Monday, August 31, 2015

There Is Goodness

Last Saturday night Carol and I attended The Community Kitchen First Annual Local Harvest Dinner.

Sounds quite granola like, no? It wasn't. It was spectacular.

Our friend Jason is on the board, it was a fund raiser, he invited us and we went.

It was outdoors in a beautiful country setting by a lake. Tables covered in white tablecloths, set with china and silverware, a gorgeous summer night, semi-casual dress, which felt good - no jeans, most of the woman were in dresses, I got to wear my treasured 100% silk Tommy Bahama shirt.

Music. Some dude and his guitar. He did a great job. No Zeppelin though.

Dinner was fabulous - bacon wrapped pork, damn delicious chicken, awesome potatoes, veggies, fresh salad, build your own sundaes for dessert, beer and wine.

Here's my point.

I am a realist. I point out the negative things in the world, the negative things about life, and they outnumber the good stuff exponentially. I despise phony optimism. I tell it like it is.

Every once in a while I come across something that excites my soul and stimulates faint hope.

The Community Kitchen is an organization based in Keene, begun in 1982, committed to providing meals to anyone who needs them in a safe and friendly environment.

They do not just hand out boxes of food. They provide as much fresh produce as possible so people can actually pick and choose what they want.

Gleaning. They are in to gleaning. What the hell is gleaning? When I heard the word I thought "Here we go, a bunch of granola loving tree huggers with some weirdo post hippie thingy.

According to TCK's brochure: "Gleaning is the act of collecting leftover crops from farmers' fields after they have been commercially harvested or on fields where it is not economically profitable to harvest. Some ancient cultures promoted gleaning as an early form of a welfare system."

Nine farms participate in this program. TCK gets lots of fresh produce.

Very, very cool. They are committed to providing healthy and nutritious food. They are not just handing out Kraft macaroni and cheese and Spam.

They showed us a brief film regarding their history and their philosophy. Everyone we met who is affiliated with the program was way cool.

Except Jason. He is the token misfit. But there is hope that in time he can be softened up.

All we see on the news today is killings. Cop killings, cops killing, children being slayed (you haven't forgotten about Newtown please!!!!), mass shootings followed by suicides, racial hatred and violence.

It was a warm and revitalizing feeling last Saturday night to learn about this program, the people who make it happen, to dine on a gorgeous summer night in comfort on an extravagant meal even as we were reminded of the many people who cannot afford to eat healthy.

It is so good to know there are people out there willing to put in the effort to take care of those who are less fortunate or going through a difficult patch in life. People who are committed to putting out extra effort to provide healthy options.............and those who need it most.

I have been harping about my commitment to making the most out of this summer. Last Saturday night was a highlight.

There is goodness in the world. The kind that keeps hope alive.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

A Pregnant Man

I wish to hell I looked like Elvis in his "68 comeback special.

In that vicious, black leather suit.

If I put something like that on I would be mistaken for a pregnant man.

Leonard & Bob

I am reading a biography on Leonard Cohen.

It is delicious.

I am a word guy. I might have mentioned that once or twice within these walls.

I worship words. I need to see words connected in ways they have never been connected before. I need to see things expressed originally. Creatively. Provocatively.

I need to read or hear words that zap my emotions into overdrive, words that make me exclaim in my mind or out loud "Jesus Christ what a stimulating perspective."

I worship music. Can't live without it. Music is emotion to me. The music I love makes me cry, it brings laughter, it makes me think and learn and realize.

But the lyrics, baby - the lyrics make the whole thing resonate at the frequency of my soul.

I focus on song lyrics and I rejoice when the quality of the lyric matches the quality of the music.

It can be simple, like "Whipping Post" by The Allman Brothers.

"I've been run down and I've been lied to. And I don't know why, I let that mean woman make me a fool. She took all my money, wrecked my new car. Now she's with one of my good time buddies, they're drinking in some cross town bar.

My friends tell me that I've been such a fool. But I had to stand by and take it baby, all for lovin' you. Drown myself in sorrow as I look at what you've done. But nothing seemed to change, the bad times stayed the same, and I can't run."

Simple. Direct. Precisely why I love them. You can feel the emotion. You know how beat down this dude is because his words are so real.

However, I worship two lyric Gods above all others.

Bob Dylan. Leonard Cohen.

These guys put words together in ways that make you smarter. The images, the references so intellectual and emotional and literate and historical and human and religious and vulgar.

Nobody else writes lyrics like Dylan and Cohen.

They challenge you, which is good. What was that reference? I gotta look that up. Or..........what an interesting perspective - I never thought of it that way; let me think about it. Or.................Jesus Christ I never heard it put quite like that before and it is absolutely perfect.

Just read this morning of a time when Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen were sitting together in a cafe in Paris, "trading lyrics."

Can you imagine?

They were reciting favorite Dylan/Cohen lyrics to each other and asking "How long did it take you to write that? What was the inspiration? What were the changes the lyrics went through?"

That had to be the ultimate summit of elevated minds in the entire recorded history of the human race.

I entertain a fantasy of being a fly on the wall for happenings like this. To witness creative people creating, listening to the people I respect being human while their unstoppable creativity inevitably bleeds through the mundane reality of being human.

The list of creative people Leonard Cohen has spent time with is endless. Some I knew about, others were a revelation to me.

The list includes poets, writers, rock artists, folk artists, dance artists; people involved with movies and plays, beat artists and writers, and more.

To me, though, the most stunning connection had to be between Leonard Cohen and Bob Dylan.

A connection that should have changed the world but didn't.

Unless maybe it did.

(Editor's note: As I read this book I become re-connected with all of Leonard Cohen's songs. If you have not already done so, dial up "If It Be Your Will" and "Hallelujah". If these songs do not spark an emotional reaction in your heart, you are dead.)

(Editor's note #2: Every single time I write the word hallelujah I have to look up the spelling. Every single time. This drives me crazy.)

Friday, August 28, 2015

No Clue

I was driving to work on Wednesday and noticed all the sad-faced children lined up to catch school buses.

It was August 26.

Used to be school did not start until after labor day, which is as it should be so kids can enjoy a real summer.

Life will back them into a corner soon enough; it is cruel and sad to shorten their summer, which is a time of freedom and carefree frolicking amongst the butterflies.

It is a unique time in a human's life when they get two and a half months to do as they please. To breathe. To float freely without someone telling them where to be and what time to be there.

I could listen to an argument in favor of extended suffering if someone could prove to me that the extra effort is improving the academic standing of the United States in relation to other advanced countries in the world.

Obviously it is not.

Rules and regulations, suffocating oppression with complete disregard to the cost in health and mental well being has become the norm in this country.

Work wise and now school wise.

Still, we regress.

We have no clue what we are doing.

(Editor's note: I am really in an excellent mood today in spite of this and the following two posts. Sometimes you gotta go with what is in your heart. Ciao.)

A Thought

Every human being finds a way to suffer uniquely.

We Are All Deep

We are all deep.

Deep in the sense of emotion and hopes and dreams, joys and sorrows, wants and desires.

The problem is that life forces superficiality.

We struggle to express and fulfill the longing in our hearts and in our souls, to expose our essence to the light of day and exult in the sweet release of pure individuality.

The battle is lifelong. We struggle to express ourselves honestly in joy while life forces us to conform, conformity resulting in poisoning of the soul.

Ultimately the battle is lost.

Thursday, August 27, 2015



That is Don Orsillo's full name. A beautiful, Italian name belonging to a man whose dream is being crushed.

NESN is firing Orsillo and nobody really knows why except on the whim of relatively new management at NESN.

Please note, however, that the Boston Red Sox own 80% of NESN, the Bruins the other 20%. The Sox could have stopped this.

They did not.

Don Orsillo is respected within the industry, he is exceptionally likable and a true professional.

Over the last few years the guy had to work with a never ending list of color men, and every time he did he made it look effortless, he treated them with respect and he made them look good.

Even when they sucked.

Which was often.

His relationship with Jerry Remy was truly meaningful, which Remy made very clear on Tuesday night when the news broke.

On Tuesday, through the Red Sox PR people, Remy let it be known that he wanted to address the media about Orsillo's firing.

When he did so he was emotional and even had tears in his eyes. He said: "I love him."

If you have been listening to Don & Jerry over the years you know that displays of emotion are not Jerry's thing. So his comments and the deep and obvious sadness he openly displayed mean that much more.

I read comments from Sean McDonough, the guy Orsillo replaced. He had nothing but praise and respect for Don. And interestingly enough he related the story of his own firing which was handled as badly as Orsillo's.

He was in a University of Michigan gym doing research for a game he was to broadcast the next day. He got a call from a journalist asking if he had any comments about his contract not being renewed by the Red Sox.

He did not even know about it.

He said that beyond the shock it was heartbreaking and it took him "a long time to stop being emotional about it."

He summed up how Don Orsillo feels right now (they exchanged texts) explaining how difficult it is when you expect to be a Red Sox broadcaster for life, you put your heart and soul into it and do a good job, you don't see your termination coming and all of a sudden you are gone, the devastation is complete.

McDonough knows full well how that feels. And it is even worse for Orsillo because he is expected to finish out the season; to go on as if nothing has changed. The season was over when Sean got the ax.

I have listened to sports talk radio a lot since Tuesday, read articles in the Boston Globe, read stuff on and all of it is consistent.

Don Orsillo is an excellent play by play guy and he is getting shafted by NESN/Red Sox.

There is also a huge fan backlash, including a petition to protest his firing on

Reactions that are this heartfelt, this consistent and so supportive point you in the direction of the truth.

Don Orsillo's heart is probably broken. NESN and the Red Sox could care less. To them this is a business decision even though there is no valid argument for letting the man go.

The Red Sox should be kissing Don Orsillo's ass for keeping interest in the Red Sox where it is while they go out every night and suck.

People tune in to enjoy Don and Jerry, to laugh along with them and forget about their troubles for a while.

That is a rare gift.

That is why people are so angry.

It is not about the sport. It is about being human. It is about a human being.

Don Orsillo.


My goal is to beat the world senseless with a loaf of stale French bread.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Frank & Mike & Don

My "things to write about" notebook has the following notation: Frank Gifford/Mike Napoli.

It is difficult for me to explain to you my thinking, short of actually writing, difficult to talk about the relationships in my mind.

Don't worry - you will hear about it at some point soon.

The situation has become complicated with the impending, temporary, professional demise of Don Orsillo.

Originally I was tempted to lump his situation in with the other two, but I can't do it.

Orsillo deserves his own Joe-rant, period. My emotions are turbulated, I am sad, I am disappointed, I am once again backed into the corporate america versus human beings stance that I love so dearly.

Because it makes sense. It is compelling. It is truth.

Corporate america will shred you, crucify you, eviscerate you, torture and break you for the sake of a buck or a personal agenda.

Luckily for you I have the next four days off. This will give me time to collect my thoughts and organize my words.

I randomly decided at the end of June to take these four days off because I can.

I work for the state, vacation hours accrue quickly, and I am determined to use them.

Very especially as this semi-summer wanes.

Every second I spend outside the walls of The Hell Hole I work in is a second of bliss. Of life.

When I am inside those hideous walls, my veins and arteries are actually exposed, ripped right through my skin.

My blood splashes all over the walls and into the faces of the faux-tee-totallers who buy buy buy.

"I don't even drink - this is for my husband. He can't get by without his precious whiskey."

I have four days to save my own life.

No pressure.

Anyway...................I will be talking to you about Frank Gifford/Mike Napoli.

And Don Orsillo.

Hang in there, cut me some slack, give me some breathing room, let me be me.

Tonight I am exhaling. Revelling in the anticipation of four days of peace, love and understanding.

Looking forward to the radically different existence I will hurtle into next Monday.

Life, baby. It is remarkably unpredictable.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Tears On The 18th

Jason Day won the PGA Championship on August 16 and cried on the 18th green.

He cried when he walked up on to the green and before his final putt. He cried after he sank the putt to become the first PGA competitor to set a major championship record 20 under par.

The man has followed a tough road. He is 27 years old.

His father died of stomach cancer when Day was 11 years old. Day was an alcoholic by the age of twelve. His mother was desperate and took out a second mortgage on their home to send Jason to an international boarding school with a reputation for grooming top athletes.

He took up golf and rose to the professional level, flirting with success for five years now, coming close but never winning a major.

So this was big. It was huge and obviously meant everything to Jason Day.

Professional athletes are unique because of the enormous amount of work and personal sacrifice it takes to compete at that level.

Us wee folk know nothing about that because, after a certain point in our lives, all our energy is spent on survival.

Grinding out a job that pays only enough to allow us to live just short of dignity.

Professional athletes are unique because if and when they achieve a championship they realize a lifelong dream, a tangible reward for decades of single-minded hard work.

Us wee folk are rewarded with retirement if we live that long, and hopefully a retirement that doesn't end abruptly on its very first day, felled by a fatal heart attack as you leisurely stroll out to get the morning paper.

Many pros cry when they get that first championship. That is the way life is supposed to work.

You identify a dream early on, you work your ass off in the dark and alone in your heart until you achieve that goal.

Then you break down because success is so overwhelming when you put so much into it.

I have a great deal of respect for champs who cry in victory. It says everything about what it means to be human, it says everything about how life is supposed to be scripted.

Champs who suck it up and hold their emotions back are not being tough. They are cheating their fans of this glimpse of how life would feel if any of us had an actual shot at success.

I had tears in my eyes as Jason Day cried with his son in his arms, as he kissed his wife, as he hugged his caddy.

Any time I see life in purity as it was intended, my cheeks are bathed.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

An Emotional Soul

Been noticing some Counting Crows songs on the propaganda tape I have to listen to every goddamn day at work.

Allow me to explain.

I don't mind the music. In fact I love the music. I fight hard to keep it set on classic rock.

We can choose from a list of genres, all of which suck except for classic rock and jazz. I am not allowed to choose the jazz option because the people I work with are not musically sophisticated.

What really bothers me is that there is no "blues" option. Are you kidding me? No blues?

Absolutely ridiculous.

If blues was an option I would set the choice there permanently and shoot in the head anybody I caught changing it.

I walk around the store singing all shift long. I am known for it. With co-workers and with customers.

What I hate are the goddamn liquor commission ads that frequently interrupt the flow of the music. Very often right in the middle of a song.

Propaganda. Brain washing. Childish, insulting and condescending.

Anyway......................lately I have been hearing a few Counting Crows songs and it has hit me how Adam Duritz's voice resonates with my soul.

Their first album is one of my favorites. I absolutely love it.

What I realize is that Duritz's voice is on the exact same wavelength as my soul.

I am sensitive and melancholy; I am pure emotion above all else.

Adam Duritz's voice expresses those feelings, those emotions achingly well. I believe he and I could have an amazing conversation over a couple of drinks and a couple of candles.

I have no Counting Crows on my ipod.

What the hell is wrong with me?

A Turn of Phrase

Could be the most cruel phrase in the English language.

"Shattered dreams."

Monday, August 17, 2015

I've Done The Research

Oh my God I am overwhelmed.

My plan was to draw some correlation between warm weather and longer life spans.

I Googled the topic and...........................

"When cold-blooded animals are exposed to a cold environment, their metabolisms slow and they live longer. When warm-blooded animals are exposed to a cold environment, their metabolisms speed up and they live longer."

It is highly debatable whether humans are warm-blooded or cold-blooded, but either way this data does me no good.

The study then went on to factor income into the equation because higher income people tend to live longer. In fact the study noted that life expectancy has a much stronger relationship to income than to temperature.

This pisses me off too because my paycheck is obviously reducing my lifespan.

I wasn't happy with those results so I read an article in The Atlantic titled "Why People Born In Winter Might Live Longer."

My birthday is January 1.

The opening sentence was: "Extreme cold kills more people than extreme heat, and it does so in a variety of ways."


The author, Olga Khazan, makes some banal points and then points out this insidious fact:"Cold weather causes arteries to constrict and blood to become thicker, increasing chances of having a heart attack or stroke."

Carol will be shovelling alone this winter.

The focus of the article is this: "There's evidence that your risk of dying of heart disease in the cold could depend on the temperature at which you experienced life as a fetus."

And:"A forthcoming study in social science and medicine shows that people who were in utero during the warmer months were more likely to die from this type of wintertime heart disease during cold periods."

The only cold months I lounged in the womb were October, November and December.

What does this mean? What the hell should I think?

I went on to read other stuff and the bottom line is that the data is contradictory and inconclusive.

Scientists don't know. Nobody knows.

This is a traditional result when you attempt to discover conclusive scientific evidence.

Ironic, no?

I gotta go with my gut here. I feel better when it is warm. My body feels better and my mood is much better.

You must live longer when you are happy, right? Gotta live longer when you feel better?

The sweat trickling down my chest right now is obviously a sweet life extender.

A Solid Plan

I am really very tired.

Think I'll rob somebody and flee to Mexico.

Sunday, August 16, 2015


Started reading a biography on Leonard Cohen this morning.

This will be great. Already is. Cohen is one of the greats. Poet, writer and song-smith.

He is a giant in my life.

The following is his description of a time in his young life when he and a friend used to tool around the streets of Montreal looking for fun and inspiration.

"They were flying from the majority, from the real bar mitzvah, the real initiation, the real and vicious circumcision which society was hovering to inflict through limits and dull routine."

How's your life looking to you today?

Football (Again!?!)


You best duck dodge and hide. Crawl under the bed. Put on some protective gear. Make yourself safe.

I am about to talk football.

I am all in this year. Again.

I am all in every year but somehow some years feel different than others. Emotionally.

I cannot explain what it is but the emotions feel stronger at times, the focus feels sharpened, the excitement feels overwhelming.

Been watching NFL Network coverage of training camps. Training camps, for Christ sake.

Of course I'm into pre-season games now.

Cranking up THE PATS website at every opportunity. NFL website too.

Tuned in episode 1 of "Hard Knocks" for the first time in ten years. Covering the Houston Texans pre-season.

I was thrilled.

Show's been around for ten years and I'm just climbing on board but I'm glad I did. It ramps everything up for me.

Inside footage, camp coverage, personal stuff on the players, humor, vulgarity, intensity - what the hell else do you want?

J.J. Watt can flip a 1,000 pound truck tire over fifty times. Can you do that?

I can, but I choose to remain anonymous in my phony baloney state job.

I have explained my passion for football many times within these walls. The combination of brutality and grace in delicate balance. A beautiful pass dropping into talented hands as the receiver twists and controls his body in defiance of gravity. A running back shucking and jiving through and beyond the line of scrimmage. A play saving open field tackle. A kick return for a touchdown that leaves you breathless.  Impossible interceptions (thank you Malcolm Butler).

However it is the intangible stuff that makes football my game. The way it makes me feel. The emotions it stirs up unbidden.

You need these things in your life. They make you feel alive. They keep you alive.

That is the key for me. Football makes me feel alive.

The Allman Brothers always did that for me as well. Still do through my ipod.

Life conspires, with its restrictions and rules and boredom and limitations and burdens, to make you feel dead.

Anything that shakes you out of that mode and makes you realize that you are actually alive is a precious gift.

Football means that much to me.

For whatever reason, 2015 has me jacked to the max. Ready to pounce on football, gobble it up and consume it like the finest of fine meals.

I'm done.

You can come out now.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015


What does it mean when you wake up with arugula on your mind?

Not the vegetable; the word.

I don't know a goddamn thing about arugula. Don't know what it looks like, don't know what it tastes like.

Or kale. I don't know anything about kale nor do I wish to.

Unless it is J.J. Cale or Cale Yarborough.

I literally woke up at 5:30 in the am this morning with the word arugula on my mind.

Keith Richards wakes up with the riff to "Satisfaction" on his mind and ends up living in mega-comfort in Connecticut.

I get arugula.

Editor's note: I just figured out how to delete stuff on my chromebook. I googled it. There is no delete button on a chromebook. Who makes a laptop with no delete button? Chromebook does. alt-backspace for one letter. ctrl-alt-backspace for one word. All this time I have been backspacing. My life is slipping away from me.

Arugula is one of the nutritious green-leafy vegetables of Mediterranean origin. I just looked it up. It actually has a nickname.

Garden rocket.

That is a pretty macho nickname for a green-leafy vegetable.

Health facts: 100 g of fresh leaves hold 25 calories and still it is rich in "vital phytochemicals, anti-oxidants, vitamins and minerals that may immensely benefit health."

In other words, if you eat four pounds of arugula every day you might extend your life 145 seconds.

Kind of like resveratrol in red wine. Promotes health if you drink nine bottles a day. There is irony in there somewhere, no?

I just looked up resveratrol (does anyone say "looked up" anymore? Does it always have to be googled? Is there a rule?).

The blurb takes the typical cautious approach that red wine may promote heart health IN MODERATION; no more than a couple of glasses a day.

It then goes on to demonize alcohol: "Drinking too much alcohol increases  your risk of high blood pressure, high triglycerides, liver damage, obesity, certain types of cancer, accidents and other problems."

Accidents? I love it. Fear. We use fear today to make whatever point we are trying to make. Let's throw accidents in there to broaden the spectrum of the terrible things that can happen to you when you consume demon alcohol.

Anyway..................I hope I wake up tomorrow with something more useful on my mind than arugula.

Something I can make money off of.

A poem. A song. A story.

I'll keep you posted.

I'm hungry. Think I'll whip up a bowl of cereal.

With arugula on it.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Cerebral Weekends

Carol and I enjoy cerebral weekends.

Start it all off on Friday night at 10:00 with Bill Maher.

Excellent show. You may not agree in entirety with Maher's point of view but the show is always lively and fueled with stimulating discussion.

You learn stuff and it makes you think.

Sunday morning it's Meet The Press.

Again - great discussions, interesting topics and an attitude that informs and inspires thought.

Sunday night it's 60 Minutes.

All over the map in topics, which is great because it exposes viewers to a wide spectrum of experience.

The topics are covered intelligently and very often are eye openers.

So Carol and I are not as stupid as our enemies assume.

Digging on 60 Minutes last night and sitting uncomfortably in my recliner as we watched coverage of the mass migration from Syria to Jordan.

Syria is war torn and families are forced to flee because there is no safety and no escape. They are trying to save their children and provide for them a future.

The catch is that there is no guarantee they will find comfort in Jordan. These families are escaping death and uncertainty and gambling that they will be able to build a life in Jordan.

Some families split up for the journey - a few kids with Dad, a few kids with Mom in the hope they will all meet up on the other side.

The looks on the childrens' faces are heartbreaking. The tears and fear on the part of the parents is heartbreaking.

Carol and I watched the debate of republican candidates last Thursday night.

A collection of morons, psychopaths and mental defectives who are auditioning to become President of the United States.

As I watched 60 Minutes I could not get republican political buffoons out of my mind.

These guys are so far removed from reality and so disinterested in helping their constituents that they should be thrown in jail.

Better still, there should be an electrical device strapped to their private parts that shocks them into great pain every single time they lie or offer a misleading statement.

I was thinking how disgusting and immoral it is for political "leaders" to be unconnected to the pain and suffering that goes on in their countries.

Pain and suffering that is a result of the policies of these "leaders".

The United States is not experiencing war and displacement as in Syria, but there are still a whole hell of a lot of people who are suffering and lost in this country.

People who are struggling financially, struggling with health issues, trying to bring some dignity into their lives, hoping for a level playing field so they at least have a chance to succeed.

Our revered politicians do not give a damn. They lust to be elected so they can continue to increase their wealth and consolidate their power and forget about the people they lied to to get their votes.

It was heartbreaking to watch Syrian families fight to cross the border into uncharted waters, out of desperation and hope as their leaders live in splendor.

It is disgusting to watch our political buffoons prance around like the self absorbed puppets that they are while the American public sinks deeper into despair.

What the hell went wrong with this world?


I just learned the Spanish word for retirement.

It is jubilacion.


That is the perfect definition of retirement.

So many other cultures are infinitely superior to our own.

In their approach to life and work, in their passion, in their appreciation of life and understanding of what it means to be alive.

In the beauty, expression and passion of their language.

My entire being is focused on jubilation.


Sunday, August 9, 2015

Morning Breeze

Straggled downstairs this morning in an exceptionally pleasant early morning haze.

First of all I didn't wake up until 9:18. That is VERY strange for me.

Since I have aged a bit I usually wake by 7:00. So today was delicious.

First things first. I emptied and refreshed the cats' water bowl.

Actually it is Onyx's water bowl. Our one and only dog.

He was a sweetheart and when he was around he and the cats shared this bowl. A big red dog bowl.

After I was forced to kill him at the age of 16 we kept the bowl.

We tried to change it once and replace it with a petite cat water bowl.

The cats approached it like it was a land mine and avoided it.

I'm sure if we stuck with the petite bowl they would have adjusted, but we gave up immediately and went back to Onyx's bowl.

I'm glad we did. It's like still having him around. I was flushing out the bowl, wiping and refilling it, a slight but insistent breeze crept through the two inch opening at the bottom of the kitchen window.

It was so pleasant, so temperately perfect, so gentle and sweet that it just grabbed a hold of my entire being.

I basked in the simple beauty and pleasure of it.

I'm telling you, man - life is precious, simple and beautiful when you allow it to be.

Jaden Hayes

I have proof that God exists.

He is six years old, he lives in Savannah Georgia and his name is Jaden Hayes.

Check out news clips, Youtube, whatever your access to reality is and you will be blown away.

Jaden's father died when he was four years old. His mother died last month, unexpectedly in her sleep. He now lives with his aunt.

That much tragedy that early in a life would destroy most humans. Confuse them, make them bitter and afraid.

A couple of weeks ago Jaden told his aunt he was tired of so many people looking sad all the time and he asked his aunt to buy him a bunch of little toys and to bring him to downtown Savannah so he could give them away.

He picks people who are not smiling, walks up and gives them a toy.

The reactions are amazing.

People light up. They smile. They laugh. They hug him.

They are blown away by this little boy giving away toys and asking for nothing in return but a smile.

He has a very cool southern accent, a toughness whose source is ethereal, and a connection to other humans that gets to the very heart of what it means to be alive. 

I am pushing it with the god thing. Where I'm coming from is that Jaden's thing is perfectly in line with all the best any religion has to offer. The concept of showing love no matter what you are forced to deal with in life. Not taking out your problems on others. Trying to make people happy regardless of your own tragedies.

Digging deeper, what I see is the perfect expression of human nature untainted.

We are all so vicious and closed up and cold and selfish because that is the way we have to be to survive, and to deal with everybody else who is backed into the same goddamn corner by life.

On one hand Jaden has the advantage of not having to earn money to feed himself and to pay rent. This unavoidable thing that gradually grows a protective shell around us all in an attempt to keep enemies out and unfortunately resulting in the imprisonment of emotion.

On the other hand he lost both his parents in two years and he is six years old.

That kind of cancels out the lack of life experience thing.

What I see is human nature as it would naturally develop if the world were not so cold.

Jason explains his goal simply: "I'm trying to make people smile." He's shooting for 33,000 smiles.

I'm guessing with internet and TV exposure he has probably already exceeded that.

When I saw him I smiled with tears running down my cheeks.

Maybe the school of Jaden Hayes is the ultimate university. A kid who has been slammed by cruel reality and yet is young enough to not give up, somehow remains untainted and turns his tragedy into gold for others.

I cannot think of anything more inspirational than that.

Friday, August 7, 2015


So strange how we experience life.

It's goddamn slippery is what it is.

It should be solid. We should grab a hold of it; it should grab a hold of us.

Life oozes through our fingers, we ooze through life's fingers.

So strange how we experience life.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

A Strange Day

It was a strange day.

But then every day was strange when it came to Ricardo.

The man was dark. His soul was suffocating in broken dreams as his life was slowly being stolen away by others.

Ricardo was 6'2" and weighed 195 pound. His arms were sheathed in rock hard muscle, his stomach was flat and tight and his natural handsomeness was complemented with a menacing sneer he could turn on any time he wanted to.

People tended to give him some room.

Still, they took advantage of him.

Inside, where it counts, Ricardo was soft. He was vulnerable.

He was a walking contradiction, exuding toughness on the outside, enduring pain in his heart.

He fought hard to build the life that he had and hated the life that he lived.

Somehow, someway, when he was distracted, he had taken a wrong turn.

He felt trapped.

When the alarm went off at 5:00 a.m. Ricardo had been dreaming of a woman, taking in the warmth of her smile as she thanked him yet again for the exorbitant present he had given her.

Ricardo reached across to the nightstand and brought his fist down forcefully onto the alarm clock.

It shattered and sliced his hand deeply.

It was a strange day.

But it was early.

Mama A

Gregg Allman's mother died on July 26 at the age of 98.

Geraldine Alice Allman raised the Allman brothers on her own after her husband was murdered in 1949. At the time Gregg was 2years old and Duane was 3.

She was known as "Mama A" and was very supportive of her sons' career plans.

Great story - When Gregg wanted to buy his own guitar, his first guitar, the people at Sears wouldn't sell it to him because he was 95 cents short.

When he got home his mother was pissed because she felt he worked hard to get it and he deserved it.

As Gregg tells the story:"She said, Boy get in the car. I swear we 85-ed it down to Sears and Roebuck. She was steaming by the time she got there."

She slammed quarters down on the counter when she got there. Gregg got the guitar.

When you are deeply into and affected by a band you feel like they are family and you are interested and caring about what happens to their own families.

I think it varies by the band, but in The Allman Brothers case they were all about family and friendships and they drew you into their circle. There was a bond with this band between each other, with their families and especially with their fans that made the whole musical experience much more personal.

When The Allman Brothers were starting out and were completely broke they ate at a restaurant called H&H Restaurant in Macon, Georgia.

That was because the owner, Mama Louise, took a liking to the boys and served them for free when they had no money. They always came back after the fact and paid up when they had the cash.

I used to own an H&H Restaurant T-shirt because I thought that was such a cool story. The place is still around although it is now under new ownership as of 2014. I wouldn't mind popping in there one day.

Mama Louise still stops in.

This is the kind of legacy that surrounds The Allman Brothers and it suggests a sensitivity and an old school Southern loyalty, charm and manners that superficial fans would know nothing about.

Just listen to Gregg's voice in song once and you will know that he is hurting over the death of Mama A.

His soul and his emotions have always been out there for all to feel, and that soul and those emotions run deep.

Geraldine Alice Allman was mother to Gregg and Duane Allman and because of that she was family to every true Allman Brothers fan.

Rest in peace and thank you for having the open mind and open heart to support your sons in pursuit of their dream.

Cats Know

Left the house at 7:15 this morning for a delicious and delightful walk.

Left the sliders open so the cats could lounge on the screened-in porch - their favorite place.

When I got back both cats were in the house.

It was 55 degrees. 55 goddamn degrees on August 6. I wore a long sleeve shirt over a T-shirt for the walk.

It is not supposed to be 55 degrees in August. Ever. Under any circumstances.

Even the cats know that. They were like: "Why the hell would I go out there where it is cold when I can snuggle up in my impossibly cushy and warm cat bed?"

I am proud to be on the side that believes climate change is real. I am disgusted with the results.

I am getting boxed in. Summer now is a combination of summer - 5 days - and fall - 55 days.

Soon I will have no choice but to move to Arizona. It will be the only warm place left on the planet.

I have revised my demands. I would be happy - I think - if I had one, count 'em - one - consistently warm month during the summer.

Let's say August averaged 85 degrees for the entire month. That would be good.

I require sustained warmth. I need my blood and my bones and my soul to get warm.

I need the freedom that warmth provides.

I need........................., oh screw it. Nobody ever gets what they want anyway.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015


"Where the spirit does not work with the hand there is no art."

Leonardo da Vinci

(Caught this quote at The NH League of Craftsmen Craft Fair today - how appropriate).

5:46? That's All?

Had the day off today.

Carol took it off and we motored on out to Sunapee NH for the NH League of Craftsmen Craft Fair.

You ask - Joe - must you sacrifice your masculinity to keep your marriage alive?

A resounding no.

I enjoyed it.

First of all I am a jewelry freak. I love jewelry. I covet it in all ways, shapes and forms. Carol says I wear more jewelry than she does.

She is correct.

I knew the prices would be elevated but I thought I might find a unique piece that I could afford.


I enjoy being around the enormously creatively talented. I despair at the truth that there is so much talent out there and so few making a living at it.

We saw gorgeous stuff.

Jewelry, glassware, clothing, paintings, photography, woodwork, and on and on and on. All unique, all beautiful, and most exorbitantly priced.

It bothered me, as this type of situation always does, that we didn't have the money to spend.

$300 and each of us could have bought something memorable and unique.

BUT we had a very nice time on a very gorgeous day walking around for hours and checking out the talent.

Returned to Henniker and consumed lunch at Daniels', sitting at an outdoor table overlooking the river.

Such an un-Wednesday afternoon thing to do.

Which made it perfect.

On the way to Sunapee ( a beautiful drive) we drove by one of my favorite landmarks.

A large rock on the side of the road with the following words spray painted on it: "Chicken Farmer I Still Love You."

There is an entire world contained within those words. Two lives contained within those words.

I would give anything to know the story behind those words and the reasons why a human felt compelled to etch them for eternity into a large rock by a relatively major road.

Then again, maybe not. Life tends to be so much more romantic when you are not acquainted with the facts.

Carol and I had an incredibly peaceful and soul satisfying day.

Still, it is only 5:46. The whole night is ahead of us.

This is the way life is supposed to be lived.

For The Record

When the curtain is drawn on my life I also wouldn't mind being described as a reprobate and a scalawag.

Slacker Truth

I am committed today to avoiding exercise.

Sometimes you gotta cut yourself some slack.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

A Keith Bonanza

September 18 will be one boffo day.

On that day Keith Richards will be releasing his new solo album, "Crosseyed Heart." It is his first solo album in over 20 years.

In addition, on September 18, a film entitled "Keith Richards: Under The Influence" will be released.

This is a Netflix original documentary and will premier only on Netflix.

It is described as "an unprecedented look into the sounds and influences of rock and roll icon Keith Richards."

This, my friends, is Christmas come early for me.

I have always said that one of the reasons I love the man is that he is an ultra-rich derelict.

I am taking liberties here because the man is not a derelict. He is a supremely talented guitar player and deeply informed student of the blues and rock and roll.

He is well respected within the musical world.

He is that rare individual who is willing to take a back seat (sort of) for the good of the band.

He is part of the rhythm section. Bass, drums and rhythm guitar. He is exceptionally close to Charlie Watts. They play off each other. That's how rhythm sections work.

You won't hear Keith ripping off wild-ass solos, although he has come up with a hell of a lot of memorable riffs in his musical career.

He is the glue that holds The Stones together.

I must admit that as the shadows cast longer upon my life I wouldn't mind being fondly remembered as a rich derelict.

I have taken a stab at the derelict part. Now all I gotta do is come up with the cash.

I honestly believe many of you feel the same way too.

Anyway, he is a unique and interesting guy and I cannot get enough of him.


I'll be there, baby.

Happy Birthday Mick

Mick Jagger turned 72 on July 26.

I'm a bit peeved.

No invite. I was not approached to celebrate his birthday with him.

Who the hell does he think he is? I pay his salary. I buy his records. I even buy records that were birthed after "Exile On Main Street". Hell I even own "A Bigger Bang".

I'm sensing a disturbing trend here.

Paul McCartney turned 73 on June 18.

No invite.

Ringo Starr turned 75 on July 7.

No invite.

I have invested my life in these guys.

Worshiped them, respected and loved them, nourished my soul with their music, colored my life through their exploits.

I am treated as if I do not exist.

I do exist, as far as I know.

I'm putting all of my money, all of my hopes and expectations on Keith Richards.

Keef will turn 72 on December 18.

My birthday is on January 1. Christ, we are practically twins.

I think he will call me. I'm pretty sure he will.

"Hey Joe - what do you say you slide on down to me home in Connecticut (Weston) on my birthday. We'll enjoy a couple of cocktails, you can meet the wife and daughters, we'll hang and get to know each other better."

I'll let you know how it goes.

An Interesting Conversation: I was at work last Saturday night. It was that dreamy part of the night, five minuted before close, when you are tired and vowing that if one more customer walks through the door you will decapitate them.

I was talking to Alyssa. I am not sure she is even 21 years old.

I told her how cool it is that The Stones are still touring even though they are in their seventies.

She said: "But they can't put on much of a show, can they?"

I let that slide and explained to her that Mick keeps himself in fantastic shape and runs around the stage like a kid.

Then I said: "Keith, however, is a different story."

I was met by unnerving silence.

I looked at her and said:"You don't know who Keith Richards is, do you?"

She said: No."

I work with a lot of youth in this business. Humans barely expelled from the womb.

This supposedly keeps you young.

I would argue that it keeps you isolated.

But, what the hell. I will be at Keith Richard's home on December 18. Nothing else matters.

Maybe I'll get Alyssa an autograph.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

A Radical Compromise

July is dead.

Today is August 2.

Normally I would go off on a woe is me summer is dying rant. I would explain that winter begins on September 1 and that I have done very little to enjoy the summer and that panic cripples me as I decide how to wrestle the most out of August.

I'm taking a new approach this year. I have decided to enjoy September.

This extends my summer to two months remaining instead of one.

I can live with that.

August looms ahead of me with a challenge to enjoy. I believe I am up to the challenge.

I also know that August will blow by at the speed of life.

When it does I will embrace September with tender love and eager anticipation.

Why not?

There is still time. There is still life.

It is still entirely possible to live a sweet T-shirts and shorts, slow moving, easy breathing, eyes wide open with wonder existence.

At least for the next two months.

When October rolls around all bets are off.

I have lived in New England for too long.

I am not an idiot. 

My Wish

Somewhere within these pages, in a faraway land a long time ago, I introduced the concept of parental happiness.

Or happiness once removed.

It fascinates me that I can feel genuine happiness through the accomplishments and happiness of my sons.

I feel that happiness in the exact same way that I feel happiness at anything positive that happens to Carol and me.

There is no distinction to the feeling; no variation or difference.

It is from the heart and in the gut.

I imagine only good parents experience this feeling and I do not hesitate to describe myself and Carol as good parents.

As you know there are many people out there who should never have had children. Real lowlifes.

People who engaged in sex and accidentally produced children. People who resent their kids. People who ignore and emotionally and physically abuse their kids. People who blame their kids for every problem.

Carol and I are not perfect parents. We made our mistakes. But there has never been and never will be a time that we don't think of Keith and Craig as miracles. As precious life forms to be loved and appreciated.

Anyway................... we are swimming in happiness right now.

Keith just landed a primo job. A job that pays so well it will radically alter his and Emily's life by introducing the concept of breathing room.

A rare commodity.

More importantly, the job is one that he coveted. He wanted this job, he went after it and he got it.

I have always respected Keith for knowing what he wanted at an early age and for going after it and getting it.

A one in a billion reality.
 Pride is not a big enough word to describe Carol's and my feelings.

I think the word I am searching for is love.

Craig and Karen just bought a condo. Up until now they have rented. This is their first property as owners, their first official home.

They are moving today even as we speak. Carol and I are motoring over there later today with a bottle of champagne.

Craig has transformed himself from a nutso college dude into a hard working, responsible provider with an unquenchable addiction to golf.

He is a completely different person than he was when we first dropped him off at Keene State and is occupying an entirely different space in this universe.

Fortunately he still maintains his sense of humor and positive attitude, which is infectious.

Pride is not a big enough word to describe Carol's and my feelings.

I think the word I am searching for is love.

Our sons are doing well and Carol and I are feeling pure happiness. Keith and Craig are making our lives better and more enjoyable through their success and happiness.

What a rare and special gift.

I hope it spreads. This family and extended family has endured so much pain in such a short time.

So much pain.

My wish is that Keith and Craig's successes spark a run of good luck and happiness throughout the family.

We need it. We deserve it.

Congratulations to our two amazing sons from your loving parents.

Thank you for continuing to bring happiness into our life.