Pure Gratitude

It may seem redundant but Thanksgiving always makes me reflect on the things, big, small and simple as they may be, that I’m glad to have in my life.  I’m grateful every day, not just on Thanksgiving.  However, this day in particular really makes me the most thankful for everything in my life.

  1. Although not in the greatest of health, at least I’m still alive
  2. My family, specifically my daughter, husband, sisters, in-laws and cats
  3. My friends, few and far between
  4. Being able to write well enough to earn money from it
  5. Having a home to live in
  6. Having food to eat and clean water to drink
  7. Having two cars
  8. Music
  9. Books
  10. Matt Damon, Tom Hanks and Robin Williams for always being there, in life and in death, to entertain me.

Have a blessed Thanksgiving…



Give Me Your Huddled Masses Yearning to Breathe Free

Imagine if ignorant minds will allow:  your great-grandparents Charles and Annie Fitzpatrick arrive at Ellis Island during the height of the potato famine.  Before they can even step foot off the boat, they are turned away because America is no longer accepting immigrants.  Especially Irish ones.  Guess Chuck and Annie would be going back to Ireland to starve and I would cease to exist.

Now imagine you have lived in Syria all your life.  Your country is in a Civil War and like tens of thousands of others, your home has been destroyed.  To save yourself you realize the only thing to do is to flee.  You and your family suddenly become refugees.

Like Charles and Annie, you head to America.  It’s difficult to get settled into your new country.  Most of the states don’t want you because you are from Syria, your religion is Muslim and a bunch of Syrian assholes you’ve never met decided to terrorize the city of Paris.  And it’s all your fault.  But hey, you’re a professor with a wife and two kids and you don’t even own a gun.  That’s how much they know.

Many people don’t realize it but a similar thing happened to all the Japanese and Japanese-Americans who were living here after Pearl Harbor.  In our ignorance we blamed each and every one of them for what the Japanese government did on December 7, 1941.  Because of that these innocent people were ridiculed, bullied, tortured and segregated into camps.  Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?


This may be a poor analogy of what is going on with the refugees in the world right now, but the next time you side with a member of the government in their not wanting to help people who need it most, think about how you would feel if you were in their shoes and you were the refugee.  How would you feel if you weren’t allowed to reside in another state because of your religion, because you were from Massachusetts or because you were a Patriots fan?  How would you feel if you weren’t allowed to reside in another country for these same reasons?  How would you feel if the government wanted to interrogate you because of your love for the Boston Red Sox?  Or because you believe Tom Brady is innocent?

This isn’t 1957 any longer, people.  We are not in the midst of the Cold War.  We are not stocking our bomb shelters with canned goods.  Why are we so afraid because of a few assholes in the world?  Understand that although there is evil, good overrides it every time.  If it didn’t humanity would cease to exist.  Think about it.  We would’ve all been killed off long ago if not for the amount of good in the world.

That’s something I’ll remember and be thankful for while eating my mashed potatoes this Thanksgiving…

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On The Crazy Train To San Fran

I love football, especially New England Patriots football.  Unfortunately my ability to watch the games this year has been minimal.  Not because I don’t want to.  It’s because my Sundays are spent dedicating my time to those more in need than your average football fan.

Thankfully my diligent football-loving husband fills me in on the details when I get home at midnight.  We don’t have DVR but thanks to NFL Network, I’ve been able to catch some of the remarkable plays this year after the fact.  Gostkowski’s game winning field goal from this past weekend was one of them.

It’s November.  Teams that make the playoffs win in November and December.  My Pats are 9-0.  We get to play the Buffalo chumps on Monday.  Rex says Tom is going to pull 800 yards on him.  Nah, Rex.  He’s going to go for 1,000. Hopefully I’ll be around on Monday to watch.

Sometimes You Just Have To Go To The Mountain

Here’s another one for Throwback Thursday..originally published in 2013

I’ll be the first to tell you that it’s not easy wanting to see a musical act and knowing that if you want to see this act, you’re going to have to go to IT, as IT is NOT coming to YOU anytime soon.

Unless you are fortunate enough to live in a huge metropolitan city like New York or Los Angeles, chances are you are going to have to travel SOMEWHERE to see a performance.  And if the act you want to see is not as popular as they once were (as many resurging 80’s acts tend to be), you’re not going to be seeing them at your local 50,000 seat arena.  More than likely you’re going to see them perform in a pub where you can get fish n’ chips and a draft beer or maybe at a county fair where you can watch them perform while standing in a field.

I have known people who have traveled around the world to see their favorite musical artists at venues not much bigger than my house (and my house is pretty small!).  A friend of mine went all the way to Japan to see Michael Jackson (granted she was all ready there on business, but still, she was in Japan).  Was it worth it to them?  You bet.  These are artists they have followed most of their lives and they don’t tour in the United States very often.

As for me, I’ve traveled as far west as Las Vegas to see Celine Dion (I wasn’t just there to see the show–I was on vacation, but I still got to see the show).  It was the most expensive show I’ve ever been to and it was worth every penny.  I’ve never traveled around the world to see an act, but I have traveled out of the country, albeit just Canada and never even outside Ontario.  The occasion was usually to see Glass Tiger lead singer Alan Frew perform, whether it be in a pub or in a play.

People used to ask why I spent so much time and money traveling to Canada to see these shows.  That was because the shows weren’t coming to me anytime soon.  And I think I wanted to experience as many as I could because I didn’t know when it would end.  I not only went because I enjoyed the shows, I also went to meet up with friends, see a relative I hadn’t seen since I was a kid, sightsee and just enjoy myself.  The trips weren’t always financially feasible but I didn’t go into the poor house because of them.  Sometimes it took a little saving here and there to make it all work, but I made it work because I wanted to.  And I don’t regret one moment.  It was all worth it.

Am I done traveling to see performers I like to see?  Hell no!  Catching the next Bon Jovi show at Gillette?  That’s a piece of cake.  Planning a trip to Canada to see Glass Tiger for the first time?  Now that’s moving a mountain that will be worth every effort because as much as I’d love to see them perform in the United States, unfortunately it’s never going to happen.

World Toilet Day

In honor of World Toilet Day and Throwback Thursday, here’s a look back…

Yes, there is such a day.  And it is today.  How are you celebrating?

Earlier this year actor Matt Damon announced that he was not going to go to the bathroom until everyone on the planet has clean water.

You can see the press conference  where he announced this right here:


Now how serious Matt was, I don’t really know.  That is a long time to hold it.  I’m certain he was serious about the strike and the meaning behind it.  And he made his point in a hilarious fashion.

Matt’s heart is in the right place in wanting to make sure everyone in the world has clean water and sanitation.  Whether that will ever happen is unknown.

But I got a really cool cup for donating to his cause at strikewithme.org.  And for more information, check out water.org.

Now go use the toilet and have a great day!toilet

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The Hope Of “Christmas Bells”

In the wake of the attacks in Paris, the words of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow linger in my mind.

His poem “Christmas Bells”, better known to us as “I Heard The Bells On Christmas Day”, was written by Longfellow on Christmas day 1863, after learning his eldest son had almost been paralyzed while fighting in the Civil War.  As many writers do, he sought words of comfort during a time of violence and distress in his life and the world around him.  The repeating phrase of “peace on Earth, good-will to men” brings a sense of hope, even during the most trying times.  I feel the poem speaks volumes in the last stanza and truly resonates, at least with me, with what is going on in the world today and the fact that evil can indeed be overcome by good.

“Christmas Bells” – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old, familiar carols play,

and wild and sweet

The words repeat

Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

And thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom

Had rolled along

The unbroken song

Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

Till ringing, singing on its way,
The world revolved from night to day,

A voice, a chime,

A chant sublime

Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

Then from each black, accursed mouth
The cannon thundered in the South,

And with the sound

The carols drowned

Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

It was as if an earthquake rent
The hearth-stones of a continent,

And made forlorn

The households born

Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

And in despair I bowed my head;
“There is no peace on earth,” I said;

“For hate is strong,

And mocks the song

Of peace on earth, good-will to men!”

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
“God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;

The Wrong shall fail,

The Right prevail,

With peace on earth, good-will to men.”



Put This In Your Colander And Eat It



This woman was allowed by the Massachusetts DMV to wear a colander on her head for her driver’s license picture.  She argued with them that it is her religious right to do so, as she is a member of the Church of the Spaghetti Monster (no, folks, I’m not making this up—wish I was!).  I have known children who have worn a colander on their heads for non-religious reasons.  I have known children who worship Cookie Monster simply because, well, he loves cookies.  Then again, I can identify with Cookie Monster because (1) he’s friends with Big Bird (2) he is on “Sesame Street” (3) “Sesame Street” has been on for 46 years.  To me, this makes Cookie Monster way more credible than this kook with her colander hat who worships something that sounds like it came out of a comic book.



Three things really scare me about this scenario:  (1) the fact that someone at the DMV and the state of Massachusetts allowed this to happen when they won’t even allow you to wear your glasses for a picture; (2) the fact that the state of Massachusetts actually gave her a license, considering how ridiculous she looks with a colander on her head and the wacky and wild look on her face.  Is she high on something?  And (3) the fact that this fruitcake is going to be on the road with the rest of us.

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Here is what I’ve decided to do the next time I’m going to get my license renewed and need a new picture.  I’m going to wear my New England Patriots cap.  When they ask me to remove it, I’m going to refuse.  Then I will tell them I can’t because it’s against my religious belief, as I belong to “The Church of Tom Fucking Brady, Greatest Quarterback That Ever Lived For The Greatest Fucking Football Team Ever And If You Live In Massachusetts And Have Never Heard Of The Church Of Tom Fucking Brady Then You Should Pack Your Bags And Move To Jersey And Become A Jets Fan”!

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That should shut ‘em up…

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Going Down 80’s Music Memory Lane With “80290 Rewind”





Many artists have lent their voices to classic covers over the years.  The latest to do so is Glass Tiger lead singer Alan Frew with his release entitled “80290 Rewind”.  Although disappointed this was not a CD of originals as his first two albums were, and left with no surprises, as Frew broadcast the entire CD on Periscope over the summer, it is what it is:  a CD of cover songs from the 80’s.

The CD opens with Scottish Alan Frew’s vocals replacing Scottish Jim Kerr’s vocals on “Don’t You Forget About Me”.  Vocally Frew does a respectable job, fluctuating the lyrics in the right places, tossing in a feel of Glass Tiger’s “Animal Heart” and “Rhythm of Your Love” here and there. Although the music was recorded in Nashville, it doesn’t warrant the overuse of piano versus guitar and it sounds off-key in places.

Frew creatively adds his musical touch to Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis’ song “Human”.  The rendition is well done with smooth lead and backing vocals and a nice use of brass instruments. The female bridge part is cleverly done, mingling faintly in the background with Frew’s vocals.  As mellow as the original is, Frew’s version reminds me of something I’d hear in an elevator.

Two picks of the CD are “Everytime You Go Away” and “Missing You”.  The former is well harmonized and Frew clearly makes it his “own”.  “Missing You” is probably the best on the CD.  The addition of brass instruments and piano gives the song a bluesy-country sound.  Frew’s spin on this tune almost makes the listener feel like the song was meant for him to sing.

If “Live To Tell” and “Time After Time” had been left off the CD, they wouldn’t have been missed by this listener.  Although Frew’s version of the Madonna hit intros with a nice saxophone riff, the vocals are ordinary and I feel the song sounds better with female vocals.  The use of electric guitar on “Time After Time” is a nice addition to the tune.  The song is well-orchestrated and Frew’s vocals are good, the little laugh he gives at the end is cute, but once again, I feel this song should have been left alone.

It’s no surprise that Frew chose to do a rendition of “Everybody Wants To Rule The World”.  The “shuffle” beat to the song is very reminiscent to Glass Tiger’s “Don’t Forget Me (When I’m Gone)”.  Although I feel it’s lacking backing vocals in many areas, the song is well done and a fun, lively classic with a great sax solo to finish it off.

One would think it would be simple for an artist to perform a cover of their own song.  Not necessarily so.  Although “Someday” is well-played out with acoustic piano, Frew took a bouncy classic pop tune and turned it into a dragged out country heartbreak song. The most memorable part is the high note Frew hits at the end.

“Hold Me Now” will always resonate with me as being the first cover song I ever heard Alan Frew perform live. And he does it extremely well. So well I prefer it live over this CD version.

Prince’s song “Nothing Compares 2 U” never did anything for me. Even more so since Sinead O’Connor sang the song. So when I learned Alan Frew was going to be singing this song, I rolled my eyes. I was pleasantly surprised with the results. Frew’s version has a nice, bluesy feel to it, complete with organ and a well-done piano solo, in which Frew recognizes pianist Jon Coleman when he declares “here’s Johnny”.  Frew performs with strong, even vocals and, at least for me, has turned a song I once could not stand into something enjoyable.

Frew concludes “80290 Rewind” with a cover of the 1983 Yes song “Owner of a Lonely Heart”.  In giving his fans a little history to the song, Frew indicated that Clive Davis didn’t think it would become a hit.  I can see why he would think that.  Other than a killer guitar solo from Kyle Cook, this song is highly lacking.  To Frew’s defense, I feel it was also highly lacking in 1983 as well.

Cover albums aren’t meant to be spectacular and “80290 Rewind” is no exception.  The more I listen to it, the more it sounds just “thrown together”.  Knowing what Frew could have given listeners from his prior solo efforts in “Hold On” and “Wonderland”, I feel he took the easy way out on this one.  However, with all that medically occurred to Alan Frew during the creation of “80290 Rewind”, maybe it was a blessing in disguise.  Considering fact that this was his first stab at singing the hits of his peers, I give him an “A” for effort and a big “thank you” for taking his listeners down a great 80’s music memory lane.

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It’s What’s Inside That Counts

It would be amazing if a day could go by without someone bitching and complaining or protesting about some stupid thing.

Most recently it has been people being in a tizzy over the fact that—gasp—Starbucks only has red cups this year, with no festive holiday design.  Donald Trump is encouraging patrons to boycott the overpriced café because of this little gaffe.  I say “who gives a fuck”.  As long as what is in the damn cup is the seven dollar latte that you ordered and it’s made correctly.  Isn’t that really what matters?  You’re drinking what is IN the cup.  Not the cup ITSELF.  Who cares if it’s got little snowflakes on the outside of the cup, a green wreath in the center with the word “JOY” on it or a fucking flying reindeer?  It’s not going to change the price of your coffee or make the damn shit taste any better!

Another “get a grip” moment:  the people complaining about an ugly holiday sweater being sold at Target.  The sweater reads “OCD OBSESSIVE CHRISTMAS DISORDER”.  I have actually seen this same slogan all over Facebook for years. It is also printed on mugs, tote bags, etc.  I have actually seen it where it says “I HAVE OCD:  OBSESSIVE CHRISTMAS DISORDER”.  But because of the OCD mentioned on the sweater, people who have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder are up-in-arms over this sweater.  This sweater has nothing to do with them.  It is a cute little slogan and if the OCD were not part of the sweater, if it just said OBSESSIVE CHRISTMAS DISORDER, many people wouldn’t pay any attention to it.  Well, I have news for you, folks.  Those three letters—“OCD”—is called an acronym.  If you go on acronymfinder.com and enter in OCD, you will find 67 different meanings for OCD.  Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is not even the first one mentioned.  Try it with PMS also.

Now that’s all we need:  a bunch of PMSing women getting pissed off because they have PMS and someone decided to use the acronym for a t-shirt that says “Pass My Shotgun”.

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If you visited a fast food restaurant today, your service may have been worse than usual.  That’s because at many of those restaurants the employees were protesting once again for a $15.00 minimum wage.

Folks, on the surface a $15.00 minimum wage sounds great.  It would aid those people making less than that now in paying their bills and putting food on their tables.  Yeah, that would be great.  For a very brief period of time.  What everyone is missing is the big picture.

Let’s assume workers at McDonald’s get a $15.00 minimum wage.  Fine.  We won’t discuss their qualifications because nobody is really considering that.  Two blocks from that McDonald’s is an investment firm where Suzy Q Administrative Assistant is also making $15.00 an hour.  How fair is it that she should have to bust her ass day in and day out, answering phones, running errands, filing, photocopying, ordering supplies, answering stupid questions, helping people with technical issues and get paid only $15.00 an hour when someone at the McDonald’s down the street is getting paid the same for simply flipping burgers?  Shit, Suzy should quit the job at the investment firm and go get a job at MickyD’s.  It’s easier work for the same pay.

Unfortunately because MickyD’s has had to give an increase in wages to their employees, they have also had to increase the cost of food.  Because a Happy Meal is now $10.00 in other places than Manhattan, patronage to McDonald’s drops off considerably.  The popular fast-food chain takes a serious financial hit.  They are forced to lay off some of those employees who were making $15.00 and they also have to close some of their restaurants.  See how the whole $15.00 minimum wage thing will trickle down and create a disaster?

There will always be unskilled labor and there will also always be unskilled laborers who are willing to do the unskilled labor.  We all start at the bottom.  It’s the ones who want to achieve more in their lives who move up the ladder.  Those who don’t are the ones standing on the sidewalk whining about $15.00.


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