Tag Archives: The Street Corner Mourners

I’m Gonna Be A Teenage Idol

And it was back to work for me today. Thanks to Annemarie, I remember to live in the present. I’m trying to stop looking back at the past, thinking that ‘things were so much better then’. They may have been but they don’t exist anymore and there’s no going back.

At the beach yesterday, I found myself thinking about the future, specifically today. Today meaning work. Thanks to Annemarie I snapped out of it. She’s good like that. And it was thinking like that, that had me prepared to face today. And it wasn’t so bad after all.

Lately my mantra has been, ‘At least you have a job’. True, the pay could be better, the hours could be better, but this is the situation I am in and I have to make the most of it.

My computer has been acting up. Right now it says there is no internet connection, but I know there is one. It’s been difficult to upload pictures and videos, mainly of the party on Sunday.

I have Jon & Deena of the Cucumbers singing My Boyfriend, I have Tim & Lily of the Street Corner Mourners singing an old Irish Folk song “I’m a Man You Don’t Meet Every Day” and “Thirteen” by Big Star.

I don’t know if I have Bob Pierson singing Roy Orbison’s Sweet Dreams Baby and I don’t think I have my performance of the Fabs’ All My Loving or Bill singing Picture in a Frame by Tom Waits, accompanied by Lois DiLivio.

Maybe I do. It’s just that the computer is so slow. It’s been slow since the heat wave last week.

I did see Rand this morning at the bus stop. He was actually there to see me, but as I met him, my bus pulled up and I got on it and Rand walked. I’m sure if he ran alongside we could have had a quick little chat, but it didn’t matter since I couldn’t open the windows enough.

The day went by as it generally does. At first it was waiting for Marcus to leave, then waiting for Calvin to go home. There was a difference of 7 hours between the former leaving and the latter going home.

I had a cigar at lunch, a $25.00 cigar and since it was raining, I actually ate in the backroom with some customers, and had a nice chat with Mona about the far right and their wish to turn this country into a theocracy.

We talked about our spouses as well, she being hitched to a woman from Holland and me with what’s his name, Bill.

I made a deal with Don Birch and I counted the safe while he closed the register. That made me out of the store at 9:05. According to iTunes I made it from the shop to the bus terminal in 13.5 minutes.

But that is an error since I didn’t start playing the Talking Heads ‘Naked’ album until I got a block away and the third song, Totally Nude ended when I set foot on the corner of 42nd Street and Eight Avenue.

So it wasn’t really leaving the shop and entering the terminal, but it was close though. And 13.5 minutes to walk down 15 blocks isn’t so bad either.

Good ol' what's his name....Bill.

I’m In Love

Hey! I didn’t write yesterday. I was sort of cross eyed and painless but I wouldn’t say shitfaced. It was the end of a perfect day. The day started nicely enough, I was able to get up and get out and get some bagels.

Came home with the newspaper and the bagels and had some eggs. It made for a nice breakfast. Little did I know that it would be basically the only thing I would have eaten beside cake later on.

Seven pizzas came and went, Spanakopita (Chaz!), various salads, and cakes were all devoured. I’m not complaining. That’s why the food was there. I reckon there were about 50 people there. A few people wandered into Maxwells thinking the restaurant was open for brunch.

I generally caught them and showed them out and directed them to the Madison at 14th & Washington Street. Most of them were cool but one asshole walked away saying ‘go fuck yourself’. Me being me- couldn’t resist saying, ‘no, you go fuck yourself!’

What the hell… I had backup. Luckily the backup wasn’t needed and she wheeled himself away in her wheelchair. It was a great collection of family and friends. The cousins from South Jersey showed up, mostly.

Old friends of mine, former co-workers arrived too. These former co-workers are now good friends. Billie made it up from DC on the Mega Bus for the afternoon, then back to DC at 6:00PM.

Jim Mastro re-officiated the vows that were said originally on April Fool’s Day. . It was great to have so many friends and family witness. Unfortunately the original witnesses Chris Repella & Tom Winnick couldn’t make it due to unforeseen circumstances.

Lot’s of photos taken and even video. I have seen some of the photos but none of the videos. I’ve been trying for the past 24 hours to upload my pics, but my computer seems to be behaving quite oddly. I will have to get in touch with Rand on the computer front.

Deena Shoshkes & Jon Fried sang My Boyfriend for me.. I snag along standing next to Bill. Then Lily & Tim from the Street Corner Mourners sang 2 songs, one of them seemed written or rewritten so it could be about me.

Awfully sweet.

I was compelled to take the straw hat off of Bill’s head and pass it around so people could donate some cash to the Street Corner Mourners. I did clear it with Jon & Deena beforehand. They were fine with it. It looked like a nice collection.

Bill sang Picture in a Frame by Tom Waits accompanied by Lois. I was going to sing that, having practiced it for two days beforehand. Instead I sang All My Loving by the Beatles which to my surprise most everyone joined in and sang along with me.

They jumped into a chorus too soon but I got them back on track.

It was actually the first time I played and sang in front of most of my friends and all of my family. After that, it was all a blur for me mainly. So much going on, so many friendly faces.

Juan arrived late but still welcomed and he jumped into the festivities with gusto. Bill’s cousin Elisa and her husband King also arrived looking fantastic. Elisa looked great in her new ‘do and King looked regal in a pink suit.

It ended basically when the World Cup ended.

Some of us made it over to Rand & Lisa’s apartment for an after party. Jane, Martha Griffin and Loren & Andrew joined Rand & Lisa, Bill and me and Lois. More drinks were consumed and some spicy hot cheese was served.

Today was a quieter day, spent down in Sandy Hook with Annemarie, followed by Ice Cream at Crazies in Rumson.

Two wonderful days. One spent with a lot of friends and family, the other spent with my dear sister Annemarie.

Still having difficulty uploading pics, even off of Facebook. Sorry!

I was able to get this one uploaded!

Hotel Yorba

Totally disjointed. Cohesion makes no sense. I can’t go on. I’ll go on. It’s been yet another out of the ordinary day. And yet every day is out of the ordinary since there are truly no ‘ordinary’ days. Each one is different from the one that precedes it.

Oh the depths I am plunging. Must be the white wine I have just shared with Julio and Stine. It’s been a good day.

Last night I played some songs by the Marine Girls and decided that was a band that Lily Mastro should be aware of. So I burned her a CD and made sure to meet up with her today. She was playing with the Street Corner Mourners around Pier A this afternoon.

Bill came home this morning after driving a bus to and from Atlantic City. He’s doing the same thing tonight. I went off to the bibliothèque this morning and ran into Julio and Alexander in the park across the street.

When Alexander saw me, he came running towards me with arms wide open for a hug. So sweet. He’s never done that before. And not only can he identify me, when you say ‘Where’s John?’ He points to me and says ‘there’. Now when he wants my attention he yells ‘Don’. Still needs to work on his ‘J’s’ you see.

After spending time with the father & son, I headed towards the river while Julio & Alexander went home for a nap. The Street Corner Mourners where playing near Pier A and I decided to record a few of their songs.

When I got there, Lily came running up to me. Apparently some of Tariq’s dodgy acquaintances found their way around them and it was a bit unnerving for these 16 year olds. I played the role of responsible and sober adult.

I humored Lily while Tim and Cyrus played guitars with Tariq. Tariq was only around for a little while before he headed into the city. After he was off the Mourners and I headed down a few benches, best for collecting change from passerby.

Having drunkards around doesn’t really entice young urban mommies and daddies to throw change into an open guitar case.

I recorded about 7 songs, as well as getting duct tape so Lily could do a quick repair on her accordion strap and some batteries for her flip cam.

After a while I headed home to pick up Bill’s dry cleaning while he slept the day away before heading to Atlantic City again.

Had a call from Julio who asked if I wanted to go to Ikea with him. I met up with him and went to Ikea on a weekend afternoon. Last time I was there was sometime last year with Juan on a weekday. Definitely not as crowded. Today, jam packed.

It did tire me out somewhat, Julio bought a bookshelf for Alexander’s toys and books and I dealt with the crowds. Then there was traffic coming back to Hoboken.

Stine invited me over for dinner and being the fine cook that she is I certainly couldn’t resist and nor did I want to cook dinner for myself.

It was a wonderful faux Mexican dinner, Alexander doing his best to get my attention by running back and forth showing me every book that he has. Like I said, it was a fun day but now I am tired.

And surprised I was able to write this. But here it is.

More videos at http://www.youtube.com/user/johnotoole99?feature=mhw5

Darlin’

Well it certainly has been an interesting 24 hours. I’ve been busy. I made it up to the Park Theater, riding with the proletariat in the mass transportation system here, this time using a bus. Got to Union City with enough time to treat myself to a Hamburger Deluxe and a chocolate milk shake at the Four Star Diner.

Had enough time for a cigar before the show. Hanging around outside the Park Theater on 32nd street. Meghan and Ruby were in traffic en route. I few sidelong glances from some father’s walking by wondering who this bloke was, smoking a cigar outside the theater.

I was glad I didn’t wear my raincoat. Humming Aqualung might have been a mistake though. Meghan and Ruby and 2 of Ruby’s friends showed up soon enough and we all headed into the theater. Meghan knew the sidelong glancing fathers and introduced me to them, causing them some relief.

They in turn whistled Locomotive Breath.

We found some good seats and soon Jim Mastro as well as Frank Giannini and his son sitting behind us. The Street Corner Mourners were as excellent as I had hoped, Tim having a mandolin strap malfunction seemed like it was all part of the show.

Six songs were their set, all covers, all nicely played. Lily has an incredible voice. If she keeps it up, in ten years she will sound amazing. The Street Corner Mourners are so inspiring. After their set Meghan, Ruby and the friends saw Frank Giannini and his son off and went across the street to the Four Start Diner.

I had a coffee and a slice of cake while everyone else had entrees. It was a fun group, we were served by Mo, short for Maureen who looked a it like Shirley Stoller. They all went back to the theater, I decided to walk back home to Hoboken.

I enjoyed a La Flor Dominicana Double Ligero 700 and listened to The Beatles, Revolver on the iPod. I walked down Palisade Avenue past Jane Street where I used to live. It was an enjoyable walk. I timed the cigar walk perfectly and finished it by the time I had gotten to my building in Hoboken.

I came upstairs and set about uploading the videos I had shot. It wasn’t exactly happening on my PC so I did the work on Bill’s Mac. I checked my Facebook messages and there was a message from Ruby.

Little did I know that after the show, Tim, the ace guitarist/Banjo & mandolin player was hit by a car outside the theater. Some driver had run a red light. Tim had done a flip over the car. The driver stopped, the police came and shut down that section of 32nd Street and it was decided that Tim go to the hospital in an ambulance.

They ran an MRI and had him overnight in the hospital to be on the safe side. Some short term memory loss but other than that he’s fine. Apparently 16 year old boys can bounce back like that. I hope he can still play his instruments.

All that walking from Union City to Hoboken had me tired but I think that last cup of coffee with Meghan and the girls kept me up while I tried to sleep. It wasn’t easy but I eventually did fall asleep.

Bill was soon in bed after coming home from Pecong, the play he’s been working on. He has a mouth apparatus which he wears with the sleep apnea mask. Still he snores and I wake him to let him know he’s snoring.

He says ‘Well you snore too you know. How do you know it isn’t you?’ I groggily try to explain that the sound was coming from his side of the bed.

I was up and out around 9:30, bagels and the paper. I got bagels for Stine & Alexander. Julio answered the door with Alexander on his shoulder as Julio was singing a lullaby to the baby. It was yet another beautiful day, the temperature was up to 73 degrees.

I walked around Hoboken a few times this afternoon, even taking my guitar out and playing along the river walk. I had seen Tariq earlier, playing a drum alongside an older hippie guy playing Melissa by the Allman Brothers.

I definitely could not get into it so later when I brought my guitar out I was about a quarter mile up the river walk. They were making some money but I didn’t feel up for that, not as confident as I was last summer and this being the first time out for me this year, I just played with the guitar case closed and didn’t do much singing.

I played for about 90 minutes until my right arm locked up a bit. I tried shaking it out but decided I had played long enough. I played Please Please Me, She’s A Woman, Love Shack, Surrender, Wild Horses, Maybe I’m Amazed and Kansas City among a few other songs.

Then I came home and finished an animation I had also been working on this afternoon.

I wrote over 800 words, shot and uploaded 6 video clips, created an animation and played guitar in public for 90 minutes. It’s been a creative day, and a good day at that.



Mr. Blue Sky

Wow. Another beautiful day. Quite nice. In the 70’s. Bell bottomed pants, polyester shirts. Chuck Taylor Converse. Norman Lear sitcoms. Yes that is how it is outside.

I don’t mind, I’ve been there before and now I have a little bit more knowledge about things so it seems to be working out to my advantage.

I decided to watch The Invention of Lying today. Someone had it on their want list so I decided to take the time and watch it. It was cute. Nothing to run to go see. If you can get it from a Socialist institution for free then I would definitely suggest doing that.

Just return it in time so your comrades could watch it as well.

I slept really well last night, so much so that I’ve been groggy most of the day. In a good mood though. Not much walking around Hoboken today but I have been out a few times and got some thing accomplished.

One of those accomplishments involved the Socialist institution. One of the politburo chiefs inside recommended a movie to watch, My Life in Ruins. Since getting on the politburo chief’s good side is a goal in life I took her suggestion out.

It was a Nia Vardalos movie, My Life in Ruins. She made My Big Fat Greek Wedding which was somewhat funny if I recall, and it also got good reviews. I heard Rachel Maddow liked it. That was printed in the TV Social Guide, published by Pravda.

My Life in Ruins got lousy reviews and lasted about a week at the cinemas. What do the bourgeois know about such things? I hoped to get another video saying to myself that if I can find something else I would merely return Nia Vardalos to the shelf, but no that wasn’t to be.

Still I could be pleasantly surprised. The reviewers aren’t always right.

Another item I received from that Socialist institution was Robert Crumb’s The Book of Genesis. Yes it’s exactly that. Robert Crumb decided to illustrate the book of Genesis. Surprisingly no mention of The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway.

Still it has many graphic images of the entire book, showing things like Lot offering his daughters to be raped by a mob, as well as those same daughters getting their father drunk so they could be impregnated by his seed.

Nice.

They never bring that up these days. It’s always Sodom this and Gomorrah that. It’s a dense read nonetheless. Fortunately I am entertained by mythology. I do wonder if most of the people that read such a dense book as well as the other books that follow aren’t a bit dense themselves. They surely seem to behave that way.

I’m writing this earlier than usual. I’m off to Union City tonight to see the Street Corner Mourners at the Park Theater. It was rescheduled from a snowed out date in February. I’m going to take a bus up there and walk back to Hoboken like I used to way back when I lived in Weehawken.

It’s a beautiful night for it or at least promises to be. I plan on recording the Street Corner Mourner Set and also have Bill’s card from his camera as back up. So that’s my plan. An early posting.

Hope you have a good night.

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Ion Storm

Here I am writing to you, writing for you on a Friday evening. Nice and toasty evening. Well nice at least. Not so toasty, but I’m comfortable and glad to have a roof over my head and a full belly. Yes I just had some dinner and yes it was penne, pesto and chicken.

I made enough to stretch over a couple of days and I’m midway through. Really easy to make and only one pan is needed. I use the pan that Bill gave me for a gift a few years ago, and I ungratefully wondered why the hell did he get me a pan?

An expensive pan at that.

I didn’t cook that well, or enough to warrant a pan, but a year later I found it was the perfect pan to use on occasion. I can be such an ass sometimes and that was one of those times.

Bill didn’t make it home until 1:30 last night. I being the dutiful spouse, stayed up with curlers in my hair, a housecoat on and a butt hanging from my mouth. Rolling pin within arm’s reach. He reaped some good karma last night.

Coming back from Harlem he caught an express train to 34th street, and at the Path train he was the last one on board before the train left the station. Then when he got to Hoboken a bus was waiting, driven by a guy that Bill had trained with a few years ago.

That’s how I think karma works. It’s not the big payoff, it’s little things like a train waiting at the station, a line at the supermarket opening up and you’re first, things like that.

I went to bed, Bill stayed up watching TV. You’ll have to read his blog to find out what he watched. I slept soundly, woke up to see a lot of snow had fallen. Bill was up a few minutes before I was. He had a snow day from work.

I moved around him on the couch and stepped into the shower after setting up the coffee maker and fixing myself a bowl of cereal. After watching Gilmore Girls, I headed out a little while after that, trudging up to Washington Street and getting the paper and some bagels.

Came back home and deposited all that in the hallway and got the shovel and proceeded to make a path on the sidewalk as well as the front steps. Wet, heavy snow but it wasn’t too difficult to shovel it from one spot to another.

Not so much lifting, just pushing or plowing. Or is it ploughing?

Made it out again a few hours later, needed to run to the supermarket. Bill was off to another rehearsal for the play. I stopped by Julio & Stine’s for a few minutes.

It seems like I’m turning into my parents a bit. I cut out some coupons for Stine on items for Alexander. Didn’t get a chance to see the baby as he was sleeping but I did wake up the big baby who was trying to take a nap.

The supermarket wasn’t too crowded and the shelves still had items on them so it wasn’t like there was a panic run on the store before the snowstorm. It’s been snowing on and off and on all day and they say it will probably stop around 6:00 tomorrow morning with flurries the rest of the weekend.

I was supposed to see the Street Corner Mourners tonight at the Park Theater in Union City, but it’s been rescheduled until March 19. More time for the band to rehearse I said to Lily last night who was more than likely upset that everything was postponed.

Isn’t that what an ersatz father is supposed to do?

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While I shoveled...

While I shoveled...


...Bill napped.

...Bill napped.


Judging

Judging


Not judging

Not judging


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Please Come to Boston

Just had dinner. What else? Penne, pesto and chicken. What? It was on sale and it lasts for a few days. Don’t lecture me. Don’t look at me that way. That’s how it is.

I’m not complaining and neither should you. Plus I was on the phone a little while ago listening to Juan complain. He’s alright, I’m sure he’d be glad you asked. He was complaining though as only Juan could complain.

He was supposed to go to Boston this weekend with his boyfriend but with the major storm going on it was canceled. Juan was finally able to get the weekend off, but the storm wasn’t the only factor.

His boyfriend had 3 feet of standing water in his basement so that’s the official reason why they aren’t going. The snow is just gravy. White gravy at that.

Juan also asked me to come down to visit him but I couldn’t. Tomorrow my ersatz daughter is playing the Park Theater in Union City.

Lily Mastro is part of the Street Corner Mourners. Jim and Meghan will be there and I’m sure Ruby will be too. So I am looking forward to seeing those Mastro’s and also looking forward to seeing the Street Corner Mourners.

I would also be happy to see Juan but not this weekend. Sorry Juan.

Bill came back safe and sound last night. Three hours earlier than expected. He rented a zip car since it was he only way he could get to Wallington at 2:30 in the morning. So he was able to come home and not have to go crazy when trying to catch the train.

He had some gear that he left in the hallway on the first floor and asked if I could pick it up for him when he went to drop off the Zip Car. Last I heard he was on Washington Street and I thought he was in the car but he dropped it off already.

I called him and he was actually coming up on the third floor with his gear. I ran down and helped him the rest of the way. He also ordered a pizza from Grimaldi’s and that was very good.

He went to sleep halfway through watching Hellboy 2. I stayed up watching it. It was good, but not as good as the first one. Still I enjoyed it somewhat.

Woke up this morning and it was snowing. Big flakes, coming down in clumps. I made my way outside, ran some errands. Stopped by the Guitar Bar where I picked up my ticket for tomorrow night.

A trip to the supermarket where one of Juan’s former paramours was in a joking mood. Right now the snow fall seems to have subsided somewhat. It’s supposed to continue until tomorrow sometime.

I’m watching Katie Couric report the news. I like her. Nice change of pace from NBC news. I haven’t really been watching the Winter Olympics so I really haven’t been watching NBC.

That’s all I can think of for today. All is calm, all is bright.

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Advantage in Height

In 1987 I went on a trip to Kitty Hawk, North Carolina with some people from McSwells. Steve Raposito, Susan Sear, Martha Groffin, Julie Meanderhall and Bonnie Hauxhurst.

It was my first and only time that I visited North Carolina. The plan came to being one night at McSwells with the principals involved and it seemed like a fun thing to do. We went in two cars. Martha, Steve, Susan and myself in one car, Julie and Bonnie in the other. Bonnie and Julie were a couple at that time.

It was a long, arduous trip down there. We talked about Blue Velvet which was filmed in North Carolina and was released a year earlier so that added a creepy thrill to this vacation.

I think we went down in May before the summer season. We rented a house across the street from the beach and at the time, the outer banks were still somewhat underdeveloped.

One night after having been there for a few days, Martha, Susan, Steve and I decided to do some LSD. Acid was around quite a bit in the 1980’s. Julie and Bonnie didn’t partake. After an hour the four of us were buzzing nicely and decided to venture out to the beach.

It was quite dark out and somehow I was separated from the other three. Martha also became separated. I recall walking on the beach, singing Walking After Midnight and making a pact with the crabs, telling them I wouldn’t step on them if they stayed out of my way. I

t was a good pact and no crabs were stepped on.

It was only a matter of time when the four of us would meet up again in the darkness. I heard Susan and Steve before I saw them and then the three of us were loud enough for Martha to hear us and reconvene.

Steve and Susan were going on about a penis they found which I believe was a toothbrush holder. Martha actually found a penis sculpture in the sand that was about 10 feet long.

It was quite an impressive sculpture. Perhaps the crabs had something to do with it. The sun came up and we wandered back to the house in the light of dawn.

Not many people were stirring and we needed provisions. I went with someone, could have been Steve, could have been Martha to the generals store where a few townsfolk were there starting up their day.

There was a radio playing Roy Orbison, specifically In Dreams which was also featured in Blue Velvet. Behind the counter was an older woman, older to my 24 year old eyes in a bouffant and skirt dancing around, twirling and singing to Roy Orbison.

I turned to Martha or Steve and asked if they were seeing what I was seeing. They were. We bought whatever it is we were buying, probably cigarettes and got out of there as soon as we could, laughing all the way back to the house.

It probably took a day to recover from the trip. But the vacation wasn’t going to last for me anyhow. On a sightseeing trip, while on a ferry I was suffering from sunstroke and while trying to get to some shade and very angry dog snapped at me causing me more distress.

It got a big laugh from the others, that if I wasn’t doing so well before, the dog snapping at me truly was a side splitter.

It didn’t matter much for me anyhow. A day or so later I was getting on a bus to go to Philadelphia to see Wire playing their first US show in a number of years.

Don’t know why that story came up. I was actually going to write about it the other day. Guess I had nothing else to write about.