Features, Shades of Gray, Visuals

Seeing You – Groundhog Day Musical

Comments Off on Seeing You – Groundhog Day Musical 02 May 2021


The Written Word, Features, Shades of Gray, Artist of the Month, Poetry

Born into this – Charles Bukowski- Listen all the way through you Cunt

No Comments 13 March 2021

Shades of Gray, Music

Today We are Caught IN a Trap – Right?

Comments Off on Today We are Caught IN a Trap – Right? 13 March 2021


So If an old Friend you know? Shove it up you nose

Shades of Gray

At a Loss. Leaving. By T.W. Snicket

Comments Off on At a Loss. Leaving. By T.W. Snicket 22 August 2020

I wrote this for a friend

To convey my way

To show

Desire and Deficiency

My Heart

Stuck between beats

Waiting to Pump



What it feels like to move

To show affection

To Understand

I was the prodigy

Letting everyone down

Missing the mark as the years


No Milk in my coffee
No Sugar in my tea

I feel like a stone in a crack
that cannot seal

As the road breaks apart with each season

The Audience

We are left with


Unoriginal hair cuts

A Greyhound bus departs soon

Shades of Gray, Music

Just Come On Home

Comments Off on Just Come On Home 16 August 2020

It is as simple as Prine Tells It.

Enjoy Folks out in the Ether.

Shades of Gray

DPD Emeritus: John Prine

Comments Off on DPD Emeritus: John Prine 08 April 2020

Man, just writing the title for today’s DPD made me go cold all over. I suspect just reading it may have done the same for you. 

Heavy hearts & minds here at the HQ today. If this goddam Covid Quarantine weren’t bad enough…now this. The flags at half mast and the love light is turned way down low. 

John Prine impacted me in so many ways it’s tough to even begin. His song-writing left an indelible mark on my life. His lyrics could be hysterical, biting, heartfelt, insightful – you name it. I mean just listen to the song Blue Umbrella. If that song doesn’t move you check your pulse. 

“Feelings are strange especially when they come true”. And what about “When you got hell to pay put the truth on layaway”. Damn that’s good stuff. Just scratching the surface of his brilliance but when I heard the news those two lines in particular jumped to mind. And this one too “I knew that topless lady had something up her sleeve”

I first was introduced to John Prine back in 2003 by Robert McShane by way of Chicago. He was my next door neighbor freshman year in college and was a certified berserker lunatic in all the good & bad senses of the word. During the first few weeks of school we were shooting the breeze about music and such as freshmen are wont to do and Prine’s name came up. When it was clear my roommates and I weren’t familiar McShane was incredulous. Then a wry smile crept across his face as he queued up Illegal Smile. He knew what he was about to introduce to us. Shortly thereafter he lit my roommate’s beard of fire and got kicked out of school (for a different reason). I can’t imagine Prine would have wanted a better harbinger. Chi-town baby.

Listening to “Hello in There” feels like you’re reading a novel for christ’s sake. Dense. “Jesus The Missing Years” should be included in any Western Religious Traditions class as far as I’m concerned. How do you write songs like that?

If you’re looking for something to listen to in remembrance please consider an interview Prine did on Studs Terkel’s radio show circa 1975. I’m two listens in and probably have a few more before the week is out. Bookmark it on your computer and come back to it periodically. 

More recently my wife and I enjoyed Prine’s run at the Newport Folk Festival. To this day she thinks “Angels From Montgomery” is the most beautiful song there is. I can’t bring myself to disagree with her. For my money you can’t beat John Prine on the main stage on a sunny day and, if you’re lucky, a cold beer in hand (maybe some sunscreen too). 

I’d like to say I feel pretty good, not bad and that I can’t complain but that wouldn’t be true. I’m bummed. The weary dismals have set in. Until further notice we’ll be running through the catalog and making good use of a healthy stock of materials for Handsome Johnnies. 

Sweet songs never last too long on broken radios.

Shades of Gray

Tuck of the Week!

No Comments 08 September 2018

This week’s submission comes from a promising young prospect from our “Junior Writers With Promise” program: Felicity from Rhode Island.


Great job by you Felicity!

Features, Shades of Gray, Ask Norman

A New Dear Norman! Religion & Sneezing

Comments Off on A New Dear Norman! Religion & Sneezing 11 April 2017

dear Norm,

 i was shopping at the grocer when a man picking out pickles (kosher dill) turned to me and sneezed in my cart. 1 other man in the aisle turned and said “bless you” whilst a 2nd man said “blesh you”. I frowned at the new found germs I’d be paying for and walked away. Can we please do away with this public sentiment of filth and religion?
Shopping in Shirley,

Dear Shop,

Thanks for writing – always nice to hear from a lifelong fan. It’s an honor, truly.

From what I can tell in reading your missive your challenges are two-fold – a public health concern and an ecclesiastical affront. I’ll take them in that order.

I’m with you. I don’t consider picking up a nasty illness during my weekly grocery a ‘bargain’ deal. In fact, if I were running things, that pervert would be drawn and quartered in the town square for spewing his venom in such an egregious way. I’ve long been a fan of public shaming and violence and feel both of which send a clearer message than the passive aggressive harrumphing that has come into vogue with the advent of millennials. This quack threatens the livelihood of you and yours it should be well within your bounds to smack his ass. This is why we shove a pup’s face in his poo while training. It works.

On to the ecclesiastical matter.

I’ve long been a staunch supporter of the separation of church and state – and certainly public health for that matter. Moreover I think the church should be separated from everything and be made to sit by itself. It’s been misbehaving for far too long. Nor do I see any reason to associate any type of heavenly body with snot and/or phlegm. If one were being helpful in such situations they’d shout instructions on how to not spread germs while promptly running in the other direction as to not worsen the situation.


Shades of Gray

Sexy Memoirs Chapter 12: Teamwork

Comments Off on Sexy Memoirs Chapter 12: Teamwork 18 August 2016

She showed up with her friend and of course the pessimistic in me starts to multiply the bar tab by 2.  It wasn’t until the 3rd round of shots interweaving with the dreadful amount of dubstep that I realized why the +1 was brought along.

For she had shared her tall tales of our sexual adventures with her just-as stunning-blonde friend compelling her to join us in inking another chapter into our book of fables.  My excitement quickly gets lost, though, while playing it safe – careful to not give one too much attention.

It isn’t until the face sitting and salvation came into play that i was able to get my flag to full mast. With the combination of their lust and my desire I suddenly found myself in a scene from a movie, and I’m not talking Pixar, although there was a woody.

It didn’t take long before they were passing it off like a baton in a relay race.  When cotton-mouth set in for one contender it was a telling sign that we were close to the finish line. Just as the Prince of Time was about to roll the credits we got the satisfying finish we all worked so hard for… with high fives, pearl medals and a spaghetti dinner.

Teamwork does, in fact, make the dream work.

Shades of Gray

Reins is BACK!

Comments Off on Reins is BACK! 21 June 2016

Well folks, It’s’ nice to hear that TW’s activity induced jaundice was kept shelved with the acquisition of ‘Handshakes’.  I know she was a much welcomed addition to the aging, struggling (with movement) and frequently irritable core in The Shade Athletic Department.

As for myself; 2 weeks ago I was cut from the varsity action adventure team and have finally decided to report to jv camp.
I feel part of the problem at tryouts was this feeling of overall peaklessness that was running through my entire body. The temperate rainforests that I’ve been running through are becoming drab with all of the luscious greenery making swimming in the waterfalls littered throughout the region seem mundane.

I hardly want to jump off of anything into a pool at the base of a fall then drink a beer anymore.  The realization struck me like a dislodged rock to the top of the head. I needed a hill, a big hill and if I could get some scrambled ham & eggin’ in we’d all be better off.

Mt. Thielsen, affectionately  known as ‘the middle finger to the sky’, would be the stage where I begin my ascent to varsity. Standing at nearly 9200 ft with 3700+ ft of elevation gain and a class 4 scramble to the summit providing views of the rim at Crater Lake, Mt Bailey overlooking Diamond Lake, 3 sisters, Diamond Peak, Mt Shasta (McNasty) and some other fucking thing that I didn’t know. All of this on a bluebird day. Yuck.

Besides a few vistas the first 3 miles were below tree line and relatively uneventful. Popping out of the trees it looked like the mountain took an explosive shit as a scree field lay ahead (Kweez/Norm- see Abol Trail). Shortly thereafter I sat on Chicken Ledge and gazed upon the climb to the top. A fun little romp around with hands and feet that were all there.

The stay at the top was long enough for a beer (Worthy IPA) and a view at everything next. The march down was uneventful except for just below the summit where some dipshit informed us he wouldn’t set up his rope until we downclimbed to avoid dislodging rocks above us that might hurl towards our heads and then he started setting up his rope before we were off and dislodged a rock that missed Sean by about 10 ft. I was happy with his decision making abilities. Fuckin moron. Tootles

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