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Man of Steel

When Michael Sembello released ‘Bossa Nova Hotel‘ back in 1983,
I immediately bought it.
Michael Sembello?
Who the hell is that?
If you remember the movie ‘Flashdance’, there was a song called ‘Maniac’.
That was Michael Sembello.
This guy/musician/singer has floated underneath the radar for years.
Maybe that’s how he wanted it.
His brother Danny has eluded the mainstream as well.
Both are intensely talented artists.
When I first listened to the album (and it was a vinyl record then) one song
seemed to stick out; Superman

“As you stand at the edge of existence
and the world has forgotten your name
After life after life you remember
the secret

He’s as fast as a speeding bullet
Change the water into wine
And the last time he came
They cursed his name
With a kryptonite cross
they cut him down

[Chorus]
Superman
Are we ever going to see you again
If we do will you teach us how to fly above the sky?

Some say at the end of the tunnel
There’s a light that will show us the way
It’s a light that belongs to the people of every nation, color or creed

I can’t speak for all of the sinners
I don’t know any saints I could ask
It’s been 2000 years since we’ve seen you
We need you
Please come back

[Chorus]

All of the pain in your life
How can we ever repay?
And the answer, you said
is in the life that you led, Superman”

I knew who Sembello was talking about back in ’83.
Then I read THIS.
I thought, “Sembello was already there 30 years ago!”

Maybe it’s just a continuation of a long ago story but it’s one that needs to be told.
I believe in God.
And I believe in artists that convey the Word in a way that invites the world to believe.
And we all know what the world needs.
Yeah, Dionne Warwick said it best . . .
We need LOVE.
We need people to care for that errant stranger lost in the Market Basket parking lot of life.
We NEED random acts of kindness to show the Man upstairs that we still care.
We all need to be Superman, a Man of Steel . . .

~m

The Wicker Chair of Death

Health, death, age, humor, Sopranos

 

James Gandolfini gone at 51.
My close friend PG gone at 57.
Another friend gone at my age, 54, less than a year after he was diagnosed with cancer.
I hate going to see my Grim Reaper doctor.
Just like I hate going to see my Tooth Pulling Bastard dentist.
It’s never good for a multitude of reasons.
I work 60+ hours a week (including my daily commute) sometimes more.
The gym?
A distant dream, although I love the elliptical machine.
But you have to exercise, you say.
And I agree.
But really?
When?
I do walk at least 30-45 minutes a day and eat fried clams once a year.
At the constant urging (and rightly so) of my wife, I finally made an appointment with my doctor for mid-July.
At the ripe old age of 54, I’m starting to feel my oats.
12+ hour days for 9+ years are taking their toll, physically and emotionally.
I am tired.
Alot.
I have tried to be somewhat reasonable about the food that I eat but sometimes life/time gets the better of me and
I am reduced to a Mickey D’s level of nutrition. (98% beef, of that I am sure)
I want to be healthy, I really do.
And now and then I want to bitch slap someone who has the time to be too healthy for their own benefit for my varying sense of mental stability.
Take ‘Headband Lady’ that runs 400 f*(&^%g miles a week through the neighborhood.
She is incredibly fit and probably has a colon strong enough to  pass a small wicker armchair with ease.
And maybe a slight grunt.
Grape nuts,high fiber horkin’ cheese, Supergrains, tofu pups, Whole Foods ‘Pass a Chair’ oil, who knows what the f*&k this woman eats.
And she soooooo looks like a biatch sometimes with her stupid white headband.
Who wears those anymore?
Not Olivia Newton John, I can tell you that much.
I was driving home last week eating/enjoying a Rodeo Cheeseburger from Kurger Bing (so good) when I drove by her house.
I saw her prancing around her lawn like f(*&^%g Superball on acid.
White headband and all.
Does she ever take the friggin’ thing off?
I found out she has one amazingly green front lawn as well.
It must have something to do with the multiple barrels of Grape Nuts stacked outside her backdoor.
Maybe I should ask my doctor about that.
I don’t want to pass a piece of wicker furniture through my lower intestine but passing a Growler or two
could seriously get me into the Guinness Book of World Records.
And it might make my lawn greener.
There’s always hope.
And maybe enough fiber/wicker to fulfill my wildest dreams . . .

The Wonderful Pens of Ross G

pens, writing, RossG

I’ve always had an affinity for pens.
Maybe it’s more like a clandestine love affair as I fall hopelessly into the inkwell of love every time I troll the net looking at writing instruments.
I love fountain pens and rollerballs and all the accoutrements associated with them.
I love ink. No tattoo for me but I have some amazing fountain pen ink.
Some of my favorites are Noodler’s , Private Reserve, Pelican and Aurora.
Ballpoints irritate me to no end.
That’s just me.
My interest in pens began many years ago when I began writing.
I had this silly idea that the pen I used would make a difference when I was writing.
Logical? I think not.
I did realize that all pens were not created equal and a writer needed a pen with an even flow of ink and a comfortable balance of weight in the hand. Words and thoughts would flow more easily.
I am a writer. I need pens.
Looking online I was appalled at the money some of these things commanded.
$2000 for a rollerball?
$20,000 for a fountain pen?  (This pen should automatically come with a publishing deal)
With 3 daughters in and out of college/Grad school, I’m lucky to have a decent gel roller.
I currently have 5-6 fairly decent fountain pens:  Pelican, Aurora, Namiki (vanishing point), a Parker Sonnet and several other inexpensive models.
A friend I work with came in one day and showed me a pen sent to him by a friend or a friend.
It was a ballpoint which didn’t excite me but the pen itself was beautiful.
He told me it was given to him by so and so and that this guy made pens to give to friends.
I wanted to get on that list.
Several months went by before this same friend came in with another pen; a ballpoint but still really nice.

My curiosity got the best of me.
“Does this guy have a website?”

I went to the website and found many wonderful handmade things.
I found rollerballs, ballpoints and several wicked pissa fountain pens.
Years ago, Ross decided to try his hand at making pens.
Most were given to friends as gifts until he realized he was quite good at
this specialized art and decided to expand.

I spied one particular pen and wondered if Ross would be willing to barter a bit.
After a few emails and several days, I now have a fountain pen made by none other than RossG.
I promised him an honest review of the pen and here it is . . .

Appearance:
Modern, sleek, funky, gorgeous rosewood with gold-plated hardware.
Definitely catches the eye.
Several people have already commented on it (and they want more info)

Feel:
Solid in the hand with a very comfortable weight.
To me it has the feel of a pen that should cost much more.
It feels expensive.
You know you’re holding something special.

Nib and writing quality:
The pen came with a cartridge and a converter (my preference).
The nib was medium size iridium.
Although I’m not a big fan of iridium nibs this sucker worked better than my inexpensive Pelican (which has an iridium nib).
The ink flow was simply amazing and a total pleasure to write with.

Conclusion:
If you want a pen that is aesthetically pleasing, easy to write with, ridiculously affordable and a designated friend for life,  please check out Ross. (Click on the post picture!)
Or click HERE. (Tell Ross I sent you)
All pens are handmade and have that warm, comfortable feeling in your hand.
I know several people that already want a pen made by this man so get in line.
His pens are in short supply right now as he is waiting for some materials to come in.

He will ship all over the world.
He even says Australia’s not too far away.
I may send him some TinTams someday.

If you can’t buy one of his pens, please promise me you will send the link to this post to someone who will.
That would make me and Ross very, very happy.

Boston Strong

anguish, Boston, Marathon

When I got into Boston on Monday morning I took a different route walking to work.
I usually slip out the ass end of Back bay station and walk through the alleys and quiet streets to Park Square
but today was Marathon Monday and a great day to walk through Copley Square on my way to work.
The sun was shining, the temps were comfortable and runners were everywhere running for buses to take them to
the Marathon starting line in Hopkinton.
Walking through Copley I saw hundreds of palettes of spring water,
King’s Hawaiian Sweet rolls, pretzels, Smart Food, Vitamin Water and on and on.
People working in the many tents along Boylston Street were obviously happy to be there as they went about their preparations.
There was a palpable lilt in the air that could not be denied.
We all hate Mondays but Marathon Monday in Boston is pretty damn cool for many damn reasons.
I also remember thinking how awful it would be were something catastrophic to happen.

 

At 2:55PM, a woman came in for some rolling tobacco and asked if I’d heard the ‘bangs’.
She was wondering if they were firing cannons for Patriots Day.
I told her I hadn’t heard a thing.
I was alone in the store and went to Google after she left.
I typed in: Boston Marathon 2013 /Bombs
I came up with 2 results.
Links to a few runners’ websites that simply said;
“unconfirmed reports of two explosions at the finish line of the Boston Marathon.”
The links would not open

Bullshit, I thought.
Not here.
Not today.
Not in Boston.

10 minutes later the city was cracked open like an over ripe pomegranate.
Sirens, police cars, ambulances too many to count,
unmarked cars with blue flashing lights and a feeling of dread as I watched thousands of people dripping their way towards South Station.
Most were crying; some were simply distant with no facial expression at all.
You know the rest of the story; probably more so than CNN, a current font of reporting mediocrity.

I took a walk around 4PM yesterday and went down to the corner of Berkeley and Boylston Street.
National Guard would not let you go any further as everything was blockaded.
It was a big crime scene.
I looked down at a usually frantic Copley Square that now seemed post-apocalyptic, empty and dreadfully silent. My heart broke just a bit as more reality drained into my psyche.
It was not unlike a scene from ‘Walking Dead’ or ‘I am Legend’.
The word ‘nothing’ came to mind.
I watched paper and debris flying through the air looking to get out of the dead space that was Copely.

That’s how my eyes saw it and my brain interpreted it.
It made no logical sense to me.
Still doesn’t.

On my way back to Park Square I noticed the omnipresent media camped out at the corner of Arlington and Boylston. It seemed to me to be a media freak show/ circus with bright lights and cameras going while reporting half myths and hearsay from who the fuck knows.
Homeless people were probably contributing their stories and ideas. (they may have been closer to the truth than CNN, ffs)

I am a Bostonian and I love this city. (Even though I live in the burbs)
I went to school here and currently work here and no one will ever take away the fact that this place was built on guts, strength, love, and a work ethic like no other place in the world.
This IS my backyard.
Sadly, the landscape has changed, for now . . .
Know that We are Boston.
We are Many.
And We are Pissed.
But I have a good feeling that many beautiful flowers will blossom this same time next year.
Because that’s how we roll . . .

~m

ps. Photo courtesy of John TLumacki, Boston Globe

Extremely Louder and Incredibly Closer

blog, writing, life, Facebook

Once upon a time my blog was an essential part of my life.
I lived here almost 24/7.
God forbid I should get some godforsaken CSS error that screwed with my theme (not my theme!) or my plugins.
Life gets in the way.
Politics get in the way.
Facebook really gets in the way.
Twitter? Not so much.
I realized tonight that I have neglected a place that once meant so much to me.
I have for all intents and purposes abandoned a creative harbour that held stories, memories and many things I once held so dear.
Shoulda, woulda, coulda.

Like I need to tell you about last Tuesday night when I went to dinner with my wife for our 29th anniversary.
Anniversaries are supposed to be special and perfect, right?
We sat down and perused the menu when our waitress came by to say hi.
We ordered a few appetizers to start off.
Grape leaves & some hummus.

“Would you like something to drink before you order?” our waitress asked.

“Yes, please,” I said.

Pamela ordered an Almond Joy Martini and I ordered a Maker’s Mark Manhattan.
All was right with the world.

Our drinks arrived several minutes later. Perfect.

We didn’t even have time to toast when I spilled the entire Manhattan all over my crotch.
As the icy concoction slithered its way to my unsuspecting jewels and eventually to the crack of my ass, I felt the need for
a new pair of pants or at least a pair of Depends.
As my manhood rose up into my abdominal cavity to escape the chill, we laughed and laughed again.
You can’t make this stuff up.
They made me another Manhattan (in a sippy cup jk) and all was right with the world.
Although I did squirm and make funny faces as I ate my dinner.
Will we remember our 29th anniversary?
You can take that to the bank.

I guess the bottom line is that I’ve given up my energy to Facebook and other URL’s lately.
And while I love talking to friends it just isn’t taking care of my writing mojo.
Writers write stories and rarely do Facebook.
Change is in the wind.
“to thine own self be true”
And I am long overdue.
Let’s roll . . .

~m

Eggs

eggs, Easter, love, family, Easter Bunny, candy

 

Many years ago after Pamela and I got married, we began the creation of a family.
Sometimes it seems like yesterday, sometimes it seems like 100 years ago.
Perspective is such a fickle thing.
That I have been an absentee blogger has never been lost on my wife.
She said to me tonight, and quite casually I might add,
“When are you going to change the picture on your blog?
Write a post about the annual Easter Egg Hunt with the girls.”
I hate it when she’s right.
And I really hate to think she could be a better blogger than me.
If she blogged as well as she ‘Pinterest-ed’, she could put me to shame.
The reasons my blogging has slowed down to an incessant but slow drip is a post in and of itself,
for many varied reasons.
Tonight, though, I am here to talk about eggs.
Brightly coloured eggs.
Easter eggs.
Hard boiled eggs.
Egg salad sandwiches in a shell, yet to be born. [yum]

When our girls started walking we devised a plan for an Easter Egg Hunt to be held in the backyard on Easter morning.
We bought plastic pastel colored eggs that could be filled with all kinds of goodies, from candy and small toys (that nowadays are labeled as DANGEROUS! Your KID could CHOKE on THIS!) to dollar bills and matches.
(yeah, I’m kidding about the matches, calm down)
In New England, Easter morning could be rainy and cold so we needed to use something that would hold up to the elements.
It was the Easter Bunny’s job (namely, me) to hide the eggs in the backyard while the girls were sleeping.
When they woke in the morning to find an incredibly beautiful Easter Basket on their nightstand (compliments of Mr. & Mrs. Easter Bunny)
they were ready to don the appropriate clothes for the ‘going-to-get-mine-before-you-do’  Easter egg hunt.

Now it should be said that Mr. Bunny liked to have several Easter cocktails on the night before and while hiding the eggs wasn’t a problem, remembering where they were the next morning could sometimes be.
There are still eggs somewhere in our yard that I may never find.
I’m still looking for the elusive ‘Ben Franklin’ egg from years ago.
Can’t remember the exact year.
I’ve thought of using some power equipment to try and find it but the money I would spend doesn’t justify the means.
Right now, anyway.
Many years (and mornings after) would find the once loveable Mr. Easter Bunny reduced to the ‘Stupid-Easter-Bunny-that-doesn’t-know-how-to-hide-shit-we-can-easily-find’.
And, my moniker grows so damn lovingly.
I love it.

Fast forward to 2012 . . .

My girls have grown into young, beautiful and intelligent women and yet, I still have to hide eggs.
I am not a freekin’ Easter Bunny anymore, I am a grown 53 year old man.
I don’t have long and fuzzy ears or a cute little tail.
My ass is now flat.
I need three wallets to assimilate an ass bulge.
And I’m a crazy curmudgeon that thinks the world has gone insane.
Maybe I’m insane because I’ll still be out this Saturday night hiding eggs and loving it, rain or snow.
And on Easter morning I will still have no idea where the hell I put them . . .
In my heart, I’m hoping they keep the tradition going
because as silly as it was it’s a part of Pamela and me that will live on.
And maybe in the end, that’s what it’s all about . . .

A Happy Easter to all.

Ta

 

It began as an innocent and seemingly serendipitous friendship that came by the way of my personal weblog some 5+ years ago.
If you’ve read my blog before you will know the backstory of all that I am about to say.
If you haven’t, this will be a good time for reading a pretty amazing story.

How this friendship happened seems to defy any logical explanation because that’s how many friendships start.
What happened in the ensuing years is the stuff of fairy tales and Ripley’s ‘Believe it or not’ stories, all but true.
I still have to pinch myself some days though; days when I find myself woolgathering about whether me and Pamela did actually visit Australia for two simply incredible weeks this past July.
It’s taken some time to not only process the whole experience but also to figure out
just what I want to say . . .
[Interpretation: this is gonna take a lot of  posts]

We left Boston on a sunny,  pure and crystal late Friday afternoon in July –  our first destination: LAX.
Good weather, nice takeoff, flight is smooth, everybody is happy, life is good . . .  piece of cake, right?
As we crossed somewhere over Lincoln, Nebraska at approximately 30,000 ft my gorgeous wife grabbed my hand and said, “I don’t think I can do this.”

“Do what?” I said. [me thinking about the mile high club]

“Flying this far. I don’t know if I can do it.”

“Sure you can,” I said, “we’ll be fine,” as I squeezed her hand harder in mine.

“You promise?” She said.

“You betcha,” I said.

Not what you want to hear from a wife on the verge of tears and only 3 hours from your point of departure.
We still had another 13+ hours in the air to get to Brisbane after getting to LA.
This was not working out as I’d planned.
It rarely does though, right?
It was about this time that I was able to connect to the net with my laptop.
I have never loved Facebook more than I did at that particular moment in time.
“Here,” I said,  passing her my laptop, “Play Farmville or chat with someone who’s on.”
Maybe sometimes a human connection is all you really need to get you over a flying hump.
The Facebook diversion worked and we landed safe and sound in the City of Angels at 9PM (PST) Midnight (EST).
Our flights were connecting so we didn’t need to worry about our checked luggage as we would pick it up in Brisbane on our arrival on Sunday morning (thanks in part to the International Dateline)

Turned out that our 11PM flight was delayed and we didn’t take off until 1AM (PST) or 4AM (EST).
We were both sleeping in the terminal like oh, so many homeless people when our plane started boarding.
We made our way onto a V-Australia huge ass airbus and found our seats.
We were ready for some sleep.
After a nice snack we both hunkered down for a long summer’s nap, as visions of the calming waters of the great barrier reef danced in our heads . . .
(alright, I made that part up)

If anyone tells you that flying to Australia is easy and you could ‘do it in your sleep’, tell them they can go pound sand.
It is a long ass ways away and when we finally landed in Brisbane [19+ hours later] if all that we saw was two crazy kangaroos getting their freak on with some abo playing the didj, we would have left happy campers.
Truth.
That’s not what we found.
The air was different.
The sky was different.
The layout of the land was different.
The spring water was different.
The birds sound were different.
The toilet water flushed the wrong way.
And the people are friendly! [unlike some in Boston]
And they drive on the wrong side of the road (a trip unto itself!)
I think I actually shit my pants as we drove through our first roundabout.
Bringing adult diapers is merely a suggestion.

We found out very quickly that Australia was more than just an island,  a huge ass country, and a continent unto itself.
It was a place of incredible beauty and majesty, a place of tropical fish the likes of which we had never seen, wildlife that boggles the mind, food that makes us yearn for more, Cadbury chocolate that will never see the US shores and nighttime constellations that are unique to the southern hemisphere.
We also found out that Australia is a place where one very special family would open their hearts and homes to two American strangers they’d never met before.

We got our suitcases in Brisbane and headed to Australian Customs before embarking on the final flight to take us to Tropical Queensland and the home of Mark and Maureen Harrod, friends of a lifetime.

We didn’t know it then but we’d already fallen in love with this magical place called Australia.
As I looked at the Southern Cross in the sky on our first night,
I decided I should stop dreaming. I was here, we were here.

to be continued . . .

1 Click

blogging, banners, love, family, Australia

 

Maybe in another space,
another time,
another place,
another silly rhyme
we would gently collide,
in a dance of serendipitous destiny and fate;
and all that the blessed heavens could cast in our way
Falling stars, like ethereal butterflies touching our lives without us even knowing,
with whispers of ‘meant to be’,
transforming the colours of life that we once took for granted

When the tired and crimson sun sets on another distant horizon,
know that chance and coincidence are sometimes pure and beautiful random happenings . . .
meant to give our lives an oh, so deeper meaning and understanding
but for the biggest part, they give us love
from a place that’s not so mysterious after all; the heart.

Mine whispered.
And yours answered.
But that 1 click ultimately took us on a long and still unforgettable journey home . . .

for Kel

~m

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