Smoke and Mirrors

In a perfect world . . .

Month: October 2005 (page 1 of 3)

1,001 Words





You entered: 1/10/1959
Your date of conception was on or about 19 April 1958.
You were born on a Saturday
under the astrological sign Capricorn.
Your Life path number is 8.
The Julian calendar date of your birth is 2436578.5.
The golden number for 1959 is 3.
The epact number for 1959 is 21.
The year 1959 was not a leap year.

As of 10/29/2005 7:02:33 AM CDT You are 46 years old.
You are 561 months old.
You are 2,442 weeks old.
You are 17,094 days old.
You are 410,263 hours old.
You are 24,615,782 minutes old.
You are 1,476,946,953 seconds old.
You are 6.69041095890411 dog years old. (You’re still chasing cats!)

There are 73 days till your next birthday on which your cake will have 47 candles.
Those 47 candles produce 47 BTUs,or 11,844 calories of heat (that’s only 11.8440 food Calories!) .

You can boil 5.37 US ounces of water with that many candles.

In 1959 there were approximately 4.0 million births in the US.
In 1959 the US population was approximately 150,697,361 people, 50.7 persons per square mile.
In 1959 in the US there were approximately 1,667,231 marriages (11.1%) and 385,144 divorces (2.6%)
In 1959 in the US there were approximately 1,452,000 deaths (9.6 per 1000)

Your birthstone is Garnet
The Mystical properties of Garnet

Garnet is used as a power stone
Some lists consider these stones to be your birthstone.
(Birthstone lists come from Jewelers, Tibet, Ayurvedic Indian medicine, and other sources)

Emerald, Rose, Quartz

Your birth tree is

Fir Tree, the Mysterious

Extraordinary taste, dignity, cultivated airs, loves anything beautiful, moody, stubborn, tends to egoism but cares for those close to it,rather modest, very ambitious, talented, industrious uncontent lover, many friends, many foes, very reliable.
There are 57 days till Christmas 2005!

The moon’s phase on the day you were born was new.

Birthday calculator

Yes, yes, yes

This video clip from the My Asylum of Thoughts blog.
Click here for Yes, yes, yes
I couldn't stop laughing. Sorry…

*contains major league profanity! Yes!



I wanted to sleep in this morning but it wasn’t to be; tough time getting up.
I had some very strange dreams last night as well which made me think about a nightmare I had several years ago.
That I can still remember it should tell you how much it affected me and I’ll still take any impressions people may have. I vividly recall all the details you are about to read.

In the dream, I’m driving through a dimly lit and surreal urban landscape on a road that’s impossibly high above a dark city somewhere in the US.
I take a steep off ramp and round a curve as my headlights come into contact with something in the road in front of me.
As I get closer, I see that it’s an obese woman wearing black spandex slacks that appear to be filled with lumpy concrete. She’s holding hands with a small child that’s walking alongside of her.
They seem to me to be walking almost in the middle of the off ramp and as I approach them I lean on my horn and narrowly miss the corpulent woman in black.
I drive a short distance and pull into a dark alleyway wide enough for one car.
I turn off the engine and go to open my door which won’t open because she’s standing in front of it with her face in my window.
I recall she had a pasty complexion with a ton of glistening red lipstick. I don’t remember much detail regarding her facial features.

She says, “You son-of-a-bitch, you almost hit me and my kid back there!”

I’m shocked that she’s standing right in front of me but I say, “Next time, I won’t miss!”

She smiles and says, “That’s where you’re wrong, pal. There won’t be a next time.”

She pulls a shiny, silver gun out of thin air, points it at my chest and begins to pull the trigger. Bang, bang…

My chest is burning and there’s a warm trickle of blood (?) running down my stomach.
I can smell something burning. It’s me.
Suddenly, I can’t breathe, oh, dear God, I can’t breathe…my head falls on the steering wheel and somewhere in the surreal distance I hear the blare of the horn.
That’s when I wake up.
I’m drenched in sweat and there are tears in my eyes.

Obviously, I got nary a wink for the rest of the night.
I found myself at the computer opening up MS Word to chronicle everything I could possibly remember.
A friend tells me I must have been shot in a previous life because I “experienced” the pain and horror associated with getting a hole blown in your chest.
It begs the question of reincarnation and its validity. It seems to me to be a “Groundhog Day” sort of mentality. Are we reincarnated until we actually get it right? And what is right? The reincarnation concept has me a bit baffled.
Shirley McClaine, as well. But I won’t go there. (You’re welcome.)
If anyone has read anything decent on the world of dreams, keep me posted.
I seriously need to bone up on my nocturnal activities…


House (and my impending mid-life crisis)

I was trying to think of something different to post about.
Sometimes the well is just dry.
I did have a few things I was thinking about.
It was 21 years ago tomorrow that my wife and I spent our first night in this old house.
So many things have happened since then; some wonderful while others not so wonderful. But we’re still here in this place I warmly think of as my own personal Money Pit. But it’s ours…for right now.
I still remember my wife’s reaction during her first visit to the “new” house—sans furniture. She stood in what’s now the living room and watched me painting the ceiling.
There was this strange silence as she slowly scanned the bare walls and uncovered hardwood floors.
I can always tell when she’s about to cry because her nose does this unique little wrinkly thing and it’s usually not long after that the rain begins to fall.
She started crying and simply said three words that made me weak in the knees: I hate it.
I could only think of two words: Oh, shit.
What do you say to a woman on the verge of losing every single one of her emotional marbles?
Ultimately, everything worked out and we’re still here and filling the place with memories on a daily basis.

The other thought on my mind is a bit more intangible, but maybe it’s not the right venue for the blog. Essentially, it involves my own personal destiny and place in the world and the life in which I live.
I envy people that possess that clear sense of purpose.
They just seem to know. Or do they?
For me, the answers I seek are like elusive obsidian butterflies, impossibilities and incongruities that weave their way in and out of the tapestry of my days.
I wish there were some celestial hotline: “for personal destiny, press 4, for lottery inquiries, press 777 and good luck…”

What was I put here on earth to do?

Why do some days seem so desperately incalculable and unending?

Am I suicidal?
Please. No reservations have been made at the Chateau Eternity for me yet.

Am I depressed?
I say no, but my heart says something very different. It’s still in search of something I can’t quite figure out.

So I write. And write. And write.
Praying that in the process, I’ll discover that I’ve had the answers inside me all along.

Then again, maybe it’s just the rumblings of my impending mid-life crisis.
Lord knows, I deserve one but I’ve yet to feel the hankering for a brand new Porsche and a 20-something blonde bombshell…


Thunderbird Lodge

It’s been a strange weekend.
The weather has been sucky here in the Northeast but I managed to finally take out my air-conditioners. A task that’s long overdue.
And yes, my lower back feels wonderful…God, I’m getting old.

Last night, my youngest daughter asked if I’d watch a program called “The World’s Scariest Places” with her. My wife was fast asleep on the couch covered in her favorite afghan and I thought, why not.
The show was about a creepy place called the Thunderbird Lodge on the shores of Lake Tahoe in Nevada.
The show wasn’t half bad. My daughter went to bed leaving every single light on upstairs. Kids…
Click here to go to the Thunderbird website. Much interesting info and a bit of history about George Whittell (the owner, and resident bad boy)



Does this guy still have to pay the fine?
Click here to read more…



(Circa 1999)
I started having trouble with my voice several years ago.
Maybe it was the 2K jinx that caught me off guard, I don’t know.
I was singing “Moondance” by Van Morrison (no jokes, please) and went to hit a G note when I felt that first rub.
I cleared my throat with an emphatic ‘ahem’ and finished the song without too much of a problem.
It happened a few more times that night but I thought that maybe it was just the start of a cold or some funky allergy, something that would dry up and blow away in a few weeks. No big deal.
Unfortunately, the problem didn’t go away and I was faced with a situation that was ultimately compromising my livelihood – it was time to go to a doctor and find out what the hell was going on.

I can’t remember the doctor’s name (Dr. Putz?) but I remember him spraying some numbing agent into my nose before asking me to breathe normally.
The topical spray completely numbed my throat and nose in a matter of minutes allowing for the passage of a laryngoscope through my nostril and down into the back of my throat.

“You have a polyp,” he said, rather casually, but maintained that it was minute and shouldn’t cause me too much of a problem.

“What can be done about it,” I asked, wanting some sort of resolution to the problem.

“Well,” he said, “it’s too small to operate on,” and suggested some vocal therapy to alleviate any insignificant problems that I may encounter.
I immediately gathered that this wasn’t the guy to fix my throat and sought a second opinion.
The next doctor I went to wanted to use a strobe, a test that would afford a better view of my overworked vocal folds.
Regrettably, she found that I had a gag reflex stronger than a fat dog that had just eaten too much grass. She gave up after four tries and numbed my nose in preparation for the mundane laryngoscope. (actually, she was probably certain I was going to soon deliver her a nasty bile bouquet)

“The node is tiny,” she said, “no surgeon in their right mind will touch that.”

Uhh, ok, so now I’m back to square one.
Vocal therapy, learn to sing around the problem and basically be miserable.
I’d basically blown my voice out.
For many years, I’d had such a strong, vibrant voice—a voice I was so proud of and now it had gone on some sort of bizarre Gary Larson-like sabbatical, buh-bye, for now.
I spent the next few years trying various sprays, drinking warm liquids, cold liquids, Maker’s Mark; anything to end this search for the ultimate snake oil. Sadly, there was no oil to be found…I was devastated.
No one would operate and remove the polyp and I was left standing in No Man’s Land. This is my livelihood for Christ sake; I need to be able to sing.
Didn’t anyone hear how bad I sounded besides me?
This would be the end of my gigging career as I knew it.
I pissed the guys in the band off because of my ‘I don’t give a shit’ attitude, a nasty situation I still feel badly about to this day.
It wasn’t anybody’s fault but my own.
I hadn’t listened to my own body and would suffer in silence for the next several years before finally deciding to try another doctor…

(April 2005)
I was losing my mind and had basically reached the proverbial end of my rope.
I finally set up an appointment, determined to put this thing to bed.
Dr. Sillman numbed my nose with the old familiar spray and sent the scope in search of what I claimed were the dreaded polyps that had been ruining my life. My heart was beating fast and I was nervous.

“I don’t see anything, he said—no polyps, anyway. There is some irritation and reddening—but no polyps.”

No nodes. Yup, Ok, WTF?!

I had been a psychological basket case for roughly five years over something that never existed in the first place? I was totally baffled. Just what the hell was going on here?

“Do I like spicy food?” He asked.

“Yes, I do,” I said. Jalapenos are almost mild, for God’s sake.

“Drink Coffee?”

Duh, I get up at 4:30am. That’s a given.

“How about OJ?”

“Guilty, Doc.” (I actually said that.) Yes, I do drink OJ.

“Do you eat late at night then go to bed?”

“Do you smoke?”

Wait a minute…this guy’s been watching me.

Turns out I have acid reflux (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease).
Acid freekin’ reflux.
I’ve since investigated it on the web and my eyes have opened wide.
The epiphany was almost as astounding as losing my voice.
It appears that LPR hampers the vocal cords of singers tremendously because of the backwash of acid in the esophagus.
I’m still scratching my head but currently altering my diet and taking medication to try and ‘reverse the curse.’
So far, (crossing my fingers) it’s working and my voice is slowly returning to normal. The band is currently learning an old Doobie Brothers song that Michael McDonald sang and I’m slated to sing it.
We’ll see how it goes.
If you have the Livin’ on the Fault Line album,
check out “I know you’re made that way”.
I pray I do the song justice.
I decided to put this piece on my blog in the hopes that maybe someone going through what I’ve been through will read this and save some decaying grey matter. Though I can’t say definitely that this regimen will work, I can say that I never knew acid reflux could possibly be the root of my problem.
I’m still praying anyway.


I’ve just lost everything. (pause) Please pimp my strip club.

This is just plain sad.
From the Urban Legends website.

Debit card fraud

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