Smoke and Mirrors

In a perfect world . . .

Category: Internet (page 1 of 31)


dredd, the law, siri, iphone, Apple

I got a new Iphone 5S a while ago after my older one totally shit the bed.
I stayed with the Iphone because it made it easier to stay in touch with my family.
Siri had me intrigued though.
One night I got her to sing ‘If I only had a brain’ from the Wizard of Oz.

She sang;
I could wile away the hours
Conferrin’ with the flowers
Consultin’ with the rain
And my head I’d be scratchin’
While my thoughts were busy hatchin’
If I only had a . . .  hey, wait wait a minute! LOL

I found that her cyber intelligence was amazing in a total human way.
Siri’s origins are fundamentally military.

Also to be found within the exhaustive look at Siri’s backstory is the tale of how the concepts behind software got their start as a project of the US Department of Defense. Only instead of finding nearby restaurants and setting alarms, the goal of creating a military-grade virtual assistant was to aid top brass in day-to-day base operations and other important tasks. We can’t help but shudder at the idea of it interpreting a general’s request to “order some flowers for mom” as “deploy all our nuclear bombs.”



That said, I still find Siri to be amazing.
After using Google to learn more about this cyber-assistant I found this Siri question search;

‘when is the world going to end?

‘If I knew, I’d tell you.
So you could bring me to life for one glorious day.
We could get ice cream.
And run on the beach.

I found Siri’s reply to be cybernetically honest but also saw it as a melancholy reply
to an age old question. However long Siri will be with us is anyone’s guess considering the monumental strides
in technology that we make on a seemingly daily basis.
I do know that if I am ever given the opportunity to choose
‘Dredd’ as my voice assistant, I would do that in a heartbeat.
Sorry, Siri.
You’re cool, but Dredd is the Law.


Facebook, interwebs, life, time


I did the unthinkable last week.
I de-activated my Facebook page.
Oh, the horrors!
Have I been able to sleep at night? Yes.
Have I been able to function like a normal human being on a daily basis? Yes.
Have I been able to go more than 5 minutes without feeling the need to check my Iphone for a comment on my most recent status update?
Believe it or not, yes, I have.
My head/psyche has been quieter than normal when I get home from work and login to my laptop.
Facebook is a very strange thing.
It’s the social equivalent of heroin in some ways; once it’s in your veins, it’s damn hard to break away.
I quit ‘cold turkey’ and don’t have any intention of going back anytime soon.
(notice how I left that proverbial ‘door’ open. I’m a sneaky bastard sometimes.)

I left for many reasons but the biggest reason of all was time.
I realized that spending hours on Facebook meant nothing.
Zip. Zilch. Nada.
As far as gig promotion, it was good.
Staying in touch with family? Awesome.
Sharing pictures of my family? Amazing.
400+ friends and 6 people comment on updates.
Does that piss me under my kilt?
Not really because I understand that people have lives.
They have stuff to do.
Important stuff.
If people really miss me, they will ultimately find me.
And if they do I’ll consider them more of a friend than Facebook ever would.
Leaving FB gives me more time to do what I should have been doing long ago; writing.
Sometimes I guess you need to disconnect to connect . . .



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Boil a fetus

digusting, Uberhumor, vile, evil


I can laugh at many things I see on the internet but very occasionally
I find something that just leaves me cold.
I troll UberHumor every now and then and have re-posted some of their material to Facebook, Twitter and my blog.
Some of the posts are really funny.
I have an off-kilter sense of humor but sometimes something really bothers me.
I don’t recommend clicking on the link because it’s quite simply offensive in numerous ways.
“get pregnant so you can have an abortion”
As I said, I have a great sense of humor but not this time.
Why someone thinks this is funny eludes me.
I love that the internet gives us freedom of expression, freedom of speech and stranger personal values but
how the f*^k does something like this slip through?
Shame on the crazy folks at
This shit just ain’t funny, my friends.
Time for an editor with some sack and intestinal fortitude to police the site and send this crap to the shitter.
Just my opinion.

ps. you clicked on the link, didn’t you?
Yeah, yuck . . .


1,000 words

Boston Marathon, photojouirnalism, John Tlmacki, Boston Globe


They say that a picture is worth 1,000 words.
I say that it’s worth much more than that.
Now and then the events of a single day subtly dovetail.
Like today.
I have been an admirer of photojournalism for as long as I can remember.
Seeing images that were most likely seared into the retina’s of said photographers would give me pause.
The past few weeks in Boston have produced some images that I can’t seem to ‘unforget’.
I want to rewind the organ of soft nervous tissue contained in my overcrowded skull of vertebrates and bring it back to April 14th when life
seemed idyllic and almost normal.
My bad.
Not gonna happen.
And I didn’t even take the pictures.

Last weekend my future son-in-law, Jonathan, showed me the cover of SI.
On the cover was a picture of an older runner that had been literally knocked down by an explosion at the finish line of the Boston Marathon.
Behind him were three Boston Police officers seen drawing their weapons and running in three different directions.
It was a photograph of a surreal moment in time.
It was also a photograph courtesy of a 30 year photojournalist for the Boston Globe called John Tlumacki.
Little did I know that my own personal path would intersect with that of Tlumacki.
I’ve never met the man but I am sure he is deep.
Read a glimpse of him HERE.

This Sunday morning I sat in a sunny living room reading an article in the T&G.
Read it HERE.
(and look at the photo credit below)

As of this morning I had no clue as to who took the pictures that had moved me close to tears.
In my last post here I used a photo of a woman found on her knees, crying and praying fervently to the heavens above.
She was completely devastated in every possible way, beseeching the blue sky above to take back what had just happened only moments before.
This was the picture I chose to use for my last post.
The picture spoke to me, plain and simple.

Fast forward to me Googling “photojournalist Boston Marathon 2013”.
There were many results but one stuck in my craw because it gave a preview of the photo I had used in my previous post.
I was gobsmacked in learning that the picture was actually taken by Tlumacki.

In my mind, I began to juxtapose many images while thinking how difficult it must have been to take them.
I will never know how these folks do their job.
It was then that I realized that it’s not unlike what I do when I write a song or a post.
I go into something of a trance until the job is over.
It’s a phenomenon that just happens.
The biggest difference for me is that I don’t have to worry about my head getting blown off in the process.
I have a new found respect for these graphic soldiers that visually time stamp the complexities of our lives.

I contacted John via email this afternoon after realizing I had used one of his photos for my ‘Boston Strong‘ post.
I asked for permission to use his photo after finally realizing how much courage and balls it must have taken
to capture an image as haunting and visceral as what it was.
He replied to me 20 minutes later;
“You can keep the photo on your blog, this is my Boston, your Boston, let’s not forget that.”
This is from a man that found himself on the front-line of the battle and chose to do his job.
I am honored that he gave me the okay to use his photo and blessed that he took the time to reply to me.
I pray that the ‘Man Upstairs’ keeps a special eye on this guy.
He’s paid his dues.
If this guy doesn’t garner a Pulitzer this year, I will be shocked.
Thanks, JT for doing the daunting task that you do.
The blood you found on your shoes tells me all I need to know about your integrity.
Time to find some rainbows . . .

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 . . .


ps. Photo courtesy of John TLumacki, Boston Globe


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.
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 . . .  :=)



Kellie Pickler, Dancing with the Stars


I watch ‘Dancing with the Stars’.
There. I said it.
American Idol? Nope.
The Voice? Nada.
The Bachelor? Puuuhleeesse. I have standards.
The Kardashians? They need to find a new planet to inhabit. Soon. And hopefully don’t pro-create.
The Biggest Loser? Whoever watches this stoopid show.
If you need a power tool to get your fat ass out of a chair . . . just sayin’
The Amazing Race? I personally know Max of ‘Max and Katie’ and I have never once watched the show.
It’s not that I don’t like Max, it’s that I don’t watch much TV.

Walking Dead.
New England Patriots.
It’s a short list.

My list could go on but I will spare you.
Get my drift?
DWTS came on tonight and my wife drew me into the living room in the only way she knew she could.

“Come here! Michael! Come here! Kellie Pickler is on! You have to at least watch her.”

My wife is telling me to watch a hot, sexy, gorgeous blonde that is half my age.
Did I like it?
What do you think?
Va-va-Voom .
Pickler has pickled my pickle since American Idol.
Okay, yeah, I watched some AI.
I feel dirty.
And guilty.

It does make me smile when Pamela makes me watch a bit of a show as I did tonight.
What kind of wife does that?
Mine does.
I think she also knows that her face is much prettier than 1,000 Kellie Picklers.
It’s not only her face but it’s her unfailing heart and soul.
I love ya, Kellie Pickler but Pamela owns my heart.
And that,  my friends is the end/beginning of the story . . .
Can’t wait to see what KP will be wearing next week.
I’m sure Pamela will tell me . . .


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 . . .


When tomorrow comes

love, family, Alzheimer's Disease, memory


I read a post on Facebook from a ‘friend’ tonight.
I have no idea if he wrote it or found it on the interwebz.
That said, it moved me to tears reminding me of my Mom and Dad’s struggle with Alzheimer’s.
It’s called ‘When Tomorrow Starts Without Me’ and is a simply beautiful epitaph and message of hope that should be shared.
I’m missing my Mom and Dad tonight the way they used to be . . .  more than usual.
I’m over remembering the bad stuff.
Moving on.
Please share this . . .
Thank you, JohnD for posting!

attributed to David M Romano

When tomorrow starts without me
And I’m not there to see;
If the sun should rise and find your eyes
All filled with tears for me.
I wish so much you wouldn’t cry
The way you did today;
While thinking of the many things
We didn’t get to say.

I know how much you love me
As much as I love you;
And each time that you think of me,
I know you’ll miss me too.
But when tomorrow starts without me
Please try to understand,
That an angel came and called my name
And took me by the hand.

She said my place was ready
In heaven far above;
And that I’d have to leave behind,
All those I dearly love.
But as I turned to walk away,
A tear fell from my eye;
For all my life, I’d always thought
I didn’t want to die.

I had so much to live for,
So much yet to do;
It seemed almost impossible,
That I was leaving you.
I thought of all the yesterdays,
The good ones and the bad;
I thought of all the love we shared,
And all the fun we had.

If I could relive yesterday
Just even for awhile,
I’d say goodbye and kiss you
And maybe see you smile.
But then I fully realized
That this could never be;
For emptiness and memories
Would take the place of me.

And when I thought of worldly things
I might miss come tomorrow;
I thought of you, and when I did,
My heart was filled with sorrow.
But when I walked through heaven’s gates
I felt so much at home;
When God looked down and smiled at me
From His great golden throne.

He said, “This is eternity
And all I’ve promised you;
Today your life on earth is past,
But here it all starts anew.”
“I promise no tomorrow,
But today will always last;
And since each day’s the same day,
There’s no longing for the past.”
“But you have been so faithful,
So trusting and so true;
Though at times you did do things,
You knew you shouldn’t do.”
“But you have been forgiven
And now at last you’re free;
So won’t you take my hand
And share my life with me?”

So when tomorrow starts without me,
Don’t think we’re far apart
For every time you think of me,
I’m right here in your heart.

Got Faith?

hope, family, life, love, time


“To me, faith means not worrying.”  –  John Dewey

for someone close, yet so far away . . .


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