Saturday, January 31, 2015

Always an excuse to have one...

It ain't Movember no more.

No, and it never was that, for me at least.

And for a few select co workers, who shall not be named.

Long ago, in like 2011, we assumed it, at the time, to be SeptemBEARD.

Followed by, BEARDtober. And NovemBEARD. DecemBEARD. BEARDuary.

Happy BEARDbruary 1st.

Do you know where YOUR beard is?

Because I know where mine is...

And the next month is the rebirth, the return of Spring.


March of the Beards.

Monday, January 26, 2015


10:20 am

This great white behemoth named Colbie is set to bombard the Northeast in a matter of hours. And this is the calm before the storm.

I made, definitely, my last trip out for the day and perhaps a few days this morning for last minute supplies, but I'm not talking about milk and eggs. I found myself in the checkout line of Amity Liquor with a sixer of Stone IPA and a big ol' bottle of Ireland's finest, Clontarff Whiskey.

Small talking with the cute cashier, I asked if they were gonna be closing early so they could get home responsibly.

She replied, "Not until customers stop coming in, when it hits, but we'll all be dead by then anyway."

I chuckled, yet she did not. She didn't even crack a smirk.

 11:36 am

I'm calling it now as B.S.

Every first snow storm of the year is overblown. Every first snow storm disappoints. Then, IF there are any more blizzards that follow, well, the news media strikes a more guarded tone. This happens EVERY year, and we never learn.

But let's be honest...we all love it.

The grocery store owners love it because their profits triple over the two preceding days, midYeTdle school students love it for obvious reasons, and politicians love it because they get press conferences, news quotes, and in turn, major poll bumps.

Who knows though, this could be it.

But I'm not holding my breath.

 2:30 pm

 2:26 am

Ok, I'm ready to admit, it is finally looking to be a bit ominous.

You might not can't see it, but walking from building 3 to my building, it was kinda treacherous. Even though this complex has covered parking, well somehow the cars were covered... in snow.

Ok, update, as of 9am this Colbie, who is one weak ass dude, is nothing but blustery snowflakes.

Yes I was right. B.S.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

My Sweet Lord

I truly think that the life of Jesus Christ, aka Yeshua bar Yosef has been so misconstrued by idiotic people, that they forget a lot of factors about this man.

For one, he was brown. And worse, Middle Eastern.

His jet black hair was long and curly and flowing.

He not only gave a shit about the poor, the hungry, the developmentally disabled, he also chose to live among them.

In fact, one of the many things He actually said was...

HAPPY are the poor, for they shall inherit the land.

The Beatitudes.

I'm pretty sure that most of those who claim to love him, wouldn't even recognize him, and even if they truly came across him, they'd blink twice and he'd be gone.

You've been praying to a blonde haired blue eyed Italian Renaissance figurine. Who is on the side of the Pharisees, and money changers, and anyone else who would rather the poor suffer than the stock points of one hedge fund manager go down one fraction of a point.

And thou shall worship no false idols!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

RecyClean Plastics, LLC

I had called my father's cousin, Jimmy, an influential guy, at the time for a job. I was washing cars at Enterprise for $9 an hour, and I had just graduated with my B.S. in Criminal Justice. I knew I was underpaid. Shit, I had my degree. But this is the Summer of 2007, a little over a year before I wouldn't have been underpaid. That a degree wouldn't mean shit.

And so I made the call, and found myself driving 25 minutes south to the Wilmington, DE seaport.

I found myself in a job I'd never imagined even existed.

Once a month, a truck would dock and unload about 30 boxes, each weighing give or take 900lbs of CDs. As in compact disks. And their cases. Albums that no one gave a shit about like Steely Dan, Silverchair, Alanis Morisette, and Ricky Martin. These CDs all came from Asia, and our job was to literally crush it up and sell it back to Asia to make...


And my father's cousin Jimmy told me, before I drove down to that wretched part of the American Midatlantic coast line known as New Castle, Delaware, that there'd be, and I quote, "management potential." And this is way before I could easily detect a lie.

And let me just tell you what management potential looked like. It looked like three dudes in a hot warehouse, one guy shoveled the CDs from a top a large machine and onto a conveyer belt, literally with a rake, and into a furious feeder chopper machine that grinded all the stupid Michael Boltons and John Denvers into fine powder. The next guy would put that fine powder through a complex chemical process which in theory would turn it all back to plastic. The third man, he'd sort it all, making sure the final product was nothing but white, and hence pure plastic.

To sell back to Asian countries.

And I was the rake guy.

And this is all fact. Trust me, as a quarter decent writer, I couldn't even attempt to make this up.

It sounds like simple arithmetic, yet it is not. For between the science of it all, lies the art. I won't bore you with details of everyday warehouse norms and etiquette. I'm the last guy to go to with questions about industrial chemistry. Yet I became, slowly, good at all this.

I got nice with the fork lift. I knew exactly the weight of a large thick cardboard box filled with nothing but CD dust just by eyein' it up. I learned to not only accept that hookers would approach the driver's side of my car at the McDonald's on Route 13 but also how to talk to them without being standoffish.

I learned, I grew, from this stupid and mistaken experience.

Whatever you are, be a good one, said some old 1700s dude with a Whig.

I thank my father's cousin, Jimmy.


What, am I, are we, supposed to give a shit about the death of America's biggest ally?

America's biggest ally in the Middle East?

A pompous aristocrat, a self titled King, by only bloodline?

Who ruled by religious coercion?

Is this not the only reason America was formed, to escape persecution from the King of England?

This arrogant and filthy rich mother fucker, selling us the very life blood of our economy.

Who condones the stoning of adulterers,

Who punishes women who drive cars in public, with stoning,

Who lives in a country where stoning isn't even the worst punishment


Yeah, officially it's beheading...


A country that metes out 1,000 lashes to bloggers who merely satirize the Establishment

Aka, this King who just died.

A King, a country, that is literally building a wall on their northern border,

To keep out the likes of ISIS, and al-Qaeda, from infiltrating,

To stop these evil groups from entering their kingdom

Groups that carry out public beheadings, stoning women, and lashing bloggers

Friday, January 16, 2015

Hard Hittin'

If I believed in hash tags and didn't think they were dumb, this would be called...


This is the north end of Hard Hittin' New Britain, arguably Connecticut's most troubled and blighted city, on this abundantly sunny and unseasonably mild January morning.

Hard Hittin' New Britain. But there is nothing "new" about this place. And there is nothing here that in any way resembles the U.K.

The uniform here is flannel or earth toned jackets over hooded sweat shirts. Their faces, grizzled and rough. Shopping carts are being pushed up and down the streets, though the only grocery store nearby, not counting the several corner bodegas, has been boarded up for years now.

This is a town where rooftop satellite dishes outnumber vehicles manufactured after 2002. This is New England's Detroit. I'm not here to carry out spiteful jabs though. This is a tragedy, is what it is.

Even Detroit has name recognition, and some fame to it. Baltimore has The Wire, The Orioles, and crabs. D.C.'s worst ghettos still have the dome of the Capitol in their view. And Oakland, California is lined with palm trees.

But New Britain, Connecticut is truly neglected, and worse than even forgotten...Never even thought of.

I was going to go on and on about the economic and sociological forces contributing over the years to this current mess, but I'll let you take it how you want to.

Know though, that Connecticut is not Greenwich or Mystic seaport, or hedge fund managers or yachts.

It is this.

Yet in the midst of all the Post-Industrial Age despair.....

Hope, small as it may be, glimmers.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

The Good, The Bad, & The Straight Evil

While Charlie Hebdo in France, merely days after the recent terrorist attack carried out by ignorant savages, was literally selling out their magazine, Hezbollah had their own words.

A spokesperson for the organization, you know, the less radical more organized bureaucracy-styled wing of militant Islam, literally said that Charlie Hebdo's satirical publications are "offensive to the feelings" of the world's Muslims. Oh, and that they actually cause terrorism to happen.

The equivalent of a 4-year old crying because well, his feelings are hurt, and he wants his way, or else. But even a 4-year old knows that names can never hurt them. Only sticks and stones.

I had an art teacher in college who said once, when it comes to art, you do NOT have the right to NOT be offended. I'm pretty sure he didn't coin this phrase. I'm also pretty sure it doesn't just apply to a sculpture of a butt naked David with his shriveled little junk exposed.

No, I believe this phrase is the gist of our very 1st Amendment.

Say what you want about our Founding Fathers, but this thinking is highly advanced, advanced for the 1700s, and advanced for this foul Year of our Lord 2015. It truly is a beautiful concept, and it is universal only in Western culture. That much is obvious, when a small sliver of a religion kills and maims over or condones killing and maiming over perceived theocratic offenses, offenses which aren't even punishable in their actual scripture.

This world is tough, and you must not dwell over the petty because it will consume you. That is what the enlightened drafters of the 1st Amendment had in mind, that is why mothers teach their 4-year olds that very song before they are unleashed into the cruel and unforgiving schoolyard. The world, is not, for the thin skinned.

The world can be a cold dark place. Yet ironically, religious extremists are making it colder and darker, because they are so thin skinned.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

"The darkness drops again, but now I know,
That twenty centuries of stony sleep,
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle.
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?"


Some people in my life question why, oh why in the world, how could I possibly enjoy watching The Wire, the First 48, True Detective. It's just, so dark!

Or why I chose the educational path of Criminal Justice. How could I have possibly enjoyed the summer of 2006, interning with the C.I.D. Homicide Unit?

Well, I'd say, for slightly the same reason I cherish the above poem, the given excerpt being the tail end of an amazing poem by a fellow Irish brethren, William Butler Yeats.

For as dark as this poem can seem, it gives me great comfort.

Immaculate words, captured by the immortal pen, in the year 1919, written for and during the despair and utter hopelessness of World War I, a time when no one could be certain of no thing.

The words are written proof, that even though now we think that in 2015, the world is going to shit, well, the world will be just fine.

For if it didn't happen then, and what better time for it, the Apocalypse, then when exactly will it happen?


This poem stands as proof, that every single generation leading up to it, and every single generation following it, thinks, or knows, that this is it. That these people are a new breed. That these are end times.

Yet the world continues to turn.

And yeah. It gives me great comfort.

Charlie Hebdo

"I reached for the stars but I just kept slippin,
On this life mission never know what's next,
Ancient kings from Egypt up to Julius Caesar,
Had a piece of the globe, every continent"

I just watched the video clip of an innocent unarmed person, agonizing on the sidewalk of some avenue in Paris, France, after already having been shot once, being shot again in the head. By a Muslim extremist. In broad day light. Simply for being there, at the wrong place at the wrong time in front of the headquarters of satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo.

And I didn't want to watch it.

I never give in to the satisfactional curiosity that comes with the everyday atrocities that plague this planet, in 2015 just as it has in 1715, and 1015, and 33 AD.

Only difference now is that it is all caught on video.

The Revolution, it turns out, will in fact be televised.

No, I don't want to give these clips the time of day. Not back in 2004 when Zarqawi in Iraq was decapitating unfortunate heads, not this past summer when ISIS was doing the same, and not now, for damn sure.

My cousin had sent me the link to watch it, a few days ago, and tonight after a few beers I complied.

What I saw, was plain and simple, casual murder.

The assasination of 12 people at that, 12 people whose job it was to poke fun at hypocrisy, and whether that hypocrisy happened to be carried out by white, black, Christian or Islam, didn't matter. They were the modern day court jesters, professionals who by my own knowledge, had immunity from persecution EVEN back in 1715, 1015, etc. People who were allowed to poke and prod at religion, or the establishment class, or anyone who could and should deserve poking and prodding.

Even in the eras of tyrannical kings, these court jesters got away with it, with using humor to satirize the rulers of the world.

There is but a small fraction of a decimal of people in the world who will kill over or condone the killing of those they are simply offended by.

And nowhere in the Qur'an does THE WORD "blasphemy" even appear.

Nowhere in the Qur'an does it state that showing the image of The Prophet requires a death sentence.

These are extreme views adopted by extreme politicians in Middle Eastern lands where inequality brews like the magma of an undiscovered underground volcano.

It will take a lot to not blame an entire religion for the evils of a select few. In fact, one cannot even be blamed for doing so. In this day and time, a Westerner has almost permission to do so, to wish death upon these evil doers.

But are we not more than that? Are we not better than that? We are all human beings, living miracles. Everyday. If you are reading this, if you even can read, then you are spectacular. We are all made of chemicals and ions and energy from the solar system surrounding us. And each microscopic little cell in our body, and this is no accident, resembles it.

How then, could we ever separate ourselves by sect, by nation, by RELIGION, by flag, by creed, by currency?

Please, know this before you give up the faith...

WE are the 95%. And ISIS, the Charlie Hebdo killers, al-Qaeda, The KKK, Boko Haram, and every other sad sap who can't deal with their problems without coercion, intimidation, and murder...

They are the outliers.

And consensus is the most powerful weapon.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

The Watcher

(A much smarter person than I, once said, that every time he says something, he feels a presence in the room watching. This presence, he called, is The Watcher. The Watcher is not God, or even God-like, but more so simply another entity, some other spirit that happens to be in the same room as he brags, and tells stories, and speaks of otherwise everyday humanness. The Watcher NEVER judges. The Watcher is just there, watching what you say, and do, and act like. Oh shit, an invisible entity, present at all times, hoping for your betterment. Call me religious I suppose)

See years ago, for better or for worse, I looked at shit differently.

It was then that I saw, life as it truly was.

If you dwell on the past too much, you're depressed.

And if you only think about the future, you're anxious.

But, and I can't stress this enough,

There is now, and always was, and always will be,

Just Now.

Just live for it,

It is the only thing that is real,

Now is what is Biblical,

Now is you are happy and well and young and free and patient and glad and truthful and lean and monstrous and hopeful and sufferin from glee

Now is what no one understands

Unless they can see

The death of close friends, the War in Iraq,

The fact that Now passes so quickly intact,

If you don't smell the roses in the hills of despair

In the valleys of death

Try selling Now to the ones who smell Satan's foul breath

Just live for the moment, the second the minute

Easier said than done,

But my friend you are in it.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Two Haircuts/One Day

Like dead cow parts in the refrigerated back room of a supermarket, I got butchered.

Oh yeah.

I mean, look at that! I stopped at my normal barber Tuesday after work, and I asked He Who Shall Not Be Named for my normal fade. What I got though, well, I'm not really sure what it is. Shit, there's a goddam bald spot! I've been there 5 or so times in the past year. Dude only charges $12, unheard of any more.

And I didn't even see it til I got home. He showed it to me in the hand mirror just prior to getting off the chair and it looked ok. Guess it was the lighting.

But when I saw it, I was mortified.

Call me vain as hell, but I couldn't even go to the gym, as planned, looking like this. Shit, I couldn't even go to bed with that atrocity on top of my head. I needed to get this fixed. But it was 5pm. Most barbers are closed at this time. I decided to hurry over to my Jamaican friends at Top Cut on Whalley Ave.

I went there once, two years ago. I got one of the tightest most precise-ist fades ever.

My man Mark hooked it up.

I ran in, frantically, ripped off my gray Polo knit hat and yelled out to Mark, as he stood there clipping the hair of some dude, and the other barber.

"Can you guys FIX THIS!?"

The other barber cringed in horror, I could see it in his eyes.

Mark said, "Of course ma dude. Might be awhile ya!?"

And there I sat, but 15 minutes later, the other barber, whose name by the way is Dave, called me to the chair, and within 10 minutes, magic happened.

In the hair stylist battle between the Old Italians and the Young Jamaicans, well, I think we all know who wins that one.