Lunch! The Smoked Fried Chicken is what lured me in and I can say wholeheartedly that it is glorious.image

imageProbably. And not that I would ever give even the most meticulously clean off-ramp panhandler money (though I have been known to hand out snacks or water to them on occasion). But still, even though I unbendingly consider them all low-grade con artists, I’d probably have a  scosh more respect for them if they’d at least police the litter around their base of operations.

thedropSo this is how I chose to watch “The Drop” last night. First I scanned through the on-demands available, and finding nothing that piqued my interest, I checked out what was on the 10 channels of HBO — but I knew already what was on HBO because practically all they’ve been showing this last few weeks/months is “A Million Ways to Die in the West,” “Ride Along,” and “Draft Day,” all of which I’ve seen and are not worth repeating (except maybe that scene in “A Million” when the block of ice crushes that guy and Seth McFarlane yells out in distress “That went south SO fast!” I could watch that a dozen times).

The same ol’ same ol’ lineup was broken up by some boxing which I’m always good for, and slotted after that was something called “The Drop,” which rang absolutely no bells whatsoever. None. I read the info blurb about some barkeep in Brooklyn and squinted at the tiny image of the poster at what I thought was Gene Hackman, and I was in. I could watch Gene Hackman watching a movie with Gene Hackman in it.

So I hit the record button on the remote, clicked on over to the boxing match in progress and watched a light-heavyweight boxer named Gonazalez dominate a boxer named Pascal only to get robbed by the judges of his victory, and then I watched a boxer named Kovalev put down a challenger named Mohammedi in four rounds. By then “The Drop” had started recording so we set that in motion.

Spoiler alert: Gene Hackman’s not in it. The face I thought was his in the thumbnail was actually James Gandolfini (in essentially his final film). My bad. Gandolfini’s costar? Tom Hardy, who you might remember for his turn in the lead role of The Best Film This summer “Mad Max: Fury Road.” The female lead is Noomi Rapace, who’s amazing.

They are completely brilliant as is every performer in a brilliantly brooding film based on a Dennis Lehane short story called “Animal Rescue,” which centers on a Brooklyn bar that serves as a money drop for the underworld that gets robbed. Gandolfini plays the proprietor beholden to the mob and Hardy is the quiet and lonely and seemingly dimwitted barkeep who’d probably gut you if you called him a “mixologist.” So would I. And he’s about as dimwitted as Einstein it turns out.

The film is appropriately dark and overloaded with wonderfully lyrical and smart dialogue all the while imbued with a sinister tension that never lets up right to the twist ending. Plus there’s an adorable puppy in it. Named Rocco. After Saint Rocco, patron saint of dogs. And falsely accused people.

This one snuck under my radar in its theatrical release. I’m so glad I lucked into and you will be too. Put it on your list.

matchIt wasn’t a single straw that broke the proverbial camel’s back, more like the combined weight of  a thousand of them. But the last one dropped today, in the form of a shared post showing up in my feed from a “friend” (an acquaintance from high school who I said “Hi” to once in-person approximately 34 years ago) showing video, whose still image can be seen at right, of an organized and referee’d boxing match between an adult man and a grown kangaroo, presumably in some third-world country where people pay good money to support such an affirmation that we as a specie blow. While the kangaroo was certainly holding its own against its opponent, I winced at every one of said opponent’s blows that landed upon the misbegotten and be-gloved marsupial.

I wince a lot at what I’m shown on Facebook, and do so with the understanding and appreciation that people are different than I am. As the old saying goes, there is no disputing taste. But at the same time there’s not only no chance I’d ever want to know “What type of Cactus Are you? ClickHereNow!”  or “How Big An Ass Is Your Star Sign?” but stuff like that, whether it’s clickbaity, meaningless, off-putting or downright offensive makes me question the people sharing it with me. Is it unfair for me to attach significance to such worthlessness? Perhaps, but being an active practitioner of self censorship, it’s just a bit dismaying the number of people that vomit so much into the netiverse. For the record, it’s not that I’m not guilty of episodes of over-sharing, and it’s not like I don’t take some of those stupid surveys. It’s just that when I get through answering a series of questions to determine “What Bacteria Were You In Roman Times!?” I just keep that result to myself and move on.

So, back to that video. I think it was the ninth or tenth punch landing on or glancing off the harried creature when it dawned on me that I can’t stand being exposed to crap like this, the core of which being that there is no way in hell I would associate with purveyors of such wretchedness in real life and thus I resent being exposed to it online. Not only did I quit watching this reprehensibly exploitational bullshit of a poor animal, but at the same time I decided I had to find a way to prevent it or any myriad variations of such heinousness from assaulting my eyeballs ever again. And that way was to kill my Facebook account.

Without a moment’s hesitation and with an internal “I’m done!” I hopped up from the living room chair and jogged to my desktop where I googled “How to permanently delete a Facebook account” (not just nambily pambily “deactivating” it for the hundredth time — I wanted it dead), and went through the motions. When Facebook asked me one final time “Are you reeeeeeeallly suuuuuuuuuure you want to destroy everything we’ve built together?” I clicked the “OhYesIAm” button without hesitation. For the record the account stays “deactivated” for 14 days before going full bye-bye. Of course it does.

Then I went in and told my wife (who ironically, had only recently exponentially if still tentatively increased her use of Facebook) and we talked about it a bit. I told her about the kangaroo and about a few other examples of people and incidents that pissed me off. I explained that it was time for me to go beyond simply unfollowing or defriending specific individuals and scorch the freaking earth. She got it.

Then  — ha! — I came right back here to the desktop and made a new Facebook account; one that’s fresh out of the box, austere and battened down as best it can be — not all loaded with 267 followers and 340 followees, 98 percent of whom I’m about as poorly acquainted with as the aforementioned guy I met once last millennium who thinks subjecting a kangaroo to ridicule and abuse in front of a live audience is funny (which it isn’t; it fucking sucks).

Was throwing out the old account and immediately ushering in a new pared-down one a colossal waste of time? If you’re of a mind to want to think so then g’head. The good news is that this isn’t Facebook and I’m not going to live there anymore. I’m going to move back in and live here. This dusty old cobwebby blog is where I’ll be found going forward.  Strange thing, I used to reside here exclusively, using social media outlets as extensions, but for ease-of-use reasons and othersI can’t really figure out, I crossed over to Facebook gradually beginning a few years ago and it slowly took over as my preferred avenue for social media communication. I can’t really think of a day since that I haven’t pretty much regretted becoming embedded so deeply in one platform this last couple/three years to the virtual exclusion of all others.

One thing I should point out and of which I’m most excited: There’s no two-way communication here. You can’t click a link and buzzkill my joy at discovering something or support me for despising something else. I’ve turned the comments off because — and I’m being honest here — I don’t really give two beans about reactions to anything I’ve written. To be frank, if Facebook allowed me to shut off comments (and kill the maddening “Like” links, too) it would be infinitely more enjoyable a place. I can’t think of the last time a comment thread enhanced a dialogue or didn’t essentially waste my time. And in fact, there are popular topical blogs I used to haunt like a ghost but that I barely visit anymore because commenters can be such dicks. If I go visit those sites now, I read the articles and block any comments on the screen with my hand to avoid getting sucked in. What kind of life is that!? So in truth, I take satisfaction not only in people not being immediately able to tell me what they think, but also in having the strength to evict myself from a Facebook environment where people primarily seem to live and die by the number of “Likes” their posts get. Bottom line is, my email is listed in the header. You want to get hold of me and share your thoughts on something I’ve written, I’m easily enough gotten.

By and large I would hazard the demise of my old Facebook presence will go unnoticed by, oh I’d say roughly 98% of the people I followed or who followed me, and that’s as it should be. It’s the electronic equivalent of an Irish exit from a party where only a scattering of folks might look around at some point and realize I’ve disappeared. Most of them? They’ll know how to contact me electronically, or find me in person. Or if need be I’ll contact or find them.

Going forward, I’ll be experimenting linking to Facebook and/or Twitter whatever profound or pathetic postings (such as this) I’ll make here, instead of the other way around. This is homebase for me. Facebook’s the satellite now as it once again should be.




I’m digging this hyper realtime alternative to timelapsing. My third and fourth rides of 2015 — the morning commute to work of approximately 8.5 miles and the dusk-to-dark ride home of 10.6 miles– seen at approximately ten times normal speed.

Agggh, my tiring old GoPro. It’s got a mind of its own. Instead of timelapsing my January 2, 2015, bike commute home it video’d it in real time. But rather than find away to bore everyone entirely to death with an upload of the entire uneventful 54-minute journey across town, I found a way to show you something a little different by speeding the clip up ten times faster from start to finish — a true hyperlapse. It still might bore you to tears, but at 5:45 in length, at least it will do so in a tenth of the time the original would.

Be it hereby resolved I will ride 2,015 miles in 2015 and it began with this standard south-and-west bike commute of 8.43 miles primarily on Hoover Street and Jefferson Boulevard from home to work.

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