Monthly Archives: November 2005

(Take Your Elbow Out of the Soup) You’re Sitting on the Chicken

Imperial Bedroom. Elvis Costello’s masterpiece. I was a major Elvis Costello fan. I first saw him on SNL in the seventies, with his Radio Radio attack. He was supposed to do Less Than Zero, but figured it wouldn’t go over well on US TV so he switched into Radio Radio after the first few bars of Less Than Zero. On a time specific show like SNL that was a betrayal. Supposedly Lorne Michaels was giving him the finger through out the song, off camera.

On SNL, Elvis Costello and the Attractions had replaced the Sex Pistols who had imploded in San Francisco. So that was 1977-78. Between his first and second albums. He was angry, fast and very literate. Then came Armed Forces in 1979. I snagged fifth row tickets at the Capitol Theater in Passaic NJ.

On that tour Elvis and Co. were wired up. They had gotten into a fight with Stephen Stills and Bonnie Bramlett in Columbus OH, with Elvis getting pummeled due to a drunken racist remark about James Brown and Ray Charles. He later admitted it was wrong, it was stupid, he was fucked up and did countless penances.

He also held his first press conference and he was besieged by the media about it. That was the afternoon of the show I was going to. He was incredibly loud. Prior to the show and the press conference, reports from the road were about how he was playing very fast for about 30 minutes and then charging offstage to white noise feeding back from the amplifiers.

If he did that, that night, my brothers and I would be deaf. We were five rows from the speakers. But he came out and sang Hand In Hand. He played for a long time, quite disciplined and perhaps even humbled. No feedback. Played for 90 minutes then he was gone.

Saw him on New Years Eve 1982 at the Palladium in New York City. He was only doing three shows in the states, one in NY, LA and Nashville. This was for his country music album.

I found out that he was playing on New Years Eve at the Palladium and mentioned that I wanted to go to my mother. She forbade it. ‘The city is a nightmare on New Years Eve. You’re not going.’ Twenty years old, living under her roof, I had no choice. I had to lie.

The day of New Years Eve I told her that I was going to a frat party in New Brunswick at Rutgers and I won’t be back until the next day. I was going to be THAT drunk. That was fine with her. I had her blessing to have drunken frat fun.

I met up with Dave Bell, an old friend of my brother’s and mine and two of Dave’s friends. I was hopped up on caffeine pills then. We drove into the city after picking up one friend at Newark airport where he worked as a flight attendant. Wound up parking on Astor Place, and I was so wired I had barely an idea of what was going on. It was drizzling as we walked up Fourth Avenue to 14th street. It was about 11:15pm and we scalped tickets for the show. The cost of the scalping was 20.00. The face value was 19.82. Special New Years prices.

We got to our seats as Elvis was saying, ‘Thank you! We’ll be back in a little while’. Well at least he said he was coming back. A little past midnight, Steve Nieve the keyboardist came out, played Auld Lang Syne and a few classics, then Elvis and the other Attractions came out and did a two hour set.

I saw him on most every tour after that. The English Mug and Spoon tour with Squeeze. Another excellent show.

Imperial Bedroom was his ultimate though. He worked with a new producer, Geoff Emerick who had engineered a lot of the Beatles albums. Brilliant with a touch of psychedelia. I think quite a few people at that time were dabbling with the Lysergics. There was the paisley underground scene in LA. Bands like XTC were getting all trippy. Echo and the Bunnymen. Teardrop Explodes. Acid seemed to be everywhere.

Or at least it seemed to me as I was doing a lot of ‘magic’ at the time myself. I recorded Imperial Bedroom and played it for several friends. One time in my excitement I was moved to tears. Beyond Belief. Another time I wouldn’t leave the car until the final notes of Town Crier couldn’t be heard anymore.

Elvis and Co. played Forest Hills Tennis Stadium. That was great. A wonderful summer night, excellent sound. Just perfect. Somehow he pulled it off. Some jerk threw a beer can at him and it hit him on the chest, Elvis just pointed him out, and he was removed from the arena.

I did meet him once, signed a copy of an unissued 2 Tone single. Another time, he was working with Burt Bacharach at Right Track. I couldn’t bear to meet him. I was intimidated. I eventually moved on from Elvis. He released a few really crap albums, lost the Attractions and grew a beard. What the hell was he thinking?

I Saw Her Again

The interview ritual. Los interviewes ritualoso. A drag by any other name is still a drag.
Interesting happenstances on the job search today. Well, one started yesterday. Some agency, Advantage Human Resource located in the Jesus Chrysler building, saw my resume that I’ve sent out through various online job search engines. It seems, or so Neil said, that I would be perfect for an admin position for Goldman Sachs in Jersey City.

Sweet. Look at me, corporate whore! I laugh. After being ‘indie’ for so long, I find myself pimpin out my services to the best price I can get. I played the boho route, and it was fun, but had no health benefits. This scene has the benefits and I dress sharper. And dressing sharper is a benefit in itself. I enjoy it to the point of fetishizing.

The Jesus Chrysler building is an Art Deco marvel. I’d love to work in the office of Advantage Human Resources, but I’d probably fall out a window. They’re the old fashioned windows, probably like the kind in your apartment if you lived in Washington Heights. Why Washington Heights? I don’t know.

So I went and filled out their online application. Told the truth at the college part. Me no go. Me hang around smart people. Me sponge. They have pretty paper. Me have friends with pretty paper.

That actually hung me up years ago. I had an interview at Arista Records in the nineties, before I actually worked there. Had an interview with Naughty Aloyuisis, a nice A&R friend of my friend Jimmy B. It was going great. Very comfy and cozy. Then Shenequa entered the picture. She was Naughty’s boss. She sat in, looked at my resume and asked, “So, where did you go to college?”

I had to think fast. Columbia, big university. Could lose my records there somehow. NYU? Hip, sleek, modern. They’d have my records. Or maybe, yes, quite possibly, Bergen Community College. I told Suzanne, “ I didn’t go to college.” “Oh ok. Thanks for coming.” That was it. Interview over. Rani had no say in the matter and probably got chewed out by the the one named Shenequa.

I eventually got a job at Arista, working for Shenequa directly. She had no clue. She turned out to be mean to everyone but me and she was understanding when Zed died.
The fake diploma must’ve helped.

So I sat with Neil who says he holds the keys to the magic world of Goldman Sachs. I would be perfect. He was dragging it out, I was watching the clock. Then he ended the interview, and gave me an eighth of a ream of paper to fill out, telling me to just skip parts that I have questions about.

I started writing and realized what a pain in the ass this was. I also had to get back to the office. This was my lunch hour now going over 90 minutes.

But there was a ray of possibility, but not with Neil. I had an interview a few weeks ago at Skadden, the largest law firm in The USA. Bill works there as a temp and was able to get me in for an interview. That went well until I mentioned that Bill and I were partners. The woman, Laurie said that because of that, she wouldn’t be able to hire me. Nepotism. Bill didn’t know. I certainly didn’t. I said, ‘But we’re separated! It wasn’t legally binding!’ No dice.

So I figured my chance at bat with Skadden was over. But today, I got a call from Laurie who asked if it was ok to forward my resume to Lawrence a headhunter for the sixth largest bank in the world. Has a bone through his nose. Spanky’s Uncle. I spoke with Lawrence several times this morning, so I hope everything is progressing nicely.

So it was a very Zen interview day, though I still find them a drag. Whee!

I really hope he likes me.

Possession

Haunted by last night’s movie, Rent. It certainly was touching. Seasons of Love and the theme, No Day But Today mainly. Those are the most haunting songs for me at least. The walk home produced the two pictures last night with Bill. It was a good walk. The bus ride was nice too with Bill putting his arm around my shoulders. For those that don’t play on my team, a move like that upsets some people, when it’s between two guys.

We came home, I wrote, he went to bed. That’s where the real fun began. I won’t get into detail, but wow…

Drank 2 bottles of wine with Julio over the weekend. I had the average two day weekend, most everyone else had a four day weekend. We polished off the second half of a big bottle and then after that, moved onto the good stuff. One of the partners at work gave me a bottle of Ahnfeldt 2002 Merlot from the Napa Valley. It kicked our asses. Apparently, according to what I looked up online, it’s a 44 dollar bottle of wine. And they only made 200 or so cases. So it’s not in our usual price range. We’re not box wine drinkers, nor are we the screw top variety.

Not anymore at least.

So this wine kicked our asses. Mine more so. We even ate beforehand. I cooked burgers on the George. We watched the Bob Dylan movie, “Masked and Anonymous’. I really enjoy that flick, if only for his playing with his band. Some handsome guys in that band, though I thought they looked corny when I saw them all those years ago at the Beacon. Patti Smith opened, and she was the reason I went.

Was not so much into Bob then. We split halfway through his set. Patti was amazing. It was actually my first time seeing her. She didn’t wet herself. Neither did I.

After the movie, Julio buzzed along and watched SNL with Steve Carrell hosting and Kanye West as the musical guest. A pretty good repeat. Probably wouldn’t have stayed up to watch the whole thing if it wasn’t for the wine and the company. I’m not complaining, both were good.

I’d like to think it was a hangover from the wine that tainted part of the day. I had gotten so depressed over my work situation. It’s dire, at least mentally for me. It prevented me from enjoying things like reading the paper, though that in itself is usually depressing. I couldn’t even bring myself to listen to music. Julio helped get me out of the house, and into the city.

Twice in a weekend is major. I hardly ever do that. Not that I hate the city, just lay-zee. I do enjoy myself. We went to Niwaka so I could pick up my ring after I had it cleaned. Very nice and shiny. Looking like brand new. I promised myself that I won’t wash dishes with it on anymore. Don’t want to be lacking in luster. I like Niwaka, they tolerate my Japanese.

Co Nee Chi Wah, Origato, Hi. And a lot of bowing. All very new to me. I say Origato and they come out with a whole bunch of new words in Japanese. I blush. Julio, who could have a future as a diamond merchant if he only applied himself, was talking to a woman about rings. A regular Suaron he is. After that we went to the Wine Bar on Wooster where we drank more wine. A hair of the dog.

Lewis Lapham is retiring next year. He hung out the Beatles in Rishikesh. How cool can this guy get?

Seasons of Love

Just got in from seeing RENT the movie. Very good. I always had a soft spot for Jesse L. Martin. I was working at Right Track Recording when they recorded the cast album. I met most of the original cast. Jesse was hanging out by my desk quite a bit, listening and singing along to “Who is He and What is He to You” by Bill Withers. Quite a handsome guy and with a killer smile.

He certainly looked great in the movie. I only had eyes for him back then so he commanded my attention most of the time. Adam Pascal and Anthony Rapp were very good. I really enjoyed Rosario Dawson. Idina Menzel was incredible. Wilson Jermaine Heredia was touching as Angel. Of course I got choked up at his final scene. I got choked up from the first notes of ‘Seasons of Love’ and then on throughout the rest of the movie.

Beautiful and touching. Would’ve been great 10 years ago but I guess Hollywood needed to see how well the movie version of Chicago went down. Since that was a hit, it gave Rent the green light. It also meant Phantom of the Opera got a green light too. Got to take the good with the bad. My memories of Phantom are unwashably tainted. For Rent, nothing but good memories. My fondness is cast.

In June I decided to take Bill and Julio and Stine to see Rent on Broadway. I had gotten four tickets and made plans to meet in front of the theatre. It was a sold out show, all these years later. Unfortunately it was raining cats and dogs. I was early and went to the Hilton and had a drink in their hotel bar.

After a beer I had gotten a call from Bill, he was at the theatre. Julio and Stine were on their way. I met up with them on the queue. We shuffled in and got to our seats where Bill was already seated. It was a great performance. The cast was credible. I was silently beating myself up for waiting to see it for so long. I would’ve loved to see the original cast, but this cast was quite good. Good enough to carry on after the originals had moved on.

And of course there was my drama that I had to contend with. AT intermission Stine and I went out for a smoke, Julio tagged along and Bill went to the souvenir stand. We came back and Bill was once again seated. He showed off the things that he bought, a hat, a T-shirt, an enamel badge. I wondered what he had gotten me, when all I had to do was close my eyes and I’d see what it was. Nothing.

I was hurt. Really upset. I had to come to terms with the fact that I couldn’t keep holding Bill to my standards of courtesy. It would’ve been nice to have gotten a button or something. But it wasn’t to be. I had to get over my frustration, I was learning about life and death and living for today (didn’t have a blog then). I was able to tell him about it afterwards and he really didn’t have a clue.

June was quite a dramatic month. I reminded him about how I had to go to court as I was being sued by the NY State Department of Labor. That was a long drawn out situation that involved Weehawken, San Francisco, New York and Hoboken. I showed at my court date, and sat among others who had their own trials. They had lawyers, and lot’s of files. All I had was me. I spoke with the judge from my heart and I was honest and truthful. A few weeks later I found the case was dismissed. The thing was with Bill, he knew I had the court date, but didn’t offer any words of encouragement, no pat on the back.

I told him that. I told him, if he had an audition for the part of a 95 year old albino woman playing Bingo, I’d have supported him 100%. If he were up for the role of a Puerto Rican bus driver he would’ve received another 100% from me. I needed to tell him that I needed his support that day and I didn’t get it. Homeboy with his problems of looking past his nose.

He’s making progress. He bought tickets for the movie tonight and surprised me with a RENT baseball cap, which he bought at the theatre this afternoon. I love it. We’re making progress.

No Day But Today.

…And In Every Home

Lot’s of comments last night for the blog, which is nice. Sometimes people don’t realize that this is a blog so comments posted under Comments will be seen by all who read this, unless deleted. And it has to be awfully rude for me to delete it. Others post to the email, which is nice. I knew some of the other stories posted would alarm some, so use caution. Or I’ll just make another category. Rated XXX perhaps. Who knows? Maybe it’ll be ‘proceed at your own risk’.
You have been warned.


Finally a day where I didn’t have to wake up and go to work or actually do anything. Except that I did the routine, belligerent bagels and newspapers. Coffee, cigarettes and a phone call from Julio asking if I’d want to go to the city with him so he can do some shopping. I said sure and tagged along.

Walked to the PATH, got off at Christopher Street and walked to the Grey Dog where I had dinner with Connie and Jennifer last week. Julio hadn’t been there in quite a while. Nothing has changed except for the paintings of dogs on the wall. Still a groovy place for a quick bite. Cozy, comfortable and good service. johnozagat gives it a favorable rating.

We then strolled over to West Broadway and Canal St where Julio successfully haggled on the price of ten Pashminas. I wouldn’t have the patience for that and would wind up haggling up rather than down. Very much like ‘Brian’ as in ‘Life of’. How much for the beard?

On the way to Canal Street we passed Justin Theroux (I think), and saw Ray Davies leaving the Soho Grand. Didn’t think about taking a picture until after the fact. D’oh!
I did say, ‘Hi Ray’ and he said ‘Hi’ back. Next time a picture for sure. I was worried for him when I found out he got shot chasing down a purse snatcher. Bad idea for him, but he seems to have recovered.

We then went to Niwaka where a few years ago Bill and I separately purchased each other’s rings. Very nice jewelry there, even for someone like me who doesn’t really care for jewelry. The staff there is great. Cute Japanese girls, with accents. I handed over my ring from Bill to have it cleaned up. The staff all bowed when we left. All civilized. I could get into that eventually, though it wouldn’t really go over well here.

A few years ago when I was initially into the suit and tie thing, I was attracted to such things but got over it soon enough. A simple man for simple things.

We wandered over through the lower east side, avoiding the Canal Street mobs as much as possible, and being the start of the holiday shopping season a lot of people were out. We wound up far east on Canal Street, which is Chinatown, which is Far East. Less people and quite a few jewelry stores. Many shiny gold things in the windows Solid gold heads of Jesus with diamonds for eyes. Just what Jesus would’ve worn. Yes for him, it was all about the ‘bling’.

But nothing was good enough for Julio’s refined palate. Really, nothing. He has a good eye for these things and has been doing research on diamonds and carats and all that shiny stuff.

Strolled uptown to the PATH train and wound up in Hoboken where I experimented with the camera. I will go back to Niwaka tomorrow to pick up my ring. Julio may come with me to get something beautiful and unique. Not gaudy like Canal Street. Something for the lovely Stine.

Oh yeah, I’m besieged by bears online.

Here’s some trippy pics.

Incident on 57th Street

“Thank you. I’d like to say you’ve been a great audience. Thank you very much. Good night.” And with that, Maurice walked off the stage. It wasn’t that long ago when he was bussing tables in the restaurant across the street. Now, he’s made it. He had his Scotch rocks waiting for him. He decided to forgo the cigar and put it in his shirt pocket.

Over the sound system the DJ was playing ‘Last Night A DJ Saved My Life’ by Indeep.
Maurice chuckled and broke into a big grin while saying “crazy vato. Fuckin DJ.” The stage manager overheard and asked if Maurice wanted the music changed. “No, it’s fine. Me and the DJ go back. Way back. Back into time.” The stage manager nodded and started walking away.

‘Not a problem I can’t fix, ‘cause I can do it in the mix’ Maurice rapped as he shadowboxed with a scotch in one hand. He laughed. He started out in small dives and now he’s in larger dives. He text messaged the DJ. ‘What’s Up Kid? How’d I do?’ A few minutes later, the reply, ‘Yo man. You sucked.’

Maurice laughed. He was glad to have the DJ around. Helped keep him grounded.
He had a spell of drug abuse but it was under control, he maintained. He couldn’t be around coke, because he’d want some real bad.

A serious jones. Weed was ok. Booze, beer were cool too. The coke? Forget about it. The DJ used to hook him up on occasion. Now one of his duties was to keep it away. Maurice figured if they could get past the DJ, then it must be destiny. Coke rationalizations.

Coke rationalizations lead to coke talk eventually. Maurice could be fine, then something would trigger the jones and he had those digits programmed into his phone. Different code names in case the DJ got hold of the phone and started prying. Maurice couldn’t stand that but put up with it.

But there was no problem. Last night a DJ did save his life. Last night and many nights before. Grouchy but grateful. And Maurice was sure that there would be many other nights for the DJ to do his thing.

The DJ then played ‘Got to be Real’ by Cheryl Lynn. He was hitting all of Maurice’s sweet spots. He took a swig of Scotch and pulled the cigar from his shirt pocket and put it in his mouth. The ‘No Smoking’ sign was right in front of him so he didn’t light it up.

Maurice just bopped and sipped his Scotch. Got to be really real. He was feeling good. Top of his game, no matter what the DJ said. He was in the moment when everything revolved around him for just a short while. It doesn’t last long and a lot of people don’t even notice when it’s happening to them.

The phone in Maurice’s pocket vibrated. ‘Only foolin kid. Any requests?’ Maurice smiled. There were a few requests he had in mind. Some only recently stopped being illegal in certain states.

Freezing

Thanksgiving day. Woke up late, slept until 8:30! Big deal. 2 and a half hours extra. Woke up it was cold. The morning shows all had Parades. I am not a fan of parades. If I had to watch them, I’d rather watch them on TV with the remote close by. I walked up to Washington Street and found the belligerent bagel shop closed.

So I went to their dreaded enemy, Dunkin Donuts. They were happy to see me. They’re happy to see anyone. Everyone gets treated the same basically, faceless efficiency. Got the papers, got some bagels and treated myself to 2 chocolate frosted donuts with sprinkles. Here it is 11:09PM and I’ve only eaten one.

Bill invited me to his cousin Hiram’s house in Yardley, PA for Thanksgiving Dinner. Quite a change from last year, where Bill was invited to his cousin’s for dinner. I was pointedly not invited. The usual lame argument, ‘don’t want to explain Bill’s friend to the kids’. The kids live a block away from the East Village. No way will they see same sex couples. I guess fostering the idea of being gay equals being evil is more important than education. And there was also his cousin’s elderly mother who certainly doesn’t know anything about evil gay people.

So to be invited this year was a major accomplishment. Julio was surprised that I was going after not being invited the previous year. I told them it was important that I go. To let them know that being gay was ok. There was no need for that. Bill’s cousin Hiram, ex-marine, big man specifically stated that it was a house of love and all were welcome. So nice to run into nice Christians. They seem so few and far between these days. They don’t get the press that the not so nice Christians get.

The plan was for me to meet Bill and his cousin, Carmen in Newark. They would be on such and such car and to be on that specific car. Oddly enough that was the plan that was put in place earlier in the week. Funnily enough, this morning the plan didn’t make sense at all for me this morning.

So I let Bill know that I’d meet him and Carmen at Penn Station. It’s closer than Newark and the chance of the plan falling apart didn’t seem as great. I walked to the PATH and got off at the ass end of the parade. Streets closed off, quite a few people on sidewalks, no one in the street except for me and a few other brave souls.


Met Carmen, Bill was late. When he arrived we walked to the platform and saw the train was standing room only. Carmen who has leg problems wouldn’t be able to stand the strain of standing so we opted for the next train. Which was fine. I was able to go outside and smoke a cigar until the next train.

After the Padron we went to the platform of the next train and were the first on. We had a choice of seats and picked 2 by the entrance/exit. Nice ride, comfy and cozy. We were in Trenton in about an hour. Not much to look at on the ride there, and it started to rain. The temperature dropped considerably.

Hiram met us at the station. I met him and his wife Chris, previously at his father’s wake. This was a lot better than that. Hiram is a gregarious guy. Very nice and warm. Bill really looks up to him like an older brother and he couldn’t have made a better choice. Adult children, no kids. All very pleasant.


Dinner was great, dessert was great. Lot’s of talk by a fireplace, political and otherwise. Very comfortable and warm.

Soon it was time to go back. It was even colder. I had hoped the train would be empty for the ride back from Trenton, but 2 stations later it was packed. I separated from Bill and Carmen and sat listening to Rufus Wainwright, Want Two in its entirety. Brilliant of course. And I was able to finish the New Yorker from 3 weeks ago, so I’m almost caught up.

Manhattan was frigid. Worse then deepest New Jersey and very windy. We waited for Carmen’s’ car to drive her to the Bronx. Julio called while we were waiting, telling me how cold it was. Of course he called from inside his toasty apartment. Good to know how cold it is when you’re outside in the cold.

Carmen’s car came and Bill and I made a beeline to the PATH where we luckily made it on before the doors closed.

Hoboken was warmer than Manhattan and therefore more welcoming. Bill is in bed. All is well.

It Takes A Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry

Wintertime is coming, windows are filled with frost. 27 degrees when I woke this morning. Did my usual walk to work, listening to Brian Eno’s Another Day On Earth. It was business casual today, though I opted to wear a suit and tie. I got an egg sandwich on the way to work and picked up the Village Voice. Been reading it for years, a habit I cannot break. I still read certain columns, but of course I mainly scan the music ads. See who’s coming up, who’d I’d like to see.

The Roches are playing Town Hall, The McGarrigle X’mas Show is at Carnegie Hall with Rufus and Martha Wainwright in attendance. I’d love to see both, but probably will see neither. Nothing against them, but in my dotage, I’m becoming more of a homebody. I just stay in more and more. I live on the top floor of a five story walk up so that is a major factor, though it’s more the concept of walking up four flights of stairs, than the actual act.

And I almost always have a good time when I go out. Save money staying home that’s for sure. Julio’s usually around and he comes up for visits sometimes. 2 flights for him. He’s been a pal for a while, almost 20 years. Him and Pedro, I met them both in a space of a few months. Two very distinct personalities.

Both make me laugh like no other and both know me very well. A little too well sometimes. Sometimes all it takes is an arched eyebrow and a whole rationale is spoken.

I’ve partied with both of them, though Julio more so since he’s always lived close by. Former co conspirators.

I’ve been thinking about trying to remain in the city after work and do something fun, but I’m usually so mentally battered and bruised I just smoke my cigar and walk to the PATH train.

Today was different.

I decided to walk on the seedy side of the street. I had gotten out of work early and decided to go to a booth store. Yes, I dipped my toe in the water and found it sticky.
I got on the train to go to City Hall and walk a block or two but wound up going to Brooklyn instead. I like Brooklyn but it was not on my agenda for this afternoon. For the first time in years I decided to allow the little head to make the plan.

So I got off the train at the first stop in Brooklyn, Atlantic Ave which shows how far into Brooklyn the N train can take you unwillingly. AN R train returning to Manhattan appeared and soon I was back in Oz.

Got off at City Hall as I wanted to earlier and walked to Ann Street. There I climbed the stairs and paid my fee. It was dark, it was dank and there really wasn’t much to look at. I walked around for about a half hour. Trying to look so stoically sexy, but no one was appealing really. There were a few trolls there, some twinks. I guess I represented the bears.

For those playing at home, Trolls are generally older guys, not too handsome, a bit out of shape sometimes. Sometimes they have magical gifts though, so I don’t write them off. Twinks I write off without any problems whatsoever. Twinks are twenty somethings, usually hairless, sometimes blond and really skinny and trendy. Trendy twinks in tweed are sometimes tweaked by Tina.

And the bears. The bears are usually nice, hirsute, a bit chubby, furry and bearded. I have a goatee, some hair on my chest, and a touch of a belly. That makes me a bear. Also bears are usually over 35. Under 35 with the same stats, makes one a cub.

Though nothing happened really, I did enjoy myself. I’ll probably go back. Just got to take the right train and not wind up in Brooklyn.

And don’t worry Sunshine, it’s all safe.

The Warmth of the Sun

It all seemed to be going so well. Listening to Ian Dury and the Blockheads, ‘Do It Yourself’. That record, now CD, always makes me feel good. What a crackerjack band those Blockheads, and what lyrics and vocals from the late Mr. Dury. ‘Through channels that were once canals, do lift the heart of my morale, to know, that we, are pals’. Never had a chance to see them, they only played the states once and it didn’t go well.

So I floated to work, listening to Do It Yourself, and I was feeling pretty good. It’s true, hell is other people. Once my coworkers started arriving, the day started going downhill. Being it was the day before the day before Thanksgiving, pies were ordered. Not just any pies, and not any pies in the immediate vicinity. No, these pies were across town.

They ordered about a dozen pies. Apple Sour Cream, Pumpkin, and Carrot Cake Apple sauce. Jamie the office manager and I had a town car to take us to the pie company, so the cost of 12 pies was about 500.00.

The president of the company paid for them. This is the same guy I spoke to about my issues at work. This is the same guy that has done nothing. And the issues and the situation have gotten worse.

I did hear from Jamie, that Bleedin’ Hope and her bleedin brain moved to San Francisco, which really confirms my suspicions that she lied about everything. I mean, if your brain was bleeding, do you think it would be a good idea to pull up your roots, forget the doctors, and move to the other side of the country?

No one bats an eye. Now the 34th floor water buffalo known as Wombus with the kidney problems has been whispering in the ear of her supervisor, Joe Hemosaxual. Faggot douche bag supreme. I’m sure that’s how he graduated from the business school. Such a fucking priss. He has no clue what’s going on, only what fat ass tells him. Fat ass comes in late, waddles around the office, annoying people with her Staten Island drone, and leaves early. She dresses like she’s going to play bingo in a trailer park. Sometimes she does nothing all day, stays late, gets a free dinner and a car service home to Staten Island.
He fired off an email stating that put upon Brenda isn’t a team player since she doesn’t really communicate with the other admin assistants. But doesn’t the Persian bitch fall into that category? She doesn’t speak to me, is she a team player? I mean I can picture her doing the team in the locker room in some triple X rated porn flick, but a team player?
No not at all.

She seems to have won over various people in the company. Men who are easily swayed by tight pants and four inch heels. I guess these neck bones never had the opportunity to be driving past the Javits Center late at night and seeing her doppelgangers outside turning tricks in rabbit fur coats.

And most of them are Transgendered who look way better, even with a five o’clock shadow. The only proper name for her is anatomical slang for vagina.
I desperately need to be out of there. Not her vagina, I wouldn’t be anywhere near that thing, but rather, out of Wanker Banker. It’s too bad. At one point it was a pretty good place to work. Now, I’m a relic, a dinosaur from another time. Maybe I should leave some dung behind so they could dig it up long after I’m gone.

Sink My Boats

It was a pretty good weekend. Hanging with Rand and Julio on Friday, Connie and Jennifer on Saturday and Bill on Sunday. Everything went well. Nothing planned. The good feeling carried over to today. A lot of people out today, perhaps all week. That was great.

The encounter with Bill was definitely not planned though I did try to instigate something on Saturday afternoon. He’s phobic about having sex before driving a bus, he feels he will kill himself and the passengers if he did. So perhaps I saved close to 60 lives. Yeah right.

I told him that we have a lot going for us, and sex is just sex. I’ve had it, hoped I wouldn’t look for it again, but it seems I might have to. It’s a lot like keys. You have your keys, but somewhere down the line you will misplace them. If you find them, great. But sometimes there is a good chance that you might need a new key or even a whole new lock.

And maybe the locksmith is a hot guy, like the cross between George Clooney and Colin Farrell. Or just resembles one of the two, I’m not picky. And he’s horny and hot….

I wake up in a cold sweat and stumble to the refrigerator for a swig of diet 7Up. The cold tile floors bring me to an irritated state of consciousness. I see a few empty Heineken bottle and Guinness cans. Ashtrays overflow with stale Gauloises.

I walk into the bathroom and take a piss while looking in the mirror. I always think I look good when I’m wasted. I’m that detached from my persona, it’s like a vacation from me.

I’m handsome, witty and a touch decadent.

I wake up under a pillow. The cat has clawed my arm trying to roust me from bed so I can feed him. When I shoo him off the bed, he goes into the next room and caterwauls. But he sounds almost human. It sounds like he’s saying ‘Hello’. Which is endearing in a frightening way.

I stumble out of bed and walk into the kitchen and find there is no fucking cat food. I realize that I am truly an idiot. I was in the store last night and walked right by the cat food. Nothing. Not even dry food that I shouldn’t give him since he’s been fixed. I remember I have a can of tuna in the fridge. The cat will eat well, once the tuna in his bowl warms to room temperature. No, he’s impatient and hungry. He’ll eat the damn thing cold.

I wake up in the Lincoln Tunnel. The New Yorker magazine from 3 weeks ago is at my feet. The bus is crowded, people standing in the aisle. I sit in the back, next to the wheel well. Whoever wants to sit next to me will sit on top of the wheel well. Not very comfortable, but roomy.

No one wants to sit next to me. I pick up the New Yorker and go back to sleep.

Sneaky Feelings

Bill just left. It was a long day. I heard it was nice outside, but we spent most of the afternoon indoors, talking. About everything, where we were, where we’re going. Tears were shed, hugs given. It’s amazing, when I talk to Bill I am so incredibly rational. I have to be because sometimes he can be very irrational.

I mentioned a few times the fact that counselling would be a good idea, and he was a bit resistant to it. But as we talked more and more and his issues kept popping up, I think he realized that he does need help and we both need help for our relationship. He is frightened of the fact that if I see someone else for sex, I might fall in love with that person and forget about him. That is the thing in the back of my mind for a long time and told him so.

He realizes that he can’t have it both ways. I said to him that we have a lot going for us, and sex is part of the equation that is lacking. Not easy to admit, but since he doesn’t find me sexually attractive, I will have to go somewhere else. I still love him and want him in my life.

That didn’t make him happy, but I think he realized that it was he who put this all in motion. Then somehow we wound up in bed doing things we’d never done before. A few times. It was great. It was a welcome return, and we really got into it.

We were both surprised at this. A lot of stress has fallen by the wayside. I know nothing has been solved and we still got a long way to go. Bill mentioned a game him and his friend Kevin used to play, called I think, ‘When and How Many?’ It was a support game they devised for each other, either that or it came from the life affirming group that they were both in called Life Spring.

So we decided, When will be January 3, 2006 and how many will be how many visits to couples counseling will be needed, and that is an unknown variable. Perhaps we’ve turned a corner or at least reawakened sexual urges for each other. I’m sure it’s the reawakening.

I do feel relaxed. Almost mellow. Not as stressed as I’ve been. It IS work, and it IS hard work. He complained that he’s tired of work, but he’s not getting off that easy. I had to point out his hypocrisy, which though easy to do, isn’t much fun. It’s like a game of chess. Some sort of chess, I really don’t know how to play, but it seems like every move he would make or everything he would say, I’d present how invalid his view was.

And it really was. I also had to school Bill on the levels of friendship, that I have great relationships with Julio and Pedro, but I have a different, deeper relationship with him. Bill’s also worried that my friends won’t like him and try to turn me away from him. I told him that my friends care deeply for me and I for them, but they realize that it’s my life and they might not like what I do with it, ultimately the decision is mine alone.

Drive In Saturday

The usual Saturday. Laundry, loafing. I’m comfortable with it. Ran some errands as well. So it was somewhat productive, but with as little exertion as possible. Didn’t write yesterday, Julio was here with Rand working on the computer trying to free up space which seemed almost impossible. So now it seems I need a new hard drive.

Which is fine since Rand was able to find and purchase a new one within minutes, at a good price and it should be here in a day or two. The three of us just hung out as I played DVD’s and cd’s, Julio and I drinking Heineken, and Rand drinking Guinness.

I realized that I wasn’t going to be writing and it was confirmed by around 11PM when I was sort of really buzzed and just zoned out listening to the two of them talk computer innards.

Bill came over last night after Rand and Julio split around 1AM. I knew Bill was coming over since he was driving for Academy Bus Lines and would get in late. I don’t mind. We do enjoy each other’s company. I was talking online to my friend Song the other day and it dawned on me that Bill and I are both catchers.

We have everything going for us, but in sexual compatibility we are batting zero. I thought it was funny. Bill took umbrage. I used the term ‘bottoms’. There are tops who do the screwing, and bottoms who get screwed. Only Bill doesn’t get screwed. Likes to kneel if you know what I mean.

Me? Well, do the math.

I used to be such a slut, for lack of a better word. I had a lot of sex. Really, a LOT of sex. No names please, cause I never asked for any. That brings to mind the reason why a lot of straight men don’t like gay men. Jealousy. Subconscious. Two gay men, can pick up a vibe off each other, just walking down the street, and if the vibe is strong enough, they will get at it.

No names, no questions, no ‘will he call me tomorrow?’. And sometimes it’s fast, 15 minutes, sometimes in an hour. Sometimes it’s an alley, bathroom or office. Sometimes it’s an apartment or a hotel. Men are dogs. Gay men are really dogs.

Straight men, I think, wish they could get a vibe from a woman on the street, and hook up much the same way gay men do. But women aren’t like that. Most women aren’t. As far as I know. Many strings attached, where 99% of the time, a very liberal estimate, gay men are without strings.

When I met Bill I thought that I wouldn’t have to look anywhere else. I had two or three potentials, but they never went anywhere. Just couldn’t do it.

Now, I can. I’ve come to terms with the situation between Bill and I. I can get mine, and be sexually appreciated, and can do things that I wanted to do, or have done to me. Though in the past few weeks, it’s only happened once. I said it before, I was so much more active before the internet.

There is a game of emails going back and forth for quite a while, and I do have problems traveling a distance of more than 3 miles to meet someone. And it is to meet someone in a public place. I’ve met one or two other guys since my rendezvous, but it was just meeting and talking on the street. Fleeting and pleasant, and discussion of meeting up at a later date. I don’t have much faith in it, but I am willing to be surprised.

Another thing is that the guys I’d like to have, the fuck buddies, are hundreds or thousands of miles away, which makes for some very safe sex and my cock isn’t THAT big anyway. Couldn’t make the distance.

These are real, perfect matches, or at least a real and as perfect as the Internet allows. And you probably know what that means. But I am going thru a sexual reawakening. And I’m enjoying it. Wish there was someone to enjoy it with, though I feel there will be sometime soon.

I have to put myself out there. I’ve taken a step in what hopefully is the right direction.

I just got off the phone with RoDa. He was telling me that the guy in the Jaguar was his cousin Tony. Tony, I think is hot. The other day when I got off the PATH train this hot looking guy in a Jaguar is honking his horn at me, and I couldn’t figure it out who it was, just that he was cute. I curse my Ipod. I should’ve taken off my headphones and said hello.

He’s a good looking cigar smoking guy, which as you probably know is a real plus in my book. Of course, he’s straight. Of course I don’t make any moves or overtures. But I can admire.

Now I just walked through the door after having dinner with Connie and Jennifer Poulakos. I’ve known Connie for what seems like ages, and Jennifer for almost as long. Jennifer is a Geneticist and Connie is Connie. Connie’s been ill lately so I haven’t had many opportunities to see her. It was a major event for her to drive up to New York City with her sister. They had gone to MoMA. I thought I was going to a show at the Time Warner Center.

Turns out the show is next month. Connie, Jennifer and I were able to meet for sandwiches at the Grey Dog on Carmine Street. They both really enjoyed the atmosphere and the food. Then we went over to the Anti Imperialist Bookstore where Jennifer bought a Fillmore East book and I bought a Man Ray biography.

We strolled around the village where Jennifer bought some Cannoli’s and Connie and I stood outside and smoked. Of course Connie runs into someone she knows. Everywhere you go with Connie, chances are she’ll run into someone she knows. And this was Gabrielle who’s boyfriend is Tony Shanahan who is in the Patti Smith Group and used to play with Jim Mastro who is married to my friend Meghan Taylor.

The world cinches it belt once more.

Sing A Simple Song

A career in security or law enforcement. Me. Can you believe that? Well I’ve seen the commercials on TV. I really do want to put crooks behind bars. But I’m sure there are tests and I don’t test well. I remember a few years ago, I was doing what I seem to do a lot of these days. I was looking for a job. The economy was better then. More Prospects. But now, oh it’s slim pickin’s.

It used to be I’d be walking to the job that I didn’t like or was temping for, and I’d see someone sweeping a sidewalk and I’d think, ‘Wow. That’s such a great job. I want that job.’ So one time, when I was looking, I was hanging out with my friend Miriam and her friend Andre. Dre was a good looking cat but man his brother was drop dead gorgeous. Lustily I digress.

So Dre was working as a doorman. A great union, great benefits. Sounded like the type of job you do until you’re 70 or so. Then you go home and die. Promising. Despite the fatal end, everything would seem to be in place. He told me that they were looking for people of my complexion, i.e. freckled. It sounded like a great gig.

When I told some friends about this possible job, they cautioned me, no rather told me not to take the job. I’m simply not the subservient type. I laughed them off.

There were three interviews and a psychological test. The second interview at 60th ST and 9th Avenue in the city was the oddest. The interviewer was seated in front of a painting that seemed to match his tie and created a trippy like atmosphere right behind his head. But I remained grounded and passed the interview.

He sent me to a testing company for security companies. They kept emphasizing in the interviews that being a doorman is more than holding doors and helping with baggage. It’s security. When the barbarians are at the gate, and they’re trying to get into apartment 3L, it’s up to you to stop them.

Seems fair enough. I’m sure they’d do the same for me.

The test that I was given was about one hundred questions and those questions were the same 9 or 10 questions reworded over and over again. I aced the test in about 15 minutes. Other guys in the room were really sweating over it. “If you saw someone take a pen from home from the workplace would you tell a supervisor’ ‘Yes, I would. Stealing is wrong, PERIOD.’

I got the job. I was in training. I’d be wearing a suit and tie (still a novelty for me then) and white gloves. I was working with the unionized doormen, who I found out, might go on strike in a few weeks. It was a dreadful job. The doormen kept thinking I was a scab, (and maybe I was being groomed for one) and the tenants kept asking me if I was a replacement doorman. It was a building on the FDR drive built in the 1960’s white brick modernist style. Now it was dingy white brick. And it was rather dark inside. Dark windows, low lights. Elevators full of blood. Like the Overlook Hotel on the Upper East Side.

‘Hello Johnny. Play with us.’
It was not the job I envisioned. I was not held in high esteem. I’d stand there and push the revolving door while someone would stand there and take baby steps and never touch the door, at all. I guess that’s why they paid exorbitant rent or maintenance fees so they wouldn’t have to leave the building and possibly breakout in a sweat.

Then there were the Sundays I worked, when Mr. & Mrs Nutsack would come back from a wholesale club with an SUV filled with food. Loose food all over the place since they didn’t use and bags and saved even more!

I’d have to help them scoop whatever it was onto the cart and try to wheel it in while keeping everything intact. I think this was part of the ‘Beat The Clock’ game show in the 1970’s.

I had enough. I’d normally hold the door for people if I was in public situations, but while working this job I wouldn’t. My friends were right. I’m not the subservient type. But I’m not the opposite either. I’m right there in the middle.

Feel free to comment fuckers.

Hitsville U.K.

In the early 1980’s in Passaic NJ there was a New Wave club called Hitsville. The theme of the club was black and white checkerboard. I enjoyed the club. I wasn’t allowed in being underage, but I had my brother Brian’s License. I only used it to get into bars. This was before photo ID’s. Brian and I looked enough alike and were close enough in age for me to pass.

I became a member of the club which got me nothing but invitations in the mail. There were some pretty big names there in the little underground new wave/post punk scene. I saw Bauhaus, who were just too pretty and posey for my tastes, Stiff Little fingers, who thought I worked at Hitsville (and the staff at Hitsville thought I worked for the band).

The band that sticks out most in my mind were Siouxsie and the Banshees. I had seen them in 1980 on their first American date at the Palladium. I was a fan, I really enjoyed their first record. I went with Laszlo Papp and one or two of his friends. It was a great show, she was on top that night.

I figured that what people did after the show was head back to the suburbs. Boy, was I surprised.

As we walked back to the car, Laszlo said that we were going to the Mudd Club. I didn’t want to go. It was not on my list of things to do. I was pretty much straight edge in 1980. Didn’t drink much and never did drugs.

I said to Laszlo that we couldn’t go to the Mudd Club. I had to get home. ‘Tough shit. Take a subway to the Port Authority and get a bus home.’ I couldn’t believe this. I was freaking out. I was still very much a babe in the woods concerning how to get around the city. Or more likely how to get around anywhere.

But I got in the car. We drove down to White Street from the Palladium and parked around the corner. It wouldn’t be too cool to pull up in front of the club in a muscle car with Jersey Plates.

I must’ve looked like I was on a bad acid trip. I tagged along with Laszlo and wandered around while his friends hung out with the Banshees. I kept thinking about my mother being worried. I heard Kiss Kiss Kiss by Yoko Ono in the club. John and Yoko had just released it as the B-Side of the new single.

But I couldn’t get into the swing of the night. I was such a pussy. I was still very much in Lodi. Mind, body and soul. I walked around the club, not really talking to anyone, and drinking cokes. After Laszlo and his friends had enough of the Banshees and the Banshees more than likely had enough of Laszlo and his friends, we piled in the car for the drive back to New Jersey.

The sun was creepin’ up.

Laszlo dropped me off in front of my house and I tried to sneak inside. My mother, who had been up all night in the living room, stage whispered, “Where the hell have you been?”

I told her I went to the concert and then to a club. Then I went to my bed and slept. Two hours later, my mother shouted upstairs to wake me up. I said I wasn’t going to work. She said I was.

You’re So Static

The first rock concert I had even been to was Elton John at Madison Square Garden in August 1976. It was a graduation present from my sister Annemarie. Annemarie was primarily responsible for my Elton mania back then. She saw Elton on Thanksgiving night in 1974, when John Lennon came out and sang 3 songs with Elton and the Boys.

She told me the next day and she was still so excited. I also think she had a thing for Dee Murray, Elton’s bassist. She even mentioned that the next time Elton John came to New York, she would take me. So one morning while getting ready for one of my last days of Eighth Grade, she told me she had gotten tickets. It didn’t really register.

I graduated and dated a girl named Donna Rinaldi. We broke up after about 2 weeks. We had nothing more than a chaste kiss. Which was fine by me because I didn’t want anything from her or anyone, including myself. Late blooming, I was.

She lived on the other side of town and it was just too much of a long distance relationship for two 13 year olds. It was an easy break up. I ran into Donna a few years later when she was working at the Medi-Mart by Bradlees in Saddle Brook. It was a while since I saw her and promptly lied about most everything in my life.

Then I went to my car and got in and felt horrible about lying. So I got out and walked back in to the store and told her that everything I said was a lie, and I didn’t know why I said it. We awkwardly looked at each other and then I left, never to see her again.

I didn’t feel that much better afterwards. But now, back to the show.

It was Annemarie, our brother Brian and his friend Eddie Austeri I think, in the car going to the city. As far as I can tell, we got in the car and then we were at our seats at the show watching Billy Connolly open up, singing ‘Half Stoned Cowboy’, while playing a guitar in big yellow banana boots. I can’t remember the drive to the Garden or walking to the show. But I’m sure it was all vibrant to a 13 year old’s eyes.

I did see someone smoking a bowl though.

‘I’ll never do that’ I said to myself….I read ‘Go Ask Alice’ I knew better.

Elton was this tiny little thing at the other side of the Garden. In a green Lurex jacket and orange hair which was the only way to see him, besides being the guy next to the piano. It’s funny, I think the Paul McCartney show I saw in October, had basically the same seats I had nearly 30 years earlier but better visuals through video.

It was a fantastic time. The only songs I remember were Hercules and Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting. I was on such a natural high, though the aromas in the Garden may have had a hand in my lightheadedness. I so desperately wanted to go again then next night. I knew Elton was playing maybe 3 or 4 nights. Annemarie was going to the Nassau Coliseum to see Jefferson Starship. Brian and Eddie Austeri weren’t going to take me.

I was stranded. I believe I had a slight nervous breakdown. Not from not being able to go to the show, but from the combined effects of the night before and encroaching puberty.

Gimme Danger

Punk Rock. New Wave. Lodi! No really. Ok, being out in the suburbs, a dozen or so miles from the epicenter of the underground rock and roll scene, it took a year or so to reach Lodi. Unless you went there. And being 14 or 15 in 1977 I wasn’t too keen on going to CBGB’s. I didn’t even know how to spell CBGB’s back then.

And I wasn’t that into the music at that time. I was still an Elton fan, and in 1977 I saw my second concert, Peter Frampton, touring behind the ‘I’m In You’ record. I was caught up in the mania about ol’ Pete. I owned Frampton Comes Alive and his earlier albums had been played by my brothers and sister. It was a concert and to a 15 year old it was a MAJOR event.

My brother Frank took me. We ran into some friends of his who were going to CBGB’s to see this band, AC/DC. Too many acronyms. Frank said no thanks. I said ‘Get out of the way! R2D2 is on stage with Peter Frampton!’

Elton ‘retired’ from music in 1977. He wasn’t doing anything. I was in limbo. My libido was also in limbo. I was listening to WPIX FM, which was the only station playing new wave type things. I heard a radio report of Elton wining an artist of the year award, and he turned it down, saying that he had retired and hadn’t done anything. The award, Elton felt, should go to Elvis Costello.

That guy who looked like Buddy Holly and Woody Allen’s offspring?

So I followed Elton’s lead and got My Aim is True. Loved it. Saw Elvis Costello and the Attractions on SNL. They were ‘dangerous’. I loved them! I started buying records put out by Stiff, Radar, Rough Trade etc. And NYC Indies too. I’m still looking online for ‘Singing In The Rain’ by Just Water, from Brooklyn.

Then one Saturday afternoon I bought ‘More Songs About Buildings And Food’ at Alexander’s in Paramus NJ. I already liked Take Me to the River, and I bought the single a week earlier. Now I wanted more, like the album. I knew nothing about Talking Heads. Thought the cover was amazing and when I read that it was a Polaroid mosaic, I was head over heels in love with them.

Then I heard the music and I was betrothed. Then I saw the band on SNL and thought they were one of the best bands I’d ever seen! And I was 14!

My brother Brian got into the band who gave me my motto for my high school senior yearbook, ‘Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are DEVO!’ He saw them on SNL and thought they were a spoof. For some reason I missed that episode. But the buzz was tremendous and I heard Brian play Satisfaction and Uncontrollable Urge often enough that I knew he wouldn’t notice my eventual theft of the record when he got tired of it.

Elvis Costello was my main man for a long time. I snapped up every single, import whatever that I could find. Pictures sleeves a must. It was quite a time to get new music. I was buying records every week, and every week had something new and exciting released by someone somewhere. This was a possible future and not too many people new about it. But it was there, WPIX was playing it, my brother Frank had a small slot on his WFMU show called ‘My Brother’s Records’ where he’d play the latest things that I bought that he liked or I hyped up a lot.

Elvis Costello’s ‘Armed Forces’ made the top ten. Talking Heads were doing pretty good. Music for misfits. Who knew they were growing in number? I thought I was the only one.

Cake

I moved to Hoboken in 1984. I had a group of friends in town and started spending more and more time at McSwells. Hoboken was on its way to recovery then, the white flight was over and artists and musicians started moving into town in the early 1980’s. The first time I had come to Hoboken was when my father had taken the family to dinner at Gerrino’s at First Street and Hudson Place. I remember driving along the river on Sinatra Drive and driving around the hill I saw downtown Manhattan in all it’s glory at night.

I was in awe. That’s when I first fell in love with the town. A few days later, while doing my job of driving to Manhattan from Saddle Brook NJ I drove through Hoboken. It was midday as I drove down Washington Street when I saw a person that was in Technicolor. He was obviously gay with an artistic bent and no one bothered him or looked at him twice.

That turned out to be Patrick Morrissey. I figured that if this town was ok by him, and vice versa, then it would be fine for me too.

I soon set about finding a place to live. Somehow I found a loft at First and Park Ave, shared with two other guys. I always wanted to live in a loft and here one was. I envisioned late night party freak outs, that sort of thing. What I got was a lot of mosquito bites.

My part of the loft was situated next to an elevator shaft. At the bottom of the shaft was stagnant water where mosquitoes bred 10 months out of the year. It was April or May and I saw after a few days of living there my skin was quite swollen from the bites.

My roommates recommended getting mosquito netting and have fans blowing a lot so they couldn’t land. I didn’t move to Hoboken to live in conditions like this. It wasn’t a legal living situation either. All in all it was a drag. I dreaded going up the two flights of stairs in this once industrial building with ramps and gated doors. There was also very little privacy inside the loft.

Forget about having anyone over for fun when there were 2 other people listening to every little thing. I think I had my brother and or, my sister over for a visit. I don’t think they enjoyed the Stations of the Cross wallpaper in the bathroom. Didn’t bother me much, being an agnostic then, but I knew there’d be no way I’d ever have my mother over for tea. Not that she drank tea.

At McSwells I was starting to become familiar to Steve and Mary Fallon. The Fallon family owned McSwells. Steve was friends with my brother Frank, who probably asked Steve to keep an eye out for me. Steve in turn told his sister Mary to do the same.

One night, both Steve and Mary, separately told me that my roommates were strange and I’d be better off not living there. I scratched my swollen face and listened, not really knowing what to do next.

I went back to the loft and thought about what Steve and Mary said, about how unhappy I was, how this is not what I wanted at all. I was commuting back and forth from Hoboken to Saddle Brook and my coworkers, and my mother all remarked how cut up my face looked from the mosquitoes.

I took it all in and decided. I went back to Hoboken after work and my roommates must’ve picked up on a vibe. They asked me if I was going to stay, and to not lead them along. Perhaps someone told them about Steve and Mary, or maybe they just had a feeling.

I sat at the table and told them I had no intention of going. I went to bed and thought about the long hot summer approaching and how diseases are carried by mosquitoes. The next morning I woke up got dressed and before I left for work, I wrote a note.

I will be moving out by the end of the month. I can’t take the mosquitoes, but I might have a replacement who can.

I started packing up for Lodi.

Mind

So much has happened it’s hard to decide where to begin. So much is going on. And the funny thing is, well, that’s the sad part. The sad part is, well, that’s the funny thing. The river is calm today and with the weather being what it is, there are quite a few people out and about.

Different languages fill the air for a moment only to be replaced by a metal garbage can hitting a dumpster. A baby cries as a car in need of a muffler rumbles by, oh so slowly. A helicopter makes it way up to a heliport. Children’s feet scuff the pavement.

There are so many currents in the river making it dangerous to swim. Plus it’s also a little on the cold side. Then there is the river traffic. On nice days when it’s warmer than it is now, there are usually dozens of small craft on the murky waters.

A knife, a fork / a bottle, and a cork / that’s the way we say New York / Right on

It’s good to be out of the apartment and it’s certainly good to see you again. You look incredible. A definite improvement over the last time we saw each other. But that’s all water under the bridge, and that water is this river.

A puff of black smoke appears over the city. The dingy gray aura of air is thinner today. All that cold clean air from the north I suppose. I’m trying to remember why I came here, to be here at this moment. What compelled me to be here?

I can hear a conversation behind me, but it’s in another language, one that I don’t understand. The light for today is fading in the west, cooling everything and more as evening approaches.

The supermarket was packed with the usual Saturday animals. All young, buying cases of Corona in anticipation of a raucous evening. An employee shopping on her day off had the cashier very exasperated to the point where the cashier was saying ‘What are you? Stupid?’ Then she’d look at me as if to agree with her.

I showed indifference. I was in no rush and found the cashier’s meltdown amusing. She was rude to me a few weeks before. She probably needs a vacation or a new vocation.

And I continue on my search for a new venue for employment. On Thursday, I had an interview with a staffing agency which meant, meet Mrs. A, who will introduce me to Mrs. B and then Mrs. C.

They all agreed that I looked Polished. Of course having a copy of Nowy Dziennik under my arm probably helped. And Mrs. A liked my speaking voice, which was a first. I thought she was going to offer me voice over work, but it was more to hear what I sounded like over the phone.

I try to remain upbeat in my outlook. The old me that thought I was the perfect person and most likely the only one that saw the ad is fading fast and reality sets in. These staffing agencies post an ad and cast a net, catching fish like me, flipping and flopping.

I ought to know. I used to work at an agency. Send in a resume for one job and they’ll supposedly sign you up and look out for jobs. And with the economy being shit, there’s a lot of competition. I have the luxury of having a job while I search. I’ve been on the other side, having no job and fired up with desperation.

Sometimes I get a bit cheeky. When explaining what was happening at work to Mrs A. I mentioned that the company was partnered with the National Bank of Wishful Thinking and they were taking over. I told here that the writing was on the wall and it was in French. She laughed.

One time about a dozen years ago, I tried to get a job on Hudson Street in Hoboken. It was in a brownstone next to St. Peter and Paul School. It was a small company in one of the apartment/offices. I was buzzed in and sat next to my interviewer. She was on a personal call and I sat there looking straight ahead. Sitting next to her desk I couldn’t help but hear her call.

“I can’t believe I forgot Dad’s birthday. I mean, I never forget. What am I going to do?” and so on. After a few minutes of that she got off the phone, and started interviewing me. The usual questions, what did you do here, what did you do there. She then asked my, “Why should we hire you?” Not skipping a beat, I said I’d make sure she’d never forget her father’s birthday again.

I didn’t get the job. She must’ve really hated her father.

The World At Fault

Sleeper Hold. Baumgartner Grass. Jerry Rigged Expeditions. Silence – John Cage. Great book. Got it from Jimmy Lee, a former roommate of mine from the 1980’s. Jimmy and I lived in a basement apartment at 1124 Willow Avenue. It was quite a moldy little place. Jimmy was the perfect roommate. He was never there. Maybe once or twice a month. This apartment like every apartment I had before, was what I thought to be the apartment I die in.

Not thinking in the immediate at the time, more like planning ahead, and dying there when I was 60 or 70. I always try to forestall death at every opportunity. Right now, with a certain mockery, I casually look in the window at my reflection, expecting to see the Grim Reaper, standing there scythe in hand, saying, “Gotcha!”

I was working for Murdoch Magazines at the time, where I met Pedro and Harry along with a few others. I look back and see what a slacker lifestyle I had. I was working there during the day, and D.J.ing or something else at Maxwells, working the door, checking ID’s or just hanging out drinking. Ah those were the days.

At some point I was even having mail sent to Maxwells because the mailbox in one of the apartment buildings that I was living in was quite dodgy. Anne Fallon was there in the afternoon and got the mail. I’m sure she didn’t like it much but did understand somewhat.

I decided one day to throw a party, for no particular reason except to get fucked up and have some fun. I had a lot of records, so dancing would somehow occur I hoped. I bought a few cases of beer, and told everyone else to bring their own and they certainly did. I’d say maybe 50 people were there. There was so much beer that we filled the bathtub with ice and stored it in there. Which, when you look at it, is convenient since you’re getting rid of some beer and able to refill while you’re done within seconds.

I also invited some avid winter sport distributors. They kept the party going a long long while. When Mike Keller arrived with other McSwells employees and patrons, he told me it looked like someone in the living room entrance had just eaten a great big jelly donut. Soon Mike was enjoying the donuts as well. It was a night of donuts for everyone!

Pedro and I hung out in the back yard for a few minutes and he showed me ‘The Rooftop’. ‘Quite good’ I thought with my addled mind. Harry was there alienating Lovely Rita. Julio and a friend of his came back from the Garden where they saw a pseudo Led Zeppelin reunion at the Atlantic Records gala.

Ulysses from Queens, a friend of Pedro was enjoying watching Sean Mullhall doing Da Butt with his girlfriend Susan who my friend Maurice was quietly falling hard for. The party even had crashers, who wound up stealing someone’s leather coat. They had tailed the McSwells crew and walked right in.

I’m sure they also broke my answering machine. It had to have been them. The party was deemed a success. No police were called, due to the fact that the apartment was so subterranean and the apartment above was vacant.

A Tree is best Measured when it’s depressed.


All Lined Up

The Curse of the Junior Rifle Squad

When I was growing up, my parents had my brothers and I join the Jr. Rifle Squad at the VFW Post 3484 in Saddle Brook NJ. I can’t say how it was when my eldest brother Frank was a member but by the time my brother Brian and I were drafted it was a rather loose organization. At least the girls were rather loose. The boys were a bit on the nebbish side. My sister, Annemarie was exempt from the draft somehow.

We would have practices on Sunday afternoons in the big hall above the bar were veterans and their wives got drunk on 50 cent beers. Basically it was a precursor to Al- A-Teen. Children of alcoholic parents. We would do marching drills, twirl dummy rifles and learn how to smoke cigarettes.

There were practices for parades and installations of officers at the VFW. We’d march in circles, twirl dummy rifles, toss them to each other, and drink sodas and smoke cigarettes.
We’d march wherever we were asked. The uniform was a light blue shirt with the flag and VFW patches and a braid over the shoulder. Navy Blue pants with yellow gold stripes on the sides, and SPATS.

On top of all that, we wore cowboy hats made out of felt. It was almost like were the cavalry, sans horses of course. Memorial Day was the big parade down Market Street in Saddle Brook past the VFW where the parents of the Junior Rifle Squad were in front of the glass curved wall, next to the dummy missile on the small front lawn pointed at the dentist office on the corner of Market St and Saddle River Road.

We also marched on the Fourth of July, usually in Ridgewood which was exotic at the time, coming from Lodi. But it was always a drag. One time my family had to head out of Wildwood Crest earlier from our vacation so my brother Brian could march in the parade in the neighboring town of Rochelle Park. I had sun poisoning at the time which made everything painful. But I couldn’t be left alone and I guess someone had to witness Brian marching in the parade so I was lying on the grass off Rochelle Ave while the parade passed me by. My mother took some pictures of Brian as he marched.

I know he didn’t want to be there, and almost quite sure that the other members of the squad wanted to desert also. But the promise of sodas and smokes at the end of the march was enticing enough. Brian didn’t really smoke though. I saw him with Sharon Mullins and Susie Schaffer and he puffed a cigarette which was about it. It must have been the sodas.

I bonded with my fellow children of alcoholics. While our parents sat at the bar in the dark basement of the VFW, drinking 50 cent beers and the kids would run around trying to have some fun. We’d play shuffle board on a parquet table, play an out of tune piano or just run around sugared up by the over syruped cokes.

Behind the VFW were some woods next to Riverside Cemetery. We would run around and throw rocks at each other. Or sit in some parents’ car and act like we were driving. Just sitting n the parking lot, trying to turn the steering wheel, waiting till our parents had their fill and would drive us home. I didn’t think it was odd to be spending some Sunday afternoons in a bar. My friends in the squad would be hanging out too. I don’t think any of us had a desire to drink alcohol.

Our parents liked to drink, but didn’t want to spend anything on a sitter and we were too young to be left alone so we were dragged to the bar. We’d pester our parents for quarters to play whatever could be considered current on the jukebox. Occasionally someone would play ‘The Stripper’ and as if on cue, friends of my parents, Pat and Vinnie Crowley would do a striptease together to much applause and laughter.

This happened often and no one seemed to be tired of it, at least not the adults. Most of the members of the VFW were World War Two or Korean War veterans. There were one or two Vietnam veterans, but they didn’t really fit in. An age difference of 25 years usually caused that. The Vietnam vets were probably responsible for songs like ‘Jumpin Jack Flash’ or ‘Bad Bad Leroy Brown’ on the jukebox.

I sometimes wonder who wound up in Al-Anon, or Al-A-Teen, or Alcoholics Anonymous. And then again, sometimes I don’t. I still smoke and occasionally drink.

Daydream Believer

Judy Foglio pulled her car in front of her parent’s house. It had been a few weeks since she’d been there, now everything was quiet. Her last visit wasn’t too pleasant. Lot’s of screaming and finger pointing ending with Judy peeling driving away like a maniac in her Monte Carlo. Her mother, Lorraine stood in front of her house screaming for her to come back.

Her father, Jim stood at the door, pleading for his wife to come in from the rain. “Forget it honey, she ain’t coming back.” Lorraine came inside as Judy’s taillights made a left onto Gunther Avenue. “Oh Jim, I don’t want her to leave like that.” “You know Judy. She’s not like the others. She’s always doing things like this. She’ll be back.” Lorraine sobbed onto his shoulder and they went inside the house.

Across the street Marie Natale was peering through her window at the scene going on. Marie always had her nose in other people’s business. It was so large it was hard for her nose not to be. She yelled at her husband Joe, “Them damn Foglio’s think they’re better than everyone. Well they’re not. Judy just drove out of there like a mad woman.” Joe could care less. He was more comfortable rereading newspapers from a week before. “Marie, get away from the friggin window and make me dinner.”

Judy made a left turn at the bottom of Gunther Avenue, and headed south. She couldn’t belive what was said and she couldn’t believe how it was said. ‘It’s so much like the idiotic neighbors across the street’ she thought as she drove through the rain. She headed towards an intersection when a dog ran out in front of her car.

Judy slammed the brakes and the dog kept running, but her car skidded into a telephone pole. The passenger side door was badly dented and the car stalled. ‘Jesus fucking Christ! I can’t believe this shit’ she yelled as she pounded the steering wheel. Then she realized that a good catholic girl like her shouldn’t talk like that, no matter what.

She got out and inspected the door. ‘No big deal. No one got hurt’ she muttered to herself as she tried to open the passenger door. It wasn’t opening. Judy started pounding the roof of her Monte Carlo, ‘Damn Damn Damn it all!’

She tried lighting a cigarette in the rain with no luck. So she walked over to the driver’s side and got in the car. ‘Why me? Why does this shit have to happen to me?’ She thought about turning around and going home but thought about it and decided against it.

Instead she just drove south and didn’t stop. The rain eventually let up and the sun started to break through the clouds. She got on the Turnpike and then the Parkway. She was going down the shore.

When she got to the beach she was glad that the rain had scared away everyone from the sands. She had the beach to herself. Stripping down to her underwear, she ran into the water and hesitated for a moment then dove right in. The water was cool and invigorating. She felt a whole lot better.

Now, weeks later, she was back at her parents house. It was dark and quiet. No one home. She called out, but no one answered. She wondered about going across the street to ask Marie Natale and thought against it. No fucking way.

Clash City Rockers

The money is gone! Yeah yeah. Listening to the Clash right now. What a great band. Never got around to seeing them. I was totally afraid of the city then. My parents fled from there in the 1950’s and if it weren’t for my father working there, they’d rather not have anything to do with it.

It was pretty bad then, no doubt. Muggings, murders and assorted really bad stuff, to put it mildly. In 1976 my father worked in the World Trade Center and had an office that overlooked the Hudson River. There was a plan to go to the office and have a party there and watch the tall ships and the fireworks.

Sounded good to pubescent me. There were rumors that gangs would be roaming the streets mugging everyone and doing various nasty things to everyone that wasn’t them. Which meant they would be after us. Sounded good to pubescent me.

In hindsight I think it was because, who the hell wants to go to the office on their fucking day off? Not me, that’s for sure. So I’m sure my father felt the same way, though he probably didn’t say fucking. He was more of a goddamned guy.

The city always loomed large, I could see it from a distance sometimes when going with my mother to pick up my father at the train station. The Empire State Building, and the World Trade Center.

I was always more impressed with the Empire State Building it always looked so great at night when lit up, and King Kong climbed it. I grew up wondering if he could’ve been seen climbing from Lodi.

Johnny Serpone, a neighbor of mine back then, told me the story of ‘Son of Kong’ where Junior gets to Manhattan and climbs up the Empire State Building, where on a landing he sees his father’s blood, freaks out, and falls to his death. Spoiler alert: This didn’t happen.

I know King Kong climbed the World Trade Center, but that was pure hokum. Balderdash, if you pardon my French.

I could’ve seen the Clash at Bonds in 1980 but I was way too much of a pussy. Though in 1977 I did take a bus into Manhattan and wandered around Times Square on my own, for an Easter Saturday afternoon and saw some very interesting things. It was very sleazy then. I didn’t mind one bit.

Why did I have balls in 1977 and none at all in 1980? I suppose the balls were so new there was nothing to be afraid of. In 1980 I had a car, that should’ve made everything easy, but something held me back.

It was a lot safer in the suburbs that’s for sure. But I was beginning to think there was a whole lot more than the same old thing I saw everyday. I did find a compromise, Hoboken. NJ for sure, but with NYC only a 10 minute train ride away. And now that I work in the city, it takes a hell of a lot to get me there when I’m not working. I’m trying to change that. Started last weekend. I do owe Harpy a visit.

PS- On my way to work this morning I saw a woman and a boy in a bubble.


I think it’s for families with Immune deficiencies at Christmas or something like that. Or maybe an experiment.

No One Receiving

Mind is racing a hundred miles an hour. Perhaps scientifically it’s more than that. Once again I underachieve. Work is of course nuts. Hasn’t gotten any better since Bleedin’ Hope’s departure. I wasn’t sure if she jumped or was she pushed, but odds are she jumped.

Interesting occurrences lately.

Bill was over the other night, and asked me how my day was. I tell him basically, “Zelzoyh this, Zelzoyh that…” He asks me her last name, I say “Schaffer” He starts yelling like he is known to do when he gets overly excited. He goes off on the fact that she worked with him at the law firm.

‘Oh my GOD! You work with Zelzoy Schaffer? Oh my GOD!” “Oh, you know her?” I ask. “She used to work with me at the law firm! I worked with her once and that was all I needed to know that this bitch was nuts!” He goes on and on about how her desk was so organized like a Feng Sui doing a Feng Sui.

“And she had the attitude like she was above us all.” “Like a real princess eh? Like her shit didn’t smell?” “YES!” Bill springs into action, and starts calling some of his girlfriends that he works with, mostly leaving voice mails. Within minutes one of them calls back.

Bill sits on the couch. “Hey, Marcia. Yeah. D’you remember that chick that used to work on 48? Name started with a Z?” I can hear static voice on the other end. “Does the name Zelzoy sound familiar? It does? Well guess what…?”

Bill starts to tell Marcia about where she is now, and who she is bothering now. “Yeah. She works with my partner, John at an Investment Bank. She’s pulling the same shit all over again.”

Turns out Zelzoy worked on Bill’s floor and forced another legal secretary out due to some power struggle. I tell you the woman is nuts. There is a pattern here and I’m sure the scissors are heading down towards my dotted lines.

I decide to get some info on her and drop a name at work the next day. I tell my friend Brenda who is nestled in the nest of vipers’ known as administrative assistants, “I’m having drinks after work with Diane Long from the law firm after work. Wanna come?” I say winking.

Brenda, playing along, plays ambivalent. “I’ll let you know.”,she says as I turn and walk away. Apparently when I walked away, Zelzoy lost her cool. Lost her cool enough to claim that I’m harassing her. Really lost her cool enough to call the “law firm” and speak with someone who claims, “you are such a good worker Zelzoy. We’d be happy to have you back.” On the speaker phone for most everyone to hear. All because I mention the name of someone she used to work with and who didn’t like her.

Harassment? For saying I’m having drinks with someone after work? Pish posh I say.
She is quite insane. The thing that really gets me is the fact that I’ve been working at this firm for over three years. She hasn’t been there three months and she has the office caught in her power struggle with me.

The really strange thing is I wasn’t in a power struggle. It started with me commenting on the fact that she never says Hello. That set her off calling me unprofessional. Then everything started being stacked against me.

I didn’t make any rude jokes. I didn’t show any rude photos. No email jokes at all. She lied to the wombus and bleedin Hope and they started stacking. I spoke with John McGruff the president of the company about her and he did have a meeting with her, but since then it has gotten quite worse.

Man I am so sick about writing about these people. They are getting depressing. I can only imagine how you feel. No really, I can only imagine.

Life on Mars?

Sunday mornings used to mean going to the bakery in Hackensack with my father. I don’t remember going to church with him, but the bakery I do remember. It was hardly ever fun. Always some drama, some incompetence of the world would always piss him off. We’d get rolls and jelly donuts and crullers. Of course these couldn’t be touched until we got home.

My father, smoking his Kent’s would grip the wheel as if on the run from the law. He probably did something wrong, I’m sure of it. I had a run in with incompetence this morning myself. In Hoboken at the Bagel store. I’m just minding my business while waiting for my 2 bagels when I hear some male voice say a bit faintly, “Excuse me Sir, could you move up?” I didn’t think he was talking to me. The voice repeated itself, only not as faint, ‘Could you step up sir?’

I turn around expecting to see a homeless person for some reason, but it was a guy in a red windbreaker, black hair, and sleazy moustache. ‘Could you move up?’ I looked past him, there was only one person behind him. There were two other people waiting for their orders two, and I left the space in front of the register, in front of me, open.

‘Could you move up?’ ‘Why? What’s the difference?’ I knew my bagels were on their way. ‘Just move’. No way was I going to move now. I got my bagels, paid for them and said, ‘There you go. Step up’

‘Go choke on your bagels.’ He muttered, and I replied, ‘Go choke on this’ while not pointing to anything in particular, though I’m sure his imagination did most of the work on that. I could see if he had a walker, or something, a cane perhaps, but he was just standing there, itching to move forward.

I left, thinking that as I walked to the supermarket, he was going to sneak up on my and clock me. It was weird. I shouldn’t leave the apartment without having had my coffee. I wasn’t looking for trouble, trouble found me. In a red windbreaker. I suppose he could be even less of a morning person than I am.

And a person could die choking on a bagel. Someone choking on ‘this’ would be saved by the removal of ‘this’ from their mouth, no death there.

So I went to the store, bought some groceries and went home, while keeping an eye out for a red windbreaker and a sleazy moustache.

I did my usual breakfast thing, bagels, eggs, newspapers and coffee. Every weekend morning same thing, only usually without threats. I decided to actually go to the city today. Used to do that all the time, but as I got older and more ‘set in my ways’ the hassle of commuting lost its charm. There’d better be a paycheck at the end of the commute. Nice carrot, nice stick.

So I decided to go the Cheim & Read gallery in Chelsea to see the Andy Warhol Male Nudes exhibition.

25th between 10th and 11th Avenues it was a beautiful day as I walked down 23rd street from the PATH station. Not many Chelsea bunnies, which was fine by me. Nothing against them yet nothing much in common with them either.

Didn’t seem like many galleries were open which should’ve been a sign… I walked to 25th street and of course, the gallery was closed. And of course, no hours were listed. I remember galleries in Soho being open on Sundays; I guess this is a Chelsea thing. Go figure.

So I light up a cigar and start to wander over to the Metropolitan Pavilion where WFMU is having their record fair. My brother Frank had a table selling records, so I figured that since his co-pilot Bob couldn’t make it, I could show up and give him some time away. As I stood outside the hall, I called Frank’s cell while I finished my cigar. Nope, Frank still hasn’t mastered the idea of having the cell phone close by, much less having it turned on if he had it on his person.

So I finished the cigar and walked in. Frank gave me a free pass so that was easy to do. After looking around for a red windbreaker, I wandered inside. I found Frank relatively quickly, which is odd since it’s usually packed and he’s behind a table like the hundred other record sellers.

He asked, I offered and took his place behind the counter. It was pretty cool, being able to show off my geekiness regarding some of the music for sale. One woman asked me about Graham Parker while holding the Parkerilla album. I told her Squeezing Out Sparks was better. Also had to tell her who old Graham was, how he was compared to Elvis Costello, but actually Graham was around first, blah blah blah.

I saw Tom Verlaine walking around. He went through some records in the boxes in front of me, and I took a picture of him. Or actually a picture of Tom Verlaine’s shoes.

Didn’t want to be too obtrusive.

Frank turned up and I soon left the table, looked at a few things, bought a collection of David Bowie’s videos. Way cool.

After that I left and walked over to Farfetched. To my surprise there was Harry…in a red windbreaker! And a sleazy moustache!

No, it was Harry but looking quite svelte in black. Harry is my former boss of sorts.

He never really told me to do anything. Well, anything legal. We’ve been pals for years and years. He’s in that Pantheon that includes Julio and Mr. Pedro Ramos. I hung out for a while talking, using the loo. He had me take a picture of his tattoos.

We stood outside smoking cigarettes before I said goodbye and made my way to St Marks Place. Lucky me, though the surgeon general would disagree, but they had Gauloises. I bought what looked like the last box.

Walked to the PATH at 9th street and caught a train within minutes. Rod2.0 was right. There is something about the men on the PATH train. Nothing happened but there were one or two guys that struck my fancy. They had a heartbeat and testosterone. That’s all it takes these days.

The Business

My arms, they are so tired. My legs are so swollen. If it wasn’t for this product I don’t know how I’d feel.

“What the hell kind of advertising is that?” Melanie asked. I really had no idea what to tell her. It all came to me in the middle of the night. She didn’t know where I was coming from and frankly, neither did I. There’s really no excuse for this.

“What were you thinking? Or more exactly, what were you drinking?” Now that hit too close to home. To tell me my copy was poor is one thing, but to accuse me of being drunk while writing is totally another and I did not like it one bit.

“You Melanie, of all people should know I can’t drink.” “Well I realized I shouldn’t have said it once I had said it. And for that I’m sorry, Paul.” I was determined to comeup with the best slogan but I had no idea where to begin.

And I didn’t know what the product was either. Big drawback.

The first rule in advertising is to know your product. I think it’s rule number one, but I’m not too sure. More than likely it’s in the top five, or at the very least, top ten. But I don’t know where the rulebook is and I’m not one to actually follow rules anyhow.

“Paul, I’ll just let you think about this for awhile. Obviously you’re under a lot of stress…” Not that she’s the one who doles out the stress. By the ton. She got up and left my office.

Susan my assistant was lurking by the door. “Paul? Do you need anything?” “Not right now Susan, thanks.”

Susan was really the one who has all the best ideas. But for the past few weeks she’s been preoccupied by dairy products, specifically butter and milk. The top of her desk was covered with reports from the Diary Council. Apparently she’s on a mission to convert the office to the wonders of soy.

“Well I’m going to get a Soy Latte and if you’d like I’ll get you one.” “Ah no thanks Susan.” Awfully nice, but if I asked her to get me a regular coffee with milk, she’d go all soy on me. So I take a pass.

This product. What is it? What does it do? What do I want it to do? I have no idea. I don’t even know what the thing looks like. Is it sharp? Is it dull? Is it for women? For men?

No clue.

I try to make a list of celebrities we might get to endorse it, but I’m sure they’d like to know what it is, and would it be helpful or harmful to their careers.

It came to me. I know what it is. It’s air. We’ll sell air. Nobody thought that you could bottle water and sell it, and now look at that industry. There was the fad a few years ago, of oxygen bars, but that didn’t last too long.

Perhaps one day as you stroll down the supermarket aisle, next to the bottles of Poland Spring and Fuji water, you can buy bottles of air. Or even flavored air.

I immediately set to work.