Smoke and Mirrors

In a perfect world . . .

Month: April 2007 (page 1 of 3)


I planned on posting something tonight but I’m running on scant fumes.
I was up at 2AM this morning and basically never made it back to bed.
Sportin’ a serious case of whoopass here people.
Hopefully, tonight the Sandman will come.
For now, I’m off to dreamland.


Funny little spots

My motto:
When in doubt, go YouTube
Have a great Monday, folks
Oh, almost forgot. . . stay tuned for a very special guest post later on this week
It should be great.



Ripple effect

Several months ago I wrote a post called “Swans”.
It was about the walks I take with my wife around the neighborhood pond right outside our front bay window.
You should probably read that post first.
It’s short but this post will make a bit more sense if you have time.

My shrinking faith in humankind was all but shattered yesterday morning as I read a
story in our local newspaper regarding an incident that happened right here.
I read with shock and sadness that one of the swans was found dead a week ago Sunday with an arrow through its neck.
I realize there are more serious issues pasted on the front page and this was fairly insignificant in the grand scheme of things but . . .
Who cares about a dead swan anyway?
Well, I do.
Especially when it was killed right outside my front window.
That some pathetic excuse for a human being would do something as cowardly as this has left me shaking my head.
Why would someone feel the need to do something like this?
For the sheer sport of it?
These swans bothered no one and were a joy to watch as they glided across the water, side by side.
Maybe it’s the fact that I drew something of a metaphor between the two swans and my wife and me. The literary device I used was now senselessly murdered like oh so many badly written high school essays.
I try and fool myself into thinking that most of the world embraces respect for the sanctity of life when in reality we really don’t at all.
We kill and sacrifice altogether too many things these days: the truth, overly altrusitic ideals we can never live up to, our religion, the environment, all the wildlife we can get our bloody hands on and we ultimately kill each other.
The mechanism used differs slightly but the outcome is always the same; we come away with less than what we started out with.
In my mind, I see a solitary tear fall from the eye of the remaining swan or maybe it’s just from the heavens.
It dissolves into the glassy surface of the quiet pond generating deep concentric circles of sadness that spread far beyond the reaches of the tiny shoreline.
It’s reached a special place I call home and the many people that live around me.
While the earth will continue to turn and the seasons will continue to change, I can’t help but wonder if we as human beings will ever do the same.
I can only hope.


This ain’t Nine Inch Nails

When my daughters were small they used to ask me to read them stories using the voice of the Swedish Chef from the Muppets.
And I love the Swedish Chef.
I can ‘bort,bort,bort‘ with the best of ’em.
Just ask my daughters…
Have a great weekend everybody.
See you back here on Monday.


ps. Check out my sidebar to the right.
When you click on the big red question mark it brings you to a random post of mine.
I can’t figure out what the hell else to do with the feature.
And while you’re here, take a peek at my Smoke Cloud {left sidebar}.
A bit cooler than a boring, ho-hum category list.
Click on any tag and you can see what I’ve written in that specific category.
If you have a WP blog, this funky widget is just waiting for your sidebar.

Grace, revisited

I’m running short on time and thought I’d re-post this small piece that was published in The Sun.
The ‘Readers Write’ section is a space devoted to writing from various subscribers based on a one word prompt from the magazine.
Topics range from A to Z with many in betweens.
This was my spin on the prompt “Grace”…

It’s a Sunday morning and I’m kneeling in the Church of the North American Martyrs, a house of worship I’ve gone to for the past 20 years.
It’s always the same old prayers, same old pew, same old church, the same old me.
My wife and at least one or two of my three daughters are next to me (one is always an altar server these days).
From the outside, I appear to be in a state of deep prayer, and maybe I am.
I’m usually praying for two parents that are steadily approaching the late stages of Alzheimer’s disease, praying desperately for money that I can never seem to make enough of, praying for people that I don’t even know, maybe selfishly praying for myself – but sometimes I am just praying.
It seems fruitless and shallow some Sundays, but I do it anyway hoping that in some small and insignificant way my life will spontaneously be easier to bear.
The crosses I carry in life are there, so I’m told, for reasons unseen and I usually pray to Mary for the strength and vision needed to make sense out of my life, maybe to just do good.
With my daughters growing older and away from me, to my own health (physical and mental), to the mortgage payment that’s habitually late, to a wife that’s never gotten what she truly deserves, it’s on Sunday mornings that I kneel and pray for some divine intervention to make sense of it all, to make everything in my life suddenly understandable.
I’m reminded of a recent incident in Colchester, Ct., where a propane leak inside of a church ignited and blew it quite literally to pieces.
Nothing was left save for a statue of the Virgin Mary, standing virtually untouched and unblemished – a visible prayer, my rock.
I sometimes see the wreckage of my own life strewn about me, the shattered and lost minds of my sick parents, promises broken, missed soccer games, unspoken ‘I love you’s’, and I pray for the wisdom and grace to still be standing amidst my own ruins, like the solitary statue of Mary.

© michaelm 2005

When a telemarketer calls

Found this floating around the Internet.
I shuddered at the thought of no one ever being able to use some of these.
Bet you can’t wait for the phone to ring now, eh?
Just sharing the love.


1. If they want to loan you money, tell them you just filed for bankruptcy and you could sure use some money.

2. If they start out with, “How are you today?” say, “I’m so glad you asked, because no one these days seems to care, and I have all these problems. My arthritis is acting up, my eyelashes are sore, my dog just died . . . ”

3. If they say they’re John Doe from XYZ Company, ask them to spell their name. Then ask them to spell the company name. Then ask them where it is located, how long it has been in business, how many people work there, how they got into this line of work if they are married, how many kids they have, etc. Continue asking them personal questions or questions about their company for as long as necessary.

4. This works great if you are male. Telemarketer: “Hi, my name is Judy and I’m with XYZ Company.” You: Wait for a second and with a real husky voice ask, “What are you wearing?”

5. Cry out in surprise, “Judy? Is that you? Oh my God! Judy, how have you been?” Hopefully, this will give Judy a few brief moments of terror as she tries to figure out where she could know you from.

6. Say “No” over and over. Be sure to vary the sound of each one, and keep a rhythmic tempo, even as they are trying to speak. This is most fun if you can do it until they hang up.

7. If MCI calls trying to get you to sign up for the Family and Friends Plan, reply, in as sinister a voice as you can, “I don’t have any friends, would you be my friend?”

8. If the company cleans rugs, respond: “Can you get out blood? Can you get out goat blood? How about human blood?”

9. After the Telemarketer gives his or her spiel, ask him or her to marry you. When they get all flustered, tell them that you can’t just give your credit card number to a complete stranger.

10. Tell the Telemarketer that you work for the same company, and they can’t sell to employees.

11. Answer the phone. As soon as you realize it is a Telemarketer, set the receiver down, scream, “Oh my God!” and then hang up.

12. Tell the Telemarketer you are busy at the moment and ask him/her if he/she will give you his/her home phone number so you can call him/her back. When the Telemarketer explains that telemarketers
cannot give out their home numbers say, “I guess you don’t want anyone bothering you at home, right?”
The Telemarketer will agree and you say, “Me either!”
Then hang up.

13. Ask them to repeat everything they say, several times.

14. Tell them it is dinner time, but ask if they would please hold. Put them on your speaker phone while you continue to eat at your leisure. Smack your food loudly and continue with your dinner conversation.

15. Tell the Telemarketer you are on “home incarceration” and ask if they could bring you some beer.

16. Ask them to fax the information to you, and make up a number.

17. Tell the Telemarketer, “Okay, I’ll listen to you. But I should probably tell you, I’m not wearing any clothes.”

18. Insist that the caller is really your buddy Leon, playing a joke. “Come on, Leon, cut it out! Seriously, Leon, how’s your momma?”

19. Tell them you are hard of hearing and that they need to speak up . . . louder . . . louder . . .

20. Tell them to talk very slowly, because you want to write every word down.

The Tale of Cahoon’s Hollow and the Unhappy Campers

At my blog, he goes by the name Pooftha, sometimes it’s Poofy but I call him Laho. (Now, don’t go and hit me the racial slur bit, ok?)

Actually, my long time friend Billy (Zipperhead, Zip for short)
coined the name ‘Laho’ and for me it just stuck.
We’ve celebrated birthdays, anniversaries, holidays and we get together on a fairly regular basis for a nice dinner out or the occasional BBQ at his house or my house.
(But Laho has a bitchin’ pool, no lie, so we usually go there)

Laho & Liho (his wife, who looks like she could be my wife’s twin sister) are very close to us.
We’ve gone through much together as far as our lives go.

But I’ve yet to tell you Laho’s favorite story about me.
It’s one he likes to pull out and tell (in great detail) every time we’re together.
However, he seems to derive an inordinate amount of pleasure telling it when there are lots of people around to actually listen to the man.
I take it more in stride these days but boy, oh boy, you’d think I really scarred the poor bastard for life the way he tells it. And maybe I did.


The story begins with a beautiful day on Cape Cod; the sun is 100% Orange Crush and the skies are a deep shade of eternal indigo with a few scant puffs of white for contrast.
Yeah, it’s perfect, ok?
L&L love the beach visible by their cocoa brown-colored skin during the summer months. I couldn’t take them to just any beach; Uh, uh.
This had to be a very special place.

It didn’t help my cause at all that I chose to praise the living crap out of this
hellhole. . . uhh, I mean really nice beach, I decided to take them to.
We agreed to meet the next day at our hotel and drive to the elbow of the Cape, Wellfleet to be exact.

“You guys are going to love this place,” I said, “It’s called Cahoon’s Hollow and it’s wonderful. We’ll have a blast,” I said confidently.

I should make a point of telling you that each of us had an infant in tow
(translation: we were carrying mucho baby apparatus; diapers, bottles, gallons of SPF 50+ sunscreen, bottled water, chairs, playpens, toys, strollers and incredibly the list goes on…you get the picture. And if you’re thinking this can’t and won’t end well, you’re right)

I should also mention that the path leading down to the beach was a steep incline easy to go down but virtually impossible to get up even when you’re not carrying a six pack of Magic Hat never mind 2 ½ tons of baby shit.

We all made it safely down the blistering hot hill of sand and found a nice spot to set up the girls and the babies.
It wasn’t until we were done that I turned to look at the ocean, the raison d’être for our visit.

Oh. My. God.

I didn’t think the ocean had that much seaweed.
For as far as the eye could see the first 25 to 30 ft of ocean was slimy, brown and extremely icky seaweed.
It even grossed me out, which is really hard to do. (Just ask Laho)


Laho said, “Nice . . . you guys come here a lot, huh?”

Even my wife gave me the ‘I don’t even know you’ stare.

By now, we’re all red hot, sweaty and irritable and the babies are getting whiney and crying; they’re hungry.
My recollection of the day pretty much stops right there.
The old grey matter had soaked in enough.

That’s where my good buddy Laho comes in.

He’s good at explaining the perilous and almost life-threatening situation we encountered exiting this shithole of a beach.

He uses words and phrases like “ frickin’ Murphy’” or we almost died getting out of there” or “Goddamned Murphy and his bright ideas” or “You’re not going to believe this shit!” or my favorite, “beautiful, just frickin’ beautiful” to describe the utter mayhem we experienced that day.

I’m here to tell you Laho and Liho (and family) still frequent the beach but our oldest daughters may be repressing some deep seated fears over brown, slimy and copious amounts of seaweed. I’m not sure.

I love Laho like a brother but if I have to hear that damn Cahoon’s Hollow story one more time… I’m still going to be laughing like I always do.
Maybe that’s what good friends do.

And in my heart, we’re more than just good.

And the Hollow will never let us forget that.



ps. Liho, you’re Mom and Dad are in my prayers 


I listened to this tune on the train home tonight and wondered if the video was on YouTube.
My question has obviously been answered.
If you think you know nothing about this band called Mr. Mister, think again.
Check the Wikipedia site for more info on Richard Page.
He’s the voice behind the song Kyrie and his long time friend Steve George is playing keyboards.
I’ve loved this man’s voice forever and followed his career relentlessly.
It’s hard for me to believe he’s not a mega-star.
Maybe that just wasn’t his gig.
Turn up your speakers and enjoy this tune.
If you can find a copy of the album ‘Pages’ on CD, let me know.
It should have a track on it called “You need a hero”
If you do, I’d love you forever.
Know that Page is singing ‘Kyrie Eleison‘ and not ‘carry a laser‘. . .
Enjoy and have a wicked pissa weekend.


2 Guesses

Two guesses as to what this post is about.
I don’t even have to soil my blog with your untalented name.
Don’t let the door hit you on the way out, you weirdo putz.
Nah, nah, nah-nah . . .



I’m still trying to figure out this new digital camera.
I think the jpegs take up too much memory and I need to figure out how to compress them down to a workable and downloadable size.
If anyone knows about the finer details of digital photography, email me.
I’m all ears.
I’ll leave you with several new pics.
Look for more once I figure out just what the hell is going on.
Maybe I need to look into Flickr…


Here’s a good shot of the little guy’s belly.
Bengals generally have spotted bellies.

A good shot of his marbled coat.

He also likes to stand and look out the window.

Older posts

© 2016 Smoke and Mirrors

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑