Category Archives: Interesting Things as of Late

isn’t it all?

I Still Remember

And so we are back to zero comments which is fine. It would seem odd to start getting comments a week before this here blog goes on a hiatus. Once again I am compelled to write that nothing is wrong. After writing for over six years, at least 500 words a day I deserve a break. Navel gazing is not what it used to be and the lint gathering hasn’t amounted to much. It is not the end of the world and I am perfectly alright. Like I wrote yesterday, I might post intermittently and I might just post photographs.

Annemarie and Harpy have been steadfast and true and I thank them for that. This here blog gets over 1,000 hits a month and out of those hits, two people comment, except for the one called David who commented to recommend setting the camera so the photographs don’t come out with a blue tint. A tint that I did not mind at all but David sure did, enough so that he took the time to write about it. No snark, it was appreciated. And I took his advice to heart and the photographs posted since then have been from my post blue period.

Of course David hasn’t been heard from since. Perhaps he is satisfied and feels there is no need to comment further. Or perhaps he doesn’t read this here blog anymore. It’s lonely writing a blog and I have implored, begged, requested comments and feedback, it never came. Annoyingly sometimes both Annemarie and Harpy would send me emails or telephone me instead of posting here. I felt that if someone had something to say about this here blog, then this would be the best place for it. But like I said, it’s lonely writing this day in and day out.

Up until a few years ago I wrote seven days a week. Then I decided to give myself Sundays off. And even then I would be tied to this here blog since on Sunday I would get my Google Analytics report, informing me that Lazy teat Greg visited the blog once again. Yes despite my reluctance to mention it by name, it would come up late Sunday afternoons, the report of who and where this blog has been read. I do not think anyone in Bala Cynwyd or Kuala Lumpur are going to be greatly upset that they have been tracked via their ISP.

I expect the usual lack of feedback. Sure if someone comments on this here blog I will be notified, but I expect nothing really. I will continue to get the analytics every Sunday and I suppose with the lack of fresh entries six days a week, the hits should decrease. I have no problem with that since for the longest time I thought I had less than a dozen readers. I was happy thinking that and I would still be happy if that was all I got. So no more writing about how this supermarket is better than that supermarket. And no more suggestions, not that I ever got any regarding this here blog.
01 The Boxer












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

Hoboken Post Sandy Part Two

Part Two
Saturday came and I wasn’t so keen on it. Still no electricity and food supplies were running low. The supermarket was open thanks to generators and throughout the neighborhood generators were heard several times on different blocks. We had about four to five feet in the basement which is used by myself and neighbors for storage. I had books and records and some stereo equipment and Bill had an amplifier down there.

Other people on our block and throughout Hoboken had basement apartments and most of them were devastated. Businesses were destroyed. A studio that Jim Mastro owned was ruined. And there he was letting people hang out in the store and play instruments and also organized a gathering for his staff to entertain the people of Hoboken that night in the store. I had lunch and dinner at the Elks Lodge and Bill was off driving, not coming back until Sunday morning. Not a trip to Atlantic City, which was closed but open for business somehow a few days later after the storm.

While at the store we heard of different parts of Hoboken getting their electricity back. I had hope and walked back to my building. Of course hope wasn’t there, things were still dark. I talked with neighbors for about an hour, remembering my things charging up at the store I headed back, taking a slightly different route, I ran into more friends (Mike & Sarah and Michael Hill) and was enjoyably delayed. When I got back to the Guitar Bar Jr. I had to negotiate my body around a drum kit. Jim left everything charging so I had to unplug and pack with no problem at all really, just some of my usual clumsiness.

Finally Jim had something for me to do. People started showing up with bottles and snacks and cups were needed. I walked over to Rite Aid and bought the last dozen plastic cups. It was fairly crowded when I got back and when I got my shoulder bag it felt even more crowded so I went outside. The music was good but my spirits were flagging. I wasn’t feeling as sociable as I had hoped and soon I wanted to go home. And that is what I did, an invisible exit.

I walked down Park Avenue, in the middle of the street smacking my flashlight every now and then when it dimmed. I made it home to a quiet building and called Bill. He was in the Bronx and hearing his voice after spending so much time together the past few nights made me feel even worse. He was doing his best to bolster my spirits when all of a sudden the doorbell rang. I told Bill that on the phone as I walked to the bedroom window and looked down.

There was our neighbor Frank telling me the power was back on. I checked the hallway and there was light. I whooped, I hollered. Bill listened to my emotional rollercoaster, a 180° turn of events. Only some lights were on which meant a trip to the basement to check the circuit breaker. It was off and when I got back upstairs the lights were on.

I went to YouTube and I posted on Facebook New York Groove by Hello and I Got The Power by Snap on Facebook. I was vibrating with positive energy. I didn’t hear my neighbor Deborah calling me on the phone, and when the song ended I saw the voicemail and called right then. I explained I was dancing to I Got the Power and cued up the last line which is the title and when the vocal was done, the power went out again.

I told Deborah I would call her back and then walked to the bedroom window and yelled out, ‘This is not fair!’ I was crestfallen really. I put my sneakers on and walked down to the street. Frank and his wife Mithra came outside too. We talked to neighbors, Rob, Sean and Melissa, as well as Chris who I’ve known for a long time. I flagged down a police cruiser and asked the officer what was going on. Lights on and now this. He said he didn’t know, he lived on the next block and wanted to know too but he thought PSE&G were tweaking the system.

That made me think Meth heads were running the show. A few other police officers passing through said the same thing basically. I didn’t get the voicemail until later from Bill but there was a report of a fire from the power being turned on again so it needed to be turned off. He got it from listening to the Hoboken police scanner in the Bronx.

I was pretty funny talking to the neighbors I thought. Perhaps I could do stand up comedy, but only in a darkened room. After joking and talking on the street with temperatures dropping we all headed back inside. About an hour or so later it was lights on again, to a more subdued reaction. No happy dance, no posting of videos. I called Deborah, I called Bill and went back online soon enough. Saturday Night Live was very funny, hosted by Louis CK.

Sunday was totally different of course. Power was slowly coming to the rest of Hoboken. For a few days before we got our power back, we looked longingly at a few buildings diagonally on the next corner that had power. Now there were probably people in other buildings doing the same to me. I headed out in the afternoon, most people were walking around in a daze, shock really. Though we had interacted the past few days, it really all came home on Sunday.

I walked, thanked some National Guardsmen for helping out and got choked up saying it. More friends on the street, Karyn and Christina, Lois and Fred. It was likely the week’s events and the daylight savings that did my head in, perhaps it was the same for others. Bill had come home in the morning and went to sleep almost immediately. I came home and had a nap. Bill watched Saturday Night Live. Things sort of started going back to something resembling normal.

Today was Monday. Today was the day I had to check out my things in the basement. Going down there on Saturday night didn’t give me much of a chance to see how things were since it was so dark and I was preoccupied with having electricity once more. I went down in the early afternoon and started moving my things to put on top of other things people had thrown out. There were scavengers going about salvaging whatever they thought was salvageable.

I had a lot of books, magazines and of course vinyl in the form of record albums and 12 inch singles. I moved my 45’s up to the apartment a few months ago. And photographs. And super 8 films I made back in the 1980’s as well as videotapes I collected and videos I had shot. I was upset but not too much. Others had lost a lot more than me, plus I had basically ignored these things for years. And anyway you can’t take it with you.

Such there was a pang when I saw Talking Heads- Remain in Light, Sgt. Pepper and White Light White Heat at the curb next to Bill’s amplifier. But I couldn’t dwell and I couldn’t cry. All in all maybe 400-500 records were curbed. I was able to save about 100, and though I haven’t gone through them all, I’m sure that they weren’t the best, especially after naming those three albums above. I saved the first guitar I ever had and it was in a sorry state. Best used for decoration rather than making music, but I couldn’t throw it out.

I walked over to the Guitar Bar on First Street which finally had power and saw Jim. I told him that he could use it for decoration in the store, or he could do what I couldn’t do and throw it out. It was a good talk with Jim, something that I will probably bring up soon enough. Leaving the Guitar Bar I walked up to Washington Street and saw Tariq playing. He usually plays the street at night, but there he was around 3:00 in the afternoon.

Then I ran into Rand and Lisa and walked with them for a little while. I treated myself to a slice of pizza and watched the weather reports of a storm coming in on Wednesday and a 2.2 earthquake in Passaic County this morning. Talked with some more neighbors, including Claire who was cleaning out her part of the basement. And today was all about the election.
Of course I am voting for Obama as is Bill. And we are voting NO on Public Question #2 in Hoboken. But that will be old news since I am making this a two part entry, so you dear reader won’t have to read over four thousand words. I figure two thousand should be enough.

It was a remarkable thing that happened the past week, as well as obviously devastating. One time at the Elks Lodge I ran into a guy named Jake who I used to know back in the fuzzy days of Maxwell’s. He’s an Elk, moderately sized antlers. Also born and raised in Hoboken. He used to hang out at the Elysian which was more of an old Hoboken pub compared to the next corner, where Maxwell’s was representing the new Hoboken.

I told Jake how great it was to see the community coming together. Jake said he was impressed with how old Hoboken and new Hoboken came together. There was some faint animosity over the years , getting dimmer and dimmer with older generations of Hobokeners passing away.

But politics aside mostly, it was people helping people, talking to people I had seen for years, decades and never spoke to before. That includes neighbors and people from Maxwell’s back in the day. Talking to Jim this afternoon, I mentioned a woman who I had seen through the years and always felt she was scowling at me. I thought maybe I had done her wrong, or perhaps disgusted her after leaving the men’s room looking like I had a small powdered donut. Jim just said she was a hard looking woman.

My friend Karyn Kuhl got power here in Hoboken and in Bergen County my niece Meghan and her husband Rob got theirs this afternoon as well. We’re still not out of the woods yet.

Now it is Tuesday, Election Day. Former roommate William got power at his flat in Jersey City this afternoon. More debris piled up outside. After a week full of stress from the storm, today is concentrated with regards to the election. All day long I have been feeling good, feeling that Obama had it in the bag. I still do but I do come in contact with friends who are worried and I try not to let it affect me, but it does. It wears down my optimism bit by bit.

Juan stopped by earlier today, it was his birthday over the weekend and he was up here to see his family. He would have stayed longer but he has to work a double tomorrow. He was here for about two hours and it was fun. He really does have a wicked wit and had me laughing quite a bit. He also turned me onto some music- Bonde Do Role, Mia Diekow, Grimes and even Taylor Swift and a Justin Bieber track which was well produced. Juan is of that generation that doesn’t have categories for his music. For Juan, it’s all good.

And so now tonight will be all about the election. Glad to get the results with Bill by my side.
Tomorrow it’s about the snowstorm that has been predicted. We certainly do live in interesting times, don’t we?

Once again photos are on the Post Sandy Photos page towards the bottom of the column on the right.

This just in- Via Hoboken Patch:
As a result of Tuesday’s elections, municipal elections will be moved to November.
Run-off elections were eliminated and RENT CONTROL UPHELD IN THE CITY OF HOBOKEN!

I Never Knew You

It’s been a very rainy Friday. As I lay in bed this morning I thought, ‘now this is the day to stay in bed.’ Of course only a little while after that I got out of bed and started my day. There were plenty of mundane tasks to do, ennui waits. I wasn’t planning on doing much of anything today, it was raining quite hard and here on the sixth floor the wind was howling. A day not fit for man nor beast and here I was deciding which of those I was. I opted for being a man and duly stepped into the shower.

I got a few things off my chest with regards to this here blog. It’s noticeable if you know where to look. I mean, look beyond the obvious. Last night as I was going off to the arms of Morpheus, I came up with some lines for a song. I didn’t get out of bed and write them down, nor did I write them in the notebook I kept by the bed. The pen is there but the notebook is missing, or at least it was last night in the darkness. No, I went to sleep hoping to remember the line.

To my surprise I was able to remember the line so that worked out fine. It’s a good line, not to be revealed here, since I am trying to write a song. I was hoping to write a song for the benefit at Maxwells on the October 25, but it’s not as easy as I had hoped. I have songs in my head all the time and figured it would be easy, using the basic verse/chorus/verse, eschewing the middle eight. There’s still time anyhow. A few covers and an original might just be a few covers and nothing else.

Tomorrow there is an open mike in Church Square Park, sponsored by the Bibliothèque and I might just jump in for the sake of getting my chops. If I do that, I would be following a Flamenco act and possibly a rapper who raps in American Sign Language. And that would be after doing some volunteer work at the bibliothèque. Apparently they were all quite happy with me being there last Saturday so helping out again this Saturday would probably be helpful, but then again, no two days are the same. One day is busy, another day perhaps not so much.

Bill is driving to Atlantic City tonight and doing it again tomorrow night. So things will be quiet and quite dull here. Things just aren’t as entertaining and funny when Bill isn’t around. And once again I got all misty just thinking about him this afternoon. It could have been the rain though, but the rain doesn’t necessarily leave one with a warm heart does it?

Today is my brother Frank’s birthday. 11 years between us. He’s a good guy, but we’re so much alike sometimes that we can’t avoid butting heads. The first five minutes of seeing each other can be very combustible. There is a gathering planned on Sunday afternoon and Bill and I said we would attend. It’s in Saddle Brook, not too far away. It would be good to see family once again before we separate and come together again during the end of the year holidays.

So that’s about it for today I reckon. What’s done is done and of course there is always tomorrow and the day after. So much depends on the weather, both inside and out. But overall things should be alright as far as I can tell, and I can tell a lot…

05 Towers Of London

I Must Be Seeing Things

They tell me it’s a Friday and judging by the lack of foot traffic on the waterfront I have to agree. It’s been a rollercoaster of a day. Maybe it has something to do with my staying up later than usual, watching Singing in the Rain on Turner Classic Movies. Yes I’d seen it before but it really is such a good movie and after watching The Artist last week, it was an interesting comparison to make. Both movies take place in Hollywood, the late 1920’s and dealing with the advent of talking pictures. It helped that both Gene Kelly and Jean Dujardin are easy on the eyes.

I think the last time I watched Singing in the Rain was with Bill and Juan. Well Bill came home last night and soon after that he was in bed. I did my thing and watching Singing in the Rain until 2:00 in the morning should have helped me go to sleep better, or at least I thought it would. No, I would sleep for about 20 minutes, then wake up and try to go back to sleep for 10 minutes then repeat the cycle all over again. Bill was up and out in the morning leaving me to toss and turn some more.

Chaz was planning on stopping by this morning and after showering and some coffee I did my best to tidy up the apartment which in this case meant making room on the coach so Chaz would have a place to sit down. He had a few photos he wanted me to scan and so that is what I did with Chaz. Some old pictures of friends from the Maxwells days, and quite a few pictures of Chaz with rock and roll celebrities, like Donovan, Elvis Costello, Marky Ramone and Peter Gabriel.

I am sure there are a number of other photos somewhere. We plan on doing more scanning next week, unless we both find jobs. Which leads me to the rollercoaster of the day. This morning I get a phone call from an unknown number. I usually ignore those (since I am on a restricted plan) but I felt I should take this one. On the line was a woman named Jane who works for an agency I met with in 2009. My former supervisor Bobby Risotto set the whole thing up back then. I went no further than that meeting.

It was a good phone chat with Jane, she now had my file and wanted to meet with me. It was too late for today so she scheduled a meeting on Monday morning at 11:00. I felt hopeful and excited since this was the first bit of good employment news (a possibility actually) since May. I had to run a few errands before Chaz came over so I went to the bibliothèque and hit Washington Street. As I was leaving Hoboken Daily News, my phone rings. It was Jane again.

I guess she spoke with the woman (Melissa) that I met with in 2009. Jane was calling me to tell me not to bother, there was no need to meet on Monday. A polite brush off. I spoke with Chaz about it and he had heard that song before. My hopes were dashed once more. Jane did request my updated resume which I will send, but I feel it’s pointless. I was all set to go on Monday but the polite brush off as well as inquiring about your age (they can’t ask that outright, so they ask when you graduated from high school) is the way staffing agencies work these days. Perhaps it’s not the experience their looking for, it’s the potential. And I can’t help but feel that is something I am sorely lacking in.

But who cares? It’s Friday, right? Busking went alright today, like I said not so much foot traffic, and some competition from a guy named Rick who set up about 20 yards away from me. I thought it was rude but that’s how it goes. Tariq was hanging out with him and not me but I did feel inspired by the competition and so I sang and played Twist and Shout. It’s hard to do the three part harmonies but I got by.

This is the 2,348 posting.

Here are some of Chaz’ photos. All photos © Charles Charas 2012

13 Right Back Where We Started From

I Miss You- DeBarge

This week is turning out to be quite a washout. Rain and threats of rain have kept me indoors more than I would like. I am not too happy about it, but what can I do? I have no say in the matter. At least I did go outside last night and I am glad I did. I went to the bibliothèque to pick up Me’Shell Ndegeocello release, aptly titled ‘Weather’ and the Carole King memoir, Natural Woman. While there I ran into my friend Lois and walked her over to the church where the Hoboken Fair Housing Association was having a meeting.

We had a good talk before she went inside and I enjoyed a cigar and walked over to Shipyard Park at 13th Street and Hudson Street. The Guitar Bar All Stars were playing and I could hear them a block away. Since the area was quite residential, it was only an hour long and was over by 8:00. Jim Mastro was running the show and Meghan was there with their daughter Ruby. Ruby had her nose in a book when I first got here while she was taking care of the Ukulele table and info on kids lessons.

Meghan looked great and it was good to see her. Karyn Kuhl was also there with her pretty girlfriend Christina. They make a nice couple. And it was all over with a ukulele version of Blitzkrieg Bop by the Ramones. There was a plan to meet up at Guitar Bar Jr. on 11th Street and they started packing things up as I wandered over to the river to enjoy my cigar some more. Then I realized I would have to let it die out since I needed to stop by Maxwells on my way to Guitar Bar Jr.

The Hoboken Fair Housing Association is hoping to have a benefit and they’re hoping that Maxwells could give them a night in late October before the election. I was asked to see if Todd was around and ask him myself or get him ready to be asked by someone in an official capacity. But Todd wasn’t there, it was Dave Post who told me that Todd does all the booking and is usually there on Wednesday and Friday nights. I left Maxwells and walked the 2 blocks to Guitar Bar Jr., just as they were unloading the car with equipment.

Meghan and Ruby made their way, Ruby carrying a bag of ice. Jim appeared with some Pabst Blue Ribbon as well as some wine and some pale ale. I didn’t have a drink though, I just talked with Meghan and a friend of hers, talking about politics and Facebook. I got a call from a frazzled Bill who asked me to get him some soy milk at the supermarket so I cut short my time at the party and did some grocery shopping. I didn’t mind since it was getting noisy and hot in the Guitar Bar Jr.

Bill was home when I got home and proceeded to tell me about his day and his headaches dealing with this cast, but mainly the director of the show. Lots of phone calls between Bill and the producer and the director as well as Bill’s assistant. After that he went to bed and I stayed up. Apparently the night before I started watching From Here to Eternity on Turner Classic Movies and went to bed soon after Donna Reed appears. Bill had never seen it before and stayed up to watch the whole movie to my surprise.

This morning I got a phone call from downstairs neighbor Deborah. She found out that Chief’s name was actually Spence and told me how he wound up talking to her the whole ride into the city. He was asking lots of questions about me and also telling Deborah that there was a woman who was very much into me and supposedly on her behalf he was pumping Deborah for information about me. Deborah told him that I was gay and he seemed surprised since I didn’t seem to act gay, whatever that means.

Something else I find interesting, I used to go to a website called song facts to get a list of songs that start with an “I”. A week or so ago Firefox deemed the website unsafe. No matter, I use Chrome mostly and had no problems logging in until yesterday. And now, as of today, the website is inaccessible, perhaps shut down. I never went for the lyrics just the song titles. So if anyone has a link to song lists, do let me know.


I Melt

Yesterday I had Turner Classic Movies on and it was Tarzan Day in honor of Johnny Weissmuller’s birthday. I only wanted to see Tarzan’s New York Adventure which was a classic when I was growing up. It was usually shown on weekends, so kids could see it. I wanted to see Tarzan jump from the Brooklyn Bridge. According to the information about the movie on TCM, it was not filmed in New York and they used a dummy thrown into a studio back lot swimming pool to create the effect of Tarzan jumping into the East River to escape the police.

There were interviews with Maureen O’Sullivan and Johnny Weissmuller’s son, as well as some Edgar Rice Burroughs know it alls. I enjoyed it a lot and still love watching the Tarzan movies all these years later after I first saw them which is many years later when they were first released. I never saw the one with Bo Derek and I never saw the television series either. I guess its Johnny Weissmuller for me. I sure would like to have that Tarzan yell though. Still pretty impressive I think. Carol Burnett did a decent job of it I suppose.

Today is the 50th anniversary of the death of Marilyn Monroe. Dead at 36 which is a really a terrible shame. Way too young. So on Turner Classic Movies it seems to be all Marilyn Monroe. Gentlemen Prefer Blondes was just on, and now it is the Seven Year Itch, from Howard Hawks to Billy Wilder. Lately I’ve been just putting Turner Classic Movies on. Perhaps it is escapism from the mundane reality. In any event it works for me. Memories of movies that my mother used to like and movies that I liked when growing up and seeing them on TV.

I am also reading Commando: The Autobiography of Johnny Ramone. What a tough nut he was. Definitely not someone I would like to get to know. I did meet Joey a few times, the last time was the day after Christmas at Farfetched. He bought a slew of holiday cards since they were now half price and I didn’t recognize it but he certainly had some obsessive compulsive disorder, which Johnny puts down throughout his book. He ran the Ramones like an army unit, tough rules and schedules but he did make sure they got paid.

They never made much money from record sales and survived by ceaseless touring. Johnny wrote how they made more money once they broke up than they did when they were a band. Most of the money came from merchandizing. Those Johnny, Joey, Dee Dee t-shirts really brought in the dough. I can only guess Tommy and Marky must have gotten a cut. And Tommy and Marky are the last two surviving Ramones. Of course that discounts CJ Ramone And Richie Ramone. Elvis Ramone went back to playing drums for Blondie.

Johnny certainly had a lot to say besides praising George Bush when the Ramones were inducted into the hall of fame. It’s an interesting book and though he was a pain in the ass to deal with, he was focused and looked after the band since if he didn’t then it probably would have fallen apart a lot sooner than it actually did.

03 Danny Says

I Me Mine

Friday in Hoboken. The streets are clearing out, plenty of parking once again. And hardly any money to be made busking. I should have known but still I enjoyed myself and came home with fifty cents more than I did when I left earlier. A meager profit for this meager prophet. Still it was somewhat productive. I try to learn a new song every now and then and last night I taught myself Blondie, Heart of Glass. Of course not a synthesizer in sight and none of Clem Burke’s excellent drumming. Just me on my trusty Fender F-210 acoustic guitar.

There was hardly anyone around on the riverside promenade. My trusty toddlers with their guardians made their way past me and of course they jumped up and down and clapped their hands as I played the Modern Lovers, Roadrunner. Tariq was nowhere around though his woman Francine walked by and I chatted with her for a few minutes. She left and a little while later I started to get my stuff together as Tariq walked up. I was playing for two hours and sweating quite a bit. Tariq hit me up for a smoke and once he got his another friend of his showed up and asked me for a smoke, offering me a swig from his bottle.

I declined and made my way home after showing Tariq the chords to Heart of Glass which I am certain he has forgotten by now, instead focusing on whatever everyone else plays when busking. That’s a reason why I don’t play with other buskers generally. I will not lay Sweet Child of Mine by the ultra-horrible Guns and Roses. Oddly enough, other buskers don’t play the Beatles at least not while I am around. I guess I don’t play well with others.

Last night I attended a meeting of Hoboken Fair Housing Association. The local developers are trying to get rid of rent control here in Hoboken like they’ve done in a few other towns. Hoboken being the jewel in the crown for New Jersey is now in the crosshairs. Last year a provision was on the ballot in November with a slippery wording included at the last minute, changing that if you were for rent control you should vote NO. So a lot of people voted YES and hobbled the rent control laws inadvertently. I would have been involved anyway, and a friend of my brother Frank is involved and has gotten me involved as well.

There were a few people from the past at the meeting, some people I had seen around town for years, others I knew like Fred and Lois. They made an appearance before going out for an anniversary dinner. Things are planned, things need to be done. I was reminded by one of the speakers that there are more tenants in Hoboken than there are landlords. If people can be reminded of this as well there might be a chance that rent control could be stabilized.

Unfortunately I also learned that no one on the city council is a renter, they’re all property owners so we can’t really expect much help besides empty words from our local government. Half the council seems sympathetic to the rent control cause and the other half sides with the developers. I remember Jim Mastro organized a protest in the 1980’s against overdevelopment of the waterfront.

I went with some Maxwells people including Julio, who out of the Maxwells people was the only one born and raised in Hoboken. The protest march started at 14th & Washington Streets and at every cross street we would stop as a bell tolled and we decried the death of the waterfront. As we got closer to midtown Hoboken we passed a stronghold for the then mayor, Steve Capiello. They recognized Julio and gave him shit for marching with us, these interlopers. How could Julio betray them in such a way?

You’d think with the internets it would be easier to get people involved, since in the 1980’s it was mainly through fliers and word of mouth. There were I guess maybe 30 people last night. Word is getting out, some people planning on guerilla tactics on putting up fliers to educate people. Others making plans for more civilized things. Less than three months to go. Baby steps last night, hopefully we will be walking fully in a week or two with more people!

07 Maybe Tomorrow

I Love New York

Yes having the air conditioner working at night while Bill and I sleep makes a difference. It was cool enough that we didn’t sweat. That’s about it. It wasn’t cold, it was just right. Bill was fast asleep once more as I got into bed. And soon I too was fats asleep. It’s a good thing having the AC going, but on the other hand with the windows closed I won’t be hearing my mockingbird friend singing me to sleep with its birdsongs. Tomorrow is supposed to be the highpoint of this heat wave we’re sweating through and after that it is supposed to cool down so maybe the windows will be open once more if that happens.

Today was busy once again. No feeding of the cats since Lois & Fred returned from their sojourn. Some running around Hoboken was in place. I stopped by Hoboken Daily News where my friend Andy told me that it was true, Delite Market is going full scale liquor store and maybe be expanding into the Subway sandwich shop next door. That would be distressing for Bill since he eats Subway food a lot and has been putting the guys in the shops children through school.

A few years ago, Julio’s wife Stine gave Bill and I some curtains for our four room rail road apartment. There is a door that separates the apartment leaving two compartments on each side of the door. The bedroom is on the street and for the longest time the air conditioner would do its best to cool off two rooms even though it’s a small air conditioner unit best suited for one room. So I decided to finally after all these years to get that curtain up. No it’s not an iron curtain thankfully. It’s not even a Jane Curtain.

I knew I would need a drill and I asked Julio if he had one I could borrow. I also asked him last year if I could borrow one but he seemed to blow me off. This year I asked and felt my chances would be better for some reason. I texted him and he was working but answered that he could lend me one. He seemed skeptical since he knows that I am absolutely inept at doing things like that. If there are tools involved it is usually for the best that I am not around.

I was always the gopher when helping out my father around the house growing up, my father being the king of unfinished projects. He had the regal title for a number of years when I was growing up when there was no electricity on the second floor of our Cape Cod styled house. Any electricity was supplied via extension cords snaking up the stairs to where me and my brothers Frank and Brian slept. The thought of it being a fire hazard never entered his mind. Finally after thirty years he finally got a friend to hook up the second floor.

By then both Frank and Brian married their wives and moved out of the house and I would soon be out of there a year or so later. As I was sweating and trying to figure out what to do, it became a comedy of errors. All I had was a ladder from the hallway and an estimation on where to screw in the screws. Things were dropped and nearly lost but I persevered. An hour later I was done. Of course if Julio did it, it would be done in about twenty minutes with no blood spilled. I certainly hope it cools off the room, I will find out tonight. Tomorrow promises to be an interesting day which you might read about then.


Free Man In Paris

I Like It- Enrique Iglesias

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

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

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

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

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

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

01 I Turned You On

I Left My Wallet In El Segundo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

George Takei and me

04 The Last Time

I Know You Won’t

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Redbone – Come And Get Your Love

I Know Him So Well

It happens often. I call someone who is unavailable and leave a voicemail. I usually say “don’t call back, I’ll call you later”. 9 times out of 10 they call back. I am guilty of this too. Just had terse words with Bill. I use a hands free headset and as I am putting it away after leaving a voice mail- he calls. It’s raining, my hands are full with phone, ipod, and umbrella looking for shelter. It’s love and it’s frustrating.

I call him almost daily on my walk from the apartment to the bus stop. I get the voice mail and leave a message telling him not to call back, I would call when I am in the city. I unplug the hands free headset I use for the phone, put it away and plug in my headphones for the iPod, all the time smoking a cigar and using an umbrella while striding to the bus stop.

Of course, Bill calls at an inopportune moment, asking if I would be interested in going with him to his high school reunion in June. It’s a 30 year reunion and he liked his classmates. I am exasperated of course and probably a little bit snotty. I explain the situation that I don’t know if I can get that time off or if there will be time to have off.

I try to recover and make light of the situation but by this time Bill isn’t having it. The call ends abruptly. I make my way up to the cigar shack, on the way I get cut off by a delivery guy on a bicycle who knocks my smoke out of my hand. He apologises and I just keep walking. I make my way to the cigar shack in the drizzle and text Bill, telling him I am going to run an errand and I will call him back.

Apparently he still doesn’t like the fact, after 12 years, that I am not a morning person. We talk as I do the errand and he suggests taking a Xanax, to use the tools I have at hand since he is fed up with me and the way I am in the morning. I try to end the call on an up note but whether or not I hit that register, or whether Bill heard it it remains to be seen.

I did suggest earlier during the initial call that maybe we can talk about the high school reunion when I get home tonight. That is, if Bill is still awake. I get to the cigar shack and notice it really seems smoky and smells like cigars. Now normally it doesn’t since the cigar shack has a very good ventilation system going, but apparently not this morning.

Since I have been persona non grata lately I try to stay out of sight, keep my head down and do some work work work. So the man cave had to be closed which drove down sales, but I did spectacular. Just looking for a team to play for.

Oh and Bradley was upset since I questioned the fact that he had a sense of humor or any sense at all. He doesn’t. He can be quite hilarious but that hasn’t happened in a few months.

Charisma eczema. For some reason, I remember asking my sister in the 1970’s after hearing an advert on the radio about reminiscing how in the 1960’s, everybody had charisma. I asked my sister what charisma was and she told me it was a skin disease.

01 El Camisón De Pepa (Pepa’s Dress)

I Know A Little

Well today was a day off. Yesterday wasn’t. Yesterday was working with Thomas and Jerry Vale. Thomas and I finally had our talk, about how upset I was when he stole a customer from me. According to Bill when I am upset with someone I freeze them out, or in Bill’s words I send them to Siberia.

I got that from my father. Not the best way to handle a situation, but it beats biting someone’s head off. But the talk was had and Thomas seemed contrite, saying that if he ever does that to me again to let him know and he would rectify the situation. It made for an easy afternoon.

Jerry Vale was out of sorts though. He messed up a shipping order earlier in the week and still has difficulty on the cash registers. So after all this time, he still needs to be watched closely. I came home last night, closing my register and leaving Jerry Vale in the shop. He’s been hiding out there avoiding his roommate until it is time to go home.

I had a cigar and walked down the avenue to the bus stop. It was a great feeling knowing that I had a single day off which is better than no day off. On Saturday the sales were very good and warranted an email from Zack telling us what a good job we had performed. Yesterday the sales were not as good therefore no email was forthcoming. I had top sales both days by the way which was nice.

I got home, Bill fast asleep. I chatted with him as he slept and grumbled, eventually watching Nurse Jackie which was very good thanks to the appearance of Rosie Perez. The Big C was also very good as well, once again with guest stars Susan Saradon and Victor Gerber.

I saw John Benjamin Hickey on the street the other day, he plays Laura Linney’s brother. Being in New York I didn’t say anything or make a scene. I think I saw Rupert Murdoch the other day as I was heading into work. He had a big bodyguard as he left the overpriced supermarket nearby. I didn’t say anything to him though I did meet him twice before. I shook his hand which felt like I was squeezing mashed potatoes and thanked him for the great party that I was attending.

I watched Mad Men which was good but not as good as the week before which had Roger’s trip on LSD as the centerpiece. I stayed up for a while watching the news and whatnot, Bill had gotten out of bed for a little while before heading back.

This morning I had a telephone interview which went well. Whether or not anything comes of it remains to be seen. I can’t afford to invest hope in these matters since my spirit gets crushed each and every time. So ambivalence is the way to go.

I called Bill as I do most mornings and tried to tell him about the interview that I just had but he wasn’t much interested since I had so many of these things the past few years. I should try apathy next time he goes up for an audition. I won’t but the devil on my shoulder insists.

I also heard from Pedro who I had no contact with for the past few months. He wrote that he hates my Trayvon Martin Facebook hoodie profile picture, labeling it white guilt. He’s getting to be more of a reactionary conservative (probably because of the lack of contact between us, me offering the liberal voice of things which usually opens his mind somewhat).

For me there was no white guilt involved, it had more to do with a sense of injustice. Of course I didn’t tell Pedro that, the guy who was so upset when Radio Raheem gets killed by the police in Do The Right Thing.

My how we’ve grown since 1989.

there is a hawk in this photo

10 Five Years

I Keep Faith

Listening to Elvis Costello, My Aim Is True at the cigar shack. That really could sum up a lot of things. How I feel about work mainly. I’m not spending all my time in a vanity factory like old Declan. No I am standing in a cigar shack, working with dunderheads and I can’t think of any other word that could describe these boys.

Boys. That’s it. That is the phrase that pays. They are boys who spend so many minutes of the day staring out the window, passing comment on the women that stroll by. How this one likes Asian chicks, or Latin chicks, how that one likes women in work out gear, specifically yoga pants. And they are fixated on a woman they call Little Italy for some reason.

True I stare out the window at men sometimes but certainly not with the frequency that these boys do. Occasionally I might say woof when a hot man walks by and that gets their attention then they realize that I am woofing at a man and they make disgruntled comments.

This is the second blog I am writing today. The first was the official blog for the cigar shack, an attempt to get people (guys) to attend a cigar breakfast next week. Meet up at the nearby restaurant, have breakfast and then retire to the cigar shack man cave for cigars, all for $75.00.

This event has been promoted and mentioned throughout the past month or so and there has been very little interest in it, and some people who have expressed interest in it, decided they weren’t that much interested in it after all. So instead of cutting our losses and perhaps rescheduling, it’s a full court press on people who were not interested in the first place.

‘Shit rolls downhill’ as Bradley mentioned today, and since he is number two, the shit is rolling from Zack to him and now from him to Jerry Vale and myself today, and who knows if Thomas will get shat on tomorrow. I doubt it myself. I’m sure I will find out more on Monday since I am off tomorrow.

And tomorrow does not promise to be an easy low key day. Bill is singing the national anthem at CitiField before the NY Mets/San Francisco Giants game at 1:15. Soundcheck is at 10:00 which means we have to be out of the apartment at 8:00 and get on a train to Flushing. So no sleeping in, in fact I am getting up earlier than I would like. Earlier than I would if I had to go to work.

Oh the things we do for love.

Meanwhile, back at the cigar shack, once again I was off the floor, cleaning up the back room not making any sales. I am safely under my goal and at this moment it doesn’t seem likely that I will reach it. I work with some really shitty co-workers. No recognition for helping out with a sale, that $170.00 cigar case that I showed to a customer that Bradley was helping went to Bradley, not the guy who got the whole thing together.

I have to either get out of this hell hole of retail or get a stronger prescription of Xanax. And thanks to Bradley’s lack of foresight, I had to stay at the cigar shack, an hour later. And I will be standing in front of the fan on Monday when they bring in the shit to throw at said fan.

Forewarned is forearmed isn’t it? Better wear a raincoat.

That is it, I am done with this day. No post tomorrow.

the loneliest Israelite

807 Cloudbusting

I Just Threw Out The Love Of My Dreams

This has been an out of the ordinary day. Yesterday was fairly ordinary though. It was a day working alongside Jerry Vale and Thomas. Thomas was doing his best to get on my good side after a week or two of estrangement and it worked. I had forgotten that carrying a grudge could be a burden. SO there was a thawing out of the frosty relations between the two of us. Jerry Vale and I get along just fine.

Still I did get a bit upset with the two of them. On weekends it usually falls to me to clean up the man cave once it is closed to the public. It takes about a half hour generally and for that half hour I am off the floor, not taking sales. The front of the cigar shack needs a cleaning as well and yesterday since the two of them were just staring out the window ogling women walking by, I put the vacuum cleaner between the two of them, saying it was up for grabs.

Twenty minutes later, the vacuum cleaner was still there and I got upset with the two for them. I told Jerry Vale why I was upset and he said he didn’t vacuum since Thomas NEVER vacuums, so why should he? As if that was a viable excuse. So it was left to me to vacuum after I told Jerry Vale off, Thomas in the bathroom dealing with his irritable bowel syndrome.

After that I took the trash to the loading dock and figured that I would give myself a nice break and sat outside the cigar shack on the street watching life go by on a beautiful spring evening. I suppose it was similar to how my mother would ask my brother Brian and me to do something and neither of us would, at least not in the time frame that she had hoped it would get done. Instead Brian and I would fight about it, with Brian usually winning since he was bigger than me.

I came back to the cigar shack, and a little while after that Thomas left early with his IBS, leaving Jerry Vale and myself to close the cigar shack. Jerry Vale and I walked downtown a bit, I was headed to the bus terminal and he was off to who knows where.

I came home to a note on my computer from Bill, asking me to wake him up at 9:30, which I did. I watched Bob’s Burgers, then Nurse Jackie and the Big C followed by Mad Men. Bill was awake for a little while, telling me right in the middle of Mad Men what his past two days were like. He was at an acting seminar and it went well I suppose.

Then he went to bed and luckily I paused the DVR as Bill told his tale, and I was able to watch what was on hold while he talked. I watched the news up to the weather, me not caring much about the sports news that followed. Some more TV before I too went to bed. I had to have some blood work done this morning so I didn’t eat for about nine hours.

I woke up this morning, took a shower and without coffee went out into the world. I ran into my barber Tony, who told me more of his nerve problems, this time not in his left arm but from his neck to between his shoulder blades. It was a brief chat and then I was off to the bibliothèque where I chatted with Diane the librarian about her problems with her apartment.

I picked up Retromania by Simon Reynolds and Live Rust by Neil Young & Crazy Horse. I had a brief chat with Bill on the phone before I went into the local lab where I had four or five vials of blood drawn from my arm. That took about 10 minutes, paperwork included.

Then I left and ran into Jason Stasium who was with his adorable daughter Sophia. I worked with Jason in the last century at Right Track Recording. I didn’t recognize him at first when he started talking to me, thinking he was possibly a cigar shack customer. These things happen without coffee and interacting with humanity. He’s doing well, still an audio engineer and ready to work on whatever projects come his way. He and Sophia walked with me for a while then I was in the supermarket.

As I gathered my provisions I saw Clara, yet another person I worked within the last century. She just got her hair done a few days ago and looked great. She was most appreciative of my earnest compliment. We were both on the line for Isis and the three of us had a few chuckles, as Isis rang up our items. I was surprised at how civil I could be without my coffee, just a few beats behind everything.

I was only gone an hour but obviously a lot had happened in that hour. Finally I was home and able to have breakfast and some coffee that Bill had brewed for me before he left for work. I put away my clothes after breakfast and chatted online with friends. I texted Rand to see if he was around and he responded that he was up for a bike ride. But it was getting close to 90 degrees and I decided to head to the river with a cigar. No bike ride for me today. We may go on Thursday if the weather permits.

I sat by the water and read an interview with Jack White in Uncut Magazine Then I turned the page to an article on the late Alex Chilton, with a photograph taken quite near to where I was sitting by the river, from twenty years ago. It wasn’t exactly a happy article, it was more about Alex Chilton’s downward spiral in the 1970’s.

I walked around a bit after that. There have been advertisements around Hoboken for the Windmill, a Jersey shore fast food place. They were opening a store in Hoboken and I decided to check it out for lunch. I found it, near the Path station and it was still under construction. That was disappointing. Earlier I had gone to Ben & Jerry’s and wanted to treat myself to a Chocolate Therapy milkshake and just like two weeks ago, they were out of Chocolate Therapy.

I walked home, down Washington Street and as I walked past a hardware store I remembered I needed a light bulb. Not just any light bulb, a certain kind of light bulb. And since I didn’t know exactly what kind of light bulb I needed I kept on walking. And as I walked past another hardware store (there are two hardware stores in Hoboken) I overheard a woman telling her son that they needed to get a light bulb.

I came home and took a nap, set the alarm for an hour and woke up after twenty minutes. It’s been an odd day, for me at least. And I didn’t even mention the fact that I helped a few elderly and infirm people in the past 24 hours. Dinnertime!

It’s back to the cigar shack for me tomorrow. Who knows what fresh hell awaits me?

yesterday's sun

10 Kid About It

I Just Called To Say I Love You

I did the smart thing today. I took a Xanax before coming in. I knew I was working with Bradley and Thomas and Bradley is becoming more and more human lately whereas Thomas has been getting on my wick. I didn’t need any stress and Thomas has been the typhoid Mary of stress lately. He’s also a shark.

I knew that from the beginning when he came on board at the cigar shack and he’s been tolerable with regards to that. But today, he swiped two customers from me, unknowingly he claimed but still the deed was done. I helped out a customer and took a second to make sure I had the correct item to write up. By that time, the customer was at the register being rung up by Thomas under Thomas name. The customer was so kind as to thank me personally for helping him, in front of Thomas, but it did not seem to register.

Then just a few minutes agoo, a customer walked in, me chatting with him, headed to the humidor when Thomas strikes up a conversation about Ralph Lauren and proceeds to escort the customer into the humidor. I threw my hands up in exasperation and decided I would sit the rest of the time that Thomas would be working, away from Thomas, and sit in the man cave.

He’s a dick, he’s a shark, he’s an only child, he’s Thomas. And if I have to listen to the pearls of wisdom that fall from his lips regarding South Park or Family Guy I might just lose it. Whatever ‘it’ is, it maybe lost. He alsomtold me how he wasn’t looking forward to tomorrow. Tomorrow is the day I had off but switched so he could have off with his family. I told him at least he wasn’t working, and he replied, ‘Oh yeah. Thanks for switching.’

But he’s gone now and here I am, eating a banana on the sly as stragglers walk by the cigar shack, occasionally looking in the window, occasionally looking at Magilla Gorilla.

Brian Eno is singing how he would come running to tie my shoes which is a sweet sentiment. I would run to Bill to tie his shoes and I know he would do the same for me. The last 17 minutes on a Saturday in a holiday weekend truly makes this area like a cemetery.

I did have two online friends from a cigar group come in. Joseph and David, up from Delaware to visit the auto show at the Javits Center. Big burly guys, and quite nice. We’ve chatted online a few times and made the arrangements. A handsome couple they are.

I hooked them up with some cigars and set them up in the man cave. The two of them sitting in arm chairs while the usual suspects eyed them somewhat warily from the table, wondering why they were getting such care and attention from me, care and attention to such a degree that the usual suspects would never ever get from me.

Familiarity does breed contempt and I am quite familiar with these guys.

Tomorrow is Easter, and here is my Easter joke.

Easter is when Jesus emerges from his tomb and if he sees his shadow it’s six more weeks of lent.

It’s my joke, a joke a made years ago. Happy Spring!

Black Israelites, yelling & being ignored

Cigarmen David & Joseph with me in between

Have a Cigar

I Hope You Dance

Tuesday Afternoon by the Moody Blues is playing. It’s probably the only Moody Blues song I like, or at the very least, the one I like the most. I heard it constantly growing up in the 1970’s, on WNEW-FM. I eventually worked with Justin Hayward on something in the 1990’s (maybe it was a Moody Blues thing) and though I never got too close to him, engineers told me the guy was basically toast.

Back at the cigar shack today, no despair happening. A good day with Bradley and Jerry Vale with Zack buried in the office under a mountain of paperwork. Sales were fair, nothing great. It’s only the third of the month and we’re on par with last year, though I think the home chateau might be hoping for higher numbers.

It’s been quite a nice spring day outside, I was able to enjoy a slightly damaged cigar and read some more Kurt Vonnegut during my lunch hour. Bill has been super phenomenal lately. He’s singing the national anthem again before the Mets game at CitiField on April 22. I’ve already put in my request for a day off. I am hoping it does not rain. Still any time spent with Bill is time well spent.

I had some good customers today. Sometimes you get some really good ones, others are not so good. Some are pleasant and some are dicks. Today it was all pleasant. It is early yet, a little over an hour left, leaving the dicks, plenty of time to make their uncircumcised appearances. Jimmy Seltzer is here, playing the role of my favorite customer. He remarked on the good mood I am in. ‘Just riding that manic high’ was my explanation.

Even some customers who get on my wick didn’t bother me that much today, some even going so far as to be somewhat pleasant. Now ‘Take The Long Way Home’ by Supertramp is playing. A guilty pleasure for me. I loved Even in The Quietest Moments’ and Breakfast in America’. Jerry Vale just mentioned seeing them at the Garden for the Breakfast in America tour. I mentioned that they broke up soon after the tour, right after they reached the top.

In some ways it’s like Harper Lee. I watched a documentary on her and Margaret Mitchell last night on PBS. I like the Harper Lee documentary more, having read To Kill a Mockingbird and seen the movie countless times. Miss Harper Lee only wrote that one classic book. Never came out with anything else.

Not that she had to, but anything that she would have done would be compared to Mockingbird, and that would near impossible to duplicate. So I guess she did the right thing, cutting out at the right time, much like Supertramp. Is that a stretch or what?

Now there is a little over a half hour left in the cigar shack. the Eagles are playing ‘One of These Nights’ yes I am going down memory lane and dragging Jimmy Seltzer and Jerry Vale with me. I guess I am lucky since they’re not complaining.

Now I am home, still in a good mood. Bill of course is almost always in a good mood, and stayed up for me to come home. Now he’s in bed and I am in front of the computer. Maybe it was the multivitimin. Or the Shepherd’s Pie I had for lunch. Or spring fever. Anyway, I’m running with it. Or walking briskly.

Anti Samsung protest near cigar shack. Photo taken with a Samsung smartphone

Stevie Wonder – Outside My Window

I Heard You

This has been one of the most morose days. It shouldn’t have been but then again I woke up feeling morose and it colored my day through and through. Perhaps it was a continuance from yesterday. Last night was nothing special, except for seeing Bill for an hour before he went to bed.

After that it was me alone in front of the computer watching what gets posted on Facebook. Some good things, some informative things, and of course, some crap. I slept quite deeply, enough so that waking up was difficult. I did not want to get out of bed no matter how Eddie Money was telling me that he had two tickets to paradise, saying that I should pack my bags and we’ll leave tonight.

No, I’d rather have stayed in bed. And I should have really. Work has been one monstrosity after another. I find myself annoyed with so many things, so many people. Once again the comfort level has slipped through my fingers, making a mess on the floor which I of course will have to clean up. Bill has been excellent though. Always there with a hug and ears to listen.

Tomorrow I am not sure if I will write. I am off from work but then again I will have to work. I am attending an event for the unveiling of a new cigar and they geezer who’s name is on the cigar is celebrating his 86th birthday. I have to go and take photographs which shouldn’t be so bad, but overall I would rather be home.

I have a dental appointment in the afternoon and then after that will head to the cigar shack, and then to the Top of the Sixes where the event will be held. A lot of people are looking forward to it, so I guess I have no idea what to expect. Then again I have such low expectations that anything really could be a surprise.

Jimmy Seltzer is sitting in the man cave and Thomas just went back there to have a chat with him. Jazz has been playing for the past few hours and that likely has fouled my mood somewhat. Man I dislike jazz.

So not for me, too self indulgent, too virtuoso-esque. I’m not one for virtuosity, I like the concept that anyone can do it, hence my affection for punk and new wave. I don’t mind hearing it live most of the time, though when I took Bill to see Herbie Hancock at the Blue Note for Christmas a few years ago I was put off by the meandering and the fact that in 90 minutes only 3 songs were played.

And I do like and respect Herbie Hancock, just not that night. Just 18 minutes left of this jazz nonsense then I will be home. Not much to do tonight or tomorrow, just the dentist and the cigar event. Still it could be worse I suppose. My hair could catch fire and that would be a drag.

Now I am home. Feeling a bit better. Played Revolution Earth by the B-52’s on the bus and Vogue by Madge on the walk home. Both helped.

Nessun dorma

I Hate This Part

Well it’s been a day off and a lazy day off at that. I slept later than expected, waking up at 10:00. I didn’t mind, things were just a bit slower than usual. And it’s been lazy lazy lazy all day. I shuffled on over to the supermarket as usual, got some things, chatted with Isis and then came home to a nice breakfast. That’s really about all I did today.

I’m content. Laundry can wait, it’s not going anywhere. Not much happening on the net.

Jon Bon Jovi turned 50 today. And today would have been Karen Carpenter’s birthday as well. She would have been 62 today. I’ve always loved her voice. And it is also Lou Reed’s birthday today. Laurie Anderson’s husband is 70 years old today. I like his songs and sometimes I like his voice too. I worked with him in the 1990’s and to put it mildly, he is a handful.

And today is Theodor Geisel’s birthday. Dr. Seuss would have been 104 years old. I guess with the exception of Jon Bon Jovi (who I met in the 1990’s- a nice guy really), Karen Carpenter, Lou Reed and Dr. Seuss have all had some kind of influence on my life. But then again, I do believe everyone you meet in your life has some sort of influence so I guess Jon Bon Jovi too has had some sort of influence.

Yes, I think that with every little encounter that one has with various human beings or even animal I suppose, they contribute something to your person, your being. Then when you are dying, you are finally complete and fully yourself. We’re all works in progress. Tomorrow might have a different philosophy but I’ll stick with that one for now.

I haven’t done this in a while so I figured I will do it now. In February I had 1,084 visits to this here blog.
The top ten are:
New York
Los Angeles
(not set)
San Francisco

I guess not set means smartphones or laptops or iPads. I’m impressed with the numbers though.

The bottom ten are:
Thanh Pho Ho Chi Minh
Sao Goncalo

I don’t know what I can do to get more readers in Aiud. I don’t even know where Aiud is. Ha! I just looked it up and apparently it is located in Transylvania, Romania. 801 of those visitors were new to the blog, and 283 were returning masochists. 40 of them visited via iPads, 27 were using iPhones and the majority were on Samsung Droids. The rest were desktop surfers.

Chrome browsers led the pack followed by Internet Explorers and Firefoxes, Safaris and Android Browsers. 17 visits from Brazil and Australia, 12 in India, 2 in Russia and 1 in China. It’s certainly interesting, to me at least to know that this is read all over the world. More than I anticipated since I was content with Annemarie and Harpy being the main 2 visitors.

Now I have to rethink that. Just not now.

the demolition at 3rd and Washington

Donald Fagen – New Frontier

I Hate Seagulls

Last night was a bad night of sleeping. I went to bed with the best intentions of getting a good night’s sleep and woke up several times. The overhead light went on, a trip to the bathroom, and the need for some ibuprofen after all that.

There was the plan to go to the Eagle last night in Chelsea for cigar night and to drum up business for the cigar shack. With the tooth extraction and not smoking cigars yesterday it seemed like a better idea to just go home. I did make arrangements to come in late today since I had that plan but I decided to proceed as normal.

So as I groggily wandered around the apartment, having coffee and cereal after a shower I wandered out into the drizzle and waited for the bus. Uneventful ride of course and neighbor Deborah is nowhere to be seen. I just stared out the window and minded my own business. It is leap day, Sadie Hawkins day or whatever it is that you want to call it which could explain why things are a bit weird today.

And Davy Jones died today which is sad. I liked the Monkees and didn’t care that they were the PreFab Four. I enjoyed their music a lot, great hit singles and I also enjoyed their TV show. I didn’t catch the show the first time around but in the 1970’s I caught it in reruns on Channel 9, it seemed to be on everyday after school.

I did see Mickey Dolenz a few years ago when he played the Art & Music Festival in Hoboken and he put on a good job. A friend of mine does PR for Mickey Dolenz and told me that the last reunion tour ended abruptly and bitterly, but wouldn’t name names as to who did what. Lot’s of friends are posting Monkees videos on Facebook as a tribute to Davy Jones.

Overall it’s a bummer for a lot of people, those that grew up with the Monkees the first time around. I guess David Bowie can now go back to his original name, David Jones.

Now, at the cigar shack I am trying to kick someone out of the man cave which has been closed for the past half hour. He’s hemming and hawing and chatting with Angela who barely speaks English in an attempt to not leave. And Thomas has had a tide that once again lifted all boats.

The lucky stiff had a customer who came in a dropped a lot of cash on a sale in just under a minute. It almost repeated itself a minute later when the same customer came in to see what else was on sale. Then I guess reason entered the picture and he changed his mind and walked out the door.

I just got back from telling the customer that he had a half an hour longer than most people to finish his cigar and now he must go. I do not like this guy but apparently he must be tolerated since he does attend several of the big ticket events in the cigar shack world in Manhattan.

Just don’t mistake my kindness for weakness.

Spring is in the ground

15. A Little Bit Me A Little Bit You

I Had To Say It

I start this at home, 1:08AM. Iam not tired so I figured I would stya up a while and watch TV. I heard a lot of good things about Downton Abbey and see that it on PBS. As the show opened at Christmas in 1919, presents are handed out to the servants as well family of Downton Abbey. Unfortunately, now is the time for the Emergency Broadcast System to make their monthly announcement and test. So perhaps it’s just as well that I should go to bed. It made me laugh though.

Now, hours later- I put up with the noise from the Emergency Broadcast System, while grateful that there was no ‘real’ emergency to worry about. And after a short time, the audio for Downton Abbey was restored and I found myself engrossed slightly. I mean, Maggie Smith is in it, and a blast from the past, Elizabeth McGovern playing an American married to a member of the British aristocracy. But by the time 1:45 rolled around I knew I was in over my head and needed to go to sleep.

Bill had gone to bed an hour or two previous and had gotten out of bed twice by my count. When I eventually got to bed myself he got out of bed one more time before I faded into relative obscurity. He was up and out around 7:30 as I lay sleeping. He was feeling a little bit better, lending him a pair of my boxer briefs might have helped. Still he did not get nearly enough sleep as he needed and I expect him to be asleep when I get home in an hour or two.

It was fairly busy at the cigar shack, Zack and Bradley and Jerry Vale on board today which made for fierce competition for a handful of sales. Lunch was a waste of time though for the second day in a row I was able to get some Shepherd’s Pie which was wonderful and filling. I always think of Hyman Gross when I have Shepherd’s Pie. He was the one who recommended it to me, telling me that the overpriced supermarket nearby has it at a reasonable price.

I stayed close to the cigar shack during lunch, stopping into 2 nearby stores where friends work, only to find when I arrived that neither friend was available when I stopped by. It wasn’t terribly upsetting but did leave me in the lurch as to what to do for the rest of my rapidly decreasing lunch hour.

I just wandered around outdoors and got a shoeshine which wasn’t nearly enough to kill time. I wound up getting back to work earlier which was a bit of a drag. Still it wasn’t the end of the world and I would have had a quick cigar in the man cave if it weren’t for a certain troll that I have nothing but disdain for. Just too much of a lump to ignore so I avoided him.

03 help!

I Got You (I Feel Good)

Today was a day off and it was a decent day. After last night and my godforsaken mood it was bound to be good. My cooler head prevailed and I edited my original posting after a rethink. I felt better after having something to eat and I stayed up watching TV for a while.

Bill was fast asleep when I came home and soon I found my place beside him in our bed, falling asleep sooner rather than later. Bill was up and out quite early, he was doing some volunteer work for WBAI and their pledge drive. I used to do that for WFMU when they were broadcasting from East Orange and my faux alma mater, Upsala College.

A sweet kiss goodbye was what he gave me as I lay there half-awake before he headed out into the world. I got up a while after that and puttered about doing my thing. A trip to the supermarket was in order and so after a cup of coffee from the morning pot that Bill made for me (he loves making me coffee in the coffee maker he gave me as a Valentine gift a few years ago, though he doesn’t drink the stuff).

It was a nice morning and I got my items and found Isis at her register. I was ahead of an elderly woman with a shopping cart filled with items so I helped her unload it and placed her items on the conveyor belt, for which she thanked me, as did Isis who usually does that sort of thing. A stop at the dry cleaners to drop off my shirts as well as Bill’s and soon I was home having a nice breakfast that I made for myself.

There was a tentative plan once again to see the Doug Wheeler installation with RoDa this afternoon and RoDa texted me asking if we could go around 2:00. That would be fine with me, except an hour later he texted me asking to move meeting up to after 3:00. I texted back saying I hoped we could go earlier, but since he has kids as well as an ailing mother that wasn’t going to happen.

So we put it off once again, with the hope that we could get it together this Saturday, and he can join Bill and me and RoDa could even bring his son Logan. So now the plan is to go Saturday afternoon at 1:00. I am fortunate to have both Saturday AND Sunday off this weekend, like most other working stiffs.

I had decided to head into the city, not to go to the gallery but to see if the new issues of Mojo and Uncut were on the shelves. I rode the Path train where I ran into my old friend and neighbor Claire. She was heading into the city for her own personal business and we had a nice chat en route. I got off at Christopher Street and she continued on her way. I stopped into Rebel Rebel on Bleecker Street and found they did not have the latest issue, the bloke behind the counter telling me it might be in by the week’s end.

I continued on my way, up to Sixth Avenue. I stopped into Old Navy where I thought I would buy myself a nice pair of trouser since I did get a gift card from my sister, but once in the store I checked my wallet only to find I left the gift card at home. Still I didn’t mind. I walked to TJ Maxx and hoped to buy some micro-fiber boxer briefs and after getting a few pair, I walked to the registers and found an unbelievably long line.

I just dropped off the boxer briefs and walked out the door. It was a nice day so I then decided to just walk up to the bus terminal where I got a ride back to Hoboken. I stopped by the Guitar Bar and spoke with Mr. Wonderful Jim Mastro for a few minutes before heading home. All that walking made me tired and I tried to take a nap for an hour but lasted about 20 minutes. Now Bill is home, watching Lawn hors d’œuvre on his laptop. Harry Potter is on the telly and that’s about it for me.

06 We All Fall In Love Sometimes
Also quite happy to congratulate the state of California on the overturning of Prop8. NJ soon come!

I Got Rhythm

Well today has been a day off, and a mostly rainy day off at that. Still I was glad to have some time to myself and set about doing the things I had planned. Last night I came home, Bill was staying up for me and I walked in with a bit of anxiety regarding how many things I had to do today.

It’s true mostly that depression is from living in the past and anxiety is from living in the future. Last night I was a few hours ahead of myself so I was a little bit anxious. I calmed down soon enough thanks to Bill’s support. He went to bed a while after I came home and I stayed up watching some TV.

I slept fairly well last night and woke up at my usual time even though I had the day off. I had a meeting at 11AM so I had to follow my daily routine once again. I trimmed my goatee somewhat last night and shaved this morning after a shower. Bill made a nice pot of coffee for me again. He’s really enjoying making me coffee even though he doesn’t drink the stuff.

I was dressed and out the door once more, this time headed to the Path train. I stopped at the bibliothèque to pick up a biography on Marvin Gaye written by Michael Eric Dyson but I was too late. I ordered it but you only have five days to pick it up and today was day seven. I wasn’t sure what day I received the notice, so I was too late.

It wasn’t raining when I went into the bibliothèque, but it started to pour when I left. I hopped on a bus to the Path train and got on board a train to the World Trade Center. It was still pouring rain when I got downtown and made my way through Zuccoti Park where Occupy Wall Street had it’s start in September. Now it was empty and it was just me and one other guy walking through.

I made it to the meeting right on time and it lasted longer than I expected and I think it went well. Soon I was back on the street, talking to Bill and walking around Wall Street, killing time. I had plans to meet up with RoDa at 1:00 and it was only 11:45. I bought a Brian Eno EP at JR Music and hopped on an uptown train.

I got off at Union Square and thought about walking past where Farfetched used to be but figured that would be pointless and a bit of a downer so I mainly stayed on 14th Street. What used to be the Virgin megastore is now a Chase Bank.
Bleecker Bob’s which was one of the first places where I used to buy my import singles and albums as well as clothes is being shuttered to become a Starbucks. I hadn’t shopped in Bleecker Bob’s since the early 1980’s and I suppose my lack of loyalty is a contributing factor in it’s demise.

RoDa was only 15 minutes late which wasn’t so bad and we proceeded to walk over to Chelsea. I really wanted Roda to see the Doug Wheeler installation that blew me away a week or so ago but where it was nearly empty that Tuesday afternoon, today it was quite crowded and very stuffy. We decided to head out and wander around a bit, eventually deciding to give it another go next Tuesday.

We wandered to a few other galleries, RoDa being quite impressed with a few things we saw. We walked around a bit more before we both decided we were pretty tired from trooping along in the damp weather.
Then it was back to Hoboken where everyone knows RoDa. He can’t walk down Washington Street without a lot of people greeting him, he is so beloved in this town. We parted ways with a nice hug and made plans to try to hit Chelsea once again on Tuesday.

I was glad I was able to help lift his spirits since they were quite low the other day.

RoDa says 'Peace'

Killer Queen

I Got ID

I am writing this knowing that it will not be posted tonight. Today was the Internet protest against SOPA and PIPA, all the major websites like Wikipedia, Google, Reddit and a few more went dark as a way to show how the Internet would be lacking should these laws come to pass. For me it was back to work today.

After quite a splendid day yesterday, today was bound to be a come down. I rallied though, got myself together and was out on the street, in the cold. My usual bus driver, my second favorite bus driver wasn’t driving on my schedule today, or any time soon. He mentioned it to me last week and I have to say I am sorry to see him go.

He’s driving a different shift and may be back in April. I rode in silence, downstairs Deborah wasn’t on board this morning. From the bus terminal I once again walked up the avenue to the cigar shack, stopping off to get my iced coffee and a quick phone call with Bill. I got to the cigar shack where Zack was considerably under the weather and Thomas was getting screwed again.

He’s scheduled to work six days in a row in the upcoming weeks and he’s not looking forward to it. He’s 25 years old so if any one can handle it, it would be him. Zack was looking tattered and spent most of the day in the office. He’s supposed to be heading down to the Caribbean in a few days and I advised him to head home early. Who wants to be sick in the Caribbean? I’ve never been, but I figure that it would not be any fun.

So now things are winding down in the cigar shack, Thomas and I just had a good chat with a very rich man from the midwest. Nice guy. I offered to be adopted by him but he wasn’t having it. I could easily call him Dad if need be. He restores cars for a hobby and lost a few fingers on his left hand doing so.

NOW it’s the next day, back online, back to the beat, back to the blog. It’s been an interesting day. As I waited for my bus, the new driver flew right by with two cops cars flying fast behind her, lights and sirens a blazing. Whether the two were connected I don’t know but I hope so since the bus driver did not stop for any stops it seemed.

I got to the cigar shack a few minutes late and walked past Zack and Bradley and Thomas having a semi-heated discussion. Thomas was cool, but Zack and Bradley were heated and loud. After about a half hour it all seemed calm and I was glad I wasn’t involved.

Jimmy Seltzer made an early appearance. I mentioned I had a dream about him with a porn stache and he mentioned we talked about that a week or so ago. I didn’t remember but in hindsight he’s probably right for where else would I get the idea of Jimmy Seltzer with a porn stache?

Oh yeah, almost forgot that Juan stopped by last night. It was hard to believe I hadn’t seen him since maybe September or October of last year. And of course it was great to see him, wonderful to have him over. He was funny and cutting as ever and I really should put more effort into meeting up with him, not being so tired, such an old fogey. He is really such a good guy and both Bill and I really enjoy having him around.

Van Halen with Kool & the Gang opening?

2-04 Walking On The Surface Of The Moon