169. Since I Packed Up and Left On My Own

Chapter 169

Life settled into a pauper’s groove. I enjoyed Record Bar but the pay was terrible, so I tried to hustle up a better job wherever I could. The guy at the end of our block ran a stained glass business out of his Victorian. I tried hanging around, pretending that my artistic ambitions involved lead and colored glass. He didn’t bite. I made friends with a guy who owned an aquarium shop, but I had to cut bait when he sold his entire inventory for cash rather than letting his soon to be ex-wife get a dime. I got a 50 gallon aquarium out of the deal for 25 bucks, so that was something.

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Deep Cuts: Ghost Songs


half track 5Was I visited that night by my grandfather’s ghost? The reasonable answer is no, of course not. My dreams were simply projecting the enormous psychic weight of finally understanding his story and not knowing what to do with that. All I can tell you this: I felt lighter when I wrote the last paragraph of the story linked above, as if I’d paid a debt or some such.

I’m going to stick with believing that my grandfather’s ghost wanted me to tell his story, and I encourage you to go on believing whatever you believe, too.

And while we’re at it, If you want to see a double exposure in the attached photo that’s up to you, too (click to enlarge). But I looked inside the briefcase holding my grandfather’s heavy psyche. I held the photos he took during those dark days. I saw what he saw, and I learned his secret: He was haunted.

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WIM Meets Paste Magazine (Kind of)

Paste logAre you a fan of Paste Magazine? I am, dating back to the days of their print edition. My old Guys In Black Tee Shirts Who Jam buddy Hal the Drummer turned me onto Paste during a visit back home, and I was hooked.

So yeah, I’m thrilled to being doing a little bit of work for them in their online incarnation. I’ll hang in there until they tell me to go away, which may not be more than a couple of weeks so get it while you can.

Here’s my first review for them. Is it music? Nope, but just as tasty.

168. Last Lions Roar Before They’re Tamed

mauthausen edit 6We drove to the Elks Lodge in Evergreen. The bar television blared coverage of a plane that slid off of the icy Denver runway a few hours earlier. “We need to get the hell out of here before this storm gets worse,” my father said to my mother.

At the far end of the room stood a table upon which rested a folded American flag and a wrapped box: my grandfather’s ashes.

“Let’s get this over with so these old farts can get back to drinking,” my father said.

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James’s Big Irish Adventure

CastlemartyrOn a scale where 1 is dinner in Hell with Hitler and 10 is an infinite number of individual pudding cups, my recent visit to Ireland courtesy of Jameson Whiskey was Bo Derek naked on a unicorn (with infinite individual pudding cups).

It made for a really solid travel piece, too, combining local color, whiskey, and quality fireworks at medieval prices. Give it a read, and when you’re done let me know what you thought: