Monday, December 25, 2006

Fairtytale of New York

The best Christmas song you've likely never heard. Just sad enough that it makes it a million times better than all the other horseshit Christmas carols out there.


Sunday, December 24, 2006

Christmas

"I'm drunk."

"How? It's like 1 o'clock. And you're at work."



- I'm drinking because he's dead.

- Stop using him as a crutch.


- I'm not.

- You are. You always do.

- Don't talk about him. You didn't know him.

- Does that matter?

- Yea.



"Mike brought a bottle of Jagermeister in for the Christmas party. We drank it an hour."

"You're ridiculous."

"You like it."

"Yea yea."



- I fucking hate it and want you to stop.

- Fuck you.




"How was the party?"

"Not bad. The food was good."

"When are you getting out?"

"Well, the Jager is gone....so hopefully soon."

"You are a mess."



- Are you ever going to change?

- Who knows. Not if people keep dying on me.

- So you'd rather die yourself?

- Sometimes. Not that I want to. I like living. But it's too much sometimes.

- So you drink yourself retarded.

- I think too much when I'm sober. I can't handle it.

- You're being a pussy.

- There's so many possibilities. There might be a God. Ryer might be in heaven, he might be in hell, or he might be in another universe where the journey continues, and it's as miserable as this planet is. God might only exist in this universe but not in the others, or he might exist outside of space and time. I might die in four seconds and I don't even know it. I could get another phone call where they tell me you're dead, or someone else who I've let get close to me. I can't handle it. In four billion years, the sun is going to inflate and consume the Earth before it dies. None of what we say here matters.

- Life isn't miserable.

- You haven't lived. It's fucking miserable.

- You see what you want to see. And I'm not as naive as you think I am.

- I know that.


- And you're getting out of hand with the drinking.

- I've always been like that. You just didn't know me. It was worse once.

- I don't like this.

- You shouldn't.




"Well. Call me when you're out. I'll be around later."

"Ok."

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Rocky VI

Was fucking awesome. You should all go see it. Immediately.

Just watch out, because I think the guidos yell at the screen more than the blacks do....

If I heard, "Yo Adrian" one more time, I was gonna knock the grease out of one of those bastards....

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Rocky VI

I've been hearing a lot of crap about Rocky VI, which is coming out today.

"That movie's gonna SUCK!"

"That shit is so unrealistic!"

"He's too old man!"


"I hear he fights cancer in this one." (admittedly, I think this one is funny.)

Well, let me tell you all that you can fuck off. This movie is going to be incredible for a couple of reasons.

First of all, to the people who say it's "so unrealistic" that they don't want to bother seeing it...have you motherfuckers seen any movies in the last twenty years? Any James Bond or Vin Diesel film? Did you like Predator? Or Terminator? Or, for the nerd constituent out there, The Lord of the Rings? You're telling me that movies about either elves and dwarves or aliens that hunt humans and use their spinal cords as trophies are more realistic than a boxer not knowing when to quit?

Would Rocky be too old to fight professionally? Yes. But it's a fucking movie, and a movie that is no more realistic than the whole premise of the Rocky series in the first place- the world champion giving a no-name club fighter a shot at the title simply because he's called the "Italian Stallion", and America happened to be discovered by an Italian; that was a stretch in the first place. This is no worse.

As far as age goes, George Foreman won the title back at age 45, and Jack Dempsey fought on Okinawa at the age of 49 with a group of men that he trained himself. The fact is, like it's said in the movie, "Fighters fight." They can't turn it off, and they can't stop it. This fictional character of Rocky might be closer to the truth than some like to admit, maybe because they aren't fighters themselves and would never consider such a dangerous venture.

Sly looks better at 60 then 95% of America has ever looked in their lifetimes, including you who is sitting at their now computer reading this. What kind of shape will you be in at 60? Hell, what kind of shape are you in now? How many of you can do 25 pushups and 10 pullups in the same day? There's the old saying about people in glass houses throwing rocks, and I think more fat Americans need to remember this before they bash Stallone for making action movies at 60.

On a different, more philosophical note, America really could use a Rocky movie again. A History professor I once had told me a story about when he saw the first movie in the theater back in 1976.

"America was in bad shape. The whole Vietnam thing, the Watergate Scandal, Nixon...the 70's were a burned out time. Things were bad. America wasn't the good guy anymore, or the underdog. When I saw Rocky for the first time, the crowd was stunned. It gave America back a sense of itself, a sense that had been missing since Vietnam, and people couldn't believe it. It was still the only movie I've ever seen that, at the end, the entire theater stood up, and began clapping."

This is the classic America story of a kid from the streets clawing from the slums of a beaten, blown out city and becoming the champion. This is what your country, my country, is about. This is your American dream. Maybe somewhere along the line you've all forgotten what it's like to not be on top, to have brawl and fight and hope that somewhere along the line you catch a good break. Maybe you never were fighters.

But don't fuck with the hopes of us who are, and who still have a long way to go. Give us our damn movie.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Morristown

We were in a cigar bar that was buried deep inside another bar, and it was far too fancy for me. After a half hour of choking on cigar smoke and getting pissy, I snapped.

"Hey Stan."

He looked over at me, and I smiled

"Fuck this place."

He gave me a confused look, and with that I poured my beer on the floor, then took the glass and shattered it. The bouncer was incredulous, and three of them began walking towards me.

I looked at the closest one, held my hands up. "Don't worry man, I'm leaving anyway. This place sucks."

With that I made a beeline for the door, and walked out into the main bar. It took me a couple seconds after walking out of this cigar room to realize that the bouncers were probably going to beat the shit out of me, so I took off trying to find my way out, ending up drunk on the street with no cigarettes and angry men after me. With that, I waited. For what I'm not sure, I may or may not have bummed a smoke from someone on the street.

Yes, you can't take this drunken redneck to nice places, and I don't like drinking around people that quite obviously have a lot more money then me (or at least act like they do.) When you mix my hatred of the upper classes with a whole lot of beer and some old fashioned snobbery on the part of the bar, bad things will happen.

This is the reason that I would always rather drink at a dive shithole bar than a nice one like the ones in Hoboken or Morristown- I never feel so out of place as I do when I'm drinking around rich folks. When I was at the American Legion bar last week drinking with an old gray bartender who'd been in Korea and a couple of fucked up Vietnam vets, I felt fine. I drank all night there and nothing happened, and I didn't start any trouble (even if I had, that bartender had seen the Bataan Death March, so what the fuck was some drunk like me going to do to scare him?) If, however, you put me in a nice place with carpets and couches and fifteen juiced up guido bouncers, well, I'll start trouble.

I don't feel like an equal at those fancy joints; even if I'm dressed up, it's clear once I open my mouth that I'm not exactly high class. My mannerisms and actions are working class, and I can get very reactionary if I'm put around people that I think are looking down on me, even if they're not.

I like the dives because of the downtrodden working men that go there, the guys who use chainsaws and hammers during the day and drink because they got nothing else to do at night. There's stories there that flood these bars, hard lessons that the streets have taught them. They have no place at a club where the rich do designer drugs and dance like the goddamn dirty guidos that they are to their thumping techno garbage. The anger wells inside of me as I write this, and if I know that if I was at that Morristown bar again I'd have done the same thing.

-----------------

Either way, it was fun at the time but now it's not so much, and I'm drinking far too much lately. On my "recovery days" of Monday through Wednesday, I'm taking stock of how much drinking really needs to be done. When you couple the fact that I could have had my teeth kicked in on Saturday night with the whole adventure of having to get Harry's car out of the impound after a DWI (all the while reliving my own), I think I need to take it a little easier... I'm getting the feeling that it's only a matter of time before me and the cops meet again in some fashion, and I'm not digging that at all.

It is, of course, only Tuesday. Who knows what Friday will bring.

Monday, December 18, 2006

DUI

I'm driving with Harry to Kearny to pick his car up from the impound lot, and we're getting off of Route 21 after being on the road for about 20 minutes. He pulls out his wallet out and begins looking through it.

"We gotta turn around."

"What?" He's still rifling through the wallet.

"I forgot my registration. They won't let me get the car out of the lot without my registration. We gotta go back."

"You fuckin pric."

20 minutes later we're back at his house, he runs in, and then I turn around again.

We're tracing back the same way we came, and it's a good thing that we had to turn around because we got off at the wrong exit... the broad who wrote him the directions apparently doesn't know how to get to where she lives.

We're driving through all these towns that are so small and close you can't tell them apart on the map, and before you know it you're out of the town and you missed your turn. It's so damn far to this police station that I'm losing faith in the little scrap of paper that is supposed to lead our way, but I know the area so little that I can't argue with whatever he's telling me.

We're driving through Main Street in either Harrison or Kearny, I can't tell. There's a lot of Spanish guys around, and a lot of Portugese and Mexican flags hanging from buildings. We drive by the "PizzaLand" place that's on the opening credits of The Sopranos.

"I always wondered where that fuckin place was. I thought it was in Elizabeth."

"I wonder if their pizza is actually good. They must get a shitload of business just from being on that show."

"Hey Harry."

"What?"

"Next time you get a fucking DUI, can you get it somewhere a little fucking closer?"

"Yea I was thinkin' that. This is a drive. I was lost too, I wasn't even supposed to be here. I stopped at some gas station over here and was trying to get some Indian guy to give me a map. I was getting fucking pissed...I think I scared the shit out of him."


These are some tough towns. Not outright dangerous like Paterson or Newark, but just tough working class towns. Kearny, Rutherford, North Arlington. There's a lot of Italians, and more recently Hispanics, and the streets smell like pizza the whole way through.

"The cops loved me though, man. They were saying that they felt bad doing this to me because I was such a nice guy," he says.

"Well I'm glad you weren't in the "Let me fight a cop" stage of drunk. That's what I figured happened." It was true. He doesn't deal well with authority when he gets drunk, and he knows exactly how big he is and how that affects people. It's something that has gotten us all in trouble in the past.

"Nah, I was fine. I was talking to the one guy who was doing the breathalyzer thing, and I was asking him questions and shit about the machine. I know where all the readouts come out of, and we were bullshitting about it. He said to me, 'Ah, so you been around a lot of these before?'. I told him no, I just watch the History Channel all the time."

"I told this cop, "Man, I gotta take a piss. I'm dyin." The cop tells me that I can go in one cells and use the toilet, and he walks me through to where all the holding cells are. I'm about to walk in when I stop right at the bars, and look at the cop, and ask'em, "Hey, this isn't like, a trick, is it?"

I start laughing.

"Hey man, I didn't want to be taking a piss and have that cocksucker slam me in there," he says.

"You know, if they wanted you in a cell, you'd have been in a cell."

"You never know."

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Drunks

"I fell in a bush last night."

"Yes you did."

"I think I fell on a wall, too."

"You fell on a couple things. You were singing in the parking lot, cursing at people and shit."

"Fuckin right I was."

"Do you remember me making fun of you?"

"Huh?"

"Yea. I did it for a while, and I told you that I was doing it now because it's the only time I could get away with it. I told you that you wouldn't remember."

"Nice. Well, I don't."

"Good."

I walk in the apartment, and they're trying to fix all the crap that we've collectively broken over the years. The ground is strewn with tools and screw guns and paint is everywhere. Justan starts talking to me.

"What happened to Harry last night?"

"He got a DUI, the dumb fuckin bastard."

"Where?"

"In Kearny."

"The fuck was he doing down there?"

"Who the fuck knows. He hit some guy, then took off. The cops picked him up later."

"Fuck."

"Yea."

"Isn't that a felony?"

"Don't know.

"Lot of bad shit happened this week man. Goron had a stroke."

"Get the fuck out. Isn't he like 25?

"Yea. Just woke up and his left side was numb. They can't find the clot yet."

Ryer's ghost looks over my shoulder, he's smiling at me.

"I think our bodies are rebelling against us, eh boyo?"

Justan smiles.

"Lotta hard livin man."



Thursday, December 14, 2006

The Tale of Heroin Kev

He lays out on the picnic table behind the nursery shed, his walkie-talkie next to his ear and his hat falling off. He is so fucked up that he can barely walk, yet quickly responds every time a call comes over that radio. A question is asked about a plant; he sits up, hits the button, and rattles off more information than anyone should rightly know about plants, including their phylums and Latin names. With the question answered, he lays back down on the table, and is gone again. The needle lies under the table.

When he first started at the garden center, he seemed like a cool guy. He stood at a lean 5'9, and was what one might call muscular. He had a shaved head and a busted up face that came from being a Golden Gloves boxer in the Army, and a red goatee covered his chin.

We knew he'd had some kind of problems as evidenced by the little blue AA bible he aways kept with him, and he'd have it out constantly, circling passages, writing notes, whatever. No one knew how bad it was, because the garden center is like the French Foreign Legion- we'll take anyone, regardless of your past indiscretions. Murderers, rapists, drug addicts, we don't give a fuck as long as you can move heavy shit...

At 6 o'clock in the morning he'd be there, unloading trailers of heavy plants, brewing pots of coffee so strong it put hair on the hair on your balls, dragging pallets around. He was a far better worker than I am, and by the time I'd gotten there at 9, he'd have already done half the things that needed to be done in the nursery. I work in the stone yard, so I don't have too much contact with the nursery guys during the busy season, but even I could see that between his obvious knowledge of the plants and his willingness to do any kind of work, he quickly became a favorite of the bosses.

It was beyond work ethic with him, though; there's plenty of guys who will work their asses off but are such cocksuckers you can't stand to be around them. Not Kev. He was so polite it was unnerving, especially in a blue collar environment where things can get pretty rough and vulgar. A little Spanish kid showed up for work on a Saturday still drunk from the night before- Kevin called his mother to come pick him up, and tried to keep it quiet.

If you add to this that the guy was in the Army, not to mention was a boxer, well, we liked him. Me and Ryer were all of maybe 18 or 19 at the time, and he would show us stuff about boxing, fixing our jabs so they had more snap in them, or showing us how quick his own hands still were, even though he was getting older himself. A big hillbilly friend of mine who loved to fight told Kev that he wouldn't bother even touching him because he was so damn dangerous- "If we get into it, I'm going to get my gun, because you'll fuckin kill me." That is a compliment among compliments coming from that guy.

As the spring wore on, though, things started going downhill. Kevin hung out a little too much with a shady Sicilian named Danny who had faded tribal tattoos down his arms and liked to drink Southern Comfort in the morning. Stories started being made up back there, great tales about them getting arrested the night before for drunk driving, getting into fights with each other, losing their licenses, getting connections to get those licensces back....all bullshit.

We would watch from the stone yard as they brought trees out from the nursery, getting a little more ragged each time they came out, until by the end of the day you could tell they were both blitzed. Drunks are nothing at the job, so this was all being let go. I'd be driving the rack truck bringing out deliveries, and Danny would be in the passenger seat at 10 in the morning drinking out of a water bottle, swearing up and down that it was iced tea. It's safe to say that as this grimy Sicilian got worse, so did Kevin.

August came around, and we began hearing about needles found in the nursery shed. Kevin and Danny both blamed it on a runt of a guy that worked outside with me (logical only because this other fucker certainly looked like he was on heroin.)

In a month, Danny had disappeared and Kevin was knocked out on the picnic table high as a kite. His war was with heroin, and our boy was losing. Bad. Soon after, he got put in rehab (I don't know who put him there, though I think it may have been the blessed State of New Jersey).

He was gone for a month, and no one really knew his whereabouts, or if he'd ever come back. Eventually, he showed up.

"Do I still have a job?" he asked.

"I don't know man. Go talk to the big man."

"Hey man, you got an extra cigarette?" I nodded. When he was sober he had smokes, when he was fucked up he didn't. Nothing had changed.

We were leaning on pallets of cinder blocks. Ryer looked at him. "So how'd rehab go?"

"All right" he said.

"Did it work?" I asked.

"Nope."

He lit his cigarette, then turned and walked away; after a couple steps, we could see the fifth of Jack Daniels start working its way out of his back pocket. Later that day, while looking for rides back to Paterson, he jumped in a van with a bunch of Mexicans and took off while still on the clock.

That was the last time anyone saw him.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Dangerous Folks...

The boss calls me over the radio. "Come up front. I need you to help someone."

That means its either a friend of his, or someone he can get something from. I walk in from stone yard outside.

The guy who he's talking to is short, wearing a black t-shirt and those Adidas running pants that only the wops wear. His hair is thinning, gray, but he looks somewhat fit in the way that guys who jog alot do.

"Help this guy out. He needs a couple hundred wallstones. Just put the pallets in his truck."

"OK."

The short guy says something about pulling the truck around, and walks out the door. I'm about to follow him, and my boss grabs my shoulder.

"Be careful what you say to this guy. Don't fuck him around. He, uh...went to college for a while."

"Sure thing."

What the fuck does that mean, I'm thinking as I walk out the door. I get on the forklift, grab the two pallets worth of stone that he wants, and drive out to the box truck that's backed in the driveway. It's one of those that has the metal racking on the sides, and they're full of Pepsi bottles and other assorted sodas.

He opens the gate, and I put the first pallet in without a problem. As I'm sliding the second one in, he's yapping about something that's in GuidoSpeak, and I never know what the hell they're saying. I'm mostly just smiling and nodding.

For some reason the second pallet isn't going in nearly as easy, and I get out to see what I got caught on- it's the base of all these soda racks that's slowing me down. Suddenly it clicks: this guy works vending machines, and now I don't have to ask what the boss meant when he said that this guy "went to college." Fuck.

For the next ten minutes, I'm a lot more careful with that forklift.



When I walk back in, the boss asks me if he tipped me.

"Yea. He dropped me ten bucks."

"You got them all in OK?"

"Yea, no problem", I say, fingering the bill in my pocket.

"Good."

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Gulls

You coast over an ocean of concrete.
Instead of waves there are painted white lines,
Instead of driftwood, lampposts.

You’ve flown over Achilles on the banks of the Aegean,
You’ve flown over Napoleon’s march into Paris,
You’ve flown over the streets of Dublin on a bloody Sunday.

Over the fields of Athenry,
Over the careless guillotines of France,
Over the gallows, where traitors have gone to die.

Now you are here, sailing the currents
When I throw my cigarette, you dive down
Like a burning white Stuka.

Am I an unwitting partaker
In the history of the future?
Will someone write that you flew over me once?

Friday, December 08, 2006

Him

Where you been hiding all these years?

Why the ancient books and old gray men
Who wail like banshees, and cast their eyes on me,
Claiming I should fear your wrath?

When is the thunderous day
That you’ll come and cut me down?

Are your angels drunk when evil is rampant
And women weep for your help?
Where is your raging anger, where is your army of light?

Where is your endless mercy
For the poor and the downtrodden,
Who eat from broken dumpsters, and drop by the thousands
Painfully, slowly, while rich men feast in mansions of bricks and gold?

Are you the warrior who screams the loudest,
Yet never unsheathes his sword?

When they starve in the black gutters,
The shadowy alleys, in gray streets,
Do your burning words feed them?
Where are your mysterious ways?

Friday, December 01, 2006

Bob Dylan Part II

There was truly something special about seeing old Bobby D. at the arena. Just to know that I was in the same building as he was enough to have me dumbfounded in a state of shock and awe (if you will).

His voice sounds like when you scrape a metal rake against asphalt when it hasn't rained in a couple weeks. He sang many tunes from the new album, one that I'm fairly unfamiliar with, but it still sounded golden.

It wasn't all that long- only an hour and a half. In that hour and a half, though, I saw a legend perform Tangled Up in Blue, Like A Rolling Stone, and All Along the Watchtower to a hardcore audience that braved the weathered, storming Jersey highways just to see him. You'll hear no complaints from me.

God bless the old man, the foremost poet of the American Century.

Changes in lattitudes

If any of the four or five loyal readers of this blog are wondering why I changed the name and address, it's because I had people reading this who shouldn't be reading it, and, as a result, I was beginning to censor myself. I can't have that.

I appreciate the good people who have found their way here anyway again (mostly through T-Nation).

Sorry for the mix up guys. Thanks for checking this shit out continually though. I have a short story coming up that's gonna blow your cocks off. Be warned.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Drunks

"The most important thing to remember about drunks is that drunks are far more intelligent than non-drunks. They spend a lot of time talking in pubs, unlike workaholics who concentrate on their careers and ambitions, who never develop their higher spiritual values, who never explore the insides of their head like a drunk does."

- Shane McGowan



For some reason I identify with this. That's probably not a good thing.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Bob Dylan Part I

We stand on the top level of the parking deck five stories up drinking beer and watching the rain hammer the ground below us. We lean against the edge of the cement wall, looking down at the people streaming into the main gates of the arena. There's a narrow walkway down there rimmed by high cement barriers, on the other side of which is a fenced in section full of concrete footings and a couple. dumpsters.

I finish my beer and looked at him. "Think I could get it in there?" I said, pointing at the big dumpster.

He spits off the edge, and the wind carries it nearly straight down and it looks like a breaking ball, nearly hitting some innocent bystander on the ground below. He smiles. "They'd have just thought it was rain."

"Yea. Really stringy, thick, disgusting rain," I say.

I figure I'll go for it anyway, and haul back and throw the beer bottle as far as I can, figuring that between the drop off and the rain it'll need the extra velocity. Well, it doesn't, and it sails way past the dumpster and crashes to the pavement on the other side of the barriers.

"Good thing no one was walking there, huh?" I ask.

Someone on the ground looks up at the parking deck trying to see why a bottle miraculously fell from the sky.

"We should probably leave. Like, now," he says.

"Right."

I look at him as we're walking away. "How fucking awesome would it be if rained beer all the time?"

"That would be awesome."

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Breakups and Bar Bullshit

I walk into the Chinese bar that I have been going to since I was 18 ready to waste another useless night drinking. The friend I was supposed to meet fell asleep, but I didn't figure that out until after I had ordered a beer. It's a small, dimly lit bar that never has enough stools for the people that hang out there, and the main attraction is the bartender, an old Chinese guy named Bill. He's a good guy, and if you go there enough and he likes you, he'll get you loaded for under twenty bucks. Being as I've been going there since before I could vote, he's known me a long time.

The brother of a guy I used to be buddies with is next to me, talking to his girlfriend. We exchange the workingman's hello of, "What's up man?" and "Same shit bro."

Bill comes over, and with his hands in the air, says in his broken English, "Where your girlfriend? I not see her with you in long time."

"Nah... we broke up."

He looks disappointed. "Really? Why?"

"Just going different ways is all. Different lives, different paths."

This catches the attention of two girls who were sitting next to me. One is cute but looks like someone who smoked too much pot in high school, and the other one is fat but looks like she's trying. Bill is, as always, trying to get them hammered because...well, that's what he does to girls.

I explain a little more, but I don't particularly want to talk about it, and Bill is a good bartender and knows when to not ask questions (unlike so many others).

The cute girl looks over at me after my little monologue and sees right through it all. God, I fucking hate women.

"How long did you go out with her?" she asks.

"Three years."

She takes it in, looks down. "That's a long time."

"It is."

" She wasn't the one, huh?"

I fucking hate women.

I manage a weak smile which probably comes out as more of a grimace. "No, I guess she wasn't." The night takes a dive and the room gets colder, but she says something that somehow comforts me, and even though I don't remember what it was, it makes me feel better. I turn back towards my beer.

I keep half an ear open to her conversation with her friend and with Bill, and hear her say she is moving to Boston in the morning. I smile and say something about the Red Sox, as is my habit when someone mentions my town. She's going up there to be nanny for some family or something, and even though I think it's a retarded reason to move two states away I pretend like it's interesting. Her and her friend are ogling over some guinea at the end of the bar who looks like he probably wears sunglasses at night, and I just shake my head.

Unfortunately, even though I am kind of interested in what this girl has to say, I don't feel like dealing with anything that has a vagina, so after a couple of remarks here and there over five minutes I pay my tab and get up to leave. I say my goodbyes to Bill, I'm sure I'll see him tomorrow anway. Before I leave I smile at the cute one, but it's a sad smile that I can't stop, and raise my hand off my hip in the classic, "Seeyou later" move.

"Good luck in Boston" I tell her.

She smiles. "Oh, thanks!"

A I'm walking out I hear her say a little too loudly, "He was soo sweet!"

I smile to myself because I know I one-upped the guinea that was "so hot."

Later, the bartender at Casey O'Tooles smiles at me and pushes my hand away when I go to pay her, saying, "Save it, hon." I get her number but never call her.

It's going to be a hard Christmas.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Pregame for Dylan

I'm going to see Bob Dylan at the Continental Arena tonight. It'll be cool being in the same building with a man as legendary as he.... and with any luck I'll get a good, drunken, cop-free story tomorrow.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Another Fall

The nights are getting colder and the daylight fades out quicker, hightailing it over the horizon way before it used to. Even though I enjoy the cold, I hate this time of year where everything that was once alive dies a brutal death at the hands of the frost. Shore houses get closed up, the Parkway clears out, and it becomes abundantly clear that my time of year is gone.

I wonder sometimes if I could ever leave Jersey. There's a lot of this state that is ingrained in me, including my wonderful hatred of every part of the state that isn't my part. I rank on a certain girl for living in the "New York part of New Jersey" for being from Secaucus, and turn around in the same day and made a (somewhat) crude comment to another about being from Sussex (given the propensity of the town to having wild inbred albinos roaming their forests). Anything North or West of here is too hillbilly for me (I fucking lived there, I should know), and anything too far to the East is where instead of albinos with white hair, we have Italians with too much hair gel who wear sunglasses at night, roaming grimy forests of gray concrete.

The winter makes me hate this state. Maybe not the winter, maybe that's too broad a term. Maybe just the snow. The cold has very little effect on me, being as I've been an outside dog all my life and, over time, developed a thick skin. The cold doesn't keep me from going out, working, or driving, and it helps with hangovers when you walk into a frozen morning's early lights. But then that's the thing with me- I like to keep moving. I don't know what an off night is, and I have no conception of how someone could have a good time sitting at home watching TV all night. I like getting out in the world and being around people (ironic, eh?), and the snow keeps me from doing that, and I'm pent up like a caged cur who wants nothing to do with his captors. Old people slamming on breaks while driving on patches of ice, snow blocking ramps and causing problems....eh, fuck, you can keep it.

Who am I to whine though? I would like the spring far less if there was no winter to kill everything off...paradox at it's finest I guess.

Either way, fuck winter.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

The Last Great Hope for Humanity

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Dems Retake the House

Today is a triumphant day of victory which I have not seen in years for our party. The people have risen, even in those bumblefuck Jesusland states that I don't expect anything from, and cast off the chains that the Right has placed on us.

What we absolutely need, of couse, is the Senate, but just the fact that we get to retake the House Commitees means that there might be things called "accountability" and "oversight" in this once proud body of legislators that has become a shell of what it once was.

Somewhere, the Founding Fathers are drinking Sam Adams' beer and laughing, holding their dicks and giving the finger to the White House.



Sic semper tyrannis.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Showplace, Part I

The bar is large and square, taking up most of the room in the center of the place. There are two stages behind that bar where the girls dance, and I could tell they were barely trying.

The place smells like piss, but after enough whiskey I never cared. I order another shot of whiskey, and the bartender pours me what looks like a triple. She gives me a crooked smile as I thank her, but she still isn’t getting a tip because it took her a half a fucking hour to get over here in the first place. Even the strippers have told me that she’s a bitch, each time in their cute broken English. Surprise, surprise.

The girls are all Russians, and I get the feeling that the Russian Mob runs the whole show here. I can imagine the sweet blondes in little villages near the Volga, getting snatched off the streets and sent to America to dance on stage and do heroin and be dead by 25.

There are also two doors by the bathroom that the girls look over at whenever you ask them for something you shouldn’t be asking for. It’s a scared, sheepish look, as if they’re unsure of what will happen if they get out of line. As I start drawing my gaze back to the stages, the black one comes up behind me, puts her arms around my chest.

“So when we going in the back honey?”

“Whenever you fucking find someone. Get on it.” I say.

She exhales hard, walks away frustrated. A half- hour later, I see her talking to some guido looking guy in the back by the pool tables. Spiky hair, arrogant, wearing sunglasses at night; I might enjoy this one. She’s smiling at him, rubbing her hands all over him. He’s loving it as she drags him out the backdoor and into the parking lot. I take what’s left of the whiskey and drop the glass on the floor. Fuck that bartender.

I walk out the front door and into the night, head right towards the bed of my truck. I light a cigarette, count out two minutes, and then grab the heavy steel pipe. It’s cold and wet, it must have rained while I was inside. Better off that way. I head around the back of the building.

The scene is unfolding by the back door. She’s got her back to the wall and her hands low, and they’re messing with his belt. He’s kissing her neck, rubbing her up and down. All I can think of is Why the fuck is he kissing a stripper? Whatever. She looks at me impatiently over his shoulder, her eyes wide, saying, What are you waiting for?

I stomp out the cigarette.


He had a lot of cash on him, so I gave her more than I did last time. Lucky her. I drove away in a haze, with smoke slowly filling the cab of the truck. I never tell her my name, because when things go like they did tonight, she’d roll me over in a second; this guy was bloody. I think he was alive…but then that’s not really my concern, what my concern is the money in my pocket and the small fifth of Jack Daniel’s that I found under the seat two minutes ago.

Pulling something like this would get you killed back east, being as the Mob worked the clubs over, and anything that drove customers away was something worth shooting me for. Out here though, it was easier. The Russians were a little more lax, and the area was different. A man could disappear out here in the thick woods and rolling hills, and no one would be the wiser until it was too late. Tom Petty comes on the radio, and I turn it up as the wind rolls through the car…find that saving grace.

I remembered her face, the blonde hair, the slight nose, happy eyes. Oh, you would not be happy with your boy now. I don’t give a fuck. You left me, and there’s not much left for me to care about. I can’t even talk about her without grimacing. I take some more out of the bottle, consider stopping, but at this point I can’t get much more drunk, so what the hell.

Oh shit, I should have stopped. The road is winding and my eyes are going up and down, and all I can think of is her hair and that blood and oh shit I drank too much whiskey it’s all hitting me right fucking now. The road turns slowly and soon enough, I see the bark of the tree that has split my hood in two and is staring back at me through my windshield. There’s blood on the dashboard. This isn’t good at all.

I’ve got to get rid of that pipe, that fucking pipe that has a whole lot of blood on it that isn’t mine. Shit. The door barely opens, and I try to get out. My legs don’t work, and I tumble as soon as a foot hits the wet grass. I try to pull myself up on the bed, but my ribs are cracked and it takes me a minute to pull myself up. I grab the pipe out of the bed, and walk off the road. There’s a river back here, and hopefully they won’t find it if I can throw it out there. I leaned back, and with all the strength I had, whipped it into the darkness. I buckled again, and fell, landing hard on a rock with my left elbow as I heard the pipe splash in the murky black water that I knew was out there. I look down, and I see blood on my hands, and it’s spreading all over, up my wrists and around my fingers. I start raking my hands over the dirt trying to get it off, but the more I do it the deeper the red gets.

There’s a white light. Oh shit. There’s two. They’re headlights. That’s worse than death. Damn. I realize how pathetic I must look, all busted up and dragging my hands through the dirt.

The car door opens, and I see black cowboy boots at my eye level. The door slams, and the boots start walking towards me until they’re right next to my face.

“Little too much to drink?” he asks, in a drawling voice that crawls of the South.

“Fuck you.” I say. He kicks me in the ribs with that one. At least he’s not a cop, then.

“Get up son. I think you better come with me.”

“Suck a dick. I don’t know you,” I say, gradually rising, still hunched protecting my shattered rib that this asshole just kicked. This guy is wearing a wide rimmed black hat and a black jacket. Somehow he reminds me of Ted Turner if he was a bit more intimidating.

“No, son, but I know you. I know what you done.”

“The fuck are you talking about? I didn’t do anything.”

“Yea you did. I done saw the blood.”

“It’s mine,” I say. He smiles. As I look down, my hands are clear. I look back at him.

“Fuck you. I’m outta here.”

I’m trying to walk away, but I’m bleeding from other places, and a piece of the fan is lodged in my leg. I don’t know how I missed that one.

He looks at me, then turns away. Blood runs down and into my eyes.


----------------------------------
First foray into fiction. Part II coming soon.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

The lack of writing here is due in part to a breakup with a long term girlfriend, far too much drinking, far too little thought, and the abundance of short stories that I am forced to write nearly weekly for this fucking class of mine.

The smoke has got to clear before I can start putting my thoughts together in coherent entries, and my head is in such a hungover state right now it's unbelievable. What I can say is that life throws a lot of curveballs, and just when you think things have calmed down, you get a wicked breaking ball that ruins your day. It is kind of cool, though, to not know what's going to happen in the next week.

Better times lay ahead.

Friday, October 27, 2006

HBO

HBO needs to stop playing Walk the Line when I get home drunk at night, or else you'll keep getting posts like below. Goddamn that Reese Witherspoon...man, I love her.
Life is sad business. That's what my 22 years of experience has made me think...and I bet it just gets sadder as it goes on.....



Where is my June Carter?

Monday, October 23, 2006

Fall

Fall is a good time of year. My life has pretty much derailed in the last month, so I'm appreciating any good thing I can find. The cool weather is a part of that. Reminds me that no matter what happens, things keep moving and the world keeps turning. Time moves on, inevitable, lurching, fumbling. It is what it is, I guess.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Hurt

“When are you free tomorrow?” he says.

“I’ve got shit to do all day.” I say.

“That’s not what I asked. I asked when you were free.”

“Class and shit. Lifting. Why?”

“My father’s dying. You should come with me tomorrow to see him.”

“I’ll go. I’m done with everything by around 6.”

“Good” he says.

“What’s wrong with him?”

“There’s a blood clot in his heart. It might be nothing. He might die.”

“Well.”

“They can do surgery as a last resort...but he’s 80 fucking years old”.

“Yea, that might kill’em alone.”

“Sheri is a mess. She’s drunk and crying, saying over and over, ‘What are we going to do if he dies? He just wants to go home’. I told her…we’re going to fucking go home and live.”
“That doesn’t surprise me.”

“She’s a fucking baby. I told her, do you really think that he wants to fucking be here? Of course he wants to go home. What would you want? He wants to be either fishing with Jesus, or in his house. He sure as shit doesn’t want anyone changing his diapers for him. It’s not that complicated.”

“No it isn’t.”

“He’s either going to fucking die, or he’s going home. He sure as shit isn’t staying there.”

“It’s understandable. I wouldn’t either. It’s not the way he is.”

“I told her a couple times. My mother was laughing…and she got into an accident on the way here, ripped the bumper off or something. They said ‘We’re not going to tell him yet.’ I told’em it’s probably pretty low on his list of things he’s worried about”.

“Well, there is that whole dying thing I guess.” I say

“Exactly. You think I’m being callous?”

“No. I think you’re being realistic.”

“I thought it was funny. They couldn’t sit there and eat dinner with him, but now they’re all upset about him dying. They couldn’t stand him when he was drunk and breaking shit on their backs, but now they’re all losing it. Fucking Sheri wouldn’t stop crying” he says.

“It’s different, you know, than when Ryer died. Your old man has lived. Ryer was 22. Your father is 81. He’s been every fucking place in the world, he doesn’t want for anything, and he fought in the greatest war that the world has ever seen. The man had a purpose. See, I never did that with Ryer. People make shit up, they say, “If Ryer was here, everything would be different. They idolize him now that he’s gone. I tell’em, I say, “He was a bastard. He was a selfish prick, and an asshole to everyone he didn’t know.’ But that’s why I liked him so much. You can’t forget who they really were through all the bullshit”, I say.

“I loved that kid. I would have had him fucking live with us, and it would have been fine with me.”

“Ryer?”

“Yea.”

“I know,” I say.

“Some of the shit I saw that old man do. He broke a fucking hockey game over my brother’s back on Christmas Day once, one of those old ones with the players. I saw Joey take some beatings that were fucking terrible. He just sucked it up and took it all. Your mother doesn’t understand it. She says my father talks about him too much, how he’s the favorite. I told her I hope he wins the fucking lottery, because nothing is ever going to make up for all that shit.”

“Well, the old man has a lot to make up for. Talking about him a lot is the least he could do…and I’m sure he knows that”.

“Of course he does. I should have beat the shit out of you like he did to us. You think your life is fucking hard?”

“Ha”.

“Through all that, though, he still put in a sense of family. His last words, if I go there and he’s gasping and dying, will be, “Take care of the family”. That’s all he wants. There’s nothing more that he cares about. It’s not that hard.”

“No it isn’t. It’s funny. Death is really simple. Really fucking simple.”

“They all complicate it too much. I know my father like I know me. He doesn’t care which one happens, as long as he gets out of that fucking hospital. He wants to be fishing with Jesus”.

“Good man to go with.”

“I always say it’s a simple thing. Not as bad as everyone says.”

“How do you think Tyler will handle it?”

“He’ll be alright”.

“Not as bad as when I was little?”

“No. You were a whole different ballgame. He’s got a scientific mind. He’ll be able to deal with it. He won’t get as fucked up as you did about that whole thing.”

“Life is sad business sometimes”.

“Most of the time. You just fucking take care of your family. That’s all there is to it.”

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Red Sox

I'm watching the show on HBO called "Reverse the Curse of the Bambino", which chronicles the Red Sox debacles over 86 years, and now it's the end and that part where Foulke flips the ball to Renteria for the last out of the World Series is on and I actually have tears coming out of my eyes when they show pictures of the graveyards in Boston decorated with Red Sox flags and balloons for all the grandfathers and ironworkers and union guys that never got to see Boston finally win.

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I saw it in the eyes of the two blue- eyed, red-haired little boys who were on their way to Fenway on the train with their big Irish father holding them by their shoulders and telling them to stay off of the ground while every single person in that packed train had on a Red Sox jersey or hat and were coming out because the Sox were in the playoff hunt and it was Fenway's 280th consecutive sellout....

This, this is why we live and die by our Red Sox. This is why whenever I see those last outs of the Series or Ortiz's homerun in Game 4 against the Yankees, I start tearing up. And this is why next year, when September rolls around and the Sox are in the playoff hunt, I'll stay up until 1 in the morning every night and watch them fight and claw.

For Boston. Forever.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

I lay in the back of Frank's work truck and I'm hammered. Well, it's not so much a truck as a work van, the kind with two big doors in the back and shelves inside it, and it's loaded with tools and such.

I wasn't the only one who needed a ride, and I was by far the drunkest. So what does Frank do? Puts me in the back. Good fucking move, Frank, put the dumb drunk in the back of the van with a bunch of toys.

I lay quiet for a couple minutes. And then I got antsy.

I started playing with something that looked like a huge compass, and found the knob that turned it on and made a screeching beeping noise. Laughing at this like only a drunk could, I asked Frank what this thing did.

"Put that down you fucking drunk, that's worth more than your life."

"Nope. I wanna play with it."

I lost interest in that though, and evidently started looking for an aerosol can. I know how I think when I drink, and I'm positive I was thinking about making a torch out of it with my lighter. Frank heard me shaking the can from the front though, and started yelling at me again.

"Put that fucking spray paint down."

"What spray paint?" I said with a grin, all the while hearing that marble in the can bounce around as I shook it.

With that, Frank slammed on the breaks, and a torque wrench came barreling forward from the back of the truck and careened into my head.

"Ooooh FUCK! Ahh, right in the fucking ear man! Oh that fucking hurts!" I yelled as I lay squirming in pain on the floor of the van. With that I lost it.

Apparently screaming, "You motherfucker", I started spraying the paint all over the back of the truck, painting it a nice sky blue color. In retribution, Frank started whipping around turns...which started to make many large pieces of metal start falling off the shelves and onto my defenseless form. Another tool hit me in the knee, making me drop the spray paint and curl into the "I'm getting stomped" position, covering my head and neck and praying that no more seriously heavy shit fell onto me.

By the time we got to my house, I couldn't hear out of my left ear, my knee was swollen, and the inside of Frank's van was a hue of blue. After pulling me out of the truck and verbally reinforcing the fact that I was indeed "a fucking drunk", he let me stumble up to my house to have my whiskey induced drunken lullabies.

Ahhhh drinkin.

Monday, October 09, 2006

10 Reflections on the First Day of Training in Brazilian Ju-Jitsu

1. I am not in nearly as good shape as I thought I was.

2. I need to quit smoking because of my realization of #1.

3. I will never quit smoking because I love it too much, so #2 is bullshit.

4. I can punch harder than I thought I could, especially with my right hand (I'm a southpaw).

5. I am going to be hurting like a motherfucker tomorrow.

6. If Brazilian ju-jitsu wasn't so brutally violent, it would be the gayest looking thing in the world.

7. We powerlifters, bodybuilders, and strongmen are all strong in different ways. However, none of us compare in toughness to guys that are trained to break your limbs and leave you bloody on the ground.

9. Because of the above realization, I really want to learn BJJ.

10. Wondering where #8 went? Fuck you. It's my blog. I do what I want.

Friday, October 06, 2006

On Johnny Cash

I have been very big into Johnny Cash since I saw the movie Walk the Line. You can probably tell that I dig the rebel types like Cash, the ones who flout society and live their own way and blah blah blah. I am surprised it took me 22 years to find his music, and, more importantly, his attitude. Any man who plays in two prisons for his most famous albums is a man that I would share a drink with.

I love his older stuff, the things about prisons and cocaine and farms, and yet it is the song "Hurt", that is leaving the hardest impression on me.

This may be the most intense, murderous song I've ever heard. He didn't write it, of course- Trent Reznor did. There is something about the way Cash plays it, though, that makes this song a true musical landmark in my eyes. I don't know shit for shit about music as far as playing it, but I know quite a bit about soul and passion, and this song has it in spades.

I am drunk right now, and my eyes are tearing up because of these, the last hymn of a dying man. This was a man that knew his time was near, and that all his TV appearences and the days of idolatry were over. These were the words of a man who no longer wishes to live, and is hounding the devil to come and play.

So rare is this breed in all of history! Most famous, rich folks avoid death at every turn, and then give last whimpy utterances when they see the decil smiling in the doorway. There are a million quotes such as, from Pancho Villa's, "Don't tell them it ended like this. Tell them I said something" to some asshole king's, "All of my possessions for another moment of time". Everyone tries so hard to duck death... but Cash stared it in the eyes and smiled, as broken and dead a man as the framed yet shattered "Certified Gold Records" on the ground in his video.

The pain is there. This rebel without a cause, the man who gave the finger to the world and took all the consequences....a dying genius' manifesto. Few have either the guts or the talent to do something like this.

It is probably not a good thing that I feel that I have such a kinship with a man like Johnny Cash. I don't like it because I know people like me and him don't measure success by the books we've published or the albums we've sold...it's by how happy we are.

And we are never, ever happy.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Movies

I've seen two movies in the last two days that everyone in America needs to see if they haven't. One is Casablanca, the other is Walk the Line.

If you don't see these, you must be an anti-American, God hating, islamofascistcommunistic gringo. And I don't take kindly to them types.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Brendan Behan Quotes

Quotes from my newest hero, the Irish dramatist Brendan Behan.



There is no such thing as bad publicity except your own obituary.

I am a drinker with writing problems.

Ah, bless you, Sister, may all your sons be bishops.

New York is my Lourdes, where I go for spiritual refreshment... a place where you're least likely to be bitten by a wild goat.

I have a total irreverence for anything connected with society except that which makes the roads safer, the beer stronger, the food cheaper and the old men and old women warmer in the winter and happier in the summer.

The Bible was a consolation to a fellow alone in the old cell. The lovely thin paper with a bit of matress stuffing in it, if you could get a match, was as good a smoke as I ever tasted.

If it was raining soup, the Irish would go out with forks.

The big difference between sex for money and sex for free is that sex for money usually costs a lot less.

The most important things to do in the world are to get something to eat, something to drink and somebody to love you.

To get enough to eat was regarded as an achievement. To get drunk was a victory.

What the hell difference does it make, left or right? There were good men lost on both sides.

When I came back to Dublin I was courtmartialed in my absence and sentenced to death in my absence, so I said they could shoot me in my absence.

Shakespeare said pretty well everything and what he left out, James Joyce, with a judge from meself, put in.

Ninety-seven saint days a year wouldn't affect the theater, but two Yom Kippurs would ruin it.

Critics are like eunuchs in a harem; they know how it's done, they've seen it done every day, but they're unable to do it themselves.

Monday, October 02, 2006

There's No Place Like Showplace

"You havin' fun?" he asks, a folded dollar in his hand.

She doesn't speak English, but she just shakes her head, "No". Her eyes are pathetically sad.




The sign is alone in the boonies of Dover, a bright neon beacon saying, “Showplace- A Gentlemen’s Club”. The building looks like an old Elk’s Lodge, and to say it’s in a state of disrepair is being nice.

The bar inside is big and square and sits in the center of the room. The counters haven't been cleaned since 1966, and the place smells like piss. There are a couple of stages behind the bar, and a couple pool tables in the back. I had been drunk when we left for this place, but it takes an hour to get here and I'd sobered up by then. I needed to be drunk again. Immediately. Really drunk.

I order a couple shots of whiskey, but the crook-toothed bartender makes us wait a half hour before she brings them. I try to bribe a couple strippers to get her over here quicker, but they shrug and say in their broken English, "She a bitch." No shit.

There's a ton of guys here, (although my buddies claim that this is a slow night)- white trash from the mountains, migrant Mexican workers who sit quietly and never make a fuss, a few blacks from some of the uglier towns out here.

A black stripper comes up behind me, dressed in what may or may not qualify as a "dress" and white fishnets.

"So when are we going in the back?"

"Not me, hon."

She looks dissapointed. I'm glad when she gets the fuck off me.

There's sadness in the air here. It's not like the strip clubs back east where the girls are making lots of money, so they're more or less happy. These broads aren't making shit, and whatever they do make is because they're giving forty dollar blowjobs in the back.

They keep coming over, doing crappy dances on the other side of the bar, then pulling the straps of their bras out for my dollar bill. At one point I tell one of them that she's not getting any more dollars until I see her snatch. She looks confused, so I make the triangle with my fingers in the universal sign for "pussy". She gets pissed, and takes a dollar from her bra and throws it at me. Who knew strippers would have self respect all of a sudden...

I'm drinking my triple whiskey, trying to finish it in two sips so I get insta-drunk when I hear one of blondes whisper to a man next to me, “You see that one? She sixteen”. I close my eyes hard and open them up again, far drunker than I was a second ago and wondering if I really heard what I think I did.

I go out for a cigarette, and the "bouncer" starts talking to me. I assume he's the bouncer because he's sitting at the door, but he looks like a pimply faced kid who would get roughed up by nearly anyone sitting inside. He's talking about the history of Dover and Randolph, and I really couldn't care less. He conspicuously forgets the part about how this place is run by the fucking Russian Mob, and all of these girls were probably stolen off of little towns along the Volga and shipped here to be whores.

I'm getting drunker and more disgusted.

My buddy gets back from his hand-job in the bathroom, given by the aforementioned black stripper. It's what he wanted all night, and so now he's happy. We keep drinking until about 1:00, when we take off from this shithole of West Jersey.

I mentioned the venture to my boss the next day.

"I was out by you last night. Showplace."

He looks at me.

"You know, you gotta watch your ass there. That's a dangerous place. Lot of bikers...guys get killed in there."

"Don't I know it, Ed."


But after all... there's no place like Showplace.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

On the New York Football Giants

The game of football is as close as any sport can ever come to being in a war. Sure, things like boxing or MMA are close in sheer brutality, but not so much in purpose. You see, football is a sport where eleven strong, highly trained men step onto a field with the specific purpose of defeating their enemy in any way possible. They are directed by a man who is older, more experienced, and who has access to more information than they do- the Coach. It's not the that eleven on the field aren't smart enough to handle said information, but that they must be more concerned with working as a team to directly defeat their enemy; they will not be able to take a step out of the action as it develops and see the overall picture like someone outside the battle can.

The Coach is the general, the players, the soldiers. The general tells the soldiers where to be and at what time, and the soldiers do the actual fighting. Seems simple enough, right? Well, it isn't. If you want a living, breathing picture of what can go wrong with this system, then take a look at the New York Giants.

I have been a Giants fan all my life. I've watched them since I was two months old, and my father used to sit me in front of a TV on Sundays, where I would contentedly watch Big Blue play for the full three hours. They were legends back in that time (for you old timers, I'm sorry, but I'm only talking about 1984-86). Lawrence Taylor ran around destroying backfields and clubbing quarterbacks, Little Joe Morris tore through opposing defenses, and Phil Simms would throw beautiful touch passes to old war horses like Mark Bavaro and Phil McKonkey. This all happened under the watchful eye of the man who was the absolute, clear cut authority on this team: Bill Parcells. He is famous for breaking troublemakers, for taking an old school approach to coaching the game of football. He who does not practice, does not play. If you suck it up in the game, you will be benched. If you mouth off, you'll be lucky to even get in the locker room to get your shit after you've been cut. His team was a disciplined, tough, blue collar type team that got three yards and a cloud of dust on every play, and did it well. Like the Army of the Potomac under U.S. Grant, they would simply pound you down until you were too tired to continue. Nothing all that fancy, just sheer guts and determination. With him, they won two Super Bowls, and fielded some of the most rugged teams the NFL had ever seen. Like

And oh, we lament how things have changed. The defense now is not as good as they once were; there are huge holes, and the guys themselves have barely played together longer than a month. The offense, however, has more talent than any former Giants offense has ever had. Though the young Eli Manning still is but a kid in a league of men, and Tiki Barber is getting a bit older, they still have more than enough talent to make a good playoff run that takes them to a Super Bowl. Of course, lack of talent is not where the true problems lie.

The problems lay with the attitudes of everyone on that team, including the glorious Coach Coughlin. The players are prima donnas of the worst type, between Shockey throwing his little bitch fit on the sidelines and then calling out Eli in the middle of the field because he was apparently open (forgive Eli for not having six fucking eyes, huh Jeremy?). He calls himself "emotional". I call him an asshole. He flouts the rules constantly, snipes at Coughlin, calls out Eli, and then he's the one throwing a hissy fit? Paul O'Neill was emotional; Shockey is a baby. To top it all off, he doesn't even produce. If you want to be like T.O. (minus the suicide attempt) and be a "tough guy", then you better put up his numbers. Otherwise, Jeremy, shut the fuck up and sit down (who knows, he might even read this, being as he's the arrogant pric type that searches his own name on Google every night when he gets bored). If I ever, ever hear anyone compare this punk kid to the warrior that was Mark Bavaro ever again, I am cutting someone's fucking throat.

Another one is Plaxico Burress. He didn't want to workout with the Giants this offseason, he wanted to go down to Miami with Shockey. Well, you can tell, because Plaxico is doing as much of a piss poor job as Shockey is. Yes, the second game was an awesome one. But he is another one who is a classic troublemaker, always making comments about things, the coaching, and whatever else crosses his mind, but he himself rarely puts up any numbers worth mentioning. Where were you the last eight games of the season, you 6'5 bastard? You should have been conspicuously hard to miss- instead, it was the old war horse Amani Toomer who stepped up last year, as he is doing again this year. And he's getting paid a lot less than you are.

So the soldiers aren't performing as they should. There are certain ones who are fleeing like rabbits from a fox, and yet I'm not really surprised. The guys talking shit are the ones who always have...and they are always the first ones to run from bullets (or footballs).

And what have we to say for the general? Well, Tom Coughlin is finally getting what's coming to him. Some men can pull off the Marine drill instructor routine, and they somehow inspire respect from their players because of it. The players know that this coach knows best, and, though he may be harsh, what he is telling them here will make them win the upcoming game. It is not unlike Patton or Stonewall Jackson- hard driving men who demand respect because they know how to win, and they know they know how to win, and you know they know how to win. Eventually, this inspires a rare kind of passion and strenght that becomes the backbone of most armies, and wins battles for those vastly mismatched.

But there is a point where this is useful, and a point where it is completely ridiculous. Coughlin doesn't just say, "Get to this meeting on time", he says, "Get here five minutes early". If you're actually on time for the meeting, but not five minutes early, you get locked out and fined $500. Are you kidding? That's not "disciplinarian", that's irrational. A boss like that will never keep any good workers under him- they'll quit in less than a year. In Vietnam, officers like that got fucking shot in the back, and often.

Now, I don't believe all of Shockey's bullshit about the Seahawks throwing all kinds of new things at the Giant, because it’s simply not true. Eli already said that it was nothing new, and Toomer said the same, except he was the only one to admit, “We just didn’t execute” (how about that one, Shock? A guy actually taking blame for not performing instead of dumping it onto the coaches lap.)

Yet, I do have to say that Tom Coughlin has got to stop treating the Giants like a high school team. Not only are these grown men that he talks down to so often, but they are professional athletes who kind of know what they’re doing. This isn’t the draftee army- this is the Special Forces. Don’t treat them like bumbling idiots off the street, or you won’t get anywhere.

Instead of inspiring respect, it has inspired hatred; in place of loyalty, disgust. Coughlin must get away from this tough guy persona and treat his guys like men. At the same time, the Giants need to listen more to people like Eli and Toomer, and start making an effort to shut assholes like Shockey up.

No army will fight if they don't respect their leaders, and no team will perform if they hate their coach. They'll do just enough to keep themselves alive, but certainly won't go out of their way to win. If things don't change, we Giant fans can expect another ten years of “rebuilding”... and Coughlin just might get shot in the back.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Mechanic

Working class hero- a steam engine mechanic from the 20's.

He was probably a tough SOB.

I bet he was a Democrat, too.

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Thursday, September 14, 2006

The Triple B

I work in the loading zone of a garden center, mostly with cement and stones. I load patio blocks, loose boulders, bags of rock, bales of hay, fill propane tanks, etc. It's not bad as far as staying in shape goes; I consider the job all the endurance and GPP work I'll ever need (as long as you remember it's GPP that I do while smoking a cigarette and most likely hungover- there's nothing better than having a racous, wild Saturday night where you drank so much you woke up naked having pissed yourself, and then having to go into work at 9 in the morning on a Sunday.)

There always manages to be some old fucking guy who snuck around the gates and is there at 8:55, ready and waiting to bombard me with questions. They are always chipper, walking while swinging their arms like he's trying to fucking fly, with an enthusiastic, "Hey how we doing today!". It's always the same.

It's kind of funny to me, because I tend to already be on my third cup of coffee, trying in vain to sober up, unlit cigarette hanging out of my mouth because I either think it's lit or I lost my lighter the night before and have no means of fire; I also know I reek like booze. My answers to their asinine questions are normally slow and drawling, simply because I can't manage to get them out any quicker, and the words stumble around my pulled down Boston hat and squirm into the air.

Sometimes, I'll get people who I actually recognize because they have pissed me off so badly in the past. One that comes to mind is the woman I refer to as the "Triple B", which is an acronym for "Broken Bag Bitch".

You see, when you get ten or twelve trailers of bagged stone in a year, a few of the bags are bound to break, either by mishandling, the ride in from Pennsylvania, etc. You can't do much with them, and most of us that deal with them end up throwing them out. As a last ditch attempt of getting rid of them, we give them out two-for-one, which is really a decent deal for the consumer. But no, there's gotta be a couple assholes that ruin it for everybody. One of these assholes is the Triple B.

She drives in innocently enough, in her beat up white Dodge Caravan with black hubcaps. When I see people like this come in, I give them breaks, being as I figure they are working class fucks like myself. This bitch? Absolutely not.

She gets out of her truck, short, squat, with grey hair that came too early, waddling towards the wet pallets of mulch and stone, and utters that phrase, "Do you have any broken bags of anything?". She seems nice enough at first, but as you get to know her you can tell this broad ain't playing with a full deck. Flighty is not the word for what she is.

If the guys that work there remember who she is, she doesn't get helped at all; eventually she gets tired of being ignored and starts dragging the bags to the front of the yard herself. I'd like to say I feel bad for her, but I've moved thousands of pounds of rocks for her over the years, and never gotten any kind of tip; in the book of the hourly laborer, this puts you in the first circle of hell, right next to Judas.

I've worked there for so long that I have seniority over all the other guys that work, so I don't ever have to help this bitch anymore. No more lifting heavy shit for this freaky, cheap broad; no, I make the younger guys do it. They learn, the same way I did, that she is a cunt- they load all the rocks of all different types into her car, only to get a half-aware wave and an absent minded, "Thanks".

Once, just once, I'd like to grab her scream, "Well bitch, 'Thanks' doesn't pay that bar tab, or put a dollar in that strippers' G-string, or pay my fucking car insurance; so pull out your damn wallet once in a while and throw us a couple fucking dollars for helping your decrepid, pathetic ass out."

One day....

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Reactions to my Moroccan Plans

Most people have, at this point given me a pretty uniform response when I talk about my plans for a North African trek: "Why the fuck do you want to go there?"

My cliched but honest response has been, "Well, why not?"

Africa, and specifically Morocco, represents a frontier that has been long gone from America. It is a civilized country, and tourism there is actually starting to increase, however slowly. There aren't landmark sites like there are in France or England- there isn't really a Big Ben or Eiffel Tower.

It's more of an aura that the country has that seriously attracts me. The sections along the Atlantic Coast are big cities with lots of history, names that the American Media has romanticiszed, like Casablanca and Tangiers. The Straits of Gibralter are here, the gateway to the Mediterranean that was once seen as the ends of the Earth. Farther south it turns into Desolation Row- the mountains, and beyond them, the mighty Sahara Desert which runs to the Southern section of the dark continent.

I've been researching the whole thing heavily, and I'm finding out a lot of interesting things. Jack Kerouac was in Tangiers in the 50's along with other beat writers like William Burroughs at a time when nearly half of the population there were American expatriates. This makes it even more ironic that it was my first destination of choice, because apparently it was on Kerouac's list too. It seems that this is the country where the writers amble to when America dissapoints them too much...

There are bars on the sandy beaches, tight alleyways coursing through the old Medinas, camels offering passage through the greatest of all deserts. It is civilized to a point, but still wild to the point where you might be able to kill a man and still get away with it.

This, my friends, is what I've been waiting for.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Morocco

That is the country that I've decided on. I get out of college in January, and I figure if I work for a year I can have a few thousand saved up. Being as Morocco is a kind of last frontier, and the currency exchange rate is 10:1, that country is looking like my favorite.

The more I read about it, the more I want to go there. Though I have never seen the movie, just the word, "Casablanca" weighs heavily on me. Tangiers is the city on the Straits of Gibralter, formally seen as the ends of the Earth...the more I read, the more I want to go there.

It seems like a place that has a good mix of everything- enough European country that it's nearly settled, and has easy ways to get around, but enough of that uncivilized wonder to the point where you could kill a man and get away with it.

I'd like to elaborate more on my feelings about this place, but I fail now. All I can say is that the more I read, the more I want to go.

Soon, I will be drinking with the Mediterranean to my back and the Sahara desert to my front.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Musings

A couple of weeks ago I saw a movie called Second Hand Lions that may have had a profound and lasting affect on me. The premise of the thing is that a shady woman leaves her son in West Texas with two great Uncles while she goes to "school" in Las Vegas with her boyfriend. These two uncles have somehow come across a tremendous amount of money, and some say it is through their wild lifestyle that they acquired all this wealth, while most have no idea how it came to pass and just made up stories about how they got it. Either way, this mother, upon learning of this massive soon-to-be inheritance, decides to leave her teenage son with them for an extended time.

The moral reason for leaving him there was so he could have a positive male influence on his life; of course, as she drives away leaving the young lad with two strange men, she whispers, "See if you can find out where that money is" and takes off.

What the young man initially finds is two hardheaded old bastards (Robert Duvall and Michael Caine) who come off as horrifically callous and unbelievably crude. What he eventually realizes is that these two guys, especially Duvall's character, have lived more than anyone he will ever meet. Leaving Texas in 1914, they arrived in Europe shortly before World War I erupted. Instead of leaving the continent, as more sensible men might, they decide to try and stay a step ahead of the Kaiser, staying away from the wavering fronts at all times in their tour, but still enjoying Europe's elegant atmostphere. After a night of drunken revelries, they somehow become signed up with the French Foreign Legion and spend a good deal of time in the Middle East as brawling, wild Americans in a foreign land. As the movie continues, more and more is learned about the adventures that these two guys had back in the early days of the American century.

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Immediately after watching it, my mind drifted to the life that I am bound to lead. I realized that I have written so little in the past month because I have had nothing to write about. I read six or eight different books during the summer, and even they couldn't move me to any thoughts that I hadn't had before. What I need are the experiences, and the actually sights and sounds of these places.

I love the epic tales crossing continents, dimly lit bars in foreign lands where palm trees line the open windows and History weighs down heavily on those that tread there; conspiracies and money and lies and cigarette smoke and life, hard shots of odd whiskey that can take the stain off a table. If I am to write anything that will be remotely interesting and different, than I must lead a life that is interesting and different. That, unfortunately, does not mean moving out of Wayne, only so I can work for thirty years just to be able to afford moving back to Wayne; I'd rather burn that house with the picket fence down sooner than live in it.

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As I walked through Barnes and Nobles today, I realized what all of the books I read have in common- one man traveling across the country or the world, writing from a nonfiction perspective, about the people and places that they come across. One book was David Horowitz's Confederates in the Attic, where he delves into the odd world of those who are still obsessed with the Civil War by touring battlefields in the South with "hardcore" reenactors (a strange brood they are). Another was a book (which I already forgot the name of) about two college dropouts, one of which played poker, the other sold T-Shirts outside Fenway Park. They were so heartbroken by the Red Sox loss in the 2003 ALCS that they decided they were, in fact, losers, and that they had to get out in the world...so they took the first flight to Baghdad. You Shall Know Our Velocity is another about two men in the streets of a far away African country; On The Road is a classic story of hitchhikers in the uptight American 1950's. A Star Called Henry and its sequel, Oh, Play That Thing, about an IRA hitman who must take to the sea for America after the Republicans turn on him...

I am seeing the trend my life is taking, and I don't like it. It seems like it may be too easy to get caught up in a regular job, getting benefits, getting paid well, and then end up never leaving New Jersey for the life I'm looking to lead, namely, that of a writer.

My world will be a world where I actually have something to write about that other people haven't often experienced. This blog may in fact be a vehicle to stay connected when I embark on this journey. What I can say is that I think it will happen at the end of next year sometime.

If anyone has any ideas for any interesting places to go, drop me a line.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

On Iraq

I have seen on the news that Bush, Condi and Rumsfeld are out and about trying to resurrect support for their dead and dying war. Bush is saying that same line he's been spouting for the last six years, all the bullshit that, "Terrorists hate our Freedom"! Condi is in the back nodding her head, and Rumsfeld is probably cackling over pictures of dead Muslim children (knowing him.)

Well, here's my take on it.

At this point in time, America has two choices in relation to this Iraq War:

1. We can be involved in the Iraqi Civil War, and sacrifice more American lives over an extended period of time with a strong possibility of failure (as we are doing now)

2. Pull out, and let the Iraqis fight their own civil war.


It is my line of thinking (a reasonable one, I think), that if the people in that country really want a democratically elected state, they will fight for it. Not only will they fight for it, but they will win. They will do exactly how so many others have done in the past, and make blood run like a raging river around the altar of freedom, and their communion will be taken with bullets to spare. But they will win.

To think that we could install a democratic state against the will of the people who live there is insane, no less insane then it was when we tried it in Vietnam with Diem, and then had him knocked off when he failed so miserably. If the population rejects this form of government, than no amount of US support or firepower will change that, and we will be in another protracted war with a guerilla insurgency that cannont be defeated convetionally- again, it may be like Vietnam with the French, where Vietnamese of all types of idealogies banded together just to get the foreigners out, and then split apart as soon as that goal is accomplished. By being there, we are doing more for the extremists in giving them a rallying point to kill Americans.

We have done all that we can do. Things are not going to change in Iraq. It is time to let them decide their fate, as all countries have in the past. Sometimes, a Civil War is necessary for the survival of the country as a whole- look at our own nation. England had a civil war, Ireland had a civil war, the French had their revolution, Spain had their civil war back in the 30's; in fact, I'm hard pressed to think of a single nation that has ever achieved anything that hasn't had a civil war. It's kind of like a rite of passage into the world...similar to the first time you got drunk and banged a fat chick; hey, everyone does it at least once.
As I once read, "If democracy is so great, you won't have to push it on people. They'll steal it."

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Summer Festivities

A week off from work is truly a blessing, especially considering that the rain is not to let up for days, and I'd much rather be inside during days like this.

I've been going to a lot of events lately, between the Bosox game a couple weeks ago, the Giants game last week, and the Opie and Anthony Traveling Virus show last night. Too much drinking, too many $7 beers, not enough soberness at all.

You know you're doing good when you end up on the Turnpike and then Route 80 when you're trying to leave Giants' Stadium...and the only thing that keeps you from getting lost is your buddy screaming, "Stay the fuck away from the Turnpike! Go away from the Turnpike!". This is after you pregamed for the game with a thirty pack in the parking lot, the came outside and started partying with the dudes next to (not in a gay way) who just happen to be cooking loads of food and drinking more beer. Somehow I think that their drive back to Connecticut was more safe then our drive back to Wayne because...well, I was drunk.

The comedy show last night was decent also. I was drunk, of course, and happy until some skinny black kid who was working the aisles at PNC knocked my last beer out of my hand, and then looked at it and said, "Damn, that's like ten bucks. Happened alot tonight". I wanted to strangle that cocksucker, but I was drunk and didn't want to get arrested.

Bob Sagat was at this show, and let me tell you how un-fucking-funny he is. The first two minutes are humorous; "Ha ha, the dude from Full House just said he'd suck dick for a cigarette". Yea, well after that it's all downhill.

Bill Burr was funny, even though I can't remember a thing he said because I was so intoxicated. Jim Norton from O & A was excellent, as were the strippers that came in after each set ended. I was cheering loudest for them...and was the only one. Strange looks of, "Oh, My, God, why is that dude screaming at the those girls? Where does he think he is, a concert?" abounded. Ah, New Jersey, I have never been so ashamed of you....those girls are trying to get through Med school, and I'm just trying to give them a little support. Get the sticks out of your asses!



Good time all in all, and these are great ways to end the summer.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

T-Nation

This essay came in second in a contest on T-Nation.com, and won me tons of free shit. Thanks to TC Luoma.

Not for the weak of heart: www.T-Nation.com




Life, inevitably, is little more than a series of deaths. We're born, we come into this world burning with hope and an aura of invincibilty, and then sixty or seventy years later, we're in the ground, as dead as Julius Ceasar. There is no way to avoid this.

When we're young, we're flooded with testosterone- it flares up, explodes behind us forcing us ahead and driving driving driving until you feel your hair burn and you can't breathe without turning your head. We fight like furies, drink too much, drive like psychos on mescalin, and roar down the winding one lane roads of life, gazing at the drop off the cliff that lies near, but we laugh anyway because that could never happen to us, we will never die, we are fucking invincible!

Some of us careen off that cliff in a flaming car with alcohol soaked lungs, cackling until we realize there is no turning back, and then scramble to get out; it is too late. Some of us fall one day, our eyes roll back, and we drop, fighting and dying and knowing that it is over, and that it's not our choice. Some of us just get that urge to cut the wheel...and its the last urge we ever get.

The rest of us make it. And when we make it, a lot of times we just kind of...well, sit back. A comfortable job, a wife or two, a kid, and before some guys realize it, they're twenty years older and thirty pounds heavier. It isn't even the weight that really kills them though; its the lack of competition, the lack of a cohesive goal. In a gray world where everything has three sides and then the truth, weightlifting is one of the only black and white things around. If you're in this game, you don't get stale, and the only times you are stagnant is if you are doing something very, very wrong. As Henry Rollins said, "Two hundred pounds just sits on the bar saying, 'Lift me or don't". We are always succeeding or failing- there is no "almost", "coming close", or "gray area. You got that bar off your chest, or you didn't. That's all there is to it. For some of us it quells insecurities; for others, it's the thing that keeps us sane through all of life's tribulations. Whatever the reasons for engaging in this noble endeavor, the benefits are nearly uncountable.

This website is just that: a website. The information is here is reliable, and there are guys on here who have been lifting weights since World War II. Of course, this thing isn't going to do the shit for you. Just because all the information is in one spot doesn't mean that it gets any easier, the sessions get any less intense, or you have to work any less. Nothing in the world compares to the experience of years under the iron, and no fancy program can compensate for a lack of dedication to the craft.

However, when you hang out here, you learn the tough way. No one will feel bad for you if you're not trying hard enough, because frankly we don't care. But if you seriously want the strength and power, than this is the place you want to be. If you want to feel like a top dog, and learn how to do it... than this is your home.

This is the kind of place that rubs off on you. You come here, and you won't be stagnant, you won't regress, and, most importantly, you'll have no excuses. Its kind of how life should always be, but never will; no apologies, and balls to the wall. Turn the fire inwards, and make it work for you instead of destroying you. The lessons we learn in the humid, dank weight rooms are lessons that will transfer to all other aspects of our lives, and the perseverance shown there will remind us that the only thing holding us back is ourselves.

The fact is, we all end up in ground. We don't know if it's going to be today, tommorow, a week from now, or a half century from now. The only thing that we can do is grab this bitch called life by the teeth, and force it to go the way we want. Sometimes it rips our hands off, but more often then not it'll go where we decide to take it. T-Nation is a place that will teach you how to do this, and help channel your furies into something productive so your time in between birth and death goes your way, and no one else's.

Monday, August 21, 2006

For Boston

Boston will be my new home- I have decreed it...issued a fatwa if you will. Me and the girl took a one day trip up there from dirty Jersey, and I have fallen in love with this city of cities. What a place.

Boston has forever seemed like it was a world away, and certainly not just four hours in a speeding Honda (the girl's, not mine). I have read about it in the history books, in all the chronicles of the American Revolution. Boston Harbor was a thing talked about in relation to the abuse of the British, the fire under the powder keg that was America in the 1700's. Recently, with my love of the Red Sox, the town has taken on a mythical status that I could not really put into words. Fenway Park was a Mecca, something so far away that I could not really even tell what direction it was in, and yet I saw it on TVs all the time, the home field of my beloved team bathed in green, the massive wall in left field towering not only the field, but the town itself. I used to just look at the history of the town itself- now, I realize that the history of the town for the last hundred years is somehow intertwined with this team of men who hit a ball on a field for amusement.

The purpose of my trip was, in actuality, to see my team on their home field with my Red Sox Nation brethern. No more Yankee hats all over, no Jeter jerseys, no fucking A-Rod, no hot girls that I can't talk to because of their trademarked "Giambi" jerseys. No, this is my town, and my people.

The history wasn't initially a concern of mine, even though I do love American history with a passion (yea yea, I'm a fag. Live with it). I hadn't thought of any of it until we got out of the parking garage and began walking along Boston Common, my girlfriend looking at a crappy map of the city. She has a habit of trying to do too many things at once, such as drive while reading a receipt, or walk while looking at something completely other than that car that's about to hit her. It drives me fucking crazy, but that's probably one of those things that I'd miss if she wasn't there, because it's always the little bullshit things that you remember so well.

Boston Common was right by the garage we parked in, and it is a beautiful park. It reminded me immediately of Good Will Hunting, as I think the scene where Robin Williams is talking to Matt Damon about how much of an ass he is was filmed here, right along these soft emerald banks of this lake. On this gorgeous day, it looked just like it does on that jagged fuzzy tape that I have seen a thousand times since an old friend gave it to me, down to the swans and other birds that frequent the waters. I was also reminded of Thoreau's Walden, where he talks about the ice breaking in Massachusetts at a certain time of the year, signifying spring's arrival. I know that was in Concord, but it seems to apply here too for some reason.

We walked for a while, along the "Freedom Trail" that winds through the city. There is an old church that is the first stop, one with white wooden pews and red upholstery that once shelved the elite of Boston. Washington went to a service here during his time in command of the Continental Army, and the tablets at the front that show the ten commandments are from sometime in the 1600s when the church was built.

From the outside, I could see the glass panes in the upper story windows, the kinds that get the wavy texture from extreme age. If those eyes could talk, the stories they could tell...three hundred years of fiery speeches, inflammation, and rage. So much to tell, and no one to tell it.

The entire city feels much like that Church; the history just rises right through the ancient bricks and floods down the streets, swarming around everywhere you look. By walking through, you can feel it- you ain't walking through a Twentieth-Century city. I am used to New York City, the city that never sleeps, the city that is always crushing and destroying and rebuilding and climbing. There is not much regard for history in New York- or at least, there might be, but property values are far too high to worry about some old graveyard or battlefield. There was quite a few battles fought in NYC during the Revolution, including a large one in Brooklyn that nearly ended it before it started. To look at it now, you'd never know, between the ghettos and bridges and overpasses. It's as if that shit never happened, as if history was erased along with the green pastures and trembling streams that once occupied the isle of Manhattan. If you want a really trippy thought, picture Indians hunting in the middle of Chelsea or the Bowery. It happened once, I swear...

Boston is far different. There are few very tall buildings, and even they don't compare with the monsters that New York has to offer. The houses are low, three or four stories, made of old brick and mortar. The nicer places have winding ironwork on the outsides, the black railings as much a part of the decor of the city as anything else. Heavy wooden doors, ivy growing on tall buildings. A strange mix of city and town that I have never really seen in Jersey.

There is an old building, I think the old state house, where the Declaration of Independence was first read to the war hardened denizens of Boston from the East Balcony. The site of the Boston Massacre was right around there, although my girlfriend failed as the navigator and we never found the exact spot (she swore up and down that it was probably just a plaque in front of a bank or something, so we weren't really missing anything. Yet another thing I would remember about her.)

The city is remarkably clean, with smooth roads and and lack of the garbage all over the place that I am used too. The taxis aren't always laying on their horns, the screams of subways underfoot are absent. Things are quiet. I mean, I was there on a Saturday, but New York never stops. Boston, however, takes a break.

We came across a graveyard that is obviously something of a tourist attraction. Fat older men dressed like Colonial magistrates strut up and down, yelling in high voices to crowds of suburban tourists, the men with the beltpacks (ay, you tools) and the fat women pushing strollers, bored kids trailing behind with frowns on their faces. I wonder many times if they even care about what's being said, or whether they are just here because they think they should be, and they can go home to wherever and impress their friends by saying they saw the stack of granite that hides Paul Revere's body. I'd honestly be surprised if most of the people who visit the grave sites could even tell me what Sam Adams or John Hancock actually did, as most Americans don't know history from a fucking hole in the wall. A recent survey proved that many of those tested could not tell the difference between Iraq and Louisiana on a map. Another survey of college kids found that most think that things printed in the media should be approved by the government first (this is why I am pro-bird flu; less traffic, weeding out idiots, etc.). Sam Adams, for one, would be horrified.

His grave holds some kind of special meaning for me lately. I just finished the Jeff Shaara book Rise To Rebellion the other day, and old Adams seemed like my kind of guy. He was a rabblerouser, a man who controlled the mobs of Boston back in the 1760s. The Boston Massacre? Probably his influence. The Boston Tea Party? Yes, he was there. This guy tried for over twenty years to make life hell for the British occupation force, and every chance he got he rose up and started a riot over something. He raged for a strange thing called "independence" back when the idea still made men in taverns laugh. When the Declaration of Independence was signed, he stood smiling, his years of fiery speeches and ballsy actions finally amounting to something.

His grave has not fallen into disrepair like so many of the others here, and even the thing itself is simple and strong; a bronze plaque bolted to a boulder. Even in death, this man's legend is solid. This was, as his gravestone says, "A Leader of Men". Any man that can manipulate propanganda like that in order to start a revolution...well, that's the reason I'm proud to an American.

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After taking the above picture, we had to roll. The reason for the trip was, of course, the Red Sox game at 1:00, and I couldn't be wandering around graveyards all day when the Sox are in the playoff hunt.

The whole city entranced me, but the highlight was still Fenway Park. It is a mess of great green walls rising over the abadoned wharehouses along the Mass Pike, and yet we drove right by it coming into Boston without me even noticing it.

Walking Fenway is like walking back in time, and I mean that in the most cliched way possible. Everything is made of dry red bricks and huge steel I-beams painted, like everything else in the town, green. Everything is small and compact, and the seats look like they should be made of wood. Unlike other stadiums, there is no mezzanine level- it is one sweeping incline, and then the nosebleeds. That's it.

I took this picture of a sign, and texted it to every Yankee fan I know.

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A chorus of "Fuck you's" came back, along with the occasional picture of a toilet in response and a lone, "I hope the place burns down".

I fucking hate all of them.

The fields are perfect and the Green Monster looms in the distance, so appealing to the right handed hitter who has not been to Fenway before...

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Having seats in the third row don't hurt either, of course.

Of course, I found during the game why I could never live up there. The game was tied going into the ninth, and I could barely sit still. If I had been drunk, I would have been praying (as I so often have before) to the baseball gods to let my Sox pull this one out. Sure enough, Mark Loretta hit a single in the bottom of the tenth. Ortiz walks. Manny comes up, and bang! The game is over on his RBI single in the bottom of the tenth. Thank God. I couldn't handle this shit everyday.

They needed this game because the fucking Yankees won too, as evident by the collective groan from the faithful when the scores on that great green board are changed to "Final" and we all curse that the Yanks pulled out another against the Angels. By October, I'll likely have an ulcer, and I'm beginning to think that the Sox missing the playoffs might be good for my health...

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David Ortiz at bat, to a chorus of "MVP" chants
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The whole place is truly an experience. The Monster, Pesky's Pole, even the old sign outside that says, simply, Fenway Park, Home of the Red Sox. It is so simple that it kills me. It's not hard to picture Carlton Fisk, Johnny Pesky, or Ted Williams batting here. The crowds are just as loyal, the scenes just as amazing. When you mix that with the overwhelming weight of History that the town exudes from every pore...well, you've got a place that Steve has gotta see a little bit more of.

Be afraid, Boston. Be very afraid.