Smoke and Mirrors

In a perfect world . . .

Month: September 2005 (page 1 of 3)

It’s probably me…

Nope, not a Sting lyric just a funky, Chuck Taylor wearing, skateboarding Jesus catching some serious airtime.
I'm still shaking my head over the "What Would Jesus Do" Thong….seriously, folks.
Lock the kids in the bathroom and click on the pic above to experience a totally new level of whackdom. You just can't make this stuff up. Or can you?


1,001 Words

The devil is always in the details



I went into a Strawberries last night to look around and see if anything caught my eye. Talk about feeling like a stranger in a foreign land.
Maybe it's me but there's nothin that I relate to these days. You know it's sad when you find yourself fascinated by the "decade" collections from the 70's & 80's.
I consider myself somewhat sophisticated when it comes to the music I listen to which is mainly in the traditional jazz vein.
I'm what you would call a "hardcore" fanatic.
Theolonius Monk, Art Blakey, Bill Evans, Wes Montgomery and Charlie Parker…hardcore.
I tend to steer clear of the Rap section of the store knowing it will cause me a total musical meltdown.
I saw a bumpersticker sometime ago aptly titled:
Oxymoron #5 = RAP ARTIST
Hmm, let's see Mr. Artist… can you play an instrument? can you write a song? do you know what a chord is? how about playing me a simple 12 bar blues? rythym changes?
I didn't think so.
As I was looking, lost in my own confused thoughts, I heard someone say, "Hi, Mr. Murphy."
Mr. Murphy? Yeah, she was talking to me.
The girl was a 17-year-old daughter of a friend of mine that just began working there and she recognized me. Probably because I look so socially marooned and dumbfounded.
Mr. Murphy…sigh…
Man, I'm getting old.


Ink in the fountain

I’ve gotten quite friendly with a gentleman that works at Bromfield Pen in Boston. He likes cigars and I like fountain pens.
It’s a great situation.
Something about the way a fountain writes separates it from anything else in the world of writing instruments.
I can’t for the life of me use a lowly ballpoint anymore.
Not being snobbish, it’s just too much work.
I recently bought a Namiki Vanishing Point pen.
Essentially, it’s a fountain pen with a click ballpoint-type mechanism. The nib is a 14K gold which makes for very smooth writing.
I’ve found that the inexpensive pens with iridium nibs make it feel as though you’re writing on fine grit sandpaper. Yuk.
I go to the shop on a fairly regular basis if only to buy a bottle of funky colored ink. And all inks are not created equal.
I’ve had the best luck with Aurora, Pelikan, Noodler’s and Private Reserve inks. And the colors are wonderful. Yeah, I know, weird.
Right now my favorite ink is called Zhivago. It’s made by Noodler’s.
It’s a black-green ink that has a great flow and very distinctive color. I’ve filled my Namiki with it and truth be told, it makes you want to write more.

Should you decide to enter the world of the fountain pen, make sure you buy a pen that has a converter in it.
Cartridges, while convenient, suck.
Check out a Waterman Phileas at Staples or Office Max.
Not a bad pen to try for $25.
If you blog, chances are you write a bit.
If you prefer ink and paper to MS Word you’ve no idea what you’ve been missing out on.

Brush with greatness (2)

He was standing right in front of me asking about different types of Maduro cigars when it dawned on me that I was talking to the one and only Steve Gadd. Who is Steve Gadd? I can hear you saying, “I’ve never heard of him.” Oh, yes, you have.

Here’s a very short list of people Gadd has played drums for:

  • Jim Croce
  • Steely Dan
  • Al Jarreau
  • Chick Corea
  • James Taylor
  • Peter Gabriel
  • Eric Clapton
  • Rikki Lee Jones
  • The Brecker Brothers
  • Carly Simon
  • Frank Weber
  • (alright, that’s a weird one, but I have the album to prove it)

  • Michael Franks
  • The BeeGees

Go to Gadd’s website by clicking on his picture. Go to “discography” and check out the list. It’s really an amazing achievement for one individual.

I can’t stand it anymore so I say, “Aren’t you Steve Gadd?”

He smiles and says, “Hey, how ya doin’, man! You play drums?”

I go on to tell him that I play piano but have listened to him for 25+ years and have always loved his playing.
He was genuinely appreciative of the compliment and amazed me (again) with his total sense of humility.

“I’ve been very lucky over the years,” he goes on to say before I realize that I’m almost shaking. Yes, shaking.
This guy is a God to me and I don’t even play drums.
I know almost more about Gadd than he knows about himself.

I just happened to have the Steely Dan CD “Aja” at the store and asked if he would honor me with his signature.
Needless to say, the liner notes are now signed and from a musical standpoint, I’ve died and gone to heaven.
So the next time someone asks if you’ve heard of this drummer named Steve Gadd, (I’m sure it won’t be anytime soon)
you can say, “Oh, God, yes. I’ve heard a lot of his stuff. What a drummer!”
I’m sure Dr. Gadd thanks you for the listen.


Kitty gone postal

Bad day. Badder feline.
Say ‘allo to my little friend…
Ever had a day that made you feel like this?


Hurricane Rita

Rita has transformed herself into a vicious Category 5 monster in the blink of an eye. The power and magnitude of this thing is frightening.
Maybe there really is something to this heightened global warming concern.
Heaven help us…



A journal entry from my last day at the Cape.

It’s early Tuesday morning and I’m sitting alone on Mayflower Beach in the town of Dennis. Not a soul out this morning and I have the sand bar all to myself.
I have a hot, dark roast coffee (cream, two sugars) and my favorite cigar.
It’s somewhat overcast and a bit chilly keeping most of the beachcombers at home.
Looking out at the restless ocean, I study the dark, bruised clouds floating on the horizon and think, maybe it’s not so hard to believe that there’s a war going on thousands of miles away and another tropical storm has just turned into a Category 4 hurricane.
My eyes scan the breathtaking 360 degree panorama and I think of Steve Martin’s “Let’s Get Small” routine and smile because at the present time that’s exactly how I feel: small.
Sitting on a swath of sand this vast you can’t help but feel any other way.

It’s quiet here save for the briny ocean breeze and the rushing sound of the surf.
In my mind, I see my mother standing by the shore with her feet in the water.
She’s wearing a one piece, light blue and white checked bathing suit as she stares out at the foreboding horizon.
She always loved the beach while my father basically tolerated it.
I see my father sitting under his ever present umbrella, wrapped up in a bunch of towels to avoid the burning rays of some long forgotten summer sun.
His fair Irish skin will still turn an all too familiar lobster red anyway.

“Just say goodbye to her, Dad.”

The odd sound of my voice takes me by surprise.
I know this can never happen in real life but still a part of me wants somehow to “see” it.
I want closure.
I see my father cast away all his protective wrapping, stand up, and slowly walk to the shoreline.
There, he takes my mother’s hand in his as they stand side by side, silently watching the white-capped Cape Cod Bay.
After a short time, I see her slowly turn and smile at him.
She says, “It’s ok, Wally. I’ll always be here. You know that…but I have to go.”
He looks down at the sand and nods his head, silent.
She kisses him gently on the cheek and begins walking down the shore away from him.
He watches until her silhouette sinks into the distant grey mist.

It’s at that moment that raindrops begin dotting the pages of my journal and my written words all begin to run together.
It is time for me to say goodbye as well.


A very special delivery

If it smells like a rose…


I’m on the way home today and I close my eyes while I listen to my Ipod. Yeah, I think, this is good. I’m sitting next to some Indian guy that’s reading a book about computer networking.
He seems cool. The operative word here is “seems”.
Suddenly, this horrific odor enters my nose and seemingly holds my olfactory nerves hostage. O-M-G.
I open my eyes and see my Indian buddy has lifted his arm and is scratching his head. I never realized until today that on some Indian people the anus is located directly in the center of the armpit…or so it would seem.

How can anyone walk out of their house in the morning smelling like a heaping pile of burnt Gorgonzola? It’s so beyond me. And don’t give me the “I can’t wash because it’s against my religion” crap.
Even God would say, “Dude, You stink.”

Hey, Maazouk, they sell this stuff at CVS called soap. Here’s a couple of bucks.
Please, dear God almighty, go buy yourself a bar or two, you’re starting to attract some flies and you’re making me gag.

I was thinking this guy would make a great newfangled aromatic alarm clock.
I can hear his wife now: “Hey, honey? Lift up both your arms; the kids need to get up for school.
Pee capital freekin’ U.
Will somebody do me a favor and light a match?


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