The Blogging Affairs Desk

When It’s Good, It’s Good, When It’s BAD, It’s Better…

Of New Englanders, Colonial and Otherwise…

I’m reading like three books at once (with another two in my queue), giving about two days to each at a whack.  One of those books is the history of Paul Revere, called fittingly “Paul Revere’s Ride” by David Hackett Fischer.  There’s one short passage that I recently read that sticks out, and I haven’t been able to shake it.  So I thought I’d share it with you all:

“The Regulars of the British Army and the citizen soldiers of Massachusetts looked upon military affairs in very different ways.  New England farmers did not think of war as a game, or a feudal ritual, or an instrument of state power, or a bloodsport for bored country gentlemen.  They did not regard the pursuit of arms as a noble profession.  In 1775, many men of Massachusetts had been to war.  They knew its horrors from personal experience.  With a few exceptions, they thought of fighting as dirty business that had to be done from time to time if good men were to survive in a world of evil.  The New England colonies were among the few to recognize the right of conscientious objection to military service, and among the few to respect that right even in moments of mortal peril.  But most New Englanders were not pacifists themselves.  Once committed to what they regarded as a just and necessary war, these sons of Puritans hardened their hearts and became the most implacable of foes.  Their many enemies who lived by a warrior-ethic always underestimated them, as a long parade of Indian braves, French aristocrats, British Regulars, Southern planters, German fascists, Japanese militarists, Marxist ideologues, and Arab adventurers have invariably discovered to their heavy cost.”

Something about that block of text, those 200-sum-odd words, puts a smile on my face every one of the dozen or so times I’ve read and re-read it.  I’ve always felt that to be of New England, to carry the heart of a New Englander, is special in ways that being from another part of the country can’t compare to.  Yes, we’re stodgy and arrogant and honestly, a lot of what you tourists come to see in our lands during the Summer and Fall is largely overrated, but only because we have conceded those parts to your highway trash and generic, duplicated Fried Seafood Shacks that you so covet.

The real Heart of New England is in its blood, its people; those who can trace their lineage back a couple of generations – at least – to those hard, salty, weathered New Englanders who struggle through winters on fishing boats, slog through muddy Springs in potato and blueberry fields, sit in congested traffic on our antiquated highway systems under a blistering sun with AC that can’t work hard enough, to the crisp Falls that usher in those damn winters too quickly.

New Englanders are more steeled than any other regional species of American, bar none.  Show me a more unyeilding type of American, and I’ll eat a Sam Adams bottle.  And smile the whole time.


May 30, 2009 Posted by | Gay Shit I Know Too Much About, People I Love, Shameless Self Promotion | , , | 3 Comments

Video: Ang + Cup of Cold Water + James + Hot Shower = ….?

Last week sometime, Ang decided to toss a cup of cold water on me while I took a hot shower.  The following video clip is an audio track she recorded with her phone.  We couldn’t get the actual audio from her phone to the computer, so this was the next best thing.

Enjoy my misery.

May 28, 2009 Posted by | Blogging Couple, People I Love, Shameless Self Promotion | , , | 3 Comments

The Divided

By now I’m sure you’ve heard that President Obama’s appointment of Judge Sonia Sotomayor would result in the first Hispanic to be seated in the Highest Court in The Land, if confirmed by the Senate Judiciary Committee.  While the barrios are a flush with pride, the appointment of Judge Sotomayor has rubbed some white Americans the wrong way, as would the aspect of any person of color reaching a professional zenith would.

The problem that most of the mouthier Americans who happened to call into the morning sports talk radio programme I happened to tune into (right, because to sharpen my political views, I tune into Sports Talk Radio….) brought up the point that the only thing that separates Ms. Sotomayor from the pack of other deservedly appropriate judges is the simple fact that she’s 1) Hispanic and 2) a woman.

I tend to agree, but only part way; I agree that she is a woman, and possibly Hispanic, but I doubt that these are the reasons why Mr. Obama has gone to appoint her to the Supreme Court.

The real reason is that she probably has a liberal slant to help off set the conservative Roberts Court.

But the simple fact that white America has become so quick to pull the anti-Race Card as it were, is telling of a strange racial self conscience that hasn’t been fully realized until Mr. Obama was elected president back in November.  This polarization has laid dormant since the Civil Right movement, and not since then have we seen such segregation out in the open.  A few examples:

In this latest incarnation of Vh1’s “Charm School with Ricki Lake” there’s pretty much two cliques:  Girls from “Real Chance at Love” which are predominantly African American, and girls from “Rock of Love Bus” which are mostly (99%) white.  The terms “ghetto” and “trash” get heaved around liberally by both factions.

Also, McDonald’s fast food advertising has been somewhat black-centric in the last year for some reason.  The last time I checked, everyone, except maybe Eskimos love fast food; Big Macs know no color barrier.  But Mickey D’s seems to be only targeting Urban Dwellers, age 19-34 with their radio and television ads.

This isn’t to say you don’t see/hear white people in Golden Arches ads, but check out their website’s employment opportunity section, and you’ll be greeted by a jolly-looking black management type and a plethora of multi-cultural employee stand ins, all grinning earnestly because they’re being paid to have their pictures taken together, oppose to the inner-city-style work force you’re bound to find at any urban McDonald’s morning shift whom barely acknowledge each other as people, lest a bullet target for after work.

Even the radio and tv ads are not aimed at me, a late-20s white guy, but some “hip, smooth, has-every-Common-album-on-vinyl” black guy.  Whether it be some silky lounge music or just straight up be-bop hip-hop about two all beef patties, I’m obviously not the targeted demographic any more.  Apparently McDonald’s thinks that white people are too busy running each other over to get to the pull up at Sonic and are looking to do further damage to the arteries of the American Black.

And hence, we are divided peoples again.  Everything Abraham Lincoln, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr fought so hard for, wiped away in a fearful bitterness fueled by biased fast food and brain damaging television programming.  The very root of our country’s psyche has been eviscerated for a viewing medical procedure audience and systematically dissected in a matter of catchy jingles and fake tits barely contained in bras meant for breast tissue twice as small as what’s being crammed into them.

I’d be concerned, but concern requires surprise, and that I hardly am.

May 27, 2009 Posted by | Corporate America Hates You, Gay Shit I Know Too Much About, People I Hate, Those Crazy Politicians | , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Problem(s) with Our Parking Lot

As I’ve likely noted before, where we live is a total rat’s nest.  One of the major problems with where we live is that our parking lot is woefully small, to the point where it’s nearly pointless to even bother to keep an extra vehicle on the property and try to get a good night’s sleep.

The lay out works like this:  There’s pretty much one spot per apartment, which is fine if you live by yourself and don’t expect company, what-so-ever, which is reasonable because no one in their right mind would bring anyone to this giant horse turd of a building.

The problem with “one spot per” is that people tend to cohabit, ie, live with their spouses, have “license-aged” kids, etc, and the average family owns at least two cars.  Gone are the days where mother spent her days in the kitchen, baking pies and dropping opium under her tongue to pass away the day until father came home in his old Studebaker from the office in “the city.”

No, now-a-days both people in the marriage, coupling, what-have-you, work, have errands to run, lives, etc.  Two cars MINIMUM is a necessity if people plan on being productive in this day and age.  To deny otherwise is akin to literally putting a chain on one spouse’s ankle and connecting the other end to a stove.

So, this whole “one spot per” bullshit needs to be deaded, real quick.

This morning I awoke to come into the office under a cloud of shame, so my day was already starting off on the “bad foot.”  I went downstairs to the parking lot only to find myself blocked in by another car.

Like most of my mistakes lately, I brought this shit on myself, so my demeanor was relaxed and almost apologetic.  The space I parked into was one reserved for an apartment that is 9/10s the time vacant due to it’s owners living off Cape and only spending a few weeks in the summer “down here.”  So for the rest of the time, the particular spot is kinda a “gimmie” like “free parking” in Monopoly.  If I can get that spot, which is right next to the door to the building, I fucking grab it.  It’s something the smelly Haitians and I have in common.

But at some point last night, the people who actually “own” that space came into town, effectively blocking me in.  They were kind enough, however, to leave a little note on my car’s windshield wiper that simply said “E4”, the apartment they were in.

So at 520 in the morning, here I am, knocking on someone’s door to be let out of the spot, like one would let the dog out.  I kept my ear to the door and waited til I heard the shuffling of feet and the eventual unlocking of the eight or nine locks on the other side of the flimsy plywood door.  What poked it’s head out from around the corner looked like Martin Scorsese’s mother from “Goodfellas.”

I felt like an asshole, momentarily, for waking this poor old bat up from her sleep at just after 5 in the morning, but chasing that thought was a sense of aloofness; she blocked me in, probably not thinking that I, the owner of the giant truck, had to be up and at work so early on a holiday that most everyone else has off.  She could’ve came and knocked on the door to my apartment last night and asked me to move, no sweat.  So she gets what she deserves.

Sheepishly she moves her car from literally underneath my truck.  The old bitch parked so close to my truck that her front end, roughly three inches of it, was under my rear bumper.  There was no damage to my truck, nor the woman’s face, due to my restraint from kicking it.

Bottomline, this shit is unacceptable.  I refuse to have to play a game of Chinese-fucking-Checkers whenever I come home, and I refuse to have to be delegated a “guest spot” in my own building, if I get a spot at all (when this happens, I’m forced to park my truck behind my wife’s car, double parking in a spot, which will bring the Meth Zombie from whatever crypt she dwells to tell me it’s a fire hazard, to which I promptly slam the door on her crackpipe burnt face).  I have also been made to find alternate arrangements to house my motorcycle as I do not feet it safe from tampering/vandalism/accidents in my own parking lot.

I’m giving deep consideration to contacting our negligent landlords and having whatever I end up paying for storage, deducted from the rent.

My solution:  Burn the buildings down, pave over everything, and turn the whole fucking track of land into a goddamn parking lot.  It’d be an improvement.

May 25, 2009 Posted by | Gay Shit I Know Too Much About, Gonzo Journalism, Living in an Insane Asylum, Out and About, People I Hate | , , , , , | 3 Comments

In His Prime

An oldie but a goodie, I bring you back to 1982, when Michael Jackson literally was the King of Pop.  ….Sigh, if only he had cut this album (or maybe Bad too) and died in a fiery plane crash along with Lionel Richie, which would have cemented their fates as Pop Music Gods…

Anyway, here’s “Thriller”, directed by John Landis and featuring a voice over by the late Vincent Price.  Epic video, especially by today’s standards.  Enjoy.

May 22, 2009 Posted by | Gay Shit I Know Too Much About, People I Love, The Great Indoors, Why Am I Watching This? | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

So Low

I’ve never felt as defeated as I feel right now.  I’m at rock bottom.  It’s taken 27 years to get to this point of failure and disappointment.

And only the only person who can help me is my worst enemy.

It sucks being your own worst enemy.

May 21, 2009 Posted by | Gay Shit I Know Too Much About, Living in an Insane Asylum, People I Hate | , , , | 1 Comment

The Heart of Cape Cod

I was out driving around today and I saw this sign on a local motel:

“Located in the Heart of Cape Cod!”

Now, this motel was roughly two hundred yards from my apartment.  I live in a total shithole neighborhood.  So to call this place the “Heart of Cape Cod” struck somewhat of a chord within me.

If where I live on Cape is considered the “heart” of this hook-shaped arm, then it’s a clogged, disgusting, black heart that sits in the chest of Cape Cod.  I wouldn’t drag a dead cat through this town.

It took them over a month to pave over some five hundred square feet of road they ripped up at the end of my street.  Just shy of a fucking month.  And this is the HEART OF CAPE COD?!

No, the heart lies someplace in Hyannis.  Or…, no Hyannis would be the failing, booze-soaked kidneys of Cape Cod.  The actual heart of Cape Cod is out in Orleans, which is a pleasant town that I wish we could/would move to.  There’s something about Orleans that speaks to me.  Maybe it’s their collection of windmills, or maybe it’s the Chocolate Sparrow and Joe Mammas, (both great coffee spots- Joe’s is less known, less crowded and has better food in my opinion), maybe it’s that whole not-suffering-from-Atherosclerosis vibe I get, oppose to when I drive through the piece of shit town I’m renting in, where I get that dreadful feeling that I’m in Wisconsin.

I’ve never been to Wisconsin, and there’s probably a lesson buried in there.

Regardless, my town sucks, it’s the anus of Cape Cod, or maybe the infected urethra.  If Martha’s Vinyard and Nantucket are the menstruation stains, maybe my town’s the blood clot.  Either way, it’s the furthest thing from the heart, with it’s lack of character, generic fried seafood joints and soft serve ice cream.  There’s a fucking antique store every ten feet and a Rite Aid with nothing in it.

On the antique stores:  Just because you’re selling your used junk in a store does not give it antiquity.  It’s still junk that you dusted off from the attic and are trying to sell to the tourists.

You know you live in a total jizzstain of a town when there’s not a single grocery store, but three liquor stores all within two miles of each other.

If (Knock on Wood) I got into an accident and I was about to die in this town, I would grab the EMT by his collar with my blood-soaked hand and pull him down to my face.  My last words would be “Drag me to the next town over and then call TOD.  You can’t deny a man’s dying wish, you son of a bitch…”

I found the so-called Chamber of Commerce today, it sits just off of the major road that slices through the middle of this town like a razor through a depressed fat goth girl’s wrist.  It was a shanty of a building (yet had free wi-fi… you figure that one out) that stood behind the local fried seafood place.

It looked like a haunted house, minus the house part.  It was more like a spooky shack that not even the Mystery Mobile would be interested in checking out.

Does this town even have a mayor?  How about a selectman?  …. Town Council?  …No?  Board of Selectmen?  IS THERE ANYONE HERE WHO COULD GIVE THE FIRE DEPARTMENT THE NIGHT OFF?  ….That’s all I want to know.

May 20, 2009 Posted by | Gay Shit I Know Too Much About, Living in an Insane Asylum, Out and About, Those Crazy Politicians, Too Much Time | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Please Weigh In…

So I’m thinking of making my own page, with my own new web address for this blog.  So in essence, I’m thinking of moving again, and making everyone change around their blogrolls.  Again.

I need help however.  I’m dicking around with Apple’s iWeb programme and I can’t really make heads or tails out of it.  So if there’s anyone out there that knows how to navigate around either that programme or making my own independent site… lemme know.

Thanks, and keep a look out for the newly updated Blogging Affairs Desk site soon.

May 14, 2009 Posted by | Shameless Self Promotion, The Great Indoors | , , | 3 Comments

“Coffee” Drinkers…

So-called “coffee drinkers” listen up:

I’m sick and tired of your “stylish” oversized plastic iced coffee cups and whip crème under a plastic bubble dome as you sashay in the thoroughfare of your favorite mall.  I’m sick of standing eight people deep in a line for a cup of regular-ass coffee for over ten minutes because everyone has to have a fucking order that reads like a David Mamet screenplay.

This is not “Glengarry Glenn Ross” and you do not need sprinkles on your cup of goddamn “coffee.”

For that matter, you don’t need anything in your coffee except maybe crème and sugar, or something to that effect.  Dairy and Sugar, and no, “whipped topping” is not considered dairy.  Learn to live with less.

Seriously, what the fuck has happened to us?  Do you know why Americans drink coffee in such high volumes?  It’s because Sam Adams, Paul Revere, and all the other great American Patriots threw His Majesty’s Tea into the fucking Chahles Rivah and we had to deal.  So we started drinking coffee, black, maybe with a little milk to soften it up, but that was it.  None of this McCafe or Dunkachino bullshit.

I swear to Christ on the Throne if I have to stand behind another obnoxious high schooler figuring out what percentage they want to cut their coffee with hot chocolate, and how much whipped topping they want to have put on it, I’m going to bash their skulls in with the claw end of a hammer.

And another thing, coffee isn’t drank from a plastic cup and it sure as hell isn’t served on ice.  Fuck what the Europeans are doing, if they want to drink an inferior beverage, literally watered down and served cold that’s their problem, not mine pal.  Coffee is drank hot, out of either a mug, well-worn travel mug, or a Styrofoam cup, and absolutely never out of a fucking straw.  To watch your greedy gluttonous ass try to suck up the last drops of some sickly sweetened confectionery as loud as possible makes my head swim to the point of seasickness.

Coffee is supposed to be enjoyed in the morning and early afternoons, between the hours of 5am and 10:15am, and then again around 2:30pm, occasionally after five pm if a large dinner proceeds it, and never after  8pm unless it’s an all-nighter.

Coffee should be enjoyed with only the following:  donuts, cigarettes, breakfast, plain cheesecake from Juniors in Brooklyn and a plate of French fries from some local diner.  Coffee is not drank while you have a piece of fucking gum in your mouth.  Coffee is not meant to be a status symbol and brand to be paraded around town.  Ooooh, look at me with my big Dunkin Donuts cup or Starbucks mug… you’re enjoying the coffee not the company.  You should be picking your coffee based off of how you enjoy the taste and speed at which you get a caffeinated buzz, not on what your friends think is cool.  This is the logic behind me never setting foot inside of a fucking Starbucks.

I think the girl behind the counter misunderstood my order for a “large French roast” and thought I asked for “burnt-to-shit, day-old black tobacco spit, lukewarm and filled to the very fucking brim of the cup so it’s impossible for me to add crème or sugar.”

Coffee should also not cost more than two dollars, regardless of what size you get.  I should have enough pocket change on me at all times to get a small cup of regular fucking coffee, and not go digging for my debit card when my and my wife’s order comes out to be six dollars and change.

And to the employee at the drive through:  It should be common sense that if you hear an order for two or more cups of hot coffee, or any beverage for that matter, you shouldn’t have to ask if we want one of those trays.

Get a fucking clue.

May 13, 2009 Posted by | Corporate America Hates You, Gay Shit I Know Too Much About, Living in an Insane Asylum, Out and About, People I Hate | , , , , , | 3 Comments

Career Crossroads

So I’ve kinda unwittingly come to a career crossroads.

But it isn’t like I didn’t see the crossroads from down the street.  This is a decision that’s been nagging on the back of my mind for the better part of a few months; a choice that pretty much asks me what I want versus who I am.

The spark to all of this came earlier today when I was called into my Big Bosses’ office for a short meeting.  Unlike most times, I wasn’t in trouble for being lazy, mal tempered, boorish or possessing a dangerous weapon on company property.  I was being given an opportunity to excel my career into an interesting, if albeit, uncharted direction.

I can’t go into great detail about the promotion/opportunity, only that it would be something to the effect of ACTUAL journalism, with better pay, better resources, better people, and likely a more metropolitan locale.

The crossroads is that to do this new gig, I’d be pretty much closing the door on my old life in Law Enforcement.

It’s a year-long process, going for this new job; I’m going to spend the bulk of the time on a waiting list, slowly climbing my way to the top, and if selected, sent off to a training school down in Washington DC for a bunch of weeks, the majority of that time being spent away from my wife, while she attends her mortuary school up here in New England.  When I get out, there’s no real idea where I could be sent, but there’s probably a likelihood I could be “stationed” in either Boston, NYC, DC, Miami, etc… a major area, with a larger readership, more stories to cover, etc.

It’s all very exciting, if not full blown worrisome.  It should be something I would want to jump into with both feet, as is my usual style, but there’s this goddamn nagging over my shoulder from my old life.

I loved being a cop, which is to say, every morning (really afternoon, as I worked late shifts usually) I would get up and get excited to go to work.  My first year as a cop I had that nervous apprehension, that heightened awareness, the hard-to-hide smile that would beam out of me as I sang along with classic rock hits on my way to the department, usually an hour or so early, because I couldn’t wait any longer just sitting around my house.  There were a lot of fringe benefits I really enjoyed: huge discounts by local merchants, badge bunnies, the ability to get out of any minor trouble in any other town by simply opening my wallet, the cool celebrity of being pointed at and whispered about at parties, the authority, etc.

There were downsides too, as with any job, such as being tied by bureaucratic bullshit, and staff sergeants who would rather not rock a boat to pursue a snitch’s tip, right down to peeing pissed on by some drunken homeless guy you’re picking up for vagrancy.

Cutting your hair into a Mohawk is also frowned upon.

I haven’t been employed as a law enforcement officer since 2005, nearly four years this coming August.  I’ve floated between jobs since then, from the mundane (retail, court house clerk) to the soul crushing (being unemployed for a spat of months, the entry-level position I now find myself in).  Is it time for me to officially hang up my blues?  To retire the cop stories, save them for my kids when they ask about old pictures – to move on?  How do I let go of all that training, those sharpened instincts and habits I’ve developed?  Will I one day be able to remove myself from walking into a room and sizing everyone up in a matter of seconds?  Will I be able to turn off that cop inside of me, and … be non confrontational when the situation calls for escalation?

Maybe.  Maybe one day I will be.  Maybe I can be a by-stander.

What set off this post was during that meeting with my Big Boss, as he was bent over some paper work pertaining to my week-long trip to Boston next week to job shadow and “try out” for the position with some of the already established Media Relations people at that particular office, he says to me:

“J, I think this is a great career move for you, I’ve always thought that – since our first discussion.  You have a natural talent for this kind of work, you’re an excellent writer, you’re articulate, but not in a pompous way – usually – and you’re above all concise and to the point when you have to be.”

If he had stopped there, I would’ve been on Cloud Nine.  This is coming from someone I deeply respect and hold in a very high regard.  Any time someone compliments my writing, it’s like sniffing up a big dose of Cocaine.  It puts me on a super huge high.  But then he finished it off with this:

“I know your passion is Law Enforcement, but this is better for you, I see you doing more with this, and really tapping into who you are,”

It just struck me as funny that he would compare who I was and who I eventually will be, and taking a side on the latter.  I didn’t know how to take that comment from him, so I sat and was gracious and smiled and all that.  But in my head I started to think about giving up being a lawman, and taking up a pen instead of a gun.

All day this has sat uneasy with me.  Of course, it’s a no-brainer for my family.  My mother has never liked me being a cop, because she’s my mother and I’m her only son.  Dad’s never liked it because he has an unnatural aversion towards Law Enforcement and Implied Authority.  My wife hates the idea because obviously, she doesn’t want the phone call at one in the morning saying that her husband was stabbed to death by some cranked out meth addict with a crossbow.  It seems like everyone is pushing me towards taking on writing (and possibly education, because “those who can’t, teach!”) as a long-term career goal.

And yet my stomach still boils.

I think it’ll be a transition process in a sense that not only will I have to reinvent myself, but untrain as I retrain for two things completely opposite of each other.  But I’m optimistic though; I get to move away from the knuckle-dragging, laborious lines of work I’ve seemed to gravitate towards my entire life (fisherman, landscaper, police work, etc) and do something with my brain, that other muscle I like to work out from time to time.

Here’s to new, uncharted waters.

May 13, 2009 Posted by | Gonzo Journalism, Living in an Insane Asylum, Shameless Self Promotion | , | 2 Comments