Smoke and Mirrors

In a perfect world . . .

Category: the Cosmos (page 1 of 6)

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.

(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.”
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.
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 . . .




Questions 67 & 68


There has been a question that’s been rolling around in this head of mine for ions now.
I asked ‘said’ question to a fairly close friend of mine recently and was a wee bit startled by his answer.
It was the total opposite of mine.
Know that this friend of mine is an MD and a highly intelligent individual.
I would have thought that everyone would see it my way but that is obviously not the case.
While the question is illogical, hypothetical and a virtual unfeasibility,
I found it mind-numbing nonetheless.

If you came upon a celestial tollbooth in your life where you were told:
You need to give up either your sight or your hearing, which one do you choose to lose?

My answer was almost immediate which was no shock to me and possibly of little shock to you.
So as not to sway anyone this post will be in two parts, this one being the first.
What would you choose?
Sight or Sound/Hearing?

My answer will follow next week.
If you follow me on Facebook or Twitter there will be a link there soon.
Think about it people.
Give me your best shot.
I already have my answer locked and loaded . . .



I saw Orion this morning (6:15) while retrieving the morning paper.
The constellation told me/reminded me of several things;  Autumn has arrived here in New England,
and there is one more constellation I need to see before I die [Southern Cross],
and that another year has passed and my wife is one year older.
Happy Birthday, to my always.
From your forever.
And the stars continue to sparkle.
Just like your eyes . . . [green Orion]
Love you.
See you for Indian tomorrow night . . .


Nebula (II)

Somewhere, amidst the shattered crystal silence of daybreak. . .
I find you
the dusty silhouette of a life
resting on a shelf in my mind that’s sadly gathering dust,
the gentle flutter of wings sets the shadows free
I watch as you dance among the countless stars, set deep in the face of a forever-winter sky

a whisper; but a sotto-voce prayer moves me through a time and space where I realize I have lost you all over again
A transient streak of starlight falls into the invisible arms of the waiting horizon
and I look to the east, my heart finally believing in the goodbyes and the time stained no mores
and I begin to understand why
He chose you
to shine
so soon…

Just some thoughts regarding the past.
5 years and you’re still on my mind, Mom . . .
Miss you


the echoes of goodbye,
cross a yawning chasm of fog and thought
find me sitting in this Darkroom,
the pictures of my life, languid and swirling above me

familiar fingers of blacklight penetrate me,
violating my inner walls of thought,
a fortress once impervious yet fragile, yes, once like me

galaxies of sotto voce secrets, skeletons in my locked closet
seem to drip like candle wax from the hanging pictures
the memories of my sweet by and by
they were prints I lost so damn long ago
souvenirs, as lost as I

this Darkroom embraces its secrets,
never letting go of the subtleties of the ‘why’
some things just simply refuse to let go of me
like the distant echoes of goodbye . . .


*repost of a  dark angel


*a repost from a time I can’t seem to forget

This morning, the highway was filled with a multitude of disembodied headlights, each one searching through a seemingly inexhaustible mist, an optical illusion a bit tough to handle at 6AM when you’re still sleeping.
I made it onto the train and stared out the window at the relentless sheets of rain.
The dark and rainy skies made me think of a night many years ago when I went to my parent’s house after a slew of frantic phone calls from my mother.
She would freak out on a fairly regular basis back then.
At the time, she was in the late beginning stages of Alzheimer’s and I was still in total denial.
I pulled into the driveway and saw her silhouette standing in the open doorway.
I remember thinking she looked peaceful standing there
and not the frantic woman I’d just spoken to on the phone.

I called her name.


No response.
As I walked up the stairs, I could see her staring off into the distance, detached and trance-like.
I stood next to her to try and see what she was looking at when she said,
“Look. There’s million’s of them.”

“Millions of what, Mom?” I asked.

“Stars,” she said, “Can’t you see them?”

In the front yard there was an old oak tree, the leaves still dripping from the heavy rain.
Behind the oak, I could see the front porch light from the Jacobson’s house
up on the hill illuminating the thousands of falling raindrops.
Stars, I thought, it’s raining stars.
I took off my glasses to see the world, if only for a moment, through my mother’s eyes.
A simple oak tree was being transformed into an impressionistic masterpiece right in front of me, thanks to a few misfiring neurons located somewhere in my mother’s brain.

“It’s beautiful, Mom.” I said.

“Yes. It is…” She replied.

I didn’t realize it at the time but the raindrops falling from the tree closely echoed the neurological avenue my mother was currently traveling down.
The drops of rain falling and disappearing into the waiting earth were so much like her failing memory,
a collection of antiquated shooting stars ultimately destined to crash and burn, their celestial beauty gone all too soon.
As we stood silently on the porch, an internal cog clicked inside me.
It was a frightening moment of absolute realization.
My phase of denial had finally come to an end.


Malarky Monday 25.3

Out of respect for my father,
Malarky Monday will return next week.
Please light a candle for kind and gentle man that will be missed.
That would make for a great Malarky Monday.
Rest easy, Dad.
You’re finally home . . .



Cape Cod, Hyannis, Baxter's Boat House, seafood, Akubra Hats, Aussie stuff

One night at the Cape all of us went to Baxter’s in Hyannis for dinner.
It was a beautiful night as we sat watching the ferries come and go in the harbour.
Not sure what everyone ordered to eat but no one was talking and I’m assuming it was all good.
I do remember that Mark got an enormous Fisherman’s Platter that looked incredibly good,
no, it was ‘call your cardiologist before eating’ good.
He gave me a fried scallop that was roughly the size of an Aussie cricket ball which I split with Pamela.
It was so good I had to go back up to the counter and get a side order for us to split.
I’ll never learn.
It was such a beautiful night that I suggested we walk Main Street in Hyannis and check out some of the shops.
While the womenfolk were looking at Cape Cod jewelry,
Mark and I wandered over to a leather store across the street.
The rich, earthy aroma walking in was almost narcotic.
I love the smell of leather.
Mark and I were immediately drawn to the hats hanging on a wall in the back of the store; there were porkpies, fedoras (ala Indiana Jones), top hats, baseball caps and one very special hat that I somehow missed.
Mark asked to see a now familiar hat on the very top row.
“Check it out, mate. It’s an Akubra made in Australia,”  He said,
as he showed me the inside label of his hat by the same maker.
I loved the hat he was wearing when he first showed up at the house and now I knew why.
He asked the price ($85) but by now Pamela and all the girls were standing next to us ready to go.
I wanted to buy the hat because I really liked it and I wanted to offer a showing of solidarity to Australia.
Alright, the solidarity part was my brain making up bullshit but I really loved the hat.
I could hear Pamela in my head saying, “You Have Enough Hats!
I’m thinking now there was a reason I didn’t get it.
Move forward in time to Logan Airport on the Sunday Maureen and Mark were leaving.
Pamela, Hannah, me and M&M were standing at the gate, all of us knowing what was coming next.
Mark patted Moe on the bum and said, “Alright. Let’s go. Let’s get this done.”
Probably some of the hardest words my friend has ever had to say.
The Tear Factory was now open for business but before it closed, Mark took off his Akubra and placed it on my head and gave me a huge bear hug.
“Take care of this for me until the next time, buddy.”
Translation: How Michael got his very first Akubra.
You never forget your first.
I don’t know much about the road ahead of me but I do know this; the next Akubra I put on my bald noggin won’t be from some leather shop in Hyannis, Ma.
I’m thinking someplace much more exotic . . .
Like Queensland, Australia


I am all about the stars.
Just downloaded ‘Stellarium’ tonight.
Had to share.
Even the desktop icon is cool for this program.
If you like stars and the night sky this program is nuckin’ futs.
It’s a big file (@40megs) but totally worth it.
I’ve been trolling the sky for the past half hour.
Click on the picture above and enjoy.
Any guesses as to the constellation up there?
(Moe, don’t bother)
Enjoy . . .


There are things that happen in our lives that simply defy explanation;
situational outcomes, a much needed phone call out of the blue, an errant email you ‘forgot’ to open that drastically changes some facet of your life.
Lately, my father’s journey has been something of an emotional rollercoaster ride.
In the span of one visit, he’ll laugh one minute to beat the band while the next he’s crying like a baby.
While it’s easy (and enjoyable) to watch and listen to him laugh, his tears and all too complete sorrow are a completely different animal.
Wax on, wax off.
He was never an emotional man to begin with so that takes some getting used to.
My sister and I have been truly baffled by the whole thing.
The last time my sister visited our mother’s grave, she had a brief ‘conversation’ with Ginny.
We both do the same thing when we visit her.
She told her about Dad’s current penchant for a psychological taste of a Six Flags amusement park.
She also told her that her ‘Wally’ is sad and misses her dearly.
One week later while Maureen was visiting our father she noticed a woman standing in the doorway of his room as she fed him lunch.
Her heart skipped a beat.
This woman looked like our mother.
Her eyes, her hair, her glasses, her sunny disposition were all subtle suggestions of ‘Ginny’.

“Hi, Wally!” she said, as she walked in and touched our father’s hand.

Maureen was a bit gobsmacked by the situation but she said our father seemed to enjoy this woman’s company.
He was smiling and laughing.
Her name is Margaret but they call her Peg.
And Peg seems to have a thing for Wally.
We were told that Peg and Walter can sometimes be found sitting together in the rec room that looks out over the city of Worcester.
It’s a wonderful view even on a grey and rainy day.
Peg even holds our father’s hand.
It’s uncanny that after my sister’s visit with our mother this woman should almost materialize out of thin air.
I’m thinking that as poor as my father’s eyesight is, every time he sees Peg, he’s also seeing our Mom.
Rollercoaster ride, explained.
In looking at the situation I’m so tempted to believe this woman was sent by my mother, a surreal gift of a love from someplace truly wonderful.
I know, it sounds way too Disney and formulaic but the situation defies explanation.
Maybe Peg was sent to help my father finally get home.
Perhaps she’ll remind him of the most important things missing in his life, make him close his eyes and dream good things.
Maybe she’ll give him the much needed solace he so richly deserves.
But for now, he shall remain a constant rider on these misshapen, parallel bars of cold steel.
He’s still holding on for dear life, lost on a perpetual track of fragmented emotions.
Only God knows when and where the rollercoaster will ultimately arrive.
For the love of my father, I hope it arrives soon . . .

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