Friday, May 30, 2014


"Only the guy who isn't rowing has time to rock the boat."

Jean-Paul Sartre


"Giving money and power to government is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys."


Why Can't I Be Happy

Sometimes thoughts hit me with the concussive effect of a runaway locomotive.

I was reading this morning in peace. I had let Maka out onto the screened in porch but closed the sliders because it is still too goddamn cold for spring.

A while later Lakota ambled her way down the stairs and immediately headed for the sliders. I wrestled my sixty year old ass out of the recliner, opened the sliders and walked out onto the porch with Lakota. By then the sun had gained intensity and warmth was being born.

I walked to the front of the porch, looked down through the sunshine and saw a brand new 2014 VW Bug parked next to an immaculate 2004 Lincoln Continental Town car. The sun was brilliant, I was warm, birds were singing cheerfully, Carol's garden was working it's magic (especially the oh so soothing fountain), both cats were peaceful and content on the porch and my amazing wife was still snuggled down in bed. We have a three day weekend together, featuring a family wedding, a concert and a day with which we can do whatever the hell we want.

And I wondered "Why can't I be happy?" It hit me, smashed me in the face, rattled around loudly in my brain.

What exactly will it take in the short time I have left to make me smile from the inside out.

My job rips me apart and leaves only shreds for my family to deal with.

Just like everybody else's job does to them.

We have enough money to be comfortable, not enough to really live.

This is more than a hell of a lot of people have.

We are healthy. We have sons who are magic and have intensified that magic with the women they have brought into our lives. Our extended family is loving and comfortable.

And I am rarely happy.

The torture originates from the knowledge that our lives could be spectacular if I could achieve my potential. I have it in me to elevate our lives to a higher plain of freedom. But I can't complain about not getting there because I am not trying hard enough to make it happen.

As I mourn my laziness I am missing happiness.

However.......................The Drive To Fun I have initiated in 2014 may be slapping my thought process around to appreciation.

I am at least acutely aware of the fun I am having. Already - a trip to Fenway, a magnificent barbecue at the home of Carol's iconic brother and his awesome wife on Memorial Day Weekend, dinner at Carrabba's with Jason and Karen on Memorial Day Weekend, a wedding we have been looking forward to this weekend, a concert we have REALLY been looking forward to this weekend, and a free day.

It is only May 30.

I am working hard to make things happen with my sons and their women and I will not give up until I drag them kicking and screaming into this Summer of Fun. Barbecues, family celebrations, Fishercats, PawSox.

I realize I will not accomplish all I have planned because my plans truly are grand. But I will accomplish some of it, and those moments will be magic and memories.

My life is not all that bad. It could be better, but everybody's life could be better.

I am not throwing in the towel on dreaming. I am not succumbing to mindless, rationalized gratitude.

I am, however, I think, maybe, developing a new perspective on this life Carol and I have put together so far.

More than that, sinister and selfish, I am hoping to create happiness momentum. I do not want to have fun only in 2014. I want to lay a blueprint for happiness that will carry this family through to a new relationship.

As I said, grand plans.

But well worth the effort.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Dig The Words

Digging a song called "Peace" lately, by O.A.R. Hearing it on The River.

You know, I am an old fart. Extremely old, warped, bent and twisted. I have been down the road and been kicked by mules and lied to and used and abused. My soul has chinks in it.

I'm ragged but I'm real.

Thank God for The River. 92.5 on the FM radio dial, as old tymey disc jockeys used to say.

Before I got old I was young. When I was young I listened to WBCN out of Boston. Back in the day DJ's could play whatever they wanted to. Do whatever they wanted to. They did not have goddamn playlists.

These guys were knowledgeable about music. Passionate. One thing could lead to another. Playing this song by this musician that sparks a connection in the DJ's head and suddenly you go from rock 'n roll to jazz. Or folk. Or blues. Or classical.

They would play entire sides of albums when they felt like it. Probably so they could smoke a joint and stand in the sun kissing some hippie chick.


Sometimes they would just talk. About music. About bands. About life.

The River doesn't have that kind of freedom, but when I hear Mumford & Sons, followed by Warren Zevon, followed by O.A.R., followed by Bonnie Raitt, followed by Kings Of Leon, followed by Johnny Cash - I know I am listening to freedom. And love of music.

I'm digging "The Cave" by Mumford & Sons. The song ends. A few seconds of silence and I hear "Hello - I'm Johnny Cash" as he kicks off "Folsom Prison Blues."

I just goddamn tingle when that happens.

It happens a lot on this station.

I like it for the depth and breadth of the offerings, and for the "new" bands they turn me onto.

New to me anyway.

As you know, as I continually pummel you over the head with this fact, ultimately I am a word guy.

Lyrics thrill me.

From "Peace" - I don't wanna fight no more, only wanna get to shore, Baby, don't slam the door tonight, we ran another of the tracks, that's time we can't get back, but, we can save tomorrow if we try."

Two people in love. They hurt each other. But they know each other is all they have. The world is a shitstorm and all the people in it are happy to shovel dirt on your grave.

If you got love, you got a chance.

The chorus - "I just wanna make you laugh, I just wanna see that smile, Baby, we're only here, oh, for a little while, I just wanna hold you till we fall asleep.........."

and the killer words in my small and oh so diseased mind - "I want love, I want us, I want you, I want me, I want peace."

Those words sum up to me the deep rooted desire of every human being. The thing that drives us and keeps us searching.

The thing that drives us crazy.

Then - "Everybody needs a place, somewhere that's warm and safe, a shelter from this crazy world we're in, but tonight I let the rain inside, and took away your place to hide, I'm sorry that I made you cry again."

Achingly beautiful, vulnerable, sensitive and true.

All most of us have is a home to go to with somebody inside to love. The world sucks. Work sucks. Not enough money sucks.

Home and love is where we live. It is the only place where we can live.

But when you let the rain inside and take away a place to hide, you shatter the delicate foundation that allows us to live. That allows us to survive.

You go home to warmth and to her and you fill up your tank again. So the assholes can siphon it all off the next day.

If you don't have that, you have nothing.

You are naked to the world.

And the world exists to take advantage.

Good song. Good music, great lyrics. Great radio station on the FM dial.

"I want love, I want us, I want you, I want me, I want peace."

There is no other reason to live.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

A Colorful Prez

Senator Jay Rockefeller has been making headlines recently with outrageous comments he made suggesting that opposition to President Obama is racially motivated.

He recently accused the GOP of opposing The Prez and the Affordable Care Act because "he's the wrong color." In an earlier comment during a transportation funding hearing he said the GOP doesn't want anything good to happen under Obama's watch "because he's the wrong color."

His comments are true. That's what makes them outrageous.

The attitude towards racism in this country is mystifying. It is vicious, it is rampant, and yet the people most responsible for spreading this poison are the most vocal in denying it.

There is no denying that racism has become supremely visible since November 4th, 2008.

Almost as disappointing as this disease is the refusal to stand by the truth. Not one Democrat has come out in support of Rockefeller's comments.

They are afraid. They are afraid of losing the racist votes they need for re-election.

Truth exposed, Rockefeller is not running for re-election, so he probably feels he has nothing to lose. Call it retirement courage, kind of like liquid courage but completely different.

republicans cannot be expected to side with Rockefeller because he is a Democrat and because they have built an entire platform of prejudices and exploitation barely hidden behind a strategy of lies and misdirection.

The people who refuse to defend Rockefeller are the very people who are mired in the thick of this bullshit. The people who hear the words, who are victimized by the maneuvering, the people who know better than anybody on the outside just how deeply racism runs and how crippling it is to the operation of our government.

Americans are disingenuous. We don't want to admit that much of what is wrong with this country springs from mindless racial hatred. We want to pretend that America is still number one in the world in every category. That we are open minded and progressive, that we can lick any problem, destroy any roadblock that stands in the way of "the American Dream."

The first step towards recovery for an alcoholic is to recognize and admit there is a problem.

This country will never re-emerge as a genuine world leader until we deal with the moral weakness of its citizens.

Got No Problem With PBR

I drink Pabst Blue Ribbon from time to time.

Got no problem with it. Kind of like it.

I go through periods of change with beer. I'll drink the same beer for a while, sometimes months, sometimes years, and then suddenly I need a change.

It's a weird thing. I have been loyal to Crown Royal for decades and I know that will never waiver. CR speaks to me on many levels. We have a comfortable relationship that will endure 'till the end.

But with beer I go through phases. Lately I have been drinking fruity beers, the most recent being blueberry flavored. I like the taste but there is a sense of something missing. Like I'm not drinking real beer.

My soul fears I am going soft.

I consumed a bunch of PBR up in Maine on the day preceding Memorial Day. Fabulous cook out at the Sargent estate. I brought the beer up with me packed in a cooler and it was delightfully cold. A welcome change from the fruits.

The can cracks me up, though. At the bottom it says: "This is the ORIGINAL Pabst Blue Ribbon Beer. Nature's choicest products provide its prized flavor. Only the finest of hops and grains are used. Selected as America's Best in 1893."

1893 was 121 years ago.

The marketing department needs to get up to speed. Maybe I could wrangle a job there.

Like Tony Soprano

Tony Soprano kept people guessing, and that made all the difference.

He could be sensitive, he could be tough, but you never knew what he would be in a given situation.

My favorite example of that was the episode when Adriana had to be killed. She was tortured inside because she had been coerced into spilling her guts to the FBI. This had been going on for a while and she felt trapped.

When she couldn't take it anymore she confessed to Christopher, hoping they could disappear in the witness protection program and start the new life away from the mob that she always wanted.

But Christopher was deeply loyal to Tony, respecting the blood oath he had taken. After slapping Adriana around a bit, he takes off saying he needed to go for a ride to clear his head.

He goes straight to Tony. Opens up in Tony's basement, through tears. Tony's first reaction is to rip Christopher's shirt open to make sure he wasn't wired. Christopher is crying, emotionally bruised and says "T, how could you even think that?"

Next thing you know, Tony is comforting him. Christopher cries and begs Tony not to make him "do it." They are talking about killing Adriana in vague terms, but the meaning is crystal clear. The woman Christopher loved, the woman he trusted.

Tony sends Christopher off and Silvio ends up taking care of business in one of the most emotional scenes in the Sopranos run.

Everybody loved Adriana (especially men). Nobody wanted her dead. But it had to happen.

Later, Christopher is sitting in Tony's office as Tony walks in. Tony looks at him and realizes he has consumed some heroin (after having been off the stuff, kind of, for a while).

Christopher explains that he just snorted a little because he is in so much pain.

Tony hauls off and hits him, knocking him off the chair. Then he kicks him a couple of times for good measure.

Saying: "You think you are the only one hurting over this? You think you are the only one affected?"

Excellent stuff. We could all learn from Tony Soprano.

That's how you live a life. That's how you survive. You have to keep people off balance. Otherwise they characterize you in a specific way and you become trapped. You actually become invisible.

They know how you will react in any given situation so they dismiss you as a human. They can ignore you because they will always know what to expect.

But if you slap them when you should be hugging them, when you hug them when you should be slapping them, they don't know what the hell to expect.

That makes them wary and you dangerous. Unpredictable.

That's how you clear out some space in this world. Jittery people stand off to allow space for random reactions.

A healthy mix of violence, verbal abuse, tenderness and random acts is a recipe for survival.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Keith Richards Love Songs

Keith Richards writes love songs.

What I love about them is that they are always on the periphery of what is considered acceptable love. They are his take on the oh so many ways that love rears its ugly head.

I have been listening to "Bridges To Babylon" lately; a Stones album released in 1997. And don't give me that crap about "The Stones have not recorded a good album since "Exile on Main Street".

Bullshit. Keith Richards would not put his stamp of approval on anything that was not exceptional.

This album has three Keith songs. I love them all.

"You Don't Have To Mean It." This one sings about the deep rooted need to hear the words "I love you" whether you mean them or not. There are many songs out there dealing with this need and the concept blows me away.

The fact that you are so alone, so hurting, living with a love so unrequited that you need someone to tell you they love you even if they don't - tells you everything you need to know about how painful it is to be human and the illusions it takes to survive.

I like this one because he never says the words he wants to hear. He never refers to the phrase "I love you." He dances all around it but you know exactly what he is referring to. "I just want to hear you say to me sweet lies, baby, baby, dripping from your lips."

My favorite line - "Hmm just say those little words, sit on my shoulder like a little bird."

What? I love it.

"Thief In The Night". This one is about his love for a woman who is with another man. "I know where your place is and it's not with him."

I love the certainty. The certainty that she is with the wrong man and the certainty that he will convince her away.

"I'm gonna steal what's mine, oh I'm gonna break the laws, but I'll get through your door, but you wait and see, yeah, I'm gonna get ya, get you free."

"I found out where he keeps you, I've even been inside, you check under your pillow, baby, you'll get the message, if I see you at your window, well then I'll know no one can separate a thief in the night."

"How Can I Stop." This one really massages my emotions. He wants this woman so badly, needs her so madly, he knows that once he starts with her he's gonna get hurt. If she doesn't commit all the way, if she breaks it off at some point, he will be lost.

"You offer me all your love and sympathy, sweet affection, baby, it's killing me."

Chorus: "'Cause how could I stop, if I start, babe, how could I stop, if I start, start with you."

He evens encourages her to move on. "It's too easy to lay here at your feet, I couldn't take the heat, there's somewhere else maybe you should go, baby maybe baby just further down the road."

The idea that he could love a woman so madly but is not sure that love will be returned in intensity, so unsure that he hesitates to light the fire, is achingly real.

My favorite line - the killer line - the truth of all relationships is..................

"You look at me but I don't know what you see, a reflection baby of what I want to be."

We stumble into relationships with rose colored glasses and what we see is maybe the best the other person can be, even if they never achieve that, even if there are plenty of signs saying that they are not there yet and it probably ain't gonna happen.

We stumble into relationships and try so hard to be what the other person sees. At least up front. We want to be the ideal that is projected because we know that ideal is a better person than we really are.

Dial yourself up some Keith Richards love songs and twist your perspective on love; or open your eyes to the truth.

It's out there and all around you.

Monday, May 19, 2014

What Will You Do

What will you do if your second wind never comes?
If that dream, that belief that keeps you moving, never comes around.
What will you do?

The fork in the road came at you quickly and surprisingly, incomprehensibly, you took the road more travelled.
Against your will, against your better judgment, as your soul screamed in horror,
you took the road more travelled.

Responsibility and regret fused,  became twin burdens you carried on your back as you.............
put a roof over their heads and food on the table, pursued a career, behaved for society
and against your instincts.

The dream and your soul got sliced down with surgical precision, cut by cut, almost
imperceptibly but oh so inexorably.

Still you kept moving. Not necessarily forward; sidestepping became second nature, but, still,
you were moving.

Throwing punches in the air.

Your essence flickered in the wind; bending, shrinking, but it never went out. It refused to go out.

Because it had something to hold on to.

Waiting for that second wind.

When the kids are gone, when the house is paid for..........................

But you raised up your head one day and it was dark; dark enough to suffocate.

It felt like it was too late.

How many years? How many chances are left?

Terror clutched at your soul as that thought, no second wind, began to take hold.

The one thing, the only thing, that kept you alive all these years, suddenly looked transparent.

Thin. The shape of it melting into reality and creating a pool for you to drown in.

Once again your soul screamed in horror as the curtain slowly descended before the second act could ever begin.

What will you do if you never get your second wind?

What will you do?

Old Age In All Its Myriad Permutations

I was commuting to The Asylum yesterday in murderous rage.

Despise working on Sundays; in addition floor cleaning was scheduled for last night. All of you holding down low wage earning jobs know exactly what a horrific suck fest that is.

I was despising my life and felt justified in doing so.

Got to a chunk of the road in Peterborough that is delicate and blessed by God. Pass a church on my left - a big old stone church. The kind of church I would attend if I thought Jesus loved me. It is beautiful.

You have to slow way down on this chunk of road on Sundays because church-goers' cars are parked on both sides and it becomes quite narrow. Plus those with great faith tend to step across the road with alacrity, apparently armed with unshakable faith.

I have noticed they are usually older. Even older than me.

Anyway..................I look to my right and see this dapper old dude be-bopping down the sidewalk.

Wearing a suit complete with vest, sporting a cane, and lugging a big fat Sunday paper under his arm.

The cane did not slow him down.

It was 10:00 a.m. and he was coming from the direction of downtown.

My theory was that he had already gone to church, scrambled downtown to pick up his paper, and was now enthusiastically heading home.

To the paper, maybe a cup of coffee, maybe breakfast.

It felt to me like the vibe was that the whole day stretched out before him and he knew it and was enthusiastic about it. Or maybe it was the ritual of the Sunday paper; something he enjoyed immensely. Or maybe he was hurrying the paper home to his wife of 63 years who can no longer get out of the house.

Whatever was driving him, I instantaneously loved this old guy.

If my life does not change I will be the most evil, scurrilous old bastard you ever met. If I even get there, which is doubtful considering the level of bile that flows through my veins.


If I change my life I could be that guy. Bouncing down the sidewalk on a gorgeous May morning, hurrying home to my loving wife and a day of peace and smiles.

Given the choice I would rather be him.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Let The Planting Begin

Inculcating myself into Carol's Magic Garden is part of The Joe 2014 Push To Change.

I have never planted a thing in my life. Except for my feet on the ground in stubborn resistance.

Her garden delights me. I decided I wanted to plant some plants of my own this year. Nurture them, watch them grow, sparkle my eyes in delight and satisfaction as they bloom and dazzle.

I want to know what it is like to care for something in nature that doesn't bark or meow. I want to be rewarded for my efforts with delicate beauty.

I am fascinated by the concept that these plants so delicate are alive. That if you care for them properly they will thrive. That if you blow it they will die.

Most likely it is a fine line.

Bought six plants today. Joe plants. My plants. I will get down on my knees in a few days and dig them home. Don't want to chance it today because I am waiting to commute to The Asylum.

There is poison and regret in my veins. The plants will intuit this and start off badly.

Makes more sense to plant them having come home from work. In a feeling of relief to have escaped HELL to return home to peace and The Lovely Carol.

The plants will dig that better.

Every year Carol adds subtle touches to this magnificent garden. This year started off with a gift from Sarge. He brought her a red metal VW, which he instructed Carol to place in the garden where it can age and rust over the years.

We love this idea and in the garden it sits.

Carol placed her Red Sox bowling ball in the dirt. Looks fabulous.

She picked up four plastic, colorful, fat chested birds who now sit in close friendship in the dirt.

She picked up three small slabs. One says "Peace", one "Hope", one "Believe."

To me they look like three gravestones signifying the death of peace, hope and believe. But this is not the time of year for such sentiments.

They are in the ground and they look cool.

I am proud to be a part of this life giving, peace delivering project. I am excited to plant the plants. To tend to them and exult in their flourishing.

The Year of Fun and Change is progressing quite nicely.

Bird Beauty, Magic and Wonder

Got turned on to the birds a few years ago. Maybe longer.

Whenever Carol groomed the garden and hung the bird feeders. I started noticing the birds singing.

How delicate it is, how pretty, each unique; call and response or soloists.

At this time of year they serenade their way through the day.

And we are the beneficiaries.

They provide a soundtrack to the day. Energetic. Persistent. Intriguing. Many are as pretty to look at as to listen to.

You have to focus. If you dwell upon how mightily your life sucks, you will hear nothing. I am always amazed at how effectively I can shut out this natural concert just by allowing my mind to wander.

What a waste.

It hit me today how odd it would be without this soundtrack. If the birds did not sing joyfully in spring and summer.

It would suck royally.

I wondered how that would sound.

I realized suddenly that it would sound like winter.

A Real Conversation

From "The Risk Pool" by Richard Russo.

A conversation between a 24 four year old son and his drunken dad.

Dad says: "This is no life. Believe me. Don't get caught up in this shit. I got nothing. And when I die, that's what you'll inherit. It'd been better all around if I'd got mine in France."

"Thanks, " I said.

He shrugged, not catching my meaning, or not acknowledging it. "Everybody would have been proud of me. They'd have argued about how great I turned out if I hadn't got shot."

"You can still do what you want," I said. "You're what, forty-five?"

"Forty-seven. And anything I was going to do, I did already."

"That's bullshit," I said cheerfully.

"What'm I gonna do now?"

"How do I know," I said. I don't know what I'm going to do."

"You won't either," he said. "You'll just wake up one day and it'll all be done. All fuckin' done."

Thursday, May 15, 2014


"By and large, language is a tool for concealing the truth."

George Carlin

We'll See Who Wants It More

For the rest of my life I want to hang only with hockey fans and football fans.

Nobody else.

Hockey fans and football fans are insane, obsessed, manic, passionate and twisted. These are my kind of people.

They paint their faces, sport jerseys lovingly, scream, argue, defend their team and trash the enemy. They are loud, opinionated, over the top crazy.

I am much the same except for the face painting thing but I have lost some of the insanity because I watch most sports with a cat in my lap. I am too damn soft on our cats to scream one out of sleep and my lap or to bounce it off a wall.

I need to get some of that passion back this year. I might be forced to hang out in bars.

I was digging the Bruins fans last night. Pounding on the glass, agonizing over every mistake, celebrating the good stuff and the hard hits. Hoping, hoping, hoping and finally, painfully, mourning.

It sucks that the Bruins lost. But losing is part of winning.

I made that last stupid statement up. Or I think I did. If I didn't and it is a real expression I hate it even more.

There are so many foolish clichés in sports.

Every time you get to a game seven you hear "We'll see who wants it more."

Are you serious?

These guys have been playing the sport since they were children. They have been through every level and every experience and are now playing for real. For the one thing they have dedicated their entire lives to.

They know how hard it is to get an opportunity to play for the championship and how rarely that happens. If you think one team wants it more than another you are an idiot.

There are a lot of reasons why teams win or lose in big games, some tangible, many intangible, but I guarantee that the outcome is not decided by one team wanting it more.

"We'll see who wants it more" is yet another testosterone fueled, faux macho, meaningless cliché.

And just for the record, screw Montreal.

Sports Related: I caught a disease on April 19 at Fenway Park. Carol and I had a most perfect day at The Sox game that day. Absolutely perfect.

I was tuned in like it was my first game ever as a reasoning, cogent adult. Laser-like focus.

Carol has a sad addiction. The Boston Red Sox. They prance across our TV screen hundreds of times a year.

I am not kidding. I have never tracked it but I am willing to bet that at least 75% of Sox games are burned into the screen every year. Automatic. We stumble home from work, rustle up some humble grub and sit our tired asses down to baseball.

The beginning of the season thrills me. Then I fade. The Sox have played something like 38 or 39 games this year. By this point in the season I am typically half-assed watching the games. Reading, worrying and wondering when I will pull my life together, inventing new ways to create anxiety, spacing out, drinking too much whiskey on a bad night.

I have noticed a change since April 19 and last night was a perfect example. We switched over from The Bruins loss to The Sox, which we had been keeping an eye on during hockey breaks.

I lasered in. Watched the game with intensity. Focus. Emotion. Interesting because I was bummed by The Bruins loss. But I switched gears in minutes and began digging The Sox.

I have noticed this a few times already this season. Typically I can take or leave baseball, but not this year.

I am watching it like a fan of the game. An appreciator. It is giving me pleasure. Bonus pleasure, which is a goddamn gift in this pleasure-less world.

I caught a disease for which I refuse to seek a cure. I will enjoy it into my bones. And we WILL get back to Fenway this year. I guaranfuckingtee it.

Brief aside: I love the way Big Papi kicks Minnesota's ass every time they play. This is his former team, the team that cast him aside like an old shoe. So he could move on to The Sox and become a bona fide super star.

Apparently Big Papi "wants it more" than Minnesota does.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

If The Supreme Court Says So...................

The Supreme Court is the highest court in the United States, given the ultimate power by the Constitution to decide constitutional questions, including cases based on federal statutes, between citizens of different states, and when the federal government is a party.

Please understand - I know nothing - I looked the definition up on, which might be as reliable as Wikipedia but sounds more authoritative.

The court is made up of nine members appointed for life by the President of these United States.

Supreme Court justices are generally assumed to be learned people deserving of respect who make incredibly important and far reaching decisions with no prejudice or bias. They should have their finger on the pulse of this country and not bury their heads in the sand.

In June the Supreme Court ruled that a key provision of the 1965 Voting Rights Act designed to prevent racial discrimination in certain voting laws was no longer necessary. The court argued the law had successfully defended against racial discrimination, but was no longer needed.

They did not come right out and say it, but the decision and their comments suggest they thought racism is over in America.

Last week the Supreme Court agreed with Michigan's ban on affirmative action saying it was the state's prerogative to decide how it wanted to handle race-conscious admissions policies.

Justice Sotomayor immediately criticized the decision to "sit back and wish away, rather than confront, the racial inequality that exists in our society."

In the past year Federal Judge Edith Jones of Houston, Arkansas Circuit Judge Mike Maggio and former U.S. District Judge Richard Cebull were all accused of making racist and sexist remarks covering between them blacks, Hispanics, Native Americans and women.

We are talking judges here.

Donald Sterling, billionaire owner of the LA Clippers, made racist comments to his girlfriend that got him banned from the NBA for life. That decision is monumental and appropriate; as an owner he is part of a club and must abide by it's rulings. Being forced to sell the team is questionable, free speech being precious and all that, even for morons.

Boston Bruin fans and others posted viciously racist comments after P.K. Subban scored the winning goal for Montreal in double overtime of the NHL playoffs.

Are Supreme Court justices required to be literate? Can they read the paper? Do they watch the news?

They cannot possibly believe racism is over in America, so there has to be another angle. The word bias immediately comes to mind and greases the skids towards decision-making designed to serve powerful interests and deprive defenseless interests.

This is a heinous thought when you consider the power these people have.

The above are only a few examples of ignorant opinions running rampant in this country. Ignorance that has surfaced viciously and visibly since Barack Obama was elected President.


The very functioning of the United States government is being compromised because of the racist attitudes of elected officials.

How many times do you hear the disclaimer "I am not a racist but..." in conversation?

Pure bullshit.

A million other examples could be cited to demonstrate the thriving existence of racism in America.

It will never go away. It is visible because we enjoy the privilege, the right for free speech in this country. Free speech which exposes the deep vein of hatred and prejudice that runs through America.

For five members of the Supreme Court to even suggest that racism is over in the United States allows for a violent future and only a tiny prospect for "equal rights".

The fact that racism is still a major issue almost fifty years after laws were passed to fight against it demonstrates the staying power of hatred.

It is not the Supreme Court's job to sanction hatred. To make it easier to ruin lives through the wielding of ignorant racism by those with the power to do so.

Monday, May 12, 2014


"Each of us is full of shit in our own special way. We are all shitty little snowflakes dancing in the universe."

Lewis Black

On This Day

On this beautiful day, I took a walk.

I was wearing the most excellent Bruins T-shirt I bought from Florida Steve a couple of years ago.

It occurred to me that there are probably not a lot of guys who take walks wearing Bruins shirts. Most of them wear Starbucks shirts or Earth Day shirts.

I felt unique, protected and anonymous.

I liked that feeling.


"Most people with low self-esteem have earned it."


"People who say they don't care what people think are usually desperate to have people think they don't care what people think."

George Carlin

Joy Through The U.S. Mail

Reading "The Risk Pool" by Richard Russo.

This book came to me magically. Got an envelope in the mail from an acquaintance, Joe C. Unexpected, unannounced. Didn't know what it was but I suspected it was union materials, since it came wrapped in a union envelope. A handbook or something.

The guy that sent it to me is one of two guys who are trying desperately to morph me into a cigar chomping, whiskey swilling, union enforcer.

The book came with a note explaining that RG union guy had informed JC union guy that I am an avid reader, which he is as well. Thought I might like the book.

I read a book quite a while ago by Richard Russo called "Nobody's Fool." A book that was made into a movie that Carol and I have watched 109 times.

We love it.

He also wrote a book called "Empire Falls." A book that was turned into an HBO multi-part special that Carol and I watched many times.

We love it.

Joe C did not know this. How cool is that?

Getting this book in the mail as a complete surprise was a magnificent thing for me. I was genuinely appreciative, genuinely excited.

In addition I had just finished a book that very morning. I started "Risk Pool" the next morning and I am digging it soul-deep.

Read a line today that resonated. The main character is talking about his mom and dad, separated, and their approach to finances.

Dad is footloose and fancy free. The guy doesn't worry about anything, plays fast and loose with his money and his life.

Mom pinches every penny. Has a strict budget that she adheres to, including making provision for unexpected things. She prides herself on never being caught short.

The main character sums up his mom's philosophy like this: "She always congratulated herself on the fact that she had nothing to worry about, and wouldn't have, as long as she continued to worry all the time."

Boom. This is the way we live. This is the way you live. This is the way most of us live.

I despise it. But I know it is the only way to survive as an exploited low-wage earner.

Carol is the budget maven of the family and she excels at it. She takes good care of us and our money. One of the very many reasons that I love her.

My disdain for such a small approach to life comes in part from the privileged childhood I had for many years. A lifestyle to which I can aspire but will probably never achieve.

In addition, I spent the period from 2006-2013 earning small money as I chased something, something I believed to be my life.

I blew it.

In 2013 I finally gravitated back to full time employment. Our combined income now is approximately $14 million annually.

Still, we pinch pennies.

This drives me out of my mind. We are both working jobs we hate, earning respectable money, and yet  Carol keeps trying to convince me that it is socially acceptable for me to wear the same underwear two or three days consecutively.

Tide ain't cheap, you know.

I come from the school of thought that says if you work "for a living" you should be able to enjoy yourself.

I see no point in working like a dog so I can spend my life crawling towards the grave.

For you gratitude junkies, yeah I am actually pleased that we no longer subsist on cat food since I became a full time fool once again. And I know that if I want a better life style it is on me.

I am merely checking in with you right now, at this moment, regarding my opinion, deeply held, and fired up for examination by a line in a book that I am digging royally.

As for everything else, man, it is a beautiful day. Grab it by the throat and squeeze every drop of pleasure out of it that it will yield.

With No Hesitation

April slithered by and mostly sucked.

Threw out a couple of magnificent days to torture us with possibilities but other than that the average temperature was 18 degrees.

Or something quite like it.

I think maybe we even had two or three snowstorms. Can't quite remember.

May started out with malice aforethought. Evil. Promising nothing and delivering on that promise.

Until Saturday, May 10, 2014. The day felt like summer and everything clicked.

Got out of work Saturday at 6:30 (after butting heads with a selfish, inconsiderate, schedule manipulator who attempted to dupe me into staying until 9:30 so she could fly like a bird) and drove home in ecstasy. Windows down, hair flying.

Breathing it all in. My bones were warm. Warm from the inside out.

What a night. Got home to Da Lovely Carol, barbecued luxurious lamb chops and watched The Bruins/The Sox/The Race with sliding doors wide open to the screened in porch, cats as happy as us.

Sox won, Bruins won, Harvick finished second. Had the 4 won the race the night would have been perfect.

As it was, it was 99.9% perfect.

Sunday - Mother's Day - equally as gorgeous. Craig dropped in, I barbecued, we ate on the porch, the sliders and windows were open all day, we caught some golf, some Sox, some NBA playoffs.


Today, equally as gorgeous. Unfortunately my softer side has to work today so that sucks. But I am here breathing it all in again.

My point is that I transitioned to appreciation seamlessly. I did not have to stop and think "Hey, dummy, you better dig this weather because it is short lived here in the hellacious climate of New England."

I became spring. Breathing in beauty and warmth, closing my eyes to appreciate, feeling warmth from the inside out.

It is now officially confirmed. I am poised to make the next 3 and half months the best of my life, and that is coming from my soul.

Naturally. Unforced.

The 3 and 1/2 month thing is irksome. Today is May 12. Quite close to half way through the month already.

May has been devious.

That is the danger. Beauty and warmth glide by at the speed of life and you don't realize it until you are shivering miserably in the freezing cold of a typically vicious New England September.

With 7 months of the same staring you in the face.

Apparently my soul will not allow that this year.  It is on high alert, keeping me in vibe with this gift called warmth. Sunshine. Ease. Comfort.

I feel so goddamn good I'm floating on a sea of sweet gentleness.

Friday, May 9, 2014


This love thing is vexing.

We humans have no clue what it is. You know what love is for your kids because that is powerful stuff. It blows my mind that you can slide aside anything in your kids that you might not like about somebody else, unless of course they become ax murderers, and even that is subject to interpretation.

Your kids get the love pass. Without rationalization. It happens naturally, automatically, because they have that offspring glow about them. Because the love is so deep, so intense, so soul-originated.

You know what love is for your pets. You just love them as big as the sky. You want to hold them and kiss them and protect them and keep them safe (kind of like your kids only better because they never move out).

We do not know what love is for each other.

Initially we fall in lust. We call it love but it rarely is. Although I have to qualify that statement. I know absolutely this is true of men. I cannot speak for women because women are a completely different race. But I suspect that lust plays a part.

I also have to qualify this theory on the basis of pure biology. Genealogy. The survival of humanity. All those deep rooted tendencies  scholars refer to when they want to explain sexual behavior.

I am thinking way too much for this time of day.

Anyway, if the lust holds, we make a commitment and hope the love thing works out. That is when perception is heightened and you notice things you never noticed before.

To your perplexed horror.

The question I am pondering today is "What if true love is loving somebody for their weaknesses?"

We all want the lead dog. The sexiest, most intelligent, most entertaining, solid, reliable, world beater we can get.

There are only a few of those to go around.

When you realize your mate is several levels below that ideal, trouble happens. Unless you make a mid course correction.

Unless you recognize his or her weakness and suddenly realize that is why you love them.

And when you think about it, that is the love we all need. We strut around with chests puffed pretending to be King of the World. When in reality we are weak, vulnerable, sensitive and lost.

You need someone to love you for your reality or you have nothing. When you get home and the mirror awaits, you are faced with truth. The truth that hurts, that illuminates the truth about life and makes you feel so small.

If there is someone waiting there to love you without expecting you to be Hercules, your soul can breathe.

There is deep comfort in that.

You are being loved for your humanity and not for the act you stage every day.

That is reality. Reality is what we long to plug into every day, not agendas and game playing and acting, back stabbing and ass covering.

We want to be real. We want to feel real. We need it.

Loving another human for their weaknesses is selfless.

It is uniquely human.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014


"I ain't no saint, but I've tried never to do anything that would hurt my family or offend God......I figure all any kid needs is hope and the feeling he or she belongs. If I could do or say anything that would give some kid that feeling, I would believe I had contributed something to the world."

Elvis Presley

Sweet And Tender Moments

Got home tonight around 5:30.

Carol and I went for a walk on a gorgeous May 7 night. This is the third night in a row we have walked together.

I like it.

We talk. We don't talk, We listen to the birds. Feel the warmth. Appreciate the beauty that surrounds us. Get a little healthier. Get a little closer.

Got back. I washed the dishes. Cleaned the kitty litter box. Took a shower. Barbecued boneless chicken thighs.

As the barbecuing was going on Carol was You Tubing stuff on the TV machine. A comedian named Jeff McKinney. The guy trashed NH winters. I love him for that.

Watched a bunch of his videos. Funny stuff. He used to be a cop in Maine. His material centered around living in New England.

Somehow that segued into Elvis videos. Very excellent. The '68 comeback special. That awesome black leather suit. I'm considering buying a leather sport coat this year. I have always wanted one. This is the year I express myself. I'm not sure a black leather sport coat is the proper garb for July.

I don't care.

"If I Can Dream". An incredibly powerful Elvis performance. Both in expression and in lyrics. We watched about five different versions. One after the other.

This did not diminish our enjoyment at all.

This segued into a Linda Ronstadt/Emmy Lou Harris musical excursion.

Exquisite. Absolutely exquisite.

Now I am up here and Carol is watching The Sox. I'll join her shortly.

But I had to vent my pleasure.

This was a night. A night shared by two people who have known and loved each other for somewhere around 38 or 39 years.

A simple night that was not really so simple.

Heartfelt human connection, sharing and love is a difficult, a complex thing to achieve and to express.

My job eats me up. It shreds my flesh like a ragged razor blade.

I cannot be grateful for employment. I am not like you. If employment is not in sync with my soul then I want no part of it. I fight it with every single breath, regardless of the fucking paycheck.


I am getting much better at appreciating the real things. My real life. The life that breathes survival into my soul.

The job sucked more marrow out of my bones today. Made me weaker. Chipped another corner off hope.

Tonight restored me beyond what the job destroyed.

That is a positive entry in the ledger.

I am looking forward to many more nights like this with my beautiful and loving wife this summer.

I am a fucking lucky guy.

All About Spirit

It's all about spirit, baby.

I'm driving to The Asylum this morning and this woman is walking a tiny dog. I'm talking small. Wearing a coat. I hate dogs wearing coats. I couldn't hate this dog.

Sometimes I think maybe I could dig a tiny dog. They are kind of like cats. But not really. You still gotta take them outside in January when it is 14 below. They are jittery.


sometimes I think I could love a tiny dog.

This guy was feisty. As the car in front of me passed him, he lunged  for the street at the end of his leash.

I loved it. So I paid attention as I passed. He lunged at my car too.

He had about 6 inches of play on the leash, but both times he lunged at the cars. Got his front paws off the ground for 2 seconds.

It was like watching an ant attack an elephant.

Didn't matter. He did not care that he was tiny and the world was large. Didn't even take that into consideration.

He just went for it.

It's all about spirit, baby.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014


"Have you noticed that only in time of illness or disaster or death are people real? I remember at the time of the wreck - people were so kind and helpful and solid. Everyone pretended that our lives until that moment had been every bit as real as the moment itself and that the future must be real too, when the truth was that our reality had been purchased only by Lyell's death. In another hour or so we had all faded out again and gone our dim ways."

From "The Moviegoer" by Walker Percy.

A Day To Feed The Soul

Percussion rocks.

Experienced my brother in concert again this past Sunday with Symphony Pro Musica and my head exploded.

Latin music. Three pieces. Magnificent.

The first featuring strings. The second centered around a young harp player. I'm not talking blues harp here. I'm talking the real deal. That monstrous piece of furniture instrument that leans against your shoulder and brings to mind images of Harpo Marx.

The third piece was all about percussion. Planned around 13 percussionists, but one chickened out with an appendicitis attack. Apparently curled up on the floor just before the performance and was ambulanced to a local hospital.

And then there were twelve.

Still, the piece was quite percussive.

Percussion vibrates at the speed of life.

The Allman Brothers feature two drummers on full drum kits and always have. Blows peoples' minds. They also have a guy playing percussion.

That's a lot of beats there, baby. Typically when the drummer solos at a rock concert that's when you go to the bathroom, snort a line and buy another beer.

When drum solo time comes around at an Allman Brothers concert your ass stays glued to the seat. It is a spectacle.

A spectacle of sound, movement, energy, light, insanity and controlled madness. If you leave your seat you are an idiot.

Ever hear "Tusk"  by Fleetwood Mac? Strange song. It builds from quiet simplicity to insistent rhythm. Not a lot to the song, the percussion is not even complex, but I love it anyway.


The final piece of this concert featured 12 percussionists spread all the way around the stage.

What a sight. What a sound. In a sense it reminded me of an Allman Brothers concert. I was mesmerized.

And insanely proud to see my brother allowed to sink his teeth into something substantial.

After the concert we congregated at the clubhouse located at my brother's complex.

My amazing wife, my magical first born son and his supremely talented wife. An old friend who goes back to the very earliest days of my life, and his latest squeeze.

And my brother. A man who commands respect quietly and has a razor sharp sense of humor.

We ate pizza. Drank beer. Wine. Talked, laughed and were human together.

No bullshit. No agendas. Just the warmth that comes from being around people you trust and love.

THAT was a day. A day to feed a soul. A day to remind you just exactly why you are alive.

Christ, I'm a lucky son of a bitch.