Tuesday
Nov072006

Don't miss the majesty:  Vote

"Your representative owes you, not his indusry only, but his judgment; and he betrays insted of serving you if he sacrifices it to your opinon."  --Edmund Burke, Irish philosopher, statesman.

If you've got enough time to read a blog, you've certainly got enough time to get to the polls and VOTE. 

366478-205802-thumbnail.jpgDoesn't matter whether you Rock it or Move it On, whether you're Right, Left, or middle of the road, Red-faced, or Blue-sky... just VOTE. 

Now. 

This stuff matters. 

Let me put it to you this way:

Ben Affleck is voting for Democrats today.  Tom Selleck is driving Nancy Reagan to the polls and they're both gonna vote for the GOP. 

Had enough??  NO???  You're leaving me no other choce but to break out the heavy artillery:

  • 366478-539704-thumbnail.jpgYour brother in law voted today, and you and I both know he's a total tool.
  • The "Dwight Schrute" in your Office voted on his way to work, while you were sleeping through the alarm.
  • Your ex-spouse just voted on her way to meet with his/her lawyer, and the lawyer voted, too. 

But have they earned it?

 "Lofty posts make great mean greater still, and small men much smaller."  Burke again

366478-539684-thumbnail.jpgOur state capitols, our U.S. Congress, our city councils and boards of aldermen, freeholders, county councils and such are the echo chambers of our hopes, dreams and fears. 

And taking Congress as an example, it is the place that our Founding Fathers (Word to their Mothers) created so that 300,157,034 Americans (as of typing) could become 435; and that 435--in assembly as the United States House of Representatives--could be ONE. 

366478-539690-thumbnail.jpgThat kind of magical arithmetic only happens here.  And we're the ones who get to decide.  Experience is important, but it doesn't earn you a pass, or a lifetime subscription to public office.  They don't retire a jersey with your district number on it when you leave.  Every two years, or six if you're a senator, your subscription comes up for renewal.  There is strength in that renewal, but only if we vote.

The names change, the people come and go, the Republic marches on, but only if we vote.

I believe in this because I've seen it work. 

Lookit... The bullsh*t rhetoric that passes as political speech these days can make even the stoutest of believers waver.  But don't waver.  Vote.

There are people running and serving in office today who KNOW that there is NOTHING that can be found in the marbled cooridors of power that can possibly compare to the a handshake and a look in the eye between a voter and the man or woman who would hope to earn their vote.

366478-539700-thumbnail.jpgWe don't want them to cure the common cold... we want them to care about what we wrestle with at our kitchen table:  How are we going to get our kids through school; what are we going to do about our aging parents and gradnparents.

That's what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown.

Vote.

 

Friday
Oct202006

I'm a Wryter, she's an Ather

366478-514618-thumbnail.jpgDad,

I want to be an Illustrator and Ather when I grow up. 
So I will be rwiting stories and puttin them 366478-312815-thumbnail.jpgin my binder.

LOVE,

Katherine

Found this morning on my side of the bed after my shower and shave.

 

Thursday
Oct192006

Is it nothing to you, all ye that pass by?

I don't know who had the notion of emblazoning that phrase from Lamentations (1:12) on the front of their building on the outskirts of the Bronx, in full view of a busy street and along the railway, but I saw it as I passed by on Amtrak yesterday... and it struck me like a thunderbolt.

366478-515124-thumbnail.jpgTrain travel on the Northeast corridor is a sight to behold. It takes you on a majestic approach to Manhattan that cuts through the most exclusive Greenwich yacht clubs on one side, and through the most squalid "No-mans Lands" literally on the "other side of the tracks."  

I'm sure in the city and town halls, there are propety maps that show who owns these fringes along the railbed. Years ago in the age of steam, I imagine they were scattered with the ashes from the locomotives.  Now these areas.. not quite neighborhoods, not quite yards... not quite woods... are scattered with the ashes of people's lives.

Shopping carts.  Windblown grocery bags snagged in trees.  Empty cases of beer.  And on the last time through, a ragged man taking his morning shit in the cover of low undergrowth--down and away from the street above him, but ass-frontward to the passing train.  I thought it as splendid a "How-do-you-do" as was ever given.

Is it nothing to you, all ye that pass by?

In raw form, I typed out everything I saw from Stamford to Penn Station.  Here, unedited and unburnished, is what I marveled and wondered at as I passed by.

Mamaroneck Station at 30 mph

A stop at New Rochelle:

A gorgeous woman facing the sunshine, eyes closed, savoring a draw on her cigarette as if it were the source of all goodness.  And at the same time…

A middle age man in glasses and a blue Member's Only jacket facing her from the side, eyes open, staring full on at her, uh, sweater.  If she only turned slightly, he’d be so nailed. I mean LOOK at him!  He’s consumed with those things.  From where I’m sitting, behind tinted windows at about navel level to her, he’s got reason to be.

Ditmars Boulevard Subway Station

Robert Moses’ red-bricked monstrosities. 

TMG Trucking dumptruck at a job site.  Empty.  Waiting. 

FEDEX Ground trucks.  Two of 'em.

Cars.  Trucks.  Panel vans.  Minivans.

Where are you going?

  • To work?
  • To the airport?
  • To school?
  • To meet your lover?
  • To the vet?
  • To the grocery store?
  • To bring your Mom her sweaters and cold weather clothing and switch out her summer clothes?

Lamentations.

Go in peace. 

Vaya con Dios.

 

Monday
Oct162006

It's an honor just to be nominated

"This is the jury message for Tuesday, October 17th.  All jurors should report.  Repeat.  All jurors should report for duty."

Bring it AWN!! 

Or better yet...

366478-509759-thumbnail.jpgDenny Crane!

Actually, my hopes are quite low-key at this point.  You see, I'm one of those dopes who thinks it might be interesting to serve on a jury.  But the Toastmaster is currently 0 for 4 when it comes to being selected for a jury.  But as they say,  it's an honor just to be nominated.  [If I can find the Dunkin Donuts napkin from last week, I'll have more to say on who "They Say" really are in a future post.] 

The first time I was called for jury duty, I actually qualified for one of the reasons that you don't have to report that day.  The second time the phone message said that no jurors needed to report.  Must've been a slow day for crime in the big city!  The last time I was called, I got to hang around all morning.  They had about two jury pool's worth of folks waiting.  Honestly, it's worse than being at the doctor's.  The nurse clerk came to the doorway at 11:30 (later on, I learned that they have to hand out lunch stipends for people who stay past Noon) and started reading off names.  One... by one... by one...  Nobody could tell whether those folks were being released or summoned. 

Once the Chosen were escorted out of the room (at 11:51), Clerk Cratchet said:  "You are all released.  Your duty has been fulfilled.  They settled the other case.  Thank you very much." 

Damn!  So close.  I wonder how much money-per-hour those settling lawyers got.  And they can't throw us a frikkin ham sandwich and call it even??

Now upon just having called the number, I am ready to serve.  Dazzle me, Denny!  Or at least throw me a lunch duccat so the whole day's not a wash.

Friday
Oct132006

Friday's Feast Addendum: Eat Dessert First!

366478-505306-thumbnail.jpgI've heard of the C___ F___ M_ pumps, but this chick just came up with the "Eat Me" wedding dress.

Meet Viktoriya Shtefano, in her wedding dress of 1,500 cream puffs, designed by her chef husband.  (Did you ever, as a kid, turn off the lights in your room and take a running dive into your bed??  Imagine these two on the wedding night.  He probably slid right off her and into the wall!)

I dont' have time to explain, but ever since I've started this blog, I've wanted to post a tribute to Dolores Erickson

Long ago, Dolores was The Woman Who, upon my seeing her, gave me my first inkling that things were gonna get good when I grew up.  I'm not about to get into the debate over whether sexual orientation is genetic or by influence, but if it's the latter, I've got Dolores to thank.  For those who don't recognize the name, click here for the image that launched me on my way.  I first saw it, as best I can tell, on the cover of a reel-to-reel album when I was about 5 or 6.  The album was released 40 years ago! 

So congratulations Viktoriya.  Don't forget to freeze part of the dress for your fist anniversary.  And thank you, Mrs. Erickson, wherever you are!  If I only knew where to send the card...

Monday
Oct092006

He built things

Uncle Freddie's gone.

As far as our family tree goes, you wouldn't find Uncle Fred on any branches or limbs,  but you will find him woven into the tapestry of our lives... with the brightest and strongest of fibers.

Uncle Freddie was Dad's best friend.  Aunt Barbara was Mom's.  Dad and Uncle Fred taught together, coached together, played together, laughed, cried, ate, and drank together.  And about 10 years ago, they mid-life'd together; divorcing and remarrying within about a year of one and other.

At the funeral today, I thought of the following, which--in the moments where I let the funeral be all about me--I delivered in a quiet eulogy.

They teach us in church that God so loved the world, He sent His only son to live there.  And I think that God so loved His son that He sent Him to be raised by a carpenter.  Uncle Freddie was a carpenter; a teacher; a coach.  He built things.

He built houses.  He dug ditches.  He planted trees.  He cut some down.

He built the characters of his students, fired their imaginations, and sent them on their way.

He built the bodies of his football players, trained their minds, and showed them how to fight the good fight.

He built dollhouses for my sisters.  He taught my bother how to hit a golf ball straight.  And he taught me how to drive a nail straight.  Well, almost straight.

As the sun rose on this beautiful October day, it shone on the marks that Uncle Fred made on this Earth.  It touched the rooftops of homes that he built, it shone in our eyes on the way to the funeral home, it warmed an unusually warm Columbus Day afternoon at the church up on Washington Hill; blocks away from his South Street boyhood home. 

For all of those he touched, in the grandest and smallest of ways, he built stuff; and those of us who take him to his rest after 71 years, and send him on his way, are part of his legacy.

366478-500139-thumbnail.jpgThanks, Uncle Freddie.  Thanks for teaching a boy the lessons that he was too proud to learn from his father.  Thanks for the laughs, the hard work, the "Work with your mind so you don't have to work with your back" days of framing, hammering, painting, chipping, tiling, grouting, and Frankies' Hot Dogs.  Thanks for supporting all the things we did, for cheering Tommy when he played football and followed your example as a coach; for charming my sisters, especially your Goddaughter Lisa; for steadying us the day we buried our Mom. 

I haven't cried as much, or felt as sad, in a long time.  Really sad.  Deep sad.

Though I know that from now on, the jokes will begin: 

"Jesus, Moses.... and Uncle Freddie are playing golf..."

Friday
Oct062006

Friday's Feast #114

Feast One Hundred & Fourteen
Appetizer
Name a song you know by heart.
"The Night Chicago Died," by Paperlace.  And several assorted Irish drinking songs. 

Soup
What will you absolutely not do in front of another person?
Pick my nose.  Sorry, it's the first thing that came to mind.  That's why God invented the car.

Salad
How often do you use mouthwash and what kind do you like?
Every morning.  Listerine Fresh Burst.  

Main Course
Finish this sentence: I am embarrassed when...
Someone catches me picking my nose in the car.  

Dessert
What was the last food you craved?
Lamb.  I was at a Brazilian grill restaurant recently and they had me at "Hello, this is a skewer of lamb.  Try our dipping sauce."  Second place:  The darkly toasted bagel with JIF peanut butter that I had just after midnight last night when I got home from my trip.  Third place:  Patron Silver.  (Tequila's a food, right??)
Sunday
Oct012006

If a picture paints a thousand words

... then I just painted 44 thousand of them.

Two new Photo Galleries uploaded tonight, folks.

... and the Battery's Down, new pics/new borough, from the Greatest City in the World.

At the Grapeyard, from summer and fall escapes.

 

These words will have to do for a couple of days...  I'm traveling this week.  Off to Sin City:  LV NV. 

Wednesday
Sep272006

And may it always be so...

"I know all about that stuff, Daddy.  I've played 'The Game of LIFE'."

 

366478-486384-thumbnail.jpgFrom my 9-year old son last night, when I attempted to explain what the word "salary" meant.

 

Tuesday
Sep262006

'Seen on my way to work' Haiku

Bike.jpgmen on two-wheelers

children driving SUVs

what a backwards world