Smoke and Mirrors

In a perfect world . . .

Month: April 2006 (page 1 of 3)

“One ounce, chocrate fravor”

The title of this post is the usual request from a long time Asian customer at the store. Henry has smoked a pipe for God only knows how many years. I've been at the store long enough to know that he smokes either "Dutch Chocolate" or "Tropical Fruit", types of cavendish pipe tobacco. Rewind to yesterday afternoon…

We were incredibly busy because we had a Castello Pipe show at the store.
If you've never heard of Castello and are interested, click here.
These are some of the most asthetically pleasing pipes to grace the face of the earth.
We had over $75,000 worth of briar at the store yesterday.
It was totally nuts.
Henry came in smack dab in the middle of the frenzy and was greeted by a new fellow working in the store.
Said employee snapped his fingers and pointed at Henry saying, "Ok, let's see, Henry…you smoke, um…ah, I know it's a pipe tobacco…Oriental!"
It was a Homer Simpson "GOH!" moment if ever I saw one.
Henry seemed totally unfazed and proclaimed, "One ounce, chocrate fravor," and began laughing as he usually does.

You just can't make this stuff up.

Have a great Sunday…

pipe smoker 



"A fool and his money are soon partying."


Rainbow’s End

What would you do if you were faced with a decision capable of changing someone’s life for the better, when the possibility exists that your decision could conceivably make things worse?
One special caveat:
this is not a life or death situation; but an incredibly complex decision to move forward or stay put and do absolutely nothing, a minute travesty in and of itself.

I do apologize for being so cryptic but too much information would ensure multiple emotional casualties.
I pray that someday I can explain it all.
I am living a story I once wrote and to be honest, I’m scared.
I am praying for some wisdom from my visitors, mainly you, the reader.
Please leave some thoughts…anything.
I thank you in advance.



Had a strange dream last night involving gnomes of the garden variety.
The kind of freakish creatures you find littering the topography of greater Suburbia.
In the dream, I was in my yard not really doing anything in particular when I got that strange feeling that someone was behind me. I stopped and turned and there he was- the gnome. The unchanging and cherubic faces on these little monsters has always made me feel uneasy. The facial images must exist somewhere in the deep recesses of my unconcious brain.
In my nocturnal wonderland I would quickly turn around again and again to try and catch the little bastard moving. My attempts were futile.
One time I did happen to catch his eyes as they seemed to "snap" back into their sockets.
When I woke up, I remembered only parts of this freakshow of a dream and sighed with relief knowing I'd never purchased one of these gnomes. Or did I?
Dream interpretations are welcome. But if they suggest anything to do with a possible deep seated desire to befriend these little creepy men, mums the word.
I just don't want to know about it.
Weird, huh?



Since my daughter Sarah told me about PodCasts on Itunes, I’ve been a downloading maniac. She even turned her boyfriend Dan into a podcasting freak like me.
When I found out they were free, I went nutso and thought, “Where do I sign up?”

A podcast is essentially an interactive broadcast of sorts.

There are many different types of PodCasts: Science, Technology, Music, News, Politics, Video, and Comedy and on and on.

I passed go, collected my $200 and went straight to the funny stuff. Go figure, huh?


The past few mornings I’ve listened to Sowerby and Luff’s “Big Squeeze, a podcast out of the UK. The show is hosted by Georgina Sowerby and Brian Luff, two hilarious Brits that tackle many offbeat topics.
From wood pigeons and vibrators to Omega-3 supplements and listener email, the show is incredibly entertaining and funny as all hell.

Sowerby drops the occasional f-bomb from time to time but I must admit I get a weird and wonderful thrill from listening to her say it. She’s a personality that would be a hoot to have at any Thanksgiving Day table.
Her laugh is as infectious as is her British accent. (And she's a total babe that drinks Guinness. How can you not love that?)

Luff plays more of the straight guy on the show but can easily hold his own.

He told a story (an anecdote, in Luff’s words) on the show today that had me in total stitches.


(Tip: think British accent while reading)

A woman went into a discount store to pick up some items. While cashing out, the clerk noticed that one of the items had no price tag. He picked up a microphone and announced over the booming store PA system, “Price Check on lane 13! Tampax! Super Size!

That was bad enough but someone at the rear of the store apparently misunderstood the word Tampax for Thumbtacks.

In a very business like tone a voice boomed back over the PA system: “Do you want the kind you push in with your thumb…or the kind you knock in with a hammer?

If you own an Ipod, check out the podcast.
If you don’t and you travel a great deal, get one.

Needless to say, I will be podcasting my ever-loving brains out on my commute back and forth to Boston. Come to think of it, my sudden bursts of laughter won’t even be noticed because I’ll fit right in with all the other commuting whackjobs.



ps. that's Luff on top and Sowerby on the bottom if you've had one too many Guinness

Goin’ Kafka

Just getting comfortable here at WordPress. Bear with me.
Trying some different things.
I'll settle on something…
Yeah, right.
I also want to say "thanks" to all of you that have subscribed to my feed (RSS).
I check the stats everyday and @30 people have subscribed.
That's a thing of beauty.


(check out the Mystery Blog!)

why i don’t sleep at night (reason#759)

If the #2 pencil is the most popular, why is it still #2?


As the time flies

I was sitting in the train station this morning when I glanced up at the scrolling digital banner outside announcing a new Commuter Rail Schedule effective 4/24/2006.

April 24th. Hmm…
It was twenty-five plus years ago tomorrow that I gave a voice recital at the Berklee College of Music in Boston.
I did a wide variety of songs: Takin’ it to the streets (Doobie Bros.), Oh, my stars (Brecker Bros.), some jazz standards and several songs from a guy that seriously influenced me at the time, Frank Weber.

There was one song that I did alone on the piano that sticks out in my mind simply because lyrically the piece was my life at the time.
Though it’s been 25 years since I sang the song, I can remember every single word.
Please humor me…


“Parents” by Frank Weber


They don’t know me but they try

They lie awake and wonder why I am the way I am

And I don’t wanna take the money for the lessons on the piano

And I don’t wanna leave ‘em, don’t wanna let them go

But I can’t let them know

They’ve been kind and they still are

Want to see me go real far with what I want to do

But I can’t tell ‘em what I really want to do and it kinda makes ‘em crazy

And it makes me crazy, too

I guess that they’re a lot like me

Now my father is a good man, he’s a strong man and a kind man and he always tells me what to do about my car

And Daddy when I really need you; there you are

And my mother’s kind of sentimental, she tells me not to be temperamental, cause, things aren’t quite as serious as I always think they are

But they forget I’m getting older

And the world is so much colder than it ever was at home

And like my father needs my mother

And my mother needs my Dad

I am needing something now, something that they never had

And I don’t wanna take the money for the lessons on the piano

And I don’t wanna leave ‘em, don’t wanna let them go

But I can’t let them know, I just can’t let them know…
(see, I remembered every single word. amazing)


In the middle of the last verse I happened to look at my mother who was seated in the first row. Bad idea, Michael.
She was crying and my Dad had his arm around her.
But it was a moment I will never forget because the song I was singing to them transcended time and space, settling gently in a place that no disease could ever touch. Moments like this make me realize how incredibly fortunate I was to have music in my life. Its intrinsic ability to move people is just so powerful.
Little did I know that a decade later, my life would change dramatically and my care-giving odyssey would begin.

“And I don’t wanna leave ‘em, don’t want to let them go…”

And I’m happy to say, I never let them go.


A Dali kind of day


My good friend Charlie had a priceless quote last Friday when we were working together.
It was an incredibly busy day.
He said, “I feel like I’m trapped inside a Dali painting and I can’t get out.”
Damn, I could definitely relate.
Working in a cigar store is so close to the analogy, it’s almost scary.
And there’s a story amidst all the smoke.
If it ever clears, I’ll write it down.
Good call, Charles, deep too…


ps. thanks for the Starbucks, Eliud.

pps. be sure to check out the Virtual Dali link in “Cyberjazz”…

Help Save the Internet

Got this from a good friend of mine.
Legit and kinda scary.
Sign the petition and pray congress doesn't screw this up…
(like almost everything else they touch)


Subject: Congress is selling out the Internet


Do you buy books online, use Google, or download to an Ipod? These activities will be hurt if Congress passes a radical law that gives giant corporations more control over the Internet.

Internet providers like AT&T and Verizon are lobbying Congress hard to gut Network Neutrality, the Internet's First Amendment. Net Neutrality prevents AT&T from choosing which websites open most easily for you based on which site pays AT&T more. doesn't have to outbid Barnes & Noble for the right to work more properly on your computer.

Politicians don't think we are paying attention to this issue. Many of them take campaign checks from big telecom companies and are on the verge of selling out to people like AT&T's CEO, who openly says, "The internet can't be free."

The free and open Internet is under seige–can you sign this petition letting your member of Congress know you support preserving Network Neutrality?
Click here:

A list of all the ways you might be affected by Net Neutrality is located on the bottom of this link:


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