Saturday, July 29, 2006

Damn the Superchristians

Today I was told by some bible thumping loon that Pope John Paul II is in hell right now because he worshiped false idols and was not of the born-again breed. It was, apparently, "Right there in the scripture".

Yea, I bet it was.. you fucking idiot.

I have had it up to my fucking eyes with these self-righteous souls that have the gall to tell me that the Pope is in hell right now. I don't where it came from or why it is here, but the Superchristian movement needs to take a hike.

Thomas Jefferson once said, in "Notes on the State of Virgina", that it does him no harm if his neighbor has one god or twenty. As far as this Founding Father was concerned, everyone had the right to simply believe what they want to, and be done with it. However, this fanatical variation of Christianity is just as bad as the radical Muslims that they claim to hate so much.

In this bastardized version of christianity, they feel the need to "save" everyone. Everyone must be saved, everyone must believe, as they do, that, "Oh no, my book of fairytales is sooo much more true than your book of fairytales. Look? See the part about the flood? Your book doesn't even mention Noah! Ha! Now how retarded do you feel? Wait, what? How do I know all this is true? GOD WROTE IT!"

No, bitch, God didn't fucking write it. Supposed prophets wrote it, and then monks copied and recopied it for thousands of years, and things got changed as they went. Remember that game of "telephone" you used to play as a kid? There was always one jerkoff who changed the thing around and made it seemed like you were an idiot? Yea, well that hasn't changed. My money is on the fact that there was two monks (probably a million, being as they were all guys) who sat around laughing like Beavis and Butthead when they rearranged a couple things so that Babylon was taking it up the ass instead of just being, "A really bad town".

C'mon now. Men are fallible, and the road to hell is paved with good intentions. With how insanely devious the Church has been in the last couple thousand years, it wouldn't surprise me in the least if they changed the story a bit to make themselves seem a little better, and the Jews or Muslims sound just a little bit worse. This may have been especially important during things like the Inquisition or the Crusades, when villifying the enemy was kind of important.

Jesus would hate these superchristians, ironically- judgemental, damning, close minded, hateful and warlike.

On a related n0te, what the fuck ever happened to seperation of Church and State? There are many founding fathers who are angry about the way this country is going I think...all that work in the Continental Congress, the Constitutional Convention, all so these horse's asses can turn America into a theocracy. Where are you Thomas Paine....the age of reason has passed!

Friday, July 28, 2006


When the temperatures rise in the long summer days, it becomes the season when the roadways are jammed with people trying to escape the heat. What I've found is that there are two distinct groups: the red blooded men in work trucks and Jeeps who roll their windows down, and those stuck up blue bloods whose windows are tightly clamped down to make sure the air conditioning doesn't escape (though there is another breed, those who have the air conditioning on with their windows open...I'm not going to even go into these crazy bastards).

As you might imagine, I'm the kind of guy whose window is always down. Some might say that this is because I'm a smoker; no, that's the reason my window is down in the winter. In the summer, however, there is just something special about being in a pickup truck barrelling down Route 23 with bad shocks and shot out hub bearings with all three windows open, making it as windy in the car as you'd imagine Mount Everest. I hear some folks say that it "messes up their hair", and that they can't go to work like that. I say toughen up you fucking Nancies; I'm from Jersey, and if I don't want my hair going anywhere, its not fucking going anywhere (I swear though, from the way most women drive you'd think their hair and their cell phone was more important than that puppy they just ran over).

When your windows are down, you smell the street. I feel the humidity, the dryness, or whatever else nature has to offer me. If it's too rough, I'll take my shirt off and drive like that. People either think that's white trash or gay, of course, but being as I'm driving a ickup truck I figure its the former.

There's also a war going on between the two camps, ironically, one that is far bigger than I thought. The old wives' tale persists that a car driving around with the windows closed and the air conditioning on gets better gas mileage- something to do with aerodynamics or whatever. Guys like me point out that we think Mythbusters did a show where they debunked that ridiculous notion, even though I've never actually met anyone who saw that particular episode (not that it matters, because I'm sure it's true).

When it comes down to it though, it has nothing to do with gas mileage. It's that feeling of being young and alive, and feeling the air physically moving past you, so you actually feel that 75 MPH going by in air particles screaming around my head and out the back, tossed back onto the road after I'm gone. It's the look on people's faces when I pull up to their Lexus' or Mercedes', blaring my brand of callous rock n' roll, and getting to watch them dissaprovingly roll up their own windows because of me. YES!! I am young, I am the new generation, the world is at my feet, and I have nothing to lose! Roll up your window you old fuck, because I will not play my music any lower! I will spread it to the masses from through the doors of my black chariot, and you will make that right turn (even though you don't have to) just to get away from me!

Having my windows down all the time means that everyone around me hears what's going on, sees my tanned arm lazily hanging out the window with a cigarette...they're getting an image of me whether they like it or not. And when I drive along the River, I smell that summer scent of rotting bodies, dead raccoons, and nuclear waste permeating off the water's edge, and it is beautiful, and I dig it.

If you don't... then roll your fucking window up.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

La Revolucion!....or not

Just a word of advice to all you future revolutionaries on the college campuses everywhere: start fucking weightlifting!

Yes, I'm talking about you, you of the Che' Guevara t-shirt wearing, Fidel Castro "My beard is Meant to be This Sloppy" look. You who wear the berets with a silver star on the front (by the way, berets are for fags and Frenchmen, neither of which have won any kind of wars anywhere) and carry around plastic guns and take pictures of them and then put them up on Myspace. Discard for now your Little Red Book and your Communist Manifesto, and see if you can wrap your enlightened minds around this simple thing I just stated: you all need to weightlift.

You may be incredulous right now, looking around amongst yourselves saying, "But I am enlightened! My sheer force of will and intellect will win this coming war (ha) for me! Muscles are for idiots and Republicans, those who take too much pride in the individual and ignore the will of the masses! And for this, they will pay".

Well, I say that you're in for a rude awakening. Why? Because the cops, they're all like me. They sit around all day, eat, weightlift, and drink beers, waiting to crack some tree hugging potheads' head open- especially when they look like Fidel Castro. Your 5'10, 150 pound frame is not going to take the beating that these big ole' Irishman are going to deliver, and, like your trachea, your revolution will be crushed. Put down the bowl and get to the weightroom. You're going to need it.

Yea, I'm kind of drunk, and railing against people like this guy:

If you're on Myspace, tell'em his band sucks and he's a tool.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

On the Israeli War

America needs to be away from this type of fighting.

As you can imgaine, I'm not pro-Israel. I think that the whole idea of their inception (being chartered by the UN out of pity) is ridiculous, and I understand why the Palestinians are ragingly angry. I think the Zionists in that country are more than willing to start World War III just to keep their little strip by the Mediterranean, and I think they are just as dangerous as the people they are fighting.

Of course, on the other side we do have radical Islam, which is not a side that I can root for either (for obvious reasons).

In Israel and Palestine, you have what I think is the "Democrat syndrome". We will bitch about Bush starting the war, and how terrible it is (some of us bitched before it started and were fucking ignored), but the time is past for that. All that can be done now is use it as a lesson, as Vietnam is, and try to figure out what we can do now to get us out. Ironically, by deposing Saddam, we have opened the door for Iran to create a massive Shi'ite empire, which will undoubtedly contribute to problems for Israel in the future.

Israel has gone above and beyond what is called for for these two soldiers. They want a war, and are showing it right now. Let them fight it. Let America stand to the sidelines and watch them fight for their own lives- they've been spoiled by American money and weapons for too long. And really, in the end, what has it gotten us? Three thousand dead, Trade Centers gone, and the hatred of the Muslim world, all for supporting this country's claim to land that they have no right to in the first place.

Morbid Musings

At 6:00 in the morning, my girlfriend will board a plane for Puerto Rico for a vacation. There's a piece of my mind that is exceptionally loud (though it's still in the back) that says that tonight might be the last time I see her. The plane could crash, or get blown up by some mysterious missile, and crash land in warm waters. I'd never see her again. Half of me says it's impossible, the other half knows it isn't, because it's happened before and I've seen the crying girls and the gritty guys standing over caskets for people that should not be dead.

I turned 22 about a month and a half ago; I'm just about that age that Ryer was when he died last year. He always seemed so much older than me...and now I'm where he was. If I died in a week, we would have lived the same amount of time. It's incredibly unnerving. It took this realization to understand exactly how young he was when he died, and exactly how much life he had left.

I also realized that if I make it to 110, I might be able to spend as much time getting social security as I did working to put money into it. It's something to shoot for.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

A prologue to "On Manhood"

I finished two books today- one, A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers, the other, Rat Bastards by John "Red" Shea. One is a work by a college educated writer who tryed to hit it big with a magazine before writing this book, and he always seemed on the cusp of fame; the other, a tough street kid from Southie who just got out of jail four years ago for running most of the Irish mob in Boston. Reading these books at the same time was an unintentional idea, but as it turns out they offer directly conflicting views on what it means to be a man in this world right now. I liked both books, probably (alright, obviously) saw something of myself in both of these guys, and admire them in seperate ways (one more so than the other, of course).

More to come.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Goin' Ridin'

As I was about to get out of work on Friday, I got a call from my buddy Frank.

"Buckcherry is playing down in AC. Want to go?"

I knew it would be a bitch trying to get down there on a Saturday Night, and that it would be hell trying to come up whenever this fucking thing ended...but if you've ever read any of my other stuff, you know that Buckcherry is one of my favorite bands of all time, and they have been for about ten years. I've never gotten to see them live, and with a band that does as many drugs as they do, you never know how long they're actually going to be around anyway. I had to go. It wasn't an option.

An hour late, me and the girlfriend were on the road heading down towards the gambler's haven that is Atlantic City. I had enough dough on me for the tickets and maybe four beers (at the five bucks a shot that they charge down there...for a can of Yuengling!). For once, however, I didn't give two shits about getting drunk- all I wanted to do was to see that band. From what I'd heard, the House of Blues was a smaller venue, so I figured we'd be able to get pretty close to the actual band. I was about as giddy as you're ever going to see a guy like me.

Their new album came out on April 11th, so this tour is the supporting endeavor. The name of it is "15", named for the number of days it took to record the thing. You know that means? That means that there aren't just a bunch of guitar and drum parts thrown together to make an album- it means that it's balls to wall rock n roll, and that they just played their asses off to get it done. You can hear it in the passion Joshua Todd sings with, and you can feel it in every chord that Keith Nelson rips through. In a world of rap, drum machines, and mixers, it's rare that you hear a band that just plays. When they went on a hiatus a couple years ago, I thought that they were done forever...but they are back now, and with a vengeance.

We hung out in the casino for a while, playing quarter slots and getting free rum and cokes from the beautiful shot girls. As the concert drew closer, we worked our way over to the House of Blues, losing assorted amounts of money as we went.

The venue is a huge place with paintings of rock stars and guitars on the walls and bars all around the edges. Its size might be exagerrated by the high ceilings, of course, but it still holds that feeling that you're in a club, not in an arena. Its standing room only, so you can get as close as you want to the stage, and the bouncers aren't up your ass all the time.

When we walked in, some hard rock band was playing evil sounding songs, and it was loud enough to make your ears hurt right when you walked in. I dug it. The music was darker than I normally liked, but they were tight enough that I could appreciate it regardless. You could tell, though, what band everyone was there to see; as soon as 10 o clock rolled around, the place started filling up, ending up twice as packed as it was at 9:50. The lights went out, and movement could be seen behind the curtains. The cheering started.

A nameless guy came out, and began giving the preluide to the show. "These guys, they're bringing rock n roll nack the right way. Welcome Buckcherry!" The crowd roared, and in the midst of this excellent moment, the curtains rolled back, and the band, the legends, launched into their first song of the night. I don't know the name of the song, being as it was off the most recent album that's only been out for a couple months- I know all the songs, but the titles are something I learn last ( I figure as long as I know the words, the title can fuck off).

Like any good crowd, they were kind of quiet until a song that they knew came on. After the third song, Joshua Todd walked over towards the drums and took his jacket off, revealing the lean, muscular body that probably gets him laid like a motherfucker. Even the guys were cheering, though, because not only does this mean the show is going to get more intense, but also that Todd's tattoos come into full view. As soon as he turns around, the ink that has come to represent the band is in sight- on his stomach, the word, "Chaos" with the anarchy symbol inside the O, and the king of hearts with the word "Love" and "Desire" framing it. What makes this one cooler is that the king of hearts has one meaning- the suicide king. In Todd's words, "It's the only fucking king with a fucking sword through his head". He walked back to the front of the stage, and the twanging chords of the song "Next to You" begin clanging.

The version is brewing with life, with Todd leaping around the stage as theatrically as an androgenous, tattooed wild fucker can. The sound is incredible and loud, and I'm half in the bag by now, so now I'm roaring my approcval as best I can.

It's hard to make the crowd stay around for slow songs, and I think that every band in the world knows this. There's always a couple jerks who put their lighters in the air for these songs; even bigger jerks hold up their cell phones (again...fuck technology). But Buckcherry's slow songs aren't so much "slow" as they are "less banged out from coke"- they still rock. When they went into their new song, "Everything", Todd screamed that this is what he wants out of life: EVERYTHING. The guitars kicked up behind him, and the song launches. For some reason, as soon as I heard this song the first time, I couldn't help thinking of Ryer's ex-girlfriend, looking out over the water in Hoboken, with the winds whipping off the water, wondering what the fuck happened to her life.

Buried way beneath the sheets I think she’s having a meltdown
Finding it hard to fall asleep she won’t let anyone help her
The look on her face a waste of time she won’t let go gonna roll the dice
Loosing her grace, starts to cry I feel her pain when I look in her eyes

It sometimes brings me to tears, even though I can't figure out why.

The mood changes, and the band begins to go into their current signature song, the now legendary "Crazy Bitch". I can't even describe his prelude into this rocking song, except that he says that it's about how it's funnny that the girls who are always the most fun in bed are also the ones who are completely fucking insane. Women love, and I mean love, this song.

The intro at this concert was the same that I was at. Listen to his little monologue.

After the song ends, some broad gets up on her boyfriend's shoulders and flashes the band. Where was I? Straight back behind her. Fuck. Luckily, the guy turned around to show the rest of the crowd. That rack was top notch, I gotta say...I guess she was a "crazy bitch".

The guitarist had a collection of pics that he would use, then just chuck into the crowd. He must've given at least 15 out. With full sleeves of tattoos on both of his arms, he would play with an apathetic face- never smiling, but certainly not looking unhappy (hell, he saw that broad's tits, so he shouldn't be). He was pretty thick also- his arms are big enough that I don't believe he does any drugs at all. He spits constantly, but barely moves the whole show; this is a stark comparison to Todd's antics. It's kind of cool that this fella can get along with such a character as Joshua Todd; you can see the stoic, muscled tough guy saving his skinny coke head buddy's ass in a bar every other night. From how they are on stage, they seem quite the odd couple.

From here, they go into a bunch of older songs. "Ridin" rocks out, "Slammin" (the song "For all the girls with big tits and a big fat ass") follows suit, with Todd literally making you feel it when he says, "I'm on the stage burnin', keepin heads turnin".

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The songs are all played with abandon, and they perform like they're in front of a million people. Nothing is held back, and I couldn't hear a damn thing by the end.

"Bitches do some crazy shit for that cocaine man. I want you all to say it, "Co-caine. Co-caine. Co-caine". The crowd chants, and the women, again, are going wild. What's coming is the first song that they hit it big with: "Lit Up". I remember being about ten years old when this song came out, sitting in a hotel room in Disney World trying to catch as much MTV as I possibly could to keep up on music, when I saw this video for the first time. No one knew who Buckcherry were back then, but when this song hit, everyone knew. In the video, Todd is looking like a more cracked out David Bowie, and they're playing in a small club that is rocking to this song. I saw the second coming of real rock that day, with the lights flashing, the dark background, and of course, hot women dancing.

When those chords flare at the beginning of the song, the whole crowd moved as one. Guys who hadn't moved the whole time started jumping, and some frat looking white guy suddenly started croud surfing. It was, amazingly, just like the fucking video.

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After the song, they said their goodbyes, and walked offstage. The croud was lurching and wailing, trying to get an encore out of them. At this point, my voice was shattered to the point that I couldn't talk, and when I tried to scream I couldn't tell if anything was even coming out. In a triumphant moment for the Hegelian spirit, we all rocked together to get them back out. Soon enough, they returned.

The last song was the raucous, rocking song "Crush". The lyrics are as good as the music, and they describe me better than any other song I've yet heard. Ever wonder where I got the title for the song, "He Drinks With a Passion"? It was this song. When he says, "My mother's disgusted", well, hey, that's why I live nowadays- to disgust my mother. Seeing the live version is that much better.

The song sounded something like this, just awesomer because I was there

After the final roar of an appreciative crowd, we left the casino. The boardwalk in Atlantic City is an odd mix of glitz and ghetto, with the bright flashing lights of the casinos offset by the dark alleyways and darker interior that Atlantic City is known for. The boardwalk was loaded with mostly blacks and hispanics, along with the occaional white guy who thinks he's black or spanish. Hard looks were everywhere; starting a fight here would not be hard at all. The lack of cops was evident.

We walked to a dimly lit Irish bar with low ceilings to eat. The food was good, and dirt cheap. Unfortunately, I'd stopped drinking and the food just made me even more tired. I looked at the clock on the wall- 1 o'clock. Shit. Only seven hours till work, and I was still two and a half hours away from home.

The ride was long and tedious, with the winding, empty Garden State Parkway laying out before me. My girlfriend slept on the backseat, while me and my buddy Harry made our way back. He stayed awake the whole time; though he was no doubt as tired as I was, he was probably afraid that I'd fall asleep on the way and kill all of us. It's never happened to me before, but I figured those would be my last thoughts before I woke up in my girlfriend's car with it wrapped around a telephone poll. At every other rest stop, we'd pull over to have a smoke and bullshit.

At 4:30, I finally got home after dropping Harry off in Clifton. My ears were ringing and my voice was gone, and I had to wake up in another three hours for work. A Saturday night for the record books, I think.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006


Courtesy of the History Channel, I found out today that the Minoan civilization that corresponds most directly to Plato's description of Atlantis was so far ahead of their time (as far as technology is concerned) that they had toilets on the third floor of their homes; this was during a time that most civilizations didn't actually know how to build third floors. Unfortunately, they built their cities in a massive caldera of a huge volcano, and when it erupted, it destroyed the whole fucking thing, including these amazing toilets.

Talk about irony.

Friday, July 14, 2006


In about a month, I will again find myself making the long haul out to Pennsylvania for my girlfriend's family reunion. It's in the middle of nowhere, but I'd say it definitly caters to my white trash side of drinking in a big field without a shirt on. My girlfriend's family goes out there constantly, it seems, for every major holiday where you can take more than a weekend off; they've got a camper, and they do the who campground thing with their friends. It's not my style.

I hate Pennsylvania most days. When I'm out there for the day, visiting Cabela's massive store out there or bridge jumping on the Delaware, I'm OK with it. Don't make me sleep there though. That whole state is loaded with ghosts for me, the sprits of things long gone that I no longer wish to endure.

When I was young, Pennsylvania was simply called "PA". It was a haven for my grandparents, the place where they would go so my grandfather could escape the train of running the business that he ran, the business that never quite slowed down. He was a Paterson Italian who was born and raised in New Jersey. He was somehow both fast paced and yet laid back, like so many others in this state tend to be. He never talked about being "Italian", though, and if there was one person who would be the last person to put one of those fucking reflecting magnets of the Italian flag on the back of his car, it'd be him; he was what he was, and he was comfortable with it. He looked how most Italians from Jersey looked- short and stocky, with dark olive skin and hair that never grayed or retreated as he got older. He wrote 5'10 on his license in height, even though he was never more than 5'7.

If he was in Spain, they would speak Spanish to him; if in Morocco, Moroccan. He looked Mediterranean, in the same way that I do. Everyone tells me that I look just like him, and that the Italian blood runs far thicjer through my veins than the Irish or Polish that have their own rightful spots. Sometimes when I wonder if I am awake or dreaming, I can still smell his cologne on Saturday nights, when we would go to church, or hear his somehow nasally yet deep voice yelling about something.

They were going to retire out there, my grandparents. They had a nice house out around Reading in all the new developments that were happening out there back in the 90's. When we would go out there, it was like a different world for me. It wasn't backwoods NJ like Haskell was, and it wasn't tough guy industrial towns like Totowa or West Paterson. Going out there was like stepping back in time; for a kid like me who always dug history, PA was heaven. The state hadn't changed too much in the last hundred and fifty years. I remember passing by houses that still flew the Confederate flag, old wooden houses that looked like wounded men had lain there once, looking for some respite during that horrible war. The main shopping center where my grandparents lived was called the "Lincoln Shopping Center", and it still had the old president's picture on the old yellowing sign that stood.

We would start out on a Friday night, sometime after I got out of school. I would mostly fall asleep during the rides there, although I would always wake up once we got past the Deleware. Somewhere out there in one of those shit towns is a Dunkin Donuts with a big lunch table and a "dryer" in the bathroom that had one sheet of cloth that just rotated...when we got there, I would know that we were halfway to our home away from Jersey. Across the street, there was an old brown brick building with lettering on the side that just said, "Kar Parts". I could never understand why they spelt the word with a "K".

We'd get there after dark, settle in quick, and then head off to the Green Dragon. The Green Dragon is a massive flea market in the rolling hills of Lancaster where you could find anything you wanted for less than five bucks; perfect for a cheap Italian from Jersey. We would walk around together, him leading me through the massive crowds, bringing me from stand to stand, finding all of the garbage trinkets that little kids like me liked. He'd buy bags of peanuts from the Amish there, and we'd eat them as we went, cracking the shells and dropping them on the compacted topsoil that made up the floor of the place. There were a few low, long buildings that would be full of vendors selling fruits and vegetables- we stayed out of these places. We liked the booths that were full of keychains, pocketknives, electronics, and anything else that could keep us entertained while we were there. He bought my father a belt from that place, a belt made by the Amish from true leather, one that was cut specifically to size, and had the holes in it driven through with an old wooden awl. That belt, though scarred and tattered, remains on my old man to this day. They don't make shit like that anymore.

On Saturdays we'd do other things, such as go to that Lincoln Shoppng Center that I mentioned before. There was a store in there that was something like a hillbilly version of Sears, full of bullshit and machinery that my grandfather would never need, but would buy anyway. There was an older, balding man with glasses who worked there that he would always talk with about the new innovations in ride-on lawnmowers or lights that came on automatically when you walked outside; my grandmother and I would look on in boredom, wandering around the store waiting for him. He'd go from there to the ACE hardware store to investigate new comings of the "cellular phones", then only available in car phone models. He loved having a phone mounted in the console of the car, even though you always got shitty service and he damn thing rarely worked the right way. No matter, because he loved it anyway, just knowing that just in case he had to, he could interrupt the "Tony Orlando's Greatest Hits" in order to find out some breaking news about something. It never happened, of course...but he got a kick out the phone anyway. He'd kill me if he knew how little I appreciate the phone that fits in my pocket, the one that can take pictures, get voicemails, and store numbers all at the same time.

Saturday nights we would fuck around, barbecuing the hot dogs filled with white cheese that we bought from the farmer's market, eating the macaroni salad from the massive wharehouse of food that supplied the whole area. I would be busy playing with plastic army soldiers bought for $1.99 a bag, or with my Swiss Army knife skinning a stick, making a spear just in case the Russians came. We'd walk the dogs in the park across the street, a nice, pre-formed park that even had the stations where you could do pullups and work out if you wanted to. There was a creek that ran through there, making the place look, to my 8 year old mind, like a Civil War battlefield where the Southerners had to be stopped (yea, I was fucked up, I know). Late on Saturday night, I would lay on the floor of my grandparent's room, watching episodes of MASH, hearing that theme song and Hawkeye's voice send me to sleep. My grandfather's snoring would kill my grandmother, but not me...I slept right through it.

On Sundays I would come back to Jersey, again. We'd go to that same Dunkin Donuts, and I'd get my marble frosted donut and milk. I'd sleep the rest of the way back, only to wake up when we got home. Of course, this was just in time to miss the Giants game because my grandfather would rather watch "Looney Tunes" then football. Talk about irony...I could never pry him away from cartoons, no matter how hard I tried.

On Halloween of 1994, my grandfather died abrubtly and without warning. The Bears and Packers were playing that night, in their old throwback jerseys during a rain soaked Green Bay night.

After the old man died, I started hating Pennsylvania. I'll hide behind the guise that I despise rednecks, and that their motto of, "America starts here" is infamously disparaging of Jersey. Hell, I'll make shit up to give me a reason to hate that state, down to, "The whole fucking state smells like horseshit". What I'm really saying is that I remember too much from too long ago, and that it's too hard for me to even remotely want to be there. Fuck the Green Dragon.

Now, I know it's time for the grand happy ending, where I loop this big story back to the beginning, and say how my girlfriend's family reunion fills in that lingering empty spot that was left when he died. Well, this isn't the fucking movies, and there is no happy ending. My girlfriend's family are nice enough, but they sure as shit aren't my family. I still can't stand Pennsylvania, and it seems that as soon as I approach that Delaware River, ghosts are smiling and beckoning for me to come to their side, with coins in my eyes and a heavy heart. I have no desire to listen to them.

All I have left from my grandfather are my memories and an old barlow knife with a shattered blade that he got from who knows where. One day, maybe I'll replace the blade and use it myself, although I doubt it; somehow, I think it will feel too heavy in my pocket.

Thursday, July 13, 2006


We just broke up a tremendous amount of cement at my house, this time without having to use sledghammers. My buddy Frank, a construction worker, brought a jackhammer over, and we pounded the hell out of the pavement busting the stuff up.

If you're like me, then as a kid you grew up thinking shit like forklifts and jackhammers were awesome, things that should be prayed to at the shrine of "heavy equipment". All the noise, the movement, the sheer solidness of the machines themselves was something to be admired. Of course, once you get behind these things, then you realize what really goes into the whole process. Forklifts are cool until you get one stuck in two feet of sand and patio base, and your boss tells you he'll fire you if you ever do such a thing again. Jackhammers are cool until you get past that first minute of using them; after that, it's just a hundred and fifty pound weight that you drill into the ground, then drag back out. After a couple minutes, it feels like four hundred pounds, and you're sweating enough to drown out any remaining illusions you might have had about how awesome they are.

I write mostly from a working man's perspective, but there is something that seperates people like me and Frank from the real working men. I'm nearly done with college, and that means that I'm nearly done with driving a forklift. For my friend, he went to college to learn how to run a business, and it's his old man's constrution company that he'll take over one day. Until then, whenever it is, he'll be in the hole digging, and on the jackhammer plowing apart cement. After maybe ten years, when he's put his licks in, he'll elevate to running the place.

Ironically, both of us working guys have it better than the regular guys who work for the companies themselves. There are lifers at the garden center who will be riding that forklift long after I'm gone on whatever endeavor I end up doing, and there's guys at Frank's company that will be on the jackhammers until they're 62. They know what the rest of their lives are about, and it doesn't entail writing a book like I will, or owning a beautiful house, as Frank will. It entails toiling in the dirt and tar forever, keeping their heads up, and doing the shit work in this country that we will all inherit one day. It's on their backs that we have built, and on their backs that we will renovate, destroy, and rebuild. This is forgotten far too often.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

I read a quote once, and it's seeming more true to me everyday. I don't remember all of it, but it was something about how some great writers "feel life too intensely to bare living it". In the last six months, I've been feeling life pretty intensely. It is an amazing thing. It liberates me but destroys everything...especially in regards to how much you really care about the future. I'll only be happy doing a couple things in my life, and the bullshit I go through at my job now has me numb, and at the same time on fire.

Fucked up stuff, and I can't even come close to articulating it how I want to.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

A Heartbreaking Work..or Wreck?

I started reading Dave Eggers' novel A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius today at work. I was supposed to be moving cement and what not, but instead I just hid in the propane shed, away from boss' prying eyes, and read this novel.

I have to say, I identify with Eggers quite a bit in here. His characters in his books have had major life changing breakdowns because of the deaths of those closest to them, not too mention the often surprisingly sudden demises that they go through. Though it is something that could be called a memoir, AHOSG is semi fictional, simply because he claims that he just can't remember every incident in his life (understable, I guess).

In the massive prologue to AHWOSG, he breaks down every thread that will course through the book, down to his own intense fear of getting old and decrepid. And when I say "fear", I mean fear. Part of the reason I dig him and his writings so much is that he is the first writer I've read in a long time that still deals with that trepidation at becoming ancient, and the terror of knowing that one day he must die. These are feelings that I share with him; getting old, as I have stated, is the fear that I war with every hour, wondering how bad it will get for me. Will I get cancer? An aneurysem at 34? A heart attack at 42? Will I make it to 63, only to slip on the ice in the brutal winter, break my hip, then die shortly after? Or will I make it the long haul, maybe even to around 80 or 85, so I can be one of those irritating old fuckers who come into the garden center in their socks and sandals, tipping guys 35 cents for loading up 40 bags of stone (even though they know that it won't buy shit nowadays)?

I weightlift because I'm at war with old age. When I was younger, I had the feeling that if you took care of yourself well enough (which I never did anyway), then you could survive for a lot longer. He died at 40? Ahh, they smoked! See? That shit's bad for you. He drank too? A lot? Well, there you go! He should have gone jogging every day, been a complete teetotaler, and eaten his peas at dinner time. It's his own damn fault.

When my grandfather died (which is probably, in my own memoir, to be called the seminal moment in my life), I learned that death strikes early. Sure, his blood pressure was high, and he was overweight...but hell, dead because of it? It was dissapointing to say the least, but I lived with it.

When my 22-year-old buddy Ryer died, I learned that life is literally like a war, being as it doesn't matter how strong you are, how smart, how cunning, or how quick; that bullet doesn't give a shit. Even though Ryer was strong as a bull, smart, and in top physical condition, he died in about ten minutes from a ruptured spleen. There was no helping him, no valiant fight to live, no last words about his family or his traitorous "girlfriend", he collapsed on the floor, never again to awake in this mortal world. His death proved to me that we are truly, in the words of whoever wrote Gladiator, "nothing but shadows and dust".

Now I smoke and drink, but still weightlift like a fiend. During the day, I lift to slowly push back the forces of old age that I fear so greatly- this is my idealistic side. During the night, under the streetlights in this brutal town, I drink massive amounts of beer and smoke cigarettes until I can't breathe in the morning- this is my existential side that permantly is stuck in that dangerous trap of thinking over and over again, "What's the point?". Every morning, I wake up, sore from lifting, sore from drinking, and my chest heaving as I exrapolate whatever is left in my lungs that wasn't burned out the night before. I put my head in my hands, and wonder where there is to go...for I know that one day, my personal Armageddon will come, and that I will either have to lift weights and lead that lifestyle, or end up smoking and drinking myself to a grave that may come sooner than I am ready for.

Calling a memoir, A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius sounds pretty arrogant (I guess it fits, being as I've heard that this guy is pretty arrogant himself). However, I've realized finally what the title really means: it is our lives. To us, all of our lives are truly heartbreaking works that one can barely even comprehend. All the sadness, the pain, the depressions, all balanced out by drive, ambition, and the triumphant nature of the human spirit that we all believe in so much. By the time we are dead, we all have more than enough stories for a novel, maybe even a Pulitzer Prize winning one....and that is what makes life beautiful.

If you don't, of course, have enough stories that you would consider your own life a heartbreaking work of staggering genius...then you were never alive in the first place.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

North Korea

Yes, North Korea just launched a couple missiles in an attempt to test them out. Now, all I see is internet message boards lighting up with the same alarmist bullshit chants of, "We must take them out before they take us!", "They are a threat to national security", or, "You're all a bunch of Neville Chamberlains! Liberal appeasers! We must meet this threat!".

Well, let me tell you something: you're all a bunch of fucking idiots. Blunt enough for you?

Any comparison to a dark horse Germany on the warpath is ridiculous and pathetic. Nazi Germany was a beaten down country that had not only an axe to grind with the rest of Europe, but also a dagger to put into its side. They were destroyed and crippled, and by massive nationalistic propaganda and a cunning campaign by the Nazi's, rose back up with rage. They had a strong army, a strong economy, and an incredible Luftwaffe, and generals that were nearly uncomparable (at least until America got there). They had all kinds of resources, and would have been a world power had they stayed afloat for maybe another ten years without starting a war. They certainly dwarfed all other countries militarily, with the exceptions of America, Britain, and probably the USSR. They were a threat.

You want to know what North Korea is? A pathetic shadow of its 1950 self, incapable of waging a war against us. No longer do they have the unbridled support of Communist China, or Soviet weapons to back them up. The great fight between capitalism and communism is over, and North Korea is a broken reminder of why it just doesn't work. The people eat fucking bugs and grass to stay alive- in the 1990s, a sixth of the country died because of famine. They are starving, their food distribution system is failed, and the people, most likely, are not too fond of their government because of this. They give off the impression of a stable nation, but that's only because of the extraordinary noose around the neck of the people. They are a country that is literally self destructing, and that, in another ten years, might not even exist. Their air force is outdated, they barely have a standing fleet, and their "Million man Army" is nothing in comparison with the technological power and physical prowess of the United States Army.

To tangle with us would mean to be beaten to death, and exterminated. Kim Jong Il knows this, I'm sure. Go ahead- send a missile near someone, and watch the fireworks. This man might be delusional, but he ain't stupid. They are not a threat to us, and our shield is one that all other nations will go behind if needed. Stop acting like they are the next coming of the Nazi's; someone I know did that with Iraq, and look at his approval ratings.

Monday, July 03, 2006


Summer gets hectic, especially on July Fourth. It's absolutely one of my favorite holidays...somehow ghosts seem to rise at this time, and I'm proud of what this country, my country, has done in it's past. This weekend has been eventful, and I'll write about that soon- the Buckcherry show in the House of Blues on Saturday was the most incredible live performance I've ever seen. The drive back north, however, was one of the worst. More will come once I write it all down.