Monthly Archives: June 2012

I Love It

Another hot day and it’s a Saturday so that means there are a few more people than usual on the sidewalks while there is more parking than usual on the street. Bill was up and out once again, driving a bus load of young Turks around the metropolitan area. And he will be sleeping in a hotel out by Hofstra University tonight since he has to drive the young Turks around again tomorrow. He asked me if I could bring his trousers and a shirt to his office building tomorrow just in case he can’t make it back home tomorrow.

I got up early this morning and was soon running around Hoboken. I had some things to get done and wanted to do them before it got too hot. This time I was on the street before high noon so it wasn’t that bad. A trip to the exotic Shop Rite to get some on sale items that the nearer supermarket charges way too much for. I decided once I got home, to cook dinner since it would be way too hot to do it later in the afternoon. A smart idea, all I would have to do is reheat the penne and chicken with the pesto. Yes, I fell back to that recipe which I hadn’t had in a while.

I started cooking it last week and it was so good I figured, why not have it again this weekend? So that’s been taken care of and I ate it about a half hour ago. I was out by the river reading again this afternoon, finally finished Maggie the Mechanic and now I have Perla La Loca to read. I also have another collection of later Love and Rockets stories and the Palomar tome. And I still feel like Hoboken is a bit like Dairytown. Lots of faux hawks and mohawks worn by young people around town. It doesn’t mean they are punk or anything like it. They’re not Travis Bickle disciples. They’re merely trendy.

And not enough people have tattoos. Of course I am being facetious. There are way too many tattoos these days. It’s a turn off. I can understand one or two discreet tattoos, but covering the whole arm, or leg, or chest or back. Not my thing, to each their own. Will they be regretted as the wearer gets older? Is it time for me to look into a career in laser tattoo removal? Is there a school or course I could take? And will I get to bring the laser home and do crazy things with it? I don’t know exactly what I could do with a laser but I did read enough comic books when I was a lad to get some ideas.

Last night, coming home from Maxwells with Bill after dinner I got a phone call from Julio. Stine and Alexander are in Denmark so Julio is feeling lonely. He wanted me to take him out for a birthday drink but when I explained I was with Bill for his birthday, he remembered. I told him we could do something tonight but I haven’t heard from him yet. It’s still early, the sun is still out, it’s the longest day of the year according to Neil DeGrasse Tyson and the ‘leap second’ which passed about a half hour ago.

The call could still come through, and if so I bet that Julio wants to go to the Biergarten near his place. Convenient to him, a bit out of the way for me. It’s been a while since we hung out like that so that could still happen. If not I will be content to stay home and just chill out. I am going out tomorrow night anyhow, seeing the Feelies with my brother Brian at Maxwells, thanks to their great drummer Stan with his pen, getting me in with a plus one.

Hello Nick Colas and Hello Bruce Horowitz. Hope you are both doing well. I am fine, you should drop a line, let me know how you guys are doing. Either or…

15 Foolish Pride

I Love College

Today is Bill’s birthday. He turned 48 and he’s having a very good day, as am I. He took the day off from work and had a head shot photo shoot planned, so he was up and out a little bit later than usual but still earlier than me. It’s also been unbearably hot. Not so much hummus, but still oppressive. I was dreading going outside and knew I had errands to run before Bill got back. So around noon, high noon I headed out. Bad timing of course since the sun was directly overhead there was very little shade to be had.

And I’m also referring to the ‘shade’ I have been told I gave. It’s been too damn hot for attitude and a cutting remark. I could have gone to the CVS that was closer but decided that the CVS by City Hall was the one I preferred. And despite the heat I did want to get out of the apartment. I did some cleaning, put away the laundry that I washed yesterday which was dry thanks to the heat and it was too hot for anything else. On the street there was no breeze at all, but quite a few people.

It felt like a holiday weekend, maybe because of Bill’s birthday or maybe because the 4th of July is less than a week away on Wednesday. No three day weekend for the working stiffs, of which I used to be a member. I didn’t see anyone I knew which of course could be that ‘they’ saw me first. I got a few birthday cards for Bill and headed home a different route, still lacking on both kinds of shade. I stopped by the Guitar Bar and chatted with Mr. Wonderful Jim Mastro for a little while. Nice and cool in the store in more ways than one.

Jim’s daughters are going to Scotland next week for two weeks which is exciting. They have a cousin that lives over there so it’s all good. I’m excited for them, someday I will do something similar with Bill, though not to Scotland. Probably London or Dublin, or both. I just hope Hoboken Daily News gets their lottery machine fixed very soon because it’s constantly giving me the wrong numbers. Maybe I should send a letter to the manufacturer, a company called Shirley Jackson Enterprises, somewhere in New England if I remember correctly.

So tonight Bill and I are going out to dinner, and not to Arthur’s Steakhouse for once. I asked Bill where he wanted to go and he suggested Maxwells. That was fine by me and could help me out a bit. Some friends are going to see the Feelies tonight and I will be able to say hello to them. I’m not going tonight obviously, I’ll be going on Sunday, thanks to Stan who is putting me on the list with a plus one, and I am taking my brother Brian. He expressed an interest so it’s all working out quite nicely.

A nice dinner with my spouse, seeing some old friends. I could live with that. And it was quite nice. Bill and I had burgers, he had a pint of Guinness and I had a Sam Adams Summer Ale, which I won’t ever have again. Not a fan of Sam Adams beer and thought this time would be different. It wasn’t. After I finished the Sam Adams I had a Stella which made all the difference in the world. For dessert we had chocolate mousse which our waitress put a candle on for Bill’s birthday but the fans kept blowing it out. Bill liked it so much he had a second. Why not, it’s his birthday.

I saw Patti Quinn, Pat Longo and Allison Lee, Alirio and his girlfriend Christine, Andy Peters- sound engineer extraordinaire, Chaz, Lois and Fred and of course Ro Da as well as Todd. They were all going to see the Feelies and I saw a few of the Feelies hanging around eating dinner before the show. Bill has to drive this weekend so we made our exit and walked home enjoying cigars. Bill had a good day and I am glad I was able to help out with that.

We hope your day was good too.

Last night with the NJ Symphony Orchestra

The birthday man and me

Birthday moon

03 Old Man Will

I Love America

Another day of cleaning. It was a lot more difficult this time since photographs were discovered. That always slows down the process. Things slow down to a halt and pictures are looked at which is the start of things really getting slow. I found a whole bunch of pictures, mainly from the 1990’s. Family and friends. A few pictures of Julio and William in Weehawken and some photographs of the three of us in Central Park after ingesting some fungi. Some camping pictures of me and Maurice Menares from the 1980’s have popped up as well. And of course there were papers to be shredded.

Including some more papers from the cigar shack, with credit card information of the customers. That was definitely shredded since I do not want any knuckle draggers ringing my bell. No need for that really. And Zack’s plan for 2011 and 2012. Looking at those things made me glad I am not there anymore. I did have to go out once or twice today and on one excursion I ran into my downstairs neighbor Deborah as I was out on the street. She was looking mighty pretty and I walked her to the bus stop where we talked.

She remarked that I was looking great and seemed to be in good spirits and I felt I was in good spirits. A few laughs were had as we sat in the shade. My second favorite bus driver was brought up, and I told her that I hadn’t spoken to him since I was dismissed from the cigar shack. He’s a good guy and I hope to say hello to him once again when our path cross once more. It was great to see Deborah again. Though she lives about 30 feet or so from me, I rarely see her.

So once again I am done for the day with the cleaning. The apartment looks alright. Metropolitan Life isn’t going to be knocking on the door anytime soon. But it is an improvement and if you don’t stare, just keep glancing things look OK. I also wanted the apartment to look alright for when my sister arrives in a week or so. The first two rooms are where I focused and the other rooms, well, they’re off limits to guests. One is the bedroom and the other is where Bill and I hang our suits as well as where Bill keeps his keyboards, his desk top and his recording equipment should you want to stop by and steal anything.

I did some grocery shopping once more, back to the nearby supermarket. And tonight the New Jersey State Symphony is playing so I might light up a cigar and wander over there to get some culture. Today was Julio’s birthday as well as Bill’s mother and tomorrow is Bill’s birthday. Very exciting I think. No plans as of yet, anything could happen I suppose. It’s a beautiful evening and I am looking forward to at least getting out of the apartment.

Rest in peace Tommy Killian

NONA HENDRYX – Transformation (STEREO)

I Love A Rainy Night

Hump day for some, Wednesday for others. I suppose I am one of the others. It’s been a nice day today and I’ve been busy cleaning up the apartment some more. Now don’t get any ideas, it’s not the Jetsons, it’s not even the Honeymooners. I can’t think of anything that the apartment looks like, well maybe I can. It sometimes resembles the set of Sanford and Son. And I am trying to change that. Bill and I have singlehandedly destroyed the general concept of gay men being neat and fastidious. Those words can not be used to describe us.

I know I’m not the neatest guy around but living for 11 years with William in Weehawken I did my best to keep things relatively tidy. And I thought I could do the same here in Hoboken but try as I might, I had to contend with Bill’s method. And eventually I was overwhelmed with Bill’s method and was engulfed by all that he brings. I succumbed and things started to get sloppy around here. So for the past couple of days I have done something about it and each time Bill comes home, the apartment is a little bit neater.

A few bags of garbage, some old clothes now used as rags. A lot of sweeping has been going on as well. And I have also been trying to clean the tiles on the floor, the accursed white tiles that are throughout the apartment. White tiles which shows the state of the floor. It usually isn’t very pretty but I am making an effort. And it’s been great, keeping myself busy and improving the situation here in the apartment. There is still more that I would like to do, more to do tomorrow since Bill is off on Friday.

I can do what I need to do tomorrow and also tie up whatever loose ends that might be around. And since Friday is also Bill’s birthday it will be nice to have it all relatively clean. It should make for a nice present I think. And it would actually be a gift for both of us. Once it’s clean it’s easier to maintain and I will hold up my end, and probably hold up Bill’s end rather than take the approach of ‘well it’s his and not mine so I ain’t going to do anything about it, so pass the scissors for I would like to cut off my nose to spite my face”.

I don’t mind at all. I have the time to do it so I’ve been doing it. And I don’t have the TV on as I do the cleaning, I’ve been shuffling songs on my iTunes. It helps and it brings up some surprises, songs that I didn’t know I had popped up. I went out for a little while today and brought the iPod and did the same thing. Walking around listening to Koyaanisqatsi was an enjoyable experience and reminded me about how much I like Phillip Glass.

B52s – Detour Through Your Mind

I Love A Piano

It’s a Tuesday and it’s another day that I’ve spent mainly indoors. Bill’s birthday is Friday and I am trying to clean up the apartment since it’s been looking a bit shabby and for the past month despite having the time to do it, I’ve been too depressed and easily distracted to do anything. Over the weekend I had the idea to start cleaning so yesterday that is exactly what I did. There are/were lots of things to be thrown out, or categorized. Things that hadn’t been used, or are broken or held some now forgotten sentimental value have been resigned to the bin.

When I was working at the cigar shack, almost every night I would come home with papers. Papers with the store totals for the day, papers with the employee sales. Looking at these papers before I shredded them I noticed that my quotas were quite good, usually higher than whomever I was working with, though the person I was ‘competing’ with was usually Thomas. And I also noticed and remembered giving sales to Jerry Vale, sometimes steering a customer to him, sometimes ringing items up under his name since I hit the quota I had set for myself.

The funny thing is Zack never noticed and one of the last staph meetings that I attended, Zack felt that not enough was being done to help Jerry Vale meet his quotas. I kept quiet and listened to Zack go on about teamwork. Zack’s ‘Iago’ probably put him up to it and I was the understudy for the role of Desdemona though I didn’t know it at the time. But that’s all done with and the past has been shredded. Why I took Frank Pennino’s invoice home, why Tim Denny’s packing list existed here- I couldn’t say. A halfhearted attempt to recycle perhaps.

I don’t need Christian Gluck, James Weber, Robert Telli or Keon Sims’ information here so now it’s all slivers of paper laying at the curb waiting to be picked up and disposed of. I do not need Miguel Estrada’s email nor do I need Steve White’s favorite cigar list. I will never see these people again and that door has been slammed shut. Sure there were a few hotties I wouldn’t mind hearing from again but it seems most unlikely that our paths will cross once more and that’s fine by me. Whatever relationships that were formed are over now.

Another thing about cleaning up is the fact that I found a couple of notebooks from years ago, as well as letters that never made it to the post. Some are funny, some are maudlin and some are wondering when Carlo will be showing up with the blow. After Carlo showed up, the writing generally stopped. It was over when the fat lady sang with a couple of grams of cocaine. And there are photographs and some albums that have been rediscovered. Some will be scanned somewhere down the line to my chagrin as well as some of the other subjects in the photos.

I do want to wish Kevin Threat congratulations on the birth of his daughter Zora and I sincerely wish Kevin, his wife Jen and their other daughter Dee Dee all the best wishes for their future.

RIP Nora Ephron

Fire (live)

I Lost My Heart To A Starship Trooper

Saturday night, after I wrote I walked over to the river and enjoyed a cigar and sat reading Maggie the Mechanic, a Love & Rockets compilation by Jaime Hernandez. I started reading Love & Rockets soon after it came out in the mid-1980’s and loved it. It initially reminded me of a punk rock version of Archie Comics but I soon found it was a lot more than that. I really identified with the many stories written and drawn by Jamie and his brother Beto. Jamie’s stories took place in Dairy Town and Beto’s stories took place somewhere under the border in Palomar.

I think I wrote last week that I initially was drawn to Jaime’s stories a little bit more than I was to Beto’s. Jaime’s compilations ate softcover trade paperbacks whereas Beto’s is quite a heavy tome. But reading Beto’s stories I felt how he put so much heart into his work, so much so that I would just look at a page and then the next thing I knew an hour or so had passed. The same thing happened with Jaime and the Maggie the Mechanic stories. I know Harpy understands what I am talking about. And the stories, reread 25 years later were all so very familiar. Just sitting by the river reading reminded me how I used to envision the music and art scene in Hoboken back then as very similar to what was going on in Dairy Town with the Hoppers.

And as I sat and read, I started to think that it still resembles the Love & Rockets stories somewhat, only all the characters in Hoboken, myself included are just a little bit older and perhaps a little bit heavier. Children that I saw back then are now adults and some of those former kids have children now. It’s the nature of things and it can be unnerving a bit. One kid I used to babysit for in the 1990’s is now a young man with a website for his musical endeavors. He’s quite talented and a good singer. It also helps that this young man is quite a handsome man and the ladies just love him.

Yesterday was Gay Pride day and it was good. I didn’t make it to the parade, I stayed in the apartment waiting for Bill and once he got home I waited for him to wake up. Rand wanted to explore a bike path to Newark but I decided not to go, just staying local, and staying online. I posted a ton of videos of gay and lesbian musicians, starting out of course with the Tom Robinson Band’s Glad to Be Gay. Bill was up a few hours after sleeping and had an errand to run in Harlem. I stayed home and eventually took a nice nap. There is nothing like a Sunday afternoon nap.

We did make plans to see the fireworks on then Hudson for Gay Pride like we do every year. We watched News Radio and an episode of WKRP in Cincinnati on some cable channel that plays old TV shows like that. The WKRP episode was all about the fateful Who concert in Cincinnati where 11 kids were crushed to death outside the arena. Bill had a vague recollection of what happened but being a rock and roll fan I remember it vividly. In fact the next week’s issue of Time Magazine had the Who on the cover asking them what happened as if they had any idea.
It was a fun night out once we turned off the television and went outside. It seemed there were a lot more people out for the fireworks this year than previous years. I told Bill a few stories and as I was telling him I realized that most of my stories finish off with ‘And then we all wound up at Maxwells.’ The fireworks were nice but ended rather anticlimactically. Usually there’s a big finish but this year it merely seemed to peter out.

We made it home a few minutes before it started to rain. Bill went to sleep after that and I stayed up watching the west coast broadcast of True Blood and Aaron Sorkin’s The Newsroom. True Blood was good, since it was only the second episode of the season I can hope things will really kick in. The Newsroom was clever, Jeff Daniels playing a Keith Olbermann type, not that likeable. I enjoyed it the way I used to enjoy watching Lou Grant after the Mary Tyler Moore show ended. That was the first episode so I hope things will get better, though I did enjoy it.


Saturday night

07 Cherish

I Lost It

It’s a Saturday and it’s been a good day. Bill came home this morning from driving a bus to and from Atlantic City once again. I of course stayed home and watched TV. I’ve never been to Atlantic City and I’m not a gambler so I guess I would sit on the beach down there, that is if people still do that sort of thing. I haven’t been to the beach yet and I suppose I will once Annemarie gets to town in a matter of a couple of weeks. It should be nice having the chance to chill out on the ocean and think once again how nice it would be to have a house down there.

I’ve been busy enough today, some more grocery shopping, some more laundry and picking up Bill’s dry cleaning as well as several walks past the barbershop. Almost every time I walked by, my barber Tony had someone in his chair. Since I live but a few doors down from the barbershop, I just turn around and head home rather than sit there watching other people get their hair cut. Just when I resigned myself to probably getting my hair cut on Monday, I walked by once more and there was Tony on the street.

I sat, Tony cut and we talked. My hair is so thick that it’s like wearing a hat so I needed to do something since it’s been so hot out that I sweat while sleeping, waking up to damp pillows which is no fun. Tony tells me a lot of guys would like to have hair as thick as mine, so I shouldn’t complain. Now I have the summer haircut, no muss, no fuss and not even a comb or brush is needed since it is that short.

I played guitar last night and I think I sounded good. This afternoon I played and it sounded like crap. Perhaps I was more open minded and nimble with the fingers. Maybe it’s because I was alone. Bill was getting ready while I played this afternoon and he doesn’t criticize, especially since he doesn’t know the rock and roll stuff I attempt to play. Still it was muffed chords and a general let down as far as I am concerned. Luckily I tried it at home, thinking I was going to go to the river and play but I knew it would not be a good idea.

Maybe later I will play again as my guitar stands there looking forlorn. But now I am getting hungry and will eat after I write this. No plans for tonight, I still have the Elephant Man to watch on DVD. I also have Withnail & I which might be a bit more entertaining. Last time I saw that was when it first came out, when there was a cinema underneath Carnegie Hall. I liked it but as time moved on, I read more and more things about it, making me think it warranted another look so perhaps that look will occur tonight.

After I eat, I will go out and walk off dinner, perhaps have a cigar by the river and read some of the Love & Rockets stuff I have. I still have Mojo & Uncut to read, but those magazines deserve a special time and place to be read and since I will have them forever and the Love & Rockets stuff is from the library and will have to be returned I am prioritizing I guess. Tomorrow is Gay Pride day, so happy Pride to friends and supporters of the LGBT world. Don’t know what Bill wants to do about it, surely we will watch the fireworks but between him coming home and going to sleep, and the fireworks there are a few hours to fill.

Happy Gay Pride 2012!

Bill 6.23.07

2-07 Long, Long, Long 2

I Look To You

Well today is June 22. And it’s been an alright day. It was quite hot then it rained for a bit, breaking up the hummus. Perfect time to run to the grocery store, the one around the block. I went on Wednesday and here I was again today. While there on Wednesday I ran into my neighbor Christine, one of my favorite Hoboken people. We chatted there and walked home together, stopping on the corner to talk we said hello to the guy who owns the liquor store on the corner as well as admiring a very happy baby being pushed in a stroller.

Today I ran into Christine once again, and once again we walked on by the guy who owns the liquor store and admired yet another happy baby as we talked on the corner. Déjà vu indeed. It’s always good to see Christine and we usually talk for a few minutes, catching up and gossiping about whomever from Maxwells or the stuff that is going on in Hoboken these days. Today’s topic was all about her old band the Mad Violets and playing around downtown NYC back in the day, and the late Wendy Wild beloved by all.

Last night I finally made it out of the apartment despite the heat and made it over by the river. The Thousand Pities, East of Venus and Yung Wu were playing. I knew people in all three bands, though some bands overlapped with members. My former guitar teacher Mike Carlucci was in both The Thousand Pities and East of Venus. I knew Mike was an excellent guitar player but didn’t know he sang and he did a credible job at vocalizing. Rob Norris from the Bongos played bass in East of Venus and I had a nice talk with him before the show.

Rob now lives upstate somewhere where he has been working as a massage therapist for the past 20 years. I knew that’s what he did, I just didn’t know he was doing it for so long. Stan Demeski, drummer extraordinaire and all around nice guy plays drums for the Feelies as well as East of Venus along with Glenn Mercer, guitarist for the Feelies and Yung Wu and East of Venus. Yes it’s a tangled yet musical web that is woven. It was a beautiful night on the banks of the Hudson River, quite cool and breezy.

In between acts I saw someone smoking a cigar on a bench nearby and figured that I would sit there and enjoy a cigar myself. After the initial lighting I sat and puffed away, checking the smartphone to let no one in particular where I was. Up walks John & Toni, who was once in a band with my brother Frank. Nice people, happy to see me as I was happy to see them. John was playing with Yung Wu which I didn’t know about but should have for some reason. It was good to hear some good music and see some old friends.

I came home after that, hungry enough to get a slice of pizza. The girl behind the counter is always happy to see me and always asks how I am doing. She’s looking to take a vacation either down the shore or to Puerto Rico which is a bit of a longer trip. I came home where Bill was engrossed in the NBA finals, happy that Miami won. Most everyone else I knew did not like Miami because of LeBron James. Not my Bill though. Not interested in that sort of thing, just happy they won.

Another rainstorm just passed and it’s considerably cooler out. Cool enough to take a walk outside and see what’s what. It’s June 22nd, and I was let go from the cigar shack on May 22nd. I guess that makes it a month or thereabouts. I occasionally wonder how things are there, understandable since I did spend almost 2 years there, so many days. Zack’s wife is due to have a baby in a few days and I sincerely hope all goes well. I miss working with Thomas and Jerry Vale but in the retail world there is no room and no time for memories, so I am certain they don’t think about me, which is fine.

Still when the temperatures are in the upper 90 degree range, I am glad that I do not have to wear a suit and stand around for 9 hours. There are also customers I miss chatting with and I am sure I am forgotten by that crew, a month after the fact.

La di dah, la di dah.

The Thousand Pities

East of Venus

Yung Wu


19 Rapids & Current

I Look Good (Without You)

Oh it has been one of those days. Once again it has been quite hot, 98 degrees. I spent most of the day inside, fighting the blues mostly. The past two days have been fairly active what with bicycle riding on Tuesday and hitting the galleries in Chelsea yesterday. Today there was none of that. Too damn hot basically. I kept busy, I did some laundry and shaved. I think this weekend I will go and get my hair chopped off since it is so damn thick it’s like wearing a fur hat and makes for a sweaty night of sleep.

According to Bill I have been quite chatty as I sleep at night. He keeps saying that he will record what I say and I do want to know what it is that I say, but on the other hand perhaps I don’t. Last night I had a long conversation with myself apparently as I lay under a fan. And it was so hot that I woke up before the alarm clock after Bill gave his farewell kiss to me. I stumbled about the hot apartment, finding the cool water to be just as good as a cup of coffee which was brewing in the next room.

I did some laundry and where it sometimes takes 24 hours for it to dry on the racks, today it was merely a few hours before the clothes were wearable once more. A trip to the supermarket, (the closer one) and the dry cleaners have been my only excursions outdoors today. That is going to change in about a half hour when I go see a few bands with people that I know playing in them, by the Hudson River as part of the summer series that Hoboken has each year.

I expect that there will be a few people I know watching the bands play. A Thousand Pities, East of Venus and Yung Wu are playing and my former guitar teacher is in two of the bands. The other band features some of the Feelies including everyone’s favorite drummer, Stan. It should be fun and believe me, I will be more than happy to be outside, hoping it will be cooler by the river. I finally started reading the Los Bros. Hernandez books. I was going to return them on my way to the show, but I glanced inside the Maggie the Mechanic book and was immediately drawn back in.

I do have to stop at the bibliothèque anyhow. A DVD of the Elephant Man is waiting for me as is the latest Me’Shell Ndegeocello CD. I was reading about John Hurt the other day, Chesterfield John Hurt, not Mississippi John Hurt and figured The elephant Man might be good for the soul. I had seen it already and also saw it on Broadway when David Bowie played the title role. We had first row seats for that and during the curtain call the fans behind us gave David a bouquet, which David was kind enough to thank us for, to the dismay of the fans who actually gave him the flowers.

I may write more later after the show but for now, this is it.

A Gallon of Gas

I Look Good

Man it’s a hot hot hot day. Quite a scorcher. And I woke up at a very good hour this morning without the sound of the street being torn up. It was the alarm clock that did the job. And I knew that I had better get it together in case they turn off the water again. So it was a jump in the shower after making a pot of coffee and getting a bowl of cereal all set. After that it was the usual thing, watching the Daily Show and The Colbert Report and then alternating between Gilmore Girls repeats & The View. I try to catch the news at noon before going out.

Of course I would be willing to give up the news at noon should the need arise. But it hasn’t arisen as of yet, so I watch the news until the weather report then I generally head out for the afternoon. And today I had decided to check out the art galleries in Chelsea once again. It had been a while since I had last been and since it was going to be quite hot, in my mind I mapped out the streets that would have the most shade.

It didn’t really matter since I still sweated like a horse. I did have the foresight to take the bus to the Path train, getting as much air conditioning as I could. It worked out so much that I was out in the hot air for merely a moment before jumping on the Path train where I once again sat in air conditioned comfort. I was definitely cruised on my ride to 14th Street by a guy who was falling asleep, then he’d wake up and give me the once over before drifting off. So it goes.

I walked on the south side of 14th Street as did everyone else and their Aunt Tillie. Still there weren’t that many people out and I finished a cigar that I started on the other side of the Hudson River. I had only one show on the agenda, since I missed the Cindy Sherman show which closed two weeks ago. I think there is still a retrospective of Cindy Sherman at MoMA but that isn’t exactly my favorite museum so I keep putting it off. And on a side note there is a plan to see the Keith Haring exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum with RoDa before it ends July 8.

I wanted to see the Richard Avedon show at the Gagosian gallery and was relieved at how air conditioned it was, but put off by the security the show has. No need to ask if I could take photographs since that was why there was a guard on every mural. There were big murals of Allen Ginsburg, The Chicago Seven, some Military bigwigs and the Warhol Factory crowd. I had never seen Candy Darling’s cock before, I didn’t even think she had a cock. Everyone has seen Joe Dallesandro’s cock before so that was nothing new. And everyone including Aunt Tillie has seen Allen Ginsburg’s cock already.

After Gagosian is was just wandering around. I walked into the 40OWLS Gallery and liked what I saw there, three exhibitions. The woman who worked there was quite nice and outgoing which is a change from the usual gallery scene, where they just sit at the front desk looking at computer screens. Most galleries don’t mind if you take photographs and sometimes I just start shooting, sometimes I ask. I saw a fun Claus Oldenburg which screamed to have it photo taken but after two snapshots I was told that it wasn’t allowed. I was tempted to sneak a photo of a large Swiss Army Knife for Jimmy Seltzer, but decided not to, lest the effete gallery person get all huffy.

After a few hours of that it was time to go home so I walked up to the bus terminal once again walking on the shady side of the street. And that’s about it. It is still quite hot out, and I am not doing much moving or anything else. Bill has come and gone to his physical therapy and I am looking forward to a low key evening.


40OWLS Gallery

40OWLS Gallery

40OWLS Gallery

40OWLS Gallery

40OWLS Gallery

Illicit Oldenburg

another Illicit Oldenburg

Francisco Clemente

10 Ruby Keeler Calliope

I Live With You

The penultimate day before summer, which is occurring on Thursday. It’s been a very good day. I did receive word from the company I interviewed with last week, the standard ‘Thanks but no thanks. Oh and by the way- Good Luck’ message. It was alright, I did not expect to get the job but still there was a sliver of hope in the back of my mind. I have a cavernous mind and it was all the way in the back next to my Duncan butterfly yoyo and my copy of Jonathan Livingston Seagull, under my autographed Brian Eno records.

I slept fairly well last night. I also stayed up later than usual which probably contributed to the fact that I had a good night’s sleep. I’ve been setting the alarm clock lately, trying to hang onto something resembling a routine. It’s sort of been working but what actually woke me up this morning (after Bill’s farewell kiss to me) was the sound of construction and destruction. Next door they’re doing something to a garage and that’s been noisy but what was even noisier was the water department chopping up the street down the block. Luckily I got out of bed at that time.

I made some coffee and jumped in the shower and then about an hour later, the water was cut off. It was a drag but manageable since I had done the ‘important’ stuff beforehand. That still left some dirty dishes in the sink but I knew the water would be back on eventually. I decided not to wait for the water to come back and headed out to do somethings. A trip to the bibliothèque was in order since I needed to return a CD that I took out yesterday, the Bongos- Numbers With Wings/Beat Hotel.

I used to be a big Bongos fan. Bog enough that I was taller than the guys in the band and most of the audience. Unfortunately the CD was only half good and that was the Numbers With Wings part. The Beat Hotel part is best forgotten and not mentioned. Their first album, Drums Along The Hudson was great and still is fun to listen to. Then they signed to RCA, and it all went pear shaped. It was the eighties and no one knew any better but it was a major misstep for all concerned. Still I am friends with 3 out of 4 Bongos, which is why I am holding back here.

I did see a former Bongo today, Jim Mastro, Mr. Wonderful. Always good to see him. One daughter home from college, another daughter has one more day of being a high school sophomore, and then there is Meghan off for a few weeks before doing something with kids during the summer. I had my bicycle out and decided to go for a ride. I aimed to head up the river rather than down to Liberty State Park. I had heard the Hudson River Walkway was sort of completed and I wanted to see where it would take me.

I got as far as North Bergen before the walkway ended. It was enjoyable though it would have been more fun if there was someone to ride with. I enjoyed the solitude and the weather was perfect for it. I returned back to Hoboken, the same way I left it and stopped to look at some geese with their goslings, none of them named Ryan. Finally by Sybil’s Cave I sat in the shade and enjoyed a cigar while finishing last week’s New Yorker. Then I rode my bike home. .

The water was back on when I came home but there really wasn’t anything to eat. So after putting the bicycle away and climbing the four flights of stairs, I was back on the street heading to the nearby supermarket. It was a gamble and I was hungry and you don’t go food shopping when you are hungry. But I was good and only bought a few things I needed. OK, I also bought some Belsen Dark Chocolate biscuits since they were on sale and I wanted something chocolate. So now after riding about 20 miles today I don’t think I will have any problem sleeping tonight.


Geese & goslings

Ryan Gosling

NOT Ryan Gosling

08 Because

I Live On A Battlefield

It’s been another nice day though a bit on the cool side. Last night was the same. The sun did not burn away the clouds by noon like it was forecast the night before. No, the sun hid behind the clouds until later in the afternoon. I did get it together finally and headed outside as Bill went back to sleep. His back had been bothering him when he got home from driving to Atlantic City and he immediately went to bed. Then he woke up for a little while before going back to sleep and waking up a few hours later.

We watched Nurse Jackie and The Big C then he went back to bed and slept the rest of the night. I forgot that True Blood was on and watched the midnight west coast broadcast. Then I watched Girls. I wasn’t interested in it when it started a few weeks ago, then after talking last week to my brother Frank about the show, I thought I would give it a look see. It was better than I expected and now I am trying to watch it when it is on. I just had to get over that Williamsburg vibe I suppose.

I also watched Crazy Stupid Love the other night and found it to be quite clever. It’s not a perfect movie but once again it was better than I expected. That Ryan Gosling is quite the hottie and in some scenes he reminded me of former co-worker Thomas. Not that Thomas is a lothario but there is a scene between Steve Carell and Ryan Gosling which was very funny when they are buying a new wardrobe for Carell’s character and that is what reminded me of Thomas and his being a clothes horse. I’d recommend it with no reservations.

I haven’t been sleeping well lately and last night was no different. I even took 2 melatonin tablets which don’t help trying to sleep but they’re decent at staying asleep, making waking up a bit difficult. And it was difficult waking up this morning. Bill was up and out at his usual early time, kissing me goodbye as I lay there sleeping. I slept later than I wanted to and when I did wake up I got it together making a pot of coffee before jumping in the shower and then shaving. No bread meant a trip to the supermarket.

The schools seem to be done for the semester so there were a lot of kids out and about. That great feeling of being out of school for the summer is one of the best feelings in life I think. The supermarket wasn’t that crowded, then again it wasn’t the supermarket around the block, it was the larger supermarket so it’s easy to look empty with such a large space. And I saved a few dollars going there rather than to the usual grocery store, so that was good. It’s only a few minutes out of the way and it wasn’t raining.

I walked over to the river and played the guitar again today. Didn’t even break out the song chords, I just played songs I had committed to memory. I also stayed away from any populated areas, just stayed to myself and strummed for about an hour, and then I read the New Yorker for a spell. It was still on the cool side weather wise so after that I just went home, stopping off at the bibliothèque and dropped off Retromania by Simon Reynolds which I had finally finished over the weekend. Now I have a collection of books by Los Bros Hernandez.

I just felt like reading some Love and Rockets. I usually prefer the Jaime Hernandez stories, but Beto Hernandez’ Palomar stories really have an emotional core which I never really noticed before. Of course the Jaime books are paperbacks and the Beto book is a hard covered tome which doesn’t lend itself to being carried around since it’s so heavy.

2-01 Birthday
Happy birthday Macca!

I Live In Trafalgar Square

Such a beautiful day again. And once again I’ve been out and about. I was in midtown Manhattan, had a few things I needed to do and when headed in the direction of where I needed to go, I run into former cigar shack employee and current customer, Jerrode. Jerrode is truly a nice guy, very sweet and upbeat and quite outgoing. He works in the vicinity of the cigar shack and was headed back since his lunch hour was ending. We strolled about for a while, meaning I walked him to 56th street before heading back to where I wanted to go.

I had a feeling I would run into someone I knew and I was glad it was him. I don’t like backtracking when I don’t have to so I walked up one avenue and stopped at the salad bar where I used to have lunch, and had some lunch. The customary phone call to Annemarie did not proceed as planned so I left a message on the machine. I got what I needed to get and soon was headed back to the bus terminal. It was the type of day where the past popped up, not just with Jerrode, but also seeing someone’s Facebook page and seeing that someone I had written off was back online.

Not that I am about to refriend this guy. That is not going to happen. That thing is that I have two Facebook accounts. One I started years ago when it was the social network for the Ivy League schools courtesy of a friend that was going to Columbia University. I logged in with an apostrophe and soon forgot about it, until a few months ago when I was checking an old email account that still exists but is rarely used. So now I have two Facebook accounts, one with an apostrophe and the other without. And that is how I discovered that this guy is back online.

He’s blocked me and I’ve blocked him on one account but through looking at the page of someone that we’re both friends with that’s how I saw what he’s up to. And having done that I am glad I’ve moved on. Life is so much better without that wanker mucking things up. So basically there are two people from the past that I came across today. One is sweet as pie and the other is someone I would cross the street to avoid.

Now I am home, Bill just left a little while ago, driving to Atlantic City once again, so I won’t be seeing him until tomorrow morning. We’ll more than likely talk on the phone before he turns in for the night. No plans for the evening except for maybe a stroll around Hoboken later. It’s just too nice out to stay indoors. Life is out there in every sense of the phrase. Not much else to do, not much else to write. Just a beautiful lazy night ahead. Got to enjoy them while you can, you dig?


store cat

New Order – Fine Time

I Live For The Sun

Today has been an absolutely beautiful day. Perfect weather, blue skies, cool breezes. It’s been lovely all over and I think the local kids are off for the summer from school. It’s a lot quieter around 3:00 in the afternoon. The streets of Hoboken should have plenty of parking this weekend, with a lot of people heading down the shore once again. The supermarket was fairly empty. I’ve been going to a supermarket that isn’t around the block, it’s about 20 minutes away by foot and larger and has more stuff and it is cheaper. It’s been an exciting week.

Last Friday was my father’s birthday. He would have been 90 years old. I didn’t post anything about him on Facebook or here and neither did anyone else, meaning my siblings or their families. Nobody misses Poppy. Sad I suppose but he wasn’t especially nice to his children, but he did love his grandchildren. I should correct that, he was nice to his friends and their families. To me it seemed his own family was never as good as his friends’ children. But that was then and this is now and he’s been gone since 1999. On Mother’s Day Bill and I did stop by the cemetery.

Now cemeteries don’t mean much to me. The people buried there are decomposing under the ground and basically taking up space. I’ve been going to cemeteries most of my life and it’s just a marble slab with some information on them. And sometimes there is not enough information. My parent’s headstone has no mention of any children, which is how he wanted it anyhow. I always thought that my father saw his own children as competition for my mother’s affection, and with the headstone there is no competition anymore, there are no kids to compete with.

I didn’t speak with him for a number of years before he died. After my mother passed away in 1991, my living situation was not so great and my life had turned upside down when she died. I thought it might be a good idea to live with my father since he was in such a sorry state and I thought it was a chance to rebuild a bridge to each other. My siblings tried talking me out of it as did a few friends, but I went ahead in a fog, thinking that he had changed, since I had changed.

Nope. I was wrong. After a few weeks he was back to his nasty self, saying heinous things to me. It was not easy living with him and I wound up drinking a lot. I would sit in my brother’s bedroom since mine had turned into a storage area and watch TV. If I had to pee, I would open the window instead of going downstairs to the bathroom opposite his bedroom. It was while I was living with my father that I heard about the apartment in Weehawken where I would live from 1991 to 2002. It was the light at the end of the tunnel and I knew I wouldn’t have to deal with him again, not for a while at least.

In between his birthday and Father’s day was the cause of our first falling out. I had decided to combine his birthday and Father’s day and he didn’t like that one bit. So much so that when I called him for his birthday he asked loudly where his present was. When I explained what I was going to do he explained his displeasure at that. So he wound up not getting anything and I didn’t speak to him for about a year until that time in 1991.

It’s sad, that looking back at my history with my father, all I can remember is the bad times, since there were so many as opposed to the good times. A few good times were had as a family when he wasn’t around, when we could be ourselves with our guards down. I remember while living with my father for those few months, going to the dry cleaners. My family had been going to Onyx Cleaners for years and when I went the woman behind the counter expressed her sorrow at my father passing away. The look on her face when I corrected her, telling her it was my mother that passed, said volumes.

He did his best I suppose and he did the bare minimum. And as bad as I think it was, there were certainly other families in my neighborhood that had it worse, and going through life, I have found that some friends had even worse fathers in general. It would have been nice to have a father to toss a ball with (my mother taught my brothers and I how to throw) or be supportive, but what can you do?

You don’t get to choose your parents, and they don’t get to choose you. Sometimes it’s win/win, sometimes it’s lose/lose and sometimes it’s win/lose. And sometimes it is a totally different thing. You have to move on.

02 No Thanks

I Like You So Much Better When You’re Naked

It’s been quite a beautiful day, no rain, sun shining, nice warm temperature and a cool breeze every now and then. I’ve been busy, up early, running around Hoboken. Bill was up way earlier than me, out before 6:00 this morning to make it to the gym. He’s lost quite a bit of weight and is looking very good. He gave the now customary kiss goodbye, telling me that I looked good as I lay there looking like crap. If that’s not love, then I don’t know what love is. Of course there is more to it than that, but it was a good line that I couldn’t pass up.

Last night before Bill went to bed so early, after watching Michael Eric Dyson filing in for Ed Shultz, we watched Purple Rain. Both of us had seen it before, and both of us loved it. It is truly a 1980’s movie. Prince was great, the Revolution was great and the Time stole the movie. No wonder Prince was so bothered by the fact that the Time stole the show opening up for Prince on the 1999 tour, that he had them playing off stage while Vanity 6 wound up opening.

I saw Prince & the Revolution on the Purple Rain tour. It was an Easter matinee out at the Nassau Coliseum and I went with Rand, his roommate Andrew, their neighbor Ken as well as Debbie Robinson who I worked with and the daughter of a woman that worked with my mom. Me and the guys all dipped into some lysergic and the girls didn’t know, especially since the daughter of the woman that worked with my mom had a police officer for a father. It was a great show from what I remember but what I really remember is the car ride back.

Instead of taking the Long Island Expressway we decided to take a more scenic route, taking he roads rather than the highway. The girls were oblivious and the driver was cautious, getting them home safely to Saddle Brook NJ, then heading to Hoboken where we stuffed ourselves with pizza at the pizzeria no one eats at anymore, then to Maxwells to continue our giggles through the night. Of course, being chemically enhanced all sense of time was distorted and though it seemed relatively early, it was actually pretty late, so much that we closed Maxwells and wound up at Rand & Andrew’s apartment across the street.

I saw Prince a few times since then, the last time being just a year or so ago, and before that in 1988 on the Lovesexy tour. I went the first time with Chaz and Kathe, having seats right above the floor. Great show once again, stage in the middle of the arena. Sheila E was playing drums at that time. It was such a good time I had to go again the next night. But I had no tickets. I did have a contact at Warner Brothers and was able to score one ticket.

The seat was all the way on top in the nosebleed section and after sitting where I was the night before, this location just wouldn’t do. Somehow I developed balls and since I was alone I decided to move. I would walk around the arena, each circle getting me closer to the floor. I would stand at the gate and watch the show until an usher would say I couldn’t stay there. Sometimes the usher would ask for my ticket and I would show them and they would point to the ceiling saying that was where I should be.

The show had an intermission and thanks to my persistent moving I wound up on the main floor in the hallway when people stretched their legs and whatnot. I ran into someone I knew who had floor seats, like 15th row from the stage and he told me to stay where I was as he headed back to his seat. A few minutes later he had a friend’s stub which got me on the floor when the second half started and since everyone was dancing and having a good time, no one was paying attention to their assigned seating.

It was a good time and a good show. No lysergic needed.
In between the Madison Square Garden shows was an early morning show at Roseland Ballroom. I certainly felt like I was tripping but I wasn’t that morning…

01 the beautiful ones

I Like What You’re Doing To Me

Another overcast day, productive though I would say. Laundry basically and a trip to the supermarket. That’s how my day has been. Haven’t played much guitar since Sunday’s event. And with the cloudy skies there really hasn’t been much of a reason to go out and play, especially if seems like it is going to rain. Perhaps when the weather improves I will be out there strumming again, with the guitar case open should anyone have any extra change they would like to get rid of. Until then, the guitar will stay where it is and I will likely stay where I am.

Last night was a very nice night. Bill came home and like a dutiful spouse I greeted him at the door with a kiss and a smile. It was great to have him home. He needed to get to bed early since he was distracted and has not been going to the gym as much as he had hoped to. We watched Michael Eric Dyson subbing for Ed Shultz on MSNBC and then after that I changed the channel to The Social Network. I had seen it before and recognized it for being a very good movie indeed, but felt that watching it more than once was enough.

Watching it for a second time I realized that it does bear a repeat viewing. Great script by Aaron Sorkin, great cast and of excellent direction by David Fincher. Jesse Eisenberg is great as a reasonable facsimile of Mark Zuckerberg. I still think that if a movie of Yo La Tengo is ever made, Eisenberg would be great as Ira Kaplan. And I mean that with utmost sincerity since I do consider Ira to be a friend, though I do not take his helpful dairy suggestions with much consideration.

I had a few texts with my brother Brian the other night. Brian wants to see the Feelies all of a sudden. He mentioned wanting to see them at Maxwells on June 29, but that is Bill’s birthday so it will be unlikely that I will be going that night. Unfortunately it might be the only night Brian is available since the following Saturday and Sunday are somewhat booked. I told him to remind me as the date approaches, maybe I could work something out. I wouldn’t mind seeing Stan or Andy at the show, and perhaps they can put Brian on the list, with a plus one.

Brian never expressed any interest in the Feelies before so it did strike me as odd. In any event it would be good to see Brian again and hang out at a show for a few hours. I know I’ll be seeing enough of him in July when Annemarie arrives. Apparently there is a lot of interest in joining Annemarie and myself for our escapes down the shore. It’s fine by me, and I am sure it is fine by Annemarie. I am certainly looking forward to just sitting under an umbrella on the beach and staring out at the ocean, which is one of my favorite things to do in the world actually. And though you can see New York City from the beach, I am sure there won’t be any of that queasiness like previous years when looking in that direction.

I do occasionally think of some customers that I used to have at the cigar shack, I wonder how they’re doing. Despite the strife there were a few guys that I enjoyed interacting with, sitting in the man cave and chatting with them as I counted the money, or just taking a load off of my feet for a few minutes. Whether or not I ever hear from them, or even see them again remains to be seen. I know I won’t be setting foot in the cigar shack ever again, but I wouldn’t be averse to meeting up somewhere for a cigar and a chat.


another day in Hoboken

13 Crazy (Original)
01 I Got A Man

I Like What You Say

It’s been raining all day. And of course I had a job interview today. I sometimes take that as a good sign since I once had an interview that took place on the day of a monsoon and it went very well back then so I think it has to be good luck. It wasn’t monsoon like at all but it was certainly a steady rain. It was at 3:00 this afternoon so I was able to take my time. There was a five page application which I needed to print out and complete which was no problem at all and gave me something to do for 5 minutes.

Then it was donning a suit for the first time since May 23. I planned on leaving the apartment around 1:30 and since the interview was across the street from my former employer of McMann and Tate I was planning on taking the Path train in. I headed out with an umbrella and walked to the Path train. I would have taken a bus to the train but a bus did not show up until I was a block from the station. I sat on the Path train and noticed that I was going to be quite early.

If it weren’t raining out I would have found somewhere to go, something to do to kill some time before heading into the interview, but since the weather was what it was I decided to ride the Path rain to the end of the line and staying inside where it was dry and air conditioned and ride the train back to 9th Street. It was a very good idea and once I got back to the street the rain was coming down quite hard. I headed down 6th Avenue and took my time as I was still quite early.

I had a quick chat with a canvasser for the ACLU. I explained to the young woman that I fully support the ACLU and that since I live in NJ I also support the NJCLU. She wanted to talk and try to get some money from me, so earnest and cheerful she was, but I begged off telling her that I was unemployed and off to an interview. As soon as I said that she said ‘OK bye’ and looked for her next target. I continued on my way and stood under the marquee by the IFC Center which used to be the Waverly Theater.

I chatted with Bill for a minute or two on the phone before going into a newsstand where I got the latest Mojo and Uncut magazines. No matter what I was going to do I was going to be early, but these little stops ate at the clock enough that I would only be 15 minutes early which I thought was better than 30 minutes early. I rode the elevator to the 11th floor where there was no one in reception, so I just stood there until they showed up.

I explained who I was there to see and told to have a seat. I sat on a couch and watched the rain fall outside. Simone who was interviewing me arrived and we had a nice chat in a conference room, as I explained my resume. How that job got me to that job while Simone wrote on my resume with a lot of arrows going this way and that way and her shorthand explanations regarding what I was saying. It certainly went a lot better than I expected, especially since I had no expectations. This was a company I had interviewed with a few years ago and this one went a lot better.

This time I was on the 11th floor, last time was on the 10th floor in an area that looked a lot like something from Terry Gilliam’s Brazil. Simone told me she would contact me either way by next Tuesday and the entire process could take place for about 4 weeks. So I think it went well. Of course there are dozens of other people she was seeing so my hopes aren’t that high. In the meantime I will just read Mojo and Uncut, and perhaps finish Retromania by Simon Reynolds before it has to be back at the bibliothèque.

Outside My Window

I Like To Rock

Today has been a rather ho-hum kind of day. After yesterday’s events, the Sounds of Hoboken, how could it not? Yesterday was a very good day, though my approach to it was filled with anxiety. Just the occasional fear of playing live in front of people who are there to see live music. It’s different from me just strumming on a bench with people walking by. This was something that was rehearsed for a few hours, taking the simplest route with the easiest chords, and familiar enough to know the words to various songs. Still, with all that preparation, it was butterflies in the stomach.

I had butterflies, or maybe caterpillars that turned into butterflies for a few days previous to yesterday. I practiced for a few hours with Rand on Saturday and it went well, whittling down the song list and trying to harmonize. It went well and with Bill at the second day of his 30th high school reunion I just sat at home watched TV and practiced some more. Bill came home, so happy. He truly enjoyed his opportunity to look at his past and to see how far he had come since 1982. He’d accomplished quite a bit.

We sat and talked into the early morning, he had so many tales to tell of going back to his old school and meeting students that are taking the same routes that Bill took when he was a teenager. IT was obviously a momentous occasion and I was more than happy to listen to him talk rather than think about playing guitar and singing with Rand the following afternoon. He soon went to bed and I stayed up a little while longer watching TV and continuing to practice on the guitar. Soon I was fast asleep next to Bill in our bed.

The next morning I was up and getting around, Bill had gotten up a little before me. I showered and shaved since I was scraggly. Art Hams were going on in the middle, after Trombolele- America’s Favorite Trombone/Ukulele combo, and before Stump Granny’s Violin, where a Teutonic Granny played songs on the violin and people will call out songs, and if Granny did not know the song, you would win a prize. I ran some errands after I had some breakfast and after a couple of hours, both Bill and I headed up to 14th Street in Hoboken.

Bill insisted on carrying my guitar and I wanted to walk up Washington Street to hopefully see some troubadours on the way. No troubadours were spotted but Bill and I did run into the lovely Meghan, one of my dearest and funniest friends. Her (our) daughter Lily had a set at the Guitar Bar Jr. at the same time Art Hams were going on so there was no chance that either of us could see the other playing. It was the same thing with a few other friends. They were playing somewhere else in town and it would have been impossible to see them play and be at the Garden Street Mews on time.

Meghan went her way and Bill and I ran into RoDa, Elly, their kids Logan and Autumn. We all ambled over to the Garden Street Mews where Lois was with Rand and Lisa. The people before us had a tent set up and were headed out taking their tent. There was no definite space to play and I suggested somewhere further from the street but no one else seemed to think it was a good idea, so we compromised and settled on being in the middle, where people can sit and watch.

Trombolele went on and were pretty funny. Amused in the mews. Some familiar faces showed up, some stayed for a few songs and some stayed for the whole shebang. Rand took off his Tyrolean hat but kept his pseudohosen on. We started with the B-52’s Dirty Back Road which we seemed to be playing on. Rand’s guitar had gone out of tune so I basically played the most between the two of us, which was fine. All together we played a little over a half hour which was fine.

People liked us, Bill recorded it and took tons of snapshots. Stump Granny’s Violin went on next and Granny was a trip. Very funny and everyone left with smiles on their faces. We were all pretty hungry and it was decided that we should go to Maxwells for food and some beers. And it was good. A nice walk, taking Lois home first, then Rand & Lisa and finally me & Bill, feeling nice. Bill was proud of me and enjoyed the whole thing which was good to hear. We settled in for the night, watching the Tony Awards which were great, thanks to Neil Patrick Harris.

I stayed up and watched Mad Men at midnight before going to bed and having a strange dream about the cigar shack. Today has been hum drum, overcast and muggy. I walked around Hoboken for a while this afternoon, seeing a few friends who also played yesterday. Each chat opened up with ‘So how’d you do yesterday?’ Apparently it went well for everyone.

Trombolele- America's Favorite Trombone Ukulele Combo!

Art Hams


Bill and Lisa

Jurassic Garden in front of Granny's house

Back to Normal

02 Dirty Back Road

I Like Those People

Well tomorrow is Sunday, June 10. It is the day of the Sounds of Hoboken. I will be participating with Rand as the Art Hams. The first time we have played together in 25 years. It all started the day I bought a Fender acoustic guitar from Jim Mastro, back in the day when Jim Mastro worked at We Buy Guitars. I was quite the Bongos fan then and thought it extra special to buy a guitar from a Bongo. Fred Smith from Television worked alongside Jim back then but I got more of a thrill from Jim. Fred I found intimidating.

I was working at 1700 Broadway and after work my co-workers and I went to McGee’s Bar across the street where they had a guitarist playing songs. Somehow I was prodded into getting on stage and playing along badly to ‘Dirty Old Town’, written by Ewan MacColl and around that time, famously covered by the Pogues. I heard it dozens of times on the jukebox but when it came time to play, I froze and did not know the chords and could barely remember the words. Then for some reason I forsook the guitar and sang Patsy Cline’s ‘Walking After Midnight’, which I did know the words to.

After leaving McGee’s I caught the bus to Hoboken and stopped at Maxwells for a pint. I was joined by Rand and we sat at the bar and talked with Martha Griffin. Martha, when not bartending had plans on making a movie. The movie was about a local band in town, Gutbank who we were all friends with. Martha was going to need financing and someone had the idea of maybe having a benefit to get some money for Martha’s project. It was quite a nice little family at Maxwells then.

I’m pretty sure Rand volunteered us to play at the as yet unnamed benefit and we set about a few days later practicing some songs. Covers that our friends would know and not expect. A Sex Pistols/Kinks/Butthole Surfers medley was worked on as well as some Elvis Costello, Ringo Starr, the Clash, Patti Smith and the B-52’s. And we also played back up for one of the waiters singing Marty Robbins ‘El Paso’ to the head cook who was in drag. We were also joined by Mike Weinert, formerly of local band Antietam on the washboard and assorted percussion.

It went over well, well enough that we were asked to play the River City Fair, a precursor to the Hoboken Art & Music festival. Somewhere between Maxwells and the River City Fair, we lost Mike Weinert and gained John Hamilton from another local band, Tiny Lights. John was and still is a consummate guitarist and before the fair, joined us at Maxwells. Rand and I were having a few drinks while John suggested that we shouldn’t drink beforehand.

We figured what did he know, and kept drinking some before heading to the river. It turned out John was quite right about drinking beforehand since when we hit the stage, feeling drunk and in the sun we might have made fools of ourselves though most people didn’t notice and basically enjoyed our short set. Rand and I were ready to pack it in, John Hamilton married and moved on. Now he is a professor at Harvard and I am sure playing with the Art Hams did not make it to his CV.

Much to our surprise, we were once again asked to play a show, this time an AIDS benefit for the Hyacinth Foundation in Asbury Park. It was our first and only out of town gig and we were driven by our mutual friend Susan Sher. Another friend Carol, joined us for the ride. On the way down Susan said that since we were going to play we probably couldn’t smoke with her. She wasn’t talking tobacco and we said of course we could. We followed John Hamilton’s advice and did not drink but we sure smoked a lot. Smoked Art Hams I suppose.

It was an even more abbreviated show, we were on so early that no one was really paying attention to us, besides Susan and Carol and Mary Fallon who helped set the whole thing up. And it was over before we knew it. It was painless and no one complained and we were happy to have done our small bit for the Hyacinth Foundation.

Now 25 years later we are at it again. I’ve been practicing my guitar for the past couple of years, and have gotten a little better since those first strums. Rand and I have gotten together for a few hours the past week to run down some songs and practice. Some songs are easier than others to play and where I’ve been able to master a few chords, Rand has had some difficulty so on some songs he’ll be singing or doing somethings while I play the song alongside him.

It should be fun, we’re looking forward to it. Rand will be performing with Lois as part of the trombone and ukulele duo, Trombolele. They’re opening up the set and Art Hams will be followed by Stump Granny’s Violin, with Lois dressed as a Granny taking requests and if she can’t play the request, you (or someone) could win a prize. There should be pictures and or video so if you can’t make it, we can still terrify you, one way or another, weather permitting.

not an Art Ham

One Art Ham

the other Art Ham

02 Instant Karma!

I Like The Way She Do It

Somehow I was able to manage going to school and working part time. It was no big thing and I preferred work to school. In 1978 I could see the light at the end of the tunnel, I knew that I was not to be college bound. I was working in the college department and once summer school ended, I worked the month of August as much as possible while still listed as a part timer. I was pretty much straight edge in most senses of the term, no drugs, no drinking. But I was having sex and it was decidedly not ‘straight’

My parents had friends named Larry and Mary Jane. Larry did some work with the National Guard which had a base near where I lived. Near the National Guard base was a rest area on Route 80. The rest area was a short cut of sorts to get from my neighborhood to the local supermarket and the Two Guys department store. My friends and I didn’t think much about the rest area, it was just a place to walk through that ran parallel to Essex Street, situated next to a Nathan’s Hot Dogs stand. My friends and I did not notice much.

One night I overheard about how the National Guardsmen raided the rest area. It seemed that there was a lot of undesirables loitering there doing unnatural acts at night. Basically a bunch of closeted and not so closeted men would drive there and cruise each other, having sex in the bushes. So the National Guard came in and harassed or busted a few heads open, all in the name of decency. I didn’t pay much attention to the violent aspect of what was said but the thought of sex with men in the bushes stayed in my mind.

One night while alone at home, I did wander over there and saw some things and even participated in some action. I enjoyed it a lot and likened it to being in the sexual revolution. While my classmates at Paramus Catholic were busy trying to unhook bras or even trying to get their girlfriends to ‘just give it a little kiss’ down there, I was getting blown by their fathers, uncles and neighbors. I figured that if what I was warned about was so much fun, that a few other places must have some similar things to offer to a horned up teenage boy.

So whenever I had the chance, I would check out these places I was told to stay away from. The Garden State Plaza had a public restroom underneath the mall in the subterranean concourse, next to Bambergers. It was a goldmine of sorts. And there was a system set up to warn the men there doing things with other men to cool it, someone was approaching. It was a very hot scene and through a system of one guy being a lookout, informing another lookout, a glance to the guy constantly washing his hands and someone whistling, doors were shut, men left hurriedly and in under 60 seconds it was like nothing was going on, just the smell of musk and man scents lingering in the air.

One time while going there, I stumbled into the vice principal of Paramus Catholic enjoying himself in a stall. I don’t think he recognized me (he was also a councilman in a neighboring town) but I certainly recognized him. There were crackdowns on occasion, mall security would come in every now and then and clear everyone out. One time, a former neighbor was working as mall security and noticed me as part of the horned up group of men zipping up on the way out. I didn’t think much of him then, he was a bully and treated his wife and kids quite badly.

All this while juggling school and work. Living a double life at age 16.

Mr. Impatient

My Guy

21 My Guy

I Like The Way You Move- Outkast

I am pretty sure it was junior year of high school, when Sister Reginald told the class that we were there because we had to be there. Once we went to college, no one would be making us go to class. That rang a bell in my head. I am the type of person that if I don’t want to do something or go somewhere, then I won’t do it, or I won’t go there. ‘Why stay in college? Why go to night school? Gonna be different this time” was a line that floated through my head as I rode my bicycle with a tape deck in my arms. Yes I was somewhat coordinated at that point.

In between junior and senior year of high school, I had to go to summer school. I failed history which was odd since history was one of my favorite subjects. I had two friends in high school, Jim Carley and John Nesselt. Jim grew up in Harrington Park and Nesselt grew up in Glen Rock. Paramus Catholic is a regional high school so that meant I never saw them out of school. But the times we were together were genuine and fun.

Jim and I had Mr. Ward for our history teacher and Mr. Ward looked like Lou Costello from the Abbott & Costello cartoons. In between classes Jim and I would see Mr. Ward approaching and one of us would usually yell out ‘Hey Abbott!’ like they did in the cartoons. Mr. Ward eventually caught on and despite being a history teacher, was able to put 2 and 2 together, and flunked both Jim and myself meaning we would have to go to summer school. It was a drag but manageable. I don’t know what school Jim went to but I wound up going to Hackensack high school.

I would get up and get myself together and hitchhike along Essex Street, up the big hill. I almost always got a ride which dropped me off close to the school. There were a few other kids from Paramus Catholic in my class so I wasn’t a total stranger in a strange land. But these kids were the ‘bad’ kids and they didn’t know me that well and I didn’t know them that well. I did wind up in their favor by giving hem cigarettes which I had stolen from my mother. It was a bit like prison, using cigarettes to ‘buy’ protection.

After summer school I would either walk or take a bus to the HBJ warehouse and work most of the day. My parents had gone on vacation to Disney World, leaving my brother Brian and myself behind. Brian would probably not have gone to Disney World with our parents and my opportunity was taken away by Mr. Ward’s desire to teach Jim Carley and myself a lesson. I didn’t mind working through the summer and found myself really enjoying my work and my co-workers.

Nick Lattanzio and John Carroll hit it off and were constantly riffing on Odd Couple episodes, freezing me out since I was not as obsessive as they were. I wound up hanging out with people in other departments. People like Bill Wrice and Derry Pedovitch who worked in the Psych department a few feet over. They worked with Annie Carroll who was John Carroll’s sister, and they all worked for Carlos Baez who was some former junkie from the Bronx.

There was also Laszlo Papp who according to my mother used to be a nice boy, leaving the warehouse one Friday night and coming back to work on Monday with spiked hair and a swastika on his shirt. He wasn’t a Nazi, he just bought some Vivian Goldman stuff in the Village for shock value. And shocked he did. They couldn’t fire him, he was a good worker and a tough nut to crack.

I hung out with Laszlo occasionally, asking if he was going to the city over the weekend and I would give him some money to pick up some records for me if he had the chance. He usually did have the chance and on Mondays I’d meet up with him and get whatever was new and current. Soon I would be going with him on weekends and buying the records for myself.

I was enjoying work so much and also reading the textbooks that I would be shipping to college students around the country. My SAT scores were decent but I wasn’t encouraged to go to college. I wasn’t encouraged to do anything with my life. As far as I knew, financial aid would not be available to me since my parents made too much money. Not that we were rich, just thisclose to being over the cut off point.

I was “gonna be different this time”. I mean, I already was different, it’s just that no one besides me knew it at that point.

I got the mews

12 Life During Wartime

I Like The Way You Move- Earth Wind & Fire

I would attend Paramus Catholic high school until 2:30, and then catch a bus that would drop me off about 100 yards from the HBJ warehouse in Saddle Brook. A lot of the warehouse workers would leave at 4:15, and since I started at 3:00 I would generally stay until 6:00 or 7:15. It was a good job to start at, though it wasn’t the record department at Alexander’s like I wanted.

It was interesting to finally put faces to the names I heard growing up. And they were mainly correct in what they said about John Vasecik, Paul Lo Presti, and Larry Ioli. Lou Nagy was more ribald than I would have guessed, but he worked on the loading dock so his language was probably best suited for that area.

I was put to work with Nick Lattanzio, the last time I saw him he was in 4th grade and I was in 3rd grade. He was going to Lodi high school and set to graduate, whereas I was a junior and still had a year to go. He was a nice guy and we bummed cigarettes off each other.

Looking back, so many people smoked everywhere, including a book warehouse which could go up in flames due to an errant cigarette butt. The bosses moved about the warehouse in electric scooters, the big boss John Vasecik always had a cigar burning.

The job was basically to get an invoice and fill it and bring it down to the packing area. It seemed easy enough. Some school district needed 50 copies of Introduction to Psychology, some school needed 100 copies of Art Through the Ages, or Fortran Programming, or Elements of Film. Nick and I handled the smaller orders, John Carroll had a forklift and would get the larger orders. My time card was 19B which I duly signed on each invoice I brought to the packing line.

And almost every time, I would get called back. I had the wrong book, the wrong edition or more often than not, the wrong count. I am quite sure that it was because my mother was so well regarded that I did not get fired. I would work and then go home, have something to eat and then do 2 hours of homework.

2 hours of homework was my father’s idea. My grades were not that good and he felt having me sit at the dining room table for 2 hours should do the trick. Even if I had homework that could be done in 15 minutes, I would still have to sit there for an hour and 45 minutes.

I would generally get whatever homework done and then get a volume from the encyclopedia and copy whatever subject interested me the most, while my father who was losing his hearing would watch the television 20 feet from me with the volume as high as it would go.

This had been going on for a while, even when my brother Brian was still in high school. Occasionally my parents would go out, trusting me and Brian to sit at the table to do our studies. As soon as the car was out of the driveway and down the street the books were slammed shut and Brian and I would usually fight about what to watch on TV. This was probably one of the reasons why education did not work for me.

I just never really got the hang of education, from being horizontally dragged off the fence when it was time to start school at St. Francis de Sales grammar school up to Paramus Catholic high school, I was more than likely looking out the window and wanting to be anywhere rather than there in a classroom.

It wasn’t until years later, once I started getting guitar lessons from Mike Carlucci, that I realized one on one teaching worked best for me, but by then the train had left the station, or in my case, I missed the bus.

04 Revolution Earth

I Like The Way (The Kissing Game)

It’s a Tuesday! I have figured that out all on my own. It’s the third anniversary of my dismissal. Resumes are still going out but what with the piddling jobs information that came out last week, the pickings are slim indeed. The weather hasn’t been that great, looking like rain but not actually delivering on the threat. Time being what it is, fleeting- I spent some time walking along the waterfront, reading and hoping to see the space shuttle going by on a barge, en route to the USS Intrepid. No shuttle, no barge. Bill told me to keep an eye out and even with four eyes out, nothing turned up.

1978. I am turning 16. I decided to get a job at Alexander’s department store. They had a good record department and that’s where I wanted to be. My parents had a friend that worked at Alexander’s in Paramus and I figured that was my way in. One day I got off the school bus early and walked along Route 17, crossing Route 4 and found out where Kathy Ring was working. I got some paperwork from her, filled out an application and then headed home to wait for the call.

My mother got the call. Kathy Ring was calling and talked to my mother about me working at Alexander’s and when she hung up the phone with Kathy Ring, it was settled. I was not working at Alexander’s. I would be working for Harcourt Brace Jovanovich. Specifically in the warehouse that Harcourt Brace Jovanovich (HBJ) had in Saddle Brook, right next to my hometown, Lodi. My oldest brother Frank started working there in the late 1960’s and he in turn got my mother a job in the warehouse offices doing secretarial work as well as other invoice processing.

Frank eventually left HBJ and then my brother Brian worked in the warehouse, more than likely getting the position through my mother. I think Brian worked on the packing line, and Frank used to work on the loading dock. My mother and brothers would occasionally talk about work at the dinner table so I would hear the names John Vasecik, Paul LoPresti, Tony Grega, Larry Ioli, and Lou Nagy. The names meant nothing to me at the time and I just sat and ate and listen to them talk about what idiots these names seemed to be.

When Frank worked for the company in the late 1960’s it was Harcourt Brace and World. In 1970 William Jovanovich became chairman and renamed the company. Brian eventually left HBJ in the mid 1970’s and soon I came on board, thanks once again to the auspices of my mother. I had an interview with an older man who looked like Mr. Magoo and his name was Rudy. It was probably the easiest interview I’d ever had. I basically had the job and what was going on was a mere formality. Of course being 16 years old, I didn’t know that and showed the proper amount of respect and gratitude for the opportunity.

I started a few days later, assigned to the college department, with my supervisor, Dave Manzo. Dave’s right hand man was a chap named John Carroll and there was also Maria Scarano, a hobbit like woman who ran the light orders, sent off to be packed on the conveyor belt. The warehouse was fairly new, attached to the older warehouse where my brother’s had worked and had conveyor belts running down a ramp to the packing area.

I started the same day with someone I had known briefly a few years before. His family went to the same church as my family (sometimes), and his sisters were mainly in the same classes as my brothers and sister. His name was Nick Lattanzio and I thought he was one of the coolest people I had ever known. A couple of years earlier, Nick left my grammar school and started going to public grammar and high school before we met again, and his family were spoken of kindly in my house.

Mustached Dave Manzo with a pack of Newports in his Fruit of the Loom t-shirt pocket, showed us the ropes, where things are- where to pick up invoices in our individual boxes,how to use a hand truck, the organization of the stock on the floor etc. Maria Scarano scowled and John Carroll ate a lot of sunflower seeds and cracked wise on his forklift. I also met someone named Debbie Pless who was the sister of another one of the names I grew up hearing, Gary Pless. It was an overwhelming first day which probably lasted a few hours before it was time to go home.

My sister Annemarie picked me up in her Volkswagen, a Beatles marathon on the radio. As we turned off Mayhill Street onto Market, she told me she couldn’t believe I was working, that I was now 16 and working for Harcourt. To tell you the truth, I was having difficulty believing it myself.

Rainy Day – _John Riley_

I Like It Like That- Pete Rodriguez

I had difficulty sometimes knowing what day of the week it was while I was working retail with an erratic schedule. Now being out of work, all semblance of organized time has been thrown out the window. Well actually not 100% true. I can tell by the fewer amounts of people on the street or more often what is on TV. Nurse Jackie, The Big C and Mad Men were on last night so that makes it Sunday, dunnit? I wrote the first two lines last night and the rest just a few minutes ago. It’s been a lazy day after a night of some not very good sleep.

Looking at Saturday night’s entry, wow. I was quite drunk. Each word was a struggle and the fact that I was able to do it, albeit badly, has to say something. Not one of my best and better off ignored. I did have a good time and once I settled in at home I soon sobered up and eventually went to sleep. Waking up wasn’t so bad on Sunday. I slept in later than I expected, just as Bill was going to bed after returning from yet another drive to Atlantic City.

It was a fairly busy day, but each time I decided to go out and play the guitar by the river, (not actually busking since I am too intimidated to have an open guitar case in front of me) it looked like the skies were about to open up. And it did rain hard a couple of times. After an hour or two of that and with seeing the sun come out, I headed to the river and just played whatever songs I could figure out from memory. That meant Shame Shame Shame, All My Loving, Please Please Me, Kansas City/For You Blue and a variation of Take Me to the River.

Rand was practicing with Lois, the three of us will be playing together next Sunday as part of the Sounds of Hoboken thing. I had hoped to be playing around where I was strumming yesterday, but it seems we will be at the mews uptown around 14th Street. I think I am going on around 3:15 with Rand. Rand is also performing with Lois as Trombolele, and then Lois doing something called ‘Stump Granny’ where the object is to stump Granny (Lois) with song requests and win prizes or something.

I walked over to the river and set myself up and di what I did. The skies did ipen up and I was under a tree so I had some shelter. I also looked around for something better than some leaves on a tree, but after walking around to nowhere in particular I realized that my original spot was the best so I went back, opened an umbrella and waited it out for a few minutes. And I was right, the storm passed, leaving a rainbow over Manhattan. I could see about two thirds of the actual arc and a few minutes after that, a second rainbow appeared.

It was a nice sight to see and I played my guitar, wishing I knew the chords to She’s A Rainbow by the Rolling Stones. After an hour of strumming it was time to go home since darker clouds were gathering in the west.

I came home, Bill was off to a wedding that I was supposed to attend, but I requested the time off from the cigar shack and the RSVP was needed by a certain date which had passed by the time of my dismissal. So Bill took his dear friend Theresa who needed to go out and have a good time more than I did. They had a good time and sent me a nice video from the reception where they told me that they loved me and they were having a great time indeed.

It’s getting better all the time.

04 Getting Better

I Like It Like That- Hot Chelle Rae

Well it is a Saturday night and a bit early. I am a bit buzzed after spending time with Pedro and Connie in the Village. A few beers a few shots and once back in Hoboken and now I am at home for a spell. II am expected to go back out in a little while. I needed something to eat so now that’s worked out. Having written that, and being home it doesn’t seem likely that I will be going out again. Though that is the plan and a worthwhile plan at that, but with each word I write it seems unlikely.

I had made tentative plans to head out and meet up with Pedro this afternoon and when he did call I was still a little hesitant. Bit a plan is a plan and since I hadn’t seen Pedro in such a long time I couldn’t resist. Bill was up and about when I decided to head out. Bill came home and I was still asleep, not knowing what day it was I asked if he was going to work. He told me it was Saturday and yes he was going to work, after he had gotten some sleep.

So after getting his sleep, Bill was up and about and I was on my way out. Pedro and Connie were in Soho when I last was in contact with him so I figured that was where I would meet up. I walked to the Path train after saying goodbye to Bill and headed that way. A block away from the Path train he texted me asking where I was. I let him know that I would be there in about a half hour. And it turned out that I was in the city within 30 minutes, meeting Pedro at Christopher and Greenwich Streets.

A big hug and a kiss from Pedro and then a walk up Greenwich Street to a Tapas bar where Connie was waiting. More hugs and kisses before sitting down for a few beers and a couple of shots of chilled Patron. It wasn’t my choice but Pedro can be so persuasive. Connie being the designated driver passed. Catching up was done followed by tales untold, mainly what happened to my gig at the cigar shack. IT was time well spent with an invite to me to come up and visit Pedro and Connie for a midweek visit, which was fine by me.

We walked for a while after that and I was able to introduce Pedro to my friend Teo who sells his artwork on the street. Pedro liked what he saw but it was too small for what he envisioned and requested a piece by Teo that might be a bit larger than what was on display. It could be done and all it needs is Teo to get it together so that he might have a nice sale from his art work. I won’t make anything from this, just the satisfaction that two friends could get it together in a way that is beneficial for both parties.

Now I have written my 500 word allotment and I am more than comfortable to stay home and just chill out, let the alcohol buzz fade away.

I did intend to go out again and meet up at Hoboken Cigars once again, but I got held up in an online argument, me defending Bob Mould, Blow Off and bears in general. I must have made my point since the guy I was debating, the one who called me ‘bitch’, deleted his posts and left the Facebook group where this all took place. Still I was ready to go out again, but now having written that, and being home, I asked myself do I really want to go out again. The answer is no.

I am home, happy to be here and more than willing to stay in, which is what I am apparently doing.

Me & Pedro

He doesn't smoke, really.

Dave Alicea at Hoboken Cigars

Black Sheep – The Choice Is Yours