Smoke and Mirrors

In a perfect world . . .

Category: Ipod (page 1 of 3)

Bella and the Wish

letters, Christmas, Santa, children


This past October took I took a ride to the Deerfield Candle Factory with Pamela and our Australian friends Maureen and Mark.
The place was decked out in the traditional Christmas array of sights, sounds and scents.
It’s a magical place and if you have the time to get there before December 25th, I highly recommend that you do.
There’s even a nighttime Bavarian Village lit by vintage flickering streetlamps where it snows every 4 minutes.
It’s a place filled with secret wishes, sugarplum dreams, amazing tree ornaments and obviously every imaginable scented candle you
could ever dream of including, ‘Brown Paper Packages’ and ‘First Down’,
a mancandle that may possibly smell of broken NFL dreams and dirty jock straps, or not.
The ‘Man Candles’ gave me much in the pause department: Riding Mower, 2X4 and Mantown?
No Super Sweaty Golf Balls?
And lastly the weirdest 2 candles (to me) were ‘Whiskers on Kittens’ and ‘Schnitzel and Noodles’.
Don’t bogart that joint my friend, pass it over to me.
What the hell do whiskers smell like and how would they actually make that scent?
Be on the lookout for my own list of the top 10 rejected Yankee Candle Scents.

Turns out that this post isn’t about candle scents and snowflakes it’s about the letter that you see at the top of my post.
A good portion of the DCF caters to children during the Christmas season and I happened to walk by a corkboard filled with letters written by children of all ages to the holiday machine we created and called ‘Kris Kringle’.
Most letters were as you would suspect:

“Dear Santa,
Please bring me an Xbox 360 with at least 2 games and a new Nano Ipod because I lost mine.
An Ipad would be great but I won’t count on that. My parents are too cheap to buy me one.
Say hi to Rudolph for me. And I promise to leave you cookies and milk this year.
I love you!”


“Dear Santa, Hi! How are you? How are your reindeer doing?
What are you doing in the North Poal? I am so ecxited about Chrismas.
I woud like a CD player and a Gameboy Advance and a backpack.
by Ann”

Let me see if I got this right;
Bella doesn’t want anything for herself,
She wants happiness for her Mom because her Dad is a jerk,
She wants happiness for her family,
And she wants Santa to make her cousin Chrystal’s life better.
This little girl ‘gets’ the holiday while the world goes on not even taking notice of this most simple prayer.
And yes, it is a most vibrant Christmas prayer.

We are bombarded on a daily basis with commercials, videos, signs, radio commercials, TV commercials
and pop-ups on our computers telling us to be happy because that’s what this season is all about.
Where the hell did we go wrong?
This little girl sent me a  personal message in the most innocent of ways telling me that this most blessed of holidays
is not about acquiring the most expensive of gifts.
It’s not about the stuff under the tree.
It’s about the people AROUND the tree that make the difference.
Right now, this little girl doesn’t have that.
Her letter made me cry inside because it was absolutely true.
This disjointed familial stuff pervades our society and the world at large.
A happy holiday?
Maybe for some.
Sadly, not for all.
Try to see through the commercial glitz and glamour of a holiday that has literally spiraled out of control in terms of meaning and substance.
Get away from the artificial joyful noise and the constant jingle bells where you will hopefully arrive at a place where your heart can be happy without the need for the stuff that the Media says you need to be happy.

For me?
I want BellaM to get every single thing on her list this year.
Maybe even a pony for good measure.
I will say a prayer for her on Christmas Eve even though I don’t even know her.
And I will pray she gets love.
Stockings full of love.
How about you?
just saying . . .


Ipod, therefore, I am


I was in a restaurant yesterday when I suddenly realized
I desperately needed to pass a nasty butt mutt.
The music was really, really loud, so I timed my anal acoustics with the beat of the music.
After a couple of songs, I started to feel better.
My case of nasty swamp ass had thankfully resided.
I finished my coffee, and noticed that everybody was staring at me.
Then I suddenly remembered that I was listening to my iPod.
Damn you, Apple . . .

The Song is Over

I’ve always loved this song.

“Excepting one note, pure and easy
Playing so free like a breath rippling by . . . “

12 more things my daughters have taught me

  • Crappy ringtones are unacceptable. Upload a favorite song for free at
    My current ringtone is the first 40 seconds of ‘We won’t get fooled again’ by The Who.
    ‘Panama’ by Van Halen let’s me know when Pamela is calling.
  • Even a 50 year-old guy can learn to use Word (T9) to text on a cell phone.
    Drives them crazy that I can text almost as fast as them now.
  • What life used to be like when I was 20 and how much fun I had.
  • To never give up. Ever.
    (who’s teaching who here?)
  • What phrases like ‘cover flow’ and ‘shake to shuffle’ mean. (Ipod terms)
  • How to upload a Wordle to my cell phone. (Pam and I have Zero for Zooz on our cells) (Zooz Wordle)
  • My day off is not for me to rest. It’s the day I cook one of them a favorite meal, ultimately receiving a load of laundry that needs to be done . . .  ahem, Sarah . . .
  • Silence is a legitimate answer (as is yup, nope, uh-huh and dunno)
  • Time is like a river . . .  to the sea
  • Life is not always fair.
  • College girlfriends can be incredibly vicious. And really nice. (all in the same day)
  • That I am truly blessed to have 3 (and 4) such incredible women in my life.
  • watch out guys, these girls are tigers.

Dancing Queen?

This is the latest web/ YouTube sensation called Miranda.
Is she a Dancing Queen?
A singing sensation?
Maybe not on this planet.
Either way, she rocks my world.
I gotta talk to her about how she applies her lipstick though.
Maybe she needs to be in one of those Little Caesar pizza commercials . . .


Denis Leary just kind of spoke my mind with this video.
The video and song are a bit old but are incredibly relevant even more so today.
My disillusionment with federal  and state government policies
have turned me into an asshole with a cause, I guess.
I can’t believe anymore in the total money-grubbing  douchebags that run this country.
As a citizen, I really want to quit.
But I can’t.
I am an asshole and I am damn proud of it.
Click on the picture above to see the classic ‘Leary’ video.
He smokes, drinks and swears and went to High School here in Worcester, Massachusetts.
He Rocks.

Roy Rogers is riding tonight

The first guitar I ever received was in 1964.
It was Christmas and I was five years old.
It was one of those Roy Rogers guitars made out of some unknown kind of wood with shitty nylon strings.
It came with a rope strap as well which gave me some pretty serious neck burns after wearing the guitar for more than 5 minutes and trying to act like Elvis Presley.
The guitar itself didn’t last very long though because supposedly they don’t like being stepped on or dropped.
I ended up doing one or the other. Ooops.
I destroyed the thing.
I‘m thinking it must have sounded like crap even though I didn‘t even play guitar back then.
It was six or seven years later that a song on the radio would ultimately change my pre-pubescent musical life.
I can remember the first time I heard, Vincent, by Don McLean and how I heard every single note he played on his guitar.
I was going to teach myself how to play that song no matter how hard I tried.
Problem was, I had no guitar.
The internet now has webpages of the actual tablature. Click here.
But Sears & Roebucks sold guitars at the time (a scary proposition, knowing what I know now) and had one for 30 bucks, and I loved everything about it . . .  well, from what I could see in the catalog anyway.
It looked just like the guitar that McLean actually played (in my mind) though it wasn’t even close.
Sometimes if you wish hard enough the universe co-operates.
And co-operate it did.
New England was covered in 8″ of snow the very next morning and I had no school.
I put on my snow boots, grabbed a shovel and entered the working world of shoveling driveways.
Jesus Krispies, it was hard work.
Shoveling driveways didn’t pay too well either, maybe four or five bucks per.
Looking back on it, I should have made more, for cripes sake.
Maybe the neighbors were just cheap bastards, I don’t know.
I shoveled all morning and went home at noon to eat lunch before heading back out for the afternoon.
By the time the sun was dripping into the lavender and salmon horizon, I trudged back home, physically and mentally beat.
It felt like I’d shoveled 500 driveways when in reality I probably shoveled 6.
I sat in the dining room and counted my money.

“27 bucks?”  I muttered.

I hung my head in disgust and sheer exhaustion.
My shoulders hurt.
And my feet were wet.
I hate wet feet.

“That’s great, Michael! How much is the guitar?” My mother asked.

“Thirty, I’m almost there,” I said, still pissed.

A few days later she took me to Sears & Roebucks and paid the balance I couldn’t afford.
The one thing I’ll always remember about my mother was her uncanny understanding of my intense love for music.
Little did she know she’d lit a fire that still glows, though not as brightly as when I was 13, but it’s still there burning inside me.
Her lasting gift to me, perhaps.
If you’re curious, I did learn Vincent, note by blessed note and can still play it to this day.
I went through two 45’s to learn it but it’s amazing how much it taught my ears.
Maybe it’s not so ironic why the starry, starry night sky reminds me so much of my mother.
And sorry about the mishap with my Roy Rogers guitar, Mom.
I really didn’t mean to do it . . .

*On a more personal note, while writing this story, I was trying hard to think of what brand the guitar was and as I listened to my Ipod Nano (thanks, M) ‘Harmony’ by Elton John came on.
Everything clicked.
The guitar I got was a ‘Harmony’.
Roy Rogers is riding tonight . . .

No DSL, No Cry

DSL went out today.
I got home from work and spent 2+ hours on the phone with a very cool Verizon rep
(I owe u a brewski, dude)
before connectivity was finally restored.
Must have been something I did  (yeah, right)
Planned on getting some blog stuff done tonight but . . .
I’m connected and my daughters are happy.
When the daughters are happy, I’m happy.
I’m going to bed now.
A curled up ethernet cable looks oddly enough like a grey turd, don’t it?

Love is the answer

Just wanted to say Merry Christmas to all.
Know that in the grand scheme of things, no matter what happens, love IS the answer.
It’s all that the ‘babe’ ever wanted all of us to agree on anyway.
It’s a shame that we’re still fighting it . . .
Be safe, be warm, be loved.
I wish this for each and everyone that visits here over the next few days.
Merry Christmas.
Love is the answer.




It all began back in 1986 when I was living the life of a ‘musical’ Riley.
That, however, is a post for another day.
I used to write songs for my wife as unique Christmas presents.
After sending a few of them on to a dear friend, she suggested (ever so gently) that I make an attempt to sell my wares.
Clearance from my wife and a link to PayPal has opened up a channel of commerce, so to speak.
The CD is a compilation of ten songs written and recorded exclusively by me.
Accompanying each CD will be liner notes for each song, with my personal thoughts and wishes for each.
CD’s will be ready to ship immediately.
10 tunes, pure Christmas, pure me.
There’s also an added bonus track this year, an instrumental called ‘Waltz for Mel’ written for another dear friend for the wedding of her daughter.
I guess you could do worse and order a Britney Spears Christmas CD.
Click on the street musician below or the Santa hat in my sidebar.
Feel free to pass the link on to someone you know that likes sappy original compositions.
Actually, the songs are quite nice, imho.
If you’re interested but want to hear something first, let me know.
I have a tune ready to be sent via email.
If you have Itunes installed, even better.


Older posts

© 2016 Smoke and Mirrors

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑