Category Archives: nostalgia

12/29/10 – it’s gonna be 2011, and I’m getting a jetpack, dammit!

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It’s gonna be 2011, dammit, and it’s time to get that jetpack they promised me when I was 10!
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9/2/10 – the remains of the day

This is where I work.

Is it any wonder the literary character I identify with most is Stevens from Kazuo Ishiguro’s The Remains of the Day?
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8/29/10 – erie canal

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This is – or was – the Erie Canal.
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Much of the Erie Canal’s length, like in the nearby city of Lockport (birthplace of Joyce Carol Oates and F. Scott Fitzgerald) is still in use by pleasure and sightseeing boats.

But here, Buffalo has just recently excavated part of the stone lining of the terminus, and is in the process of building a tourist site around it.

This spot is maybe 7 or so miles north of there.  Signage along the adjoining bikepath and at the edge of this clearing explain that here, the canal was built alongside the Niagara River – a couple hundred yards away over a small rise – to avoid the river’s opposing current as the barges were dragged by mules.

I have an ancestor on my father’s mother’s side, so we are told, who was born in Buffalo in 1820.  So I like to think her family, my ancestors, had something to do with building, or finishing, or operating, the Erie Canal.  Any adult living in Buffalo in the early 1820’s most likely did.
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8/20/10 – Jack Noir is back

Hi, I had so much fun posting my old Jack Noir tweets, and so much fun finding that people found them entertaining, I decided to “revive” him –  Because no gun makes him cower, no dame makes him beg!

So here he is again, at http://twitter.com/JackNoirPI

8/19/10 – a twiller, “Jack Noir, PI” part II of II, so far…

The further adventures of Jack Noir, PI – “Sometimes you gotta use your brains, sometimes you gotta use your gun…” – as far as he’s gone, so far.

Should I restart @JackNoirPI?


No matter how much the sun – and the sight of Tom’s corpse – made my head throb, I would have to let Vera look me straight in the eye.

Vera was a tough bird. Tougher than me that one time, when I was staring into the business. And she would have taken a bullet for Tom too.

My face – and my stomach – tightened as I walked through. Out west they would call her place a bungalow, here is was a carriage house.

Vera’s door was cracked open. A man’s voice, snapping. Her gasp. I stopped, instantly noon. Grabbed the gun out of my suit.

I trotted up the walk. Pressed my back flat against the doorjamb opposite its opening. I raised a fist, rapped the door, it jerked open.

A thug swore. A gun cracked, a burst of wood splintered on the doorframe – whistling heat and gunpowder tang tried to slap my face.

I twisted, still behind the half open door, thrust my gun in, like I was going to fire in blindly. Show him I was wearing iron too.

Vera screamed. Another shot, wild, pounded into the wall above the door, plaster dust flew. I heard the goon scramble away toward the back.

I twisted, slipped around the door, gun up. Vera was sprawled on her living room carpet. In back, the thug grunted, a window squealed open.

Vera looked up at me, face bloodied but okay. I ran past her. Her bedroom window was open. Watched him hump over the fence, gone.

I swore, my breathing sharp, adrenalin socking my gut. I shut the window, keeping out the summer breeze. Vera was in dutch, alright. And me.

She was standing when I got back. “You better sit,” I said. She just shot me a look to pump lead. But her eyes were red and puffy.

“So you know?” I asked. Her mouth tightened. “You mean what the gink told me’s true?” I looked at the Philco hulking in a corner. “Yeah.”

“Jesus, Jack!” She keened like a siren. The kind of cry you’ll remember thirty years later. Sobbing, she collapsed into me.

After she exhausted herself, I got a washcloth and a steak. She was too tired and shaken even to wince. I would ask about the goon later.

Tending to the gash on her temple now was probably more affection than I had show her in all the four years we had been together.

Yeah, I still had feelings for her. Different now, softer maybe. Despite her moxie, I could tell she needed being taken care of right now…

poem 4/22/10 – Opening Day

NaPoWriMo 2010 readwritepoem Challenge Day #22 – a Wordle from http://www.wordle.net.  Finagled all the words into eight lines about baseball – pepper is a warm-up exercise.

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Opening Day

Dizzy Dean and the boys play pepper
out on the emporium of grass
the diamond a saffron square
amid the fresh green tendrils
tomorrow is the day
when fierce cheers will reverberate
like a squall of crows flinching up
shaking winter’s rust off the scoreboard

“a three hour tour…” or how I got the nickname Minnow

Not feeling well today, worked a full day ending with a lively meeting of CEOs (I was the dumb one in the room taking their minutes), my eyeballs are hot, my arms ache – fluish – skipping a meeting this evening.  But I can’t let it stop my daily bloggation…

Okay, how I got the nickname “Minnow” in college.

I had gone to college majoring in Fine Art.  I had no idea what I wanted to do – if you know me at all, you know I still don’t, and my last words will probably be “Hey, wait, now I know, I’m gonna be a…!” and my head’ll plop back on the pillow.

I was naive; I still am and always will be, and I know I telegraph it.  I should have taken a couple years from school before I went to college, to get some idea of the world and how it worked.  I had some imbalance issues going on with my brain’s chemistry but my parents were the kind of people to not want to talk about things, and I was the kind of nice bright boy that teachers liked, and back then things were different, so no one ever asked me if  I was okay.

In 1980 The Spectrum campus newsroom was a cross between Animal House and M*A*S*H, with soundtrack  by Springsteen and the Stones and Gang of Four.  And Lou Reed if you were smart enough to stay through to the ending credits.

And I was Larry Kroger – without the getting lucky part.

My family had gone through a couple rough years, and things were simpler, so without even really trying I got enough in grants to literally get paid to go to college.

I also got a little work-study job.  The work-study administrator knew me through family – she was not only a woman and young, she had spina bifida and was in a wheelchair; 30 years ago she was considered a pioneer.

She knew I was bookish so she picked for me the most appropriate job she could, in The Spectrum‘s business office.  I compared the size of the display ads in the paper with their order slips, to make sure no one got shortchanged or we weren’t giving away free ad space.  I approved the invoices before we mailed them out, or collected them for periodic payments for the larger, consistent accounts.  I did other things too.

My work-study grant for my first year was 9 hours a week – 3 hours on each issue, Monday, Wednesday and Friday afternoons.

Phil and Steve, the financial chief and his assistant, seemed like dour 30 year olds to me, although they were just seniors who affected cynicism and moustaches.

That first semester a couple of my fine art professors were shitty – the two who were artists, one leaving us for the first six weeks to create an installation, the other an alcoholic who didn’t show up for class half the time.  So by my second semester I switched my major to English.  I liked the newspaper, it was somewhere I could belong in the huge university as a commuter, and I told The Spectrum I wanted to write and they let me.

One day Phil and Steve were laughing about how I ended up staying in the thick of it.  “He was only supposed to be here for a 3 hour job – he’s The Minnow!”

Yeah, it fit.