Sunday, October 30, 2016

Happy Halloween!

I know Halloween isn't until tomorrow night. However, my Halloween column runs today in the Boston Herald, so...

That's about all I have for you. I could make up a whole bunch of lies about how I wish I had something for you to read here, instead of having to send you all the way over there to read my stuff, but I'm glad they're paying me and I like to think you're a good enough friend that you don't mind too much if I'm having some success and you have to travel a little so I have food on my table.

If I keep having as much success as I'm currently having, I'll even be able to afford some plates and I won't have to keep putting the food on my table!

OK, you didn't deserve a joke that crummy. I'm sorry. For a joke that bad, you should probably teach me a lesson and go away. Why, here's someplace you can go right now! How handy!

(No sense hanging around here. All I've got left for you here is an illiterate ending.)

Soon, with more better stuff.


P.S. Boo!

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Here's Something For Going There

I'm too successful for your own good.

I was really going to give you something new here, instead of sending you to the Boston Herald again. However, the good folks at the Herald have decided you need to go over there, once again, to read what I have to say. They are, once again, publishing a piece of mine on the op-ed page (sixth time this month, and fifth within the last 17 days, for those of you keeping track for some reason. I must be doing something right, although I'll be damned if I could tell you exactly what.)

Anyway, since you'll be going over there, I'm going to give you something for making the effort to come here. Below, you'll find 15 horrendously goofy photographs of yours truly. I published them before about two years ago - and about five years before then, also - so it's not like I'm making one hell of an effort to make your troubles worthwhile, but at least it's something. So, go to the Boston Herald and read my latest piece, then come back here and look at my face until you're sick of it.

Or look at my face until you're sick of it and then go to the Boston Herald and read my latest piece. I don't care which order it's in. If you decide to look at the goofy photos first, there'll be another link down the bottom so you don't forget to go to the Boston Herald - and I thank you.

I have a few shoeboxes at home full of old photographs. I often go through them, looking for something that will spur a memory for a story, and while I was searching for some Christmas photographs, I...

Well, I think I have to face the truth (and, with a face like mine, the truth had better look out.) I am some kind of goofy bastard. At least, if these 15 photographs were the only evidence presented to a jury, I certainly wouldn't be acquitted of the charge. Taken as a whole (and they should probably be buried in one) these pictures belie any claims I might previously have made concerning studliness, athleticism, intelligence, good looks, the ability to dress myself, and just general good taste. They are the 15 photographs that will not be showing up in the glossy centerfold when my biography gets published.

Since a picture is supposed to be worth a thousand words, I suppose I should just shut up now and let you see them. If I had any brains, of course, I'd burn them. But, as the photos themselves will show, I don't. Here goes!

As you can see, in the photo that graces the very top of this post, I had some misgivings right from the start about allowing myself to be photographed. That showed promise, insofar as my future IQ scores were concerned. This photo shows that I still had a bit of well-founded reticence. However, it also shows... heck, I don't have any idea what else it shows. You can't see the back of the photo, of course, but My Mom wrote on it "Mickey Mouse (Jimmy) Halloween". I guess she included the parenthetical just in case anyone might have thought it was the real Mickey Mouse.

Continuing with the Halloween theme, we see me dressed up as a... uh... traffic cone from a bad Walt Disney acid trip? Actually, if this were a beer bottle costume, I think I could pass for one of the Seven Little Duffs, possibly Sleazy. In any case, I am now allowing my face to be seen in public. This is not good news for the public.

Here we see me desperately trying to force a smile while I hold two of my baby cousins. "Hold" is just the closest relative term, of course, as you can see me stretching out my hands to actually avoid such a thing. I am not a baby person; never have been. I prefer not to know children until they are at least somewhat ambulatory, and I really prefer waiting until they can talk. And I always fear that something horrific will happen if I have to hold a baby. As evidenced by this photo, I have no idea how to hold one. Why somebody thought this would be a good thing to take a photo of, I have no idea. I especially like the precariously positioned iron over the head of my cousin to the left.

Here I am pretending to be diving into a swimming pool. Except, not yet knowing how to swim, I am about seven feet from the end of the diving board because I was afraid of falling off of it into the deep end of the pool. I expect the illusion would have been helped if I had taken off the snazzy sunglasses. Nice bathing suit, though. When MY WIFE first saw this photo, she wasn't sure if I was naked. I prefer to believe that her vision is really bad rather than contemplate what that means concerning my genitals.

If this were just a photo of My Dad, no problem. If this were just a photo of me, no problem (other than my continuing obsession with really fey sunglasses.) But, both of us, in matching father/son shirts? Yikes!

Politically incorrect photo of the day (or possibly the century.) Yes, it used to be considered funny to poke your head through a cut-out in a billboard and laugh at the fact that you were white while the other person, your "twin", was black. After this was taken, I went to a Chinese restaurant, pulled my eyes slanty and ordered Sum Yung Guy.

Donkey. Oh, no - wait. Dorky.



Oops! Spoke too soon!

Get your eyes off of my legs and check out that basketball. Is it possible for a basketball to be more warped than that? No wonder I never made the NBA. I must have been shooting curveballs.

Age? 15.

Place? Ireland.

Condition? Plastered.

My Mom, Dad, and I went to this castle where they re-enacted medieval traditions. You got served big platters of greasy beef, with nothing but a knife and your hands to eat with, while various local actors pretended to be the king, queen, jester, guards, prisoners, and other assorted riff-raff. I remember little of it. The reason for that is because they gave each table huge leather casks of cheap red wine to drink from, all you wanted. And I wanted as much as they were willing to bring.

I was absolutely legless; about twenty six sheets to the wind. By the time my folks realized that I was pouring mug after mug of the stuff down my throat, I had already had about a quart. I have never been more shitfaced in my life (and, believe me, I've tried.) In addition, I woke up the next morning with the absolute mother of all hangovers. I've never had a worse one since (and, again, believe me, I've tried.)

Some folks would have been put off of booze forever by such an experience. Me? I figured I had had the worst of it already, so I might as well enjoy it from then on.

And here, in what may well be the absolutely worst photograph ever taken of me, we see some of the results of that enjoyment. There may be a bottle in a paper sack in my hand; I'm not sure. Notice the groovy facial hair, though. What in HELL was I thinking?

It was my dear late friend Buck who once commented that I do "deer in the headlights" better than anybody. Hard to argue with that.


Finally, we have the most recent shot of the bunch. Truth is I was just about to post this piece [in 2009] under the title "14 Goofy Photos", and a friend in the office I formerly worked at took this shot. I immediately knew it had to "15 Goofy Photos".

Soon, with more better stuff.

P.S. Go to the Boston Herald and read my latest piece. It's not nearly as goofy as these photos! And, again, thanks.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Remember Last Time I Was Here?

If you recall, the last time we got together in this space I apologized for sending you someplace else to read what I had written. I made some sort of vague promise that I might actually give you something new to read here this time, instead of sending you there to read it.

I lied. Sorry!

What can I say? I'm more successful than I imagined. I didn't expect to sell something else to the Boston Herald quite so soon. I did, though, and there you go - literally, if you hit this link.

Or you can stay here and stare at this page.

Or (here's a hint as to the content you'll find over there) you can choose neither of the two options I'm foisting upon you and go for a third option.

(I'd rather you choose to go over there, of course, because I think very highly of myself and I like to kid myself into thinking you think almost as much of me as I do of myself.)

No matter what you do, I thank you for making more effort to come here than I obviously have in trying to keep you here.

Soon, with more better stuff.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Well, Here We Are Again

And, in just a moment, I'll be sending you someplace else - which is what I do about three out of four times on this blog now and I apologize for that.

(Of course, if I was really and truly sorry, I just wouldn't do it to you at all anymore. Oh, well. An insincere apology is better than none, I suppose.)

So, anyway, I had an adventure on Saturday involving Japanese people and trolleys. If you follow me on Facebook - and why wouldn't you - you may have seen this photo...

In today's Boston Herald, I tell the story behind it. So, uh... go and read it, OK?

Here's a link that will get you there! I hope you enjoy the read.

See you next time (maybe even with writing that doesn't make you travel out of town to read it!)

Soon, with more better stuff.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Tired of the Election? Think Thanksgiving.

Our long national nightmare is scheduled to end - or go into a hideous four-year extended run, depending upon the candidate of your choice - on November 8th. After that, though, good news is on the horizon for most. Thanksgiving arrives 16 days later, on November 24th.

My latest column in the Boston Herald centers around the juxtaposition of those two events. And it includes some good news for fans of Thanksgiving.

If you'd like to read the good news, here's a link to my article. And why wouldn't you want to read some good news?

(If I somehow end up offending any committed pessimists in the crowd, my apologies. I know some people thrive on bad news and it isn't my intention to take you out of your comfort zone.)

Thanks for reading. See you there!

Soon, with more better stuffing.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Scene of the Crime

Old factory buildings, their cracked and dirty windows the ancient eyes of progress dormant; rail spurs grown over with weeds where steel wheels once carried precious cargo; a sun-beaten loading dock, hangout now for indolent juvenile delinquent pigeons, but formerly where fathers and grandfathers dripped sweat while dreaming of something better for their children.

Across the potholed street, a shopping center, the latest thing - two generations past - in 1960's space-age architecture; triangularly-shaped logos with sharp, motion-suggestive typeface. Now an ancient ironic relic, it borders a self-serve gas station/convenience store doing a brisk business in instant lottery tickets which litter the ground in mute testimony to the futility of the advertised hope. No one under the age of 50 enters the forlorn supermarket (and, it seems, even fewer exit.)

Two nail salons vie for business with three bars and a Chinese take-away. Where once a bakery filled the neighborhood with delicious aromas of fresh-baked breads, Mickey D serves tasty grease and heart attacks.

An old man with four-day gray stubble shuffles down the street carrying a shopping bag full of broken dreams, destination unknown even to himself, his too-long corduroy trousers, with baggy and worn seat, sweeping the sidewalk. He moves past a gang of boys whose parents have deluded themselves into thinking they are attending school. They laugh at the old man (who doesn't hear them in his world) unaware that it is their future walking by them trailing a faint odor of urine.

A block away, plywood fills the spaces where windows were in the first floor of an apartment building. Inside, on the third floor, a woman watches Days Of Our Lives and drinks instant coffee laced with Old Granddad. She desperately tries to avoid calculating if the bottle will run dry before her next government check arrives. The second floor is empty except for a few cockroaches too stupid to move someplace better. Behind the first floor plywood, two emaciated junkies doze on linoleum littered with cigarette butts and small empty packets of powdered temporary happiness.

A bus rumbles by on the main street, delivering diesel exhaust to complement the overwhelming smells of defeat, despair, desperation, and denial. The riders pass through poverty on their way from lower-middle-class dwellings to jobs with evanescent upper-middle-class dreams. They hope the bus makes no stops in this neighborhood. No one they wish to associate with ever gets on here. The driver, who once lived in the second floor apartment (but escaped via virtue of hard work, long hours, and luck) keeps his eyes on the road and his foot on the accelerator. He also hopes to make no stops here. He has no desire to strike up old acquaintances.

A police cruiser makes a desultory tour of side streets. The two officers inside know, from years of duty in the area, that randomly stopping at any three or four residences will likely result in their uncovering some small crime or another, but they save their energies for the inevitable something bigger which will need full attention later. Minor details are willfully ignored in favor of keeping an eye on the bigger picture.

The local politicians - none of them quite this local - make a grand show of hand wringing concerning the neighborhood, but do nothing more than make sure it doesn't entirely burn to the ground before the next election. When someone with brains enough to challenge them shows up on these streets, they gladhand him and put him on the payroll before he becomes too dangerous.
And there is always a baby crying, a dog barking, and the faint sound of tires squealing in the background.


Question worth asking: Is this my old neighborhood? Did I live there?

Yes and no. My old neighborhood came close, in the year or two before I left, but I only encountered the totality of it while I was on drugs and associating with folks who lived in these sorts of surroundings full-time. A couple of bad breaks and I might have taken up permanent residence.
The neighborhood exists in every big city in America. The routinely lucky never live there. The truly blessed live there once and get out. If they understand what they escaped, they remain eternally aware of their good fortune.

Point? None other than what you take from it. Or give to it, as the case may be.

Soon, with more better stuff. 

Monday, October 10, 2016

How Do You Feel About Columbus Day?

Columbus Day, which was an entirely innocuous holiday when I was a kid, has now become somewhat politicized. There are Columbus detractors and Columbus defenders.

I'll tell you how I feel, if you go the the Boston Herald's op-ed pages today.

Here's a handy link!

If you go there, I thank you. If you don't, I'll still like you (but I won't have anywhere near as much respect for you.)

See you there!

Soon, with more better stuff.

Sunday, October 02, 2016

Goodbye, Papi... Almost

I have a column in the Boston Herald today that is entirely devoid of any mention of politics. That alone should make you want to rush over there and read it. Where else in America today can you be guaranteed an experience so rancor-free?

As you may have gathered from the title of this post, it is about David Ortiz. That probably convinced some of you to read it, while my friends who are Yankees fans probably not as much. In any case, HERE IS THE LINK.

Thanks for stopping by. And if you click over to my story and decide to leave a nice comment, God bless you (even if you're a Yankees fan.)

Soon, with more better stuff.