Tag Archives: Tom Waits

Never Let Go

Well today has been a little bit different. My faithful companion has been awfully silent. Just sits there without anything to say, nothing to add as the day progresses. Big and boxy and a bit cold. Feeling under utilized.

Since about 9:30 this morning we haven’t really interacted. Nothing went wrong. I just decided on listening to music and not him. Things keep piling up. Made room a few months ago and it’s back to the same thing. Crap just piling up.

I’m usually better about it but lately distractions have been grabbing my attention. Perhaps tomorrow, that will be the day to do something about it. Today certainly wasn’t.

Like I said, the faithful companion has been intentionally neglected. I opted for music instead on TV. Pulled out Tom Waits, Orphans: Brawlers, Bawlers & Bastards. A nice collection. Hadn’t heard it in a while. Decided to burn the 3 disc set for my brother in law for his birthday next weekend.

That means I should put it in the mail on Monday. It’s really an eclectic collection, the Brawlers disc is Tom doing blues and rock & roll things, the Bawlers are just that- songs that get the eyes moist. And Bastards are songs of Tom being Tom.

He does a Bukowski number, a Kerouac number and the last song is a story that I remember my brother Brian telling me ages ago. As soon as I heard it start I knew what the story was. Love that Tom.

One song from Bawlers is called Never Let Go which I recently heard on a commercial for the Red Cross or Doctors Without Borders or an organization that does good things like that. Nice of Tom to license the tune for a good cause like that.

I played it for Bill and he said we have to see Tom when he’s around next time. I neglected to tell him that tickets to see Tom lately aren’t cheap. I saw him in the 1980’s when he was doing a week long stint at a Broadway theater and that was affordable.

Last time I think the cheapest ticket was $75.00 at the Beacon theater. The thing about the Beacon theater is unless you’re seated in the orchestra, or on the first floor forget it. So those tickets were a bit out of my reach last time, but if Bill wants to go, then fine.

Tom Waits has been special for Bill and myself. When we first started going out, or rather staying in long ago, I specifically played for Bill, Picture in A Frame which for me summed up how I felt about him. Bill even learned how to play it on the piano and has played it at parties and for friends who were getting married.

Of course Bill’s style is more polished than Tom’s but the message is the same. I think Tom would enjoy the soul and passion that Bill puts into it. I found some of Tom Waits chords online and played some of Tom’s songs on guitar this afternoon which was fun.

Also on the playlist was Jimmy Page & Robert Plant: No Quarter-Unledded. Some Led Zeppelin songs done with an Egyptian string section. Quite nice and tasty. The version of Kashmir is outstanding.

Came back to the states, playing Lucinda Williams Little Honey, that an online friend turned me onto a few months ago. So it’s been a day like that.

Last night I downloaded a Madonna song. Ray of Light. My former roommate William was enamored of that record and the title song Ray of Light really stands out. I remember coming home one night after work and walking through the door as the song was playing and joined in on the chorus, ‘And I feel, like I just got home’. It was a laugh.

I downloaded it during the telethon, Hope for Haiti. I gave earlier in the week via text message and that’s all I could afford this time. It’s better than nothing. The telethon was nice, understated. I was most surprised by Mary J Blige. She’s come a long way from Mount Vernon. I was also surprised by Justin Timberlake singing Leonard Cohen’s Halleujah.

I played Ray of Light while walking around Hoboken where it was bright & sunny and about 44 degrees. I needed to get birthday cards for Rex and Billie. Also went to see if the latest Uncut magazine was in at Barnes & Noble.

I’d rather not buy it there since they charge tax on magazines, but the local record store, Tunes doesn’t sell magazines like that anymore. They only sell Weird NJ. And still no Uncut magazine to be found.

I did see good old Martin Kelly at CVS and that was worth a chuckle or two.

Now I’m home. Cooked some chicken with pesto and pasta which was yummy. Cruising the olive oil aisle was fruitless, but I bought extra virgin olive oil.

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(Not Just) Knee Deep

Night Owl Edition, you can pick it up at the Saddle Brook Diner for 5 cents. This is the updated version of that, only it’s free. You just need a computer and access to the Internets.

I just got back from Bergen County. Spent a good part of the afternoon with my brother Brian, who I think is a really good guy and a really good friend. I didn’t always think that way, especially after having to share a bedroom with him for the first quarter or so of my life.

It was a very hot day today, close to 90 degrees before noon. And of course, 100% hummus. Brian was picking me up around 2:00 so I had some errands to run.

To the library to return the Tom Waits biography which I wasn’t finished with. That was OK since I ordered another copy from another library. You can only renew items twice and I hit my limit and decided to go to the well again.

Then a walk to the supermarket, by which time I was totally drenched. I probably sweated off a few pounds too. I advised the cashier to stay after her shift since it was so hot out. She laughed.

Back home, carrying juices up four flights of steps. I was able to rest for awhile before Brian phoned to tell me he was outside in his air conditioned van waiting.

I was happy that before I did anything today, I installed the air conditioner in the window this morning and was humming along quite nicely.

A cool ride up to Hillsdale with Brian where we caught up on various events in our lives with Karen, Brian’s wife. The three of us chatting in a nice air conditioned living room. Their daughters Hillary and Cassie soon joined us, more catching up then dinner.

After that Brian and I got in the car and drove down to Paramus. My brother Frank and his wife Elaine were there as were all the children of Jim & Irene Grant.

Growing up, my family and the Grant family were very close. They had six kids to our four, but the ages between both groups of kids were close enough for most of us to play together growing up. And we all went to St. Francis de Sales school in Lodi.

I reconnected with the 2 youngest daughters Irene and Kathy when my father passed away and met them in Hoboken a few times for drinks at McSwells.

So there was some catching up with the two of them, as well as meeting Jimmy, Jeannie, Robert and William as well. Each time they said they last saw me when I was a little more than knee high.

Mrs. Grant sat in the front row, eyesight failing. She seemed to recognize me and we had a very brief chat. I always loved her, she used to watch me until my mother came home from work sometimes.

Always a kind and gracious lady, volunteered at the hospital when my brother Frank had his stroke and made a point to seek him out to see if he needed anything.

It was a mish mosh of jokes and memories.

As I get older, perhaps as we get older, wakes although sad, are also social events, reconnecting and remembering mostly good times.

I’ve gone to a lot of wakes in my life, the first one I remember is my Aunt Madeline. I must have been 4 or 5, she was in her coffin, blue dress, pearls and her white hair, resting in a box.

For me, wakes aren’t creepy, they’re obligations.

I am in no rush to fulfill any more obligations, so if any of you are reading this, don’t die. Please.

Here Come July

And it’s raining again. There is no surprise in that. I just got back from Manhattan, this time I was prepared. I wore a full body wet suit, pinstriped of course.

I did finally hear from Vivek. He made it in long enough to fill a basket full of rice pudding pops. He actually called me letting me know that he was going into the office to do it.

Presently on the phone with an irate Julio who is trying to use his credit card points to rent a car while he’s in Spain and he is meeting with tremendous difficulty. Of course I hear all about it. I don’t mind. He’ll have to listen to my tales of woe eventually. Took a lot out of me to listen to his aggravation but that’s what friends do.

Last night I heard from Billie in DC and he had his own tale of woe. His car was stolen a while back. That worked out fine, the insurance paid more than what the car was worth. He also invited Bill and I down for a weekend in the autumn which was nice. We’ll have to work that out somewhere down the line.

Today I headed into Manhattan, wearing work boots and carrying a big umbrella. It didn’t look like rain as I waited for the bus, and it was 91 degrees and quite humid. As I walked across town I ran into an old friend, Corey Williams who I used to work with at Arista Records.

Hadn’t seen Corey in a few years. He and his wife Ann Marie had a baby boy a few weeks ago, named Corey. He’s still at Atlantic Records, been trying to get out of there for 6 years. He’s still looking though.

We talked for almost a half hour by which time it looked like it was going to rain any minute now. We parted ways, I wished him and his family well. He’s such a good guy. Hard to believe I’ve known him about 15 years.

He’s also friends with my friend Miriam who just had a baby girl a week or so ago. Baby crazy these people are.

I made it to the office, collected my mashed potato dances and was soon outdoors again just as it started to rain.

I did have a tentative plan to meet an online friend that I’ve chatted with for years at the Cigar Inn on Second Avenue so that’s where I headed. Nice lounge for smoking cigars, I used to go there with a former co-worker when times were better.

Tom was the friend’s name and it was finally good to meet him in the flesh after years of chit chat. He was in town running around and while doing that got caught in the rain storm. We sat and talked for an hour or so, about music and cigars. We like them both.

After that I walked him over to Grand Central Station since I had a big umbrella and he didn’t. I’m pretty sure he appreciated it, plus it was on my way anyhow.

Walked over to the Path which wasn’t as crowded as I anticipated for a Friday afternoon. Had a seat and read The Low Side of the Road by Barney Hoskyns. It’s an unauthorized biography on Tom Waits that I got from the Hoboken library.

I was reading Transformer: The Story of Lou Reed by Victor Bockris but Tom Waits is a much more interesting character, and I much prefer Barney Hoskyns writing to Victor Bockris.

So that’s about it, I’m spent. Tomorrow I’m going with Meghan, Lily & Ruby to All Points West. That should be fun. I’ll tell you all about it, either tomorrow or Sunday.

Fish and Bird

Back to work today. It has to be done I know. But some good news, my brother in law Rex has had yet another procedure for his heart and hopefully this will be the procedure that mends his heart perfectly. Crossed fingers on this end. Last night, pretty mellow. Though I only rode the bike about 5 miles I took it easy and for a brief spell I was a zombie. I wrote, which you hopefully read.

Played Tom Waits, Alice. Perfect for a summer evening. No TV on just the tapping of the keys and the sounds of Tom singing and playing in the way that only he can. Bill even liked it somewhat when he came home. I put on Swordfishtrombones after that. Bill was on his laptop with his headphones on so he didn’t hear that.

I decided to take a walk to the post office and drop off a Netflix rental. Walked by that certain bar where an alpha male with a capital A minds the door. He looks at me, I look at him. I drool, he stares. I keep walking, he stands by the door. Really a hottie though. I know he works on Sunday evenings and thats when I usually find a reason to walk down Washington Street.

A few bars have big guys like that outside their doors, but they’re out too late for me. This guy is usually out at 6:30. He looked like this a few weeks ago, yesterday he had a haircut. No pic since that would have required a flash, and if you know me, you know I’m not flashy. Nor am I “that guy”.

The streets were super crowded with people headed to the last night of the Madonna Del Martiri feast. Fireworks were promised and I guess that’s what they were headed towards. Came back after ogling some man flesh.

Bill still on the couch, no TV on. I turned on the warm up show for True Blood, the new series from Alan Ball, the Six Feet Under creator. Bill immediately warmed up to it. I didn’t know he was interested in vampires but apparently he is. We watched the series premiere and it was very good.

I think we’re hooked. Definitely has a sensual edge to it and who doesn’t love Anna Paquin? She won the Academy Award for best supporting actress for the Piano. Knowing Alan Ball’s standards I’m sure it will be an excellent series. The hour flew by much to Bill’s surprise.

After that it was Entourage which was also very good. Let’s face it, it’s basically Jeremy Piven’s show, since he gets the best lines. Definitely fun to watch Vinnie Chase and Turtle having a good time down in Mexico. I could easily see Bill and myself living like that on a beach in Mexico, surrounded by girls with fake boobs in bikinis.

Sure it would be hell and I would certainly need plenty of sunblock by the truckload.

Some strangeness at work for sure. Lack of communication and an overall feeling of weirdness. It’s uncomfortable but I’m going to hang in there as long as I can. Should be interesting and something to write about.

Juan is here and we’re chillin. He has a mohawk, or a reasonable facsimile thereof. No pictures though, he’s squeamish.

Union City Blue

Yesterday was Mother’s Day, a day that I am probably at my most low key. True I did see some of my family in the morning, but other than that I kept to myself mainly. Not in the doldrums and not resenting other people who’s mothers are still alive like the first couple of years after my mother passed away. Didn’t do much of anything and right now I can’t think of anything that I might have done.

I did watch Alec Baldwin on 60 Minutes, then watched the Simpsons where to my surprise, Homer’s mother Mona passed away, on Mother’s Day. Don’t know if it was Mother’s Day in Springfield, but it was the day they broadcast it. Homer mourned and fulfilled his mother’s final wishes, dismantling a missile silo inadvertently with his mother’s ashes. King of the Hill was also very good and funny. It’s rare that I watch King of the Hill on it’s own, it’s almost always after watching the Simpsons.

Then I watched Ratatouille, which took me by surprise. It’s was very good and the animation was great. A cute little story. Who knew that rats could be so adorable and not ridden with disease and parasites? I was just glad they didn’t have the rats talking to the people and vice versa. The human, named Linguine did speak but it wasn’t like there was a conversation between him and Remy the rat. Recommended.

After that, then the news. Lots of tornadoes in the Midwest as well as in the south. If I were to use the meteorological and theological skills of John McCrazy’s friend, Pastor John Hagee I would wonder why god hates all of these people in the United States? His rationale for Katrina was the big gay Southern Decadence party scheduled for the week that Katrina hit and god was so angry about that it nearly wiped out New Orleans.

I don’t think many gay people were killed or left homeless so this avenging god just fucked up the lives of those who passionately believe in it, with the pieces still scattered since these oh so pious christians spend more time demonizing LGBT people and not helping the poor and less fortunate that Jesus did and suggested his followers do. So I blame god for these disasters, courtesy of Pastor John Hagee. You use god to explain one catastrophe, why not use the god for all catastrophes? Myanmar and China were simply believing in the wrong god.

Woke up this morning to the sounds of an extremely heavy rain storm, heavy enough for me to send an email saying that I wouldn’t be in. I then went back to bed after texting Lydia that I wouldn’t be in. An hour or so later I felt bad that I wasn’t going in so I contacted Lydia and told her that I might be in if they could ‘finish fixing my ceiling which was leaking’. That was the excuse. I used it once before when working at Wolff Olins or rather, McMann and Tate.

So I was able to take my time and get ready for work at my own pace. I made it into the office a little after 11:00. Most everyone had leaky ceiling stories so they all chimed in with their versions. I told them that the repairs were started pretty much after I sent the initial email and that my really nice neighbors were overseeing the clean up. Still it was a crappy morning, strong winds turning umbrellas inside out.

I took the subway to the office, and it seemed like I was the go to guy for people who didn’t know how to get to where they wanted to go. 3 different people in 5 minutes. Got to the office and surprised everyone which made me look good, coming to work while repairs were being done on my apartment. Today was the day that postage stamps went up a penny so I took it upon myself to get to the post office to get them.

It wasn’t raining when I walked up Third Avenue. I passed this guy who seemed glad to see me. He said his name was Mike and we had some friends in common. A black woman that I am good friends with is his sister. All I could think of was Margaret, Bill’s friend. He rattled on and on about Margaret, how ill she’s gotten. I was surprised at how much he knew, or claimed to know while maintaining a healthy skepticism.

He said he goes to Hunter College and bought a car but the gas guage was broken and he needed some money to get some gas. Like $8.00. I gave him $3.00 and walked away. I called up Bill and asked if Margaret had a brother and it turns out she didn’t. It was a scam, a well played scam, worth $3.00, no more no less.

New Tom Waits video, posted today! Lie To Me.

What Keeps Mankind Alive?

It’s another beautiful day. Nice breezes, clear skies, quite nice. Last night I watched The Savages. I know I said I was going to wait for Bill, but there was nothing else on so I watched the DVD instead. It was very good and recommended especially if you had a cantankerous parent or elder in your life. Both Laura Linney and Philip Seymour Hoffman were great as was Philip Bosco, who played the father. It hit home on many levels and definitely worth watching again.

I do have to return it sometime, but I have a feeling it will turn up on cable over and over. Never saw Laura Linney in a part like this. So far away from Mary Ann Singleton. And my doppleganger, Phil Hoffman, was in the back seat compared to Laura Linney’s superb acting. Expertly acted and directed. See it even if you didn’t or don’t have a cantankerous elder in your life.

Today was a rather frustrating day. I almost wrote stupid day. Next week I have oral surgery which I’m getting anxious about. I emailed my dentist about how much it would cost and would there be difficulty eating afterwards. She recommended a light meal beforehand, then to chew on the side of my mouth that won’t be cut up. And it was going to cost $600.00.

The last visit was April and I submitted my forms to the insurance company from work. They approved the first scaling and planing on the right side of my mouth, but denied the claim for the left side. I called Oxford Insurance with their United Health care Plan and they needed to know the ADA Code for next week’s surgery.

So I called NYU and got the run around, finally getting a phone number for Astrid and leaving 2 voice mails for her to call me back. She never called, I still have no clue. I know it’s not a big thing like heart surgery or treatment for Multiple Sclerosis, but if it’s frustrating for something ‘minor’ like oral surgery, I can’t imagine what hoops other people have to jump through regarding their illnesses and procedures. And I know, I am lucky to have insurance.

It’s just that I’m trying to be on a budget and have the cash on hand to pay for what they are planning to do. I don’t think I’m getting implants. If they don’t take, and sometimes they don’t, I’d be screwed and out a certain amount of dollars. I’m leaning towards dentures, which would be in the back I think. Or rather, I hope. Other than that, people are really annoying.

Nine times out of ten, as I’m walking at a brisk pace down the street, I always find people planting themselves right in my path, and it usually winds up in a tight squeeze trying to avoid them. The goal of walking across town is to not touch anyone and in crowded midtown Manhattan that in itself is a feat. Then there are the people who decide that the top of a staircase is definitely the very best place to have a conversation. Oh I am just so fed up with people.

In work related news, I had to tell Moe Stooge that Vivek has rented Moe’s office and he’ll have to move into a cube. Moe is a jerk, and as politely as I told him the score, he got all uppity saying he had a deal with Vivek. I told him his deal was with Vivek, not with me and he has to move. I don’t expect Moe Stooge to take the cube. He’s not bringing in any money to the company, though he claims to have a deal in the works and if he has to move, he’ll take the deal somewhere else. I think Moe is bullshitting.

And how was your day, dear?

Wire is playing South Street Seaport on May 30, My Bloody Valentine is at Roseland in September. Many other good shows are coming up. Something to look forward to I think. Wire is a free show, My Bloody Valentine will require tickets.

And here’s some Tom Waits tour info.

Up The Neck

Well it’s a chilly yet sunny afternoon in Hoboken. No Manhattan today, no thanks. No new York. Staying out, staying local, staying alive. Ha ha ha I’m staying alive staying alive. Pretty mellow. Last night I watched Wristcutters: A Love Story which I liked a lot more than I expected to. I’d give it four stars out of five. Patrick Fugit is the lead. I last saw him in Almost Famous, a five out of five stars movie. He played the Cameron Crowe character. He was adorable in that and he still looks good.

I won’t give too much away in telling you that the story takes place in limbo and all the inhabitants are people who killed themselves. Now that you know the premise I think it would be worth your while to check it out. Tom Waits is also in Wristcutters and that was fun to watch, though when Tom appeared I had to put the subtitles on so I could decipher what he was saying. I like Tom Waits. My sister was into him first back when he was on Asylum Records, but didn’t quite get his stuff. It wasn’t until I was sharing an apartment with Jimmy Lee that I actually got into him.

That was with Swordfishtrombones, Tom Waits first release on Island Records. Tom was producing himself and using various household objects as musical instruments, which definitely got my interest. I remember hanging out with Jimmy Lee and I was moved to tears when the song In The Neighborhood played. Not a terribly sad song but an air of melancholy and day dreaming throughout. Almost mournful horns playing in the background. The bladder moved up to the eyes.

After Swordfishtrombones, came Rain Dogs and that seemed to be a record that everyone I knew had. I saw him on tour for that album, mid-eighties at a theater on Broadway. A celebrity studded audience, we had better seats than David Byrne. A great show, or rather a concert. Tom was a bit theatrical on stage, quite magical actually. I’d love to see him should he tour again but last time he was in New York the tickets were quite pricey. David Byrne pricey.

Walked around Hoboken for a spell this afternoon. Walked up to the Burlington Coat Factory where they just had a grand re-opening. That means they moved a few racks around and added some white paint on top of the depressing battleship gray inside. It was a confusing visit. Almost bought a tie but wound up buying a pair of black jeans for 20.00 since the blue jeans I was wearing had developed a nasty tear right in the crotch.

I walked back home after that, running into a neighbor who has a singing engagement on Tuesday and has a very scratchy throat today. I wished her well, telling her to break a leg. Just watched Waitress which was cute but ultimately sad. Sad because of Adrienne Shelly who was murdered soon after she directed the movie. It’s definitely light fare and would play nicely on Lifetime.

Here are some Hoboken snaps.
Me and my shadow

Someone loves Jim

Spring springing forth