Monday, December 31, 2012


…Happy New Year!  I hope 2013 is your best ever.
Today is the fulcrum, a good day for reflection as well as for looking to the future.
There were some great moments and achievements in 2012, yet the year left me wanting.  I wasn’t nearly as productive as in the past.  In fact, toward the latter part of the year I was a lazy ass.
Have you made your New Year’s Resolutions?  I have.  Apparently I am going to be industrious, healthy and agented.
My list is very similar to other years, and I think that’s okay.  They key, of course, is staying on track.

…This afternoon I’m going to see “Life of Pi.”  I’m on a quest to see all the films that will likely be nominated for Best Picture.
I read “Pi” a few years back.  It was a struggle for the first 100 pages, but I remember the ending being hysterical.
Should be interesting.

…Here are some thing to ponder as we sit on the cusp of a new beginning:

"Always laugh when you can.  It is cheap medicine." Lord Byron

"Sometimes, watching a movie is a bit like being raped." Luis Bunuel

"Though my problems are all meaningless, that don't make them go away." Neil Young

"When you go to a job interview, I think a good thing to ask is if they ever press charges." Jack Handey

"You can win a girl with a poem, but you can't keep a girl with a poem. Not even a whole poetry movement." Roberto Bolano

"Don't believe everything you think." Dr. Lance Sobel

 "He who smiles rather than rages is always the stronger." Japanese proverb

 "A smooth sea never made a skilled mariner." English proverb

"The limits of my language mean the limits of my world." Ludwig Wittgenstein

 "It is a fine thing to have ability, but the ability to discover ability in others is the true test." Elbert Hubbard

"The archer knows the target.  The poet knows the waste basket." Ron Akron

"Happiness is essentially a state of going somewhere, wholeheartedly, one-directionally, without regret or reservation." William H. Sheldon

 "I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand." Confucius

"If we all said to people's faces what we say behind one another's backs, society would be impossible." Balzac

-“Everyone takes everyone for granted.”
-“Discharging semen is an unbeatable sensation.”
-“He made every effort to remember a time when he was not just the sum of his urges.”
-“He wondered what kind of life he might have had if he had paid attention from the beginning.” – Joshua Ferris


Friday, December 28, 2012


…It’s been a very good week for cinema.  

In the last three days, I’ve seen three films—“Les Miserables,” “Django Unchained,” and “Silver Linings Playbook”—all of which were outstanding.

“Django,” at 2:47 minutes, never felt long at all.  The story was a mash-up of many things—camp, humor, wonderful acting, great writing and directing, incredible violence and a horrible yet unflinching look at slavery.  Not unlike the concentration camps in WW2, it’s hard to fathom man being so inhumane to other people.

Christopher Waltz and Leonardo DiCaprio were sensational, as was Jamie Foxx.

Brady Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence were just terrific in “Silver Linings Playbook.”  My respect for their talent grew immensely after seeing them dominate the screen.

So fat it looks like “Lincoln” will win Best Picture and Daniel Day Lewis will win Best Actor.  Best Actress and the Supporting roles are all up in the air.

...Here are some things I like for the start of the weekend:
"I wanted to be famous, just to make the kids who'd laughed at me feel foolish. I wanted to be rich, so I'd never have to do the awful work my mother did and live at the bottom of the barrel--ever. And I wanted to be a dancer because I loved to dance... Maybe the illusions, the daydreams, made life more tolerable, but I always knew, whether I was in school or working in some damned dime store, that I'd make it. (Funny, but I never had any ambition whatsoever to become an actress.)"
-Joan Crawford

"To do the useful thing, to say the courageous thing, to contemplate the beautiful thing: that is enough for one man's life." T. S. Eliot

"Man is happy only as he finds work worth doing -- and does it well." E. Merrill Root

"Maturity is achieved when a person postpones immediate pleasures for long-term values." Joshua L. Liebman

 "There are two men inside the artist, the poet and the craftsman.  One is born a poet.  One becomes a craftsman." Emile Zola

Wednesday, December 26, 2012


…I hope you have the best Christmas ever and that you got the gifts you wanted, whatever those might have been.
My Christmas was wonderful: a packed house full of noise and laughter, just the way it should be.

…I saw Les Miserables on Christmas Eve at 10:00, got home at 1:30, stayed up until 4am with the dog.
The movie had a lot of brilliant moments, notably Anne Hathaway’s performance, and the classic songs from the musical.  I had shivers close to a dozen times and people clapped after many of the songs.  It would have benefited from some editing.  Even I, a lover of the play, felt it was about 40 minutes too long (total time 2:37 minutes). 
But overall, it was pretty terrific and I’m glad I went.   Next up is “Dijango Unchained”.

…"There is nothing so comfortable as money, - but nothing so defiling if it be come by unworthily; nothing so comfortable, but nothing so noxious if the mind be allowed to dwell upon it constantly. If a man have enough, let him spend it freely. If he wants it, let him earn it honestly." Anthony Trollope, from "The Duke's Children"

"I could, I trust, starve like a gentleman.  It's listed as part of the poetic training, you know." Ezra Pound

"If my doctor told me I had only six minutes to live, I wouldn't brood.  I'd type a little faster." Isaac Asimov

"And by the way, everything in life is writeable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise.  The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt." Sylvia Plath

"The smallest good deed is better than the grandest good intention." Duguet

"There is nothing noble in being superior to some other man.  The true nobility is in being superior to your previous self." Hindu proverb
"Stranger, if you passing meet me and desire to speak to me, why should you not speak to me? And why should I not speak to you?" Walt Whitman

Monday, December 24, 2012


…I hope you have a fantastic Christmas, filled with family, friends and lots of love.
I’m going to see Les Mis tonight at 10:30.  Can’t wait.  I love that story.  I’ve seen the play four times and usually bawl my eyes out by intermission.

…Here are some things to ponder:

"The road to hell is paved with adverbs." Stephen King

"A person is only as big as the dream they dare to live." Unknown

"Children begin by loving their parents; as they grow older they judge them; sometimes they forgive them." Oscar Wilde

"What ought one to say then as each hardship comes?  I was practicing for this, I was training for this." Epictetus

"Mistakes are part of the dues one pays for a full life." Sophia Loren

"Cut out all the exclamation points.  An exclamation point is like laughing at your own joke." F. Scott Fitzgerald

"The most valuable of all talents is that of never using two words when one will do." Thomas Jefferson

"To write well, express yourself like the common people, but think like a wise man." Aristotle

"If it takes a lot of words to say what you have in mind, give it more thought." Dennis Roth

"Tears are words that need to be written." Paulo Coelho

"Nothing's a better cure for writer's block than to eat ice cream right out of the carton." Don Roff

"I can shake off everything as I write: my sorrows disappear, my courage is reborn." Anne Frank

"The beautiful part of writing is that you don't have to get it right the first time, unlike, say, a brain surgeon." Robert Cormier

"Everywhere I do I'm asked if I think the university stifles writers.  My opinion is they don't stifle enough of them." Flannery O'Connor

"If you have any young friends who aspire to become writers, the second greatest favor you can do them is to present them with copies of 'The Elements of Style.'  The first greatest, of course, is to shoot them now, while they're happy." Dorothy Parker

Saturday, December 22, 2012


 …It’s morning and no one’s awake in the house.  Not even the dog, which is curled up on a pillow on the floor left of me.

…It’s going to be a great weekend, don’t you think?

…I’m ¾’s of the way into “American Horror Story.”  What a creepy show.  Jessica Lange is brilliant.

...Speaking of creepy, here’s something I wrote a while back:


People say it’s strange what I did, but isn’t strange a relative term?

Before Bobby left me I was a masseuse.  Temptations come with a job such as that, on both ends.   I’ve read about Jesus being left alone with the devil in the wilderness for forty days and coming out a stronger, better man.  Frankly, I’m impressed as hell.  It was Twain or somebody who said, “The only thing I can’t resist is temptation,” and that’s a lot like me.

Bobby’s coke habit was just a little thing but then he got into horse and all bets were off, as they say.  He started hanging out with shady characters—Rudy and Antonio, Lorenzo, Blaze—and after a spell they started to seem normal to me, as if they were cousins visiting a little longer than you wished.  People on heroin are pretty much ghosts, even to themselves.  The only time they come back to life is on the slide down, and then it’s just Satan (funny, that’s the second time he’s come up) needling you to get your drug back on.

In order to be a successful addict, you basically have to be a millionaire.  Our bills piled up.  We sold off appliances, a car, then the other, and I’d have to take the bus to work.  I didn’t mind because that’s how deep my love was for Bobby.

When he suggested I take it further, accurately pointing out that all the other girls did, it hurt initially, but then he explained how love and sex were different entities, and even though I already knew that, his careful articulation was so poignant I cried afterward and hugged him so hard my jawbone nearly cracked.

Once I’d agreed, what had seemed so easy became a scary proposition (no pun meant here).  It was as if men saw me as cheap prey, hustling elsewhere, searching for a real challenge.  In time I landed a few fish, then a school of them, but still we were always broke, Bobby and I.

The fellow that changed everything was a dentist.  Starting off, he was nice enough, sort of kinky with the outfits he’d bring for me, until one day he brought along this girl he called, “Sierra.”  The going rate for what he wanted was top dollar and I did it not only once but several times.

One day Sierra showed up by herself and explained how she was Mr. Dentist’s daughter.  I didn’t believe her but the pictures she produced were undeniable. 

People don’t know the whole story because I never gave it until now.  The newspapers just described my wicked sinfulness, how I plunged that hypodermic needle into his neck like I knew where to aim, which I did.

Bobby found someone else naturally, but Sierra, she comes to visit me once a week.  In many respects, she’s like the daughter I never had.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

…Snow and rain, snow and rain.  And some wind.  That’s what the morning’s brought, so it’s a good reason to start a fire.

...I’m a big Cormac McCarthy fan and last year I read his entire catalog, even the play he wrote that was not so great.
He’s very wise and remarkably gifted.  He even makes up his own words when he writes.
Anyway, here’s some of his wisdom:

"You forget what you want to remember, and you remember what you want to forget.”

"Nobody wants to be here and nobody wants to leave.”

“You think when you wake up in the morning yesterday don't count. But yesterday is all that does count. What else is there? Your life is made out of the days it’s made out of. Nothing else.”

“People were always getting ready for tomorrow.
I didn't believe in that.
Tomorrow wasn't getting ready for them.
It didn't even know they were there.”

"There is no God and we are his prophets.”

“Just remember that the things you put into your head are there forever, he said. You might want to think about that.
You forget some things, don’t you?
Yes. You forget what you want to remember and you remember what you want to forget.”

“Between the wish and the thing the world lies waiting.”

“He walked out in the gray light and stood and he saw for a brief moment the absolute truth of the world. The cold relentless circling of the intestate earth. Darkness implacable. The blind dogs of the sun in their running. The crushing black vacuum of the universe. And somewhere two hunted animals trembling like ground-foxes in their cover. Borrowed time and borrowed world and borrowed eyes with which to sorrow it.”

“That which exists without my knowledge exists without my consent.”

“Scars have the strange power to remind us that our past is real.”

“If trouble comes when you least expect it then maybe the thing to do is to always expect it.”

“You never know what worse luck your bad luck has saved you from.”

Monday, December 17, 2012



…Happy Monday.
I hope the start of your week is fantastic.
It’s raining like a mother where I am.

…Already this morning I read four poems and three stories for my editing gig at Metazen.  They were not so good.  One was close.  That makes over 20+ straight rejections.  I’d really like to find a great piece.  I’d like to accept something.  I’d like to make a writer happy, because I know how that feels.

…Here are some things of interest:

--“The most wasted day is that in which we have not laughed.” Sebastian Chamfort
--"It's not always easy to tell the difference between thinking and looking out of the window." Wallace Stevens

--"How I love the small, swiftly
beating heart of the bird
singing in the great maples;
its bright, unequivocal eye."
- Jane Kenyon, "Having it Out with Melancholy"

--"Creativity is inventing, experimenting, growing, taking risks, breaking  rules, making mistakes, and having fun." Mary Lou Cook

--“We cannot direct the wind, but we can adjust the sails.” Anonymous
--“People rarely succeed at anything unless they have fun doing it.” Anonymous

--“One person with courage makes a majority.” Andrew Jackson
…And lastly, I had this story, “Sons” up at A Baker’s Dozen:




            My sister’s young son stares at me, one eye slitted.  He holds the gaze for a full minute until I look away.

            Later, when I tell her the boy doesn’t like me, she says, “It’s not you.  He just doesn’t care for men in general.”

            At Thanksgiving, while I’m peeling a bottle of wine open, he slugs me in the spine and runs.

            On Christmas, he steals my new carving knife, but I corner him in the garage.

            “Give it back.”

            He glares.

            “I mean it.  Give it, now.”

            He whips the blade out of his boot like a rabid swashbuckler and slashes the air between us.  Once it comes within an inch of my chin.


            When my sister brings her son with her one night, she stands at the doorway, rain-soaked and says, “I’m sorry.  I don’t know where else to go.”  She tells me she’s scared.

            Her face is a wreck, mostly the eye areas which are split at the brow, eggplant-colored, swollen like socks.

            She says, “Don’t,” as I try to push past through the door.  She grabs my wrist.  “Please,” she says.  “I just have to think.”

            In the middle of the night her son finds me in the kitchen.  He hangs by the door frame.

            “Here,” I say.  “Come have a seat.”

            His eyes see the Seagram’s bottle, my glass and smoldering cigarette.

            “You’re all the same,” he says.


            Next Thanksgiving and Christmas my sister and her son are not there.  They’ve moved to Michigan or Baltimore or Dallas.  Moving, my sister is, on the run with her boy, raising him to be a man.

Saturday, December 15, 2012


…The shooting that happened in Connecticut Friday was horrific.  “Horrific” isn’t even a strong enough word.  Killing innocent people.  Killing anyone.  Killing children.  It’s unimaginable.  How can/could a single person be so evil, create such destruction, and leave years and years of unending grief behind.

On Facebook many of my friends are writers and mostly liberal.  Quite a few of them posted their vitriolic views about guns.  I understand their anger, but such posts only seem to create a bigger chasm, Red versus Blue states, etc.  I think Facebook is the last place to announce your political or religious views.

…Here’s what former Presidential Candidate Mike Huckabee said about the shooting:

“We ask why there is violence in our schools, but we have systematically removed God from our schools. Should we be surprised that schools would become places of carnage?”

…Here’s what Rush Limbaugh had to say:

“It is terrible, incomprehensible but I’m going to tell you something – as we sit here at this very moment, you know it and I know it – there are liberals trying to find a way to blame this on conservatives or Republicans,” Limbaugh told his audience.

Good Lord.  Really?  Can’t people just grieve and support all those families and friends.

It was awful to watch news coverage.  My heart broke a dozen times.  I can’t even fathom what those people are going through.

Sorry this is such a sad post, but I feel broken.

…"So great has been the endurance, so incredible the achievement, that, as long as the sun keeps a set course in heaven, it would be foolish to despair of the human race." Ernest L. Woodward


Friday, December 14, 2012


…I think about aging more than I should, likely more than most people.  I’ve never been a fan of getting older.  As a child and teen, I was very, very shy and didn’t come out of my shell until my freshman year of college.  Most people who know me think I’m outgoing, but really I’m that insecure 16 year old who moved to a new school one day before Junior year, knew no one, and used to eat lunch in the library, reading or writing (bad) poetry.

This morning my son left for a field trip and a big, formal DECCA presentation.  I helped him dress in a suit and tie.  He’s 16.  He’s six foot five.  He looked so grown-up and handsome, a boy almost a man.

In a year he’ll be off to college.  He’s a terrific kid, talented and gifted in so many ways.  It’s going to be strange when he’s gone.

Time is a mystifying thing.  Anymore, I try not to think about it too much.  I understand how aging, how death, is crucial.  It makes life important.  If we never aged or died, life wouldn’t hold the meaning it does.

…Anyway, just some psycho-babble for the weekend.  Thanks for indulging me.

…Here are some things to think about:

"Every day one should at least hear one little song, read one good poem, see one fine painting and if at all possible speak a few sensible words.” Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

“If you are trying to transform a brutalized society into one where people can live in dignity and hope, you begin with the empowering of the most powerless. You build from the ground up.” Adrienne Rich

"Patience is passion tamed." Lyman Abbott

"Poetry is indispensable--if I only knew what for." Jean Cocteau

"Parents need to fill a child’s bucket of self-esteem so high that the rest of the world can’t poke enough holes to drain it dry." Alvin Price

"Man is so made that whenever anything fires his soul,impossibilities vanish." Jean de la Fontaine

"Victory is sweetest when you've known defeat." Malcolm Forbes

"Let everyone sweep in front of his own door and the whole world will be clean." Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

 "If you wish to travel far and fast, travel light.  Take off all your envies, jealousies, unforgiveness, selfishness, and fears." Glenn Clark


Wednesday, December 12, 2012


…How’s your week going?  What are you wearing?

…I’ve been having a fun time dog-sitting.  Zoey is very cute.  You should see her.

…Here are some things I’ve read, or learned about:

…According to Richard Branson, of Virgin Atlantic:

The U.S. has the largest prison population in the world, with about 2.3 million behind bars. More than half a million of those people are incarcerated for a drug law violation.

The facts are overwhelming. If the global drug trade were a country, it would have one of the top 20 economies in the world. In 2005, the United Nations estimated the global illegal drug trade is worth more than $320 billion. It also estimates there are 230 million illegal drug users in the world, yet 90% of them are not classified as problematic.

In the United States, if illegal drugs were taxed at rates comparable to those on alcohol and tobacco, they would yield $46.7 billion in tax revenue. A Cato study says legalizing drugs would save the U.S. about $41 billion a year in enforcing the drug laws.

About 40,000 people were in U.S. jails and prisons for drug crimes in 1980, compared with more than 500,000 today.

 …K2, Spice, and other synthetic drugs that mimic a marijuana high sent 11,405 people--mostly teenagers and young adults to the emergency room last year.

…28 percent of American adults are obese
26% are physically in active
21% smoke

…9 million acres were scorched in wildfires this year, about the size of Massachusetts and Connecticut combined.  Also the third highest total ever.

…The typical annual salary of a Goldman Sachs partner is $900,000.  Goldman named 70 new partners, who join the elite ranks of more than 500 others among the brokerage's 32,600 employees.

…Last year the US birth rate dropped to its lowest ever recorded.

…44% of Americans plan on attending 3 or more Christmas parties.

…Don't fear for your Twinkies.  Bankrupt Hostess Brands says it's in talks with 100 serious potential buyers for its famous snacks, including Ho Hos and Ding Dongs.

…For 2012, top five baby names:

1. Sophia
2. Emma
3. Olivia
4. Isabella
5. Ava
(Note they all end in "a", whatever that means)

1. Aiden
2. Jackson
3. Ethan
4. Liam
5. Mason
(Note, none ends in "a" but rather all "n" or the lone "m")

…The average salary of a college football coach is $1.64 million, up 70% in 6 years.

…Ralph Lauren sells a wallet for $495.
Bottega Veneta sells a dog collar for $310 and a woven leather leash for $440

…The highest price paid for a comic book is $2.1 million

…32% of Americans say they couldn't cover their bills if their paycheck was delayed by even a week.

…New York City's homicide rate is expected to finish the year lowest since 1960.

…The average American eats over 35,000 cookies in their lifetime.

…8 -The percentage of time the Earth has been at peace in the past 3,5000 years.

…7 --The median number of minutes sexual intercourse lasts.

…52% of men spend 4 or more hours a week playing video games.
18% -Percentage who've played 6 to 9 hours in a single night trying to beat a tough level.
1 in 3 -Number of men who've turned down sex to play video games.

…The most diverse city in America is San Jose, CA
Seattle is 26th.
Fargo, ND is 98th
Charleston, WV is 100.

...What Women Like In Men":
#1 -Abs
#2 -Biceps
#3 -Chest
#4 -Obliques
#5 -Triceps

...What Men Like In Women:
#1. -Butt
#2. - Abs
#3. -Obliques
#4. -Quads
#5. -Chest

…The median price of a home in Alpine, NJ is $6.7 million
It's $5.1 million in NYC
$3.8 million in Beverly Hills

..Nine in ten Americans expect a world disaster to occur in the next quarter-century, including devastating earthquakes, terrorist attacks or financial collapse.

…Total enrollment of foreign students in America increased 31% over the past decade to 765,000

…As unbelievable as it seems, the US will pass Saudia Arabia in 2025 as the world's leading oil producer and will become a net exporter by 2030

...What's your definition of getting ahead?
Doing better than:
57% -Previous years
24% -Your parents
9% -Most Americans
6% -Don't know
4% -Friends and neighbors

Monday, December 10, 2012


…I’m dog-sitting this week for my daughter.  Zooey looks like a cross between a deer and a fox.  She’s quite cute, but she’s my daughter’s dog and won’t hang with me in my office, so I have to constantly check on her to make sure she’s not shredding something in the house.
I hope to get my own dog in spring.

…What have you got planned this week?

…Come the New Year, I aim to get back to reading steadily, something I’ve failed to do these last few months.  I think that’s part of the reason my writing has faltered of late.

…I did have this piece published at Collective Exile:

…And also this poem, at Red Booth Review, which is also one of the poems I read on a radio show back east:

The Sweater

I am the black
You left behind
On the love seat
Love no longer an option
Love seat

My yarn is tight
Fine Egyptian cotton
Top stitched and fully-fashioned.
Your skin
It used to sit or swish
Inside of me
Against my limbs and lengths
My sleeves and being

You took me places
Folded me
Kept me clean
Now I am a heap of yarn
Dead threads
Smelling of your perfume
But mostly
Reeking rust and

…I hope you have a fantastic week.

…Here are a few things to consider:

"What the dead don't know piles up, though we don't notice at first." Roger Angell

"The vision that you glorify in your mind, the ideal that you enthrone in your heart-- this you will build your life by, and this you will become." James Lane Allen

"Those who love deeply never grow old; they may die of old age, but they die young." A.W. Pinero

"You won't believe the most amazing things can come from some terrible lies." ~Fun, "Some Nights"

"We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars." Oscar Wilde

"There is no sensual pleasure in the world comparable to the delight and satisfaction that a good man takes in doing good." Tillotson