The Curious Case of the Mystery Man and the Airport Shuttle

Sunday, December 28, 2014 | 0 Comment(s)

My wife and I set our alarms for 2:30am, out the door by 3:00, to make a 7:10 flight out of Logan airport.  It was a two-hour drive from our house to the Revere, MA Park & Ride that we had previously booked online.  Considering I am now on vacation, you know this isn't going to be some sob story about how my sleep schedule got screwed up by a direct flight to paradise.

The Park & Ride was not a one of those fluorescent light covered monstrosities that serves as a beacon of advertisement for larger car rental companies like Alamo or Budget.  With the wattage those puppies were putting out, the street lighting seemed quaint, like holiday decorations along the fringe of the real source of light.  Our Park & Ride was on a smallish corner lot, just a block from a major rotary.  It was not well lit.  It had a small sign that said Revere Park & Ride in white lettering.  

There was a small service center built into the corner of the open paved lot, and the whole place was surrounded by wire fencing with barbed wire that ran along the top. There was no "parking garage." It was all one level of exposed pavement, no stacking.  Old school.  My wife parked the car in one of the lined spots away from the busy intersection, and we gathered our belonging and made our way to dimly lit hut. It was now 5:00am. 

As we were just lifting our suitcases onto the sidewalk pavement, a middle-aged Asian man swerved his over-sized new-model Cadillac onto the pavement in front of us.  His window was down. 

"Is this the parking for the airport?," he asked.  His accent was pronounced, but besides the funny word placement, his English was almost flawless. 

Puppy Productivity

Friday, December 19, 2014 | 0 Comment(s)

Yesterday I went to a friends house to write.  I like to try out new locations in hopes that every novel (pun) place I whip out my laptop may be the elusive "perfect writing environment" I'm looking for.

It this particular instance, I chose the friend's house in question both because she's awesome and, at the moment, she and her family are caring for 7 vizslas and 2 goats.  Yes, they have a fenced in yard.

First the goats.  The goats live outside.  Goats will eat pretty much anything , and in this case they're primary function is to consume any and all poison ivy on the property.  Goats are the Honey Badgers of eating whatever.  They no give no fucks.  No fucks at all.  My friend's goats hop along the wooden railing along the outside of the porch so as to avoid being harassed by the multitude of dogs they occasionally share the yard with.

My friend has had two female vizslas since I met her years ago, Bounce and Fi.  About 6 months ago, Fi had puppies, and from that litter, they kept two of her girls (Kitty & Ms. Hudson).  About 2 months ago, Bounce had puppies. Seven more rugrats tooling around the house.  Two of those little boogers have already been adopted, leaving five soft sacks of puppy energy are still wiling around the house.

Sometimes you start with a group shot and end up with dog butt

What Am I Stupid or Something?

Wednesday, December 17, 2014 | 0 Comment(s)

Hey loyal readers.  This post is to direct you to my new guest post on! I have decided to *ahem* strongly suggest to parents that they  . . . chill the hell out.  I ask you all to remember me well.  When I started this project, I don't think this was the untimely demise I was expecting . . . but isn't that always the case.

PARENTS: You Gotta Chill The Hell OUT!  

I also voted for:  Parents Just Don't Understand

DJ Jazzy Jeff 4 Eva.

TBRARUMUD All-Stars: Am I Wasted?

Monday, December 15, 2014 | 0 Comment(s)

As I am missing the warm weather these days in the northeast, I thought a flashback to island time would be a nice change of pace:

Just an example of a "drunk girl on bar"
One of my old Boston roomies (we’ll call her V) lives down here on the island.  As the small world would have it, the new girl subletting the room in our then Cambridge apartment had just been living on the same island my family was building a house.  V’s moved back to the island and now I have a great playmate to take me out and get me into mischief whenever I can get down here.  (I should also briefly mention that, also by complete coincidence, mmf’s best friend from growing up in VT also lives down on the island.)  

This trip, I have had the pleasure of also getting to meet and spend time with V’s boyfriend (we’ll call him NH).  The only real pieces of knowledge you need about NH is that I like him, he has a fantastically mischievous smile, and he is a cook on the island.  And all the cooks/waitstaff/etc on island know each other.  I mention him in the blog only because he features prominently in this story.

Not Guilty Ya'll Got to Feel Me: How I'm Innocent but All of Black America is Guilty

Friday, December 5, 2014 | 0 Comment(s)

Today was my day in court.

If you recall, in late October I had a number of unpleasant run-in's with the Pō-Pō regarding my car's inspection sticker. In particular they took umbrage at its expired nature.  If you'd like to refamiliarize yourself with the case that they gave me, those pieces are here and here.

Court was scheduled for 9:30am, so I woke up early to reread my blog posts (after all, what's the point of writing recaps of life events if not to remind you of exactly what happened when you've forgotten over a month later).  Next, I went upstairs to craft the perfect court outfit -- I am soooo Elle Woods.

The choices I made in my dressing room this morning resonated inside me.  Every other morning I throw on a t-shirt, dark jeans, and a hoodie.  Maybe a vest on top.  No hoodie in my ensemble today, however.  Collared shirt, khakis, and a tie.  It should be mentioned that when I finally made it to court, I was amused to see three other guys waiting along with me who were ALL wearing the exact same semi-formal combination (down to the blue shirts).  The only difference between us was our individual tie choices, which it was clear was the product of a dearth of options all around.

Dating Taylor Swift

Monday, November 24, 2014 | 0 Comment(s)

I love Taylor Swift.  How could I not?  I'm sure if I were a younger man, say like, 14 or so, I'd be standing neck-high behind a velvet rope somewhere screaming at the top of my lungs how I would slaughter my little brother for the chance to touch Taylor's arm.  Thankfully, my more ancient Swiftiness manifests as a hidden shame and then peaks right where the motivation for this SNL gem of a fake commercial came from:

My Taylor love exposed, I still am sick to death of hearing Shake It Off getting overplayed on the radio.  Just like Pharrell's Happy and Gotye's Thatsongoftheirs before it, Shake It Off is the drill bit in a jackhammer being repeatedly pounded into the national consciousness without even buying us dinner first.  Taylor, I'd be happy to go to dinner with you, just ask!  Then you can gladly pound me into oblivion with your vocal abilities.

I get it.  A catchy pop song with a message of upbeat joy only comes around . . . every month or so . . . and everybody feels better when they are bopping along on their merry way.  If only the music machine could come out with all their #happyhappyjoyjoy songs at the same time, then perhaps DJ's could concoct a more palatable long term rotation. Until that time, I will patiently await Ariana Grande's future single, Jubilation! (the punctuation mark being part of the title of course), and it's predictable three months of overexposure on 92.7 FM.

On Loss

Wednesday, November 19, 2014 | 0 Comment(s)

I lose so many things. 

Two years ago I found the perfect winter jacket.  It was quilted without being bulky and incredibly well insulated.  I wore that coat both as my "get around town" everyday jacket, as well as my waterproof option for snow frolicking.  Best coat I'd had since high school. 

The following winter, as my wife and I searched through the gigantic Tupperware bins that hold our winter clothes, the coat was nowhere to be found.  We figured it must be somewhere around the house, in the attic or basement most likely.   But with our recent move it became official, the blue winter jacket that, for a brief period fulfilled my every core-warming desire, was gone.

My first nose wasn't as bulbous as the current version, granted this one is Version 4.0.  I lost my first nose at 7 years old when a teammate threw his baseball bat after swatting a grown ball off a coach's underhanded pitch.  The more solid contact came after the batter released his aluminum club, and it came frisbeeing toward me before being stopped by the bridge of my nose. 

Money can't make you Pappy: Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Bourbon

Thursday, November 13, 2014 | 0 Comment(s)

I'm a bourbon guy.  I'm big into bourbon.  If you were to check out my Facebook feed at any given time, chances are there would be a picture of some sort of bourbon bottle scrolling on my screen.  I believe they call this a hobby, and it's a delicious one.

As I dipped my toe into the online world of trading and selling bourbon, it has been impossible to ignore the uncomfortable dichotomy between two types of bourbon enthusiasts.  On the one hand, there  is the group of white guys, and I'm generalizing here, that search out rare and old bottles of bourbon to enjoy and drink and trade according to taste and monetary funds.  Sure these guys sell some of their rarer bottles to pay for the next release, but the goal of the hobby is firmly planted in the acquisition and consumption of the very best versions of this American spirit.

The other group of white guys, and this time I am not generalizing save for maybe one or two women, may consume whiskey but that's not their passion.    First and foremost this group pours all of its time and resources into buying out all of the hard to find bottles of whiskey in any given area, in order to immediately resell those bottles online for a profit. They don't just stick to one area either, but will actually fly all over the country to get the jump on the competition.

"These are not the Pappy Van Winkle's you are looking for . . .  Ok, never mind, these are them"
A wonderful example of this "flipping bottles" mentality is currently playing out in Kentucky, simultaneous to the release of this year's much sought after Pappy Van Winkle bourbon.  It starts with people lining up all night in front of liquor stores.  All night they wait to get their hands on as many bottles as possible -- Grown men queuing like teenaged girls for a Taylor Swift concert.  When the doors finally open, these guys grab the most expensive bottles and run to the check out line. While waiting in line to purchase their $250 bottle of Pappy 23 year, they snap a quick picture of the bottle in their sweaty meat mitt.   Before they've even made it to their cars, they've resold the bottle on Facebook or Craiglist or wherever for a cool $1150.  That fast.  These guys may drink bourbon, but what they love is money.

TBRARUMUD All-Stars: The 30 Minute Rule

Tuesday, November 4, 2014 | 1 Comment(s)

(originally post 6/3/10)

Pull up a seat kiddies cause im's a bout to preach a bit--and help ya'lls relationships.

I give you: "the 30 minute rule."

I'm not gonna lie folks, and I'm not gonna front--I believe I actually saw something to this effect on a Sex and the City Episode. No, i will not see the movies. Ever.

When you get home from whatever you do during the day, may it be school or work or some combination of those things or no combination of those things, but when you come home, you are utterly and unchangeably unable to focus on any new problems. Home is where we retreat, it's our safe space.

Interestingly, part of what makes home our safe space is that our significant others (may) live there with us. This is almost always wonderful. The pesky thing about living with other humans, however, is that they have needs. And because of these "needs," when they see the person they care about most walk through the door, they want to share all the day's hopes and dreams and frustrations and anger and questions and stories with that loved one. Unfortunately, when you come home, you are utterly and unchangeably unable to focus on any new problems (or hopes or dreams or frustrations or angers or questions) other than your own. You need to retreat first. Power down. Relax.

This often creates conflict, as the partner that has been home vies to connect with their partner at the end of the day while the partner just coming home vies to get some space to decompress from their own day.

All it takes is 30 minutes.

If Everyday Were My Birthday

Friday, October 31, 2014 | 0 Comment(s)

I wish everyday were my birthday, and not just for the cake.  Though the cake is nice.  I mean, who doesn't like cake.   Of course, when your birthday falls on Halloween, as mine does, there is already a cavalcade of candy coursing through your system, rendering the cake a smidge less essential.  Just a smudge.

Today I'm writing in a tea shop.  Old school.  Hundreds of shiny sliver tubes, all labelled with their worldly dry tea leaves, sit on shelves built to house the canisters. There is a shamisen playing on the hidden speakers up in the exposed wooden rafters. It's a mellow place.  On not my birthday, I type as much as I can before getting distracted, and then fiddle around online for a few minutes until I can get myself back on track.  This is not the most productive way to be productive.  It is MC Scat Cat productivity: three steps forward, two steps back.

But on my birthday, I waste much less time.  I get distracted, click over to Facebook, read eight messages of good tidings from long lost friends from high school, Israel, Japan, Australia, even New Jersey -- and that love focuses me back to the task at hand. Apparently getting a constant barrage of online loving for 36 hours (time zones!!!) is an affective counterbalance to the solitary nature of writing.

Which means the only logical conclusion is to find a way to make it my birthday everyday.  If I parcel out each date to my Facebook friends, I should be able to get at least 2 or three good threads going by midday, everyday.  I'll have start working with the volume turned off on my computer to avoid the noise pollution of my Facebook indicator chiming endlessly at the commentary rolling in.  Oh what a life it would be, if everyday were my birthday.

Who wants to take November 1st?

Fuck the Police--Part VI: The One Where They Give Me a Ticket and I Get Legitimately Pissed Off

Tuesday, October 28, 2014 | 3 Comment(s)

I had just finished writing Fuck the Police Part V.  Just.   After getting my verbal warning on Sunday, on late Wednesday afternoon I was driving home to post my recent police encounter on the blog and then be done with it. You know, cause, fuck the police.

When the now ubiquitous blue and white lights began flashing behind me, I was on the same road on was on the last time I got pulled over.  I was going 30 mph, just like the last time I was pulled over.  Three days ago.

When the short stocky police office sauntered over to my driver side window, I figured, "Yay, this again. What a waste of time. At least I can just explain to the guy what happened and this experience might not even be worthy of a blog entry."  As you are reading this, you understand that this is not how things went down.

Fuck the Police: Part V

Saturday, October 25, 2014 | 0 Comment(s)

At this point, when I see the police lights alight behind me, I almost get giddy at the bountiful harvest of a blog post I know is about to unfold through my car window.  Almost.

This is a REAL photo I took this past Wednesday
As I mentioned recently, I get up early on Sundays to beat the church-goers and brunch-getters on my way to go swimming.  If I can be in the locker room before 9am, I am pretty much guaranteed a lane to myself for the duration of my workout.  That's the dream, that's why I'm setting my alarm on the weekend.

This past Sunday, I fed the dogs, stuck them back in bed with their slumbering mom, and voyaged out into the morning, right on schedule.  About five minutes down the road, I see a cop car with its lights going.  A recently pulled over driver is still awkwardly leaning over the center console to find their registration.

"The cops are out this morning," I said to myself, and kept cruising down the street.  Ten minutes later I see another cruiser in an alcove to my right.  I going 35.  Maybe 35.  "That cops really are out today," I  think, as my car shuffles past.

Then the lights and the pullout. This is when I would be giddy if I werent trying to get to the pool early and if it wasn't 8:30am on a Sunday.  This is the most important use of police resources.  Sigh.  Here we go again.  I honestly have no idea why I'm being pulled over this time, but the anticipation is palpable as I start surfing the web, knowing the police take 45 minutes to come to your window.

Power Padding Through LIfe: Little League Edition

Wednesday, October 22, 2014 | 0 Comment(s)

After elementary school on Tuesdays, my friend Nicole and I walked together the quarter mile to her family's house.  Just a pair of Jewish 9-year-olds cruising down the middle of a rarely travelled side street, on our way to our weekly play date.

Nine times out of ten, the Nintendo was involved when celebrating those parent-free moments before Nicole's mom took us to Hebrew school.  I still have vivid memories of tapping at the floor like maniacs, stretching for the finish line of Power Pad's maiden release: Track and Field.  When we got too sweaty, we would switch over to Ice Hockey or Double Dribble.  Those 16-bit competitions soon led to an adolescence playing sports together. 

In little league, Nicole and I were on the same team: The Italian American Club.  All the teams were sponsored and named after local businesses (no MLB Trademark infringements here). Perhaps they mistook us for Italian.  We were just thankful we weren't on Burger King, which was an actual team name, even though they were the perennial champs.  Must have been the special sauce.

The Invisibles: The Supervillians Behind Interior Design

Wednesday, October 15, 2014 | 0 Comment(s)

When I was growing up, I did not use the downstairs bathroom. Ever. That was the guest bathroom, and it was only for guests.

On any given day, this no poop zone was no big deal.  Our bathroom, that is to say, my brother and my bathroom, was just at the top of the carpeted stairs. And for all 17 years I lived there (post pooping in my pants), I managed that cushy climb to the toilet.  

I never fully grasped why the downstair hall bathroom held such a place of esteem in my parents' eyes.  It isn't a special bathroom.  Don't get me wrong, I love the geometric wallpaper and the late 80's decoration sensibility, but it undeniably cramped and doesn't even have a tub.  

To be clear, it wasn't only that you didn't go to the bathroom in the guest toilet.  You didn't go in the room.  You didn't wash your hands in the sink.  You didn't dry your hands on the towels that were forever hung to rest on two metal rungs.  And you sure and shit didn't throw anything in the trash can provided under the sink. Blow your nose elsewhere son. 

It was a long time before I started to realize the dynamic behind our vacuum-sealed bathroom.  The guest bathroom was a show room.  A room you provided off-handedly for visitors to use that was secretly the most well-coifed, curated spot in the joint.  The main utility of the guest bathroom was to give off the impression that this little area was a microcosm of the entire house.  That is to say, the entire estate was immaculate and neat -- as if no one had set foot in there either.  The guest bathroom was a lie that said, "We've got our shit together . . ." and possibly the, ". . .way more together than you!" addendum.

The Locker Room Happened Again Yesterday. That Shit Was Not Ok.

Monday, October 6, 2014 | 0 Comment(s)

So.  I've been off the locker room stories for a while now.  I realize they were some of the best comedy I've put up thus far, but they were also tinged with a smattering of mean-spiritedness. Since most of them, not all of them, but most of them were innocent bystanders who I just decided to attach labels to and break down physiologically.  I agree that the guy who left his bathing suit hanging off the lock in front of his locker kinda had it coming, but it's the first time I've gone so far as to be that person who gives it.  I didn't convince myself that it was worth the bad karma.  Especially after the back surgery that followed. 

Another reason for the lack of locker room hijinks is that I switched gyms.  For the past 5 months I'm been going to an "Athletic Club," which in Amherst pretty much equates to a Jewish Community Center + a pool + other diverse older people. There are lots of "oy's" and kvetching.   The locker room in my new gym is a minyan of town gossip and bragging about off-spring. If you needed to explain to your grandparents what humblebragging is, you should tell them to come visit my current locker room.  It defines it. 

But today.  Today . . . today I was visually assaulted, and it was not cool.  It was a steaming sweaty pile of not cool at all.

My Reckoning with Modern Religion

Thursday, October 2, 2014 | 1 Comment(s)

Welcome to the Days of Repentance.  It's a Jewish thing.  If you don't know what they are, I suggest a quick google search. For a lot of reasons.

Anyways. During this period of reflection I've decided to take a harder look at my own relationship with religion. During the recent passing of the Jewish new year celebration (5775 btw--palindrome year), I found myself spending that night in my recliner watching television.  No big deal.

And then like any good plugged-in American I made my way onto Facebook where I saw a litany of pictures of Rosh Hashana dinners.  High school friends, grad school friends, family.  I felt an avocado-sized pit, with toothpicks punctured into its sides, growing in the cabinet of my soul.  I yearned for a little rustic traditionalism.  

This isn't a sob story.  It wasn't like I was the lonely Jew on Christmas.  I was at home out of my own indifference towards the coming holiday.  Because religion, to put it bluntly, has simply pushed me past my breaking point.

The Modern Dating Game: The Butcher's Dilemma

Tuesday, September 23, 2014 | 0 Comment(s)

I would argue that The Newlywed Game, when it debuted in 1966 with Bob Eubanks at the helm, was the first great reality show.  While The Dating Game may have pre-dated the production, dating is, by definition, and series of lies and half truths.  That thirty minutes was a just a litany of sexual innuendoes and bad choices -- more akin to a 1960's The Office than The Real World.   The Newlywed Game, by contrast, revealed a brief glimpse behind the curtain of hundreds of ostensibly happy couples' lives. is still rife with clips from old shows, the contestants' clothing immediately transporting you back to an era before the Game Show Network, where husbands and wives inadvertently let intimate private information about how they "make whoopee"slip to a syndicated audience.  (At the time it was the closest our still somewhat moral culture came to a nud3 c3l3brity pic dump.)

The Elves Always Rang During Dinner

Thursday, September 18, 2014 | 0 Comment(s)

When I was a kid my dad spoke Elvish on the phone all the time.

I didn't know it was Elvish back then, I was little.  But the coded messages he dictated into the receiver certainly weren't English, and by the time I read The Hobbit in middle school I became fairly certain that it was Elvish he was speaking.

That helped me understand why he'd get up from the middle of a family dinner, traditionally a punishable no-no, to go chat in tongues upstairs in his bedroom.  The Elf people were a highborn race and not to be kept waiting.  I figured my father must be a very important human to consult with a race known for their legendary hesitancy to interact with the sons and daughters of Men.

"Get me the human father on the line"

The Shit Twist Swirly

Thursday, September 11, 2014 | 0 Comment(s)

When it comes to writer's block I am lucky in two ways.

First, my blockages are specific.  For instance, if I set in my mind that I wanted to publish a new piece on my blog every day for a week, the blockage would surely come in the form of a dearth of new ideas. Now that I'm writing a book, most often the walls are between me and creating new content on any given day.  

The second advantage I have is that my personal neuroses is so strong that when the words just aren't coming to me, I usually write about what a failure I am at writing (e.g. right now.)  It usually comes out just self-depricating enough to not sound overtly narcissistic.  Though it obviously is. 

First Jobs and Boredroom Kindness

Wednesday, September 10, 2014 | 1 Comment(s)

My first real job out of college was bartending in NYC.  I was the "new guy" at two different establishments and got all the shitty slow shifts to suffer through.  I was overworked and underpaid.  Then 9/11 happened and I had no work with no pay.

My second job out of college was as a psychology research assistant to the Medical Director of a  therapeutic community-style substance abuse center.  The MD was a small man with a big job title and while he only handed me the occasional assignment, usually web-search related, I had a bigger office than those with Master's degrees who were getting their hands dirty doing the actual work.  Those worker bees were also my only coworkers, and I liked them all without exception.  They were from all walks of life: a German-born thirty-something who put her heart and soul into developing the psychology branch of the substance abuse center,  a forty-something Jew-Bu who was both motherly and fierce simultaneously (I, appropriately, was both stupefied and enamored with her), and another young white dude my age who I sincerely can't remember anything about except that we would commiserate together until he left for grad school, or marriage, or something else equally important.  Suffice it to say, we were all pretty forthright about how ludicrous it was that I had the big office.  More than anything it was a passive-aggressive power move by the doctor to show the others who the boss was -- because he didn't have anything resembling the balls to stand up to those two women himself. You know, the women doing the lion's share of the work that he, I assumed, was taking the lion's share of the credit for. It was not an optimal work environment.

Moving Day: You Can Never Go Home Again

Monday, September 8, 2014 | 1 Comment(s)

I said goodbye to my latest residence last week (pictured).  I'm leaving Amherst after the better part of a decade.  Sure, I'm only moving about 40 minutes away, but the move is as symbolic as it is structural. 

I Got 99 Problems and the Neighbors are 3 of Them
This town has been a time of transformation for me.  I got engaged, became a doctor, got a second puppy, and got married in this house.  Those are some major milestones.  Amherst is the first place I've really settled since living at home with my parents.

Amherst was also my first attempt at community.  If I was gonna stay put, I figured, I might as well seek out the benefits of being a relatively big fish in a relatively small pond.  One thing I learned from this swimming expedition is that small ponds have relatively few warm pockets, and therefore the fish all tend to huddle in those areas.  And that destination-based socialization, is a form of community.  A shared love of particular establishments and the safety, comfort, and ambiance they provide.  Like a shared homestead for you and your friends, a coffee shop can become a living room, and a bar a dining room. 

Six Seconds of Solace

Thursday, August 28, 2014 | 0 Comment(s)

I got some sad news today.  It happens.  Hell, if you turn on the news at any given point in the day right now, you'll get a pretty heavy dose of tragically depressing news.  If you aren't getting that coverage by the way, and I'm primarily talking about Ferguson here (though the Middle East and ISIS are closing fast), you are watching the wrong news.  That's just a little unsolicited advise.

Many of you know I'm writing a book.  If you didn't before, you do now.  Its genre is comedic non-fiction. This detail is important because as someone invested in his everyday funniness, getting bummed out in the morning does not facilitate a productive work day.  So, off to Facebook I went to find just the right flavor of cheeriness.  I found this:

This Vine Of A Tiny Piglet Prancing Through Grass Will Be The Best 6 Seconds Of Your Day

Check it out.

Badminton is Neither "Bad," nor a "Mint," nor is it "On" anything . . . Discuss!

Friday, August 22, 2014 | 0 Comment(s)

Badminton is neither "bad," nor a "mint" nor is it "on" anything. Discuss!  Somehow this lawn game turned gym class requirement has followed me like the rope climb on my travels around the world.

The first time I was introduced to "slow tennis" was after we completed the handball curriculum in middle school.  Even at 13, I could tell that the school staff was reaching to find every possible non-contact activity that involved competition, a ball, and a lack of expensive equipment.  With one long-ass net stretched across the entirety of the gym and replacing the handball wall, we instantly transformed the gymnasium into six badminton arenas.

It should be mentioned that most young teens are not intrinsically motivated to play badminton.  While it is way better than the wrestling mats, the only real enjoyment our immature minds could foresee was saying the word "birdie" a lot. Flippin the birdie. Birdie on a wire. Bye Bye Birdie . . . And when we grew tired of saying that, we started in on "shuttlecock."  That usual got us til the end of the first class.

The Shortest Summer of All

Tuesday, August 12, 2014 | 1 Comment(s)

When I was a kid I rode the sun in order to lasso the moon.  The dandelions were fireworks and building blocks and fabric for clothing.  A moth was a dream I once had and we flew and flew and flew.  Its wings like cotton sheets, billowing my slumber and plastering my screen door like wallpaper. 

At seven I learned that reptile skin all looks the same, but it can feel very different, and that the bottom of the pond squishes through toes like cocoa through a sieve.  I was constantly moving upward, my soles only briefly making contact with low hanging branches as I used them to springboard toward my higher destination.  

My skinny extremities would float like a water-bug, barely breaking the surface tension as my mind grew weightless wings that carried my body away on the prevailing wind.  I knew all the plants by color and size, and if I never heard of a rhododendron I would still love my purple puff-balls just as much.  Maybe more.

Seven o'clock cartoons were on too late in the morning.  I was up 30 minutes earlier to make sure my parents didn't miss them.  The afternoon existed, and it was outdoors with the balls and the trees and the friendships.  Dusk only served to mourn the loss of play. I always ran out of day before I ran out of adventure.  Every time.

Parallel Parking Privilege

Tuesday, August 5, 2014 | 0 Comment(s)

There are two parking spaces along the curb just outside the coffee shop.  In the summer, the establishment sets up small tables and chairs so people can sip their lattes while enjoying a warm summer's day.  You also get a front seat for any parking dilemma that might occur at street level, a mere 6 feet away.

In today's episode a woman in her late 40's or early 50's was getting into her Audi station wagon with her two female companions after exiting the coffee shop.  Their car was parked in the space furthest forward.

Meanwhile, smiley-McParallel-parks-for-no-reason has slid his sporty BMW into the rear space, only to decide that he wasn't close enough to the curb (he's totally close enough to the curb) and thereby began procedures to re-parallel park his vehicle to get those final 3 inches of flush wheel to curb goodness.  It was all pretty ridiculous, and when he glanced directly at me, sitting with my coffee looking back at him, all I could do was return his ernest smile and give him a thumbs-up meant to communicate that the parking fiasco he has found himself in will last only as long as he decides to keep the engine running.

Mercifully, he turned the ignition key and his car audibly exhaled from the stress of over parking.  As the OCD parker, a guy in his 50's, exited his vehicle he crossed paths with the woman leaving and struck up a quick conversation.  It turned out to be glorious:

Here we just call this car a "Prius"

Slow Fisting the News: Drinking Water Edition

Monday, August 4, 2014 | 0 Comment(s)

I love these news reports more than all others.  I actually light up when I see headlines such as the one that lined the top of my screen today:  "Drink Up? Toledo Mayor Says Water Now Safe After Scare"

Check it out.

This news report makes my insides go "yesyesyesyesyesyesyesyesyesyes."

Why you ask?  Because this is the absolute ultimate "put your money where your mouth is" situation for a public figure.  More accurately, it is the perfect "put your mouth where your rhetoric is" situation.

"Hey mister Toledo Mayor.  How you doin? Cool cool. What's that? The water which you recently called toxic and asked just under a half-million people to avoid drinking or bathing in is now, like, totally safe.  That's cool. That's cool.  Here's the thing though Mr. Mayor.  I'm still freaked the fuck out.  You know, about the toxic, potentially poisonous, water that recently had our whole county in a clusterfuck to visit relatives.  Soooooooo, if you wouldn't mind . . . hows about stopping by the house this Wednesday and just downing a glass or two from my tap.  You know, just to be sure.  What's that? Not enough time to come to everybody's house.  Understandable, understandable.  How about we pick one lower-middle class household at random, and you can do a mini-press conference there, showing everybody how safe the water is now by chugging a liter of it on camera for all Toledoans to see! It will be a public relations coup!  Unless that is . . . you're reluctant to drink up?  You're not scared to drink the water you just declared safe right? Cause . . . that would be pretty screwed up.  A public relations nightmare."

"Looks like it's time to put your mouth where your mouth is and drink up or shut up."

TBRARUMUD All-Stars: Telemarketing Gone Wrong

Wednesday, July 30, 2014 | 2 Comment(s)

Let's go back.  Back in time.  I am a wise-ass, tightly wound, over-achieving high school student.   My dad, at that time, is a tightly wound oncologist who hates, above all, being interrupted by telemarketers.  Especially during dinner.

Context.  This is a time when cellphones don't exist and the constant interruption from phones was not yet the norm.  This is before caller ID and knowing ahead of time not to pick up an "Unknown Number." Especially during dinner.

And so, when my father did, on occasion, pick up the phone to find a well-enunciating young man or woman asking him personal questions with no lead in, or telling him about the marvel that is so-and-so running for lieutenant governor, he let em have it.   There were definitely a few different tactics that he employed.  There was the pointed dressing down, where the fact that he wasn't screaming made it all the worse.  And then there were the more seldom, but much more fun to watch "sprint and slams." These are where he says one line about the fuckery that is calling people during their family meals and then says BYE! and slams down the phone.

Context.  Now, when i say 'slams down the phone', I don't mean an iPhone was thrown down on a table.  This is way back when phones had two pieces, the base and the receiver . . . AND THEY WERE CONNECTED TO EACH OTHER!  And there was this wonderful empowering feeling that could be had by violently returning the receiver to the base, thus ending the call with a slamming sound on the other end.  the bases were pretty much built for that impact.  These were the good ol days i tell yah.

Protesting in Paradise

Friday, July 25, 2014 | 0 Comment(s)

They are out with their signs today.  Big poster-board signs protesting one or both sides of this seemingly intractable conflict in the Middle East.  Some of the signs are new, using recent language like "war crimes" ripped from the headlines and onto the corner of Amity and Main St.  Others are used to the point of yellowing, a testament both to the length of Middle East conflict and this person's unwavering protest over how it's been handled.  And no, I'm not even going to dip a toe into the vast ocean of real problems going on over there.  This is about the individuals holding the signs, those people walking around with their heads held so high that to the rest of us they just appear to be a gathering of up-raised chins.  And that's kinda what they are.

They weren't out on that corner protesting yesterday.   Not on that intersection or any other around town.  And you would think that with the recent escalation in the use of force abroad, there would have been even more angry voices yesterday, publicly denouncing Israeli or Hamas's violent actions.  Probably both.
But it was super hot yesterday.  So humid and sticky that after I took the dogs for a walk and I had to change my underpants (no, I didn't poop in them).  Truly unpleasant.  Though one might understandably argue that the current high heat index seems rather benign when you consider the conditions of the citizens you are purporting to give a voice to.  I mean, I would expect people who believe deeply in this cause to be out there hitting the pavement with all the cardboard and Sharpie markers they can find.
Protestin ain't easy...

Not Your Superhero's Utility Belt

Wednesday, July 23, 2014 | 0 Comment(s)

It is time for utility belts.  The time is now.

When I was a kid, utility belts were all the rage in my comic books.  Every new iteration of Batman, from the live action TV show to the various cartoons, unveiled new and exciting game-changing devices which all came compactly stored in the Dark Knight's pant holder-upper.  Sure, his was bright yellow, a particularly difficult shade for most of us mere mortals to pull off (I realize that Batman is literally-speaking mortal, but come on).

Batman: Inside the Belt
But the larger problem isn't one of color, it is one of coolness.  Street cred.  The closest American society came to starting down the slippery slope toward utility beltdom, was in the creation and execution of the cell-phone belt clip.  These nifty little pieces of plastic stay hooked to your waist, allowing you to instantly snap your phone up to your ear like Quick-Draw McGraw.  Draw, flip, talk.  It just felt so right.

My Enduring and Incomparable Grandma Rita

Monday, July 14, 2014 | 2 Comment(s)

I have one remaining grandparent. I say that now facing down the fact that it is a truth about to be erased.  My incomparable Grandma Rita is in the waning moments of her raging river of a life, and while it will be cathartic, in time, to tell tales of her deeds and accomplishments.  I'm gonna take this moment to do it one more time, in life:

Grandma Rita was the only person in my immediate family growing up that smoked.  For those people that grew up in a time where smoking made you look "healthy" and "strong," it was a very gradual transition into stigmatization.  First there were pro-smoking billboards.  Then no smoking ads on TV.  Next, smoking may cause cancer.  It may be related to lung specific cancers.  Later, much later, those became facts.  And then, much later after that, they became facts that were accepted by the population and media as truths.  And like a frog put in a pot of lukewarm water that is slowly brought to a boil, until the bitter end, the stigma was never stronger than the addiction . . . until they were "hopelessly" addicted and had spent multiple decades inside that boiling pot.  Then they got the news it was killing them all along.

My Grandma Rita got the news it was killing her one day about 20 years ago.  All those cigarettes, which to me growing up i associated as part of her identity, had caused some damage to one of her lungs. Eventually, it would require surgery.

"America Doesn't Care about Female People"

Wednesday, July 9, 2014 | 0 Comment(s)

I hate Kanye too ya'll. Put him in the context of an awards show, a Kardashian, or pretty much anywhere there is a camera, and I'm all, "turn the channel."  Sure, he is a musical genius, but that doesn't make him a good person.

All rules have their exception, however, and Kanye's came the day the levees broke in New Orleans. Kanye found the lens of the camera as he joined numerous famous people to request donations to assist the ailing boot of our United States.  And then, standing next to Canada's own Austin Powers, he dropped this bomb, "George Bush doesn't care about Black people."  Here is the video if you missed it.

The immortal words of The Dude have never been more relevant. To paraphrase, "Your not WRONG Kanye, you're just an asshole."

New York's Not My Home: Smiling at Strangers Edition

Monday, July 7, 2014 | 0 Comment(s)

This past weekend I briefly returned to the hustle and bustle of New York City.  With such a mass of humanity packed together, there is a genuine sense that the whole "melting pot" idea for this country originated on a New York stove.  As I negotiated Central Park and various Subway closures, I took a moment to appreciate the racial diversity around me, a past luxury i took for granted, only internalizing its value when it was gone.

All of this aside, there really is nothing like returning to "the city" and, as the first passerby approaches in the opposite direction, making sincere eye-contact and smiling.  Cause, like, that's how we do things up here in the Happy Valley.  Of course, the person I smiled at always has a completely different set of facial reactions.  The first two moves are almost imperceptible.  The faintest flicker of a reflex smile begins, and in the next micro-second, disgust pulls down on his previously-thinking-of-upturning lips.

Me in NYC
Then the eyes get into it.  Widening.  Who IS this guy? Why is he smiling at me?  Is this some sort of new gay signaling that I don't know about?  Should I be scared?  In the next moment, his tough guy persona is right back up. The true New York outfit: One size fits all.

High Above the Mucky Muck

Wednesday, July 2, 2014 | 0 Comment(s)

I'm not saying that everyone wearing these boots deserves your respect.
But, dollars to donuts, they probably do.  These are work boots.

Hardcore footwear, hardcore beer bottles.
Sure, an über rich obnoxious white dudes could just have grabbed a few pairs to go oystering in while on the Cape. But, they don't.  Both because they wouldn't know where to begin looking for oystering footwear and because you can do that particular activity barefoot.

How I Got That Mark on My Face: Adventures in TMI

Friday, June 27, 2014 | 0 Comment(s)

I have a mark on my face.  Pretty much right smack in the middle of my chin.  It looks like this:

At least that's what it used to look like to me.
And so, because people are alternately worried about me or  completely invasive into my personal space, I have gotten a number of questions regarding how I came to get my face torn up.  I mean, it looks tough.  I look tough.  Unfortunately, the true origin story of this battle wound is that it is a stress sore.  Please remember I'm not a medical doctor when I tell you that as best I understand it, every once in awhile when I'm stressed, a patch of my skin starts excreting a clear viscous juice.  Sexy, I know.  And the first day the skin looks totally normal and it just juices and juices like some constantly pus-filled zit.  By the time I go to bed, usually I can see the faint outline of where I will be marked the next day.

Fox News: Dinosaur Edition

Monday, June 23, 2014 | 0 Comment(s)

So.  Give me a bit of rope on this one and I'll pay off.

Let's go back in time to when people weren't the highest rung on the species totem pole (judged solely by our preeminence at destroying the planet for everyone). Let's go back to the dinosaurs …

(because this was the tagline to about 50% of the TV I watched as a child, I image some 80's music and  a fade constructed of multiple laser beams.)

Now, imagine I appear as a human surrounded by the Mesozoic Era in all its splendor.  I'm wearing khakis.  The dinosaurs seem to ignore me and also seem to be getting along quite well considering most are on each other's menu.

As I look around, I see a great variety of shapes, sizes, and species of dinosaur as well as many other unclassified crawly-thingies.  I can only imagine that even back then there were some version of dinosaur cliques.  Maybe not, like, middle school style cliques, but more like, "this group of dinosaurs believe the world is flat, while this other group of dinosaurs is convinced its triangular."   But, you know, they've got dinosaur problems, not Homo Erectus problems.  And if you've learned nothing from Jay Z, you should at least have gleaned that everythangs got problems.  Even dinosaurs.

The Beautiful Game (for Foreigners)

Monday, June 16, 2014 | 0 Comment(s)

It's World Cup time on this planet of ours, and during this global sport standstill, I wanna take a second to discuss the most difficult aspect of the World Cup for me.  And let me begin by quickly pointing out it is NOT the soccer itself that has me befuddled.

Though, if you listened to any sports talk radio in the past 3 weeks, you would be sure it had to have something to do with how Americans just don't like, enjoy, understand, or appreciate soccer.  And the DJ's on these stations, to be clear, blame the game itself.

"Does anyone even play soccer growing up?," asked one particularly obtuse white male voice?

"I'm pretty sure lots of kids do play soccer as kids.  My daughter is in a league," says the slightly more informed colleague.

"Sure," the moron continues, "But when do they all stop. Cause they all stop. And why do they all stop?!" Answering his own question, "they stop because it is not a popular American sport!"

"I think most stop when they go to college," the voice of reason calmly explains. He continues, "I think that's when most people stop playing organized sports, when they aren't good enough to make it on the college level."

Book Clippings & Caviar Dreams

Thursday, June 12, 2014 | 0 Comment(s)

One of the most difficult parts of writing a book, for me at least, is editing out all the excess verbiage that doesn't move the story forward.  Pretty much any time I write the word "verbiage" I go back to do some editing, realizing that the word "verbiage" is probably the number one culprit of my (any) writing getting too wordy.  I know, it's very meta.

Thankfully, what is bad for the book is fodder for the blog.  And considering my most heinous cuts revolve around extended tangents, I've found that many of these edited out bits make interesting stand-alone reads.  So, in an effort to both tease my book in progress, and also provide you with some amusement, I give you two small clips that are no longer in my featured work.

It's Happening!!! I'm Changing!!!

Monday, June 9, 2014 | 1 Comment(s)

Eh . . . Eh . . .

Transformation: A process that pertains only to butterflies and losing a large amount of weight
Pretty sweet new digs huh?  It's ok to be impressed.  But seriously y'all, we're only 75% done -- It's gonna get even better.  If you encounter error messages or happen to being using Internet Explorer 6.0 (the universal donor of coding problems), please do drop me a line so I can get that mess cleaned up post-haste.

But until then, let's talk about life and shit.  Nah, screw it, let's just talk about my life. 

The life of a writer is defined primarily by its lack of routine.  My office, it turns out, is wherever I happen to be when the anti-venomous writing bug smuggles its inspiration through my carpel-tunnel and into my brain.  Talk about transient.  In order to best prepare, and in fact nurture, these inspirational bugs to bite as often as possible, I have mapped out particular establishments all across the Pioneer Valley where I know I can drop down and get my writing on at a moments notice.

Is a Website/Is not a Website

Tuesday, May 27, 2014 | 0 Comment(s)

The Soul Coughing inspired title of this blog is a belabored attempt to announce the forthcoming arrival of . . . . . MY WEBSITE!!!!!

And I know what you're thinking . . . isn't this already your website?

Oh hilarious luddite.  I too once shared that misconception.  Like so many things American, the definitional distinction between 'my website vs. my website' seems to be tied directly to online capitalism.  To wit, I don't "own" this blog address.  I rent it from Blogspot. That is why the URL starts with the website name and then is followed by the host site (e.g.

In order to have your own website, you have to buy a domain name yourself, then load your content onto that new web address.  Well, I know how to do exactly 0% of those tasks on my own, therefore I enlisted the help of web wizard Ryan Wilson at to be my spirit guide through this binary dreamscape.  *drumroll*

Everything old is new again. Even 1980's fashion.  sigh.
I now am the proud owner of a brand spanking new web address:

Tell all your friends.  In a matter of days the content of this very blog will be lifted (unaltered) to be set down in its cozy new location inside that was built just for it.  It will look different.  And by different I mean much much better.  The design is easier to read, navigate, share, and follow.   I'm even getting high resolution head shots done so . . . yah . . . it's kinda a big deal.

If things on this site get wonky over the next week or so, don't fret,  that's just the transformation taking hold to be reborn as a half-phoenix half-butterfly.  This girl is on fire.  Stay tuned for the imminent rebirth.

Worst Fear Realized: Puppy Edition

Monday, May 19, 2014 | 0 Comment(s)

There is an incredibly irritating song on the radio these days with the refrain, "How'm I gonna be an optimist about it . . . oh . . . how'm I gonna be an optimist about it."  I'm only pretty sure those are the actual words, but that's what they sound like to me, and they are the only lyrics to the song that stick in my head.  The reason those words literally and figuratively resonate inside me is that more and more often I'm faced with situations that, even when looked at through rose-tinted glasses still seem permanently shit-stained; having a needle driven into your eyelid and having your eye sewn shut both qualify under this rubric.

Last Thursday I found a whole new previously undiscovered section of a hellish living nightmare.  Incredibly, the whole situation began with my friend and I lounging on my porch, having a beer; My two pittie puppies on a long lead attached to the fence.

A few minutes later a neighbor and her son came walking by, the young boy riding his small bicycle.  Our puppy, Falcor, is not a huge fan of bicycles.  Also lumped in this category are walkers, wheelchairs, and push carts.  They just freak him out.  But, firmly attached to his lead, I didn't think  much of it when Falc began to bark.  In fact, the mom and son continued along our fence, closer to the house.

At some critical juncture, Falcor felt that this bicycle may be parking its terror in his lawn and he ran at the passerby's, and, yanked back by his leash, still managed to put his paws on the bike/boy's shoulders and mouthed the child's arm.  Not awesome at all.  At this point every adult present was up and taking action.  I was putting the dogs away as the mother comforted her son.  Because a 60 pound pit bull, no matter how cute, is a lot of dog for a small child to handle.

Sliding Into First: Adventures in Aging

Thursday, May 15, 2014 | 0 Comment(s)

A few months ago at the bar, a 25-year-old friend of mine rolled up looking deflated.  Upon closer inspection, the lack of life in his face reflected a particular brand of dehydration that I most associate with hangovers.  "You don't look so good," I mentioned.  Stating the obvious.

"Yah.  I have a huge friggin headache.  Just massive."  "Can I tell you something?," he mused, "Back in college, I used to drink twice as much as I did yesterday, and I would never get headaches like this the next day. It's like, as I get older, the hangovers get worse.  Is that a thing?"

Cue air-gasping laughter.

"I'm sorry to tell you this my friend (I wasn't sorry, I was giddy), but not only does it get worse, it gets exponentially worse.  I can't even have two drinks at age 35 without waking up to the munchkin horde hammering away inside my temples."

His reaction, a mixture of shock and terror, really tickled me.

Tuesday was the first game of my summer Co-ed Drinking-League Softball season.  Unfortunately I was running late for the game and pulled into the parking lot during the bottom of the 3rd inning.  Due to a lack of players, by the time I got my shoes tied, they were already hurrying me in the direction of first base.  I took a few warm-up tosses from my infield, and dropped every single one.  My new teammates playing shortstop and 3rd base glancing worriedly at each other.  "Can this kid catch anything!?!," said their eyes.

I Solved the Donald Sterling Problem

Tuesday, April 29, 2014 | 0 Comment(s)

By now, unless you actively ignore any news that is sport and/or race related, you've probably heard of Donald Sterling.  For those of you who haven't, I will give you the five sentence run-down.

Donald Sterling and his estranged wife Rochelle own the L.A. Clippers basketball team, as well as a continent's worth of other holdings.  Donald also has a long track record of racism, including being sued for racially profiling potential tenants for his residential properties (oh, the wife may be estranged, but she's a horrible racist too fyi). Recently, Donald was chatting with his half-Black half-Mexican mistress about how he firmly disapproves of her posting pictures of herself talking, walking, or in any way associating herself with Black people.  And not just "run of the mill" Black people either. We're talking famous sportsmen such as Matt Kemp (LA Dodgers) and Magic friggin Johnson!!!

The catch here, as you might imagine, is that the mistress, V. Stiviano (yes, she changed her name to "V period") decided to record this 15-minute conversation chocked full of some of the most elaborately spun webs of old-timey racism with just that perfect soupçon of "I'm not a racist" modern racism.  If you still want more information into the background of this crumbling empire, read about it here.

But I'm a solutions guys.  I have no interest in looking backward at the offense, I want to move forward into rectifying this hullabaloo.  And I'm not the only one.

It's hard to tell who is the most offended by Donald Sterling.  The players on his team (almost all Black) certainly rank right up there.  His African-American coach is on the list as well.  The NBA.  The fans.  Pretty much everybody believes that the only way to seek justice in this case is to force Sterling to sell the team.  The problem with that solution, unfortunately, is that the NBA's executive structure, much the same as Wall St., insurance agencies, and the NCAA, is rigged to protect the richest investors from almost any and all sanctions.  Which leaves us at our current impasse.

Which I've solved.  Your welcome.

TBRARUMUD All-Stars: Fantasy Children

Monday, April 28, 2014 | 0 Comment(s)

I've been sick for three days now, so I thought I'd bless ya'll with another one of my favorite blasts from the past.  For anyone who ever wanted to play a Fantasy Sport without having to actually care about sports in the slightest, this one's for you.

So once again, this is either brilliant or deranged.  Let me know.

As fantasy baseball season is gearing up (no, i will not talk to you about it--this isn't Guantanamo), I realize that one of the things that people like about fantasy sports is the perceived control over the things that they have interest in.  Fantasy baseball, for instance, allows you to be the General Manager of your own baseball team.  That's cool yo.

A Gramp to Remember

Wednesday, April 23, 2014 | 0 Comment(s)

My grandfather-in-law passed away a week ago last Sunday.  And while I only had the privilege of his company for the past six years, he left an indelible mark on both my heart and my life.

In a multitude of ways, James Grew Wheeler was lucky.  The man I always knew as "Gramp" (and not  Gramps, James, or godforbidyoucalledhim 'Sir') lived until the age of 90 at his home outside Boston with the love of his life, Emlen. They've been married for over 65 years.  And to say that Gramp had his wits about him until his last day would be to understate how brazen and brilliant the man was. I have a video of him dancing a jig with my wife a few weeks ago during his 90th birthday celebration.

But in many more ways, I was lucky to have Gramp. Not having had the pleasure of knowing my biological grandfathers, I am forthright about the fact that I have an elderly-man shaped hollow in my emotional lexicon.  A few mentors have spent moments filling portions of that negative space, most notably a brilliant and caring professor from back when I was an undergraduate.  But gaps as vast as missing relatives almost never get filled, especially as I got older and the number of senior men in my life became comparatively less abundant.

Fast Times at the Pet Store High

Wednesday, April 9, 2014 | 0 Comment(s)

I rarely talk about pot on the blog because it is increasingly becoming a non-divisive issue, and I like to dig into meatier issues.  But, to fully understand the glory of the story I'm about to tell, you need to know a bit about the mindset I was in.

And here it is.  My mindset was very stoned.

The wife and I were running some Sunday errands, and the next stop on our list was the pet supply store.  The extremely pet-friendly pet supply store, which is conveniently located adjacent a Whole Foods (duh) and therefore allows my wife and I to divide and conquer.  She gets to run in and grab the ingredients for dinner (aka. browse the cheese and wine selection), while I grab dog treats and poop bags (aka. pet every furry loveball in the joint).

Not Playing Possum

Monday, April 7, 2014 | 0 Comment(s)

Something horrible is happening.  At night.  While we're sleeping.  And it's the subtle kind of Soylent Green madness that, were I not to bring it up here, may go on unnoticed until it's too late.

The opossums are committing suicide ya'll. In force. To wit, I have personally seen the remnants of 8 such vehicle-assisted suicides in just the past week.

What is happening to depress the northeastern opossum? I am worried for them.

Look at those cold troubled eyes.
I guess the first question is, what the hell do opossums even eat? Thankfully, my friend google had the answer:

Opossums are not picky eaters. As scavenger omnivores, opossums eat everything from last night's meatloaf to grass. Food sources typically include dead animals, berries and nuts. Opossums will also hunt mice, birds, snakes and chickens. If it's edible and accessible, the opossum will eat it. This means you need to securely store your trash to prevent the animal from raiding your leftovers.

So, in a word, they eat friggin everything. Not a ton of help there. So I digged deeper. I looked at some zoo websites to see what their captive possums enjoy. And then I found this golden nugget.

At the Zoo, older opossums are limited to (because of their limited exercise):
  • Lite Dog Chow 
  • Fruits and vegetables 
And then it hit me. With all the dogs in the neighborhood, I bet these opossums are hooked on our pets' bougie dog chow. I mean, my dogs alone have a limited ingredient diet of venison and sweet potatoes. Not exactly a hard knock life.

And, this is Amherst, so there is no way that I am at the highest end of the high-end dog-food market. These poor possums are getting a taste of the good life, the filet mignon, champagne, and caviar ways of the fuzzy and pampered, when they are built for an omnivore's diet of garbage, fruit, birds, and carcasses.

And all those fortified complex vitamin-enriched proteins are DRIVING THEM INSANE!!!!

adorably insane!

The way I picture it, these Woody Allen-esc nebbish possums are walking around in jerky circles, kvetching about how they can't find a decent wet cat food in the Valley anymore.  They lament the day's when they could just eat the meatloaf tossed into the backyard by non-composting heretics.

And eventually, with no reliable source of antidepressants on the possum market (Thanks Obama!), it just doesn't seem worth it anymore.  Who wants to hunt for Cheetos' wrappers after dining in the Lincoln Ballroom.  It's enough to make you want to hang yourself . . . upside down.

terrifyingly insane!

But obviously, that's redundant for creatures like the possum, sloth, and bats.  And so, like Bill Murray in Groundhog Day, these opossums approach the road as a final desperate attempt to find some effective way of ending themselves.

Enter the automobile.

Never has the forrest world encountered a more successful world-ender than the car.  Be it the emissions that erode the ozone, the pavement paths burned into the once fertile landscape, or the casual ubiquity with which our grills dispatch small creatures from this earth execution-style, the automobile industry has had a unrepentantly negative impact on the Earth's natural habitat. And so when those funnel-faced rat-tailed scavengers head toward the light(s), I suspect they don't fully comprehend the finality that is about to meet them head on.

And then, all that remains, are remains.  Crimson brush strokes against a pavement canvas. While the possums' reputation for faking death is famous, passerbys quickly look away, confident this particular possum won't bolting to life and scurrying off any time soon.

Unless my dogs find em. 

Like a Bird Turd Full of Art

Tuesday, April 1, 2014 | 1 Comment(s)

There are some moments in time that defy understanding.  The moment in question that you are about to witness was akin to a bird shitting art on my face when I looked up to glance the sky.  What began as the most irritating rage-inducing side-chatter, when engaged, became a performance art piece beyond anything I could have previously imagined.

I have only edited the following Facebook update/liveblog for grammar and closed parentheticals.

Whatever the Hampshire College version of a "Kelly" is . . . I have two of them regaling each other with the most inane and misguided life stories and experiences. I want to smack them both in the face. Favorite phrase: "It's sooo Hampshire though . ." "So Hampshire."
Like ·  · 
  • Paul  and Casey Elizabeth  like this.
  • Mattitiyahu Zimbler The girl just full on laughed in the guys face about something he said for 15 seconds, then reeled it in and said, "no, actually i like it."
  • Casey  Kelly with an I, I think. Kelli. Or Kellie.
    38 mins · Unlike · 1
  • Mattitiyahu Zimbler If someone reads this, and I have already put these too out of their winy complaining over-privileged misery, remember: they really had it coming.
  • Mattitiyahu Zimbler The girl: "I hear she has a bit of a Dad complex. AND SO DO I. I have Daddy issues!"
  • Mattitiyahu Zimbler Oh, this just turned into a liveblog bitches
    37 mins · Like · 2
  • Mattitiyahu Zimbler "Oh apparently he moved out of his house because he wanted to start his pot business"
    35 mins · Like · 1
  • Mattitiyahu Zimbler "I mean. I've never met a guy so, like, crafty. Like, the merch he made for our band. No matter how you look at it, that's amazing."
  • Mattitiyahu Zimbler "The aesthetic is so, like, spot on. He like, " I am the utilitarian punk"
    34 mins · Like · 1
  • Mattitiyahu Zimbler "(Paraphrase: They are arguing which state of their origins (Vermont and Washington State) have a bigger heir of self-importance regarding their drug culture."
  • Mattitiyahu Zimbler  (re: washington state) "As soon as you go over the Cascades in your rig. Oh, they call em rigs. Like, "What kinda rig you drive?"
  • Mattitiyahu Zimbler "I just wanna chill here this summer and I can't tell if this summer program is gonna be, like, you know, a good experience"
  • Mattitiyahu Zimbler "I think its totally rad. Most of the places where i grew up, were so, like, whatever. And I'm like, I don't want to do architecture now. I want to do it went I'm like 30 or 40. But you have to plan for that shit. Like, go to school for it"
  • Mattitiyahu Zimbler Talking about inventing low cost cars/houses for Ethiopia: "It was basically like a square box and wheels cause like, you have to give them a design they can build"
  • Mattitiyahu Zimbler "My sister's friend was talking about her village back home and how they outsource materials from india. "
  • Mattitiyahu Zimbler reply, "Yah, i've seen a lot of that." HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA
  • Mattitiyahu Zimbler "See this is the problem, I just want to be doing it instead of fucking talk about it" (no sense of understand the irony here)
  • Mattitiyahu Zimbler Guy: "and thats the problem with hampshire, there's no one who knows how to like, build buildings. you know. and I'm building, like, real structures. And she's giving me like art critiques saying, that will fall apart.  Here, here, and here.  And I'm like, whatever, I need someone who knows how to build!"
  • Mattitiyahu Zimbler Girl: "I want to build "Earth Ships"
    24 mins · Unlike · 2
  • Mattitiyahu Zimbler wow. that last one almost made me laugh out loud and blow my cover.
  • Mattitiyahu Zimbler "How long do you think it takes to get to Hampshire from here.? 8 min? You have class at 12:30? Yah? Cool, I'm just gonna roll this then . . ."
  • Mattitiyahu Zimbler "Those growlers you got man, that is mad shit insane." Who got them? That dude Astro-dude? ASTRO-dude? woo.
  • Mattitiyahu Zimbler "I think he's a great guitarist I just hate what that music is."
  • Mattitiyahu Zimbler  (con) "It's just dense, like a lot of sound going in your ears."
  • Mattitiyahu Zimbler AAAAAAAAAnnnnnnnddddddd scene. They just left. with 13 min. to get to class.