Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Postscript to Feeling (Alive?)

After I put down the previous words I went to Youtube to listen to "Dancing In The Sky" by Dani & Lizzy.

First time.

It broke me.

The lyrics are hopeful. They make great sense in relation to Jonathan's life.

"Now tell me, what do you do in heaven? Are your days filled with love and light? Is there music? Is there art and invention? Tell me, are you happy? Are you more alive?"

  There is also a recognition of the void.

""Cause here on earth it feels like everything good is missing since you left, and here on earth everything's different, there's an emptiness."

The chorus brings back the magic.

"I hope you're dancing in the sky, and I hope you're singing in the angel's choir, and I hope the angels know what they have, I bet it's so nice in heaven since you arrived, since you arrived."

I hope the angels know what they have.

I hope so because we humans don't always know what we have and that is the definition of regret.

I listened to that song with tears streaming down my face.

I have cried enough tears today.

Carol and I have fielded three awful, painful, mind blowing phone calls since December.

I hope the next goddamn early morning phone call is from my sons or their women or my brother telling us they won 300 trillion dollars in the lottery.

Enough already.


Feeling (Alive?)

My emotions are running wild and running deep tonight so I suggest you duck.

I was driving home from another meaningless day at The Asylum and my mind was wandering.

Thinking I don't have meaningless days to waste. Wondering how I am going to get out of this. Thinking about the job I applied for with the wrong intent, thinking about how I withdrew the application for the right reasons.

Jonathan, Sarge and Kevin surfaced in my brain and I drove through tears.


Passed a few people walking dogs and succumbed to immediate peace.

I am such an animal lover. Deep, in awe, in wonder.

I look at fellow pet lovers, out walking their dogs and I get it - I connect with them immediately and deeply even though to them I am nothing more than another passing car; a broken commuter. My soul, my heart goes quiet. I smile. I feel.

Got home to a quiet house - Carol is indulging one of her loves - bowling - with her very close friends.

I hugged Maka and Lakota repeatedly. Kissed their heads gently and repeatedly.

Went upstairs and threw the bedroom sliders wide open so I could breathe what is real and the cats could be mesmerized.

They were.

On the way home I was listening to 92.5, The River. They ran a promo.

"For people who grew up with great music and still have a taste for what's next."

That's me. That is who I am.

That promo made me feel good about myself. I needed to feel good about myself.

I am 61. I grew up through The Beatles and The Stones and The Doors and Led Zeppelin and Jimi and Janice and Santana and The Allman Brothers and much, much, much, much more.

It was a magnificent time and I did not experience it as a backdrop to getting high or drunk or laid.

I experienced it in pure wonder at how the music made me feel and think and question and learn and be so goddamn alive.

I felt so goddamn alive listening to that music I could not sit still and I cannot sit still today.

I never lost that joy.

My sons turned me on to great music and I was grateful.

While my friends laughed at rap and grunge and nineties stuff, I got exposed to it because my sons made the effort and I was receptive.

Later on I fell in love with Mumford & Sons. American roots music. I dig Sam Smith. Adele. Florence and The Machine and on and on and on.

My supremely talented daughter (in-law) continues to blow my mind with her talent and passion and to turn me on to the supreme emotion and drama that is opera.

I grew up with great music and I still have a taste for what's next.

When I come up here to write, which is often, I am confronted with reminders.

To my left is a picture of me and Sarge and Kevin. Sometimes I look at that picture and I see Sarge's character and Kevin's smile and my gratefulness at being related to them.

Sometimes I see me alone.

Just to the left of that is a picture of Sarge standing at home looking down at Newman, Newman looking up at Sarge. A precious picture, especially to one who worships pets.

The first time we visited Maine after Sarge died, Kevin was sitting in Sarge's recliner. The next visit, after Kevin died, Newman was curled up in Sarge's recliner.

It made sense in an empty, painful way.

On the windowsill in front of me is a small urn with Jonathan's ashes.

It has been there since January 1, 2015. I have looked at it a lot.

I only opened it once. When I did I cried uncontrollably.

I will not open it again.

Next to Jonathan's urn is a lyric by Dani and Lizzy on a laminated card. "Dancing In The Sky." These words were read at Jonathan's burial.

A burial I missed because of fucking work obligations.

The lyrics are magnificent. The picture above the lyrics is of Jonathan standing arms wide in front of a lake at sunset. A lake where a friend of his used to take him to keep his mind off of heroin.

It is a picture in a spectacular setting at a moment when Jonathan was feeling free.

 I am struggling to get these words down tonight because I am struggling to hold back the tears.

In reality I am not holding back a goddamn thing. The tears are rolling down my face.

I am raw emotion and I will never apologize for that.

Tonight my emotions are all over the map.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

A Blazing Realization

It occurred to me this morning that if I am to move forward with my life I am going to have to make myself lighter.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Brad Marchand and Psych-101

Brad Marchand spent time with a sports psychiatrist prior to the start of the 2014-2015 Bruins season.

Took a lot of balls for him to admit to that. Especially in the NHL.

I could see baseball players admitting to that but nobody else. At least as far as the 4 majors go.

The NFL and the NHL are all about macho. Who the hell is going to admit to needing psychological assistance? Opposing players would target your psyche on every play.

The NBA is even more of a joke when it comes to feigned toughness. You ever watch NBA players attempt to fight? It is hilarious. Flailing away like limp windmills.

Yet they strut around like they are the toughest guys on the planet.

In their baggy shorts.

At least NHL fights are exciting. When the ref backs off and lets them go at it, every once in a while solid blows are landed and blood flows.

Ah, the beauty and grace of the fastest game on ice.

Apparently Marchand has a reputation for losing his mind on the ice. He also goes into scoring droughts triggered in part by his attitude.

I guess he is all bravado on the ice and in the locker room but not always on the inside. It is so hard to consider this when you are talking about an NHL player. These guys give the appearance of pure swagger, barely contained violence, on the ice.

From an article by CBS columnist Matt Kalman, Marchand said:

"Yeah, you know it's crazy in this game how if you miss a breakaway or even a penalty shot, those things can get in your head and you have to realize that you have to let it go," Marchand said. Talking about discussions he had with his line mates....."We found we were throwing pucks away for no reason, just because we weren't confident enough to hold onto it until there was a play to be made."

Not confident enough. These are words you never expect to hear spill out of the mouth of a pro athlete. In fact I believe it must be written into the unwritten code of sports - never admit to weakness, fear or self-doubt.

Even though these are supremely human attributes, especially in situations where your health and safety are at risk.

Like football and hockey.

From an article by WEEI columnist DJ Bean, Marchand said:

"You've got to realize what you are and what you bring to the table. Once you start thinking that you are something else and you're better than you actually are - I think a lot of guys tend to do that in this league. They get to a certain point and they think they're bigger then they are, bigger than other guys. I think that might have been a little bit of my case."

.............."In this game, I think in a lot of professional sports, guys get complacent. When you do that you make yourself replaceable."

These are heavy duty comments from a sports insider. A professional athlete. He is admitting to the things many fans suspect and complain about, especially when you ponder the money these guys make.

Marchand is having a pretty solid year this year.

I think all this head stuff is way over done these days. Feels to me like every difficult situation is treated like a horrendous psychological affliction. Like we are treating adults as children and pampering them beyond belief.

However, a little psychoanalysis properly conducted in the right situation can be of enormous benefit to a struggling human being.

This seems to be Marchand's experience.

 The fact that he has the guts to admit to it and to openly express truths about professional athletes that 99% of them would kill to cover up, says a lot about his character.

I spent a little time seeing a shrink and accomplished only a little. Of course my brain is pock marked with emotionally deficient craters, intelligence blockage and a little known psychological malady typically diagnosed as stubbornness.

I may get back to it when the 17 feet of snow in my yard melts.

Until then maybe I'll just watch the Bruins and live vicariously through Brad Marchand.

Pretending I am him as he smashes an opponent into the boards. And pretending that opponent is my boss.

See how much progress I have made?


Another old man thing.

I have talked about how people do not listen to voice mail messages. They just look at their phone, see who called and then call back.

As a creative person this drives me crazy. I leave great messages. Messages that go unheard.

I have recently noticed that some people do not bother to respond to E-mails. Apparently the only approved form of written electronic information is texting.

Again, I get creative with the E-mails.

To no avail.

I feel like the dinosaur waiting for the asteroid to hit.

Friday, March 27, 2015

When Our Ship Comes In

It occurred to me recently how my purchases will shake out if I win the lottery.

As you know, winning the lottery is the only way Carol and I will ever retire. If we do not hit, we will work until we drop.

That is just the way life works sometimes. I would never have predicted thirty years ago that we would be in this position and yet, here we are.

Fortunately, if we do not bag the big prize, we can draw maximum satisfaction from the simple pleasure and intrinsic reward of working.

Reporting on time every morning (punctuality is highly valued in corporate america), exulting in a job well done, gleefully checking our bank balance on pay day and carefully managing our life as the money slowly drains away until.........................................the next big payday!

Truly a glorious existence.

One we can look forward to, barring unforeseen circumstances, for the next thirty years.

I don't recall telling my mother and father that my goal in life was to become the oldest living, working, liquor store employee. I don't recall that as being my dream.

Still, to be toddling around the store at the age of 91 would be a fulfilling existence. Co-workers would point me out to customers - "That's Old Joe over there. He is 91 and has been working in this store for 32 years. Ask him anything. He has the answer." The customers would make their way over to me, genuflect, chat and press $2 tips into the palm of my hand.

There are worse things.

Anyway, if we do get lucky the first event is dinner with Carol in our favorite restaurant. To celebrate our long standing love and to thank her for putting up with my damaged and diseased mind for all this time.

I would also open up a perpetual line of credit at her favorite Volkswagen dealer so she could purchase a brand spanking new Bug whenever the urge strikes her.

The very next stop I would make would be a local bookstore. The Book Depot, or The Toadstool Bookshop.

I used to think about throwing a massive party or buying a couple more Lincolns or a motorcycle or a home in Arizona and another in Maui.

And the coolest Fedora you have ever fucking seen.

Paying off every loan my sons and their women endure.

Which I will still do.

But first I will buy a stack of books. An absolute mountain of literature.

There are many things that aggravate me about our financially limited lifestyle. The one that hits home the most is the inability to buy every book - and every record - that I want to buy.

Doesn't seem like that should be such a big deal. Seems like buying books and music would be like breathing.

However, budgets kill want.

I'll get to the records in a minute.

When I am standing in a bookstore with a brand new $25 book in my hand, a book that I lust after, when I am in that position and I put that book down to wander over to the used book section where I spend $5 on a gently read book, it annoys me.

My wish list on Amazon is made up solely of books. Forty six of them.

Forty six.

I want all of them right now.

I have spoken about how it feels like music is passing me by. Recently discovering a song by Paul Simon that was released in 1990.

I hear a song or an artist and I think "I gotta buy that. Have to have it. I'll do it with money from the next non-mortgage paying paycheck."

The rest of the bills prevent that in an insidious and relentless way.

The list of music I covet is ten times longer than the list of things I have complained about in these pages.

That is a long goddamn list.

The rest of my life is pretty well blue printed. Either I sling booze until picking up even a 375 ml bottle is too much of a challenge.

Or I enjoy my time stocking libraries in my New Hampshire, Arizona and Maui homes.

And listening to people say: "Carol looks good in that Bug. It suits her perfectly."

Blue Miami

Had a dream just the other morning.

Short and sweet.

It involved a competition for Super Bowl tickets.

The voice over said: "Remember if you lose, you lose nothing. If you win, you get the Super Bowl."

The visual was Don Shula walking away, back to the camera, wearing a light blue satin baseball jacket with the words "Blue Miami" emblazoned on it.

I kid you not.

I do not know where this stuff comes from.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Balloons, Parades and Cake

Balloons, parades and cake.

This is how adults celebrate things.

Can we possibly be serious?

To me, and believe me, I understand that my opinion means nothing, balloons are childish.

I am no longer fascinated by balloons. I stopped being fascinated at the age of nine.

The only balloons I am interested in now are, well, I can't really talk about it because I am married and have been since 1978. Since before The Big Bang. Since before dinosaurs ruled the earth. Since before everybody became politically correct and bland became the new sexy.

I wouldn't mind soaring in a hot air balloon. I did once and it was exquisite.

My buddy Dave and I decided we would do one crazy thing every year to expand our horizons.

We white water rafted. We floated in a balloon.

Both experiences were exceptional.

The next scheduled event was sky diving.

I backed out because my first born son was expected to arrive around the time of the big drop.

Dave and I have not done one more exceptional and life threatening thing since.

A cautionary tale for those planning on taking on responsibility.

Disclaimer: I have no regrets about becoming JoeDad. In fact it is the supreme accomplishment of my life. At least the fact that Keith and Craig still talk to me. That is a pretty big deal in my book.

But once you begin thinking cautiously you might as well cancel your subscription to Thrilling Life Scenarios.

Parades. Parades are boring. Are you kidding me?

If you have little ones, parades are cool because you can lie to them and pretend they are really seeing Santa or Easter Bunny or goddamn Bugs Bunny.

But as an adult you watch parades and the only thing that makes them interesting is the flask you keep concealed in your pants.

Woody Allen tried to make parades more interesting. In the movie "Take The Money and Run" there was a scene with a cello player in a marching band (Woody Allen). The guy was sitting on a chair trying to contribute his part but he had to keep getting up to move the chair and sit down again and play.

I would kill to watch a parade with a traveling cello player.

I attended the St.Patty's Day parade in Southie (Hi Bill) MANY years ago. That was interesting because the threat of violence was high. People were throwing bottles, swearing, fighting - what could be better than that?

We had to shoulder our way into bars and fight to get a drink. A heady challenge that our drunkenness paid homage to our persistence.


Every goddamn corporate birthday, or official function, you gotta have cake.

And that cake always comes form Shaws. Or Wal-Mart.

Disgusting, tasteless cake smothered in uber-sugar frosting.

Why do we not procure quality cake? Premium, moist and delicious cake with supreme frosting to die for.

My lovely wife, Carol, could make a killing in the corporate birthday cake field.

Charge these taste bud hacks $450 per cake to please their taste buds in a way they never knew they could be pleased before.

We relax our standards as we get older, accept any kind of drivel because we are more focused on the tradition than the substance.

The exact opposite should be true.

We should demand more as we get older; more quality, more pleasure, more satisfaction.

Essentially, these "celebrations" become meaningless because they are so juvenile.

Although, if someone stuck a birthday candle in a Hostess Cupcake I would be genuinely excited on January 1.

One never knows.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Bob Simon

I only knew Bob Simon as a 60 Minutes correspondent.

He had been contributing to the show since 1996.

I thought of him as a kindly older gentleman who covered interesting topics and conducted penetrating interviews.

I didn't know a goddamn thing about him.

The man was a legend in the world of journalism. He was considered one of the few elites who covered major overseas conflicts and news stories from the 1960's to today.

He won 27 Emmy Awards (excellence in the television industry), four Peabody Awards (originally considered the Pulitzer Prize for radio, now expanded to include excellence in electronic media), and the Overseas Press Club's highest honor for a body of work - The President's Award.

This only scratches the surface of the awards he won.

As a foreign correspondent he has had many close calls, been wounded, been detained and was actually captured by Iraqi forces in January 1991 and held captive in Iraqi prisons for 40 days.

He began his war reporting career in Viet Nam and was on one of the last helicopters out of Saigon.

He has covered conflicts in Northern Ireland, Portugal, Cypress, The Falklands, The Persian Gulf, Yugoslavia, Grenada, Somalia, Haiti, Poland, Israel and Lebanon.

This only scratches the surface of the stories he has covered.

He was much more than a kindly older gentleman.

After learning all this about the man I became furious at the circumstances of his death.

Bob Simon died in a car accident in New York City on February 11. He wasn't even driving; he was being chauffeured.

He was 73.

According to the New York Post, "the driver in the car crash that killed renowned CBS news journalist Bob Simon had nine license suspensions and used one hand on the wheel because of a "dead" left arm from a suicide attempt."

The driver had a probationary license with the Taxi and Limousine Commission, which was suspended pending an investigation into the fatal accident.

In addition, two days before the fatal accident, a co-worker had warned his superiors to fire the driver because of his erratic driving. Other co-workers were angry about recent complaints filed by customers. The driver had been fired by the company, but re-hired two months ago under new management. One driver reported :"Since he came back, customers were E-mailing the company. They didn't feel comfortable riding with him."

Bob Simon was not wearing a seat belt. The man probably felt bullet proof considering the life he led. Maybe it never occurred to him that you could die in a NYC traffic accident. I was in NYC last October riding in the back seats of cabs and I never once put on a seat belt. I even had one maniac stereotypical cabbie who would fly from one block to another, jam on his brakes and then do it again.

I still did not consider wearing a seat belt. It did not seem life threatening.


Nine license suspensions? A man like that cuts short the life of a man like Bob Simon?

I am beginning to think we live in a lawless and gutless society.

It's not bad enough that our society is saturated with hatred and violence, it feels like we are incapable of punishing and controlling those who deserve it the most. Seems like the people who get punished are the innocent victims of idiocy.

It could not be more obvious that this man should not have been behind the wheel, especially in a business where he is responsible for other peoples' lives.

And yet he was and Bob Simon is dead and the driver is alive.

The driver should be strapped into an electronically controlled car, which is then maneuvered into a Thelma and Louis style flight into the Grand Canyon.

Bob Simon loved opera. He called the metropolitan Opera House his "temple."

In February over 150 close friends of his gathered at the Met for a private ceremony. Nine people closest to Simon shared stories of his life and their relationships. In between stories, songs were performed by guest artists.

Seems like a very cool and very fitting way to remember the life of a man who accomplished and contributed so much.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

We Live in Our Minds

"We don't see things as they are, we see things as we are."

How very true.

This quote is attributed to Anais Nin. If you read at all, anything other than Harry Potter, you probably have heard about Anais Nin. Sex is what she is mostly associated with to people with only a superficial interest in her life.

There was much more than that.

She was a free thinker, had fascinating philosophies and lived her life openly. She kept diaries incessantly, beginning at the age of eleven. They have been published and are widely read. They are detailed and frank and they contain within them many opinions that are deep enough to work your own brain if you care to make the effort.

But I digress.

"We don't see things as they are; we see things as we are."

A simple point of view and inescapably true.

We are not easily objective. Everything is filtered through our life experiences.

Opinions are one thing. They are a result of experience, reading, study, debate both internal and external.

The more fascinating concept is that the way we live our lives is shackled to the way we see things.

More importantly, the way we see ourselves.

Self opinion governs every action we take. It determines the outcome of an action before we even take it.

Coming from that point of view our lives seem more like prisons than opportunities.

My brain holds me prisoner at a maximum security level.

I am feeling it now more than ever because I am feeling enormous pressure to light a stick of dynamite.

I just can't find the match.

You too, Bubba - you too. How deeply does your mind control what you do and leave you continuously disappointed?

I am flirting with a self-help book called "mindset - The New Psychology of Success." That is why my head is where it is at right now.

I gave up on self-help books a long time ago. They are mostly garbage. Especially the ones with the word "success" in the title.

Of course this begs the question: Were the books really garbage? Or was I unable to transform the advice into action because of my own shortcomings?

In this case I was initially even more stand-offish because the books were handed out to everyone that Carol works with.

Corporate America loves lemmings.

I took it to work today to give it a chance. Sat down with it at lunch. Got interrupted 477 times.

I wanted to kill.

I did get enough out of it to peak my curiosity.

In a nutshell: two concepts initially. The fixed mindset. You see yourself one way and believe that way cannot be changed. You are doomed.

The growth concept. Based on the belief that "your basic qualities are things you can cultivate through your efforts.".........."Everyone can change and grow through application and experience."

That's as far as I got but it is enough, maybe, to keep me reading.

Not at work, though. What a hellhole.

Anyway these thoughts brought me around to Anais Nin's quote.

Who the hell knows where I'm going from here?

Sunday, March 22, 2015

The Relevance of Deer

Carol and I have adopted a spiritual relationship with deer over the years.

It began shortly after Carol's mother Dolly died. It involved a dream and a message and a spiritual sign.

I won't tell you about it because you might mock the circumstances, and then I would have to hunt you down and discipline you severely.

It meant a lot to us and that is all that matters.

When we first moved to the barren outpost called Henniker, we used to see deer all the time.

It was pretty magical. We were in a new home, a new place in life, our sons were six and three years old, and we were surrounded by these graceful, peaceful, beautiful creatures.

Over the years we have seen less and less of them to the point where we rarely see them.

It is a disappointment.

Recently the sightings have increased.

A lot.

Shortly after Kevin died I saw two deer hanging around the edges of our yard. Made me think of Kevin and Sarge. Peaceful together. Sending me the message that they are all right.

I have seen lone deer by the side of the road and though about Jonathan. Saw one just the other night, grazing close to the side of the road and facing me.

Felt like we were looking into each other's eyes.

Over the last couple of weeks we have sighted six or seven deer at once roaming around our yard and that of our neighbors. This has happened more than once.

In fact it happened twice this week, including last night.

Carol zapped up to our bedroom, threw open the glass sliders and took a bunch of pictures.

It doesn't matter what significance we place on these occurrences, it doesn't matter what you think about what we feel.

What matters is that seeing these magical creatures gives us a sense of peace. A calm. A temporary release from deadlines and commitments and pain and loss into a gentler world of nature and beauty and innocence.

If we connect these emotions and thoughts to the lives and memories of Sarge and Kevin and Jonathan, can you really criticize us?

These deer are giving us a precious gift of peace and calm while acknowledging the deaths of three people we love.

No way to exaggerate the benefit of that.

Magic and Loss

Exhausted today.

Attended Kevin's memorial service on Thursday.

Worked Friday and Saturday.

Crawled home last night and blended into the recliner.

Here I am on Sunday morning; my brain is struggling to make sense.

We, my family and extended family, have been bludgeoned with death for three solid goddamn months.

On December 16, 2014, my brother-in-law, Carol's baby brother - Sarge - died after a heroic struggle with cancer. He was 59.

On December 17, 2014, our nephew, my brother's only son - Jonathan - died of a heroin overdose. He was 27.

On March 14, 2015, our nephew, Kevin, committed suicide. He was 34.

That is too much for any human brain to comprehend. Too much pain, too much loss, too many unanswered questions.

Too much emptiness.

These deaths hollowed out our insides and sapped us of all meaningful energy. I have definitely changed, I feel it from inside out, but I can't quite define how.

I cannot think clearly about my own life because I am struggling mightily to figure out what the hell just happened.

I didn't have time to absorb Sarge's death because my precious nephew Jonathan died the very next day.

Spent the last couple of months getting blind sided by this new reality at unexpected moments. Suddenly shaking my head out of the blue as if doing so would bring Sarge and Jonathan back.

Quick tears, sudden pain.

Then Kevin died.

There are now three faces in my head that are coming at me from down deep and shaking me up and challenging my definition of reality.

When I laugh I feel guilty. When I forget, I feel guilty.

Paul, Kevin's older brother, told me at Wayne's house after the service that he had laughed with his girls the night before and then felt guilty about it.

I know exactly what he is saying.

This is what I am referring to when I say challenging my definition of reality.

I am lost. Everybody in our families is lost.

I selfishly feel like I should do something about this, that I should make whatever changes in my life are going to bring me the most happiness. The most pride in who I am. Immediately. No time lost. No exceptions. No excuses.

These thoughts are clouded over with guilt as well.

I am exhausted. Too much pain and loss in too short a time. Too much pressure to just go on with my life and act like I am OK when I am nowhere near OK.

As I wrote the words pain and loss it triggered a memory in my head of an album Lou Reed put out in 1992 called "Magic and Loss". He was making an album about themes of magic based on magicians he had seen in Mexico, when two close friends died.

Doc Pomus and Rita.

So Reed incorporated these deaths and what these people went through before they died and what they meant to him, into the album.

It is almost a spoken word record and it is raw emotion.

I like the album for the very reason that it is so raw and emotional and honest. I have always loved the phrase magic and loss because it sounds like a definition of life.

Jonathan and Kevin and Sarge are gone. They have left behind a huge void.

They also all brought magic into our lives. Three special people.

Maybe that magic can just keep on working. Maybe it can positively affect how we live our lives or how we think, maybe it can give us the strength to change the aspects of our lives that disappoint us, maybe it can open our eyes to what love really is and what it really means.

I am going to spend a quiet day today with my wife who I love deeply, with our cats who give us simple love and  comfort exponentially out of proportion with their physical size.

I am going to sit in close proximity to pictures of Jonathan and Sarge and Kevin.

Gonna try to focus on the magic.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Kevin Sargent

My nephew, Kevin Sargent, committed suicide on Saturday, March 14, 2015.

He was 34 years old.

Technically he was not my nephew, he was Carol's. The youngest son of Carol's oldest brother, Wayne.

I have no patience for distinctions like that.

I loved him deeply and I refuse to qualify him in a way that puts distance between us.

Carol and I saw him just two weeks ago. We motored up to Maine to visit with Cori, John and Kevin.

It was our first visit since Sarge died and we did it so that all three would know that we love them. That just because Sarge is gone does not mean we no longer think or care about them.

This family is close and we all mean a lot to one another. It is a gift to be treasured because the world is cold and people suck.

Kevin appeared to be in good spirits that day. We had a great visit. Lots of conversation, munching, watching racing.

We took a road trip around the area looking at mobile homes. Kevin drove. Carol and I are considering that area as one option for relocation when we retire.

Kevin told me he had been having a problem recently and he almost came down to visit us.

He has said that many times over the years. He almost visited us, he almost called us.

That sentence tortures me and Carol now.

We gave him our standard answer - the door is always open, don't even call first, just drive down and make yourself at home.

Came from the heart. But now it feels like we were missing something.

Urgency. A cry for help. Panic.

I don't know. But it breaks our hearts to think we could have helped in some way and were unable to do it.

Kevin lived with us once or twice many years ago when he was having trouble in his life.

Totally comfortable. Felt like he belonged in our home because, at that time, he did.

He and I watched a lot of movies together. Rich, dark movies that connected with both of us.

I have been to a number of Allman Brothers concerts with Kevin. One night in particular I should have never driven home. Please don't tell Carol.

But we had a blast.

Carol and I have been to many races with Kevin at NH Motor Speedway. One time it was Kevin and Paul scrunched into the back of Carol's bug, the car jammed with coolers and chairs and whatever.

What a great memory.

Kevin has been to our house many times for family get togethers. The best were when all three amigos - Kevin, Jeff and Paul were here together. Even better when Keith and Craig were here as well.

I am completely lost here. I am ticking off memories and facts like a shopping list.

When in reality I am completely broken. As is Carol.

We hurt, we cry, we wonder how we missed that much pain in our nephew. We are disoriented and empty, we cannot accept reality.

Kevin was a big and a precious part of our life. He meant a lot to us. We were close in a way that many families don't experience.

When we talked there was no bullshit.

It was always from the heart.

There is no way to close this because Kevin shocked us with his decision. There is no way to define it or wrap it up.

The emptiness will always be with us, as well as the self questioning, the wondering what we could have done to prevent this.

All I can say, Kevin, is we loved you, we will always love you.

We are grateful to have called you nephew.

Peace to you.

Monday, March 16, 2015

I Wish, Kevin

I wish, Kevin, that you had told me more,
told me everything, made your pain my pain.
That I had listened more sensitively, more intuitively,
that I could have gotten past your words and into your heart.

I thought I knew you but, obviously, I didn't know you all the way through.

I wish we spent more time together,
I wish I thought about you more when we were apart.
I wish, Kevin, that I could recall every laugh we ever shared.
And every tear.
And private conversation.

I wish you didn't hurt as much as I didn't know you did.
That you could have found a better answer.

I wish my attention never wandered in your company.

I wish we could go to one more Allman Brothers concert together.

One more day at the track, drinking PBR's and an occasional shot
of Crown Royal, and talking trash about each other's drivers.
Sitting in the sun for five hours before the race, dancing back to
the parking lot afterwards to gorge on food magically delicious
after excessive alcohol consumption.

I wish, Kevin, that you came down to stay with me and Carol every time
you thought about it instead of telling us you almost came, after the fact.
We would have fed you and listened to you and comforted you, just like
we did years ago when you lived with us for a while.

Remember watching movies together? Remember "Rush" (1991)?
I'm pretty sure we watched that more than once.
I'm pretty sure I bored you with my awe at digging Gregg Allman in a movie.

I wish we could be the grillmeisters at Sarge and Cori's Memorial Day barbecue
one more time.
With Sarge looking over our shoulders and making me nervous as hell.

Now you are both gone.
What the hell am I gonna do?

We should have had 25 more years together.

I love you Kevin like you are my own flesh and blood.
I love Jeff and Paul the same way.
I always did.
In my head I forever thought of you guys as the three amigos.

It hurts me deeply that you are gone, Carol is broken too.

I hope you have found some peace.

Saturday, March 14, 2015


Family is all about emotion.

Pure emotion.

Love, anger, pride, happiness, sadness, despair, hope, joy. It is all there and it is all distilled down to its very essence.

If you are lucky.

If you have a real family, a close family, an honest and loving family, then their gift to you is emotion.

And that emotion is what makes you feel alive.

Everything else is bullshit.

You scratch and claw your way through work and obligations and responsibility so you can crawl on your belly back into the arms of those who are so very real that they are in your heart and in your mind and in your soul.

Every day. Every fucking day you fight to even have a chance to bask in the comfort, the warmth of these very special people who make your life worthwhile.

You hold on as tight as you can because they are your lifeline but they slip away anyway.

There are casualties in every life. The circle gets smaller all the time, sometimes as it should, sometimes it constricts suddenly and unexpectedly and that freezes you for a moment.

All of a sudden there is an absence, a void that can never be filled. And you wonder what the hell you could have done, what you should have done to change outcomes, to appreciate more, to stretch it all out and  rub that magic salve on your soul to ease your own pain.

All the petty thoughts and concerns you ever had come back to haunt you, all the times you complained about little things that seemed like mountains to you at the time, these things together add up to a fearsome thing called wasted time.

You think about the word priorities.

You realize your grasp of life is a bit skewed. Lazy times when you should have gotten the hell out of the house to get together, or had people over to the house to get together, when you stayed glued in front of the TV instead.

Phone calls you should have made, E-mails you should have sent.

Small gifts, warm thoughts, kind words, private smiles.

It all comes full circle.

If you are lucky. If you learn your lesson.

You realize the precious nature of the love you still have left, the people who still make up the circle.

You hold on tighter to those precious people, you reach out to them, spend more time with them, work hard to keep it alive and deep and meaningful.

Those people are still there, they are there to comfort you in the times of loss and hurt and confusion.

They are there not to answer questions or to provide an explanation of how life works.

They are there to hug and to be hugged, to love and to be loved, to comfort and to be comforted.

They are there to look directly into your eyes and say - wordlessly - I love you. You can trust me. I will give you what you need right now because one day I will need you to give me what I need.

Close family is a gift.

The most meaningful, supreme gift you can have in this life.

The Negative Train

I am going to stay on the negative train a while longer.

Curt Schilling and his daughter, Gabby, were viciously, moronically insulted - verbally attacked - after Curt posted congratulations on his blog regarding her acceptance to Salve Regina University. She will attend the school and also play on the softball team.

A number of neanderthals posted disgusting sexual remarks directed at Gabby. The kind of comments that would make a father want to lock his daughter up at home and never let her leave.

The anonymity of social media apparently encourages open expression of the basest of attitudes.

That is the definition of cowardice.

It also exposes the vile thought process that exists and thrives in many people who live on and hide behind social media.

Is it like this everywhere in the world? Or only in this country. I am trying to understand if this is an American disease or a disease of humanity.

I did a little research regarding hate speech and freedom of speech just now but the "facts" were all over the place. Frankly I just don't have the time today so I'll continue to shoot from the hip.

There are a few recent incidents jumbled up in my granite-like skull that suggest a common ignorance and viciousness that bothers me.

There is the Curt Schilling thing. There is the Ahmed al-Jumali thing. There is the Sigma Alpha Epsilon thing.

These are only three very recent incidents in a long list of incidents that suggest a mind set that is dangerous, uninformed and vile.

Some suggest the seeming frequency of these things is amplified by social media. That it has always existed on this level but is now more immediate due to smart phones, twitter etc.

I believe it has always existed, but I also believe it is accelerating in frequency and viciousness regardless of how it is reported or experienced.

I don't know why.

I hoped, naively, when 20 children and 6 adults were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School on December 14, 2012, that somehow that would trigger a mas revulsion that would put an end to violence and hatred and killing and verbal and physical abuse.

I did not believe in my soul that that could happen, but I wanted it to happen. I thought if the massacre of 20 children was not enough to alert the world to the  nasty direction we were headed in, then we were in deep trouble.

Since then it has only gotten worse on all levels.

I have been watching a documentary series on Africa on Netflix.

When I see predators creep up on essentially innocent animals and kill them, it upsets me. But I recognize that it is survival of the fittest at its most basic level and that it is natural.

When I see humans do it to other humans it destroys me.

It can be verbal, physical, racial, sexual, dysfunctional or coldly pre-planned, it is still humans feeding on other humans and it is vile.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

A Quick Lesson On How America Works

Ahmed al-Jumali, an Iraqi migrant, had waited a year for paperwork to be completed so he could join his wife, Zahraa, in the United States.

When he finally made it he was greeted at the airport by his wife with a sign saying that she had waited "460 days for.......... this moment."

Twenty days later, Ahmed, his wife and his brother were outside their Dallas apartment taking pictures of the snow.

They had never seen snow before.

Four people entered the apartment complex on foot, multiple shots were fired, and Ahmed was killed.

No motive has been established and nobody has been arrested, but suspicions are that this was a hate crime.

Apparently there has been open resentment towards and anger directed at people of the Islamic faith in Texas.

Shpendim Nadzaku, an imam (religious leader) for the Islamic Association of North Texas, said "there has definitely been an increase of very open, vitriolic language towards Muslims in general."

Many Muslims feel this is in response to high profile Isis executions of Westerners.

Consider the emotions here. A man's wife and brother leave Iraq for America in pursuit of a better life. A life that probably appears to them to be light years ahead of the repression and violence in their own country.

Ahmed, husband and brother, finally makes it to America as well and the three of them are jubilant.

Ecstatic at the prospect of their new found freedom and opportunities. Acting like delighted children as they take pictures of the snow that they are experiencing for the first time in their lives.

After spending 20 solid days in this country, Ahmed is gunned down in front of his wife and brother.

Suddenly they don't feel so hopeful. They don't feel so much safer than they felt in Iraq.

Suddenly they are exposed to the dark underbelly of this country. The unreasoning hatred and prejudice, they ease with which violence is used to destroy lives and express cretinous stupidity.

It just keeps getting worse and worse in America.

More open, more vicious, more hostile.

This is a country that was founded by immigrants.

You would think that heritage would foster an open and tolerant attitude towards others who come here pursuing a dream.

Then again, these founding immigrants destroyed an entire race by killing them, lying to them, and stealing from them.

Destroyed the original inhabitants of this country.

That viciousness and hatred and immorality sowed the seeds for the type of society we are today.

You don't get tolerance and enlightenment from bloodshed.

And The Hits Just Keep On Coming

Had to drive to the bank on Tuesday to do some liquor store business.

On my way over, radio on, up pops "Soulshine".

"Soulshine" is an Allman Brothers song. One of my favorite Allman Brothers songs.

Although that phrase is meaningless. Favorite Allman Brothers song. Christ, if you tried to pin me down, tried to bully me into picking just one ABB song that I love above all others - I would give you a list of 10.

If you kept on pushing me I would give you a list of another ten ABB songs.

That's the best I can do.

But I do love "Soulshine" deeply. The lyrics resonate with me.

"When you can't find the light that guides you on the cloudy days, when the stars ain't shining bright, you feel like you've lost your way, when those candle lights of home burn so very far away, well you got to let your soul shine, just like my daddy used to say...............
He used to say soulshine, it's better than sunshine, it's better than moonshine, damn sure better than rain, hey now people don't mind, we all get this way sometime, got to let your soul shine, shine 'till the break of day"

This is what we ache for, to express our essence, to be who you are in defense against this nasty world, to just be you and feel safe and comfortable in that place no matter what is going on in your life.

Easier said than done. We are all actors and we even try to fool ourselves.

Here's the catch. I have always heard the song sung by Gregg with the band wailing behind him.

This version was Warren Haynes and an acoustic guitar. Alone.

Warren wrote the song and was a long standing member of the Allman Brothers Band until they split up in October of 2014.

This version was magnificent. I had never heard it before.

Conveyed the emotion in the most simplistic of renderings.

I sat in the bank parking lot until that song was done. The goddamn deposit could wait.

The surprises just keep on coming.

Music is an organism that keeps on adapting and evolving and finding different ways to open up our souls.

Thank Christ for that.

Monday, March 9, 2015

The Obvious Child

Boppin' down the road the other day, radio on, and a song by Paul Simon flows at me called The Obvious Child.

Loved it immediately and thought it must be a new song. Gotta check it out.

Checked it out and found out it was released in 1990.

1990. 25 years ago.

Sometimes I feel like I am hanging on to a vertical pole with both hands while a wind is whipping powerful enough that my body is horizontal to the ground. All these things that I could love and might enrich my life are flying by me like paper in a hurricane.

Whaddya gonna do.

The music is percussion driven and stimulating; the lyrics are thought provoking.

He opens with these lines: "Well, I'm accustomed to a smooth ride, or maybe I'm a dog who's lost his bite, I don't expect to be treated like a fool no more, I don't expect to sleep through the night."

The man immediately crawled inside my head and took a damn close look at my life.

Later on he describes a guy thumbing through his high school yearbook.............."some have died, some have fled from themselves, or struggled from here to get there, Sonny wanders beyond his interior walls, runs his hands through his thinning brown hair."

There is a lot more to the song. A lot.

I won't quote every lyric but I will say the song blew me away. I loved it immediately. When I checked out the lyrics I was rewarded with the typical Paul Simon mix of depth and smoky innuendo.

Got lucky with this song.

This is one piece of paper that did not fly by me.

Strap On Your Hip Boots, Baby

Been listening to candidates crank up the bullshit machine in preparation for the 2016 presidential election.

When are we going to hold politicians accountable?

We had eight years of the George Bush regime. The United States being run by a complete idiot, controlled by puppeteer Dick Cheney.

That reality alone is quite frightening.

Bush made so many ridiculous comments, made so many stupid mistakes and gave us so many catatonic stares, that he reduced the Presidency to buffoonery.

Made us the laughing stock of the world.

Now we have had six years of President Barack Obama.

A presidency marked by stubborn, unjustified opposition by republicans devoted to thwarting every initiative the President can come up with.

Not for the good of the country or to support the republican point of view. Purely to attempt to deliver President Obama's tenure stillborn.

In the process the republicans have caused great harm to this country.

And along the way we have listened to and witnessed stupidity on the grandest level imaginable.

These clowns come across as complete fools and are not ashamed to project that image as publicly as possible.

Here comes the prelude to 2016.

I was listening to another idiot not answer questions and offer no solutions. He did the politico dance; shucking and jiving, ducking and diving.

I almost vomited.

You could make the argument that our entire history of politics is a mockery; a collection of smoothly polished lies designed to dupe voters into voting against their own best interests.

I think the last 14 years have established a new low.

A new low in morality, manipulation, and behind the scenes politicking that does not factor in the best interests of this country or its citizens.

A political machine that feeds on itself for the sole purpose of grabbing more power and more money to benefit elected officials and their special interest contributors.

The last 14 years have dramatically reduced our stature in the eyes of the world. Our politicians look like fools and our political process looks like a joke.

What will it take over the next year and a half to get to the truth? To force politicians to say and do things of substance?

I'm thinking cattle prods and lie detectors.

Here's A Comparison For You

Reading an article in March Playboy this morning about Cuban drag racing.

The journalist - William Wheeler - is describing a place where a screening of a documentary about Cuban drag racing is about to be shown.

"This takes place in a Polynesian-themed bungalow on a dark hillside far from the lights of central Havana, even further removed from the present. Decorated with tiki masks, nautical paintings and a pair of cattle skulls, it looks like a place Richard Nixon's corpse might throw a birthday party."


Yesterday it was March 1.

The beginning of a new month of hope and promise.

Suddenly it is March 9.

Holy shit.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Just Pretend...................

Just pretend that this post occurs after the Wilfork post.

Told you I was listening to ZLX.

My brother Ed turned me on to that station just a few days ago.

I have been listening to it ever since.

The morning DJ's are hilarious, and they do this bit called the "senseless survey", which rocks.

They call people up randomly and tell them they are conducting a senseless survey - most people hear "census survey" and hang on the line to be questioned.

They get questions like "Ever wonder why the Grateful Dead were so good everyone had to be messed up to see them live?"..........Do you sometimes get sad Penguins can't fly but then you remember you don't have to clean their crap off of your car?...............Do you still need help opening a soy sauce pocket?...........Do you microwave hot sauce to make it hotter?..................Is a muffin just a cupcake you're allowed to eat for breakfast?"

The people being questioned get more leery as the questions progress but often keep on answering them.

It is hilarious.

One guy was immediately on the defensive. He said he didn't have time for a survey.

The DJ's buried him. They asked: "Are you a married guy who's wife and kids push you around? Is that why you don't have time?"

The guy told them he wasn't married.

The caller said: "You have no wife and kids and you don't have 30 seconds for a survey?"

The guy hung up.

Point #2 - my brother Ed also introduced me to Sunday morning blues, also on ZLX. He has been telling me about it for a very long time.

I am slow to pick up.

However, recently, I have been checking it out.

And it is magnificent.

If Carol ever divorced me I would marry the blues. That is how much I love the genre.

The point of my rambling is as follows.

My son Keith recently introduced me to 98.5 sports talk radio.

I have been listening to that a lot as well.

And laughing and digging it.

So here I am driving to my own private hell for two solid years now and all of a sudden I have two new radio stations to listen to and be entertained by and laugh with.

And a Sunday morning blues ride that penetrates directly into my soul.

Courtesy of my brother and my son.

You have to be open to change always and be willing to trust the opinions of the people you trust.

Now I Know..................

Now I know I love Vince Wilfork.

Wasn't sure yesterday; I am today.

Driving to The Asylum this morning listening to ZLX - 100.7  - they had put together an audio montage of Vince Wilfork moments.

It was awesome.

It hit me that all you need to inspire adulation is a montage - visual or audio. I am a sucker for that stuff.

You are too.

Are you kidding me? After Super Bowl XVIX - which was won by THE NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS don't you know, I heard a million audio montages from the game.

All the key plays, cake frosted by the mega-interception by Malcolm Butler.

I ate that shit up. Over and over again.

Side note: I taped the Super Bowl. Had it sitting delectably on my DVR. Watched it twice. Planned on watching it a lot more.

Trouble. An HBO station was tiling up on us. Unwatchable. The tech dude came out.........................and had to replace the box.

I lost the Super Bowl.

Bummer. But I will get it back one way or another.

Anyway..........................I am smiling and laughing on my way to The Asylum this morning listening to Wilfork grab his third career interception, score a touchdown, make massive plays, get interviewed.

The DJ's told a great story - I hope it is true. They said when Wilfork was new to THE PATS, they interviewed him on air during a snowstorm. He was born and raised in Florida.

He bought himself a manly truck, put a plow on it - and was plowing Route 495 during the interview. Supposedly he didn't know you couldn't do that.

Great story.

Wilfork's twitter comments, summarized: "Please know how blessed my family and I have been to be able to play 11 years in New England for an amazing organization....................I have played 11 years for the greatest head coach ever......................I've played next to Men that I now have as brothers for a lifetime, a first class organization................................but regardless remember I will always remain a New Englander a Patriot forever."

Vince Wilfork has played his entire career up to this point with THE PATS.

I am sentimental. I am emotional. I am a soft touch when it comes to wearing my feelings on my sleeve.

I am now in love with Vince Wilfork.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Positive Beligerance

I always get a kick out of positive beligerance.

See it a lot in The Asylum where I work.

People come in to get their booze, you ask them how they are doing, and they say "Good. I'm doing good."

But they say it with a great deal of force - too much - over the top - kind of strained. Like they are trying to convince themselves that they are all right, or trying to convince everybody else - or both.

Life is a tricky deal and we are all actors.

Some better than others.

Vince Again

Vince Wilfork is leaving THE PATS.

I don't know how I feel about this.

I mean it does affect me on an emotional level becaus he seems like a cool guy, he's been around for a long time, got two rings, and apparently he's a beast on the defensive line.

I don't know enough about his position to really understand what he meant to the team but I intuit that he was enormously important.

Professional sports is a cold hearted business. It doesn't pay to get attached to an athlete because he will be traded at some point or finish his career on another team.

If it happened to Joe Montana and Joe Namath it will happen to anyone.

That's not why I am here today.

Driving home listening to 98.5 and the sports guys are ragging on Wilfork's published comments about how much he loved playing for this team.

I haven't read his statement yet because I am on my laptop and it is too hard to swip and swap around - this thing is a dinosaur (but I love it). But apparently his comments were pretty heartfelt.

These guys were ragging on Wilfork and the organization because it all seemed so sappy.

And yet a couple of weeks ago there was a lineup change on this very station. I am not tuned in to the details because I haven't been listening long enough, but one of the talk "teams" was splitting up. One guy was going to another job - same station, maybe not - I wasn't paying attention.

They made a huge deal out of it. Reminiscing, joking, laughing, talking, speaking fondly of their time together. After a break they came back and said that things had gotten emotional while they were off the air.

These guys talk tough, act tough, you know, the whole locker room mentality - nothing is sacred, no softness allowed.

My theory has always been that sports talk guys overcompenate for the fact that they are not athletes. They know what they do is nowhere near as cool as being a pro athlete so they project toughness in an attempt to be taken seriously.

I have no problem with this. These guys know more about sports than I ever will about anything. And they make me laugh. And I learn stuff.

I just have a problem with the disingenuousness of laughing at Wilfork's comments and mocking THE PATS organization - saying this is what Kraft promotes - sappy comments from his players - while they themselves get all teary eyed and sentimental because one of the team is moving on to another opportunity.

I don't have a problem with strong emotions connected with sports. I think it is a good thing. It makes it all more real.

These guys are larger than life. They are so far removed from us wee folk; genuine emotion bridges the gap somewhat.

The 98.5 guys played comments Kraft made when they signed Aaron Hernandez. Talking about how Hernandez donated $50,000 to the Myra Kraft fund. Kraft said a lot of emotional things about Hernandez. Hernandez said a lot of great things about Kraft and THE PATS.

Then of course he went on to become a crack smoking murderer.

The talk dudes tried to make the point that this is what THE PATS do. That the emotions are on display as PR.

I thought that was a low blow (but it was kind of funny listening to Kraft and Hernanadez play kissy face).

Anyway, Wilfork is moving on. I will mis him as a staple of THE PATS' D. As the belly jiggling big man - very large indeed - who was considered to be a major athlete.

The 98.5 guys should cut him some slack.

He showed emotion just as they did.

And I would be willing to bet that Wilfork's commitment and the sacrifice he has made is infinitely greater than anything these guys will ever do.

Monday, March 2, 2015


Carol and I drove up to Maine on Saturday to spend time with Cori, John and Kevin.

A round trip of 4 hours for a 3 hour visit.

This has never bothered us. The ride is easy and the company is supreme. Always.

What a deep and special and family type of day. It was our first visit since Sarge's memorial celebration.

We walked into that familiar home and the first thing we felt was Sarge not being there. Unsettling for sure, but it wasn't long before we were digging the power of family.

We settled down in the living room and started shooting the shit. Have to admit that seeing Kevin sitting in Sarge's recliner was a little disorienting, but knowing in our hearts how much Sarge meant to Kevin and how much Kevin did for Cori and Sarge when things got tough, made it more natural.

I got the feeling that Newman was restless. Newman was Sarge's cat; nobody else could get close to him. I noticed that he was upstairs and down stairs, checking us all out one by one, lying on the carpet, lying on the love seat next to Cori.

Cori said that Newman used to sleep at the foot of the bed at Sarge's feet. She said he still sleeps there even though she keeps explaining to him that there is nobody next to her anymore.

Cori has this plan of taking Sarge's T-shirts and having them made into a quilt. She asked Carol for advice on this, and Carol being the sweet and amazing Carol that she is did the research and brought her results up to Maine.

I noticed as she explained the options to Cori that Carol had trouble keeping it together.

Carol keeps it all inside; she doesn't talk to me about Sarge much at all and sheds very few public tears.

This bothers me because I want to comfort her as much as is possible. But her personal makeup doesn't allow it. It frustrates me.

We sat for a while and talked and kept an eye on the race. Very comfortable, very warm.

Then we went on a road trip.

Carol has got it in her head that she can convince me to retire at Old Orchard Beach, despite the fact that it is Maine and there is snow, and cold and wind.

Carol and I and Cori and John and Kevin piled into the Cori-mobile and drove through a few 55+ trailer parks real close by.

It was peacefully enjoyable. We drove up and down and all around, slowly checking out homes and roads and back yards and deer prints.

Talking, remarking, laughing, what-iffing.

I could do it. As long as I don't have to get up and shovel the snow with any urgency.

We would be right on the beach, and Carol and I love the beach and the relentless ocean waves.


We got out and walked the beach - all five of us - and it was tasty, even considering the fact that the wind was howling and it was goddamn cold.

Brought back a memory for Carol and me - not too long ago - when we and Cori and Sarge walked that very same beach on a viciously cold winter night.

Back to Cori and Sarge's home. We sat and talked some more. Inevitably, many hilarious stories involving Sarge came to the surface.

We laughed a lot, consumed by his memory.

Cori showed us sketches of the gravestone she is putting together for her and Sarge.

It was sad and it was reality.

Carol and I hit the road. 

Got home early enough to enjoy D'Angelo's subs and our precious cats and three episodes of the new season of House of Cards.

That was a day.

A day that reinforced the power of family, no matter what the circumstance.

Pay attention, friends.

There are aspects of your life, of being alive, that trump jobs and careers and money and prestige.

Second Thoughts

Those of you who pay any attention at all to this blog will notice that I deleted the 03/01 post about how I wasted the month of February.

It was self-indulgent, whiny, weak and self pitying to the point of projectile vomiting.

So let's start again.

The deaths of my brother-in-law Sarge and my nephew Jonathan weigh heavy on my mind. I am fiercely committed to not insulting their lives with my whining.

After I posted those words on 03/01, I thought about what I said. I thought about that after driving up to Maine on Saturday to visit Cori and John and Kevin. Having a great visit while simultaneously being unable to ignore Sarge's void. I thought about it after having a couple of conversations with my brother yesterday.

I am irrevocably committed to speaking substance in 2015. To making something worthwhile of myself and my life, partially in honor of the lives that Jonathan and Sarge lived.

In hindsight, I had no choice but to delete what I wrote on 3/01. It was self indulgent garbage.

Let's pretend that today is March 1, 2015.

It is a new month. A new start. In keeping with my month to month philosophy in 2015, I am jazzed.

Been a tough winter no doubt.

But March brings spring. And spring is what I and every inhabitant of New England crave.

It is going to get warmer. It is going to get prettier. It is going to get easier.

This new month promises a transition into life as it should be lived. Comfortably. Slowly. Deliciously.

In T-shirts and shorts. In suntans and sweat.

It is coming back around.

I am going to do the best I can do with the month of March.

I hope you do too.

I hope you enjoy it.

Sunday, March 1, 2015


"As societies grow decadent, the language grows decadent, too. Words are used to disguise, not to illuminate, action: you liberate a city by destroying it. Words are to confuse, so at election time people will solemnly vote against their own interests."

Gore Vidal