Tag Archives: Maxwells

Mishigas

Wow, this is weird. I had hoped to find time this week to talk to Todd from Maxwell’s about something that I needed to talk to him about and I woke up to find an email saying that I had been fired and my last check would be in the mail. Apparently, once again- someone told him about this here blog. Even though I took steps not to write anything bad about Maxwell’s (there was nothing bad to write about) and I didn’t write anything bad about Todd, he felt that what I wrote was damaging enough to let me go.

The funny thing is many years ago, I came thisclose to being fired by Steve Fallon, justifiably so a few times, but after some stern words from Steve I was able to stay on board. It’s not the same place anymore, but I knew this when I came on board again. I have written before how Todd and I butted heads in the past but I thought things had gotten better. I even wrote that I thought he was a good egg.

We butted heads back in the 1980’s about having a DJ night there sometime. From what I was told, Todd was against it since he would get some flak from the bands trying to play there and they might be upset to see a DJ night. I only suggested a DJ night back then since it had been done in the past, Chaz and his 2 Tone party and things like that. This weekend they have a DJ night scheduled on Saturday featuring Todd and his Todd-O-Phonic DJ thing. Rich in irony.

Todd mentioned in his email that I played with my cellphone too often, though a word would have sufficed. I can only guess that Todd thought I was writing on the cellphone as things were occurring. And from looking at what I wrote, writing that it was slow might have been the tipping point. I certainly did not think that was such a bad thing and slow nights are par for the course but certainly not the norm.

I felt the slow nights were a reflection of the bands that are around these days and it’s cyclical, feast/famine etc. There are always slow nights and there are always great big busy nights. But I guess Maxwell’s is in an unknown state lately and perhaps my writing that might have some effect on whatever transactions are going down but I strongly doubt that.

I wrote about how I like to work with Ro Da and that seemed to be a sticking point with Todd, so much that he mentioned it in his email this morning, so with Todd’s suggestion- here it is:
Dear John,
One of your many fans in town pointed out your wonderful blog to me yesterday. I have a new entry for you:

“My asshole boss at Maxwell’s fired me today. Apparently, he couldn’t understand why I would beg for a job and then do nothing but complain about it. He even has the nerve to think that he might be able to find someone who would be able to seat people properly and not play with their cellphone all night long. He is wrong, as always I know better than everyone else. I wish RoDa were my boss, then everything would be great”.

Last night was your last shift, a check will be mailed to you on Thursday.

Sincerely,
Todd

I am pretty sure the ‘many fans’ remark was snark. Still I am happy to allow Todd’s suggestion, since he did call it ‘wonderful’ and writing of himself in the first line like that was definitely strange. It was sincere even though he probably hunted and pecked with his middle fingers.

Certainly that was an odd thing to write and I can think of two specific people who might have whispered in Todd’s ear. One of them, a closet case- dislikes Ro Da intensely. The other didn’t seem to like me very much and somehow I may have ruffled its bleached feathers. I did not beg for a job, I offered my services which Todd seemed to appreciate. He did post something on Craigslist after all. And you know, seeking people to work for you on Craigslist is not desperate at all. I guess after asking so many people if they knew anyone who would like to work there, and with them all saying ‘NO’, that could seem more like a begging stance.

I didn’t complain about Maxwell’s. I mean, just read the cigar shack stuff and then read what I wrote about Maxwell’s and you can see there was no complaining, just casual observations written at home on a computer, not on a smartphone or tablet since I am all gigantic thumbs when writing more than a few words on those things.

The thing is I never thought Todd was an asshole. I still don’t. He’s done a credible job in maintaining the Maxwell’s brand and that was something I fully supported. He even allowed Bill and I to have our Civil Union party there and for that I am forever grateful. I always said hello to Todd when I saw him on the street, noticing how uncomfortable he was when merely engaging in small talk with me and if I thought he was an asshole I wouldn’t say hello to him.

It’s really too bad. I enjoyed being able to help out at Maxwell’s again and thought everything was fine. But it’s Todd’s house after all, he obviously runs a tight ship and will brook no untoward words but I do wish Maxwell’s the very best no matter what happens to the place.

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The Swingadelics

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I can see how I always think I am right and everyone else is wrong especially when I post so many good things about myself like how I am an idiot and list various mistakes I have made in the past. That always confuses me somewhat, my idiocy and increasing omnipotence.

Still not complaining, just an observation.

Haven’t written over 1,000 words in a while. Thanks!

Todd Abramson

Todd Abramson

Oh yeah, here is how I begged for the position after seeing the Craigslist post that Todd had online.
Hey Todd/Dave/Steve:

You’re looking for a host? I am looking for a job. I am willing to start whenever you would like. You know me, I know you. I am local and know Hoboken as well as Maxwell’s history.
Plus having a guy could also help out should some hooligans act up.

Let me know,
John

I have no shame when I am begging obviously.

And finally, I do not think Todd is an asshole.

Post script: It is official. Maxwell’s will shut down July 31.
from NJ.com: http://www.nj.com/entertainment/music/index.ssf/2013/06/maxwells_a_hoboken_rock_instit.html
Abramson, who lives in Hoboken, will continue to book the Bell House, a larger venue in the Gowanus section of Brooklyn. “A change of scenery isn’t going to be bad for me,” says Abramson. “It’s been a long time.”

The Perfectly Blended

The past two nights at work- observed.
Last night, a scary looking grandmother came in. Saturday nights seem to be the night for moms and dads and their babies in strollers. This grandmother was having some trouble with getting the stroller in so I held the door and said to the infant in the stroller, ‘Hey little person.’ Something friendly I thought, but the grandmother asked in a nasty manner- ‘What did you say?’ I repeated what I said and realized that grandma was going to be weird.

All I want is a glass of wine and some appetizers. I set her up nearby, the baby chewing on a fork while grandma got her drink on. Then she realized the kid was hungry and should probably eat something, besides the French Onion soup which was spicy enough for grandma, but too spicy for an infant.

The current look for men these days is closed cropped hair on the side and slicked back or gelled hair, carefully quaffed and parted. And the tattoos. Nerds with tattoos still seems to be the way to go. I dislike tattoos and yearn for the days when having a tattoo meant you were tough. Now it means something that is not tough at all. The hip girls at work all wore their hair up in a bun, even when they’re not working.

The bar is crowded on the left side, the right side a few unoccupied bar stools. People come in and stand around the left side, not noticing empty bar stools on the other side. The service would be the same, if not better with less competition for beverages but these people are sheep like and go with the crowd.

A few drunks came in. So drunk they could barely stand but when they find they are cut off from drinking anymore they somehow find some sort of resolve to stand up and show their indignation. One drunk had friends who seemed to call the drunk’s parents who were nearby and collected him, carrying him into the back seat of their SUV while Mom sat in the front passenger side.

The bands that played were unknown to me but had enough people waiting to see them, sometimes even trying to get into the sound check. I did my best to prevent it, but realized that I had my own job to do and the door guys should handle it. They tried. The guy who checks ID’s suddenly quit on Friday and didn’t come in. It was up to me to prevent people from leaving with drinks. That was not easy and a few did get by, leaving me to collect empty cans of the worst beer, Pabst Blue Ribbon.

I think David Lynch is responsible for the resurgence of Pabst Blue Ribbon thanks to the Frank Booth character played by Dennis Hooper in Blue Velvet. It might have been ironic in the late 1980’s but nowadays it strikes me as dumb. But hey, it pays the bills and the tatted up hipsters in skinny jeans and slicked back hair drink it and the bartenders are happy to take their cash.

Last night I bummed a cigarette off a guy standing outside. For some reason he thought I was a singer and asked me to harmonize with him, and since I felt indebted to him I did. he suggested Silent Night of all songs and I proceeded to sing, quite ably from what I was told. After that we tried Cecilia by Simon and Garfunkel which didn’t go so well. We also did a bit of California Dreaming by the Mama’s and the Papa’s. I’m sure if we figured out who was Cass and who was Denny it would have sounded better. It was good to sing with someone and I found it somewhat spiritual.

I just remembered I got hit on twice by the same guy. The first time, as I was walking by him said into my ear that I smelled nice. A little while that he told me that I was a sharp looking man. He wasn’t bad looking either and I’m definitely not mad at him though it did take me by surprise…
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Your Silent Face

It was another beautiful day today and it truly felt like spring so that was nice.

Last night I worked at Maxwell’s. And as usual it had gotten fairly dead by 11:00 which meant it was better to go home than stand around and do nothing for that last hour. Bill had stopped by earlier for a burger and his waitress Chloe thought the world of him. So did the other waitress Jessica but Chloe was the main one. It was good to have him there if only for a little while and he was in good spirits.

I came home last night and there was Bill overturning so many things. He spent part of last night most of the morning looking for paperwork for his mother. That is when he wasn’t distracted by a documentary on Rowdy Roddy Piper or Star Trek Voyager. He finally found it and was going to do what he had to do tomorrow. I mentioned that it might be better to get it over with today rather than run around frantic before he drives a bus tomorrow.

He actually listened to me and left. It was good to have him out of the apartment because with the two of us here at the same time all the time, it does get troublesome or at least has the potential to be that way. I wandered around Hoboken, stopped by the Guitar Bar to see Jim Mastro who wasn’t in. I raved about Rare Books to the guy who was there and since he wasn’t what you would call engaging, I left and wound up by the really big supermarket.

Juan was interesting the other day. He texted me about how his last boyfriend might have been ‘the one’. All I could do was remind Juan of the things that he sent me, the shitty things this boyfriend did. And to read Juan’s side of it, the guy is a total douche bag drug addict. But love is not only blind, it’s incoherent and I saw that Juan had friended this thing once again on Facebook. Not my problem and all I will do is offer a shoulder once again when Juan needs something to cry on.

And Pedro is going full blown teabagger. He has gotten so bad that I removed one comment from a post I made (& I never do that) and changed the settings on his newsfeed coming in from All Posts to Only Important. Not the end of the world but I don’t need his constant barrage of negativity.

Other than that, there’s not much else to write about, for now.
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Released 30 years ago today: New Order- Power, Corruption & Lies

Small Craft Warning

A beautiful day today, it feels like spring. A friend in Colorado mentioned that she had 6 inches of snow which is troublesome. Perhaps it will come this way in the form of rain, we could use the water.

Last night was alright. Bill came home to a hug waiting for him when he walked through the door. We talked a bit about how his cousin and her family probably had the first night of decent sleep in a while. Juan also came over last night. He was stressed over misplacing his keys. He went all the way home to find he did not have his keys.

Bill went to bed early, it had been a long day for him and he was drained physically and emotionally. Juan and I stayed up, Juan being a DJ and played a lot of Best Coast- which I liked. I was also castigated for having Phoenix in my iTunes but never playing it. Phoenix is one of Juan’s favorite bands right now. He also seemed to take offense by my saying that he and Efrain looked alike. Luckily for him he doesn’t get compared to Phillip Seymour Hoffman or Drew Carey.

Tonight I work at Maxwell’s. I have no idea how it will be and will do my darndest to stay until the kitchen closes but if no one is coming in and ordering food then staying there for the long haul is pointless. Juan wants to see Youth Lagoon at Maxwell’s and from what he played for me last night from them, it does sound interesting. I won’t be working that night, I’ll be attending a lecture by Brian Eno. I will probably be out there early enough to see the show, but not early enough to work. So I think I will be able to get Juan into the show anyhow.

I am still sending out resumes, I am still trying to get in the game. And of course I am still being ignored or rejected. My anniversary of being let go from the cigar shack is coming up. Last year on May 1, Zack/Calvin was on a public radio show and Bradley/Possum was ruling the roost. I had a job interview at a place right across the street from the flagship cigar shack on Madison Avenue and using a red herring I wrote how I was interviewing with a cigar manufacturer.

That’s probably where Mike Herklots/Marcus started reading this here blog and hipped Zack/Calvin to it. I later got nasty and wrote about the alcoholism of certain people and the readily available Xanax from that marsupial.

It is still a beautiful day, and it promises to be a nice night.
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When You Dance I Can Really Love

My Brain is Hanging Upside Down

Watching Mad Men on TV, the main event is the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. I was in kindergarten and have no recollection at all of when it happened. I just looked it up and it was a Thursday, so I would have asleep by the time the news would have been broadcast. Like most days back then it is all a blur. Consciousness of the outside world, meaning the world that wasn’t Riverview Avenue or St. Francis de Sales school or the Romaine – Sinniger VFW Post, did not arrive really until maybe 1972. I did know of death, but it was more familial than anything else.

Before Mad Men I found myself to be more jazzy than anticipated. No plans were in the works, except for Juan suggesting a pint. I begged off pleading being at a cash disadvantage and Juan said he would pick up the tab. I was thinking Maxwell’s, Juan was thinking of The Pint, a gay bar in Jersey City. And not right over the border Jersey City but a few stops away on the Path train. Juan doesn’t know that gay bars are anathema to me and pleaded and texted to no avail.

He even played the guilt card and despite my atheism, I do have a catholic background riddled with guilt and it really has no effect on me at all. So when Juan texted that he was going to go home and stick his head in the oven, I asked if his mother’s oven was an electric oven. In the midst of all this Bill had come home after looking after his mother all day and was incredibly stressed from that as well as other things. Bill didn’t stay up that late and I wound up staying in and watching Mad Men.

The schedule at Maxwell’s is supposed to come out on Sunday nights. I called around midnight and there was no schedule sent in. I called again this afternoon and still no schedule. I can guess that since the next time a band is playing would be Thursday so I will probably be working then. I will call later on to find out what’s what.

The past couple of nights when working at Maxwell’s the jukebox has been untouched and someone’s iPod has been playing the songs. It certainly is a mind fuck to hear New Order sing True Faith, The Ramones with Bonzo Goes To Bitburg and Echo & the Bunnymen sing Lips Like Sugar (a crap song). It causes flashbacks to way back when, bar backing and cleaning glasses while singing along with Joey Ramone and talking with Eve, Carol and Steve Saporito as I worked alongside Martha Griffin and Declan.

Now Pedro is on my Facebook page trolling, calling friends ‘sheep’. He claims Obama voted “yes’ to invade both Afghanistan and Iraq. Pedro doesn’t know or refuses to acknowledge that Obama was a state senator in Illinois at the time and was vocal about his opposition to the Iraq invasion. But Pedro doesn’t let facts get in his way these days. I’m sure he is getting his info from Joe Farrah and his ilk. Which is too bad since I consider Pedro to be intelligent but with postings like that I begin to harbor doubts.

C’est la vie.
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Standing Still

I am starting to be convinced that people in Hoboken say at least once a week, ‘I’d know them if I saw them’. It happened at the bibliothèque this afternoon and I know I say it often. It’s a small town, Hoboken and you see the same people over and over again and usually by the time you might be introduced to someone after a few years it gets awkward. And if you’re talking to someone about someone else, that is when the line ‘I’d know them if I see them’ comes into play.

It is a bright and sunny and warm day finally. Been out and about. No sign of Juan but Bill has been around. Didn’t do much except some grocery shopping and a stop at the bibliothèque. Tonight it’s work at Maxwell’s. My old pal, Rand is holding a lecture at the bibliothèque but since I have to work, I can’t go. I think it was scheduled for last year, a lecture about the famed comic book artist Jack Kirby, but was postponed because of the storm. Or maybe it was scheduled for earlier this year and postponed because of a snowstorm. I posted a flyer at Maxwell’s, hoping to get more people to attend.

I am still sending out resumes but not at the frequency that I used to send them out. It’s coming up on a year since I was let go from the cigar shack and being told constantly by employers and agencies that you’re not good enough can wear one’s spirit down. I’m still doing it though, a steadier job would be ideal. Until then I keep puttering along doing what I can.

Now it’s the anxiety of going back to work tonight. I really haven’t had much with regards to working at Maxwell’s but it’s been a few days since I last worked there so here it comes again. I’ve eaten and now I am killing time, enjoying a cigar before heading out. I just checked the website, no bands are playing so that means it will probably be a slow night and instead of working until midnight I will likely be out of there by 11:00.

Rand and Lisa stopped by with a friend and I sat them at a good table. Didn’t get much of a chance to talk to them but Rand’s lecture at the bibliothèque went well with about 40 people attending. I worked with Chloe and Jess and Rob was behind the bar. There were one or two schmucks (being kind here) and I was their first point of contact. One was a young man who was in a hurry and hurriedly said that he was in a hurry. I mentioned that it was obvious he was in a hurry and somehow he took some offense to that. Then he stood next to a speaker playing loud music and talked on his phone.

Towards the end, a squeaky wheel came in with three younger wheels. The squeaky wheel asked if they could sit at a table and drink and I said that they couldn’t. Then the squeaky wheel said they were going to eat and who was I to deny them a seat when the restaurant was nearly empty. Why the squeaky wheel said she had been coming to Maxwell’s for 30 years and never was denied a table. I mentioned that I worked there 30 years ago to which she stated her doubts since she had never seen me before.

She had been coming in with her kids for so long and doubted that I had worked there then. I know I had never seen her before, all nouveau riche with a voice that was the equivalent of nails on chalk board. That voice would have been remembered what with dogs cowering due to the shrillness. The timing couldn’t have been better since the squeaky wheel party came in just minutes before I left for the night.
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Happy Go Lucky Me

I Touch Myself with Hands of Time

I think I was so caught up in winding down when I last posted that I neglected to mention my brother Brian and his wife Karen coming to Maxwell’s on Friday night. Friday was the better night anyhow and of course I focused on the ‘less than’ night. Brian and Karen were heading home after seeing ‘Not In It For My Health’ a movie about the late Levon Helm from the Band. Brian has been going to Woodstock once a month to see the shows at the Ramble and was upset when Levon passed away. Brian and I were lucky to see Levon perform on Elvis Costello’s Spectacle a few years ago.

They were dismayed at the price of parking in Manhattan, a nearby garage gouged their wallet but the universe seemed to even that out when they nabbed a spot right outside the door at Maxwell’s. It was a pleasant surprise to see them both and I was even more surprised at how much weight Brian had lost. Truly amazing and inspiring. He looks great and now wears a 36 waist in trousers. A new wardrobe is in order. It was great to see them both and I wish I would have been able to talk to them both but I was working and it was a bit busy.

They left a while later after and headed home and I continued sitting people at tables on the Lido Deck. And like I wrote, the next night was even busier. Yesterday was alright. I met up with Juan and ran around Hoboken trying to fax some documents on Bill’s behalf. Juan of course was so damn funny. He knows how to get under my skin and tickle my sense of humor. I hadn’t walk down the street in Hoboken laughing like I did in a long time, and that was thanks to Juan.

At a friends office I tried to use their fax machine to no avail but while we were there I sang a little bit of 10CC’s The Things We Do For Love, as I was doing this for Bill. Juan paid me no mind and I hoped I had the song on my Android but I didn’t. Juan played the latest Phoenix song on his iPhone which I thought was ‘meh’. I’m not much of a Phoenix fan. Last night when going to bed I turned the radio on and heard 10CC singing The Things We Do For Love.

I can’t say I was much of a Divinyls fan, but their singer Christina “Chrissy” Amphlett died after struggle with breast cancer and multiple sclerosis at age 53. And then after that came news that Richie Havens died this morning. I never saw Richie Havens and I remember getting a phone call from Julio while he was working at Maxwell’s telling me that Richie Havens was putting on an excellent show. I was too lazy in Weehawken to make it down to Hoboken.

I did work with his daughter Dahlia at Murdoch Magazines with Pedro and Harpy back in the 1980’s. She was a handful, and difficult to get along with sometimes. Some people doubted that she was Richie havens daughter but I believed her. Why else would someone say they were the daughter of Richie Havens if they weren’t?

Last night I dreamt that I had a Cadillac which I think was owned by the Crowley family, friends of my parents. It was parked in the parking lot of the VFW where my father was a member and I drove off in the Cadillac, past the Saddle Brook Diner where I slid while applying the brakes into the car in front of me. They didn’t stop so I guess it was alright. I was behind the other car in traffic on the bridge over the Saddle River which was surging underneath.



The Wait

A grey day. It started out that way, even before the sun came up. I didn’t sleep so well since Bill was in some pain due to his back problems. I did what I could to help him out, and of course, every moan I heard made me wake up to check how he was doing. He does have some meds, but the prescription calls for no more than 3 every 24 hours and at 3:30 last night, he was half way through the first go round. I told him about some tricks that I use, sleeping on my back, a pillow between the knees.

I think I got about 4 hours of sleep. I also worked at Maxwell’s last night, off at 11:00 since it had slowed down considerably. Back on Friday and Saturday nights, with Friday being a double header, 2 different sets with 2 different bands. So many rumors going on around Maxwell’s- Is it closing? Is it moving? No one knows anything. I certainly don’t know anything about it yet I still get asked. Various friends have their take on it and they proceed to tell me which does not help me out at all.

Today was busy once I got myself started. I heard from Juan as well. After feeling on the outs with him last week, today I found myself ironing his khakis and his shirt since he was running late and about to start a new job at a restaurant in Hoboken. It’s obviously not Maxwell’s since pressed clothes were required. He also went to Mr. L’s for a quick haircut since he felt he needed one. I know he wanted to make a good impression at the new gig and I was happy to help him out.

Now it is cold and rainy and I’ve got nothing to do. I just made some penne, pesto and chicken and that was good. Bill is running around Manhattan taking care of his mother and doing things to further his career. Good night for TV. I did watch the first episode of Hannibal, but decided not to watch it any more. Too gruesome and without the style and finesse from Silence of the Lambs. I’ll aim for comedies that are on tonight.

And I will hear all about how Juan’s evening went since his clothes are here and he’ll need to pick up his skinny jeans with his skinny genes.
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Presorted Standard

Well it’s a Sunday. I’m enjoying the new method of posting, whenever I want, not chained to the 500 words a day paradigm. Been there, done that for over 7 years. A change was needed for sure. And it’s been creatively liberating I think. Of course you might think otherwise but since only a handful of you ever comment, I will just have to guess that that handful are simpatico somewhat.

Things have been going on, mostly good. Been working at Maxwell’s, wearing the same clothes I wore way back when. People still come in, last night the restaurant was packed and I had a few groups of people waiting about 20 minutes for a table. One of the remarked that they were fine with the wait since at another restaurant the wait was an hour and a half.

People have been generally behaving, no need to bounce though I did have to have some words with a customer who was holding the men’s room door open. A very stupid man who didn’t seem that much younger than me, you’d think he had sense but then again getting older does not necessarily mean getting any smarter. And when alcohol enters the picture common sense isn’t so common.

Both Friday night and Saturday night I came home, tired enough to fall asleep or so I thought. Friday night was the worst, not much sleep at all, tossing and turning and waking up more tired than I was when I went to bed. Saturday was supposed to be better, I took an alprazolam but all it did was make me feel ambivalent about not being able to sleep properly. It could be that we need a new bed and for that, the timing is terribly off.

I am back to some weekend things that I did last year and I’m enjoying it. I never knew that being a transplant courier could be so rewarding and exciting, not to mention the satisfaction of the ones relieving the transplant. Yesterday was my return to the roller skates and after the previous night’s bout of insomnia it wasn’t as insurmountable as I had thought.

Last night as I waited for the alprazolam to kick in I watched the Coachella streaming footage. New Order was on and they were pretty good with a new bass player and 2nd guitarist alongside Barney, Steven and Gillian. I watched for a few numbers including Isolation from the Joy Division days. Isolation is one of the few Joy Division songs I like. I figured out my relationship with Joy Division the other day, I just never really liked Ian Curtis’ voice. The music is fine but I do prefer New Order and don’t mind Barney singing the odd Joy Division song, but Ian Curtis? No thanks.

Lots of friends love Joy Division but to them I keep my dislike a secret. I make no secret of my dislike for Antony Hegarty’s singing and can only think of one song he sang that I actually like, and that is the cover of Bob Dylan’s ‘I Was Young When I Left Home’.

A Sunday night at home, good TV tonight. I’m satisfied. Hopefully sleep will follow.
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Bounce That

Today has been an awfully craptacular day. Cold and rainy and if I was able to sleep, I would have likely spent the day in bed. But things being what they are I did not do that and went about my day as usual. I worked last night at Maxwell’s and it was busy. RoDa was managing and the staff was good. As I had written previously, time goes faster when you’re busy and it was busy enough.

And last night I had done something I hadn’t done in a long time. I bounced. I had to physically throw someone out of the club. I saw the bloke earlier having a drink and didn’t pay him much attention until he moved, or rather stumbled past the bar, hanging onto the staircase covering and headed to the backroom.

I wasn’t sure if anyone else working had seen him but I sure did and made my move, grabbing him before he headed into the back room. He didn’t put up much of a fight but I know if I didn’t hang onto him he would have tried to go to the back again. Dan, a burly bearish type was bar backing asked if I had it under control and I shrugged that I thought I did.

My plan was to sit the guy down, give him some water or coffee and sober him up somewhat before throwing him out. That was how it used to be. I remembered being with Steve Saporito in Boston for a show by The Fall and seeing the club toss and inebriated patron out into the cold February winter. We remarked that that’s not the Maxwell’s way, that Mary Fallon would have given the guy some food or coffee before sending him out.

Nowadays, it’s just tossing the bloke outside and it is no longer the bar’s problem. So with Dan watching along with waiter Carlos, I set the bloke up outside leaning on a railing before he went traipsing out into the street, zigzagging alongside parked cars. It definitely earned some respect from the bartender who high fived me on my return.

Soon it was midnight and time to go home. I stood outside and proceeded to light up a cigar. One of the band members that played saw me and stated that he wished he had a cigar since they had played a good set. As he commented on the smell of the cigar he told me that I looked cool, that I had a certain style which made me giggle a bit. He was earnest and I walked home happily puffing away and feeling good from such a compliment.

Tonight is a Hoboken bands night which means I will probably know a few people, more than usual. It could be a good thing. I just won’t know until I get there. The weather might factor in towards tonight’s show, but then again Hobokeners won’t have far to go and will probably come out anyway to cheer on their friends and family.
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Bounce That

A Big ‘W’

Well today has been a day in the doldrums. Not much to be enthusiastic about. Not even sure where this is going if it goes anywhere. Just so much bad news out there. Pissed at Obama, pissed at my friends. Pissed at the situation I find myself in.

Still I have to get it together for work tonight. It shouldn’t be a problem, excepting the stage fright that occurs between now and then. I did go out today, walked around Hoboken. Sat and read more of the Barney Hoskyns book on the Band. I know where it’s going and I know how it ends. Maybe I should quit while I am ahead. I do have an Oliver Sacks book that is on loan from the bibliothèque.

I returned two DVD’s which should have been returned yesterday but didn’t. One was Moonrise Kingdom which I saw with Annemarie in the cinema, and at home with Bill a few weeks ago. Juan mentioned that he wanted to see it so I got it and then Juan did not come over. I hung onto it in the hope that he would and the way things stand now, who knows if he’s ever coming by.

I also got into a heated comment discussion with Pedro in which he picked up on my anger and suggested I call him. I declined by saying ‘later’. I won’t call him and deleted all my comments on his wall. I also deleted some things I sent to Juan’s wall. In the parlance of Pedro and Juan as well as the kids today, I am ‘the wrong nigga to fuck with’.

Things are looking up but then again from my vantage point, looking at the bottom of my shoes could be seen as looking up. I am so disappointed in Obama with the ruse of cutting Social Security and Medicaid. I know the line that since he is including closing tax loopholes for the rich the idiotic republicans won’t go for it, but the mere thought of putting Social Security and Medicaid on the table is troublesome. I can safely say that I do not think I will support anyone running for office again, at least not in the manner that I supported Obama. And forget about the Republican Party. They are just shit.

About Richard Klatt. Richie, as he was known in my neighborhood was the younger brother of Marge Williams, a wonderful woman who lived a few doors down from my family in Lodi. Richie was a bit femme and his obvious sexuality was unspoken. He wore wigs and smoked a pipe and loved the Supremes and was in the Navy before working for the post office.

He stopped by the house after my mother passed away and I remarked once he left ‘there goes my role model’ which got a laugh from Frank, Annemarie and Brian. I do hope Richie didn’t hear that and take offence. I know that it is life, people come and go. Doesn’t necessarily bring a smile to the face though.
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I was going to post this last night but obviously did not. Went to work last night, the restaurant was quite slow. I was lucky enough to miss major rain storms. I just got to Maxwell’s when the sky opened up, therefore insuring that people would not be going out for dinner. There were no bands playing so it was all restaurant.

After 3 hours it seemed like it was not going to get any better. I headed home and within minutes of sitting down with Bill who just got in a few minutes before me the skies opened up again with lots of lightning, some close enough that we could hear the air sizzle with electricity. It was intense.

I heard from Juan again which was good. He’s got his problems which I know nothing about. I have a full plate so it’s just as well that I know nothing about them.

Now I am making dinner and plan on heating it up before I head back to work. And tonight I will stay no matter how slow it is. There are bands playing so that should account for people showing up. Let’s hope so. Time goes faster when you’re busy.
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Sex Pistols- Satellite

Stage Fright

“It’s my 30th birthday…” said Rachel, the sister in law of the bartender. Rachel is from Charlotte, South Carolina. “Happy birthday Rachel.” “thank you. It feels different being 30 and all…”
“30’s nothing” I tell her and ask her and her friend to guess my age.
“42”. That was nice to hear and their faces dropped when I told them that I was 50. They didn’t ask for proof so they could think I was putting them on, they were tipsy and celebratory.

I am old enough to be the father of several of these twenty somethings. It’s humorous.
They’re not like Juan though. Juan does his own thing and doesn’t care what other people think mostly.
I wrote ‘mostly’, since no matter what, people do care what others think of them.
Juan doesn’t even give a shit about what I think of him. Off to Leonardo and the Principal Crawfish for him it is.

I worked Saturday night and Rand came by and RoDa was managing so that made for a good night. It was busy enough and as usual the stage fright or anxiety I get before going to work dissipated. It was a good staff and fairly crowded. At one point as I was winding my way through the crowd (I mangled the nail on my left hand and needed to get nail clippers from my bag) I tried to maneuver my way around a short woman. She was trying to maneuver out of my way and I wound up grabbing her breast.

I immediately apologized and she accepted the apology, knowing that it was purely an accident. I’m sure I blushed and when I returned to my spot on the floor, I mentioned to RoDa and Rand that I just grabbed a woman’s breast and that it felt like a bag of sand. Rand got the joke immediately and explained to RoDa that it was a line from the 40 Year Old Virgin. For me it was the first and probably last time I’ve ever touched a woman’s breast. I’m pretty sure I was bottle fed when I was a baby so I didn’t even see my mother’s breasts at feeding time.

I worked the whole shift and came home and tried watching Saturday Night Live with Melissa McCarthy as the host. It looked funny and decided to hold off from watching it so I could see it with Bill and or, Juan. Once again I slept really well and woke up refreshed. Bill was driving from Atlantic City and after that headed to check in on his mother. My anxiety kicked in again as the day progressed, I ran a few errands but mainly stayed indoors until it was time to go.

I was scheduled to work at 6:00 so I had dinner around 5:00. I walked up Washington Street and started seating people almost immediately after getting to Maxwell’s. There is a Sunday evening special which goes from 5:00 to 8:00 and there were a few families taking advantage of the three course meal plan. Bands were scheduled in the back room and the restaurant was busy but not excessively busy. Allie stopped by for dinner with his friend Kevin. Allie is an old friend from Maxwell’s and it was good to see him, albeit worrisome since he was walking with a cane.

And Allie was let go from his job last week as well. He’s older than Bill and myself, but has a steadier head on his shoulders so he’s probably prepared for this type of thing. Bob Bert also came in for dinner and it was cool to have a few words with him. I actually had a dream that had Bob Bert on a beach, a few feet away from Brian Jones and Keith Richards. I told Bob about that and he said it would have been cool if it were true. But Brian Jones died in 1969 and Bob being a couple of years older than me would have been an adolescent then. Of course I am reading too much into that.

Bob left and soon Allie and Kevin did too. I made friends with a German couple who were there to see some American rock and roll. Nice couple, they were headed to Florida for the rest of their holiday and enjoyed Maxwell’s very much. I consider myself the cruise director onboard the SS Maxwell’s, perhaps from watching Love Boat too many times when I was growing up- but I feel so Lauren Tewes when I am at the door.

Today was the day that spring finally arrived and after doing laundry, I took a walk around Hoboken, winding up by the river where I sat and continued reading ‘Across the Great Divide’, Barney Hoskyns book about the Band. I don’t really care for the band, I just enjoy Barney’s writing. It has gotten me to listen to their music, primarily their well-known songs, which is better than nothing I suppose.
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Move On

When I work at Maxwell’s since I stand by the door it can get chilly with this spring weather, so I have been wearing a suit jacket. You know, that ‘new wave’ look with a button in my lapel. One jacket has a button of a cutout of John Lennon’s head from the back cover of ‘Meet the Beatles’ and for the other jacket I sometimes wear I’ve decided to go to that bottom drawer and pick out a button that hasn’t seen the light of day in years.

I have some buttons from famous bands and buttons from bands that never quite made it that far. One of the bands has a logo which is a silhouette of a man with a briefcase next to him. The band was called the Angry Young Salesman. I decided to take a pass and wore another Beatle button which was actually from something else which was lost throughout the years.

As I stood at Maxwell’s asking people if they were there for dinner a couple not too much older than me walked in. I asked if they were having dinner and they were, and they also planned on seeing the show. Sometimes I have to direct them to where the back room is but they said they knew. It turns out that the gent had played Maxwell’s back in the day so they had a good idea where to go.

I told this man and woman that I worked way back then and asked what the name of the band was. Much to my surprise the band was Angry Young Salesman. It was a cosmic goose from the universe and I am sure it was the first of many, or at least another in a long line of cosmic giggles.

Bill surprised me by showing up and having dinner at Maxwell’s. He just showed up and was standing in the doorway when I was taken by surprise. He said it was 30 seconds before I knew he was there. I got him a good table, not too noisy with a view of both the street and the rest of the dining room. I told his server that he was my partner and to take good care of him. Later for dessert I was able to have a spoonful of his chocolate mousse.

It started to slow down around 9:00 and by 10:00 it did not seem like anyone else was coming in for dinner so with the OK of the management I went home. Bill was home already and getting his things ready for a day of bus driving. I flitted about and soon went to bed. I stayed up later than usual hoping that that would help me sleep but it didn’t. Bill had to get up early, 2:30 AM to start his day after a few hours of sleep.

I lay there trying to sleep, not heeding my own advice as Bill got himself ready in the dark. I told him he could turn on the lights since I was not asleep but he didn’t. I just tossed and turned after Bill left unable to get any deep sleep.

It promised to be a crap day since sleep was nearly unattainable and I am not sure if I ever got it. I ‘woke up’ thinking of my birthday party picnic in September and was upset with the people whose landmark birthday parties I attended at restaurants, backyards and halls who didn’t show up at my picnic party. It was definitely not a good way to start the day but after the insomnia a few hours before, but it did not really matter, since nothing would have been good enough.

Slept crappy, woke up bitter. I’m better now.
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It’s Not Unusual

Monday night at Maxwell’s. Yes I am working there. Circle of life etc. Good timing though considering Bill’s life has been tumultuous lately. It’s all good on our end thankyouverymuch, but his solo side has had some upheaval which you will have to read on his blog, which he doesn’t have.

So I am back at Maxwell’s. It was thanks to Juan inadvertently. A couple of weeks ago he asked if I knew anyone at Maxwell’s. I asked why and he mentioned a posting on Craig’s List. On a halfhearted lark perhaps, I sent in my resume and stated directly to the owners that they know me, I know them. I know Hoboken and I know Maxwell’s history (which is timely thanks to Rolling Stone’s recent listing of Maxwell’s being the #3 club in the United States).

Todd called me up a week later while Juan was here making it awkward. I explained to Juan that with his youth, he is the one employers are looking for, geezers like me get nary a glance. Plus Juan is working at Carlo’s Bakery where the Cake Boss reality show is filmed. He claimed it was no big deal and it offered him many more opportunities to make fun of me.

I started last week and worked over the weekend. I am on staff now and I am enjoying it. But like my time spent at the cigar shack, there is a stage fright involved. I figured it out, that each time is a performance in front of different people each time, and that is why I get a little bit anxious. But this is Maxwell’s- a place I have known for decades and have worked one of those decades there in some capacity.

And there are faces from the past that have been popping up, saying hello and how they’re happy to see me. Sometimes I remember their names, sometimes I don’t. But they know me, that’s for sure. I think I handle things well with a handshake and a smile and then they shuffle off or I do.

Last night I worked and in the front room instead of the back room was a band, Swingadelic, a group that I have known of for quite some time but never saw them until then. They were very good, a bit loud since the eight plus horn players music bounced off the tin ceiling. I was out of there a little bit after 11:00 which was OK. I was supposed to work until midnight but there really was no need for that extra hour.

I stayed up until 2:30 mostly talking with Bill. I hoped that staying up later would help with the sleep that has been evading me as of late but it did not work out that way. I hope that maybe tonight I will make up for the lost sleep. Maybe.

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after the flood

after the flood

NapoleonXIVTakeMeAway

Chances Are

Saturday night at Maxwells I see Bob Bert waiting for a bus to headed to Manhattan. I’ve been spending a lot more time at Maxwell’s lately, more than I have in quite a while. Perhaps it is the circle of life which if taken literally means I am about to die. I certainly hope not and the song Circle of Life is not one of Elton John’s songs that I like. But here it is, I’m inside watching Bob Bert wait for a bus outside. He must have caught the bus when I looked askance since he wasn’t there anymore when I looked again.

It was an interesting night at Maxwell’s. Someone was having a birthday gathering with about 75 of their closest friends. It was getting crowded that tables were moved into the basement to make room for the people who were standing around and drinking instead of sitting down and eating. I’m glad I was able to help out and if things go smoothly (and I don’t see why they wouldn’t) I will be helping out more and more.

Standing in the restaurant and seating people if they wanted to have some dinner. I found that standing and holding menus shows that I am working there and if I greet people without menus the people think I’m some strange geezer at the door.

And geezer at the door was a position I did hold at Maxwell’s for a few years, usually on Thursday nights though whatever night was needed I was more or less, there. I did find myself being a relic of sorts when the staff heard that I used to work there back in the day, nights when Nirvana played on a Thursday night, or Smashing Pumpkins on the same bill with Blood Oranges. Crazy lineups.

I didn’t care much for those bands then, thought Nirvana did get in my good graces. I preferred the Minutemen playing to those Sub Pop bands. Never really got into the Seattle sounds though my roommate at the time, Kevin loved all that stuff like Tad and Mudhoney. For me, the guys were gross and the music sounded like sludge. Half the staff seemed to like the Sub Pop bands and the other half thought the same as me.

I also saw something that sort of made sense the other night at Maxwell’s. At one of the tables sat a group of four bears, you know the hirsute bearded gay guys. One of them was rather flirty with me which I thought was a compliment. A few feet away stood a few patrons, hirsute bearded straight guys. I figured it out that once again, straight men taking their cues from gay men, this time bear culture which may have fed the bearded Fleet Foxes type of music these days. Guys that look like their grandfathers were in the Band.

I found that amusing. Also amusing is the fact that according to Rolling Stone magazine, Maxwell’s is the number 3 rock and roll club in the United States. With publicity like that chances are that I will be needed to help out there more often. And access to free shows as well is nice.
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Sugar Sugar

It’s very strange, how if I don’t eat, meaning skipping a meal- my spirits just plunge into despair. It happened today and it was very bad. Last night I saw RoDa and it was good. We talked as he worked at Maxwell’s. I helped out some as he worked and since we are both fans of Jean Michel Basquiat it was planned to go see an exhibition in Chelsea that ends this week. RoDa and I have a habit of trying to see shows and postponing over and over and before you know it the exhibition is over.

RoDa is a bigger Basquiat fan than I am and it seemed imperative thatw e go today. Hundreds of other people had the same idea apparently. I met up with RoDa with his wife and kids and we all headed onto the Path train. It was good that RoDa brought them though I think a lot of the art was over their heads and they wound up going through the exhibition leaving RoDa and I to check out each and every painting. It was very crowded and that meant inching along.

After the show we met up on the sidewalk. The kids were hungry and wanted McDonald’s and I was tired and wanted to take a nap. The cement floors of the gallery and the slow pace did not help my back at all, neither did helping out at Maxwell’s last night which was also standing around for a spell.

Let’s face it, I am getting old. RoDa understood my desire to go home so he and his family went one way in search of the golden arches and I went towards the Path train. When I entered the station I could feel the air hitting my face meaning a train was about to arrive. I was lucky and nabbed a seat and sat reading Barney Hoskyn’s Across the Great Divide, his book about the Band. I sat next to a man and woman who were discussing how books are read and how information is gathered from them.

I got to Hoboken and my spirits crashed. I just wanted to get home. I called Annemarie who was happy and funny and me on the other end just emotionally flat lining. She hit the nail on the head, I skipped a meal, low blood sugar equals crasherama. So I made a quick peanut butter and jelly sandwich which I washed down with some lemonade and then tried to take a nap. The food helped but the sugar in the lemonade did not help the napping. Instead of an hour like I hoped I got about 20 minutes.

But I do feel better and I will likely follow my sister’s advice and graze throughout the day, healthily rather than depend on the 3 meal plan I’ve been following. And now a cup of coffee since I do have things I have to do tonight.
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RoDa and daughter

RoDa and daughter

And rest in peace Phil Ramone. I worked with Phil in the 1990’s at Skyline Studios and Right Track Recording. Great guy and quite a character, very funny.

Produced by Phil Ramone.

43º of Sublimation

A rough night of sleep once again. After spending most of the day with Juan and having a really good time I hoped falling asleep would be easy. Bill slept quietly, no DROID noises but it didn’t matter.

I lay in bed for about an hour before getting out for a few minutes before trying again. When I got back to bed it was time to hear the recycling truck going slowly down the street. It sounded like a big truck when it was on the previous block but when it was in front of my building it sounded like it was being pushed.

Then when it was in front of my building it was really loud. I lay thinking of how I usually sleep through these loud noises but last night that was not happening. I couldn’t stop thinking of Maxwell’s for some reason. Just various people and things and events floated through my head. I suppose I eventually fell asleep thinking of that.

Bill was up and out as usual, giving me that farewell kiss and telling me that he loves me and that I look gorgeous as I lay there with one eye open wondering what was going on.
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I watched this again today, tissues nearby.

Why did I pick this song? Call me to find out.
19 Welcome Back

I Shall Be Ever Maiden

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Shlomo and Israel's fave Kosher cigar

Shlomo and Israel’s fave Kosher cigar


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Strawberry Letter 23

I Saw the Light- Todd Rundgren

A snowy and rainy day in Hoboken. And it’s been a lazy day. Last night I was active for a bit, I actually went out and walked the streets of Hoboken. It was a good night for it, much better than now. Last night I walked up to Maxwell’s. I wanted to see RoDa and give him a photograph and CD I had burned for him. I would have stayed at Maxwell’s but it was crazy crowded with a sold out show by Deer Tick. In total I was probably at Maxwell’s for about five minutes before hitting the streets once more.

I was home about an hour after leaving. Not much going on and since I didn’t want to deal with the crowds at Maxwell’s and there was no one that I knew besides RoDa I went home. RoDa was quite busy with the crowd. I did run into Tariq on the street, busking in 32 degree weather. Once again he tried to get me to play his guitar and once again I begged off. I did sing Can’t Find My Way Home by Blind Faith, a song that I taught Tariq earlier in the summer and for which he is most grateful.

Can’t say my singing caused any dollars to drop into Tariq’s guitar case, but I could say that money was not taken out of the case. Then again it was too cold for anyone to stand around and appreciate Tariq’s playing or my warbling. I made it home safe and sound and sweaty. That’s a problem with me lately. I sweat a lot. By the time I get to where I am going I am usually wearing a t-shirt drenched in sweat and for that I try to have an extra under shirt to change into if I get the chance, and a bag to carry the sweaty under shirt.

Not much happening at home, just watching the TV or at least having it on for background noise. I picked up a few movies, for Bill’s viewing mainly. I picked up The Music Never Stopped, which Bill and I discussed a few weeks ago about how music can get through to people who have had some sort of brain injury or brain attack. I had picked that up from the bibliothèque before and also picked up a DVD I requested, Prick Up Your Ears, a movie that I saw with Steve Saporito back in the days when I carried a torch for Steve Saporito.

It’s about Joe Orton and his boyfriend Kenneth Halliwell. I knew it was directed by Stephen Frears but didn’t know it was written by Alan Bennett who also wrote The History Boys and The Madness of George III (which had to be called The Madness of King George in the US since audiences might wonder if this was the third part and wondered if there was a Part I & II). I watched a bit of The History Boys on cable yesterday, remembering how much fun it is, how clever and ultimately bittersweet it ends.

Tonight Bill is driving once again to Atlantic City. He didn’t quite make it last night with his bus breaking down on the Garden State Parkway, the passengers transferred to another bus. Bill of course had to stay with his broken bus and wound up back in Wally World. Tonight, another broken down bus. This time it was before the parkway and on the cold, wet streets of Bergen County. I’ll be receiving updates throughout the night so I won’t worry too much. Still some worrying will be involved.

No posting tomorrow on Sunday and once again with New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day I might not post until Wednesday, but we’ll see about that.

So Happy New Year! 2013 should be an improvement I hope!

Tariq on the street busking, 32° weather, 8:30PM

Tariq on the street busking, 32° weather, 8:30PM


Rusty box o'tools

Rusty box o’tools


That moon

That moon


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♫ If I was a sculptor, but then again- NO! ♪

♫ If I was a sculptor, but then again- NO! ♪




Rolling Stones – Happy

I Saw Him Standing There

Been a bit under the weather the past 24 hours. Mostly congestion right behind my left eye leading me to believe that it’s an allergy. Like a mote of dust flew up my nose and is just bouncing around tickling and turning on the faucet. I slept fine, no problems then it seemed, but as today went on I would feel considerably congested. I don’t feel achy or fatigued – just ‘meh’. I did not do much of anything. Slept in, slept right through Bill kissing me goodbye and saying something to me and I grumbled something in return, perhaps a request to simply let me sleep.

There was interaction with people, a visit to the bibliothèque. They’re closed from 5PM today until Wednesday and I had a DVD on hold for me that I needed to get. I think I have a nice selection of DVD’s should things get dire with what’s on TV and all. I have Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, Get Low, A Colbert Christmas and The Shop Around the Corner.

I saw part of The Shop Around the Corner a week or so ago and found it charming. I’d never seen it before you see. I do know, You Got Mail is based on it, but I never saw that. Just some trivia attached. I have seen A Colbert Christmas before and it’s funny and great and features John Legend dressed as a park ranger and he’s not really my type but…

Last night after posting I received a text from Lois. She was at Maxwell’s and ran into my friend Karyn Kuhl and her girlfriend Christina. Lois wanted me to go out and initially I begged off, saying my head was stuffed like a cabbage. But once I sent that, I decided that maybe going out for a pint wouldn’t be such a bad thing, so I texted once again and said I would be on my way.

I got myself together and headed out, I saw RoDa as soon as I walked in and there was Lois by the bar. I talked to Ro da for a few minutes before stepping over to Lois. A welcoming pint of Guinness from RoDa and a holiday toast to Ro Da and Lois. Quick catching up and quite a few people I knew walking around. I ran into Brian who lives in Saddle Brook. It had been probably over 10 years since I last saw him. He’s still a sweet guy and will talk your ear off.

Lois wanted to hear some dish and I had a few choice morsels to tell her about various people that were fluttering about including a certain artist bloke who was celebrating his birthday with garlands draped around his shoulders. Also told a story about the local coffee maven who surprisingly despite my distaste for her, actually sounded alright when she sang.

There was also dish from Lois involving some people we used to know. Hearing the news I told Lois I was glad Mary Bailey wasn’t going to be a spinster librarian anytime soon. Yes its code, just for the sake that the subject might be reading this or hearing the podcast.

I saw Jon and Deena and though I was having a good time and had a few pints under my belt, I wasn’t feeling 100% and my spirits were flagging at that point. I stayed long enough to see Karyn Kuhl do a couple of songs, but after that I had to go home. My mind was telling me it was 1:00AM but it was actually 10:30 when Lois and I left, and after a quick chat with Ro Da outside on 11th Street, I walked Lois home.

And no, there isn’t a podcast. Perhaps there should be.
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The wonderful Karyn Kuhl

The wonderful Karyn Kuhl


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No Fine Lines

I Only Wear Blue

Well, all that anxiety and nervousness for nothing. I mean I was all worked up with playing guitar last night, nerves of Jello I would say and it was all over in under 20 minutes. I enjoyed it somewhat though on the clips posted last night that could be disputed. A glitch or two during a couple of songs but recovered nicely I would say. We would have liked to have stayed at Maxwell’s but Bill was getting hungry and he needed to get to the supermarket. I’m still waiting for news on how the rest of the evening went.

The word is that it was a wild success!

Once again Bill is off to Atlantic City tonight and I am actually going out myself. Into Manhattan no less. I may be going solo, I don’t know but my friend Jane is playing and it’s been too long since I’d seen her. It’s on the lower east side and I am already plotting which way I should go. Weather-wise it’s yet another cloudy day, looking like rain and also the looming threat of the Frankenstorm crawling up the eastern seaboard which killed 29 in the Caribbean in the past 48 hours. The hype is that it will be worse than Hurricane Irene.

And that was last year in 2011, most everything was shut down, public transportation was not running and the cigar shack staff was told not to come in (even though we were unable to) and we did not get paid for the day. If we were in Florida where the cigar shack chalet was located and shut down due to a hurricane we would have gotten paid, but in the glass walled canyons of Manhattan- no dice. No notices have been posted yet about what will be open, what will not be running or whether Halloween will be canceled again.

Hoboken is getting prepared though, shelters being set up in schools, flood area residents being told to park their cars in garages. It’s all supposed to go down Sunday evening I believe so there should be plenty of time for hoarding whatever items one might need when hunkering down for a storm. Of course this storm has nothing to do with climate change, it is more than likely the fault of a woman’s right to choose as well as the perils of same sex marriage. I think Bill and I will be alright and should ride out the storm with no problem, knock wood.

According to the news online, Bloomberg is being cautious with regards to the approaching storm, allowing unused 32 ounce cups to be used as buckets should the need arise. Exterior construction is being halted at 5:00 PM today and people are being advised to stay out of the parks come Sunday afternoon. High tide, a full moon and a big storm approaching does not bode well. Subway work has been canceled.

I watched True Grit by Joel and Ethan Coen. Oh it was quite good, so much better than the John Wayne version. Then again I haven’t seen the John Wayne version in decades but still this version was great, top notch acting and story. I highly recommend it. The girl, Hailee Steinfeld was incredible as were Jeff Bridges and Matt Damon. And Josh Brolin too. Apparently this version of True Grit is closer to the original novel than the John Wayne version. Not that I am about to find out, I have enough to read.

I have to admit my dismay with some Facebook friends, (some that I know in person and some that I grew up with) that are throwing their support behind Willard Romney. These friends say they support the relationship that Bill and I have and do support same sex marriage, yet on the other hand are behind Willard Romney who is against same sex marriage and pledges to fight against it with a constitutional amendment.

From playwright Doug Wright: I wish my moderate Republican friends would simply be honest. They all say they’re voting for Romney because of his economic policies (tenuous and ill-formed as they are), and that they disagree with him on gay rights. Fine. Then look me in the eye, speak with a level clear voice, and say,” My taxes and take-home pay mean more than your fundamental civil rights, the sanctity of your marriage, your right to visit an ailing spouse in the hospital, your dignity as a citizen of this country, your healthcare, your right to inherit, the mental welfare and emotional well-being of your youth, and your very personhood.” It’s like voting for George Wallace during the Civil Rights movements, and apologizing for his racism. You’re still complicit. You’re still perpetuating anti-gay legislation and cultural homophobia. You don’t get to walk away clean, because you say you “disagree” with your candidate on these issues.

I wholeheartedly agree.




Projected path of Hurricane Sandy as of 5:15PM 10.26.2012


01 Heart Of Glass

I Only Want to be With You

Alright already! It’s the day of the Hoboken Fair Rent Association benefit at Maxwell’s and I am taking part in it. I will be the first person on stage which is only right since no one knows who I am really, or at least didn’t know I could play guitar. I helped one of the organizers get it together and mentioned that if he needed someone to fill holes in the schedule I would be willing to jump in. I did not expect to receive any billing at all, and I most certainly did not expect to be called ‘Johnnie’. So it goes.

I’m anxious of course. Just a fear of failing and by failing I mean playing the wrong chords. Bill will be there recording it so I will have my very own Zapruder film happening. I’ve been practicing and I am taking a precaution of scotch taping some chords to my guitar for when I get that deer in the headlights thing going on. I will be playing rock and roll hits on the acoustic guitar and would have been fine with that if it weren’t for someone asking me why I wasn’t playing any activist songs. Threw me for a loop it did.

So in the back of my mind I can’t help but think of activist songs to play but of course I am drawing a blank and let’s face it, I’m not the best guitar player out there. As I’ve explained to Bill who is an actual musician, I am not a musician- merely someone who plays guitar. I suppose some songs I am considering playing can have an activist slant to them. At least that is what I told ol’ Melvin. Am I comfortable playing these songs? Can I actually play these songs? It seemed easier when busking and being ignored by passerby.

Like I wrote I will be playing rock and roll tunes and when you think rock and roll tunes you might think of some guy jumping about on stage like Pete Townsend or any other animated performer. Me? I have the self reputation of merely standing there and strumming, or as I like to compare it, a tree with an itch. I’ve been texting with Lois just now and she has some good ideas that I might try out. The main thing is that I just have to stay out of my own way and hopefully out of my own head.

I am anxious about something that wouldn’t take more than 10 minutes and will more than likely be over with before I realize it. Why do I forget the punk ideal of getting up on stage and doing something? I know I have supported hundreds of bands when they got on stage, and I know I will have some support. Perhaps I am making too much out of this. According to Lois, I just have to own my moment and enjoy it while I can. I just have to make sure the fingers go in the right position and not try to hit those high notes.

And then there is some sort of backstage drama and I’m not even backstage. For your information there is no backstage at Maxwell’s. It’s a basement and to get to the stage you walk through the crowd. Anyway, it turns out I am not going on first. Apparently there is an act on the bill that is not for rent control and there is a desire to get them on and off the stage as soon as possible. So now I may be going on second.

I went on first and it went well. I didn’t suck is what I was told, high praise indeed! Bill was there, his recordings are posted below. Friends were there in the flesh and Facebook friends typed their well wishes, including Pedro telling me I’ve got ill talent which makes me smile. The videos are uploading now on YouTube so they should be done by tomorrow I guess. Four songs, Instant Karma, Heroes, Picture in a Frame and Heart of Glass. I was nervous but got through it safe and sound, no rotten vegetables thrown, no cat calls, so it’s all good.



I Never Promised You A Rose Garden

It’s been an alright day today. I was out and about, ran into some friends, Mike Cecchini and then RoDa. I saw Mike as I was off to the really big supermarket and we each had tales to tell about the bibliothèque. Mike volunteers there too. Some notes were compared and some laughs were had. He’s a supportive chap and says he will be at Maxwells on October 25 (next week!) to see me play and support the Hoboken Fair rent Association. I’ve noticed some guerrilla tags popping up around town so someone is on the case, reminding people of what’s going on.

I walked by RoDa’s neighborhood and I heard him call my name. He was about 50 yards away and I was on a mission. I waved and pointed to where I was going, thinking I would swing by on my way back. It’s incredible that by walking about 15 minutes out of my way I could save quite a few dollars. And that is just what I did. Bought a few more items that would have been a few dollars more at the local supermarket, and despite its proximity it isn’t that convenient. And it’s double coupon week too!

After that I walked back past where I saw RoDa but he wasn’t around. He was probably waiting for his son to come home and when he did, they went home. I did see RoDa the other day so I am sure there were no hard feelings. When I came home I found I had a Facebook message from Chaz. He was off to see New Order somewhere in the city, but not only that, he wanted to tell me there was a cigar shop opening up in Hoboken on Washington Street. So once again it was outside for me.

I had walked earlier down the avenue but did not see it, but then again I wasn’t looking for it. I did have my resume and looked funky business casual when I walked into the shop which is being reconstructed. Unfortunately, none of the principals were there, just a guy who was doing some touch up painting and didn’t speak much English. He was concerned about me getting paint on what I was wearing but it seemed to be alright since I left without a smidgen of paint on my person. I walked back along the riverfront promenade.

No one I knew along the promenade. I suppose the other buskers were in for the season, it has been getting darker earlier and it is considerably cooler. Just as well, I didn’t feel like playing catch up with Tariq though it would have been good to see him. I came home and practiced the guitar, figuring out some songs to play next Thursday. I’m not going to say what songs since I haven’t fully decided on what I am going to play. I hope they will be inspiring or at least different than what anyone else would be playing.

I think I am fourth in the lineup and I have been told I will have four songs to play. This will be the first time I am playing solo. Rand declined my offer so I am on my own. I did think about asking Mike Cecchini but his band is playing around the same time and he will probably be busy practicing with them, though he did say that he will be showing up at Maxwells to see me play. So far I have three supporters, Mike, RoDa, and of course Bill- who will be recording my short set.





15 Use Ta Be My Girl

I Love You Love Me Love

What is it with naps? It’s hummus everywhere locally and of course the only room with air conditioning is the bedroom. I was feeling a bit knocked out and decided to go have a lay down for about an hour. Set the online alarm clock for an hour and got horizontal. 15 minutes later while dreaming I wake up and find myself unable to go back to sleep. I know who cares? But I needed something to write about and since that had just recently happened I took the ball and ran with it, or rather walked slowly with it.

I watched Contagion the other night. I heard about it and as I watched it, a friend of mine posted on Facebook how they had just finished watching it. It was alright, not the best but fine for a summer night. A good thriller. Very good cast, Lawrence Fishburne, Gwyneth Paltrow, Kate Winslet, Matt Damon and Jude Law among others. It does leave one with the suspicion of anything that could be touched being infected. I know a few people that would lose their minds if they watched this movie, being so germ phobic to begin with. Never enough Purell for them.

I made some food for dinner but since I skipped lunch, I had an early dinner. Or maybe it was a late lunch. Anyway, a major storm is approaching, like the big storm that knocked power out a few weeks ago in Washington DC. At least that is what the forecasters are saying. The Guitar Bar All Stars concert at Sinatra Park in Hoboken has been moved in anticipation of the storm to Mulligan’s Bar, conveniently located across the street from the Guitar Bar. I just don’t want to hang out in a bar, I was hoping to hang outside and enjoy a cigar for the show.

And dear Lois is finishing her Improv class tonight which I told her I would like to attend on Sunday night while hanging out with Jose at Maxwells. Then I remembered I had other things planned and regretfully had to back out. Now with the storm coming, perhaps it would be best if I just stay home. But I did contact Meghan Taylor the other day and told her I would see her at the concert, so that seems to be the way to go. Being in a storm a few blocks from home seems better than being in a storm a few miles from home.

And it is just a forecast after all and forecasters are wrong about 50 percent of the time. The storm actually has a name, or at least the storm system does. It’s called a Derecho. Am I turning into an old fart, watching the weather channel and anticipating the worst, so much so that I would rather just stay indoors? I did some grocery shopping so we do have provisions and precautions have been taken. It is getting a bit windy out but the sky still seems like a summer evening.

I don’t know.

In 1985 WNEW had a broadcast called The Hoboken Sound. Various friends in bands were on the show, back went Hoboken was being touted as to be the next Liverpool. That didn’t happen and with time, the broadcast faded into the past. Thanks to bit torrents and You Tube and Rand getting it online, all 47 minutes are available to watch. I shared it with dozens of friends from then and now and the feedback has been positive. Hearing from Steve Fallon is always a treat and of course I would take his side in any matter.

And yes I will kick that guy in the balls for Steve, in case Steve is reading this. I just have to find my boots.



St. Ann’s procession proceeding.


08 Poetry Man

I Love LA

Well it’s been a fun time the past 48 hours. Saturday night after posting I went out with Julio for some birthday drinks. I was watching Sullivan’s Travels on TCM when he called. Apparently he texted me while I was watching the movie and didn’t pay any attention. Then he called, feeling stood up. That was not my intention and I did want to go out for a drink with Julio. So after watching Sullivan’s Travels I got myself together and changed my undershirt for possibly the third or fourth time that day. Since Julio now lives uptown and not on the third floor of my building, a middle ground would have to be decided upon.

I headed out, the plan was to meet at 13th and Washington Street, closer to Julio’s place than to mine but I didn’t really mind. Neither one of us wanted to go to a pick up joint and I specifically said no to going to a bar with television sets everywhere. Julio agreed.

I walked up Washington Street, it was a beautiful evening, warm with a breeze and though a lot of Hoboken residents left town for the weekend (which felt like a holiday weekend), they were replaced by people going to restaurants as well as the twenty-somethings filling the bars.

I got to 13th and Washington and there was no Julio to be seen. At 14th and Washington there was someone who might have been Julio so I meandered up that way. Across the street by a firehouse, two fire engines were on the street returning from a call with their diesel engines making some noise. As I walked up to 14th, my phone rang. It was Bill calling from the road. He returned the young Turks to Hofstra University and was checked into an air conditioned motel room.

Bill was telling me about his adventures and I listened as he reminded me of a favor I was doing tomorrow. Bill wasn’t sure if he was driving the young Turks to Washington DC since there was a major power outage in that area. He might be driving them to Philadelphia instead.

I walked and talked to 14th Street and found the guy was not Julio. Standing on the corner, with traffic going by and being directed by a fireman near the two fire engines I asked Bill when he would know about going to Washington DC.

He didn’t hear me and I figured it was because of all the noise on my end (fire engines, cars going by) so I asked again, a little louder. Bill replied, ‘WHY ARE YOU YELLING AT ME? I AM WEARING A HEAD SET!’. I knew he had a head set but hell if I know when he is wearing it and when he is not. I do not take being yelled at that well and my good feeling did a 180 degree move. Bill was annoyed, I was pissed and up comes Julio. I reminded Bill about the favor I am doing for him on Sunday afternoon which calmed his ass down and he told me he would let me know.

I hung up the phone and wandered around 14th Street with Julio, me telling him about Bill and his headset and Julio telling me about how he gets routinely chewed out by his wife. Spouses- Who knew? We looked in a few bars around 14th street and I mentioned that Maxwells would be the spot since it doesn’t have television sets and it isn’t a pick up bar. He knew I was there the night before and that I would be going again on Sunday night with my brother Brian to see the Feelies. But I think Julio would be happy never to set foot in Maxwells again for some reason.

We opted for a wine bar, Bin 14. We found two seats at the bar and since Julio knows a bit more about wine, ordered a bottle of a Riesling. We sat, we sipped, and we talked. Some catching up, me telling him what happened with me and the cigar shack. We also discovered that wine doesn’t make you pee as much as beer does. Julio pointed out the option that we could have ordered beers but since we were in a wine bar- when in Rome…

It was a good wine, dry enough that the bartender made sure we had glasses of water with our wine. We polished off that bottle and I would have been fine with leaving right then and there but Julio ordered another bottle, a chilled Rioja. A much nicer wine and a bit less expensive.

More talking, a few laughs, and soon the bar was closing up. It was 1:00. Wine bars seem to close earlier than regular bars, at least in Hoboken. It was a more sedate and mature crowd, mature meaning the opposite of immature, not necessarily older.

We headed out, feeling nice, not overtly buzzed, not weaving on the sidewalk. I enjoyed a cigar as I walked Julio over to Willow Avenue. He’s going to meet up with Stine and Alexander on the 11th so we made tentative plans to have a drink before he flies to Denmark. In the back of my mind, Bill yelling at me on the phone lurked.

I came home, watched some TV and went to bed. Woke up on Sunday morning, went to the nearby supermarket. Julio texted me saying he felt OK but crappy, not great but functioning. His only plan was to watch the Euro Cup with his sister and her family.

At 10:30 AM I was back in my apartment making breakfast. Two bottles of wine and I felt OK. I had a hearty meal before heading out on Saturday night and I guess that Julio didn’t which is why he was feeling crappy. As the day progressed and as the temperature rose I too started feeling crappy.

I guess it was inevitable. I rarely drink these days and I guess Julio doesn’t either. But he has central air conditioning and I had my fans moving warm air around. I spoke briefly with Bill and he told me someone would be in his office to receive his clothes since he was going to Washington DC after all.

I really didn’t care. I was doing it because I said I was going to do it and I had his clothes all good to go. I just had to wait until 4:00PM since Bill mentioned that was what time the guy would be at the office. I napped and killed time. Oddly enough I was bummed out quite a bit since my bus pass expired on June 30 and now it was July 1. My reminder of daily commuting and having a job was now finished.

I checked the schedule to see when the bus would depart and timed it. It was still incredibly hot outside and where when I used to commute in the morning the sun would be in the east behind some buildings, now it was nearly 4:00 in the afternoon and there was no real cover to be had. Luckily I found a sliver of shade and a bus came mere moments after that.

As I rode the bus, Bill called seemingly happy to be wherever he was. I was feeling like crap. Hot, a bit hung over and reminded Bill that I do not like to talk on the phone while riding the bus. He understood and I told him I would call him after I dropped off his clothes.

After dropping off his clothes I was back on the street and called Bill. Voice mail. I walked to the Path train, and luckily there was a train about to depart. I sat in the air conditioned car which wasn’t that crowded and before I knew it I was back in Hoboken.

Back on the street, I called Bill. Voice mail again but I did not leave a message. I walked along the river promenade, which was a bit crowded with people trying to beat the heat. Feeling anti-social I kept to myself avoiding at least one person I saw up ahead. Soon I was safely home and took a nap.

My time in Manhattan was about 20 minutes from the bus terminal to Bill’s office to the Path train. The nap helped somewhat and after I woke up I texted my brother to move the time from 7:30 to meeting up at 8:00 at Maxwells. I felt better at 10:30 in the morning than I did at 5:30 in the afternoon.

Dinner was had and I also took a shower which helped me out quite a bit. I headed over to Maxwells with a stop at my friend Lois’ apartment. She and her husband Fred are heading out of town and I am feeding their cat so I needed to pick up the keys. Brian was at Maxwells before I was so I made there in time.

We walked in just as the Feelies were about to hit the stage. They were very good. I guess it had been a number of years since I had seen them last, perhaps when they opened up for Sonic Youth on the Fourth of July in Battery Park.

Great show, Brian enjoyed it a lot as did I. There were two sets and we were on the sidewalk in between sets talking to friends and also meeting friends that I only knew through Facebook and that was because they thought I was my brother Frank. The second Feelies set was even more high energy and ran longer than I thought, not that I was complaining since I had nowhere to go but Brian did have to work the next morning.

It was all over, I was able to give Stan an ashtray from the cigar shack as well as corresponding Avo cigar, as a way of saying thanks for putting me on the guest list with a plus one.

Brian gave me a ride home and we sat outside my building and talked for a while before he headed home. Once inside I let his wife know he was on his way. I slept alright after that, though I did have a few Stella Artois and needed to rehydrate a few times through the night, one time getting up to take off my wristwatch since it seemed so damn heavy as I slept. And that was basically that. It’s another hot day, and I have not gone outside at all. Stayed in, did some reading, watched some TV and napped often. It’s cheap and cool and it is still damn hot outside.

I’m sure a good part of my feeling ‘meh’ today is from the Stellas I had and also going out three nights in a row, two of those nights fueled with wine and beer. Not complaining, just paying the piper I suppose. Bill just came home and went to sleep saying he’ll be sleeping for a little while though I think he will be asleep for the rest of the night. I have no plans and I don’t want any plans.

Since the Fourth of July is Wednesday, right smack dab in the middle of the weeks, job postings online are thinner than usual. I guess things will fill out next week but it seems this week its slim pickings.



The Feelies


06 Let’s Go