Smoke and Mirrors

In a perfect world . . .

Month: August 2005

Solar Sex Panel

David Letterman used to have a segment that he did from time to time that was called “Brush with Greatness”. People in the studio audience would get up and tell a short story about their own up close and personal experience in meeting someone famous. I had such an experience today. Retail is a funny business and you never know who you might meet. That I work in a cigar store ups that ante considerably.

This gentleman today purchased several cigars and after I counted back his change I said, “If ever you’re stuck for a Halloween costume, you could always go as John Hiatt.”

He looked at me and laughed and said, “That’s funny, I am John Hiatt.”

I said, “The resemblance is really uncanny.”

For those of you who don’t know, John Hiatt is one of the most prolific songwriters to grace the planet today.
I felt so honored just to shake his hand.
This is a guy that’s recorded an incredible album with a band called
Little Village featuring Ry Cooder, Nick Lowe and Jim Keltner—All Musical Gods, basically. Wonderful CD.

Hiatt has written tunes for many major artists.
Some songs include Thing called love (B. Raitt), Have a little faith in me (various artists), Inside Job (Little Village)
and Riding with the King. (E. Clapton)

He struck me as just another regular guy though, albeit one that writes great songs. As we talked he asked about the kind of music I play.
He was actually interested in what kind of music I was doing.
John Hiatt—interested? I was blown away.
He gave me a personal invite to the show tonight in Boston but I had to decline. He says he’ll be in town again and will stop by and say hello. I’ll be sure to have a nice cigar waiting just for him. Man, I think that's just so cool…


Spirit moving

Yesterday went as well as could be expected.
The “move” was fairly easy.
The cars carrying the new students were stopped and a colored piece of cardboard was placed on the dashboard with the name of the dorm and student’s room number.
When you pulled up to the proper dormitory, upperclassmen would descend on the truck or car and carry all the student’s belongings to the appropriate room.
We just sat back and watched.

It was a beaut of a day making me wonder how different the mood would be had it been raining.
The morning progressed with a series of borderline uncomfortable introductions between roommates and parents, everyone sizing up the other subconsciously as boxes were opened, computers set up and sheets stretched onto dormitory-size beds.
Everything was going fairly well until I realized that Sarah needed an Ethernet cable to connect her laptop to the internet. Oops.
A trip to the bookstore produced a severely overpriced cable.
For any college student, the ability to connect to the internet is no longer optional, it’s mandatory; the times they are a changing. The morning flew by quickly as we moved furniture and ran wires and extension cords, plugged in TV’s and tested out printers.
When the room was set it was late afternoon and time to head outside to the “Mass of the Holy Spirit”, a special service held each year for freshman and their families.
The school is primarily a Jesuit institution that places much emphasis on not only the religious aspects associated with college life but the discovery of the divine in its simplest form, our everyday lives.
Up to this point, my wife and I had been doing fine, emotionally speaking.
Towards the end of the Mass, the class of 2009 was asked to stand as was the entire faculty.
It was explained to the 1,000+ people attending that there were special moments in a child’s life that called for a benediction and today was certainly one of them.
The faculty was instructed to face the students and raise their hands as a “teacher’s” prayer was read.
As the faculty took their seats, parents were asked to stand and embrace their child as another final prayer was read. There was nary a dry eye on the hill, including my own.
It felt right.
I can only say that it was a bittersweet moment for my wife and me, maybe a bit of solace as well.

As I prepared to say goodbye to Sarah, I found there were no words coming out of my mouth.
I felt so stupid.
She was crying as well but managed to whisper in my ear, “I love you, Daddy.”
I somehow managed to whisper the same message back to her before we separated and stood looking at each other.

“You take care of yourself, ok?” I said, still sniffling.

“I’ll be fine.”

“And please don’t forget to call your mother. She’s a mess.”

“I will. Promise. Bye, Dad.”

“Bye, Kiddo.”

I watched her walk away as the dormitory doors suddenly swung open taking her inside her new (albeit, temporary) home.

The Last Supper

Tonight I cooked the “Last Supper” for my daughter Sarah before she heads off to college tomorrow morning.
I must admit the Chicken Marsala came out absolutely wonderful, thank God.
I can tell by the look on her face though that she knows her life is currently in a serious state of flux.
I wonder what will happen when she realizes that’s what life is really
all about—change; our ability to adapt to it with poise only comes with age.

Children are too busy figuring out their constantly changing world to be bothered with the seemingly insignificant changes that occur to them on a daily basis.
As a father, I notice, as does my wife.
It may be as simple as a ½” difference in height that magically seems to happen during the night; maybe it’s an act of kindness that shows spiritual growth; maybe even a phrase unconsciously uttered that possibly indicates the beginning of self actualization and independence. Little things do get noticed but they happen in such rapid succession that it seems like one day it’s baby’s first steps and the next it’s a learner’s permit. Sheesh.
I’m excited about tomorrow but maybe a bit apprehensive as well. I’m praying that I’m strong enough to avoid a total emotional meltdown—not only for Sarah but for my wife as well.
But maybe it has nothing to do with strength when it comes to genuine goodbyes and more about just being human. I want to outwardly show Sarah how much of an impact she’s had on our life. If my tears are more powerful than the words I know I’ll never be able to speak, just let the rains fall. Maybe I can still grow after all…



“You can never go home again, but the truth is you can never leave home,
so it’s alright.” ~Maya Angelou

“If you come to a fork in the road, take it.” ~ Yogi Berra

My daughter begins a new phase of her life this Saturday. We move her into what is to be her home for the next four years of her life. I was thinking about this whole scenario today and how it will play itself out. I’ve no answers yet. I find it interesting and bittersweet that Sas has asked me to make one of her favorite meals before she leaves. Chicken Marsala. (Recipe upon request)
I began to think about significance of food in our daily lives and just how much we take our good fortune for granted. We share meals with friends and family on a regular basis while exchanging our stories and jokes, our private diaries secretly tucked away in the remote corners of our minds. What wonderful gifts to share when we “break bread”.
I was listening to my Ipod the other day when “Fields of Gray” by Bruce Hornsby began to play. Halfway through the tune, I realized how perfect a song it was for Sas and me with her going off to school.

Fields of Gray
by B.R. Hornsby

When the night lies so still
Before I go to sleep
I come by, I come by
Just to look at you
In the dim light I say
That in my own small way
I will try, I will try
To help you through
There'll be blue skies falling

There'll be sad scenes and bad dreams
In a world so uncertain
Through the clouds it's hard to see
I will grab you and lift you
As you hold on tight and sway
We'll go walking Across the fields of gray…

Appropriate words at the right (or wrong) time, kill me. Yes, I was a total mush face on the damn train that morning. ( & that’s Mr. Mush face to you)
My own tears need to be shed because I know she has to go. It’s what grown children do.
Doesn’t make it any easier though. I’m already missing her, for God’s sake.

In the last part of the Hornsby tune, he sums my life up so beautifully:

When I was younger I saw things in black and white
Now all I see is a sad, hazy gray
Sometimes I see a narrow flash of light
Sometimes I look and you show me the way
No matter what else happens
Or what the future will be
In a world so uncertain
Through the clouds it's hard to see
I will grab you and carry you
Calm your fears if you're afraid
We'll go walking
Across the fields of gray

Next Saturday will be an ending of sorts but more importantly a beginning of what I hope will be something really wonderful for Sas. She will make new friends, gain perspective, and acquire knowledge.
Me? I’ll still be the guy that cooks all her favorite foods when she comes home, yet another new experience for both of us.
It is comforting to know that when she enters the door of the house the slowly simmering Chicken Marsala will tell her senses all they need to know: well, well, well, it’s nice to have you back home.

Tick, tick, tick, tick…

A dear friend sent me a link recently (thanks, Kat) that I wanted to share with readers of the blog.
I'm always fascinated by the creativity of the "Net".
I've had a love of clocks since I was a child.
Grandfather, pocket, digital, Cuckoo and on and on…
Maybe it's the predictability of time that somehow comforts my mind, I don't know. Click here for "the clock".


Cat’s Eye Nebula NGC 6543

This is a picture taken by the Hubble telescope.
It is stunningly beautiful and to me visual proof that higher powers do exist in the universe. It seems sadly ironic that the nebula is in fact a dying star. A parting gift for mankind, perhaps.
Visit for some very cool and entertaining stuff.
Click here for more on the Nebula.


Adolph or Fifi? You be the judge…

From MinkyBoodle, a URL that has to be seen to be believed.
This website advertises a kit that diguises your Doberman to look like a French Poodle…umm, sort of.
It's reminiscent of a Monty Python sketch.
This poor animal will suffer deep psychological scarring as a result of this costume, I'm sure. Even scarier, you can actually buy one of these suckers today!
Check it out HERE.


© 2016 Smoke and Mirrors

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑