Smoke and Mirrors

In a perfect world . . .

Month: December 2011


happy new year!


It is currently 9:16PM here in Massachusetts.
The countdown is on as are The Three Stooges.
2011 was a year to remember for many reasons and a year to forget as well.
As I get older the passing of time seems to take on less significance than it once did.
Seems it should be the opposite but personally it’s just another year.
Another chance to get it right, another chance to possibly mess the sombitch up.
The house is warm and filled with all sorts of wonderful food and drink.
Jonathan (Sarah’s fiancee) and I just got done smoking a very nice cigar on the deck and for the moment life is good.
Hopefully 2012 will be as good as tonight seems to be.
I wish all of you peace, joy and more happiness and good fortune than your lives can reasonably handle.

For myself, I ask for the grace and peace of the One high above me;
To do more for others than I do for myself,
To smile more than frown,
To love deeply and give freely,
To find the words that move me and the music that inspires me,
and to finally give myself a break for a change.
I am too damn hard on myself.
A few sent angels would be nice as well.

So Happy New Year to you, my dear friends.
Thank you for making my life so worth living.
Here’s to another year of whatever it is that makes all of us tick . . .


Merry Christmas 2011

Christmas, magic, love, family, snow, winter, yuletide

The next several days are going to be somewhat hectic as I sell the masses cigars, humidors,  pipe tobacco and everything you can possibly smoke to make the holidays memorable.

I want to thank all that have visited and commented here in the past year.
Although I have been a slacker in the ‘Department of Replies’ know that I have read each and every comment left and that I really appreciate your visits.

I will be celebrating the holidays with family and many close friends and consider myself  blessed.
This is a time for the celebration of love.
And there is so much that I love.

I wish for all of you, tender and sweet dreams, hot chocolate memories, stockings filled with holiday confections and joys of heaven, healing conversation and the ultimate love of a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes asleep in a manger.
Somewhere in Bethlehem . . .

I even wish for you some snowflakes on Christmas Eve.
Just not too many.

“One of the most glorious messes in the world is the mess created in the living room on Christmas day. Don’t clean it up too quickly.” ~Andy Rooney

A Merry Christmas to all,


Heart of the matter

This song is deeply personal to me.
Interpretation is as always a unique thing.
Jimmy Webb has inspired me for many years.
His writing style, lyrics and unmistakeable piano chords make me yearn to
write again someday.
‘Mistress’ has been recorded by many people over the years but no version gets to me like
As I said, the song is embedded deeply into the tapestry of my life.
A secret and a mystery I will take to the grave.
This is the beauty of the written song . . .

Comb/Over 7000

turntable, musician, aging, music

I put my keyboards up for sale a short time ago and truth be told it was harder to do than I thought it would be.
My gigging days are, for now, over.
30+ years of playing has left me gasping at the changes in the entire music scene in general.
[a post all by itself]
Don’t get me wrong, I still love my piano, my Taylor acoustic, my two didgeridoos and will continue playing them
just not in the capacity I once did.
Yes, I will be playing piano at the house on Christmas Eve.
That’s tradition.
While a part of me is sad looking at the possible end of my performing career another part of me is
thrilled to be home on New Year’s Eve.
I’ve toyed with the idea of getting a group together should I reach the ripe age of 70.
The name of said group would be ‘Comb-Over 7000’. (an idea from a close friend)
We could be sponsored by Geritol, Depends undergarments and Poligrip (a marketing frenzy would ensue, no doubt)
People in wheelchairs would get in for free.
With a cane, half price admission.
Hell, maybe we could offer free blood pressure checks at every show.
The possibilities are truly endless.
And the t-shirts could change the world!
I found this little tome I wrote from many years ago and decided to share it again.
Life is cyclical from time to time as is writing.
The merry-go-round stopped here today.
Enjoy my ‘old’ list . . .
Feel free to add to it . . .

You might be too old to gig if:

Ø Before each gig, you find you’re warming up more parts of your body

Ø It becomes more important to find a place onstage for your boxfan, than your amp.

Ø During the second set, you scream for the drummer to please stop hitting those annoying cymbals

Ø You refuse to play out of tune

Ø Your gig clothes make you look like George Burns out for a round a golf

Ø Your fans have left by 10:30

Ø All you want from groupies is a foot massage.

Ø You love shopping the dollar store because you can sing along to most of your playlist.

Ø You hire band members for their values instead of their talent.

Ø Instead of a fifth piece, your band wants to spring for a roadie with the extra money.

Ø You’ve lost the directions to the gig

Ø Prepping for the gig involves plucking hair from your chin or nose

Ø Most of the hair you’ve plucked from your chin or nose are gray

Ø You need your glasses to see your amp settings

Ø You need help on and off the stage

Ø You’ve thrown out your back jumping off the stage because no one would help

Ø You’re thrilled to have new year’s off

Ø The waitress is your daughter

Ø You stop the set because your bottle of ibuprofen fell behind the speakers

Ø Most of your crowd just sways in their seats

Ø You find drink tokens from last month’s gig in your guitar case

Ø You refuse to play without earplugs

Ø You ask the club owner if you can start at 8:30 instead of 9:30

Ø You want an opening act

Ø You check the TV schedule before booking a gig

Ø High notes make you cough

Ø Your gig stool has a back

Ø You’re related to at least one other member of the band

Ø You need a nap

Ø You eat before the gig, you get heartburn then need the nap.

Ø You don’t let anyone “sit in”

Ø After the third set, you bug the club owner to let you quit early

Ø On the breaks, you now go to your van to lay down

Ø You prefer a music stand with a light

Ø You say you double on bass

Ø When shopping, you consider the instrument’s weight as well as tone.

Ø When in the music store, the hip sales people ignore you even though you have cash.

Ø You don’t recover until Tuesday afternoon

Ø You can’t operate without a setlist

Ø You know all the words to “Hotel California”



He is the Reason

It is about this time of the year that my spirit usually spirals seriously downward.
NIN downward.
Christmas commercials that are out of whack with reality and songs that say I should be happy do anything but depress the living shit out of me.
That said, I am fortunate and blessed although I don’t often realize that I am.
I have family.
I have three beautiful daughters that love me and are home on Christmas.
I can hug them and tell them that I love them.
I can cook delicious foods that we will all share.
I have friends that stop by on Christmas Eve to join in a celebration of the simplicity of love.
And yet I continue to bitch about anything and everything.
It takes a very special friend to tell you that you are a total Holiday tool.
And I am.
Why I am the Grinch that I pretend to be sometimes eludes me.
Maybe it’s easier being Grinchy than happy.
Or maybe I have to look at the true meaning of the holiday.
This video touched my inner core.
I cried and had goosebumps all over my body.
He is the Reason for the season.
The sooner I truly accept that in my heart, the better off I will be,  I guess.
Seems I have already accepted.
That didn’t take long . . .



ps. Thanks to my friend GerryM for the video link!


Hope for Helpers

Back in September I got an email from Sandra Byrd regarding a short book written by her husband,
Chaplain Michael Byrd called, “Hope for Helpers”, a book for caregivers of Alzheimer victims.
Sandra had obviously read my blog and knew that I had already been through the maze of Dementia/Alzheimers.
She asked if I would be willing to read Michael’s book and do a short review on my blog as to my thoughts
about it.
I must apologize in advance to Michael and Sandra because it’s taken me so long to post a review as
they were gracious enough to send me a Kindle copy gratis.

The book is broken down into five sections:

  1. Caring for Loved Ones without Falling to Pieces
  2. Appreciating the Rough
  3. Finding the “I” in Careg-I-ving
  4. Am I Lying
  5. Placing Your Loved Ones in a Care Facility

The first thing I noticed when I started HFH was the obvious compassion, knowledge and understanding Michael had of the disease.
I remember thinking how much this book would have helped me when I first shook hands with Alzheimers so many years ago.
My mother was diagnosed in 1997, my father shortly after around 1999.
I was lost in a New England cornfield maze with no cell phone and no clue as to how I could possibly get out.
Much of HFH addresses issues such as these that the caregiver goes through on a seemingly daily basis.
Although I knew many of the answers that the book’s questions proposed, I had to wonder how many
people in the world didn’t.
This book contained answers to many deep questions.
HFH strongly suggests that the caregiver look towards brighter shores, in terms of the self.
Paraphrasing the author, “Take care of yourself if you are to be of any use to your loved one.”
Many people told me that years ago but I didn’t know exactly what they meant.
But now I do.
HFH emphasizes that very point.
If you have a friend, relative, mother, father, sister, brother diagnosed with this most insidious of diseases,
download this book and lay your problems down in a way that will not only benefit your loved one but
give something back to you.
Many people reviewing it  have said, “I wish this book was around 15 years ago.”
Stop wishing.
It’s here now.
This book will ease your burden and show you what’s ultimately important in caring for a loved one.
In the end, it’s all about love.
For the price of a cup of Starbucks coffee this Kindle book is yours for the asking.
And it’s worth much more than a cup of coffee.
Trust me . . .


[Want a copy? Click on the picture above]

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