Sunday, December 30, 2012

Archive: New York

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I know that stinks.

Archive: Somerville

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Archive: Enoversary

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Archive: Theatre

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Thursday, December 20, 2012

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Throwback Thursday: 2001

Dec 1, 2001 - Harpers Ferry, Boston MA
(Photo: Terence Burke)

This was the World AIDS Day charity event I'd organized for Trish Baldwin.
What a great night. We raised some money and had some great bands play.
It was about 3 degrees outside.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

This year's Christmas card.

This year's card is a set. The theme: Deranged Elves.
I made nine more of these.
This one saw you when you were sleeping.
Merry Christmas.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Election Day.
Buffeted by the winds of democracy.
Good luck, 47%. We deserve better. Go vote.
(Photo: Joe Kowalski)

Monday, November 5, 2012

Drill, Baby, Drill

My conservative friends will be happy to learn that I don't consider the nation's environmental issues, generally speaking, to be a partisan problem. Conserving the environment is on all of us, myself included. We can all do better. If you drive an SUV, it's on you. If you use K-cups, it's on you. If you use a plastic spoon just once to stir a cup of tea and then throw it away, it's on you, too. If you buy bottled drinks, leave lights on when no one is in the room, throw away food that you allowed to go bad in your refrigerator, it's on you too. If you don't recycle, you need to take a closer look at yourself. Waste has taken over by showing up to the party dressed up as convenience. People in the 20th century have become lazy and complacent in trading the future of the planet for convenience. Again, I'm tagging myself here too. I love my Keurig.

Back In The Saddle

Joe posted on Facebook about how Aerosmith's free street show today is happening right outside our old building. We lived at 1315 Commonwealth in The Peerless. One of the local rock stories is about how the next building over, 1325 Comm, was where Aerosmith lived when they were a local Allston band, too. I didn't walk over to Comm Ave, because I was at work, but I took a screen shot of the live feed while it was happening. I added an arrow so you can see where me 'n Joey would have been today, if we didn't move to Lower Allston two years ago.

You know what would have been funny?
If we still lived at 1315 Comm, but weren't aware of the Aerosmith event.
Imagine waking up to this throng and Steven Tyler's voice outside.

The Peerless (1315 Commonwealth Avenue, Allston MA)

This is a photo of our building from March 2010.
I'd researched and was excited to find out that The Peerless would turn 100 years old in 2011.
 I'd started a private Facebook Group for the Peerless residents,
like a combination "good neighbor" group and "history of the building" thing.
But only one guy joined so I took it down.
Then we moved.
At least I made one new friend.
Related: Peerless Life in Allston Rock City

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Spirit in the South: A True Ghost Story

When my aunt Sharon and her boyfriend Greg pulled up to our house one summer day, my little brother and I became enthralled by the beat-up camper they had hitched to their beat up Volvo. They had quit their jobs, and were relocating from Connecticut to Florida to start a new life. Everything they owned was in that camper. We were mesmerized. That day stands out in my memory, serving as a sort of prequel to what I found out years later, long after Sharon and Greg had moved back up north again. Sharon told us an amazing story. I've told the story before, and I tell it again around this time of year.

My favorite aunt saw a ghost.

Here's what happened, best as I can recall. On their way down the east coast, Sharon and Greg stopped here and there, sometimes sleeping in the camper, sometimes staying with friends. The most anticipated stop was North Carolina, where they were excited about plans to reunite with old friends. If memory serves a bunch of Sharon's old art school friends lived together in a big old house where a sort of artist community had set up, and most of them were bikers. Sharon described the motley group as eccentric and wild, but friendly and fiercely loyal to each other. The reunion was going to be fun and sun and barbecue all weekend.

When Sharon and Greg chugged into the driveway, they found it parked chockablock with Harleys and vans and cars. Greg cut the ignition, put the Volvo in park and they looked at each other. Something was wrong. It was very quiet. When their friend (let's call him Jack) came out to greet them, as Sharon tells it, it was clear that Jack, though warmly welcoming, had forgotten about their visit. He was morose, distracted. Sadly, plans for a happy reunion were put out of mind because his close friend had just been tragically killed. It had just happened, and Sharon and Greg arrived just as everyone was gathering together to mourn, and funeral plans were being discussed. The deceased hadn't been someone she'd known, but it became obvious that this man was a well-loved friend of the group. The entire community was devastated.

Everyone said that Sharon and Greg should stay over anyway, make themselves at home. They were given a nice room and invited to stick around a few days.

The southern way to deal with death is a sort of celebration. Like in New Orleans, the funeral starts with a parade and ends with a party. This weekend was like that. After the cemetery, there was food and booze, and it lasted all day and all night. The whole clan was off somewhere getting good and wasted and remembering their friend in their own way. Sharon and Greg had the whole big house and land to themselves, which they used to relax and enjoy their respite from the road.

Sharon said that was up reading by lamplight in bed. Everyone was off somewhere else, so it was quiet while she read and Greg snoozed beside her. She got up to use the bathroom. In old houses like that one, the windows are tall, the sill located lower than on modern houses, and as she sat to use the commode, she  could actually see quite well out the window across a big clearing. She saw a woman down there on the grass, only the woman was more like a dim white light. Clear enough for it to be obviously a young female, but transparent, a faded spectre giving off enough light that she illuminated the grass.

A ghost.

The woman was walking around the clearing, at times kneeling down as if to pick flowers or look idly at a grass blade, then rising up again, walking around. As Sharon watched, it became apparent that this woman was waiting for something, or someone, the way she was looking around, but not appearing to be in a hurry. Sharon watched too, frozen in place, wanting to go back and wake Greg, but too curious to see what was about to happen, somehow knowing that if moved or left to get Greg the woman would be gone when she got back. It didn't take very long. Out of the woods walked a tall man. Unlike the gentle vague light of the woman, this man was very bright and quite clear. His big smile indicated that he was very happy. He was also, as if this wasn't strange enough, wearing a rather dashing top hat.

The smiling man in the top hat walked toward the woman, who turned and saw him. In an obvious reunion, they embraced, held hands, and walked off into the woods in the opposite direction.

Sharon scrambled up and went to wake Greg to tell him about the two ghosts. He was more interested in sleeping. When they woke up late the next morning, the house was abuzz with the funeral-goers who'd returned from their marathon party in celebration of their friend's life. Some were asleep on various couches, others were making breakfast. Sharon went to find Jack. She wanted to express her condolences, but she also wanted to tell him what she saw...or as Greg was saying, what she "thought" she saw.

As she described the faded white-lit woman, her apparent flower picking action and "waiting" stance, and the brighter man, Jack listened with interest but not with disbelief or alarm. Jack accepted without a trace of doubt that Sharon had seen two ghosts in his backyard. He nodded, then he got up and went to the kitchen, came back with a box of stuff from the funeral. He pulled out an large blown-up photo, considered it a minute and then turned it to show Sharon.

"Is this him?" The man in the photo was smiling. He was tall. And he was wearing a rather dashing top hat.

I love this story. What did Sharon witness? Why her? Did she get chosen to witness this, or was it pure chance? She hadn't known about the affectation of the recently departed, his top hat, so she couldn't have made it up. Did she see him? Do we take it as read that once we give up these bodies, we move on to another plane where our loved ones wait for us, to embrace us again and guide us to whatever's next?

I hope so. What do you think?

Friday, October 19, 2012

Purple is Universal

Velma, I didn't recognize you without your orange turtleneck.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Archive: Blogging

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I know that stinks.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Mitt Romney: Commando in Chief

The blog is called "It Makes Sense," but I've read this paragraph sixteen times, and have yet to make any sense of it whatsoever.

"Conservatism is a political and social philosophy that promotes the maintenance of traditional institutions and opposes rapid change in society. Conservatism is not so much a philosophy as an attitude, a constant force, performing a timeless function in the development of a free society, and corresponding to a deep and permanent requirement of human nature itself. It is the persistent image of society as a command structure in which the responsibilities of leadership can be exercised within the framework of a strong state manifested in divine right."
(Mission statement over at It Makes Sense Blog.)

Monday, September 17, 2012

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Where Is The Outrage?

I recently found myself participating in an animated discussion about what "freedom" means. No matter who you are, where you grew up or what lessons stuck with you from what age, your idea of "freedom" has been shaped by untold influences. When and how do we learn the concept of freedom, or any other tenet of the social contract for that matter, is lost to us in later years. I dearly wish this were not the case, because I would do anything to go back in time and observe myself learning what is freedom. And why not, since we're time-traveling, observe myself learning all of the trickier of life's lessons that all add up to who you are as a person, each new learned thing one more fiber of your moral code. When did we learn how to share? Can you pinpoint the day that you first understood honesty? What does it mean to be grateful? Is there such a thing as a selfless act?

Friday, September 7, 2012

Capital Vices / Cardinal Sins

"You know, I think it's about envy. I think it's about class warfare." (Mitt Romney, The Today Show, January 2012)

"Of course there are exemptions for those who make money from capital gains, which is vote for someone to change the laws...each person, rich, middle class and poor look for all of the exemptions and tax loop holes that they can find. If not for those spending money, our economy would be crashing more...stop the class war fare and the envy that is being broadcast by the O supporters." (Another informative Facebook rant from the right)

Monday, September 3, 2012

Gosh Darn, Still No Growth?!

So you're chatting with your favorite conservative friend, you present a position, they pull out the "I don't believe it" policy card. You guys. I am so sick of it I can't even. Not only is "I don't believe it" pretty much a conversation-stopper, but doesn't it kinda sound like your friend will gladly re-engage in an adult conversation, if only you could provide some facts? Oh, would that it were so! But this is not our reality.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Republicans Are Lying To You About Jobs And Also Literally Everything Else

Michelle DiPoala
On August 27th, former Republican congressional staff member Mike Lofgren wrote a truly brilliant piece for The American Conservative entitled "Revolt of the Rich." It's a piece that should be taught in schools when our democracy has been totally and completely obliterated by the wealthiest citizens, only it won't be because after they're done destroying jobs, they'll be coming after free press, national parks and public land, and then, education. History, as they say, is written by the victors. If we don't do something now, we're at risk for knocking out the very pillars of democracy in America.

In this piece, Mike Lofgren points up the bought-and-paid for corruption on both sides of the aisle, but mostly Republicans. Without devolving into groundless generalizations or vulgar name-calling, Lofgren calmly explains how we got here.

It Only Hurts When I Lofgren

Lofgren recalls an early-1990s incident back when the American corporations were really starting to get into shipping American jobs off to other countries. He writes about successful businessman Erik Prince.
"Erik Prince, who was born into a fortune, is related to the even bigger Amway fortune, and made yet another fortune as CEO of the mercenary-for-hire firm Blackwater, moved his company (renamed Xe) to the United Arab Emirates in 2011. What I mean by secession is a withdrawal into enclaves, an internal immigration, whereby the rich disconnect themselves from the civic life of the nation and from any concern about its well being except as a place to extract loot." (Mike Lofgren, The American Conservative, August 27, 2012)
Then there's billionaire Stephen  Schwarzman. You might have caught the news on this guy, he's the hedge fund exec who threw himself a five million dollar birthday party.
"While there is plenty to criticize the incumbent president for, notably his broadening and deepening of President George W. Bush’s extra-constitutional surveillance state, under President Obama the overall federal tax burden has not been raised, it has been lowered. Approximately half the deficit impact of the stimulus bill was the result of tax-cut provisions. The temporary payroll-tax cut and other miscellaneous tax-cut provisions make up the rest of the cuts we have seen in the last three and a half years. Yet for the president’s heresy of advocating that billionaires who receive the bulk of their income from capital gains should pay taxes at the same rate as the rest of us, Schwarzman said this about Obama: “It’s a war. It’s like when Hitler invaded Poland in 1939.”  For a hedge-fund billionaire to defend his extraordinary tax privileges vis-à-vis the rest of the citizenry in such a manner shows an extraordinary capacity to be out-of-touch. He lives in a world apart, psychologically as well as in the flesh." (Mike Lofgren, The American Conservative, August 27 2012)
But perhaps the most insightful passage of Lofgren's article was an anecdote about the CEO of Goldman Sachs and Citigroup. That's a fellow by the name of Robert Rubin. The story goes that Mr. Rubin was attending an event -- unspecified but the implication was it was a political event. His chauffeured limo hit Manhattan traffic, and he arrived late. When he got to the event, he complained to "a city functionary with the power to look into it." The functionary asked where was the traffic jam? Even though Robert Rubin lived in Manhattan most of his life, he didn't know enough about the city to answer.
"Our plutocracy now lives like the British in colonial India: in the place and ruling it, but not of it. If one can afford private security, public safety is of no concern; if one owns a Gulfstream jet, crumbling bridges cause less apprehension—and viable public transportation doesn’t even show up on the radar screen. With private doctors on call and a chartered plane to get to the Mayo Clinic, why worry about Medicare?" (Mike Lofgren, The American Conservative, August 27, 2012)

"Obama Promised Jobs!"

President Obama officially released the American Jobs Act in September 2011. Part 3, Subtitle E is titled "Immediate Transportation Infrastructure Investments." "Infrastructure" means sweeping repairs to our nation's crumbling bridges, fixing roads and building reliable, viable public transportation. These are things that, if fixed, would put millions of construction workers back on the job and also shore up our country. Unlike some of the other, more gnarly issues with a lot of moral gray area—such as abortion, I am aware that's a tough one for many—on the "infrastructure" issue there is no requirement for the "I don't believe it" conservatives to cede any moral ground or make any leaps of faith. It's all right here, in great detail. He's got a plan and this bill would put it into motion. The actual Obama jobs bill is right here. The President's plea to set aside partisan politics is right here.
"This is the bill that Congress needs to pass," the president said. "No games. No politics. No delays." (Barack Obama, Huffington Post, Sept 12 2011)

The Republican vote opposing 17 jobs bills is a shock. Jobs is one of their platform pillars, and yet, they would seek to have you believe that high unemployment is Obama's fault while literally voting against every effort to turn it around. There is video of Republican Senator Mitch McConnell saying, proudly even, that the only goal for Republicans is to get Obama out. They're not even trying to pretend anymore, they're simply obstructing everything that Barack Obama says or does, regardless of the monumental benefit to the American people. And yet, my conservative friends remain stalwart, "in support" of the twisted, sick Republican agenda. They don't even see that the Republicans have no agenda other than a systematic dismantling of democracy. My conservative friends can't seem to see that they're holding the rope that the hangmen are tying round our necks, while at the same time blaming gravity for the inevitable end result.∎

This is your enemy, America.

Life in the Lower 99
Gosh Darn, Still No Growth?

Saturday, September 1, 2012

"Boston. Because F--k You!"

Navigating in and around Boston takes more than a mere map. Outsiders marvel at the high percentage of super-charged conversations between residents that focus entirely on driving, traffic and parking. It's as though the Dunks-torqued citizenry is collectively compiling an epic saga entitled How I Survived My Commute Today, and a handbook series with titles such as, Nobody In History Has Ever Parked A Car Anywhere Near Harvard Yard, Asshole. 

Each September, God help the parents at the wheel of packed-to-the-nuts SUVs delivering freshmen to one dorm or another. Those people will sooner sprout wings and take flight before they get where they're going on the first (or 10th) try, and they are in the way. If it's your first traffic circle, get ready to see a synchronized middle finger ballet with a resounding fugue of angry horns. If you hesitate for one nothingth of a second at a left green arrow, call your loved ones. The LA freeways may have popularized the term "road rage," but Boston drivers want blood.

Maybe "just pave over those cow paths" wasn't the best strategy for city planning.

You Can't Get There From Anywhere

My personal story goes like this. My then-boyfriend and I moved to Boston in the early 90s after college. Flummoxed by the seemingly inexplicable one way streets, traffic circles, scant signs and dead ends, we mounted a self-imposed seminar on Getting Around Boston. 

We would get our maps (which is a very old-school way to start a sentence) and set up destination-based challenges. We'd simulate the gauntlet for a variety of trips. These were practical recon excursions. "OK," we'd say. "Right now we are at home (Inman Square in Somerville). How do we get to the Prudential Center."  And so forth.

Our skills would be put to the test in the real world, but only at quiet times. During the day it's too chaotic. So we'd wake pre-dawn, and get out there when the only other cars on the road are bread trucks and cabs.

"There's Big Ben, kids! Parliament!"

"Is this Comm Ave? I think this is Mass Ave! Wait, was that our right turn? You can only go left here, WHAT THE F....?" 

Do you know they change the name of the road you're on sometimes here? Sometimes it changes back after a few miles. Or not.

Did you know that it's possible to have a dead-end, one-way street? Nod to Steven Wright...and no wonder...he lives here.

Did you know that the compass points -- North, South, East and West -- can exist in some sort of hazy in-between space like those random thoughts you have when you're half awake or half asleep and don't know what day it even is?

Death grip on the wheel at 10 & 2. One way streets, traffic circles, dead ends. Blink, and you miss a vitally important sign the size of a greeting card, and now you have to drive out to the airport in order to get back to downtown.

One night I swear I turned right at three Dunkin Donuts' in a row and ended up at the corner of Tremont and Tremont.

Lest you think, oh, but that was before GPS technology got really good. Sure. It's a theory. Try it out. Have fun!

Parking Wars

Even if you reach your destination, my friend, you still have to park. The question, "where did you park?" never even comes up in other places, but here that's an ice breaker. Some years ago, I wrote a poem about giving up and just going home. 

Ode to Star Market

Thursday, August 30, 2012

It's A God Thing

"God gives us our rights, not government." 
-Janine Turner, actress, Tuesday August 28, 2012, addressing the RNC

My initial reaction to some second-rate actress making such an outrageous declaration was, "Oh for the love of fuck. The chick from Northern Exposure? Seriously?" As is our wont these days, that's just what I posted on Facebook.

An old friend and staunch conservative from small-town Connecticut replied to my post with this gem:
"that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights" -Thomas Jefferson (just saying) :)

Saturday, August 25, 2012

A Vote For Chicken Is A Vote For Family Values

"I hope (chicken place) will make gazillions of dollars. This is a still free country and people will vote with their money."
(August 2, 2012, Facebook, Author Withheld)
I will never craft a response to the "chicken thing" that could surpass the wisdom and clarity of Wayne Self's July 30th essay in his "Self's Fulfilling Prophecies" blog. [Update: blog change]. 

Like Mr. Self, I too acknowledge the absurdity of this debate, and chances are that if you are like me, you want to roll your eyes so hard you risk injury. It's so stupid. You've read all the papers and the blogs, you've watched the news coverage, you've gaped at the oh-so-clever chicken-themed Facebook memes. You've spent days debating whether or not to place any long-view importance on this, or attempt to vocalize what it could all mean for society. You've asked yourself where will the chicken thing (no, I'm not going to use the company's name) land in the history books? How will it rate? As a mere footnote? Or will it show up at all.

Or will it occupy the same historical spotlight, however insignificant those living through it might have deemed it, as the East India Company tea that ended up in the harbor just a few miles from where I sit right now?

You Know It Was Never About Tea

Would those two hundred or so participants in the Boston Tea Party be astonished to know that history finds their surge of dauntless action standing as a watershed moment in the birth of a nation?
It's just tea!

I know, right!? 
Well, chances are that if you are like me, all of those reactions went through your head at once. It's just chicken! I know, right!? But hold on...

You Know It's Not About Chicken

"I hope (chicken place) will make gazillions of dollars. This is a still free country and people will vote with their money." (August 2, 2012, Facebook, Author Withheld)

So, let me see if I understand this, Chicken Guy. You heard a story saying that the guy who owns the place where you get your lunch wants to criminalize homosexuality. Criminalize, as in, align American tolerance with the 75 countries in the world where a gay person can be imprisoned or put to death.
You heard that, and you said, "Let's go participate in that! I want chicken!"

No? That's not what you did? Oh, you wanted to show that this is a 'free country," I see. So you're claiming that it's because of...not in spite of...your devout patriotism that you are eager to support of that guy who owns the place where you get your lunch. Because in a free country he can do whatever he wants with his money.

You know what, love? You're right. No one is taking that away from you. That guy who owns the place where you get your lunch can absolutely donate five million dollars to the Family Research Council and the Marriage & Family Foundation. These are organizations that work tirelessly to fun the platform that same-sex behavior is wrong and should be abolished and even criminalized. He can. It isn't illegal.

Heck, Chicken Guy, your chicken friend can get on TV and announce a new organization that will seek to unravel every equal right since the 14th Amendment. You know that one. That's the "due process" one. That's the one with the pesky "No person could be denied equal protection of the laws" one. Boy, do your conservatives get all aflutter whenever that one is brought up. Equal protection! Due process! For black guys? Oh no! But whew, at least it says guys, not women...wait, they fixed that in the 19th Amendment! In 1920. Oh yes, did you forget that part? That until 1920 not all of the "constitutionally protected privileges of citizenship" outlined in the 14th Amendment extended to women? That guy who owns the place where you get your lunch can absolutely donate five million dollars to unravel all of that. Reverse the Reconstruction! THAT could be what he CALLS it! The "Reverse the Reconstruction Research Council." Make it ten million, all from profits made from your lunch. For Family Values! Think of the Children!

Yes, he has every right. Every right. His right. But you didn't have to condone his opinion. You had the right to say "I agree" or "I disagree," and when the choice was presented to you, what you chose to do with your right was to stand with intolerance.

To wave the "it's a free country" flag in this instance is insulting.

You know this is not about chicken. You didn't eat chicken to promote "free speech." You ate chicken to throw your support behind the effort to abolish another group's freedom, in this case it's the LGBT community. Who'll it be next time?

Wise Up, Chicken Bigot

It's 2012. It's frankly astonishing that we're still having these kinds of debates. We have the whole of history at our fingertips to learn from; enter any search term into any search engine using any browser and you have access to great, important writings in which people just like you, just like me, have engaged in just this kind of discourse. We are greeted, saturated with information every single day, and we are completely free to read every word ever written on any topic. It is easier than it has ever been since the dawn of time to become well-read in world history. You don't even have to leave your house. What does it mean that there are people who choose to remain this ignorant in this time and place, where "information" is infinitely available to every American, at no charge, any time of the day or night. "Information" should be our most valuable currency. With it we can look and learn exactly what happened at many, many points in history the world over where a "few" insisted upon abolishing the freedoms of "the many."

Just how did that work out for the oppressors?

And isn't there a bitter irony in this country regarding how the continued mission of hate groups campaigning to spread and promote their message -- the only way they could stage such demonstrations in the first place is because, as you say, it's a "free country."

But when the content of that "free speech" has one intent, one intent only, and that is to spread hatred and promote inequality, in effect eliminate freedom for a specially-targeted group, I'm sorry but all bets are off. The "free country" thing either goes both ways, or not at all.

How many more times does the revolution need to be fought before "ignorance" will no longer be accepted anymore as "policy?"

On how many fronts do the real patriots need to fight for acceptance before the entire nation finally, at last, becomes enlightened?

Chicken guy, are you truly unable to look back at history's revolutionaries in this and other countries, and declare that you have learned nothing? Just by supporting the effort to keep your neighbor from enjoying the same rights as you, you should lose the right to wave that "freedom" flag.

What you're doing is not promoting free speech.

It is discrimination.

And you are emphasizing your position with every crispy bite.

If that's your position, enjoy your lunch. You have every right, and I will go off in the other direction away from you and help fight for you to keep those rights. Enjoy them, and you're welcome.∎

Friday, August 24, 2012

Life in the Lower 99

"So many of my friends post about how they feel about the present economy. I wonder how they would feel if, in the future, they were one of the fortunate ones who was earning a lot more money. Would you still be angry with them for having more than you? Would you still think they should pay more than they are now? Would you still think your money should support those who don't have, because they aren't ambitious as you?" (August 24th, Author Withheld)

Monday, August 20, 2012

Dear White Christian Lawmaker: How Are You Getting Away With It?

Dear White Christian Lawmaker,

I just don't understand how you're getting away with it. Has the nation gone so numb at this point that no one is willing to stop you? Have people forgotten that as state leaders you are not endowed with any sort of divine status? Put simply, you aren't actually allowed to legislate based on your personal religious beliefs, signing bills into law based on nothing but scripture. Not any more.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Little Baby Face

These things are good:
ice cream and cake
a ride on a Harley
seeing monkeys in the trees
the rain on my tongue
and the sun shining on my face

These things are a drag:
dust in my hair
holes in my shoes
no money in my pocket
and the sun shining on my face
           * Roy Lee "Rocky" Dennis
          (December 4, 1961 – October 4, 1978)

Monday, August 6, 2012

Never Forget Who Broke That Egg

One of my buddies confided that he can't stand it when his other single friends goad him into going "tom-catting around" on a Saturday night. I laughed, because I hadn't heard that expression before, yet it so neatly captures what the vibe of that evening was going to be; but then I felt bad for laughing, because the expression really bothers my buddy, here he was confiding that his dick-swinging trim hunter pals would tease him if he were to say, "hey guys, do we have to be so gross all the time?" A brainy, sensitive type, he would be thrilled to find a long term relationship with a sane woman. But when he's with "the guys" he feels labeled and corny. Group of dudes all out sniffing around.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012


I collect nuns.
Today I got a surprise new sister, from a work sister.
Thanks, Tracey!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Ten Year Enoversary

Project Eno (Photo: Michelle DiPoala)

"Have you ever heard of Joe Kowalski?"
T Max had been starting to despair. He could not find the right bass player for his Brian Eno tribute project.
"Lexi, you won't believe it! Joe Kowalski came over today, and he nailed it!" 

I forgot about this Joe Kowalski until a week before the show. 
Somehow or other I ended up being the one to take the band's publicity shot.
Mostly because I could get my hands on a digital camera.
In those days, they cost nearly a grand and weighed a ton.
So on a sweltering summer day I took press photos of
Gene, Peter, Shawn, Tamora, Joel, T Max, Glenn and Eddie,
barely noticing the new bass player that nobody ever heard of
who would,
pretty soon,
become my best friend and mad love.
After this photo was taken, on a borrowed camera for a show that I wasn't even planning to attend,
I fell in love with Joe Kowalski.

Happy Enoversary, my love.
I'm so happy my dreams pulled you through my door.

(Brian Eno)

I'll find a place somewhere in the corner
I'm gonna waste the rest of my days
Just watching patiently from the window
Just waiting season change, some day
Oh, oh, my dreams will pull you through that garden gate

I want to be the wandering sailor
We're silhouettes by the light of the moon
I sit playing solitaire by the window
Just waiting seasons change,
You'll see, one day, these dreams will pull you through my door
And I'll come running to tie your shoe.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

More Than Qualified (Kids Today)

Several summers ago I hired a nice, well-mannered person to lend a hand in my high-tech workplace. Pleasant enough, good sense of humor, polite in terms of the pleases and thank-yous. Spoke several languages fluently. More or less showed up for work in decent attire, albeit a tad wrinkly. And SO young. Privileged enough for an excellent education, worldly enough to have needed extra pages added to a well-traveled passport, but too young to rent a car.

My first Millennial.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Any Other Sunday

“I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be.”
― Douglas Adams, The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul
Father's Day. My day to reflect upon the fact that I've never turned any man into a father. Certainly not a daddy.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Team Muther vs Team Kaufman: Flip-flopping on the Issue

Boston Globe writer Christopher Muther has unwittingly sparked another round of heated debate amongst my circle of friends today. No, it's not about the unemployment rate or the high cost of housing. It's not about the way the Catholic church still treats women and it's not about Netanyahu or Chavez, or even Casey Anthony or George Zimmerman.

Some of you pro-floppers may want to click away from Low Budget Superhero now, because yes, dear reader, Mr. Muther's divisive write-up is about flip flops. 

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

With Friends Like These

Whenever I consider machine-gunning my Facebook account, I stay my hand. The problem is that I have some of the most well-read, pop culturally savvy, politically-aware and sharply intellectual friends, and despite the proliferation of the blog as a modern day conveyance of one's thoughts on any given topic, most of these friends do not, in fact, have blogs of their own. What they do have is Facebook, and even though half of what's posted on there is mind-numbingly stupid anymore, my own friends are generally spot-on, and as a bonus none of them use nearly as many hyphenated words as I do.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

This One's For Cats

So I've got this old-old online diary. Not to be confused with my, um, new-old online diary. It's not all archived here, because a lot of it was crap on a stick. Sometimes there wasn't even a stick. So basically just a pile of crap.

At one point in the early 2000s I would leap for my memo pad whenever life turned comical, and so we have, ladies and gentlemen, some fairly verbatim conversational gold spattered throughout those archives. Gold, I tell ya. I'm no fiction writer, I can't make this shit up. To wit, I give you "me and my mother on the phone."

Friday, June 1, 2012

Doggy Poo (Movie Review)

Title: Doggy Poo
Release Date: 2004
Run time: 33 minutes
Animated short, Korean

This odd little animated short is a uniquely-crafted fable offering a fresh, inspirational take on the meaning of life. The stop-motion animation is simple yet elegant, and the voice characterizations are delivered with candor, feeling and completely devoid of irony. Now when a film's protagonist is a sad, bulbous mound of excrement, it's easy to summarily dismiss it as ridiculous, trite, even tasteless. But remember, it wasn't so very long ago that parents were gazing quizzically at the television as their delighted children squealed at the antics of a yellow sponge wearing jeans. At the end of the day, it isn't so much the animal, chemical or mineral make-up of the main character, but whether or not the story achieves a poignant emotional high. This tale of a hopeful little pile of poo brings the viewer along on a shared journey, and why not, as every one of us seeks to find our place in the--

Friday, May 25, 2012

The Wolf At The Door

Anybody else broke right now? Scraping the bottom of the barrel, coaxing the ends to meet but they're just sort of half-heartedly waving at each other from across the dance floor? An informal poll of the ten or eleven people left in the world that I can stand anymore has proven that, no, it's not just me. We're all shaking the bag for crumbs to feed the wolf at the door.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

The Mommy Problem ("I Hate Jake's Turn")

"I have no children." 

There was a decent chance that the subject would come up if I were in the company of new parents. The chances would double if there were earshot-adjacent young marrieds who very much wanted children, and if there were older women in the room, forget about it. Aunts and stuff, not even necessarily mine. For the better part of the last twenty years, "I have no children" has been the axis on which conversation turned.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Those Shoes Were F**king Fabulous

When I was a kid growing up in a blighted burg in the least interesting part of Connecticut, my mother's take on the world was also my take on the world. She was a stay-at-home mom for as long as possible and I was super plugged into her.

Never at a loss for words, mom kept up a running commentary on our lives using a particularly colorful lexicon of expressions. Only now that I've opened the door to my 40s have I gotten an appreciation for these mom'isms.

"What am I, an asshole?" tops the list. Loosely translated, "I'm not some doormat, a servant, some idiot here to cater to greedy people at the expense of me or my family."

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Nine Demons Stabbing Each Other With Fifty Knives on Fire

If you work 21 days straight, and you feel a little bit off, have a tinge of ear pain and think you might be coming down with a sinus infection, go to the doctor. "Hoping it goes away" isn't the horse you want to bet on, just so you know. By Saturday, that's seven days ago today, it felt like my right ear was replaced by a vat of cement inside of which nine demons were stabbing each other with fifty knives on fire.

Friday, May 11, 2012

She's Lump

Presidents of the United States of America had this hit, Lump, in the 90s. I lurves them.

The "Lump" lyrics have long been a source of delight and amusement, even amongst the brilliance of the rest of the POTUSA catalog, this 'un is a fantastic nugget of irresistible pop goodness. BUT, the lyrics are mystifying. I'm sure there's about a kajillion Google results if one were to search for "She's Lump meaning." But I have never done this search, because I just need some things to remain points to ponder.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Outnerding the Nerds

After yesterday's talk of the "ring in the sour cream" incident, which, by the way, I would like to clarify was not intentional -- I really meant to hold Joe's rings, not toss them into the nachos -- I started to think about whether or not our story can be parlayed into a tale that I could write. You know, a mystical tale with virgins and quests and prophecies...okay well at least quests and prophecies. It would be the story of our union, but told via allegory. You know, like how E.T. is a Christian allegory. And The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is a Christian allegory. And West Side Story is Romeo and Juliet, and A Simple Twist of Fate (the Steve Martin movie) is Silas Marner. Actually there are only about eight stories, we've just kept finding new ways to tell them.

Monday, April 30, 2012

"She's a Keeper"

I make no apologies nor offer any excuses for what I just did, right before dinner. I got home from work around 8:30pm, sat down to eat the dinner that Joe had cooked us, and though I was ravenous, I took one look at the juicy, steaming plate of slow-cooked pork ribs he put down in front of me, one look down at the dress I'd worn to work today, and then, friends, I excused myself from the table so I could go change into my rib eatin' shirt. "Hold on," I said, "I gotta go change into my rib eatin' shirt."

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Fat Woman Snores From Vegas To Dallas

Argh! It's like I have a head full of bees. I thought it was Vegas run-off, but as of this writing I have been home exactly one week, so it might be a sinus infection. Fuck!

I didn't feel super chipper when I got home, but I was hoping that a few days off after working 21 straight days would re-energize me. But I still feel weird. Weird even for Vegas. Can't seem to shake this fatigue, can't seem to find a groove.

I guess it started last Saturday, my birthday, when I left Las Vegas after working a massive tradeshow. Leaving for the airport at 4am is surreal, but especially 4am in Vegas, which is totally unlike 4am anywhere else. New York may be the city that never sleeps, but Vegas also wakes the neighbors.

F** it, dude.

It's been awhile since I felt that "zone" where muse met self-expression and held hands. Two things happened. First I lost control over the spammers at my old site. Those mean people broke my blog, and I don't have the programming chops to fix it. Secondly, I lost Lexi Kahn. What with focusing more on work, giving up all the local rock stuff, and the whole thing about Facebook, I am mostly all Michelle now. Work. Home. Facebook. Yawn.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Joe Kowalski plays keys & synths for Brownboot - TT the Bear's Place, Cambridge, MA
(Photo: JustBill)

Bill has been getting great live shots of Joe since 2002.
He still teases me about the time I hired him to take photos 
of All the Queen's Men at The Middle East.
He says I said, "Make sure to get a lot of the bass player."
Probably I did say that.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Throwback Thursday: High School

Somewhere...with Brenda Fitch-Schlosser.
On Lake Waramaug?

My hair was long. I used to twist it up and secure it
with two shiny Japanese sticks, or a couple of pencils, depending on the day.
(I still do that).
Bonus Throwback: Long and wholly unsecured.