La Vie en Rose & The Super Bowl

9 02 2016

There is/was an old photograph of my mother with me nestled next to her. In the many moves and changes in my life it has been lost. I don’t remember why it was done but the photo was taken in a studio. I was no more than 5 years old and my Mom in her 20’s. It’s stuck in my mind because we were ‘dressed to the nines,’ not what you’d expect from a family living in a Northeast Philadelphia row house.

My Mom never recognized her beauty, but in this picture it was undeniable. Her curly black hair was coiffed, she wore a grey hounds-tooth jacket over a white blouse and make-up that highlighted her blue eyes. I was a towhead wearing a wide-collared white shirt open at the neck over a navy blue collarless blazer. The photo was in my parents’ bedroom for many years. It was the kind of picture you’d expect to see in an upper class English estate and in that sense worlds apart from our family reality.

The other day I was listening on Youtube to Edith Piaf sing my favorite song from that time.  Here it is….



The song brought back to mind the picture with my Mom. I couldn’t be little Lord Fauntleroy in Philly’s Oxford Circle. Well I could have been, but my Dad came home from WWII and wasn’t buying it. He didn’t like what he saw in the alley one day and taught me to box at 6 years old. Then he said, “Pick a fight with the guy who’s the toughest kid on the block.”

By the time I was in my 20’s I was a rugby-playing ex-soldier with bad memories of fights where they had to pull me off the other guy. The little boy struggling with getting Mom’s 33 1/3 RPM vinyl placed on the turntable had become a product of the American Dream/Nightmare.

The most vivid Super Bowl 50 memory I have is the shot of the soldiers in Afghanistan flashed on TV screens before the game. We are the only country I know of that blatantly mixes military with sport. I was a soldier, my Dad was a soldier. I have nothing against soldiers, but I am against the idea of glorifying what we did or what is being done now.

There was a time when I thought living in the USA was life with a rosy hue – La Vie en Rose. Life still has a rosy hue but my government and military add the color of blood more than I think is necessary.

Edith dedicated one of her recordings to the French Foreign Legion. At the time of the recording, France was engaged in a military conflict, the Algerian War (1954–1962).  This song has now become part of the French Foreign Legion heritage and is sung when they are on parade…

Unlike Edith and the soldiers of the FFL I do have regrets. I regret the loss of the photo of my Mom and the boy who struggled with Edith’s records. I also regret that it took me a long time to regain the innocence of that boy. I am thankful that I have. Overall my thanks for life in the USA outweigh my regrets. But like Mosa Allison sings here i’m gettin’ there…


1 02 2016


February 1 is the Feast of Saint Brigid, one of Ireland’s patron saints. It is also Imbolc, the Celtic celebration for the beginning of spring. It’s a little early to begin celebrating the arrival of spring but the Celts were always in the mood to party. If you’re interested in learning more go here…Celebrate

Saint Brigid has a seat at Judy Chicago’s The Dinner Party at the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art in the Brooklyn Museum.


The 39 women represented by place settings are:

Wing 1: From Prehistory to Rome

  • Primordial Goddess
  • Fertile Goddess
  • Ishtar
  • Kali
  • Snake Goddess
  • Sophia
  • Amazon
  • Hatshepsut
  • Judith
  • Sappho
  • Aspasia
  • Boadaceia
  • Hypatia

Wing 2: From Christianity to the Reformation

  • Marcella
  • St. Brigid
  • Theodora
  • Hrosvitha
  • Trotula
  • Eleanor of Aquitaine
  • Hildegarde of Bingen
  • Petronilla de Meath
  • Christine de Pisan
  • Isabella d’Este
  • Elizabeth R
  • Artemesia Gentileschi
  • Anna van Schurman

Wing 3: From the American Revolution to the Women’s Revolution

  • Anne Hutchinson
  • Sacajawea
  • Caroline Herschel
  • Mary Wollstonecraft
  • Sojourner Truth
  • Susan B. Anthony
  • Elizabeth Blackwell
  • Emily Dickinson
  • Ethyl Smyth
  • Margaret Sanger
  • Natalie Barney
  • Virginia Woolf
  • Georgia O’Keeffe

To learn more about The Dinner Party this video is excellent..


They Sent A Message from Cielito Lindo and Lola La Grande

11 10 2015


The mantra of my life as a young man was “the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat.” Not so much anymore. Last night it came back into my mind. Not that the quality of CONCACAF football is the equal of UEFA but Mexico reversed the trend of the agony of being defeated by the USA.


As I watched I was amazed at the difference between USA and Mexico. Mexico played to win and the USA played to survive. It was not politically correct for the commentators to mention it but the frenzy of the Mexican fans and the pace of Mexican play had to be influenced by the attitude some Americans have toward Mexicans.

In American sport it’s a no-no to say something that gives the opposition an edge. We’ve all heard how coaches stick things on the wall to motivate their players. Mexico’s coach didn’t have to do anything; Donald Trump had taken care of that.

Living in Mexico for almost 3 years I grew accustomed to the place and the people. They have problems with government corruption and drug-related crime but their sense of family and culture puts the USA to shame. Their work ethic is extraordinary and I found the woman of my dreams there. I don’t root against my country of origin but last night Mexico deserved to win by more than one goal and it didn’t bother me a bit. As one gringo to another I’d like to tell Mister Trump he can disappear quietly and quickly. I’m sure the USMNT would agree.


My Autumn Serenade on JBR

19 09 2015

Come Sunday my novel…dcover


will be featured on Julie’s Book Review. Go here to see what they have to say about it…

Not one of the Songs of Icarus because it was recorded after the events in the story take place, Autumn Serenade is a favorite of mine from the album that paired Johnny Hartman with John Coltrane. If you have a special person in your life there is nothing more intimate to listen to than Hartman’s baritone vocalizations and Coltrane’s tenor improvisations. The autumnal equinox is this week so find that “special one”, listen to a masterpiece, and then read a book. I think you know what I’m getting at.

Risen from the Dead in Denver

11 09 2015

It’s been 2 months to the day since my last post on this blog. Today is 9/11. Not the best day to rise from the dead but that’s the “afterlife advice” I received from Andy Garcia. If you seen the film you’ll understand.


After a harrowing 4 hour plane ride from Cancun clutching a nitro inhaler to prevent another heart attack like the one I had in Merida I arrived in Denver 2 months ago. A triple bypass and aortic valve replacement was performed 5 days later by Dr. Jason Shofnos of St. Joseph’s Hospital (one of the top hospitals in the US for cardiac disease treatment). I owe my life to Dr. Shofnos, my 2 sons Bill and Mike, and Virginia Carrasco Silva. There are many others who helped me recuperate physically and psychically. Thanks to all of you for your energy and prayers.

I didn’t choose Denver, it chose me. My grandmother always said I had “the luck of the Irish.” She was right. Here I sit today in my top floor apartment with a view of Benedict Park. I can be in downtown Denver without a car in less than 15 minutes. There’s a gym in the apartment complex where I work out regularly. If you know me you might wonder but it’s not the Jack Kerouac Building (there is an apartment complex in Denver named after him). Growing up in Philly I used to hang in RIttenhouse Square drinking tea and cinnamon-sprinkled cider at the Gilded Cage and the Proscenium with my beatnik friends during high school. Later on in college it was Dirty Frank’s and McGillin’s Pub drinking adult beverages that took me back to my lost adolescence and that lost Beat Generation.

In the 50’s in Denver it was the Beat Generation…. . Now it’s Hipsters…

So where do I fit in? As usual I don’t. What I am doing though is emphasizing what I think is my best work since I’m still alive and well in the Mile High City. Julie’s Book Review will be featuring my novel “Songs of Icarus” beginning September 20.


Adios to Mi Morenita de mi Corazon, Merida and Mexico for only a while I hope

11 07 2015


Carson McCullers wrote a first novel that has become a classic. One line from the book reads…

“Your heart going to beat hard enough to kill you because you don’t love and don’t have peace.”

Lucky for me I have both. Tomorrow I leave Merida for Denver for a TBD heart surgery. If I could afford the surgery I’d do it here. Imo Mexican medicine is that good.

The love and peace I have are from Mi Morenita, the love of my life, and the 2 best sons a man can have. Hopefully you will hear again from Merida’s Night Writer.

My Modern Day Modest Proposal

22 06 2015


Jonathon Swift wrote one of the best pieces of English satire in 1729 in reaction to England’s treatment of the Irish. I read it in college having chosen to major in English and wanting to be a writer myself. Without knowing the background of the work I initially thought Swift was seriously proposing cannibalism. Go here to find out why…

My ‘modest proposal’ is in reaction to Donald Trump’s announced attempt to become the next POTUS and the number of racist hate crimes and police brutality happening there. I left Los Angeles for a variety of reasons. One of the primary was that the country, not Cali or LA, had become a place I’d rather be from rather than living in. I did it with a lot of thoughts, one of them being that I might live to regret it. The past 3 years have been just the opposite. No regrets, just amazement at the wrong-headedness coming out of the richest country in the world. If things keep going the way they are, the US will be the richest country with the lowest per capita income ever. Maybe it already is. As Edith Piaf sang, “Non, je ne regrette rien.”
I propose that there be a election in which Donald Trump run unopposed. Everyone who votes for him will then be moved to a now vacant spot on earth in which they can live. We’ll have to find a suitable place but that shouldn’t be too hard. We can consult Dante’s “Inferno” for the level of Hell best suited to them. We can call it Los Estados Unidos Contra Todo.

As for those who think that the killings in Charleston were anti-Christian rather than racist I suggest they listen to my all-time favorite “Modest Proposal.” If there were a country of undervalued artists I’d move there and vote for Mose Allison for President…

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