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January 6th, 2017


01:10 am - ruth
many times over the last several months I’ve felt the urge to be ruthless. the need to smack down those without caring or compassion. and possibly, an excitement at the anticipation of the failure of those same uncaring persons.

whenever that happens I try to remind myself that the root word of ruthless is ruth. the definition of ruth, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, is compassion for the pain or suffering of others.

I am inclined to be ruthless but I don’t really want to be. I would much rather embrace ruth.
Current Music: Sheppard, Geronimo

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December 18th, 2016


02:22 am - 10 things I've learned in 5 decades +9


#31) If you are telling someone a problem you are having and that person interrupts the story in the middle and tells you something along the lines of what the simple solution to your problem might be. That person is very clearly telling you that they don't care about what you are saying. That it is trivial or unimportant to them. Don’t share your problems with that person any more. They don’t care.


#32) There have been times in my life when I’ve lived in a state of zen like contentment and fulfillment. Where I had a job and a place to live, exciting things to do and interesting friends to do them with and could readily handle the challenges of everyday life. It is quite a satisfying way to be.

The problem with zen is that it lacks ambition beyond itself. The knowledge that things will come to you, that things will happen, when and where they should is anathema to radical change. The belief that ambition or desire are incompatible with self-actualization puts one in a state of stasis. Sometimes one needs to set aside this quest for simplification and feelings of content to achieve something big. Something new.




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Current Music: Styx, Renegade
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December 18th, 2015


10:14 am - 10 things I've learned in 5 decades +8


#27) Never explain your jokes or pop-culture references to strangers. It makes you both look stupid.

#28) Taking a step back is not a failure, so long as in the end you continue to move forward.

#29) Remember, those that have hurt us do not get to claim credit for what we’ve accomplished. We are what we are, what we’ve become, despite what they did to us. Not because of it.

#30) Being childish and being child-like are not at all the same thing. People often get them mixed up but they are two entirely different qualities.






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Current Music: Adele, Hello
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June 10th, 2015


09:47 pm - musical interlude

Current Music: The Hillywood Show, Supernatural Parody

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December 18th, 2014


01:09 pm - 10 things I've learned in 5 decades +7


#25) I’m not a dog person. it’s not that I dislike dogs. I just don’t want one. the thing is, dog’s are pack animals. if you get a dog or live with someone that has a dog or start dating someone that has a dog, that dog starts looking to you as a member of their pack. and that’s the thing, I do not want to be part of anyone’s pack.


#26) there has been a lot of talk about privilege these last few years. white privilege. male privilege. straight white male privilege. 1% privilege. check your privilege.

one of the often overlooked advantages of privilege is invisibility. invisibility such that when something goes wrong, people aren’t going to unconsciously and automatically look towards you over it. as importantly, it can be pretty oppressive waiting for that other shoe to drop when you are part of the group that always gets looked to first to blame.

I find that invisibility from undeserved suspicion comforting.





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Current Music: Jethro Tull, Locomotive Breath

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June 23rd, 2014


01:25 pm - headpsace
dragging a bit at work today. I didn’t get any sleep last night. just dozed a bit between 7 and 8am. not because I’m stressed or worried. not because I’m sick or injured. just because I stayed up all night . . . reading. stop. read that sentence again. I love that sentence. I. Stayed Up. All Night. Reading. :)

my brain has switched over into sabbatical mode already. I keep trying to put the brakes on. to tell it it’s too early. that I still have this week to work. but it is not listening. my rebellious synapses are marching in conga lines chanting “SabBatiCal. SabBatiCal. SabBatiCal.” it is somewhat disconcerting.

this will be the first real sabbatical I’ve taken from work since I bought the house. I don’t expect it to be all that long. only a month or so. still, that’s more than enough time for . . . my damned brain to stop chanting at me.
Current Music: a couple of faux Lesbian Russian school-girl Lolita's singing about sex to a heavy techno beat

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December 18th, 2013


12:32 am - 10 things I've learned in 5 decades +6


#22) settle. settling. settled. it’s always been a dirty word to me. settling for less than you deserve. settling for what you can have. settling for what is available. settling into complacency.

however, all of these years, I believe I may have been missing an important point. there is nothing wrong with settling for what you want. with being content with what you have because what you have makes you happy. all of life does not have to be dissatisfaction, discontent and ambition.

#23) the singular piece of advice that my father gave me more often than any other was "It only gets worse from here." these are the kinds of things that warp your soul. that distort your prospective. possibly permanently. these are your triggers.

it is all very well and good to recognize your triggers. to guard yourself against their screwing with you. but the ultimate solution isn’t being guarded. it isn’t being cautious or hyper-aware of your state (though those can help). the solution is to become stronger than your triggers.

when I was young I was scared of walking alone in the woods at night. I didn’t become not scared of the night by realizing that there were no monsters out there. I stopped being scared when I came to believe that I was stronger and / or smarter than anything out there in the dark.

#24) here are two things that children, girls and boys, should be taught while they are young so that they know them when they are older . . .

when someone goes to shake your hand, do not grasp at their fingers with yours. bring the skin between your thumb and forefinger into contact with the skin between theirs. turn the palm of your hand to match up with theirs and wrap your fingers around their hand. grasp firmly but not like you are trying to crush something. Pump their hand up and down once or twice while looking them in the eye. try it. it’s simple, straightforward and effective.

when someone picks you up in their arms, don't go limp. if you stiffen your body even a little it makes it so much easier for them to support you. and if you put your arm around their neck, you’ll support half your weight without even trying. they’ll appreciate you for it.






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Current Location: United States, Massachusetts, Medford
Current Music: Los Vazquez Sounds, All I Want for Christmas

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June 1st, 2013


07:17 pm - trees
can you really own a tree? I have trouble saying "My Tree." I usually end up using some unwieldy phrase like "This tree on my property." I have no problem owning property. the property is mine. (at least in my mind.) but the trees seem more like separate entities sharing my property with me. not that I have any problem cutting them back or even cutting them down, if need be. but I still do not believe, in my heart of hearts, that they are mine.

this post brought to you by the universal home-owner experience of _yard work_.
Current Music: Afro Celts, Green Instrument

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May 19th, 2013


04:43 am - money has no provenance
money has no provenance. that's axiomatic. at least most money. I guess this is one of those "exception that proves the rule" sorts of stories.

my grandfather was not a particularly big man. but, somehow, he seemed to take up more room in a room than he really warranted. maybe it was his belly that always preceded him into any room he entered. maybe it was his craggy features that had seen more than a lifetime's share of a hard days. or possibly it was his deep gravely voice. a voice acquired, I expect, from over 50 years of smoking. I believe he started when he was 12. from personal experience I can tell you that his snoring could collapse architecture.

my grandfather died when I was a freshman in college. total systems failure. one day he was living his independent life, the next he was in the hospital, 5 days later he was dead. when it happens, that's how I want to go. that or something even quicker.

after his death, while the estate was being settled, I was tasked with watching over the single-wide trailer in the wilds of Winnipesaukee where he'd ended up. I was told that I could pick out any one thing to keep as a memento. anything except the guns. the guns were claimed long ago.

my grandfather had become a bit of a packrat, there at the end. I ran across one of his rainy-day stashes once. not the cheap scotch and expensive cigars he always kept stockpiled. one of his dark-days stashes. a pile of 2 dollar bills, dozens of silver dollars, and even a couple of 50 dollar gold pieces. a real last ditch, go bag, sorta collection. my grandfather was not a big believer in the idea that the good times would last.

while digging through the lone last possessions of a deadman, I ran across the nearly totally depleted remains of my grandfather's exotic money stash. (and no porn. how did that man have no porn?) in it were 3 silver dollars. I took the oldest for myself.

it was an 1878 trade silver dollar. 420 grains of 90% pure silver. purer and heavier than a domestic silver dollar. and over a 100 years old. it suited me. that silver dollar spent almost every day of the next 35 years in my pocket. for some reason it had more weight sitting there than it really warranted.

a little over a month ago I was having a couple of beers at the Middle East, as is my wont. around close I felt my cell vibrate with an incoming text message. as I pulled my phone out of my pocket I heard a "bang . . . click . . . clang" and my silver dollar went . . . somewhere. no idea where.

I looked but I couldn't find it. I told the bartender that if it showed up, it was mine. he looked for it and found nothing. I told Joseph, one of the owners, and he looked as well. nothing. but they knew. and I had faith that if it showed up they'd tell me. still, I left that night without much hope of ever seeing that silver dollar again.

last week, as I hear the story, a lady having lunch out on the patio in front of the Middle East found a silver dollar. she took it inside to see if it belonged to anyone. Nabil, the other owner, told her "It's money. You found it on the sidewalk. It's yours." Nabil works days. Joseph works nights. they often don't talk for days.

this lady could see that the coin was old but didn't know if it was worth anything. Nabil, being the friendly and generous gentleman that he is, had the day manager look up a nearby shop where she could try to sell it if she wanted too. which, as it turns out, she did.

a few days later Joseph heard the story. he was pretty sure he knew where that silver dollar had come from. he told the day manager to call the shop to see if the woman had actually sold it to them. if she had he was to go there immediately and buy it back. the day manager protested, pointing out that a customer's lost property was their responsibility not the restaurant's. Joseph told him no, "Richard is not just a customer. Richard is family. For family you do whatever it takes."

so . . . last week Joseph handed my lost silver dollar back to me. much shinier that it has been in decades but with the same nicks and scratches that it had acquired from years of living in my pocket. he wouldn't even hear of my paying him what it had cost him to get it back for me.

as they say, money has no provenance. unless it does.

Current Location: United States, Massachusetts, Medford
Current Music: Evanescence, Bring Me To Life

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March 2nd, 2013


08:47 pm - worm w/out the ear
you are sitting on your couch reading a good book. you start to hear music playing faintly in the background. it's tinny. nothing you recognize. like bad telephone hold music. it seems to be coming from inside the house rather than out. you wander through you house, looking / listening for it. you walk from your living room through the dinning room, the kitchen, your bedroom, the office and the bathrooms. nothing. your phone is quiet. besides, you recently changed your ringtone to something obnoxious that is decidedly not music. you check your computers. 2 of them are asleep, one is reformatting a hard drive and the other is just quietly sitting there with the email app open. both of your iPads are asleep as well. your alarm clock not on. honestly, it never is. still . . . there is music. no source.

is this one of those signs of impending mental instability?
Current Music: the sound of my house singing to me

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