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Monday, November 01, 2010
Tues., Nov. 2, 2010

Out for a stroll on the deck of the Titanic

Sorry about yesterday. I usually write on Sunday nights as you know, but last night kind of got away from me. I think I told you that I made a deal recently with Little Kev, our Syracuse freshman, that I would look over his school papers before he turned them in. Not that Kev is a 'tard or anything, it's just that I have a tad more experience with this writing thing and so I thought I could impart some of my vast knowledge upon him in that area and perhaps he can pick up some of that terrific nuance along the way. You know today I was talking to a friend of mine at work, a guy I call my Chicago Brother (CB), and we were discussing essentially this topic, which is whether it is ok, morally or ethically, I guess, to help kids out with their school-related assignments. CB has a son in high school who is  beginning the college search process, which we all know is an agonizing and arduous task where colleges make goo-goo eyes at you and put gorgeous photos of their campus in full autumn foliage on all their marketing materials, and then when you commit to them they treat you like a girlfriend who is tired of your crap.  So CB told me today that he and his son were working on filling out this form called the Common Application which is a college application you fill out on the trusty internet that you can then use to apply to a whole bunch of different schools instead of filling out the same damn thing over and over again for each institute of higher learning. Each application, including the Common one inevitably asks for some kind of essay that answers some ridiculous question similar to the ones they ask at the Miss America pageant (or is it Miss USA, I forget), for instance: Should birth control be paid for by health insurance? (an actual question btw, but not required for the Common Application.) This, I suppose, is an effort by colleges to determine whether or not a kid can actually write or think maybe, as if a kid with zero brain power is going to get awesome high school grades and sneak into a good school because the college was not smart enough to make them answer an obtuse essay question. Anyway CB told me he was helping his son out this past weekend with the essay portion of the application and CB is a very moral and straight-up guy and I could tell he was searching the ol' CB soul to see if this was sitting well in there. The previous night I'd spent like three hours circling this major paper Kev had sent me where he'd had to read three different articles about torture, of all things, and then write a paper that did not either agree or disagree with any of the materials (the professor called agreeing or disagreeing "falling into the binary trap," whatever that means), and so I was in no position to lecture CB about the morality of letting our little chicks fall or fly from the nest. Honestly, the papers that Kev's been sending me regularly have been pretty decent and pretty done and just require a little focus and some language tweaks. To tell you the truth I've been impressed that the kid is doing as much of the work as he is since I do not recall his cracking a book at home the final two years of his high school career and yet he got good grades. I don't see a problem with helping him out where I can anyway. I mean college isn't a survival test. It's not like we've dropped Little Kev into the wilds of upstate New York with a Swiss army knife and a pencil sharpener and told him we'll pick him back up in four years. I just think about it like I am a tutor, an aging tutor who happens to share his name and genetic code, but a tutor nonetheless. I cannot see where I am doing any harm or breaking the code. So CB, no confession needed, not at least from my perspective.

Oh hey, before watching the end of Game 5 of the World Series which absolutely no one east of the Mississippi cares about, I wanted to let you know that La Sooze was sick today. She somewhere got a terrible inner ear infection, which made her feel as if she were walking on the deck of the sinking Titanic when she so much as got up to use the potty. So this morning I went into work but my beloved La Sooze texted me after I arrived and said she had gotten a doctor's appointment at 1 and did not exactly feel like driving and car and so I went home to help out. Later, btw, La Sooze and I went to our weekly dance lesson even though she was still not feeling like a dozen fresh roses, and she bent down to put on her dancing shoes and tweaked her back. It was a red letter day for La Sooze. So the best part of all this muscle pulling and vertigo was that I took my beloved to the doctor, our doctor, a terrific Jewish guy who has been caring for our failing bodies for years. I actually got to go into the appointment with La Sooze like a dad accompanying a child who needs a booster shot. I was only allowed in because I know the doctor and because all he had to do really was look into la Sooze's ears, so it wasn't like I was in on major surgery or anything. Anyway sometime during the thorough exam we began talking about the fact that I discovered less than a year ago my previously hidden Jewish heritage and the doc immediately responded saying that this meant that La Sooze was my "trophy shiksa," which, of course, she is. Sheds a whole new light on my little goyim wifey. She's a blonde too. Perfect.

Before closing I also wanted to mention to you that La Sooze nominated this here blog, the actual Nation, for some kind of award program the Baltimore Sun is running. The awards are called "Moobies," which as far as I can tell comes from smashing together the words Maryland's + Outstanding + Blogs into one single and cool word that is reminiscent of other award words like Emmys and Tonys and the like which I don't what they actually stand for but I assume it is something. Tonight I received an e-mail, a g-mail actually, from the Sun telling me of the nomination and I clicked through on a link that took me to the page where all the nominees are listed and naturally there are like 5 gazillion of them in all sorts of categories including our beloved Nation of One which is listed under the "Humor" category, though I don't find myself very funny at all, sad really. Also all the other nominees that I saw on this website have explanations, like a little line that briefly says what the blog or the Twitter account is about, lines such as "Pull up a seat and pour yourself a glass of crazy ." I swear. But the nation has nothing, just the name. I need a cute little tag line don't I? Maybe I'll run a contest – give away an award called a Natiee for the person who can come up with a funny, glib, descriptive line for the blog. First prize is an autographed picture of Jeter the gluttonous beagle.  Anyway this contest requires you to go onto a site and vote. I'll send you the link tomorrow since the thing doesn't start until Nov. 2. In actuality I will not win because I do not win contests. Wait, once as a kid I did win a bookshelf in a drawing for Cub Scout Pack 69 in the Bronx. I really wanted to win the coveted purple sting ray bike that was the grand prize, but my friend Johnny McAleleavy won that. I got stuck with a bookshelf. As it turned out, my mother hated the color of the wood on the shelf and she chucked it out anyway. So much for my winning ways.  What matters here, of course, is that we have been nominated, and so like an Academy Award nominee I can start using that as part of the vast marketing campaign I do for the nation. "2010 Moobie Nominee," will be featured prominently in the header from now on. Prestigious. I'm sure the piece of crap server for this piece of crap blog site will crash with the mountain of hits we'll receive. If I win, of course, I will rename myself Moobie Dick. Not to worry. This is not a Cub Scout a bookshelf waiting to happen. This is my life and despite the humor category placement, it just ain't that funny.

Posted at 10:18 pm by BronxBoy
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Thursday, October 28, 2010
Fri., Oct. 29, 2010

Where is home?

Today on the subway home a guy got on at the Charles Street stop and he walked on singing at the top of his lungs the Smokey Robinson song "The Tracks of My Tears."  He had no headphones on, just the pipes, and boy did he belt it out. I had my own headphones on and was listening to, I believe, Danny Gatton, but I could hear him clear as the ol' bell -  "take a goooood look at my face..."  I wish I had the nuts to just bust out a song on the subway like that. First off it would be a terrific release, especially if you were listening to your IPod and were really feeling a song and just felt like getting up and singing your lungs out for the hell of it. I feel this way sometimes when I'm working out, the testosterone pumping through my veins and some terrific tune is pouring into my head and I just want to play air guitar and sing away for myself like Julie Andrews in the mountains because the hills, after all, are alive with the sound of music. You cannot do this, of course unless you're the guy today on the subway today and you simply do not give care what anyone thinks or if you want to be immediately filed as a complete whack-job, which is what I thought today about this guy. This may or may not have been true, of course, but perception is reality, and so if even if he happened to be a tenured professor from a local college I still would not have gotten within 40 feet of him because singing out loud is just not acceptable now is it? Kurt Vonnegut Jr. said we are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be. Maybe this guy was pretending to be a whacko. I totally bought into it. Good for him then.

I do envy him though. I envy anyone who can be honest and not sweat the response. My God, how much of our time do we spend having conversations with ourselves that we would really like to be having with other people? I am in my car talking to other drivers, "asshole," and they do not hear a thing. I am at work listening to conference calls on mute saying "just shut up," and no one knows. There are things in my own little life that I do not talk about. I file them away because it is either no one's business but my own or I do not know how to respond to them and so I take wee Willie Shakespeare's counsel about discretion being the better part of valor.  This blog for instance. There are many things I could rant or rave or opine or ponder about that I do not. Some of it is just too mundane (what a dump I took today!), some of it just not right. Back in the day when I was a poet I used to write constantly about my children, who are now mostly grown. Sometimes the kids would come to my poetry readings and they would berate me in their child-like way for capturing their lives like a photograph and then sharing it with complete strangers. This is how I feel sometimes about this space, this blog. If I wrote about everything I would be breaking a trust, not just with my children but with myself. You just can't talk to everyone about everything. This would be like leaving the mute button permanently off on my life  conference call. They would all know. And really, some things are just better left unsaid. 

Which reminds me. Sometimes in my endless ego gratification I will mention to people that I write a blog and of course inevitably, and I guess appropriately, the response I receive is "oh, what's it about?" I think the average person assumes a blog is actually about something, like I am passionately and expertly writing about fly fishing or my stamp collection or counting the number of times the annoying Bill Maher says the word "teabagger" on his smug little late night television show. Reality is when I get that actual question I never know what to say. What the hell is this blog about anyway, and why do I write it? Initially, as you know, I started it to get my writing chops up and to get into a rhythm so I could start on some REAL writing. That has not worked out. In the meantime I come home often five nights a week come hell or high water, travel or travail and I type and I put down whatever is in my head. How do you describe that? What am I saying? Who am I pretending to be that someone might believe that I am? Dunno. Maybe I am like a man singing out loud on the subway car. Maybe I am not as shy and conventional as I think of myself. Maybe everyone within 40 feet is actually shying away because they think I'm a complete nut. Hmmm. Maybe I kind of like that.

So I have to play harmonica at church this weekend. I love this. Harmonica is something I picked up a couple of years ago for the heck of it and took some lessons for a week and now I love nothing more than when there's a song at church with the ol' band that could use a little toot on the harp, like a musical goose to the arse. You think about a harmonica being an instrument that Tom Joad pulls out of his overalls and mournfully wails on at night beside a smoldering campfire. Sad instrument. But for some reason when I get to play it at church it is all quite happy. All the church ladies love it. I am like Elvis without the jump suit. They want to pull off their church cotton panties and pelt me with them they love my harmonica so much. Tom Joad should have been so lucky. Anyway speaking of blogs one of the problems with this space is that it's pretty much only a one-way communication device. At least that's how I view it. So when people comment on here, which they sometimes do, I do not respond to them because it would seem awkward, like throwing a messsage in a bottle in the virtual ocean and then waiting for a return note. I like to think of comments as other people's mini-blogs. Let them all talk, as Elvis Costello would say. All are welcome and encouraged btw. Anyway there's a friend of mine named Bill who is a frequent visitor to the Nation and he and I have been talking about my playing harmonica on a song he's doing with his terrific band the Willys and he mentioned the harmonica playing  in a comment recently only I keep forgetting to contact him back. So hey Bill, blog shout out. While I'm thinking about it, let's record. I got the harp all warmed up.

And finally I wanted to mention to you that yesterday I changed the background picture on my MacBook Pro from one of La Sooze to one of an apartment house in the Bronx with graffiti spray painted all over it. From one thing I love to another. I am moved by images of rundown New York apartment houses with the zig-zagging lines of fire escapes and beat cars parked out front. I guess those are the images of my youth, and so the images of my soul. Nothing is better. I understand those places. So in closing I wanted to share a quote I ran into tonight from Kurt Vonnegut Jr while I was verifying the other quote I used from him tonight. It's a two-Kurt night. Lucky us. 

"Where is home? I've wondered where home is, and I realized, it's not Mars or someplace like that, it's Indianapolis when I was nine years old. I had a brother and a sister, a cat and a dog, and a mother and a father and uncles and aunts. And there's no way I can get there again."  ~ Kurt Vonnegut Jr.

Posted at 10:55 pm by BronxBoy
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Wednesday, October 27, 2010
Thurs., Oct. 28, 2010

Gobble, gobble

You know what sucks? I have a turkey neck. I never wanted a turkey neck but yup, now I have one.I always get stuff i don't want. I have come to this fowl conclusion because last night, tonight actually as I am writing this at the kitchen table at God View, la Sooze brought home a DVD copy of the poetry interview I did a month or so ago here at The View. This woman is doing a poetry show for local cable tv and since she's a friend of La Sooze, and who isn't? she asked me to participate. So tonight as I say La Sooze brought the show home and thank goodness I'm the first poet on the 30 minute program or I would have to fast forward through a bunch of people's terrific and heartfelt poetry because I honestly don't care, which I know is not nice to admit but is quite honest. So La Sooze and i sat right here at the table and watched me, which was a little awkward since watching your own self on the little screen is a tad bit self-absorbed but after all who among us is not a wee bit narcissistic and occasionally catches a glimpse of themselves in the mirror and states emphatically quite to their own self "not bad, not bad at all." This is why God gave us mirrors which btw began being produced in their current form (a hunk of glass painted on the back with silver), so we could stand alone in our room and check out our own asses. Well that and as a gift to man in order to help him to not decapitate himself each morning while pressing a razor to his throat, turkey or not. Anyway I was not thinking abut any of this history as La Sooze and I sat watching me once again attempting to be smart and glib as I was the other day in Pennsylvania only this time I was talking about poetry. No instead I was totally focused on my neck which appeared to me to be completely grotesque. It is not like I have too much skin and have a "wattle" which is what they call that red thing that hangs down off a legitimate turkey's legitimate neck. No it is more like the skin there is just loose and maybe thin so that when I was talking about brilliant things like imagery and simile and metaphor I was turning my head and all I could think was "gobble, gobble, gobble" because my neck looked like someone had stretched an enormous ultra-thin  condom over a skeleton.  Ew, ew. This was never in my plans.  I always thought I would have a terrific solid neck up until the moment the mortician started spreading foundation make-up on me and thought "hmm, still had a nice neck. Shame." But no. Instead I have the approximate neck of Don Imus, the supple skin of Mother Teresa. I am now a wrinkly. I am humiliated. I hate being humiliated, especially by my neck. Actually tonight I was so troubled by my neck issues that I actually looked this up on the trusty Internet. There really is such a thing as turkey neck and it is treatable. You can take drugs – Retin A, or you can drink a lot of water, which probably reduces the neck issues because you're running to the pisser all the time, or you can actually have neck liposuction which sounds horrible. Actually the best thing I saw on the internet to take care of turkey neck is to bake it at 400 for two hours with some bacon drippings. Delish.

Posted at 11:11 pm by BronxBoy
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Tuesday, October 26, 2010
Weds., Oct. 27, 2010

Speaking of VFW halls…

To begin with, the "talk" I gave today in scenic Indiana, Pennsylvania was advertised as being part of an industry meeting and was being held at a country club. I have never been there, of course, so who knew? I pictured the phrase "country club" on the agenda to mean the meeting was being held at a place with chandeliers and carpeting and paintings on the wall with gold gilded frames showing former club presidents, each of whom would wear a blue blazer and have their hands folded neatly in front of them resting on their knees. I dressed appropriately, of course, for such a grande place. In actuality today's speech was held at a VFW hall which had dirty brown tile floors and phony wood paneling half-way up the walls; very much like the club basement at your grandparent's old house in Pittsburgh. The only thing country clubbish about it was that amazingly enough this VFW also includes a golf course (18 holes with a cart for $25 btw according to their website. A bargain!) These vets must have some coin. You pull in off the main road and there is a long driveway lined with American flags and a lovely large pond and behind it rolling hills framed in picturesque colors; the orange and brown leaves of autumn. Naturally even at 8:30 am, there was a couple of old codgers in white sweaters whacking away at the little white ball. But the building, oy, a dump.  In short, a VFW. The pictures lining the hallway were crooked and featured old white guys in those dark blue wedge caps like boy scouts and every guy was 90 and had white hair and a moustache and glasses. More like a hardee har har funny guy hall of fame.

So immediately I walk in and I am reminded of the only other time I was inside a VFW hall that I can recall. This was many moons ago when La Sooze and I were newly married and we were renting a small (very small) house on the outskirts of Dayton, Ohio on Seabrook Road. This house was a very, very, very fine house except that they apparently forgot to use insulation when they built it so you froze in winter and sweated like a frothing horse down the backstretch in the summer. Across Seabrook Road, an idyllic middle-American street, was an old guy named Bud (of course) who was apparently a veteran of some war and was definitely a legitimate veteran of the alcoholic wars. Bud lived over there with his sister, a matronly old woman who happened to be blind and also did not approve of ol' Buddy's drinking habits. So on the weekends my friend Bud, despite his age and taste for the drink, would crawl out of the window of his room and come over and tap on our door and when I'd answer he would have a proposition for me. If I would drive him to the liquor store, which was a slice of heaven for Bud, he would reward me by buying me a "six can pack of beer" free of charge. He must have recognized me as one of his own kind. Of course I would take him over to the liquor store and score a "six can pack" for my very own and then drive home and watch Bud maneuver himself back through the window. Once though he actually tapped on the door and invited me to accompany him to the local VFW Hall for beers and I, of course, could not turn down such an offer as it held great intrigue for me and a few free brewskis. The VFW naturally, looked like the place today and was dark and held a handful of old guys who leaned on the bar with beer glasses beside them and chain-smoked. I recall there was some gambling going on as well. That day when I brought ol' Bud home he walked back in through the front door because he'd apparently told sis' that he was going out on the town with his friend from across the street – legitimate stuff. He also invited me in to meet the sister who, it turned out, had only recently had a colostomy and told me in great detail about the specifics of the surgical procedure. Then to my sheer horror she said " do you want to see it?" and despite my quick protestations she quickly hoisted her house dress to show me the colostomy bag connected to her ample side.   Hooooooeeeeee. More information than I needed and a visual I have never forgotten. Oh and next to where Bud lived was a guy whose name was Nelson and he was not only a Shriner but a Shriner clown, called a Shrine Clown according to their website. His stage name, of course was 'Nellie the Clown' and La Sooze and I in our youth would see him with his red nose and oversized sneakers going off sometimes in his car to entertain children. Oh, Nellie also had a drinking problem. This was apparently rampant on Seabrook Road. The last time I recall hearing anything about our clown neighbor he had had a few too many one evening, no doubt at the VFW hall, and had driven his car onto a concrete elevated media strip on Woodman Drive where the clown mobile had gotten stuck. We heard from another neighbor, who was not a drunk, that the polizia had to come and take our little clown away. Ha, ha, very funny Nellie.

Oh back to the speech. So I happened to be the clean-up hitter today, the anchor leg if you will – the very last speaker, which says to me that I was the guy they thought would be the most engaging. Either that or thought everyone would be gone by the time I opened my yaw. So I spoke for 45 minutes and I had terrific slides that I'd prepared and I was alternately glib and smart and funny and insightful. That's my own review. Looking out at the small crowd in the wood-paneled VFW hall I'd say the crowd reviews were mixed. Some people were actually looking at me and nodding as if they were into what I was discussing, which was my take on public relations.  Others read their Blackberry wireless devices or looked out the window at the lake. One woman, who was another of the speakers and had given a long and massively boring talk about some economic development service she runs in town, fell dead asleep. Seriously, every time I looked at her the eyes were closed and the breathing quite rhythmic. So maybe I wasn't so brilliant after all. Stunning, I know. At the end, as I was leaving the fabulous VFW Hall and country club golf course, the sleeping woman actually came over to me and shook my hand; "really interesting talk," she said with great enthusiasm. Apparently she'd awakened long enough to recall that I had actually spoken, and then driven back to her office to continue her nap.

So that done I got back in the white Accord and drove back home on nearly empty roads through little towns including Punxsutawney, where the groundhog lives, and Altoona, and Gallitzin, and I stopped in a place called Claysburg for a sandwich which I ate in the car with great lust with the window down. Delish. I drove through the autumn hills and did not listen to too much music because I was digging the quiet and the hum and the lack of complexity. The only ups and downs I faced were the mountains. Only metaphors. The road is so compliant. I follow its silent lead and we get along wonderfully. There is no one to worry about, none of the hen house squawking and short-sightedness that I seem to happen upon routinely like the ocassional showers of brown leaves that rained down on me today as I pressed forward.  The road is unconditional. It understands where I'm going and who I am at heart and does not ever misunderstand what I mean when I say it is time now for me to go back home.

Posted at 08:29 pm by BronxBoy
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Monday, October 25, 2010
Tues., Oct. 26, 2010

Indiana, Pennsylvania wants me

I only have a moment tonight. Blame it on the numbers. See it is already nearly midnight and I just now checked into my room here at the wonderful Hampton Inn in the city with two state names - Indiana, Pennsylvania. See i worked all day today, very hard, mind you since I am actually quite busy with the work stuff right now, vurrrry important guy I am. So I ran home, well drove briskly, and I let Jeter the bowel-moving beagle drop a deuce (I admire little about Jeter btw but i would like to have his bowels. Twice a day everyday, like clockwork. Garbage in, garbage out) and then I got in the white Accord at like 6:30 for what Googlemaps told me was a nice little 3 hour 49 minute drive but ended up being more in the five-hour range in the dark in the fog in the middle of God's green earth. Actually part of that additional time was my own fault. i was talking to la Sooze, who I saw only for a brief moment before I left, on the bluetooth wireless device that was connected to my head so I looked as I drove just like every large woman riding in the elevator at work. So while I was yapping I somehow missed the turn for Route 422 and instead i happily drove for about 20 miles on Route 22. Darn close except for the 4. Killed me. Why I simply drove on and on past nothing but one single strip club on Route 22 I will never know. I think I was enjoying the drive. I love these drives deep into the mountains of Pennsylvania, especially at night when you can barely make-out the dark blue sky behind big black shoulders of mountains on the horizon. Plus before I left tonight, while I was waiting for my cup of traveling Starbucks coffee to brew, I burned a CD that I absolutely rocked at ear-bleeding levels as i drove through the dark and green hills. Terrific 70s stuff, of course, along with a little Widespread Panic and The Avett Brothers just to keep things honest.  As you know I love nothing more than driving alone. Apologies, of course, to my beloved soul mate La Sooze who, as I mentioned, I only saw for a brief moment tonight after I stopped by her place of business on my way to God View and smooched her n the parking lot since we have not seen each other since last Thursday as La Sooze has been in Ohio. She looked beautiful still, btw. Even Ohio cannot touch her. Anyway it struck me once again tonight how incredibly solitary driving alone is, and how much i love it. No pressure, no expectations, no people trying to impress you with their vast intelligence. It is just me and a can of crackling seltzer, Paul Revere and the Raiders on the CD player, a Salem with a glowing red tip dangling from the corner of my mouth. My own little mobile reality. Perfection.  Tonight, of course I was driving on these endless mountain highways where i fully expected at any moment for a hefty 12-point buck to dance out in front of my car waiting for me to plow it into a red streak on Route 22. Reminds me of a few years ago near Westminnie when i actually did blast a deer that did more damage to my car than I did to the deer.  I will never forget driving blithely along when Number One Son Sean simply said in a monotone voice a single word "deer," and then God's creature was pressing its face against the driver's side window, dislodging the rear-view mirror  and leaving a deer-size dent in the driver's side doors. That left a mark.

So anyway I gotta go. As you know I have to make my big speech tomorrow at 10 am. I actually wrote the speech today. It is not about deer or driving or 422 or 22. It is about me. It is always about me. Ok, you get some rest and we'll talk tomorrow. Goodnight from Indiana, Pennsylvania.   

Posted at 11:43 pm by BronxBoy
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Sunday, October 24, 2010
Mon., Oct. 25, 2010

That Guy!

Wow. It is now Sunday and it is a warm autumn evening and it is 7:30 in the p.m. and I have a light sweat moistening my white V-neck t-shirt and, whew, I'm whipped. This was the weekend, of course, that La Sooze was out of town and so I've been bach'in it up the past two days, having the ability to chuck my socks on the floor which I didn't actually do, but I could have if I wanted to. Decision-making. This is the price of freedom.

So on Friday my beloved uncle from Cali who I lovingly call US, was in town, and took Daughter Shannon and I out for a fab and delish dinner. La Sooze, of course, was not here or she would have joined us at table. Shannon met US and I on the street in Smalltimore  after riding the subway down alone from the idyllic and bucolic hinterland of Westminnie. Now as you know I personally ride the same subway every working day of my life and I have to tell you that no one ever talks to me, which is clearly the way I prefer things to go. Shannon, on the other hand, drew attention, which should come as no surprise to you if you know Shannon who is just a shade under 23 and very beautiful and blonde. So Shannon gets on the train and the car is completely empty and at the very first stop a young African American male gets on and of the roughly 50 empty seats on the car which does he find the most attractive? Precisely. The seat next to Shannon. She reported later that it was a bit of an awkward train ride, but she managed to survive. She even took the proactive step of putting on her IPod headphones to send the distinct message to the Rappin' Romeo that, um, I do not want to talk to you. Did not stop Studley Hungwell for a moment. He wanted phone numbers and IM addresses He got none of these things. Shannon, like her father, is a magnet for the tools. It's in the blood.

So yesterday, in my bachelorhood, I had a friend stop over, the guy I was telling you about the other day who is a musician – Eric. He and I are starting to put together a list of songs we want to play out in the public arena. He's talking about coffeehouses and bars. I'm ok with that. So we basically sat last night in The Office at God View and mentioned songs and then looked up chords on the internet and then watched videos of songs on YouTube. This is how the modern band plays it. I feel badly for musicians who, back in the day, actually had to figure out what chords they were hearing on the AM radio. Now within moments I can get the chords, the lead riff, the bass line, merch info  and photos of the band on tour. Magnifico! So far we have a real eclectic blend of stuff we're looking at. Eric is much more tuned into current pop stuff than I am and is also a 200 times better guitarist. So he's figuring out arrangements for cover songs I've never even heard of from people like Rhiannon and Lady Gaga. Seriously. I'm ok with that, even though I gag at Gaga,  as long as there's a trade-off, which there is. For every awful current chick-pop song we play we'll cleanse the palette with one of my beloved 1970s songs, which I consider an even trade. If we could actually one day stand up in front of more than two woozy people in a bar and sing R. Dean Taylor's Indiana Wants Me I will consider my life complete. The funny thing here is that I am the nerd now, which I find quite amusing. I was reading an article in a magazine today about a local guy who draws his own comic books and is a total dork and is in his 50s and wears a pony tail. This is me on the music side, still hanging onto sappy emotion from 40 years ago because when I hear some of this beloved 70s music I am back French-kissing  Nancy Barber (nickname: Bimmy, though I never asked why) in her basement while listening to Janis Joplin's Me and Bobby McGee. She tastes like Juicy Fruit gum and smells vaguely of Noxzema face cream. Yeah, so I want to be 12 again, is this a sin? Yeah well, maybe, just maybe.

So today I became obsessed with buying a desk for Daughter Shannon's room mainly because I didn't like the one she had in there which is more of a vanity and make-up table than an actual write the novel office desk. The previous one in there was built for a leprechaun. So today I got in the white Accord and drove 50 miles to College Park, Maryland to an IKEA store to purchase this wonderful desk. A word on IKEA. Going to one of these stores is like going to a tourist attraction. Really, i think busloads of people go there to just look. The Grand Canyon of retail. It is really an amazing experience because everything there looks really good even if most of it is really just pressed board junk. See they have these little phony rooms they decorate with furniture and swell accouterments and they make them all look oh so cool and white wineish and so very Swedish so that you think "If I lived in that room I would be so now and happening and probably would understand politics and the stock market and would read the New York Times. I would be happy and fulfilled." Problem is, of course, you bring this stuff home and put it beside your early American or Southwest-style stuff and it all ends up looking like props from Marlo Thomas' apartment in the That Girl show from the 1960s (fellas don't lie now, you wanted to do Ann Marie and you know it. You hated Donald). Anyway I did get this terrific desk and then dragged it home and spent like 3 hours putting the thing together and at some point I really felt as if I could have built a nuclear reactor in less time and all they give you to put this complex thing together is one little metal tool shaped like a distorted 'S' which, after turning the 44th hex bolt, has made your hands the consistency of  raw ground beef. Ah, you gotta love those Swedes. Oh, but the desk looks terrif, pulls the room together as The Dude said of his carpet in The Big Lebowski. Now if I could only use my digits again.

So listen tomorrow is going to be an interesting day. First of all La Sooze comes home form Goobersville, Ohio which is wonderful news for me as I clearly struggle without the yin to my yang and I end up buying and assembling desks out of sheer melancholy. Beyond that I have to drive tomorrow night to a place called Indiana, Pennsylvania which is not only a city with two state names, but is located somewhere just east of nowhere.  I am driving there tomorrow night because I have agreed to give a speech, a "talk" really, on Tuesday at a conference. The talk is supposed to leverage my vast and fascinating life as a Public Relations guy and I swear to you I think I have an hour to fill, or kill. I don't think Winston Churchill could have spoken about himself for an hour. Anyway I'll run home tomorrow and wave at my returning La Sooze and then do the three-plus hour drive sometime tomorrow night and with hope I will get to the fab hotel out there and after using the outhouse I will try to blog and let you know what's up. Otherwise I will be living the IKEA life out there feigning my own cool in Indiana and will catch you Tuesday night with the deets of my Gettysburg Address 2010.  You're jealous that you can't be there, aren't you?

Posted at 10:55 pm by BronxBoy
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