Smoke and Mirrors

In a perfect world . . .

Month: January 2009 (page 1 of 2)

He forgets

No one knows what it’s like,
maybe even him
the days are like carbon copies of days gone by, yesterdays passed;
more of the same, the blooming of a thousand shades of grey
And life is grey; maybe it’s the only shade he knows . . .

No one knows what it’s like
maybe even me
as I take in his awkward smiles, I wonder just who they’re really meant for
Does he miss her?
Yes, he does, and he tells me so, in sotto voce syllables
I’m still unsure of what I must believe and choose to believe in him because
what’s left is all I have to believe in

No one knows what it’s like
Perhaps, God does, but He is forgetful too;
like the saving grace of His mercy, of dignity and compassion,
the sadness of detail, the complexity of why
And He cries,
for all fathers present and past, but maybe for a world He ultimately created
in love . . .

My father knows what it’s like
when it’s time for me to leave and
long forgotten tears of understanding reach his tired eyes,
tears I can no longer wipe away
because unlike him,
I already know what it’s like to say goodbye
And I do . . .

Italian Tomato Garden

An old Italian lived alone in New Jersey .
He wanted to plant his annual
tomato garden, but it was very difficult work, as the ground was hard.
His only son, Vincent, who used to help him, was in prison.
The old man wrote a letter to his son and described his predicament:

Dear Vincent,

I am feeling pretty sad, because it looks like I won’t

be able to plant my tomato garden this year.

I’m just getting too old to be digging up a garden plot.

I know if you were here my troubles would be over.

I know you would be happy to dig the plot for me, like in the old days.



A few days later he received a letter from his son.

Dear Pop,

Don’t dig up that garden.

That’s where the bodies are buried.



At 4 a.m. the next morning, FBI agents and local police arrived and dug up the entire area
without finding any bodies. They apologized to the old man and left.
That same day the old man received another letter from his son.

Dear Pop,

Go ahead and plant the tomatoes now.

That’s the best I could do under the circumstances.

Love you,


WinterBlue (redux)

The picture above is a favorite poem I wrote that I pasted into Wordle.
I found the site through Kat, a poet/writer and wonderful new blogging friend.
She ‘Wordled’ a poem she’d written and I so loved the image it gave me.
Wondering how many readers here know what poem I Wordled . . .
Any guesses?

btw- Pamela did most of what you see above. I just supplied the words.
Click on the picture for a larger view

10 warning signs you have blogging issues

It’s been obvious to me for sometime now that I have some personal issues regarding my blog.
I spoke with a close childhood friend the other night (who occasionally reads here @Smoke and Mirrors)
and he said, “I can tell you really love your blog.”
He went on to say why he thought that way and I had to agree.
I do love my little place here.
It’s home.
As always with me, there’s a dark side, a side only seen by others like me.
It’s with that in mind that I came up with 10 blogging issues that you may be able to relate to:

If you’ve ever:

  1. Fallen asleep at your laptop (sitting up) while updating your plugins, theme, blogroll or widgets, you, my friend have issues.
  2. Spent longer than the time it takes to cook an 18lb turkey while looking for that elusive ‘perfect’ theme, I hope you had on your blogging Depends (for the times when the bathroom just has to wait)
  3. Posted a spam email because it struck you as oddly interesting and you just happened to find the perfect accompanying picture to go with it, it’s BCD, pal
    blogging compulsive disorder
  4. Had a conversation with a close non-writing friend and somehow wound up explaining how Google Adsense works, for the love of God, get checked.
  5. Seriously contemplated ordering bumperstickers, t-shirts and keychain beer openers with your URL on them, you need a support group.
  6. Suffered intermittent bouts of insomnia due to one of your unpublished drafts that’s been leaving you with desperate feelings of artistic inadequacy, there’s a strait jacket waiting somewhere with your name already written on it.
  7. Planned an upcoming summer vacation with more than one or two people on your blogroll, you’re justifiably insane. Your wireless mouse is constantly talking to you but at least you’re happy in your own little world. Eat a Snickers. You’re nuts anyway.
  8. Been jealous that Firefox can remember all 847 of your blog-related/ FTP passwords when you can’t even remember your cell phone number. There’s a word for people like you. Can’t recall what it is but yeah, you. (and me, I guess)
  9. Spoken to a Verizon rep in Tucson, Arizona to get your DSL fixed and somehow managed to slip in not only your blog name but your URL as well. Crazy people can be smooth sometimes.
  10. Wondered what you did with your time before you became a blogger.

I can say that this blogging thing still makes me happy
and that I am blessed to have a wife that
understands that.
Some people aren’t that lucky.
She knows what makes me tick, I guess.
And though I may tick a bit erratically sometimes,
she ultimately understands.
I’m nuts, but at least I’m lucky.
Don’t get much better than that.

“Still looking for that blue jean, baby queen
Prettiest girl I ever seen
See her shake on the movie screen, blog on . . .”

Bowling ball daydreams

The following is an actual junk email that had me laughing my ass off.
It was kinda like reading Hemingway on acid.
If all spam was like this, I think I’d actually read more of it.

“The grand piano is single-handledly gentle.
Some eggplant related to a traffic light makes love to a carelessly frustrating rattlesnake, or the hole puncher over a traffic light accidentally borrows money from some paper napkin of a diskette.
A bowling ball daydreams, because a power drill eats the maelstrom about another polygon.
Another highly paid spider buries the college-educated line dancer.
For example, the mitochondrial fraction indicates that a vaporized nation is a big fan of a stovepipe for a dolphin.”

Yeah, weird.


I have no idea what the fine folks at Ben & Jerry’s are smoking these days but they have some of the tackiest advertisements for ice cream that my eyes have ever had the misfortune to read.
The ads are so cutesy they make me want to stir fry a litter of Chihuahua’s.
Well, almost.
I hear they taste just like chicken.
Ice cream in January around here is almost as enticing as a hot cup of soup on the 4th of July.
It just doesn’t make meteorological (or logical) sense.
Like these Ben & Jerry’s ads.
I saw an ad at B&J’s a month or so ago for one of their frozen concoctions called ‘Whirled Peace’.
Gag me with a maggot.
The proverbial turd floating in the crapper was something I happened to notice last Tuesday.
Are you ready?
Get your tie-dye barf bags out.
The flavor du-jour (I didn’t even bother to see exactly what it schwas) was something called, ‘Yes, Pecan’, in honor of the big O’s inauguration.
Yes, Pecan?
You have got to be shitting me.
Lame, lame, lame.
Well, smack my ass an call me Betty, who was the slogan-making machine that penned that one?
They should be brought out to pasture and neutered.
Over the years, slogans have always managed to catch my attention, especially when they’re real bad.
(like B&J’s)
I found a few funny things floating in cyberspace regarding slogans gone over to the dark side:

  • Clairol introduced the “Mist Stick”, a curling iron, into Germany only to find out that “mist” is slang for manure.
  • Colgate introduced a toothpaste in France called Cue, the name of a notorious porno magazine.
  • Coors put its slogan, “Turn it loose,” into Spanish, where it was read as “Suffer from diarrhea.”
  • Scandinavian vacuum manufacturer Electrolux used the following in an American campaign: “Nothing sucks like an Electrolux.”
  • When Gerber started selling baby food in Africa, they used the same packaging as in the U.S., with the beautiful Caucasian baby on the label. Later they learned that in Africa, companies routinely put pictures on the label of what’s inside, since most people can’t read.
  • The Coca-Cola name in China was first read as “Ke-kou-ke-la”, meaning “Bite the wax tadpole” or “Female horse stuffed with wax”, depending on the dialect. Coke then researched 40,000 characters to find a phonetic equivalent: “ko-kou-ko-le”, translating into “Happiness in the mouth.”
  • In Taiwan, the translation of the Pepsi slogan, “Come Alive With the Pepsi Generation,” came out as “Pepsi Will Bring Your Ancestors Back From The Grave” in Chinese.
  • Also in Chinese, the Kentucky Fried Chicken slogan, “Finger-Lickin’ Good” came out as “Eat Your Fingers Off.”
  • Frank Perdue’s chicken slogan, “It takes a strong man to make a tender chicken” was translated into Spanish as “It takes an aroused man to make a chicken affectionate.”
  • When General Motors introduced the Chevy Nova in South America, it was apparently unaware that “No Va” means “It Won’t Go.” After the company figured out why it was not selling any cars, it renamed the car in its Spanish markets to the Caribe.
  • Ford had a similar problem in Brazil when the Pinto flopped. The company found out that Pinto was Brazilian slang for “Tiny Male Genitals.” Ford pried all the nameplates off and substituted “Corcel”, which means horse.
  • When Parker Pen marketed a ballpoint pen in Mexico, its adds were supposed to say, “It Won’t Leak In Your Pocket And Embarrass You.” However, the company mistakenly thought the Spanish word “embarazar” meant embarrass. Instead the ads said that “It Won’t Leak In Your Pocket And Make You Pregnant”

The psychology of slogans fascinates me.
And come to think of it, after reading these, maybe Ben & Jerry’s isn’t so bad after all.
Bite the wax tadpole?
Evyl must have had something to do with that one . . .


I was given this award a few months ago by Annie, a writer I truly admire (and a dear friend).
She gave me the award saying this; Michael at Smoke & Mirrors because his landscape is beautiful and touching, albeit often sad, and so very real that his words can touch as no others can.”
I have to apologize for being so damn late.
Thank you, WC.

Here are the rules for the winners:

  • Each Superior Scribbler must in turn pass The Award on to 5 most-deserving Bloggy Friends.
  • Each Superior Scribbler must link to the author & the name of the blog from whom he/she has received The Award.
  • Each Superior Scribbler must display The Award on his/her blog, and link to This Post, which explains The Award.
  • Each Blogger who wins The Superior Scribbler Award must visit this post and add his/her name to the Mr. Linky List. That way, we’ll be able to keep up-to-date on everyone who receives This Prestigious Honor!
  • Each Superior Scribbler must post these rules on his/her blog.

I’m bestowing this honor on five bloggers that I feel are deserving in so very many ways.
They are all wonderful and have added so much colour and creativity to our cyberspatial community.

Spasmically Perfect

Spaz and I go way back to the early days.
A comment of hers left me speechless and I haven’t stopped visiting her since.
If you haven’t spent some time at this very special blog you are missing out on some wonderful stories, prose and the thoughts of one incredibly creative woman.


Not sure how we linked up initially but I’m so very glad that we did.
A visit to this place is simply magical.
Her words are not unlike a wonderful session of yoga for the restless mind.
Trust me.


What can I say about a guy like me that is totally in love with his wife and kids?
Grimm is a lighter and much funnier version of yours truly.
This is a guy that really deserves more recognition that what he gets.
I found Grimm on BlogExplosion a little while back and have been thoroughly entertained since.
I am proud and truly honoured to call him a friend.


A blog that makes you laugh, cry and give serious thought to the many serious questions regarding our lives.
Kat is a writer/poet that truly inspires me to be just a bit more, creatively speaking.
Though she has an avid following I had to give her this award.
Please stop by and say hi to Kat.


Although he’s the ultimate blogslacker, he writes very well and has a joyfully sardonic sense of humor.
His view on the world is uniquely his own and I love the fact that he can verbally smackdown
the most intellectual of assholes with the most succinct use of the English language known to man.
Did I say he writes well?
Please visit Smith.
Someone has to at least tell him he won an award . . .  (yeah, i’m a wisearse)

Congrats to all!

Shooting for the Moon

I’ve been thinking lately about how disconnected I feel regarding my father.
He’s been in limbo for so long now that I almost forget how to love the man.
I write this knowing full well I run the risk of sounding cold and emotionally apathetic, which I am definitely not.
But how do you find a way to love someone that for all intents and purposes is no longer there?
I care for him, God, I do and will forever remain his most vocal of advocates to ensure he’s treated with the utmost respect and compassion.
I owe him that and so much more.
Three years ago, I would have had a very hard time letting him go.
Today, I’m not so sure.
I want this thing to be over with for him, maybe for my sister and me too.
I want him to ‘get there’.
I want him to feel peace, not chaos; sunlight, not rain; happiness not despair; warmth and not apathy.
It makes me sad to write these words but I mean them in the best and most tender way possible.
These thoughts are always hanging off the edge of some deep and internal precipice of mine, wanting to fall off into some godforsaken abyss and be gone.
But somehow, they remain.
Until now, perhaps.
Maybe I’m writing these words in the hopes that they remove the chains that keep me from getting as close to him as I feel I need to be, loving him deep within my heart and not just on the pages of Smoke and Mirrors.
I waited on an older gentleman the other day that reminded me of my father some ten years ago.
He wanted to buy some cigars for his son who was celebrating his 30th birthday.
I wanted to tell him how lucky he was, how fortunate his son was that his father was still in good health, how life can change in the blink of an eye.
Giving advice on life to a man that could have been my father just didn’t make any logical sense to me.
It’s almost tragic how many things there are in my life that I no longer take for granted these days.
Like someone I love remembering my birthday.
Yeah, in a perfect world . . .
This isn’t a ‘poor me’ scenario because I honestly don’t feel that way at all.
I just wanted to let someone know just how precious certain moments really are.
I didn’t do that.
And the days go by . . . .


Saw this MEME at Moe’s and decided to throw my hat in the ring.
A few things about me;

1. Were you named after anyone? My father’s father: Michael
2. When was the last time you cried? Early December
3. What is your favourite lunch meat? Capicola (spicy ham)
4. Do you have kids? 3 girls that I am crazy in love with.
5. If you were another person would you be friends with you? Absolutely. I’m a great friend.
6. Do you use sarcasm a lot? All depends on who you ask.
7. Do you still have your tonsils? Yup, a few other body parts, too
8. Would you bungee jump? Nope. My lower back is already a whacky freeway of devastated nerves.
9. What is your favourite cereal? When I eat it, oatmeal. Not the microwave crap, the real deal
10. Do you untie your shoes when you take them off? Not always
11. Do you think you are strong?  Physically? Not so much, mentally? I’m a giant.
12. What is your favourite ice cream? Frozen Pudding (just like my twin sister Moe)
13. What is the first thing you notice about people? Their voice . . . then the eyes
14. Red or pink? Red
15. What is the least favourite thing about yourself? My teeth. They look fine but they really suck.
16. Who do you miss the most? My mom and dad. Mom died in 2005 and my dad hasn’t spoken a word in years. Alzheimers robs a family of everything.
17. What colour shoes are you wearing? Tan Eddie Bauer slippers
18. What was the last thing you ate? A cheeseburger
19. What are you listening to right now? Hannah talking.
20. If you were a crayon, what colour would you be? Royal purple
21. Favourite smells? A fine cigar, Obsession (women’s cologne), pine, lavender, fresh basil and puppies
22. Who was the last person you spoke to on the phone? Pamela
23. Favourite sports to watch? Football and college basketball
24. Hair colour? what colour? I’m bald.
25. Eye colour? chocolate brown
26. Do you wear contacts? Used to. Not now.
27. Favourite food? Anything hot and spicy, anything that swims, mushrooms, prosciutto and good provolone
28. Scary movies or happy endings? Scary movies with really sad endings
29. Last movie you watched? The Dark Knight
30. What colour shirt are you wearing? a grey long sleeve t-shirt
31. Summer or winter? Absolutely Summer
32. Hugs or kisses? Both in total excess
33. Favourite desserts? Chocolate Mousse
34. I’m most likely to..
.   puff a cigar before I go to bed
35. I’m least likely to...   win the lottery tomorrow
36.What book are you reading now? The hour I first believed (Wally Lamb) / Problogger
37. What is on your mouse pad? Staples
38. What did you watch on television last night? No TV
39.Favourite sounds? My Taylor guitar (that I hardly ever play), a Steinway piano, my wife and daughters laughing, my new 8GB Nano, the purr of my 3 cats
40. Rolling Stones or The Beatles? Beatles. Great songs that will live forever.
41. What is the furtherest you’ve been from home? Honduras
42. Do you have a special talent?   Juggling. I suck but I can juggle. And I can play a song in two different keys at the same time. Yeah, freaky in a ‘Victor Borge’ kind of way
43. Where were you born? Worcester, Massachusetts

Feel free to ‘steal’ this one.
An obvious cheat post but what the hell.

No DSL, No Cry

DSL went out today.
I got home from work and spent 2+ hours on the phone with a very cool Verizon rep
(I owe u a brewski, dude)
before connectivity was finally restored.
Must have been something I did  (yeah, right)
Planned on getting some blog stuff done tonight but . . .
I’m connected and my daughters are happy.
When the daughters are happy, I’m happy.
I’m going to bed now.
A curled up ethernet cable looks oddly enough like a grey turd, don’t it?

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