Smoke and Mirrors

In a perfect world . . .

Month: September 2006 (page 1 of 3)

Boston Lullabye


I’m having one of those ‘same old, same old’ days today.
When the pedestrian routine of my daily life sucks the creativity out of my soul, I get a bit cranky.
Creativity takes energy and lots of it.
The neighborhood is blanketed in a vapid fog, an early morning pall of mist, as I drive away from the house.
It makes the drive to the train station a bit outlandish, eerily transforming the lights that line the highway into surreal alien ships from some cheesy 1970’s Sci-Fi flick.

I feel so tired and antique, an old man with younger skin that’s slowly on the verge of molting. My internal needle registers an ‘E’ and I’ve neither the money nor the slightest inclination to even put five bucks in my tank (even thought gas is now a measly $2.47 a gallon, go figure).
The various bumps and steady vibrations of the train usually lull me to sleep;
my 50 M.P.H. Boston Lullabye . . .
I’ve no doubt this morning will be the ‘same old, same old’.

My weary mind drifts along as I watch the steady blur of the rushing tracks outside my window.

As I close my eyes, I mentally cross my fingers and whisper to myself, maybe today. . .



I Don’t Know Why . . .


After my mother died, I went into an emotional tailspin regarding plans for her wake, a grim task made easier by a good friend of mine that owned a funeral home and ended up directing the services.
My main problem was the music for the wake; it had to be just right.

I wanted no liturgical dirges that meant absolutely nothing to my mother.
I felt so strongly about it that it actually surprised me as I began thinking about all the musical possibilities.
My mom was the one that gave me the gift, the fire, whatever you choose to call it and I felt an almost desperate need to return the favor.

Hell, music had, in essence, brought my wife to me—it just doesn’t get any better than that.

Most songs were picked for particular reasons: Danny Boy (Bill Evans solo piano version), because it was a song her father used to sing to her and she really loved it.
Several Scott Joplin rags (strange, I know) because she’d spent a number of years trying to learn the Maple Leaf Rag, a difficult piece that would eventually elude her aging fingers.
I learned the piece years ago but never played it for her…a sadly missed opportunity.
I still play it today and wonder if I’m not really just playing it for her.

There was one song in particular that touched me in a magical way.
Thinking about it now, it was an epiphany of sorts.

It was, for me, the perfect combination of words and music that ultimately told my mom and dad’s story.
I tried explaining my interpretation of it to several friends that I knew would honestly listen; some got it, some didn’t.

“I don’t know why” is a song by singer/songwriter Shawn Colvin.
In my mind, the song had two very distinct parts: the first being that of a woman realizing her mind/memory is in deep trouble and she wants badly to explain what she’s feeling, the second being that of a husband/caregiver that wants his wife to know he will always
be there for her
Take note that only the ‘wife’ mentions music.

It’s a unique spin on the lyrics and mine alone…unless, of course, Colvin wrote it with that specific scenario in mind. I seriously doubt it.

If you see her, ask her for me, huh?

In any case, the song reaches to a depth inside me that I really didn’t know existed.
Wordpress doesn’t allow for the playing of music (at least not easily)
If you’d like to hear the tune, download it on Itunes or contact me directly.
My original intention was to have you play it and read along.
Oh, well…in a perfect world.



I don’t know whyShawn Colvin


I don’t know why
The sky is so blue
And I don’t know why
I’m so in love with you
But if there were no music
Then I would not get through
I don’t know why
I know these things, but I do


I don’t know why
But somewhere dreams come true
And I don’t know where
But there will be a place for you
And every time you look that way
I would lay down my life for you
I don’t know why
I know these things, but I do

I don’t know why
But some are going to make you cry
And I don’t know how
But I will get you by, I will try
They’re not trying to cause you pain
They’re just afraid of loving you
I don’t know why
I know these things, but I do


I don’t know why
The trees grow so tall
And I don’t know why
I don’t know anything at all
But if there were no music
Then I would not get through
I don’t know why
I know these things, but I do
I don’t know why
I know these things, but I do




ps. anyone that can guess where the location of the picture is. . . gets a shameless plug on my next post. (great incentive, huh?)
My sister may be able to figure it out.
Think of am Irish song Mom always used to sing . . .

1,001 Words

just say it

Coach Osama?


Let’s say that hypothetically you have a child in high school.

This child also plays a sport.

They come home one night from practice and hand you THIS.
(scroll to the bottom of the page for a sample of a letter written by Mitch Albom)

Said child is then instructed to visualize their team as ‘America’ and see the opposing team as Osama bin Laden.

Hypothetically, this misguided and unjustifiable inspirational tactic is tasteless and just shy of unconscionable; to use one of this nation’s greatest tragedies as a coaching tool for children truly makes one truly wonder about the future of scholastic sports and some coaching styles as well.
Is this the kind of vicious mentality you would want instilled in your child?
I guess I’m just wondering…hypothetically, that is.
And why on earth would anyone use the words of Mitch Albom for a purpose such as this? Albom is a wonderful writer and would find this scenario incredibly disturbing.

Any thoughts?




Maybe it’s more about passion…


Happy Birthday, P.A.M.


Pieces of me, live inside of you; a sotto voce whisper to your soul that says ‘home’…

A crystal green glance that harbours a power and stills my heart…forever…

Mesmerized by you…

Everyday, in every small and insignificant way as…

Love grows its deep roots in this garden of life…and I thank God for you…

Always, love…


Happy Birthday, Pamela.


One Word



Any takers on its meaning?


Trilogy in Crimson (part II)


Several years ago, there was a show called “Live, by Request”, that featured a variety of pop artists including K.D. Lang, Tony Bennett and Santana to name a few.
The show was similar to what you would see at a small concert venue but this was broadcast nationwide.
The gist was that the artist du-jour would take phone calls from people and play whatever they “requested”.

Simple enough, right?

James Taylor was on one night and a friend of mine
(who shall remain anonymous…she knows who she is)
decided to call and request a song.

She is obviously a James Taylor nut, or one would hope.

She told me she’d waited and waited on hold until the very end of the show before she finally hung up.
Needless to say, she was understandably pissed off.


I said, “Aw, that’s too bad, what were you going to request?”

She said, “I’ve always loved that song, ‘Time in a bottle’. I was going to ask him to play that.”

“Oh,” I said, “You mean the ‘Time in a bottle’ by Jim Croce, right?”

She blushed and said, “James Taylor didn’t do that song? Well, I’m glad I didn’t get through then!”

 Yeah, I thought, I’m damn sure Sweet Baby James is too.

Actually, it may have turned out to be quite funny.
Taylor seems to be a guy up for a good musical joke every now and then.
And he’s musically apt to cover the song.
I wonder what he’d sound like doing the Croce tune?

Maybe the world just isn’t meant to know.

Sadly, Croce could never fit the bill “Live, by Request”…

R.I.P. JC… (btw- I loved Croce)



 *A tidbit for you music freaks; Croce, Donald Fagen (Steely Dan) and I share the same birthday: January 10
Click on either picture to go to the individual artist’s website 


Trilogy in Crimson (part I)


Today I was thinking about some of life’s little mishaps.
Things like absentmindedly leaving a back window open before suddenly realizing you’re knee-deep into the ‘Soak’ cycle at the local carwash or you pay for gas and then drive off before pumping it into your tank; you know, the insignificant “I can’t believe I just did that” moments.

We all have more than a few stories to tell, don’t we?

If you don’t, you ain’t human, Jack.

I’ve three sordid little tales in mind.
Not all the stories here involve yours truly but they’re funny nonetheless.
Without further ado, here’s numero uno…


Many years ago, I was playing a wedding at a very prestigious country club in the area.
The band I was in at the time had played a nightclub into the wee hours of the morning the night before and we all got to the function a tad late, in the throes of an exquisite katzenjammer, smothered in justifiable lethargy.
We set up in a flash and checked our equipment which worked fine.
I headed to the member’s locker room to do a quick change into my tuxedo.
On my way downstairs, I saw the bride’s limo pull up just to add to the sense of urgency.
We were on in approximately ten minutes leaving me just enough time to change, grab a Heineken, and take my place behind the keyboards.

(It’s important to note that I stand when I play a function; easier to play, easier to sing.)

The set went off without a hitch. We brought the wedding party in and it was all good.
I did notice something strange though: many couples dancing in front of me would smile and laugh before waltzing by.
A common occurrence, I thought, it is a wedding and people are supposed to be happy. This happened several times during the set and I just smiled and kept on playing.
It wasn’t until the set was over and I was walking to the band table for dinner that I noticed my fly was down and the bottom of my tux shirt was jutting out like white rabbit’s ears, the shadow of my white-hooded Johnson.

Oh, great, Michael, just great.

How many people noticed?

And how many people decided not to tell me for my obvious entertainment value?

I’m probably on someone’s wedding video as well, preserved for all eternity.

“Oh, you gotta see the video! The keyboard player went through the entire first set with his fly down! It’s hysterical!”

Worst of all was the ultimate understanding of that ‘devil-may-care’ look from the bride’s 80 year old grandmother.
Yeah, she was warm for my form. (right…)

Parts II & III will be posted as soon as I write them.
Trust me, they’re already in my head…


365 Sunsets

Click on the picture above and never miss another sunset…I mean it.
Wicked cool.


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