Category Archives: Paul

The Voice Of The Ghost

There’s some comfort in finally recognizing one of the voices that’s been whispering in your brain all these years, dimly heard back in the quiet folds of grey matter where you would like comfort and satisfaction to lodge and take root but instead find only an itch that can’t be scratched.

The question then becomes whether you’re being haunted or guided. Again, a distinct matter of perception.

Is there a demon who’s haunting you with reminders of failure and disappointment, eternally dangling in front of you a bright and shiny future that you’ll never be able to touch?

Or is it a guardian angel, patiently reminding you of dreams and aspirations you once had, gently nagging across time and space to urge you to try once again to reach for what’s beyond your grasp?

Two sides of the coin. Every day it gets flipped in the air again, it seems.

Heads or tails today?

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Filed under Deep Thoughts, Paul

Giving Thanks

Perspective. Balance. Proportion.

Things can always get worse. Look at how bad [insert Group A herd] has it!

Things can be so much better! Look at how great it would be if [Event B] happened!

Things suck right now! Did you see where [Person C] went and [Event D]??!!

The world’s an amazing place right now! Compared to [Number between 100 and 300] years ago we can now [Routine Event E]! Compared to even [Number between 5 and 20] years ago we now don’t even think twice about [Routine Event F]!

All of the above are correct and valid statements.

“Reality” is somewhere in between.

This Thanksgiving Day (in the United States, but the rest of you are invited to play along) I hope we can all recognize how amazing our world is and take comfort and hope in how much better it gets every day in some ways, even if we’re focused elsewhere. Keep working to stop the backsliding and regression that’s taking place in many areas. It’s a complex, multi-dimensional puzzle, with accomplishments like bright stars in the matrix, offset by the occasional dark cancerous stains of the evils we still face.

We can have multiple thoughts in our heads at once. We can take hope from those bright stars while recognizing and fighting those stains, working to repair the damage they’re doing to our society.

Celebrate the victories. Keep the faith. Keep fighting to stop and destroy the cancers in the body societal.

Happy Thanksgiving, y’all.

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Filed under Deep Thoughts, Paul

That Moment, November 18th Version

…when you find that your current existence has been captured in a stranger’s tweet:

I’ve heard it said that identifying and naming the problem is half the problem.

Good! We’re halfway there?

Pity I’m so short on ideas about how to work on the second half.

But after that this week, and that other thing last week, and THAT the week before that, and all those other things in October, if I can just make it through Monday and Tuesday to the five-day weekend…

It’s not clear if going from “if I can just make it through this week” to “if I can just make it through two days” is progress or regression.


Filed under Deep Thoughts, Paul

Signs & Portents

In my old age I’ve become much more of a night owl and much less of a “morning person.” Thus the reminder notices stuck to the bathroom mirror this week have been a grim and painful reminder that the world wants me starting each and every day properly pissed off.

Every morning when I get into the car, a few seconds after starting it the sound system starts booting up and I’ll be hearing (perhaps) something from Oingo Boingo, Depeche Mode, The Cure, Morrissey, Pet Shop Boys… The radio is almost always left on SiriusXM Channel 33, “First Wave.” Depending on what I was listening to on the way home the previous evening it’s possible that I’ll get an NFL, NHL, MLB, or ESPN talk show – at which point I’ll switch it to First Wave.

This morning however…

Signs. Portents. Signs AND Portents.

I get Julia Ecklar’s “Temper Of Revenge.” A favorite song, a huge favorite. But not something normally found on any of the above mentioned SiriusXM channels. Or on any radio channel or SiriusXM channel.

What dark sorcery is this??!!

Well, obviously the radio has linked to my phone through the Bluetooth connection and is playing something at random from the music stored there. How this happened is unclear – or why. But what’s really attention-getting is the song chosen “at random.”

Find me a horse as red as the sun!

Find me a blade that will make their blood run!

I will ride out at dawn while the sun’s in the sky

So the buzzards can see where the bodies will lie!

Really, it was a very calm and civil finance committee meeting! No need for horses, blades, or buzzards! Honest!

P.S. – For the record, the next song to come up at random was Oingo Boingo’s “Dead Man’s Party.” The third song was “One Day More” from the “Les Misérables” soundtrack, so it’s not entirely clear where that fits in with the theme established by the first two songs. It’s possible that after two songs my personal gremlin got bored.

P.P.S. – It’s also quite possible that I don’t have a personal gremlin, I was very short on sleep, and I was anthropomorphizing the shit out of the universe until the Diet Coke kicked in.

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Filed under Music, Paul

One Of These Is Not Like The Others

I spent most of the day at a business conference:

Offering the photo as proof that:

  • I was there
  • I need a haircut
  • I own a suit and tie
  • I can’t take a selfie that doesn’t made me look like I’m stoned out of my mind

Note – I was not stoned out of my mind. The “atmosphere” at the Hollywood Bowl two nights ago was strong, but not THAT strong.

Anyway, that’s not what I’m here to tell you about.

When I got to this fancy place (Universal Hilton, the same place where our Over The Edge event for this year was two weeks ago) I was told that the self-parking garage was full and I had to use the valet to park.


Several hours later, we’re leaving the said fancy location. At the valet stand there’s a steady stream of cars that cost more than my annual salary. Ferarri. Mercedes Benz. Porsche. BMW. Jaguar. Tesla. Escalade. Lincoln Town Car.

All are discreet. No bumper stickers. No vanity plates. Nothing to make them stand out in the crowd. The vehicles’ panache speaks for itself.

I’m chatting with some of the people I’ve met. One by one their cars come, even though I was there and paid first. Finally one woman asks, “You’re waiting for them to bring your car, right? Is there a problem?”

No, no problem. But you know how the valet will park all of the expensive, uber cool vehicles right up front so that the place looks classy and expensive? Well, it works in reverse as well. It just took them a while to dig my car out from the furthest and most out of sight corner of the lot they could find.

“No, no problem. Ah, here she is!” And there’s my Hissy, her Chiefs pennant flying proudly, her list price (tax and license included!) probably being a thousand dollars less than the sound system or hand-sewn leather seats on all of the other cars being brought up.

Subtlety is for wimps.


Filed under Paul, Photography

I Can’t Believe

…that no one had these vanity plates yet! If that’s not the most natural pun in the world, I don’t know what is.

As a general principle I try to avoid too much unnecessary personal information on here (yeah, right, so how’s that “principle” holding up he asks, looking at the hundreds and hundreds of pictures of our house and our trips and…) but this might be one of those things where total strangers will occasionally whip out their cell phones and take pictures and post them when they’re stopped behind me a stop light – so what the hell?

Anyway, when I first got the Fit (which I still like a lot, she’s small and zippy!) I started calling her Hissy. Now the world can get to know her by name.

This gives me way more glee than it probably should. Perhaps I’ve just been glee-deprived lately. Whatever.

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Filed under Castle Willett, Paul

How Do You Find Answers

…when you’re in such a whirlwind that you don’t even know what the questions are?

In some ways I envy those like Nuke Laloosh who are not cursed with self-awareness – as Annie noted, the world’s made for them.

For me it often feels like I’m drowning and begging for someone to throw a life preserver, while all I get are anchors.

I’m aware that I can swim, even if I can’t swim well, but it’s hard to swim away into the unknown.

But it might be necessary.

Drowning’s always struck me as a particularly shitty way to go – doing it for no damn good reason when you don’t have to can’t be any better.

In related news, there was apparently a wholesale subtext sale this weekend. I hadn’t planned on stocking up, but the deals were just too good to pass.

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Filed under Paul