Sunday, March 30, 2014


"All media exist to invest our lives with artificial perceptions and arbitrary values."

Marshall McLuhan

Editor's query: Who and what have you been watching lately?

Lee Child Is The New Lawrence Sanders

A long time ago I fell in love with Lawrence Sanders.

He was an author, now dead.

"The First Deadly Sin", written in 1973. I don't remember when I discovered the book, the author, but I am goddamn glad I did. Central character was a cop named Edward X. Delaney, based in NYC. The guy ate impressive sandwiches, artistic creations, he called them wet sandwiches. So messy he ate them standing over the sink.

Great character, great stories. There were four of these "sin" novels.

Then Sanders created the "commandment" series, beginning in 1979. "The Sixth Commandment" was the first, followed by the 7th, 8th and 10th, not in that order.

Then he moved on to the "McNally" series, beginning in 1992, featuring Archie McNally, a private investigator in Florida. A quirky, entertaining dude who solved crimes in his own bumbling way.

These books sustained me.

They were my go to books. I read voluminously. I try to challenge my brain (which ain't too hard to do). But I need joyfully entertaining books to return to that I can just relax to.

They provide for me such a comfort level. I knew with every Lawrence Sanders book that I would dig the story, dig the characters and lose myself in the reading.

It was much more than a release; it was peace, it was enjoyment, it was reliability. It was something I could go to whenever I wanted to and never be let down.

Reading those books caressed the very essence of my soul, breaking through the tough outer layer laid there by life and getting to the center of who I am.

Reading is sacred to me. One of my great joys is remembering that I got my son Keith into these novels. My sons represent ultimate sacredness to me, along with my incredible wife Carol. So knowing that Keith was enjoying Lawrence Sanders kicked sacredness up to a level most people will never experience.

Unbeknownst to me, there has been a void since I last read Mr. Sanders.

Lee Child has stepped in to fill the void. "Jack Reacher". I read the first book in the series and really dug it. I didn't realize how much I enjoyed it until now, as I am reading the second installment.

It hit me recently that I am experiencing the same level of joy and release and peace that I got through Lawrence Sanders.

Interesting characters, great stories. I fell into the second book in the same way I fell into every Sanders novel. I rest in the recliner, cup of coffee nearby and just exhale frustration and disappointment out as I breathe "Jack Reacher" and his exploits in.

Thank Christ.

I need this badly. Apparently my psyche has been pining away for a Lawrence Sanders substitute for a very long time. Not consciously seeking it out, but quietly lusting for it.

Subconsciously at first, then consciously, my brain, my body and my soul awakened and convinced me that this is it.

There are 18 of these books out there. I am on #2. I am reading them in the order in which they were released. Hopefully, as I plow through them, more will be added to the list.

That is a great deal of peace, a huge amount of quiet pleasure awaiting me.

Reading is sacred to me. It sustains me. All external things let me down. Even whiskey.

Reading never lets me down. Never.

Maybe because reading is really an internal thing. An ethereal thing of the mind and the soul.

Much like family, which is the only other thing in my life that sustains me and never lets me down.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Just Wanted To Say I've Been Thinking......................About You

"No Better Than This" - John Mellencamp

I have been really hammering this CD. Every day for a couple of weeks. I have talked about it in here before. Right now it is really resonating with where my head is at.

Which is stuck at sixty. Ain't too happy to be there, except for the fact that I am still alive.

The album is bare, sparse. Nothing fancy, just a collection of songs that explore life. Deadly. Delicious. Thought provoking.

Got that line I told you about: "I'm sick of life 'cause it's lost it's fun, see you in the next life, if there's really one."

Got that other stuff I told you about: "Could it be that this is all there is, could it be there's nothing more at all, save some time to dream, 'cause your dream might save us all."

And a song called "Thinking About You." This is the one that has been haunting me the most over this obsessive stretch. I listen to it two or three times each way on the commute to The Asylum.

He calls up an old flame, a woman he hasn't talked to in decades. He leaves a message with her daughter. He says :"Your young girl's voice said I'll call you back real soon. I bet that's your daughter, she sounded like you used to."

She sounded like you used to. I'm thinking the girl's voice was filled with energy and enthusiasm, like his old flame's used to. A voice she probably doesn't have any more.

He says: "It's not my nature to be nostalgic at all, I sat by the phone last night waiting for you to call, it's been decades since I spoke to you."

Sitting by the phone with his memories and disappointments, with his life, waiting for this woman to call him back, which ain't no sure thing. But it means something to him.

The chorus: "So long ago, those summer afternoons. I bet they tore that playground down, where I first met you."

Summer afternoons. Two words that contain everything. Paints such an idyllic picture; infinite time, ease, comfort and romance. They probably tore the damn thing down, just like reality tears down dreams.

Every verse ends with "I just wanted to say I've been thinking.......................about you."

Simple. Powerful.

The last verse is the killer.

"Don't mean no trouble, don't want to bother you none, ain't looking for nothing, just wondering about you some. If you ain't got time to return this call, I understand that you're busy and all, but thanks for the memories of when the world didn't seem so small."

You get to a certain point in your life and you look back, because looking forward is frightening. You probably paint a rosier picture in your mind than what was really true.

But maybe not by much.

I've been thinking a lot about when my sons were young and at home. The four of us living together, living a family life together, laughing a lot, being ourselves individually and as a family.

Carol and I are happy. Comfortable together. We've made a bit of peace with whatever life has done to us. We're kind of on cruise control, life-wise. Antsy a bit, thinking about how and where we'll end up. But there is comfort in walking through that door at night.

I don't think this home will ever have the happiness it had then. That was magic, and I don't think I am airbrushing my memories.

That's part of what that song does to me. The rest is just marking a place in life. Realizing that there were simpler things at times, things that seem simple by way of comparison. You never know they are simple pleasures at the time because you never anticipate how difficult life can become.

You never anticipate getting old.

As you look back, what feels important to you may not to someone else. I don't think his old flame is ever going to call him back. That's sad.

I guess I'm talking about reflection. Examining your life. Sifting through it to get to the gold. Recognizing the gold for what it was. Cherishing the memories for keeping some of that in your head.

I didn't get all my feelings into this.

I'll try to do better next time.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

What Does The Mirror Show?

If you look into the mirror and think "this is what my corpse will look like"...........................

it is possible you are not using the power of positive thinking.

Friday, March 21, 2014


Had some sort of spring epiphany yesterday.

At least that's what I think it was.

Unexplained euphoria.

I don't even recognize 3/20 as the first day of spring. The real event happens on 03/21.

Be that as it may...................

It was a vibrant, electric morning.

Chiro Man at 9:00. I am feeling damn good thanks to this minor god. In and out in five minutes. Drive through Dunkin' Donuts.  Medium coffee, cream and sugar, turbo shot. Fuckin' delicious.

Off to The Asylum.

On the road I am just buzzing. Feeling unnaturally good. Happy.

I know what you are saying. Joe. we have heard this a thousand times before. "Popped Mumford & Sons into the CD player and suddenly I was in heaven."


"Allman Brothers grooving my moves and I am travelling in a parallel dimension. Psyched and psychic."

It is true. I get over the top, inspired by music and nature's beauty and the unprecedented positive frame of mind.


Yesterday was different. I felt so good I felt bad. Everything was tingling. My mind, my body, my soul - were hopeful in sync.

Somehow, I think Mother Nature infused my soul with her ersatz spring onset. I think it was a challenge.

I am totally invested in this spring and summer. I have to have it and I have to strangle every drop of fun and peace and pleasure out of it.

Got a damn good start too. Got Red Sox tickets for 4/19. Going to see Ray Lamontagne in May in a funky joint in Vermont.

I think yesterday was a wake up call from this magnificent woman. I think she was saying "You are talking a big game, hot shot. Well, I am here. You better not blow it."

Ain't gonna happen. I am going to beat the living shit out of spring and summer this year. By the time it is over I will not be able to walk.

I am rising to the challenge.

My molecules are racing around my infrastructure in obscene anticipation.

Stay the hell out of my way.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Dig it, Baby

"We are each our own devil, and we make this world our hell."

Oscar Wilde

Tuesday Afternoon Wino

Went to a wine tasting today.

Job related.

This is how they educate us about wine. I tasted 24 wines today.

Know what wine tastes like at assembly line tastings?

The same.

You get a spit cup. They make a big deal about making sure you spit because you are on the clock. No swallowing.

Which makes for clichéd easy jokes with the ladies. Do you spit or swallow?

Unoriginal. Not funny. Boring.

And unavoidable. If you are going to get sexual funny, please be original.

But I digress.

Wine brokers are there to present their wines and tell you all about them. Many times they are pretentious and condescending. Today's trio was good. Witty, informative and alive.

Here is one description from a handout: "Medium-weight and linear, exuding mineral and spice flavors, with a hint of lemon underneath, this bright white finishes long and spicy."

And another: "Pink grapefruit, key lime, frangipani, and pineapple tempt your senses. An exuberant wine packed with flavor, balanced by mouth-watering acidity and a fresh, zesty, lingering finish."

One more: "Almost sweet with blackberry essence, it evolves into a plush, mouth filling compote of black fruit, beautifully integrated with woodsy and mineral notes, mocha, tobacco and clove."

I tried really hard today. Tried hard to experience the wine the way it was being presented. Typically I pay no attention. Dismissing the whole thing as an exercise in pretentiousness. Today I swirled the wine carefully in my mouth, paid attention while it was in there, spit it out and concentrated on what my mouth did after exit. After carefully reading each description.

Almost nothing. No pink grapefruit, no frangipani (whatever the hell that is), no mineral notes and definitely no tobacco.

Tobacco. I love that. Another one that pops up regularly is leather. I have erotic dreams involving fetishistic uses of leather. I don't dream about tasting it in my wine.

I said almost nothing because at one point, as I was furiously concentrating on the wine in my mouth, trying to identify specific influences, I thought I tasted cherry.

As the woman asked: "Do you get a cherry taste in there?"

Boom. I'm a fucking expert.

There is a lot to it. I dig that. Wine is mysterious, it is sensual, it delivers romance. But there is a lot of bullshit built into the mythology. The expertise.

If I described wines to customers in The Asylum the way they were presented to me today, I would be driven crying to my knees through howling gales of customer laughter.

So yeah, you spit. Until you get to the last six wines. Then, if you taste one you like, swallow. Why not? You're out the door in the next fifteen minutes. Early on a Tuesday afternoon. Why not take a taste?

If you're lucky, maybe all six taste good. Maybe you don't care. Maybe you're looking for a free buzz to accompany the free lunch

They must anticipate this. Or maybe they assume that even if you spit, there is still some wine trickling down your throat. It is unavoidable.

We are forbidden to return to work after a tasting.

Works for me. I was home by three.

Not a bad way to spend an afternoon really. Free lunch, a little brain and palate stimulation, an early exit into sunshine.

Just cut down on the pretentiousness.

"To preserve the delicate fruit and silky texture of this Pinot Noir, we gently fermented it in open-top fermentors. The wine then underwent a secondary malolactic fermentation before aging for 10 months in small oak barrels."


Give me a break.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Caffeine As Killer

Did you know that caffeine can kill you?

A tablespoon of caffeine - about 10 grams - will kill you.

I did not know that. At least I don't think I knew that. I don't know what I know right now because my brain is turbulent. I am going through ch ch ch changes.

I remember the story of the idiot college kid who took a couple spoonfuls of caffeine and chased them with an energy drink. He went into seizures and died.

Idiot should have downed a bottle of Jack in one sitting. At least he would have died drunk.


I learned all this on NHPR. Of course. NHPR is school for me now. As I hasten to sharpen my brain before it turns into a mudpie, NHPR provides constant stimulus.

I was thinking about this this morning as I agonized to and from Chiro Man's office. Had a 9:00 a.m. appointment on my day off. Not worth trying to slug down a cup of coffee and read a few pages before the show, so I busied myself with chores until appointment time.

Dutifully went and returned but I was definitely in a lack of caffeine slump. Foggy brained.

Man, as soon as I got home I fired up the Keurig, changed back into embarrassingly comfortable clothes and grabbed a hold of Jack Reacher.

A couple of sips in I was sinfully content.

Jesus, that was close.

Caffeine is a bitter white powder derived from an natural insecticide found in some plants. It can be extracted naturally by burning out coffee beans. Or it can be produced synthetically in Chinese pharmaceutical plants. This is the stuff used in soft drinks and most of that is indeed produced in China.

This whole bitter white powder natural insecticide thing gives the "caffeine as drug" thing an interesting twist. Makes it more appealing to those of us with skewed perspectives. Throw in the word addiction and you really got something.

I  learned that our grandparents consumed more coffee than we do. That's hard to believe in this hoity toity society of ours that has elevated coffee consumption to an elitist pursuit.

I am pretty sure my grandparents consumed more wine than coffee. That's why they were so cool.

Coffee consumption in this country peaked around 1950. But of course we replaced that with soft drinks.

Moderation (how boring), as usual, is the key. Moderate consumption of coffee, which is considered to be up to three or four cups a day, is not considered harmful.

Signs that you are overdoing it are sleeplessness and anxiety.


I drink one cup of coffee a day and I am eternally anxious. I experience anxiety when I am awake, when I am asleep, when I am alive and when I am dead.

Apparently I will have to drink negative cups of coffee to achieve peace.

This does not make me feel hopeful.

To this day I have not set foot in a Starbuck's. Initially it was a thinking man's reaction to the coffee as religion approach.

My brother gave me Starbuck's gift cards and I still haven't made it in. I am not totally averse to the experience. It's just that there are no Starbuck's conveniently close by.

Hard to believe.

When I finally get in there and spend 38 minutes navigating the menu and answering server questions, I'll probably walk up to the register and be told "Sir, your gift card has expired."

Caffeine is a bitch.

Me & Jack & God

I am always looking for magical ways to delay death.

I have previously expressed my belief that I can never die as long as I am reading a book. God could not possibly be callous enough to kill a person who is engrossed in a novel. The risky times are when I am in between books. I am vulnerable then.

You say, under those circumstances, a smart person would start a new book immediately upon finishing the previous one. Guaranteeing immortality.

I am not that smart. So overnight becomes quite dangerous. And with this ridiculous job I currently endure, I sometimes go three four five days without reading.

That is really pushing it.

Actually, the real reason I don't start another book immediately upon finishing the previous one is all about mood. When I read a book, I get into it completely. Whatever it is, the mood, the atmosphere, the ambiance, the fascination - I cannot just jump into another book. Another set of emotions. I have to come down.

Still, I am not that smart.

I have decided to expand my theory a little more because, well, I am sixty now - I need every advantage I can get. Got a hell of a lot of unfinished business.

I decided to read all of the Jack Reacher novels in order. There are 18 of them. I started Die Trying this morning. Die Trying is number 2.

I read the first one, Killing Floor, a while back. Loved it. Dug it deeply.

Jack Reacher is a real man. A man's man. A guy who is tough. Tough in body, spirit and mind. A guy who can handle any situation and anybody. A man of mystery as well.

Jack Reacher is the opposite of who I am. So when I read his novels I become the toughest, smartest, most resourceful man in the world.

I really like the way that feels.

In addition, the stories are good. They suck me right in so I can forget about my life. Completely.

God could not possibly take a man who is in the middle of plowing his way through 18 consecutive novels.

Could he?

With my voracious reading habits, this will take quite a while. They won't be read one after the other. Many books will be sprinkled in between.

Many, many, many books.

In the meantime, when I am not reading and when I am not staggering through endless hours at The Asylum, maybe I can wrap my arms around the greased pig my life has been up to this point.

This plan is brilliant.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

All These Years Later

Many years ago, Johnny Carson famously said: "If life was fair, Elvis would still be alive and all the impersonators dead."

 It's a funny line and a meaningful line.

All these years later, the world is increasingly filled with impersonators and frighteningly bereft of genuineness.

Proud To Have You Around My Neck

I am shaken to the core.

Poetry is a source of inspiration to me; poets - gods. Poetry elevates me and cuts deeply to my soul, allowing for free breathing and the celebration of the spirit.

I never considered that poetry could create permanent damage. Slander. A nasty misrepresentation of character.

That is precisely what Samuel Taylor Coleridge did in The Rime of The Ancient Mariner.

In Rime, the mariner shoots an albatross and is forced to carry the burden of the bird hung around his neck as a punishment for and reminder of his ill deed.

Hence the origin of the phrase "albatross around your neck."

Obviously, Coleridge was really celebrating the status of the albatross, so I can dig him for that. I can also dig him because he was Hunter S. Thompson's favorite writer.

But that is a story for another time and place.

But the albatross around the neck thing became a dark and condemning reference.

The albatross is one cool and remarkable bird. Cute, in its own way.

The albatross is essentially a sea bird, famous for their mode of flight, especially the ability to endlessly glide low over the waves without flapping.

They use a technique called "dynamic soaring", which makes use of the different wind speeds that occur at different heights. As it glides along losing height, the albatross turns into the wind, which lifts it up to a height from which it glides down between waves to turn around to repeat the process. They can actually fly faster than the winds speed.

The albatross has the largest wingspan of any living bird, which enables them to make the most of the differing wind speeds, but only if they keep them still. They have a specific tendon or muscle or voodoo bird magic that allows them to lock their shoulders into position, which allows the muscles that would otherwise be holding the wings horizontal to the body, to rest.

I am no goddamn scientist; I understand little about the world and creatures that surround me. But this seems pretty damn cool.

These birds have been revered by those who make a living on the sea, and celebrated by writers and poets forever, maybe because they look so cool, so casual just doing their thing.

They keep it real through the comedy of take-off and landing rituals. On land, to take off, they have to run downhill into the wind with wings outstretched. From the ocean they have to paddle furiously until the wind lifts them.

When landing on water they use their large webbed feet to ski to a halt. On land they use their tails and webbed feet as air brakes, and if they miscalculate the proper speed, they fall over onto their beaks.

In the air they are gods; on land and sea they are Woody Allen. This humanizes them; balances them off and makes it easier to identify with them as living creatures.

They can live for up to fifty years, and they mate for life.

That does it for today's segment of "Observing The World Around You." Hopefully it filled you with a sense of wonder about these magnificent birds. At the very least, perhaps it piqued your curiosity.

Maybe this summer when you are drunkenly swilling beer on the high seas, creating noise pollution with an over sized engine and your attempts to sing "Son of a Son of a Sailor" at maximum volume, maybe, just maybe, you will look up and spy an albatross and be immediately humbled.

Maybe this experience will alter your habits to the point where you commit to worshipping nature and reserve drunken singing for whorehouses and disreputable pubs.

Where the hell did that come from?

Christ, I spent one drunken, lust filled night with Mother Nature and her spirit haunts me into perpetuity.

I leave you with this:

"God save thee, Ancient mariner
From the fiends, that plague thee thus
Why look'st thou so? - With my cross-bow
I shot the ALBATROSS.

Ah. well a-day. What evil looks
Had I from old and young
Instead of the cross, the Albatross
About my neck was hung."

"The Rime of the Ancient Mariner" - Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Friday, March 14, 2014


I'm ramblin' today.

Drifting thoughts, formless plans, ambitions obscured.

Kind of in the middle. I got kicked out of the all whiskey zone into this new land called health issues. Coming out of it OK but it is already March 14. How the hell did that happen?

Tomorrow is the Ides of March. Better watch my back.

Been backsliding lately but not at Olympic levels. So I'll probably pull through.

Pretty down. Pretty lost.

In between where I was and where I need to be. There is absolutely no footing there so it is a shapeless existence.

But, you know, I have a friend who was diagnosed with heavy duty cancer and he is afraid. I am afraid too but my fear is of the mind.

His is real.

My brother-in-law has been fighting cancer for years now as well.

If there is a God he must really suck to allow this hideous disease to exist. And to choose the people he chooses to endure it.

I have been given all kinds of warning signs that I better shape up. I don't know why. I wonder if I deserve it. I wonder if I have the strength to do something about it.

These two guys didn't get any goddamn warning signs. Suddenly, there is cancer.

I'm wondering about the nature of things. The nature of life.

Somehow it seems so very wrong to make yourself feel better by comparing yourself to others less fortunate.

"I don't have it so bad. Look at so and so."

Wouldn't it be better to focus all our energy on an equitable distribution of happiness? Or peace? Or health?

I would feel better about where I am if I knew that Steve and Sarge were out of harm's way.

That would be fair.

If you are looking for fairness from this life then you would be better off blind.

Still, you dance with the partner who brung you. You play the cards you are dealt.

I would like to know that by recognizing how small my problems are in comparison to Sarge's and Steve's problems, and by forcing a supportive and hopeful vibe their way, that I am shifting the world vibe just a tiny, little bit in their favor.

Selfishness kills.

Here's A Song Lyric For You

"I never did believe in digging ditches in a graveyard with a headless form no how."

"Next Week Sometime"   Big Bad Voodoo Daddy

Monday, March 10, 2014

Half A Rainbow

"What are you supposed to do, when the one you're counting on, turns out she just can't do the math."

Fred Eaglesmith from "Rainbow".

Love that line.

Here's a little more to set the overall tone of the song.

"What are you supposed to do when your rainbow breaks in two, and all those stars come crashing to the ground, when your pot of gold is fool's gold and you're the only fool left around, what are you supposed to do when the one you're counting on, turns out she just can't do the math, what are you supposed to do when your rainbow breaks in two, now all you're left with is a half"

You get the picture. But......................

"Pick up half a rainbow, throw it over your shoulder, tell her you're glad that it's finally over, and find another rainbow you can hook up to, that's what you're supposed to do."

The song is about love, but the meaning is distorted if you interpret it so specifically.

It's about life.

"I am not even close to the man I thought I would be."

That line shows up in approximately 30 million poems, 14 million songs, and 4,500 movies. Poets, songwriters, and script writers finding unique ways to express the surprise of the human experience.

Because those more eloquent are really expressing the amazement of the everyman.

The same line has been uttered in bars since asses first hit bar stools.

Even in Cheers.

Life is a tricky little bastard. Some of us hit the ground running with a plan. Most of us don't.

Doesn't matter how you start out. Plan or no plan, most of us fail to make our lives what we want them to be.

And then.........................

And then you deal with it in whatever method makes sense to you.

Picking up half a rainbow might be the best approach available.

Despair and self abuse accomplish nothing and waste even more time than has already slipped by. Time that cannot afford to be wasted because another one of life's little tricks is to accelerate the passing of time.

Tricky and evil little bastard.

Half a rainbow can still bring color and wonder to your life. It can be something small or something large, something surprising and different, or a variation of whatever dream you might have started out with.

Apropos of the Bukowski quote about "if you're going to try, go all the way", it's possible that throwing yourself into even half a rainbow is the best way to make something of a life. Recognize that this is what your life is, then do the best you can to make it interesting, satisfying and pride-inspiring.

Commitment. Carries a lot of meaning. Commitment in love, resting easy in the warm company of the one who shares your life and your love. (I am lucky that way.)

Commitment to a course of life. Unwavering dedication to finding a way to express individuality, to give the soul a reason to breathe in peace and freedom.

Commitment, going all in, maximizes the limited time you have to be human.

Almost all of us end up with half a rainbow. We recognize it at different stages of our lives. Some early on, some at the age of sixty.

When you see it, pick the damn thing up, sling it over your shoulder and walk (maybe run) like you own the world.

You got nothing to lose, baby.


" 'Cause I'm sick of life, yeah it's easy to do, when everything so hard has been handed to you, yeah I'm sick of life, 'cause it's lost it's fun, I'll see you in the next world, if there is really one."

John Mellencamp  -   "A Graceful Fall"

See if you identify. I don't have a lot of fun in my life. The damn thing rolls along, I go to work, I come home, clean the kitty litter box and watch True Detectives. Go to bed, get out of bed, go to work, come home, wash some dishes, watch House of Cards and go to bed.

Fortunately I have a lovely wife to come home to. We have peaceful nights. Easy conversations born of 36 years of co-habitation. 36 years of beating back life as best we could to get to this comfortable place.

And that ain't no small thing. I spend the entire day fighting back the urge to kill many of the people I work with. Carrying around a New Hampshire State Liquor Commission approved box cutter and indulging in wild dreams of severing jugular veins.

And creating new and unique art in blood on the walls of The Asylum.

Carol has these urges too. She doesn't carry a box cutter but she could bludgeon certain enemies to oblivion with a box filled with computer paper. Or maybe inflict fatal wounds with a tastefully designed letter opener. Or flatten somebody in the parking lot with The Peace Mobile.

It is a relief to come home to what passes for zen in our unenlightened lives. Although I am beginning to believe that gaining enlightenment happens naturally as life weaves it's unpredictable course. Carol in some ways is more enlightened than I. But I'm getting there.

But I digress.

Whatever we have, wherever we are at, it provides great solace. Immense satisfaction and a sense of safety and warmth and a natural flow, a connection with life essence.

I wouldn't call it fun in the kicking up your heels, oh boy ain't this a hoot sense of the word.

Fun is that thing that gets your adrenaline flowing. It distracts you from life, actually makes you forget about how small life can be and brings you back alive.

Fun could very well be the key to survival. To longevity.

The human spirit did not evolve to bow to the agenda of a less intelligent, soulless, self serving boss. The human spirit did not evolve to be crushed by routine. Punch in, punch out, yes sir, no sir, way to fucking go sir.

Fun happens until obligations come around. Then we bow our heads for forty years and hope to live long enough and accumulate enough cash to reignite fun when we finally flip the bird to the work-a-day world.

I don't have that kind of patience.

There is this thing we call spring. It comes around on March 21 or March 20, depending on how long you have been around. Spring sprang on March 21 for my entire life until some  brainiac decided it actually begins on March 20.

Just one more of those things cast in stone that is really not cast in stone. And people wonder why we have a sense of impermanence, why we are all antsy and unable to establish a concrete base.

Cool things become available in spring, the best of which is outdoor concerts. Big ones, little ones, local ones, and those that require planning.

Eating outdoors, both at barbecue home and in outdoor cafes. Outdoor marketplace type thingies and celebrations of all kinds.

You can take walks. You can listen to birds. You can go see a movie at a cool place like Red River Theatres and grab a drink on the sidewalk afterwards at some funky joint.

I am going to participate in every single one of these things this spring and summer and I am going to drag my lovely wife with me. I will try to incorporate friends and my sons and their women and my brother into as much of it as I can.

In other words - we are going to have fun.

The blood is going to flow freely and the mind is going to be stimulated. Smiles (remember those?) will erupt in abundance. There will be a sense of abandonment. A sense of just being.

Life will serve us instead of the other way around.

My goal is to pursue fun like an addict.

Which I am. I am addicted to fun. I believe in it and in it's life extending and therapeutic effects.

Somehow I have let that die. Maybe even killed it.

But I am still standing and surrounded by loving, sensitive people who are fun in and of themselves, and who can only hyper-accentuate my indulgence in this thing called fun.

Fight back, people. Don't let drudgery imprison you. Work around it's edges, undermine it. Send it the message that even though you are owned and commanded by drudgery for a good chunk of every day and every week and every year and every decade, there is still a part of you that is fiercely human that longs to cry out in exultation and sweet release.

Let's band together in fun this spring and summer and shake the foundations of the scum who condescendingly laugh at us as they pull the strings.

Let's reclaim our humanity.

Friday, March 7, 2014

A Little More Positive

"If you're going to try, go all the way. Otherwise don't even start. This could mean losing girlfriends, wives, relatives, jobs and maybe your mind. It could mean not eating for three or four days. It could mean freezing on a park bench. It could mean jail. It could mean derision. It could mean mockery, isolation. Isolation is the gift. All the others are a test of your endurance. Of how much you really want to do it. And you'll do it, despite rejection in the worst odds. And it will be better than anything else you can imagine. If you're going to try, go all the way. There is no other feeling like that. You will be alone with the gods. And the nights will flame with fire. You will ride life straight to perfect laughter. It's the only good fight there is."

From "Factotum" - Charles Bukowski

Not So Positive

"Amazing how grimly we hold on to our misery, the energy we burn fueling our anger. Amazing how one moment, we can be snarling like a beast, then a few moments later, forgetting what or why. Not hours of this or days or months, or years of this............But decades. Lifetimes completely used up, given over to the pettiest rancor and hatred. Finally, there is nothing here for death to take away."

Quote from the movie "Factotum" - Charles Bukowski

Thursday, March 6, 2014

A Good Friend

Conversation between Duckworth and Bobbie.

Bobbie is a good boy. Does everything that is asked of him. Even when it scrapes cells off his soul.

Duckworth is lost. Staggering through life, doing everything he never believed in just so he can afford Chef Boyardee in a can.

D: "The fucking job strips me of my soul, it rips my heart apart, knocks me off balance and forces me to be and do things that kill me, slowly, painfully and inevitably."

B: "What the hell are you talking about? Do you realize that nobody likes their job, that they just suck it up every day and make it through? So they can go home and beat the wife, curse the kids and get rip roaring, nasty ass fucking drunk? So they can roll out of bed the next day and do it all over again."

D: " You don't get it, man. Yeah, I know everybody hates their job - the world is a piss ass place. Full of disappointment, sacrifice, hatred and dead ends. But the majority of people are stupid enough to rationalize their existence. The fools accept the fact that this is the way it is. They put their heads down, like mules, and stumble forward from crappy jobs and forced poverty to the sweet release of death."

B: "I think you are putting out a pretty dark vibe there, man."

D: "Oh, really? Did you, when you were a kid, dream about being a warehouse supervisor? Stepping on your co-workers, filling out paperwork until your ass bleeds, and doing it all over and over and over again?"

B: "It's a good job, man. Security. Buys the wife necklaces and peace of mind. And, just so you know, when I was a kid, I dreamed about being a rock star. But that was just a dream, man. I picked up a guitar and it felt like Chinese algebra to me."

D: "I'm talking about the people who cannot get to work without a 6 a.m. shot of whiskey. The people who have to escape to the bathroom 9 times a day, hyperventilating, because the job, the people, the situation, crushes them down to a height of 1 centimeter. Sometimes these very people slip out under the door, undetected, just to look at the sun and remind themselves that they are human. Unfortunately, at a height of one centimeter, they are often trod upon."

B: "There is nobility in doing what must be done. Sheryl Crow sang that it is a muddy line between what we want and what we have to do."

D: "There is no nobility in acquiescing to get worn down, beat down, broken, battered, and humiliated by a job and the people who do that job, to the point of avoidance, dark corners, total sacrifice of personality and soul, praying for an early death and being disappointed by the sunrise every goddamn morning."

B: "You are exaggerating."

D: " You think I am exaggerating because you are such a lifeless wimp that you have bought in to the propaganda. You believe that the only options in life are offered by employers and rules and acceptability. Even though those employers, with all their rules and intimidation, are ruthlessly trying to strip you of your right to life. Your existence. Your individuality."

B: "You need to get a grip, man. You are losing it."

D: "The only grip I need to get is around your throat and around her throat and around his throat and around every throat that breathes to suffocate me. I cannot do this anymore. I cannot play this meaningless game. I cannot pretend. I cannot do that which is exactly opposite to who I am just to get a fucking paycheck. Every check fattens my account and shortens my life."

B: "Let's go get a drink. Maybe calm you down."

D: " Yeah, let's go get a drink. Let's go get a bunch of drinks. And when I have had a bellyful of booze I'm going to crush your head with a concrete block."

B: "OK. As long as you are quick. As long as it doesn't hurt."

D: "Oh it won't hurt. It will be a goddamn relief for you. You won't even feel the relief until just before your eyes close for the very last time. And then...................epiphany."

B; "You're a good friend."

D: "Goddamn right."

Tuesday, March 4, 2014


Man, one of the beauties of working with younger folk is being exposed to stuff your brain would not normally even know existed.

I am sixty, and as my brain atrophies I don't even know stuff I knew before if I ever even knew it.

That last sentence is a reflection of the after effects of the acid I never took.


Even if you are open minded and young at heart you just can't be exposed to everything that is out there.

But being open minded and young at heart keeps you receptive to the cool things that decades younger humans are into.

Like steampunk. Never heard of it before E & A at work told me about it. Now I am all in. I love it. Absolutely love it.

It appeals to my twisted nature and deep rooted respect for humans who work hard to express themselves as uniquely as they can. To set themselves apart from the boring automatons who march to work and home again every day, deluding themselves that they are living.

The term steampunk originated in the 1980's when author K.W.Jeter attempted to explain his style of writing (and that of other authors at the time as well) to Locus magazine. He was the first to call it steampunk.

The origins are literary but the concept has mushroomed into a sense of fashion, engineering, music and lifestyle.

People started creating gadgets to  emulate the gadgets described in steampunk novels, like computers, watches, telephones and guitars, to cars, motorcycles and houses. These are things with a Victorian flair and powered by steam.

The concept carried over to fashion and jewelry, and this is what I really dig.

A lot of this stuff is the kind of stuff that most people would say is not functional. Bizarre. Ridiculous.

That is what makes it so cool.

It has been an underground kind of thing but it is beginning to rear it's ugly head in the most unlikeliest of places.

Like the TV show Castle (which my wife and her awesome Aunt love). The episode was called Punked.

I don't know how it was treated on that show, probably not with respect, but the fact that it made it to mainstream TV tells you that there are a lot of people out there who are into this.

From a literary standpoint, people want to link it back to the writing of H.G.Wells and Jules Verne, but steampunk enthusiasts disagree with this analogy. They feel their writing is unique and stands on it's own merit.

I have put a couple of steampunk novels on my Amazon wish list. I shall report back to you after my eyes have devoured the words.

I love the fashion. My ultimate desire is to tinker with my goddamn NHSLC shirt, to steampunk it to express my complete and total lack of respect for the crooks who force me to dress in uniform every day.

"Where is your name tag?"

Up your ass, robot boy.

Could be a weird summer. I think steampunking my T-shirts could be cumbersome.

But I'm up for the challenge.

I would give anything to dress like this for work.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

The Pope

The Pope has his shit together.

In a recent article about him in Rolling Stone magazine, remarks he made about income inequality are summarized as follows:

"He describes a "culture of prosperity" that "deadens us" to the misery of the poor: "All those lives stunted for lack of opportunity seem a mere spectacle; they fail to move us." Debt, corruption, tax evasion, mass layoffs ("attempting to increase profits by reducing the workforce and thereby adding to the ranks of the excluded") and environmental degradation all come under attack. Some people, Francis wrote, "continue to defend trickle-down theories, a belief that "has never been confirmed by the facts" and one that "expresses a crude and naïve trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power............Meanwhile, the excluded are still waiting."

I could just kiss him.


And in a related event (see previous post), as I sit here putting fingers to keyboard, Carol is downstairs watching the Red Sox in Fort Myers.

The voices of Don Orsillo and Jerry Remy float up to me and I say, "Ahhhhhhhhhhhh."

Soundtrack For Summer

I might make Sheryl Crow my soundtrack for the summer.

Seems an unlikely choice. Normally I would gravitate towards The Allman Brothers and any and all blues.

I found a lost box of CD's recently. Yesterday I reached in randomly and came up with The Very Best of Sheryl Crow. The album was released in 2003, so I doubt it is the very best anymore. I mean the woman has evolved since then. Still it is one hell of an album.

I'm driving towards The Asylum and bobbing my head to "All I Wanna Do." Forgetting about the goddamn snow, the repulsive cold. Thinking, yeah, all I wanna do is have some fun.

Been cooped up and beat down all winter with more torture to come. When spring rolls around you better believe all hell is gonna break loose.

Then, BAM, "Soak Up The Sun" follows up. Perfect. Give me some sun, all the sun you got, all the sun I can handle.

I want to bask in it, NEED to bask in it, my body and soul crave it. When the first truly warm day rolls around, I am going to grab an ice cold beer and go sit out on the stoop, face tilted heavenward, until my skin turns red and falls off my body.

Christ I need it.

And so do you.

By the way, when Sheryl opens up "All I Wanna Do" with "Hit it. This ain't no disco. It ain't no country club either. This is LA," it floors me. It's the way she says "this is LA", in that girlie, partying, insider knowledge way. Makes me want to hop a flight to LA immediately.

Even "Leaving Las Vegas" can be used to augment the summer experience if you look at it under the right light. Getting out, making a change, starting over. That's what spring and, especially summer, are.

You keep your head down all winter and life whistles by, unseen and unappreciated.

It gets warm, you pick your head up and goddamn you feel good, and you want to do everything, experience everything, feel everything before you are forced to hibernate yet again.

I plan on completely losing my mind in the warm. Winter was harsh and I haven't felt very good or healthy. Lately I am feeling much better and have a fresh appreciation for what it means to feel good.

I am not all the way back, but I think I will be by the time I get an opportunity to sip that beer on the stoop.

There will be dancing and singing and concerts and barbecues and movies and walks and sunburn.

I own the coming warm weather. I own it. I will make it mine. You will have to ask my permission to enjoy it.

Don't hold me to the Sheryl Crow thing. I will use the bits and pieces of her that I need but I'll probably sprinkle in other stuff.

Like "Here Comes The Sun" and "Good Day Sunshine" by The Beatles for starters.

Anyway, bless her sexy heart for awakening my anticipation.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Dig This

"Historical fact: People stopped being human in 1913. That was the year Henry Ford put his cars on rollers and made his workers adopt the speed of the assembly line. At first, workers rebelled. They quit in droves, unable to accustom their bodies to the new pace of the age. Since then, however, the adaption has been passed down; we've all inherited it to some degree, so that we plug right in to joysticks and remotes, to repetitive motions of a hundred kinds. But in 1922 it was still a new thing to be a machine."

Jeffrey Eugenides

The Problem With Two Volume Biographies

Just finished "Kansas City Lightening" by Stanley Crouch.

My taste buds were more than satisfied and now are left wanting.

Charlie Parker's story is a good one and told in literary beauty by Mr. Crouch.

Finished up with the man in New York City, having made his way from his roots in Kansas City, through Chicago to the city where he felt he was destined to truly make it.

This is rumored to be volume one of a two volume biography. Had the second volume been available I would have immediately reached for Volume Two this morning and blown off work.

It has not been written yet.

I have to wait.

I don't want to wait.

Patience is not my strong suit but, given no choice, I will wait for the next installment with my foot tapping and my nerves jangled.

And, unfortunately, drag my sorry ass off to The Asylum for one more dose of incomprehensible absurdity today.


The mythos of working for a living is particularly maddening.

Working to survive. A paycheck becomes the food you put into your body to hasten the heart attack.

Succumbing to rules mind numbing and random.

Sacrificing individuality to allow lesser creatures to have their say.

As the soul howls in protest.


Pretending to care. Pretending that it matters.

Giving up the lions' share of each day to the game.

Frantically worrying the rest of the day towards dreams of liberation.

And failing.

And failing again.

Committed, desperately, to expressing individuality and doing it superficially.

Missing the mark.

As the real thing festers.

Bubbling like acid looking for something to destroy.

A Heavy Sentence

"Luck was hard to come by--- and, when you got it, it never lasted long enough to get a goddamn thing done all the way right."

From "Kansas City Lightening" by Stanley Crouch

Predicting Sampling

Charlie Parker was a vicious jazz innovator.

As such, he had to have a uniquely functioning and insightful mind.

Dig: "Someday in the future, they'll be able to put your music in a can. Then, whenever they want to, they'll do it just like they were using a spoon to take out as much of you, or as little of you, as they need. After they have done whatever they want to do with you, with your sound, they put you back. Your future, my dear fellow, is in a can."

Charlie Parker to pianist Walter Davis Jr. in 1952.