Monthly Archives: January 2013

I Smile

Just as I thought it would only be a temp job, it was just a temp job. I did have a sit down with Francois when I got in. The storm last night caused some leakage in the bathroom ceiling and that needed to be dealt with, so a call to the landlord was in order. Our next door neighbor on the fifth floor had a leak too. We figured it was some damage left over from Sandy, something was fixed and then the high winds and rain last night slightly undid what was fixed last year. It’s better now, but I guess we will wait until the next storm to find out.

So I got to the office an hour later than expected. I was able to get Francois’ attention and we did talk, mainly about what I wrote last night, about how I interviewed for a position and was offered an entirely different position. We both agreed that leaving now would be best before things get too involved. And I should not be so quick to say yes to anything that is offered to me. One doesn’t buy a pair of shoes if they don’t fit, at least I don’t.

It ended well enough I suppose, Francois and I hope to maintain our friendship and since I didn’t really meet anyone in the office, leaving was not a problem at all. I guess there was some static on Francois’ side, why hire someone who is more of an office support guy (jack of all trades) and train someone for sales when there are more qualified people to do the sales thing? With the storm last night and the leakage and the temp job finishing up the way it did I will be happy when this day, week, month is over.

The position I originally interviewed for and aced remains unfilled. Ultimately the decision fell to the owner of the company. Francois who was great mentioned off hand that his position is tenuous since who knows, the owner could decide that she’s tired of seeing Francois and could terminate his position at any time. That would be too bad since Francois had proven himself to be a stand up gent and quite a professional. But that is the nature of the beast and I left today knowing that Francois would still be friends despite the past 48 hours.

Meanwhile the ceiling seems to be mended which is very good. The temperature has dropped considerably in the past few hours and it’s still quite windy. I just got in after picking up Bill’s laundry and a stop at the really getting on my nerves supermarket. I guess they realized that their competition will be opening within a fortnight and decided to ramp up the attitude as well as the prices. Friday is a sale day and already they have taken the tags off this past week’s on sale items which can cause confusion, or at least it usually confuses me.

And Bill has been stellar the past few days. Good things coming up ahead.
Strange dream last night. It took place back in Lodi or parts of Lodi that I was not familiar with since it was the other side of town from where I grew up. I ran into Declan an old friend from Maxwells. We had a good talk, joined by Bill and my former roommate William. I mentioned I had to walk to the supermarket and they joined me, walking past places I had never been before.

We lost Bill on the way and William and Declan sidestepped a freshly made spider web. I got entangled and freaked out, pouring butane over my jeans. Then I lost them both and walked down some streets to the supermarket which was just closed due to some incident inside.

I walked around and found my shoes were gone. William rode up on his bicycle with some native artifacts he just purchased. I walked around some more, looking at a house that might also be a bar and I kept walking not paying attention to where I was going and came thisclose to walking into a column on a porch.

I made it back to Bill and still could not find my shoes. I had no idea how I lost them since I never took them off. William showed up again with shoes that weren’t mine. I saw Bill’s Doc Martins and was stepping into them which were quite big, too big.

Then Bill got a phone call and he was very upset since Digberto died. I asked who Digberto was but did not find out if he was a relative since the dream ended.

It seemed the dream was riddled with symbolism.

I watched The Kids Are Alright the other night. Every time I saw it listed in the guide I think it’s the movie about the Who from the late 1970’s. So I finally sat and watched it and it was pretty good. Julianne Moore, Annette Bening and Mark Ruffalo were very good. It had songs by Bowie and MGMT and some talk about Joni Mitchell, but nothing at all by the Who. Annette Bening should have gotten the Academy Award that year.

Last night I watched Grace of My Heart which is good but slight. I remember meeting the director Allison Anders when she visited Right Track Recording when Burt Bacharach and Elvis Costello recorded God Give Me Strength for the soundtrack. She was nice and I think I might have met Ileana Douglas at the time as well. Having read Carole King’s memoir I could see certain resemblances.

Reading about it on Wikipedia afterwards I read Joni Mitchell wrote a song for it, sung by someone else and produced by Joni’s ex-husband Larry Klein. And some songs were written by Gerry Goffin and his daughter with Carole King, Louise. I definitely remember meeting Carole King when James Taylor was recording and she was super nice. I had seen Louise perform a few nights before and mentioned it to Carole who was beaming and so proud of her daughter.

And I did ask Bill if he knew anyone named Digberto and he didn’t.

07 Shaktar Donetsk

I Smell A Rat

It has been day two and it went fine I suppose. I didn’t do much of anything except some research on reselling DVD’s which was to no set purpose. Basically the DVD’s I was looking into reselling are business training DVD’s. Not much of an audience for that type of viewing. Resellers are more interested in entertainment, Hollywood movies, not IT project manager videos. But I did what was asked of me which was basically looking at websites for mostly disreputable companies. And not one of them was interested in any non-entertainment DVD’s regarding how to be a better project manager.

I also sat and looked at videos on the DVDs and an online catalog of the programs and classes that this company has to offer. Last week I looked at the hard copy catalog, for the past two days I looked at the catalog online. The office hummed all around me, but no one really talks to me. I overheard some talk about a pool for the Super Bowl, but I wasn’t asked to join which is a good thing since I don’t care for football and I especially don’t care for the Super Bowl. I don’t even know who is playing this year actually.

I also changed the bottle of water in the kitchen twice. I came in this morning and after I filled my bottle of water I noticed it was empty. I did not want to hear how that new guy did not change the bottle of water so I did it myself. I’ve been drinking a lot of water at this job and later in the afternoon I refilled my bottle once more. And once more, the bottle was empty. So I did the whole thing over again and when I was done I noticed a guy standing there.

He thanked me for changing the bottle of water and I joked, ‘Jump in, the water’s warm’. I didn’t stick around to see if he got the joke or thought I was just that new guy who says the strangest things. After that it was back to looking at descriptions of what is offered to the up and coming project manager and videos. And I fell off the wagon, smoking cigarettes again. I know, I know. I don’t like it like I used to and I don’t think it will last. I did sneak out for a quick puff and smoked so fast I was really buzzed from it.

I emailed the person who asked me to research the reselling of the DVD’s. I wrote the email this morning once I was done with the research but didn’t send it until this afternoon. An hour later I walked by their desk and asked them if they had gotten my email. They asked when I sent it and I told them about an hour ago. They checked their email queue and there it was, unread. And still unread as far as I knew when I left the office for the day.

I came home and there was Bill willing to lend an ear and a hug. I needed both. I explained a lot more than I wrote here and Bill suggested that I talk to someone about it tomorrow. The line I could sell ‘Ice cubes to an Eskimo’ was something I brought up during the second interview. You see, I did have two (three actually) interviews last week. For the same company.

The first interview was on the phone and went really well. It was for a support position and it set me up for the second interview. The second interview did not go so well and it was for the person I was hoping to support. During the interview my sales experience came up and that is when I brought up the Eskimo thing. I should have mentioned that yes, I could sell ice cubes to an Eskimo, if ice cubes were cigars. But they’re not and I find myself looking at an online catalog. I like cigars, been smoking them for a couple of decades so I know my stuff.

That set the antenna on the second interviewer and then I met this afternoon’s email recipient. And that interview went well and they thought ‘Sales! This guy is a salesman!’ I should have inserted the caveat that it would have to be something I am interested in and doing for about 25 years.

This is a temp to perm job, but I think it is just a temp job. I am grateful to Francois.
Cheese and Onions

I Sing the Body Electric

Well I just got home from the first day of a temp to perm assignment. I duly bought some Lilt and permed my hair over the weekend. It’s not bad but there is that Chia resemblance I was really hoping to avoid. The first day of the assignment was of course preceded by a day full of anxiety. Things got better after an Alprazolam. I don’t take them often, just when I am freaking out which you might be surprised to read, does not happen that often. And the hug from Bill last night certainly helped, and I am glad I asked for it.

I went to bed earlier than usual and I slept soundly thanks to the Alprazolam. I woke up with Bill kissing me good bye, so happy to see that I had something real to go to. The cigar shop antics were really pissing him off, so much so that he swore he would never set foot in there again. I slept some more after Bill headed off in the early morning light before the voice in the back of my mind and the alarm clock did another duet of ‘Get the Fuck out of Bed Now!’

I shuffled along, made some coffee and stepped into the shower. A shave after that, some coffee and cereal and there was also a sandwich to be made for lunch. Then I got my clothes together, a suit and tie combo and headed out. It had been a while since I waited for the bus in the morning and to my surprise found an orderly line. And it being so early, there were plenty of buses to ride. But the driver named Chief was nowhere to be around. I found a seat on the bus and hoped to sleep but that wasn’t going to happen.

I was due to be in the office at 8:30 and of course I was there at 8:28. Not many people were in and I was set up in a cubicle and I waited. Francois was the one I was waiting for. I was still fuzzy with the Alprazolam which turned out to be a good thing since the anxiety was nonexistent. Francois made it in, and handed me some paperwork to fill out. I do like Francois, he’s a nice guy and a friend of a friend which made it that much more special.

Basically I spent the day looking at a computer learning package all day, and taking notes on various aspects of it. I worked alongside two nice guys David and Graham. They mainly kept to themselves but were handy to have around if and when I had some questions. I also drank a lot of water today. For lunch I ate my sandwich and went for a walk around what used to be my area from the Wanker Banker days. Most of the spots where I could get a cheap meal have been replaced by rug sellers and housewares stores. I walked along looking into windows.

After work, I walked the same route that I used to take to the Path train. I enjoyed a cigar as I walked and listened to a David Bowie playlist. As I crossed Vanderbilt and 42nd Street a woman tapped me on the shoulder. I took out the ear buds to hear her say how much she enjoyed the smell of my cigar and that it reminded her of her father. I said I was glad to provide a good memory and wished her a good night. She wished me the same and was on her way.
It Don’t Come Easy

I Should Have Known It

Today is just an ugly day. It started out cold with snow, then cold with damp and now cold with rain. I was outside exactly one time, no need to go out again. IT’s been an antsy day, watching the laundry dry on the racks, not letting it pile up into a mountain, but instead having a little hill instead, which was much easier to manage. And the weather suits my state of mind. All my outdoor activities were a trip to the bibliothèque, to the dry cleaners to drop off hangers and the supermarket where people were generally inconsiderate and vacant. I did run into people I know, which was good.

It was the times when no one was around that I found myself muttering under my breath as I walked the streets. No more texts from Shlomo and his gang of cigar store Zionists. It was nice of Israel to give me that can of kerosene and a box of wooden matches that night at the bridge. The bibliothèque was quite a shelter for those coming in from the rain and snow and cold. From there it was to drop off the coat hangers and then to the supermarket which with each passing day gets more annoyingly mismanaged.

Last night Bill came home after spending the day with his mother. She’s not doing so well and Bill tries to go see her every chance he gets. Since he only drove the bus on Friday, he was free on Saturday and Sunday. Saturday we watched Lincoln and Sunday he watched his mother. I was out and about for a little while yesterday but mainly stayed indoors. Bill came home in time to watch an awards program that he voted in and of course every time someone he voted for won, a cheerful yell was heard in the apartment.

He went to bed soon after that, around 10:00 and I of course stayed up watching the news before I too went to bed. Slept soundly I think and woke up with anxiousness in my mind. With each passing minute the anxiety made itself known and that is why muttering under my breath when outside seemed to help, and I was able to control it when talking to friends that I saw. It was those moments alone when the butterflies in my stomach made their presence known in my gut and in my mind which I sometimes confuse.

I’m sure everything will be alright, can’t do nothing about the past and tomorrow isn’t here yet and I am sure there are things I can better fill the present with than anxiety. Bill just came home and I can focus on him instead. I have Kindle on my tablet and finished reading Diane Keaton’s memoir, titled Then Again. It’s about Diane Keaton and it’s also about her mother, going through her mother’s papers and writing after she had passed away. It was a good read and if you like Diane Keaton you will probably like it a lot.

I did use Google Analytics again. It’s been awhile and I was able to see that one person from Bayside was online reading stories that seemed to involved a certain friend of mine from the recording studio days. It was addictive as I read what they were reading for a few minutes and tried to figure out what it was they were looking for. I enjoyed it, for a few minutes I watching someone else read what I wrote. Sort of like looking over their shoulder as they read. And when they stopped reading, so did I.

I Should Have Known Better- Wire

It is 26 degrees out right now, and it feels like springtime. Only it’s dark out, the sun set a few hours ago. There is a full moon though. It’s the rare occasion that Bill is home on a Saturday night and I can attest to this since he is merely two feet away from me as I write this. Most of the day was spent indoors, save for a quick trip to the nearby supermarket. A sale on a certain item made sure that my usual budget of keeping it under $30.00 would fall by the wayside. And it did. Who knew that Muselix would be so expensive? I should have stayed with the Super Sugar Pops.

Last night Bill was out working. A bus was involved and it was all official but instead of driving to Atlantic City, he was cast as a bus driving extra on Lawn hors d’œuvre SUV. Of course he was quite happy and thrilled to be part of that and I was happy that he was happy. Win win basically. I stayed home as usual and since it was snowing played the role of DJ or VJ or Va Jay Jay, posting songs on Facebook that had something to do with snow, cold or freezing.

Quite a few friends seemed to enjoy it, it know I had fun finding the songs and posting them. I did make a mental note to make a video for a song by the Fall which I can’t seem to find on YouTube. Once that ended and after watching Bill Maher, I watched New York Stories which I hadn’t seen since I saw it in the cinema when it first came out. It’s the 3 films in one, one by Martin Scorsese, one by Francis Ford Coppola and one by Woody Allen. And I felt the same last night that I felt in the late 1980’s.

The Scorsese one was good and every time I hear A Whiter Shade of Pale I think of that part of the movie. It gets played often enough. The Coppola one was a bore and the Woody Allen one was the best one, it’s slight but compared to the other two parts it was the most entertaining. I fell asleep after that and did not wake up until Bill returned this morning. I slept much later than I expected to. Then it was the trip to the supermarket. It’s been that kind of a day.

Since Bill was home, once he woke up we watched the screener of Lincoln, courtesy of the Film Actors Group. I was hesitant at first but settled in. It was incredible. Sally Field was great. Tony Kushner’s screenplay was great as was Steven Spielberg’s directing. But overall Daniel Day Lewis was incredible as Abraham Lincoln. I read a lot about Lincoln when growing up so I sort of knew where things were going with regards to certain dates, which gave me some insight. It was so well done, with certain moments leaving both Bill and myself a little bit choked up. We hope it wins all the awards.

Full moon

Full moon

Drowning In The Sea Of Love

I Should Have Known Better- The Beatles

Well here I am a day later. Last night I was on fire, I wrote over 1,800 words, which technically would allow me to take off today and tomorrow since the quota is at least 500 words. But here I am again. I heard from Brandon who hoped I would visit the shop occasionally. I wished him luck with his future endeavors in the behavioral sciences division of Hartz Mountain. Coming from where he is now, it should be a walk in the park. Never heard from Israel again which is fine by me. I talked to someone who knows him and she agreed that he is a big mouthed idiot.

Harpy called last night and I have to say, talking to him on the phone made me feel like Hillary Clinton testifying the other day in Congress. This time I did express my hope that any comments he would have should be directed to the comment box below. He is the only commenter that has his own avatar. Annemarie and myself have avatars generated by Word Press, and speaking for myself, I don’t like it one bit, no sir. Harpy did have some valid points and I’ll try to correct one or two of them.

The cigar shop still exists. My helping them out in exchange for cigars no longer exists. The characters in the entries regarding the cigar shop are not Jewish. In fact I think they are Franciscans or quite possibly Dominicans. Definitely not Capuchin though. No fucking way would you find me working for those monks or monkeys. It was an interesting talk with Harpy. He suggested that the Dominicans always stick together. Or maybe he said Franciscans. He mentioned that living in his Franciscan neighborhood for 8 years he is still seen as an interloper.

And being a white guy he is the face of their changing neighborhood, a neighborhood that was once all filled with the same type of people from the same place. And before that it was filled with another type of people from another place. Harpy mentioned that he barely gets a ‘thank you’ for his daily purchases. Perhaps they are hoping that rudeness and a lack of courtesy would dissuade other white faces to move into those pre-war apartments in Washington Heights. “Oh we’re not moving there. People don’t cover their mouths when they cough. No thank you.”

I remembered in Weehawken, at Theresita Liquors around the block from where I lived the proprietor would be so happy to see me and chatty when I went in to buy my Guinness and once the transaction was completed, the shopkeeper would immediately stop talking to me before I even finished putting my money in my wallet. I was happy when he sold his business to Hector, a really nice and sexy guy.

Bill and I talked about what happened with the cigar shop and he could not understand how I could put up with the communication or lack thereof. It did give me something to write about, I replied. I told him what Harpy said about the Dominicans (or Franciscans) and I thought with some people with Caribbean backgrounds that I knew, they always seemed to have rotten things to say about Dominicans. I told Bill how I worked with a young woman who had a Puerto Rican background and how she joked to me that her and her friends always referred to Dominicans as ‘Dumb in a Can’. I told her that certain racist white groups would be happy to see such divisiveness among Latin people, divisiveness that would prevent them from ever achieving any progress and keep them ‘beneath’ white people.

I hoped she got my point, it was years ago and it should have sunken in by now. For today, I’m glad that in my life there won’t be any chest thumping 28 year old little big man trying to be an alpha male by virtue of a loud voice and closed mind.
Such a young age for such an old man.

PS- as a final severing of any connections with the cigar shop, I removed the Square app from my phone. I took it off a little while ago. You would think that having access to their bank accounts and charges being made at the cigar shop would be something to end right away. But no, they did not do a thing. With one last glance at purchases it was an easy removal and freed up space on my phone.

Cul-de-sacs is watching.

Tony Alamo and his christianist bullshit in the garbage bin.

Tony Alamo and his christianist bullshit in the garbage bin.


I Should Have Known

So my helping out the cigar shop is over. Well maybe it isn’t but I do have pride so basically it’s over. It was humorous. Brandon at the cigar shop called me last night and we talked about the situation. I surrendered my key on Tuesday night as Shlomo had instructed. It was actually Israel’s key, but since Shlomo is his partner I figured I should listen to Shlomo. Well Israel didn’t like the fact that I gave his partner Shlomo the key. Since I wasn’t going to be in on Wednesday as they would have liked, I thought the new guy, Moishe was going to need it anyhow.

Still it left me without knowing where I stood. Yesterday when I returned from New York City I stopped by the cigar shop. There was Moishe with a friend just sitting there. I asked for Shlomo and Moishe told me I just missed him by a half hour. I asked him if he was going to be working today since I usually help out on Thursday and Moishe said he was. So I walked away, figuring it was over. Brandon, being the one most capable of the incredibly rare skill of communicating, was who I called later on.

And Brandon claimed that he did not know anything. Where Moishe told me I just missed Shlomo, Brandon told me that Shlomo had flown to Tel Aviv at noon on Wednesday afternoon. Brandon said he would talk to Israel and Israel should call me later last night. I was up until 12:30, no phone call from Israel. Since there was no text from Shlomo, no phone call from Israel and nothing from Brandon (even less from Moishe) I was happy to sleep late until 9:00. Still bloody cold outside, I was also happy to stay in. It was better than sitting in a cigar shop wearing my coat and hat with very little heat like I did on Tuesday.

Despite the cold I did go outdoors and had a walk around Hoboken. A short volunteer trip at the bibliothèque and then I walked to the Guitar Bar and chatted with Mr. Wonderful Jim Mastro. I went to the post office for Jim and stopped by Hoboken Cigars located across the street from the post office. Some of the workers seemed to recognize me from helping out at the cigar shop, but I just stepped in and got a quick smoke before heading out. I took a photo of Hoboken Cigars and posted it to my Facebook page. A patron from Facebook said it was a great shop and I agreed.

Israel saw it and chimed in, ‘Enjoy it my friend’. I commented in return that I did while waiting for a phone call which never came. I walked up the street, past the cigar shop where to my surprise was Shlomo. He did not go to Tel Aviv after all. He motioned for me to come in but as I was smoking a cigar I dared not. After all just like there is no fighting in the war room, there is no smoking in the cigar shop. He came out in the cold and wanted to know what was going on.

I mentioned that I heard he was in Tel Aviv. He said he wasn’t- which to my untrained eye, seemed obvious. He asked if Israel called me and I said he hadn’t. He didn’t know what to say. I did not mention that on the phone call last night Brandon sort of offered me the night shift and weekends to help out. I told him I would think about it but with the lack of communication that they have shown, it seemed doubtful. It’s too bad since Brandon is a nice guy.

After talking with Shlomo on the street, I came home after running errands, made dinner and after that the phone rang. It was Israel. He seemed upset. He asked what was going on and I proceeded to let him know. How nonexistent communication causes problems and obviously there are problems since no one communicates. I pointed out the example of a week or so ago, they called me in and I went, thinking it was the usual 9 to 5 thing. It was the rare occasion that Shlomo, Israel and Brandon were in the same room, plus a roller. They were off to a wedding expo.

Cigar rollers are a thing that goes on at receptions these days. They got their stuff together and left. At 5:00 I texted Brandon asking what was going on. He responded they were at the wedding expo and would be there for a few more hours. I was upset which I think would be understandable. No one said when they would be back, and perhaps I was foolish to think they’d be back at 5:00 or maybe 6:00. I also mentioned that their filing system looks like it was created by Helen Keller to which Israel suggested that I work for Helen Keller then. I had to tell him Helen Keller was dead.

I explained that all I wanted them to do was buy an accordion file and I would index and file all their paperwork and invoices. This was something I suggested to Shlomo several times and was ignored just as many times. I thought about getting them one for Hanukah but figured that they would be better off doing it themselves. Give a man a fish and he’ll eat for a day, teach that man how to fish and he’ll eat for a lifetime, unless he doesn’t like fish.

It started getting heated. Israel seems to be a bully and had no problem interrupting me as I spoke but if I interrupted him, then he would be greatly upset. Apparently he is quite used to getting his way. How very Netanyahu. It ended with me wishing him good luck, hoping nothing happened with the cigar shop, which being a Zionist- took it as a threat when there was no threat. I explained that I’ve been in Hoboken for 30 years. I know the people, I have a pretty good idea how they act and I also know people in city hall. He took that as a threat as well.

He went off about how he found out I was smoking in the store, when I wasn’t. I explained that I was the one, out of Shlomo and Brandon and myself- that did not smoke in the store. But he got a phone call that said I did smoke in the store and I remember that day very well. It was a few weeks ago, Brandon was in when I came in, just passing through. A salesman stopped by and blessed the store with some new cigars and so I clipped one so I could smoke it later.

But someone walking by saw me with the unlit cigar in my hand or in my mouth so therefore even though it was not lit, it was said I was smoking. Israel took the word of strangers over someone who handles his money, his stock and his store itself. I showed loyalty to someone who had no loyalty to me. If I was a thief there were plenty of opportunities for me to clean them out. But I am not a thief, I’m a good guy. It is basically his loss overall.

Believe me, I can do damage. But I won’t do damage. It is not my style, and it’s wrong. I’m not that vindictive.

So the cigar shop is over, with Israel saying that he was not letting me go, that it seems to have been my choice. He also said that he heard that I had gone on an interview and that I would leave them in the lurch should I get a real job. That wouldn’t be me. In fact during that interview, the cigar shop was discussed and the interviewer mentioned that it would be alright if I would have to give the cigar shop two weeks notice, which is what I would have done. Israel said that he had gotten burned like that before and just knew I would do the same thing since I am just like those other people. And I did not bring up the contraband, for which Bill thinks would be a good reason not to be there should the state department visit and ask about certain Habanos.

An hour later-
I just got back from the cigar shop, picking up my barter for the two days I did work this week. Shlomo and Brandon were there. Shlomo commented about how bad Israel is with communicating and I wasn’t about to let Shlomo off the hook. I told him he is even worse than Israel with communication, how I could be working with him for an hour, then all of a sudden he just gets up and walks away, not to be seen for hours or until the next day, at least not by me.

I told them how Shlomo and Moishe sat there on Tuesday for 7 hours in the basement smoking and not saying anything to me. No ‘John this is Moishe, he’ll be helping us out.’ I shut Shlomo down with this, calling him on his own hypocrisy. Shlomo did mention that both Israel and Brandon would be leaving the cigar shop, onto other things and Brandon didn’t disagree. I told them I doubted that I would be going back there again and they hoped that wasn’t the case, that they might still need me from time to time.

I explained that I do have pride and after dealing with that Zionist hoodlum himself, Israel, I couldn’t really see myself working for him again. They both replied, ‘Oh but he’s never around and not going to be.’ I wonder if Israel knew about that. If he did why would he be so upset when he had his quite irate phone call earlier with me. I figure if someone was leaving a company or business, they would more than likely not give a shit. Or perhaps it’s just that miscommunication is better than no communication at all.

A subtle memory- The only person who I mentioned the interview to at the cigar shop was Brandon. It was after the fact and I told him in passing. I was taken aback when Israel brought up the interview and told both Brandon and Shlomo outside the shop how surprised to hear Israel mention it. Shlomo was as usual dumbfounded and Brandon was immediately in denial, and suggested that it was Shlomo. I pointed at Shlomo while talking to Brandon and said “Shlomo didn’t know. You were the only one that I told.”

Those lights

Those lights

I walked home feeling like George Costanza.
Army of Me

I Should Be So Lucky

It is still cold out in case you were wondering. It felt colder yesterday but I think numbers wise, meaning degrees wise, it was colder today. I was out and abut today, no helping out Shlomo. I told Shlomo, Israel and Brandon last week that I would not be able to help out today, having things to do. Israel and Brandon replied with an ‘OK’. Shlomo said he did not get the text. I did tell him last week in person as well as yesterday and he pleaded ignorance. For someone who claims to be an engineer from Tel Aviv he can be quite dumb.

Not that being an engineer instantly confers intelligence. I am sure there are a few engineers who can design a door knob, but actually turning a door knob is a whole different story for that set. So today I had to Varick Street, down the street from McMann and Tate as well as Wolff Olins. I don’t think I know anyone there anymore and I got more of a thrill walking past the former Paradise Garage than I did from walking outside of Karl Heiselman’s place of employment. It was cold it was best that I keep moving.

It was a meeting and I being me, was early by 15 minutes. That’s the way to do it. If you’re not early, then you’re late. The meeting was at 10:30 and we were sent to a conference room, about 5 of us. Then more and more people started trickling in and the woman who was organizing the meeting said they would wait 15 minutes for people who were running late. It was an employment meeting by the way at an agency. I figure if you can’t get there on time, what chance will you have getting a job if you are late?

It was a meeting, neither good nor bad. It was a chance to get in from the cold so that was good. After about an hour, we waited for individual counselors to counsel us on getting a job. My counselor, Santiago Ortiz was a good guy and impressed with my notes and resume. Nothing for him to educate me on, and he agreed after I told him I used to work for a staffing agency and have seen what a bad resume looks like. I almost told him about Kevin McBean and his pathetic resume.

Kevin McBean appeared one day when I was at Right Track Recording. Just came in off the street looking for work with a resume which looked like it was typed on tissue paper. There was no hiring going on, but still I took pity on him and revamped his resume and made it look quite good. Kevin McBean was grateful and we became friends until I told him how I met this great guy (Bill) who gave me a ring. After basically coming out to Kevin in the most positive way, Kevin made a hasty exit and was never seen again.

Kevin McBean could be roaming the streets of Williamsburg for all I know or care.

I should be so locky.

I should be so locky.

Is it safe?

Is it safe?

Hong Kong Garden

I Should Be Allowed to Think

It is fucking cold out today. I know its January and this is how it’s supposed to be. It was 19 degrees most of the day, perhaps hitting 22 degrees which actually felt nice. Then the wind blows in off of the river and there is nothing you can do but quicken your pace. Now it is 18 degrees and I am not going out again. And like when it is very hot outside and the brain fries and poor decisions and answers are forthcoming, it’s very much the same when it’s below freezing. No time to talk, just get the hell out of my way. I decided not to go to the supermarket and picked up some Chinese food.

I rarely eat Chinese food, but I know it’s a hot meal and at a good price. Of course I got the chicken and broccoli and forgot to request brown rice until it was too late. So white it is, or was. I hurried on home and found neighbor Frank from the second floor moving recyclables. They had really piled up and it seems like our handyman Robert is missing or not doing that job anymore. I helped Frank as much as I could and wound up putting my dinner in with the recyclables.

It took a second or two before I realized I was not holding my food anymore. Like I wrote, it’s so cold that I can’t think straight (though I never really could anyhow). I found my food and after moving and kicking a few things to the curb I bid Frank a good night and climbed the stairs to the fifth floor. It was dark in the apartment, Bill is not home yet. I got the layers of clothes off and put the food in a bowl once I got settled in. And then I promptly devoured the chicken and broccoli and white rice.

The day was spent at the cigar shop. I was running low on cigars and Shlomo did ask yesterday if I could come in for a little while. I had no problem with that, but did not anticipate sitting in the cigar shop next to a mostly ineffective space heater and still wearing my coat, over a suit jacket, over a turtleneck sweater. Shlomo was there as well, spending most of the day in the cellar with a shady guy named Moishe. He had two eyes by the way, though an eye patch would have made a difference somehow.

I chatted with Juan online. He’s going to a wedding with his boyfriend and was asking questions about these trousers going with that jacket. I did what I could and tried to steer him in the right direction. I think it worked. He wants to look nice, it’s his roommate’s brother’s wedding. I finally got myself a haircut from my barber Tony. I did that last night. Glad I did though I asked for a trim and he went way beyond a trim. I really felt the lack of hair today whenever the wind would blow in my direction.
1.22.2013 Hoboken Sky 001
1.22.2013 Hoboken Sky 002
Time Is On My Side

I Shot The Sheriff- Bob Marley & the Wailers

Monday Monday, can’t trust that day. And you know what? You really can’t. Monday’s are nothing but trouble. Unless you have Monday off, then it’s perfectly alright. Today I find myself at the cigar shop. Another urgent text from Shlomo, begging me to come in and sit for a few hours. I don’t mind. He worked all weekend, including hanging out with that football player who shot himself in the leg a few years ago at a New York City nightclub. No gunshots were fired or heard so I guess it went well, and there was no chalk mark’s outlining a body either.

It’s a federal holiday for Martin Luther King’s birthday and today is also the second inauguration of President Barack Hussein Obama. The reich wing GOP did their best to make sure Obama would be a one term president, they stated that as their game plan in 2008 and with that they failed spectacularly. What might be egg covered their faces, but with their greasy hands it could be something wholly other than egg. In fact sometimes it’s paired with an occasional egg and the product of that joining proves to be quite a fetish for that GOP.

I think the first inauguration that I paid attention to was in 1993, with Bill Clinton being sworn in and Maya Angelou saying her inaugural poem. I was working with a woman named Terry Eigenlaub at Skyline Studios, she was the bookkeeper and I was going through the files in the lounge outside of Terry’s office as Maya Angelou’s poetic voice filled the room as Terry yammered on in her office. Maya Angelou’s poem certainly struck a chord and is memorable decades later, more memorable than whatever it was that Terry was complaining about that cold January morning in 1993.

I don’t remember much about the next inauguration in 1997. I might have been working at Right Track Recording and dealing with Eric Andrew Simmons and he was none too pleased with a democratic president being re elected. I do remember Eric Andrew Simmons being thrilled that Newt Gingrich and his ‘contract with America’ was passed some time later, with Eric Andrews Simmons sporting wood to go with his hair plugs and pregnant lactating women porn. I do have to wonder whatever happened to that rat dog he grew tired of and abandoned, Sammy I think it’s name was.

Of course there was no celebrating George Bush’s inauguration. Not at all. Best forgotten, that. In 2009 when Obama was being sworn in, I was working at the BIO-IB gig. It was an exciting time and let the people in the office that I would be out of the office, watching the swearing in on a big screen in Rockefeller Center. I bought a couple of cigars and cheered loudly with everyone else when the final words of the oath of office were said. A woman stood nearby me and commented on the cigar I was smoking.

I was anticipating some stress but she mentioned that she enjoyed the aroma, that it reminded her of her grandfather. Then it was back to being an office manager, rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. One of the companies that was subletting space from BIO-IB, a company that was profiting from bad mortgages, had nothing but bad things to say about the new President. I told them to shut up. One of them later killed someone while drunkenly motorboating by the Statue of Liberty.

It’s been fairly busy today, I guess it’s from a few people having off for Martin Luther King’s holiday. A few people came in after waiting online for the Cake Boss and wanted a couple of sticks for the ride home to wherever it was that they came from. Bill is off today and he is just so super great and I of course am a morning behemoth. I am a lucky guy to have a guy like him to turn a blind eye to my morning crabbiness. Not such a bad day after all I think.

I Shall Return

And here we are on a Saturday. It’s been an alright day. It’s also a day where I had to conquer my laundry, laundry which was neglected and ignored most of the week. Now the clothes are clean and the problem is too many clothes and not enough racks. It will be a process I guess. Wait for some clothes to dry and then put the other clothes in their place. At least that’s the plan. It looks good on paper, but the paper was in my pants pocket and of course disintegrated in the wash. Luckily the paper was contained in the pants pocket.

I also had a trip to the supermarket. I always try to keep groceries under $30.00 but today the total was $40.00. I had the cashier remove two items which brought the cost down to $26.00. I had planned on buying zip lock freezer bags as well as sandwich bags which brought the total higher than I would have liked. All the cashier needed to do was scan once again and hit a button. It was like I was asking for her kidney, she was so put upon. I left the supermarket shaking my head.

The other supermarket, the really big one with the better prices should be open in about a month. I am sure there are plenty of people that go to the nearby supermarket and also can’t wait for the other one to open. I look forward to saving money and having a better selection plus I can do without the snotty attitude of the staff at the nearby supermarket. It will be well worth the extra 15 minutes to walk to the good supermarket. Funny, here I am writing about supermarkets and the price of groceries. I feel like ‘Help Me Heloise’.

Not much going on tonight. I did hope to get a haircut this afternoon but Tony was busy and there was a long wait. Since I live a few doors down from the barbershop, I don’t sit and wait. I just walk by every now and then and hope for the best. Well that didn’t go as well as I had hoped and will probably get a haircut on Monday since they’re closed on Sunday. Ideally it would be an early morning haircut but I would be willing to get a haircut later on in the day, perhaps before they close for the night.

The bootleggers were around today and the usual bootlegger seems to have competition. Some thick necks were standing around outside while the usual bootlegger was doing his thing inside. I didn’t stick around to see what was going to happen, but it looks like the usual guy was a bit nervous when he saw the thick neck guys. There is no honor among thieves but to live outside the law you must be honest. At least that is what I heard.

Bill is off to Atlantic City tonight. I am staying home of course. I’m sure there is something worth watching on the television. That’s it. Nothing else planned. Or there is always Tumblr.

Tomorrow is Sunday and I will not be posting so you should find something else to read. There are a few worthwhile blogs in the blog roll in the right hand column of this page that you are reading. Or perhaps you might do some writing. Maybe you can write some poetry, or maybe a script. Anything is possible isn’t it? Don’t just do something, sit there! Don’t worry if it’s good or bad, just do it. Let the chips fall where they may.

Tap tap tap.

An hour or so later.
I am watching Quo Vadis. I remember how much I loved biblical epics like Quo Vadis, The Robe, Demetrius and the Gladiators, King of Kings and later Jesus of Nazareth by Franco Zeffirelli. I also saw Jesus Christ Superstar both on Broadway and in the cinema (where Last Tango in Paris was playing next door). And the Ten Commandments of course. I am struck at how my religious beliefs and fervor were formed by these movies. How I wanted to believe the christians went to their deaths in the arena, singing and praying and dying with smiles on their sainted faces. And miracles and talking sun beams. Now I watch it laughing at the holiest scenes.
Forget the Vatican, give me Hollywood!
Too Late To Turn Back Now

I Shall Overcome

Friday finally. At least I think it’s Friday. Wait, I am pretty sure that it’s a Friday. It was a busy enough day without a visit to the bibliothèque or the cigar shop. A lot of running around today. A trip to the supermarket, to the cleaners, to CVS, and to the optician. Yes I finally got my new eyeglasses. If you’re on Facebook or Google +, then you’ve seen them and you’ve loved them. At least 11 people liked them enough and I’m sure if Facebook had a ‘love’ button it would be worn out with love for this former stripper.

So here I am once again on a Friday evening, the rebroadcast of the Daily Show is on which was preceded by the Colbert Report. I caught the latter and now watching the former. Or do I have that backwards. I don’t know- it’s Friday. Let me breathe, let me put balm on where the tassels used to be.

Back to the eyeglasses- I like them and after a couple of weeks of not seeing very well through scratched lenses, it took some getting used to. And having progressive lenses to match my political outlook, it also takes some time for full appreciation.

Things are a bit curvy at the bottom of the lenses which makes a simple walk down the street feeling like the edges were done by Salvador Dali playing with a fish eye lens. The clocks do seem to be melting a bit more than usual. I always forget persistence. And they are transition lenses which get darker in the sunlight, though when I am wearing them I can never tell and find myself trying to catch my reflection in store windows or passing cars. And the glasses are not branded, though they do have Ernest Hemingway’s name on the inside.

Which means if Ernest Hemingway ever turns up and asks for his glasses back, all he would have to say is that his name is on them and I wouldn’t be able to deny that. Then he would punch me in the mouth before taking the eyeglasses away.

I’ve been wearing eyeglasses since the 5th grade. Everyone in my family wears eyeglasses and despite being told I was adopted most of my life, I guess nurture usurped nature and through a strange osmosis my eyes needed corrective lenses as well. I was seen squinting a few times at the blackboard in class and was able to use that excuse for lousy grades, ‘I couldn’t read the black board’.

With the proper lenses I was able to see better and my grades stayed the same, fair to middling and always room for improvement if I just applied myself. I was only supposed to wear them when reading but wound up wearing them all the time which did not make my eyes any better. My eyes gradually got worse and every year or so new glasses would be in order.

But you won’t find me wearing Dolce & Gabanna or Burberry or Tom Ford eyeglasses, not unless they were paying me to wear their products, paying me to advertise them. Since that is unlikely to happen, their eyeglasses won’t be adorning my face anytime soon.

I Shall Not Be Moved

No bibliothèque today. No, today I am at the cigar shop. Apparently Shlomo, Israel and Brandon had a meeting. I wasn’t privy to it, but still I was requested to come in. The only one in today was Shlomo and he’s gone already. I expect to be out of here in about 3 and a half hours. That should be fine, and will be fine as long as Shlomo stays away. I know it’s his shop but his lack of communication skills are better served if he is away. Plus there is no reason for the both of us to be here at the same time.

Where yesterday was cold and damp with a lot of rain, today it’s merely cold. But it’s a dry cold. I was thinking about various people that I came across in my life and figure that sooner or later everyone Google’s their name and by writing a little bit about them here, perhaps Google will lead them to this here blog and perhaps open a line of communication. Either that or it is a chance to tweak Norton Reamer’s nipple and that is always fun to do. I write that with the intention of being figurative since I have never tweaked Norton Reamer’s nipples, nor if I am sure if he even has them.

Then there are the two ghosts that don’t seem to exist anymore, or at least very good at avoiding me, Jim Carley and John Nesselt. Two geezers that I went to high school with 30 years ago, and even attended the bloody 20th anniversary reunion with the hope that they would be there. They weren’t and despite intermittent searches on Facebook and whatnot, they seem to have fallen off the planet or at least, very good Luddites. I do hope they are well and happy.

Bill Carson is another name from the past. He is someone I greatly liked, and I was always happy to help him out whenever I could. He tried to get me to where he was when he left the investment bank that was started by Ashish Sanghrajka. It would have been nice but they couldn’t fit it in the budget and it’s just as well since the company he jumped to doesn’t seem to exist anymore. His wife, Laurie’s charity is still up, so that’s a good sign that all is well in Carson land.

Errol Stewart, guitarist for Fetchin’ Bones and the guy who got me into Murdoch Magazines all those years ago. He was a good guy and we even jammed at one point, making a tape called Driving in Arabia. The tape is long gone, eaten by magnets or swept away in Sandy’s wake.

And Darrell Holloway. Well I know what happened to him. He pops up in various emails and there is also a Facebook page featuring his nom de porn. I’ve suggested poses and made a few references to our mutual past which went without a reply which led me to believe that this was not Darrell Holloway at all but a reasonable facsimile thereof.

Look what I got!

Look what I got!

A spy in the apartment of love.

A spy in the apartment of love.

The Beautiful Ones

I Shall Be Released- Jacob Miller

Today’s cold and damp entry is brought to you courtesy of the local bibliothèque. It’s a cold and damp day here in Hoboken and on days like this the bibliothèque is in full swing. Everybody and their brother seems to be here, staying dry and crowding around whatever computer terminals are available.

I am on the second floor in the reference department, on the tablet that I got for Christmas from Bill. No more chairs designed by De Sade in front of computers that were originally rejected by Mattel for Intellivision back in the day. No, a quiet corner is all I need.

‘Why am I here and not home?’ you ask. I was climbing the walls and it had been a while since I had done any volunteering at the bibliothèque. Apparently there’s been a surplus of volunteers so my being here to do such a thing has been redundant. And I am fine with that, it’s good to see so many supporting the library.

So it is in a quiet corner in which I sit. I don’t think it will be quiet much longer since the schools are letting out and quite a number of them will be here for homework, or hook ups with other students.

And there was no text from Shlomo today which is an amazing thing. He’s been so needy lately and I have to admit that he did piss me off yesterday with him making a mess and leaving it behind for someone to clean up. I at least extinguished the candle but I refuse to wash out his cocktail glasses or empty the ashtrays which he and his Zionist hoodlum friends left in the lounge which is currently being used for storage or a sukkah.

Last night was a nice time spent with Bill. He was asleep the other night when I came home so it was good we were both awake. He suggested watching a screener of Argo which he got from the Film Actors Guild. I do want to see it but I wasn’t into it last night. I turned on a Pioneers of Television show on PBS which I knew he would enjoy greatly. And he did, many laughs were had. I love finding things that Bill will like and I like it even more when he is into it.

I suppose we will watch Argo tonight. I hope it will be better than SIlver Linings Playbook. The only thing worth watching in that was Jennifer Lawrence. Judging by the Golden Globes, Argo is a good movie. We have passes to see Lincoln next week, the night before Bill has to submit his ballot for the Film Actors Guild, so I guess we will be cutting it close.

Lincoln is really the only movie we want to see, despite knowing how it ends. Maybe that will be the perfect time to tell Bill of my Fjord’s Theater adventure. An adventure I created but do not remember at all, I just know the story of what happened that day in 1964.

An hour or so later: I was just reading an article online about Dick Gregory. The website had a family filter on it so his name in the headline was spelled D*** Gregory.
It was very similar to what happened a few years ago about track star Tyson Gay. The conservative religious websites had defaults set to change the word gay to homosexual, so the name was posted as Tyson Homosexual.

Off the top of my head

Off the top of my head

The Madonna singer in chat mode

The Madonna singer in chat mode

and he's off again for another appearance of the Madonna singer

and he’s off again for another appearance of the Madonna singer

I Shall Be Released- Tom Robinson Band

Oh Shlomo is having his frozen scrotum attacks once again. Another text, another request to come in and help out. I’m saving money that I would be spending on cigars by helping them out. Sometimes it’s good and fun and then there are times that Shlomo is in. He’s not much in the communication game. He shows up, says one or two things, goes out and is never seen again for hours. Doesn’t ask if I need anything or if the shop needs anything. I’ve been helping them out so much lately that people think I am the owner of this disorganization.

Today Shlomo comes in followed by two friends a man and a woman who immediately start speaking Hebrew, though the woman apologized for talking Hebrew in front of me, saying that it’s rude. She said that in English then went back to talking Hebrew. Shlomo gives them cigars which they immediately cut and light up. I tell them they can’t smoke here and Shlomo tells me it’s alright, despite me standing next to a No Smoking sign. This is one of the reasons why people think I am the owner and not Larry, Moe and Shemp. I enforce the rules, they allow the rules to be broken.

Hey, it’s not my shop and if they get shut down due to infractions by the city of Hoboken’s department of health then I lose nothing and would go back to ordering cigars online. It would be a shame though to see the three of them losing their business, their investments due to their negligence and basic lack of communication. So Shlomo and his Zionist hoodlums went to the cellar and puffed away there, smokers candles lit and air purifiers plugged in and running. After about 90 minutes they had left.

I had to go downstairs and found their smoker’s candle burning brightly. I suppose the adage of never leave a candle or flame unattended was never translated into Hebrew since it was left to me to extinguish the flame. But hey, who ever heard of a cigar shop going up in flames anyhow? I do have to admit I was very glad they left and I am on my own once again. It gets harder to look the other way, but the promise of free cigars for my problem is a welcome excuse.

And over the weekend I heard from a couple of former co-workers. They texted me individually about how they missed working with me. I replied, wondering what brought this on and it turned out they were listening to music, music they knew I would have something funny to say about. Then a photo was sent to me, of a Crosby, Stills and Nash playlist.

I remarked how I wouldn’t play that hippie crap to which they replied that that was the response they had been missing. Laughs on all 3 ends of the smartphones I reckon. I was glad I could help them get out of their Sunday morning doldrums since Davy & Goliath doesn’t get broadcast anymore these days.

I Shall Be Released- The Band

Well here I am at the cigar shop again. Apparently Shlomo’s father has fallen ill and I got the request last night to open up the shop. I didn’t mind since I had nothing else to do. It’s been a warm day too. A bit overcast with the nearby thermometer stating that it is almost 60 degrees outside. In January. That’s not right but that is how it is. Not much foot traffic. The nannies and the au pairs remain steadfast in their refusal to buy or smoke cigars. Which is not how the nannies and au pairs that I had were when I was growing up.

I was just out in front of the cigar shop having a puff when an old friend from back in the Maxwell’s days came up. Mark Zoltak, nice guy, really friendly. He used to DJ at Maxwell’s from time to time and also spent a lot of time at the competition, The Beat N’ Path where he would also promote shows and DJ. He’s also good friends with Chaz and a few other people. We chatted for a while on the sidewalk, so long that I had to relight my cigar 3 times, not that I minded.

Mark and I have similar tales to tell, about Hoboken, Maxwell’s, music in general, various people and various drugs. I didn’t know about his problems with some drugs and he didn’t know about mine. We both came to the conclusion separately that Rick James was right. Cocaine is a hell of a drug and since we both did our time playing with that shit neither of us have any need to go back and revisit that ever again.

Some names were mentioned people who had done Mark wrong. Some of those names I knew quite well and they’d never done anything bad to me, but that’s probably because I was never in business with them. And some of the musicians he dealt with were pretty crummy to begin with and they were people I didn’t really like very much anyhow. Too much ego, too much baggage or they were on the wrong drugs which brought out the worst in them.

Mark is still a nice guy though. Grey in the hair nowadays and he’s not the type to dye it for a ‘younger’ look or an attempt to look younger. I brought up a David Bowie story, one that I might not have written about here before and if I did, it was a long time ago.

It was when I was working at Right Track Recording when Bowie was in. We had been hitting it off and David felt confident in my opinion. He knew I was a DJ and asked who I thought should remix a single from the Earthling album. I drew a blank and when I had the chance, I called Rand who was more into the remix world than I was and picked his brain. Rand suggested a few names, only one sticks out, Josh Wink.

I mention the names to David and I recall he did not particularly care for Josh Wink. I felt I did the best I could do and left it at that. It wasn’t until after the fact, after David Bowie had moved on, that I probably could have suggested myself to remix the song. Not that I had any experience doing such a thing, but still I guess David would have given me a shot if I asked. And probably offered to do it for nothing.

But as you well know, I didn’t suggest myself and that is why I am selling cigars, bartering my time for cigars on Washington Street. No regrets though nowadays I just shake my head at the opportunity that slipped through my fingers.

Armoire anyone?

Armoire anyone?


I Shall Be Ever Maiden

Last night was very quiet, almost dull but that is how I wanted it so I am not complaining. Bill was driving to Atlantic City and if he were around it would have been perfect. But someone has to make the donuts and Bill enjoys driving a bus so I guess it will work out. I watched It’s A Mad Mad Mad Mad World and it was just as silly as I remembered. When it was originally broadcast on TV when I was growing up it was always an event, a 3 hour event at least for boys around my age.

I watched with one eye on the TV and another eye on the computer, reading about the making of It’s A Mad Mad Mad Mad World and I almost looked like the illegitimate offspring of Sandy Duncan and Marty Feldman. I also was able to pick out a few cameos, like Don Knotts and Buster Keaton and to my surprise, Joe. E. Brown. I say surprise since I don’t believe I had ever seen Joe.E.Brown in anything except for maybe a Drew Friedman cartoon. Joe E. Brown plays the union organizer outside the hotel slated for demolition.

I’ve been on Facebook lately. I know, how unusual. I am never on Facebook. I’ve reconnected with some old friends from back in the day and saw some other friends and almost reconnected but thought, it’s been 20 years. Do we have anything in common? It’s a crap shoot I guess. You might be able to find a common ground, or you might not. They might have become an ultra conservative and a gun fetishist where as I am not. That was directed at someone in particular that I hold dear but who has been pissing me off a lot lately.

And now I find myself at the cigar shop. Shlomo has a bar mitzvah he needed to attend in the Bronx and begged me to sit in the shop. I suppose it’s easier for me with the setup we have than to find someone they can trust, someone who knows cigars and could sell cigars, and also someone with a key to the cigar shop. Oh and not paying me is a plus for them too. Bartering for cigars works fine for both of us and maintains the legality of the whole schmear. And since I know the River Street crowd fairly well it’s a win win.

Of course it’s a slow start to the day. And when I finally have a cash sale,there is no change in the till. That means a walk to my bank since banks just won’t give you a roll of quarters if you don’t do you business at their bank. I’ve written it before, I like Shlomo, Brandon and even the invisible Semite Israel but they do not communicate with each other, much less me and though it’s their business it seems like they do not know how to run it. I guess it’s a good thing I am here.

It was alright working at the cigar shop. Certainly more busy on weekends than during the week. I guess nannies and au pairs aren’t smoking many cigars these days. I did run into Liz Gall a former Maxwell’s employee. It was funny to run into her. I was outside the cigar shop having a quick puff and I saw her walking by. I wasn’t sure if it was her so I said ‘Liz’ in a quiet voice. She stopped and from then it was hugs and kisses. She was off to dinner with mutual friends and I had to get back into the shop. We made plans for a coffee at some date in the future.

Now I’m home, Bill is driving again. Not much going on, but I’m glad I could help out my Hebrew friends at the cigar shop. And the AVO’s aren’t as bitter as I remembered.

Shlomo and Israel's fave Kosher cigar

Shlomo and Israel’s fave Kosher cigar

Strawberry Letter 23

I See You- Leona Lewis

A very lazy Friday, and a wet and damp Friday at that. It’s been fine for me, I did go out exactly twice and both times were to the supermarket. It’s only a month until the really big supermarket reopens. It was knocked out by Hurricane Sandy, a lot of water and everything had to be thrown out. Then I guess they decided that now would be a good time to remodel so they’re doing that. My friend Lois’ husband Fred, works at the liquor store in the really big supermarket and he’s been commuting to his dismay to another supermarket in Jersey City.

I look forward to saving money since the supermarket closer to me never has anything on sale anymore it seems and if it is on sale it’s usually something I don’t want or need. And having to go there twice today didn’t help matters. But my timing was alright since it wasn’t too crowded either time I was there. And there was no visit to the cigar shop but Shlomo did make his presence felt with a text message asking if I could help him out tomorrow. I said yes and told them I would be there at noon. He was hoping for 10:00 AM.

Last night Bill and I watched Silver Linings Playbook. Since Bill is a member of the Film Acting Group we got a screener for his consideration. It wasn’t that good a movie. Bill liked it a bit though when I expressed my exasperation at the story and characters he offered to turn it off. Since it was more than halfway through I felt we were committed to the very end. Bill offering to shut it off made me think he wasn’t into it that much either. AT the end Bill said he liked it.

Mental illness and football really is what it’s all about. And if you know me you know I am not into football at all. Mental illness I am definitely in favor of, though not the bipolar bear kind portrayed by Bradley Cooper in the movie. Jackie Weaver was underused, she was so great in Animal Kingdom a few years ago, perfectly evil. And Robert DeNiro is getting up there in age which I suppose is to be expected. Unlikeable characters, uninteresting plot make this one a snoozer. I’m glad we saw it for free and that Bill is a member of the Film Acting Group.

I was planning on showing Bill Sweet and Lowdown by Woody Allen and starring Sean Penn and Samantha Morton but Bill said we had seen it already. Midway through the Silver Linings Playbook I thought to myself we would have been better off watching that instead. I also have Good Will Hunting which I had never seen before but will more than likely watch It’s A Mad Mad Mad Mad Mad World on cable and would rather watch Good Will Hunting with Bill since he’s never seen it either.

That’s about it for tonight. I can hear the rain hitting the window outside. I am more than happy to stay in and be dry. No need to go out.
Heaven Must Have Sent You

I See You- Mika

It’s been one of those days again. It’s ten days into this new year and already I’ve had a few of those days. Last night I wound up closing the cigar shop, I was there for 12 hours and I will be getting a nice box of Davidoff cigars for my trouble. I just hope those cigars aren’t as bitter as I have heard them to be. Time will tell I suppose. I have a feeling they won’t be Davidoff per se, but rather the AVO Special Toro which I think will suit me just fine. AVO is owned by Davidoff, for those wandering the shopping mall.

I am glad I was able to help them out, they needed someone they could trust on such short notice and it turned out that that someone was me. And once again since I had nothing else to do I didn’t mind. I wish I had known it would be so long but it worked out. Today I got a text from Shlomo, asking once again. Of course I asked if he had the promised cigars and Shlomo said they were on their way. Not from Davidoff but from another distributor from Pennsylvania.

So as Shlomo requested I went in again. He wasn’t around but I figured out why he needed me there. Apparently he ordered a fish tank and he was not going to be around to sign for it. And neither Israel nor Brandon would be available. It fell to me to sign for it and it’s a good thing I stayed up all night practicing my signature. Sure I could have signed anything, I could have even written an ‘X’ next to the X on the page but no, I wanted my name to be legible, I mean what would the GZA have to say about that?

And it was a fairly large tank, thankfully not filled with water, but rather Styrofoam peanuts which are annoying as hell. So I signed and directed them to where the fish tank should go. I’m not sure if they will keep the fish tank in the cigar shop or not. I guess they will or else they would have had it delivered to wherever it is that it is supposed to go. Then again as much as I like Shlomo, Israel and Brandon, communication is not their strong point. Maybe it is in Hebrew or Yiddish but English- not so much.

Shlomo showed up soon after the delivery which made me think he was sitting in his BMW watching the whole thing take place. I thought I would be there by myself for the day but Shlomo came and sat and watched Homeland on his computer while I watched Bob’s Burgers on my tablet. After an hour or so it seemed that Shlomo wasn’t going anywhere and I realized there was no need for me to be there. So I split and did some spelunking on the Palisades.

Looking for an answer, trying to find a sign. Then I saw those city lights, and honey I was blind.
Karma Police

I See Love

Well today has been spent in the cigar shop. All day and a lot longer than I expected. Last night, an urgent text from Shlomo came in, asking me to stop by the cigar shop. Since I had nothing on the agenda today I told him that I would stop by. I had a feeling that once again it would be ‘can you sit in the shop for an hour or two’. I was partially correct and glad I brought a lunch with me. Sure enough it was that but instead of an hour or two it was about four hours.

It keeps me out of trouble and off the streets and stocked with cigars so I am not complaining. I have my iPod cranking out Blondie, The New Yorker and my tablet so I am set. It’s fairly quiet in the cigar shop, the January doldrums in the retail world. I remember it well from Farfetched as well as other establishments I have frequented. I still miss Farfetched. It was this time of year in 2009 that that ship was slowly sinking due to unwanted pressure from that neighboring idiotic goth store. I still can’t believe they’re in business.

Last night Bill came home full of ideas for his one man show. It should be good, I had some ideas for him. He was getting so far ahead of himself and I felt he needed to be reminded to reel it in somewhat. Bill was taken aback slightly but once I made my case he seemed to understand it. He wants to shoot a video as part of the show and since I did a bang up job on Christmas Day out in Wally World, I will be recording this next installment. He’s been storyboarding what he wants which should help.

Of course between now and then anything could happen. He told me on Christmas Day what he wanted then left me in the cold as he jockeyed buses to and fro in that Arctic parking lot by the former National’s Department store. By the time Bill was ready I had a new idea which worked just fine. He posted it on Facebook so some of you have seen it, for everyone else you should friend Bill. I forgot how good I am behind the camera, it had been a while despite having over 150 videos on YouTube of myself.

But those of course are mainly still shots of me smoking a cigar. Sure some guys in Taiwan enjoyed looking at my over the calf socks and let me know how much they enjoyed my socks and how they wished that they were 6 inches tall so I could step on them to their sexual gratification. I was more than happy to oblige since they are all the way on the other side of the world and actual shrinkage to 6 inches is impossible for even me, thereby disproving the Irish curse once again.

“I love destroying myths”, said the spouse of a size queen.

The Madonna singer was wearing lipstick today (not pictured)

The Madonna singer was wearing lipstick today (not pictured)

McD's renovation on store, food remains the same.

McD’s renovation on store, food remains the same.

Rock On

I’m Afraid of Americans (V1) (Radio Edit)

It’s David Bowie’s birthday. And Elvis Presley and Shirley Bassey and a whole lot of other people I am sure. But today for me it’s all about David Bowie. I only recently started appreciating Elvis Presley and that is mainly consigned to his Sun Records period. David Bowie has been part of my life for a lot longer. When I was growing up I was more into pop music, Elton and whatever was on the top 40 I guess. Sure the Beatles were around in different variations, mainly as solo acts with the Fab records being historical artifacts by the time I was aware.

The ‘bad’ kids liked David Bowie. Diamond Dogs was the big shocker, at least album cover wise despite the removal of the dog’s bollocks. I being a good boy, or rather a pussy, I stayed away from those kids who were mostly boys, squeezing a breast and copping a feel of girls that I knew most of my life. The girls seemed to allow it, at least on a class trip to the Hayden Planetarium. I guess it was the autumn of 1976 when I really heard David Bowie for the first time and I wasn’t sure if I liked it.

It was Ziggy Stardust, and most of the kids knew it. Hang On To Yourself, Suffragette City and Ziggy. I went to CYO. I didn’t really fit in with my freshman class in high school and missed the kids I went to school with for 9 years. They didn’t seem to miss me and made new friends from their new school. My high school was regional and there was no one I knew from school in my neck of the woods. And David Bowie seemed to reflect my alienation. He didn’t help and showed me how alone I really was.

It was such an unpleasant and lonely evening, seeing my former classmates growing up faster that I was and I didn’t like David Bowie for providing that soundtrack. Only a few weeks later did my sexuality come into bloom and that was a whole other nightmare with a most depressing soundtrack by Elton John, Blue Moves. To be a gay teenager in Bergen County in 1976, going to an all boy Catholic school was no fun at all and I set about constructing a closet that would provide some shelter for a few years that followed.

It was when David Bowie started getting weird to American ears, that was when I started to take interest. My brother gave me a cassette of Young Americans but I only played the first song on side A, Young Americans and the last song on side B, Fame. Oddly enough the tape folded in on itself and those two songs were the only ones playable since everything else wound up being played backwards. I also liked Golden Years and then Bowie went to Berlin and got too weird for most US fans.

I liked Low, and bought Heroes for my brother Brian (and I wound up stealing it from him years later). The first Bowie album I bought for myself was Lodger, the last in the so called Berlin Trilogy along with Low and Heroes. In 1980 I did see David Bowie on Broadway in The Elephant Man. I went with Laszlo Papp and Debbie Robinson from work and we sat in the first row center. At the end of the show, people in the second row behind us gave David roses for which David thanked us, much to the rose purchaser’s dismay.

A few years later I met my good friend Jet Watley who it turned out was quite a Bowie fan from back in those Ziggy days. He also liked T Rex and the other Glitter bands, but David Bowie was it for Jet. Jet slowly got me into Bowie, playing me certain tracks that were overlooked and unheard in the St Francis de Sales auditorium in 1976. So I began to appreciate David Bowie. Jet died a few years after that and I got most of his record collection, including Bowie, T Rex and Jobriath. And they were mainly all washed away by Hurricane Sandy last year.

Years pass, and Bowie is part of my DNA. Everyone I know likes Bowie, I like Bowie. I find myself working at Right Track Recording. I meet big names and the biggest was David Bowie. I was reminded of Karen Lynn Gorney’s character in Saturday Night Fever who worked in a recording studio much like myself. In the movie she is telling Travolta and friends about David Bowie going to her studio, but the lunkheads in Bay Ridge didn’t know who David Bowie was. I made jokes when I started in the studio about being like Karen Lynn Gorney and here I was actually meeting David Bowie.

And David Bowie and I hit it off. He always said hello and one time I recall just sitting there and chatting with him for about a half hour. Then when he left I called my sister to tell her sotto voce that I was just talking to the Thin White Duke. He was great and so nice. He had a promo cassette of the Earthling album and gave it to me, taking it back a few minutes later so he could properly autograph it for me, ‘To John- Best Wishes, David Bowie’. THAT I still have.

Around that time, or rather this time 15 years ago, David Bowie turned 50 and thanks to someone named Darrell Shines I was able to attend the show celebrating his birthday at Madison Square Garden. And David Bowie was phenomenal. It was a great show, guests like Foo Fighters, Robert Smith, Frank Black, Sonic Youth, Billy Corgan and Lou Reed all sang a song or two with David. A week later I met David again at the studio and I could not look at him the same way.

The bloke I was chatting with was David Bowie in a chair, but I had just seen David Bowie on stage, in his element and was blown away. He laughed and shrugged it off when I mentioned that so many people had ripped him off with his stage moves and manners. Obviously it was nothing he hadn’t heard or seen before.

I actually thought David Bowie’s birthday was yesterday. It is today apparently. I caught myself and posted a video about how I had the day’s wrong. Harpy posted a wish that David would record again and I posted that I guess he had retired for good, since no new music came from him in ten years. A couple of hours later, my friend John in Munich posted word of a new Bowie record.

I was taken aback and with some rapid legwork, I confirmed John’s posting. And I also posted all over Facebook, the info, the price of the single ($1.29) and the album ($13.99) available for preordering. I duly preordered. I could have gotten it for free, but opted to throw some money to the Dame. Harpy’s wish came true, a little Christmas miracle.

The song is wistful with a tint of sadness. The video is fascinating and also a bit sad. Don’t get me wrong, it’s great but sounds world weary, yet hopeful. It’s only one song I heard so I don’t know what the rest of the album sounds like. I’m posting the video here in case you haven’t heard or seen it yet.

The return of the thin white Duke, throwing darts in lovers eyes.

I See Houses

There’s a reason I take notes, hell there’s a reason anyone takes notes- to remember things. And so yesterday I took notes on what happened between the last posting and today. Since I wasn’t writing yesterday the notes served as a jumping off point instead of just staring at a blank screen on Microsoft Word. And now I have the notes to the right of a blank Microsoft Word screen. I have a poetic license to kill and will use it anytime that I see fit. And that time should be now but then again it is and it isn’t.

Back to the notes, I left the apartment on Saturday night, meeting Rand & Lisa at 7:00 PM at 8th and Park, just a block away from my humble hovel. The plan was to walk up to Chez Chaz since there was no Path train for Hoboken this weekend. I’m one of those guys that like to have a cigar when I walk sometimes and knew that Shlomo was working and he owed me a cigar. So I left the 8 pack of Guinness on a bag on the first floor landing and headed over to the cigar shop.

Of course it’s a little busy when I get there and of course I help out, steering guys to the cigars they might want. Shlomo was busy with other customers and since I had a few minutes I didn’t mind helping. And I got a free cigar for that so I walked out with two cigars, one lit and the other stashed safely away. I walked back home, ran in and got the Guinness from the landing and headed out mere seconds later. I waited for a few minutes, puffing on a stogie when Rand and Lisa came forward.

We headed west, to the elevator up the Palisades. I discreetly kept my cigar out of view on the elevator. It goes up to one level and the disheveled man who ride the elevator didn’t seem to notice. From the elevator, a walk up Congress Street to Central Avenue. And then it was a bit of a hike to the park where we made a right and walked past the park into the neighborhood of Chez Chaz. We were a block away on Beach Street which did not seem beach like at all.

Chaz let us in and we climbed the stairs to his abode. Chaz brother and my former roommate William was there as was Chaz and William’s old friend Andy & their schoolmate Annemarie. I’ve known Andy for about 25 years so I guess he’s my old friend too. We all settled in, eating bowls of vegetarian chili as well as other foodstuffs covering Chaz kitchen table. It was all very adult as other guests arrived, faces seen maybe once a year at Chaz’ parties. We sit, we talk, and we drink. It’s all quite civilized. No standing out on the patio for ciggies this time around, I would have been the only smoker anyhow.

I reconnected with some people I see once a year at Chaz’ soiree. One of them Mary Anne Mistretta has a blog and we had a fun talk. I added her to the blogroll. The talk was about how the last year was and it was pretty bleak for most everyone, though the Hoboken stories were the wettest and most harrowing.

After a few hours of having a good time, it was time to head home. We thought about walking back but we were all pretty much tuckered out so it was all about cabbage back to Hoboken. And it came soon enough, Rand and Lisa in the back, me riding in the front with the driver from Eastern Europe who didn’t seem to like anyone. Still he got us back to Hoboken safe and sound and without seat belts. Rand & Lisa and I got out near my house, which is also near their house. Hugs and kisses and they were on their way and I was on mine.

Saturday Night Live was a repeat and a good one at that, Louis CK was the host and it was pretty funny again. After that I went to bed, Bill was asleep in Atlantic City once again. Surprisingly I slept OK, waking up with Bill getting into bed when he returned. I farted around, not doing much of anything. My friend Lois asked me if I wanted to go to Guitar Bar with her and so I did. It was good to get out and interact with Lois and the day was nice enough to go out and enjoy it.

Lois dropped off her ukulele to have a pick up installed on it and then she tried some other acoustic guitars while I took some pictures. Then it was hopping into various shops so Lois could get whatever it was she needed to get. Finally it was my turn and we walked to the supermarket which was crazy crowded and caused us to turn right around and head out empty handed. We went to another store nearby which wasn’t as cheap but affordable in terms of time and lacking in frustration.

That was it. Lois went home and I went home where I found Bill getting ready to go out. I just situated myself and helped Bill get himself together. Then I just watched TV and surfed the net for the rest of the day. Ho hum indeed but it was worth it.

Lois and a guitar she really, really liked.

Lois and a guitar she really, really liked.

Cracked Actor

I Second That Emotion

Oh I have the blues. It could be from it being January and the holidays are over. I don’t know. I’ve been prickly lately. That much I do know. I was out and about for a short while and did some grocery shopping and a visit to the bibliothèque. Leaving the supermarket I stopped to tie my shoe and a guy who is always asking for spare change came up to me saying that I told him I would give him change to get a cup of coffee. I didn’t say anything like that, in fact I didn’t speak to the guy at all.

He did remind me that I needed coffee so it was a trip back into the store and another wait on a long line for one item. This guy who always asks for spare change always catches me at the worst possible moment. I have snapped at him in the past but this time I held my tongue. When I was leaving the store he was gone but I did spot him on the corner talking to a construction worker who was going to give him money for coffee. I don’t think this guy drinks coffee at all.

Tonight is Chaz party. Bill can’t join us since he is driving to Atlantic City tonight. I am meeting up with Rand and Lisa and we are going to walk to the party. Previously Bill would rent a Zip Car and we would go that way, or take the Path train to Journal Square. Well there are no Path trains in Hoboken this weekend. We would have to get to the Newport Mall in Jersey City to get the train to Journal Square. Since Rand and Lisa have done the walk before, that will be the way to go tonight.

I know it will be a good time at Chaz’ party, good friends, good food. I am bringing the rest of the Guinness that I bought last week. I bought two eight packs of Guinness and brought one to Rand and Lisa’s. It’s already packed and ready to go. Of course I am not ready to go despite me running around getting ready to go. Running down the clock I guess. I just heard from Bill, some nonsense about having to swap buses as he’s travelling. He doesn’t mind and called to tell me his call later on tonight will be later than either of us expected.

I should be leaving in a little while. I am stopping by the cigar shop to pick up a cigar or two to enjoy on the walk there and back. Perhaps we will pool our money and take a taxi back to Hoboken. Perhaps we will just walk back. I don’t know. I am somewhat ambivalent, but that is probably from being inside a lot today and being alone too much. Once I am outside I should have a better frame of mind. At least that is what I am hoping for.
Voodoo Ray

I Say A Little Prayer- Diana King

I did have a good time during the holidays and as usual, the doldrums followed. But as much of a good time that I had, I feel I may have pushed up the doldrums for me at least. That was something that popped into my head as I was doing laundry. Basically I think I am ahead of myself on the doldrums game. Nothing to be concerned about, there are less than 90 days until spring and I can do that time, standing on my head. It’s January 4, 2013 and I am already looking forward to 2014, he wrote with some snark.

Today I went to the optometrist. Lately I have been wearing glasses from a few years ago, maybe 10 years ago. My last pair was badly scratched and I could barely see out of them. Luckily I hang onto old eyeglasses as a backup and found these. My prescription hasn’t changed that much and they’re good for long distance and occasional reading. And I think I look cool in them, or whatever passes for cool in my poor line of vision. Bill asked me to pick up some cleaning cloths for his eyes so I went to the optician where I last got new glasses.

I was there last week and found the guy I was dealing with rather standoffish. Today he was fine. Last week he seemed to be pushing Tom Ford or Gucci glasses and I specifically asked for eye wear without branding on them, then I had to explain what branding was. Today I found a pair of glasses, without any visible branding, called Ernest Hemingway. And they were half price at $49.00 which was good. Usually the frames are crazy expensive, but these seemed to fit the bill. It’s the lenses where the money comes in.

Thankfully I do have insurance from Bill’s job. I also had an eye test with a young and funny doctor. I was glad I studied for it since I usually test quite poorly. No more eye charts on the wall, now it’s more like a Power Point presentation, all clicks and computers. And my eye sight is more or less the same as it was two years ago. Some tweaking is needed. I won’t be using paper towels to clean my lenses anymore. Nosireebob. I’ll get those cloths that seem to be specially treated and never around when you need one.

It has been fairly cold today but not as bad as previous days and I have finally grasped the concept of wearing layers. I seem to wrestle with it each season. Not tucking in a shirt is a good start I found in my travels around this mile square city. Heard from Julio and neighbor Deborah via text regarding our mutual landlord. Everybody’s rent is going up! No one’s terribly upset! It’s been ten years since Bill and I have been here and there has been no increase at all. I had more increases (and decreases) when I was living in Weehawken.

After 28 years

After 28 years

found in front of bldg

found in front of bldg

Looks like Snow
Poetry Man

I Say A Little Prayer- Aretha Franklin

Third day of the new year. Slept incredibly well, crazy dreams, sexual in nature. Nothing overt but there it was in the undercurrent. Something involving time cards and a punch clock located in belts.

Then in a different dream, I bought a pack of Marlboro while walking around Columbus Circle and 58th St. I had one cigarette, not even a full cigarette and didn’t enjoy it very much. Then I had a dream where I was interviewing, or auditing a hip company, similar to the one my sister mentioned on Facebook yesterday.

White offices and things seemed to be going well until the head honcho in the office turned to me and said’ You know we don’t allow smoking here’. I couldn’t really say I stopped smoking cigarettes since I still had the pack of Marlboro from the previous dream and my breath smelled of cigarettes.

Needless to say I don’t think I got the job, much like the groovy job Annemarie told me about. I answered the questions truthfully and at the end they described their ideal candidate who would happen to be a college graduate which is something I am not. Still I sent forth my info, allowing them to be hopefully dazzled by my stellar personality and my way with words.

Already I have gotten the call from Shlomo, could I open up the cigar shop. Being 23 degrees out, he can’t get his poor old car to move. I had no problem with it, and to my surprise an hour after opening in walks Shlomo.Maybe it is the cold but he seems slower than usual, the slo mo Shlomo.

Now this is the part that gets stuck in my craw. I want to help these guys succeed. And with no smoking allowed in the store I wind up enforcing that ban. The other day a young man bought a cigar and I gave him a book of matches to get his cigar lit. He came back a few seconds later asking to light it indoors. I said no, and took a torch lighter and went outside with him and lit it for him.

Shlomo doesn’t believe in those types of rules and smokes wherever he wants, even if it means the local Board of Health shutting him down. That’s fine with me, I have nothing invested in the shop except for my time. If the place gets shut down I will just find something else to do.

And if it because of one of the owners smoking in the shop, then so be it. I can tell because a few times since I opened I noticed ashes on the floor which meant smoking was going on in the shop. But it’s not my shop and the owners, well they can do anything they want, it is their sandbox after all.

I am merely a nice guy, helping them out, but as the saying goes, I can’t help them unless they help themselves and to my untrained eye, it seems that they don’t want any or need any help, except for this one guy who can be relied upon to open the shop when it is too cold out for their Zionist hoodlum tuchis.
What Does It Take