Monthly Archives: May 2012

I Like It- Enrique Iglesias

It’s been a somewhat busy day. Got a lot of things done, ran all over the place. It was good overall. And now I’ve just woken up from a nap and that went really well too. I should have written about the Eagle experience the other night. That was a lot of fun and I might have been a bit hung over yesterday when I decided to write about Daniel Rodriquez. I got there later than I expected after attending the art installation at the ferry terminal. I was dressed accordingly this time, not in a suit and tie and standing out amongst men dressed in a more ‘casual’ manner.

Some guys recognized me and came up and said hello. They told me of their plans to head to the cigar shack and that they looked forward to seeing me at my place of work. They were surprised when I told them what happened. Some of them knew about this blog and couldn’t understand what happened since the names where changed as well as the name of the place where I worked. A couple of guys took out their chain wallets and removed my business card that I gave out 30 days before and tore them up.

My tale of woe did get me some free drinks as well as a couple of choice Cuban cigars. I suddenly felt like the belle of the ball as I sat there drinking and smoking. I did get asked where they might buy some cigars and someone mentioned that townhouse on 42nd Street, but I suggested they go further on down 42nd Street to another cigar store, a little closer to Grand Central Station and a little bit smaller. Or as I suggested, coming to Hoboken and buying cigars, quite close to the Path train.

After a few hours, a few drinks and a few Cuban cigars with the guys I headed back to the Path train and nearly fell asleep on the way home. It was a slightly drunken and weaving walk home and after climbing the four flights of steps I was able to make it to bed and collapsed next to a sound asleep Bill. He was glad I was home and gave me a very nice hug once I got in bed. Thanks to the drinks and the cigars I slept, not quite soundly but it was sleep nonetheless.

I was touched that these guys that I had met for the first time a month ago felt supportive enough and had my back to go to a store at I am no longer working at. Some of them will buy their cigars online, others will probably go to the other cigar stores that I told them about, specifically avoiding that townhouse which used to be a Szechuan palace just a few years ago.

I didn’t tell them not to go, they came to that conclusion on their own with a nice sense of loyalty. Especially from that guy from Wall Street who looked quite hot in his leather gear. I’m just glad I had a great time, was able to have a few drinks, enjoy some cigars with some great guys and able to sleep off whatever hang over that followed.




01 I Turned You On

I Like It- Gerry & the Pacemakers

The first time I saw Daniel Rodriguez was probably over 20 years ago. He was an occultist then, dressed in black almost all the time with a pentagram hanging around his neck. I never really spoke to him, nothing more than the small talk one says when conducting a transaction. I was working at the Little Shop of Video in Hoboken back then and came across a lot of people when I was there. There were regulars like Susan Howard that came in almost every day with her dog, there were guys that had positions very deep inside city hall renting transgendered porn almost daily.

I still see these patrons from time to time on the street and usually think to myself, ‘I wonder if he ever returned ‘She Male Action Volume 6’. They’re older now and collect nice city pensions while sitting on benches watching their waistlines expand with every passing day.

The owner of the store was a nice guy, Peter Kressley. When I first met him I could have sworn he was gay, he was with his number 2 guy, Leonard and they were so close it led me to believe that they were a couple. It wasn’t until I met Peter’s wife Karen that I figured out what was what.

I just brought that up since I had just seen Daniel Rodriquez on the street, he didn’t recognize me but I recognized him. Time has not been kind to Daniel Rodriquez. The Little Shop of Video was one of the retail gigs I had in the past.

Another retail gig I had was at Pier Platters in Hoboken. That was owned by 2 friends of mine from Maxwells and it was not a steady job. I was on the list of people to call when the regular staff couldn’t make it. It mainly was a job where I sat behind the counter and rang up CD’s and vinyl. It was around the corner from the main store as this shop was set up to sell mainly CD’s which at the time were new. The vinyl was used and I snagged a few choice albums from people who were trading their old stuff in so they could get it on CD. Pier Platters faded away though, a victim of rising rents.

Then there was Farfetched. I first started working at the Fourth Avenue shop in the Village in 1997. I met Susan at a party at the Paramount Hotel that Harpy was throwing for his then girlfriend. Farfetched had just gotten robbed at gunpoint by a guy named Delroy Kemp. Susan and Harry discussed having a man work the shop and until they could find one, I would do.

There was a bit of a worry that I would play nothing but reggae since I was deeply immersed in the reggae world. I worked with Susan and her business partner Lois, and their friend Denise. It was a good place to work, once again called on to sit in for whoever couldn’t work. I enjoyed my time there and I am still in close contact with Susan and Lois and of course Harpy.

I told Susan and Lois at Harpy’s party that Farfetched spoiled me, that they had my back as much as I had theirs. They had no illusions of grandeur, and it was always a good time to work there, even during the hellish holiday season. Farfetched fell victim to the times, rising rents and a zealous neighbor who coveted their space.

I always think of Lois and Susan when I have a glass of Riesling.



Talk Talk – Lifes What You Make It The Fluke Remix

I Like It- The Blackout All Stars

Last night I heard from a former co-worker. Nice guy, hadn’t heard from them in a while. He has a way with words and being a little older than me, there are many tales he likes to tell. One of the last times we worked together he started to repeat his stories and I had to tell him that he told the story to me so often that I could repeat it back to him.

He doesn’t feel that comfortable where he’s working and now that I’m gone, he feels the music business is not what it used to be. It had been some time since I left that world and to hear him say such things, and then doing an about face and talked about how he plans on doing better after watching a Clive Davis video.

Listening to him talk about what was said (which sounded like a death rattle) , he told me that he plans to persevere and follow Clive’s direction. Apparently he has decided to take a big gulp from the Kool Aid being offered. I did ask if a certain wombat was still working in the organization and he said that the wombat was still there, still being as horrid as he had been, in fact the wombat has gotten worse.

Considering it has been over 10 years since I had last been there and not much had changed at all, I was surprised that the wombat still has the same desk, doing the same work he has been doing for about 20 years. Then again I shouldn’t be surprised since he has a debilitating drug problem and still he gets to work every Monday through Friday, and even attends the events after work, it is probably the only thing the wombat can do. And you wonder why the music business is in the shape it’s in.

It’s now been a week since I was dismissed from the cigar shack and I do hear from some customers. I guess contact between me and Thomas and Jerry Vale has been restricted. One of the customers mentioned that someone that I didn’t much care for was put off by my dismissal, saying it was typical of how the cigar shack handles things.

Having worked for the cigar shack long enough I can attest that he is right, certain things are handled in a hush hush, sweep it under the rug as soon as possible manner. Since I am no longer there, I can’t say that I still care but I was surprised that this certain customer actually had some nice things to say about me.

Bill had off today from the day job, having spent three of the past five days driving a bus. He came home last night, had a quick bite and promptly went to bed. I stayed up watching Mad Men which I missed on Sunday night. It was good and I am glad I forgot most of what the synopsis I had read previously.

Tonight I am going to an art installation at the ferry terminal in town. Why not? It’s free. From there I might just take a ferry to Manhattan and attend cigar night at the Eagle. Since I went last month and handed out cards for the cigar shack, talking up business for the shack, I feel I should go and let the fellas know that I am no longer in the cigar shack’s employ and that they might as well go back to ordering their cigars online, rather than visit a place that let me go. It should make for an interesting evening overall.





20 Mellow Yellow

I Like How It Feels

Ah yesterday when I was young. Yesterday was Sunday and the day before was Saturday and on that day, dear Harpy turned a ripe old age of 60. No one won the pool so the money stayed put. It was a beautiful day and I slept relatively well. I got up and did my thing, intending to go to the supermarket for myself as well as picking up a few items for Bill. Bill’s diet lately consists of almonds, raspberries and soy milk. I don’t know what he eats when he is not home, but that is what he eats when he is here.

I was working on a cuppa before heading out and in walked Bill with his almonds, raspberries and soy milk, so that saved me some dosh. Bill puttered about as I got myself together and headed to the market for my things. He was off to bed since he drove the night before to and from Atlantic City. By the time I came back he was fast asleep. I don’t know how he does it. As soon as his head hits the pillow he is out cold, yet if he needs to he is wide awake in a flash. I sometimes wish I had an on/off switch like Bill does.

There was a plan to go up to Riverdale to celebrate Harpy’s birthday. I invited Bill but he was not going, he needed to sleep and rest since he was driving to Boston today. I hopped on a bus and then onto a train. I picked up a few soft packs of Marlboros for Harpy since they are considerably cheaper on this side of the river. I rode the A train up to 175th Street and walked over to Harpy’s place. He and his girlfriend Deborah were getting ready and I waited a few minutes before we all headed out to the street.

We walked down to Columbia Presbyterian hospital where we caught a town car up to Riverdale. Susan, formerly of Farfetched had it all together. I had asked for the day off from the cigar shack while I was still there and if it weren’t for what happened last week, I would more than likely been unable to attend. But what happened happened and here I was in Riverdale. At the party were Susan and her boyfriend Mitch, as well as other people.

Lois the co-owner with Susan of Farfetched showed up as did Amy Allison. It was all giggles and smiles and hard to believe that we hadn’t seen each other since January 2009 when Farfetched closed down. It was a beautiful day and it turned into a beautiful night with Mitch cooking in the kitchen. I certainly scoffed a few things and was nicely buzzed after a few Sierra Nevada Pure Ales. A poem and some birthday cake followed and then it was time to go.

Lois gave Harpy, Deborah, Amy Allison and myself a ride to Manhattan and we all parted ways. Harpy & Deborah back home, Amy & me to the subway. It was only a few minutes wait before we hopped the A train downtown. I was home by 11:00, after leaving Amy to continue onwards to Brooklyn. Bill stayed up for me and after a few minutes hit the pillow again, out cold. I stayed up and watched some TV before I got into bed next to Bill.

He was up and about once again as I lay sleeping. He gave me his goodbye kiss as he was headed for another bus driving expedition. I slept and slept, eventually waking up and headed to the supermarket after a few cups of coffee that Bill made for me before he left. It was quite warm and muggy and I decided to do some laundry. I figured it would dry soon enough, but there is so much hummus in the air that it’s taking it’s time, a warm and damp experience.

After the laundry I got my guitar and my songbooks and headed out. It was relatively cool by the river and I set myself up and started strumming. I didn’t sing since I wasn’t that comfortable yet but did play a few songs for about two hours. It was crowded and once again I did not put the guitar case in front of me to encourage some money flowing. I wasn’t ready for that and just played songs that no one really knew, and surprised a few toddlers as they went by with their parents, seeing and hearing a guitar right in front of them. The looks of astonishment were priceless.

I got hungry and my hand started cramping up a bit so I headed home. It was a good day overall. Bill just called from Boston, he is on his way back and I hope he does so safely. I may be up when he gets home since he’s expecting to come home around 1:30 and that’s the time I’ve been going to bed lately, so it all might work out nicely.

Entertainment on the platform. La Bamba and Guantanamera were the songs I heard.


the hostess with the mostest with the birthday geezer


sparklers!



my stage


my audience


01 Give Peace A Chance

I Like Dreamin’

This is the sixth hour of a Mary Tyler Moore marathon. It’s been on that long and I still get a chuckle out of every episode. Saturday nights, 9:00PM, Channel 2, after All in the Family & The Jeffersons and before the Bob Newhart Show (tomorrow’s marathon) and the Carol Burnett Show.

A quieter day than the previous few and more humid it seems. There is plenty of parking available in Hoboken this weekend. It’s the unofficial start of summer so a lot of the locals have left town. The supermarket was fairly empty this morning though the streets were busy this afternoon.

Last night I went to Maxwells to see RoDa. I walked up around 8:30, had a pint of Stella Artois when I got there, chatted with RoDa for a spell and then headed home. I was home at 10:00 since it started getting busy and RoDa was running around. I didn’t know anyone there except for Handsome Dick Manitoba who was headlining in the back room last night. The one pint of Stella really got me buzzing and I probably could have stayed for another but opted to come home instead.

I came home and watched TV as the Stella buzz faded. I eventually went to bed at my usual time and about a half hour later I was sitting in front of the computer since I couldn’t sleep. Bill was driving to Atlantic City and I never sleep that well when he is away. He was due home this morning at 9:30 and remarked that I would probably be asleep when he came home. I told him I doubted that, but having taken 2 melatonin tablets I wound up being asleep when he walked through the door. I did get up when he went to bed and did the usual morning routine, only a bit slower.

I was able to find for a notebook of song chords that I used when I was busking frequently and for the past couple of days couldn’t find it though I did start throwing crap out as I looked. Now I have to sort the real crap from the questionable crap. Luckily Bill has a very good shredder so that made things a lot easier.

I was going to take the guitar out and play by the river but the clouds overhead seemed about to burst so whatever strumming I did, I did indoors. Some songs were easy to fall back into and others took some time to figure out again. If Rand and I are going to reactivate the Art Hams again, we’re going to need some songs. I have my suggestions, songs that I can play without difficulty and I am sure Rand has his songs, plus there are a few songs from back in the day, during one of the three times we actually played out.

Tonight I am going to Hoboken Cigars and will see Raymond my former cigar shack co-worker. I used to beg off attending his events since I was working at the cigar shack. Now that I am not, I have no excuse really.

And now I’m back. I do enjoy these early evening jaunts. I walked over to Hoboken Cigars through the hummus laden streets of Hoboken. It is so humid out, despite dousing my head with cold water before heading out I was sweating once again when I hit the streets.

I saw Raymond and it was good. He seems to have a Saturday night gig here and he introduced me to the owner. We talked about the cigar shack and how things were then and now. I’m almost tempted to write about the rumor that has Calvin heading off to work with the former genital massager but I’ve decided not to. A few cigar shack customers were there and that was all they wanted to talk about, as if I had any idea what goes on in Calvin’s mind.

A nice night out in Hoboken and I’m glad I made it out once again. Bill is driving down to Atlantic City once again and the Mary Tyler Moore marathon continues.

07 Rapture

I Like Birds

Well it’s a Friday on a holiday weekend. I can actually feel the stress melting away outside. Last year it was work for me on the weekend, but I did wind up having that Monday off. And judging by the few entries from last year, it was in the midst or perhaps the beginning of the uneasy truce between me and the possum. I generally try to be friends with my co-workers and I did well with Don and Raymond and Sean- all former employees of the cigar shack. I am still friends with Thomas and Jerry Vale I reckon.

But trying to be friends with the possum proved fruitless, no matter how much I tried and I certainly did try quite a few times. The possum and I even talked once about how Zack loved to gossip about who was gay, and I told him Zack’s suggestion that the possum and his cousin might not be cousins at all, perhaps they were lovers, which was a thought that never entered my mind until Zack brought it up. Just about everyone in Zack’s line of vision or whoever crossed his path was possibly gay. Rashawn and Ben were likely suspects.

I have lousy gaydar so I could never tell unless I was staring down at the top of their heads or looking at their legs as they rested on my shoulders. It is fascinating that so many heterosexual men (mainly) think of man on man action, much more than most participants in man on man action.

Most of the time I responded ‘I don’t know’ to the question of ‘Do you think blah blah blah is gay?’. I really couldn’t say and I really didn’t care in any event. There were a handful of men at the shop that were or are gay, some out about it, others still lurking between the hangers. We knew each other and knew better than to let others in on the secret, at least for their own discretion. A couple of times I did see some furtive moves in the man cave, unknown to others that were sitting back there. Anyone watching the camera would have picked up on it.

I keep hearing from customers and friends, offering support as well as drinks and cigars. Tonight I will probably stop by Maxwells and say hello to RoDa. Bill is driving to Atlantic City once again tonight and it has been a while since I’ve seen RoDa. Tomorrow some customers from the cigar shack are going to be in town so I plan on saying hello to them. Then on Sunday its Harpy’s birthday and Susan from Farfetched is throwing him a party since he’s turning 60.

I was invited to go to Rumson with Rand & Lisa, but these other events were planned a few weeks ago. Hopefully they will keep me in mind the next time they are Rumson bound. So it’s a holiday weekend. Weather permitting I will take out the guitar and perhaps do some busking by the river tomorrow. I have to work on my playing since now that I am free, the Art Hams will reunite on June 10.

Hoboken is having a city wide event called the Sounds of Hoboken and Rand came up with the idea for a reunion. I asked for the day off from the possum before I got the sack so now I have plenty of time to practice. I can’t say if there will be anyone else joining us though I’m sure we wouldn’t turn anyone away. We’ll take any help we can get, like we always had.



03 Cool for Cats

I Like America

For some reason I find myself thinking of something that happened about 27 years ago, it could have been around this time of year, give or take a few months. I was living in my first apartment in Hoboken with my dear friend Jet Watley. Jet was working at Tower Records in the Village at the timer and he always used to get free things all the time. Usually records, promo items, invitations to listening parties and tons of posters and all that. One particular time he got tickets to see Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus at Madison Square Garden.

I had never been to the circus so it was somewhat exciting to me. I asked my friends Mike and Arrot if they wanted to go and they seemed into it. I had four tickets and Arrot explained that her sister April was coming in that night by train from Vermont and arriving at Penn Station, located right below Madison Square Garden. So it seemed to be working out perfectly. Mike, Arrot and I took the Path train into the city and walked one block west to Madison Square Garden where we met up with Arrot’s sister April.

Both Arrot and April were attractive young women and Arrot explained that before we go back to Hoboken we would be going to see the circus directly above us. Then April introduced us to two men she met on the train from Vermont. Klaus and Viktor were their names and they were in New York City for the first time. They had nowhere to go, and they only person they knew was April. I did not have any tickets for Klaus and Viktor so we didn’t know exactly what to do.

Since they were tourists, the three of them, why not do something that tourists do? So we walked to the pavilion at Madison Square Garden and found some kids who were looking to buy tickets for the evening’s performance. They asked how much we wanted for the tickets and I told them they were free, they could have them. They didn’t expect that and their faces showed an unbridled happiness that one doesn’t see too often, either then or now.

We walked over to the Empire State Building and wound up spending time on top of the world, looking at Manhattan at our feet. It was a beautiful sight and a beautiful night. But then again there are only so many things and angles that you can see at the top of the Empire State Building so we decided to head back to Hoboken. We figured out that April, Klaus and Viktor would stay with Mike and Arrot who lived around the block from the Elysian Café.

We dropped off their gear and made our way to the pub where it was crowded with quite a few friendly faces. We all talked to our friends and sat and drank and April being the new girl in town found herself on a barstool, surrounded by a few guys who wanted to know who she was and perhaps know her a little better than that. Arrot was with Mike and wasn’t paying much attention to what her sister was doing and I spent some time and energy wondering if Klaus and Viktor were gay or just European. All of a sudden Arrot came up to me as I sat and talked with Mike and told me she couldn’t believe it. There was April perched on a barstool, surrounded by men and having a few drinks. She had a problem with that since April was only 14 years old.

She wasn’t looking or acting 14 years old, she looked like a twenty something Audrey Hepburn. We decided to go back to Mike and Arrot’s apartment where we all got a little jazzy with something that Klaus or Viktor had with them. We lay on the floor feeling quite nice, Viktor’s head in my lap and still I couldn’t tell if it was the Gay or European conundrum. It turned out he was European. Still I was infatuated.

Infatuated enough to accompany Klaus and Viktor to Newark Airport the next day on a shuttle bus that I rode round trip. I probably looked disheartened when Viktor mentioned seeing his girlfriend when they got back to Germany. I came back to Hoboken, not heartbroken, just had a nice adventure with a pair of nice guys and a very sexy 14 year old girl. I never saw Klaus or Viktor again and I don’t think I ever saw April again, come to think of it.

Just a little something that popped into my head, triggered when I saw a Newark Airport shuttle bus this afternoon.





07 Born in Time [#] 1
Happy birthday Bob Dylan.

I Like- Keri Hilson

It’s been an interesting day, though certainly not as interesting as yesterday. Today was comparatively stress free. I was able to sleep in which was nice. I did have an appointment this morning and I am pretty sure it went well. I woke up and started my day in a similar way to the previous days. A shower, a shave, some coffee and some cereal. I had a nice suit all set to go, fresh from the dry cleaners so it didn’t smell like cigar smoke.

The appointment was in the early afternoon and I am glad I was able to move it. It was originally in the morning and I did make arrangements with the powers that be at the cigar shack, but now that I am no longer in the employ of the cigar shack I was able to move the appointment to later in the day. I headed out into a nice clear morning around the usual time and decided to take the bus to the Path rain rather than walking.

It was quite muggy out and to my surprise (as well as hers) I ran into downstairs neighbor Deborah once again and she too was taking the bus downtown instead of uptown. We had a nice talk about the past 24 hours. She couldn’t understand the reason why I was dismissed, not that I had any ‘real’ reason. They told me I was no longer employed since this here blog reflects poorly on the image of the cigar shack and all that they aspire to be. They asked for and I gave them my keys. That was it and I was out.

Funny how in this day and age how fast word gets around on the internets. Former co-workers and customers all chimed in with words of support and encouragement so that was heartening. I guess it was mainly via Facebook, Linked In, and Twitter that word got out. Some customers even sent me copies of things they sent to the headquarters regarding how they thought management was at the cigar shack. It shouldn’t have been a surprise on their take regarding Zack and Bradley, but it was.

I was tempted to post their ‘thing’ here but it wasn’t my story. I did have a feeling regarding what was going to happen after I got the email sent to me and a carbon copy sent to Bradley to check the cigar shack email. I did have the foresight to exchange email addresses with some customers who have been reading this here blog for a while and it gave me the opportunity to say good bye. A lot of responses came almost immediately with talk of meeting up for a drink and a cigar somewhere down the line.

And it was just former co-workers and customers that I heard from today. I heard from Zack who quite formally (in legalese) requested the password for the blog that I was writing on behalf of the cigar shack. I tried to delete my admin powers and install Zack as the admin, but it couldn’t be done so I deleted the whole thing. It does not exist anymore, anywhere.

That’s fine with me. Zack was right when he also wrote in the email that he sent to Bradley and myself that the cigar shack blog was not as witty as this here blog. It was hack writing overall. I filled a void with the simplest words and terms and also promoted their events. It was done via Blogger through Google and incredibly easy to set up, so they should have no problem starting it up again in whatever manner and format they choose. It’s not like trying to learn an Excel program, it is a lot easier.

I just want my last paycheck, my commission check and a definite reason as to why I was dismissed. Very simple and after that I am gone from their lives and vice versa. I’m not looking for a fight, I’m ready to move on and put it all behind me.

Outside Langone Medical Center




I did get a chance to see the Hoboken Memorial Day Parade which I would have missed...


Moby Grape – Moby Grape – 06 – Omaha

I Like- Guy

It’s Tuesday, and a super Tuesday at that. It started out a bit awry, a bit drizzly as I walked to the bus stop. I listened to Robert Owens ‘I’ll be Your Friend’ a club song from back in the day. I heard it in a porno the other day and sought it out, and uploaded it. It mixed well with the Dopestyle cut, “I’ll Bass You”. I know I heard it in the East Village and it may have been at the Pyramid or the World. Classic cut. Can’t find Dopestyle anywhere though (I just did). As I waited for the bus, I ran into Richard Castro once again. He was headed home and waiting for his bus. We chatted for a while until my bus showed up, with Chief behind the wheel.

At the next stop, downstairs neighbor Deborah got on board the bus and I filled her in on what’s been going on the past week or so with regards to the cigar shack. It was several giggles worth as we headed into the tunnel where we were quite delayed by a major traffic accident. If it weren’t for each other’s company we probably would have been climbing the walls. We discussed this here blog, how I followed a lawyer friend’s advice seven years ago when I started. To protect myself then as well as now, the job is never mentioned by name or address and the names have been changed to protect the idiots.

Deborah thought that was good advice. I know Bill thinks so as well since he has discussed this with his boss, a pro bono lawyer at one of Manhattan’s largest law firms. So my ass is covered by the first amendment. As I walked up to the cigar shack I played a David Bowie playlist. I’ve been playing it a lot lately. So many great songs by David, I ended with Repetition from the Lodger album, which was actually the first Bowie album I ever bought for myself. I always had access to my brother’s and sister’s albums but this one was mine and it wasn’t the Bowie they had remembered.

I made it into the cigar shack later than expected but I did have the foresight to inform Bradley about the accident and my being tardy. He replied ‘No worries’ and I figured that was that. It was Thomas and Bradley today, Zack was off and Jerry Vale was out as well. Since the cigar lounge, man cave has been shut down things have crawled considerably. Not much foot traffic at all coming through the door and it reflected in the sales.

Most of the regulars have stopped coming in, they stopped coming in before the man cave shut down. They’re visiting other cigar places throughout Manhattan, Brooklyn and even Hoboken. Perhaps word got out about how Zack talks shit about them, how Zack says that the cigar shack doesn’t need their business.

That’s how Zack does it. He talks shit about everyone. Which makes it all the more surprising that when shit gets spoken about him he doesn’t necessarily handle it well. And the customers do talk shit about Zack as well. I just paid witness to it, occasionally stepping in to defend Zack but overall I would let them spew forth. No harm no foul, like GZA would say.

I had lunch and a free cigar that a salesman gave me when stopping by earlier in the day. I came back and it was Thomas’ turn to go. I kept myself busy once again, heeding Zack’s axiom- ‘If you’re leaning, you ain’t cleaning’. So witty and yet so clichéd.

To my surprise Zack came in, looking so damn hot in his cigar shack polo shirt. Woof! And then after Zack made his appearance, the next walk in was the inhumane resources person Aaron Burr. Aaron Burr busied himself while in the cigar shack by calling the cigar shack, not realizing he was in the cigar shack it seemed.

A trip to the loo was in order for me and in the loo I could hear the man cave doors opening and closing. I came out and Bradley mentioned that Zack and Aaron Burr wanted to see me in the man cave. I knew a three way wasn’t in order, especially since I used the condoms I usually carry with me on Ruben and Albert Ross last week. I walked in and Aaron Burr stood up while Zack sat there looking fly in his cigar shack polo shirt.

Thanks to former genital massager Marcus telling Zack about this here blog, and sexy Zack with his betrayed ego informed the inhumane resources person- Aaron Burr. Aaron Burr said words to the effect that my blog reflected poorly on the cigar shack and they weren’t having it. They couldn’t very well tell me not to write it, especially since the actual company name has never been used since I started doing time at the cigar shack and the names had been changed to protect the idiots. I actually thought they might have been talking about the other cigar shack blog that I write, that Zack felt wasn’t as witty as this here blog.

So Zack and Aaron Burr asked for the keys to the cigar shack, the drawers. Not a problem. I removed them and handed them over. I was dismissed after getting told I would be paid for the rest of the day. I wonder if my commission will be sent with my final paycheck, since I technically did not do anything wrong so I suppose I will have to wait and see. I saw Thomas and told him goodbye. He was shocked but also had an idea. Bradley once again did his best possum imitation, hiding in plain sight. I shook Thomas’ hand and said ‘cheers’ to everyone else and walked out the door shoulders back, head held high.

I called Bill and told him the news. Chatted with Annemarie and told her the news. Posted on Facebook, and immediately messages of support and dismay came pouring in from friends, family and cigar shack customers. Most everyone knew how unhappy I was working at the cigar shack. And I was unhappy, yet willing to give Zack my support. I remember May 12, 2011 when it was announced that Zack was going to be the manager. I congratulated him and wished him well and shaking his hand while the possum turned beet red and did nothing of the sort.

I also prevented a couple of attempts at what may have been an inside job of someone trying to steal boxes of cigars that were placed with the empty cigar boxes that we give away. Perhaps I told the wrong person, perhaps the person I told was the person who was attempting to steal the cigars following in the former genital massager’s pigeon toed footsteps. I mean, there was no investigation and since I told the manager, you would think they would actively look into who is attempting to steal from the cigar shack. It couldn’t have been a customer since we are on them like white on rice.

True- I wrote things here, but once I would write them I would move on since I had gotten it out of my system. Among the customers, Mr. Seltzer was saddened, Mr. Arbus was shocked and former co-workers Sean and Raymond were surprised. Haven’t heard from Don but I’m sure I will soon enough. Cigar shack neighbor, Mr. Partant wasn’t that surprised at all though. He’s seen them come and go.

And by the way, I was asked at last Friday’s training charade- I was asked what the Spanish word ‘Ligero’ meant, I said it meant ‘light’ and was told I was wrong. Guess who wasn’t wrong?

It was great walking down the avenue with the sun out, and with the bus waiting at the gate I was home in no time. A nice meal after work was had which was a big change from the past two years. Bill is home, proud of me, reminding me of where he works and how the guy he works for despises smoking. I don’t think I will need assistance since once again like I wrote- I did not do anything wrong. It’s not like I was working drunk or giving out Xanax, or stealing cigars etc. like Zack told me how the former genital massager had.

I am also quite happy I do not have to be at the cigar shack at 8AM tomorrow for the ‘new manager assimilation overview’ which sounds like something from the Borg. They want honesty and candor and I was more than willing to lie on Zack’s behalf, but now I don’t have to. There were a lot of things that I had done that weren’t asked of me, and somethings that were set up, will be delivered soon enough. Ah it’s not my thing anymore, I’m sure someone will figure it all out. Someday?

I can sleep in! A new day, a new beginning and already a new lead.

May 22, 2012 was not such a bad day after all.


this will probably the last of this series of this image.


1-02 That’s Him Over There

I Like- Jeremih

“Hopelessly banal with a heaping slathering of ennui”

So today has been a day off, and so far it’s been alright. Nothing special, just a lot of rain. Despite all that, I was still up and about. I needed a new hands free for my phone and finally have one that plays both on my iPod and my phone. I used to have to have to carry two different hands free ear buds, and I probably still will, using the older one as a backup. And I already have a back so now I will have two backups which is alright I reckon.

That entailed a trip to Radio Shack where I stood and looked at the wall of hands free things before deciding on one after talking with the sales associate who was crazy cute. An older chap with salt and pepper hair. No, nothing happened but it definitely added to the whole experience overall. From there it was a walk in the rain under the Wanker Banker umbrella that is perfect for stormy days like today.

And of course I talked on the new hands free with Bill who got the Staten Island Yankees national anthem gig. I am sure it’s only one game, but it brings him that much closer to singing for his beloved New York Yankees. Growing up, my family was New York Mets fans and I still support the Mets (though I usually don’t care) over the Yankees. But of course if Bill winds up singing in the Bronx at Yankee Stadium, you can bet I will be there.

I can’t say often enough how great it is to have Bill in my life. And we swear to be together forever. He still drives me crazy with the things he does, or the manner he says things (you have to be there, though he more than likely would not do it in front of anyone but me). But like I have explained to friends and family, When he starts driving me crazy, I take a step back and realize how much I would miss it if he stopped doing those things, or not around to do those things.

He’s my rock with ambitions to be a mountain.

And now I am going to do something that bores the piss out of some people. Still I hope to get some sort of discussion going on with regards to the following.

It’s the Return of the iTunes Shuffle!

Rufus Wainwright- Out of the Game
The opening track from Rufus’ latest record, Out of the Game. It is the pop record that was written about in the music papers and blogs the past few months. In fact when I was at the Hoboken Art & Music Festival earlier this month, while talking with Jane Scarpantoni, she reintroduced me to Andy Peters who played with Jane in Tiny Lights. Andy Peters is touring in Rufus Wainwright’s band now, and gives me a Six Degrees vibe. It’s a good song, close to an Elton John song from the mid-seventies and you know that can’t be bad.

The Beatles- Yellow Submarine
Darlington County Park, my parents station wagon with our neighbors the Foglios following in their car. One of my first musical memories was this song at that time and place. Still a fun song and it still makes me feel like a kid. The movie has just recently been remastered and released. Supposed to be great, but having seen it eight million times, I’ll pass though I would accept it as a gift with a smile.

Ben Gibbard/Feist- Train Song
From the still fantastic Dark Was The Night- Red Hot Organization compilation. I bought it as a lark when it came out since I have supported the Red Hot Organization through the years. I didn’t expect to like it or even LOVE IT but there you go. The Red Hot Organization does work for AIDS Charities and education and promotes Safe Sex and has been at it for over twenty years. Support them!

Budos Band- Nature’s Wrath
A great band, very funky and they remind me of Konk from back in the day. I saw Budos Band play a set at Maxwells a few years ago and they room was definitely swinging like it used to, and perhaps still does. At least it was swinging that night. I even went downstairs during the break in their set and told them how much they reminded me of Konk. They seemed to appreciate it and I thought it was cool they knew who Konk was. This song even has a flute on it and I don’t really mind even though the flute really isn’t on my list of favorite instruments. Sorry flautists that I know and love. You’re great, but I just don’t care for the flute.

Michael Jackson- Ain’t No Sunshine
From Michael’s childhood years, really a beautiful version with his adorable voice on the Bill Withers classic. It doesn’t sound like the Jackson Five singing back up so this must be from one of his early solo records. Definitely a Motown production and he is really hitting those notes. This is one of those songs that I have but never played before. A nice surprise and a nice way to fade out the way I faded in. Vocalists like Rufus Wainwright and Michael Jackson bookending this here Return of the iTunes Shuffle thing.

“I told you so.”





06 Hey You

I Lie Around

It’s been another day. Today was a Saturday and as far as I know it still is, though for some of you it is already tomorrow. Glad I did not have to wake up early for another round of Pakistani charades like yesterday. Who knew Bradley was so versant in Urdu?

Bill was up before I was and actually started to converse with me as I lay sleeping. I pleaded (read: snapped) at him to please let me continue sleeping. He should have known better, but still what he said was encouraging. He keeps saying he has my back and I certainly believe him. He knows what has been going on and has been able to make light of the situation.

I caught the bus as usual, rode into Manhattan. Near the bus terminal was the usual weekend flea markets and the avenue was filled with people headed to a food festival. I avoided that so I would not be late for work. My co-workers were Jerry Vale, Bradley and Zack. Jerry Vale was his usual effervescent self, Bradley just grunted and Zack to my surprise waxed effusive.

I set about doing the things I do, making sure items were in stock so the store would run smoothly. There were lots of fingerprints on the glass, doors and windows so I took care of that. Some of my favorite customers came in, some specifically looking for me and it was good to see them.

It was a busy day over all. I had three Asian women to deal with and as I finished their transaction I asked if they were Japanese and they said no, they were Korean and pretty. ‘You certainly couldn’t say that if we were Japanese!’ I nodded and then kept my mouth shut after thanking them as they headed to the door.

Lunchtime came soon enough and I decided to check it out. It was in Hell’s Kitchen which used to be dodgy, but now it’s like Chelsea now, meaning pretty gay. And things being what they are I of course ran into a former hook up, Ruben. He lived nearby as I remembered and wondered if it was a Freudian thing that got me there.

There must be something in the air, perhaps its spring fever since it finally does feel like spring, but I allowed myself to be seduced and went back to Ruben’s studio apartment. It was just as I remembered our previous encounters, lots of laughs, quite a bit of moaning and throbbing and I have to admit it is quite sexy when Ruben talks in Spanish during intercourse.

It’s like a Gomez/Morticia thing, with Gomez going bananas whenever Morticia would speak French. A few pile drives later and a quick jump in Ruben’s tiny shower and I was back on the street headed back to the cigar shack. Luckily I stretched beforehand so there were no Charlie horses to contend with though my shoulders did ache a bit from Ruben’s legs resting on them.

It was great to see Ruben once again and we exchanged numbers. His schedule is quite erratic, more than mine- and said anytime I wanted to stop by on my lunch hour- he was up for it both literally and figuratively as am I, even right now. A Five Hour Energy drink was purchased on my way back to the cigar shack so I would not have any flagging spirits throughout the rest of the day.

A few hours later and Bradley split first, then Zack with Jerry Vale and I manning the fort. It was a bit busy oddly enough before closing and I thought about paying Ruben a house call on the way home, but decided against it since I am working with Zack and Jerry Vale tomorrow. I did text Ruben and we might have a lunch date tomorrow, so that’s something to look forward to for sure.



Ruben Ruben Ruben (old modeling pic)


04 From a Buick 6

I Left My Heart In San Francisco

Well it certainly was not easy getting up this morning at 6:00AM to attend Bradley’s swinging training session but I got myself together and was on my way at the appointed time. Lot’s of buses to choose from and I chose the right one. Pretty colors and flashing lights and all that, that’s what got my attention.

I received word the the Red Herring was in town, code name Albert Ross. He wanted to meet up for a quickie and I explained that though I was more than willing I had this meeting to attend. I chatted with Bill and didn’t bring it up since we have a DADT thing. It’s a lot like what GZA said. Who knew the former genital massager would still have my back even when his legs used to rest upon my shoulders.

I was the last to arrive at the gilded cigar shack. There was Bradley in his Klerk Kunt mode, Thomas and Jerry Vale all standing in the front of the store. Much to my surprise, Zack wasn’t around. Bradley ran down a list of things he wanted from us, how disappointed in our performances despite hours and hours of rehearsal, we just can’t get that one…two… down pat.

Thomas blamed Jerry Vale and Jerry Vale blamed me and we all blamed Bradley who turned beet red, like the day the it was announced Zack was going to be the manager and not him. It was truly a sight behold. Also the score that Zack provided us left a lot to be desired, things like a beat, even notes. He can swing a harmonica though.

Zack eventually wafted in on his gossamer wings looking like a faerie prince. He alit on a chair and fired up a cigar like a Lewis Carroll character. We watched Zack blow smoke rings, and after trying to stay awake during that we walked into the humidor for an impromptu game of charades.

Thomas scored big with The Effect of Gamma Rays on the Man in the Moon Marigolds which I suspected was the answer but dared not say aloud. Bradley and his interpretation of a Night to Remember was totally forgettable so that’s just what we did. We had the option after the meeting to stay or leave and come back at our assigned start time and that’s what I opted for.

I rendezvoused with Albert Ross at his hotel and really enjoyed a hot 60 minute session with Albert. I forgot what a totally hot lover he is and it brought back memories of screwing around with him for the past 30 years. I had enough time between the cigar shack and the hotel room to pick up some magnums and lube.

And the misbegotten cigar shack was miles away from my mind as we kissed, licked and explored every part of our bodies. Cocks and whatnot spewing forth. Albert was quite happy with the cigar I brought and it was nice having a quick nap in his arms when we were through and the shared shower was helpful as I soon headed back to the cigar shack with charlie horses in both legs.

I must introduce Albert to Bill sometime, even though Bill is not into men of color, no matter if they once played for the NBA. I mean, I knew Albert before the NBA and our intermittent hook ups were so enjoyable for him especially since I had no interest in whatever it was that he did, or does. It was always about hot man on man sex.

He did ask me to travel with him back in the day, asked me in a Swiftian way, but I have to admit it was merely a modest proposal. Albert is not gay, he just likes to bottom for me.



05 Always Crashing InThe Same Car

“Much more witty than the Columbus Circle blog aka cigar shack. Who knew Herkuleast still had my back?? I guess the GZA was right.”

I Left My Wallet In El Segundo

An interesting day. I had to come in to the cigar shack an hour early which wasn’t so bad, the commute is geared to end at 10:00 so I had smooth sailing since I was on the 9:30 bus. Tomorrow is going to be a pain in the tuchis since I will have to be at the cigar shack at 8:00 so Bradley can train us on things we need to be trained on.

It has been quite an interesting day to say the least. I did the bank run this morning and while walking and chatting with Bill on the phone, I spotted Steve Martin walking by. He was trying to be invisible and as he passed me I said ‘Hi Steve’ and he nodded and kept on moving. I have to admit, it was a thrill to see him. He looked good and dapper in an LA style while walking down Broadway.

I did the bank run and headed back to the cigar shack where I was working with Thomas and Jerry Vale. Bradley was out today as was the possum and Zack was out somewhere in New Jersey. It was a good day, not as busy as the head Jesus would have liked, but relatively OK. The three of us made for a good team, only stepping on each others toes occasionally and usually apologizing if and when that happened.

Lunch came quickly and went quickly. I sat on a bench by the park and smoked a cigar, joined in the last few minutes by an older gentleman who shops at the cigar shack. He lives across the street from my bench and his wife spotted me and told the older gent who came down to smoke with me. I only had about 10 minutes left to spend with him and we had a good chat about the cigar shack.

As I headed back to the cigar shack, I had a few extra minutes and sat down. Then I spotted George Takei and his husband Brad walking down the street. I asked George takei if I could have a picture and he said sure so I handed Brad the camera and he took a lovely snapshot. I showed it to Thomas once I got back to the cigar shack and he was quite thrilled.

He almost went out to see if George Takei was still around but I talked him out of it, telling him that he had probably moved on. Earlier in the day we received an email from Zack saying that the email servers would be down for a few hours starting around 6:00. AT around 6:30 I get a text from Zack, telling me to check my email when I get a chance.

I reply, telling him that the servers were down (much like he predicted earlier in the day), and then a minute later, asking him if there was something I should know. It weighed on my mind and I asked Thomas and Jerry Vale if they got the same message but they hadn’t. An hour or so later I checked again to see if the server was up.

It was then that I received word that Zack has discovered this blog. Apparently former genital massager Markos hipped Zack to this here blog and Zack emailed me in turn. It surprised me but I had a feeling that someone would have figured it out eventually. I mean, the Martini Basher incident a couple of years ago should have been a tip off but it went unnoticed. Most everyone knew about it, even Bradley knew about it. He’ll probably deny it but he has quoted things from this here blog. Some customers read this here blog and they enjoy it.

And to my credit, Zack did say it was witty, much more witty than the other blog that I unofficially write for the cigar shack. I say unofficially since I do not get paid for it and there’s really no credit for it. Zack did carbon copy Bradley on the email, saying ‘I guess GZA was right’. What does Wu Tang Clan have to say about the blog? Such a cryptic poet that Zack can be.

My writing was called Beckett-like the other day which I took as high praise and now this! Samuel Beckett, one of the greatest writers of the 20th Century…

So I guess tomorrow could very well be my last day. Today did have an air of finality to it and also felt like a weight had been lifted from my shoulders. Word is now officially out that I am unhappy working at the cigar shack and with my sales this month being subpar he might just get what he wanted, or at least what Bradley wanted.

Nevertheless I have to attend Bradley’s training session tomorrow at 8:00AM. That should be very interesting. Is the writing on the wall or merely on this here blog? You know I will keep you posted whatever happens. I think things are getting quite interesting, wouldn’t you agree?

George Takei and me


04 The Last Time

I Know You’re Out There Somewhere

I just woke up from a nap. It was supposed to be an hour long nap, and I set the Internet Alarm Clock for an hour. I got as far as a half hour, waking up from a deep sleep, apparently dreaming that the alarm clock was going off. It creates an irritating sound, two rooms away which would cause me to get out of bed and shut it off, close the window.

I guess I was dreaming about it, and the sound is like a large mechanical dog barking and it ‘barked’ about 4 or 5 times then stopped making me think Bill was home and shut it off. But he wasn’t and once I was awake, I couldn’t go back to sleep.

It was a somewhat productive day off. Laundry that was washed over the weekend was finally put away. It took a while due to time and the fact that things were dried on racks. The humidity did not help much with the drying. The usual trip to the supermarket, the quick chat with Isis and back home for breakfast.

I started to despair since about a dozen resumes went out over the past weekend and nary a nibble had occurred. I knew if I stayed indoors all day it would be too depressing so out for a walk I went.

I printed out a few resumes and decided to hit a few spots on Washington Street, even if there was no sign in the window, I talked to whoever was in and introduced myself, gave a little song and dance and dropped off the CV. Other places that did have ‘Now Hiring’ signs in their window directed me to visit their websites and go sign up there. Still, I left my CV there before heading out.

There are a few spots in town with ‘Join our Team’ signs in the window, and you visit their website and wait for nothing to happen. At least nothing happens to me. I’ve applied a few times, I don’t have any visible tattoos and am willing to stand and do whatever it takes, whatever they ask and no word is forthcoming. So I apply and reapply anyway.

A bright spot in my day was running into Lisa Rigoux Hoppe on the street. She was looking good, coming back from physical therapy and going to get a bite to eat before heading back to work. She mentioned that she’s been looking at the university website on my behalf but there really isn’t anything happening and the things that are happening are listed for the students. And that’s my competition, the students, the recent college graduates and the people who have been out of work for some time.

I don’t know what it is. The cigar shack for me personally has been getting worse and worse. A cigar dinner is planned and I have advertised it on the cigar shack blog, and I have placed other adverts online and sent out emails. My clients are uninterested or broke or what is the likely cause, my emails get sent to their spam folders since under pressure from the midlevel head cheeses I send them too many emails.

So there is that pressure to upsell everything. I have to stop treating people the way I like to be treated when I shop. I have to be more in their face, hovering around them and not sell the lower priced items but go for the big ticket items which more often than not, turns them off and after trying to sell a lighter for $1,900 they leave not caring about a $25 lighter that is available and in their price range.

I don’t care about fancy watches and I don’t look for them on people’s wrists. I can’t read people like that, I tend to look past the surface and see the person underneath the fancy trappings. My co-workers have an eye for that and I guess that’s why they tend to do better. I guess working at the late, lamented Farfetched or even Pier Platters back in the day, i.e. working for friends- does not really count as working retail.

Apparently I am ahead of the curve on cigars somehow. I prefer the larger gauge cigars and for the past two years management and co-workers have derided me on that fact. Now the premium cigar makers are coming out with larger gauge cigars. Management will grumble, but there’s the fact- I was right and they were wrong.

With regards to my co-workers, there is also the fact that they have been working retail most of their lives and are better at that, where I have been working in offices mostly and used to the 9 to 5, Monday through Friday gigs.

It’s still rough out there and I do have a job.


Road To Nowhere

I Know You Won’t

You’d think that after being here for almost two years things would get easier, but they don’t. I suppose it’s because there are so many different personalities walking through the door each and every day there is no set chemistry. Each contact, each transaction brings something different, indefinable. Each day brings a new dread.

The possum was in full effect today, not really communicative until it was about time for him to go. Then he warmed up. After the possum left I had to deal with one of his customers on the phone. The possum sold him an item that wasn’t what the possum said it was. The caller was quite upset and wanted a refund. I ran it by Zack and Zack told me what to say.

I got back on the phone with the possum’s customer and proceeded to tell them what Zack told me to say, all the while saying ‘Yes I understand’ and ‘OK’. Well the customer did not want to hear that and asked for the manager. So I go and get Zack who is upset that I told the caller the manager was in.

Zack wanted me to say the possum was the manager. Zack starts barking at me and I start barking back. If you are the fucking manager, be the fucking manager. Zack would prefer the buck stopped somewhere further down the line. Needless to say, Zack calmed the customer down- who will be sending his wife in to deal with the possum.

I also had another encounter with one of my own customers. I was speaking on the phone with them in Utah, and was suggesting that he buy a box of our latest and greatest. Well my guy says he talked to a co-worker who told my guy that the cigars are really good, only after storing them in a humidor for about a year.

I am pretty sure it was Jerry Vale who gave such crap advice and when I asked Jerry Vale he denied it. It was pretty much a boneheaded move on his part, a move that took away a $300.00 sale of which I could have definitely used to boost my sales for the month. Overall it’s been like that, me watching my co-workers boost their sales while mine seem to be anemic at best.

The weather is quite humid and it’s been raining all day so there’s been no real escape from the cigar shack. Oh sure, I made my move at lunchtime, went to a nearby diner and ate the usual burger. It stopped raining for a while after I ate but everything was wet so sitting down outside was not an option.

Now things have quieted down, Zack left about 45 minutes ago and the possum left about 2 hours ago and for that we are grateful. I am off tomorrow, back to the skewed schedule. A day off here, four days on there. And now I am dealing with quite a cantankerous twat who seems to be begging for it.

Finally I am home. A bit stressed. Rand contacted me about reforming the Art Hams for a Hoboken Music Day on June 10. I am all for it and put in a request for the day off. Only thing is, it is the third Sunday I am asking for, the third Sunday in a row. I am anxious that they will turn down this request and I am anxious since it is something I would really like to do. But ultimately it’s not up to me.

Yet another reason I want to get back to a Monday through Friday job.




Redbone – Come And Get Your Love

I Know You Well

OK, the less said about Saturday, the better. May 12 hasn’t been a good day or me for about 20 years. I will say though that Bill and I did find time and went to the movies for some pure escapism and by escapism I mean, we went to see The AVengers in 3D. It was a lot of a fun and provided some good laughs for the both of us. I know the stories (though there was no Ant Man or Wasp) but Bill didn’t and he had a real good time. After that was a trip to Shop Rite where he had never been before so that was an adventure for him.

We came home, watched some TV before heading off to bed. His mom was feeling well enough for Bill to take her to church, her old church, not the progressive church where he currently goes to from time to time. No the old church is still virulently anti-gay and his mother is comfortable with that, though with Alzheimer’s it’s hard to say what really makes her comfortable.

I finished up a ton of laundry and walked around Hoboken for a spell, reading and enjoying a cigar on the crowded Hudson River walkway. I came home after a while and didn’t do much but watch the clothes dry on the racks throughout the apartment. On his way home, Bill called from the Holland Tunnel. He rented a car and still had some time with it and asked if I wanted to go joyriding with him. Being a late Sunday afternoon, I couldn’t really say no.

I met him outside the building and soon we were headed west with no particular place to go. We rode to the Lodi/Maywood border on Route 17 and drove around, past the Bergen Mall as I told Bill stories of my youth. How Annemarie used to work at the A&P which is no more, funeral homes and hair salons. We wound up in Paramus, on Century Road, driving past the George Washington Cemetery, making a right on Paramus Road where I showed Bill my old high school. He asked if I wanted to drive through it, but I adamantly said no.

I had plenty of stories to tall so we drove through Fair Lawn to Saddle Brook where I told Bill how I was shipped off to other families for a week at a time, usually hosted by alcoholic adults and their wayward children. Billy & Eileen Hayes, Bud and Trinka Oberele, Pat & Vinny Crowley, Marge Mudrack. ALl names that meant nothing to Bill and even less for e these days, but still are part of my history.

SInce we were in the neighborhood and since it was Mother’s Day, a visit to St. Mary’s Cemetery was in order. It took a few minutes to find the headstone but we found it sure enough. I introduced Bill to the patch of grass under which my parents decompose.

Bill was hungry so it was off to the Saddle Brook Diner for some good food, a few dollars cheaper than it is in Manhattan. Homeward bound, hitting traffic once we approached the Lincoln Tunnel so it was a tour through Union City and Jersey City.

Indeed quality time was spent with Bill. So lovely. We really love each other and deserve each other and maintain a balance which isn’t always easy but we get by.

And it was back to the cigar shack for me which I’d rather not write about since it was so piss poor the first half, but Thomas proved himself to be quite generous since I couldn’t get on base at all. And now I find myself indebted to his largesse.

Rest in peace Donald ‘Duck’ Dunn.

Collapsing New People

I’ll Always Love My Mama

Repost from may 12, 2011

What a day. What a raw day. I’m home now and that’s good. I suppose it was good that I went to work since staying at home wouldn’t actually achieve anything. It’s been a day of sadness and remembrance. Twenty years ago today, my mother passed away on Mother’s Day.

I remember those 24 hours clearly. I remember the night before, after closing Maxwells, heading over to Patti Quinn’s apartment and watching a bootleg of Madonna’s Truth or Dare. What stands out is the scene where Madonna is stretched out on her mother’s grave and I remember thinking how weird that was.

The next day I was working at the video store on Mother’s Day. My mother phoned earlier that week and asked what I was going to be doing, if I was going to make it up there to visit her. I told her I was working on Sunday but I would give her a call.

Somehow we started talking about death and my Mom mentioned that when she goes, she would like to go out like a Viking, put her body on a boat, set it on fire and send it out to sea. I explained that it sounded like a good idea but there might be some problems with the EPA.

A few days later, my brother Frank appears at the video store. He motions me to come outside. The look on his face was not good at all and I was worried that something happened to his wife or kids. No, he was the one to bring me the bad news that my mother had passed away. Doing the New York Times crossword puzzle. Apparently 27 across was a real killer.

She went and it was fast. I was in shock and brought Frank to the office. I was in a state of denial and figured that everyone was wrong. Of course they weren’t. I asked if anyone called Annemarie and Frank mentioned that they were unable to reach her.

I thought I possessed some magical thinking and figured I would be able to get through to our sister when no one else could. Of course no one knew Annemarie and her family were out of town. She eventually came home to some very serious and dire messages that didn’t exactly say what was wrong, just to call home. Now.

Frank and I walked around Hoboken since I was definitely in no condition to work. It was a sunny day, blue skies if I recall and we sat on some stairs belonging to Stevens Tech on Hudson Street. Eventually Frank went home and I wound up at Rand’s apartment.

Rand’s mother passed away when he was a teenager and I hoped that he might have some insight on what to do. Little did I know that there was nothing to do, all Rand could do was be there for me and he was and I will forever be grateful for that.

We may have walked around Hoboken after that, I don’t know. We may have smoked a joint or had some drinks. I do recall winding up at Maxwells, John Bruce behind the bar and me in a state of shock, maybe having a drink of whatever it was I was drinking at the time.

I did not want to be alone and wound up unannounced at Patrick Morrissey’s apartment, waking him and his boyfriend up and asking if I could sleep on his futon. He let me in and I crashed. Things got blurry after that.
Wakes were well attended, a testament to the love that many people had for my mother. Julio gave me a ride to Lodi where I was going to be for the next couple of days. The family, shattered reunited in sadness.

A few days later I am sitting on the back porch, just listening to the radio, Helen Reddy singing You and Me Against the World, where Helens daughter opens and closes the song with ‘I Love You Mommy’. Corny but comforting.

I missed my Mom then and I miss her now. I wish she could have met Bill, I wish she could have seen her grandchildren grow up. Maybe she did, somewhere out in the universe, perhaps looking back and seeing that happen. She was great. I miss you Mary Anna Powers O’Toole. You were the best. I am proud and glad to have known you.


♫ And when one of us is gone and one of us is left to carry on / then remembering will have to do / our memories alone will get us through / Think about the days of me and you / You and me against the world ♪

I Know You Rider

So this is day five and this is the wall that accompanies day five. It has been a long day. Started with Bill over sleeping and kissing me goodbye. I asked if he made coffee and he hadn’t since he was running late. Neither of us has been sleeping well so getting up in the morning has been quite a struggle, a pain in the tuchis.

He was out and I was up about a half hour later, shuffle into the shower after making coffee and pouring a bowl of cereal. A conference call at 8AM was scheduled with the big wigs from who knows where. It really did not have anything to do with me but still my telephone attendance was mandatory. Bradley and Zack were at the cigar shack and their presence was felt online.

My presence was not felt so much and at 8:12 I had a text from Zack asking if I was in on the call. I didn’t find the text until 9:30 when the conference call ended and I texted Nimrod back to let him know that I was and couldn’t text and phone at the same time, so take that Mr. Blackberry.

I flitted about the apartment while the drone droned on. I had speaker phone so I wasn’t missing anything really. I got dressed, did my morning business and drank cup after cup of coffee in an effort to stay awake. And I did stay awake through the conference call.

After that, a stop at the bibliotheque where I dropped off some items and picked u-p other items. A walk to the bus stop, ready to head to the Path train should my lately non existent bus did not show again. But it did and it was Chief at the wheel. Long time no see and not much chat between the two of us.

I made it to work and there was Jerry Vale with Zack and the great possum. Braley reaped the benefit of Zack’s largesse today, Jerry Vale and I left to fend for ourselves. And we did an admirable job of fending for ourselves, especially when Zack and Bradley went off for a ‘nooner’. Interpret anyway you’d like.

AT some point in a few weeks, Thomas and Jerry Vale and Bradley and I will have to be in the cigar shack to give a review on Zack and his managerial style or lack thereof. I came up with a line yesterday which some people thought was hilarious. ‘He aspires to be half assed, but as of now he’s merely quarter assed.’

I’ve discussed it with the non marsupials I work with and we’re all a bit cautious and they are advising caution on my part, since I have a way with words and despite being told our reviews would be confidential, people would know it was me who said whatever so I had best be careful. I don’t care right now, and as Bill said, what I say will probably depend on how I get along with Nimrod the day before. I could say he’s great when he’s sober…but how often is that?


09 My Baby

I Know You Want Me (Calle Ocho)

Today has been day four out of five. I’ve already hit 40 hours, tomorrow will make it 50. It’s rough, being on your feet 9 hours a day, then trying to find a place to sit down for as long as possible on your lunch hour. Today was no different, though it did start out differently.

I had to go in an hour earlier this morning and watching the local news, traffic and weather I heard that there was an hour delay in getting into the Lincoln Tunnel. With my track record this week, I made the decision to catch the Path train. After getting myself together, I headed down Washington Street to the Path train.

I knew what side of the train to get on this time, but there was a train in the station already and I was able to score a seat. I sat and read Retromania by Simon Reynolds some more as the train barreled down the tracks. At 33rd Street I got off and got on the Q train heading uptown. It dropped me off a few blocks away from the cigar shack but I didn’t mind since I was early. About a half hour early.

I wandered around the area, got my usual iced coffee and sat outside until the proper time. I was working with Zack and Thomas today and it went well. Zack is great to work with on the floor and we had a lot of laughs. He also threw a few sales my way which helped not just me but the cigar shack in general.

Jerry Vale came in around 2:00 since there was a conference call that Thomas and Jerry Vale had to be in on. I have to be in on the call tomorrow morning at 8:00 but I can do that from home, before heading into the cigar shack. The original plan was for me to be at the cigar shack at that accursed hour, but with the 800 number and the link on the page I can do it from where I am sitting right now, perhaps even wearing what I am wearing right now, or even less.

It was a busy enough day at the cigar shack, the conference call lasted almost 2 hours which delayed my usual lunch by an hour. So it was a bit windy and cloudy when I was finally able to go outside. I heard from Pedro who was planning on coming into the city tonight and wanted me to hang out with him. He called me before 2:00 and I really could not talk at that time.

When I called him on my lunch hour, it was too late for him so he was staying in Otisville. I also heard from Rand who inquired if I would be going down to Asbury Park with him and Lisa as well as Lois and Mike Neutron. I begged off since Bill is also off this weekend and we rarely have the same days off. Plus I have a ton of laundry to do and I wasn’t so keen on driving down the shore, which is weird since I do love going down the shore.

Instead, Bill and I might go see the Avengers movie on Saturday night, which is also something we hadn’t done since January 2011, going to a movie together. My friend Sung might be in town on Saturday and if I have a chance, I might meet him for a coffee.

In any event, I am home now, the alarm clock has been set so I can be reasonably coherent for the conference call at 8:00. One more day until the weekend. I’m sure I can do it.

I hope Mr. and Mrs. Jimmy Seltzer have a good time in France.



Polyrock – Your Dragging Feet

I Know You Got Soul

Yet another fucked up day. It started out fucked up thanks to New Jersey Transit. Once again I leave the apartment on time, getting to the bus stop waiting for the 10:35 bus. By 10:40 I see nothing approaching. Another bus pulls up and I ask the driver if he has seen the 126 bus and he hasn’t and doesn’t even seem to know what the 126 bus is.

Once again I head to the Path train. It looks like it will be day three of taking the train into the city. But I spy the 126 bus at the terminal. I get on and ask what happened to the 10:35 bus, the one driven by Chief. The bus driver doesn’t seem to know. I get on board and find a seat. Sure enough at the first bus stop, the 126 bus driven by Chief passes us.

My driver seems to be a rookie, he’s driving quite slow and with people getting off the bus, he is now in Chief’s wake. We wind up following Chief on the route, even getting behind Chief as he picks up passengers while we have no one getting on or off our bus. I do the right thing and text Zack at the store to let him know once again I am running late.

I walk up the avenue to the cigar shack and see Zack who looks annoyed. He mentions that I should do more to get to the cigar shack on time, despite the fact that it is not me, but rather New Jersey Transit who is at fault. Zack says that I had better not be late for Friday. I ask what is going on Friday and apparently there is a conference call scheduled and we’re supposed to be at the cigar shack at 8:00AM.

I ask Zack if that means I would get to leave at 6:00PM and he says no. The conference call is about something that does not concern me at all, but Zack doesn’t care. As a manager, Zack is a decent poet.

There is an email from the twit down south who is organizing the conference call and I call the number posted. The twit mentions that the call could be made from home, all one needs is a phone and a computer. So I don’t have to come in at 8:00AM and work a 14 hour day. Zack is nonplussed. Unlike most managers who look out for their employees, Zack only looks out for himself, much like the possum looks out for himself while eyeing Zack’s position.

It will be a year this weekend that Marcus announced he was leaving the cigar shack and Zack was being promoted. It will be a year that I congratulated Zack and wished Marcus well while the possum turned beet red with envy and resentment, thinking that he might have been next in line instead of Zack. Zack noticed the possum’s color that May 12th, but now it seems Zack is safely ensconced in the marsupial pouch.



waiting for Orpheus


Talking Heads – Road To Nowhere
Thank you Obama.

I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe)

Tuesday evening at the cigar shack. It has been a long day. Up pretty early, had another meeting at a cigar shop and I think it well, though the interviewer was a bit foggy due to attendance at the former manager of the cigar shop (Marcus) long delayed Bar Mitzvah. Apparently it was a lot of fun, Marcus hoisted upon chairs and Mazel Tov’s all around.

The meeting was all the way on the east side so that meant a Path ride and then a crosstown bus. The Path wasn’t so bad but I had forgot how much I hated taking the train so early in the morning. Standing around, too many people and I got in on the wrong side of the car. The other side opened first so all the seats were taken when I boarded.

The cigar shop was around where Bill spent his formative years so he had the scoop on what bus to take, where to get off and of course, how to get back. I think I did well. Apparently a lot of people who know me from the cigar shack want to pickle me for my red herring expertise. Was Bismarck a herring?

I was crazy early for work at the cigar shack this morning so that was good. yesterday I was a bit late due to a bus breakdown in the Lincoln Tunnel. Of course nothing was mentioned until I took it upon myself to ask a local bus driver if he saw the 126 bus. He said no, that the Lincoln Tunnel was closed down. I was waiting with 10 people and 5 of them followed me as we walked to the Path train. It wasn’t as crowded at 11:00 in the morning as it is at 9:00.

I haven’t written about the Hoboken ARt & Music festival on Sunday which is a lot more fun than cigar shack tales. Bill and I had dinner with Julio & Stine and Alexander on Friday and I mentioned the festival and Julio of course rolled his eyes. He’s born and raised in Hoboken so it is no thrill for him, just tons of people he tries to avoid and never see again.

To my surprise I got a text from him saying that the 3 of them were at the feast. So instead of my usual plan of showing up at 4PM I was there at 1:30. Julio bellyaching, Stine watching Alexander on the rides. We walked around a bit, Alexander had his Razor scooter so he was having fun. The adults bickered about what to do next. I planned on going back home and resting up.

Now earlier I had spoken to my brother Frank. He was interested in seeing the headliners, the dB’s but when I called he had no idea what was going on. I told him to call me when he had a clue. As I parted ways with Julio, Stine & Alexander I get a phone call from Frank’s wife Elaine. They’re in Hoboken and where was I?

I explained I needed to go home but I would be back. I just wanted to sit down somewhere comfortable. Bill who drove the night before was up from sleeping and heading out, so I basically chilled out for about 45 minutes before joining the fray. SUre enough I get to the stage, there is Frank, and elaine as well as Rand & Lisa and the super wonderful Jane Scarpantoni who I hadn’t seen in quite a long time.

The band was good, catching up was done. Chaz was there as were Karyn Kuhl, ALice Kg, Alirio and a bunch of other people I had last seen in April at Maxwells for Steve Fallon’s return.

Tonight on the way home, I’m walking fast through the terminal trying to make my bus. I see my friend Denise about 30 feet ahead of me, but I’m not yelling. 2 youngish women, drunk and waving their arms are directly in front of me as I’m trying to get past them. Swinging their arms dangerously close to my crotch as they express how surprised they are that ‘Todd was smoking pot!’.

I see Denise when I get on the bus, running past the arm swinging young female alcoholics and sit next to Denise. The drunk girls walk by and I mention to Denise how one of them almost castrated me while she was walking and also said loud enough that ‘Todd was smoking pot’. The young woman turns and gives me a dirty look as she teeters in her heels with the rest of her drunken cabal.

Denise and I have having many laughs and eventutally the drunkettes get off the bus. The ‘intimidating one’ meaning the one who wasn’t slurring her words says ‘You got something to say?’ as she starts heading down the steps. I tell her I will repeat it only if she closes her eyes while descending the steps.

She calls me an asshole. I tell her she’s the front part. Eventually they’ll wind up in a bar spreading chlamydia, amongst other things. I’m sure we’ll cross paths again. I’ll remember them, they probably saw 2 of me so they’ll be looking for twins or Phillip Seymour Hoffman and Drew Carey.




35 Drunk Girls

I Know Ur Girlfriend Hates Me

I was just thinking about my mother. I remember growing up, not knowing how old she was or even really where she lived, asking her if she saw the Hindenburg go down in flames, or if she remembered seeing King Kong on top of the Empire State Building. I was the type that thought King Kong was a documentary.

I know my mother loved movies and born in 1927 1926, she probably saw at least some of the classics, like Gone with the Wind which came out in 1939. She would have been 12 and I guess that she probably had a chance to go out and see it. I think it was probably a stolen moment since she was the only daughter with 5 brothers and more than likely had to help out her mother with the chores and household tasks.

It couldn’t have been that easy growing up during the depression, 5 brothers, and an abusive father to deal with. And not just abusive but from what I can remember- a drinker. Late in his life and early in my own, we had him in our house for Thanksgiving. To me he was just an old man with white hair and black horn rimmed glasses.

After Thanksgiving dinner, it was just me and him awake, seemingly everyone else all had naps or went over to friends’ houses. I offered to make him some coffee and I got him a cup. On the dining room table where he sat was an unopened bottle of whiskey. He asked me to get some milk from the kitchen and for just that short amount of time, half the bottle of whiskey disappeared.

It was looked on humorously when my family slowly started to awake from their post dinner naps. My grandfather died a few weeks after that, sometime between Thanksgiving and Christmas. I consoled myself by listening to the original Broadway soundtrack of Godspell. I was mourning, not for my grandfather but rather for my mother being unhappy.

The wake was somewhere in the Bronx and one of the last times my mother and her brothers were all in the same room at the same time. Their mother died not too long after my birth and I did not know her at all. I heard she was nice though. Her name was Helen I believe.

Soon my uncles started dropping off. First was my Uncle John. Didn’t know much about him but loved his children, they were pretty much very close to the ages of my brothers and sister. After that I guess Uncle Richard died. From what I heard he had a steel plate in his head and sweat and grease seeped under the steel plate and slowly drove him off the deep end.

Then came Uncle Harry who was my Uncle John’s twin. I barely knew him but knew him more than my Uncle Richard (who was talked about in joking yet hushed tones). Uncle Tommy was next to go, an unhappy marriage and with a brood of children who didn’t like him very much. He might have been a drunken terror at home, but I really couldn’t say.

My mother passed away on Mother’s Day 1991, all of a sudden from a heart attack, doing the Sunday Times crossword puzzle. And finally my Uncle Joseph, the baby of the family, who after a fight with diabetes and who knows what else, died a few years ago.

I am mainly still in touch with my Uncle John’s kids via Facebook. They’re all nice people. The other cousins, Uncle Tommy’s progeny- I have no idea who or where they are. I can pass them on the street and wouldn’t recognize them. Joseph’s son, looks like his mother only bald and I last saw him at his father’s wake.

I guess me and my sibllings were the cream of the crop. Though if any cousins are reading this, I am more than happy to discuss this with them. We can compare our wounds- physical, mental and emotional.

Powers to the people!

2 – Downtown

I Know U Like It

Waiting at the bus stop with the usual despair. Still I remain hopeful for some reason.
Had a dream about my eyeglasses being broken & needing a screw.

Just now I was thinking about a sequel for To Kill a Mockingbird, Revenge of the Mockingbird where Atticus wrestles several rabid dogs to the death, Boo Radley avenges Tom Robinson’s lynching by marrying Lula Mae and Jeb & Scout take up kung fu. Lot’s of shoot outs and car chases.

Today was all about being back at the cigar shack. The usual apprehension. I was working with the possum and Jerry Vale once again. Thomas relayed his unhappiness with regards to whom he worked with and today I got half of that. The possum is back to his old tricks, open mouth coughing, and phony camaraderie.

I waited for the bus, no sign of Bill since he was on Staten Island audition for the Staten Island Yankees and the National Anthem. Apparently it went well and wasn’t the cattle call we were anticipating. An uneventful ride for which I was grateful. Lately there’s been some traffic mayhem happening and I did not want to get further on the bad side of the possum.

I trooped up the avenue, listening to some Beastie Boys. As I neared the store I saw or felt a familiar vibe. I walked by a woman and felt I should turn around. I did and came face to face with someone I hadn’t seen in 36 years. Andrea, a woman I went to grammar school with at ST. Francis de Sales.

She immediately recognized me as I did recognize her. Hugs and kisses all around, she was with her fiance and her son. It was all to brief as I was off to work. It was great to see her and also a mind blower. It really was a fun event on my way to work.

The ventilation system is working so the regulars were back, same as it ever was. The possum coughed a lot and limped a lot since he has sciatica. Turned down my offer of Motrin. Now it’s a Saturday night, the cigar shack area is quiet once again. I hit my goal and not top sales but I am satisfied with it. The possum and Zack wouldn’t be but that’s not my concern. I did what I could. If it’s not good enough then oh well, tough shit.

The Velvet Underground are singing Sweet Jane. It was decreed that the Beastie Boys would be too much for the delicate men that smoke here. Ann Boyles would call them Jazz Queers and she meant it with some affection. I lack Ann Boyles affections. Tomorrow is a day off and also the Hoboken Art & Music Festival. Should be fun, the weather seems promising. The dB’s are headlining so that should be entertaining.

Now it’s Buzzcocks with Ever Fallen in Love. I met Pete Shelley once, and it was a blatant kiss ass from my end. I told him his latest single was great when it wasn’t, but I just wanted him to feel good and whether or not I did, I’ll never know.





11 Precious and Few

I Know There’s Something Going On

I was off today and it’s been a good day so far. I am heading out soon to have dinner with Bill at Julio & Stine’s. I haven’t been to see them since maybe February and I’m sure it’s been longer since Bill had seen them. Today has been alright. Last night Bill and I finally sat down and talked about a lot of things and cleared the air. Things are as they should be.

I slept fairly well last night and woke up close to my usual wake up time this morning. Just as well since construction began on the apartment below soon after I got out of bed. I told Bill that he did not have to make coffee for me this morning, I could do it myself. So after a shower I had some coffee and headed out into the world. It was a warm enough day but lately you never can tell. I headed out to the supermarket and got a few things.

I did see Isis, my favorite cashier. The reason that I hadn’t seen her was because she had accompanied her son to school (sophomore year) and stayed there all day, all week since he was suspended. That was the only way to get around his suspension so that he could continue going to class. A pain in the ass for Isis and humiliation for her son no doubt. She must have had her son while she was still a teenager since she can’t be much into her thirties if you ask me.

After a hearty breakfast I was out and about. I ran into David Cogswell on the street. Now David Cogswell isn’t someone I know very well. He’s been in Hoboken for quite a while, perhaps even longer than me. He used to be a partner in Rogers and Cogswell, a bookstore in Hoboken back in the day. We have many mutual friends but I am quite sure that the two of us never really had a conversation, just a friendly nodding of the head whenever we would pass each other.

Thanks to being friends on Facebook, and admiring each other’s posts and photographs we now speak to each other, or at least started talking to each other this afternoon. Not much beyond small talk but it was nice to speak. He was just in Jordan on some tourist job and his photos were quite nice. He seemed to enjoy himself. I was off to the local record store to see if the latest Mojo and Uncut magazines were in.

They were. The Beach Boys on the cover of Mojo and Paul McCartney on the cover of Uncut. Both look like interesting reads, then again they usually are, which I why I buy them each month. I walked around Hoboken for a spell, overdressed though, in a leather blazer. I am still not sure if I should wear it when I walk up to Julio and Stine’s. Don’t want to be sweating like a horse when I get there. But the temperature will drop once the sun goes down I’m sure.

Well the sun went down and the temperature barely dropped a degree. I met Bill at the cinemas near where Julio & Stine live and there was a short line for the Avengers movie. We went up to their condo, Alexander as adorable as ever. Stine made a big pan of lasagna which despite two gavons like Bill and myself, there was still plenty left over.

Alexander was busy trying to get my attention or any attention from any adult nearby. Most every toy he had was brought out with much rolling of the eyes from Julio & Stine. 2 bottles of wine, some quality talk between Julio & myself like the two old friends we actually are. Stine and Bill were discussing Bill’s audition tomorrow and in doing so realized that if Bill was going to this audition tomorrow morning, we had better leave.

A walk home after very pleasant farewells, Bill & I passing by Hyman Gross’ old apartment. Hyman passed away a year ago this Sunday, so it was nice to pay some sort of respect. Now we’re home, I’m pleasantly buzzed, Bill’s ready for bed and Bill Maher prattles on. Back to the cigar shack tomorrow.

Rest in Peace Adam Yauch/MCA of the Beastie Boys




11 Sure Shot

I Know It’s Over

Today was a day from purgatory. Not heaven, nor hell, but that place in the middle according to catholic doctrine. Very convenient. The phone and voice mail fiasco continued last night. I was apprehensive to come home last night, rather than deal with Bill and whatever mood he might have been in after his day and mine. And sure enough he was in not much of a mood, very subdued. I was quite subdued too. But he only stayed awake for a few minutes, giving me a perfunctory kiss good night which I reciprocated.

I stayed up some more, watched some TV and eventually went to bed. But I made a point of kissing Bill’s sleeping head before I fell asleep. Had an interesting dream about Julio and I meeting up in an 99 cent shop on Main Street in Lodi. It was a weird dream which featured the old Lodi that I grew up in.

I woke up about an hour earlier than usual, surprised to find Bill gone, surprised there was no farewell kiss. I walked to the bathroom and sent him a text saying that I missed him and would call him when I got to the cigar shack area. No phone call while waiting for the bus, still I texted him, telling him I missed him.

When I got to the cigar shack area, I called him and got a voice mail stating that he would be away from his desk from 9:00 to about 4:15, attending some function that his law firm was having. I suppose this was his way of showing me how I send people to Siberia, and now it was my turn, as if my father never did that to me. I guess 8 years really didn’t count hanging out with Solzhenitsyn.

The man cave at the cigar shack was still shut down, Jerry Vale came in early to allow some guys to crawl through the vents to see if they were open and operating properly. They seemed to be on our end but also needed to check out a neighbor’s vent. So Jerry Vale called the neighbor who flatly refused a 10 minute look see to check on the input and outputs. So the man cave was closed and sales had dropped considerably.

Zack would be tearing his hair out in the office but Zack is bald so there is nothing to pull out. Lawyers are now involved. The cigar shack lawyers, the neighbor’s lawyer and the landlord’s lawyers. It is now officially complicated.

And on another level, I still haven’t heard from the rival cigar shack that I met with. Thanks Freddy Herko. I try to remain hopeful and via a Woody Allen paraphrase, quoting Emily Dickinson, ‘Hope is the thing with feathers’. I am losing feathers. Even Jimmy Seltzer helped with a bolstering of spirits but those reserves are dwindling. Tomorrow is a day off so I am greatly looking forward to it.

It was sweet, both Thomas and Jerry Vale seemed concerned for my well being.


driving and texting


more driving and texting




11 Searchin’