The Snail

So this guy is hanging out at home and hears a knock on his door. He opens the door and looks left and right and sees nobody. He looks down and sees a snail, and he hates snails. So he picks up the snail and throws it as hard as he can.

Three years later, he heard a knock on the door. He opens the door, and there he sees the snail, who promptly asks: “What the hell was that all about?”

Today, I am the snail.

First Jacket Day

There’s no TV on I want to watch now and what’s more my brain is buzzing too much for TV. Some nice warm vinyl is just the thing for now.

This is my first jacket day of the year. There have been other days that were inviting for a jacket, but I usually need a pretty good talking to by brisk weather before I’m convinced I need a jacket. Today was the day. Rainy, chilly weather. My favorite. And I am not being ironic.

I have never given side two of the Temptations’ All Directions much of a chance. Because, well, what could possibly need heard once you’ve mucked through the sublime funky marsh of “Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone?” As is often the case with ignored music, that’s where the treasure is. Side two of this album is equally sublime as its first side. Which should not surprise me. It’s the Temptations.

Now that play is done, it’s time to hear James P. Johnson, Father of the Stride Piano. My metal detector pops and riots. As it should. Johnson was largely ignored in his own time and in legacy, to the point that musicologist David Schiff has referred to him as “The Invisible Pianist.” Ouch. But listening to this I can grasp his immense influence; he was the bridge dude between ragtime and jazz, and his playing is sublime. One of my new favorite things, this old piece of vinyl I’ve been harboring for years. It is gorgeous.

Today was also the day my current managers had to acknowledge my notice. It is nice and weird to leave a job on such good terms and with good feelings overall. It is nice (and weird) to have done such a thing correctly, to have persevered, to have seen it through. Oh, says I. That’s how it’s done, then. You don’t whittle away your soul at a job you know you should have left long ago until they one morning decide to thud your neck down upon the ol’ butcher block. You put on your secret handy dandy writing’s-on-the-wall deciphering glasses, and you do it often. And meanwhile you work in the shadows to recognize an opportunity when presented, and then you take said opportunity, and you smile and curtsy on your way out. Oh, so that’s how it’s done well.

I might actually pull it off this time.

If I can get myself out of futon at 4 a.m. every business day for two weeks, of course. There’s the real challenge. Worth it, though. I get the job I want and all ya’ll don’t have to listen to me bitch and moan for a little while.

Okay now I’m in the mood for TV. I think Mysteries of Laura is on the Tivo. Bye-bye.

The Ubiquitous Slime

I was in an office this morning wearing a necktie and a jacket in addition to an Oxford shirt with a collar and pants, socks, and shoes, and the usual underthings. I had been escorted there to wait and for a few minutes was in the room alone. It was a quiet room, and I was pleased to wait. I have become good at waiting. It is one of the best accomplishments of my life considering at one time I was a miserable failure at it. But now, I can sit in a quiet room alone in an uncomfortable clown suit, clutching my fancy binder I recently repaired with carpenter’s glue when the cardboard liner came away from the fabric when the crappy rubber cement job those Chinese fellows gave into many harsh instances of dew point, and I can sit there and not bob my ankle up and down, and not fidget, and I can simply sit. I have worked long and hard at this skill and I consider it one of the finest skills a person can learn and exhibit. And were I a stealthy employer, I would train a camera on the candidate and I would let him or her sit for several minutes to sweat, and I would see how good they are at waiting, and I would include that sociopathic test of mine in my metrics.

After a few minutes of my happy waiting exercise ensued, the attractive young lady walked into the room, sighed, and said, “Jeez, the least they could have done was to turn on the TV for you.” And she took a remote control from the desk and she turned on the television that was stuck up there on the wall. Thankfully it was not tuned to Fox “News” or events might have gone much differently today. No, it was tuned to MSNBC’s coverage of the Holy Pontiff visiting these Untied States of America today.

So that young lady assumed I was miserable sitting alone in a room and perceived that the answer was to flick on a television set to ease my misery. It was quite impossible to imagine that a person could be quite content sitting in a room doing nothing for ten minutes without any noise or flickering images. It is an odd sickness of every step of our lives.

Every breakroom in my workplace has blathering TV sets going on and on. Every bar and restaurant I frequent has them, blah blah blah. Try to get away from a television set today. It’s impossible. In a way that is weird and has crept up gradually and

hey wait. Mysteries of Laura is on the tube right now. Fart fart. Fun fun.

I’ll Stand By You

Chrissie Hynde, lead singer of the band who recorded my favorite recorded song of all time in the history of recorded music, wearing the album cover of the record album that saved my life once, in Akron.


88 days until Zappadan…

(Weird for me because I don’t believe in souls, but I dig it nonetheless.)

Superman’s Fedora has Wings and a Pneis

I ducked into my favorite little joint for lunch today. I shouldn’t have. It’s not so much in the budget these days, but there are times when you simply must be surrounded by a building walled with crackling wood, seated on a barstool, and you simply must have an attractive woman serve you comforting food, and you simply must breathe all that in and enjoy the music and emulsify.

I often kid myself, that I will go in there and order a club soda and a cup of soup in order to keep la quenta to a minimum cost. Then I walk in and there’s that white board seated on that old butcher’s block, and there’s the soup listed, but there’s also the beef on weck. And it was Friday. So there’s fish.

As luck would have it, the music queue was in blues mode today, and the song that was rotating the minute I walked in was Stevie Ray Vaughan’s “Crossfire.” I say as luck would have it wryly, I guess, because today is the 23rd anniversary of the day Stevie Ray Vaughn stopped refusing to die. Helicopters, man. Why not just put a rotating umbrella on a smart car and figure yer gonna be okay for flight?

I remember finding out while I was in a newsroom, my first newsroom, well really my second, but my first, the one at the Daily Kent Stater. My friend and colleague Greg, who made a persuasive argument for hating the living shit out of the Beatles, wore black for days, maybe months.

I betcha that Greg wore black today, too.

A little while ago where I work, an apparent former disgruntled employee took one day to pranking our help line. They called us maybe 40 or 50 times, I mean the weed they got hold of that day must have been freaking excellent. When I was fortunate enough to encounter this person, he asked me what I thought of an ongoing hip-hop feud between somebody named “Meek Mill” and somebody named “Drake.” I was relieved, nay, I was proud that I had no idea what in bloody hell he was talking about. But my co-workers, they are youngsters compared to me and a limited few old farts there are where I work, I am certain I can count the folks who are my contemporaries or older on one hand or maybe one of my hands and one of the hands of my middle school shop teacher. And they talk about music I have no idea exists, and they talk about it like it really matters. I think this is why when I was growing up I thought it was weird that my elders would squint so much and complain because I wanted to listen to Chicago. But that’s what happens I reckon. I mean Drake never moved my heart or made me gesture in the air spontaneously.

There’s just something utterly weird about all of that, and I can’t put my finger on it. But it makes me squint and pee a little. Maybe it’s just difficult to dig that you’re actually passing all of this on and eventually nobody’s actually going to give a care one way the other about Led Zeppelin.

Climate change is real.

I’m On A Boat

Me, today, on the Maid of the Mist boat thing. New York side, of course, what, you think any of us haz our passports updated? I had just gotten soaked by Niagra Falls here, soaked in my hair, my face, my goggles, everything.

These Falls are an awesome Falls. The boat, I had forgotten, as it’s been decades since I boarded it last, the boat sails right into the mouth of the Horseshoe, even from the Amurkin side. My party chose to be on the upper level, front, so we bore the brunt of the choppy waters and the rainy, thick mist. I can’t help but wonder if you get a better perspective below deck.

How nice that the blue in my Bills cap and the blue in my disposable poncho so nicely match the blue on the ol’ 8WK here. How nice. Blue blue blue blue blue blue. So much blue you could barf.

Stalwart sailors. From left, my Uncle Mike and my Dad. Both soaked and awed to the gills. I think in the throng behind them is our token youngin, cousin Jordyn, who was a lovely travel companion.

I’m On A Boat

So yeah, it was exactly like this.


We’d stopped in for lunch at the Pearl Street Grill & Brewery in Buffalo, where I had a lamb burger, which was delicious. After our adventure here, we returned home and watched Silence of the Lambs. So, accidental theme day. FTW.

Uncle Mike would have my hide if I mentioned him in a blog post and did not plug his Web site: Please visit and learn about candidate Bernie and you can even buy a bumper sticker. It’s one site started by one determined man and it’s become something of a big deal.

In Other News

“Mr. Burns: your campaign seems to have the momentum of a runaway freight train. Why are you so popular?” (Lisa Simpson to candidate Montgomery Burns at a planned press event, 1990).

“So in June, right before you announced, you were at one percent. In July, after you’ve announced, in the last six weeks, you are in first place with 19 percent. Why do you think you’re resonating so quickly in the Republican field?” (Chuck Todd to candidate Donald Trump on Meet the Press, this morning).


Finally, Your Moment Of Zen

Regarding the ‘Confederate Flag’

I want to point out a few simple points about the new debate we’re having about the “Confederate” flag since that Squeaky Fromme wannabe marched into the Emanuel AME church and ended the lives of nine of probabaly the finest Christians who ever lived.

First, that is not the Confederate flag.

That flag never represented the Confederacy. It was a battle flag. It was a flag of war, not of state.

Put a bookmark there, please.

Second, the debate that we’re having is not about whether you should be allowed to fly that battle flag on your front porch, or whether you should put it as a bumper sticker on your gas-hogging truck, or whether you should fly it at a concert by your local Lynrd Sknynrd tribute band’s performance.

The debate is about whether or not a state capital should fly it over official buildings that everyone in the state pays for.

Should a state capital in today’s United States of America be allowed to fly a war flag? A war flag that once declared war against the United States of America?

Racism aside, seems like a no-brainer to me.



Happy Equality Day

“Now we won’t know how the Court rules until later. But I for one hope they’ll somehow miraculously come down on the side of equality rather than postponing the inevitable.

“Because it is inevitable.

“Or didn’t you know that?”

Me, in this space, March 25, 2013

My handsome cousin who lives in Kansas got married today. I mean that’s how badly some folks have wanted to tie the knot: They clicked on CNN, saw the news about today’s SCOTUS ruling, and sprinted down to the courthouse. That’s how vital it is and how urgent it is for some of these folks to get that license. They couldn’t wait one more day.

And who could blame them? The hashtag of the day is “lovewins,” but there’s a ton of more to marriage than love. Before my own state of New York got enlightened and approved equality, there was a list published, a list of 1,324 aspects of life covered by the laws of marriage. Imagine having to hammer out even half of these details by hand with your lawyer.

Regardless. Today’s ruling is earth-shattering. What a lovely day.

P.S. Did Scalia give away a bit TMI in his dissent?

“The nature of marriage is that, through its enduring bond, two persons together can find other freedoms, such as expression, intimacy, and spirituality,'” he quoted from the majority opinion before adding, “Really? Who ever thought that intimacy and spirituality [whatever that means] were freedoms? And if intimacy is, one would think Freedom of Intimacy is abridged rather than expanded by marriage. Ask the nearest hippie.”