Thursday, May 29, 2014

The Royal Scam...

And they wandered in
From the city of St. John
Without a dime
Wearing coats that shined
Both red and green
Colors from their sunny island
From their boats of iron
They looked upon the promised land
Where surely life was sweet
On the rising tide
To New York City
Did they ride into the street

See the glory
Of the royal scam

They are hounded down
To the bottom of a bad town
Amid the ruins
Where they learn to fear
An angry race of fallen kings
Their dark companions
While the memory of
Their southern sky was clouded by
A savage winter
Every patron saint
Hung on the wall, shared the room
With twenty sinners

See the glory
Of the royal scam

By the blackened wall
He does it all
He thinks he's died and gone to heaven
Now the tale is told
By the old man back home
He reads the letter
How they are paid in gold
Just to babble in the back room
All night and waste their time
And they wandered in
From the city of St. John without a dime

See the glory
Of the royal scam
All songs by Walter Becker and Donald Fagen.© Lyrics Reprinted by Permission. All Rights Reserved.

The Royal Scam...

"My name is Bob & I'm a recovering Programmer..."


"I first programmed in 1968.."


'My math teacher in high school, Joe Kane, had a Time Share hookup to Brown University."

"NOOOO! Not the unholy Time Sharing Option!"

"Yes. I had an accoustic modem coupler..."


"Anyway, I dropped out of engineering school after freshman year. Hitchhiked to Florida. Went to work at Disney in Orlando..."

"In IT?"

"No. Thank all the gods they were hiring for KITCHEN HELP..."

"Praise Shiva. You go, Bobby..."

"I had had a couple summer jobs working in Connecticut, doing things like dishwasher, and some short order..."

"Yes! Short Order is very very VERY good. "

"Anyway. I stayed there 90 days, got fired for being late twice, and ended up at HOJO's, starting on the day after Christmas, 1971.."

"Being late is a very, very, VERY serious offense. Lucky for you it DOES have a statute of limitations. But Bob, believe me when I say to you: late means dead here at Megabytes, LLP, LLC, FYJ, UYA..."

"So. Then I moved to Punta Gorda, Florida. I had married my wife, and she wanted to move closer to her family..."

"Bob, that is inexcusable. Again, this was in your obviously troubled youth. We have "psych" doctors that will administer the injections you will need for this trauma..."

"For getting married?"

"No no NO, Bob. For MOVING. Once Megabytes, LLP, LLC, FYJ, UYA, decides the "best fit" for you, using our patented "Cheese Mover/Detector/Selector", you must adhere to the paradigm shift. You MUST be a Total Team Player, otherwise we have no alternative but execution of your "programs". TTP is the mantra for the mid 21st century. Who are we to judge?"

"I'm not sure I understood a word you just said..."

"SECURITY!!! Take this "data element" away. Maybe a few hours on FLOOR SEVENTY SEVEN will straighten "Mr. Bob" out.

"But, isn't the 77th floor where they do the pod simulations?? All I said was..."




++This was a work of fiction. RIGHT?

Friday, April 27, 2012

How I won the war...

It sometimes happens that you have to say "no".

As a father of five, and a grandfather of two, I sound like a broken record sometimes...
and it isn't always easy to say "no" when children are involved...

You don't want to disappoint a little girl.

Or a little boy.

When I was a boy, there was a terrible little war in a beautiful little country. They were both called Vietnam.

Draft every able bodied young man? No.

Bomb Hanoi "into the stone age"? No.

Shoot protesters on Kent State campus? No.

Spend YEARS negotiating in Paris while my brothers and sisters get slaughtered? No.


I don't read the newspapers anymore.


I don't watch television.


But a customer told me today that 17,000 boys and girls are going to some country you can't even find on a map. It ends in "Stan".

Marco Polo put a big circle around that country when he returned from the Orient. He noted "go around this one..."

The British Army found out the hard way that home made rifles could kill at a distance of just under a mile...

The Soviet Union broke its famous Red Army into splinters trying to win this country over, using giant helicopters that fell like toys from the skies around Kabul...

All of our bases in the Afghan theater are in line with the oil pipelines that run from the Caspian Sea...

Mr President, you don't have to slaughter my children to prove you are a world leader.

Mr President, I didn't buy a used war from Richard Millhouse Nixon.

And NO, MR PRESIDENT... I will not buy one from Barak Hussein Obama, either.

You will receive no support from me, sir.

(I hate Kool-Aid...)


I say it one last time.




I Heard The News Today, Oh Boy...

I read the news today oh, boy
About a lucky man who made the grade
And though the news was rather sad
Well, i just had to laugh
I saw the photograph
He blew his mind out in a car
He didn't notice that the lights had changed
A crowd of people stood and stared
They'd seen his face before
Nobody was really sure if he was from the house of lords

I saw a film today oh, boy
The english army had just won the war
A crowd of people turned away
But i just had to look
Having read the book
I love to turn you on.

Woke up, got out of bed
Dragged a comb across my head
Found my way downstairs and drank a cup
And looking up, i noticed i was late
Found my coat and grabbed my hat
Made the bus in seconds flat
Found my way upstairs and had a smoke
Somebody spoke and i went into a dream

I read the news today oh, boy
Four thousand holes in blackburn, lancashire
And though the holes were rather small
They had to count them all
Now they know how many holes it takes to fill the albert hall
I'd love to turn you on

I can't listen to "A Day in the Life" without thinking about a friend.

Lately it means a friend who has just had a parent pass. I guess a lot of people might remember my brothers and sisters in Simsbury CT, even if they don't know me...

We just sold the old house on 113 Stratton Brook Road. Two of my brothers, Mike & Dan, handled it: Mike's the oldest and Dan lives closest, so it made sense.
Mom & Dad bought that house in '54. Dad had just started a new job at what today would be known as a startup: Associated Engineering @ the Agawam Racetrack.
Dad looked around for a good town to raise kids: Simsbury was the obvious choice. He looked in a couple new neighborhoods, but decided they didn't have enough bedrooms. There was a 4 bedroom house for sale on Stratton Brook, so he bought it and moved the family in...
We spent time last March in Dan's kitchen up at his house in North Canton trading stories. Most of them revolved around that house:

The swimming pool
The nearby kids from Green Acres, Woodside Circle, Latimer Lane, Quorn Hunt.
Ethel Walker (always good for a free midnight horse ride...)
Names came up: Huckel, Connor, Rotondo, Sikes, Joe Kane, John Klingler.
A couple old yearbooks surfaced: I hadn't even thought of these people for decades.
Had I actually been from this place?
As I flew back to North Carolina  I stared out the window. A flood of memories. Fifty years flew past in the short flight back to Charlotte...

I had a buddy from those years. I recalled getting a clipping from my mom a few years prior; no note, just an obit. My buddy's mom had died and as I read through the brief paragraphs I caught a familiar name...

One of the younger sons had a thriving software company up in Agawam; a startup...
I called him later on, and he enthused about his relative successes, his family, our shared memories. He talked about his house, the kids' school, their young friends...........