Sunday, December 13, 2009


How do you write something that you really want to share, but don't want to really share? How do you write in metaphor?

Just more than half my life ago, I was more selfish than I am now. There were others that weren't. There were others that weren't. I cared, but I was not there. I loved. I had embarked on my second adventure of love. The love prior was experience and real and went away, as did the next one. I loved three times.

She cries to the clicking. Oh.

In the middle, it wasn't much. In the middle, it became natural. In the middle it was love. Love for one another. Sharing simply.

At the other end of more than half my life, someone asked if there were compliments for me, and not just me. All I got was what was said. There were many things said. Like my love. It sucked me in and pulled me under.

Saturday, December 5, 2009


She wouldn't share, not his way.  Not disclosed and naked. I would. I would take my clothes off. What do you want to know? Just ask, but you must.

I know the answers to the questions.


I was excited and nervous. I tried hard to remember the first time I went to a game. I lived in Bethlehem and Lehigh University was 15 minutes away. I went to a Mountain Hawks football game. I held my dad's hand. I went to a Phillies game, but my first one wasn't Game One of the 1980 World Series, but thats the first professional game I remember. I remember the line-up of that team. I've been to enough games to be nonchalant, but not too many to still get excited each time.

Lily and James went to their first game: July 3, 2009 Red Sox vs Mariners, Tim Wakefield v. Felix Hernandez.


I watched the Red Sox game on mute listining to Nocturnal Emmissions with Oedipus. The last one. Now its called Boston Emissions and will be on another channel. Listening to BCN these last days has been fun and nostalgic. I don't like nostalgia, but listening to great radio being replayed from the last 41 years, listening to the DJs playing their own music choices, listening to the DJs talk about one another and remembrences over their career was delightful.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Pilgrim 61

Pilgrim 61

2oz London dry gin (Sapphire)
1 tsp Sugar
1/2oz Lemon juice
1oz Cranberry juice (RW Knudsen*)
5oz Brut sparkling wine
Lemon twist

1. Mix the first four ingredients (shaker/ice). COLD
2. Pour into a flute/collins glass or 1/2 the recipe and pour into a martini glass
3. Pour in sparkling wine
4. Garnish with a lemon twist and cranberry or two.

If serendipity participates then you may call the Pilgrim 61 a Smiling Pilgrim, but only if your twist bends and you’ve got two cranbrries. If you have three P61’s, then you will be a smiling pilgrim.

*The cranberry juice was not my first choice, would've bought Ocean Spray, but was in a natural food store, so the sugar may be reduced if using a sweeter juice.

Next time you're out, ask for the Pilgrim 61. 

Happy Thanksgiving, enjoy.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


November, it was May not too long ago.
A lot of hours, but not enough to complain.
Participated. Present. Involved.
Full of myself, but I think I've done good.
Work and play and rest seem to blend.

Saturday, October 24, 2009


I got cold, I put on a hat. Turning up the heat wasn't an option.

It was my turn to merge. He let me in, but honked once, D minor.

It's going to rain. The night sky is still, twinged with the hue of snow's coming.

Sunday, October 11, 2009


So Much Blind Faith
I would state my case before him and fill my mouth with arguments.
There an upright man could present his case before him, and I would be delivered forever from my judge. – Job 23: 4, 7

To be delivered is for the asking. The unconditional faith and hope offered by God are for the taking.

Dear Lord, when we are in this place of worship we are most like you, blindly offering our love, faith and hope up to you and to each other. We live like your Son in this place. Lord, steel our hearts with the story of your son Job, for he is an example of the way. We seek your guidance in these things to take beyond these walls. In your name, Amen.

In the Face of Doubt
God has made my heart faint; the Almighty has terrified me. Yet I am not silenced by the darkness, by the thick darkness that covers my face. – Job 16-17

A solitary journey as steadfast as the stars, like the tides that wash, you are there.

Dear Lord, this darkness it is desire. Desire to do what’s right every time. Even though I should falter and fail so many times, I ask forgiveness, because I only want to do the good and faithful thing. Be with me in this darkness. In the name of your son, Jesus, you showed us your imperfection, you allowed us like Adam and Eve to seek like Job and be forgiven. Amen.

So I wrote these two devotionals this week. First writing exercise beyond the 9-5 gig in a number of years. Have you written one? Any thoughts?

I'm not comfortable sharing this. Folks, people, you tend to consider this type of sharing for Sunday morning or like talking sex or finances. I decided that when I started this blog, I would tell all my crazy, and keep none of it for me. Its not crazy. Its me. I'm crazy if you think so, not the other way around. It'll be some time before the other two concepts will be shared.  God may be my co-pilot, but my wife is too, she'll need to approve those messages.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


I've played golf for the last three years in the Annual Friendship Home Golf Tournament. Monday the 21st of September was like the last two, perfect. I can not begin to express how moving and satisfying the day is for me.

Friendship Home is an organization seeking to create opportunities for adults with developmental disorders. In their words, "Our dream is that each individual with disabilities that we serve has a job or meaningful daytime activity, friendships that nurture them and activities that provide for educational, recreational and artistic experiences." Ultimately the organization is building a sustained organization that will have a physical space in the community where activities and respite may be provided for years to come. On Sunday September 27th at UCC Norwell from 12-2PM they will hold their ground breaking. That's the commercial, here's the content.

Three years ago, my dad asked me to play golf with him. I didn't understand what would happen. Playing in a scramble is straight forward stuff. Then he told me I would be playing with a Friendship Club member Jay N. with Downs Syndrome. I have known him for nearly 30 years, I went to Sunday school with him and was a swim instructor to him later. I hadn't seen him for 15 years.

As I waited for Jay to arrive, I got nervous. Jay has a youthful look, but thirty years ago he seemed older. He was happy to see me. Jay remembered me. I was happy. I soon met Scott M. another Friendship Club member. There we were, Dad and Scott rode together, as Jay and I did. Scott has the sweetest golf swing, effortless and reliable. Jay is a physical golfer, which is a polite way of saying if he connects it could go and go, but muscling the ball provides for an unpredictable outcome.

The day was special because it was effortless to play, even though something happened during the day that shook me. We laughed and joked all day. Then Jay told me he had a driver's license. At another point Jay bought a beer. I thought this wasn't right. I didn't think he should be allowed to do this. I did what I do best and forgot about it, concentrating on the fun we were having. I enjoyed myself and I asked how I could get more involved.

The second year was much less trying from my racist point of view. I did learn that some of Jay and Scott's friends were getting married, which got me going again, but I suppressed my bigoted and naive thoughts again. It drove me mad. I knew I didn't have these thoughts. I knew I was being bigoted and naive. I've always felt a strength of mine was knowing my weaknesses, and this I did not expect, even as we had fun playing golf.

We're now to this past Monday. I'd been thinking about myself and my issues for sometime trying to wash my insecurities away. Here came Jay and Scott. They remembered me again and gave me great big smiles. Then three things happened. My dad unintentionally made joke. I was having trouble understanding Jay. And then I watched Scott and Jay razz each other while dad and I were talking.

Jay got the joke before me. Jay took the time to slow down and speak clearer. And Jay and Scott were acting like two genuine friends that have great comfort with and love for one another. I got over myself quick. While the analogy really applies to me, I saw the gears click in Jay. He got it, he helped me understand him, and he was more normal than me.

Friday, September 18, 2009


Eternal life is now on my trail. Why are all these ugly gentlemen playing this foolish game? Racist everyman what have you done? Blow your kiss alone. The river slows by rolling heavy. Knee deep in the grass, a chaff in his mouth lazy.

Would like to get something off my chest. I want to get something down, anything in writing. Black and white on the page. One word after the other and one with perhaps more meaning than the previous. Two then three then four words that make a sentence. Several sentences that make a paragraph.

I have been moved by this album for weeks now. Listening and listening. Over and over. Provocative words, simple words, and words that contradict one another. These are all intertwined in melodious, harmonious and cacophonous sounds sometimes and others. Falsetto, alto, up and down, vocal gymnastics without effort and intent.

My heart is frozen still as I try to find the will to forget her. She is somewhere out there now. Never knowing, knowing what it is to be his children. Dream brother. There is the sun red hot and blowing west. Feeling raindrops and the smack and pull of the wind. The slow interminable descent glistens held up now.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Joyful Surrender

The bookends were magnificent. Joe Kennedy for Senate. Caroline was sublime in her celebration. John Culver's mastery of the story, Orrin Hatch's nervous love, Duval Patrick's eloquent manner, Joe Biden's admiration and need of love from such a man that knows loss, and the emotional John McCain.

The boys and the youngest generation were so much more powerful than the moving eulogy by President Obama. What would he have said if he wasn't cloaked in the formality of his position? The homily by the (I can't remember the Father's name.) Priest was magnificent. Most moving to me was the responsorial, Psalm 72, by Kara.

As the evening closed, Teddy's letter to Pope Benedictine was, again, sublime, oh to be able to command such potency. And his dictated response of "joyful surrender." His grandchildren wept at his casket in the light from the cars in the procession.

I went to Ted Kennedy's wake. I walked from the Expo to the Library. These places I've been to many, many times, except this time I was hoping they would move me differently. My mind was blank as I walked by the fields I played soccer and underneath the buildings in which I took classes. Without intention, I waited for the wake to begin with a woman I go to church with but don't know well. We discussed each other and what Ted meant to us. The morning wasn't unusual or usual for that matter.

As we waited in line, people walked by, small discussions were overheard, cameras both still and motion, but I couldn't muster a sense of death. The moment wasn't big, even as it was a big moment. I wanted more, however, even as I and many others that morning met Ted's daughter Kara and her children Max and Grace, it didn't register. I met Jesse Jackson and surely he would elicit something, but he didn't.

I continued on to the office, reflecting on how nice it was to spend time with someone I wouldn't except to sit next to in church on occasion. I learned good things and nice things about her as she did about me. We walked by the casket and all I could think was the Honor Guard is so stoic. Teddy was stoic, but didn't carry himself in such ways. Teddy brought his ideals to America and Massachusetts, and it is in that way that he is different. The Senator sought to make your life better too, not just mine.

As an individual, Teddy and I don't see the same glass of water. Although I have voted for him more than once, its because his efforts further causes that mean something to me: education and mental illness. I will find the quote from Caroline on Friday, but its the future and while Teddy isn't there to attain that future he fought so hard for, it is within our grasp. Keep up the good fight. Give to those who are struggling and are fighting to make it.

Both sides, liberal and conservative, republican and democrat, gay and straight, black and white, are looking for the same sustaining ideals set before us even as they don't take the same road. The efficacy of Teddy is the ability to find compromise without sacrificing his principles.

I want to finish strong, but I spent three days with Teddy, his family, and, in particular, my wife discussing stuff that means something. I am spent, a selfish statement in the wake of the vigil an Irish family gives their dead. I have prayed, cried, laughed, joked, and reflected upon a wide range of topics. I look forward to the quiet reflection in the coming days. I gave myself to this moment and I hope I take something from it.

Friday, August 21, 2009


“Where the Wild Things Are” by Maurice Sendak is sublime. It requires little imagination to fill in the blanks and offers lessons in forgiveness. Perhaps the hardest element to imagine is what leads to Max’s mother to send him to his room. Max did state he would eat her up, but a child in a wolf suit is play acting. However, she loves Max and fixes his dinner for him in his room. Now there is a movie and book of the same title coming out (and Maurice Sendak is on board).

Spike Jonze and Dave Eggers wrote the screenplay and Dave Eggers is writing the book. A new version of something great is always tricky. Do you stay within the framework of the original or blow it up or some combination? Jonze directs music videos and directed the Oscar winning movie “Adaptation.” Beyond that his writing credits amount to the TV show/movie “Jackass” which I liked. I’ll see the movie before I give Jonze a hard time.

I don’t like Dave Eggers. He left it all on the table when he wrote “A Staggering Work….” I read the book with enthusiasm. I devoured it, but at three-quarters I realized there was never going to be an ending suitable to my tastes, and it starts over again in subsequent works. Eggers is a cynic that was dealt a pretty tough blow early in life. His parents died of cancer within months of one another. He raised a younger brother with out too much help from two other siblings. I empathize with him, but his inability to move on is what leaves me sour. The New Yorker’s posted some commentary by Eggers about the new book, movie and other stuff, as well as a portion of the new book. Eggers assumes that because his life is a trial, so must Max’s.

Eggers has created a contrived website and/or product(s) that have provided me with positive stimulation, but I find it too convoluted to get through. However, he’s done something awesome by creating the 826 Writing and Tutoring Centers. So while I no longer enjoy what he’s got to say in most forms, I do commend him for doing a great service to provide a creative outlet to those that may not have the chance/opportunity to explore this side of themselves. The program is well conceived, and he does have clout/money. Enough background/justification.

Max’s mother has a name!?!? He has a stepfather!?!? Max has an older sister!?!? The Wild Things have names, too, and personal issues that a group hug and therapy will help in everyone’s recovery. If Eggers is writing, and he is, then this is what I have to expect. His piling on ruins my simple exploration into a child’s imagination and understanding that he can trust his mother and be reassured of her love and forgiveness through the gesture of a meal and it was still warm. Max forgives her as well, because I assume he eats the meal based upon the inflection of and it was still warm.

The story Sendak wrote does lend itself to exploration/expansion. It’s compressed. The Wild Things may represent me as a parent. Previously mentioned, it doesn’t explain why Max is really sent to his room. It doesn’t explain in any specific manner what happens as Max sails to and from Where through night and day, in and out of weeks, and almost over a year. It doesn’t give any back story to the Wild Things. "Where the Wild Things Are" is a story as simple as the words on the page or a spiraling journey into new worlds to understand and manage consequence, love and forgiveness.

The effort to make it a coping device for Eggers saddens me. I can relate to Sendak’s version, it is bare and forthright. Its brilliance is in its broad, but complete storyline. There are discussions to have and imaginings to create. I don’t suffer the same life Eggers suffers. As it boils down, I would write it differently or would prefer another author. I would prefer a freshness that Eggers is not capable of providing me, perhaps by Cormac McCarthy. “The Road,” while dark, was a progressive, positive journey to lightness.

Thursday, July 30, 2009


The kids and I read together each night: a story, then a poem, which is read each night of the week, and a from a daily devotional. Check out the link to the poem we recently read. Read it twice. Its a ballad. Sing when it says to sing. Sing the whole thing. Classic Poetry: Tom O'Bedlam (Anonymous Folk Song)

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Rabbithole (NOWBlog Part 2 or Paradox Part 2)

I write proposals for an engineering firm, advance the firm’s cause through a variety of marketing activity and sometimes provide administrative efforts. I work for Fay, Spofford & Thorndike. We are engineers for many aspects of transportation and environmental infrastructure and building facilities.

I’m more salesman, pitchman, MADMAN than what the AEC (architecture/engineering/construction) industry calls a marketer. Proposal writing isn’t marketing; its sales, and I offer a check or balance to the technical staff. The best proposals I have written have been well planned with collaboration from technical staff. My company sells an intangible service that creates tangible products like bridges and water treatment facilities. Engineering a road through any terrain is theoretical until the last bucket of concrete is set.

There is always more nuance to absorb, new clients to approach - internal and external. Personality, criteria and value-added differentiators to separate my firm from another is the proposal process. I manage or orchestrate a proposal with interest in the final product. I think the stuff my firm does is cool.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


I’ve been watching a living art project, One & Other, which is ongoing in Trafalgar Square in London on the Fourth Plinth. The Fourth Plinth is a pedestal that was meant as a tribute to King William IV. Due to insufficient funds, it has remained empty. Since 1999, the Royal Society of Arts has been commissioning art projects to be displayed on the plinth.

This project by sculptor Antony Gormley, will offer the space, currently in its third week, to a different person to occupy the Fourth Plinth every hour, 24 hours a day for 100 days without a break, to make the Plinth their own. The website streams each hour and provides some insight into the Plinther. I’ve seen a robot, an Elvis impersonator, a house cleaner, protesters, readers, writers, singers, photographers, artists, crowd pleasers/teasers/taunters, and boring people. This got me thinking.

If given one hour to do anything I want on an eight meter pedestal for the world to see, what would it be? Also, I’ve been contemplating the title, One & Other, since it seems simple to understand, but after glimpsing a few of the Plinthers, an interesting pairing of words.

The action of allowing unfettered access to Matt Hawk for one hour seems ludicrous. I don’t want that kind of access to myself, let alone giving myself away this vulnerable situation. I’ve written my obituary on several occasions in college as a writing exercise, and been asked to contemplate my legacy from the pulpit on a Sunday morning. These acts seem ridiculous to me, but the one I would prefer is standing on the plinth. It would be a true and undeniable representation of me. I would perform a day in the life.

More interesting to me is the title of the project, One & Other.
1) It neatly describes the concept of the project
2) It separates each plinther
3) Its a play on words that brings each Plinther and observers together

Thursday, July 2, 2009


This is a tough post because I criticize people that post comments to articles/op-eds and the status updaters on twitter, fb, et al. Posts tend to be anonymous or without accountability. There isn’t a neat way to have a discussion without sharing your crazy or being called crazy. Why let facts get in the way of an argument? Why bother with the facts since they can be skewed? There is no moral accountability in these mediums. Blogs too. I understand the absurdity.

The ongoing saga of the SC Governor, Mark Sanford is a good example of unchecked moralizing. What Mark Sanford did is wrong, but has anyone listened to his wife’s comments? Jenny Sanford, rather than the stand by your man Silda Spitzer and Hillary Clinton, has asked her husband to beat it until she can figure it out, while leaving the door open for reconciliation. The reconciliation may end in divorce, although her comments are hopeful and to the contrary.

Hateful words are used in posts to describe Mark Sanford, I concede he deserves some of it, but we all know people close to us that have gone through divorce. Do you pile on? Would you consider making a post on facebook about a friend going through a rough patch that criticizes their ability to handle the issue to your standards? I also concede that public figures should be criticized publicly. But the motherly expression, “if you have nothing nice to say, say nothing at all,” is meaningless. Constructive criticism is what we give our children. Why does it stop?

On facebook, I know who you are, after all we’re friends. I’ve been a part of and witnessed some of the morally wrong and questionable actions perpetrated. Some of the status updates I read have traditionally been reserved for quiet, private moments where confidentiality is unwritten. People share their opinions and personal lives with reckless abandon, and I don’t like it.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009


I called my wife.
“Hello,” she said.
“MJ is dead,” I said
“Michael Jackson?”
“Shut up. I have to turn on the TV. Kids, go play somewhere else, mummy has to watch the news, big news, Michael Jackson is dead.”
“I'm not surprised."
“But this is huge.”
“If he was Michael of the 80’s."
“Poor Farrah.”
I met up with some friends I used to work with and we didn’t spend much time on it. When MJ came up, it was replaced by other discussion. On the drive home I started dialing radio stations. I drove with the windows down. It was the first summer day. You could hear him from the other cars as traffic narrowed to one lane because of the paving operation. I wanted to hear “Billie Jean.”

Sunday, June 28, 2009


The glint in her eye was as bright as the sun filled the room. He kissed her and made for his car and the commute home. It was a normal commute. The sports radio talk shows and music was on. Like every time, he prepared and said it to himself.

It's dusk on the ride back and the fields were releasing steam as it got cooler. Eerie, and even eerier was the stag that presented himself around the bend. He had not seen a stag so close and as many points; fourteen. The burnt light was contrasted by the steel green of the field. A monument was in the foreground to the woods that began to creep up the hill behind the stag. The stag turned into the woods.

When he hung up the phone he was standing on the Hershey's milk can that stood on the front steps for years. He was three feet up. The hop down was awkward. Like mashing two words together, he stumbled and sat on the steps. The flint spun and the crackle of the cigarette lighting and burning down with the first drag was loud.

She was never a big baseball fan until Manny became a 10/5 guy. He never knew what a 10/5 guy was until she told him. Ever since then she new the schedule, watched many games and checked box scores. She had Papelbon's prep and move to home plate down, and showed the kids. The kids didn't care and he never forgot.

Sunday, June 21, 2009


What did I do? Two things: consequence and mistake. Is the consequence of my first post a mistake? Short answer is yes. Long answer is I can fix it. I kept thinking about it after I got over how awesome I was after the first post. Two POVs, I made a statement and created a place I can stake my claim. The other is of what interest will it be for you. Catharsis for me, drivel for you. I want it to be earth shattering for you too, hell, why else would I have updated my status on facebook for my 195 friends?

If I have to explain myself every time I get the willys over blogging, all I'll get are the unheard sighs, "this loser again." So eff it. Consequences. Mistakes. One I believe in and the other I make.

Oddly tho, I need to consider several things. I don't hold state secrets, but is this a forum to discuss opinion? These blogs will be about me, and may be about my wife, kids, family, work, and the list could go on. If I'm going to use this as a space to be me, those things are me, and I said I love them. So... where does that leave this? Full of myself. I need to be careful even if careful is what happens after I put my foot in my mouth.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

father - a retribute

This is a repost in a manner of speaking. A friend is involved with this cool company, B.B. Bliss. He's having a contest to win $100 gift certificatate for their products. Its a unique clothing line for infants/toddlers and uses the latest technology in sportswear, but for babies! Visit the site,, but visit the discussion page (Father Knows Best?) on facebook and enter a contest (limited time).

My brother and I were talking about how no one tells you the real story of parenthood when you are about to become a dad. The life draining aspects of parent/fatherhood are not on the table. If they were, I suspect the expression, “how could one billion Chinese be wrong?” would not exist.

You share the good stuff with perspective parents. As I think about that, the bad, nasty, pukey, shitty, pissy, bleeding, screaming, crying, whining stuff has slipped my mind. Listening to my dad tell of my childhood is often turned into a funny story. The mortifying moments, when, as a child, I pointed at someone and naturally stated why is that person like that within earshot, become funny reminiscences. So here is some more good stuff.

Perhaps the most humbling moment in my career as a father was the first moment I held Lily, my oldest. I knew every moment before that one I had taken my father for granted. I was reminded of that when James was born. Knowing there is nothing you won’t do for your children is daunting. Riddled with doubt and concern, but enjoying every minute of it is what being a father is all about.

There is another moment that is very humbling, watching your children play. When they are role playing, being a mother to a doll or father to a stuffed toy, and they do something exactly the way I have done to them and it turned my stomach to see myself in action. Quickly that behavior went away and an extra hug, kiss, and an apology was made.

This one is for my mother too, but my dad let me be who I am. My father was a football player, I never played, never had interest. I played soccer, and until I had coaches in high school and college, he was my coach. He was at every home game for any sport I participated in. When he was home he was present. He learned to ski at 40 and kept up with my brother and I. My son, James, likes ice skating. If he wants to be the next Chazz Michael Michael, I’ll be his skating partner, even though I can think of 100 other things I’d rather do.

All I can do as a father is give my kids the best I can give so they can go out in the world and be the best whoever they will be. That is what my father gave me.

Friday, June 19, 2009


I've always been conflicted. I'm an average white guy, and I've always been conflicted. If I am to fulfill my dream of writing the great American novel, this may be the way. It won't be a novel, however novel, but it will be great, and it will be by an American.

This first blog will serve as an introduction to the blog and an about me, therefore satisfactorily turning you off to look for another blog to read.

I wanted the web address be nowblog or blognow, a name long since taken. The use of the word now is simple, there is no other time. The initials of my family's first names are jklm. jklmnowblog is the site that will be my blog.

My blog, because its not yours. My blog, because I tell you about my life, not yours. My blog, because your life does not factor in, but may set me off. If you had a blog would it be about me?

You will read my opinions on whatever. Whatever sets me off in my pretty little world of meaninglessness. You may call me cranky and abrupt, but I disagree. I am a realist and I say it out loud, my filter may be off. I'll grudgingly settle for cynic, for at least it is based in realism. I may upset you with my style, but lucky for me the now is over and gone, please move on with me.

It is this article, Fast bikes, slow food, and the workplace wars:, that set me on this tragic path. I get frustrated when a thing doesn't work the way it was intended. Simple things made complex or you telling me about how life should be lived, because you find so much enjoyment in yours. The internal conversation I have is intense. Sometimes I share in reacting out loud, but through this blog you may enjoy every minute of it now.

I stand by every word I say. I may regret them sometimes, I may not make sense, I will be cryptic, I will be wrong, I will argue the opposite side of the point I'm making in the next sentence, but it is what it is, I am who I am, and I like it.

BTW, I have 2 kids, been married for seven years. I am a marketer in an engineering firm. I like these things too, in fact, I love them.