Thursday, October 29, 2015


I am tired today.

Didn't sleep well for the second night this week. Even our magic mattress is no match for an anxious mind.

My anger has bubbled up to the surface like it hasn't in a while. My anger is of the immature, dangerous variety. I slam things, I punch things, I throw things. Some utensils took a beating as I washed the dishes this morning. Many an empty booze box has met its demise at work at the expense of my anger.

I am feeling frustrated, lost, directionless, boxed-in and suffocating.

I need to learn to channel my anger more as a weapon, rather than as a self destructive impulse.

Many would pay in that circumstance and it would be satisfying.

Things will improve tonight. I come home to Carol. I come home to the cats. I come home to THE PATRIOTS.

Until then anyone who staggers within striking distance of my gravitational pull with bad intentions, risks much.

I bear you no ill will.

I hope your day is glorious.


These words are a 100% accurate description of the medical community in the United States today. This is why our lives are always in danger.

"But how to find an actual good doctor? I knew that good, honest physicians were as rare as good honest grease monkeys or good, honest lawyers."

"This is one of the things that made me leery of these guys. They seemed never to remember anything about you that wasn't in your medical file, and even then only if the record lay open before them like a cheat sheet. There was no human or personal element. You were not a lost mortal creature with a life with which you had entrusted them, but only a mess of test results from an impersonal, unknown, industrial-suburban laboratory with which they had a sweetheart deal. If you told them your wife passed away, they would probably ask you how she was when they next saw you, if they could remember that you had ever had a wife."

From "Me And The Devil" by Nick Tosches

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

A Breath of Fresh Air (So I Will Not Suffocate)

Our society has become limp.

Emasculated by political correctness and muted through fear of offending someone by speaking one's mind.

I am not telling you anything you do not know.

You realize just how deep and just how far this disease has progressed when it affects the NFL.

The NFL is testosterone city. The last bastion of openly macho behavior, even though much of it is posturing.

The NFL has a penalty for taunting. Are you kidding me? Is this kindergarten?

These guys go out every Sunday and beat the crap out of each other physically. The game is supremely intense; you can see it in the players' eyes.

But we don't want to hurt anybody's feelings. Poor sportsmanship and all that.

I caught a segment of a show on the NFL network the other day. They were discussing showing the other guy up.

The general tone was that your intent should not be to show the other guy up; the intent should be to play at the highest level.

Michael Irving spoke up and I loved it.

He said something like: "Are you kidding me? Yes I want to show the other guy up. That's my job. I want to beat him and make him look bad.."

Truth. Truth. He spoke the truth. He said what every football player knows. You want to look good, you want to succeed and you want the other guy to fail.

I'm surprised he hasn't been fired.

Amusing aside: The show consisted of a host along with Marshall Faulk, Deion Sanders and Michael Irving.

In another segment they were discussing Peyton Manning's woes and the pasty faced white guy commentator said: "I'm not comparing Peyton Manning to Tim Tebow but..............." and that is as far as he got.

The other three guys were all over him. Verbally attacking him with a thin veneer of humor veiling a subtext of disbelief, anger and disrespect.

The host lost the show right then and there. The other three would not let up. It was hilarious.

Contempt flowed freely in the way that only former professional athletes can lay into a geeky non-athlete commentator.

It was fun.

Now.....................I gotta go.



"He who doesn't know anger doesn't know anything. He doesn't know the immediate."

Henri Michaux

What Writers Do

From "Me And The Devil" by Nick Tosches.

The character is describing the evil thoughts we all have. The ones we keep to ourselves, the ones we never speak aloud. The really dark, vicious thoughts that only human beings could conjure up.

"So vile are they to us that we actually believe that they 'enter our minds' and we are unable to see that it was our minds that gave them birth. Our minds are not the random innocent victims of a breaking and entry by assailing demons in flight. Our minds are the wombs from which the demons seek the escape we disallow them."

Only a writer could describe this reality so exquisitely.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Halloween Night

On Halloween night, in the dark and the macabre, Joe lay prone on the living room floor.

Actually he was lying on an Oriental carpet he had inherited from his parents. A shame how that carpet had been neglected. Never properly cleaned, it had been vacuumed with foaming, spray on shampoo. The kind of cleaner that attacked dirt superficially, allowing the real soil to be absorbed into the expensive fibers unto eternity.

The rug was practically threadbare, hard like concrete.

Joe knew he should send the thing out to be properly cleaned. To respect its beauty and the connection to his parents. To bring it back to life.

But he never had the spare $500 or whatever the hell it cost to care for a genuine Oriental rug.

Joe wasn't thinking about that now. He didn't give a damn. It was Halloween.

There was a bowl of candy next to his arm. Full size candy bars. None of this miniature sized crap.

If a kid made the effort to costume up and go out on such a sinister and cold night, he deserved a real candy bar. It was the least Joe could do.

Maybe twenty years down the road, when the kid was living an existence of shattered dreams, maybe he would reminisce in the dark over a tumbler of whiskey about the guy who gave him full sized candy bars. Maybe it would bring a smile to his face.

That's what Joe wanted to believe. He knew it was probably unrealistic but that's what Joe wanted to believe.

He also wanted to believe he wouldn't use the military stiletto dagger lying next to the bowl of candy.

Joe didn't really know why it was there. Why he had taken it out of the closet, removed it from the locked, metal box, unwrapped it from its protective cloth and placed it beside him on the floor.

Was it for a kid? Or was it for him?

It was dark in the house but not completely so. All the lights were off but candles burned in the windows.

That's the way Joe liked it. Darkness, alone in the house, candles burning. Sometimes he would pierce the darkness with the light of the TV. He liked the way the eerie glow was swallowed, overwhelmed by the surrounding black.

It felt right.

Something had been gnawing at Joe for quite some time now. He couldn't really put a finger on it but he knew it was leading him to a place he didn't want to be. A place he didn't think he could handle.

What was he supposed to do? What was going to happen? He really had no idea. But he knew that, whatever it was, it would meet with nobody's approval.

Joe's body jerked when the doorbell rang. It caught him off guard.

He waited silently. The second ring didn't bother him. He let it go. Waited for the trick or treaters to walk away disappointed.

Joe exhaled. He relaxed a little, realizing he wasn't going to do anything insane after all.

Or was he?


"Love is the infinite placed within the reach of poodles."

Louis-Ferdinand Celine

Gentle Opinion

Doing a little research on Hunter S. Thompson in preparation for the following post.

Came across something he said when Richard M. Nixon died that is quite lovely.

Hunter despised Nixon as representing everything evil about the American political process.

When Nixon died, Hunter described Nixon in Rolling Stone magazine as: "a man who could shake your hand and stab you in the back at the same time. His casket should have been launched into one of those open- sewage canals that empty into the ocean just south of Los Angeles. He was a swine of a man and a jabbering dupe of a president. He was an evil man - evil in a way that only those who believe in the physical reality of the Devil can understand it."

After Gerald Ford pardoned Nixon, Hunter said: "If there were any such thing as true justice in this world, his (Nixon's) rancid carcass would be somewhere down around Easter Island right now, in the belly of a hammerhead shark."

With The Right Credentials................

I have noticed as I stumble through life that connections exist between the people that interest me.

Connections that make sense to me and resonate with me.

You may not know this but I worship Hunter S. Thompson. He attracted a circle of friends that fascinate me; some deeply, some tangentially. The common thread was rebellion. Individuality. Uniqueness. Balls.

Jack Nicholson, Johnny Depp, Bill Murray, Benicio del Toro, Sean Penn, Lyle Lovett.

I could expand that list to cover three pages, but my fingers tire as I age. In addition Hunter loved and was friends with many musicians. many of whom maintain a second home in my heart.

What fascinates me about this is that you stumble across somebody that means something to you and then, independent of that discovery, you find a lot of common ground that fires you up and keeps you interested and alive. Connections that lead you down new and interesting roads, or connections that validate your own passions.

I particularly notice this phenomenon in literature.

I am drawn to edgy writers. People who are dark, people who eschew the norm and laugh at us wee folk who live our lives as dictated, meekly, straight on through to the grave.

Every book contains testimonies from famous people who like the author, and the author is often compared to other authors.

The more I read, the more that circle contains the same names. Names of people I dig. The circle continues to expand because I read voluminously, and it expands in the right directions.

Sometimes though, those connections fail you.

I  just finished "Narcisa" by Jonathan Shaw. It was highly touted by Iggy Pop, Marilyn Manson, Johnny Depp, Jerry Stahl, Hubert Selby Jr., and R. Crumb, among others.

Doesn't matter if you don't recognize all the names; they are meaningful to me.

In addition, on the back cover, Shaw's writing is compared to that of Charles Bukowski, Henry Miller, William S. Burroughs, Jack Kerouac and Hunter S. Thompson.

Those names are deep justification for me to read this book.

I was disappointed.

For one thing, the dialogue didn't ring true. You know you are reading well written dialogue when you don't give it a second thought. The dialogue in this book seemed forced. Unreal. I kept thinking that people don't talk like that.

In addition the story was repetitive. Same scenes over and over.

I guess if you fall in love with a crack whore and decide to commit to her through hell or high water, you are doomed to the same drama over and over again.

I found it boring at times.

I had to finish the book because I figured one of them would kill the other. That would have been satisfying but it didn't happen.

On the other hand..................I am now reading "The Devil And Me" by Nick Tosches.

Again, I don't know how I came across this book, this author.

Another discovery resulting from the magic circle I have created in my lifetime through my passions. The details are unimportant.

This book comes recommended by Keith Richards, Johnny Depp, Peter Wolf, Anthony Bourdain, John Turturro, and Tom Robbins.

On the back cover. Tosches' writing is compared to Dante, William S. Burroughs, Charles Bukowski, Hubert Selby Jr., and Hunter S. Thompson.

This book is evil. I love it.

It is dark, it is compelling, it makes me uncomfortable.

I am less than a hundred pages in and I am hooked; and deliciously disturbed.

The circle rarely fails me. It did with Jonathan Shaw, but I am dead on back on track with Nick Tosches.

As Hobson said in "Arthur": "It's what I live for."

(Yeah, I know he meant it sarcastically and I mean it for real; the reference just popped into my head and I had to use it.)

Sunday, October 25, 2015

More Homage To Cat Love

The book I just finished, "Narcisa" by Jonathan Shaw, started every chapter with a quote from people so diverse I don't have time to list their professions.

Many that resonated with me deeply, so you know you will be reading them within these four walls from now on.

It is inevitable.

On the light side but dripping with truth: "Cats are a standing rebuke to behavioral scientists wanting to know how the minds of animals work. The mind of a cat is an inscrutable mystery."

Lewis Thomas

Sobering Clarity

The alarm went off for the second time, shattering the precious relief of an extra ten minutes of rest.

Rest and avoidance.

It was still dark but suggesting the beginnings of light.

He rolled over onto his left side, cracked his eyes open minimally and looked through the sliding glass doors at dark silhouettes of trees dancing in the stiff, cold, early morning breeze.

Looking down he noticed his cat sitting pretty, sitting upright, looking through the same sliding glass doors.

She had her back to him, sitting motionless.

It occurred to him with sobering clarity that her thoughts, in their purity, were deeper than his own.

Blow My Mind

Started a new book this morning.

Nick Tosches. "Me And The Devil."

There is a quote to kick the book off. Sitting there waiting for me. On the page before page 1.

"If you bring forth what is within you,
 what you bring forth will save you.
 If you do not bring forth what is within you,
 what you do not bring forth will destroy you."

The Gospel of Thomas

A quote to kick the book off.

A quote that sums up perfectly the torment of my existence.

Friday, October 23, 2015

What Does It All Mean

I'm working late last night.

Goddamn store closes at 9:00 on Thursday, Friday, Saturday. Three days of doom. Absurd.

There was, however, a highlight to my night.

Guy comes up to the counter and asks me if we carry unique, one of a kind spirits. I ask him what he is looking for and he says "Woody Creek vodka." I told him we don't carry it, never heard of it and asked why he was looking for it.

My interest was piqued. Hunter S. Thompson lived in Woody Creek Colorado.

Guy told me he lived in Woody Creek Colorado and was curious whether we carried their vodka in NH.

It was as if I was jolted with 250,000 watts of electricity. Instantaneously alive. Swept up out of the coma my job induces every day right up into the world of the living. Whoever they are.

I asked the guy if he knew who HST was. He said yes. I asked if he lived anywhere close to where HST lived - Owl Farm.

He said not only did he live close, he had met the man. Many times. Had actually spent time at Owl Farm with Hunter.

This guy owns a limo company. A limo company that Hunter made frequent use of.

I was blown away. I wanted to lock up the store right there and then and just talk to this guy.

I told him I have read almost all of Hunter's books, seen a few documentaries, many interviews on screen and in print, watched the legendary movies. "Where The Buffalo Roam" starring Bill Murray as HST. "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas" starring Johnny Depp as HST.

I said "You must have some stories." He said "Oh yeah."

Told me Hunter once hired him to drive him to Las Vegas. Said it was one hell of a ride.

Towards the end of his life Hunter had a serious back operation. He was stuck in the hospital and not digging it. He called this guy up and said "Get me the hell out of here."

The guy was an hour and a half away from the hospital but he made the trip. Helped Hunter escape and drove him to the bar of his choice.

He told me contrary to the inflated image, Hunter was a pretty cool guy. Unless you made him angry. He had a vicious temper and used it to skewer you if you got in the way.

I knew all this. I have loved the man over my entire adult life. I know that once Hunter trusted you, he stuck with you. It makes sense that if he liked this guy he would keep going back to him. I have a feel for who the real Hunter was and I have read stories about his temper.

Could this guy have been lying to me? Of course. The world is overpopulated with shitheels.

I am sure my face lit up when the HST connection was made. Maybe he played me for a sap.

My gut says no. He seemed genuine. Besides, he had his 8 or 9 year old son with him. Would a dad lie in front of his son? I don't think so unless the kid caught him red handed with a hooker.

I was surprised at how much emotion and life this chance encounter dredged up in me. It felt so fucking good.

One more sign of how valuable it is to have passion in your life. To have interests that speed up your blood flow and bring you back from the dead.

If this guy was truthful, I was one human removed from Hunter S. Thompson.

That is as close as I'm ever going to get.

That moment electro-charged me and gave me the energy to keep hoping.

Please Be Careful

"Every man has inside himself a parasitic being who is acting not at all to his advantage."

William S. Burroughs

Thursday, October 22, 2015

This Is Your Life

Plowing through "Narcisa".

Stumbled upon a passage describing in vivid terms life in the squalid portions of Rio de Janeiro.

Seemed an appropriate description of life in general in this advanced age of the 21st century.

In part: "Interminable, poverty-stricken thundering minions of hell, an overflowing stampede of rancid humanity, spilling like cockroaches from bottomless miles of putrid favela sewers, and the whole fucking earth is a vile, vacuous ghetto of the soul in this festering open wound on the face of our world, our reality, our godforsaken planet's living, breathing, choking, smoking, hopeless, hateful urban landscape.........."

Circling Back To The Inevitable Truth

I continue to circle back around to cat love.

It is inevitable.

Been enjoying fresh thoughts lately. Thoughts that sparked back into my consciousness as I prepared the previous post.

Any outsider who chanced upon me and my cats in our natural habitat would immediately label me a loony. Make the call, have me committed.

Which would not necessarily be a bad thing. I have honestly felt for years that a stint in a rubber room would be perfect medicine.

I have no problem faking lunacy. Some might argue there is no faking involved. I would push it to the point where I was locked up alone.

Away from the job. Away from responsibility. Away from distraction, deadlines and commitments.

Away from people.

Sweet release from the ridiculous facade that is required to interact with other humans on a daily basis.

Only then could my soul breathe. Only then could my mind heal.

But I digress.

I talk to my cats constantly. I kiss their little heads 100 times a day. I pick them up. I hug them. I pat them.

I am fascinated with this human/pet relationship. Lakota was sleeping innocently and peacefully in my lap recently and I was staring at her. Watching her breathe. Drinking in her natural beauty of markings and soul.

I achieve supreme peace when I interact with them. It occurred to me that the lack of that experience is exactly what poisons my every day life.

I cannot connect 100% one on one with any other human. I don't think I ever have.

Someone with the same sense of humor, the same interests, the same outlook on life, the same intelligence (?).

Does everyone have this problem? Maybe. If so we are a screwed up race of beings.

Speaking for myself (I am not qualified to speak for anyone else) there is always a discomfort, an anxiousness, a disappointment, a gnawing sense of void when I interact with others.

Am I hanging around the wrong people? Quite possible.

Interestingly enough, my career choices have placed me in ridiculous situations, relative to relating.

For the most part, the people I have worked with seem alien to me. I'm sure I come across the same way to them.

There have been exceptions. Usually involving easy laughter. Genuine laughter.

The Fabulous Five at Store# 72 come to mind.

I ache to experience the same soul-deep peace with another human being that I have with my cats.

Maybe that is impossible. Maybe I am asking too much.

Doesn't matter. It is what I need. And the lack thereof is the reason I hate leaving the house every day.

Don't laugh at me with my cats. They are keeping me alive.

(Editor's note: As usual, I must qualify my statements by saying that my family brings me instantaneous peace every time I am lucky enough to be in their company. I am lucky enough to have a wife with whom I can enjoy peaceful moments every single day. This is no small thing. Unfortunately, the majority of my time (as is yours) is spent outside this home and in the company of  other humans.)

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Sometimes Life Will Surprise You

I had to call the social security administration just the other day.

Needed some info.

As you recall I shut myself out of their website by trying to fake my way through their Q&A validation process.

Now I'm thinking I will call them and sit on hold for 4 hours. When I get through I will have to deal with some obnoxious no nothing cretin. I will get angry, I will get frustrated, I will end up smashing the phone to pieces.

I call anyway. Got no choice.

I offer up the requisite info to a warm computer voice and hunker down for The Big Wait.

Computer man tells me they are experiencing large call volume and there is a 17 minute wait.

Would I like them to call me back when the wait is up?

What? What did I just hear? Are you serious?

I recovered from my shock and said "hell yeah, baby", figuring it would be an hour and a half before they returned my call.

Fifteen minutes later I got the call back.

Blown away.

The woman I spoke to was knowledgeable, positive and upbeat, answered every question I asked satisfactorily, even re-answered questions that I did not originally understand the answer to.

We had a pleasant chat, she wished me luck and mentioned that there was a survey I could take if I just stayed on the line.

I don't do surveys. I am a very important person. I do not have a lot of time on my hands.

I stayed on the line. Gave glowing compliments to the service I got. Hung up the phone and danced around the kitchen kicking out my legs, gesticulating with my arms, propelled by the inspiring afterglow of my enjoyable experience with the social security administration.

The social security administration.

Sometimes life will surprise you. In a good way.

Life Can Be So Hard Sometimes

I crawled out of bed at 6:00 a.m. this morning to give myself some human time.

Eventually made it down to the kitchen and turned on the stove light for guidance.

It blew. The fucking bulb blew.

I was furious. How much more inconvenient can my life get? Now I have to go rummaging in the kitchen cupboards for a replacement bulb.

I muster up the inspiration to do so and discover there are no replacement bulbs.

I put my fist through the wall.

No extra bulbs? What the hell is going on? Did Carol screw up? Was she too damn lazy to buy a new bulb the last time a bulb blew?

Or was it me. I occasionally forget things. Sometimes my mind wanders.

Did I forget to slide through evil Shaws to grab a bulb? Or, more likely, I probably planned to do so on my way home from work and then decided at the last minute that I just could not deal with one more human being.

That happens when you work in retail. That happens when you are a misanthrope.

I was pissed. Frozen in place. Now what the hell do I do?

I could turn on the overhead light in the kitchen but the damn thing is so bright. I don't like bright first thing in the morning.

I did it anyway.

What a horrible shock to my system. Standing there under that revealing light, looking so old, so tired, so vulnerable. Thank god nobody was there to see me in that condition. Blinking back the offensive intrusion of the light that emanated straight through to my brain.

My rhythm was off. Got an early morning rhythm that is smooth and practiced. From years of servitude as that unfortunate being - an employee.

My sequence had been interrupted so now I had to think about every move; concentrate and plan the next move.

Hurt my brain.

Somehow I got through it all. Refreshing the cats' water bowl, swallowing prescription life savers, stretching my neck, whipping up a cup of tea.

But it wasn't easy.

Finally I made it to the recliner, set the tea down, pulled a blanket over me and grabbed a book.

Sweet respite from the harshness of this world.

That's when I noticed I had left the overhead light on in the kitchen.

Goddamn thing distracted me. Too much brightness in my peripheral vision as I tried to escape into my book.

I was exhausted. Worn out from the stress. Could not get my ass up from the recliner. Didn't want to.

The light tormented me until Carol left for work and I finally got up and shut that mutha down.

Today will probably be a disaster for me.

This morning might possibly have been the worst morning in the history of my life.

Long as I have been on this planet, sometimes I still cannot believe how difficult life can be.

Monday, October 19, 2015


"Worrying is like praying for bad shit to happen."

From "Narcisa" - Jonathan Shaw

There Will Be Blood

I started flossing again today.

Summoning Demons

I am mining a dark vein just in time for Halloween.

Stumbled a cross a book titled "Narcisa: Our Lady of Ashes", by Jonathan Shaw.

Jonathan Shaw, son of jazz legend Artie Shaw and Hollywood starlet Doris Dowling, is described as: "a world-traveling outlaw artist, gonzo journalist, novelist, blogger, spoken-word performer, witch doctor, anti-folk hero, and underground philosopher."

The description is from the back cover of his book so take it for what it is but it definitely pushed the right buttons if you are bored to death as I am. In addition, I did some reading-up on the guy and the description appears to be accurate.

Adding more flavor to the stew the guy was a legendary tattoo artist.

So there you have it.

"Narcisa" is a novel about one man's hopeless love/lust for a young crack addict nutcase named Narcisa. It is set in Rio de Janeiro, which provides a dark backdrop of squalor, back alleys, addiction, crime, betrayals, death and twisted sex.

A lovely story really.

Almost simultaneously I came across an author named Nick Tosche.It was a random discovery, although these types of revelations seem to come to me. The dark, the unusual, the twisted.

"Me And The Devil" is winging its way to me even as we speak. A story about a New York writer who is disgusted with the world and his life. He meets a woman one night and their relationship and explorations of life lead him "to a madness and a darkness far greater and dreadful than have ever ridden the demon mares of night."

That's good enough for me.

Tosche is compared to William S. Burroughs, Charles Bukowski, Hubert Selby Jr. and Hunter S. Thompson. High praise.

I have another one of his books sleeping on my Amazon wish list. "Under Tiberius." The story is set in the days of Christ and is about Jesus Christ. Writings are discovered revealing Christ as a "shabby and licentious thief." The guy who wrote the stuff comes across Jesus in the street. Together they scheme to "accrue untold riches by convincing the masses that Jesus is the Son of God."

I'm in. I'm all in.

In addition, as I previously informed you, I have re-discovered American Horror Story.

I am fairly well armed to summon the demons I need to comfort me through the dark, increasingly cold month of October.

And beyond.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Keith Richards is Ubiquitous

Showing off my vocabulary again.

It's my strong point.

Keef released a solo album on 09/18. Been 23 years since the last one. I have heard some of it and it is tasty. I don't own it yet. I don't know why.

Simultaneously, a special about his musical influences and his life began to air on Netflix on the same day. It is excellent. I will watch it 418 times in the next two weeks, 10,455 times over the course of whatever is left to my life.

He has been on every talk show recently, every magazine cover and has many interviews in said magazines.

Can't get enough.

One thing that really struck me about the special. Keith is reverential about his musical roots. He worships and deeply respects those who came before, especially the old blues masters. The Stones started out pretty much as a blues covers band. The blues are at the heart of who they are.

He talked about how he looked up to the those old blues masters and now he himself is an elder statesman in the music world. A ground breaker in his own right (my words, not his) - no one thought rock artists would still be making music in their seventies. No one thought it could be done at the level of excellence that The Stones maintain.

The man has five grandchildren, for Christ sake.

His reputation of course is larger than life. The booze, the drugs, the insanity - his fierce uniqueness and quirky way of expressing himself in clothing, lifestyle and words.

You can get all wrapped up in the myth and define him strictly on those terms.

That would be a mistake.

He is an accomplished musician and songwriter. Well respected within the world of music.

That is well worth your respect.

Ultimately I think his most impressive contribution as a human being is to live in perfect harmony with his soul. He knows exactly who he is, he lets it fly, he doesn't care what anybody else thinks and he doesn't take shit from anybody.

You don't live that way, do you? Neither do I. You know you wish you could. So do I.

The man has balls. He always has.

In 1967, at the age of 24 he was in court facing a trial for allowing people to smoke pot on his property. He told the judge to his face: "We are not old men, and we are not worried about petty morals."

Consider that within the context of that era and the outlandish reputation he already had and you realize just how fearless this man is.

I love the man. My dark side appreciates the drug and alcohol excesses, the womanizing, the insanity.

But what is at the heart of why I love him is the way he lives his life. The way he has always lived his life.

100% true to his soul. No fear, fiercely expressing his unique truth without regard for consequences or others' opinions.

That is the ultimate blueprint for making the most of a life.

A blueprint to which every single one of us should aspire.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Continuing Thoughts On Fall

It has occurred to me as I live through fall that the season connects with me in a dark way.

I love the early morning low hung sunshine illuminating orange red and yellow leaves. The clarity of the  serenely blue sky. The crispness. Even, occasionally, the coolness.

But what really connects with me is the darkness of it all.

Fall is all about death. The leaves are dying. Summer is dead. Fall is the precursor to the most stressful and ridiculously long season of them all.

Fall has a melancholy feel to it, and that vibes with my soul; my view of life and the world.

October kicks it all off and I think Halloween plays right into the scenario. I dig Halloween more every year.

I wallow in horror and it makes me feel alive. Sundance and IFC usually feature horror movies throughout the month. Typically the foreign horror movies are more twisted so I gravitate towards those. I recently re-discovered American Horror Story on Netflix, which is a tasty bonus.

I am gobbling that perversity right up.

Fall is short lived. It is quickly overcome by winter. It is a brief window into the truth. Your body is forced to adjust from the false freedom that summer cruelly dangled, to the looming discomfort of winter.

Fall is the middle man. Gently reminding you that nothing lasts forever and that reality is always cold and unforgiving.

The fall vibe is as much about dark and cold as it is pumpkins and kids kicking leaves. In fact I think the somber feel carries more weight than the cutesy stuff.

I like getting out of work in the dark, driving home through the cold, an insistent breeze blowing leaves off the trees, negotiating around squirrel corpses crushed on the road as they frantically put the finishing touches on preparations for another vicious New England winter.

I think the emotions that are stirred are more honest.

You can pretend that your life is all about sunshine and kittens.

I know that it is not.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Should I Feel Guilty? (I Don't)

I am always looking for inspiration.

Something to inspire me and jolt me into action akin to sticking my finger in a light socket.

I'm lying on the floor a couple of weeks ago, stretching my neck (spine?), got the NFL network on and they are interviewing Steve Smith, who has played in the NFL for 15 years. He announced that this year - his 15th - will be his last.

He is still kicking ass at a very advanced football age.

Asked about inspiration he mentioned a book he read in 2008. It was called "The Last Lecture" and was written by Randy Pausch.

Randy Pausch was a professor who was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and given only months to live.

Apparently it is a tradition in academia for professors to give a last lecture. Not in a technical sense but in a metaphorical way. In other words, they are asked to give a lecture as if it really is their last lecture. They are asked to offer their viewpoints on life. To talk about what they think is most important.

Randy Pausch took the tradition to heart and put together a real last lecture before he died.

I was lying on the floor thinking that if this book can inspire an "old" football dude to achieve at extraordinary levels, then it must be one hell of a book.

As soon as I got up I grabbed my computer and ordered the book. I figured this would be the thing that would shock me into my own true reality. A reality where I could look into the mirror and actually see myself instead of some aging fool.

The book did nothing for me.

RP goes out of his way to describe himself as a nerd. I found a lot of his advice nerdy.

Consistently as I read the book and he would offer up a point of view I would think "Is that all you got?"

It made me feel uncomfortable. What kind of cold-hearted bastard am I?

The only thing that hit home was the family stuff. Digging them as much as is humanly possible because they truly are precious.

The thing is, even on that level I feel like I already do that.

At least in my heart. Time wise I am continually frustrated by how little time I spend with my sons and their women. One son lives 30 minutes away, the other 45. 

You would think we would get together 3 times a week and twice on Sundays.

Partly my fault, partly theirs. That is one area I am definitely committed to improving.

Anyway, when I finished the book I felt hollow. I did not feel inspired.

I also felt uncomfortable.

Randy Pausch was diagnosed with a nasty cancer and died in such a short amount of time you would think the man was unfulfilled.

Instead he was heroic. It was not easy for him to get the book done, sacrificing some of the precious time he could have been spending with his family. It was not easy for him to travel to the university, it was not easy for him to give the lecture.

He had to leave for the lecture on his wife's birthday. Imagine how hard that was. To leave your wife on the last birthday you would ever spend together.

Randy Pausch had bigger balls than I have ever had in my life so far.

Yet I felt uncomfortable. I felt uncomfortable because the book did not inspire me. I felt like I owed it to the man to take something away from his last lecture.

I wondered if I have become jaded beyond the point of no return.

I decided that is not it.

I just did not connect with the man. It happens.

I mourn his exceptionally premature death (forties), I mourn the sadness his family had to endure.

I drew no inspiration from the book.

Should I feel guilty?

I don't.

And I am still searching.

34 Degrees

The thermometer in The Big Ride read 34 degrees this morning on my way to HELL.

That is where I draw the line. Once the temp dips below forty it is officially winter. It is cold.

When the temperature consistently reads thirty something we have crossed the Rubicon. It is too late. There is no turning back. The only thing we have to look forward to is suffering, inconvenience, sickness, discomfort, and a general overall malaise and an ice existence.

I have been remarkably open minded this year as fall plods along and winter lurks.

The weather has been gorgeous. The foliage has been gorgeous. The sun is much lower in the sky now in the morning and as I drive to work the beauty is stunning. Temp in the fifties, even in the forties - I have accepted it.

Thirties and below - no fucking way.

I have sharpened up my viewpoint. I realized that it truly is magical to be surrounded by fall beauty and relatively comfortable temperatures.

I also realized that once snow has covered the landscape my tolerance will die.

Snow sucks. Snow is the ultimate winter punch in the face.

I don't give a damn about "the first snowfall" - it ain't beautiful to me.

If I could only talk to Jesus and convince him that I will accept spring, summer AND fall - but no winter - all of our lives would improve.

Imagine New England without snow. It would become a magical kingdom of love, peace, tolerance, freedom and free nachos.

Jesus would move here because New England would become heaven.

So there you have it. I have accepted fall. I am actually in the process of loving fall. I have evolved. I am emitting less poison into the world and drinking in more of its beauty.

Until November rolls around. Signalling the advent of five solid months of shivering.

Please, Jesus. Please.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

It Can Be Frustrating

They put this stuff in place to protect you and I can dig that but sometimes when you function ineptly it comes back to bite you.

The newest exciting saga in my life is considering the possibility of retirement at the age of 62.

I never gave it a thought. Figured I would die on my feet in a NH state liquor store at the age of 94. Figured my co-workers would roll my corpse out the door, kick it to the side so as not to impede access for the all important customers and, overnight, my flesh would be ravaged by wild dogs.

My lovely bride put the notion in my head that we might be able to survive on SS payments and part time work once I mark 62 years of age. Which is about 6 weeks away.

Now I am obsessed with the idea.

So I went online to the social security administration website to set up a personal account that would answer all my questions and promote dreamy sleep at night on my new tempurpedic pillow.

Brief aside: We recently bought a tempurpedic mattress and Carol bought a..................wait for it...............$100 plus tempurpedic pillow.The pillow didn't work for her so I tried it with minimal expectation of success.

My old pillow was flatter than a pancake and I liked it that way. However, magically, this expensive pillow works for me. My newest favorite past time is sliding off the bed and watching the mattress rise to its natural level minus the weight of my fat ass. I also enjoy watching the pillow bounce back when I raise my fat Testa head.

And I'm not even smoking pot right now.

The SS website asks security questions to make sure you are who you say you are. Financially related. Mortgage, bank holding credit cards etc. I took a wack at it two nights ago.

I didn't take it too seriously the first time. I don't have the answers to these questions. Carol is the financial guru. I am the litter box engineer.

I bluffed. And got rebuffed.

"We are unable to match this information to your SS #."

So last night I went in and just printed out the page with the questions on it so Carol could provide the answers. I didn't even try to answer the questions. Just printed out the page and exited the website.

Tonight I went back in armed with the proper info. Except the website slapped my face red. When I entered my name and SS # I was told "We have tried to match personal information to your SS # on multiple occasions and have been unable to do so. Your access is denied. Please contact us."

Now I have to talk to a human being. Can you imagine the horror?

Meanwhile time is wasting. I am aging rapidly. Getting weaker. Less focused.

It is entirely possible that by the time I speak to an SS representative I will be entirely unable to vocalize exactly what I want or even identify who I am.

All I want, people, is some peace.

All I want is to find out that I can actually afford to retire without being forced to eat cat food.

I love Maka and I love Lakota, but not enough to get down on all fours to nudge them out of the way for a shot at their food bowls.

I yearn to learn that I will be given a chance to actually do something meaningful with my life, with time on my hands.
None of this is a big deal. Don't have to report to HELL until 1:00 on Friday. Got time to wrestle with the social security administration in the morning.

By the way, I did learn that you have to get the retirement ball rolling with SSA three months before you expect to begin receiving payments.

I had dreams of walking away from it all on my birthday. January 1, 2016.

Ain't gonna happen.

Still, the retirement thing may not be only a pipe dream.

I remain cautiously optimistic.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Just A Thought

I would prefer to be Brobdingnagian than Lilliputian any day.

Wouldn't you?

The state of The United States

On October 9th, a deranged piece of shit opened fire in Roseburg, Oregon, on the campus of Umpqua Community College, and killed nine people.

I reported to HELL ( work) late that day. In fact I did not arrive until 2:30.

When I was home in the morning I did not fire up The Idiot Box.

I had a doctor's appointment that morning.

No one - and I mean no one - had any comment about the mass murder. No receptionists, the PA I saw that day - the individual that scheduled the follow up appointment - nothing, nada, void.

I dutifully reported to work like the bug that I am.

No comments from co-workers, no comments from customers.

I had no clue this tragedy had occurred until I was driving home and heard the accounts on The Big Ride radio.

I began thinking about the culture of mass murder in this country. Wondering about the truth that we are the only "civilized" country in the world that has this problem.

Wondering about the magnitude and the depth of this reality.

Do you know - there have been 1,000 mass shootings in the United States since TWENTY CHILDREN  and six adults were massacred at Sandy Hook Elementary School?


Sandy Hook should have been the stopping point. Sandy Hook should have been the horror that inspired a mass uprising in this country. An uprising focused on getting a grip on our twisted gun culture resulting in tighter controls on the acquiring of weapons in America.

Didn't happen.

Sixteen of the children massacred at Sandy Hook were six years old. The other four were seven.

Six and seven years old. Six and seven years old.

There is no passion in this country. No compassion. No collective soul. No feeling. No sense of life, what it is all about, what its value is. No intellectual understanding of the preciousness of just fucking being alive.

Not one soul made one comment to me about the killings in Oregon because it has become common place. Because we have allowed it to become common place.

Because we have accepted it.

This would never happen in Italy. In France. In Latin America. They would not allow it to happen. They would not stand for it.

Because those humans live passion. They feel extravagantly, as humans should.

We don't give a shit in America. We are desensitized. We accept corruption, lying, cheating, and stealing as facts of life.

We turn the other cheek.

We accept MASS MURDERS as a fact of the wonderful age that we live in.

I wondered what the hell is going on in this country.

I realized that I am surrounded by people in this country who can accept any gruesome reality, any twisted truth and swallow it whole augmented by the condiment that "this is where we are at now, this is the decadence to which we as a society have sunk."

We are shallow, we are immoral, we are selfish, we are without souls.

The Goddamn Game

Holy shit just completed a 7 day stint at Lompoc.

Don't typically work on Sundays. In fact I never work on Sundays. I refuse. I believe it is unnatural to work on Sundays. Unacceptable. I gave this one up for a co-worker who had an annual family event of immense proportions.

She is a real human so I made the sacrifice.

Still, it hurt.

THE PATS kicked off at 4:25 so I maintained hope that I would arrive home in the third quarter and dig that and the entire 4th.

The goddamn game moved too fast.

By the time I got home THE PATS were two minutes into the 4th.

I was angry and rushed so even the game that I saw I didn't see.

Know what I mean?

I have missed TWO PATS games this year.

That is it. I am done.

Football is an overiding passion for me. I gotta have it. It sustains me, it maintains me, it gives me a thrill, it stokes for me a passion that negates the incredible boringness and sheer stupidity of my life.

Football makes me feel alive. It vibe-connects with the actual person that I am and vibrates at the  frequency of Joe.

Other than my family, nothing else does that.

Besides music and quality literature.

So I pissed off another Sunday - a Sunday when Kevin Harvick finished 2nd in a Chase race and THE PATS kicked butt - working like a bug, a grunt, a non-human - at a job that is so meaningless it assassinates souls.

You know the feeling intimately, don't you?

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Time Management

Ran out of floss last weekend.

Got a lot of extra time on my hands in the morning now.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

A Day At The Track

On Sunday, September 27, Carol and I went to the track.

New England Motor Speedway. For NASCAR. And to spread Sarge's ashes, the brother Carol loved so much.

We haven't been in years and it felt so goddamn good. Leave it to Sarge to make this happen and to give us a spectacular day, weather-wise and otherwise.

Attending a NASCAR race is an event. A mega-event. Like the biggest concert you ever went to, only bigger.

We got the feeling back right away when we stopped at Dunkin' Donuts, ten minutes from our house.

The place was packed with race fans. Wearing driver jackets, T-shirts, hats. Proudly, I sported my Kevin Harvick T-shirt, the reigning champ of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series who is very seriously contending for his second championship in a row.

If you don't like the 4 car you can kiss my ass.

This all came about because Cori, Sarge's wife, is spreading Sarge's ashes in all the places that were meaningful in their life. And believe me, there are quite a few because Sarge was larger than life and made an impact and left memories wherever he went.

He was buried in New York, his ashes have already been spread in Vermont because of the Poncho's Wreck connection, now at the track in NH, and next month in N.Billerica, Ma because that is where Sarge and Carol and Wayne and Lorraine grew up.

No bad for a guy who hasn't been around since December 16, 2014.

Anyway....................there were ten of us at the track that day and we had a blast.

The original plan, shoddy as it was, was that right after the start of the race someone would distract a security guard and Cori would rush up to the fence and somehow spread Sarge's ashes onto the track.

Tricky move because once the race starts the security guards don't let anyone close to the fence, and if you try it you risk getting ejected from the track.

Which is why we bought the cheapest seats we could get.

However, Cori spent the weekend at the track with Bob & Nancy, and Bill & Gail, and Tommy. They attended a charity auction where you could buy a ride on one of the pick-up trucks that chauffeurs the drivers around the track waving to the fans just before the race.

They bid on the cheapest ride they could find, which was Aric Almirola, and they were in.

This is yet one more example of the Cori & Sarge magic that made their life together fun, always.

Cori got to ride around the track in the back of a pick up and spread Sarge's ashes directly onto the track.

The situation could not have been more perfect.

The day was magnificent. Except for the fact that Kevin Harvick lead 216 out of 300 laps and yet managed to run out of gas - with the lead - with only three laps remaining to finish 21st, I would say the day was perfect.

It brought back the joy of being at a NASCAR race, the joy of spending the day with friends and family, laughing, and reminiscing and the joy of making the most out of a beautiful day.

More than that, it brought back, once again, the joy and the magic of Sarge.

The man enriched all our lives and continues to do so.

That is powerful stuff.

Don Orsillo - It's Over

Let's wrap up this Orsillo thing.

Carol and I taped the Red Sox last game of the season because we figured there had to be a tribute to Don Orsillo and he had to say something about his fifteen years here in Boston. We taped it because I had to keep a close watch on my man Kevin Harvick, who came through in a very big way, being the champ and the supreme competitor that he is.

We missed the Don Orsillo tribute that was done at Fenway on the last home game because we were at the track and we forgot to punch up the DVR settings.

Pity, because we heard that it was good.

Don Orsillo's firing stirred up a storm of controversy in New England, and rightfully so.

Here is why.

Don comes across as the everyman. Don Orsillo makes it appear as if you or I could step into the booth and do what he does. Because he is not separated from us. He seems like a regular guy. Self-effacing, vulnerable and human.

Sean McDonough did not make me feel that way. Curt Gowdy did not make me feel that way. Ken Coleman did not make me feel that way. ---------------did not make me feel that way.

Those guys were good. Those guys were great. But you knew they were broadcasters. It felt like they were doing a job that nobody else could do. There was a separation between them and us because of that.

There was no separation between Don Orsillo and us. He felt like your friend, it felt like you could have him over for dinner and enjoy a perfectly comfortable time.

He laughed at himself easily and made us laugh along with him. He did not pretend to be an untouchable professional. What he did was to perform his job with excellence and make it look easy.

That alone tells you how good he is.

Carol and I, as wise as we are, did the right thing.

We watched the final game last night. I fast-forwarded through the unimportant stuff ( the game) and focused on every career highlight that they showed. Also caught some cool in-game moments between Remy and Orsillo. Reminiscing about their time together. That easy flowing, mutually respectful, very humorous exchange that became their trademark.

The highlight was Don's statement. Heartfelt. Short and sweet.

It was very obvious that he was fighting to hold it together. He got through it like the pro that he is.

He did not shed tears but we did.

There was a noticeable silence from Remy afterwards. Finally he said: "Well you got through it, but I didn't." Shortly thereafter the camera cut to Remy wiping tears from his eyes.

Jerry Remy shed tears during his remarks to the press when he first learned of Don's firing. And again on Sunday after listening to Don's farewell.

Jerry Remy does not strike me as a tear-shedder. I think the relationship between him and Orsillo is all the more magical because I don't think Remy lets a lot of people get close to him.

That says a lot about Mr. Don Orsillo.

At the end of the game the Red Sox stepped out of the dugout as a team and looked up towards Don Orsillo in the booth. They waved, they gestured, they acknowledged. It really touched Don. It was a very cool thing to do.

Do you think athletes typically care about the guy in the booth? I don't. I think that was a very special moment.

The Red Sox screwed Don Orsillo. He did not deserve the disrespect he was handed.

Red Sox fans everywhere got vocal about it, very vocal, but could do nothing to change the outcome.

People love Don Orsillo. They love him because he makes it easy.

There is nothing condescending about him. No pretentiousness. No ego.

Yet he is the ultimate professional.

He has been replaced. Replaced in a cold, unfeeling, inconsiderate way.

He will never be replaced.

Friday, October 2, 2015


OK let's get cracking for Christ sake.

Where the hell have I been? Where the hell have you been? Where does anybody at all go at any goddamn time?

Where does the time go. Perennial question. Maybe time goes everywhere you are not. It slips away, it is evasive, it is fast moving.

While you are distracted by the most insignificant things, time is traveling somewhere else.

And along with it - your life.

Anyway I'm just going to throw some random stuff at you so I can get my juices flowing again. Although it feels like the juices are at flood level already.

I watched "Boulevard" on Tuesday night. It was Robin Williams' last movie.

Achingly sensitive. I have always maintained that when Williams played a sensitive, vulnerable person in a film, he was playing himself.

I think Robin Williams was an extremely sensitive soul, a man who was ruled by emotions and who was empathetic to the suffering of all other humans. The kind of person not built to live in this harsh world.

I could describe myself with the same words but it would spark a mass outcry from certain quarters so I'll keep all that under wraps.

I'm going to give away the movie so look away if you are inclined to watch it.

He plays a 60 year old man who realized at the age of 12 that he was gay. He repressed that fact for 48 years so that his entire life was warped and unreal. He wound up in a long term marriage, he wound up working as a loan officer at a bank for his entire professional life. A job that he despised.

At the age of sixty he cannot stand it anymore. His wife is pushing him to go on a cruise, which he does not want to do because he can't stand the falseness of their relationship anymore.

His boss is pushing him to accept a promotion, which he does not want because he can no longer take pretending that the job means anything to him.

So he blows up his life. Kind of involuntarily, kind of on purpose.

I like the way it ends because you know that he is finally living the life he was meant to live.

Robin Williams plays the role with deep sensitivity. You empathize with the character, you feel his feelings, you cry his tears, you experience his rage.

I was thinking about all the people in this world who are living lies for lives. People who are so far off track that they are numb with bewilderment.

It is sad commentary on how hard it is to live a life. A genuine, true to the soul life.

It is a sad commentary on how easy it is to waste 48 years - and more - in a twisted, soul sucking existence remarkable only in it's hideousness.

Watch the movie and dig the man's last performance.

Maybe set your own life straight if you become so inspired.

Sleepy Eyes

OK I was going to include this stuff as part of the random facts portion of the show in the previous post, but I got so wrapped up in the emotion of Robin Williams' last movie that this would have seemed ludicrous.

So it gets its own post.

Nate Burleson is an excellent football analyst.

I finally got my shit together football-wise. I am in a football pool and I stumbled around for the first couple of weeks.

Truth be told Week 1 is always hard because we are about to go on vacation and it is hard to focus.

Week 2 comes up too fast and I haven't learned a goddamn thing.

I finally got my game face on though. The strategy is to watch The Aftermath on the NFL network. It airs at 3 p.m. on Monday afternoons. I then augment that with Inside The NFL, a show that I have always loved.

That's it.

In the beginning of the season I was watching this and checking out that and reading this and listening to that. It was too much and it was all over the place.

I am comfortable now.

I tape both shows which allows me to fast forward through all the stuff I consider superfluous.

I never watch the game highlights. All I want is the commentary. The analysis.

So I can watch Inside The NFL (a 1 and 1/2 hour show) in about half an hour. I can watch The Aftermath (a 2 hour show) in 45 minutes.

Anyway.................I am really impressed with Nate Burleson. I think he is insightful, he is precise in the way he breaks down and explains things, and he has balls. He's the guy I pay the most attention to.

By the way, who the hell is the host of Inside The NFL? Actually it is a guy named Adam Schein. A pretty strange dude but the boys (Boomer, Michael Irving and Brandon Marshall) seem to like him.

He has sleepy eyes and a unique way of talking but, what the hell, he seems to know what he is talking about.

And talking about sleepy eyes, I recently watched "America's Game: The Super Bowl" and "Do Your Job" on the same night. It was mind-blowingly overwhelming. I loved every goddamn minute and did not delete either recording.

One special covers last year's PATS Super Bowl season from the players' perspectives, the other covers it from the coaches' perspectives.

The main thing I got out of that is that Julian Edelman has to be a stoner.

Just look at him. Just listen to him.

More power to him. I wouldn't mind blowing a little smoke with the man.

Ciao, baby.