Monthly Archives: May 2011

I Believe Joe Satriani

Well I’m writing early. Usually I don’t start until later but here I am, a little after 6 O’clock and I find myself writing. It’s been a bust day, busier than yesterday. And like yesterday today is a day off. I thought I would go bike riding but never got around to it.

I woke up too late to really get started and actually yesterday would have been a better day for a bike ride than today, less people around today and most everyone seemed relaxed. Today the majority went back to work so everyone was uptight and the roads were more crowded.

I woke up not knowing what day it was, it took Bill to tell me after he kissed me good bye for the day and was walking away. I slept longer than I expected but I was happy to be able to have hot water when I took a shower. A cup of coffee did me some good as I walked out to get some breakfast items and drop off some clothes at the dry cleaners.

My favorite cashier was there again at the supermarket, the mighty Isis, who actually asked if I had enough coffee this morning. She knows, I must have told her some other time. It was already hot out so I stayed inside for a few hours, making iced coffee and enjoying it greatly.

I avoided the news and things like that since I wanted an easy going day. I figured if there was something worth knowing about, someone I know would have told me about it. No news proved to be good news. After a few hours of nothing in particular I decided to head into the city.

A last minute phone call to Harpy only resulted in getting his voice mail which I declined to leave. I wanted to see a Robert Mapplethorpe exhibition in Chelsea and today would have really been my only opportunity to see it. It was called ’50 Americans’ and it was 50 portraits & photographs picked by people from across the USA.

The pictures were picked from the Mapplethorpe Foundation and the majority of the everyday Americans that picked the images never heard of Robert Mapplethorpe. It wasn’t my usual gallery hop since I only went into maybe 3 galleries before I decided to head home and avoid the rush hour rush.

And I just made it too, a not too crowded air conditioned Path train which was nice. I took the elevator to the street since I’ve been avoiding stairs whenever possible. Nearly had a few words with one of those idiot adults who use a razor scooter to get around.

She was waiting for the elevator as well but staring into space as I walked by her. As I entered the elevator, that was when she decided to get in as well, hitting my leg with her razor scooter. She mumbled something which I ignored and held the door for an elderly woman with a cane who actually needed to use the elevator, not so she wouldn’t have to carry a razor scooter up the stairs.

Still quite warm out, I just checked Google latitude where I see Bill is currently in Weehawken, no doubt headed home. He had to get a new iPhone since the one he left at the gym was never turned in. He’s not too happy about that and I certainly can’t blame him.

Hopefully he’ll be happy to be home with me. If he isn’t well there’s nothing I can do about that. But he’s a positive thinker and maybe he will remember not to leave his iPhone behind next time.













I Believe Fantasia

Monday May 30, 2011. A day off and quite a nice day off. It’s been very hot though, in the 90 degree range. I slept late, until 10:00AM. Bill was home already and he was getting ready to go to bed just as I was getting ready to start my day.

He was kind enough to pick up the paper as well as some bagels. That meant I didn’t have to leave the apartment until I wanted to. And I didn’t want to, at least not right away. Bill was a sleep and I was awake, having a lukewarm shower and making coffee. Not at the same time.

The reason for the lukewarm water was because I shut off the s for the gas on gas heater built into our stove. It’s old and I had to shut off the pilot which kept things in the kitchen very warm and with temperatures heading to triple digits I had to do something.

The thing is I turned off all the gas for the stove as well as the hot water heater. So the water stayed warm in the heater but once that was gone it was getting cooler and cooler. Manageable showers for the time being but not my preferred method of showering.

I tried relighting the pilot in the hot water heater several times last night, but to no avail. That meant if I couldn’t do it I would have to give Julio a call. He has the magic touch and would have it lit in no time at all. Me, it took a few hours before I gave up laying on the floor, one hand on the pilot thermostat and the other hitting the ignition repeatedly.

I tried again this morning before sending a text to Julio asking if he was home. About an hour later he called to tell me he just left. He asked what the problem was and I explained to me what it was.

He told me to do the same thing that I had done previously and after getting off the phone with him I tried it again and though I didn’t hear the ‘click click click’ of the ignition, I did hear that gas in the tank ignite. I turned on the hot water in the nearby sink and sure enough it was hot. Apparently just mentioning Julio coming over would be enough to get things to work again.

I wasn’t about to take another shower but was happy to have hot water again. I watched some TV, specifically a movie, Three O’Clock High a movie that Pedro turned me onto about 23 years ago. Silly little high school teen movie, still has its charm.

After that a walk around Hoboken, many people walking around on a gorgeous and hot afternoon. I enjoyed a La Flor Dominicana Air Bender Valiente and walked around the waterfront. I thought about bringing my guitar but decided against it.

I sat on a bench and looked at Manhattan glistening in the sun and read the rest of last week’s New Yorker. After a spell I finished my cigar and walked over to Washington Street, stopping by Ben & Jerry’s to treat myself to a Chocolate Therapy ice cream cone. Then I climbed up the 64 steps to my apartment where Bill was getting ready to head out and I was ready for a nap.

A lazy do nothing day, except for getting the hot water heater to work which was something. Perhaps tomorrow will be more of the same, but a gallery visit might be in order.









I Believe Frankie Laine

It’s been another Saturday at the cigar shack. Not a bad day despite it being the Saturday in a holiday weekend. The shack has done well today despite a lot of people not being around. Most of the regulars came in yesterday to buy cigars for the weekend.

Better selections in Manhattan than in the Hamptons or wherever it is that they go. The day started out quite nice, I slept incredibly well and woke up in a good mood. Bill was en route from Atlantic City.

First off a stop at his gym since he thinks he may have left his iPhone at the gym. They didn’t have it, and if they had it, it might be in the gym’s safe since the manager would have locked it up in there and the manager won’t be back until Tuesday. At least that is what they told Bill.

I saw Bill for just a few minutes this morning, he was coming in as I was soon going out. Better than nothing I reckon. I caught an early bus which afforded me a nice cushion of time, enough for me to walk up the avenue and getting an egg sandwich on the way to the shack.

I got to the shack about 15 minutes early and immediately went to work alongside Calvin. Bradley was on his way in and tit was fairly busy throughout the day. 82 degrees when I went out for lunch, sitting on a bench near the park where I enjoyed a nice cigar.

Got back to the shack and the day progressed nicely. I was manning the music controls and it was alright, I was hitting all the right buttons. Right now Morrissey is playing, his first singles collection, Bona Drag. I believe he now has about 9 collections of his singles and greatest hits out there.

Probably more collections than actual albums. I think he’s a better singles artist than an LP artist, but I’m sure most Moz fans would disagree.

Bradley and I are closing, and now it’s dead in the shopping area. After 7:00 things really slow down and of course during a holiday weekend it’s really slow.

I bought a box of cigars for myself and had them shipped to Mr. Wonderful Jim Mastro. He was supposed to drop them off at a bar near his shop last night but he didn’t. He did it this morning so that means I have to stop by the bar and pick them up.

Hopefully the doorman won’t have any problems with me doing just that. We shall see I suppose. I guess I will give you all the low down when I finish writing this at home later.

And now I am at home and it went well. There was no doorman and the bartender at Mulligans was pretty funny when he said it would be $10.50 since he went and got the box of cigars that Jim dropped off. I laughed and skedaddled out of there.

I am happy to be home, happy to have my cigars. Tomorrow is Sunday and I am working but I won’t be writing.

Smell ya later.





I Beg Your Pardon

Here it is again, once again, the incredible, the rhyme animal. I know I got that wrong but my heart is in the right place, under the rib cage. At the cigar shack once again, day two of a four day stretch. How did I used to do a 5 day work week?

Well I was generally sitting down a lot, and when I walked it was usually on carpeted floors. Nowadays, it’s not like that anymore. No, it’s all about standing on concrete floors for 9 hours a day. At this time last year I was unemployed about to start working.

A bit of anxiety was setting in of course. After being out of work for 11 months how could it not? It seems so long ago. I was working with a different crew then and now they’re no longer here. The only carry over from those days is Calvin. And now he is number one and that makes me number two by default.

Things are certainly better with Bradley. He’s a moody chap by his own admission though I doubt if he would be one to use the word chap.

I am home now and quite happy to be here. Bill is driving to Atlantic City tonight and driving again tomorrow night so if I don’t see him for a few fleeting minutes, I won’t see him until Sunday. It’s a drag but that’s how it is I suppose.

It’s so bloody warm here, heat rises and being on the top floor you can feel it. The windows are open and an occasional breeze floats through. I heard from Pedro today, he was in town and was hoping I would be free to hang out but of course he calls when I am at work, so not free at all.

I still would like a Monday through Friday job, with normal hours or at least something close to normal hours, or what passes for normal hours. No word from Joe Monaco but like I wrote previously I have extremely low expectations with him. Still hope remains, just not pounding the drums like hope sometimes does.

I closed the store tonight as Thomas was headed off to something, maybe an engagement party for him and his fiancé tomorrow. He’s quite a funny guy though by the end of the night it’s hard to keep up with his sense of humor. Being twice his age, makes me wonder how people older than me were able to deal with me and my wacky sense of humor.

But I should keep in mind that these friends and I were not standing on concrete floors for nine hours a day dealing with all sorts of people, so it probably wasn’t too hard to deal with me. So here we are, or rather, here I am, on the Friday of a holiday weekend. It wasn’t easy to see people so excited to get out of town for the weekend, four days off for them. Even the bibliothèque is closed this weekend.

I did luck out tonight, maybe it was karma, but when I got to the subway platform this evening, an express train pulled right in. And as I climbed the functioning escalator at the bus terminal, I saw a bus pulling out. Then the bus stopped.

The driver was a friend of Bill’s (no, not like Alcoholics Anonymous), Orlando. He was one of the bus driving friends of Hyman gross as well. So Orlando recognized me and said a few words about Hyman as we were pulling out.

It was a nice brief chat about Hyman and how Hyman is missed. I told him about the plan Bill and I have to visit the cemetery next year when Hyman’s headstone is placed. Orlando hopes to join us. We shall see. Check in next year, early May.

I Been to Georgia on a Fast Train

Two days off from work, one day back and once again I cannot stand people. I can’t say I fear for the future since we’re already doomed. Luckily there is plenty of blame to go around, more than enough so I don’t have to write about it here. I don’t have to write about people that are so involved with whatever mechanisms are in their hand they don’t know how to respond to an ‘excuse me’ as you try to pass them on an escalator.

It was certainly a strange day today. Temperatures in the 80° range and it’s not even the unofficial start of summer yet. I was early enough to see Thomas walk right past me, all slick in a dark suit and wearing killer shades.

I walked into the cigar shack just a minute after he did. He asked if he could close tonight, which eventually means I will close tomorrow. No big deal. Six in one, a half dozen in the other if you ask me. Alvin was flitting about, seemingly stressed. He made a remark about how I had such a nice day off yesterday and he sounded resentful.

Some big wigs were expected to be in the shack today. One showed up about 30 minutes after I got in, a nice guy who made a bee line to Calvin. He also blessed Thomas and myself with some free cigars so that was nice. The afternoon progressed as expected, a few customers coming in and out.

Since today was Miles Davis birthday, Calvin insisted on playing nothing but Miles Davis today. Ho hum. The afternoon crawled quite a bit thanks to the jazz. Calvin had an appointment so that meant he was going to have to leave early, like around 4:00.

At about 3:55, more big wigs arrived, about 5 of them altogether, examining the computers. Not that they were in a hurry to replace the Soviet garage sale computers the cigar shack uses, from what someone told me, they were probably making sure that Marcus doesn’t steal files or customers from the cigar shack, moving them to a cigar hut a few blocks south.

The someone who told me, mentioned that Marcus probably did that already, a little each day. Whether or not that is true, I couldn’t tell you. The truth is Marcus will be gone from the cigar shack, come June 1. And Calvin is stepping up to the plate, already taking somethings over, and a little bit anxious and nervous as well. He’ll be fine I’m sure, some bad habits seem to have ended or at least put to the side by just about all concerned.

I heard from my cousin who said they’ll be in touch with me next week and I heard from Joe Monaco, a recruiter I met with about 2 years ago. I used to send Joe Monaco emails every Monday, letting him know I was still looking. Eventually that fell by the wayside and here he was calling me to tell me about a position that maybe just right for me. And it may be local too.

I don’t have any expectations with regards to Joe Monaco. Despite my excellent scoring on the tests back then, he has not done a thing for me. OK, offering me a job in Livingston NJ was something he did, but really, how the hell am I supposed to get out to Livingston?

In any event, I am home now, and quite happy to be here. Bill is here too, telling me he loves me and that I am wonderful. It is nice to hear, sometimes hard to believe, the latter, not the former.




I Became A Prostitute

And it’s the second day of a two day stretch of having time off from the cigar shack. An even better day than yesterday, with blue skies and warm breezes. It’s been warm enough that the clothes I washed yesterday were dry already. Sometimes it takes a day or two.

We don’t have a laundry line outside so the clothes hang in the bathroom as well as hanging on racks in the kitchen. I do my laundry at home while Bill prefers to drop his clothes off to be laundered outside. If we weren’t living on the top floor (and of course if we didn’t have a washing machine in the kitchen) I would be doing my laundry at a Laundromat, since there are several all within walking distance.

I was out and about a few times today, trying to get the most out of having 48 hours off. No visits to the galleries again, I reckon I can always do that next Tuesday, the second of another two days off in a row. Perhaps Harpy can join me if he’d like. We had a good time last time. This time with my dodgy knee and Harpy with his dodgy ankle we should make a good pair.

No running and an avoidance of stairs should work well for us both. I’m counting on Harpy to read this and decide whether or not to go with me. I heard from him last night, of course he called when I was watching Frontline, a story about Bradley Manning and WikiLeaks. After 20 minutes of Harpy I ended the call and wanted to see what I had planned on watching.

I also started watching The Social Network after the 11:00 news. I enjoyed it, Jesse Eisenberg was quite intense as Mark Zuckerberg. Quite a smart fella, very arrogant and very much a dick. It was good, don’t know how much of the story was actually true, but with an Aaron Sorkin script and David Fincher directing it was definitely highbrow entertainment which isn’t bad at all. I recommend it. Is Jesse Eisenberg one of the best actors around today? As good as Joseph Gordon Levitt?

Tonight is Hoboken’s Memorial Day parade and where I went last year and was moved enough to applaud the veterans and current servicemen, this year I’m not so much interested in attending. I just had a couple of hamburgers from Stine, left over from Alexander’s birthday party, and not really into going outside.

And also today was the first day that I am wearing shorts. It’s in the 80 ° range today so I feel somewhat justified in showing off my pasty white legs. I think the knee brace lends me some street cred.

Today I also heard from the bibliothèque. The head librarian wrote to me, saying that something may be opening up, part time and they would keep my resume on file. Even though it’s part time, it’s a foot in the door and since it’s a block away from where I live, I would definitely save on the $200 a month commute that I am currently paying.

And there is also some communiqués from the Maxwells crowd, with even the wonderful Steve Fallon chiming in on occasion. So it’s been an interesting kind of day, reconnecting with old friends and perhaps getting a lead on a local job.

Today I picked up a whole lot of Velvet Underground music from the bibliothèque. Stuff I own on vinyl that I just converted so that I can play them on my iPod, including the box set, Peel Slowly & See. I also bought Raphael Saadiq’s newest, Stone Rollin’ and also Bob Dylan’s John Wesley Harding.

It’s been a pretty good day.

I And Love And You

Not much happened today, at least not around Hoboken. It was a day off for me and I was fairly busy. Laundry and errands were the main things and both were accomplished with relative ease. I scanned the job listings but didn’t send anything out.

I did send an email to a cousin of mine and once again asked if he knew of anything opening up. I did not get any response last time and I’m really not holding my breath this time. I sent some emails to Danny the K and Greg Stevens a week or so ago and there was no response from them either.

I sent yet another resume to the local bibliothèque, this time asking for a response either good or bad. Whether or not I hear from the head librarian remains to be seen. Julio told me they were looking for help at his company but only looking at women which for me, sucks.

It would have been something else though since Julio and I, despite being good friends, always clashed when working together. We worked different nights at Maxwells and the rare times we worked side by side proved to be difficult. But I would have happily put my shoulder to the wheel and done whatever I could do to get that job and keep that job.

I mainly stayed local today, thought about checking out some galleries but by the time I gave it some serious consideration, the moment had passed as did my interest. It’s been otherwise a very boring day and I didn’t mind at all.

It’s also Bob Dylan’s 70th birthday today and I as well as a few other Facebook friends have been posting videos of Bob or covers of Dylan’s songs online. I actually started last night, with Fourth Time Around, one of my favorite Dylan songs, from Blonde on Blonde.

I think credit for my admiration of Bob Dylan should go to Joe Lizzi, a bloke I worked with at Right Track Recording almost 20 years ago. Joe liked Bob a lot and lent me Highway 61 Revisited and Blonde on Blonde.

Initially I saw a lot of similarities between Highway 61 and the first Velvet Underground record. Tom Wilson produced the Velvets record as well as Like a Rolling Stone, Bob Johnston produced the rest of Highway 61, but Wilson also produced Bringing It All Back Home in its entirety.

I did have the brief occasion to meet Bob once, only for a few minutes at Right Track. I forget what he was doing but I did escort him to the studio he was due in and told him I liked his songs. I know, how original eh? Mickey Hart from the Grateful Dead was also in another studio and I told Mickey (who was really super nice) that Bob was in the studio. I’m not sure if they met up, but despite my avoidance of the Dead, I did know that Bob and the Dead toured together a few years before that day.

Today is also Patti LaBelle’s birthday and she seems to be getting the short shrift again. I am not sure if I met Patti LaBelle, she may have recorded at Right Track as well, it was the top notch recording studio in New York City for a while, but I did see her sing at a Prince after show 2AM concert at Roseland where she started wailing and Prince surrendered the stage to her, telling Patti it was all hers.

All in all it’s a good day for music, 2 great personalities and performers to be thankful for.





I Am Yours

Thank goodness it’s Friday. I know it’s really Monday but I am off the next two days so for me it’s Friday. I can’t speak for the millions on their feet all day, not complaining, bless their hearts, but for me it’s a relief. And it was quite an interesting day at the cigar shack.

It started out interestingly enough last night actually. A little before 10:00 I started getting texts from Julio. He and Stine had a birthday party for Alexander at a park on the Hudson River north of the George Washington Bridge. It was cold and damp and they had a lot of food left over as well as birthday cake.

They figured I was just getting home, not realizing that I had gotten home a little before 8:00 since the shack closes earlier on Sundays. I was home, a little jazzy and not really wanting to go down to see them. But I figured I should.

I knew Alexander would be asleep by then so I threw on some track pants and went down for about a half hour. It was good to see them, both of them talking to me at the same time. Since I’ve known Julio for over 25 years we really understand each other very much, a word here, a gesture there, a cocked eyebrow and a lot is said.

I think that must frustrate Stine somewhat so I took extra care to pay extra attention to her. I came home with a large piece of homemade cake, festooned with Danish flags, some hot dogs, hamburgers and buns.

I came home and watched some TV with Bill before he went to bed and I eventually followed. Waking up wasn’t so easy and I mentally bargained with the alarm clock, which satisfied the both of us. The alarm clock now has off the next two days as well.

After showering and shaving and coffee and cereal I was out the door enjoying a slightly damaged Padron 1964 Anniversary cigar. As I waited at the bus stop I ran into Mr. Castro, an old friend from the past powdery days of yore.

He doesn’t do that anymore and neither do I. And neither of us miss it. In fact he can’t stand to be around the people from those days who are still sniffing here and there. We both rode the bus into the city, but did not sit together.

I made it to the shack early enough, Thomas and Bradley were there. I worked with Calvin yesterday and we talked about my problems with Bradley. Today I decided to take matters into my own hands and had a talk with Bradley who by the way has been taken off life support.

It was a nice chat, interrupted every now and then by commerce but we’re both glad we talked and it made for a smooth easy going day. I told Thomas about it since he was out of the shack at the time, and he jokingly said that he was going to try to put it back the way it was since he felt he benefited from the disconnect between Bradley and myself.

So for the first time in what seemed to be a long time, the three of us were able to work together and laugh throughout the day. Since I closed the other night with Thomas leaving early, which left it open for me to leave early and have Thomas close.

I made my way to the subway, this morning I had $2.80 left on my MetroCard and when I tried to use it this evening, the turnstile read to swipe again. I swiped again and once again got the same message. I swiped once more and got the message that there was insufficient fare left on my card.

The turnstile took $2.50 and left me unable to get through with $0.30 left. So I had to walk over and refill my MetroCard and when I finally was able to pass the turnstile, the train I wanted to board was leaving the station. I loathe the MTA.

Such a horrible corrupt organization, filled with the laziest teats alive (and possibly dead).








How ironic that I see Mr. Castro and chat with this a few feet away from us...

I Am Your Man

I should actually get started sooner rather than later. Since I did not sleep as well as I would have liked I am not so sure if I would be able to write when I get home. So why not now? Last night, well I had a new cigar from La Flor Dominicana and it was good and it was incredibly strong.

Strong enough that I think that was why I wasn’t able to sleep. And the fact that Bill wasn’t asleep in bed next to me. Probably more related to Bill. I never sleep well when he is not around. So today was more like a hang over day though I did not have a drop.

Went to bed at 12:30. Slept quickly, woke up at 1:30. Got out of bed, went online. Felt tired enough to try sleeping again. At 2:30 I took a melatonin and tossed and turned until something resembling sleep happened.

Then at 4:30 I was up again. Finally was able to fall asleep if only for a few hours, but it surely was not enough. 8:30 came and I was hitting the snooze button. A little before 9:00 I was out of bed, shuffling along to the shower, made coffee and had a bowl of cereal.

Bill made it home, just as tired as I was, but he had worked the previous hours, driving a bus. All I did was try to sleep. I made it to the bus stop and could barely tolerate the crowd. Weekend riders are the worst. Just pandemonium and lots of little kids with helicopter parents indulging their every whim.

I expect more of the same when I head home soon, only with less kids. I could not get any breakfast this morning. Since it was nice and sunny out, everyone was out, tons of tourists, everywhere I went there were lines out the door. I settled for the shortest line and got an iced coffee and a muffin.

I got to the cigar shack where the great Thomas was working as well as the brain dead Bradley. And of course once I write how easy it is to ignore the brain dead one, the next time isn’t. I’m not a violent person but I could easily see getting violent with regards to him. He just seems to invite such feelings. I do my very best to submerge these violent feelings.

Now I am home, still quite tired. Bill was here that’s for sure. Things plugged in that weren’t plugged in before. Items that are almost always in the same spot are now in a different place. I make a sandwich, bread gets toasted and stuck in toaster. I smack the toaster. What? I am tried. This is why we can’t have nice things my mind tells me.

2 more days of work lay ahead of me. Tomorrow just me and Calvin manning the board, Monday a repeat of today with the brain dead Bradley and Thomas. I try to reassure myself I can get through it.

I just found out there is a birthday party for Alexander tomorrow. Stine sent the email to an old Yahoo address of mine. I don’t use Yahoo. If I had known I would have tried to make it but now it’s too late. It would have been nice. A party at the park underneath the George Washington Bridge by the Palisades. I could have used a good time.

Instead I will be in the cigar shack, all day since it’s just me and Calvin and there is no leaving for a lunch hour. Get food, bring it back, that’s the routine. It’s a short day though, only 8 hours.


I think it's a trap


here comes the storm. again.

I Am Woman

I just got home from work, and it was a weird day all around. Lots of rain again as I started my way to the bus stop. Different driver, a student driver, showed up early so I got on since I got a text from my neighbor Deborah on the fourth floor on Wednesday saying that the driver did not show up for the 10:30 bus.

I didn’t want to take any chances so I got on board. He was driving under the watchful eye of a supervisor and since he was early, I was early. Had enough time to run an errand or two before heading into the cigar shop.

The brain dead Bradley was behind the counter wheezing and burping as he always does. Calvin was interviewing someone in the man cave for a part time position. It went well apparently since Calvin hired him. He’s supposed to start in June and he’s in his fifties so that will make him the eldest employee in the cigar shack.

I didn’t have a chance to meet him, but if he passed Calvin’s muster then he should be alright. Calvin confided to me that he wasn’t too keen on hiring a previous former employee and seems to harbor some regrets about it.

Since it was constantly raining outside that meant the man cave was filling up by early afternoon. A dry drunk came in and promptly made a corner of the man cave all his own. Legs spread open, moving tables and ashtrays just so he could be comfortable. He was a schmuck but easily ignored, quite like the brain dead Bradley who every time I look at him, it’s getting easier to see right through him.

It was certainly 180° from working with Thomas. That was a pleasure, sharp, funny and easy to get along with. Calvin can see this too. He feels that I am better with people whereas the brain dead Bradley works better with inanimate objects. I suppose most inanimate objects would get along with other inanimate objects.

After the brain dead Bradley left for the night, Calvin set about clearing out Marcus’ stuff and putting the office into order. Tomorrow it’s the brain dead Bradley, Thomas and myself. Thomas will more than likely be the bridge between.

Today, I heard from that company I interviewed with 4 times, they were just letting me know that they’re still interviewing and would let me know soon enough. Their email was rife with typos. I would also like to thank everyone who asked for a copy of the bio I wrote yesterday, I hope you all received the email with the document attached. Feedback is always appreciated.

The guy I wrote it for certainly enjoyed it, he edited it somewhat but overall he was happy with it. A few more drafts should be worked on somewhere down the line. In case the world ends tomorrow as expected by so many Christianists, I am not sure whether or not I will be posting.

I hope to take part in some looting with various Facebook friends. I plan on being at the Apple store since I would really like an iPhone and maybe an iPad. The iPhone has that application which can tell you the name of the song you might be hearing and that could come in handy for me.

And there is also the Eno application, Bliss I believe it is called, some generative music. I played with the Sseyo/Koan program that Eno had/promoted a long time ago and I can only guess that the seeds I planted back then are growing wild somewhere in cyber space.

yes, someone left a cake out in the rain.

I Don’t Wanna Go Down to the Basement

I’ve had better days than I had today. Maybe I’m still wiped out by the double shift yesterday at the cigar shack. I slept really well, pharmaceutically enhanced. Took a Xanax when I got home last night, some anxiety was creeping in around the edges.

Anxiety about something I had to do today. I was quite nervous. You see a customer at the store knows of my love of music and a talent for writing. He works in public relations and wanted to give me a shot at an interview and writing a short bio for an up & coming New York City singer.

It wasn’t my type of music but I felt I should give it a go. As the day approached, as the hour approached I was in the grip of dread. Even waking up this morning I just wasn’t feeling up for it, and for some reason I smacked myself in the chest a few times while I was still in bed.

I did have to go to the grocery store once I showered. Some items needed to be bought and with not enough coffee in my system, I decided to forego a walk to Washington Street and got everything I needed in the supermarket. When I got home I had a nice breakfast and watched some TV.

The appointed hour for the interview was noon today and at exactly 12:00 I made the call. I got voice mail and felt somewhat relieved, thinking that maybe the interview would not take place. Still I looked at the questions I had and studied the materials online for the artist.

About 20 minutes later, my phone rang, a different number than the one I dialed. I answered and it was the artist I was to interview. She was nice and charming and answered all of my questions. I transcribed her responses as we chatted and we both had a few laughs.

Though like I said she wasn’t the type of musician I would follow, after our 30 minute phone call I had a newfound respect for her and her music and would give it another chance. After the interview I took the information and made what I hoped would be a fun and informative one sheet bio.

As requested I sent it off to the customer who set the whole thing up and to my surprise I never heard anything again. I suppose I will see the customer tomorrow and he will either express thanks for the writing or say that he will never ask me to write anything ever again.

Either way, for me it was a hurdle that I think I cleared with no trouble at all. I just reread what I wrote and I don’t think it was that bad. It’s a fun piece geared positively to promoting an up and coming band. I do have to admit that I felt that I was channeling the spirit of Derek Taylor when I was writing it.

No lysergic involved either.

It would make for a nice career if what I wrote is accepted and if it isn’t accepted, I still think it was a pretty good piece. Send me an email and I will forward it to you. Not publishing it here since it hasn’t gotten the green light. Perhaps someday, but not today.

After that I was mainly riding the mood swings this afternoon. Not enough to eat I guess, that always sends me to the depths of despair. And though yesterday was a good day at the cigar shack, I can’t shake the feeling that the sword of Damocles hangs over my head.

Self-doubt and despondency were my shadows throughout most of the afternoon but having just eaten, I feel somewhat better.

Happy birthday Joey Ramone


I Am Thinking Of My Pickanniny Days

Oh how to start, where to start. I keep expecting to see Hyman when I turn the corner at the bus terminal. I expect that to go on for a few more days. Today was a long day, a double shift. Calvin asked me a few weeks ago and I agreed to it.

Couldn’t really say no. I didn’t mind really. I was going to be working with Thomas and he’s actually a pleasure to work with. Getting there was the problem. Actually waking up was the problem. Alarm clock set, took melatonin last night so that was a good night’s sleep.

Had a dream where I was frantic because my iPod lost its power. Oddly enough I did not plug it in last night and I wanted to delete a track from a playlist I created, don’t really need to hear Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) by Darlene Love in the middle of May. I did delete the track, before heading out into day three of the rainstorm.

Before that I did get a phone call from Bill asking me if his keys were on top of the stove. They were and I put them in my bag and headed down the stair when I realized I did not put my knee brace on. Quickly put it on and headed down the stairs into the aforementioned rainstorm. It was crowded on the bus, filled up quickly. And there was traffic heading into the tunnel.

I texted Bill as we approached the tunnel so he could meet me at the bus terminal. His office is only a bloc or two away so it was no problem for him. The helix outside the tunnel was closed and all the NJ bound traffic was being diverted.

I made it to the terminal and saw Bill who walked me to the subway, letting me use his unlimited Metrocard to pass through the turnstiles. A quick kiss and I was on my way and Bill on his. Luckily, since it was still rush hour there was a train pulling in almost immediately.

Made it to the cigar shack with time to spare to get an egg sandwich and some coffee. I made it in, turned off the alarm. Luckily since I closed last night I knew everything was going to be in order giving me time to enjoy the sandwich and drink some coffee.

I was going to be alone for 2 hours and so I needed to take care of a few things before things really started to happen. A few calls for Marcus and for Calvin, both of whom were unavailable for the day. A couple of customers came in, asking about pens of all things and found the pens I showed them either not up to snuff or merely too expensive.

Thomas eventually showed up and he was great. A lot of fun to work with, while still maintaining an air of professionalism. Many laughs were had and he really helps bring out the best in me. The day didn’t fly by as expected and Thomas kept things competitive always trying to one up on sales which made things interesting.

He maintained the lead in sales throughout most of the day, I jumped ahead when I took a call when there was an order from a cigar bar nearby. Unfortunately I messed up the order and had to correct it, so when things quieted down in the shack I made my way over to the cigar bar, they were happy to see me there and offered me a beer.

I would have taken it but had to get back to the shack and finish up with Thomas. And after that was when I had started to crash. 12 hours on my feet didn’t do me any favors but thanks to Thomas it didn’t hurt too much either. Fave customer Jimmy Seltzer came in and mentioned that I reminded him of Stephen Fry which isn’t so bad.

I am glad to be off from the cigar shack tomorrow but there is something that I will be involved with for the first time tomorrow. If it goes well I will probably write about it somewhat, and let’s face it, if it doesn’t go well I will probably write about that as well. Fingers crossed.

Have a good night, I know I will.




for Hyman Gross






I Am the Walrus

The rain poured down quite heavily this morning as I was sleeping, it was raining hard enough that I wondered if there was to be flooding when I headed out to work. It stopped for a while when I walked to the bus stop and held off as I made my way to the cigar shack.

Things are improving at the cigar shack, the new regime isn’t fully installed yet but I assured Calvin that I was up for the task of working underneath him. I don’t want to see him fail and will do my utmost to support him.

The day started out easily enough despite working with everyone’s favorite cipher the brain dead Bradley. Calvin was in a meeting with Marcus in the man cave as I set about starting up my duties. I spoke with Bill a few times and was surprised to get his call about an hour later.

He had some sad news. Our friend Hyman gross had passed away. The information was sketchy, gather from Hyman’s nephew. Apparently Hyman died either en route to the Jewish Home in East Harlem where Hyman was going for rehab for his broken ankle, or once he was actually placed in the home. It was a shock, though we knew it was going to happen sooner or later.

Hyman was about 84 years old, his heart was broken since his companion Joan died in 2009 and he was very lonely. Bill and I could only fill that void so much, and the moments when Hyman was alone, waking up almost every night at 3AM. He told me sometimes he felt so alone that he would call the suicide hotline. He never went that far, but I’m sure the idea was there.

I feel bad, and wish I could have done more for him. I also wish he didn’t hit my buttons so much that I would tell him how upset he was making me.

I am glad that I was able to see him in the hospital and bring him the New York Times. I am also glad that he was able to see Bill perform in 2 plays. And I am happy to have been able to take him to what turned out to be his last Thanksgiving dinner at the Waldorf Astoria with Bill.

I tried to get Hyman to write his life story down, he had quite a few tales to tell. Being cruised by Rex Harrison was just one of the stories.

At the end of the night a vendor came to the cigar shack with a bottle of champagne to toast Calvin and his promotion. I was asked to sit in and I gladly did, enjoying a cigar and a flute of the bubbly. Calvin turned to me and asked how I was doing since I told him about Hyman’s passing.

I told him I regretted not being able to say good bye and Calvin understood. I then asked if I could make a toast to the memory of Hyman and Calvin and the vendor and I clinked glasses in Hyman’s memory. It was nice. Calvin was able to get a ride home with the vendor and I closed the store, making my way to the subway.

I couldn’t stop thinking about Hyman, how he was surprised that I would walk from the cigar shack to the bus terminal in minutes (before my knee got jacked up of course) and be able to catch that 9:42 Willow Avenue bus with him.

He always brightened up when he saw me and I was usually tired and grouchy by then. Still I would sit and talk with him. The bus drivers knew Hyman and tonight when I told the bus driver what happened to Hyman, he was visibly saddened.

I am sad to see him go, and I hope he is happy somewhere out there in the universe, hopefully with Joan. Rest in peace, Hyman Gross.

Hyman Gross

I Am the Sword

It’s one of those Mondays, rainy but not really. More drizzly, sideways winds blowing spray to & fro. Perfect weather for the chronically malcontent as well as the regular (& irregular) snippy people.

Of course I leave out the most important piece of the equation, the shallow and lazy people, also known as the weepies. I would include them but I wiped my feet on the doormat.

It’s been another interesting day today. Thomas and Calvin and myself, getting along famously. It wasn’t an easy start for me today though. The rain certainly lent itself to wanting to stay in bed and sleep as much as possible. Of course that didn’t happen.

I got out of bed, Bill sleeping in having a day off since he’s been on the ill side of things the past few days. He drove to Atlantic City on Friday and wasn’t feeling 100%. Thankfully he made it there and back safely.

He came home on Saturday and went right to bed as I headed off to work. He was awake when I came home but not for long. I stayed up and watched Saturday Night Live turning in before the end.

Yesterday was basically a blasé day, went out in the morning and out again in the afternoon to return Punk: Attitude to Netflix. Turned out I had seen it before. Still good, sad to see young Ari Up and remember she passed away not too long ago. Same with Poly Styrene.

My timing turned out to be good. I sat by the river for a few minutes and then headed home since I was bored and a bit depressed. 5 minutes after I walked through the door the skies opened up and it poured quite a bit.

Bill had made it out, headed into the city for an acting interview class. He also learned a song, Family, from Dreamgirls. Once again, I initially thought it was corny but by the time he finished it I was quite moved.

I felt he was singing it for me. I was in such a state that I really couldn’t hear it any other way. It really hit me. It was similar to years ago when Bill & I first started going out and I surprised him at his church one Sunday afternoon.

He was playing their baby grand and singing a song that I thought was just too corny. I Believe in You & Me by the Four Tops. I knew the Tops version and I knew Whitty Hutton’s version but hearing Bill sing it and play it on the piano was amazing and had me sobbing by the end.

I didn’t sob last night but I did get a lump in my throat.

So much for being chronically malcontent. I would probably be more of a malcontent, lurking underneath bridges probably in or around Central New Jersey with 174.252.7.87 being my IP Address. But since it is not I am not.

I’m quite content. I have friends and family and a very good man that loves me. I guess that some people don’t have that. I count my blessings from time to time. Not often enough but I know that they’re there.

Ol’ whatshername is now having it’s comments go directly in the spam folder. Not worth my trouble and not worth ruining your eyesight with its rants. I have a life and you can read about a portion or a slice of it on this here blog.

Surprisingly, some haters can read too, their comments are sometimes monitored, sometimes sent to spam. That’s the way the teat leaks I suppose.

My boo, not looking ill, but he was.


I Am the Spider

Getting started somewhat. At work in the cigar shack, the shake up continues. No shakedown though. Calvin seems apprehensive about the future, worried about there being a drop in sales when he assumes control.

I tried to reassure him that it shouldn’t happen that way, but also to keep in mind that the summer is coming up and that is usually a slow slow time for us in the cigar business as well as retail in most places except for air conditioner sales and pools.

He just left to head home to the wife and kid leaving Thomas and me to run things. Thomas is as straight as Six O’clock and it seems that a few guys find him to be eye candy.

Like right now, this gent in a red Stanford windbreaker seems to be devouring him with his eyes. He seems to be a born salesman that Thomas is, so whatever it takes to close the deal he will more than likely do.

A few old customers came in today and hung out for a few hours. Was not expecting that, we (Calvin & I) figured that they were boycotting the cigar shack and wouldn’t be around anymore.

Then yesterday a fairly famous cigar magazine released the news that Marcus was leaving the cigar shack for a cigar hut. That news brought out congratulations from a lot of customers (but still not the brain dead Bradley) and the news also seemed to finish off whatever boycott might have been in the works.

So there is a change in the air and with the wind blowing for the next couple of days, maybe weeks, we won’t see how things are settled until then.

Well now I’ve written almost 300 words so I guess I will stop here and finish when I get home. Hopefully Bill will be awake and feeling better. He came home this morning, looking like and feeling like crap. He went right to bed as I would have done if I was in his shoes.

Now I am home, Bill is awake and watching stand up comedy on TV. His old friend and former crush sent him a postcard which to Bill is cool. I merely carried it up four flights of stairs, didn’t read it since it was not addressed to me. I’m sure the postman read it.

Last night I watched ‘Something Wild’ which I hadn’t seen in a while. It’s a good movie, not great though it is funny to see the Feelies playing the high school reunion band. I bunch of people from Maxwells went to see it when it first came out.

Somebody had to work at Maxwells that night so I didn’t go. I remember that I was working at Friedman, Alpren & Green at the time and an elderly secretary saw it the first weekend and expressed her disappointment with the violence that comes out in the second half of the movie, when Ray Liotta make his appearance. He was scarier in that than he was in Goodfellas.

That’s about all that I have to write about tonight. Off tomorrow, not writing. Have a good one, smell ya later.


Greg, all of your comments go directly into the spam folder. Weep no more, you ‘control’. Good luck getting things straight.

I Am the Rain

A day off and lacking in something to write. It’s happened before and it’s happening again. Bill is driving down to Atlantic City, my poor baby is a bit under the weather but he feels OK enough to do it. No word on whether or not her is driving tomorrow, as of now he hasn’t heard anything, so maybe he will be able to get some rest.

The cigar shack has been interesting as of late. Yesterday Marcus told the brain dead Bradley that he has resigned from the cigar shack, taking another job at a different cigar hut somewhere in midtown. I was taken aback by his announcement and said ‘What? What?’

Calvin knew about it, he is moving into Marcus’ position. That will put me in the number 2 position since I am the longest serving employee. The brain dead Bradley and I were standing in the doorway when the announcement was made, Calvin facing us and Marcus in between.

According to Calvin, the brain dead Bradley turned beet red when Marcus said what he said. I was flummoxed myself but wished Marcus the best and congratulated Calvin on his promotion. Calvin noted that the brain dead Bradley congratulated Marcus and said nothing about Calvin.

Calvin and I closed the shop last night and had a chat about the brain dead Bradley. I wondered how long it will be before the brain dead Bradley attempts to follow Marcus to the cigar hut. Calvin doesn’t seem to care since Calvin doesn’t seem to care for the brain dead Bradley.

He feels the brain dead Bradley lacks social skills and therefore doesn’t do too well in sales. He’s a good organizer which is something that could be said in his favor. Calvin also mentioned that Marcus had a problem with my being snippy sometimes to customers.

Calvin feels that my snippiness is usually justified and that most of the customers realize that they have to be careful with what they say to me since I usually return the volley. If you can dish it out, you have to be able to take it, at least that’s what Calvin thinks.

So according to Calvin I will be his underboss. It’s not an official position and there probably won’t be any increase in pay. But I assured Calvin of my loyalty, which is something I that I think is quite valuable. I did find out that I have 2 weeks’ vacation, starting in June and plan to take one of those weeks in July when Annemarie is in town with possibly, hopefully Earl.

I was also asked to work a double shift this upcoming Wednesday and being a team player I agreed to do it. 9:30 to 9:30 which really promises to be a long day. It promises to be a bona fide long day, not the usual 10 hour shift that only feels like a long day.

So with any luck, the brain dead Bradley will need to find a new outlet to plug his respirator in soon enough. I look forward to when I will see the back of his soft skull getting smaller and smaller as he walks away he will be out of sight and out of mind.

I’ll be back at the cigar shack tomorrow, then off again on Sunday. It’s a crazy schedule but that’s how it goes I suppose. I did have an enjoyable day today, ran into Mike Cecchini this afternoon and we made tentative plans to meet up. I’d love to play guitar with him so that might be going on somewhere down the line.

I also saw some Christianists proclaiming the end of the world on the street today, dragging their children along with them to a religious misanthropic rally. Fascinating people in a perverse way as they hope their predictions are true and that billions will die while they are sucked into the sky into the bosom of their Iron Age sky god.

They and only they have the inside scoop. I guess they are having rallies to recruit people to their cause, but man will those t-shirts look terribly silly on May 22.

But I guess you can’t have enough rags.










I Am the Law

Well here I am again, standing behind the counter at the cigar shack. Thomas is pounding out a rhythm, totally flat and off beat, his titanium ring hitting the wood of the counter and making quite a noise. No charm in that.

It’s been a better day than yesterday, time is flying by- not like the other day when it really zoomed but faster than yesterday. I finally finished the Keith Richards autobiography and I enjoyed it very much.

He explained how he fell off the ladder in his library as well as falling out of a tree in Fiji. He says he did not snort his father’s ashes and I believe him. That story came after his brain surgery and the doctor told him, ‘No more bumps’ which means no more cocaine.

And the story went that Keef mixed up his father’s ashes with some blow. His relationship with Mick is like 2 brothers, bitchy and forever intertwined. I can relate to that somehow.

Now perhaps I can get back to the New Yorker where I am reading about Jane Fonda and I have not even cracked open Mojo or Uncut yet. I’ve been carrying it around in my bag since I bought it a few weeks ago.

Listening to Bob Dylan’s Love & Theft in the store right now. It could be my favorite Dylan album. Bob is going to be 70 in a few weeks. I saw him in the 1990’s but did not stay for the whole show.

At the time I was more interested in seeing Patti Smith who just came out of exile after Fred Smith passed away. Bob was nice enough to offer her the opening slot on the tour and she wisely took it.

I went with my Weehawken roommate William. It was odd being in the lobby of the Beacon Theater and seeing familiar faces of people that I had assumed that had died a while ago. The look of shock on my face was more than likely noticeable.

Patti Smith was enjoyable and since I was not so much into Dylan at the time, we left midway through his set. I didn’t get it and I think he was doing Alabama Getaway when William and I made a hasty exit. Not into the Grateful Dead at all you see.

Right now I am downloading the Roches self-titled debut album. I’ve always liked them and was fortunate to see them twice, once at Town Hall as the Roches and once at the Bottom Line as the Caroling Carolers.

When I worked at Farfetched I would play Keep on Doing, the Roches third album often and almost every time I would play it, someone would ask if they were hearing the Roches and when I would answer affirmatively they would almost always go on about how much they loved them.

I also have to confess that I had a crush on Margaret A. Roche for the longest time, nothing sexual just a sheer admiration since she wrote some of their most beautiful songs. I have their debut on vinyl somewhere but I felt I needed to have The Hammond Song on mp3 and on my iPod.

And of course the Roches tie into the Wainwright family thanks to Loudon’s wandering eye. I expect to be playing it at the cigar shack tomorrow. That should raise a few eyebrows. Hey, if you’re in the neighborhood, stop on by and say hello. Just don’t be a douche.

Now I am home and quite happy to be here. Bill is awake, first time in days that he’s been awake when I walked through the door. It’s nice to see him in a vertical position.

I Am The Champion

Here I am again at the cigar shack. Where yesterday flew by, today was a day of the crawl. Calvin just left which is giving me this opportunity to get some writing started.

Yesterday I took a Xanax before I came in and today should have been the day for that. But I persevered and it all worked out. It was the brain dead Bradley and Calvin and myself today. It has been an edgy day nonetheless.

Calvin had an idea, right before I went to lunch to do something about the non-communication between the brain dead Bradley and myself. That ruined my lunch somewhat, distracting me from enjoying Keith Richards life.

And I am almost done with Keef’s autobiography and it’s been an enjoyable read which I highly recommend.

Lately I’ve been wrestling with myself and coming to terms with the fact that I am an artist. I’ve always been which could explain why I’m usually out of step with most of the human race. I play guitar, I write, I take photographs, I’ve also shot movies, acted and written poetry.

I guess I wear many hats. I am avoiding the jack of all trades line as well as the Renaissance man label.

But like I said, it’s been a long day and now a customer has just walked in, so guess who gets my attention dear reader. Sorry but it isn’t you. I mean you do get my attention in the space of writing (no not really, I just go into writing mode and ignore most everything with the exception of Bill).

The customer is now gone, he was just browsing. At least he wasn’t tire kicking, which is when a customer asks to see something and then they hem and haw and use the line that I myself had given to sales associates all over the place. ‘I’ll be back’.

I reckon 300 words is a nice enough cut off point until I finish this at home.

And now I am home. Had to close the store you see and also finish a damaged cigar that was in the damaged bin. No one wants to buy a cigar that is unraveling at the foot.

I was out of the shop and waiting on the platform. Caught an express train which got me to the bus terminal rather quickly, but not quick enough to catch an earlier bus. I waited for the 126 bus that I usually catch with Hyman Gross.

The bus driver was quite interested in how Hyman was doing, and seemed sincere. Tonight when I got on the bus and asked the bus driver how he was doing, he merely grunted.

I thought I had a connection of sorts with the driver but apparently I didn’t. Tomorrow night, if and when I get the bus I will try to get an earlier bus and will probably continue to do so until Hyman starts riding the bus again.

Monosyllabic drivers are so passé.

Bill is fast asleep in bed, sleeping soundly and quietly thanks to the new sleep apnea mask. All is well.

I thought this guy was a junkie, turns out he was thoroughly engrossed with his iPhone/Blackberry

I Am The Beat

It’s a Monday and my knee hurts a bit. Going to ice it up in a few. Some dipshit will probably say I’m whining or maybe even faking it since the dipshit knows so much, but you know what? I don’t give a shit what the dipshit thinks, though it does give me a reason to write words and gets me that much closer to the daily tally of at least 500 words so to that dipshit or perhaps dipshits some sort of thanks should be given. Perhaps some time, but not now.

Yesterday was a day off from work as well as a day off from writing though I did post some photos of my mother for Mother’s Day. Technically I don’t think it counts. It was a productive day, laundry done, newspaper and bagels and groceries purchased. So much to do in such little time but I did most everything I planned to do including cleaning the bath tub.

And while doing laundry I noticed that my socks needed to be replaced. I walked over to the light rail and rode the train to the Newport Mall. Made my way through the mall and found the sock store which has the thick and thin, over the calf socks that I really prefer for $3.00 a pair. Nice deal and I bought half a dozen.

Then I remembered I needed some new cereal bowls and hoped that Kohl’s would have them and they did, which made going to Target (and breaking the boycott) unnecessary. A nice walk home from the mall, along the waterfront enjoying a cigar was very enjoyable. I came home a few hours later and made myself a nice supper and prepared to stay in for the evening.

I thought about going out and sitting on the stoop but by that time I had removed my sneakers and had my slippers on. After watching President Barack Obama on 60 Minutes I was planning on watching the Simpsons but instead answered a phone call from Bill. He had a rental car which he used to drive his mother to church yesterday morning and had it until this morning.

Bill also had 150 miles he could use and wanted to know if I wanted to go for a ride. I thought a ride would be nice and out of the ordinary and put the sneakers, then headed down the stairs. I got in the car with Bill and since I was calling the shots, we headed up to Weehawken, driving past Jane Street, my old stomping grounds.

It was a brief drive by and so I suggested heading onto Route 3 to Route 17. We got off the highway in Wood Ridge and drove down Hackensack Avenue to Valley Road to the Boulevard. At the circle we swung around and headed past Wright’s Village, Lodi Lanes towards Felician College.

Bill knew the area somewhat since he sometimes drives a bus around there. We ended Lodi through the ass end and drove up South Main Street, past Immaculate Conception High School for girls, through the heart of Lodi and onto Union Street since I wanted to show Bill where I used to go to church as well as my grammar school, St. Francis de Sales.

Lots of cars in the playground which led me to believe it was bingo night. I also pointed out the fence that I clung to when I was in kindergarten, screaming while nuns were horizontally pulling me from my legs and feet as I wailed and wondered aloud ‘why my mother was leaving me there.’

Off St. Joseph’s Boulevard to Church Street, past the Little League field and onto Main Street again. There used to be a dive bar at the corner of Church and Main Streets but no more. I pointed out where the heavy flooding occurs at what used to be Panama’s a greasy spoon.

Bill was getting hungry and pizza was not an option for once so after heading up Trudy Drive and onto Riverview Avenue, past the old homestead we went down Gunther Avenue and back onto Main Street once again, making a left into Saddle Brook to go to the diner.

It was refurbished once again. Once it was a typical 1950’s diner, rectangular with rounded edges, then into something else in the 1970’s, now it had an interior that resembled Planet Hollywood. I pointed out the VFW Post 3484 across from the diner, showing Bill where I used to play with other children of alcoholic parents and also where I first started smoking, though that may have also been the Lodi Boys Club.

I shouldn’t have been surprised by the fact that most everything on the menu was $2.00 cheaper than Manhattan and about $1.00 cheaper than it is in Hoboken. It was a decent meal and I picked up the tab since Bill was doing all the driving. A nice ride back to Hoboken, rather quick since we weren’t sightseeing my old haunts, instead taking Route 80 to the Turnpike where I also pointed out as we drove by places where I used to have illicit sexual encounters.

We were home soon enough, Bill once again proving himself to be an able driver. Slept really well last night and woke up to today being an alright day. The brain dead Bradley was out and it was Thomas and Calvin and myself running the show.

Time flew very fast and before I knew it, I was on the subway heading back to the bus terminal. The usual bus driver was back from vacation and I was able to explain to the worried driver the latest news with regards to Hyman Gross.

The only celebrity I saw today was the kid who plays ‘Lip’ on Shameless. I didn’t say anything to him. I did have a brief visit from Audra an old friend of Annemarie’s. It was good to see her and she certainly looked good.

That’s about it. Hope you mothers had a good day.







Me & Audra

I Almost Told You That I Loved You

That’s the sound of the men working on the chain gang. In this case it’s the sound of the men working in the cigar shack. And in that case, it’s the sound of the man (me) working in the cigar shack.

Thomas and I are closing and the brain dead Bradley has headed home. It’s been a long day and I guess I can safely say the bloom is off the rose. The Good will and good feeling that I had from last Sunday (Ian Hunter/Hyman Gross) to Bill singing the national Anthem at CitiField before the NY Mets/San Francisco Giants game on Tuesday has all but dissipated.

Mainly it was from dealing with the weekend bus riders this morning, truly a misbegotten class. I was dissed twice today by a customer who shook both Thomas’ and the brain dead Bradley’s hands but not mine.

He did the same thing a few hours later when leaving the man cave in the cigar shack. Shook two customers hands there, Dexter and Sherman and once again did not offer his hand and to tell you the truth I didn’t offer mine either. Don’t really care for that Luke character.

And judging by the way he treated his pregnant wife, he’s probably a tiny terror at home as well. Not my problem but I do look forward to when it’s just me manning the fort one night and he will come in all full of himself and I will be standing there with a pin to prick the overinflated ego of the little prick.

Tomorrow is Sunday and so I will not be writing which is nice I think. Looking forward to Saturday Night Live tonight, to see how they will handle the whole Osama Bin Laden thing.

Laundry tomorrow, which I may start tonight when I get home. That actually seems doubtful since I will just finishing writing this and then watching the telly. Though my intentions are good, my follow through is crap. That’s the story of my life, so far at least.

Now I am home after quite a long day. Thomas and I had a few laughs, he is proving himself to be a good comic foil. He does have a good sense of humor and he gets along with the brain dead Bradley and me.

I’ve been training him on closing so perhaps one day down the line, he will be actually closing and I will be able to leave the cigar shack at 9:00 which would be very nice. He did well tonight, a lot better than I did when I was closing.

Perhaps I am a better teacher than I thought, at least better than the teachers I had when I was being trained. The bus ride home was fine until we got to Hoboken, young good looking twenty somethings getting on board the 126 heading to downtown Hoboken and hitting the bars.

Good looking yes, but really dumb. I do not like most of the riders of the bus on the weekends, or anytime really. But that’s behind me now, now that I am home. That’s it for me. No writing tomorrow. Not doing laundry tonight. Cheers.

that's my Bill







weekend weakend bus riders

I Am Not A Robot

It’s been a pretty good day so far. Hopefully I am not rushing things. I didn’t sleep that well last night and neither did Bill. Lots of tossing and turning, no funny stuff on our end. Bill was up and out at 6:30. I know that because I asked him what time it was when he was leaving after kissing me goodbye.

I was out of bed a while later, puttering around and doing my usual breakfast routine. Soon I was on the street and headed to the bibliothèque to pick up the special edition of what may be David Bowie’s finest work, Station to Station, the album he doesn’t remember making, so strung out on cocaine he was reported to be.

And it’s a fantastic six song selection. The special edition is remastered from analogue tapes and also has two extra discs of a live show from the Nassau Coliseum in 1976, which is also supposed to be one of his finest sets.

After the bibliothèque, I made my way to the bus stop, once again letting the 10:15 bus go by as I waited for the 10:30 so I could finish the cigar I had started last night. At the next stop my neighbor from the fourth floor came aboard, as she’s been doing frequently the past couple of weeks.

She told me that she saw Bill’s video on YouTube and was very impressed. I gave her the rundown of how it was behind the scenes. Then somehow we got onto the subject of meeting celebrities.

I told her my David Bowie stories, my Mick Jones of the Clash story and how I would keep an eye out for Paul McCartney, occasionally walking by his lawyer’s offices, Eastman & Eastman on my way to work some mornings.

Of course I never met Macca, you would have probably heard my scream if I did. I told her of meeting Davey Johnstone from the Elton John band a few years ago and Deborah told me of seeing Elton on the street a week or so ago.

We also discussed Bruce at length, I told her of my brother and sister in law’s story of the night at the Bottom Line and how years later my brother Frank and I inquired about purchasing a copy of the photograph, which was described by the Bottom Line staffer, ‘The one where Bruce is eating out that chick’.

To which Frank replied ‘Hey that’s my wife’. Needless to say we did not buy the photograph. It did turn up in a Dave Marsh book years later, Bruce’s ass sticking in the air and my sister in law Elaine with a look of near orgasmic ecstasy on her face.

We got to the bus terminal and Deborah went her way and I went mine. I made my way to the cigar shack area, getting a coffee and picking up the latest Uncut magazine, I picked up Mojo earlier in the week.

As I neared the cigar shack I was talking to Bill on the phone and I passed someone who looked familiar. I asked Bill to hold on a second and then said loud enough for the familiar guy to hear me say, ‘Abe’. The guy stopped and it was Abe Laboriel Jr., the drummer for Paul McCartney.

Super nice guy, we shook hands and chatted and he posed for a picture with me. He also told me that he and Paul and the band were off to Peru tomorrow. We parted ways and I told him to keep rockin’ and he replied that he would try.

It’s been a pretty good day I think.




Abe Laboriel Jr.

Abe Laboriel Jr & some geezer


Abe Laboriel Jr & some geezer

I Am Not A Human Being

Yes I am back in the cigar shack. It’s a Thursday. It’s been a slow and steady day, busy enough at the cigar shack. Hyman called a few times, of course I was working and could not take the call.

The good news is that he’s heading to a rehab facility in Manhattan on the Upper East Side, a place for elderly Jewish people of which Hyman certainly is. We will have to be in touch with each other via cellphone until he is on his feet again.

Bumped heads with Thomas earlier but I’d rather not get into that. The manic high that I had been on the past few days is dissipating and returning things to a relative normalcy.

It was a gorgeous and breezy day in which I had a good lunch, enjoying a cigar on a bench near the shack. At the end of the month cigar smoking as well as cigarettes and pipes will be illegal to smoke in the parks, beaches and gathering spaces throughout the five boroughs of New York City.

I will be able to sit on a bench outside the park since I won’t technically be in the park. The smoke may waft over the walls and fences of parks, but that wouldn’t be my problem.

Now I am home. It was a long day, some interesting things happening. Thomas and I had some words. It all happened when Calvin was at lunch. The ever so eager Thomas tries to juggle 3 balls when he can barely handle one.

Thomas asked me to take a call, a call in which he told the caller that Calvin was with a client. No, Calvin was at lunch. I took the call, explaining to the caller that Calvin was unavailable but if they would like I would write down the order and give it to Calvin when he was available.

No, the caller said, I could do the order, it didn’t matter if it was me or Calvin. The caller was a bit of a nightmare, not really knowing what they wanted and me getting exasperated when trying to explain to them what products we had in stock for them.

It wasn’t about cigars, it was about fragrances, which we also sell. I put the caller on hold and went to check on something, passing Thomas I mentioned that this caller was a pain in the ass.

Thomas snapped and said quite tersely that he told me the call was for Calvin. I wasn’t going to have him talk to me the way that he did and snapped back at him, telling him not to get snippy with me. I said it such a manner that it shut him down for a bit.

He’s just so eager to please that if anything gets in his way or threatens to derail his plan he will try to roll right over whatever lay in his path. Things got better afterwards, he’s not the idiot that the brain dead Bradley has shown itself to be.

Calvin had to leave early and it left Thomas and myself to close up. That’s it, end of story.

It was so much easier last night to knock off 1000 words in under an hour than it is to write 500 words in two hours. Strange but true.

In April this here blog had 1,414 visits. The top ten cities are as follows:
1) New York
2) Hoboken
3) Philadelphia
4) Chicago
5) Not Set
6) Lakewood
7) Bilbao
8 Atlanta
9) Eureka
10) Arcata

And the bottom ten, each with one visit:
1) Wyncote
2) Skopje
3) Marlboro
4) Ajax
5) Eagle
6) East Brunswick
7) Darien
8 Homestead
9) Angouleme
10) Ciudad Obregon

Thanks to all readers. I suppose the lurkers and trolls should get some credit somehow.


I Am Trying to Remember

Man, the past 72 hours have been a gas gas gas. It’s been fun starting with seeing Ian Hunter and being with Meghan and Lily & Ruby, seeing Rand & Lisa and RoDa and Elly & Logan and Autumn. Then even going to work on Monday wasn’t so bad. It’s certainly getting easier to ignore Braindead, only speaking to him when I have to.

Then yesterday I met with Wally, a chap I once worked with at Golden Staffing. Over the weekend I decided to take a break from the stress of trying to find a new job, but as luck would have it, on Monday morning I saw a job listing sent to me with Wally’s name attached. I felt I had to send something out there and he replied rather quickly.

We arranged for a meet up before I met up with Bill yesterday. Since it was official, or so I thought, I wore a suit & tie. Bill was going to be in a suit and tie for his performance and he likes to see me dressed me and I of course was happy to oblige.

Wally expressed surprise since I was in a suit and tie, asking me why I was so dressed up if I was going to a baseball game. I told him about Bill singing the Star Spangled Banner and I explained that I thought this was an interview; after all I did fill out the standard application that most staffing agencies provide.

It was more like hanging out with Wally, him telling me the final days of Golden Staffing was a nightmare and the head cheese (I forgot what pseudonym I gave her) was really a bitchy pain in the tuchis. After a few minutes he introduced me to another woman who worked at Golden Staffing before I did.

It was all rather brief and relaxed and I was out of there in about 20 to 30 minutes. I made my way across town, headed to Penn Station and smoking a cigar. I was feeling pretty mellow when I met up with Bill. Bill was quite chill as well.

We boarded a train to Willets Point, where CitiField (I prefer Shea Stadium) is. It was about a 20 minute ride. It was sunny and breezy as we walked to the stadium. Much to my surprise there was no handicapped access which is the manner in which I travel lately, avoiding stairs and whatnot.

Bill kept alongside me as we made our way to the stadium. It was a bit of a bother to find the correct gate to go through but once we did we were comfortably situated in a nice dressing room, much nicer than where we have to wait before NY Liberty or NY Knicks basketball games.

We were soon on the field for Bill’s sound check which he performed admirably. We met a few officials from the Mets organization then it was back to the room where I left Bill for a few minutes (he stopped talking to save his voice) and I went outside to smoke a cigar.

I was complimented on my suit while I smoked and I thanked them kindly before heading back in. I was back in time to head out to the field again. No one said anything, no big deal if I was there recording Bill’s performance unlike Madison Square garden where it’s stand here, don’t do that.

After less than 2 minutes it was all over. Bill walked off the field to a standing ovation and I duly followed. Quite a few people complimented Bill on his singing, patting on the back as well as handshakes and fist bumps. After we got our things from the dressing room, we went to our seats where Bill’s friends Kirk & Pat were waiting.

Once again en route, many people congratulating Bill and telling him what a great job he did. I merely walked behind Bill and beamed. We met up with good old Mike Cecchini and his cousin after a couple of innings, a few laughs with them as well as a woman asking Bill to stand with her sons for a photograph. We all went back to our seats, Bill running to the upper decks to see some other friends.

We were basically in the same section that we were in when Bill and I, Annemarie & Earl and Julio & Stine when we saw Paul McCartney in 2009. We stayed for 9 innings. It went into extra innings since the Mets and the San Francisco Giants were tied 6-6. Kirk & Pat headed back to the Bronx and Bill and I headed to the subway.

Tried to get in touch with Mike Cecchini since he lives a block and a half away from us, but his phone was turned off. A long local 7 train ride was ahead of us, but we made it through, Bill leading the way to gate 323 in the bus terminal. We waited a short while for the bus and soon we were home after exchanging words with Todd Abramson from Maxwells. Who knew he was a Giants fan? But he too complimented Bill on his singing of the National Anthem.

After all that good feeling from Sunday to right now, work was a breeze and I did really well in sales today, top earner me. No need to write about anything else on that front, so I won’t. I am glad to be home, riding a manic high wave. Hoping I will make it safely to the beach for another surfing go ‘round.

Oddly enough, writing this was a lot easier tonight than I expected. I hope it reads well, or at least as good as what you write, every day when you write whatever it is that you write. Not bad for nearly 1000 words in under an hour, wouldn’t you agree? Only eight more words to reach one thousand. Done!

On to the show!


Bill & Mr. Met!


that's my Boo...


The Soundcheck

1,950 postings so far. Who would have thought? What’s your tally, Sally?

and today’s pics…