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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Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Cherry Hill, NJ
(Photo: Joe's Aunt Donna)

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.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Purple is Universal

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

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Mmph. 'mornin. You people are exhausting.

Not today, motherfucker.

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 24, 2012

Archive: Shopping

Monday, September 17, 2012

Self Portrait

#selfie + PaintShop Pro

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

The Intrepid Arrogance of "I Don't Believe It"

So you're chatting with your favorite conservative friend. You present a fact-based, well-researched position. That's when they pull out the "I don't believe it" card. You guys. I am so sick of it I can't even. Not only is "I don't believe it"  a conversation-stopper,  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.

Personal "belief" in any social, historic or scientific fact has become the conservative voter's staunch position on so many vitally important things that I'm afraid we're freefalling down the rabbit hole here. You don't "believe in" the dangers of fracking, offshore drilling, global warming, the existence of gender-based pay inequality, the realities of sexual crimes, the gross unfairness in tax law, lack of affordable housing, the need to make good health care available to everyone...well...what DO you believe in? That these things are even up for debate is astonishing. There' There are experts in the subject matter. We don't care what you "believe."

Could We Bring Back Experts, Please?

Here's an example of this craziness. This happened in June of this year. Do you know who Pavar Snipe is? I guess she's a blogger of sorts. I can't claim to know a single thing about her, only that it seems every story she covers is pointless drivel that has zero impact on anyone's life. Right now, for example Pavar is arguing online about whether or not Halle Barry was legally married to her last boyfriend. Who. Gives a shit. But, as the saying goes, even a broken clock is right twice a day, and this image posted by Pavar Snipe hit me pretty hard. It's a garage door that someone spray-painted "Foreclosed! 3 tours in Iraq but no bailout for people like me."

Before blogging about it, I'd really hoped to find out more, such as whose garage is this and what was the back story? All we were able to learn was that this home is somewhere in West Virgina. This image is awful. You risk your life defending the country and you're just left twisting in the wind while your lawmakers argue about my vagina? What universe is this? No one who went to war should lose their house, end of story. The GI Bill should be enhanced and expanded, not gutted, which will almost certainly happen if things go terribly wrong in November. So I shared and posted on Facebook in response to this image: "When will it end?" With a quickness one of my conservative friends replied, and I quote.

"In November. 
It's not going to happen 
under Obama!"

What. It's not going to happen under Obama? You know what? You're a nice lady. But you must be inserting your over-processed blonde head directly up the ass of Fox News in order to say something this stupid. Surely it's the pinnacle of ignorance, is it not? It should be noted that, during the RNC speeches last week, this same Obama-hating person watched Paul Ryan's speech and posted "that was so inspirational!" Inspirational? Paul Ryan is certifiable. That is a dangerous man. 

JOBS: The Actual Facts

What about the alarming evidence every day in the news proving that the Republicans have been systematically voting down every single jobs bill that would deliver literally millions of jobs opportunities? Blocked, every one of them. Not because the jobs bills weren't good. Just because. They have no agenda, what do you think is supposed to happen in November? What exactly? Here's the gentleman from Kentucky, Senator McConnell speaking in December 2010 to explain.
"Over the past week, some have said it was indelicate of me to suggest that our top political priority over the next two years should be to deny President Obama a second term. But the fact is, if our primary goals are to repeal and replace the health spending bill, to end the bail outs, cut spending, and shrink the size and scope of government, the only way to do all of those things is to put someone in the white house who won't veto any of these things."

Sure enough, in June, yet another bill was voted down, this time it was a comprehensive act called the "Pay Equity" bill. This one was really good. The Pay Equity bill seeks to prevent a corporation from immediately firing any woman who goes to her boss and says "Hey, I just found out that (male colleague at same pay grade) makes more than I do, that's not fair." What's worse than coming back with "I don't believe it" is that, in this case, the Senate Republicans DO say that they believe that women are being fired for asking for equal pay, but apparently that's irrelevant. The Pay Equity bill was also blocked, so the Republicans basically said, "You'll get less pay and you'll shut up about, honey. Now go make some coffee."
“It is incredibly disappointing that in this make-or-break moment for the middle class, Senate Republicans put partisan politics ahead of American women and their families.” (Barack Obama, New York Times, June 6, 2012)
A month later in July, yet another jobs bill was voted down, this time it was the "Bring Home Jobs" bill. Voting down the Bring Home Jobs bill was a huge slap in the face to American workers, especially those whose jobs have been disrupted by advances in technology and automation. The Bring Home Jobs bill had one goal, and that was to curtail this damaging outsourcing of jobs to China and India and other places where labor costs corporations mere pennies. If your job went to another country, that's because your company didn't want to pay you anymore, because a guy over there will do it so much cheaper and the shareholders now get to see their portfolios grow. Is that what you're voting for? Congratulations, you're voting against your own livelihood. So much for putting America back to work. The Bring Home Jobs bill would have amended the tax code in this way:
(1) grant business taxpayers a tax credit for up to 20% of insourcing expenses incurred for eliminating a business located outside the United States and relocating it within the United States, and
(2) deny a tax deduction for outsourcing expenses incurred in relocating a U.S. business outside the United States. Requires an increase in the taxpayer's employment of full-time employees in the United States in order to claim the tax credit for insourcing expenses.
That's just two jobs bills that Republicans blocked. Your heroes. All told, seventeen job bills from the original Obama "American Jobs Act" were blocked by Republicans, not for any reason or debated against with any alternative plan—just blocked. It's deplorable. It's obstructionist.

By the way, the entire Jobs Act is available online for anyone and everyone to read, and I suggest that you spend some time doing that, and watching the videos, so that you can learn a thing or two before you cast your lot with these people who seek to destroy the American Dream. Believe it or not, babe. Had your "inspirational" clown not helped deliberately sabotage our President's efforts, there WOULD be two million more jobs right now.
"More Americans are realizing that Republicans have worked for several years to undermine the president in every way possible. Americans believe that it requires a complete lack of patriotism to take such actions during a massive economic collapse. They are beginning to ask, 'Who in their right mind would block any job creating plan to bring us out of this crisis because they want power?'" (, August 1, 2012)
Who in their right mind indeed? Then there's the open letter that my old mayor, Joe Curtatone, posted to voters on Friday August 31st. In part,
"Now they've got Mitt Romney standing up in front of the nation, rehashing his snake oil line about the millions of jobs he'll create, when Congressional Republicans took a pass on actually creating jobs. They know he's full of it. Anyone who lived in Massachusetts when Romney was Governor knows he's full of it. What he's proposing is a return to a set of failed policies." (Mayor Joe Curtatone, August 31, 2012)
I've been maintaining an online journal of some kind since 1999, and above all I've always sought to be honest, and I have to say that I'm officially depressed. It's getting to be an Herculean effort just to get up in the morning anymore, and every day I feel more tired, more worn down from this kind of blind partisanship. I just can't even, anymore. Your guys blocked the initiatives to create two million jobs, not my guys. Your guys are pissing on your head and telling you it's a champagne fountain. To say "Obama failed to create two million jobs he promised" is to reach for a crystal fluted glass and drink up. All that's left is to pull the lever, and "in November" we can only pray that truth and policy prevail over lies and ignorance. ∎

Sunday, September 2, 2012

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

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. Required reading, y'all.

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 person is your enemy, America. He hates you.

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) :)

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Pissed off before the first cup of coffee is done

You should be, too.
Fuck these people.

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]. 

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

"Have you ever heard of Joe Kowalski?"

T Max had been slipping into despair. His Brian Eno tribute show was coming up, and he was running out of time to find a bass player with the required chops. Then one day in spring, he called. He was very excited. "Have you ever heard of Joe Kowalski?!" I had not. "Lexi, you won't believe it! He nailed it!" This guy we never heard of, Joe Kowalski, apparently came over, auditioned and dazzled on an 8-string bass. I couldn't give a shit. T Max had been wholly consumed with the Brian Eno thing, and not being a fan, me and everybody else at The Noise was sick to death of hearing about Project Eno. "ENO eno-eno EEEENO eno-eno" is approximately how Izzy phrased his imitation of any conversation with T Max during those rehearsal weeks. I was in full agreement on the matter.

I forgot about this Joe Kowalski until one week before the July 12th show. It was a punishingly hot summer and I hated everyone. I don't handle heat and humidity very well. Somehow or other I ended up being the one to take the Project Eno band publicity shot. I'm no photographer, but I did own a digital camera, rare in those days. Hard to imagine now! But T Max needed the band photo THAT DAY for the Metro piece on Project Eno, and that's the only reason it was me who took those PR photos.

So on a sweltering summer day I went to Peter's house. In the yard, with Bleu calling jokes out the window of the house as the band posed, each member wearing some sort of T Max-contrived costumes of questionable taste, I shot photos of Gene, Peter, Shawn, Tamora, Joel, T Max, Glenn and Eddie, all buddies of mine, barely noticing the new guy. Here was this crazy-good bass player that nobody ever heard of
who would,
pretty soon,
become my best friend
and mad love.

I fell in love with Joe Kowalski. I even like Brian Eno now.

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.

L to R: Gene, Peter, Shawn, Tamora, Joel , Joe Kowalski, T Max, Glenn, Eddie

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...

...dude, you were seriously gonna keep reading that? No. What you just read is literally the worst kind of writing, in my opinion. Here's the real on Doggy Poo: it is SO WEIRD but you should see it.

I first stumbled across Doggy Poo in 2007. Somehow I'd come across  the cover art online, and if you know me at all, you know I watched that shit twice and then posted an essay on Diaryland. Now it's five years later. Every person who watched Doggy Poo because of me feels a certain kinda way about it, as will you, especially Generation X. As kids, our entertainment characters included a whole multiverse of monsters, dolls, fairy tale things, vaguely humanoid weirdlings and a bunch of unexplainables. Those would be Smurfs, Weebles, the Schmoo, Cousin Itt, Grimace. Everything talked. From an adult perspective, I've grown to appreciate today's "things," like Pokemon, Spongebob, and whatever the Yo Gabba Gabba guy Muno* is -- but even Muno's one-eyed nubbed-for-her-pleasure shape are nothing compared to the strangeness of Doggy Poo.

So allow me to tell you about Doggy Poo.

Once pinched out of a grunting puppy's butt, Doggy Poo plops onto the side of the road, and there he sits, miserable, immobile. Doggy Poo can only mewl, moan, cry and hiccup, forced to endure ongoing torment by wild birds, barn fowl, a year's worth of weather, and a mean pile of soil. Poo's keening mouth quivers, his eyes fill with tears and stream down his...cheeks? On the one hand, you want to sympathize. On the other hand is a plastic glove holding a pooper-scooper.

That's one mean pile of soil. 

Soil is the antagonist who tells Doggy Poo what he is in a taunting tone. "You know where you came from, what else did you think you were?" Soil is eventually guilted by Poo's sorrow into apologizing, but not before his taunts have made Doggy Poo sob appallingly for endless minutes. Soil tells his own sad story: having been dug out of the ground where he was perfectly happy fulfilling his life's work of growing potatoes, he got shoveled onto a cart, and then jounced out and onto the road, where he will soon die at the next passing cart's wheel.

Thanks for bumming everybody out, Soil.

Easy to miss given its litany of quirks is the problem of Doggy Poo's time span. The puppy takes a dump in autumn. Through sweeping scenery shots it is suggested that a year passes. In that entire year not one person swept away a grunt in the road? Nor did it get driven over, stepped in, trod upon or washed away in the rain. You begin to wonder if maybe this is going to morph into story about a super-heroic, indestructible poo. Maybe the title is actually his superhero name. Maybe he'll get a cape and a leotard. Big "DP" on the front in comic book font.

Or not.

Okay, I'm poking fun at Doggy Poo. But obviously it made an impression, since this is the second time I'm writing about it, you clicked on this and you've read the whole thing. So I feel I owe you guys this much: It's an uniquely-crafted fable offering a decidedly strange but fresh 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. Though Doggy Poo dabbles with some universal themes such as entitlement, morality, destiny and class warfare, the ultimate message is that everyone here has a purpose in life. Even if you're just a piece of shit. You know who you are. ∎

(* Muno is a big talking dildo)

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 had me when she was just a teenager, and 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.

Also surreal is waking up wedged into an airplane seat to find that we've landed, as stupidly disoriented as coming-to in the recovery room. What felt like a single moment was in fact six hours. I'd been dead asleep the entire flight from Vegas to Dallas. That'll set you off for the day. The airplane-sleep induced blackout isn't nearly as recuperative as normal sleep nor as "nothing" as the drug-induced sleep from an anesthesiologist, in fact it's barely sleep at all. It's a tenuous sub-awareness, a clenched bout of bouncy boneless desperation pocked with senseless dreams of wagons over rutted roads and tinny, muffled proclamations from Rosie the Robot.

The worst part is that I'd upgraded myself to a first class seat for a hundred bucks. And I snore. How bad do I feel for the other people in the cabin? I don't even remember the plane taking off. I don't even remember the safety announcements. I woke up to the "Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Dallas" announcement, looked around to find people looking at me. "You sure must've been tired," said one older fellow, with a smirk. "Oh no...was I snoring?" He grinned and nodded. I apologized with what I hope was apparent sincerity. I must have passed out immediately after buckling my seatbelt, snored my way across the entire southwest, snored all through the movie AND the in-flight meal (I seem to have a dim recollection of eggs being offered and my seatmate's tray full of yellow and white things). Sorry, everyone. I hope there's no video of Fat Woman Snores From Vegas To Dallas, but if there is, I would have to accept it as fair play.

All told, it is probably best not to sleep on a plane. The experience is too harrowing to your psyche. It probably takes entire days off your life. As does a hastily eaten mistake-in-a-rollup during a quick layover, sustenance desperately sought then immediately regretted from some obviously southern chain called "Popeye's." If you're a fan of this place, all I can then conclude is that this airport location is having issues. For one thing, I would not be surprised to learn it hires new clerks from the "Surly 'n Blemished" agency, and something they do manages to turn chicken into breaded, peppery rubber thongs that somehow achieve a consistency that's miraculously both dry and slimy at the same time.

Maybe it was the shock from the southern fried fiasco, but I don't remember much about the Dallas to Boston leg of my trip, only that I watched most of "The Debt" that I'd downloaded to my ipad. And how happy I was to see Joe waiting outside on the steps when my cab pulled up. I missed him SO much. I officially hate this trade show now. And some of my coworkers. But mostly the trade show.

So I'm home, and aside from a spotty work-attendance here and there, I've been just a lump in the sofa. Joe baked me a gluten-free chocolate birthday cake and I treated myself to angel hair pasta with shrimp sauce.

My mother sent me some things from her boutique. There are times when she picks just the right thing, but this time the only thing I'll say about what she sent me is that I've already re-gifted it to this fabulous drag queen I know.

It's nearly 7pm on Sunday, and Peapod will be delivering a big load of groceries sometime in the next hour, and I've cleaned about half the apartment top to bottom. The kitchen I did yesterday, it took me almost four hours to get it back to normal. The stove alone had about a month of abuse, grease and splashes, that was a good half hour from "crying shame" to gleaming. Today I did the dining room, living room and back porch, also reorganized the hall closet for summer.

But groggy. Still. GOD I hope it isn't another sinus infection. Not that I don't love and adore my ENT, but enough with the ears, nose and throat already! I still feel groggy, but this is one of those times when a person just needs to act-as-if. Fake it 'til you make it. Power through.

Or else it's time for a nap.

Nap sounds good.

And why the fuck is it called POPEYE's? If I'm going to a place and you tell me it's Popeye's, I'm expecting spinach and hamburgers. No spinach in the entire damn place.

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.

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Forged: Writing in the Name of God
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tagged: currently-reading