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poet, technologist, cynic, father of five, child of chaos, punker, prankster, patriot, punster, leftist, latino, japanophile, audiophile, beer drinker, quiche eater, dog walker, soft talker, deep thinker, shallow sleeper, introvert, covert operative in a parallel universe.

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* m a y s t a r *

  • September 2004
  • October 2004
  • November 2004
  • December 2004
  • January 2005
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  • February 2014
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  • August 2014
  • March 2015

    extra special bitter
    hops are bitter. life is bitter. coincidence?

    Friday, October 29, 2004

    The Invisible Majority

    I consider myself a closet activist. I have strong political opinions (which I prefer to label as "progressive" as opposed to "liberal" or "leftist"), but I generally keep them to myself. Part of this is a result of conditioning - I work in the Financial Industry, which is typically very conservative and intolerant of diversity - be it social, political or otherwise. Part of it is my nature - shy, self-conscious, and chronically cynical - even of my own opinions and motives. This year's election, however, compels me, not only because I believe there is so much at stake, but because I am utterly incredulous that the race could be so close.

    Who represents this slim majority of voters who plan to vote for Bush on Tuesday? I expect born-again Christians and dyed-in-the-wool right-wingers to blindly follow their usual pattern, but that shouldn't overshadow the Americans who feel betrayed, used, and misled by the same man who was duly elected by the U.S. Supreme Court back in 2000. Why hasn't this man been impeached? Why aren't people standing outside the White House on a nightly basis shouting indignation at this administration? Aren't 1,110 dead soldiers enough of a touching homage to one's father? Isn't 7.4 Trillion Dollars enough of a debt to give to our children as a legacy of arrogance, isolation and greed?

    I don't get it.


    gold to brown

    We all know that the 2004 World Series began on Saturday, October 23rd. What few people know is that my wife Mary and I volunteer for the Australian Cattle Dog Rescue Association, and that we woke up at 4:00 in the morning on that same day to rescue a sweet little Cattle Dog named Gracie, along with a litter of seven puppies that were born just a few days earlier. It was a 5 1/2 hour drive from our home in Massachusetts to Newark, Delaware. With very little fanfare we gathered the mother and pups into our car and drove the same 5 1/2 hours back.

    The runt of the litter, whom we named "Princess", died on Sunday night. Two more puppies, "Orlando" (named after Red Sox shortstop Orlando Cabrera) and "Maggie" were rushed to Tufts Veterinary Hospital when they became lethargic and stopped suckling on Monday. Despite the intervention of one of the best animal care staffs in the country, both puppies died on Tuesday.

    While we celebrated the first Red Sox World Championship in 86 years on Wednesday, we were also devastated by the loss of the puppies. We didn't pick them up from the hospital until this afternoon.

    leaves turn from gold to brown —
    I bury the dead puppies


    Tuesday, October 26, 2004

    bleak reflections

    I have no explanation for putting my face through the glass. no death wish, no stifling cosmic crush, just an impulse to see what was on the other side.

    you said you saw it coming, that there was a look on my expressionless face that forebode some horrible ambiguous something. I didn't see it coming, how could you?

    they say that life slows down to an imperceptible crawl during times like these. my life has sprinted ahead of me, shouting back to me in a distant, but familiar voice. eventually I no longer hear it. that's when I know I am dead.


    Wednesday, October 20, 2004

    playoff game seven

    playoff game seven --
    I refuse to wear
    my winter jacket


    Tuesday, October 19, 2004

    Management 101

    Pointy-Headed Manager sees Worker Bee struggling with the task of putting six million nails into a wall. When Pointy-Headed Manager asks for suggestions as to how to improve his performance, Worker Bee replies that at one minute per nail it will take him six million minutes to finish the task, but that one hundred thousand Worker Bees will complete the job in an hour. Pointy-Headed Manager gathers his Pointy-Headed Management Team into an emergency meeting to discuss the problem and after six hours of Pie Charts and Action Items declare that they have come up with a winning solution. The following morning, one hundred thousand off-shore Worker Bees assemble at a remote support site and swing their hammers in unison - ten thousand miles away from the six million nails.


    Saturday, October 16, 2004

    Not Everything is Zen

    ...and not every native New Yorker is a Yankee fan. Some of us somehow never succumb to the belief that a collection of highly compensated robots makes for entertaining baseball. On the contrary, the business-like efficiency on display when ever the Yankees win a ballgame renders the game lifeless and sterile. My Baseball has dirt under its fingernails and tobacco spittle on three days worth of unshaven stubble. My Baseball slides into second base head first and disrupts every double play with spikes up.


    New Yorker by Birth, Red Sox Fan by Choice


    Thursday, October 14, 2004


    Plants are living things. I am not a plant. Therefore I am dead.

    I hear my mother's voice: "why can't you write a nice blog?" I'm not a morose person. My thoughts generally start out cheerful and positive. It's the translation into words that taints the creative process. I think I'm writing the words, but the words are writing me.

    Cows do not eat meat. I am not a cow. Therefore no more than 37 Supreme Court Justices can dance on the head of a pin.

    I feel much better now.


    Wednesday, October 13, 2004

    October chill

    Yes, while we reflect on the fleeting beauty of Autumn, we forget how cruel the winter will be. We seem to do this every year, otherwise no one in their right mind would ever live here. As a consolation, there's the unwavering friendliness of one's fellow New Englander to get one through the coldest of times...

    October chill --
    she doesn't remember
    saying hello to me


    Tuesday, October 12, 2004

    heavy sigh...

    heavy sigh...
    headlights reflected
    in the rain-soaked pavement

    Ever get an ominous feeling about an otherwise nondescript day? Rain in October is not news - even in New England. Heck, at least it's not snow. Maybe it's because I went to the trouble of bringing an umbrella to work with me yesterday, only to have it not rain. I know better than to be emboldened by one day of good fortune.


    Monday, October 11, 2004

    Columbus Day

    I've grown to be decidedly ambivalent about Columbus Day. Aside from the fact that the Financial Industry (of which I am presently an inmate) does not consider it a holiday, it celebrates an event of dubious relevance. There isn't much debate regarding the fact that Christopher Columbus did not actually "discover" the erroneously named "West Indies", and that another civilization had been living there for several millennia before he claimed the land for Spain. It's a lot like dandelions discovering my front lawn: the initial landing of airborne seeds is mildly amusing, but once the weeds start to sprout it's time to get out the insecticide.

    Columbus Day --
    a telephone rings
    in an empty phone booth



    It's mid-October. It's pitch black outside when my alarm goes off at 6 a.m., and only the faintest of twilight by the time I drive off for the train station. As I walk away from the parking lot, I gaze sleepily at the gray sky: it's either overcast or not yet bright enough to tell. A voice from above isn't much help...

    high-tension wire --
    a crow calls
    to itself


    Saturday, October 09, 2004

    Ten Questions

    These 10 questions originally came from a French series, "Bouillon de Culture" hosted by Bernard Pivot. It is probably more familiar to many as the questionnaire James Lipton asks at the end of "Inside the Actor's Studio."

    1. What is your favorite word?


    2. What is your least favorite word?


    3. What turns you on?

    Discovering new music.

    4. What turns you off?

    Empty speechmaking.

    5. What is your favorite curse word?

    It's actually three words: "Jesus Fucking Christ!"

    6. What sound or noise do you love?

    My childrens' laughter.

    7. What sound or noise do you hate?

    My ex-wife's voice.

    8. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?

    A musician or a baseball player.

    9. What profession would you not like to do?

    A priest.

    10. If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?

    "This can't be happening".


    Friday, October 08, 2004

    Fall colors

    Gold, amber and brown are obvious. How about the searing red of my bloodshot eyes?

    Fall colors --
    my youngest son's
    deep voice


    Thursday, October 07, 2004

    (that is to say)

    I looked
    for you
    that is
    I looked
    for where
    you were
    I looked
    you weren't
    you looked
    for me
    and found me
    and I found


    Snips and Snails and Puppy Dog Tails

    There's a familiar voice on the phone, and it's tugging on my soul for all it's worth.

    Q: Isn't a soul an imaginary construct, you ask? A fictitious entity into which we project our elusive humanity?

    A: Yes, but it hurts.


    Wednesday, October 06, 2004

    See Right Through Me

    I was invisible this morning. I know this because a pickup truck cut me off as if I wasn't there. I would have dismissed this as crazed Boston driving, but I encountered the same eerie feeling while waiting for the train. People who were clearly in my path didn't step aside for me to pass by. Each time I walked around someone, he or she stared down the tracks at the invisible train. When the train arrived, we all climbed aboard, silently, invisibly.

    I took my usual seat by the window and put on my sunglasses, falling in and out of sleep with the rhythm of the train. A young, attractive woman sat opposite me and began to fuss with her hair and make-up. At first I was reluctant to glance in her direction, but my new-found power emboldened me. She never once looked up.

    At South Station, the herd was released. No one looked to the right or left. A vendor offered free newspapers to everyone but me. A well-dressed man handing out glossy pamphlets nearly broke the spell...

    smiling at someone else
    the stranger shakes my hand
    and asks for my vote


    Tuesday, October 05, 2004

    In This Playground

    ...there are many mood swings. One of them struck me in the head as a child, knocking me unconscious for the next six hundred years. I neither grew nor aged. Then I moved to Massachusetts.


    Monday, October 04, 2004


    It's the last month of the year that will see me rooting around for my sunblock, and the first month since Spring that will rekindle my hatred for New England winters. I didn't like the idea of seeing my breath this morning until I realized that it was preferable to not seeing my breath. I have to wonder if my fellow commuters feel the same way.

    Note to Self: don't sleep on the train. write something. wake up that muse!
    Note to Muse: be a little more generous, will ya? automatic writing will take me only so far.
    Muse to Self: leave me alone. I'm just a hypothetical construct, remember?

    I remember.

    looking for something fresh
    a skunk
    climbs out of the dumpster


    Sunday, October 03, 2004

    A Courting We Will Go

    It's tough to write about something so grueling and emotionally conflicting as a hearing at "Family Court". The two words suggest a coziness that belies the intensity that permeates the recycled air of the waiting room.

    Family Court --
    my wedding band
    sets off the metal detector

    My ex-wife sees me, but is determined not to make eye contact. Her anxious fidgeting speaks volumes. Slowly, I realize that she and I are just one of several former couples forced to barely tolerate one another while waiting for a judge to determine their fate.

    threat of frost --
    my ex-wife
    enters the court room


    Saturday, October 02, 2004

    Open (Parenthesis

    After two beers too many, the dog finally begins to make sense: "The rhythm of a heartbeat permeates the soundtrack of eternal entropy. Hand me a pig ear".

    Family Court is a veritable petri dish of joy, angst and boredom. The adoptions are processed first, so as to clear the building of shiny happy people and to make way for chronic victims and venomous snakes. Negative body language mingles with nervous body odor and the occasional Wild Turkey mouthwash. The warring parties are often encouraged to settle their differences before meeting with the support magistrate. This is usually a mistake. The conversation goes something like this:

    Arrogant Bastard: I declare my DNA to be lime Kool-Aid.
    Pouty Bitch: I will feed your entrails to hungry piranhas.
    Court Officer: Doesn't this gun makes me look like a bad-ass?

    The adversarial nature of Family Court guarantees that at least one of the warring parties will leave unhappy. They typically start out that way as well - missing a day of work to sit around and wait three hours for a five minute hearing. People are usually there because a relationship has ended. The court has the responsibility of performing an autopsy on the dead relationship - not in order to determine the cause of death, but rather to place a price upon the corpse. This price is periodically negotiated, long after the products of said relationship canonize Pouty Bitch and curse the ground that dared to be touched by the shadow of Arrogant Bastard. Court Officer doesn't care that you woke up at 3 in the morning and drove 200 miles to get there on a day when you should have been herding bits in your cubicle maze. The Magistrate wants you to kiss his ring, but to do it quickly so as not to delay his tee time. When push comes to shove, however, any semblance of a firm decision is deferred. You are ushered out of the hearing chamber faster than you can say "Hey, Mister Court Officer. Can I try your gun?" Pouty Bitch and Arrogant Bastard race each other for the door, avoiding eye contact while exuding parallel airs of disdain. The games have just begun.


    Friday, October 01, 2004

    Mass Pike - 4 a.m.

    The New England Journal of Medicine reports that not a single pathological behavior has been treated via highway hypnosis. Can we afford to wait for the cure?

    It all started when I passed what must have been the 37th eighteen wheeler between milemarkers 91 and 92. I wasn't going all that fast, but I had places to see and people to go, therefore I signalled, accelerated, waited for the truck's headlights to appear in my rear view mirror, and then, after signalling again, I courteously pulled back into the right lane. After a minute or two the headlights grew dimmer and more distant. Truck #38 wouldn't be far away.

    But truck #37 must have thought that we had missed out on what could have been a beautiful friendship. He inched back into my rear view mirror and my consciousness, and pretty soon it was all I could see or think about.

    I wondered what I might have done to offend this guy. I didn't think I had violated any Mass Pike laws of etiquette (not that there are many) when I passed him. I tried to pretend not to care, but the glow of the truck's headlights against the back of my head had the effect of some Cro Magnon Man breathing against the back of my neck. In short, I freaked out.

    I was doing between 70 and 75 at the time. I stepped on the gas and hit 85 in about 30 seconds. I tried to hold it between 85 and 90, passing trucks #38 through #47 in the next few minutes. When I reached my exit, I deliberately turned onto it at the last possible second, screeching my tires and otherwise calling upon every ounce of driving skill I possessed to avoid flipping over. I skidded and swerved and screamed and swore for what seemed like hours, but it was all over in a few seconds. After confirming that no one was behind me, I took a deep breath and passed through the toll booth at exactly 15 miles per hour, proceeding down I-84 at a comfortable speed.

    I couldn't have been more alone.


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