Smoke and Mirrors

In a perfect world . . .

Month: March 2006 (page 1 of 3)

QOD(4 writers)

A quote from Jade Walker's Written Word:

"Nighttime is really the best time to work. All the ideas are there to be yours because everyone else is asleep." –Catherine O'Hara

Today, I thought of you



Immigrant Song 4427

And they wandered in
From the city of St. John
Without a dime
Wearing coats that shined
Both red and green
Colors from their sunny island
From their boats of iron
They looked upon the promised land
Where surely life was sweet
On the rising tide
To New York City
Did they ride into the street

See the glory
Of the royal scam

They are hounded down
To the bottom of a bad town
Amid the ruins
Where they learn to fear
An angry race of fallen kings
Their dark companions
While the memory of
Their southern sky was clouded by
A savage winter
Every patron saint
Hung on the wall, shared the room
With twenty sinners

See the glory
Of the royal scam

By the blackened wall
He does it all
He thinks he's died and gone to heaven
Now the tale is told
By the old man back home
He reads the letter
How they are paid in gold
Just to babble in the back room
All night and waste their time
And they wandered in
From the city of St. John without a dime

See the glory
Of the royal scam

Lyrics by Donald Fagen and Walter Becker(Steely Dan).
Were they ahead of their time?
All depends on your interpretation of the lyric, I guess.
Living illegally in the US will always be a royal scam until we recognize it as such.



The subtle secret,
To possessing all you want:
Blessing all you have.~m

The Nosmo King

I sell cigars and tobacco for a living.
It makes sense that when I leave at the end of the day that I smell not totally unlike your grandfather or uncle used to if he smoked a pipe or cigars.
While it's not the finest smell in the world to many, I can think of several colognes/perfumes I dislike much more.
Actually, some reek to the high heavens.

Case in point: I got on the train a week ago and sat next to this princess.

She immediately turned to me and said, "Ugh… do you smoke?"

I was taken by surprise but I looked at her and said, "Yyyeah. . . "

"Well," she says, irritated, "I'm pregnant!"

I really wanted to say, "Oh, I thought you were just really fat."
But I bit my lip and in my stupefied state muttered, "Jesus Christ," before I got up and moved to another seat. What the hell does the fact that I smoke have to do with being in this woman's proximity? Would the aroma cause some strange birth anomaly?
I'm still shaking my head over this one and wondering if I'm the one in the wrong here.
And I'm still pissed that this chaste, self-righteous and corpulent A-hole basically wanted me to know I was an unacceptable seating partner simply because I smoke.
If I was smoking on the train, yes, I'm an inconsiderate idiot and should be thrown off while the train is moving.
I work in a cigar store where people smoke cigars. So sue me.
Any thoughts?
Or is it just a total over-reaction from me?
I could use a good smartass Groucho Marx quote right about now…


Me. Living in one of my 9 lives

This pic made me laugh.
The only thing missing is a nice cigar and a bottle of Guinness…


(thanks, GM)

Public Flush

All female visitors to Smoke and Mirrors:

click the link below and smile. You've all been there before.
Please tell Marti, I sent you.

Lazy Link Saturday

Somewhere near the corners of Penny and Memory

My usual Saturday stop on the way to the train is to a little place on Grafton Hill called George’s Bakery. It’s a Lebanese/Syrian bakery that boasts several types of olives, feta cheese, grape leaves, kibbe, Baba Ganoush and the best damn meat pies in the city.
While I like their Baba, their Hummus leaves much to be desired.

If you like Hummus, try my recipe below:

1 lg can of chick peas (has to be Progresso, this brand works the best)
1-2 cloves garic
1 ½ tsp. salt
½ – ¾ cup of fresh lemon juice
1 cup of sesame Tahini (available at most supermarkets)
Pinch of cumin and cayenne

Pour contents of can of chick peas and half its liquid into food processor (save the rest!).
Process for 30 seconds.
Add remaining ingredients and blend.
If too stiff, add more liquid from chick peas (or water) until desired consistency.
Serve in a shallow dish and sprinkle liberally with olive oil and paprika.

Over the years I’ve custom-tailored it to my own preference and have found I like my own best of all. While at George’s I’m usually good for a few meat pies with feta and some grape leaves. Heaven on earth, for me.
There used to be a wonderful place near George’s on Wall Street called the El Morocco.
They specialized in Lebanese cuisine serving up dishes like Port Said, Stuffed Eggplant and Lamb Shish. My wife and I had our wedding reception there we liked it so much but sadly, it closed its doors many years ago.
Quincy Jones wrote some lyrics that went,

"Everything must change.
Nothing stays the same.
Everyone will change.
No one stays the same."

Sometimes things change for the good but more often than not it tends to go the other way; the shadows of yesterday obscured by society’s penchant for progress.
When I was a child, when ever I went to see my grandmother she would leave two quarters on the counter for my sister and me.
We’d take the found money (a fortune back then) and head off down the street to Phil’s Corner Store, one of my favorite destinations as a child.
Phil was an older man with a welcoming face; a paradox considering his curmudgeon-like attitude. I think Phil actually liked us kids, he just didn’t want to admit that fact to anyone.
He had the city’s best selection of penny candy, bar none.
At the time, penny candy actually cost a penny (a revolutionary concept long forgotten).
My sister and me would set about filling our wicker baskets with licorice whips, flying saucers (a communion-like wafer filled with candy dots), peach stones, Swedish Fish, candy cigarettes, Squirrels, rainbow colored boxes of jawbreakers and candy lipstick.
A quarter bought a sizeable bag of happiness stuffed with enough candy to last until we got back home. The store itself was dimly lit with a dusty, wooden planked floor.
There was no Keno, Lottery or credit card machine.
I don’t even think Phil’s had a phone.
If I could freeze any single moment in my life it would be the feeling I got walking into Phil’s, my childhood paradise. I drove by the old store this morning on the way to George’s and felt that undeniable pang of sentimental loss.
Phil packed up his wonderful glass jars of candy and cases of original Coca-Cola long ago.
He sauntered off into the sunset joining all the other small businesses that sadly made their way to the retailing boneyard.
The store is now called “No Name Grocery”, with neon lights in the windows covered with security grates to keep the crackheads out.
Yeah, the neighborhood has changed a bit since my grandmother died decades ago.
This store is as strange and dark as a Skittles commercial.
And there’s this obtuse Spanish feel I get from the signs haphazardly screwed to the sides of the building that read:

Food Stamps!





(rank profanity and nasty racial slurs were here before I decided to delete them.)
The sight would make my grandmother fill a case of Depends.
Phil’s spirit has long since been exorcised; a peccadillo that seems profoundly sad and intrinsically wrong.
Some things should never change.
Maybe that’s what memories are really about…



Been outstraight the past few days.
Actually, downloading music and stuff for the Nano.
Off to work for the day but I have a day off tomorrow!
Will post something odd then.

Don't forget to visit the
Weekly Blog of Mystery.
It's a pretty cool one this week.
Have a great weekend!



"First we thought the PC was a calculator. Then we found out how to turn numbers into letters with ASCII and we thought it was a typewriter. Then we discovered graphics, and we thought it was a television. With the World Wide Web, we've realized it's a brochure."

~Douglas Adams

Way ahead of his time and gone way too soon.
Adams still had books left to write.


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