There’s one gas station in Westport that’s 5-10 cents cheaper than any other in town (if you pay cash). It’s an off-brand corner site with a convenience store crammed with cigarettes, lottery tickets and five-hour energy drinks.
For the past year I’ve driven past this station and virtually every week the gas price has gone up. There have been times when the price changed several times in a day. But last week, for the first time in ages, the price dropped.
I heard on the news that gas dropped nationally 15 cents. Not here. The price at my place is $4.03, down from a high of $4.09. Plenty of stations in the area are still north of $4.10.
I remember my dad filling up for 27 cents a gallon. A fill-up also got you green stamps or a gift. I remember collecting glasses with baseball team logos on them. Does anyone remember the Green Stamp Redemption Center?
It costs me over sixty bucks to fill my tank nowadays and there’s no gift or stamps. Fortunately, I don’t have to drive far these days, but how do families on tight budgets afford it?
And yet, because I always pay cash to … Read the rest
The 2012 Phillies team has plummeted back to earth after four high-flying years. I’ve followed them since the late ‘60s and a .500 win/loss percentage in April used to be acceptable since the team was typically out of it before school was out, but I’m spoiled by the victories, the free agent signings, and that one World Series victory.
And to think, at one point, I thought this group had a shot at being one of the great teams in history, a multiple World Series winner with the game’s most devastating pitching line-up, but alas, that group of Halladay, Lee, Oswalt and Hamels is no more.
So far this year, making the play-offs looks like a stretch.
I know it’s early and the team has injuries, but last year’s final pitch still haunts me. Howard’s Achilles snapping on the last out of the year, falling to the ground in agony as he tried to run to first base on a dropped strike three ball. I was in my own agony, coming to grips with the impossible, Halladay losing to the Cardinals, a team that wasn’t even headed for the playoffs, and there was Howard on the ground writhing in pain.… Read the rest
I was on the commuter train into Manhattan and the guy next to me started clipping his nails. Usually I’m not shy about saying something when a person violates such a social norm, but the last time I came across someone conducting personal grooming in public, it almost exploded into a fist fight.
I was at the gym. I’d just completed a great workout and I walked into the steam room for a few minutes of heat and relaxation. What transpired next, occurred in a flash of discord, a sequence of emotional reactions.
My gym has a cozy steam, it’s tight when four people are in there. An older man sat just a few feet away, flossing. The steam blurs everything and at first I assumed I had it wrong, but no, he was a Sauna Flosser.
I shut my eyes and tried to ignore him, but the sound of floss sawing between teeth was too loud.
I wanted to say something, but what do you say? Instead, I shook my head and walked out mumbling, “This is unbelievable.”
As the door shut behind me, I heard the guy cry out, “Asshole.”
Anger bubbled inside my belly. I could not … Read the rest
Here’s an essay I wrote in April, 2005, after my first trip to Nashville. Bob Regan, the president of the Nashville Songwriter’s Association, called me after he read it, saying this should be required reading for anyone that comes to Nashville with dreams of selling their songs. Both he and Steve Seskin have used parts of it in talks to aspiring songwriters…
I spent a couple of years hanging out in Nashville learning how to write songs.
Last week I attended the NSAI Symposium in Nashville. NSAI is the trade association that represents songwriters.
Although I had a few business meetings, my intent was to watch and listen because I have nothing appropriate for the market. I did play a few cuts from my upcoming CD and the reaction was quite favorable. But I’ve been warned about this town’s friendliness, nobody will say your song sucks.
NSAI is a great organization because it caters to both the professional and aspiring songwriter. NSAI runs song camps and seminars, they publish books and provide a critique service as well as career guidance.
But the possibility of fame and fortune draws all types to the two-day Symposium. It reminded me of the … Read the rest