evaluating you. Poking and probing.

I am a laid back guy who gets along with everybody who doesn't sh** on me. I go out of my way to treat people well because I know everybody is human and mistake prone, in pain and generally confused.

When you introduce the boss dynamic into the equation, normal human to human interaction dies. My approach to life has rewarded me with many friends over the years and has helped me to avoid being shot or stabbed in the back. Well, at least shot.

Suddenly I feel like I am walking around with a target on my back. People trying to figure out how they can use me or take advantage of me, trying to test me, pushing me when they see weakness.

I'm telling you, baby, when the aliens finally show up to study intelligent life on this planet they will bypass humans all together and go straight for the animal world.

Saturday, April 6, 2013


Baseball is a plug-in. Suddenly it is baseball season and you are plugged into summer.

It happens that quickly, that easily. Baseball starts and everything slows down, everything gets warmer, things get simpler. It doesn't matter how cold it is where you are or what kind of frenzy is going on in your life, when you watch those first few baseball games, you are thinking hot sun-barbecue-long weekends-indulgent laziness-easy conversation-condensation suggestively dripping down a cold bottle of beer-t-shirts-temporary relief from winter and work.

On Day Two of this newborn baseball season, I watched part of a Dodgers/Giants game. Talk about classic, talk about engaging the history of baseball. In a couple of more weeks I will not watch a Dodgers/Giants game. Baseball really doesn't do it for me long term.

Last night Carol and I watched the Red Sox/Toronto game. I loved it, absolutely enjoyed it. It was a great game. But, again, in a few weeks, watching The Sox will not thrill me. Unless it is a good game. I do enjoy good games.

It is probably the availability. It would be a grand experiment to have one, 162 game football season. Would I still worship football if it was on TV every single night? The diseased part of my brain says yes but I am not really sure.

On a side note: If football were to expand to a 162 game schedule, think of the career opportunities that would open up as legions of players became maimed and injured. I am surprised that sports agents are not pushing this.

I thrive on hype and unpredictability, on passion, on excitement, on intensity. I am easily bored. When your team only plays 1 game a week and hopefully 19 in a season, each experience is intense. I eat intense.

But at this time of year I dig baseball. I will dig it as hard and as long as I can before boredom sets in.

I am psyched for The Sox home opener because my son will be there. That makes something cool even cooler. I will definitely watch the replay.

And I am psyched because Carol and I are talking about buying Sox tickets, an option we haven't had for eight years. Carol loves The Sox, this will make her happy which makes me happy and, honestly, I am psyched to get into Fenway in the sun to enjoy The Boston Red Sox.

Anyway, there is magic in any new born baseball season. A jump start to easy living. There is even magic in the longevity of the season. Watching the torturous road that leads hopefully to the playoffs and maybe a world championship.

Yeah baseball is all right, baby.  Baseball is all right.

Continuously Amazed

I am continuously amazed at unexpected things that inspire me. They come along quietly and expand to a meaningful roar in my head. These are the things that I need. I need passion, I need inspiration.

I pick up The Billy Bob Tapes, A Cave Full Of Ghosts, looking to be entertained. Written by Billy Bob Thornton I figured it would hold my interest and make me laugh.

Instead, most of it connected with my gut. Resonated with who I am and what I think. Every time I picked the book up, I was filled and thrilled with anticipation. I just finished it and I feel a let down.

He is one of the founding members of a rock group called The Boxmasters. Every chapter is prefaced with original song lyrics. All of the lyrics blew me away. The songs are written by Billy Bob and his partner in crime, J.D. Andrew. If I ever get a chance to see The Boxmasters, I will.

Billy Bob got into my head years ago by claiming he is the world's greatest Allman Brothers fan. I am a fanatic and I know stuff about The Allman Brothers other people could care less about, but I bet Billy Bob could out-Allman Brother me. Reading the book made it obvious that he really digs into stuff he loves. And..........he has met, hung out with, and lists among his friends, members of the band. Including Greg.

Anyway, what started out as an expectation of light entertainment, ended up being an honest gut check for me. He said so many things that I think but never say. I am too damn nice. I don't want to be nice anymore. I want to be honest.

Why not? I am 59 years old. I have lived a life, I have earned my stripes and I got one hell of a lot to say. I don't say  a lot of what I think because I let people be and I don't want to come across as a crotchety old man. But seeing my opinions expressed in his words made me see the meaningfulness of them, the weight, the truth.

He talked about the movies he has made, many of which I didn't even know existed. I will watch them.

He went out of his way to explain the circumstances of and to thank the people in his life who helped him out and inspired him. People without which he admits he wouldn't be where he is today. Some who randomly came into his life and recognized his talent and passion and gave him guidance.

If I don't make a living as a writer I will have wasted my life. But I have been trying to do it alone. There are four avenues I can pursue - right now - that would give me a fighting chance of getting started. Four avenues that have been in my head that I have not pursued.

It is a huge weakness of mine to never ask for help. Or to be easily dissuaded. What a fool. Reading this book opened my eyes to how much can be accomplished with the right contacts, the right advice and inspiration. I believe these things came into Billy Bob's life because he attracted them. He was struggling, trying to make it as an actor and a screen writer, and the right people came into his life at the right time to nudge him in the right direction. His talent was the magnet and his talent put it all over the top.

I have talent. And the right people have come into my life. I have just not made the effort or somehow my brain was not functioning alertly enough to see the life line.

Quote: "The magic in life is disappearing, and we've got to get it back." Billy Bob was talking about how technology is changing our relationship with music, movies and each other, really affecting how we live our lives in general. How people watch movies on their goddamn phones instead of going to the movies. How there is no soul in that. How the good of computer technology has been outweighed by the bad.

I whole heartedly agree. I am all about magic, spirituality, essence. Everything about where our society is headed is taking us in the opposite direction.

I was in the right place to read this book. The crucible I am in right now is forcing me to take a real hard look at myself. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that no matter what adjustments I make, I can not deal with my current job for an extended period of time. The whole structure of the thing is so foreign to who I am and what I believe that dealing with it on a daily basis rips chunks out of my soul.

I also know that my only genuine option is to write. That is what I was put on this planet to do. I have known this for half my life but I have not known it as severely as I know it now.

It really is as simple as that. It really is that black and white.

After 59 years, my entire life has been boiled down to this: 1) Ride this job out long enough to ease our financial burden 2) Find a way to earn a living with my words.

That is all there is.

If I do not pursue Option #2 with ever fiber of my being and with complete belief, I am the world's biggest fool.

Inspiration is an ethereal thing. Perspective is subject to objective and subjective influences and the trick is to separate the two.

Billy Bob Thornton just gave me a real kick in the ass.

Where the hell did that come from?

Lyrics from Dead End Drive (The Boxmasters):

"Some of us are broken from the very start
And we don't know how to fix ourselves
It seems, like me, you've been torn apart
There's a lot of us on the shelves
It's easy to escape through an open door
But the jail inside won't die
Feelin' claustrophobic and waitin' for
The exhale of a sigh"

Friday, April 5, 2013

Jung At Heart

I just stumbled upon some fascinating stuff while doing personal research on how the f*** to get my life together.

Shadow work by Carl Jung. The theory behind it is that you have to look at the dark things in yourself, the things you don't like about yourself, the things you don't want to admit are there; you have to examine and understand them to make yourself whole. You may even draw power from this understanding.

Fighting or ignoring these things is doomed to failure because they are part of you, they cannot be denied and they will surface in dark and destructive ways.

I just discovered this theory 4 minutes and 37 seconds ago so I got nothing to go on. I'm gonna read a lot of Jung and see where it leads.

But in tripping over this, I discovered a bunch of quotes from psychiatrists and philosophers that really resonated with me.

"Beneath the social mask we wear every day, we have a hidden shadow side: an impulsive, wounded, sad or isolated part that we generally try to ignore."  Connie Zwieg

"Shadow wants to be heard, simply that. But if it isn't, it turns nasty. It becomes a veritable demon, witch, or son of a bitch demanding its pound of flesh........ in very painful real time, not dream time."

Katya Walter

"Everyone carries a shadow, and the less it is embodied in the individual's conscious life, the blacker and denser it is. At all counts, it forms an unconscious snag, thwarting our most well meant intentions. One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious."    Carl Jung

"The shadow is both the awful thing that needs redemption, and the suffering redeemer who can provide it."  Liz Green

"The core of shadow work is this: To know yourself fully, from as many angles as are required, in order that you might dare to let yourself go free. Being neither judge, jury, prosecutor, nor defender - you give no explanations, nor do you require any. You are at home in your place between the sun and the moon."  The Reconnections

I feel like calling in sick so I can spend the day reading up on this. Truthfully that would be the healthiest thing I could do, because going to that job only serves to feed and poke and probe  my dark side.

Dig This

"One must have chaos in oneself in order to give birth to a dancing star."

Friedrich Nietzsche

For The Record

Today marks Check #2 at my new pay rate.

They got it wrong again.

No where near as bad, but when you work 2 more hours of OT than last time and get LESS money in your check, you know something is wrong.

Apparently they are firm believers in the cliche - "Money isn't everything."

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Corporatization, Politicization and Trivialization, Continued

Dan Rather used these three terms to describe what has happened to the world of news over the years. I extrapolated that to encompass all of life as it exists in America, and maybe the world, today.

The whole Pope thing really brought it home to me. When the Cardinals were getting ready to begin the election process, they were strutting around like rock stars just before being cloistered.

This disturbed me.

Then they disappeared to fire up the oven.

As people discussed the process, the politics of it kept coming up, the negotiations, the kind of back room atmosphere you hear about in Washington.

What the hell is that?

This guy is Number 2 only to God - the whole thing should be magical and divine. It should not be subject to the whims and prejudices and agendas of humans.

These red hats should kneel down and pray, and pray and pray and pray until a divine decision presents itself. Nothing else should enter into it. If it takes bloody knees to get an answer then bloody knees it is.

Maybe they know something we don't. Something they will never admit. Maybe that is why they feel compelled to include human inconsistency in the process.

The idea of the politics of the church disturbs me. I know it is reality but I know it is not right. Billions of people live their lives in accordance with what these guys teach. Those teachings, the entire organization, should be pure.

The new guy seemed kind of cool to me at first. Humble, giving the appearance of avoiding the rich trappings of the church. But ultimately he still supports outdated and repressive ideas. Ideas that have no place in a world where just surviving takes everything you got.

Ultimately he still rules an empire valued at between 10 and 15 billion dollars.

The politics of the new pope deal did not sit well with me. More evidence of how badly skewed the world has become.

That, and a little thing called child molestation and cover ups, are proof to me that we are on our own.

Find your own god. Worship that god honestly.

And hope for the best.

Dig This

"I don't believe in happy endings but I do believe in happy travels, because, ultimately, you die at a very young age or you live long enough to watch you friends die. It's a mean thing, life."

George Clooney

And On A More Upbeat Note

"Run for office? No. I've slept with too many women, I've done too many drugs, and I've been to too many parties."

George Clooney

Call Me, George Clooney

I really do want to befriend George Clooney.

He comes across as so down to earth, which is amazing for a guy who has achieved mega stardom.

But of course he is an actor, so how do you know the truth?

However I have read so many stories about the guy, heard so many things about him from a variety of sources that I have always leaned towards believing he is genuine.

Thanks to Dan Rather, I am now convinced.

Associations are so strange in life, especially amongst the glitterati. I am always lovingly amused by the people who know each other and call each other friends.

Of course the people I worship are rebels and rugged individualists. As I learn more about the circles they travel in, I am exposed to more rebels and free thinkers. They attract one another. And many times the people who expand the circle are people I also admire or people I learn to admire.

But would you hook up George Clooney and Dan Rather? Not me.

When Dan Rather got fired by CBS news he was not done and was looking for another opportunity. He had met Clooney when Rather profiled him for 60 Minutes II. Clooney was to receive an award from the Writers Guild for the movie Good Night, and Good Luck. He invited Dan Rather to come out to LA to present the award to him.

At the dinner, Clooney leaned close to Rather and said "So you got screwed. Happens all the time in my business. Forget it."

To make a long story short, through Clooney connections, Dan Rather was introduced to Mark Cuban and ended up with his own news magazine on HDNet, a network launched by Cuban.

That is a great story but it's the way Rather describes Clooney that I love. "He is a lot more than just the second coming of Cary Grant; couldn't have been warmer or more genuine; this guy is grounded, for real, always the same; he wears Hollywood stardom more lightly than anyone I've ever known, and I've known my share."

I have to meet George Clooney. I have heard that he loves to party. This is not foreign to my nature. He owns a villa in Italy and throws great parties there. I long to absorb Italy; everything about being Italian is beautiful. The food, the language, the culture.

I could spend some time In Italy with George Clooney.

But honestly, I could spend time in my home with George Clooney. That might even be cooler. Throw back a couple of beers over barbecue and trade insightful conversation and witty banter. Absorb some of his aura and allow him to absorb some of mine.

Of course I would expect him to recognize my enormous writing talents and to launch the writing career I so covet.

But, honestly, I could just dig hanging with a guy like that. Owns the world but is recognized as intelligent, committed and a straight shooter.

A night with George Clooney, me and a bottle of Crown Royal would be a legendary night indeed.

An Honest Assessment

This could be a world record day for putting words to paper.

I haven't had time to write and I have so many ideas, opinions and observations backed up in my mind that my head is tilted sideways.

I have decided to start with a dose of reality and try to avoid sliding into whining.

I am almost 6 weeks into the new job. I now have first hand experience on how beef feels as it is being run through the meat grinder to become hamburger. Today is a rare day off and my guts are still churning.

There is a lot to learn about what needs to be done and when and how, including administrative crap I didn't deal with before. There is a different rhythm to this store that I still haven't got a handle on. All of that comes with any new job and can be dealt with through experience, studying, asking questions and paying attention.

I have no problem with that. I am intelligent enough and committed enough to get where I need to be. It is frustrating to not have all the answers right now but I know I will in time.

On top of that, and exponentially magnifying the frustration intensity factor, are the people I have to work with. I have seen neuroses, psychoses and immaturity played out daily since I started. Now mind you, my mind is diseased but I still function, I still get the job done in life, then go home and beat myself up mercilessly.

These people do not get the job done. They allow their personal insanity to interfere with how the staff works together and how the store runs. The atmosphere is ultra negative, morale sucks and chaos is king.

The situation is damn near unmanageable.

As a result, the store is on the hot seat, smack dab in the middle of the liquor commission radar screen. In a company wide E-mail, the store was used as the most negative example of how not to run a store. We were not specifically mentioned, but told after the fact by those in the know.

In addition, the liquor commission sometimes sneaks in under cover of the night and audits inventory. We were rated third worst in the state. Out of 77 stores.

I have not genuinely laughed once since I started. I realized that yesterday when my friend Eric called and got me laughing. It hit me like a bolt of lightening how good it felt. It hit me like a bolt of lightening that I have not felt that in almost six weeks.

I have felt nothing but stress, tension, and pressure. It is eating me up. Good thing hamburger is so easy to chow.

So here is where I am at. At war with myself once again. I am no stranger to this territory but I am a stranger to this level of intensity.

I know that if I remain the man that I currently am, this job will destroy me. I will either get fired or just physically and mentally disintegrate.

If I am to win this war, I have to change. Fast. Now.

If I pull this off I have no idea what kind of man will emerge from the fire. I don't know if the changes will make me hate myself or make me stronger. I don't know if I want the changes I have to make.

Carol keeps telling me to be myself and it will all work out. She is right about that but I have never had a clear vision of who I am. As a result this pressure is throwing light into the gaps and the shadows and weaknesses, the empty spots that make up part of me, just fiercely illuminating them, callously jabbing them like sticking a finger into an open wound. If I could capture my true spirit, the vision that I occasionally glimpse in moments of lucidity, Carol's prophesy would come true.

This is of my own making. Every decision I have made in life has led me here. From a financial standpoint it makes sense. I won't give up on it because of that.

But ultimately it won't make any difference when I am dead whether I am buried in a solid gold casket or a pine box.

This is all pretty heavy in my mind. Time is running out on me. I won't get many more chances. Maybe none.

And of course I recognize this job only as a means to an end. There's that whole other freeing my soul thing I yearn to accomplish.

Life truly is a precious thing and a delicate balancing act. I don't think I have ever gotten it right.

But I keep trying.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Dig This

"You can dream the American Dream
But you sleep with the lights on
And wake up with a scream"

Warren Zevon

Dig This

"We buy books because we believe we're buying the time to read them."

Warren Zevon

Editor's note: Ties in with my philosophy that the only time I am vulnerable to death is when I am in between books.

Mayhaps I am deluding myself.

Dig This

"Before you embark on a journey of revenge, dig two graves."


Editor's note: Heavy duty - I got a lot of revenge brewing in my heart and in my mind - not sure I want to take myself down as well. Goddamn philosophers.

David vs Goliath

Watched "In The Valley Of Elah" last night.

Searching for my third consecutive Tuesday night of intensity.

I got what I wanted.

Tommy Lee Jones. Christ man, I love him except for those goddamn Ameriprise commercials.

This movie gives you a story, based on truth, that you won't figure out until the end. At least I didn't and I don't think it was just the beer and the whiskey. And when you do realize what really happened, it will turn your stomach, surprise you and make you question war and family and the fragility of the human mind.

An intense, winding, ironic, hard fact, deep and painful story that reveals layers of truth and allows you to make your own judgement.

Do it. Watch it. Lose yourself to harsh reality before you make that next mortgage payment.

Unfortunate Mouse

Got me a little oasis of peace.
Wine training today.
32 wines tasted and spit in 2 and 1/2 hours.
Taking notes in an artificial oenophile environment.
Hints of chocolate my ass.
Home at 3:15.
Thank Christ.
Tomorrow off.
Due in on Friday at 11:00.
After 7 consecutive at Lompoc last week I stumbled into Easter.
It was magnificent. But not enough.
Now I am trying to catch my breath in 43 and 3/4 hours which is
easier said than done because I have been running hard.
Sipping on a beer at 3:16, talking to Eric.
Feeling wiped out peaceful.
Let the cats out on the porch because they deserve it.
I love their spiritual essence.
Lakota scratches to come in first. Always.
Because she likes heat, not April 3 cold.
Maka next.
With a mouse in her mouth.
I don't want no goddamn damaged mouse in the house in this rare moment of quiet.
I kick the door a couple of times, Maka drops the mouse and re-enters.
Mighty hunter.
All six pounds of her.
I finish my beer and grab a paper towel to tail the mouse.
I do not like to touch mice, dead or alive.
Paper towel protection.
Like illusion of immortality we all pretend.
Wow, a pretentious metaphor.
I toss the definitely dead mouse out onto the lawn buried in two feet of snow.
I am unhappy right now.
But better off than that unfortunate mouse.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Dig This

"Maybe tomorrow" is the mantra for me
Even though I know it's just a fantasy.
But somethin' 'bout hopin' keeps us healthier
Bankin'on your dreams can make you wealthier I hear.

From "Somewhere Down The Road" by Billy Bob Thornton