Thursday, June 25, 2015

What I Learned Today

Yesterday and this morning, upon returning from The Walk, I settled into the recliner for fifteen minutes with a bottle of water and Dan Patrick before crawling upstairs for a shower.

ESPN generally bores me, the NFL Network at this time of year is filled with dribble - top ten this , best that, MSNBC is too heavy after a walk so, in stumbling around the 40 million channels we get I caught Dan Patrick.

I love Dan Patrick. At least I think I do.

He and Keith Olbermann were the most creative, funny, intelligent and informative sports reporting duo I have ever enjoyed on ESPN. The current crop and almost everybody since are a bunch of Keith and Dan poseurs who are nowhere near as funny, not as intelligent and definitely not as creative.

They are sheep.

We are a million miles down the road from the Keith and Dan days and they each now do their own thing.

Olbermann is now on ESPN2 and is still Keith Olbermann. I just discovered his show the other night and I dig it. He flaunted his intelligence as usual, and indulged in his sarcastic sense of humor, which I love.

I sacrificed Around The Horn to watch him and was not disappointed.

Dan Patrick is different.

He seems wimpier, less cocky, his show is the typical sports talk show with four sycophantic guys at the controls who he incorporates into the show.

Can' quite put my finger on it but he seems to have less bite than he did years ago.

However I learned important stuff today.

During one of those random discussions you always get on sports talk radio because they have so much time to kill, I learned where the expression "blowing smoke up your ass" comes from. And I discovered a new website - - "Back in the late 1700's, however, doctors literally blew smoke up peoples' rectums. Believe it or not it was a general mainstream medical procedure used to, among many other things, resuscitate people who were otherwise presumed dead."

It was done with a tube, a bellows and a fumigator and was typically used on drowning victims. It was believed the tobacco smoke stimulated the heart to beat faster, resulting in respiration.

The origin of this practice appears to be Native American customs of using tobacco to treat various medical ailments, which European doctors picked up on "and began advocating it for treatments from everything from headaches to cancer."

I imagine they prescribed sugar for diabetes patients as well.

When the proper tools were not available, blowing smoke was sometimes done with a pipe. A common, tobacco filled smoking pipe.

Take a minute to think about that. No matter how much you hate what you do for a living, be thankful it doesn't require you to insert your pipe into an orifice for which it was not intended while blowing on the smoldering, tobacco filled end.

Unless you're into that kind of thing.

In 1811, English scientist Ben Brodie discovered through animal testing that nicotine was toxic to the cardiac system.

It took several decades for the practice to die out after that.


So there you go. That is the kind of meaty and pertinent stuff you learn on a sports talk radio/TV show.

I haven't played around with the website much, as I am a highly motivated and exceptionally busy man.

But it seems promising.

There Are Days

There are days around here, when you walk outside the house and the weather is perfect and the sky is beautifulblue and the sun positively screams "I am the source of all life".

On those days you rediscover your eyes.

The scenery is crystal clear, the colors are insultingly stunning and you feel like you are seeing for the first time.

I have had two days in a row of this and I am vibrant.

Still doing The Walking Dude thing and digging it. When I walk I try hard to shut down my mind and open up my senses.

I am largely unsuccessful.

However, on days like these I do it better.

Such a relief to shut down the angry voice in my head and listen to the birds and the wind and to feel my eyes assaulted with the beauty of vision, the beauty that surrounds me on the very street upon which I live.

For minutes at a time.

To reach a truly meditative state I would like to achieve brain shutdown for the entire 30 minutes of the walk.

I am not convinced I can ever make this happen. Maybe if I become truly happy from the inside out. I have no idea what that feels like but I will let you know if I ever get there.

For now I try to create a reservoir of peace from which I can draw as needed, filled with the memories of the sensations of a beautiful walk.

Days like today add an extra charge of thrill.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Dave and the Dark

The world changes at the speed of thought.

Trouble is, Dave doesn't change at all.

Somewhere along the road Dave's mind went dark.

Dark with thoughts of the unfairness of life, dark with thoughts of the petty stupidity of others, dark with thoughts about mortality and the futility of finding a purpose in life.

He didn't know how to relax, hence the chemicals and brown liquids, and he forgot how to have fun.

A weight hovered over him, pressing him down and away from where he needed to go. A weight that closed his mind, prevented it from evolving and trapped him in a stationary existence.

It wasn't this way for him when he was younger. He had vague memories of laughter and looseness, tied to a time when his gut wasn't tight all the time.

There were family movies to document his previous self. Scenes that showed him joking, play-acting, goofing around and generally wearing life lightly on his shoulders.

Those movies were gone now. Lost or destroyed, Dave wasn't sure which version was true.

He wished he could find them so he could study them like a course in human behavior. Watch them over and over again, taking notes, breaking down his personality, trying to discover the source of mind freedom, so he could integrate that back into the lonely man he was today.

It felt like those tapes were the key to everything. Like when he realized they were gone he realized he was gone.

But it was useless. The tapes were gone and he was stuck in a one dimensional world.

Dave had no trouble living in the now. He had nothing else. The past was lost and there was no future.

The sun was shining brilliantly through the bay window in Dave's living room. It was 82 degrees outside and a gentle breeze was tinkling the wind chimes on his obnoxious neighbor's porch.

He pulled down the shade, blocking out almost all of the light. He poured himself a massive glass of whiskey, stripped off his clothes and lay down on the chilly kitchen floor.

Waiting for tomorrow to come. Hoping that it wouldn't.

I Demand Accuracy

Elizabeth Bathory was a Hungarian Countess who lived from 1560 to 1614.

Her claim to fame was that she killed hundreds of young women and bathed in the blood of virgins  to retain her youth.

I like this story; I can work with it. It is bizarre and gruesome, paralleling my own existence.

Not that I have killed anybody but come on, I was an accountant for over 20 years.

What could be more bizarre and gruesome than that?

As I read up on her a black cloud of doubt was thrown over the whole bathing in blood thing. Apparently stories that suggest that reality were recorded years after her death and are considered unreliable.

Her serial murders and brutality were verified by the testimony of 300 witnesses and survivors as well as "physical evidence and the presence of horribly mutilated and dead, dying and imprisoned girls found at the time of her arrest", according to Wikipedia.

So there's that.

At her trial, two accomplices claim knowledge of up to 37 victims, other defendants estimated 50 or more, and one woman, who claims to have come across a book kept by Bathory tracking her victims, says the true number is 650. However the book was never found and the official number of victims settled at 80.

Elizabeth Bathory is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the most prolific female murderer.

It is good to have goals and to achieve them but still, it is the whole bathing in blood thing that fascinates me. It is so ghoulish that it appeals to the dark side of my brain (95% of my grey matter).

The fact that it is unverifiable frustrates me; I guess I will have to learn to live with the uncertainty.

Apparently the Hungarian legal system at the time was as efficient and corruption-free as ours is today.

Charges were initially brought against Bathory between 1602 and 1604. Hungarian authorities didn't begin to investigate until 1610. This might have been due to the fact that Bathory's family was noble and influential, rulers of Transylvania.

The "prosecutor" for the case initially wanted to send Bathory to a nunnery, because of her position, and to avoid a public scandal, but as rumors spread he suggested she be kept under house arrest and be punished no further.

It was the king who pushed for Bathory to be brought to trial and sentenced to death. The prosecutor, however, convinced the king that doing so would "negatively affect the nobility."

Ah the sweet wheels of justice go round and round.

Anyway, to make a long story short, old Betty baby was imprisoned and placed in solitary confinement.

Interesting to note that two of her accomplices were burned at the stake, one was beheaded and one was sentenced to life imprisonment.

Bathory died four years after being imprisoned, a pretty small price to pay for the horrific deeds she perpetrated.

I see more goddamn lines on my face every day.

Wonder what I can do to prevent this?

Strange Segue

Carol and I were watching The Sox last night.

At this point in the season - I don't really "watch" The Sox. I monitor the activity.

I was reading Playboy.

When I finished with that, I picked up AARP magazine.

That pretty much sums up where my life is at in 2015.

Monday, June 22, 2015

On Marc Maron?

Everyone is up in arms because President Obama used the "N" word on Marc Maron's podcast today.

We as a society are so far off base in what we define as racial tolerance and understanding that it makes us look like kindergarten children.

President Obama said: "Racism, we are not cured of it. And it's not just a matter of it not being polite to say "N" in public (he used the full word). That's not the measure of whether racism still exists or not. It's not just a matter of overt discrimination. Societies don't, overnight, completely erase everything that happened 200 to 300 years prior."

I hesitated to print the full word because I don't know the policies of this blog-site, and because I am a white man who is extremely uncomfortable with the word.

The President makes a valid point.

People think they have evolved because they don't use that word (in public), but how many of them use it in their minds and in private and in jokes?

How many harbor racist hatred in their hearts no matter what words they do or don't say?

The truthful answer is one hell of a lot.

We focus on President Obama's use of the word (I'm sure Fox and every weak willed and pudding minded republican will be all over it) and we ignore the truth about what he is trying to say and to deal with.

Which is the truth that racism is alive and well in this country, that it is being more overtly expressed than ever before, and that a massacre like the one at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, S. Carolina can come as no surprise to anyone who has even half a brain.

We should be thankful that it hasn't happened more often, although we should be fearful that other hate filled fools will decide that this cold-hearted and vicious killer has set a marvelous example.

This country is disingenuous in so many ways, pretending to be things that it is not, pretending that we are still as great as we once were, pretending that our politicians actually represent the working class and care about their constituents.

The worst lie that we put forth is that racial prejudice and hatred has gone away.

This is the kind of thing that when ignored or covered up results in innocent deaths.

I applaud President Obama for having the guts to address racism in a bold and truthful way.

On Speaking Your Mind

"When talk feels risky, then silence is the coward's choice."

From an article - "How I Learned to Speak My Mind", by Catherine Calvert

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Father's Day

I am experiencing today, emotionally, in a way I never have before.

I was sitting in a quiet house with a cup of coffee and a book this morning and I was feeling something. Feeling it powerfully.

It took me a while to define it but I think it boils down to gratitude.

I thought about pride, I thought about happiness, I thought about satisfaction, but I think I am being overwhelmed with gratitude.

There are two men in my life - their names are Keith and Craig - and they are my sons.

As much as I consider myself a wordsmith I could never explain the emotion that consumes me with that simple phrase.

They are my sons.

I love them with everything that I am, everything I ever was and everything I will ever be.

They have been an intense source of love for me since May 3, 1980 and October 23, 1983 and continue to be so today. I worship our relationship.

Carol and I attended a memorial mass and cemetery ceremony for our nephew Kevin yesterday.

It was extremely difficult because it dredged up the powerful emotions we have tried to keep in check since March 14.

I watched Wayne, Kevin's father, cry in church. Harder still, I watched him cry at Kevin's graveside.

On the day before Father's Day.

It shredded my emotions and permeated my feelings about Father's Day.

I will see my brother Ed today, my brother who I love deeply and unconditionally, who I respect and look up to and always have.

Today is Ed's first Father's Day since his only son, his only child, Jonathan passed away.

I cannot imagine what he is going through. I can, however, imagine the emotion.

I don't know how I will react when I first see Ed today. I am not good at keeping my emotions under control. It will be what it will be and whatever it is, it will be genuine.

I always dig Father's Day. I am proud to be father to Keith and Craig. I am proud of the men they have become. I am proud that we are still close.

But what I am feeling today has taken on a different, deeper twist.

What I want more than anything is for Jonathan and Kevin to be alive so Ed and Wayne can experience the happiness they deserve.

That is only a dream.

The reality is that I will enjoy an amazing day with my two sons and my brother while being grateful for being able to do so.

I am the textbook definition of lucky. Two magical sons that make me happy and proud whenever I think about them. If I can't see them I can call them up in my mind and it brings me peace.

I have a wife, Carol, together for 37 years, with whom I share a relationship that is now so deep that it amazes me with it's depth, it's love and the strength it gives us to take on life.

I have a brother who is also my best friend and a role model to emulate.

Which I am trying harder to do as I gain more wisdom.

I have an extended family that is loving and tough; tough enough to deal with life's most difficult realities and still stick together.

I could feel guilt today if I allowed myself to.

That is not appropriate.

I feel love. Pure and simple. Love and gratitude.

My heart aches for Wayne, my heart aches for Ed, but my heart still has the capacity to feel love for both of them.

Above all, I feel love so deep for my two sons, Keith and Craig.

To Keith and Craig - I love you more than anything in this life and I thank you for being the sons that you are.

Friday, June 19, 2015

My God! What Have I Done?

First things first.

It is extremely difficult to type when a cat is headbutting your hand and tapping your hand with her paw so she can get some loving attention.

Lakota just settled down, sprawled across the desk. Prior to that she was headbutting and pawing.

Goddamn I love our cats.


Anyway, I visit here in horror. I have been disciplined in exercising and dieting. Very disciplined. For the entire month of May and half of June.

Trying to lose weight (lost 1/4 of an ounce so far), trying to get healthy, trying to get stronger as a pre-emptive strike against the creeping weakness of aging.

I have surprised myself. Getting up earlier than I have to etc. I even buzzed home from work this past Monday and jumped on the exercise bike and flash showered before going out to consume a forty pound burger.

That is pretty goddamn disciplined. (?)

Got home from work last night at 10:00, chowed a burrito and then.........................

I ate a Klondike bar and ten Girl Scout Samoa cookies.


One serving of Samoa cookies is considered to be 2 cookies. 2 cookies = 140 calories. I ate five servings. I consumed 700 calories.

A Klondike bar = 488 calories.

In total, I consumed 1,188 calories.

In five minutes.

I walked two miles yesterday. According to a chart I just accessed, I burned 131 calories. I did some phony baloney push ups, some sit ups and some ultra lite weight work. Let's say that burned 19 calories. So 150 calories in total.

Not counting anything else I ate yesterday, I took in 1,038 more calories than I burned.

I got fatter. I feel fatter. 

Goddamn it - I am only human. I'm trying, Jesus, I'm really trying.

I read something yesterday that confirmed what I have always known. Exercise burns a lot less calories than you think and the only way to really lose weight is to eat healthier, along with some sort of exercise regimen.

This confirms my belief that to lose weight you must torture yourself, starve and punish yourself, and then go out with diminished energy to exercise.

I relish this Spartan approach.

Today, so far, I have consumed one cup of coffee and eaten one granola bar. I rode the exercise bike and did some phony baloney weight work, sit ups and push ups.

I am probably already dealing with a calorie surplus.

Still, I am committed to weigh in at 171.4 on July 1.

I am, of course, delusional.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Three Good Days

Carol and I achieved the coveted triple play - three good days in a row.

Kicked it off on Sunday with the quintessential, lazy, summer day. Took care of a few chores then settled in to the Sunday paper, Rolling Stone and Time magazines, racing and the Sox.

And cribbage. Always cribbage.

Journeyed out to the garden, Sangria in hand, and dug the sun and the beauty and the fountain and the type of conversation that results from spending 37 years together.

Later I whipped up burritos (I make killer burritos), which we washed down with more Sangria, then it was couch and recliner time in front of that addiction - TV.

A sweet, slow moving, deliciously warm and lazy day.

Monday - we survived the work day to be rewarded with a night out with Keith, Emily and Emily's parents, who were visiting.

For massive burgers.

A local restaurant features an annual burgerfest which Keith and Emily regularly attend. They rave about it and we finally made it with them.

Fabulous food, designer beers, some of the proceeds going to charity, and a chance to spend the night with our son, his amazing wife and her very cool and likable parents.

Tuesday - Fenway Park, baby. Carol and I lucked into free tickets for the second time this season. Drove part way, trained the rest, got there 45 minutes early and sat in old school seats in an old school section on a warm, overcast day.

As I sat digging on the splendor that is Fenway, my motions overwhelmed me. Surprised?

I was thinking about the upcoming weekend.

On Saturday Carol and I will be attending a funeral service for our nephew Kevin. He committed suicide on March 14.

Even after 3 months it will be difficult. Good to see Paul and Jeff, tough to see Paul and Jeff.

I was thinking that Kevin will never again sit in a seat at Fenway. I was thinking how lucky Carol and I are to get free tickets, to enjoy each other's company, to spend time together digging the Sox who Carol loves deeply.

I was thinking about Father's Day and my brother Ed. His son Jonathan died of an overdose on December 17, 2014. This will be Eddie's first father's day since and it will be enormously hard. My heart aches for him. I don't know what to do; I don't know what to say.

I cried a little, quietly, in the anonymity of beautiful Fenway.

But I came around. We saw a great game. The Sox kicked ass. Brock Holt hit for the cycle. The sun came out late in the game and it was gorgeous.

I am viciously aware of how difficult it is to have good days. How precious they are and how they must be appreciated.

Life changes instantaneously. You cannot risk missing out on whatever beauty and joy you can experience.

Carol and I put together three good days.


Wednesday, June 17, 2015

A Quick Update For You

I have figured out that not only do I need daily "to do" lists, I have to prioritize the goddamn things.

What a pain in the ass.

Starring The Editors

We get exactly what we deserve in this country, politically.

The 2016 election madness is in full swing. Already. The Presidential election will be conducted on November 8, 2016. Today is June 17, 2015. And really, the candidate clowns have been at it for a couple of months (more?) already.

I realize they are working towards the primaries first but for Christ sake, the coverage is smothering.

I also realize the upcoming election has huge implications because President Barack Obama will be walking out the door and we are starting fresh

I also realize that Carol and I are part of the problem. We watch a lot of MSNBC, and Meet The Press every Sunday.

Meet The Press. Are you kidding me? When I was a kid and we were in Uncle Harry's presence he would force us to watch Starring The Editors.

This was an old school news program with a collection of stuffy, tight-assed news dudes. It was the most exquisite torture one could imagine for a kid. As I sat there I prayed Russia would drop a nuclear bomb on the house so I would have an excuse to go out and play.

Now Carol and I look forward to watching Meet The Press. We schedule Sunday morning around it.

My how my perspective has changed.


As I listen to the candidate clowns spew their rhetoric I realize (not that I needed confirmation) just how stupid the American public is.

They cheer at rallies like they are at a rock concert. Because essentially they are at a rock concert.

The candidates don't say anything about how they will accomplish very important things, they just push the buttons.

They talk about job creation, the economy, and improving chances for the poor and the middle class. They have to because so many people in this country are struggling, so many are suffering.

They never explain exactly how they are going to do it because they have no clue exactly how they are going to do it.

They know, just like President Obama found out, that 15 minutes after you walk through the doors of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, you say to yourself "Holy shit, what the hell did I get myself into and how the hell am I going to deal with it?"

What they do at political rallies is throw out dramatic catchphrases that explode the audience into mindless cheering and applause.

And the American public eats it up.

(Editor's aside: Hillary Clinton's attempts to be cute and likable raise vomit in my throat.)

Voters have to get serious if this country is to have a chance at recapturing greatness. If hard working people are to have a chance at a return to dignity.

If a candidate clown says he will create more jobs, go back and look through his public record to see exactly what he has done in the past to create jobs.

Which is probably nothing.

These fools have to be held accountable. You cannot simply take them at their word because they are playing us all for fools. They use reality TV mentality to campaign for the most important job in the world because they know Americans are fat, lazy and dumb and will lap up any drama and phonyness they are fed.

Then the candidate clowns take office and destroy our lives by allowing the ruination of our economy and the shrinking of job opportunities.

Please don't get me started. 

Brain Scenes

Apparently I live in a permanent hallucinatory state.

I am eternally exhausted but I have learned to live with it, although I would like to discover the cause and deal with it. Maybe life would be a totally different thing if I was not fatigued every minute of every day.

However I am too tired to make the effort to find out.

I can close my eyes at any time during the day and quickly slip into a semi-sleep state. Not really asleep, not really awake; some fascinating place in the middle.

When I do, I immediately start "dreaming".

These are not full fledged dreams, but they are scenes. Like if I peeked into my skull right in the middle of a dream.

It is bizarre and fascinating to me.

It is almost instantaneous, and this is what fascinates me. What is going on in my brain that it doesn't have to work up to a dream state? That I don't have to descend into a deep sleep before my brain starts to entertain?

It seems to me that normally there is some sort of progression where the body relaxes, the breathing changes and the mind kicks into gear. A progression that takes time.

We visited the Red Sox at Fenway yesterday, and during the long, arduous drive down I experienced at least five of these hallucinatory states. I slip into them quickly, they are never related and I come right back when Carol talks to me.

The fact that they are not related fascinates me too. They can be bizarre, mundane, amusing, or unnerving, but as I jump from one to the other there is no connection.

It is not a bad thing, really. I am endlessly entertained.

It's just that I am examining the state of my mind intently right now, trying to bend and shape the way it works to a place where I can actually blow my life sky high with a perspective shift.

Or maybe I am zigging and zagging down a one way road leading directly to a rubber room.

Exactly how much effort should I exert?

Sunday, June 14, 2015

How Your Perspective Changes

George Jung is a free man.

Has been for over a year now. I missed his release. He walked out of prison on June 2, 2014.

George Jung was the real life cocaine kingpin played by Johnny Depp in "Blow" in 2001.

I love that movie. Have seen it many times.

In a strange and twisted way you feel for the guy when you watch the movie. One angle of the movie plays upon the hurtful way he consistently let his young daughter down because of his drug activities. You actually feel sympathetic for the man and even more so for his daughter, even though his lifestyle precluded a normal relationship as a parent.

Eventually he gets set up by guys he did business with and sentenced to 60 years.

He was part of the Medellin Cartel, which was responsible for up to 89% of the cocaine smuggled into the United States in the 1970's and 1980's.

George Jung was personally responsible for orchestrating the smuggling of massive amounts of cocaine into this country.

I kept tabs on the man over the years. Checking in periodically to see what his status was, wondering when he would be released, trolling his website.

His sentence was reduced and he ended up serving almost 20 years.

I was prepared to celebrate his release, to flippantly express my opinion that he was not that bad a guy, that all he did was sell drugs to a society that cannot exist without them.

I no longer hold that opinion.

My nephew Jonathan died from a heroin overdose at the age of 27.

I don't know how many people died from the cocaine that Jung sold, I don't know how many lives were ruined.

Considering the volume of business that he did I am guessing that the misery he caused was enormous.

My twisted mind used to celebrate people like Jung. Like Pablo Escobar. The free wheeling bad guy thing, the money, the lifestyle, the ballsy outlaw existence.

I thought it was cool because I despise the mediocrity, poverty and boredom forced upon most of us by the lives we live and by the rules that unfairly handicap us.

I still feel that way about typical middle to lower class existence but I was wrong to champion George Jung.

He was a son of a bitch who made an extravagant living profiting off the addictions of the weak, the downtrodden and the exploited.

I have become less flippant about the drug culture because of Jonathan.

When harsh reality blows up your life you need to change your perspective or continue to be the fool.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Lords of Chaos - The Bloody Rise of the Satanic Metal Underground

Started this book up yesterday.

Chapter one begins thusly: "The Devil has always treasured music. What better arena to inspire, cultivate, and propagate his will into the affairs of man."

I am immediately hooked.

Chapter one makes reference to Aleister Crowley. He was an English black magician dubbed "the wickedest man in the world" by the press in the 1930's. I have read some of his stuff. I got away from it due to my obsession with Bambi and The Sound of Music.

I must return to Crowley.

Chapter one makes reference to Anton Szandor LaVey. He founded the first official Church of Satan in 1966. He wrote the "Satanic Bible" in 1969. I have read the Satanic Bible. I got away from it due to my obsession with puppy dogs and daisies.

I must re-read the Satanic Bible.

Chapter one traces the roots of Black metal to three groups - Venom, Mercyful Fate, and Bathory.

Bathory took their name from the "Blood Countess" Erzebet Bathory, "a Hungarian noblewoman in the 1700's put on trial for the murder of hundreds of young girls, in whose blood she allegedly bathed to maintain her youthful beauty."

I am surprised Revlon has not jumped all over this practice as the next big beauty trend.

This book holds great promise for me.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Living in Financial Fear

Carol and I enjoyed a peaceful night last night.

We played cribbage on the screened in porch and talked about..................stuff.

I am forcing Carol to play as much cribbage as is humanly possible.

I am The Cribbage Idiot. Kind of like The Village Idiot, only card related.

We play once a week with an awesome crew of psychopaths. We laugh a lot.

There are five of us. The other four are lightening fast; they compute their hands and their cribs like butter. Effortlessly. Like cribbage is them and they are cribbage.

I, on the other hand, lay my cards down and add them up like a person who has never been exposed to math, a person who doesn't even know what order numbers progress in. Tortuously slow. Like cribbage is calculus.

I miss a lot. I miss something on almost every hand. Something that someone else has to gently point out to me.

It is embarrassing.

I am committed to overcoming my cribbage cretinism and am studying and playing hard. It is possible I will never learn how to play the game intelligently. Not everybody can do everything. 

If I never get any better, at least I will know I have tried as hard as I can.

I don't really force Carol to play. We enjoy it. It allows us to interact rather than falling asleep in front of the TV.

Talking money last night. The mythical "extra check."

Three paychecks last month. Carol was talking about some extra cash and how she was going shopping for some clothes. I told her I am going to buy a used tablet.

We were feeling good.

She called me from work this morning in a controlled panic to tell me she miscalculated, we don't have any extra money and the mortgage must be paid out of today's check. So don't go out and buy a tablet.

I don't believe in extra checks. If we took that money and enjoyed an extravagant dinner, a movie, spoiled ourselves a little with some new clothes, I would believe in an extra check.

In reality that check goes right down the toilet and into the hands of our creditors.

Means nothing.

This is how we live. This is how you live. This is how most of everybody lives.

Looking over our shoulders, tied through fear to a budget that strips away any chance at dignity.

And fun.

It is not defensible to whine about it though. As long as we are alive the opportunity exists to change the balance of power.

To get more money.

I am pretty sure we can get more money. I am just not sure how. But the belief that I can do something to get more money is the only thing that keeps me going financially.

Typically I say "Let's get a pizza", and Carol says "We can't afford a whole pizza. We can afford two slices as long as we don't buy drinks. Water works just fine."

I would like to change that to "Hey let's go out for dinner to that fine Italian joint we love, then we can go to a movie. And before we do that let's stop in to Neiman Marcus to pick up that killer cocktail dress you've been coveting."

Life is all about reducing fear.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

A Sigh of Relief (and Contentment) For a Job Well Done

Made it to page 1,168 of Atlas Shrugged.

That would be the last page.

My God what an experience. Took me quite a while to get through this one because life always gets in the way of pleasure.

And because the book is rich with philosophy and challenging thoughts.

It stands tall as a work of fiction; it is a great story well written and well told.

It stands even taller as Ayn Rand's expression of her philosophy of life.

There were days I did not even bother to pick it up because I was too damn tired and knew I could not focus enough to get all the protein out of the words.

When I did read it I was mesmerized. Definitely one of the best books I have ever read. Along with "The Fountainhead", also by Ayn Rand.

Which leads me to the truth that I must go to her website and study up on her philosophy. Not just talk about it like I usually do. It is 2015, it is warm and I am inspired. Inspired especially to beef up what is left of my brain.

Some of what I read about her philosophy appeals to me. What scares me is that many republicans were quoting her during the last Presidential election,using her writings in their twisted way to justify their approach to the economy and business.

Of course I can easily dismiss those associations because most republicans cannot read. Those that can are confused by the concepts revealed in "Good Night Moon".

What appeals to me at the moment about Rand's philosophy, given my limited knowledge thereof, is summed up in a quote of hers in the "About The Author" section at the end of the book.

"My philosophy, in essence, is the concept of man as a heroic being, with his own happiness as the moral purpose of his life, with productive achievement as his noblest activity, and reason as his only absolute."

She emphasizes in the books I have read that happiness should be the number one goal of every human being. That you should identify what makes you happy and go after it with every fiber of your being. That you should never sacrifice or compromise anything about yourself to satisfy the whims of another, and that humans do not have to accept suffering as the unconditional way of life.

There is a lot more to this but that is a pretty good start.

Anyway I put a lot of time and effort and thought and concentration into the reading of this book and I am glad I did. It has inspired in me a commitment to investigate her philosophies.

In the meanwhile, I think the next book I'll explore is "Lords of Chaos: The Bloody Rise of the Satanic Metal Underground."

My brain needs a break.

Hope Your Lips Fall Off

"The faces were drawn and twisted by the most obvious and least dignified form of tension: by forced smiles."

"Atlas Shrugged"   Ayn Rand

Try to Love Yourself, Baby

"Every form of causeless self-doubt, every feeling of inferiority and secret unworthiness is, in fact, man's hidden dread of his inability to deal with existence. But the greater his terror, the more fiercely he clings to the murderous doctrines that choke him."

"Atlas Shrugged"   Ayn Rand

A Strange Experience

Went to the movies last Friday with Carol to see "Aloha."

This movie has been savaged by critics.

Got to the theater barely on time and had to wait in a long line of fellow escapists to belly up to the ticket counter.

The movie had only been out for one week and I was afraid it would be sold out.

Got the tickets in my greasy little hands and we made our way into the theater as previews were already in progress.

We sat down and watched the previews with the eight other people who were in the theater.

I am not sure we have ever been in a theater with that low of a headcount.

I am not exaggerating. If there were more than ten people in that room I would be stunned.

How does that work? People read reviews and boycott the movie?  People trash it on line?

People see it the first week out and somehow spread the word that it is not worth the effort?

Don't know, don't care.

Carol and I enjoyed the movie.

It was definitely fluff with an injection of forced drama but still, it was a nice movie.

Definitely not Bradley Cooper-esque, but it was easy on the mind and soothing to the psyche.

Beyond that, it was another "digging the summer" step. We got out of the house on a Friday night and went on a date.

Topped it all off with a visit to Taco Bell after the movie.


We never go there. We did it for fun, for the hell of it, brought the grub home and chowed it contentedly.

We were the last ones out of the movie theater. We always wait a few minutes for the crowd to thin out. In this case the entire crowd was gone in 10 seconds.

Tough luck for them. We got to see a cool scene during the credits.

It was a good night. I'm 0 for 2 in the recent movie department though. Saw the new Mad Max movie with Craig. It was a non-stop blur of action, but not much of a story. Aloha was soothing but not deep.

The next movie I observe better be heavy duty.

I could use a jolt of electricity.


The gauntlet has been specifically laid out.

Got the new scale last Thursday, weighed myself Friday morning.



I am 5'7".

I look like Chris Christie, for Christ sake.

I have committed to losing five pounds by June 30.

The decimal point cracks me up. It applies more pressure.

171.5 won't cut it. That degree of specificity can drive a man to drink.

I can set the scale to weigh me in kilograms and even stone. How cool is that?

If I get desperate I will switch to stone. 1 stone =14 pounds.

I am 61. It has been scientifically proven that at my age, if I ran a marathon every day between now and June 30, and all I had to eat every day is one cup of yogurt, I could expect to lose one half of one ounce.

Still I am undaunted. I currently exist in a zone of fierce determination. I am surprising myself with the effort I am exerting in certain areas of my life.

Inspiration is coming from somewhere (beyond the grave?) and I refuse to question it. Instead I will ride it out to whatever successes are in store for me.

There you go.

I'll talk to you on July 1.

(Editor's note: I am keeping the June Manifesto to myself. If I laid it all out, much of it would seem silly to you. I'll reveal parts of it as I make my way through the month. On July 1 I'll review my performance. I know you are breathing easier knowing that.)

Saturday, June 6, 2015


"The future isn't just something that happens. It's a brutal force with a great sense of humor that will steamroll you if you're not watching."

Bill Murray as Carson Welch in "Aloha"

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Koch Brothers Pissing Me Off

Koch industries has begun a push to convince us how marvelous they are.

Lots of TV ads.

This irritates me because the Koch boys are conservative and rich and taking full advantage of the Citizens United Supreme Court Constitutional ruling allowing enormous donations to political campaigns.

They take advantage of this to buy the people we think we are electing to represent us. This is so horrendous it renders me apoplectic with rage to the point that I cannot write another word about it.

Citizens United further eroded my confidence in the ruling elite of this country by proving that even the Supreme Court can be stupid.

Even worse it hints at the possibility that they can be bought.

The Koch ad I hate says in the body of it that Koch Industries employs 60,000 American workers, which is supposed to make us kneel in supplication to these rich bastards for propping up our economy.

The statistic is true. Koch Industries also has 40,000 more employees working in sixty other countries around the world.

Think the U.S. could use 40,00 more jobs?

I know it is a global economy and I know it is cheaper to operate in other countries but that stat suggests to me other possibly non-patriotic Koch motives.

Like off shore banking.

Looked into it and found two articles. One from 2009 and one from 2014.

The Eclectic Observer is a "newsblog delivered weekly by a team of student journalists in Budapest, Hungary" (their own description).

I don't know how credible they are but consider what they reported in 2009 and see if you think there might be some truth to it.

"Public documents available on the Luxembourg government website,, reveal that Koch operates a complex system of offshore companies and accounts in order to avoid paying US taxes on huge sums of corporate profits."

In 2014, ICIJ, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, reported the following:

"......................Arteva, Europe, a Koch industries company whose Swiss branch makes hundreds of millions of dollars, in interest income, pays very little tax and - mysteriously - has no staffing costs."

Koch Industries employs 60,000 workers in the United States. They want you to think they care about our economy and, even worse, about our workers.

They don't.

They care about political influence, maximizing profits, and paying as little as is legally and (maybe illegally) possible in this country in taxes.

Sound patriotic to you? Sound like they have the best interests of this country at heart? Sound like they give a damn about the welfare of the American worker?


Strange and Yet Somehow Wonderful

Strange how things go.

Got the high emergency motivation (intent?), yet I begin the new push by not walking four days in a row.

May 31, June 1,2,3.

That's the first time that has happened since I began on May1.

Oh well.

So here I am. The June manifesto will be coming in pieces, because I haven't laid it all out yet.

The big push is weight. I ordered a fresh and exciting digital scale. Amazing 21st century technology.

Wait, what? You say digital bathroom scales have been around for decades? Hell cut me some slack. I am still sporting a flip phone.

The new scale will not lie to me. It will expose my grotesque fatness for what it is.

On the day I receive it I will weigh myself and commit to losing five pounds by June 30.

Consider how I handicap myself. I ordered the damn thing yesterday. Probably won't have it until next week.

I relish the challenge.

More exercise. Gonna walk like The Walking Dude. Walked this morning. Adding quasi push ups and sit ups to the regimen.

Generally gonna make exercise a daily requirement in some form or fashion. On rainy days I can ride the exercise bike.

I hate "to do" lists. From now on I am gonna create a daily "to do" list. Got one going today.

My mind wanders. I want to accomplish too many things this month and for the rest of my life. Gotta write it down and cross it off.

Gotta find a way to make the work day more personally productive. The way I see it I waste 9 and 1/2 hours per day working and commuting. 9 and 1/2 hours devoted to something that is killing me. Doesn't make a lot of sense. That is an enormous amount of time to waste and leaves little time or energy for revolutionary personal change.

Got to find a way to sneak in activities, thoughts and or stuff that can help me to accomplish my objectives. Thinking about buying a used tablet. That way I can stay connected. Read and research intelligent things on breaks and lunch in an effort to combat the corrosive way this shitty job destroys my mind.

 Considering sacrificing some sleep.

Why not? I sleep like crap anyway and exist in a state of eternal exhaustion. Why not use my nights as constructively as possible? Especially since the hard truth is no matter how hard I try it will be difficult to accomplish anything meaningful during the working day.

OK this is all pretty lame. I am even boring myself.

I'll keep working on it and see if I can add some spice.

Until then..................................

Such a Beating

I take such a beating as a human being it is beyond my comprehension that I can still function.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

As May Bleeds Into June

OK, yeah, I know today is June 2.

I didn't get in here on June 1 to say or do anything dramatic.

Let me tell you how June 1 went.

It was a day from hell at work, as predicted. Of course this begs the question - was it a day from hell because it was a day from hell? Or was it a day from hell because I expected it to be a day from hell?

As I ponder this all doubt is erased.

Anything, any activity, any chore or task or assignment or responsibility that is connected with, to or emanates from the New Hampshire State Liquor Commission is bound to be a hellish nightmare.

And then we went food shopping.

I don't really mind that. And we experimented a bit. Tried to shop enough for a month.

We stretched the last larder replenishment for an extra week or so and it opened our eyes to possibilities. Even though by last night there was not a bite of food to be found in the home.

It was also exciting for me to buy White Castle frozen burger sandwiches for the first time. Wes at work keeps a package in the freezer and although I haven't tried them it seemed like a brilliant plan.

Nestled in the freezer along with the burgers is the first package of Klondike bars of the season.

Very exciting.

That is not why I am here. I am here to tell you about May.

May opened with a bang. The weather exploded into beauty and I came alive.

Determined to regain an exercise regularity I started walking. Right then and there on May 1.

I did not want to ride the exercise bike. I wanted to be outside in the beauty.

I walked and walked and walked. I walked my way through the month.

I'm pretty sure I didn't miss more than eight days. Pretty good performance.

I have decided to lose weight. I am fat again. The local kids call me Whale Man.

I ate yogurt for breakfast and lunch many times during the month.

Walking and yogurt. Foolproof.

I weighed myself on May 1 and came in at 170 pounds.

Not really. I knew that could not be true. That is too close to the 165 that is my ultimate goal.

Our scale is an old, mechanical piece of crap. No amount of resetting banging or shaking could make the needle stray from 170.

I decided to accept it (even though I knew there was no fucking way).

Weighed myself on June 1 and came in at 175.

There is no way I gained weight, no fucking way. I think the 175 is my true weight, I think the scale told the truth this time.

I was furious even though it wasn't really a surprise.

Fat boy is determined. First of all I am going to buy a digital scale. Then I am going to commit to losing five pounds this month.

I have a lot of other things in mind for my June Manifesto. Some will be concrete. Some will be silly to you but not to me.

Overall I am committed to coming out of June a different man. Noticeably different.

To me and to everyone who knows me.

I'm not ready to lay it out yet.

I am shooting for Thursday. I have Thursday off, thank Christ.

I impressed myself in May. Not with results because there weren't any. But with dedication and determination.

I want to go exponentially crazy in June. Bing bang boom over the top commitment and results.

I                   am                       jazzed.