Sunday, September 19, 2010

$1.00 is worth something again


logoOK, now I don’t often plug stores or offer criticism or critiques of retailers, I have done book reviews and food reviews, but to tell people about where to shop, no, hardly ever. I have found a new favorite bookstore, and it is the $1.00 Bookstore in the Santa Maria Town Center Mall. this store is part of a new chain of bookstores offering used books of a wide variety to the consumer. Most bookstores have hundreds of titles, new releases and so on, which is great if you are looking for a new book title, or looking to get the next installment of a new series, I have often praised stores like Boarders and Barnes and Nobel for having a great selection of new books, buy when it comes to finding used books in paperback or hardcover, I have, like most of you, had to check every used bookstore in town, or the thrift stores, which has much to be desired, oh you may find a gem or 2, but they have prices on them, often higher than original price.

The $1.00 Bookstores is very different, they have literally HUNDEREDS, if not THOUSANDS of titles, paperback, Hardcover, recent works, complete collections, the occasional rare / out of print tome that you may have been looking for online for months, and still not find. The staff, is very friendly and if it is not there, they will call to another branch to see if it is there or take your information and call you when it comes in, they have a hold and lay-a-way program, daily deals, like buy 5 and get 1 free, new and used movies, Comic Books and Anime, in the TONS, I mean some are entire collections from issue 1 to 100 and more. what is the best is the concept that no matter what you pick up, just a buck, your buying power really goes far.

The $1.00 Bookstore, here in Santa Maria, is located on the 1st floor of the Santa Maria Town Center Mall, Directly across from the main entrance, their phone is 805-352-0044, hors are standard mall hours 10am to 7pm Mon-Sun, and I think if you go there you will find something special, I never leave it without something. their motto “Making a Difference, One Book at a Time” and they do, I see very happy children, and even happier parents enter and leave the store often.

I would like, if I may, check out the poetry section, wow, lots and lots of great books, selections change literally daily.

$1.00 Bookstores 805-352-0044

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

My 2nd Head



I have grown a second head, one just to the right of my own.

Or am I to the left of it?

This head is much different than my own, or should I say, me.

My face is less wrinkled and less bitter.

My face is smiles, smiles, smiles.

My other face, on the new head.

Seems angry all the time, cursing and spitting venom.

He sees and feels the injustice and the pain.

While I see the bright and shinning side of everything, whether it is real or not.

He sees the hate and anxiety that all men create.

And I see the positive potentials and niceties.

He sees the truth, I feed the lies.

My other me, the second head, my living alter ego.

The me, which you cannot see.

But I see him, and he whispers in my ear.

“Keep lying to yourself that all will be well, you will see in time, you are wrong, and I am right”.

I am talking to myself, arguing and fighting and trying to appease.

The inner demon within, is now out, and about.

Some have angels or devils, perched upon their shoulders.

I just have myself, and only myself, to blame.

So, as it is, my shoulders wear the burden, of the extra weight.

I will always have someone to talk to, never to be alone again.

I’ll just sit here, and talk, to myself.


Saturday, September 11, 2010

Remember - a Poem of tribute

Remember those
who can no longer
walk the city streets
play in parks
revel in the night
kiss the ones they loved
love the ones they kissed

Remember those
whom now, voiced are silenced
who on one day
became images in memories
became pictures on the mantles
shadows of themselves

Remember those
who, on a September morning
in the blink of an eye
or in hours of torment
left this earth, for the clouds in the sky
whether on the planes, the towers or the streets
will never be forgotten

Remember, New York
Remember, Midtown
Remember, Ground 0
It seems so long ago
or just like yesterday
nine years ago today
our lost friends, who left this day

In Memory of the victims of 9/11 - Past, Present and Future
We will miss you

Thursday, September 09, 2010

A Memory of a Train, followed by a Party

Recently I have been pondering my life, thinking about all that I have and have not done, seen and not seen. I figure, this is what most men do when they get older, some get the seven year itch, me, I get melancholy and misty about my past. I will impart to you a true story, one that until now I had almost forgotten, I hope you enjoy this memory as much as I do. I have met many famous people in my life, Gram Nash, George Carlin, Joan Jet, Jerry Garcia and members of the band Anthrax and so on, but none as famous, to me as the next one.
It was December 12th 1984, I remember because it was just before my birthday and I was on break from college. I was invited to a party being hosted by a friend of mine in Manhattan, a literary party, for those who thought themselves quite the intellectual illuminate of NY, so I had to attend. I took the train from Farmingdale to Jamaica station to board the transfer to Pennsylvania Station, we called it the “Penn” for short, don’t know why, just did. I took my seat and withdrew from my shoulder bag a book I had been reading, “Slaughterhouse 5” by Kurt Vonnegut, at the time, my all-time favorite author.
While reading this great book, I slipped into the story, like a warm bath, drifting and being subdued by the gentle sway of the train as it clattered along the tracks, the peaceful drift was interrupted by a soft yet bold voice “ is that a good book”, without looking up I answered” yes, very” to which was responded “ well, I have read his work, don’t care much for it at times, but I guess it does well” , to this I thought to myself “where has this guy been”, I then looked up and saw the face of a gruff looking man, wearing a grey tweed long coat and a shabby driving cap, it took a moment and I realized I was looking directly into the eyes of Mr. Vonnegut himself.
I sat there, motionless and for a first time, in a long time, speechless. Vonnegut asked “you ok?” I responded “well, yes, it’s just not often I am faced with the author of the book I am reading, what are you doing here”, he stared at me, “I live in NY, so being on the train is something I do”, I did not realize the impudence of my statement, how can I ask one of the great literary minds of our time to account to me of his decision to ride the same train and sit across from what was now to be known as the biggest jack-ass of NYC. From that moment and for about 10 min there was a crushing silence, I dared not try to engage him in conversation, I felt a striking class difference, a rift of immense proportions, and I felt I did not even have the right to be in the same state as him, yet the same train. Mr. Vonnegut looked to me and said “where you going”, I quickly responded “to a party, a book party, I mean a writers party” stammering over my words like a child trying not to get caught in a lie “ but I don’t think I am a writer, well not like you, you’re great, I mean wonderful I mean..” to which he interrupted “ So you like what I write I gather” my response “YES”, I realized the word could be heard on the platform we just passed. We came upon Penn and he said “well, this is where I get off, going to a party myself, my well wishes to you”, and we departed the train together.
I watched him disappear into the crowd on the platform, thinking to myself – well, he lives in NY, why is it impossible to have not met him, and off I strode, thinking ill of myself, missing an opportunity to just have a normal conversation and not to “gush” at his every word. I took the subway to my destination and walked 2 blocks west to the apartment building, a very nice and wealthy neighborhood, the nice part of Manhattan, and I felt that I now had a story to tell, but not to too many, I did not want it getting around that I thought to snub Kurt Vonnegut and then try to coax a friendship from it.
It was about 20 minutes into my arrival that the host announced that his special guest was going to be delayed, but will show up, I thought to myself “wouldn’t it be great if it was Vonnegut again” but lightning never strikes the same place twice”. An hour later, or was it 2 long island Iced Teas and a Beer later, Kurt Vonnegut arrived at the door, wearing the same jacket, but a different hat, he was the special guest, I slid out of sight, composed my thoughts, so if he did come near I could appear calm and eloquent. Other people started to show up, people of note, other local writers, newspaper columnists and some of the social commentators who write for the papers, I thought this was just unheard of writers, no, this was the real deal, I stumbled into a nest of angels and vipers, if I made a fool of myself here, no matter how well I wrote, I would never get published.
I sat down on the sofa, feeling a bit woozy, not drunk woozy, that I could handle, fame woozy, that was it, surrounded by all these famous and soon to be famous and those who thought themselves famous, that is breathtaking. There was a “whump” and the couch shifted, sitting next to me was Kurt Vonnegut, he looked at me “oh, hello again, so this is where you wound up” I replied “yes, and I still feel stupid, I am so sorry if I said anything foolish earlier” he smiled and responded with “you would be surprised at what some people say to me”. We sat there and watched the people shuffle past, back and forth, and he commented on who each person was, what they did and what he thought of them. Kurt Vonnegut has had the pleasure of keeping most of his life private and his private life even more so quiet, so when he said that most of the people here have 2 sides, and he wanted to see neither I had to ask why he was here, to which he responded that the host was related to him, and as a special favor he was asked to come, I wanted to know how the famous and infamous knew he would be here, we both paused and said “ well, it is NY, isn’t it”, in NY there are no secrets, everyone finds out sooner or later who is where when and how.
The party came to an end around 3am, some had work the next morning, I suppose, the rest had whatever, Kurt had left around 2am, he said “ I always leave early and unannounced, so nobody can follow me home” he was smiling when he said it, so it had to be true.
April 11, 2007, Kurt Vonnegut passed away, I was at home and heard the news on NPR, even though I don’t even begin to think I knew him, I did “Know “him, he was a New York Native, one of the tribe, one of our great chiefs, one of the gems in liberty’s crown, it has been said “if you ever meet a New Yorker writer once, you have met all of New York”, with Kurt, it was a very true statement.
I am including Kurt’s website, which is being maintained by his family, I suggest you visit it, just to see the smiling writer I had the honor of sharing a coffee with at 1:30 am surrounded by people that wanted to be him.

Monday, September 06, 2010

Labor Day, My New Favorite Day

I have had an received an acceptance for publication to Leaf Garden Press, which is an Online and Print Publication. This is one of several acceptance letters I received today, 4 in total. I have been working on my writing for some time without luck, but as of today I feel that is changing.
Being a writer is not easy, hell, I often don’t think of myself as a writer, my wife is very supportive, and I have had the support of my friends, which combined has kept me working on both my writing and my painting.
Leaf Garden Press can be found online at and I encourage you, if you have a blogger account to follow their publications.
My writing will be published in Issue 12 is due out in November of this year, The publication will be in print and online, so look for it.
To all of you who have supported me, again, thank you.

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Clutching at Straws

Found this site while looking for resources to submit my poetry, this site is full of some great writing, take a moment to Perouse through it, I only wish it had an easy way to bookmark through word press and blogger.

Clutching at Straws

Saturday, September 04, 2010

The Great Dumbing Down of America



Ok, I know I have said this many times before, and I run the risk of repeating myself again and again, but this needs to be said.


The United States leads the world in technological advances, we have created computers that can do everything up to and including the creation of other computers, we have developed A.I. and system functionality that controls our infrastructure and we have a mobile phone system that has been blended with PDA technology so we are constantly connected, tethered to each other through the world wide web.

We as a country have created a system that keeps the wheels of this great nation rolling, however, I feel we have thrown ourselves under the bus we are driving.

I have noticed, as many of you may have, that when I log into the various social networks I am connected to that conversations have dwindled down to random blurbs like “LOL” and OMG”, nobody really tries to have full conversations, or try to communicate in a fashion that does not need a code book.

I read books, I like books, I do think that the E-Book is an interesting development, a great resource for travelers, but I was driving down the street yesterday and I saw a man walking, against the light at the intersection reading one of the e-book devices, unaware of traffic, he was not “mowed down” but there was a near miss, ironically the driver that almost hit him was a young lady who was too busy texting to notice she was about to cream the techno-bot that was in from of her car. I looked at my wife and asked if she saw what almost happened, her reply was “I see that at least once a day”.

What is it that causes what was once a very intelligent person to become a modern Neanderthal, we have in all of our attempts to enrich ourselves, instead to become less intelligent than the chairs we sit on. I would believe that in our desire to be more connected to each other, we have distanced ourselves from our ability to actually think and speak rationally and coherently. We have created tools that have a natural ability to make us impatient, nothing is fast enough, I have stated that in the time it takes to text a person, you could just call them, and the response I get is “well this way I can leave a message”, I thought that was what voicemail is for ? the time it takes to type a message on the touch pad is actually longer than the time to dial a phone, and either talk to the responder or leave a message.

On Facebook, the status update allows up to 435 characters, enough for a short and effective comment, yet most people leave a message like “OMG I cant Blv she did tht”, what?  who did what? or “I luv my bby” what is that ? people sit at a computer or text in with unintelligible statements that make the viewer more confused than informed. I have Facebook and Twitter accounts, and I use them, but I guess I don’t see the need to confuse or stupefy the persons whom take time from their lives to actually read what I have to say. Like this blog entry, some of you will read further, some may stop here or some may have already moved on to the next blog with pictures of kittens and puppies, which my 9 and 7 year old daughters really like, but they are 7 and 9, not C.E.O’s or college professors.

Recently, I went into Starbucks and I met with 2 associates who were siting at the table, laptops out and texting feverishly on their cell phones and making merry digitally, however, after sitting with them and taking a brief look at what was going on, I noticed they are looking at each other’s social sites and texting each other while texting others and their coffees are getting cold because they have been too busy with their daily technological online affirmations of abbreviated subtexts, suddenly one of their phones actually rings and the poor fool cant figure out how to actually answer the phone, which is why to get a cell phone, to get calls. In a fevered pace she sees who is calling, opens the social site for her connection and texts them a message to call again, and sips her coffee, the phone is still ringing. Neither of them were even looking at each other, but would take a moment to look up at me every now and then because I did not have a laptop with me and my phone is so old it does not have internet or text features, I was the odd man out and not the focus of their attention, because I was not connected with their online circle jerk, and I apologize for that moment of profanity, but again, online rather than use proper grammar, I notice that people with interject F-bombs and @!$$%#@*& between the “OMG” and “LOL”, far too much cursing for my desires. After about 30 min I left, I did not have a keypad or 17 wide screen so I was not socially important to them, I instead went to a small coffee house down the block that did not have WI-fi and had a pleasant game of chess with a friend I ran into, who luckily, did not own a cell phone.

I know this is just me ranting, and it serves no purpose other than giving me a venue to vent, but I would propose that if you have spent hundreds of dollars on a device, use it the way it is supposed to be used, then stop, actually read a book, or the paper, even if it is online, take that e-book and sit-down to read it, absorb and lock in the information, have actual conversations with people, talk in full sentences and don't actually say “LOL” when you are facing a person, leave the “LOL” for AOL, and use the brain you are given. If more people actually knew about what they were talking about, they would make sense, and put the phone down before your coffee gets too cold to enjoy.

Just kidding Just Another Day in Paradise


Friday, September 03, 2010


I was sitting here writing other entries, and I thought of what is most important to me, I thought of all the people in my life, My Wife, My Kids and Family, very important, yes… but what of the family members that are not birth related. Many people have extended family, not just in-laws or ex spouses that are still close, or even the distant cousin you only see at thanksgiving and xmass, but friends that are more than friends, friends that have become more than childhood friends and buddies, I took the time to think of all the people who have touched my life and I have 7 “Guy” friends that are just as much brothers to me as my own, these are the “Uncles” of my kids, the ones that would come to the hospital and give me a kidney, the ones that would take a bullet for me, and I would do the same. now, 2 of these friends, I don’t have pictures of one friend, Doug Saum or Ken Elseman, But I have Pictures of  John Korsavidis, Richard Gianetti, Chriss Rubino, Jon Frater and Rob Johnson.

These are the guys I laughed with, cried with, they were with me good times and bad, when there were births and deaths, when I flew as high as the sun and fell straight into hell, they kept me alive, even when I felt like I died. So I give you tribute my friends, when we were young we were immortal, and now we are older and maybe wiser, but to me, we are brothers always, I wish you well, and maybe Ill see you in heaven, or in hell, but either way we will never be alone.

So here is my tribute to friendship and to all my friends

rob again

me and rob

jon k old

john K




rich and chriss

rich and rob

rich young


To me, my friends, you are my past, you made my present possible and I hope you will make my future brighter.



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Thursday, September 02, 2010

New Poem



Quiet now, listen to

The Stillness

Be at one, all within

With the dark and brooding

Silence of the night

My soul, turning, spinning, twisting

Weeping with the wind

Cold and bitter, now

Depress and suppress the feelings of

Pain, if that is what it is or more than that

I am not sure,How “It” began

But I live it now, my life it is

And I want to be free

Come to me now

And show me there is life in this time I gasp for breath

Show me there is hope

Show me




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ArtBabble | ArtBabble


I found this site, ArtBabble, purely by chance. being an artist and writer, I spend some time each day looking for new resources for information and sites to connect to this blog, and I happy to say, with ArtBabble, I found a great resource and a wealth of information, at you will find video and information about what is happening in the art world, as well as in literature and the ability to be connected directly with your peers in art appreciation. I spent some time watching videos and lectures, watching very short, but informative mini-documentaries, which are hosted on site, not a quick link to a server but high quality videos in house, so to speak, now I also find videos on PBS and in the NY Times that have the same production quality, so I would think that if you take the time to check it out you will be just as impressed and interested in connecting to the sites followers.


I would also like to remind everyone about Ovation TV, the site link is , this is another Art oriented site, with its paired television station, it has rejuvenated the art appreciators view of the influential artists of the past, present and the future artists of note. I particularly like the ability to create an online profile and post my artwork and connect with other artists, I have gotten some great feedback on my work and get to see what is going on.

ovation shot

I know it sounds like I am just praising them for the sake of praise, but in actuality, the one thing I want to point out is that these sites really support the arts and don’t ask for a buck with every click, yes they may have sponsors and advertisers, but so do I , if you notice I have advertisements and link backs, hey, got to feed my kids, right?, but with the sites they have done, it is not “ in your face”, and you choose to do what you want, you are not forced to hunt things down or track all over, everything is right up front, concise posting, separated and categorized by style and substance, as well as a feeling that you don’t have to spend al your time sifting through garbage to find the good stuff, and both Ovation and ArtBabble are full of the good stuff. I am not a very good critic, but I know what I like, and I think you may like these sites as well.

ArtBabble | ArtBabble