Tag Archives: Frank

I Never Knew Love Like This Before

Another new page, or perhaps a new chapter. Who knows? Maybe it’s still being written. Time was spent once again volunteering at the bibliothèque. It went well, the staff wish I could get hired full time, I wish I could get hired full time, but not right now I guess. It’s a good gig, I like them, they like me. Only time will tell. They’re good people, some true Hoboken characters. I spent the time today putting away books and CD’s and DV’s, and also helping out people looking for items which I was able to do since I had just put most of those items away.

As I was putting away some of the audio visual items, I started talking to a young man named Esteban. He had taken out Television- Marquee Moon last week and I checked it out for him last week, Today I asked him what he thought and he was it was too much of a guitar record, which he wasn’t looking for but liked it. I guess he didn’t have a Stan Bogdansky in his life enthusing about Tom Verlaine and company like I did back in the day. I still remember Stan singing Prove It as I waited so we could go to a show.

Esteban did ask me for some suggestions and I asked if he was into something rock and roll, or something more on the chill out side of things. He was interested in the chill out side so I suggested Brian Eno, Another Green World. Half instrumental, half with vocals. He recognized Eno as being the producer of U2 and I told him there was so much more. We talked about Talking Heads and he recognized Remain in Light, having taken it out previously. He knew Once In A Lifetime from a movie.

He almost took out Remain in Light again but found Speaking in Tongues which is good but definitely pales in comparison to Remain in Light. I described it as more of a ‘pop’ record and he sort of looked disdainful. I explained there was nothing wrong with pop music, that the Beatles and the Rolling Stones were considered pop when they started, and perhaps they still are pop 50 years later. He also expressed a fondness for Blonde on Blonde having taken it out a while ago, I Want You being his favorite song.

I made a remark about Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlands being 17 minutes long, and he corrected me telling me it was actually 12 minutes. He asked how I knew so much about music and I explained I have friends (Harpy & Juan) and family (Frank & Annemarie) that turn me onto music all the time, plus I suggested getting Mojo and Uncut magazines. He never heard of those and was very excited when I told him that each month the latest issues of those magazines come with free CD samplers. Sometimes new stuff sometimes old stuff on the samplers but almost all of it is very good.

I guess I will have to volunteer next Wednesday at the bibliothèque so I can find out what Esteban thought of my suggestions. He seemed like a nice enough chap. There was another patron who is trying to get every record from Rolling Stone’s issue of the best 500 albums. That seemed a bit much, but then again it Rolling Stone which is better read nowadays for Matt Taibbi’s reporting rather than music coverage. Some of the bibliothèque staff saw a flier for the Hoboken Fair Rent Association benefit on October 25 at Maxwells and wanted to know if that was me listed on the flier. It is.

So right now I am walking a tight rope. The future is uncertain as well as unwritten and out of my hands.

07 Prove It

I Got Nothin’

This morning started out OK with regards to the weather. A bit nippy with occasional drizzle. Now it is mainly cold and damp. Tomorrow is a day off and from what I have heard, it is supposed to be warm and damp. January 2012 has had some crazy weather.

I’ve taken Harpy’s suggestion and decided to remove music from my smartphone. Do I need music on my smartphone, especially when I have a 30GB iPod? No, not really. According to Harpy it takes up too much space on the smartphone and with extra space the phone operates better without music.

I don’t really know about that since there are maybe two people I speak to on the phone, Bill & Annemarie. Well maybe three if I include Harpy, and I will include Harpy since no one includes Harpy enough if you ask me. And waking up was difficult this morning. I could have used at least another hour of sleep but obviously that was not going to happen.

I watched Chronology last night. It is a collection of live clips of Talking Heads from 1975 to the 1990’s. I don’t think it includes any footage from Stop Making Sense, the Talking Heads- Jonathan Demme movie from 1984. I stopped watching the DVD when they showed Talking Heads at the Capitol Theater from November 1980.

I went to that show with my brother Brian and we had seats in the 2nd row. The Psychedelic Furs opened up the show and I didn’t know them then and did not like them much. I thought Richard Butler was a weird mix of David Bowie and Johnny Rotten, sounding like Rotten and throwing shapes like Bowie.

Anyway Talking Heads were fantastic and I remember dancing in front of the stage, I don’t recall anyone else around, just me dancing in front of people sitting down. I had seen Talking Heads in August 1980 with my brother Frank and that was quite magical. A couple of thousand of us, all dancing to music that no one had heard yet, Remain in Light had not come out at that time.

I’m sure that by November Remain in Light had come out and I was more than likely blown away. It is my favorite album of all time. As much as I love the Fabs, I still think Remain in Light is the best. Perhaps it is my generation’s Sgt. Pepper, as I can hear it’s influence on a lot of music in the years that followed it’s release.

The DVD is excellent, interesting to see them as a three piece for a few clips then seeing Jerry Harrison really flesh things out. And by the time I saw them there were ten people on stage. I’m sure my brother Brian was embarrassed by my frentic dancing but I didn’t care. I remember leaving the Capitol Theater and hearing that Jimmy Carter had just conceded the election.

It was election day after all. I voted for John Anderson in my first election, voting with my conscious. Brian told me I was supposed to vote for whomever I thought was going to win and he voted for the ‘winner.’

another shop bites the dust

asbestos kills

01 Positive Vibration

I Don’t Love You My Chemical Romance

A better mousetrap. Can it be had? I don’t know, for some reason that line just popped into my head. At the shack. Zack and the Yanquis phan are smoking and drinking and getting merry like Christmas. Frank Burns has left the cigar shack leaving Thomas and myself to man the controls.

The Swiss cheese schedule continues, off yesterday, on today, off tomorrow. Then two days on and one day off. Yes the mantra goes on, threadbare but a mantra nonetheless.

I neglected to write the other day but I think I saw the badly drawn former friend the other day. It must have been her since I can’t think of anyone who would give out that vibe. I don’t think she saw me, maybe she did. It was brief and momentary and now it’s gone much like our friendship. No skelton bleeding here thank you very much.

It’s been quite a rainy and blustery day here. Been raining all day, one of those days when an umbrella just won’t do you any good. A lot of umbrellas have been turned inside out and sprout forth from garbage cans.

I did have the luck of having Bill swing by the cigar shack to pick up his keys which he left at home. Normally I would drop them off by his office but since today seemed to be monsoon day Bill did not want me to brave the elements so he stopped by the cigar shack after an appointment. It’s always good to have his sunshine come inn on a gray and windy day as today.

So now it is Thomas and myself manning the boards. Not much foot traffic now, especially after 7:00. It’s OK though. Brian nabbed top sales today and I am in second place. Frank Burns is in third place.

I had some really nice customers in today. Connections made, cards exchanged and cigars sold. As well as some nice pens to a bloke from old Blighty, heading back across the pond tonight. He comes back every month and so since he now has my card, he might swing by again and ask for yours truly. Or not. Of course it’s up to him.

25 minutes to go which is quite nice. I will be closing tonight which should get me home closer to 10:00. Bill will be fast asleep, he was so tired when he stopped by. He asked that I wake him up when I come home but there really is no need. A kiss will do. And I’m sure he will be OK with that.

Today is also my oldest brother’s birthday, turning the big 6-Oh. We chatted for a few minutes on the phone while I was on lunch and it was a good talk. I love my oldest brother, we’ve been through a lot. We were really close at one point, then things gradually disintegrated a bit.

Not because of anything in particular, mainly because the chemistry changed. We grew in separate directions and on occasion when we see each other the first 5 minutes are fraught with tension. We’re very much alike in many ways. All water under the bridge now, until the water rises again.

19 minutes to, Zack and the Yanquis phan still smoking and drinking, Thomas and I doing nothing in particular.

Now I am home, Bill fast asleep. I left Zack and the Yanquis Phan in the man cave, drinking and smoking and laughing quite a bit. It’s odd, but I guess understandable. Much like the grizzled old veterans at the VFW when I was growing up, the bar was the refuge from wives and children.

Nowadays I suppose the man cave at the cigar shack is a way to escape the family units. It’s funny, I usually can’t wait to get home to see Bill. I guess it’s not that way for everyone, some people would rather spend time away from family rather than go home to the ones they love.

In the words of that sage Juan- ‘Whatevs.’

adore a door

I Am Loved

Back at work today. Woke up to a maelstrom outside my window. Definitely a day to sleep in and how I would have loved to have done that. But no, some misguided sense of duty called and I just had to answer that call.

I granted myself about 15 extra minutes of sleep which eventually amounted to about 10 minutes. What I bargained with for those extra minutes I have no idea but something would come up eventually no doubt.

Last night I should have gone to see Lois DiLivio performing in a shop window on Washington Street, one of the few shops I did not apply to. I thought about going, and thought about not going but once I was settled in at home, it was extremely doubtful that I would head out again. My loss, truly.

Just one picture from Lisa Rigoux Hoppe’s camera made me realize that I should have at least made an appearance. Regardless, home is where I stayed, waiting for Bill to come home from the Nuyorican Poet’s Cafe, a celebration for Miguel Algarin.

By the time he came home I fell into the comfortable rabbit hole of The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. Yes, I own the super deluxe version but this was so comfortable and familiar that I opted to watch it.

Bill walked in, tired and happy to be home. He did some computer stuff on his iPad or Mac Book or possibly both before he went to bed. I stayed up and watched the Simpsons before I went to bed. I should have taken a melatonin like I did the other day and like I did a few months ago.

Things were going well for a while but lately I’ve been stressed and my sleeping has been a bit fitful, so a melatonin tablet is on the menu.

Got a text from my brother Brian this morning as I was getting ready to go to work. He was 2 blocks away. I would have loved to have met up with him, but no, it wasn’t in the cards. He did warn me about the maelstrom and told me to be careful and I told him the same.

I walked up to Washington Street, to the bus stop and called Bill as I waited. He was his usual effervescent self and I was the usual grouchy baby on the other end. After getting off the phone with Bill I decided to call my brother Frank to see how he was.

It ended badly once again with Frank last week and figured I might catch him at a moment when songs from Sweeney Todd weren’t being sung. The songs weren’t being sung, but he had no time as he was heading out the door for an appointment.

He did mention that he was worried about me and I told him I knew that. I didn’t say it was from Annemarie telling me.

Soon I was at the cigar shop working alongside the Bradley. Let’s face it, there is no love lost between us. It was sort of fun working at the cigar shop when Raymond and Don were working there, but they’re no longer around and the only fun comes from Sean who works part time.

It was a long day and there was the Big Smoke event going on a few blocks away this evening. The Big Smoke to-do is a show where cigar makers as well as scotch makers hand out free cigars and samplings of scotch all for the admission of $250.00 in advance, $265.00 at the door. Some cigar makers did stop by the cigar shop and blessed the staff with free cigars which was quite nice.

Marcus hung around the cigar shop most of the afternoon making things a bit uptight. He eventually left, leaving Sean and the Bradley and myself to man the shop. And it’s been not as busy as it’s been the past few weeks.

The Bradley left later than usual hanging out with David Dexterport, a fairly regular customer. I have to admit, I enjoyed chatting with David Dexterport in the past but now I’ve been superseded by the Bradley. That’s the way things turn out I suppose.

As I got my ducks lined up to close the store and make that 10:30 bus the cigar shop door opened and I thought to myself, ‘Wow, that guy looks just like Marcus.’ It was Marcus. He was coming back from the Big Smoke event with yet another cigar maker who blessed Sean and myself with cigars once again.

I flew down to the bus terminal, a few steps removed from my closing the store since Marcus was there to finish what I could not do since he was staying behind. Made it to the bus terminal, next to last passenger before the doors closed.

And now here I am, at home in Hoboken on the mainland.

Dedicated to Jet Watley.

I.C.B. (John Peel Sessions)

And now we find ourselves on Monday, November 8, 2010. It’s my friend Maurice’s birthday and also Scott Williams birthday. Both of them are 42 years old today. I haven’t seen Maurice since I saw Beck with Julio at Radio City on Valentine’s Day in 1999. Another world ago.

And I haven’t seen Scott Williams since the early part of this century at his mother’s wake. I might have seen him once since he may have been a police officer being interviewed on the television a few years ago.

I sent a Facebook message to Maurice and sent him birthday wishes. Alas I have no information regarding Scott so if he searches for himself, the grandson of Nanny Williams, best wishes Scott.

Yesterday was a busy day. Spent part of the day with my brother Frank, his wife Elaine, their daughters Meghan and Corinne and Meghan’s husband Rob. Meghan ran the New York City marathon last year and this year it was Rob’s turn.

I met up with Frank, Elaine and Corinne in front of Stack’s pancake house. Meghan was in the city already, cheering Rob on. We waited a good while to get some pancakes and after 20 minutes we decided to head out sans pancakes.

We opted for bagels at Panera Bread further down Washington Street, closer to the Path train. Not much of a wait to get on a train. From the 33rd Street Path train we were on the R train heading to 5th Avenue, the Plaza Hotel.

From there we could head into Central Park and wait for Rob to run by. We walked up into the park, and at one point we were in the roadway. We decided to step over the 2 foot wooden barrier, first went Elaine, then Corinne, and me with Frank bringing up the rear.

Unfortunately Frank lost his balance and took a tumble backwards. I grabbed his arm but I was no match for gravity. He landed on his back and boinked his head. I didn’t think it was so bad but there were a few people around who saw him hit his head and were concerned.

There were also a number of Emergency Service Technicians (EMT) nearby and a few of them made their way over. They asked Frank a couple of questions, do you know where you are? What year is this? And he answered correctly.

Speedy pulse and all that, caused them to sit with him for a while. It would have been worse I think, if I wasn’t grabbing Frank’s arm, he would have fallen a lot faster and really did some damage to his skull. The roadway was intact by the way.

We made our way to the other side of the park, trying to connect with Rob, post finish line. After some waiting we saw Meghan and Rob coming towards us, Rob looking in sore shape. Despite being the #1 track coach in New Jersey, he was wasted from the marathon, his time being 3:28, swearing that it was his first and last marathon.

We met up with Rob’s parents who dutifully got their car and drove Rob & Meghan home, leaving us to get the subway and the Path train back to Hoboken. Frank was OK, everyone was tired.

I made my way to the Hoboken Artist Studio Tour, but decided to only see Hiro Takeshita. He’s been living in my old apartment building at 2nd and Madison Streets for the past 26 years. It was nice to see him as he showed me his latest works as well as things from the past.

By that time I was tired and also needed to do some grocery shopping, so after a half hour I headed out. Hiro did say that he sold a few pieces and that it was very crowded the day before, and that was good to hear. I do enjoy his work and he’s a genuinely nice guy.

Came home, made dinner and talked with Frank to see if he was alright. He was and we rehashed things from earlier in the day and earlier in our lives. A few minutes after that, a phone call from Annemarie, more chatting.

Bill came home during the call and for some reason, was sitting in the kitchen not making a sound. After I got off the phone with Anne, I went over to Bill who was out of sorts. He had gone to see a friend sing in a cabaret, and since there was a 2 drink minimum he had 2 Absolut and cranberry cocktails, then after the show went to the gym where he promptly over did it.

He had a ringing in his ears, was dehydrated and generally disoriented. I brought him down to earth somewhat and kept a close eye on him throughout the night. He rarely drinks and this is why. Sleep followed after a while, after Boardwalk Empire and Bored to Death.

Bill went first and I was asleep an hour later.

I’ve realized lately that I have a job. Not the job I want, but the job I got. So I’m likely going to take a break from frantically looking for something new. Perhaps next year.

It’s just as well since Don came to the cigar shop on his day off, to give his 2 weeks notice. So now, behind Marcus and Calvin, I will be the longest serving employee. Into my 6th month. Sean is a part timer so he doesn’t count.

By Hiro Takeshita.

Ants Invasion

It’s a Thursday now. Thursday night to be exact. Last night turned out to be better than I anticipated. No hurt feelings, no toes stepped on.

It was a nice seemingly impromptu gathering of my immediate family. There were a few hitches to overcome but they were taken care of. I was famished by the time I got there with Annemarie and Bill.

I took the train and Bill took a bus. It was a strange train ride for me. Apparently someone was talking too loud on their cell causing another passenger to stand up and yell, ‘Can you talk any louder?’

I was wearing my headphones so I didn’t hear the cellphone conversation but I did hear the NY Post reader yell at the other passenger, so in my book, he was the nuisance, not the cellphone user.

Got off the train at the Plauderville station in Garfield. A few entrances there and I couldn’t figure out where Annemarie was. It turned out she was on the street waving to me from her Volkswagen Beetle.

We picked up some beers and then drove to pick up Bill at his bus stop. Then it was off to Pierre Avenue where my brother Brian and my niece Meghan and her husband Rob were sitting soon joined by Anne’s son Earl.

It was a pleasant evening and eventually my brother Frank, his wife Elaine showed up, then Brian’s’ wife Karen and their two daughters Hillary & Cassie and finally Frank & Elaine’s daughter Corinne arrived.

I ate a lot of cheese and I rarely eat cheese, but I was that hungry. Even ate a cheeseburger which was probably the third time in my life that I’ve eaten a cheeseburger. The night went by fast, soon it was dark and our uncovered legs proved to be an ample feast for many mosquitoes flying around.

We left since Bill had to get up really early to take a drug test in Brooklyn. Bill drove Annemarie’s Beetle back to Hoboken with Anne & Earl in the backseat and me in the front.

It was a white knuckle ride with Bill thinking he was driving a bus and zooming in and out of traffic, passing on the right which anyone will tell you is a no no. I had to ask him to stop doing that. Bill’s rationale was that he’s an aggressive driver and a quick driver.

I explained there was no need for his aggression (plus it’s a bad way to drive. I remember being taught to drive defensively. Maybe in the 23 years since I last drove the rules had changed which could account for the dozens of horrible drivers out there that I see each week).

Luckily we got home safely though I was a bit disturbed by Bill’s driving and was a bit distant. I explained this morning why I was the way I was and thats when Bill told me his reason for his driving, that he wanted to get home and go to bed as soon as possible.

I did stay up and watched Paul McCartney on the David Letterman show. Macca was very good, performed outside on the marquee above Broadway surrounded by thousands. If I had known that’s what he was going to do I probably would have been there.

According to the Daily News, Macca played 7 songs, ending with Helter Skelter. Tomorrow it’s off to the new Mets stadium to see Macca and his band in concert.

Today it was a trip to Sandy Hook with Annemarie & Earl. It was originally supposed to be at 9:00 but I moved it to 10:00 which was great since I didn’t get out of bed until 9:00. It was an easy uneventful ride with not much traffic.

The only glitch was the choice of beach. I’m used to going to the North Beach on Sandy Hook, the farthest away from everything else. Anne was tired of driving and we parked in Beach C to my chagrin. I had never been to that beach before and I probably will never go back there again.

Too small a beach, swimming area and way too crowded for my taste. Filled with people who would never dream of going to North Beach or the nude beach at Gunnison Beach. The people I try to stay away from.

I was uneasy and Annemarie knew it, offering to move to another beach. No, I did my silent martyr bit and sat there stone faced taking it all in before I realized that it wasn’t fair to Anne or Earl to behave this way.

Things got better and we all swam a bit. Too windy and too crowded to toss a Frisbee so we mainly sat around under neath the umbrellas.

Earl and I did go in later in the afternoon when the water was a little bit warmer. There were also hundreds of dead ants floating in the water so maybe that helped with the temperature.

A drive to Rumson like we’ve done previous summers where we got some ice cream and soon we were on the rode back to Hoboken.

A nice Mexican dinner at Mision Burrito on 4th Street and a quick chat with Stine and Alexander before Anne and Earl were on their way back to Garfield.

Tomorrow, we’re off to see Paul McCartney!

The O'Toole Family 2009

The O'Toole Family 2009

t'is himself?

t'is himself?

Californian Earl

Californian Earl

Annemarie in shade

Annemarie in shade

7.15-16.09 Garfield Sandy Hook 043
7.15-16.09 Garfield Sandy Hook 0467.15-16.09 Garfield Sandy Hook 051aa
7.15-16.09 Garfield Sandy Hook 060
who wants ice cream? Crazies!

who wants ice cream? Crazies!

Cool for Cats

Wow. I was a basket case. I was certainly surprised at the depth of my Gmail addiction. I was totally lost without it. It is where all the comments for this blog go through and the main point of contact for me.

I was very pissed off about it and was even told by my brother Brian, that that was too much information despite spelling it as ‘pist’ on Facebook.Maybe I should have written psst. It was supposed to have taken 24 hours to access it again.

My sister sent me an email to the Gmail account, asking if I was still having problems with Gmail. If I was, I wouldn’t have gotten that email.

Around 10:00 this morning I was able to regain access. In February Rand told me that my Yahoo mail was compromised and to change my passwords. The same password I was using for years had to be change and old habits do die hard.

I think mis-entered the password a couple of times effectively getting locked out. And Gmail is tough with passwords. When did you start using Gmail? Were you sent an invite for Gmail? Who sent it to you? Give 5 email addresses that you email often. Things like that.

It wasn’t the 24 hour lock out I anticipated and was quite happy to be back in the thick of it. My behavior was a bit on the ridiculous sided.

I was having a slight meltdown when there is Bill dealing with his mother’s Alzheimer’s which is definitely a much bigger issue. Bill was quite supportive throughout the meltdown. Perhaps it was a welcome distraction to his problems.

Bill knew it wasn’t the end of the world. I didn’t have a clue.

Work was quiet and easy enough for me to leave around 2:30 this afternoon. My people were out and most of the other occupants in the office were out due to the holiday where the angel of death flies over peoples houses and kills the first born son, Passover.

I always thought that was cool when growing up, even though I didn’t want my brother Frank to die. I wondered if people actually painted their doorway with lamb’s blood like in the bible. I was disappointed to find it not to be.

10 years ago I lost one of my best friends ever, my cat Zed. I first got Zed in 1984 from the ASPCA. One night while living in my first apartment at 201 Madison, I was making a mix tape.

I had my records spread out, a glass of soda positioned nearby when I saw a mouse. Up went my knee spilling soda all over me and the records and everything else in the room.

I called up my friend Martha Keavney who had a cat named Ivan and asked if I could borrow him for the evening. She brought Ivan over and the cat cried and caterwauled all night not giving me much sleep and probably kept the mice awake too.

The next day I realized that I needed my own cat. I never had a cat before and never considered myself to be a cat person. I found time in between driving from Saddle Brook NJ to 757 Third Avenue in Manhattan to head up to the ASPCA.

I found an older orange and white cat that seemed ok and filled out the paperwork. When it came time for me to get the orange and white cat, the cat spit and hissed, It seemed like the cat from hell.

Directly below that cat was another cat. A black paw reached out and grabbed my pant leg. I looked down and the cat looked up and meowed. We connected.

I asked if I could change my mind and the woman who was helping me grumbled and tried to dissuade me by saying there was more paperwork. I told her that I didn’t care I was taking this little guy.

Obviously we hit it off and became good pals. It wasn’t easy raising a cat since I never had one before. But Zed loved me and I loved him.

For fifteen years Zed was by my side, in various apartments that I lived, even moving up to Lodi for a few months after my mother died. I had to keep Zed in the basement since my father loathed cats.

Poor Zed, stuck in the basement. He spent a lot of time on the cellar stairs trying to get to where the people were on the other sde of the cellar door.

My father swore that Zed was trying to kill him since Zed wouldn’t move when my father went down the stairs to do laundry.

Who knows? Maybe Zed was trying to kill him.

After a few weeks of that, my father had Zed banished to the backyard which was tough since Zed only had limited experience with the outside world and there was also a rabid raccoon scare at that time.

But my father didn’t care. He hated cats. Eventually I moved out of Lodi after 3 months and moved to Weehawken where Zed was welcomed and loved by my roommate William. It was a good run for Zed from 1991 to 1999.

Lot’s of room to roam and also lot’s of fun to be had. Zed started to get ill in March of 1999, around the same time I had gotten my first computer from Harpy. I do think deep down that Zed thought he was going to be replaced by a computer but then again he was 15 years old and starting to have seizures.

It was sad to see him deteriorating. One night in April, I knew he was going fast and I held him in my arms as he passed away. I was devastated and couldn’t believe it even though my cat died in my arms and was now in a shoe box.

I had to ask William to check to see if Zed was dead since I was in such a state of denial. William confirmed what I tried to deny. The next morning I was in the backyard digging Zed’s grave.

I was working at Arista Records at the time and I couldn’t get anything done. All I could do was cry. Suzanne Savage my boss was most sympathetic, and allowed me to leave early. I went back home and sat in the backyard. I had a Guinness and poured one out for my homey.

Then I went inside and cried making guttural sounds that I had never heard before. I could never get another cat, or a dog since I couldn’t go through that again.

If I had a cat or dog that died the day after I died, that would be fine. But I couldn’t go through that heartbreak again.

I had an Irish wake a few days later, Rand and Lisa, Martha and a few other friends stopping by for drinks and reminiscing. I moved on soon after that and moved from Weehawken a few years later. Still, occasionally I can feel Zed’s presence when I sometimes lie in bed drifting off to sleep.

I swear I can feel his presence, Zed curling up behind my bended knees as I lay on my side. It’s always a good feeling. He’s out in the universe somewhere probably, waiting for me.

I still miss him so very much.

These sketches were done by my friend Doug Maxson who cat sat for me back in the day.



This was done by Denise Donnell

My Boyfriend

I’ve been showing restraint lately. When commenting on various websites or even Facebook, I start to write, then I think, ‘Is this worth it? Do I want to continue this line of thought and further antagonize people?’ Then I realize that I don’t.

Case in point, on Facebook, Andy Peters, former sound man at McSwells, now in Arizona commented on how can anyone take John McCain seriously especially with economic matters, then mentions the Keating Five. Good on Andy.

I commented, ‘Gerroff my lawn you kids!’ and then someone mentioned that it’s time for McCain to retire, calling him a war hero. I was about to write, ‘How is McCain a war hero? Former POW, yes, but war hero?’ That’s when I stopped and decided not to add to the comments.

Just didn’t feel that adding my two cents was worth it. I’ve even stopped commenting so much on the tabloid websites. I still do it from time to time but overall I don’t do it as much as I used to. A lot of people are dumb and stooping down to their level doesn’t do my back any justice.

I just watched a report on Michelle Obama in London and I couldn’t help but smile at how she has the British enthralled, as well as most of the world. She just seems so down to earth. What a lovely couple she and Barack are. A strong unit.

Today was not as busy as it’s been lately. I spoke with both my brothers, Brian and Frank. It was good to speak with both of them. Brian is buying an iTunes gift card for Frank since Frank was able to help Brian and Karen out and chauffeur their son around the other day.

Brian wanted to know if Frank had an iPod and I know he does since I gave him my old iPod a few years ago, fully loaded. I hope he still has it.

I ran an errand this morning and after that wound up in Syms buying two new Ben Sherman skinny ties on sale. Tomorrow I’m going to the United Nations. An old friend, Jon Fried from the Cucumbers is involved with a group called Sing Out SOS which has to do with autism.

He invited me, and since I work only a few blocks from the UN, I accepted. It’s after work and I wanted to look bangin’ hence the new ties. I haven’t been to the UN or at least inside the UN since the 1960’s I think.

I haven’t seen Jon Fried in about five years. Last time was at Rutgers University where my niece Meghan was running the NJ Folk Festival. Jon’s wife Deena Shoskes was performing at it and they were nice enough to give Bill and I a ride back to the train station. That was different than the last time they gave me a ride home.

It was in the 1990’s and I ran into them at the Knitting Factory where my dear friend Jane Scarpantoni was playing. It was a bit late and I was downtown. I knew they were headed back to NJ and I might have asked Deena who said no. Then I asked Jon who said, ‘of course’.

Oh what an uncomfortable ride that was. Deena in the back seat shooting daggers with her eyes at me with such intensity it was palpable. To her credit, it was one of the rare moments where they were able to be away from their sons and here am I, the big goof in the front seat cutting into some heavy petting and necking I guess.

For the ride to the train station, Bill and I were in the back seat doing some heavy petting and necking.

Boom Boom

Well it’s Friday again. I just got back from a quick dinner with my sister in law Elaine and my niece Corinne. I was going to take a train home but they insisted on dinner before that and since I had pizza 2 times last night, pizza in Garfield was out of the question.

We wound up going to a restaurant named Charlie Blood’s where Corinne was able to schmooze with a few board of education people since she’s trying to get a job in education when she graduates from college this year.

I didn’t mind, I got some food and all I had to do was leave the tip. Elaine picked up the tab since I paid last time on St. Patrick’s Day. I was out in Garfield to play guitar with my brother Frank. The original plan was for me to go out there around noon and be back in Hoboken around 4:00.

Of course when dealing with Frank time is never of the essence. He thought he’d drive me home around 7:00. I first said no and stuck to my guns but as the morning passed I found that I didn’t want to hustle for a noon train. Plus I was still doing laundry.

I got it together eventually, burned a handful of CD’s for him, getting some old Mojo and Uncut magazines for my brother, brought some songbooks of Bowie, The Beatles, Macca and a download of Graham Parker & the Rumour’s Squeezing Out Sparks. Loaded them all into a now quite heavy bag.

It was good to see Frank, and I think he got a lot out of my visit. The train ride was uneventful. I wasn’t
the only person with a guitar. That was unexpected.

Across the aisle from me was a young man with a military type jacket with brass buttons, bed head and a Jay-Z patch as well as a Pink Floyd patch with hammers from the Wall movie. You’d think we’d communicate since I had a guitar and so did he, but no, it didn’t happen.

This wasn’t the early days of rock and roll where you would see someone else with a guitar and strike up a conversation and perhaps start a band.

I got off the train at 3:00 in Garfield and Frank showed up a few minutes later. He was the only one at home, now that he’s retired. Frank likes to warm up playing along to the blues channel on cable. He was surprised to learn that I don’t know anything about the blues.

Surprised since so much of the music I like is based in the blues. I’m not an Elvis Presley fan but a few bands that I like loved Elvis. Maybe it’s because I had seen too many bad blues bands, and I tend to avoid the blues at any cost. Maybe a John Lee Hooker song every now and then but really, no thanks.

I think I did a good job of following his lead but I tend to spend too much time trying to figure out the chord formations as he played. When it was my turn I started playing She’s A Woman by the Beatles. Easy enough, 5 maybe 6 chords total. Frank was playing lead to my rhythm since I can’t play lead to save my life.

It was going well until Frank turned the TV back on and threw in a DVD of Ken Kesey and Neil Cassidy at the World’s Fair in 1964. I learned years ago from Ann Boyles that a TV really takes away from a party or scene that might be happening.

I think next time I will have to insist that no TV will be turned on after he gets warmed up. Despite the stroke I think Frank is still a good guitar player, still way ahead of me on that.

Tenth Avenue Freeze Out

Well it was back to work for me and I made it until 3:00PM. I had an errand that was close to the Path train which allowed me to leave early. I wasn’t feeling 100% and Tom Chin mentioned quite a few times that I don’t look so well and I sounded congested.

I thought I looked ok but it’s true I was still congested. It seems like the cold or bug or whatever has moved from my sinuses to my chest. Some coughing, in a Flemish style.

I spoke with my brother Frank and texted with my brother Brian as well as emails with my sister Annemarie. I seem to be the conduit for all three. Brian asked me to forward an email to Bill which I did, and later speaking with Frank about an email I offered to write it for him, saying ‘Duh’ a lot as well as ‘I forgot what I was trying to say’. He laughed at that which was good.

Annemarie, 3000 miles away was expressing concern for me and my ailment, suggesting various things to make me feel better, which I did but still never got the zinc lozenges. Think it would be best for all concerned, meaning co-workers, that I stay home tomorrow.

Fridays are generally slow and quiet and I usually leave early anyhow and who knows how many people I’ve infected just by going to work. That’s probably how I got whatever it is that I’ve got. I just made some pasta which took care of some hunger.

On the way home I ran into William Charas my former roommate from my Weehawken years. It was good to see him but I didn’t stick around much since he was heading into the Hoboken Farmboy and I was heading home and it was 25 degrees out with a whipping wind.

Going to be 7 years since I moved from Weehawken and 6 years since he was forced out of a lovely living situation at 127 Jane Street. We definitely get along better now that we don’t live together. We had gone through a few ups and downs, the loss of our fathers but through it all we occasionally did get on each others nerves.

The last part of our living together was silently wishing the other one would move out. Since both of us were friends with Julio, Julio got to hear both sides of the problem, eventually telling me of the apartment on the top floor of his building.

It turned out to be the right choice since within a year William, his brother Chaz and his wife Kathe in 129 Jane Street were all forced to move due to the hideous landlords. The landlords were such a pain in the ass to deal with that in order for Bill and myself to have a fun time, we rented a hotel room in Manhattan for the weekend. Things were cheaper then and the hotel had a really good deal.

But it was great seeing William, we parted ways telling each other, I love you. I came home feeling good and lucky to know that I had so many good friends that love me, and I of course love them right back.

Dead Flowers

Wow it certainly has been one of those days. It’s a Monday which makes it perfect for a crap day. It didn’t start out that way and last night wasn’t so bad. Watched TV of course, but didn’t pay much attention.

On MSNBC there was a documentary on the Manson Family which should have been scary and chilling but actually was so so. Manson is still an fucking asshole. Shouldn’t he have died already? Then after that I watched the news which was boring.

It was just a boring night. Read some parts of a Beatles bio which was a welcome distraction from the humdrum even if I do know the story inside and out.

Lot’s of footage of Bush under attack from a pair of shoes thrown by a justifiably angry Iraqi journalist. Lot’s of discussions on that online today. Some angry about it, some feel it’s justified.

Not like the shoes hit Bush anyway. And he was able to make jokes about it. I feel Bush should do a walk of shame when he leaves the White House in January. Not that he feels any shame about the damage he has done.

I’m almost finished with The Shock Doctrine by Naomi Klein. Still makes me angry but now that I’m near the end, it’s almost hopeful. I highly recommend it.

Heard from Roda who told me about the McSwells holiday party tonight. I’m not in the mood and plus it’s an awkward thing, being there with employees that I don’t know and have disdain for people that don’t work there. I guess that might be how it used to be when I worked there. I told him thanks but no thanks.

Also heard from my brother Frank who was surprised I didn’t think Saturday Night Live was as funny as he thought. He also liked Kanye West which was weird. He was surprised that I didn’t like him or the show but then again there wasn’t much that I liked today.

I heard from Casey Chasm via email. He was just checking in to see how Bill and I were doing. Comme ci Comme ca basically is what I told him.

Work was crazy and once again no one communicates with each other, nor do they communicate with me, which is what they’re supposed to do.

It was in the 60-degree temperature range today which made for a sweaty errand. I needed to get milk and whatnot for the office. Of course as I come in all sweaty, Tom Chin appears needing my attention in his office.

I didn’t even take my coat off and left the groceries in the bag on the floor as he proceeds to ask me questions about last week. He was out Thursday and Friday and I was out Wednesday which made Tuesday the last time we saw each other.

He was being a jerk and Vivek was almost as bad. They both thought I was out today and Vivek had no idea that I am generally in the office by 8:30 every day.

His silent partner who really isn’t so silent had asked me 2 weeks ago to get some business cards made. Of course there was a glitch and instead of me running back and forth on the phone with the printer and the not so Silent Partner I gave them both each others numbers so they could hash it out.

Did they? No. And when does he need his cards? Tomorrow. The printer says he can do it by 4PM tomorrow, the not so Silent Partner says he needs them by 3PM.

And of course I’m supposed to book the conference rooms and a few weeks ago I printed a memo telling people if they need a conference room to contact me. Do they? Some do, most don’t.

So when a room is booked, another group has decided to take it forcing the group that booked it to find another conference room. So I have to go in and kick people out.

On the plus side, I did get to see Bill for about 15 minutes after work. I mentioned that we should have lunch some time and he agreed. We didn’t say when though. We stood in the balmy evening rush hour, me smoking a La Flor Dominicana Double Ligero which was bigger than I anticipated and would take longer to finish. Hanging out with Bill helped that out.

He was worried about my state of mind after work and he starting to get my modus operandi. I told him years ago that both Pedro and Julio know that if they ask me what’s wrong and I say “nothing“, if they wait 10 minutes they’d hear all about it.

And so with Bill, after asking me how I was doing and me saying, I don’t want to talk about it, ten minutes later I was telling him all about it. Apparently he has days like mine all the time.

Just saw that the wonderful Pat Longo is DJing at the McSwells holiday party and for an instant I thought that I would like to go. Then I realized that I was home and didn’t want to deal with anyone at all.

One more thing…I brought my camera to work, thinking that I would simply upload the pics that I’ve taken the past week or so, but couldn’t upload anything due to Word Press, the program I use to post this blog. So blame them, you know I do.

Oh, I’ve taken to commenting on the comments with each comment, much like they do in magazines. In case you haven’t noticed.

Like tonight! Thanks to bhikkhu.

Certain Harbours

A very cold Sunday. Snowed a bit last night, but not enough to stick around this morning. I watched Hancock last night. It was alright. Not very good. Decent special effects. After that I watched the first half of Saturday Night Live and that was merely alright too.

TI was the mediocre musical guest, John Malkovich was the guest host and he was a bit out of step with the rest of the cast it seemed. Good to see Amy Poehler back. But it wasn’t enough to make me stay awake until the end, wound up going to sleep after Weekend Update.

I recorded it so I can always catch the rest of it some other time. Slept until 8:00 and was out at 8:30. No contact with the Lopez family on the third floor despite my efforts of texting and voice mail.

Had an easy breakfast and was reading the papers and watching Barack Obama on Meet the Press when my niece Corrine called, letting me know that she was playing volleyball at Stevens Tech.

She told me about it yesterday and I asked that she call me when she had a clearer time of when she was actually playing. With 30 minutes notice I was soon in the bleachers next to my sister in law, Elaine cheering Corinne on.

They were doing well and with the help of two other spectators we made a four person wave which ebbed and flowed and may have helped Corinne’s team win a game or two. Well that’s what the two guys said and I was prone to agreeing with them.

After that Elaine and I walked up to Starbucks where we waited for my brother Frank to pick her up and drive back to Garfield. Frank being Frank was late by 45 minutes. Luckily we were indoors since the wind was bitter and cutting like a knife. I rarely go to Starbucks and on those rare occasions that I do, I don’t stay there.

Today we needed to be there and I don’t understand the protocol of the store. If someone is sitting at a table with three chairs reading the Sunday Times with various sections of the Times on the 2 empty chairs, do you ask the person sitting there to move their papers so you can sit there?

It didn’t matter since we did find a table that was quite dirty since the people sitting there just decided to walk out and not clean up after themselves. This Starbucks is at 12th and Hudson Street, which isn’t the same Hudson Street it was when Betti Cola was living above McSwells.

It’s populated with newcomers to Hoboken who paid hundreds of thousands of dollars for their condos, i.e., no one I know. Rude and self centered which seems to be the way of life up there.

The only contact I really have with these people is when they get on the bus in the morning upset that all the seats are gone and they have to stand.

Frank did show up I was dropped off in front of my building, Frank and Elaine heading back to Garfield. Nice to be in from the cold.

Back to work tomorrow. Blah blah blah.

I have taken some photos but since I am on Bill’s Mac still I can’t figure out how to post them to this blog. I can make them appear as wallpaper though which isn’t what I want. Someday, perhaps before the end of the year I’ll be back using my computer and writing and posting online. I’m not holding my breath.

Waves Become Wings

Slept late, in office late. Watched True Blood last night, though before that bumped heads with Bill. Or at least I was a bit annoyed with Bill. I was here, where I am now, in front of the computer. Some show about showbiz was on.

I was writing and slightly paying attention when Bill walked in. After saying hello he picks up the remote and changes the channel without any consideration or even asking if I was watching what was on. No he decides it was the perfect time to watch Chris Rock. Not today when he was off from work, but right that very minute.

Yes I was annoyed by that. Yes his arrogance sometimes pisses me off. Don’t know if it’s even arrogance- willful ignorance? Self centeredness? It did make for an uneasy night. Simmering resentment on my part, which is obvious since I’m writing about it 24 hours later. It’s gone now anyway. Writing about it takes care of it.

True Blood had quite a surprise ending and next week looks even more intense. Entourage was good and once again we switched off Little Britain USA, Bill couldn’t take the laugh track either.

Woke up at 7:00 as I was dreaming about an insect on my wrist. In the dream I was looking at it, wondering if it was a bedbug, then I opened my eyes and instead of the insect I saw my watch which said 7:00.

A quick ‘oh shit’ and I was in the shower and out the door. I wound up being a half hour late which was ok since once again no one was in the office yet. A slow day was planned for sure and the day crept by.

Greg Stevens wasn’t coming in. According to Vivek, Greg was too depressed to come in. His portfolio is a shambles it seems. The stock market did rally today so perhaps it’s not the end for Greg Stevens.

Walking to get my daily salad I pass by 2 women registering voters. They ask everyone that walks by and I anticipate them asking me so I could boastfully say that I will be doing the same thing tonight. But they don’t ask and I attribute this to the way I look, rather conservative in a suit and tie. Disappointed by the brag block.

I spoke with my brother Frank who was also a disappointment since he was able to tell me about how his day was going and this and that but couldn’t give me 5 seconds to answer the door. And I was planning on telling him about the voter registration I was participating in.

I left work at 4:30 and was going to take the Path so I could just walk across the street to the Obama Hoboken office but since it was 78 degrees out, I was sweaty and clammy. So I decided on taking the bus home and change my clothes.

Ran into Sheilah Scully on the street who told me I looked good, but I was uncomfortable. Came home and changed into jeans and a shirt and walked briskly to Obama headquarters. They decided to use my brawn instead of my brains and gave me a 10 foot 2 x 4 with Obama posters stapled to it.

I carried it over to the Path train across the street and introduced to the other volunteers and proceeded shouting that tonight is the last night to register to vote. It’s actually tomorrow night but I decided to light a fire under some asses.

A few people ignored us, a few sneered. One or two said they were registered but they weren’t voting for Obama and laughed. I told them that it was ok, I would cancel their vote.

There was a Rangers game tonight so there were a few blue shirts headed down the stairs. They ignored our asking them if they were registered so I told the other volunteers that the question was too hard for them to answer. Plus they probably only answer to hockey moms.

A lot of people were surprised that the deadline for registration was coming up so soon, others lived in New York and asked if they could register there tomorrow. I told them that I thought they were too late, New York’s deadline was last week. I told a few people to call their Board of Elections in New York, and a few in Hudson County.

One snotty republican made a comment and said ‘Acorn?’ I said ‘Elm’. I knew what she was getting at but I decided a surrealist answer would work better so then I said ‘Moose’.

Maybe Your Baby

It’s certainly not a good time to be working in the financial world. Unfortunately I work in the financial world. Fortunately I don’t make enough to be worried about but things do change. What I have to my advantage is the fact that the people I work for are hopelessly inept and can’t do much for themselves.

That’s where I come in, making coffee, filing, distributing mail, making sure things are tidy and ready to go as well as knowing who to call when something goes wrong. It’s really easy to do but like I said, they’re inept. Total deja vu feeling, even writing about the deja vu was deja vu like.

Thank you Mr. Reagan and your cronies for the deregulation of banks. May you rot in the ground you wrinkled fuck.

So after eating last night I felt a lot better, and even sat on the stoop reading Alan Bennett’s Untold Stories. He finally touched upon Dudley Moore and Peter Cook. Dudley had insecurity to deal with, Peter had major alcoholism. Alan Bennett felt that part of Dudley’s insecurity was from the fact that he wasn’t a writer.

An entertainer, an actor, a jazz pianist but not a writer. He wasn’t a funny guy it seemed. Thanks to the movies he became more famous but it didn’t really help matters much.

Bill showed up as I sat outside enjoying a Padron. He was tired and carrying groceries that were perishable so he made it upstairs while I sat and read and puffed on my cigar.

Got a phone call from my sister in law Elaine last night. Initially I thought it was a belated birthday call but no it was bad news. My brother Frank had a seizure on Saturday night and was rushed off to Hackensack Hospital. By the time he got to the emergency room he was relatively normal and Frank and Elaine were back home at 4:00AM.

He last had a seizure in April. It seems stress might be or is a major factor in this situation, but what could be done about stress? I know there are many things that could be done regarding stress, but we’re talking about my brother and for him a lot of things are a chore.

Things such as taking a walk is a chore. As much alike as we are (and we are) things like that, walking, riding a bicycle are just some of the things that make up the difference between us. I called Annemarie and Brian and left messages for them.

Eventually they both called me back and I told them the news. Frank was home today and I spoke to him briefly and I could hear how annoyed he was with all this, the seizure and the medications.

Last night Roda came over. I had invited him a few weeks ago to come over and watch True Blood anytime he’d like. Last night he liked to come over and I couldn’t say no, nor did I want to. He’s always good company and it’s great he and Bill get along so well.

It was a rather low key affair, the two of them on the couch, me sitting where it seems I always sit, close to the computer. He stayed for Entourage then split, before heading down the stairs, telling me that he was going to be a father again, this time they’re having a girl.

I didn’t ask who the mother was, thinking it was Elly the mother of his son Logan. I’m sure I’ll find out eventually and how does one ask that question anyhow?

Tonight Bill and I are going to an art show at McSwells. It’s a show for the artists in the Neumann Leather building on Observer Highway. They’re in danger of losing their space, what maybe the last frontier from the artsy bohemian days of the late seventies, early eighties when I came into the Hoboken picture.

Bill’s having a nap right now, so there is a good chance that he won’t make it. I was surprised when he said he’d go with me this afternoon, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he didn’t want to go after napping.

Here are today’s New Yorkers.

Raised Eyebrows

Well it was a fun time last night. I left here after posting and I hardly ever go out, much less on a Monday night. I walked up Washington Street towards McSwells enjoying the evening and listening to Girl Talk. I downloaded one continuous track so if I want to get to a certain mix, I have to remember the time in the track and shuffle the cursor to the proper point. I got to McSwells a little after 8:00.

Saw Rob Norris and Frank Giannini having dinner with 2 friends of theirs. They waved to me through the window as I walked and I stopped by their table and said hello. No sign of brother Frank who’s almost always late. Looking for parking could be a chore so his being tardy was easily forgiven. I got myself a Stella Artois and sat in the lounge area where the big stupid kettles used to be. People were meeting up with friends and family, I sat there eagle eyed for Frank.

As I stepped out for a smoke, I ran into Ira Kaplan in the restaurant, who mentioned my letter in Mojo Magazine from a month or so ago. It seems he was on tour and reading the magazine and laughed when he saw my letter from Hoboken. We chatted for a few minutes, then he went to catch up with other people I headed outside. Andy Peters, former sound man at McSwells back in the day followed me out.

Andy is such a sweetheart. He always was. We caught up on what we were each doing. He took my picture, so I took his. Andy is married, lives in Phoenix and just became a dad 3 weeks ago. His wife, who is so understanding, let him come back east to do the sound at McSwells as well as the big Battery Park show.

Andy has always been a nice guy, back in 1991 he would offer to drive me back to Lodi when I was living with my father for those three agonizing months. He didn’t live anywhere near Lodi. He just couldn’t stand to see me ride into the city to get a bus out of the city. I’ll never forget that.

Jim DeRogatis was there. He writes about music for the Chicago Sun Times. He was with his wife. Jim Testa of Jersey Beat was there and so was Mike Carlucci, formerly of Winter Hours. Mike used to be my guitar teacher, so if any one should be blamed for my guitar playing, talk to him.

Frank showed up and we were chatting in a corner when all of a sudden I was accosted by Meghan Taylor Mastro, still the funniest woman alive.

I love her so much as most everyone who comes in contact with her does. Her husband, my pal, Jim Mastro was there of course. Richard Barone too. It seemed every time I would turn around, another face from the past was there in my line of vision.

I said hello to Brenda and Stan from the Feelies who were both warm and happy to see me. Frank was doing well, holding his own and mingling with various people, no need for me to hover in case he gets stuck on something. It’s the worrier in me I guess. Just keeping an eye on him.

I talked to Georgia Hubley, drummer for Yo La Tengo and also Ira’s wife. I congratulated them for being part of Girl Talk’s latest. They heard about it, but haven’t heard it. Ira mentioned he talked to his publisher about any infringement but it seems Greg Gillis knows the ins and outs of free use and copyrights.

I told Ira and Georgia not to sweat it, they now have street cred. We had a good chuckle about that and I reassured him that he might not get songwriting credit per se, but the fact that Yo La Tengo was mentioned in the 4 star Rolling Stone review should be credit enough. Plus now the kids might know who Yo La Tengo is.

The Feelies soon came on, Frank was in the crowd, Meghan, Jim and myself hung near the back. I saw Bob Lawton who I hadn’t seen in ages, just waved to each other as he walked by. Barre Duryea was road manager for the Feelies and he too mentioned my letter in Mojo. It wasn’t too crowded as it was an invitation only show.

I found myself standing next to an older woman who turned out to be Brenda’s mother. She was very proud of her daughter playing bass and mentioned that it seems the Feelies might have some more life in them yet. I told her she had every reason to be proud of Brenda and that the Feelies got better when she joined. Alice Genese was there as well and she always looks good and it’s always good to see her. Scott Harbison too, not drinking even.

I was being snarky throughout the show, telling Meghan that the Feelies were masters of the slow fade out as they slowly faded out. It was a good show and a really fun time. Jim and Meghan and Frank and myself left at the same time, walking down Washington Street parting ways at Eighth, me walking Frank to his car and directing him out of a tight parking spot.

It was so good that I’m going to check them out on the Fourth of July with Sonic Youth.

The Feelies then

From left, Anton Fier, Bill Million, Glenn Mercer and Keith DeNunzio

The Feelies now (from the NY Times)

From left, Dave Weckerman, Brenda Sauter, Stan Demeski, Glenn Mercer and Bill Million.

Andy Peters, sound man extraordinaire

Meghan and Jim

Me and Meghan

Mercer and Million

Away by Albert Rossington

Raised Eyebrows by goggles2

Paint it Black by Albert Rossington

Excellent article in the New York Times today, cut n’ paste:

On My Radio

Well it’s a new day and I feel like shit. Didn’t sleep well and I am anxious about this afternoon’s oral surgery. I feel somewhat doomed. Last night still replays in my mind. I was supposed to go with Bill and his cousin to see Natalie Cole (?) this weekend but I told Bill to forget about it. I really don’t give a damn about Natalie Cole. I’m sure she’s a nice person But I would rather not go. Things are definitely up in the air vis a vis Bill and myself. He’s also supposed to be the godfather to a friend’s baby on Saturday afternoon and since last night I would rather not go to that as well.

Let’s face it, the way I feel now, I doubt I will be doing anything with Bill in the near future. To Bill’s credit I got 2 text messages this morning, the first one went as follows: ‘Babe, I’m so sorry I didn’t let u know I needed more time to finish my work instead of having u waiting around not knowing what was going on. I’m also sorry 4 snapping @ u b4 entering the subway. U shouldn’t have 2 bear the brunt of my frustrations’. And the second text message: I truly love u and only want happiness 4 u. Also (and I hope u embrace this as much as I mean this), u, r a winner.’

All very nice and I’m sure he spoke with his friend Margaret which prompted him to have such an about face, because last night he was quite adamant in his refusal to apologize for anything as I sat there being hurt. Do I need this? No I don’t. I have enough on my plate, as does Bill. I asked Bill on the phone last night if he noticed that I don’t tell him anything really about what is going on in my life and of course he didn’t notice and why should he. He’s always going off on what is plaguing his life at the moment and after his comment that I am high maintenance I decided not to tell him anything personal about me.

Great relationship huh?

As I walked across town this morning on my way to work, I decided to play side 2 of the Buzzcocks ‘A Different Kind of Tension’ starting out with ‘I Don’t Know What to Do With My Life’ and ending with ‘I Believe’ which is one of my all time favorite songs. I was surprised that I was getting choked up during ‘I Believe’ singing quietly to myself and walking through Bryant Park. I continued after that to Singles Going Steady, the Buzzcocks singles compilation. Ever Fallen In Love, What Do I Get, Promises all hit home.

I tell you Pete Shelley really hit the nail on the head when he wrote those songs. Now it’s back to the anxiety, the fear that something is going to go wrong with my oral surgery. My brother Frank had his stroke last year, around this time, the dreaded month of May and I feel I am slated for the same fate or worse depending on how you look at it. In any event I would like ‘I Believe’ by the Buzzcocks to be played during my memorial service. I definitely don’t have a positive attitude towards the whole thing and once again I am on my own, going through it solo. I guess writing about what songs I would like played at my memorial service betrays my morbid approach to the whole situation.


Walked to the Dental School, and it was warm enough outside to break a sweat and that’s when I realized I forgot to put on deodorant this morning, so out of it was I. I got to the front desk on the fifth floor and let them know I was in. As I was taking a seat, who do I see but Bill. Apparently he took half a day off at work so he could be with me. I was pretty much frightened of the whole oral surgery thing, and the memory of my brother Frank’s stroke, caused initially by a tooth infection added fuel to my fire.

I told Bill that if I start talking incoherently and I’m not drunk or on drugs, get me to a hospital pronto. With the stress of the dentist as well as last night’s fiasco I was a bundle of nerves and it showed this morning. And no real restful sleep. I think Bill either figured it out from what I told him last night, or someone else talked some sense into him but he was somewhat humbled this afternoon. We still have a lot to talk about with regards to it all. I’m tired.

The Bulrushes

A very mellow day. Presently watching a documentary on the Hippies, narrated by Peter Coyote, former Digger and the go to guy for narration duties for this type of thing. It’s not the ‘everything was great’ documentary, it’s more like “look it had it’s dark side.” I’m not really paying much attention to it. It’s rather bland and it’s nothing I hadn’t heard before. Last night was very quiet, didn’t do much of anything.

Juan called at 11:30 wanting to go out, and I told him that I would need a little more time to prepare, and Saturday Night Live had started, so I was basically in for the night. Fifteen years, while living in Weehawken I would wait until midnight on Saturday nights, phone in my unemployment claim then walk down to McSwells where I wouldn’t leave until after closing and somehow make it home usually by taxi, or depending on the kindness of strangers.

Now, I’d need enough notice, a disco nap and probably some Red Bull just to get me out the door. Juan did go out, solo and was the belle of the ball from what he said. I probably would have maintained my persona non grata status. Just as well that I didn’t go out since my niece Meghan and her husband Rob were participating a 5 kilometer run in Hoboken.

I found out last night with Meghan calling me. Last year she called me an hour before the race and I went, but this year I was able to prepare myself and have coffee and breakfast beforehand. This year, brother Frank, his wife Elaine and their other daughter Cori were able to make it. They called, wanting to come over to use the bathroom. I asked them where they were and they were closer to the train station so I steered them there and got myself together.

I met up with them on the street, Frank jonesing for an Egg McMuffin so it was off to McDonald’s for him while Elaine and Cori and I waited outside. Various families running off to early brunches and breakfasts for Mother’s Day, including McDonald’s. WE walked over to the river where there was a mass of runners waiting to start running. A couple of hundred I would say. They were soon off vanishing into the distance.

We sat on benches where Frank ate what turned out to be cinnamon buns, not an Egg McMuffin. The runners made their way back, Rob coming in 10th place for men and Meghan coming in 2nd for women. Meghan also received a trophy for her efforts. It was great to spend some time with the Garfield contingent this morning. Everyone seemed healthy and happy. Rob and Meg gave me a ride home with everyone headed back to Garfield.

I came home had some coffee and read the papers and I’m content. A very low key day is just what is needed at this point. No complaints, no stress. And here are some snaps from this morning’s activities. See you tomorrow….

Rob on the run

Meghan on the run

The Garfield Contingent

Cory and Me

Meghan gets her trophy

Me and the nieces

Kid Charlemagne

Another wet day, this time, Friday. And what a day it’s been. More on that later of course. Last night, watched Scrubs again and again and again, Daily Show which was good, Colbert Report which was really good. Also featured REM who were surprisingly very good. I used to love them way back when. When you’d be able to have a drink with them after seeing them thisclose in the back room. The first time I saw REM I hated them though, now that I think of it. They were opening up for Gang of Four at the Ritz on 11th street. They were announced as ‘from Athens, GA…REM!’

No one knew who they were, but I thought they sucked. I just wasn’t into that jungle jangle music just then. A year later yeah, but that night I was more into the jagged guitars and funky rhythms of Gang of Four. I remember leaving my spot near the stage to wander around the club muttering that if they weren’t from Athens they wouldn’t be on stage that night. A year later REM was playing McSwells. I had never been there before, didn’t know Steve Fallon or anyone else. I had tickets to see Peter Gabriel at the Palladium that night and went with an old school pal, Kevin Wagner. We also worked together for a book company.

Peter Gabriel was touring for the Shock the Monkey album and put on an excellent show. Played close to 2 hours if I recall correctly. His last song, one of the most moving songs ever, Biko was amazing and went on for about 20 minutes, lot’s of call and response, pseudo African singing from the audience. I sang along with one eye on my watch. The show ended and Kevin and I ran over to my parked car and drove over to McSwells where there was a mob at the door. Steve Fallon was only letting certain people in and took a look at me and probably thought I looked like my brother Frank (who was inside already). Needless to say, Steve didn’t let me in.

Kevin and I drove back to Bergen County where we had a late dinner at the Saddle Brook Diner. Someone we both went to school with 2 years earlier stopped by our table but didn’t recognize me and I didn’t introduce myself. Kevin was a good guy. He and his sweetheart Ann, got married and moved to Florida. Kevin and I last communicated in 2000. He wasn’t going to our high school reunion. I went and regretted going.

Last night my brother Frank had a seizure during a visit to his neurologist. If there was a place to have a seizure, a neurologist’s office has to be one of the best places. Frank’s in Englewood Hospital and so far the doctors are saying it seemed to be from a scarring from last year’s stroke rather than another stroke. He may be home again tomorrow, Saturday, though right now he has a slight fever. We’ve all been hoping that Frank is making progress, so a seizure is a set back. We don’t really know the outcome of this event yet.

The video I posted a week or so ago of Jill Bolte Taylor talking about her stroke was inspirational, then again she is a brain scientist and had a lot of information and professionals and colleagues around her. Frank doesn’t have those resources, neither do a lot of people. I’m not begrudging Jill Bolte Taylor at all, like I said, she’s an inspiration. Hopefully Frank can get back to where he was pre-stroke. It took Jill Bolte Taylor about 10 years, so I guess Frank would be able to do it in 12.


It’s Tuesday and it’s alright. I’m full of love. Not being factitious. Just this afternoon I was listening to Arcade Fire, Neon Bible and it reminded me of the trouble I had been in that night at Radio City last May, and I was overwhelmed by love for my brother Frank. I really hope he gets better, I’ll wait for it. I think the chat I had with my brother Brian last week was founded upon basic worries. I had the same worries for my parents when they were getting up in age. Let’s face it, I’m a worrier. Bill will tell you that. He’ll also tell you it’s part of being a Virgo, which doesn’t mean that much to me, but it works for him so we’ll just let it lie.

And of course I have love for Bill, and the trials and tribulations that he is presently going through. The hospital is ready to discharge his father, but his father is too far gone to go home, so it’s off to the Veteran’s Administration home in St. Albans. Apparently no one told the hospital. And this is all affecting his work. He can’t leave the apartment until the housekeeper shows up to take care of Bill’s mom. And the housekeeper doesn’t show up until 9:30, a half hour after he should be at his desk. Luckily Bill’s boss is going through something similar with his 90 year old mother. Bill is picking up the slack, working later. Tonight he should be at work until 8:15, then it’s home to collect his mother from his cousin, Elsie, to start the same thing all over again tomorrow.


And I look at the picture I had from December at Bill’s company’s holiday party, the one where he is leaning against the wall, looking into the camera with a look that is childlike, yet masking emotional torment inside. At least that’s what I see, and I was the photographer on that one.

Last night I came home, had some dinner, watched Scrubs, A Daily Show and the Colbert Report, all very funny and all seen before. No surprises there. I then watched the last minutes of A Hard Day’s Night, no longer feeling sad when they fly away at the end. Mike Myers said that when he saw it as a kid he felt the same way. And I thought I was the only one.

Also did some reading on some ecological and political issues written by my nephew Earl. I was mighty impressed by his prose and even sent him a message on his MySpace page. He claimed genetics, since I write this blog everyday. That was a nice thing to say. If he keeps at it, he could be a very good writer, the kind that people will pay money to read, not just turning on a computer and reading something while the porn downloads. I also met up with Julio and Stine. She’s due in about 2 months, and she looks great. Not fat at all, just a basketball under her shirt. I had picked up a Keith Haring print for them at a really good price.


I was thinking about what to get them for a long time and each time I thought of something I thought, They’re going to have a baby and won’t have time to read the New Yorker, won’t have time to go to the movies, won’t have time for anything really. So a nice print, with two adult figures, holding a child figure under a heart would do. I thought they could probably hang it in the baby’s room when they get a room for the baby. I was able to get a suit that I had ordered online and had delivered to Julio’s place of work since I wasn’t going to be home to sign for it. A nice two button, gray pinstriped (of course) suit that I plan to wear to my cousin Neil’s wedding next month. We hung out in their third floor apartment, talking politics.

Julio expressed surprise that I wasn’t rooting for Obama. I was surprised and it got me thinking. I wasn’t planning on voting today but I thought about it and decided to throw my lot in with Barack Obama. I’m all about changing things up so that was the direction I headed in. I slept in a little later, hitting the snooze button three times before rousing myself to action. Then I was at the polling place, casting my vote and heading to work, winding up sitting outside the Lincoln Tunnel for 45 minutes while I read about Cory Booker, mayor of Newark, and a friend of Barack Obama. So there you have it, my endorsement for the President of the United States, Barack Obama. So there!