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

Twoscore and several Baseballs ago

baseball, Little League, old days, sad

Just read a status update on Facebook that shot me back over forty years ago.
The update was innocent enough:
“Just watched a kid hit a game winning home run in a little league game across the street.”

I thought about it for a second and commented, “That could have been me 45 years ago.”

Then I thought, 45 years.
I’m getting old.
Not that I feel old but living life has made me realize that the years are soaring by.

The year is 1968. I played for Police Association.
I was #4, although that may be disputed in Oxford High School circles.
I was a pitcher and catcher, depending on what position I played in the last game.
And this was a time when some kids just didn’t make it on a team.
If you didn’t get picked, you cried like a baby and went to bed hoping to do better ‘next year’.
T-ball?
Learn to hit a ball for cripes sake.
At 10 years of age, opposing coaches hated when I pitched because I had a curveball that no one on their team could hit.

“The kid’s too young to be throwing junk,” some would say,
“The kid’s going to hurt his arm,” others would say.

My coach?

“See you next week.”

I have an old baseball in my closet that I wrote on a million years ago: “Beat Bayer Fuel! Won 6-4! Hit 1 home run!”
That old baseball still makes me smile.
There were no strange rules back then, no town-inspired political agenda to follow, no social media available to crucify a kid because of their lack of natural athletic ability, race or creed.

No Internet.
No Sirius XM radio.
No 9/11.
No Ricin.
No steroids.
No conspiracy theories.
No NSA controversy.
No IRS scandal.
No Global warming.
No Bay City Rollers.
No Boston Marathon bombing.
No Watergate.
No Tim Tebow.
No aluminum f*&^%$g bats (God, they suck and they sound even worse)
There was baseball, pure and simple.
[good times]

Technology has changed us.
Changed everything.
For the better?
You be the judge.
As a 54 year old looking back, waaaay back, these days are the ultimate in suck, the ultimate in ridiculous luxury
and overpaid athletes that we deem Gods.
I’ll take my old-fashioned shitty curveball.
I’ll take the old days.
I’ll even take milk delivered in cold glass bottles left on the doorstep of houses in the neighborhood.
But most of all, I’ll take a steaming hot dog with spicy mustard after the game and a bottle of Coke to wash it down with.
Those days were seriously close to Heaven.
Maybe they were Heaven . . .

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.

GiFridays

gif, smoke

I troll the internet on a nightly basis and find gif images that I would love to share.
Facebook doesn’t allow these creative creations.
Why?
Who the hell knows.
That said, I am instituting a weekly offering on Fridays only.
Send me your favorite gif images and I will post them here and put a link on my
Facebook page.
There are some amazing, funny and creative Gifs out there.
Send them to me via link/Facebook message.
This could be fun.
My weekly offering is above . . .
If you’re wondering what a gif is, please ask Google . . .  :=)

~m

10 Things

memory, dying, stupid stuff, head exploding

 

Ten things (11) I will not think about in My Last Seconds of Life

I have thought about this for a few days now and believe I have come up with a viable, albeit weird, list of 10 things.
These have occurred randomly as I go about my day but I think it’s a pretty good list.
These are in no specific order in terms of magnitude but they are somewhat funny and insightful.

I will not think about:

(1) The guitar solo in ‘Keep on Lovin’ You’ from REO Speedwagon (dumb name).
This is quite possibly the lamest and out of tune solo I have ever heard.
I can’t believe the producer didn’t say,
“Are you shitting me, Amato? I’d rather hear the sound of a puppy being run over with a lawn mower. For the love of God, tune your frickin’ guitar, dickboy. And how about a real solo? ”

(2) The fact that my car is 3K miles over for an oil change.
The story of my life.
And it keeps telling me via a caring message on the dashboard every single time I start the car.
*Sigh*

(3) Iambic Pentameter.
Iambic pentameter (from Greek: ἰαμβικός πεντάμετρος meaning to have five iambs) is a commonly used metrical line in traditional verse and verse drama. The term describes the particular rhythm that the words establish in that line. That rhythm is measured in small groups of syllables; these small groups of syllables are called “feet“. The word “iambic” describes the type of foot that is used (in English, an unstressed syllable followed by a stressed syllable). The word “pentameter” indicates that a line has five of these “feet.”
Yeah.
Won’t be needing that definition anymore.

(4) Dance Moms.
I know, it’s sad that I actually know about this show.
Abby Lee Miller, the corpulent porpoise of a dance instructor, verbally hacks away at the fragile self-esteem of young female ‘born with a silver spoon in their mouths’ dancers.
The self-righteous mothers of these girls need to be water boarded for allowing this abomination to happen in the first place.
Think I’m pretty clear on this one.

(5) Who really killed JFK.
Nuff said.

(6) Politics.
Like the time I sent out an off the hook ‘conservative’ email to about 75 people.
It found its way into the Inbox of a screaming yahoo liberal (not mentioning names, thanks, Lisa)
who decided to hit a ‘reply all’ and rip me a new one because she thought it was her responsibility as a citizen. Yup, won’t be thinking about that one.

(7) Where I left the numbers for my Swiss bank account.

(8) The day I gave my father an enema.
In the end (no pun intended), my father was actually laughing while I was doing it.
Long story short, he needed a colonoscopy and I could find no visiting nurse that would do it the day of the procedure.
I was elected.

(9) Long forgotten Facebook game requests.
No explanation needed.
(10) Lost things.
St. Anthony, St. Anthony, please come down
something is lost and can’t be found.
Our Wedding album, a pipe rack filled with nice smoking pipes, my Swiss bank account numbers,
my six-pack abs, my sanity . . .

(11) Mayonnaise.
I know.
Weird.
Maybe that’s why this list goes to 11.

For fun, sit down with a piece of paper and give yourself 10 minutes to write out a list.
I would be curious to see what you come up with.
Post your answers on my Facebook page or my blog if you’d like.
This was a great writing prompt.

AND . . .  check THIS out.
Pretty cerebral . . .

 

 

 

Limbo Bingo

writing, create

 

A truth greater than words.
Don’t know if I’m up to the task.
I’ve tried before and failed miserably.
Self doubt is a writer’s worst block.
Some stories are just hard to write.
Maybe I just need to admit that to myself,
and write anyway because I am ultimately trapped inside my own weird thoughts and words.
And maybe that’s a good thing.
Or not.
Asylum? I am here . . .

Black Cows

steely dan, music, life, love

I was on the train home tonight when I reached in my manpurse and found my long lost Ipod.
I’d put it in my bag weeks ago but forgot I actually had it.
Settling in I set it on Shuffle and sat back for the magnificent ride out of Boston.
Steve Lukather, Steve Khan, Marc Jordan, Marcin Marsilweski and many other musicians found their way to my earbuds.
It was around or near Ashland that ‘Black Cow’ came on, a Steely Dan version from the band that I used to play in.
I listened and smiled.
It was good.
Even my ‘Fender Rhodes’ solo was okay.
I thought about that time in my life when it had a rhythm and a purpose but somehow I lost it.
Or it lost me.
The nights of packing down gear at 1:30am after a gig no longer made sense to me.
The $50 paycheck at the end of the night was a slap in the face for all the time I’d spent learning tunes, harmonies and all.
30% of the folks that followed us got it, most didn’t.
Most understood that we spent a considerable amount of time doing what we did, the reason the 10 of them came out every night.
Hack musicians need not apply.
I was happy and musically fulfilled until the day my heart and soul just couldn’t do it anymore.
I like to think that the musicians that truly know me understand.
It makes me sad that some could never understand me.
I still play piano from time to time and still write a song or two but my gigging days are over, barring some unforeseen miracle.
I will forever have a problem with one bridge that burned for no particular reason.
We musicians are a funny lot.
These days find me writing words without music but somehow rhythm stil finds its way into my words.
Or so I think.
There was a time when my musical chops were finely tuned.
These days they are a bit dull and dusty.
But thank God they’re still there.
I’m just following my instincts these days.
And my gigging days are done.
If  it’s right for me, it’s write.
And get outta here . . .  {rhodes solo}

 

ps. anyone want an MP3 of Black Cow delivered to your inbox, email me.

Just right

writing, blog, creative

 

Writing is such a funny thing.
When you want it to happen it doesn’t.
Never has for me anyway.
A friend of mine told me that writing is simply ‘BIC’.
Butt in Chair.
Life is hectic these days and creativity has no schedule.
It has no rules, no times when it will happen, why, when or if’s in terms of gestation.
I’ve just filled my favorite fountain pen with Noodler’s Black (my favorite ink!)
No idea whether my muse (looks like Danny Devito) will visit me tomorrow but I will write anyway.
It may be shit, it may be good but it will be writing.
New Year, New stories, a New Me.
I’m going for ‘BIC’ . . .

~m