Smoke and Mirrors

In a perfect world . . .

Month: June 2009 (page 1 of 2)

bad sneakers

I’m thinking many people have wondered about the origins of my URL,
or not.
I’ve based my email addresses on Steely Dan song titles
simply because I didn’t want
an email address like
Steely Dan song titles worked great;
(Book of Liars is a Dan song not currently on YouTube)
Okay, now I’ve let my little secret fly.
Now go and listen to the tune that ultimately gave me my URL . . .
(and a few email addys)
If you’re a Dan fan from the Boston area,
they’re appearing at the Wang in late July.
Go to Steely  for more info
I’m on vacation that week but for some reason
I’m not bumming about it at all . . . 😉


He was walking in the morning, Sunshine
a green and red pizza-sliced umbrella hung over his head
like a clown’s frown
He was neither here nor there but anywhere was better than his here and now

With a grey rag wool cap on his head and
a scratched up pair of $3.99 Aviator sunglasses covering his tired and muddy eyes,
he looked like some godforsaken Howard Hughes, waiting for Godot
But you wouldn’t know how he carried his world full of blue in a wrinkled leather satchel,
his personal box of rain that seemed almost attached to his hip

It was far from cool, this game, maybe this joke
kept his rarer than rare smiles in his bag, next to his smokes
because nothing made sense anymore, and it hadn’t for sometime
his box filled with rain, this life without rhyme
So one day He was walking in the evening sunshine
at least the sun don’t ever lie
and sometimes that just has to be enough
for a guy called Sunshine . . .


Sometimes when I’m having a hard time coming up with something to write about
I put on a piece of music guaranteed to stimulate a brain wave or two.
I’m currently listening to Charles Ives and his Concord Symphony,
specifically ‘Hawthorne’, the second movement of the piece.
Ives isn’t for the average listener, believe me.
It’s some strange and beautiful stuff.
When I first listened to this particular piece years ago,
I wondered how one man could physically play it.
About three minutes into ‘Hawthorne’ you hear these pentatonic (all black notes) clusters,
an impossibility for the right hand alone given what the left hand is doing at that point.
Trust me.
It’s impossible.
Or so I thought.
I would find out years later that the performance notes for the Concord
require a piece of wood that must be cut to a certain size and
must weigh approximately 8oz or some crazy ass shit like that.
The board is gently ‘layed’ across the black notes on the piano giving the massive ‘cluster’ effect that I heard (and loved)
Nope Ives is not for the faint of heart simply because of the harmonic complexity of his music.
One minute he can sound like Chick Corea while the next he’s Scott Joplin on an acid trip.
I would recommend that everyone listen to Ives but I fear you’d call me insane.
If you want to experience something insanely creative by a lowly insurance salesman from Danbury, Connecticut,
go for it.

Ives is incredible and one of a kind.
I heard someone play something by Ives many years ago and it was something of a religious experience.
Check it out.
Be sure and stop back for Weird Wednesday!


For those of you that choose to listen:

Hawthorne Part 1
Hawthorne Part 2

These are performed by Marc-Andre Hamelin,
an amazing pianist and great interpreter of Ives.

Music for a darkened blog

Strange mood this evening, peoples
Felt like some appropriate night music.

Letter to Papa

Dear Dad,

I know you’ll never read this but I wanted to take a few minutes
and tell the world how very much you mean to me and Maureen.
We miss so many things about you; your laugh, your smile, your once bright eyes,
the way you used to drive Mom nuts whenever you tried to sing,
how proud you were of your wonderful grandchildren,
even the way you used to wrap yourself up like a mummy whenever we went to the beach so you wouldn’t go all ‘lobster’ on us.
I’ll be visiting you this Sunday and will undoubtedly feed you lunch,
maybe give you a shave if you need one.
It’s really sad that there isn’t more I can do.
But at least I can do that.
I haven’t been keeping up with the Red Sox like I used to either.
That was something I did when you were better so we’d have something to talk about besides the weather.
These days the weather isn’t worth talking about anyway.
I saw an older man sitting on a bench on the Boston Common the other day that looked just like you.
I absentmindedly started walking faster towards you him before I caught myself.
He wasn’t you.
He could never be you.
Then again no one could ever be the man I call my father except for you.
On Sunday, Maureen and I pray a small part of you knows how special you have always been to us
and will continue to be.
Maureen says it best when she gently puts her hand on your cheek and says,
“You are the greatest Dad ever, you know that don’t you?”
And so I will say, “Happy Father’s Day, Dad,”
because in my heart I know you’re still in there somewhere.

Much love, Papa Wally
Much love . . .


I am all about the stars.
Just downloaded ‘Stellarium’ tonight.
Had to share.
Even the desktop icon is cool for this program.
If you like stars and the night sky this program is nuckin’ futs.
It’s a big file (@40megs) but totally worth it.
I’ve been trolling the sky for the past half hour.
Click on the picture above and enjoy.
Any guesses as to the constellation up there?
(Moe, don’t bother)
Enjoy . . .

Between the Sheets

I’ve been thinking about starting a website called Shitter that’s based on Twitter.
It’s all about sharing information.
The gist of it is that you update your status from the can.
It would be all text because you just don’t bring a laptop into the bathroom.
A sleek mobile application called ‘Poopdeck’ would be nice though.
When someone enters the ‘deck’ you would hear a toilet flush
and when someone ‘sheets’ . . .  well, you get the idea.
There’s an endless list of apps that would work as well:
Shitteroo (for the folks in Australia), SweetShit, ShitStain,
ShitHead, HolyShit, Shiterator, Shits Like Me, TopSheet,

Shubble (used in times of gastrointestinal distress), Sheetburner, Loud Sheeter, ShitterMeThis, SheetShots, ShitKit, Shitbook, ShitterPhone, ToughShit
and Shwapper (can’t figure out what I’d use that for but I know I’d need it eventually)
There would be funny sheets, nasty sheets, bad sheets and sexy sheets.
Maybe even badly needed sheets after a Saturday night out on the town
getting wrecked. Beer-induced sheets and painful sheets, Shitter would have it all.
My favorite app would be GeoShit, a cool tracking program that tells you
where you left your last sheet.
The truth of the matter is that some very deep thinking is done when you’re
steaming one through the hoop and that needs to be addressed.
Problem is that someone already owns the URL. Truth.
Guess it’s back to the drawing board for me to check out some new shit . . .


There are days when my eyes open on the world and I see things as they are.
I notice the difference immediately because most days my vision is subconsciously selective;
I see the things the way I want to see them.
Today, I saw sadness.
I know, big surprise, huh?
On my way to lunch I saw a woman sitting in the rain by a water fountain and she was crying as she talked softly on her cell phone. I heard her say, “Please just don’t . . . ”
It seemed like I was the only person in the screaming city of Boston that noticed.
I felt bad as I walked by but there was nothing I could do.
Truth be told I’m no saint or archangel but when I notice a situation like this it tends to rattle me.
As a writer maybe I tend to notice a tad more than the general populace does.

I got to South Station tonight and witnessed a homeless woman counting, folding and re-folding what I assumed were her only earthly possessions.
She placed them in a rucksack that looked like it had been dragged through a muddy puddle.
And again, people walked by her without so much as a passing glance.
She was far from invisible and the look on her face told the world at large
that she was the farthest thing from a happy ending.
It was profoundly sad.
If it were another day, I may have just walked by as well, too caught up in my own life.
I sat down on the train and scratched my head wondering what highway to nada leads someone to a hell like this?

Many years ago I waited on a woman that bought her daily ciggies from me.
She always tried to look her best in terms of her hair and the clothes she wore but she could never quite pull it off.
I always felt there would be no hot fudge sundaes in her near future.
One day she stopped coming in and I would wonder for years what ever became of her.
My heart sank the day I saw her pushing a rusty old shopping cart on the sidewalks of South Main Street in a bad section of downtown Worcester.
Her cart was filled with dirty cans and empty bottles that she would undoubtedly redeem to get cash for God only knows what.
She was a broken woman and a sad commentary on a reality I pray I never have to experience.
So, is it selective vision?
Lord knows we all use it from time to time because it’s easier just to look the other way sometimes.
Maybe that’s why we also have days that we ‘see’ the world as it is.
And perhaps that’s what keeps us all just a bit more humble and human in the end.
Say a prayer the next time you see a fallen angel walking the walk.
It can only help.

Twitter God

I follow many people on Twitter and one of them is the writer Jonathan Carroll.
Although most of his tweets are of quotes and interesting life observations he
occasionally will post a link to a website he’s found that interests him.
Being a big JC fan I inevitably follow his links.
I consider Carroll to be an incredibly creative man and am usually glad I clicked on
one of his recommended links.
Today was no exception and this site has stayed with me all day.
Click on the picture above to visit a site called ‘Dear God’.
As Carroll says in his Twitter, he doesn’t know if the site is interesting or creepy.
I found it to be much more than that, personally.
Follow Carroll on Twitter.
He is an amazing man.
Maybe he uses Stumbleupon to find these sites but I am forever entertained and enlightened.
This site is a bit intense.
Forearmed is forwarned.

Sleeping the Hemingway

There is a speck of truth to this Hemingway quote for yours truly.
I’m thinking for everyone else as well.
I do love my sleep and the thought of turning off the invisible faucet still dripping with the miscommunications and shortfalls of the day now past me.
Maybe it’s no surprise that tomorrow is only accessible by passing through
the mysterious and stygian gates of slumber.
The world of all things nocturnal has always held a strange fascination for me.
I’ve found that when I write a fair amount of memoir during the day, my dreamworld is filled with
many things, some good and some not so good.
I searched the net and found some incredible facts regarding sleep . . .

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