Thursday, October 31, 2013


Standing at the register this morning and an older gentleman - even older than me - walks up wearing a Red Sox jersey.

Not a T-shirt, not a hoodie - a beautiful, white, Red Sox jersey.

I said "You are wearing that shirt with pride today." He said "You better believe it" and high fived me.

THAT is what sports is about.

He was beaming. We talked about the Series, we talked about specific plays, we talked about 95 years.

This guy was grinning from ear to ear and he made me smile. He made me feel good.

I will never understand people who don't get sports. I can only assume they are heroin users. Heroin blunts the pain from a life. It mutes emotion.

For two minutes today, nothing else existed for me and this guy except The World Champion Boston Red Sox.

It was a moment.

A sweet moment in life.

Moments like that are rare.

Sports can give you that.

Sports can be a magic elixir.

Dig This

"I am too smart to be leading the life I lead and too stupid to do anything about it."


Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Dig This

"The age of a woman doesn't mean a thing. The best tunes are played on the oldest fiddles."

Ralph Waldo Emerson

That one slapped me around a bit.

My love for Carol is stronger and deeper than it has ever been. I have arrived in my heart to where I am supposed to be.

Maybe it shouldn't have taken so long but, then again, I think the kind of love you feel after over thirty five years together, takes over thirty five years to realize.


Now that I am there I have to make her believe it.

She is leery of me because I am unbalanced in the cranial area. I am unhappier now than I have ever been in the work-a-day world, and I am not the kind of guy who can slap on a phony smile.

At home.

Which is cruel and ironic. At work I have to fake it to make it. Faux cheery conversations with customers, pretending that nothing is wrong. Although even there I slip once in a while. Go through the motions in muted expression, head hung, staring at the goddamn register.

I let it down even more with co-workers; sometimes I just shut down, don't talk, or talk despondently.

But again, even there, I am forced to make the effort to pretend that I am just the happiest goddamn guy on earth.

The customers and the co-workers do not deserve that effort.

Carol is the only one that deserves that effort.

But I come home and clam up because it just takes too much energy to pretend.

Self image complicates the matter as well. Carol feels she is not the young, attractive woman she once was. She succumbs to society's pressure to conform to a stereotyped image of beauty.

She doesn't understand that her beauty is soul deep. That everything we have gone through in over thirty five years has resulted in a beauty that is uniquely hers and that I am the lucky beneficiary of.

The physical shit doesn't mean a goddamn thing.

Believe me, I have no plans to ever take my shirt off in public ever again or even in front of any other human being. And Carol still loves me.

I think.

The love we have is amazing, in my opinion. If I can just up my game a little and meet Carol half way, that love would flash like lightening, it would illuminate our souls and fill our hearts.

It would get us through.

I have to translate the knowing into the doing.

She deserves that.

She also needs to understand that she is the the source, she is the honesty, she is the instrument upon which the music of our love can be best expressed.

Just as she is.

Random On 10/30/13.

What the hell am I going to write about today?

I am burned to a crisp. Burned out, burned in, burned on, burned beyond all recognition.

I am actually curled up in the corner of the room, on the floor in front of the dust covered guitar case, moving spasmodically like a mutant bug, trying to get to where I am going. Trying to hoist myself up on the seat.

Fortunately I developed vampire-like fingers overnight and I can just reach the keyboard. I cannot believe how long my fingers are.

They look weird.

The clicking drives me crazy, though. Lestat-like fingernails click on the keyboard, sometimes get hung up in between letters, occasionally knocking over the Tweety Bird wearing the PATS helmet that sits up on the desk just below the screen.

I have a 2 inch tall Tweety Bird standing in front of the "puter screen. I have a miniature PATS helmet that fits Tweety's awfully cute head. Lakota's tail often sweeps Tweety off his feet. As Lakota sits up in front of me demanding attention as I type.

She is such a beautiful cat. She has to fight for attention because Maka steals it all. Maka is always first in my lap, leaving Lakota to look up at me mournfully as she slithers away to the cat bed.

Lakota gets her revenge. She always visits me when I write. Jumps into my lap and onto the desk. Lays down and swishes her tail across the keyboard. I have to move her ass so I can type.

She never protests.

I pat her a lot and kiss her head. She deserves it. She is the warrior pet in the house. Been around a long time, seen a few other pets come and go.

She is a sweetheart.

And speaking of THE PATS, they are dead to me this season.

That's a Mafia expression, maybe a purely Italian expression, that I love. Somebody pisses you off - they are dead to you.

Pretty direct. Pretty harsh.

Another expression you heard a lot on The Sopranos was "mother-less f**k." That was the absolutely worst thing you could say about somebody. Italians are so hung up on their mothers. And their wives and their daughters. It is a good thing for Italian men to be hung up on the feminine. Because femininity is a lot closer to godliness than masculinity.

A "mother-less f**k." It does not get any worse than that.

I don't have daughters. I worship my sons. Even with every good thing I have ever said about them they still do not know how much I worship them.

My sons have brought two magical women into my life. I would kill anybody who ever hurt them.

My wife is the one who started it all. She gave my sons life and mothered them in a way that was pure love, easy going understanding and gentle consideration. Her approach to being a mother was the best my sons could have received.

And they are exceptional, in part, because of that. Because of Carol.

THE PATS are not dead to me because they pissed me off. THE PATS are dead to me because they have played eight games. I have seen three.

It is an odd feeling. Intense, way over the top passion has been hosed down to a tiny flame. Do I get to see them this week? Or not?


And The Sox. I have brushed up against the World Series this year. I have not experienced it at all.

Again, death of feeling.

I am excited in a muted, underwater world kind of way.

I am pretty sure I have not seen one full game.

I am socially obligated to watch tonight's game in its entirety. A chance to win the Series at home for the first time since 1918.

I'd be cast out of society, not to mention my family, if I went to bed in the 7th inning.

So there you have it. Random thoughts on the day preceding Halloween.

I watched The Devil's Rejects last night. A Rob Zombie film. It is sick and twisted and it perfectly suited my mood and the holiday.

It really was a brilliantly inspired choice on my part.

Vicious, random killing that distorts societal norms and makes you question why you blindly obey the rules.

In one scene the bad guys are trying to escape. The evil woman lies down in the middle of the road pretending to be hurt. An innocent woman drives up and has to stop. She runs up to the prone women with great concern and tries to help her. The bad guy runs out of the woods and drives a large knife into the back of the innocent helper, killing her.

They steal her car.

They could have just pushed her aside and stolen the car but they chose to kill her in her moment of pure human concern.

Very dark.

It made me feel good.

Put on a mask if you feel the need, celebrate Halloween as you see fit.

In reality you could just continue to wear the mask you wear every day.

That is scary enough as it is.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Somehow I Missed Out On Danvers

The Danvers State Insane Asylum was located in Massachusetts. Probably about 30 minutes from where I grew up.

It is probably the most infamous of the state asylums designed by Thomas Story Kirkbride. Kirkbride was a well respected mental health care authority who helped to originate the American Psychiatric Association in 1844. The association was originally known as the Association of Medical Superintendents of American Institutions for the Insane.

I like that name better.

Kirkbride believed the structural layout of mental health care facilities could help in the treatment of the insane. He developed a layout which came to be known as the Kirkbride Plan, which was based on the philosophy of the "Moral Treatment" approach. This approach was supposed to embody humane psychosocial care.

Didn't quite turn out that way.

His buildings were conceived as the perfect sanctuary for mental health recovery, maximizing exposure to sunlight and air, privacy and comfort, with beautifully manicured grounds.

Thirty asylums were built to this plan in the 1800's. These are the facilities you see in horror movies; big, sprawling, Victorian style monstrosities. Eventually they became too expensive to maintain and were shutdown.

Apparently the Danvers Asylum was confused about the definition of humane. Its notoriety comes from the rumor that it was the birthplace of the prefontal lobotomy.

If you are squeamish PLEASE do not read on. I am about to describe the process to you.

The prefrontal lobotomy was a neurosurgical procedure that consisted of severing the connections to and from the prefrontal cortex, the anterior part of the frontal lobes of the human brain. The surgeon would use a mallet to drive an icepick-like surgical instrument called an orbitoclast, through the eye, to the top of the eye socket, and then through a thin layer of bone and into the brain, where it would be swept side to side to sever the nerve fibers.

Danvers Hospital began admitting patients in 1878. Controversy erupted in the 1960's when it was exposed that not only were lobotomies going on, they were also using shock treatment, illegal drugs, straightjackets, and ice baths.

The exposure of these facts led to a decrease in inpatient population. Are you kidding me? They didn't shut the place down?

The 60's were a gentle and sensitive time.

The joint was finally closed in 1992.

I could have done a stint there. Would have done me some good.

Interestingly enough, Carol has been doing some research into the place. I was thumbing through her private diary yesterday and I came a cross the following entry: "Ways to help Joey - prefrontal lobotomy, shock treatment, illegal drugs, straightjacket, ice bath."

Her purchase history on Amazon includes an orbitoclast. I originally thought it was a special eyeliner apparatus.

Most of the buildings that made up the Danvers State Insane Asylum have been torn down. The remaining buildings have been converted into luxury apartments.

I would give anything to live in one of them.

OK. That's today's lesson in humanity and insanity.

Good luck making it through your day.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Tryin' To Get To heaven

Dylan has a song on "Time Out Of Mind" called "Tryin' to Get to Heaven."

The line is repeated: Tryin' to get to heaven before they close the door.

I got to thinking - why shouldn't the afterlife be that way?

Life is tangled up in broken promises, dead dreams, lies, pettiness, greed and suffocating souls.

Why should the afterlife be any different?

I can picture God standing with his hands on the wrought iron gates of heaven, looking over the millions of good souls who have recently died, people who lived ethically in the belief they would be rewarded, people who assume there is infinite space in heaven.

Which there is.

But God, wearing a lop sided grin, randomly slams the gate shut and points his finger southward.

All the sweet souls tumble towards the fire in horrid disbelief, battered by the  ear splitting decibel level of God's malicious laugh.

If this scenario is too evil for you, consider a God who allows children to get cancer.

Zimmerman Again

"I've been down on the bottom of a world full of lies, I ain't lookin' for nothin' in anyone's eyes."

The ultimate expression of lack of faith in humanity.

Justifiably so.

From "Not Dark Yet", Bob Dylan, from "Time Out Of Mind".

Dull Edged Bewilderment

The majority of humans live their lives into dull edged bewilderment.

Cruising along feeling like a shark. Making decisions, thinking they are in control.

Warning signs pop up but there is a naive confidence, an even more naive subconscious assumption of immortality, that takes the edge off the fear.

Suddenly you wake up and you are the dolphin tangled up in the shrimping net. Movement is restricted, escape is impossible and you are beginning to drown.

The net has been woven strand by strand, year by year, but it is gossamer thin and cannot be detected until it is beyond late.

It was the little things, the small mistakes, the bad decisions, the non decisions, the hubris and the fear that did the weaving.

You could not possibly know that all these little things were interconnected. That they would accumulate over time, gain strength in their unity and conspire to drown you.

When the realization dawns, viciously, and you become the dolphin in the shrimping net, your mind blows smoke in the unfairness of not understanding why, even as it fully comprehends the finality of the what.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

How Many Ways Can You Leave Me Standing In The Doorway Crying?

"Don't know if I saw you if I would kiss you or kill you, it probably wouldn't matter to you any how, you left me standin' in the doorway cryin', I got nothin' to go back to now"

"The ghost of our old love has not gone away, don't look like it will anytime soon, you left me in the doorway cryin', under the midnight moon"

"I would be crazy if I took you back, it would go up against every rule, you left me in the doorway cryin', sufferin' like a fool"

"Last night I danced with a stranger, but she just reminded me you were the one, you left me in the doorway cryin', in the dark land of the sun"

"I see nothing to be gained by any explanation, there's no words that need to be said, you left me in the doorway cryin', blues wrapped around my head"

Words, music and mood courtesy of:

Bob Dylan

"Standing In The Doorway"


"Time Out Of Mind"

Saturday, October 26, 2013

An Elton Memory

Reading up on Elton John's new album. They say it's fabulous.

In a Rolling Stone interview Elton reminisces a bit about his relationship with John Lennon.

He brought John out of retirement. They wrote "Whatever Gets You Through The Night" together, and Elton made Lennon promise that if the song got to Number One, he would have to perform it live with Elton.

The song made it to Number One.

The concert was at Madison Square Garden and John did get up and do it.

I knew this. Did you really think I wouldn't?

What follows is what I didn't know.

As Elton tells it: "He was petrified - he hadn't performed in years - but he came. I've never forgotten, I've never heard an ovation for anybody that was so heartwarming, and it moved him. It was, like, an eight minute standing ovation. He was physically sick before he came on..............."

The human psyche, man. John Lennon is one of the most famous icons in history, a man who achieved success enormously. He had proven himself eternally.

He got sick before going on stage with Elton because he hadn't done it for a while.

And then he gets an eight minute standing ovation.

It is amazing how out of touch we can be with our own reality.

Another interesting twist to the night was John's reunion with Yoko.

They had been separated for eighteen months. That period was legendary for John's hell raising with Ringo, Harry Nilson and Keith Moon. Lennon referred to it as his "Lost Weekend."

Yoko was in the audience at The Garden that night. They talked and decided to re-unite.

Regardless of what you think about Yoko, she was the love of his life.

The next time I puke out of nervousness I refuse to be embarrassed.

Controlled Recklessness Maybe

I am at a point where the most immediate solution is controlled recklessness.

 I am crushed down, bewildered, beaten, battered and disoriented. And it just keeps getting worse.

Millions "live" by the credo - "just suck it up." New Reader does and is happy to preach.

That is a philosophy that permanently compromises your life. You run around pretending that you are tough, that you are dealing with life's harshness.

What you are really doing is allowing your time to be stolen by somebody else. Playing their game. Accepting the fact that this is just the way it is.

That is supreme bullshit.

I am the first to admit (now) that my life is what it is because of me. I have been the architect of my own doom. Consistently. Plodding along down a path that is surreal to me and, even though everything around me is psychedelic and disoriented, contorted into weird shapes and sounds, I just keep on plodding down that same path.

The past eight months have taken the suffering I have allowed to be my life and ramped it up to insane proportions. It's like some cruel life form has its finger on the button and just keeps pushing that button over and over again.

Laughing all the while.

This life form even has the capacity to increase the intensity and the rate of the suffering, which it also does gleefully.

I catch glimpses of this monster.

The monster is me.

I have been backed into a corner. It is my impression that I have never been backed into a corner so tight before. Every fiber of my being tells me that something has got to give.

In relative terms it is hard to really know if this is the worst. I have experienced what I considered to be the worst many times.

But this time feels different. Much different.

I am sitting on a powder keg.

I know it, I feel it, I fear it.

Controlled recklessness translates into an immediate solution, but one that does not jeopardize survival. The exit has to be a quick one but one that at the very least makes financial sense.

This is not a time to play the game. To apply, to interview, to listen to lies and to tell lies.

No time for that.

Lurking in a dark corner is pure recklessness.

It is sitting there pulsing like a slowly beating heart, making its presence known but not advertising too loudly.

Ultimately at a certain point in your life, the point where you know the end is much closer than you want to admit, the point at which you are aware that you have been unfulfilled since bursting upon the scene at birth, ultimately at that point dynamite takes on an air of conservatism.

Throw a couple of sticks in there and see what happens.

These are just words at the moment. Actually they are thoughts translated into words, which makes them a little more dangerous.

As I think, swords continue to pierce my skin.

This makes it difficult to concentrate, but it is a hell of a motivator.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Dig This

"I see it all perfectly; there are two possible situations - one can either do this or that. My honest opinion and my friendly advice is this: do it or do not do it - you will regret both."


Geniuses Get A Pass

Gleefully driving home on my early afternoon escape today diggin' on Bob Dylan.

"Standing In The Doorway".

"I'll eat when I'm hungry, drink when I'm dry, and live my life on the square, and even if the flesh falls off of my face, I know someone will be there to care."

You stand back and say goddamn the man is a genius. King of All Wordsmiths. How does he do it.

Truthfully he is. I worship the man for his words.

But..................................he gets away with a lot.

If I wrote that, if I said "Hey, look at what I just wrote - even if the flesh falls off of my face, I know someone will be there to care - you would say what the hell is that? What does it mean? Who could love a fleshless face? What does the reference even mean?"

Actually I know exactly what you would say. You would say what everybody tells me all the time.

"You are dark. Your writing is dark."

John Lester throws a pitch that is 6 inches off the plate and Hunter Wendelstedt calls it a strike. Frankie Yablonski throws a pitch that grabs six inches of the plate and Hunter Wendelstedt calls it a ball.

It's that professional courtesy thing. When you have earned respect in professional sports they bend the rules for you.

That mentality applies to other walks of life as well. Especially in the creative arena.

Trust me I am not criticizing Mr. Dylan. I don't give a damn where those words came from and I don't care to have the meaning explained to me.

They are perfect just the way they are and they bring a smile to my face every time.

It's just that if an unknown wrote them, he would get trashed.

Which actually brings me full circle back to Alexander Pope and his contempt for critics.

Opinions need to be objective to carry some weight. I think critics' opinions are rarely objective. I think they savage new creative frontiers and applaud established creative frontiers.

Job interviewers have no clue who they are hiring and probably ignore enormously talented people as often as they hire slugs and losers.

Talent scouts in professional sports probably miss out on as many amazing prospects as they go bust on the ones they support.

I could give you a million more Dylan lyrical references to make you smile or question or shake your head, but it would be pointless.

The man is a genius and his words carry weight.

I'm just trying to figure out the world and how I can carve out a piece of it for me to fit into.

Although I am starting to think perhaps it might serve me better to just go out and find me another world.

Ciao, baby.

You Never Know, Man

I'm digging on Mr. Zevon and he uses the line "I'd like to think I've earned my reputation for rushing in where angels fear to tread."

Pretty cool. He's proud of the rash decisions he has made.

"Fools rush in where angels fear to tread." That is one of those lines that sounds so good. It has depth.

I always felt it was a little heavy handed. Comparing fools to angels. I'm identifying impetuousness with fools, which I do not necessarily see as a negative.

Angels are probably too damn cautious. Bet they wouldn't even try marijuana, given the chance.

Given that scenario I'd rather be a fool than an angel; rather take the chance than sit smugly by the sideline exuding omniscience.

The line is credited to Alexander Pope, who lived from 1688 to 1744 in the United Kingdom.

He was a poet best known for his satirical verse.

It comes from a poem titled Essay On Criticism; this is heavy duty stuff. You are not going to read this to your kids at night at bedtime.

"No place so sacred from such fops is barr'd, nor is Pauls' church more safe than Paul's church-yard, nay fly to altars; there they'll talk you dead, for fools rush in where angels fear to tread."

Are you kidding me? I figured the quote came from Mother Theresa or maybe Ellen DeGeneres.

It goes a little deeper than that.

This poem is huge. It would take a month to read it and a year to understand it.

But it contains that precious little nugget.

There's other good stuff in there too. Pope apparently did not respect critics and he has all kinds of insults built into this thing to break them down.

"Against the poets their own arms they turned, sure to hate most the men from whom they learn'd,.............some on the leaves of ancient authors prey, nor time, nor moths e'er spoil'd so much as they, some dryly plain without invention's aid, write dull receits how poems may be made, these leave the sense, their learning to display, and theme explain the meaning quite away."

I know, I know this is not as easy reading as Justin Bieber's Book of Philosophy, but I love this kind of stuff.

Christ I used to love to read Shakespeare in high school.

Anyway, you never know where some little thing, some offhand inspiration, is going to lead.

I flee work early today because the state is into me for mega hours, and I end up reading Alexander Pope.

And as I think about it, I wound my way from Warren Zevon to Alexander Pope.

One hell of a ride for a diseased and barely functioning brain.

How Jaded

My soul is burned black and crisp.

I have fallen.

Walked away from the register today, doing stuff. I became aware of somebody waiting at the register.

I rarely do this. The people I work with are idiots; they leave customers stranded at the register on a regular basis and do not give a damn.

So I try hard to be alert.

But I blew it today.

I walked up and the dude was standing at the wrong register giving off an air of exasperation. I directed him around to my register.

He limped over to me. I mean seriously limped. He obviously had a health problem.

When I noticed him limping, I grimaced to myself. Not in embarrassment, not because I felt bad.

I grimaced because I was disgusted. It wasn't bad enough that he was obviously pissed off, he had to goddamn limp just to make me feel worse.

I was disgusted with him. Not me.

This job has burned my soul black and crisp.

I have fallen.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Phil Simms Is Universally Disliked

I need football knowledge but don't have enough time to watch everything I want to watch.

I have settled on Inside The NFL on Showtime. I like the conversations, I think they are intelligent, there is a minimum of the silly stupidity you see on other shows.

Especially on The NFL network. They have to fill 24 hours a day with football, so of course they have to rely on filler and gimmicks and tricks and all the cutesy stuff today's intelligence-challenged audiences lap up so greedily.

The NFL network is the only network that should be allowed to publicize tweets. It kills time and does not risk sabotaging the ratings by raising the IQ of the shows at all.

Other than that, tweets should be banned from TV.

But I digress.

Inside The NFL features James Brown, Phil Simms and Chris Collinsworth.

At one time I thought Collinsworth was obnoxious but I have come around to like the guy a lot. He is intelligent and knowledgeable and well spoken.

I like James Brown as the anchor. I like his approach, his demeanor. I like what he brings to the show.

Phil Simms exudes a cloud of unlikeability about him. It is hilarious to watch Collinsworth dump on him because Chris is so much more intelligent. Simms ends up being defensive a lot of the time.

In fact he begins a lot of conversations in a defensive posture.

It is also funny to watch Brown jump in and do the Phil Simms dump and then claim that he is not taking sides, that he is neutral.

It is obvious that he enjoys bustin' 'em on Simms and that he enjoys Collinsworth's comments tremendously.

I thought maybe they were being a little cruel with Phil. But then I randomly caught some quarterback show, I think it is a weekly show featuring quarterbacks' comments, and even those guys were dumping on Simms.

I sensed a pattern.

Inside The NFL features heavy duty guests. Guys like Bruce Smith and Lawrence Taylor. Joe Namath and Dan Marino.

And Jim Brown. I was mesmerized on that one. He is my connection to football. He started it all with me and he is his own man.

Very tasty.

The guests on Inside The NFL connect easily with James Brown and Chris Collinsworth. The conversation is lively, funny and informative.

They squirm  when talking with Simms. I have even seen some of them make incredulous faces as Simms talks.

Social skills are a difficult thing. You want to be able to communicate, to connect, but you don't want to give up your soul to do it. You want to be able to exude your uniqueness and have people get it. Appreciate it.

Some people are natural rebels, always taking the unpopular point of view. A lot of them can do this and still be liked and respected.

I get the feeling that Simms is trying to be contrary and that he just can't pull it off sincerely.

But what the hell do I know about social skills. I walk around playing Mr. Nice Guy and people walk all over me.

I am willing to give Simms a one on one shot at changing my opinion in the right setting.

I'm thinking Super Bowl XLVIII. Seats on the fifty yard line. Half way up the stands.

I could learn to love the man in that scenario.

Dancing at the Blue Iguana

Staggered home last night after serving 9 consecutive at Lompoc. 9 intensely stressful days beginning with an inventory that got me home at 1:30 a.m.

It was all downhill from there.

I needed passion. I needed a connection with the challenge of being human.

Popped "Trouble With The Curve" into the DVD machine. The damn movie has been sitting around the house for weeks. In keeping with the vibe of the past 9 days the DVD kept getting stuck.

By then I had a cat in my lap and a whiskey by my side.

I was not getting up.

Shut the damn thing down and trolled slowly through On Demand and came across "Dancing at the Blue Iguana."

There was a time in my life when I was Accounting Boy, that I would have ten, fifteen, twenty minutes on my hands before leaving for cubicle heaven.

I would dial up IFC or Sundance and watch part of whatever movie caught my interest.

I can jump into the middle of a movie without consternation. I do not need to know what is going on, do not need to understand the plot.

For me it is all about the feel. The vibe, the emotion.

Used to catch Dancing a lot during one period of time. I liked the feel. Honestly do not remember if I ever got around to watching the whole thing.

I did last night.

The movie tells the story of five strippers and the drama in their personal lives. Much of it is heartbreaking as you realize their weaknesses and their wants and desires.

Their fight to be human.

I think the movie packs more of a punch because it is set against the brutal reality of being a stripper.

The rest of us have the same problems and disappointments and hurts but our realities tend to be mind numbingly repetitive and dull.

Working in a liquor store does not have the same edge as working in a strip club.

One girl gets pregnant, another is getting older and knows things have to change, one naively wants to adopt a kid to make her life meaningful, another is desperate to do anything to make a name for herself.

One is an aspiring poet. When she is backstage she writes poetry. She attends poetry readings on her free time. She gets called up to read her poetry at a gathering, against her will, and the poetry is excellent.

The guy who runs the readings begins a relationship with her and encourages her to do something with her writing.

Suddenly she has hope.

Her story boils down to one weekend that she needs off to spend with her poet man.

She does not get it and is bullied into working. Her man shows up at the club and watches her for a few minutes.

She cries as she dances. He leaves.

You know she will never do anything with the poetry and the world of exotic dancing will chew her up and spit her out.

That's the story line that got to me because that is how life works for most of us.

You have a dream, you have hope, but life throws up huge roadblocks that destroy you and leave you with thin cliches to lean on.

What I saw of "Trouble With The Curve" - through the pauses - looked good. Especially watching Clint stand in front of the toilet and talk to his unit as he tries to urinate. The dialogue goes like this: "OK, come on now. Come on, boy. Let's not take your sweet-ass time about this. Jesus. OK, that's it....Ah, good. Don't laugh, I outlived you, you little bastard."

Good stuff.

But ultimately things worked out as they should.

"Dancing at the Blue Iguana" gave me what I needed.

I am not healed but I feel almost human.

Monday, October 21, 2013

More Wille

Again, from "Across The Borderline".

Song called Heartland.

"There's a home place under fire tonight in the heartland, and the bankers are taking my home and my land from me, there's a big achin' hole in my chest now where my heart was, and a hole in the sky where God used to be."

Wicked, wicked words. They sum up the ultimate in despair.

Your heart is broken, your soul is terminally ill, and you cannot even believe in a deity to offer you hope.

When you get to that place you are lost. Severed from anything that makes you feel alive. Your humanity has been beaten down and you feel like empty flesh walking through a meaningless life.

That is what the world does to you.

You don't have to lose your home and your land. Just go to work every day. Deal with the hypocrisy and lies your employer dishes out; deal with the pettiness of co-workers, drift farther away every day from any dream you ever had.

I don't know who drew up the blueprint for life. You want to think it evolved "naturally" or that some god set it up with a purpose to be understood at the end.

It is more likely that the moneyed elite control our destinies and always have. Their cash shields them from having to actually feel.

"There's a young boy closin' his eyes tonight in a heartland, who will wake up a man with some land and a loan he can't pay, his American dream fell apart at the seams."

Over and over again. This is what being human is. Struggling against all odds to take a stab at dignity and falling short generation after generation.

The chorus goes: "My Amercian dream fell apart at the seams, you tell me what it means, you tell me what it means, my American dream fell apart at the seams, you tell me what it means."

Willie wrote it, he and Bob Dylan sing it together. The perfect duo for a song like this.

In "Fistful of Rain" Warren Zevon wrote: "You can dream the American Dream, but you sleep with the lights on and wake up with a scream."

Choose your words, choose your artist, it doesn't matter.

If you look at life realistically, if you can avoid the phony optimism that results in obedience, you are forced to wonder what the hell it is all about.

It is hard and getting harder.


Another word I have rubbed up against in my life, love the sound of it, but never really knew what it meant.

I thought it was some horribly malformed or grotesque individual.

It goes deeper than that.

The free on-line dictionary defines it as: "a diminutive human; a miniature, fully formed individual believed by adherents of the early biological theory of preformation to be present in the sperm cell."

A little guy at the amusement park riding a wild ride called The Ejaculator.

Merriam-Webster says: " A little man; a miniature adult that in the theory of preformation inhabits the germ cell and to produce a mature individual merely by an increase in size."

It says germ. Did they mean sperm? Do dictionaries make mistakes?

I went to an educational website and learned that the word was used in 1572 by Paracelsus referencing alchemy in which he gave instructions in how to create an infant human without fertilization or gestation in the womb.

Apparently this guy was a failure in the dating world.

Turns out preformation was an Enlightenment-era theory that said the homonculus was a fully formed individual that existed within the germ cell of one of its parents prior to fertilization and would grow in size in gestation until ready to be born.

In any event, it fascinates me that there was a time in history, absent of unlimited data, when people just made stuff up and got credit for it.

I would love to live in an era like that. I have a fabulous imagination.

I work with somebody like that. The woman is a pathological liar whose truth is whatever comes out of her mouth. Sometimes when she looks me in the eye and lies to me about why this didn't get done and that didn't get done, I imagine movie images of psychedelic swirls and insanely bright colors, weird sounds and deformed animals, inhabiting the space around her empty head as she speaks.

Apparently gullibility was all the rage back then too. Imagine somebody pulling you aside today and telling you there is a tiny but fully formed man inside a germ cell who will grow in size until ready to be born.

You probably wouldn't buy it.

Homunculus is a good word.

The next time a little man pisses me off I am going to say "Screw you, Homunculus" and then laugh hysterically as he tries desperately to kick my shins with his tiny, little feet.

Prescient Fortune

My lovely wife suggested Chinese food the other night when I got home from The Asylum.

I humbly acquiesced.

Dig the fortune my cookie delivered:

"The axe soon forgets, but the tree always remembers."

That is now taped to the desk.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Venting The Truth

It has been an extremely stressful week at work.

Unreasonably so, indefensibly so.

I have reached the point where, regarding two of my "co-workers", no depth of suffering, no torture, no pain, no loss of anything precious could be enough punishment for the immoral, mindless, low life, insensitive scum that they are.

I say this proudly and without fear of retribution in Hell.

Dig This

"There are two ways to be fooled. One is to believe what isn't true; the other is to refuse to believe what is true."


Think Before You Ask

Tomorrow I will miss yet another PATS game.

Because I will be working at a place I despise with people that disgust me for an organization that is vile.

Do not ask my opinion of this situation unless you want to hear the most vile, disgusting, offensive and virulent language you have ever experienced in your life.

Trust me. If you don't think I can deliver, challenge me.

And then get the fuck out of my way.

Life'll Kill Ya

Warren Zevon had a simply elegant way of summarizing life.

He put out an album in 2000 titled "Life'll Kill You". I was digging on that album on the way to The Asylum this morning - in fact I have been digging on it all week long.

A lot of death references on the album - he was often referred to as dark, which is a reference often attributed to me. Although I have always said and will continue to say until my corpse is kicked into the grave and covered with dirt - I am not dark, I am realistic.

I bet Warren would concur.

I am foggy on the Warren Zevon death timeline - I assumed he knew he was going to die when he recorded this.


He wasn't diagnosed with cancer until 2002. And he was only given months to live.

The title song is direct: "Life'll kill ya, that's what I said, life'll kill ya, and then you'll be dead, life'll find ya wherever you go, requiescat in pace, that's all she wrote."

That's the chorus.

"From The President of The United States to the lowliest rock 'n roll star, the doctor is in and he'll see you now, he don't care who you are, some get the awful, awful diseases, some get the knife, some get the gun, some get to die in their sleep at the age of a hundred and one."

"Maybe you'll go to heaven, see Uncle Al and Uncle Lou, maybe you'll be reincarnated, maybe that stuff''s true, if you were good maybe you'll comeback as someone nice, and if you were bad maybe you'll have to pay the price."

Pretty simple lyrics but it is stuff we all think about. How complicated does it have to be?

Got another song on the same album titles "Don't Let Us Get Sick."

The chorus goes: "Don't let us get sick, don't let us get old, don't let us get stupid, all right? Just make us be brave and make us play nice, and let us be together tonight."

Sensitive, pretty song guaranteed to bring tears if you are up in age. Maybe if you are young.................and sensitive and aware.

Warren's last album was titled "The Wind". It was released two weeks before his death. Got a song on there called "Keep Me In Your Heart."

Achingly beautiful and deeply meaningful from a man who knew absolutely that he would be dead soon. Recording the album was difficult for the man. He had fallen off the wagon when he was diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer. He was drunk. He was dying.

I love the picture on the album cover because it is Warren with no pretense. He looks awful.

"Shadows are fallin' and I'm runnin' out of breath, keep me in your heart for a while, if I leave you it doesn't mean I love you any less, keep me in your heart for a while.

Sometimes when you're doing simple things around the house, maybe you'll think of me and smile, you know I'm tied to you like the buttons on your blouse, keep me in your heart for a while.

Hold me in your thoughts, take me to your dreams, touch me as I fall into view, when the winter comes keep the fires lit, and I will be right next to you."

I can't get through that song with dry eyes. If you can, you are not human.

Anyway.......... I was driving directly into the fires of Hell this morning and it hit me.

Listening to Warren brought me a great deal of peace. I was singing, I teared up here and there, I was focused on the music and my emotions and Warren's emotions, and not on the cretinous morons who's singular goal it is to kill me prematurely (?).

Yet Warrens life was a turbulent one and his death a hideous one.

How does this stuff work?

He was a tortured soul. A disoriented soul? Is there a difference? I don't know. His loves, his actions, his career, his relationship to his kids, it was all up in the air.

He churned out crazy music, sensitive music, interesting music and intelligent lyrics. That music brought me peace today at the almost tail end of a miserable week.

Day 6, of 9 consecutive at Lompoc.

The man suffered. He was confused. He created. He aroused emotions and reactions.

At what cost?

Should I feel some guilt to smile or cry along with his songs knowing how turbulent his life was?

I don't know. I don't know a goddamn thing.

Except that I am proud to dig Warren Zevon. Proud to dig one more guy that superficial people might easily dismiss.

People who think all he was is "Werewolves Of London."

Get your shit together, people and "enjoy every sandwich."

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Matt Schaub Revisited (Plus Bonus Coverage)

Matt Schaub got hurt last week. Knocked out of the game.

And the fans cheered.


Heard a lot of discussion about this from football and sports talking heads. Most people agreed that the fans' response was hideous. Although I heard one guy pad his answer with the fact that Houston fans are disappointed because they have had  good teams over the last few years that have underachieved.

I couldn't believe it. This guy is a former player, which makes it even worse.

One guy got it right. He said that in sports there are real fans and there are pretend fans.

Real fans love the sport, they love the team, they respect the players. They might criticize the team or a player for not doing well, they might question game time decisions or management decisions, but ultimately they watch the sport because they love it.

They would never applaud a player getting hurt. Never.

Pretend fans use the sport as an excuse to act like idiots. They are wildly enthusiastic if the team is doing well. They get vicious if the team is not doing well.

They are happy to see a guy get hurt.

Matt Schaub does not deserve what he has had to endure.

And in a related incident: Danny Amendola got knocked out in last week's PATS game. He took a vicious hit and fell to the ground unconscious. When he got up he had to be supported  as he staggered off the field.

He suffered a concussion.

I recently watched  a documentary titled League Of Denial. It chronicles the NFL's relentless  fight to disprove any relationship between repeated head shots as football players with chronic traumatic encephalopathy. Loosely translated, horrible conditions like dementia and Alzheimer's.

Of course there is overwhelming evidence to prove otherwise.

The documentary repulsed me but did not surprise me. The NFL is just another huge corporation. They do not care about the welfare of their players.

I saw the handwriting on the wall decades ago when I started to hear team owners and league officials refer to the game as product.

I was watching the NFL network and saw a replay of Amendola's hit. Two former players, regular commentators on the show, started making a joke out of the hit. Laughing about how he got his bell rung, making ding dong noises, and just generally yukking it up. Of course  as Amendola was being escorted off the field they made the obligatory "I'm was glad to see him walk off the field" comment.

These are former players. Guys who are intimately acquainted with the risks of the game. Guys who know full well that getting your bell rung repeatedly leads to a short life and brain damage. Guys who probably fully support the law suit brought against the NFL by former players.

You can tell me that this is their way of dealing with the situation.

I think it goes deeper than that. There is a mentality around football that is diseased. It starts with some players and bleeds into the psyche of pretend fans.

Football, my favorite sport for 49 years, has me dazed and confused.

Today's Work Environment

Today's work environment is bizarro world to the max.

Hard workers are punished with more work. Idiots survive.

Companies are squeezing employees like lemons. There are no jobs and people are forced to hang on to whatever they got because paying the mortgage and eating come in handy.

Employers recognize the situation and they exploit it to their advantage and their advantage only. They don't try to create an equitable situation, they use every trick imaginable to screw the workers. No raises, no promotions, cutting benefits, playing every angle possible to rob workers of what is legally theirs.

"We are forced to do more with less."

That's the line. In some cases it is true. In many if not most cases, it is not. It is simply the fact of employers taking advantage of an unbalanced job environment to manipulate and humiliate their employees.

Idiot employees slack off. They do less. They are lazy, unmotivated and selfish. Somehow they survive.

The NH State Liquor Commission is rife with cretins. Apparently it is the new standard. I have heard a million horror stories and I have lived some over the last eight months.

People who do nothing, people who actually compromise efficiency and reduce productivity. Thanks to the blameless society we have created in this progressive country it is almost impossible to get rid of these fools.

They keep a scale in HQ. You have to amass 25 pounds of paperwork to fire somebody. Warnings, accusations, lectures. And it has to be done over a specific time period. If the 25th pound is reached one day after the probationary period ends you get to start all over.

That is the only thing idiot employees are good at. Knowing the limits. That's how they survive.

As a result hard workers, good workers, smart humans are punished with more work. They work hard, they work smart and they pick up the slack. This is recognized and they are given more work. No promise of any reward - "we can't afford a pay raise or a promotion right now but keep on busting your ass and everything will work out."

That is a lie.

It is not just the liquor commission. I hear this from people in all kinds of jobs, all kinds of industries.

Carol is being punished today. Being forced to do something she hates to do, something that is not in her job description, because she did it once before and did it well.

The first time around they couldn't find anybody else to do it, Carol's boss approached her and Carol made it clear that she did not want to do it. Of course she ended up doing it.

This time she was approached because it was recognized that she did such a good job last time. Once again she made it exceptionally clear that she did not want to do it. Of course she is doing it again. Had to leave the house a little earlier this morning to do it.

There is an ominous threat implicit in situations like this. "You have a job. I will force you to do whatever I want you to do. You don't like it? Quit and see how you make out in the job market."

Still, the idiots survive.

My fear is that this could become a permanent situation. The filthy rich have seized power with both hands in this shaky economy. That's how it works. The economy tanks, the suffering of the working poor increases, the rich get richer.

This time I think we have seen a dynamic shift. The rich exploit openly and gleefully; they no longer try to hide. Union busting has become good sport. People are being stripped of all kinds of rights from the voting booth to the womb.

The drive to survive strips you of choice. You have to do whatever it takes, eat whatever shit is ladled onto your plate, just to get by. And any weapons workers might have had in the past are being taken away. No way to fight back.

As Bob Dylan said: "It's not dark yet, but it's gettin' there."

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

I have never..............

in my life worked with people of such low character and zero integrity.

It is a fascinating case study to me. These people are selfish, rude, unintelligent and abrasive.

Nobody has anybody else's back except to stick a knife into it.

What amazes me is that a motley collection of the dregs of humanity is collected together in one location. It is almost if the New Hampshire State Liquor Commission placed an ad reading thusly:

"Wanted: Unmotivated slugs with no apparent skills to staff a liquor store. Required skills include lying, acting talent (faking illness), complete lack of concern for co-workers, and an uncomfortable relationship with reality.

Potential candidates must have progressed no further than third grade before being expelled, must be emotionally unstable and morally ambiguous, must lack motivation, and must be highly accomplished in the art of whining."

Trying to give direction to these people is like trying to organize kittens to march in a parade.

I have said it before - I am Randall P. McMurphy. Meet my co-workers:

Martini, Billy Bibbit,Taber, Ellis, Fredrickson, Cheswick.

I cannot identify Nurse Ratched for fear of losing my job.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Allegedly Human

Joseph Robert Patterson, age 27, killed Adrian Peterson's son, age 2.


Prior to the child's death as he lay fighting for his tiny life in a hospital, Patterson was charged with aggravated assault, and aggravated assault on an infant.


Patterson was living with the child and the child's mother at the time.

Patterson has a prior domestic abuse record with a different woman and child, to which he pleaded guilty. According to court records, Patterson has a son with another woman. That woman asked for protection orders twice, claiming he'd choked and punched her, threatened her with a knife and held her in the bedroom against her will.

The mother chose not to pursue permanent protection orders.

I am not sure how deeply to play out the son angle because Adrian Peterson learned only months ago that he had a child with this woman living in South Dakota. Peterson has two other kids with two other women.

He does not sound like a model dad.

So I'll focus on Patterson.

I'm sure Patterson felt it was a fair fight. The 2 year old probably did something to aggravate him, something 2 year olds never do. Like crying or walking or maybe even laughing. Something that proved to Patterson that the youngster was superior to him as a human being.

Patterson couldn't handle this so he told the kid to knock it off. The kid persisted and the situation degenerated into a knock down drag out fight.

The kid probably had the upper hand for a while forcing Patterson to beat and choke the child into submission. The child was admitted to the hospital with severe head injuries and subsequently died.

How do we breed monsters like this?

I have not done the research, but I am willing to bet child abuse and murder is more prevalent in this country than in others around the world. I don't mean to keep bashing the United States but I keep coming back to this feeling of darkness that appears to be smothering and destroying this country.

What the hell is going on in the mind of a 27 year old man that he can look at a helpless child as he beats the kid mercilessly, and continue to beat him as he screams? How does a mind get to that point? What are the factors in his life and in our society that contribute to such a depraved level of existence?

Where did his humanity go, if he ever even had it? And if he didn't have it, why not?

Child abuse and animal abuse are the worst crimes you can commit as a human. Torturing, beating and killing defenseless lives, exerting your power and might completely out of proportion to the victim's.

Looking innocence and trust in the eye and saying "I am going to kill you."

There is no punishment severe enough for a man like this. Painful enough. Appropriate enough. if you killed his own child in front of him he would not care. If you forced him to kill his own child, it would not move him.

It is impossible for the mind to comprehend the horror of this. You cannot put yourself in his situation because it is so vile, so heinous as to be unfathomable.

The child's name has not been released yet. They say to protect the family. Still it leaves me uncomfortable.

I despise referring to him as the child. The kid was alive, he made a tiny mark on this planet. He had an identity.

He was somebody.

Joseph Patterson is nobody. He should never have been born. He should rot in the darkest, most painful and eternally tortuous corner of hell.

Patterson is alive and "the child" is dead.

This leaves me with a gut twisting discomfort regarding how the world works.

The Perfect Weekend

First of all I had Saturday and Sunday off.

So..............Friday night Carol and I go to the movies, royally dig "Enough Said", grab subs for supper afterwards and chilldig the rest of the night.

Saturday we do Saturday things for half the day, then we motor over to Jason's sublime cottage in the woods for a "summer is dead" party. This place is nestled in the woods right next to a creek that gurgles you directly to peace of mind. Magnificent setting. We play games, we talk, we laugh, we chow. Magnificent night with our two consistently cool hosts - Jason and Karen - and a bunch of friends.

Sunday morning Carol and I arise and go out to breakfast with Jason and Karen. These two are good friends of ours. True friends.The telling is in the comfortable way we sit around the table in breakfast heaven trading easy conversation and laughter.

We get home at eleven having experienced a full and satisfying weekend..................with a full day still ahead of us.

And then Boston sports happened. The icing on the cake.

I parked my ass in the recliner around three and flipped back and forth between the Green Bay game and the Pittsburgh game. I was football ecstatic.

Then THE PATS. One thing I have learned in 2013 is perspective. Prior to that the only perspective I had was that life sucks. I was content to go with that and hang my head. I have fleshed perspective out a little in this bizarre year.

My job is worse to me than broken glass in my intestines and I have fought it every step of the way. Maturity has recently crept into my thinking, or whatever passes for maturity in my tiny and diseased brain. The job pays the bills. I have to accept that while I pursue an escape. I am quite actively pursuing an escape. Prior to that I would have been happy to quit or get fired and let the chips fall where they may.

I got football perspective yesterday. I was thrilled to sit and watch THE PATS. More so than usual, which I did not think was possible. Riveted. Excited. Focused in like a laser.

I can't watch every game this season, which really hurts. But apparently my brain and my emotions have decided that during the games that I can watch, I will be blazingly alive.


So THE PATS come out and score the winning touchdown with 5 seconds to go.

Absolutely fantastic.

The weekend wasn't over.

The Boston Red Sox stepped into the picture. Right after THE PATS thrilling victory.

Sox are getting dominated by Tigers pitching and Tigers hitting. Down 5 zip.

I was tired. I won't lie. I was also anticipating today. Inventory day at The Asylum. If I get home tonight before midnight it will be a miracle. But I won't whine about it. Or maybe I just did.

I crawled into bed as The Sox were scoring their first run, leaving my warrior wife to cheer them on to the end. She did and filled me in this morning. Filled me in about Big Papi's grand slam to tie the game in the eighth. Saltalamacchia's game winning single that drove in Johnny Gomes in the bottom of the ninth.

Dramatic, exciting, thrilling, appropriate.

Although I did not witness The Sox fireworks, still, Carol and I had ourselves one hell of a weekend.

It was a weekend the way weekends are supposed to be.

The only thing that could have made it better would have been if our sons and their magnificent women were somehow involved.

But you can't have everything.

That's called perspective.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

The Poor As Talking Points

Caught a few minutes of Morning Joe on MSNBC the other day.

The talking heads were discussing the effects of the government shutdown. They were debating if it was really harmful or not.

It always amazes me that even a topic this big does not have black and white consequences. You would think it would be easy to identify the effects of a government shutdown and its effects on society and to decide whether or not those effects are harmful or not.

Apparently I am a simpleton.

Something Joe Scarborough said pissed me off. He put it this way: "Yeah, there are people who are being hurt by the shutdown, people who are really struggling, but for most voters the shutdown will not have dire consequences." I am paraphrasing, but that is the gist of what he said.

I don't care if only one American is hurt by the shutdown. Shutting down the government willfully and unjustifiably with full knowledge that you are negatively impacting even one person's life is immoral, amoral, and vile.

The problem is these talking heads are removed from reality. They make a lot of money, they live privileged lives travelling in elite circles and they are far removed from the down and dirty business of trying to survive.

They cannot empathize with the working poor because to the talking heads the struggling majority are a concept, they are statistics, they are reflections in a poll.

They are not human beings.

The struggling majority are truly on their own. Nobody is fighting for them, nobody empathizes with them, nobody actually feels what they feel.

Even the people who put out the vibe that this country is screwed up, that the rich are getting richer and the working poor are getting screwed, the people who express outrage at the situation most Americans find themselves in, even these people are not accomplishing anything.

They care more about talking points than about fellow human beings.

Borderline Personality Disorder

I heard about a football player who is raising money to research mental health issues.

He is involved because he had been diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder. This piqued my curiosity because borderline personality disorder sounds pretty harmless to me. Sounds like something I could and should be diagnosed with.

It doesn't have the bite of someone who is diagnosed to be psychotic or schizophrenic. Those sound frightening, there is a darkness there, as well there should be with disorders of the mind. I'm picturing old tymey insane asylums, straight jackets, dark, damp hallways and  special "re-orientation rooms."

Emotionally Unstable Borderline Personality Disorder is described by the World Health Organization in this way: "characterized by a definite tendency to act impulsively, and without consideration of the consequences; the mood is unpredictable and capricious. There is a liability to outbursts of emotion and an incapacity to control the behavioral explosions. There is a tendency to quarrelsome behavior and to conflicts with others, especially when impulsive acts are thwarted or censored."

This is not a mental disorder - this is life.

Our society is predisposed to creating excuses, diseases, afflictions, and syndromes to explain away the fact that we are essentially weak, undisciplined, whiny, uncommitted and unfocused.

Where did this come from? Some of it is tied up in the medical communities commitment to sell more drugs. We got pills for everything, baby. We are so weak and focused on pointing the finger of blame anywhere but in the mirror that we are willing to take pills whose side effects include eye lid convulsions and nose hair proliferation.

Some of it reflects a shift in the way our society thinks, and this is what I cannot put my finger on. What happened along the way to make us lazy and unaccountable? What factors combined to rob us of ambition? How did our psyches shift to a place where we never feel compelled to accept the consequences of our own actions?

Characteristics of borderline personality disorder include emotional instability, unstable self image, social instability, desire for casual or illicit sex, harmful impulsiveness, and hostility.

That covers just about everybody I know.

Everybody is emotionally unstable because we don't know who we are or where we are going and have a complete inability to even begin to understand life.

We all have unstable self images. Even those who project total confidence are full of shit because they go home and night and think "I hope everybody bought my performance today."

We are socially unstable because our society is so screwed up. Or is it the other way around? Who knows. Most of us are uncomfortable with where we are or where we want to go or where we have been. Most of us want something else or regret something tangible.

Casual or illicit sex? Who the hell does not want that?

We act impulsively because we are boxed in. The pressure builds and you do something to express yourself or try to drag some happiness into your life.

There is lots of hostility to go around. Everybody is frustrated, trapped, lost and unfulfilled.

At some point we decided in this country that the best way to deal with our own problems is to blame somebody else and/or identify those problems as syndromes and disorders and "treat" them.

This allows me to throw a plate of garlic mashed potatoes in my waitress's face and walk out triumphantly without paying the bill or getting arrested because I have borderline personality disorder.

I am not the toughest guy around. I make a lot of excuses, I whine (so do you, so don't be so quick to point the finger). But I am trying to make changes. I am putting some effort out there to try to grab a hold of my life, my life as I know it could be.

Perhaps my efforts are misplaced.

If I am not mistaken, I believe I was recently diagnosed with Underachievers Syndrome.

They have a pill for that. The technical term for the medicine is Getoffyourass citrate.

The side effects are intimidating. They include success, improved self esteem, an exponential increase in income, and peace of mind.

I am going all in. Gonna take the risk. Gonna call Dr. Feelgood tomorrow for my prescription.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Matt Schaub

Matt Schaub is the starting quarterback for the Houston Texans.

For now.

He has been having a rough time. He has also been harassed by fans.

The story goes that he noticed people driving by his house and taking pictures. It has also been reported that a person pulled into Schaub's driveway and yelled obscenities at him. Schaub later denied this, but maybe he is trying to defuse the bomb, attempting to avoid stirring up other idiots who might find this a tempting idea.

Schaub was sufficiently rattled to call team security about the incidents.

The Schaub family has also filed a report with the Houston Police Department regarding two separate trespassers.

This is not a new story. It has happened before. Many professional athletes have been harassed by crazed fans when the athlete is struggling.

This is delusional behavior.

Most of the fans doing the harassing are losers. Living small, unsatisfying lives in petty ways. Yet they cannot accept the fact that athletes are human beings who cannot always perform at the highest level. That they can have bad days or bad stretches. That they too can be losers.

Maybe the fans graft their hopes and dreams onto the performance of their team because they know they, the fans, will never get to be where they want to be; never get to be who they want to be. Maybe they expect everything from an athlete because they earn enormous salaries and to a certain extent, maybe that is justified.

The professional sports world is a harsh one; people are judged quickly and dealt with mercilessly. Careers are short, pressure is intense, rewards are extravagant and punishment is severe.

That's the only thing an athlete should have to deal with. Not the misplaced and vicious anger of frustrated fans.

There have been many instances of athletes being afraid for the safety of their families, as Matt Schaub obviously is.

That is sick and demented.

Many of these fans are losers every day of their lives. How would they react if strangers pulled into their driveways to taunt them about the vapidity of their lives? Would they consider that fair?

Texans fans have burned Schaub's jersey in effigy. That is spiteful and cruel, but I can accept it because it is a non threatening gesture. Hopefully.

Although I could envision idiot fans nailing Schaub's jersey to a cross and burning it on his front lawn.

Too much viciousness in the world, too much hatred.

We do not need sports as an excuse to make it even worse.

That is just vile.

Enough Said

Carol and I saw "Enough Said" last night. James Gandolfini, Julia Louis-Dreyfus.

Achingly beautiful. All about being human in the complex way we have created for ourselves in the 21st century. Love, honesty, trust, pettiness, friendship, human kindness and human coldness.

We saw it at The Red River Theatre. This is an independent movie theater and a non-profit organization that we have been digging since the ribbon cutting in 2007.

Two movie screens. That's it. Unless you count the small screen they have in the small room where documentary style films are shown.

This is one funky, cool place with exactly the right vibe for serious movie buffs. You can even grab a beer or a glass of wine to enjoy with the movie. I ain't talking about beer pong here, I am talking about availability of alcohol to make the experience that much more mature.

You want Vin Diesel - go to a 300 screen megaplex. You want an intimate experience - go to The Red River Theatre.

It was the perfect setting for Enough Said. I won't get into the plot, but I will tell you that James Gandolfini and Julia Louis-Dreyfus are the perfectly unlikely couple to play a couple that eventually makes perfect sense. The sensitivity and humanness they both brought to the screen will bring tears to your eyes.

When the credits rolled, the first two words were "For Jim." That was a little rough.

It occurred to me as I was engrossed by the movie that maybe we should all approach our lives as if it was a movie. Focus on our lives the way we do with a movie.

This is a "small movie", all about human beings. No blow 'em up action here. Conversations happen, humor happens, sadness happens, heartbreak happens, redemption happens. I zeroed in with rapt attention in a way I do not do with my own life.

You crawl through your life day after day numbed by the mundane repetitiveness of it. You watch life evolving day to day in a movie and it can be riveting.

You are looking for diversion at the movies. The characters' emotions become your emotions, their problems, your problems, their triumphs, your triumphs.

But in a small movie, very often what they are experiencing is no different than what you are experiencing in your own life.

Yet it seems more real.

How bizarre, how bizarre.

That is the beauty of entertainment. It wakes you up. It zaps you with life.

That is also the paradox.

You walk out feeling jazzed but eventually settle back into numbness, not recognizing that your very own life is a movie.

I see the "viewing life as a movie" approach as one more way to try to live in the moment, to live in the now.

I utterly believe in the concept of living in the moment; I am utterly incapable of achieving it.

I spend 99% of my time re-living the past or projecting into the future.

This is why my socks never match.

Our lives are an endless series of scenes. Some quiet, some riotous, some fulfilling, some frustrating, some loving, some hateful, some get the picture.

You wake up, go downstairs, settle into your recliner with a cup of a coffee, a book and a cat - that's a scene. Your wife comes down later, you enjoy gentle conversation, she begins her day in her own way - that's a scene.

I enjoyed "Enough Said" last night. We both did. We laughed, we shed a few tears, we reacted during the movie and talked about it afterwards. It enhanced our lives.

Maybe it also gave me a new perspective.

That's pretty heady payback for an investment of an hour and a half.

Andrew Luck

 I don't want to appear cruel; only factual.

Andrew Luck's face - especially when he is smiling - is THE perfect face for an

Ultimate Nerd poster.

Thursday, October 10, 2013


When is the last time you used that word?

Me, personally, never.

But I like it. Its one of those words you can drop to befuddle people.

Watching Boardwalk Empire last night and one of the characters used the word. I think it was Al Capone.

It caught my ear because I am aware of the word. Aware of it because Charles Bukowski wrote a fictional book titled Factotum.

I just looked it up and the definition surprised me. Merriam-Webster says "a person having many diverse activities or responsibilities; a general servant. "He was the office factotum."

I expected something heavier than that.

Why do we create words like factotum to describe a general servant? Doesn't that just make things more complicated?

I love it because I am a word guy. But in general, I imagine the English language could get by without the word factotum.

I like what Bukowski did with it much better.

Goodreads summarizes the book in this way: "One of Charles Bukowski's best, this beer-soaked, deliciously degenerate novel follows the wanderings of aspiring writer Henry Chinaski across World War II-era America. Deferred from military service, Chinaski travels from city to city, moving listlessly from one odd job to another, always needing money but never badly enough to keep a job. His day to day existence spirals into an endless litany of pathetic whores, sordid rooms, dreary embraces and drunken brawls, as he makes his bitter, brilliant way from one drink to the next."

That fleshes out the word factotum in a more robust manner.

I read the book. I loved it. They made a movie from it. I saw it.

It stars Matt Dillon as Henry Chinaski.

Carol loves Matt Dillon.

Carol would not love Factotum.

The Deeper You Go

Diggin' on a CD by some guy named Spencer Day. This is a one hit wonder CD, you know, one where you hear a song that you absolutely have to own so you buy the CD and every other song on it is questionable.

At least that's the way it was. I dug it out of the pile yesterday and found as I listened to it that I dug a lot of his lyrics. Funny how time changes things.

I didn't even get to THE song so I have to cart the damn CD along again today. CD's are so cumbersome. And yeah, I know I could have skipped tracks to get to THE song but I decided to experience the CD in its entirety.

Glad I did.

Got a song on there called Joe. Got a line in there that goes: "Joe did you know that we never meant to hurt you or your pride? Joe I tried, but I never understood your pain."

I am always searching for ways to unite humanity. We are all little human slugs slithering our way through life. All of us in the same boat. We all hate our jobs, none of us makes enough money, no one is living the life they thought they would live and we all know we are going to die.

Those few facts alone should unite us. Influence us to not hurt each other. Influence us to empathize with one another. Provoke us to get a long.

"I never understood your pain."

Everybody carries some pain around with them. And nobody really understands what that is. What is pain to one human might mean nothing to another. But that other person has their own personal pain.
Which is why we all need our own personal Jesus. Maybe that is what we are looking for when we search for love.

We should recognize that everybody suffers in their own way and we should give them some ground. Cut them some slack. Go out of our way not to introduce more pain into each person's life.

Humans are too stupid for that. I experience this stupidity in intense form every day. The people I work with have brains that are so small, sometimes when they cock their head, the brain rolls out their ear like a little pea. You have to bend over and pick it up and say "Here, you dropped your brain." Often they respond "Wow, it's getting bigger."

This crowd is vicious, petty, lying, lazy, calculating and ignorant. I have never experienced anything like it in forty years of work.

But why? Why are they like this?

We all work for the same corrupt and exploitative employer, we all do the same work,  we all work weird hours, and we all have one goal - make the store pretty.

What is it that prevents us from recognizing we are all sharing one experience and figuring out how to get along?

Instead this crowd goes out of the way to increase everybody else's pain.

This is one precise example. Expand the scenario to the scope of the world's stage and the illogic still applies.

The chorus to the song says "and the further you get and the deeper you go, the more you will find yourself alone, the higher you fly, the harder you fall."

My pea sized brain interprets this to mean the deeper you get into yourself, the more you understand yourself, the more you live your life in accordance with you, the more alone you become.

Because you transcend the pettiness, you break the cycle and there are not a lot of humans out on that frontier.

Those are my thoughts. You may think they are a bunch of crap.

That really pisses me off.

But then again, I never understood your pain.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

A Questionable Snack

Woke up at 3:00 a.m. this morning to go to the bathroom.

Crawled back into bed and Lakota curled up close beside me.

I yawned and her wagging tail went into my mouth.

I love our cats.

Antagonize And Reform

Just saw Al Sharpton on Morning Joe on MSNBC a few minutes a go.

He was talking about what he has learned as a man who has spent his life fighting for what is right.

He said, in part, "You can't antagonize the public and then expect them to be sympathetic to your cause."

republicans should learn this lesson. They may actually have initiated a chain of events that will guarantee the lesson is taught whether or not their thick heads are receptive to the message.

Logic would dictate this to be the truth but my only reservation is in the fact that republican sympathizers, maybe but hopefully not, cannot be antagonized. They are so hungry to hate on Black Prez that they will gobble up any lies their "leaders" feed them. They will respond viscerally to any photo op republican fools stage - like war vet memorials, one sided meeting tables, "the Prez won't help kids beat cancer", whatever lame, hollow, shameful theatrics republicans can dream up.

Sharpton is a guy with the intelligence to learn. He sucks as a talk show host, I'll grant you that, but the man can learn. Just look at pictures of him from his ugly past. He used to look like Jabba The Hut with a cheesy mustache. Now he looks almost gaunt.

He decided to change and he did it. That's called learning. That involves intelligence.

There is some hope. Backlash exists within the republican party against scum like Ted Cruz and others of his low moral standards. Those who stand against Cruz demonstrate some level of intelligence. Being willing to question your party's motives, its tactics, its core beliefs, demonstrates intelligence.

Blindly stumbling along strictly party lines is a blatant expression of stupidity.

I just don't know how many republican constituents actually think. Racism blinds them to the truth.

There have to be some intelligent republicans out there? Maybe?

People who are antagonized by the republicans stupidity and all out disregard for the stability of this country.

I have not followed the government shutdown closely because I am wrapped up in my own personal war (interpreted: I have been too selfish and lazy). But I believe the shutdown will hurt, is hurting, our fragile economy.

If there are intelligent republicans out there, and if they can be made to see that republicans are jeopardizing their economic future for absolutely no justifiable reason, maybe these people will no longer be sympathetic to the cause.

Millions of people are struggling; unemployed, under employed, uninsured, under insured, being victimized by unscrupulous employers who currently hold the upper hand. republicans are not trying to help these people, they are making their lives worse. Consciously and callously making their lives worse.

Wake up, republicans. Get antagonized and stop siding with republican congressmen who are immoral and amoral to the core.

Monday, October 7, 2013

I Am Purely An Idiot

It is important to excel at something in life. No matter what it is. Your ego needs it.

I am 100% idiot.

I had a day at work yesterday. First of all, I was missing THE PATS game. This is the second one I have missed because of work. I thought I had reconciled this situation in my mind, but apparently not. I was truly bumming yesterday.

But I sucked it up and went about my business. Made a wine list and went out back to snag cases of wine. And came across an ocean of wine on the floor.

You know how it is when something breaks you, something pushes you one step too far and you just shut down?

That's what happened to me.

I work with morons. Absolute morons. They pile cases of wine on top of each other regardless of the shape, regardless of how many bottles are in the case. We have a huge amount of wine in this store. Piled very high. Columns begin to tip when cases are piled indiscriminately.

And these morons continue to pile cases on top of the leaning tower. I have brought it up endlessly. Re-arrange the column. Pay attention to what you are doing. Avert disaster.

Waste of time. I am talking to morons. Morons who do not care.

A column partially tumbled yesterday. I had to re-pack four cases because they get soaked through and are no good and I had to move a bunch of cases just to get that done. I had to re-pack the broken case and account for the six bottles of wine that broke. I had to mop up an ocean of wine.

It took me an hour.

As I did this I was thinking I gave up THE PATS to come in here and waste my time cleaning up after morons who were home relaxing and not caring.

I shut down for the rest of the day, just got quiet and buried my frustration, but my anger bubbled to the surface when I got home, fueled, of course, by whiskey.

Carol had taped THE PATS game for me. She taped the race, which Kevin Harvick won. She cooked a delicious supper.

She did all of this because she knew I would be unhappy and she tried to make it better.

She offered me a way out, she offered me love and peace and I threw it away.

I allowed my anger to destroy my night and her night.

I ranted, I raved, I beat up a kitchen chair, I was a supreme asshole.

 I am trying so hard to change so I can have even a slight chance for 10 good years. But this is my worst behavior, my most ignorant weakness.

To have love and peace handed to me with careful consideration and honest thoughtfulness, and to just slap it aside like it has no value.

It has the greatest value there is. It is the most important, the most comforting thing a human being can have. The love and care and concern of another human being.

There is nothing bigger than that in life.

How many more chances will I get? When will Carol say: "Jesus Christ, I am backing a losing horse here" and run away to Mexico with Raoul the pool boy?

This is stupidity of the highest order on my part.

As I said I am 100% idiot.

If I don't get my ass in gear and find something more meaningful to excel at, I will wake up alone one day and ache to know what I have lost.

Found A Gem

Digging through my piles of CD's yesterday morning, came across "Across The Borderline" by Willie Nelson.

What an unbelievably, achingly beautiful and truthful album.

It was co-produced by Paul Simon and features two songs written by him. It also includes songs written by T.S.Burton, John Hiatt, Peter Gabriel, a song co-written and sung by Willie, and Bob Dylan, Ry Cooder, James Dickinson, Lyle Lovett, Willie Dixon (old tymey blues dude).

It doesn't matter if you don't recognize all the names; I don't even know who James Dickinson is. What matters is that you know these are the types of guys who write songs about life. Straight ahead gut truthful songs based on experience from men who have truly lived their lives.

I brought Willie for the ride in, and David Bowie for the ride home. Bowie never made the cut. I emoted to Willie to and fro.

I imagined a difficult scenario. Imagine a guy driving to work on a Sunday morning. Driving to a place he doesn't want to be on a day he doesn't want to be there. Knowing that he will be missing something important to him, something he wants to watch, something he loves.

Imagine he hears these words, written by Paul Simon, sung by Willie Nelson, from "American Tune":

"Many's the times I've been mistaken and many times confused, yes, and I've often felt forsaken and certainly misused, oh, but I'm all right, I'm all right, I'm just weary to my bones, still you don't expect to be bright and Bon Vivant so far away from home, so far away from home.

I don't know a soul who's not been battered, I don't have a friend who feels at ease, I don't know a dream that's not been shattered or driven to its knees, oh but it's all right, it's all right, for lived so well so long, still when I think of the road we're travelling on, I wonder what went wrong, I can't help it, I wonder what's gone wrong.

And I dreamed I was dying, and I dreamed that my soul rose unexpectedly, and looking back down at me smiled reassuringly, and I dreamed I was flying and high above my eyes could clearly see, The Statue of Liberty sailing away to see, and I dreamed I was flying.

Oh we come on a ship they call The Mayflower, we come on the ship that sailed the moon, we come in the age's most uncertain hour, and sing an American Tune, oh, it's all right, it's all right, it's all right, it's all right, you can't be forever blessed, still, tomorrow's going to be another working day, and I'm trying to get some rest, that's all, I'm trying to get some rest."

I imagined, this guy on his way to work, might become emotionally invested. Feelings and confusion might bubble to the surface. It might become even more difficult for this guy to accept his reality. His mind might begin working overtime, trying to figure things out, trying to separate illusion from truth.

I would feel bad for that guy.

I hope it never happens to me.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

We're Gettin' The Band Back Together

Michael Zuk is a Canadian dentist who bought John Lennon's rotted molar at auction for $31,000 in 2011.

He has begun DNA sequencing as the first step towards...........................

cloning John Lennon.


Apparently Lennon had given the tooth to his Weybridge housekeeper Dot Jarlett, in the mid 1960's. She passed it down to her daughter.

Right off the bat you have to wonder how the deal went down. Did Lennon offer her the tooth out of ego? Was it typical Lennon humor? Was he trying to help her, knowing it would be worth something?

I asked myself if I would hold on to one of his teeth. At first I flat out thought "No." Ridiculous. Then I got honest with myself. Yeah I would. I would keep it, I would take it out and rub it for luck, hoping that some of Lennon's talent and success would rub off on me and radically alter the course of my life.

I would put the tooth in my mouth and talk with a cockney accent hoping to invoke the spirit of John Lennon in a desperate attempt to de-normalize my existence.

I became amused as I began to research cloning. As usual, online info is all over the place in relation to truth.

The Hindu says that the technology for cloning humans is available and standardized. I was a little uncomfortable with The Hindu when I read in the opening paragraph of the article that "this news hit the headlines, since Lennon was a member of the famous quartet, The Beatles, who were a rage in the 1960's and 70s."

The wording of that sounds a bit distant, as if the writer had to research who this Lennon was. It also sounds like Lennon needed explaining to The Hindu's readers.

Turns out the Hindu is India's national paper.

The Huffington post reports that "in1996, Dolly the sheep was cloned by implanting genetic material from a sheep's udder cell into an egg, which in turn was implanted into a surrogate sheep mother........................  Seventeen years later, however, sheep cloning remains out of reach, even assuming DNA could be pulled from the tooth."

Lee Silver, Ph.D., is a professor of genetics at Princeton University, where his laboratory is attempting to identify genes that influence personality and behavior.

Silver believes that cloning could become viable within 10 years "because there is a demand among a small number of people for this technology to have babies."

This may not be as evil as it sounds. Silver says "the only people who will really end up using cloning are people who can't have biological children another way."

As far as an ego maniacal mom or dad trying to create an exact replica of themselves, Silver says "...what the egomaniac will end up with is a baby that will kind of look like he looked as a baby that will grow up into a boy that won't listen to him.  ...........he's not going to achieve immortality, he's just going to have a son. He's not going to be able to control the life of that son."

As far as recreating superstars, for instance Michael Jordan, Silver says "But I don't think it's very realistic, because the child that comes out of that cell, even though that child will be genetically identical to Michael Jordan, I can guarantee you that there is no way that child will ever make it into the NBA. Because Michael Jordan is more than his genes."


This is my long winded way of getting to exactly that point. And to give credit where credit is due, both The Hindu and Huffington Post make the same point.

Cloning humans may become scientifically possible in the future. But you cannot program in personality quirks, life experiences, knowledge, misperceptions, opinions and twisted views.

If we try to clone John Lennon, we may wind up with a Frankenstein Lennon. Something that looks and sounds like John Lennon but writes and sings Justin Bieber-like pop trash. With Bieber's depth of knowledge and integrity.

Lennon would never have been into cloning. I know this from our many conversations.

Not sure about Yoko though. If John was good in bed..........................

Saturday, October 5, 2013

It Really Hurt

"Always kiss your children good night, even if they're already asleep."

H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

I was searching for quotes from this guy and I came across this one.

Pretty banal.

However it sparked an explosive and immediate memory in my tiny brain.

I was studying for an MBA. Working days, going to school at night. My kids were young.

There were many nights I would get home from school after they were in bed and asleep.

I would grab a beer and sit on the floor in their room in the dark with tears streaming down my cheeks.

There is no more heinous wasted time than time away from your kids when they are young.

Ken Norton

Ken Norton once broke Muhammad Ali's jaw and I hated him for that.

It was 1973 and he won the fight in a split decision victory. He was only the second boxer to defeat Ali, after Joe Frazier, and I hated him for that too. He was a virtual unknown at that time and the victory was a  huge upset.

Muhammad is one of my idols and I hated anybody who hurt him.

They fought again six months later in 1973 and Ali won a split decision. One more go around in 1976. Ali was awarded a unanimous decision victory but it was exceptionally controversial.

The man fought Muhammad Ali valiantly three times and held his own. That's all you need to know about him.

He was a goddamn stud. When he walked into the ring you could not believe a boxer would be built like that.

The sport of boxing back then was magnificent. Heavyweight bouts were heavyweight bouts. They were extravaganzas, there was drama, there was hype, there was truth, there was lying, there was pre- fight press conference buffoonery, there was Ali's poetry and sense of humor, there was Norton's toughness, Frazier's focus, Foreman's size, toughness and sense of humor.

And there was some damn good boxing. You would sit riveted, watching these fights on Wide World of Sports. It was intense and you would be rooting for or against with your whole heart and soul.

Boxing today is a joke. The hype outweighs what the fights deliver. There are no larger than life personalities anymore, there are no characters or villains or charmers.

Ken Norton died on September 18 at the age of 70.

Joe Frazier died on November 7, 2011 at the age of 67.

Both of them way too young and way too early.

People who loomed large in my life are dying off. I have talked about this before and I will right now and again in the future.

When the people who inspired you as a kid and as a young man begin to die, it gives you a sense of perspective carved in granite. Because in a way, you never thought these people would be dead. It doesn't enter your mind when you are dazzled by them. They give you a joy in life, they make you feel alive and excited, they make you realize that life can be large.

Decades later when they move on, it slaps your reality a little.

John Lennon has been dead for 31 years. George Harrison has been dead for 10 years. My mind, my heart, my soul to this day cannot accept that fact. I recoil every time I think about it.

There are a number of people who I worshipped and still worship, that are up there in age. Some of them, when they die, will devastate me. When somebody gets under your skin they find a way to travel directly to your heart.

Having these people in your life in one way or another is a bonus. They enhance your existence as a human being. They give your life a little sparkle, which you know as well as me is a hard thing to come by.

When they die, they give you a little nudge.

Rare it is, the person who can inspire you in life and inspire you in death.

Lyrics, Man - Words For The Soul

"If I had a box just for wishes and dreams that had never come true, the box would be empty except for the memory, of how they were answered by you."

From "Time In A Bottle"  by Jim Croce

One more shot at expressing love and a pretty damn good one at that.

Any human being who was the recipient of that sentiment would be shaken to the core with the realization of how deeply they were loved and appreciated. How safe they were in the protection of a love so selfless and genuine.

That would have to be, me thinks humbly, the ultimate emotion expressing the essence of life itself.

Dig This

"I used to carry my sons around in my arms. Now I carry them around in my heart."