Tag Archives: Lois + Fred

I Say A Little Prayer- Dionne Warwick

Well I haven’t been here since last year and what a time that was. Wow seems like only yesterday or at least a few days previous since I last saw you all. How was your New Year celebration? Did you have one or were you in bed early and under the covers when neighbors started clanging pots and pans? I’ve done that once before, in the early 1980’s while apartment sitting in Inwood. That was an adventure in itself. Didn’t do much of anything then and was in bed a little bit before midnight. That must have been 1982 I think.

On Sunday I went to the Metropolitan Museum of Art with my niece Corinne. We had a great time, opting to drive in, instead of relying on public transportation. It was too cold, and I have to admit I was a bit cranky. Corinne cheered me up and we enjoyed the Regarding Warhol exhibition. It was crazy crowded since it was about to end it’s run. I was able to explain the stories behind some of the art work and I think Corinne enjoyed herself. We made it back to Hoboken and had a late lunch at the Malibu Diner. A mellow night in was in the cards for me. Bill was home and was not driving to Atlantic City.

On New Year’s Eve I got a phone call from Shlomo. It’s getting to be a habit with him. Cheap labor, paid in cigars and I am dependable and trustworthy and they probably won’t find anyone like me to work for them at such a low rate. I headed to the cigar shop and as I told Shlomo a week earlier, it will probably be crazy on New Year’s Eve. And it was. I called it. I knew groups of guys would be coming in to buy cigars for the night and I knew they wouldn’t know what they wanted.

It was busy and the time flew and I was glad for that. Cigars are generally mild, medium or full bodied. I like full bodied cigars myself, but I’ve been smoking cigars since the 1990’s. An occasional medium might come my way as well as that mild cigar, so I know what I am talking about when describing cigars to the newcomers. Sure enough within about 5 hours most of the mild cigars were sold. I explained that to the customers and would steer them to the medium cigars, something not too overwhelming. Sometimes they would understand what I was saying.

And when you smoke a cigar, like a medium cigar, it would start out medium but as you puffed further and further it might start to get full bodied. They knew what they were getting and by the time they would light them up while being well lit themselves I would be long gone and probably forgotten. Brandon came in on time and I was explaining to him what the deal was. Shlomo was around and seemed pissed that I didn’t replenish what was sold, and I explained that I couldn’t find the cigars to refill. At that point I walked out with a bit of a chip on my shoulder.

Shlomo looked for the cigars to replenish and couldn’t find them either. I came home and there was Bill happy to see me. The usual plan was to go to dinner at Arthur’s Steakhouse at around 8:00, I had somethings to take care of and hoped for a nap but hope was all I got. Bill was busy doing his thing, music, headshots and stuff like that. I did my best to get in the mood. We headed to Arthur’s at 8:00 and ordered our usual steaks and Guinness, followed by chocolate mousse cake. We’re so predictable. We got an Arthur’s gift certificate for Christmas and put it to good use, thanks to the Garfield relatives.

After dinner we walked home, puffing on cigars. We relaxed once home and chilled out until it was time to go. I baked some cookies, bought some Guinness, got my Bass together and some photographs I had printed out for Rand and Lisa and Lois and Fred. Mike from down the street was going to be there so I printed a picture for him and his girlfriend Sarah. I used a gig bag for the bass as we walked to Rand and Lisa’s around 11:00. I forgot the reason why I don’t use the gig bag. I goes on your back and it’s really constricting. Plus it adds a few inches to your height and me being 6’2”, I got snagged in a tree branch once or twice.

A young woman saw me getting snagged and expressed concern if I was OK when she saw it happen. I wasn’t happy about it but I trotted onward with Bill and thanked the young woman for her concern and Bill and I wished her a Happy New Year. We got to Rand and Lisa’s and met Rand outside his apartment. We walked in and saw everyone I mentioned, plus Chaz but no Sarah. The group was all watching a Godzilla movie since that was the theme of the night.

After unloading my stuff I plopped down on a couch next to Chaz and not seeing the window ledge jutting out, leaned back rather quickly and hit my head loudly on the windowsill which caused everyone to stop and watch me. We checked for blood a few times but it wasn’t bleeding. Just a dull pain and anticipation of a bump or a knot. It’s a good thing I have a thick skull having hit my head several times throughout my life and needing stiches on three separate occasions.

I announced that I had giving up smoking cigarettes which didn’t get the reaction I had hoped. I got ‘but you’re still smoking cigars’ instead. Lois was more impressed when I told her at Maxwell’s the week before but no one was more impressed than my sister Annemarie who stated that I didn’t need to get her anything for Christmas, my no more cigarettes was enough. And I am sticking by her edict.

Midnight came, Mike left before that so he can ring in the year with Sarah who was home sick with a bug she picked up while visiting her family in England. Champagne, pots and pans and kisses for Bill and everyone else was in order and then that was over. Rand had set up a keyboard so Bill could play it. I brought the bass, Lois was on Rand’s guitar, Rand on trombone and Lisa on shakers. Fred and Chaz were not into it at all and watched TV in the next room.

It was a sloppy jam but it was fun. I played what I knew on bass, which was Talking Heads Warning Sign and Psycho Killer, Liquid Liquid’s ‘Cavern’ and something that I think I based on How many More Times by Led Zeppelin and something that could have been by Donald ‘Duck’ Dunn from Booker T & the MG’s. Bill played some Stevie Wonder, I Wish, Sir Duke and a few other songs, but we were all politely buzzed and kept messing up the words.

We had a great time but I was tired though and very sweaty and Bill and I left around 2:00AM. I was wary about having a concussion so I stayed up a bit later once we got home after Bill went to bed. Slept really well that night and woke up feeling OK. New Year’s Day is a nothing day really, at least for us. We were invited to parties, but neither one of us wanted to do anything or go anywhere, so we stayed in all day.

We had enough food and if we wanted Guinness we had that too. But we stayed with the food, saving the Guinness for another time, perhaps Chaz’ party this upcoming weekend. Bill napped while I watched a marathon of Bunheads. Bill woke up by the time the marathon was almost over and I explained how similar Bunheads was to Gilmore Girls.

After that we decided to not watch the bad news and watched ‘The Music Never Stopped’ which I wrote about before. Guy with brain tumor comes alive from a catatonic state when he hears music from the 1960’s. His dad reconnects with him after not speaking to each other for decades.

We also watched Prick Up Your Ears, the Joe Orton movie with Gary Oldham, Alfred Molina and Vanessa Redgrave. Good and brutal but still enjoyable. I saw that in the theater when it came out and I think I wrote about that last week or last year. I hit my head last night and today. I think I will wear a hard hat for the rest of the year, just to be safe.

Overall, despite head injuries it was a good New Year’s Eve, spent with good friends.

And I love Bill so much, it just keeps getting better all the time.

I’m a lucky guy.

Corinne with Warhol's Cow wallpaper.

Corinne with Warhol’s Cow wallpaper.

Corinne with a Picasso

Corinne with a Picasso

Oxidation painting!

Oxidation painting!

New Year's Eve panorama

New Year’s Eve panorama

Winding down with Chaz

Winding down with Chaz

Every day this guy walks up and down Washington Street singing Madonna at the top of his lungs like he's walking a catwalk.

Every day this guy walks up and down Washington Street singing Madonna at the top of his lungs like he’s walking a catwalk.

09 My Lover’s Prayer

I Love My Shirt

It is hot. It has been hot the past week or so. This is nothing new. All across the US it has been hot in record temperatures. Still there are fools who do not believe in climate change and they also do not believe it is manmade. No, with all the cars and trucks on the roads, with environmental protection regulations reduced or discarded, with the rain forests being depleted, there is no way that climate change could be manmade.

Fucking idiots. In the winter when there is a record paralyzing snow storm these jackasses usually say ‘how about that global warming?’, not realizing that as they say that in 20 degree cold, on the other side of the planet forest fires and dust storms are all the rage. I mean just look at the cloud formations. Some crazy shapes or dark and violent storms appearing out of nowhere, unforeseen by meteorologists knocking out power for a million people in the Maryland/Virginia/Washington DC area.

It was in this heat that I went out this afternoon. It was the last day to feed Lois and Fred’s cat and I was more than happy to do it. For a moment I was happy to at least get out of the apartment. I did the same thing yesterday, but once on the street I noticed I did not use deodorant which left me feeling a bit overripe. No worries, I just went home after feline feeding and applied the deodorant and sweated some more in the apartment.

Bill was around, napping for a little while before getting up much earlier than expected. In a totally different move from last year’s July 4th Bill and I made plans to see the fireworks on the Hudson River. Julio and I had been texting about meeting up, and initially I thought we would go to 4th Street in Hoboken and watch there, but since Julio was uptown we headed that way. Of course there were a lot of people going in the same direction. Enough people to make meeting up a bit difficult.

But we figured it out. Julio pulled up on his bicycle while Bill and I sat on a curb smoking cigars. Rand and Lisa texted that they were at 14th Street and we were only 3 blocks away but there were a few thousand people between us so we decided to stay where we were. The fireworks were excellent. Usually it’s seen them once, why see them again, but they were impressive. Perhaps it was because they were so close and so loud.

Bill and I held hands while watching while Julio took pictures to send to Stine and Alexander in Denmark. In the back of my mind I had to be wary since two men holding hands can attract unwanted attention. In fact while Bill and I were waiting for Julio, a young gay couple walked by us holding hands. One of them was wearing a Wonder Woman t-shirt so I said ‘Hey Wonder Woman’, but he was too sullen to acknowledge and probably thought Bill and I were two Hoboken guys smoking cigars and putting him down. As if a Hoboken guy would recognize Diana Prince’s breastplate. Friggin’ newbies.

After the fireworks we decided to stay put and let everyone else go first. We stood and talked for a while, Julio telling us about his apartment with fantastic air conditioning. Julio was surprised to hear that we hadn’t installed our unit yet. I mentioned that Bill doesn’t mind since he’s Puerto Rican and Bill promptly shot that one down. That line was from a year or so ago.

I had come home from work, crazy hot outside and before I left the apartment that morning, I shut the windows since it was supposed to rain. It may have rained, it might not have, but when I came home there was Bill sitting in the dense heat in the apartment with the windows still closed. I asked him why he didn’t open the windows and he said ‘I don’t mind the heat, I’m Puerto Rican!’ So it’s been a running gag since then. But not anymore.

As we walked from the Hudson River there was a lot of traffic on the streets. Bill mentioned that the buses were not running down Washington but using the side streets instead. As we passed a bus stop there were a couple of dozen people waiting for a bus. I asked Bill if the buses were not coming their way and he said they weren’t and went to the people to tell them where they could catch the buses. As he was doing that Julio and I crossed the street. I asked a police officer if buses were running down Washington Street and the cop said they were.

Julio and I looked at each other and said ‘uh oh’. The dozens of people that Bill was talking to were walking past us to the designated stop. Bill made sure the last person who was waiting for the bus was on their way. We Bill caught up with me & Julio, we told him what the cop said. Bill said the cop was wrong and their were posters made telling people where to catch the bus. Why they didn’t read it, I don’t know. Bill was right, the cops were wrong. We soon split after that, Julio riding off on his bike and Bill and I walking home holding hands.

Bill stayed up for a while when we got back home, I stayed up and watched the directors cut of Alien. It was just as good as I remembered and didn’t notice much that was different from the previous times I had seen the movie. Maybe the scene where Tom Skerritt and Harry Dean Stanton are still alive and asking for Sigourney Weaver to kill them was different or new. Would I have stopped what I was doing to get Jones the cat? I couldn’t really say.

I woke up this morning and after some coffee and cereal, I installed the air conditioner again and waited for the cool down. Slowly the bedroom was getting cooler and after a while I turned it off and headed out to feed the cat. I wore a hat this time and while it kept the heat in my head, it also kept the sun off my face. I decided to go to the really big supermarket to get a few things and saved some money once again.

Lois had given me a big bag of socks from where she works. Apparently they are samples and they are nice to have, so I’m walking through the supermarket with the bag of socks as well as a canvas bag with a bottle of water in it. I get what I need and decide to head up to Washington Street before going home. There is a store on Washington that has a nice produce section and the celery I buy there lasts longer than celery bought in the supermarkets. Maybe it because it’s packed in ice, but it lasts about two weeks whereas the supermarket celery goes limp within a week.

I walk through the heat, a panhandler asks me to buy him a soda to which I reply I am unemployed. He grimaced and walked away. I walk into the store and go to where the celery and produce was kept on ice but all I see is some oranges. The woman behind the counter sees my consternation and asks what I am looking for. I tell her and she tells me they’re not carrying it anymore. A week or so ago they get rid of their deli counter and now this.

Perhaps they’re going into the liquor business since they do sell that as well and you know there are simply not enough places to buy liquor in Hoboken. A liquor store on almost every other block will not do. So yeah, I was disappointed and overheated and had to get out of there as fast as possible before I said the wrong thing.

Now I am back home, relaxing and not doing much else. How about you?

He drinks ALL the milk and never replaces it!

crazy cloud formations!

15 Foolish Pride

I Corinthians, 15:55

It’s back to work today after a weekend that was all about Hurricane Irene. It wasn’t as bad as the original predictions but still it was a stormy night. I went to bed around 2:00 in the morning. I sit by my computer which is next to a window facing south and I couldn’t hear the storm but when I went to the bedroom it was nothing but wind and rain, both quite loud.

Made for an uneasy night of falling asleep but despite all that I was able to get some shut eye. I woke up hours later with Bill telling me that Dawn Zimmer, Hoboken’s mayor was saying that power might be shut off in various parts of Hoboken for public safety.

That was enough to get me out of bed to make a pot of coffee before going back to bed. I had hoped the power would stay on long enough to brew some coffee and it was. An hour or so later I got out of bed again, no news, no real damage to our neighborhood. But we had power.

I was glad that Bill and I made trips to the supermarket since everything was closed yesterday. We had plenty of water, juice, food and two six packs of Stella Artois, plus I had a few cigars, so we were ready. I had some emails and texts from friends out of the area.

Alirio in Montclair invited us out to his place if we needed to evacuate. Sarah and Bob Pierson did the same, inviting us to Tuxedo, NY. While it was great to hear from friends, we had no way to get there. We were OK on the fifth floor.

Bill was napping when I decided to take a walk outside. I had gotten a text from Lois asking if she and her husband Fred could tag along. I had no objections to that I proceeded to walk uptown in their direction. We passed by a few shops that Lois was friendly with, wanting to make sure they were OK. They turned out to be alright, no damage that we could see.

The three of us walked over to the river and saw whatever it was to see there, walking down from 13th street, down River Road and Sinatra Drive. Uprooted trees, much like the one down my block, only not as large as the uprooted tree down my block. Debris from the river and it’s high tide were left around on the promenade by the river.

We walked past city hall where National Guard trucks were parked outside. A few blocks west of city hall was where the street had filled with several feet of water. A friend, Lisa lived nearby and she had fled town the night before. She was on the top floor and the first floor of her building was flooded. I left her a voice mail and sent her a photo.

She later called back thanking me profusely. I walked around the block with Lois and Fred to make sure that the Guitar Bar was safe and sound and it was. I then called Meghan Taylor, ‘the funniest girl in the world’ and told her the same. It turned out that Jim and Meghan had stopped by earlier in the day to make sure that both the Guitar Bar and Guitar Bar Jr. were OK.

It started raining again and Lois, Fred and I made our way back up Washington Street and to our respective apartments. I showed them the tree that had been uprooted down my block and they were both impressed. I went back home where Bill was wide awake. He certainly slept alot over the weekend. Our broadcast channels were out and on basic cable I watched The Shawshank Redemption. It’s one of Bill’s favorites though he didn’t watch it this time.

He was busy doing something on his laptop. Perfect timing since as soon as Shawshank ended True Blood began. But we weren’t able to get it since our HBO was out with the broadcast channels. We watched Lawn hors d’œuvre SVU until it was time to watch the unwatchable 11:00 News.

Bill went to bed after that and I was able to watch the west coast showing of True Blood which was very good. Only two episodes left and things are being tied up fast.

Home again, back with Bill and quite happy to be home after yet another under performing day with top sales, almost hitting five figures. What will I do with that bad attitude? Any wankers have a clue?

I Will Drink the Wine

Wow, yesterday was quite a good day, at least mood wise for me and today was the opposite of that. I did well sales why yesterday as well as today, but right now the main thing on my mind is why my drawer was short $49.50.

I counted the money a number of times, counted the money in the safe, counted the cash deposits and everything was in order except for my drawer. I didn’t steal the money and even now I’m not sure if it’s actually missing.

Tomorrow I will recount over and over and will even have Der Fred do some counting as well. Today it was the Bradley and Der Fred. The Bradley has been somewhat under the weather, coughing and hacking and burping all over the place as well as sounding like crap.

Der Fred did his usual spiel of how he doesn’t need the job, he has a full time job as an assistant manager at a big hotel in midtown, and how he just works part time at the cigar shack to get a discount on cigars which he loves so much.

And also the other spiel of how he can’t believe that I do this job day in and day out, polishing windows and standing around waiting for a customer to come through the door. And he whines about how bored he is working there. I told him if he doesn’t need the job, if he doesn’t need the money he should just leave. He said he wouldn’t do that, his love of tobacco is that strong and demanding.

I told him that boring people usually get bored and I’m hardly ever bored. I have an imagination which is always active. So active that it feeds these artistic impulses I have every day, almost every time I turn my head, I see art.

And that’s why I always carry a camera. I suppose it’s a Duchampian ideal, that something is art because I say it is. Something catches my eye and if I walk past it, I regret it so I usually turn around and take a photo, which is what I did tonight.

Even walking through the bus terminal under a heavy cloud, I look on the floor and see something that gets my attention, so I turn around and take a snapshot. Tonight after the counting over and over I was waiting for the bus and had a feeling I would see Lois DiLivio and sure enough, Lois and her husband Fred show up.

They had just seen a cabaret act at Don’t Tell Mama and were quite happy. Then I told them my tale of woe and inadvertently brought them down to my level, or at least unconsciously tried to. They were sympathetic of course, Fred telling me how things like that happen at the supermarket where he works. I know he tried to help, but it didn’t.

I also mentioned that I have a feeling that I’ve been set up. I did tell Calvin a few weeks ago how burnt out I was, after earlier that day telling him how the cigar selling business will soon be over. I probably should not have said that, since selling cigars is more than likely the only thing Calvin knows how to do. If they charge me with theft, then the company wouldn’t have to approve any unemployment benefits to which I am entitled.

Maybe it’s my usual everyday paranoia. But I wouldn’t be surprised if they did do something as underhanded and as nasty as that. They love the Bradley, he’s their guy. Marcus and Calvin wonder where the passion is, the passion that I showed when I was interviewed last May.

I just heard from Hyman Gross. He’s still in the hospital, he has gout. Bill is going to visit him tomorrow and along with the newspapers Bill will bring for Hyman, Hyman asked if he could borrow my phone charger. I have 2 and could spare one for as long as he might need it.

It brought to mind something that Pedro said the other night on the phone, something that I usually tell other people, that someone is always worse off than you. And here was Hyman telling me how good I have it, to have someone like Bill to come home to.

And he’s right. I do have it good and won’t let $49.50 get me down. That’s much easier said than done.

I Won’t Back Down

Well it’s later than I expected but really can’t say I have any regrets. Just got back home after spending the day celebrating my dear friend Rand’s birthday. He’s turning 50 years old in a matter of days and today seemed like a good enough day to celebrate it.

He was able to have Maxwells available to him from 12 to 5PM this afternoon. It was a great party, quite a few friends from Rand’s past as well as Rand’s relatives were there to partake in the festivities. Karaoke, food and drinks available to all.

As I stood outside at one point having a cigarette when up walked the wonderful Jose Blackorby. It may have been 15 years or so since I last saw Jose and it was a thrill to see him once again. He’s married now and living in Oakland with his wife and 2 daughters.

Fortunately he was on the east coast this weekend and able to make the party. Rand’s sisters and family made the scene as did Lois & Fred and Roda. Cheryl Welch, Chris Repella, Rob La Rosa and a few others all made appearances. Drinks were had, food was eaten and talk abounded.

So many friends from Rand’s past that I knew and liked (John Donovan and fiance). Bill and I had a lovely time, Bill connected with Mike from the Neutron Drivers, Chaz was there connecting with Mike’s girlfriend Sarah about matters relating to Paul Weller and British music in general.

Songs were sung, stories were told told, catching up as much as possible was attempted. I suppose even some networking was done as well. I tried to avoid telling stories about working at the cigar shop but I guess it was inevitable that they would eventually surface.

Some of us had comparable stories to tell. Mainly it was between me and Fred. I suppose Fred and I are lucky enough to have spouses that are understanding and supportive at our sides. Many chats many drinks and quite a few bites to eat. Can’t say that enough apparently.

War stories were exchanged between Fred and myself and sad to say but Fred is in a worse position than I am. He’s within walking distance of his hell where I have to take a bus and a subway to get to mine. Fred wins.

And like Bill and I, Lois & Fred are lucky to have each other. Lisa looked as great and sexy as ever. It had been maybe 15 years or so since I last saw Jose and I didn’t realize that he was and perhaps still is a positive influence on my life.

I can’t say whether or not he knows that to be a fact but I walked him to the bus stop and as the bus approached, I realized what a lovely man he is, such a positive person. If he’s ever had a problem, I’ve never seen it. Perhaps he hides it well, doesn’t wear it on his sleeve like I do. Perhaps he’s the Buddha.

Needless to say, I teared up, giving Jose a hug & a kiss and telling him I loved him.

Don’t know what else to write. I’m tired and had a few drinks already. Perhaps a few too many, though I could be wrong. Glad to have been able to celebrate Rand’s 50th birthday with his friends and family.

Rand is also a great guy and a good friend and I am quite happy to have him and Lisa in my life. Been almost 30 years that I’ve known Rand and I look forward to many more years of friendship.

Despite the bullshit, the small stuff that I’m not supposed to sweat, it’s people like Rand and Lisa, Lois and Fred, Jose, Julio and Stine and Alexander and Bill of course, as well as Annemarie, Frank and Brian and their families (as well as others that I am not writing down here) that really make life worth living.





Lady Gigglepuss y El Jefe

Jose and Bill

photo by Jose Blackorby

Work tomorrow, not expecting to post, but you never know…

I’m the Man

Well I am writing this on a Sunday though I will post it for Saturday. Once again I woke up in a positive mood which was surprising. I said out loud, ‘positive positive positive’ with the hope that by saying that I would be able to maintain the mood throughout the day. It was a noble effort.

I showered and had some coffee and cereal and was getting ready when Bill walked through the door. I didn’t think I would see him until today (Sunday) but there he was with bagels in the bag. Unfortunately I didn’t have time for a bagel.

I headed out the door to the bus stop, stopping by the library dropping off some CD’s that I had taken out. I lit up a cigar that I started the night before and waited for the bus, staying far enough away from other people waiting for the bus, but still there was one woman who started fanning the imaginary smoke from her face.

I was about 30 feet away from her and it was breezy but all it takes is the power of suggestion. Seeing someone with a cigar immediately puts up the ‘I’m offended’ attitude. I didn’t care and she walked away, missing the bus that she was waiting for.

The bus ride was as usual, uneventful. A walk up the avenue to the store, avoiding the subway since it runs on quite an erratic schedule, stopping by the farmer’s market to buy some organic chocolate chip cookies. I usually share them with my co-workers, but I decided to be selfish.

I was working with Sean after all and Sean does as little as possible and therefore wouldn’t earn any cookies from me. Don Birch split as Soon as Sean came in. I did talk with Don Birch about My Friend, My Friend the other day and according to Don, whatever was said was squashed and forgotten.

Sean and his 20 year old thuggish indignation was the only one with a problem with it. A problem that was not his to begin with. It was just me and Sean and Sean almost immediately sat in the humidor not doing anything at all.

It promised to be a long day and it certainly was. Another day where I was being held prisoner against my will, not having the chance to leave for my lunch hour due to the horrid managerial ways of the cigar shop.

I had a late lunch and did smoke a cigar, talking to 2 customers who were rather intelligent, which is rare when compared to the usual carbon based life forms that frequent the shop. But my lunch ended, and it was back to standing behind the counter while Sean cleaned his fingernails with an exacto knife, when he wasn’t staring into space.

He’s trying to get a job at Coach and asked if he could put me down as a reference. I said sure, but if they call, I don’t what I would say. I could build him up and get him out of my life (I defriended him on Facebook as well), or I can tell the truth and say that he’s a do nothing, know nothing type and continue to have to deal with him.

One of Calvin’s friends came into the shop near closing, buying a few cigars. He almost bought some overpriced cufflinks, but was a bit shocked to find that the discount that Calvin arranged for him was only 10%.

He mentioned that he would have to have a talk with Calvin about that next time he sees Calvin. This scumbag has a ton of money, yet feels he is being slighted. What an asshole.

The store closed and Sean was on his way somewhere. I didn’t care enough to ask. I made it to the bus terminal listening to Public Enemy which was a mistake since I found it irritating rather than inspiring my swift pace. I did make it to the bus on time and sat near the front.

I was getting off the bus to go to Rand & Lisa’s for a cocktail party. I didn’t really want to go but since I said I would, I was committed.

As the bus approached my stop, I decided to roll a cigarette. A heavyset woman sitting diagonally immediately saw what I was doing and stared at me, wearing her Mickey and Minnie Mouse blouse. I stared right back at her, not breaking my gaze when she asked if I had a problem.

I said, that I didn’t have a problem and wondered why she was fascinated with what I was doing. She said I was staring at her first and that was a lie. I can always tell when someone is looking at me.

I said ‘Well Mickey, you seemed interested in what I was doing so I just decided to find something to look at around you.’ ‘I’m not Mickey.’ ‘OK Minnie Mouse, it’s the same thing.’ She muttered under her breath and I said ‘Yeah yeah yeah, you’re boring me.’ She pulled out her cellphone to call someone and I took her picture.

I walked over to Rand and Lisa’s after that where Lois and Fred were seated on the couch. I settled in and had a vodka tonic and wound up having a better time that I had anticipated. Good to have good friends around like that to take my mind off my problems.

Feeling good today, no hangover to speak of. About to go out for the papers at 1:30 in the afternoon. That’s about it. I was supposed to have dinner with Bill and his friend Theresa, but she backed out, so a Sunday in Hoboken and only Hoboken is good enough for me.

You Didn’t Hear It

Well here we are, January 1, 2010. So far so good. No known superstitions or rituals to go through and no hangover either. Been a pretty good day. Last night was pretty good too. Bill woke up from his nap and we had dinner at Arthur’s Steakhouse on Washington Street.

We’ve been doing that for the past 8 years, New Years Eve dinner. A few pints, some steaks, some garlic bread. It’s never been crowded and quite cozy that last night of the year. We came home and watched some TV before heading over to Rand and Lisa’s apartment around 11:00.

On the way we saw various party goers outside different buildings having a smoke. One guy at the corner of 7th and Park Avenue called us over for a light. As I lent him my lighter, he farted. Many laughs all around.

I brought some Guinness, not sure if Rand had any or if anyone else would be drinking it. Apparently Rand had some on hand already, not that it mattered though I’m sure I will have to pay him a visit and take those off his hands. Also pick up some socks that were left behind a few months ago. Arrangements will have to be made.

I did go out around 3:00 this afternoon to get some groceries. It was a nice afternoon, a balmy 40 degrees. I ran into Martin Kelly, good to see him. Had a few laughs with him. Spoke with Annemarie when I got back. She had a great time seeing X in San Francisco last night while her husband Rex and their son Earl went to see the Dead play for 4.5 hours. I would have been at the X show of course.

In Hoboken, it was low key last night. Rand & Lisa, Lois & Fred and Bill & myself. Nice amount of people. All rather perfect actually. We all sat around the TV, Rand controlling the TV. NBC, CBS, ABC & CNN as well as a video of a video of Lady Gaga on TV.

The countdown went well and I decided to record it. I sound like a big gay goofball but I guess I sound like that all the time, though I did sound campier than usual when I tried reassuring Lois that the champagne blindness in her eyes. At least I sound that way to my ears.

I even played Rand’s guitar and played some Beatles tunes, All My Loving, She’s A Woman and Please Please Me. That was fun. I was surprised to see Bill singing along to All My Loving. According to him, he’s been paying attention all these years and was learned the lyrics from my constant playing. It was fun and Lois complimented me on my guitar playing.

I guess she hadn’t heard me play in a while. Perhaps all those years of playing on my own has given me a unique style of playing.

Bill and I were home a little after 2:00, passing plenty of party people heading to various other parties. I remember those times, not wanting the party to end. Now I’m content to let it end when it may, not caring since I was going to bed.

I have to wake Bill up in a half hour, he’s driving to Atlantic City again. Of course I’ll be worried until I hear from him in Atlantic City. I’m in for the night, been invited to a party but I’m feeling reclusive.

Hope you all had an enjoyable New Years Yves.

Ring Them Bells

Well it’s quite balmy out. It’s in the 70 degree range. On Washington Street hundreds of costumed children and their costumed parents are hitting up all the store owners for candy. They don’t go ringing bells in Hoboken.

In Weehawken, for the longest time (during the 11 years I lived there) the kids wouldn’t come to 127-129 Jane Street since my late landlady had a mean reputation. When she passed away that was when they finally started ringing the bell, after the crossing guard told them that it was safe to ring those bells.

It was initially startling to have the bell ringing every couple of minutes. But I indulged them with candy.

I myself haven’t gotten dressed up for Halloween for years. I think the last time was when I had a Darth Vader helmet that I bought for $40.00 in the 1980’s.

I went to the costume party at McSwells where I thought I stood out since my costume was mainly store bought, and everyone else seemed to have costumes they had made themselves.

The only costume that stands out in my memory was Steve Fallon dressed up as Mr. Peanut from Planter’s peanuts. Obviously it was a great costume if I’m remembering it 25 years later.

Last night there was a Halloween Karaoke at McSwells attended by Rand & Lisa and Lois & Fred. Roda was there too, managing the place. I didn’t go, wound up staying home. Bill came home and we had a good talk, then his phone rang and he was in the other room talking acting stuff with a playwright he is working with.

I just turned down the volume on the TV and played music until the news came on. Then I watched a documentary about the Beatles’ Love show in Las Vegas. That was actually very good and made me want to go to Vegas and see the show. That’s not going to happen at this moment in time though.

Then I watched another documentary on Joe Strummer, The Future is Unwritten. I had seen it before and it’s quite good and very sad, since Joe Strummer is no longer with us. I watched the whole thing, going to bed a little after 2:00.

As usual Bill was up before I was. He had me up for a while with his snoring. If I’m asleep first it’s no problem. But if I’m trying to sleep that’s when it gets difficult. I guess after an hour of trying to fall asleep, I feel asleep.

Bill went out and got bagels and the paper for me which was nice. I got myself out of bed and showered and tried to think of something to do.

Got a text from Rand asking how the computer was holding up and since you’re reading this you can tell that it’s holding up just fine. I asked him how McSwells was and he texted back ‘Twas OK’. I actually entertained the idea of going up to McSwells last night wearing the Mexican Mil Mascaras wrestling mask, but obviously I didn’t go.

I did go to the library this afternoon though. Picked up the Hoax, starring Richard Gere, based on from what I gather Clifford Irving and his fabricated biography of Howard Hughes. Also Rock N’ Rolla by Guy Ritchie. I figured since Snatch was an alright movie, this might be a good movie to watch tonight. Bill loved Snatch, but then again he is a sucker for a brogue.

Other than that, I’m rebuilding my music library, somewhat illicitly. I’ve always liked Who’s That Lady by the Isley Brothers of Teaneck NJ, but never got around to getting it. I remembering hearing it back in the day when FM radio wasn’t segregated.

You’d hear the Isley’s, The Who, Jimi Hendrix and lot’s of others mixed in. Nowadays I guess you don’t. I really couldn’t say since I don’t listen to the radio anymore.

I did download an excellent Kate Bush song, called Aerial. It’s really an interesting song and has birds chirping in it. I read somewhere a few months ago that when the writer would play the song, birds would flock to his window.

Now it’s getting too dark out, but I would like to see it happen sometime, just to see if it’s true. If it doesn’t happen I’ll still have a good song in my library thanks to Kate Bush.

No Clocks

Last night at Rand & Lisa’s with Lois and Fred. After telling Lois about the three hour nap the other day following lunch with Rand, Lois was so excited about the whole idea of taking a nap.

I suggested we swap places. I’ll take her job and she can have all the naps she wants.

It was a pleasant little get together, and though Rand said I wasn’t, I was the fifth wheel. Just a matter of fact. 2 couples, four people and me. I was fine with it, having been that wheel many, many times.

After a cocktail at Rand and Lisa’s we headed up towards McSwells, for one or two more. As we walked up I was frantically looking for my lighter so I could enjoy a quick smoke en route.

Lois was telling me about a project she was working on as a German art dealer. I patted my pockets, rifled through the pockets and finally gave up only to find the lighter in my hand.

The Bongos at McSwells. Scott and Andrea and Chaz and one or two faces from back then. Since Meghan Taylor was under the weather with the flu I didn’t go in the back. Really didn’t care.

20 years ago it would have been something to see the Bongos after breaking up in 1987. No it’s a day late and a dollar short. It was good to see Scott and Andrea again.

I’m sure they’re still living apart, Andrea living in Asbury Park and Scott living in the Jersey City Heights. Their kids were there Ed and Elmer. I don’t know if Chrissie made it, but it was otherwise, a Harbison family reunion.

It was good to see Chaz again as well. I came home a little buzzed after a couple of pints and sat down and wrote most of the above. Today was a gray day again. Rain expected most of the weekend, so it’s going to be an indoor weekend mostly.

I have from the library a 3 disc DVD set of the Dick Cavett show, Musical Guests. Sly & the Family Stone, Jefferson Airplane, Joni Mitchell, Crosby & Stills, Janis Joplin, Paul Simon, Stevie Wonder and George Harrison.

Not as interesting as I had hoped. George Harrison is the most interesting for me of course. Jefferson Airplane were deadly dull. It’s fun to see the clips knowing the history of what was going on behind the scenes.

Sly and the fear and loathing that comes with excessive coke use, Janis not alive much longer after her visits on the Cavett show. George Harrison was in the midst of the ongoing Beatles break up that wouldn’t really be resolved until 1976.

In the last issue of Mojo, with Kraftwerk on the cover, there’s a review of yet another Beatles book. This one got my attention with the gossip and the juicy details and a good review.

It’s Called ‘You Never Give Me Your Money: The Battle for the Soul of the Beatles’. Apparently it wasn’t all lovey dovey (though that’s been dispelled).

Paul writing a note to John during the White Album sessions saying ‘You and your Jap tart think you’re so cool’ and also Paul secretly buying up shares of their publishing company Northern Songs.

They all come off badly. Ringo was a drunk, Paul really didn’t care that John was murdered. And George had his own problems with his constantly choosing the wrong manager who would steal money. He did that a few times. And John with his hang ups and problems.

It seems so gossipy I hope it gets released in the States. It’s been on the shelf in England for a few weeks already.

Last night on the Python documentary was all about the Life of Brian and how Graham Chapman finally sobered up.


OK, I’m cheating. I am writing this the next day since it was too late last night and I just didn’t wanna. The cheating part will be when I post it under yesterday’s date. Yesterday was a slow day. Slow enough to warrant a nap.

And nap is what I did. After running errands, doing laundry and cleaning up the apartment some more. Heard from Rita, thanking me for her birthday card. Also heard from Earl, thanking me for the Beatles CD’s I gave him.

Since I bought myself the remasters I decided to give him my older copies. Heard from my brother Frank who was just checking in. Told him all about seeing Leon Russell the previous Sunday. He was off to his 40th High School reunion.

Nice that he goes to these things. I doubt if I would ever go to my 30th which would be next year. I learned my lesson at the 20th year reunion. I lived life for 20 years without seeing my former classmates and plan on continuing to do so without seeing them ever again.

I was invited to a Yahoo groups function in the city and was mostly wishy washy about going. When I woke up from the nap I was still wishy washy. But like the drone I used to be when I was working, I got out of bed and put on a suit and tie and got myself together.

I have been meaning to mention that now I feel really unemployed since I canceled my bus pass and since I don’t have a bus pass anymore I decided to take the Path train into the city. Plus at the hour of 6:00 it made more sense to do that rather than sit in traffic at the Lincoln Tunnel.

I walked up to west 46th Street to the Ritz Bar where the function was taking place. It was similar to the Yahoo group parties I used to go to a few years ago. I met the guy who invited me, Gary from Los Angeles and he was quite happy to see me.

I almost didn’t go but Gary was glad that I did. Also met Rob who is someone I’ve chatted with a while ago. He used to live in Hillsdale, now he lives in Freehold. It was a nice group and it was definitely good for my ego. And it was a good networking opportunity.

I had a few Stella Artois and after an hour or two I was headed to Hoboken to have drinks with Rand & Lisa, to celebrate RoDa’s birthday. I had burned a few CD’s of Girl Talk, Air & Scritti Politti for RoDa. I’ve talked those groups up often enough that it made sense that RoDa should actually hear them.

I stood outside having a smoke when Bill ambled up. I told him about meeting up at McSwells and was surprised to have him show up. He likes RoDa too so it made sense.

Lois and Fred showed up with Rand and Lisa and we all sat at a table, munching on curly fries and having a few drinks. RoDa was actually working so he couldn’t sit with us the whole time but did hang for a few minutes here and there. It was a nice, sort of impromptu night.

For me, there was enough Stella Artois to not want to write last night, but here I am now, trying to make amends. So there.

The apartment next to the Ritz Bar.

The apartment next to the Ritz Bar.

Burning of the Midnight Lamp

Well this starts at rock bottom. Been a good day so far, but now Bill has flown off a handle the size of a aircraft carrier in the Pacific Ocean. A ton of resentment has collapsed upon me. Oh, and we’re about to go out and actually do Karaoke which is beneath Bill.

But he says he’s going to make me happy which right now means putting me through hell in order to get to that happiness.

I myself am exhausted from the Gate Sale which was successful, just four hours but it was tiring. Then I met up with Rand and went over to Roda’s daughter’s first birthday. Her name is Autumn.

Bill said some heinous things once again. I’m no innocent, surely I added to the fire, but reined it in. He was anger on a short leash. All about who cleans up more. I’m pretty sure I do and he’s pretty sure that I’m wrong.

We were supposed to meet up at Rand & Lisa’s since he arranged the whole thing. Some drinks and snacks beforehand. We’re taking a pass on that obviously.

I suppose I wear my emotions on my sleeve whereas Bill’s simmer at a low boil just below the surface and tonight’s match was the concept of going out and doing something fun and silly which Bill feels he is not when he leaves the apartment.

I’ve generally been in a good mood all day, talking to people and selling my past. Bill was upstairs cleaning the apartment in his way while the Lawn Hors d’oeuvre Criminal Mischief marathon played on the TV.

Well we didn’t make it to Rand and Lisa’s beforehand. Things were too ugly, too heated to inflict upon my friends and some of Rand’s family. We caught a bus into the city which at the next stop turned out to be the bus that Rand, Lois spouses and family also got on.

Unfortunately Bill and I were starting to open up on our feelings. Once the others joined us, I saw it a chance to avoid Bill altogether and focus on the other people. And it worked somewhat, once everyone settled in their seats I said that I was glad everyone could make it to the meeting.

Bus ride, subway ride and we were around the block from where I used to work a few months ago. Songs were sung and at one point The Wind Cries Mary came on and no one was singing so I took the mike and did what I thought was a decent cover of Jimi Hendrix.

It helped that I knew the song inside out and knew the inflections of Jimi’s delivery. I surprised myself actually.

A few other songs were sung, You Shook Me All Night Long, Save the Best for Last and Oklahoma are what springs to mind.

I had a good time, but I’m sure it would have been a better time if Bill didn’t have a loud argument beforehand. Spent too much avoiding Bill which did not make for a fun time. For one thing, I didn’t know when it was announced after leaving McSwells on September 12 and walking back with Rand & Lisa and Lois & Fred, that Karaoke might be a fun thing to do and that Bill had horrible times once or twice doing it.

You don’t speak up, how is anyone going to know? To find it out an hour or so beforehand seemed underhanded to me, even after giving him many opportunities to back out.

I also gave him excuse to go though. He mentioned that it might be too expensive for him, though saying that to an unemployed guy while he works a good job was ridiculous.

Bill and I did have a good talk, no raised voices, just the two of us talking in inside voices and each of us explaining why and how they were feeling did help.

Overall it was a good day with a hellish intermission but it definitely could have been a lot better.

Roda’s daughter, Autumn

Lady Godiva’s Operation

Well this is a twist and a bit of a cheat. Writing about yesterday the day after. The cheat part is that I am going to post it for yesterday. Even though it’s now 12 hours since the day has passed, which also happens to have been my birthday.

Yes, I am now 47. No one is more surprised at that than I am.

The day was cloudy and drizzly and of course quite humid. The day started with Bill all dressed up heading out. I thought he had a call back or something, it turns out they were having a Super Saturday at his office.

Super Saturday is when college students come in to take a tour of the offices and learn about the company that they hope to work for when they get out of school. Wanker Banker used to have Super Saturdays also.

They get shown around, taken to a nice dinner and set up in a nice hotel. So for Bill it was an opportunity to get some rare overtime. Bill and I had plans to do something when he was free in the afternoon.

I got out of bed, found a bag of Godiva chocolate and a few premium cigars by my computer. Turning on the screen of my computer was a sweet message from Bill, flashing words in color, Happy Birthday Mi Amor.

Quite a nice thing to wake up to.

Better than coffee. But coffee was needed in any event. After a cuppa I headed out to get some bagels and the paper. Talked to Julio for the first time since his return on Tuesday. Every little detail that occurred was revealed.

A bit much especially since I only wanted to know if he wanted any bagels. Not enough coffee on my end made me shorten the call, especially since I was outside the store in the drizzle, and he and Stine didn’t want any bagels anyhow.

I came home, had a nice breakfast. Had some cookies and brownies that Annemarie made for me, opened birthday cards from Robert, my former boss, Connie and Rita. I heard from Bill who had a moment to check in and see what was up.

We talked about what to do in the afternoon. Gallery hopping seemed to be the plan. I also thought about a jaunt to Governor’s Island, but figured that since it was so wet out and Bill was dressed quite nicely that that probably wouldn’t be a good idea though Bill was game.

Heard from a few friends and family through phone calls, emails, texts and Facebook messages, all very nice. Had a fun chat with Karen Kuhl on the Path train and I met Bill at Tekserve on 23rd Street.

We walked over tot 10th Avenue and went into a few galleries there, me pointing out some Warhol pieces and some Keith Haring art as well. It was fun, but Bill was very tired and his knees were bothering him.

Not that he was complaining, he was doing this for my birthday.

We hit a few other galleries and after an hour or so we decided to head back to Hoboken. He was nodding off as we sat and rode back to Hoboken. Bill was very uncomfortable because of his knees and very quiet. We decided to head home so he could take a nap.

On the way home, I got a call from Rand offering to buy me a drink for my birthday. I told him that we were on the way home. Rand said he wanted to catch us before we climbed the four flights of steps to the apartment and were in for the night but I assured him that it was so Bill could have a nap before we went out for dinner.

So drinks after dinner was in order.

We headed out to Arthur’s Steakhouse around 7:30, outside the building, Julio hanging out of his window wishing me a happy birthday and commenting about how we always go to Arthur’s for special occasions. I was surprised to see him awake since he still is on Euro time.

Arthur’s was crowded and there were a few other birthdays last night. Steaks and Guinness and a nice slice of chocolate mousse cake with a candle in accompanied by Happy Birthday sung by the staff and a few customers clapping along.

Former NY Giant Carl Banks was having dinner at a table a few feet from us with a group of big guys.

We headed out after that, Bill and I enjoying cigars. We walked through the Italian festival along the river. Not too crowded since the weather was so damp.

Got to McSwells and finished out cigars before heading in. Rand and Lisa were there with Lois who was soon joined by her husband Fred. My niece Corinne joined us as well. She texted me to see what Bill and I were doing and I invited her to join us.

She looked as smashing as ever. She’s a sweetheart and she bought me a Guinness, one of several that I had last night. Gifts from Rand and Lisa and Lois and Fred were greatly appreciated. Corinne’s friends showed up as well. I met some of them before at Cory’s barbecue for her graduation but by that time last night I couldn’t remember their names, I just smiled and shook their hands.

Soon they were off to a real club, ostensibly to hang out with people in their own age group with music they could dance to and boys they could flirt with. Us older folks didn’t stay much longer after that.

After all the Guinness and good times we parted ways at 9th and Bloomfield, making tentative plans for a night of Karaoke sometime in the future, perhaps for Rand’s birthday next month. Too tired to write, too drunk in any event, last night so here it is, now.

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I'm in there somewhere

I'm in there somewhere

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By me!

By me!

By me too!

By me too!

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Never Can Say Goodbye

Well David Bowie did not show up at the Ian Hunter show which went on according to schedule. Joe Elliott from Def Leopard was there instead.

This just in, Michael Jackson has died at age 50. Wow that is big news. He was gigantic for a while there, still is around the world.

A month of concerts scheduled for the O2 arena in London are now scrapped, so those thousands of tickets are now collectors items.

Not the same as a ticket to Elvis Presley’s (Michael Jackson’s late father in law) last scheduled concert but close enough.

Harpy left a message on my voice mail, livid that Michael Jackson’s death was being compared to John Lennon’s death. That’s upsetting, there is no comparison. Lennon was assassinated outside of his home. Not the same thing, not close at all.

Harpy reminded me of how when we worked together at 2 Park Avenue, we shut down the office to watch Martin Scorsese’s video of Michael Jackson’s Bad, a 20 minute video. About 25 people hunkered down to watch a video.

Right now, LA Reid is on Dateline and saying that no one did what Michael Jackson did. I beg to differ, Elvis Presley did it better, and personally for me,the Beatles did it waaaay better. Both were more influential that Michael Jackson.

What the hell does LA Reid know anyway? He’s merely a record executive.

He was certainly talented and certainly a fucked up person. He got off the hook a few times with regards to the molestation charges and now that he’s dead I’m sure more will be heard about that.

Also Farrah Fawcett died today after a long battle with cancer. That was sad.

Can’t say I watched Charlie’s Angels that much, though being a child of the seventies it was on my radar. In my freshman year of high school while on the spring track team at Paramus Catholic I did have a picture of Farrah in my locker.

I was just trying to fit in by lying and to have a picture of some hunk in my locker just wouldn’t do.

Last night I watched an excellent program on PBS about Music and the Brain. Oliver Sacks was in it of course as well as a few other people including Richard Hawley and from Pulp, Jarvis Cocker, 2 British musicians.

Neither made it big on this side of the pond but Jarvis Cocker did make some headlines about 10 years ago when he invaded the stage at the Brits awards while Michael Jackson was performing as some Messiah figure surrounded by children.

Jarvis Cocker made some rude gestures and threw 2 fingers up in Jackson’s direction. Jarvis became a hero to most in the UK music scene, Jackson’s fans were upset and the Jackson camp threatened to sue, like most messiahs do.

Now Al Sharpton is being interviewed by Keith Olbermann saying that Michael Jackson started We Are The World and no one ever did anything like that before. For me, Do They Know It’s Christmas rings a bell, as does The Concert for Bangladesh.

Maybe it’s a black/white thing. I didn’t see the influence of Michael Jackson, didn’t see kids picking up guitars or keyboards and forming bands trying to be like Michael Jackson. Wearing one glove perhaps.

I did make it to see the Guitar Bar All Stars tonight. Jim was as good as ever. Chaz stopped by as did Lois and Fred & Rand and Lisa. Rand and I pulled out a big chunk of Styrofoam out of the Hudson River.

All in all, a nice night, no rain with some good friends. Here’s some pics!

Mr. Nice Guy, Jim Mastro

Mr. Nice Guy, Jim Mastro

Mr. Wonderful

Mr. Wonderful

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The Styrofoam

The Styrofoam

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a moon for Farrah

a moon for Farrah

Shake Shake Mama

OK, I have a half hour to write. Julio just called inviting me down to his and Stine’s apartment. The baby’s asleep in bed and he’s offering a glass of wine.

How could I resist?

Julio called earlier today asking if I could write a letter on Stine’s behalf so she can get citizenship and not be deported. That should be no problem. So I have 30 minutes to write this entry tonight.

Last night wasn’t as bad as I anticipated, regarding Pap Smear. It was a reading and not an actual play. It started as soon as I sat down. It seems they were waiting for me.

It was supposed to start at 7:30 and I got there at 7:15 after braving the crowds in Times Square as I puffed on a Padron.

Since it was just a reading the performances weren’t as over the top as last time and you needed to use your imagination so that helped. It was painless and over before I knew it.

Came home and watched some TV while having a good talk with Bill. He went to sleep as Bill Maher was starting and I stayed up until 1:30 watching whatever it was that I was watching.

I took a ‘There was cool music before Nirvana’ quiz on Facebook. My friend Betti Cola took the test and scored in the low 90’s. Andy, former sound man at McSwells got in the upper 90’s.

I scored a perfect 100% which another friend, Thaler commented on saying she and her husband Tom were waiting for my results and not surprised by my score.

There was some guesswork involved and despite what some people might say, I did not cheat.

I was too tired to cheat actually.

I went to bed feeling good as Bill wore his sleep apnea mask which was louder than usual. It was white noise, like a very loud waterfall, but still I slept until 8:00.

I had a phone call from Abby who had some boxes in his car for work that he could keep in his car since his car was leased and had to be returned today. I told him to call me at 8:00 and I would go to the office with him and get the boxes stored.

He called at 8:15. He picked me up around 10:00 and we rode into the city. Cleared a few things up between us. He’s always late as most Asian Indians are. He said they operate on IST, Indian Standard Time. His words not mine.

Still I proved that I was a team player and sent him off on his way once we got the boxes to my office.

I walked across town were I ran into Lois and Fred who were online outside of Midtown Comics where it was comic book day and they were getting some free comic books. Perhaps they will sell them at their Gate Sale, weather permitting.

I came home, Bill was still here. We watched King Kong by Peter Jackson on TNT and it was fun. I loved the original and thought I loved the Dino Di Laurentis version, but I didn’t.

Peter Jackson was really faithful to the original and it was fun to watch, even with my sweaty hands towards the end scenes on top of the Empire State Building.

Still a very sad story, yes it wasn’t the plane that got Kong. Twas beauty that killed the beast. But I’m sure you knew that already.

After that I walked Bill to the bus stop and I wandered over to Tunes where I bought the latest Bob Dylan cd which I already like more than the last one, Modern Times.

David Hildago from Los Lobos and his accordion are one it throughout, giving it a Springsteen feel as well as a New Orleans Zydeco sound. I recommend it.

That’s it for me. Time for some wine with the Alexander’s parents downstairs.






Happy New year to one and all, excepting spammers and haters. I do get a lot of spam that does not make it to the comments. Usually it’s mostly from Russia and almost always written on gobbledygook. So my good wishes for them are non-existent.

Last night was off to a wobbly start. First off I started drinking around 4:00, hitting the Bushmills which made writing fun. Don’t know if it made reading as enjoyable as writing but it wasn’t my concern last night.

I expected Bill to be home around 6:00 but I didn’t hear from him until around 8:00 by which time I was quite buzzed and hungry and borderline cranky. Still I got my act together and headed out to meet Bill at Arthur’s Steakhouse.

I was a bit annoyed with the fact that Bill never called to let me know what was going on on his end. I got over it as I inhaled my steak and potatoes. I had two pints, Bill couldn’t finish his, he said it tasted funny and I tasted it and it seemed fine. After he ate he felt queasy and ran to the bathroom. Nothing happened but he did feel a bit odd he said.

We headed back home and he promptly lay down for a little a while. I enjoyed my La Flor Dominicana Double Ligero and had some more whiskey. After an hour or so of Beatles Christmas messages I woke Bill up to see if he still wanted to go to Rand and Lisa’s as we had planned.

He said he was even though I did give him a few chances to back out. The walk from Park Avenue to Bloomfield Street was mostly quiet in the bone chilling cold. I was slightly inebriated so I wasn’t feeling much of anything weather-wise.

Made it Chez Rigoux-Hoppe safe and sound and climbed the two flights of stairs to their abode. Lois and Fred as well as John Figueroa and his wife Arianna and their daughter Luna were throughout the apartment.

Lois and Bill

Lois and Bill

Rand was staving off a cold and doing an admirable job at that. Lot’s of snacks and we got there in time to help hand out champagne before the midnight hour. Lot’s a laughs and chit chat ensued. I continued drinking with some Guinness I brought. Bill had another pint for himself.

Rand with his pots and pans at midnight

Ran with his pots and pans at midnight

We all settled down after the clanging of pots and pans on the fire escape and watched the Steven Colbert Christmas Special that I had recorded for myself but let it erase itself on the DVR. Good thing that Rand saved it.

Everyone loved it of course, how could they not. Both Rand and I were somewhat surprised at how agreeable it was for Elvis Costello to dress up as a Jack in the Box as well as other things. I think Elvis had fallen out of favor with Rand as well as myself.

John Fig

John Fig

And the version of What’s So Funny (About Peace, Love and Understanding) with Willie Nelson, Feist, John Legend and Toby Keith as well as a grizzly bear was outstanding.

Gigglepuss and Me

Gigglepuss and Me

The party wound down after that, with everyone heading to their respective homes and leaving Rand and Lisa with the brownies.

El Jefe and Lady Gigglepuss

El Jefe and Lady Gigglepuss

Slept really well, nice to have Bill in bed again. How I missed his snoring. I was up and out on the street at 10:00, getting bagels and newspapers. That was the last of the outside world that I saw for the day. It was enough.

Bill eventually got out of bed and we had a great time together. He even went the distance and finally was able to hook my computer up to the wireless network so once again, I am back on my own computer.

A major accomplishment for which I merely sat on the couch reading and making some hot chocolate. A very nice way to start the new year.

And I once again wish each of you a very Happy New Year!

Me with my La Flor Dominicana Double Ligero for New Years Eve

Me with my La Flor Dominicana Double Ligero for New Years Eve

Bill sleeping off his queasiness

Bill sleeping off his queasiness

New year's Bill

New year's Bill

Bye Bye Love

Jeez this bug that I have just won’t go away. Been feeling it since about last Monday and here it is almost a week later and after spending just a few hours outside I’m tired. Last night after I watched The Mayor of Sunset Strip, I watched Stardust starring Robert De Niro and Michelle Pfieffer. To quote Juan, I was whelmed.

Not over or under, but simply whelmed. Enough that I couldn’t be bothered to turn off the dvd. It was ok, but overall a disappointment. Hard to believe that was Sienna Miller, who looked so much like Edie Sedgwick in Factory Girl, in this she was far from it. My brother Frank liked the movie.

He just told me as I called to wish him a happy birthday. He seemed to have just an average day for his birthday which is how it goes sometimes. Plus since he works for the board of elections he had to work today, on a Sunday which didn’t make him happy at all.

After Stardust, came Saturday Night Live. That wasn’t as good as it had been the past episodes this season. And with Sarah Palin on the show I think I threw up in my mouth a little. I just don’t like her. At all. Josh Brolin was good but when he first came out for the monologue he looked like Butch Patrick. I don’t find him attractive though I know people that do.

Andy Samberg was a disappointment as well. His scene with Mark Wahlberg was a bit off. Wahlberg knew his lines, but Samberg seemed riveted to the cue cards. Or maybe he was acting as if he was terrified of Mark Wahlberg, who I though was one of the funniest spots on the show.

Kristen Wig. I like her but perhaps she is funnier in small doses. Like Lewis Black, who is funny for five minutes a month on the Daily Show, but not strong enough for an hour long special on HBO.

Adele was the musical guest and she was ok. She seemed like another singer from the Amy Winehouse/Duffy genre. It’s not bad but really not enough to distinguish from other female R&B stylists.

Amy Poeler has only a few more weeks before she leaves the show and gives birth. She’ll be missed, especially on Weekend Update where she was the funniest thing on that whole spot. I went to bed at 12:45, just couldn’t risk seeing Sarah Palin at the end of the show.

Woke up feeling ok, went out for foodstuffs and the paper. After breakfast I watched a documentary called Champion on Danny Trejo, an actor you’ve probably seen in some movies. He had a hard life, a junkie at 13, life in San Quentin followed. Now he has a successful career in movies and also counsels younger people encouraging them to stay of of jail and off drugs and booze.

Somehow that wound up in my Netflix queue. It wasn’t that bad a documentary but then again it wasn’t that good. I watched the BBC and a rally in North Carolina for Obama. The big news today was Colin Powell supporting Obama. Is Colin Powell still relevant? After the WMD’s fiasco at the UN, who really cares what Colin Powell has to say?

McCrazy of course mentioned that he has a former secretary of state backing him, Henry Kissinger. I suppose for some, having a war criminal back you is quite the feather in the cap. I don’t think Kissinger can leave the country lest he be arrested for the bombing of Cambodia and Laos all those years ago and tried in the Hague. But then again McCrazy has G. Gordon Liddy’s backing so maybe he wants the backing of the tarnished and tattered Nixon crew.

I walked around Hoboken and saw Rand and Lisa at their Gate Sale and then visited Fred and Lois at their sale. Then I walked downtown to the Neumann Leathers Building and stopped by Tim Daly’s studio where I talked with Sheilah Scully who just so happens to be Tim’s wife. Came home, made a nice penne, pesto and chicken dinner and now I’m tired.

I spent all day wondering who Joe Gideon was, and now that I just watched the ending of the Simpsons with a Fosse character in it I realized Joe Gideon was played by Robert Schneider in Bob Fosse’s loosely autobiographical All That Jazz. Now I can go to bed.

Take Me To The Pilot

It’s a lazy Sunday after having a blast on Saturday. On Friday night Bill and I heard from Rand and Lisa that they would like to hitch a ride with us to Lois and Fred’s wedding party. They also asked if Garry Rindfuss, another friend, could ride with us but Bill had rented a Honda Civic from Zip Car which would sit four people comfortably, and five people uncomfortably. Since it promised to be a five hour trip, two and a half hours each way, it didn’t seem likely that Garry could ride with us.

Bill went to sleep early Friday night, I went for a walk, dropping off dvd’s at the post office and walking around town, smoking a Padron and watching the revelers lined up outside of various bars on Washington Street. Sat on the front stairs with Julio while I finished the cigar, the two of us talking which we haven’t done in a while. It was still pretty warm out, no breezes on Park avenue just as there were no breezes by the river.

We mainly talked about plans for Saturday, he working in West New York and helping out his sister’s husband, and me heading upstate. I was soon fast asleep after seeing Julio off on the third floor. The next morning, Bill was up and out at 6:00 to get the car and make sure his mother was going to be alright for the day.

I was out doing the Saturday morning thing, and home in time for a nice breakfast before heading out at 9:00 meeting Bill on the street outside, then heading over to pick up Rand and Lisa. It turned out to be a nice enough morning, as we headed north. I brought about 20 cd’s since the car was not iPod ready, but Rand bought an adapter and we were able to play my iPod as well as Rand’s which I asked him to bring for backup while I DJ’d.

It was a fun ride up, I was playing the role of the music selecter and Rand was the navigator while Lisa was the shining star and Bill the pilot. We harmonized to Queen as well as other selections. You’re My Best Friend and Bohemian Rhapsody were smashing. After a leg stretching stop in Roscoe, NY were were soon in Walton after passing through a major thunderstorm for about 45 minutes.

By the time we got to the Rainbow Lodge, it’s was blue skies. We met John Hamilton as well as his two sons, Jasper John and Henry James. Great names for the kids I think. John’s wife Donna drove up a few minutes after we did with Lois who looked beautiful in her wedding dress. John played the Wedding March on electric guitar, adding some Jimi Hendrix like effects.

I video taped it but somehow it didn’t come out. Luckily Rand who was officiating the ceremony was shooting it so that will hopefully turn up later. I don’t know how I lost it, but it must have happened during the transfer this morning. Fred looked great in his creme colored suit and tie with a snappy haircut, the perfect compliment to the bride.

Soon we were all in the lodge after the ceremony on the dock. Instead of rice, we were given bubbles and trout food pellets since the pond was stocked with fish. I started DJ’ing with Enjoy Yourself by the Specials, I Do, I Do, I Do by Abba and the stereo backing track of God Only Knows by the Beach Boys.

I was able to handle John Hamilton’s PA system and occasionally alternated with Rand’s iPod, ultimately finding it easier to just use my iPod. Still it was good to have Rand’s iPod there. I played the first dance for Lois and Fred, David Bowie’s Rock and Roll With Me from Diamond Dogs. I selected the music and ran back and forth to the table where I could have a few bites before heading back to the music setup.

I thought I was doing a good job, but according to some of the other party guests, the music wasn’t up beat enough. So I played Get Down Tonight by KC and the Sunshine Band, an all time favorite but it seemed nothing I could play could raise most of this crowd off their seats. Regardless I made sure the people I knew enjoyed themselves.

The song that actually got people up turned out to be Ca Plane Pour Moi by Plastic Bertrand. Followed that with an extended version of Kiss by Prince. Time flew certainly since we were having fun and before anyone realized it was nearly 5:00 and the Rainbow Lodge had to turn over into a restaurant once again.

John and Donna invited us to their house a few minutes away so we followed Jane in her car. John and Donna have a beautiful house which they maintain for the summer. So many inspirational things to stimulate Jasper and Henry’s imaginations. Jasper’s quite an artist and designed the cover for John’s book, Music, Madness, and the Unworking of Language.

Jasper is 11 years old and is known to filled up countless notebooks with his drawings. It’s actually John’s second book, the first was published in 2003, called Soliciting Darkness, a book on the poet Pindar who I had never heard about until I just looked it up in my library system.

A few more guests arrived at the Hamilton abode, including Fred’s mother and his best man who’s name I can’t remember. Chips and wine and some beers were served with Bill and I smoking cigars and John smoking his pipe.

It had been a while since I had been with John and Donna end it was really a wonderful time being with them and their boys. They’ve invited Bill and myself as well as Rand and Lisa to dinner when they return to the city. John is currently a professor at NYU. Prior to that he taught at Harvard and now Harvard wants him back. An enviable position to be in.

Bill mentioned that we had to get back on the road, another two and a half hours ahead of us. After being escorted out by zombie Jane we were on the densely fogged highways back to Hoboken. My harmonizing on the way back wasn’t as good as it was in the way up, but I hung in there singing along to As by Stevie Wonder and You Won’t See Me by the Beatles.

As usual, coming back from such a wonderful time with friends, away from the usual spots makes Hoboken look so dreary even on such a sunny day as it is today. Ob La Di, Ob La Da.






Rand and I reflected in Roscoe Diner

Bill and me

The bride

The groom

The Hamiltons

John Hamilton

Zombie Jane

That table

Henry and Jasper

A slightly more respectable Rand

A nice group

Henry hatted