Wednesday, December 27, 2006

The Guantlet

Christmas was lazy and far from white--just the way I like it. The kids loved pretty much everything they got, including the pair of light sabers that I just had to open first.

My wife and I went to a production of A Christmas Carol, and I shant say where, to protect the innocent. It was a musical of all things, the music having been written by someone local. Ebenezer was an amazing actor but a poor, poor singer. Some of the music was so bad that I did my best not to laugh out loud.

There were a great many faith elements to the story I had never noticed before. Jesus was mentioned on several occasions, and God was credited for Ebenezer's eventual turnaround. Ebenezer sings praise to Jesus near the end, just before he wakes up and makes everything right with the people he has abused. The song was just awful, and reminded me of Elmer Fudd. So, I leaned over and sang lightly in my wife's ear, "Oh what have I done? I've killed the bunny waaaaabit." My wife cracked up, earning me a severe glance from the teenaged couple two rows up. I felt bad. It's a lot of work to put on such an elaborate production. I'm not a heckler, but sometimes the joke is there and I can't resist lighting it up.

Well, it turns out it was a church production. They wanted us to fill out a survey. Flyers were waved in my face from church representatives up the aisle and out the door, where the entire cast sang Christmas carols.

It felt like a cult, a gang plank, and a gauntlet. Still, it was very nice, just a little shocking.

The couple we went with, who invited us and bought the tickets, apologized profusely. They didn't know that would happen. No problem. It was, well, different--the spice of life. The next day, they called and asked if we would like to join the church with them. Just joking, she said laughing.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Thrice rubbed and twice scratched

My wife needed a good shoulder rub last night, just as we sat down for dinner, and she got way more than she bargained for. I was in one of those benevolent moods, and gave her more than the obligatory two minute variety.

Jackson decided to supplement my work when I was done. He asked her to stand up after he finished with the shoulders. She asked him why. So I can scratch your back he said. So she complied, and when he had finished, she gave him a hug and a kiss.

It was pretty cute.

Then Emmett got out of his seat.

He's just turned three mind you.

He reaches up from behind her where she sat, and two tiny hands, barely reaching the height, started working quite ineffectively on her shoulders while we all laughed that awww-how-cute laugh. When he finished, of course, like his brother, he made her stand again so he could scratch her back.

Monday, December 18, 2006

What I Should Be Doing

I had some plans for a meaningless post about what I've been doing with my life, to make sense of why I haven't been around as much. But in making my rounds, I found a surprising post on Beth's blog (Shirk Ethic, December 16th 2006) concerning the abysmal work ethic of the average American. Don't be afraid to click through, no matter what end of the aisle you stand on.

When I was a teenager, I was probably no different than most boys my age. I didn't have an eye on the future, even as it was clamping down on me like one of those anvils that the road runner would drop from a high cliff onto the coyotes head. I think my dad finally figured out that I wasn't going to make much of myself, that he hadn't taught me a backup skill in case I didn't go to or do well in college.

His friend George had three sons, each being a master carpenter by the time they graduated from high school. On this point I am deadly serious, because they could, without their father, build a home from a grassy field. Me, I wasn't qualified to carry any of them a handful of nails. So my dad decided that I would learn.

On Friday and Saturday nights, I drank until two or three in the morning, but when the rooster crowed, my dad kicked me out of bed, and the hangover would be sweated out while packing sheetrock on my shoulders, and laziness was not abided. Full tilt was the only speed setting I had, and if I stumbled, my dad was there to kick my ass.

Fast forward five or six years, and I've got my own crew, building roofs and barking orders, up at the crack of dawn, running on my own steam. I was proud and I was good.

Fast forward fifteen more years, and I'm sitting behind a computer, surfing the net, writing this blog post, commenting on yours, dreaming about writing a novel, doing what I can to get by, knowing that there really isn't much chance of getting caught. I once worshipped Ayn Rand for the work ethic she espoused, even though she was a bit harsh, still, there was a romance to the notion of working hard and earning every dollar I make.

But that isn't so.

I do good work, when I do it, but I'm not that young man that sinks nails with a single swat anymore.

If I want to make a difference, if I want to squawk about the influx of foreign labor, and the exportation of jobs to India and other nations abroad, shouldn't I be doing the best job that I am capable of doing?

Monday, December 11, 2006

Ice Water To The Face

I am an earthling once again.

As Parcells once said to Peter King, "Do you know how hard it is to win a Superbowl?" This in response to the question, "How long will it take you to rebuild this team into a champion?" Bill also said, "When will you win the Pulitzer prize?"

It's a relief in a way. I haven't done much else besides read everything there is to read about the Dallas Cowboys.

I admit it. I'm a freak.

My writing has suffered as a result, but I am still pecking away at it slowly. My class draws to a close this weekend. I have written and rewritten the same scene three different times, but am finally coming to a conclusion that I may finally know just who this bit character is that I am about to throw away.

It's hard.

I'm reading Bernard Cornwell, The Archer's Tale. On Netflix I ordered up a helping of a screen adaptation of Sharpe's Rifles, for which Cornwell is famous. I absolutely love Historical Fiction.

Life is good. It will be better once football season is over.

My kids make my heart thump. I snuck into Jackson's room, a little melancholy for being so upset about a stupid game. I rubbed his forehead and he stirred, put his hands behind his head, elbows pointed out--then snored.

As for football, I should be writing my own fantasies, not praying for one to play out, especially when I have no control.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Two thousand words

It's up...

And it's good!

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

On raising children

Let the children play. And if it's not too much to ask, get out of the way

Me: Just Now

Move on if you beat your kids or condone it. It's one of those days.

You've been warned.

I was in the right aisle now, looking for the smallest and cheapest bottle of dish soap. The kids found a box of ice scrapers and pulled out one apiece. The store was practically empty; but a frumpy, graying woman browsed the same aisle, clearly annoyed that the kids ran back and forth between me and the scraper box.

Jackson's scraper knocked on the ground, so the lady turned to him and practically spat, "Those aren't hockey sticks!"

I turned to her and boomed, "Thank you!"

We stared at each other for a spell, me with raised eyebrows. She scrutinized my face for intent, but I wore the mask of amusement.

"My kids are all grown up," she told me, "and moved away."

I'll bet they wasted no time. I didn't reply. I turned to the kids. "Put the hockey sticks away; it's time to go."

"It's the hardest job in the world, raising children," she said to my retreating back.

I turned and looked at her. "Actually, I think it's a lot of fun."

Now, I know the waitresses of the world are spitting coffee at the computer monitor, thinking of all the little shits that have run under their feet, and all the youngsters and crusty curmudgeons are reliving every flight they've taken with a screaming kid a seat away.

Frankly Miss Scarlett, I don't give a damn.

I won't argue with you. You can hate kids, or live in that gray shadowland in between and call it what you will.

I'm not raising my kids to make you happy. I'm raising them to be happy.

Want to tell me that I'm not raising them right, that someday they'll land in jail because they haven't been prepared for the realities of the world? Go ahead. Check with me in twenty years and we'll compare notes. I'll take my chances.

I'm a product of "spare the rod" parenting, and I turned out just fine. But I'll never be happy. Not really. I'll come as close as one can come to being happy without really being happy, because deep inside I'll always be that kid whose mother left, whose step-mother beat, whose life was uprooted on a whim, who came in second, third, fourth and last in all things, always seen and not heard, the poster child for the strict discipline to which America so pines to return.

I won't debate it. I know what you think. It used to make me sad. I used to think I could make you see. But I realize that it doesn't matter any more. But don't step in my way anymore because I am tired of straddling the fence. Try to impress me with your morals anymore, and I will impress upon you back.

But it's not your fault, and I have to remember that.

How long until we figure out that love is the answer, and not a leather strap, a swiss cheese paddle, the back side of a hand, an open slap, a balled fist, or biting words of derision to a three year old child who doesn't know the meaning of the word share?

Answer: never. We are delusional and damn smug about it.

I see New England moms yelling at kids, shaming them for answering the call of their mercurial spirit. Don't worry parents. You will win the fight. You always do. That little spirit is large, but then so is a mountain. Tell that to the river and it will tell you that time is on its side. Your kids will grow up just like you, whether they like it or not. And that is why they will hate themselves and never fit in.

And you will be proud because they will hide it, never confront you, and even console you when you cry out in a fit of momentary clarity.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Mark It Down

It's been one hell of a weekend.

In a good way.

This isn't a football post, but every Thanksgiving I am lucky to watch my favorite team since the days of Stauback and Dorsett play the great game of football. And let me be a tremendous Homer and say that this is the beginning of a new Cowboy's era.

Mark that down. 2006: the start of a new era.

And write this down: Tony Romo will eclipse Troy Aikman as the next and possibly greatest of Cowboy's quarterbacks. And despite your team affiliation, I will be so bold as to say, that means being the greatest of any quarterback period. The position of quarterback on the Dallas Cowboys is the marquis position in all of sports.

Want to be there when it all began? Tune in this Sunday in the Meadowlands and watch the rise of a legend.

Tony Romo.

Mark that down.

Oh, to hell with it. This is a football post. I'll tell you about my weekend later. But it's been a good one.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

The Perils of Laying Brick

I found this in my travels.

The following letter was mailed to the Liberty Mutual Insurance Company.

Dear Sirs:

I am writing in response to your request for additional information in Block 3 of the Accident Report Form. I put "poor planning" as the cause of my accident. You said in your letter that I should explain more fully, and I trust that the following details will be sufficient.

I am a bricklayer by trade. On the day of the accident, I was working alone on the roof of my new six-story building; when I completed my work, I discovered I had about 500 pounds of bricks left over. Rather than carry the bricks down by hand, I decided to lower them in a barrel by using a pulley which fortunately, was attached to the side of the building at the sixth floor.

Securing the rope at ground level, I went up to the roof, swung the barrel out and loaded the bricks into it. Then I went back to the ground and untied the rope, holding it tightly to insure a slow descent of the 500 pounds of bricks. You will note in Block 11 of the Accident Report Form, that my weight is 175 pounds.

Due to my surprise at being jerked off the ground suddenly, I lost my presence of mind and forgot to let go of the rope. Needless to say, I proceeded at a rather rapid rate up the side of the building. In the vicinity of the third floor, I met the barrel which was now proceeding in a downward direction at an equally impressive rate of speed. This explains the fractured skull, minor abrasions, and the broken collarbone, as listed in Section III of the Accident Report Form.

Slowed only slightly, I continued my rapid ascent, not stopping until the fingers of my right hand were two knuckles deep into the pulley which I mentioned in Paragraph 2 of this correspondence.

Fortunately, by this time, I had regained my presence of mind and was able to hold tightly to the rope, in spite of the excruciating pain I was now beginning to experience. At approximately the same time, however, the barrel of bricks hit the ground and the bottom fell out of the barrel. Devoid of the weight of the bricks, the barrel now weighed approximately 50 pounds.

I refer again to my weight in Block 11. As you might imagine, I began a rapid descent down the side of the building. In the vicinity of the third floor, I met the barrel coming up. This accounts for the two fractured ankles, broken tooth, and the severe lacerations on my legs and lower body.

Here my luck began to change slightly. The encounter with the barrel seemed to slow me enough to lessen my injuries when I fell into the pile of bricks and, fortunately, only three vertebrae were cracked.

I am sorry to report, however, that as I lay there on the pile of bricks in pain, unable to move and watching the empty barrel six stories above me, I again lost my composure and presence of mind and let go of the rope!

Sincerely yours,

Name withheld


I found an AP story on the internet quoting the government's frustration that we are all getting just a little too fat. I'm sure that most of you don't want to post your BMI, especially the ladies--and it is rude of me to ask. 25 is considered the cutoff, beyond which means too many donuts. Mine is 27.77, not nearly what I thought it would be. Geez, with a little bit of exercise...

Here is how you figure yours:

First, multiply your weight in pounds by .45 to get kilograms. Next, convert your height to inches. Multiply this number by .0254 to get meters. Multiply that number by itself. Then divide this into your weight in kilograms.

According to the government, you are likely to land in the 20s or low 30s.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Love is but a dung hill

Thanks for dropping in on me while I've been away. Yes, I am working daily on my novel. It's a lot of work, but I am making steady progress. How long did it take the river to carve out the Grand Canyon?

As for my friend Jeff...

Sadly, I think it is not working out with his new love. I am reminded of an old relationship I had. I'll update later with links, but she was hardly worth the trouble when it was all said and done. She had me turned around backwards and inside out. I was so busy playing defense that I never had the time to wonder if she was really right for me. Towards the end, in an effort to let me down easy, she asked for a thirty day break, to see if she actually missed me when it was over. I was such a schlep that I went along with it, and it was her that couldn't take it after a week and a half. And when I agreed to see her, it went right back to where it was before, only worse.

Jeff's new love is a Republican, and told him flatly that she could never marry a Democrat.

She neglected to tell some of her guy friends that she has a new boyfriend.

She asked for a thirty day cessation of sex.

Is that a magic number?

I'm sorry old buddy, but you have to walk away. If you want to leave the light on, go right ahead. But if she cared about you the way you care about her, her friends and her friend's friends would be sick and tired of hearing about you. Whatever you do, don't ever change who you are to please somebody else. If she can't take a difference of opinion, then that might explain why she is still single in her August years.

And as for a thirty day break, say that you'll see her thirty and raise her a lifetime.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Love Happens

My friend Jeff is the proverbial open book. Jeff is a simple man who gives his heart with every degree of intensity he has. His wife of several years died a couple years back of cancer, and he was left alone to raise his children. It took years for the cancer to take her, and so they lived in the dark terrible shadow of death, such that when it finally came, everyone had said their goodbyes, and the relief was palpable.

Love false-started for Jeff a few start months ago. The object of his affection didn't return his enthusiasm, much less his calls. He's in his forties now, like me, and the playing field is harsher than the NFL when it comes to viable shelf-life. I didn't have high hopes that he would meet someone nice.

Imagine if you will, a man with a soft kind voice, simple and honest. Think Opie Taylor all grown up. Jeff is like a puppy, in that you could kick him and he would keep coming back--all because he loves you. Surely, even in this jaded world, there is a woman who can appreciate what is not hard to get.

There is.

This is the message I found on my cell phone a couple weekends ago. Transcribed literally:
Hey Scott, this is Jeff.

Hey, I had an unbelievable weekend, it was epic. It was the best weekend... almost of my whole life. This gal is gorgeous--great personality, fun to be around.

Um... we hit it off big time, just sparks everywhere, had the best time in my life.

The water was pure calm out in the straights, it was just phenomenal. Anyway, um, you won't believe when I tell you this one, but this is the gal I'm gonna marry--absolutely.

Um, heck, she's... she's... you know, makes-really-good-money, and she's a great woman. So anyway, um, anyway that's where it's gonna be headin' here, because she's... she's just awesome.

I told her to go offline. I won't be here unless she's only with me only. And then she said, yeah, that's all I'm gonna do.

So anyway... I'll talk to you later.


Thursday, October 19, 2006

Work work work

Why can't they invent some other way to make a living? The ancient Romans apparently had a system where the people, the ones living in the governing city, didn't have to do any work at all. I've seen DC, so there would be a tradeoff, but I could handle it.

My youngest son is going to be three this weekend. He just called me to let me know that he wants a Lightning McQueen racetrack. Roughly speaking, I believe he has told me this around fifty times. It's already in the back of my SUV--a Saturn with better gas mileage than some hybrids if anyone is planning to have me killed.

My eldest is excited about reading. Oh, that's right, I already said. But I'm excited about it, so it bears repeating.

I got sick of exclusively writing my novel outline, so yesterday I got to work on another chapter. I borrowed from a short story that I abandoned after writing around six thousand words. I figured it out. If every chapter is basically a short story, with a possible twist ending, it could actually turn out to be an interesting read. Start with hum-drum, life is normal, then like the old Batman serial--CRASH! Boom! Bam! Ka-pow!!!

Anyway, I'm just checking in. I've got another month of work to do in a week, and the best I can manage is a feeble effort. My heart is somewhere else.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Thinking Like a Winner

Life is sifting itself into the right places.

A while ago, probably three months or more, my youngest son lost the nail on his ring finger. It came clean off. Almost to the person I got assurance that they grow back. But one man, an ex-navyman, said something that resonated with me most. He lost something like three nails and they never grew back. Thanks! So I adjusted my thinking. But as you may have guessed by now, because I am not the master of indirection, that it did indeed grow back. I didn't believe it at first, and wouldn't believe it until it grew past the skin and needed to be clipped.

Next up: the pool. For all you spoiled brats that live in tropical climates, know that in New England, winter means death to swimming pools that haven't been closed properly. Last year I spent probably a thousand dollars in chemicals, repairs, opening and closing that damn pool. This year I put my foot down, went to New Hampshire where purchases are tax-free, and bought all my chemicals and implements. I opened it myself, maintained it, and closed it this last weekend. Total cost: $150. The pool has to be covered with a tarp and weighted down with 2 by 8 water balloons. Last season, the closers found holes in all but two of my balloons, and sold me new ones for fifteen bucks a apiece. I needed ten. Cha-ching! This season, since I did it all myself, they all miraculously survived the winter--and I bought a stock-pile of them for 2.50 apiece. I blew the water out of my pipes with a Sears shop-vac.

I swear, it was easy. It goes to show how helpless the average person is when it comes to taking care of himself. What would we do if suddenly we had to go it alone?

You may also remember a certain toilet installation that went wrong for me. I replaced the last toilet in our house over this last weekend (busy weekend, yes). I had similar difficulties, but at least this time I knew to turn the water off first. I got out the soldering equipment and made quick work of it. Live and learn. I don't need no stinkin' plumber or a pool guy.

Or a tutor if things progress like they are. My oldest son is learning to read. I've read him three stories a night almost every night since he was old enough to control the muscles in his neck. Last night I picked out a stack of easy readers at the library and had him read to me. He did stunningly well. And what's more, he totally enjoyed it. Far from being frustrated and giving up, he worked through the harder words and celebrated his successes. He read to me and my younger son, then turned the light on over his bed and read another one to himself. Later, his mother was laying next to him in bed while he read to her.

If you are a parent, you just know what I mean. A picture in time, the two of them together; him with that grim look of determination, her with an adoring, encouraging smile, and me in the doorway peeking in, thinking that I must have done something right in this life to deserve this.

Last, and second only to the latter, I am working on an outline for my novel concept. It is growing and really working itself out. I know that getting published is a hard thing to do, but have you read some of the popular fiction out there today? I picked up a copy of Stephen Frey's The Power Broker, and am amazed at how badly written it is. And his book was displayed like the holy grail at Barnes and Noble. He says things like (I'm paraphrasing), "Things were bad, but they were just about to get a whole lot worse." I almost threw up on that one. Mine is a library copy, but I'm thinking of buying it so I can mark it up and bring it to my writing class. It's not all bad, but lines like that one, that tack 12 on the cheese-richter scale, should be encouraging to aspiring (forgive the term, but I think its appropriate Bernita!) writers. If this shite makes it through...

My story has heft. All I need to do is write it (thanks Dixie!) and rub out any passages like the aforementioned, refine and add some spice.

Mark my words. I will sell this one. A friend of mine used to say, if you want to be a winner, you have to think like a winner.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Come Back Friday

I have a big presentation of my system designs, stuff I've been working on for months. Tomorrow. Also, I'd like to wrap up the next chapter of my latest story, which I plan to read in class tomorrow. So big day coming up. There is a very nice girl at my office that is reading my work in progress, the one I started online a couple weeks ago, and has been quite complimentary in a way that convinces me that, so far, this is really working. She offered some great ideas about story structure that would maximize the suspense and final impact. I'm getting excited. Perhaps, just perhaps, I have started my first novel.

This was supposed to be a short story for a contest Dixie Belle turned me on to. But my goal is novel. Novel. Novel. NOVEL. Novel!

Catch my drift? I just have to go for it. Even though I have no idea where the meaty middle part is going--no, that's not true. I do know. Not everything, but I have an idea. The thing is, I have so many movies running through my head, and so many themes of unfulfilled promises in my life, that I am starting to believe I can do it.

I have to. Most of you who come by know exactly what I mean.

So come back on Friday. Better yet, I'll come get you. This week I need dedicate myself to getting my homework done.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Writing and a Little Football

I'm working on my next story installment so that I have something to read for my class this Thursday. Please forgive my absence, but know that I'm still around and enthusiastic as ever. Don't unlink me just yet!

I watched Philly beat the bejezuz out of Green Bay last night, and every other word out of the announcer's mouths was TO. Dallas stomped the Titans 45-14, the Philly score 31-9. Both played struggling teams. The winner will be first in the NFC East. But more than that, I cannot stomach a defeat at the hands of Philly, who cheered when Michael Irvin incurred a career ending injury. Believe me, Philly will be out for blood. Bring me the head of the man called TO!

But from what I saw last night, Philly is vulnerable. Keep McNabb contained and they got nothing, nada, zip. Question is, can we put some pressure on him. For all that talk of what pressure does to Drew Bledsoe, they should take a close look at McNabb when he hears those footsteps. Overthrows and skips.

By my accounting, we should absolutely crush Philly. But everyone brings their A game when Dallas comes to town. The team that floundered for two quarters against the Packers won't be the team that shows up next week. I guarantee it. But neither will they have a rookie corner to pick on. These are the Dallas Cowboys, sporting the best defense they've seen all year, the fifth best in the NFL, just below Chicago's. The Packers are ranked second to last, and for half a game they roughed Philly up real bad.

Still, I'm nervous. Philly was without Bryant Westbrook, who totally rocks. He'll be back. Look what a difference Clinton Portis' return made to Washington's game.

This one is going to be big.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Chipmunk Status

This is either good news or bad, but when I got home from work today, the chipmunk was gone. It was alive this morning, and managed to move. Maybe it was in shock and managed to kick it into gear today. We don't have any predators that would have eaten it, at least not usually. There have been reports of coyotes, but I've never seen one. I saw a fox last winter, but that's it. My guess is that the little fella worked out his problems and got back to the business of picking up nuts. I would know if he was dead.

The next time something like this happens, I'll call the vet in the morning.

Thanks for all the advice. It's nice to see that so many people care about our tiny neighbors.

By the way, as to my previous long post about my "uncle" Mark; I have his email address thanks to my "aunt." All quotes are because these are not blood relations, but honorifics that only have historical significance. Someone once said to hang onto your friends. I've lost too many in my life to afford the loss of any more.

Stiff Chipmunk

I was away for the weekend, and fall has started shaking the leaves from the trees. And so the pool is starting to fill up. The filter was jammed to the brim. As I started to empty it, I noticed a chipmunk sitting atop the pile. I assumed it was dead, but I was wrong. The little fella was probably stranded on leaf island for a couple days, and was barely able to move. I wrapped it in a towel and left him for the night.

This morning he was still warm, but he wasn't moving. One of its eyes was open, unblinking. I picked it up and it moved a little, so I took it out to the woods and put it by a tree.

I don't really know what to do. As bad as I feel about it, I've got two kids that would terrorize it indoors, and a dog that would eat it first chance. I am surprised it is still alive. Shocked actually. It simply doesn't move. My wife said it tried while she was watching. It sighed and lay still again. We're hoping the cold water tricked it into hibernation, but that's wishful thinking.

What would you do? I have a hammer, and thought briefly about ending it. But that was a little too graphic for me to stomach.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Ironic Job for a woman

Here's a quickie: name a job that would be ironic for a woman to perform. One suggestion would be auto mechanic, since classically women are taken advantage of by repair shops. The best would be a business dominated by men, like coal mining in North Country, that would just have fits if they found themselves suddenly working for a woman.

But on the bright side

When I was a small boy, and I do mean small... I'd say I was about seven. Geez, about as old as my oldest son. The time of starting to remember. It was my first exposure to music, and my intense attachment to a song. More actually. You have to be an old bastard to remember, or you just like the golden oldies, but this is when I first heard Rhinestone Cowboy. My uncle, who really isn't my uncle because he was the brother of my then step-mother--the beater just in case you're wondering--is only a couple years older than me. He had long brown hair that a mop-head like myself could really appreciate. The kind of hair that fit right in with the upcoming seventies fad of feathering and blow drying. Think Shawn Cassidy. If you don't know who I'm talking about, then I'll say currently he is the creator of the series Invasion--may it rest in peace. But back in those days he was a famous singer for about one year, and the actor who played opposite Parker Stevenson in the Hardy Boys. If you don't know who Parker is, then I'll say he married Kirstie Alley. If you don't know who she is, then turn the page already, or look it up. I'm tired of typing about it.

Where was I?

Oh yeah. Anway, Mark, my uncle, had a record player. Don't make me explain what one of those is. Try Wikipedia. Anway, he had a stack of 45's. Amongst those was of course the Rhinestone Cowboy. Also War's Why Can't We Be Friends, Captain and Tennille's Love Will Keep Us Together, and a song that may have been called Run Joey Run, judging by how many times that phrase was repeated.

You can see that I have a pretty vivid memory of this time. I found out this weekend, at the wedding reception, that Mark also remembers this very well. At the mass preceding the ceremony, I saw a middle-aged man who looked vaguely familiar. Two pews ahead of me, he knelt facing forward, then turned to whisper to an elegant woman next to him, revealing his sharp profile. His once proud hair had thinned and eclipsed back, much like that of his brothers. But the eyes. I knew it was him.

Outside, I walked up to him to introduce myself, as I hadn't seen him since that day so long ago. Before I said anything, he reached out with his hand and said, "Scott! It's Mark."

"You didn't have to say Mark, I still recognize you. God, how long has it been?" even though I really knew.

His manner was slow and unsure. Meek. Beaten. This wasn't the guy I remembered. When we were kids, he was a head and a half taller than me. Now it was just the opposite. I resisted the urge to hug him like a son and tell him that everything is going to be ok. Then I felt a surge of rage at the unfairness of life, of divorce and frustrated expectation. This man before me would have been my friend.

He introduced me to his fiance, a divorcee like himself. Mark was married for around ten years, until one day his wife left him, taking their child with her. The sadness in his voice rattled me. "She surprised you by leaving?"

He could only nod. "But," he managed, "I finally won joint custody of my son."

I could go on and on. We reminisced about those old records, something I thought that only I would remember. Back then I looked up to him, and so I reasoned, why would he even recall? But he did. Who else beside myself have I underestimated in my life?

When I said my final goodbye, I offered my hospitality should he ever come to Boston, assuring him that we have the accommodations if he and his wife (and son!) want to visit sometime.

Sometimes I think my heart is too big. There are so many people I miss, so many that I don't even remember that I miss, people gone by and tucked away in a secret place. Perhaps one day it will become too painful. Even though it can hurt, those memories keep me alive and hopeful that life can be truly wonderful.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

I Can

Many people have asked me what the name of my blog means, and I've always had some long sophisticated answer that only hinted at the truth. I still remember the first time my step mother hit me. It was probably the first day. I think it was because I pushed my little brother--her son, my half-brother. That stuff happens all the time with brothers. As parents we try to teach them to use words instead of fists, so we beat the shit out of them until they understand. Does anyone hear Linda McCartney in that last sentence--you know, an off-note that makes your head tilt to one side with a look we wear when we don't get the joke? If not, click Next Blog and don't come back.

She sat me down after a bad report from my teacher. I was a behavior problem, always talking in class, starting fights with the other boys, hyper and aggressive. My teachers constantly spoke with me, but I was unreachable. The only language I understood was screaming and yelling punctuated by kick, slap and crack. I was relieved when dad came home, because his kicks were flat-footed. Step-mom made me pull down my pants and used a leather belt or plastic serving spoon. I still remember the shape and color--white, but yellowed with age, stained red from spaghetti sauce.

So after getting the report from my teacher, she sat across the kitchen table from me and told me what she had heard. She was Saint Lorrie that day, all patience. Maybe she prayed earlier for the strength. Perhaps the local father had her say a few Hail Mary's and Our Fathers, and the holy light filled her to bursting. While restraining the hand that must have yearned to whip me good, she asked me the question. You've seen it before. Maybe.

"Do you have any idea how hard it was to love you?"


"It was difficult," she said, "but I did it." The look of triumph on her face! Surely now she would go to heaven. I could almost hear the trumpets. Was that a halo rising above her head, or the seepage of a thousand Benson & Hedges cigarettes that stained her teeth yellow with sepia highlights?

And do you know that I was grateful? Did I tear up with joy? I did. That worthless, despicable, unlovable, seven year old spawn of his father's previous whore was saved by a missionary of God. He had his own angel to watch over him now. Everything was going to be ok. After two long years, in the house that God built, love had finally come to town.

Can you hear the church choir?


I can.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Writing On The Plane

The post after this one was written on the plane trip home. It starts as a report and breaks down into a rant. There are typos, and I'm leaving them. The writing is raw like the emotions that propelled them.

I don't know if I'll be around for a while. I'm really out of sorts. I've been blogging for two to three hours a morning and I fear I'm going to lose my job if I don't get my shit together. Nothing is for sure right now. I need my job, and I need to start doing it right.

The blog stays, but where it goes, nobody knows.

Tomorrows post was written on the plane too. Partially anyway, until "all portable electronic devices" had to be switched off in preparation for landing.

And That's How It Ends

My brother has a small interest in a new restaurant that just opened in Katy. If all goes as planned, this will be the first of many. His good friend was able to open it for under three hundred thousand, which to me sounds like an easy proposition, considering a house costs more.

I checked it out, and it was a really nice place. They bought a pay-per-view showing of ultimate fighting challenge, which in Texas seems to be all the rage. Basically there are hardly any rules. The fighters wear gloves, the kind you might use to punch a bag with. They kick, wrestle and pound. The fight isn't over until one is passed out, a fighter gives up, or is getting the tar beaten out of him so bad that the ref is forced to call it.

My bro asked me if I wanted a drink. I said sure, soda and lime if you please.

"No way," he said.

"Just get it," and think about one for you I thought to myself. I was still too shy to let him have it. He ordered a beer and forgot the soda. I held out for a while, but the guys were having fun and I was sulking. In the end I decided that he was a big boy, and nothing was being served by having a bad time myself, so I had a beer. And then another, and another. But I couldn't drown the feeling of failure.

We switched venues and went to a bar called Moes. Not a bad place. The band plays in a far corner near the dance floor. The farther you move away the less intense the sound, until a conversation is actually possible.

Out came the shots. The first was something liquid with a submerged shot glass with a dark liquor of some sort. I didn't ask. I threw it down. My bro found a pack of girls to flirt with, so I sat in a stool and watched him work. Hands flying, neck jutted forward, the posture of pure bullshit. His friend Zack, a good hearted self-proclaimed, and true in fact redneck from Nagotious Texas, looked on with pride. "There he goes again. I swear he can talk for hours with the ladies. He's got the gift."

We sat in a ring of stools while the alpha female danced and rubbed her ass on my kneecap. Apparently she is dating one of my bro's friends that she's just out having a good time. A good time in this case seemed to manifest itself in a tall country boy sporting a ten gallon cowboy hat. But that's no problem with anyone but me.

Thank God I'm married. If she were dating my friend, she would have gotten a surprise visit from him on her way to the back of Billy Bob's king cab. It's free floating testosterone that mires the mind of otherwise intelligent men.

I haven't been drunk like that in time way past. The urinal was surrounded by centerfolds, marked up with graffiti of course, arrows pointed at private parts now public, words I can't remember but funny only to a drunk. I swayed in front of the mirror, checking myself out through new eyes, then stumbled back to my stool for the strip show. Which was enjoyable by the way, just upsetting to an empathic drunk.
The wedding ceremony the next day was calm and austere. Blah blah blah. I know I'm married, but there is something totally wrong with weddings all. I've never liked going. I'd prefer a quick trip to the justice of the peace then a commune at the local pub, where a keg is plunked onto the bar and everyone serves up.

If anyone has ever read my short story, Hard Love, you will meet the woman whose ceremony I just attended. When I left for the airport, I said goodbye to her. She gave me a peck on the cheek and left without any more words. I was stunned. I just flew to across country to honor her so, and this is what I get in thanks. I have half a mind to cancel the check we wrote her.

I'm wondering if she is mad because I drank with her son the night before, the son that needs to quit drinking and get control of his life. The entire drive away from there was spent muttering my argument with her. How dare you give me a lecture in morality you blankety blank. If it weren't for my brother in sister, I wouldn't even know you anymore. You don't deserve anything from me. Not a thing. You hang your head in church like you were the virgin Mary, but I wonder if God guided your hand when it balled into a fist and knocked the wind out of me for not cleaning up after the dog one day. Or for the thousand smacks with the spoon, or the yelling and the degrading and the humiliation. You are a beater and a hater, and if that's what being a lamb of God is all about then you can keep the Catholic church, because where I'm rotting in hell with the rest of the sinners, I can rest easy that I won't be sharing real estate with you. At least my conscience is clean. And instead of holding God on a pedestal, I'm doing the same for my wife and children. I may be damned, but I can sleep easy at night. When I'm mad at somebody, I deal with the person involved. I don't beat someone else's child.

So what's next? I go home to my little plateau and try to live my life, take care of my children, and just hope that my brother pulls out of his funk. I just can't image that he will. When I said goodbye to him, it was hard to make eye contact. He knows. I see it in his face. I've always been so sure about what happens next. Now, it's out of my hands. I fucking hate this.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

I'm a little sad right now

My brother is having trouble. He fights depression and drug addiction, and smokes at least two packs of cigarettes a day. His ex-wife lives a street away, a situation created on purpose to put him in position to see his daughter, with whom they share custody. And it works out well. But when my brother doesn't have his daughter, he fights the cocaine and ecstasy demons that pull at his idle mind.

The house is a reflection of his personality. Beautiful on the outside, lawn manicured and like the other clones that repeat on down the road, differing only in laughable attempts at individuality. But inside it is an omelet of mismatched broken furniture and clutter. Chipboard shelves are swayed like the back of a venerable nag next in line for the soap factory. One room is littered with forgotten games, bed frames, shower curtains and boxes. His computer was infected with several viruses. I spent until two in the morning cleaning them up.

And he won't talk to me. At first everything was good, but he has retracted into his shell. I've already loaned him money. Once because he had to have a pack of cigarettes. I can't stand it.

I love my brother. I want to help my brother. I want to come in here with my wife and get this house into working order. I want to hang pictures on the wall, get some plates and silverware, some new shelves, and garbage cans, a new desk for his daughters room, a coat rack maybe, a medicine cabinet, door knobs, some throw rugs, scrap the couches and get him something nice--casual but nice. Basically, make this place look like someone lives here who cares about what happens on the inside.

Someone who loves himself like he deserves to be loved.

But I'll be going home on Monday, and life will go on I fear in a predictable pattern.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Planet Houston

It seems I really struck a chord with yesterday's post--no pun intended. One of these days I'm going to record myself and make it available here. I actually have a demo tape from my band days. I really didn't like what the band forced me to perform. It didn't play to my strengths. I had a few opportunities to have my own band, but the kind of time it demanded would have been overwhelming. Something would have had to give, and I made my decision. I can easily see what I would have been, an aging wannabe, playing the off hours of backwoods bars. A couple fans, a girl at every watering hole, a gaggle of ex-girlfriends and an ever increasing disdain for a world that never welcomed me to step higher. Instead I'm happily married and have two beautiful boys.

The dream I'm pursuing now affords me a simultaneous life. I put my kids to bed and wake up with my wife every morning. That's no country song.

Tomorrow morning, bright and early, I'm on a plane to Houston. It's a funny time for me. Even with my mother gone, my time is split in too many directions. My cousins, my aunt and uncle, my step-mother, my grandma, my sister and brother--are all scattered across suburban sprawl that covers a span of country that, although still considered Houston, is practically as big as Rhode Island. Heaven forbid I miss a freeway exit. I could be driving for miles before I can turn around.

So this is my sign off until Tuesday, unless I find myself in front of a computer with time to kill. Besides, I want to crank on my short story. There's a whole middle part to create. I hope to get some feedback from my writing class tonight, after I read them the first part and explain where it's going.

May the blog be with you.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Private Joke

I get so damn frustrated that I can't sing like the stars. For some songs, I sound just perfect. It's not that I can't carry a tune. It's that whole upper octave thingy that really trips me up. Here's a for instance. Any of my friends will tell you that yes, indeed, I was quite motivated to be a country singer when I was younger. Nobody told me that I couldn't, but the private dancing eyeball glances were not lost on me. Still, I figured the voice is a muscle that can, over time, be stretched and perfected. I fell in with a bass player when I moved to California, who invited a drummer to play with us. We started with Mustang Sally, the Commitments version. The drummer was excited from the opening lines. Wow! This is awesome! But then came the first chorus, and my limit was exposed.

Still, he called me a year later to front a country band. By then I had already dropped out of one band and was living with my soon-to-be wife. I had experienced enough humility by then anyway. I had finally come to accept that I would never be more than pretty good, despite the blast furnace inside me.

Being bad, or mediocre--it's a lonely thing. People smile and wave, then conspiratorially whisper to their friends, who in turn smile and wave. They're in on a private joke. And that joke is you.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Berets and Bereta

Beth turned me on to a couple guys making a big splash on YouTube. Check them out on their website. Had I met the right people, this is probably how I would have spent my time at college too. I think my favorite video was Cubicle Wars, but I'm biased towards office comedies like Office Space.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Slow Week

It's likely to be a slow blogging week. If I don't visit or worse, lurk and don't comment, please forgive and forget, for it is truly divine. I'm off to Houston at weeks end to my step-mother's wedding--the other reason people travel--and to put my brother hopefully on the straight and narrow. I'm working hard on my new story, which is really coming to life for me. Many many things happening all at once. I have to close the pool, manage to pack, have my story fragment ready for class on Thursday, and yadda yadda yadda.

Peace. Excepting of course for Montagues and Harkonens. In that case, kill and kill again until no Harkonen breaths Arakeen air.


I know.


Friday, September 15, 2006

Work In Progress

Ray Butler upended cushions and looked under the couch. He rooted about the living room until he finally found it. The tip of a black plastic remote peeked out from a half eaten bag of microwave popcorn that was propped next to the armchair. He grunted, took a long swallow from a can of MGD, lifted an eyebrow and belched appreciatively. As he placed the beer down onto a wooden coffee table randomly riddled with white sweat rings, the old empties from the night before scattered like bowling pins and fell to the floor.

Ray bent over the popcorn bag and reached down to fish out the remote. He sensed the danger before he understood it. Fear froze him in place. His heart thumped double-time in his chest, and he became aware of the effort of breathing. The landlord had just replaced the carpet with plush brown shag, which, from Ray's stooped position, seemed to cover the ceiling. Fresh size-twelve footprints leading to the closet formed deep depressions in the carpet that stood out like flashlights in the dark. Like sleepy tendrils of a sea anemone in a soft current, the flattened fibers drifted languidly back to a standing position.

He forced himself to move again. Only one thought filled his mind as he pulled his empty hand from the bag, knocking it over: the Smith and Wesson .38 revolver, loaded and ready in the cupboard above the refrigerator. But could he get there in time?

Think casual, he told himself. He retrieved his beer from the table and made an exaggerated show of swishing it, then guzzled the last bit of swill. He gave the can a one-handed man-crush and flipped it toward an overflowing garbage can by the kitchen island.

He strolled to the refrigerator and opened the door. On the bottom shelf lay a plundered twelve pack box of MGD with only two cans left. He decided on a bottle of Bud Lite instead, which was lying on its side alone in the crisper drawer. "Damn," he said aloud as he shut the door, "now where the hell did that opener get to?"

He rifled through a few drawers and cupboards on his circuitous path to the gun's hiding place. When he opened the cupboard door, he was horrified to find that the .38 was gone.

"I believe that's a twist-off anyway," said a smooth voice behind him.

Careful to move slowly, like the hour hand of a clock, Ray turned to greet the intruder. The steady eyes that regarded him seemed to absorb the light around them. The man wore a grey, wool slash pinstripe Italian suit and python skin dress shoes. His jaw was square and bounded by a cleft at the end of his chin. And though he was clean shaven, there was just a hint of a shadow mustache and beard. He had crisp black sideburns half the length of his ears, and wore a white straw Panama fedora with a dark grey hatband.

When the man reached into his jacket pocket, eyes fixed on his own, Ray knew his time had come. He had been expecting a visit anyway--it was only a question of when. To Ray's intense relieve though, the man pulled out a pack of Camels and an ivory inlaid butane lighter. "Mind if I smoke?" the man asked.

Roy blinked. "By all means, be my guest."

"Are you sure?" the man said, "Your place, your rules."

"Mi casa es su casa," Roy replied.

The man's brow furrowed, and his tone took on a dangerous edge. "What, are you Mexican or some shit like that?"

Roy stuck waved his hands in front of him with his palms out. "No. It's just an expression. It means--"

"I know what it means. But this is America. And in America, we speak English. Capiche?"

"Yeah, sure, capiche... Uh, I mean, I understand."

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Rock Star Super Sham

Rockstar Supernova is over, and Lukas Rossi won.

Excuse me while I stretch and yawn. What a joke. I'm glad that Tivo screwed up and recorded a rerun of Project Runway instead.

The show was a total sham. I posted earlier that my favorite was Dilana. If you were starting a serious rock band, the minute this girl auditioned you would walk outside and tell the rest of the people, thanks, but the position is taken. Seriously.

This probably sounds lame to anyone who thinks reality TV is a joke. I don't blame you. Because it really is. This show, although compelling and emotional, is plotted and executed just like any episode of House, ER, Desperate Housewives, CSI American City Of Your Choice--you name it. In fact, it barely managed to depart from last season's formula. But something went wrong. Dilana was so clearly better than the rest of the competition--her music was downloaded from the show's website more than all the other contestant's combined--that she was running away with it. If you were writing a story, that wouldn't make for a very exciting plot. She was comparable to Bruce Lee, winning every fight with a two inch punch to the chest, without taking a single punch in return.

So the producers intervened. They set up an interview show and asked Dilana some pointed questions. Who on the show really bothers you? Easy, she said, Lukas. Who of your competitors is just along for the ride? Magni, she said, who really misses his family and yearns to return home to Iceland to be with them. The producers pummeled her with the replays of those clips, and the world groaned in legion. She fell in the polls, seen now as a egotistical tyrant--a very bad winner. She started to crack; her confidence waned; her performances suffered. The boys from Supernova ripped her publicly, highlighting her weaknesses. She took it real hard and the camera laughed as she cried.

After all that bashing, she won second place, and will front the house band that will tour with Supernova. Which, if truth be known, is probably a better gig. Supernova is really bad. Bad will be brought to new lows with Lukas as lead singer. I truly am baffled at this decision, because the man cannot sing well. Obviously he has some talent, but he's painful to watch. We've fast forwarded through most of his performances. Awful. Embarrassing.

Want to see a real rock and roller do it? Watch Dilana sing Mother Mother on youtube.

There are some rumors floating around that the show was rigged. A leak two weeks ago revealed that Lukas would win.

Can you say, Quiz Show?

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

In Medias Res

I blew my nose in the car this morning with a used tissue I found on the floor. Thank goodness. Otherwise it would have been a very long drive. The coffee hit me just right, breaking the grip of sleep that refused to let go as I mindlessly navigated my morning ablutions, walked the dog, cleaned the damn pool filter, then sleep walked to the car. Traffic is a bitch once again now that the kids are back in school. Don't ask me why, but if I don't leave by 6AM for work, I get stuck in traffic. The CD player is broken, so I'm left with NPR--that or Imus, or the vanilla knock-off comedy duos that you can hear in any city you live in, whose morning show is named Name1 and Name2 in the Morning.

The good news is, after I blew my nose, the rush must have caused caffeine to flow freely to the places most sorely needed, because my mood asked permission to get really good. I accepted. Now I'm jamming to Stevie Ray and his brother Jimmy, Family Style. Does anyone know what I'm talking about when I say I love the solo in Hard To Be? Man, I wish I could jam like that.

I have to resist the urge to sing aloud, sitting here at my desk with the headphones on. I'm all alone in the office, as I am every morning.

Thanks for all the advice yesterday. I started another story at lunch yesterday. Sure, it's only a paragraph. But what a paragraph it is. I'm already working on its revision. In medias res.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Ain't That A Hole In The Boat

Emmett is rabid for the Gameboy. We should have heeded the rule: two of everything. He loves playing the game from the movie Cars, but has no idea that he is controlling Lighting McQueen through the course. Fortunately, without any help, McQueen travels generally towards the finish line, albeit like a total drunk.

Inspiration is at low ebb, and so is my creative confidence. I read over my current short story and I do not like it much. Which begs the obvious question: will anyone else? My wife insists that the premise is quite good. That may be so, but I question my execution.

So now there are two short story fragments on my hard drive. I suppose that's a good thing. My latest effort is five thousand words. Considering that my last completed story was three thousand, I should feel warmer towards it than I do.

Does anyone else have this problem--works in progress that just don't float the old boat?

Monday, September 11, 2006

Tough Season?

My team was a huge disappointment this weekend. I should have know, that after a sparkling preseason, that they would come out throwing ducks. New England fans will surely cry, "See what I told you about Bledsoe?"

But I'm not ready to throw in the towel just yet. It was a heartache to watch Bledsoe throw three interceptions, huge gains and even a touchdown negated by penalties--but this game was lost because we made mistakes. Not because we don't have the talent.

I thought we would ease TO into the offense. No way. He was incredible. What a difference a star receiver makes to an offense. He had the entire Jacksonville defense on red alert in the first quarter, and continued to burn them throughout, snagging a touchdown towards the end to put it within seven. The man is worth the money. Say what you want about what TO did in other cities, but so far, he has been polite and a team player.

But Drew. Apparently his back froze up after the first amazing quarter, when we went up ten zip with frightening quickness. After that he delivered the ball to defenders three times, and when he completed passes it was more a credit to the receiver. I'm not ready to push him in front of a bus. Not even close. But please, don't have any more games like this one. Next time when your back freezes up, tell the coaches and let Romo finish the game. You're the starter, and the better of the two. But yesterday…

How did your team do? Patriots pulled one out of their butts. But that's what they do consistently. The Packers got spanked like step children by Chicago. Tampa Bay got skunked as well. Houston got beat by Dallas' nemesis, the resurging Eagles. It could be a tough season.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

New Directions

I no longer thing Dilana will win on Rock Star. She's the best, but two things hinder her ascension. First: rock and roll is about the chicks. A female lead means co-ed backstage parties. Without a virulent male lead, the geriatrics playing the instruments must rely on their own prowess, which is declining fast. With a male lead, they can at least shave off the straggling hopefuls. This is why JD is currently the lead singer of INXS, or INX-who?

JD also excelled at point two: creating original music. Dilana is just ok at this, but Supernova really needs the help. Three or four of their originals have been performed so far, and each gave me a great big yawn.

My advice to Dilana, tell them all to screw. You're better than all of them put together. My wife may have a point. She says that the band is afraid of being upstaged. That could certainly be true. Find yourself some talented songwriters and rise to prominence on your own. Creatively the bad sucks, proving once again that the product is not necessarily equal to the sum of its parts.

Tonight is my first day of Writing Popular Fiction at UMass Lowell. I pray the machine lathers, rinses then repeats, and spits out a novelist ready to lay his problems out on a rolling space scroll. I'm ready dammit!

I may have a new mission in life, a direction if you will. Perhaps, and I haven't decided for sure, but perhaps my magnum opus will be an expose on the dark underbelly of suburban America. The movie tagline will be: In suburbia, everyone can hear you scream--they just don't care.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

First of First

It's Jackson's first day of first grade, and his first ride to school on the bus. The video camera is cued and ready to record. I taped the packing of the first lunch into the Scooby Doo lunch box, and interviewed the new student while he ate a bowl of sugar packed cereal. I'm working at home today so I can be here to walk him to the bus stop. Although he wants to ride the bus now, we've assured him that he doesn't have to. Some people would call that shielding. So be it.

When school is over, it's really over. It only lives inside our brains and in the movies. But it has as much to do with reality as snipe hunting.

Emmett is virtually diaper free now that he does both orders of business sitting on the mini-throne. It's amazing how much build up there is in such a little guy. Just yesterday I got a call from my wife.

"Honey! Oh my God!"

I braced myself for the worst. "What is it?"

"Roxy* just ate some of Emmett's poo."

I'm normally reserved for personal phone conversations at work, but I started laughing, and didn't stop for a very long time after I hung up.

"What should I do? Will she be alright?"

I couldn't stop laughing to answer. When I lived on a ranch, there were two dogs that roamed the property. The horse corral was littered with horse manure, but some were fresh, green and steamy. The dogs loved those in particular, and would face off, all growls and teeth like two boxers before a match while the ref is saying, "Keep it clean boys."

Finally I managed, "I think everything will be fine."

* Our new puppy

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Republicans Need Not Apply

We all know that women are just plain mean to one another, and there's nothing I can do about it. But I am sick of it just the same. There is something inherently wrong with our society, which gives me pause as to whether or not I support spreading such a disease across the world. Still, nobody has ever made me believe it's better somewhere else. Quite the opposite.

Several months ago, I got into a political debate with my neighbors. As you've undoubtedly heard, Massachusetts is a liberal state. That basically means that no matter what buffoonery Ted Kennedy or John Kerry participate in, they are considered to be, if not entirely correct, well intended and thus magnanimous, etcetera, etcetera. George Bush is the antichrist, and when he isn't the biggest fool since Dan Quayle--or rather ironically at the same time--is the evil mastermind, no puppetmaster, behind the 911 attacks. There are several variations on the Dr. Evil theme, but you get the picture. Love Kerry-Gore-Clinton, hate Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld. There is no gray area in between.

So... where was I? Oh yeah. Typically I am the only political thinker of my stripe anywhere I go. So you can imagine that for the most part I keep my mouth shut about it. But on this one particular day, I held my own against four of my neighbors. It was an amiable exchange--a little heated at times, but always respectful. In the end, one of them, Susan, applauded me for having the courage, and laughed that I was actually persuasive enough to make her think about it some.

Great, right?

This weekend was the neighborhood cookout. About forty people were there. My wife and I have seen most of them before, but mostly in drive bys in the brief moments getting our mail by the street. Our house is surrounded by trees, and we don't see much of our neighbors. There are two events a year that bring the neighbors together. We are the new kids on the block. You would think--or maybe you wouldn't, being a student of human nature--that people would welcome you with open arms, want to know your children and all that. But for the most part, we were invisible. Everyone fell into established groups and looked blank when you walked by. Groups of three and four would fall silent if I happened upon them, and pick up when I moved on. Getting the picture?

My wife found an open chair amongst the women. Thinking that she had made a connection with two of the ladies that she sat between, she felt safe in sitting among them. They didn't even look at her, apart from giving her a curt hello. Then Susan, the woman with whom I shared my political discourse, in front of all her liberal girlfriends, strangers almost all to my wife, says: "You know what really ticks me off? All Republicans hate Clinton and love George Bush." She looked directly at my wife, who said nothing. The women stared at her.

So Susan continues, "I know you're a Republican Beth."

Beth stared back at her and still said nothing. All the women looked away. They broke into quiet, conspiratorial conversations amongst themselves.

And for the record, my wife and I are registered independents, who happen to support some of the current policies. And I highlight the word some. My wife thinks that Bill Clinton disrespected his office, and I think he was a victim of desperate partisan politics, who did what he had to do. Who's right? I don't care, and neither should anyone else. It's an opinion, and everybody has a slightly different one. But one opinion that my wife and I share in common is this: we are never going to any neighborhood parties again.

Friday, September 01, 2006

New Lessons

It's been quite a week I suppose. On Wednesday I started with guitar lessons. The instructor is a hard core country boy, complete with handlebar mustache--not unlike that of my avatar. His name is Earl. What more could a guy ask for? You may have guessed that I will be learning some country technique. As much as I try to pretend that my primary interest is rock and roll, inside me is just a simple man who would be happy to live independently, hoeing the land and riding horses. I told Earl that I need more than just a basic strumming pattern to accompany myself. He gave me something to practice where I pick notes between strums.

Whoa. My brother just called and we talked for an hour and a half. Too personal to share right now, so I'll just sign off and wish you all a good weekend.

Oh, real quickly. My wife went to a new hair stylist last night, recommended by a girl friend with a fabulous do. All I needed to know about how she felt was in her runway gait as she ascended the stairs toward me. Pure dynamite.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Rock Star Supernova

Dixie Belle sent me a copy of her William Faulkner Writing Competition award winning short story Decoration Day. I took it with me to read at lunch yesterday, and was blown away. What a delightful childhood tale, told from the perspective of a little girl from a small southern town. I won't say anything more about it, other than it took hold of me and didn't let go. This was about normal people having normal problems, unlike my stories of the insane, incredibly disturbed, or just outright despicable. I'm not knocking it, but I would be challenged to write an engaging tale about normal folks.

I've discovered iTunes lately, roughly two or three years behind the trend. But when I do something, I do it large. My library of music is currently 4.5 gigabytes, or 1424 songs. If I play them all back to back it would take 3.4 days to go through the whole collection. And I'm just getting warmed up.

I don't know if anyone out there watches Rock Star, but apparently Supernova is looking for a lead singer. Who is Supernova? They are a composite of Tommy Lee--and we all know who he is don't we?--from Motley Crue, a guy named Gilby from Gunz n Roses, and some other guy from Metallica. Sorry, I'm not in the mood to look them up. This is a blog, not a breaking news site.

I just assumed Tommy Lee would be a raging prick, but as it turns out, he's a really nice guy--or so he seems. Not that it matters. The other guys are pretty cool too. Nothing like you would think if you have my kind of prejudices.

Anyway, the front runner of the competition is an out-of-this-world-rock-and-roll sweetheart called Dilana. I've never, and I mean never, heard a woman belt out a rock and roll tune like she can. She will win. Unfortunately, she really messed up by saying negative things about her competition, which landed her on the chopping block. Still, you should hear her sing. She can scream like Sam Kinison, and carries a melody like Gwen Stefani. She's everything you could want in a rock and roll lead singer.

You can view her performances somewhere online. Maybe I'll update with some links to her best, but you have to hear the song she did on Tuesday. Another woman earlier had shredded it to ribbons.

Tuesday isn't available yet, but she sang Every Breath You Take last week. Click here and click on Dilana's name in the Performances section. This song isn't her best, but you'll get some idea.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Wednesday Doings

Jason's Lonely Moon contest is closed, winners to be announced Friday at noon. I am anxious to hear his traffic statistics for this contest. The Two Lights traffic reached minor e-tailer heights. I expect this one was more like Yahoo. If you participated in the contest, you are eligible to vote for your favorites. I've read something like eighty entries, but now there are a hundred. Damn, that's a lot of reading.

So, how do I feel about having my story finally published on Pretty good. It's a slow creep though. Most of my enthusiasm was spent telling everyone I was accepted. Then I had to wait two months since I was told it would be only a week. It's kind of like being hungry for so long that your stomach shrinks. Either way, it's nice to see my name on a website that is not my own. I like too how Deathlings introduced the story:
J. Scott Ellis's Damned Carnival has it all: the ultimate creepy carnival setting, a mysterious woman and a surprise ending. Read and enjoy!
Short but sweet.

An interesting thing happened to me yesterday at Starbucks. I've been going there for a while at lunch. I bring a sandwich and my laptop, then write for a half hour or so, depending on my enthusiasm level. The staff is getting to know me. So much so that my coffee order is already waiting for me when I reach the counter. Well, it was that way until I switched to ice coffee. Now the girls are a little confused.

Anyway, one of my "barristas" is a young woman from Russia or some Slavic nation (I haven't asked yet). One of the first times I saw her she wore every sign of having a bad day, so I asked her how she was. She put on that brave smile and said, "Very good thanks." I shook my head. "I don't believe you."

Yesterday as I stepped to the counter, she was stocking the muffin display rack. I ordered my drink and looked her way, to find her looking at me, waiting apparently for me to notice. "Are you a teacher?" she asked me.

"No. I'm a computer programmer."

"Well you look like a teacher to me."

I made a facial expression. You know the one. The one that says, "Interesting, I never thought of that." But what I really said was, "Perhaps I should change careers then." Everyone else laughed while she looked on with a thoughtful grin.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Damned Carnival on Deathlings

At long last, my story is up on Tell your friends. Weird, I found out that I was actually being published during Jason's Two Lights contest, and I finally get to see it up during his Lonely Moon contest.

The check is in the mail.

The One

I watched the alarm clock this morning. Dimly I was aware that it was 5:20AM, but it just didn't make any damn sense. After some intense concentration, I decided that it was indeed true: I had not slept in. In fact, I could just get up and get in the shower, go to work, blog an entry, visit my blog buddies, and read the latest entrants in Jason's contest. I just needed to move.

Twenty minutes later I came to and sat up. My wife rolled toward me and put her hand under my t-shirt and scratched my back. The thought occurred to me just how lucky a man I really am. In my entire dating career, I gave everything of myself, subconsciously making up for someone else's disregard.

I don't know how it happened, but I not only found someone; I found the one.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Barnyard Bomb

I took my kids to see Barnyard: The Original Party Animals yesterday. One thought pervades: what in the hell were they thinking? Oh, I understand, after the success of Lion King why not? Hey, I know, I'll make a movie with cute little dogs and cats. The kid will be the cutest puppy ever, his father a champion sheep dog, and his mother a best in show poodle. Then a bulldog will rape her right in front of the kids, then kill the father by ripping his still beating heart out of his chest and eat it before his dimming eyes. But don't worry, because the bulldog will get it in the end, and the puppy will become a man-dog, as proud and capable as his father ever was.

This movie has no business marketing to kids. There needs to be a rating that fits neatly between PG and R called NFK, or Not For Kids. The letters P or G have no business in the rating of a movie of this nature. Not only did the father get killed by a pack of coyotes--oh sorry, did I spoil the whole thing for you?--but the coyotes were mangy and ferocious looking, like werewolves almost. My oldest son covered his ears and asked to leave. So that's what we did.

I have no problem with violence in film. But this was literally a wolf in sheep's clothing. They got my money, and that's what it's all about.

And for that matter, why is it so hard to create an original script? We watched Rumor Has It the other night, only to be pummeled by yet another betrothed couple going home to Meet the Parents. I must be getting old and cynical, but I could swear that Hollywood is about money first, art second. No, that's being too kind. Art doesn't even enter into the equation. It's like sleeping with a woman that everyone has been with.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Today and More Entrants

My wife has gone out with her friend to shop hard, then have a few drinks, and generally escape for an evening from their everyday lives. Just before she left she asked me to go upstairs and get the Yeah Yeah Yeahs CD. She slipped it in the player and cranked it up. The credits began to roll as the music blared, her arm out the window giving me the Hawaiian hang ten--or did it belong to Beavis and Butthead?--already on a rock and roll induced trip.

The kids are outside torturing four frogs I rescued from the pool filter. Actually, my youngest is learning that frogs are little people that get bad headaches when you bounce them on the ground.

We got quoted for a new fence around the pool this morning, on time, bright and early. My wife and I have a certain something that says, "Talk to me; I'll listen." He was here for two hours. We know a lot about him. He loves collecting comic books, but only Marvel. His favorite is Spiderman. He has a subscription to the Amazing Spiderman and the Avengers. Graphic Art is his true passion, but selling fence is what he does instead. Of course he loves what he does--ahem. He's from the same part of Ohio I am from, and our grandmothers live within a brisk walk from one another. I was tempted to take him into my basement and show him my childhood collection of Spiderman, Thor, Hulk, Fantastic Four and XMen, but that would have prolonged an appointment that had already stretched an hour and a half longer than it should have.

Great guy. My wife and I marvel at how many cool people we meet from Ohio. Is that reverse racism?

My writing friends keep raising the bar of excellence. Check out Flood, Rebecca, Fringes, and Bhaswati's entries in Jason's contest. If you haven't done so from the previous post, also see Mr. Schprock and Jaye's. Of course, there is still mine if you haven't read it already.

That's a lot of linkage my friends. Good luck to everyone.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Check Them Out and Where are They

Not much to report this morning. That's not totally true. I could go in several directions right now, but I've been sleeping for an extra hour lately, unwilling to go to bed before eleven anymore. Maybe I should write posts at night when I should be sleeping. Hey, that's not a bad idea!

Anyway, I'd better do some work. I've been slacking terribly, and it's reflected in my work. Just when I'm getting comfortable with my job, this would be the most ironical time to lose it.

My friends Mr. Schprock and Jaye have entries in Jason's contest, so be sure to stop by and share the love. Both pieces are wonderful, just what you have come to expect from such accomplished writers. Fringes has an entry coming up too, and so too I assume will Rebecca and Flood. But where are they? I'll update when I see them--later today, right?

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Lonely Moon

Check out my entry in Jason's Lonely Moon contest.

It's called The Other Side.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Let's Get Together

I've got to hand it to my company. As I mentioned yesterday, this week is Employee Appreciation Week. Every day of the week, there is a different event, little social gatherings arranged and paid for by the company. Last night was a family barbeque at Larz Anderson Park in Brookline. What a gorgeous park it is, with expansive, well manicured turf--a far cry from any park I've seen since Golden Gate Park in San Francisco. My son and I threw the Frisbee without fear of losing it in the poison ivy infested woods that surround our little patch of heaven.

My wife finally got to put faces to the names of the people I've been telling her about for the better part of a year now. And the best part is, she got a good feeling about all of them. Another reason why I like New England better than California--the people here are more genuine. No offense to anyone from California, but I did live there for fifteen years, and consider myself a good judge of character. I lived in four corners of the bay area, and met a great many people--some I consider among the best I've ever known. But generally speaking, there was always an undercurrent of transience, an invisible wall, a tacit impermanence. Sure, yeah, let's do get together sometime.

I have to say that I'm falling into a groove here at work. This job was just a temporary stop on the train to Willoughby, but several things have happened that made me stay. The money was my only consideration at first, which trumped the contract wage I made before. That part was a no-brainer. Without it, I would still leave. The law of economics forces me in unsavory directions sometimes. Then a couple of the guys, as I've said before, turned out to be my kind--and that never happens, ever. There is practically no friction with anyone I work with, except for one, and that too is getting better. And now the large community feel, like I belong to something. And my wife likes the same people I do. Wow.

Today at three: ice cream social. Hot fudge sundae anyone?

Tuesday, August 22, 2006


It's Employee Appreciation Week here at work. The company fed us lunch yesterday, and is sponsoring a barbeque tonight. Yesterday they played a game called Assassin. I'm not sure of the rules, but there were three assigned killers with different MO's. One was called Wolverine, and another two Killer Bee and Mad Cow. My manager was taken out by Black Mamba. The office assistant (or whatever they are called nowadays) wrote a heart-wrenching obituary for each. At the request of the deceased, no services will be held. The families ask, that if you want to honor their memories, to buy me a new house.

No time this morning. I was up all night watching my Cowboys in their second preseason game. The media can't get enough of Terrell Owens' hamstring, and in his absence, is trying desperately to create a quarterback controversy. Good luck with that.

Consider this post a note on the refrigerator, ala Erica, to say: Just stepped out for a little while. Be back tomorrow.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Riding Shotgun

Danny's father was the king of real estate in Juneau, until the business was sold in later years. Although I didn't feel it in my bones, I was a poor boy. All the classic symptoms existed for that logical conclusion--trailer park, plastic utensils, Top Ramen and Kraft Macaroni and Cheese dinners, depleted and moth eaten wardrobe, one-sided world view, family-bred distrust of anyone not like us--but I knew I would some day rise above it. Problem was, nobody knew it but me.

Despite his privileged home life, Danny was a bit of a recluse, a survivalist of sorts. He became known for his red beret, and once walked into the high school shower after gym wearing his new hiking boots. Why? They won't mold to your feet unless you get them wet. He was so proud of his new crossbow that he stepped onto the bus holding it at his side, pointed to the sky, like Chuck Norris--and yes, he was wearing the red beret and camouflage pants. And he sat next to me.

I had a crush on a girl in my Geometry class, one of the few classes besides computer programming that I actually understood and did well in. Her name was Kathy. As far as I know, she didn't even know my name. She was a basketball player and had an athletic build. I made the mistake of telling Chris Clarke.

Danny's father bought him a monster pick up truck that you had to literally climb to get into. He took Chris and me for a cruise at lunch time. Danny drove, Chris rode shotgun, so that left me to ride "bitch." We pulled out of the school parking lot and hadn't gone far when we all spotted Kathy walking toward us on the sidewalk. She didn't see us until Chris unrolled the window and yelled, "Hey Kathy!" Then he ducked under the dashboard, out of sight.

Then she looked right at me, sitting snugged up next to Danny, and nobody on my other side.

Friday, August 18, 2006


Work, work, a days vacation, and more work. That's what I've been up to, and will be again today. We took the kids to Canobie Lake in southern New Hampshire yesterday. At first I was disappointed, until we found the wing of the park for children. My youngest son is only two and a half, and being so young, he mostly has to watch his older brother have all the fun. Not at Canobie Lake. Wow. There were more kiddy rides than I can account for right now. Helicopters, space shuttles, dragons, cars, trucks, boats--a dream come true, all safe and slow. Hardly any wait. And in some cases, since nobody was waiting, the operators just let it roll for four or five times the normal duration. There is nothing sweeter than genuine unguarded glee from your children.

I had a strange dream last night. Apparently I was divorced. My son was hanging out with me when a guy from my office stopped in to pick my son up. Jackson was thrilled to see him and jumped up on his shoulders. The guy from my office was his step-father now, and told me that he was heading out, that Jackson went everywhere he did.

My first reaction was jealousy, but the smile on Jackson's face arrested that emotion. He was happy. Despite myself, it made me happy too.

I wanted to end it there, but I feel this will be misunderstood. There is no way that I will ever get a divorce, or let someone be a father to my sons while breath fills my lungs. The point is, in a strange dream, I experienced the true essence of love.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Inspiration Strikes

If you are wondering when my story on Deathlings is coming online, then you and I are on the same train to nowhere. It's a month and a half overdue, so I have to start considering the possibility that it isn't happening at all. It would have been nice to have that publishing credit, but I will take my victory as a good sign nonetheless. The thing to do perhaps is ask them if they intend to publish still, and if not, submit it elsewhere.

Meanwhile, I am roughly halfway through with another story, that I will likely publish here in serial form when I am all the way done with it. Or not. I haven't decided. Remember the scare over First Electronic Publishing Rights? I'm not exactly a high volume destination, but if someone wanted to get sticky about it...

The journey on my recent story has been a confidence builder. The idea was simple. My wife and I were sitting in bed when it struck. Married couples know what I mean when I say we were both reading before bed--she was catching up on current fashion, me on Whitey Bulger on the mean streets of Boston. Then bang! "Honey, what do you think of this idea?" And I told her. She nodded appreciatively, "I like it."

That's all I needed to get started. Two thousand words later and I'm on a complete tangent. An entire scene written with no apparent connection to the main story line, which had me a little depressed. Ironically I was reading Stephen King the other night--whose advice from On Writing clanged in my memory: Sometimes you have to kill your darlings--when it hit. Suddenly my scene, with some modification, fit perfectly.

I wrote a new cool beginning (If I do say so myself), and filled in with more detail in spots that were sorely lacking. Reading it back now, I am starting to think I have a winner, where nothing but a expository pile of words existed before.

The moral is nothing new. Just write. Simple. Oft emphasized in every writer's how-to book. And yet, until I had this experience, I didn't really know it. Up till now it's been academic knowledge. You had to see what I started with to realize what a hopeless cause it was. But I was having fun, living vicariously through the characters, wandering aimless until I figured out how to give it meaning.

Have had a similar experience?

Monday, August 14, 2006

First Poop

My two year old son had his first poop in the potty today. You simply have to be a parent of young children to find this even remotely appetizing. Unfortunately I was at work for this occasion, tantamount to a report card of straight A's. I got the email, so I gave him a call from the hallway and gave him much love and enthusiasm. It's a great day people!

This post will be the recipient of my ten thousandth visit, and I'd rather celebrate it with good news than with an article inspiring political debate--good natured though it is.

Some of you have been with me from the beginning, like Mr. Schprock and Natalie the Magnetbabe. Others nearly that long, and others it just seems like that long because we are old souls. Thank you all for being my friends. You all inspire me in different ways.

Fair Reporting

My wife and I had a conversation around the breakfast table this weekend. Living in New England will nudge your politics to the left unless you are either so incredibly researched that you are not easily swayed, you are immune to peer pressure, or you are just a whacko winger that cannot be reached by any amount of reason. My wife, with some indignation, quoted to me a piece from an AP article concerning Homeland Security, and a six million dollar takeaway from research to do with liquid explosives.
As the British terror plot was unfolding, the Bush administration quietly tried to take away $6 million that was supposed to be spent this year developing new explosives detection technology. Congressional leaders rejected the idea, the latest in a series of Homeland Security Department steps that have left lawmakers and some of the department's own experts questioning the commitment to create better anti-terror technologies.

I thought about this for a moment and said that I would have to know why the administration did such a thing. The article comes from the Associate Press, and did not offer any sort of explanation. I've read in the past about the bias of the AP, and probably was given an example or two in the past. Today I decided to use that wonderful tool that none of us can live with out. Namely, the internet.

It turns out that the six million in question was rerouted to the Federal Protective Service, which suffers from a 42 million dollar shortfall. Congress took money from the DHS science and technology program for other state and local grant programs, which in turn challenged the administration to find the money somewhere, and thus the six million in question. Cause and effect. Don't expect the AP to tell you that. They apparently want you to believe that Bush and company are asleep at the wheel. That everyone else before the thwarted attacks understood the imminent danger liquid explosives posed, except for the people that mattered most.

If you hate this administration, as most of my readers do, be very careful. This is a sword the cuts both ways.

Insist on fair reporting.

Friday, August 11, 2006

The Inevitable Leap of Faith

To have a strong belief, or to even believe anything at all, is to be in a constant state of war with the world. This idea does not originate with me. I've heard it in a great many places of late. How important our ideas are to us and how willing we are to walk these streets alone determine how insistent we are in being heard.

This can hardly be unique to modern day people, but the distribution channel of an idea is certainly an ocean compared to the trickling rill of yesterday. We've all read about the internet, its impact on our society in many ways. It has for instance broken up the monopoly that traditional media has on our thinking. The Dan Rathers of the world can no longer get away with fabrication and hope to get away with it.

The most insidious effects though, will not be thoroughly understood for years to come. Ironically, the internet is the life and death of community. The internet brings us all together, people that would never have met, with similar ideas and interests--people that will likely never meet face to face.

When I was a teenager, especially before my dad bought me that rusted out bucket of bolts called a Nova--in Spanish, broken into two words means "Is not going"--for which I am forever grateful by the way, you could distill the essence of my life into one word: boring. So I was forced to go outside and seek out things to do with my friends. The neighbors would have appreciated the internet. Without it, they wouldn't have opened the door to a burning bag of Danny's shit, or to nobody at all, or find their license plates switched with the neighbors, or their garbage cans stacked with all the others in the neighborhood in the middle of the street. We may never have camped out with Heather and Paula, stealing kisses when they would allow, or having them steal a few from us. Would we have bothered to raft down a freezing river, or swam at the Mendenhall glacier, jumped our cars at Dredge lake, or just spent our time idly chatting at Mikes or Georges house? A lot of this was killing time, brought on by a desperate phone call when there was nothing else to do.

Now we have social networking and dating sites. Why waste your time with the annoying kid next door when you can find someone more to your liking online? I can easily see that, as a kid, I would have been too absorbed by chat rooms and sex talk with strangers than to even come out of my room, much less to bother making a phone call, getting together with a bunch of guys to cruise around a town that bored me anyway.

I'm not drawing any hard conclusions here, except to say that my own children will not have carte blanche to roam the virtual halls without having to interact with the real world. At the same time, they have to know how the system works. But they won't need my help for that. The opposite is surely true. I'm already out of touch and have to force myself to try out the latest and the greatest. It's a brave new world that is evolving into an information society, with no boundaries, excepting of course for China and a few other countries that control internet access. I have to say that for the most part I embrace the change. But I fear our kids have to grow up a lot quicker than we did. At some point, sooner that I would like, I'll just have to trust that I have been heard.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Musical Drug

A good song is the best drug on this planet. It has many similarities to an intense high. Consider the following scenario.

Strap on the headphones and take a stroll through the park and let the music move you. Tap your feet, rock your head, dance and swirl, sing out loud, play air guitar! Share your joy with the world. People will be moved, I assure you. They will part like the Red Sea to let you pass.

Feel the power. Know beyond certainty that you are charming, good looking, handsome even. Serenade the first pretty girl you see:
So if you wanna try,
We'll make it you and I
We'll never be alone
We'll buy a dog and bring him home
And jump up on the bed,
We'll be the best of friends
I think that we should try
I think that we should try

She might want to play cat and mouse and scamper away, but that's part of the game. Your whimsy is contagious. Run after her and imagine this same scene in slow motion in the rock video, both of you laughing and leaping.

Wow she was fast. Where did she go? Oh well, you reason, she'll be back. There was a vibe there that a boy could recognize. Time for some Guns N' Roses. Welcome to the Jungle Baby! Get up on a park bench then jump to the ground on your knees while screaming along with Axel Rose. Play along with Slash and make electric guitar distortion with slobbering lips. Now jump up and sing to the passersby in your all out falsetto:
Welcome to the jungle
It gets worse here everyday
Ya learn ta live like an animal
In the jungle where we play
If you got a hunger for what you see
You'll take it eventually
You can have anything you want
But you better not take it from me
Ah, blue and red lights flashing. How wonderful. Switch over to some gangster rap and imagine the cops are after you.
Damn it feels good to be a gangsta
Feedin' the poor and helpin' out wit they bills
Although I was born in jamaica
Now I'm in the US makin' deals
When you wake up the next morning wearing an orange jump suit, you'll be singing the Folsom County Blues, wondering just how in the hell you got here.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

That Pesky Work Thing

I have several thoughts on the married couple slash friends debacle, but they'll have to wait until tomorrow. Tee sent me a link to read on the subject of American lonliness, which I haven't gotten around to yet. A friend sent me another, completely out of the blue, a sheer coincidence but applicable to this very conversation. His had more to do with mixing politics and friends, or the hazards thereof. I can name one example where I blew up at a friend over politics and she hasn't spoken to me since. That was just before the last presidential election.

So tune in tomorrow. My wife called as soon as I sat down to post, then my dad, then somebody chatted me at the office for fifteen minutes, then that pesky work thing got in the way. You know, my job job, the one that pays the bills. Yeah, that one.

There were a few new visitors yesterday. Valannin has an interesting blog, so stop by and check him out. Amra gave a great interview on Flood's blog on Monday. She has quite an interesting background.