Thursday, July 31, 2014


In the NFL there is the PUP.

Physically unable to perform. It is a category for a player who is physically unable to practice or play. This is a designation that apparently is more beneficial to the player than being on injured reserve.

I say apparently because I took a look at the definition of PUP and as you might expect there are various categories, exceptions, rules and regulations.

I only have three and 1/2 hours before I leave for work. I don't have time to sift through it all.

My thoughts are as follows.

The NFL has a PUP. Relative to my job I want an MUP.

Mentally unable to perform.

Given the cold hearted, selfish, back stabbing nature of my boss, and the corrupt, inefficient and exploitive nature of the organization I work for, I feel mentally unprepared to deliver upbeat customer service.

I shall contact the union today.

Tweet Me, Baby

I am not a fan of the tweet.

Maybe I should be. The 140 character restriction challenges my creativity. I don't know. I don't even know what I am supposed to know.

Can anybody help me?

I was watching the NFL Network yesterday as I continue to soak up as much football as possible.

Might as well. It certainly feels like fucking fall outside.

Anyway there was a hilarious tweet in their silly little tweet segment.

A fan said he wanted the Dallas Cowboys to be pallbearers at his funeral so they could let him down one more time.

That is an excellent use of Twitter.

Not Really Done With Cheever

OK I'm done with John Cheever.

Then again I'm not.

61 short stories. 693 pages. Sorry, apparently I still have some of that accountant thing in me.

I can't remember the last time an author affected me so strongly. I love this guy, he blows me away, he was endlessly creative, deft with the written word, imaginative, amusing, insightful and entertaining.

I am not done with him because he also wrote 5 novels, and apparently there is a collection of his journals out there too.

I still have work to do. I look forward to it.

I am living dangerously today because I am in between books. As I have explained previously, I don't believe I can die when I am immersed in a book. It is when I am in between books that I become vulnerable.

You would expect that I would just pick up the next book and read a couple of pages for protection.

However, it is exciting to live dangerously once in a while. To live on the edge.

If I survive the day I will begin a new book tomorrow morning. The only extravagance I have indulged in since I began the torture of this job last February, is books. I have so many books backed up that it thrills me.

Wish me luck today.

Ciao, baby.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Father's Day

This is a first draft. I'll clean it up and submit it somewhere. But I knew you couldn't wait to read it.

Joe was obsessed with the possibility that he had been a lousy dad.
Today didn’t matter as much because when your sons are in their thirties fatherhood is more of a spectator sport.

But the past. The past drove him crazy with worry.
He irritated his wife endlessly, looking for validation that he had been loving. “Was I a good dad? I mean, was I attentive? Sensitive? Did I take out my frustrations on them?”

The last question was the one he worried about most. Joe’s entire life had been consumed by lousy jobs that left him screaming for release. Jobs that suffocated his spirit and forced him to drink.
Booze was the first thing he reached for when he got home just so he wouldn’t smash his head against the wall and scream at his family. He didn’t have a choice, really. Employment forced his hand. Raging nerves were dangerous untreated; alcohol brought a measure of peace.

Until of course he had consumed more than was required.
His wife was consistently reassuring in her responses, but the dead brain cells in his head left vacancies where memories should have been.

He wasn’t quite sure if she was being truthful or considerate.
Joe’s gut told him that he had been a good dad but he couldn’t help wondering if there were alcohol fueled rages that left scars on his sons’ souls.

There were holes in the cheap bathroom door that stood in bold suggestion of just such a possibility.
Joe’s wife was a sweetheart. At least she appeared to be.

She put up with a lot. Like his drinking and insecurities and his stubborn commitment to underachieving, which reduced their life together to subsistence levels.
They could have done better. Lived easier.

But Joe was mired in self-doubt, success eluded him and pizza was an extravagance as a consequence.
Still his wife handled it all calmly, with her innate ability to smooth out the rough edges. At least she appeared to. There were tensions and hints of impatience, maybe some frustrations, but generally she maintained an even keel.

She had created a garden in the front yard that was a triumph and a source of peace for both of them.
A pool had stood in this spot for many years. An above ground pool plenty big enough for the four of them to play, laugh and relax in. A pool that left behind great memories.

When the kids moved out the pool stood silent and eventually Joe’s wife was inspired to take it down and replace it with paradise.
They spent a lot of peaceful moments out there listening to the fountain, the breeze, the birds and each other.

Father’s Day was always toughest on Joe, especially recently. His kids’ schedules were hard to coordinate and he had spent a few Father’s Days without them.
Those were the days his imagination tortured him the most.

This year was the roughest because he had to work. He worked for a state run liquor store and it was open seven days a week.
Joe was old school and despised working on Sundays. He could remember when barely anything was open on Sundays and people seemed to survive.

Still the kids were not going to be around so Joe volunteered to work so another father could celebrate.
He made it through the day dealing as best he could with all the insensitive idiots who said repeatedly “I can’t believe you are open today.” He would look at them incredulously. He wanted to scream “I wouldn’t be here at all if you were considerate enough to plan ahead.”

He held his tongue.
Joe bought a couple of nips to sooth him on the ride home.

His wife kissed him hello and then gave him a look. She tasted the whiskey on his lips, which always pissed her off.
He walked into the house, poured himself a tumbler of whiskey and invited her to join him in the garden.

Before going back out he asked “Honey, do you think I was a good dad? Do you think the kids are thinking about me today?”
She smiled. She told him he had been and still was a great dad.

It was a gorgeous day. Brilliant sunshine, beginning to fade, but plenty warm with not too many bugs.
The fountain was gurgling, the birds were singing, a gentle breeze rustled the leaves as Joe realized he did not have it all that bad.

He felt at peace.
He heard his wife approaching with a tray full of munchies. She said “Happy Father’s Day, honey” and Joe began to turn to say “Thank you,” but the words never left his lips.

She pulled the trigger quickly, cutting off his response and then returned the gun to its spot next to the cheese and crackers.
She sat next to Joe and ate enthusiastically, marveling at the soothing effect of the fountain.


"Beware the barrenness of a busy life."


We all run around whining about how busy we are and how little time we have.

I find this amusing because I think it applies to every generation no matter the time or the place.

17th century folk didn't have "smart" phones, 300 inch TV's, and all the other technological distractions we have today. They also didn't have toilets, cars, planes, lawn mowers, snow blowers etc.

Their time was consumed simply in survival. And it was hard work.

Do you think they felt there wasn't enough time in the day?


We allow ourselves to be distracted by life in whatever form it takes, and miss out on the real meat, the substance of what it means to be alive.

Why I just found out today that I have two sons - one married, one with serious intent. One is 34 years old, the other 30.

I never noticed because I have been so damn busy.

How the hell else could sixty years have gone by at the speed of light?

"Beware the barrenness of a busy life."

I think this means we don't know how to spend our time wisely.

Case closed.

"America" and The Shrink

At the end of the magnificent "America" night at the fabled Hampton beach casino, Sir Eric of Swenson loaned me his America CD.

I have listened to it incessantly since. These boys have really gotten under my skin.

The last three songs are "Sandman," "Sister Golden Hair," and "Horse With No Name."

Bing bang boom.

I listen to and enjoy the entire CD except for Muskrat Love which Eric has taught me to hate because he hates it. I don't even know what the song is about, I just skip the damn thing.

So the music beautifies me until the end when those three songs knock me off my axis.

I'm driving to see Super Shrink this morning and "Tin Man" begins to play.

"Oz never did give nothing to the Tin man, that he didn't, didn't  already have."

I was knocked senseless and drove off the road into a stand of trees, bounced off a boulder the size of Montana and settled on the edge of a precipice that promised to plunge me to a broken and bloody death.

Or something like that. My memory is not quite clear regarding this incident.

BOOM. The shrink is Oz and I am the Tin Man.

He is not creating or reinventing me. He is hacking away with a sledgehammer and a scalpel, trying to uncover the Joe buried beneath the bile. He is not giving me anything that I don't already have. He is trying to expose the truth and hold a mirror to it so I can get comfortable with myself.

The process fascinates me. I thought I would reveal my wicked twistedness and he would burrow into the past attempting to uncover the source of so much poisonous thought and behavior.

I was afraid I would find out that during my formative years my parents locked me in a closet for 23 days of every month feeding me only cock-a-roaches and rancid water.

Instead he is starting with who I am now and trying to change the way I think, perceive, act and distort. By steering me to the truth.

It was another good session. I never know how the conversation is going to go. Last couple of visits I wondered along the way what the hell I was going to say. How can I avoid repeating myself?

It doesn't wok that way. He asks me how the week went, I tell him and that leads us down a specific road.

He is very good at that. Making me aware of changes he is seeing, reminding me of traps I continue to fall into, based on real life.

He makes me think. This is what I like best.

My brain is hungry for direction. It wants me to change but needs a new perspective to work from.

The old perspective is covered with rust and blood and is useless and self defeating.

He gives me a new perspective.

It was a good morning today.

My brain is simultaneously nourished and famished. Each new thought creates desire for more new thoughts.

"America" and Super Shrink. A potent combination that eased me into a beautiful Wednesday and away from my poisoned self.

Can't ask for more than that, baby.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014


I was browsing through the latest issue of Rolling Stone and came across articles on two guys familiar to me.

Eric Clapton. Paul McCartney.

I say browse because that is what I do. I don't read the magazine cover to cover anymore because there is a lot in there I don't care about.

I go to my go to guys and then check out the stuff that is more youth oriented. I really do check out the younger stuff. I'll read a paragraph or two to get a feel. If I get a Kardashians or Bieber vibe, I move on.

Comfort derives from being able to rely on those who have always inspired me.

Clapton is being interviewed and he is talking end of the road stuff. His friend JJ Cale recently died and it seems to have inspired reflection.  Cale wrote monster Clapton hits like "After Midnight" and "Cocaine." They recorded an album together years ago that was superb. Cale's songwriting talent was a huge inspiration for Clapton.

EC just released a tribute album: " The Breeze: An Appreciation of JJ Cale."

Anyway.......................during the interview Clapton mentioned that he might not do another Crossroads fund raising concert. Crossroads is  a drug addiction treatment center located in Antigua and founded by Eric Clapton.

These concerts are legendary featuring amazing performers and performances. Many CD's and DVD's document the magic.

Anyway Clapton said it's getting harder to put it all together. He then mentioned that he might do one more album, go out for a few shows and then call it quits.

The interviewer gently pointed out that Clapton told him the same thing in 2001.

The article on McCartney pointed out that he recently had to cancel 12 dates on his current world tour because of a virus he contracted in Tokyo.

The conversation naturally gravitated towards retirement.

McCartney said: "I want it all. I've got a great home life, and I've got a great life on the road - it's not like we're on a Greyhound bus anymore. People say to me, "Don't you get tired?" it's a three hour show, and I'm onstage every second. I keep thinking the laws of logic ought to apply and I ought to be really tired - but I'm invigorated. I enjoy it. So the answer to "Are you going to retire?" is "When I feel like it." But that's not today.

People who do what they love for a living never want to stop doing it.

As opposed to the rest of us slugs who crawl desperately towards retirement.

The key to life is to find something you love and make it the dominant force in your life.

Easier said than done.

10 Good Years Revisited

Recently I wrote about the 10 good years of my life from 1960-1969.

In 1960 I was 6 years old. In 1969 I was fifteen.

I guess you could call those formative years.

Those were turbulent and interesting years, the likes of which we will never see again, thanks to the dumbing down of America and the strangle hold that HUGE corporations and the wealthy exert on our lives.

I got hit with all kinds of stimuli during that decade, the most enduring of which was music.

A decade that made an impression.

Fast forward to 2014. The year I turned sixty. Everything else is a blur. I am looking for 10 more good years. The ten most important years of my life.

I have talked about this before so I won't burden you now. It's just that it hit me as I was writing about the impact of the sixties that I am now staring down another decade.

One of the last.

The sixties had an impact on me.

I am obsessed with making an impact on the years 2014-2023 so that when I turn 70 on January 1, 2024, I will be able to smile.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Can't Help Myself

I haven't bothered you with Cheever for a while.

Can you believe I am still plowing my way through his words? 700 pages of collected short stories that have enhanced my life so beautifully.

I haven't bothered you with John Cheever for a while so here goes:

From "Percy":

"Oh, I'm so happy," she said. "Oh, how wonderful and rich and strange life can be when you stop playing out the roles that your parents and their friends wrote out for you. I feel like an explorer."

These words were spoken by a bored housewife who suddenly decided to audition for a role in a nude play and was chosen. The play went on to become a smashing success.

This is the kind of radical change we all need in our lives.

Cheever throws in so many amusing lines. In "Artemis, The Honest Well Digger" he's describing the noisy drill rig: "It made a terrible racket and there had been two complaints. One was from a very nervous housewife and the other from a homosexual poet who said that the concussion was ruining his meter."

His observations on human nature are dead on. From the same story he is talking about neighborhoods that display a lot of American flags: "This patriotic zeal cannot be traced back to the fact that these people have received an abundance of their country's riches. They haven't. These are hard working people who lead frugal lives and worry about money. People who have profited splendidly from our economy seem to have no such passion for the Stars and Stripes."

Cheever is awesome in so many ways and on so many levels that he blows the mind.

July 27

Today is July 27 and I am not panicked.

July is over in 4 days. Of course I feel fear, any sane man would. As July ends, thoughts of winter creep in.

Visions of 10 months filled with cold cruelty, ice, snow, inconvenience, harshness, suffering, and shivering are not visions destined to sooth the mind. And yet this is the climate we live in.

July is ending and I am not panicked. I have slowed summer down.

I noticed this the other day as I slowly made my down to The Big Ride, preparing for the commute to The Asylum.

As I approached this magnificent vehicle I noticed a gentle breeze. A slight rustling of leaves.

This breeze was insubstantial. Hardly noticeable. And in summers past I would not have noticed it, consumed as I am with hatred of my job and disgust with my cold hearted, selfish boss.

But notice it I did. I stood for a moment taking it in. The way it felt, the sounds the leaves made, the beauty of the sky and the woods surrounding me.

In this way I have slowed summer down.

We have been active and I am happy with the things we have down. Still, there is a lot more to be accomplished.

I don't feel panicked. There is a sense of accomplishment in having spent meaningful time with my family. There is a soul deep appreciation for the slow magic of summer.

August is coming and I am prepared to greet it. Right off the bat.

On August 2 my amazing wife and I will be attending the Barnful of Blues Festival in New Boston. We will be sitting in the August sunshine listening to the blues.

Just the thought of it does my heart good.

I will have beers to sip, a dollop of whiskey or two and my amazing wife beside me in the natural warmth of summer.


The festival features the James Montgomery Blues Band. This is big stuff. He is the real deal.

Even better than that, my friend, Skip Philbrick is closing out the show. I went to the website and saw a picture of Skip. I am so proud to call him friend. Back in the day this man toured the country with Luther Guitar Jr. Johnson.

Luther Guitar Jr. Johnson once played in Muddy Waters' band.

That's all I gotta say.

So, yeah - July is about to die. No problem. Good things have happened. More good things are going to happen.

I have slowed summer down.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

America, Again

It has become an annual event and thank God for that.

Went to the Hampton Beach Casino on Thursday night past to see America with Sir Eric of Swenson.

The night was explosive.

First off it was, as always, mind blowing to be around this man. He is genuine with me, and apparently he is one of the, if not the only, friend that I can be genuine with. No bullshit, no games, no acting, no self consciousness.

I am surprised when we get together that the earth does not explode. It is such a fierce concentration of honesty that I am amazed the world can survive it.

We did it up right. After talking, confessing and laughing our way through the long ride out, we parked and headed for the beach.

Across the street from the casino, right on the beach, is a stage, a shell, where a band was performing. Pretty good crowd hanging around just digging the scene.

It was country music and kind of hokey; people were line dancing too, which definitely ain't my thing (although I spent a piece of my life doing it).

None of that mattered. It was a perfect summer night and humans were digging it the way it was meant to be dug.

One couple got to me. It was a woman who looked to be in her thirties or forties dancing with a much older woman. Perhaps her grandmother. They really were standing in place, holding hands and swaying their arms right in front of the stage.

It seemed to me the older woman was having the time of her life.

How very cool.

As we approached the stage I glanced out on to the beach and glimpsed a quintessential summer scene. It was about 7:30 and a group of teens were getting ready to leave. Gathering up the blankets and such.

One girl in a bikini stood up and wriggled her way into a pair of cut off denim shorts.

It was not an erotic thing. It was a summer scene filled with youth and time slowed down and lifetimes of promise and a setting sun and heat and the ocean and the simple joy of being alive with minimal obligations.

We crossed the street and the night really began.

Eric always warns the people around us that he might go crazy during the concert and he hopes he doesn't offend anyone.

This doesn't disturb anyone because he is so genuine. What we end up with is a night of temporary friends surrounding us.

Forget the opening act. Not worth talking about. America hit the stage and the night became electric.

Our seats were in the third row. THIRD ROW. We could practically touch the stage.

America recently replaced their guitar player, Michael Woods (Woodz) who had spent 35 years with the band.  I was concerned about this. This guy is a rock warrior whose vibe I dig supremely. The new guy is quite young. They also had a new drummer. Thursday was his second night with the band.

My worries were misplaced. The new lineup appears to have fired up the band. The guitar player sizzled, the drummer was superb and the vibe in the band was way over the top.

America brings a presence to the stage that cannot be ignored. They have been doing this for 44 years. Their fans are passionate and know every word to every song.

And they have a lot of hits.

At one point Gerry Beckley drifted over to his organ to play one of his signature love songs. The organ was right in front of us.

As I watched him I was blown away by the emotion in his eyes, the expression in his face. He sat there a few times during the concert, singing songs he has sung 237,000 times before, and still, he was consumed with emotion and passion. The way he closed his eyes, the way his body swayed, his whole being was wrapped up in these songs.

What a gift. For him and to us.

Highlight: Eric stood up during one song and pointed to Dewey Bunnell. Eric is a tall gentleman and hard to miss. Especially from three rows back.

Dewey looked his way and nodded to him. Absolute truth. Eric will undoubtedly tell this story to people who will not believe him.

I am a witness. I was there. Dewey Bunnell looked directly at Eric and nodded.


"Sister Golden Hair" was the last song of the set before the encore. When America launches into that song the place explodes.

"Well I tried to make it Sunday, but I got so damn depressed, that I set my sights on Monday and I got myself undressed." You know the song and so did every member of that audience, who sang it lustily.

Encore time. They came out and did a Neil Young song and then.........................

"Horse With No Name."

I have said it before and I will repeat this every time I see this magnificent band live. You hear the song a million times on the radio but you have not experienced the song until you sing it along with America, live.

Mind blowing.

And for me and Eric, the line "'cause there ain't no one for to give you no pain" has become cathartic. We sing it a maximum volume and our souls are cleansed.

We left the Hampton Beach Casino drained.

Supremely happy.

Cool note: At one point during the concert Eric got up to grab a beer. After a few minutes the woman next to me asked: "Do you think we'll see him up on stage?" A temporary friend sharing an enjoyable moment. The Eric effect.

We talked, confessed and laughed our way home listening and singing to an America CD and the night was over.

The next day at work I found myself supremely bored. When you experience a perfect soul high, a musical epiphany and a friendship so pure and intense, normalcy feels like death.

But I got the memories. I can still summon up the feelings. I can look forward to the next concert.

Eric has brought Gerry Beckley and Dewey Bunnell into my life and I am grateful.

That night was another jewel in the crown that is becoming The Amazing Summer of 2014.

That's it. I'm done.

I got nothing left to say.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Ten Good Years

If you can listen to "Light My Fire" like it's the first time you ever heard it, you know your head is in a good place.

I was be-bopping to The Asylum yestermorn listening to The Doors first album.

Great stuff.

A lot of times when it gets down to "Light My Fire" I only half listen, which is a terrible insult to the song.

Yesterday the thing just reached out and grabbed me. I hung on every word and every note.


Got to "Back Door Man" and I began to reflect upon guttural screams, grunts and moans. The stuff you find in so many rock and blues songs.

The stuff that used to drive my parents crazy.

"You call that music?"

Yup, I do. It is precisely those grunts and moans that make this music so raw, so heartfelt, so passionate.

As the ominous guitar work opens up the song, Morrison lets out a low yell. Like he can't wait to get to the lyrics, his emotions are overwhelmed and he could not prevent this expression from leaving his body.

Janis Joplin's scream in "Take Another Piece Of My Heart". The Who have a lot of great screams in their songs. There are a million examples.

Great stuff.

Then I got to thinking about musical lineage. "Back Door Man" was written by Willie Dixon and recorded by Howlin' Wolf.

Howlin' Wolf was absolutely primal. Guttural. Down and dirty. If you are not into the blues do not even try to listen to HW. You would not be able to handle it.

His version is hot.

What The Doors did to it is absolutely amazing. Transformed the song while still keeping to the spirit of the thing.

Morrison inhabits the soul of a back door man. He is definitely eating chicken while you eat your pork and beans.

His voice even cracks at one point during the song and they left it in there.

Authenticity, baby.

Then I got to thinking about the wrenching musical transformation I went through in the sixties.

The Beatles and The Stones duking it out for the entire decade. Beautiful fallout from that competition.

1967. The Doors first album. Blew me away. So different. So dark. So literate. They grabbed me hard and never let go. Definitely one of my favorite groups, big time.

1969. The Allman Brothers Band's first album.


These guys hijacked my soul, my mind, my heart, my entire essence.

I have worshipped at their altar many times and will continue to do so to the grave even though they are calling it quits.

I will never again experience the emotions that surged through me in the short span of ten years. Emotions originated through music, my emotions captured and expressed in music, sheer joy, honest tears, worship of lyrics.

Mumford & Sons woke me up a couple of years ago and I dig that. They made me feel something I thought I never again would.

That was cool. But it is one group. Not a movement. Not a lifestyle.

Those ten years formed me in many ways and I dig it. I have no problems, no regrets at all about how that music shaped my personality and outlook.

It is part of who I am and I am proud of that.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014


"Time goes on. So, whatever you're going to do, do it. Do it now. Don't wait."

Robert De Niro

I Don't Feel Dead

Feeling damn restless today.

Another session with the shrink yesterday. Another good one.

The more I delve into this, the more honest I get.

I was wide open yesterday. Offering up whatever came to mind with brutal honesty. Super Shrink even commented on that. Said there is no point in hiding anything and I definitely do not appear to be hiding anything.

Sometimes I wonder if I am putting up an act. I am Pacino in "real" life. De Niro. I am on stage from the minute I open my eyes in the morning to the minute the day's failures weigh my eyelids closed.

OK. That day's failures thing was overkill. Melodramatic. But I reiterate - I fancy myself a writer. That's what came out and I like the sound of it.

I am not acting in Shrinkland. I am convinced of that. I know because I come out of there drained.

The last two sessions left me rubber legged.

Weighted down with the spectre of truth.

He maneuvers me with questions and the destinations always seem to be truthful. He gets me to look at myself, my life, and my excuses from a different angle and I drive away from there with smoke pouring out of my ears.

The smoke of contemplation.

Anyway I am racing to escape Asylum hell. Applying for any and every position that comes along that is 9-5 Monday-Friday.

He gently nudged me into realizing that this is a negative thing. He pointed out that I have made the current job a huge factor in my life. That I obsess about it, that I think and worry about it constantly, that I allow it to raise my whiskey consumption to the smiles of the ownership of Seagrams.

He said: "The job is not the most important thing in your life. Not even close. You give it too much weight."

He continued by pointing out that this rush to escape is merely a continuation of negativity. That I am putting all my effort into escaping to a job that I will soon hate.

I have harped on the sixty year old thing. He has diplomatically down played that, but in this case he gently pointed out that I don't have time to waste on yet another hateful job.

He suggested that my efforts - all my efforts - would be better served pursuing that which I love. That which I use to define myself. That which I know to be me.

I'm not going to tell you what it is. If I put it in writing I might voodoo curse it.

But you know what it is.

So I had this plan, this approach that has been shot to hell. I have been getting up early every day and yawning through the state jobs website, Monster, Indeed and, and applying for jobs that leave a bad taste in my mouth.

Today I am frozen in place. I have all this garbage pending and I don't care. Super Shrink has pointed me in the right direction. I know it is the right direction because it resonates with my soul. A little voice in my head has suspected as much since I began this frenzy but it spoke too softly to cut through the deafening noise of panic, fear and anxiety.

This is a strange relationship in a way. I feel like if I don't go back next week with news of intelligent effort I will have failed a test.

This is good. It adds another layer of urgency to the quest. I have bared my soul to this guy and it has been exposed as diseased. It would seem awfully silly if I just kept talking about it rather than actually doing something about it.

Feeling damn restless today.

But I don't feel dead.

Monday, July 21, 2014


"As far as I am concerned, there won't be a Beatles reunion as long as John Lennon remains dead."

George Harrison

The Tank Ain't Empty (Just A Small Leak)

I got a million things to write about and nothing to say.

The mind is a fascinating thing. I keep a notebook and 476 scraps of paper around the house with ideas to write about.

Something strikes me in a certain way, I scribble it down and get to it when I can.

Of course every idea seems like a good one and I rarely have trouble coming up with something to say. As you have noticed.

But sometimes I sit here with these scraps of inspiration and nothing clicks. The mind ain't focused, or the emotions are left of center or the creative juices have run dry.

Could be I am distracted. Got a lot going on.

My boss is trying to screw me. Idiot is going on vacation in a couple of weeks and there is nobody available to cover for her. She is happy leaving me to work 10 fifteen hour days in a row. She would actually like that, cold hearted as she is. But I am fighting back. Hard.

My dream is to find a job this week and give my notice on Friday. This would make my last day of employment the day before she leaves for Florida.

That would be chocolate coated karma.

I am conducting a massive job search but my heart warns me that ain't nobody hiring a 60 year old relic. Still I gotta try. Busting free of this horrendous job is Directive #1 for 2014.

By the way, some have warned me not to write about Idiot Boss in here lest she discover this blog and read the poison truth. My perspective is as follows: We have cameras in the store. They are there for security. IB uses them to spy on her co-workers. I know this. So when I am alone in the store I flip her off every chance I get.

I am fairly certain she knows where I stand.

A brief aside - I hate my job so severely that every time I walk by my little purple costume draped over the door of the armoire, I flip it off.

I am seeing the shrink and hoping for epiphany. I enjoy these sessions so much that last week, when I had to cancel because of my scumjob, I felt lost. I was pining away for the shrink. How bizarre is that?

I wasn't really pining away but it did feel like something was missing. I am beginning to rely on him. Maybe I could get him to live my life for me. That would be a tremendous relief.

My neck has been bothering me consistently. Pinched nerve relapse. I wake up with a sore neck. I am stretching the bejeezus out of it every day just to tread water. Chiro Man wants me to come in more often, again. But at fifty five bucks a pop that ain't happening.

I need whiskey money, don't you know.

I am helping a friend on a campaign, acting as his speech writer. I am good at this, I enjoy it and I hope it leads to something. I am always hoping something leads to something.

This is cool, though. I don't get much chance to flex my word muscles outside these walls. It is enjoyable to take his words and craft and mold them into killer communication.

Still, it takes time.

I am toiling to enjoy this summer. Been fairly successful so far. But today is July 21 and I feel I have caught a lull. Gotta fire up the inspiration machine and suck my loved ones back into the 2014 Summer Of Fun vortex.

There is danger in trying. I am trying all sorts of things to reshape my life. But the things you do have to make sense. You can kid yourself that you are doing all the right things when in reality you are doing all the wrong things.

All motion is not fruitful motion.

But hell, what do I know? Given a track record of decades of complacency, I feel good about any effort at all.

Which reminds me - You say to someone "good to see you." They say "At my age it is good to be seen."

Such a cliché. Keith Richards says it all the time. He could do so much better than that.

We'll have to have a chat.

Anyway, I got a lot on my mind and I can't seem to focus today.

I gotta find something to write about.

What the hell can I write about?


July 21. 6:02 a.m. 54 degrees.

Are you kidding me?

Sunday, July 20, 2014


"The secret of life is honesty and fair dealing. If you can fake that, you've got it made."

Groucho Marx

Truth Has Become Elusive

The truth has become an elusive thing.

You can no longer expect to dial up MSNBC or Fox and get the truth. What you get is the truth as they see it.

My bias is towards MSNBC. I think they get damn near the truth, even with the drama and the theatrics.

The truth being that republicans are hell bent towards thwarting President Obama no matter what. Is it possible, as they suggest, that every policy, every intent, the handling of every world situation, every word he utters is evil and designed to destroy this country?

Or is it more believable that he is human - that he has triumphs, makes some mistakes, is doing the best that he can to strengthen and protect America and, above all, that intellectually he is light years ahead of these kindergarten drop out republicans?

But I digress.

We flip back and forth between Fox and MSNBC for perspective. I think the Fox bunch distorts the truth and engages in hyperbole and theatricality. They also put bimbos at the helm so their hooker- like appeal might distract viewers from the circus of silly words.

It occurred to me that MSNBC is playing the same game. Rachel Maddow? Talk about drama and theatrics and hyperbole. Forget about hooker-like appeal.

Lawrence O'Donnell with his vicious sarcasm and dark attitude.

Al Sharpton with his stuttering, hesitant way of talking and his speechifying theatrics.

Scott Pelley on CBS could very well be the man. I think he is excellent. He delivers the news as if it were news; not entertainment.

My point is that you have to dig to get at the truth. You can listen to MSNBC, flip to Fox, check out Pelley, but then you have to make an effort.

You have to go on line and do some research, gotta read newspapers, listen to radio talk shows and then take all that information and synthesize it into your version of the truth. Which you are not even sure is the truth because your brain has become fatigued.

Go to Websters - look up the definition of truth - it has been officially changed to "??????????".

Truthfully, you know the majority of Americans will not put in the effort to get at the truth, myself first among you. I don't research nearly as much as I should.

I tend to listen to Pelley, mix in some Maher, sprinkle over it some Chris Hayes and spice it up with Fox stupidity to arrive at a truth.

My truth. Which is not THE truth.

Unfortunately the majority of Americans are broken, hurtful people who want only a bowl of macaroni and cheese, three beers and a tumbler of whiskey at night to salve their deep rooted wounds.

They want the Kardashians.

All of this plays into the hands of the moneyed glitterati. The lazier we are, the less informed we are, the more oppressed we are, the more distracted we are, the easier it is to continue to steal from us pieces of our lives until all we have left is bewilderment as we march obediently towards our graves.

Wow. That was one heavy sentence.

Truth still exists. It is simply cloaked in layers of bullshit.

Fighting to get at the truth is a good exercise. It forces you to think for yourself.

Still, it shouldn't be this hard. Presented with cold, hard facts we should all be able to arrive at the truth.

However, even facts are not facts. Facts as presented on MSNBC are one thing. On Fox they are something else.

OK. That's it. I am confusing myself.

Think I'll go smoke a joint.

Saturday, July 19, 2014


We hit Market Days last night in downtown Concord.

This is a delicious summer indulgence where the main street of town is shut down and vendors set up shop to hawk their wares.

There is music, food, a variety of entertainment, people and their dogs, sunshine, moonshine and summer ease.

It is cool.

Just a few minutes into our stroll we came across a man and his guitar.

Singing "Hallelujah."

This is the epitome of what this is all about. This gets to the very core of special summer events.

Here was a guy bravely performing an achingly beautiful song alone on a summer night as hundreds of people leisurely strolled by digging on whatever caught their attention.

We wandered slowly, stopping to poke and to peak, in and out of stores, in and out of tents and booths, talking to each other, considering and comparing treasures.

Carol bought a divine dress, I bought a used CD of Cajun music, we spent some and saved a lot.

We explored a couple of stores that we will go back and rediscover when things are quieter and the bank balance is louder.

Made a lot of mental notes.

Checked out three bands in three different locations.

One was good. We caught the last song of their set and it brought the funk.

One was so bad. They were playing "Old Time Rock 'N Roll" and it took me a minute or so to figure out what the hell they were playing. In addition there was a shirtless guy dancing wildly in front of the band with a cigarette up his nose.

I don't know if he was with the band or just some local working to attract woman with his charm.

The third band was more professional. Sponsored by The River - 92.5 - a great independent station in MA.

Heard two songs. One we liked. One we didn't.

We ended the night by strolling back the length of the street to a burrito place highly recommended by our son. Dos Amigos Burritos. Go there and rejoice.

We had to WAIT. It was close to 9:00 but the place was hopping.

We finally got the food and dragged it back to a table. These burritos were so big, so stuffed, so heavy, they looked like tree trunks.

Goddamn delicious.

And they served booze. Thankfully. I didn't expect that. I really wanted a beer to wash down the grub but all the beer had been consumed. So I had a weak margarita.

As any sophisticate knows, on a summer night even a weak margarita is better than no margarita at all.

We began the casual stroll back to The Peace Mobile and heard dialogue and laughter.

Red River Theatres was showing "Duck Soup" on an outdoor screen.

Carol had mentioned this to me earlier in the day but I shot the idea down because I didn't want to be out too late seeing as how I am working in Hell today and all.

What a wimp.

We stopped. We laughed. At The Marx Brothers. With the audience. Together.

Red River had set up bleachers, a lot of people had their own chairs.

Another quintessential summer experience.

We hung for fifteen minutes or so, then hit the road.

Last night was a summer night. A real summer night.

A night Carol and I shared together. Walking, talking, shopping, laughing, eating, listening to music, digging on a movie.

We even made it home early enough to catch The Sox beating the royals.

Summer, man.

Summer is life at the right pace.

I Can Eat Those Like It's My Job

I was recently reading a profile of a guy in a prominent newspaper.

They asked him a variety of questions, one of which was "What are your guilty pleasures?"

He answered: "M&M Peanuts. I can eat those like it's my job."

I never heard that line before. It is a great one.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Bob Costas Is The Devil

 Wednesday night Carol and I watched an MSNBC show we taped over the July 4th weekend.

It was one of their political/news junkies devoting a serious chunk of his show to sports.

Specifically Bob Costas.

Bob is one intense dude.

Steve Kornacki, the host, began by referencing the controversial quotes Costas has made over the years.

Costas' eyes literally lit up as he dove into this topic. His whole demeanor immediately went into intensity mode. He looked almost maniacal.

Kind of like The Devil.

And he never gave it up. Every answer, every discussion was over the top for Bob.

It was a great show. They covered a lot of relevant, a lot of controversial topics. The twisted relationship between college athletics, academia and money; violence in football, why football has enormously eclipsed baseball as the countries' most popular sport, Donald Sterling,  and much more.

Costas even criticized and challenged MSNBC for being soft on their coverage of some controversial issues.

Costas is good because he is intelligent and he mixes in political commentary with sports coverage in a way that he explained, and I agree with, is non obtrusive. He doesn't interrupt broadcasts to mount his pedestal. He ties in current topics with whatever sport he is covering in a way that flows. He does not introduce random topics just to bully from the pulpit.

My kids will kill me for writing those words.

The show got even better when they moved on to a mock game show. Question and answer covering sports, politics, history, entertainment and more.

There were two other guests on the show who participated in the discussion and in the game.

Frank Deford, who I also like ( my kids will kill me for that too) and Mike Pesca, who I don't even know.

Costas got incredibly intense during the game. His eyes were beacons of laser light. He was incredibly competitive.

I felt bad for Deford - he got his ass kicked but come on, for Christ sake, the guy is 75 years old. At the very least he couldn't slam the buzzer as quickly as the other two guys.

Costas didn't care. He was like a bomb ready to explode.

And he lost. He lost to Pesca and you could see Costas was visibly pissed about it.

Bob Costas is The Devil.

But he's got balls.

I like him for that.

Condemned To Die

As I was driving to The Asylum yesterday I passed a work crew getting instructions.

I pass a tree service business every day. The boss was out there surrounded by four or five guys and he was talking to them. It was obviously not a social conversation; he was giving them instructions.

Felt like an old school scene of employment.

The business is probably small, probably not a large number of employees.

The relationship of the employees one to another and with their boss is probably intimate.

Face to face day by day.

Not a lot of memos flying around, no policy and procedure manuals that must be read and initialed.

Disputes probably get settled directly.

Contrast this with the organization I work for. The New Hampshire State Liquor Commission.

An organization that is corrupt and inefficient. Bloatedly bureaucratic. Exploitive of and uncaring for its employees. Standing on the backs of part time employees who outnumber full timers exponentially. Management is blatantly phony in its dealing with employees. Many lies are involved.

In other words, an organization that follows the current business model in America.

There is no loyalty on the part of the majority of employees. Sarcasm is the overwhelming point of view.

The entire working experience is negative.

The tree service has its share of negativity, I'm sure. Guys who call the boss an asshole behind his back. Guys who goof off at every opportunity. Employee vs employee feuds. Inefficiencies.

These are the sterling qualities of the human race.

But I'm betting that these poisons are exposed quickly and dealt with directly. I'm guessing that management is in touch with the workforce and cares about attitude because attitude directly impacts performance.

What I saw yesterday was a throwback to a time when there was more of a balance between the work employees provide and the employment the boss makes possible.

This situation will soon be dead.

Corrupt, mean spirited organizations like The New Hampshire State Liquor Commission will be the only option.

As Leonard Cohen says in "The Future" : "I've seen the future, brother: it is murder."

Everything Was Perfect

"Everything was perfect because everything was allowed to just be."

I woke up this morning with that sentence in my head.

At first I admired it because I liked the sound of it. Then I began to wonder why my brain, working through sleep, focused on those words.

As I push to change in 2014 so I can get a glimpse of my real life, turbulence ensues. I have been quite vocal in what I want, what I am trying to do. Being vocal as part of an overall attempt to change the vibe.

This sort of honesty invites opinions.

And advice.

Everybody has advice to  give. Which is ironic because there are very few people in the world who are not crazy in the head.

An incredibly small per centage of the human race is qualified to give advice.

To an extent, I appreciate some of the advice. It can be helpful to get another perspective. Especially when you are desperate.

Desperation is not a solid basis for making life changing decisions.

Then again, as I view the words I just wrote, my emotions ask - why not? Why not use desperation as a motivator?

If you are that unhappy there is no time for incremental change. Decisions made from desperation result in explosive change.

I have noticed that some advice focuses on huge weaknesses in my character. This advice is painful.

I believe there is good intent involved, but when somebody offers advice that is really deep seated criticism of flaws in your hurts pretty good.

It is also a form of braggadocio on the advice givers part; insinuating that they are so much stronger than you.

"Everything was perfect because everything was allowed to just be."

I'm thinking my life would have flowed harmoniously if I was allowed to just be. To evolve naturally. If I allowed myself to just be.

I am easily swayed by the court of public opinion, and this is my downfall. Now that I am fighting for my life I am attracting more public opinion. And while I am looking for help the defense mechanisms set in to minimize the pain.

Logic becomes contorted.

It feels (hopefully this is not wishful thinking) that I am at a crossroads. It feels like if I keep my fists up I may get to the gorgeous tropical island of existence I have always dreamed of.


I guess I have to weather the storm. I don't think any of the advice givers are trying to hurt me.

If I can pick and choose the advice, handle my emotions and defenses, maybe I will get to the point where I can just be.

Pau Gasol

I'm glad my name is not Pau Gasol.

The name has a hard edge to it. Sounds kind of combative.

Besides, if my name was Pau Gasol, my parents would be confused.

January In July

On my commute to The Asylum yesterday morning it was 61 degrees.

This morning I awoke and dressed in flannel pants, a T-shirt, long sleeve fleece pullover and sat under a blanket as I absorbed coffee and Cheever.

If we do not get 3 weeks of 90 plus degree high humidity days in November I will detonate the personal sized nuclear device I have hidden under my recliner.

Monday, July 14, 2014

My Parachute Is Black

I am being worked on, tinkered with, re-adjusted and re-aligned.

Seeing a shrink. Visitng Chiro man. Regular visits to Dr. Feelgood to monitor the blood pressure.

I am like an antique car that is being restored.

Got to thinking about this as I schedule, re-schedule and shuffle these visits to fit in with my joke of a work schedule.

I guess this is where you get to in life as the body begins to fail, past sins begin to catch up and the mind screams for answers.

They are concrete reminders of the ravages of age and the insecurities of the mind but I guess I am OK with it. If I want to mine the next ten years for peace, I gotta be in the right shape and the right frame of mind to do it.

Still it is a bit odd. At least for a stubborn old coot like me who despises asking for help.

Part of the reason I am mired so deep in a mud hole of insecurity and underachievement is precisely because I refuse to ask for help or advice.

Even when I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that I needed some kind of guidance, I would avoid it and stumble through assuming I could figure things out for myself.

A big part of the problem is the inefficiency of the professionals who are out there to help you.

Decades a go I went to a couple of career counselors. People who are supposed to asses your experience and qualifications and guide you through a career change. This was when I was pretending to be an accountant and every day consisted of spreadsheets and nightmares.

The experts I visited were condescending and ineffective. Wimpy types who were proud of their spacious offices and the wonderful fees they collected from desperate people.

I also thumbed through "What Color Is Your Parachute - A Practical Manual For Job Hunters And Career Changers", a thousand times. Proved to be an excellent sleep aid.

Dealt with many head hunters. Many. These people are the worst. You tell them what you have done and what you are looking for and they listen attentively.

Then they go ahead and do whatever they want to, regardless of your wishes.

God forbid you should try to change course even a little bit. You end up interviewing for the exact same type of job you already have because they are the easiest for the headhunter to fill.

Which provides the quickest commission.

Head hunters for temporary position are the slimiest of the slime. I visited one once and told him I would pretty much take anything except warehouse jobs. Especially warehouse jobs requiring the use of tools.

Put a tool in my hand and I sweat blood.

The first job he lined up for me was in a warehouse dismantling computers.

I took it.

I never sought out psychological help before but I read tons of stuff that I thought would help me. Including a few wimpy self-help books.

Waste of time.

I know from talking to a few people that there are a lot of counselors out there who treat patients like children. "Make a list of this, write down that, every day, blah blah blah."

What is so sad about all this is that there are entire industries built on the distress of the average Joe. Industries that market themselves as if they will focus in on your needs with laser-like accuracy and intensity to help you get the life that you want.

When their intent from ground zero is to get paid. Period.

Regardless of what you have asked for, regardless of what your concerns are, regardless of your psychological welfare.

These industries are huge because the distress of 99% of the people in the world is overwhelming. People suffering through soul crushing jobs, people who are broken and lost, bleeding and innocently looking for guidance from piranha.

Anyway......................... I am being worked on, tinkered with, re-adjusted and re-aligned.

It is all for the good. I like the shrink because he challenges me like an adult. No baby exercises, no insulting homework. Chiro man and Dr. Feelgood are forcing me to focus on my health.

Yeah I am sixty and occasionally wonder if it is worth it. Is it too late?

It would be so much easier to sit in my recliner with a bottomless tumbler of whiskey watching re-runs of Baretta.

But what I have left of my life is all I have to work with. I haven't done much with what has gone past. Might as well take at least one serious shot at actually "Doing" something with my life.

I am not giving up. Giving it a real shot.

And you can take that to the bank.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

For Carol

I would like to see the Red Sox turn things around for Carol.

She is a mad Red Sox fan and it is one of the things I love about her.

We have watched so many games that images of The Sox are burned into the screen. Sometimes I will look up with the TV off and see Dwight Evans running across the screen. Or Wade Boggs. Roger Clemens. Kevin Millar. Dave Roberts stealing second base. Did he really do that? Wow.

Manny, Pedro, Schilling, Damon.

You get the point.

She watches night after night with hope in her heart, and more often than not ends the night with disappointment on her face.

She never gives up. She never will.

They win two in a row and they are on a winning streak. Until they lose the next night 8 to 1, stranding 13 runners in the process.

It is a painful year to watch. Especially after the emotional high that last year's championship created in the stricken but not defeated city of Boston.

They need to string a bunch of wins together. So that I know Carol is happy and comfortable on that couch.

Instead of sitting there fearing another collapse to loss.

Small things make us happy. Because most of us cannot afford large things. So we settle. We compromise.

The Red Sox make Carol happy. Even though we watch them on a tiny, little, forty something inch screen.

She enjoys the games. She enjoys Don and Jerry and especially Eck and Don. She is knowledgeable about the players and what is going on and she digs their personalities.

Like Johnny Gomes with the helmet fixation.

I just know that she would be happier if they were winning. If they were in contention.

This is what I want for her.

Maybe after the All Star break.......................


"The only things Mick and I disagree about, is the band, the music and what we do."

Keith Richards

A Concentration Of Stupidity

My neighbors are morons, they have always been morons, they will always be morons.

It is the irony of my life that we moved out to the country in 1986 for some peace, which we have experienced in large measure, except for the idiot neighbors who live 6 inches away.

The other houses in the neighborhood are spaced out comfortably. Unfortunately my neighbors house sits behind our house in exceptionally close proximity.

They have been noisy and inconsiderate since the day we met them. I remember they invited us over for a drink early on and as we sat in their yard we got that unmistakable radar sense that we could never connect with these people.

I think the drink was an attempt at détente; they used to live just down the road and when they bought this house all the neighbors said to us "Good luck."

At that time their kids were young, our kids were young. My memory is foggy but I think the parents were loud in party and entertainment.


My memory is crystal clear regarding their children. When they were old enough they had LOUD parties well into the morning when mom and pop were away. Caused a great deal of friction between us.

Also this is the kind of family, as the kids were growing up, that felt it makes perfect sense to have the kids running up and down the driveway on four wheelers and snowmobiles.

Up and down, back and forth.

In other words - constant noise.

The kids have been gone a while now and truthfully we have been enjoying much more peace.

Mom and pop still live there, the daughter lives there with her kids, others live there as well. I don't know who.

I sat down a short while ago and listened to some guy over there yelling at his dog. "Come here. Come here now. Don't do that. I said don't do that. Don't be a bad dog. Get over here now. Right now."

It occurred to me there is a concentration of stupidity in that house. As if, no matter who lives there, ever, they will be stupid and obnoxious.

I think if an intelligent couple ever came to look at the house for sale they would be repelled just walking in the door. Like walking into a wall of overwhelming stench.

Stupid people would be at home immediately. Especially if they fly an American flag from the back of their over sized and over priced pickup truck, and drink Natty Light.

This idiot does not train his dog and then gets mad when it won't listen.

This is also how the kids were raised over there.

Mom and pop put down roots of stupidity that took hold. Deeply and irrevocably.

A tradition that was proudly passed on to their offspring and has now infected every tenant of the place whether related or not.

The truly frightening thing is that this type of mentality spreads like weeds.

This is why reality shows dominate the airwaves.

This stuff spreads, because these people procreate like rabbits and because it is easier to be stupid than to be intelligent.

(Editor's note: I fear some of this low brain function disease has seeped into our well water. The fact that I have spent years in here and decades of my life whining about my unhappiness without doing anything about it, does not bring judgment of me down on the side of intelligence.)

That's about it for now. Except that somebody next door has a loud machine running that I cannot even identify. The sound is not immediately classifiable.

Faint stirrings of poisonous hatred threaten to ruin my day.

The Fragility Of Peace

After spending a little over an hour in the recliner with a cup of coffee and a book, circumstances forced him to put an end to it.

He felt the serenity of his day shattered.

Friday, July 11, 2014

The Pompous And Indecisive Rich

The NFL owners had their annual meeting recently, part of which was dedicated to rules changes and proposals.

I picture this annual ego fest as an amazing and entertaining thing. These guys are mega rich, most have warped egos, I'm guessing the majority are dedicated drinkers, and I doubt any of them is even aware of the definition of the word "compromise."

I like the fact that these guys have bizarre egos and personalities. Football lends itself to that because of the life or death quality to it. Plus these guys are rich and pampered. Why shouldn't they strut on stage?

If I owned a football team you would see endless pictures of me with my flamboyant socks and cheap jewelry.

My stadium would play nothing but Allman Brothers music.

But I digress.

So these guys meet to discuss important issues.

The results reveal their priorities.

"Extend the uprights to make them five feet taller." This passed.

I am breathing a sigh of relief. I have obsessed about goal posts since I was a wee lad. Used to ask my dad "How come the goalposts have two legs? Wouldn't one column in the middle make more sense?"

My Dad typically replied "When are you going to start using your head for something else besides a hat rack?"

Later on in life I became convinced that the uprights should be five feet taller.

I feel vindicated.

"Protect players from getting the sides of their legs rolled up on." Passed. The rule previously said that blockers could not hit an opponent in the "back of the legs". The new rule added "or side."

Wow. This will extend games by 45 minutes as referees decide and coaches argue what exactly constitutes "back" and or "side." The intent is noble. The execution will be comical.

"Don't stop the clock on a sack." Passed.

I have lost sleep over this in the past. My health should improve.

"Enforce defensive fouls behind the line of scrimmage from the previous spot, rather than from the end of the run or from the spot of the foul." Passed.

I don't even understand that one.

Here's some stuff that was tabled or failed.

"Eliminate overtime in the preseason." Tabled.

Are you kidding me? Nobody wants overtime in the preseason. Not even the players. OT in preseason is like an offer from your dentist to give you an additional half hour in his chair to tinker with your teeth and gums once the primary goal has been accomplished.

Wow. That was a tortured sentence.

"Expand instant replay to include personal foul penalties." Failed.

Sounds like the NFL is trying to shift focus away from its vicious nature and the diseased mentality of some of its Ndamukongsuhplayers.

"Put six cameras on all boundary lines - side line, goal line, end line, to guarantee coverage for replay reviews." Tabled.

They couldn't make a decision on that? Are you kidding me? The Wild Turkey must have been free flowing at that point.

"Permit a home team with a retractable roof to open or close its roof at halftime, instead of having to determine at the start of the game whether it is open or closed." Tabled.

That is a controversial issue. I understand the non-decision. I also understand that the strippers had taken the stage by that point in the meeting.

OK. I won't go into all of them. I know you are bored.

These bozos should all emulate the Robert Kraft school of NFL ownership.

Except for the shirts with the different colored collars.

Killer Sentence


From "The Chimera".

He is describing a parade, the "annual march of some provincial and fraternal order."

Describing the marchers he says (and you better duck): "In the ranks I saw faces lined by drink, harried by hard work, wasted by worry, and stamped invariably with disappointment, as if the gala procession was meant to prove that life is a force of crushing compromise."

I have decided to describe this man as brilliant. Brilliant is not a word I use much except to describe myself and Guinness Stout.

I am plowing my way through 700 pages of this man's words and I am thrilled. The stories suck me in, the writing is superb, his insights are killer.

He makes me forget my unhappiness.

There is a definite tone to the stories. a way of wording things. Even when I get a little complacent, like starting a story and thinking "OK, here we go again", he throws me a curve. A curve that  focuses my brain and vibrates my soul.

AND THEN I read two stories this morning that just blew me away with the originality.

"A Miscellany Of Characters That Will Not Appear". He writes about characters you will never see in his stories. Gives seven examples.

And he turns each example into a mini story. Unbelievable. Creative. Amusing.

Only one example is short and sweet. #2 says only: "All parts for Marlon Brando."

"The Chimera" is about an imaginary mistress a guy creates for himself to escape his boring marriage. The story is so well written that you are not sure if the mistress is imaginary or real. Cheever throws in so much detail, little things, precise descriptions of the life of the mistress in this guy's mind that you are forced to wonder.

He also throws in observations. The guy wanders out to his tiny porch sometimes to think about his mistress. He looks at his other male neighbors standing on their tiny porches and wonders if they have imaginary mistresses too. Wonders if he walks over and says "Mine is a red head, what color hair does yours have?", will his neighbor know exactly what he is talking about with no pretense?

I discovered John Cheever by reading a book exploring the relationship between alcoholism and great writers. I knew the name, had heard of the man, but I was certainly not actively pursuing his writing.

Now I realize that having his words in my life enriches my existence.

Amazing where inspiration comes from.

Thursday, July 10, 2014


"To me, a real patriot is like a real friend. Who's your real friend? It's the person who tells you the truth. That's who my real friends are. So, you know, I think as far as our country goes, we need more people who will do that."

Bill Maher

I Lied

Told you I met July 1 head on and with a calm demeanor.

Actually, on that day it was true.

Since then.............................I see the date everywhere I look. Counting, counting, counting.

Today is July 10. July 10. July 10.

Even given all the cool things we have done since the weather pretended to be and occasionally is accommodating, I feel squeezed. Feel like time is running out.

Even though I have lots of cool stuff lined up in my crippled brain, even though I have not given up at all, still, I am feeling squeezed.

January 1, 2014 did me in. In good ways, in bad ways.


Spurred me to action. Actions I have taken, actions that brought me great joy in the company of my amazing wife, my sons, their women and my brother.

And there will be more now that I know that to make things happen you gotta expend some effort.

60 also made the ticking of the clock deafening. It has always been that way with me, but now it is so bad that if a nuclear device were detonated next to my recliner as I gobbled up the drivel on the NFL network..............I would not hear it.

Just the clock. TICK.TICK.TICK.

I won't jump out any windows. Because it has been a good year on a personal level. And will continue to be so.

It is a good feeling when the soul gets nourished. Beyond self-love, the best way to feed a soul is by spending time with the people you love in a no judgement zone. Doing fun stuff. Smiling. Laughing. Just talking. Talking for real. No bullshit.

I am so incredibly lucky to have the family that I have. These people are real. They are diverse, intelligent, positive, warm and loving.

How did this happen? Out of the 7 billion on this planet, how did I become related to this bunch?

Who the hell cares. It is magnificent.

I have a lot to look forward to and I am going to make it happen as much as possible.

But maybe I should speed things up.

Double headers, maybe triple headers digging the Fishercats.

Maybe I should give up sleep completely.

I am working on it.

You know I will keep you posted.

Ciao, baby.


This shrink thing is getting pretty intense.

I was so wound up when I walked out of Session 3 on Tuesday that I think I blew the receptionist's hair back. Went about scheduling the next appointment, I was explaining that my work schedule is insane so let's just pick a day and if I can't make it I'll call.

But I must have been intense. Because she kind of looked up at me strangely.

I was worked up emotionally. This is the first time that has happened.

I spend each session talking about the poisons and disruptions and distortions and tortures that have festered inside of me since I became a sentient being (assuming that has even happened). I notice that my emotions keep rising to the surface.

In addition, the shrinkmeister pokes away in an attempt to point out the fallacies in my thinking and to gently prod me towards more positive thought processes.

For some reason I came out of there feeling raw.

This time around we dug into the work environment. He was trying to find a way to inspire me to walk through The Door To Hell with a positive attitude rather than the suffocating dread I feel every work day. Asked me how I would prefer to feel as I walk in each day.

I answered saying "I don't want to feel like this, I don't want to think like this, I don't want to come across like this................"

He stopped me and asked "Do you realize you are answering in the negative? That everything about you is vibing to the negative when I was trying to prompt you towards positive feelings?".

I told him how I am often described as negative and dark and how I am tired of it because............and I went into my typical speech. I am not a pessimist, I am a realist, I am not dark I just have a dry sense of humor.

But I couldn't get through it. I started stammering and hesitating, which blew me away. I hesitated because I began to doubt the truth of my words. This is what he does to me and this is one of the results that I really dig.

As I was spewing I was thinking "Maybe this is all bullshit."

He asked in what situations I am comfortable in work and I told him the only time I am comfortable is when I am alone. That any time I have to deal with any human, I get self conscious and shaky.

This seemed to catch him off guard because he got quiet.

I filled the void by going on to opine that maybe the biggest part of my problem at work is that I feel the job is so far beneath me. That I am too intelligent to be working such a meaningless job. Nothing I do at work - nothing - means anything to me. It all feels like an enormous waste of time.

Told him that I am a creative person to the core and that is how I should be making a living. That I am not a biz-i-ness man.

Understand - when I say I am too intelligent for the job, what I am saying is that my intelligence, my talents lie elsewhere. In relation to the job I have - I am an idiot.

I told him there is a voice inside me that tells me I am above average in intelligence, talent and charisma, a voice that screams silently in frustration because outwardly I am a failure.

He seized on this. Grabbed on with both hands. Said this is an enormous issue, that it sounds to him like my whole life is tortured with unfulfillment because I feel I am doing the wrong things. That my frustration consumes me because even though I know I can do much better I have never been able to get there. That this perception of unfulfilled potential eats away at me.

I have always said the worst words to be engraved on my tombstone would be, "He had potential."

He said this could be THE major issue, or at least right there at the top of the list of the things that twist me into a depraved pretzel.

That was how the session ended.

I walked out of there with my mind reeling and promptly blew the receptionist's hair back.

I am pretty sure I know how the next session will begin.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Dig This One Deeply

"What is a poet? An unhappy person who conceals profound anguish in his heart but whose lips are so formed that as sighs and cries pass over them they sound like beautiful music."


That is exquisite.

Apparently Soren was a poet at heart.


"I am having so much fun performing, I feel almost guilty. I think, my God, I hope no one comes and busts me for this."

David Crosby

One Dead Person


From "The Death Of Justina".

"I thought suddenly of the neglected graves of my three brothers on the mountainside and that death is a loneliness much crueler than any loneliness hinted at in life. The soul (I thought) does not leave the body but lingers with it through every degrading stage of decomposition and neglect, through heat, through cold, through the long winter nights when no one comes with a wreath or a plant and no one says a prayer."

That could possibly be the most painful, the least hopeful sentence ever written in the English language.

Jesus, it floored me.

I am indecisive about this whole soul thing (surprised?). I want to believe in a soul, it is a poetic concept. The idea that there is this ethereal part of me that is the real me, the pure me, the same now as it was on January 1, 1954, is a concept I dig.

But if I have a soul I want it to fly like an eagle when I croak. I want it released from my body to soar the way I probably never will in my lifetime.

I visualize my soul bursting free from the abused body and battered mind it has dealt with for a lifetime, gulping down lungfuls of peace and truth as it experiences sweet, pure freedom of existence.

Hopefully souls cannot be damaged. If they are vulnerable in any way, I shudder to think what I have done to my own.

They can't be vulnerable, right? Because what would be the point if they were?

So, yeah, I want to believe in the soul. My soul.

But maybe it is not ethereal. Maybe it is just the real me that I am chipping away to get at.

Maybe my soul is that thing that if and when I finally get to meet face to face I can say "Jesus Christ, it is so damn good to see you." That thing that will give me such a sense of release when recognized that the rest of my life will pale by way of comparison.

I refuse to believe that my soul will stick around and suffer through the decomposition of The Joe. That it will lie in black horror festering into eternity until my bones become dust.

The soul thing fascinates me also because my mind recoils at the idea that when I die there is nothing. No Joe-trace.

The whole theory of evolution leaves me wanting.

That it was and is random. That I will just cease to exist and that no part of me will remain to torture the universe with twisted logic.

This shit drives me crazy. I am so close to death that I can taste it. Even if I live to be 90 I am shoulder to shoulder with death, compared to our relationship when I was 23.

Is it necessary for me to make a decision? To get off the goddamn fence and commit?

Soul or no soul. Life goes on, life comes to a screeching halt.

Christ, I don't know.

Is there a penalty in eternity for not making a decision?

If just one dead person would come back to explain it all to me I could breath a lot easier.

Here's A Sentence For You

Cheever again.

From "Clementina": "If people married for love, the world would not be a place in which to live, it would be a hospital for the mad."

Tuesday, July 8, 2014


"If you don't know the blues...........there's no point in picking up the guitar and playing rock and roll or any other form of popular music."

Keith Richards

Under Pressure

I am putting a little pressure on myself this week.

Trying to be more disciplined. 2014 is slipping away. I am still 60 and still wearing a ridiculous purple shirt complete with offensive logo and childish name tag.

It has occurred to me from time to time that discipline is the key to everything.

This cuts against my grain. I prefer to be a free spirit, unshackled by rules and expectations.

Look how far that has gotten me.

Let's face it. You look at crazy ass rock people like, say, Keith Richards for example. As wild and free and insane as the man you have any idea how many hours the man has spent practicing his guitar? Learning it? Studying and learning music?

More than you and I have ever put into anything and ever will.

People stereotype him as a lunatic. The truth is he is a dedicated, focused, hard working professional.

You think Eric Clapton just picked up a guitar and started wailing? Carlos Santana? Jimmy Page?

I need more discipline.

I am working late through Thursday. This means I go in late. This means I have a chunk of each morning.

To achieve.

Instead of sleeping late I am up early. Doing stuff. Constructive stuff. Dragging off to work with some sense of accomplishment.

Trying to create a rhythm of success.

New approaches. That is what 2014 means to me. New approaches to arrive at different destinations.

To land in places where my eyes have a different perspective. A different perspective to stimulate my brain.

Discipline. I still hate the sound of it. Reminds me of To Do lists, which I also despise. And which my cold hearted boss believes in, of course.

But if I am going to evolve I need to do things differently.

Obviously, given the rock 'n roll references, it is possible to embrace discipline without losing your soul.

This is what I am shooting for.

Wish me luck.

Old Guys Talking Baseball

Love to listen to old guys talk baseball.

Couple of older dudes who come into the store. One guy is a mad Red Sox fan. So much so that he couldn't wait to buy the cheap Red Sox wine. He read about it on line and drove me crazy asking me if we got it in yet every time he waltzed into the store. He was ecstatic when it arrived. And saddened when it sold out.

Always wears a Red Sox hat. We talk a lot. I like him.

The other guy probably doesn't watch sports. That's my impression anyhow. I think he's the kind of guy who talks sports because that is what guys talk about. He looks a little rougher around the edges. Like he's waging war on his liver.


Last week they were in the store at the same time. They don't know each other but Liver War heard Fanatic talking to me about The Sox so he joined in.

Fanatic was talking about trading the whole team and starting over. Lester, Peavey, Buchholz, Drew, Victorino, Gomes - these and more were on his list. He is ready to clean house.

I notice when Sox fans talk drastically, Big Papi's name never comes up. This pleases me. It reflects a bit of the old school player loyalty that I miss.

Liver War walks over and starts talking about how The Sox cannot drive in runs. He proceeds to stand at an imaginary plate with an imaginary bat on his shoulder to demonstrate how all the hitters do is take pitches and get called out.

His posture suggested to me that he has never held a bat in his hands in his life.

But it was cool. I enjoyed the conversation.

Got me thinking about me and my sons. I am somewhat knowledgeable about sports. My sons are encyclopedic. They know everything and everyone.

When we talk I feel comfortable up to a point. Then I have to shut up.

My opinions are not entirely fact based and my logic is flawed. My sons blow me away with what they know and, more than that, what they intuit. They take their knowledge and use it as a base to hold intelligent, subtly nuanced conversations that reveal an understanding of each sport that I just don't have.

To them, I am the old guy talking baseball.

I aim to change that this year. I have said that before but this is 2014. And as you know I am a man on a mission in 2014.

My plan is to know everything about THE PATS, football being THE passion of the sports world for me. Gonna read up and digest.

Also going to try to understand the game better. Learn things I do not currently know. Like how to anticipate how a nickel defense will react to a west coast offense.     ????????????????

I am already well on my way. I now know that THE PATS have this pretty boy QB named Tom Brady who has put up some stats and wears a lot of rings.

That is a solid base to work from.

Wish me luck.

Monday, July 7, 2014


"Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes."

Walt Whitman

Gary Oldman

Reading this month's Playboy interview with Gary Oldman.

He used a quote, an old saying, as he put it, that I have never heard before. "The mediocre are always at their best." I like that. It is appropriate to so many people. It describes me.

For now.

He said something that is really dead on.

"Reality TV to me is the museum of social decay."

Absolutely perfect.

The Beauty Of Technology

No point in voice mail.

People do not listen to voice mail messages anymore. Used to be when you called someone and they did not answer, you got redirected to voice mail and left a message explaining why you called. When it suited them, the call-ee would then listen to the message and call you back armed with pertinent information.

Today you get re-directed to voice mail to waste your breath. The call-ee at some point merely scans the phone to see who calls and then returns the call without having listened to the message.

This amuses me. They call you back and say "What's up? I see you called."

What do you mean, what's up? I just told you what's up. I took the time to record words into your device and you ignored them.

Me being a word guy, I usually leave creative messages. Give me a blank page or something to record on and I am going to try not to bore you. And truthfully, to entertain myself with my limitless wit and ingenuity.

All this effort is wasted. I am putting stuff out there that is evaporating into the stratosphere. Stuff that should be written down and savored, to be drawn back up out of the dark at my funeral service where people can say "Joe once left me this message that just cracked me up. You gotta here it. This is a perfect example of who Joe was."

"What's up? I see you just called."

Another example of the communications breakdown Led Zeppelin sang of on their mind blowing first album.

Actually the song had nothing to do with this topic. But the title fits and it is an awesome song.

Another wedge driven between humanity by technology.

I suppose I should be pleased that my calls are returned. The call-ee could look at their tiny little universe, I mean screen, and say "Oh no, I'm not returning this bozo's call." For the most part, that does not happen.

As far as I know.

Ironically enough the more technologically advanced we become, the less we communicate.

A brief aside: Another observation made during our amazing trip to Fenway in April: We drove part way towards Boston then hopped on trains. The trains were crowded. I scanned the crowd and wondered to myself "Who is the psycho killer about to explode in fists of rage?"

However, that is not the observation I meant to share. I noticed on that day the perfect use for "smart" phones.

People sat in their seats or stood shoulder to shoulder staring numbly at their glowing little screens. It was the perfect excuse to achieve anonymity in a crowd. Used to be you had to find a spot on the wall to stare at that would not give the person opposite you the impression you were staring at them. This was not easy to do for long periods in a dense crowd.

Now all you gotta do is look down at the magical device in your hand and voila - you are alone.

We have certainly come a long way.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Dig (?)

"Never let your head hang down. Never give up and sit down and grieve. Find another way. And don't pray when it rains if you don't pray when the sun shines."

Richard M. Nixon

Airport Security

Heard some talk in the news the other day about the possibility of increased terrorist activity.

Our response is more airport security.

Frisking more people, probably banning more objects of travel, maybe utilizing more intimidating stares.

Our concept of airport security to me is like holding a toothpick in front of your face to defend against the guy who is coming at you with a Samurai sword.

I imagine terrorists laughing at the increase in airport frenzy. They must roll around the floor in amused disbelief.

Taking your shoes off, forfeiting your tube of Sensodyne toothpaste, handing over your nail clippers; these methods seem laughable to me.

Terrorists thing big. We think small.

I want to believe that there are big things going on behind the scenes to attempt to neutralize these threats. I mean huge things, intelligent, crafty things, things that will result in the prevention of terrorist attacks, things that will punish terrorists severely and cruelly for any death and damage they may cause.

I am sure this is true but I am not cognitively aware of them because I do not have a super secret, high level security clearance.

Christ, I have to ask Carol's permission just to read the paper lest I randomly come across something my eyes are not qualified to see.

But this airport security stuff. I am baffled.

My sense of the situation is that the people who are conducting these procedures are low paid, law enforcement wannabes.

I just went to the TSA website and checked out the airport security careers section. Specifically a job with the title "Transportation Security Officer."

Duties and Responsibilities: (In part) -  "Implements security screening procedures that are central to  TSA objectives and that will serve to protect the traveling public by preventing any deadly or dangerous objects from being transported onto an aircraft."

Key Skills: (In full) - "Ability to learn the theories, dynamics and factors underlying the aviation screening process to enable authoritative and independent handling of screening functions. Ability to learn to operate basic security equipment such as X-ray machines and hand wands at screening checkpoints. Ability to work with persons of diverse backgrounds. Ability to communicate non- technical information effectively to others."

I may be wrong but I don't think these jobs should be the kind you can find listed in the Help Wanted section of the local paper.

I think maybe these people should be more like Navy Seals. Highly trained with the ability to handle complex weaponry and the intuition, based on intense training, to immediately assess people and situations accurately.

It is possible that my approach is all wrong. Maybe the airport security situation is meant to be laughable. Maybe the strategy is to amuse terrorists to take the edge off. Lower their intensity.

So they won't be looking when a drone flies up behind them and blows their heads off.

One Has To Stop And Consider

When one wakes up on July 5th to a 60 degree morning, no humidity, strong breeze, trees swaying, and one's thoughts immediately turn to football - not in a lucid kind of way but in a reactive kind of way - one must stop and consider.

This ain't summer, baby. Summer is not supposed to mimic fall.

There are a hell of a lot of people out there who will say "Thank God the humidity is gone. It was awful. This is what I need."

Wrong. You don't get to have it both ways.

If you are going to defend winter with all that "I love the four seasons" crap, then you need to suffer through summer. Experience summer. The real summer.

Summer is supposed to be hot and humid. Specifically, for people like me, it is the only time of year I am warm from the inside out, bones and all. The only fucking time I am comfortable in this godforsaken climate.

More generally, for the rest of the population, heat and humidity slow you down. Summer is designed to force you to apply the brake peddle so you can look around. It gives you an excuse to say "Fire up the barby, baby - we're doin' ribs and The Sox tonight."

Or "Baby, let's chow at that quaint outdoor grill we've been coveting", or "Honey Pie let's grab our cheap, worn out lawn chairs and attend that outdoor concert we always miss."

Or "Baby Doll, I'll mix up a pitcher full of strawberry margaritas and we'll sit by the garden and talk."

The whole point of summer, its very function as designed by Mother Nature herself, is to force us to take a look around. To slow our goddamn lives down and appreciate simple pleasures, warm nights, the ease and comfort of T-shirts and shorts, and each other's company.

Summer does this by dialing up the thermometer.

My entire body is in football mode this morning. Feels like I should turn on the television machine at 1:00 this afternoon to watch THE PATS demolish Seattle.

I am not thinking this. I am feeling it.

Just like flowers that bloom on a 93 degree April morning only to be frozen solid on a 42 degree May a.m.

It is a beautiful day. We are going to have fun today. Got plans. Plans that involve the outdoors.

But it ain't summer.

We'll be moving too fast. We'll have too much energy. We'll be thinking about our jobs and limited disposable income because our brains respond to the cold.

Brains should slog in the summer. They should function intermittently. They should be anesthetized by the heat.

In that condition, pain is greatly lessened and thoughts tend towards pleasure because it takes too much effort to fire up the neurons to consider responsible topics.

Each season serves a specific function.

Winter reminds us how stuck we are in our lives when we stick around to endure killer cold.

Spring gives birth to hope, which is vital to keep us doing what the world demands of us.

Fall exists only to bring us football.

Summer, yeah summer is the season that makes us realize that we are human. It slows us down and forces us to see the good things in our lives that we spend the rest of the year rushing past.

Enjoy today. But do not tell me that it is a beautiful summer day. Do not tell me that this is what summer should be.

If some have to suffer through New England's infamous 10 month winter, than some have to suffer through summer. Real summer, hot and humid.

You don't get to have it both ways.