Wednesday, November 25, 2015


And so it appears again.  Today, in offices across this great land, men and women of all races, colors, creeds, and whatever other trait or characteristic I omitted due to a pathological lack of interest in political correctness will observe a time-honored, white-collar tradition:  the Day Before the Holiday (or "DBH" for text-messaging purposes).   

There is no day as traditionally unproductive in an office setting as the DBH, although the day upon which a member of the office social network returns from a vacation (especially one that is somehow tied into either his/her wedding or the birth of a child) comes pretty damn close. Having spent several years working for my brother Kelly and his commercial construction company, in my experience the DBH is exclusively a white-collar event.  Perhaps Kelly might spend more time goofing off on the day before a holiday if he did not, more often than not, work on the holiday itself.  

Ah, the DBH!  It is on this glorious day that men and women throughout the office spend copious amounts of time regaling one another with stories of how their holiday shall be spent.  It is as if induction papers have been served nationwide and these co-workers (including those of whom scheme against one another - sometimes secretly and often openly) are preparing to be shipped off to a far-away land rather than, in the case of Thanksgiving, simply spending a Thursday afternoon with family and friends.   

And since today is an office "holiday", the time devoted to the inane Thanksgiving-related banter ("What are you cooking?", "How many people are you having?", and the like) is the time that on a normal Wednesday might actually be spent performing work.  Since one cannot celebrate a holiday in 21st Century America unless one's every movement is documented on one's social media accounts, the face-to-face time expended on the DBH cannot be parsed out of the time needed to update one's entire social network about one's Thanksgiving activities.  To suggest to the contrary is practically blasphemous.  

Whether your dinner party shall be a small group tomorrow or something considerably bigger, hopefully the adults among your number shall be either (a) age-level readers; or (b) not entirely inconsiderate assholes.  

Unless, of course, irony is on the menu...

Sign in the 3rd floor kitchen 
(Apparently, which sink 
was not identified clearly) which case, invite a lawyer.  



Tuesday, November 24, 2015

No Waiting On Romeo

Even if you are someone whose relationship with me is limited to this daily exercise in exorcism, it is reasonable to presume that by this point in said relationship (unless today is the day you have broken your maiden in this space) you have figured out how measured my interactions with the rest of the world are on a day-to-day basis.  

I love the people I love, who are - coincidentally - those for whom I would die or kill to protect.  I have zero tolerance for a bully or a coward, which are after all merely flip sides of the same coin. But for those for whom I feel neither a sense of devotion nor a sense of enmity, my default emotion is apathy.  When I read and hear, for instance, about those who loathe, despise, or hate a group as utterly vapid as the Kardashians, I wonder "Why Bother"?  They are not ubiquitous.  They are creations of television by television and for television.  Simply change the channel.  I assure you  that enough grown-up shit goes on in the world every day for you to become legitimately pissed off about without wasting a moment of actual outrage on them.   

The things I enjoy, in terms of the books I am reading or have read, the music to which I listen, which things I discuss every now and again here, I discuss without any commitment from anyone else to sharing my enthusiasm or any commitment from me regarding whether my enthusiasm is indeed shared.  Case in point,  on Saturday morning I finished reading Nathaniel Philbrick's In the Heart of the Sea - The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex.  My motivation in reading it - in significant part - is the pending release of the film adaptation of the book, which shall be in theaters next month.  I am interested in seeing the film but wanted to read the book first so that I could enjoy the story the way Philbrick intended to tell it - just in case the film version proves to be a disappointment.  

I found Philbrick's book to be extraordinary and recommend it to one and all to read.  It is both educational and fascinating.  Whether you opt to read it - now or ever - I shall of course never know.  And truth be told, it matters not at all to me whether you do.  My experience with the book and the enjoyment I derived from having read it is not dependent upon you at all.  

Similarly, I am very much looking forward to receiving next month my copy of Springsteen's The Ties That Bind:  The River Collection.  Unlike his most recent CD, High Hopes, which I found utterly dreadful - and suffering from a case of "TMM" ("Too Much Morello"), I am genuinely excited to hear this music and to listen to these stories.  Predictably, whether you share my enthusiasm for this offering or whether you ever listen to a single note of Springsteen's music is of no consequence to me.  My experience with this material exists wholly independent of yours, whatever that experience might be.  


Monday, November 23, 2015

Tattoos of Memories

So take the photographs
And still frames in your mind
Hang it on a shelf
In good health and good time.
-Green Day

On Saturday morning, as a number of Turkeys, including Yours truly, were running through the streets of Manasquan, Liv and her Hillsborough Raider teammates were running in Holmdel Park at the 2015 Cross-Country Meet of Champions.  And run, they most certainly did. 

The Raiders backed up their second-place showing in the Group IV Championship Race one Saturday earlier with a second consecutive second-place finish in the Meet of Champions.  Four years of cross-country culminated in one Group IV title, one second-place finish in Group IV, and back-to-back second-place finishes in the Meet of Champions. That is a hell of a lot of podium time.

And a lifetime's worth of memories - including these captured by her grandfather..

It's something unpredictable 
But in the end it's right,


Sunday, November 22, 2015

An Eternal Idea

A man does what he must - 
in spite of personal consequences, 
in spite of obstacles and dangers and pressures -
and that is the basis of all human morality.
- John Fitzgerald Kennedy

A little something upon which all of us might be inclined to spend a minute or two thinking about on this, the fifty-second anniversary of the assassination of President Kennedy.  To steal a line from another quotable John (Hiatt), "You think you've come so far in this one horse town and she's laughing that crazy laugh because you haven't left the parking lot."

Were he alive today, one wonders whether President Kennedy might have an opinion as to how faithful we the people of these United States have been to honoring his template for human morality. Or how faithful the men and women to whom public offices and positions have been entrusted have been to this charge:

Let us not seek the Republican answer 
Or the Democratic answer,
But the right answer. 
Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past. 


Saturday, November 21, 2015

Gobble Gobble Goo

To borrow a phrase from Prince, if I may, "Forever is a mighty long time."  It proved to be too long, in fact, for the Turkey Trot.  The Trot was a fixture in Manasquan for three decades, held on the Saturday before Thanksgiving and serving as the unofficial kickoff of the "holiday season".

However, shortly after the 2014 Trot, the couple who organized it annually informed the local governing body that they were no longer interested in doing so.  In the words of the American pop philosopher Jackson Browne, "All good things got to come to an end."  The Trot, as it turned out, was among those good things.  

Thankfully, much like nature, the Manasquan Borough Council abhors a vacuum.  Thus, while the Trot is no more, the Manasquan Turkey Run has ably filled its space on the calendar.  Last year's first edition was a terrific event.  This morning, at shortly after 11:00 o'clock, the streets of "Squan shall be filled with runners of all ages and abilities, fueled by a common desire:  Completion of the five-mile course before Leggett's runs out of bar stools upon which to sit and enjoy an adult beverage, post-race.   


Friday, November 20, 2015

Code Violation

The harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph.
What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly.
It is dearness only that gives everything its value. 
I love the man that can smile in trouble, 
That can gather strength from distress and
Grow brave by reflection. 
'Tis the business of little minds to shrink, 
But he whose heart is firm 
And whose conscience approves his conduct,
Will pursue his principles unto Death. 
- Thomas Paine

I suppose that if you are not a runner, then stories such as this one do not cause you to clench your jaw in anger.  They infuriate me.  

They infuriate me because of how much work goes into preparing to run in a marathon.  They infuriate me because I know that my running companera, Gidg, spent the better part of four months training to run in this year's Marine Corps Marathon but ended up having to sit the race out after injuring her back rather badly less than three weeks before the race.  Having won entry through the MCM's lottery, she was heartbroken that she was not able to participate.  If this gentleman did that of which he is accused of having done, then his action is a stick in the eye of everyone who completed the race as well as those - like Gidg - who registered to run but were unable to do so due to injury. 

The lengths to which human shall go in an effort to secure an unfair advantage over another never cease to amaze me.  I have many failings as a person.  Too many to list in one sitting here - not because of embarrassment but, rather, because of memory.  I am afraid that I would leave more than one out of my recitation simply because there are so many and recalling all of them is difficult.  However, conspicuous by its absence from my list of personal failings is "cheater".  I am - I suppose - my parents' child in that respect.  I would rather lose a fight fairly than win it by cheating.  

At day's end, presuming this faux marathoner did what he is alleged to have done, the person he screwed the most is himself.  I am a decidedly average marathon runner.  Hell, I am likely grading on the curve when I elevate myself to the rank of "decidedly average".  That said, the feeling of satisfaction - and relief - associated with the simple act of crossing the finish line upon the conclusion of a 26.2 mile journey is one that is almost indescribable.  And it is unforgettable.

I shall never understand what motivates someone to cheat at this endeavor, thus consciously and willfully depriving himself of that feeling.   


Thursday, November 19, 2015

Love Can Break Your Heart

A lifetime of Novembers ago, Doug Flutie burst onto the national scene.  In 1984, his senior season at Boston College, the diminutive quarterback won college football's highest individual award:  The Heisman Trophy.  As if there was any doubt that he would win the award, in BC's final regular season game against the Miami Hurricanes in Miami, on the Friday of the long Thanksgiving weekend, as time expired he launched a Hail Mary pass for the ages into the gloaming and, thereafter, the waiting arms of Gerard Phelan for the game-winning touchdown.  

Throughout his college career and the decade plus professional career that followed, Doug Flutie repeatedly expressed his appreciation to his parents and all they did for him.  Yesterday, he used his Facebook page to announce some exquisitely sad news about his Mom and Dad.  

Apparently Mr. Flutie, Dick, had been ill for some time for which he had been hospitalized.  Early yesterday morning, he suffered a heart attack.  He died.  Mrs.  Flutie, Joan, was by her husband's side when he died.  Approximately one hour later, she suffered a fatal heart attack.  

Married for fifty-six years.  Dead within one hour of one another.  Proof perhaps that the heart does indeed want what it wants and that in this instance what it wanted was to not face even one more sunset without its soulmate.   I cannot imagine attempting to process the incalculable loss of both of one's parents on the same day.  I cannot imagine, therefore, the level of pain that the Fluitie family is experiencing today. 

Is there comfort to be taken from the fact that their parents left this life as they had lived it, together? I have no idea.

I hope so.