Sunday, November 25, 2007

Taking My Leave

I'll be taking a long break from blogging, so this will be the last post you'll read here for a while. I've been doing this, more or less regularly, since the first week of December, 2005. It's been more fun than I'd like to admit, but I must stop.

I'm beginning an exciting new job tomorrow (I've never named clients or employers here--past, current or future-- and I'm not about to start). I will say that I'm thrilled to have this great opportunity, which allows me to return to what I've done for most of my career. I want to hit the ground running, and as much as I've enjoyed this ongoing conversation with you (have I mentioned how much fun this has been?), I need to make sure I'm devoting my energies to my new position.

This blog will stay up, but I won't be adding to it regularly, if ever again. If there are new posts, they'll be very sporadic. I'll still be around, but I won't be checking in as much. I won't be commenting on your blogs, either.

If I have publishing news, I'll e-mail you.

In the meantime, if you'd like to reach me, feel free to e-mail me here.

Thanks for stopping by. I hope you've enjoyed these discussions as much as I have.



Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving

We're in Fly Creek with family and friends today. Beautiful weather, great aromas from the kitchen, and everyone's healthy.

On the menu: Turkey with both traditional and cornbread and sausage stuffing. My mother has two birds, so I made cornbread and sausage stuffing to go into one.

My mother's famous oysters will disappear within minutes, as they do every year. The Saint has produced a low-fat version of her favorite green bean casserole.

There are too many other things to mention. My mother is hosting 31 people at her house this year, so she's transformed her garage into a banquet hall.

Tomorrow night, we have cocktails with my cousins and then dinner with Captain Ed Novak and a bunch of other friends. We head back to Boston on Saturday because Oldest Son makes his CYO basketball debut.

I am thankful for more than the usual this year. I hope you all have a great Thanksgiving, too.


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Monday, November 19, 2007

Magic on Causeway Street

There were a bunch of great vignettes last evening. The Boston Globe's review is here. Click here for the Boston Herald's take.

Bob Coles of Double Take magazine, author of Bruce Springsteen's America and beneficiary of two legendary fundraising concerts at the Somerville Theater, got the dedication for "Jungleland," which remains the highlight of the night. I wrote on an early post here that Clarence's sax solo on "Jungleland" at Fenway Park was otherworldly. Last night's was better than that one.

Some guy proposed to his girlfriend. She got a kiss from Bruce, then "I'll Work for your Love" and "Tunnel of Love," which featured an absolutely blistering guitar solo from Nils Lofgren. "Reason to Believe" and "She's The One" were both better than Hartford (and they were great in Hartford).

Somebody in our area (top row, against the wall, behind the stage; we literally touched the ceiling, several times) had seconds on broccoli and thirds on beans for dinner, then washed it down with beer, if you get my (potent) drift. That experience was actually far worse than the seats. I thought the Saint was going to pass out at one point. Remember the campfire scene from Blazing Saddles? Okay, now enclose it, put yourself slightly above it, and recall from your high school physics class that warm air rises.

Back to sweeter topics.

Here's the setlist from Backstreets:

Radio Nowhere
No Surrender
Lonesome Day
Gypsy Biker
Reason to Believe
Jackson Cage
She's the One
Livin' in the Future
The Promised Land
I'll Work For Your Love
Tunnel of Love
Working on the Highway
Devil's Arcade
The Rising
Last to Die
Long Walk Home
* * *
Girls in Their Summer Clothes
Born to Run
Dancing in the Dark
American Land
It's always a great night when I hear "No Surrender" and "Jungleland" on my iPod, so I'll chalk it up to something beyond spectacular that I got to hear them live. Such a spectacular night, with such spectacular company (excepting the Boston Beaneater), that I almost don't mind that I do not possess a ticket for this evening.


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Sunday, November 18, 2007

An Easy Dozen

A lot of superlatives tonight (spending pre-show time with The Saint, friends Doug and Tim, and Chris Phillips from Backstreets were highlights in and of themselves).

For my twelfth Springsteen show (the Saint's fifth, Doug's twelfth, Tim's first), I must confess I was a little worried. Nosebleed seats, behind the stage, against the wall, last row. I must remember that with Springsteen shows, the worst seat in the arena is still better than the best seat on the street.

So how did Bruce cure my bad seat blues? One word: Jungleland.

More later.


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Thursday, November 15, 2007

It's Not Even Thanksgiving Yet

My friend Seth Gitell has a hilarious post on his blog about how Christmas music is arriving earlier and earlier every year. He also takes a nice shot at Lowe's for selling "Holiday Trees" instead of Christmas Trees, his premise being that people out buying those trees are shopping for Christmas trees anyway.

I agree that we're playing Christmas music way too early. Cases in point:
  1. I just put up a Veterans' Day post. Why? Because it was just Veterans' Day.
  2. Bruce and the band are playing their last pre-Thanksgiving concerts right now: Tonight in Albany, then Sunday and Monday here in Boston.
  3. Thanksgiving (my favorite holiday) is next week. Christmas shopping season doesn't officially begin until the day after Thanksgiving.
  4. One of my favorite Boston radio stations becomes my least favorite every December, when it switches to an all-Christmas format. Guess what? They switched to all-Christmas a few days ago.
I'm not a Scrooge. I love giving gifts to the Saint and the kids, and to our friends. I love receiving them, too. I love the "spirit of Christmas" most of all. Of course I don't mind hearing Bruce singing "Merry Christmas, Baby" or playing his version of "Santa Claus is Comin' to Town." Come to think of it, I also love it when Adam Sandler sings "Happy Hanukkah." But whether Christmas is a season or a single day, six weeks is a bit much.

Six weeks. That's... Lent... which is about giving up, not giving.

Thanks for the timely post on an untimely subject, Seth. And in case I forget next year, have an easy fast (which you can break with another trip to the Midwest Grill).


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Sunday, November 11, 2007

Saluting Our Veterans

As a lifelong civilian, I'll probably never fully appreciate Veterans' Day, though I do know it's not supposed to be about long weekends and war movie marathons, but about thanking those who served.

I hung out yesterday with (almost-) Captain Ed Novak and his family. Ed spent a long time showing me what he calls his "vacation pictures." These were movies and photos of his tour of duty in Iraq, for which he volunteered (to spare a fellow officer with some serious family medical issues a long time away from his family). The pictures were unbelievably moving: inspiring, heart-wrenching, and in some cases, hilarious.

I also got to read some of Ed's notes. If he doesn't write a book from them, I will.

Now that he's home and safe, I can laugh with Ed about his tour. But I also recall, from the not so distant past, the dread I would often feel after an e-mail exchange.

Spending the day with the Saint, the kids, and Ed and his family was a perfect way to remember what Veterans' Day is supposed to be. On the way back to our house, we drove through Ed's new hometown and saw all the flags he'd hung for Veterans' Day. Somehow, we'd missed them on our first trip through town (probably because we were trying not to get lost).

Thanks for the reminders, Ed, and thanks for your service. Let's do this again next year, when I'll be happy to arrive early and help you hang the flags.


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Saturday, November 10, 2007

Toasting a Legend

Let's raise a glass to the late, great Norman Mailer. Perhaps, since it's Mailer we're celebrating, we should raise ten or twelve glasses each, but not all of us have his stamina or prowess with potables.

Mailer's Pulitzer Prize winner, The Executioner's Song, about the killer Gary Gilmore, remains one of my favorites, a battering ram of an expedition into the darkness of one human mind. I last read the novel in the 90s. Some passages still frighten me so much that I haven't read the book since (particularly his descriptions of Gilmore's cremation). It's a testament to Mailer's skill that I'm terrified to go there again.

The Saint, the kids and I will be visiting Captain Ed Novak (and his family) today, who, when last we mentioned him, was Lieutenant Ed Novak. We will undoubtedly raise a glass or two (but not ten), perhaps even to Mailer. We're long overdue for glass-raising.

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