10 Best Lateral Career Moves for 2011

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I have recently landed a dream job in network programming and am extremely grateful. 10 best lateral career moves for 2011I’ve been waiting an eternity for an opportunity like this. Please however, do not think for one minute that I haven’t shuffled along with the rest of my fellow Americans during this economic maelstrom. I have.

But I made the best of it.

Certainty, being what it is, forced me to dig deep into what I knew and what skills I could bring to the table. Not once did I shirk any opportunity that came my way. I guess you could say I’m resourceful.

Media and news pundits have been advising us for over 2 years to look to our latent talents, develop new skills where applicable and not to be afraid to step out of the box. Try something you have fantasized about but never dared attempt. You may find your dream job is out there waiting for you.

So I took Madonna’s advice,Express Yourself and her incredible ability to re-invent          herself over and over and over. And voila! With that in mind, here are the10 best lateral career moves for 2011 that you can make during this financial landslide.

Many of these skills you already have and can be easily transferred to land you a very profitable means of income during these trying times. You may think your skills are very niche specific, but I beg to differ.

1. Pet Groomer/Farm Hand: Dominatrix (Consider the possibilities of switching species)
2. Inner city school teacher: Drug Rehab Counselor (Hey, you’re already half the way there).
3. Pharmacist: Drug Dealer (no brainer).
4. Pastry Chef: Drag Queen (c’mon, you know you’ve thought about this one at least once).
5. Housewife, Divorcee or Prima Ballerina: Stripper (obvious choice).
6. Insurance Agent: Gigolo (You’re already selling stuff that has no future, real value or pays in the end).
7. Human Resources Administrator: Organ Transplant courier (Human beings are replaceable to you).
8. Mortgage Rep: Repo Man/Woman (Indian giver: One who gives then takes away).
9. Corporate CEO: Superfund landfill backhoe operator or grave digger. (The perfect transitional career for sociopaths looking to make career changes).
10. Banker: Lethal Injection supervisor at San Quentin (You’re nickname at work was The Grim Reaper).

Well there it is folks. There’s plenty of jobs out there. Just keep your heads up, a stiff upper lip and consider stepping sideways.

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Beware terminators from the outer Blogalaxy!

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I admit it. I am not very good at reading lots of blogs or commenting on them. When I have any spare time at all, (and I am always surprised to find that so many people have so much of it), I read and comment on blogs I find interesting, provocative, humorous or even just cute and furry. I am always very happily surprised at the amount of excellent content that is out there. It inspires me to write more better and it makes me appreciate that we’re all one big happy family living in some Sibylline Blogalaxy together.

I try to be a team player but those kindly suggestions by our unflappable Happiness Engineers to get more readers by commenting on other blogs, never really spurs me into action. Plus I feel like I am being ordered to do something and I hate being bossed around.

I don’t even have a Gravatar. Just the “unknown man icon”, which is probably reserved for hackers, geeks and freaks hiding from the FBI and trying to keep their web footprint down to a bare minimum. Every time I see one of these, I shudder. Probably some kind of psycho serial killer I reckon. Nevertheless, this is what I chose to represent myself. So what does that say about me? Perplexing to say the least.

Today I clicked the, “Comments I have made”, link in my dashboard, and unbeknownst to me, I had several replies to my previous comments and even a few requests for my url dating back months ago. When I tried to respond to these blogs, a big mailer-daemon type thingy appeared, admonishing that the blog had been deleted! Dreaded horror engulfed me. My cyber-digit friends from planet Blog had been vaporized!

I won’t envisage anyone self-terminating their blog. After pouring out your heart, posting your favorite photos, making friends with fellow midnight writers; What would cause someone, with such riveting, well thought out and even researched material, to simply evaporate?

At first I pondered some type of planetary abductor from Blog, maybe whisking the blogger away to be forced to send out massive emails for all eternity via AOL with nothing but dial-up because they broke some kind of cardinal blogging rule. Or worse yet, they wrote something against the Proletariat and are now languishing in a frozen cell on Pluto with some anthracite and a slab of rhyolite. See, this is why I have my blog. If I told a therapist this stuff, I’d get locked away for sure or at least be put on psychotropic meds. Fo Sho...

I couldn’t do it. My blog is my baby. It’s  a part of my anatomy. It’s my friend when no one else is around to listen to my prattle and my demented stories and therefore my therapist. I love this doggone thing more than most people. That sounds really bad doesn’t it? Maybe that Gravatar is a good representation then…

So now, I’m really getting nervous wondering where those bloggers went. Some of my blog posts are about the truly bizarre and peculiar people that have crossed my path and how the revelation of their irksome strangeness came as quite a shock to me.

Does this mean that even in the blogalaxy I cannot correctly assess a cogent entity? That I am completely unable to recognize the lunatics, the fruitcakes and screwballs and now this? Alien terminators from planet Blog? What’s the world coming to?

Well, at least I’m partially safe, hiding behind Unknown Man icon. No QR codes for me folks. No aliens are terminating or vaporizing my blog. Heck, Big Brother doesn’t even know my real name.

Pussy Talk

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A purrrrfect morning with twin brothers, the fabulous snow white felines Odin and Loki of Norse legend, find themselves attempting to catch lizards in the morning light. It often goes something like this:

Odin: Pppppuuuurrrrhappsss we should eat that lizarrrrrrd Loki, he looks like a grrrreeaat sourrrrrce of pppppabulummmmmmm….. Prrrrrrrrr.
Loki: Okay Odin, I’ll wait for you. I’m prrrreety comforrrrtable rrrrrright here. You go get him. Pppprrrrrrr….
Odin: We are the pppppaaaalllatinesssss of the hood you know! Grrrrrrr….
Odin: The entirrrrrre herrrrrrrpetological kingdom fearrrrrrr us! What are you afrrrrraid of brrrrrrooottthher? Prrrrrr….
Loki: I’m not afrrrrrrraid of anything! I’ll eat him afterrrrrr I bat him arrrrrround a bit. You go get him. I’m still enjoying my morrrrrning Joe.
Odin: You lazy bastarrrrrrrd! I always do all the hunting and you just sit back and watch. Then you rrrrrelish the fun of torrrrrtuurrrring my prrrrrrey!
Loki: Parrrrrdon me Odin, you may catch lizarrrrrrrdssssss but I maintain the perrrrrimeterrrrrr….I keep an eye on all the trrrrrraffic and make surrrrrre your head doesn’t end up under a tirrrrrrre. Grrrrrrrr…..
Odin: Fine. I’ll trrrrrapp him in the corrrrrrner. When I grrrrrrrrab him in my teeth, you corrrrrrdone off the arrrrrrea. Pppprrrrrrrrr…..
Loki: Grrrrreat! Knock yourrrrrrrself out! Prrrrrrrrr….
(Meanwhile, Loki, who is always filthy and fails to maintain his lovely snow white coat on his own, feigns prrrrrrreeeeenning).
Odin: (Under his brrrrreath) That lazy prrrrrrrrima donna, he’s useless anyway. I’ve got this pppppppalinola down to a science. I’ll crrrrreep up behind the lizarrrrrd, and when he darrrrrrts to the left, I’ll pounce on his hind quarrrrrrterrrrs. Grrrrrrrrr…
Loki: Nice move brrrrrrrrother! OH NO! GRRRRRRRRR!!!!!
Odin: Damn thing released his tail from his body Loki!! I’ve got only the tail! Only the tail! Rrrrrrruuuunnnn….Go get him Loki, he’s running forrrrrrrr it!!! Grrrrrrrrrr!!!!…
Loki: All rrrrrrright, all rrrrrrright, rrrrrrrelax, I got him. I’ll swing arrrrround the house and catch him on the otherrrrrr side. Get rrrrrready to pounce!!!
Odin: Yeah! That’s it! You got him corrrrrrnerrrred!!! Grrrrrrrrrab him!
Loki: I got him, I got him, I got him, I don’t got him….I got a fore leg. Crrrrrapppppppp!!!! Not even a snack Odin! This lizarrrrrd is verrrrrry verrrrrrry smarrrrrrtttt!
Odin: Well so farrrrr, we have a tail and a foreleg. Which parrrrrrt do you want to eat firrrrrrrst?Prrrrrrrr…..
Loki: The forrrrrreleg. Grrrrrrrrr. I don’t eat tail. You should know that by now Odin. Grrrrrrrr……
Odin: I don’t either brrrrrother. What arrrrrrre you trrrrrrying to imppppppply???
Loki: Save it for the Palmetto family. Theirrrrrr brrrrrroke and theirrrrrr kidsssssssss arrre starrrrrrrving since the economy collappppppppsssssssed. Mom feeds us pate’, we don’t need to eat no stinking lizarrrrrrd. But I’m going in for anotherrrrrrr trrrrryyy anyway. Grrrrrrrr.
Loki: Neverrrrrr quit Odin! It’s not about the destination! It’s about the jourrrrrrney Man’! Grrrrrrrrrrr….
Odin: Hey man, look I got him! Meow, meow, meow, meow, meow!
Loki: Dude, it’s dead. He’s limp in your teeth. You scarrrrrred the ssssssshhhhhhit rrrrrright out of him.
Odin: Oh well, neverrrrrrmind then. Let’s go have a snack of sarrrrrrdines and turrrrrrkey. I’m rrrrrrready for a napppppp now anyway.Prrrrrrrr…….
Loki: Yeah, that was rrrrrrrrealy harrrrrrrd work. Prrrrrrrr….

Pussy Talk is a registered trademark of Summersaid. As you can clearly see, anyone can act and speak like an animal. 😉

Narcissists want to know about narcissism too

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I had an epiphany. Call me a late bloomer if you want or maybe I just had too many margaritas tonite  but I just realized that it isn’t just women that are interested in reading about narcissism. It’s narcissists as well. I’m sure they find this information riveting. Afterall, I am talking about them. I am giving them what they truly want and so desperately need; adoration, attention and an audience. Hence narcissistic supply.

All this mumbo jumbo about their psychotic manipulations and evil machinations to cover the fact that they are really just very insecure and lonely, even tormented human beings, is driving them into an orgasmic frenzy. Me, me, me, me! It’s always about me. Even if it’s bad or horrible or sociopathic, still, it’s always about me. I am a super star. Or so they think. Those poor, pitiful souls.

Dear N,

I am writing about your disorder, your psychopathic, unconscionable selves. I am writing to alert women primarily to your sick and twisted games. Read my posts if you like. You are even entitled to bask in the limelight, which you will do time and time again, because you are a narcissist. That is the nature of the beast. It is a vicious cycle and I am feeding into it. So be it. Maybe we will all learn something here.

After doing this research, absorbing the clinical material in the DSM IV and reading the pages of true accounts and the very sad tales of broken families, broken and shattered dreams and the  total devastation that you cause, I really pity you. It is the saddest thing to know that you must live with yourself. I have empathy as a normal human being and perhaps even more so in my case, which is something you are unable to grasp. However, disordered and damaged souls such as yours do deserve pity. Just as we do not understand you, you do not understand us. We are of the same species, but yours is of an alien genus. Something to do with a missing part of your amygdala I think…I’ll get back to you on that.

Your mother idolized you so you grew up believing you could do no wrong. You learned at an early age how to get around all the “rules” we all had to play by. You learned early on how to charm others to get your way. You mimicked others responses and behaviors and mirrored them back to seem just like them. How unbelievably sad for you to endure a life of torture that is repeated over and over in your own head.

At some point in your childhood no one was listening to you. No one noticed you. Someone discarded you so badly in some way that you reverted to this monster that sought to exact revenge on the rest of us unsuspecting mortals for the rest of your life. Every mirror in your home reflects an image back to you that is of your own making. You have no idea of what you truly look like. You have no idea whose soul inhabits your body. You could never benefit from the words of the Oracle of Delphi, know thyself, because you are a created and tormented soul.

The saddest part of all is that there is no help for you. Even a crack addict when faced with what he truly is can get help. Even if it takes an intervention. Your psychopathy is so engendered that you cannot escape you. How terrifying. And to think, we the victims, cannot comprehend what you are. But it is so simple really. All we need to do is to think and become just like you. Just as you mirror us, we can mirror you. That is how we can understand you. That is how we can battle your destructiveness and protect ourselves from the pain and misery that you inflict.

This is that aha! moment. What better way to understand you than to employ the same techniques that any decent FBI criminal profiler would employ. Emulation. Get your head inside the killer so to speak. To understand a narcissist, is to become one.

I hope you are reading carefully and taking copious notes. Maybe even trying to perfect your craft. We are doing likewise; studying, mirroring, guarding our secrets and covering our tracks as well. When you attempt to employ your manipulations and lies to us in the future, we will be ready for you.

Very sincerely yours,

Summer

Islands in the stream

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Something magical happens as soon as you get to Florida City. The United States of America ceases to exist. It is where, at the first gas station, it is a common ritual to crack a beer and head towards the Overseas Highway with a Keys state of mind. You are now entering the Conch Republic. Mind you, I don’t condone drinking and driving. But this is different. This is a rite of passage.

If ever there was a place to let the world slip away it is the Keys. You only need a few bathing suits, some shorts and tees and maybe a little sundress or wrap. In fact clothing is optional all together in many places. Where I just spent three days, it was.

The “Rugby” camp is located on the ocean. In the Keys you have two options, be on the ocean or be on the gulf of Mexico. Since I had never been to the “camp”, I assumed we were staying on the ocean side. I was surprised to find that the camp is literally on the ocean with the deck hanging over and into the ocean. We are abutted directly against a small sea wall. It’s the closest thing to being on a boat while still being on dry land. Waking  every morning on the ocean is intoxicating. Watching the sun crack through the horizon is a sanctifying experience. A comforting solitude.  A great heron greets me and my coffee. Water is all around you from every angle except for a small point of land stretching out a few hundred yards. It’s more of a jetty than anything else and just slightly breaches the vast turquoise briny sea all around you.

There is no one at the camp now. The entire place is deserted and so we had the whole place to ourselves. It’s a great place to come to get centered with who you are and to let your mind wander free. My cohort on this excursion is an ex pro Rugby player from New Zealand and I recently found out a pretty darn good photographer. Although he wasn’t interested in taking photos of the natural surroundings like I was, he prefered to do a partially nude photo shoot of me with the ocean and coral scree as a backdrop. I must say they are the best and most aesthetically pleasing shots I’ve done to date. I’d place them here on my blog because they really are so beautiful and so artistically done but I think it may come as a shock to many of my readers. He captured something in me I haven’t seen in quite some time. Au naturelle in Islamorada. He wants to submit them to Conde’ Nast. I’ll have to think about that. For now, they’re safely tucked away on my hard drive.

For three days we lived on cracked conch, fresh fish and “dark and stormies“. We visited some museums but I was most impressed by a full sized model of Ernest Hemingway’s boat, Pilar. I could visualize him, motoring in the back bay catching snook or mangrove snapper, or to and from Cuba smoking his pipe and plotting his next great novel. I felt the wood, the decking and all along the transom. It seemed to vibrate back to me the words and images so that for a second or two, maybe I could tap into it; tap into Papa directly. Even though the real Pilar is in Cuba, I still picked up his essence and imagined even more vividly his adventurous and colorful life. I strive to live life just as he did. There’s always an adventure waiting.

Islands in the Stream was part of a trilogy, the last being The Old Man and the Sea,  and was published post-humously. In the novel there were to be three parts, “The sea when young“, “The sea when absent” and the “the sea in being“. Somehow they are indicative of me as I’ve grown through the many changes in my own life. I feel now I am the sea in being.  A knowing, a constant flowing. Vast and fertile. To place my dreams within this vessel and to know that they teem with life.

How the narcissist picks his prey

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He looks for a nurturing, conscionable person. The more innocent, honest, humble and kind hearted the better. These type of people cannot recognize the narcissist’s ulterior motive. How could they? The facade he presents is nearly perfect in every way. Charming. Successful. Well liked. Charismatic. Great sense of humor. He says all the right things at all the right times. He is able to do this adroitly because he takes an inventory of the victim. Their likes and dislikes, their behavior and the emotions they reveal. He mirrors all of this back to the victim. He becomes “just like you”.  Each and every time with each new victim, conquest, mate or spouse. It is the narcissist’s modis operandi.

He always has an answer and it is always reasonable should you question his motives or intentions.  To think otherwise would be an aberration. This is not a person that has a bad bone in his body. Kind, caring and considerate. Oozing charm and charisma. You believe him and so do many others. He keeps a collection of supporters (minions), near and dear to him. But they don’t get to see the inside of the narcissist’s world. Only a victim who is pliant enough, trusting enough and humble enough will get to see that. If he senses that anyone is on to his games, they are abruptly discarded in cold, cruel callous fashion. He never looks back. He never apologizes. He has no conscience so he feels no remorse. His motive is for complete and total adoration. He is a dictator, an oligarch, a tyrant. His motive is to find someone that makes him look good in the world’s eye. Someone he can continue his charade with. He believes he is a king that deserves complete reign over all his kingdom, including the subjects in it. But, the king wears no clothes. And he knows it. He hopes no one else will notice.

He repeats the same patterns as he has always done before. For a narcissist, a sociopath who knows his victim better than they can recognize the predator, the above is the perfect scenario. Con men cannot con another who can see through the mask they project or who may have the audacity to question what is or isn’t real. The narcissist will  back up their lies, with more and more lies. They are very charming. Extremely convincing, and the victim believes wholeheartedly, that this tale he spins is fact, not fiction. It will be a rare day to ever find any proof of his true colors. Covering their tracks is a natural behavior. They are very predatory. But rarely violent. They kill differently.

They do not marry or get involved in relationships for love. They do it to appear “normal” to outsiders. They look for a cleat to tie their boat to; an anchor to make them feel safely secured in a turbulent sea. It is not properly anchored however, the boat is adrift. They don’t care whom they hurt or manipulate for their own ends. They do not feel what normal people feel. Once the victim is in place, in the drifting barge, the narcissist goes about his merry way, engaging in promiscuous sex and extra marital affairs, appearing to be every man’s man, every woman’s dream, covering their tracks well and leaving a wake of devastation behind them. They brush the dust off and move on swiftly. Other people mean nothing to them. They possess no moral code or conscience. They do not answer to a higher power like the rest of us mere mortals. They do as they please always and even brag about how they “always get what they want”.  If the victim does not abide by the game the narcissist plays, they will be severely maligned, abused, and destroyed.

Once the victim is safely secured in the narcissist’s prison, there is no escape. The narcissist will consume the thoughts, the functions  and beliefs of the victim. In their own conscience, the victim recognizes all the red flags, that something is very wrong. Something is not natural and the gut instinct that all is not true about this person, infects their thinking. There is a war going on inside the victim. A constant roller coaster of emotions. Hot and cold. Charming and cruel. The voice is tiny though. The louder voice, proclaims, he is wonderful, a prince, my soul mate because this is what she needs and wants to believe. He knows this. He knows because of their good conscience and moral compass, the victim can only believe absolute good in the narcissist.

The narcissist is a professional at appearing to be a soul mate to everyone he encounters. When caught in a lie or anything that negatively may impact the narcissist’s facade he projects, he cries. He pleads.  The tears and pleas for forgiveness are merely a ruse. Another disguise. The narcissist only cries for himself. The mask is slowly falling away and he knows this and he cannot bear being exposed. In time, he ultimately will discard and abandon the victim.  At first through a devaluation phase. He begins to see the faults in that person and clings tightly to them. A sublte shift in emotional attachment. Then the snide comments and insults. There are more waiting in the wings that the narcissist already is priming and will quickly move on to, to obtain the only thing he seeks. Narcissistic supply.

A Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing

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Knowledge is Power. I am not a psychologist but I do study people. We all do this consciously and after awhile you tend to notice similar traits and behaviors that the majority of human beings possess. This common- man knowledge is applied when we make choices on whom to befriend, work with or for and whom to develop intimate relationships with.
People generally like what is familiar to them. We tend to gravitate towards people that somehow remind us of early childhood relationships, like our parents, for good or for bad. For instance, if your mother was a stay at home mom, wore glasses and liked to bake cookies and go to church, you may be predisposed to finding a wife with similar traits. I for instance tend to blend my parental figures together. I like extremely intelligent men like my Dad but who possess artistic and creative qualities like my Mom. I also like a guy who looks dark and exotic like Keanu Reeves or Johnny Depp like my Dad or Leo DiCaprio or Matt Damon, fair, like my Mom. This patterning we do seems to be innate as far as I can see.
Throughout my life I’ve been fairly accurate at perceiving traits I find desirable or not. Except once. For the life of me I could not figure out how I could inaccurately perceive traits and behaviors that seemed nearly perfect but on closer inspection turned out to be anything but.
The reason is the sociopath. Normal human behavior simply cannot be applied when trying to understand the nature of the sociopath. So in addition to researching sociopathic behavior on several clinical websites and reading a lot of literature on the subject, I reached down deep to tap what I know. Animal behavior. Ace predators to be precise. Predators like sociopaths share very common behavioral traits whether it is a wolf, lion or great white shark. They all have highly developed sensory mechanisms and they are finely tuned to weed out the weakest, most vulnerable prey. They do not seek out the biggest or strongest in the herd to kill.
Like a predatory human or sociopath, ace predators choose weak newborn calves or seals or older sickly gazelles and zebras.
Being vulnerable or weak puts you at risk to be predated upon by a sociopath, both the violent and non-violent kind. When we are at our weakest moments in life,the predator strikes. I was victim to a sociopathic relationship because my father had died. I did not even know I was in a vulnerable state of mind. Also, I could not recognize predatory behavior. As I said before, a predator knows you better than you know yourself.
Many women who are intelligent, educated, business owners, talented, beautiful or wealthy, can be victimized by a wolf in sheep’s clothing.
Perhaps you know a sociopath. Perhaps you know his victim. They will always look or be similar. Mousy,timid or a shrinking violet. Maybe suffering from low self esteem. Someone weakened in some way from past childhood issues or a recent trauma. It could even be something as insignificant as a womans clock ticking down. Maybe she’s desperate to get married or she’s older and afraid or not particularly attractive and overweight. Once you understand an animals behavior and your own vulnerabilities you can avoid or escape their grasp. If you apply even those attributes described above to animals you can see how the ace predator will pick them out of a herd.

Indie Rock Profiles: Woodfish (New Jersey Quintet)

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It has been my pleasure to become well acquainted with a group of musicians  from the New Jersey shore for the past several years. Hailing from Red Bank, NJ,  the band Woodfish is comprised of two brothers, bassist Steve Kalorin and  drummer Dominic Kalorin, Don Honeycutt on saxophone, John Samuel on guitar and  Luke De La Parra, vocals; up front and center.

Upon first meeting, I was asked to listen to them play and in all honesty  after hearing bands perform several times as a talent agent, I was not overly  excited to go and frankly not expecting anything spectacular.

Having come from a background in music, as a classically trained violinist  and drummer, I not only hear every note, chord, riff, pick up, break, beat and  tone, just the slightest aberration will send me running out of a venue after  the first three chords. I can also tell if what I am about to see has good stage  presence and a good stage vibe and has a hooked out, marketable talent. Woodfish  has all that and more.

When I walked into a small venue in Belmar, NJ, to hear Woodfish perform for  the first time, I was more than pleasantly surprised. Not the typical rock band,  this was a super funk, jive, jam, jazzy party band with a wailing sax player. I  wasn’t sure if it was a Red Hot Chili Peppers revival or a seasoned and  funky NYC jazz band with a ragtag bunch of guys in flannel shirts and torn  jeans. I was about to have my socks rocked.

WoodfishWoodfish is led by Steve Kalorin who plays the bass like nothing I have ever  heard. And, he writes the material. Trying to put him into an appropriate group  of contemporaries, my best guess is he is the newest version of Flea or a  reincarnated version of Jaco Pastorious.

Steve is to the bass what Eddie Van Halen is to the guitar. Not only is Steve an  accomplished bassist, he puts on a stage show (sans clothing, unlike Flea), in  which he slaps the bass with a beer bottle hitting all the thick, hard driving,  bending bass lines and melodic chords without a hiccup. It is truly something  that needs to be seen as well as heard.

As one might expect, you will also hear some very funky jive riffs a la  Bootsy Collins of  the Parliament-Funkadelic. Steve has won the Best Musician  Award several times at the Asbury Park Music Awards annually held at the  infamous Stone Pony in Asbury Park, NJ where I have had the honor of attending  on a few occasions.

Rounding out the band is Domenic Kalorin, Steve’s brother on drums. Together  they produce a sound and resonance, heavy bottom end and a driving force that is  highly unusual in any of today’s indie rock bands. With an unusual mixture of  the sounds of Stuart Copeland of The Police and Buddy Rich, plus the precision  of Neil Peart of Rush, Dom’s drumming is imbedded into his soul and you may  wonder if he is ever absent from his kit. When I listen to the Pennsylvania band  Live’s song, “Insomnia and the Hole in the Universe,” I am always reminded of  Dom playing drums. The lyrics, “My brother kicked his feet to sleep,” must have  been Dom as a child.

Luke de la Parra is up front as vocalist and brings a swarthy, gritty Joe  Cocker-style of bluesy vocals to the band. Don Honeycutt playing sax brings an  eclectic, jazzy, NY retro sound reminiscent of Stan Getz. John Samuel’s adds guitar leads and rhythm on cue  and perfectly orchestrated to fully compliment this bass driven quintet.

On their first CD release, Bamm Didley and their newest CD release, Starlight Remedy, Woodfish manages to blend effortlessly sounds like  surfer music icon Dick Dale and funk icon Bootsy Collins along with killer  ripping Flea-esque bass lines. The vocals are sometimes reminiscent of Darius Rucker and always gritty  like Joe Cocker, but newer and more rocked out like perhaps Scott Stapp of  Creed. There’s ’70’s style guitar riffs like Bachman Turner Overdrive and newer  alternative rock with Stan Getz styled sax overtures lilting throughout.

Overall, I would say Woodfish is virtually impossible to define musically.  They have created their own music genre and the only way to understand their  sound is to hear them live and experience the deep, eclectic mélange of their  vast musical repertoire with decisively rock and roll roots.

Woodfish is a very talented and hard working group of musicians and it is my  honor to profile them. And I must say, being backstage with them when they  opened for Foghat at the Blender Theatre in NYC was a pure  treat and one of the best times of my life as well as an incredible show.

You can check out its current tour schedule and download Woodfish tunes at woodfishmusic.com.

This article was published first on Blogcritics.

Read more: http://blogcritics.org/music/article/indie-rock-profiles-woodfish-new-jersey/#ixzz1Muu4dDp0

Dodging New Jersey for Southern Solace

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Growing up in central New Jersey there was a lot to be grateful for. It was not the industrial waste zone most visualize when thinking about New Jersey. Surrounded by farmland, open spaces, and the Pine Barrens just to the south, our childhoods were filled with sunshine and fresh air. Our yards were spacious and there were woodlands to hike and explore. Monarch butterflies and Baltimore Orioles filled the trees during their migration turning them ablaze with color. To the north was New York City, entertainment mecca of the world. Its flavors filtered down to us in the piedmont and beckoned us to come taste its wares. In summers, our seashore drew millions of visitors for salty surf, splintered boardwalks, and sugary taffy.

Soon though the large spaces were invaded by subdivisions and strip malls. The pastoral life living lakeside would present largesse to tax collectors seeking monies from landowners in order to fish or ice skate in their own backyards. And so the exodus began.

Everglades

Longing for “greenspace,” I moved to my college state, Florida. Everglades and Spanish mosses weaving through tropical breezes, sunsets offering inspiration to the painter, poet, or songwriter, and tranquil warm seas that soothe the weary soul.

It too has become but once upon a dream. The Miami sound machine, its newer populace and cultural fragmentation have altered the Floridian landscape. The disenfranchised arrive seeking asylum from the stressors of life and inadvertently add to the chaos. Gone are the days of serenity and solitude in a southern oasis. No longer the charming and sultry days reminiscent of Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings and Ernest Hemingway; bright lights, fast cars, and faster lifestyles permeate the languid coastal towns and farther out to the center of the state. It is heartbreaking to bear witness. May we yet find comfort in some corner of the world with which to commune? Even the Everglades does not see the dark of the moon.

Shall I run forevermore? Straight from childhood visions to rummage a bit of quiet to embrace. To seek a simple corner to lay down a weary heart and head. Where birdsong drowns out the frenetic pace. Where will you go? they will ask. Another planet, perhaps, I will answer.

This article first appeared on Blogcritics.

Read more: http://blogcritics.org/culture/article/dodging-new-jersey-for-southern-solace/#ixzz1EMlwjp7I

There’s no avoiding the Butterfly Effect

Tonight I fell asleep very early, around 8 o’clock. I had a wonderful meal prepared for me by my dear friend the Kiwi and after the meal, 2 glasses of wine and listening to  a really terrific band called Supergroove from NZ, I conked right out. But then I woke up around midnight and went out back and sat under the stars and the Birds of Paradise when this thought came over me. Consequences.

Consequences of words. Consequences of actions. Consequences of motive and thought and intent. I believe it works like one of the laws of physics that says for every action there is an equal and positive reaction, or a thing in motion stays in motion or energy can neither be created nor destroyed, only transformed. What does this mean I wondered and how is it applied to human behavior? And just so you know, animals do not suffer this fate. They operate only within the laws of physics and never intentionally cause an effect to occur. It’s not like an opposum was cheating on his taxes and 2 weeks later a semi squished him into the pavement. It’s more like he was in the wrong place at the wrong time. That is immediate cause and effect and not what I am referencing.

These laws do not only apply to car accidents or creating fire or the birth of a star or even the birth of a baby, they apply to the things that people say and do in their lives. Often the results are not instantaneous. Sometimes the results of one’s words or actions will not be seen or felt for quite some time, perhaps even many years. I guess then we should all be very careful of what we say or do. And, if the Law of Attraction and Manifesting Your Intentions is correct, well then we should watch what we think too.

Fortunately I stick to that golden rule, maybe not like glue because anyone can make mistakes. But what about deliberate, calculated mistakes or wrongdoing? Words and actions that are executed with the supreme knowledge that it is wrong or maybe even perceived as, “evil”. (I hate that word because it sounds so pompous but sometimes it is the only word that accurately describes a thing or deed).

I’ve seen the consequences of others actions many times and I am certain you have as well. It’s like you could set your watch to it and wait for the the clock to chime out the hour of the consequence. Have you ever heard of some really bad misfortune befallen on someone and felt empathy for their plight? Have you ever wondered if that was the direct result of some action of theirs some time previously that you are completely unaware of? Without sounding like jury, judge and executioner, I’d bet it was.

Sometimes it is obvious. Someone robs an old lady and beats her over the head. You know they have it coming to them. Or some nasty teenager purposely harms an innocent creature and years later is eaten by sharks. (I figured that would be the perfect effect ). But what of those less noticeable actions? Maybe someone intentionally got a co-worker fired so they could take their post. Or someone lies for years about their true behavior and when it come out a family member kills themselves. I actually know of something like this that just happened, but I won’t go into the gory details.  I guess most people call this karma. You get back what you give out.

Sometimes I don’t believe this at all or that there is a god or a law of averages. I think that is because the Universe makes changes so very slowly and we here on earth are stuck in a time warp and rarely get to see the karma or effect occur. Anyone that has studied physics or science even a little has to at least wonder about the time-space thing. So it’s no wonder we rarely get the chance to see the bad guy get their comeuppance. No worries folks, the Universe is slow, but very exacting and if you notice, does a magnificent job at  keeping things running smoothly. Like clockwork.

So while I sat alone under a gorgeous southern sky, beneath that grotto of Birds of Paradise watching as the stars, moon and planets sped by, (a trick of the eye when the clouds move swiftly), I realized that there are consequences for everything and they occur all the time right under our noses every second of every day.

I consider myself very lucky. I live a semi-charmed life and though it has its ups and downs I can honestly say that there is no bitter or miserable effect waiting in the wings for me down the road because of something I said or did that I knew was wrong. Whenever I have done wrong, I have felt the immediate slap in the face. So I know I’m all right and in the clear of chaos theory or the laws of physics. I’d hate to have a big black hole swallow me up. Phewww…

Have a happy winter solstice everyone.

French Vichyssoise a’ la Summer

This is an old classic dish, originally a peasant dish from France which was served cold. My mother brought the recipe with her from Nice, where she lived many years ago. I stick to the basic recipe but over the years have made some minor changes and serve it hot. This is comfort food for a blustery cold winter day.

6 to 7 large potatoes peeled and chopped into medium chunks or quarters.
3 to 4 large leeks, rinsed very well, trim the ends, slice lengthwise and apply a medium chop.
1/4 stick of butter, more or less. I like more.
6 cups of chicken stock,(you may use chicken bullion or paste, just reduce or omit salt later).
Fresh cracked black pepper to taste.
Fresh ground coarse salt to taste.
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg.
1/2 pint of heavy cream.
1/4 cup of Harvey’s Bristol Cream Sherry.

Saute’ the chopped leeks, in a cast iron skillet preferably, in the butter until wilted and very tender.
Boil the potatoes in the chicken stock until fork tender.
When potatoes are done cooking, lightly mash them in the broth, leaving small, medium and large chunks of potato.A fork will generally suffice.
(I don’t blend or puree the potatoes but the recipe often calls that you do. You choose what texture you prefer).
Add the cooked leeks to the potato and chicken broth mixture. Add cracked pepper, and salt ( if using fresh broth not bullion) and the nutmeg. Simmer slowly for an hour with the lid on.

Add heavy cream and then slowly add cream sherry. Simmer another 5 to 10 minutes or until the alcohol has completely cooked off.

I serve this with a fresh salad:
In a chilled bowl add baby green mesclun salad mix, sliced strawberries, mandarin oranges, candied pecans, baby goat cheese or bleu cheese crumbled, thinly sliced English cucumbers. Toss lightly. Finish with a strawberry vinaigrette.

Strawberry Vinaigrette:
In a blender place fresh strawberries, 1/4 cup organic honey, fresh cracked pepper, 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar and a pinch of cinnamon. Blend on pulse. With blender on, slowly drizzle extra virgin olive oil into mixture until well blended.

Pick of the litter (box)

Somewhere in my attempt to understand human relationships, I made a connection one day several years ago that choosing a mate can be quite similar to choosing a pet. That realization came back to me last week, while tending to my mother’s cats’ litter box.

I have driven far and wide and paid a fair penny in my choice of animal companions. Once I drove to Fredericksburg, Virginia from the Jersey Shore to purchase a puppy. Not just any puppy mind you, a top bred Bloodhound from a long line of man-trailing hounds whose lineage harkened back to the Civil War. The breeder was an FBI agent at Quantico. The puppy I chose, tripped over his ears and weighed in at 17 pounds at a mere 7 weeks. He was  gi-normous. His Auntie Jemima, had given testimony in a murder trial. She uttered  a “Woof” when presented with the scent of the perpetrator and helped to convict the assailant. (I was informed at the time that when it comes to canines, it is only the Bloodhound whose testimony is accepted as a forensic science in a court of law. I swear I couldn’t make this up).

He was an incredible hound, with ten miles of ear canal and feet the size of a saute’ skillet, upon which he typically carried the entire backyard’s mud into the house with. He also deposited what I affectionately coined, “shoestrings” on the ceiling. Mucous drippings that averaged over 2-feet in length. It was reminiscent of the Gak that kids poured over each others heads, a ‘la,  Nickolodeon kiddie programming. Or at the very least, Alien slime. My days were spent dodging slime covered ceilings, counter tops and door jambs. I wanted everyone in the house to call me Ripley, as I felt we had a common bond.

To this day, I refuse to be a serf to a beast who needs his ears cleaned or toileted day in and day out. If you are unskilled in these minor tasks, our relationship probably will not last.

But how I loved this dog. Who tracked my missing three-year old one day with the help of local law enforcement; only to be found in a neighbors basement eating an entire pizza by her tiny self. We were never able to ascertain if the hound had tracked the child or the food to the hidden location. Either way, we were happy she was all right and he gorged himself on cheese.

Jean-Luc lived to the ripe old age of 11. He died after delicately, surgically even, removing 2 ears from 2 different human beings. Oddly enough, this Civil War lineage, FBI trained hound, was the pick of the litter.

My second choice in animal companionship was a German born and bred, solid black German Shepherd who understood and spoke, German. Achtung, der Hund wirklich verstehen Deutsch! Weighing in at 135+ pounds, he is the exact replica of the wolf in Little Red Riding Hood. But, it was not the breeder at Jaegermeister Kennels  that convinced me of Jack’s  linguistic abilities, even though all of my dog’s forebearers were international Shutzhund champions that only responded to German commands. It was the day he sat in front of the television, mesmerized by old black and white grainy WWII footage, cocking his head sideways like the Victrola phonograph dog Nipper. Listening to Adolph Hitler’s agonizing German rhetoric and propaganda, I was simultaneously entranced and terrified. Again, my choice was the pick of the litter and it cost me nearly 2k.

Nowadays, I keep my menagerie much easier to handle. I have 2 white cats. What is wonderful about them is that I am not reduced to being a litter box maid. They are trained to do their business outside. I refuse to manage a plastic container in my home filled with foul smelling dukie. Anyone with cats needs to understand that this is simply not a viable solution to a habitual problem. Cats prefer to poo in the bushes out of doors, where they can dig a hole to bury the stuff and wipe their paws on the surrounding fauna. A box, to which you must regularly purchase litter for and then scoop the poop to maintain the thing in the laundry room or some other place within the home, is weird to say the least. Honestly, why would anyone keep a box of poo hanging around anywhere? So I will have none of it and we are all the better for it.

Last week I found an old boyfriend’s sweatshirt buried in the back of a closet. At first I believed he was perfect in nearly every way. Handsome, polite, charming and intelligent. If you have read any of my posts about sociopathic relationships or narcissism, you probably know him by now.  It turned out, he was none of these things. A liar; a married cheating womanizing thief and someone who can only be pitied for his inability to be a human being with a conscience. He was not the pick of the litter. He was the pick of the litter box. Coining that phrase years ago, it had not occurred to me I had met one until the sweatshirt discovery. Ranking far below a man trailing Bloodhound, the slime he produced, a Hitler fascinated canine linguist or 2 pussy cats. He ranked right next to a cat turd.

I found myself laundering this sweatshirt and while I folded it without thinking, I came to my senses. Aghast, I took the sweatshirt, with his diving company logo emblazoned on the front, and promptly tossed it into the garbage. Since I was visiting my mother at the time, who has the nasty habit of being a litter box maid, I lovingly took out a pooper-scooper, and added a nice mound of cat poo to the sweatshirt, bagged it up and took it to the garbage can outside. It seemed a fitting end to that ugly sweatshirt, the nasty cat poo and decidedly to the only pick of the litter box I’ve ever known.

“Pick of the litter box” is a Summersaid Registered Trademark  😉

In a New York Minute

It’s been raining here in south Florida all day. A welcome respite from all that damned sun and terminally blue sky. A time to relax and reflect. Believe it or not, I occasionally miss grey skies and cool temperatures. Even a good wicked snow fall would suit me well right about now. Perhaps it is the Autumn most of all that brings forth lost friends, old memories and the smells of a New York night, the brisk chill with smoke filled skies and dirty puddles.
I’ve spent the last few days watching Wood Storks, with their massive white wings that spread out 7 feet and tipped in black, as if they had fallen into a paint can, feeding on brine shrimp and tiny crustaceans. The leering alligator hovering just beneath the surface keeps nearby, worrying the smaller spoonbills and egrets at the water’s edge. A raccoon, boldly walked onto the sun porch late last night, looking for morsels. My twin white cats, Odin and Loki peered out through the sliding glass doors as if the raccoon was somehow a familiar friend. Yet with all of this exquisite Everglades menagerie and fantasia it has made me long for some gritty New York weather, honking horns, cold chills and sweaters and boots. And so I’m off. For a New York minute…
I have people to see and bands to hear. I need to put my feet into my boots, put on my Pea coat and step into a smelly darkened night club and hear the sounds of raucous rock and roll at The Stone Pony or maybe some sultry blues. Life goes by too quickly and while glorified in sunshine, I’m afraid I may miss something. And so I do.
I miss my children’s hugs, my son’s wonderful film making stories and my dear mother, alone now with nothing to keep her company but her own piss and vinegar and Burlesque tales. But still, she is my Mom and I love her dearly. I love her humor and her crazy politics. I love hearing her reminisce and being with her brings me closer to my father, now gone 4 years. I am the prodigal daughter returning for her yearly or bi-yearly trek. Although I have shunned the sun of late, they will all tell me how tan I am. And just when the noise, the frenetic pace and the weather has taken its toll, I will return. So I am off for a New York Minute.
While there, I will look up musician friends and maybe sit in on a few sets. I will continue to write and work remotely as I have been doing. And when I return I will bring with me the flavors and sounds of New York. The bright lights and the big city. I will don cashmere sweaters and darker lipstick. Things not appropriate here in south Florida. One can only don yellow sundresses and pink tanks tops for so long. Some may find it odd that I return north for the autumn. But why I wonder? I love the gorgeous maroon and gold treetops and black cold skies at night. I love the smell of a fireplace burning in the distance. I love the way the stars look piercing the black velvet heavens.
In Florida it is always summer. I long for winter now. I long to sleep under thick blankets and be so chilled in morning that only the hottest coffee can cure, for a New York minute. I look forward to sleeping late, no being blasted out of bed at 7 am because the sun has crept right into the room, emblazoning itself to your eyelids. I need a hibernation of sorts. A temporary hibernation from paradise. And when I return, just as the sun will wait for me here like a lover, I will open my arms widely, kissing my adoring hot seas, the sanguine palms and my home far south of the border. Both the cold bluster of New York and the sublime heat of the deep south, you fill up my senses, come love me again.
I will return soon my love.

Summer

Spark of Genius

It is important to take stock of your life from time to time. When surrounded by ignorant and asinine people and situations, it is as though you won’t ever wriggle out from under them. As they say, “if you walk with a cripple, you start to limp”. What is fundamental is the ability to recognize the truly puerile and expose it for what it is. A spark of genius is then called for.
I want to take stock of the exceptional parents I had and the experiences and education they afforded me. It’s rare in today’s world. Our educational system is not what it was. Gifted and talented meant you really were gifted and talented. Today, everyone is gifted and talented. I beg to differ…

Sometime after 1977, during the infamous and heavily ridiculed “Carter” years, amongst a host of inept social programs and a massive deficit, our educational “tracking” system was eradicated. The kids that were slower to learn or in classes modified to meet their needs, were suddenly in classes with the “accelerated” group. I was one of those “accelerated” kids and it changed the face of American education forever and it also changed the direction I would take. Suddenly everyone was “regular”. Believe it or not, they actually instituted that label to differentiate from “accelerated” or “modified”, the latter meaning unusually slow to learn. Bless those liberals.

The kids destined for “vo-tech” and took “shop” class, in other words, the not-ready-for-prime-time-players, were now in my Algebra and English Lit class. While raising my own children and putting them through the public school system, it was common practice to lump all the students together and create a simpler curriculum that everyone could grasp. (Against my better judgement, I adhered to my then husband’s Canadian wishes and kept them in public school). It was brutal to watch. Smart kids sleeping, bored out of their wits while the poor little dumb kids were catered too. One of my son’s teacher’s took offense one afternoon and sent him home with a note that read,”Your son feels the need to “shine” constantly and it is not fair to the other students”. He was in the third grade at the time and had corrected her that on that particular year, Pluto was not furthest from the sun because every 12 years Neptune trades places. Vexed she was as I recall. (Readers, please don’t take offense here if I am hitting a nerve, I am not judging the less scholastically inclined nor the mentally acute, I am merely making a statement of fact.) Fortunately for my son, by high school he had one teacher that applauded his brilliance and had him teach the sophomore astronomy class the entire year. She was unable to explain dark matter, black holes, “spaghettification” or the time space continuum to 16 year old’s. And apparently, he could.

Liberal minded governing entities decided it wasn’t fair that some kids were labeled “smart” and others were not. Ask yourself this: How many people do you know with a college degree that got into college when they probably never should have graduated high school? Or take a look at a local newspaper, a sales ad, a real estate slogan or what some people refer to as art or music. Have you noticed the plethora of idiotic ramblings purported by so called specialists in their fields? College graduates now speak and write in juvenile mumbo jumbo as if it were grammatically correct and are no closer to realizing that,”wuz”, “cuz”,”wanna” or “i be” are actual words than my cat realizes his own sentience. Even while perusing job ads one finds typos, text message style abbreviations and absurd remarks. It’s disheartening to say the least.

We used to have structure in school. Our curriculum’s made us think and work. I studied ballet my entire life and played violin at the age of 4. We had mandatory language classes starting in the first grade. We had to WRITE our papers longhand. Which meant we needed to spell correctly and understand diction, phonetics, syntax etc., and not rely on spell check; which never works anyway because it cannot recognize the difference between “there”, “their” or “they’re” for instance. It is astonishing the drivel one runs into today. I refuse to watch any television for this reason, especially local or national news. I am fully aware that if you allow yourself to be duped and manipulated by the propaganda regurgitated by the corporate media whores, whose main interest is consumerism and not the welfare of the nation, you will mindlessly plod through life with the rest of the herd idling towards the slaughter-house sitting in an easy chair while watching Jackass or Jersey Shore. We should all be terrified of where the future of the American intellect and ingenuity is heading.

I suspect there is at least one social program afoot, (please note the inherent sarcasm) to blame in the dumbing down of our nation’s educational system. Having been raised by a Yale PhD, Columbia U professor and NSA/CIA father, I received an exemplary education. An education is not exclusive to being able to graduate from college and walk away with a piece of paper. A good education begins in the home and is cultivated by capable parents and a well rounded experience.

For a good idea of American intellect, ingenuity and strength, Alexis De Toqueville’s, Democracy in America outlines this superbly well and is one of, if not the best read and should be required in middle school along with classes in civics so our populace has a grasp on who is really in charge here. The Washington pundits have all read it. It’s required reading for anyone studying political science or law and somehow, they have tossed the book on the back of the shelf as if it were some sort of nasty little secret. Toqueville even prophecies on what will happen when capitalism and democracy fall into the hands of the ill-equipped, illiterate and  greedy. Smart populace=Strong nation people.

Did you read my post about the Social Disaster? How on earth can a person claim to be a specialist in the field of social work or in helping battered or abused women in a shelter, when they have never had children, been married or divorced, survived a battery or rape or have any practical social skills to bring to the table other than a piece of paper and a measly year in Africa at the governments expense? You’re kidding right?

Take the music industry today. Everyone thinks they can be a rockstar or get a signed record deal. All they have to do is either get the funding, (many times through illegal activities as in some Rap artists) or know someone, as in the nepotism running rampant in the music and film industry. Talent is no longer necessary nor is paying your dues. Everyone gets a free pass, makes a million overnight and gets their asses all over the television. Re: The Kardashian dolts.

Though, I must ponder. I’m a humanist, an animal and environment lover, with a brain and an extremely versatile education and background. Where are we going with all of this degradation? What do we have to look forward to 10, 15 or 20 years from now? A welfare, “socialist” state saturated with the socially and scholastically inept? Where is the spark of genius that America is known for? Our strength lies in our populace. Our populace is getting weaker by the second as millions gorge themselves on national news, the disasters and the mayhem, the fear and loathing and political scandals all designed to keep our eye not on the ball. Why are we taking political sides as if one is any better than the other or care about what Lady Gaga or Charlie Sheen are up to? Who really gives a crap?

Has not one person noticed that a bi-cameral system doesn’t work with over 300 million citizens and that Lady Gaga, (who actually is quite a talented pianist, go figure) and Charlie Sheen pay their publicists to start fires to increase their notoriety? Are the American people this inane? What happened to taking pride in our hard work and ethics? We were founded on that principle and farmers with pitchforks and 12 year old boys with muskets proved it to an entire armada of British soldiers.

Please America, wake up from this nightmare. Please bring back the genius, the spark and the reason that the entire world envies us and leans on us for leadership.

For those who do not possess this spark of genius, please refer to our neighbors to the north for assistance and asylum. They love to feed and house drug addicts, tax over 60% to your income, permit known terrorists entry and club baby seals. They certainly do send a mixed message to all those tree hugging liberals don’t they? Sure, they’re a pacified bunch I guess when it comes to having a military industrial complex, but then  why do they do hang onto our skirts, pockets, purses, technology and charm? And then have the audacity to snub their noses?

If something doesn’t happen soon, I am going to find a third world nation rife for a takeover, where its absentia inhabitants are here, getting American financial aid, starting businesses and getting college grants and start my own social reforms and government.

Screw it. 😦